31st Parliament, 1st Session

L005 - Wed 29 Jun 1977 / Mer 29 jun 1977

The House met at 2 p.m.


Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry.

Mr. Nixon: No ministry. They’re all in the back row. There are going to be some quick promotions, boys.



Mr. S. Smith: I’ll ask a question of the government House leader, Mr. Speaker, in what I should like to be the recorded absence of the Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes), the Premier (Mr. Davis) and the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry); that is, in view of the fact that the Comay report on The Planning Act has confirmed so many of the criticisms this party has made regarding the delays and the high costs that result from these current planning processes, can he explain why his government does not seem to intend to take immediate action to expedite the subdivision approval process, curtail the powers of the Ontario Municipal Board and eliminate unnecessary OMB hearings?

Hon. Mr. Welch: I am sure, Mr. Speaker, the hon. member will realize that matter should be referred to the Minister of Housing. May I say, however, while I am on my feet, the Premier is at the Destiny Canada conference this afternoon to fulfil some responsibilities which he had agreed to some time ago. The Attorney General is in Ottawa with the Minister of Justice at a conference of the Attorneys General. I don’t know but I expect the Minister of Housing will be here before the end of the question period, and perhaps that question could be directed to him at that time.

Mr. Speaker: I will give the hon. Leader of the Opposition a chance to place his question again if the minister shows.


Mr. S. Smith: I will ask a question of the Minister of Natural Resources, who has just joined us.

I wonder if the minister can clarify and provide a little more detail regarding the famous promise in the charter, the promise to replace at least two trees for every one harvested. I am wondering if the minister is going to explain to us exactly how that is going to be accomplished in view of his previous statement -- and I quote -- “I thought we knew how to replant trees. We don’t,” and in view of the government’s own report called Forest Management in Ontario 1976, which states: “It is a common myth that every acre logged should be regenerated; ideally this may be desirable but the reality is that in an extensively forested area such as Ontario it is not economically feasible.”

Can he explain who was contacted with regard to this two-for-one plan and exactly how is it going to be accomplished?

Mr. Breithaupt: It is a good merchandising gimmick.

Hon. F. S. Miller: It is not a merchandising gimmick.

Mr. Nixon: It is.

Hon. F. S. Miller: As a matter of fact, two for one is perhaps a conservative estimate of the number of trees --


Mr. Roy: Is it ever conservative in view of your record!

Hon. F. S. Miller: In any case it is a conservative fact now.

An hon. member: That means it is not a fact.

Hon. F. S. Miller: When one cuts mature forests, obviously the spacing and size of the trees is such that there is a lot of room once you have cleared the forest out for the planting of a lot more trees than you cut. It is as simple as that. When we plant open country, open fields properly, the normal planting procedure I am told is one tree every six feet in a grid system. Throughout the growth of those trees you would harvest or cull, whatever you want to call it, a goodly number of the smaller trees as they grow, to permit the larger trees or the growth of trees to a more mature state. I forget the exact number but it is something like 1,500 trees per acre, I believe, that a six-by-six planting pattern will give you.

Mr. Lewis: Be careful.

Hon. F. S. Miller: The member can work it out if he wants to: 46,000 square feet divided by 36. That is not bad. I think it is about 1,270 trees per acre that one would plant.

Mr. Reid: Depending on the species.

Hon. F. S. Miller: One would not harvest at maturity anywhere near that, but you would cut at intervals -- I believe 25 years is the first cut if I am not wrong. Is it not?

Mr. Lewis: Oh come on -- 25 years! Forty to 60.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I mean for the first thinning of the trees.

Mr. Reid: You don’t do any thinning. That’s the problem.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I was looking across at the member for Rainy River, who knows all about trees.

Mr. Reid: They all voted, though.

Hon. F. S. Miller: That’s the only way you would get in. Young saplings vote for you.

Mr. Reid: Some older ones too.

Hon. F. S. Miller: You said it. However, the fact remains that in serious reforestation or regeneration obviously you would be planting more seedlings than you were harvesting as mature trees.

The second part to which the member referred was the question of all acres being planted and the report saying that some weren’t suitable for replanting. That is true. The fact is they probably weren’t suitable for cutting if they weren’t suitable for replanting. This is where management plans will come into effect and in some cases stop the cutting on certain fragile soils that should not be regenerated.

Mr. S. Smith: A supplementary: Since it seems to be a recent inspiration, which the minister did not share with the House prior to the dissolution of the last Legislature, to plant two trees for every one, at the time when he was saying he didn’t know how to plant them, how much money is the government planning to spend on this marvellous new reforestation program, and when can we expect to see the budget?

Hon. F. S. Miller: First of all, you very selectively chose some of my comment. You too must have just got The Forest Scene.

Mr. Nixon: You didn’t say these things?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Sure, I did. But they are all there, along with your interjections and some comments by the member for Rainy River and a few other people.

Mr. Nixon: Well, they should all be there.

Hon. F. S. Miller: It was printed this week in The Forest Scene that I just got, and which you have got.

Mr. Roy: You are always limited in the question period, you know.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I said that many people shared some of the beliefs I had about the planting of trees before I became minister. Many people simply believed that all you had to do was take a lot of young people and put them out in the bush with equipment and you would have a massive regeneration program. But, in fact, that --

Mr. S. Smith: You are saying two for one. I didn’t suggest it.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I’m just pointing out that I said these things earlier.

Mrs. Campbell: When you did know what you were talking about.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Oh no. With great respect, I always know what I’m talking about, even if I can’t impart it to some of you who can’t understand what I’m talking about.

Mr. Nixon: Back to the two for one.

Hon. F. S. Miller: No, it wasn’t the two-for-one bit --

Mr. S. Smith: How much money will be spent?

Hon. F. S. Miller: We will spend whatever money is required. One of the reasons I was delighted to see the statement in the charter that we would, in fact, put as a priority --

Mr. Lewis: It was a surprise to you, too?

Mr. Gaunt: You were surprised to see it?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I saw the charter when you did. But I had an input into it, which was different.

Mr. Reid: It must have been as Minister of Health because --

Mr. S. Smith: You took his picture.

Mr. Speaker: Will the hon. minister just answer this one question, please, not the interjections?

Mr. Sweeney: There aren’t enough ministers there. He has got to fill up the time.

Hon. F. S. Miller: You’ve misled me; you’ve misguided me at this point. I’m being flustered.


Hon. F. S. Miller: We will be putting the money in as we create the ability to produce the seedlings, produce the seed, have the nurseries built up, so that we can increase our overall regeneration policy. Those things will be done. I would estimate that the figure of $65 million a year is reasonable. I think that is one of the figures in the report. It will probably take us two or three years to be spending at that rate. But as far as I am concerned, our highest priority is to improve the overall regeneration of the forests of Ontario beyond their already quite good levels.

Mr. Lewis: Supplementary.

Mr. Reid: Supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: We will allow one more supplementary. The member for Scarborough West.

Mr. S. Smith: A supplementary from the member for Rainy River --

Mr. Speaker: Well, we’ve spent almost 10 minutes now with the interjections. It seems to me there were quite a few answered, and wrongly, of course. But it was a rather relaxing question. The hon. member for Scarborough West.

Mr. Lewis: What has happened to the minister’s announced intention of turning back to various private companies the actual forest regeneration; with whom have the negotiations been completed; and when will we hear precisely what he intends?

Hon. F. S. Miller: It’s safe to say that the negotiations have not been completed with any company. It is also safe to say that we appointed the executive director of forests to that specific task. He is to work on it from now till whatever date the task is complete -- some 18 months we would expect it to take -- to work out the changes in charges the ministry makes, to work out the details and the standards for the agreements with these companies as to how they should go about the regeneration programs.

Not all lands in the province will be handled by private regeneration. I tried to make that clear during the election campaign.

There are those forests which the province will have to maintain the regeneration on, because we want to have licences available for smaller operators in the province. But we feel that major companies will be involved in the regeneration process in the future. Details following the suggestions of Armson are being worked upon right now by Mr. Lockwood.

Mr. Reid: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. We’ve now spent 10 minutes on this. The first question the Leader of the Opposition had really wasn’t a proper question because there was nobody to ask it of, we are going to give him the opportunity to come back at it later. I think we’ve spent enough time on this question. We can come back to this question later. I think we will go to the hon. member for Scarborough West with his first two questions.

Mr. Roy: We haven’t even had one supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: Well, there were several interjections which were answered.

Mr. Deans: Sit down. The Speaker is in charge here.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think in order to keep the question period going along and to give everyone an opportunity to ask questions, we have spent enough time on the first lead-off question.


Mr. Lewis: May I ask the Minister of Labour the following question: What is the ministry doing in the very unhappy strike that is now occurring between Focus, the organization representing social workers and child-care workers at the Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto, and the society?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I’m aware that there have been active communications between the staff of the ministry and both parties in an attempt to get both parties back together. I am not aware that there is any meeting right at the moment as a matter of fact, but I shall check on that and let the member know.

Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary, can the minister indicate whether in fact it is valid that a senior member of the ministry has been informed that management in truth did unilaterally change the term of the contract, and that in fact this is a fairly clear-cut case of management violation of a contract originally agreed upon, and that therefore it would be a very easy labour dispute to bring to a conclusion and that that is now understood within the ministry with those involved in the strike conciliation process?

Hon. B. Stephenson: To my knowledge that is not known as fact within the ministry at this time. The first information that we had was that indeed this had been an error, that each party thought they were signing the correct document but the documents were not dated the same. If there has been new information about this in the last day or so I have not heard it. That I shall explore as well.

Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary: Is it not usual practice that when a new agreement is signed it is dated as of the date of the expiry of the old agreement, and is that not the understanding that is held by some of the conciliation or mediation services people?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes, that is generally so; it is not universally so.


Mr. Lewis: A question of the Minister of Energy if I may: Can he indicate to the House where he now stands on the Mackenzie Valley pipeline, after the Berger commission has made its report?

Hon. J. A. Taylor: The ministry did not take a position, contrary to some of the information that might have flowed from some of the member’s supporters, in connection with support of a pipeline. We had a representative there, but not in regard to or in terms of supporting a particular pipeline or location.

Mr. Lewis: I don’t really want to get into this, but is the minister denying that he tabled in the Legislature a document which asked for the building of that pipeline as quickly as possible, subject to whatever environmental matters were involved? The minister is denying that he tabled that and it was contained in a recommendation?

Hon. J. A. Taylor: That may have been the member’s interpretation of that document, but it certainly wasn’t my intention nor interpretation to support any particular --

Mr. Lewis: Did the minister read the document before he tabled it?

Hon. J. A. Taylor: Absolutely. Would the member like to quote it and I’d be happy to debate it with him?

Mr. Lewis: I haven’t got it with me.

Hon. J. A. Taylor: Please do and I’ll explain it to him.

Mr. Peterson: Supplementary: Is it the minister’s intention to reintroduce his rate-raising bill with respect to pipelines of this nature? The second part of my supplementary is, with the introduction of that bill, was support of that pipeline at that point not implicit in there?

Hon. J. A. Taylor: No. I gather there was some support in the member’s party and other parties in regard to that particular proposal. Frankly, I see no urgency to do that. I’m particularly concerned about feeding through costs to the consumers, costs that would reflect an investment in pipelines. There are other considerations and I have no present plans to bring in such legislation at this time.

Mr. di Santo: Supplementary: Since the construction of the pipeline -- whatever the route will be -- will drain most of the money which is needed for investment in southern Canada, and since it is known that the cost of gas at city gate will be much higher in Ontario with the resulting loss of several thousand jobs, is this government prepared to oppose the pipeline and if not, why?

Hon. J. A. Taylor: No, I think the hon. member’s assumption is absolutely erroneous. He is assuming that the increase in oil and gas prices is being effected by the oil-producing provinces and the federal government in order to finance pipelines, which is --

Mr. Lewis: That is right. That is the rationale, and if you don’t understand that you should not be in your job.

Hon. J. A. Taylor: -- which is not correct.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order, please.

Hon. J. A. Taylor: I have read all of the member’s campaign literature and all of his dissertations on it and --

Mr. Lewis: There is no other rationale.

Mr. Foulds: Why don’t you resign?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. J. A. Taylor: -- that’s not so.

Mr. Lewis: You don’t know what is in your documents and you don’t know your own rationale.

Hon. J. A. Taylor: The member doesn’t.

Mr. Speaker: All right. A final supplementary.

Mr. Reed: Does this mean now that the ministry, in the course of about four months, has done a complete flip-flop on this issue of the pipeline?

Mr. Lewis: Completely. Totally. A total about-face.

Mr. Reed: Does this mean that there has been a complete reversal of the position of the Ministry of Energy regarding the construction of this pipeline?

Mr. Lewis: Of course. Totally.

Hon. J. A. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, there has been no reversal of the position of the Ministry of Energy.

Mr. Breaugh: This is called a twirl, not a reversal.

Mr. Foulds: It never had a position.

Hon. J. A. Taylor: What I advocated in that particular document was the need to put transportation systems into place --

Mr. Lewis: Nonsense.

Hon. J. A. Taylor: -- in order to bring frontier gas, for example, and oil to market. That doesn’t indicate --

Mr. Peterson: Which frontier are you talking about?

Hon. J. A. Taylor: Just a minute.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. J. A. Taylor: That doesn’t indicate a preference. There are a number of transportation systems that could be employed, whether it’s --

Mr. Lewis: You are getting yourself into hot water on this one.

Mr. Breaugh: Just because you said it, doesn’t make it so.

Hon. J. A. Taylor: -- a pipeline or some other system, and also whether it’s in one location or another.

Mr. Cassidy: What other system? You favour the pipeline.

Hon. J. A. Taylor: No, there’s no change in our position on this.


Mr. O’Neil: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Labour: Can the Minister of Labour tell the House what purpose was served by appointing Mr. John Sheriff as an industrial inquiry commissioner with respect to the public health nurses’ dispute, since Mr. Sheriff has been unable to suggest a remedy to deal with the situation and has simply recommended that the parties return to the bargaining table even though nurses employed by 27 public health units have been unable to reach agreement after bargaining for 18 months?

Mr. Reed: That’s a good one.

Hon. B. Stephenson: The appointment of an industrial inquiry commissioner, I suppose, is always a bit of a gamble. It is a mechanism which can be used when there are difficult labour-management relationships that need to have some impetus given them in order to improve the situation.

I had been hopeful that we would have something perhaps a little more definitive in terms of suggested initiatives within that document. Unfortunately, they are not there. There are some interesting suggestions which are not included as recommendations. But as a result of the report I have had a meeting with the Association of Boards of Health and a meeting with the Ontario Nurses Association. I have listened to their responses to the report and it has, in fact, I think, stimulated some slightly modified responses on both sides. I see some hope and, in fact --

Mr. Cassidy: All the progress that was made at the Journal. Just the same situation.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) and I shall be talking to both of those groups within the next week or so in order to attempt to find a solution to this problem.

Mr. O’Neil: Supplementary to the minister: As collective bargaining appears to have failed in this case and since the Sheriff report found that the Ontario Nurses Association proposal for voluntary arbitration was identical to legislation regulating the bargaining position of public health nurses employed by the federal government and several provincial governments -- namely New Brunswick and British Columbia -- in a satisfactory manner, why does the minister continue to refuse to permit public health nurses to adopt this option which is compulsory for most other Ontario public servants?

Hon. B. Stephenson: It is, I think, certainly erroneous and probably premature to make any such statement about our stance. We have attempted, because we believe apparently within this society that the collective bargaining process is a useful social institution, to allow it to run its course. There are certain instances --

Mr. Cunningham: Eighteen months?

Mrs. Campbell: What course?

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- in which it is less successful than it is in others. This is obviously one of the situations in which the degree of success has not measured up to the expectation.

There are a number of initiatives which I think we can take, and we propose to look at each one of them very carefully.

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

Mr. S. Smith: Here comes the anti-arbitration position.

Mr. Mackenzie: Could the Minister tell me how long she has had the report, or on what date she got the report?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I received the report on Friday, June 10, as a matter of fact, with the analysis attached at that point.

Mr. Mackenzie: Not on May 31?

Hon. B. Stephenson: No, I did not receive it on May 31.

Mr. Speaker: Does the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere have a new question?

Mr. Warner: I have a supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Warner: Are we on to a new question? It’s a supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: I shall allow a supplementary. The hon. member for Kitchener-Wilmot.

Mr. Sweeney: Does the minister share the view of the Minister of Health, her colleague, who, at a public meeting in Kitchener about a month ago, indicated with respect to this particular kind of dispute that he did not feel that strike should be used and rather felt that arbitration was better?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I have a strong personal belief that the strike-lockout situation is inappropriate in the health-care field.

Mr. Speaker: Now the hon. member for Scarborough-Ellesmere.

Mr. Warner: My supplementary to the minister is --

Mr. Speaker: Is this a supplementary? I thought it was a new question.

Mr. Warner: I would prefer a supplementary first before a new question.

Mr. Speaker: This will be the final supplementary, then, on this.

Mr. Warner: I was wondering whether one of the initiatives that the minister mentioned would be to increase the funding level for the Metro Toronto boroughs from the 25 per cent level, which it is at at present, to 75 per cent which is enjoyed by other municipalities outside Metro Toronto.

Hon. B. Stephenson: That question should more properly be directed towards the Minister of Health. I have no control over the funding from the Ministry of Health.

Mr. Warner: I gathered that.

Mr. Speaker: Do you so direct the question to the Minister of Health? He’s not here.

Mr. Warner: Maybe it could be brought to his attention later.


Mr. Warner: I have a question of the Treasurer. I’m wondering when the Treasurer will agree, not only with the elected officials of Metropolitan Toronto but also with several of his caucus colleagues, including cabinet ministers, that only taxis with a Metro Toronto licence should be allowed to pick up fares within Metro Toronto, or will the Treasurer continue to frustrate the attempts of 8,000 cab drivers to earn a decent living wage in the city?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I’m not interested in frustrating anybody’s attempts to earn a decent living. I suppose I should put that on the record first. I have recently -- last night as a matter of fact -- reviewed some correspondence because I had a letter from the solicitor for the taxi association requesting a meeting with me sometime in July. I’ll attempt to arrange that. The last note I had on my file was that we were waiting for some legal opinions as to what it was possible to do legally before we could come to any conclusions about this matter. So far as I know, we have not yet received those opinions, I suppose, from the Attorney General.

Mr. Warner: Supplementary: Is the Treasurer aware in his deliberation while waiting for the opinion that without that separate Metro licence, as long as the inequitable situation exists at Toronto International Airport, it will continue to provide the opportunity for outside cabs -- such as from Mississauga and Markham -- to raid this area, and that the government has the option of simply making a change to The Municipal Act and allowing Metro Toronto to set the licence that is required by the cabs?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I think that puts it somewhat simplistically. There are two points to be considered: first whether legally we can make that kind of a change in The Municipal Act as something which would stand up, and secondly, we have to give some consideration, not only to the taxicab drivers and/or owners but also to the consumer.


Mr. Eakins: I have a question of the Minister of Industry and Tourism. The minister has indicated in numerous speeches his awareness of the deteriorating competitive position in Canadian industries. What is the policies and priorities division of the ministry doing to contend with the advantages to industry of choosing to locate in the United States, as some businesses see it -- such as lower wages, higher productivity, lower levels of taxation, lower costs of raw materials and larger markets?

Mr. Cassidy: Answer in 10 words or less.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: While we realize that in Ontario we have lost some of our competitive advantages, there are others that are still with us. These are the resources industry, the opportunity of a knowledgeable labour market and indeed some of the programs the Ministry of Industry and Tourism inspires, such as assisting municipalities in putting industrial land on the market, serviced at a lesser rate than in some other parts of North America.


We might as well face reality that in the United States there is a continuing pressure by state governments to assist municipalities in virtually putting some tax programs into place that will be an incentive to draw industries away from other parts of the North American continent into those particular states. One of the areas that we have moved on is the industrial parks development program. This allows for funding at a reduced interest rate for a longer period of time, indeed for allowing loans to industries at a longer period of time with a reduced interest rate if not completely eliminated.

I think we have to look at some of the tax advantages that the Treasurer brought in and that is the continuation of the relief of tax on new capitalized equipment for the manufacturing industry. These we believe are some of the things that will help to encourage the expansion and development of new industries in this province.

Mr. Eakins: Supplementary: Does the minister have further solutions then to resolve the dilemma which is common among the branch plants in Ontario, where due to their higher operating costs in the province they have found it cheaper to end production and simply import their product from the US parent and use the Ontario plant for distribution purposes?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: In my discussions with the Hon. Jean Chretien in Ottawa, we have tried to bring into place some special tariff requirements if we are to make use of these sub-plant operations by international companies. Mr. Chretien and I have discussed it as it relates not only to American companies but to companies from other parts of the world as well. In the third-world countries where we have had some rather interesting tariff changes over the last period of time, those are being reduced gradually by the federal government to try to give some certainty of market position to Canadian companies either in Ontario or the balance of Canada.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, has the ministry looked at the possibility of doing market research through a government agency on behalf of a number or perhaps a consortium of small businesses?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Yes, Mr. Speaker. Not only have we looked at it as the Ministry of Industry and Tourism for the province of Ontario, but we think it’s more important on a national basis that we as Canadian manufacturing organizations are losing potential market opportunities in the world because we have gone into markets as a multiple of Canadian companies rather than as a turnkey project being designed and developed within the borders of Canada. We have suggested very strongly to the manufacturing association in Ontario and in Canada, indeed with the discussions again with the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Commerce in Ottawa, that turnkey operations should be put together by government itself -- but be controlled by the private sector.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Simcoe East has a final supplementary on this.

Mr. G. E. Smith: Is the minister prepared to consider establishing an extension of the industrial parks program to support the growth centres, as outlined in the Simcoe-Georgian Bay task force, such as Midland, Barrie, Orillia and Collingwood?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, at the time that we brought in the bill that related to the industrial parks incentive program, we specifically related it to northern Ontario and eastern Ontario, but there was the opportunity for the minister to review any area of the province where it appeared that there was some incentive required to assist industry to establish itself in that part of our province. I have said to several members in the opposition parties as well as in our own party that if they have specific cases, we are prepared to look at them and try to assist.

Mr. Kerrio: Supplementary?

Mr. Speaker: No. We will come back for further questions on that if there is time.


Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer. Has the Treasurer or the ministry had the opportunity to review the expenditures and the tax levels of the constituent municipalities which make up the region of Hamilton-Wentworth and the regional government itself, to determine whether or not there is some problem over the allocation of power and the method of use of responsibilities?

There appears to be extremely high taxes being levied and there is a great concern being expressed by a great number of people about the possibility of the region not being able to sustain itself.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: As the member is aware, at the request of the chairman of the region, she asked me to have my staff -- I think the word she used was “audit”; I am not sure if that’s the right word, but for lack of a better word -- to conduct an audit as to just what had happened to levies this year. The last time I spoke to my staff, I think they had the figures from the region and all of the municipalities except Stoney Creek, and they expected to be able to pull this together in the next couple of weeks. So I do not have an answer for the member today.

Mr. Deans: A supplementary, if I may: Are the figures that are being sought both the expenditures for municipal purposes at the lower level and expenditures for regional purposes?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Yes.

Mr. Deans: Then is it possible for the minister to indicate whether he might consider a review to be conducted locally by local people of the actual structure of the region to determine whether or not that structure can in fact work satisfactorily, since there are, as I say, some grave reservations being expressed with regard to that aspect of regional government in the Hamilton-Wentworth area -- perhaps in other places, too, but there specifically?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I am waiting for the region. I indicated to them, as the member is no doubt aware, that although we preferred not to conduct reviews for a minimum of five years, that wasn’t cast in stone. I suggested to them several types of reviews and I understand they are considering that. I believe their next council meeting is July 5 and I suppose we will hear something from them some time after that. But I am not considering anything at the moment until I’ve heard from the regional council.

Mr. S. Smith: A supplementary: Is the Treasurer prepared to consider the suggestion I made some time ago that we take a tri-partisan approach and review regional government in general, since it seems to be the cause of considerable consternation in the province of Ontario?

Mr. Deans: Similar to the suggestion I made some time before.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Specifically, with respect to Hamilton-Wentworth I am not; I am waiting to hear from the regional council. Until we hear from the regional council I would not be making up my mind, and I, quite frankly, can’t think that it would be of much sense to recommend to my colleagues that the suggestion of the Leader of the Opposition -- who previously had said he would dissolve all regional governments -- would be a very sensible one, to appoint a committee of members, including members of his party, with the aim of tearing down regional government. I can’t see that that would be a very productive exercise.

Mr. Eakins: Careful.

Mr. Cunningham: A supplementary: Yesterday, I directed to the Lieutenant Governor in Council a petition pursuant to section 121, subsection 2 of Bill 155, asking for an independent review. What would the Treasurer’s disposition be on that basis?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I will wait until we see the request of the regional council.


Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Energy pertaining to a series of stories in the Globe and Mail back on June 3 and 4 about this secret inquiry by Mr. Justice Grant in relation to Hydro contracts. In view of the fact that he is the Minister of Energy, I take it responsible for Hydro, and a member of cabinet as well, would he tell us under what authority this inquiry was created? Was there an order in council authorizing the inquiry? What are the terms of reference of this inquiry? Was Mr. Justice Grant paid to do this so-called secret inquiry? Is the minister going to release the report? Is he aware of the so-called secret report pursuant to this inquiry, and is he going to release the report and let us know the findings of Mr. Justice Grant pursuant to this inquiry?

Hon. J. A. Taylor: I have no information on that, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Lewis: What do you mean, you have no information on that? Why not?

Mr. Roy: What are you minister of?

Mr. Lewis: It’s a difficult question, but that’s ridiculous.

Mr. Roy: Is Hydro under the minister’s jurisdiction?

Hon. J. A. Taylor: If the member doesn’t know that he shouldn’t be here.

An hon. member: You don’t know.

Mr. Roy: Is Hydro under this jurisdiction, and is he, as minister responsible for Hydro, saying he was not consulted about this inquiry and he has no knowledge whatsoever of the inquiry or the findings in the report by Mr. Justice Grant? Is that what the minister is saying?

Hon. J. A. Taylor: I’ve already said that.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: In view of the fact that there are suggestions of influence-seeking by private corporations in relation to those particular jobs by Hydro, is the minister prepared to make a statement --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Is this a supplementary question to a non-answer?

Mr. Cassidy: -- replying to the question.

Mr. Speaker: Well, it wasn’t announced as such.

Mr. Lewis: Yes it was.

Mr. Speaker: All right. Order.

Mr. Cassidy: Point of order, Mr. Speaker. That was a supplementary question.

Mr. Speaker: I’m sorry. I didn’t hear the hon. member request permission for a supplementary.

Mr. Cassidy: Will the minister reply to the question in the near future and find out the information he’s not able to provide to the House at this time?

Hon. J. A. Taylor: I will pursue the area of concern that has been expressed by two members of the House. I’ll be happy to do that and to report back.

Mr. Roy: Is anybody out there aware of this inquiry?


Mr. MacDonald: A question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food. In view of the information that two further packing houses in Ontario are in shaky financial positions, is it the intention of the minister to proceed with the implementation of his announced policy to provide income protection for producers under such circumstances?

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, all being well, yes, I intend to bring it forward this session.

Mr. MacDonald: Can the minister give us some assurance that it will be brought before the House before there’s any more bankruptcy?

Hon. W. Newman: No, because I know of one that just happened yesterday, but certainly the legislation is being drafted. I intend to have it before the House before we leave.

An hon. member: A little late.

Mr. MacDonald: Before we leave in July?

Hon. W. Newman: Yes.

Mr. Gaunt: Supplementary: Would the minister give an undertaking that in the event the legislation comes into the House after another bankruptcy takes place, the legislation would be made retroactive to cover any such eventuality?

Hon. W. Newman: That would be a very difficult thing to do, but I would be glad to look at it. I think it would be a very difficult thing to do; I’m sure the member is aware of that.

Mr. Roy: But you are a very able cabinet minister.

Mr. MacDonald: Farmers have suffered because of the minister’s delay.


Mr. Nixon: I’d like to direct a question to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations having to do with liquor policy. Is he aware that the liquor inspectors under the Liquor Licence Board are visiting licensed premises informing them of new regulations pertaining to Sunday sales? Is he aware of those regulations, was he the sponsor of any change in policy?

Secondly, can he announce to the House the position that the government is taking with regard to so-called lifestyle advertising, which was the subject of some news comments about two weeks ago indicating the government was contemplating a change in its former policy?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: In response to the first part of the question, I’m not aware of any change in Sunday liquor regulations. I’ll certainly look into it. Certainly the inspectors visit the licensees frequently to advise them on regulations. I’m not aware of any change in that regard.

As far as the advertising directives are concerned, there is an existing directive which the hon. member is aware of. There are certain revisions which have been recommended to cabinet which have not yet been approved. When they are approved, they will take the form of regulations, which will be published.

Mr. Nixon: Can the minister explain to the House why the government appears to be changing its former position? What has led the government to approach a possible ban of lifestyle advertising? Is it that the matter has been expressed, in the view of opposition parties as well as members of the minister’s own party, that such advertising should be banned or at least regulated and decreased?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: We’ve always regulated it and limited it -- both the kind and volume of advertising used for alcoholic beverages. What we’re doing now is an update. The last one that we had, as I recall, was about two years ago.

As the member knows, the federal minister has expressed some concern about this and we have been negotiating with the federal government to try to refine our definition of what is lifestyle advertising. Most of us can recognize it, but very few of us can actually define it. So what we’re trying to do now is to come to grips with it properly, in a more sophisticated way than we have in the past. But it’s simply a continuation of an existing concern.

Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: Why doesn’t the minister just ban liquor advertising?

Ms. Gigantes: Hey!

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Because, Mr. Speaker, it has not been government policy to ban advertising in that area or any other area, to the best of my knowledge. Advertising happens to be the cornerstone of the market economy.

Mr. Cassidy: You guys are prisoners of ideology.

An hon. member: What about cigarettes?


Mr. Speaker: Was there a further supplementary on this side? Either one of you, whichever you wish.

Mr. Peterson: In view of the comments of some of the minister’s colleagues, particularly the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Mr. Parrott), advocating an increase in the age of majority for drinking --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. That is not related to the question.

Mr. Peterson: It is very much related to liquor in this matter.

Mr. Speaker: Right, but it has nothing to do with the question.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. If it is in relation to the first question that was asked, I will allow the hon. member for Kitchener-Wilmot with a supplementary, and then I will allow one over there.

Mr. Sweeney: Does the minister have any intentions of specifically directing his ministry’s attention towards the ban of lifestyle advertising for young people, because that is where most of it seems to be directed right now?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: That is part of the entire question. Of course advertising specifically directed to young people under certain settings is lifestyle advertising. Our problem really is to find an enforceable definition of what we are trying to regulate. That is what we are doing and we have been doing. There are regulations in place now which prevent certain kinds and certain styles of advertising. The problem is to bring those up to date in line with current community standards, and that is what we are trying to do.

When the new regulations come before cabinet they will be examined very carefully and I am sure my colleagues will have some suggestions. My colleagues for the most part have not seen the new regulations. Until they have, there will be nothing published.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. One final supplementary on this from the member for Port Arthur.

Mr. Foulds: If the government is willing to ban a certain type of advertising, why isn’t it willing, as a matter of government policy, to go further and ban advertising for the product? Is it because so much government revenue is dependent on sale of alcoholic beverages?

Hon. Mr. Handleman: The kind of advertising which has taken place in Ontario, and most other provinces which permit advertising, has been brand-oriented advertising. We have done all kinds of research to indicate that stopping advertising, as has happened in other jurisdictions, simply hasn’t in any way curtailed either the sales or the increase in sales of alcoholic beverages. There is a great deal of the Ontario economy which depends on the advertising industry and provided we have no evidence, and we don’t have any, that advertising increases the total amount of consumption I don’t see any reason at the moment to ban it.

Mr. Nixon: Do you believe that?


Mr. Davison: I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. Now that the minister has had an opportunity to investigate the charges of Cyril Jackson in regard to environmental abuses at Stelco in Hamilton, would the minister inform the House as to what validity there is in Mr. Jackson’s charges? Would the minister also table with the House all of the documentation he’s used in arriving at his conclusion?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Apparently Mr. Jackson made two accusations regarding Stelco. First of all, he claimed that the brickwork in the open hearth furnaces was not complete, was not high enough; and secondly, that the precipitators in the furnace were being turned off at night.

This was investigated by my ministry and the inspections revealed that in fact the brickwork was done properly, and that this had been inspected regularly while the construction work was going on. I understand that the mayor of Hamilton and his pollution committee were making a tour yesterday also to inspect the work and the area about which the allegations were made.

Secondly, it is my ministry’s intention that if the precipitators are turned off at night, there’s no saving to the company. Also, our monitoring system would pick up any deterioration in the ambient air quality as a result of such a shutdown.

That’s the information we have at the present time and I’d be happy to table any documents we have backing up that information.

Mr. Davison: A short supplementary: That means then that the minister is saying there is absolutely no validity in the charges that Mr. Jackson has made as far as his ministry is concerned?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I am just saying that -- yes, that is basically what I am saying. However, it has still to be followed up, as I say, with a report from the Hamilton pollution committee as a result of their tour yesterday. I assume that that will be taken to the council, after which a final disposition would then be made of this.


Mr. Gaunt: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. In view of the serious violations taking place under the provisions of The Environmental Protection Act in respect to soft drink containers as outlined in a Pollution Probe letter to his ministry dated June 21, 1977, what has his ministry done to see that the retailers mentioned in the letter are complying with the law?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, this is the matching provision the member is talking about, the regulation that came into effect in April. We have been encouraging groups such as Pollution Probe to make any inspections they want to see that the regulation is being complied with. When we have a complaint that certain retail outlets are not handling returnable containers as required by the regulation, then our inspection staff will follow up with that and if the allegation is borne out charges would be considered.

Mr. Roy: Supplementary: Did I hear the minister right in saying that the enforcement of these regulations is left either to individuals who will make complaints or associations like Pollution Probe? Doesn’t he have any inspectors out there in the field looking to see if there are any infringements of these regulations?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, I was referring to the question placed by the hon. member’s colleague, in that groups are in fact carrying out their own checking, shall we say, of the regulation.

Mr. Foulds: It shows a certain lack of faith in your ministry, doesn’t it?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: We have our own staff who go around occasionally. I think the hon. member realizes that to inspect every retail outlet in the province would require at least a doubling of our inspection staff. So we encourage groups such as Pollution Probe, and Garbage Coalition, if they wish, to carry this out and to report to us.

Mr. Gaunt: Supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: We’ll have a final supplementary. I think the hon. member was going to rise and his neighbour stood up first.

Mr. Roy: That is right. I cut him off.

Mr. Speaker: You did. So we will give the hon. member for Huron-Bruce a final supplementary on this.

Mr. Roy: I am very sorry about that.

Mr. Gaunt: Mr. Speaker, I am wondering, in view of what the minister has said -- the fact that the ministry is short of inspectors, and is depending on outside groups -- does he have any other avenues through which he can ensure that retailers across the province are abiding by the mandatory availability provisions for soft drink containers?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: We have the undertaking of the industry itself that it will comply with the regulations. The Ontario Soft Drink Association, for example, and the Retail Merchants Association, have all indicated they will comply with this regulation. If as a result of our inspection, or as a result of a complaint or any other type of inspection, we are told that a particular store or a particular chain of stores is not complying with the regulations, then of course we take whatever action is available to us under the legislation.

I don’t know what more we can do. Certainly we cannot hire enough inspectors within my ministry to carry out a continuous inspection of all the retail outlets in the province.


Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. In view of the fact that negotiations are presently going on between officials of his ministry and Inco concerning the level of emissions from the super stack at Sudbury; and in view of the fact as well that the technical knowledge about high stack emissions has changed since that control order was first imposed several years ago; and also in view of the fact that the results of these negotiations will have a --

Hon. B. Stephenson: Question.

Hon. W. Newman: Let’s get the question.

Mr. Laughren: -- major impact on people, on fish, on water and on soil; will the minister direct that the negotiations presently going on behind doors be held in public?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, I think first of all, as the hon. member knows, we’ll have to get the result of a study that is going on in the Sudbury area which we hope will be completed this year. That has been a five-year study involving the companies, Environment Canada, the Ontario Research Foundation and my ministry. The results of that study we hope will indicate what the reasonable levels should be at the termination of the present control order, I believe that is starting in 1979. So certainly we will have time before that to assess or reassess the final level requirement that was set back in, I believe 1971 or 1972.

I’ll say to the hon. member, Mr. Speaker, that it doesn’t appear the company can meet that objective. It is a reduction in 1978 from 3,500 parts per million down to 750, and I frankly really don’t know what our people or anybody else were thinking about back a few years ago in setting that level, because it would appear at the present time that it is not possible to achieve.

However, the company wants to set a level that we’re not satisfied with; certainly a reduction of 300 or 400 parts per million is not adequate. If we are talking about 2,000 then that is generally the ballpark. I’m waiting for that study, but I think, really, if we do reach an agreement sometime this year there is no reason why the explanation and the rationale behind that agreement can’t be made known to the public and be subject to a public hearing.

Mr. Laughren: Supplementary: Does the minister not think that the public at large, and indeed many interested environmental groups such as the Canadian Environmental Law Association, Pollution Probe, and elected officials in the various levels of government, have a right to take part in these negotiations before any conclusion has been reached, and that it’s an insult to these people to tell them after the fact the decision the minister has arrived at?

Mr. Warner: Absolutely.

Mr. Laughren: And it is tons per day not parts per million we are talking about.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: It depends on the criteria.

Mr. Lewis: The criteria? That is quite different.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: The hon. member mentioned a final decision being made. I think there is no reason why the public can’t be involved before a final decision is made, but I think because of the very technical nature of these negotiations that are going on, certainly there should be some conclusion which could be taken to a public meeting. In other words, if the ministry and the industry agree on a certain level then that can be taken to a public meeting and the reasons behind it explained.

Mr. Germa: Supplementary --

Mr. Speaker: Order please. We have spent quite a bit of time on both a lengthy question and a lengthy answer and we’ll get on to another question. If there is time, we’ll get back to it.


Mr. Reid: I have a question for the Minister of Energy. Can he indicate whether he has received the proposal from Ontario Hydro for a Hydro generating plant at Marmion Lake near Atikokan? If he has received the report has he taken it to cabinet, and when can we expect approval of the building of the plant at Atikokan?

Mr. Roy: Does the minister know anything about that?

Hon. J. A. Taylor: To the two first parts of the question, yes and yes; I have received the report and it has been approved. I think the announcement will be tomorrow,

Mr. Roy: Will he be invited?


Mr. Martel: Can the Minister of Labour now tell me what steps are being taken to assist those men who have suffered industrial deafness, with respect to lip reading and speech therapy being provided in the Sudbury area instead of coming to Toronto?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the whole subject of industrial deafness, the treatments, the investigations necessary for individuals who are in positions which might lead to industrial deafness specifically in that area; the treatment programs, the remedial and therapeutic programs and the follow-up rehabilitation programs, are matters which are under discussion between the assistant deputy minister in the Ministry of Labour responsible for occupational health and safety --

Mr. Laughren: Two years now.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- I am sorry, Dr. May has only been there since December -- and the director of rehabilitation services for the Workmen’s Compensation Board. They have also had discussions with some of the specialists in this area, not only in Toronto but in other places, and are in the process of developing the rationale for the program in Sudbury and throughout the province.

Mr. Martel: Supplementary: Could the minister then indicate to us the deadlines for these reports to be finalized, since three years of prodding this government to deal with that problem have gone by since I first started to raise it in 1974?


Hon. B. Stephenson: I wasn’t aware that the hon. member for Sudbury East had been raising it for that length of time, Mr. Speaker. I was aware that he had some communication with the Ministry of Health.

I can’t give him a date, because it’s not a matter of accepting records; it’s a matter of discussing the problem, establishing the guidelines and the levels which are required, and then attempting to establish the proper programs.


Mr. Sweeney: A question to the Minister of the Environment: Could the minister explain how it was possible for the Ministry of Health to have advised James Galloway to leave his home because of high radiation in 1975, when the Ministry of the Environment had that information in 1973 and didn’t do anything about it, and Mr. Galloway subsequently died?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: First of all, Mr. Speaker, I don’t know where Mr. Galloway lived --

Mr. Sweeney: Elora.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- and I would suggest that I wouldn’t have that information. If the hon. member will give it to me, I’ll get an answer for him.


Mr. Wildman: I have a question for the Minister of Industry and Tourism. In view of the dropoff in American visitors last year and his comments during the campaign about the need for a major promotional program by the private sector and the public sector, can the minister give us any indication of what his ministry is doing this year to try to promote American tourism throughout the province?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Tourism in the northern part of the province has increased slightly over a year ago, and we think it perhaps can be attributed partly to the redirection of our advertising program which the ministry has implemented in the last eight or nine months. First of all, we have gone away from television advertising in the United States and into more selective advertising in publications and newspapers that serve a particular disposable income bracket, which we think is the type of funding that’s required to travel to a place known as Ontario.

Very clearly, the fact is that tourism in North America, whether it relates to a given state or city, has been down over the last 24 months or a little longer than that. In Ontario, we think we’ve been able to maintain a fairly high percentage; and the spending position has been improved. While I admit that the number of people coming to the province of Ontario from the United States is down, it has been somewhat supplemented by the numbers of Ontarians staying at home and doing their visiting here. I think it has been related basically to the very sophisticated advertising program that we’ve placed in North America and in the domestic market, and the emphasis we’ve been trying to give to specific areas of the province of Ontario in advertising to Ontarians.

Mr. Cunningham: Are you advertising in British Columbia?

Mr. Wildman: Supplementary: Can the minister indicate what increase he expects as a result of his efforts and if he is aiming his advertising mainly at the high-income bracket or the lower-income bracket? What type of tourism is he trying to promote, especially in northern Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: We hope that in the current year we will be able to maintain a market position equal to last year’s, which will be quite a change compared to the rest of the national position.

Mr. Makarchuk: Quite an increase.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I said “maintain.” We’re not really trying to predict a substantial increase in the market position of tourism in Ontario. If we can hold the position we had a year ago, in light of inflation and in light of the increased cost of gasoline and a few of the other deterrents, I think we will do extremely well.

Yes, we have aimed our advertising program basically at a very high disposable income group, being the income group in the range of $18,000 to $20,000 in the United States. That’s the market we believe will have sufficient disposable income to offset the cost of travelling north of the border.


Mr. G. I. Miller: I have a question for the Minister of Natural Resources. Is the minister aware that since the eight-inch limit on perch was put into effect last year, the gill netters in Port Dover are still having a problem making enough catch to live within that limit and that charges are being laid at the present time?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I have been aware of the problems. I believe the Ombudsman also looked into the problems of the fishermen in that area and some of the rules imposed. The rules were imposed, of course, to protect the fishery, and I think it’s not wise to assume that one should catch small fish and therefore destroy future fishing potential.

Mr. Breithaupt: Sort of two for one.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I would hope that in the long run, the steps being taken currently are in the interests of the commercial fishermen and I hope they’ll appreciate that.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Could I ask one supplementary? Mr. Speaker

Mr. Speaker: The question period has expired.

Mr. S. Smith: May I rise on a point of privilege?

Mr. Speaker: On a point of privilege, yes.


Mr. S. Smith: This morning, Mr. Speaker, the member for London North (Mr. Van Horne) was given, from the Ministry of Education, a document which was dated April and had to do with evaluation in Ontario. He was also given a copy of a statement dated today, allegedly made by the minister, or to be made by the minister.

My point of privilege is twofold. One is that that statement appears not to have been made, and we wonder what the status of it is, because estimates are coming up right after the question period.

The other is this: In view of the fact that this report was ready and on the minister’s desk for some months now and in view of the fact that our staff has asked for it repeatedly, we feel that it’s a breach of the privileges of the members of this House to have it suppressed and just supplied to our member right now before the estimates begin on the very same day with hardly enough time to study it. I think the secrecy in this case is a breach of the privileges of the members of this House.

Mr. Speaker: There are rules and regulations as to the presentation of these materials -- of course, I don’t know those things are going on; I presume that the rules are being followed. There is nothing I can do about it at this particular time; I’ll check into it and, if necessary, I’ll report back.

Does the hon. member for Wentworth North have a point to raise?


Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the standing orders, I would like to indicate that I’m dissatisfied with the answer given to me by the Treasurer regarding regional government.

Mr. Speaker: It shall be so noted.




Hon. B, Stephenson presented the annual report for the Workmen’s Compensation Board for the year 1976.

Mr. Martel: That should be a disaster.

Mr. Warner: And spend your time apologizing.

Mr. Speaker: Are there any further reports?


Mr. Villeneuve from the standing social development committee reported the following resolution:

Resolved, that supply in the following amount and to defray the expenses of the Social Development Policy Secretariat be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1978:

Social Development Policy

Social Development Policy program ...… $2,214,000

Mr. Speaker: Are there any further reports?




Hon. Mr. Handleman moved first reading of Bill 30, An Act to revise The Securities Act.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Handleman moved first reading of Bill 31, An Act to amend The Business Corporations Act.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Handleman moved first reading of Bill 32, An Act to Regulate Trading in Commodity Futures Contracts.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, these three bills are reintroductions of bills which were introduced in the previous Legislature and compendia have already been distributed to the opposition critics.


Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day, on a point of order, might I ask for some direction with respect to the adjournment debate that will otherwise result from the dissatisfaction of my colleague from Wentworth North (Mr. Cunningham) with a certain answer given today. The adjournment debate is meant to take place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings in the ordinary case. Since the House is sitting this evening and since we are sitting tomorrow only on the usual Friday hours from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., could you give direction as to whether you wish this matter to proceed this evening or whether it would be more convenient to have it proceed next Tuesday evening. It might be of mutual advantage to the members involved. I don’t know.

Mr. Speaker: It would be my thinking on it that it should be next Tuesday evening. It is the first Tuesday or Thursday evening that we will be sitting. Next Tuesday evening was what I had in mind.

Mr. Breithaupt: Fine. Thank you.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, just as a matter of interest, can there be dissatisfaction on a supplementary?

Mr. Roy: Oh sure, especially if it comes from you.

Mr. Deans: You could create dissatisfaction without a question.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I might have the consent of the House to revert to motions?

Agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Welch moved that tomorrow, June 30, the House will sit at 10 a.m. and rise at 1 p.m.; and when it rises it will stand adjourned until 2 p.m. Monday, July 4.

Motion agreed to.



Resumption of the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 6, An Act to amend The Ontario Unconditional Grants Act, 1975.

Mr. Swart: I had the opportunity to make some comments on this bill before the debate was adjourned yesterday at 6 o’clock. I pointed out that our party had some strong reservations about this bill.

First of all, the level of transfer payments does not meet the level of need of the municipalities. Property taxes last year and this year are going up more rapidly than the cost of living or the average salary and wages. The amount of money being transferred does not live up to the Edmonton commitment, the commitment given by this government in 1973 to the municipalities, which stated that the level of transfers would keep up with the amount of increase in revenue year by year of the provincial government.

I just want to say that this is a bill which should be providing the additional transfers rather than by other means, because the unconditional nature of these transfers is certainly beneficial in two respects: One, because it gives more autonomy to the local municipalities; and two, because it does not encourage excessive spending in the same way that subsidies which are based on a percentage of expenditures do. Therefore, this bill is inadequate in the amount of transfers that it makes to local governments.

The second part of this bill, with which we had real reservations, is a matter on which I want to speak today. I suggest that it attempts to cover up the excessive costs of regional government and, in so doing, it penalizes municipalities which are not in regional government. This bill certainly recognizes the voracious appetite of regional government because it provides substantial additional assistance to the municipalities in regional government over and above the amount of moneys provided to municipalities which are outside of regional government. But it therefore penalizes those municipalities outside of regions by giving them substantially less assistance.


I would point out that if the city of Owen Sound had been in regional government this year, according to the tables they would in fact have received something like $125,000 more in grants than they now receive. In the case of Sarnia, this would be something like $350,000; Thunder Bay would have received $650,000 more; and the city of London, something like $1.5 million more in grants than they are now receiving.

Let me put that another way: If municipal costs in regions -- the expenditure per household -- were the same as in municipalities of comparable size outside of regions, and grants had been given proportionately, the government could double that $6 per capita additional grant which they now give to regional municipalities, to all municipalities in Ontario. They could have given $12 more per capita to every municipality in this province.

I say to the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) that his government refuses to even question the principle of its type of regional government in this province. Certainly there have been reviews conducted within the individual regional municipalities and some are under way at the present time, but these do not deal with the fundamental issue of whether we can afford in this province two full-fledged tiers of local government in most of the areas.

The member for Wentworth (Mr. Deans) in the question period today raised that issue. The member for Hamilton West (Mr. S. Smith), the leader of the official opposition, also raised that question. I suggest that the Treasurer, in his answer, really evaded that in saying there would be an audit done in the Hamilton-Wentworth area. There have been these individual studies which have been done there and in many other places but never dealing with the fundamental issue.

Mr. Speaker, I want again to document the excessive municipal costs where regional governments exist in this province. A May 1976 publication -- that’s a year old now, but no further one has been produced -- of the municipal finance branch of the Ministry of Treasury, Economics, and Intergovernmental Affairs, is entitled “Regional Government In Perspective, A Financial Review.” It is a publication of this government and one must assume it would support what the government has done, yet it provided certain statistics which must cause questions with respect to the affordability of the kind of regional government we have in this province.

In that document, table seven, page 17, there are some significant figures. It compares the municipal expenditures per households for municipalities in three different categories -- Metro Toronto, inside regional governments and the rest of Ontario. It shows that from 1970 to 1975, expenditures per household increased in Metro from $836 to $1,450, or 73 per cent. In regions they increased from $656 to $1,344 or 105 per cent; and in the rest of the province, from $628 to $884 or just 41 per cent.

Let me repeat those figures: That in those five years, from 1970 to 1975, the municipal expenditure per household, apart from educational expenditures, increased in Metro by 73 per cent; increased in regions by 105 per cent; and in the rest of the province by 41 per cent. The significant thing is that by and large the division of the population of the province falls almost equally into those three categories, although Metro Toronto is slightly lower.

By the government’s own figures, therefore, expenditures per household in regional municipalities are 52 per cent higher than municipalities outside the regions. The rate of increase in the last five years has been two and a half times greater than the rest of the province. Yet the same municipalities, which now spend 52 per cent more per household, spent only 4.5 per cent more per household in 1970, just five years ago, when they were not in the regions.

Put another way, and using other figures from the same document, it shows that in Metro total spending was up 102 per cent in those five years, in regions 159 per cent, and in the other municipalities outside of regions and outside of Metro, up only 65 per cent. It also shows that taxes in the regions increased 40 per cent faster during those years than they did in Metro or in the municipalities outside of Metro and outside of the regions.

Arguments are put forward by the Treasurer of Ontario and by the supporters of regional government which attribute the higher expenditures to a faster growth rate and better services within the regions. They say that’s the main reason for the increase. Admittedly the municipalities in regional areas are growing somewhat faster on the average than those outside of the regions, but they also were in 1970 when they spent only 4.5 per cent more, not 52 per cent more as they’re spending at the present time.

Because of those arguments put forward in that document and by the Treasurer, a survey was made of comparable cities. I’ve compared such cities as Hamilton with the city of London -- somewhat comparable in population, somewhat comparable in growth rate. The expenditures per household in Hamilton in 1974 amounted to $1,069 compared to $816 in London. Who would say that London had that much poorer services than the city of Hamilton?

In Sudbury, the expenditures were $1,274 per household for municipal purposes compared to $1,051 in Thunder Bay, a city of comparable size. Cambridge, $1,214 compared to Brantford, $834. And so on down the line of municipalities of varying sizes within and without regional government, all showing that the expenditures per household in regional government were substantially higher than they were in the municipalities outside of regional government, down to places like Grimsby, with a population of 16,000 where they spent $1,015 per household, to Owen Sound where they spent $928, or Thorold where they spent $1,147 compared to Trenton where they spent $982.

It shows that in all of these 20 cities -- 10 inside regional government 10 outside regional government -- that the average expenditure per household in the municipalities inside regional government were $1,162 compared to $919 outside of regional government, or 25 per cent higher in the regional municipalities than in the non-regional areas.

The apologists for our present form of regional government also contend that there are so many small municipalities in the groupings outside of regional government that in the aforementioned publication comparisons are meaningless. That, I say, is not so.

The 1970 municipal blue book, financial information, which is the latest year published -- and I think that says something about the ministry -- gives figures which show rather strikingly the much higher expenditures per household of municipalities within regional government compared to ones of similar population outside of regional government.

Here are the figures computed from the blue book and these are the total expenditures per household for all municipal purposes by population groupings: The municipalities in the population groups 10,000 to 25,000, inside regions, $1,021 expenditure per household; outside regions, $800. In the 25,000 to 50,000 population, inside of regions, $1,089; outside of regions, $916. In the 50,000 to 100,000 class, $1,273 inside the regions and $874 outside. Over 100,000, $1,135 inside the region and $944 outside the region. Thus the average expenditure per household of municipalities within regions compared to municipalities of the same size outside of regions is 28 per cent higher. I suggest that is serious enough that we should be taking a serious look at the principle of regional government. I think that is what we should be addressing ourselves to; and until the Treasurer does, the Ontario government should bear all the extra costs of regional government, not the property taxpayers.

Mr. Eakins: You are in favour of it, aren’t you?

Mr. Maeck: Who’s going to give us the money?

Mr. Swart: I am not in favour and never have been in favour of the type of regional government we have in this province, and that is fully on record in many places.

I say we must have this examination, perhaps even as suggested by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith), a three-party examination. Before the House fell in April, I presented a motion to this House, and I have now once again tabled it. It reads as follows:

“That in the opinion of this House, there now being some form of regional government covering more than 60 per cent of the population of Ontario and independent review studies of three regional governments completed or nearing completion” -- and more are being done now of course -- “ the general government committee of the House should be authorized to conduct by itself or through a subcommittee a full inquiry into the cost and benefits of the Ontario regional government system generally and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, to examine in particular:

“1. The cost of providing various municipal services to residents of communities inside regional governments compared with the costs in communities outside of regional governments:

“2. The degree of duplication, overlap, bureaucracy and redundancy in intermunicipal and municipal-provincial relationships of regional versus non-regional local governments;

“3. The perceived and actual public accountability of the regional systems;

“4. Alternative methods to the full-fledged, two-tier system of local government.”

In conclusion, I say the Edmonton commitment, the inadequacy of transfers and the regional government reorganization ought to be an integral part of the conditional grant consideration we have before us in this bill. They are ignored, and therefore we support this bill with a great deal of difficulty. I say we only support it because if it is defeated the municipalities are going to be hurt even more, they will have less revenue.

But I want to say, in conclusion, that you can be assured we on this side of the House will continue to fight for fundamental changes. We object to this sort of proposal which perpetuates the inequities and the injustices to the municipalities and to the property taxpayers.

Mr. Ashe: After listening to the hon. member for Welland-Thorold, I wonder whether he is addressing his remarks to Bill 6, which we are considering today, An Act to amend the Ontario Unconditional Grants Act, 1975.

Mr. Peterson: An astute observation.

Mr. Ashe: It seems to me he had a dissertation relating to regional government and regional government only.

Mr. Ruston: He is in favour of it.

An hon. member: He is a federalist.

Mr. Ashe: The thing that amazes me is how we have many experts who have really not been involved in that particular level of government and don’t really know what is going on. In actual fact they are one of the reasons there have been some problems with it. The attitude of some members in that corner of the House, out in the hustings, and out in the areas, has been very negative. Instead of being positive to help implement it and make it work, they have done everything to make it difficult for the commitments of that level of government.


As the member for Welland-Thorold indicated, there is no doubt at all that costs in the regionalized areas are somewhat higher than in the unregionalized areas. He did indicate, and it is fact; the main reason for it, and I am really surprised that a member from the third party would suggest that it is outside the bounds of their particular thoughts and philosophies that all people within an area and all people within this province of ours should not enjoy the same level of service. That, of course, is one of the reasons why regional government is generally doing its task and doing its job; albeit on the short term at somewhat higher costs, because in equalizing the level of service throughout a wide area; expanding the level of service over a wide regionalized area, there is no doubt that there are substantial capital costs in the earlier years. This is what has been seen in most regional areas, and I would suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, and to members of the House that this is levelling out and will level out in most areas when it has had time to operate.

Getting more specifically to Bill 6, I think it is an area of course that is appreciated by all municipalities, this is not the greatest area of concern to municipal government, and I have been a party to that system for some seven and a half years up until about a couple of weeks ago. The main concerns of municipalities have been to do with the conditional grants not the unconditional grants, albeit there is no doubt there has been an ongoing difference of opinion as to the interpretation of the Edmonton commitment as was referred to by the hon. member for Welland-Thorold. I have been on the other side of that particular fence too, as a member of the Provincial Liaison Committee. He is quite aware of that, and made reference to that fact yesterday. That really doesn’t come to a great deal in Bill 6. Municipalities this year generally were quite in favour of the in- creases that are proposed by this bill and, of course, their budgets were set with the particular figures indicated in this bill in mind.

One of the concerns -- and this also was expressed yesterday; I’m not sure whether it was by the previous speaker or by a former speaker -- is the unconditional grant for police purposes. There is no doubt in my experience, and from hearing the experiences of other people who have been involved in the municipal level of government for the last number of years, that the police commissions generally seem to have taken upon themselves that when there was an increase in the police grant in any form, whether it be in the regionalized areas or non-regionalized areas, that this really was a licence to spend these extra dollars within the police function. I would recommend to the Treasurer and suggest that in a future year -- I’m not suggesting it in this particular Bill 6 at all -- possibly the unconditional grants should actually be a total dollar grant and not specifically identified for police purposes, and possibly some of the areas that the police commissions have been taking unto their own to spend these source of funds might be somewhat not as identifiable for them.

One of the concerns that municipalities have had generally, and I have expressed this in the past, comes in directly to what the hon. member was referring to before about growth areas. As I indicated before, there is no doubt at all that these areas are expanding their level of service and equalizing their level of service because they are accepting, generally speaking, growth rates in their population that are in some instances significantly higher than the provincial average. I don’t think that the present situation in our unconditional grants of basing grants on population figures that are related to the previous autumn are really fair to those municipalities and those regions who have large growth going on in them. Possibly consideration can be given in a future amendment to this bill to recognize municipalities in growth areas so that they can get an advantage of a more up to date, probably average figure of what the population they serve and offer their services to might be from one year to the other.

In closing, I think Bill 6 before us should be expeditiously handled by the House so that the moneys that have been indicated and programmed and used in the budgets of the various respective municipalities, whether they be local or whether they be regional, can be implemented. Let’s get on with the job. Thank you.

Mr. B. Newman: I wish to make a few comments concerning this bill, Mr. Speaker, and most of my comments are going to be repetitive as far as the minister is concerned, because they are going to be parochial and deal with the city of Windsor and the services it provides to the adjacent municipalities.

The minister is aware that the municipality of Windsor, not being a regionalized government, has certain oversize facilities, such as water treatment plants and water works plants to enable the growth to take place in the surrounding municipalities. But even though it may have the responsibilities of a regionalized municipality, it is not provided the funding that a regionalized municipality receives from the government. In other words, it is being mistreated in terms of funding, and I would sincerely hope that the minister would review the situation as far as my community is concerned and assist it to maintain a more reasonable tax rate so that the residents at least would have increases that are at a reasonable level without arbitrarily cutting off essential services.

There is also another problem as far as the grants are concerned; that is, the grants are based on population statistics. Whose statistics are we going to take? In my own community we had a series of statistics that indicated a 205,000 population and then another series that showed a population of 195,000; and because of the difference, where the breakoff point happens to be 200,000 population, it puts the municipality in an adverse financial position if the population is taken as being 195,000 rather than 205,000. The mayor did have a study conducted in which it was indicated the population was greater than that reported by the assessment commissioner. I’m just wondering if there couldn’t be some agreed statistical information as far as population is concerned so that confusion wouldn’t arise again in the future.

So, even though the city of Windsor is not a regional government, for all intents and purposes it provides the surrounding municipalities with some of the services that a regional government provides.

As far as the grant structure is concerned, I think there should be sizeable increases. If one compared my community with the city of London, one would find that the overall financial assistance to the city of London is substantially greater than it is to the city of Windsor. Not that we wish to have anything taken away from the city of London, but we would like to be elevated to the same status as that of the city of London.

This is the extent of my comments, Mr. Speaker, and I hope the minister in replying to all of the speakers will lend a more cheerful and better ear to the plight of the city of Windsor and provide them with extra funding so that the property tax rate will not increase as substantially in the future as it did in the past.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The member for York South.

Mr. MacDonald: The brevity of the last speaker left me in a mild state of shock, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Roy: I won’t be shocked if you are brief.

Mr. Reid: Follow his example.

Mr. MacDonald: I’ll be relatively brief too.

May I say at the outset that if the hon. member for Durham West (Mr. Ashe) felt that my colleague from Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) was missing the principle of the bill because he was discussing regional government in some detail, maybe I should anticipate a mild protest on his part once again because I intend to try to put this bill in a bit of historical perspective, because I think that’s what’s got to be done.

Obviously we support this bill, because it is at least of some assistance to existing municipalities. It’s going to provide sane measure of relief. Without it, the burden would be even greater; that, of course, is the problem. The trend, as has been delineated in much detail by my colleague from Welland-Thorold, has been that provincial grants have been taking a smaller and smaller proportion of the burden that is falling upon the local municipalities.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Nonsense.

Mr. MacDonald: It is not nonsense.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: It certainly is.

Mr. Swart: It is not.

Mr. MacDonald: The proportion of the burden that is falling on local taxpayers through the property tax has been going up. And it’s been going up because while there was a thrust on the part of this government in the early 1970s, sort of symbolized or institutionalized in the Edmonton commitment, there has been a backing off from the Edmonton commitment. I don’t want to get into an argument as to the extent of the backing off or the details of it. There has been some backing off, and because there has been a backing off, the government has reverted to the old trend of an increasing proportion of that burden to fall on local taxpayers.

That, it seems to me, makes it necessary to put it in historical perspective. Because we’re looking at two or three little bits and pieces, two or three little nibblings at the corners of a very great problem. It is a problem that was examined in excessive detail, not only in the broad context of the inequity of our tax structure and the Carter commission investigation federally or in the Smith committee investigation in the province of Ontario, but in what’s going to be done to come to grips with the most inequitable of all of the taxes in what is conceded to be a basically inequitable tax structure across the board. The most inequitable of all the taxes, of course, is the property tax.

We’ve had in the last 10 years in the province of Ontario, no fewer than six tax studies. There was the Smith committee study. It made its recommendations. The government or the Legislature then appointed a select committee which examined the recommendations of the Smith committee; the so-called White committee once again did an overall job. In the interval, we’ve had three studies of special tax problems such as farm lands and golf course taxing and things of that nature.

A year ago, the government once again came back to this unresolved problem, spelled out a number of questions and appointed another commission, the Blair commission, to examine it. I think I am accurate in stating that the provincial Treasurer and many other spokesmen for the government said that they were awaiting the recommendations of the Blair commission because with their guidance and their reply, with the input that they would have had from all across the province on these 14 key questions, the government presumably was finally going to grasp the nettle and do something about it. But almost within the hour of the making public of the Blair commission report, the provincial Treasurer indicated that it was too controversial, that he was going to seek more input.

Well, for how long do we go on in this process of seeking more input? This issue has been studied to death. I concede, Mr. Speaker, that it is a complex problem, but I insist that its complexities are not going to be reduced by continued procrastination that has gone on now in recognizing there was a problem for literally a generation or more and in studying that problem for the last decade.

During the course of the election campaign, the government once again, though it was within the context of the Premier’s (Mr. Davis) assertion that he was going to make no promises -- he was going to be running on his record, so to speak -- but as the pressures of the campaign went on, some promises began to emerge. One of them was a little bit more relief to senior citizens from the burden of education tax.

I don’t know what other members of the Legislature have found, but there is no other topic -- apart from the high-priority items in our casework with our constituents such as housing and workmen’s compensation and unemployment insurance and so on -- that I, in discussing and meeting with my constituents, find raised more frequently than the excessive burden of education tax on senior citizens. Their argument is an argument that they see in highly personal terms. They have paid the education tax for years to the municipality, they have educated their children, why should they now have to continue to pay in a fashion which is driving them out of the home which may be most of the asset that they’ve got left in life, the achievement of a lifetime’s working and raising their family?


But the government once again nibbled at it. But in nibbling at it, Mr. Speaker, they underlined how impossible this is of providing an overall solution if you are only adding a bit more here and bit more there. It is wise, it is well, it is a good thing, to relieve the burden on senior citizens. But there are others who are on fixed income, there are others who are on low incomes; and they are struggling to maintain their homes with young and growing families and all the attendant expenses upon whom the burden falls just as heavily. My plea to this government, in the context of this bill and the principle we are taking a look at here, is that the time has long since passed when we should seek to relieve this acknowledged burden, the acknowledged inequity of the property tax, without coming to grips with this problem, without coming up with whatever are this government’s answers to the recommendations of the Blair commission.

In an obvious and very brief digression, I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that the answer is partly in this kind of increase in unconditional grants. But to get back into another running theme in Ontario politics for the past 30 years, if you want to relieve the burden at the local level, sure you do it by increasing the unconditional grants, but you recognize what has been pointed out to this government by the organized municipalities across this province for years; namely that it is not a legitimate proposition that you should lay such a large burden of the services to people upon local property taxes. Services to property, fine; sewage, police, fire and so forth. But services to people are more legitimately and more equitably raised from the general revenue of the province, from the general economic capacity, both in the personal and corporate fields, for meeting, for example, the needs of education.

We all know that the Tory party was elected in 1943 on the promise that they were going to grapple with that problem and meet at least 50 per cent of the cost of education, so that you wouldn’t have this burden at the local level that is nibbled at by these small increases in unconditional grants. We all know that it took them about 15 or 20 years before they fulfilled the promise of 50 per cent. Then they got up to 60 per cent. The plea of the opposition parties was at least 80 per cent of the burden of education costs should be met from provincial government grants, services to people raised from the overall wealth of this province. But we’re slipping back, we’re slipping beyond the 60 per cent. Having headed in the right direction, the trend is now back in the direction of square one where this government started out back in 1943.

So, Mr. Speaker I reiterate that we support this, but we support it with all of the qualifications, with all of the concerns that have been expressed by my colleague who is the critic on municipal taxes and municipal affairs, the hon. member for Welland-Thorold. We support it because, at least, it’s a small measure of relief, but it is not the answer. I pray that sometime this minister, instead of bellowing at us in rhetoric and in outworn ideology, will grapple with some of these problems and come up with some sort of a solution to the whole problem instead of nibbling at the corners of it.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The member for Ottawa East.

Mr. Roy: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I don’t know if I’ve had occasion, publicly, to tell you how good a job you’re doing, but I’d like to put that clearly on the record and wish you Godspeed in that position and long life. Likely the job may become permanent if you continue with the same efficacy that you’ve started.

If I can be very parochial --

Mr. Peterson: You just were.

Mr. Roy: No, no. I’m not being parochial; I was being very objective towards the Speaker, I thought.

What I want to say very briefly with respect to Bill 6 is simply this: First of all, I’m concerned, as has been expressed by other members, that the unconditional grants are not solving the tax problems of municipalities. Very often these are problems that have been imposed on them by this government, and certainly by this minister.

I can recall a year or so ago -- I think it was early in 1977 -- raising with the minister the fact that in the Ottawa area the taxes appeared to be 25, 50, and up to 75 per cent higher than they were in other comparable jurisdictions such as London, Hamilton, and certainly Toronto. At that time I had raised it with the Treasurer and asked him if there was something he could do if there was some explanation that could be given why the taxes for the residents in Ottawa-Carleton were so much higher than in comparable municipalities in other areas of the province.

At that time the minister, in one of his moments of gusto, replied to me that if I had any problems with the taxes locally I should be going back to these municipal politicians and saying to them that they obviously are doing something wrong, or at least their efficiency was questionable as compared to local politicians in other areas of the province. I thought that that was to some measure unfair because certainly Ottawa-Carleton had regional government imposed on them by this government and as I recall, if not this minister, certainly his predecessor, with the approval of the present minister, who was a member of cabinet at that time.

Of course, we saw the results, as in many other areas of the province, where taxes just shot right up. We have seen that the blueprint for regional government -- that of making it bigger, more efficient and more responsible -- just hasn’t worked out that way. What it has done is just added another layer of government. It has cost more money and so on.

I raised this with the minister and had very little response. The reason I bring it up again, and I think it’s relevant to this bill, is that the minister again has issued a speech that he made on June 21 to the Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario. In that speech he published a list of statistics of the mill rate changes and residential property taxes per household, 1977. Again from this list it indicates there are problems in Ottawa-Carleton.

For instance, in Toronto the average tax per year per household is $597, where in Ottawa it’s $693, which means that in Ottawa we are paying close to $100 more per residence on average than Toronto. As compared, let’s say, to Hamilton, Hamilton is paying $596, a dollar less than Toronto -- again a situation whereby Ottawa is paying more and of the municipalities in the Ottawa-Carleton area Ottawa is the one that has the lowest rate. In fact Nepean township has an average rate of $990. Gloucester has a somewhat higher rate as well; I think I have the other ones here.

Gloucester township has something like $836. The single family tax load in Nepean is something like $1,003 per year. And, of course, there is the residence in Rockcliffe -- and I have somewhat less sympathy there because they live in means that are affluent and adequate, but just as a matter of interest, in Rockcliffe the average resident pays something like $2,328 per year.

Mr. Peterson: Is that in your riding, Albert?

Mr. Roy: No, that’s not in my riding.

Mr. Peterson: That’s why you don’t care.

Mr. Roy: I have to say to my colleague from London Centre that, of course, I have great support there. The people love me in Rockcliffe and there’s no problem these.

So, Mr. Speaker, I thought it was important to bring this again to the attention of the minister and --

Mr. Peterson: Do you allow lies in the House, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Roy: -- in fact I brought it to the attention in the question period again. Surely with all the officials that the Treasurer has and all the experts that he has, he can call on them at a moment’s notice to give him some statistics, some explanation.

In fact the minister tried to do that during the election itself, Mr. Speaker. The minister called on his ministry people and in no time they had the costing of the NDP election promises so I would expect, Mr. Speaker, that the minister --

Mr. Makarchuk: If they are as good at that as they were on the election, the Treasurer had better not call on them too often.

Mr. Roy: Yes, I am concerned about that explanation.

In any event, Mr. Speaker, I want to say to the minister that it’s not really fair to say that if Ottawa has that problem, or Gloucester or Nepean township, that it is the fault of the local politicians, because it was by this government, with the acquiescence of his minister, that regional government was imposed on us. We didn’t really ask for it and we are suffering the tax increase that so many other regional municipalities are facing. I want to bring this to your attention, Mr. Speaker. I am sure that through your good graces we will get the minister to respond to the plight of the people in the Ottawa-Carleton area, to a very valid objection, and I think something that is supported by the ministry’s own statistics.

The second point I want to deal with in this bill is the question of the grants to police forces. Again, I am concerned about what is happening to Ottawa-Carleton, because the per capita grant to police forces associated with regional municipalities -- in other words, to regional police forces -- is $15 per capita, but if they are associated with just the municipality it’s $10 per capita. Again, that’s unfair. It’s unfair because a succession of ministers have come to Ottawa-Carleton and said, “No, we are not going to impose regional police forces here.” The main reason they don’t do it --

Mr. Peterson: Point of order, Mr. Speaker, I don’t see a quorum.

Mr. Cunningham: Well, the Treasurer just left.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: I would like to remind the hon. member that there are two other committees sitting at this time, and it is sometimes difficult. However, if the member wishes, I will ask the Clerk to ascertain if there is a quorum.

Mr. Roy: I’ll tell you what, Mr. Speaker. I am not so concerned about the quorum as having the minister there. I would like to see him sitting there, and he’s gone during very important remarks. I am sure it was something important that he was called out on. In any event -- ah, here he is, he’s come back. Now that I see the minister coming back into the House I am less interested in a quorum, considering what’s going on in other parts of this august building.

As I was explaining, a succession of ministers have come to Ottawa-Carleton, and they have said, “No, we have no intention of imposing a regional police force on Ottawa-Carleton, because the forces that are there are doing a good job.” It seems to me that makes sense, if you’ve got a police force or a variety of police forces working in concert and they are doing a good job, why should you have a regional force?

The statistics again bear out that in Ottawa-Carleton the residents are as well protected as any other regional area, on the statistical compilation anyway. However, here we have a grant system which still says to Ottawa-Carleton, “We’re satisfied with the law enforcement setup that you have there. We’re not going to impose a regional police force on you. We think that the various police forces in Ottawa-Carleton are doing a good job, but we are going to punish you. All the other regional police forces are going to get $15 per capita, but Ottawa-Carleton will only get $10.”

I really think that’s unfair, in view of the fact that this minister, or at least his colleague the Solicitor General (Mr. MacBeth) who has jurisdiction over the police, is not prepared to impose a regional police force in Ottawa-Carleton. Our forces there have had a few problems. For instance, some of you have heard about the mayor of Vanier. He ran into a little problem dealing with bodyrub clubs and that sort of thing, and the court process is now under way, but that doesn’t take away from the effectiveness of that particular force, the Vanier police department, or the Ottawa police department, or Gloucester or Nepean, and even the OPP who are patrolling that great area of Rockcliffe.

So I am saying, and I want to emphasize this again, I just can’t understand, and I would like some explanation from this minister, if the government or if he himself is satisfied with the type of policing that’s going on in Ottawa-Carleton -- and I can remember a succession of ministers saying that that was the case -- why is he penalizing Ottawa-Carleton and giving us only $10 when the regional police forces in other areas of the province are getting $15? I think it’s unfair, and I don’t think it is in keeping. I think it is inconsistent. If the government feels that Ottawa-Carleton is, in fact, not doing a good job, or if it feels that in fact it is trying to encourage them to have a regional police force, then impose it on them. Don’t be inconsistent and say to them, on the one hand, “You are doing a good job, we see no reason to have a regional police force,” but on the other hand “We will penalize you because you don’t happen to have a regional force.”


I think it’s unfair. The residents of Ottawa-Carleton deserve better treatment than they’re getting from this government or this minister.

Mr. Makarchuk: I’d like to bring to the minister’s attention the other situation that was mentioned or alluded to by one of the speakers earlier this afternoon. This is a case in Brantford, which is not a regional municipality, however the city is situated in such a position in the county and the conditions being what they are in that county, the city provides most of the services that a regional municipality does. Because they are not organized into a regional municipality, they naturally are penalized.

Mr. Cunningham: No they are not.

Mr. Makarchuk: They are penalized in terms of grants. I’d like to point out to the minister that in this case the city provides most of the recreation facilities, all the library facilities, most of the sewage treatment plants, the transportation services, the social services, the Children’s Aid Society and the family service bureau as well as the municipal welfare services. The major hospitals are located in the community and three out of four of the high schools in the area are located in the community. The municipality also makes major contributions to the county road system. In effect, what we have is that about two thirds of the people in that area living in the country are responsible for or provide the services for the other one-third who live in the surrounding townships as well as the communities.

What we have here in effect is a regional organization, because there are services within the community that are organized on a county-wide basis, but again the municipality does not receive these grants. For example the police grant, which is $10 to a municipality and $15 to a regional municipality.

I think the minister should look into this very seriously. If there is an existing local situation which seems to be working and there is a move within the county to try to iron out some of the problems that exist in that area, with the thought that perhaps some allowances should be made. In other words, we’re not asking for special treatment or more grants than somebody else. What we’re asking is that where the performance or the situation is what it is, we should at least get the grants that are paid to the regional municipalities.

It seems to me that unless these grants are increased to municipalities like Brantford, then what in effect the government is doing indirectly is forcing the municipality into some form of regionalism in order to bring about some equity in taxes, an equity in terms of paying for the services that are provided there so that the outlying townships will be contributing at least an equal amount as the city taxpayer. Indirectly what the minister is doing, as I said earlier, if he does not move in this direction, is forcing them into regionalism, which is rather a controversial thing as he well knows.

Instead of moving in that direction, I wonder if you would provide the grants to the municipality and allow them, with those increased grants, to try to work out their own restructuring, which is the direction they’re moving at this time. That is not asking for any special services or any grants greater than the minister is handing out to other municipalities. At the same time, what he will do is provide a certain sort of amicable solution to some of the problems on the local level.

Mr. Cunningham: I’d like to make a few comments on this Act to amend The Ontario Unconditional Grants Act as they relate to the particular region I live in. I want to say to the Treasurer that many of us would endorse the idea of pumping these grants into the municipalities to save the taxpayers from the tremendous increases that we are seeing. Right now in the township of Flamborough the average increase, I believe, will be somewhere in the area of 31 per cent, certainly far and above the AIB guidelines. In fact, it was just last week that his friend and my friend, the mayor of the township of Flamborough, undertook to have an old-fashioned political meeting in the village of Waterdown to attempt to explain this 31 per cent increase in our taxes. I must say I was somewhat sympathetic to the mayor in that I felt very sorry for him that he was being subjected to a great deal of disdain which I would say should be borne largely by the Treasurer and by the government party, because I think the difficulties we are experiencing in that particular area relate almost entirely to this inefficient system of regional government.

Certainly the taxpayers in my area are being penalized. They are being penalized in two particular ways: One is by accommodating, through their own personal municipal taxes, the inefficiency of regional government -- as taxpayers in the province of Ontario, they are also accommodating the various grants that are put in to keep regional government floating -- and, of course, the hidden cost that very few of us tend to appreciate, the cost of the civil servants in the province of Ontario who and designated to specifically address their concerns to the operation of regional government. As the Treasurer may recall, through a speech in a previous budget debate, I did bring forth a number of advertisements for people who were going to be hired, I must say at rather significant salaries -- and the salaries were at the rates of two or three years ago -- and who would be charged with the responsibility of trying to make regional government work.

As the Treasurer well knows from comments that I have made and comments that my leader has made, as well as members of the third party in my particular area, our system of regional government is not working; and any harbouring of the illusion that we can continue to pump a great deal of money into that system and make it work, I think, is fallacious at best.

What I would suggest here is that we undertake to have a rather frank, candid and, if possible, non-partisan approach to this very serious problem so that we can examine not only the cost of regional government but the deterioration of services. I would say respectfully that, notwithstanding any in- creases to unconditional grants to my municipality, the people in my particular area, and more specifically in the outlying areas of the Hamilton-Wentworth region, would be very hard-pressed to continue to find money to pay for their municipal taxes. Their services continue to go down and their taxes continue to go up.

To that end, I also would make a comment on the transitional grant aspect of this legislation. The fact that we are limited to five years in the implementation of a regional system of government is disturbing to me because, regardless of whether the system is workable or not, one would think that it would take considerably longer than five years to determine that. In my area, unfortunately, the area does not recognize the community of interest; structurally, it is unsound and, I believe, will never work. But to limit the extent of support from the province of Ontario to a region, to a period of five years, is blatantly unfair. Essentially, it is saying: “You are on your own now.” The citizens in the township of Flamborough, in the towns of Dundas and Ancaster, and certainly in the outlying areas of the member for Wentworth’s riding are paying through the nose. I want to say to the Treasurer at this particular point in time that it is unacceptable to them now and will be in the future if that situation isn’t corrected.

Mr. Davison: When I first laid eyes on this Bill 6, Mr. Speaker, it immediately struck me as something of a half measure. However, the more I examine it, the more I have to reassess that fraction downwards.

There can be no doubt that our municipalities are in serious financial trouble -- our regional municipalities, our towns, our villages and our cities. This bill does not go very far in solving those real financial problems. To solve those financial problems, we need some very serious and some very major legislative changes. But I am willing to support the bill on the fine principle that in principle a fraction of a loaf is better than none. However, I don’t think we should let the bill pass by us without taking the opportunity to offer a bit of constructive criticism.

The municipalities in Ontario aren’t in trouble financially because of mismanagement by regional councils or lack of attention to municipal problems by municipal councils. They are in serious financial problems because of the actions and the inaction of this government.

The list of failures on the part of the government runs a long way. It goes all the way through from the Edmonton commitment to regional government, to the failure to relieve the education tax burden. If I might, Mr. Speaker, I would like to offer a few comments; not on all the problems in all the municipalities in general, but rather a few observations on one of the problems in the regional municipality in which I live, that’s Hamilton-Wentworth. The problem I would use as an example would be regional government. I hope you pay attention to that problem, and from beginning to understand that problem perhaps you can understand some of the methods you can use to solve the problems of finances at the municipal level.

Regional government has had an effect not only on financial problems and the finances of our regional municipality and the component municipalities. It has also had a tremendous impact on politics in Hamilton-Wentworth. You recall that in the election of 1971, which was the election preceding the implementation of regional government, the Conservative Party held two of the six seats in Hamilton-Wentworth. Then regional government entered the scene and in the next election Tory representation in the six seats fell from two to one. The regional government continued; the problems grew worse. What happened in the most recent election? Conservative representation fell to zero.

I am not suggesting that the government should have to feel upset about that situation. In fact, I don’t mind if you feel happy about losing the member from “Sanity Island”; it doesn’t make much difference. But what I think you should do is examine that and examine why you’ve managed to lose all of your seats in Hamilton-Wentworth.

Mr. Peterson: The NDP almost lost you.

Mr. Davison: Not to a Tory.

Mr. Peterson: Heaven forbid.

Mr. Davison: Yes, I agree.

What the people were trying to tell you was something very simple. They were trying to tell it to you in the strongest terms that were available to the people of Hamilton-Wentworth. After all, we are very peaceful people, not given to violence. When they turfed you out of that area they were telling you that they were upset, that they were discontented with regional government.

I don’t think you should make a mistake about the nature of that discontent. I am sure there will be all kinds of reasons and excuses offered. Perhaps it’s good for the people of Hamilton-Wentworth in more ways than one not to have a Conservative member, because now you are going to have to listen directly to the residents, the citizens of Hamilton-Wentworth, without the message having to go through a Tory member and perhaps the message can come out a bit more clearly.

The citizens of the regional municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth are discontented because they understand very clearly that it takes more money to run the regional municipality than it took to run the previous system of local government. They are upset and they are discontented because in many ways services deteriorated under the regional system. The people of the regional municipality of Hamilton-Wentworth are further upset and discontented because they understand that your transitional grants are going to run out very quickly and once again they are going to have to assume a greater portion of the costs and they are going to have to have higher local taxes.

That’s the guts of the question -- that property tax on which we rely for municipal Funding. It’s not just simply a question of the government shifting more and more of the burden of municipal costs to the local taxpayer. It’s also a question of shifting more and more of the education tax burden to the taxpayer in Hamilton-Wentworth.


In the city of Hamilton, for example, in 1975 the provincial grants came to 49.4 per cent of the money spent. Now in 1977 it looks as if they are going to fall to about 40.8 per cent. That difference of over eight per cent has to be made up before we can even begin to deal with increased costs.

What that all means in terms of the taxpayer and the tax, is that it’s possible for a person in my riding to own a home worth less than $30,000 and pay in excess of $1,200 a year in property tax. That’s just nuts. The government has already got its hand as far as it can possibly go into the property taxpayer’s pocket and there is just no more money there for the local municipalities. That’s the problem the government has to be addressing itself to.

This Bill 6 just does not do the job. I understand the government is not pretending it does the job or is even supposed to do the job, but it’s just not going to have an effect on the spiralling property tax in the way that’s needed.

While it won’t relieve the problem, were going to support it because it is better than nothing. But if the government really wants to do something to be of assistance to the people of Hamilton-Wentworth would it please consider -- and I ask this of the Treasurer -- please consider an immediate review of regional government in Hamilton-Wentworth from the operative, financial and structural points of view.

Mr. Davidson: Mr. Speaker, I will not be too long in addressing the Treasurer. As has been pointed out already by my colleague from Hamilton Centre, we will support this bill --

Mr. Cassidy: You could make your maiden speech on this subject.

Mr. Davidson: -- not because we feel it is solving the problem as it exists in Ontario today, but because we feel it is a matter of necessity that we take what little is offered rather than have nothing at all.

I would like also to address myself to those municipalities that have been regionalized over the past few years, particularly the area which I represent. As the members are aware, the riding of Cambridge is a part of the regional municipality of Waterloo. I think they will find also that the people of that area have been addressing themselves to this government in terms of dissatisfaction by means of the election process in the province. It’s rather ironic that the riding of Cambridge, which prior to the 1975 election was called Waterloo South, had had for 24 years, as a sitting member of the Legislature, a Conservative member -- 12 years by Mr. Ray Myers, followed by 12 years of Mr. Allan Reuter, the former Speaker of this Legislative Assembly.

Mr. Peterson: Decent chaps both of them.

Mr. Davidson: One should have thought that with that kind of a record they should have won the 1975 election. I can assure the House that the reason they did not is primarily because of regional government and the additional costs that that form of government brought to the taxpayers within the municipalities. There are those who will argue, I suspect, from other parts of the region that the section that I represent probably extracts more in terms of dollars from the region than any other municipality. Be that as it may, our municipality and our section of that region, like all others, have found the increased taxes to the residents of that area are such that some people are even now finding it necessary to sell their homes. They can no longer maintain their homes because of the amounts of taxes that they are paying.

Like my colleague from Hamilton Centre, I would urge the Treasurer to give this matter serious consideration. We are having a review in Waterloo at this time. It’s an inbred review, if you care to call it that. It was, I guess, initiated by the council from the city in which I live, the city of Cambridge. The other members of the region saw fit to support that move, and there is a form of review taking place. I’m not at all sure it’s going to be the in-depth kind of review that is going to be required to find out all of the ills of regional government in the province, and I would ask the Treasurer to give serious consideration to an in-depth study of regional government, not in only the Waterloo region but throughout the entire province. I think in doing so he may very well find some of the problems that are being brought about to the taxpayers, and perhaps with that kind of a review and in-depth study some of those imbalances may be ironed out.

Mr. Laughren: I have some interest in this particular bill because of the problems being faced by the regional municipality of Sudbury and, like other members of the Legislature, there are parts to bills such as this that as a layman I have difficulty sorting out. My understanding of this bill -- and I hope that the Speaker will bear with me if I explain what I see as being the principle of this bill and make some suggestions. I understand it increases the per capita grants to the regions from $9 to $10 based on the population of the area municipalities within a region; that it moves from $12 to $15 the per capita grant where the regional municipality is deemed a city under The Police Act; and raises it to $10 per capita for the area municipalities which provide their own police protection and then the region credits the area municipality accordingly; and also, that the resource equalization grant moves from $10,400 to $10,650 and if the equalized assessment is above $10,650 there’s no resource equalization grant. That’s how I understand it, and as well, for the northern Ontario communities such as the regional municipality of Sudbury, the special support grant moves from 15 to 18 per cent, and that there’s a new schedule, called Schedule 2 under the Act, which increases by $1 per capita the grants paid by the province to the municipalities. I’ve reviewed that because I wanted to make sure that I understood clearly the provisions of the Act.

When regional government was introduced in Sudbury and we were talking about grants, we said in this chamber that if we were going to introduce as a Legislature a new form of government to the province of Ontario and to the various regions, there needed to be new sources of funding in each of the regions. That has not happened. While we in this party have supported regional government, indeed, I might say, Mr. Speaker -- and I’m sure you’d understand this, being a politician yourself -- that there have often been times when it would have been politically opportunistic to castigate the whole concept of regional government and indeed to attempt to pull it apart and to balkanize the various regions. We have not done that, because I certainly believe that the whole concept of regional government is something that must be made to work. We really must try to make it work, and that to assume that we can dismantle what’s out there now and go back to the old system, I think plainly is just simply not realistic. I think I could use stronger words than that when I think of the way the Liberal Party has played with this issue of regional government.

The provincial government, however, has, I think, showed a lack of leadership and a lack of commitment to the whole principle of regional government as well, in that it has failed, at least for my benefit they’ve certainly failed, to document the advantages of regional government, the kind of financing that has been made available to the various regions by the provincial government through TEIGA, and have failed to provide new sources of funding for the various regions in the province. All those things would help to make it work.

I remember at the beginning there were funds made available to the regions -- if I recall I think they called it public relations money -- to help them sell the concept in the various regions that regional government was necessary and, indeed, would work and that there would be advantages. My own view has been that the costs of regional government are very short term and the benefits are long term. It is very difficult to sell to people in a region the idea that this is a good thing when most of the benefits are long term and the costs are short term.

That’s a very difficult thing to do, to convince people to bear with us; that we want to make this work and that, in the end, better planning will come about because of regionalization and will in the long run, save us all money and we’ll have a better community in which to live.

The province bailed out of continuing support to the regions to help them sell that, not in a huckster kind of way or Madison Avenue kind of way, but to make sure that the documentation was there for the regions, for the area municipalities, for the media in the various regions, that there were advantages to regional government. Sure there were additional costs and sure there were things happening in the various regions which people, and I agree with them, saw as being a duplication of services. This was true particularly in the public works area where you had the region taking over some of the responsibility of the area municipalities and then the area municipalities using up the money in the fields over which they had jurisdiction, such as parks and recreation and area roads. I think the province has to assume some responsibility for not doing a good enough job and if they’re in hot water on the whole concept of regional government they must bear some of the responsibility, because they have not carried through a commitment to make it work and to help the regions to make it work and to sell the idea to the people in the various regions.

These amendments are a help. Certainly, the regional municipality of Sudbury was quite pleased with the increase of the per capita grants but there is a particular case to be made for the regional municipality of Sudbury. I suppose that virtually every region will say there’s a case to be made for their region, but I doubt if any other regional municipality in Ontario has the case to be made for backlog services as does the regional municipality of Sudbury.

There is a substantial and a serious backlog of services in built-up, established communities in the region. I don’t believe that that exists in any other regional municipality in the province. The latest figures that we have from the region are that backlog consists of approximately $60 million. In other words, there is a backlog of $60 million of services -- sewers, water and roads -- that need to be done now, not for the development of new subdivisions or new communities, but merely to provide services for existing communities.

A couple of years ago, in May, 1975, the regional municipality of Sudbury presented a brief to the Premier. In that brief, they pointed out:

“Structural characteristics and imbalances neutralize the intent and benefit for Sudbury of the provincial government policies toward municipal governments that work effectively elsewhere in the province. In spite of high taxes, citizens in the region are precluded from enjoying municipal services to the level enjoyed in the majority of other comparable municipalities in Ontario.”

Further, from the same brief they say:

“Everyone recognizes that the regional municipality of Sudbury has a backlog of essential capital projects required to service the existing population. This has been caused because industrial assessment from the mining industry was largely exempt and, therefore, unavailable to predecessor municipalities. Not only is there a backlog at this time, but the financial position of the region with respect to both current and capital expenditures is sufficiently restrictive that if the tax base is not broadened the community will continue to fall further behind the rest of Ontario.”


That was in a brief to the Premier in 1975, and I really wonder if the Treasurer’s people have ever really understood this. Certainly they haven’t done anything about it. In a place like Sudbury there is a perverse relationship between the investment and the assessment that’s available to the community, and I will be specific. Between 1968 and 1973 there was $1.4 billion invested in the Sudbury region, and that figure alone exceeded the total equalized assessment in the region in 1975; $1.4 billion invested in the region primarily by the mining companies. That figure that was invested, exceeded the total equalized assessment in the region in 1975.

In that period of 1968 to 1973 Inco alone invested almost $1 billion and at the same time the tax payments that Inco made in the form of assessment to the regional municipality of Sudbury was less than one half of one per cent of the Sudbury area assets.

So the point that needs to be made is that the assessment dollars are not available to the regional municipality despite the enormous investment of capital made by the mining industry. There’s something wrong when you have major capital investment in the community and it’s not reflected in increased assessed values to that regional municipality -- and the same applies whether it’s a regional municipality or not.

It needs to be pointed out that, particularly when you have got a backlog of services, that that kind of investment stimulates people to come to the community, to live and work in the community. No one knows better than the Treasurer that that in turn requires expenditures on municipal services; so you have the worst of both worlds in a sense. You have all this increased capital investment; yet you don’t have the increased assessment that goes along with it because of the nature of assessing the mining installations, and you have the demand on the municipal services created by the people who move into the community and work in those installations. This puts a tremendous drain on the financial resources of the community, with no new significant municipal revenue. That’s wrong in a community like Sudbury. It’s particularly bad when you have a backlog of services, and there is no question that that exists.

The businesses in a community like the regional municipality of Sudbury pay an average of 2.2 per cent of their market value assets in property tax. If you have businesses in a community such as Sudbury, the average taxes they pay are 2.2 per cent of their market value assets. If Inco and Falconbridge had paid that 2.2 per cent instead of one half of one per cent of their assets in property assessment, the revenue to the region would have been $34 million, not the amount that they actually paid, which was about $8.5 million in 1975.

If those assets in the Sudbury basin were not mining installation assets but were business assets, then the revenue to the region would have been $25.5 million more. That’s for one year. You wonder why the regional municipality of Sudbury and those of us who represent the Sudbury region are saying to you, continually, that something has got to be done about the assessment of the mining installations in the Sudbury region.

Mr. Peterson: What do you recommend specifically?

Mr. Laughren: Well you just stay right there, Mr. Peterson, and I shall tell you. I am glad you asked as a matter of fact.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. We don’t refer to another hon. member by his name.

Mr. Laughren: Well, I shall attempt --

Mr. Peterson: Just my title; use my title.

Mr. Cassidy: You are testy, you know.

Mr. Laughren: I thought it was preferable to my first inclination.

Mr. Speaker, there are examples of how it can be done. We could look at British Columbia, we could look to Saskatchewan and we could look at Alberta for examples of alternate ways of assessing. I am not suggesting that any one of them has all the answers. Perhaps there is a combination of the ways they do it, but something simply has to be done.

When the Blair commission was in Sudbury, I appeared before it on behalf of my colleagues in the Sudbury area. International Nickel appeared before the Blair commission and the regional municipality appeared before the Blair commission. We were all saying basically the same thing; including, believe it or not, Inco. Inco was saying what we were saying; let us pay more to the community from which we derive our wealth and less to Ottawa and less to Toronto. We supported that all the way down the line.

For example, in assessing machinery and equipment, Alberta uses a particular figure. I am not enough of a tax expert to know whether this would apply here, but they use a figure of 22.5 per cent of 1963 replacement costs as the basis on which they assess for tax purposes the machinery and equipment.

In Saskatchewan, they tax machinery and equipment in mines and in oil refineries; but no, not in Ontario. We still go through the process, which this bill also does, of providing per capita grants from the province. This makes the municipalities more dependent upon the province and provides them with less local autonomy, less control and less ability to plan for the future, because they don’t know from one day to the next what the grants are going to be from Queen’s Park.

But it’s very difficult for a region to say, when the grants are increased such as this bill provides, “No, we don’t think that is the right thing to do.” Of course they need that money; they are only saying there really is a better way, so that they have more control over their own financial planning.

We know that what the local industry doesn’t pay the local taxpayers do have to pay. So it is not as though the province always picks up what is lacking. That’s why we have a backlog of $60 million worth of services for existing communities. I cannot stress enough to you, Mr. Speaker, that it is the existing communities that are doing without the services.

To this day in the Sudbury region we have communities with no water; where in the wintertime people melt snow and in the summertime haul water in pickup trucks with a tank at the back of the truck. Those are established communities that have been there for many years. Because the region cannot provide the funding to put in sewers and water, to this day they rely on these per capita grants which the Treasurer is bringing before us today. That’s how they get their funding, not through a more sensible assessment of local industry so that they can do the planning themselves and not rely on handouts from Queen’s Park.

We know that it is possible to assess underground machinery; we know that it is possible to assess what they call foundation, using the foundation concept as assessment. As a matter of fact, the former Minister of Revenue, Mr. Meen, suggested at one time that he was giving serious consideration to that kind of assessment for mining installations.

Now one of the arguments that is sometimes made is that not only could you have these per capita grants, as outlined in this bill, but you could tax the mining installations as a business realty.

That makes me very nervous, because as I understand the legislation, when a business tax is imposed the business assessment revenue goes 40 per cent to the school boards, 30 per cent to the area municipalities and 30 per cent to the region. That’s not the kind of revenue that the region needs, considering they are responsible from some of the roads, for all the water and sewer projects and other responsibilities of the region. So the idea of taxing the installation with a business tax I don’t think is the answer.

Strangely enough, as I mentioned, International Nickel agreed with our position, and I want to tell you that when I have the opportunity to put something on the record in which Inco agrees with what the local New Democrats say I think it’s only proper that I do so. I quote: “Inco submits that an enhancement of the business assessment of mining properties to compensate mining communities for mining activities within their boundaries, plus the downward revision of the rate structures under The Mining Tax Act, is the most practical way to facilitate the additional compensation to mining communities. Anomaly should be reduced in the mining-tax system. The result would be to permit more of Inco’s dollars to be paid directly to the communities in which we operate.”

As I said earlier, I don’t agree with the business tax concept as opposed to taxing in a proper assessment kind of way, but the idea that more taxes be paid to the local area or region rather than to Ottawa or Queen’s Park is something with which I can agree. And of course Inco isn’t going to ask that they pay more taxes over all. They’re saying that the increased taxes locally be compensated for by a downward portion that they take in Ottawa and in Toronto.

International Nickel agreed that more taxes be paid locally. The region agrees, the area municipality agrees, the local provincial members agree; and only this government disagrees. Only this government insists on providing, as always -- as this bill does -- the per capita grants as the answer to revenues for the regional municipality of Sudbury.

I want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, that while these grants, these increases as contained in this bill, will ease the problem, they won’t solve it. The region has financial problems, primarily with capital projects -- sewer, water and roads -- and with that $60 million backlog, plus a debt for the region of $131 million approximately, there is not very much happening, not enough happening in the Sudbury region for new projects; and it won’t happen until we get some relief at the local level.

There have been figures thrown around that if International Nickel would pay an extra $6 million a year at the local level it would ease a lot of the burden, and in 10 years that $60 million, that $61 million backlog, could be solved. Certainly there’d be no disagreement from the region, there’d be no disagreement from the local industry and there’d be no disagreement from the local provincial members. It’s beyond me why the provincial Treasurer continues to refuse to change the assessment in collaboration with his Minister of Revenue (Mrs. Scrivener), refuses to change the way in which the local industry is assessed.

It can be done. There are comparable jurisdictions where it is done, I’ve given examples of that. I firmly believe that the benefits for local autonomy and the ability of the local region, the regional municipalities, to plan in the long-term, that they have more control over their own destiny and are not so completely dependent on the provincial government, I think these things would be major assets.

One of the purposes of regional government was that they would be able to control their own destiny more, that more decisions could be made at the regional level and less here in Queen’s Park. The answer, certainly at least in my view, is not to give the region a share of resource taxation. I think resource taxation is already divided up in a strange enough kind of way and to bring the municipalities, the regional level, into resource taxation simply does not make sense. It has to be done through assessment, for the reasons I’ve outlined.

Putting it under business taxation doesn’t make sense, resource taxation does not make sense; that leaves assessment. I fail to believe, I cannot believe, that it cannot be resolved if the Treasurer and his people would put their minds to it. I’m firmly convinced it needs to be done and I don’t think it matters whether it’s through some kind of foundation assessment or whether it’s through a taxation of machinery and equipment. I would urge the Treasurer to consult with his colleague, the Minister of Revenue, and let’s get on with providing the regional municipality with the kind of revenues it deserves considering the kind of wealth that has come out of the Sudbury region over the years.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I’m glad to see that the Treasurer is in here, because the budget debate in April and the brief debate we’ve had this week have not given the opportunity to talk about municipal finance issues to any great extent. I think it’s appropriate to say one or two words about those particular issues. The Treasurer will be relieved to know that I’m sending away the additional material I planned to use.

Mr. Laughren: There was quite a pile of it.

Mr. Cassidy: Yes, there is quite a pile of it. I haven’t had a chance to look at it.

I wanted to say, Mr. Speaker, that this bill is like the tip of the iceberg, if you will. It provides an opportunity to debate questions of municipal finance, but as a contribution to municipal finance on its own it is almost irrelevant to the overall picture. A dollar or so on the general support grant, a couple of dollars on the policing grant, a modest amount of improvement in the special grants to northern Ontario municipalities, which I may say is the only part of the bill I find anything exciting in.

The bill as a whole is a dud. The approach taken by the Treasurer is a dud. It simply repeats what this government has done in the field of municipal finance over the last few years. Beneath the surface of the surrounding water one finds that the government is slowly eroding the structure of support for municipalities, which was put into place over the period of the early 1970s. This is a regrettable kind of trend which is certainly at work here with the present Treasurer. He has been busily undoing all of the progressive or semi-progressive things which were attempted by his predecessor, the Hon. John White. One has to assume, one has to hope, that if there is ever again a Conservative Treasurer in this province after the member for Chatham-Kent, that he in turn will try and undo some of the damage which is being wreaked by the present Treasurer during his present term of office.

I looked at what happened two years ago when this bill was last before the House and my impression really is that nothing has changed. In fact, I seriously considered reading into the record a number of the comments which I made to the House at that time because it seems to me that they are just as germane and relevant today as they were at that time. Since the member for London Centre wasn’t here at that time I thought he might be interested in hearing --

Mr. Peterson: You are prophetic, though. I read the stuff back then.

Mr. Cassidy: Okay. Anyway, it is down for posterity.

The point is this, Mr. Speaker -- and I’m going to back this up with material which has been prepared by the Canadian Federation of Mayors and Municipalities, because they are extraordinarily concerned and we’ve been concerned for a long time -- the trend is still continuing that the responsibility of providing government services percolates down to the local level, the level of government which is closest to the citizens and to the population; but it is precisely that level of government which continues to be the area of government with the least access to the necessary resources in order to carry out its task. Instead of resources, they get pious words from the Treasurer about the need for them to exercise restraint.

The fact is that whether you are talking about recreation or culture, whether you are talking about adult education, whether you are talking about social services, day care or public transit, all of these are areas where the buck stops at local governments. They are the ones who increasingly have to carry the burden, and increasingly have to carry it alone.

The second trend that is occurring is that the change in fiscal gears which this Treasurer has implemented for Ontario is being carried out at the expense of local government. I would say to the Treasurer that Ontario is not only a villain, it is also a victim in this particular pattern. As he pointed out in the debate yesterday, when the federal government adjusted its payments and tax sharing with the provinces, it managed to transfer certain responsibilities to the provinces without giving up all the appropriate tax room or tax grants. The feds have been doing this to Ontario, but Ontario has been doing it -- and in spades -- to local government.

The Treasurer here says: “We’re going to keep our spending down to a certain limit.” But part of the way he has been doing that has been to cut back on the growth in grants to local governments. As an inevitable consequence, this forces very substantial increases in property tax rates, because that is the only meaningful source of alternative revenue for the local level of government. Local property tax rises, people go in outrage to their city hall and kick out the bums they think are responsible for it and bring in a new set of politicians to the local level. The fact is that the real villains are sitting on that side of the House and the chief among them is the Treasurer.

I find as well, and it is typical I suppose, that the minions who work for the Treasurer, during as well as between elections, in between the time they spend in trying to cost NDP programs, have come up with yet another misleading kind of statistic which helps to insulate or isolate the Treasurer and his party from what is happening out there in the real world as far as property taxes are concerned.

I want to cite to you a table which is on page 12 of the budget. The Treasurer says that the accompanying table shows that property taxpayers are still relatively better off than in 1970 or 1972, but that important ground was lost during 1976 when the average property tax rose to 2.5 per cent of household income. And the latter was due, he says, exclusively to the increase in education taxes. Now for 1976 the Treasurer’s figures estimate that the average property tax in Ontario, average residential property tax per household in 1976, was $499 or $500. If that was 2.5 per cent of average household income, then that means they are taking an average household income of $20,000 against which to compare. Now we all know the story about the statistician who drowned in a pond whose average depth was 12 inches. It seems to me that the situation we have depicted here is either misleading or wrong or both, and certainly it is designed to mislead.

In Ottawa, where I live, the people I represent are paying an average property tax far greater than $499 per year. In fact, property tax increases in the current year for many of them amount to around $100; and that compares with the Treasurer’s table which says that the average property tax increase between 1970 and 1976 is all of $130 per household. I don’t know where these figures came from; maybe they came from Manitoba or Saskatchewan or some other well-governed province like that, but I cannot see how they come from the province of Ontario, and in particular from our urban municipalities.

I found, as I went my rounds in the election campaign this time, that the day of the $1,000 property tax is here. And $1,000, $1,100, $1,200 property tax on a typical bungalow is not just what applies to the better areas of Rockcliffe or Alta Vista, the better end of Chatham, or the better end of cities like Toronto. It’s applying all over.

People in ordinary circumstances are paying taxes of $1,000 to $1,200 or $1,400, or more. Today I happened to run into a fellow I would have thought was well fixed to look after himself, a real estate agent, and he told me that he “lucked” into a house, or got into a house, where the taxes were about $1,200 and he thought he could afford that particular sum three years ago. The taxes on that residence have now risen to the level of $2,000 or more. This particular individual, who should in no way be concerning himself with the impact of taxation in the province of Ontario is finding himself considering whether or not to even maintain himself in that house.

I don’t know where the Treasurer got these figures. I think he must have dreamed them up, like he dreams up the other figures he puts forward when he tries to contend that things are not as they actually are out there. The problem is this: If you go down a typical residential street in my riding you find any number of people in different types, sorts and conditions. An average is just that, it’s an average of everybody and it certainly does not take into account the different circumstances of typical homeowners.

On one street in my riding I can have in one house a young couple, both of them working, with $10,000 saved -- because they are assiduous savers -- to put down on a house. It costs them $500 a month and the taxes cost them an extra $100; but they both have a good income and they can afford it. They can also afford to take trips to Greece and other luxuries which are not available to most of the population. Their family income may be $25,000 or $35,000 and the property tax burden is not really anything substantial for them to worry about. They make their contributions to the income tax, and that’s as it should be.

Next door to them a couple about five or six years older were in similar kinds of circumstances five years ago, but today they have heavy mortgage payments to pay, they have two young children to support, and they have a joint income of $17,000 or $18,000 because of the fact that the wife has stopped working in order to maintain the children. They are finding things are very, very difficult, and when they find they have to pay an extra $10, $12 or $15 a month in property taxes, that is the end of the line, that’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

Next door to them are an older couple who never had the advantages of high incomes which are available to people today, with only one income because it was not the tradition in those days for both spouses to work, an income of only $13,000 or $14,000 a year. They are finding it very difficult because their taxes are going up at precisely the same amounts as the young, affluent couple down the line.

Next to them are a couple who are retired, whose income has now dropped to maybe $6,000 or $7,000 a year and who are having to face property taxes at $1,000 or $1,200 a year. Against that, the property tax credits which have not been changed in three years and which come from the province are inadequate to provide any real level of protection. They are paying as much as 20 per cent of their total gross income in property taxes; and that, I suggest Mr. Speaker, is deplorable.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Gross.

Mr. Cassidy: Gross; that’s right, sure,

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Not net.

Mr. Cassidy: But when the $100 increase comes in they have to pay it. They’re not in the position, this hypothetical couple, of having a $20,000 income and only $500 in tax to pay, because that situation is, quite simply, not real for most homeowners across the province.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: If the taxes were $1,000 with that income they would have barely 12 per cent --

Mr. Cassidy: It doesn’t matter. They still have $500, or 12 per cent, of their total income to pay.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: That’s right, not 20 per cent.

Mr. Cassidy: Twelve per cent, Mr. Speaker, of an income like that, of a poverty-level income, to pay more in property tax than they have to pay in any other tax in the province, it seems to me Mr. Speaker, is an unacceptable position to be in.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: It’s not 20 per cent.

Mr. Cassidy: I think that a Treasurer who says that people like that should be forced out of their homes, should be forced into senior citizen housing, should be forced to start depending on the public for annual subsidies on their rents of $1,200, $1,500 or $1,800 a year rather than being self sufficient; I think a Treasurer who says that has an unacceptable kind of point of view. They find it unacceptable and I find it unacceptable, both in social terms and also us a taxpayer who makes some contribution to provincial taxation here in this province.

We have a situation, and it’s deplorable, where whatever legal devices are available are being used by older people who are driven to the wall by property taxes in order to get rid of their houses. They transfer them to the next generation, they give them to their kids, they sell them and give the proceeds to their kids, they do whatever it is possible that is legal; and then they apply for senior citizen housing. Because the Ontario government is not prepared to carry out any kind of a commitment such as a charter, whatever that means, in order to protect our older citizens who have homes of their own, we are finding that people are instead, willy-nilly becoming charges on the public because we subsidize them in senior citizen housing put up by OHC.

The senior citizen housing is a good program, but we’re putting up too much of it, however, in relation to family housing, which is also desperately needed. One of the reasons we are doing it is that people are forced out of their homes to go into senior citizen housing.

Is the Treasurer aware of the subsidies that are being paid there? I don’t care whether it comes out of federal pocket, provincial pockets or municipal pockets, it’s still taxpayers who have to pay. It seems to me ludicrous that for not being able to afford $500, $700 or $1,000 in property tax people are drawing on the public Treasury in housing subsidies to the tune of $1,200 or $1,500 a year. It’s an unacceptable kind of situation.

Mr. Speaker, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities pressed very strongly -- I was at the conference about three years ago, the tri-level conference that was held at Trent University, where there was a very strong effort made in order to have a review of municipal financing in the total government spending picture and not just of federal and provincial financing. A tri-level task force on public finances was set up under the late John Deutsch to look at their particular situation, and at the situation in the municipalities; and what they came back with was, to put it mildly, not encouraging. Certainly it is not any more encouraging in view of what the Treasurer appears willing to do in this particular bill.


The federation’s review indicates the following, and I quote: “These trends suggest that autonomous municipal government will not survive without either huge increases in property taxes or unacceptable cutbacks in services that city residents now demand, or both.” Demand? I raise my eyebrows a bit at the use of that word. But it seems to me that we’ve now got to the point, if there was any fat at the municipal level, where it’s not a matter of excessive demands being put at the municipal level of government, it is a matter of municipalities being required to implement programmes at the behest of the provincial level of government, and not having the resources to do it. These are essential services as well.

A good example is day care. Without adequate day care, Mr. Speaker, we have people who remain on the welfare rolls and who will be on the welfare rolls from now to kingdom come. Each welfare recipient brings an annual cost of $5,000 a year to taxpayers at all three levels, perhaps a lifetime cost of $30,000, $40,000 or $50,000. Or, perhaps even a continuing cost because of the cycle of poverty caused as certain youngsters come on to the welfare rolls because that’s the way they learned to live from their parents. Cutbacks in day care are induced by the pressure which the Treasurer puts on municipalities because of inadequate arrangements that are made with the municipal governments. This leads to inadequate social services, inadequate municipal services, and piles up difficulties which we will all be responsible for in the future. The federation states: “It is academic whether the trends develop into such a nightmare that they suggest for 1981. There is no need to go beyond present documented facts. They clearly show that municipal government is in crisis right now. The outward signs are the steady loss of municipal power and increasing financial constraints. Grants from provincial and federal governments come with so many strings attached and represent such a large part of municipal budgets, that municipalities are becoming puppets in a show run mainly by provincial governments.”

Well, you only have to think about what’s happening in the field of education, which is a major area of provincial grants to the municipal level, to realize that is precisely the case. Curriculum, the number of schoolbooks, the size of desks, the amount of capital spending, every single element in the education system is constrained to the extreme by direction here from Queen’s Park. My school principal told me today, when I called him this morning, that he had to go very quickly because the province was coming down with new curricula requirements for grades seven and eight, they were going to leave a lot less flexibility to the teachers in English and arithmetic than had existed in the past.

The whole question of municipal autonomy increasingly becomes nothing but a myth. The federation says, “The municipal government need not be in a crisis, but is, and it’s getting worse.” It says the situation is getting worse because although the Canadian public finance system works fairly well when you bring all three levels together, it’s the feds and the provinces that are handling it okay and it’s the municipalities that are always being treated in a totally inadequate fashion. It says, “They don’t meet their responsibilities, they keep running into a chain of annual new debt, a spiral of dependence and increasing hopelessness. Cynicism and apathy arise in city councils and among municipal voters.”

Those are strong words to come from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. They sense from their membership -- and I know that this would be echoed as well with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario -- that desperate feeling of never being able to get ahead on the treadmill. They feel constantly compelled to go back to property taxpayers whom they know can’t afford that kind of taxation because of the inadequate deal for public finance which is being made with the federal and provincial governments.

“The system,” they say, “leads to more and more financial reliance on daddy” -- that’s Daddy McKeough over there -- “and less and less independent self-government.”

Mr. Laughren: Daddy McKeough?

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member will refer to members of the Legislature in the proper terminology.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I believe I said yesterday that I would resort occasionally to more familiar, intimate and personal terms with --

Mr. Acting Speaker: It’s still out of order. Will the hon. member comply with my request?

Mr. Cassidy: I am speaking on the point of order, Mr. Speaker, in order to try to make some impact on him. I’ve been in this House for five years and I’ve used the formal form of address consistently through that period, Mr. Speaker, but it’s had no impact.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. I don’t consider that a point of order. I would again request the hon. member to comply with my decision. What has happened in the past does not concern me at the present time.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have to consider the options. It’s either intimate terms of nomenclature, or abuse, or both.

Mr. McClellan: Resort to abuse.

Mr. Acting Speaker: The hon. member will continue in proper parliamentary language.

Mr. Cassidy: Okay. With reference to his excellency, “daddy,” the hon. Treasurer of Ontario --

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member will kindly refrain from intimate references to any other hon. member and will use proper parliamentary respect in this chamber while I’m in the chair.

Mr. Cassidy: I didn’t know “daddy” was a term of abuse. I withdraw the term, Mr. Speaker.

The federation says: “This obvious democratic accountability at the local level is being eroded by a more sinister accountability to bureaucrats, mainly in provincial capitals.”

I have to say, as an elected member, I’m very conscious of that and very unhappy about the fact that in many, many programs which are ostensibly municipal, the only real avenue for democratic accountability is through me and the other five elected provincial members at Queen’s Park and through the government.

“This relationship,” says the federation, “is forced by the municipalities’ dependence on the system’s conditional grants.”

The federation wants, and we want as well, municipal government that’s much more free of conditional provincial grants and that has direct access to a wider range of tax revenues.

Mr. Speaker, if you look at the figures that are given in the Treasurer’s budget, he estimates that $3.4 billion will be provided to municipalities in total financial assistance this year. The amount of money which we are dealing with in this particular bill is, at best, about $30 million to $35 million, or about one per cent of the overall assistance. And not all of that one per cent is unconditional because the police grants are clearly tied to spending on police -- spending on police, I might add, is usually carried out very much at the direction of the Solicitor General and of the provincial authorities, because there’s so little municipal control over the police forces.

The trends which the federation sees at the national level are certainly true at the provincial level as well.

I wish there was some way that I could put the tables that I’m going to read from on the record, Mr. Speaker, because the red ink which relates to the municipal level of government so graphically illustrates the kind of financial crisis which they’re in right now and which the Treasurer is so unwilling to rescue them from.

The federation says, as I’ve already mentioned, that the Canadian public finance system in the global sense is well balanced and effective, but there’s an imbalance of local government finances which is a constant and increasingly striking feature of the system. Their graph shows, in red and in black, that the feds go from deficit into surplus more or less on an even basis, although, in the last couple of years they’ve lurched into some substantial deficits.

“Provincial revenues, provincial budgets in general, also cluster around the balance” -- they’re red half the time and they’re in the black half the time -- “but local government is consistently in the red and the situation has gotten much worse in the years from 1971 to the present.”

Next, they point out and they say: “The constant imbalance and deficits of local government are not due to careless spending or lack of control by local administration.”

They point out, for example, that in one area where any government has got about the greatest control over its spending, which is the general administrative category, that 4,000 municipalities spend an average of $23 per capita on general government, the 10 provinces were spending an average of $69 per capita on general government, and the feds were spending an average of $77 per capita on the function of general government.

In other words, Mr. Speaker, the municipalities continue to demonstrate an ability to be careful in their use of the taxpayer’s dollar. One of the reasons for that is, very simply, that they are close to the electorate and not as removed as this government or as the federal government is.

“The Canadian public finance system, however” -- as the federation points out -- “has provided the federal and provincial governments access to a variety of revenues which respond to the economy, while local government has to rely mostly on the traditional one-tax force, the property tax.” In Ontario, that is exacerbated by the fact that instead of having a tax base which expanded with property values, as would have happened if we hadn’t had the freeze on assessments in Ontario beginning in 1971, we have had a frozen tax base at the municipal level for the past six or seven years, and the evidence is that it is going to continue for another two, three or four years. God knows how long it is going to be; I suspect this government won’t be in power when we get property tax reform in the province.


Mr. Cassidy: Well, I don’t know. I just have to say, though, that that means that the only increase in the local base of taxation for municipalities is because of new construction and because of a minor amount of reassessment resulting from improvements to commercial property and the occasional improvements to local property. Local governments have no access to growth taxes, and the revenue from property taxes has been among the least rapidly growing kind of tax. If the income tax were a municipal tax, there would have been an automatic increase in revenues of 12, 13 or 14 per cent every year over the past 10 years but the property tax, with no change in tax rates, provides virtually no increase in tax revenues.

The tables here -- perhaps the Treasurer can even see the way that the red lines are increasing -- show the degree to which local government net borrowing has been increasing year after year over the past two and a half decades. The red also indicates how, across the country as in Ontario, transfers to local government remain mainly conditional rather than unconditional. Even here in Ontario, for example, the Treasurer’s own figures show that between 1970 and 1977 unconditional grants in Ontario have risen by about $400 million but conditional grants have risen by four times that amount, or $1.7 billion. So much for the commitment to try to put the municipalities on to a better basis with unconditional grants.

The federation points out as well that local government is the only level of government that suffers chronic deficits. The other two levels of government basically are able to balance the situation and are not in a situation of running into chronic debts. That may be a bit different for Ontario; I have to say, though, because I will be saying it on the next bill, there is a lot of evidence that the whole deficit situation of the province has been overplayed by the Treasurer just as his quest for a balanced budget is a phoney and misleading kind of an exercise.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities concludes that it doesn’t find a villain. This is not a deliberate plot to short-change local government. It’s simply that the provincial and federal levels of government, their bureaucracies acting in their own self-interests, have left the needs of local government behind. The government, responsible to the Legislature here in Ontario, has failed to offset those particular tendencies and, therefore, local government has continuously been short-changed.

“Their being short-changed,” says the federation, “is the result of the total inadequacies of the system of public finance that has built up in the post-war period and is the result of a failure to recognize the fundamental role of local government and the magnitude of its task.”

As several of our speakers have said, we are going to support this bill. It is better to have a tenth of a loaf than nothing at all and we want to be able to say to the municipalities, “Look, whatever was there, we allowed you to get.” Nevertheless, I want to put on the record this feeling we have that the fundamental fiscal reforms for municipal government that could have been embarked upon -- in fact, they were being launched by the former Treasurer, John White -- are being rendered nugatory, to use a word from the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Lawlor), by the actions of the present Treasurer.

I want to bring in some material from the Mayo commission report on the situation in Ottawa-Carleton, which bears both on regional government and on the whole financial situation. I have to say, with my colleagues, that I have a fairly substantial feeling that we have been wasteful in regional government in Ottawa-Carleton. There has been unnecessary duplication. There have certainly been enormous problems in terms of responsiveness on planning and other issues and we have spent more that way than we should or could have.

However, when you look at it in detail, the situation, while serious, is clearly not just the fault of feckless local politicians. There is an enormous pressure of need and of demand and from senior levels of government which has contributed largely to the situation in Ottawa-Carleton and which, I would submit, has been the case in other regional municipalities as well.


Between 1969 and 1975, federal spending increased by 142 per cent. Provincial spending in Ontario increased by 143 per cent. Spending in the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton increased by 212 per cent. In other words, it was going up half as fast again as federal and provincial government spending. That’s pretty excessive. When you look at the categories, you can see some quite extraordinary increases in spending. General government spending in that six-year period was up 160 per cent; environment up only 73 per cent and health only 84 per cent -- there was a fair amount of control right there -- social and family services, 133 per cent; but planning and development was up 4,271 per cent and transportation, an increase from $6 million to $37 million, an increase of 540 per cent.

Some of that transportation spending is a result of transit subsidies, which we support. That’s simply taking from private pockets and putting into the public sector certain expenses which are necessary, desirable and contribute to a better-balanced transportation system in the municipality and a better quality of life for people in the region of Ottawa. We’ve got a good transit system in Ottawa right now.

However, when you look at this in detail and look at the increases, look at how many result from pressure from the provincial level of government. Social and family services are mainly categorical. If somebody comes in and is in need and walks into the office on Richmond Road in Ottawa-Carleton and says, “I need a handout, I need some welfare,” the municipality is obliged to give that person and his dependants support, if they come within certain criteria which have been laid down by the provincial minister under regulations coming out of this municipality.

New public health clinics: Public health clinics and services are mainly instigated because of pressure from the provincial government. If, in fact, you look at it, you realize that public health is an area of great need in the province right now because of the over-emphasis on health services for people who are sick and the need of preventive services in order to keep people from getting sick in the future. If we have good public health services in Ottawa-Carleton, then we keep people out of hospital, we keep them from getting sick, we keep them from becoming a charge on the public and we keep down the cost of OHIP. Therefore Ontario saves while the Ottawa-Carleton regional municipality spends.

Sewage treatment plant: I was a member of the regional council in Ottawa-Carleton for a period of about two and a half years. During that period we endorsed and authorized major sewage treatment works dedicated to ensuring that there was full treatment, both primary and secondary and a certain amount of tertiary treatment, of all sewage that was produced within the region. That also was a result, not just of local demand, but of provincial regulations which have been very stiff. I think we all agree with that kind of emphasis on environmental criteria in urban development. We agree with that, but look who is having to pay the shot. The shot is coming at the local level through the regional municipality which has got to pay the piper for those particular services.

Solid waste disposal, a new field, is also coming as a result of provincial pressure. The culture and recreation field, which I mentioned before and which is growing very fast, is a bit of something else. As we move into a different kind of society it so happens that the municipalities are the body with the greatest stake in the culture and recreation field, an area where there are enormous demands for increases in services, not just for our kids, but for adults. I have been reading about what happens to people at the age of 40, having achieved that distinction myself. They start to think that maybe there’s something else to do besides indulging wholly in work-related activity. They want to go and play tennis. They want to sail. They want to ride. They want to row. They want to do other things like that. They want to paint. They want to act. All of those things should be encouraged and they are being encouraged at the local level of government. But somebody’s got to pay the cost of those things in our post-industrial society, where people who work hard and make a contribution are also entitled to expect that services like that will be made available.

It seems to me as well we can’t just say, “Let them go and pay for it themselves.” There are many people who have worked hard and made a contribution but are not in a position to be able to afford it. We have come to the point of view, which I think is valid, that it isn’t just school kids who should get services regardless of whether or not they can pay for them, but in fact adults should have access to a certain basic level of cultural and recreational services at the local level.

Those are a few facts and figures which underlie the increase from $26 million in regional municipality spending in Ottawa-Carleton in 1969 to $82 million in 1975, and a figure which I suspect is over the $100 million mark today.

I didn’t mention day care. I didn’t mention some of the other social services. I didn’t mention new needs which are identified but which will not be supported by the province because the province is sufficiently remote from local needs that it washes its hands of those particular problems.

The problems continue to come back to roost on the local level of government, and they have to decide whether to do something about it, or whether to simply leave the situation to fester and to come back in spades at some point in the future. One of these days we’ll get around in this Legislature to debating the new children’s services proposals which are coming from the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton). He wants regional children’s services committees which will apparently supersede the local Children’s Aid Societies. That’s another new responsibility being loaded onto the local level of government.

I can’t help feeling that the cutbacks in Children’s Aid support by the province two and a half and two years ago have led directly to the need for a much greater program of children’s services today, and that once again it is the local level of government which is going to wind up carrying the can for a provincial priority which, while however desirable it may be, is another example of the province calling the shot and municipalities having to pay.

We’ve heard enough words from this Treasurer and his predecessor resenting the imposing of programs from Ottawa on the provincial level of government. We’ve heard that speech again and again from Ontario. We’ve heard it just recently in response to the Minister of Energy’s proposals for a $350 federal grant provided that the provinces comply with certain other conditions that the feds want to impose on us.

But why is it that what’s wrong for the feds to do to Ontario is okay for Ontario to do to the municipalities? Why is it that the government feels that it can justify making the municipalities do things, making them pay for it, making them increase their taxes, and then Darcy McKeough can go off to conferences of municipal officials and say “Look, the need for restraint has not ended. You’re still in a jam and you’re going to stay in a jam as long as I remain Treasurer and much longer than that as well.”

Mr. Speaker, I want to conclude by saying --


Mr. Cassidy: The peanut gallery is along. You know, the new member from --

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. Would the hon. member return to the principle of the bill.

Mr. Cassidy: I’m sorry. There was an intervention, Mr. Speaker, by the member for Wilson Heights, and I must say --

Mr. Maeck: No there wasn’t.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member will return to the principle of the bill.

Mr. Cassidy: I hope that the member for Wilson Heights speaks on this bill, as a matter of fact. He is probably more qualified than any person who has come into the Legislature in this election, the election of 1977, to talk about problems of municipal finance.

Mr. Laughren: We assume he is.

Mr. Cassidy: I have serious questions about his political instincts. I have no question at all about his administrative instincts, and I think that he may --

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. Perhaps the hon. member will refrain from discussing the personal merits of the hon. member for Wilson Heights and return to the principle of the bill.

Mr. Deans: Don’t let them interrupt him. He was doing well.

Mr. Rotenberg: He was doing fine by me, thank you.

Mr. Cassidy: You know, I tried to heap abuse on the Treasurer and you stopped me, Mr. Speaker. I tried to heap praise on the new member who hasn’t even made his maiden speech yet, and you stop me as well. I feel that the constraints are --

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Why don’t you try talking about the bill?

Mr. Cassidy: I have been talking about the bill because $30 million is entailed in the bill, and that is all the government is giving in terms of new support money. It recycles this bill every couple of years. It can’t think of anything better to do with municipal financing than to come up with this. Frankly, it is inadequate and is no way to handle fundamental problems in the area of municipal financing.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Will the hon. member return to his debate on the principle of the bill?

Mr. Cassidy: That was clearly the principle of the bill.

Mr. Maeck: It was not.

Mr. Cassidy: I want to say that it was back in 1965 that the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald), advanced in this House the proposal for a municipal foundation plan. That was one of the most farsighted contributions to political debate in the province that this Legislature has ever had. It is a pity that that proposal has never been adopted by the government as the basis for municipal financial reform. The proposal is a simple one. It would ensure that the same mill rate would yield the same amount of revenue per capita whether it was in Kapuskasing, in Gogama, in Wentworth, in Ottawa or in Toronto.

Mr. Maeck: The voters didn’t like it.

Mr. Laughren: Oh, yes, they did.

Mr. Maeck: No, they didn’t.

Mr. Deans: And Wentworth particularly liked it.

Mr. Cassidy: The situation we have right now is the following. If Toronto decides that it is not happy with what is coming out of the provincial government and wants to raise taxes by a mill or two in order to carry out certain of its own priorities, it can well afford to do so because of the enormously lucrative property tax base which it enjoys. That goes for Metropolitan Toronto, and that goes for Ottawa in a relative sense as well.

But the situation is not the same when you get to the small municipalities of the province. They may have to raise their taxes by three or four or five mills in order to get the same amount of revenue per capita that a one-mill increase will raise in Toronto or in Ottawa.

The consequences of further widening of the disparities between the rich, well-endowed municipalities on the one hand, and the poorer, outlying municipalities, on the other: We are beginning to hear more and more, and I think it is valid -- we have said it many times -- about the need to decentralize economic activity in this province and about the need to stop the outflow of population from our small towns and municipalities. We think that is very important. We have talked about it in the context of provincial planning. It is important to talk about it in the context of municipal fiscal situations as well.

If Smiths Falls or Capreol or Kenora or Chesley cannot afford a level of municipal services comparable to the services which are provided in the big municipalities like Toronto and Hamilton and Oshawa, then they are simply going to fall further behind. They will lose the capacity to attract industry. They will lose the infrastructure which makes them pleasant places to be and they will increasingly lose their young people.

Mr. Maeck: Maybe they don’t want all those services.

Mr. Cassidy: Parry Sound as well, I might say.

Mr. Maeck: Maybe some of them don’t want all those services.

Mr. Cassidy: If that is the case, then they can benefit their people by giving them a lower tax rate.

Mr. Maeck: You wouldn’t force them into it, would you?

Mr. Cassidy: No, I wouldn’t. They can have a lower tax rate as an advantage of living in the smaller municipality. But now people neither get the services nor the lower tax rate. That choice is not available to them. We have seen an inexorable flow of population into the very large cities with enormous problems of urban stress, high housing prices and high prices for commercial and industrial land. It has contributed in a very direct way to the lessening of competitiveness of our own industry. All sorts of problems have arisen from this.

In the education field we do have a foundation plan. Thank God for that. That ensures that whether people are in Renfrew, Toronto, Windsor, or up north, that up until recent changes in the plan there was, relatively speaking, an equality of expenditure on education per student in the north, the south, the east and west and every part of the province. But that is not the case at the municipal level. I want to urge the Treasurer over the coming months to look very carefully again at the municipal foundation plan which was put forward by the member for York South a dozen or so years ago and which we have raised repeatedly in this House as a promising way to restructure municipal finance.

It seems to me that that is compatible with more accountability at the local level, with more assumption of responsibility and that it is a means of getting away from the increasing number of conditional grants with which municipal autonomy is now being hemmed in.


With those comments, I will leave it to others of my colleagues to comment on different parts of the bill. Although we support the bill, because it is better than nothing, we find that this process of giving a buck here, a buck there, is a totally inadequate answer to the problems of municipal finances.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Before we continue with the debate, pursuant to standing orders 27 and 28 I am required to inform the House that the hon. member for Wentworth North (Mr. Cunningham) has filed notice of his dissatisfaction with the answer to a supplementary question relating to regional government in Hamilton-Wentworth asked of the Treasurer earlier this day. This matter will be debated at 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday next.

Shall we continue with the debate on Bill 6?

Mr. Deans: I’m not going to take very long because obviously much of what should be said has been said. Neither did I intend to take part in the debate after raising the matter of the financing of the Hamilton-Wentworth region with the Treasurer earlier in the day. But there are some things that bother me about what was said today that relate directly to what this bill does in the Hamilton-Wentworth area -- and perhaps in some ways to what the bill doesn’t do.

The problem in the Hamilton-Wentworth area is, in my opinion, very complex. And I don’t think that we can solve the financial difficulties that people are now facing with simply an adjustment in the unconditional grant to the regional municipality.

To begin with, I am not absolutely convinced that it’s at the regional municipal level that all of the overexpenditure has taken place. The difficulty in the area is simply that the public is convinced that it’s at the regional level that the overexpenditures are taking place and it’s almost impossible to, for their purposes, separate out those dollars spent at the local level from those dollars spent at the regional level.

It’s also very difficult to talk to someone when you are talking about the municipal taxes unless you also include, at least in passing, a discussion of the problem that the ever-increasing education costs bring about. So that I think what we are really faced with is that while everyone agrees that we ought to make available more money through the unconditional grant, and therefore everyone in the House is likely to support this marginal change, the problem isn’t even being addressed by this.

The expenditures at the local level in the Hamilton area -- and those expenditures will not be altered one whit by this bill -- have risen dramatically over the last three or four years, and the result of the shift of responsibility from the local to the regional level which ought to have brought about a decrease in the local municipalities’ cash requirements hasn’t reflected in any easing of the tax burden at the local level.

What we have happening is that as the local municipal government, the city of Hamilton, in most instances shifts responsibility from itself to the region there is a vacated tax space which is subsequently filled by the local municipality for other municipal purposes.

I’m not in a position, and no one outside is in a position -- no one outside of Hamilton to begin with, I think, would be in a position to make judgements about the appropriateness of the expenditures. I’m certainly not in a position to make a judgement about the appropriateness of the expenditures. But all I can see is that if regional government were to work as it was intended to work then we should have been able to identify quite clearly that, as certain responsibilities were transferred from the lower to the upper tier, there should have been proportionately less cash required by the local tier to carry on all of the responsibilities that remained there. I think that’s common sense. Yet, at least in the Hamilton area and particularly as relating to the city of Hamilton, that just hasn’t been the case.

I support, incidentally, unconditional grants as infinitely superior over and against conditional grants. But if the province of Ontario continues year after year simply to make available to regional governments funds through the unconditional grant route without taking the time to accurately assess the funding arrangements, the responsibilities and the jurisdictions that have been granted to the two tiers, then we are going to find within a very short period of time, if we haven’t already arrived there, that the expenditure increases will outstrip the ability of the taxpayers in that municipality to pay. Frankly, this will be the case in most other municipalities where the same situation prevails.

There are examples I want to give you. I suppose, to begin with, statistics can be used in any way. I understand it, everyone else understands it and I’m quite prepared to concede that someone may look at these statistics and come up with some different rationale. But, what I looked at was the average property tax per household for the city of Hamilton from 1970 to 1976 over and against expenditures in other reasonably large municipalities in the general area. From 1970 to 1976 the average property tax in the city of Hamilton rose from $381 to $578, an increase of 51.7 per cent. In East York the increase was 30.3 per cent; in Etobicoke the increase was 27.7 per cent; in North York the increase was 17.1 per cent; in Scarborough 28 per cent; in York 28.2 per cent; in Oshawa 19.6 per cent; and in Burlington, which is the closest municipality to Hamilton, 28.6 per cent.

The first thing I ask myself is, why would it be that the city of Hamilton’s expenditures during the period of time would rise so disproportionately to the expenditure increases in other municipalities? I’m not making a comparison of actual property taxes paid, because that comparison would be unfair. I can only assume, and I do assume for the purposes of this discussion, that on the basis of the services provided in 1970 in all of those municipalities over and against 1976, the same basic changes would have occurred because they are all in the golden horseshoe area, and all address themselves to a substantially residential community.

Is there any logical, reasonable explanation for such a dramatic increase in the tax in the city of Hamilton over and against the other municipalities over that period of time? Have the citizens of the city of Hamilton obtained additional benefits? Are there, in fact, new services available? Have they assumed additional responsibilities? Do they provide services there that are not provided elsewhere?

I looked at that and I must say honestly that I could find no evidence that there were any better, larger or more worthwhile services available there than in any other place. So I thought it would make some sense if, rather than going this route of continuing to put money out year after year, we took a serious look and made some comparisons between the city of Hamilton, part of which I represent, and other comparable municipalities in the area that have to purchase the same basic goods and services and that have to provide the same basic service level.

That’s what I’m asking the Treasurer to do. I don’t think there is any point in just continuously approving with a nod increased expenditures through unconditional grants unless we’re prepared to take a very serious look at where this money goes, how this money is spent, what the responsibilities are and how those responsibilities are being fulfilled. I suggest to the Treasurer that, as part of his responsibility, he has to undertake such a serious study. He ought not to come back to this House year after year asking for marginal differences and marginal changes to the per capita unconditional grant without having undertaken that kind of intensive study.

I go further than that and suggest that in the city of Hamilton, for example, the expenditures, rather than having levelled off or having reflected an increase which might be deemed to be commensurate with the normal inflationary rate, have risen dramatically from 1974 when they were at approximately $58 million, to 1977 where they are now at about $71 million. One has got to think that during that period, with the introduction of regional government and with the additional grants made available as a result of regionalization, we should have been able to see some levelling off. But that didn’t seem to occur. The question then must be asked: Why is that not happening?

Why is it that we’re continuing to see this ever-increasing expenditure rate in areas where we might normally have expected, as a result of the promises made by this Treasurer and his predecessors, that regionalization ultimately would bring about either higher service levels or a rationalization or amalgamation of services, and thereby bring about what one would hope would be lower costs by comparison -- recognizing that we’re not talking about absolute dollars but about inflationary dollars.

It seems to me that, before we engage in simply a blanket approval of an expenditure change of the type that the Treasurer is asking for, there should be some substantiating evidence presented to the House that the dollars that we’re voting are being spent in an appropriate way within the system that this government has set up. What the government has done is that it has changed the system dramatically.

What happened in years gone by -- and we made a comparison; it’s not the very best comparison in the world, but it serves the purpose for this discussion and again, it’s subject to debate. But we made a comparison in the Hamilton-Wentworth area over and against the Ottawa-Carleton area, and the comparisons were made on the basis of expenditures from the years 1966 through 1974, which were the only figures available to me. What we discovered was that prior to regionalization, Hamilton-Wentworth, taken as a whole --


Mr. Deans: I won’t be very long. Are you going to speak?

Mr. Rotenberg: Not at the moment.

Mr. Deans: Okay.

Mr. Cassidy: Don’t hold back.

Mr. Deans: Their expenditures ran at something like 10 per cent less than the Ottawa-Carleton region and yet, with regionalization, Ottawa-Carleton’s expenditures immediately rose to a point where they went to in excess of 20 per cent more than the Hamilton-Wentworth region. This was prior to Hamilton-Wentworth’s regionalization. Once regional government was implemented in Hamilton-Wentworth, Hamilton-Wentworth’s expenditures then rose again to a point where they’re now within two or three percentage points of expenditures in Ottawa-Carleton.

We’ve got to ask ourselves some questions about those things. Why are they occurring? Why is this change so evident immediately after regionalization? Why is it, when we compare regional areas with non-regional areas, that we find the non-regional areas are able to provide the same level of services that they have always provided, which are in the main comparable with the services provided in the regional government areas, and do it at a much less expensive level.

What I’m really saying to the Treasurer is that I’m not at all sure that we can continue to do things this way year after year. I don’t think it’s practical for us simply to pour out money, hoping to be able to hide the additional burden of taxation, because eventually even the province of Ontario will have difficulty raising the capital if we allow expenditures to continue to rise at the rate that they’ve been rising over the last four or five years.


I think we have to have an accurate, honest and open evaluation of what regionalization has done. I think we have to look seriously at the services provided, the structures implemented and the finances available. We have to take into account that the transitional grants, which were in some instances unconditional and in other instances not, will even by themselves impose an additional tax burden on the average municipal taxpayer as they gradually run out. While in the first year of the five-year period they absorb a substantial amount of the transitional cost, the transitional costs -- for reasons that I don’t understand and I suspect for reasons that no one else has identified yet -- never seem to disappear. They get built into the system. You end up in year one with a substantial amount of money made available, while in year five no money is made available but the costs remain constant. You end up then with that burden being transferred to the local taxpayer.

The Treasurer may argue, and quite validly, that the government attempts to offset some of these by one form or another of tax rebate. But that again is money out of the provincial coffers and doesn’t speak to the problem of the increasing costs at the municipal level.

I suppose what I’m saying in essence is that we’ll support the bill. We support the bill because it makes good sense at this point in time to do everything in our power to cushion the impact of the ever-increasing burden of property tax. But I don’t think we should for one minute think that this is the answer to the overall problem of funding municipalities. I don’t think we should put our heads in the sand and attempt to leave the impression that regional government in its current structure and form with all of the service levels that are currently made available is providing what anyone expected that it would.

I don’t think if we were to go back to John White, one of the previous Treasurers, or to Charles MacNaughton or to the current Treasurer and look at what they believed would happen as a result of regionalization, that we would find that what we actually saw occurring over the period of the transition is in keeping with what their expectations were. If that’s the case and if we’re burdening people unnecessarily or if we’re over-burdening them, then, for heaven’s sake, let’s be at least honest enough to say that that’s what’s happening and to move in and to make the adjustments that have to be made. We just can’t continue with this kind of funding indefinitely.

I have a sense -- the Treasurer may disagree -- that the province of Ontario is systematically moving much of the burden of costs from itself to municipal taxpayers. It may be in some instances, as in the case of the elderly and in some other cases, the property tax rebates do tend to compensate in some way or another for the increase. But it’s evident, at least through the school board system, that the amounts of money made available in the Hamilton area are substantially below those moneys made available in the years prior to 1966. The reduction is now down from what was previously 49 per cent of total to a figure of about 40 per cent of total, while in fact we had spoken in this Legislature not many years ago about the necessity to move it in the other direction. We had always talked about aiming for 60 per cent or 65 per cent funded provincially.

By virtue of the change that has taken place, we have transferred a significant burden from here, Queen’s Park, from the general revenues of the province which are by far much more progressive than the property tax regardless how you monkey with it, to the municipal taxpayer. The Minister of Energy and I would both understand, having discussed this many times, he on one side in favour of increased taxes and I on the other, hoping to get them reduced, that --

Hon. J. A. Taylor: But the averages were pretty good. The averages worked out.

Mr. Deans: -- in fact there is no relationship between a person’s income capacity and his property tax. The day you retire your property tax doesn’t change though your income changes dramatically.

What we’re talking about is that we can’t go on this way much longer. If we don’t step into the forefront and be more progressive in the province of Ontario and find the additional methods of funding municipalities, then municipalities will not be able to carry on with the responsibilities that they have had foisted upon them and have sometimes taken quite willingly. We’re going to find that in the long run the property tax payer is not going to be able to meet the burden and that we are, therefore, producing a society where home ownership will become such a burden that we will be eliminating it for a great number of people.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Is there any further discussion on second reading of Bill 6?

Mr. Cassidy: Call the member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Rotenberg), Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Acting Speaker: The hon. minister.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: The principle of this bill was to put into effect the decisions of the government announced last September 10 well in advance of the 1977 calendar and fiscal year of the municipalities to indicate to them the amount of money which would be available to them during their fiscal year 1977 from a variety of sources. Unlike the education costs or The Highway Traffic Act grants, the one item which is not dealt with by regulation which is brought to the Legislature each year is The Municipal Unconditional Grants Act.

The amount is not modest as it has been described here this afternoon -- and I will return to that theme. In this bill it is an increase during this calendar year from $370 million to $436 million -- nearly $66 million, which is not a small amount of money. What we are rather pleased about of course is that the transfers this year, which are rising about $380 million from just over $3 billion to $3.4 billion, are rising by 12.5 per cent. The unconditional grant portion of those transfers is rising by nearly 18 per cent, so that the conditional portion is rising by about 12 per cent. We have been, increasingly, trying to put more of our transfers into an unconditional form and specifically into the various components of The Unconditional Grants Act -- namely, the general support grant, the resource equalization grant and the northern Ontario grant and then the specific per capita grants. But I do suggest to the members that we can’t have it both ways and talk about more and at the same time dismiss, as one speaker did this afternoon, some $66 million more as a modest increase. I will be coming back to that.

I am tempted to reply to much of what was said this afternoon, but I will try and confine my remarks to the principle of the bill, Mr. Speaker, with respect. I fail to find out how mines are assessed in Sudbury and a couple of other items had anything to do with the principle of this particular bill, but so be it.

The member for Ottawa East wonders why Ottawa-Carleton doesn’t receive the police grant and suggests we are holding some sort of a club over their head. That’s not true. This is true in a number of other areas.

There are higher grants for those municipalities who have assumed greater responsibilities from us. Regional York, regional Hamilton-Wentworth, regional Waterloo have all assumed 100 per cent of the policing function, which was formulated there with local municipalities but which was also being carried out by the Ontario Provincial Police. They have relieved us, obviously, of some burden of expense. They have relieved us therefore of some burden of administration and they are being compensated -- in a very crude way, I will admit that, but we didn’t want to develop a sophisticated formula.

But those municipalities which have taken over policing from us are receiving a higher level of grant. Ottawa-Carleton is not one of those and the day that Ottawa-Carleton wants to assume the burden of policing in Osgoode, for example, and Goulbourn and several other places and if it is not to their financial advantage, then they shouldn’t do it. Then they should not do it.

Mr. Roy: I don’t think that’s fair. You don’t do much policing there.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I will tell the hon. member the greatest inequity in this province is between those who pay for policing and those who do not pay for policing and receive it from the Ontario Provincial Police. I think most municipal people would tell you that that is probably the largest single inequity -- those paying property taxes who also pay through their income taxes or sales taxes, paying really for policing twice, and those who only pay for it once. In the last four or five years we’ve gone some way to redress this inequity by giving the unconditional grant on a higher rate to those municipalities who are doing the policing job and then at a higher rate again to those municipalities that have assumed certain functions from us, and not just in the area of policing. The regional municipalities happen to be the growth municipalities and there are some interesting statistics in the book which a number of people quoted from -- Regional Government, a Perspective: a Financial Review, 1970-1975 -- which was compiled out of a tour which I made in that year, and we presented the statistics to all the regions and then brought them together in one place. They can be used in many ways, and I suppose they can prove many things, but the conclusion that I came to when the figures were all brought together was that the municipalities that needed the help were by and large the regions that were the growth areas. Interestingly, on table A3, total household starts in that period, 467,000, over half, were in the regions. Another quarter were in Metro, and only 108,000 were in the rest of the province. There is no question that the growth has been in the regions. That’s the reason that their expenses have climbed. Metro is levelling off; Metro was in between.

The conclusion I came to, quite frankly, and I think I said this in the House when this document was tabled a year ago, was that we would quite frankly be biasing our assistance -- not in a heavy-handed way and not in a “big brother” way and not looking over their shoulder and not asking them to account for every last nickel -- but we would be biasing our assistance, particularly the unconditional assistance, to the growth areas which are largely the regions of the province, and to some extent still to Metropolitan Toronto,

That’s where the taxes have, for the most part, and it’s too easy to generalize, risen the most because of a greater demand for services. The smaller municipalities enjoy much lower tax rates, generally, across the province -- those areas which aren’t moving and where in many cases mill rates have stood still for a number of years. As my friend from Parry Sound pointed out, perhaps they don’t want, don’t need, don’t desire all the services which the member from Ottawa-Carleton would have us all have tomorrow.

I was interested in the eloquence of the member for York South and others, and I simply remind people of the property tax credit -- it is an effective way of reducing the regressivity of the property tax. It does do a job. My friend from Ottawa Centre would have had us believe that somebody earning $5,000 or $6,000 and paying $1,000 in property taxes was paying 20 per cent of his income, which is not correct. After the property tax credit he would be paying about 10 per cent. Too high, no question about it --

Mr. Cassidy: You admit it, that’s good. It is about time you admitted it.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: But don’t use misleading figures -- and that’s exactly what the member was doing. He said 20 per cent and it should be 10 per cent, and he knows it. He just ignored the property tax credit completely -- just ignored it.

Mr. Cassidy: You are the expert on misleading figures, you know. They go right through the budget. Every page.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: The member twists figures; he twisted figures all afternoon. That was just one of them.

Ms. Bryden: The whole budget is misleading.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. May I interrupt the hon. minister. It is now approaching 6 o’clock. Are you going to --

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I have about one minute to go, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Cassidy: He is the maestro of misrepresentation.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I would simply point out, finally, that we will cover many of these matters during my estimates. I simply point out this: The plea over there is “more.” I would point out to those members that the municipalities and the school boards this year are receiving 12½ per cent growth across the board.

Mr. Deans: That’s not true.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: By 12 ½per cent.

Ms. Bryden: What percentage of their expenditures?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: For the province as a whole, expenditures are increasing by nine per cent. It means that provincial departments are somewhere around seven. The member wanted more money for Hamilton-Wentworth --

Ms. Bryden: What is the provincial share?

Mr. Deans: That wasn’t what was said at all.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: That was exactly the point -- more money to reduce property taxes.

Mr. Deans: On a point of order. That is a misrepresentation of what was said.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Then I leave the member for Wentworth out. He was the only person who suggested we were paying too much.

Mr. Deans: I didn’t say that either.

An hon. member: You’re going to embarrass him yet.

Mr. Deans: That again is misrepresentation. It’s funny how you can always fall on both sides.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: I apologize.

I think it is fair to say that most who spoke, and certainly the member who is the financial critic of his party, indicated that much more should be going into transfers to local government. Many, many more dollars. I simply point out that of our nine per cent growth in expenditures this year, the municipalities and school boards who receive 30 of that under the Edmonton commitment are getting 12½ per cent of that growth. All the other functions of government will be making do with about seven or eight per cent.

I point out there’s a table which would indicate that our revenues have grown over the last five or six years at the rate of about 13 per cent a year. Our transfers to local governments have been growing at a compounded rate of 15 per cent per year. I serve notice to the House that without substantially raising our own revenue we are not going to be able to continue to transfer ever-increasing amounts or ever-increasing proportions to local governments. It just isn’t fair.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for committee of the whole House.

The House recessed at 6 p.m.