30th Parliament, 4th Session

L022 - Tue 26 Apr 1977 / Mar 26 avr 1977

The House met at 2 p.m.




Hon. Mr. Auld: In the budget address last week, the Treasurer announced that I would make a statement outlining the government’s new manpower policy. Today, Mr. Speaker, I have tabled a paper on manpower control in Ontario. The paper describes the new manpower control policy and outlines the ways that it can contribute to significant improvement in human resource management and manpower control in the civil service.

This paper also sets out details of the present manpower control system and outlines its method of operation during the period of expenditure constraint, commencing with the 1975 budget.

It also covers the opportunities for improvements to the present system, keeping in mind the requirements of ministries, Management Board and the Legislature.

Then, the new manpower control policy is described. The policy consists of three elements -- annual salary and wage dollar control, classified staffing control, and staffing information system. The paper explains each of these elements and describes how they contribute to the requirements of the Legislature, Management Board and the ministries.

The implementation of the new manpower control system will be gradual and will take place on a ministry-by-ministry basis throughout the 1977-78 fiscal year.


Hon. Mr. Kerr: Later today, Mr. Speaker, I will be introducing an amendment to The Environmental Assessment Act which permits a broad inquiry into various developments in northern Ontario, including the Reed proposal for the harvesting and use of timber resources. The amendment will allow the government to appoint Mr. Justice Patrick Hartt to conduct an inquiry into major developments north or generally north of the 50th parallel north latitude. By the broad definition of the environment in the Act, the amendment will authorize the inquiry to consider both the natural and human environments including the cultural, social and economic aspects of a proposed development.

As soon as this amendment is passed by the Legislature, a recommendation for an order in council will be presented to the Ontario cabinet appointing Mr. Justice Patrick Hartt to conduct the inquiry.

Mr. Lewis: When will we have it?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Under the terms of the order in council, Mr. Justice Hartt will have the discretion to decide which major enterprises located north of the 50th parallel will be inquired into; the government will also have the discretion to refer to Mr. Justice Hartt developments located in the north that it feels should be considered. The order in council will refer the Reed proposal to the inquiry.

The terms of the amendment and of the order in council are acceptable to Mr. Justice Patrick Hartt and the representatives of the native people concerned. We are looking for a number of positive benefits from this inquiry: a broader range of information on the full environmental implications of the Reed Limited proposal to guide the Environmental Assessment Board and the government in their future considerations of this project; an extensive public forum in which many of the issues in this and other proposed developments can be identified and to some extent resolved; the recommendation of new approaches to planning and assessing resource-based development in the sensitive environment of northern Ontario. I also expect some indication of the extent to which The Environmental Assessment Act should be applied to various types of development in the north.

This new approach to evaluating northern development is a much broader application of the principles of environmental assessment. We are depending on the Hartt inquiry to break new trails and guide us further towards a better future for northern Ontario.

The conduct of the inquiry is in Mr. Justice Hartt’s hands. He is authorized to call and examine witnesses, produce and review any relevant documents and conduct any meeting or public hearings required in any location he chooses for the inquiry. In public reports he will provide me with information and advice on the issues referred to him. His reports will, I am sure, provide valuable information and guidance to the government and the Environmental Assessment Board in his subsequent hearings and decisions on any proposals studied in the inquiry.

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

Mr. Speaker: Point of order?


Mr. Reid: Actually, I have three, Mr. Speaker. I’ll begin with the one relative to the statement just made. Does the minister have any relevant documents to table with the Legislature in regard to his statement today as to the terms of reference? Will they be part of the amendment or is the minister going to table those as the new rules of the Legislature require?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I am introducing a bill, Mr. Speaker, as the hon. member realizes; it’s not just a statement. The compendium will be attached to the bill, and it was my intent to table the terms of reference before second reading.

Mr. Reid: A further point of order, Mr. Speaker: On the introduction of the bill setting up the Ministry of Northern Affairs, there was no relevant material tabled at that time --

Mr. Lewis: But there isn’t any.

Mr. MacDonald: Table the minister.

Mr. Reid: -- I presume it’s because there is none and that there wasn’t really any background studies except the horizontal rise of the former Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Bernier). I wonder if there is any material to be tabled.

Mr. Lewis: It is a job security programme. You get activated, don’t you, Leo?

Mr. Speaker: That’s not a point of order. If there was material to be presented, it must have been presented. If there was no material, then it is impossible to present nothing.

Mr. Reid: There is no material; that was my point. I just wanted to know.

Mr. Lewis: A job-creation programme for one minister.

Mr. Reid: I have a further point, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: A further point?

Mr. Reid: I have in my hand a report sent out by a member of the Legislature, an NDP member, under the guise of being a constituency report, which contains three questions that are of an extreme political nature. One of them I can’t fathom any intelligent person replying to in the affirmative: “Would you like to learn more about the Ontario New Democratic Party?” I think everybody knows too much, or enough, about them already. But I want to bring this to your attention, Mr. Speaker, because I believe it is a crass political document and that public funds are being used to proselytize a particular party and ideology. I would hope that you would look into it. I’ll send it to you.

Mr. Speaker: I believe the member does not have a point of order, but I’ll check into it and, if so, I’ll take the necessary action.

Mr. Reid: A point of privilege then, if you like.

Mr. Speaker: There seems to be nothing out of order here as far as the operation of the House is concerned. However, we will study the document and report if necessary.

Mr. Nixon: It’s just a waste of public funds -- misappropriation.

An hon. member: Whose report is it?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Lewis: Speaking to the point of order, Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Speaker: No, it’s over with.

Mr. Lewis: -- in my riding report --

Mr. Nixon: He said there wasn’t a point of order.

Mr. Lewis: -- I invited people to say if they’d like to help the Conservative and Liberal Parties and got seven responses out of 700 replies.

Mr. Reid: It is still public funds.

Mr. Lewis: But in a good cause, you will admit.

Mr. Breithaupt: That is uncertain.



Mr. Lewis: Perhaps I should ask a question of the Premier, Mr. Speaker. In the light of the meeting this morning of the chiefs in northern Ontario who asked to have the English-Wabigoon River system finally closed and indicated that if the government couldn’t somehow, sometime, render a decision on this, they would have to step up their campaign, including lobbying through southern cities and again closing the road on the reserve, is it possible for the Premier to indicate what the government will do and when?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, it’s not possible for me to indicate anything today. I wasn’t aware that the chiefs were meeting this morning, but I had heard that this possibility might exist. It’s a matter that is presently being discussed by cabinet. As soon as I have some information to share with the House and the public I shall do so, but I haven’t anything that I can usefully say to the House today.

Mr. Lewis: If I may ask the Premier, by way of a supplementary, since this matter has been under discussion now for a couple of years and has passed back and forth, federally and provincially, for several months while the native peoples have waited for a reply, and since the government commissioned a study through the former Minister of Health (Mr. F. S. Miller) to send a study team on mercury poisoning to Iraq and Japan, and since that study paper said about mercury-contaminated fish and its effect on human health, in recommendation No. 2: “It is recognized that the most effective method of achieving recommendation 1” -- that is, not to use fish for human or animal food -- “is to close the waterway to all forms of fishing. In particular, this would protect the fishing guides who are the population most at risk,” why is there the endless resistance to the arguments when his government has itself documented the position in June of 1976?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t think it’s a question of endless resistance to some of the arguments. I think it’s a case of the government endeavouring to come up with a workable solution that is in the interests of the native people themselves. I’m aware of this report and other discussions. As I said to the hon. member, it is a matter that is presently before cabinet and when we have some further information to share, either I shall, or the minister will, be prepared to do so.

Mr. Lewis: May I ask which minister would report on this matter?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Probably the Minister of Natural Resources.

Mr. Reid: Supplementary: Can the Premier indicate whether the problem is an agreement between the province and the federal government as to the closing down, and exactly who has the authority to close the river? Is it the federal government, the provincial government or both of them in combination?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I’m going by memory. I think, legally or technically, it is the federal government which must effect the closing. I think I’m right in that.

Mr. Foulds: I have a supplementary: Can the Premier share with us at this time what he and his cabinet would consider the factors that need to be taken into account in their “workable solution”?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I endeavour to share as much as I can with the members opposite, but I have to say to the hon. member on this occasion that I really can’t prejudge for him some of the matters that will be discussed and I really just can’t help him with that particular question.

Mr. Lewis: One quick, last supplementary: Could I ask the Premier, in case he hasn’t seen it -- and it’s possible he hasn’t, because it’s very recent -- to take a look at the Study on the Detection of the Effects of Methyl Mercury on Man, done by Clarkson, Marsh and Myers of the Environmental Health Sciences Centre at the University of Rochester and supplemented by Dr. Prichard at the University of Toronto, with several scientists in Iraq, who point out that present clinical methods for detection of mercury effects are minimal, and end up by saying: “In short, were we to rely on current clinical methods, a major outbreak of poisoning could occur without any prior warning”? Since it is, in a sense, new scientific evidence of the dilemma up there, could it be considered among the cabinet documents?


Hon. Mr. Davis: I am sure that some members of cabinet would be quite prepared to familiarize themselves with that particular information. I can’t say that all of us in cabinet will become completely knowledgeable with respect to it, but certainly we would be quite prepared to have the group assess that particular document.


Mr. Lewis: A question of the Minister of the Environment, referring to his statement. If Justice Patrick Hartt in his inquiry were to find, over the course of the next two years and prior to the actual environmental studies material relating to Reed being available, that there were various small developments -- economic and social -- of benefit to that part of the north, independent of any particular project, would the minister be prepared to accept that as a basis on which to proceed -- providing jobs and all the other things this Legislature wants -- without waiting for a final document four or five years down the road?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. S. Smith: That is a different tune, isn’t it?

Mr. Reid: That is what you call a flip-flop.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please, the hon. minister is to answer.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: It may be assuming that The Environmental Assessment Act --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- now applies to the private sector.


Mr. Speaker: Order. The hon. minister is trying to answer the question here.

Mr. Breithaupt: That is a weak reed to lean upon.

Mr. Lewis: You have moved full circle on this one.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Opposition -- order, please.

An hon. member: Ask the Premier to stop --

Mr. Roy: Show your independence.

Mr. Bullbrook: Send them both out

Mr. Speaker: The hon. minister will continue.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: In the event -- and I would expect that this would be so -- that The Environmental Assessment Act itself applies to the private sector, that Act and the provisions of that Act would still apply to any project that may be developed in the north or any part of the province. But, certainly, if the Hartt inquiry indicated that the type of project to which the Leader of the Opposition refers was appropriate in the north, I would expect that it would have a great deal of effect on the Ministry of the Environment and the minister himself, as far as approvals were concerned.

Mr. Lewis: By way of a supplementary: We can proceed where it is appropriate to proceed, without waiting five years down the road on the one particular project which triggered all this?

Hon. Mr. Davis: No, indeed.

Mr. Reid: Well, you have got it both ways now.

Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: If the terms of the order in council, as the minister says on page two of his statement, are acceptable to Mr. Justice Patrick Hartt, presumably they have been drawn up and are in printed form. Could the minister make those terms available at the present time to the Legislature, even though the legislation has not passed?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: As I indicated, I would like to take this to cabinet tomorrow. Before we discuss this bill on second reading, the terms of reference will be made available to the members of the House.


Mr. S. Smith: I have a question for the Attorney General: Is the Attorney General satisfied that he has done everything in his power to persuade Crown attorneys -- and the court system generally -- to make more use of restitution as part of the sentencing procedure, particularly in cases of vandalism where people are apprehended? And can he say whether or not he has asked the federal government to move in that direction, in keeping with the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes. As I recall, approximately a year ago I sent a memorandum to all the Crown attorneys in the province of Ontario requesting that they not only make greater use of these restitution sections of The Criminal Code but also assist victims of crime in presenting the necessary documentation to the Court when they appear in court in order that the proper order in the correct amount might be made.

I might say that there is some legal, constitutional cloud over this issue. I think it was resolved by the Ontario Court of Appeal a few months ago, when these sections of The Criminal Code were challenged on the basis that they were dealing more with matters of property and civil rights -- provincial matters, as opposed to criminal law. The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the restitution provisions.

As a matter of interest and a matter of information only, the Manitoba Court of Appeal has ruled differently, and the matter will probably be finally resolved in the Supreme Court of Canada in the not too distant future. But in the meantime we are encouraging our Crown attorneys to make as much use of these provisions as is possible.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Could the Attorney General give us some indication of the results of the letter which he sent a year ago to the Crown attorneys, and whether there has been an improvement in that regard? Specifically, when he’s on his feet reporting on these results, could he tell us whether he’s taken any special initiatives with regard to recent vandalism in the western part of Hamilton where apparently, it is alleged, those who were involved are quite willing to make restitution but are hoping the court will arrange a method whereby this can be done?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Dealing with the latter part of the supplementary question first, I don’t know the particulars of the matter in the west end of Hamilton to which the leader of the Liberal Party is referring. If he were to provide me with the particulars I would be happy to discuss it with the local Crown attorney in order to assist in what I think is a very important endeavour.

I do not have any statistics at the present time with relation to the success or otherwise of my instructions to the Crown attorneys. We are attempting to gather that. Recently we instituted in the province a system of regional Crown attorneys in order to facilitate information such as this coming from various parts of the province to 18 King Street East, and I would hope we will have some useful information in the near future.

Mr. Stong: Supplementary: In the light of the conflict between the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Manitoba Court of Appeal dealing with restitution in property and civil rights, would the Attorney General consider amending The Ontario Evidence Act, section 9 of The Provincial Courts Act, RSO 1970, and section 14 of The County Courts Act, RSO 1970, to eliminate any doubt that those courts have power over property and civil rights in the question of making restitution and proper reparation in criminal proceedings?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I’m not so sure that that would have the effect of resolving the issue, but we would be quite happy to look at those sections with that in mind. I want to assure the members of the House that notwithstanding the legal cloud that is still over this matter in relation to the conflicting decisions in Manitoba and Ontario, in Ontario we are proceeding on the basis of the decision of our own Court of Appeal. The resolution of the matter by the Supreme Court of Canada in no way is hindering us in that purpose.

Mr. S. Smith: I thank the minister for his answer.


Mr. S. Smith: I have a question for the Minister of Health: Has he completed his investigation of the large price increase with regard to the product insulin? Is he satisfied with regard to the pricing of that product at the moment? Does he plan any measures to ensure that diabetics are not left at the mercy of increasing price rises of the kind that have happened this year, particularly here in Ontario since last July?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: No, Mr. Speaker, we haven’t.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Can the minister indicate to this House when he’s likely to have some answer? When he’s looking at the matter, has he any plans for dealing with Connaught Laboratories? For instance, is the Ontario government thinking of any way in which the laboratories could be re-acquired, either by the government or by the University of Toronto, or is the minister satisfied with the present operation under the CDC?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: To answer the second part first, I do not believe it’s in any way necessary to consider bringing Connaught Labs back under government jurisdiction, whether it be through the university or as a Crown corporation of a provincial government or in any other kind of business setup, other than what they are now under the CDC. Over a month ago I expressed in a letter to my federal counterpart, Mr. Lalonde, concerns about the problems that the CDC is having with its finances. I think there are things that the federal government could be doing, and I would hope that when the Ministers of Health meet in Ottawa -- I think it’s on June 21 -- this is something we could discuss either at the meeting or privately with Mr. Lalonde.

Mr. S. Smith: A brief supplementary, if I might: Would the minister care to comment on the 23 per cent increase which followed an 11 per cent increase and indicate whether he feels that is acceptable and satisfactory in the light of what he has learned so far?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The very first question was had I completed the review of the price increases, and the answer to that was no. So no, I wouldn’t care to comment at this time.

Mr. Moffatt: When the minister is involved in his conversation with regard to Connaught Labs, I wonder if he would make part of that conversation --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The question had to do with a price increase --

Mr. Moffatt: That’s correct, Mr. Speaker. With regard to Connaught Labs, would it be possible for the minister to investigate whether the transfer of the patents for insulin, which were left to the University of Toronto, were included in that? Also if in fact it is legal for a profit to be made from the sale of insulin by Connaught Labs?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I’ll ask that question.

Mr. Moffatt: Good.

Mr. Speaker: No questions over here? The hon. member for Downsview.

Well, all right, for York South, then.

Mr. Nixon: We don’t take that sitting down.

Mr. Roy: You’re acting as though you are still leader.

Mr. MacDonald: I am delighted to learn that the Liberal Party is awake today.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Now we’ll have the question.


Mr. MacDonald: A question of the Premier: In view of his commitment to the delegation from the Ontario Council for International Co-operation on April 5 that he would shortly indicate whether or not the government had got cabinet approval after his presentation to cabinet of some form of financial assistance on international projects of food aid and development if they have been approved by CIDA, is the Premier in a position to report to the House?

Hon. Mr. Davis: No, Mr. Speaker. As I indicated to the House -- I guess two weeks ago, a week ago, whenever it was -- the group was in with a somewhat altered proposal. They had either five or six points; we agreed with, I think, two of them, and I said that as soon as possible and I hoped in about three weeks -- I think it will be another week or 10 days, quite honestly; we have not had a chance to deal with it; there have been one or two other matters of priority that we wish to get before this House that I am sure the members are aware of -- but as soon as we have an opportunity to deal with it, not only will I inform those --

Mr. Cassidy: Leave all the awkward decisions until after the fateful day.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Say, I understand you had a new suit yesterday.

Mr. Reid: It was a rental.

Mr. Breithaupt: He only had it until 5 o’clock.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please, interjections will be ignored.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Really very impressive.

But as soon as we have, certainly I will inform the hon. member.

Mr. Good: A supplementary to the Premier: In view of the fact that the Premier’s former refusal to grant this consideration was based on jurisdictional, administrative, and legalistic arguments, would the Premier, when reconsidering it, consider the moral and philosophical grounds on this and consider it in the fact that maybe Ontario just does have an obligation to contribute to the development of the Third World countries?

Hon. Mr. Davis: With great respect to the hon. member -- and I thought I had explained it to him when he asked the question -- it’s not just a question of a legal or administrative argument. Part of it --

Mr. Good: Well, it was.

Hon. Mr. Davis: No, with great respect, I was there at the meeting, the hon. member wasn’t; and I know what I said. I happen to know some of these people fairly well, and I have a lobby within my own family as it relates to this particular issue, so I’m as familiar with it as the hon. member is. Maybe more so.

Mr. Eakins: Don’t bet on it, Bill.

Hon. Mr. Davis: And I would say to the hon. member that it was partly a philosophical concern with respect to the perception of, and the question of, whether a provincial jurisdiction should be directly involved in terms of international agreements or aid.

Mr. MacDonald: You are now. Phoney argument.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: On an ongoing sort of basis I made it very clear to the people who were there that in philosophical terms as to what the government of Canada was doing, the functioning of CIDA, our support for the CIDA programme, that they had a supporter as far as I was concerned; and I think I speak for all of my colleagues. The real discussion centred on whether the provinces, as provincial jurisdictions, in philosophical terms should be really doing --


Mr. MacDonald: You are involved now.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- that which, I say with respect, the federal government of this country should be doing. It was as simple as that.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Roy: Can I ask one quick supplementary?

Mr. Speaker: It will be the final supplementary.

Mr. Roy: Supplementary: in view of the fact that the Premier said he would be making a statement on this in 10 days, will he be making a statement in the House in 10 days or some place else?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say to the hon. member for Ottawa East that there are those who have tried to get the answer to the question he just asked in a far more subtle fashion -- far more subtle, far more subtle.

Mr. Breithaupt: But none more effectively.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Now that I’ve told him there are more subtle ways to ask the question, he may think of one between now and the end of the question period.

Mr. Roy: Are we having an election shortly?

Mr. Speaker: No, no. That was the last one.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Are you going to run?


Mr. McKessock: A question for the Attorney General. In view of the Verdun Rae case pertaining to the question of restitution in criminal proceedings, when does the Attorney General intend to introduce an amendment to the Ontario Evidence Act, whereby previous convictions for criminal or provincial offences would be admissible in subsequent civil proceedings as proof of the fact giving rise to the conviction?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The Ontario Law Reform Commission very carefully studied this whole problem and, as a matter of fact, dealt with it in relation to their study on matters of evidence generally. I tabled the report of the Ontario Law Reform Commission some weeks ago -- I don’t recall the actual date now, and it may be that the hon. member hasn’t had an opportunity of perusing that report -- but it deals with this question in some detail and recommends against such an amendment to the Ontario Evidence Act.

We’re considering very carefully all of the recommendations made by the Ontario Law Reform Commission, as they obviously have great importance with respect to the administration of justice as a whole -- not just in this area but in the whole broad area of the administration of justice -- and we intend to react to these proposals when that review has been completed.

In this particular area, I personally am of the view that there are amendments that should be brought forward to avoid the situation that was faced in the case of the farmer who lost the cattle that the hon. member is referring to; that is, to avoid unnecessary duplication of proceedings, namely findings in a criminal court that have to be retried in a civil court. I would agree, notwithstanding the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission, that there has to be some way where we can avoid that. But until a complete review has been done of the Law Reform Commission’s recommendations, which are very extensive, I don’t think I can say anything further at the present time.

Mr. Roy: Can I ask a supplementary quickly on that? In view of the questions and the answers that the Attorney General has given earlier on this question of restitution, would he not agree that the real way of avoiding any duplication of action, of course, is to have a better restitution method at the criminal hearing, which would avoid the civil proceedings? Is there any way the Attorney General can get together with his federal colleagues to resolve this issue of property civil rights, rather than just wait for some court decision?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I don’t think the member for Ottawa East perhaps heard my last answer, because I said we didn’t have to await any disposition because the law of Ontario for the present time has been clearly determined by our own Court of Appeal and we are going on the basis that that is the law of Ontario. Until we get a contrary verdict from the Supreme Court of Canada, we assume that the law does allow us to urge the courts to utilize these restitution orders wherever possible.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. Solicitor General has an answer to a question asked previously.


Hon. Mr. MacBeth: On Friday last, the member for Port Arthur asked a question regarding fire prevention in northern Ontario. The Fire Marshal’s office has arranged a contract for the services of two former members of the fire advisory service of the Fire Marshal’s office to review the claims for fire equipment in the unorganized territories which have been submitted to the Ministry of Northern Affairs.

These two former employees are: Mr. George Alexander, the former head of the fire service advisers section of the Fire Marshal’s office, and Chief Joe Miller of Mississauga, who is also a former member of that section; they are assisting the Fire Marshal in this survey and are paid through the Isolated Communities Assistance Fund programme. These two men are reviewing the applications from fire services in order that the Fire Marshal can in turn make recommendations to the Ministry of Northern Affairs as to whether or not the equipment requested is realistic. In addition, they do some training and educational work. It is our plan to eventually replace them with permanent staff members.

Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: I don’t believe the minister answered the fundamental part of the question; that is, what is their total time allotment? Are they full time for a full year, as he implied in Thunder Bay?

Or are they just part time for part of the year?

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: I ended up my answer to that question on Friday last by saying that we were using all the time they had available. I don’t think they are available full time, and I don’t think they have given us any commitment as to how long they are ready to serve us. The answer, as far as I know, is no, they are not full time; and no, they are there for an indeterminate period.

Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: Does the minister think, in all honesty, that that is enough of a commitment to fire prevention and education throughout northern Ontario -- two measly part-time people?

Mr. Breithaupt: It’s not the people who are measly, it is the programme.

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: The commitment is there, and that is why I went on with this last sentence: “It is our plan to eventually replace them with permanent staff members.”

Just to enlarge on the programme a little further. As the member will know, it has arisen rather quickly, in the hope of helping some of these isolated communities. Suddenly, one of the best ways to help them was with the request for fire equipment. These requests had to be analysed as to whether they were practical and whether they could be carried out; and so we recruited these two people in a hurry to do this job. We see this as eventually being a continuing programme, and they will be replaced with permanent people. That is our commitment; but so that we could move quickly, we got these temporary people with experience.


Ms. Gigantes: A question of the Treasurer: I wonder if he has managed yet to come up with the rationale for counting all women as part of the secondary labour force in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I undertook to get an answer to that question. I haven’t, and I will.

Mr. Lewis: It takes some time to find the answer to your own balderdash.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Can the Treasurer say on what basis his budget paper contends that the traditional rate of unemployment among women is higher than for men?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I think the hon. member debated that at some length yesterday. I don’t think we want to particularly get into debate here. I’ll answer the question in due course.


Mr. Kerrio: I have a question of the Minister of Culture and Recreation. Could the minister tell me how many cases of fraud involving Wintario funds have been uncovered? How many cases are before the courts? How much Wintario money has been recovered?

Hon. Mr. Welch: As the hon. member will recall, he asked me a question along these lines last week and I indicated that there were some charges laid. That matter is now before the courts. I know of no other charges. And, of course, whether or not these charges are substantiated and any money recovered is a matter to be determined after the courts have examined all the evidence.

Mr. Kerrio: Supplementary: That doesn’t quite answer my question, because we made some calls and we didn’t get answers. Could the minister tell me how much of present Wintario administration costs are used for investigating; and if professional auditors will be employed to ensure proper use of the uncommitted Wintario funds?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Well, as I explained last week, too, when this question of fraud was raised, or the allegations of fraud, we do have procedures with respect to post-commitment audits. Indeed they are qualified people who are doing this. I wouldn’t be able, off the top of my head, to attach some percentage of administration cost to that operation but I would be glad to get that information for the hon. member.

Mr. Roy: No? Aren’t you the minister?

Mr. Good: Just give us a flat figure.


Mr. di Santo: I have a question of the Minister of Housing.

Mr. Good: It may be his last question.

Mr. di Santo: Can the minister report to the House on the negotiations on Downsview Airport and on the meetings that have taken place since last month? In particular, can he tell us whether the release of the site has been finalized?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I cannot report to the House because I have not taken part in these negotiations. I have only been contacted through the mails by the Minister of National Defence, advising me that he was going to be making the announcement concerning the Downsview lands being available. The discussions at this time are strictly between staff. I have not had any meetings with either Mayor Lastman, Mr. Danson, Mr. Ouellet or Mr. Godfrey concerning the Downsview properties. Staff have been meeting and we are awaiting reports back from those staff meetings.

Mr. di Santo: Supplementary: Since there is some concern among the residents of that area, can the minister at least in his dealings with the federal government apply some pressure so the federal government will consider the release of the whole area, and too, that the site will be released to the municipality of North York so that it could be used for housing, thus avoiding any form of land speculation?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I am already on record as saying I feel the area should be planned by the community of North York, and that that is how I would like to see it go. I have advised Mr. Danson that I felt he should he dealing with North York and that it should be for housing. The hon. member I think is well aware that when it comes to the point of developing that land, putting plans of subdivision on it, of course the municipality will be very much involved and, as a result, the residents of the municipality will have an opportunity to make their feelings known.


Mr. O’Neil: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Labour.

Mr. MacDonald: His supporters are really awake.

Mr. Lewis: They are clapping in the dark to keep their spirits up.

Mr. O’Neil: With respect to the industrial inquiry commission looking into the dispute between the Ontario Nurses Association and certain public health units, can the minister tell us whether she has yet received Mr. Sherrif’s findings, and if not, when they are expected?

Hon. R. Stephenson: No, Mr. Speaker --

An hon. member: We’re surprised to get an answer.

An hon. member: Tired blood over there.

Hon. B. Stephenson: No, Mr. Speaker, I have not received the findings as yet. I anticipate that I will have them before the end of April.

Mr. Good: Withdraw your applause.

Mr. O’Neil: As a supplementary, Mr. Speaker, can the minister tell us why the industrial inquiry commission was appointed to look into only three areas of the province while there are unresolved differences in many more areas? Does she propose to set up further inquiries so that the disputes in the other areas can be resolved?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I can’t say that I am going to appoint other industrial inquiry commissions. The purpose of setting up this one was to examine as carefully as possible all of the details involved in three fairly typical disputes in widely-spread areas of the province. They seem to represent certain geographical areas. They seem to be reasonably appropriate for this kind of investigation. I will await with great interest the report of the industrial inquiry commissioner.


Mr. Grande: Mr. Speaker, my question is of the Minister of Education. On Wednesday last, his remarks at the opening of the Ontario Association for Curriculum Development’s conference on multiculturalism in education stressed, and I quote, “that the schools must fight racism.” In other words, he is joining the hon. Attorney General in that assertion.


Could the minister please inform the House and the schools what he proposes to do in terms of funding the development and implementation of these programmes, or is he committing the schools to fight racism without any commitment from the government?

Hon. Mr. Wells: My friend assumes that everything that is promised or suggested can be done is going to take money.

Mr. S. Smith: Or is delivered.

Mr. Reid: He knows better than that, he has been here long enough.


An hon. member: We don’t believe you either.

Hon. Mr. Wells: There are a lot of things that the school system can do that are not going to take money.

Mr. S. Smith: The teaching of English and French.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I don’t know whether members realize but we spend more of our gross national product on education in this country than any other country in the world. We spend a lot of money on education in Canada and in the province of Ontario. There are a lot of things that the education system can do to fight racism.

Mr. Reid: You waste a lot too.

Mr. Good: That’s the rub.

Hon. Mr. Wells: We are going to help the school boards to identify those things and to help them to put them in place in the school system. But we’re not necessarily going to provide a lot of money, because it isn’t going to take a lot of money to help that attitude become prevalent in the school system of this province.


Mr. Grande: Supplementary: When is the minister going to turn over to the boards of education the $10 million that the federal government gave the province for the use of increasing English by second-language classes and implementing programmes to fight racism? Why is he holding back and why does this government seem to be against the schools at all times?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You are as phoney as a $9 bill.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: There has to be some kind of a limit.

Mr. Grande: More importantly, what does this government have against the children in this province who need special educational help?

An hon. member: Shame, shame.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would have expected better from my friend, because he did work for the Toronto Board of Education at one time and I think he knows a little about the English as a Second Language Programme and about the money that is obtained from the federal government.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Very little.

Mr. Foulds: He knows a lot more about it than the minister does.

Hon. Mr. Wells: The only money this government gets from the federal government goes into English as a second language teaching to adults in this province, it’s all spent on that particular purpose. We don’t get any money for teaching English as a second language from the federal government to pass on to the school boards. They haven’t seen fit to give us any money in that particular area, and I think my friend knows that.

We certainly are doing all kinds of things to make it possible to help teachers in this very important and vital area of fighting racism in our schools. If my friend read my total remarks to that national conference on multiculturalism he might be better informed as to what we’re doing than he seems to indicate.


Mr. Riddell: A question of the Minister of Labour: One of the businesses in the Huron industrial park owned by the Ontario government, known as the Northstar Yachts Limited, went into receivership last January. The workers have told me they are not getting any back wages, severance pay, holiday pay or OHIP premium payments on which the company defaulted. Could the minister look into the matter to see if they are not entitled to some of these back wages or holiday pay?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I will.


Mr. Germa: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of the Environment: Is the minister aware of a statement by the chairman of the board of International Nickel Company, that Inco would not be meeting the emission standards of 750 tons per day of sulphur dioxide by the end of 1978, as required in a ministerial order? What is his response to the chairman’s statement?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, that statement has been made to officials of my ministry as well. They are in compliance at the present time with the control order as far as emissions are concerned. If the company is not able to meet the emission standards that are set down, I guess it would be for the beginning of 1969, then we’ll have to deal with them at that time -- 1979, I’m sorry.

Mr. Germa: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Does the minister agree or disagree with the chairman’s statement that it is preferable to breathe SO2 rather than walk around up to our ankles in sulphuric acid? Is that the only option available to the city of Sudbury?

Mr. Lewis: Is that the choice? That’s a nice choice.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: No, I don’t agree with that statement.

Mr. Lewis: Sensitive people.

Mr. Bain: Supplementary: Will the minister assure the House, in the strictures that have been placed on the companies in Sudbury, that these guidelines, when enforced, will ensure that sulphur dioxide does not pollute the many lakes in the area, consequently reducing the fish and being very harmful to tourism in the whole area, including such famous lakes as Lake Temagami?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, since the company has been under the existing control order the SO2 emissions have been substantially reduced by Inco. Certainly in the last two or three years the improvement has been substantial. The control order, of course, calls for improvement every year. The final requirement of 750 is a substantial reduction for 1978, for example. There’s no question, with the progress they’ve made and with the technology, that they may have difficulties, but we’ll have to deal with that when we come to it.

As the hon. member implies, the market as far as sulphuric acid goes is not our concern. The level of emission is our concern.


Mr. Gaunt: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Natural Resources. Does the minister concur with the policy proposals as outlined in the report, A Policy for Mineral Aggregate Resource Management in Ontario, and can the minister give the House some indication as to what his intent will be in respect to this report?

Hon. F. S. Miller: If I have my titles correct, Mr. Speaker, that’s the working party report comprised of people from a number of walks of life, naturalists, members of the communities, members of the aggregate industry, members, I believe, of the construction industry and also of the universities.

Mr. Roy: And a couple of Conservatives.

Hon. F. S. Miller: So it was a fairly broad-based committee, as I recall, and I believe it was tabled by the former minister sometime before I assumed the portfolio. We had hoped that there would be responses by sometime in March; I think March 15. A number of groups of people, municipalities and associations, asked that that be postponed until May 15 so they would have time to examine the report fully and to respond.

We have agreed to do so. Therefore, the ministry has neither accepted nor rejected the statements in that report. It will do so only after it’s had an opportunity to look at the reactions of the people concerned.

Mr. Gaunt: Supplementary: Would it be the intention of the minister to bring in legislation sometime after May 15, presuming, of course, that we get the election out of the way in the meantime?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, either way we’d be able to.

Mr. Bullbrook: He’s worried.


Mr. Makarchuk: I have a question of the Minister of Revenue. This is in reference to the sale of property by Lynden Hill Farms to Lehendorff Investments. Was any tax paid, or is there any tax claim against Lynden Hill Farms under The Land Speculation Tax Act in that particular transfer?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Mr. Speaker, I seem to recollect sending a letter on this very matter to the member.

Mr. Shore: He can’t read.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: I think I told him at that time that this particular firm was exempt from the tax.

Mr. Makarchuk: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The answer the minister gave me stated that the lien clearance was given, and the lien clearance does not imply whether tax was paid or not paid. It just says that the company was exempt from paying tax. My question to the minister is: Did Lynden Hill Farms pay any tax in that particular transaction?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Mr. Speaker, not that I know of.

Mr. Makarchuk: Final supplementary: In view of the fact that no tax was paid, is the minister prepared to submit this matter to the public accounts committee for investigation?

Hon. Mr. Davis: With no innuendoes, of course.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: The question is why?

Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: If the Speaker is going to accept that as an answer, then I’ll ask the minister another question. Since this matter was put on the order paper requesting information, will the minister undertake to table the documents that supported the decision of her predecessor to exempt the Lynden Hill Farms property from the payment of the tax?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Mr. Speaker, that question was placed on the order paper and was answered quite fully.

Mr. Nixon: Since then you allowed two --

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

Mr. Nixon: I would like to ask the minister if she will table all of the documents leading up to the decision that her predecessor took in exempting the Lynden Hill Farms.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: I will consider it, Mr. Speaker.


Mr. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Energy in regard to the proposed Hydro plant at Marmion Lake, north of Atikokan. Has the minister received the final submission from Ontario Hydro in regard to the studies it has done in regard to the proposed plant for Atikokan and has the cabinet considered that submission yet?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: No.

Mr. Reid: To both questions?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: To both questions.

Mr. Reid: Can I ask one short supplementary? When is the minister expecting to receive the report and can he give us an indication when a decision might be made, hopefully in the --

Mr. Good: In due time -- in due course.

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I really couldn’t give a definite answer to that. Hopefully soon, and I appreciate the interest of the member in that particular project. May I say that I share his interest in seeing that generating station proceeded with as expeditiously as possible.


Mr. Breaugh: I have a question for the Minister of Housing: Given the comments reported in the Star yesterday from several major development firms in the Toronto area about his assisted rental programme, essentially saying that it is a nice idea but it is not enough and that even if it were enough and they wanted to do it, it would take at least 30 months to get a project to fruition, is he still sticking with his original projection of an additional 3,000 units within a year in Metro?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I think it was just one particular developer quoted in that article who claimed 30 months. He is one who does most of his developing, as he says in the article, in the core of Toronto. We are looking at development that will take place in areas other than the downtown core. So I don’t expect to have unanimous support of that particular programme from all of the developers but I think there are sufficient numbers who will take part.

Mr. Breaugh: Is the minister contemplating any exercising of his powers as Minister of Housing to either move around the normal planning process or expedite the planning process? And would he elaborate on how he intends to do that with these projects?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I certainly have no intention of moving around the planning process. I think that the planning process is there and that we can discuss the matter of the need for rental housing, which I think is being accepted more and more by municipalities, and I would rather do it with discussion rather than with the big stick that I think the hon. member might be in favour of using.


Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Community and Social Services. Following his recent announcement with regard to treatment at home and so forth, and hiring additional people for employment, is one of his plans that he would have people to treat quadriplegics or these who were confined to wheelchairs in the home -- maybe male nurses coming in a day at a time or a few hours a day, or others who may come in and help these people stay in their homes?

Hon. Mr. Norton: If the reference is to the announcement with regard to the employment of young people in providing service in the homes to the elderly and the disabled, the answer would be “no.” It’s not intended that programme be geared to providing that kind of highly professional help.

The programme is contemplated to provide assistance to those persons who are living in their own homes at the present time and through the provision of such assistance can continue to remain independent in their private dwellings for a longer period of time. It is expected that the kinds of duties that would be performed by these people might range from housekeeping assistance to assistance in maintaining their residence outside and inside, assistance with such necessary duties as shopping, if the person has difficulty getting out in order to do that, and that type of thing. In terms of employment, it is directed towards the young people who are currently on the unemployment rolls in the province.


The provision of more highly professional services is something which we have under consideration, and I have made some general policy statements about that with regard to directions in which we would like to move. I would point out that, under our general welfare assistance programme at the present time, the option is there for municipalities to hire persons to provide that kind of service, either as homemakers or visiting nurses, and we pay an 80 per cent subsidy in the provision of that service.

Mr. Riddell: You pay 40 per cent.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Unfortunately, there are many municipalities in the province that have not seen fit to take advantage of that already existing programme under the general welfare assistance programme.

Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary: In providing this youth employment, is the minister going to take into account, in arriving at the numbers to be employed in a municipality, either the percentage of the aged in the community or the fact that some municipalities have a fairly high index of unemployment?

Hon. Mr. Norton: We have corresponded with the municipalities across the province already. I would expect they are in receipt of the initial letter. In that, we have indicated an initial allocation of positions based on population, but not at this point taking into consideration the special local factors that the member cites, such as the percentage of elderly in the population. But we have, in reserve, some additional positions. Not all of the complement is taken up at this point.

We have invited responses from municipalities within 15 days to indicate their interest in the programme and how they view their needs. It’s at that point that we would be able to take into consideration the special needs of the municipality. We don’t for example, have readily available that kind of information with regard to every municipality across the province. We have invited them to respond to us and, where additional people might be merited across the province, we will try to meet those needs within the limits that we are faced with.

Mr. G. I. Miller: May I have a supplementary?

Mr. Speaker: It will be the final supplementary.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Will this programme be available to the private sector, such as the plumbing trade, agriculture trades and industry?

Hon. Mr. Norton: No, this programme is designed primarily to meet the needs of the elderly and the disabled who are in need of assistance in order to be maintained in their homes. I can’t speak in detail on this, but I believe there is another programme that will be directed to the provision of some jobs, or the stimulation of employment, in the areas that the hon. member has suggested.


Ms. Sandeman: I have a question of the Provincial Secretary for Social Development. Could the minister please explain why the recommendations made to her in February by the Advisory Council on the Physically Handicapped about increases in family benefits to the disabled were ignored in the announcement of increases in the family benefits made last week?

Hon. Mrs. Birch: No, Mr. Speaker, I cannot.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary?

Mr. Speaker: We’ll allow a supplementary.

Mr. Cassidy: If the minister can’t explain it now, will she undertake to explain it in the House as soon as possible? It’s a very serious omission.

Hon. Mrs. Birch: I’ll take that under advisement, Mr. Speaker.

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

Mr. Stong: Thank you, Mr. Speaker --


Mr. Speaker: I think we’d better get on with it. We’ve gone back now and we’re just about out of time.

An hon. Member: The original questioner should be allowed one supplementary.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We have about five minutes. Well allow a final supplementary from the original questioner.

Ms. Sandeman: I just wished to ask the minister whether she had discussed these excellent recommendations with the Minister of Community and Social Services?

Hon. Mrs. Birch: Those recommendations have been circulated to all of the ministries involved and when I have the responses we will be considering it in total.


Mr. Stong: Last Friday, Mr. Speaker, I asked the Premier a question; he promised an answer for Monday, but I understand his mind has been preoccupied. Perhaps I can direct the question to the Treasurer.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Your fate rests in the Premier’s hands.

Mr. Stong: Would the Treasurer indicate when he proposes to amend The Regional Municipality of York Act to provide the town of Markham with the extra seat on that regional council which is much needed in that area in terms of the population expansion?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: In the fullness of time, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You are over-represented now.

Mr. O’Neil: Better make it before Thursday.

Mr. S. Smith: The old arrogance.


Mr. Wildman: I have a question for the Solicitor General: Can the Solicitor General tell us if the Fire Marshal’s office has resolved the questions regarding legal liability protection and workmen’s compensation for voluntary fire departments that have been set up and will receive equipment under the Isolated Communities Assistance Fund? And if so, why was Mr. Huntington of the North Bay office so discouraging to the Aweres township applicants when he met with them to discuss their application recently?

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, I know nothing about that last question. If the member can enlarge upon it, I will try to get some further information. But I think any of these community groups or whoever may be looking after volunteer fire departments can, as I understand it, obtain workmen’s compensation if they wish to pay the premium and apply for it.

If he wants further information on that last question, I will try to get it for the hon. member.

Mr. Wildman: Supplementary: I understand that if they are trained by the Fire Marshal’s office they can get workmen’s compensation. But what about the question of legal liability if there is injury or whatever resulting from travelling to a fire or during the process of fighting a fire?

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, I don’t grasp the impact of that question. Is the member concerned with liability to some person that may be struck on the highway as they are rushing --

Mr. Wildman: Yes.

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Well, I suppose that’s the regular law of the land, as far as the court is concerned. If a fire reel or any other piece of emergency equipment strikes somebody in going to a fire or going to an emergency call, they are subject to the same law of the land as any of the rest of us are.


Mr. Haggerty: I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Revenue: Will the minister reconsider the government’s budget policy on energy conservation and extend sales tax exemption to include storm windows and doors? The federal sales tax exemption includes storm windows and doors as insulating materials.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: I am aware of that, Mr. Speaker, but we will not consider it at this time.


Mr. Foulds: I ask a question of the Minister of Energy with some reluctance: Could the minister indicate whether the statements made by the public relations officer of Ontario Hydro in early March about the possibility of rotating blackouts in northwestern Ontario is still the view of Ontario Hydro and his ministry? And what steps is his ministry taking to overcome these blackouts of power because of the low water levels in the region?

Hon. Mr. Taylor: I have to check the source of that particular statement by Ontario Hydro, but I can assure the member that I think that we can feel confident in this province that we won’t suffer blackouts in any part of Ontario.

Mr. Conway: Not even on June 9.

Mr. Foulds: Supplementary; Could he get a more definitive answer for me, taking into account that the tie lines between Manitoba and northwestern Ontario and eastern Ontario and northwestern Ontario now are operating at full capacity and there is no further generating capacity within the northwest?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You know why.


Mr. Sweeney: A question for the Minister of Education: Given the disagreements that we have had in this House about the quality of the teaching of Canadian history in the secondary schools, how does the minister intend to respond to John Palmer, the head of the history department of Orillia Secondary School, Roger Graham, a history professor at Queen’s University, and Eugene Forsey of the Canadian Senate, who have all declared in writing to him that the new guidelines for Canadian history for grades nine and 10 are totally inadequate as history, and are in fact no more than sociology?

Hon. B. Stephenson: The socialists will be happy to hear that. That’s a putdown.

Hon. Mr. Wells: First of all, I haven’t seen that letter; I would like to see the letter and the substance of it. I recall a few weeks ago that the leader of the Liberal Party talked in this House about some statements made by Ian Macdonald concerning the teaching of history, which I later learned were never made by Ian Macdonald.

I would be very happy to look at the letters that the member has. I would also be happy to table for him the names of the practising history teachers in this province who wrote that document. I guess it’s quite possible that historians and history teachers will differ over what should be taught in the schools; but the intermediate history document that the member is talking about was written by a writing team made up of practising history teachers in this province and people from the Ministry of Education, all experts in the teaching of history, and people who should be able to be relied upon to develop a guideline for history in this province.

I say that, but I also say that I would like to see the detailed letters, because the leader of the Liberal Party indicated that Ian Macdonald made some statements some while ago, which Mr. Macdonald never made.

Mr. Conway: None of your innuendoes.

Mr. Nixon: Did they really forget to mention both world wars?

Mr. Breithaupt: Whatever happened to the two world wars?


Mr. Lewis: It’s a personal attack on Eugene Forsey. He’s speaking at the Empire Club on Thursday.


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


Mr. Makarchuk: I wish to advise you, Mr. Speaker, under standing order 27 that I am dissatisfied with the answer I have received to my question to the Minister of Revenue, and intend to debate it at the adjournment of the House this evening.


Mr. Speaker: Yesterday three petitions were tabled by Mr. Moffatt, Mr. Breaugh and Mr. Godfrey. I stated that I would examine them and report to the House today as to whether or not these petitions are in order.

I direct the attention of the House to standing order 84, which reads as follows: “No petition can be received which prays for any expenditure, grant or charge on the public revenue, whether payable out of the consolidated revenue fund or out of moneys to be provided by the House.”

I must then direct the attention of the House to the last sentence of paragraph one of the three petitions, which reads as follows: “As an immediate solution, we require that increased funding from the province be made available in the amount requested by the region in December, 1975 of the Treasurer of Ontario.”

The House will see that these petitions are in direct contravention of standing order 84 and, therefore, cannot be received. I am directing the petitions be returned to the members.

Perhaps I might suggest, however, that the petitioners might make their representation to the Treasurer in some other way.

Any further petitions?


Mr. Breaugh: Respecting your ruling, I don’t read anywhere that it’s asking anybody to give money. It simply makes a statement of fact, that we require --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member is debating. I think if he reads what I said and refers to standing order 84, he’ll understand the answer very clearly because it is a very clear statement of the rule. As I say, I don’t want to debate the issue because it’s not my position to debate it. But it said that -- we require that increased funding be provided by the province -- in so many words.

Mr. Bullbrook: This is a point of order, I want you to know that at the beginning.

Mr. Singer: One of the very few.

Mr. Bullbrook: Yesterday you permitted, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Ottawa Centre --

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: To wear a suit.

Mr. Bullbrook: -- seconded by the Leader of the Opposition to move before you in this House a motion that reads -- “this House condemns the misrepresentation by the Treasurer of the government’s fiscal situation and Ontario’s economic prospects.”


I took issue with that yesterday and I take issue with it today. That is entirely out of order. That assertion condemning a misrepresentation by another member of this House is entirely out of order. It’s against our standing orders. It should be expurgated from that motion.

If you are going to permit that type of thing, it will just expand and we will lose all sense of the orders of this House. I ask for a ruling from you. I believe under the rules of order and under May’s interpretation you can expurgate that particular section.

We might wish to conclude in our own mind that there was a misinterpretation by the Treasurer of Ontario of the budgetary and economic situation in Ontario --

Mr. Cassidy: There certainly was.

Mr. Bullbrook: -- but we cannot, viva voce or by motion, accuse him of misrepresentation.

Hon. Mr. Welch: I appreciate the fact that the member for Sarnia has raised this matter, but it had been my intention at some time during the afternoon also to raise this question.

I understand there may have been a note of irony in the voice and the face of the leader of the official opposition when he said, just as the amendment was being seconded in his name, that the terms of the amendment were, to quote him, “soft and gentle terms, compared to what we would have wished.” However, I am sure all members of the House would agree the amendment to the main budget motion is by tradition a very serious matter, as the member for Sarnia has pointed out, and we on this side would wish to view this just in that way.

So I would ask, Mr. Speaker, that you would advise the House as soon as you could as to whether it is accepted parliamentary language to say that the Treasurer of this province has misrepresented the government’s fiscal situation and Ontario’s economic prospects.

Mr. Cassidy: That’s what happened.

Hon. Mr. Welch: It is my view that it is not, and quite apart from the arguments made in his text by the member, that this is quite unparliamentary language.

Mr. Renwick: If I may speak to the point of order, Mr. Speaker, I would certainly defer to you if you were to decide this was not a point of order and bring this matter to an immediate conclusion. If you were to decide it is a point of order, I would like to have an opportunity to speak to it. Could I therefore ask, in the interest of expediting the business of the House, that you make the initial decision as to whether or not the member for Sarnia had a paint of order?

Mr. Bullbrook: It’s one of the few points of order that have ever been made that is a point of order.

Mr. Speaker: I will make that ruling right now, because I was concerned. When I was handed the motion yesterday, I am afraid I didn’t get the full impact or import of the motion. I was certainly concerned about the expression when that amendment was used yesterday, and I discussed it --

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order --

Mr. Singer: You invited him to go, and now he’s gone further than you wanted.

Mr. Renwick: I want you to understand that I would like to have the opportunity of speaking to the point of order, before you make a ruling on the matter before you. That is, if you are about to decide that there was a point of order, I would ask that I be given an opportunity to speak to it.

Mr. Singer: Why did you interrupt the Speaker? You know the Speaker has precedence even over you.

Mr. MacDonald: Is it a point of order?

Mr. Speaker: I was going to rule that it was a legitimate point of order.

Mr. Breithaupt: There is no question about that.

Mr. Renwick: Thank you. Mr. Speaker, I had the opportunity of being in the House all afternoon yesterday when my colleague, the member for Ottawa Centre, was speaking on the budget for this party. When he moved the amendment, which is permitted -- and I agree with the member for Sarnia and the House leader for the government that it is a serious matter, because it is the amendment of this party to the motion by the Treasurer for the adoption of his budget -- I listened carefully, and I had had, of course, an opportunity of considering the wording of the amendment before it was put in this House.

I want to say to you, Mr. Speaker, that when a member stands on an important matter of a point of order, and there are rules of the House which refer to that matter, it is important that we deal with the rules. I draw the attention of the House to rule 39, which states, “Whenever the Speaker is of the opinion that a motion offered to the House is contrary to the rules and privileges of Parliament, he shall apprise the House thereof immediately, before putting the question thereon, and may quote the rule or authority applicable to the case.”

Mr. Breithaupt: Would you like him to wait until December?

Mr. Renwick: Some members may note a certain ambiguity in the rule of the assembly which would indicate that there is some conflict about the point in time when the Speaker is to apprise the House of whether the motion is or is not in order for the reasons given.

I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, in considering your ruling, that the operative part of those words is as follows: “Whenever the Speaker is of the opinion that a motion offered to the House is contrary to the rules and privileges of Parliament, he shall apprise the House thereof immediately. . . .” I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that whatever your personal opinion may be of the matter, the rules of the House require that you should have apprised the House immediately the amendment was offered to you and at the time when you, sir, repeated it in this House yesterday afternoon.

But be that as it may, and in the interest of clarifying the substance of what we are speaking about, when my colleague, the member for Sarnia, came to us yesterday to note that the motion might have been out of order, for a moment I noted in my own mind that perhaps it was because his colleagues in the Liberal Party wanted to find some reason for voting against the motion.

Mr. Bullbrook: That’s out of order. That’s imputation.

Mr. Renwick: But I knew, Mr. Speaker --

Mr. S. Smith: Oh, come on.

Mr. Bullbrook: On a point of order now, Mr. Speaker. You cannot --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Renwick: But I knew, Mr. Speaker, I couldn’t --

Mr. Bullbrook: On a point of order, you cannot impute motives.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order.

Mr. S. Smith: You cannot impute motives.

Mr. Renwick: But, Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Speaker: I’m sorry, I did not --

Mr. Bullbrook: All right. May I say this to you --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Could we have order in the House?

Mr. Renwick: But, Mr. Speaker, so I can clarify that --

Mr. Bullbrook: On a point of order --

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member’s objection is what?

Mr. Bullbrook: That he imputed motives to me. We happen to abide by --

An hon. member: He can’t interrupt a speaker --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think we should hear this member; then, if there’s further to say about it, I’ll hear you and then I will deliver my ruling.

Mr. Bullbrook: I take strong issue --

Mr. Speaker: Thank you very much.

Mr. Bullbrook: My point of order is --

Mr. Speaker: I would like to hear what the hon. member had said, please; and I did not hear that, I must say.

Mr. Bullbrook: He’ll repeat that for you.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, perhaps I can’t recall the exact words, but --


Mr. Speaker: Will the hon. member try to stay in order then himself, whatever it is?

Mr. Renwick: -- when my colleague, the member for Sarnia, raised this matter, it went through my mind like a flash --

Hon. Mr. Davis: That doesn’t surprise me.

Mr. Breithaupt: It went in one door and right out the other.

Mr. Renwick: -- that perhaps the reason he was raising it was so that the Liberal Party would not have to support the motion made.

Mr. Bullbrook: That’s not in order.

Mr. Renwick: But I knew, Mr. Speaker --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think that is not a legitimate suggestion or imputation of motive to make.

Mr. S. Smith: An imputation of motive.

Mr. Renwick: I knew I shouldn’t do that, because that would be contrary to the rules of the House --

Mr. Lewis: That’s right. Exactly.

Mr. Sweeney: When did you take up mind- reading?

Mr. S. Smith: Which you did, and Hansard will record it.


Mr. Renwick: My colleague, Mr. Speaker, directing my remarks to --

Mr. S. Smith: I wonder if you are doing this to avoid hearing the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson).

Mr. Lewis: He’s got five hours.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I would be delighted to hear the hon. member’s colleague all evening as well as this afternoon.

Mr. Breithaupt: We can arrange that.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, the member for Sarnia has asked that you rule that the phrase in the motion addressed to this House on behalf of this party by the member for Ottawa Centre, which reads as follows, “condemns the misrepresentation by the Treasurer of the government’s fiscal situation and Ontario’s economic prospects,” should be expunged from the motion. He quoted, of course, a voluminous reference of authority, namely May’s Parliamentary Procedure, but without any reference to any page or rule or any other citation in that book.

Mr. Bullbrook: Of what consequence is that?

Mr. Renwick: If I may, Mr. Speaker, I want to draw to your attention the refinements of the English language contained in the phrase which my colleague, the member for Ottawa Centre, used. You will note, and I think it must be, the words “condemn” and “misrepresentation” that caused all the difficulty. So I went to the dictionary and I found that the word “misrepresentation” is a composite word.


Mr. Renwick: First of all, you have to look up the meaning of the word presentation, then the meaning of representation and then the meaning of the word misrepresentation.

Mr. Breithaupt: Both Miss and Ms.

Mr. Renwick: I did that, and the authoritative dictionary meaning of the term “presentation” is a statement. As was quoted in the July issue of Hibbert’s Journal in 1907, at page 927 --

Mr. Bullbrook: You are permitting a charade here.

Mr. Renwick: -- as illustrative of the meaning of the word “presentation” -- and I quote: “His presentations of the orthodox case -- ”


Mr. Renwick: I quote again. I would like the Treasurer to hear this.

Mr. Lewis: You just cut yourself off.

Mr. Renwick: “His presentations of the orthodox case are sometimes the merest travesties of what educated opponents really hold.” That is the meaning of presentation, Mr. Speaker. The meaning of representation is a renewed presentation. The meaning of misrepresentation is a wrong or incorrect representation.

Mr. Lewis: Now, what’s wrong with that?

Mr. Renwick: Therefore, there can be nothing wrong with the term misrepresentation in any sense of that word in the English language.

And then I turned to the word “condemn.” I find that the first meaning is “to express strong disapproval of.” My colleague, the member for Ottawa Centre, on behalf of this party, expressed strong disapproval of.

Mr. S. Smith: It sounds like an elementary school debate.

Hon. Mr. Davis: But those of us who don’t have your intellect know exactly what you meant.

Mr. Lewis: You made a mistake on some other words.

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

Mr. Renwick: If I could refer to the 1601 folio of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, in Act III, scene four at folio 149, you find the quotation --

Hon. Mr. Davis: Michael, you are squirming a little.

Mr. Renwick: I quote --

Mr. S. Smith: This is a filibuster.

Mr. Conway: Save us from this.

Mr. Renwick: As Shakespeare in Twelfth Night said: --

Mr. Breithaupt: Full of sound and fury and signifying nothing.

Mr. Renwick: “I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.” I wanted the House to understand the sequence of events. You will recall that --

Mr. Breithaupt: Now you have done it.

Mr. Renwick: -- scene four took place in Olivia’s garden. Perhaps for those who haven’t quite recalled it, Olivia was a rich countess. Fabian was a servant to Olivia. Malvolio was steward to Olivia. Sir Toby Belch was the uncle of Olivia, and Maria was Olivia’s waiting woman. And in the garden that evening --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Bullbrook: Do you realize what you are doing?

Mr. Breithaupt: I think he doth protest too much, milord.

Mr. Speaker: I think so too.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think we’re carrying this too far.

Mr. Lewis: I think the hon. member for Ottawa Centre should be congratulated on the use of the word.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think I should deliver my ruling at this time.

Mr. Bullbrook: There is a point of order. It is either in order or it is out of order.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think this is being carried --

Mr. Renwick: I beg the opportunity to complete my remarks briefly.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think we are carrying a little too far afield this afternoon. We have allowed quite a bit of leeway --


Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, may I put in context the quotation that I quoted?

Mr. Speaker: May I ask the hon. member --


Mr. Germa: The whole point of order is frivolous.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I would like the hon. member to conclude his remarks in about a sentence or two. I’ll allow that. But we don’t want a further long dissertation. Now, please, order.


An hon. member: The whole point has not been out of order.

An hon. member: It shouldn’t have been allowed.

Mr. Renwick: I will speak relatively quickly. “Maria -- ”


Mr. Speaker: No I mean very, very briefly. I think we’ve allowed the hon. member a great leeway and we want to get on with the business of the House and deal with this matter. If he’s not satisfied with my ruling he knows what he can do about it.

Mr. Breithaupt: He can sit down.


Mr. Renwick: “Maria: ‘Get him to say his prayers, good Sir Toby; get him to pray.’

“Malvolio: ‘My prayers, minx!’

“Maria: ‘No, I warrant you he will not hear of godliness.’

“Malvolio: ‘Go hang yourselves all! You are idle shallow things; I am not of your element; you shall know more hereafter.’”

And he leaves.

“Sir Toby: ‘Is it possible?’

“Fabian: ‘If this were play’d upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.’”

Mr. Riddell: You people are prepared to face an election with that kind of claptrap?

Mr. Renwick: My submission, Mr. Speaker, is that what my colleague was saying is that he expressed strong disapproval of the Treasurer’s budget because it was an improbable fiction.


Mr. Speaker: I have not completed my ruling at this point, I would like to do so.

Mr. MacDonald: Do you mind if I have a brief comment before you make your ruling?

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Very, very brief; yes.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, the rules of this House are very clear. If yesterday’s motion was out of order it should have been ruled out of order by you immediately.

Mr. Breithaupt: Not necessarily so.

Mr. MacDonald: I’m sure you are mindful of the fact that if you rule it out of order now, you are breaching the rules of the House.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Lewis: The Treasurer did not disagree with a word in the amendment, not a word. He sat and accepted it.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, may I --

Mr. Speaker: All right, very briefly.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I want to make it very clear to this House that no word spoken or tabled yesterday by the member from Ottawa lost me one little bit of sleep.


Mr. MacDonald: That is personal privilege.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I’ve allowed this to go on. I think I should make my ruling. If there’s a question on it, it can be handled later.

I’m quite familiar and quite aware of rule number -- I think it’s 39 -- which uses the word “immediately”; it says also, “of the opinion.”

Now when the amendment was placed yesterday I didn’t have that opinion at the time, although it did cause me some concern. In other words, I hadn’t made up my mind at that particular time. So the words “immediately” and “of the opinion” must be taken into account.

I’ve discussed this since that time with the other presiding officers in this House and together we have concluded that that use of the word, “misrepresentation” I believe it was, to accuse another member of deliberate misrepresentation or of deliberately misleading the House or of telling a deliberate falsehood, is clearly out of order. If the hon. member will refer to those particular words, any of these precedents would appear to apply in this instance.

I would accept a motion from the member to amend his motion by substituting another word for “misrepresentation,” such as if I might be --

Mr. Lewis: We will give you one, we will find one.

Mr. Grossman: Don’t help him.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. If he might substitute the word “misinterpretation” for the word “misrepresentation,” I think that word might serve his purpose and be within the rules of this House. Will the hon. member so do?

Mr. MacDonald: Take time to consider it.

Mr. Speaker: The word “misinterpretation” instead of “misrepresentation,” because this matter of opinion could be debated all day. Will the hon. member please substitute that word, or withdraw it completely as the case may be?

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I think that it is clear that the House understands exactly what I was saying when I made my speech yesterday. I think it is also interesting that there was no objection raised from the government benches about the words that I used at that time, either during the speech when the word was used on a number of occasions, or during the motion.

Mr. Breithaupt: Are you going to withdraw or not?

Mr. Cassidy: However, in view of your ruling and in view of the fact that the House is clear about the meaning of the speech yesterday, I would accept your suggestion.

Mr. Cassidy moved that the word “misrepresentation” be stricken from his motion and the word “misinterpretation” substituted therefor.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, as the person who seconded the motion of my colleague from Ottawa Centre yesterday, I’m happy to have that substitution. But, as in the case of another word in this Legislature which caused some anxiety, I think it’s worth occasionally, if I may say, looking at the dictionary definitions. What my colleague, the hon. member for Riverdale, put to you about the wrong or incorrect representation of facts is not something that should be seen to be a violation of the rules of the House, although we bowed to your ruling, sir, and substituted the word.

Mr. Speaker: Thank you. May I say I did check the dictionary. We had to put an interpretation on the English language, which isn’t as precise sometimes as we would like it.

Mr. Lewis: Precisely.

Mr. Speaker: But that was the consensus of opinion. I want to thank the hon. member for agreeing to the suggestion, and it will be so changed on the records.

Mr. Lewis: Shakespeare says that defile can mean to impugn the reputation of, not violate physically.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. A further point of order.

Mr. Lewis: That’s right.

Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Speaker, I have been dissatisfied with the answer of the Treasurer of Ontario concerning my question asked today -- it was a repetition of a question asked last week. I would, therefore, like to give notice under standing order 27 that I would like to debate this matter this evening after the adjournment of the House.

Mr. Speaker: The rule requires that this objection be made note of immediately at the end of the question period. We got into the next order.

An hon. member: This is immediately.

An hon. member: Twenty-four hours is immediately.


Mr. Speaker: I may not have given the hon. member the chance to rise. I did accept one but I could be generous in this case in case I did not give the hon. member time. As I recall it, I hastily went into the next order and probably was unfair to the hon. member. I will accept it because it’s so close to that, and it’s the first time we’ve had the opportunity.

Presenting reports.




Mr. Drea moved first reading of Bill Pr8, An Act respecting the Borough of Scarborough.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Speaker: I understand this is a private bill.

Mr. Drea: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I wanted to discuss it.

Mr. Speaker: There’s no explanatory statement necessary or allowed on a private bill.

Mr. Drea: I wanted to make a request of the chairman, Mr. Speaker, not a statement. The bill is of some urgency. It has been held up on technical language for some time. There is the opportunity on Thursday in the administration of justice committee to discuss it. I would hope that it could be brought forward to that committee by the Speaker’s panel.

Mr. Roy: That is out of order.

Mr. Speaker: I will have to study that request, just to see whether it’s possible to do that, and report.


Mr. Williams moved first reading of Bill Pr21, An Act respecting the Borough of North York.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Kerr moved first reading of Bill 59, An Act to amend The Environmental Assessment Act, 1975.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Lane moved first reading of Bill Pr25, An Act respecting Certain Lands in the Township of Casgrain.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. di Santo moved first reading of Bill 60, An Act to amend The Pension Benefits Act, 1976.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. di Santo: The purpose of the bill is to permit employees to accumulate pension benefits while employed, due to disablement.


Mr. Lewis: A point of order, following directly from something that was asked at the beginning of the orders of the day by the member for Rainy River. There was no accompanying compendium of material tabled by the Minister of the Environment as he undertook to do earlier this afternoon in his amendments to The Environmental Assessment Act. He sent over the amendments with their explanation plus a copy of the Act and only the statement he gave in the House; no background documents at all. Although in this subject, above all other subjects, there are endless numbers of background papers to which the House should be privy.

Mr. Speaker: A bulky amount of material came up when he presented his bill; I believe that’s what that was.

Mr. Foulds: All it contains is a copy of the original Act, the material itself and the minister’s statement.

Mr. Lewis: On a point of order: I repeat, all you have here is the bill and the copy of the statement to the Legislature. This does not constitute background information, it is in violation of the rules in the absence of background information and it contradicts what the minister told the House quite explicitly earlier this afternoon. Since the Speaker is so anxious to give formal interpretation of the rules, and I encourage him in that, would you please take this into control, Mr. Speaker, because it is unacceptable.

Mr. Speaker: Yes, well, of course I couldn’t possibly be aware of what was in the material but I’ll certainly bring that to the attention of the minister in his deficiency --

Mr. Lewis: The member for Rainy River asked him and got an undertaking --

Mr. Reid: I asked him explicitly.

Mr. Speaker: Well, I cannot bring it to the attention of the hon. minister right now because he’s not present but I’ll do that immediately. I promise it.


Mr. di Santo moved first reading of Bill 61, An Act to amend The Workmen’s Compensation Act.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. di Santo: The bill requires that employers with 20 or more employees hire injured workers with permanent partial disabilities.



Resumption of the adjourned debate on the amendment to the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.

Mr. Peterson: I must say I’m very grateful to rise on behalf of my party to participate in this debate. At the outset, I would just like to say how very grateful I am to many, many people for assisting me in this undertaking. I must say it’s a massive undertaking. The books of this province are complicated and sophisticated. It takes a lot of assistance and a lot of help and I’ve had that from a lot of people outside of this Legislature who have been good enough to contribute their views and to assist us in the formulation of our policy.

In addition, I want to thank the really first-rate research department that we have in this party today.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: When did they start? Yesterday?

Mr. Peterson: You just watch. You’ll be devastated when you hear it. I want to particularly mention, if I may, two people, Mrs. Daphne Rutherford and Miss Jane Shapiro, who worked very hard on this and were a great help to me.

In fairness too, I want to thank the Treasurer because in my experience with the Treasurer and his department they have always been fair and honourable to me and to my staff in the presentation of their numbers, in assisting. God knows, we have lots of disagreements over the interpretation of those numbers, but never once have we asked and been denied. Never once have we, in my judgement at least, had things interpreted only in his light. I appreciate that kind of fairness.

Before I start, I will say -- and it’s probably the last nice thing I’m going to say about him today, so I should just say it -- it’s a measure of the Treasurer’s confidence that he’s willing to share these kinds of things and some kind of indication of his command of his portfolio. That’s not to say he’s right by any stretch of the imagination in a lot of the judgements he makes.

Mr. Conway: Maybe he is going for Joe Clark’s job.

Mr. Peterson: At least he’s got a little bigger chin than Joe Clark. He might be able to make it. But I do appreciate that. I must say that I wore a used suit today, Mr. Speaker. It’s interesting that the member for Ottawa Centre had to take his suit back today. I think that’s some sort of indication.

Mr. Moffatt: Who owns the suit?

Mr. Peterson: I want you to know that I own this suit. I do not rent this suit.

Mr. Ruston: He’s had it for 10 years.

Mr. Peterson: Granted it’s old and granted it’s not very attractive, but it is mine. We value private property in this party and we don’t think that you necessarily should have to rent everything. I want you to know that, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Moffatt: Who owns the cloth?

Mr. Bullbrook: Would you put everything else on a blind person except that suit?

Mr. Peterson: It’s my intention in the next little while to share with the Legislature and the people of Ontario our party’s assessment of the financial state of the province at this time, our prospects for the future and our assessment of the prospects of this province for the future. We shall do this in the context of what are, in our judgement, some very serious fiscal and management errors in the past.

That’s not to imply that this government alone is responsible for all of our problems, because that isn’t the case. Nor is it the only government in the free world to have been seduced by the temptation to spend far beyond its ability to create the financial resources or trapped into unwise financial and management decisions. But the inescapable fact remains that the mistakes of others do not justify the mistakes of this government. They do not justify the failure to react or the failure to look ahead to protect the people of this province.

Clearly it is this government’s past failures which have so severely limited the options available to us today. This province’s capacity to pay and to borrow have been so overextended that now when we so desperately need massive stimulation to reduce the staggering unemployment rate in this province there simply is no room to manoeuvre. The government has created this situation and the government alone must shoulder that blame.

May I remind you, Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party in Ontario has always believed in and supported the concept of fiscal responsibility and we always will. I am proud that in a large measure we had an influence as a party in bringing this to the attention of the people of this province. We don’t think the job of repair has been satisfactory enough; but we are responsible for that and I say that with some pride, Mr. Speaker.

It is our opinion that even within the confines of the present situation, the Treasurer could have done a better job with following a policy of fiscal responsibility, and at the same time relieving many of the hardships of the people of this province and also securing some kind of worthwhile future. I intend to set forth, in as clear and rational a manner as I possibly can, our carefully considered policy options, as well as analysis of past and present mistakes on the part of the government. Let me assure you, Mr. Speaker, that I will be very cool and rational and I will not be excited when I do this.

It’s obvious that when I do, when I point out to the Treasurer that he’s wrong, he gets very excited and he starts to yell almost involuntarily. We don’t want him to have a stroke or break a blood vessel, because there are enough dead people in the cabinet already. We are prepared to keep him alive for just a little while longer.

Mr. Breaugh: Marvin might get apoplexy.

Mr. Peterson: Where is Marvin? Has he died already?

Mr. Conway: Marvin’s gone after the Social Credit nomination.

Mr. Breaugh: He’s chairman of the committee.

Mr. Riddell: Where are the Tories? It is interesting to note there are four of them over there.

Mr. Peterson: Don’t worry; we are going to mail them all copies of this.

Mr. Conway: We have the only one that’s important.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Can we have some order please? The hon. member for London Centre has the floor, and I hope he will ignore the interjections.

Mr. Peterson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. My party is becoming very unruly they are so excited about all of this.

Mr. Breaugh: Takes all the credit, doesn’t he?

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, this government’s recent policies have brought the province to a position where it is lagging behind the nation as a whole in virtually every leading economic indicator. Ontario’s economy is suffering from the highest unemployment in decades; 312,000 people unemployed in March, a real rate of 7.9 per cent. We are suffering from continuing high inflation and under-utilization of our manufacturing industries. There is stagnation in our mining industry and widespread lack of confidence among consumers and businessmen alike.

The figures for 1976 produced in the recent budget provide a clear indication of the extent to which our economy is under-performing. Due to unemployment and underemployment, personal income tax revenues are $172 million below budget. As a result of lack of consumer confidence, retail sales tax revenues are $107 million below budget. The crisis in our mines is reflected in mining profits taxes which yielded only 42 per cent of their budget.

Weak markets, high costs and general uncertainty which have plagued businessmen, have resulted in a shortfall of $95 million in corporate income tax revenue to the province. Our budgetary deficit is now running $302 million over budget. Also over budget are: Net cash requirements, by $158 million; net debt, by $212 million; net non-public borrowing, including Canada Pension Plan, OMERS and teachers’ superannuation plan, by $72 million,

This government has not, it is clear, been capable of living up to its own restraint measures. Our economy is in serious trouble and there are no signs of improvement.

Businessmen still lack confidence in our economic prospects. The Bank of Montreal questioned 1,212 Ontario businessmen recently. Forty-six per cent plan less capital spending this year than in 1976 and we have been behind consistently for the past five years. Eighty-one per cent expect their business will not improve in 1977 compared with poor performance in 1976. Consumer confidence remains low.

Now Mr. Speaker, a prudent government, a government which had cut back on deficits during times of prosperity, would not now be so limited in its ability to overcome an economic slowdown. A good Treasurer must be a little bit like a squirrel, Mr. Speaker. He has got to store up in the good times for the bad times. I must say that my analogy with the squirrel and this particular Treasurer only goes as far as a similarity in looks -- I mean only when he chuckles, not all of the time.

This budget is at best a stand-pat budget. It is an attempt to repair the damage of the past. It is a backward looking, traditional budget, very much lacking in imagination, which demonstrates all too clearly that this government has made no adjustment in priorities and has no awareness of the changes that have taken place in our economy.

The day before the new budget was brought down, newspaper photographs showed the Treasurer with his feet up in the air, flaunting his 1977 budget and smiling from ear to ear. His sense of humour is somewhat peculiar because I can tell the House that this budget brings little cheer to many of the hard-pressed citizens of this province, especially to the thousands and hundreds of thousands that are unemployed.

By and large, it’s a big guy’s budget. It’s disappointing to those in need of assistance, to those who are desperately seeking jobs -- particularly a whole generation now coming into the work force -- and to the ordinary people who are trying, against enormous odds, to withstand economic forces that are out of control. It is also a disappointment to those of us who are concerned about the future. It provides no leadership in vital matters of energy, environment or industrial strategy.

Before I embark on a detailed discussion of this budget, I want to review briefly this government’s past economic performance, because this budget is part of a pattern.

In 1971, the year of the first Davis-McKeough budget, the Treasurer announced his intention to “maintain firm control over public spending.” He was clearly less than successful in carrying out this intention because provincial government expenditures increased by some 15.5 per cent that year -- almost $1 billion. The deficit reached a record $1.018 billion that year -- an election year. Final spending figures were more than $1 billion higher than budgetary estimates.

The Treasurer promised us rigorous restraint on spending in 1972. What he delivered was an expenditure increase of almost $450 million -- about 7.5 per cent. That was the year that government spending increased 50 per cent more than the cost of living, the year government spending was more than $1 billion higher than original estimates.

The House will recall that the former member for London South, Mr. White, was Treasurer for the following two provincial budgets. He faithfully maintained the tradition of huge deficits and uncontrolled government spending.

Mr. Nixon: If we only had Charlie MacNaughton back.

Mr. Peterson: In 1973 the stated objective was to exercise maximum restraint in provincial spending. How was this interpreted in practical terms? By calling for a spending increase of $750 million, up 11.7 per cent from the previous year. When all the figures were in, spending had increased by some $811 million, $51 million more than the Treasurer had estimated. Spending was up 12.7 per cent in a year when inflation in Ontario was advancing at 7.6 per cent.

Presenting the 1974 budget, the Treasurer informed the people of Ontario, as if they didn’t already know, that the most important problem facing us today is inflation. Is it starting to sound familiar? Spending in the public sector must be controlled, he said, and promptly called for an increase in government spending of 14.9 per cent, while at the same time predicting that the inflation rate for the general economy would be 7.7 per cent by the end of that fiscal year.

It was obvious that the government had yet again underestimated its spending requirements for the fourth consecutive year, because the predicted increase of 14.2 per cent had jumped to 20.8 per cent. The budget was overspent by approximately $385 million.

Apparently deficit financing had become almost a matter of government policy. In the 1970-71 financial year, Ontario’s budgetary and non-budgetary deficit was $566 million. The following year, an election year, it was more than $1 billion. In 1972-73 it was $744 million. In 1973-74 it was $708 million.

When the provincial budget was brought down for the fiscal year 1975-76, we learned the government was going into debt by $1.7 billion, with government expenditures increasing by 16.8 per cent -- $1.5 billion. A mini-budget was subsequently produced and updated to December 1975, by which time the increase in government spending had jumped from 16.8 per cent to 21.2 per cent.

An hon. member: A political whitewash.

Mr. Peterson: Budgetary and non-budgetary deficit figures updated to December 1975 were almost $2 billion.

Mr. S. Smith: The year of the big giveaway.

Mr. Peterson: In 1976, after five years of preaching restraint and the need for control over the economy, budgetary and non-budgetary expenditures finally came in $11 million below the original budget estimate. However, revenues were overestimated by $169 million, so that net cash requirements for 1976 increased by $158 million to almost $1.4 billion. Government spending is up by almost 12 per cent. The budget has been overspent by $55 million and the budgetary deficit is $302 million over what was estimated.


An hon. member: Work along with Davis.

Mr. Peterson: After all this talk about restraint, it is my judgement that this cannot truly be called restraint or disciplined financial planning of any type.

Mr. Conway: Profligacy.

Mr. Peterson: What kind of restraint and what manner of fiscal management are reflected in a record that shows that in the four years from 1970 to 1974 the province’s accumulated net debt more than doubled -- from $1.4 billion to $2.9 billion? By March 1976, two years later, this provincial net debt more than doubled again, rising to $6.2 billion.

Mr. Nixon: Plus Hydro.

Mr. Peterson: Whereas it would have cost $185.03 per person to pay off Ontario’s debt in 1970, that figure has increased four and a half times in six years, so that by 1976 the per capita cost of debt is $735.43. The projection for 1977 is $840.42 per capita.

In summary, here’s the Conservative legacy of fiscal responsibility since John Robarts’ last full year as Premier: Budgetary expenditures almost tripled -- from $4.2 billion to $11.8 billion, an average annual rate of increase of 15.8 per cent. The projection for 1977 is close to $13 billion. Budgetary deficits total $4.8 billion; the projection for 1977 adds almost another billion to that deficit. The province’s net debt has quadrupled; it has increased 300 per cent from $1.5 billion to over $6 billion. The projection for 1977 has the net debt rising a further 16 per cent to $7.2 billion.

The net debt per capita has increased 297 per cent, from $185.03 to $735.43, and is projected to rise this year to $840.42, an annual increase of 14 per cent. The net debt as a percentage of gross provincial product has increased by 93 per cent; with 1977 projection, that increase will be 100 per cent. The net debt as a percentage of budgetary revenue has jumped by more than three-quarters, from 31.9 per cent to 58.7 per cent. For 1977 the percentage is expected to rise to 60.1 per cent.

Interest payments on the public debt rose 325 per cent from $209 million to $889 million. Projections for 1977 show a further increase of 17 per cent to a total of over $1 billion annually in interest payments in this province. That’s $2.85 million a day in interest. I regret that this speech is going to cost the taxpayers a lot of money, because every minute I am talking means something like $2,000 a minute in interest for this province.

Mr. Nixon: Shame.

Mr. Roy: Do you wonder why the province is in a mess, Darcy?

Mr. Peterson: What has transpired and what I want to discuss next, after putting the recent performance in a relevant context, is the effect of these massive deficits on the economy, and what has happened to our financial status and financial standing in the province at this time.

As a result of constant deficit spending, the triple-A credit rating of this province was placed in serious jeopardy last year. An extract from Standard and Poor’s rating report contained the following comment: “While Ontario continues its dominant position among the provinces of Canada, we are concerned about its increasing deficits. We are continuing our high-grade rating on the province of Ontario’s direct obligation debentures and notes, but we will watch Ontario’s economic and financial activities closely.” It was at this point that external forces started to govern this province.

Mr. S. Smith: That’s right.

Mr. Peterson: John McDowell of Standard and Poor was quoted as saying, “Our big concern is the budget deficit in Ontario. They say it is to stimulate the economy. We could understand that when it was $200 million to $300 million, but this thing sometimes seems to be getting a little out of hand. We’ve gone along with it this year, but only on the basis that it is temporary.”

Mr. S. Smith: You preach restraint, but it was forced on you.

Mr. Peterson: Both rating agencies, Moody’s and Standard and Poor, issued a clear warning that they would like to see a fast reduction of the Ontario government’s spending deficit. The implication of a reduction in our credit rating would be an increase in our cost of borrowing money, and a decrease in the availability of funds for us. The importance of this is obvious, when consideration is given to the huge borrowing needs of Ontario Hydro, the debentures of which are guaranteed by the province of Ontario. What clearer indication can the Treasurer have had of the danger of constant deficit spending, which he has guaranteed this province until 1981?

While the Treasurer may remain blissfully unaware of the seriousness of the problem, at least one of his cabinet colleagues is not. In a speech in Belleville earlier this month, the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Bennett) stressed that drastic steps are needed to retain the financial credibility of Ontario.

Mr. Conway: Build another Minaki.

Mr. Peterson: Drastic steps to remedy this serious situation are nowhere to be found in the present budget. To date, Ontario has been relying on pension funds to finance its yearly deficit. If I may, Mr. Speaker, I’d like to read into the record so this is very clear in everyone’s mind, just how we are financing them, by how much and who is paying for these very serious deficits we are running.

I would like to read in the totals by year from various pension funds -- Canada Pension Plan, teachers’ superannuation fund, municipal employees’ retirement fund, and others. In 1972-73 it was $780 million; 1973-74, $938 million; 1974-75, $1.156 billion; 1975-76, $1.23 billion; 1976-77, $1.318 billion; and projected 1977-78, $1.335 billion.

Mr. Nixon: It’ll take all that borrowing to pay the interest next year.

Mr. Peterson: We are borrowing in projected 1977-78 from the following pension funds: Canada Pension Plan, $850 million; teachers’ superannuation fund, $260 million; municipal employees’ retirement fund, $190 million; and other in-house, $35 million, for a total of $1.335 billion, to finance a net cash requirement of $1.077 billion.

The danger in this heavy reliance on internal pension funds to finance the province’s deficit spending is that these borrowing sources will soon not be available. Here we have another external force coming into play, managing this province. The Canada Pension Plan will run out in about 1982 if the current contribution rate remains unchanged. That is the point at which payouts from the fund will rise to equal contributions into the fund and the surplus cash flow for the province will become negative.

The Treasurer has proposed in recent years the doubling of the contribution rate in order to keep a surplus available from which the provinces could borrow. What he’s saying is that the taxpayer, the contributor to the Canada Pension Plan, should put in money to finance the provincial deficit. In my judgement that’s totally irresponsible.

Mr. Good: Shame. It is not what the Treasurer says; it’s worse.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I would be interested where you got that quote.

Mr. Peterson: I will bring it over to you. I’ll send you a copy.

The time has come to face up to the fact that inflation has resulted in the indexing of pensions paid out. It has therefore become increasingly more important for the investment of pension funds to earn the highest possible rate of return for their future recipients, and not the average seven or eight per cent currently being received from Ontario debentures.

A joint study group looking at investment policies of the Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System has concluded that the fund should be invested in a broader range of Canadian securities, to obtain a higher rate of return than the non-marketable province of Ontario debentures, in which it is now invested, are yielding. This is becoming increasingly necessary with inflation forcing the indexing of pensions. Higher payouts necessitate receiving the highest possible rate of return on investment.

Two of the questions upon which the joint study group based its decision are as follows: Should the province deny to OMERS the opportunity to maximize the rate of return on the system’s investments indefinitely? Should the province’s borrowing needs or money costs be a factor in the determination of OMERS investment policies? The major findings of the joint study group were: If OMERS future contributions were to be invested in a full range of marketable securities under The Pension Benefits Act and the regulations thereunder, rather than non-marketable Ontario debentures, the study group’s studies support the finding that OMERS would achieve a higher return on the system’s funds possibly from a minimum of, say, three quarters on one per cent per annum to a maximum of approximately one and a quarter per cent per annum. Such a high return, on the basis of the funds to be available for investment, would increase the system’s investment income substantially.

Mr. S. Smith: You win your elections on the backs of the pension funds.

Mr. Peterson: Therefore, OMERS best interests would be served by the authorization of a programme to phase out the non-marketable Ontario debenture as an investment for OMERS within a relatively short period of time.

In summary, the major recommendation was, every investment specialist whom the study group consulted -- investment dealers, managers of investments for pension funds, investment counsellors and others -- was of the opinion that the best interests of the employers and the members of OMERS would be served if the moneys of OMERS were invested, as other pension funds are invested with minor exceptions, in marketable securities in the Canadian capital market.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: No commissions paid.

Mr. S. Smith: You believe in free enterprise, don’t you?

Mr. Peterson: The teachers’ superannuation fund will in all likelihood follow this lead and broaden its investment portfolio, and the province then will simply not be able to borrow as much from these sources.

Again, as in previous years, the Treasurer has spent an amount equal to revenue, plus the amount of in-house borrowing available from pension funds. Once again there is no incentive to balance the budget any closer than whatever amount is available from these in-house sources. This amount is another $1.3 billion this year.

The problem with relying on these pension funds is that the government is building up a certain level of expenditures. When these sources are no longer available to finance government spending, the expenditure pattern will have to be drastically altered. Think of the drastic measures the government will have to take to decrease spending this year if it did not have access to the $1.3 billion from internal pension funds.

This year’s budget contained a five-year forecast aimed at balancing the budget by the year 1981. By a strange coincidence that is the last year that money will be available from the Canada Pension Plan as a borrowing source -- the source that has sustained a lion’s share of the Treasurer’s deficit financing and which this year will supply us with $850 million. Had this large pool of capital been available for free enterprise in this 10-year period from 1971 to 1981, just think of what we could have done in housing, in energy, in mining and all the places that need the capital today. Our business climate in all likelihood would have been substantially healthier and the provincial government would not find itself in a situation of having to look for ways to stimulate our business environment. That is the tragedy.

Mr. Bain: The Treasurer is undermining free enterprise.


Mr. Peterson: The Treasurer has chosen to over-extend the province’s spending every year, monopolizing the pension fund capital to finance the deficits, and now the residents of Ontario must pay interest for years into the future for the irresponsible spending habits of this government and its predecessors.

Mr. Bain: How far do you go back? To Mitch Hepburn?

Mr. Peterson: We have discussed with several senior economists and representatives of larger financial institutions the implications for Canadian capital markets if governments were not borrowing to this extent -- the implications for capital availability and ultimately interest rates. For example, what would be the implication of freeing up the province of Ontario’s pension plans and the CPP for private enterprise rather than for provincial use?

The consensus is that if governments were not crowding out private enterprise through excessive borrowing and use of Canada Pension Plan funds to finance increasingly large deficits, (1) inflation would not be nearly as high in this province, (2) the stock market would not have taken the beating it did when investment activity turned down in 1974 and (3) the greater availability of funds in the absence of government borrowing activity would have kept interest rates down and at least we would have not had as much pressure exerted on interest rates to increase. The effects would have been profound throughout the entire economy.

I want to read something that came from the Ontario Economic Council yesterday to support the proposition that the Treasurer may have no incentive to balance the budget. Our view that the Treasurer has no incentive to balance the budget any closer than the level of provincial expenditures plus the amount available from borrowing from the pension funds has been endorsed by the Ontario Economic Council in its report just released yesterday.

“One factor contributing to the continuing growth of the public sector has been the availability of large flows of non-public borrowing, wedded to net cash requirements, at a rate of interest less than the market rate.” The report singles out as the most important development affecting Ontario’s finances in the next decade the dramatic reduction in the future availability of non-public sources of funds. It strongly suggests that provincial government financing will be complicated in the 1980s by a decline in net financing from non-public sources such as the Canada Pension Plan, teachers’ superannuation fund and OMERS.

The declaration of growth of the CPP funds has raised many questions about alternative methods of financing, the most obvious one being an increase in the contribution rate, as the Treasurer has suggested. It is known, however, that even this would only postpone -- not eliminate -- the day in which the province could no longer rely on CPP as a net source of new finance. The council warns that there is no reason to believe that the provincial government would not respond to this increased availability of funds from CPP by also increasing provincial expenditures. We in the Liberal Party have been aware of these deficits that have accompanied the years in which in-house borrowing was readily available.

With respect to the interest on CPP funds, the council notes that the province pays a rate of interest equal to yield on long-term government of Canada bonds, a rate below what the province would have to pay in the public market. The advisory committee of the Canada Pension Plan estimates this interest subsidy to be about 1.12 percentage points and therefore the advisory committee has recommended that the provinces pay interest on these funds at a rate commensurate With a yield that they would have to offer on securities sold in the open market.


The council concludes that section by stating: “To the extent that the availability in the past of CPP and other non-public sources of funds has served as a stimulus to government spending, then the reduced availability may exert a constraining influence in the future. For this dubious blessing, perhaps we should be somewhat grateful.

Reduction in borrowing requirements by all levels of government make for a healthier capital market, simply because it would mean that governments were not spending as much; therefore, more capital would be available. I would like to cite total amounts borrowed by governments in the private sector in Canada last year, based on Bank of Canada review statistics: Federal government, $2.6 billion; provincial governments, $3.7 billion; municipal governments, $500 million; corporations, $1.4 billion.

You will notice that all corporations in Canada raised $1.4 billion domestically. Yet the province of Ontario alone is provided with $1.3 billion from its own internal pension funds and its share of the CPP. In other words, the pension funds of this province of Ontario, along with the portion of CPP allotted to Ontario, could have single-handedly financed almost 100 per cent of the total money borrowed domestically by all corporations of Canada.

And those people on the other side of the House run around asking: “Who is killing free enterprise?” I can tell them it is not us and it is not even our friends that much to the right.

Mr. Bain: For Hansard, that’s the NDP he referred to.

Mr. Peterson: It’s those opposite. It’s them who are crowding it out.

It is them who are leaving no room for anyone else to move. All governments are guilty and this one is one of the big offenders.

Just to bring this into perspective, I want to discuss Ontario’s position relative to the other provinces. Just to show that things can be done.


Mr. Peterson: The historical pattern of this government’s fiscal policies is particularly significant when viewed against the background of similar development in other selected provinces and the Canadian national average. Let’s consider the compound annual rate of growth in gross provincial direct and guaranteed debt in Ontario between 1968 and 1975; this was 14.5 per cent. This is the third highest growth rate in the increase of debt in this country. Moreover, the actual debt is greater in size than Quebec’s by $4.5 million, Alberta’s by $10.8 million and by British Columbia’s by $9.1 million.

The per capita compound annual growth rate in gross provincial direct and guaranteed debt for Ontario between 1968 and 1975 was 12.5 per cent. This is the third highest growth rate in the country. In 1968, Ontario ranked second behind Alberta in having the lowest debt per capita. By 1975, Ontario had dropped to fifth place. While Ontario has the highest personal income per capita in the country at present, the compound annual growth rate of personal income, per capita, between 1968 and 1975 in Ontario was the lowest in Canada at --

Mr. S. Smith: That’s right.

Mr. Peterson: -- 9.8 per cent compared to 10.4 per cent in British Columbia, 11.3 per cent in Quebec, 12 per cent in Alberta. In these circumstances we cannot hope and can’t reasonably expect that Ontario is going to maintain its privileged position for a long time into the future.

Ontario’s compound annual growth rate of provincial government gross annual revenues between 1972 and 1976 was 14.7 per cent, the lowest growth rate experienced by any province in the country.

The compound annual growth rate in Ontario’s gross provincial product from 1970 to 1976 was 13 per cent, lower than the national average in terms of rate of growth of 13.6 per cent. What is this telling us? It’s telling us we are falling behind the national average. And every time we are behind the inclusion of our figures drags down the average.

Another area in which Ontario’s performance over recent years compared very unfavourably with the other provinces and the national averages is in terms of housing. With the exception of 1972, the annual percentage increase in housing starts in Ontario has lagged behind the national average since 1970 and the gap is widening.

If Ontario starts are removed from the national total the difference in percentage increase is dramatic. In 1975, Ontario experienced a decrease of 5.7 per cent over 1974 while nationally, excluding Ontario, there was an increase of 16.6 per cent in urban housing starts. Again, in 1976 while Ontario had an annual increase of 5.4 per cent in urban starts, nationally there was a 15.3 per cent increase.

If the Ontario starts were excluded, the rest of the country experienced a percentage increase of 21.2 per cent. The trend continues to decline into 1977, with Ontario experiencing a decline in total urban dwelling starts of 18 per cent compared to a national decline of 12 per cent during the first two months of this year, over the same period in 1976. The decline in multiple dwelling starts of 15 per cent compared to a national decline of nine per cent is of particular concern, given apartment vacancy rates for selected Ontario cities in October 1976 as follows: Hamilton, 2.9 per cent; London, 1.3 per cent; Ottawa, 1.9 per cent; Sudbury, 1.2 per cent; Sault Ste. Marie, 0.2 per cent; Thunder Bay, 0.2 per cent; Toronto, one per cent; and Windsor, 2.2 per cent. In almost every case, these figures represent a decline in the apartment vacancy rate from October, 1975. Federal housing experts maintain that an apartment vacancy rate of three to four per cent is healthy, conducive to fair rents and the construction of more buildings.

The Conference Board predicts a decrease in housing starts in Ontario in 1977, compared with 1976, of 15.2 per cent. Meantime, the government is slightly more optimistic than these distinguished forecasters but then the government always is and usually it’s wrong. Optimism notwithstanding however, the government itself predicts a drop in housing starts of 4,700 units in 1977 to 80,000. This is a far cry from the 100,000 starts which the government-commissioned Comay report four years ago said would be necessary annually for a decade to avert a housing crisis.

Mr. S. Smith: We’re lagging on every major indicator.

Mr. Peterson: This decrease again outstrips the expected national decrease and is due to a high inventory level of newly completed homes. Clearly what is lacking in Ontario is not housing per se, but affordable housing.

Ontario has lagged substantially behind the national percentage increase in retail sales in 1973, 1974 and 1976, and the predictions are that we shall again be behind this year. In 1973 Ontario had a percentage increase of 11.3 per cent, while the national increase was 12.6 per cent. Ontario experienced a percentage increase of 14.4 per cent in 1974 compared to a national increase of 16.5 per cent. Excluding the Ontario figures the national increase for 1974 would have been 17.7 per cent. In 1976 Ontario had a percentage increase of 9.5 per cent, compared to a national increase of 10.9 per cent, there was an increase of 11.7 per cent if the lagging Ontario figures are excluded.

Ontario also lagged behind the growth provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec in 1973 and 1974, behind Alberta and Quebec in 1975, and behind Alberta and British Columbia in 1976. In its November forecast the Conference Board of Canada predicted a percentage growth in retail sales of 10.1 per cent for 1976 and 9.7 per cent for 1977. By January, 1977, the board revised its figures downward to 9.5 per cent for 1976 and only 8.4 per cent for 1977. This means that retail sales for Ontario will grow more slowly than for the nation as a whole again this year. This is due to an anticipated growth in personal disposable income for Ontario of about 10 per cent in 1977, compared to a projected rate of interest of 10.5 per cent for Canada. The 8.4 per cent is certainly a far cry from the Treasurer’s prediction of 10 per cent in 1977. If the Ontario figures are excluded from the national total, the increase in retail sales growth would increase by 0.1 per cent to 8.7 per cent in 1977.

From 1970 to 1977, using Conference Board of Canada predictions for 1977 data, capital expenditures for the nation as a whole increased by 155 per cent. Ontario experienced an increase of only 103 per cent, again lagging behind the other growth provinces during this period. Alberta had an increase of 281 per cent; Quebec, 209 per cent; British Columbia, 126 per cent. If the Ontario figures are excluded from the national total the increase for Canada was 188 per cent for 1970 to 1977 compared to 103 per cent for Ontario.

Mr. S. Smith: Lagging behind on every major indicator.

Mr. Peterson: From 1970 to 1977 capital expenditures for machinery and equipment showed the same trend, rising by 152 per cent for Canada and only 105 per cent for Ontario. Again the other provinces fared far better: Alberta, 345 per cent; Quebec, 194 per cent; and British Columbia, 114 per cent. When the Ontario figures are excluded from the national total, the increase for Canada was 186 per cent, compared with 105 per cent for Ontario. The lagging trend for Ontario shows no signs of change -- indeed it appears to be worsening.

Mr. S. Smith: We used to lead.

Mr. Peterson: Specifically the annual percentage increase in capital expenditures in 1976 was 7.6 for Ontario and 12.1 for the nation as a whole. In the entire country, only Newfoundland experienced a lower yearly percentage increase in 1976 at 5.2 per cent; while Alberta saw an increase of 27.6 per cent, Quebec 10.7 and British Columbia 10.2 per cent. For this year the anticipated increase for Ontario at 2.8 per cent is well below the national increase of 8 per cent.

Ontario’s share of the country’s planned capital spending in 1977 works out to 31 per cent, down from 39 per cent in 1970. This will mark the fifth year in a row -- fifth successive year -- that Ontario’s advance in capital spending has lagged behind the national average.

I have presented a lot of numbers, and I thought that they were meaningful to have in the record --

Mr. S. Smith: Right.

Mr. Peterson: -- to substantiate my story, to substantiate the great feeling of alarm that we have in this party. It’s inevitable that this government is going to be defeated some day by someone, and I can tell you --

Mr. Cassidy: Not by you.

Mr. Peterson: -- that it’s going to leave an incredible number of problems for that person who takes over. They’ll be lucky to be defeated --

Mr. Foulds: I thought it would be the party.

Mr. Peterson: -- because the problems coming down on our heads through our slow growth rates, through the combination of lags in almost every sector of the economy, through our incredible debt financing and through our inability to borrow any more, are going to come crushingly down on our heads --

Mr. S. Smith: That’s right. They mortgage the coming generations.

Mr. Peterson: -- unless we have a government that’s far-sighted, that looks to the future and that cuts out some of these incredibly wasteful and ridiculous things that are carried on by the government.

I want to talk at this point about government waste, because there are obviously two ways to decrease a deficit. You can increase your revenues or you can cut out your expenditures. We have always talked about, and will continue to talk about and will always present programmes aimed at ways we think money can be saved. We are very concerned about the growth of the public sector and the incredible waste that we see daily around here -- the people who can be replaced with signs. That’s the Treasurer I’m referring to; no, I wasn’t really meaning him. But there are, just on a daily basis, and we probably all get conned into that mentality and take the easy way out of situations by putting money in rather than putting imagination in. It’s going to take a new kind of direction, in my judgement.

I just want to add at this point from a very personal point of view that I think that President Carter’s providing the kind of direction that I’d like to see, a personal direction. He is cutting out the limousines in his own house. Before he goes to the people and says, “I want you to cut back,” he cuts back himself.

Mr. S. Smith: You guys won’t even go down to mid-size cars.

Mr. Peterson: I think that kind of personal leadership is sadly lacking in this province. I really do. I’m not saying it’s not lacking at other levels of government; it is. But what we have is 26 cabinet ministers sitting across the room.

Mr. Nixon: I only see two.

Mr. Peterson: I’ve heard it argued on many occasions that we should have a senate in this province just so we can recycle some of those people rather than having to expand the cabinet. At least if they were in a senate, they wouldn’t cause us any trouble. It would be known that they didn’t have to do anything.

Mr. Foulds: What about the expense, though?

Mr. Peterson: It’s a real problem with a government that’s been in office too long.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Speak to your friends in Ottawa.

Mr. S. Smith: It’s cheaper than having to invent new ministries and make superministries that don’t exist.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Why don’t you speak to your friends in Ottawa?

Mr. Peterson: All these people who have acquired debts and obligations for the government -- it has to find places for them. They have big pension plans. They slot them into major corporations or boards under government control. We have a recent example in this last cabinet shuffle where they had to expand the cabinet rather than getting rid of a few. It’s too bad. I wish we had a safe, harmless place where we could send them. At least they wouldn’t foul up the affairs of state.

I think any government that’s serious about financial responsibility has to start with itself, has to have the mentality to start with itself. I can tell the House very candidly, this party would have absolutely no problem running the government better with a fraction of the cabinet. We could easily do it.

Mr. Foulds: You’d have to, with the talent available.

Mr. Peterson: We could easily cut six or seven or eight people.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: What fraction? Ninety-nine one-hundredths?

Mr. Peterson: You’d be cut, Sidney. You’re the first guy who would be cut, I’ve got to tell you.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Ninety-nine one- hundredths is a fraction. What fraction?

Mr. Eakins: Because the minister doesn’t want to do the job.

Mr. Foulds: The Liberals would cut consumer protection, would they?

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Tell us what fraction.

Mr. Nixon: You’d have to go back to work, Sidney.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. S. Smith: You must have learned your mathematics under Davis.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: I’m waiting for the fraction.

Mr. Peterson: I feel very strongly that we are in an age now when we need personal leadership. Personal leadership is far more important than mouthing a few words about restraint and then not doing anything about it.

Mr. Nixon: Running around in helicopters.

Mr. S. Smith: Restraint forced on you.

Mr. Peterson: I think that they should start there. I can tell the House that that’s where we would start.

Even Maxwell Henderson, the Treasurer’s good old friend, said, and I want to quote him: “The government has not distinguished itself in cutting back spending.” In spite of all the rhetoric, in spite of all the noises we hear, in spite of all the false perceptions that the Treasurer is the friend of the efficient and the friend of people who are trying to get productivity in government -- frankly, his record, in my judgement, could be a heck of a lot better.


I want to talk about some of those examples of waste because I think it’s very important that we get those on to the record. Some of them are errors in judgement. We will, at any time, allow a government to have an error in judgement. That happens sometimes. The fault is in not correcting it; the fault is in perpetuating it. When the government makes one mistake why does it just keep going on and trying to cover it up. For example with Minaki Lodge, I will accept the fact that Ontario Development Corporation could make a bad loan and even write off $660,000. Any risk investor runs into those kinds of problems, but the mistake is not to say “I have made a mistake” and cut it off then and cut your losses. But we see this compounding of errors of judgement --

Mr. S. Smith: Putting good money after bad.

An hon. member: Thousands of dollars a day.

Mr. Peterson: -- and I’ll tell you that’s not the only one, Mr. Speaker.

Over the years, we have consistently endeavoured to persuade the government to set out on the road to economic recovery through cutting out these kinds of waste. I just want to cite some examples of that. In the 1973-74 fiscal year, we had three royal commissions costing a total of $791,295. In fiscal 1975-76, the number of commission tripled.

Mr. Reid: Judy LaMarsh -- $250 a day to watch television.

Mr. Peterson: During the first year of operation, the royal commission on violence in the communications industry cost $765,237 -- as much as all three 1973-74 commissions --

Mr. Reid: And that’s the biggest crime right there.

Mr. Peterson: -- and this does not include the cost of research of some 28 studies.

Mr. S. Smith: It adds to the taxes. It’s going to hurt a lot of our citizens.

Mr. Peterson: And what’s interesting about this is that we don’t even have jurisdiction in this area.

Other countries, such as the US and Denmark, have produced highly regarded studies on the effects of violence in the media upon violence in society. It’s highly doubtful that the LaMarsh commission will add anything more to these studies. Moreover, it is likely to be one of the most expensive inquiries ever in the history of this province. For the cost of the commission alone, we could have focussed attention on the very serious aspects of violence that we have some jurisdiction over in this province. I’m talking about racial violence and violence in the home. If you examine the statistics, that’s where the majority of that kind of thing happens today.

The recent racially motivated attacks in the subway are common knowledge. There is no need for me to go into them here. Not so well known, however, is the fact that approximately 25 per cent of the total number of homicide cases in Metropolitan Toronto involve women as victims and men as killers. Previous violence -- assaults, beatings, kickings, and so on -- is usually reported in about 30 per cent of these cases. Some 70 per cent of women killed by men are listed as domestic homicides. In these areas there’s a desperate need for research and crisis intervention centres. The LaMarsh commission budget would have been far better spent, in our judgement, in this connection.

Mr. S. Smith: This was real -- not phoney.

Mr. Peterson: The commission on the Don jail was essentially set up to report on recent allegations of mistreatment of Toronto Jail inmates. However, it has turned into a prolonged inquiry which had already cost $655,005 by the end of March 1976. Because of the inordinate length of time the commission has taken, the mandate has been completely undermined and by the time the report is written, the alleged mistreatment will be ancient history. Again it’s government by commission. Surely the fact that the ministry intends to close the jail within four years will ensure that the commission’s report is totally irrelevant.

I mentioned Minaki Lodge, but it’s just a classic example, I had the privilege of sitting on the public accounts committee and going through that and hearing the misinformation that the ministers had, that the deputy ministers had, that the civil service, through the Ontario Development Corporation and Northern Ontario Development Corporation -- I assure you, if they didn’t have tenure you’d fire them, Mr. Speaker, because it’s absolutely incompetent. No one else would hire people who delivered those kind of services. You can only add the component of political considerations into that kind of a decision. And I’ll tell you, Mr. Speaker, they were had, too. We’re suffering on all accounts from that kind of thing, dumping $8 million in -- it costs you $400,000 for it just to sit there -- and still the government does not know what it’s going to do, whether it’s going to spend another $8 million or write it off.

Mr. Foulds: That’s where we could have the senate chamber for Ontario that you proposed earlier.

Mr. Peterson: That’s not a bad idea, Jim. That’s the first constructive idea I’ve ever heard out of the NDP.

Ms. Gigantes: Wash your ears.

An hon. member: You should wash out your mouth with soap.

An hon. member: Oh, oh. Nasty.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Reid: She’s a mistress of repartee.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please, the hon. member will continue.

Mr. Cassidy: It was deserved.

Mr. Peterson: She looks so sweet.

Mr. Foulds: You look sweet too, David.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please, perhaps the hon. member will return to the subject matter and leave the discussion.

Mr. Peterson: It’s not my fault. They’re trying to distract me. They’re trying to make me provocative. In 1972 money was funneled through the NODC to Thunder Bay Ski Jumps Limited -- a company formed by NODC and of which it is the sole shareholder -- to construct two ski jumps, the placement of which meant that after landing, jumpers would run onto the property at the Mount Norway ski resort which received $270,000 in NODC loans in 1972. In total, the amount of provincial money that has gone into this operation since 1972 --

Mr. S. Smith: Great leap forward.

Mr. Peterson: -- is $537,000, and still more money is required. The Globe and Mail reports that another $1.2 million is required in order to get it off the welfare list.

I want to deal with the Ministry of Community and Social Services which has made a practice of sending out payments to people who no longer need them, or whose entitlement had been reduced. In some cases, these cheques continued to go out for 186 days before they were stopped, and more than $19 million was paid through these and other means. The largest amount, $8.6 million, represents unrecovered portions of overpayments which were outstanding when recipients were cut off.

Administrative errors were blamed for $857,000 of the losses during the past three years and legal action has been considered in another 86 cases for which overpayments total $563,000. At least $70,000 has apparently disappeared in the form of replacement cheques for others; these have been lost or undelivered.

For many years, professionals have complained about the care of the elderly. A report of the interministerial committee on residential services was submitted to the cabinet committee on social development in April 1975. A full year and eight months later, its damning comments were released, only following considerable pressure from my leader. This report arrived at the stunning conclusion that 30 per cent to 40 per cent of nursing home residents of the 1974 population could, with support services, live at home rather than being institutionalized. The per diem cost of 40 per cent of all extended care beds in Ontario is $237,994, annually and that represents misused expenditures of some $86 million.

The escalation of costs in institutionalized care is due to the fact that most elderly people who are unable to cope with their needs at home are being admitted to general hospitals, chronic and special-care hospitals and nursing homes. Once treated in one of these heavy nursing care, very expensive treatment centres, the elderly patient languishes for weeks and months, waiting for placement in a lighter care facility such as a senior citizens’ residence or municipal hospital. This situation results in a shortage of beds for emergency and active treatment patients in general hospitals, causes a scarcity of beds in chronic and special care facilities for very needy patients and causes confusion and emotional upset for the patient and his family because hospital stays are prolonged and futures left undetermined.

Meanwhile, the problem of over-usage exists in heavy nursing care, while many lighter care facilities, providing much less nursing care, are having trouble filling vacancies.

Another example of waste is the sound system in this Legislature. The sound system cost $171,000 by the time the second company has completed repairs. If the government had accepted the original bids some $42,000 would have been saved.

There are examples of this all over the place.

I want to talk to you about one of the most confused areas, which probably no one in this House, not even the experienced ones -- the people who have been around here a long time -- fully understand or appreciate; that is the myriad boards, agencies, commissions and little groups that are running around, staffed mostly with recycled government members or friends of the government.

The Liberal House leader prevailed upon the government to release a list of some 344 directorates, institutes, boards, tribunals, councils, courts and committees whose members are partially or entirely appointed by the government. These quasi-government agencies employ a full 40 per cent of all provincial employees.

Mr. Reid: They’re not included in the statistics.

Mr. Peterson: I saw Doug Fisher on television the other day. He was saying to the interviewer that he was making a study of the agencies, boards and commissions of the Ontario government compared to the federal government. He said on that programme -- and I can now substantiate it -- that he found in Ontario that there were 200 per cent more of that type of body than there are in the federal government. That’s interesting, when the Premier, the Treasurer and all these cabinet ministers are running around saying: “We don’t want to intrude in people’s lives. The government has gone too far in getting involved in the citizens’ business.” Theirs is the very government that has established all of these things, that is responsible for these massive intrusions into our lives.

In March 1973, the ninth report of the committee on government productivity suggested it would be a monumental research and procedural task even to make adjustments --

Mr. Cassidy: There is no government here for people to disagree on.

Mr. Peterson: -- of nomenclature to differentiate, for the sake of clarity, between the functions of Crown agencies. To date, the government has not reacted to the need for consistent nomenclature for its agencies or to the urgent requirement for a comprehensive system of review of the financing, staffing and policy outlook of a myriad agencies supposedly under ministerial control. The Workmen’s Compensation Board is an administrative nightmare and a bureaucratic jungle. Everyone here, at least in the opposition, agrees with me in that.

Mr. Cassidy: There are no government people here to disagree.

Mr. Peterson: Will you phone them all and tell them so we will give them an equal opportunity?

A damning illustration of the manner in which a licensing agency can establish policy in critical areas -- and this was of grievous concern to my leader and to the people in the Liberal Party -- where the government, for political reasons or as a result of ignorance refused to act, is the Greyhound-Gray Coach controversy. We were very frightened by the implications of that. Government agencies have become so suspect that they are now frequently bypassed because of lack of confidence in their ability to fulfil the purpose for which they were established. In all but minor cases, for example, the Environmental Assessment Board now runs the risk of becoming defunct.

A royal commission inquiry was established to assess the impact of Reed Pulp and Paper’s application for timber rights in the north. This is surely an indication of things to come because of the inability of the existing institutions to deal with it. It is all done on an ad hoc basis. There hasn’t been serious thought to this whole procedure.

On a number of occasions the government has reiterated that it is committed to rationalizing government services, to spreading them throughout the province. The sincerity of this commitment is dubious when one considers that of the 344 government agencies, no fewer than 274 are located right here in Toronto, and even those services which would appear to be decentralized or should be decentralized relate to titular appointments to board of governors or trustees or public institutions such as universities and hospitals. Regional boards of health are probably the only area where there has been any degree of functional decentralization. I will have more to say on this later when I talk about regional economic development, which is another very serious concern to us.

There are two other issues related to the economic impact of agencies and Crown corporations in this province. The first relates to the overall provincial financial position, the second to the rather unorthodox -- I was going to say misleading, Mr. Speaker; I guess that’s not a very appropriate thing to say today --

Mr. Sargent: That’s okay.

Mr. Peterson: -- inappropriate manner in which the Treasurer consistently uses such corporations to change and manage our perception of provincial accounts. Some 20 large corporations appear regularly in the public accounts of the province as well as the annual report of the Provincial Auditor. Among these corporations are Hydro, Ontario Housing, Ontario Energy Corporation, Ontario Development Corporation, the Ontario Educational Capital Aid Corporation, and the Ontario Universities Capital Aid Corporation. I will have much more to say on these latter two agencies in a moment.

Typically, these corporations are in large measure financed out of statutory appropriations against the consolidated revenue fund. The Treasury advances funds to these corporations and over a period of years receives back interest and principal from revenues generated by the activities of the agencies. Standard government accounting practice interprets disbursements and receipts of principal as non-budgetary transactions while repayment of interest on advances is recorded as budget revenue.

While this procedure is not of itself unusual, the dollar amounts involved are staggering. For example, in 1975 to 1976 public accounts show a full $1.7 billion Treasury expenditure by way of statutory appropriations. The Provincial Auditor has pointed out that during the year 1975 to 1976 payments relative to the statutory appropriations constitute approximately 16.5 per cent of total payments out of the consolidated revenue fund. This is no new phenomenon. The corresponding percentages for 1974 to 1975 and 1973 and 1974 were 20.4 per cent and 17.6 per cent.

The key point here is that the expenditures are completely beyond the scrutiny of the Legislative Assembly. They are not voted upon. They are not discussed except when they get completely out of control, as in the case of Ontario Hydro. Nor can we overlook the fact that according to the Treasurer’s own latest estimates of receipts and disbursements for a number of provincial corporations in 1976-77, there is a deficit of $236 million on the non-budgetary account -- in other words, one third the size of the estimated deficit for budgetary transactions.

Traditionally and inevitably, this has led to a net increase in lending activity and it has had and will continue to have a detrimental impact on the net cash requirements of the province.

In my view and our party’s judgement we cannot permit these expenditure items to undermine the province’s financial position without bringing them under legislative scrutiny. The Provincial Auditor in his latest report cites the following examples, and I quote:

“Disbursements to the Ontario Educational Capital Aid Corporation, the Ontario Universities Capital Aid Corporation and the Ontario Municipal Improvement Corporation for development loan activity could, we feel, be voted by the Legislature, as could disbursements to the Ontario Development Corporation, Northern Ontario Development Corporation and Eastern Ontario Development Corporation for term loan activity. In 1975-76, disbursements for development loan activity and for term loan activity totalled over $148 million and $50 million respectively.”


It’s high time that these items were brought before the Legislature for examination, if for no other reason than that the present government needs our assistance in its newly announced efforts to balance our seriously distorted books.

I just want to discuss in a little more depth, if I may, two corporations, the sole purpose of which appears to be to disguise actual budgetary expenditures behind an accounting façade. In the process, by the end of fiscal 1975-76 the Treasurer had understated the provincial real net debt position by a full $2.45 billion and inflated the overall budgetary revenue and expenditure figures by creating superfluous interest charges well in excess of $100 million per annum.

Mr. MacDonald: Is that misinterpretation or misrepresentation?

Mr. Peterson: I’ll take your advice on that, Donald. What should I use?

Mr. Bullbrook: Don’t do that. We’ll be back into Shakespeare and Sir Toby again.

Mr. Peterson: I should tell the member for Riverdale, I may be the only one in the House, but I very much enjoyed his little foray into Shakespeare this afternoon. I think he should be complimented on it.


Mr. Peterson: We’ve got to raise the sights of this dismal place occasionally.

Mr. S. Smith: He’s a better actor than a parliamentarian.

Mr. Peterson: The public accounts 1976 statement shows Ontario’s liabilities are more than $13 billion. Assets, including loans, advances, investments and cash holdings, total more than $8 billion. This leaves a net debt of approximately $5 billion. Of total provincial assets, more than $6 billion, or more than 74 per cent, are held in the form of advances to various agencies, including $2.3 billion in secured advances to Ontario Hydro and more than $4.1 billion in advances to 19 other major provincial corporations.

The rationale for listing these advances as assets is that, generally speaking, they are held in the form of interest-bearing securities which will, under varying terms, be redeemed by the operations of the various corporations. In other words, the corporations, and subsequently the Treasurer, will receive revenue from third parties -- for example, Ontario Hydro customers. This is a sound financial procedure, consistent with effective fiscal management.

However, there are two glaring exceptions to this practice which have come to the attention of the Provincial Auditor and should be brought to the attention of the public. Two agencies, the Ontario Universities Capital Aid Corporation and the Ontario Education Capital Aid Corporation, together hold outstanding liabilities in the form of advances from the Treasurer of Ontario totalling almost $2.5 billion, administered, it would seem, by the senior officer of the Treasury and a handful of clerical staff.

The Provincial Auditor has provided a brief description of the financial operation of these two corporations. Advances received from the consolidated revenue fund in the form of non- budgetary statutory appropriations are lent to school boards and universities to finance capital construction. In return, the corporations hold debentures issued by the borrowing institution redeemable over a period of years, bearing interest in the range of 5.5 per cent to 9.5 per cent. However, when these debentures mature, interest and principal is paid, not out of revenues from any third party, but out of various budgetary expenditures of the Ministries of Education and Colleges and Universities.

I want to quote from the Provincial Auditor’s report: “In 1975-1976 institutions effectively made principal and interest payments to the Ontario Education Capital Aid Corporation totalling [about $106 million], of which [$104 million] was provided out of expenditure appropriations of the Ministry of Colleges and Universities.” In other words, the money is being transferred from one ministry to another. We have a somewhat bizarre procedure here.

First, the $2.49 billion in outstanding advances is listed in public accounts as a provincial asset. Surely this is a strange asset. The Treasurer, through an incredible accounting manoeuvre, has capitalized what is, in reality, a liability. Debentures held by the education and university capital aid corporations are held against the Province of Ontario.

I’m glad to see the Treasurer back. I’d like to go for one too, but I’m staying here.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: No, but you’re making the same arguments that Deacon made five years ago. I sort of hoped you would come up with something new.

Mr. Peterson: It’s good logic.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for London Centre will continue.

Mr. Sargent: You’re not using figures from five years ago, are you?

Mr. S. Smith: It really is debt. It is not a capital asset.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Peterson: Regardless of how these entries are registered in educational institution accounts and the corporations, the inescapable fact is that the debentures are not payable by any third party. This surely is an integral part of any definition of this type of asset, and it is clearly not a definition that has any applicability to the transactions of the two corporations concerned. I submit, therefore, that the Treasurer has understated the real net debt position of the province. If he is serious about balancing the books by 1980, he should get his figures straight. The debt which must be ultimately financed is not $4.9 billion, but rather $7.37 billion.

These figures are for fiscal 1975-76. The budget has an interim net debt calculation for 1976-77 of $6.2 billion and an estimated net debt position of $7,199 million for fiscal 1977-78. As the Treasurer has not seen fit to specify the liabilities or assets for either of these years, it is impossible to calculate the error in current terms. However, if accounting is consistent with past performance, our present net debt position is now rapidly approaching the $10 billion mark.

Secondly, the Provincial Auditor notes that with respect to payments by the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to the Ontario Universities Capital Aid Corporation, 1975-76, of a total of $106 million, some $84 million went towards payment of debenture interest, while only $22 million was applied to the principal of the Corporation’s outstanding advances. Furthermore, the expenditure by Colleges and Universities was reflected as revenue in the Treasurer’s accounts. This means that while this particular transaction had no effect on the province’s budgetary deficit, in reality it inflated the overall revenue and expenditure needs of the province by over $84 million. The accounting practices of the Ontario Education Capital Aid Corporation, though somewhat more complex, are wholly analogous to this procedure.

Surely, it is reasonable to ask why is the province paying interest to itself? Is the Treasurer being altogether candid in his presentation of all the facts? Successive Treasurers have engaged in this exercise, thus burying major budgetary expenditures in the short run while in the long run producing serious distortions in the presentation of the net debt figures of the province, and creating inflated and unnecessary demands on the taxpayers of this province.

This criticism is implicit in the Provincial Auditor’s report under items 17 and 51. It reflects the concern of the Committee on Government Productivity, which observed in 1973 that “in the main, practice in the use of disposition of revenue is generally inconsistent and graduations occur in the extent of capital financing and control by the government.”

I would urge -- the Liberal Party would urge -- that the government take immediate action to rectify this situation, with respect to the capital aid corporations, and with respect to the more general problems of quasi-governmental agencies. These agencies should be made accountable to the Legislature. I think that a general review by a committee of this House could have a very major impact on trying to simplify this great myriad of government that has been created by the people opposite.

Mr. S. Smith: It’s hidden debts, and nothing else.

Mr. Singer: A financial nightmare, again. A financial nightmare.

Mr. Peterson: Don’t despair, Mr. Treasurer, I am about one-tenth finished.

I want to talk, if I may, about the area of health, very briefly. I wish we had time to go into a lot of policy areas but I want to get onto the financial implications of some of the policy areas, and what I think are some of the principal areas of waste.

Between 1970 and 1976, the Ministry of Health incurred an average annual percentage increase in expenditure of 16.7 per cent. In 1973, expenditures rose 23.4 per cent; in 1974, 23.5 per cent; in 1975, 18.3 per cent; in 1976, 14.6 per cent. The Health ministry overspent its budget in 1976 by $87 million, to a total of $3.4 billion, the largest single expense in our provincial budget.

An expenditure increase of this magnitude is in principle unacceptable during a period of financial restraint and when it is experienced by a ministry that is already out of control. We have lots of examples -- from the Provincial Auditor and everyone -- of ways to clean up the administration of that organization. Both financially and administratively, it cannot be tolerated. The abuses of the OHIP system -- a bureaucracy so notorious for its inefficiency, ineffectiveness, and sheer size that it is unlikely to be matched in any other jurisdiction -- are representative of the mismanagement of the Health ministry, a mismanagement which we all know threatened the very existence of a number of provincial hospitals. It is so interesting, with a little hindsight, to look back on that fight a year ago and the incredible incompetence with which that was handled -- a tremendous disruption of so many people’s lives -- with the net result that it was all unnecessary and just disruptive and costly. It really was a tremendous example of incompetence, in our judgement.

You will recall that OHIP was once again a main focus of attention in the most recent Provincial Auditor’s report, which devoted some 14 pages to the Ministry of Health and abuses of the $800 million OHIP fund. According to the Auditor, the Ontario Health Insurance Plan had paid out millions of dollars in claims without properly checking their validity. July 31 records show claims covering over 12 million participants in the health insurance plan, although the province’s population a year earlier was somewhere over eight million.

When the medical review committee of the College of Physicians and Surgeons was set up in 1971, it was hoped that improper claim payments could be controlled. However, the committee has yet to issue decisions on some 175 cases, many dating back to 1974, and has recommended the recovery of money in only 115 cases, making no recommendation for action in the other 254 cases. It has failed to explain many of its decisions.

The Provincial Auditor stated that existing legislation makes prosecution of fraud charges almost impossible while the government and medical professional rules have been far too lax. And surely the government has a responsibility to manage this portfolio far better -- to be more stringent in the application of existing legislation. If this is inadequate, it should recommend amendments to the Legislature which I’m sure we would all support, and which would prevent further abuse of the OHIP system.

It’s the only system that I’m aware of, Mr. Speaker, that pays out this fantastic number of hundreds of millions of dollars and the consumer doesn’t know his involvement. It seems to me that in any cost-conscious ministry, the first way you start to make people aware of the rise in costs is to let them know. We certainly think that as a first step to cutting costs, the public should be made aware and every citizen of this province who uses the facilities should be sent a statement saying what kind of cost he has been to the system.

I think that those kinds of figures would dramatically change people’s perceptions about health care. It would bring them into co-operation with the government, which is the first step to bring some kind of regulation into the incredible and exploding costs in that ministry.

With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about land assembly. That’s been an area that many of my colleagues have been very concerned about and, I say with some pride, they have brought it to the attention of this House on many occasions. We’re concerned about the abuse from activities of corporations associated with the Ministry of Housing. Here, however, the agencies have a more direct relationship with the ministry and with its policy directors. Accordingly, criticism as such must, in large measure, be directed toward the current Minister of Housing and his often over-exuberant predecessors. I refer here to the highly questionable land banking programme of the Ontario Housing Corporation and the Ontario Land Corporation.

Four specific land acquisitions over the past 10 years highlight the fact that in the housing field the Conservative government is becoming increasingly incapable of planning programmes effectively and of implementing policies either efficiently or fairly. Last fall we were all witness to the sorry spectacle of agents of this province being accused by the Ombudsman of deceiving residents in the $214 million North Pickering development site in order to induce them to sell their properties to the province at prices below what they reasonably expected to receive. I don’t intend to go into the details of this particular situation, Mr. Speaker, but I think everyone realizes that the truth was effectively blurred by the necessity of creating a political stand-off in a manner which was unique in the circumstances of the time. So we shelve the incidents for the time being.

However, lo and behold, within six months we get a repeat of the entire scenario -- this time at the 12,690 acre, $28.2 million, South Cayuga land site. This, incidentally, is in addition to the 13,440 acre assembly costing $33.5 million some 20 miles away in Townsend township. The same actors with the same accusations of harassment and deception. One wonders what’s going to come next.

This aspect of the government’s land purchase programme requires thoughtful adjudication. I am inclined to wait before I make a final judgement myself on the actions of the government’s agents. However, now the more general purchasing policies of the government are falling into disrepute. The multi-million dollar acquisition of land by Ontario Housing Corporation near Ottawa is a case in point.

Here a justice of the federal court has suggested that the Ontario Housing Corporation policy of making of block purchases on the open market is neither prudent nor economical. In this assembly one specific example worth noting was the purchase of 200 acres of land for more than $1,000 an acre which had been bought for $283 per acre a brief eight months earlier.

Items like this simply do not make a great deal of sense. They suggest to me that either successive Ministers of Housing have lost touch with the activities of their agencies, or that they simply do not have the capacity to make fiscally sound expenditure decisions on behalf of their departments.

In this score, it appears to me that we have the support of at least one member of cabinet. It was the Minister of Industry and Tourism who observed before the assembly was announced that “we’d be completely off our nut to build a new industrial park there. . . . Whoever is assembling the land won’t get encouragement from me and it is extremely difficult to believe that the government can justify such a purchase.”

Now, on a yet more general level, we have the very real prospect that the entire process of land assembly, and the administrative headaches which have come to characterize it, may turn out to have been a complete waste of time, emotional energy and money.


Specifically we have the example of a 300-acre assembly in the Kitchener-Waterloo area which was purchased in 1968 at a cost of $5.25 million. Ministry officials slowly came around to acknowledging that some of this land may not be required for housing. In fact, the official Kitchener-Waterloo plan showed clearly that 2,000 of those acres would definitely not be necessary for this purpose. So ultimately the decision was made to return the land to individual owners to be used for the same purposes as almost 10 years ago.

The tragedy of this story can only be related by the individual owner-occupants, many of them farmers. They have been forced to operate as tenants under six-month or yearly agreements and have found it extremely difficult to make long-term decisions as to capital investments of any kind.

The Kitchener-Waterloo situation lists a dramatic Conservative flip-flop off the ground. In March, the current Minister of Housing is reported to have announced, a little apologetically perhaps, that there will be no return to massive land banking. “We have been severely criticized for that and probably with some justification,” he said. It is good to see the minister has now joined a number of his colleagues in listening to the Liberal Party on these matters. Land banking, he adds, was seen as “the panacea some time ago. It isn’t any more.” We should all applaud the minister for that statement and for that dramatic turnaround.

Mr. Nixon: However belated.

Mr. Peterson: Now we enter the era of reprivatization with a subtle twist. To salvage some measure of return for the massive investments in land we have “reprivatization for profit.” Twenty-three thousand acres of land will be sold to private developers during the next few years with a potential profit of $180 million. In this matter, however, ministry officials caution us not to project long-term figures from the $2-million profit expected in 1977-78. We shall be most interested to see the final number on that.

This new revenue will certainly be a welcome addition to the provincial coffers though I fail to see how it will benefit the home buyer. Furthermore, it is hardly adequate compensation for the true costs of the government’s ill-conceived programme. How do you account for the lost output due to uncertain tenure conditions in prime agricultural land, Mr. Speaker? How do you measure the actual cost resulting from serious disruptions in the economic and social lifestyles of individuals obliged by government fiat to relocate? What is the true price that the taxpayers have paid in terms of opportunity costs related to the tens of millions of dollars sunk into pie-in-the-sky ventures, dollars which could have been invested in employment-creating or socially beneficial government endeavours?

In this, as in so many other areas, a public accounting of Conservative policies is long overdue. I trust that the government’s acceptance of the resolution of the member for Wilson Heights before the House last week is a sign of things to come in this regard. I hope the government realizes the concern of my colleague, the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, and other members of this Liberal Party, which has been voiced so often in the Legislature, is a sincere and deep conviction and will not diminish in the future.

Mr. S. Smith: The UTDC is another one like land banking.

Mr. Peterson: I want to talk about a failure in women’s programmes, if I may. We are very much in favour of the programmes but when you see the investment of money and the results, I am sure you will share my disappointment, Mr. Speaker.

Women’s programmes in most Ontario government agencies and ministries have been set up in response to a memorandum from the Premier in October 1973 initiating action on the green paper on equal opportunity for women. This is now known as the Affirmative Action Programme. Directives aimed at promoting the equality of women employed by the provincial government have been in place since 1974. Over the last three years we have been told that “the Affirmative Action Programme is oriented towards results rather than procedures” -- that “visible, top-level support of an initial and ongoing nature is a key element for successful affirmative action,” and that “care should be taken to ensure that the women’s adviser in each ministry has the resources and authority needed to accomplish the task.”

Over the three-year period we have seen the Affirmative Action Programme spend $1,631,583 for a mere 130 “significant” advancements. This means an expenditure of $12,550 on each effort to promote the 130 women. Over half of the 1975-76 budget was spent on salaries of programme personnel.

While 28 ministries and agencies were directed to participate in 1974-75, only 16 actually did so; in 1975-76, 29 ministries and agencies should have participated but five failed to do so. Consequently, three years after its initiation, over 2,300 women are still untouched by the Affirmative Action Programme. In spite of yearly budgets of at least half a million dollars, the programme directives are not being taken seriously.

Does the Premier really have any hope, any intention, that this programme shall be a success? Even his own office has one of the worst records of all the ministries and agencies in the entire government. How can other ministries be expected to take Affirmative Action Programmes seriously when the Premier has contributed very little top-level visible support and involvement in his own office?

The status of women employed by the government of Ontario remains deplorable. In the Ontario Public Service there are 25,900 women employees. Forty per cent of them make under $9,000 while only five per cent of the men make under $9,000. Viewed the other way, 35 per cent of males earn over $15,000 while less than six per cent of women employees do so. Predictably, any bracket under $11,000 is over-represented by women. However, only 162 women earn over $25,000 in the total government labour force of 68,225.

Women still hold 95.6 per cent of all office support -- clerical jobs. Only 29 women out of a total of 743 hold senior management positions at the programme executive level and above. Gestures such as the Affirmative Action Programme, which appear to be more symbolic than real, will simply not suffice.

About 1.4 million women participate in the Ontario labour force. This represents 44 per cent of the adult female population and 36.8 per cent of the female labour force is self-supporting. The government has failed dismally to set an example to employers across the province in upgrading the status of women employees and providing them with equal employment opportunities and equal pay for work of equal value.

In many respects it would seem that there has been little change in the government’s attitude to the question of women’s equality since the spring of 1975 when the then Minister of Labour said that “society is not completely sold” on the concept of equal pay for equal work. At the same time he indicated that in his opinion “the legislation now in effect cities as much as society is prepared to accept.”

Another example of a large budget with very, very few results. I don’t call it waste, I just call it inefficiency and a failure to get the kind of results that are necessary.

I want to discuss regional government briefly, if I may. You know our party’s position on regional government.

Mr. Foulds: No.

Mr. Peterson: I can take the next two hours to explain it to you, but I won’t. I’ll do it briefly.

The figures on the increase in local government spending in Ontario from 1970 to 1975 are very interesting. Regional governments’ increase, 159 per cent; Metro Toronto, 102 per cent; the rest of Ontario, 65 per cent. Inflation affects all areas. Why does it hit the regions with disproportionate severity? One reason is that when local governments merged to form a region, all salaries and benefits were invariably increased towards the highest level existing in the area prior to reorganization.

Other reasons for the enormous costs of regional governments include: a tendency for salaries in regions to be higher, especially for senior administrators, than these paid in other comparable jurisdictions in the province; additional staff and temporary duplication of staff as a new bureaucracy is created; significant expansion in spending by lower-tier municipalities on services which remain in their jurisdictions; and a tendency for municipalities about to be reorganized to cut back on major capital expenditures -- sewer construction and so on, for several years so that the regions can help pick up the tab. There has therefore been a surge of spending coincident with the imposition of regional government at a highly inflated cost. You can see those numbers anywhere.

The increase in spending is dramatic and in regionalized areas far outstrips the non-regionalized areas. Higher unconditional per capita grants and special grants and assistance payments are made to regional governments. Some $24.1 million alone has been paid to the regions for organizational expenses and for the development of services on a regional basis. Another $36 million has been committed to 1980 for this purpose.

Although each of the 12 regional governments cost Ontario taxpayers on an average an extra $2.5 million per year, many residents of regional government areas do not perceive the benefits which accrue from these costs. And that’s the key. Indeed, many feel they are even more remote from local governments and decisions than ever. The concept and present structure of regional government must be rethought with a view to making them compatible with requirements of efficient government and the needs of the people.

I want to sum up and give you our suggestions, Mr. Speaker. You can see that I have mentioned a great number of policy areas and I think there are some common threads. I think we have to start with some government direction at the top in this area and I wanted to sum up with our specific proposals to deal with some of these admittedly complicated policy areas.

We recommend a programme of deregulation. This would function on two levels. At the first level it would look at all committees, boards, agencies, groups of every type under the aegis of the government of Ontario, to try to attempt to streamline, to try to attempt to demystify and try to attempt to bring some efficiency to this great myriad of agencies that surround it. We think in our judgement, this could be done with a committee of this Legislature on a non-partisan basis, everyone working together. We think we would be doing the people of this province a great service.

I think another great service we could do in this particular area is to have a deregulation committee, looking at all statutes and laws and regulations on the books in this province. It’s incredible the number of things that sneak up on us year after year. We spend so much time creating laws and so little uncreating laws, and so many aren’t appropriate any more. We think a conscientious effort should be made to deregulate and to that end we would be happy with a select committee of this Legislature to do that kind of thing.

I was very happy to see the Treasurer’s suggestions about zero-based budgeting. Of course we’ve been talking about that for a while. We agree with that. Why we like it most is because it forces every agency, every ministry and virtually every person to re-examine in toto and fundamentally his function and his place in the structure of government on an annual basis, and we think that is a good thing.

We all are aware of stories of things just creeping and growing from their own momentum. We need this constant re-examination, and to the Treasurer I say that we support very strongly his management initiatives in those ways.

I have another suggestion that I think would be very worthwhile. Before any regulation or any law is brought into this Legislature to be passed for the people of the province of Ontario, there should be tabled with that law an economic analysis of all the implications of that law. Increasingly, a law that affects one aspect of the public body can have detrimental effects on the other one. I think it’s important that before we get into new regulations and laws -- and granted there’s a great temptation to do that constantly -- the government should be forced to table an economic analysis.

For example, in environmental law, what are the complete ramifications of adding five cents to the pop can? This study should be before us clearly so we can all study it and examine it, because frequently these laws become highly inflationary and they contribute to waste and inefficiency in other aspects of the system. I think in my judgement that would be a very good stricture that the government should put itself under.

We’re very concerned, in looking at expenditure by month of the ministries, at the terrible abuses. Even with the Treasurer’s attempt to launch a programme to bring discipline into government spending by ministry, the results are only marginally satisfactory. We find, for example, that theoretically expenditures should run about eight per cent a month of the total budget, but last year the Ministry of Industry and Tourism ran 30.7 per cent in the last month, Agriculture ran 24 per cent in the last month, and Environment ran 25 per cent in the last month.

What it says is, there are ministers jamming through their budget in the last month in order that they won’t be cut off for next year. That’s a natural human tendency; anybody in business faces that and anybody in government I’m sure faces that. I think the government has to bring more discipline into that area, I think it has to watch for those kinds of things, and I think it has to punish those kinds of ministers.

Mr. S. Smith: That’s right. It begs for waste.

Mr. Peterson: One other specific suggestion I have in this area is more long-range planning, certainly in the area of municipal finance. I’m glad to see the Treasurer is projecting out to 1981. I suspect his motives, but I still think it’s a good thing. I would like to see more specific planning on a long-term basis, because I think everyone will gain from that kind of thing. If the Treasurer has some ideas and he forces his junior ministries to come to him with planning for a period of time --

Mr. Conway: Maybe they can hire John White.

Mr. Peterson: -- I think he would get better results. Just coming back to the economic cost implications of all of the actions that the government undertakes, it is my judgement, looking at the Minaki Lodge situation, that nobody truly understood the cost of the actions they were undertaking because there was a shortage of information or whatever. Had they understood it, they probably would not have made the decision they have.

Mr. Foulds: No, they would have still gone ahead.

Mr. Peterson: I’m not sure; I’m taking the charitable view. You may be right. But I am saying, had the minister been fully briefed, had he and the cabinet and Management Board been fully informed of all the costs they may have made another decision. That’s why I say, obviously the cabinet and Management Board should be fully informed of all potential costs. That was one of the recommendations of the public accounts committee, on which I sat -- that clearly that same kind of logic should be brought into all new laws and regulations brought down by this government.


Mr. Foulds: Don’t they have a local minister they should have kept informed of this?

Mr. Conway: They were building a palace for the governor.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about a few more policy areas which I think are examples of not getting the maximum efficiency for the dollars spent, and I want to just briefly allude to some of them.

In the area of agriculture, this year’s budget provides no assistance to one of Ontario’s basic industries, agriculture, which generates hundreds of thousands of dollars in gross national product. There is no change of direction on the part of this government, no attempt to improve the viability of an industry which the Ontario Federation of Agriculture has estimated employs directly or indirectly some 400,000 people in this province. One-third of Canada’s agricultural output comes from Ontario -- for 1974, this amounted to $1.04 billion. Ontario farmers spent about $1.6 billion on farm production items in 1974. The food processing sector employs 85,000 people in Ontario. The agricultural equipment industry had additional value totalling $188 million in 1974 and employed 10,000 people in Ontario. Ontario farmers spend $125 million to $150 million on fertilizer and lime annually.

There is considerable potential for developing export markets for several Ontario farm products, and I have been involved in some of those myself personally. There must be an all-out effort by Ontario to pressure the federal government to change our outdated tariff structure.

We cannot overlook the fact that agriculture is an energy-intensive business. Energy prices and possible energy shortages are the big question mark for the future of agriculture in this province. Obviously, the government’s objective should be towards energy self-sufficiency for farms; and I’m going to be talking about this a little later, because it’s something we feel very strongly about in our party. But this budget does not include any mention of the programmes and policies which are necessary to maintain and expand the agriculture industry to ensure that our farming community and our food industry meet the demands and challenges of the modern technological era.

Mr. Riddell: It’s time the farmers got some consideration from this government.

Mr. Peterson: I think if this government just listened to my good friend, my colleague from Huron-Middlesex, they would solve all the answers to their problems.

Mr. Riddell: Right on.

Mr. Peterson: I’ll leave that for him for another day.

Mr. Riddell: We’ll do that after the next election.

Mr. Peterson: I want to talk about mining, because when we talk about some of our resources industries we’re in very serious trouble in this area. I know the Treasurer knows this and I know he’s worried about it. I don’t think he’s done anything about it, to the best of my knowledge.

Mr. Bain: I wouldn’t even say he’s worried.

Mr. Ferrier: He hasn’t done much for the gold industry.

Mr. Bain: If he was worried, he should have done something.

Mr. Peterson: For the first time since the Second World War, no new major mines are under construction in Ontario and there are no new mine openings scheduled anywhere in the province in the foreseeable future. Ontario’s metal mining industry is in the fifth year of a slump.

A position paper prepared by the division of mines section of the Ministry of Natural Resources has found that an early important warning indication of the health of the metal mining industry in Ontario is the level of exploration activity. According to this indicator, Ontario can anticipate a continuing decline. Exploration expenditures in Ontario during the 1972-76 period were about $15 million per year, compared with $23 million in the 1967-71 period. No discovery leading to probable new mine construction has been made since 1971.

The position paper also found that the Ontario metal mining industry provides jobs for about 40,000 people directly and for many more indirectly, and produces directly about three to four per cent of the gross provincial product.

The position paper blames the decline in provincial exploration on burdens imposed on the sector by the Ontario and federal governments.

Given this deteriorating situation in the mining industry, and the Treasurer’s own admission in a Globe and Mail interview that “It’s disturbing; we really are relying on the resource industry to provide a certain number of jobs . . . and a certain amount of taxes too . . .” -- he always get that in -- “What may be needed now are incentives to encourage basic production rather than bonuses for refining.”

Mr. S. Smith: Where were they in the budget?

Mr. Peterson: It is difficult, even impossible, to comprehend the total absence of measures in the present budget to reinforce and revive this essential industry.

Remedies include, in our judgement, revision of provincial mining tax to make the expected rate of return more attractive in relation to alternative investment opportunities. Ontario could influence federal attitudes to the industry by reviewing the effects of federal taxes in mining and making proposals on the most suitable combination of federal and provincial taxation.

Let me say in this regard, Mr. Speaker, my leader and I had a meeting with the mining industry about six months or so ago to discuss this whole matter of taxation. I can tell you that they’re upset; they think that, by and large, they’ve been treated reasonably fairly by the federal government. It’s the provincial government that’s fouling the whole thing up.

Mr. S. Smith: That’s right. That’s a wealth- creating industry.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: That’s utter nonsense.

Mr. S. Smith: Nothing in your budget on that. Nothing.

Mr. Peterson: Ontario could also influence the federal government to restore capital gains tax exemption for prospectors, provisions for 10-year averaging of income. Other solutions include negotiating a federal-provincial agreement on resource taxation with a reasonable ceiling on total taxation, establishing some stability in the tax system instead of continuous change. The present MEAP programme on specific properties could be expanded to more of the province, and the budget increased from the present level of $500,000.

The Ontario government could carry on airborne geophysical surveys of geologically favourable areas, similar to those being done in Quebec.

An hon. member: That’s right.

Mr. Peterson: Tax breaks should be given to people living in remote and unpopular areas, where expenses are considerably higher than in southern Ontario. We are very concerned about that and we try to be as constructive as we can so the Treasurer can --

Mr. S. Smith: Whatever happened to that OSC review --

Mr. Peterson: -- go to his colleagues with our ideas for their consideration. We are continually falling behind in the regeneration of cut-over Crown lands in Ontario and I know my friends from the left, who sit to the right, have been very concerned about this -- as have we and our northern members. Indeed, as have members from all over the province.

Years of Conservative mismanagement of cutting more trees than are replaced has led to a crisis situation. If no changes are made, forests will soon be unable to support the demand for wood. The government’s Report of the Special Programme Review of November 1975 stated that “confirmed plans for industrial expansion will increase the total consumption of roundwood in Ontario to an estimated 900 million cubic feet by 1980. Thus, Ontario will reach its projected 2020 consumption by 1980, indicating a need for an increased silvicultural activity at a level above the present implementation schedule.

Obviously, insufficient emphasis is being given to management and regeneration when only one-third of forested acreage is being actively regenerated. As Professor K. A. Armson recently stated in a report to the Ministry of Natural Resources, Forest Management Ontario 1976 -- I quote: “In view of the impact of restraints which have been imposed by the provincial government, it has become imperative that a strong reiteration of support be made for the forest production programme if it is to proceed.”

The government must make a commitment to sustain regeneration of all cut-over lands. Adequate financial support is essential if the forest management programme is to develop. However, no such commitment has been made by the government. In fact, in the current period, there’s every indication that present government support -- both money and staff -- is greatly falling behind the production policy objectives in terms of the area given regeneration treatment. The situation was made even more serious by the increase in cut areas.

In 1974-75 reforestation operations on all lands cost $7.8 million out of a total forest management expenditure of $28 million. Revenues from stumpage and protection charges for the same period were $30.6 million. Spending only 22 per cent on regeneration, the government has thus spent on the whole forest management section less than it received in taxes from the forest industry. Last year the Minister of Natural Resources himself described the present provincial reforestation programme as inadequate. He stated, “It is true that there has been a gap between the amount of area requiring regeneration and the amount that is being regenerated.” In 1974, this difference was about 170,000 acres.

The government’s forest management programme is outdated and inadequate. The inadequacy of the present provincial tree-planting and regeneration programme is aptly demonstrated by an analysis of the figures from the Ministry of Natural Resources annual reports.

In 1972, the area of cut-over Crown lands was 345,000 acres. The area regenerated by silviculture treatment was 167,000 acres -- I’m leaving off the decimal points, Mr. Speaker. In other words, 178,000 acres were left unregenerated.

In 1973, the area regenerated by the ministry was 165,000 acres. No figures were given for the number of acres cut over and in need of regeneration, but it is interesting to note that this figure is below the number of acres regenerated in 1972, while wood cut in that year had increased.

In 1974 the number of acres requiring regeneration was 271,000 acres. The Ministry of Natural Resources, however, regenerated only 145,000 acres; again, 126,000 acres were left unreforested.

In 1975 we had a record number of forest fires and 42,000 acres of forest land were destroyed. In 1976, we faced the worst ever total number of fires -- 3,946, a high of more than 1.3 million acres of forest burned. For the 1977 season there is already the likelihood of an even worse year. Already this year, there have been 84 forest fires.

The present level of government action is totally unsatisfactory and will not achieve the production target objective for cut-over lands. As Professor Armson has concluded, “There does appear to be a question as to the relative degree to which a productive programme with long-term economic consequences should be reduced in a period of fiscal restraint to the same extent as other administrative or regulatory programmes.”

The forestry industry in Ontario, now at a watershed mark in terms of its future productivity and ability to generate profit, accounts for more than 60 per cent of employment in northwestern Ontario and for more than 65 per cent of the value of goods shipped from the region. Forestry and its related enterprises account for 20 per cent of the jobs and 15 per cent of the value of goods produced in all of northeastern Ontario.

In Sweden, the forest industry has always received a high priority in assessment of economic development. There is an institutionalized system for periodic re-evaluation, which allows shifts in taxation policy when and if necessary.

Mr. Bain: Good old free-enterprise Sweden.

Mr. Peterson: In terms of taxation, the government sets the viability of the industry as its main objective.

The Ontario Forest Industries Association, in February 1976, called for a comprehensive study to determine whether the current level of taxation was consistent with the industry’s ability to pay. In light of recent experience, this request has considerable merit.

Mr. Bain: Those socialists sure know how to grow trees.

Mr. Peterson: In 1974, the pulp and paper sector produced $1.3 billion in products. The overall forest industry provides 75,000 jobs, and has an annual payroll of $700 million and total revenues in excess of $2 billion a year. Within a decade or less, the forest industry may be unable to meet the demand for timber.

The pulp and paper industry is probably the most energy-intensive of the province’s manufacturing industries, accounting for between three and 10 per cent of total operating costs of forest-based industries in Ontario. Energy costs are imposing a significant burden on the industry. Testimony before the Ontario Legislature’s select committee on Hydro last year indicated that the pulp and paper industry provided, perhaps, the greatest opportunity for meaningful conservation. What is needed is a government commitment, perhaps the setting up of a task force, to initiate research and special incentives.

Such an approach was undertaken in Sweden, when the government became concerned over the fate of the forest industry. In 1975, the National Swedish Industrial Board was entrusted with the task of reshaping the pulp and paper industry to make its energy use more effective. The National Swedish Industrial Board’s mandate was “to pinpoint energy consumption and to assess what technological methods and other measures were available in the short and medium term for rationalizing utilization.” Given a comprehensive programme of saving, it has been estimated that energy consumption in the Swedish pulp and paper industry can be reduced by seven per cent over the next five to 10 years.

In contrast to the forest tenure system in Ontario with its long-term contracts and cutting rights over huge tracts of land, the Swedish system emphasizes short-term arrangements and private competition. I think that’s very meaningful at this particular time.

Mr. S. Smith: Did you hear that, NDP? There’s private competition in Sweden.

Mr. Peterson: Excuse me, Albert, don’t steal my speech.

Mr. Roy: How are you making out?

Mr. Peterson: We’re getting through.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Is it worth stealing?

Mr. Roy: There’s a lot of good stuff. You should be making notes,

Mr. Gregory: When are you going to start on the telephone book?

Mr. S. Smith: I’m sure you don’t know one number from the other, member for Mississauga-whatever-you-are.

Mr. Peterson: I want to talk about education because it relates so fundamentally to many aspects. I think it’s important to put it in perspective in the economy -- where we’re going and how we’re going to get there -- because our future so relates to what we’re doing with our young people today.

In 1970-76, the Ministry of Education experienced an average annual percentage increase in expenditure of 12.1 per cent. Expenditures increased 13.3 per cent in 1974, 11.3 per cent in 1975 and 11.8 per cent in 1976, despite the decreasing enrolment. In 1976, the ministry overspent its budget by some $20 million.

Mr. S. Smith: If there were no more students in the world they would be still increasing their expenditures in that ministry.

Mr. Peterson: Many people in Ontario question whether the enormous amount of money spent on the education system is money well spent. Education expenditures were almost $2 billion in 1976, and proposed 1977 expenditures amount to $2.1 billion.

Mr. Conway: People at TV Ontario think the Treasurer is “hard-nosed.”

Mr. Peterson: I can’t speak to that. Leslie Frost, when he was Minister of Education, used to proclaim that this province had the best system of education in the world. No one contradicted him then because it seemed self-evident.

When the present Premier became Minister of Education he acquired responsibility for a school system of which the people of Ontario were justly proud. It was a system that operated efficiently, the students were urged to strive for excellence and graduates who accomplished this successfully met tough and fairly defined standards.

Under the aegis of the present Premier, education costs soared and the general public became increasingly concerned about the standards of education of our young people. All too soon it seems that uniform, reliable standards disappeared, province-wide examinations were abolished in 1967, and students graduated from the system with widely varying abilities and levels of knowledge. We are very pleased in this party that the government now appears to be paying some attention to the pressure from the general public and, I say with a great deal of pride, from my leader in the Liberal Party.


Mr. Bullbrook: Changing things around singlehandedly.

An hon. member: Maybe they will teach the government how to count.

Mr. Peterson: It was interesting when we released our paper and the minister weaseled out of his office with his wet ink and called a quick press conference to tell his story -- and you know something? Some people in our party were upset about that. I really didn’t mind because we are willing to help the government all we can.

Mr. Ruston: You need a lot of help.

Mr. Peterson: I think that part of our job is to share our ideas with the other side. We hope the government will adopt them and I want the Treasurer to feel free -- when this whole speech is finished, I won’t be a bit embarrassed if he takes it home. I know he is going to reread it tonight after he goes home, but if he adopts every single one of these policies tomorrow morning, I won’t be a bit offended. I won’t even take any credit and I will come and help him do it.

Mr. Bullbrook: Isn’t that generous?

An hon. member: That is what minority government is all about.

Mr. S. Smith: It is more than fair.

Mr. Peterson: The Treasurer is losing his sense of humour. He has been hearing too much of this stuff.

Subsequent refinements of the education system which the minister has made indicate that he has already read our policy carefully. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We must feel complimented that the minister is following our advice.

The education system in Ontario is financially supported by the people in the belief that a literate, skilled and articulate population is vital for the well-being of this province. Our schools have a very important role to play in providing our young people with the skills they need to become productive members of society, as well as informed citizens.

Ontario is suffering from the worst unemployment in years. Some 15 per cent of the labour force under 25 years of age are unemployed. Graduates of Ontario’s expensive post-secondary educational system are experiencing great difficulty in obtaining the jobs for which they have trained, or indeed any job at all.

Dr. Rodney May, Assistant Deputy Minister of Labour, recently pointed out the shortage of trained personnel in certain industrial fields. According to Dr. May, Ontario needs 350 occupational health nurses, 270 occupational hygienists and 250 safety engineers.

Since the beginning of the 1970s, there has been a poor labour market for highly qualified manpower. Despite this fact, post-secondary enrolment in Ontario, both full time and part time, has continued to increase every year. No relief is in sight for the growing oversupply of young graduates. Current policies in Ontario will do little to stimulate the demand.

Most high school students still aspire to white collar jobs, although opportunities are limited and likely to remain so. Neither the high schools nor the post-secondary institutions of Ontario cultivate the qualities of entrepreneurship -- and I am going to deal with that later because that’s something this government has removed and not fostered in any way in this province.

Mr. S. Smith: That’s right. They are responsible for a decline in the free enterprise ethic.

Mr. Peterson: Career counsellors appear to do little to redirect student aspirations, to channel them into the blue collar skilled labour, service and entrepreneurial jobs where a demand for workers exist and will continue to exist. It would appear the system can neither create enough jobs for the young nor provide them with the skills and values which would help them to create their own opportunities.

The number of potential workers with post-secondary education, seeking higher level white collar jobs, is growing far more rapidly than the supply of such labour. On the other hand, a future labour shortage in various blue collar occupations is a very real possibility. In the past, these blue collar labour requirements have been met through immigration. It will be difficult to sustain the required levels of immigration if we have a large number of well educated young people with high expectations but with few employment prospects.

Little attention has been given to the potentially socially disruptive consequences of youth unemployment and the very real prospect of relatively highly educated young people accepting jobs below their expectation levels, in the process displacing other, less educated workers.

There is a need and a very basic need for a fundamental reassessment of the link between the educational system of Ontario and the present and future requirements of the labour market. Many things could and should be done.

Stimulation must be provided to create employment opportunities for the young. We need research and development of “knowledge industries” in Ontario, which would employ some of our highly qualified manpower in a meaningful sense. Work study programmes should be established to facilitate a smoother transition between school and work.

A thorough reassessment should be made to clarify exactly what we are getting for our education dollar, particularly in the field of post-secondary education. Serious attempts must be made to provide forward-looking rather than purely reactive policies, bearing in mind the social and economic disruptions which lie ahead, if we continue as at present, rather than adapting to modern day realities.

I want to talk about housing because it’s of very serious concern to us.

Mr. Conway: Certainly to the member for Carleton.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: You can see me listening with great attention.

Mr. Conway: Have you got that rent control digested?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Absolutely.

Mr. Peterson: In the four years since its creation, the Ministry of Housing has experienced an annual increase of 85.2 per cent in expenditure; 91.8 per cent in 1974 and 180 per cent in 1975. In 1976 the expenditures actually decreased $2 million to $169 million.

During the years of the enormous spending increases, Ontario was not producing anywhere near the 100,000 annual starts deemed necessary by the Comay report. Indeed, in 1974, the year expenditures rose by 91.8 per cent, urban housing starts in Ontario dropped by 29 per cent; and the following year, when expenditures rose by double that amount, urban starts fell by an additional 5.7 per cent. In that same year, starts rose nationally by 7.3 per cent.

Mr. Bullbrook: Kind of an inverse ratio.

Mr. Peterson: The member for Carleton agrees with me.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: They were catching up.

Mr. Roy: Catching up?

Mr. Conway: The member for London North has been writing the minister’s speeches.

Mr. Roy: It’s not obvious from the budget that you’re catching up.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: They were catching up with us.

Mr. Peterson: It is evident that the funds allocated to housing programmes are not being properly channelled. The lack of affordable housing, and particularly of multiple dwelling starts, in this province is deplorable, and I earlier read the current figures into the record. However, I fail to see how a decrease in expenditures will solve the problem.

The Treasurer would have us believe that we suffer from an excessive inventory of unsold housing units. What we truly suffer from is a serious lack of affordable housing. This year the government is predicting a drop in housing starts of 4,700 units to 80,000 units and since its predictions are normally overly optimistic, and the more reliable Conference Board forecasts only 72,800 starts for Ontario in 1977, we can assume the shortage of housing units will continue in Ontario. This situation is intolerable. Efforts must be made to use expenditures effectively, to get serviced land on to the market more cheaply and more quickly, to streamline the municipal approval process, enabling municipalities to play their part in providing affordable housing.

The government’s so-called housing policies have been a complete failure. No attempt has been made to live up to commitments to provide suitable and affordable housing for the majority of our citizens. In the two-year period, 1973-74, the Ministry of Housing failed to take advantage of some $103 million made available to it from the federal government under CMHC funding arrangements.

During the last election campaign, the Premier himself got into the act, when he promised help with mortgage rates -- a yearly allowance of up to $500 to reduce interest charges on residential mortgages over 10.25 per cent.

Mr. Roy: Yes. Whatever happened to that promise?

Mr. Peterson: He was hardly off the campaign trail before he abandoned the idea.

Mr. Conway: Promise the moon and deliver a thin slice of rancid cheese.

Mr. Peterson: The average home buyer is still faced with an enormous initial capital outlay, followed by years of bondage to high monthly mortgage payments. As if the situation isn’t bad enough, the government has placed municipalities in a position where they are literally forced to substantially increase property taxes.

The president of the Canadian Institute of Public Real Estate Companies has pointed out that “the real estate industry, more than any other segment of our society, has been plagued by federal, provincial, regional and municipal intervention and layers of red tape. We have witnessed first hand [he said] the costly delays in registration of plans of subdivisions the proliferation of hearings . . . the duplications of approval procedures . . . and the excessive and frequently nonsensical controls and restrictions. This regulatory ‘overkill’ has more than anything destroyed the Canadian dream of home ownership by pricing it beyond the reach of the average family through the additional costs of unnecessary government interference.”

Let me state this very strongly: Our party believes in home ownership. We believe that everybody should be put in a position to be able to have a stake in this community. “No other activity of this government would contribute more to the stability and security of our towns and cities than extending the right to home ownership to a far broader sector of our population. Our society is based on the concept of a small property-owning democracy. Opportunity for equity build-up, security of tenure and an economic stake in the community must remain a viable option for Ontario families.” My leader has said that many times, Mr. Speaker, and I can tell you that all the members of this caucus support him completely.

The means must be found to offer more initiatives for the construction of housing units, through start-up and tax incentives. Possibly lower-cost subdivision servicing standards should be developed and encouraged. Increased provincial funding is necessary for trunk servicing of sewers and water supply in co-operation with municipalities.

The government has now yielded to our continued pressure to get out of land-banking, but has not yet taken up our suggestions for land servicing, which we have brought to its attention on many occasions. We also need a land inventory showing which land is serviced, land which is close to services, and land which is capable of being serviced. Bureaucratic red tape must be, if not eliminated, at least drastically reduced. Faster decisions on zoning, site-plans, and subdivision applications are vitally important. We have pointed out in the Legislature only recently, Mr. Speaker, how we could assist in the unemployment problem in this province today by creating jobs, by accelerating the planning procedure. We have called for that, and still no action.

Provincial sales tax should be taken off residential building materials, or at least offset with grants to purchasers of new homes.

We need a province-wide development plan, within which local land use plans can be established and implemented without constant interference from Queen’s Park. Rather than initiating grandiose plans for new towns, existing communities should be encouraged to expand. These already have sewage, water, schools, churches, recreational facilities, and so forth.

One aspect we must never overlook in our search to find solutions to the housing problem is the need to preserve our agricultural land. Housing should not be built on prime agricultural acres -- there is plenty of less desirable land, and we must evolve new land servicing methods that will make this land accessible for housing development. On this point, as an authority I would like to quote my friend Charlie Farquharson, Mr. Speaker, who says, “Ontario is becoming a place to stand, but there’s no place to grow.”

Because of the present tax assessment procedures, there is a tendency to build houses which are too large, too expensive and -- in view of the energy situation -- too costly to heat.

Mr. Bullbrook: What are you shaking your head about?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: He is wrong -- the member for Parry Sound objects.

Mr. Peterson: It has sometimes been suggested that municipalities engage in assessment planning by adopting defensive servicing and zoning standards. At last year’s community planning conference, the Deputy Minister of Housing said that “municipalities are planning communities of such high standard that more than 50 per cent of the people in Ontario cannot afford to live in them.”

Property tax has for years been an excessive tax burden at the local level. This tax is utilized to finance a large proportion of the soft services, such as social service programmes, schooling and recreation. As a result, land is viewed in terms of tax capacity. Obviously, it is no simple task to develop alternative sources of finance for municipal soft services, but an adequate supply of affordable housing cannot be realized easily if high property taxation continues.

We must bring competition and free enterprise back to the housing market. An increase in serviced building lots would accomplish this to some extent, and would encourage smaller builders to enter the field.

Possibly the key to achievement of a reasonable price level for single family lots is the establishment of a massive land servicing programme in the environs of our cities, towns, and villages. The government has formerly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on land banking. Instead, it should spend the same amount of money on the provision of water and sewage trunks and to streamline the subdivision approval process, to encourage an over-supply of lots on the market.

In short, then, the provincial government should concentrate on the provision of more serviced land in co-operation with municipalities and reduce red tape which slows down approvals, raising housing costs as developers hold land for an excessive length of time. We must encourage reasonable expansion of communities which have already installed hard services, and make adequate provision of soft services, instead of building new towns. Standards should be made more flexible, so that, for example, septic tanks can be used where conditions rule against sewers. Incentives should be provided to municipalities to encourage development of a variety of housing, geared to the needs of poorer families and senior citizens.

Mr. Speaker, again I give that to the Treasurer to take to his colleague, the Minister of Housing, with our blessings and hope he will institute it tomorrow morning. Thank you.

I want to talk about Industry and Tourism, because it’s a big concern to us.

Mr. Conway: The minister is something more of a concern. Maybe now that he is married he may straighten out.

Mr. Peterson: Well, it hasn’t straightened out the rest of him.

The Ministry of Industry and Tourism has experienced average annual increase in expenditure of 12.4 per cent in recent years. In 1974 and 1975 percentage increases in expenditure were 42.3 per cent and 37.8 per cent; in 1976 expenditures were forecast to increase an additional 23.5 per cent. In spite of these increases in expenditure, business failures in Ontario, as a percentage of the national total, rose from 34.8 per cent to 50 per cent during the period 1970 to 1976.

That is to say, in the years of heavy expenditure, namely 1974 to 1975, bankruptcies rose from 39.9 per cent to 48 per cent of the national total, rising to 50 per cent the following year. Some 80 per cent of the business failures in Ontario were in the construction, trade, and service industries, all of which are labour-intensive industries which must not be allowed to flounder.

Funds allocated to Industry and Tourism are expected to remain unchanged in 1977. We have, in this particular connection, a small business policy that I am going to discuss with this Legislature a little later. But we think that is one of the answers when we are faced with very serious deficits in terms of balance of payments with respect to our tourism. We think that we have a real plan to help the independent operator in the tourist business, and I will be discussing that a little later, if I may.


Mr. Conway: We used to have the Premier’s face in Times Square.

Mr. Peterson: I want to talk about decentralization. It is a very, very, very important belief that the Liberal Party has. It pervades all our thinking in many policies. We are strongly committed to decentralization of government, of expenditures, of decision-making, and particularly of industry. I want to talk about this programme and lay before the House our suggestions in this particular area.

We think, frankly, all the forces have been conspiring the other way in this province. All the forces fed by the government of this province have been to draw growth and draw people into Toronto and the Toronto area, and to centralize all the things but we think the time has come to reverse.

The government has talked about decentralization a great deal, there’s no question about that and so far we’ve seen very little result. Clearly the time has come when we must give urgent and serious consideration to effective methods of decentralizing growth in our cities and industrial areas and encouraging development in the rest of the province. We can no longer ignore the need to evolve some system of developing balanced growth throughout Ontario.

Obvious to anyone who travels at all, and all the members of this House do, are the glaring discrepancies that are visible to the naked eye as one travels about this province between the southwest and the north and east.

In the past, Ontario’s population was concentrated to a large extent on urban centres in the central and southwestern portion of the province. These centres have become surrounded by sprawl, which results in high servicing and transportation costs, the loss of irreplaceable farm lands, pollution of our environment, misuse of energy resources and the destruction of unique landscape features. The notion that Ontario is a land of limitless space is a myth for most of us today.

Today, nine out of 10 residents of Ontario live in the southern part of the province, which has an overall population density higher than that of India -- nearly 170 people to the square mile. By contrast, we have seen lack of growth, economic stagnation and decline of many rural areas, particularly vast regions of northern and eastern Ontario. Nor are these trends expected to change in the foreseeable future. According to TEIGA documents such as Ontario’s Changing Population, published in March 1976, central Ontario will continue to increase its proportion of the province’s population while every other region’s will decrease.

Of the six major cities of the province, all except Ottawa are located in southern Ontario. These cities are expected to increase their proportion of the total provincial population from about 60 per cent to about 80 per cent by the year 2001. By contrast, most of the counties of eastern and northern Ontario will experience net migration losses.

Closely related to population changes are job opportunities in the various regions. Employment in central Ontario increased from 57 per cent of the provincial total in 1951 to 62 per cent in 1971. Nor is there any indication that the rate of concentration is decreasing.

There is a widening gap between different parts of Ontario with respect to economic opportunity, population size and lifestyle. The difficulties and dangers involved in living in a political jurisdiction with sharply divided identities, values and concerns are well known to us all. Yet the Progressive Conservative government has done little to resolve this problem.

In 1966, the then Premier, John Robarts, introduced a policy statement known as Design for Development, which ostensibly had as one of its goals a more equal share of growth for all regions of the province. More than 10 years later we are still moving in the opposite direction, increasing growth and opportunity in certain regions at the expense of others.

A study of northern Ontario development published by the Ontario Economic Council in 1976 shows the objective of decentralizing economic and population growth to the northern and eastern regions of Ontario is not being achieved. In northern Ontario, for example, there has been a relative decline in the labour force tied to the two primary resource industries -- forestry and mining, which we have discussed earlier. The population growth has been slower than that of the province as a whole, incomes tend to be below the provincial average, and the level of common social and cultural amenities is acknowledged to be low.

The second focus of provincial regional development policy was to be the containment and structuring of growth in the Toronto central region, where pressures to expand in the form of urban sprawl were the greatest. Yet growth has continued to concentrate in the area west of Metro and expectations of eastward growth have not materialized.

Mr. Conway: That’s obvious.

Mr. Peterson: Agricultural land and recreational facilities in the vicinity of Toronto have come under relentless development pressure. Water quality in the Great Lakes, the Kawartha Lakes and particularly Lake Simcoe has been deteriorating. Both the provincial COLUC task force report, published in 1974, and a recent publication by the Bureau of Municipal Research have concluded that little has been done to reduce the problems of increasing sprawl in the Metropolitan Toronto area.

In April 1976, TEIGA released a document entitled Ontario’s Future Trends and Options, as a further development of the Design for Development concept. The report shows that the same population employment trends which resulted in original concern about the need for regional development in 1966 had intensified by 1976. Why did the government publish a document in 1976, undoubtedly at great cost and bureaucratic effort, which merely repeats the need for corrective measures, a need which was recognized 10 years earlier?

Mr. S. Smith: It is a poor effort to pull the wool over the eyes of the people.

Mr. Peterson: Two of the major regional development thrusts of Design for Development were the dispersal of economic growth and development of the lagging regions of Ontario by the containment of sprawl, and by the sound staging of growth in the Toronto area. Neither of these has been achieved in the 10 years since the programme was first announced.

Closely related to any regional development strategies are provincial development strategies. In 1974 it was announced in the House that a provincial land-use plan, an important component of a provincial development strategy, was about to be produced. Such a provincial strategy is essential to provide guidance to local and regional planners and to give us all some indication of where various types of growth are to be encouraged. No overall provincial strategy has yet appeared.

The trends and options statement maintained that the provincial government does not have an entirely free hand in determining the rate of development in various parts of the province. However, through various measures, the government could have a much more positive influence in the decision of where we choose to live.

Consider the location of government offices and services -- and this is where in my judgement, the single biggest failure has been. This government is the biggest employer in the province. It has the most money. It could have spread that growth out all over the province. There is nothing more stabilizing in a community than even a small civil service payroll which tends to be mobile; it has a profound ripple effect throughout a community. And the government has failed.

Mr. Conway: You have sent Leo Bernier north of the pork barrel.

Mr. Peterson: This could have been done. Only recently has the government announced its first tentative move to decentralize the ministries in what it considers a meaningful way. These steps are inadequate both in scope and magnitude. They are just a pale start.

Some 1,650 civil service jobs in Metro Toronto are to be relocated in Kingston and Oshawa, as part of a move by the province to go east. Imagine, as far as Oshawa. Very inspiring to the citizens of eastern Ontario. The head office of OHIP division of the Ministry of Health will move to Kingston, involving the transfer of more than 900 jobs; but moving the head office of the Ministry of Revenue to Oshawa will probably only mean that some 750 employees will commute. This is really not solving the problems that it is designed to solve. In three or five years Toronto will be there anyway.

Virtually all the government operations being transferred will remain fairly close to home at Queen’s Park.

With regard to government agencies the sincerity of the commitment to rationalize and decentralize government services is also dubious when one considers that of the 344 government agencies no fewer than 274 are located right here in Toronto; and even those services which would appear to be decentralized relate to titular appointments to boards of governors and public institutions. Regional boards of health are the only ones that have worked.

By way of illustration, such agencies as the Agricultural Tile Drainage Licence Review Board, the Dairy Herd Improvement Advisory Committee, the Farm Products Marketing Board, the Ontario Apple Marketing Commission and the Ontario Cream Producers’ Marketing Board are all located in Toronto, which, while prosperous, can hardly be considered the fertile agricultural heartland of Ontario.

Mr. S. Smith: There really is no excuse for that.

Mr. Peterson: To cite another example: The Natural Resources Advisory Committee for the north-central and northeastern regions are both located in Toronto, as are such urban-related agencies as the Game and Fish Hearing Board and the Crown Timber Board of Examiners. This just doesn’t make sense.

The Liberal Party has for years been calling for decentralization; and I repeat that. In our judgement there should be a freeze on growth of the civil service in Toronto. It should immediately be looking outward. Rent out some of the office space the government has here.

My principle objection to that famous old Hydro building -- and you will recall the issue, Mr. Speaker -- was the fact that it was located where it was. Why do we need to bring in those thousands of people who work down there, creating pressures on urban transportation? Every time that number of people are brought into an urban setting it causes many more problems. The building could have been located in many other areas in this province. In my judgement, it was very bad planning.

Mr. Speaker, do you want me to carry on for another four minutes? What is your judgement on that?

Mr. Speaker: It was my understanding that the hon. member had until 6 o’clock.

Mr. Peterson: Okay, I will continue. I want to speak about some of the inequities in terms of municipal financing in this province.

The tri-level conference held in Edmonton in October 1973: John White, Treasurer at the time, said, “The Ontario government, therefore, gives this guarantee to its local governments -- provincial assistance in future years will grow at a rate not less than the growth rate of Ontario’s total revenues.”

From this statement it would seem that to pass on to the municipalities any amount below the provincial gross rate of revenue is contrary to the government’s commitment. However, the amount of funds that should have been transferred to municipalities was reduced in 1974 by $99 million and in 1976 by $22 million. The provincial government claimed that due to an overpayment in 1975 it did not need to give municipalities the full growth rate in revenues of 14 per cent in 1976. By granting an eight per cent increase in 1976 it felt that because of the previous overpayment, it was, on a cumulative basis, adhering to the Edmonton commitment.

The confusion surrounding the Edmonton commitment has resulted from the interpretation of the guarantee which I have quoted, particularly the words “not less than” with regard to the amount of the revenue transfer. These words appeared in the original version of the position paper on public finance presented at the conference; were deleted entirely in the summary of the same document; appeared again in a statement in the Legislature, and were once more deleted in their entirety in the 1974 budget statement. The government’s inconsistency in wording led to different conclusions about the extent of the revenue transfers on the part of the municipalities and the province.

Mr. S. Smith: Quite purposeful.

Mr. Peterson: In a statement in the House on December 11, 1975, the Treasurer set out the provincial position which was: Moneys due under the Edmonton commitment represent the maximum amount of moneys which may be transferred to local government; and further that the commitment should be interpreted to mean moneys due on a cumulative basis. The municipalities, on the other hand, felt the commitment represented a minimum level and therefore rejected the argument that transfers be calculated on a cumulative basis.

Despite pious words about its support of local government, the provincial government would have been the ultimate beneficiary of the Edmonton commitment however interpreted. By applying its own interpretation, it has benefited that much more.

In the position paper, John White made the following revealing statement: “Ontario’s own fiscal capacity is increasing about 10 per cent per year, in keeping with the growth of the economy. This growth rate enables Ontario to finance its own programmes, but does not provide the capacity to cover increasing municipal deficits. In the period 1970 to 1973, assistance to local government grew 50 per cent, while Ontario’s total revenues increased 35 per cent. The net result has been that the province has increased the size of its own deficits to cover the local financial deficiency and prevent mill-rate increases.”

Prior to the Edmonton commitment, transfers to local government were increasing at a higher rate than the increase in Ontario’s total revenues. By limiting the future rate of such increases to “. . . the rate of growth of the total provincial revenue,” this commitment had the effect of reducing the rate of increase in transfers to local government.

The municipalities, and by extension property taxpayers, have been the ultimate losers. At the present time, by its own calculations, the government owes the municipalities $108 million in transfer payments. The province has not fairly dealt with these municipalities. Its much-heralded advance presentation in September to the municipalities of its 1977 transfer intentions is simply not enough.

The province should undertake a three-year commitment of funds to municipalities. This would allow them to plan and to set their own priorities, rather than forcing them to respond in an ad hoc fashion to provincial decisions. A multi-year provincial plan, something this province has long been in dire need of, would assist municipalities in ordering their priorities.

Mr. Speaker: Would this be an appropriate place for the hon. member to break his remarks? I understand, though, there has been a later agreement which I had not been informed of earlier that he will continue at 8 o’clock.

The House recessed at 6 p.m.