30th Parliament, 4th Session

L012 - Thu 14 Apr 1977 / Jeu 14 avr 1977

The House resumed at 8:05 p.m.

Mr. Speaker called for the quorum bells.

On resumption:


Mr. Speaker: When we were last on this item of business the hon. member for Grey-Bruce, I believe, was about to begin his remarks. He may continue.

Mr. Moffatt: Nobody is here, Eddie.

Mr. Sargent: Well, Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you all for coming tonight; a very intelligent-looking group -- better than usual over there.

Mr. Nixon: Got to get a handful of Tories in.

Mr. Sargent: I had to ring the bells on the advice of Bob Nixon. He said, “We can’t speak to a poor crowd like that.” So, we are in business now.


Mr. Sargent: I must confess that at the start of this session the polls gave our party a very sad outlook. How wrong they were; how things are developing now.

An hon. member: Look at them quiver.

Mr. Sargent: But the amazing part of that was that we have a very aggressive member from Niagara Falls, Vince Kerrio, here in our midst. He had a dream, and the dream was that the polls were flying across the province -- the dream was that there was an election held thereabouts -- and the vote came down. There were 62 Tories elected and 62 NDP elected and one Liberal. And that Liberal was Vince. And when he set out for the first sitting of the House, he found that Bill Davis had sent a liveried chauffeur and limousine. Stephen Lewis sent down Ian Deans to work for Vince. When he walked into the House, Bill Davis walked to the door and he met him and took him across to the seat, put his arm around him and said, “Now, Vince, what are we going to do today?”

I thought the balance of power was so flagrant at that time. The Tories are now being nice to our friends on the right here. They are in bed with them already -- trying to stay in power.

All these years I have been standing in this House speaking -- flogging the government as I think I am doing, doing my part as a loyal member of Her Majesty’s opposition -- for this one time, instead of saying what is wrong with the government, I thought I would talk about what is right with the government.

Mr. Nixon: Short speech tonight.

Mr. Sargent: How right Bob is, how right.

An hon. member: Are you sitting down -- are you?

Mr. Moffatt: You have just heard it. Margaret, move over.

Mr. Sargent: But without sitting down right now, I want to tell you that I sat down without my speech writer and I looked at the paper for a long time and I couldn’t get started. What is right about this government? So I have to change my course, right now. I want to say that I have the greatest respect for the members of the House, individually; I really do. My remarks across there may not be to your liking, but I want to say -- I have said this to fellows in our caucus -- that each and every one of you is a success. A lot of people think that because you are elected to Parliament, you are a success. That is not a fact. You were a success before you were elected to Parliament and from here on it is downhill. I want to say to each and all of us in this House, as Ella Wheeler Wilcox said:

“...the two kinds of people on earth I mean/Are the people who lift and the people who lean.”


I think each of us individually are lifters and I qualify those remarks before I start because I do have the greatest respect for us individually.

The things I’d like to talk about are naturally the hospital in Owen Sound, the plight of the beef farmer, Australian beef, losing a $40-million industry in Owen Sound coming up, the great tragedy of youth unemployment, the great costs in the north and west, the Gray Coach Line, the police brutality, Hydro corridors and the question of whether or not the government has the press in its pocket.

Mr. Nixon: Let’s start with that one.

Mr. Sargent: We’ve been watching newspaper reports and our critics have been following the land acquisition in Barrie -- a case of three lawyers: Eddie Goodman, a close friend and adviser to the Premier, the law partner of the Premier, and Bob Macaulay, who recently has been retained as a counsel for the Minister of Energy at $1,000 a day. These three lawyers are involved in a deal. It’s about a $100-million land deal and by some magic stroke of fate we have these three fellows close to the Premier who are putting together this deal.

If one looks in the phone book in Ontario, one will find about 10,000 lawyers. It’s amazing that these three chaps who are so close to the Premier are steering this deal. I’m not going to go into the ramifications of Macaulay or Eddie Goodman in the continuing saga. We’ll get on with that later. That comes in the good part of the speech.

Mr. Deans: Co ahead.

Mr. Sargent: I want to say that it must be embarrassing to the members opposite how these things are allowed to happen. I want to qualify what I’m going to say. I’ve never questioned at this time and place the integrity of the Premier of this province. He has a political machine that has to be and has been well greased over the years and will continue to demand its cut, a piece of the action. I say as long as the Premier is head of this party and allows the big guns to wheel and deal, to have the keys to the treasury per se or whatever, he has to take his part of the blame for allowing these things to happen. In the States it’s a criminal offence to sell a political contract and in this country it has been going on blatantly.

We have a great need in my area for housing for our citizens. It’s a sad commentary that the majority of Canadians will never own their own home. As I’ve said before, Ontario housing is so restricted that no one is allowed to build in this most wealthy country in the whole world a house that he can afford. Now let that sink in. This party over here with all its power and all the billions of dollars it collects every year cannot make it right that a man can build a house that he can afford. What kind of democracy do we live in?

We heard the other night the Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes) read a prepared speech written by a speech writer. He never deviated from his speech. He reminds me of an old English politician who said, “I find that your lordship has changed his politics.”

“Yes,” his lordship replied, “and I am ready to change again if you can make it worth my while.”

Political opportunism is what is happening. There are many of us in this party who could be bribed to go to that party if we wanted to, but we have to live with ourselves. These are some of the things that --

Mr. Foulds: Would you repeat that, Eddie?

Mr. Sargent: Well, you’ll probably get some offers along the way too, Jimmy.

Mr. Moffatt: This is interesting. I like this.

An hon. member: He said reflex.

Mr. Sargent: In our economy a great majority of the people never own a home. That’s happening right now, today. We have thousands and thousands of beef farmers wondering whether next year the prices will be enough to meet their mortgage needs. That’s happening right now. We have the shocking situation of half a million young Canadians under the age of 25 who cannot get jobs -- and this government here in Ontario is doing nothing about it.

Mr. McNeil: What are your friends in Ottawa doing about it?

Mr. Sargent: You’re so right, Ronny. There’s a great need. But we should have some leadership here. We are the wealthiest province. We have 65,000 civil servants in this province and we could well get along with 45,000. In New York, the city found itself with a deficit of $1½ billion -- and down there they can’t have hanky-pank like you fellows and have a continuing deficit of $2 billion a year. They had to clean up their act down there and they fired 60,000 people in the city of New York in one year. They fired 60,000 people to keep the books straight, and that is a fact.

Here we have Hydro -- Hydro belongs to the people -- raising the rates by 30 per cent. That’s happening right now.

Now we get on to things that are important to all of us, the rights of people as far as the law is concerned. We’ve been watching Mr. Headline, the Attorney General, in his battles with Mr. Ballard, a great sports jock. In my mind Mr. McMurtry is the biggest athletic supporter I’ve ever known. I’m glad the cubs have left for that one.

Mr. Moffatt: You’ve told a few, Eddie.

Mr. Sargent: We have here the hopeless situation in our jails and prisons. The morale is bad in all our jails and our penitentiaries. In the States they find that by paying the inmates 75 cents to $1 per hour to produce and learn a trade, the morale is high and it’s great for the rehabilitation of their jails. It’s a matter of record that the county jails, the Don Jail, are a disgrace in our economy. In Owen Sound the county jail has cells about eight feet by three feet and when one gets on the bed one can’t turn around. There are no lights in those cells from 8 o’clock at night until the morning.

Mr. Peterson: How do you know, Eddie?

Mr. Sargent: Well, I could have been an inmate one time, but I have been inspecting them. The new minister said he was going to have a programme to upgrade these jails, but we know that’s just talk, because he’s on his way out.

We have the news that yesterday a cop shot a fleeing man because he was suspected of having a stolen credit card. Why would a policeman shoot in the back a man he thought had a stolen credit card? Credit cards are only money-making schemes for the banks, and who are we to say that a policeman can shoot a man in the back because he has a stolen credit card? That’s what’s going on in this so-called police state we have here in Ontario. I for one, having spent a lifetime in politics, am fed up with what’s going on. If policemen can’t handle their guns take their guns away from them.

Police brutality: We read in the papers last week of how the police took a man into a field and beat him up, then followed him to his home and beat him up with his wife and family there. I say it’s a scandalous abuse of the badge, a scandalous abuse of the badge. It’s no credit to the Attorney General or to those fellows over there that they allow these things to happen.

One time a few years ago -- this is a true story that happened to me -- I was out for a walk one night, on a Wednesday night when the House wasn’t sitting. I went out for a walk and I didn’t have my wallet with me but I had a credit card in my jacket. Going past a radio store on Bloor Street, I saw a radio in the window that I liked. I went in and said: “How much is that?”

He said: “About $85.”

I said: “Okay, I’ll take it.” I had forgotten that I had this credit card in my pocket; I had a number of them. I had reported that I had lost that card about a couple of weeks before that.

So, I gave him my credit card to buy it and it was a long time before he came back to me. A few minutes later two policemen walked in the door and they said: “What’s your name?”

I told them my name.

They said: “You’d better come with us.” To make a long story short, they took me to the police station and kept me there for three hours. I found some friends down there!

The way they treated me, I just sat there and wondered what the hell would have happened if I had really done something. I wasn’t allowed to get off the chair. I couldn’t walk around and look at the pictures on the wall. When they had me walk along they held my cuffs down like that. They treat people like dogs. That’s the police system and the police state we have in this province. Finally, they took me back to see my hotel room. First of all, they asked me how I could afford all the stuff that I had there.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: You were a suspicions character.

Mr. Sargent: I didn’t tell them I was a member of the opposition. I should have told them I was a member of the front row over there. All over stolen credit cards there is police brutality in here.

I think about Mr. McMurtry. He has no creative approach to the job he is charged with. I have a long line of things that he should be doing in courtroom procedure, that great backlog in our courts. It’s a disgrace.

Getting to the main theme of what we’re talking about today, because of the period of unprecedented waste and the plundering of the public treasury in the past seven to 10 years, we’ve seen our debts climb from $2.5 billion to $11.8 billion tonight -- about $9 billion in about five to six years.

Mr. Ruston: All during Davis’s time.

Mr. Sargent: That is correct, in a time when the provinces in western Canada are debt free. The state of Illinois was $60 million over last year; they’ve picked it up and they’re budgeting for a surplus. But here we are --

Mr. McNeil: Even your own members are leaving now, Eddie.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: What are your friends in Ottawa doing now?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Grey-Bruce bas the floor.

Mr. Sargent: You can go any time you want, Ron. I wouldn’t miss you a bit.

An hon. member: We’ll be calling for a quorum, Mr. Speaker!

Mr. Sargent: Ronnie is one of my fellow collegians -- or fellow colleagues, I think.

An hon. member: They both graduated from the same school.

Mr. Sargent: The Premier says we’re going to have to have strong fiscal discipline and Mr. McKeough brings up this malarkey about how he agrees with Ottawa --

Mr. Speaker: I’d remind the hon. member to refer to the members by their riding and not by their personal names, please. Thank you.

Mr. Moffatt: He is a rooky.

Mr. Good: You should be glad he said “Mr.”

Mr. Speaker: He’s still out of order.

Mr. Sargent: Yes, the Duke of Kent.

They don’t call it a deficit any more. They call it net cash requirements.

Mr. Ruston: A shortfall.

Mr. Sargent: A shortfall. And, believe me, it’s beautiful what they have in this current statement as of last week. They’ve raided the Canada Pension fund. There’s not a nickel left in it. There’s $850 million taken from there this year. From the teachers’ superannuation fund, there is $330 million this year; there is $119 million left in that one. In the municipal employees’ retirement fund there was $180 million; it’s all gone. They even have gone so far as to take the $34 million of a Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation fund.

We have here the total budgetary expenditure for this year. They’re going to collect $11.8 billion to pay their creditors.


So you’ll be glad to know, Mr. Speaker, that our auditors have come up with a workable solution to our cash flow problems. It is called bankruptcy. Would you believe this, Mr. Speaker, that you and I and the taxpayers of this province are paying about $3 million every working day in interest on the debt we owe -- $3 million every working day. By the time this speech is over, we will have paid possibly another $100,000 interest on the debt we owe.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Stop talking, it costs money.

Mr. Peterson: It is worth it listening to you, Eddie.

Mr. Sargent: It is worth it. Thank you, David. We’ll make you a Liberal senator.

Well, the Toronto Star doesn’t like what Mr. McKeough is doing. They will go just so far about this government and then they will stop. But Mr. McKeough says he won’t put into force the taxation reform, while, according to the Star, more than 400,000 Metro residents who live in apartments are going to have to pay more than their fair share of property tax this year just as they have in the past 25 years. Mr. McKeough admits the system is almost rotten, but the shameful thing is that the Blair commission gave everyone a chance in this province to have input here and it is very sorely needed.

Mr. Ferris: When they got it, they threw it away.

Mr. Sargent: But Mr. McKeough says that he will not. He said it would be folly. He is quoted as saying: “It wouldn’t be good politics to bring this reform in before the election.” We don’t know how much money this is going to cost us as taxpayers to stall this reform. Is it going to cost half a billion dollars or a billion dollars more in inequitable taxes?

We don’t know that, but we do know that he will do anything in the election to get votes. He took $149 million of our money in the Spadina Expressway, using money of ours to buy votes. He spent $85 million of our money for the first-time home owners’ grants. There was the new car rebate, and he reduced the sales tax from seven to five per cent. Immediately after the election he put these things back on again, but it cost us hundreds of millions of dollars last election just to buy votes for the party.

Regarding jobs, we are all concerned about them. But the only response of Mr. McKeough, the member for Chatham-Kent, to the Leader of the Opposition, who questioned him about the lack of jobs in his Throne Speech, was to attack the Leader of the Opposition for what’s going on in Britain. He couldn’t talk about the situation in Ontario; he talked about what is going on in Britain. I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, that in the budget next week there will be no answer for jobs, but his budget will, I bet, have a tax cut for the corporate group -- a help to big business but no meaningful crash programme for jobs.

This headline in the Toronto Star: “Unemployment Hits Record High.” This is war. This is war for a man who has a family and no job. It is not important to the bureaucrats in Ottawa or Queen’s Park that a man has no job. That is not important, but if the bureaucrats were threatened with being without a job, it would be war. In the times of war we have war bond programmes to raise money to fight the war. In times of peace, when there are no jobs and no employment, we should have prosperity and peace bonds to raise money to do a crash programme for people. People own this government in this province, and as I said today, not the Tory party. But how do we get that across to the people of Ontario? So if only bureaucrats would call this an emergency, they would find some way to fight this terrible tragedy.

In discussing the first-time home owner’s grants in this House, the then Minister of Revenue (Mr. Meen) stood up and he said, “There is about $12 million we can’t collect.” And they had almost decided not to bother collecting it. The shocking thing was, he was going to let that $12 million go down the drain because it had been part of a political chicanery to buy votes and they were going to wash it out.

But here they’re going to close four hospitals in Jack Riddell’s riding, in Bob McKessock’s riding and in my riding, to gain $10 million or $12 million, but they’re going to wash out $12 million over there.

Mr. Mackenzie: All Liberal ridings, Eddie.

Mr. Sargent: Unfortunately, Bobby, yes. It reminds me of the then Minister of Revenue (Mr. Meen) and the current Minister of Revenue (Mrs. Scrivener)! The intelligence they give this House is amazing.

It reminds me of a story about a fellow who called a company one Saturday afternoon and he asked the janitor a number of questions. The janitor couldn’t answer any of the questions and when the fellow said, “Don’t you know anything about the business?” the man said, “Mister, when I said ‘hello’ I told you all I know.”

That’s about the same type of intelligence you get from those two ministers over there. You ask them a question and they blether something at you and sit down in their seat and try to hide. And they’re paying them $40,000 a year.

Every so often, Mr. Davis recycles the front bench there for their incompetence in the job they’re doing and so he puts them into another department so they can screw that up too. Is it any wonder that Dick Rohmer said -- I’m not looking at you, Leo, it’s all right.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Thank you, Eddie, you are very charitable tonight.

Mr. Moffatt: They can’t recycle him any more. He is a non-returnable container now.

Mr. B. Newman: You can sit easily there.

Mr. Sargent: They tell me they’re going to put your new office in Minaki, is that right?

Mr. Ruston: They’re going to stuff him and hang him over the fireplace.

Mr. B. Newman: It’s going to be the western wing of the Ontario Legislature.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: How can things be so good and so bad at the same time?

Mr. Sargent: Is it any wonder that Dick Rohmer, the novelist, says that in Queen’s Park the civil servants laugh at the cabinet ministers? They run their own show regardless of the cabinet -- I know this is a fact. It’s bureaucracy in full flight here.

I brought in a bill called Lifeline -- a private member’s bill that never saw the light of day. It was going to base the use of electricity on a use basis. I couldn’t even distribute the bills to the members’ desks across the House; that’s the free press we have here.

In Owen Sound we have in full flight the branch plant economy; all our plants are American firms and they’re closing down progressively. Canadian Pittsburgh are phasing out a $20-million plant and they have to build a $40-million plant for new technology. We’re faced with the fact of losing this plant that will have 400 people out of work, millions of dollars’ worth of services down the drain and about 400 homes where mortgages will go down the drain too.

We’re faced with the fact that in New York state, when Volkswagen were going to relocate, New York gave Volkswagen $70 million to relocate in New York state. We’re faced with the fact that Canadian Pittsburgh are going to be offered some lucrative sum to locate in New York state, and, even with the tariffs, they’ll be farther ahead. We can’t get five cents’ worth of co-operation from the Ministry of Industry and Tourism here. That’s the plight of geography and of my being a member of the Liberal opposition.

With regard to Industry and Tourism, we have the case of Minaki Lodge, a firm with total assets of $1.25 million. This ministry gave it a $5-million loan because it’s headed up by a few Tories. The “jewel of the north” is what they call it.

I have some problems in my area. We have a lot of truck drivers there and truck drivers are faced now with having a new medical and it’s costing them about $25 to $30 per medical. In this province there are hundreds of thousands of truck drivers, and they’re faced with the same problem. This Ministry of Health could let them have a medical through OHIP, but the Ministry of Transportation and Communications is doing nothing about it. These people aren’t important; they aren’t big wheels in the economy, that’s why they don’t get recognition.

We have blatant disregard of people’s rights in the hydro corridor takeovers, and I suggest that before Ontario Hydro can begin any expropriation proceedings whatsoever, an independent, unbiased study must be done by someone with no axe to grind. Further, we believe the above study must include all realistic and alternative means and routes to get the power from the generating stations to the load supply centres at which it may be used. One wouldn’t believe what this is doing to the farmers in my part of the country.

We all know the sorry state of hospitals in Owen Sound. We have the great area hospital there, and we have the finest set of specialists and surgeons and doctors in the country there. They have now closed down our nursing school there, and we have to take our food and our garbage up in the same elevator. Most times we have 300 or 400 people waiting for elective surgery, our halls are full of patients, and I can’t get any action from this government and I guess I never will.

But on the other hand, they were trying to close the Durham and Chesley hospital and others there, and they came up in the estimates that they increased the payments for labs last year from $35 million to $70 million -- and no one knew why this was the case. A 100 per cent increase in payments to labs -- but he wants to close our hospitals to save $12 million or $15 million or $40 million.

We in Bruce have the greatest agricultural and beef producing area in Canada, but our farmers are in real trouble. There’s a story that a farmer and a tax accountant are sitting down and the accountant comes and makes out the farmer’s tax form. He asks, “Does your wife work the farm?”

“Yes, she does,” says the farmer.

“The children?”

“Yes, them too.”

“And is there a hired hand?”

“Yes, there is.”

“Anybody else?”

“Well, yes, as a matter of fact we keep a halfwit about the place.”

“A halfwit?” says the accountant. “What does he do?”

“Do?” says the farmer. “Why, he owns the place.”

Mr. McCague: He has an investment with no return.

Mr. Ruston: That was like the fellow who won a million, Eddie, who was going to keep farming until he lost it all.

Mr. Sargent: Right, exactly. If farmers ever get organized, all hell’s going to break loose for the government. The Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman) should resign. In the case of the advice to the Essex Packers people, it’s unbelievable that they could pay that man the money they’re paying him. He’s supposed to know the answers, and he doesn’t even know how to add two and two. It’s unbelievable.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: He’s a real defender of the farmer in the province, and don’t forget it. The farmers know they have got a friend.

Mr. Mackenzie: Oh, come on, Leo. Just like the north has a friend in you.

Mr. Sargent: You should hear what they say about you.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: That’s another story.

Mr. Sargent: The farmers don’t get paid any statutory holidays, overtime pay, they don’t get unemployment insurance, they have child labour -- they even legislate school closing so that kids can work on the harvesting. Families all work; there’s only one pay cheque. Farmers don’t realize their rights today. They have a general acceptance that this is the way it’s always been and always will be.

I’m more convinced than ever that the farmer is the biggest gambler in the world. Anybody in the business world today knows the selling price of his goods before he starts to produce them. But in agriculture there’s no way to know this. Many of our beef cattle people are driving their cattle to the market and taking what they can get for them, because they can’t afford to take them home and feed them. Now that’s a fact.

I’m further convinced that the farmer is the only man in our economy who pays retail price for everything that he buys and sells everything at wholesale and pays the freight both ways. I suggest the farmer deserves every penny he makes. A man does not get up at 5 a.m. just because he wants to socialize with his Holsteins. The farmer works a 12-hour to 16-hour day, 365 days a year with no sick leave.


I want to get across the fact that the consumer is the big focal point. They’re concerned about what the poor consumer has to pay for his food. It’s about time the people of this country got down on their knees and gave thanks for the bountiful supply of food available to them in this country.

A farmer doesn’t get any holidays -- he doesn’t even get Christmas Day off. The farmer is at the mercy of the marketing boards, the auction block and the stock market. The wives and the children of the farmers work their knuckles to the bone. They carry 50-pound bales of hay, lift 100-pound sacks of grain, clean up the manure, fight the cows and the calves and drive tractors. All this labour is done without any pay to the farmer or his family for their time and effort. They face plague, disease, drought, flood, frosts and parasites, and they’ve got to deal with Hydro too.

An hon. member: That’s the worst.

Mrs. Campbell: That’s the most unkindest cut of all.

Mr. Sargent: Credit’s extended to the fullest extent and debt is a way of life for a farmer today.

I’m concerned about education for our kids. Of the one million unemployed, as I said before, 500,000 are under age 25. We are spending literally millions of dollars, as the members know by our budgets here on education, but nothing -- not a cent -- to provide jobs for them when they graduate. We have a great mismatch, I submit, between the labour market demands and the skills possessed by the current job seekers. They just can’t cope; they haven’t got the training to go into the marketplace to get jobs. We have exotic courses. High schools no longer prepare students for employment as they once did. Instead they increasingly offer survey courses which only scratch the surface. I believe the job of the school is to teach people how to learn so the kids can later equip themselves, and our school system is not doing this.

We have a great inequity up our way with Dutch Christian schools. The Dutch Christian family is paying about $2,000 a family to educate its child in a Dutch Christian school. It’s paying about $50 a month for transportation for that child. So it’s a big dollar these Dutch people are paying, but they’re still paying their taxes for our educational system in Ontario and there should be some way we can be of equity here in this very needed area.

I’m always impressed by the audacity of the Ministry of Industry and Tourism. Here we have a picture of the Minister of Tourism (Mr. Bennett) and all his ambassadors abroad, and this is the biggest put-on I’ve ever seen in my life -- what is going on in this department? Going back before most of the present members were here -- when Osie Villeneuve and Don Morrow were here and Art Evans and Bernie Newman -- this department was set up as a kind of a political slush fund to look after the party. Bob Macaulay set this up to have all these funds he could dole out to the government’s friends under the guise of industrial and tourist development.

This thing has developed into a monstrosity now. Here we’ve got these people who come here from Brussels, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Stockholm, Sao Paulo -- my God, it’s like the United Nations. It’s a complete duplication of what we have in Ottawa here, but we’re spending millions of dollars. No wonder Jim Fleck, who was the 2 i/c to the Premier and had his pick of all the plums in execs to ministers -- which one did he pick? He can travel the world and go around and can never be home and touch base. I will give Mr. Fleck credit -- I meet him on the airlines in the States quite often and he’s always travelling economy; I give him marks for that.

Mr. Peterson: Does he come up to the front to visit you, Eddie?

Mr. Sargent: Jim is not a bad guy, but his skates are a bit dull sometimes.

Mr. Speaker, I have been kind of covering the ballpark here. I respect the time factor, but I want to say that I have got the wheels down now and I am coming in for a landing, Leo.

We have nuclear power. We have a $30-billion commitment. I have a book here called Poison Power. I have read it two or three times. I want to say that we are committed to a $30-billion programme in nuclear power. I say, in a lifetime in politics, a lot of reading, I think we are shooting craps with destiny here.

When not a single insurance company in America will insure a person’s life or property against nuclear radiation or any of its fall-out or problems, here we are, we are committed to a $30-billion or $30,000-million programme that is mortgaging the life of our people today and our kids in the future. When it is on full stream it will only carry about 10 or 15 per cent of the total load. We had news reports a few weeks ago that we have to bury the spent fuel rods for 2,000 years. There is a case where, in the burying grounds of these rods, the refrigeration was cut off and they started to boil, and all hell broke loose.

I cannot in a short time tell you, Mr. Speaker, the concern I have. But Mr. Teller, one of the forerunners of atomic power, said, “All we can hope to do is guess and hope we guess right.” Dr. Oppenheimer, who supervised the creation of the first atomic bomb, was called before the US Congress and was asked: “Is there any defence against nuclear weapons?” He said: “Certainly there is a defence. It is peace.” Today we are going down the line continuing to be prostitutes here in this country, continuing to offer our nuclear reactor plants across the world to make money.

In summation, what I am trying to say tonight is that the whole motivation to be in power in government is to control the money flow, and here this year it is going to spend $11,000,800,000. That is what it is all about, to control the money flow. That is why the establishment behind Bill Davis is so concerned about whether or not he calls an election now and does a Bourassa two years before his time, because if he waits two years he can have that money, $11 billion a year, to spend for his friends for two more years. That is what it is all about.

I know politics, and those of you who have been in politics must agree with that. It’s control the money flow, and they do control it for their friends. What is of more concern to me is that, knowing the hazards of nuclear power, we continue to go down that road and spend $30,000 million a year for something we need like a hole in the head. President Carter is now trying to stop this proliferation, to slow down the nuclear spread, and I wish him luck.

In closing, I want to say that I hope many of the members have read the book All The President’s Men, the sordid story of Watergate, the slender thread of evidence uncovered by two newspapermen who believed that someone close to the president had engineered a break-in. By some magic stroke of fate they found a piece of tape on a lock that shouldn’t have been there, and that was the key to Watergate, the disgraceful impeachment of the president of the greatest nation in the world. There is nothing as serious here, but we have had a series of scandals in this province over the past few years. These two newsmen, backed up by a courageous and crusading newspaper, uncovered conflicts and inside dealing which resulted in the turmoil it produced.

There is now unfolding evidence of this province; for example we have the Fidinam affair. I held up in the House a photostat of a cheque for $50,000 and demanded an inquiry. How could a firm which couldn’t pay a $1,500 account get a $20-million loan and a $25-million contract? By giving $50,000 to the bagman of the Tory party? I was kicked out of the House that day. But the Premier said okay, we will investigate this stuff. And so they had their own investigation. What happened? They said, well, we won’t do this again; that’s what happened.

But it was a criminal offence to sell a government contract. I bet them $50,000 of my money; I said if they would open up the books of their funding and show they weren’t still giving business to the people who supported their funding, then I would forfeit the $50,000. I was laughed down.

The facts are that today we have seen the unfolding events of the Hydrogate, the Moog and Davis affair, the $43-million deal without tender. We’ve also seen the unfolding saga of Eddie Goodman. He’s involved, in his position so close to the Premier that he is using it to engineer multi-million dollar deals for himself and his friends -- his clients. It makes one wonder where we are going. Where does the buck stop and when?

I predict that the Premier will risk it and call an election to block the revelations and exposure of the select committee on Ronto. It has already dumped one cabinet minister who is leaving the party.

Why does all this happen, and where is the vigilant press in Ontario? Does the Premier of this province -- or, I should say, does the government have the press in its pocket? Hiring newsmen at $36,000 to be executives for ministers. Is this the reward a newsman gets for five or 10 years of good behaviour -- not critizing the government? Is this his reward? There are 26 cabinet ministers, and it is the dream of every newspaper man to become an executive with that kind of money. Should we have legislation that would prevent a newsman taking a job in government until he has been removed from the gallery for three years?

But you’ll see how much press this gets. You’ll have a deaf ear to that one. In fact, the sad affair is that everyone of us in this House is an important man in his area, and no matter what he comes up with -- if he talks motherhood -- he won’t get an inch of space in the papers of this province today. It’s completely a Toronto-based deal and the Premier, or the government, has reporters on these junkets to Italy or Israel or wherever in the world. It’s a great thing for a newsman to do all these things, but I think it is too close to the area of conflict of interest.

We will continue to watch the financial saga of the Tories to control the money flow of $14 billion a year. We know the Sun is a Tory paper, but I think there is a cap, a level to which the Toronto Star will go in its support. They will let us go so far and they they will say -- Davis is okay, leave him where he is. And we know where the Globe and Mail stands.

So what chance have we -- what chance of freedom do we have after 30 years of one party in power? What kind of freedom is this? Someone has said that freedom is a good horse but you have to ride it somewhere.

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank you for the time of the House. Someone has said that you can’t hope to change the whole world but you can change the corner upon which you live. I think all of you and all of us, collectively, are trying to do that for our people.


Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, may I first take the opportunity of complimenting you, sir, on your position in the fourth session of the 30th Parliament. I would hope that you would relate to the Speaker of the House and to his deputy my personal congratulations and appreciation for the tremendous way in which they’re directing the affairs of this House, and certainly the Chairman in his intermittent capacity as Speaker. The job is not an easy one, I think we all recognize that; particularly in a minority government situation when you’re called upon maybe to make decisions, which the former Speaker mentioned, when you have to take those tough decisions. But you’ve done it well; you’ve done it with care, caution and I think good judgment; and for this, sir, I compliment you and the people who share the seat which you now occupy for the job that they are doing.

Before I get into the text of my remarks, I must comment briefly on a comment made by the speaker who preceded me. I have difficulty in accepting some of the comments that he has made. The government has been administering the affairs of this province for well on 34 years now, and as I travel the province, and I do travel the province extensively --

Mr. Peterson: Those are your instructions, Leo. You are not supposed to be here.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- on a regular basis, I have to say to you, sir, that we in the province of Ontario are the envy of Canada. We are the most dynamic province in Canada, we’re referred to as the banner province; and of course we are the envy of every province, because there are more immigrants coming to this province on an annual basis, more immigrants from outside the country and even from other provinces, to this great province of opportunity here in Ontario.

Mr. Peterson: More unemployment. You are behind the national average of growth rates. Look at the numbers. You are wrong.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: This is the cornerstone, the anchor of Canada, and certainly as we go into the troubled times that we have with the province to the east of us, all provinces in Canada today are watching very closely and carefully what the province of Ontario is doing and the direction we will take in connection with this problem facing us today.

Mr. Peterson: What is that direction, Leo?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: The province of Ontario is the leader among provinces. I have been to many federal-provincial conferences dealing with resources, environment and many other issues, and it’s always the province of Ontario that takes the lead, that sets the tone for those particular discussions; and you’ll hear the other provinces following very carefully with a “me too” attitude.

Mr. Foulds: You are too charitable.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: They look to this province for the direction and the guidance that most Canadians want. I can’t accept some of the remarks of the previous speaker. He spoke eloquently and it was well researched in his own way.

Mr. Foulds: The most unemployed.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: We are the healthiest people, in this province, in Canada today; and the best educated. In fact, we in the province of Ontario have larger disposable incomes than any other group in Canada today, more leisure time, more opportunity to do the things we want.

Mr. Swart: For the 300,000 unemployed.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: After 34 years, there is no doubt in my mind that when that day comes and the Premier decides that the people of the province of Ontario will have the opportunity to exercise their democratic right -- and the member spoke about freedom, well, that democratic right is something that we cherish on this side of the House and the people in the province of Ontario will have the opportunity to exercise that right -- I have every confidence that when they do, they will return this government in a majority position, to give them the type of direction that they’ve had for the last 34 years and to give guidance, not only to this province but indeed to Canada as a whole.

As the members of the House are aware, this government will be asking them to approve a bill establishing a new ministry, the Ministry of Northern Affairs, with the primary objective of increasing the standard of living of all people in northern Ontario.

Mr. Peterson: And certain cabinet ministers.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I want to spend the next few minutes just talking about northern Ontario and --

Mr. Peterson: The cabinet is too small.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- the needs and the aspirations of that great part of Ontario, because the former speaker dwelt mainly with the problems and the issues south of the French River.

As the person who has been designated to head that new ministry and as a northerner myself, I would like to offer some observations and comments beyond those that have already been made in this chamber, particularly in the Speech from the Throne and at the introduction of this bill. If I may touch on the Throne Speech just for a brief moment, I was particularly pleased that, when Her Honour had delivered that very impressive speech, the response from both sides of the House was practically instantaneous, one of total support and one of just joy and glee.

Mr. Swart: A little overstatement.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I think, as I sat here and watched Her Honour deliver those remarks, it was enlightening to me to see the response, the assurances in that area as to what they would say when they stepped out of the gallery before the television cameras.

Mr. Philip: It brought tears to our ears.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: They respond in a very positive way because the Speech from the Throne was one that was very carefully put together with the people of the province in mind; and of course on this side of the House the people of this province are first and foremost in our particular minds. I just want to compliment leaders of the opposition parties for their instantaneous response and for their total support of that particular Throne Speech, which was one, I think, that will go down in history, not only for the length of it, but certainly for the content and for the depth and the quality that was enshrined in that particular statement.

First, let me say that I believe that the problems and the needs of northern Ontario can really be appreciated only by those who have lived in northern Ontario or at the very least have travelled in the north extensively and spent some time among the people that reside there. Many northerners often feel their problems and needs are not fully appreciated, even by the well-meaning and intelligent southerners.

Let me hasten to say that I have chosen those words very carefully. Contrary to what some of my more militant fellow northerners might insist, the phrase “intelligent southerners” is not really a contradiction in terms as such people actually do exist; I can assure you of that, Mr. Speaker. I am sure that few people in southern Ontario ever intend to disparage the north. Many are sympathetic, and as I travel the southern part of the province I get that feeling time and time again; but nevertheless it’s quite evident that most of the people in southern Ontario simply don’t understand the north.

For instance, it is quite common to hear people from around Toronto speak of northern Ontario as though it were some tiny appendix to the south, as being somewhere up there beyond Barrie. I believe the hon. member sitting in the Speaker’s chair will recognize that particular community. In fact, northern Ontario actually is most of this particular province. It makes up about 90 per cent of the entire land mass in Ontario and is therefore almost nine times as large as the size of southern Ontario. Thus southerners who are unfamiliar with the north find it hard to realize what enormous distances there are between major towns and cities. Northerners have learned to take this fact of life for granted. There are children in the north who ride round trips of about 150 miles a day just to get to and from their school.

I recently heard of a general manager of a company based in Toronto who sent a telegram to a branch manager in Thunder Bay. The wire was an urgent message and read like this: “Our board chairman is arriving in Timmins tonight. Please meet him.” Within the hour the Toronto man got a wire back from Thunder Bay and it said: “Suggest you meet him. Stop. You’re closer.”

That is the attitude with regard to many people living in southern Ontario. They just don’t realize the massive distances that are involved between our particular communities.

Relations between the north and the south have their lighter moments, Mr. Speaker, but the problems facing the northern part of this province are serious. Most hon. members, I’m sure, are aware of many of the conditions responsible for those problems: the harsh climate; the rugged terrain that often makes construction costly and difficult; the sparse population including sizeable communities of francophones spread over about 90 per cent of Ontario’s land mass yet totalling only 10 per cent of the province’s population.

Mr. Foulds: It’s the 34 years of Tory government --

Hon. Mr. Bernier: The great distances between communities, the remoteness from the heavily-populated parts of Canada and the resultant high costs of transportation, and therefore of a great many of life’s simple necessities and minor luxuries. Here I’m thinking of such costs as insulation, which is so essential and yet so expensive for the owner of virtually every building in the north. The high cost of fuel for home heating, the high cost of gasoline for driving those enormous northern distances, and the cost of installing and operating sewage systems on the bare rocks of the Canadian Shield.

In regard to the minor luxuries of life, there are very limited choices in television and radio reception for viewers and listeners in the north. These examples point up the unique problems and difficulties of northern living which are seldom appreciated by southerners who have not experienced them. At the same time, Mr. Speaker, northern Ontario has many assets and attractions which people from the south, and elsewhere, have been quick to appreciate; the wealth of its mining resources, the richness of its forests, the abundance of its natural attractions that beckon the tourists and, of course, the hunter, the sportsman and the fisherman.

Hon. F. S. Miller: You and I.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Will the new Minister of Natural Resources stop heckling the soon to be Minister of Northern Affairs?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: That’s not heckling, Mr. Speaker, that’s total support.

Mr. Foulds: That’s what this is, it’s the speech of a back-bencher.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: But there is another major resource which, in my view Mr. Speaker, is more valuable than all the others combined and that is the people of the north themselves. Any visitor to the north will testify that northerners are among the most warm-hearted, generous and outgoing people in the world, and yet they manage at the same time to be very close-knit and community-minded.

In the north, the words neighbour and friend are pretty well interchangeable. People rely on one another, partly out of necessity but mostly out of habit. It’s all part of the spirit of northern Ontario. Some people will call it the pioneer spirit, but that implies a certain attitude that northerners simply do not hold. Certainly they have the stamina and the determination of the pioneers, but their attitudes and their desires are very much in the 1970s. Their outlook is modern and progressive and the only reason they have the image of poor country cousins is that some of my friends in the opposition, and I refer to the New Democratic members, prefer to picture them that way. They’ve done it for so many years, in order --

Mr. Foulds: That’s a lie.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- to sustain their socialist rhetoric --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: You will have to withdraw that comment.

Mr. Foulds: That’s a lie.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: You’ll have to withdraw that comment. You can’t accuse another member of lying in this chamber, and you’ll withdraw it right now.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The hon. member for Port Arthur knows well that he cannot accuse another member of lying, and I ask him to please withdraw it.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I withdraw the remark.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Thank you very much.

Mr. Foulds: I ask you, on a point of order --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: There are no qualifications. There are other ways of making your point. You’ve withdrawn the comment. The hon. member for Kenora has the floor.

Mr. Foulds: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: There’s no point of order. There is nothing out of order. I have asked you to withdraw an unparliamentary comment and there can’t be a point of order on it. The hon. member for Kenora will continue.


Hon. Mr. Bernier: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. A great many northerners resent this suggestion that they are living in the past and should therefore be willing to settle for a second-class status within a modern Ontario -- and who can blame them? After all, northerners, through their resource industries, produce some $5 billion worth of goods and services annually, and since most of this production is exported it is an enormous asset in the balance of payments for Ontario, for Canada as a whole and for international trade.

Northerners want the same standard and quality of living as the rest of Ontario and this government agrees that they have every right to expect it. Indeed, it is in response to these feelings and desires that the government of Ontario made the decision to form a Ministry of Northern Affairs. As we all know, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis) and some of his friends over there have scoffed at this particular decision --

Mr. Deans: No, they are scoffing at you.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- when the Premier made the announcement on February 3 of this year. For this reason, I believe it is worth stating for the record that the response from the north itself is quite different from the response that we heard from the official opposition. Since the announcement was made, a great many letters of approval and congratulations have come to me and to the Premier, and they have been just as enthusiastic as they have been spontaneous.

Mr. Deans: Just wait until you have been in office for a year.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Certainly they have reaffirmed my own belief that the new ministry will enjoy the fullest possible support from all the people in northern Ontario.

Mr. Deans: You will fail at that as you have failed at everything else.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: There is another point worth putting on the record. I would like to say that I have not forgotten the prediction that the Leader of the Opposition made shortly after the formation of the new ministry. He predicted, if you can believe it, Mr. Speaker, that the new Ministry of Northern Affairs would not last beyond the next election. It’s hard to believe that a young man who is so well spoken -- and I have a great respect for him -- can be so cynical, but that was what he said and it’s recorded in all the press of this province.

Mr. Philip: It was not cynical. He was just predicting a new government.

Mr. Deans: It was a political manoeuvre and you know it

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I only hope for his sake that he now finds his words very tasty and his phrases very sweet, because he is to going to have to eat every word of them soon after the next election. Of course, he is only one of the members of the NDP who love to make a lot of noise about the north, and I say that with a great deal of sincerity because they have been making a lot of noise. They talk loud and long about giving the north more attention, but when the moment comes for the ministry to do exactly that, to do the things that they have been barking about, they balk, they put up the barriers.

Mr. Foulds: You had the chance for the last 34 years.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I am convinced that they don’t want anything positive done for northern Ontario. They love to poor mouth the north and they want to continue that particular approach that has been going on.

Mr. Foulds: That is a lie. That is a lie, Mr. Speaker, and I am not withdrawing my remark.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: You are going to have to withdraw it.

Mr. Foulds: No, I am not

Mr. Deputy Speaker: You refuse to withdraw it?

Mr. Foulds: No, I am leaving. I am not listening to that kind of garbage.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: You will be escorted out of the chamber. I have to name the member for Port Arthur and he doesn’t have the privilege of sitting in here for the rest of this sitting.

Mr. Riddell: He won’t miss much.

Mr. Deans: He might as well have missed all of it. It is not much of a privilege.

Mr. Morrow: Wait for your escort, Jim.

[Mr. Foulds was escorted from the chamber by the Sergeant at Arms.]

Mr. Deans: You are doing fine, Leo, just keep it up.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Kenora can continue.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I regret the member for Port Arthur has taken that particular attitude.

Mr. Deans: He is only responding with the truth.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I think that he could have something constructive to say if he really believes in the north.

Mr. Deans: He really does.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: There is a job to do. I get tired about the poor mouthing of the north. Get on the bandwagon and let’s do something about it instead of poor mouthing.

Mr. Deans: What have you ever done? What have you done in 10 years?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, you may be sure that the NDP brag about themselves and the Departments of Northern Affairs that their party operates in the province of Manitoba and the province of Saskatchewan -- but that’s different, of course. When the NDP government does something, or anything, that’s called masterful socialist insight. When this government takes a positive step, our critics call it an election gimmick. That’s the part that really annoys me as a northerner. It drives them crazy to realize that they will soon have to listen more and complain less. They may even have to do some listening for a change, with a little less talking.

It’s not new, of course, for them to want to have things both ways. The reaction to this new initiative will be important. It’s obvious that there is a lot of doubletalk going on on the other side; they have outdone themselves, I think, in this particular case. I know that they think they’re fooling the people as they try to discredit the government and the fact we have a deep concern in the north. Just give us an opportunity.

Mr. Deans: We don’t have to try, you discredit yourselves.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Certainly there is plenty of evidence to testify to concern over northern Ontario. Just look at the record, it’s there.

Mr. Deans: Just look at the record.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I’m thinking, for instance, of the dozens of initiatives represented by our regional priority budget, which is aptly named because it is directed largely at the northern regions. It is based on many of the most important priorities of northern Ontario people themselves.

Mr. Philip: If your initiatives are so good, why --

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I must concede that a great many of our projects under this programme are not very glamorous to talk about, nor are they cosmetic measures or short-term, one-time ventures; quite the contrary, they represent the kind of long-term continued progress that the north really needs --

Mr. Swart: Like your reforestation policy for the last 30 years.

Mr. Ferrier: Why did you close down the northeastern regional mental health centre then?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: New sewage treatment plants, trunk-line sanitary sewers, water lines, pumping stations, improved and extended roads -- the list goes on and on. The so-called soft services, social services, also have a solid base in reality that northerners understand and appreciate: Manpower studies to identify the potential of the labour force and thus to direct people’s skills into the right channels; plans for extended tourist industry and so on.

Mr. Ferrier: When are you going to build that new office building, the one you announced in Timmins? Is that coming tomorrow?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I defy any member of this Legislature to scan our long record -- regional priority projects, expansion of norOntair, Northern Ontario resources transportation committee, airstrip development programmes, the young travellers programme --

Mr. Philip: You don’t have a transportation policy.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Let’s have some order, please.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- the Northern Ontario Development Corporation, special municipal subsidies, Isolated Communities Assistance programme -- and then tell me that this government’s concern about northern Ontario is some kind of election gimmick. It’s just straight balderdash.

Mr. Philip: Where is your transportation policy?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: The projects which I refer to are ones, of course, which were undertaken long before the decision was made to form a Ministry of Northern Affairs. For this reason there may be some hon. members, perhaps on both sides of the House, who are wondering, quite thoughtfully and sincerely, whether there is a need for such a ministry. I know that question has come before you.

Mr. Swart: Have to put you some place.

Mr. Philip: Chambers of commerce, something like that.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Certainly I can understand the viewpoint of those who say: “But the government has been doing things in the north up to now; would a new ministry do more?” Those are some of the questions that are being tossed out to me by members on that side of the House.

The answer is very simply yes, there will be plenty for my new ministry to do. For one thing, the people in the north themselves have long been waiting for a special voice at Queen’s Park, a minister who will be their voice in the cabinet -- not just speaking for one or two ministries but on the issues affecting the north, to express the quite different viewpoint held by people who live in the quite different environment of northern Ontario.

Mr. Ferrier: What’s been holding you down for the last 10 years?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: And the members, I give them respect, members on both sides of the House, have always said most emphatically that there are different voices, different logic and different and unique problems in northern Ontario, in that area lying north of the French River.

Thus it will be my role and the role of others in my ministry to identify the needs of northerners, to articulate those needs and to provide immediate, on-the-spot advice to the government as to which measures would be most appropriate in meeting those needs. It will be our task on the one hand to consult continually with local leaders and residents all over the north, to keep the government fully informed of their changing situation. It will also be our task, on the other hand, to co-ordinate the plans and actions of various ministries whose presence and programmes are already very much part of the northern scene.

By these and other means, my ministry will be providing northerners with a stronger and a more effective voice in government; something that is not possible through our system of representation by numbers alone. As a minister, I will be concerning myself especially with the people in the north who understandably feel remote from government. It will be my responsibility to help them find the best ways of using existing ministries, agencies and government machinery to help them solve their problems.

As most hon. members will know or assume, the present network of northern affairs officers who have been part of the Ministry of Natural Resources will become part of my new ministry. This network will be extended wherever and whenever additional offices are found to be useful and economic.

Mr. Ferrier: Put one in Iroquois Falls.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: It may very well be.

Mr. Ferrier: It’s about time. We have wanted one for five or six years.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: We have also announced previously that we will post an assistant deputy minister in each of the north’s two major regions, one in northeastern Ontario and one in northwestern Ontario.

Mr. Ferrier: Is the regional office going to be in Timmins?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Their further presence in those regions will strengthen the communications and other ties between the north and Queen’s Park. As a co-ordinating ministry, our job will also include the assessment of the government’s activities in the north with a view to identifying any gaps that may occur between programmes or between ministerial responsibilities. As circumstances and conditions in the north continue to change, we will be reviewing the government priorities and suggesting the best ways of modifying existing measures or perhaps to phase out some of them in favour of new ones.

While I am assured of receiving a great deal of co-operation from my cabinet colleagues, I know that in some instances there may be honest differences between us as to whether conditions in the north warrant the introduction of different rules and regulations to those that apply in the south. It will be my task at times to persuade the government that in some circumstances we are doing a disservice to the people of the north if we insist on universal application of laws and regulations that were originally intended to deal with southern conditions. What is right and proper in the urbanized, densely populated south is not necessarily right in the much more sparsely populated areas of northern Ontario.

Northerners know what I mean. I am sure most of them could suggest half a dozen examples of southern Ontario-made laws and regulations that should be modified in the north because of the difference in the conditions up there. I know there is no argument with that statement from all sides of the House. I believe that’s one reason northerners have responded so favourably to the idea of a Ministry of Northern Affairs. I am sure you are aware, Mr. Speaker, that this request has been hovering around northern Ontario for a number of years, there’s just no question about it. Various groups have come forward periodically with the idea of a special voice at Queen’s Park for northern Ontario, and I am particularly pleased that the Premier and the government have recognized that voice.

Mr. Deans: After all these years.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: My problem at the moment is to make them realize that a ministry, especially a ministry with such wide concerns, does not become a fully operative entity overnight. It takes time to build a new organization into an effective, working instrument of the government, of any government. The government’s broad policies for the north are there as general guidelines but we have many specifics to resolve. There are questions as well involving ministerial jurisdictions, co-ordination, working arrangements, selection of experienced personnel, largely of course from within the government; and I might also point out transfer of programmes from other ministries and so on.

I can say to you, Mr. Speaker, that as we are selecting our staff we are putting particular emphasis on those who have some experience and some knowledge of the problems and the unique requests and concerns of northern Ontario in the selection of those personnel.

The pressure I feel from the north to get on with this process is not what I interpret to be an impatient one; rather it is the same sort of eagerness that I share in wanting to see this new opportunity become a working reality as swiftly as we can make it.


But there is one consolation: The people of northern Ontario know that we mean business. They know it from our record of the past and the current projects and programmes, and so they realize that we have in fact quite a list of accomplishments on which to build this new ministry.

One category of these falls under the regional priority budget, which I mentioned earlier -- a package on which we will be spending in excess of $53 million over the next fiscal year. Another important item, and one that is carefully ignored by those who criticize our record in the north, is this special general support in the form of grants which the province pays to northern municipalities to help them keep local property taxes down. Many times this is just sloughed off or ignored.

I doubt whether it’s widely known, but it is a fact that property taxes in the north have been reduced significantly as a result of these grants. In 1976, for example, property taxes were 35 per cent lower per household in the north than in the south, even though northern municipalities must inevitably spend relatively more because of the higher costs in the north.

There are a great many other Ontario government programmes that could be mentioned in this context -- a half-a-million-dollar fund to enable the small isolated communities to install basic services. And I might say, Mr. Speaker -- and I know you’re interested -- we had $250,000 to be allocated to the remote communities of northern Ontario. The Treasurer of this province (Mr. McKeough) made this announcement in late November. We worked very closely with the Unorganized Communities Association of Northern Ontario -- commonly called UCANO -- with which we are all familiar, working closely with them in sending out the brochures and the application forms and getting the information out to the northern affairs offices. I’m pleased to report to you, sir, that we wound up the year with a total disbursement of about $233,000, which was indeed a record and it was certainly recognized by all those who were involved.

As you may be well aware, in that particular programme our emphasis was placed on fire protection. I was a little annoyed to hear one of the opposition members -- I believe he was in the Liberal Party -- make fun of that smoke detection programme. As you know, we have granted UCANO in northeastern and northwestern Ontario grants amounting to $33,000 each with which they would make large bulk purchases of smoke detectors that could be sold with a $5 subsidy to the consumer at a cost of about $27 each.

Our thinking behind this was very simple. In setting up a programme in the unorganized areas, it is very difficult to establish a volunteer fire department that could be set up to protect certain structures and homes. It’s just not possible in a short period of several weeks to get those people together, get them trained, get the right equipment that could be approved by the fire marshal’s office, to protect their structures.

So we took the other route -- the sensible route -- to do something to protect human life. We thought that if we went this particular route -- and this was in consultation with UCANO -- if we could get sufficient smoke detectors into those homes -- and many of those homes are frame built; they’re very volatile. There’s just no question about it, if a fire starts there’s a limited amount of time for an individual to escape should a fire take place. So we felt that if we could get smoke detectors in those areas and save one life -- just one life -- in northern Ontario with that particular programme, then indeed the programme would have been a success; and I’m sure it will be.

I say that with a great deal of sincerity. The programme is off and running with the co-operation, the excellent co-operation that we’ve received from UCANO; and with the northern affairs officers throughout northern Ontario I am very confident that the programme will continue to be a success and the people in the unorganized areas will respond in a very positive way to obtain those smoke detection devices that will protect them in the event of a fire.

In dealing with this subject the difficulty, of course, lies not in finding projects and programmes worthy of mention, but in summarizing them briefly in a manner that will provide a comprehensive picture of what is happening in the north as a result of the government’s initiatives. Even at that, there are serious problems that remain to be tackled and solved, and I am the first one to admit that.

Some of these are as very easy to identify as they are difficult to overcome: the vulnerability of some of these communities where economies are far too dependent on a single resource, or even a single enterprise; the pressure of some communities to provide housing and services in the face of sudden industrial expansion; the pollution that is present where sewage systems are inadequate or where industrial installations cannot be economically modernized to meet today’s environmental standards; the need to rejuvenate the mining industry, particularly to encourage exploration for new mines; the need to develop more alternatives for employment; and the pressing need to keep young and well-educated people living and working in the north.

Mr. Ferrier: Haven’t done very well in the last couple of years.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Northern Ontario is justly proud of the large number of distinguished people who have been born and raised there, leaders and prominent achievers in many fields of endeavour, but a deplorably large number of these brilliant and gifted people have found that their aspirations could be fulfilled only if they move south, in some instances even a good many miles south of here. I would not pretend for a moment that all of the problems will be solved by my new ministry, or for that matter by this or any government. If that were possible we would already be well along the road towards solving all of these problems. Such things are never as simple as my simple-minded critics across the aisle like to pretend.

Mr. Samis: Cheap shot, cheap shot.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Just the same, I am convinced that with the establishment of a vigorous new ministry, devoted specifically and exclusively to the north, we will focus attention as never before on the needs of northern people while co-ordinating the actions that spell progress for the north. In my opinion, northern Ontario faces a brighter and more exciting prospect for development and progress than at any other time within living memory. I predict, sir, that the closing years of the 1970s will long be remembered as the beginning of a new era of progress and understanding for the people of northern Ontario.

Mr. Samis: Get this on record.

Ms. Sandeman: Mr. Speaker, I will endeavour not to be as provocative as the previous speaker, although I can’t let pass one remark that he made. He commented that the Throne Speech, which is the subject of our debate tonight, was very carefully put together with the people of this province in mind. I would have to agree with that short portion of his speech -- it clearly was put together with the people of this province in mind. I think every group in this province can find in the Throne Speech some reference to their concerns. They will, however, have to look very far to find solutions to those concerns.

I would like to address my remarks tonight, Mr. Speaker, to one of those groups who got the obligatory notice in passing in the Throne Speech, and that is the senior citizens, the elderly people of our province. Her Honour, the Lieutenant Governor, mentioned in her speech that her ministry will continue to give high priority to the needs of the aging population; great, the obligatory reference to the needs of the aging population. We wait to see what the priority will be and what attention will be given; and we are told that the number of assessment and placement services will be increased to ensure that senior citizens receive care appropriate to their needs.

I have no quarrel with the provision of excellent, if indeed we could find them, assessment and placement services. They are a priority. But the problem is that it is no good assessing the needs of a senior citizen if you have nowhere to place him or her having completed the assessment. The crying need in this province at the moment is for appropriate placement spots for senior citizens.

We are told that more funds will be designated for home care and home support services. I welcome that initiative, it is desperately needed. I am waiting now to hear the announcement of how much more funds will be designated and how soon.

But I would like to address my remarks to some of the priorities and needs which were woefully lacking in the Throne Speech; the needs of the senior citizens, basically in three areas: income, housing and alternatives to institutionalization.

The basic needs of senior citizens are really the same as the basic needs of all the citizens of this province, and I think we make a mistake if we look too narrowly at needs based on age, whether it be youth or old age; or needs based on sex. We all have particular needs, and one of the major needs is to have an adequate income which allows people to live with dignity and self- respect. But, as we know, in this province more than 50 per cent of the elderly people, the old age pensioners, have very low incomes -- incomes which leave then with inadequate amounts of money for rent and food, increasingly inadequate amounts of money as we see hydro and fuel bills increasing over this past winter.

I was told today, by a lady who does volunteer work with senior citizens and with disabled people, that a social worker had come to the home of an elderly lady on, I think, a disability pension -- she hadn’t yet reached the magic age of 65 but she was not in the first flush of youth -- and she was having trouble making ends meet. The social worker went in and discussed her problems with her and ended up by saying, “Well, my dear, you have 80 cents a day for food, you are really not budgeting very well, are you?” and swept out. The volunteer felt that was a totally useless kind of comment to make, but it points up the kind of amounts of money that people are trying to survive on in this province.

The crazy thing that we see at the moment is that there are real financial incentives for older people to go into institutions rather than to stay at home. And this surely makes of Ontario a kind of Alice in Wonderland situation, where it is cheaper for the individual concerned to go into an expensive institution than to stay in his or her own home.

I know the Advisory Council on Senior Citizens, in its annual reports, has brought to the attention of the minister the high costs, borne particularly by seniors, of dentures, hearing aids, glasses. No relief has been given in that field.

Reductions in government support payments often hit the elderly. At a time, I think, when many of us assume that government support payments are carefully geared to the needs of the elderly, we find again the Alice in Wonderland situation. For instance, in the situation where you have a married senior citizen couple -- one spouse on old age security, guaranteed income supplement and GAINS, and the other receiving family benefits payments, probably for a disability -- when the senior citizen’s income goes up, courtesy of a modest amount of generosity on the part of the federal and provincial governments, then the disabled person’s allowance goes down. In fact, the couple’s income does not increase at all, but they see their hydro hills increasing, their dental bills increasing, their food bills increasing; and they wonder where justice is for people who have served this province and worked hard for many years.

I know that the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton) has received a petition signed by the majority of residents in municipal senior citizens’ homes, pointing out to him the burden on active senior citizens of the very low comfort allowance, the fact that there has been no increase in this allowance since July 1974, and that on $43 an active senior citizen is expected to buy all his or her needs in the range of clothes, shoes, overcoats, bus fares -- maybe a trip of hundreds of miles in this large province, as the previous speaker has pointed out, to see a grandchild get married. For $43 a month, they are expected to be able to do all that: pay for their personal needs, pharmaceutical needs, soap, toothpaste, haircut -- you name it. Out of $43 a month, you are expected to do it if you are a senior citizen in a municipal senior citizens’ home.


Another anomaly which creeps into government programmes for the seniors is the extraordinary anomaly in the reduction rates under the GAINS programme to senior citizens. Disabled people receiving GAINS “D” are allowed to earn a modest amount before their earnings begin to be clawed back by the government. But senior citizens may earn not one single penny without seeing 100 per cent reduced from their GAINS cheque. I submit that this really removes the dignity and the feeling of self worth of a senior citizen who would like to work, would like to contribute, would like to feel that he or she can still be useful. What feeling of usefulness does she have, if she is unable, in effect, to retain any of her earnings and, therefore, is likely to throw up her hands and say, “Why should I bother?”

The Social Planning Council of Metro Toronto in its budget guide for the elderly recently suggested that a senior citizen married couple in Toronto need between $650 and $695 a month. Admittedly, they did include in their budget -- and why shouldn’t they? -- allowances for running a car, for maybe buying the odd newspaper, for having some of the pleasures of life that younger people and older people should expect to take for granted in the rich Ontario of 1977. But on the GAINS pension of $558 a month for a married couple, they’re going to be very hard put to afford even the basic necessities in Toronto, when we see the average rents that are specified in that budget guide.

I could wish that other areas of the province were able to document the expenses found by seniors in their areas. I imagine that rents will vary across the province. In fact, the annual report for the advisory council on senior citizens in 1974-1975 made a very firm recommendation to the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch) about basic living costs.

The recommendation was that, for some time now, solid and reasonable figures have been discussed in many circles to obtain basic living-costs for seniors. That’s the kind of thing that the social planning council tries to do. The Hon. Marc Lalonde has requested that each province research this problem. Since time is running out for many of our 65s, the council has requested the provincial secretary to obtain this information. As far as I know, this information has not been made public. It would certainly be useful, not only for the seniors but for the members of the Legislature, to know what the government believes senior citizens in this province need to live on. That request was made in 1974-1975 and I imagine the seniors are still waiting for a follow-up on it.

The second area in which we are so woefully deficient in this province is in the provision of housing for our senior citizens. One of the major reasons for premature and unnecessary institutionalization is inadequate housing. We have a very much higher percentage of our older people in institutional settings in this province than do many other jurisdictions. Some of that is caused by the fact, as I mentioned before, that the financial incentive is to go into the institution. Another major cause is inadequate housing; people either cannot afford to maintain their homes or are in unsuitable housing where, perhaps because of failing health, they cannot negotiate stairs, and so on, and are forced to move out when there is no need for them to be in an institutional setting.

The Throne Speech promises more rental units for the elderly. This is certainly a welcome promise. But the Throne Speech gives no indication of the size of the problem in this province. A survey done for CMHC suggested that a conservative -- if I may use that unfortunate word -- a conservative goal would be to provide a stock of non-profit housing for 15 per cent of the elderly. We have in this province a stock of non-profit housing units for just about five per cent of the elderly. We fall woefully short of even the conservative estimate set up by CMHC. Even to reach a minimum standard we have a long way to go. In my own city, we have as many people on the waiting list for senior citizen units as we have senior citizen units, and, of course, the list is growing all the time because of the lack of affordable housing for people on their own on fixed incomes and the lack of housing which is suitable for the needs of couples or single elderly people.

Rents and maintenance costs are becoming prohibitively high for senior citizens. Property taxes, even with the property tax credit system, are a burden to many. Much of my mail, and I’m sure of other members of the House, comes from senior citizens who are disturbed and distressed by the burden of their property taxes and particularly the education component of that.

Our amendment to the Throne Speech speaks to that problem. We are moving, as part of our amendment, “the failure to moderate increases in the cost of living by refusing to recognize that the present property tax formula places an unfair burden on middle-, low- and fixed-income families.” Of course, into that category of middle-, low- and fixed-income families comes by far the largest majority of our senior citizens.

Demographic studies show we will have for many years to come increasing need in the province for property and homes designed specifically for the elderly. This, in fact, doesn’t always mean designing specifically for the elderly, but rather means a flexibility in design so that people don’t have to move out just because they are elderly, but that housing is available which would suit, say, a middle-aged couple whose children have moved out, and in which they could stay and with which they could cope as they grow older.

The key factor in housing for the elderly, as it is for any other age group, is that we must have sufficient choice and accessibility of units which meet the needs of people. At the moment in this province we do not have either the choice or the accessibility of affordable housing for the elderly. One too often thinks of providing housing by having people move to special units or into institutions, but one of the programmes which other jurisdictions have undertaken with a great deal of success and relatively little expense is to provide structural changes to the homes of the elderly which allow them to stay and to cope with their houses; changes which are as simple as building grab-bars by bathtubs or changing the height of kitchen counters or the layout of kitchen cupboards, or putting a ramp to the front door or things of that kind, which would allow people, perhaps with arthritis or after a minor stroke, who are quite able to look after themselves, to do so without the hazards of living in unsafe and inappropriate housing to which they are probably very much attached, which they are unlikely to wish to leave unless they have to, but which in the present situation they often feel they must move out of because it provides a hazard to their health, and so they add to the growing list of people waiting for Ontario Housing units or waiting to get into a residential situation when there’s probably no real need for them to do so.

I think that both a reasonable level of income and the provision and maintenance of suitable housing would go a long way to keeping elderly people out of institutions. I think it’s important that we do that for two reasons: One, because most elderly people would prefer not to be in institutions. It’s well known to all of us who have elderly relatives or friends that very few of them go willingly into an institution. Many of them would rather not. Secondly, the reason is that the burden on our provincial budget of expensive institutions is unnecessary and we should be finding ways to provide alternatives.

The report of the interministry committee on residential services points up this conclusion. The committee reported that perhaps the most serious matter for the senior citizen is the lack of non-residential alternatives. Despite the established trend away from institutional care, Ontario gives its seniors a strong financial incentive to go inside, especially those on extended care.

Firstly, they are able to live in a style they would be unable to pay for in the community out of OAS, GIS, GAINS, family benefits and pensions. In the meantime, the aged person in the community can barely make ends meet and has extremely little in the way of service to help him stay there. The report points up what I’ve just said. The irony is that very few people go into institutions without a great deal of reluctance.

The report also, of course, documents the prevailing chaos in institutional services for the elderly, the multiplicity of funding arrangements, the multiplicity of legislative sanctions under which these services operate and, in a sense, is unable to reach any proper conclusion about how those problems may be met within the institutional services.

I’d just like to take a few moments right now to talk, not so much about the institutions themselves, but some alternatives to institutional care, some preventive services which we are neglecting almost entirely in this province. Our home care programmes are woefully inadequate and I believe that one of the reasons why we have such a high percentage of our elderly in hospitals and homes for the aged, compared with, say, Great Britain, must be because home care was not made an insurable benefit when hospital and institutional care were.

In Great Britain, Mr. Speaker, you probably know that when the National Health Service was introduced, hospital, institutional care and home care simultaneously became insurable benefits, so that there was a real choice among the services for physicians, patients and recipients of care. There was absolutely no financial incentive to go into more expensive institutional care, rather than using services at home which, in our case, have to be bought, are often means tested and are very often not totally available to those who need them.

Again, I think this is part of the extraordinary shortsightedness on the part of the Ontario government. Even relatively minor changes in the home care plan would improve it in the short run -- such simple things, for instance, as making home care available for the chronically sick, so that when families are able to maintain the chronically sick at home with the help of home care, that help will be available. At the moment of course, it’s not and people, in desperation, with the burden of a chronically sick person in the house, are apt to beg their doctor to find them a nursing home bed or an extended care bed or whatever it might be.

Home care, in my mind, should include a variety of services. Medical service, obviously; maintenance of the home; housekeeping services where necessary; shopping, where necessary; foot care -- a very neglected area for the senior citizens in this province. For many people in the province there is not chiropody available on a regular basis. The last figures I saw from Britain suggested that 14 per cent of the senior citizens in Great Britain are getting regular care from a chiropodist in their homes. We’re nowhere near that percentage and many elderly people would be a lot more mobile and therefore a lot more healthy if they were given proper foot care.


Other things that I take to be included in the broad umbrella of home care are things like the provision of night attendants so that families may get some sleep and be able to cope with the sick and the elderly during the day. Nothing is guaranteed to make a daughter or a daughter-in-law snappish with grandmother more quickly than loss of sleep and broken nights. The psychological and emotional health of the family as well as the physical health of an elderly person who is sick either in the short or long run is much improved just by the simple provision of someone to be there during the night.

Some elderly people who live alone need help with dressing. Once they have got into their surgical corset or even the straight-forward clothes that we all wear, they are all right; but just to get up and get dressed with arms and legs stiffened from arthritis is too much of an effort.

That kind of thing appears on the criteria for extended care: Do patients need help dressing themselves? Yes, patients may need help dressing themselves but that’s absolutely no reason to look at an institutional setting. It is much more reason to say: “How can we help that person get dressed and enjoy the days and nights in their own home?” Some people need help with heavy cleaning in the house. They can cope with the regular chores but cleaning windows and doing the annual spring cleaning is beyond them. In Sweden, for instance, they have what they call heavy cleaning patrols which will go on an annual or semi-annual basis from home to home and do the heavy cleaning for people.

Other things for the elderly, of which we are only beginning to scratch the surface, are things like day centres. Day centres for the well provide meals. They provide entertainment, fellowship and educational resources. They are places where the chiropodist and the public health nurse may be available, or one can provide day hospitals for the physically and mentally infirm. That’s a kind of switch on having night attendants at home. If there are people who need some help with their physical or mental problems, one can provide a day hospital for them and take them home in the evening. The family can cope overnight, and during the day they are back in the setting of the day hospital. They don’t need 24-hour-a-day, expensive $120-a-day hospital beds.

Another service which I think the government should be considering, and again it is not expensive but it makes all the difference for families trying to cope with elderly people who may be sick or senile, is a system of holiday respites. This can be handled in two ways: Either the infirm elderly person is taken to a holiday nursing home for two weeks or a month to allow the family to go on holiday or, while the family is on holiday, the home care services move into the home and take over.

I think very often for the minority of people of whom I am speaking -- and it is only a minority of elderly people who are infirm as the majority are healthy, strong and active -- the emotional and psychological health of their families --

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Will you keep your conversations down, please? It is only common courtesy to the speaker, the one who has the floor.

Mr. Martel: We are being very quiet. We are not bothering anyone.

Ms. Sandeman: Yes, they are being very quiet.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: No, their conversations are quite audible up here. I want to hear the member for Peterborough.

Mr. Martel: You are just trying to listen to both of them.

Mr. Ferrier: You are super-sensitive.

Ms. Sandeman: As I was saying, before I was so politely interrupted, it seems to me that the health -- psychological, emotional and physical -- of a whole family living together with several generations in one home must be a concern, as well as that of one generation only. Too often we concentrate our efforts on providing care for the infirm senior citizen and very often on finding the institutional place for that infirm senior citizen, where, if we would take cognizance of the needs of the rest of the family, we would recognize that providing holiday respites such as I have mentioned, or night attendants and that kind of thing, would solve the problem in a way which would keep the family happily coping together with the family’s own problems.

I have heard members of the government say they would like to see families taking responsibility for their elderly. So would we all, but families must be given support systems if they are to do that of the quality and, I would say, even better than the quality of that which is given in institutional settings. We had an OFY group in Peterborough a couple of summers ago and a group of young people in the summer of 1975 did a project in which they reported on the needs of older people in Peterborough. The survey was very carefully done and very carefully monitored, and some of the results I found quite distressing.

They asked, among other questions: Do you have any problem preparing meals? Of the people they asked, 11 per cent said, yes, they had problems preparing meals. Their comments on this question included such things as, “I’m tired of cooking.” “I have no appetite lately”, “Sometimes I haven’t the energy to go shopping,” “Cooking for one is tough” -- comments of that kind.

The next question was: Do you have a cooked meal every day? Five per cent of the people answering said, no, they didn’t. It seems to me that good nutrition is as important, or even more important, for elderly people than it is for younger people. Peterborough is always said to be a representative community -- if you want to test your new instant puddings you take them to Peter- borough, if they go there they’ll go anywhere. We’re just as representative in our mix of senior citizens as any other city, and I would imagine that if 11 per cent of seniors living at home in Peterborough have trouble cooking their meals, and five per cent of them don’t eat a cooked meal every day that’s pretty representative of this province, and it’s an interesting piece of research that these young people did.

In Peterborough, as in so many other cities, we just can’t meet the needs of meals on wheels. We have a small and dedicated volunteer group who are doing the best they can, but they are not reaching that five per cent of senior citizens -- not by any means. Nor are we in other centres of the province.

I was very impressed when I was crossing a road in London, England, I think it was about five years ago, and it was around 11:30 in the morning in Camden, a borough of London which has a socialist municipal government and is famous for its level of social services. I tried to cross Euston Road, and I was nearly run down by the fleet of small yellow vans run by the municipality, cost-shared, of course, by the national government, which said on the side “Meals on Wheels, Borough of Camden.” They are making, in a community like that, a really concerted effort to blanket the municipality with hot meals at noon for those who really need them. We’re not even beginning to meet the level of nutrition for our elderly people that we should be.

Other things that this survey covered were the transportation facilities available for older people; 32 per cent of the older people in our city do not have the use of a car. This was taken to mean not only a car that was owned, but a car one could use -- a friend or a relative’s car. So 32 per cent of the people did not have a car, which makes transportation a very important subject for senior citizens. Mobility is of great importance to all of us, and most of use assume that the family has a car; but one in three seniors do not have that privilege in Peterborough, which, as I say, is representative and I suspect that their experience is found across the province.

I think that when we’re looking at alternatives for institutional care we need to be more innovative in our approach for living arrangements for senior citizens. Some people like to live in their own home if they can maintain it, some like to move into a smaller apartment, some like the idea of communal living -- not institutional communal living, but separate units with a live-in warden. Some senior citizens projects are of this kind, particularly the small projects run by service clubs which are in garden settings, and, in my mind, are very attractive and in high demand by senior citizens. There’s never enough of them in any community that I’ve come across.

The Abbeyfield experiment is another experiment that many seniors in Britain are beginning to find meets their needs. The Abbeyfield people are a private, non-profit-making group who buy up ordinary houses, larger houses in communities, convert them into bed-sitting rooms and rent the rooms at very moderate charges. Each house has its own housekeeper; two hot main meals are provided every day. It’s a kind of group home situation for the elderly. We’re too inclined to think of group homes for children, but many older people like the idea of a group home, with privacy for themselves.

I’ve only touched on some of the ways in which we could be providing alternative services for senior citizens in this province, and I don’t think that they should necessarily all be provided directly by government, but funding support and leadership is necessary if we are ever to meet the needs of our growing senior citizen population. The funding support and leadership must come from the provincial government, and the provincial government must co-ordinate housing, health, and social services for senior citizens. We were glad to see in the Throne Speech at least a token move -- I hope it will be more than that, but we haven’t seen the proof yet -- a token move toward co-ordinating services for children, but we have the same kind of chaotic mess for services for all age groups in this province, and for senior citizens particularly. Housing, health, and social services must be co-ordinated for that group if we are to make sense of them.

In conclusion, may I say that the Throne Speech promises to give high priority to the needs of our aging population, but it will be an empty promise, like so many other promises in that speech, unless this government addresses itself at once to the pressing problems of income, housing and social services for this group.

Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I am glad to see that a couple of the New Democrats quickly came over to our side as I rose and we’re glad to have them here. Maybe they should stick around for a few minutes to see what the other side lives like.

Mr. Davidson: Because we like you.

Mr. Mancini: Thank you.

I am very pleased to rise and once again participate in the reply to the Throne Speech. It is an honour for me to be here and represent the great riding of Essex South. Before I go into the main thrust of my debate, I would just like to tell the members of the House that the riding of Essex South is really unique. It’s been practically the same as an electoral district for the last hundred years. Very small parts of the riding have been changed and the riding is one made up of many rural areas, it is largely agricultural and we also have a very large segment of industry in the western end of the riding, and also in the eastern end of the riding.

Fishing is one of the main areas where many of my constituents make their living, especially in the Kingsville and Wheatley areas. We are very pleased to have this industry. It has come under some severe pressure from the Ontario government lately, but hopefully we’ve got most of the problems straightened out in that industry, and the people there can go back to work and make a living.

Mr. Ferrier: Don’t make Heinz ketchup, do they?


Mr. Mancini: Just give me a chance. Also, many of the unique things we have in the riding of Essex South have to do with the culture and heritage of many people. I would just like to mention we have many ethnic groups of large numbers that have moved into the riding over the past 30 or 40 years. These groups are very hard-working people. They have established their own ethnic clubs and are certainly to be commended for their work and for the good they bring to the riding of Essex South. You may also wish to know, Mr. Speaker, that we have a large Mennonite community. They have their own school and pay for all the services that go towards the school out of their own pocket. It certainly is good to see a group as industrious and as hard working as these Mennonite people.

I would also like to mention, as I’m sure many of the members in the House here today recall the former member, Mr. Don Paterson. I just want to let the members of the House know, if they’re ever planning a trip to Pelee Island or to Point Pelee or to anywhere in that vicinity, they’ll probably drive past an establishment called the Pelee Motor Inn.

Mr. Ruston: A great place for tourists.

Mr. Kennedy: Has it got a licence?

Mr. Mancini: Mr. Paterson is one of the five proprietors and is the president of the operation. I really have to recommend the Pelee Motor Inn as a fine place --

Mr. Bain: What are the rates?

Mr. Deans: What is this, a sponsor?

Mr. Mancini: -- to have a meal and to stay overnight.

Mr. Ruston: It has good food! Even the Treasurer would like that place.

Mr. Samis: How much for the next campaign? Are you broke?

Mr. Bain: The foregoing was a public service announcement.

Mr. Samis: Paid for by the taxpayers of Ontario.

Mr. Mancini: I am glad to hear the response from all the members in the House. We really know that Mr. Paterson was a well-liked member.

Mr. Ruston: That’s right.

Mr. B. Newman: A fine member.

Mr. Mancini: Many of the towns and townships in my area have been on a programme to try to save the heritage that Essex South is so famous for. I’m sure many of the members here know that in the western end of the riding we have the famous Fort Malden museum which brings in a lot of people. We’re very proud to have that site there. Also the town in conjunction with having this very fine museum is undertaking a very ambitious NIP programme to really preserve the heritage of Amherstburg. I am sure in five or 10 years from now many members of this House and many former members of this House will probably want to go and drive to Amherstburg just to see the heritage that this council and the people in the area are trying to preserve. I think it’s something that we’re all going to be proud of.

Also, in the Kingsville area, we have the Ontario Historical Vehicle Association, which has really undertaken an ambitious and hardworking programme in the Gosfield South area. This summer they’re going to open it up. They’re going to have a mock battle on the land they purchased. They’re going to show off many of the old vehicles that they’ve been able to accumulate over the years, and they also are saving many old, historical buildings which someday we shall really cherish.

I guess I can’t mention Essex South without mentioning Heinz, the people that make our ketchup and employ many people.

Mr. Ruston: The tomato capital of the world.

Mr. Mancini: Right, it’s the tomato capital of the world. It employs many people and many of the farmers in the Mersea and Gosfield South area bring their tomatoes to the Heinz factory. We’re very pleased to have that establishment there.

I’d just like to mention that over the last 18 months the riding of Essex South has had many local issues that have caused great concern to the people of the riding. One of the issues I’m very sorry to say we have not been able to resolve is the issue of ambulances in certain areas of my riding. In the Harrow area we have the Richard Smith Ambulance Service, which is operated through the family of Gerald R. Smith. It is a service of long standing, serving the communities of Colchester North, Harrow and Colchester South -- approximately 9,000 people.

Mr. Samis: You sound like the Chamber of Commerce.

Mr. Mancini: This ambulance service is one that is needed a great deal. It is very unfortunate that the present government has decided to cut the budget to this ambulance service by well over 30 per cent.

We have been able to obtain a petition from the people of the area. It was, I believe, one of the largest petitions ever tabled in this House, and I am proud to say that it was tabled by myself. It had over 3,000 names on it. But even that was not enough to stir emotions on the government side, so that this ambulance service would not suffer this terrible 30 per cent cutback. I just cannot understand how anybody can conceive that an operation can continue to operate the way it did before with such a stringent cutback.

While I am talking about ambulance services, I must mention the volunteer service in the Amherstburg, Anderdon and Malden areas. It is a volunteer service which has been in operation for quite some time. It is very popular -- as a matter of fact, they have a list of people waiting to join the volunteers. It is a well-respected organization. We are very pleased to have them and we are, certainly, proud of the work that they do in our area.

Before I move away from the ambulance topic, I just have to say that the public relations from the ambulance director of this province is just terrible. He has been able to upset just about every ambulance director and everybody involved in ambulance work in the whole riding of Essex South. When one person can do that, I think there is a problem.

Mr. Davidson: It’s universal. It’s universal.

Mr. Mancini: And I sincerely hope that this type of public relations does not carry on. I don’t think it is good for the province.


Mr. Mancini: And I certainly don’t think it is good for the riding of Essex South.

Mr. Davidson: Nor anyone else.

Mr. Mancini: Another major issue which has troubled the riding of Essex South for nearly a year now is the longstanding problem of transportation for Pelee Island. Pelee Island is the most southern part of Canada. I am certainly pleased to have it in the riding of Essex South, and I am certainly pleased to represent the fine group of residents on Pelee Island. There are only about 250 there, and it is really a unique situation; I think the island has to be treated as such.

Mr. Samis: What about the schools there, Remo?

Mr. Mancini: That is why I feel it is very important that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications does not back off its long-standing promise that it would ensure a good transportation system for Pelee Island. And on July 2, 1976, I received a letter from the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow). I would like to read parts of it: “This is to acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated June 11 concerning the improvement of transportation from Pelee Island to the mainland. As you are perhaps aware, the ferry service is viewed as a continuation of the road system. The policy of my ministry regarding ferry service in this province is first of all to encourage private undertakings wherever possible. Only in the event that the private service is not available, the following guidelines are to be adopted:

“1. International ferry services are the full responsibility of the federal government.”

I would just like to say that the federal government is now carrying out its responsibility, and is providing one boat which travels between Sandusky, Ohio, Pelee Island and the mainland.

“2. Interprovincial ferry services are the joint responsibility of the two provinces concerned.

“3. Interprovincial ferry services are a provincial-municipal responsibility, with cost allocation based on function and road jurisdiction served.”

As you can see, Mr. Speaker, even the Minister of Transportation and Communications knows that transportation between Pelee Island and the mainland is the sole responsibility of the municipality and the province. We also know that the province does give an 80 per cent subsidy for any deficit incurred, but we also know that there are some areas of the province where the whole 100 per cent of the deficit incurred is paid by the province. And surely we know that the people of Pelee Island must come under that second statement, that 100 per cent of the deficit incurred must be paid by the province. It’s a poor municipality and it certainly can’t afford to pay any deficit in its transportation system.

Before I leave this subject, I would just like to mention that we will be having a meeting soon with the Minister of Transportation and Communications and the federal minister, Otto Lang, concerning this particular situation. I certainly hope that the next time I have the privilege of rising in the Throne Speech debate, I will be able to say that the Ontario government did take action and did provide the people of Pelee Island with adequate transportation service as they do require.

Also concerning Pelee Island, I would like to mention the problem that the new regulations concerning bingos are going to bring about. I would like to read part of a letter that I received recently from one of the leading citizens of the Pelee Island area; he is the principal of the school there, a Mr. Wayne Bedal. He is very concerned that the new regulations do not allow people under 16 to participate in bingos. He states very clearly in his letter that there is almost no form of entertainment on the island because of the size of the population. The bingos, which they hold on regular occasions to support their campaign club, are a form of recreation where all the people on Pelee Island have participated in the past and have used the evening of bingo as a family night outing. We certainly would be remiss if Pelee Island was not given special consideration and if they were not allowed to continue as they have in the past. If we don’t look at this very closely, and if we don’t allow this to continue as it has, I think we are making a very serious mistake.

I would also like to mention some of the problems that the farmers in my area are having. As you know, Mr. Speaker, on April 6 I raised the matter in the Legislature concerning why farmers have to pay more for their gasoline when they are buying in bulk than they do at the retail level. Surely we can get a better answer out of the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman) than him always attacking the federal government. I have seen many occasions when we in the opposition have asked the Minister of Agriculture and Food to intervene or to take some steps into correcting some problems, and his first remark is always attacking the federal Minister of Agriculture. I would just like to say that by the time he’s done, if he does one-tenth for the farmers that the federal Minister of Agriculture has done, he’ll be doing a heck of a lot.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Perhaps if the hon. member is not near his concluding remarks he would adjourn the debate at the appropriate time.

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

On motion by Hon. Mr. McKeough, the House adjourned at 10:30 p.m.