30th Parliament, 4th Session

L020 - Fri 22 Apr 1977 / Ven 22 avr 1977

The House met at 10 a.m.



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

Mr. Speaker: By her own hand, Pauline M. McGibbon, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor, transmits estimates of certain sums required for the services of the province for the year ending March 31, 1978, and recommends them to the Legislative Assembly, Toronto, April 22, 1977.



Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Today’s Globe and Mail article concerning the payment of a home buyers grant to Mrs. Otto Jelinek gives the misleading impression that the ministry was uneven in its treatment of this case and in particular that the Jelineks were inconvenienced because the ministry “had second thoughts” and asked for repayment of the grant after having approved Mrs. Jelinek’s application in the first place.

I should like to correct the Globe’s story by setting out the relevant details of the chronology of our investigation of Mrs. Jelinek’s application and the reasons for disallowing the grant. These are outlined in a letter sent by the Ministry of Revenue’s director of legal services to Mrs. Leata Jelinek on December 1, 1976, which reads in part as follows:

“Dear Madam:

“In the summer of 1975 you submitted to this ministry an application for a grant under The Ontario Home Buyers Grant Act, 1975. The application was dated June 25, 1975 and was made with respect to your purchase of a home at RR 2, Carp, Ontario, and contained your signed statement that neither you nor your spouse had previously owned a housing unit that either of you had inhabited as a principal residence. The grant applied for was paid on the strength of the information provided in the application and the certification made as to the veracity of those statements.

“In the fall of 1975, it came to our attention that your husband had for some time prior to April 8, 1975, owned a proposed condominium unit at 60 Southport Road in the city of Toronto. No reference to this housing unit was made in your application.

“On December 12, 1975, Mr. Charles Calarco of our ministry’s special investigation branch interviewed both you and your husband in Ottawa to determine from you the facts concerning the Southport Road unit. The information given to Mr. Calarco by your husband at that time was that the Southport property had not been resided in by your husband as his principal residence, but had been rented out to tenants, and that your husband had used the property only during the election campaigns in 1972 and 1974.

“On the strength of the information we obtained, we concluded that the Southport Road property had not been resided in by your husband as his principal residence and that, therefore, his ownership of that property did not disqualify you from the grant that had been paid to you.

“Although the matter of previous ownership of proposed condominium property, and the matter of residence in such property as a principal residence was under discussion in the interview with Mr. Calarco, no mention was made by either you or your husband of ownership of, or residence in, unit 73, level 1 at 1532A Beaverpond Drive in the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton. During our post-audit review of the home buyer grants programme, the existence of, and your husband’s interest in, the Beaverpond Drive property came to our attention and has been investigated.

“Our information with respect to this property is as follows:

“1. An agreement of purchase and sale of the Beaverpond Drive property was entered into in October, 1973, by your husband and Home Smith Properties Limited.

“2. Interim closing of the purchase of this proposed condominium unit took place on October 15, 1973, and you and your husband occupied the property together soon thereafter. The purchase price was approximately $34,000, most of which was provided by your husband’s agreement to assume a mortgage on the property.

“3. Since the proposed condominium unit was not registered under The Condominium Act at the time of the interim closing in October, 1973, your husband paid occupation rent to the owners of the proposed unit from November 1, 1973, as provided in the agreement of purchase and sale.

“4. Shortly before your marriage to your husband in 1974, he directed that title to the Beaverpond Drive property be taken in your name.

“5. Shortly after taking possession of the property, disputes arose about repairs to be made. Certain repairs were effected by the developer in January, 1975, and you executed a document indicating that these repairs had been performed.

“6. You and your husband continued to live in the Beaverpond Drive property until some time in May, 1975, when you gave up possession. At about the same time, your husband was negotiating the purchase of the Carp property with respect to which you subsequently applied for a home buyers grant; and

“7. In June, 1975, your husband issued a writ against Home Smith Properties Limited claiming damages for injury to certain of his property kept on the premises during the occupation of them. Section 1A of The Ontario Home Buyers Act, 1975, defines a housing unit to include: ‘A proposed unit within the meaning of The Condominium Act and a unit in the building of a co-operative housing corporation.’”

And the next few paragraphs outline further details of the Act, Mr. Speaker. The letter continues:

“On the basis of the foregoing information, your husband, Otto Jelinek, owned, within the context of The Ontario Home Buyers Grant Act, a proposed condominium unit at 1532A Beaverpond Drive prior to April 8, 1975. Had you raised the matter of the Beaverpond Drive property with Mr. Calarco at your interview with him in December, 1975, we would have been able to explain to you your disqualification from entitlement to the grant more fully at that time.

“On behalf of the Ministry of Revenue, I request that you immediately repay to the province of Ontario the sum of $1,000 improperly paid to you under The Ontario Home Buyers Grant Act, 1975, and that such payment be made within 10 days from your receipt of this letter. If payment is not made the province will be obliged to take action in the appropriate court to recover the grant improperly paid and applied for.”


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: “I trust that such action will not be necessary.”

To conclude, Mr. Speaker, I think these details clearly demonstrate that the ministry acted properly and as quickly as possible in dealing with this case, once it became aware of Mr. Jelinek’s previous ownership of the property at Southport Road, Toronto, and particularly of the Beaver Farm property in Ottawa. Had the Jelineks informed us of their ownership of these properties, the grant would have been denied in the first instance.

Mr. Bullbrook: That’s right; you were misled.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Mr. Jelinek came to the ministry on December 15, 1976 and repaid the grant as had been requested in the letter. He stressed that he did not have any intention to defraud the government or to do anything wrong, but only to obtain what he thought he was entitled to.


Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I want to inform the House of steps being taken in response to the decision made yesterday in the Supreme Court of Ontario with respect to the placement of juveniles in group homes.

First, let me assure you, Mr. Speaker, that it is a priority of mine, of my ministry and the government, to ensure the continued well-being of children receiving care and treatment in group homes, both in those homes directly affected by the decision and in homes across the province. While the decision may not affect existing orders of the family court, other than those in issue in the specific case, it does raise important questions regarding the placement of children coming before the court.

I have asked the administrators in the municipalities that no precipitous action be taken that would disturb the placement of these children without consultation with officials of my ministry. I requested their co-operation and commitment to ensure that these children will continue to receive the proper care that they require.

My staff is in the process of setting up a meeting as soon as possible with representatives of the agencies and group homes involved for consultation and discussion. As well, I have been in consultation with the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) with regard to the legal implications of the decision.

The decision in the Supreme Court focuses on the issue of funding for the costs of placing juveniles in group homes, a matter that has been of continuing concern to my ministry.

Mrs. Campbell: When does it start?

Hon. Mr. Norton: This concern was reflected in a step announced last week by the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch) and myself. That step was a commitment made by this government to reimburse municipalities for 50 per cent of the costs of juveniles in group homes, those committed by the courts, for the fiscal year 1976-77. Moreover, I would reiterate that the decision to create the division for special services for children and youth was made in order to enable the government to deal with such matters effectively in a comprehensive manner.

I will be continuing to deal with this matter, Mr. Speaker, and in the course of doing so I will keep the House informed of the progress.



Mr. Lewis: May I begin, Mr. Speaker, by asking the Minister of Community and Social Services a question on another matter, reminding him of his driving social conscience to which the press has alluded in previous articles? How does he possibly justify an announced increase of eight per cent to cover literally two years of delay for GWA and FBA recipients, that, is roughly four per cent a year, when he knows that their shelter costs alone in many instances have gone up three and four times that amount; that the cost of living in that period has gone up twice that amount; and that these are the most vulnerable groups and families in the entire province? Why was it necessary to submit to that punishing level at this point in time?

Hon. Mr. Norton: First of all, Mr. Speaker, I would take exception to the implication that this is a punishing level of increase.

Mr. Lewis: It’s four per cent.


Hon. Mr. Norton: I would agree that had the resources been available to us that we might well have considered a greater increase in view of the events of the past two years. However, I wish to point out to the hon. Leader of the Opposition that with this increase -- and I think it’s important to bear in mind that in addition to the specific level of support there are a number of areas in which there is 100 per cent coverage of such essential matters as the medical coverage for the recipients -- we do, in fact, pay not only the allotted amount for heating costs, for example, but will pay the full amount of heating costs and we are presently working on a system to try to do that on a monthly basis where there would be a lag of no more than a month in the payment rather than the present system. But in addition to that, I think if the members look at the level of income support in this province by comparison with other provinces that we fare very well; in fact in the case of family support we rank in several categories second only to the province of Alberta and in some other areas we rank third or fourth.

In any event, I think the level of support that has been determined for the ensuing fiscal year is one which will ensure that the residents of this province who are in need of this kind of support will be able to live without the threat of being below the poverty line.

Mr. Lewis: Significantly below.

Hon. Mr. Norton: And I would also point out, Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Cassidy: You should resign.


Hon. Mr. Norton: -- that those people who are in a situation where the --

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

Hon. Mr. Norton: -- allotment does not cover adequately their shelter costs -- if, for example, they are in a situation where they are paying exorbitant shelter costs -- that we do have under the general welfare assistance programme in this province --

Mr. Martel: Try to get it.

Mr. Renwick: Yes, try to get it.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Norton: -- assistance whereby that may be supplemented so as to assist them and I can assure you that no one in this province need go without the necessaries and we will ensure that. I believe that this --

Mr. Warner: You inherited all James Taylor’s speeches.

Hon. Mr. Norton: -- increased percentage of support will also go towards ensuring that.

Mr. McClellan: Supplementary: Is it not a fact, Mr. Speaker, that in the last fiscal year the ministry was underspent in its social assistance budget by some $31 million and that had it put that into an immediate increase it would have amounted to something in the order of a nine per cent increase anyway?

Ms. Gigantes: Shame!

Mr. Lewis: That’s what happened. You held it back and you got away with it.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Norton: That is not true. I am just looking for the precise figure of the total amount of this increase. In fact I believe that the eight per cent constitutes a commitment for an increase of almost $50 million in income support programmes in the province of Ontario --

Mr. Laughren: You are toeing the line.

Hon. Mr. Norton: -- so what has been suggested would not be true.

In specific response, I don’t know the precise figure of what excess may have remained at the end of the year. I would point out that especially in areas such as this where there is an element of projection and prediction involved in determining the budget for the period of the fiscal year that it is not uncommon that there would be some excess at the end of the year. It is difficult to predict levels of unemployment, to predict the circumstances in the economy that might lead more persons in our community to require this kind of assistance. To take the step without having predicted what the costs into the future would be and what the needs of the individuals into the future would be, simply dumping excesses as you have suggested I think would be irresponsible. I think one has to plan for these --

Mr. Lewis: Dumping? Dumping? You gave them nothing.


Mr. Speaker: Order. Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Norton: What was suggested is that whatever excess there was at the end of the year should have immediately been applied.

Mr. Lewis: Sure. Well, you gave them nothing last year.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I suggest that to do that without adequate planning and without consideration of what the future fiscal commitment might be, would be irresponsible.

Mr. Warner: Just like his predecessor.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Would the minister not agree, Mr. Speaker, that since we are dealing with people who are living at what is agreed to be a subsistence level in our society -- and we have come through a very difficult winter and a couple of years of dreadful inflation in this country -- that the very least he could do is introduce this eight per cent increase starting April 1 and not have to drag it out until July? It is a great hardship on these people. Why not start the thing now and at least give them some hope?

Hon. Mr. Norton: As the hon. member I am sure is well aware, there is a time lag out of necessity between the actual decision and the implementation of this because of the problems that are faced in terms of processing the changes in cheques, for example. As it is, my ministry processes something like 28,000 changes per month in these programmes.

Mr. Lewis: Tax write-offs for corporations take effect immediately.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Norton: The earliest that we can possibly do it is by the dates that have been suggested.

Mr. Cassidy: You can back-date the cheques.

Hon. Mr. Norton: The reason for the two separate dates, in terms of June for family benefits and GAINS D and July for general assistance, is so that the cheques will in fact go out at the same time, since one is paid at the end of the month and the other at the beginning of the month.

Mr. Martel: Supplementary: Does the eight per cent apply to everyone? It hasn’t in the past six years to my knowledge. How can the minister continue to argue, as he did recently in correspondence with me, that indexing, or periodic adjustments rather, are better than indexing because it’s fairer, when in fact the cost of living has probably gone up 16 per cent and the ministry has only given eight per cent for almost a two-year period? Only indexing will prevent that.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I’m sorry, would the hon. member repeat the first part of his question?

Mr. Martel: Does the eight per cent apply to everyone on GWA and FBA, since it hasn’t in the past six years?

Hon. Mr. Norton: The eight per cent will apply at the maximum rates --

Mr. Lewis: What?

Mr. Laughren: You are too much.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Norton: As a result of that, those persons who have some other source of income, and therefore may not be receiving the maximum rate, will receive more than eight per cent.

In other words, someone, for example, who is receiving less -- say their total entitlement might be in the neighbourhood, just as an arbitrary figure $200, and they have supplementary income of $100 --

Mr. Lewis: That’s not the poverty level, of course.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I’m just using these hypothetical figures and I’m sure the hon. member realizes that.

The increase to the person receiving the $100 supplement to the other sources of income, would in fact be more than eight per cent because the increase would constitute more than eight per cent of the $100.

Mr. Martel: It would be under $300.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I beg your pardon?

Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. member for Kitchener-Wilmot have a supplementary?

Mr. Martel: Would the minister answer the second part of the question?

Hon. Mr. Norton: With respect to the second part of the question, Mr. Speaker, I can say that it is still the policy of this government that the fairest and most flexible way in which --

Mr. Laughren: Fairest?

Hon. Mr. Norton: -- to approach these increases is by periodic review --

Mr. Lewis: Is four per cent a year!

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Norton: -- as opposed to a fixed indexing.

Mr. Martel: That’s nonsense, you’ve just shafted them.

Mr. Lewis: Boy, are you a generous guy.

Mr. Ferrier: Just like that guy on your left.

Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary: Specifically, will this increase apply to those people who are on Ontario pensions, such as permanently unemployable or permanently disabled; and secondly, will the recognition on the ministry’s part that an increase is needed also lead to the discontinuance of the practice of deducting from someone on an Ontario pension the amount that the spouse gets on a federal pension?

Hon. Mr. Norton: The answer to the first part of the member’s question is yes, it will apply to those persons to whom he refers.

With respect to the second, that is not something, as I am advised, that we can arbitrarily deal with. The agreements that we have with the federal government with respect to income support require that the income support level be established and that where other sources of income increase, including federally-funded programmes, that adjustments be made so as to maintain that level of income support.

As I understand it, it is not something where we can say that if there is an increase in their federal pension we can ignore that at the provincial level. I can assure the member it’s something I have been concerned about and am checking into.

Mr. Swart: Supplementary: The minister will be aware that at the present time permanent disability Workmen’s Compensation Board payments are deducted from the amount given in general welfare. In view of the miserly increase that has been given, would the minister be prepared to give consideration to giving the same kind of exemption on moneys received from Workmen’s Compensation Board as now given for moneys received from labour, namely the $50 and the $100 a month?

Hon Mr. Norton: I am sorry, I am not sure that I understand the question. Could the member restate it, please?

Mr. Lewis: Ask Jim Taylor, he will be helpful.

Mr. Swart: Perhaps I can explain it a little more fully. The employables, those on welfare now, are permitted to make $50 a month if they’re single or $100 a month if they’re married, and that amount of money is not deducted from the welfare payments. However, everything that a person gets from Workmen’s Compensation Board is deducted. Would the minister be prepared to give consideration to treating that money from Workmen’s Compensation Board the same as if it were money earned?

Hon. Mr. Norton: I would certainly be prepared to consider that, provided there are no legal constraints that would prevent me from doing so.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Kitchener-Wilmot -- a final supplementary on this for now.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, coming back to the minister’s response to the second part of my question: Surely the minister, realizes that the practice that he described means that a couple gets no increase at all. That’s what we’re asking him to discontinue. Would he please respond to that?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We are not debating answers. Is there a supplementary?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Yes, I understood the thrust of the member’s question, and I trust that he understood the thrust of my response. I think we have to bear in mind that there is new legislation at least in the drafting stage at the federal level with respect to social assistance, and I would hope that --

Mr. Good: Get Jack Horner to speed it up.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Well, that isn’t our legislation, that’s federal legislation. Yes, now that Jack Horner has joined the ranks he may speed things up a little bit. I would hope that that might allow us that added flexibility, although I caution the member that we are concerned there may be tighter restraints upon us with respect to those arrangements.


Mr. Lewis: May I ask a question of tie designated Minister for Northern Affairs?


Mr. Lewis: I think that’s the exact description.

Did he notice that his colleague, the Minister of the Environment, had indicated in response to questions a day or two ago that fishing might have to be cancelled entirely in various lakes because of the levels of some contaminants and pollutants in Ontario? In view of his previous portfolio and the present one, has he discussed that with him, and what are his own personal views, and so forth?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I can only say that I have discussed this with the hon. minister and he tells me that the press reports were not entirely correct. He might want to direct the question to him to clarify it.

Mr. S. Smith: That really helped the other day, I’ll tell you.

Mr. Lewis: I don’t want to redirect, Mr. Speaker. Instead I’ll ask the Minister of Northern Affairs a supplementary.

How much further has the cabinet submission document which went out under his name on July 27, 1976, dealing with the proposed provincial policy for sport fish and land management when sport fish are known to contain contaminants and the various implications for angling across the province, and the various findings he made, and his interesting recommendation -- how much further has all of that cabinet document gone to the finalization of policy?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: If my memory serves me correctly, I believe that the information package to which the member is referring has recently come before the CCRD just last week, so it will be moving up to cabinet for finalization. I think the deadline for the presentation to the public of that information package, dealing with all the lakes in northern Ontario -- in the province, in fact -- should be about the end of June. So it is moving ahead. It will be a totally comprehensive information package in regard to contaminants, be it mercury, PCBs, or Mirex.

Mr. Lewis: By way of one quick final supplementary: The minister will recall that he made certain specific recommendations about angling in this document and where it would be permitted. He was prepared to let it be permitted anywhere, even if there were known contaminants. But to what extent has that proceeded?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I would like to check on that, Mr. Speaker. I believe it did get through the cabinet committee. As to where it stands now -- it went out with my old portfolio, but I can check on it.

Mr. Foulds: How much effect has the presentation of the Northwestern Ontario Chamber’s of Commerce recommendation that the English Wabigoon River system be fished out by the Indians and the fish sold to foreign enterprises affected the process of the minister’s recommendation in this document?


Hon. W. Newman: He didn’t say that at all.

Mr. Laughren: Put your campaign manager to work.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I can report to you that while that particular suggestion might not be received in this area as well as it would be received in northern Ontario, one of the bands is seriously looking at the idea because of its desire --

Mr. Lewis: You are seriously looking at it?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, they are --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- because of the employment opportunities that would be generated.

Mr. S. Smith: The poison export business.

Mr. Lewis: To sell contaminated fish abroad.

Mr. S. Smith: You will become mercury exporters.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I think the member is just taking it out of context completely. He didn’t understand the whole presentation. I’ll forgive him for that.

An hon. member: Don’t go out of your way.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: But the chamber of commerce did indicate to us at that time that it would be submitting it to us in a formal way. To my knowledge, I don’t think it has been received as yet.


Mr. S. Smith: I’d like to direct a question, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of the Environment regarding the guidelines for sewage sludge utilization on agricultural land. Could he indicate to the House whether these guidelines will be adopted soon and whether he’ll release the report prepared by the pollution control section of his ministry entitled, Assessment of the Impact in Implementing the Provisional Guidelines for Sewage Sludge Utilization on Agricultural Land? I ask this question in view of the fact that a number of heavy metals and other toxins are alleged to be in sewage sludge that is used at present on agricultural land.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Yes, Mr. Speaker, there is an interministerial committee now assessing the report of my ministry in respect to implementing these guidelines. The report isn’t completed as yet, nor has the interministerial committee formally reported on the in-house report, shall we say. However, in the meantime the guidelines are being applied in the province to those areas where there is sludge removal, particularly where removal is by private contractors from plants and the sludge is being disposed of in different disposal sites -- for example, North Bay. As soon as the guidelines have been formally accepted and adopted, that report will be available to the public.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, does the minister admit that these guidelines have been in final draft form since at least a year ago, that 63.2 per cent of the sewage sludge in the province is being used on agricultural land, and that an examination of 54 plants has indicated only 19 that would be acceptable under these guidelines? Why the delay? Surely the dangers to human health are sufficient to alarm the minister into somewhat quicker action.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: There is no delay whatsoever. As I say, the guidelines are being used now. Even at this preliminary stage they are being applied to the haulage and disposal of sludge from our various sewage treatment plants. This is an ongoing study involving an interministerial committee and with representatives from the University of Guelph, for example, where the whole study started in the first place. As far as the report is concerned, that report will be released when the actual report is completed and it is updated as a result of the study and the comments of the interministerial committee. But in the meantime the guidelines are being applied

Mr. S. Smith: Just to be clear about this, on a supplementary; it’s really a point of clarification. Is the minister saying all sewage sludge in Ontario now being applied to agricultural land falls within the guidelines of that report?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: That is what we are implementing right now, yes. I’m not saying the guidelines are being applied to every haulage contract, for example, or the actual process of haulage from the various plants. But this is being done on an ongoing basis and we hope within a very short time that every plant will be adhering to these guidelines.

Mr. Kerrio: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister aware that in other jurisdictions where the sludge is used on agricultural lands, mainly the state of Wisconsin, there are now significant signs of polychlorinated biphenols showing up in the milk from cattle grazing on that land?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, I know that PCBs have been a part of the problem as far as sludge disposal is concerned, yes. That’s one of the reasons we’re applying the guidelines.

Mr. S. Smith: I wonder if I could ask a quick supplementary: The minister says he is trying to implement things and so on. I would like confirmation of this. Is it a fact that on some land tested where this sludge is being used as much as six times the limit of cadmium as the guidelines propose is presently being found? And since at the moment 63 per cent of the sewage sludge is going on to agricultural land without control, what percentage today -- right now -- is going on without control? That is what I want to know.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I will get that information. I question whether 63 per cent is actually going on agricultural land. Much of this sludge is being disposed of on land owned by the hauler. The land is not used for agricultural purposes. But I will get that particular figure for the hon. member.


Mr. S. Smith: A question to the Minister of Transportation and Communications. Can the minister confirm reports which suggest that the Urban Transportation Development Corporation made a mortgage loan of something over $85,000 at five per cent interest to a former vice-president as part of his benefits package? What I would like to know, if he can confirm that, is whether that is the normal practice of government agencies? Could he tell us what the salary of the individual was?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I can confirm that a mortgage loan was made available for one employee of the Urban Transportation Development Corporation to accommodate getting the services of that particular individual for the corporation. That individual is no longer with the corporation. The mortgage loan was shown in the annual Auditor’s statement that I tabled in the House several months ago. That loan is no longer on the books. It was paid back to the corporation when the employee left UTDC. I cannot tell the member what the salary of that individual was, but I can find that out if he would like.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of brief supplementary --

Hon. Mr. Snow: If I could explain; I don’t think I had fully answered the question. It is not the policy of the corporation to carry out this practice. It was an individual situation. As soon as I saw the matter myself, I inquired into it and wanted all the details.

Mr. S. Smith: Basically, I just was going to ask the minister by way of supplementary, whether he has taken steps to be sure that this is not happening in that particular agency. Considering the Auditor’s concerns about UTDC generally, the test track programme, supplementary estimates and the Auditor’s allegations regarding certain deferred expenses, is the minister intending to give a full and complete statement to this House on the state of UTDC finances and management?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I expect we will be fully discussing that matter when we come to the estimates of my ministry. I hadn’t planned on any statement, but if there is any specific information that the hon. member wants I would be pleased to get it.

Mr. Bullbrook: By way of supplementary, perhaps it was overlooked but the minister didn’t respond to my leader. Was the mortgage lent at a rate of five per cent? If so, was that part of the incentive package? If it was part of the incentive package, does the minister think that is appropriate?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Off-hand I can’t tell the member what the interest rate on that particular mortgage was. It was a year, or at least many months, ago that I looked into it.

Mr. Bullbrook: When the rate was 12 per cent.

Hon. Mr. Snow: It was part of an accommodation for this individual whose services the corporation wanted to get and this arrangement was made. As I say, the mortgage has been repaid. I can get the full details on it and table them, if the member would like me to.

Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: I don’t pretend to have known anything of this until it was raised, but curiosity prompts me to ask a question. Perhaps the minister could tell us, when he is answering these other specific details, what caused the termination with UTDC of this individual, since obviously it does call into question the judgement of UTDC that they should arrange such an extraordinary accommodation -- double entendre meant -- for this man, and then find him no longer in their service a few months later?


Hon. Mr. Snow: I can’t tell the hon. member how many months this individual was with the corporation. I believe he was a very highly qualified individual who had been with --

Mr. Lewis: Krauss-Maffei in Germany.

Hon. Mr. Snow: No. He had been with the space research organization --

Mr. Lewis: With NASA? You would pay mortgages to former employees of NASA? You are --


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

Hon. Mr. Snow: The hon. member says how extraordinary this situation is.

Mr. Lewis: I certainly do.

Hon. Mr. Snow: I don’t think it is particularly extraordinary at all. Many major corporations, when they transfer or bring individuals into their employ --

Mr. Haggerty: They are making profits.

Hon. Mr. Snow: -- from outside the country or outside the province or even within the province, make such accommodations to arrange housing for them. It happens every day of the week.

Mr. Germa: It is tax evasion. You know what that means?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We have taken almost 30 minutes now in the two lead-off questions which is too long in the question period. We’ll have a new question.

Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. If there is time we will come back to whatever question you wish, but I think we should get on and give other members a chance to ask new questions.


Mr. McClellan: I want to ask the Minister of Community and Social Services a question with respect to his statement this morning. Given that the minister has said in his statement that Judge Holland’s decision may not affect existing orders and given that my understanding was that Judge Holland’s decision has voided the placements of hundreds of children placed in group homes by family court judges or, at least, leaves each placement open to litigation by a municipality, would the minister not agree, that to protect these placements and these children, he should reimburse municipalities 100 per cent of the cost charged to them by the courts in order to avoid further litigation and the possible disastrously harmful consequences to kids?

Hon. Mr. Norton: I am learning very quickly that it would be very dangerous to agree with the member when he invites me to, as he has on a number of occasions. The point in my statement was that the decision of Mr. Justice Holland applied, I believe, to three specific cases that were before him. The best legal advice that I can get at this point is that that decision in itself does not void -- probably does not void the other orders.

Mr. McClellan: Do you know or not?

Mrs. Campbell: Where do you get that advice?

Mr. Warner: His track record isn’t too good.

Mrs. Campbell: I wouldn’t rely on it.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I would agree that even if it does not void the other orders, the probability is that other applications will be brought and, as a precedent, that means they might well fall. But the point I want to make is that it does not mean that as of today, for example, that there are 250 children across the province who are not receiving proper care or for whom there is no funding.

As I have indicated to the member, this came to my attention yesterday evening. Contact is being made at the moment with municipalities across the province and with the agencies who are affected by this. And in the course of the next few days we hope to be able to work out a satisfactory arrangement for the provision of those children. There is no way that we will see those children not provided for. I want to assure the member of that.

With respect to your proposal as to a specific solution, I will certainly take that under advisement but I am not quite willing to agree with you at this point.

Mr. McClellan: You will eventually.

Mr. Foulds: When you are in opposition.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for St. George is, I believe, asking a supplementary.


Mrs. Campbell: In view of the uncertainties which the minister does express with reference to the effect of this decision how soon is he prepared to move to implement those things which are needed to be done to eliminate this kind of uncertainty? In other words, are we to see introduced next week the legislation which can at least move some way to bring within his ministry all of these units, so that then he can look at them and be absolutely certain that he is catching all of these children in these places, since there isn’t any accountability in the boarding homes and the minister knows it?

Hon. Mr. Norton: As to how soon are we going to move, in fact as of last night we began to move, as soon as I heard of this particular decision. With respect to the member’s question on the legislation, I would anticipate we will be in a position to present it to the House next week.


Hon. Mr. Norton: I would point out to the hon. member, even though that legislation may be before the House and passed next week, the effective date of the transfer will still be July 1.


Mr Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I’m not concerned about any lack of co-operation in this matter. I think everyone with whom I have spoken at this point perceives the potential problem that is faced by many people as a result of this decision. I am sure I can count on the full support and co-operation of the other ministers in whose ministries some aspect of this may come and also of the private agencies and the municipalities that are affected.

Mrs. Campbell: And the boarding homes?

Hon. Mr. Norton: I would hope so. Those are among the people with whom I will be meeting as soon as possible -- I hope on Monday or Tuesday.


Mr. Breithaupt: In the absence of the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough), I have a question of the Premier concerning the budgetary decision made to deal with sales tax removals for public events where ticket prices are over $3. Is the Premier aware of the severe financial problems this proposal may cause for organizations, such as symphony orchestras and amateur sporting associations, which formerly were exempt totally from the collection of sales tax, and which now may have to change ticket prices or suffer losses unless exemptions are continued, particularly with the sale of tickets already announced and under way for the coming season? Would the Premier also ensure that the various amateur hockey associations, the Arts Council and the other groups are able to make comments concerning the changes of exemption policy, if there are any, so that their financial patterns will not be upset?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I can assure the hon. member for Kitchener that the intent of the budget, quite obviously, was to increase the admission exemption figure to $3. There is no intention of changing policies that already exist for exemptions for a number of those organizations. They can rest assured there is no alteration in this approach.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. Minister of Natural Resources has the answer to a question that was asked previously.


Hon. F. S. Miller: In my absence last week the member for Timiskaming (Mr. Bain) asked a question of the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Brunelle) concerning progress in the reopening of the Matachewan mine. I’m pleased to make a few comments on it at his request.

All the appraisals I have seen to date of the mine’s future are optimistic as an operating entity. These are those prepared by Clarkson Gordon and Company -- I haven’t seen a formal presentation from them but just their comments -- and those prepared by my own staff after a visit to the mine site. Not only that, general world asbestos sales are good and appear to be good for the long-term future insofar as we can tell. Therefore, from an operating point of view, the mine’s future appears good. In the meantime, I’ve been having discussions with the three partners in the current negotiations, Clarkson Gordon and Company representing some of the creditors, the Mercantile Bank, one of the largest creditors, and the chairman of United Asbestos, representing the shareholders of the company.

I have to be honest and say that there’s a complex legal tangle holding up the reopening of the mine more than any other factor at the present time. I have directed my energies towards negotiating some way out of the present impasse which could go on, in my opinion, for a long time unless some kind of negotiation is made. This puts me in the position of being privy to certain information from the various trading partners that I really can’t divulge in public but which I am quite willing to discuss with the three partners on an individual basis. I hope the member understands that, because I’m trying to effect the role of an honest broker, in a sense, to bring them together.

The fact appears that a number of willing partners or future owners of the mine are in the wings. These people appear to be both experienced in the mining field and sufficiently well financed to take over the operation without any kind of government assistance. However, I have not at any point said that government might not be willing to consider monetary assistance if some was needed for another operator. It appears it will not be needed.

I’m going to continue these discussions with as much energy as I can in an attempt to shorten the time between now and the eventual opening of the mine.

Mr. Martel: Why don’t you run it until they’re ready to settle?

Hon. F. S. Miller: If I had the money I would.

Mr. Foulds: That is a change from the previous minister.

Mr. Bain: Supplementary: I appreciate the minister’s comments. He mentioned his own ministry’s study. Will such a study be tabled? I’m curious about it. He mentioned that the operation was very viable and profitable. I want to know, on the basis of this, if a private company doesn’t reopen it, why the government will not consider investing in the mine with the creditors on the basis that the creditors and the government will get all their money back? Why won’t the minister consider investing? Is he making that decision on the basis of sound economics or because he is rigidly adhering to a particular political philosophy?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Probably the latter.

Mr. Cassidy: That’s honest anyway.

Mr. Laughren: Be doctrinaire.


Mr. Foulds: I have a question of the Solicitor General. Did I interpret his statement of last Saturday at the UCANO conference in Thunder Bay as meaning that two additional staff members would be taken on the fire marshal’s office staff for instruction for fire prevention techniques and voluntary fire fighting departments in unorganized territories in northern Ontario? Is that what he said?

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Yes. We are attempting to obtain the assistance, not necessarily of staff -- if that’s the question the hon. member is asking -- but, on a contract basis, of two people who are familiar with fire service activities and fire prevention to work in the unorganized areas in northern Ontario. They will not necessarily be limited to unorganized areas, but will be there primarily, to do instructional work and promotional work in connection with the distribution of our smoke detectors.

Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: Can I have the commitment that the two contract people or staff or whatever they are will be full-time? Because I believe that the ministry currently is thinking of only employing these two on a part-time basis so that the amount of time expended on this extremely important activity will amount to a mere eight weeks? Does the minister not think that that time scale is woefully inadequate in an area that large, that has a death rate by fire at least three to four times the average for the province, while the average for the province is much in excess of that for the western world?

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: I have not been involved in the direct negotiations with these two people. It is difficult to find knowledgeable people. I didn’t know that there was a chance that they were just going to be on a part-time basis but I will make inquiries. I think we want to get their services as long as we can. If they are available, I would hope it would be for longer than what the member is suggesting. I’ll certainly make inquiries.

Mr. Foulds: I didn’t suggest it; it is what the fire marshal is suggesting.

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: It’s a case of their availability, I believe.


Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question of the Minister of the Environment in regard to the water intake at the Nanticoke hydro generating station in the riding of Haldimand-Norfolk. I believe it was put in during the construction of the Hydro station. Could the minister tell the House what area it is designed to serve, how much money has been spent on the intake around the water system to this point of time, the eventual capacity of the water intake and the rates that are expected to be charged to the region, which will be the initial user?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, I don’t have all that information with me or in my head. The area, I believe, would certainly include the Townsend area and the Jarvis-Hagersville area. I suppose it could even go as far as Kitchener if necessary.

There has been about $4 million spent so far, mainly on the new industry that’s located on the shores of Lake Erie. The rate still has to be established. It will be somewhere around 85 cents I believe. That’s just off the top of my head, but about 85 cents, in that area.

Mr. Nixon: Can’t lose much more from there.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Now just a minute, let’s not get personal.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I will take note of the hon. member’s question. I have a letter from him raising these questions and a number of others, and I believe there is a reply in the mail to him, but in any event I will get that information in more detail.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Supplementary: Why would the rates be 85 to 90 cents for that particular line when it was supposed to be put in to save money for the municipality, and I believe the average for Ontario utilizing the system is about 50 cents, and Stelco indicated it could put in its own line and supply water at 50 cents per 1,000 gallons?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I don’t know why Stelco would say that. If so, I don’t know why they didn’t go ahead and do it. They had that opportunity.

As far as the average is concerned, if the hon. member is taking the whole province that may be so. There are certainly areas of the province where the rate is higher than 85 cents.

Mr. Good: Supplementary: Realizing that the original intake was oversized, as the original question suggested, is the minister now saying that the extension of that intake to serve the Townsend and the Haldimand-Norfolk region will be large enough to extend that same pipeline up the Grand River at some future date to serve the Kitchener-Waterloo area, or would that require twinning of the work that would be done now to serve the lower end?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: The size of that line at the present time would be adequate to extend up to the Grand, at least initially. Depending on the development and the number of people who would tie into that pipe, it may require a twinning at some later time. Certainly initially, and over a short period of time -- five or six years, depending on the progress of the line -- it would be ample to serve that area if this plan was carried out.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. Can the Premier explain the sense of social priorities of the government which has led the government to increase welfare assistance by eight per cent over the 1975 level for people who have no resources while it has raised the exemption from succession duty to 100 per cent over the 1975 level; that is, from $150,000 to $300,000?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I think the hon. minister dealt with the first part of that question at some length here this morning. I am sure the hon. member for Ottawa Centre listened very carefully to the questions and the answers that were given, and I think there is no point in having a further debate on that part of the question at this moment.

If the member for Ottawa Centre is objecting to the proposed increase in exemptions for succession duties, I will understand that, and when his party votes against it we will also understand it, and I will not be provocative this morning here and remind him that in his great sister province of Saskatchewan with the same sort of philosophy, they have eliminated succession duties altogether.


Mr. Good: Ontario and Manitoba are the only ones left.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Are we to conclude from the Premier’s reply that it is the government’s opinion that beneficiaries of estates worth more than $250,000 are in greater need than people on welfare assistance?

Mr. S. Smith: Oh, good heavens.

Mr. Breithaupt: That’s called a non sequitur.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I think the hon. member knows the answer to that question.

Mr. Cassidy: Not from answers, we don’t.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I can only say to the hon. member he is attempting to be controversial here this morning --

Mr. Breithaupt: He is being political.

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- it’s Friday, it’s a nice day today and I don’t intend to be provoked.

Mr. Nixon: Has the Premier been outside?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Really, his question is very silly -- he knows that -- and I don’t intend to add anything to it.

I can give him a few examples if he wants me to. I can give him a few examples, now that I’ve decided he wants some. Ask some of the people here on this side of the House who represent some of the farm communities; the hon. members opposite don’t have that experience so they don’t know some of the problems the farmers face.

Mr. Eakins: He has a home on the Island, Bill.

Mr. Bain: How dare you by that statement write-off the farm communities in the north?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I’ll just give the hon. members opposite a little lesson on the farm community: Talk to some of the farmers who are sitting with land that is assessed at, say, $1,000 an acre --

Mr. Singer: Mr. Speaker, this is awful; it is becoming a debate. Why did you allow the question or the answer? It’s about time you acted like a Speaker.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Throw out the member for Ottawa Centre.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think the question was pretty hypothetical --

Mr. Cassidy: No!

Mr. Speaker: -- and the answer is going to be the same. We’re wasting time.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Cassidy: There’s one law for the rich and one for the poor.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We’ll hear the hon. member for Quinte.

Mr. Lewis: This is just a dry run for Middlesex tonight.

Mr. Speaker: Order. The hon. member for Quinte only has the floor.


Mr. O’Neil: I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications. Could the minister tell us whether any plans are under way for the rerouting of Highway 33 north of Trenton, in particular the stretch between Glen Miller and Frankford?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I’m not familiar with whether there are any particular plans for that, but I’ll look into it and get the answer for the hon. member.

Mr. O’Neil: Supplementary: As parts of this stretch of highway run within feet of the Trent River, would the minister have his officials in the area check the condition of the guard-rails as there are sections that I believe are in need of additional barriers and certain other sections where repairs are needed?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Yes, I will get that information.


Mr. Ziemba: In view of the absence of the Treasurer, I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Revenue. Can the minister arrange to table the names and occupations of the individuals, other than accredited press gallery people, allowed into the pre-budget press lockup? At the same time, would she also indicate how many of these individuals were permitted to leave before 8 p.m.?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Certainly, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Ziemba: Supplementary: Could the minister also explain why the customary oath of secrecy wasn’t required this time around?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: I would be pleased to.


Mr. Cunningham: My question is to the Minister of Transportation and Communications: Would the minister indicate to the House whether or not his ministry or its operating agency, TATOA, has made any changes in the status with regard to those stations planned for the Richmond Hill to Union Station GO train line?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I wonder if the hon. member could be more explicit as to what he wants to know?

Mr. Cunningham: I am asking if the minister would indicate to the House precisely how his ministry could justify a capital expenditure of $350,000 for a GO station to be located on the line at Leslie and Finch, when the location is 1.5 miles from the next planned station at Sheppard and Leslie, and two miles from the Finch station?

Hon. Mr. Snow: The justification or building a station on the GO train line, of course, is to allow people to get on and off the trains.


Mr. Renwick: Supplementary: Is the minister reconsidering his decision not to open a GO station at De Grassi Street in the riding of Riverdale?

Mr. Lewis: Stop laughing at him.

Hon. Mr. Snow: No.


Mr. Breaugh: I would like to try a question to the Minister of Transportation and Communications -- not about a GO station.

He announced this week that he would be putting out tenders for contracts for the expansion of the 401 through the city of Oshawa. Could I have the minister’s assurance that he still intends to meet with those residents groups that the ministry have been meeting with in Oshawa before a final design is struck? That would reflect on when the tenders were let. Will he still do that? Can ministry officials assure us that this will continue to be the process?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I am not too sure what the hon. member is asking. I have not been requested, I don’t believe, to have any meeting -- I have no meeting scheduled. There have been a number of meetings carried out regarding that contract. It is in our programme; it was published in our green book earlier this week. I believe the proposed tender call date is later on in the fiscal year.

I don’t know just exactly at what stage the design is at this moment but I know that although we have a contract proposed in our published programme, there’s always the possibility of slippage in a particular programme if there’s a delay for land acquisition or in design. I know that one major concern of that particular contract was the noise barriers, and I have established a new policy on the noise barriers. The Oshawa contract, I believe, will be the first under this new policy where the noise barrier will be constructed as part of the construction contract. That part, I think, has been clarified. I didn’t know there were any further problems. I’ll look into it.

Mr. Breaugh: I want to assure the minister that he was invited if he could make it to that meeting.

Mr. Speaker: A supplementary question?

Mr. Breaugh: The ministry staff have agreed to come back with a final design to the residents. I would simply like the minister’s assurance that they will do that before he puts these contracts to tender.

Hon. Mr. Snow: If there is a commitment made by my staff that they will be back for further meetings, I can assure the hon. member that commitment will be kept.


Mr. Stong: In the absence of the Treasurer, I have a question for the Premier. Can the Premier give the House some indication when The Regional Municipality of York Act will be amended to provide an extra seat on the regional council for Markham, which has oft sought this amendment, and which seat is much needed in that area?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I’ll be delighted to check this with the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) on Monday and try to give the hon. member an indication as to when amendments might take place, and whether this is contemplated as being one of them.


Mr. Martel: A question to the Minister of Community and Social Services: Can the minister indicate when the government is going to announce a policy with respect to funding busing for the mentally retarded to and from home to shelter workshops, and so on -- something that’s been under study for at least four years now.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I am not in a position to make a prediction as to a precise date, but perhaps the Provincial Secretary for Social Development would be in a better position than I to answer that at this point. Discussions relating to that have been taking place involving the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and our policy secretariat.

Mr. Martel: To the provincial secretary: In view of the fact that the government has been studying the question of funding either municipalities or organizations for the transportation of the mentally retarded to and from sheltered workshops, schools, and so on, can the minister indicate when an announcement will be made with respect to a definite policy regarding a transportation allowance?

Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, I think this will be part of our overall transportation for the physically handicapped and mentally handicapped for the province. We do have, as you know, some experimental programmes under way, and we are looking at those very closely and evaluating them before we make a policy decision for across the province.

Mr. Bounsall: Supplementary: On the timing of that, should positive announcements be made by at least next fall, in terms of the extension of that pilot project across the rest of the province -- by at least next fall?

Hon. Mrs. Birch: The pilot projects were for two-year periods. We feel we need a two-year period in which to do a proper evaluation of the needs of that particular programme.

Mr. Martel: That’s nonsense.

Hon. Mrs. Birch: No.


Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food: In view of the drought problems being experienced by farmers in northwestern Ontario, will the freight subsidy for hay -- the cutoff date at the moment being, I think, May, 31 -- will that subsidy be extended this year? Will the minister undertake to see that all the farmers in that area are notified of the terms of the ministry’s plans, especially for crop insurance? Many farmers told me the other day in Thunder Bay that they were not aware of the plan.

Hon. W. Newman: I thought the member would never ask, because I’ve been waiting. I’d like to point out that we did have a hay assistance programme last year.

Mr. Mancini: Slow down, Bill, slow down.

Hon. W. Newman: I was in northern Ontario last July. I said I would bring forward a crop insurance programme for the farmers in northern Ontario. We have put together a programme. We have announced the programme. We have had a tremendous response from the farmers in northern Ontario. As a matter of fact, we have more than 700 policies already taken out. The coverage will provide insurance of up to $200 per acre where drought affects the farming community in northern Ontario.

I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve been able to bring this programme forward this year for the farmers. I have a group working with the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier) to look at the total water problem in northern Ontario and at the supply of water to farmers in that area. And, of course, there are other programmes we are looking at for the people up there. Also, we did make extra funds available to the agricultural committee to deal with that matter. It really concerns me when those people in the opposition try to tell us that the agricultural committees are not working well, and that we should be doing the work from down here.

Mr. Martel: You wrote it off in your northern report.

Hon. W. Newman: I’ll tell you -- you people don’t believe in local autonomy.

Mr. Martel: You wrote the north off.

Mr. Speaker: Order; just answer the question please.

An hon. member: Tell them about the insurance, Bill.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: I appreciate the minister’s efforts. I wonder if the minister would just make a note. There are three small parts to this. They need very brief answers. First, will he continue the hay subsidy? Second, would he make sure that the farmers have all received the information? Many of them, good farmers, have told me they didn’t receive the information at their own address. I wish he would do this. And the third question is simply this: Since the money due to farmers under the crop insurance plan will presumably not be received by them until later on in the year and because they’ve got to pay out money now, would he be willing to make some form of loan available in the interim to assist those people in making their payments?

An hon. member: Interest free.

Hon. W. Newman: I’ll be glad to answer that question. As far as deferring payments, I will look at that matter. But as of an hour and 20 minutes ago, it was very cloudy in northern Ontario. We do not know at this time how much rain they are going to have up there. And to say we’re going to provide a hay assistance programme --

Mr. Moffatt: You are supposed to know.

Hon. W. Newman: We have an insurance programme in place -- I think that’s the route we should be looking at. But if we do not get rain as we move down the road, of course we’re going to look at the problems of northern Ontario. Does that answer the member’s points?

Mr. S. Smith: I asked about a hay subsidy, about more information, pay and loans. God, they are pretty simple questions.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The time for oral questions is past.


Presenting reports.


Mr. Bounsall: On a point of privilege, the Speaker has made himself very clear on the attendance of cabinet ministers for questions on Friday morning. Could he investigate and make himself equally clear to the cabinet ministers that the question period has, in fact, been extended. The tendency is for those cabinet ministers who are here to wander out before the end of the question period --

Mr. Singer: Why don’t you lock them to their desks? Nonsense, nonsense.

Mr. Bounsall: -- which means that questions one would normally expect to ask have no opportunity to be asked.

Mr. Breithaupt: Life is often unfair.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. This is not a point of privilege. I am sure any message contained in those remarks has been heard and will be heeded.

Mr. Singer: It is not a point of order. It is not a point of anything.

Mr. Lewis: Point of order. We are so gratified by the increased attendance of the cabinet this morning, at least at the outset of the question period, so pleased by the absence of obstructionism and the government’s new spirit of co-operation, that we are disinclined to call the election at this stage. I want the government to know that.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I understand that what the Leader of the Opposition is saying is that he will now support the budget, and all the other measures that are before the House, and he has now decided he is not ready yet to fight an election. I am delighted to have that information from him.

Mr. Lewis: Not for a week or so.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think we have been straying.

Mr. Martel: Not until Monday.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Singer: We are wasting time. That is 10 minutes of motions.

Mr. Speaker: Motions.



Mr. B. Newman moved first reading of Bill 56, An Act to amend The Employment Standards Act, 1974.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to provide additional employment opportunities by establishing the regular working day of eight hours and the regular work week of 40 hours.



Hon. Mr. Wells moved second reading of Bill 31, An Act to require the Essex County Board of Education to provide a French-Language Secondary School.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, this is a unique piece of legislation. I have searched the records and cannot find any parallel to it. This is a piece of legislation presented to this assembly to require a local school board, to whom we have given the authority to build a school, to build that school.

As I have said many times and in many different places, there comes a certain time and a certain place when certain action must be taken. The one thing people of this province know is that this government has never been found wanting when that time or that place arrives and action is necessary.

Mr. Nixon: Never found wanting when it comes to procrastination.

An hon. member: How about Peel now?

Hon. Mr. Wells: The bill that is here today, Bill 31, An Act to require the Essex County Board of Education to provide a French-Language Secondary School, is, I think, one of those pieces of legislation that at this time and in this place is an absolute necessity. I think it is an absolute necessity that this Legislature pass this bill unanimously, and that we say to the people of Ontario and the people of Essex county that for whatever reasons the debate and the feelings that have gone on down there have occurred, they should now be put to one side.

We should get on with the job of providing for a minority in that community, a facility that we have said is the right of minorities in this province. I think the presentation of this bill is strong evidence that the province is thoroughly committed to the principle that English-speaking and French-speaking citizens have a right to receive their education in their own mother tongue.

Our resolve to ensure that our French-speaking pupils are afforded the opportunity to be educated in the French language really, I guess, became evident back in about 1968 when the Hon. John Robarts introduced legislation permitting the establishment of French-language schools or classes at the secondary level. The government’s intention of meeting the legitimate educational aspirations of French-speaking Ontarians was restated by the present Premier in a May, 1971, speech. He said:

“We will provide education, whenever feasible, to students of the French-speaking and English-speaking minority in the language of that minority. We will also provide them with the means to acquire a good command of the language of the majority.”

These of course were not idle words. They were accompanied by strong action, not only by the government but also by communities all across this province, and that is the point that I would like to stress today. Although legislation making mandatory the establishment of French-language programmes at the secondary level was scheduled for 1969, it’s interesting that many school boards introduced French-language programmes in 1968 before the actual legislation was passed. In fact, the committee on French-language schools in Ontario, formed to prepare the legislation in 1969 for the establishment of French-language secondary schools in this province, reported that the events had outdistanced them and that to a great extent their deliberations and recommendations were already being accepted.

However, in spite of the general acceptance of French-language secondary schools throughout the province it became necessary in 1972, because of several disputes, to review the 1968 legislation in the light of the experiences that had occurred. The Symons commission was formed at that time and it recommended a number of legislative and administrative improvements.

If we are still experiencing isolated problems in the establishment of French-language schools or classes in the province, one of the causes can be attributed, I think, not to bigotry and not to narrow-mindedness on the part of the opponents of those schools but probably to a misunderstanding of what French-language schools really are. I want to stress that -- much of the problem is not bigotry and not narrow-mindedness on the part of people in the communities, but more to a misunderstanding of what French-language schools really are.

Let me refer to the Symons report and try to make it clear what a French-language school is and what a French-language school is not. I am going to quote from the Symons report:

“This commission shares the belief, which is widely held by Franco-Ontarians, that the establishment of French-language schools in which the language of both communication and administration is French best meets this two-fold need: to preserve the language, customs and culture of the francophone student, while enabling him or her to contribute fully in due course to the cultural life and economic progress of his province and country.

“The specific remarks and recommendations of the 1968 commission on French-language schools, as well as the public comments made at that time by the Prime Minister of the province and also by the Minister of Education and others, make clear that this was the spirit and intent of the legislation providing for French-language secondary schools.

“There have, however, been areas of uncertainty and even of conflict arising from a lack of clear definitions of terms and of authority.

“There has, in particular, been understandable confusion over the precise definition of such terms as ‘French-language schools’ and ‘bilingual schools’. French-language schools are not necessarily and only those in which all subjects, except English, are taught in French, which is the restrictive definition that some of their opponents would like to impose upon them. A variety of subjects, in addition to English, may be taught in English in a French-language school. The decision in regard to the language of instruction in various courses in a French-language school must properly rest with the French-language community that it serves, working with and through” the French language advisory committee, “the board and the teaching staff in the school.

“Each area and each school must decide for itself what its needs are in this regard. For the French-speaking community, the key element in a French-language school is that the language of communication and the language of administration, and hence the total ambience of the school, should be French. Provided that this is the case, a variety of specific subjects could be taught in English without the school seeking to be a French-language school.”

I continue quoting from the Symons report:

“In somewhat the same vein, there are misconceptions surrounding the term ‘bilingual school.’ In particular, the frequent use of this term to describe essentially English-language schools that have a number of francophone students taking some courses in the French language has caused both concern and confusion. Such schools are, in practice, less ‘bilingual’ than French-language schools which offer some courses of instruction in English.

“The simple fact that English-speaking and French-speaking students may be attending the same school building still does not make that school bilingual. The teaching and learning of a second language is a highly complex matter and it is a gross oversimplification to assume that all one has to do is put anglophone and francophone students under the same roof and that they will then learn each other’s language. Quite on the contrary. There is evidence that doing this may, in at least some circumstances, have exactly the opposite result. As most francophone students in Ontario are usually bilingual already because of circumstances outside of the classroom, whereas most anglophone students are not, what nearly always happens in such mixed schools is that the language of communication and administration, and indeed thus the overall atmosphere, proves to be English. Much more often than not, the mixed or so-called bilingual school is a one-way street to assimilation for the French-speaking student.

“By contrast, the French-language school provides a setting within which francophone students will have a better opportunity to come to know and to understand and to strengthen and develop their own culture and heritage. This is essential if they are to maintain their identity in a province where the language of the vast majority is English. It is indeed important for all students both English-speaking and French-speaking that they should during their formative school years be given an opportunity to root themselves securely in their own language and culture. If this is the case, the process of interaction with those of other languages and cultures will proceed more naturally and more fruitfully, both then and at later dates.”

There are 24 such secondary schools in the province of Ontario at the present time, that is, 24 homogeneous French-language secondary schools. They have a total enrolment of about 21,500 students. There are a further 36 French-language secondary school instructional units, that is units which are classified really as small French-language schools in a larger building with an English-language school. There are attending these schools, approximately 10,000 students.

It’s interesting to look over the list of these schools and the communities where we will find them: They are: Ecole secondaire de Hanmer, in Hanmer; Ecole secondaire Macdonald-Cartier in Sudbury --

Mr. Martel: Great riding.

Hon. Mr. Wells: -- Ecole secondaire Rayside in Azilda; Ecole secondaire Cité des Jeunes in Kapuskasing; Ecole secondaire Algonquin in North Bay; Ecole secondaire Sainte Marie in New Liskeard; Ecole secondaire Franco Cité in Sturgeon Falls; Ecole secondaire Therriault in Timmins, and even Ecole secondaire de Paincourt with 98 students in Paincourt, which I think is located in the riding of my colleague, the provincial Treasurer (Mr. McKeough).

Then there are Ecole secondaire Georges Vanier in Hamilton; Ecole secondaire Confederation in Welland; Ecole secondaire Etienne Brulé in North York, Metropolitan Toronto; Ecole secondaire Garneau in Orleans; Ecole secondaire André Laurendeau in Ottawa; Ecole secondaire Belcourt in Ottawa; Ecole secondaire Cartier in Ottawa; Ecole secondaire Champlain in Ottawa; Ecole secondaire Charlebois in Ottawa; Ecole secondaire De La Salle in Ottawa; Ecole Secondaire de Casselman in Casselman; Ecole secondaire d’Embrun in Embrun; Ecole secondaire de Rockland in Rockland, and Ecole secondaire la Citadel in Cornwall.

Mr. Speaker, I purposely beg your indulgence, or I should have before I read this list, because I wanted to read this list again to emphasize that there are 24 of these French-language homogeneous French-language secondary schools at present in this province of Ontario.


What we are asking for in Essex county is not something new; it’s not something unique. It’s not something, as some of the people down there tell me, that means we are embarking on a programme of establishing a unilingual French-language school, some new type of creature for this province of Ontario that will have a divisive effect. We are suggesting through this legislation that what has occurred in 24 other areas of this province occur in the section of this province known as Essex county. I think anyone who looks over this list, including the hon. members who are from the areas where these schools are located, will know the kind of school we are talking about. They’ll know what a homogeneous French-language school is and will know they present no threat to those communities.

Many people have expressed concern also about the learning of English in French-language schools. This, I feel, is a legitimate concern because an inadequate knowledge of English in Ontario would be a major drawback for anyone who wishes to obtain employment or to simply integrate into the total social context of this province. Let me assure you, Mr. Speaker, that French-language schools are not unilingual schools.

In a brief presented to the Ontario government, the Association Canadienne Française d’Education de l’Ontario stated very clearly:

“The secondary school graduate” -- and this is from the French-language school -- “must have obtained a knowledge of English so that he will be able to communicate effectively with English-speaking compatriots to compete on the labour market and to take part in the political and social life of his province and of his country.”

To emphasize this point, also let me again quote from Symons report. It said: “There should, however, be no impression that the intention behind French-language schools has been, or is now, to create conditions that would limit or restrict the opportunities of their students to learn English. Franco-Ontario educators and leaders recommend that a complementary and adequate knowledge of English is essential if the French-speaking person is to participate fully in the life of Ontario and of Canada, and indeed of North America. The objective of the French-language school is to provide a process whereby French-speaking students in Ontario will be taught in their own language and at the same time be equipped with a knowledge of English and the capacity to live and work in a predominantly anglophone province without abandoning their identity and their culture.

“Although I am well aware that most people understand our French-speaking compatriots’ desire to preserve their culture and linguistic heritage, I would like to reiterate some of the reasons why Ontario is so strongly committed to guaranteeing the educational rights of francophones residing in Ontario.” This statement of Professor Symons echoes the sentiments of this government and is fully agreed to by this ministry and this government.

Again, quoting from Symons: “The first and most important reason is that citizens of Ontario are, first of all, citizens of Canada, a country which the Hon. John Robarts described in a 1967 speech as ‘a partnership of two societies and two founding peoples, in addition to our citizens of Indian and Eskimo heritage’.”

In an article entitled, Ontario’s Quiet Revolution, in a book called One Country or Two, Professor Symons again had this to say about Ontario’s decision in the late 1960s to extend the French-language school system. I think these words have particular significance today.

“This realization that the potential importance of Ontario’s actions during a period of national tension was, fortunately, a constant factor in the thinking of most of the province’s leaders throughout the 1960s. There was, in particular, an understanding that Ontario was equipped to make a significant contribution to an improvement in the relationships between francophone and anglophone Canadians by its geographic position neighbouring Quebec, with a shared boundary running for more than 600 miles; by its size and population, which alone amongst the predominantly English-speaking provinces of Canada are of the same order as those of Quebec; by its resources and wealth; by its large and growing French-speaking population; by its close and continuing historic relationship with Quebec; and perhaps by virtue of the special place that it occupies in the minds and thoughts of Quebec as a substantial partner in its marriage with English-speaking Canada.

“For Canada, this meant an increasing acceptance of the view that the duality of two major cultures is one of the bases upon which this country was founded.”

Of course, Ontario has some very important and practical reasons of its own to permit a higher level of knowledge and understanding of French among many more of its young people. As I said the other day, 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 Ontario citizens whose first language is French than there are French-speaking citizens in all other provinces in Canada combined, with the exception, of course, of the province of Quebec.

There are almost as many citizens of French origin, about 737,000, in the province of Ontario. This means that this 730,000 is greater than, say the entire population of Newfoundland, which is about 522,000; or New Brunswick with 634,500 or; Prince Edward Island with 111,000 people; and almost as many as Nova Scotia with 788,000. Except for Nova Scotia, there are in this province as many citizens of French origin as there are total citizens in these four other provinces.

In other words, even if we look no further than our provincial boundaries, there are very good strong and ample reasons, 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.

This large and well-established French-speaking community of Ontario, as expressed in the 1968 report of the Committee on French Language Schools, has always looked upon education as one of the most important forces, if not the most important force, for its survival as a cultural group.

The French-speaking community in Ontario is, I think, justifiably frightened by the very real threat of assimilation that is menacing it. It is frightened by this threat and it wants to stave it off. Consider these figures from the 1961 census. At that time in Ontario, in 1961, there were 647,941 citizens of French origin, yet only 425,302 reported French as their mother tongue. The 1971 census did not show an improvement. A total of 737,360 people were reported to be of French origin, while 482,045 said that their mother tongue was French. Only 352,460 indicated that French was the language most spoken in the home.

There are other practical reasons, Mr. Speaker, why Ontario is committed to the provision of French-language educational programmes and therefore French-language secondary schools where the community wishes one. Professor Symons, in the article that I referred to a minute ago, in the book One Country or Two! said:

“The Carnegie Study of Identification and Utilization of Talent in High School and College followed the secondary careers of all the students enrolled in 1959 in grade 9 of almost all the public, private and separate schools of Ontario. The study revealed that much less than half of the French-speaking students reached grade 11 and only three per cent completed their schooling by graduating from grade 13 without repeating a year. By contrast, over half the students from anglophone homes reached grade 11, and over 13 per cent completed grade 13 without repeating a year.”

I am still quoting from the article: “There was no reason to think that these students were intellectually inferior. Rather there was cause to conclude that the basic objective of equality of educational opportunity was not being achieved for the children of this large and historically significant group, which numbered some 10 per cent of the province’s population.”

As Dr. Stacy Churchill of the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education wrote in a recent article: “The immediate effect of the 1968 legislation enacted by the province of Ontario was spectacular. Enrolment in French-language high schools which had previously been private except for grade 9 and 10 doubled, then tripled, within three years. Enrolment in 1966-67 in French-language secondary schools was 8,739; in 1967-68 it was 9,680. Then in 1968-69 it moved to 16,984; and it reached 25,212 in 1970-71. In 1974-75 the total enrolment of French-speaking students in French secondary programmes was 30,906, indicating a participation rate in most areas approaching that of the English-speaking school population. This year the enrolment of French-language secondary schools or secondary school teaching units is 31,472.

The French component, as I have said, has of course been part of the Ontario picture for a long time. In fact, there are claims that the very first school established in Ontario was a French-language school at Fort Frontenac, which is in the Kingston area, in 1678. These schools continued to thrive at the time of Confederation.

The French presence in Ontario is particularly interesting in the context of this bill and the Essex county dispute. I say that because from the establishment of Fort Pontchartrain -- Le Détroit -- by Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac in 1701, and the subsequent founding of Assomption, which is now Windsor, the French colony expanded and flourished along the banks of the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair. In those early days of colonization, the French and the Indians worked together side by side as fur traders and farmers in that part of Ontario.

It was from these humble beginnings that French settlements then prospered deeper inland. In 1767 La Paroise de l’Assomption was established to accommodate the religious needs of settlers and their families. Educational needs, of course, were not forgotten, and in 1786 the first school was opened in the parish for 13 female students. It should not be surprising that the language of communication in that school in that part of Ontario was French. My intention today is not to present a history lesson to the members of this House, but simply to remind them of the fact that Essex county boasts a French background and tradition. One has simply to examine the names of many of the streets in that area to realize this.

I think it’s also interesting to note, since we of course are members of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, that the Journal and Proceedings of the first Legislative Assembly of the Province of Upper Canada recorded the fact that on Monday, June 3, 1793, the House adopted a resolution: “That such Acts as have already passed or may hereafter pass in the Legislature of this province be translated into the French language for the benefit of the western district of the province and other French settlers who may come to reside within the province.” Of course, the western district referred to was the district down to and including Essex county.

In the article I referred to a while ago in the book One Country or Two?, Professor Symons also records this historic information: “The use of French as a language of instruction in Ontario can, in fact, be traced to these early French settlements, and for many years primary schools in which classes were conducted in the French tongue were established readily and naturally, as the need arose, and without any acrimony or debate.”

Indeed, Dr. Egerton Ryerson, the Chief Superintendent of Education in the province for more than 30 years, and in many ways the founder of Ontario’s school system, took the view that French was, as well as English, one of the recognized languages of the province and that children could therefore be taught in either language. This view was put clearly by Dr. Ryerson in a letter of April 24, 1857, to the trustees of School No. 3 in Charlottenburgh township, near Cornwall.


This is the quotation of Dr. Ryerson in his letter: “I have the honour to state in reply to your letter of the 16th, that as French is the recognized language of the country, as well as English, it is quite proper and lawful for the trustees to allow both languages to be taught in their school to children whose parents may desire them to learn both.”

And still quoting from Professor Symons: “Ironically, it was probably in part at least, because there was so little difficulty or debate surrounding the use of French as a language of instruction in schools in Ontario prior to Confederation, that the question was not specifically dealt with when The British North America Act was drafted.”

Of course, we can only surmise that was so, but it is certainly the feeling of many scholars today.

Mr. Conway: Separate schools filled that vacuum.

Hon. Mr. Wells: However, this peaceful and harmonious relationship, which perhaps led to the overlooking of the question of French as a language of instruction in The British North America Act, started to deteriorate during the latter part of the 19th century; and, of course, restrictions were applied to French-language schools. I guess it was in 1912 that the government of that day dealt its hardest blow to the francophone community by promulgating Regulation 17 which forbade the use of French as a language of instruction in all schools in Ontario.

Mr. Conway: A bunch of Tories made a premiership out of that.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Since 1927, however, this trend has been reversed. I think that what we need to do today is not look at the reasons why this transformation occurred in the early days of the province, but rather that under the successive governments of the Hon. John Robarts and now the present Premier (Mr. Davis) the educational rights of the francophone, or Franco-Ontarians, are being restated and guaranteed to the same degree, I might say, as they were before Confederation.

That brings us specifically to the Essex county situation and the need for this bill. I have tried to sketch this background in order to indicate why this is an important issue and why at this time and place this bill is necessary, as a further indication of the stated policy of this government toward French-language education for francophones in this province.

I suppose the difficult question that will have to be answered by some members of this House -- indeed, by all of us -- because I have had to answer it as I have gone through the process of deciding, is how we should handle this situation, and how we could guarantee the rights of the minority in this part of the province, balanced against other legislation which provides at this point the responsibility for establishing this school with a duly elected local school board.

I guess it has been my feeling that, hopefully, we could achieve the guarantee of the rights of the French-language minority in the Essex area to have their own school without having to do it by way of legislation, but by using the good offices of this government and this ministry. By working with the people in that area -- and working closely with them -- we could endeavour to have them come to the decision to build the school without any mandatory legislation. As, indeed -- and I point this out -- as, indeed, has occurred in those other areas -- the 24 areas -- that I indicated to hon. members.

That has not happened. This dispute goes back to about 1969, when the French language advisory committee decided to undertake the study for a need for a French-language secondary school in the Essex county area. The reasons for that study -- the reasons for the desire for that school, of course -- I think I have indicated in my earlier remarks concerning the historic traditional background of Franco-Ontarians in that particular part of our province.

In 1972, Mr. Speaker, the Essex County Board of Education accepted a recommendation from its French language advisory committee which recommended the building of a school and a feasibility study in connection with the Windsor Board of Education. At that time, as I understand it, the Essex county school board and the Windsor school board decided to look at the matter of building the school jointly and establishing whether the need for a such a school existed.

In 1973, the matter was under consideration and the studies were taking place. In February, 1974, I met with trustees and officials of the city of Windsor and the Essex county board and we talked about the rights of the francophone minority in the area to have a secondary school.

In April 22, 1974, there was a motion that the Essex Board of Education file with the Ministry of Education a building proposal to construct a school of 824 pupils’ places and that the school be erected in the St. Clair Beach-Tecumseh area. This motion was discussed with the board -- people from our ministry discussed it with both the Windsor and the Essex boards. No decision was arrived at at that particular time. The decision to go ahead and build the school was not arrived at.

The Essex county French language advisory committee, in May 1974, submitted the case to the Languages of Instruction Commission of Ontario. The Languages of Instruction Commission had been set up under legislation in 1973, as I recall, to provide mediation and a problem-solving mechanism where there was a dispute between a French language advisory committee and a school board -- the French language advisory committee wanting one thing, the school board not agreeing with their request.

The Languages of Instruction Commission had just been newly appointed and one of the first tasks it had was to intervene, to mediate, to attempt to arbitrate this dispute between the Essex county board and the French language advisory committee over the need for a French-language secondary school in Essex county.

I would like to read the report sent to the Essex Board of Education on September 4, 1974, from the Languages of Instruction Commission of Ontario. It was sent to the chairman of the board, Mr. Woodbridge, and it said:

“As prescribed by section 88d(1) of The Schools Administration Act, the Languages of Instruction Commission of Ontario has conducted an inquiry, including the careful study of all pertinent documents in the matters submitted to the commission by the French language advisory committee of the Essex County Board of Education.

“Despite sincere efforts to bring about an agreement between the two parties concerned, Dr. Hugh Auld reported” -- Dr. Hugh Auld, incidentally, was the mediator who had acted in this matter -- “reported that he was not successful in his mediation.

“The education of French-speaking secondary school students in the Essex-Windsor area has been a concern for a number of years. The establishment of French language advisory committees in both Essex and Windsor provided the structure for a careful study of the situation. The commission is aware and appreciates the great amount of effort put into the numerous meetings involving parents and trustees, the petitions and the surveys that were made in order to arrive at a solution which would best meet the needs of these students. The Languages of Instruction Commission commends the boards, the committees and the parents involved for not allowing their differences of opinion to develop into open conflict.

“Both boards are also to be commended for their efforts to provide programmes for English-speaking students at the Belle River District High School, the Sandwich Secondary School and the Windsor School of Commerce.

“It is evident, however, that the present programmes do not provide the French-speaking secondary school students with an appropriate milieu or adequate motivation to make use of and enrich their knowledge of the French language.

“The commission is pleased to note the following with respect to the board of education for the city of Windsor.

“1. The board has agreed to purchase education from the Essex county board for its French-language secondary school students if a French-language secondary school is established in the county.

“2. The board has assured the Essex county board in writing that they will discontinue the bilingual programme at the Windsor High School of Commerce when such a school is established.

“3. The board does not disregard the possibility of reconsidering its general transportation policy for secondary school students at a later date.

“The commission has carefully studied the statistics and projected enrolments for a French-language secondary school in the Essex-Windsor area. Ministry of Education statistics show that as of September 30, 1973, there were 2,179 French-speaking pupils enrolled in French-language elementary classes in Essex county and 1,192 in the city of Windsor. A French-language secondary school attempting to serve the French-speaking population of Essex and Windsor would then have a pupil base at the elementary level of 3,371 students. In the 24 French-language secondary schools of Ontario actual enrolments have surpassed the projected enrolments in almost every case.

“Having carefully reviewed all the available information with regard to: Present educational services available in the French-language to secondary school students in both Essex and Windsor; the problems of location, distance and transportation; past surveys, positions and projected enrolments; the French-speaking pupil base at the elementary level in both jurisdictions; current provincial trends; projected needs for secondary school space for both English and French-speaking students in the jurisdiction of the Essex County Board of Education” -- having considered all these -- “the Languages of Instruction Commission of Ontario unanimously recommends the following course of action to the Essex County Board of Education:

“1. That the Essex County Board of Education file a building proposal with the ministry to construct a secondary school of approximately 850 pupil spaces in the St. Clair Beach-Tecumseh area.

“2. That the school be designated a French-language secondary school.

“3. That the designation of this school be reviewed if necessary at the end of three years of operation.

“4. That a principal be appointed well in advance of the opening of the school and that he be available for consultation at the planning stage.

“Although meetings had to be arranged on short notice and at a rather awkward time, the chairman and members of the commission were very pleased with the attendance and the interest shown by the large number of people who took time from busy schedules to meet in Windsor.

“We wish to thank most sincerely the chairman and the members of the Essex County Board of Education, the senior officials and the chairman and members of the French-language advisory committee for their excellent co-operation in the course of the work of the commission.”

That letter to the Essex county board was signed by Mr. B. J. Kipp, the director of the Languages of Instruction Commission of Ontario, and represented the decision of that legally constituted body. That letter was sent on September 4, 1974. On September 16, 1974, the Essex county school board rejected the commission’s recommendation.

At that time, as members of this House are well aware, there was no provision in the legislation for the enforcement of that decision. The legislation setting up the Languages of Instruction Commission provides for them to offer a decision. Our feeling at the passing of that legislation was that with the process of mediation that would go on and the stature of the commission, the process of the hearings held by the commission would encourage both sides to accept a decision of the Languages of Instruction Commission when they made a decision. However, there was no legal provision for that decision to be implemented and no legal provision for the Minister of Education to cause the decision of the Languages of Instruction Commission to be implemented.

Therefore we had, on September 16, 1974, the board rejecting the decision of the commission that a French-language secondary school be constructed, having no legal basis upon which to force the construction of that school. I decided however -- because as the members know at that time I fully believed the school should be built -- to involve the ministry very completely in using the good offices of the ministry and the people whom we had at our disposal to try again to achieve the building of that school in Essex county.

Mr. Foulds: Is this a filibuster?


Hon. Mr. Wells: No, it is not a filibuster; it’s a historical outline of this whole situation which I think has to be put on the record, considering all the misinformation about it that is floating around.

Mr. Foulds: I didn’t realize you had this fine sense of history.

Mr. Sweeney: Considering what you have done since 1969.

Hon. Mr. Wells: They probably don’t even know anything about the events that I am now going to unfold to them. They will if they have read the compendium --

Mr. Foulds: Oh yes, we have.

Hon. Mr. Wells: -- but they wouldn’t if they hadn’t received the compendium.

Mr. Foulds: It is only because of the paucity of Canadian history in our school system.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Well, I am making my little contribution to it now.

Mr. Foulds: Carry on.

Hon. Mr. Wells: What I am now indicating is that, even lacking legislative authority to implement that decision, and because the Minister of Education of the province at that time felt that that French-language school should be built in 1974, I involved people in the Ministry of Education in a process to see if we couldn’t bring the parties together and achieve the resolution of this problem.

So one of our key employees, Mr. Doug Lawless, who many of the members will now know as the executive director of the Education Relations Commission, but in that time was the head of supervisory services branch in the Ministry of Education, was assigned to go to Essex county to work with the French language advisory committee, the Essex county board and the Windsor board to see if he could get a resolution to this problem.

On November 4, he met with the various boards. The boards agreed to consider the establishment of a joint committee in November 1974 to look at this problem and see how a French-language secondary school could be built in the area.

In 1975, of course, it became obvious that parts of the concern were financial matters, and Mr. Lawless spent a fair degree of time meeting with the boards to outline the various grant proposals and the kinds of things that would be available to the school.

I think it is fair in saying that certain concessions were made by the ministry to assist the Essex county board in building that school. As I recall, we recognized for grant purposes, or indicated we would recognize for grant purposes, the total cost of the school rather than a lesser amount. We gave them a guarantee that we would include in that certain costs for servicing of the land and other costs concerned with getting the site ready for the school.

We also hurried ahead capital approvals for some other projects, because the feeling was that with a project of this magnitude other needy smaller projects in Essex county might be neglected because the total allotment of money for that area would be used on this one school.

These things were all arranged at that time and we then arrived at April 7, 1975, when the board passed a motion agreeing to build the school. I think the members have that in their compendium. The motion was passed by the Essex county board to build a French-language school, and I think that perhaps it might be well to read that into the record:

“It was the decision of the committee, though not unanimous, to recommend to the board the construction of a French-language secondary school with rated capacity of 750 students, to include composite school facilities on a site deemed readily accessible to the students from Essex county and the city of Windsor, the target date for the opening of such a school to be September 1977. It is a condition of the recommendation that during the school year 1979-80 if student projections for September 1980 are less than 450 students, that is inclusive of the 125 guaranteed by the city of Windsor, the designation of the building as a French-language secondary school shall be reviewed for purposes of considering alternative programmes and space utilization.

“The committee agreed to recommend, as well, the following sequence of events:

“1. A 10-year agreement to be signed with the Windsor Board of Education whereby a minimum of 125 students annually will be guaranteed.

“2. A site to be selected as soon as possible following the signing of the agreement above.

“3. An architect to be appointed to work on preliminary drawings (on condition that the proposal is approved by the ministry).

“4. A building proposal to be filed with the Ministry of Education. The timing should be such that construction might commence in the winter of 1976 with the school completed, equipped and ready to open in September 1977. In the initial year the school should plan to operate with students in years one, two and three.

“5. The principal for the new school to be appointed to be effective January 1, 1977.

“6. As of June 1977, courses in français in the Sandwich Secondary school and French-language courses at the Belle River District High School to be phased out.”

That, Mr. Speaker, was the recommendation of the committee which went to the Essex County Board of Education and passed by the board. At that time also, the agreement referred to concerning 125 students from the city of Windsor was signed between the two boards. Built into that agreement was a backup commitment by the Ministry of Education that we would guarantee that there would be grants covering 125 students from this source even if the actual number of students from Windsor sank below the 125 level. So for the next 10 years the Essex county board was guaranteed either students or payment for students equivalent of 125 from the city of Windsor.

In August 1975 we allocated $3.8 million to the Essex county board for the construction of the French-language school. In November 1975 the board presented a building proposal to our regional office. The regional director of education issued an approval on November 25, 1975, to the board for the proposed construction of the French-language school. The estimated cost was to be $3,810,591.

On December 18, 1975, we sent out to all school boards our financing plans for 1976, and as hon. members will recall there were some changes in rates of grant support in those new plans for 1976. We were in the midst of a restraint programme and the rate of grant per capital building at that time was changed from an average of 95 per cent to 77 per cent across the province. I think the reasons were outlined very clearly at that time.

Subsequently, the Essex county board indicated to us that because this change in rate of grant would apply to the Essex county school, they would have to reconsider the matter. I think it should be pointed out here that to the best of my knowledge I can recall no other board in this province reconsidering capital plans that they had in the works at the time of our proposal, notwithstanding the fact that our rate of grant was going to be different. I think that has to be said.

Indeed, I think the opposite was true. Most boards, notwithstanding what our new rate of grant would be -- which incidentally meant that we had a little more money to spread out for a larger number of projects -- were asking us for more approvals than we could approve rather than drawing back and saying, “Because you’ve changed your rate of grant, we will not go ahead with the project which we had planned.”

However, such was not the case in Essex, and as I recall the matter was brought up and I had at least one meeting with the board and members of the French-language advisory committee.

On February 13, I wrote this letter, which I would like to read, to Mrs. Ashton, who is the chairman of the board:

“I wish to thank you and your colleagues for meeting with me on February 6 to share some of your concerns regarding the construction of a French-language school in Essex county.

“I hope that your board will stand by the original motion approving the construction of the school.

“As you know, the rates of grant for extraordinary expenditures announced by the ministry applies uniformly to all school boards in the province. I am sure that you will appreciate that an exception cannot be made for the Essex County Board of Education since many other jurisdictions would likely present a very strong case for similar consideration.

“The province does not have the resources at this time to accommodate such requests. Also, I should point out that at no time has this ministry ever guaranteed the rate of grant that was in effect when a project was being considered, or indeed when it received final approval that that rate would remain in effect for the full life of the debenture repayments.

“The impact of this year’s rate of grant, as it relates to the construction of a proposed school would indeed be minimal. You will recall that the reconciliation of our respective calculations showed an approximate increase of $1.35 per household per year for this project. You will also recall that some months ago I agreed to recognize for grant purposes the total costs of the project, as mutually agreed upon between the board and the ministry with every economy and planning and design being achieved.

“In addition, the ministry has advised the Windsor Board of Education that it would recognize for grant purposes the tuition fees for a minimum of 125 students paid to the Essex County Board of Education for the purchase of French-language education even if the number of students from the Windsor Board of Education who elect to attend the Essex French-language school falls below that mark.

“Further, you will recall that the board’s capital allocation for 1975 was increased by some $500,000 to accommodate immediate needs that were brought to our attention. These capital projects were Belle River High School, Kingsville Public School and Essex District High School. At our meeting on Friday you expressed concern about the need for local improvements brought about by the construction of the new school. In this regard, I have asked Mr. R. F. Laughton, our chief architect of the ministry, to review the matter with your board and, where your board is able to substantiate the need, such expenditures will be considered as part of the cost of the project for grant purposes.

“I appreciate the concerns of all parties in this matter but I trust that the board will see fit to proceed expeditiously with this project which would not, in our opinion, impose an undue hardship on local ratepayers.

“Kindest regards,


“The Minister of Education.”

On February 19, 1976, Mr. Speaker, a subcommittee of the board, by a vote of four to three, recommended that the board proceed with the construction of the school. However, at a meeting of the board on February 23, 1976, the board defeated two resolutions, the first of which was as follows:

“Due to the severe restrictions recently imposed on all boards of education in Ontario, that the Essex County Board of Education cease all planning in regard to the construction of a French-language high school in Essex county.”

That resolution, and I read it deliberately so that the members would understand the wording of it, was defeated 12 to 6. That was a resolution that they cease all planning on the school. The next resolution that was put to the board was:

“That the board proceed as planned with the motion of April 7, regarding the construction of a French-language secondary school.” That motion was defeated on a tie vote 9-9.

Students began boycotting classes and certain problems occurred very soon after that in Essex county. It again became obvious to us, recognizing that we had no legal authority to force the building of that school, that we had to attempt to find a way to get the school built. Again, the ministry became involved in appointing another mediator, this time Mr. Robert A. McLeod, who is the retired director of education from the Niagara South Board of Education, a board which incidentally has a good record in the provision of French-language programmes for Franco-Ontarians in its area.

Mr. McLeod on May 19 became involved in the situation and since then until the end of 1976 and early this year attempted to see whether there was a way to encourage the board to proceed with the undertaking which it had passed and decided to proceed with in 1975.


Mr. McLeod recommended to the board in early 1977 that the school be built and, as hon. members know, because this process has gone on for such a long time, the board -- and in this case a different board because there had been elections -- a different board, after listening to Mr. McLeod and after the presentation of his report which recommends the building of the Essex county French-language secondary school, decided not to proceed with the building of that school.

Mr. Swart: That is the kind of people we have in the Niagara region.

Hon. Mr. Wells: That’s right. Mr. McLeod is a very fine gentleman. He was a fine director of education. He tried very hard not to write just a report but to see if there wasn’t a way he could bring the people together -- the French-language advisory committee and the members of the school board -- to get them to proceed with the school which they had passed at one time and which for financial reasons, so the board put it, was not now proceeding with.

The only other thing which must be stated is that earlier this year I met with the board as a result of some of our ongoing studies in French-language education and in connection with some of the changes that we were making in this particular area. It was decided that the rate of grant for French-language secondary schools would go to 95 per cent. The general need on behalf of all the people of Ontario for these schools for the minorities -- and I say French-language schools in this context although in other parts of the province this could just as equally apply to an English-language school if that were the minority-language school -- the need for that and the desire to have the people of this province as a whole pay a much greater share of the cost of those schools than the regular majority-language school, brought us to the decision that we would pay a 95 per cent grant, and I so informed the board.

I had a meeting with the full board on March 3, 1977, and outlined that change in grant. I must say, I really believed that having outlined that change in grant procedure, the school would proceed. Following our changes in grants for 1976, it meant that rather than $117,000 a year over the 20-year life of the debenture being levied against the Essex county ratepayers, only about $24,000 a year would now have to be levied under the new grant formula for French-language schools coming into effect.

I felt that having laid that before the trustees, the financial hurdle was out of the way and the project could proceed, knowing full well that preliminary plans, as a result of the earlier motion, had already been proceeding. There had been an architect appointed, sketch plans were in a preliminary stage and certain sites had already been acquired. However, it was not to be the case. After my meeting with the board, the board subsequently met and, by a vote of 12 to 5, voted against the building of a French-language secondary school in its jurisdiction.

I feel, as I stated earlier, that there comes a certain time and a certain place where action is necessary, and in this particular case I think this bill is necessary. We have in Essex county two groups -- the French-language minority represented by the French-language advisory committee, and the duly elected Essex county school board. We have a dispute. We have a province which guarantees -- and all of us in this Legislature represent that guarantee -- French-language education to that minority group in this particular area. We have a precedent across this province for that happening; this is not a new, unique situation. We have, at this point in time, a moral obligation to settle that dispute here ourselves. We’ve tried mediators, the ministry has been involved, there’s been a long process of encouragement and help with all parties to try and get a resolution to this. We now are at the point where the body that’s going to settle this dispute is going to be the Legislature of the province of Ontario.

As for the Essex county board -- and, as I said, I think a lot of the problem is a misunderstanding of what the school really is and what a French-language school is -- having outlined to them exactly what it is, and that this is not a new, unique precedent for Essex county, the members of this Legislature, by passing this bill, are going to say, “We are now the mediators in this dispute; here’s what we think should be done. We believe that you will respect the wishes of the Legislature.”

I guess the thing that bothers me most is that, talking with some of the people down there, they say it doesn’t matter whether we pass this bill or not, the school won’t be built anyway. That bothers me and I think it should bother every member of this Legislature, because at a certain time and a certain place we have to take this kind of a role, and here we are acting as the mediator between two groups. We’re going to express the opinion on behalf of all the people of Ontario concerning the Essex county school, and I firmly believe that it should be adhered to by the Essex county school board, and I hope that it will be.

I believe that if we unanimously support this bill we say to the Essex county board, “We realize your problems but that school needs to be built, indeed, must be built for the francophone minority in that area. We have acted as the mediator, we’re resolving the dispute for you now, here’s the solution, carry on, go ahead and build the school.”

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I hope that all members will support this bill and that we can then proceed to have the school built and open in as short a time as possible in Essex county.

Ms. Gigantes: I rise in support of Bill 31 and I do so with a mixture of pleasure and pain. The pleasure I feel comes from the knowledge that after eight years of being denied, the francophone community of Windsor and Essex will have access to a French-language secondary school. The pain I feel comes from the knowledge that it has required an Act of the Legislature of Ontario to ensure that the school be built.

The eight years of events which the Minister of Education has retraced for us and which have brought us to this debate, are a testimony to failure. The French-language secondary school of Essex county should now be six years old, and its students and its graduates should now be living proof that cultural diversity is cultural and social strength.

The people of Windsor and Essex county should now be enjoying the satisfaction of having worked together to create a French-language school second to none in this province; but none of this is the case and the bill before us is a bill which must cause us to reflect on our failures.

I draw to your attention section 2 of the bill, which reads: “On the day upon which this Act comes into force, the board is deemed to have passed a resolution to construct a building suitable for a school to accommodate 750 French-speaking secondary school pupils.” These are sad words, Mr. Speaker. By an Act of this Legislature the Essex County Board of Education will be deemed to have passed such a resolution. It will be deemed to have passed the resolution because it has refused to pass the resolution, and the people of Ontario, represented here in this Legislature, have decided that the resolution must be passed and the school, which should now be six years old, must finally be built.

I doubt there’s a person in this province who would find it easy to vote for a bill which represents the overriding of a clearly expressed local and democratic decision of a board of education. It’s a painful decision. It represents the majority of this province declaring to the majority of a local community that the majority of the local community must comply with the decisions of the provincial community on a question which has always been decided by local communities.

As the minister has noted, this is not the first time in the history of our provincial community when we have seen division and misunderstanding about the need for a French-language school -- not by a long shot -- but it is the first time in the history of our provincial community when we’ve had to have an Act of the Legislature to guarantee the building of a French-language school.

In my own mind -- and I am sure I’m in good company in this House and in this province -- the only reason, the only conceivable reason that would bring me to support a bill of this kind is that I feel it is the only remaining method of ensuring the protection of a minority whose legitimate rights have been denied.

The bill before us is a denial of democracy at the local level. We have to be clear about that. We are, in supporting this bill, dismissing the considered, the too-long considered, decision of duly elected representatives of the majority of electors of the Essex County Board of Education. We cannot do that without a decent, solid and defensible reason, and the reason must be that we are committed to a decent, solid and defensible principle of democratic society: that the majority must respect the rights of the minority.

Let me speak to this principle with some of the passion of a person who was raised in a minority group. I grew up in the Ottawa Valley on the Quebec side of the Ottawa River. My home life, my school life, my social life, my medical life, my legal life, my work life all were carried on in the English language. My family background was anglophone for several hundred years and the history of that family and all its literary and spiritual supports were anglophone.

The dates of births and deaths in the old family bible were recorded in English. The bible itself was the lovely version of King James. The stories of my forbears were passed from one generation to the other in the same language that my forbears had spoken. My parents took delight in the richness of that language and now, in times of parental need, I quote my father’s favourite phrases from Shakespeare and the King James version to my child.

I am old enough now to appreciate that all these elements of language and culture are an important part of me as an individual. They are the means through which I can feel my roots as a person. They gave me the security and confidence to question passing fashion and to search for the goals of the spirit. They are vital to me as a person.

Let me remind you, Mr. Speaker, I was raised in the province of Quebec. Do not think for a moment that my experience was unique. In every part of Quebec the children of the English-speaking minority have enjoyed this same cultural experience for centuries. We did not even consider it a luxury; we thought it was a natural right. There was much that we did not understand.


This was no natural right that we enjoyed. It had to do not with the King James version, but rather with St. James Street and the incredible power of high finance controlled by an elite group of English-speaking people in the city of Montreal. We were ignorant of that fact and, with all respect to my dear parents, they too were ignorant of that fact.

It’s really too much to ask that a coal miner from Cape Breton and a teacher from Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, be capable of analysing the political and financial determinants of a comfortable anglophone cultural life in a town like Aylmer, Quebec, in the 1940s. But I, with my much easier life, have a responsibility to look back and reflect, or so I feel. I feel I must acknowledge the richness of my personal background, and I must pay tribute to the confidence of the cultural heritage which I enjoyed. And all this was in a province where the vast majority of people spoke French.

It was a dream world and we thought it operated on something akin to natural rights. How naive we were and how well we can see it now, now that the francophone majority in Quebec is finally asserting itself through the ballot box. The francophone majority has finally come out of its own dream of eternal existence and begun to recognize that its cultural roots will disappear in the next two generations if no positive action is taken. But what they will decide is their decision alone, in my view. The luxury of cultural confidence I enjoyed as I lived in the province where they were the majority is something to which I will pay tribute for as long as I live.

At this point, I’d like to throw in a bit of specific information about schools in Quebec. I attended an English-language school, right through to junior matriculation, in the small town of Aylmer, Quebec. It was one of many English-language schools in the province of Quebec, well funded and with a good educational programme. It was something we expected. We are told now, and we know now, that we have constructed and run programmes of French-language instruction in 24 high schools throughout the province of Ontario. The French-language minority in the province of Ontario and the English-language minority in the province of Quebec are roughly equal in numbers. In Quebec at the moment there are 183 English-language high schools. And I think it is important to add that piece of information to this debate.

Let me hypothesize, Mr. Speaker. Let me suggest that I might have come into this world as the child of French-speaking parents in the province of Ontario. Would I even be participating in this debate? Could I feel secure that my grandchildren would understand something about me because of stories told in the language I now speak? These things are vital to individuals; they are vital and they are often neglected by majorities which do not understand that the true measure of a democracy is the fate of the minority.

A few weeks ago a young man came to see me, accompanied by his brother. The young man is deaf, and his brother came with him so that I’d have a translator of sign language. This young man is one of the few totally deaf people in Ontario who has a full-time job. He works for the Post Office and, on the side, he is a long-distance runner of some note. He would like to participate in the Silent Olympics, being held this year in Caracas, Venezuela, and he came to see me because he needs government funding.

He learned to read and write at the Provincial School for the Deaf in Belleville. He’s a beautiful, happy, ambitious and disciplined person who is a kind of supermodel of how a person who is handicapped by deafness can add to this world. He comes from a francophone family. When he learned to read and write and talk through signs in Ontario, he learned in English. His brother who worships him, has had to train himself to sign language and the sign language they speak is English.

Let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, I can hardly bear to watch them communicate without crying out in anguish. They sit there and they talk to each other in English sign language. Why should this be happening in Ontario? Surely we are confident enough of ourselves that we can be more feeling? Surely we are sure enough of being a confident, understanding majority that we can take positive initiatives to ensure that individuals who are born into a minority group in this province are treated with individual respect?

I would like to read a short section from an infamous paper. This is the infamous white paper on language rights in Quebec. I would like to read a section because I think it relates directly to what I am trying to express here.

“French must become the common language of all Quebeckers. This first principle leads to a second, which is in no way a giving in, still less any sort of machiavellian concession; that is, respect for minorities. Any vital society must look upon the contributions made to it by reason of its own diversity as an indispensable source of enrichment.

“One need only consider what the culture of our first inhabitants, the Indians, has given us and which Quebeckers have integrated into their own lives without, unfortunately, always realizing its source. The same must be said of the culture of the English, the Italians, the Jews, the Greeks and many other ethnic groups which affect the lives of all Quebeckers,

“Although Quebec wishes to be a French society, it has never been, nor would it wish to be, what some call a tribe. In this respect, as in others, Quebec must not be merely tolerant, it must expect and invite from other cultures which constitute it the essential vitality inherent in them. In effect, the fact that Quebec is exercising its right to be French in no way prevents groups and individuals from knowing and speaking another language or even several other languages.

“The minority groups -- this ambiguous expression must be used not only because it is in common usage, but also because nothing better has yet been found -- will, of course, be able to preserve their language and pass it on to their children. English in particular will always hold an important place in Quebec, not only because it is the language of communication in North America, as we hear repeatedly, but also because it is part of the cultural heritage of Quebeckers.

“Nevertheless, in a Quebec which lives in French, it is natural that all its citizens, whatever their ethnic and cultural origin, should be capable of expressing themselves in French, participating fully in a French society, and conceding that French is the common language of all Quebeckers.

“The government recognizes that an English population and an English culture exist in Quebec. Even though they have for too long been isolated in a network of institutions separate from but parallel to those of the French, this population and this culture constitute an irreducible component of our society.”

From another section, the final section of the language white paper: “During the Riel affair, or the historic battles for French schools in the Canadian west and in Ontario, or the conscription crisis, whenever there has been serious political tension, French-speaking people have been the ones to entreat, to beg, to rebel, or to passively resist.

“Never before have they had such firm political leverage to ensure that French rights are respected. With such freedom to act, however, French-speaking Quebeckers must also be aware of their new responsibilities. As long as they could play no other role than that of members of a begging minority, their claims were only a problem for the conscience of those in power. As soon as they become members of a majority, however, they come of age and must assume responsibility for the rights and the respect of the minorities.”

I read you this white paper, Mr. Speaker, perhaps as a token of my appreciation of the fact that the sentiments expressed in those two sections are sentiments which in my life, growing up in English Quebec, I found supported in everyday ways. Quebec has always behaved in that way. We hope the sentiments expressed in the white paper will ensure that Quebec continues to behave that way, but what it calls for from us here in Ontario is to set a model of behaviour on our own.

This bill, Bill 31, is a tribute to our newfound principles. I suspect the motives for this new discovery. I suspect those motives are involved with the defence of traditional power in this country. I suspect we are about to pass this bill because traditional power in this country is challenged and it is trying in a hurry to clean up its image.

I support this bill on old principles; for example, the old principles that have to do with doing unto your neighbour. I have been a minority neighbour; I have been well treated. I will insist, when I am part of the majority, that my minority neighbour deserves those same personal rights. They have been vitally important to me, and I think I am very much like other people.

I reject all political excuses for this bill. This bill is before us because the government of Ontario has failed to foresee its responsibility to talk about the important issues in a real democracy -- the rights of the minority and the importance of conserving individual cultural roots.

For a Conservative government, this government is a simple mockery of conservative principles. Just at the point when the general populace in true democratic fashion is beginning to insist on conservative values, this government has turned into a small-l replica of the big-L Liberals: whatever is, is right. Levesque is in power in Quebec, so the Essex school is deemed to have been chosen by the Essex County Board of Education. What nonsense and what a failure.

How could this 34-year-old government have arrived at this point? Why did it fail to speak of the rights of the individual and the rights of minority groups years ago? Why did it not set about to enlighten the locals in Essex county about these principles, these important Conservative principles, way back in the days when the Minister of Education was the man who is now Premier?

I support this bill, but I support it with resentment. If the Premier were a true Conservative and a true Conservative leader, we would not have to face a bill such as this. If he had a real feeling for Conservative values, for the cultural rights of the individual person and for the rights of a minority group in a democracy, we would now be congratulating ourselves for six years of excellent francophone education in the Windsor-Essex area.

There is an extra bit of irony to all of this. In 1974 the separate school board of the county of Essex passed a resolution in which it declared it would be more than happy to build a secondary school for the French language in Essex county. As we all know, this idea is unacceptable to the Conservative government. That particular bit of irony also makes me very angry.


It is almost more than I can bear to listen to the Premier of this province and his Treasurer when they talk about Conservative principles in their Throne Speeches and budgets. Those are not principles; those are kowtows to power, brute power. Nothing more, nothing less. When the Premier and the current Minister of Education discover the Conservative principles in the eight-year battle about the French-language school in Essex, I feel bitter. I ask myself, “Where is the power play today?”

Mr. Speaker, I will support this bill. I am a conservative in the old sense. I support the principle of individual rights, individual rights to a cultural security and the rights of a minority in a democracy. Therefore, I will support this bill. Therefore, also, I will call upon this government to have some mercy for the local majority which is about to be called a provincial minority, in this bill, in Essex-Windsor.

I beg this government to give some special consideration to the crushed majority in Essex-Windsor which would welcome some special funding so that its children could have the opportunity to learn French. I feel that it is exceedingly important for this government to make special funding provisions for the teaching of second-language French to the sons and daughters of people in Windsor-Essex. It would be common decency, it would be a decent conservative move.

My colleagues in the official opposition will add many other points to this debate. Each one of us who speaks will speak from personal experience of and personal conviction toward the principles of this bill. We speak with the belief that the bill, sad as it is in its implications, is a bill which must now be passed because of our past failures. We speak with the hope that we will know how to avoid such failures in the future.

We speak in the belief that the future will find Ontario prepared to defend conservative principles for the sake of those principles, and that our ability to identify and preserve conservative principles will help us to create a province of energy, co-operation and harmony. We have faith in the people of this province and we support this bill to reaffirm that faith and to turn the last page in a painful chapter of our past failures. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. S. Smith: In leading off for my party I will try to make these remarks reasonably brief. In many ways this represents a sad day for the Legislature of Ontario. To have to take action that we now are forced to take is evidence that collectively we’ve let this situation get out of hand to a point where an honourable and equitable solution at the local level could not be made.

The only bright side to this matter is that it gives this Legislature an opportunity to affirm its support for the principle of minority rights and, in particular, for linguistic rights in the province of Ontario. In a liberal democracy such as ours minority rights are essential, and especially in Canada on the issue of language.

I want the position of the Liberal Party clearly understood. We support the purpose and intent of this bill. In fact, both the opposition parties called for such government action earlier, once it was clear that a fair local solution could not be found, and it was only after the two opposition parties spoke in this way that the hon. Minister of Education made his decision.

Our decision has been made more difficult because if there is anything that we as Liberals feel very personally dedicated to it is the concept of local autonomy. We feel that altogether too many decisions are made centrally and imposed on local communities. We feel that one of the great failings, for instance, in the regional government idea -- which in itself was not a bad idea -- was in the way in which decisions were removed from local people and put into another level of bureaucracy, more distant from people. So, it is not easy for a Liberal to take, without the greatest of misgivings, the steps proposed in this bill. However, in this case, it is very clearly our view that the principle of fair and equitable treatment of Ontario’s francophone population must take precedence over the matter of local autonomy.

We trust that the government will not see the passage of this bill as being all that it has to do for the Franco-Ontarian community. I have this gnawing feeling that I’ve been through this before -- although not as a member of the Legislature -- when the government, as a substitute for a decent transportation policy in Ontario, chose the symbolic issue of Spadina and then went around during an entire election campaign recommending themselves as experts on transportation, as the consequence of that one decision. I suspect we’re going to see the same thing with regard to land use. As you know, in that area the government is lacking a policy -- has a rather abysmal lack of policy -- and I suspect they will trumpet about the few acres of Niagara that were saved as a great indication that they’re experts in these matters, that they have nothing more to worry about.

I have a great fear that the national debate with regard to the future of our country will in some way be subverted by the government constantly pointing to the fact that they brought in this Essex bill as some indication that they think their record with regard to Franco-Ontarian rights is an excellent record and one with which we can be satisfied. I don’t think it is. And I said, as long ago as December 16 and even before then, that we in Ontario have made some progress with regard to the rights of our Franco-Ontarians and the services available to Franco-Ontarians. I welcome the progress, but we have a very long way to go, even to get to the level of services and rights enjoyed by anglophones in the province of Quebec.

I feel that this action must not become a sort of Spadina decision, a mighty rocket salvo which soon fades, leaving little of substance behind. I hope this government knows that much more must be done in the area of justice -- where francophones can, today, obtain trial in the French language only in Ottawa and certain experimental situations. I believe that it’s on Thursdays in Sudbury. That is disgraceful and has to change.

I trust that the government also understands the need to improve Franco-Ontarian services in health; that has been documented very well in the Dubois report. I trust that it understands these shameful discrepancies between this province and our neighbouring province of Quebec, in terms of the minority language provisions in post-secondary education. This discrepancy is something over which Ontario needs to hang its head. So, whenever the matter of Franco-Ontarian rights and services are brought up in the national context -- and in Quebec, and in Ontario, and in any election that might occur -- I trust we’re not going to have the government beat its breast and point to the Windsor matter as evidence that it is really on the ball, because it most certainly is not in this regard.

The government knows that it will have the support of both opposition parties when it moves forward in the area of Franco-Ontarian rights.

I want, as an Ontarian, to give the lie to Premier Levesque’s attempts to cut back on English language services in Quebec because, as you know, they always state there that Quebec will be as French as Ontario is English. By our actions in this Legislature, we can demonstrate clearly that our French language rights and services can serve as a model for language equality in Canada. We should not be lagging behind. We should be up to that level and ahead of that level; I’ve said this before in this Legislature, as you know. Let’s not give the separatists any ammunition to use against us and against Canadian unity. Let’s all work collectively and co-operatively to expand language rights.

What is sad about this piece of legislation is that it need never have been introduced. The preamble to the bill itemizes a sorry record of government hesitancy and inaction which finally forced the issue to its present conclusion. Had the ministry moved to assist in April, 1975, when the board voted in favour of the school, the whole situation could have been settled with less turmoil. If the Premier had gone in, as I requested him to do, and lent the important prestige of the office he holds in trying to explain to people in the area what was needed and why and what the situation was, then the matter might have been settled.

Let me say this. I can understand how the people of Essex county must feel. I have been there very recently and talked with the people of that county and I tell you, Mr. Speaker, they see themselves as being unjustly attacked as bigots. They feel they are being held up as examples of bigotry and prejudice and they don’t like it.

I can understand why they don’t like it, because my experience with those people is that they are not bigots. They are reasonable people living their life much as all of us try to do, doing what they think is best and what they think they understand. They have their own ideas about how they can live together with their French neighbours -- I am speaking now of English-speaking people in Essex -- and the French-speaking people have some of their own ideas as well, and not all of them, of course, are necessarily of one mind on the subject.

These are fine people and they are caught in a web which was essentially brought about by lack of clear government action. Our party would have preferred general legislation that did not single out Essex county but which would have changed in the various Acts the word “may” to “shall,” so that every francophone in Ontario would know what the grounds rules are and would know that there are minority rights which apply everywhere in the province, and not simply leave it to the local jurisdiction to decide as it is now and then single out Essex county and make it an example of some kind and deem that it has made a decision which it has not made.

We would have preferred general legislation and such general legislation could have received the support of our Essex members and many more of the Essex county residents themselves. Nonetheless, we recognize, in the nature of the present situation, the need for action.

At the time the Minister of Education announced that he would ensure the establishment of this school, when I congratulated him, and he will remember that, I said: “If we are going to convince the ordinary citizens of Quebec that they can be first-class citizens in Canada, Ontario has to be the showplace. If we can’t do it here, we can’t do it anywhere in the country.”

Therefore, Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party will support this bill. We feel the school must be built. We will continue to support the government on any action it takes to expand and to enhance language equality in Ontario.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Would someone care to adjourn the debate?

Mr. Bounsall moved the adjournment of the debate.

Motion agreed to.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Wells, the House adjourned at 1 p.m.