31st Parliament, 1st Session

L026 - Thu 20 Oct 1977 / Jeu 20 oct 1977

The House resumed at 8:02 p.m.


(Continued from June 28)

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

Mr. McCaffrey: Mr. Speaker, it’s a privilege for me, particularly as a new member, to speak this evening to the 1977 budget for our province. I think everyone would agree that the budget -- any budget, in fact -- is a key document, not only in that it directly affects the activities of individuals and corporations within its jurisdiction but because it is a statement of the government’s strategies and goals, and reflects a government’s ideas on how we can best cope with the economic problems we face at any given time.

We all know these are serious times in our country and our province. I want to briefly touch on some of the broader national economic problems today and then those that have more direct impact on us in Ontario. I would like then to look at this government’s response to the budget in these areas and discuss what we might reasonably expect in the future.

As everyone in the assembly knows, there are both disadvantages and benefits for those of us who are new members. On the negative side there is some lack of detailed knowledge of existing government programs and still some lack of familiarity with the way the system works. The benefits, however, should not be lost sight of. Uppermost here, it seems to me, is that until very recently the new members were in the real world outside this splendid assembly working, in my case, as a small businessman to achieve some personal goals.

In truth, we probably did not spend as much time as we should have in working with the government people or familiarizing ourselves with government policies. None the less, all new members hopefully arrive with some new ideas with a capacity to be objective in our compliments and our criticisms of government, and we are not, I hope, too caught up in the partisanship of party politics, which I think often detracts from our abilities to get on with the job.

It’s my intention this evening to be both objective and non-partisan, while commenting on this government’s budget. Accepting the fact that we can’t look at the Treasurer’s (Mr. McKeough) budget in isolation, let’s review some of the national economic problems we face as Canadians and that are more pressing now than at any time, certainly in my lifetime. As Canadians, we face an extremely severe challenge brought on in good measure by the Liberal Party in Ottawa. That I think is honest, objective and, I hope, a non-partisan statement.

Mr. Kerrio: And contagious on your side.

Mr. McCaffrey: The ongoing problems of high inflation and unemployment, which are clearly beyond the control of Ottawa, pose some very special problems for the government of this province. The weakness of our Canadian dollar on the foreign exchange markets, the precipitous drop in foreign investment in this country and, even worse, the loss of Canadian investment capital and increasingly of Canadian individuals to more fertile regions, particularly the US, have weighed harder on Ontario citizens than on others in this country.

I think it is important to remember that the leader of the national Liberal Party and the head of the Liberal government in Ottawa, when faced with this litany of failures, has responded by making two important demands of the taxpayers of Canada. I think they are significant because of what they show of him and of his Liberal government. Later we will look at how our provincial party and the Premier of this province (Mr. Davis) have responded to the same list of challenges.

The federal Prime Minister has asked us to revise our level of expectations, to learn to accept a lower standard of living and to reduce our hopes and our expectations for ourselves and our children. What is worse, his second message is we must learn to work harder and be more productive. This latter piece of gratuitous advice more than anything else shows how out of touch the national Liberal leader is with the real people and the taxpayers, at least in this province.

Let me say that on behalf of the people of Armourdale, whose expectations, while high, have always been reasonable and who have always accepted the necessity for hard work, we will not accept his advice. We reject these messages from the Prime Minister in total. We will not accept it. He has given up. Rather we choose to follow the more prudent, responsible and, if I may say, business-like attitude expressed by the Premier and the Treasurer of this province. This Ontario government tries to cope with the problems of inflation by taking the more difficult but more honest course of instituting a far-reaching restraint program.

I applaud this government for the difficult but responsible way in which the bureaucracy has been reduced in our province while Ottawa’s has continued to soar. As a new member and, therefore, I hope in an objective and non-partisan way, I support this government’s continued cost-cutting efforts. However, we are not without some unique problems in our own province. After 1980, most predictions called for a slight decline in our own economic growth. The share of the province’s output produced by the manufacturing sector is expected to decline slightly over the next 10 years. Unfortunately, the decline will be most evident in employment opportunities. Manufacturing, which now employs some 25 per cent of the work force, is expected by some forecasters to employ only 15 or 16 of the work force by the year 1995.

There are several reasons for these more modest forecasts for our provincial economy. Number one, this expected decline is partly due to the heavy influx of foreign automobiles which has had an adverse effect on car manufacturers. Number two, it is partly due to the population growth pattern which is expected to decline in our province in the 1980s. Thirdly, it is partly due to the very severe slump in construction we see, particularly in the Metro area.

But, again, any reasonable person would have to acknowledge that one of the main factors underlying the lower forecast is the harsh, anti-business attitude that has emanated from Ottawa. This anti-business, anti-profit attitude, which the national Liberal Party in Ottawa has allowed to grow, and in many cases has even encouraged, has more than any other factor been responsible for the drop in foreign investment in this country and caused much Canadian investment capital to leave this province.

Members of this party and this government have never been afraid to admit the truth about real job increases. Real job increases in this province and in this country are the direct result of the level of profits in the private sector and nothing less.

I was amazed -- and, I must say, disappointed in the past election here in June -- how the Liberal Party oversimplified the question of job creation.

Mr. Kerrio: That is not what disappointed. The results are what disappointed you.

Mr. McCaffrey: Sweeping claims about their ability to create thousands of jobs --

Mr. Kerrio: The results are really what shocked you.

Mr. McCaffrey: -- only detract from the credibility of all members of this assembly and, frankly, are an insult to the majority of people who know --

Mr. Conway: What about the job opportunities created for your predecessor?

Mr. McCaffrey: -- that the only time the government creates a job in the real sense of the word is when they hire a civil servant.

Mr. Conway: More partisan trash.

Mr. Warner: Tell us about the Bramalea charter.

Mr. McCaffrey: Government, however, does have a clear responsibility to create employment opportunities.

Mr. Conway: Who gave Phil a job?

An hon. member: Behave yourself, Sean.

Mr. McCaffrey: This has been done in Ontario and will continue to be done by providing the type of economic climate in which new business can be formed, and in which existing businesses can be allowed to expand and innovate. But we all must acknowledge the fact that private sector growth is the only way we will get out of this severe slump. This government has helped to create, and fights to keep, a healthy climate by the wise application of tax policy and by avoiding excessive regulatory restrictions.

I was pleased to see this morning that my colleague the member for London South (Mr. Walker) had made some comments, reported in the Globe and Mail, about a “sunset law”, and I think it shows the kind of thinking that goes on in this party on an ongoing basis.

Mr. Ruston: Unsatisfactory.

Mr. McCaffrey: The most important thing we can do is to continue practising restraint. Problems persist, however, --

Mr. Sargent: But who put them there in the first place?

Mr. McCaffrey: -- and tomorrow morning this Legislature will hold an emergency debate on the pressing problem of the Inco layoffs in Sudbury.

Mr. Wildman: Your friends are laying those people off.

Mr. McCaffrey: Let’s approach this debate in a responsible manner. Let us not resort to the cliches that sometimes even get the better of good people during election campaigns.

Mr. Foulds: Like the Minister of Energy (Mr. J. A. Taylor).

Mr. McCaffrey: Sudbury miners are productive. They rank at the top as the best-trained miners in the world, yet they are out of work. The company, faced with a very severe decline in the price of its product had, it seems to me, no other alternative. There are no easy answers and everyone here knows that, but a solution will be found; hopefully, we can make some progress on that tomorrow, even if it’s a short-term solution. In the long run, I think the more we all commit ourselves to the policy of restraint in a public way, the better off we’ll all be.

Mr. Foulds: Inco showed a lot of restraint.

Mr. McCaffrey: An editorial which appeared in the Globe and Mail on September 19 caught the spirit of this government’s programs. The editorial, appropriately enough, was headed: “The Hard and Only Way”. Mr. Speaker, may I quote.

Mr. Wildman: “Hard” is certainly true.

Mr. McCaffrey: “A country which rejects the kind of common sense talked by the Treasurer is asking for more and more unemployment.”

Mr. Mackenzie: You mean a Roman general.

Mr. McCaffrey: The editorial went on to say, “Working towards a balanced budget would force the government to cut waste in its spending,” --

Mr. Kerrio: You are not going to live that long.

Mr. McCaffrey: -- “to bargain realistically with its employees, to force realistic bargaining on municipal councils and school boards, and would help to stem the horrendous increases in municipal tax rolls.”

This government has not practised its restraint because it’s been easy or because it’s been politically popular.

Mr. Warner: You created the debt.

Mr. McCaffrey: On the contrary, this government has attempted to set an example with all levels of government in this country. Often the message is not as clear as one would hope, and I think this is reflected by one member of the New Democratic Party, the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) --

Hon. Mr. Welch: Who’s not in his seat tonight.

Mr. McCaffrey: -- who wrote a letter to the Toronto Star which was published September 26.

Mr. Foulds: Good letter, that.

Mr. McCaffrey: He was commenting on the Treasurer’s advance notice of the 1978 provincial transfers to local governments, which he went on to describe as “a superb con job.”

Mr. Foulds: Right on.

Mr. Warner: Right on.

Mr. McCaffrey: He showed the kind of thinking that makes it difficult for his party to face the notion of disciplined restraint in government spending.

Mr. Warner: We didn’t create the debt. You did.

Mr. McCaffrey: His letter said, “When the property owners are hit with a hefty increase in taxes next spring” --

Mr. Warner: It’s your fault.

Mr. McCaffrey: -- “because the provincial money is not there…”

Mr. Kerrio: Blame it on the feds.

Mr. McCaffrey: You see, he automatically assumes that the municipalities will raise property taxes rather than practise restraint. He assumes that they will not even attempt to initiate some control of their in-year spending increases.

Mr. Foulds: Do you think they are out of control?

Mr. McCaffrey: It is this kind of rutted and doctrinaire thinking that is perhaps the greatest obstacle to any restraint program. It underscores the need for all members of this assembly to work at discussing topics of this nature in a more candid and objective way to better serve the people.

Mr. Foulds: Get out of your dogmatic straitjacket.

Mr. McCaffrey: One could talk at length about the failure of Ottawa Liberals in other areas crucial to Ontario’s economic interest, but it’s much more constructive to refresh our memories about the positive way that the Premier of this province has led the fight to good and responsible government in the country.

Mr. Germa: That guy couldn’t run a peanut stand.

Mr. McCaffrey: The auto pact, for instance, suffered for years because the federal government had neglected to make any critical assessment of Canada’s performance under it. Despite that this was clearly a federal responsibility, the Ontario government took it upon themselves, just last year, to conduct a thorough review. This government articulated our concerns about productivity, about share of assembly, about achieving a reduction in the parts deficit, and, about the need for regular reviews of the pact and the performance of the industry.

This government adopted an early and very tough position in support of the federal anti-inflation program and, what is perhaps not so well known, adopted a firm and public position on the post-control period as well. Our commitment has been and remains the commitment to the complete withdrawal of controls now, a recognition of the need for the development of a special approach to future public sector bargaining involving the awareness of the equity and ability-to-pay principles, the establishing of a national public-private sector monitoring agency in this post-control period, the need to ensure basic protection for tenants for unjustifiable increases in rental costs --

Mr. Warner: The controls run out in a year and you won’t do anything about it.

Mr. McCaffrey: -- while at the same time recognizing the importance of increasing the supply of rental accommodation.


In addition, Ontario’s co-operation with Ottawa in renegotiating our position under the Fiscal Arrangements Act has led to a significant disentanglement of federal-provincial responsibilities and accountabilities which, to my mind, is as effective an initiative in preserving a vibrant confederation as any rhetoric about national unity. One would only think that the Prime Minister, if faced with the same kind of a challenge, would perhaps discuss a referendum.

The Ontario budget announced the establishment of venture capital corporations, which is a welcome move. One hopes there will be federal income tax relief for investment in these VICs. Venture capital people say there is a lot of private money here that could be captured for venture capital if there was some federal tax encouragement.

The establishment of a royal commission on pensions by this government is also an important move. We in this party recognize that the whole question of pensions, both private and public, will likely be the dominant, social and economic challenge facing all of us in the very near future. The royal commission on pensions should zero in on some of these areas:

Indexing -- What is the real effect of unlimited indexing of pensions? Will it bankrupt us? Should there be a limit on the amount by which pension payments can be increased after retirement? What projections can be made now with respect to the Ontario civil service plan as to future costs of indexing? Further, what are the real needs of pensioners? There is not much information on how pensioners are coping at the moment with their combinations of old age security, CPP and private pension plans.

Small employers’ plans -- Most large employers do have a pension plan. Should small employers be compelled to have one? Get the actuaries to work. Work up some examples of the cost of putting in a plan for a small business of, say, 25 or fewer employees.

Portability -- Private pensions now are portable only if there is an agreement between plans. For example, if an employee of company A moves to company B, he can’t take his pension credits with him unless there’s a pension agreement between those two companies. How many such agreements do exist? Is an employee penalized if he must leave his pension credits in his previous employer’s plan? If so, why are there not more pension agreements now between companies? Can the private pension fund industry move more quickly to full and immediate vesting provisions for contributors?

These and other important questions must be dealt with and will be dealt with by this government very soon.

Clearly, the record of this government has been good, and that record has not been lost on the voters of Armourdale.

Mr. Foulds: That’s not so clear. Remember you are a minority government.

Mr. McCaffrey: I firmly believe that the Armourdale constituency is unique in this province.

Mr. Warner: It’s certainly unique in electing you.

Mr. McCaffrey: Ours is a constituency composed entirely of hardworking, responsible taxpayers who do have and will continue to have high goals for themselves and their children. The residents of Armourdale make up the very backbone of our country and our province. We in Armourdale know what it is to work hard and to save and to live, I would add, within our means.

Mr. Foulds: With the level of income that is relatively easy.

Mr. McCaffrey: The goals of this government to practice restraint and to try to balance the budget at some future date are goals that are understood by everyone in our constituency. As responsible taxpayers, they know what it is to try to balance the budget in their own firms, large and small; indeed, to try to balance their own family budgets within their own homes, an area where cuts are made and priorities are established on a regular basis.

Mr. Wildman: I understand quite a few families operate on deficit spending.

Mr. McCaffrey: We all know what this means and we all know the difficult choices must be made. From our provincial government we have learned to expect discipline, restraint and even leadership in the national sense when it is required. When the Treasurer introduced his budget earlier this year he made one statement which more than most others reflect the attitude of the people of our constituency towards government in general, and I quote: “The evidence is clear that our citizens do not want to pay higher taxes to buy more public services. They want higher real incomes and they want value for the taxes they already pay.”

In my constituency, we know that geography and history have treated our province well, but we also know in an objective and non-partisan way that the calibre of leadership that this party has provided to its citizens for more than a generation has kept us in the forefront of good government growth and stability.

Mr. Wildman: That’s an unbiased statement.

Mr. McCaffrey: We fully expect this party and this government to accept the challenge of the next generation, and to offer the leadership to meet the times so that we can continue, as every member of this assembly knows, to be the province of opportunity.

Mr. Foulds: That speech had a certain style but no content.

Mr. Ruston: I would like to congratulate the member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Rotenberg) on his appointment as Deputy Chairman of the committee of the whole House, a new member just elected recently. We are looking forward to seeing him carry that responsibility very adequately.

I am very happy too to see the appointment of the Speaker, the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes), who was elected to the House in 1967, the same year as I was. He has that very fine opportunity to show us his abilities and so forth. I am sure he will find things trying at times, as we have noticed probably in the last couple of days and probably more so today. However, I am sure he will carry it out to the best of his ability and try to keep the House with a little decorum.

Mr. Conway: Give them hell.

Mr. Ruston: I was just going to have a quiet sort of a speech, but then I heard the remarks of the previous speaker, the member for Armourdale, who got up and said he was going to be very non-political and so forth and then started his rampage against the federal government, which I have no love for either. There happen to be Liberals in power but the people of Canada elected them; so that’s it. I accept it the same as I accept whatever they elect in Ontario. But the strange part of it is that the government of Canada under the present leader was in with a minority in 1912, but when he called an election he got a majority, and that’s better than the members did over there, I can tell them. And that’s better than they are going to do, I can tell them.

Mr. Nixon: Out the door.

Hon. Mr. Welch: That’s not going to be too prophetic.

Mr. Ruston: In the United States they have a law that the president can’t be elected more than eight years. In Canada, we don’t have anything like that and we do have strange situations where one government stays in power many years, which we have had in Ottawa. One time the Liberals were in power in Ontario for 30 years with Oliver Mowat, I believe it was. I am glad to have the good member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk who understands Ontario history probably more than anyone here in the House.

Hon. Mr. Welch: I went to university with him and he failed history.

Mr. Ruston: And also the member for Renfrew North. I am sure they could straighten me out if I get mixed up on my history. Then we had kind of a downfall in political power in Ontario and the members opposite had control for a number of years until 1975.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Thank goodness.

Mr. Sargent: All downhill.

Mr. Ruston: I think the people really were ready to turf them out. The big problem was just for anybody to look at the Ontario budget for the last six years. If that doesn’t make them sick to their stomach, then what does. I just ate a nice dinner a while ago but looking it over, I told my seat partner I needed a Rolaid to help me out. It just throws you the way that budget has gone for the last six years.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Has the member read that budget?

Mr. Ruston: I sure have. Has the minister?

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Welch: What’s on page 42?

Mr. Kerrio: A picture of the Treasurer.

Mr. Ruston: I’ll take page 17, “Towards a Balanced Budget.”

Mr. Ruston: I’m sorry, Mr. Speaker, we’re getting a little off track here. I didn’t intend to upset anybody. I’m a very non-political person. I just like to have a nice quiet evening of talking about the bad parts of the present government and what we as Liberals would do in their place.

Hon. Mr. Welch: He’ll never have to worry.

Mr. Ruston: It hasn’t been too long, of course, since that famous election of June 9 --

Hon. Mr. Welch: He’ll never have to worry about that happening.

Mr. Sargent: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, would you please bring the government House leader to order?

Mr. Ruston: That’s a good idea, Mr. Speaker. I think the member for Grey-Bruce had a very good point, although I don’t mind interjections.

Hon. Mr. Welch: The first in 15 years.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Would the member for Essex North please continue? He has the floor.

Mr. Ruston: Thank you. In looking over the financial affairs of this province, one wouldn’t think a Conservative government would do that. Normally that is not their procedure. They just run it right down and down. A very good Conservative -- and I think I said this one other time in the House in one of my speeches -- a very great Conservative from our area called me in the morning after I won the election 10 years ago -- it was 10 years ago last Monday, I believe. He called me in the early morning to congratulate me, and he said, “You know, Dick, in a government you have to make sure that the government keeps a balanced budget when times are reasonably good, but the time for government to spend is when there is a lot of unemployment and the economic system is going down. That’s the time the government must spend.”

Today, this government has gone in default -- you might call it default -- with such a large deficit for six years, that it now has nothing to bring up without overtaxing the people. They have just gone so far in debt that of every dollar they collect in taxes, it costs about 10 cents of that just to pay off the provincial debt. They put themselves in that bind themselves. They deserve to be there -- really, we should just walk all over them.

Mr. Havrot: He sounds just like Charlie Farquharson.

Mr. Ruston: However, we have got to get the people of Ontario going again and we have got to show them how it can be done.

Mr. Maeck: Show us how they do it federally.

Mr. Ruston: As for what they are forecasting what they are going to get this year, the budget estimated revenue for 1977-78 at $11,983 million; now they have revised that down to $11,497 million, which is a decrease of $486 million. That’s on the table of September 30, 1977. It’s interesting to see some of the places where this money is being spent. In health care they saved $156 million but, while they are saving in health care, the member for Brock is really pouring out the money with his Culture and Recreation and Wintario funds.

Mr. Kerrio: The big spender.

Mr. Ruston: Yes, the big spender.

Mr. Nixon: Does the Minister of Culture really run Wintario? The lottery?

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Essex North has the floor.

Mr. Ruston: And the chances of winning are pretty slim, too. Look at the bonus draw; Number of series issued, 108; number of tickets for series, 90,000; total tickets issued, 9,720,000; and five grand prizes of $100,000. You have a chance of 1,944,000 of winning $100,000. Some odds on that bonus prize! Such advertising -- “Everybody wins.”

Mr. Nixon: What a ripoff.

Mr. Foulds: The odds are terrible but the payoff is great.

Mr. Ruston: One can go on, of course, and even with 203 prizes of $10,000 each there is only one chance in 47,000 -- and that includes the bonus draw.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Who did that research for the member?

Mr. Ruston: This type of advertising for Wintario is beyond what I thought any government would ever get to.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Just take a look at that Loto Canada stuff.

Mr. Mancini: This is not the House of Commons.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. Ruston: I thought I’d bring that up because I know the member for Brock is here.


Hon. Mr. Welch: On a point of order, it is an unconscionable thing that Loto Canada is doing with respect to an instant cash lottery. They’d put slot machines into every -- really!

Mr. Foulds: Sic Larry Grossman on them.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. I would indicate to the House leader that that is not a point of order. The member for Essex North will please continue.

Mr. Ruston: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I certainly agree with your ruling there. It was absolutely ridiculous and unbecoming of the House leader to even suggest such a thing.

Mr. Nixon: There is a man who is going to go places.

Mr. Ruston: He likes sending out those letters with his name on them. On the ones that they don’t approve, of course, he puts somebody else’s name, as we all know.

Hon. Mr. Welch: You bet your life. That protects their right to appeal.

Mr. Conway: I hear Clark has an arthritic arm.

Mr. Ruston: We are concerned. The government here allowed Ontario Hydro, through the Energy Board, to raise their rates last year by 30 per cent. Now they go before the Ontario Energy Board eight months later and they really don’t deserve any raise, although I see they are, I guess, going to allow them five per cent.

That had to be one of the worst causes of some of our financial problems in Ontario. By raising the Hydro rates so high, the government actually took away the spending power from people who had this money, had the earning capacity, but the government raised the Hydro rates so much that it took the money away from things they could have bought -- furniture and all that sort of thing.

The government raised the Hydro rates about 12 or 14 per cent more than they should have been raised. They could have been raised last year 15 per cent, this year 12 or 10, and the next year 10, and they would have been smoothed along and people wouldn’t have noticed it. But that showed the irresponsibility of Ontario Hydro and this government’s inability to deal with it.

The Ontario Energy Board again just lately approved an increase to the Union Gas Company for natural gas. Of course, their prices are, we know, to a great extent governed by the National Energy Board on the prices they pay at the wellhead and through the pipe coming into Ontario. But at the same time, if you look at the profits of Union Gas, they’re not doing badly.

I see Union Gas’s fiscal year ending March 31, 1977, had profits of $24,283,000; March 31, 1976, profits were $19,391,000 -- an increase in profit of 20 per cent or $5 million. I don’t know what the AIB thinks of this type of thing but they’re certainly going to get a copy of this report that I have here. Because that is not, in my opinion, conscionable at this time and I don’t think that it should ever have been allowed by the Ontario Energy Board.

The only thing we can do now is make representation to the Ontario Energy Board to stop any increases that Union Gas -- and I’m sure that Consumers’ Gas is the same -- are asking for in February coming up, until this extra profit is used up.

So there are two things that we’re not controlling that should have been. We have an Ontario Energy Board but they are not doing the job and this government has not given the leadership that it should to see that the board does.

Mr. Foulds: I wonder why the AIB is so ineffective in that case.

Mr. Ruston: To give an idea of some of the problems that we are facing in the not too distant future, I was noticing something just recently in our own area in the city of Windsor with regard to labour negotiations with the secondary school teachers in Windsor and the board of education. In a very interesting report by the fact-finder who was appointed to study the situation because negotiations had broken down, fact-finder Brian Downie of Kingston in part of this report says, “The situation is so bad that if a peaceful contract settlement is not reached, the provincial government should consider imposing an agreement that would last three years.” It is really a terrible thing that a fact-finder would find that negotiations with our school boards and teachers are so bad.

He says: “In my 17 years as a student, scholar and practitioner, and teacher of collective bargaining and industrial relations, I have rarely encountered a relationship at the bargaining table as full of mistrust and bad feelings as this one.” Downie says, “It is abundantly clear that the relationship won’t improve until certain attitudes on both sides are changed.”

That is part of our problem in our whole labour relations in Ontario and, probably, in Canada; although it seems to me we have a lower ratio of strikes this year, so I am sure it is improving, but it worries me when I see that type of situation in Ontario, especially so close to home.

I just don’t know how we are going to overcome that, but there is a limit to how much we tax people. Someone has to draw the line someplace; and someone has to sit down and talk across the table and figure out how we are going to solve some of these problems.

Mr. Sargent: Nobody is running the store.

Mr. Ruston: In my own area a year ago some of the school taxes went up about 18 or 20 per cent; but this year the school taxes went up only about seven per cent. So it did show better in our own area. But I am concerned -- going by the grant structure and so forth -- what it is going to be a year from now, especially when the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) is reneging on what we call the Edmonton commitment and the amount of money that was to be turned over to the municipalities and the school boards based on the total money that he receives in taxes here in Ontario; now he is cutting that down and including grants to farm property and things like that in the total grants instead of keeping them separate as the intention was at the time.

Another thing that we are concerned about, naturally, is the unemployment situation. We hear today of Sudbury and International Nickel, and can see where we are heading in the manufacturing field in Ontario. This is something in which we have probably all been remiss -- in not seeing that more of our raw materials are manufactured in Ontario. Our export trade with Japan balances to a degree, but the things we ship out have no labour content in them to speak of and everything we import from them is all labour oriented.

I read a newspaper article the other day in which it was stated that there are more Japanese cars sold in the city of Los Angeles than any other make; and they are competing very strongly in other parts of the North American continent, including Canada. So we certainly have some things to consider when it comes to our manufactured goods.

In budgeting the way this government has, you wonder where they are going to cut down. One interesting part of their spending is the combined estimates expenditures for information services. In some 18 ministries it is over $18.6 million. Then, of course, they have a few other ones in the citizens’ inquiry branch -- that’s $254,000. But there is $18.6 million that we are paying for in information services, with every minister having his own information department, with former newspeople looking after it, and staff in every one. Certainly, there has to be a real look at that. No way should this government be spending $18.6 million for information services.

Mr. Foulds: Have they found out anything?

Mr. Ruston: If you ran your government openly you wouldn’t need information services; people would know what was going on through the media anyway. Maybe that is part of your problem; you try to hide too much; then you release your own information as you see fit and it costs you a lot of money. I think that’s where we should be looking at places to save money.

Mr. Conway: It takes $18 million to sell a worn-out tire.

Mr. Ruston: That’s right; and they are spending it all the time in all the papers. I’ve seen the new Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations’ (Mr. Grossman) big ads with his name in. You know: “If you don’t get your car fixed right give me a call and I’ll go after the garage and get it straightened out.” So that’s one of the places where their ads are -- in the paper every day, “Call us and we’ll help you.” But they always make sure the minister’s name is there in bold print, so the public will know it’s a Conservative government that is doing it.

Mr. Conway: Bold print and no bold action.

Mr. Gregory: Are you going to make a speech tonight, Dick?

Mr. Conway: I want to know why Mississauga doesn’t have a cabinet minister.

Mr. Ruston: What’s that?

Mr. Gregory: I just wondered if you are going to make a speech tonight.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. The member for Essex North only has the floor.

Mr. Mattel: Would you tell him to get back to his chair?

Mr. Ruston: I was mentioning a few minutes ago natural gas prices. I was reading the other day “Natural Gas in Canada, Crisis or Not?” an article from Energy, Mines and Resources of Canada. We were informed not too many months ago, maybe a year ago, that there was an awful shortage and we had to do everything to conserve -- which we should be doing especially as the price keeps going up. But in looking over the latest reports in here it says that we have anywhere from 30 to 50 years’ supplies. In the last year in Alberta I understand that the wells have been going down faster than they can keep track of them. Natural gas last winter was in abundant supply and many of the small operators just couldn’t get rid of it. They were having trouble selling it.

Maybe it took the price increase to get people out looking for it. And we’ll grant you that; unless they can make some money they are not going to get out and hunt for it. But now it looks like they have been hunting for it and they are finding it. They are also finding new oil wells at different levels and the supply is definitely much better. It looks much better now than it did a year or a couple of years ago when OPEC was raising their prices and talking about cutting us off and closing up the supplies at times.

So maybe that was a little bit of false information that was put around to get the prices up; very likely this had something to do with it. But as far as refined gas is concerned, the oil companies have so much refined gasoline they just don’t what to do with it.

I stopped in and got gas on the way down the other day near Kitchener. The fellow at the BP station said, “They are lowering the price of gas to me now because they have so much they don’t know what to do with it.” The refineries are certainly busy and we have lots of gas at this time and, of course, that is to some extent keeping prices down right now, at least at the retail level.

Mr. Foulds: The price of gas is being kept down at the retail level? Live up north, buddy.

Mr. Ruston: We are concerned that some of the farm prices in Ontario have deteriorated in the last year or two, as many of you are aware. A few years ago, we recall -- in 1973, 1974, 1975 -- there was a world shortage of foodstuffs which forced the prices up. Now we are facing a different situation. There are surpluses throughout the world and we are suffering now from reduced prices.

One of the main crops we grow in our area is corn and the price of corn is just terrible at this time. I think the price is about $1.65 for 15 per cent corn; if you were to take it out of the field and dry it and so forth you would probably end up with $1.45. It was good to hear the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Newman) announce his stabilization plan for corn today. It will be effective for the 1977 crop. With the federal stabilization plan they received six cents a bushel for the 1976 crop from Ottawa. Now with this in place, at least it is going to keep him from going under, but it certainly isn’t going to leave him any profit. At the cost of producing corn today, with the price of machines and fertilizer and weed sprays and so forth, we certainly need $2.50 to $3 a bushel for corn.


The stabilization price in Ontario would have been 11 cents for the 1976 crop if it had been in place, so what the stabilization price will be, depending on the five-year average at 95 per cent and any increase in cost of production, I don’t know. I think this year Ottawa set it at around $2.23, if I remember correctly.

So we are certainly going to need that stabilization plan. I don’t think it is going to keep us above water. However, it will certainly help a great deal. I might say I’m proud that our member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) has played a great role in getting a half-way decent stabilization plan in this House when we had to vote against it a year ago. Through his efforts we got the bill changed and at least it can work and it can be improved, there’s no doubt about that.

Another area of concern is with health care and the hospitals in our area. Of course we have, as many of you heard, what they call the Riverview Hospital in Windsor. The Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) is now trying to say it’s a wing or a unit of the Windsor Western Hospital and I suppose in that way he thinks he may have authority to close it because it’s not classified as a full-fledged hospital. But I want to forewarn him now that that is not the feeling we and the people of Windsor and Essex county have.

That hospital has been in place for many years, it’s served a great purpose for chronic care people and especially the elderly, and has served a great need. The people in that hospital have been very dedicated -- the nurses and the staff completely -- and in my opinion it has been one of the best hospitals that we have had, and the care in it has been that way. Now it has been reduced to 120 beds, but I don’t think in any way that that hospital should be closed.

I think it should continue to operate until a new hospital can be built. It may take us three or four years to get the money in place, but there is some money left to the hospital by residents in the community and that money I’m sure can only be used for building a new hospital of a similar type, with the amount of money that may be there plus local fund raisings and I’m sure the Wintario funds.

The member for Brock (Mr. Welch) has left now, but he generally has lots of money left over and I think we are going to have to look at using some of that when the hospital has to be replaced. There is no doubt it can be used for that, and I’m sure it will still leave enough for culture and recreation. There just doesn’t seem to be any sense to have no limit to what you can spend on culture and recreation when you are going to limit health care. I just don’t think that’s reasonable. I just don’t accept that in any way.

I think if you are going to limit any budgeting, then all areas have to be limited. It should not just be wide open on one and restricted on another, especially when it comes to health care. So, Mr. Speaker, I just want to forewarn the Minister of Health that we are not accepting the principle that he is going to close Riverview Hospital because in his opinion it is a unit of another hospital. We are going to see that he does not, whatever we have to do.

Another matter of concern in our area is air pollution. Of course we are very close to the United States, as the member might be aware. My riding, I suppose, wouldn’t be any more than a mile from the United States in some areas, and maybe even closer to the Detroit River and the famous Zug Island on the American side, with its heavy industrial factories in that area. It is a massive industrial area, and with the prevailing southwest winds it has been a real problem. True, it has been improved in the last three or four years a great deal to what it was 15 and 20 years ago when orange-coloured mounds of smoke just peeled across into Windsor and Sandwich West township.

I think what we’re going to have to do is provide more teeth for the International Joint Commission in the area of air control and water pollution. They should be seeing in these areas that the industry has to clean up, instead of having private people who have had damage done to their homes or to their health having to go to try to sue these companies in the United States.

In my own area, I’ve been investigating areas that have had aluminum siding on their houses for the last eight or 10 years. This siding is pitted and all scuffed up, it’s just a complete mess. It cannot be cleaned off, and it won’t come off. It’s gone right into the aluminum itself. This is from pollution from the United States. We certainly have to keep after that and get more teeth in our international laws so that this can be taken care of.

There are other areas of concern that I have, but I really am concerned about the general budgeting, the financial arrangements and the mismanagement of money that this government has had over the last six years. It’s just not acceptable to get up in this House and blame everything on some other government or something, when you yourself are running at the deficit that this government is over the last six years, and in the spending of money had no desire whatsoever to try to control it until about the last year. When our leader in the last election started saying that the government had to quit raising taxes more than eight per cent or six per cent or something, I remember quite well when the Treasurer get up and said it was ridiculous. Even he’s doing that now. He knows that the people were ready and were accepting what our leader was saying, that government has to restrict itself to taking money out. There’s only so much to go around. If you take out more than you should, you’re not leaving the people money so that they can buy the necessities of life in order to keep our industries going in Ontario and Canada.

I just want to say again that the problem in this province is the mismanagement of money over the last six years which has put the government in the position they’re in now. If they would have looked after their finances properly, at a time like this they could prime the pump, as we say, and put out $500 million in new jobs and incentives and so forth. We’re still going to have to do some of that. We have to do some of that. I think our leader had the right system where you pay $2,000 up to $10,000 by hiring people in small industry, and you get the people back to work that way and get the unemployment rolls down. That can be done by co-operating with the federal government through the unemployment insurance office, because goodness they’re paying it out anyway.

That’s really the main gist of what I want to say. It is the mismanagement of money over the last six years that has put us in this position we are today.

Mr. Wildman: As I rise to participate in this budget debate, I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate the member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Rotenberg) on his election as the Deputy Chairman of the committee of the whole House and to offer my sincere wishes that he will enjoy his role and that he’ll do very well at that very important job. I’d also like to offer my congratulations to the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) who has been elected to the position of Speaker.

Mr. Conway: Fine fellow.

Mr. Wildman: I consider it a privilege to have him as my neighbour, not only as my seat-mate here but also as the representative of Lake Nipigon riding which borders on my rather small riding of Algoma, which is only 400 miles long.

Mr. Conway: Is that in downtown Wawa?

Mr. Wildman: No, it borders on my riding in the vicinity of White River, as a matter of fact. It’s a railroad community in the north end of my riding, in which both the member for Lake Nipigon and myself have mutual friends and acquaintances. I’m sure they will agree with me in anticipating that this Legislature and the province will be well served by him in his office, and that his manner and ability in discharging his duties will be a great credit to northern Ontario and to railroaders right across the country.

We in this province are faced with a very grave economic situation which was disastrously brought home to us today with the announcement by International Nickel that 2,800 workers will be laid off at the end of the year. If nothing else could convince even this government, which seems to be dominated by the thinking of Neanderthals, that we must gain control of our natural resources in the industries that exploit them, I don’t know what will.

Mr. Warner: A bunch of animated rocks.

An hon. member: There’s nobody over there.

Mr. Wildman: In northern Ontario in general, and northeastern Ontario and Algoma in particular, we are blessed with a great wealth of minerals, forests, water and some of the most beautiful scenery in Canada east of the Rockies. Anybody who has travelled from Wawa south to Sault Ste. Marie on the TransCanada Highway can certainly testify to that scenery.

We’ve also got some of the most industrious and hardworking men and women in the country. Over the years, a large resource-based industry has developed in the north and Algoma. We have forestry, farming, mining and tourism, but because of this government’s failure to develop secondary industries that we need in order to provide job opportunities, we appear to be squandering our future. One only has to look at Blind River on the north shore of Lake Huron in the southeastern part of my riding to see the problems that result from an industry which is solely based on resource development and exploitation of resources.

We are told many times that forestry is a renewable resource, but unfortunately in many cases the industry has been treated as if forestry is really an extractive industry. We mine our forests rather than farming them --

Mr. Foulds: Timber mining.

Mr. Wildman: -- and when that is combined with a disaster like the one that took place in Blind River in the late 1940s with the very serious Mississagi fire, then you are left with a community without a resource base -- a community that has had an industry which was dependent upon that resource base and a great deal of unemployment.

This doesn’t just apply to things like forestry or mining, it also applies to tourism. Although tourism, I suppose, is a service industry of sorts, it’s also a resource-based industry. You have to have the clean water, the clean lakes, the clean air, the forests and the wildlife if you’re going to have a viable tourist industry in northern Ontario. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to be the policy of this government to maintain those resources.

Our tourist industry is in serious trouble in northern Ontario and has been for the last two years. It picked up a little bit last year. It was a little better last year than the previous year but still it’s away down as it is right across the province.

Mr. Eakins: Build a new lodge.

Mr. Kerrio: Not in Niagara Falls. We’re up in Niagara Falls.

Mr. Martel: Minaki Lodge.

Mr. Wildman: Perhaps we should have located Minaki Lodge in Niagara Falls. It probably would have made more sense.

The problem we’ve got in this province, of course, and in the economy in general, is that we have a branch plant economy. The government has encouraged this and it makes it almost impossible for the government of the province to prevent the type of economic fluctuations and unemployment we have in Blind River and along the north shore which now have become almost a permanent state -- or the serious problems that we now face in Sudbury. I’d like to spend some time this evening talking about the so-called solutions proposed by the Treasurer of Ontario (Mr. McKeough) and others within the government of this province and the government of Canada for these serious economic problems.

The whole country is facing the twin scourges of high inflation and consumer prices and record levels of unemployment; when you combine the two, you have a situation that really defies traditional approaches both by conservative and Keynesian economists. Despite the Treasurer’s overly optimistic and mistaken predictions when he presented the budget just prior to the election, Ontario still faces that high inflation and unemployment -- unemployment that has reached over eight per cent and still continues to rise.

In some of the communities in Algoma, even the ones that are more prosperous and where we don’t have serious unemployment, consumers have to pay excessively high food, shelter and energy prices, which continue to escalate. In some areas we face unemployment levels of almost 20 per cent.

What kind of answer do you get from this government when you raise these problems? I have pointed out to the Minister of Energy (Mr. J. A. Taylor), for instance, on a number of occasions that in communities like Wawa, White River and Hornepayne that we pay almost $1.10 a gallon for regular gasoline. Down in southern Ontario they talk about the possibility of $ 1-per-gallon gasoline. Well, we have already got it in the north, as the Speaker is well aware.

What does this government do? What does the Minister of Energy do when you raise the problem? He goes into a long diatribe about how the NDP is not really interested in doing anything for this province and how he protects the consumers. When I see him protect the consumers of my riding, I’ll go skating in July.

Mr. Martel: On Lake Superior.

Mr. Wildman: Yes, on Lake Superior. The problem with the Minister of Energy is that he misunderstands the fact that while I am certainly concerned about the consumers, I am not concerned about the consumers alone when I raise the problem of high gasoline prices; I am also concerned about the independent gasoline station dealers.

You don’t have to go as far north as White River and Hornepayne to see very high gasoline prices in my riding. You can see it 20 miles outside of Sault Ste. Marie in small communities like Echo Bay, Bruce Mines, Goulais River, Batchawana and so on. These communities have the same high prices and, since they have to compete with the self-serve stations in Sault Ste. Marie because the commuters are travelling back and forth, they go out of business. There is just no way they can compete.

What does this government do? Neither the Ministry of Industry and Tourism, the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations nor the Ministry of Energy has done anything over the years and particularly the last two years, when gasoline prices have risen so high. When you consider the climate in our part of the province and you talk about gasoline prices, you have to keep in mind as well the home heating oil prices are excessively high as well.

What kinds of solutions, if any, if not from the Minister of Energy, does the Treasurer provide for us in this province? What does the government of Canada provide for us? We don’t seem to be seeing too many solutions.

There appears to be two conflicting views about the policy directions which would be best suited for dealing with the current high inflation and joblessness. One is that of the economic right, which is espoused by the Treasurer and many Ontario editorial writers, as was alluded to by the member for Armourdale (Mr. McCaffrey) when he was speaking. He said we needed a hard approach, and the Globe and Mail has supported that.

It certainly is a hard approach. It emphasizes the problem of inflation and purports to turn the economy around and bring a return to prosperity by cutting public sector spending. Basically that’s the only answer they have got.

The followers of this approach tend to believe that our economic problems are the fault of the victims of those problems, and they have a penchant for what can best be described as welfare bashing. They put their faith in the substantial transfer of resources from the public sector to the private sector. The method of implementing this approach is a severe curtailment of the public service spending and turning the resources saved over to the corporate sector in the form of tax exemptions and incentives.

In this period of stagflation, however, the restraint program in public service spending has not been successful in lowering the rate of inflation, but at the same time it has worsened the effects of high unemployment. The proponents of this right-wing approach argue that these bribes to private capital will lead to increased investment, which will stimulate growth both in the private sector and expand employment. What they fail to realize is that these government gifts have never changed the behaviour of private capital. They have never created a significant number of long-term jobs in a period of economic slowdown. The impact of public sector cutbacks and the reliance of government on the private sector only serves to cause even more unemployment and hardship for the jobless.

In his ill-conceived effort to balance the budget, the Treasurer is ignoring the fact that with the rise of unemployment the number of people requiring public assistance is increasing seriously. The social welfare cutbacks coupled with the changes in the UIC regulations will be disastrous for the high unemployment areas of my riding and the rest of the province. One just has to look at the north shore of Lake Huron to realize what effects the extension in the waiting period and the cutbacks in social services spending by the province, will have on the people who are out of work. The situation would be even worse in my riding if it weren’t for the boom in Elliot Lake in the riding of Algoma-Manitoulin because, without the possibility of getting jobs in the mines for the young and physically able, for people along the north shore we would have even higher rates of unemployment.

As municipalities are forced to slash programs that benefit the community, more and more victims of unemployment and underemployment, which is a serious problem in my riding as well, will find it even more difficult to obtain and pay for the necessities of life, such as shelter and heat in a period of rising prices.

As an example of this, with these tremendous cost increases in Hydro rates over the last year or so, the Ministry of Community and Social Services apparently hasn’t made any adjustment in the way they calculate the cost of heating a home for a person who is on social assistance. They have made an adjustment, I think, for the cost of oil, but if a person happens to have electric heat, then they are literally out in the cold as far as getting extra assistance is concerned because there just isn’t any adjustment. I wish the government would at least look at that, even if they must remain attached to their restraint program. The Treasurer’s unrestricted faith in capitalism apparently makes it impossible for him to see that in a period of such economic distress social services are even more necessary and must be provided by the public sector. Social welfare, health services and affordable housing are inherently socialist and have never been provided by capitalism.

Since the public sector cutbacks were first initiated in the 1975 budget, the performance of the Ontario economy has continued to deteriorate and unemployment has continued to climb. Surely this is proof enough that this sort of ruthless budget slashing produces more hardships for many people with no real economic benefit. If the approach of the Treasurer isn’t acceptable, what about the other approaches that are proposed? The other main approach proposed for dealing with our economic problems is that of Keynesian economics. Followers of Keynes argue that the way to alleviate unemployment is to stimulate the economy by short-term tax cuts and government spending on public projects and services.

During the election campaign, as a matter of fact, in May and June, it appeared to me that, at least as far as Algoma was concerned, the Premier (Mr. Davis) and his colleagues had abandoned the Treasurer and had been converted to Keynes. The Premier and other cabinet ministers promised all sorts of projects in my riding. They paved the runway at Wawa, they turned the sod for a new airport at Hornepayne -- even though the black flies were bad for the minister when he was having to do it. They even promised to build the long awaited highway between Blind River and Elliot Lake, just to name a few projects.

Mr. Nixon: The road is paved into Hornepayne; I happen to know.

Mr. Wildman: The first of these projects -- the runway at Wawa -- has been completed. It was needed, and it was a good thing. I hope that the other two projects I mentioned won’t be cut because of the Treasurer’s obsession with balancing the budget at the expense of these needed projects.

Mr. Lupusella: I am sure he will do it.

Mr. Wildman: You think so? Well, I hope he won’t. We will certainly try to prevent him from doing it.

Mr. Lupusella: That’s the problem.

Mr. Wildman: But even if the cabinet were persuaded to undertake public service projects and a tax cut to generate provincial demand, they wouldn’t be dealing with what I believe to be the fundamental economic problem causing high employment.

Both the Keynesian approach and the right approach of the Treasurer are based upon the assumptions that the economy is merely undergoing a particularly severe period of cyclical fluctuation which can be corrected by tinkering with fiscal and monetary policies. While I don’t deny that part of our unemployment is cyclical, it has been superimposed upon the fundamental imbalance of the economy which has led to increasingly high levels of unemployment since 1966.

According to the science council of Canada, for the period between 1955 and 1975, Canada has industrialized at an abnormally slow rate by comparison with most western European countries and a large number of non-European countries. In 1955, as an instance, Canada was second only to the United States in the value of manufactures per head.

By 1974 we had fallen behind countries that had previously been a long way behind us. Although these are national figures, they have special significance for us, since Ontario is the leading industrial province. Obviously, new approaches are necessary to diversify our economy by improving our industrial base to provide planned growth and long-term employment.

In the short term, moving away from the restraint program in the public sector and providing tax cuts to low and middle income earners, are desirable. In that sense, I urge that those Algoma projects go ahead and that the government agree to such other capital projects as a residential care facility for the elderly in Wawa to serve northern Algoma, as well as geared-to-income housing for Blind River, Wawa and Bruce Mines, the completion of the water and sewer project for the whole of the town of White River, and other improvements such as roads throughout the riding.

Mr. Nixon: Have you got that air strip paved?

Mr. Wildman: Yes, it’s paved.

This would stimulate the construction industry in my area, provide facilities for the services that are greatly needed, and stimulate development and consumer purchasing power. But tax cuts and works projects alone will not cure long-term unemployment. Their impact is only short term. Increased savings might result from a tax cut but this would not assist in stimulating demand and much of the additional consumer spending would be on imports, especially if the Treasurer has his way on tariff reductions.

Mr. Nixon: Are you a protectionist?

Mr. Wildman: Yes, I am.

This would have little effect on the jobs here. Also, with the present high stockpiles in some sectors -- as is certainly true in the Sudbury basin, if you use that as an example -- companies under financial pressure might simply use the opportunity of a consumer surge to liquidate their excess inventory, thus limiting the employment generating impact of consumer tax cuts.

Further, the impact of increased consumer spending might be blunted as corporations raise prices to meet expanded demand. Tax cuts and works projects must be measures taken in the context of a more systematic solution to long-term economic slowdown and unemployment.

The provincial government must move to exert public control over the economy, especially investment decisions being made in Ontario. We must make the size and use of capital matters of public rather than just private policy. Since corporate profits are based on the exploitation of our natural resources -- our labour and consumer dollars -- the government must insure that corporations set aside for the development of processing industries in Ontario a large portion of the 85 per cent of their profits they reinvest. This is certainly true in cases such as the Sudbury basin and along the north shore of Lake Huron where, if the resource dwindles or the market for that resource dwindles, then people end up out of work and there is an economic depression.


There can be no further deferrals of the rules on processing in this province. If the private sector doesn’t fulfil its obligations, then the government should use the corporate tax revenue, received under a reformed tax structure, for direct public investment in secondary manufacturing which has for so long been ignored by the resource extraction industries, especially in northern Ontario. The government should direct and control growth in various sectors of our economy to rationalize and stimulate expansion and employment.

I hope I have convinced the Conservatives, such as the Treasurer and his colleagues, as well as the Keynesians who may be in this House, to reconsider their approaches to our economic problems. Short-term solutions such as the cutbacks in balancing the budget, which cause losses in services and jobs and increased hardships to the victims of economic recession, and also tax cuts in government spending, are inadequate. Both of these approaches are just simply inadequate.

The priority of the government must be a planned and controlled economic diversification to provide expansion and long-term jobs. We must develop secondary manufacturing for northern Ontario and the province in general. Places like Blind River, Thessalon and Iron Bridge along the north shore should be able to make use of the wood wastes that are in the area for the development of such things as a methanol plant.

Even in the more prosperous communities of my riding such as Wawa we must develop secondary industry. If we remain dependent simply on iron ore, then in the long run we are going to be in trouble. We must have a diversified economy, one that is dependent on secondary industries which are labour intensive to provide the job opportunities we need. If this isn’t done we will continue to face the tremendous economic problems we have faced for so long --

Mr. Foulds: As long as this government has existed.

Mr. Wildman: -- and the long-term unemployment and inflationary problems that we have faced in this province will continue. For those reasons I cannot support the budget that was introduced in which the Treasurer aims at balancing the budget, nor can I support the opposing proposals that we should do the opposite, simply because it would only be a short-term solution. We need long-term solutions, and I implore the government to see the error of its ways.

Mr. Hennessy: Mr. Speaker, may I take this opportunity of congratulating you on your appointment as Speaker. Being from the north, the same area as yourself and the member for Port Arthur, (Mr. Foulds) I can realize the importance of the appointment. I think you are the right man for the job and will do an excellent job. I am very happy for you and very happy for the residents of Nipigon.

I would also like to take the opportunity of congratulating the member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Rotenberg) on his appointment. I am sure he will do a capable job.

I rise with pleasure to participate in the budget debate of this province. Representing the citizens of the great riding of Fort William, in their wisdom they have applauded the efforts of the Progressive Conservative government in the north by electing a government member to serve their continuing needs well into the future.

I want to touch on a few specifics first. I am happy to see that an adjustment has been made this fiscal year in the grant structure of the resource equalization grant. The standard has been raised from $10,400 to $10,650 to reflect the increase in the average per capita equalized assessment in the province. This will provide a moderate benefit to those northern municipalities with a relative assessment deficiency. In a time of restraint, any additional help is welcome indeed.

I am pleased with the government’s policy regarding a northern Ontario special support grant. This special assistance to northern municipalities has been raised from 15 per cent to 18 per cent of net general dollar levies. Partial support under this grant has increased 39.6 per cent, from $22.2 million in 1976 to $31 million in 1977. I think the people of the north appreciate that restraint as it applies to them it has been handled fairly and not arbitrarily, as opposition critics would like to have people believe.

Unconditional grants for the north are receiving the strong and careful attention of this government as well. I can recall back in 1974 total unconditional grants amounted to about $62 per capita in Thunder Bay. Today in 1977 those grants amount to about $131, which is a hefty increase of over 111 per cent since 1974.

This is good news for the north and I want to point out that I am not using isolated examples. Terrace Bay township’s unconditional grants have moved up 136 per cent since 1974. Neebing township’s moved up almost 670 per cent. Throughout the district of Thunder Bay the government of Ontario --

Mr. Haggerty: Must be regional government in that area.

Mr. Hennessy: -- has provided support where it has been needed.

That was the good news. The bad news is that people of the north are a far cry from any sort of parity with the people of the south.

I look in the 1977 budget and see that the motor vehicle registration fees are now lower -- and the north won’t argue against that. I would like to add that I am attempting to have the government include half ton and van trucks in that lower category.

Mr. Eakins: Take them all.

Mr. Hennessy: But that kind of thing only scratches the surface. The people of the north pay sales tax on base prices which are higher than in the south, so we suffer there. We seem to lose both ways on transportation of goods to and from the north --

Mr. Foulds: You have been reading my speeches.

Mr. Hennessy: -- and although I am told that transportation subsidies are not necessarily the answer, I would say that the north doesn’t care what the answer is as long as it provides a solution.

For too long the north has been looked upon as a supplier of raw resources to fuel the economy of the south. I say that kind of thinking has just got to change. We cannot continue to deplete the north’s resources, particularly our young people. Instead I want to see this province truly recognize the unique and separate value of this important frontier.

Mistakes were made in the urbanization of southern Ontario and a lot of unnecessary transportation, environmental and social problems, not to mention economic problems, arose over the years as a result. We want to extract what is best from the south’s experience and avoid the rest. We want to plan our future in a way that provides for the orderly development of opportunities for our children. All we are asking for at this time is a little understanding from the government.

I know some of the members in this House who have been here a little longer than myself were instrumental in establishing the Ministry of Northern Affairs, and I think this has been a great step forward in the right direction, but to be honest it isn’t going to be enough by a long shot. So long as its only real mandate is to integrate existing government activities under one roof, what we really need is recognition that the north and south are as different as oil and vinegar. We can’t export southern strategies to northern Ontario and hope to achieve any lasting solutions.

If there is one thing to the national unity debate it’s teaching all of us that Canadians come in all shapes and sizes. They’ve all got different needs and rather than fit them into one mould we’ve got to take them as we find them. While I think there is a lesson there for Ontario itself, I think that the provincial government must understand better than it has in the past that the north is not simply an extension of the south, and that we will always resist any attempt to conform to southern expectations.

If I could return to the good news for a moment, I would like to say there are many areas of grievance between north and south. We like the government’s spending restraint program. We like keeping as much of our pay cheques as we can. Perhaps it is because people in the north are a little more independent. I’m sure they like deciding for themselves how to spend their own money, rather than have the government spend it for them. Maybe that’s why I’m on this side of the House and not in the ranks of the opposition. At any rate I admit we’re going to have our economic problems. It’s not going to get any easier in the future, but I think that northerners understand that government is doing the best it can. I think members in this House should understand that northerners are a tough, proud breed of people. They can take care of themselves when the going gets rough and they’ve been in tougher economic times than these.

I won’t be able to change the government’s attitude overnight, but that’s all right with me. As a northerner, I’ll keep trying. Thank you for your attention.

Mr. Nixon: That would have sounded hotter from this side.

Mr. Eakins: Are you an independent?

Mr. Nixon: You’ll never get out of the back row.

Mr. Havrot: If it wasn’t for us, you wouldn’t be there, in the opposition.

Mr. Foulds: What does that mean?

Mr. Conway: Like the preceding members and participants in this debate, I too would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Rotenberg) on his selection as Deputy Chairman of the committee of the whole House. In a similar vein, I would like to join with members of all parties in congratulating the member for Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) on his elevation to the position of Speaker of this assembly. Like my leader, I feel obligated to congratulate the Premier (Mr. Davis) for the courage he has demonstrated in that particular process of nomination. As a member of this party, I would also be remiss if I did not extend congratulations as well to our good friend the member for Perth (Mr. Edighoffer) who will be serving as the Deputy Speaker. I’m particularly pleased that the three gentlemen I refer to in that particular triumvirate represent very well the obvious minority quality of this tri-partisan or three-party Legislature.

I would like to take this opportunity as it is the first formal opportunity provided to me following upon my re-election in June of this year to thank most heartily the electorate from the fair constituency of North Renfrew.

Mr. Foulds: A fair constituency and a poor member.

Mr. Conway: I appreciate to a not inconsiderable extent their confidence not only in my re-election but I might say I appreciate even more so the degree to which they expressed confidence in me on that occasion.

Mr. Wildman: Is Petawawa in your riding?

Mr. Foulds: It certainly postponed your post-graduate studies.

Mr. Conway: I would also like to say at this time I was privileged in 1977, in an electoral sense, to have participated in a campaign with two of the finest candidates, I suspect, that were to be seen in this province in this particular election campaign.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member for Renfrew South (Mr. Yakabuski) and who else?

Mr. Conway: I say in all sincerity that the Conservative and New Democratic candidates who contested that particular riding in 1977, as they did in 1975, set a particularly high standard that I like to think I maintained to a certain degree.


Mr. Warner: Keep working at it.

Mr. Conway: And I think that they should be publicly commended by me for the excellent and outstanding citizenship and campaigns they put forward.

Mr. Gregory: Tell us what went wrong.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I was one of those people who was elected in 1975 --

Mr. Wildman: It was a good year.

Mr. Conway: Not a bad class, if I might say so -- with something less than an overwhelming mandate.

Mr. Warner: The people in your riding had a cruel sense of humour.

Mr. Conway: Certainly in the two years or the 20 months that constituted the 30th Parliament of Ontario, I like to think that it was an apprenticeship that provided me with an opportunity to say little and learn a lot.

Mr. Nixon: My colleague is not abandoning that, is he?

Mr. Conway: I want to say, and to assure my hon. colleagues, that I will continue in that vein, saying little and learning a lot.

Mr. Havrot: Too bad this isn’t The Gong Show.

Mr. Foulds: Is the member sure he’s got those in the right order?

Mr. Cassidy: If he said less, he might learn more.

Mr. Conway: And I want to say that I certainly look forward to a longer tenure in this 31st Parliament and hopefully as constructive a time as we witnessed, those of us who were privileged to be here in the last Parliament, as was the case during that tenure.

Mr. Wildman: The member is starting to sound like Fred Burr.

Mr. Conway: I really am glad to be back with so many familiar faces. That two-month abstinence, so to speak, in the spring and early summer, I guess it was, of this year, made me realize just what an august assembly this place really was.

Mr. Warner: The member should do something constructive and resign.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I really would appreciate if you would ask the hon. member for Scarborough-Ellesmere to cease and desist from his unkindly attack.

Mr. Acting Speaker: I would ask the hon. member for Renfrew North to continue his speech and to ignore any other persons in the chamber.

Mr. Havrot: Does he want us to wipe his eyes and blow his nose?

Mr. Conway: I shall try to the very best of my ability, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: We’re doing the same to the member for Renfrew North.

Mr. Conway: The election of 1977, I think, should be noted -- at least, I would like to make a few observations about the election and certainly about the budget that preceded that election call by some two weeks.

The government and the Premier were, I thought more than a little ill-advised in their precipitous decision, taken on that fine April evening of this past spring, in forcing upon a rather sophisticated electorate in Renfrew North and elsewhere an election which clearly they did not want and which, I think, produced a most salutary result in a number of respects.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Thank you.

Mr. Kerrio: We’ll qualify that. Just wait.

Mr. Nixon: Not quite salutary enough -- but next time.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: It’s always next time.

Mr. Wildman: It was all those Christmas cards, Sean.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. Would the speaker only continue?

Mr. Conway: The election campaign, like the budget which preceded it, I think highlighted in a very real and spectacular way the deep-seated, abject and all-too-apparent bankruptcy of the Ontario Progressive Conservative government.

Mr. Nixon: Precisely the way it struck me.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Same old stuff.

Mr. Conway: I read with interest the quarterly statement of Ontario Finances, speaking about our present budgetary condition; and noting, as many other hon. members have, the rather interesting $1,452-million deficit projected for this year.

Hon. Mr. Snow: What about the $8 billion in Ottawa?

Mr. Kerrio: It condemns them in the same way that this government is -- exactly.

And I don’t take much pride in that either. What pride can the minister take in that?

Hon. Mr. Snow: They don’t do anything --

Mr. Acting Speaker: Order, please. Will the members please allow the member for Renfrew North to continue?

Mr. Conway: That particular figure, I think, is an eloquent testament to the managerial capacities of this government.

I sat in the press room on Friday, April 29, listening to the hon. member for Brampton (Mr. Davis) trying to make a case for why it was the people of Ontario needed this election in such a desperate way. I was convinced on that occasion that the bankruptcy of his case then would be made only too clear to the majority of people in the province throughout the 37-day campaign, and I was more than a little gratified on the evening of June 9 to see that, in fact, that prediction was borne true.

My colleague from Victoria-Haliburton (Mr. Eakins) made, I think, an appropriate reference to some of the chicanery, some of the shenanigans, some of the politicking done by the Tory party during that campaign.

Mr. Warner: Despicable.

Mr. Nixon: Anything to save a remnant from Toronto.

Mr. Conway: It was, truly, as my hon. colleague from Brant-Oxford-Norfolk has just said, clearly, a limp-wristed effort to save what little could be saved.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: That’s not our party.

Mr. Nixon: They were trying, really trying to win St. George.

Mr. Conway: Oh, the cross of St. George, indeed. But I want to say, Mr. Speaker, that the campaign produced what Irving Layton might have called on another occasion, at least from the government party, nothing but the never-ending nauseous craperoo that I feel is being typified in that notorious charter.

Mr. Nixon: Nauseous craperoo?

Mr. Lupusella: It was a social offence.

Mr. Conway: It makes me think back to that day in mid-May when I was quietly working the back concessions of North Renfrew when I, like people in Moonbeam and Armourdale, read about this famous Bramalea charter. It made me think of what the Tory plotters must have been thinking, because they were concerned about the bankruptcy of their philosophical offering, no doubt someone in the backrooms on Richmond Street said, “Something of a general principle must be offered to the electorate.” I guess someone who is about as up to date as most of those Tories are these days was reading the speeches of George Drew.

My friend from Victoria-Haliburton says that those were the good days. In relative terms, as far as the Tory heritage and this province is concerned, I think he’s very correct. Remember that great campaign of 1943. I remember it well. The Tories assaulted the electorate of Upper Canada with the famous 22-point charter offering social security from the cradle to the grave. All I could think about in May 1977 was that while George Drew had picked the Tories up at the cradle, Bill Davis had them at the brink of the grave. Do you know that prophecy or that feeling was, again I’d like to think, confirmed partially at least on the night of June 9.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: When we won seven more seats.

Mr. Eakins: But not your majority.

Mr. Conway: I note the hon. member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick says that they won seven more seats.

Mr. Warner: That’s how you measure it.

Mr. Conway: I think I must say, having grown up and been educated in the educational system of the hon. member for Brampton --

Mr. Nixon: Another illiterate.

Mr. Conway: -- I must say that the hon. member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick is correct. The government increased its vote or its number of seats --

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Both.

Mr. Conway: -- not by seven as I recall but by six. It seems to me that at dissolution --

Mr. Nixon: Were you exaggerating again?


Mr. Conway: -- the government’s party had 52 members at dissolution and on June 9, or certainly after recounts, they had 58 seats.

I must admit that like many other people, I can understand the concern and the difficulty that the hon. member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick would have with that arithmetic, because it depends on how one looks upon the state of metamorphosis in which the honourable and former member for London North was at that particular time, but that’s one political hitchhiker we don’t have to worry about any more.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: It’s the ones you have you have to worry about.

Mr. Conway: And I have got to say this in the presence of my good and honourable friend, the new member for London North (Mr. Van Horne) -- a fine and very positive addition to our caucus -- that next to the renewed confidence that the good burghers of North Renfrew expressed in me on that night of June 9, I don’t think there was anything that gave me the pleasure that I received from the results from London North --

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Don’t be vindictive.

Mr. Conway: -- because I must say with all due respect, knowing as I know you do, Mr. Speaker, that you, unlike perhaps the member for Sault Ste. Marie (Mr. Rhodes) but like most of us, understand and appreciate what it is and what it means to be part of one, and essentially only one, political party.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: What about the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell).

Mr. Conway: But I must say this, Mr. Speaker, that the kind of political manoeuvre that was typified by the former member for London North received, I think, its just desserts on the evening of June 9.

Mr. Gregory: What are you going to do when he crosses the floor?

Mr. Conway: I must say that as one private member I not only appreciate how it was the suffrages of London North were offered on June 9, but in a particular nonpartisan sense the great qualitative judgement they made in electing to this assembly the present member for that constituency.

I must say that I was a little disappointed quite frankly, at the campaign offered not by the local Conservative association in my riding but by the “big blue machine.”

Mr. Nixon: Not so big.

Mr. Conway: Not so big indeed, says the hon. member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk. I was flattered to --

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Not so blue.

Mr. Conway: I sometimes wonder, given the recent cabinet appointments, from Scarborough Centre in particular, just what colour the hon. ministry will assume.

Mr. Gregory: Don’t let him hear you say that.

Mr. Kerrio: You are bankrupt in those departments too.

Mr. Conway: But I must say I was genuinely flattered to read in one of the learned Toronto journals early in the campaign that I was a chicken out in the bush that was really going to be chopped off at the --

Mr. Nixon: Where?

Mr. Conway: On the 9th of June. So I watched with great interest -- and I see the hon. member for Carleton East, and I must say that I know she shares with me this sense of flattery and interest in that particular campaign, because I remember reading about her riding in that -- I think it was --

Ms. Gigantes: There are big, big differences. I would never refer to the electorate of Carleton East as “good burghers”.

Mr. Conway: There are. I would never ever dispute the fact that there are essential differences between the hon. member for Carleton East and the member for Renfrew North. I would be the last person to dispute her claim in that respect. But I was genuinely impressed to see that there was a 11-seat march to majority and that I and my riding were to be part of that march to Tory majority.


Mr. Wildman: So was Algoma.

Mr. Conway: I watched how the Tories campaigned in Renfrew county. I am happy to see the hon. member for Oakville here -- the good Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow).

Mr. Nixon: He is still buying his elections with that park.

Mr. Conway: The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk speaks about opening things and relates it to the member for Oakville. That’s exactly the point I want to make, because we had -- not in my riding, but certainly in my county -- a major new highway that we were talking about for some months. We were waiting to see that blue ribbon stretched across Highway 17 in the southern portion of Renfrew South. We expected to see it clipped some time on or about June 2. That ribbon could have been cut at any point, I suspect, from about September, 1976.

But the fact that the hon. member for Oakville and the party that he is a considerable part of found their way to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, not on June 2 or indeed at any point before June 9, but sometime on or about June 20 --

Hon. Mr. Snow: It was June 29.

Mr. Conway: Thank you very much. June 29, I thought spoke eloquently about where the Tory party has fallen in terms of its genuine political capacities.

Mr. Ruston: Give it to ’em.

Mr. Nixon: They haven’t had any sense there since George Gomme left.

Mr. Haggerty: Did you have an invitation?

Mr. Conway: The member for Erie asks, properly, did I have an invitation? I must say to my hon. colleague from Oakville, the sense of personal hurt that I did not receive one at that time runs, though silent, very deep. I thought after a while that I was going to be running and I expected on June 9 to see on the ballot when I walked into my humble polling booth in the east end of the fair city of Pembroke a ballot that represented the Conservative offering in the person of the Premier (Mr. Davis). Quite frankly, the man was in the riding more often, I sometimes like to think, than the principals in the local campaign. But he was outdone in that, I must say.

Mr. Ruston: He came out once to our place during the night.

Mr. Conway: I can appreciate why he would stay away from Essex county.

Mr. Wildman: The black flies.

Mr. Conway: I really can appreciate how the hon. member for Brampton would find cause and good reason to stay away from Essex county. I presume it was something of the same cause that kept him out of Timiskaming. But I must say he was not alone in his very considerable visitations to Renfrew North. The socialists, God forbid, were there not only as frequently but more so. In 1975, in the division of that year we had a remarkable and truly historical result that indicated that some 30 per cent of the hardworking, God-fearing population of that constituency found their way to a New Democratic ballot. That produced over the intervening 18 or 20 months an activity on behalf of the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy), and certainly the member for Scarborough West (Mr. Lewis), an interest and concern about Renfrew North the like of which we had never seen before, those of us who have been active in the political activity of that particular area for lo these many years.

Ms. Gigantes: I have been going up there for years.

Mr. Laughren: To what is this relevant?

Mr. Conway: I must say that the New Democratic Party brought to the political debate in 1977 in north Renfrew a participation I certainly appreciated. I simply want to answer the question of the hon. member for Nickel Belt by saying that I expect fully, over the next weeks and months and certainly in the next election, to have the same level of activity and participation. They, like the Tories -- and this is the point I want to make in that respect -- found a county and a riding that, quite frankly, a vast majority of their party clearly did not know about prior to September 1975. That is the point to which I would direct the hon. member for Nickel Belt and anyone else who wonders about the relevance of that particular reference.

Mr. Nixon: They should pay Evelyn to go up there.

Mr. Wildman: He’s a good candidate, though.

Ms. Gigantes: I’ve been going up there for years. He is so young, though, he wouldn’t know.

Mr. Acting Speaker: I would ask the member for Renfrew North to continue and to ignore any comments from his left.

Mr. Laughren: Good ruling.

Mr. Conway: The hon. member for Armourdale (Mr. McCaffrey), who I see is here and active tonight -- I often wonder just how it was, within the context of our politics and our public discussion, his predecessor left our midst, but I’ll leave that to the memoirs of the hon. and present member -- maybe, for St. Andrew-St. Patrick, who might know more than the hon. and present member for Armourdale.

The opening speaker tonight started off the budget debate with a very interesting discussion on matters economic and, latterly, matters political, as they relate primarily to the role that Ontario has to play within the national economy and within the national politics. I think that’s an appropriate beginning for anyone in this assembly --

Mr. Wildman: Especially when he’s talking about the budget.

Mr. Conway: -- and I commend the hon. member’s choice of topic. But I do not accept, nor can I approve of, the argument that he attempted to make in that connection, because for a period of some 30 minutes those of us who had the willingness and the indulgence to do so, listened to what has become a plaintive call and perpetual cry of the Ontario Tories, and that is, “It’s Ottawa’s fault, it’s Ottawa’s jurisdiction.”

Mr. Laughren: A pox on both their houses.

Mr. Conway: The hon. member for Armourdale, like the speaker we had this afternoon from that fine area of Carleton-Grenville (Mr. Sterling), brought about as acidic a tone to that discussion of federal-provincial relations as I can imagine. I realize in my advancing years that the hon. members for Armourdale and Carleton-Grenville are freshmen. They are beginning what may or may not be long careers in this assembly.

Mr. Wildman: You’re just fresh.

Mr. Conway: But I suggest that they adopt a stance that is slightly, if possible, less partisan and hopefully more general and constructive.

Mr. Wildman: Like you, eh, Sean?

Mr. Conway: The hon. member for Algoma says “like you” and I concur wholeheartedly.

Mr. Warner: Sean, you have driven all but five out of the House.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that the campaigns of 1977 and 1975 have really turned, as far as the Conservatives are concerned, on this question of Ottawa-bashing. By a peculiar perversion of Tory logic they seek to paint those hon. members in this great party as part of that Ottawa government scene.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: What are you so worried about? Stand up and be counted.

Mr. Wildman: How could they do that?

Mr. Conway: And the member for Algoma says, most appropriately, “How can they do that?” Do I accuse the hon. member for Oakville for giving this province a Bricklin? Do I ascribe to the hon. member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick the accusations of the new Premier of Manitoba?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I don’t mind. You take Trudeau, I’ll take Lyon.

Mr. Conway: Worse still, do I ascribe to the truly hon. member for Oxford the wily machinations of the federal member for Prince Albert? Worse still, do I ascribe to him the attitudes of that august gentleman’s memoirs?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: We stick with our party.

Mr. Conway: Not at all, because like all provincial Ontario Grits my logic is pure and relevant.

Mr. Nixon: And impeccable.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Remember that helicopter.

Mr. Conway: I just want to say to the hon. members, particularly for Armourdale and Carleton-Grenville, that it is not worthy of them to confuse an important debate by this irrelevant and quite frankly irreverent sidetrack vis-à-vis this party and a certain government party somewhere not too far from here in the Ottawa Valley, which I know so well --

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Which one was that?

Mr. Conway: -- if for no other reason than within the context of this important, never-ending debate on national unity --

Hon. Mr. Grossman: You don’t want to be painted with Trudeau.

Mr. Conway: -- it does not behove any of us to grind attention that is natural any more aggressively than is natural. I want the hon. members of that party to read the Treasurer’s speech as recently as Friday or Saturday last, because the hon. member for Chatham-Kent --

Mr. Laughren: You are a sadist.

Mr. Conway: -- knows what a compatible federalism is all about. He says, and I quote him on that occasion, “Back in Ottawa is one of our great national pastimes.” I must say to the hon. members opposite that the constructive politics we are going to need in the next generation are going to require much more than the kind of Ottawa-bashing that seems to be the clarion call of the Conservative Party in this province.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: You have been bashing them. You have been running away from them.

Ms. Gigantes: When are you going to grow up?

Mr. Kerrio: You can’t boast about Joe McTeer. You are stuck there.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I am not hiding from him.

Mr. Conway: Two comments I would like to make this evening relate specifically to the area I have the pleasure to represent indeed the region from which I come. I’m pleased to see the hon. member for Oxford here because the first of these deals specifically with his ministry. I relate this to the general budgetary policy as it must necessarily impinge upon the whole matter of job creation in this province. I certainly see job creation as the fundamental crisis we face, not only in this jurisdiction but within others in this federalism over the next few years.

Nowhere is the government’s record more bankrupt in that particular respect than in the specific regard to which my hon. colleague from Huron-Bruce (Mr. Gaunt) raised, I believe it was on Monday of this week. There is not a commitment that is greater or more important in terms of the economy of this province than Hydro and, in particular, Hydro’s nuclear power commitment over the next generation. Quite apart from any discussion that we might like to have at this point about who is and who is not -- in the words of my hon. friend from Nickel Belt -- pro-nuclear, what is important in this context is the job opportunities that will necessarily flow from that nuclear power program.


Mr. Warner: Jobs at any cost.

Ms. Gigantes: Anything, anything.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, members of this party, and in particular the hon. member for Huron-Bruce and members from that particular western Ontario region, have been made acutely aware of the fact that Ontario Hydro continues in this age of very high and significant unemployment --

Mr. Laughren: No fault of the feds, of course.

Mr. Conway: -- to import, wholesale, considerable numbers of nuclear operators.

Mr. Laughren: That is getting right to the heart of it.

Mr. Conway: It was 14 or 15 years ago that this government and that party opted for a nuclear power program. Surely Ontario Hydro in particular, and the Ontario government in general, appreciated if not immediately then hopefully within a short period of time, the responsibility they would have to train those thousands of people who would be required to man and to supervise that very massive nuclear power program.

Yet we are told as late as Monday or Tuesday of this week that Ontario Hydro has apparently not once gone to other ministries, particularly Education and latterly Colleges and Universities, and said, “This is our requirement. These are the opportunities for young Ontario graduates in a technical field, not by the hundreds but literally by the thousands, that we will require for the next decade, the next generation. Here is a commitment of dollars that we have in our development program. Give it to a particular institution or a series of institutions and have them develop an indigenous nuclear training program.”

I do not think that that is too much to expect from a government with total jurisdiction in that particular field. I do not think that is too much to expect of this government in 1974 or 1975 when its commitment to the nuclear power program was stepped up to a very considerable extent.

What do we have at this time when our colleges and universities are coughing out great numbers and are producing thousands of young Ontario graduates who want work, who are particularly able to find and to want employment in that particular sector of the economy?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: And who are getting work. And who are getting work.

Mr. Conway: What is the Minister of Colleges and Universities, what is the minister responsible for energy, what is the Treasurer and what is the Premier telling us? That no, we have not got programs today because we have not had sufficient lead time.

Mr. Warner: The government knew about it two years ago.

Mr. Conway: We do not have in this province a commitment from that government to youth employment in Ontario today.

Mr. Laughren: Give us your program, Sean.

Mr. Conway: My program quite simply in that respect --

Mr. Laughren: I am sure it will be.

Mr. Conway: -- is a full-scale development within Ontario colleges and universities of a technical program that will produce an indigenous nuclear training program. I know the hon. member for Nickel Belt has opinions on that topic and I will wait with great interest to hear his constructive solutions about a matter that falls directly within and under the purview of that government.

Mr. Swart: You should have heard it first. It would beef up your speech.

Ms. Gigantes: How many jobs?

Mr. Conway: The hon. member for Carleton East says, “How many jobs?”

Ms. Gigantes: One hundred? Two hundred?

Mr. Conway: If the hon. members to my left would do their homework in that respect they would know that the jobs are not in the tens and not in the hundreds. Surprisingly, the socialists, who are so often hyperbolic, so often exaggerative in their claims --

Mr. Wildman: That is the pot calling the kettle black.

Mr. Conway: -- are for this one occasion -- and I know, Mr. Speaker, that you have wrestled with their economic hyperbole for, lo, these many years. You can appreciate, perhaps more keenly than anyone in this assembly tonight, just how ridiculous their prophecies and their projections can be. But I want to tell the hon. member for Carleton East and the hon. member for Nickel Belt that the jobs involved in this respect are not in the tens and not in the hundreds but they are quite frankly in the thousands. They are not only in the thousands but they are particularly good and lucrative jobs which, because of that ministry, because of that government, are being denied to Ontarians today and are being offered freely to an imported group of professionals -- which, quite frankly, without wanting to sound xenophobic, we are glad to have in some respects, but I don’t think we’ll be accused of being unduly nativistic if I say “Ontario first” in that particular respect.

I said earlier that I wanted to demonstrate in one particular respect the bankruptcy in terms of jobs that this government is responsible for, not only in 1977, but indeed, almost over the past generation. The answers given on Monday or Tuesday in this assembly by my honourable and good friend from Oxford do simply not give satisfaction to that particular and very significant concern.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Wait until next Tuesday. We may listen to your words and you may eat them.

Mr. Kerrio: Are you planning a flip-flop?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: No.

Mr. Kerrio: You should.

Mr. Conway: The hon. member for Oxford asks me to wait. Those of us who have had the pleasure and privilege of being on this side of the House are more than a little disposed and, indeed, almost conditioned, to waiting for the government in Ontario, because it has been a long wait since June 9, to see even the earliest realization of their Bramalea charter.

I expect it to be a frosty Friday in July -- in Pembroke, I might add -- before I receive a satisfactory answer, not only on that question but on most of the charter, from that particular government.

Mr. Davidson: Are you going to build a nuclear plant there?

Mr. Wildman: He has got one.

Ms. Gigantes: He has got two.

Mr. Conway: The lamentable ignorance of my good friends from the left on matters economic in north Renfrew disturbs me, because so many of them --

Ms. Gigantes: We know it is not full of “good burghers”; let’s put it that way.

Mr. Conway: -- so many of them found their way willy nilly into that constituency from September, 1975, through to 1977, that I am really and truly surprised -- particularly that my good friend the honourable and distinguished member for Carleton East shows such a regrettable lack of understanding for a constituency that I have tried to educate her about on a number of occasions.

Mr. Laughren: Go back to your notes.

Mr. Swart: That is where the fault lies.

Mr. Conway: I suppose that the fact that the New Democratic Party -- a fine outfit; we need a socialist rump in this province, we want a socialist rump in the province, and we’ve got a socialist rump in this province. I expect that now that they have got more time to understand the real problems, the real aspirations of eastern Ontario, that their ignorance in those matters will decline cornmensurately.

Mr. B. Newman: You’ve got the minister upset. He’s pretty anxious for you to stop.

Ms. Gigantes: You didn’t understand a word he said. How can you clap?

Mr. Warner: There is a bus leaving for Renfrew, maybe you should be under it.

Mr. B. Newman: You must be getting to him.

Mr. Conway: As a bachelor of long standing, not to be loved but to be honoured --

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Or, (d), None of the above.

Mr. Conway: Let the scoreboard show one for the hon. member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Who deserves something for sitting here.

Mr. Kerrio: It’s about time. He’s been dribbling around all night.

Mr. Conway: As an eastern Ontarian, Mr. Speaker, with humble background and even humbler aspirations, I want to conclude my remarks tonight --

Mr. Nixon: Oh, no. Oh, not yet.

Mr. Warner: By resigning.

Mr. Conway: -- by speaking about something that I think flows, tangentially at least, from the budgetary statement and policy. Speaking of the Treasurer, the hon. member for Chatham-Kent, did anybody read The Financial Post piece about what makes the mighty Darcy run? If you haven’t, do read it, because I think as an aside it’s really something that should be appended to the next budget.

Mr. Warner: That’s true. We’re all in debt to him.

Mr. Conway: In the fall of 1974 while I was very happily ensconced in my studies at a great institution in eastern Ontario -- and I must say, Mr. Speaker, I notice that the latest entrant into the socialist horde and leadership contest is in fact a graduate of that fine body -- but I was impressed on that occasion in 1974 by a commitment that was entered into by the government of the day, then as now, relating to what was described by at least two ministers as the showcase of future industrial development in my beloved eastern Ontario.

Ms. Gigantes: It’s not yours.

Mr. Wildman: Who gave it to you?

Mr. Conway: The hon. member for Carleton East says it is not mine.

Ms. Gigantes: It is not.

Mr. Conway: I speak only in a most general way.

Mr. Warner: The king of the valley.

Mr. Conway: I direct my concluding commentary to what is known by now as the Edwardsburgh matter.

Mr. Laughren: King Billy of Renfrew.

Mr. Wildman: The friendly giant.

Mr. Conway: There has been a reference from the hon. member for Nickel Belt about King Billy from Renfrew. That disturbs me. I must confide in you, Mr. Speaker, a very silent and almost partisan thought. He speaks of King Billy. I read that the hon. member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) had been elevated to this distinguished chair. I read next the hon. member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea) was elevated to the cabinet. I am concerned that the Knights of Columbus will be running this place within the month and a King Billy from Renfrew, you might not only need but would happily accept.

In late 1974 there was a considerable rumble in eastern Ontario about this great panacea that the Tories were going to offer. The ministry was going to offer, to our region, a showcase for the future industrial development of eastern Ontario, and that was going to be the 10,000-acre industrial park at Edwardsburgh in south Grenville county. There were some things about that decision that really speak eloquently about the Tories’ commitment, not only to Grenville county -- and I recommend Howard Ferguson’s biography because I think that’s the last good Tory thing that ever happened to Grenville county, quite apparent by one of the speeches this afternoon. That decision was entered into a few weeks after the Minister of Industry and Tourism, the hon. member for Ottawa South (Mr. Bennett) -- unfortunately, not with us these days -- was asked to comment about such an assembly in that part of his area. I want to quote very briefly some of what that distinguished gentleman had to say before the announcement was made in respect of the Edwardsburgh land assembly -- the assembly that was to be, and I quote, “the showcase for Tory eastern development industrial.”

Mr. Swart: What was the final point?

Mr. Deans: Do you happen to have a spare copy? I’d like to read it.

Mr. Kerrio: You had to be there.

Mr. Conway: The member for Wentworth asks about a spare something-or-other. I will not pick him up on that.


Mr. Deans: I asked the hon. member if he had a spare copy. I’d like to take a look at it.

Mr. Kerrio: He could use some help in his leadership fight.

Mr. Conway: What did the member for Ottawa South and the Minister of Industry and Tourism say? He is the man in the ministry in whose charge the development of that showcase would quickly reside. What did the member for Ottawa South say? I quote: “We’d be completely off our nut to build a new industrial park there. Whoever is assembling the land won’t get any encouragement from me” -- not that it mattered then or now, -- “and it is extremely difficult to believe that the Ontario government can justify such a purchase.”

Mr. Laughren: Stop maligning Ontario’s junior achiever.

Mr. Conway: Not only did we find that the prophecies offered by the prophetic Minister of Industry and Tourism came to pass, but the policy formation and the public -- or private, as it turned out to be -- policy discussion that gave us Edwardsburgh is a very symbolic and instructive indication of how this government plans, particularly for eastern Ontario, but also, as we have seen in Edwardsburgh, South Cayuga, North Pickering and a few other selected areas, how it plans for the rest of Ontario. Not one eastern Ontario minister was part, in late 1974 or certainly early 1975, of the cabinet committee on policy and priorities that hatched this famous scheme.

Mr. Deans: Why is the member shouting at him?

Mr. Warner: He’s scaring them all out.

Mr. Conway: So much for the status of eastern Ontario Toryism within that executive council.

Mr. Warner: The member has won -- they’ve all left.

Mr. Conway: So much for the contributions of the previous member for Carleton-Grenville and the member for Ottawa South, that this important decision could be entered into without their advice and without their comment. The decision was announced on January 28 after the government had flown, at great public expense, a veritable army of eastern Ontario municipal officials, none of whom --

Mr. Warner: Oh, the member knows about armies?

Mr. Conway: The hon. member for Scarborough-Ellesmere says, “Do I know about armies?” I certainly know about armies. And if the hon. member for Scarborough-Ellesmere has something to say against Canadian Forces Base Petawawa, let him stand on his haunches and tell us now what his complaint is about Canada’s armed forces.

Mr. Warner: Is the member offering me the floor?

Mr. Conway: The floor is where the hon. member belongs in that respect.

Mr. Kerrio: Lie down.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I want to say to you that the Edwardsburgh decision was announced to those municipal officials by the benevolent dictator from Chatham-Kent after the fact, as always.

Mr. Wildman: The member is getting hoarse.

Mr. Conway: Rather, I might say to the hon. member for Algoma, being hoarse than being something else of a horse.

An hon. member: That’s pretty weak.

Mr. Conway: It is weak. I must say that was uncalled for.


Mr. Speaker: The hon. member will just continue to ignore them. I am.

Mr. Conway: I want to say that the Edwardsburgh decision was entered into before eastern Ontario had any opportunity to discuss its economic future within the context of Ontario’s regressive Conservatism. It was only after the former member for London South, who headed a select group, had made his decision about what he thought was good for eastern Ontario, that those municipal officials were brought here and made privy to that information. I must say I have not noticed any airlift lately to bring that same representation of eastern Ontario municipal officialdom to this Queen’s Park of ours to discuss --

Mr. Deans: Of theirs.

Mr. Conway: Of ours, Mr. Speaker.

There has been no consultation, I regret to report. Not even the hon. member for Carleton-Grenville has been taken into the high councils of the government in this respect. Now we are told in the recent report of the Ontario Land Corporation that this Louisbourg of the 20th century for eastern Ontario is going to sink into oblivion. This great promise, this great --

Mr. Swart: Why don’t you stand on it?

Mr. Conway: -- showcase for eastern Ontario’s industrial development is going to be allowed to disappear and collapse -- not quite, I must say. The hon. Treasurer and others have said to me and my colleagues from eastern Ontario -- I am sure the members for Cornwall (Mr. Samis) and Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes) know about this --


Mr. Conway: -- that we are going to be offered something. Tentatively, it has been suggested that instead of, or maybe in place of, the showcase that the Premier and others promised two and a half years ago by way of a major industrial park for the Edwardsburgh region, the new showcase will be an experimental farm. Pardon me if it’s unkind to suggest it, but those of us in eastern Ontario who do not have such a closely invested interest in the high councils of Toryism have come to conclude, not only on present evidence but on the past record, that it seems to be a first order commitment of the Tories in this province to turn all of eastern Ontario into an experimental farm. That is simply not good enough.

Mr. Wildman: An industrial wasteland.

Mr. Conway: I think it is incumbent upon the Treasurer as the senior planner of this province --

Mr. Deans: God help the province.

Mr. Conway: -- and God help or, perhaps, God spare the province. It is incumbent upon that minister and his colleagues to do, quite frankly, as the hon. member for Carleton-Grenville has wisely suggested, to release those reports which not only gave rise to the assembly of land in that area of two-three years ago, but also to make public the Dillon report which deals with its disposition, or at least some of the alternatives, because as it presently stands the Edwardsburgh fiasco is a very relevant, very significant indictment of this particular government’s commitment -- or obvious lack of it -- to eastern Ontario. If ever one could, from a political and economic point of view, charge that ministry and that government with a complete bankruptcy, it has to be over the Edwardsburgh proposal, not only in its conception, not only in its bungled execution, but now in its apparent collapse.

I want to conclude tonight by simply telling you that it is going to be watched very carefully by all of us in eastern Ontario. I don’t think anything was more apparent in the last election -- they tell me that even in Carleton East the regional alienation helped elect a sometimes not easily electable party.

The sense of regional alienation that eastern Ontario has come to feel, to appreciate and to articulate is far more serious than those syrupy nostrums poured forth by the hon. members for Fort William and Armourdale tonight. It has got to be addressed, not by failures like Edwardsburg but by genuine accomplishment which we in this assembly and which we in this party are certainly here to make materialize.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Nickel Belt.

Mr. Laughren: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I shall attempt to follow that act.

Mr. Speaker: If the hon. member would wish to adjourn the debate.

Mr. Laughren: Yes, I could do that.

Mr. Speaker: You have about two and a half minutes if you wish to make a short statement. That’s your prerogative.

Mr. Laughren: No, the topic on which I want to speak involves some very serious problems in the north and I would prefer to have a longer period of time, thank you.

On motion by Mr. Laughren the debate was adjourned.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Grossman, the House adjourned at 10:25 p.m.