31st Parliament, 1st Session

L063 - Mon 28 Nov 1977 / Lun 28 nov 1977

The House resumed at 8 p.m.


Mr. Chairman: Would the member for Hamilton Centre want to continue?

Mr. Davison: The member for Hamilton Centre would love to continue. You have to understand, Mr. Chairman, some small number of our colleagues are in committee, dealing with the Ombudsman.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I’d like to go down there.

Mr. Davison: Yes, I was just thinking about that myself.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: He’s glad you and I are here.

Mr. Davison: It’s probably the safest place to be at this point.

When I left off at the commencement of the dinner hour, I told you, Mr. Chairman, I had only two more points to raise and they were brief ones. I’ll now proceed with them.

I ran across a rather intriguing article in the Toronto Star on October 28 of this year and I’m curious about the issue. If possible I’d like to raise it with you later in the estimates, under the appropriate vote. But perhaps I could read the article to you and then you could tell me if you will be able to provide me with more information on it, so we can discuss the issue intelligently.

The article is entitled, “Inspector Charged With Fraud,” and reads, in four or five paragraphs, as follows: “An inspector with the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations was charged yesterday with attempting to defraud the ministry of $9,000.

Police said he is the fourth to be arrested for involvement in trying to collect the money from the ministry’s travel compensation fund.

Police said a phoney receipt for the amount was issued as reimbursement for a trip said to have been booked through the now defunct Information and Travel Centre on Danforth Avenue in Scarborough last July.

Investigators say the trip was not booked.

The travel compensation fund was set up several years ago with fees from travel agencies to protect travellers in the event an agency went bankrupt.

Charged with conspiracy to commit fraud is Victor Jack Debenham, 51, of RR4, Acton. Already charged were Mari Malinski, 49, of Wanstead Avenue, Scarborough and Harry Howarth Snape, 50, and Frederick Thomas Whiting, 43, of Pickering.”

I’m curious, Mr. Minister. The article isn’t quite clear. Are the other three people also employees, or were they also employees of the ministry? It wasn’t a ring within the ministry?

Okay, you’ve answered one of my questions.

Is it possible for you to expand a little bit perhaps on what is in the article? Because it’s not quite clear how an employee in your ministry was able to defraud the fund. I don’t quite understand how that would work and I would appreciate some explanation.

Perhaps you could make some comments on any changes you’ve made in your ministry to ensure this kind of thing doesn’t happen in the future. It doesn’t strike me that the Travel Centre being defunct really would solve the problem from my understanding of what’s in the article.

Finally, I assume the appropriate section for this item would be the business practices section which deals with the Travel Industry Act. Is that correct? Is the minister nodding his head yes?

Mr. Worton: Perhaps we’d better just switch to a back room and have a little session by ourselves.

Mr. Davison: I understand there’s an over-full committee room downstairs. Perhaps we could switch with them.

My understanding of the budgetary procedure of your ministry is that, first, the various components that make up the ministry set some kind of budget, hack it about for a while and then send it forward. Then there’s some kind of internal general ministry review that can adjust the budgets for the estimates internally. They then go on to Management Board which is free to wield the axe on the budget, as they often do. Then they finally come to the Legislature, where we do what we do so well, which is something that totally escapes me.

Is that essentially correct? If so, I’d like to know from you not really how much money was cut out of what components of the ministry at what point, but rather what old or new or possible programs were lost in the budget-cutting process. More important, were any proposed initiatives of the ministry lost in that process? All that is against the background that you’re probably the greatest money maker the government has in terms of --

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Thank you.

Mr. Davison: -- what you get for what you spend. I would like to know very much if you find that new initiatives have had to be stood down for a year or two of financial considerations and, if so, what initiatives.

Also, I would raise with you very briefly a concern arising from the briefing book. That concern is with the table entitled “Increases to the 1976-77 Printed Estimates.” My reading of that table -- correct me if I’m wrong -- is that there was an increase of $10,715,000, which was offset by an almost equal decrease in the rent review program. Is that correct? No? Is it $10 million?

Mr. Chairman: Would the member continue and I think these questions can be answered after.

Mr. Davison: I would like to have from the minister some clarification of four of the seven areas that are outlined as being responsible for that increase.

One it item one, “claim on salary contingency fund.” I’d like to know what the fund is and what is that process that cost us by my reading some $6.3 million.

The others are numbers four and five “work load” and “inflation,” which were also hefty amounts. Does that mean your ministry doesn’t take into account inflationary trends as projected by the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) for a given year, or was there simply an underestimate somewhere along the way?

Does “work load” mean there was too much to be done within the ministry by the people you had and you had to pay some of them to work overtime or had you to go out and contract for a few people to finish up some work?

“Merit increases, 1977-78.” Are those, again, things that are not taken into account when the budget is set?

Perhaps you could expand on those so we would have some greater idea of what it was that caused the increases.

Finally, if I could put forward an uncalled for observation -- probably a totally unappreciated observation -- it strikes me, Mr. Minister, you’ve said to the consumers of Ontario that with your appointment there will be a new understanding, a new appreciation of consumer protection in the province of Ontario. What we always had before in Ontario, from your ministry and from your government, was no talk and no action. That’s one thing. But are we going to get from you a lot of talk and no action? That’s something else.

A lot of what you’ve said appeals to members over here. A lot of what you’ve said will be supported by members over here if you go ahead and do it. But it’s one thing for a minister of the Crown to say nothing and do nothing because you’ve raised no expectations; we understand when we get no action. But a minister who says to the consumers of Ontario: “Action there will be,” and doesn’t follow through, that’s something totally different.

I want the minister to understand, and if I speak only for myself, so be it, that I appreciate the commitment to action you’ve made. I congratulate you for it, but we’re going to be watching very carefully to make sure it isn’t a hollow commitment, an empty commitment, like so many commitments we’ve seen from that side of the House.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I’d like to take a few moments to reply to so many matters referred to by both members, the member for Sarnia (Mr. Blundy) and the member for Hamilton Centre. They are matters which will be properly discussed in detail under the appropriate votes. I would like to deal for a few moments with some of the remarks of a more general nature.

The member for Sarnia talked about the need for further consumer information. He suggested we don’t go far enough and that most people have no knowledge of the Act. This was referring to the member for Hamilton Centre, who likes to sing as well.

Everything we see and understand -- and we do work hard in finding out how successful we are in letting people know about our programs and the protection we provide them -- indicates the members are really overstating the case, or understating as the case may be, in the sense they’re exaggerating. The fact is a lot of people out there understand them.

The numbers of phone calls we get in a year don’t come from people who are just picking up the phones and dialling blindly. They’re calling because they know we’re there. They’re calling because they know there are some remedies out there and although they may not have the specifics of the remedies they may be able to exercise, they do know there is someone there to tell them what to do. They’re getting a lot of guidance from our little red booklets which get wide distribution.

Having said that let me also acknowledge, as I indeed have before, we have identified some gaps in the information available out there, or at least being received out there. We’re shifting the focal point of our campaigns to let people know what their rights are onto the groups which need them most, as I said in my opening statement; the elderly, those at a geographical disadvantage, the disabled and infirm and those with a language disability. We are shifting in that sense. We think there will be a marked change over the next little while.

The member for Sarnia referred to the aluminum wiring inquiry. He said it was a bit of a joke. I would urge the member to be a little restrained. I suspect he has not attended the hearing himself. I suspect he is hearing second and third hand what is going on. It’s awfully hard to tell from a distance.


If the report comes in and he is dissatisfied with it at that time, surely that’s the time it would be relevant to comment on the report itself and reflect back on the proceedings. But to prejudice it in the way he has does little good in terms of what’s going to happen from here on in. It is not going to engender any public support for the process still going on there.

It would be more appropriate if we waited to see the outcome. Then the member, of course, is free to pass judgement upon the outcome. He may do what our friends in the third party do and cry “whitewash” before it’s appointed, while it’s being heard and after the report comes out, but I would have expected the member for Sarnia at least to say: “I have such and such concerns about the ongoing thing,” and reserve judgement with regard to an all-embracing condemnation or otherwise of the hearing until the report comes out.

We are optimistic. We think we have good people on board there. We think they are doing a fine job, working hard at it and I am convinced we will get a good report. The member for Sarnia urges we act upon the report. Having said the hearing is a bit of a joke, he then went on to say he hopes it will be acted upon. Well, presuming it’s not a joke -- and it’s not, it will be a good report -- I can assure the member we will be giving it urgent attention as soon as the report is filed with us.

The member for Hamilton Centre likes to keep harking back to my predecessor. He says nice things about me interspersed with nasty things, but I don’t mind that so much as the fact he keeps harking back to my predecessor. I want to tell the member for Hamilton Centre --

Mr. Davison: I simply have a sense of history.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- my predecessor laid the very important groundwork for whatever progress we may be able to make in the next few years. My record and that of my ministry over the next few years will be open and available for everyone to assess and judge. Regardless of the job we do, I know in two or three years’ time the member will be criticizing my performance and the performance of the ministry over that period of time --

Mr. Samis: You couldn’t be any worse than Sidney.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- and so be it. The fact is I want to state now before I have a record on which to stand or fall in my ministry, whatever success we do have over the next few years in opening new vistas, in areas where we may show some new initiative, in doing a better job, for consumers than has been possible up until the present time, will be directly accountable to the foundation laid by my predecessor.

It’s a young ministry and the administrative and legislative background upon which I can work today is very important to me. I couldn’t be standing up here talking about some of the initiatives I have been able to talk about, some of the legislation I hope to get into in the next year, without the excellent work done by my predecessor. He may not have been flashy enough for some of my friends opposite, but they may learn, I suspect not, but they may learn in their leadership contest, flash isn’t everything.

Mr. Conway: Frank Drea will be long since moved out.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: And you will find the very substantial groundwork he laid will pay enormous dividends over the next few years. If it works well, I will have the enormous benefit of that groundwork --

Mr. Samis: You have done your duty now.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- to be able to take some of the kudos he should properly be taking at that time. But I am happy to stand here tonight and say he deserves a lot of the kudos if indeed they come over the next few years, for the work he did, the background he established in this ministry and the very fine way it’s operating. I am very proud of the estimates I lay before you today and the framework, the administrative framework, the legislative background I am able to stand here and talk about, was not put together in the last two months since I took office. Certainly not. They were being worked on over the last several years and it’s an enormous credit to my predecessor for having laid this groundwork.

Mr. Conway: We want Frank Drea.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member for Hamilton Centre was kind enough to refer to some of my mail he answered in the Niagara Falls paper. He was kind enough to inform that citizen of Ontario that yes, the ministry was spending $78 million on consumer protection and they weren’t getting their money’s worth.

I am sure in the name of honesty, fairness and full disclosure, which I think is important to this ministry when we talk about how business should be carried on, the member went on to point out the business practices division is $2.6 million, not $78 million. I am sure he did that. It was perhaps in the following week’s letter to the press.

I am sure he also pointed out that some of the problems complained of by that consumer would have been covered had the house been built after the home warranty plan passed by my predecessor and run by HUDAC came into effect. I am sure he pointed out that piece of consumer protection is now in place.

I am sure he also would have pointed out that it would be in order, in very many instances, for any federal or provincial government not to put itself in the place of an adjudicator and decide when and who is going to go back to work; to sit and say, “You are to go back to work and do this.” We think the scheme implemented through the home warranty plan does it very effectively. But there are certain bounds to what they can and cannot do as at a certain stage you become a court. At a certain stage you in fact deal in matters of substantive law. That is the point at which the consumer protection of this ministry must draw a line and let the parties go at determining, in the courts of law, what are often very complex legal problems.

On the subject of rent review, the member for Hamilton Centre referred to his colleague, my friend the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick). I must say I am very disappointed to hear that last year the member for Riverdale rolled on as he did about rent review. I thought he was, to say the least, extreme in his remarks -- if the member read them properly. I look forward to our discussion on the rent review program to determine whether in fact the rent review process operates in the fashion suggested that night by the member for Riverdale. Having heard the remarks, I am rather convinced they were in the evening.

The member also referred to the matter of the gentleman from our ministry who was charged with regard to the Travel Industry Act. I am sure the member will appreciate it is a matter before the courts. He has been charged, and I am certainly not going to prejudice his case by referring to it or giving any details whatsoever. It would be totally improper for me to do anything else.

The member also asked, somewhat simplistically, to tell him what programs had been stripped down, dropped, considered, abandoned, whatever.

If he was listening to my opening statement, I indicated we are reviewing all the initiatives we could possibly take over the next few years in my ministry. We are not eliminating any alternatives. That takes in the whole vista of consumer activities; it takes in all the problems that business faces in dealing with too much regulation and too much bureaucracy. Over that whole range we are into an in-depth investigation and study over the next couple of years.

As I stated, I believe we can do an effective job within the budgetary restraints in effect in this province. I am proud of our ministry; I think we can do the job effectively. There will be a minimum number of times when I will be standing here leading off for the sake of budgetary restraints. When I am, I’ll tell you. You will know, and you can make that assessment yourself at that particular time.

Now for the good news. The member for Hamilton Centre will once again be astonished that I am not all talk and no action. He was astonished there was action when it came to the tax discounters; he will be astonished, perhaps tomorrow, with some more legislation.

Mr. Conway: Tantalizing.

Mr. Davison: Let’s hear it.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: He will be astonished now to hear this: Next year we will have an annual report for you.

Mr. Roy: You will have what?

Mr. Samis: How come Sidney never brought one of those in?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Before we get to No. 80 on the private members’ bill ballot.

He also referred to the fact that my ministry was scattered all over the city.

Mr. Conway: Hell’s half-acre.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: For a moment I thought he was going to suggest we consolidate all the registry offices in the province, and I know which I was going to recommend we consolidate first. But he didn’t quite go that far. What he did was cite various branches within the city of Toronto; he may even have missed a couple.

Mr. Davison: You are not going to close down anything in Windsor, I guess.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: But I want to tell the member, again we are ahead of him. Again we have action, not talk.

Mr. Samis: You were saying that six months ago.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: All our branches will be at our new head office complex at Yonge and Wellesley before April 1, 1978, except the ones I am going to tell you about now.

Mr. Samis: That is not ahead of him.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: They will be in our new head office complex comprising the three buildings. The Securities Commission moved from our building into 10 Wellesley Street East last week. There’s our building, 555 Yonge Street, on the south side of Wellesley and the building next door to ours, 543 Yonge Street. Those three buildings will be consolidated with many of the branches of my ministry which are now scattered throughout Metropolitan Toronto.

There are some that will not be consolidated. Obviously, the liquor branch will remain at its very large and necessary premises on Lakeshore. CRAT and the Liquor Licence Appeal Tribunal will remain at 1 St. Clair. We think that is perhaps appropriate in view of the necessity to have them be and seem to be somewhat objective and removed from the day to day administration of my ministry.

The Registrar General is in the Macdonald Block -- obviously that operation is well established there. It’s a convenient place for the public and all the facilities are there. That will remain.

The rent review boards: Those are in temporary locations which we’ll get into towards the end of our estimates. They will be staying where they are, and we think that’s appropriate as well from the standpoint of consumer access.

The theatres branch: They have a big auditorium on Millwood Road and I know you wouldn’t want us to spend money just to build a big theatre downtown so that I could jump downstairs and see, at my leisure, the movies that the member for Sarnia was complaining about. So they’ll be staying on Millwood.

The technical standards branch at 400 University will relocate in our building at 555 Yonge Street as soon as possible.

All the other branches talked of by the member for Hamilton Centre as being spread out throughout the city of Toronto will be consolidated into the three buildings I referred to, within walking distance of this building, by April 1, 1978. This is a reduction of six locations throughout Toronto.

I can’t resist adding for the sake of the member that that of course was accomplished by my predecessor, the member for Carleton (Mr. Handleman). I know the member for Hamilton Centre, having complained about the fact that we were spread out throughout downtown Toronto will, next time he rises in these estimates, take a moment to acknowledge the contribution made by my predecessor in solving one of the things he complained about so that I won’t be taking credit for myself. We can properly give the credit to my predecessor.

Mr. Conway: We know you will disclaim any undue credit.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: You can always be sure of that -- me and the Ombudsman.

On vote 1401, ministry administration program; item 1, main office:

Mr. Roy: I’d like to make a few comments on the estimates of this ministry and to the minister personally. I was interested in listening to his comments, first of all, Mr. Chairman, in relation to his predecessor. He was very kind to him. I guess that’s in form. That’s a good way to carry on the tradition, be kind to your predecessor. Of course --

Hon. Mr. Grossman: You aren’t even kind to Vern Singer.

Mr. Roy: Sure, I’m kind to everybody, you know that.

One of the things that makes it difficult for critics of ministries is when we’re facing new ministers. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep a relationship on ministerial responsibility because they can say, “Well, it was my predecessor.” We’ve had that over a number of years, Mr. Chairman, and it’s been difficult to get at a particular minister.

But I do want to wish this minister the best. He has given evidence of having some pizzazz. Of course, taking off after the income tax discounters was a popular move.

I sort of get a kick out of some of the new approaches by these new young ministers who are with it and are attuned to some of the things that I might call politically jazzy or sexy -- if that’s parliamentary, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman: It seems to be common

Mr. Roy: So I find that some of the comments, some of the approaches taken by this minister, are interesting. I think he follows in a long tradition of good politicians in his family and I suspect that the minister has the right sort of tone, the right sort of measure, to be very successful. I hope that, like many ministers, we don’t get more form than substance, that behind the nice gestures, behind the poses that we do get concrete policies that are in the best interests of the people of this province.


In that respect, you are going to have a lot of competition from your colleague who just went into another ministry, the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Drea).

Mr. Conway: The only progressive over there.

Mr. Roy: It is going to be interesting to view the competition of these ministers. I would like to ask this minister, Mr. Chairman, speaking on broad general policies within his ministries, certain questions I think only he can answer.

I think something we should ask every minister as we face him across the House is about restraints in this province. We are talking about cutting this and cutting that. We are crying, for instance, that in Ottawa we need a new court-house; we are told we cannot have it. Some place else they need new facilities for this and they cannot have it. All capital works for all intents and purposes are cut, as the government looks for areas where there can be restraint.

Of course we in the opposition are very keen, very interested, in helping cut some of this red tape. We are keen to help you cut money and really have a sense of priorities so the moneys spent are in the best interests of the people of this province. To do that you sometimes have to cut to the bone in certain areas. I would think in each ministry we should look at public relations; how they get PR going and the amount of paper distributed by all these ministries. My God, if I stay away from my office one week, and you know that doesn’t happen very often, but if that should happen I am deluged with paper on my desk. I don’t happen to have the last copy of what is called Interaction, which is a piece of PR propaganda from the ministry, but the last one I saw had a picture of the minister, a nice picture of the minister smiling.

An hon. member: With his new glasses.

Mr. Roy: That’s right, with new glasses and all, and he just looked great.

I am just wondering why we need that? Surely you don’t need within your ministry, PR to advise your officials that you are now a minister? I mean you could send just a little piece of paper, just one little piece of paper saying, “Hi! I am Mr. Grossman.”

Mr. Conway: Allan’s boy.

Mr. Roy: Yes, Allan’s boy. “I am the new fellow around here and I am a very approachable guy.” I think he is. “I have a nice smile. I would like to meet all of you.” I thought I should look at some of this with you. Do we really need this Interaction?

Mr. Samis: The godfather is upstairs right now.

Mr. Roy: I would like to welcome him here. I think he will be very pleased by the performance of his son, because he is doing well. I am sure after this is over the father might have a bit of advice how you can sharpen up on this and sharpen up on that.

Mr. Baetz: By not listening to you.

Mr. Roy: I would like to ask the minister why do you need Interaction in your ministry? I know it is great to see your picture on it --

Mr. Bolan: Propaganda, just propaganda.

Mr. Roy: -- but surely you don’t need this type of propaganda? I would like to know, for instance, how much you spent, how much this costs. If each ministry, Mr. Chairman, was to look seriously at the PR going on within their own ministry, you would be surprised at how much money is spent. In fact, there was a report recently by some expert who looked at the propaganda machine and the whole apparatus of government -- it was Mr. Martin, was it? He had serious reservations about all the PR and all the propaganda floating within the ministries and from the ministries into the province.

You know, I think we have got to start some place. I think we have got to look at some of these things. I am sure you will give serious consideration to some of these things. I don’t imagine every issue will have your picture, but that should not matter, you should wonder is it necessary to have all these things within the ministry.

I am looking at an issue dated June, 1977, which announced the appointment of Mr. Butler as your deputy. I guess Mr. Butler is sitting there, you have this picture here without the glasses.

Mr. Eakins: Does it look like him?

Mr. Martel: As bad as Alan Lawrence.

Mr. Roy: Yes it does, in fact, look like him.

In view of the recommendations of Mr. Martin, I think you should seriously look at this and look at a lot of the other paperwork that’s floating across here. I’m convinced a lot of it is unnecessary. I just look at all the press releases, not only of your ministry but of other ministries, that end up on our desks in the press gallery, et cetera.

Mr. Conway: But he’s not as bad as Claude.

Mr. Roy: No. Whatever you do, don’t read or follow Claude’s style in his speeches.

Mr. Samis: And he’s getting dumb.

Mr. Roy: So, I want to ask the minister Mr. Chairman, do you think you can cut out some of this stuff, some of this paper? Do you think that might be good? You know in the Frank Drea style of thing you might just make an announcement in the House, come in with a pile of papers and say, “Next year you won’t see all these things. I’m cutting this out.” Indeed, you’d probably get more press and PR out of that than from all the Interactions, printed, I understand, monthly.

I raise this, Mr. Chairman, because in each ministry we keep seeing these things. There’s paper floating around the self-agrandissement du ministere, if I can use a French phrase to the minister, or some of the officials within the ministry. I’d like to ask whether the minister might not give that some serious consideration?

The other thing I want to point out is on a question of broad policy if you’re looking to give leadership to this ministry.

Mr. Conway: Is he running for leadership too?

Mr. Roy: I don’t know, he may well be. You know it’s going to be interesting.

I want to say to the minister some of the things that constituents are asking people like ourselves, their representatives, about the insurance field. That’s a broad policy field within the ministry you’re surely going to have to set some guidelines. I was looking at the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) who is next to you. He’s been bragging about all the cutbacks in accidents, especially in serious accidents, since seatbelts have come into use and with the reduction of the speed limit. There’s been a tremendous reduction of serious accidents, deaths, and even minor accidents since this legislation was brought forward -- at the initiative, I might say, of the opposition.

You bring it forward and you cut back on these things yet there seems to be no cutback in insurance rates. Surely there should be some justification on the part of insurance companies for keeping the current rates if they’re getting these tremendous cutbacks in claims. If there are cutbacks in the number of accidents, injuries, deaths and the amount of property damage, why aren’t the rates going down? It seems to me a fair question. As a matter of broad policy you may, as minister, ask the insurance people why that is? It seems like a fair enough question.

Maybe you could start by answering these two very minor questions?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I thought the member’s remarks were interesting, because this afternoon while the member was out I was hearing we don’t do enough to publicize the works of the ministry. What the member may not know is the publications to which he’s referring, both the one with my picture on it with my old glasses and with my deputy with his new glasses, are publications which go far beyond our ministry. They are not publications just to tell each other we’re great people.

Mr. Roy: I know they end up on my desk.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: We think you ought to know what’s going on in the field of consumerism as well and we know you relay it to your constituents. We are relying, in fact, on you helping us to promote the things our ministry can do and the legislation about which we’ve been talking. Your colleague, the member for Sarnia (Mr. Blundy) was referring to the difficulty in getting this information out to the public, and therefore we send them out to all members in the hope they will help us do the good work, in this period of restraint, through their constituency offices and through their personal contacts, so that next year, the member for Sarnia can speak and say, “Well, we’ve made some yards.”

I will at that time refer to the contribution made by his colleagues if you promise to do that with that document; if not we’ll save some money and not send it to you.

Mr. Roy: You figure that’s necessary, all that paper?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes. We’ve been through all those communications. I think you’ll find they have a lot of substance in them. I think you were showing me Interaction. Is that the one you had?

Mr. Roy: I’m looking at June. It says: “Rescinded under the BP Act.”

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The Business Practices Act. You see, it may even help you in your law practice. It is not an internal government document, it is directed at the educational community. It carries articles and quizzes, information relating mainly to the Business Practices Act you referred to. The circulation is 30,000 per issue, it gets out pretty widely. It is a resource used in schools and community information centres; which we’re expanding, as you know, throughout the province. We think it is an important piece.

I might add that we think it’s important that the people spread out through our many operations throughout the province, the registry offices and so on, know what is happening here in Toronto. I’m going to try to get out to visit as many as I can, but we do think it’s important they have some contact with what is happening here in Toronto so they don’t feel far removed from where the bulk of the expenditure may be. That is dealt with through another publication called Intercom which you may also have referred to.

Mr. Roy: You mean that’s not the only one?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I might tell you so that you’ll have the information -- even though it’s not under this vote, it’s under vote 1401, item 5 -- but just so you’ll have it in case you’re not here, I want you to know that Interaction, the one you’ve got, costs only $1,160 per issue --

Mr. Conway: Only?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- and Intercom costs only $450 per issue. And in view of the very important information it conveys and the wide distribution it gets, and it is fairly wide distribution. What you see here is only part of it, so that members of government and members of the assembly will know what is going on, quite seriously.

It’s usefulness is what you make it, I might add. My colleagues do a lot with the information they get. You get the same information and you’ll have to account to your own constituents for what you do with it.

The member for Sarnia was pointing out earlier that perhaps we should do more in the way of television advertising to convey the works of the ministry. I suspect that it might cost a little bit more than $1,160 per shot.

Mr. Roy: If you get your picture on there it might be worth it.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: It might be, but we won’t schedule it just prior to the election and upset you.

In any event, I want to assure the member and the House that each of these publications is, we think, essential. A lot of work goes into them; they contain a lot of valuable information. If you read them you’ll see that it helps us convey our message with regard to what we’re doing, what rights consumers have. The distribution is pretty good. We think it’s a pretty good-looking document in spite of the fact that my deputy and I appear on it from time to time.

With regard to insurance, let me say that we will, of course, get into the specifics of it under that vote. Generally speaking, I think you’ll find that in terms of the broad policy of the ministry, insurance companies have their proposed rates looked at by our staff. Our staff calls them in when the rate appears to be out of line.

I think you’ll find when we discuss it that the argument by the insurance companies will be that the rates would have gone up a greater degree but for the reduction in the number of accidents. I think you’ll also find them saying that with regard to only the very recent insurance rate adjustments -- that is the ones in the last few months -- have they been able to have figures related to the period after the law was brought late in 1975 on which to assess experience for the full calendar year of 1976, which of course is the basis on which they project next year’s likely insurance costs.

I think you’ll find two things. First, it’s still early to evaluate the assessment in terms of its direct effect on claims. They just completed 12 months of the seatbelt thing and have been assessing the statistics.

Secondly, I think you’ll find -- and we’ll have the information for you on that vote, I have it here but I think we should wait until we get to the vote -- but in terms of the broad policy of the ministry, the rates obviously did not climb as much as they might have done but for that mitigating factor which kept them down. The rates this year, as always, were looked at by the Superintendent of Insurance. Sometimes downward adjustments are made as a result of those discussions -- whether this particular year is one of those or not, I can’t --

Mr. Roy: You are saying it is too early with the figures?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, I say now I suspect you will find that on the rates in effect now, we’ve just had a first run-through at rates which would have been affected, just recently, by the statistics that my colleague, the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow), talks about. Obviously, when the seatbelt legislation came in in 1975 -- was is 1975? I guess it was the fall of 1975.

Mr. Roy: It was after the election of 1975, it came in the fall of 1975.

Mr. Chairman: Order.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: It was in the fall session. So the first full year would have been 1976. They collect the figures and put them through to project what the likely experience is for the rates they’ll be charging in 1977 for 1978. They’ll charge in 1977 for their expected experience in 1978. We’ve really now had the first run-through on the basis of that experience. We’ll deal with that more specifically, and perhaps we’ll be able to get you some figures supplied by insurance companies. I’ll give you what they supply, showing what the projected rates might have been but for the decrease.

Mr. Roy: If I might follow through on that, Mr. Chairman, I want briefly to complete this. What concerns me about this publication is that he said it only cost $1,100 per issue. That’s $13,000 per year.

Mr. Conway: Almost as much as your last raise.

Mr. Roy: The thing I get annoyed with is that I never see an opposition member’s picture on this stuff. It would be nice to see the picture of a critic once in a while. You could say, “These are the new critics of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations,” or something like that, to let the civil service know that if they have any complaints they can address themselves --

Mr. Davison: Spare us.

Mr. Samis: Look at the colour.

Mr. Roy: The only thing that’s impartial is colour, and I’m not sure it’s always red.

Mr. Martel: It will change next time.

Mr. Samis: You will be reprimanded for that.

Mr. Roy: In any event, it seems to me this type of propaganda is always slanted favourably to the minister. I keep seeing ministers’ pictures on these publications. I would have thought I was giving the ministers an ideal opportunity to make a meaningful gesture within the publicity or the propaganda apparatus of various ministries, or his ministry.

Mr. Conway: Another headline missed.

Mr. Roy: Yes. You missed another headline.

Mr. Conway: Trying to win this hands down?

Mr. Chairman: Order. I would like to remind the members who aren’t in their own seats that the tradition here is that they speak from their own seats.

Mr. Roy: That’s one side of the picture. I don t know whether you’ve been asked this in the House, but about a month ago your ministry was severely criticized by a professor at Osgoode Hall, Edward Belobaba.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Let’s deal with it under that vote.

Mr. Roy: Under what vote?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Business practices, 1402.

Mr. Roy: Business practices.

Mr. Martel: Aren’t you going to be here on Friday, Albert?

Mr. Roy: He’s trying again to direct me, Mr. Chairman. I was going to say that on the one side I find this internal publicity is exaggerated, and on the other side an important piece of legislation, according to the professor at Osgoode Hall or -- at least, he wrote in the Osgoode Hall law journal -- is not well known even to members of the legal profession.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: He hasn’t been reading Interaction.

Mr. Roy: I’m sure the legal profession, or the judges who are supposed to be enforcing this Act, are not seeing this publication. It might not be a bad idea. It wouldn’t cost all that much money to get together with the Law Society of Upper Canada and advise the legal profession so they could advise their prospective clients about this Act, or even advise the bench. That’s what concerned me. He went on to say:

“What this reflects is a weak commitment by the Ontario government to a meaningful program of consumer protection. Unless something is done to publicize the Act, the consumers may start to realize that the government has been the biggest consumer fraud around.”

That’s strong. But he states, for instance, that only two judges had heard of the Act. That’s pretty bad when even your judiciary hasn’t heard of this Act. Possibly on the one side where you are extremely weak, and I appreciate that, you wouldn’t have to send your picture along with the publicity.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Can I send yours?

Mr. Roy: Yes, you can send mine if you like, and my business card along with it, and advise them of the existence of the Act. I found this situation somewhat ironic. On the one side there is all this publicity, and on the other side it appears the consumer, the judiciary and even the legal profession are not aware of an important statute emanating from your ministry.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: To respond quickly, of course that’s precisely why we have these relatively inexpensive communications.

Mr. Roy: Which aren’t doing their job.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member will probably now be critical of us when he finds out we have only had four of those minimally expensive publications in two years. Only four in two years.

Mr. Roy: Do you only have them when deputies and ministers change?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Now we don’t have enough. Now we don’t have enough, right?

Mr. Martel: When you get a new minister, you send down a new picture.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: It’s fair to point out you don’t see the opposition critics in there, but you also don’t see other government back-benchers or cabinet colleagues of mine.

Mr. Roy: I hope not.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Of course not. We do it very carefully and judiciously, letting our staff and the public know who is responsible when there is criticism to be levied, who is responsible for the running of the ministry, to whom to bring complaints, to whom to bring good ideas and what indeed we look like, so when I am walking down the streets of Ottawa as I will be one day in January this year, perhaps someone will stop me and tell me --

Mr. Samis: Be careful.

Mr. Roy: They will ask you if you are Pierre Trudeau.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- some of the problems the consumers are having in Ottawa. Now, as I say, we will deal with Professor Belobaba at length in vote 1402-6. I will have a lot to say at that time -- and if it’s not on a Friday morning, perhaps the member will be here and be able to hear that.

Mr. Martel: You will be back next Monday or Friday. It doesn’t matter.

Mr. Davison: Mr. Chairman, acting on the minister’s kind advice, I would like to thank his predecessor for managing to commence the process of bringing in the sheep. I would also like to thank the incumbent minister for his understanding of the need for an annual report. If you could think of some of these things on your own, Mr. Minister, it would help a lot.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I did.

Mr. Samis: Which one?

Mr. Davison: It would keep me less busy.

Mr. Martel: Sidney doesn’t want that one.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: You can’t keep up to them.

Mr. Davison: I wonder, Mr. Minister, if you could address yourself to two of the points I raised in my opening statement to which you have yet to respond. One is the question of the rent review officers’ manual and will I, or will I not, get some kind of explanation about the abridged version I received, purported to be the manual? Secondly, I really wish that for the first time in some two years, if ever, the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations would address himself to the issue of small business rent control. People have been badgering you, your ministry and your government about that for the past couple of years: Why is it we have already managed to get so far into the estimates without a single mention by the minister of that issue?

I would like to have some idea of how you responded to the letter I read to you, a copy of which you have now had time to find in your files. I would like to know what kind of new initiatives you are going to take on behalf of those people in Ontario being gouged by those landlords, not only the small businessmen themselves, but the consumers who get it in the neck with higher prices.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: On the matter of the rent review manual, I want to assure the member before we get to the rent section of these estimates, I will have a full and complete answer for him. I am assured at this time the member was given everything we had. He was given everything that we had. I’ll have a more complete explanation for the member when we get to the rent vote in these estimates.

I really urge the member that when he finds something missing from the manual or whatever -- he has had the manual for some time -- that he would first write us and ask for the missing sections, point out that there are some sections missing, rather than rise and say that he is suspicious of what has happened. If he had written us and had received an answer which he felt was unsatisfactory, then perhaps he might have had some justification for being suspicious or stating he was suspicious. I would hope that he would first inquire after the missing documents and then pass judgement upon the procedure we followed, rather than to presume there was something awry, something wrong in the fact that some sections were missing. But we will get that full answer for you.

With regard to small business rent control, I want to say that what we have in my ministry is a singular responsibility in terms of rents, and that is with regard to residential tenancies. It’s a specific program referred in to my ministry on the subject of residential rents. That’s my responsibility and that’s what I will discharge. The government may have a policy on the subject you raised. I certainly have my own private opinions, reflected in the letter I wrote to the local alderman from my area which the member read into the record. At the present time my mandate is residential rental premises, that’s what we are going to administer.

At the present time, no, I do not have any legislation under consideration in my ministry to go into the area of non-residential rent control.

Mr. Davison: If I might seek further clarification. I apologize, Mr. Minister, for raising with you an issue in a public forum when you think it would be more appropriate for me to deal with it by letter or by telephone. Let me tell you that mail around Queen’s Park is not answered in the speediest of fashions, and we sometimes get involved in lengthy delays -- not particularly with your ministry, but with all ministries around here. I understand the reason for that. I don’t say that by way of criticism, but it does indeed take some long time, sometimes months and months, to get a response from ministries to letters.

The telephone is not any great deal better. I might tell you that in regard to this very manual, it took my office weeks of telephone calls before we got this manual in the first place. I apologize if the minister is sensitive about talking about the manual in a public forum. But that’s just too bad.

On the question of small business rent control, does your response also apply to other initiatives? Does that mean that when you have policy covering a specific field in a larger field that you won’t move upon new policy on your ministry’s own initiative, that the initiative has to come from somewhere else, such as from the opposition? I don’t understand what this lethargy is with your ministry.

Why is it not possible for you, as a minister, to see a problem from your own constituents, to hear of a problem from your own constituents, to hear of a problem spoken about in this House, to see as a minister and as an individual the damage done by a problem, and then take action upon it?

Is this a general policy statement that you have made, that in no field will you move on your own initiative to protect consumers, or does that apply only to small business rent control? I see absolutely nothing to stop you from introducing that kind of legislation, and I would appreciate some further clarification.

Quite frankly, there is not a great deal of sense for those of us in the opposition to press you to bring forward legislation if there is some stricture on you that stops you from bringing it forward. We don’t mean to harass you unduly, Mr. Minister. We mean to be kind to you, and if it is just not possible for you to bring forward legislation in new areas, to take new initiatives, tell us about it. Should I be talking to the Premier (Mr. Davis) about this problem? Is he the person we have to deal with?


I’d like to see some action taken to protect our mutual constituents in the province of Ontario. If the minister can’t provide the initiative, tell me who in the government can and I’ll talk to that person.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, firstly, I want to say it’s enlightening to hear the member and his party have some real concern for the problems of small business and businessmen. In this case, because some of these small businessmen happen to be tenants, they fall into the tenant category and hence the concern they suddenly have. We over here, you see, have an ongoing concern for the health of the free enterprise system and business generally.

I want to tell the member we see a lot of things happening out in the marketplace affecting small businessmen, including those who own the premises they’re renting to small businessmen. We also see there is a pretty substantial vacancy rate in terms of most store and retail premises. I think if the member will go back and read some of the things his own party has said on the subject of residential rent controls, they’re talking a lot about only having a strict rent control program for the period of time in which there is no vacancy rate.

There is indeed a rather large -- perhaps startling -- vacancy rate in the area of retail premises. I can’t quite put together the two contradictory positions there. My party doesn’t have a contradiction in that sense. We don’t see the need for a whole system of retail and commercial rent control simply because there are and indeed there always will be those cases in which some landlords treat their tenants unfairly.

By and large, at the present time, it wouldn’t seem to me to be an appropriate time to be screaming for commercial rent controls when indeed, if anything, it’ s the leasees market, not the lessors market. Most lessors are happy to get any retail or commercial tenant who will pay the rent and be in business a year from today. However, if you wanted to see a situation where you didn’t have that vacancy rate, and you didn’t have that competition for the retail store, one sure way to do it would be to plop on the type of rent control system we on this side of the House frankly are trying to withdraw from in terms of residential rents. I know the third party will be grappling with this problem with me over the next period of time, having now recognized -- as I know they do -- the very real problems never-ending rent controls have.

It may read well in Hansard for your constituents but it is not going to be very constructive in this set of estimates to presume that because I or the government or my ministry says we don’t identify a need for a system of commercial rent controls, it means we’re never going to act on any consumer problem we get. You can do it if you want. I wonder if the member is in a position to state tonight, for example, that his party’s position is we need commercial rent controls, the ones he is asking for. If that’s the case, then I’m happy to say to him, my party doesn’t believe in them. If his party does, I’d be happy to hear him say that and, as always, we’ll know where we all stand.

Mr. Davison: Mr. Minister, there are some differences in political parties in Ontario.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Is that one of them?

Mr. Davison: Some political parties in Ontario can set policy on the front bench in the Legislature.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Some of them set it at conventions. You know what happens after that.

Mr. Davison: Other political parties set their policy at conventions. It’s the members of the party who set the policy -- not a few select members of the elite group.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Keep doing it.

Mr. Martel: Not Eddie Goodman in the back room.

Mr. Roy: Yes, but you are trying to change that. The member for Scarborough West (Mr. Lewis) doesn’t like that. It’s embarrassing during the election, he said.

Mr. Davison: I think the minister should understand that. But I think the minister should understand something else -- and I don’t know why it is so difficult to get it through to you: Toronto is not Ontario. Ontario does not end at the borders of the city of Toronto. I don’t understand why that is such a hard lesson. Because something may not be a problem in St. Andrew-St. Patrick, it does not mean it is not a problem in Hamilton Centre; it does not mean it is not a problem in Thunder Bay; it does not mean it is not a problem in Ottawa. Ontario’s borders are not the same as the borders of Toronto. Because you have a high vacancy rate in commercial buildings in the city of Toronto or in the riding that you represent does not mean the same exists throughout the province.

If small businessmen and through them consumers are not being ripped off in your riding and in your city it does not mean they are not being ripped off in my riding and in my city. I think it would be very pleasant if the minister would understand that reality of Ontario. There is, indeed, a need for some kind of protection in my riding It is just not right when small businessmen are being driven out of business because they cannot afford to meet 60 per cent, or 100 per cent, or 200 per cent increases in their rent.

If that is right, if that is okay for the minister, if that is okay for the government, then our standards are different. I understand that. But that does not mean it is not a problem, and it does not mean that Toronto is Ontario.

I really do not understand how the minister is going to tell me if I have or I have not a complete manual without looking at it. I also don’t understand why the minister may or may not have a complete manual. Do you have any idea what is going on at rent review? Does your manual also have the same shortages that my manual has? Why don’t you take a look at my manual and compare it to your manual and compare it to something from rent review? I really don’t think you can tell me whether or not mine is abridged or edited unless you look at it and I am willing to let you see it.

I would like to have some kind of response to that before we get into the rent review debate. I take it that the minister will respond to the questions about who should see it and who should not see it during the debate on rent review, which would mean there would be no opportunities for my colleagues in the House to see the manual before the debate.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Firstly, you have had the manual for two months, at least two months. Had you simply called us -- you don’t have to write; the phones still work -- and said; “I am missing the following sections,” we would have told you within the hour why you were missing them; whether they were in our book or not. I told you that I believe you were given everything we had at that time.

I have also told you we will get you a full and complete answer with regard to those sections if you want. We will get Hansard and see what sections you referred to earlier and you will have it long before we reach the rent review section of the estimates.

Secondly, lest you feel inhibited, let me assure you that you can show your copy of the manual -- in the event you were waiting for my permission -- to any and all of your colleagues, even some who are not with us any longer. Feel free to do that so that those in the House at least can participate with us fully and completely during the rent review vote. Don’t feel inhibited. It is yours to show to your colleagues.

I am not going to belabour the other point that you referred to. You are suggesting that every time we find a ripoff, whether it is in Hamilton or it is St. Andrew-St. Patrick -- these things happen from time to time in St. Andrew-St. Patrick; it is hard to believe, but they do sometimes happen there -- I want to tell you that every time there is one, I am going to comment and say the government is going to take over that industry. The government would have to come in and put in a complete set of controls, so that when we find a lawyer ripping off, we would have lawyer controls. We would be running the lawyers and the doctors. I know you would not find that offensive but I would. We would find when a union has an extraordinary increase in terms of its wage settlement, we would, I presume, have union controls --

Mr. Davison: It is called wage controls.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- and controls, of course, on the corporation that entered into that collective agreement. In fact, your colleague from Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) would certainly have us have coffee control and tea control and everything else.

Mr. Martel: Ah, that is nonsense.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I know it is nonsense. I don’t know why they keep at it every day.

Mr. Martel: What you are saying is nonsense. You might investigate something thoroughly for a change.

Mr. Samis: A green herring.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member for Hamilton Centre wants to make the case that we don’t care about consumers. We don’t care about them because he’s got some instances of abuse -- and, yes, there are instances of abuse. To say to the member that I don’t propose to solve those abuses by bringing in a comprehensive system of commercial rent controls -- which indeed even the member for Hamilton Centre is afraid to stand up and say he wants or his party supports -- doesn’t mean that I don’t care about those abuses. It doesn’t mean we don’t do everything we can do about them and frankly I don’t like the insinuation that we don’t care. We do care about them.

One of the things we can do about them is to make sure that there is a healthy climate in this province so that the commercial tenant who gets put out of his premises by an unscrupulous landlord overcharging has a place to go to, other premises to rent. I can tell you one way to make sure he doesn’t have a place to go to is to bring in an oppressive system of commercial rent controls.

Mr. Conway: Is that why Sidney quit?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: So the member does not think I have failed to answer the question, the answer is clearly that, no, we don’t intend to bring in commercial rent control. We don’t believe in it; we don’t want it; we don’t see the need for it.

Mr. Martel: You didn’t see the need for housing control either.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: We do see a need, through the Business Practices Act and every other tool at our disposal, to make sure that no one is strangled by an inability to get some relief when he’s being ripped off --

Mr. Conway: Is that why Sidney quit? Did Marvin Shore write your speech? It sounds like Marvin wrote that speech.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- and by an inability to get another product, that is, other commercial premises, when he is faced with unscrupulous landlords. We care about the problem; the solution is not commercial rent controls -- that’s clear, unequivocal. Now if the member would like to be that clear and unequivocal about whether he wants commercial rent controls or not, it would be interesting.

Mr. Davison: Just one last question. I wouldn’t be suggesting it if I didn’t think there was some merit in it.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Do you believe in it?

Mr. Davison: But what are you going to do? Are you going to put out a two-colour brochure to tell them they don’t have a problem? If you’re going to answer it with a suggested remedy, what remedy do you have?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Do you believe in it?

Mr. Davison: Answer that question, if you can’t answer the other. Can you do something at all, or can you just sit on your hands and talk about consumer education?

Mr. Martel: I remember Irvine’s speeches about rent control.

Mr. Davison: That’s right, consumer education.

Mr. Conway: You haven’t read the charter.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: He didn’t understand it, Sean. He read it.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please. Order.

Mr. Davison: I am still trying to forget it.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: He was picking his post in the cabinet. He was too busy to read the charter.

Mr. Roy: We understand the charter, we didn’t believe it.

Mr. Conway: I took mine, stamped it “White Swan” and used it accordingly.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Well, at least you’ll have a policy to work on next time.

Mr. Martel: It was too smooth.

Mr. Conway: Yes, that parchment --

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I don’t want to get into a debate with the member for Hamilton Centre about it because I’ve told him what I think about it. He can’t get himself to say anything more than it has merit. I’m telling him that it has no merit, so my position is clear. We don’t want it. If the member wants it, that’s fine he can stand up and say so. We don’t believe in it.

What are we doing to protect consumers? I told him, we are making sure that we have a climate here; my colleagues, the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Bennett) and the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough), make sure there’s a climate in this province --

Mr. Samis: From which country?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- so that there are alternatives for the commercial tenant when the landlord rips him off so he has some place to move to. That, of course, is the reason we have residential rent controls; the tenant doesn’t have an alternative.

Mr. Martel: You opposed it in 1975, you will recall that.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Commercially they have plenty of alternatives and although you don’t want us to take credit for the fact that there are a lot of commercial premises in this province, we will. I don’t mind taking the credit.

Mr. Martel: You opposed it. You remember Irvine.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: But one way we’ll have none of that is to go to commercial rent controls.

I’m finished debating that subject with you. I’ve taken a firm position on it. Maybe you’ll even wait for that vote to come up.

Mr. Conway: Whatever happened to Irvine?

Mr. Martel: You didn’t believe in rent control either, Larry.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: The member for Sarnia. If the member for Sudbury East wishes to enter the debate he can stand up and I’ll recognize him.

Mr. Blundy: Right now I have the floor.

Mr. Martel: It is just nonsense I am hearing from over there.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, please.

Mr. Blundy: Okay. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I would like to take you from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Mr. Gregory: You are the man who can do it.

Mr. Blundy: Thank you very much. I note on the first page -- and I’m starting not at rent control, which is someplace down in our estimates, but right at the first page -- the first page is activity analysis, main office. Under it I see Ontario Liquor Advisory Council.


Get this, Mr. Chairman. This is really interesting. The council was created in 1975 to assist the minister and to assess the effect of the government’s liquor policies on the population of Ontario. What a wide range they have to work with.

Mr. Conway: The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations is in the liquor trade.

Mr. Blundy: Just think of the liquor policies in Ontario.

Mr. Samis: I’m trying not to.

Mr. Blundy: Think of the poor member for Sarnia, getting on the train on Sunday night to come down to Toronto. He goes to the bar car and, of course, has to buy two pieces of food. So what do I buy? I buy a sandwich you would think was made from plastic from the chemical industries in Sarnia --

Mr. Conway: The federal government runs the railway.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I wondered when you would work that in.

Mr. Blundy: -- or a bunch of potato chips that would certainly do justice to the rubber plant in Sarnia. In order to get a drink, that’s what I have to do. This is really pretty ridiculous, isn’t it?

Mr. Samis: Be careful about the sponge farmers.

Mr. Blundy: If I want to have a glass of beer on Sunday evening on the train, I should be able to do it without buying these phoney food parcels.

Mr. Conway: Another Catholic drinking on Sunday.

Mr. Samis: He’s a true catholic with a small “c.”

Mr. Blundy: Now to get down to the serious thing, Mr. Chairman, I would like the minister to answer a couple of questions about this particular section. What has been the advice given to the minister by this group of 15 or 18 people about the effects of the government’s liquor policies on us poor Ontarians? Having had that advice, what has he done about it? Thirdly, how much is this costing the province of Ontario to have these people, two names of which in my opinion are quite suspect -- I happen to know them -- advising him so well on the liquor policies of Ontario? I think this is a very intriguing page and I really would like to have some more information on it, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Conway: Another Tory pork barrel? Did they tell you you were your own liquor control board?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, I’m happy to report to the member the Liquor Advisory Committee performed a very important function, one he hasn’t talked about, in the very difficult area of special occasion permits. In the area of special occasion permits, they were given the assignment --

Mr. Conway: Just consultants.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- of studying the whole area of special occasion permits in which I know the member, coming from an area in which special occasion permits are needed and warranted from time to time --

Mr. Conway: It’s an interesting part of the province.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- will be very interested. They studied this with the very able assistance, of course, of the Chairman of Cabinet (Mr. Henderson). I know the member will recognize the need for a constant review of the special occasion permit situation. Indeed, the first and major task given the Liquor Advisory Committee was to study the whole area of special occasion permits. They reported, I believe it was early last year, to the minister and as a direct result, there were substantial changes made last year to the whole area of special occasion permits and regulations. So they have made indeed a very substantial contribution to the liquor policy of the province in that special area. It was the specific task assigned them and I think they have performed it admirably and well.

Mr. Blundy: Mr. Chairman, I believe I also asked the cost to the province of Ontario of that valuable advice?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: There was a charge, understand, to the Liquor Control Board in the first year and the only year in which moneys were expended on that committee. The sum in that year was $50,000.

Mr. Conway: Shocking.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The figure was budgeted but not spent. Not a nickel has been spent in the current year because they have not been assigned a task by the minister. Having not been assigned a task, they haven’t spent a nickel nor have they been given a nickel. So the cost in this current year is indeed zero.

Mr. Conway: You might say something about what their function is.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: In the event we have need of their services -- and indeed we might well, in view of the recent vote in this assembly -- they are there. They are very qualified people with some special expertise in the field and we will know exactly where we are going in terms of the cost and the amount of input we require of them. We’ll be able to assign them another specific task so we will be able to do it specifically, watching the exact expenditure involved and knowing what we’re going to be getting for the money. On their track record, I would tend to believe if we assign them something, it will be well worth the money, but at the moment, there is no expenditure in the current year and no specific plans for next year. They are there at our beck and call if we require them.

Mr. Samis: Mr. Chairman, since the member for Sarnia has opened up a can of something and the member for Renfrew North is obviously interested in topics of a stimulating nature, I would like to ask the minister about some of these bold new policy initiatives. I recall, the day after he was appointed and anointed by others, reading the interviews in the Globe and Mail as to where he would be leading the ministry.

Mr. Conway: Studying the family compact.

Mr. Samis: The storm-trooper from Renfrew North won’t let me get to the point of the matter, Mr. Chairman.

Let me say I congratulate him on the initiative in terms of the income tax matter, centralizing some of his services, but I want to get back to that first interview. I’d like to know where the bold new initiatives came from and on what they were based. There is the whole question of the baseball stadium in this city and some of the refreshments being provided.

I seem to recall the minister referred to the policy he’d be bringing in as the new minister, based on an experience he and his children had at one particular game. The implication was, those who didn’t share his views were seemingly a bunch of drunks, a bunch of irresponsible inebriated fans, let me say, at these sporting events. In view of the fact the minister is so concerned about giving himself and his ministry a higher profile and a more progressive image; in view of the fact his predecessor had to hear the burden of a policy in which he obviously didn’t believe; in view of the fact you seem to be trying to cast yourself as a progressive yet you’ve already declared your policy initiatives based on your personal experiences of a bad game, one ball game, I wish you could enlighten the people of Ontario on what you’ve based your policy initiatives in this particular matter.

Mr. Conway: Do you really belong to the WCTU?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The fact is, if the member had really researched all the way back, he would have found out before --

Mr. Samis: I read the article.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, no, the earlier articles.

Mr. Conway: But Frank wasn’t in the cabinet then.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- the cabinet made its decision last spring, I was on record as stating I was opposed to beer in the baseball stadium. It was not simply a matter, as you always like to suggest, of the particular minister not really believing in what he’s saying. At least this time you can’t even suggest that. I always believe in what I say. In this case, even you can’t say I don’t, because it’s there on record. I always believed there should not be beer at the baseball stadium.

Mr. Conway: At the Grey Cup it’s called national unity.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I want to tell you I have no hangup trying to prove myself a “progressive” by being against all censorship and being in favour of wide-open liquor laws. That isn’t my idea of what’s right or what’s progressive and I’m not going to go headlong, as others sometimes feel it appropriate to do, in order to establish any sort of fancy progressive image. We stay in office over here because we do what’s right and correct from time to time, without worrying about what kind of progressive or, indeed, Conservative image it may cast.

Mr. Conway: You’re a minority government.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: So, along those lines, I want to tell you perhaps the use of the word “jerks” was inappropriate at the time. I used it, but maybe not always.

Mr. Samis: It certainly was.

Mr. Conway: It was most intemperate for a teetotaller.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: It may have been inappropriate at that time; certainly the people sitting behind me at the baseball game thought it was an inappropriate word to use.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: But not in the House.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I certainly have never had that experience. In any case, I want to say quite seriously to the member that I am --

Mr. Martel: A temperance man.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- a season-ticket holder down there. It is on the basis of personal experience at the CNE, at Maple Leaf Gardens and in some American ball parks. and I have really without exception found from personal experience that the situation in some of the American ball parks is unwarranted. There are obviously occasions of drunkenness. It does occur. I don’t think it’s healthy or necessary to have it going on -- this is why I brought my family into it -- in a place to which I am going to take my young children on a family outing to a ball park.

I have to ask myself, what social benefit do you gain by extending -- let’s remember it would be an extension of the liquor laws; we didn’t restrict the liquor laws, what was asked for was an extension -- the current liquor laws in Ontario in view of the expense it would cause.

You would obviously have incidents of drunkenness at the baseball game -- not a lot of them, but you would have some. It would obviously be in some instances an intrusion on other people’s Sunday afternoons, on the other people who really wanted to use that special place as a family outing.

I happen to think this is rather important and very relevant, particularly in view of the votes cast here a couple of weeks ago on the matter of the drinking age. There is a lot of sentiment expressed on the effects of alcohol on our health and the situation on the highways in this province. I drive down to the baseball game here in Toronto and at the end of a long Sunday afternoon, quite seriously I do not look forward to getting back in my car knowing that, if there are 40,000 people there, perhaps 10,000 of them may have driven to the game and say if 10 per cent of them had a couple of beers, they are not drunk but they have had a couple of beers. Is it so socially important that I extend the liquor laws to let some people enjoy a beer in the Sunday sun -- not the newspaper -- that perhaps 1,000 to 1,500 of them get back in their cars with a couple of beers under their belts and drive home either on the Queen Elizabeth Way or on --

Mr. Samis: It’s okay to do it at the racetrack though.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- the streets of the city of Toronto? I just don’t think that the trade-off is worth it. If one or two of them a year out of that 1,000 getting into their cars every Sunday afternoon -- and if you total it up over a year, it’s a lot -- cause a serious accident --

Mr. Conway: What about the racetrack?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- then I just don’t think it’s an important trade-off. I don’t think it’s worthwhile.

Mr. Conway: Tell that to Charlie MacNaughton. What about the racetrack?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I can cite you more examples. I can cite you the members’ dining room, the Legion hall, any licensed establishment in the province --

Mr. Martel: The curling club.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- and the fact is that all the premises we have referred to are lawfully licensed under the laws as they exist in the province of Ontario. The question at the ball park is whether it was warranted to extend the current situation --

Mr. Samis: It’s called a double standard.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- to have more of that going on at that particular place. What is the social contribution and how important is it for that, having regard to the trade-off that you would face in terms of interruption of those at the game, in terms of the display of drinking going on there and in terms of the people getting back in their cars.

Speaking as one citizen, taking his kids to the game, I just don’t think it’s that important that I and others have the convenience -- and that’s all it is -- of having a couple of beers during a double-header, that on the other hand I have to accept the new risk of driving home from that game with some people with a couple of beers under their belt. It’s that simple. I don’t want it to happen to me with my kids in the car. I don’t want it to happen to anyone with their kids in the car or even without their kids in the car.

I just think it’s that simple a trade-off to me. That was the basis upon which I made me original statement. That’s what I believe and that’s why it was rather easy for me to make that statement shortly after I was sworn in. That’s what I truly believe and that’s why you can call it progressive or conservative or WCTU, or whatever you want. I just don’t think the trade-off is at all worthwhile.

Mr. Samis: If I could just pursue that a little bit, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate some of the sincerity of what the minister said in regard to this matter and I will accept the fact that his views are based on a conviction, not pure political calculation, vis-à-vis the election or the next election, whenever it may be --

Mr. Conway: Take it easy there now.


Mr. Samis: -- but I really would question the amount of research that the minister has gone into in terms of this particular question. He talks about US stadiums, for example. He is not the only one in this House who has been to US stadiums. If I recall that article, he specifically referred to New York, which is probably the greatest zoo of the 26 major league baseball cities in terms of fan behaviour, athlete protection, security in the stadium -- the whole city is a zoo in the first place.

Mr. Conway: George!

Mr. Samis: I think it is rather unfair to suggest that the good burghers of this WASP-ish city would ever emulate the behaviour in that city. I would hope when the minister considers his policy and policy formation he would look down the river where, for seven or eight years, they have had the same laws that we would favour. It was implemented at football events. It was implemented at the Olympics. It will be implemented at the athletic games this coming summer, with no great problems for that particular jurisdiction.

Widely supported by the mass of people, there is no great complaint from the police about increases in accidents or safety problems. Of course it is not perfect; of course there are minor incidents. But I compare that with some of the hypocrisy, some of the phoniness, some of the lawbreaking that goes on in Toronto where you follow this Neanderthal prohibitionist policy. You go down there.

I recall quite vividly the opening day of the season. I don’t know if my good colleague from Sudbury East was there, but I have never seen -- and I would point out to the minister that I have been to ball games in Montreal, New York, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Cincinnati --

Mr. Conway: Algoma.

Mr. Samis: No, sorry, not Pembroke either. Never in any of those big-league cities -- never in Jarry Park, never in the Olympic Stadium, never in the Montreal Forum, never in the Paul Sauve where beer is sold, never in the Ottawa Civic Centre where beer is sold, never in any stadium in Europe where I have been, have I seen so many liquor bottles, so many beer bottles, and so many people smoking drugs as I did on the opening day of the baseball season in Toronto. And you are trying to convince the people of Ontario that you are trying to protect them from traffic accidents, from wanton drunkeness, trying to preserve a family image for this sport. I point out to the minister that the family image is extremely well established for this sport --

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Next time you have a caucus party, hold it elsewhere.

Mr. Samis: We will. In the United States, in the other 25 franchises --

Mr. Conway: Did you hear that?

Mr. Samis: One could easily check with the commissioner of baseball --

Mr. Conway: Dennis said that was your caucus party.

Mr. Samis: I would suggest the policy being pursued in this particular matter is making Toronto the laughing-stock of North America.

Mr. Martel: The minister believes in hypocrisy.

Mr. Samis: I would argue further that your policy isn’t working in terms of the people who do attend the ball games. You are encouraging some people to break the law. The moral values upon which you have based the policy are outdated, not respected by society. I would suspect you are causing more problems for the police and for the security officials at the stadium. You are displaying hypocrisy by allowing people to drink in the Maple Leaf mint, in the racetracks of this province, bowling alleys, curling clubs, golf clubs, private clubs --

Mr. Martel: They don’t drive home, though.

Mr. Samis: That’s right. But you tell the people who go to the ball park they are irresponsible, they could cause accidents, they are setting a bad example for their families. You are telling the others, “It is okay, it is socially acceptable. We’ll give you a licence, or a special occasion permit. Go ahead and do it, but not at the ball park.”

I would suspect when you are looking at your policy for 1978 -- because this is going to come up again, and you, not Sidney, will be the target of the public pressure this time -- that you consider the realities of 1978, whether the policy intentions you believe in are really working at Exhibition Stadium, and what the real consequences would be of facing the realities of life and changing that policy.

I accept the fact you have your personal convictions on the matter. But I hope you would look beyond those and see what people believe in terms of social values, social mores; what policy you are following at hockey games, hockey arenas, racetracks, CNE Stadium for football, other stadiums, arenas and recreational facilities in the province, and ask yourself if your policy in terms of the ball park is really consistent and in tune with the times.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: If the member is making the case for more open liquor laws, which he would be doing --

Mr. Samis: Not changing any laws.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Of course it is. I mean, let’s begin with the existing law.

Mr. Martel: Let’s start over.

Mr. Samis: You’re giving me one more licence.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: If it were simply a matter of them being entitled under the current laws to a licence at the CNE Stadium, firstly Maple Leaf Gardens would have been serving it in the stands years ago. The proprietor of the Gardens is not slow on those things. So it wasn’t a matter of it being permitted under the existing laws.

Mr. Samis: It was the case where you couldn’t buy anything in the Gardens.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Quite explicitly, what was required was a relaxation or an extension of the current laws. I want to tell the member he can argue that case; he may even argue it eloquently and perhaps even better than he has tonight. The member refers to the social values, the mores of Ontario today -- and it’s not all in Toronto; I agree with everything he says. My assessment of it is not only on a personal basis, which I’ve told him, but that the public is not too keen on a liberalization or an extension of liquor laws at this particular time.

Mr. Reid: On what do you base that?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Some members were here on both sides of the age issue; some were here when it went down from 21 to 18 and some were here voting on the bill to raise it from 18. I don’t think the member for Cornwall was one of those. But the fact is, there is a change -- and these things do change from time to time.

I want to tell the hon. member that my personal assessment of it is that extending it -- and it is an extension -- to the stadium would be a liberalization which really doesn’t have a socially important trade-off that would make it worthwhile at this particular time.

Mr. O’Neil: Good word.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: That’s all I can tell hon. members on that subject.

Mr. Reid: The Premier (Mr. Davis) has decided he doesn’t want it.

Hon Mr. Grossman: We can talk about Toronto being a laughing-stock, but I want to tell the member -- and I don’t want to get into a comparison of the major league baseball stadiums; the member for Cornwall apparently is more well travelled than I am; I haven’t been in as many as he has -- I would call Cleveland, where they had a big “free beer night” riot a couple of years ago, a laughing-stock.

Mr. Samis: That was a unique thing.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I wouldn’t call the situation in Toronto, where it has always been safe and clean and happy and well-run at Maple Leaf Gardens -- partly because of the absence of alcoholic beverages in the stands -- a laughing-stock. One of the reasons that Maple Leaf Gardens, notwithstanding its hockey team, has been a good place to watch hockey is the absence of that sort of element -- having beer or liquor in the stands. I have always enjoyed it there, and I think that has contributed to it. Again, we’re getting back into my personal judgement, but I don’t think it’s a laughing-stock. I don’t think the fact that many people come to the Gardens, for example, and comment on how clean and well run and orderly it is, and how the fans enjoy the game and appreciate it in the absence of alcoholic beverages, by any means makes us a laughing-stock.

Mr. Samis: They say the same thing about Montreal.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Finally, he said something that is a relevant and important comment; that is, the amount of illegal drinking that is going on in the stadium. I hope I am not ever around here long enough to be in a position where I’m legislating something into legality simply because too many people are breaking the law.

Mr. Samis: That is not the main reason -- of course not.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I think the people out there are entitled to more leadership from us than simply to say, I’m having trouble policing this, so I think I’ll rubber-stamp it as okay since I can’t stop it.”

Mr. Martel: You are really stretching.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: To be fair to the Blue Jays, it is their responsibility and they accept the responsibility much more than others, such as the Argos, to enforce their own stadium rule against bringing alcohol into the stadium. They do a pretty effective job of it. I saw plenty of people being stopped at the gates --

Mr. Samis: Sure. It’s an asinine law they have to enforce.

Mr. Reid: Do they police the private stalls?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: If the member would like to go into the private stalls, as he calls them -- we call them private suites or whatever --

Mr. Conway: What do you call them?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I’ve never been there. Perhaps the member for Rainy River has been there.

Mr. Samis: Those who have, get; those who don’t, don’t.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: But the fact is, the Blue Jays do a pretty good job.

Mr. Samis: Within the laws you’ve set, yes.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Their own management and staff do a pretty good job of stopping the liquor from coming into the place. A lot gets through; I don’t deny that. In fairness to the Blue Jays, I think they do a pretty good job -- a lot better than what goes on at the football games, which I think is criminal. I don’t think it’s anywhere near sufficient.

Mr. Samis: I would just ask one final question, Mr. Chairman. Since this affects a lot of people, and obviously there are social values and social mores involved, can I just ask, as we look ahead -- and obviously this franchise is going to be around for a long time; they’ve been very successful and obviously the pressures will continue --

Mr. Conway: Largely owned by a beer company.

Mr. Samis: The same is true of the Montreal teams. Whether it’s the Bronfmans or Labatt’s, there isn’t much difference in sports these days. Can I ask the minister on what basis he will assess the issue for 1978? Will it be on the basis of his own personal convictions or will it go beyond that?

Mr. Reid: On the basis of the Premier’s assessment of the situation.

Mr. Samis: Will he consider the social mores, the Premier’s political assessment of the electoral prospects in small-town Ontario or what?

Mr. Warner: Political expediency.

Mr. Samis: How will the minister assess it?

Mr. Warner: How many votes in the ballot box.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, certainly not. In terms of votes in the ballot box I suspect all the people who care about the issue enough to cast their votes on the basis, if there are any out there, probably live in Toronto and probably are opposed to our decision. So it has nothing to do with the politics of the situation.

If indeed the government deals with the issue again next spring -- if it is asked to deal with a change in legislation, which would be required to issue a licence to the stadium, if indeed it is asked to consider such a change, regulation or legislation, it will apply all of its own experience, moral judgement, personal experience, even statistics. We may even ask the Liquor Advisory Committee for some help at that time, and reach the same sensible, well thought-out decisions we always reach.

Mr. Reid: Ask him if he clears his speech with the member for High Park-Swansea (Mr. Ziemba).

Mr. Samis: I assume, in closing, that when the question comes up before cabinet again for 1978, the minister will recommend to the cabinet that any such request be turned down. Is that right?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: You know it would be improper for me to tell you what I would be recommending to cabinet. You know how I feel about the subject; you know how I felt about the subject before.

Mr. Samis: It is the same thing. The same thing.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The cabinet made its decision before I joined cabinet. With all that background it would be inappropriate -- and I know you especially would have some appreciation for our parliamentary system -- for me to tell you what I recommended to cabinet on any specific issue.

Mr. Samis: Baloney.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to join in this particular little debate that my good friend from Cornwall has I think so very properly initiated -- I am sure with the close consultation of our friend from High Park-Swansea --


Mr. Conway: -- but I want to associate myself truly with what he has said because mine has been an experience, while not nearly as extensive, not altogether different.

Mr. Samis: You’ve got the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney). Great riding, right?

Mr. Conway: Will you stop these hecklers, Mr. Chairman?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: They behave like you do.

Mr. Conway: Because I think what the member for Cornwall has said is very much my own experience.

I was thinking particularly of watching the Grey Cup yesterday. I have been at three or four Grey Cups in Ontario. I am just going to take that as a specific example. I have been at two Grey Cups in the last number of years here in Toronto and you know for all the sanctimony of the minister’s well-put position -- I would like at this point to digress and say that nothing is as ridiculous a comment, I think, on the Ontario political and social culture; nothing equals our liquor legislation.

I was reading over the weekend the final chapter of the Howard Ferguson biography, something I know that members opposite, particularly two such ambitious, upwardly mobile members of the cabinet as we are privileged to have with us tonight --

Mr. Reid: Say three. Include Sam Cureatz.

Mr. Cureatz: Later.

Mr. Conway: In one example, there is --

Mr. Reid: To say nothing of the Chairman.

Mr. Samis: His stay here will be brief.

Mr. Conway: I was reading that and thinking, because so much of that particular biography, that personality and that political career deals with the liquor question in this province. I was thinking to myself, because I had a relative who was here at the same time when much of this was being discussed, what hypocrisy, what double standards. I listened to the minister stand up tonight and say, “Oh, well the racetracks that Charlie MacNaughton supervises for the good teetotalling brethren of Ontario really are not quite the same as the ball parks that we plebeians attend from time to time.”

We know that you aristocratic Tories can collect at your various watering holes, which are far more exclusive than anything the hon. member for Cornwall and myself, being bona fide working class types, would ever imagine. We know that.

Some hon. members: Right on!

Mr. Samis: From the ivory tower to the paper mill.

Mr. Conway: I want to tell you that the hon. Liberal-Labour coalition from Rainy River knows of what I speak.


Mr. Samis: He was elected in 1924 wasn’t he?

Mr. Conway: But I want to just say to you, Mr. Minister, I hope you acquaint yourself with some of the past on this whole liquor question, because there is nothing which is more embarrassing, more shot through with rank and obvious hypocrisy than the liquor legislation this particular party has managed to give to this province.


I admire in retrospect much of what Howard Ferguson did, because unlike many of his generation and subsequent generations of Tories, he had the guts to hold the 4.4 forward for members of the society to see at large.

But are you prepared, given your position, your concern about the conditions of a ball park that might be given over to too much drinking? Are you prepared to go to the commissioner of the CFL or to the Convention and Tourist Bureau of Metropolitan Toronto for the next Grey Cup -- when will that be? Is it next year? Probably next year, but I don’t know -- and tell them, using that as a specific example?

If you’ve attended the Grey Cup and I’m sure if a working slob like myself has, an hon. minister like you no doubt has as well, you know what it is to stand there at the good old CNE Stadium here in teetotalling Toronto and it is flowing, openly, obviously and with no care whatsoever to the kind of legislation about which you make such a noise here during this debate and previous ones.

Are you prepared to go to the CFL and the convention bureau and say, “If you people want to hold the Grey Cup in this city on a future occasion, we will not allow the kind of boozing that’s going on”?

I was thinking that to drink at most of these events, as the minister indicates, is to break the law. But to booze openly at the Grey Cup is to participate in national unity.

Mr. Samis: Right on.

Mr. Conway: I want to tell you, Mr. Minister, that I think that is a double standard, not unlike much of what we’ve been told here before. He says to my friend from Cornwall that obviously he wants the whole liquor legislation opened wide.

Mr. Samis: No, no, no.

Mr. Conway: And he says, “How did the hon. members opposite vote on my colleague’s bill about raising the drinking age?” I’m going to say, quite frankly and quite openly, I voted to raise the drinking age from 18 to 19.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Afraid to go on record.

Mr. Conway: I’m not at all afraid to go on record, but I think the notion of restrictive circumstances, age limits on drinking --

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Careful.

Mr. Conway: -- is about the most shocking indictment we can make of the so-called civilized society in this part of this continent. I’ve said on previous occasions I think the drinking habits of North Americans generally represent aberrant behaviour to say the very least. Coming from a teetotalling Irishman from the Ottawa Valley, I think that’s all of the disclaimer I need to offer.

Mr. Reid: The only one left.

Mr. Warner: A teetotalling Irishman.

Mr. Conway: I want to ask you -- and I realize that this is marginally hypothetical -- are you prepared -- considering it’s so topical as of yesterday, the Grey Cup festival -- at a future time to say to the people in charge of that, when it next occurs in Toronto, Hamilton or Ottawa, that we understand well what the Grey Cup festival is all about, because basically it has come to mean in the last 25 years, drinking to excess without any concern about the legislation which may in fact restrict such behaviour?

Are you prepared Mr. Minister, because you appear to feel so strongly about this particular issue, to go to those organizers and say: “So long as the Grey Cup festival takes place in this province, it will do so only under the temperance attitude that flows naturally from the legislation in this province”? How much of an initiative are you prepared to take, so that the so-called festival of years past does not recur with the clear implication that under certain conditions at certain times in this province the liquor laws mean absolutely nothing? If you’re not prepared to get your way on this particular matter in cabinet, would you advise us as to whether or not you might take the road of at least one of your predecessors and quit?

Mr. Warner: Hear, hear. You should resign.

Mr. Grande: My God, he won’t even give you more than four months.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The answer is no, not on this issue nor on any other issue will you ever know what I said at cabinet. Except to know that I supported the cabinet decision so long as I stay in cabinet.

Mr. Warner: If you’re a member of cabinet, you don’t have an opinion.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I know that with the immense educational background of the nondrinking, teetotalling member for Renfrew North, he will know that’s as it should be indeed, and he will report that to the member for Cornwall when he asks me what my submission to cabinet will be.

Mr. Conway: Next.

Mr. Warner: It’s going to be secret.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: In very simply terms, when the CFL comes to me --

Mr. Samis: Does it have to come to you?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Indeed, before I continue, I might say I didn’t see the Grey Cup festivities yesterday. I didn’t see the drinking. I spent the day outside with my family, having a fine time. I didn’t stay in and watch the drinking or the football game.

Mr. Conway: Have you ever been to a Grey Cup?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I gave up on CFL football when Marc Lalonde threw the WFL out of Canada.

Mr. Samis: What a cheap shot.


Mr. Chairman: Order.

Mr. Samis: The minister’s political batting average is slipping every minute.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, I will not invite the CFL to come in and have any chat with me with regard to the great national event, as the member refers to it. What I would tell the CFL is that they will have to comply, like everyone else, with the existing liquor laws in this province. There will be no special favours, no special consideration for the CFL or anyone else. The liquor laws in this province are as they have been.

Mr. Warner: Yes, backwards.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Indeed, the CFL had no trouble holding its great annual event here in years when the liquor laws in this province were a lot more restrictive than they are now. They can come and have the Grey Cup here under our existing legislation or they can choose not to. I would hope they would come here from time to time, but they will do so under our current legislation as it stands.

I might add for the benefit of my friend, the member for Renfrew North, that of course his party was in support of very many sections of the liquor legislation which we are talking about tonight and which set out who can and who cannot be eligible for a permit, and that includes the major sporting events. When he’s talking about the state of the liquor laws in this province, it might do him well to look back and see just how much support -- and there was a lot of it -- we got from his party, and indeed even the third party from time to time, as recently as 1975, when the new Act was brought in. We’re not dealing with an Act from the Middle Ages. It’s far past that.

Mr. Samis: Not much.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: It’s a 1975 Act, with pretty good approval from this assembly, including the member’s party. He may have specifics of what he considers to be inconsistencies or anachronisms in the liquor legislation, and I’d be happy to sit here for as long as the member wants, I’d like him to get on record, with as full details as possible, to let you know just how far he wants to go in various liberalization or, in fact, withdrawal aspects of the current liquor legislation. I am sure my friend, the member for Renfrew North, would be happy to get that all on record -- and I hope he will not feel inhibited by the time, because we have a lot more hours in estimates -- to tell us just where he would go with all the liquor legislation in this province.

I have not ducked the issue. I’ve told members how I feel about beer at baseball; I’ve told them there will be no special concessions for it or for the CFL or the Grey Cup. I’ve also told them that the liquor laws as they currently exist in this province are undergoing constant review. At the moment, I don’t think they are subject to massive generalizations that the member wants to make for Hansard or for the member for Cornwall.

Mr. Warner: The minister is a Neanderthal in a vest.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Chairman, I want to say two or three things. I would agree with the minister in that he says our liquor laws are not medieval. No, they’re Neanderthal. Let that be on the record.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member’s party shouldn’t have voted for it. His party voted for it.

Mr. Conway: I don’t know what my party did prior to 1975.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Or after.

Mr. Breithaupt: You keep careful track of these things, I am sure.

Mr. Warner: It’s in the good Liberal tradition.

Mr. Conway: I am sure that because Arthur Meighen happened to support conscription might not necessarily mean the same for the hon. member provincially in St. Andrew-St. Patrick. I would not use his clumsy logic to make any kind of a similar case.

Mr. Samis: I wonder where he stood on Dief.

Mr. Conway: I want to ask one question, make a short statement and then leave, because I intend to be back to discuss at the appropriate vote the liquor hypocrisy of this particular government. Has the minister ever been to a Grey Cup? He might answer that yes or no.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes -- several.

Mr. Conway: He has been to Grey Cup. He says that he knows that the CFL -- and I want to use this just as a case study; I don’t want to make a particular big item out of it --

Mr. Reid: He remembers seeing you there.

Mr. Conway: No, I’ll tell you who I do remember. I remember seeing John Diefenbaker at the last game here in Toronto. He seemed to be the most coherent Tory there -- and there were several.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: They were all coherent.

Mr. Reid: That’s a foul thing to say about the rest of them.

Mr. Conway: Allan Lawrence was there, saying, “If only I had been.”

Mr. Breithaupt: Forty-four votes. Only 44 votes.

Mr. Samis: Where is Eldon Woolliams when we need him?

Mr. Conway: You read Larry Zolf too?

The minister says, “We know the CFL is likely to come back. I’m not going to tell them any special conditions under which they might have to operate because obviously the hon. member knows we’ve had Grey Cup festivals here in the past and things have gone swimmingly. In the future, no doubt without any special urging from me they will go accordingly.” Of course, you didn’t use the term “swimmingly” but let me use it because that was the implication.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I said it better.

Mr. Conway: The CFL will come back here, of course, because they know perfectly well that the legislation you seem so insistent on protecting will not mean -- anything. I must restrain myself because we working class types do have a vernacular which, at times, might be construed as unparliamentary.

Mr. Samis: The ones in the Ottawa Valley.

Mr. Conway: But of course they’ll come back. They’ll come back for years to come because they know that sanctimony for which you stand in terms of a policy articulation does not mean one bloody thing.

Mr. Warner: That’s right. It’s hypocrisy. It should never be enforced.

Mr. Conway: It is a hollow reed. It doesn’t mean anything. It never has meant anything. And unless you’re prepared to take your minority position of sanctimony --

Mr. Warner: That’s right. It won’t be enforced.

Mr. Conway: -- and I don’t impugn it in any way; I’m sure it’s honourably felt, but in terms of the general population today as far as I can estimate it is quite meaningless -- your policy won’t mean anything unless you decide to enforce it.

Mr. Warner: It won’t mean anything then.

Mr. Conway: You know the argument you put to my friend from Cornwall; I want to assure the hon. member that we don’t want to ever become part of increased legislation to bolster those laws which aren’t being adhered to -- or words to that effect. Can you imagine a more laughable doctrine put by not only an hon. member of the Treasury bench, a distinguished barrister --

Mr. Reid: Oh, now don’t get carried away. He will be quoting that in the next election.

Mr. Breithaupt: And the hon. member on the select committee on company law.

Mr. Conway: I thought Ms. Beardsley was going to do it this time, but it might happen next time.

But, for someone with your background to suggest that that would not be the case, is that what you’re going to say, or expect the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) to say with respect to the seatbelt regulations, “Well, the law’s in place. Nobody is paying too much attention to it, so it’s their own fault.” That’s not what I hear from him.

Mr. Warner: That’s why it is never enforced.

Mr. Conway: It’s not what I hear from other members of the cabinet who understand clearly that the only thing worse than having no policy is having a policy or legislation which is just laughed at and ignored. I’m just urging you to take your minority position forward and to say to the people -- and I use the Grey Cup as a good example -- “These are the conditions. We are not going to allow drinking because I feel, and my cabinet colleagues concur in that opinion, the children gathered here might be offended.”

Mr. Samis: Oh, blessed are the children.

Mr. Conway: I often think that maybe what we should do with the Grey Cup, because this might be useful Tory compromise, is take the whole bloody stadium and put it in one big brown paper bag and just mark “LCBO” on it. Somehow the game might take place under that condition and not offend anyone.

My urging and, I suppose, my advice to you for all the worth it might have is that if you want that policy, if you persist in it, please have the spine to go forward to those obvious violators and say, “This is the policy; on this I stand; you must concur; we will make special efforts to police this.” Because we know, and you know from being at the Grey Cup, that it is widely abused -- so widely abused as to offend countless number of commentators in the press, to use that one example --

Mr. Reid: Bad example.

Mr. Conway: -- and to make your policy something more than the meaningless hypocritical joke that it continues to be, at least in the specific reference to the Grey Cup festival.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I should tell the member that I have been to some Grey Cups. I didn’t see him there.

Mr. Conway: You’re not hard to miss, Larry.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I was sitting in the end zone. I was sitting with my people in the end zone --

Mr. Warner: The Neanderthal mind.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- the common people from the heart of the city in Toronto. Indeed, we were sitting among coherent Tories and we saw little drunkenness in the end zone where we were sitting.

Mr. Reid: Too cheap to bring any.


Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member for Renfrew North I am sure had much better seats. He has lots more important friends who, indeed, protect the CFL from time to time. I want to tell you that if the member is suggesting we take special steps to approach the CFL on the basis that the CFL is breaking the law, I think he’s a little mistaken. The CFL isn’t breaking the law. The people who are attending the CFL game are breaking the law if they are drinking.

I agree with the member, enforcement should be good and tight. As the member will know, it’s up to the municipal police authorities to enforce the laws. We make the liquor laws; it is up to them to enforce them. I would hope they enforce them to the maximum of their ability.

I want to repeat that I am not about to do what perhaps you would have us do, and that is say, “Since a large percentage of people are not wearing seatbelts, I give up. I will revoke the law and say it’s okay not to wear seatbelts.” That’s the kind of reasoning I was referring to. I am not about to do that in terms of drinking at the stadium, so that’s the situation.

Mr. Warner: No one should have to wear a seatbelt.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I hear what the member says. I am sure he will be equally articulate when it comes to giving us specifics of where and how he would change our liquor legislation. I have told him a couple of things. I would not recommend a change at this time with regard to our policy on the stadium.

I tell you there’s an ongoing review. We don’t let it sit for 100 years, 50 years, or five years without looking at it. There obviously will be a review of the whole area pursuant to the Premier’s statement of November 10, and that ongoing review will prove interesting. I look forward to the member’s contribution when we bring forward that package in the spring --

Mr. Warner: What a bunch of nonsense.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- to see just how liberal he wants us to go with the liquor laws, and where he thinks the inconsistencies can be straightened out. Those specifics will prove to be a lot more interesting than the general epithets he throws around with regard to the liquor laws which his party embraced and supported two two short years ago when they were before this assembly. Our position is clear -- enforcement should be as tight as possible, and we constantly look at the laws. You may even be seeing some changes, in the spring, especially in view of the developments of November 10. I look forward to your contributions.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Chairman, I want to say one or two things in reference to the minister’s comments.. First and most important, I do not for one moment suggest the CFL should be charged, or whatever laughable suggestion was put forward by the minister. With that kind of legal capacity, I am surprised you are not Attorney General. You could make a 9-0 score, probably 15-0, with nine judges voting. But the point has simply got to be reinforced, and you don’t seem to be prepared to accept it for one moment, that you are, in your present liquor policies, the laughing-stock of much of this province --

Mr. Samis: And the country

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The world.

Mr. Conway: Because despite what the WCTU and whatever other input you have in that policy formation --

Mr. Samis: He provokes peals of laughter in the UN.

Mr. Conway: I wanted to say that unless you are prepared to take the initiative and make your legislation effective -- certainly we understand that it’s the municipal police force that will do that enforcing -- but surely if this is so near and dear to you, if you are capable of that tear-jerking article that flowed from the --

Mr. Samis: The Globe.

Mr. Conway: I knew it was in the Globe -- that sort of heart-rending statement of your deep-seated concern, then surely the concomitant of that is to go to those police people, through your Solicitor General (Mr. MacBeth), and say, “This is the law and we are going to have it enforced.” If Attorney General Raney could have taken the same policy 50 years ago, and it was the same policy in many respects, then surely you might with the same zeal and the same commitment go to the same police forces and say; “We are going to have this thing enforced.”

I see the Minister of Health looking up with his dedicated concern. He is a very wise man, that minister. We have just spent a long time in his estimates, and I tell you, there’s a guy to watch. He is very upwardly mobile. He’s wearing his glasses tonight; I guess that means something.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I thought Raney was a liberal at the time.

Mr. Chairman: Order.

Mr. Conway: Well, we can discuss that later, actually you are wrong. We have the Minister of Health here, and under this general policy vote in the first section we are at liberty to discuss the policy of this administration. I want to say to the minister, considering the zeal with which he holds his principle of high moralism that, “We must not have, and I refuse to have my children -- “ and I realize that’s an implicit comment on the lifestyles of others of us who cannot make the same public charge --

Hon. Mr. Grossman: You win.

Mr. Cureatz: Pat Reid too.

Mr. Reid: Strike that from the record.

Mr. Conway: I wonder if the minister, and I presume he has -- who is your super minister, is it John MacBeth?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: It is.

Mr. Conway: It is, all right; so you know what those policy secretariats are all about.

Have you ever, for example talked and I know you are in the cabinet just a few months, a few weeks or whatever it is -- but have you ever undertaken, or will you in the days ahead, undertake a discussion with your colleague, the hon. member for Don Mills who is Minister of Health, and who quite properly tells us in estimates that he has his ministry proselytize about the environmental problems vis-à-vis health costs that grow out of, among other things, lifestyle as it relates to, yes indeed, too much drinking?

An hon. member: It turned you into a cabinet minister.

Mr. Conway: The government of Ontario has a fascinating conflict of interest. The Minister of Health properly says, “Really, we have got to concern ourselves about that sort of lifestyle advertising, the whole lifestyle question. Some 50-odd per cent of our health-related concerns grow out of that area.” Some of us say there has got to be something done. I am talking about the diseases and health problems that grow from environmental concerns. I think it is actually higher than 50 per cent; so study indicates, but I may stand corrected on that.

Has the minister in charge of the liquor trade ever gone to his super ministry -- in fact the super ministry of Social Development, and, yes, his competitor from Don Mills -- and said, “What should we be doing in terms of rationalizing the government’s position?” Because really, it doesn’t make much sense to have the mighty Darcy, every time he needs more tax revenue, go to the liquor stores and to the tobacco shops and there raise substantial increases to encourage provincial revenues, and therefore become more dependent upon that particular source of taxation; and then we have the Minister of Health saying, “We’ve got to be concerned about the health problems that grow out of too much smoking and too much drinking.”

Now we have the minister in charge of the liquor trade before us, and I guess what I am asking him is has there ever been a broad policy discussion involving particularly those three ministries -- Treasury, Health, and Consumer and Commercial Relations -- to sort out where this government is going, to try to remove as much as possible these conflicts within the whole liquor question? Has this minister, or will this minister, undertake any kind of a dialogue, with for example the Minister of Health, to see if some kind of a rationalization of approach in policy cannot be struck within the very near future to remove, from the actual level of government activity, the sort of hypocrisy that’s obvious from those stated three ministries which are taking various positions on the liquor business?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I want to report to the member that, of course the policy secretariats in this government are working so well that there has been exactly the type of interchange, which you perhaps didn’t anticipate but asked for. There has in fact been an interministerial committee on liquor-related matters for some time. That has been operating quite successfully. The interchange of views that you talk about has gone on, and indeed some of the work of that interministerial committee will form the basis of the resolutions and/or legislation that come before this House next spring pursuant to the November 10 vote in this assembly.

So yes, there is that overall policy coordination in government under the jurisdiction of the policy secretariat. It is going on all the time. When that day comes in the spring, I am really quite looking forward to the member for Renfrew North rationalizing his statements about lifestyle advertising with his desire to extend his lifestyle to drinking at the baseball stadium. It will be an interesting day.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Chairman, those of us who have the wisdom to be abstemious in all these excessive matters have no problem, no problem at all, sorting out the kind of difficulties that quite understandably present themselves to that bunch across the way.

Could the minister tell me, from the point of view of public policy, what one or two concrete suggestions, for example, his particular ministry, has put before that vaunted interministerial committee on the liquor question? Could he be specific in, let’s say, two particular proposals which your ministry has taken to that interministerial group?

Mr. Kerrio: Pretty tough, eh, Larry?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I know the member’s knowledge of political science would tell him that at the moment these matters remain matters of internal governmental discussion, i.e., for cabinet consideration in preparation for the spring resolution and/or legislation. He would neither expect me to do it nor would he think it’s appropriate for me to tell him what specific input we may have had. Because in the spring when it came before the assembly --

Mr. Kerrio: Because there isn’t any.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- he might be wanting to say to me, “Grossman, you made this submission then and now the cabinet’s coming in with something else. Which side are you on?” You know that would be inappropriate and if you disagree with my view of the political system and the way we ought to operate, you can take some more time in these estimates and tell me that you disagree.

At the moment that is my philosophy of government. It always has been and always will be. Of course I won’t tell you what specific input there has been.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Chairman, I will gladly comment on that briefly. I well recognize that particular position. It has nothing to do with conventional political science as it relates to the British parliamentary system. It’s known as the Tory secretive approach to government. That’s what it’s called. We’ve dispatched Carleton Williams to see what we can do about mothballing some of that psychological approach.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: We got it from Ottawa.

Mr. Conway: I just want to say that like my colleague from Niagara Falls who, in his inimitable and eloquent but succinct way, said it all when he said, “You can’t tell us anything because quite frankly from your point of view there is nothing.” You have made no concrete proposals. Your predecessor has on similar occasions left the same kind of general impression, because quite frankly there is a serious conflict in this matter with this government on those three ministerial levels. There’s no question about that in my mind.

The reason you can’t confide in us here today is not because that interministerial group has made a number of suggestions, some of which have come from you and those proposals are now before cabinet. I am quite convinced, however cynical it might appear at this point in time, to say that not one whit of that bears any relevance to the situation.

What in fact is true is what my hon. friend from Niagara Falls says. There simply can be nothing coming forward from the minister in response to my question, because there is simply nothing in the closet.

I think that’s the indictment on this particular policy question that I would level against this government. I want to assure the hon. member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick that I will be most pleased to join with him at whatever time in the future -- assuming the merry-go-round of cabinet shuffles that will probably debunk my good friend from Ottawa South (Mr. Bennett) and maybe my friend from Prince Edward-Lennox (Mr. J. A. Taylor) and a few other of the lesser lights over there -- I just hope you’re still in charge, assuming there’s not an election, of that same ministry, because I intend to be there to discuss the particulars of that great liquor bill or whatever when it’s brought forward by the hon. Premier.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I will be here whether there’s an election or not.

Mr. Warner: You led us on.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I have the floor -- I can understand the member’s view of how the political system should operate with various of us in the Treasury benches, as he would have it, having different views and talking about them helter-skelter. That’s the way his party runs their caucus and I’m sure that’s the way they would run a government. We just run it a little differently and a little better.

Mr. Kerrio: Different, yes; better, no.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Finally, with regard to speculation about whether we have had input or not at policies or not, I must tell the member for Renfrew North from the bottom of my heart as sincerely as possible -- once again, he’s just dead wrong.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Chairman, one final point since the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick is insistent on giving those of us opposite a lecture on political science, let the record underline what he just said which was, “I’ll be here whether there’s an election or not.” That comment, certainly to those of us with any basic knowledge of political science, has some interesting implications as to what he thinks about the entitlement of the electorate in St. Andrew-St. Patrick. “I’ll be here, whether there’s an election or not.” Typical.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Not their entitlement -- just their good judgement.


Mr. Kerrio: That is true to every defeated Tory candidate, and you know it.

Mr. Conway: And you know it too, Bill.

Mr. Kerrio: You will never get it.

Mr. Chairman: Order. The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere.

Mr. Warner: Mr. Chairman, thank you. I would like the minister to reflect, for a moment, on the poll that was taken by the Toronto Star prior to the last election on the question of beer in the ball park. I am sure the minister recalls this -- the poll was done of the 29 members in Metro Toronto, four of whom supported the notion of having beer in a ball park. They were, including myself, Jim Renwick, Pat Lawlor --

Mr. Conway: And Ed Ziemba?

Mr. Warner: -- and Vern Singer. Ed kind of passed on that one, but Vern Singer was the other one, there were four. All the Tory members declined. That was not an appropriate -- .

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Not all of them, I didn’t.

Mr. Warner: Well voted “no”; they did not want it, it was not a good idea.

Mr. Conway: What did Frank say? What did Frank say?

Mr. Samis: He wanted to get into the cabinet; that is what he said.

Mr. Warner: Frank Drea, no comment.

What was kind of interesting, though, was that following the publication of that poll in the Toronto Star, I did in fact, receive some phone calls, some letters; and you know what the biggest response was, from the people out there?

“We really don’t care; we really don’t care whether you sell beer in the ball park or not. It is not one of those earth-shaking things to have happen. If the people in the city of Toronto wish to have beer at their ball park, then surely they should have beer at their ball park. After all, every stadium in North America, including the one in Montreal, serves beer in their ball park. So if they really want to do it, go ahead, we really don’t care.”

That was the big message that was coming through. No matter how you decide on it, it really is not such a big issue; and surely, since everybody else is mature enough to handle it -- Montreal, Winnipeg, the American cities -- then surely we in Toronto are also able to cope with this serious problem of beer in a ball park. But that was in a minority government situation and obviously the politics of the day had to reign.

What interests me, though, is to juxtapose that kind of situation, where the public really doesn’t seem to be too caring about what kind of a decision is reached, with a far more serious matter -- I will wait, Mr. Chairman, until I have the attention of the minister.

I would like to juxtapose that situation -- where most of the people, as you well know most of the folks in Metro Toronto really don’t care one way or the other what you do, but you took a good hard line on it because it was a good political thing to do -- against what is a very serious situation, and I suspect quite frankly you are not doing anything about it, and that is the underage people who are consuming alcoholic beverages in the bars and taverns in Metro Toronto.

I would like to know, for example, Mr. Chairman, how many licences in the city of Metro Toronto were suspended during this past year because of serving to minors. I would like to know how many people under age have had charges laid against them because they were drinking in a licensed place and they were under age.

The minister probably recalls that a couple of weeks ago, when we had the bill in front of us about raising the drinking age, the Toronto Sun did their usual poll of five people. Two of the people they polled that day both indicated they had been drinking in licensed establishments since they were aged 15 and they are now 21.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Vern Singer and Pat Lawlor.

Mr. Warner: Vern wasn’t one of them, no. I suspect, and the minister probably can confirm this, that just about any 16-year-old in this city who is attending high school can give you a list of the bars in this city that will serve minors. It is directly his responsibility, I would assume, and if I am wrong I would expect the minister to correct me; but I would assume it is his responsibility through your licence inspectors to crack down on those bars that are serving minors.

I assume that’s part of the responsibility of his ministry. Where liquor licensing people know that bars and taverns are serving to minors, they have an obligation to go in and crack down. It perhaps would add to the clarity of the situation if we could have some figures on that -- how many licences have been revoked, how many fines have been handed out, how many people have been charged where minors have been purchasing alcoholic beverages.

To tell the truth, that’s a far more serious problem than beer in a ball park. If there had been a majority government in 1975, I think there would have been no hesitation; the ball park would have had a licence without any problem and people would have been consuming beer. The government might not have wanted to take the whole step of permitting regular beer; it might have allowed light beer, the stuff that’s half the alcoholic content of regular beer. But the people at Exhibition Stadium would have been consuming beer today -- not today; it’s too cold for baseball, but during the baseball season. They would have been consuming beer, had there been a majority government. But, no, the issue is kind of touchy, and at that point the Tories only had 12 seats out of 29 in Metro and couldn’t afford to lose any more. So it became a very political decision.

While the minister is trying to get those figures on the supposed crackdown that has taken place over the last year -- doesn’t he have any figures?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: We do but, frankly, they’re in the ministry’s book for vote 1407. They’re very complete. It may be somewhat more appropriate to wait until we get to the liquor vote.

Mr. Warner: Could I ask, when we get to vote 1407, that the minister give us the figures as they relate to charges on licensed establishments?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Sure, even if the member is not here for the vote.

Mr. Warner: That’s good. I read all the Hansards; so if I’m not here, I’ll be able to pick that one up. I think that’s the important part of the problem instead of wasting time over whether there should be beer in the ball park or not. Just give us beer in the ball park and concentrate on the real problem, which is minors being served in licensed establishments.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Agreed.

Mr. Warner: I want to put on the record something that’s really bothering me. When I came into this place in 1975, I took it that whatever it said in the book about the ministries and what they were supposed to do, was the truth. I took it that that’s what they did.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: That’s right.

Mr. Warner: But I found out, through unhappy experience, that this ministry is next to useless in terms of accomplishing anything. I’m very disappointed. I’ll tell you how it happened, Mr. Chairman.

I had a young woman come to me, a constituent who had been ripped off by a car dealership. She explained the whole problem, and I said to her, very trustingly: “This is a problem for Consumer Relations.” You know, some of those magical people over there with the capes and so on who fly around --

Hon. Mr. Grossman: They are in the member’s caucus.

Mr. Warner: “They are going to do something good over there that will solve your problem,” I said.

Mr. Kerrio: He is setting the minister up.

Mr. Warner: I sent her over there and she explained the whole situation. She phoned me back about two weeks later and said nothing had happened and wondered if I knew anything. I said, “I’ll check up for you.” I phoned over and talked to some nice person over there who said, “Oh, the whole thing has been resolved.” I said, “Gee, that’s great; I’m glad to hear that.”

I wrote the constituent a letter, saying, I understand from the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations that the situation has been resolved.” Do you know what resolving the situation meant? The company had been contacted and nothing more could be done. I was really appalled. So I went up with the constituent to the company that had ripped her off and sat down with the brass that owned the place -- it was up on north Yonge Street; I can’t even remember the name of it, but it’s in the file. I hammered away and finally I had to use what I would call a threat: “I’m going to bring this up in the Legislature. I’m going to hire a lawyer. I’ll do whatever it takes, but obviously you have ripped her off”, because when they brought out their records of the bills they didn’t gibe with what they had given her. She was out by well over $300, and the best I could do was to get a cheque for $100 from them. That woman had been ripped off and your ministry didn’t do anything to help her, not a darn thing.

I was really annoyed and so I made it a policy from then on -- yes, I will refer people to the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, but I must warn them ahead of time, “Don’t expect anything, because chances are nothing will happen. Go there first and when you’re finished, come back to me and I will do what I can. If it takes getting a lawyer, I’ll do it, and I’ll do it at my own expense. But I’ll get the problem solved.” And I will and I have on occasion.

Mr. Kerrio: He is going to ask the minister to resign.

Mr. Warner: It’s the only way to get the job done.

Mr. Breithaupt: Haven’t you been asked to resign yet?

Mr. Warner: Mr. Chairman, the key to the whole thing to tell you the truth, right from the beginning -- and I should have known better -- is with the title of that ministry. It should be the Ministry of Consumer Protection and it’s not -- Consumer Relations. It kind of sounds like you’ve got a bunch of relatives, and you know what happens when you try and solve problems among relatives. It should be Consumer Protection; that’s what it really should be, and there should be the appropriate laws to go with it --

Mr. Breithaupt: Does the minister want to tell us about his relations?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: In some detail.

Mr. Warner: -- and the teeth to make those laws work. But you don’t have that. You either don’t have the legislation in some cases, or you have it and you don’t do anything about it.

I suspect in the case of the woman that I described who was ripped off by that car company there probably was the legislation but no way of enforcing it.

Mr. Germa: What company was it?

Mr. Warner: That’s the thing that really bothers me, right from the outset; that ministry is not designed to protect the consumer, it’s designed as some sort of public relations exercise: “Let’s talk it out between the buyer and the company.” In that situation, does the individual have much of a chance against General Motors or General Foods or any other of those corporate creeps? Not a chance, and you know it.

Mr. Breithaupt: That’s called socialist realism.

Mr. Warner: Unless this government has some legislation with teeth, you’ll never accomplish anything.

Mr. Grande: That was alliteration.

Mr. Warner: Since we just have a couple of minutes left, I want to at least begin the discussion on the aluminum inquiry business and perhaps we can pick it up later. There’s something that bothers me about that inquiry.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, why don’t you wait for technical standards? The vote is 1403; that’s the proper place for the aluminum inquiry.

Mr. Warner: I agree, but, Mr. Chairman --

Mr. Davison: Mr. Chairman, point of order. We have allowed a discussion of this matter as it involves the policy decisions of the ministry --

Mr. Breithaupt: First vote.

Mr. Davison: -- and we’ve allowed the minister to make grand statements about his opinion. I see nothing wrong with members on this side of the House having an equal opportunity to discuss the broader issues.

Mr. Chairman: I would say to the member for Hamilton Centre that this was certainly discussed in the opening remarks by the critics, I believe, of both opposition parties. Actually, it’s now so close to 10:30, I think this might be an appropriate time to rise.

Mr. Warner: Mr. Chairman, if it’s all right with you, I have a minute and a half and I can put pretty quickly on the record what I need.

Hon. W. Newman: You couldn’t say anything in a minute and a half. It would take a week.

Mr. Chairman: I would say to the hon. member he has about a half a minute, because we usually adjourn the House at 10:30 and we have to rise and report.

Mr. Warner: Mr. Chairman, I have discussed the matter of the inquiry and my concerns about it with the minister, and I’d appreciate at some point getting his explanation with respect to these rules. When you set up an inquiry, you set out the rules. What happens when those ground rules are not being adhered to? What do we do then? Do we interrupt the inquiry? Do we start over again?

I think we deserve an explanation of that because I’m very uneasy about how this inquiry is proceeding under the rules that were set up by the minister.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Grossman, the committee of supply reported progress.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I might ask unanimous consent of the House at this time to table the answer to a question on behalf of the House leader.



Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Hon. Mr. Welch, I wish to table the answer to question number 41 standing on the notice paper.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Grossman, the House adjourned at 10:30 p.m.