31st Parliament, 1st Session

L048 - Mon 14 Nov 1977 / Lun 14 nov 1977

The House met at 2 p.m.


Mr. S. Smith: I will withhold my questions until the ministers arrive, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Lewis: That sounds pretty good.

Mr. Kerrio: I think we’re wearing them down.

Mr. Nixon: Maybe we ought to adjourn for a little while.



Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health has arrived in the House and I could direct a question to him.

Could the minister tell us whether he has any information to announce concerning today’s story in the Globe and Mail about RCMP alleged access to and alleged use of OHIP data? Can he give us any indication of how such information might have been obtained, if indeed it has been obtained?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I intend to discuss this with the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) who, as you know, is the contact on such matters relating to the RCMP. But, from the information in this morning’s paper, it is difficult to be certain of the period which is being discussed. If it were pre-1972, then of course that is pre-OHIP. It could go back to the days when a good portion, if not the lion’s share, of the claims being processed in the province were, in fact, being processed by private carriers. In effect, what I am saying is the report is so skimpy in detail that it is difficult to know in any precise way what it is they are saying, but I will be taking it up with the Attorney General.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, Mr. Speaker, again I would have asked this of the Attorney General had he been here:

Is the minister able to tell us whether his investigation, or the Attorney General’s investigation, includes the ministry procedures by which information on psychiatric patients is sent to Statistics Canada, particularly those procedures in which, as the minister knows, OHIP numbers are taken from the admission and discharge records of persons in psychiatric units in general hospitals and actually sent, unscrambled, to Stats Canada, and until this year, the first 10 letters of the surname and the initials were also sent? Can the minister assure us, or can he look into, whether or not these procedures have been in some way responsible for the availability of information at Stats Canada, and whether it is that information which perhaps, among others, the RCMP has been able to get hold of?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I think, Mr. Speaker, if that were the case, it would have been reported. But let me refer you -- perhaps one of your staff can get it for you -- to the submission which we made to the commission on privacy in July of this year wherein we indicated that for the purposes of statistical collection and dissemination, we are very careful not to transmit to Stats Canada any information by which the identity of the individual can be determined. I’m talking about current. I can’t talk about previous. I’ll only account for my own activities, but I think this has been the case, really, since quite a number of years into my predecessor’s time.

Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: May I ask the minister what has happened to the inquiry or investigation or whatever it might be called which he launched into the apparent running through the OHIP computer, as a joke, of the identification of given diseases and the people who had been treated for them which would then be matched and obviously available for reasons analogous to those allegedly used by the RCMP?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, this is going back to last winter. The allegation, as I recall it, was that the VD file had been run on a weekend by some unauthorized person. I believe that was the allegation. My staff has checked the files all the way back through last winter and particularly for weekends, because that was the allegation. We can find no indication of unauthorized access to the VD information. The 50 million files of OHIP, and there are 50 million files on the tape, are being scrutinized. As well, we have the Ontario Provincial Police involved to assist in the investigation. I indicated at the time that we would bring in outside computer security experts as required, and this we will do --

Mr. Lewis: But the minister hasn’t done it yet?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- I don’t believe we’ve got them on the job yet. I could be wrong on that, but I don’t believe they are on the job yet -- to try to pinpoint whether or not it did happen, and if so, how. First of all, if we can pinpoint who, if it has happened, we can take corrective action in that regard, and also as far as the system is concerned.

May I say that, given the concern I have about the VD program, and I think we all share this, we’ve got a long way to go in developing confidence among the people affected, particularly among the certain young groups affected. I almost hope that something did happen, because with all this hubbub it would be a shame if we found out that it did not happen, in fact, and that we have, through this process, discouraged people from coming forward and naming contacts and so forth.

Mr. Roy: I wonder if I could ask the minister if he will confirm, as Minister of Health, first of all, that any information, records and so on accumulated by his ministry is confidential, and under provincial statute it is not permissible to release any of this information, except for specific purposes? Secondly, can he assure the House as Minister of Health that this type of information is not released to any police agencies as a matter of routine, whether it be the RCMP or anybody else?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I can certainly confirm the former, and as regards the latter, my understanding of the statute and the advice of legal counsel in the ministry is that there are no provisions to release routinely, as the member says, any such information to any law agency.

Mr. Roy: Could I ask this further supplementary: Could the minister also give the House an assurance that there are no so-called paid informers within his ministry who are releasing this information?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I wish I could say that, but one never knows what individuals are up to. One only has to look at the flow of brown envelopes. As a matter of fact, a review of the security systems in OHIP had begun some time before the initial allegation appeared in the Toronto Globe and Mail as regards to the venereal disease files, and we are constantly reviewing them and trying, wherever possible, to update them to ensure that, even given oaths of confidence, oaths of loyalty and so forth, we have a reasonable set of checks and balances to ensure that information does not get out.

Mr. Speaker: The Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. S. Smith: I don’t know if we have any information as to whether the Attorney General will be returning later. The House leader says he will be. I’ll wait for him. Thank you. I’ll come back in the rotation later.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Oppos -- the New Democratic Party.

Mr. Lewis: The New Democratic Party. You remember that party, Mr. Speaker. You have had a certain casual relationship with it from time to time yourself, sir.

Hon. Mr. Welch: He’s trying to forget it.

Mr. Lewis: He’s not doing badly.


Mr. Lewis: May I ask the Minister of Labour if she has read the observations by Dr. Samuel Epstein about the dangers of exposure to fibreglass and the suggestion that it may turn out to be every bit as hazardous as asbestos on the testing we’ve done so far? Can I ask the minister, have we done any testing in the province of Ontario? Have we any sense of the number of workers who may be exposed to the substance?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, to my knowledge we have not done any specific testing within the government in the province of Ontario. I am not sure that there has not been some carried on through at least one of the educational institutions, but that I would have to check.

Yes, I have read Dr. Epstein’s remarks. I was aware of this concern about two years ago, and there has been a study launched in the United States of a rather massive size, which is investigating those workers who have been directly involved with the use of fibreglass, in insulation particularly, which is ongoing at this time and the results of that have not as yet been published.

Mr. Lewis: By way of supplementary, is the minister satisfied that whatever standards have been set in the province of Ontario are being tightly monitored and met? Or have we a threshold limit value which we impose at least as a guideline?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I’m not sure of that, Mr. Speaker. I will have to check to be sure.

Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, I too would like to wait for either the Attorney General or the Solicitor General.


Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Health. In the light of the fact that the Windsor OHIP office was considered the second most efficient and most productive of all OHIP offices in Ontario, and also that it was the birthplace of prepaid health insurance in North America --

Hon. B. Stephenson: Oh no it wasn’t; AMS was.

Mr. B. Newman: -- how does the minister rationalize the closing of that office?


Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member would look at the information which was released, it’s a simple matter that the London office has the capacity in terms of space and equipment to do the job for the Windsor area as well, whereas the reverse wasn’t true. As the hon. member knows, a number of the staff at present employed in Windsor have been offered positions in London --

Mr. B. Newman: Not yet.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- or will be, to take up the slack. It is a straight cost-saving measure.

Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker, if I may: Did the minister consult with the Windsor and Essex county district health council before he arrived at a decision, or did he bypass the health council?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, this is one of the few things that would not come under the purview of any district health council. It’s a straight administrative matter of the ministry.

Mr. Cooke: I would like to ask the minister if he consulted with the union and the management involved, and if he didn’t, why didn’t he consult with these people before he made his decision? Secondly, I’d like to ask the minister if he took into consideration the decrease in the service that will no doubt happen through this centralization of service. We all know what happened when the Workmen’s Compensation Board was centralized, and that’s exactly what we’re afraid of happening here.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: If it were the case that we were talking about closing all of the, what is it, 10 regional offices of OHIP --

Mr. B. Newman: You would save more money that way.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- that would certainly lead to the analogy with the WCB which the member is trying to portray. That’s not the case at all. In fact, I have every reason to believe the opposite with regard to the allegation that the service will decrease. Given the distances involved and given the capacity already present in the London office, I have no reason to believe that the service to the individual patient, person, or to the practitioners will decrease. We will maintain the office with a small staff -- I think it’s five -- to continue to disseminate information to both the public and practitioners, but there’s no reason to believe that the service will diminish.

The head of the human relations branch did contact the union prior to the announcement going out. The hon. member is quite right in that there was not a consultation in the sense of saying, “What do you think? Should we do it?” The answer to that would be obvious. This is a matter in which the ministry is responsible for ensuring that wherever possible it restrain its spending. In addition to fairly significant reductions in staff over the last two or three years, mainly through attrition, we are looking at every branch of the ministry to see if we can’t find other ways to save money and also maintain service.

Mr. Mancini: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I wonder if the minister could table in the House information concerning the number of staff in London who handled 4.8 million claims as compared to the number of staff in Windsor who handled two million claims; and where he is going to save the $500,000? Finally, how does this centralization program compare with the decentralization program that the minister announced just before the election when he shipped all those jobs out to Kingston?

Mr. McEwen: They’re not at Kingston yet.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Neither has the member for Frontenac-Addington been there recently.

Mr. Wildman: That would add a lot!

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The decentralization is still in effect. We are not pulling that back into Toronto or indicating that it will go to Kingston when the OHIP headquarters moves there in the next three years. It is still decentralized in southwestern Ontario. I missed part of the hon. member’s question, but I’ll pick it up from Hansard and give the member the information.

Mr. Speaker: One final supplementary, the hon. member for Essex North.

Mr. Ruston: How can the minister rationalize the closing of one of the most efficient offices when he has the staff and the manager from Windsor Medical, the founder of Medicare in Canada?

Mr. Martel: The CCF did that.

Mr. Ruston: It’s the most efficient office the minister has and he closes it. He’s got to be stupid.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: You don’t have to be, but some days it helps.

I indicated earlier, Mr. Speaker, that the London office has the capacity, in terms of space and machinery, to absorb the workload and the number of people who will be offered jobs from Windsor to go to London, whereas the reverse isn’t the case --

Mr. Nixon: Even Frank Miller didn’t do that.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- and the communication lines are such that it would be better, if we’re going to try to save money, to pull back into London for southwestern Ontario rather than having the two.

Mr. B. Newman: What have you got against Windsor?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Nothing.


Mr. S. Smith: If I may, Mr. Speaker, reverting to my question of the Attorney General, was he quoted correctly in the Toronto Star when he allegedly said: “Obviously we were seriously contemplating the laying of criminal charges against Armstrong”? Did he have the evidence at that time that Mr. Armstrong had requested payment of $25,000 for what he told Mr. Davies were -- and I quote again from that paper -- “the savings made because you were able to proceed so much earlier than you originally had anticipated”? If so, if he did have that evidence, why did he not lay charges under section 110(1)(d) of the Criminal Code?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, this decision was made prior to my arrival in the office of the Attorney General but I’m relatively familiar with the file on the matter. The matter of charges was reviewed by most of the senior law officers in the criminal division of the Ministry of the Attorney General at 18 King Street East. It was their considered opinion not to lay charges.

I don’t have their opinion in front of me at the moment, and I’m not going to attempt to trust my memory to paraphrase it, but I was satisfied, given the individuals who reviewed it separately. It wasn’t a decision made by one or two individuals; it was at least three or four of the most senior people in the criminal division who reviewed the matter separately. They gave an opinion, as I recall, at the end of September 1975, that in all likelihood criminal charges would not succeed.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of a supplementary, I think the House might be curious, at least in some part, as to why the evidence was insufficient, could the Attorney General undertake to table in the House a copy of all the opinions he received from his advisers or senior law officers with regard to the decision as to whether or not to lay charges against Mr. Armstrong?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No, I will give no such undertaking to the House. For many years it’s been the tradition not to table opinions of law officers of the Crown, particularly as they pertain to criminal matters. Furthermore, in so far as this particular situation is concerned, again one must look at the facts and decide what facts have been determined and what facts haven’t been determined.

I will say this to the hon. Leader of the Opposition. I will review the opinion again and see whether there is further information I can usefully advise the House in relation to it without unfairly prejudicing individuals who have not been charged or without unfairly prejudicing individuals in relation to which certain facts have not been established.

I want to emphasize the fact that this matter was reviewed very carefully by people in whose expertise I have the greatest confidence.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, may I ask a supplementary subsequent to my leader’s questions? First of all, would the Attorney General agree that there is no limitation period on the laying of such charges? Secondly, when it comes to opinions, I can understand that the Attorney General can’t table them but would he not agree that one sometimes can get a variety of opinions about a certain conclusion in law on a certain set of facts? We all make mistakes, as he knows.

Third, since he has a new Deputy Attorney General, would he undertake to submit the facts to the present Deputy Attorney General for his opinion? Finally, what is it about the officials within his ministry and their great reluctance ever to lay any charges under section 110 of the Criminal Code?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I don’t have anything further to add to what I have already said. I am satisfied that the matter was properly reviewed at the time. While I have great confidence in the ability of the new Deputy Attorney General, I am totally satisfied that the matter was properly reviewed and dealt with at that time.

Mr. Nixon: Would the minister not agree that it is of great importance that the members of the House be satisfied that they too are in possession of the information that is just now being made public through the articles in the Toronto Star, particularly since it involves the Treasurer, it involves the judgement of the Attorney General, both now and previously, as to whether or not a commission investigation should have been permitted to go on in Mississauga, and as to whether or not charges should have been laid? Does the minister recall this matter being raised in this very first estimates when similar questions were asked the minister and even at that time the information was not forthcoming?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I don’t think I have anything to add to what I have already stated. I recall the Mississauga inquiry was the subject of some questions from the hon. member opposite, the former leader of the Liberal Party. I will review the decision that was made at that time and will advise the House, certainly prior to the end of the week, whether there is any additional information that should be made known to the members of the House in the public interest. I will endeavour to do that.


Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, I too would like to go to the Attorney General on a separate matter. On the assumption that there may be some truth to the stories about the RCMP and the perusal of medical files, what in the world can the minister do in this province to ascertain whether or not there was such a shocking breach of confidentiality by the RCMP? Is there any way that that information can be elicited by him either by way of direct inquiry from the force or by way of initiating an inquiry on his own?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I have communicated a request to 0 Division, RCMP, in Ontario, to request a report from them in relation to the report that was contained in the Globe and Mail this morning. I have not yet had an opportunity of discussing it with the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) and I certainly intend to do that. As to what further action might be appropriate, I think we will simply have to await their initial response.

Mr. Lewis: I ask by way of supplementary and with a certain frustration, did not the minister himself feel dissatisfied in the assurances which the RCMP has given him on previous matters -- and his colleague, the Solicitor General (Mr. MacBeth), equally? How does one get to the heart of their activities as they affect the government of the province of Ontario, without making certain demands on them for the production of material? Can he do that as the Attorney General in this province? Can he demand it of them rather than going through the federal Solicitor General or Minister of Justice?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I have no legal authority to require them to produce this material. Any information that I have elicited or requested in the past has always been forthcoming. Short of constituting an inquiry for that purpose, that would be the only way in which a provincial Attorney General could compel the production of any documents. But as I say, I think it’s too premature to speculate as to whether that would be an appropriate course of action at this time.


Mr. Lewis: A supplementary: If the words attributed to the minister are accurate -- I think the word was “distressed” at the reports -- and if he is not satisfied by the information flowing back to him on his various requests about RCMP activities, does that remain a live option with him -- the possibility of an inquiry as more of this comes to light and he is frustrated by the absence of specifics?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I think that option is always a live option in these matters, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Lewis: If I had asked him if it was a dead option, would he have answered the same?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I would probably have said it was not a dead option.


Mr. Dukszta: A question for the Minister of Health, Mr. Speaker: Will the minister confirm that there are now 54 fewer certified positions in the complement at the Queen Street Mental Health Centre, and that 19 workers on contract have been terminated?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I am sorry, I missed the last part of the question, but I got the gist of it and I will get the member the figures for the Queen Street Mental Health Centre; also, of course, the patient load as well, to see how they relate.

Mr. Dukszta: I am sorry, I didn’t hear the minister’s answer. He didn’t hear my question and I didn’t hear his answer.

Mr. Speaker: He said he would get the information for the member.

Mr. Dukszta: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister aware that the administrator of the Queen Street Mental Health Centre announced those things on Thursday morning?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: There were some layoffs in different parts of the ministry on Thursday, but I haven’t got the list with me as to how many were in which parts of the ministry. I will get that information for the member.


Hon. Mr. Timbrell: If I may, Mr. Speaker, I have two answers.

Last week the hon. member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Sargent) stated in the Legislature that each senior citizen in nursing homes and other institutions in the province receives an average six to nine medications per day. The hon. member’s statement needs clarification, since the facts are somewhat different.

The Ontario Drug Benefit Plan reimburses pharmacists for prescription drugs applied to residents of the province’s nursing homes and homes for the aged. From the claim status submitted after computerized reports are routinely produced, records show that for the six months ending August 31, 1977, residents of nursing homes and homes for the aged in Ontario received an average of 2.8 medications per person per month -- or prescriptions if you will. These could be taken once a day, twice a day, or up to six times a day, depending on the reason they are being taken in the first place.

It is possible that there may be seriously ill patients who receive as many as six medications per day. However, the prescribing of medications throughout this province is the responsibility of the attending physician, and this is a matter of professional judgement.

The second question, Mr. Speaker: Last Monday I was asked by the hon. member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Cooke) to look into an incident at the Greater Windsor Nursing Home, which I believe is in his riding.

I have done so and it would appear that while a sewer backed up on the floor of this nursing home, the results were somewhat less serious than originally suggested. No one at that nursing home slept in rooms flooded with six inches of raw sewage the night of November 5. In fact, as soon as water backing up from an overflowed toilet began to enter the only occupied room on that floor, the four residents were moved up to the main floor sitting room where beds had been prepared for them.

The nursing home administrator had difficulty in contacting the maintenance man, and since there was just a small puddle of water on the floor, the washroom was simply closed. By morning, however, the situation had worsened. The maintenance man called a plumber; some roots in the sewer system were removed and appropriate cleaning procedures were carried out in the washroom, the ball, and the room used for the four residents.

This incident has been thoroughly investigated and the site visited by both the local medical officer of health and the chief public health inspector in the metro Windsor-Essex county health unit, as well as by an environmental health inspector and the regional nursing supervisor for my ministry’s nursing home inspection service.

Other than to suggest the administrator of the nursing home might have acted more promptly in correcting the problem and in advising the ministry, neither my staff nor the local health unit staff found cause for complaint.

We will register our concern about these matters with the licensee and will reiterate our requirements regarding notification to my ministry of incidents of this nature. Nursing home administrators are required by section 91-5 of regulation 406/76 under the Nursing Homes Act to notify the ministry promptly of all emergencies, such as fires, accidents and outbreaks of communicable diseases.

Mr. Mancini: Supplementary: In view of the fact that many people who work in these nursing homes advise members like myself that there are many citizens in the nursing homes receiving a great deal of medication, more than what the minister has announced to the House today, would it be possible to have some of the minister’s staff check the records of individual nursing homes to see for themselves if there are abuses?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: This would be one of the matters looked at during the nursing inspection of the homes. But certainly if the hon. member has any particular home or homes in mind, I would ask him to let me know and I’ll ensure that that is done.

Mr. Cooke: Supplementary: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Minister of Health if, in his reply, he did state that these nursing home inspectors contacted the medical officer of health and the inspector? If so, is the information that he has given us today from those people? I might suggest that if it is, somehow the minister has got the wrong information, because his statement is totally incorrect.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Was that a question?

Mr. Lewis: Yes. How do you get such bad information in your ministry?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that the staff of the inspection branch were, in fact, in touch with the medical officer of health, Dr. Jones. This was after several visits there and on-site inspections by our staff as well, as I mentioned in the answer.

If the member has information which is different from that, let him convey it to me, and short of making a personal visit -- he knows I can’t visit all these places --

Mr. Warner: Why not?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I’ll check out whatever additional facts he has.

Mr. Cooke: Final supplementary: I’d like to ask the Minister of Health why, when the environmental inspector went out to this nursing home, didn’t he automatically contact Dr. Jones and the chief inspector? Why did it take me to have to call the London office to insist that they contact these people? Why don’t they do their job properly in the first place?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: As the member may not know, it is not the responsibility of the local health unit to inspect nursing homes. That was taken away from the health units about five years ago.

Mr. Cooke: You’ve got nobody in Windsor. They are all in London.


Mr. Bradley: A question for the Minister of Housing, Mr. Speaker. The minister has indicated to municipalities that he wishes to see high-density developments taking place or being allowed, in order to provide low-cost housing. In the light of this fact, is the minister now concerned about the present practice of the Ontario Municipal Board of discouraging, vetoing or delaying public parks and recreation projects which would be considered necessities, rather than frills, in light of the circumstances with high-density housing?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I can’t indicate whether or not the Ontario Municipal Board has, in fact, been taking this position. I have not received any indication from municipalities that they were at all concerned.

If the hon. member can let me have incidents in municipalities where this may have happened, I would like to look at it. But I’m afraid I can’t comment on decisions the OMB may have made in various municipalities.

Mr. Bradley: Supplementary: It has been suggested to the Ontario Municipal Board by the provincial Treasurer or someone in the provincial government that it should be discouraging projects of a recreational and parks nature, that these are low on priorities. Therefore the OMB is forcing municipalities to advertise them, or it is rejecting them and forcing further information, a delaying tactic. This is the practice, I’m sure, across Ontario. It certainly is in the city of St. Catharines.

So I suppose what I’m asking you as a supplementary, as well, would be: Would you not consider these something other than a low priority where you have high density, in light of the fact that parks and recreation projects tend to discourage crime and social unrest? Would you not consider these more of a priority than the OMB is presently suggesting?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I think it goes without saying that most municipalities establish within their own communities what they feel is a fair ratio of parks and recreation facilities according to the population. In many areas where they are increasing densities, they will take into account the number of recreational facilities, the number of parks that they should have.

I can’t comment on whether or not the Ontario Municipal Board has been advised, or it has been suggested to it, that it should place these on a low priority. I frankly had not heard that. I would hope the OMB would make its decisions based upon what is best for a particular municipality, not upon whether or not it has been told to put it on the low priority list.

Mr. Bradley: A final supplementary on this: If the minister were to determine that this is indeed the case, that on the suggestion of the provincial government or the Treasurer or someone of that nature, they are generally ruling that they should be low priority, would the minister undertake then to suggest to the Ontario Municipal Board that they should not be a low priority -- if indeed that’s the case?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, you may rest assured that I do not at any time make suggestions to the Ontario Municipal Board.


Mr. Deans: I have a question for the Solicitor General. Am I correct in assuming that the Halton police force and the police commission of that area have in fact now asked the Ontario Police Commission to investigate the allegations of brutality that have been emanating from a number of lawyers in the area? If I am correct in that assumption, would the Solicitor General undertake to have the police commission review not only those particular allegations, but also to review the comments of one Mr. Murden, who was previously a police officer with the force. Secondly, would he review other allegations which have been placed before the police commission in the Halton area over the last, say, four years to determine whether or not what is now happening, assuming it is borne out by the information that is placed before it, has not been a matter of practice and acceptable to the police force?

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, if I may, I have the reply to a question that the member asked last week that may give the answer to some of those questions.

Last Wednesday the member for Wentworth asked about alleged brutality by the Halton regional police force. There have been four cases of alleged brutality brought to the attention of the chief of the Halton regional police force.

One case was investigated by the OPP at the request of the Crown attorney. The finding was that there was no evidence to support the allegations and the Halton police were cleared of any wrongdoing.

Mr. Lewis: The police investigating the police. Very useful.

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: The three other cases were investigated by the Halton police. One was found to be substantiated and has resulted in one police officer being charged under the Police Act.

The procedure for the handling of complaints as recommended by the Ontario Police Commission is in effect in Halton and is in fact contained in the bylaws of the force. Roy Murden, who was recently quoted in the press, spent some 10 years on the force, having joined the Oakville department prior to regionalization. He is now a civilian and is therefore not subject to disciplinary procedures under the Police Act.

The police authorities are not in possession of any evidence that would warrant criminal proceedings being instituted. The Ontario Police Commission and the Halton board of police commissioners are meeting later this week to discuss the whole matter. After this meeting the Ontario Police Commission will decide what, if any, further action will be necessary.

I think that last paragraph probably answers the first questions the member raised as to whether or not the OPC had been asked by the Halton police to conduct an investigation. They are meeting, as I say, later this week and we will see what comes out of that and I can report back to the House later.

Last Wednesday the member for Wentworth asked a supplementary question having to do with the suggestion that he had earlier brought to the attention of the Solicitor General some complaints about the Halton regional police force. We looked for them and didn’t find that either in correspondence or questions in the House. So if the member will give me some further information I’ll try to track that down.

Mr. Deans: Supplementary question, if I may: Will the minister consult with his colleague the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) and determine whether or not there should be an investigation into the allegations made by Mr. Murden -- or the suggestions, I suppose -- the confessions made by Mr. Murden that he engaged in fairly severe brutal methods in order to obtain for himself and for the police whatever it was that he thought his job was -- an investigation either by the Crown attorney’s office in the event that it is no longer within the jurisdiction of the OPC, or by the Ontario Police Commission, to determine whether or not there should be some charges laid or some follow-up?

Will he do this not only in the case of Mr. Murden? Will the minister also investigate complaints laid by citizens with the Halton police commission over the last four years to determine whether what we are seeing now is simply an opening up to the public of something that may well have been there for some long time?

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: In answering the second question first: Yes, I’ll be glad to review what kind of complaints have been laid against the police in Halton and see whether or not there has been a sloughing off or insufficient examination into those complaints.


Regarding the first question, I don’t know of any evidence against Murden, other than his own admissions, which were in the press --

Mr. Deans: Don’t you think that is interesting?

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: I do, and I am upset by them, of course. Again, it’s his own word in connection with it. I read those reports after the hon. member drew them to my attention and, as I say, I was quite concerned that a former police officer would make that kind of statement.

In any event, if the police can be of assistance in gathering necessary evidence, I will have them do so. But, of course, whether or not charges can be laid at this point will be at the discretion of the Attorney General and his staff.


Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Revenue. In view of the concern that Ontarians feel about the conservation of energy and in view of the fact that it was reported last week that a Mr. Stan Cattroll was going to be assessed an extra $95 for insulating his basement, I was wondering whether the Minister of Revenue would consider exempting the insulation of homes from additional assessment?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Mr. Speaker, our regulations and the Act itself have been amended to provide for those things which will be exempt under the Act, and the list is a very generous one.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary. Will the minister assure us that the installation of insulation in homes is going to be exempt so that we can put some truth in the matter that we want to conserve energy?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Mr. Speaker, I think the member is misdirecting or not couching his question correctly. I think he is referring to assessment requirements, is he not?

Mr. Roy: The problem is not with the question; it is with the answer.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: If so, it does not come under income tax.

Mr. S. Smith: It has nothing to do with income tax. It’s about assessment.

Mr. Foulds: We’re talking about assessment. Put your hearing aid on.

Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary; the hon. member for Waterloo North.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that the minister is in charge of assessment --

Mrs. Campbell: She doesn’t know that.

Mr. Reed: Nor does she know what is on the list.

Mr. Epp: I would like to reiterate my question to ask her whether, in view of the fact that her officials are putting additional assessment on homes where people are insulating their basements and putting in insulation to conserve energy, she would consider exempting the insulation from the assessment portion of the home?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Mr. Speaker, certain insulating materials now are exempt. I think the member is probably aware of that. As for adjusting the assessment for homes that now are insulated, I don’t think that’s true.

Mr. Warner: They should put the minister back in charge of Christmas cards. She did a great job there.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Algoma with a supplementary.

Mr. Wildman: Could the minister indicate whether or not solar collectors are on that long list, the generous list of exemptions?

Mr. Roy: That’s not a supplementary.

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: That is away off the question, Mr. Speaker, but I will be pleased to answer. Quite a bit of equipment involved with the creation of solar heating now is exempt.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for London Centre with an absolutely final supplementary.

Mr. Peterson: In fairness, Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. minister has the whole thing confused. I think what we are asking is about exemptions not for sales tax purposes but for assessment purposes. The original question was whether insulation materials would be exempted and the second question was whether renewable energy devices such as solar energy devices would be exempted for assessment purposes. What is the answer to that question, please?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: Under both statutes, certain equipment and insulating material is most definitely exempt.

Mr. S. Smith: Exempt from what? Assessment?

Hon. Mrs. Scrivener: I said that earlier in response to an earlier question.

Mr. Lewis: Why don’t you just say, “I don’t know?”

Mr. Warner: I have a question of the Treasurer. Perhaps we’ll have better luck this time.


Mr. Warner: Does the Treasurer realize that he has the opportunity to stop the pirating practice of over 200 cabs in Metro Toronto?

Hon. Mr. Ken: He flies; he never drives.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Do I realize?

Mr. Warner: Yes.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: No.

Mr. Warner: Okay, supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Does the minister realize that what is needed to stop the daily pirating practice by 200 cabs in Toronto, is a change in the Municipal Act, so that the municipality would have the right to license taxis at the point of pickup? Further, when the Treasurer told me in June this year that he would be meeting with the taxi drivers in July, did he have a particular year in mind, as they have not yet heard from him?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, the answer to the first part of the question is “no”; to the second part, “yes.”

Mr. Martel: Well, what year?

Mr. Breaugh: Which year?

Mr. Foulds: In the fullness of time.

Mr. Warner: July of 1977 has gone by.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, the member might like to redirect his question to the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) when he is here. He has been examining that whole question.

Mr. Warner: And the Attorney General?

Mr. Lewis: Ask the Minister of Revenue.

Mr. Foulds: Ask her what year it is.

Mr. Warner: When they’ve got their act together over there, perhaps the Treasurer could indicate to me when he’s going to meet with the taxi drivers and how he is going to solve the problem. They have been waiting almost two years now for an answer from the government.

Mr. Speaker: The question has been asked.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I can only repeat that the hon. member might ask that question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications, who may or may not have met with the taxi owners.

Mr. Lewis: Oh, they should leave you stranded at the airport.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: At any rate it seems to be his area of concern. I believe he’s been having some discussions with the Minister of Transport for Canada on this subject.

Mr. Peterson: He doesn’t understand about taxi drivers.


Mr. G. I. Miller: I have a question of the Minister of Health: Can the de-tox centres or the rehabilitation centres expect funding in 1977-78 for the purpose of keeping them operating, particularly Halnor House in Simcoe? Can it expect funding for 1977-78?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I believe that Halnor House is one of those which has been receiving funding from the grants in aid committee of the ministry, whose terms of reference are very clear in that the maximum number of years for which funding is available is three, and Halnor House is currently in its third year. The purpose of this program is, of course, to allow such programs to establish themselves and to develop community sources of revenue, and, thereby, become self-sufficient.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Does the minister not feel that in the three-year period, such centres have been a useful function to the community and have cut down the cost to his ministry and particularly hospitals, and that they should have some consideration as far as funding is concerned?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I’m not familiar with the particular program at Halnor House. I haven’t seen it; I haven’t seen a description of it.

Mr. Martel: Oh, it’s good.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: But I’ve explained the terms of reference under which moneys have been asked for and given. If the member would like to send me a letter explaining the circumstances as to why they either haven’t gone about raising funds in the community or can’t -- unfortunately, far too often it’s the case that they haven’t -- then we can take a look at it.

Mr. Haggerty: They need a lottery.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: There are many projects around the province which we have routinely been getting off the ground and which are now self-sufficient.

Mr. G. I. Miller: One more supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I think that Halnor House is getting considerable funding from the municipality, perhaps as much as 60 per cent. I’ll certainly make sure you have the information made available to you.

Mr. Speaker: That wasn’t a question.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Will he give it further consideration?


Ms. Bryden: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment: I would like to ask the minister to comment on a statement which he made in a letter to the former NDP Environment critic, Dr. Charles Godfrey, in regard to the government’s record or lack of it on prosecuting our biggest polluters --

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Where is he?

Mr. Conway: What happened to him?

Ms. Bryden: -- the pulp and paper industry. The minister said in that letter, “To increase the scope and effectiveness of this area of control, I am recommending the amendment of our environmental legislation to provide wider scope for citizen prosecutions and class actions, as I have stated recently in public.” I’d like to ask the minister when we can expect to see this amendment.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, that is still a possibility.

Mr. Foulds: You are retreating on this one too, are you?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Of course, anything we draft has to go to various committees and cabinet for approval.

Mr. Nixon: Oh, it must be very difficult.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I would expect we may hear something at the next session of the House.

Mr. Roy: How is the Dow prosecution coming?

Ms. Bryden: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Nixon: “The polluters are paying.”

Ms. Bryden: The minister recently supplied me with a list of the prosecutions that have taken place since the cleanup order was placed on the pulp and paper industry in 1965, and they amount to about 10 convictions with fines as low as $100. Is he also planning to bring in legislation to increase those fines?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: As the hon. member knows, it’s the court that makes the decision as to the amount of a fine.

Mr. Roy: You make the laws.

Mr. Foulds: That’s the level.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Our responsibility is to present a case in order to successfully prosecute anybody we lay charges against.

Mr. Roy: Like Dow Chemical.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: As far as our present legislation is concerned, the fines are now $5,000 for a first offence and $10,000 a day on second offence, and we think that’s adequate.

Ms. Bryden: One supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: A final supplementary.

Ms. Bryden: I understand that under the Water Resources Act, the fines are a minimum of $100 and it is still in effect.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: We don’t prosecute under the Ontario Water Resources Act; usually we prosecute for any offences that are set out in the Environmental Protection Act. The Environmental Protection Act includes just every possible offence --

Mr. Martel: You give a licence to pollute, George.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: So we haven’t been using the OWR Act.

Mr. Foulds: You haven’t been using any Act.


Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, to the hon. Minister of Health: My question deals with the PSI Mind Development Institute. Given that the last time --

Mr. Haggerty: Attorney General.

Mr. Sweeney: No, I am not dealing with the OPP investigation but rather with the health aspect of it. Excuse me, Mr. Speaker, but there was a misunderstanding there.

Given that the last time I raised this question, the hon. minister indicated he didn’t have the legislative authority to deal with it --

Hon. W. Newman: You always make a speech. Why don’t you ask a question?

Mr. Eakins: Good to have you with us, Bill.

Mr. Nixon: What did you have for lunch?

Mr. S. Smith: Does anybody have a question for Bill? Come on.

An hon. member: Go back to sleep and let him ask the question. Who woke him up?

Mr. Sweeney: What this has to do with agriculture I don’t know --

Mr. Conway: Did somebody tell the minister he was a pale shadow of Bill Stewart?

Mr. Sweeney: -- unless the Minister of Agriculture and Food plans to take the course. That’s the only reference I can see.

Given that the Minister of Health did not have the legislative authority to deal with it in the last question, and given that the Ontario Psychological Association has now presented the minister with draft legislation that would give him the authority --

Mr. Speaker: I’ve heard three “givens.” I haven’t heard a question yet.

Mr. Sweeney: -- what does he intend to do?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I’m going to do what I told the Ontario Psychological Association I would do, namely distribute that document in the near future, hopefully this month. That was my stated intention, to get the reactions of a number of people. I indicated to them a concern that the most serious problem in drafting that kind of legislation will be in the exemptions -- for social workers, clergy, teachers, and the list could go on. But that will be distributed. Maybe they have found all the answers and there won’t be too much adverse reaction, and we’ll be able to move on it next year. But that’s the process that we’re going to be involved in.

Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker --

Hon. B. Stephenson: And make it a question.

Mr. Sweeney: Has the minister responded to the over 100 municipalities that have specifically asked that something be done about this institute?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I believe the point of the resolutions, letters and so forth, was that there be an inquiry. An inquiry is under way under the auspices of my colleague, the Attorney General.


Mrs. Campbell: Has the minister discussed this matter with the Attorney General to learn from him that it is the Ministry of Health which deals with allegations of hypnosis, as in this case, and that it is no part of the inquiry of the Attorney General’s office?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: That is not my understanding, because certainly one of the possible outcomes of the investigation would be a recommendation that charges be laid under the Hypnosis Act.

Mr. Swart: I have a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.

Mr. Foulds: On coffee?

Mr. Swart: It’s not on coffee. He completely fluffed that one. It’s on another matter.

Hon. B. Stephenson: It’s on tea.

Mr. Roy: That’s right. You’re right again.


Mr. Swart: I’d like to ask the minister, because most people use the ordinary telephone book as a city directory, has he considered recommending to the Bell telephone company that it publish the postal code of its customers as well as their addresses in the telephone directory?

Mr. Roy: You don’t have jurisdiction, but tell him yes.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: No.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, as a supplementary --

Mr. Speaker: It really isn’t an urgent question.

Ms. Swan: Mr. Speaker, as a supplementary to that?

Mr. Speaker: It really isn’t an urgent question.

Mr. Cureatz: You’re excused.


Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Attorney General. What influence did he exert in having the OMB hearing the Maple amusement park issue set its time of sittings to meet the convenience of the developers, even as far as sitting on November 11, Remembrance Day? Could he indicate to this House what private individuals’ applications have had to be deferred because of the preferential treatment the developers of this park have received?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I don’t know what the OMB has done in relation to this hearing. A firm of Toronto solicitors have communicated their concern to me to the effect that a month had been set aside for this hearing and then, part way into the hearing as I recall, they were advised that the time available to complete the hearing would be two weeks and not a month. I simply passed that concern, not directly but through my office, on to the OMB and that was the last I’ve heard of it.

Mr. Stong: A supplementary: I wonder if the Attorney General could account for the rapidity with which these hearings have progressed, particularly in view of the fact that the OMB refused to delay its hearing pending an application under the Environmental Assessment Act, notice of which was given two weeks prior to the commencement of the OMB hearings, as I understand it?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I have no information about the progress of this matter through the hearings. I wasn’t even aware that it was being heard by the OMB until this firm of solicitors communicated their concern to the effect, as I’ve already said, that originally a month had been set aside and the time had been abrogated. That’s all I know of it at this time.

Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired.


Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day I wish to table the answers to questions 30 and 31 standing on the notice paper.


House in committee of supply.


Mr. Chairman: As I recall, when the committee adjourned the Attorney General was just beginning to reply to the critics’ remarks. Does the Attorney General have any comments?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No, Mr. Chairman, it wasn’t my intention to respond at this time to the opening statements of the Justice critics for the two parties opposite. Matters they dealt with in general will be dealt with as we go through the estimates. It was not my intention to respond specifically at this particular time.

Mr. Chairman: There seems to be a fair amount of noise in the chamber. I wonder if the private conversations could be kept to a minimum.

On vote 1301, law officer of the Crown program; item 1, Attorney General:

Mr. Nixon: I would like to just ask the Attorney General for an opinion on a matter which seems to be cropping up in the House more and more frequently, and that is the contacting of the Municipal Board, particularly by the minister’s office -- either his or other ministers’ offices -- to assist the Municipal Board, let’s say, in timing its hearings.

I presume there’s nothing wrong with a private member’s contacting the Municipal Board on behalf of a constituent, yet it seems that it’s an emerging concern the way the ministry -- not just the AG’s ministry, but all the ministries -- feel free to contact the Municipal Board either directly, or as the minister just said in answer to a question, indirectly, to assist it in its scheduling of matters which may be important to the minister or important to people who contact him.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: You don’t have the same privilege as an ordinary MPP.

Mr. Nixon: Of course you do, but you have to remember that you are not ordinary MPPs, and when you do so as the Treasurer or the Minister of the Environment or the Attorney General there may just be a slightly greater indication to the Municipal Board that it might adjust its timetable.

It was interesting to hear the response of the Minister of Housing on a very similar matter when he said, “I do not contact the municipal board.” Now, certainly the Treasurer made no bones about the fact that he wrote a letter of policy to the Municipal Board on the acquisition, or, let’s say, on the establishment of a plan around Barrie. There was some criticism that, in fact, the Municipal Board at least should have had a chance to review the situation without a letter from the chief planner of the province being deposited with it, essentially telling it what the government wanted it to do.

Of course, a private member’s got an opportunity to contact the municipal board on behalf of a constituent. Does the Attorney General see any difference between a private member’s doing that and a minister of the Crown? I see a difference.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: More indirectly.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I think it depends on the context of the communication and, of course, the nature of the communication itself. As the member has just stated, and I am sure as a private member he himself has communicated his concerns to the OMB on behalf of constituents, I certainly make it my position not to express any concerns on behalf of any specific litigants in relation to the matters to be determined by the OMB.

I think the provincial Treasurer is in a different position when it comes to a government policy in relation to planning. This matter was reviewed by the courts, by the divisional court, and the propriety was upheld.

I can’t recall at the moment any specific communication I have had, other than the one that was just referred to. If there have been others, they have been very few and far between.

A firm of solicitors may communicate with me and say, “Look, a month had been set aside for this hearing and we have assembled all our experts and there is a great amount of expense involved in presenting our case. At the last moment we are told that the month that had been set aside has been reduced to two weeks. You know, this hardly seems fair.” As the minister in charge of the administration of the board I simply pass the concern on through my office to the administrator of the board.

I think similarly, if there were a complaint in relation to a matter being unduly delayed, as often there are in relation to the disposition of criminal trials, I might well expedite a criminal trial in the public interest. The member’s leader had a great deal to say in this spring about expediting hearings before the Ontario Municipal Board that were related to construction projects which were being delayed. Certainly it was agreed on all sides that it was in the public interest to expedite some of these hearings as the results might be relevant to needed jobs.

So, in response to the question, it depends on all the circumstances. As the Attorney General I certainly am not going to make any communication directly or indirectly with the Municipal Board that would suggest I favour one side or the other. But when it comes to mechanical problems, such as time that has been set aside for a specific hearing, I think as the minister responsible for the administration of the board I have some accountability to the public. When members of the public have some concern to express about the administration of the board, I feel it is my responsibility to respond to those concerns in relation to the administration of the board.

Mr. Nixon: I appreciate what the Attorney General has said. I have a feeling, however, that this is going to be an increasing problem for private members and ministers. I don’t know whether we are in a position where we are looking for terms of reference; I hope not. It should be clear enough as to what the proper procedure is.

It seems to me that if -- is it Mr. Shub, the chairman of the Municipal Board? -- were to receive a communication from the Attorney General’s office that the Attorney General was concerned that there might not be sufficient time to hear the application in that Maple business it would almost be improper for him not to respond and to satisfy the concerns of his administrative superior. Undoubtedly the Attorney General is a member of this House who has the responsibility, I suppose, to pass these on. But when he says “administrative superior,” it is something more than just passing on a concern. It leaves all of us open to the problem that we were reading about on Saturday, whereby somebody might think that they can influence the timetable of such a tribunal as the Municipal Board.

This is a matter we are going to be concerned with, undoubtedly. It is going to be distasteful, I suppose, but we are going to be concerned about it. We are going to have to be concerned with it.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I am not quarrelling with the hon. member’s concern, but again as we discuss this matter, I recall very vividly, back in the spring where the leader of your party was being very critical of the Attorney General of this province for not ordering the Ontario Municipal Board to do this, or to do that in relation --

Mr. Ruston: To speed up -- speed up.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: That’s right, in relation to speeding up the hearing.

Mr. Ruston: But not their decision.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Well, if you don’t understand that to be a pretty basic interference with the process --

Mr. Ruston: There is a difference. There is an awful lot of difference.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- then, you know, your lack of understanding is hardly relevant to the exercise of my responsibilities. Maybe you better talk it over with your colleague, because he obviously shares the view that I should be ordering the OMB -- not asking how much time might be set aside but ordering them to speed up the hearing. Your leader felt I should be in a position to tell the OMB, “Look, you are letting this thing drag on. You have got to speed up the whole process.” And I said, “Look, I am not going to take a position that is going to interfere, or be perceived to be interfering, with the rights of any of the litigants before that body.” Your colleague doesn’t seem to understand that.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Chairman, this can become acrimonious, and it may. Surely we are going to have to discuss, on a slightly different plane than that -- and this is the ideal place to do it -- that there may in fact be a qualitative difference between expressing a concern right here in the Legislature for the employment level in Metropolitan Toronto, having to do with the fact that the length of time the Municipal Board hearings were taking could be seen by some reasonable people to be delaying the rate at which new construction was begun.

The request was made in this forum, which is very appropriate, and the minister appropriately responded. I don’t think he was right, but he was asked as the administrative head of the Municipal Board to do something about it.


I ask the minister to compare that with receiving a call from somebody who is concerned with the delay in the hearings having to do with the Maple amusement park or whatever, and for the minister to say, “By George, that would be a serious matter,” and doing what private members do -- contact the Municipal Board and say, “Can you reschedule this?”

I would think that normally, from the basis of a private member, the only case I can think of personally is where someone has been denied a building permit or severance on the basis of local objections and it has gone to a Municipal Board hearing. I can hear the constituent on the phone saying, “If I don’t get approval, I won’t get my footings in before the frost.” Then a member would try at least to get a ruling from the board. I suppose in principle they’re identical but I would say to the minister, I suppose in not quite the same tone as has already been used, there is a qualitative difference, and he must perceive it.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes, I can see the qualitative difference, but I perceive it somewhat differently from the hon. member opposite. The illustration we were using in the spring was it was suggested to me that I order the OMB to speed up its hearings, which in effect could be perceived as stating to the OMB, “Look, you’ve got to hurry up the presentation of this side of the case or that side of the case.” That, in my view, represents a fundamental interference with the rights of litigants.

I perceived it as being improper to accede to the wishes of the leader of the Liberal Party last spring. But when it comes to a rather straightforward situation when somebody communicates with the Ministry of the Attorney General and status, “Look, the OMB had told us that a month would be set aside for this hearing. We have all these experts who are here and who have come from great distances at great expense. We are told now that for some reason the time set aside has been shortened to two weeks.” It wasn’t a question of telling them when to schedule the hearing. It was simply a question that was passed on to the administrator of the board as a concern that had been communicated to my office.

I think that that is the type of concern that should be passed on, without commenting on whether a month had been scheduled or not been scheduled. I see a qualitative difference between that and ordering the OMB to hurry up a particular hearing in relation to it taking too long, “the litigants are too long-winded or their lawyers or their witnesses are.”

Mr. Nixon: No. That is not right.

Mr. Roy: No. You are misleading the House.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: That was implicit in what the leader of the Liberal Party was stating. He doesn’t understand the process. I gave him the benefit of the doubt because of his lack of understanding of the process.

Mr. Lewis: You shouldn’t have.

Mr. Nixon: Just one comment, then I’ll let it rest as far as I’m concerned. The Attorney General has returned four times to the request by my leader that he take some action to speed up the Municipal Board hearing vis-à-vis the hearings on the plan for Toronto. As I recall it, there was no idea given by him or even indicated by the Attorney General at that time that we wanted to cut short the arguments, but that the hearings should be going through the holiday season; that the board should be meeting more than, I think, three or five hours a day on it; and that a word from the administrative chief in this responding to the views of the Legislature could expedite the hearing, without curtailing the arguments having been put forward, but so that the board would spend more time on it.

Mr. Lewis: I wanted to reflect for a moment publicly in this as well because we too pummelled away at the Attorney General. I can remember calling a press conference on the penultimate Saturday of the campaign in an effort to persuade everyone that the Municipal Board hearing should proceed instantly and that the Attorney General should order them to proceed. I found him wilfully intransigent in his refusal to direct the Ontario Municipal Board to proceed with the hearing.

I must say, as I read the stories over the weekend, and even when I thought of it at the time, it seemed to me one could put two interpretations on it. On the one hand, the reason we wanted it to proceed was the assumption that jobs would be created because projects would be approved. On the other hand, the projects involved specific developers. There was therefore the kind of invidious sense that we would be benefiting individual developers by insisting that the hearings be held and that jobs be created. Isn’t that the way it always is?

When I read the stuff over the weekend, I wasn’t comfortable about the Arthur Armstrong involvement, frankly, at all. But leaving that aside for the moment as a separate matter, I wondered about questions of impropriety and I must say that I can’t see it. But what does occur to me in the discussion here is something that has worried me a little bit before. What does it say about the OMB, its chairman and its officers if we assume that whether it is an indirect call from someone who works for the Treasurer or someone who works for the Attorney General, they will then jump through hoops and reschedule hearings.

I have to make the assumption -- and if I’m wrong, I’d like to know it -- that the OMB is a relatively independent body that will sort out what is an inappropriate intervention on the part of an elected official -- private member or cabinet minister -- and what is a reasonable drawing to their attention of something that isn’t fair or isn’t working. I have to make that assumption. Otherwise, the OMB is just a fairly unlovely outfit.

I don’t think I have ever had occasion to intervene, partly because I go around most of my life believing that people don’t listen to me anyway, so that if I were to intervene with the OMB they wouldn’t care. But I think that some of my colleagues of greater persuasion have intervened; they have gone to the board and they have asked that hearings be speeded up or that hearings be held or that something happens.

The former leader of the Liberal Party talked about guidelines, or maybe this wasn’t the time to set things up. Maybe it is the time to set up things up. Maybe there is something that has to be said.

I want to work on the assumption, Mr. Attorney General, through the Chairman, that whether it is you or Darcy McKeough or the Premier (Mr. Davis) himself, that somewhere along the way these quasi-judicial independent bodies will exercise their own judgement and if it seems that your request for speed-up is showing partiality to a litigant -- perish the thought -- they will react accordingly. I don’t know what your view is of the board, but I would have thought that that is the distinction one has to assume -- that the board is a group of reasonable human beings who will not either be intimidated or pressured by pomp to speed it up. But obviously there is a great anxiety that that is not the case, that the mere administrative suggestion from the AG’s office means that they shift everything out. I would worry about that. I would consider that more their fault than an intervention by cabinet.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I think the remarks of the member for Scarborough West are very appropriate and I don’t quarrel with anything he has said in those remarks. I think they have to carry on as quasi-judicial and therefore a fairly independent body. Certainly any intervention on my part or by any other minister of the Crown which would suggest that they favour the cause of one litigant or another in my view would be improper.

But we get into a very grey area, as the member for Scarborough West just pointed out in a very articulate fashion. Their concern during the last election campaign, and properly so, was for jobs -- yet they were placed in some people’s minds in the rather invidious position, as it might be perceived, that they were supporting developer applicants before the board whom they don’t necessarily always sympathize with. But the developers and their applications were the vehicle for more jobs and I think that expresses very well the dilemma of any member of the Legislature, any political party, particularly ministers of the Crown -- and I am very reluctant to give the Ontario Municipal Board advice as to how they should schedule their cases.

On the other hand, our whole system of parliamentary responsibility is based on the fact that there has to be some minister of the Crown here accountable to this chamber for the manner in which that board conducts its business. Whether it should be me, as it is at the present time, or someone else, there has to be someone here who is accountable to this chamber and through this chamber to the public for proper administration of the board.

This is a matter that has been of concern to me, not so much in relation to the OMB, because to date, in my view at least, it has not been a problem. But as I set out in our white paper which was tabled a year ago on courts administration, I have long been uncomfortable with the fact that the Ministry of the Attorney General is responsible for the administration of the courts, as a chief litigant before the courts. I find that an even more sensitive area, and it is one that I have stated publicly on more than one occasion, it’s very much a part of the white paper that we tabled. All I can say is that I would welcome any suggestions from the members opposite that might help maintain the confidence of the public in boards like the OMB or, indeed, in our court system generally.

Mr. Cassidy: Since the subject has been brought up, I have to express very grave concern at the way that the OMB has been working. I want to make a couple of suggestions to the minister and ask why the government has been so slow in taking any effective action to clear up the difficulties which are created by the intrusion of the Ontario Municipal Board into absolutely every major planning decision which has taken place in our major cities.

Mr. Roy: That is not what we are talking about. That is not what is in this vote.

Mr. Cassidy: The fact is that as things stand right now the intrusion of ministers and political people into the work of a quasi-judicial body seems to have been accepted and yet that would not be acceptable in the case of the courts. I think we have put ourselves into an impossible position because of the undue nature of the authority that the OMB now has.

I would like to suggest to the minister the question that really needs to be raised and that he should be examining, in view of the difficulties and the delays that are being experienced with the OMB, whether the OMB’s authority and jurisdiction on many of these planning matters should exist there at all. This is something he needs to study, of course, with his cabinet colleagues, but the fact is that the OMB has emerged as a consistent factor for delay. There is no provable evidence that it is actually improving the nature of decisions that are being made at the local level. Its existence undermines the concept of local autonomy.

Often its decisions are so delayed in time that a bad decision made locally which could have been turned around through the democratic process would have been better than a so-called good decision which has been made by the OMB, and the OMB’s writ itself is not final because of the continual use of appeals to the cabinet from parties who are aggrieved and don’t feel that they got what they wanted through the mechanism of the OMB.

I just want to say to the minister that the whole process is a shambles right now, an absolute shambles. It is holding up jobs here in Metropolitan Toronto. I was in Kingston this past week-end and talked to people there and found out there was a grave confrontation going on between the member for Kingston and the Islands (Mr. Norton) and the member for Frontenac-Addington (Mr. McEwen), and even though he is a minister the member for Kingston and the Islands doesn’t seem to be able to persuade the cabinet to overrule an OMB decision which awarded the location of a new shopping centre to Kingston township.

Whatever the political consideration may be, Mr. Chairman, that shouldn’t exist. That decision should have been made locally in some way, rather than coming to sit here for month after month after month. It is now seven months since the minister for the area, the Hon. Keith Norton, said there would be a decision within a month or two. People in that area are agreed that a regional shopping centre should be built and that it should be built away from the centre of Kingston. They may be right or they may be wrong, but there is a consensus in the area in which almost everybody but the downtown merchants of the area agree.

The OMB was asked to look originally not at whether there should be a shopping centre at all but which location it should occupy. Years later, when there is a desperate need for jobs in that area, that decision is still snarled in red tape which has been created under a body which is controlled by this particular minister.

Mr. Lewis: You should send them a sharp reprimand and an order to get on with it.


Mr. Cassidy: But to go on from that, I would suggest that the problem is not intervening and telling them to get off their butts. That has grave weaknesses in it, because it means that politicians are telling a quasi-judicial body how to order its business. The real answer is to take the OMB’s jurisdiction away, to whittle it down to cases where there is a severe difference of opinion, to have them focus only on the narrow aspects of our problem, rather than the broad ones. Take their jurisdiction over official plans and over things like the downtown Toronto plan away, and if you wish to put it at the political level, give approval to the Minister of Housing or to this minister. Do not allow the OMB to have this kind of jurisdiction; do not have this luxury of opulent public spending, with lawyers being paid $1,000 a day and developers spending tens of thousands of dollars for every day of hearings in order that they can try to make their property interest prevail over the democratic decisions that are made by a local city council.

I want to suggest finally that there was a brief period of time when it looked as though the OMB had changed its stripes and had become the protector of citizen interests. That was back in 1969 and 1970. It developed a tremendous reputation on the basis of a very few decisions.

Mr. Nixon: If they agree with your stand, they’re okay.

Mr. Lewis: Well, of course.

Mr. Cassidy: The fact is that the body is used and misused by the representatives of property in order to try to make their interests prevail over democratic decisions made by local councils. I think it’s about time we put those decisions back at the level of the democratically elected councils and not in the hands of an arbitrarily selected body, a body which is open to political influences, as we’ve been seeing in its scheduling, a body which has tended to lean consistently in favour of property, and a body which has been an inadequate vehicle for the application of provincial policy, when there are provincial policies to apply.

Mr. Roy: He is out of order.

Mr. Peterson: I want to bring up with the Attorney General a matter that I’m not very happy about bringing up in estimates, but I think it’s necessary. It pertains to the administration of your office. I say to you with respect I don’t like to do this, but I want to tell you I think from my experience as an opposition member of Parliament dealing with all of the ministries and all of the ministers, some in a personal way, some in a less personal way, I say to you respectfully that yours is the worst administered that I have personally come across.

I’m just going to cite one little example. I know there is a new deputy minister here and I’m very happy that he’s here to hear just an example of a frustration that is not necessary and that in my judgement puts unnecessary pressure on the ministry. These kinds of things just should not happen.

I think you will probably be embarrassed about this little story, not that it’s any great deal, but probably it happens far more often than you would be happy to know about. A Mr. Frank Little, who is the solicitor for Fanshawe College in London, wrote to you originally on June 18, 1976, about the appointment of a notary public for that particular institution. Apparently a lot of documents go through that need a notary’s signature, so he wrote to you, assuming, I gather, it would be very much a matter of course and just a matter of routine. There were two or three letters from him to you. There was no response.

I ran into him at one point and he said, “Could you help me out?” I said, “Sure I’ll try. Maybe you could send me a letter.” He sent me a letter on January 28, 1977, over six months later, after no response from your office.

I wrote to you personally, enclosing a copy of his letter, asking, “Could possibly this routine matter just be handled?” There was no response until March 29. That’s from, as I said, January 28. The response was addressed this way:

“Mr. David Peterson

“House of Commons

“Ottawa, Ontario.

“I wish to acknowledge receipt of your letter regarding Mr. F. H. Little and his request to be appointed notary public. Mr. Little is already a notary public; he is a barrister, solicitor and notary public.” It was to have someone else appointed. “I will forward your letter of recommendation to the appropriate officials of my ministry and assure you that Mr. Little will be given every consideration.”

Mr. Lewis: Who signed it?

Mr. Peterson: Roy McMurtry.

Mr. Lewis: No, I’d better write your letters from now on.

Mr. Peterson: I understand that you have a lot of correspondence and you’re a busy fellow and I was reasonably tolerant up to that point.

As I recall, a week or two after that I came to you personally in the House, as I frequently do with ministers, and I handed you copies of the correspondence to refresh your memory and I said, “Roy, could you please look after this or hand it to the appropriate person?” not wishing to embarrass you or involve you personally in it. But at this point I needed your help. I didn’t hear anything. You said, as I recall, “Yes,” or “Thank you,” or something appropriate in the circumstances, but nothing happened. I wrote again on July 19. That’s another four or five months later -- again sending copies of all the relevant correspondence -- asking if something could be done.

Eventually, I phoned David Allen in your department whom I knew from the days when he had an honest job, and he checked into the matter and the thing got going. It took roughly a year.

Mr. Lewis: You mean they used influence. One of the AG’s aides moved in and used influence.

Mr. Peterson: Far be it from me to suggest that kind of unscrupulous behaviour.

I just use that as an example -- and there is more -- from my experience. Very rarely is it more than a week or two before I get a response from any minister.

You should not be burdened with this. You shouldn’t have to do this. You are a convenient clearing house for a lot of these routine matters. I would ask you to give a little bit of attention to the administration of your office, both for your sake and for the sake of those members who sit opposite and who run into these kind of frustrations.

I hesitated to bring this matter to your attention but I felt that, in view of the fact that this was not an isolated example, you should know about it.

Mr. Lewis: In as public a way as possible.

Mr. Peterson: You may not choose to respond, but it’s my judgement that this deserved to be brought out in public now. There’s no excuse for this kind of thing.

Mr. Roy: He waited until the cameras were turned off. You’re lucky.

Mr. Lewis: Resign.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I may be able to provide some additional details, I’m sure, before these estimates are concluded. Personally, I would apologize to the member for what appears to be something of a botch-up. At the same time I should say that I am confident that it’s a relatively isolated instance. I’m not suggesting that there aren’t others. I know, for example, that this year alone I’ve received some 18,000 letters. We’re operating with basically the staff that my predecessor had but handling at least three or four times the volume of mail. That’s not an excuse, as such, because it’s our responsibility to increase resources if it’s necessary in order to meet the demands of the public.

I have certainly indicated to the members of my staff, whom I happen to have a great deal of confidence in that Legislature correspondence be given priority. Certainly, as I travel about the province, for every complaint we receive -- complaints like yours -- we receive many, many compliments for the work done and assistance provided, not only from people in this chamber but throughout the province. But I want to assure the members of this chamber that the standing instructions are that any correspondence from members of this Legislature is to be given the highest of priority. Obviously, in your particular case, it was badly handled. But I really do believe, Mr. Chairman, that this is a relatively isolated example.

Mr. Peterson: In fairness, your autograph will one day be worth a great deal of money.

Mr. Warner: Mr. Chairman, I’ll be brief. Relating back to the matter of the Ontario Municipal Board and the present process that we have, and realizing that the minister is aware of the fact that this process was under discussion in the Robarts report, does the ministry intend to make -- or has it already made -- submission to the Treasurer with some comments about the Ontario Municipal Board and its present functioning? If the minister has a submission, will it include suggestions of some alternatives? Would it, for example, uphold some of the recommendations of the Robarts report on this matter? Or if the minister is not making a submission could he give us some reasons why not?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: As the member appreciates, we not only have the benefit of the Robarts report but we also have the Comay report which seems to sympathize with some of the views expressed by the member for Ottawa Centre. These reports are being considered by the cabinet as a whole. There are a number of ministries which are interested and affected by the operation of the OMB.

I should also like to relate, from my recollection, that insofar as the operation of the OMB 15 concerned prior to my time here and prior to the time of the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere, there was a select committee of this Legislature that reviewed the operation of the Ontario Municipal Board. It travelled throughout the province and -- certainly, as I recall this report which I have not read recently but which I have read -- the OMB received a great deal of support throughout the province. This allegation of undue interference with local autonomy was not a matter of great concern to the overwhelming majority of municipalities. The citizens of this province were very supportive, generally, of the work of the OMB. I think, in relation to these planning matters and financial undertakings of municipalities, it’s absolutely essential that there be some uniformity and rationality on a province-wide basis.

I think that the OMB has been very successful in achieving this. Certainly, we recognize that the process can be improved and we are very carefully reviewing the reports which I’ve just mentioned. There are ongoing discussions in relation to the operations of the OMB and there probably will be some changes down the road. But this is a very important matter and I want to assure the members that it’s under review by the cabinet as a whole. I think everyone is very concerned that the process remain a useful one to the citizens of this province and a credible one.

Mr. Warner: I’d like to just tidy up a couple of little points about that. In addition to the entire cabinet discussing the merits of the recommendations in the Robarts report, does your ministry intend to submit anything to the Treasurer, either comments on the Ontario Municipal Board, or other matters that are referred to in the report and have some direct relationship to your ministry?

I’m not clear as to what each of the ministries are doing. There are a couple of questions which I placed on the order paper but I know, for example, that the Ministry of Education is in the process of preparing material which it’s going to submit to the Treasurer. What I’d like to know is what each of the ministries is doing.

I’m not particularly interested in a debate over the Ontario Municipal Board. We can argue about its effectiveness. We can debate the good points and the bad points. I’m not concerned with that at this juncture. What I want to know is how you are responding to the Robarts report -- and yes, inherent in that is the Comay report. When I read over the Robarts report it seemed to me to be saying essentially what the Comay report was saying. I want to know if your ministry is responding in a defined way, to the Treasurer so that your particular innermost thoughts on this matter are being conveyed directly to the Treasurer of Ontario.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes, I can assure the hon. member that we will be and are in the process of responding to matters that have been raised by Mr. Comay and Mr. Robarts. But to reiterate and to emphasize, this is an ongoing process. There are many aspects of the operation of the OMB that are being reviewed, whether or not they were dealt with specifically by those two gentlemen. Certainly, the ministry will be making submissions throughout this process.


Mr. Warner: A final question, if I could: When you have completed those submissions and they are made to the Treasurer of Ontario, will you then table them in the House so that each of us can have a look and have some idea as to what your thoughts are on the Ontario Municipal Board and other related matters?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No, I don’t expect that that will be done. Any documents being prepared are for the consideration of the cabinet. Whatever the decision of cabinet is, it is a decision I will support. I am not interested in tabling documents which at this particular stage will be for the use of my cabinet colleagues. I think it would be very destructive of the cabinet system if cabinet members were to sort of air differences which may or may not exist, and they obviously do exist with many of the issues that come up from day to day. It’s certainly not an appropriate part of our system to table such documents.

Mr. Roy: I listened with interest to the comments and response from the minister dealing with ministerial intervention, more specifically with the OMB. First of all, maybe I should congratulate you on your latest appointment to the bench in Ottawa. I should mention this to you because for your interest the appointment of Judge Nadelle has received unanimous and universal approval by all people and all segments of the law apparatus in the city of Ottawa and by the press and so on, and you should be made aware of that.

We are hopeful that is an appointment that’s going to be in the best interests of the administration of justice in the Ottawa area. When you can get a former Crown Counsel who has spent all of his practice actually as a Crown counsel, who receives universal approval from the members of the defence bar and criminal defence association and so on, it’s some indication that things are looking up for the Ottawa bench. It’s important because I think you are aware of the problems we had there. I thought I should mention that to you before I get into some of the other factors.

I do want to make comment on your interchange with the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk and the comments by you about my leader in relation to the OMB and this type of thing. I appreciate that there’s a fine line between intervention and non-intervention with these so-called quasi-judicial bodies. Unless I am wrong, I always understood one of the purposes or the guidelines of the OMB was it must follow government policy. I thought that was one of the things it had to do. That’s the first thing.

The second thing is, as you mentioned, it is a quasi-judicial body. There is some concern on this side of the House about that. We have seen in Ottawa where a minister shouldn’t think of picking up the phone and calling up a judge and asking what is or is not going on in a case. When that has been done, we have seen the reaction. There is a difficulty as well with the OMB.

I want to make clear what my colleague, the leader of the Liberal Party, was talking about. The type of intervention was about the speeding up of a process, I understood. As the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk said, it related to the hours they were sitting or sitting during holidays and that sort of thing, which I really don’t see as anything improper. I was surprised to get your comments because I don’t think for a second my leader suggested you should say to counsel or suggest to litigants before the OMB to cut short their argument, cut down the number of witnesses or this type of thing. I don’t think there was that suggestion at all.

What he was expressing basically was a concern that major projects were being held up by the bureaucratic apparatus or the delays or the length of time that that particular body was sitting. Surely that is fair comment, and is a worthwhile concern that he’s bringing forward. I frankly don’t see anything improper about that, especially when you are saying, generally, projects which are job-creating in themselves should not be delayed.

I see that as being different from intervening in a particular case. Again, I understand what you are saying. I didn’t read the article in the Toronto Star, but if people have geared up for a particular hearing for so much time, have so many witnesses, and then are advised at the last minute there is going to be a change, I can understand their concern. These are difficult, especially when you have expert witnesses and this type of thing.

The problem with the OMB is -- and that’s where the fine line comes in -- it is getting to a point where just being heard becomes sort of a large benefit, certainly an economic benefit. The delays are so lengthy in that tribunal just the fact one can be heard, or certain accommodations are made for one particular case, is something that can be extremely helpful. As I say, I haven’t read the article, but the impression left with the public is, “I wish I could get a set-up like that, where I could call up somebody and be heard at a particular time.”

I think the concern expressed by my colleagues is valid. I can tell you, I have often written to the OMB and asked, “When do you expect to hear this particular case?” or, “When do you expect to hear this other case?” I have inquired of them, but it is a difficult situation. It is something, certainly, that comes back to the rule in law justice must not only be done but must appear to be done. So it is important, especially when the high office of the Attorney General is involved.

The concern expressed by my colleagues certainly is valid. It is something we should reflect upon as to drawing up guidelines when we should and should not intervene. I wouldn’t want to be the one who is going to decide to do that, because that would be nearly impossible. As members, as representatives of the public, we have a concern. You as Attorney General represent a constituency as well and you have valid concerns. So when you can and when you can’t intervene becomes difficult.

I just wanted to make sure things are not taken out of context when we are discussing that sort of a principle. Things must be kept in a proper perspective. It comes back to your comment about the administration of the courts and the concerns you have about the fact the administration of the courts is under your ministry. There is also a concern that some people might suggest there is not the independence there should be.

But I just ask you this. If, for instance, the court process degenerated and did not serve the public, how does the public, if there is complete independence, gets its point of view across? Who does a citizen who is frustrated by the process go and see? He can’t call up the judge; you don’t approach judges. Who does he see? How does the public bring forward its concern? I was going to ask how do they bring forward some sort of pressure, but I wouldn’t want to use that word when we are talking about the judicial apparatus.

Surely the legislative body, which we are, is the one best suited to reflect the opinions, the concern of the public. There should be some way whereby even the administration apparatus of the court is responsible or at least responds to somebody; that there is somebody over and above them to whom they are supposed to report to, to whom we can address ourselves to express these particular concerns.

I see quite a difference between that and intervening in a particular case, or making suggestions such as, “In all rape trials from now on we suggest sentences should be such and such a length of time.” If we are in a mood to do that on legislation within our jurisdiction, we just have to pass laws. I can understand it is not for the Attorney General to start issuing that type of guideline to judges. That would be interfering with the process.

But for the Attorney General to express a valid concern about delays in the courts, or in fact what you have done, is valid. Wasn’t it your ministry that released, sometime in mid-October, a report indicating on an average judges were sitting only 3.5 hours on the bench? I take it that was released by your ministry -- I intend to come back to these statistics, Mr. Chairman. Surely the judiciary can keep their independence and still be responsible to a ministry, be responsible to us, who are, in fact, representatives of the public. We who represent the public should have some way to have some input and make suggestions to the Attorney General of the province as to certain administrative procedures which we consider to be delaying the courts, and changes that we can make in the courts.

I’m suggesting, in fact, it would not be a good idea to take away the administration of the courts from the Attorney General and just have them sort of quasi-independent. After that point how do I or other members of this Legislature express our concern if there is not a responsible minister, we can sort of get at and make suggestions to about what we consider to be deficiencies within the process?

I’m really concerned about that, because I have all the confidence in the world in the judiciary. I respect the people who are named there. The appointments are getting better all the time and I think they are responding more to the need of the community. But the fact does remain, there is some insulation that takes place once you start calling somebody “Your Lordship” or “Your Honour” or whatever. There’s something that happens to an individual, no matter how objective and how sensible he is, when you start putting him up on a chair higher than the rest of his colleagues and when he’s sitting in judgement of others. That concerns me. It really does and there must be some way for those of us who are deeply concerned, to express that concern. We don’t want to interfere in a particular case, but the fact does remain that the courts, the administration of justice, and the judges are there to serve the public.

It’s not that long ago that a lot of judges had this all misplaced. They thought the courts were there to serve their convenience. I’m sure you’ve experienced that with certain judges who felt you sat at hours which were convenient for them and you appeared in court when it was convenient for them. Whenever it became a certain time of the day, it was time to go home. That sort of thing happened.

We can’t tolerate that. We can’t tolerate that any more. I say by not doing so, we’re not interfering. We can’t be said to be interfering in the independence of the judiciary.

I want to make these comments because, frankly, I appreciate there’s a fine line. It’s a difficult role for the Attorney General to be playing. But I think some of these concerns we have need to be expressed, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Davison: I wanted to ask the Attorney General some questions in regard to his opinion of and his involvement with the Ontario Legal Aid plan. Would it be appropriate to deal with that under this vote?

Mr. Chairman: I will admit we do stray a little on item 1.

Mr. Davison: I noticed that.

Mr. Chairman: If he might have the proper staff here at that time, it might be a little better.

Mr. Davison: They’re not very detailed questions, Mr. Chairman. They really are questions on which I would like the Attorney General’s personal opinion rather than staff opinion. They’re not detailed questions. They’re not difficult questions.

Mr. Chairman: I’d like to ask the Attorney General if he feels it would be better to discuss Legal Aid under a different vote.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: It probably would be a more orderly way to handle it, but I’m quite prepared to try to deal with these questions. We don’t have, as has been pointed out, all our staff in relation to questions, but if they’re of a general nature, hopefully I’ll be able to respond to them.

Mr. Nixon: On a point of order, would you direct us to the item where Legal Aid questions might come otherwise? That is questions of a non-general and more specific type; is there a vote?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Vote 1302, items 1 or 2.

Mr. Nixon: Financial services?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Vote 1302, item 1.

Mr. Chairman: Item 1, yes.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: We have all of the contributions relating to the Ontario Legal Aid Fund et cetera on page 17.

Mr. Chairman: Would the member for Hamilton Centre be agreeable to hold --

Mr. Davison: My questions are so brief I could have asked them by now, and I guarantee the Attorney General they are almost superficial. May I proceed?

Mr. Chairman: If they are that brief, go ahead.

Mr. Davison: Thank you. I am concerned about the Legal Aid establishment in Hamilton, I believe in one of our posh downtown office buildings. I am concerned about the inability of my constituents to get access to Legal Aid in terms of hours and in terms of Hamilton being a community in which many of the people don’t use English as their first language. The hours problem perhaps bothers me more.

The Legal Aid office in Hamilton -- I don’t know if the Attorney General is aware of this -- is only open Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. If a chap is trying to hold down a job, working in a steel mill or one of the other plants in Hamilton and he is not on shifts, it means be has to take time off work to go in there. Unless you are a businessman claiming for bankruptcy and have nothing better to do, I am not quite sure how you get access in that kind of a situation without causing some financial difficulties.

I am also concerned about the inability of the Legal Aid structure to deal with people who aren’t comfortable with English.

I am concerned as well about the process of selection of the area committees in Legal Aid.

Mr. Roy: I thought this was going to be just a little question.

Mr. Davison: It is; it’s a couple of little questions.

When I talked to the director in Hamilton, he assured me they had equal representation of lawyers and citizens. The little book, the annual report 1977, shows that equal representation is 10 lawyers and seven citizens. It may take 10 lawyers to equal seven citizens, but I notice that other areas didn’t have that kind of representation but rather had representation only from solicitors. Perhaps the Attorney General could explain to me how those area committees are structured and what guidelines, if any, there are.

Finally, there is the question of recommending people to Legal Aid. Over the course of the past few months I have written to the Attorney General a couple of times seeking his advice on legal matters on behalf of constituents. He has advised me to refer them to Legal Aid; it then becomes my decision whether or not I pass his advice along to my constituents.

What I am concerned about is what advice he gives when one of my constituents might write to the Attorney General without having talked to me. Does his office explain to that individual that while the official Ontario Legal Aid Plan can be approached at such-and-such an address and the contact person is So-and-so, there are other places in Hamilton-Wentworth where that individual can get similar services? For example, the Hamilton Multicultural Centre and the Strathcona community project provide services under the auspices of the plan, I believe.

Perhaps the Attorney General could address himself to those concerns for a moment or two.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Dealing with the last question first, we would not necessarily know what other community resources there might be in Hamilton or another community in relation to providing legal services outside the Legal Aid Plan, so I would doubt very much that we would pass on that information. Our responsibilities really are in respect to the funding of the Legal Aid Plan, which in turn is administered by the Law Society. We do not administer the plan, as I think the hon. member knows.

I will certainly pass on the hon. member’s concerns to the treasurer and the chairman of the Legal Aid committee of the Law Society, your concerns with respect to the matter of access. I think that’s a very legitimate concern. I do not question what you said in relation to what the hours are in Hamilton, but at the same time we will try to find out for you what, generally speaking, are the hours in Legal Aid offices throughout the province. Again, this is a matter for the Law Society in the final analysis, insofar as the administration of the plans is concerned.

So far as the selection of the area committees, there is no firm rule of thumb. It states that they must be on a 50-50 percentage between members of the Law Society and members of the public. I think what the Law Society has attempted to do is to develop a reasonable balance on these area committees between the community as a whole and the legal profession.

I think in many areas it does work out to a 50-50 balance, but it is not an arbitrary rule of thumb, because again it is important to get people who are going to make a valuable contribution. Our experience has been that it is often easier to find people who want to make a genuine contribution within the legal profession, because of the nature of their work, than among members of the community as a whole.

Again, at this time, I want to state that a great many lawyers in this province contribute a great deal of time and effort to the administration of the Legal Aid plan and it would be very costly if we were to reproduce their contribution by public or civil servants. I just detected in your remarks a lack of enthusiasm for the participation of lawyers in the Legal Aid plan. I think we should recognize that many lawyers in this province have made a very substantial contribution, for which they have received no compensation whatsoever, to the administration of this plan in the public interest. I just think that this is the appropriate time. We are going to come back to this, but I just want to emphasize that fact.

Mr. Nixon: I want to pursue with the Attorney General the matter that was raised in question period today, and that is the advice given to him by the law officers of the Crown, on the possibility that it had been before the Attorney General’s predecessor and must have been presented to him, on taking some action against the person named Armstrong who is referred to in the article in the Star on Saturday. I can talk about it more but I think the Attorney General knows what I am talking about.

I have no objection at all to the answer the Attorney General gave when he said he cannot make the advice from his senior officials public, because some might have advised prosecution and others might not and obviously it is for the Attorney General to balance the advice he received and to speak for the government as the chief law officer.

I do, however, think it is his responsibility to satisfy the community, and in the same vein the members of this House, as to why he took a decision under certain circumstances. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on where you sit I suppose, the opposition members, like the members in the community at large, do not have access to information of this type.

The Attorney General may very well recall that just prior to the election of 1975 and afterwards there were many interesting events going on in Mississauga. There was no way whereby any information that we could count on was available to members in the opposition, other than through the newspapers. The minister may recall that Mississauga, by action of the council, established under a section of the Municipal Act a judicial inquiry as to the sources of certain problems that they had somehow observed in their own area. We couldn’t find out what those problems were.

Now we read in the Toronto Star on Saturday that this person named Armstrong was supposed to have contacted the Treasurer of Ontario (Mr. McKeough) and asked the Treasurer to contact the Municipal Board to expedite a hearing having to do with an approval for a certain development in Mississauga.

We’ve already discussed as to whether or not the Treasurer should have done anything in that regard, and we realize in the minds of some members at least there is a problem there that faces the members of the ministry as well as private members, although there is -- we believe, or I believe -- a qualitative difference. But when we understand that this person named Armstrong billed the developer for $25,000 indicating that he had used his influence to procure this valuable favour for the developer named Davis, was it? -- Davies. Sorry, I didn’t mean to bring any coughing spells on you.

The minister indicated he had looked into this very carefully and had got the best advice that was available to him from his senior colleagues, and that his predecessor decided to take no action and that he decided to take no action.

The member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) has already referred in the question period, along with my leader, to the fact that there is a clear section in the Criminal Code making it a serious offence, a criminal offence, even to indicate that you have political influence for sale, and this person evidently had sent a bill for $25,000. When the minister indicates he had good advice not to take action, and then said he would not give the information to the House that had been given to him, I can understand why he wouldn’t want at least to table those opinions. But it’s just not good enough to think that this is going to fade away. We’re going to have to have some more information.

It was a big political issue in those days. It may be again, but in a sense it’s clearly two years old. The municipal administration has changed out there and it might have been on that very basis. I’ll tell the House, the mayor and some members of the corporation were considered to be ineffectual, a bit naive, and maybe they were in these matters. The action, or perhaps the lack of action of this government, in allowing a hearing before the divisional court which was brought by certain members of council and citizens in Mississauga, resulted in getting the hearings or the investigation quashed, if that’s the correct term in that connection.

The judge who had already been appointed -- the Attorney General may recall -- had in a letter indicated that, from the hearings that had already been undertaken, he felt there was reason to continue the investigation. We were told in the House that the judge was being disciplined by the senior judge for indicating in his letter that that was the case. It may have been an action was brought against him, as I recall, for contempt of court. It was a very serious and mixed-up matter, particularly to us as members of the House.

It was raised in the House a number of times and I recall after much of this settled away, in the Attorney General’s first estimates, I happened to be there much as I am today, taking some interest in it, but in no way a leading interest and asking the new Attorney General about that matter. It so happened that the member for Mississauga East was also present and joined in the discussion. I can remember being quite reassured, although no further information was forthcoming, that the government had taken a reasonable position in connection with this. But we are not provided with any of the information. It was a major public situation and now it rises again.


I guess what I’m asking the Attorney General is to appreciate our -- my -- position in a matter like this. It is not possible to allow it just to sink once again below the calm waters of the Mississauga mill pond. We are going to want to know specifically why the Attorney General or his predecessor did not take specific action in response to the specific case that was described in Saturday’s Star. I do believe we should expect, as members of this House, to be able to peruse at least some documents, even if it is just the opinion of the Attorney General put before the House as to why no action was taken at that time.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: It might surprise the former leader of the Liberal Party that I was also a candidate in that 1975 election and was not aware of any political issue relating to Mississauga. As a matter of fact, I do recall there were some questions directed to me in relation to the inquiry generally. At no time, interestingly enough, was any question directed to me, prior to today, in relation to criminal charges in respect of the individual you’ve just mentioned.

Mr. Nixon: I never heard his name until I read the paper.

Mr. Roy: We didn’t have the information. That’s normal,

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I don’t know what information had been made available to the judicial inquiry. Certainly the members opposite were not totally without their sources in relation to that inquiry.

Mr. Nixon: There is probably a misunderstanding in that direction.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Be that as it may, I did not have occasion, and I’m just happy to clarify the record, to consider until this past week even the fact that a decision had been made, as I recall it, in relation to that one individual. It was not something I recall directing my mind to at any time because the matter was never raised. I might have seen something in a file. I might not have. I have no recollection of it, but certainly the matter was raised.

The representatives of the Toronto Star came to me. I spent considerable time with them indicating to them, with the assistance of the file, what had transpired so far as the laying or not laying of criminal charges, because they obviously had devoted a great deal of time to it. It’s not a question of allowing it to, or hoping it will, sink below the surface. The decision to prosecute was made, as I’ve already stated, by senior officers of the Crown, reviewing it independently.

Mr. Nixon: That would be that a recommendation not to prosecute was made by them, was it not?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Obviously, the police had come to them for advice. At this juncture, I also want to make it very clear that the police at all times were free to lay any charges. I think this is very important to understand that in the process in this province, unlike some other provinces, the police are free to lay charges without consulting a Crown attorney. Indeed it may often be their duty to lay charges.

Mr. Roy: In most obvious cases they do.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Also, an individual might well approach a justice of the peace, such as the man Davies might approach a justice of the peace, and seek to lay a criminal charge. There are a number of routes through which criminal charges can be made. I do know, as I said earlier, that the senior law officers of the Crown were consulted in the matter. The decision was made and the recommendation was made to my predecessor that in their view charges would not likely succeed. That did not bind the hands of the police or anyone else, so far as laying charges go, but that was the advice that was received, as I recall, back in September 1975.

I don’t recall today, having reviewed the file, all the details of it. I made it quite clear to the members of this House I would like to review the matter before determining what is going to be in the public interest, balancing the public interest with the rights of individuals to be protected against allegations that might be unfounded. Therefore, you can appreciate, and I think the member does appreciate, the sensitivity of these issues in discussing any opinions that have been given with respect to the laying of criminal charges. That was our interest in the matter. It was to be advised as to whether there was any evidence of criminality that might warrant the laying of criminal charges.

So far as the inquiry itself was concerned, the divisional court struck down the inquiry, if I might put it that way, in layman’s terms, on the basis as I recall, that the court used the expression “denial of natural justice,” but I want to emphasize the fact that it was still within the authority, as I understand it, for the township council in Mississauga to reconstitute the inquiry, which it never chose to do.

Mr. Roy: I didn’t think they had jurisdiction.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes, it was the manner in which they framed the inquiry, and the divisional court made it quite clear that it was free for them to reconstitute the inquiry. So far as the judge was concerned, I don’t recall any event that could be properly or fairly described as disciplining the judge. I know that the judge did suggest that at some point in time -- and this was made public and the question was asked of me in this Legislature -- certain information had come to him which, notwithstanding the decision of the divisional court, warranted a further inquiry.

Mr. Nixon: It wasn’t a suggestion. It was written in a letter signed by the judge.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: All right, we’ll say it was written. I don’t recall the form in which it was communicated. I believe I gave the answer in this Legislature some time ago that upon learning that fact I wrote the chief judge of the county court and indicated it was my view as the Attorney General that if the judge did have information that would warrant a further investigation insofar as the possibility of criminal offences was concerned, then it was my respectful opinion, as the Attorney General of the province, that the judge had a responsibility to communicate this information to the Ontario Provincial Police.

I received a reply from the chief judge, Judge Colter, some weeks later stating that he had discussed the matter with Judge Stortini and Judge Stortini said that he had no information other than what was contained in the files. These files were reviewed by the Ontario Provincial Police in order to determine, first, whether there was any evidence of criminal behaviour or, second, whether there was any evidence which would warrant a further investigation. Their conclusion was that there was not.

At the request of the solicitor for Mississauga -- I should say the request of the Mississauga council, because the resolution was passed by the council and was communicated to me by the solicitor, requesting the return of all the documents to the Mississauga council. That was, in fact, done.

Ms. Nixon: How did you get them?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: As I recall the sequence of events, the judge and his counsel caused the documents to be delivered to an official in my ministry. It was at that point that we arranged to have the Ontario Provincial Police review all of the documents because of the interest and because, quite frankly, of all the rumours that were flying about. I remember Inspector Pelissero of the Ontario Provincial Police was in charge of that investigation. He and his staff reviewed the documents and made a report.

Mr. Roy: What did the report say?

Mr. Nixon: One other thing that I would like to ask in this connection is that the Attorney General indicated that, with the reporters from the Star, he’d gone through the file quite carefully indicating why his predecessor had not taken action against Armstrong.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: That’s not quite what I said.

Mr. Nixon: No, but that’s the impression I got. One of my problems is I can’t understand why you didn’t take action against him. If he had billed the developer for $25,000 for using his influence to have the Municipal Board speed up the hearing -- I mean, there has got to be something we don’t know, maybe quite a bit

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The matter we just referred to is one of a number of matters that was of interest to the journalist from the Toronto Star. At this moment, I don’t recall all the facts in relation to the bill that was purportedly sent from Armstrong to Davies.

I am told -- and I don’t know what I recall from the newspaper report and what I recall from anything I may have seen in our file -- there was a suggestion by Armstrong that he felt he was owed some money as a result of an alleged partnership. I gather there was no effort to collect the money. To what extent this $25,000 was related to any information or any assistance he had provided Mr. Davies, I just don’t simply recall all the details at this moment. I will attempt as I indicated earlier in the day to secure sufficient details to assist the members of this House as to why this opinion was arrived at.

Mr. Roy: Can I make this comment to the Attorney General about the few matters raised by my colleague? Section 110 is a section that some of us are quite familiar with. This dates back to the famous Fidinam situation. Mr. Chairman, I say to your predecessors -- and I guess the present Attorney General was not then in the House; Mr. Bales was the Attorney General at that time and --

Mr. Lewis: The documents were probably left in the chairman’s office.

Mr. Roy: Probably.

Mr. Lewis: Everything ends up in the Rotenberg file.

Mr. Roy: In any event, Mr. Chairman, I had occasion at that time to review very carefully section 110. I can tell you there have not been many prosecutions under that section. I frankly don’t know why.

But I can say to the Attorney General, we had raised quite a fuss at that time. This was a situation where a gift of $50,000 was made to the Conservative Party through the intervention of Mr. Kelly. You will recall at that time -- certainly my colleagues will -- the thing that was interesting there was when the Swiss company made a request of the Canadian subsidiary to find out what the money was for, there was a Telex that said: “$50,000 to Kelly re contract WCP” -- the Workmen’s Compensation Board building. So there it appeared to us to be a prima facie case of a gift, and the reason for the gift, and so on.

The Attorney General at that time, my colleagues will recall with great reluctance, said he saw nothing wrong with that, that he wasn’t going to investigate. But then he changed his mind a couple of days later and said, “Transfer this to the senior law officers of the Crown.” They gave an opinion, which was provided to us at that point, why they felt that there was not a prima fade case and why prosecution should not go forward.

Mr. Nixon: Everything was okay, they said.

Mr. Roy: As I recall, the problem with that particular case was the veracity or the validity of the telegram. It was alleged that the telegram did not reflect what actually took place -- this was done by some junior official down the line at the Fidinam offices. As I recall it was Clay Powell who prepared this opinion and we were supplied with a copy of his opinion as to why a prosecution should not take place.


When you get this type of intervention, where somebody makes an approach and something happens which gives weight, the date is set and that, and then he bills for it, it sounds like a pretty strong prima facie case of an offence under section 110 of the Criminal Code; I don’t know what subsection it is.

This is not the first instance. We have had the Fidinam case, we have had this case. You will recall during this election there was an inquiry and we’ll get to that one later on. But there is a royal commission, isn’t there, looking into another dump site?

Mr. Nixon: It hasn’t been very active yet.

Mr. Roy: This happened just at the start of the election, as I recall.

Mr. Lewis: Though if this Mississauga stuff had come out in September 1975 we all would have walked the high road while you went under.

Mr. Roy: That’s right, that’s right. He would be asking me questions, and I would be turning him aside with impunity.

Mr. Nixon: A royal commission would still have been having hearings.

Mr. Roy: We would have established royal commissions all over. But in any event, I want to say to the Attorney General there is a precedent for being provided with an opinion, once you are given facts which seem to establish a prima facie case, especially when it is as touchy as this. The role of the Attorney General is difficult. I say with great respect, your predecessor, Mr. Bales, and I don’t want to unduly malign him as he’s not here, originally did not perceive the importance of his role as chief law officer for the Crown. It didn’t strike him at that point on Fidinam that there appeared to be something which was not correct, which required his intervention as chief law officer for the Crown. It was not his role, for instance, to look at the fact it was the Conservative Party involved and that he should be careful. I am not making that suggestion to you. But because of that situation, he did refer to his officials and he did provide us, when a decision was made, with an opinion of the law officers.

With regard to your comments if the Crown attorney or his officials say they don’t think there is much sense prosecuting, that in their opinion you require certain essentials to prove an offence and they don’t think you will be successful, the police generally follow that. And I don’t think a Crown attorney who was under the impression there had already been an opinion from the ministry the charge would not be successful would show too much enthusiasm for the police going ahead and prosecuting a charge, knowing there had already been an opinion that the officials didn’t believe they would be successful.

You are right, of course, it is always open to the individual involved, to a lay person, to make a charge, or to deposit information to a justice of the peace. But again, one has to be careful in these matters. I can recall in Fidinam there was some suggestion that I go ahead and lay a charge, or swear out an information on the evidence heard. But I didn’t want to use the courts for what appeared to be partisan political purposes. We must be careful about doing that as well.

Generally speaking, the opinion is exceedingly important, because the police will follow it. That’s why they in fact come for an opinion, especially under section 110 of the Code. This is not a break and enter charge where the essentials are relatively simple. Under that section it is difficult, as there is not that much jurisprudence under that section of the Criminal Code. So it becomes important the public understand why it is, given these facts, there was a suggestion charges not be laid.

Mr. Cunningham: If I could just ask a couple of questions. One of my questions, Mr. Minister, revolves around a letter I believe you were privy to, directed to you by the judge. It’s the allusion I get from a press report, I guess dated November 28, 1975; you think the letter you received from the judge was at the direction of Martin Dobkin, mayor of Mississauga. Of course, I appreciate how the press make mistakes, but you allude that this letter was written at the request of Mr. Dobkin. The implication would be that it was the view of the mayor of Mississauga, not the view of Judge Stortini, that further investigation be warranted.

I would like to ask you, just to start, on what basis you make that assumption? Are you of the view that a judge in any jurisdiction would write such a letter, given the fact that there are a lot of political overtones to this whole discussion and there will probably continue to be? Do you think that a judge in any jurisdiction of this country would write a letter with that kind of political motivation in mind, and, in fact, undermine his personal integrity to that effect? That’s a question I’d like to ask you right now if I could.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Simply, my response is I have nothing more that I can, I think, usefully add at this time to what I’ve already said about this matter.

I’ve indicated to the members opposite, insofar as the Armstrong matter is concerned, that I would attempt to assist them further with respect to why that decision was arrived at. Insofar as the role of the judge who is conducting the inquiry is concerned, I don’t think there’s anything further that I can add to what I’ve already said.

Mr. Cunningham: Sir, if I may, I’d like to pursue this. I don’t want to belabour the point, but I’m basically asking you a somewhat simple question. You’ll pardon me, I’m not a lawyer and I suppose I don’t have these skills necessary to extract an answer from the hon. Attorney General, at least in a legal fashion. But I’d like to know if you are of the view that a judge in any jurisdiction, especially in the province of Ontario, would write a letter with the political motivation inherent and the implications that you make, at least in your press account of November 28, 1975?

Would you not have to accept on face value that in the intent of the judge’s letter there was some sincerity, some real concern, or are you really of the view that this was a politically motivated letter and that he was motivated entirely by the mayor of Mississauga?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: At no time did I attribute any political motivation to the judge, and indeed, when I learned of the letter, I took the course of action that I’ve just outlined. That was to write to the chief judge of the county court of the province of Ontario, indicating our interest in what additional information may be available in order that the Ontario Provincial Police might investigate it.

At no time did we attribute or intend to attribute any political motivation on the part of the judge who was conducting this inquiry in Mississauga. We took his letter seriously and responded in the manner which I’ve just outlined.

Mr. Cunningham: Why, may I ask, would you say -- and I’m quoting here from --

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I think I can shorten this thing up. I have no intention of commenting further on some photostat of a press report, Mr. Chairman. If you want me --

Mr. Cunningham: I’ll send it to the hon. Attorney General. He can examine it himself. I’m sure he has a file on it.

I want to ask you one more thing. The basis of my question is this: As a legislator in this province, I am concerned about this. I am concerned about the efficacy of an individual’s making a representation, or at least holding himself out to have some great power, some great influence, with regard to the Ontario Municipal Board or any other governmental agency. The fact that that individual may have obtained some consideration for that draws me to personally conclude that charges should have been laid.

What I’d like to know from you, Mr. Attorney General, is this: Would you share with members of the opposition parties your report from the OPP so that we might judge for ourselves just to what extent this has been properly investigated?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No, I have no intention of doing that, Mr. Chairman. It would be totally improper for an Attorney General to table police reports in this Legislature and it would be very much against the public interest to do so.

Mr. Roy: I wanted to say, Mr. Chairman, on item 1, of course, I appreciate that it’s difficult for you to know the range of that item, but when we’re discussing the Attorney General, the general office, there are a number of matters, of course, that fit with difficulty.

I yield the floor to my colleague, the leader of the NDP.

Mr. Lewis: Mr. Chairman, I just want to speak for a moment, a minute and a half, to the Attorney General in the presence of his officials.

Because this item started off so badly for you, with that evisceration of your administration by the member for London Centre, I thought I should at least correct the record. I want to say with only half-tongue in cheek that when my life and limb were in peril over the summer months and early fall and I turned to various police forces in Ontario to seek succour and comfort, I had great difficulty. But when I turned to the Deputy Attorney General the response was instantaneous and very much appreciated. It persuaded me that I had much to approve of and to appreciate in the administration of justice at the most senior level.

I am talking very elliptically but it is at least understood by those who are here in the House. I just want it on the record to say that if any of us in this Legislature have fear for our physical presence, just put yourself in the hands of Roy McMurtry and all is relatively well -- indeed, in the hands of his officials as well. I want specifically to thank the Deputy Attorney General on this occasion.

Mr. Roy: I am not sure what my colleague, the leader of the NDP was referring to. In any event, any flowers thrown in that direction, considering the nature of that office I suppose, are well deserved. I do want to mention to my colleagues’ here that we still have a date, do we, on Wednesday afternoon in the court?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: We still have a date but we may have to adjust it.

Mr. Roy: I would hate to see you backing out from this challenge. There will be no physical violence of any sort.

When we get into some of these items it becomes difficult, when we discuss certain questions of general broad policy, to know exactly where to fit these items. I do want to discuss one of the matters and I would like the opinion of the Attorney General on this.

You may recall when I made my opening comments I referred, I suppose to a certain point with tongue in cheek, to some of your comments on some of the matters I was concerned about in your tenure of office last year. One of the comments I have been concerned about was you mentioned something about a possible padlock law for Ontario, to make owners of premises responsible for the activities going on on these premises. This was spurred on by what was going on on Yonge Street in the city of Toronto, the fact that many establishments had been allowed to be set up which, it boiled down to, were obviously just fronts for prostitution. I am referring basically to all of the rub parlours which had been set up on Yonge Street. I suppose they weren’t only rub parlours; there was a whole variety of things, nude encounters and photographs and the whole thing.

There were certain comments made which are of concern to me. I can recall when I first got here in 1971, Yonge Street was relatively tame. In the short period of four or five years the situation changed. I suppose it was in line with the libertarian approach existing in society that on the basis of civil rights you weren’t interfering with certain activities and with the freedom of individuals to do what they pleased. All at once you had all these establishments mushrooming on Yonge Street.

Then there was the unfortunate incident involving a young man for which people are now up before the courts, this alleged murder of a young individual. Panic set in.

I am always afraid of justice in those circumstances. When the pressure becomes somewhat untrammelled, when you get an incident of this nature, which gets caught up and where politicians want to get in on the act, statements are made, actions are taken and suggestions are made by leaders of this community which sometimes are disproportionate with what they’re trying to control or the end they are trying to meet. Statements, in fact, which sometimes are pure hysteria.


I’m concerned about that because we’ve worked a long time to establish a system of justice in this province and in this country, and which in my opinion is second to none in the world, including the safeguards for individuals and the whole process. In fact, we’re spending time now looking whether the process sometimes doesn’t happen to be an impediment to justice, rather than a vehicle.

In any event, we have all this process set up. Then you get incidents like the press and the untrammelled enthusiasm of local politicians getting in on the bandwagon to talk about the vice and sin going on on Yonge Street. Some of the statements made at that time, I thought were something I should raise and get your comments about. One of them was your suggestion that owners should be made responsible. I could see the concern and danger of something like that. I think you recall the Globe and Mail had an editorial which was somewhat critical of your approach about that. I must say as an aside, I found the local politicians somewhat cynical and I suppose I should put that on the record. I don’t want to unduly malign people who can’t defend themselves here in the House --

Mr. Wildman: Don’t say anything about the Minister of Energy.

Mr. Roy: -- but they’re public officials and I suppose if they feel I am saying something that is not warranted they have their platform and I have mine. But I want to say the local officials here, who were in power during all the time these things were going on, and the parlours were being set up, and everything else didn’t do much. It was under their administration. It was not as though they were new boys and it was a new administration coming in and they were going to clean up the city. These same fellows allowed the situation to deteriorate. All at once they reacted just as though this had sprung up overnight. Then, at that point, many of the individuals who had been crying for civil rights and the liberty of the individual were the first ones who were prepared to run roughshod over the liberty or the rights of certain individuals implicated in that.

I don’t intend to name names, but I found it interesting, for instance, that even some of the left-wing members of that council all at once, when the situation got carried away, were among these individuals.

Mr. Gaunt: Sewell.

Mr. Roy: Sewell would be one of them who was saying, “Hey, look what’s going on. Certain steps should be taken.” I could recall the mayor during the time most of these establishments set up. If they were so concerned, they had laws in existence. In my opinion the enforcement of these laws may have well curtailed some of these activities. But nevertheless they wanted extra powers.

The chairman of Metro, Mr. Godfrey and the mayor, David Crombie, and a controller from Etobicoke, controller Winfield Stockwell wanted to have a meeting with the Attorney General of Canada. I think the suggestion was made that at this meeting they wanted to convince the Attorney General of Canada to amend the Criminal Code to sort of give a local option to various municipalities to control nudity. One of the local options Metro wanted here in Toronto was total prohibition and legislation to deal with the nude industry. That was a comment that was made at that time.

It struck me, where are we going? Are we going to start having a Criminal Code whose enforcement is going to depend on local options? That, for instance, what the local elected officials in Toronto decide is nude is not permissible, whereas it’s permissible in Hamilton and it’s not permissible in Ottawa and that sort of thing? I’d like your comments about that sort of statement because it bothers me to no end that statements like that are made.

I want to know if you agree with me that the Criminal Code of Canada in an area as difficult as pornography, nudity and so on is something that maybe should be left at local option, because it seems to be so dependent on whatever the community standards happen to be in the month of November 1977 in Toronto. Does the Attorney General agree with my feeling on this, that when we’re dealing with criminal offences, the Criminal Code is not something that should be compromised or that it should be left up to some local official to decide whether or not this is a criminal offence in his area or not a criminal offence? Does he agree that the Criminal Code should have universal application right across this country?

There is, of course, a great danger in leaving it to locally elected officials to decide whether a particular offence should be an offence in fact in an area because, as I say, there should be some responsibility on the part of the judiciary towards a community. On the other hand, I feel that to leave the responsibility to decide what is a criminal offence on locally elected politicians is not a good idea either.

I must tell the Attorney General as an aside the reason this bothers me so much. I don’t know if he watches a tremendous program on television on Sunday evening at 7 on CBS. It’s called “60 Minutes,” and some of the programs are excellent. Last night they had one on the chief of police of Los Angeles.

Mr. Samis: Not San Francisco?

Mr. Roy: This individual makes Hitler look like a left-winger, actually. What I found interesting was some of the things he was doing --

Mr. Mancini: I’d vote for him.

Mr. Roy: Well, my colleague had better not --

Mr. Foulds: On a point of personal privilege, Mr. Chairman, a comparison of left-wingers and Hitler is a bit much, even in the Justice estimates.

Mr. Roy: What I found interesting was that this fellow, this chief of police of Los Angeles --

Mr. Wildman: Remo says he would vote for him.

Mr. Roy: -- was saying openly that he wanted to be the governor. He was going to run for governor of California. He took pretty right-wing positions on all sorts of things; one of the more interesting ones was that he’s got a real campaign against gays in the area of Los Angeles.

Mr. Wildman: Does he drink orange juice?

Mr. Roy: He wrote a letter to the present governor, Gerry Brown, saying to him in the letter something to the effect of “Dear Gerry, I’m glad to see you’ve now got a girlfriend. I hope your parents are proud of that. I’m very happy for you. Congratulations.” He was sort of leaving the impression -- but this is from the chief of police of Los Angeles to the governor, against whom he’s going to be running in the next gubernatorial election.

Mr. Samis: Imagine if it was the chief of police of San Francisco.

Mr. Roy: It comes back to the fact that we’ve got a good system of justice here, and I wonder whether the minister would say whether he’s against that sort of option when it comes to criminal offences.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I certainly would be opposed to any local option in relation to the criminal law of this country. Obviously the criminal law must be applied uniformly, not only throughout the province but throughout the country. To me, the suggestion is absolutely unacceptable that an activity would be considered a criminal offence in one part of the province and not in another. I think any statement in support of that would have to be dismissed as rather foolish at the very least.

The member for Ottawa East attributed to me some statement favouring a padlock law throughout the province. I want to set the record straight. I don’t recall using that expression, “padlock law,” at any time.

In the aftermath of the Emanuel Jaques killing there was understandable public outrage in relation to this very vicious deed, particularly as it appeared to relate to the extent to which Yonge Street had deteriorated in recent years. Certainly during various exchanges of views with members of the public and members of the media I did volunteer the suggestion that one of the things we would have to look at would be the degree of responsibility which should have to be accepted by the owner of premises in relation to the nature of the activity that was being conducted therein.

For example, the position that was well known on Yonge Street was that one outfit would be closed down and they would, perhaps, start business in the same premises under a different corporate shill. I think we would all agree in relation to this matter that the defence of “See no evil, hear no evil,” should not necessarily always be open to landlords. Certainly, a part of my participation in the public discussion was to throw out the thought that there may very well have to be some responsibility on the part of landlords who should have some knowledge as to the nature of the activity that’s carried on within their premises.

Actually, what I was ruminating about turned out to have some basis in law already, because upon review of the Disorderly Houses Act counsel for the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto -- formerly counsel with the Ministry of the Attorney General -- found existing authority. As a matter of fact, I believe that we may have suggested that that Act might be relevant. As a result, counsel did apply to the court and following convictions of certain individuals carrying on business in certain locations, certain places were closed pending the posting of some sort of bond. Certainly, a great deal has been accomplished.

The extent to which one should attribute knowledge of a landlord, who may be an absentee landlord, to the nature of activity carried on within a commercial premises is, of course, a very difficult subject. At all times, when responding to these questions, I made it very clear that these are problems that the public as a whole must consider in the matter of how far we are prepared to go. I, for one, am very careful not to encourage any of the hysteria which had developed to some extent in the wake of this very terrible killing.

At the same time, I have to pose options -- as I have in the past -- that the public must consider in relation to this matter. We’re still considering some of these options as we prepare some amendments to the Municipal Act which will give municipalities greater authority in determining the nature of the development or the character of the commercial enterprises that are carried on in one particular location or not.

This, of course, is of great concern to me because we must be, at all times, concerned with legitimate rights of individual businessmen. We have to balance those rights with the rights of a community to have some say, through their elected representatives, through their licensing powers as to whether or not they’re going to have whole blocks of nothing else but nude encounter parlours or whether or not a community should have some authority to control the nature of the development that occurs within its core, in particular.

I think all the municipalities in Ontario are very concerned about it. I, for one, don’t favour the concept of combat zones where you should, in effect, rope off a certain area and say: “Everything goes in that area but we’ll try to protect other neighbourhoods.” These are very difficult questions and there are no easy solutions. The Legislature will be asked to address itself to some of these questions when this legislation is introduced in the next several weeks.

Mr. Roy: That is very interesting -- your comment about combat zones, as you call them. They are hardly that. I have had limited travel you know but I have always got to pay my own way, as you know.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: You’d better get on the Ombudsman select committee.

Mr. Roy: Yes, I still want to pay my own way.

Mr. Nixon: They haven’t gone away yet.

Mr. Roy: I am not sure when you mention the question of combat zones that that is not something at which our so-called God-fearing communities in Ontario should be looking. I have seen Amsterdam; I have seen other cities where there seems to be an element of control over that sort of thing.

I distinctly had the impression about Toronto that what affected the local politicians was not so much the activities that were going on on Yonge Street, but that they were prepared to tolerate that until it became too obvious. It became just too obvious and then they said, “Go away.” If they could have wiped this out and the same activity was going on someplace else without anybody knowing about it it would have been much more tolerable.

It’s part of our puritanical background in this province, but I just wonder in a large metropolitan centre -- and I don’t want to be the one who sets policy on this sort of thing for the municipal officials -- whether somewhere along the way, some generation within this country is going to make a decision. As you know, prostitution under the Criminal Code is not an offence. Prostitution in itself; the soliciting of it is. Basically what happens is people with a lot of money never get caught where the solicitation is not that obvious.

What I wanted to say was that we seem to be able to go so far in our laws and not go far enough. You mentioned you looked at the problem in relation to drugs, marijuana and that sort of thing. Again, for all intents and purposes, it’s a rubber stamping process in our courts. The courts have realized that possession of small amounts of marijuana for one’s own use is not something you should throw people in jail for.

I prosecuted in that field back in 1969 and realized that it was a social problem rather than a criminal offence, and yet our legislators in Ottawa are not prepared to take away the criminal aspect of it. Yet people are ending up in the courts and the large majority of them is getting absolute discharges anyway. Why are we burdening the courts with that sort of process?

I suppose the same applies to pornography and prostitution. The problem with that is that it’s such a volatile thing. One year people are prepared to close their eyes and the next year, depending on the circumstances, people get all excited about it, so obviously some options will have to be looked at to deal with that problem.

You know, it’s like pornography. We have discussed it and we have talked about this, but basically it’s a question of why don’t we do as we do on films? Control it. You just control it; don’t try to stop it. If you stop it, it just goes underground. Then it’s probably a worse evil in the sense that the minute it’s underground, you get organized crime becoming more involved with it. They can operate with impunity, and the stuff gets around anyway, so what you try to do in the area of pornography and all that sort of thing is control it.

The concern is for our young people, that at least they should be able to make up their own mind at the right age without being pressed into that sort of atmosphere or had that sort of material thrown at them. We do this with films -- we say certain films are for certain ages and that’s how it is controlled. The same thing should possibly happen when we get into things like pornography, prostitution and things of this nature.

Mr. Nixon: I don’t know whether this is any kind of a useful contribution --

Mr. Wildman: Probably not.

Mr. Gaunt: I am sure it will be.

Mr. Nixon: -- but the minister might be interested to know that I made a personal inspection of the Yonge Street strip today at noon and in broad daylight. I was returning from buying an Air Canada ticket for my sainted mother, who will be leaving for Florida in the near future, God willing, and I thought, “Well, I’ll just walk back up there.” And even for my Protestant, puritanical repressed sensitivity -- somewhat similar to the Attorney General’s I expect -- once I got past Cinema 2000 there really wasn’t a thing that much different from the Yonge Street of 20 years ago.

Maybe they have moved, but they are certainly not hanging out of the upstairs window -- as they say they were. So something almost miraculous has happened there. The only really grievous part of it is that such a spectacular catastrophe had to trigger the clean-up of that situation.

I don’t know what’s happened to all those fancy movie houses and body rub places and so on. But from the vantage point of a provincial -- from out of town -- and I presume that they were designed to interest just such people -- it would be pretty hard to find anything very exciting other than the regular run-of-the-mill movies -- which are probably bad enough -- on the Yonge Street strip.

I thought the minister might be interested in this up-to-the-minute report.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I am very interested, although I suppose it deprives me of an excuse for taking the tour that I had planned tonight.

But, seriously, a lot has happened in the past several months. I think the up-to-the-minute tour as described is not indicative of the way it was three months ago. I think the activities of special counsel hired for Metropolitan Toronto; applications under the Disorderly Houses Act; the fact that we appointed a special prosecutor for offences under the Criminal Code to expedite these cases through the courts; the fact that the police have been active to the extent that several hundred criminal charges have been laid against people on Yonge Street in the last several months -- I think these have had a salutary effect in returning Yonge Street, if not precisely to the pristine glory --

Mr. Nixon: It’s even more pristine.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- of 20 years ago, but in getting things a little better under control I think that activity has been warranted.

Mr. Chairman: If there are no further up-to-the-minute reports, shall item 1 carry?

Mr. Roy: I have a number of concerns to raise with the Attorney General on this item. I think that some of these are difficult to pin down as to which vote they should come under.

One of the things that concern me as well -- and that’s not brought on because we are hearing about all that is going on in Ottawa -- wiretapping and the listening devices being found in various offices. You will recall we had a discussion, was it about a year ago? I suppose it was more than a discussion -- the debate in the House about the police intercepting a communication between a lawyer and his client. This had taken place, I think, in Perth, Ontario, where a criminal lawyer was interviewing his client in jail -- the only place he could interview him because the client was charged with murder at that time. He was advised, through a matter of luck or some stupidity on the part of some official, that in fact they had this lawyer on tape. It came out and there was an admission made at that time by the police.

The Sault Ste. Marie case was a different matter, the lawyer there at that point was a suspected individual. What happened in Sault Ste. Marie is that they put a tap on the phone and they got everybody else’s conversation on it.

But these matters point out the danger or the wide scope of this wire tapping legislation. I continue to express some concern, as that legislation is the type of legislation which, if not controlled, if we don’t keep an eye on it, may get away on us. I appreciate this is a federal matter, but certainly I think you understand you can get to your colleague Basford up there and make certain representations about the type of criminal laws we have on our books here.

One of the things of concern is that case here in Ontario involving a fellow, a businessman from Guelph by the name of William Zudik. I’ve never spoken to the individual, I’m just reading press clippings and I’m reading editorials about the individual.

What happened is this individual had notification that his phone had been tapped as the Criminal Code requires the law enforcement agencies to do, 90 days after a tap had been removed from his phone. This individual was a businessman. He got one of these notifications from the Attorney General’s office in February that his phone had been tapped. However, he was not charged with a criminal offence afterwards and hasn’t been able to find out the reason for the wiretap. He’s never been charged, he doesn’t know why, and he goes out of his way to try to find out what has happened.

He makes an application before a Supreme Court judge and gets a good Supreme Court judge, certainly one who’s had a reputation of interpreting the law quite liberally. The Hon. Mr. Justice Patrick Galligan states under the law he’s not entitled or permitted to know why his phone has been tapped.

This is one instance, and I’ve had other instances of individuals who come along with this document which is called a notification. I’ve had another situation -- and I don’t happen to have the file right here -- where an individual got a notification saying, “Your phone has been tapped,” but his phone had been tapped under the name of Mr. X and his name was Mr. Y. He was never able to find out why his phone had been tapped.

It bothers me. It bothers me when you’re a citizen of this province that your conversations are being overheard, your telephone is tapped for I don’t know how long, maybe 90 days. It may have been longer, but they overheard all of your conversations and you’re not even told why. Certainly that is a basic denial of the fundamental rules of justice, as I see it.

In my opinion the law should be changed to allow an individual to be told, whether it’s in private or otherwise, because as Mr. Justice Galligan said, under the present law there was no way. All the information, the evidence, leading up to the giving of the authorization is secret and you can’t get at it.

So I’m saying to the Attorney General, I wish he would make some representation whether he agrees with me; some concern. Because the enforcement of that legislation of course is under, I think, his ministry. I think he reports under this legislation.

An individual, a citizen in this province, where there is no evidence he’s committed a criminal offence, has his basic right of privacy trampled on for a period of, I don’t know, 30 or 90 days, and the law enforcement agencies have heard everything he’s said for that period of time.

I want to emphasize to my colleagues here a wiretap is not just a search warrant where you’re going into a home on a particular occasion to look for a particular object. A wiretap is carte blanche to overhear every conversation, whether or not it’s relevant to the offence that is the subject matter of this tap. You can overhear everything.

And yet an individual who is attempting to find out something which most people on the street would consider to be very reasonable -- “If you tap my phone police officers, would you just tell me why?” -- can’t find out why.


I am concerned and I would like to hear the Attorney General’s comments about that particular case and whether it should not be in the best interest that an individual should be told under some circumstances. I know there have been amendments. I think the 90-day period now has been extended, but nevertheless I feel we should look closely at that law, not to allow that sort of situation.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I think I share many or most of the concerns that have been expressed by the member for Ottawa East in this area. He will recall when there was some issue in relation to interceptions of telephones that might be resorted to by lawyers or solicitors, I expressed my concern at that time in relation to the lawyer-client situation. I provided the member for Ottawa East with the detailed, and I think, with respect, very carefully thought-out instructions I have issued to all of our agents who have the authority to seek these wiretap authorizations in order to avoid as much as practical the danger of intercepting a solicitor-client type of conversation. And I am sure I discussed it with the member for Ottawa East and we developed these guidelines which have gone out.

In relation to a very serious issue that is raised by the Zadik case, I might say that a number of lawyers have expressed their concern to me about the present state of the law including, as a matter of fact, my own lawyer brother. I would like to comment, as has the member for Ottawa East, about the problems that can be created for somebody who, out of the blue, receives a notification that they have been the subject matter of a wiretap. The danger, for example, that this notification may fall into somebody else’s hands. I mean, in the case of Mr. Zadik, he chose to make it public. He decided to attempt to obtain this information through the legal process.

I think Mr. Justice Galligan’s decision was absolutely correct. Under the law -- and the law was very clear -- there was no authority to reveal this information. Indeed I, as Attorney General, would be committing an offence if I were to reveal the reasons for the wiretap. But the danger of what this might cause to somebody who receives this notification exists. They may have been suspected of criminal activity or I suppose it is conceivable they have just been a possible victim.

The danger of it falling into somebody else’s hands exists. I mean, it’s a piece of paper. Somebody else may get hold of it in the normal course of events, and of course believe that his friend or neighbour or relative is perhaps a dangerous individual or somebody that may be suspected, at least by the police, of being engaged in criminal activity.

I just want to indicate to the member for Ottawa East that I share his concerns in this area. As a matter of fact, I have established a committee in my ministry to review this aspect of the legislation and I have asked them to consider the possibility of recommending amendments to the federal government in order to alleviate the undoubted hardship that is caused to certain individuals under the present state of the law.

Mr. Roy: If I might just continue on that point, I thought the response of the Attorney General in respect to the matter I raised in relation to this defence counsel was very good. I think I told you that certainly if the guidelines are followed that is something. I don’t know many jurisdictions that have them and I would have hoped that the Attorney General of Canada would look at these guidelines and maybe do something with them, like putting something like this into his legislation.

I appreciate your response to my question about the Zadik case. The one point I want to make to you is that the area of mistake is something that’s of concern. As I mentioned to you, I have a Mr. X who came to see me. He’d received a notification that his phone was tapped, but the police were not intending to tap his phone but to tap Mr. Y’s phone. In other words they had obtained the authorization for Mr. Y, but tapped Mr. X’s phone. He was in a similar situation where he just couldn’t find out why. That gives you some idea of the abuses that can happen under that section.

I don’t know if this should be investigated or whatever, but you recall you issued guidelines on the intercepting of lawyers’ conversations, because of the great concern that police do not trample on the basic right of an individual to have, and retain counsel. Of course, if the police are sitting in on a conversation that is an abridgement of, or a trampling on that right.

People or defence counsel not only in Ottawa but in other major centres have this paranoid feeling and I don’t know whether it’s only an obsession. I don’t do that much defence work. If you do a lot of defence work -- I used to do quite a bit of it, but I have not done very much since 1971 -- you’re always a bit paranoid. You’re wondering are the police listening in on your phone and I’m sure you’ve had that expressed to you. If you’ve got a serious conversation or it’s very important, I won’t do it from my own office phone. I will go down the street and do it from a pay phone. I always felt that they were somewhat paranoid.

That was prior to your guidelines because of what the police were doing prior to your guidelines. I’m not sure that that’s all been solved and they are in fact following the guidelines. I just make this comment; it may be a gratuitous comment because I don’t have any evidence that they’re not.

What the police were basically doing was they’d get an authorization to intercept Mr. X’s conversations and then they would intercept everything, whether he was talking to his lawyers, his priest, his doctor -- everybody else. And many a defence counsel ended up on the tapes because he’d be calling up his lawyer about certain things.

It’s been reported recently in Ottawa that certain defence counsels are still convinced that their phones are tapped on a regular basis. They claim that certain information the police have can only be obtained if the police are intercepting their conversations with their clients.

I was called up about it to discuss it with the press, and I say “I’d hate to have any evidence of that. I’d be very concerned.” It would mean the police felt counsel were committing a criminal offence; or the police were not following the guidelines of the Attorney General, which I consider to be very serious; or, they were involved in illegal wire taps and breaking the law, which is a very serious offence. I’d hate to think that the police would do that, especially with all the controversy about police breaking the law we’ve heard about in the last while.

The latest report I have on it, is in the Ottawa Journal of November 11, 1977. A story there by Peter Gibbs states: “A middle-level policeman has confirmed criminal lawyer Pat McCann’s suspicion that his department had illegally wiretapped the lawyer’s office phone to gain information on a client, he claimed.” The story goes on -- I suppose, about another lawyer whom we both know in Ottawa -- “Ottawa criminal lawyer Dan Chilcott revealed last week that a representative of the police department had informed him that it had bugged his office phone. Chilcott said he complained like hell, but got nowhere.”

This is of concern -- Mr. Chilcott, as you know, is a member of the Ottawa Police Commission and Pat McCann is a defence counsel. Although I raise these issues I don’t want to start getting involved in sensational things. The fact remains it’s very difficult to prove -- very difficult to prove -- because of all the provisions as to secrecy and confidentiality of information under the Criminal Code for obtaining taps.

Allegations like that are made -- and according to one lawyer it has been confirmed by the police that this, in fact, has happened. According to the information that’s in this story apparently the police did it illegally -- illegally in the sense that they didn’t have an authorization, but I don’t think it would be illegal to not follow your guidelines, although I wish it was. I’m concerned about that sort of thing. I suppose possibly I’m a bit paranoid, although when I was called up about this I said, “I can’t think that police would be doing that on a regular basis. I think some of these counsels are a bit paranoid.”

But apparently many of our confreres in the criminal bar, whether it’s in Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and so on, live in that constant fear, because wiretapping is now such an easy process. It’s such a wide sweeping type of tool on the part of police that a lot of these counsels think it’s abused.

I’d like to ask the Attorney General, would you look into this? Would your ministry look into this and further investigate this? Because when you get a lawyer who says publicly that a policeman has confirmed that there was an illegal wiretap that’s evidence of a criminal offence if that report is accurate.

Certainly this is something that should be looked into. The police need certain powers and they’ve been given these powers. But if we continue hearing evidence that it’s being abused that the police are not following your guidelines, for instance, or are breaking the law, obviously it’s going to undermine the whole process.

Certainly it’s of concern to people like myself when I read reports of this nature.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Chairman, I was unaware of those reports. I’m very distressed by them. Particularly, it really puzzles me that a member of the Ottawa Police Commission would take the position publicly that there is nothing that he could do about it in relation to the activities of the force he has the responsibility to administer. I think it is a very serious situation and I certainly will be prepared to pursue this matter because it is, as the member for Ottawa East points out, a criminal offence for anybody, police officer or anybody else, to engage in illegal wiretapping.

Prior to the Protection of Privacy Act in 1974 there was even less protection than there is now, because there was no law governing wiretaps in this country. So I think in one respect we have advanced since that time; now the police are bound by a criminal statute. While that is no guarantee that it’s not going to be breached, at least it is progress.

But getting back to the matter that’s been raised by the member for Ottawa East, it might be helpful to me if he could give me copies of those news clippings and I’ll pursue the matter.

Mr. Roy: I will give a copy of this to the Attorney General, I do want to say this in fairness to the member of the Ottawa Police Commission. When he states, “He revealed that a representative of a police department had informed him that it had bugged his office phone, Chilcott said he complained like hell but got nowhere.” You realize it could in fact have been another police force. In Ottawa, we have a situation whereby we still have five or six different police forces. He’s a member of the Ottawa Police Commission, but there’s Gloucester, Nepean and Vanier police forces and the RCMP and the OPP’s in there, so in fairness I don’t know to which police force he was referring, but I’ll send the Attorney General a copy of this.

Mr. Foulds: I just want to raise a question or two with regard to the very interesting matter the member for Ottawa East has raised. I don’t see any item under the votes for wiretap services.


I assume assume your ministry is notified every time a legal wiretap takes place. I’d like to know how many such wiretaps have taken place in Ontario in the last year?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: We are the authorized agents for obtaining wiretaps in Ontario. It must be done through us or the federal Crown counsel in relation to matters within their jurisdiction of drug offences.

We do publish a report every year outlining the precise number of wiretaps, the nature of the offences for which they were obtained and, indeed, the results to the extent which we can give, of the investigations. This report, which is published in the Ontario Gazette every year, is available. I can facilitate the member in obtaining a copy of this report.

I think our most recent report is scheduled to be published. It either has just been published or is just about to be published, but we do file this report every year. This is, of course, a requirement.

Mr. Foulds: Do you have any estimate of the success of this kind of operation? That is, how many of the legal wiretaps instituted result in prosecutions? Do you have any idea how many of those would not have been successful if you had not wiretapped? Is there any way of estimating that?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The last part of the question is a very difficult one to answer but, as you know, the provisions of the wiretap legislation provide that an authorization should only be given if other methods of investigation are not succeeding. In other words, it’s not simply an alternative. It’s permitted when there are affidavits to the effect that other methods of investigation have failed or are likely to fail. There is that last resort aspect built into the legislation.

I don’t have the figures in front of me but I can obtain copies of the last published report for the member. Certainly, my recollection is there is a very large number of charges laid in relation to the number of authorized wiretaps. Our experience is far different in this jurisdiction than, for example, in the United States. It’s quite popular for people to comment on the experience of the United States among those who oppose the legislation, stating that relatively few prosecutions result.

I would think it’s fair to say -- I’d prefer to have the figures -- a very substantial number of charges are laid in relation to the number of authorized wiretaps and a very substantial percentage of those prosecutions end in convictions.

Whether or not it would have been possible to obtain a conviction, or whether a conviction would have been obtained in the absence of a wiretap is impossible to demonstrate with any degree of accuracy. But the reports we do publish every year indicate, in my respectful view, the wiretap authority is a necessary authority and it has produced very significant results insofar as success is concerned.

I think one must appreciate that commercial crime, organized crime and criminal activity generally have resorted in recent years to much more sophisticated tools for carrying on their illicit activity. The so-called major figures in criminal activity attempt to insulate themselves from what’s going on in the street, as it were, by operating through intermediaries. It’s my personal view, having been well aware of the very legitimate concerns that have been expressed and are being expressed here this afternoon in relation to wiretap authorization and the interference in privacy they represent, taking all of these very legitimate concerns into consideration, wiretap authority, capacity and resources are absolutely essential, if we are going to maintain any reasonable level of effective law enforcement.

Mr. Foulds: My question rises out of part of the answer the Attorney General gave. He said that the wiretap authorization could be obtained only when it was fairly clear, and I am paraphrasing, that successful prosecution was likely to fail otherwise.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Investigation.

Mr. Foulds: Sorry, right. How do you evaluate such a judgement? Who gives that judgement? Whom do you ask? Isn’t there a danger that someone who is not on an investigative trial might become obsessed with the case and, therefore, likely if not bend the evidence, to put undue emphasis on the necessity for such a wiretapping? How do you counterbalance against that?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Perhaps I might be able to assist the member for Port Arthur, firstly, by referring to the section of the Criminal Code, section 178(13)(1) which says: “An authorization may be given if a judge” -- and it must be a superior court judge -- “to whom application is made is satisfied that it would be in the best interests of the administration of justice to do so and that

(a) other investigative procedures have been tried and have failed,

(b) other investigative procedures are unlikely to succeed or

(c) the urgency of the matter is such that it would be impractical to carry out the investigation of the offence using only investigative procedures.”

A superior court judge must be satisfied that the requirements as laid out in this section 178(13) have been met. This is done on the basis of affidavit evidence. You have, in effect the sworn evidence of a police officer. I personally think this is probably as good a protection as you are likely to achieve through legislation insofar as this judicial supervision of these wiretap authorizations is concerned.

There is no guarantee at any time against abuses by police officers who are going to act illegally -- if they are prepared to swear a false affidavit, for example, for which they would have to pay the consequences if found out. There is no guarantee that that cannot happen. There are no guarantees anywhere, I guess, in the nature of human affairs, but what the federal government is attempting to do is establish an administrative mechanism through the Criminal Code which is going to provide as much protection as can be provided by any type of permissive legislation.

Mr. Foulds: The minister read that section of the Criminal Code, and I may be incorrect here, but if there are no other conditions, all of those terms seems to concern themselves only with the possibility of the accumulation of evidence. I would assume that to satisfy a judge there must be at least some evidence already; you have to have some reason for suspicion. Does that also have to be presented to the judge in the sworn affidavit by the police officer? As I heard you read that section of the Criminal Code it didn’t appear to me that such was the case.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: A judge must be satisfied that there are specific offences which the police have reason to believe have been committed or are being committed and these specific offences must be identified. There is this overriding provision that they must be satisfied that it is in the interests of the administration of justice, and the application -- I perhaps should have read to you section 178(12). I think it would have been more helpful for you if I had gone back and read what the application for the authorization must contain. That would have provided the answer.

It must be in writing to a judge of the superior court, “and shall be accompanied by an affidavit which may be sworn on the information and belief of a peace officer or a public officer deposing to the following matters, namely (c) the facts relied upon to justify the belief that an authorization should be given together with particulars of the offence. The type of private communication proposed to be intercepted” et cetera. I am sorry, I should have read that to you at the same time that I read the other section.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Chairman, I just wanted to make a comment about the appointment of the deputy minister before I lost the chance to do so. I particularly want to indicate to the Attorney General, and anyone who might be listening, how pleased I was at the appointment of H. Allan Leal to this important position. I am sure this has already been referred to by my colleague, the official critic, but I feel that his qualifications are certainly undoubted and his experience has been excellent, and of course productive as far as the community in general is concerned.

I feel that his outstanding qualification, of course, is that fact that he graduated from McMaster University, which may or may not be the reason that he was selected for this important office. Not everybody here might know that he has very recently been elevated to the position of chancellor of that university, and so we are very fortunate indeed to have his services. I hope that they continue for a long time, and that certainly as the government changes there will be no doubt about those continuations. Will there be, Allan?

I wanted to raise just two matters under this vote. It has come to my attention from a Crown attorney in a jurisdiction to the west of here that it has concerned him and some people that he works with that the temporary absence program of the Ministry of Correctional Services seems sometimes from his point of view to be difficult to justify. After an elaborate prosecution and a conviction, almost within hours the individual convicted to a sentence in some correctional facility will be walking the street, tipping his hat to the Crown attorney and even to the judge. It seems that while everybody here wishes to keep our jails and detention centres as clear as possible, there would be a tendency for an example such as this to do some damage in the community where people will follow these cases.


I believe there was one example where there had been a very serious assault in a parking lot of some public place; where the conviction had been registered and the sentence had involved assignment to one of the correctional centres, but the individual who had been sentenced was out on the street within a few hours. This was general talk among the young bucks in the area, and it came to me from a number of sources.

I just wonder if the complaints in this connection have been registered with the Attorney General and if there is something that we as a Legislature might do to moderate that situation.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Firstly, I’m sure the Deputy Attorney General should like me to convey to the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk his appreciation for the very kind remarks that he has placed on the record of this Legislature. I must say I personally was very delighted when it became known to me that the Deputy Attorney General would be prepared to take on his very important responsibilities.

Although I didn’t go to McMaster University --

Mr. Nixon: That’s evident from time to time.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- I did have the benefit of the Deputy Attorney General as a former law-school teacher of mine and, as a matter of fact, as my former hockey coach --

Mr. Warner: That’s the source of your problem.

Mr. Roy: You should have spent more time on hockey.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: In dealing with some of these rough characters across the aisle, I feel one needs to have that sort of assistance.

But, of course, I am personally delighted with his appointment.

Turning to the matter of the TAP, the temporary absence program, I can’t reply too specifically, of course, as this matter does not come within my ministry. Personally I would be unhappy with respect to people, of whom it had been established that they had vicious propensities for them to be suddenly convicted and then released into the community

I think the program must be used with caution with violent offenders. There are exceptional circumstances and some of them come to mind but, in fairness to the individuals, I shouldn’t mention them specifically.

I also am aware of cases where heretofore responsible and respected members of the community, family people, have been convicted of commercial criminal activity involving white-collar crime of one kind or another. I know those people sometimes are allowed back into the community on a limited basis, at least to be able to work at their job during the daytime. Generally speaking, I think it is very much in the interests of the community as a whole that people in that position continue to support their families rather than have the families placed on welfare.

For people in that position, the fact that they have been convicted and sentenced to a period of incarceration, often entailing the loss of professional status, involves enormous humiliation to themselves and to their families. The actual incarceration in some of these circumstances is relatively minor compared to the personal humiliation that is involved.

When it is possible to return these people to the community, at least to the extent where they can continue to support their families and continue to be breadwinners, I think I would generally support the principle of that program. If the hon. member has any specific cases about which he’s concerned I’d be pleased to take them up with the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Drea). But I don’t think I can give a more specific response than I have done.

Mr. Nixon: You have had no complaints from the people in his offices across the province about this matter?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I should have responded to that. I was just thinking as the question was asked I can’t recall any of my Crown attorneys having raised the issue with me and I am sure I would have recalled if they had. They might have raised it with other members of the ministry, the director of Crown attorneys for example, but this complaint has not been brought to my attention before. I am quite prepared to pursue it, because I would be concerned if Crown attorneys feel somewhat frustrated by this program after conducting a well prepared and vigorous prosecution and my concern is equally expressed so far as the members of our judiciary are concerned.

Mr. Roy: I would like to put a comment on record. You will recall, Mr. Attorney General, the case of an individual who was considered dangerous to the community being released because his sentence was completed and someone, I am not sure but I think it was the former member for High Park, Morty Shulman, raised the fact this individual was back in the community and was considered dangerous and the police were, in fact, monitoring his activities. I thought it was around Peterborough or some place in that area.

Mr. Nixon: It was raised by the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt).

Mr. Roy: It may have been raised in the House. But what I recall is the present Minister of Correctional Services saying he was very concerned about this individual being out in the community and in so saying, he appeared to be somewhat critical of the system which allowed this individual, when there was some evidence of a dangerous propensity towards sexual offences on young people, to be in the community. And as the parole board chairman said at that time, it had nothing to do with parole. The man finished his sentence.

What I felt was unfair was the present Minister of Correctional Services attacking the system which allows an individual like that to be released and in fact attacking your ministry because if there was evidence this individual was a dangerous offender, why was he not prosecuted under the dangerous sexual offender provisions of the Criminal Code, which is the responsibility of the Attorney General’s office of the province and not of the federal government?

I just thought at the time of his comments -- whether you got them or not -- if that minister felt as strongly as he did about the individual, why steps were not taken by the Attorney General’s office of this province, if they felt they had that sort of evidence, to see he was prosecuted and the weight of the law applied as it is set out in the Criminal Code to deal with that dangerous type of offender

What I am trying to say basically, is you can’t have it both ways. One minister is critical, saying he is there to defend the community when he is part of a government which had the responsibility, if this individual was a dangerous sexual offender, to prosecute. I don’t know if you are familiar with the case.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes, I am familiar with the case, Mr. Chairman. I think the member for Ottawa East is familiar with the procedure after a conviction and before sentence and application is made under section 688, as it was -- it has been recently amended -- to have the person declared a habitual criminal or a dangerous sexual offender as it used to be.

The difficulty was this person simply didn’t qualify under that section. He was convicted of an assault causing bodily harm and was not convicted of a sexual offence. It involved a young child. It sounded like a very serious case and I think he received a four-year prison sentence for it. It involved attacking a young child in a public washroom.

There was no evidence that the child was sexually molested, but the child was beaten and suffered a fractured nose. I believe it was in Belleville, because I asked for a report under the section of the Criminal Code. It was not open to the Crown attorney to seek an order declaring that person a dangerous offender.

Whether or not it would come under the amendments -- I’d have to look at the amendments as they only came into force on October 15. But there were some unique aspects to that case.

Mr. Roy: Why is everybody getting excited about this individual? From what you’re saying it appears the incident did not seem to have a sexual overtone. It was an assault causing bodily harm case and his background did not reflect a consistent pattern of assaults with sexual overtones. I’m just wondering is this thing being blown out of proportion?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: It may have been blown out of proportion. I think there was one previous conviction, almost 20 years earlier, which did involve an indecent assault. There was information that this person did have propensities considered to be dangerous. Obviously that was very much a part of the press reports.

I don’t know at this moment where that information came from -- whether there was any psychiatric report, or presentence report, that may contain some of this information which might have been submitted to the court at the time of the sentencing, I just can’t assist the hon. member now.

But I do know that the offence for which that individual was convicted did not make that person a candidate for the provisions of the then habitual criminal section of the Criminal Code.

Mr. Chairman: Shall item --

Mr. Nixon: No, I have a point. Well, okay, you want to adjourn? Fine.

The House recessed at 6 p.m.