30th Parliament, 4th Session

L014 - Mon 18 Apr 1977 / Lun 18 avr 1977

The House met at 2 p.m.




Hon. Mr. Rhodes: As mentioned in the Throne Speech, Mr. Speaker, my ministry is initiating a programme to stimulate the construction of rental units, and I would like now to outline the programme to the hon. members.

We propose linking the programme to the very successful assisted rental programme of the federal government, and it is designed to further stimulate the production of moderately priced rental housing across Ontario.

In the years prior to the introduction of the federal programme in 1975, the construction of rental housing had dropped significantly. A combination of land and construction costs, high mortgage rates and, later, the introduction of rent review, affected rental starts. Builders were reluctant to build units at costs that would force rents above the current market. The federally assisted rental programme, commonly called ARP, was designed to provide builders with the financial help required to cover the difference between the rents they would have to charge to cover costs and the rental income they could expect to receive in the market.

The federal programme utilizes funds from private lending institutions, which provide the first-mortgage loans. The federal assistance to builders consists of additional loans of up to $1,200 per unit annually and are interest-free for at least 10 years.

As I mentioned, this has been successful in most areas of Ontario, and the federal government expects to commit more than 5,000 units in 1977. However, this federal funding has not proved to be adequate in some areas, such as Toronto. To make the ARP programme more effective, my ministry will provide an Ontario rental construction grant of up to $600 per unit per year in those areas where the federal programme requires such additional support in order to be operational.

We see this providing starts for more than 3,000 additional units this year in areas where they are most needed. The combined federal and provincial programme is expected to provide the stimulus required for both badly needed rental units and new employment opportunities. Construction workers in Metropolitan Toronto, for example, have been hard hit by construction cutbacks. Thirty-six per cent are out of work, and I am sure they will welcome this initiative.

We intend, in co-operation with the federal government, to meet with private lenders and builders to explain this programme and to get commitments from them on housing starts this year. As well, we will be explaining the programme to municipal councils and seeking their commitment to facilitate local approvals so that construction can be initiated in the current building season.

Here’s how the programme will work. The federal assistance is available to builders as interest-free loans of up to $1,200 per unit annually. The total amount of assistance loan is determined by the number of units in the project, the cost of construction, the mortgage interest rate, operating costs and the average rent for similar accommodation in the area where the builder proposes to construct the new units.

The $1,200 loan in year one decreases as market rents increase with the intent that the assistance will enable the owner to offer the units at market rents. The series of interest-free loans which are used to close the gap between prevailing rental rates and what the builder would otherwise have to charge are repayable. As I mentioned, the gap has been too large in some communities. Therefore, my ministry will provide a series of grants of up to $600 per unit in the first year, and reducing in a manner similar to the federal formula.

Under the 10-year disbursement period the federal loan is interest-free. At the end of this period it is repayable at the prevailing NHA interest rate. Our grant, being a grant, is not repayable. We are negotiating with Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation to have the programme administered by them so as to avoid the need for additional provincial staff and thereby eliminating the duplication of effort.

Mr. Lewis: That is a cop-out. That is a ridiculous statement.


Hon. Mr. Auld: As the hon. members are undoubtedly aware, the Ministry of Government Services has discontinued and is in the process of disbanding its management consulting services division. This action, taken as a result of the government’s intent to eliminate government operations where they can be equally well provided by the private sector, has resulted in 19 employees being declared surplus to the government’s human resources requirement in this area. As the minister responsible for the Civil Service Commission, I would like to advise the House on how we are working to reassign the employees so affected.

As a first step, we restricted all staffing into positions in the same and related classifications as the individuals affected. This was done on March 21, and was done after an analysis of the skills and experience of the 19 employees. The surplus employees were contacted to determine whether or not they were interested in any position prior to any internal advertising of a vacancy. If they demonstrate an interest, they are given the benefit of prior consideration and interviewed and, if acceptable, are placed in the position. Thus far, this procedure has enabled the reassignment of six people.

For the members’ information, this process is applied on a service-wide basis, and all staffing into positions which might prove suitable has been restricted for all ministries. The Ministry of Government Services personnel branch and the staffing control branch of the Civil Service Commission are maintaining a daily watch on the situation, and the restrictions will remain in effect until no longer necessary. As far as the affected employees are concerned, they are entitled to salary protection should their reassignment be to a position with a lower salary maximum.


Hon. Mr. Auld: Earlier today, I deposited with the Clerk of the House a copy of the 1975-76 report of the executive co-ordinator of women’s programmes on the status of women Crown employees.

Once hon. members have reviewed the document, I believe they will concur that the staff of the women Crown employees office and the women’s advisers in ministries, agencies and Crown corporations are to be congratulated for preparing a thorough, comprehensive and incisive report. The hon. members will note that the report contains a report on the status of women in the public service as a whole and on each ministry, agency and Crown corporation.

Mr. S. Smith: And it doesn’t say much for you.

Hon. Mr. Auld: Hon. members have also been provided with a brief summary of this report. Additional copies of the summary are available for distribution to constituents and other interested parties.

During 1975-76 the emphasis was on planning, research, setting priorities and identifying problems, as well as extending the affirmative action programme throughout the public service. This stage in the programme’s development has been completed.

I am very encouraged to note that women are taking advantage of staff training and development programmes. During 1974-1975, only 23 per cent of participants were women; during 1975-1976, the percentage increased to 53 per cent. To date, there has not been a major change in the occupational distribution of female employees or in the ratio between male and female salaries. However, the stage is now set for substantial progress in the future. Therefore, my cabinet colleagues have directed that the affirmative action programme be continued for the next three years.

The purpose of this programme has been clarified as the raising and diversification of the occupational distribution of women Crown employees. Individual managers are now responsible for developing a specification plan and timetable to achieve this goal. Women may receive accelerated training and development.

In order to stimulate a better balance, a new hiring policy has been established. In all management areas and levels in which women are under-represented and where the qualifications of applicants are equal, preference will be given to women.

A copy of the Management Board’s directive in connection with this new policy has also been circulated to the hon. members.

These policy directions indicate our renewed commitment to provide Ontario government employees of both sexes with the maximum opportunity for career development and personal and professional growth.


Hon. Mr. Wells: In the Speech from the Throne it was indicated that the government would bring forward programmes and new initiatives to assist young people in the learning of French as a second language and provide for greater opportunities in this field. I am pleased today, Mr. Speaker, to inform members that we have released a major new programme introduced by the Ministry of Education to improve and expand the teaching and learning of French as a second language in Ontario schools. Details of the programme have been compiled in a convenient booklet, and rather than reiterate all the details here, this afternoon I am tabling the booklet itself and copies are being provided to all members.

This morning we held a comprehensive briefing session for school board representatives from across the province, and we shall be distributing the booklet I just mentioned very widely, in order to fully communicate the intent and the details of the programme to all concerned.

In June 1973 I announced in the Legislature the establishment of a ministerial committee on the teaching of French. The committee’s report, which came to be known as the Gillin report, was presented to me in September 1974. It was generally acknowledged to be an excellent document reflecting a high degree of wisdom and foresight. It contained a total of 67 recommendations, and indeed, it has formed the basis of the new programme we are announcing today.

The new programme is designed to encourage school boards, by means of significant and identifiable grants and other incentives, to increase the availability and depth of programmes in French for pupils in elementary and secondary schools. Our goals are:

1. To increase the basic level of knowledge of French among all or most English-speaking pupils;

2. To provide increased opportunities for those students who have the desire and the capability to achieve a meaningful level of bilingualism;

3. To develop in our young people an increased appreciation for the presence of French as a major cultural element in Canadian life.

We recognize there is agreement among educators, parents and students that not all young people can be or should be expected to achieve equal levels of fluency. It is not the aim of Ontario’s schools to make every pupil fully bilingual. Obviously not all pupils who begin the study of French will continue long enough to achieve any recognized degree of bilingualism. Thus, the new programme is based upon a large degree of flexibility as it applies to local school boards.

While the government will provide significant grants and other incentives to encourage school boards to expand and improve French instruction in their schools, the nature and extent of the programme will continue to be school board prerogatives, based upon the needs and wishes of their constituent citizens. However, in this connection I think two comments should be made.


First, where a school board offers a core programme in French at the elementary school level, it should include all pupils enrolled in the grade or grades involved -- except, of course, those in immersion programmes -- rather than a select group of such pupils. In other words, where core programmes are offered, they will continue to be considered an integral part of the curriculum and consequently not optional for individual pupils.

Second, it is our strong and sincere desire and expectation that every school board in the province of Ontario will offer optional French immersion programmes for those students wishing to strive for high levels of fluency in French.

Of all the aspects of the programme which we are announcing today, it may be said that the most important is the totally new and greatly expanded funding which is incorporated into it. The new grants will be clearly identified as being for the supportive programmes in French as a second language at both the elementary and secondary school levels. They will be conditional upon ministry approval of the school board’s plans for teaching French as a second language.

The aim is to use provincial grants as major financial incentives to encourage school boards:

1. To improve and expand their core programmes in elementary schools with a view to getting pupils started early on daily 40-minute French instruction periods -- recognizing, of course, that there is still a place for 20-minute periods, especially in primary grades;

2. To improve and expand their secondary school programmes in French in order to motivate more students to continue with French; and

3. To improve and expand the opportunities for pupils who wish to pursue higher levels of achievement in French by taking extended or immersion programmes.

The new grant plan is based on the idea that the more instructional time a pupil receives in French, the higher the level of achievement is likely to be. Thus, under the new plan the more hours of French instruction accumulated by a pupil through his or her school career, the larger the grant from the province to the school board. The new grant plan has a basic emphasis on the elementary school level, but significant incentives are to be provided that lead logically to the retention of more students in French programmes for greater lengths of time in secondary school.

It should be noted that we have been continuing our discussion and negotiations with the federal government regarding funding of French instructional programmes. We do, of course, recognize the assistance that has been forthcoming from Ottawa under the existing bilingual grant programme. However, because of the increased grants which we will henceforth be providing to school boards for the express purpose of teaching French as a second language, it is our hope that the federal government will agree to our strong suggestions that additional funds be provided to the province to assist in this endeavour. But I want to stress most definitely that our new programme is not contingent upon increased federal funding. We are proceeding, in any case. In fact, our new funding begins to take effect this September.

The overall new programme which we are announcing today has several important components representing strong initiatives which are being undertaken in vital areas that will tangibly affect the expansion and improvement of programmes of French as a second language. Without going into all the details here this afternoon, these include, in addition to the increased grants, immediate action to prepare new curriculum materials and instructional aids for teachers of French, major steps to increase the number of teachers qualified and competent to teach French, and special grants to transform vacant classrooms in elementary schools into French learning centres.

In the context of Canada 1977, one paragraph from the Gillin report, written nearly three years ago, is worth particular note; and I am quoting from the report:

“In Ontario there is now happily a much wider understanding of the fact that Confederation is a partnership of two language communities and that Canada’s choice of a mosaic rather than a melting pot offers a rich heritage and source of pride. There is a growing feeling that Ontario, as Quebec’s nearest neighbour, should take the lead in promoting French rights and the French language. This province has the educational system, the wealth and the good will to ease some of the strains in the fabric of Confederation.”

Of course, Ontario has some very important and practical reasons of its own to promote a higher level of knowledge and understanding of French among many more of its young people. It often comes as a revelation to people to learn that the number of French-speaking Ontario citizens is close to half a million. In fact, there are more citizens of Ontario whose first language is French than there are French-speaking citizens in all the other provinces of Canada combined, with the exception, of course, of the province of Quebec.

In other words, even if we look no farther than our own provincial borders, there is ample reason on human and educational grounds to promote a higher degree of understanding and appreciation between our two founding peoples. Quite simply it is an excellent way to promote the continued strength and vitality of our total population.

The province’s commitment to our French-speaking citizens has been stated strongly many times. The programme we are announcing today, the teaching of French as a second language, is related to this commitment because of its potential as a binding force among our people. But there is much more to this commitment, particularly our recognition of the right of our French-speaking young people to receive their education in their own language. Major improvements have been achieved in this area during recent years and we will soon be announcing some more new initiatives that will further strengthen educational programmes for our francophone students and our French-language educational system.

Meanwhile the new plans for improving the teaching and learning of French as a second language in Ontario schools, I feel, are nothing less than exciting. I’m convinced this can be a significant milestone in the continuing improvement of the province’s educational system. I’m also equally convinced that the anticipated co-operation of all school boards and all citizens will contribute significantly to making the programme work for the maximum benefit of all the young people of this province.



Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, maybe today I can initiate questions relating to these important statements. May I ask the Minister of Education, does he have a specific programme, in addition to the financial and other particulars he has announced today to the House, which will be undertaken by his ministry, specifically to persuade school boards all across the province in a concerted way to expand their existing French-language programmes or to initiate the new programmes for which the new funding is provided?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes, Mr. Speaker, as with all our programmes we have an implementation programme. That implementation programme began this morning over in the Ontario Room of the Macdonald Block at a meeting of over 200 people from school boards. Although I wasn’t there myself, I’m told that practically every French-language co-ordinator from every board in Ontario was there. The implementation process began then and it will continue.

Mr. Lewis: May I ask by way of supplementary, where does it go from there? How will the minister monitor it? How will he pursue it? How will he personally, as minister, attempt to see that it happens?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, we have a regional office structure of the Ministry of Education which assists in these endeavours. These offices will be carrying on implementation work, explaining the programme, and urging boards to take those actions that are necessary for them to get on stream with the programme. One of them is to amass the accumulated hours for all the pupils in their system. They will be beginning that right away so the programme can start, as far as the funding incentives are concerned, in September 1977. From there on in, our people will be assisting boards.

It might be of interest to the hon. member to know that there are only two boards in Ontario at the present time that do not have any French-language programme in the elementary school system.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary to the minister, if he could clarify this for me: The figures in the booklet indicate amounts recognized for grants under the new plan, rather than outright grants made by the government. Do I take it that it is required that the school board increase its own expenditure accordingly in order to receive the extra grant from the province? Does it have to increase its own level of expenditure in order to get the extra money from the province?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes, Mr. Speaker, as with all educational grants that we give, and the kind of grants the federal government gives us, it’s a partnership arrangement. The commitment to the programme necessitates each person honouring that commitment by financing part of it. We will finance in the elementary school at the rate of 60 per cent on the average in this province of the amount that a board is eligible for under those new eligible grant figures.

Mr. S. Smith: Might I just follow that up with another supplementary, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Speaker: If it’s a supplementary to your own question, perhaps we’ll allow it.

Mr. S. Smith: It is supplementary to my own. What I would like to ask is, why has the minister chosen that particular method at a time when the boards themselves are having great difficulty finding financial resources and at a time when the minister would want to give an incentive to boards to go into more French, rather than simply match their further spending in a way that’s really not much of an incentive at all?

Hon. Mr. Wells: As I said, this is a partnership arrangement. The incentive is there. The amount of grants that will be available over the next three years is significant. It’s going to go from $5 million to $17 million to something over $20 million in increased grants. That’s the share that we pay.

Mr. S. Smith: That’s if they pay more themselves.

Hon. Mr. Wells: As my friend knows, we have just as much difficulty arranging financing and striking a budget as the school boards do. I think we’re making a very significant show of support for this programme in our funding.

Mr. Mancini: Cosmetic.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Another very important thing that must be borne in mind is that through this method of funding we establish a degree of equalization across the province.

Mr. Lewis: On the financing, may I ask the minister, if he does receive additional federal money, does he intend to add that money on to the proposed grant formula he’s set out in his leaflet, or does he intend to deduct the additional federal money from the total provincial commitment?

Hon. Mr. Wells: We intend to deduct it from the total provincial commitment.


Mr. Lewis: So that’s what it’s all about.

Mr. Ruston: You’re paying lip service.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Let me just say to my friend that --


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

Hon. Mr. Wells: Let me just say that I didn’t hide that fact. If he will recall, I said very clearly in my statement that this programme is not conditional upon increased federal assistance.

Mr. Lewis: Right. But you didn’t say you’d take away the federal money.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Wells: We have devised what we think is a proper programme and we’ve achieved the level of support that we can provide to the boards. Let me tell my friend that the federal government at this time is supplying $6.8 million, a pittance compared to the amount of increased money we’re talking about putting into this programme. Any increased money that they give, while it will be very welcome, will certainly not come significantly near the amount of money the programme’s going to cost.

Mr. Lewis: Supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary, the member for Kitchener.

Mr. Lewis: This is an important question.

Mr. Breithaupt: Supplementary: With respect to the ongoing involvement of the regional offices the minister has referred to, is the minister therefore announcing to the House that these regional offices will continue in spite of the views of the Henderson- Kennedy committee and others that those offices should be closed and moneys thereby saved? Perhaps those moneys could be used to make the programme work.

An hon. member: Announce that tomorrow.

Hon. Mr. Wells: The regional offices of the Ministry of Education are continuing in existence and are serving a useful purpose. I might just say to my friend, in talking about federal involvement, our Throne Speech came in on March 29 and we have presented the complete details of our programme here with financing and a solid commitment to this programme. The federal government nearly a year ago said it was going to put more money into the educational system for the teaching of French as a second language. We haven’t seen one extra red cent.

Mr. Lewis: I wouldn’t be too self-hypnotized by that. It’s been almost three years since the Gillin report.

Mr. Speaker: A new question from the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Lewis: Surely that rejoinder of the minister’s would allow me one tiny brief supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Breithaupt: I think it would.

Mr. Lewis: Simple justice.

Mr. Speaker: Since it’s been the feeling that it’s a very important topic, I’ll allow a supplementary here and I have one over there.

Mr. Lewis: Since the minister has decreed that the provincial budget can in fact stand this amount of money without additional federal funding, if he persuades the federal government to take part --

Hon. Mr. Wells: It is not contingent on federal funding.

Mr. Lewis: Well, that’s what the minister has said -- that he will do it. It is not contingent on federal funding. I’ll start again. Since the minister has therefore set out and decreed that he can do it without federal funding, if the federal money comes through, why doesn’t he add it on in order to be able to pay more than the 60 per cent, as the leader of the Liberal Party asked, and thereby provide an incentive which will create an even greater enthusiasm throughout the province of Ontario?



Hon. Mr. Wells: I wouldn’t consider doing that because we’ve worked this programme out on what we think is an equitable basis; the financial components are as they should be. If that federal money comes through, we would, perhaps, like to use it for special education, or something. It would free up money for other schools.


Mr. Lewis: Now you have said it.

Hon. Mr. Wells: And you can’t be opposed to supplementary education.

Mr. S. Smith: One final supplementary, in case I misunderstood the minister. He is insisting, of course, that the school board basically spend a dollar and he’ll match it on a 60-40 basis. Is he suggesting that the federal grants for this province for French education also require that he spend a dollar of his budget and they’ll match that one in addition? Is that a similar arrangement? Did he suggest that to the House?

Hon. Mr. Wells: No.

Mr. S. Smith: Then why are you doing it?

Hon. Mr. Wells: It’s not. The federal arrangement is based upon the cost per pupil of teaching French as a second language. It’s based upon that. Out of the programme, we now get about a little over $6 million; we’re spending well over $20 million, which we’re now passing out to school boards, under the federal bilingualism programme for French as a second language. Now, there’s another component -- French as a minority language, which also has to fit into that.

Mr. S. Smith: Make it an incentive.


Mr. Lewis: May I ask the Minister of Housing about these 3,000 new units of rental accommodation which he is attempting to stimulate through this Ontario rental construction grant? Can he indicate in more than general terms where he expects them to be located? I take it the figure 3,000 comes from some specific estimate. Can he tell us which community?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I think it’s fair to say the majority of the starts would be in the Metropolitan Toronto area. This is where we are experiencing the greatest problem in having new construction starts, following through with the present federal programme of the $1,200 loan. However, as I’ve indicated, the programme will be on a provincial-wide basis if there are other areas where our grant would fit in and would assist to bring them on stream. But I do expect most of the new starts in the Toronto area.

Mr. Lewis: Since you have got your sights so low, relatively speaking -- merely an additional 3,000 units for all of Ontario in the next year, involving a fairly small amount of money compared to the housing market generally -- I take it that you’ve pretty well given up on the possibility that the supply of rental accommodation will be adequate in this province for the free market forces to reassert themselves? You’ve accepted rent review in perpetuity by a programme of this paucity.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I think the hon. member is aware that the 3,000 units are, as he has correctly described it, an estimate. Over and above that, under the existing federal programme, we anticipate there will be another 5,000 starts --

Mr. Lewis: That’s still very little.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: -- over and above the 3,000 we’re referring to -- that can be brought on market; they might not have been, without this extra assistance. If we can get -- and perhaps I’m being optimistic; I think I have to be -- an increase of 8,000 rental units in this province each year, I think we shall find such a good market situation that eventually we might not have rent review, which is the desire of all of us in this Legislature.

Mr. Renwick: One of the elements that the minister indicated was a problem with respect to the construction of rental housing was the mortgage interest rate and the availability of mortgage funds. Has the minister seen the Treasurer’s (Mr. McKeough’s) report, from the statistical bank branch, which indicates that something less than two per cent of the available assets for investments of insurance companies in Ontario are used in mortgage lending?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I’m aware of those statistics but I’m also aware that when we were discussing with the lenders of this province the types of incentives and programmes that we should, perhaps, be considering in an effort to stimulate the housing market in Ontario, we were advised that the lending institutions -- including insurance companies trust companies as well as banks -- would be very interested in having their money go into housing in this province. With regard to the numbers you’re looking at: I think it’s fair to say -- it’s been our experience in the past -- that we have every reason to believe the situation will turn around significantly.

Mr. Breaugh: Supplementary: Since the minister seems to have targeted this programme on Metro, given that the previous programme didn’t work in Toronto for various reasons, what makes the minister believe the additional $600 per unit will make this programme go? Secondly, what possible indication does he have that he would get approvals to build such rental units that wouldn’t have been built this year anyway?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I trust the hon. member is aware that one of the reasons the federal programme was not working in Metropolitan Toronto was because of the current market rent situation and the fact there was not the sort of return that the investors were prepared to consider. Our evaluation, and taking a look at what we think the market can handle, was able to show us that with the extra $600 per unit we would in fact be able to make it --

An hon. member: More encouraging.

Mr. Angus: More profitable.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: -- of interest to the developers to build in the Toronto market and we are hoping that they will in --

Mr. Angus: More profit.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: -- fact do that.

Mr. Speaker, I hear the interjection of “more profit.”

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Will the hon. minister ignore the interjections.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I will ignore the interjection but not the person who did it. He’s the one who really should be ignored.


Mr. Hall: Supplementary, to the minister: Would the minister please outline in a little more detail for those who are interested what would happen in specific numbers --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The original question had to do with where these rental housing units should be built. It is not the whole field of rental housing, so we should confine ourselves to the original question and the answer to that.

Mr. Hall: I was going to touch on that.

Mr. Speaker: May I just remind the hon. members that supplementary questions are supposed to be related to the answer to the original question, not the whole broad field of rental housing. It gets very broad and we could carry on all day at this rate. As I say, the original question had to do with where these 3,000 or so units were going to be built. Is your supplementary related to that?

Mr. Hall: Yes, Mr. Speaker. My concern is that the units won’t be built unless the minister delineates more information as to the succeeding years of the programme. I would like to draw that out so that these units can get started this year.

Mr. Speaker: Does that relate to where it is going to be built?

Mr. Nixon: Right on.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. minister may relate it to that.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I am sorry, Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Martel: It is a Liberal policy statement.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Did the hon. member indicate what the past experience has been with the programme, the federal programme alone? Well, I am sorry then. I didn’t understand the question.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. It seems to me that that’s far away from the general question, the area of the question, in the first place. Now I say it’s not the whole broad field of housing which we are questioning about right at the present time, so perhaps you can work your question in later.

Is there a question related to this question -- the original question? Does the hon. member for Sarnia have a supplementary to this question?

Mr. Bullbrook: Yes, I have a supplementary that’s actually supplementary to the question of the member for Riverdale, which I consider --

Mr. Speaker: I think it was a bit broad too, I agree.

Mrs. Campbell: But you allowed it.

Mr. Bullbrook: Maybe you don’t want me to go ahead.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member --

Mr. Bullbrook: His question was obviously out of order.

Mr. Speaker: I think so too. Well, we will get back to these extra questions later then. The hon. member for Hamilton West with his new question.

If you give people an inch, they will take a mile. We try to be as lenient and generous as possible but really we should confine ourselves to the original question and the answer thereto if possible, and then we can come back to other questions later, I am sure. If we do that, there will be more time for questions and I will hear the hon. member for Hamilton West now.


Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Minister of the Environment, Mr. Speaker: Could the minister say whether the report in today’s Toronto Star concerning a list of polluted lakes is correct? Is he now prepared to release this information, when he considers that I first asked for a list of such lakes on November 1 and was assured at that time by the then Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier) that he would be glad to table a list of the lakes he had in his possession, and that it would take a little time but he would be glad to table it. That was November 1. Can the minister confirm this story?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, the story is inaccurate. It is full of inaccuracies and distortions. Very briefly --

Mr. Breithaupt: Did you want to make a statement?

Mr. Singer: My goodness.

Mr. Peterson: Will you be suing?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Very briefly, what I assume the reporter is referring to is a document called Vacation Fishing in Ontario. It’s a layman’s guide to fishing in Ontario, and indicates, in the various lakes that have been analysed, where there are high levels of mercury or PCBs, and whether or not the fish in certain lakes will be safe to eat. It generally gives information on the lakes that have been analysed. The lakes will be listed in this booklet.

It’s really a compilation of all the information we’ve had for some time, going back for two or three years of testing. It involves the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Health. The heading of it is, as a matter of fact, A Modern Guide to Eating Sport Fish. It indicates the lakes that may be contaminated, what the safe levels are and information of that kind for sport fishermen, particularly those from outside Ontario.

There’s been no sharp debate in cabinet about this. It has not been to cabinet. It’s not been rewritten to make it look rosy, and I was never called by this reporter to comment on the book or to indicate when it will be released.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Let’s put the matter in its simplest terms: Is it or is it not a fact that the fish from almost 180 Ontario lakes are felt to be inedible for reasons of pollution? Can the minister explain why it has taken over six months and I still have not received the list that I was promised?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, I don’t know anything about the list the member asked of the Minister of Natural Resources. All I’m saying is that this is a fisherman’s guide. It is information that we have now in three ministries -- that we’ve had for some time. It’s a matter of putting this all together, getting it to the printers, and getting it out for circulation.

Mr. Singer: Is it true?

Mr. S. Smith: Is it true or not?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Is what true?

Mr. S. Smith: That 180 lakes have fish that are inedible due to pollution.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: No, not necessarily. No.

Mr. S. Smith: What is true?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: It says that the booklet will deal with 180 lakes where there is popular sport fishing going on. It will indicate whether the fish in those lakes are contaminated or not --

Mr. Breithaupt: How many lakes are there?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- and if they are, to what level. It doesn’t necessarily mean all 180 lakes contain contaminated fish. As a matter of fact, that figure is wrong. It’s over 200 lakes that will be dealt with.


Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: Since it has been within the Ministry of the Environment and other ministries for some considerable time, would the minister like to confide to the House how many lakes are in fact polluted in terms of fishing for edible purposes?

Mr. Singer: Or how many one shouldn’t eat the fish from?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, we have tested fish in over 200 lakes. At the present time this testing and analysis is going on. I don’t want to give figures, when we’re involving four or five different species of fish, for example.

Mr. Lewis: But it will be out; the book will be published.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Yes. I would suggest that the member wait for the book --

Mr. Lewis: Oh, thank you.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- and then he will get an accurate, detailed statement of just what the situation is in Ontario --

Mr. Singer: Don’t eat the fish.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- rather than my giving him general information at this point, without having it at my fingertips.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Do I take it that while we are waiting for this list, it would be a wise precaution for no one to eat any fish from any lake in Ontario -- that we should wait for this precise point to come up?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Nonsense.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Some of your friends believe the fishing season hasn’t opened.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: If the member has some information he wants about a specific area or a specific lake he might ask me for it.

Mr. S. Smith: How are we supposed to know, if the minister won’t tell us?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I have said over and over again that the information that’s going into this layman’s guide is available now. It’s being compiled into one booklet for tourist information, and it’s not new information.

Mr. Cassidy: It wasn’t available when we asked about it.

Mr. S. Smith: Freedom of information is one thing, but holding back hazardous information is quite another.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Second question? Order.

Mr. S. Smith: At least there is a good turnout today.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You are the hazard in this place.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Premier: In keeping with the statement on the gloomy side of the energy picture as was presented by the Minister of Energy (Mr. Taylor) in this House on Friday, and the expected announcements by President Carter in the United States, will the Premier consider, by way of an example to people of this province to help change attitudes and bring home the realities, giving up his full-size government car and asking his cabinet colleagues also to --


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Drive a Datsun like you? Great supporter of Canadian cars.

Mr. S. Smith: -- take on mid-size Canadian- built cars instead, as an example to the population?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: He has asked us to give up our tennis racquets.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the Attorney General says I’ve asked my cabinet colleagues to give up their tennis racquets. I really haven’t. I’m a great believer in physical fitness.

Mr. Breithaupt: They haven’t got the energy to use them. That is an entirely different thing.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m in favour of all of us trying to set something of an example. I attempt to do this, and perhaps not so well. I’m concerned about the energy situation, and I recognize that some authorities consume more gas than others.

Mr. Peterson: How profound. Such penetrating insight into the obvious.

Hon. Mr. Davis: There are other offsetting features, too, because some automobiles -- and I think this would apply to most of those that are owned by the government of the province of Ontario -- at least have some economic impact in terms of their manufacture and employment of people within this province, which to me is also very relevant. It may not be as relevant to the member for Hamilton West.

Mr. S. Smith: Mid-size cars are also made in this province.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Is the member’s car made in this province?

Mr. S. Smith: The mid-size car that I’m driving now is.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Now? How’s the Datsun? Listen, that made a great hit with American Motors. The fellows there were delighted with the member’s Datsun.

Mr. S. Smith: We are talking about the government. The Premier will say anything not to give up his big car, won’t he?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, as a matter of fact I can’t comment on the actual size or the mileage. In the popular lexicon of describing the size of cars it certainly is not by any means the largest car. At the time it was purchased it was not the largest car made by that manufacturer, nor is it as large as a lot of other cars --

Mr. Good: Nor was it made in Canada, so don’t kid us.

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- being driven by heads of government. I am always prepared to reassess anything, because an automobile is about the last thing that I’m interested in, very frankly, in terms of personal comfort. I am interested in safety; I am interested in getting somewhere --

Mr. Breithaupt: With your belt on.

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- with my belt on. Certainly, I would be quite prepared to consider any reasonable suggestion. However, I would say to the member for Hamilton West --

Mr. Mancini: How about those two-minute answers the Speaker was talking about?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am trying not to pay any attention to the interjections --

Mr. MacDonald: Then don’t.

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- but some of them are provocative. What did the member really ask, whether I was going to change cars?

Mr. Stokes: You just remember that tonight.

Hon. Mr. Davis: No, I have to say that under the restraints imposed by the Treasurer, my turn for a new automobile doesn’t come up for a period of time yet. When that period of time comes up -- which may be after another date, some time down the path -- if the hon. member is still here, which is doubtful, I would be quite prepared to have that question asked again.

Mr. Conway: Where is your condominium, Bill? Where is your condominium?

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, since the matter has not been adequately dealt with, let me ask whether in fact the Premier is willing to have other cabinet ministers follow the example of the former Minister of Energy (Mr. Timbrell) and drive mid-size cars as an example to the population that we have to be cost conscious?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, here I am not an expert. I must say to the hon. member for Hamilton West that I am not sure that it’s a question of mid-size or not-so-mid-size or smaller; I think it’s a question of the amount of gasoline consumed per mile. I am told by some that it does relate to weight. Weight isn’t always necessarily relevant to whether we describe it as a large or small car, and it also doesn’t relate to the number of dollars that are spent on that particular vehicle.


Hon. Mr. Davis: Please all return at 9 o’clock and you will have all your questions answered then.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The Premier will answer the question.

Mr. Warner: Lorne is listening.

Mr. Lewis: Is this your windup? Is this the preamble?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Lewis: Is this getting ready for tonight?

Hon. Mr. Davis: What are you driving?

Mr. Lewis: I don’t know what I’m driving.

Mr. Speaker: Order, order. Is there a supplementary on this? Order, please. We are wasting valuable time here. A final supplementary from the member for London Centre.

Mr. Peterson: Since the Premier revealed that he understands energy efficiency has something to do with weight of automobiles, is he considering any taxing measures or licensing fee differentials in order to encourage --

Mr. Hodgson: Such nonsense.

Mr. Peterson: -- the use of efficient vehicles and discourage the use of less efficient vehicles?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I certainly wouldn’t want, ever, to usurp your prerogatives and suggest that wasn’t really a proper supplementary question. In that I’ve been asked, I will try to answer it. That would be a matter, obviously, for the Treasurer or the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) to deal with.

I should also point out that the former Minister of Energy, who is always so helpful to me, just didn’t whisper to me, he told me that his middle-size car, smaller car, probably is taking more gallons per mile to run than the car I happen to drive.

Mr. B. Newman: But the minister’s weight is different.

Hon. Mr. Davis: What are you driving?

An hon. member: Resign.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Lewis: It’s unbelievable.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Chairman of Management Board.

Mr. Lewis: Ah, sanity returns.

Mr. Speaker: I believe there is a question. The hon. member for Beaches-Woodbine has the floor.


Ms. Bryden: I have a question of the Chairman of Management Board, relating to his statement on the report of the executive co-ordinator of women’s programmes: Since he admits that no progress has been made in the last year to change the occupational distribution of female Crown employees, could he indicate to us whether he is planning to move up to full-time status the 14 women’s advisers, who are only part-time at the present, and whether he is also going to accept the recommendation in the report that the monitoring of recruitment should be given high priority?

Hon. Mr. Auld: First of all, Mr. Speaker, I didn’t say no progress has been made. I said progress had been made, that it was slow, that it was sort of the start, the kick-off. There is no intention to require ministries to have full-time women’s advisers, because the ministries have worked out, according to their own needs and their own problems, the staff they assume they require.

I think the really significant step is the fact that the ministries are required, on the MBR programme, to set out a programme of the aims and objectives in that ministry to rectify imbalances. That will have to be submitted to Management Board and will be reviewed halfway through the year. As with other programmes, we will be able to monitor the progress and we will require objectives to be set out before the programme begins its second stage.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for York. Centre.

Mr. Stong: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Was there a supplementary?

Ms. Bryden: What about the second part of my question.

Mr. Speaker: A supplementary question?

Ms. Bryden: No; part of my initial question was the monitoring of recruitment.

Mr. Speaker: Right. You have opportunity for a question, which you have asked, and you may have a supplementary on the -- oh, I’m sorry.

Hon. Mr. Auld: I didn’t deal directly with recruitment. In the management by results programme there is a target; that target has to be achieved and it will be done partially by recruitment, partially by promotion. If the hon. member will read the copy of the directive that was circulated with the report, what we are saying is that “in the management-excluded areas and levels where women are now under-represented and where the qualifications of applicants are equal, preference shall be given to women.”


Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: In terms of automobile safety, with which the Premier is concerned, is this minister aware of complaints registered by consumers with respect to manufacture and sale of steel-belted radial tires, particularly by the Firestone Company, which tires break down under any conditions and become road hazards? And does this minister have any knowledge about these tires being withdrawn from the market in the United States? If so -- or if not -- would he consider the matter urgent enough to issue the appropriate directives removing these tires from our market?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, one of the things we have always tried to determine is whether or not a product safety problem is one of national or provincial importance. I would certainly assume that one involving tires is one of national importance. I have not received any information --

Mr. Davidson: Trying to get off the hook.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I have not received any information concerning their withdrawal from the market in the United States.

Mr. Moffatt: Besides, it’s federal.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: We have had some complaints which we normally forward to the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs because they have the testing facilities, they have the responsibility and they have an Act called The Hazardous Products Act. Therefore, in order to reduce the amount of entanglement --

Mr. Peterson: Sydney, why don’t you ever study? What is the matter with you?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: In order to reduce the amount of entanglement between levels of government I feel it should be dealt with in Ottawa. However, if the hon. member has specific instances of cases involving Ontario residents, we would be glad to take them up.

Mr. S. Smith: You will mail them to Ottawa for him.

Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary: The matter of safety on the highways in Ontario is my concern as well as that of other users of the highways --

Mr. Speaker: Your supplementary question?

Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, I would ask this minister if he does not consider safety on provincial highways in Ontario of concern to this government, and would he not act rather than wait for another level?

Hon. W. Newman: Of course he does, you idiot.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Of course, Mr. Speaker, we have not received as far as I know any complaints which would indicate to us that there is a serious hazard. We have received about five complaints in the past year. That doesn’t indicate to me that it is a widespread safety problem. But if the hon. member has cases, we will be glad to look into them and see what we can do.

Mr. Renwick: He just gave you one.


Mr. Martel: A question of the Minister of Labour: In late February, the president of Sudbury and District Labour Council wrote to the minister requesting a meeting with her and Michael Starr in Sudbury to discuss the Workmen’s Compensation Board. To date, she hasn’t responded. Can she tell the House why she hasn’t and if she is coming to Sudbury to discuss the problems surrounding the board there?

Mr. Angus: She is coming next week.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I would apologize if I have not responded within that length of time because we make a valiant effort to respond within a reasonable period of time to all requests. I do not recall that letter, but I shall check and make sure about it and respond as rapidly as possible.


Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Community and Social Services. Can the minister advise us as to when the legislation will be introduced into this House transferring all of the youth residential facilities into his ministry, pursuant to the Speech from the Throne?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member knows, the target date for such transfer is July 1 of this year. The legislation, although I cannot give her a specific day on which it will be introduced in the House, will clearly be introduced during this session.

Mr. McClellan: Are you sure about that? Have you checked with Bill?

Mr. Nixon: Better bring it in this afternoon.


Mr. Godfrey: A question of the Premier, Mr. Speaker: In view of the fact the royal commission into the North Pickering land acquisition was formed in early October and has to date heard less than three hours’ testimony, and in view of the recent resignation of one of the commissioners which will necessitate further delays, what steps is the government taking to reassure former land owners that there will ever be a decision in this matter?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I can assure the former land owners right now there will be.

Mr. Martel: You might not be around.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Godfrey: Is the Premier aware that two of the former land owners are now deceased, since the action began, and that there is every likelihood that this may occur to several more before an answer is received?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I just hope for the sake of the hon. member that they were not patients of his that he refers to.

Mr. Deans: No, but they were probably supporters of yours.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh, you mean they weren’t supporters of his?


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Well certainly they are supporters of his, they’re deceased.

Mr. Speaker, I can only say to the hon. member, part of the delay -- and I am sure the hon. member is aware of this -- was because of commission counsel. It hasn’t been because of the government. We are as anxious to have this move ahead as anyone else. But we cannot control the functioning of the commission itself. I was asked by his leader, I think Friday morning, during certain discussions here in the House about a letter from one of the members of the commission which I now have seen and which we are taking a look at. My hope is that the commission can start moving ahead again. We will be dealing with it very shortly. But I can say to the hon. member, to assure his constituents, that they will in fact be dealt with.


Mr. Singer: Supplementary: I wonder if the Premier can tell us the form in which this inquiry is likely to proceed, because it seems obvious that it can’t proceed in the form in which it was originally contemplated.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We were talking about the delay in proceedings.

Mr. Singer: Oh, no.

Mr. Speaker: That’s a good question and the hon. member may get to it later. The member for Windsor-Walkerville with a new question.

Mr. Singer: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, the question was how it was going to proceed. The Premier said it was going to proceed, surely it is a proper supplementary to ask how.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. As I understood it, the question he was asking was about the delay in the proceedings. The hon. member for Windsor-Walkerville.

Mr. Singer: It is fascinating how you find time to call us to order but you don’t find time to call them to order.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Singer: All the time.


Mr. B. Newman: I have a question of the Minister of Labour; it deals with the Rockwell International of Canada Limited, a stamping and plating plant in the city of Windsor. Is the minister aware that as a result of this plant closing 109 employees will lose their jobs, and that 75 of the 109 are in an age category where it will be extremely difficult for them to get employment? Will the minister look into this situation? Will she confer with her colleague, the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Bennett), contact Rockwell International and attempt to convince them to remain in the city of Windsor? If they do not intend to remain in the city, will she ask them to definitely prove to her that they are leaving because of having excess manufacturing capacity in the province of Ontario, and prove that they do have excess manufacturing capacity?

Hon. B. Stephenson: That’s a fair list of requests, which I shall attempt to follow through with. I am aware of the situation. I was not aware that 75 per cent of the staff members in that institution were of an age where it would be difficult for them to relocate. We had some activity planned, in terms of the development of a conjoint action group on the MAIA base with the Department of Manpower, in the hope that we would be able to assist these workers. I shall attempt to find out all of the answers to the questions which have been asked me.

Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary: Will the minister assure the employees that their pension rights and benefits are protected and that there is no chance they will lose any of these benefits?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Under certain conditions it is possible to do that, based upon the compliance with employment standards; but under some other conditions it is not always possible to do so. I shall certainly investigate all of these problems and attempt to do what we can for them.


Mr. Cassidy: I have a question of the Premier: Does the Premier consider it a misrepresentation for a person who has not been elected to this Legislature to use the term MPP after his name?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the member for Ottawa Centre sent me a copy of a letter that he had sent, I believe, to the chief electoral officer, raising one or two matters which indicated --

Mr. Mancini: The NDP do it in my riding.

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- that the Progressive Conservative candidate in that riding was somewhat anticipatory, I guess, and enthusiastic, in that he was describing himself as a member of this House somewhat in advance of the fact taking place.

Mr. Breithaupt: That’s called wishful thinking.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I understand that this may or may not be proper. I don’t know. If it isn’t I can assure the hon. member it will cease.


Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: I appreciate the Premier’s reply. May I send to him a copy of a letter which has gone to Mr. Cameron from the Clerk of the House in which in fact he finds that it is a serious misrepresentation and asks that it does cease?



Mr. Kerrio: My question is to the Minister of Health. Will he tell the House whether he or his staff has had any recent discussions with the Niagara centre for youth care, especially in light of the government’s reorganization of children’s services; and will he tell the House when he intends to give the centre permanent and continued support for the work they are doing after the fact of seed money being given to the youth care centre?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: So far as I know, the last meetings of which I am aware -- and there may have been others since -- were about six weeks ago with the people in the Niagara youth centre, confirming that we have been able to free up from other programmes $50,000 of seed money for 1977-1978 for that programme. Now I doubt very much that my staff in the children’s mental health branch would have had any more definitive discussions with them than that. Inasmuch as the branch will be going to the Ministry of Community and Social Services, with the legislation and programmes under the capable direction of my colleague, the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton), and the associate deputy minister, they wouldn’t want to make any commitments which perhaps they couldn’t later meet. But as the member knows, through some judicious pruning of other programmes we were able to find that $50,000 for them.

Mr. Kerrio: Supplementary: In view of the answer, Mr. Speaker, in my supplementary I was going to ask the minister -- because this portfolio has changed -- is he prepared to recommend to his colleague the Minister of Community and Social Services that the request for aid for this centre be given immediate consideration by the new branch, if the Minister of Health can’t consider it in his ministry?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I don’t think there’s ever been any doubt in the minds of Mr. Finlay, the director of my branch, and our ministry that this eventually is a programme we would like to support. The difficulty has been to find the money to get it started in a time of restraint; that we’ve been able to do.

Certainly the decisions as to which programmes will be begun, enhanced, whatever, after July 1 will be those of my colleague; certainly come July 1 we will turn over to that ministry our programmes with whatever comments and recommendations we might have to make at the time. Obviously we in the Ministry of Health -- those of the staff who don’t go with the branch to that ministry -- would be prepared to advise them in any way we can to assist after the transfer.


Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Mr. Speaker, on Friday the hon. member for Renfrew North asked me a question on Algonquin Park.

According to the regulations under The Provincial Parks Act the use of outboard motors is permitted on 26 lakes. The ministry has continued to permit the use of outboard motors on the remaining lakes, since it was felt that a reasonable period of time was necessary in order for park users to adjust to the proposed ban, and to permit the development of ways and means of introducing it with the least destruction of traditional use of the park interior.

The Ministry of Natural Resources expects to be in a position to announce in the near future how the ban on outboard motors will be implemented. It is appreciated that by working in this manner the implementation of the plan takes longer. However, it does take into consideration the feelings and the needs of the various types of park users and recognizes the hardships that any regulation change creates.

Also, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Algoma, I believe, asked me a question on the Lake Superior Provincial Park. Again the Ministry of Natural Resources informs me that the master plan will be completed in the early part of June and will be released to the public at that time.

Mr. Conway: Supplementary: I might thank the minister for his speedy reply and I just wanted to clarify a point. Am I to assume, then, for this coming season, there will not be the blanket ban that is suggested in the Algonquin Park master plan, and that in fact for the summer season, 1977, the regulations will be as they were in 1976?

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: That is my understanding, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Eakins: Supplementary: I’d just like to ask the minister if, in his view, outboard motors also includes electric motors?

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: This would be my understanding. Again, Mr. Speaker, I must confess I will have to find out that whether electric motors are also included as outboards. I agree they are very silent motors and maybe they’re not, but I’ll find out.

Mr. Nixon: Did you say you were running again?


Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Attorney General. Pursuant to the drug-promoting book High Times being refused entry into Canada in January, what monitoring is his ministry doing of similar publications appearing on the bookshelves in Ontario; and what is the Attorney General doing in his own ministry, or in co-operation with the federal authorities, to stop the widespread bookstore distribution, which has taken place largely in the last two years, of the slick, sophisticated magazines which glamorize and promote the use of all kinds of drugs?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, it’s not the responsibility of our ministry to monitor publications on the bookstands. We’re not in the business of censorship --

Mr. Breithaupt: You’ve got a lot of headlines out of it.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- I can assure the members of this Legislature. On the other hand, I have a concern --

Mr. S. Smith: The federal Minister of National Revenue does it for you.

Mr. Conway: Judy LaMarsh will do your job.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Maybe you’ll learn something if you listen for a moment, Sean.

An hon. member: What about freedom of information?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. S. Smith: The bureaucrats in Revenue will do it for you.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: At a meeting here in Toronto in February, all of my colleagues, namely the other Attorneys General of Canada, joined with me in an expression of concern to the federal government in relation to the responsibilities to be exercised at the border. We simply indicated that we felt there was a certain responsibility that obviously should be exercised under The Customs and Excise Tax Act and we asked the federal government to exercise its responsibilities at the border, rather than leaving this whole problem to the prosecutorial authorities.

The Ministry of the Attorney General is not an investigative branch. We are legal advisers to the Crown. We are available to our police departments, who are doing the best they can, when they come to us for advice. That, in our view, with respect to this particular problem, is the extent of our responsibility.

Mr. Swart: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister aware of the publication called Head, which bills itself, and I quote, as “a magazine for people who enjoy getting high and mellowing out,” and contains an article in the current publication which says, “Ten Ways Not to Smuggle Your Dope”? Will the minister look into this magazine and take it up with the federal authorities to see if this and similar magazines can be stopped?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, on the basis that one of the hon. members of the Legislature has drawn this to our attention, we’ll of course look at the magazine.

Mr. Conway: Supplementary: Having regard to the Attorney General’s clear disavowal this afternoon as to his function and that of his ministry in the area of censorship and monitoring of the print media, I wonder if he would briefly outline to us the role he sees for his ministry in that regard, because we’ve all been impressed by his statements of some months ago in a related regard?

Mr. S. Smith: Exactly: You’re dumping it all on Revenue Canada.

Mr. Cunningham: It’s called sucking and blowing.

An hon. member: No, that’s Bob Ruston’s line.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I don’t know what I can add to my previous answer, Mr. Speaker --

An hon. member: You want the press, but you don’t want to do the work.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- except to say this, that there are obviously --

Mr. S. Smith: You get the headlines, they do the work.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- provisions of The Criminal Code of Canada about which we have certain specific responsibilities in respect to prosecutions. The point that has been made by all the Attorneys General across the country is that a very large amount of public resources can be directed toward prosecuting breaches of The Criminal Code in this particular area because of the problems -- and it is a real problem -- with respect to the enormous amount of objectional material that is coming across the border. So we indicated that in our view --

An hon. member: Come on; enough is enough.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- as I mentioned a moment ago, the federal government did have a responsibility, in relation to their specific responsibilities under The Customs and Excise Tax Act.

Mr. S. Smith: Save money and avoid the law.

Mr. Bullbrook: Did you ever hear an Attorney General garble like that? Goodness gracious.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We’re wasting time here.

Mr. Breithaupt: You’d just rather not do it.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Notwithstanding that fact, Mr. Speaker, we still intend to carry out our responsibilities in prosecuting the charges that are laid by the police officers in this province, and we will continue to do that. As I’ve said on other occasions, and I will repeat today, I think this is a very difficult issue. Obviously, I suspect, there are very few people in this House who are comfortable with the concept of censorship --

Mr. S. Smith: Yes, that’s right.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- but the truth of the matter is that there are -- and even the member for Sarnia should wake up to this fact on occasion -- occasions when someone has to draw a line.

Mr. Bullbrook: You are pathetic on your feet.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: You know you’re only here once every three weeks.

Mr. Speaker: Is there a further answer to this question?

Mr. Bullbrook: Sit down.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Despite the grave difficulties that are inherent in this problem, I say, on behalf of myself and the other Attorneys General in this country, that we will continue to exercise our responsibilities.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk with his question.

Mr. Nixon: Do you mean there are no more supplementaries, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Speaker: Right.


Mr. Nixon: I have a question of the Minister of Health. I wonder if he can assure the House that the ambulance service for the people in the Prescott, Winchester and Morrisburg areas will be continued, since the drivers have indicated they will not work past this Friday because their cheques have been bouncing? Doesn’t the minister have some responsibility to supervise the ambulance services across the province under The Ambulance Act?

An hon. member: Otherwise the patients bounce.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The particular service in question is a privately-owned, privately-operated ambulance service serving Prescott, Morrisburg and Winchester. We’ve made it clear that if, for whatever reason, the service is suspended, we would move in and ensure that it’s maintained.

Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: Under The Ambulance Act, can the minister see that the drivers who have not been paid, or the other service people who have not been paid, have some protection under the responsibilities of the Ministry of Health?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I think the particular employees are in fact protected through the normal labour laws. Inasmuch as they are a private company from whom we are buying a service, then we do not have any authority to take them over unless they either surrender the licence or the strike, which has apparently been threatened, does come about; then we could step in and take over and make sure that the service to the people of that part of the province is maintained.

Mr. Speaker: One final supplementary.

Mr. Nixon: Is there a situation down there where the ministry has called for tenders for another ambulance service and there is some delay in making a decision as to the award of the tender?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I don’t believe so. I’ll check on that but I’m not aware of the call for tenders in that area.


Mr. Wildman: I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications. Could the minister report to the House on his progress, or lack of it, in negotiations with the Garden River Band of Ojibways regarding the four-lane highway, in light of the letter he wrote to the chief indicating that the MTC did not see a completion of the four-lane for several years? If that is the case, how many years does he anticipate it will take, and what measures does the ministry intend to take, to deal with the problems faced by residents of Macdonald township whose properties were optioned at least two years ago?

Hon. Mr. Snow: The letter that the hon. member refers to: I wrote to Chief Boissoneau of the Garden River Band following a very late night meeting we had with the band at which the hon. member was in attendance. Following that meeting, following the presentation of the preliminary plans that the band had prepared of their reserve, I sent that letter to Chief Boissoneau. To my knowledge, I’ve had no reply or response from the chief; and we’ve also been awaiting a copy of the final plans.

As I understand it, the plan we were shown that evening was their draft plan and they would be giving us what they would call their final land-use plan.

First of all, I asked the band to give permission to take some soil tests on reserve land on the opposite side of the river from the Macdonald township area, which the hon. member is referring to, so that we could firmly establish the location of the river crossing at the new bridge and determine whether it would be possible to put the bridge exactly where the reserve wanted it. This was, I believe, 200 or 300 feet from where we had shown it. That location would be acceptable to us if the soil will allow it to be built.

Again, I am not aware that we have had that permission, but our regional manager in Thunder Bay was going to follow that up with the chief. As soon as we can get answers on a couple of those things and carry out the soil tests, we will be in a position to make a firm decision regarding the right of way east of the reserve.

Mr. Wildman: Supplementary: Is the minister aware that the regional office has indicated that it may be three to four years before completion of negotiations; and if that is the case, is there any way that the minister could clear up the confusion, because there have been some reports in the Sault Star regarding this? What does he foresee that could be done for the people in Macdonald township; that is, could MTC purchase that property immediately?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I have some problem in authorizing the purchase of that property immediately when we do not know whether the proposed alignment that we would be purchasing would line up with the proposed crossing of the river. I don’t think we want two roads coming together at a river and not meeting --


Mr. Speaker: Order please.

Hon. Mr. Snow: I have some difficulty in agreeing to purchase that property immediately. I have assured the chief of the Garden River band that we are agreeing in principle to the proposed routing that the band have suggested. I have asked for this permission to do some adjustments at the east end of the reserve. I have said that at the west end of the reserve I will have to have discussions with the Rankin reserve and with the city of Sault Ste. Marie, which I intend to do. I have also said that we will be prepared to start negotiations immediately for the purchase of the right of way through the reserve.

The hon. member knows as well as I do, I am sure, that we cannot put a time limit on those negotiations. It is somewhat different negotiating with the reserve for the purchase of that right of way than it would be for non-reserve lands, as we would have the power to expropriate after the normal hearings and so on. We do not have that back-up authority on the reserve, so I can’t tell the hon. member whether it will be one year, two years or five years to negotiate that and I don’t know for sure when I will be able to tell the people of Macdonald, until I know some of those answers or at least have some indication of agreement of the river crossing location.

Mr. Speaker: The oral question period has expired.


Presenting reports.




Hon. Mr. McKeough moved first reading of Bill 36, An Act to establish Electrical Service Areas in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: This is the first, Mr. Speaker, of what I expect will be a series of bills to restructure municipal hydroelectric utilities to correspond with municipal boundaries in regional municipalities and restructured counties and to permit the selection of new Hydro commissioners. This bill, and those which will follow, is based upon the report of a local study team guided by the Hogg committee recommendations which were accepted by the government on February 11, 1975. I am providing a compendium with the first of these electrical services area Acts, which includes the Hogg committee report as revised, as well as the report of the Waterloo local study team, with Ontario Hydro’s comments and the review of the provincial steering committee on municipal hydro restructuring.


Mr. B. Newman moved first reading of Bill 37, An Act to amend The Ontario Human Rights Code.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. B. Newman: The purpose of the bill, Mr. Speaker, is to prevent discrimination on the basis of a physical handicap where the handicap does not interfere with the performance of the services required. I specifically only use the term “physically handicapped” so as not to clutter up the bill at this time and to expedite its acceptance by government.


Mr. Worton: Before the orders of the day and with your permission, Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure and privilege to bring to the attention of the House the fact that 1977 marks the 150th anniversary of the city of Guelph. Our fair city was actually founded on St. George’s Day, April 23, in 1827.

Already this year a number of colourful celebrations have taken place to recognize this important anniversary. One of the most important highlights will take place this coming Saturday, when Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario will participate in commemorative events.

Mr. McIlwraith, chairman of the sesquicentennial committee, has asked me to extend an invitation to all members of the Legislature to visit Guelph during this anniversary year and to share in our celebrations.

I would like to take this opportunity to present to the Premier, and to the leaders of the opposition parties, a pictorial history of Guelph prepared by Robert Alan Maclean Stewart. I think it most appropriate that Mr. Stewart has chosen blue for the cover of the book.

Mr. Breithaupt: It is a limited edition.

Mr. Bullbrook: They should change the name to Wortonville.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Just before the orders of the day, Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the very distinguished member for Wellington South (Mr. Worton), who has made this presentation, to convey my best wishes to the constituents in that municipality. I understand certain celebrations are taking place this Saturday, and perhaps the hon. member would convey my best wishes on that occasion; he needn’t go beyond that, because I know he would be reluctant to go beyond that. But certainly I do appreciate his presentation of this pictorial history of that great municipality on this occasion. Knowing something of the history of the city of Guelph, I understand why they selected blue.

Mr. Bullbrook: And why they selected the member for Wellington South.

Mr. Deans: I know that my leader would have wanted to have said some words were he here at the moment but, unfortunately, he’s tied up outside of the House. However, Mr. Speaker, on his behalf and on behalf of this caucus, I do want to thank the hon. member for the very fine pictorial history of Guelph and, on behalf of the NDP, to extend the very best wishes of our caucus and the party to the citizens and the council of Guelph, and to wish them many happy years under a different regime, I hope.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: That’s whistling in the dark.

Mr. S. Smith: If I may, Mr. Speaker, I would like to add my thanks. In particular, I notice that this edition has been signed by the author and has a very fine presentation page. I want to thank the member. I was recently in Guelph and spent a little time in the offices where they’re preparing the celebrations, and I think it’s going to be one of the finest celebrations, very tastefully organized, and one which I’m looking forward to attending more than once.

I should note in passing how well served the people of Guelph have been for the past 22 years and will be, I trust, for many more years to come.



Hon. Mr. Welch: Before the orders of the day, Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the answers to questions 22, 23 and 24 standing on the order paper.



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

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Windsor-Walkerville had the floor when we last rose on this matter. He may continue with his remarks.

Mr. B. Newman: It’s a real honour for me to have the opportunity once again to take part in the Throne debate and to bring to the attention of members present and the members of the cabinet some of the problems and some of the areas in which my own community, as well as the province of Ontario, could stand some improving.

One of the things that does concern me substantially is the fact of communication. Today, with the price of a stamp being 12 cents and people hesitating to come along and communicate with their member, especially writing to Queen’s Park and using a 12-cent stamp, it being quite a price to pay for a letter, I thought it would be significant if the province of Ontario would implement the use of a one-cent stamp whose sole use would be for the communication between a constituent and the member in the Legislature.

Federally, no stamps are required to be placed on letters when they are addressed to a member in the federal Parliament while the House is in session. I think a constituent should have exactly that same privilege on the provincial level; but rather than give it to him free I would charge him that one cent so that we could at the same time ask Ottawa to co-operate with us and use one-cent stamps with pictures of previous Premiers of the province. In that way, we could also pictorially familiarize our students, as well as our elderly people, with the historical significance and the contribution many Premiers have made in previous days. The idea of the one-cent stamp is a fairly good idea. I would hope the government would look into it, and if possible implement it as quickly as possible.

The first item of real concern is the item of unemployment. I sent out a questionnaire in my riding in which I asked the following question: “Which of the two problems do you consider the more serious, unemployment or inflation?” I anticipated the answer because there are more people employed than there are unemployed; so the individual who is employed naturally is going to say inflation is the more serious, he has a job. However, those who considered unemployment extremely serious amounted to one-third or 32.9 per cent of the respondents. It is extremely important, and it does disappoint me that the Throne Speech did not include some concrete proposals for the remedying of the problem.

In Windsor and Essex county, excluding the towns of Leamington and Kingsville, the statistics for the unemployed, and the unemployment index as one would say, has risen and fallen in the last three months. It started with 8.69 per cent, went down to 8.53 in February and then in March went up to 8.65 per cent. This is based on a work force of 129,717.

The unemployed were in two categories, and included 5,602 men and 6,166 women. The significance of that is the fact that approximately the same number of men and women are unemployed. It disturbs me that we do not have the concern among the citizenry that we should have when we have such high levels of unemployment, but I would assume the concern isn’t as great as it should be because of the following facts:

In 1961, 46 per cent of the unemployed were heads of families. In 1974, the 46 per cent dropped down to 33 per cent; and just last month, in the month of February, it was only 30.3 per cent, So that you can see that less than one out of three of the unemployed are heads of families. Were they all heads of families then I would assume -- and probably rightly so -- that the concern would have been substantially greater.

Increase of unemployment, Mr. Speaker, is the result not of layoffs, but of the economy not producing enough new jobs for would-be new entrants into the labour force, be they graduating students or spouses of persons who are already employed.

When people are involuntarily cut from the job market, they lose their self-esteem, or it substantially diminishes. The sense of alienation from society increases, and at a certain point they simply stop trying, stop creating; and it creates in them a lasting pattern of non-productivity and dependence. The economics and cost of rampant unemployment go far beyond the value of Unemployment Insurance Commission payouts.

It is said that a Canadian worker produces approximately $19,000 worth of goods and services in the course of a year. So if we assume at the present moment that we have one million unemployed you can see the tremendous cost, a cost of approximately $19 billion in loss of gross national product.

Mr. Speaker, I would like, at this point, to present a plan that the state of Massachusetts is using in an attempt to -- not remedy but lessen the index of unemployment. I don’t say that we should copy what another jurisdiction uses, but I think we should look at them, and if they’re applicable to ourselves, adopt the better points and improve on the weaker points.

In Massachusetts they are setting up non-profit corporations in such fields as building renovation, lead paint removal, energy saving by insulating old housing, harvesting of state forests, provision of day-care facilities to free welfare mothers for productive jobs and rehabilitating old railroad lines. I think what Massachusetts is attempting to do should be looked at, and if applicable let’s try to improve upon it.

Mr. Speaker, there are other ways in which employment could be provided. I would assume that government should and would always consider public works projects to be programmed in periods of high unemployment, rather than in periods of boom. There is a need for substantial amounts of housing throughout the province. There are lots of unserviced properties, unserviced lands, and I think we should go into the servicing of land at the present moment so that we can at least alleviate unemployment to a small degree and at the same time have lands available for housing development. I think we should go into the production of substantial numbers of homes -- especially for low income and fixed income individuals.

Even in my own community, government has finally built a provincial public building in 1977. I can recall the first time I ran, in 1959, it was promised; it’s taken 18 years to do that.

Mr. Kerrio: That’s not bad for the Tories, Bernie.

Mr. Mancini: That’s not bad, that’s a good accomplishment.

Mr. B. Newman: I would think there are other things that they could do.

Mr. Cunningham: Bernie, are there only three of them over there now?

Mr. Samis: Where have all the Tories gone?

Mr. B. Newman: I imagine the cream of the crop is here.

Mr. Ruston: All three of them.

Mr. Eakins: John, you listen.

Mr. B. Newman: I am very disappointed that the junior ranger programmes, a programme which I heartily endorse, has not been expanded in the last several years. There are substantial numbers of our students who could use this as summertime employment. From what I understand there are only going to be 1,600 taken on force this year, whereas we should be multiplying that number substantially. I would think that is one area in which government could have stepped out and done something. Youth unemployment is extremely grave, and we are certainly anticipating the budget coming down tomorrow with some substantial programmes that would alleviate that problem.

I did mention the use of housing. I specifically mention housing because of the continuing need for senior citizens’ housing in the city of Windsor. We have received substantial amounts of housing in the past. But when you see waiting lists running into approximately 400 -- and they have been running at the 400 scale for a fairly long period of time -- it means that we are not providing an opportunity for those who have helped make our country to live in some decent type of accommodation. I am referring in this instance to the senior citizen accommodation, the geared-to-income accommodation. I know that not all senior citizens would prefer to live in that type of accommodation; they would prefer to remain exactly where they are at the present. But because of age catching up with them, and their not being able to take care of their premises, they sometimes have no choice but to move into rental accommodation.

I can recall in 1960 making mention to the government that they should adopt a baby bonus in reverse. In other words, pay to the son and/or daughter or relative of an aged or a senior couple some specific amount of money per month for the senior couple’s keep rather than have the government provide accommodation for them in some type of housing project. I hope the government will still consider that, but I would also like to see sufficient senior citizen accommodation built in my community to take care of the needs of the 397 senior citizens who need accommodation today. Of the 397, 319 -- or 80 per cent of them -- require bachelor or would prefer bachelor accommodation. So you can see, one way government can assist in alleviating unemployment is by going back into housing; and the housing that I am mentioning at this moment is senior citizen housing.

When the senior citizen lives in government geared-to-income housing, his rental generally includes his energy bill. So we have subsidized that senior citizen by providing him with geared-to-income housing; we do not recover sufficient from the rental to pay for the cost of running the accommodation; and I think we should continue to subsidize him.

But I am looking at the other senior citizen who lives in his own accommodation and who has substantial fuel bills. The fuel bills are sometimes more per month than the accommodation. I think that the government should follow some of the schemes that are used in the United States, that is by providing an energy supplement, X amount of dollars if the income of the individual goes below a set level. In other words, if it were below the poverty line, I think there should be some income supplement to that individual. Remember that individual is taking care of his own accommodation. He is paying taxes, including education taxes which he strongly objects to because his children have grown up and gone. But he also has to pay the substantial increases in energy costs. He is not being subsidized at all.


We have to treat both alike. Since we provide a subsidy through geared-to-income accommodation, taking care of the person’s energy costs, we should look at the other senior citizen living in his own accommodation. If his income is below that given level that I made mention of, then we should provide him with assistance on an ongoing basis. I hope the Ministry of Community and Social Services does look into that aspect, that is to provide an energy supplement to people who are on fixed incomes, people on social services benefits and people on other categories of assistance programmes.

I take advantage of the opportunity of doing a lot of house-calling. When constituents have problems and can’t come to me, I go to visit them. As a result, I get into a lot of senior citizens’ accommodations. Let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, it is extremely heartrending when you knock on the door of a senior citizen and you find that no one has come around to see him. He can’t shop; he can do practically nothing; he is extremely handicapped.

I think that we’ve got to -- and we can -- develop a social worker of a type who would, like a paper boy, have a route. Just as a paper boy would go around delivering papers to various customers, this social worker could likewise have a route of seniors he would visit on a sort of a regular basis. This would not be with the intent of prying because we know that senior citizens are strong individuals who believe in their own rights and don’t want others looking into their own personal business, but this would be simply out of concern for the health and safety of that senior citizen.

One of the members of the planning board in the community, the board that has recommended the development of senior citizens’ housing, made a suggestion I think does merit attention, that is a two-colour card so that each day as the senior citizen would get up he would turn a knob which would flash the card. In other words, on even days the red portion of the card should be visible. Anyone going down that hall would know that the man is up or the lady is up and everything is well with them. If the card has not been changed in colour, then they know there may be something wrong on the inside and could attempt to overcome the problem either by personally visiting or via a telephone call.

It’s a real concern, these senior citizens who don’t have anyone to look after them. Even though in many of the high-rise projects they do have a buddy system built in and do have individuals on various floors who are responsible for checking inhabitants of the residences of that floor, there still has to be some standard method developed by government so that by walking down the aisle we could know that the senior citizen is there and everything is well. You will say that if the thing hadn’t been turned it’s an invitation for someone to break in. The management of the apartment certainly could take care of that, or the senior citizen could have a neighbour take care of it in case he is not going to be there for the time.

The other topic I wanted to touch on was the high cost of energy and how it affects many in our society today. The city of Windsor presented a very good brief to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and asked for its endorsement. They go into the whole cost of energy and show how the city of Windsor over the period of one year has had its energy costs increased to the extent of $1.4 million. In other words, the increase in energy cost from 1975 to 1976 meant that great additional burden on the taxpayers. And that, as we know, is always reflected in substantial property taxes.

I think there has to be some resolution to the increasingly high costs of energy. It doesn’t disturb me so much for those who can afford it but there are many in our society who cannot afford the extremely high costs in energy. Time and time again everyone in the House gets complaints from citizens of all age levels concerning these high costs.

One of the areas in which it does disturb me is the fact that Union Gas in my own community have gone on a basis of reading the meter every second month. There is nothing wrong with that theoretically, the only thing is it just doesn’t work. Because if you’ve had a very cold month, Mr. Speaker, and you’ve turned your thermostat up, you will not find out for two months actually how much energy you have consumed. You would have maybe turned the thermostat down a bit had you known you were using more energy than you normally used.

With the added cost of energy and the added use of energy by the individual, the bill becomes astronomical. Then how does the citizen pay for it? Those on a fixed income -- even those not on a fixed income; those who are in lower wage categories -- have an extremely hard time paying some of these energy bills. The responsible ministry in government here should see that gas meters especially are read on a monthly basis and not every second month, so that the consumer of the gas can help save gas and at the same time save dollars.

Some governments use the stamp idea. Just as you have food stamps, they have energy stamps, where the individual on a welfare programme or below a set level of income receives energy stamps. He would buy $100 worth of stamps for maybe $50 or $25. They’re solely for his use, they’re non-transferable and he can use them in an attempt to pay off his energy bills. It does sound like a good idea. There may be some difficulties with it, but I would think the government, in co-operation with the energy industry, could find a resolution to that difficulty.

Two years ago and again this year I introduced An Act to amend The Public Utilities Act. The purpose for its introduction was to set up uniform procedures for the terminating of services, be the services water, hydro, gas, oil, propane or telephone. The reason I introduced that bill, Mr. Speaker, is because at times the utilities companies in my estimation don’t use good reason in dealing with their public. I don’t for one minute try to defend those who are chiselling and so forth, but there are so many who cannot meet a high energy bill on a monthly basis. They could meet the bill stretched over a period of time, but they couldn’t be paying the $150 and $200 a month when they are only getting the one cheque every month. What do you use for sustenance after you’ve paid a substantial amount for energy?

The need for the amendment that I have suggested has been underlined here in Toronto in the case of a Mrs. McNeil of North York, a diabetic with high blood pressure, whose electricity was turned off because she was $34.10 behind in her hydro payments. My bill would set up a review board consisting of not fewer than three people appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, who would come along and take into consideration the increased cost of energy and arrive at some accommodation to the individual in the paying off of any bills.

Some jurisdictions look at this quite favourably -- for example in some of the states. In Maryland they have a customer’s bill of rights that will overlook two delinquent payments and will forgive one overdue payment bill per year. They don’t cut off the utility immediately. New York has a 15-day notice of intent before you can terminate service. New York will not allow them to terminate the service on weekends, holidays or the day before holidays, and the company must notify the welfare officials before they shut off any one of the utilities.

In Michigan, utilities are required to give customers 21 days in which to pay bills and eliminate late payment charges. They’ve abandoned the practice of requiring deposits unless a customer has earned a bad credit record. The established procedure is to give customers the right of a hearing before service is cut off, and to continue service if a customer agrees to pay bills in instalments when he finds himself in a financial bind. They also have grievance procedures to ensure quick and courteous resolution of complaints and questions, and publish a book outlining in simple language the customer’s rights and responsibilities.

I hope the government would look into that a little more seriously than did the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. McKeough), because I think something has to be done for these many people.

One of the other topics I wanted to make slight mention of is Hydro. We would think that a big organization like that could have planned well in advance. Remember how they were selling all-electric homes? They sold them on the idea that they were going to get preferred rates. Many people built homes like that. All of a sudden they find it’s more expensive than other forms of energy, they no longer get the preferred rates, but because they are burning more, they pay a lot more. So government was lax in not fulfilling its responsibility when it was selling electric homes. I happen to have a letter from a constituent who makes mention of all of this and is very much disturbed. To convert to another form of energy would be extremely costly for her.

I think I have seven or eight minutes left and I would like to bring other small topics to the attention of the government. One is a resolution passed by the city of Windsor -- which I understand asked for support of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario -- that requests that the Ontario government turn over to municipalities on a per capita basis 50 per cent of Wintario revenue in the form of unconditional grants. This would help municipalities develop the projects they wish -- allowing them to spend that money in the fashion they wish -- by providing them with unconditional grants, the moneys coming out of Wintario funds.

I hope the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Kerr) will join with the utilities commission in the city of Windsor in suing the polluters from the United States, whose pollution is costing the utilities approximately $96,000 a year in cleaning the insulators on high-tension wires -- insulators shorted out because of pollutants coming across the river from Detroit.

I hope the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson) would reconsider any decision she has made and have the committee that was looking into workers’ health and safety hold meetings in the city of Windsor, so that representation can be made by interested employers and employees concerning that legislation. The chamber of commerce and other interested parties -- including the unions -- have all expressed concern that Windsor has been bypassed, yet Windsor is third in overall production in the province of Ontario and fifth in Canada. Surely a city that contributes that amount to the economy of the province and the country should be given consideration when hearings are held concerning legislation that is that important.


Another item that is of concern, and has been shown to be of concern to many, is the new system of coded pricing. I would hope the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Handleman) would pass legislation that would insist every item that is for sale has an actual price on it and not a coded price. This way, at least one can comparison-shop. The shopper will know that what she is buying is costing, say, 46 cents as opposed to another article costing 48 cents. She would not be able to comparison-shop using the coding only. The only time she would find out the price was when she was checking the cash register tape or watching the code being put through the scanner and the price being put up on the cash register. Legislation has to come in on that. I have a recommendation from the United Church of Canada, the London conference, suggesting that that be implemented by government.

I would also ask the Minister of the Environment to keep a very close look and monitor what the US government is doing in relation to the disposing of atomic wastes, since it wishes to dispose of them in the salt beds in the state of Michigan. The state has no opportunity to veto anything that may be done by the federal government and, as a result, we don’t know whether they’re going to bury their atomic wastes in the city of Detroit or not. Burying them there, with us on the same salt bed area, could have some extremely harmful effects. I know the city of Detroit is as concerned as we, but I think the minister has an obligation to monitor all of that so that at least we can assume the citizens in the city of Windsor are going to be safe because he is going to take care of them.

I would like the Minister of Labour, while she is here, to look into the situation of CKLW and the strike that is going on there. I think she should have her officials look into it and see whether it can’t be resolved.

One of the final items I do want to raise is the one concerning the utter disregard of the interests of the citizen by the Canadian Pacific Railway. Back in 1975 I mentioned in the House, and I spoke at some length, how Canadian Pacific, simply because it owned and had a right-of-way in the city that was wide enough to triple-track, had the idea it could triple-track and do as it pleased with its property. Environment has nothing to do with them. They have the money and they can do as they please.

The citizens in the Remington Park and Walkerville area fought tooth and nail against them showing how the Canadian Pacific did not consult with the residents. These are nicely built-up areas, with one that is going to be built up fairly shortly. The railway did not consult with the citizens, but just put up two additional tracks and then used the tracks for storage areas. In some instances, some of the cars that were stored there were refrigerated and they would have the motors providing refrigeration to these cars running at all hours of the day and night. Imagine, Mr. Speaker, living within 200 or 300 feet of that, with the fumes from the gasoline or diesel motors or whatever they used, the noise, and all of the pollution involved.

Let me tell the House that the citizens were not going to accept the CPR telling them what to do. As a result, the citizens have strongly objected. The CPR was prevented from using the tracks that it did develop in there. After a while, the CPR decided that it had the money and it would keep pressing the people. It attempted to get permission to use the trackage once again. The residents of the area made strong presentations to the commission --

Mr. Makarchuk: On a point of order.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Your point of order?

Mr. Makarchuk: Yes, Mr. Speaker. There has been a previous arrangement among the House leaders that the member for Windsor-Walkerville would terminate his speech at five minutes after four. In other words, he would have 35 minutes. He started at 3:30 and he’s still continuing. I’m just wondering if he would be brought to order.

Mr. B. Newman: If I did, I apologize. I don’t think I did. I thought I had started at 25 to the hour and it is five minutes after the hour. I was told I had 36 minutes in which to speak and I’m trying my darnedest to complete it within the 36 minutes. If the member doesn’t mind, I will take another five minutes. If he wants, I’ll complete my remarks right now. But I’m not intentionally trying to take up any time at all.

To continue on the subject of the CPR hearings, the citizens did have a hearing before the Canadian Transport Commission in the city of Windsor and, at the last meeting, were successful in preventing CPR from using this triple-track -- the two additional sidings or the Powell siding, as it is known.

I know this isn’t the end of the story, because CPR has the money and can carry on and on and harass the people to no end. But the citizenry in the area will not accept that; they will continue the fight. Just as they have to obey rules and regulations -- they can’t do with their property what they wish -- CPR should not be allowed to come along and do what it wishes with its property, regardless of what it wishes to do, without consultation with the people.

I had intended to go on to discuss the recent meeting of the Windsor and Essex county health council and the presentation they made to the citizens of Windsor concerning the rationalization of health services. What I have to say on that is fairly lengthy, so I will not talk about it now. I will try to save my remarks until we have the estimates of the Ministry of Health -- if we ever do have them.

At this time I will simply mention that one of the things they wish to do is phase out Riverview Hospital immediately. Let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, that will not be accepted by the community. They will let the government build a new chronic care hospital, as it had promised, or take over one facility that will be solely for chronic care, but not phase out a hospital that is providing the type of service that is satisfactory to the community and is praised to no end by both the patients and the families.

Thank you very much for your indulgence, Mr. Speaker, and to the member who made a comment concerning the length of my remarks -- if I am over at this time -- I apologize.

Mr. Moffatt: I gather, Mr. Speaker, that a number of comments have been made about a number of things which probably are unrelated to the contents of Her Honour’s Speech from the Throne. In the 20 minutes allowed to me I am going to try to make some comments specifically about some of the things that were in the Speech from the Throne and some things that I think should have been in and were not.

Over the past several years it has been the role of the opposition parties, no matter which one was the official opposition, to criticize the government sharply and severely for its management or mismanagement of the resources of this province, both in physical and human terms. There have been numerous criticisms, significantly borne out by subsequent public inquiries, select committees and reports of various kinds, which prove that to some extent -- and in other cases to a great extent -- the forest resources, the mineral resources, the natural resources of our waters and air, have not been managed properly by the government and there have been moves at subsequent dates to make some kinds of correction. The previous speaker mentioned the problem of suing polluters and so on, which bears testimony to this kind of mismanagement that was allowed to go on.

The mismanagement of human resources has been a subject that has been dealt with by a great many people and from time to time we have had some government action in areas which were criticized. The whole business of schools and our education system was criticized -- in some areas properly and in some areas quite improperly -- and I notice there have been changes rumoured at least; nothing really tangible has emerged at this point. Those kinds of resource management ideals have been ones for which the government has been criticized and on which it has acted subsequently to some extent.

The Minister of Labour has been criticized sharply at various times for the Workmen’s Compensation Board, and responses have been forthcoming -- not always as quickly as we would wish, but there have been some responses and more obviously will take place as ensuing events take their toll of government members and of people who are the victims of the Workmen’s Compensation Board.

In all of the discussion of the management of all those resources, it has always been a sort of Tory boast in Ontario that the finances of the province were, in fact, managed well. They have always prided themselves on that. The Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) debated for years with the member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Sargent) the credit rating of this province as opposed to somebody else’s credit rating, and there was great argument about triple-A or double-A and what all of those things meant.

Over the past year and a half to two years I think a lot of people in this province, myself included, have come to the conclusion that we have all been misled, because the management of the resources of this province have been most seriously handicapped by the mismanagement of the finances of this province by the present government. That prevents us from correcting those problems in other resource areas.

I heard a speaker the other night talk about the problems of mental health in Canada. This person said the most serious mental health problem in Canada right now is unemployment. That’s a pretty significant statement, if one thinks about it. What that means is that all of these problems associated with what have been referred to as social causes really go back to mismanagement of our economy which has led to so many unemployed people. It is time that somebody at least started to talk seriously about how our economy might be more properly managed.

In the Throne Speech, the reference to employment and job creation really does nothing to present specific solutions to those areas which all persons now recognize as being significant. The one area in which jobs are kind of mentioned and hinted at is in a commitment by the government to the proliferation of nuclear generating stations in this province. I think it’s time we started to look carefully at what is really going on. I have a copy of Short Circuit, a publication by Ontario Hydro, dated April 1. In this publication there’s a brief quote I wanted to make. It’s a copy of a story from the Kitchener-Waterloo Record of March 24, 1977, quoting the director of design and development for Ontario Hydro, Mr. W. G. Morison, as saying that in the next 20 years Hydro employment opportunities will quadruple. He makes the point that 120,000 workers will be employed in nuclear power plants. He says: “In these days of unemployment it is encouraging to project a potential growth in industries utilizing high technology and highly skilled personnel.”

I wonder what that person is talking about. He is a highly placed person in Ontario Hydro and he’s misleading the workers of this province. What he is saying is that a number of people are going to have jobs that last for three or four or five or 10 years in a short-term basis in constructing nuclear plants and then they move from plant to plant to plant. They aren’t new jobs, they aren’t different people, they’re the same people working in a number of jobs. He comes up with that 120,000 figure.

We did some work on this and found that Ontario Hydro’s own record show that to create one permanent job in Ontario Hydro requires between $600,000 and $800,000 capital. The ordinary resource industries of this province require in the neighbourhood of $200,000 capital expenditure to create one permanent job. I wonder what is going on. What does he mean when he says we’re going to quadruple the employment? We’re not going to at all. All that’s happening is that people are being told that jobs are going to be created in nuclear plants, but what they’re not being told is that those are short-term jobs leading to further unemployment down the road. The only people employed in nuclear plants when they’re finally in operation are a very small staff of highly trained technicians.

It seems to me the kind of expenditure that would be required, if you work it out, Mr. Speaker, to create 120,000 jobs at about, say, $600,000 per job in capital expenditure, means we’re going to have to spend $84 billion, if Hydro’s past record is any indication. That’s utterly stupid. We don’t have the capital resources to do that. It seems to me that what we need to do very seriously is, first of all, to look for some alternate ways of creating energy in this province. There are a number of ways in which energy can be created that the government apparently doesn’t seem to be interested in.


The first thing I think we can do to create energy is, number one, to save the energy, or some portion of it, that we are presently wasting. It makes no sense at all, as far as I am concerned, to boost the number of Btu of energy that we produce when we could in fact save that which we already have by a proper insulation programme.

If the government is serious about the energy shortage, as outlined in this report by the Minister of Energy (Mr. Taylor) last Friday -- which says nothing about what is going to be done: it simply says we’ll run out of oil and gas in 2025, and in the meantime we are going to use nuclear power. Well, that really doesn’t answer that problem, because what happens when we run out of that?

What I think we need to do is, first of all, set new building guides which will give much stiffer insulation standards for not only residential but commercial and industrial buildings as well. We need to create a major alternative to some of the oil and gas which we are presently using in our transportation industries. One of the ways in which that might be done is by the production of methane and methanol.

There are two ways in which methanol can be produced in significant quantities. One of those ways is by the whole-tree farming method; the other way is by using the waste from present pulp mills, which only use 50 per cent of the tree which is cut anyway -- 50 per cent is left either in chips or in the bush or in branches, the other 50 per cent is used in the pulp. You can check that, if you’d like, Mr. Speaker, and from your riding I think that you might find that if you consider the total cut by the pulp companies today, in the end result we only get 50 per cent of the volume out in the pulp. The rest is wasted.

What we might better do, it seems to me, is first of all, approach the problem of using all of the trees we cut. If we’re going to cut them for pulp, we might as well use all of the trees that we presently cut.

It seems to me there are two areas where we would suggest a programme. We might suggest the Kimberly-Clark mill at Kapuskasing, under Spruce Falls Power and Paper, which uses 940 tons a day of ground wood. It would generate 620 tons per day of useless surplus now. What we would say is that 430 tons a day of that chemical pulp capacity would generate 516 tons of usable surplus; we would turn that into methanol with the co-operation of that company, if they wished to do it. If they don’t wish to do it, then the government should do it for them. That should be done. It’s a product that can be produced by small public investment, and it’s a labour-intensive industry. The number of jobs which can be produced is immense, compared to the number of jobs produced in that highly capitalized nuclear field.

If we went to Espanola, there are 660 tons per day of chemical pulp capacity, which generates 790 tons of usable surplus. That 790 tons could be turned into methane, which would produce 20 million to 25 million gallons per year. This could result from this method of harvesting the whole tree. I won’t go into details, Mr. Speaker, because I know you know full tree harvesting as opposed to what is presently being done. Those plants would be small, but those plants would also be pilot projects which would demonstrate the viability of a methanol industry.

A plant based on a tree farm could be used in eastern Ontario, an area which really does have high unemployment. If we go to the Cornwall area, or anywhere approaching the Ottawa Valley, there are areas of farm land which cannot be used for food production at this time. Those areas of the province where the soil is not being used for food production should be at this point reforested. We can’t sit around and wait until there’s an oil shortage; we should be planning ahead for this.

It seems the Ministry of Natural Resources has achieved wood production rates of 320 cubic foot per acre per year -- 13 times the present growth rate in Ontario’s producing areas. They are using a poplar-based crop. A plant large enough to supply roughly one per cent of the 1985 gasoline and diesel needs of this province on an energy basis would require a 320-square-mile free farm. But that would be a producing farm; it wouldn’t leave the area denuded; it wouldn’t desecrate the whole area; it would be a use of that part of the province that is not being made use of now. That’s the kind of thinking this government should have gone towards in its Throne Speech.

A third area where methanol can be produced is in the waste disposal area in the region of Durham where right now the council is contemplating the expenditure of $14 million to build a sanitary landfill site. That’s an absolutely ludicrous thing to be happening in this day and age, when that landfill, the material that goes into it -- the garbage, if you wish -- from the region of Durham and the suburbs of Toronto, is in fact a resource which can be turned into usable energy, either in a “watts from waste” programme, as is being experimented with in Etobicoke, or in the production of methanol which can be used in the transportation industries and, indeed, can power some of those high-priced cars we were hearing about this afternoon.

The problem of making this kind of statement to this government is that they really can’t adjust their thinking to the idea that going into that sort of long-range investment on behalf of the future of this province is really sensible. There’s no point in talking to some of the ministers about making an investment of public funds because they say, “That’s socialism.” That may well be socialism -- it also happens to make sense. The technology exists for these methanol projects that I’ve been talking about briefly, because of the time constraints. It can be done. But if we wait for the private sector, as we have been doing, it’s not going to be done, because the private sector is waiting for us to run out of oil and gasoline, and then when it gets down to the point where there’s none left, it’ll be very, very important for Shell and Exxon and the rest of the multi-nationals to move into the methanol business. All of a sudden we’ll be forced to go in to some kind of import process for methanol.

This province cannot depend on energy supplies from foreign nations. It can’t really depend on energy supplies from outside this province. We need to become as self-sufficient as is humanly possible, and at the same time we need to invest our capital very wisely in projects that are not only going to guarantee the energy of this province, but are, to some extent, also going to guarantee jobs to the workers of this province.

I just don’t know what one can do with the energy minister’s statement of last Friday in which he documents 20 problems and no solutions -- other than that the consumer will have to pay more. Well, I think the consumer may well wind up paying more, but the consumer will not wind up paying more because he wishes to or because that’s going to solve the energy crisis. He will wind up paying more because this government has refused to act in an area where, in fact, it can act.

If we don’t begin now to reforest and re-vegetate every single acre of land, not presently being used for food production, we’re going to wind up as the television programme the other night said -- freezing in the dark. It’s an investment in Ontario’s future. It’s time we began.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, you will realize that I am following my colleague from Durham East because the NDP has some time still coming to it in this debate. It could, perhaps, be considered that we talk less than the other parties, but I think the correct interpretation would be that we say more in less time.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Neither is true.

Mr. Swart: There are a number of items I would like to cover --

Mr. Ferris: How many -- three, two?

Mr. Swart: -- in the time allotted to me, I’d certainly like to speak on the subject of unemployment, because the latest figures show that of the 18 regions in this province, the Niagara region has the third highest rate of unemployment. I’d also like to deal with the matter of the severe storm which we had in the peninsula at the end of January, and the inadequate assistance that the Ontario government has provided to the municipalities for dealing with that situation. But because we’re coming to the end of the Throne Speech debate and are short of time and because I am greatly concerned about municipal affairs, I want to spend the time that I have dealing primarily with the matter of the Blair commission report, more commonly known in this province as property tax reform.

It is significant to point out that in the 50 or 60 items dealt with in the Throne Speech there was no mention made of tax reform. I suggest that is significant because the government of this province has apparently abandoned any attempt to reform this property tax system. I suggest that the proposals which it had before it --

Mr. Cunningham: It needs six or seven more studies before it will do anything. You need 25 more seats.

Mr. Swart: -- and the proposals of the Blair commission, do not in fact constitute any real reform.

I think the people of this province, though, now have the right to ask the government what it is going to do with the 15 proposals it had in last year’s budget, entitled Reform of Property Taxation in Ontario, and the Blair commission report on those proposals.

It is interesting to recall the Treasurer’s (Mr. McKeough’s) statement last year. He said: “The commission will be asked to report to the government by the fall of 1976 so that legislation can be prepared for the spring of 1977.” I go on to quote: “Assessment notices for 1978 taxation will be sent to property taxpayers in the early summer of 1977.” End of quote of the Treasurer last year.

Let me provide some further background to this 1976 statement, Mr. Speaker. Since the provincial government took over the assessment function in 1970 it has repeatedly stated its intent to introduce market value assessment. The government has said that it is “essential” to do so. The Treasurer described the present system as “so unfair as to be rotten.” The member for York East (Mr. Meen) as Minister of Revenue, speaking to the Golden Mile Kiwanis Club, October 20, 1976, on the subject of why we need market value assessment said: “Of course, with the introduction of market value assessment all the inequities will be ironed out.”

Those are the same kind of statements as have been made for at least eighty years but nothing ever happens. Mr. Allan Grossman, the then Minister of Revenue, said in 1973: “When the government assumed the assessment responsibility in 1970 the objective was to reassess all properties at their market value. The reassessment work has now been completed” -- in 1973.

Taxes were to be paid on the market value assessment in 1975, but it wasn’t ready so it was postponed when the same minister said that as the new data would be available by the fall of the next year, the government’s tax reform programme could be finalized by early 1976. But, of course, in 1976 it has been postponed again.

It would be interesting to know the cost to this government of the proposed reassessment programme over the years -- what they have done to this date. The present Treasurer in 1969 estimated the number of assessors would be increased by 50 per cent to “bring assessment to what we consider the proper level and maintain it.” As municipalities then were spending $15 million when he took it over, it is not unrealistic to say that the extra cost over the eight years is somewhere in the neighbourhood of $50 million to $100 million on the property tax reassessment -- and nothing has happened.

So far making these kinds of statements, and showing the tremendous need for market value assessment, the absolute fairness of it after spending tens of million dollars on reassessment, after last year’s budget statement, after year by year postponements since 1973, and after the $500,000 report of the Blair commission, the Treasurer now states that the whole thing is being postponed for an indefinite period.

Mr. Davidson: For another study.

Mr. Swart: I suggest that that kind of handling of the assessment programme has to match or even exceed this Tory government’s general mismanagement of the province’s business as mentioned by my colleague from Durham East.


On November 12, 1969, the then leader of our party, the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald), when debating a market value assessment bill, said: “We therefore recommend that the implementation of these recommendations” -- provincial market value assessment -- “be delayed until thorough statistical analysis has been made on their effect.” That was in 1969. That is almost eight years ago. But when the Treasurer made his proposals a year ago to this House that statistical analysis had not been done. For instance, he didn’t know what the cost would be to the province of paying all farm land taxes. It was in August of last year before the report on that matter was made to him. That sort of thing simply verified that budget paper E, the 15 tax reform proposals, was hastily thrown together for political purposes and was not the product of long-term and extensive analysis.

I say to the government that its credibility and its sincerity among municipal people on this issue finally have been destroyed by its latest manoeuvre. Its assessment staff is appalled at its actions and their morale is at an all-time low. I know this to be the case. Both groups are disgusted because they know the government is simply stalling until after the next election and if it gets its majority it will shove it down the people’s throat.

The government wants to de-emphasize it now and to not even talk about it over there. Since the Blair report was brought down six weeks ago government members haven’t even talked about a programme of further input for all of the concerned groups.

When the government introduced the proposals a year ago it dressed them up in a very attractive political package. Niagara was used as an example to portray a reduction in residential taxes of 24 per cent, of commercial and industrial of 20 per cent and the elimination of all taxes on farm land.

But it didn’t sell. People were sceptical. They asked if all these reductions were going to be made, where was the additional money going to come from? They finally found out that it was supposed to come from the Ontario government. Then they rightly asked if the Ontario government was going to pay all those additional taxes, was it going to keep up its level of grants and subsidies to the municipalities? On May 20, 1976, the Treasurer refused to give that commitment to me when I asked him here in the House. Then on May 26 he told the PMLC that in the first year at least he wouldn’t keep up the level of the Edmonton commitment.

So the projected saving that they had in their proposals really became all meaningless. The charitable and the non-profit organizations strenuously objected to the proposals to load them with taxes and the famers didn’t join in a chorus of applause, as the Treasurer had expected, for the removal of land taxes. Small business too was rightly up in arms. In short, the attractive political package has turned sour and the Blair commission couldn’t rescue it.

So what the government wants to do now is quietly let it rest and maybe die until after the next provincial election. And after all, it has covered its tracks pretty well. It has widely circulated reports that residential taxation will decrease and implied other benefits. When groups or individuals raise the unpopular and unfair recommendations it simply says those are only recommendations -- not policy. The Treasurer put it, I think, in a classic form in his release on the day Blair reported. He said: “I emphasize that the government has not accepted, rejected or modified any part of the Blair report recommendations.” That’s about as indefinite as you can possibly be.

I say to the government it may think it is good politics to do this postponement, but it is not good government. It has an obligation to face up to its own recommendations and to the Blair report and to tell the people of this province what it intends to do and what its views are now on this issue.

What about the injustices which government members so frequently spoke about, such as the great over-assessment of apartments and the resultant excess tax being extracted from the tenants? Is it going to bring in an interim amending legislation to relieve that injustice? The people of Ontario do deserve a response from the government on this issue. And that response should deal with the major faults in its original 15 proposals and some that have been added by the Blair commission in their report.

I briefly want to mention some of them here. I want to say that farm land taxation as the government proposed and Blair amended is unfair and unacceptable. The government should really heed what the farmers and their organizations have told it. They don’t want a lien on their property of thousands of dollars an acre. They want their land to be assessed at agricultural value so their taxes are, in fact, related to their ability to produce and they’re quite happy to carry on paying 50 per cent of the land assessment.

If the government followed the suggestions of the farmers and the farm organizations it would save the Treasury something like $150 million or $135 million, whether it follows its own recommendations or those of the Blair commission. What’s so unjust about this is that a large part of that $150 million or $135 million will go to the developers, and I say they should pay their own taxes. Once land is bought by developers it should be assessed and should be taxed at full market value. Why should the people of this province kick in $50 million to $75 million annually, perhaps more, to pay for the taxes of developers?

I want to mention also the exemption on charitable non-profit organizations. It’s our view in this party that non-profit and charitable organizations ought not to be burdened by property tax and there should be uniform exemptions. The government’s proposal No. 7 would tax them at their full value; Blair would leave the decision up to unworkable committees at the local level. Even then they wouldn’t allow them to continue exemptions, there would be no exemption permitted for Legions or corps or other veterans’ organizations.

I say the local committees would simply not work fairly because, first of all, the ones that get it would be the ones that had the political clout, there is overlapping of jurisdictions, which makes it very difficult for municipalities to provide exemptions, and thirdly, the grant system proposed by the Blair commission would deter municipalities from giving the tax exemptions. The government proposes that not only would the municipality lose those taxes, but the grants and subsidies that would be given by the province would be given the municipalities as if they collected those taxes, and therefore they would lose the taxes plus a fairly substantial amount of subsidy as well.

I think the government should have the courage to determine those organizations that should have exemption. I suggest it would not be too difficult. It’s done now by the federal government for income tax purposes and it can be done for assessment. Preferably the government should pay the taxes to the municipalities on those properties where exemptions are given.

I don’t know how much it would cost. Here in Toronto, the United Way estimated that its organizations would have to pay something like $2 million if they lost their exemptions. That’s out of United Way receipts of about $15 million, and that’s a fairly substantial sum. Multiply that across the province. I don’t know what the government would have to pay -- $10 million or $40 million -- but I want to say that it wouldn’t be as much as the taxes the government proposes to pay for the developers. It wouldn’t reach that level.

Mr. Warner: They put the developers before the Children’s Aid Societies.

Mr. Swart: The government has a responsibility to see that these non-profit volunteer organizations do remain viable. It knows the volunteer sector’s concern -- of course, that’s one reason it has not decided not to proceed with the proposals at this time. I have here with me -- and I wonder if I could leave it with the Provincial Secretary for Justice (Mr. MacBeth) if I may, because there aren’t many other members of the cabinet present -- a petition from the YMCA in the city of Welland, signed by 260 people in the city of Welland, expressing their concern about the government’s proposal to take away the exemption.

Proposal No. 1 of the government stated that residents of Ontario collectively will bear a reduced share of the property taxes. This, of course, was to be the political centrepiece of the reform programme. After all, most voters live in residences. But when citizens’ groups and others dug into the details, they found it wasn’t going to turn out that way for many of them, perhaps the majority. And now the Blair commission’s recommendations would cause further drastic increases to many homeowners and remove the possible benefits to many other classifications.

They say the apartment dwellers will have great benefits. Blair says they will pass on that reduction in taxes to the tenants, but there’s this rather significant statement in that report: “They shall pass that on for a period of five years or the period of the lease, whichever is the less.” Of course, we know that most leases only go for one year or two years at a maximum and now, because of The Landlord and Tenant Act, many of them don’t have leases at all. So any benefits that the tenants might get now can be withdrawn very quickly.

There’s another aspect of this too. It also proposes that the apartment dwellers’ tax credit, which has been 20 per cent of the rent they have been paying, be reduced to 10 per cent. Whether or not they get the benefit of the lower tax payments on apartments, their tax credit is going to be reduced from 20 per cent of their rent to 10 per cent.

There are two other Blair proposals of tremendous significance. One is that they recommend a substantial change in the property tax credit. It provides that for those in the gross income range of $7,500 to $13,500, the property tax credit will be cut by more than half, resulting in an average net tax increase of more than 20 per cent.

They also propose the removal of the pensioner tax credit of $110; and I want to provide some figures on what this really means, in net taxes, to certain income classes of pensioners. A senior citizen who is single, who has an income of $3,500 and who has, according to the Blair commission’s own tables, an average gross tax now of $281, pays a net of $73. Under the new system, he would pay a net of $36, but he loses his $110 senior citizens’ tax credit, so the real net goes to $146 from $73, or an increase of 86 per cent.

Mr. Shore: You should have been a magician.

Mr. Cunningham: Marvin, that will be the end of you.


Mr. Swart: That’s a great place to bring in a criticism -- to the old-age pensioner.

A couple with an income of $5,500 pays an average tax of $353 and pays a net of $187 after the tax credit. That will go down to $64. But in losing the $110, his saving is only $13 for a decrease in net taxes of seven per cent.

Let’s go up to the next bracket. A couple with an income of $7,500 has average taxes of $359 and pays a net tax now of $225. That would go up to $287, but they would lose the $110 tax credit; so their net taxes would increase by $172 or 77 per cent, under the proposal of the Blair commission.

Right on up to the $11,000 income bracket, this kind of net increase in property taxes to pensioners will take place.

One other point should be about the Blair recommendations on residential taxation, and I think I’ll just have time to make it, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: You’ve got one minute to make it. You’re already into one of the two minutes that the hon. member for Durham East didn’t use.

Mr. Swart: The commission recommends that the $500 tax credit limit be removed. This, in fact, may help some people with moderate incomes, but the greatest benefit will go to the homeowners with higher incomes and extremely valuable houses. To offset this situation, the income-reducing factor should be raised to three per cent for the portion of taxable income over $10,000 and four per cent over $15,000.


Let me conclude by saying that I think the concern of the different parties can be shown in the number of briefs that were presented to the Blair commission.

In our NDP caucus, there was a 21-page brief from our caucus. Some of our members presented briefs. The member for Wentworth (Mr. Deans) presented a brief, the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy) presented a brief and I did myself. According to the report, there was one brief from the Liberal caucus, one-third in length, and the member for Wentworth North also presented a brief. The Conservative members presented no brief whatsoever.

Mr. Cunningham: Call the election.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I just say to you that we in this party would introduce changes in assessment at the same time as we introduce some real property tax reports.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Humber has the floor for up to 15 minutes.

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I had hoped on this occasion that I would have a little time to deal with the various aspects of one of my ministries -- that of the Solicitor General -- but because of the 15 minutes you have suggested I’m going to pass over quickly to the matter of policing and not deal with some of the other things I had hoped to do.

In any event, just before I pass, in Thunder Bay on Saturday last I was referring to the manner in which you conducted the business of this House. I was groping for the right words. I think I have now come up with them. I say your voice has the sharp business-like command of a steam locomotive whistle as it echoes across the Precambrian Shield. With that in mind, I want to commend both the job that you are doing as Deputy Speaker and Speaker in a most difficult task.

As I said, I want to pass right away on to the matter of policing, and I may encroach on three or four minutes that my colleague, the Minister of Labour, expected to use, but if I’m over 18 let me know, sir. I’m going to keep to my notes because of the time factor.

As Solicitor General it is personally fulfilling to be associated with many of the programmes that help make Ontario one of the safest areas in which to live. But a source of greater pride and assurance to me is the fact that Ontario police officers, who carry out a difficult and dangerous part of public safety work, are performing splendidly.

Our high-calibre provincial, regional and municipal police forces are doing an excellent job of keeping order and peace. Relentless scrutiny of our police officers by government and the public has resulted in correcting some weaknesses within the system and this benefits all of us, yet there is often misinformed and unobjective criticism by some members of society which only hampers the police. They are criticized for allegedly acting too zealously or for wanting the authority to carry out certain duties more effectively. Yet they are chastized for supposedly not doing enough.

Mr. Lawlor: This is the best of all possible worlds.

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: As part of my responsibility, my ministry has been continually alert to the problem of organized crime in Ontario and has erected effective efforts to contain this type of activity. An excellent example is the joint forces operation where two or more police forces aid each other in a concerted effort to deal with a particular organized crime problem that has been identified. The success of the RCMP, the OPP and the local police forces, through joint force operations, and with continued assistance from the Ontario Police Commission, demonstrate the ability of various police units to co-operate. The JFOs have been going on since 1966, with an intensified effort since 1973.

Organized crime encompasses so many different types of criminal activity involving widely varying numbers of people that our methods to contain it must be kept at maximum efficiency. To be effective, our intelligence methods must be carried on quietly.

Only three months ago a meeting was held by senior officials of my ministry, the Ministry of the Attorney General, the OPP, the RCMP and the Metropolitan Toronto police. Their unanimous opinion was that a public inquiry into organized crime would not be in the public interest. Such an inquiry would certainly impair the effectiveness of police investigations which rely on undercover and surveillance activities that cannot be made public.

Mr. Cunningham: You sure fixed that poor boy in Hamilton.

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: As these knowledgeable people pointed out, they have not had great difficulty in identifying major criminal figures. The problem is in gathering appropriate evidence to arrest and convict such individuals. I am therefore not prepared to recommend that a public inquiry into organized crime in Ontario be held at this time. What is more urgently required are the people and the advanced systems to tackle the growing sophistication of modern criminals, especially those in organized crime.

On December 15 last, in response to a question on organized crime, from the member for Rainy River (Mr. Reid), I quoted police as suggesting to me: “If you have an extra $1 million for police, don’t spend it on investigations which will do very little. Let us have more men and equipment.” To this end, my ministry will provide additional funding of $1¼ million to be employed specifically in combatting organized crime.

The Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) has been a strong advocate of this action, and we believe this is the most effective way to contain the problem. Such funding will help police forces to obtain the personnel and equipment needed to improve their efforts. We are confident that this additional funding will bring about even more tangible and meaningful results in combating organized crime. These funds will be applied immediately to the development, within the special services division of the OPP, of substantially increased criminal intelligence and investigation and investigative operations, thereby expanding the joint-force operations.

The term “organized crime” is bandied about freely. This is a vague term which means different things to different people. It may be appropriate at this time to define what the term “organized crime” should mean.

Organized crime means two or more persons concerting together over a period of time to participate in illegal activities. Organized crime activities known in Ontario are dealing in fraudulent securities, counterfeit money, arson, extortion, loan sharking, alien smuggling, the smuggling of stolen cars and stolen jewellery, narcotics, trafficking, gambling, prostitution and pornography.

We all know that loan sharking is one of the major money-making schemes of the criminal element. Spinoff crimes from loan sharking have been, and still are, responsible for other crimes such as bombings, beatings, business takeovers, bankruptcies, thefts, drugs and murders.

Many types of fraud have been exposed recently. These could include welfare, unemployment insurance, OHIP, large-scale real estate and so on. Frauds on elderly people, whether it be the so-called bank-inspector fraud or aluminum-siding fraud, are of concern. The distribution of pornographic material, books and films is on the increase. This is probably due to the permissive society we live in, whereby many things from books and advertising to movies at the local theatre are sex oriented,

Mr. Makarchuk: It also makes money.

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Most of this material is manufactured in the United States and brought into Ontario. Criminal gangs have been with us in Ontario for a long time. We have known about them for a long time and our police have been effectively fighting them for a long time. The province of Ontario has pioneered in many areas in a concerted effort to contain and suppress organized crime. Let me itemize the forces and agencies we employ to contain organized crime in Ontario.

The local police forces which maintain general law and order in cities, townships and regions are also involved in battling more sophisticated criminality. Many of these local forces work very closely with provincial and federal officers in co-operating investigations.

The Ontario Provincial Police, within its overall responsibility for policing the remainder of the province and highway traffic control, also maintain a criminal investigation branch. The OPP is at the forefront of this province’s effort to contain organized crime. Particularly useful in this regard is the OPP special services division which includes among others the anti-rackets branch, anti- gambling branch, criminal intelligence, criminal investigation branch and the drug enforcement section.

All the OPP units have gained increasing success against organized crime. For instance, the criminal intelligence branch has been able to provide a high level of effectiveness to assist many investigations.

The provincial forces work closely with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. As part of its responsibility for the internal security of our country and of federal law enforcement, the RCMP is involved in many aspects of organized crime. Co-operative efforts are continually made in this area by the RCMP, the OPP and the local forces.

To be fully effective, police forces must link their activities in united effort. Accordingly, since 1970, intelligence units of all major Canadian police forces have been joined together in a single system for the common purpose of fighting any attempts to establish organized crime in our country.

The Criminal Intelligence Service of Ontario is an association of intelligence officers in Ontario’s police forces. CISO is the first organization of its kind on the continent. It provides a central collection agency for all criminal and intelligence information submitted by members. This material is analysed and disseminated to those with a need to know. Members of CISO meet regularly to keep up to date on the current developments of organized crime in the province.

The CISO concept was adopted in 1971 on a nation-wide basis known as the Criminal Intelligence Service of Canada. This organization involves all the major police forces in the country with a central bureau in Ottawa staffed by the RCMP. There are also provincial offices across the country.

Ontario’s municipal police departments and the OPP were the first in Canada to be officially linked to the Canadian police information centre in Ottawa. This rapid access data bank of computerized information is maintained by the RCMP. It is a valuable extra tool in providing additional criminal records to our investigators.

The free exchange of intelligence between police organizations has done much to identify major figures involved in organized crime in Ontario. It has helped to identify their illegal activities and prevent some of their planned operations. In some cases it provided evidence which led to criminal convictions. I would point out that a considerable degree of success has been achieved by the entire police intelligence organization in making the province of Ontario an unhealthy place for organized crime.

A recent review of existing procedures and resources has made it clear that largely because of the 1974 amendments to The Criminal Code relating to wiretapping and other forms of electronic surveillance substantially increased resources are required if law enforcement officials in Ontario are to maintain the high level of efficiency in the detection and prosecution of organized crime that the public of Ontario has enjoyed in the past. The wiretap legislation of 1974 created a number of problems for the police, especially in their attempts to combat organized crime. Some of these problems have been lessened by judicial decisions and have been the subject of representations made to the governments of Canada by the police and by the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario.

The recent review has, however, established beyond doubt that the additional workload that this legislation has imposed upon the police and Crown counsel with respect to such matters as the preparation and service upon the accused of transcripts and summaries of recorded conversations, together with all the other documents that must be compared in compliance with the legislation, makes this increase in resources necessary. The proper execution of these functions is essential to the realization of the rationale of this legislation, for it is only when meticulous care is taken in following the procedures laid down in the legislation that the privacy of the individual will be properly respected and protected.

Law enforcement officials in this province have achieved considerable success in their efforts to follow the legislative standards and requirements to ensure that the rights of citizens in this province under this law are properly protected, but in doing so it has been necessary to divert personnel and other resources from regular criminal, intelligence and investigative work, especially in the area or organized crime. It is hoped that this substantial increase in the OPP budget will permit the intelligence branch of the OPP not to only participate fully in expanded joint force operations relating to organized crime, but at the same time maintain a high level of service to municipal police forces throughout Ontario in the criminal intelligence field.

Counsel in the special prosecutions branch of the Ministry of the Attorney General will be available to assist police officers involved in this expansion of the joint force operation as their legal and other prosecutorial advice is needed. In addition, the officers in charge of the special service division of the OPP, the officers in charge of criminal operations of the RCMP of Toronto and the inspector in charge of the intelligence bureau of the Metropolitan Toronto police, together with other senior police officers, will continue to meet regularly with the director of the special prosecutions branch to ensure that the fullest possible legal and prosecutorial assistance is provided. These officials, together with the commissioner of the OPP, the assistant commissioner of the RCMP in charge of O division in Toronto, the chief of the Metropolitan Toronto police and other representatives from municipal and regional police forces in Ontario will in turn be able to keep the Attorney General and the Solicitor General fully briefed on the progress of these increased efforts to investigate and prosecute organized crime.

I’ve dealt quickly with a very important subject. I believe I’ve taken my 15 minutes.

Mr. MacDonald: Because of the time restrictions, I intend to devote my comments this afternoon to one topic only, the Barrie annexation issue, and the comment that it makes on this government’s policies for the preservation of agricultural land.

The fruit lands of the Niagara Peninsula have long been cited as the classic example of conflict between, on the one hand, professed government policy to preserve unique resources and, on the other hand, the toleration and even promotion of policies which gradually destroy them. But the current effort of the city of Barrie to annex 20,000 acres of neighbouring townships, some 13,600 of which are class 1 to 3 land, and to do so in direct response to provincial government policies and pressures threatens to make an even greater mockery of our objective of protecting prime agricultural land for future generations.

Every time this issue is raised the province’s chief planner, the provincial Treasurer, loudly interjects that his government is in favour of growth -- and presumably nobody else is -- that Barrie has been chosen as a major growth centre and that objectors are simply standing in the way of progress. So let’s, at the outset, clear away this specious argument with which the provincial Treasurer is now confusing the public debate.


Nobody is seeking to frustrate the reasonable growth of the city of Barrie. On the contrary, all parties involved, including the neighbouring townships, have expressed support for annexing enough land to meet Barrie’s foreseeable industrial expansion. But there is widespread and growing objection to such a massive annexation of prime agricultural land for urban development, when Barrie’s own official plan indicates that the existing boundaries can accommodate a residential population of 57,000 people and the present population is approximately 33,000, and the Ontario government’s own projections envisage a population of 50,600 by the year 2001.

In true developer fashion, our provincial chief planner is attempting to bulldoze the public into acceptance of a concept of expansion for which there is no reasonable statistical basis. Moreover, he is doing so at the unnecessary sacrifice of thousands of acres of prime agricultural land, which presumably this government is committed to protect and preserve.

The development of the Barrie annexation question is yet another graphic example of the provincial government’s failure to plan in any reasonable fashion. The so-called planning process was initiated in 1970 through Design for Development. A year later, in a status report on the Toronto-centred region, Barrie was singled out as an area in which growth is to be stimulated, because it is within easy access of Metropolitan Toronto but outside the normal range of commuting. That report also called for the establishment of what later came to be known as the Simcoe-Georgian Bay area task force, set up in 1972.

The provincial government retained a strong role in the planning process of the SGATF, and provincial bureaucrats chaired both the political and technical committees. Thus it was able to have a significant input into the development of the plan which emerged. The annexation move itself is a direct local initiative of the city of Barrie, but it is based on the conclusions of the SGATF, which reflected provincial government planning policies.

The real issue is the assumptions on which Barrie based its actions, and thus the kind of leadership and policies provided by the provincial government. At the heart of that issue are the population projections for the area. In the SGATF report, the Barrie urban area is projected to grow from 35,900 people in 1974, to 75,000 in 1991, to 125,000 in the year 2011. At the same time as the government tabled the SGATF report, in April of 1976, the government also tabled a two-volume report entitled Ontario’s Changing Population, which is by far the most comprehensive and thorough population projection done for the province. It projects Barrie’s population to be between 38,900 and 39,100 by 1986 and 48,300 to 50,600 by 2001. In other words -- admittedly there’s a 10-year difference in the span -- a contrast between 50,000 and the projections of the SGATF, which the government had inspired, of 125,000. Clearly, the one hand of the provincial government doesn’t know what the other one is doing -- in itself a commentary on the accuracy of the government’s planning capacity.

The report on Ontario’s Changing Population was examined in detail by an independent population projection expert, Ms. D. Macunivich, who gave evidence before the OMB for Simcoe county. She testified that the government’s population study is excellent, but even when she changed some of the assumptions from reasonable to optimistic, she still was unable to project Barrie’s population beyond 76,700 by the year 2011, as compared to the 125,000 figure which the government has accepted as the target.

Of course, population projections are based only on known development prospects. As Ms. Macunivich testified, if the government is determined for policy reasons that Barrie should grow to 125,000 -- the figure which the chief planner confirmed in his letter to the OMB -- that can be achieved only by dramatic initiatives, none of which have so far been announced. Furthermore, if Barrie is going to be force-fed to a population level of 125,000, instead of the reasonable projection of some 50,000, it can only be at the expense of discouraging growth from other centres in the central Ontario region. If Barrie gains to this extent, other areas must lose.

In short, the Treasurer’s assertion that the Barrie urban area has been allocated a population of 125,000 by the year 2011 is a statistical stab in the dark. There is no reasonable assumption that it will be achieved, as evidenced by the government’s own figures in the report, Ontario’s Changing Population; as evidenced by the absence of any policies which would justify the expectation of a dramatic population increase of an extra 75,000 people from the projected 50,000 from the Ontario’s Changing Population report, to the Treasurer’s unsubstantiated 125,000.

Since all parties involved in the annexation hearings have no objection to a limited extension of Barrie’s boundaries to meet foreseeable industrial development needs, and since Barrie’s existing boundaries can accommodate residential needs for the population growth through to the end of this century, as envisaged by the government report on Ontario’s Changing Population, there is no justification for extending urban boundaries to include thousands of acres of prime agricultural land. Such a move would be at least premature.

On Friday last the parliamentary assistant to TEIGA introduced in the course of his contribution to this Throne Speech debate the letter which was written by the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman) to the provincial Treasurer giving the views of his ministry -- presumably the food land development branch -- with regard to this whole issue. And the parliamentary assistant tended to leave the impression that there was no particular serious conflict between what was said in the agricultural minister’s letter and what the government has set forth as an objective and which is pressuring through the OMB and having Barrie carry the torch on.

Let me just quote one or two comments from this to show that within an obviously very carefully written letter -- a very carefully written letter -- there are some fundamental differences. For example, in his letter the Minister of Agriculture and Food points out that the Simcoe-Georgian Bay task force had recommended the reservation for food production of all existing and potential class 1 and 2 lands, as well as class 3 lands currently in production, plus all specialized land suitable for fruits and vegetables and tobacco. And then he has this wonderful sentence: “Although such retention policies are praiseworthy, I have noted that they fall slightly short” -- may I interject, “slightly short,” said he -- “of the objectives utilized by my staff in the review of planning documents.” In short, he’s saying, “I don’t agree.” Why?

I continue the quote: “These objectives specify that class 1, 2, 3 and 4 agricultural lands, as well as areas of special or unique crops or soils should be retained for food production.”

A little later he makes an even more important point. He said: “If all existing and potential class 3, along with class 1 and 2 lands, were included for reservation,” reserved for future food production, “the total reserved land area still contains only 53 per cent of the study area.” And he adds, “This would seem to leave ample areas in which other growth could occur.” Clearly, what he is saying is that there’s no excuse for gobbling up such a massive amount of prime agricultural land.

Later in his letter he adds that these plans are designated urban lands that won’t be required for the next 25 or 30 years -- or they’re envisaged to meet the requirements of the next 25 or 30 years. And he adds, and I quote: “In the interim it is desirable for these areas to remain in agricultural use and further the detailed staging for the development of these areas be required to enable farmers to make a logical and orderly retreat. In this regard, five years’ advance notice might be an appropriate minimum.”

Then in the second last paragraph of his letter he has another real rocker. He points out that “all of the land within existing urban boundaries will have to be efficiently used through infilling, and other similar local planning policies.” In other words, if you apply that statement to Barrie, which has a capacity within its existing boundaries to accommodate a population of 57,000, when its existing population is only 33,000, what he in effect is saying is that there is no justification. Or, as I put it just a moment ago, it is at least very premature to move on to the inclusion within the urban boundaries of so much prime agricultural land when it is not going to be needed for the foreseeable future -- for the next few years.

All this takes me to the next point I want to deal with briefly. It raises the question of the whole role of the OMB in the present situation -- admittedly a very difficult one. The OMB is not a policy making body. It is a quasi-judicial body whose job is to interpret and to apply stated policies -- the policies which have been spelled out by the government. The OMB, therefore, has the task of reconciling government policies when they are in conflict. And that, I suggest, is its task at the moment in reference to the Barrie examination.

Because what is in conflict? On one hand the OMB is faced with a statement of government policy reiterated by the chief planner, the Treasurer, in his letter to the OMB on December 15, 1976, that the government has approved in principle the population allocation of 125,000 to the Barrie urban area. But it also has solid testimony that this population projection is grossly exaggerated on the basis of present policies and the absence of dramatic new policies to justify the force-feeding of Barrie’s population projection by another 75,000 population.

On the other hand -- and here is the conflict -- the OMB has the government’s oft-repeated policy statement that it is determined to protect and preserve prime agricultural land from unnecessary encroachment. On the basis of the evidence submitted to it, there is no justification for immediate annexation of some 13,600 acres of prime agricultural land for urban development. It may never be needed. It is certainly not needed for the foreseeable future. On the basis of the evidence now before it, and in strict conformity with the responsibility to interpret and reconcile stated government policies when they are in conflict, I suggest OMB has an obligation to assure Barrie’s expansion, to meet its foreseeable industrial development -- something which all of the neighbouring townships are willing to entertain -- but it has also an obligation to see that that expansion shall be no more than that.

Interestingly enough in the latter portion of his comments, the parliamentary assistant had this comment. He said at no time has the government indicated how much land Barrie should have. That is rather interesting since he repeated that Barrie should have a population of 125,000 and therefore he implied that Barrie should have a great deal of land. Certainly it should be sufficient to accommodate a population of 125,000. Ideally the local people should sort it out themselves.

Mr. Speaker, I suggest to you that that is a bit of pipe dreaming. The function of the OMB, when you have a conflict between neighbouring municipalities with regard to annexation, is to resolve these conflicts, because each side digs itself in. And I suggest that the OMB, with the hearing before it now, should take a look at one government policy which has projected a population target of 125,000 which cannot be justified and analyse it and reduce it to the foreseeable limits that will have to be met, and on the other hand it should face up to implementing that other government policy, namely the preservation of agricultural land.


Considerable emphasis has been focused of late, particularly by Liberal Party spokesmen, on the alleged influence of certain consultants and well-known Tory lawyers in the planning process and the current OMB hearing on the proposed Barrie annexation.

It is true that the largest developer landholder in the picture, South Simcoe Estates, has used the firm of Proctor and Redfern in the past. It is true that Proctor and Redfern did Barrie’s annexation study. It is true that the annexation boundaries happen to coincide with the southern boundaries of their holdings. It is true that one Mr. Webb, the previous law partner of the Premier, is representing them.

All of this is titillating stuff, with great potential for suspicion and innuendo. But it shouldn’t be permitted to distract attention from the provincial government’s failure to plan on a reasonable and substantiated basis. That is the basic problem. For a government to be deliberately promoting growth targets that will result in the premature destruction of thousands of acres of prime agricultural land makes a mockery of its own guidelines for the protection of food lands for future generations. While the Minister of Agriculture and Food mouths these noble objectives, the chief planner, the Treasurer, is riding roughshod over them.

It underlines once again the desperate need for this government to respond to the demands of both the Rural Ontario Municipal Association and the Ontario Institute of Agrologists that legislation should be passed. Indeed, they said legislation should have been passed last year, designating class 1, class 2 and class 3 lands for future food production, that machinery should be set up for considering any legitimate exemption from such preservation and that such exemptions should be considered when there is no lower-class land available or when the immediate need is solidly substantiated.

Such a law is not only necessary to strengthen the position of rural municipal leaders who have asked for it to enable them to cope with the relentless pressures of developers, but such a law is needed even more to stop ministers violating this government’s own stated policies on preserving agricultural land unless and until they have publicly provided solid justification.

In short, such a law wouldn’t be a freeze, as the Liberals and the Tories are wont to describe it, but effective legislation protecting prime agricultural land combined with machinery for considering legitimate exemptions.

Mr. Eaton: Didn’t the NDP candidate up there vote for the legislation?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity to participate in the debate on the Throne Speech. I hoped to begin my remarks with some allusion to the important event which is happening this year in Britain, and therefore in Canada as well -- Her Majesty’s 25th anniversary -- and to draw to the attention of my colleagues in the House the example of selfless devotion and dedication to duty which she has given us, which I think each of us should exercise in our responsibilities to the resolution of the current conflict within Canada. However, I will dispense with my wishes in order to remain within the time limits which have been allotted to me.

One of the things that I have learned in my relatively short stay here is that sometimes in the heat of the moment within this House, members may transgress the limits of parliamentary procedure and propriety, diverting attention from the fulfilment of our responsibilities to the people of this province. It is at such times, Mr. Speaker, that we look to you and your deputy to direct our attention to the task at hand. You, Mr. Speaker, and your deputy have carried out your often onerous duties with exceptional skill and grace, and I offer you both my sincere appreciation.

There are several topics which require you, Mr. Speaker, and your deputy to excise -- to exercise your right of caution.

Mr. Wildman: “Excise” is a better word.

Hon. B. Stephenson: One of those has been one which has precipitated perhaps more rancour than was necessary: that topic, of course, was the Workmen’s Compensation Board. Recently the Leader of the Opposition initiated a series of public meetings on this topic, an action which I find regrettable since it was undertaken, as it was stated in the press release which accompanied the announcement, for crass political purposes.

This action prompts me to provide some factual information regarding this much-maligned and seldom-praised institution. Perhaps I should begin with a statement of the historical development and purpose of the board. In 1915 this Legislature established The Workmen’s Compensation Act and the board in Ontario to minimize conflict between employers and employees over assignment of fault for work accidents, and to provide as well for impartial adjudication and rapid payment from a fund based on the principle of collective liability at reasonable cost to society as a whole. These original principles remain the underpinnings of the Workmen’s Compensation Board function and of its philosophy today.

In spite of the 60 intervening years, years marked by the most dramatically rapid social and technological change experienced in human history, our population has tripled and industrial processes and new products by the hundreds have been developed, bringing with them myriad unanticipated complicating factors and problems. With these increases has come an increase in the numbers of accidents and an even great increase in demand for service from both employers and employees.

Since 1915 the scope and coverage of the Act have been greatly expanded to include total medical aid and physical and vocational rehabilitation. But despite these improvements the Workmen’s Compensation Board has been wrongly accused, and I quote, “of riding roughshod over the legitimate demands of the working people.”

It must be remembered that the Workmen’s Compensation Board does not deal with machines nor with products; it deals with people. Each claim represents a human being and each must be, and is, dealt with on an individual basis.

Mr. Wildman: As if they were machines.

Mr. Gaunt: If they were any slower they would stop.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Each claim must be dealt with on its individual merit. I would agree that the process of collating all the relevant facts, assembling the basic file, creating the computer control and producing the initial checks and statistical information may resemble an assembly line. But the resemblance stops there.

Mr. Wildman: It never comes to a head.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Each and every claim must be reprocessed at least every two weeks to ensure the legislative service to the individual claimant is fully and properly carried out. The support of exotic electronic systems has been invaluable to improve the claims function of the board, but a responsible compensation system depends not upon automation, but upon individual consideration of each and every claim with human understanding, with equity and with fairness.

This assembly has legislated to the Workmen’s Compensation Board the role as a quasi-judicial agency, to make difficult decisions regarding claims and levels of benefits. Under the Act, the board cannot substitute ad hoc-ery nor expedient greasing of squeaking wheels for either careful management or responsible decision-making. Basing its deliberations on collected factual information, on the opinions of internationally recognized experts in medical and health-related fields, on the particular characteristics of the life circumstance of each claimant, the board tries diligently to exercise that function honestly, responsibly and humanely -- and that is a fact.

Mr. Martel: Says who?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Another fact: During 1976 a total of $357 million was distributed to claimants -- $198 million in compensation, $100 million in pensions, $55 million in medical aid and $4 million in rehabilitation. Administration costs in that year totalled $26.7 million, less than seven per cent of the total amount of money the board is responsible for.

A second point I feel should be noted is that the Ontario system of workmen’s compensation is recognized as a model throughout the world. The Workmen’s Compensation Board of Ontario is widely acclaimed for the non-legalistic, non-adversary, collective liability system and for the benefit levels which are provided at reasonable cost.

Mr. Martel: Provided you can establish a claim.

Hon. B. Stephenson: The United States federal white paper on the need for reform of workmen’s compensation in the United States reports extremely favourably on the role, the achievements and the function of the Workmen’s Compensation Board of Ontario. Each year dozens of administrators from many states of the Union and from many other nations are sent by their jurisdictions to learn the administrative process of the Workmen’s Compensation Board, and just recently I had the pleasure of accompanying the governor of Ohio through the rehabilitation centre in northwest Toronto.

In spite of the opposition’s insistent verbal extravagances -- painting the board as an oppressive, inhumane, Gestapo-like body, depriving workers of their rights -- the fact is that its picture is simply not true. I submit that the aim of that group is to fashion its fabrications in conventional wisdom, if you like, through its well-used mechanism of the repetitious and continuous expounding of ill-founded personal viewpoints and careless or deliberate distortions of truth. I find it interesting that, while people who govern elsewhere are trying to learn from our accomplishments --

Mr. Wildman: Be specific.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- some people, who would give their eye teeth to govern Ontario, are declaring that we have accomplished nothing at all.

I would like to deal with comments about the board contained in the Ombudsman’s report because that information should be put into proper perspective. Within the Ombudsman’s area, the Workmen’s Compensation Board was included in the government agencies group --

Mr. Martel: Your friends couldn’t be wrong, could they?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- as opposed to the government ministries group. This is quite a distinction since the board was thereby compared with agencies such as the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, the Labour Relations Board and the Liquor Licence Board, whose volume of decision-making is minimal compared with the board’s massive decision-making responsibility.

The report indicated the Ombudsman had dealt with 349 complaints about workmen’s compensation during his first 15 months. The total number of compensation complaints received during that period was 602; 349 were dealt with, and the report recognized that more than two-thirds of the complaints filed about the Workmen’s Compensation Board did not come within the jurisdiction of the Ombudsman, since they were either premature or related to problems such as delayed payments rather than the decisions of the appeal board.

During the first 15 months there were 141 complaints related to the final appeal level. Those 141 complaints consisted of claims over a span of 47 years, during which the board has made countless decisions on almost 10 million claims. Only one complaint --

Mr. Martel: Well, the 457 to my office over 11 months was not in the 47 years.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- related to an appeal of a 1976 claim and only four related to the 395,528 claims reported in 1975. The bulk of the claims related to the period from 1965 to 1974 which, incidentally, was the period spanned by the three-level system, first introduced in 1965 to ensure greater opportunity for appeal.

Of the 141 cases in which the Ombudsman had jurisdiction, 29 were closed. In 14 cases, the board decision was found to be fair and just. Recommendations for change were made in 15 cases. The Workmen’s Compensation Board accepted recommendations in five cases and in the remaining 10 other action was taken, such as further hearings before the board on the basis of additional information.

Mr. Mancini: A lot of those.

Hon. B. Stephenson: At a meeting with the Workmen’s Compensation Board, the Ombudsman said that when compared with the multitude of decisions made by the Workmen’s Compensation Board, the comparatively low volume of complaints was a tribute to the Workmen’s Compensation Board. This was not the perspective reported to the public, but again, I think it demonstrates --

Mr. Martel: Baloney.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- that the board is not the irresponsible, oppressive agency some would like the public to believe it is.

Mr. Warner: Why don’t you resign?

Mr. Martel: Don’t be an apologist.

Hon. B. Stephenson: There is one other point which I would like to present -- the causal relationship between work conditions and illness and injury. Under the provisions of The Workmen’s Compensation Act, the board provides compensation and pensions for work-related illness and injury. It is not now, nor has it ever been, especially difficult to determine the relationship between trauma or accidental injury and work performed. There are, as well, a few illnesses such as pneumoconiosis and asbestosis and silicosis which can be readily, or as equally readily, directly related to work.

Mr. Wildman: Then why aren’t they?

Hon. B. Stephenson: However, there are many illnesses, some of the most problematical, which are multicausal.

Mr. Martel: Like chronic bronchitis.

Hon. B. Stephenson: A multicausal illness is, of course, one which develops as a result a number of factors --

Mr. Wildman: What about the silicosis?

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- and I would list for you the factors.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. B. Stephenson: The genetic structure of the individual, which determines the degree of sensitivity or resistance to allergies or irritants and other materials; --

Mr. Makarchuk: Are you sure about that?

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- the exact nutritional status of the individual; personal habits such as cigarette smoking, exercise, alcohol consumption; the simple process of aging; and finally, exposure to potential environmental irritants such as chemicals or radiations.

One’s racial origin may also be a significant factor. For example, a white-skinned, blue-eyed blond is far more prone to develop cancer of the skin of the face than any of the dark-skinned brothers or cousins. I would, particularly, draw this to the attention of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Lewis), who, just a few days ago in this chamber, defamed a well-respected epidemiologist, by suggesting that in raising this issue --

Mr. Martel: He used filthy language.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- in his careful critique of Dr. Selikoff’s brief, the epidemiologist was motivated by racial and socioeconomic discriminatory attitudes. The only word for that kind of accusation is shameful.

Mr. Wildman: Withdraw.


Hon. B. Stephenson: Chronic bronchitis, hearing loss, emphysema and malignant disease or cancer are examples of multicausal diseases. Where such diseases can be shown to have a causal relation and to have been caused by the relationship to the materials and substances --

Mr. Martel: Filthy.

Mr. Warner: Are you using that filthy language? You are a disaster.

Mr. Wildman: I have got a silicosis case.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- and circumstances within a work place, the Workmen’s Compensation Board is able to provide compensation under a very broad interpretation under the existing legislation, and that is precisely the trail-blazing route which this board has followed --

Mr. Warner: Minister of apology.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- demonstrating leadership in this area for all other North American compensation agencies.

The fifth point I would like to make with reference to the board is the demonstrative leadership of the board in the field of vocational rehabilitation through the establishment of an institution and a programme that is second to none. It is a programme that sponsors a rehabilitation centre in northwestern Toronto that is renowned for being the most comprehensive, the most progressive and responsive and effective centre for getting people back on the job, for restoring health and repairing the damage which injury has caused and as far as possible for returning people to a normal and productive way of life.

Mr. Warner: It has the highest number of injuries too.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Recognizing the need to enhance vocational rehabilitation, the board within recent weeks has approved additional vocational rehabilitation officers and rehabilitation specialists to increase that complement to a total of approximately 130. The additional staff is to be directed almost totally to the regional areas of the province in order to improve the function there. These additions will enable the board to concentrate much greater effort on returning injured and disabled workers outside of Toronto to more suitable work and to help industry create employment opportunities for them.

My final comment regarding the Workmen’s Compensation Board deals with appeals, because there has been a great deal of criticism that appeals require two years or more. I suppose that is a situation which is possible but it is certainly very rare and perhaps I should explain very briefly the appeals mechanism. The first level of review is the appeals examiner who, after reviewing a file, can recommend one of three courses of action.

First, he may recommend that the appeal be allowed, based on new evidence or errors within the claims division. The examiner would make that recommendation to a single commissioner who can accept or reject the recommendation. Nine per cent of all appeals are handled in this manner. Secondly, the examiner may recommend the appeal be referred directly to an appeal board of three commissioners. About 22 per cent of appeals are dealt with in that manner. Thirdly, the examiner may refer the matter to a single commissioner after further investigation. About 69 per cent of appeals follow that procedure, and there is always the right to appeal to the three-member board from a lower decision.

In the nine per cent of cases referred directly to a single commissioner, the decision is available usually within one week. In the 22 per cent referred directly to an appeal board, the elapsed time averages out at about 13.5 weeks, eight weeks before the appeal and 5.5 weeks from the beginning of the hearing until the decision. In the 69 per cent of cases in which further investigation is required, the elapsed time averages 7.5 weeks, four weeks before the hearing and 3.5 afterwards. This figure is for a hearing held in Toronto; it may take up to 10 weeks if the hearing is held outside Toronto.

Mr. Makarchuk: What are they supposed to do in the meantime? In the meantime, they have to go on welfare.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. B. Stephenson: One delaying factor for which the board cannot be held responsible is postponement at the request of the person filing the claim or the appeal. In December 1976, for example, the appeal board heard 83 cases. However, it received 73 requests for postponements. Another problem is setting up appointments with independent physicians, obtaining medical records and obtaining hospital admissions. Some cases may take longer than the average times I’ve mentioned and may, in fact, take longer than the 24 weeks required for the two-hearing process, one before a single commissioner and one before the appeal board. However, they are definitely the exception rather than the rule.

I believe the Workmen’s Compensation Board is serving the people of this province very well, given the legislative mandate which controls it --

Mr. Grande: Apology, apology.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- and the fact that it consists of mere mortals who are dealing with complex human problems related to compensating employees for illness and injuries directly related to the work place. I use the word “compensate” advisedly because, frankly, I question whether any sum of money or any amount of rehabilitation can truly compensate a person for the psychological damage suffered as the result of a loss --

Mr. Warner: You should compensate us for your presence.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- or a degree of physical disability following an accident.

Mr. Speaker: You have one minute left.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I think it’s important that this House realizes the government of this province has a strong commitment not only to the support and enhancement of the workmen’s compensation function -- but also to the method of preventing the increasing number of accidents and work-related illnesses --

Mr. Martel: That would be something new, wouldn’t it?

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- which, in fact, are bothering this province at this time. If in presenting the factual information about the Workmen’s Compensation Board, I am labelled, as the Leader of the Opposition has pejoratively put it, “an apologist for the board,” I can only state that I would rather be so labelled than to be the author and perpetrator of a virulent programme of questionable opportunism to achieve political gain at the expense of injured and disabled workers in this province.

Mr. Martel: That’s what you said about Elliot Lake.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I have made a personal commitment to do all that I can to assist the disabled workers of Ontario --

Mr. Makarchuk: How come they are coming out to the hearings?

Mr. Samis: You better read Francis of Assisi, you need it.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- both by assuring that the Compensation Board provides benefits with dispatch, with equity and, above all, with humanity and fairness, and particularly by working diligently to reduce the hazards of the work place through an innovative, aggressive and dedicated programme of occupational health and safety legislation.

Mr. Martel: Don’t be too full of rhetoric.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to take part in the Throne Speech debate, and I intend to be brief and to the point. I am going to deal later, just briefly, with the WCB. We have obviously touched a sore point with the minister.

Hon. B. Stephenson: No, I just like the facts, that’s all.

Mr. Martel: Oh, nonsense.

Mr. Mackenzie: I want to leave the shilling for the private sector to the member for Oriole and others on the government side of the House. I mean, who else would read into the record a speech by the president of Westinghouse to the Financial Institute of Canada as gospel? The Conservatives have tried to picture the NDP as being doctrinaire and rigid, or a class party.

Hon. B. Stephenson: It’s true.

Mr. Mackenzie: As the old saying goes, if the proof of the pudding is in the eating, or if the proof is in your actions, then never has a party been so exposed by its positions and policies as being clearly doctrinaire, rigid, inflexible and so outmoded or out of touch with the times as the Conservative Party.

This government has tunnel vision. It can see and hear or admit to nothing but assistance to the private sector and defend the status quo in dealing with all of the problems of the people of Ontario. I think the feelings of most New Democrats, certainly mine, is that there is no need for ideological rigidity at this point in time on either side of the House. What is needed above all else is a commitment to people as distinguished from machines and enterprise, a clear recognition of our problems and a willingness to deal with those problems without fear of losing favour with some group, and a willingness occasionally to break with some of the conventional traditions in our province.

The current Speech from the Throne, which attempts to have a little something for everybody in the province but doesn’t really tackle our problems, I submit is going to lead to only more cynicism on the part of the people and distrust of and disbelief in politicians and political parties in this province. Much of the speech, as I listened to it, merely outlined some of the housekeeping measures that it is necessary for any party to undertake to run a government, and really when it comes to specifics or something that could excite the public or offer a useful course of action, it is just not there.

Surely this government has got to start addressing itself to the problems of the people of Ontario and to their fears and their aspirations. In my constituency unemployment is clearly the major problem, but I sometimes wonder if the Premier (Mr. Davis) and the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) really realize the plight of some of those who are unemployed. The younger people at the top of the list, or those who happen to suffer some slight handicap, some form of disability in their efforts to get a job, don’t want welfare. They want to work. They want to establish themselves and be able to look forward to having a few of the good things of life.

I wonder about the increasing number who have 10 or 12 years seniority. They have started a family, they have got a housing programme under way and they simply want to be able to make the payments on their house and to protect the present. What about the older workers we are finding, in increasing numbers, out of work? They have earned, they feel, some security in their final years. Their best years are behind them. How can a government be so abstract, so unfeeling, when there is a real matter of human dignity at stake? They don’t want welfare either, and they don’t deserve to live out their final years in fear and hopelessness.

When I heard the Treasurer of the province of Ontario say the province did not have a responsibility to provide jobs, I could hardly believe my own ears. It is the people who elect a government in this province, and those people the government has a responsibility to. If there is a problem, if people are hurting because of a lack of employment, then the government’s policy should be designed to put people to work in this province. I don’t think it’s proper that their only responsibility seems to be to keep the corporate and business world healthy so they don’t hurt.

As far as I’m concerned, the Treasurer’s position was a copout and a darned cheap shot at the unemployed of this province. When one listens and follows the government’s action to deal with an economic downturn in the community, as we heard in the Throne Speech, we can clearly see how out of touch with reality and how rigid this government and this party have become. Over the last six years, the consistent approach has been to prime the business pump. Tax credits, sales tax exemptions on machinery; all, we’re told, to create employment. Yet just as consistently we see unemployment climb from 140,000 in 1971 to 316,000 this year -- just about the highest in the province’s history. Sometimes I get the feeling that to the Tories they’re only numbers.

Surely the approximately $1.15 billion that we’ve pumped into these kind of incentives since 1971 could have produced a significant number of jobs in housing, in forest regeneration, environmental clean-up and the funding of secondary manufacturing facilities in our resource sector; or the highly job-intensive services to people, particularly the infirm and the mentally retarded.

I’m always a little amused at this government’s total commitment to private enterprise, without borrowing some of their practices at least. What’s wrong, for example, with requiring a little equity for government moneys or tax concessions to the business community? It makes sense to the business. Can any one of you see business, any business enterprise, lending money to another firm without requiring some security, some equity, for their money? I don’t think so, and I wonder why it doesn’t make sense to this government.

Why not demand jobs in return for the incentives? Why not develop our manufacturing potential in the resource field? Why does the loss of ownership and control, to say nothing of the drain of profits that goes with foreign ownership and the export of raw materials, hold such a fascination for the Conservative Party? I’ve never been able to understand it.

We used to can almost 80 per cent of our own peaches in the province of Ontario; now I understand we’re down to about 22 per cent. I wonder, does the resulting loss of jobs, the disappearing tender fruit land, the additional drain of dollars to purchase imports, make any business sense at all? Are we not, literally, hocking the future of this province?

The Throne Speech gives no real encouragement to the need for waste reclamation or recycling plants and collection centres in this province. The government is willing to move immediately to ban non-returnable bottles and increase unemployment in difficult times, yet is not willing to move at the same time to set up the recycling plants and collection centres that are necessary to conserve our waste products. Spokesmen for the glass industry tell me that they could use four to five times the amount of waste glass they’re presently getting. Seed money in this area could produce positive and multiplying results in the near future.

Over the past 10 to 20 years, the trend in the private manufacturing sector has been toward less jobs. At the same time we have a substantial increase in service and public sector jobs. But once again the approach of this government is to cut back in the area of social services. Its inflexible rigidity really shows in its dealings with the unemployment problem by cutbacks in labour-intensive public sector jobs. The myth of Tory competence becomes obvious through their inability to tackle the real problems of how we distribute the wealth of this province and the fruits of our production in a way that’s a heck of a lot fairer to all of the people.


Why does the Throne Speech fail to deal with another major concern of our constituents, the constant struggle of the older people and the people with homes to make ends meet? How do they pay their taxes and meet major cost increases, like energy and utilities? For pensioners and those on fixed incomes, major increases added to the cost of the nickel-and-diming-to-death they’re getting through increases in costs are really starting to hurt. Those trying to buy or to hang onto and maintain their homes still don’t know where they stand with regard to property taxes.

In Hamilton they still wonder at the duplication of services still too obvious in regional government. Government cutbacks in social services undermine the support programs, the meals-on-wheels, the housekeeping, et cetera, needed to keep pensioners in their homes and out of the institutional and nursing homes.

Where are the homes for the low-income and large families? They are in such short supply. How many Throne Speeches in this province have promised this kind of additional housing. And what’s the situation? In Hamilton, as of January 31, we had registered -- and they had updated the cheques -- at a meeting of the Hamilton Housing Authority 720 applications for large low-income family homes. What did we have under construction? We had 57, plus 131 rent subsidy. There was a waiting list of six months even to get one’s name on the list for one of these homes.

When it comes to the rent review legislation, most of us looked upon that as a chance, something that might really assist some of the people in the apartments. I think some of the increases that were applied for and were granted were too large, but at least the 20 per cent increases that were applied for in my riding -- and I give credit to some of the rent review officers -- were rolled back to 10 or 12 per cent. But what happened? All the bad landlords in all of the real problem buildings we found went to the appeal board. The appeal board in almost every single case raised the increases back to within a dollar of what had originally been granted, and as you know, Mr. Speaker, there is no appeal to the appeal board.

Mr. Martel: Thirty-two per cent.

Mr. Shore: Do you want an appeal to the appeal board? Is that what you want?

Mr. Mackenzie: I think the minister has allowed his biases to show and has deliberately undermined this government’s own programme.

Mr. Shore: Who wrote that for you?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Hamilton East has the floor.

Mr. Mackenzie: The HOME programme has to be another example of this government’s total ideological rigidity. Land costs, along with interest, are the major components in housing costs. This government is clearly on record as supporting the private market price.

HOME lots must go on the market at the market price to protect the private sector. Now that we’re selling off the land across the province, the price is total market price. The government says with pride, and I heard them in this House the other day, we should be able to make a buck. Mr. Speaker, I say to you not at the expense of inflated housing prices to people in the province of Ontario, and not if it’s simply designed to shore up and guarantee the speculator’s profit in the province of Ontario.

Mr. Martel: That’s what it’s all about.

Mr. Mackenzie: Another issue which this government runs from is the problem of disappearing farm land. I want you to know, Mr. Speaker, that it’s an issue that greatly concerns thoughtful city dwellers as well as the farmers in our province. Furthermore, there’s an understanding that surprises you, when you get around, of the need to make provisions for the farmer and the equity he has built up in that farm when we talk about disappearing agricultural land. Once again, rather than address itself to that question so that we can get the co-operation of all in taking action to preserve our farm land, this government hides its head in the sand. It would be hard to convince any of my constituents that there is any such thing as a Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations involved in consumer protection, whether it is jumps in automobile insurance costs from those friendly companies which want to free private enterprise so they can charge even more --

Mr. Martel: They want to free the vultures.

Mr. Mackenzie: -- or whether it’s the diabetic who has just had his made-in-Canada Connaught Laboratories insulin vial jump from $3.60 to $4.60. So much for price controls in this province.

In the east end of Hamilton there has long been a need for some type of community hospital. The case was well argued and documented by my predecessor in this House, Reg Gisborn. My colleague, the member for Wentworth (Mr. Deans) has continued the request. A previous Minister of Health in this House, a member of the Tory government, accepted the need and promised action in this field. What does this government do? It refers it to the health council for the umpteenth study. That’s really progress; one step forward and three back.

My colleague the member for Hamilton Centre (Mr. Davison) cites a blatant consumer ripoff by some of the income tax sharpies, and the minister responsible said it is not his responsibility. The Solicitor General (Mr. MacBeth) makes a big thing of banning Sunday shopping and then does nothing as loopholes in the law are exploited and the law is made to look like an ass.

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing to indicate improvement in the labour relations field in this province. Surely all of us recognize the need for improvement in the labour management sector if we are to improve production and better our chances on world markets.

Hon. B. Stephenson: How wrong can you be?

Mr. Mackenzie: And yes, I think the minister should not be quite so defensive. She seems to think she’s the only one who has the answers and it’s funny she’s not relating with the rest of the people.

Mr. Shore: Who wrote it for you?


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Mackenzie: The labour minister announced plans for new safety and health legislation, and in the first couple of weeks that we had the legislation the unions required mediation to find out if the bill really means what it says.

Hon. B. Stephenson: In one local.

Mr. Shore: Let whoever wrote it for you read it.

Mr. Mackenzie: Bargaining in good faith in this province -- it’s not just one local, Madam Minister.

Mr. Wildman: The Sault Ste. Marie local has the same problem.

Mr. Mackenzie: Bargaining in good faith continues to be a joke in labour circles and no amount of abuse brings any government initiative to improve the situation. As one example, let me cite the cement, lime and gypsum workers at the quarry in Aberfoyle.


Mr. Martel: You’re too loud, you’re going to wake some people up. You might learn something, Margaret.

Mr. Mackenzie: Nine months out of work, these 12 decent honest local citizens; the minister should go and talk to them. They made a desperate effort to achieve a first contract, trying for some continuity in their jobs so that they’re not out of work as people are brought in from other areas in certain seasons of the year.

The issue is plain -- job protection, union security, a first contract. Wages aren’t even the issue. And what happens? We see a private security firm from Quebec come in, escort the scabs through the picket lines and work to break that strike after nine months.

Hon. B. Stephenson: We have one of the best mediators in Canada on that job right now; one of the best.

Mr. Mackenzie: There are very few things as despicable, Madam Minister, as a scab.

Mr. Conway: You will just have to resign.

Hon. B. Stephenson: No way; and let him take over?

Mr. Mackenzie: Stealing a man’s job is about the lowest form --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The member for Hamilton East has the floor.

Mr. Conway: Let Marvin take over.

Mr. Mackenzie: The examples I could go on to in this area are legion.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Oh no they are not.

Mr. Mackenzie: But I have to make one comment here. We talk about the efficiency of private enterprise. I wonder how one explains a group of strikebreakers, to begin with, at higher pay; plus eight outside security people brought in -- boarded, and on long shifts escorting people in and out of that plant -- from the province of Quebec; all to take away the jobs or break a union of 12 decent men. The costs on it just don’t work out.

Mr. Shore: You’ve got to watch Quebeckers.

Mr. Mackenzie: We move to runaway plants, and I don’t have the time -- my time is nearly over -- there are a number of them that I could deal with in this province --

Mr. Wildman: The member for London North is the Evel Knievel of the Legislature.

Mr. Mackenzie: They are current situations in runaway plants. The Ajax plastics plant is only one example where the workers are losing their benefits and their built-up seniority and pension plans over the years. Delays, costs and frustrations resulting from the current arbitration and conciliation procedures have been outlined for this government for years. Once again, there has been virtual inaction up to this point.

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the Workmen’s Compensation Board we do have a disaster. I don’t have time to go into it, but I’m sure we will get into that in this House. Most MPPs are loaded down with cases, virtually turned into social workers rather than legislators. I have over 175 cases myself in this field and I’ve turned an awful lot of them back to the unions.

Many claimants are forced onto municipal welfare rolls due to delays in receiving their money from the board. I’ve had to intercede with the local welfare authorities myself to try and get welfare while we argued about what’s happening. And I want to make it clear that I’m talking about legitimate claims.

Mr. Shore: Certainly.

Mr. Mackenzie: There is a management problem; there’s an administration problem; paper work abounds. Delays, lost files, inadequate rehab programmes, are daily problems of the members. The minister’s response seems to be petulant, arrogant defiance. She certainly doesn’t admit there’s anything wrong with the board and she says in effect the problem does not exist: “If you have problems, just give them to me.”

After hearing some of the answers from the minister, I want to tell her I wouldn’t turn over a single one of my cases to her; I wouldn’t trust the results.

Hon. B. Stephenson: I wouldn’t turn over a dog fight to you.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Here, here now.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The point about trusting a minister, that’s getting unparliamentary.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Martel: What point of order have you got?

Hon. Mr. Welch: That language is unfortunate.

A hon. member: The member for Sudbury East wouldn’t know the difference.

An hon. member: Throw him out.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Martel: Well, maybe you should have been in here when the minister made her speech and her remarks about the opposition.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Members can make points without impugning the character of the minister.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Will the hon. minister and the member take their seats.

Mr. Shore: How are you feeling, Elie, all right?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. May I just point out that I did not hear what remarks were made because I was otherwise engaged.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Shame.

Mr. Martel: Shame? Read her speech.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member is over the time which was allotted to him.

Mr. Shore: He hasn’t got anything to say; it doesn’t matter.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. It was my understanding that the time left was supposed to be used by this member but I understand now there is also another member who would like to make a contribution for two or three minutes if you would bring your remarks to a close.

Mr. Martel: Well, the government House leader came in here and interfered.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Right is right.

Mr. Mackenzie: Really, I would not turn one of my cases over to that minister.

An hon. member: Throw him out!

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We are wasting valuable time.

Mr. Mackenzie: The people of Ontario are looking for some positive and innovative leadership. They want a government that will respond to their needs in this province. People don’t want a radical revolution. They are not interested in ideological dogma. They do want a government of common sense. They want nothing more than a fair and honest break. The Tories in this province seem incapable of such fair and honest government, and probably the sooner they go to the people the better.

Mr. Good: There are two short items pertaining to budget paper E and the Blair commission’s report that I would like to make reference to, Mr. Speaker.

First, I feel that non-profit and charitable organizations which properly qualify under a laid-down standard of rules should be exempt from property tax. The proposal to remove this exemption will only serve to erode the viability of the voluntary sector. Voluntary organizations play a valuable and irreplaceable role in community life, helping people to help themselves, fostering and supporting an attitude of self-reliance and of community spirit. If these organizations are subject to property tax, much of the time and energy volunteers now devote directly to community services will have to be diverted to fundraising activities. This is not only a waste of valuable human resources, but it may also serve to erode the base of volunteer support, as many feel they will no longer be working to provide services but to pay taxes.

Services that will have to be curtailed by voluntary organizations will to some extent have to be replaced by government. Government activity is unlikely to cover the same range of services and will most certainly cost the taxpayers more than the cost of preserving the tax exemption. But, perhaps most important, government intervention will undermine the vital sense of community participation and self-determination.

The government proposals suggest that the municipality could then decide which, if any, of these organizations should receive grants to help to offset their municipal taxes. Under the proposals, certain properties would be reclassified. Because of this, non-profit organizations such as the YMCA, YWCA, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides and the Rotary Crippled Children’s Centre would pay taxes on 100 per cent of market value, while those non-profit organizations such as Huronia Hall and Senior Citizens Home Apartments would pay 50 per cent.

A recent study has indicated that charitable organizations without completely offsetting rents would have a negative consequence. The proposal would stifle the development and growth of non-profit organizations, and community spirit and unity would be dampened. The study foresaw the elimination of non-profit agencies and the replacement of these services by government or the private sector. Assistance of some kind is seen as necessary, this study has suggested, and municipal grants equal to taxation would eliminate the problem. I am sure it would, Mr. Speaker, however, we have no guarantee that municipal councils or the exemption review committee, as proposed by the Blair commission, would come to an agreement that all currently exempt charitable organizations should receive grants or that they were offering valuable service.

I think the present system of exemption from property tax is much simpler and is not open to political interference. The exemption of these properties does, in fact, mean that their tax load is paid by the community at large. A small price, I say; and I suggest it be shared by all residents of the community.

Mr. Speaker: May I point out to the hon. member that it is 6 o’clock?

Mr. Good: I’m sorry. My watch must be in error. Thank you.

The House recessed at 6 p.m.