31st Parliament, 1st Session

L061 - Fri 25 Nov 1977 / Ven 25 nov 1977

The House met at 10 a.m.




Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I should like to advise the members of this House that increases in provincial park fees and restrictions on the consumption and possession of alcoholic beverages in parks have been approved by the cabinet. Both changes will come into effect April 1, 1978.

Mrs. Campbell: April Fool’s Day.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Canadian senior citizens, however, will continue to be given free day-use and free camping in provincial parks. Day-use fees for parks have been revised from the $1.50 current flat fee for a private vehicle and occupants. Beginning next April the rates will be a charge of $1 per vehicle plus 50 cents for each occupant.

The current $15 charge for an annual vehicle permit, with no charge for occupants, will change to $10 per vehicle but each occupant will be charged 50 cents per visit.

There will be no charge for occupants who are either Canadian senior citizens or children 16 years and under.

The regular campsite fee will increase to $5 and to $5.50 in campgrounds with comfort stations. The additional fee for a campsite with electricity will rise to $1.50. The fee for an additional vehicle will become $3. The cost of interior camping will become $3.

A significant rise in the operating and maintenance costs of Ontario’s 127 provincial parks has necessitated these fee increases. It is the government’s policy that a fair share of the total operating and maintenance costs of our parks should be paid by the users. This is consistent with one of the recommendations made by the Ontario Provincial Parks Council in its annual report. On the other hand, capital investment for land acquisition and park development is not charged back through user fees.

In 1972, when the park fees were last raised, the “fair share” represented 60 per cent of the operating and maintenance cost, but in the past five years this percentage has slipped to about 34 per cent. Due to inflation the direct costs of the parks have increased substantially. Wages and the cost of goods and services have escalated in every aspect of park operation.

Under the new restrictions on the use of alcohol in parks, possession of an open container of alcoholic beverages will be limited to campers on their campsites. In addition, alcoholic beverages will be banned entirely in certain southern Ontario parks at selected periods during the season.

These two measures are aimed at assisting in the control of rowdyism, about which the Ontario Provincial Parks Council expressed concern in its annual report.

During the first year, in 1978, alcohol bans will be applied on an experimental basis. A list of provincial parks selected for total alcohol bans, along with dates when the ban will be applied, will be widely publicized prior to the opening of the 1978 provincial park season.


Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, a number of inquiries have been made as to the government’s plans concerning the Securities Act, the complementary amendments to the Business Corporations Act and the Commodity Futures Act. Today, I wish to state the government’s commitment to proceed with the legislation early in the new year.

The government is dedicated to the high standards of disclosure and investor protection which will be afforded through the new Securities Act. This bill has been developed over a period of five years by a series of exposure drafts and in close co-operation with other provincial securities administrators.

We also feel strongly that the high standards of protection should be extended to individuals trading in commodity futures contracts.

Because of the tight calendar this fall, combined with the decision to review the legislation with the new chairman of the Ontario Securities Commission who joins my ministry at the start of 1978, we have elected to proceed in the spring session.

We will be substantially staying with certain key provisions of Bill 30. These include: Takeover, insider and issuer bids; timely and continuous disclosure, prohibition against “tipping” and expanded civil liability rules; restriction of exemptions for financial institutions, particularly banks, from registration requirements; expansion of the reporting issuer-continuous disclosure-insider trading concept to include all classes of publicly traded issuers, including the currently exempted financial institutions; regulation of commodity-oriented investment contracts not covered by the Commodity Futures Act; and underwriter liability provisions for deficiencies in prospectus filings, a potentially serious omission in the present legislation.

The bill also provides useful administrative changes, including a revised procedure which would enable a speedy appeal to the commission from a staff decision on a policy or isolated matter.

By holding the legislation over until the new chairman is in place, we will have the opportunity to reconsider three aspects of the bill. These are;

1. The “closed system” of registration and prospectus exemptions;

2. The rules regarding the regulation of mutual funds; and

3. Whether some modified version of the present “private agreement” exemption found in the takeover bid part should be restored to the bill.

The bill will of course be referred to committee after second reading for detailed scrutiny and opportunity for further representations will be given at that time.

The securities bill is designed to provide a model for other provinces. We have received reasonable assurance that its adoption as a uniform provincial Act will afford all Canadians with the high level of protection which will be enjoyed by Ontario investors.

The paramount objective of the Commodity Futures Act is to assure that those permitted to act as brokers, advisers or salesmen are honest, competent and of good reputation. The Act is also designed to provide minimum information about the kinds of contracts which may be traded and the exchanges on which they may be traded.

In tandem, the package is aimed at enabling the smaller investor to deal in the marketplace with greater confidence and security.

I want to affirm our intention to have the new bills ready early in the spring session in order that they may be passed into law by next summer.

We sincerely hope that the securities community will note today’s comments and use them as a guide to our current thoughts, concerns and intentions.


Mr. Speaker: Just before oral questions, I would like to call the attention of members to the fact that we do have a visitor under the Speaker’s gallery at the west end. Her name is Svava Jakobsdottir from the Icelandic Parliament. Would you welcome her, please?



Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Community and Social Services. I would like to question him this morning regarding group homes and the policy of the province toward the licensing and location of them.

Can the minister tell us whether the province has decided to establish a uniform licensing procedure as requested to do so in the city of Toronto report of the working committee on group homes? And further, can he tell us whether the province has decided on a way to ensure that each municipality does take its fair share of group homes, properly defined, so as to avoid the situation where certain individual municipalities are forced to take, or find themselves in a position where they end up taking, more than an appropriate share of group homes?

Hon. Mr. Norton: With respect to the matter of licensing, the law reform package or the proposals that I indicated would shortly be made available -- I expect it will be within about two weeks that they will be available for discussion with members of the House and members of the public generally -- will include some recommendations with respect to that part of the question. So we have been working on that issue.

With respect to standards we also have, and have had for some time -- since the opportunity rested with this ministry to co-ordinate children’s services -- a group working specifically on the question of standards which we hope to be able to implement and enforce on a province-wide basis.

On the other part of the question with respect to the resistance and the problems with respect to zoning that exist in some municipalities, I do not at this time have a universal solution for the whole of the province. We are still trying to work using persuasion and whatever other methods we may have presently at our disposal. But as I indicated in an earlier comment in the House, if that continues to be a course that creates road blocks, as it has in a number of instances so far, I am prepared to make recommendations to my colleagues to take appropriate action to ensure that this kind of resistance does not continue.


Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, Mr. Speaker, while looking forward to the proposals which the minister will bring before us, as he says, in about two weeks -- and I welcome that prospect -- may I ask the minister whether he might not consider moving a little more forcefully in the area of requiring municipalities to take their fair share? For instance, could he call together a meeting of municipalities under his aegis and let them know that this government intends very seriously not to have to go through the lengthy appeals to cabinet, such as with Mississauga and Sault Ste. Marie, but in fact will get on with a policy whereby everyone has to take his share?

I apologize for the lengthy nature of the supplementary. But does the minister not recognize that the present discussion in the city of Toronto and in Metropolitan Toronto will be in some way affected by their requiring to know what the province’s stance is likely to be in this particular matter?

Hon. Mr. Norton: I thought that, short of the precise action that the hon. Leader of the Opposition suggests, I had made myself and the policy of this government quite clear in statements that I’d made both in this House and elsewhere. I think the decisions that have been made on the appeals that have come to cabinet have been consistent and should indicate further our determination to see that this policy is implemented across the province.

I have seen no evidence since the last decision to indicate that municipalities will not take cognizance of that.

If it appears that they will not, certainly I will contemplate further action, whether it be to bring together municipal officials for a meeting, or to take some more concerted action of a different nature at the provincial level.

Mr. Eakins: Supplementary: Since many of the problems -- and I’ve had letters from the counties in regard to this -- have to do with the acceptance of the young people in the schools, has the minister discussed with the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells) the setting up of special teaching facilities to accept these young people from group homes? It seems to me it’s a matter for interministerial co-operation.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I have not recently discussed that specifically with the Minister of Education. But I would caution the hon. member that I would have some concern about setting up special educational facilities, except perhaps in very extreme circumstances, because surely part of the purpose of a group home function is that the residents may relate to the community in which they live. It seems to me if we were to make it a matter of practice that those persons -- I presume the member is contemplating youths -- who would be living in a group home setting might be educated in a setting separate from other children of the community, I would not see that as a desirable direction for us to move in. If you’re thinking in terms of assisting school boards with the special problems they might have as a result of that, that’s something that I think we could explore.


Mr. S. Smith: A question of the hon. Attorney General, Mr. Speaker. Has the Attorney General in fact received a letter from the RCMP concerning their alleged access to OHIP records? Has he discussed such a letter with the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell)? Will he share the contents of the letter, if it exists, with the House?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I have received a preliminary report from the RCMP and I have shared its contents with the Minister of Health. I think it may be of assistance to the House if, at this point in time, I were to read a quote from this letter, although we’ve asked for further details.

I’m reading the first paragraph of the letter. The letter is addressed to myself:

“Dear Sir:

“In accordance with your verbal request of November 14, 1977, and formal request of November 16, 1977, for a report on the subject of the allegations made in the media with respect to the RCMP in Ontario obtaining and utilizing confidential OHIP records for blackmail and disruptive purposes, I should like to advise as follows:

“First, we do not have any paid informants in OHIP. Secondly, the information requested and voluntarily supplied by OHIP on an investigation-by-investigation basis has been biographical in nature ... ” I should pause to indicate that that means only name, age, sex and current address. That is what is meant by the term “biographical” -- it does not go further than that.

“Finally, at no time has the force in Ontario sought or obtained medical files from OHIP nor has it used such medical files for the purposes of blackmail or disruption.”

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, I don’t have the letter in front of me, but is the minister satisfied with that answer? Will he be seeking any clarification of such terms as “biographical” which may have other meanings than the one the minister has put before us? Furthermore, with regard to there existing no paid informants, is he convinced that there are no unpaid informants working at OHIP? Basically, is the minister ready to put to rest this entire matter based only on that letter?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No, I thought I made it clear at the outset that I was waiting for a further report and for further clarification. I don’t regard this letter as having put the matter to rest. But insofar as biographical data is concerned, I quote again from the letter where it states: “OHIP biographical data sought consists of such things as current address, date and place of birth, and employer.”

I repeat that I have requested further clarification, and when I am in receipt of this information, I will advise the House accordingly.

Mr. Deans: Supplementary question: Can the minister explain why the RCMP would be going to OHIP to get that type of information? And why OHIP would be authorized to give that information to anyone at all under any circumstances? Why is that information so readily available?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, firstly, I can’t answer that question in the affirmative -- that it is so readily available.

Mr. Deans: It says it is.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I’ve indicated that this information has been available and it has been used to trace individuals who are involved in very serious criminal activity.

Mr. Deans: How does the minister know that?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The extent to which that information has been available to the RCMP, I simply am not in a position to know at this point. That is one of the reasons why I’ve requested further clarification.

I will be meeting with the RCMP. I will be discussing the matter. I’ve discussed the matter with the Minister of Health briefly. We will be meeting to discuss it further. That’s all I can advise the House at the present time. I repeat, the matter does not rest here.

Mr. S. Smith: Just a brief supplementary: Do I take it there is more in that letter which the Attorney General wishes at this time not to share with the House? And if not, will he please table the entire letter? Is he able to assure the House that when he speaks of biographical data that that does not include the place of hospitalization and the diagnosis as well? Will he check on that just to be certain?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: In answer to the last part of the question, yes, I will clarify that. The letter is a confidential letter inasmuch as it refers to examples of cases that the RCMP are actively investigating at the present time to provide examples of the type of cases in which biographical data was sought -- in cases involving, as I said, for the most part, criminal activity and offences relating to the Immigration Act, the Customs Act, the Narcotic Control Act and counterespionage activities as well as the Criminal Code.

Mr. Deans: I have one final supplementary, if I may. Can the minister indicate to us who at OHIP is authorized to release that information upon request?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Again, Mr. Speaker, I don’t have that information. It’s a matter that is of great concern and interest to the Minister of Health. I know that he has been looking at the matter.

Mr. Deans: Does the minister mean he doesn’t know?

Mr. MacDonald: He may know.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: He may know. He’s not here this morning and I haven’t spoken to him in the last two or three days about this matter. I know he’s had the matter under active investigation in his own ministry.

Mr. Warner: He’s beginning to sound like Francis Fox.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Actually, all I know at this time in relation to the ministry is what I heard on the radio this morning -- that the minister was quoted as saying that he’s satisfied that the RCMP have had no access to any material other than this bare-bones biographical material. That is obviously a question that I would think that the hon. member would like to direct to the Minister of Health.

Mr. Deans: I am waiting for answers to last week’s questions.

Mr. Nixon: The story said that the minister didn’t have a letter.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Ottawa East has a final supplementary.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, my supplementary question to the minister is in relation to his inquiry of the RCMP. Did he limit his inquiry of the RCMP to hospital records or did he also inquire into the RCMP activities pertaining to either a question he’d been asked earlier about any activities in relation to political parties or to any activities that they may or may not have had in relation to what we have read recently about college campuses and the tapping of phones in student residences et cetera?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, in relation to the questions that were asked some days ago by the leader of the New Democratic Party, I made it clear at that time; as a matter of fact, I sent him a copy of the letter that I wrote to the RCMP in relation to the allegations of investigation of political parties. I have not had a response. I spoke to the federal Minister of Justice yesterday and asked when I might reasonably expect a response. He indicated that he had again been discussing the matter very recently with the federal Solicitor General and that a response would be forthcoming almost immediately.

In relation to the alleged activities pertaining to college campuses, I must confess that that’s the first I’ve heard of that allegation.

Mr. Roy: It’s in today’s Globe and Mail -- about the University of Ottawa.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I’d like to say that I am as ardent a reader of the Globe and Mail as the member for Ottawa East, but I’m afraid that this is the first time I’ve heard of it.


Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Solicitor General. Given that the Ontario Police Commission appears now to have turned the whole matter of the alleged brutality in Halton-Burlington back to the local police commission, and given that there appears to be some indication that there is a pattern of brutality which is borne out, at least, by the statement of one former officer, doesn’t he feel that the Ontario Police Commission might follow the request that I made last week and review the previous practices within the force to determine if there is, in fact, a pattern?

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: I might review some of the things that have happened since the hon. member raised the point with me.

In the interval, the Halton Regional Board of Commissioners of Police met with the Ontario Police Commission on Monday, November 21. The board brought to the meeting all the files concerning the various complaints. In reviewing the files it has been determined that the procedure regarding complaints devised by the Ontario Police Commission for use by all municipal police forces in Ontario is being followed in Halton. The investigations concerning alleged brutality in Halton have not all been completed but Halton will continue to apprise the Ontario Police Commission of each step being undertaken in the investigations.


With regard to former constable Roy Murden, the Ontario Police Commission advised the Halton board of their powers under the Police Act to subpoena him to obtain information about the incidents described in the press. The board plans to consult with its own counsel about the steps it can take regarding Murden. The Ontario Police Commission feels that the Halton board is presently following the proper procedure. If the commission at some time feels that Halton is not dealing adequately with its investigation, it may intervene.

If any complainant is not satisfied with the disposition by the board of commissioners of police, then he may in turn appeal to the OPC. So the OPC in brief has established a procedure. It has consulted with the Halton board and has now requested the board to follow that procedure suggested by the OPC and it is monitoring it.

Mr. Deans: One supplementary question: Doesn’t the minister feel that as a result of the publicity given to the statement by Roy Murden of the alleged brutality, that it doesn’t make much sense at this point to have the Halton police commission investigating in an area where the individual is no longer with the force? Does he not feel that it requires the action of the Ontario Police Commission, or perhaps the Attorney General’s office, which I asked yesterday about, to look into all of the incidents, to conduct an investigation not only into what was said by Murden but also to find the individuals who were involved and to determine whether or not they were threatened, or whether or not the action of Murden kept them from laying charges at the time or requesting an investigation?

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that this is part of the procedure they are going through. One of the points I mentioned was that Murden himself can be subpoenaed. I would agree with the member that may not be sufficient, although he has been surprisingly outspoken in what he himself has said about his former conduct.

I agree with the member that that kind of investigation is not enough and I expect that investigation will go on. The member has the added assurance of the Crown attorney out there that if he is not satisfied with the procedure, he himself is going to ask for some inquiry.


Mr. Deans: Question, Mr. Speaker, for the Premier: I am asking this question as a result of yesterday’s question and the decision in Saskatchewan. Can the Premier indicate whether there is now a discussion taking place, or will there be a discussion taking place, between the province of Ontario’s law officers -- looking at the Act in the province -- and the federal government, to determine whether or not there are breaches in Ontario with regard to the procedures used by the province to tax the mining corporations? If so, rather than waiting until we get into the Supreme Court of Canada, can we move swiftly to correct whatever unconstitutional acts we may well be undertaking?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I suggested yesterday that I would be discussing this with the Attorney General because I am reluctant to give personal legal opinions. I am not sure whether the Attorney General has had an opportunity yet to get a reply on this complex matter from his law officers. If he has, I am sure he would be delighted to share it with the member. If he has not as yet, I am sure he will be delighted to share it with him just as soon as he has it.

Mr. Deans: Has the Attorney General had the opportunity?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I think I should correct a misunderstanding that I am told arose yesterday. That is with respect to the role of our province in the Supreme Court of Canada in relation to the Saskatchewan case.

We did not intervene in this case. It was our view there were none of our revenue statutes or any other statutes affected by the issue that was to be determined by the Supreme Court of Canada and that was the reason we did not intervene.

I will be discussing this matter again in the light of the Supreme Court of Canada decision with our senior law officers in order once again to be assured that there is no legislation that has been affected by this decision. I am certainly going to ensure that this case is carefully reviewed for those reasons.


Mr. McKessock: I have a question which, in the absence of the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman), I will direct to the Premier.

In view of the fact that this button I am wearing says “Foodland Ontario” and is part of the Ontario food promotion campaign, and in view of the fact that many people ask me what it is for, which gives me a chance to suggest to them that they buy Ontario foods only, and also to tell them that we have trouble stopping import foods coming in and putting Ontario farmers out of business, but if we buy Ontario foods we will be able to keep Ontario --

Mr. Speaker: I still haven’t heard a question.

Mr. McKessock: -- farmers producing and thereby guaranteeing forever a good supply of quality food for Ontario consumers produced right here --

Mr. Speaker: That’s not a question.

Mr. McKessock: -- would the Premier send me 1,000 of these buttons so that I can get other people involved in this Ontario food campaign?

Mr. Foulds: Just say yes.

Mr. Roy: Don’t make a speech; just send him the buttons.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m delighted that the hon. member is following the initiative created by the Minister of Agriculture and Food and has himself become such a promoter of that particular campaign. I certainly appreciate his support.

Mr. Roy: How about the buttons?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Whether or not, under the restraints within which the ministry is operating, there are 1,000 of those buttons available, I will certainly inquire. The hon. member might start off with perhaps 30 or 40 which we could supply for all members of his caucus, who would, hopefully, become as equally committed to the consumption of both solid and liquid nourishment that is produced here in the province of Ontario.

As I said the other day to some of his friends who were concerned about the price of coffee -- a concern I share -- milk is an excellent substitute and it is produced here. I might even add that we produce in the great city of Brampton excellent agricultural products and I personally and my family are in support of them.

Mr. S. Smith: You certainly provide enough fertilizer.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I might add, in that he was allowed to make a rather lengthy speech as a preamble to his question, we are also advocating the use of apple juice rather than orange juice in the morning --

Mr. Peterson: Have you started taking apple juice with your rum? Do you recommend it with rum?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I find it isn’t quite the same, but certainly for breakfast -- and I have never had the two for breakfast -- I find apple juice is an excellent source of vitamin C.

Mr. Peterson: What do you have for lunch, now that you are on the subject?

Hon. Mr. Davis: For lunch it is quite often tomato juice. I like to vary them, and we do have grape juice from time to time. If there is anything more I can tell the hon. member, if there is anything else he wants to know about my eating habits, I would be delighted to share it with him. I’ll see how many buttons I can get for him.

Mr. McKessock: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker --

Mr. Speaker: That was a very complete question and a very complete answer. I don’t know how you could find a supplementary.

Mr. McKessock: I have a brief supplementary: Would the Premier, for starters, send each member of this Legislature a half dozen of these food promotion buttons?

Hon. Mr. Davis: In that the members opposite certainly don’t want to be involved in anything that is wasteful, I certainly would be prepared to consider sending each member six buttons on the very clear understanding that the members wear them. I think that’s important. There’s no point putting them in their top desk drawers. If they want six buttons I expect to see the Liberal caucus of this province following the great leadership of the Minister of Agriculture and Food and start wearing buttons. I think that would be a great step forward.


Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, are we through with buttons? I have a question of the Minister of Community and Social Services.

In November 1976 the ministry gave the House a full report on the death of Norma Dean on two days’ notice. In view of the fact that on Tuesday my colleague from Port Arthur requested a similar report of the death of Robert Shepherd, for which we have been waiting rather patiently, I want to ask the minister when he intends to make a statement in the House regarding the circumstances surrounding the death of Robert Shepherd, which would include a history of the boy’s involvement with social service agencies prior to his death?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, the only concern that I would have, in terms of doing that immediately, would be the fact that we are still waiting for what I expect will be an early date for the inquest.

Mr. McClellan: It was to do with the Norma Dean case as well.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I will certainly seek advice as to what I might appropriately say at this point. Certainly I have no intention of holding back any information, except I do wish not to prejudice the coroner’s inquest in any way.

Mr. McClellan: I understand that.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I will take that under advisement and see what I might appropriately say within the next few days in the House.

Mr. McClellan: Supplementary: While the minister is doing that, may I ask him whether he has seen the article in yesterday’s Star which alleges that staff at Hillcrest were teasing? May I ask the minister what action he has taken to investigate those serious charges and what findings he has made?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I have done two things. I have first requested that my senior staff in that division of my ministry follow up as much as it can in the investigation of the allegations of the former ward. Secondly, we have referred that information, which we have not received ourselves first-hand, specifically to the coroner and asked that he take those allegations into consideration in the conduct of the inquest. It seems to me that that is a very appropriate way to ensure that there is an objective and external evaluation of those allegations as well.

Mr. McClellan: Leaving aside the question of the contribution of these incidents to the boy’s death, would the minister not want to investigate whether that kind of teasing has taken place to satisfy himself? Having done that, would he report that to this House?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Yes, that’s precisely what the senior staff in the ministry is doing.

Mr. Foulds: Final supplementary: Could the minister also indicate to the House why Sprucedale, which I believe was where the boy was located before he went to Hillcrest, decided that it was unable to give the boy the services that were necessary; why, in fact, that major move from Sprucedale to Hillcrest took place?

Hon. Mr. Norton: I’m sorry, I didn’t catch the last part of the question.

Mr. Foulds: Why, in fact, what seems to have been a crucial move in the boy’s history between Sprucedale and Hillcrest took place? Why was he moved from one of the minister’s institutions to the high-security institution?

Hon. Mr. Norton: My understanding at this point is that the move took place because of certain acting-out behaviour that the earlier facility felt it was unable to handle adequately. Also, I’m not sure that the transfer took place specifically on the recommendation of the psychiatric report, but there certainly is a psychiatric report that makes that recommendation.


Mr. Sweeney: A new question to the first honest Minister of Colleges and Universities; and I’m glad there’s at least one over there.

Mr. Foulds: What does that do with the others? I thought Jack McNie was pretty straight.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, I am obviously referring to the Tory student letter-writing campaign. In all seriousness, does the minister think it is appropriate or proper for a minister of the Crown as is reported, to approve for a practice which is essentially a deception, the deception being that those who read those letters are going to assume they were written spontaneously?


Hon. Mr. Parrott: I would be surprised if I didn’t get a question, what with the press of this morning. Before I answer that question directly, in a straightforward, honest way, let me have a preamble, if I may. I perhaps could have chosen other words as the description when that first went in there, particularly when I recognize that the great Premier (Mr. Davis) of this province was the first minister with that portfolio; however, I will take praise from wherever I can get it, provided it doesn’t put me in a bad position with my Premier.

Having said that, let me assure members that I will not shrink for one moment from the support of the party. I get a little surprised to find members opposite a little upset if we play in the game of politics.

Mr. Sweeney: That is what it is.

Mr. Peterson: A careful answer, Harry.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I am quite prepared to dig in on this one.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Members opposite should know that ministers are also politicians.

Mr. MacDonald: Did the Minister of Colleges and Universities listen to the Premier’s last answer?


Mr. Speaker: Do you want an answer to the question?

Mr. S. Smith: No, not that kind.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: It is great fun when, on occasion, the member, who is critic of this ministry, has gone, prior to my visit to a campus, to raise some anger among the students, with his own supporters.

Mr. Nixon: Nonsense.

Hon. Mr. Davis: The member is embarrassed because he knows it is true.

Mr. Sweeney: It was because of the facts the minister wouldn’t give them.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, I had a report out of one university; I just didn’t believe it.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: If the PC supporters on campus -- and there are many -- decide to write letters, either spontaneously or with prompting, I think that is a great move.

Mr. S. Smith: Come on, it is a plant.

Mr. Sweeney: First of all, the minister obviously doesn’t agree that it is a deception.

The supplementary question: It is reported that the minister said of Mr. Angus: “His prompting was great. We let him go all the way.” And then further that you didn’t want to see the sample of the letter so it wouldn’t appear to be phoney. Yet the minister is approving it and supporting it; so why did he have to come back two days later and retract the contents of the letter as being factually incorrect?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Surely that should be fairly obvious. I said, when Mr Angus presented the concept to me, “I think it is a great idea.” And I shrink not one iota from that point, as I stated previously.

An hon. member: You can’t.

Mr. Sweeney: That’s sad.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I think that this party, at party headquarters, should be active in the support of this side of the House; and we should recognize that, as the member’s party should be supportive of him. That is the way the game is played, and the member knows that.

Mr. S. Smith: We get real letters. We don’t have to plant them.

Mr. Sweeney: You don’t even know what you are approving.

An hon. member: You don’t know what the letter said.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Having said that, I wanted no part of a phoney letter that I myself had written, that I myself would receive.

Mr. Bolan: Why didn’t the minister read it first?

Mr. Sweeney: How could the minister approve it when he didn’t see what was in it?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: That would be an area of stupidity that I didn’t want any part of.

If Mr. Angus, in his role as a member of party headquarters, can get a campaign going, the same as OFS might have a campaign going to the Premier in opposition to fee increases, it is exactly the same game. The parties opposite both play the game; and when we play it, I think, as I said before, it is good news and there is no deception.

Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: Is the present minister, while now willing to uphold the reputation of the Premier in his role of Minister of Colleges and Universities, willing to uphold the reputations of John White and Jack McNie, whom I for one had always thought were pretty straightforward, honest ministers?

Secondly, did I hear the present minister correctly when he said at the beginning of his answer, “I could have chosen different words”?

Mr. Haggerty: Right.

Mr. Foulds: Did he, therefore, have a more direct supervision of that letter than he has led the House to believe so far?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: No. I feel very honoured that I should join the predecessors who have served in the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, all of them with distinction.

Mr. Roy: Oh, you are backing off now -- you are skating.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I resent rather markedly that the word “deception” crept into this conversation. It has been used three times by the member for Kitchener-Wilmot.

Mr. Sweeney: That is what it is.

Mr. Roy: It is a deception.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: It is a very sad day when he would use that word in this House describing the actions of any minister of the Crown.

Mr. S. Smith: Phoney as a three-dollar bill.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You have got them chirping, Harry; hang in there.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I said in reply to the member for Port Arthur that I would have used different phrases. I certainly don’t think that I am the first.

Mr. Deans: I don’t know about that.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Not at all. I am sure that all of my predecessors were both honest and straightforward. I think it only proves one thing, that the person who proposed it did so of his own initiative; and that is the way it should have been.

Mr. Breithaupt: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister telling us that he is no more honest than his predecessors?

Mr. Deans: I wouldn’t get into that if I were you.

Mr. Roy: Honest is honest.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I think we should get back treating this matter the way that it deserves, and that is with a little lightheartedness. I suspect if you put us on a scale from 1 to 100 I would not want to rank myself along with my great predecessors; they are far more honest, far more straightforward, than I am.


Mr. Philip: A new question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: In light of the welcome statement by the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) yesterday concerning the suggestion by officers of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of the Attorney General, that the Condominium Act be amended to ensure that sales such as those offered by Garfella Investments are made in accordance with the Act, can the minister tell us if he is following the suggestion? If so, when can we expect the legislation; and will that legislation be retroactive so as to cover Garfella Investments’ sale of shares at 10 Garfella Drive?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: We will be following up on that suggestion. We were aware of it and had had discussions. I understand the situation not only requires amendments to the Condominium Act, which already are in draft form -- in other words, we know what they would be -- but also requires some amendments to the Planning Act. In view of that complication, our ministry will be working over the next few months with the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of the Attorney General to develop a series of amendments to the various Acts which will close off the loophole. We should have that, I would hope, in the spring session.

Mr. Philip: Supplementary then, Mr. Speaker: Can the minister answer the second part of my question, which is will the legislation, when it is being brought in, be retroactive so as to cover the present sale of 147 units, or shares or whatever they call them, at 10 Garfella Drive?

While the minister is answering that, can he inform the House of what action he has taken with the same company regarding the concerns of the Federation of Ontario Condominium Associations. This group met with him 11 days ago and requested that he investigate the possibility of misleading advertising by that company in its blurb, which compares the price of condominium units in the area with what it is offering, namely an undivided percentage interest in the whole of the ownership of the property.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, to that supplementary and then the new question: The answer is I would expect at this time we wouldn’t be into retroactive legislation in this field, or very many other fields, but I must be careful to leave that option open to myself. To be fair and so that no one would be under any misapprehension, I would think not at this time.

Mr. Lawlor: That’s right, keep the threat.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: On the new question, with regard to misleading advertising, as I indicated at that meeting -- at which the member was in attendance -- we would be looking into misleading advertising. They have been very clever. At the present time we haven’t been able to say that the advertising has been so misleading that we can take any further action, although it is under continued scrutiny.


Mr. G. Taylor: I have a question of the Minister of Housing. Many of the municipalities in my riding have asked when the final grants will be forthcoming under the home renewal program, and I now ask the Minister of Housing when they will be forthcoming?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, as the first honest Housing Minister since Don Irvine --

Mr. Warner: And probably the last one.

Mr. Samis: What a comparison.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, as I’ve mentioned in this House previously, the funds under the Ontario Home Renewal Program have all been allocated. I fully recognize there are a number of municipalities in need of more funding and I’ve had numerous requests from municipalities and from hon. members from all sides of the House.

I have no more funds in that particular program. I have calculated, in the ministry, a need for approximately $3 million more to meet what I feel would be the requirements between now and the end of the fiscal year. A presentation to Management Board is now being prepared for those extra funds in order to meet the requirements as we calculate they will be for the balance of this year, and hopefully we can meet the requests of the municipalities.

I should point out, though, for the benefit of the hon. members, that I think there has been some confusion in the minds of municipal officials, and I’m not about to say that some of that was not created by the ministry’s communications with those municipalities, it may very well be. I think many municipal officials felt that when they saw the end figure of what it was being proposed they would be eligible for, they felt that money was immediately forthcoming. I would suggest to hon. members who have some concerns in this area and have been approached, that if they would look at the copy of the letter that was sent to the various municipalities they will see that the approval for their application was in principle.

Further on in the letter I drew to their attention that I was working on a maximum amount of $20 million in the program, $2 million of which was to be allocated for rental, and $18 million for the home renewal program. We emphasized the “in principle” fact and requested them to make sure that they only committed that amount of money which had been advanced to them.

However, we’ll make a real sincere effort to get that extra money, because I’m convinced that is an excellent program that deserves our support.


Mr. Reed: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the honest Minister of Energy --

Mr. Eakins: Honest Jim.

Mr. Foulds: Poor, stupid; but honest.

Mr. Roy: You’re an ignoramus, he said.

Mr. Reed: That electrifies the House. Say that with a straight face.

Mr. Reed: Is the minister satisfied that the convergence of seven sets of power lines -- five being 500 kilovolts and two being 230 kilovolts -- at Milton, does not represent a vulnerability that will detract from, rather than enhance, the security of Hydro’s distribution system?

Hon. J. A. Taylor: Mr. Speaker I wish to commend the member for his honest and straightforward question, especially the prefix. That question relates to the question he asked yesterday in connection with the five transmission lines that he mentioned. I think he is in error. As I indicated, I took that question as notice, as I will this --

Mr. Roy: Get some papers for us.

Hon. J. A. Taylor: -- and include it in the answer I will give him next week.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: He’s not wrong, Harold Greer is.

Mr. Reed: Supplementary: The minister is questioning the plan for five transmission lines in that corridor and, of course, we will have the answer next week, and we wait for it with bated breath.

Mr. Speaker: Do you have a question?

Mr. Reed: Yes.

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Are you having trouble with Greer’s handwriting?

Mr. Reed: I have enough difficulty with my own.

Mr. Foulds: Obviously.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Stick to your own.

Mr. Reed: I wonder if the minister has not examined -- he obviously has not, if he’s not sure how many lines are running north and south -- or if he would examine the consequences of the severing of either the north-south lines or the east-west lines?

Hon. J. A. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I will include those concerns in my response to the question that was asked yesterday, and with the added item today.



Mr. Foulds: I have a question of the Solicitor General in relation to the reply he gave me to my inquiry on the order paper with regard to surveillance by OPP security officers of the October 14 demonstrations. First, I’d like to know who was responsible for assigning the three security branch members for surveillance on that occasion; why they were assigned; and if, as the minister indicated in his printed answer, the surveillance activities were directed to those who may breach the peace, why it was considered that uniformed policemen, municipal policemen, were insufficient for that particular purpose?

Why was it that Thunder Bay was singled out as being a place where it was necessary to have one of these undercover agents when there were demonstrations all over the province?

Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, there are a series of questions in that and I’ll take them as notice. I certainly don’t have the answers to some of them, although I could speculate on the answers to others.

Mr. Roy: No, you don’t want to do that. Speculate, that’s what they all do over there.


Mr. Bradley: I have a question of the Minister of Colleges and Universities: In light of concerns being expressed privately and publicly by university officials about the possible closing of certain of the smaller universities, or major reductions in the number of departments in universities, such as, for example Brock, would the minister assure the House that the government is committed to the continued operation of these educational institutions well into the future, and in a manner which will allow a complete program to be offered?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that the answer is a clear, positive yes.

Mr. B. Newman: That’s not what the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) said.

Mr. Bradley: Supplementary question, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister aware that some of the officials of the smaller universities are concerned that their role will be diminished by the potential growth of large universities, such as the University of Toronto, and that they have been informed that some in the government would not be unhappy about the complete elimination of certain of the smaller universities?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I can’t address myself to all the rumours that might flow on that particular subject, but I reflect back, and it’s not that many years ago, although I guess some might think so, to when I was attending university. At that time the University of Western Ontario was smaller than any of our universities today.

Mr. Roy: Were you part of the Conservative Club there?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: That’s a matter of 30 years ago. When I see the products, for instance of the University of Western Ontario from the era of 1943-45, knowing that it had a size of approximately 2,500 students, and see what those students have done today, I’m unconditionally convinced there is a great role for the small institution.

There’s a different formula, if you will, for the educational process -- not for funding, but for the process; there are different rules, different ways, that I think lead to a good educational experience there; and there’s a different method, formula if you will, in the large institutions. It would be a sad day if we put a size limit on all universities and had them all follow the same pattern. I think there’s a great need in this province to have large and small universities serving slightly different methods of operation but all doing a fine job, which I think they’re doing today and will continue to do.

Mr. B. Newman: Have you talked to your Minister of Health lately?


Ms. Bryden: I have a question of the Minister of the Environment: Now that the government has buried the ill-conceived can tax idea, when is the government going to bring in the regulations providing for a five-year phase-out program for non-returnable beverage containers, which was supposed to be in place by July 1, 1977, under the terms of the 1976 legislation on this subject?

Hon. Mr. Davis: About the same time as we get your policy commitment to ban the can entirely.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: That’s right, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Deans: While we are talking about policy commitments, there are some others we would like to talk about.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: The hon. member used the phrase “ill-conceived can tax.”

Mr. Foulds: How is Frank’s two-for-one tree planting coming along?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh, it’s doing very well.

Mr. Riddell: I want to hear the answer.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I’m not sure about the member, but certainly four of her predecessors are on the record as being in favour of a can tax. I’m not exactly sure where NDP members of this House stand on this particular policy, but certainly there is the greatest flip-flop in the history of conservation.

Hon. Mr. Davis: The hon. member should be embarrassed to raise it.

Mr. Deans: Who?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Not you.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: As far as the phase-out is concerned, Mr. Speaker, I’d like to know how you phase out anything unless you either tax it, or in this case put a deposit on that container. Otherwise, there is no possibility of phasing it out. There are three ways you can do it. You ban it, you put a deposit on it or you tax it. You’re against taxing, you’re against the ban, and I understand, you’re against the deposit; so the member should answer her own question.

Mr. Riddell: You’re entirely right, George. It’s hard to know what they stand for.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Of course, you people shifted a bit on that issue, too.

Mr. Roy: We are steady.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh no. Robert was going to ban the can.

Mr. Peterson: We were going to ban you.

Hon. Mr. Davis: You can’t do that.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I can’t understand how the minister can have any doubts as to where the New Democratic Party stands on this issue.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Tell us all three positions; tell us every one of them.

Ms. Bryden: We voted against the can tax on the first reading when it was introduced.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I know, but before that? Answer to the record for the past five or six years.

Ms. Bryden: We voted against the can tax then but what happens in the House is the important thing.

Mr. di Santo: You withdrew it, shame.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, there are other options to a tax or a deposit.

Ms. Speaker: I have yet to hear a question.

Ms. Bryden: I would like to ask the minister has he considered the option of sitting down with the industry, with workers in the industry and with environmental groups, and working out a four-year plan for phasing out non-returnable containers, with targets for each year and employment provision made for looking after people who will be displaced?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Your Hamilton members are getting nervous.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is getting deeper and deeper into her own morass here. She still hasn’t answered the question of how you phase something out unless you do something about it.

Mr. Germa: The question is from this side of the House, the answer is supposed to come from that side.

Hon. Mr. Davis: You can’t have it both ways, you’re making Patrick squirm.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: The answer to that question, as far as we’re concerned, is to start with the tax. There were 800 million cans of pop sold in this province in 1976.

Mr. Deans: And they produced a lot of work.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Putting a tax on would reduce volume at least 20 per cent in the first year. The percentage drop may even increase in each succeeding year, so that, as you say, in four or five years it would be phased out; and then you could bring in the ban, because the amount of the market served through the can would be substantially reduced so that there wouldn’t be the disruption at the end of four or five years in the event of bringing in a ban.

Mr. Lawlor: It is going down now.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I have attempted to work with the hon. member, and I have attempted to work with the representatives of the Liberal Party in coming to some sort of a program.

Mr. Deans: But your policies are unworkable.

Mr. Reed: We are the only people with good ideas.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: I have indicated why I am against a deposit at this time and why I’m in favour of a tax. So if the hon. member is sincere about the question she has asked this morning, she would have agreed to a tax on cans.

Mr. Foulds: No.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Huron-Bruce.

Mr. Gaunt: I have a supplementary, Mr. Speaker. I’m wondering if the minister has met with the industry to try and achieve a voluntary cut-back with respect to the use of non-returnable containers; and if so what were the results of that meeting?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Yes, Mr. Speaker, we’ve met with the industry. The proposal, as the hon. member knows, was that the industry would voluntarily reduce the use or sale, distribution and manufacturing, of the non-returnable container to 40 per cent next April, and down to 30 per cent in April of 1979. We’re not happy, frankly, with that timetable, or with those percentages.

Mr. Deans: It isn’t good enough, but it’s a good starting point.

Mr. Peterson: What are you going to do about it?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: There is also a question regarding the continuation of the ban on the non-returnable bottle. Whether or not they would agree to that voluntary program as well as the ban on the bottle, which is to become effective next April, remains to be seen. These are the points that we’re still discussing in the industry.

I am optimistic frankly that they will agree to our scheduling; and that is about 70-30 next April and possibly 80-20 in 1979.

This is the type of thing we are negotiating at the present time, but the hon. member for Wentworth won’t let me get it through.

Mr. Deans: That’s right, the minister is absolutely right; no way. Bring in a recycling program.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Wentworth doesn’t have the floor. I haven’t recognized him.

Mr. Bounsall: Do I take it from the minister’s reply that he is not considering, as one of his options, the institution of uni-metal cans, up to a fairly reasonable size for all metal containers, with the subsequent reclamation, recycling and reissue of those cans, as the most reasonable way of meeting this problem?

Hon. Mr. Kerr: That is something we have also discussed -- the fact that the tops on cans, I believe, are aluminum and the cans themselves are steel. This does affect a really effective reclamation program and recycling program.

One of the problems of course is apparently the aluminum can is easier to open, particularly with the new top they have, rather than a steel top. But that is certainly part of our ongoing discussions with the industry.

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



Mr. Handleman from the select committee on Inco layoffs presented the committee’s report which was read as follows:

By a motion of this House on November 14, 1977, the select committee was constituted to make certain inquiries pertaining to Inco Limited. On-site inspections at Sudbury and Port Colborne have already been completed but no hearings have yet been conducted.

A joint request in writing was received by the committee yesterday afternoon from Inco Limited and the United Steelworkers of America, [Sessional Paper No. 146] which is an appendix to this report and which request is self-explanatory. As a result of this letter, the committee unanimously decided to adjourn until December 14, 1977, or earlier if called by the chairman, to accede to the joint request of Inco Limited and the United Steelworkers of America.


Mr. Philip from the standing administration of justice committee presented the committee’s report which was read as follows and adopted.

Your committee begs to report the following bills with certain amendments:

Bill Pr5, An Act respecting the Village of Port McNicoll.

Bill Pr14, An Act respecting the City of Ottawa.

Your committee further recommends the following bill be not reported:

Bill Pr15, An Act respecting the City of Ottawa.



Hon. Mr. MacBeth moved that the final report of the Select Committee on the Fourth and Fifth Reports of the Ontario Commission on the Legislature which was presented to the 30th Parliament on March 29, 1977, be considered by the House on the evening of Thursday, December 1.

Motion agreed to.




Hon. J. A. Taylor moved first reading of Bill 111, An Act to provide for Municipal Hydro-Electric Service in the County of Oxford.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. J. A. Taylor: This bill establishes a new municipal electric power supply commission for each of the eight area municipalities in the county of Oxford. Thirteen existing commissions are dissolved. This legislation has been reviewed by the provincial steering committee, Ontario Hydro, TEIGA, and the Ministry of Energy in consultation with the local study team, the Ontario Municipal Electrical Association, and the provincial-municipal liaison committee.

The provisions of the bill have been in general agreed upon by these groups. The low population density and growth rate in Oxford was a dominant factor in the formulation of this bill. For this reason, customers within the five townships presently served by Ontario Hydro will continue to be served by Ontario Hydro.

Commencing January 1, 1978, customers within Tillsonburg, presently served by Ontario Hydro, will be supplied with power by the new Tillsonburg commission.

On behalf of the government, I wish to commend the Oxford local study team, the steering committee, their staff, and Ontario Hydro for their efforts.


Hon. Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if just before the orders of the day I could table a response on question 45 standing on the notice paper.



Mr. McGuigan moved second reading of Bill Pr2, an Act respecting the Township of Dover.

Motion agreed to.

Third reading also agreed to on motion.


Mr. Deans moved second reading of Bill Pr28, An Act respecting the City of Hamilton.

Motion agreed to.

Third reading also agreed to on motion.


Mr. McGuigan moved second reading of Bill Pr30, An Act respecting the City of Chatham.

Motion agreed to.

Third reading also agreed to on motion.

House in committee of supply.


Mr. Chairman: We will now resume consideration of the estimates of the Ministry of the Attorney General.

On vote 1306, courts administration program; item 1, program administration:

Mr. Roy: I think we were discussing vote 1306-2 and I would beg the indulgence of the Chair to consider this to be a point of privilege.

Mr. Chairman: I would just remind the member, I think we’re on item 1. It hadn’t carried.

Mr. Roy: Item 1 was carried.

Mr. Chairman: No, it was not carried.

Mr. Roy: Whether it was or not, I knew that we were on vote 1306. Whether we carried item 1 or not, I would like to correct the record pertaining to earlier discussions that took place on these estimates back on November 21, 1977.

My colleague the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) made certain comments at that time regarding the role played in the Legal Aid Plan by the legal profession in this province. Afterwards the Attorney General commented -- I have here the Instant Hansard. I am looking at the transcript dating back to the afternoon of November 21, 1977, and I’m reading from page 1530-2, where the Attorney General said: “Yes, I must admit that I’m rather curious as to where the official opposition stands on the issue of Legal Aid in relation to the administration of the plan, because I have urged the member for Ottawa East, my good friend and Justice critic” -- Here there were some interjections -- “and the member for York Centre [Mr. Stong] to get them together just to see where they stand on the issue because it would be helpful if they would consult with one another on occasion.”

I would like to correct the record, or the impression the Attorney General might have, or that he might have left with the House. I have discussed the position of our party with the Attorney General and I take it that what he was referring to at that time was our position vis-à-vis Legal Aid, whether it should be taken over by a government agency or government apparatus or whether it should stay within the realm, jurisdiction and control of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

The record should be cleared on that. I would like to make it as clear as possible that the official position of the official opposition is in favour of keeping the Legal Aid system exactly where it is. I don’t want to go into all the details. I don’t want to abuse your graciousness in allowing me to correct the record on this, but that is our position and that position will continue until we decide otherwise in caucus. That is the position of our party.

This doesn’t stop certain members from having personal views which may be otherwise. I understand, for instance, that the NDP critic has a particular view with which certain members of his caucus are not in agreement. The Attorney General, I’m sure, has members within his caucus who do not agree with his view. But the view of this party as a whole, and our policy of a Liberal government in this province, would be to keep it where it is.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: Can’t wait.

Mr. Roy: It can’t wait? Well, George, you’ve had a good day. Don’t start getting into this one. You might lose some points here.

I would like to make that position very clear so that the Attorney General would know what the position of the official opposition is.

The other matter I would like to clarify is that members on this side should be allowed to express personal views vis-à-vis Legal Aid and the legal profession without it necessarily meaning that it is the position of the party. I think we should make that very clear. Similarly the Attorney General may well have people within his own caucus who have views which are not exactly in line with his. Certainly members are entitled to their views on various factors within the administration of justice.

Coming back to vote 1306, I would like to ask the Attorney General a question. I understand that Mr. Graham Scott from his ministry had occasion to meet again with the Carleton County Law Association about the question of the courthouse in Ottawa. I am not sure if the meeting was yesterday. Because of the great concern of the Ottawa area about the present court facilities, I would like the Attorney General to report to the members of the House what has taken place. Has any agreement been arrived at, pertaining to this meeting with the Carleton County Law Association?

I would also like the Attorney General to confirm or deny whether his view coincides with the view of the member for Ottawa South, who met with the Carleton County Law Association. In his summary fashion, which that minister is sometimes famous for, the Hon. Mr. Bennett told the Carleton County Law Association that they had better not expect a new courthouse in that area for at least, to use his words, “another five years.” The comments made by the member for Ottawa South to the Carleton County Law Association were not ones to encourage them to look in that direction. In fact, they were more or less summarily dismissed by that minister saying that certainly there were other things in this province which had much higher priority than a courthouse for that area.

I would like the Attorney General to tell us about Mr. Scott’s meeting yesterday and to confirm whether it is in fact his position as well, that in the scheme of things there are more important things for the Ottawa area, or for the province for that matter, than that courthouse.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: In relation to the position of the official opposition with respect to the administration of the Legal Aid Plan, I am of course most interested, particularly in a minority government situation.

As for the views of the member for Ottawa East’s associate the member for York Centre, I think I had very good reason to wonder what the position of the official opposition was. As the member for Ottawa East well knows, the member for York Centre expressed his view in relation to Legal Aid during the 10th anniversary seminar at which he appeared on a panel, and certainly created the impression with everyone who heard him that as a member of the Liberal Party and as a lawyer he was speaking for his party.

I am not suggesting he used those words, but according to the report I had, he certainly created the impression with everyone who heard him that the official position of the Liberal Party was to adopt the Osler recommendation that the administration of the plan be turned over to a corporation.

I assume, therefore, that this matter has been discussed by the Justice critic of the Liberal Party and his colleague and that his caucus has arrived at an official position in respect to this. I assume that is what you are saying here today.

Mr. Roy: It has always been our position. I have told you this before and now I just want to put it on record.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I find it very curious that if that has always been the position of the Liberal Party, now the official opposition, one of the lawyer members from that party would take part in an important seminar associated with the 10th anniversary of the Ontario Legal Aid plan and state a position that was contrary to the position of his party.

I appreciate that our noble profession is one that is known for its independence. It may be the member for Lakeshore has struck a position independent of his party. Certainly that should entitle the member for York Centre to also strike a position independent from the official position of his party. I just hope that at the earliest opportunity the member for Ottawa East will advise him as to what the official position of the party is.

I suppose I should congratulate the member for York Centre on his independent state of mind, in not accepting the position of his party in relation to the administration of the Legal Aid Plan.

Mr. Roy: That happens on your side, too.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Maybe, because of his fierce independence and his overall intelligence, he will find that he has to take so many positions independent from those of his party that he might feel more comfortable on this side of the House.

Mr. Bradley: Never.

Mr. Cureatz: A lot can happen.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Obviously, for the member for York Centre there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I would be the last one to attempt to dampen that flickering flame, feeble though it may be.

In any event, with respect to the Ottawa courthouse, Mr. Scott, the director of courts administration, did not meet with representatives of the Ottawa bar yesterday. It is quite correct that the member for Ottawa South, one of my colleagues on the executive council, has met with the representatives of the bar association in Ottawa. My advice is that they will be having a further meeting in relation to the Ottawa court facilities. I am so advised by my director of courts administration; it’s his understanding that the member for Ottawa South and the bar association will be meeting again in the very near future.

In the meantime, the director of courts administration will be in Ottawa at the beginning of the week, meeting with Mr. Belanger, president of the local bar association, in respect to other matters of interest to the Ottawa Bar Association and he will certainly afford himself the opportunity of pursuing the matter of the courthouse.

In relation to any statements attributed to the member for Ottawa South with respect to the fact that the government has much higher priorities in relation to capital expenditure, I understand that the member for Ottawa South and the member for Ottawa East appeared on some radio program this morning. I did not have the benefit of hearing that program, which I gather was broadcast only in the Ottawa area.

Certainly it is not a question of the government’s having much higher priorities, it’s a question of having a very limited capital budget in the interest of government restraint. The position of the Attorney General of this province is that the court facilities in Ottawa should be regarded by my government as a matter of urgent priority, of the highest priority. I can’t now think of any other major capital projects that are proceeding at the present time, that weren’t already under way for some time, in advance of the Ottawa courthouse. I want to make it absolutely clear that I regard this matter as very urgent. The member for Ottawa South also regards the matter as one of extreme importance.

What we’re concerned about now is the issue of providing adequate facilities in rented accommodation for the provincial courts. I think the proposal to provide such facilities for the provincial courts is a reasonable one.

As the Attorney General I would be delighted if the government could see its way clear to embarking on a fairly significant capital expenditure and building a courthouse. But knowing the constraints that other ministries are operating under, and knowing our constraint program is very much in the public interest, I can understand and appreciate and support the views of my colleagues. But in the meantime I would hope that there would be some meeting of the minds between the members, the practitioners in the Ottawa area and our ministry and the Ministry of Government Services, as to where we might provide these provincial court facilities, because they are needed.

I think it really is in the public interest to proceed with these court facilities, rather than encourage the bar association to hold out, as it were, until the government gives a definite time commitment with respect to providing a courthouse where all the facilities may be centralized.

I can appreciate the frustration of the Ottawa practitioners in this matter. If I were practising down there I’m sure I would probably be very militant myself in this issue. I’m not quarrelling with our colleagues for adopting this attitude. But I think it’s important, notwithstanding their frustration with the government’s capital budget, to recognize that it is very much in the public interest to provide these provincial courtrooms, which will be quite adequate and will be able to serve the administration of justice in a very important field.

As the member for Ottawa East fully appreciates, provincial courts deal with about 98 per cent of the criminal and quasi-criminal matters that are dealt with in Ottawa or anywhere else. The fact that we’re prepared to provide adequate facilities at this level of the court is in the public interest and it’s certainly in the public interest to proceed with those facilities as expeditiously as possible.

I would just express the hope that my colleagues in the Ottawa area would appreciate the importance of this in the overall public interest and would proceed accordingly.

Mr. Roy: If I could make a quick comment, Mr. Chairman. First of all, sure it’s a matter of public interest and the bar has certainly been co-operative. They’ve been co-operative in other areas in establishing new programs like the pro forma, and the defence bar has been prepared to co-operate on a number of programs to facilitate, to enhance, to make the system more efficient. That’s not the point.

Their frustration is based on the fact that they were promised something now for about 10 years. They never got it. The last time they accepted so-called temporary facilities they got them for 10 years and they were totally inadequate. Then they meet with the ministry and the ministry says, “The best we can do for you is rent out on the outskirts of the city.” You can understand their being somewhat hostile under those circumstances.

I certainly don’t blame the bar association nor the citizens of Ottawa for taking every means possible to bring this matter to public attention. In fact that’s been one of the problems. This government has understood in the realm of priorities that when there’s a lot of public pressure they always do react. Unfortunately, there’s not been sufficient public pressure on the administration of justice. This is why successive Attorneys General -- and I’m excluding you, but a whole series of your predecessors -- were not really giving justice. They were just caretakers more or less, just letting the system proceed along. Of course, you’re left with the mess and you need money and you don’t have it. You’ve only got a certain percentage of the budget, and it has been going down since you have been there.

I think our efforts are starting to work now in Ottawa. We’re starting to get the public interested. I noticed this not only in Ottawa; I’ve got files here from when we were talking about Windsor and Toronto. I was listening to some counsel on the Gzowski show last night, about the system here in Toronto.

But I want to ask the Attorney General if the bar association goes along with you to rent provincial court facilities in an area which is suitable for that purpose within the downtown core -- and there have been various proposals put to you; some people are even prepared to construct a building near the present courthouse and then rent space to the Attorney General to have court facilities; this may be one of the alternatives -- but would you at least be prepared, if you’re not prepared to spend any moneys for capital works, to spend some money to spruce up the old courthouse we have now? There are many rooms and courtrooms and offices in that place which require the expenditure of sums to make them adequate and to get full use out of that building. Would the Attorney General’s department be prepared to do that? I think that the bar association would be prepared to co-operate if they thought that the present dilapidated facilities would get some funds to spruce it up a little bit.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I think I can adequately reply to that suggestion, Mr. Chairman, by saying that Mr. Scott will be in Ottawa on Monday or Tuesday and I will have him visit the courthouse again to look at what might be done. It’s been some time, I must admit, since I’ve visited the courthouse, but he will visit the courthouse next week with a view to seeing what might be done.

Mr. Roy: Aren’t you supposed to go down there on December 13?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I may very well be going down there before Christmas.

Mr. Roy: I have been invited to a meeting.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I don’t look too far ahead in my diary, otherwise I don’t sleep as well. I think you’re quite right. I probably will be in Ottawa within the next two or three weeks and I will personally undertake to make my own visit to the courthouse at that time. If the member for Ottawa East is in town on that occasion, I would be delighted to have his company.

Mr. Roy: The only other place I can be is here.

Mr. Lawlor: Mr. Chairman, I have a couple of matters preliminary to what I have to say in substance. First of all, I’d like to thank the Deputy Attorney General for the text on Dworkin. Those things are much appreciated. I’m glad he thinks of me sometimes.

The second thing I would like to say is to apologize to this House for the spate of ill-considered remarks made, as far as I’m concerned, the other day. It does not mean that on one side pomposity will not remain or that nincompoopery will disappear, I can assure you of that. But the hon. member and myself are speaking -- just barely -- and I just thought I would mention these things in the temper of the moment. The only excuse I can give -- and excuses are never important in this life -- is that for the past few weeks I have been under very considerable pressure.


In this vote, Mr. Chairman, I don’t intend to handle each individual item. We’re on item 1. What I have to say is about two separate matters tied in with one another.

I think the central issue in these estimates has to do with the administration of the courts in a general and overall way. Some of the courts are in a far worse condition than others and the ministry has supplied to us -- and quite thankfully -- a breakdown. I’m not going into it right at the moment, but we shall make a review of this caseload situation.

Flowing out of the introductory remarks of a couple of weeks ago, I’d like to discuss the case flow management experience of the courts and the enormous backlogs in some of them. When you see figures in excess of a million cases pending -- that’s the whole works accumulating and not being severely cut into -- and the Attorney Generalship apparently being hogtied and wrapped in winding sheets with respect to the operation of these courts, then the ministry has a whole series of nostrums which we can discuss at very great length. But it seems to me at this time that some form of surgery rather than the bandages, the anodynes or the injection of a little morphine will do very much for the thing.

I think you have to move in on a particular area. On the divorce area, I think you should perhaps set up arbitrations and remove that from the court. That may be one thing; and highway traffic accidents are another. I think the whole court system is moving towards arbitrations, anyhow, which is probably better, more informal, speedier, cheaper et cetera. It is a beneficial way of handling the operation of the courts. Or take more decisive action in the highway traffic cases. That’s where the monumental accumulation is taking place. There is in excess of close to a million cases or 1.2 million, some fantastic figure which we will come to later on this morning or possibly on Monday. By the way, after I’ve finished the two points that I wish to make in an overall sense, as far as I’m concerned these estimates are over. There is so much we can do and so much we can’t. There’s another vote. I’ve got nothing that will be shattering or world catastrophic in that particular field.

The ministry has, on the central west experiment, pointed out what the objectives of that experiment were in its white paper on the subject. “The project management team concentrated on the following areas: Development of office standards for the provincial court, criminal division and family division.” They apparently had no great difficulty in that area. “The general management of the court offices was by the management team,” and apparently that was okay. “The development of effective techniques for allocating the work of court reporters in the preparation of transcripts; and (d) the development of statistical analyses methods and techniques.”

That’s going forward. It’s a little out of date and not nearly quickly enough in order to establish figures. I’d really love to see figures, either from this ministry or that of the Solicitor General (Mr. MacBeth) showing the number of cases laid, the number of individuals against whom they were laid and the number of convictions on specific counts registered. I think you will find that the convictions at the end of the day, and at the end of the process, are a very minor percentage of the magnitude of the charges originally laid. You may say that’s highly beneficial in the sense that the system is sifting out and excluding the guiltless; on the other hand, I think it will prove the excrescence of original charges laid, I think that’s what you’ll come to.

I don’t see statistics like that and apparently they are difficult to come by. If they could be provided, then I would ask that they be provided. Anyhow the statistical analysis is going forward. That’s not your problem.

The fifth area was the development of the evaluative criteria standards related to court productivity. I think that is in the process and can be done. The experience of other even-more-loaded jurisdictions, particularly in the States, will stand to good stead. I am sure and I trust that you have sent down investigative teams, competent people from your department, to look into the operative procedures in possibly the California, and certainly the New York courts. The New York courts are in a dreadful state, so they must be plunging around in utter darkness trying to extricate themselves.

Finally, case flow management. Case flow management was the crunch. It was the barrier upon which your back was broken so you had to revise your whole scheme. I won’t recapitulate the original remarks about how that had to be done and placed in the hands of the judicial council, but I do think what you say at point nine in your case load management should be in the record for the future, for people to refer to. I will just read that into the record:

“One of the most important initiatives taken by the project management team with the approval of the advisory committee was the development of a case flow management system in the provincial court criminal division in Halton county. Its objectives was to rearrange the work of the criminal courts to make maximum use of judicial and other resources and increase the convenience of the public.

“The proposal for a case flow management system involves the complete rescheduling of all the business of the criminal courts, the changing of the time of commencement of the various courts, the reallocation of duties between provincial judges and justices of the peace, a change in the procedure of setting trial dates, a change in the take in procedure for scheduling first appearance of cases not previously dealt with ... ”

In that area, if I may pause for a moment, most of the courts that I know of in Metro are convening at a little earlier hour of the morning with respect to adjournment procedure, the setting up of separate adjournment courts for this specific purpose before us, the clearing out of the hallways and the overcrowding in the courtroom space itself in order to proceed with regular trials.

“ ... a change in the number of location of various court sittings, the development of a new system for streaming certain types of cases into different courts” -- that’s part of that, too -- “and the allocation of specific blocks of judicial time for the disposition of certain types of cases.”

All to the good; all being ventured upon and done. But again apparently you are up against formidable backlogs and formidable obstacles. While you go on to the treadmill and run like blazes -- you ran a little better than these fellows as a tennis player apparently, but as the Attorney General you are running like hell, but you don’t seem to be getting very far, as far as these statistics indicate. It must be terribly disheartening, particularly later on in the morning, but what does it mean?

I agree with you that the whole solution by no means lies in there -- the courtroom space or in the judges. It’s the allocation of the present space and present judiciary that is critical to the issue. It requires an incisive moving in by you into some one or other designated area to take out or by surgery cut off that particular limb which is presently clogging the court channel and which is probably better located in some other mode of tribunal, or by some other way.

You have a wide discretion in this particular regard, and I think you are going to be driven, as the months go on because you are not going to make major inroads into that court backlog, as I see things -- you are going to be driven to adopting some alternative scheme completely in order to lift the burden from the regular courts and the judges of those courts.

That is the basic background as I see it. I have to concede that setting up of the judicial council and working in close conjunction with the office of courts administration, and having primary and immediate and direct control over that is good. However, you were driven to that; that was the only feasible alternative you had.

I have severe doubts about the advisory committee to courts administration, its setup, its constitution, its effectiveness, its range of powers, its putative capabilities, all these things. I think it’s probably a sponge more than a prickly pear. I suppose what you are really saying is that you need some quasi and relatively independent body out here to siphon off some of the gas that may arise between the offices of all these chief judges and associate judges and the administrators of the courts themselves, who are really the people in the middle of this whole thing. You are seeking to make them effective and I think you have to watch the situation with enormous delicacy and care, because you are still going to get very considerable chaffing at both ends.

These men in the judicial council are not trained administrators. That’s admitted; they don’t pretend to be. Nevertheless, they are going to have to have a very close and critical, incisive knowledge of court administration. How they are to acquire that puzzles me. They are going to be very dependent upon and rely -- and this will run against the grain -- on the court administrators as such, the qualified, so-called expert people.

At the other end, the rub will come with the judges. You may get some soothing and a rubbing of ointment into the wounds, because it would be their fellow judges who are doing it, although I think we will have to agree that those who call themselves the operative judges, the working bench judges, are going to acquire increasing resentments against this tribe of administrators over here, who would be better occupied sitting on the bench than in their offices looking over statistics and consulting with court administrators.

For you to do it yourself, or for your department to do it, would cause even greater aggravations. It has, and it has been proven. So just how that is all going to be worked out is a matter for the conjuring trick. Watch the rabbit come out of that particular hat. I think that’s all I want to say on that aspect of courts administration this morning.

Mr. Stong: I do have some specific questions to ask on the issue. I understand we can address our remarks to the vote as a whole rather than on items, because there is a certain overlapping of some of the things I did want to ask the minister.


Mr. Chairman: First, we were trying to keep it to item 1. I realize it’s difficult.

Mr. Lawlor: I have something on item 2; try to keep it on item 1.

Mr. Stong: First off, I would like to begin my remarks by indicating that I disassociate myself absolutely and completely with every phrase, word and sentence of the remarks made in this House on November 1 by the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) in relation to legal aid.

I also would like to make clear my position with respect to legal aid and a meeting that I attended as a representative of the Liberal Party in the summer during the election campaign. At that time I was introduced as the critic for Justice and I indicated at that meeting that I was not, that I was speaking as a member in a private capacity, and that I did agree with the Osler report and the administration of legal aid. It is not the policy of this party that the administration of legal aid be turned over to a private company. I want to make quite clear to the Attorney General that I was speaking in my capacity as a private member as opposed to voicing the policy of this party.

Mr. Chairman: Would the member return to vote 1306, please.

Mr. Stong: Yes, Mr. Chairman. With respect to program administration, although I still agree with the Osler report, I bow to the policy that we have formed here. We’re talking not about the principle of legal aid, but the administration of the plan.

Mr. Roy: Cut him off.

Mr. Stong: With respect to the administration of our courts, I concur with the remarks made by the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Lawlor). It seems to me there are getting to be greater demands on judges’ time. In the daily work routine of our court system, from provincial court right up on through to Supreme Court, judges are required to give written reasons or they seem to have it incumbent upon them to give very specific reasons for their judgements as based in law, which they must research. I think that’s good. I think that’s very good for our system and it’s good for those who appear before them.

But insofar as judges are called upon daily in most matters -- and there is no uncomplicated matter before our courts these days it would seem -- and insofar as these requirements are being made of their time, it seems to me that we must study the allocation of judges and perhaps the allocation of a judge’s time. No man or woman can sit on the bench for six hours of any day and listen steadily to evidence in an intelligent way, in a comprehending way, and be expected to come forth with an intelligent decision; it’s almost impossible.

It’s tiring to listen to six hours of evidence a day and then be required subsequently to research the law, relate the law back to the facts and come up with a decision. It would seem to me we have to think in terms of remedying the backlog, by at this time perhaps not requiring more court space but more judges. The member for Lakeshore is right -- we should consider the acquisition of more judges and allow those now on the bench that time required to write the decisions, to research the law and generally attend to their duties of adjudicating, without worrying about sitting for six hours a day or more in some cases. I’ve heard of judges staying there till 8 o’clock at night to get through a list. We have to overcome the backlog in that way, in my respectful submission.

Likewise, it seems to me there is room for the extending of jurisdiction to our provincial judges. Extending the jurisdiction, I think, is something that should be reviewed. Perhaps there are too many levels of trial. Perhaps the two lower levels should be combined. Perhaps our provincial judges should be given the jurisdiction to hear cases with juries as well, so that we can at least have the advantage of two levels of trial to help expedite matters. There are more cases heard on the lower level. It would seem to me that if we had the complement of the county court judge by virtue of the amalgamation of jurisdiction, in some way we could assist the situation. It is something, in my respectful submission, that ought to be studied.

Also, in as far as there are claims going through our civil courts in matters of restitution, it would seem to me that it would be good, and I asked the Attorney General earlier, to consider amending the provincial courts Act and the county courts Act so that there is absolutely no doubt that provincial judges and county court judges do have jurisdiction over property and civil rights, as could be granted in those Acts, to order restitution. Then there would be no hesitation and it would lay to rest forever the problem of infringement of jurisdiction in that area.

There are cases, but they are conflicting cases, throughout our jurisdiction on this issue. There are difficulties that arise and arguments that require court time, wasted time in my respectful submission. Judges should be allowed to make orders of restitution and no one should be allowed to waste court time arguing against the principle that a provincial judge be allowed to make an order of restitution because it is a matter of property and civil rights and it is not within his competent jurisdiction to do so; likewise in county court, where these judges are appointed by the federal government. We should amend those Acts and lay that matter to rest completely, and forever.

I might as well, at this point, when we are talking about the administration of the program, ask the minister what is happening in the area of North York, with respect to the establishment of provincial courts. I stand to be corrected on this, but I understand the borough of North York is vacating offices some time in 1978 and that there are long-range plans for the takeover of those offices and the establishment of courts. In the interim, I am advised, there are short-term leases being taken up on factories in the area, and those factories are being converted to courts to meet the need now.

If that is so, why are we wasting so much money, or why is the ministry entering these short-term leases for the conversion of these factories when the borough of North York offices are to be vacated in 1978?

This is information, as I said, that I stand to be corrected on. But that is my understanding. I would like to have some direction from the ministry with respect to plans in this area, particularly in the area of North York.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Chairman, in relation to what progress, if any, we are making in relation to court backlogs, there are a few remarks I want to offer in respect to this very serious issue. I am optimistic that some of our initiatives will bear some fruit in the not-too-distant future.

The increase in the small claims court jurisdiction to $1,000 -- maybe we should increase it beyond $1,000 in the very near future -- should relieve the county courts, to some extent at least, in the areas where there are these backlogs.

We are encouraging the judges at all levels in the civil courts to engage in pre-trial procedures in relation to both civil and criminal cases. As you know, Walter Williston and the committee which I appointed two years ago have been working on a review of the rules of practice, which I hope will help remove some of the unnecessary complexity of pre-trial proceedings -- interlocutory proceedings -- which sometimes are referred to as a form of ambush tactics. I think that, hopefully, will relieve judges, both county and Supreme Court, of some of their burdens in so far as dealing with these interlocutory matters is concerned.

As you know, Mr. Justice Arthur Kelly reported recently with respect to his review of the appellate jurisdiction in this province. With respect to judges we have increased the Supreme Court bench in the last two years by almost a third, the county court somewhat less and the provincial court bench has increased during my tenure -- both family and criminal -- from 158 to 186. So we have made some significant efforts in that direction to relieve these backlogs.

But at the same time I hasten to mention, so far as these backlogs are concerned -- a problem which is of grave concern to me and which I have always stated was of grave concern -- I still think we can point to the fact that our backlogs have come nowhere close to the critical situation which has developed south of the border in relation to urban centres of a similar size.

I consider the matter critical, and I have never hesitated to state it was critical. I have often said it publicly, and I am sure these words will be repeated in the material that is before you, that I regard the case-load backlog as having the potential of undermining the administration of justice in a very serious way if some resolution isn’t found.

Fortunately I think we can say that we are in a much better position than jurisdictions that are comparable from an urban standpoint. Discussions I have had with the chief judges and the senior judges would indicate that the time between arrest and trial, and the time between when the action is set down for trial in a civil case and the actual trial is a relatively manageable period. But I don’t say that, I emphasize, with any sense of complacency whatsoever. This is a matter which must continue to be given the highest of priorities, and a matter which must continue to occupy a good deal of my time.

In respect to courts administration, we had our key courts administration people taking courses, in the US, for example, to study useful new developments there that are taking place in certain areas. During the past year we have had special management courses for some 135 of our provincial court administrators, and 81 of these court administrators are presently in a program being run by Sheridan College.

Before leaving some of the issues raised by the member for Lakeshore, I should say that I had a very useful meeting during the pact week with the new Chief Justice of Ontario. He certainly indicated his enthusiasm about participating in the resolution of the problems of our courts at all levels.

Mr. Lawlor: Enthusiasm now?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I think it is very important that the stature --

Mr. Lawlor: I would have thought he would have taken it on as a duty, not enthusiastically.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No, actually, Mr. Chairman, in some provinces the chief justices regard their duties -- and this is nowhere spelled out to my knowledge -- as pretty well being restricted to the appellate courts in those provinces. I think it’s useful and important that the new Chief Justice, as did his two predecessors, should indicate recognition of the importance of his position in relation to the administration of justice generally. I think this is very important, because I do believe their stature enables them to bring to bear a very useful influence in relation to the administration of courts generally. He’s quite agreeable, for example, to heading a judicial council which initially will act as an advisory body.

I made it quite clear that I believe for a number of reasons that a judicial council, such as the one contemplated by the white paper, should as a first step at least act in an advisory capacity to the Ministry of the Attorney General, more particularly to the Attorney General. I believe this is a very important step forward.

With respect to the matter of restitution raised by the member for York Centre, I agree with him that our judges should have jurisdiction in relation to these very important matters. As I think I indicated recently, the Supreme Court of Canada will be making a decision on this matter before the end of the year early next month, I expect. In the event the Supreme Court rules those particular sections of the Criminal Code unconstitutional, I can assure members opposite that we will be bringing in amendments forthwith in order to provide that jurisdiction. These amendments would be forthcoming when the House meets again in February. So we’re very much aware of this particular issue.

About the issue relating to provincial courts in North York, we will be opening up seven criminal courts in North York at 1000 Finch Avenue West. We’ve been waiting to proceed with these courts for some time and they will be available by March.

In so far as the old municipal building is concerned, I gather it wasn’t made known until quite recently that this would be available. If we were to change direction at this point, and if we could change direction without exposing ourselves to some very significant liability for any leases we’ve entered into, I’m told the old municipal buildings would require very extensive renovations and this whole matter would be delayed. I’m very anxious to proceed with these North York courts, because the issue is tied in so much to the decentralization program that we talked about in relation to the Crown attorney system.

And of course we are providing additional provincial courts in order to attack the backlog.

There’s one matter to do with the backlog in the provincial criminal courts that is of increasing concern to me. This issue is one about which there doesn’t appear to be any ready solution. I mention it in order to indicate to the members opposite that they might reflect on this and offer me any advice they may have on this very difficult area in the weeks and months ahead. Statistics indicate a very large percentage of the criminal cases that are scheduled to proceed in the provincial court do not go ahead at the last minute, simply because counsel is in another court; I am sure that when counsel advise courts that they are engaged in another court that information is correct.

It’s an alarming statistic in some areas. In some areas as many as 50 per cent of the proceed dates do not actually proceed. As a result we have lists folding and empty court rooms. I can tell you this makes it very difficult for an Attorney General to persuade the public as to the need for additional court rooms, and through the public their elected representatives, when court space is not or does not appear to be properly utilized, when people visit the provincial court rooms and see the courts empty early in the day.

It’s a very difficult issue, because it relates to a very fundamental right that we’ve long recognized in this jurisdiction, namely the right of an accused to a counsel of his or her choice. I don’t suggest for one moment that is not a right that should be given very great recognition. In other areas I’ve mentioned, for example Scotland, where you have a split profession, barrister and solicitor, I learned this summer that if a court date is set the case goes on. There have to be the most exceptional circumstances, which very seldom occur, to delay the trial. Of course with a split profession, it often means that the solicitor who is retained is briefing new counsel at the last moment. I think I indicated a few weeks ago when asked about this, that this would be considered a very revolutionary concept in our courts, and certainly with a fused profession it may make it very difficult.

It’s a matter that does frustrate the provincial court judges all over this province. I know, because I’ve had a number of them convey messages to me through their senior judges saying, “We want to put in a good day, we’re set to go; and then we get there in the morning and we see, day after day, our lists collapsing because counsel are in other court rooms.”

As I said at the outset, I don’t have any solution to that. I would be the last one to suggest that we should lightly interfere with the basic right of an accused person to have counsel of his or her choice. But unfortunately in some areas where the counsel work, and Ottawa, I think, is a pretty good example, a relatively small percentage of the bar does virtually all the criminal work. This is a particular problem.

It may be that some time down the road the public is simply going to rise up and say, “Look, we can’t afford to have our court rooms empty to the extent they are because counsel are in another court room.” It may be that the public will just tell us, “Look, an accused person is going to have to prepare to be represented by Mr. A or Mrs. B, et cetera, in order that these trial dates may proceed.”

I just mention this in passing, not because I have any solution, as I said at the outset, but because it’s a matter that concerns me greatly since it does cause a great deal of frustration in the system with the judges, with their lists collapsing, with police officers who are there with their witnesses ready to proceed; and of course with citizens in court, taking a day off work, who are told that their case isn’t going on and to come back another day.

It’s a serious problem. I mention it again in order that my colleagues opposite might reflect upon it. As I’ve always encouraged them to do, I hope they will let me have the benefit of their advice if they think they have any useful suggestions in this respect.

Mr. Roy: We always have useful suggestions, you know that.

Mr. Stong: Getting back to the point of the North York courts: As I understand it, there are going to be seven courts established. I wonder if you can tell us what the lease arrangements are on those courts? What’s the term of them?

Hon. Mr McMurtry: Five; and five renewable.

Mr. Stong: And is there an intention in the ministry at this point to renew or, in the meantime is it going to work to renovate the borough offices? Are you going to appoint new judges; and how many judges do you perceive being needed in that area?

On the second point, you indicated the lists are collapsing. I believe that is a problem we have to consider. Why are the lists collapsing? As you indicated counsel is in another court, that’s usually the reason; and we accept that?

Mr. Foulds: We don’t accept that; a doctor doesn’t doublebook operating theatres.

Mr. Roy: You would be the first person to object if you didn’t have a lawyer.

Mr. Stong: Why is counsel in another court? Is counsel in the other court because the other court is a higher court to which he was called, or is it a continuing case in a higher court? Or is it a matter of overbooking himself? In so far as it’s a matter of overbooking himself, we should have provisions in our law to assess costs against counsel, who would be required to pay the costs of the court for that day if he has overbooked himself in two provincial courts. But if it is beyond his control that’s another matter; and oftentimes in jurisdictions outside of Metropolitan Toronto the assizes come up; he has his cases booked in low court and then the assizes come up and he goes to assignment court. He is told, basically, when the case is going to proceed, and then he has to make arrangements in low court to get those matters adjourned, because the assizes do not last as long. There are more cases in low court and he is caught in a bind.

Maybe the other answer to this is that people in Ontario should be prepared to accept his partner, or another person who is not as qualified in criminal law to represent them. I don't think we should have a split between the barrister and solicitor. I think it’s more valuable to the community to have those titles in one individual.

However, there’s one other matter we should consider; and that is perhaps extending the jurisdiction of our provincial judges to have jury trials, thereby amalgamating, in certain circumstances, the two levels of court where most cases take place, provincial and county. Then there would not be the problem of overbooking or overlapping, or one court maintaining that it has higher authority and higher jurisdiction over the lower court and confusing the list. If we extend the jurisdiction of the provincial court, and the county court and the provincial court are amalgamated in terms of jurisdiction, you wouldn’t have the problem of one court assuming it has higher jurisdiction, and therefore preference over the lower court, which deals with 95 per cent of our cases.

It seems to me that if a lawyer overbooks himself in provincial court he should be assessed costs for any inconvenience he causes.

Mr. Lawlor: That’s what the British do.

Mr. Stong: If he is required in county court as the result of a case continuing beyond his control, then that’s something that may be alleviated by extending jurisdiction. Those are matters that I think the ministry should address itself to in trying to alleviate this problem.

Mr. McClellan: Just as a preliminary observation, I hadn’t been intending to speak on this subject but the member for York Centre has made a lot of sense. For those of us who are not lawyers, the notion of lists disappearing because lawyers have overbooked themselves is simply intolerable. The member for Port Arthur points out that if a doctor books himself into two operations simultaneously he would probably lose his licence. There ought to be accountability for lawyers who are overbooking themselves, they ought be disciplined and it’s as simple as that. There are obviously other factors as well and they need to be addressed administratively, but lawyers have been overbooking themselves for a long time, I gather. It’s just part of the profession of law.

Mr. Roy: The only way they can make a living on legal aid is to overbook themselves.

Mr. Foulds: Oh for goodness sakes, I have never seen a poor lawyer.

Mr. McClellan: That brings tears to my eyes. I’m not overwhelmed by that argument.


Who is being ripped off? Not the lawyers and their income, but the clients who are left stranded in court or the witnesses who are called into courts five, six, seven and eight times; and each time it is remanded. I would hope the Attorney General would bring in measures that will render lawyers accountable and require an examination of absences and an explanation, and discipline where it is clear that an overbooking has taken place. The solicitude on the part of the lawyers and the House for the creating of new judges is highly suspicious, Mr. Chairman, highly suspicious.

I wanted to talk just for a few minutes about the matter of children’s rights. It’s a question of the administration of the family courts. The Attorney General has commissioned a report on the representation of children in the provincial court, family division, which was received earlier in the year. I just wanted to ask a couple of questions. The report was received in June, 1977. I just wanted to ask a couple of questions with respect to its status and the Attorney General’s attitudes and responses to the report.

The Ministry of the Attorney General is, I guess, the only ministry aside from Community and Social Services which still has a finger in the children’s services area through its responsibility for the family court. There is considerable confusion, which I would like the Attorney General to clear up this afternoon, with respect to his attitude to the question of the legal representation of children in family court. I draw to the Attorney General’s attention an article in the Toronto Star -- I am sorry I don’t have the date, but within the last couple of days. It is by Paul Dalby and describes some comments the assistant Deputy Minister of Community and Social Services, George Thomson, made with respect to the need for a bill of rights for children. Judge Thomson is quoted as saying that Ontario should draw up a bill of rights to protect its children and he went on to list --

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: He said children outside the family. He restricted it to that.

Mr. McClellan: Okay, I am not trying to put you on the spot. What I would like is a clear statement of your own views with respect to this matter, and to the question of legal representation. Secondly, I ask whether you intend to follow the recommendation of your committee on the representation of children in provincial court, family division; the recommendation on page 34 of the report that recommends an amendment to the Provincial Courts Act, as follows: “Where a child is not legally presented to require a judge at the time of an application under part 2 of the Child Welfare Act, or any stage of such a proceeding, to determine whether legal representation of a child is desirable; and secondly, if the judge is of the opinion that some representation is desirable to appoint counsel to represent the child.” We have been told there are a number of proposals forthcoming from the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

I don’t know whether they plan to establish legal representation by amendment to the Child Welfare Act or whether legal representation will be established in accordance with the recommendation of your committee, so I would like to know: (a) Your view on the question; and (b) how the government intends to introduce legal representation and what kind of legal representation is intended to be introduced.

I apologize if this subject has already been discussed, but I haven’t been here throughout. I would like to know the status of the recommendation, again of the same committee, with respect to the establishment of three pilot projects in the family courts in Willowdale, Sudbury and Guelph, which would serve to develop firm and comprehensive guidelines with respect to the legal representation of children before the courts.

Would the Attorney General like to respond to some of those points?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: As I indicated earlier in the estimates, I initiated the committee on child representation because of my own view that there was some question as to whether they were being adequately represented.

With respect to the Children’s Aid Society, which has a very serious mandate in this area, and a mandate that I generally believe they carry out very well, I felt that in dealing with the whole family, which is their principal responsibility, occasionally there could be conflict between the family and the child. I was very strongly of the view that children should be heard and that they should have their opportunity to be represented.

In January, by reason of my personal concerns, I caused this I believe excellent committee to be established, by Professor Mendes da Costa; and he has given an initial report. I have indicated that funding will be made available for these pilot projects that are being developed. I am sorry I don’t have the report in front of me, and I can’t specifically remember, but I think the locations you mentioned are all quite accurate. I am just trying to recall whether we have other locations as well. They are proceeding with that, and their mandate will go beyond the provincial court.

In the meantime, our Official Guardian, Mr. Lloyd Perry, has been very much involved in providing separate representation for children in custody actions. This has expanded quite dramatically over the past two years. I am told there are about 150 custody actions in the Supreme Court whereby the Official Guardian’s office is providing legal counsel for children, quite independent of the legal counsel who are representing the principal litigates, the mother and father, the spouses.

The member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell) and I had an interesting exchange of views the other day about child representation generally. She expressed some very important views in respect to child representation in criminal actions where the child is the victim. This is a very important area, particularly when the child has been victimized by the child’s own parents, often of course unfortunately involving a father and daughter situation. It is important that that child be represented and be protected.

Of course when the child is victimized by anybody it is a very frightening experience; the whole business of appearing in court and giving evidence and being subjected to cross-examination can have some lasting detrimental emotional effects. This is all part of our concern in relation to that. Certainly with respect to children’s rights, in so far as a bill of rights relating to a child’s treatment when the child is in someone else’s custody other than the parents is concerned, I don’t think there is any question but that the child must be protected by a series of laws that will protect the child in every area.

My own concern in this area was restricted to matters within the family circle. As to what extent you start to develop bills of rights for daughters, another one for sons, for mothers, fathers, husbands, wives -- what I was concerned about was not getting overly involved in passing legislation that might simply encourage disruption within the family unit when it is an ongoing unit, as opposed to rights that must exist in the law generally for every individual, regardless of sex or age. I think Judge Thomson and I are on all fours with one another in our concerns in respect to that.

The matter of the amendments to the Provincial Courts Act, which was recommended by the committee on child representation, I support completely and so does the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton). He has a package of legislation coming forward and we are waiting for that, but it may well be that we will be presenting an amendment to the Provincial Courts Act ourselves before Christmas. I can’t give a firm undertaking in that regard, but I think it’s quite probable.

Mr. Haggerty: Just get the family law reform first.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I’d be delighted at any assistance that might be offered from the members opposite to proceed with the family law reform legislation. I’ve certainly made it quite clear to the chairman of the justice committee that I would hope that we would proceed, that we hope we’re going to get it through before Christmas.

Mrs. Campbell: If you amend the estimates, then you would get it through.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No?

Mr. B. Newman: Let’s get the show on the road.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I see. I want to make it absolutely clear that I believe this whole area of children’s representation is a very important one and one on which we in the ministry, within the last year or two, have taken very substantial initiatives in respect to furthering the concept of child representation throughout the system of justice.

Mr. McClellan: It’s a pleasure to respond and thank the minister for his response. I would hope you would proceed by way of amendment to the Provincial Courts Act rather than through the vehicle of the Child Welfare Act. I think it’s a solid recommendation. I have talked to members of the committee. I’m familiar with some of the thinking behind that recommendation and I commend it to you. Thank you.

Mr. Bradley: I listened with a good deal of interest to members who have indicated the need for a courthouse facility in their particular constituencies. The member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) spoke at some length and on different occasions about the real needs that exist in the city of Ottawa.

I would also draw to the minister’s attention the dire need for a new courthouse in the city of St. Catharines, a need which has been documented many times over the years.

Mr. Haggerty: Twenty-five years or 30 years.

Mr. Bradley: I was doing some research on this; and it’s rather interesting when you are a member of the opposition when you are doing research. The minister has an excellent staff available to him and certainly he is well versed in legal matters.


I went to the St. Catharines public library and paid $4.90 to photostat some articles that have appeared in the St. Catharines Standard over the years, all of them pointing to the real need for a courthouse in the city of St. Catharines. I noted a list of some 30 articles that were available, many of them describing the reports of what must be over 15 grand juries which have now condemned that particular present courthouse. Members who have been around the Legislature for a while will recognize that the courthouse is something that has been promised for a number of years. I can recall back in 1971, I think in April of that year, it seemed to be very imminent.

Mr. Haggerty: That was an election year.

Mr. Bradley: I would presume it was only a coincidence there was an election in the fall of that year, but certainly it seemed to be on the books at that time. It still has not appeared.

I would like to mention some of the articles that have appeared and some of the grand jury reports, and some of the problems that exist at the present time at that courthouse. Here is one that goes back to what looks like 1954, which says: “Grand jury finds county courthouse to be overcrowded. Grand jury again condemns lack of courthouse facilities.” It discusses some of the problems that exist.

Mr. Haggerty: That letter was sent to Premier Frost.

Mr. Bradley: I am now updating it to 1971, to be fair to some who presently sit in the House. This is from the St. Catharines Standard: “A Supreme Court grand jury has taken up the cudgel of its predecessors and soundly condemned the King Street courthouse for inadequate facilities. In a two-page report to Mr. Justice J. H. Osler, presiding at the winter assizes of the Supreme Court of Ontario, the jury cites six inadequacies in the century-old building. They include inadequate fire protection in all offices, inadequate working and storage space, poor location for Crown attorneys’ offices and special examiners’ room, insufficient parking facilities, unsatisfactory heating, ventilation and air conditioning, no waiting room areas for petit juror panels summoned to duty. ‘We have concluded that the building is obsolete for its present purposes’ the grand jury reported.”

In February, 1971 under the heading “Grand jury remaining empanelled until courthouse plan produced,” the paper reported: “For the first time within memory a grand jury has remained empanelled after its official duties are over. Judge Donald B. Scott, presiding over the third day of the winter sittings of county court for the judicial district of Niagara North, acceded to a recommendation by the seven jurors that they not be dismissed nor discharged until a positive plan for a new courthouse or alternate court accommodation is produced. Judge Scott told the all male grand jury” -- I don’t know whether that is significant or not -- “he was intrigued with their request and could see no reason why it cannot be complied with. However, he pointed out that the per diem rate of pay could not, of course, be continued.” The article continues, talking about the inadequacies.

An editorial appeared in the St. Catharines Standard, on June 21, 1967.

Mr. Lawlor: Now you know why they abolished grand juries.

Mrs. Campbell: Exactly, it is embarrassing.

Mr. Bradley: The Standard could not be classified as a newspaper unfriendly to the present administration. I quote from an editorial entitled: “No justification for delays,” which said: “There can be no longer any doubt” -- this is 1967 -- “about the need for new and adequate administration of justice facilities in this city. As Mr. Wishart, the Attorney General, pointed out in his recent letter to the city, the volume of court work and the concentration of population will require a courthouse in St. Catharines, regardless of whether or not any form of regional government is established. When the Supreme Court of Ontario is forced to hold its session in the city council chambers because of the inadequacies of our 120-year-old courthouse, as happened this week, it is time indeed for action to be considered.”

Mr. Roy: That was six Attorneys General ago.

Mr. Bradley: I won’t quote specifically from this, but on July 17, 1971 the paper said: “Government continues to pour money into courthouse to keep it operable.” That demonstrates that the maintenance costs are pretty high. This is an article by Mr. Tom McCarthy in the St. Catharines Standard. Mr. McCarthy, by the way, sought the Conservative nomination, I think in 1975. He wrote: “The building which has outlived its usefulness as a centre for the administration of justice has recently received several repairs and changes in the hope local members of the judiciary and officials of the court will be satisfied. Of course, they will not.” He continues to document the problems which exist there. “Observations contained in the report of the Ontario Law Reform Commission with respect to the administration of Ontario courts published last year indicate what a low priority the administration of justice has in this province.” And again it condemns past Attorneys General, or at least the government, for not being able to find these funds.

“Court room shortage will force use of regional council chambers,” November 16, 1972. “Jury attacks court facilities, has lunch with inmates at jail,” January 10, 1975. Again, documenting the problems. “Grand jury finds it unbelievable that no action taken on courthouse after reports of other juries,” January 11, 1973. “Another grand jury raps conditions at courthouse,” March 31, 1976. “Another grand jury raps conditions at courthouse,” April 1, 1975. The list goes on, Mr. Chairman, I needn’t go through each and every one of them.

Mr. Roy: Please do.

Mr. Warner: Sounds like Ottawa.

Mr. Bradley: But I will choose one which does talk about the specific problems that exist: “Small, congested, totally inadequate offices, poor working conditions for the staff resulting in inefficient operation, poor morale of staff, the lack of washroom facilities for lawyers -- ” Now, there's a real problem. “ -- poor condition of the petit jury room -- ” described as “ -- too small with no proper ventilation.” I was in that room; it looked more like a cell than it did like a jury room.

Mr. Warner: Sounds like a description of my office.

Mr. Bradley: To continue: “Lack of a holding room for prisoners on trial; the total inadequacy of central filing system for legal documents; the antiquated layout of the building, which is not conducive to an efficient operation; poor lighting, acoustics and lack of air conditioning.” The air conditioning consists of opening the windows and listening to the buses going by, because the central bus station is at that particular location, and listening to the rude remarks of those who have no respect for the judicial system; obviously not.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: It is called participatory democracy.

Mr. Roy: No, no; they are just cursing other judges.

Mr. Bradley: Here is one of my favourite articles, Mr. Chairman. “St. Catharines may soon get a new courthouse,” April 24, 1971. “It’s finally happening! St. Catharines may soon be getting a new court-house. T. R. Hilliard, Deputy Minister of the Ontario Department of Public Works informed city council in a letter last night it has an option on the Wright estate on Duke and James Street.”

Mr. Roy: When was that one?

Mr. Bradley: That was April of 1971, election year 1971.

Mr. Roy: Oh yes, there was a pending election there. Promises were flowing free and fast

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: If we kept having elections every year, we would get some court-houses built.

Mr. Bradley: It did not use the phrase in the fullness of time.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Well they should have.

Mr. Bradley: Mr. Chairman, I won’t use up the time of the House in repetition, but needless to say it does continue on and on; one after another we see these comments. I’ll quote very quickly from a 1975 article by Mr. John Morrison: “For years, I believe dating back to at least 1935, the present courthouse has been considered inadequate.” That is to say the least.

Mr. Warner: No wonder you guys lost down there.

Mr. Bradley: “Grand jury happy to report on a final tour,” and so on.

Here is my favourite, Mr. Chairman, because this does show some positive action, this present one. My colleague from the city of St. Catharines, representing the constituency of Brock, the Hon. Robert Welch, says this, and certainly I am very pleased to hear this: “New courthouse next, and soon.” This is June 23, 1977. I hope I am not reading this in the House 10 years from now, “St. Catharines may be getting a new district courthouse before long.”

Mr. B. Newman: We will build one.

Mr. Cureatz: You will never get over here.

Mr. Bradley: “Culture and Recreation Minister Bob Welch said yesterday that we may have one soon, built on the site of the old downtown library, although he couldn’t give any specific and definite date.”

Mr. Haggerty: Wintario grants.

Mrs. Campbell: Culture and recreation!

Mr. Bradley: Mr. Chairman, at the present time the various legal agencies in the municipality are scattered about the city; the registry office, the local examiner, the small claims court, the provincial court and the family court, are located apart from one another; ideally they should be brought together in one justice building. One lawyer gave me the example that real estate transactions are very difficult to close under these particular circumstances. He gave this as only one example.

The minister would be familiar with the downtown revitalization committee task force that met with him and has communicated with him the real need for a courthouse. The committee contained some members of the legal profession, but many are not and certainly they too see the need for it.

There is a certain uncertainty that some people tell me about in St. Catharines that the province is never going to build this courthouse. I don’t believe that of course, but they would like to see some of the foundations laid so that they could believe some of the promises that were made over the years. The immediate construction of the courthouse would indicate the province’s real concern about downtown revitalization in the city of St. Catharines and the fact that it has faith in the downtown area.

I can understand the Minister of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. McKeough) being concerned about costs, particularly operating costs. By bringing all these facilities under one roof surely the operating costs themselves would not increase to any great extent. The minister will be familiar with the fact the province, on behalf of the city, has now demolished two buildings considered to be architecturally attractive and somewhat historic because there was a courthouse to be built. I refer to the Wright house and to the old library. Many are concerned that these were torn down for nothing and that it will remain a very unattractive area for quite some time. We might have retained the front portion of that. It’s gone now and I’m not going to drag that dead horse through the whipping line again.

I have a letter written by the Premier (Mr. Davis) that the minister would be interested in, because the communications I’ve received from the minister had made me optimistic that there was a definite movement in this direction. The Premier, in reply to a constituent in St. Catharines, wrote a letter which probably caused some pessimism in the minds of the community. It says; “Dear Mr. and Mrs. Gibson: This will acknowledge your letter in which you expressed concern regarding the demolition of the St. Catharines library. I understand that the decision to demolish this library was, as you stated in your letter, a decision of the municipal council of St. Catharines.” That is inaccuracy number one. “Due to financial constraints it is unlikely that the courthouse will be constructed by the province in the near future.” This was the one that really brought many people to the edge of jumping off the top of the present building. “I have forwarded a copy of your letter to my colleague, Hon. Roy McMurtry, Attorney General. Thank you for bringing your views to my attention.”

I assume this is a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing -- not that the Premier should know in every detail what’s going on, but I assume the Attorney General knows in more detail what is going on.

At the present time, in the present economic climate, the opportunity to build a building at a relatively low price is there before us. Competitive tenders for all buildings are the norm rather than the exception. I think this would be excellent to see the project started because of the fact there is so little business going on in the construction industry. It would aid in alleviating unemployment problems in the construction industry and keep businesses viable. These are not the most important reasons for building, but they are the most important reasons for building at the present time.

The city would like to use the present older courthouse building for other purposes. The municipality is now renting office space for the engineering department, which could be moved into that building which it is my understanding the city owns; or possibly the museum could be moved in there.

I implore the Attorney General to proceed as quickly as possible with this building on behalf of the residents of the city of St. Catharines and on behalf of seeing justice really done in a concrete way in the constituency of St. Catharines.

Mr. B. Newman: Invite him down for the ground breaking.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I can assure you that if it were my decision alone to build a courthouse in St. Catharines, or in Ottawa, I would be out with my spade this afternoon digging the first hole.

Mr. Swart: The Treasurer won’t let you.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I don’t think there is any doubt that those courthouses should have been built some time ago. Believe it or not, I’m going to an opening of a courthouse this afternoon in Barrie. At the same time, I sometimes wonder if we shouldn’t pass some special legislation to protect our courthouses, particularly the new ones, as an endangered species, because I’m very concerned about it.

Before closing I should like to say, there is one thing that disturbs me about this whole debate. I think those of us who are lawyers in the Legislature probably are quite unanimous in relation to giving new courthouses high priority so far as the government is concerned, but as I look around the Legislative Assembly during these discussions, not only today but on other occasions, I really don’t think many of our colleagues give this matter the same sort of urgency. I say that in the context that I think all of us who are lawyers --


Mr. Roy: Especially on your side.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- have got to do a more effective selling job with the public as a whole as to the very vital role that is played by the administration of justice, as reflected by good court resources.

Most people pay a lot of lip service to the importance of having a first rate administration of justice, but the truth of the matter is -- and this is why the administration of justice sometimes has been treated like a poor cousin in virtually every jurisdiction in the western world -- we pay lip service to it, but when it comes to setting priorities, most people in the public can think of higher priorities -- hospitals, schools, highways, et cetera, daycare centres. Those of us who are lawyers who don’t recognize that are kind of kidding ourselves.

I think all of us in this Legislature, regardless of where we sit in the House, do have a real challenge, a sort of proselytizing challenge, in making the public generally aware of these urgent priorities in relation to the administration of justice so all of our colleagues will be a little more supportive, because I don’t sense that support now on either side of the House.

On motion by Hon. Mr. McMurtry the committee of supply reported progress and asked for leave to sit again.


Mr. Deputy Speaker: Before I entertain a motion for adjournment of the House, I beg to inform the House that in the name of Her Majesty the Queen, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor has been pleased to assent to certain bills in her chambers.

Clerk of the House: The following are the titles of the bills to which Her Honour has assented:

Bill 25, An Act respecting Ryerson Polytechnical Institute;

Bill 40, An Act to amend The Municipal Act;

Bill 72, An Act to preserve Topsoil in Ontario;

Bill 73, An Act to amend The Ontario Guaranteed Annual Income Act, 1974;

Bill 77, An Act to amend The Judicature Act;

Bill 81, An Act to amend The Small Claims Court Act;

Bill 84, An Act to amend The Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act;

Bill 85, An Act to amend The Highway Traffic Act;

Bill 99, An Act to regulate the Discounting of Income Tax Refunds;

Bill Pr1, An Act respecting the Township of Tay;

Bill Pr2, An Act respecting the Township of Dover;

Bill Pr8, An Act respecting the City of Burlington;

Bill Pr12, An Act respecting Certain Lands in the Township of Casgrain;

Bill Pr17, An Act respecting the City of Kitchener;

Bill Pr19, An Act respecting Circle R Boys Ranch;

Bill Pr21, An Act respecting Fuller-Austin of Canada Limited;

Bill Pr22, An Act respecting the Borough of Etobicoke;

Bill Pr23, An Act respecting Matol Holdings Limited;

Bill Pr24, An Act respecting Niagara Institute for International Studies;

Bill Pr25, An Act respecting the City of Sarnia;

Bill Pr8, An Act respecting the City of Hamilton;

Bill Pr30, An Act respecting the City of Chatham;

Bill Pr31, An Act respecting Garnet Holdings Limited;

Bill Pr32, An Act respecting Stanley Starr Limited;

Bill Pr33, An Act respecting Kedna Enterprises Limited;

Bill Pr34, An Act respecting the City of Sarnia;

Bill Pr35, An Act respecting Shore and Horwitz Construction Company Limited.

On motion by Hon. Mr. McMurtry, the House adjourned at 1:04 p.m.