The House met at 2 p.m.
Mr. Speaker: I know that all hon. members would wish to join with me in welcoming distinguished visitors to our Legislature. Seated in the Speaker’s gallery are the Hon. Gerard Amerongen, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, and Mrs. Amerongen, accompanied by Mrs. Nancy Edighoffer, the wife of our Deputy Speaker. Would you help us in welcoming them please.
FRENCH LESSONS FOR PAGES
Mr. Speaker: I have another announcement that I’m sure would be welcomed by most members of the Legislature. I am pleased to announce the implementation of an oral French program for our legislative pages. We are most appreciative of the fact that the Ministry of Education has arranged for the Alliance française de Toronto to supply a teacher three mornings a week beginning today. In total, the pages will receive two and one-quarter hours of French instruction per week.
I think you will agree that this will be a most worthwhile educational experience for these boys and girls.
BOARD OF INTERNAL ECONOMY
Mr. Speaker: I would like to inform the House that I have laid on the table a copy of the order in council approved by Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor, dated February 22, 1978, appointing the following members to the Board of Internal Economy: Hon. Messrs. Welch, Auld and Wiseman and Messrs. Gregory, Nixon and Martel.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
DEATH OF KIM ANNE POPEN
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker. I wish to advise the House that I have decided to hold a judicial inquiry, relating to the Kim Anne Popen case of child abuse and the role and operation of the Sarnia-Lambton Children’s Aid Society.
Mr. Cassidy: It took until the House met for you to decide that.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Kim Anne Popen was a child in the care of that society who was returned to her parents under supervision and subsequently met a tragic death in her own home. At a time when my ministry was about to initiate its own investigation of the matter, I decided to participate in a joint investigation in co-operation with the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies, and appointed a staff member from the child welfare branch of my ministry as part of the three-person review team.
Chairman of the group is Mrs. Margaret Farina, assistant executive director of the association, and the third member is Mr. Arne Petersen, a senior staff member of the London-Middlesex Family and Children’s Services.
The work of this review committee is still proceeding and their report is not yet completed. I have been keeping in touch with the work of the committee through our ministry representative, and also through consultations between the whole committee, senior staff of the children’s services division, and the president of the society’s board of directors.
The review committee’s work to date has been extensive and has been most helpful in bringing to my attention certain matters to which I wish to respond without delay. These concerns relate not only to the fact of the case but also to the role of certain individuals involved in the case, and to the role of the agency itself in the management of this case and child protection matters generally. Serious concerns such as these need to be aired in a full and fair hearing where all parties have the protections of due process and where all relevant evidence can be brought to light. I have therefore decided to proceed immediately with a judicial inquiry under the authority of section 3 of the Child Welfare Act.
The terms of reference of the inquiry, and the name of the judge appointed to conduct the inquiry will be announced within the next few days. In the meantime, I have asked staff of the ministry to meet with the board of directors of the society to determine ways in which the ministry can assist the society to carry out its responsibilities under the legislation during the course of the inquiry.
I might also add, sir, that I have been in contact this morning with the president of the society and with the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies and they fully support the decision which I have now made.
Mr. Lewis: You should have asked for it at the outset.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I want to inform you and the members of the Legislature of the investigation conducted by the Ontario Provincial Police into the matter involving Mr. Francis Fox. I would not normally make a public statement on the result of a police investigation, but because of the nature of this case and because of the legal principles involved, I believe that the public is entitled to an explanation to the fullest extent that is reasonably possible for me to give.
Let me say at the outset that this investigation has been thorough and extensive in all respects. Two senior officers of the OPP and two senior officials of my ministry were given responsibility for the investigation.
I am satisfied that their investigation, which was completed yesterday, dealt with all relevant aspects, that all necessary witnesses have been interviewed and that all relevant facts have been brought to my attention. I would also like to state that Mr. Fox and all other persons questioned have co-operated fully.
It is my conclusion that no charge should be brought against Mr. Fox. The senior law officers of the Crown and the police officers involved share that opinion and support it completely.
I want to stress that this decision is based entirely on the circumstances of this particular case and the law and legal principles which relate to it. One principle has been of overriding importance -- equality before the law. The protection of justice extends to every member of the community; therefore, justice must and will be administered even-handedly, without regard to the position of the potential accused.
Mr. Fox therefore is being treated in exactly the same manner as any member of the public would be in a similar situation. The decision to charge or not must be based entirely on the merits of the case.
It would be absolutely unacceptable if a prominent person escaped being charged under circumstances in which ordinary members of the public would be charged. It would be equally unacceptable if a public figure were charged under circumstances in which an ordinary citizen would not be.
It is my belief that an ordinary citizen should not be charged under the set of circumstances that I will set out and, therefore, nor should be Mr. Fox.
I will deal first with the letter to Prime Minister Trudeau which led to Mr. Fox’s resignation.
The investigation revealed no sign of any oblique motive on behalf of the author of this letter, a private citizen. In particular, there has been no suggestion whatsoever of blackmail. Nor has there been any suggestion that the complaint was politically motivated or orchestrated by any organized group.
The complaint was simply the complaint of an individual who felt that the Prime Minister should be aware of an alleged misdeed by a member of his cabinet.
The investigation has revealed that the citizen was completely unaware of the ramifications of the complaint and did not contemplate the necessity of Mr. Fox’s resignation or the possibility of the laying of criminal charges.
All statements in the letter were fully investigated. At no time did the citizen suggest that criminal charges be pressed against Mr. Fox.
The evidence indicates that Mr. Fox had a brief liaison with a woman who became pregnant. The woman informed Mr. Fox of her pregnancy but told him that she could look after the matter herself, since she felt that she qualified for a therapeutic abortion on medical grounds unrelated to the cause of her pregnancy.
The therapeutic abortion committee of the hospital, after considering her application, granted a certificate permitting the abortion. The attending physician specifically told the woman that the consent of the husband was not required for the abortion.
Acting under this belief, the woman attended at the hospital on the appointed date. After she was admitted, and some hours before the operation was to take place, the hospital administrative staff informed her that her husband was required to sign a form.
As the woman’s husband was unavailable since he was out of town, and being afraid that she might be denied the abortion, she asked Mr. Fox to come to the hospital to help her.
Mr. Fox arrived at the hospital and, without question from the staff, was handed a form and asked to sign. Mr. Fox then affixed the name of the woman’s husband to the form.
In fact, there was no legal requirement that the husband sign the form. The investigation has revealed that in all likelihood the abortion would have been carried out even if Mr. Fox had not signed the form. In fact, in another case the hospital in question apparently decided to proceed over a husband’s failure to sign the document.
In the context of these facts, the senior members of my ministry have reviewed the relevant sections of the Criminal Code. The offence which has been most frequently mentioned in public discussions of this case is that of forgery. However, proving this offence presents very real problems in view of the circumstances of this case and, in particular, the fact that the signature on the document was in all likelihood immaterial to whether or not the abortion would be caned out.
On the basis of the facts I have just cited, I consider that there is evidence upon which a peace officer might have reasonable and probable grounds to lay charges concerning one or more offences under the Criminal Code of Canada. However, this does not settle conclusively the question as to whether or not a charge should be laid.
Because of the considerable public attention which this case has attracted, it is important for me to state to the Legislature the basis on which I, as the chief law officer of the Crown, have considered whether a prosecution would be justified in this case.
A prosecution is not automatically launched in every case where there is some evidence to support the laying of criminal charges. Police officers and the Crown law officers who advise them have broad powers to decide whether or not to launch a prosecution, taking into account all the circumstances surrounding the case.
Henry Bull, the late Crown attorney for York county, and indeed a very highly respected prosecutor for many years, once wrote that the Crown’s duty in deciding whether a prosecution is justified is two-fold. The first duty is to determine whether a criminal offence is disclosed by the facts in the sense that a prima facie case is made out. The second duty is then to determine whether a prosecution would be justified in a particular case.
This exercise of judgement was best put by two Attorneys General of England, Sir John Simon and Sir Hartley Shawcross, both speaking in the House of Commons. I quote: “There is no greater nonsense talked about the Attorney General’s duty than the suggestion that in all cases the Attorney General ought to prosecute merely because he thinks there is what lawyers call ‘a case’. It is not true, and no one who has held the office supposes that it is.”
Sir Hartley Shawcross supported Sir John Simon’s position: “It has never been the rule in this country ... that suspected criminal offences must automatically be the subject of prosecution.... The public interest … is the dominant consideration.”
Sir Hartley outlined how he directed himself in deciding whether or not to prosecute in a particular case. I quote: “The Attorney General may have to have regard to a wide variety of considerations, all of them leading to the final question: Would a prosecution be in the public interest; including in that phrase, of course, in the interests of justice? [In] the ordinary case ... one ... has to review the evidence, to consider whether the evidence goes beyond mere suspicion and is sufficient to justify a man being put on trial for a specific criminal offence.
“In other cases, wider considerations than that are involved. It is not always in the public interest to go through the whole process of the criminal law if, at the end of the day, perhaps because of mitigating circumstances, perhaps because of what the defendant has already suffered, only a nominal penalty is likely to be imposed.”
Mr. Speaker, I would stress that not merely is this the law of Canada as well as England, but that it also reflects very accurately the responsibilities of the Attorney General of Ontario, certainly as I have experienced them during the last two-and-a-half-years.
To launch a prosecution in this case would be to bring disproportionately harsh consequences to a person of good character, who has already suffered greatly as a result of his act. This bears on the circumstances of the case itself and not the fact that Mr. Fox assumed high public office after the event in question. The holders of public offices will receive the same treatment under the law as the ordinary citizen, even though the consequences may he more injurious.
My decision does not mean that I think a former cabinet minister should get any more lenient treatment because the consequences of prosecution are far more grave for him as a public figure. My decision stands for the proposition that Crown law officers, in deciding whether a prosecution should be launched or should proceed, must be scrupulous to treat all members of the community equally without any regard to their position.
In this case, the public interest dictates that a number of factors in addition to the evidence be considered in deciding whether a prosecution would be justified.
Firstly, I want to stress that the abortion in question was an authorized therapeutic abortion. The woman dealt with at least three physicians and her application for an abortion was put before the therapeutic abortion committee of the hospital involved. The certificate for a therapeutic abortion was granted solely on medical grounds by virtue of the woman’s past medical history. She would have qualified for a therapeutic abortion regardless of the identity of the father.
The investigation has shown that Mr. Fox played absolutely no part in the application for a certificate for the operation. The therapeutic abortion committee did not require the consent of any person other than the woman herself. The attending physician, in fact, informed the woman patient that no such consent was required by law. There is no legal requirement in statute, regulation or hospital bylaw that a husband consent to a therapeutic abortion performed on his wife; nor does the law require that he should release the hospital from any liability resulting from the abortion.
The document that Mr. Fox signed was not a consent as such. It appears that it was simply an unwritten hospital policy that the husband’s signature be obtained, whenever possible, on the form in which the wife purportedly released the hospital from responsibility.
Turning to the individuals caught up in this case, I would emphasize that their tragedy must also be a factor to be taken into account. The woman’s husband, who might be considered the most aggrieved individual in this case, has requested that criminal proceedings not be taken against Mr. Fox. It goes without saying that such a request cannot be lightly disregarded.
If Mr. Fox were charged, then it would follow that the woman in question must also face criminal charges, since the investigation has revealed that she was equally responsible for Mr. Fox’s signing the document. In short, no distinction can be drawn between the degree of participation by Mr. Fox and the woman in question.
Moreover, the case could not be tried without making public the identity of the family involved. Obviously, there are a number of innocent parties in the case. To reveal the woman’s identity would cause irreparable harm to all those directly involved. The embarrassment and anguish to innocent parties must be weighed against any possible advantage that might result from bringing criminal charges against either Mr. Fox or the woman in question. On this consideration alone, the merits of not prosecuting far outweigh those of proceeding against the parties involved.
Let me, in conclusion, reiterate what I have stated. Every day police officers and Crown attorneys decide not to prosecute potential accused. On many occasions charges are not laid, even though the police and the Crown would be fully justified in proceeding to prosecute. It is not, therefore, a question of whether the individual is rich or poor, prominent or not. Rather, it is a question of whether proceedings are appropriate, taking into account the public interest and the fair administration of justice.
Obviously, each decision must turn on the facts of each individual case. In this case, I have concluded that there is no more reason to prosecute Mr. Fox than there would be to prosecute any ordinary citizen caught up in the same circumstances. In my opinion, the public interest and the interests of the administration of justice would not be well served by a prosecution.
Mr. S. Smith: I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. Can the minister substantiate press reports which indicated that the Premier (Mr. Davis) has held private meetings with officials of Reed Paper Limited and that certain cabinet ministers were present at these meetings? And if he can substantiate that, can he tell us whether there were, among other topics for discussion at the meeting, the following topics: The extension of the control order regarding the Dryden mill of Reed Paper and any intention that the company may have to sell off all its assets in Canada, as reported in the newspapers recently; and finally, any other matter, if he is able to disclose it?
Hon. Mr. McCague: The answer to the first question is yes, the Premier did meet with representatives of Reed. I was there. The matter of the control order was discussed. The other matter was not discussed.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, perhaps the minister could tell us what other matters were discussed. Secondly, was any decision taken or any stand indicated with regard to this control order; and is it common for the Premier to meet with companies that are requesting relief from pollution enforcement in this province?
Hon. Mr. McCague: One part of the meeting was in connection with the control order. I will not divulge the other matters that were discussed. I will tell the Leader of the opposition that there was no decision made on the matters that we discussed regarding the control order.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Was this meeting in line with the new policy enunciated in the Throne Speech that the government is preparing to abandon its concerns about the environment in the interests of other aims?
Mr. Speaker: Order. We do have distinguished visitors in our gallery. We have a lot of young people who are listening in on our proceedings. I don’t think it does anybody any good to be barracking back and forth. We do have a question-and-answer period. Questioners have a right to be heard; and answerers also have a responsibility to answer in a way that they can be heard. Do them the courtesy of being quiet.
Hon. Mr. McCague: To ask a dumb question like that!
Mr. Nixon: This wouldn’t happen in Alberta.
Hon. Mr. McCague: The leader of the third party’s misapprehension cannot be answered.
Mr. Gaunt: Supplementary: Will a new control order be issued for the Dryden mill; and if so what will the terms of that control order be?
Hon. Mr. McCague: At this point I have no idea.
Ms. Bryden: I would like to ask the minister if the control order which was issued in 1970, and extended finally to December 31, 1976, has been met.
Hon. Mr. McCague: My understanding is no, it was not met in its entirety. There was a charge laid; the charge was heard, a fine was levied and it was not appealed by either the government or the industry.
Mr. Gaunt: Supplementary: What was the amount of the fine?
Hon. W. Newman: Does the member not read the paper?
Mr. Gaunt: It was not in the paper.
Mr. Lewis: It must have been $200 at least.
Hon. Mr. McCague: I believe the fine was $5,000.
Mr. Lewis: A licence to pollute.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: How much weight was given to the opinion of the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier), as publicly expressed on February 4, that Reed should be given an easement of the control order?
Hon. Mr. McCague: I have already indicated the matter has not been dealt with. I did hear, through a person from a radio station that the Minister of Northern Affairs did make some statements. I think they were statements that probably truly reflected the thoughts of the people in his riding, and he is at liberty to do that I presume. We have not dealt with the matter at this point, as I indicated earlier.
Mr. Lewis: The Minister of Northern Affairs doesn’t consult with his colleagues before he makes statements.
GRAY COACH-GREYHOUND BUS SERVICES
Mr. S. Smith: I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications, Mr. Speaker. Will the minister report to the House on the results of the meeting that he and his deputy minister held with officials of Gray Coach and Greyhound regarding the specific interpretation of the recent cabinet decision concerning those companies? Could he, while he’s at it, explain the rationale behind the pooling proposal which he brought forward, and how it is that he can be so certain that with this pooling arrangement, Gray Coach will remain sufficiently financially viable to carry on its services to the smaller centres of Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, first I might say that there was no meeting held between Greyhound, Gray Coach, my deputy minister and myself. My deputy minister met with the two company representatives. I did not attend that meeting, but there was a meeting held with the senior officials of both coach-line companies and Mr. Gilbert at which clarifications were asked as to the exact interpretation of the orders in council. I understand this meeting was quite successful and that the president of Gray Coach Lines Limited followed up the meeting with a letter to Mr. Gilbert. The letter thanked him for his participation in the meeting and said that Gray Coach Lines were quite prepared to accept, and I believe were quite happy with, the overall results of the review.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of a supplementary, does the minister mean to say that the Gray Coach Lines have expressed satisfaction with the cabinet decision or merely with the nature and tenor of the meeting? Could the minister please explain to us, or provide for us the figures on which he based his pooling decision so that we can understand the rationale of that decision? Most people have been left rather mystified by what it means.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Certainly since the cabinet decision was announced I have had no indication from Gray Coach Lines or Greyhound Lines that either party were unhappy with the decision of the cabinet.
Mr. Kerrio: Greyhound shouldn’t be unhappy; I guess not.
Hon. Mr. Snow: In arriving at the decision, cabinet gave a great deal of consideration to a great many matters, not the least of which by any means is the matter of the provision of service to the public, especially the public served by the bus lines from northern Ontario connecting through to Toronto. It was no simple matter to deal with and cabinet gave a great deal of consideration to it, eventually coming to the decision that it did.
Mr. S. Smith: Will the minister provide the figures?
Hon. Mr. Snow: No, I won’t.
Mr. Cassidy: Does that confirm that the government policy recently enunciated on Gray Coach and Greyhound are part of the philosophy of deregulation that was contained in the Throne Speech? And does that ultimately not mean that it is preparing to throw Gray Coach to the wolves in favour of a foreign-owned corporation?
Hon. Mr. Snow: No, that is not the case at all. I think the policy statements which were included in my statement released following the decision of cabinet are quite explicit. They lay down certain guidelines which the board should consider in considering applications for licences.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of a final supplementary for myself, do I understand the minister correctly that he believes his pooling arrangement in no way impairs the financial viability of Gray Coach, and that he has seen evidence to assure himself and his colleagues of that? And if so, why will he not provide the figures on which that decision rests -- the evidence that convinced him -- for the rest of us in this House to look at?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I might say that the decision of cabinet was that certain routes that had been awarded by the Highway Transport Board to Greyhound Lines of Canada and Eastern Canadian Greyhound Lines, certain of those routes would be pooled with Gray Coach Lines. Pooling in the bus industry is not a new procedure in any way, as I am sure the hon. Leader of the Opposition is aware. It is a case where, in order to supply a better service to the travelling public, a pooling arrangement is entered into. There are pooling arrangements -- for instance, between Greyhound Incorporated of the United States and Gray Coach Lines -- that have been in existence for many years, where Gray Coach buses travel beyond Buffalo into the United States and Greyhound Lines travels this way, eliminating --
Mr. S. Smith: We know that.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Well, I didn’t know whether you were aware or not because of the questions --
An hon. member: Answer the question.
Mr. S. Smith: Will the minister give us the figures?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Now, if I may explain --
Mr. Reid: Where are the figures?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I have got no figures to hide.
Hon. Mr. Snow: First of all, there are no figures available because --
Mr. Reid: Why didn’t the minister say that?
Hon. Mr. Snow: All right, now, just a moment.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Snow: You don’t want the answer, obviously.
Mr. Reid: The minister has given us three different answers.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Rainy River doesn’t have the floor.
Hon. Mr. Snow: He doesn’t have the answer either.
First of all, Mr. Speaker, the routes that were to be pooled: it was in the order in council that of the, I believe, it is four routes per day between Toronto and Buffalo, of which two were to be pooled, Gray Coach Lines were to have the first choice of the four routes. Obviously, I expect they will choose the particular trip, the time of day, that they feel will be the most profitable route because they will get the profit from that route. Greyhound Lines, I believe, have the choice of the second route that will be pooled.
Mr. S. Smith: The minister must have looked at numbers to assure himself of its viability. What is the number?
Hon. Mr. Snow: The same takes place with the pooling of the routes to Sudbury. I am convinced, Mr. Speaker, that the pooling of these trips will afford the best possible service to the public of Ontario. There will be no need to transfer buses. There is no secret about the fact that since the awarding of these licences, Greyhound Lines have doubled the service available to the communities on the north shore of the Great Lakes from Thunder Bay to Sudbury and there is no doubt that the people in those communities want that service continued.
Mr. Warner: Squeeze Gray Coach out of business.
Mr. S. Smith: There are no numbers; you are not going to give numbers.
Hon. Mr. Snow: We have supplied a solution that will allow that service to continue. It allows a sharing of the revenues and the profits; and I have to say, Mr. Speaker, that although I haven’t had any direct indication from Gray Coach Lines, the letter that was sent --
Mr. Warner: The profit goes south of the border.
Hon. Mr. Snow: -- to my deputy minister indicates that Gray Coach are prepared to accept and are reasonably happy with that solution.
Mr. Kerrio: They have no choice.
Mr. Philip: Supplementary: In the light of the uncertainty caused by the statements by the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) about privatization and deregulation which were re-echoed in the Speech from the Throne, and in the light of the fact that the minister has not yet given us any projections on the turnaround financial condition that Gray Coach will be in as a result of this decision, will the minister at least table in the House the government’s position on public transportation in this province, and indicate where the government’s policy is going in terms of public transportation here in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Snow: In the statement that I released, following the Gray Coach/Greyhound decision, certain principles of statement of policy of the government were included in that statement. I also included in that statement a statement that I would be introducing legislation -- an amendment to the Public Vehicles Act -- in the House. This I expect to do next week or at least within a few days; it will provide for the formal transmission of government policy recommendation to the board. I will be doing that.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question of the Deputy Premier and government House leader in the absence of the Premier (Mr. Davis). Can the government state whether it intends to heed the view taken by a clear majority of the select committee on Hydro that it is not in the public interest of Ontario to conclude the proposed contract with Denison Mines which would extract a windfall profit of at least $1.6 billion from hydro consumers and the taxpayers of this province?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I am unable to respond to that, not knowing whether the Premier has received the correspondence as yet.
Mr. MacDonald: He has.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I would assume that once he has received some correspondence from the committee to which the matter was assigned, he will be responding in due course.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary -- and I put this forward partly for the Premier’s benefit: In view of the recommendations by such well-known socialists as George Gathercole, former chairman of Ontario Hydro, the vice-president of Consolidated Edison of New York City and the Hydro officials who prepared the report for Project Wellesley, that it is emphatically in Ontario’s interest to acquire the source of supply for the province’s nuclear generating stations, and in view of the finding of the staff of the select committee that acquisition of Denison is as economically attractive now as it was in 1975, is the government prepared to move at once either to the acquisition of Denison or to the acquisition of Denison’s uranium assets?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I can’t add anything further. I am sure the Premier will be making a statement on this matter in due course.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary --
Mr. Speaker: There is no useful purpose to continue to ask supplementaries when, in effect, the hon. acting House leader has said there is nothing further to add. I will hear the hon. member’s second question.
Mr. Conway: Only acting House leader now?
Mr. Martel: He’s been demoted.
Mr. Cassidy: Will the Deputy Premier assure the House that a statement will be given to this Legislature by the Premier before action, such as the signing of a contract, is in fact undertaken by the government?
Mr. Speaker: I will not permit an answer. The hon. government House leader has said that he has nothing further to add. I will hear the hon. member’s second question.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Let’s have a debate.
Mr. Deans: Would you like a debate? I’d like a debate.
USE OF PCBS
Mr. Cassidy: A question to the Minister of the Environment: In view of the information that Ontario’s roads are being oiled with six million gallons a year of waste lubricants that are contaminated with highly toxic PCBs, polychlorinated biphenyls, will the minister give an immediate assurance to this House that this irresponsible practice will be terminated forthwith?
Hon. Mr. McCague: No, Mr. Speaker, I won’t give that commitment. We need to do further studies. As the hon. member will realize, there won’t be road oiling for a few weeks yet. We want to do further investigation and at that time we will make the decision as to whether it should or should not be discontinued.
Mr. Warner: After 30 years.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Can the minister state how long the ministry has been aware that the contamination has been taking place and what tests have been undertaken by the ministry to determine what damage has resulted to the health of road workers, to wildlife, to livestock and in the form of pollution of drinking supplies?
Hon. Mr. McCague: I can’t agree with those assumptions that have been made. We are going in study it.
Mr. McClellan: You mean you haven’t studied it?
Mr. Warner: For 30 years you poured the oil out and never studied it.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Better study what the hon. member is pouring out.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Talk about pollution!
Mr. Martel: It will be more than the drivel that’s coming right now, I can assure you.
Mr. Warner: I apologize for waking the minister up.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I cannot hear what is being said.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, we are going to study the matter further. If it is a hazard, the practice will be discontinued.
Mr. Warner: We know it is.
Hon. B. Stephenson: You don’t know that!
Mr. Deans: Since we don’t know that, would the minister agree not to continue the practice until after the study has been completed?
Mr. Conway: Deans for leader.
Hon. Mr. McCague: I hope the hon. member understands that we are not oiling roads at this time of year.
Mr. Deans: I understand it is winter. Okay?
Hon. Mr. McCague: We will be studying the matter; if there is a problem with it so that it appears dangerous to health, to water, to wildlife or what have you, the practice will be discontinued this year.
Mr. Deans: But will the minister agree not to do it until he finds out?
Mr. Martel: Supplementary to the minister: Will the minister table those studies which have already been done? And will he indicate to us when he will be prepared to -- or if he is prepared to table the reports of the studies which are going to be undertaken?
Mr. Foulds: How long will it take?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Yes, there will be a press release today, accompanied by the data that we have. It’s not a report. There is data and that will be given to the press and tabled and any further reports we have will be public knowledge.
Mr. Reed: My question is for the Minister of Energy. With the disturbing revelations in recent Toronto Star editions concerning Hydro corridor construction alleging Hydro bungling and government favouritism through five years, and understanding that the new load forecast takes the urgency temporarily off the system, will the minister, one, declare a moratorium on construction of the parts of the line not yet up; two, will he undertake immediately to correct the injustice his predecessors have refused to correct, and three, will he formulate a procedure for corridor acquisition which is fair and understandable and which will prevent this tragedy from ever happening again?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I think perhaps in that question there were at least six questions.
Mr. Kerrio: Take your time.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I will try to answer them if I can recall them all.
Mr. Reid: Try to answer one. That will be better than yesterday.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: The first referred to a series of articles which have just appeared in the Toronto Star and which I would describe as accusations through innuendo. There is nothing new in those articles whatsoever.
Mr. Warner: No, the bungling is old.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Nothing. If the hon. member would look into Hansard for November 1976, he would have seen a rather complete statement on some of the subject matter to which those articles alluded --
Mr. Sweeney: You still haven’t changed that.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- and he would have seen that fully explained by my predecessor, the Minister of Energy at that time, the Hon. Dennis Timbrell.
Mr. Foulds: Bring back Jim Taylor.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: It’s all in Hansard. There are no secrets. The accusation is through innuendo. As far as your talking about the fumbling, the bumbling of Hydro in establishing transmission power lines --
Mr. Cassidy: You were such a nice fellow before you came into this place.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- that is a premise that I do not accept.
Mr. Lewis: Does the ministry do it to the incumbent or does the incumbent do it to the ministry?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I do not accept this for a number of reasons. One, of course, is that the transmission line that was finally decided on was based on Dr. Solandt’s recommendation --
Mr. McClellan: That portfolio is a contagious disease.
Mr. Samis: Tayloritis, Reuben.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- Dr. Solandt is the person who was given charge of the environmental aspects of the line.
It would appear as if it’s almost a no-win situation. You complain when Hydro follows the transmission route it thinks is in the best interest of the public. You complained then that there was no Solandt study done. When Hydro then follows the Solandt study, you complain that that’s the wrong route to follow. There’s just no end to your complaining.
Mr. Warner: It just shows you how wrong you are over there.
Mr. Nixon: You can’t make up your minds.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Deans: It is possible that you might be wrong.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I would also say that I have looked at all of the procedures and all of the legislation which governs the expropriation, which governs the determination of where these hydro lines should go. I am satisfied that there is legislation in place to protect the best interests of the Hydro consumers and also the people through whose property the lines do go. If we here feel, in spite of all the legislation that has been enacted, that there are still loopholes which create some injustice for some people through whose property the hydro lines go, I would like to hear about it and I will certainly take steps to introduce legislation to fill those loopholes. I am as concerned as anybody that Hydro does not intimidate nor even appear to intimidate the people whose property it crosses. We are as much concerned about this as anybody across the floor.
Mr. Cassidy: Then why didn’t the government state it years ago?
Mr. Riddell: Speak to Darcy.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: And please let’s look at the procedures and policies.
I can also say that Hydro has done everything to avoid inconveniences and personal hardships. As a matter of fact, I was encouraged yesterday, and somewhat amused, to find that Hydro even changed its hydro transmission lines somewhat to make way for the West Virginia butterfly, so that it can get back to West Virginia --
Mr. Warner: The minister should have an electric chair.
Mr. Martel: That’s a ministerial statement.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- because naturalists felt that the hydro line was going to go through a woodlot near your neighbourhood where the West Virginia butterfly was hibernating.
Mr. Sweeney: That’s great for butterflies; what about people?
Mr. Reed: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Speaker: I hope the supplementary is somewhat shorter than the original question -- and the answer.
Mr. Reed: Mr. Speaker, I will be brief and to the point. If the minister is so righteously indignant about the correctness of the procedures used by his predecessors, and by the procedures used by Hydro in the acquisition of the corridor, then why is he agreeing to meet with the citizens to discuss the problem once again? Since his own ministry has agreed that Dr. Solandt did not study the north-south route, why is he standing up in the House now and once again claiming that he did?
Mr. McClellan: Okay, Reuben, it’s your turn.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: The line I referred to was the east-west line and Dr. Solandt did study that route.
I have agreed to meet with the interested citizens’ group because I happen to believe in citizen participation.
An hon. member: You must be joking.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: That is the reason -- I want to hear what they have to say.
An hon. member: Afterwards.
Mr. Warner: The minister has already made up his mind.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: And I have also told them my door is open at any time, at any time they can come -- citizens’ groups with credible alternatives to things as they are now.
Mr. Kerrio: Be careful of the butterflies.
An hon. member: Is it an open-door policy?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I am prepared to listen and I am prepared to open up the matter with cabinet.
Mr. McClellan: The minister should nationalize Hydro.
CANADIAN JOHNS-MANVILLE PLANT
Mr. Mackenzie: A question of the Minister of Industry and Tourism: Now that the name of one of the principals in the purchase of the Canadian Johns-Manville plant in North Bay, a Mr. Paul Lechlitner is public knowledge, and in view of the concern this has generated among the employees of the plant, has the minister looked into the matter? Has he investigated the past track record of this gentleman? Has he received any guarantees that the plant will continue to operate and the jobs of the workers will be protected?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, no, I haven’t had an opportunity to check into the background of that particular gentleman because I became aware of his name -- I am assuming -- when the hon. member did.
Mr. Peterson: You have been making too many speeches, John, that don’t make sense.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: We will inquire as to whether or not he does have a record that -- as suggested -- is not good. I have no reason to believe that.
As far as the sale of the particular firm is concerned, this is a matter of a decision that was made by the owners -- Canadian Johns-Manville -- who determined that they wished to sell for a particular price to this gentleman. So I really have not interfered in what was a private transaction between these two business people.
Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Would the minister then be prepared to intervene on behalf of the employees who also wished to purchase the plant in a partnership arrangement, and who have apparently put up at least the same price and who would certainly have a stake in continuing to operate a successful plant at that location?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: No, Mr. Speaker, I would not intervene in this particular matter. I think this is a business deal between two principals. I am assuming that we are still living in a society where, if you wish to sell something you own, you may sell it to whom you wish.
Mr. Cassidy: Including selling out the province.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Kind of a shock to you, Mike?
Mr. Makarchuk: Supplementary to the same minister: In view of the fact that allegations were made by the workers that there is an effort on the part of the company to phase out production -- to stop production or terminate production -- of that plant, and allegations that personnel are being let go, allegations that everything is being done to stop the operation of the plant when at the same time another company, Tembec, was prepared to move in there to continue the operation and expand the operation, would the minister not feel that it’s his responsibility to see that those jobs are preserved and perhaps a greater number of people are employed in that plant?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, as I told the previous questioner, I intend to check on the principals who are making the purchase, because there have been some allegations -- unsubstantiated I might add -- about their track record. Quite frankly, Mr. Speaker, I think you would appreciate, as I hope the hon. member would, that if I start running around this province checking out every allegation that is made by somebody we are going to be awfully busy. These are only allegations --
Mr. Warner: We don’t expect you to be busy.
Mr. Martel: Don’t travel as much as Claude and look after things at home.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: -- and the member cannot substantiate the allegations at all.
Mr. Peterson: A question of the Minister of Energy, Mr. Speaker: Since the Minister of Energy upon his installation as minister expressed some unhappiness and discomfort with the relationship between the ministry and Ontario Hydro, could he update us please on what his thoughts are and what policy he is evolving to forge a new relationship with Ontario Hydro?
Mr. Warner: You are going to nationalize it.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, perhaps I might be permitted to answer that rather general question in a very brief way. I would like to assure the hon. member that since coming into my ministry I have had the closest and most cordial of relationships with Hydro; in particular, the chairman of the board. I intend to keep this on a daily basis.
Mr. Deans: That’s what happens to all of the new ministers.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Is that the answer?
Mr. Deans: That’s the answer.
Mr. Conway: Dinner and dancing -- it always starts that way.
Mr. Deans: That has happened to every single minister.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: You are losing, that’s why you want it to stop.
Mr. Cassidy: You get sucked in in three weeks.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Order. We are having enough trouble with the sound system as it is without all of the barracking back and forth.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I think under the circumstances I would like to answer that question in fuller detail to the hon. member opposite perhaps when we are together some time, because obviously some of his colleagues aren’t interested in the answer anyway.
Mr. Peterson: It’s not easy for me but I apologize for these people, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Eaton: That’s why you’re not leader.
Mr. Peterson: I think it is a very important question, Mr. Speaker, and I would like to pursue it with some degree of seriousness in this sense. Since it has been revealed, I think after the fact, that certain very important projects were not brought to the ministry’s attention, is the minister going to trust on just personal relationships or is he seeking to formalize that relationship in some more direct way, as, for example, placing the deputy minister or himself on the board of Hydro? Is he looking to that kind of thing? Is he looking at changes in legislation? Or is he going to just have the same old trust that his previous and long-departed predecessor had in this job?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, certainly the formal relationships between government and Hydro are spelled out in the various pieces of legislation. I agree, however, that neither those pieces of legislation nor any kind of formal understanding that we may draft through a memo of understanding or whatever other format is enough, and that what we do need is a daily personal contact between the Minister of Energy and the chairman of the board of Hydro. We have established that contact and we will certainly continue it; at least, I am sure we will. I have no reason to believe it will not continue, and I am getting the information that I have been expecting.
Mr. Deans: That’s what Jim Taylor used to think.
Mr. Warner: It runs by itself.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: As far as a more formal step whereby the Minister of Energy or somebody on the minister’s staff should be on the board of directors of Ontario Hydro, maybe I can be persuaded otherwise, but certainly at this moment I don’t think that is a very desirable modus operandi and certainly I am not persuaded that the arrangement --
Mr. Martel: They put Jim Taylor on the board.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- in Saskatchewan where the Minister of Energy is in fact as I understand it also the chairman of -- what is it, potash or one of the other companies -- I don’t think that’s a suitable relationship at all.
Mr. Warner: Not for you.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: So I would like to continue as we have started in the last few weeks. I think it may work that way.
Mr. Warner: It runs by itself. Why don’t you nationalize it?
Mr. Reed: Mr. Speaker, is the minister satisfied that he is going to do any better in terms of extracting information than his predecessors without improving the relationship in a more formal sense or through a more formal mechanism? How can he be sure that --
Mr. Speaker: The question has been asked.
Mr. Reed: -- the strength of his own obvious personality is going to prevail here?
Mr. Martel: Just say yes.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I think, Mr. Speaker, you said the question has been answered. Did I hear you correctly, sir?
Hon. B. Stephenson: No, he said the question was asked.
Mr. Speaker: No, I said the question was asked.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: If it has been asked previously it has also been answered, yes.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I was going to direct a question to the Minister of Energy but I think I’ll switch to the Minister of the Environment in the hope of getting an answer.
I’d like to ask the Minister of the Environment if he or his colleague, the Minister of Energy, has made any representation to the federal government and especially to the House of Commons committee on national resources and public works with regard to the Hare report, The Management of Canada’s Nuclear Wastes, and that particular committee’s search for a nuclear waste dump site, possibly in northwestern Ontario?
Hon. Mr. McCague: No, Mr. Speaker, I have not made any representations on that report.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: Does the minister not think that it is a responsibility of the province at least to have some stand and position with regard to nuclear waste disposal and the location of that in the province? Also, would such a disposal site be subject to the Environmental Assessment Act? What assurances can the minister give the people of this province, no matter where the dump site is located, if in fact one is located, that it will be environmentally sound for the quarter million years which is the life of the radioactive and damaging wastes?
Hon. Mr. McCague: I presume the member is referring to disposal sites away from the actual plant.
Mr. Foulds: That’s right.
Hon. Mr. McCague: First, I would say that there were some staff people from my ministry, I think, working along with that report. The answer about environmental assessment would be yes. I understand that a federal review also would be necessary.
Mr. Kerrio: Supplementary. Mr. Speaker: Would the minister think it would be in the best interests of the people of Ontario for him to become involved in the earlier stages of negotiating for the uranium to make some kind of an agreement as to the disposal of these huge quantities that we will be involved with, particularly as we’re looking at these contracts on the table now?
Hon. Mr. McCague: I think that’s a matter that could be left with Energy, but no doubt they would be consulting with our ministry.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the hon. Attorney General. He was here a minute ago. I’ll direct it to the Deputy Premier. In view of the fact that one of Kitchener-Waterloo’s leading builders is leaving the area because of what he describes as “increasing regulations and bureaucratic crap” --
Mr. Martel: Oh, my! The language.
Mr. Epp: -- and because of the fact that he is not the only one who is leaving the area --
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Elie, did you write that question?
Mr. Epp: -- because of the great bureaucracy that we have in the province and going to the United States in order to build homes there --
Mr. Swart: A good corporate citizen. Support him.
Mr. Epp: -- where they are able to expedite zone changes within about three months, and in view of the fact that the Ontario Municipal Board sometimes takes three months to establish a hearing date and another three months or more to have a hearing, I wonder if the Deputy Premier could indicate whether he has any plans to expedite hearings. Secondly, if he does not have any plans, would he be prepared to expedite those hearings to make them one or two months rather than six months or more?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I would be very happy to refer that matter to the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) and have him respond to that at his next opportunity.
DARLINGTON NUCLEAR PLANT
Mr. MacDonald: I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Energy, first to clarify a reply he gave yesterday and then, following that, a specific question.
In replying to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) yesterday, he made the comment that the projected load forecasts of Ontario Hydro “have not been accurately assessed by Hydro.” My understanding is that once those forecasts are made, and on the basis of those forecasts, Hydro then assesses and reviews its construction program. Am I correct in my assumption that government policy with regard to the exemption of environmental assessment in Darlington or anything else is awaiting that assessment of the construction program? If so, would the minister table in the House the various options that are now being considered by Hydro -- such as a delay of one, two or three years for Darlington; such as the elimination of Wesleyville because it is founded on domestically outmoded and priced-out-of-the-market oil; and so on? Would he list the options that are now being considered?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I appreciate the fact that the hon. member for York South has clarified a statement I made yesterday. It is correct, as he has indicated, that I was referring to the assessment of the reduced load forecast on construction plans and future expansion plans. As the hon. member has suggested, the forecast work load of Hydro is decided by the board of directors of Hydro so there is no further guesswork about that. They have indicated it’s thus and so. It is the impact of that reduced load on the building programs and on the expansion programs of Hydro that is under assessment.
As to the second part of the question, the very point that the hon. member has raised as to what Hydro needs to look at now, the various scenarios: Do we go ahead at Darlington? Do we go ahead at Wesleyville? Do you do this? Do you do that? Do you do the next thing? All the variables that get into this. This is exactly the kind of work that Hydro is engaged in at this very moment. But Hydro has told us that it cannot bring to us a detailed report for another several weeks. That is what we are waiting for, and I think really it is in the best public interest if we do not engage in too much speculation and conjecturing here as to what might happen until we have this specific information from Hydro.
Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In view of the fact that those scenarios include the possibility of the postponement for one, two, even three years on Darlington’s part, why is the minister delaying further? Why could he not cancel the exemption order and get on with the environmental assessment?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: As I tried to indicate yesterday, I think for this government at this stage, not having all of the facts from Hydro that we are awaiting, to unilaterally make a decision on Darlington would be irresponsible. I, frankly, would not recommend it.
Mr. Martel: How would it be irresponsible?
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Premier (Mr. Davis), I would like to ask this question of the Minister of Community and Social Services. It has to do with the unfortunate situation in Ottawa involving Adrienne Paquette whose mother pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death in early January of this year. I would like the minister to advise whether he agrees with the official of Children’s Aid in Ottawa, Mr. Messner, when he indicates that section 43 of the Criminal Code makes it exceedingly difficult to protect children from parents? The protection given under section 43, according to him, is more favourable towards the parent than it is to the children. Secondly, is the minister looking into the situation in Ottawa with Children’s Aid and a budget cut that has been imposed by his ministry that makes it exceedingly difficult to find adequate foster homes for children who find themselves in this situation?
Hon. Mr. Norton: With respect first to the first question, I have not seen in its entirety the statement that the director made. I had heard that he had made reference to that section of the Criminal Code. Although I have not formally assessed the statement at this point or assessed the impact of that section, I do agree in essence with what I understand he was directing himself to, that is, the whole question of the rights of children with respect to assault. There is surely a very serious question as to why a distinction should be made between a child and an adult when they are the victim of an assault. I would agree that that is a very real concern which should be addressed by the federal government as it is within their jurisdiction under the Criminal Code.
As the member knows, we are addressing in our proposals that are under discussion at the present time and which, hopefully, will be part of the law reform package, some aspects of the whole issue of child abuse and the rights of children. Again I have not received a formal complaint from the director on the question of the problems that he might be experiencing with respect to foster homes. The budgets for this coming year are currently being reviewed. We have received the preliminary estimates from most societies now and in fact have responded to almost 40 per cent of them; I do not know the exact number at this point. We will have a much earlier resolution of budget questions this year, hopefully within the next month or so.
I am not aware of it but I will check into it to see whether that particular issue has been raised in the course of discussions with that society about their budget allocations for this coming year.
Mr. Roy: May I ask a supplementary question to say to the minister, in view of his response, I am somewhat surprised that since similar situations have taken place in the Kawartha Lakes area, Guelph, Sarnia and Toronto, and now in Ottawa, that his ministry and himself as minister have not made representation to the federal government pertaining to section 43 of the Criminal Code and the concern expressed by the people in Children’s Aid that Crown attorneys will not even look at certain prosecutions under this section except in very serious situations.
Secondly, is the minister not aware of the situation in Ottawa where apparently no assistance or proper temporary home could be found for this youngster, Miss Paquette, except for a five-month period with her grandmother?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I understand there was some difficulty experienced by the society in that particular case. I would also indicate that that particular case is still actively under investigation by the children’s services division of my ministry. There are other aspects of the handling of that case that I am not happy with that don’t necessarily relate to the availability of a foster home.
Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: Since a number here have been a little unhappy with the actions of the Ottawa Children’s Aid Society on this and some related matters, is it possible that the minister would consider instituting in the Paquette case what he has instituted today in the case of Kim Anne Popen and at least, if not a judicial inquiry, have some kind of more formal investigation that extends beyond the children’s services division?
Hon. Mr. Norton: As soon as I have information indicating that that is desirable and necessary in this case, I would certainly consider any alternative that is necessary to completely clear up the situation. I would point out that it is my information, following this particular case, the Ottawa Children’s Aid Society has instituted a revamped and new procedure with respect to handling of child abuse cases. Those are part of what is at present under further investigation by my ministry in an assessment as to their effectiveness. I have been assured by my staff that I will have a full report on that within the next two weeks. I would hope at that point to be in a better position to assess whether any further investigation is necessary.
It’s rather different from the situation in the Popen case because, as I indicated earlier, there was information that I think was not available to me or to members of the opposition that came to my attention as recently as a couple of days ago, at which time I immediately decided that a judicial inquiry was necessary. Further, I’m not in a position to fully discuss the details of it because of the implications for individuals who have not yet had an opportunity to he heard.
Mr. Lewis: No one pressed you.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I agree. But there is one issue that has come out in this case that may also explain better for me why I did not have adequate information earlier in this case.
Mr. Roy: In view of the fact that the sentencing of this matter is going to take place tomorrow, and in view of the fact that the Crown attorney in this particular case apparently has subpoenaed the officials of the Children’s Aid Society, would the minister advise whether his ministry is taking advantage of this situation possibly to monitor the evidence that’s given before the court at that time? Secondly, can he advise whether some of his officials will be down there to assist the court and to give some explanation as to how a situation like this could be allowed to happen again in this province?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I have requested that two officials from my ministry be present at the hearing tomorrow. They have not been requested at this point, to the best of my knowledge, to participate in the hearing but they certainly will be there. They are also the two individuals who are conducting the investigation.
Mr. Swart: My question, Mr. Speaker, is of the Minister of Transportation and Communications. The minister is aware, is he not, that Bell Telephone is asking the CRTC for authority to increase its rates for residential customers by 20 per cent, for business customers by 28 per cent and for other services even more than that. This will mean that there will be some additional $200 million charged to the residents of this province. I would ask the minister if he doesn’t think that’s an unconscionable request in these times. Also, is he going to intervene vigorously at the CRTC hearings on behalf of the citizens of this province to prevent that kind of an increase?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member that my ministry will be appearing at the CRTC hearings.
Mr. Warner: On whose side?
Hon. Mr. Snow: We have received a considerable amount of data relating to the requested rate increase, which does seem very substantial. My staff are assessing this at the moment and will be preparing our submission. We certainly will be appearing at the CRTC hearings on behalf of the residents of the province of Ontario to make sure that no larger increase is granted to the Bell Telephone Company than is absolutely necessary.
Mr. Martel: You should recommend a cutback.
Mr. Swart: By way of a supplementary, could I get some more specific information? With the 9.5 per cent residential rate increase granted Bell last July and with the resultant 13 per cent increase in Bell’s profits for the last quarter of last year, will the minister give a commitment to this House that he will fight to see that the increase granted does not exceed at least a six per cent guideline level?
Mr. Martel: Cut it back.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I can’t give any commitment to the hon. member or to this House that the increase will not exceed a specific limit. As the hon. member surely knows, the CRTC and the federal cabinet will decide what that increase will be.
Mr. Cassidy: You sure jumped on wages, you know.
Mr. Martel: It’s easy to get that done. Even the Minister of Labour wouldn’t support the workers.
Hon. Mr. Snow: What my staff will be doing in attending those hearings is asking very probing questions into all matters of the request for the increase to make sure that it is not higher than necessary.
Mr. Swart: I have a very short supplementary. Would the minister not agree that a maximum six per cent increase would be a reasonable goal within the policy his government has taken?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Not necessarily, no.
Mr. Cassidy: The workers are one thing; Bell is another.
TOURIST RESORT SIGNS
Mr. Eakins: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications. With the latest figures showing a very great increase in the tourism deficit in Canada, and since Ontario stands to lose a great deal, what justification is there for his ministry to introduce new directional resort signs at this time, when the resorts in Ontario are fighting for survival?
Hon. Mr. Snow: The reason we are introducing a new signing policy and a complete new format of signs for tourist establishments is because we have been requested to do so by the tourism industry, which has been working together with the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Rhodes) and with our ministry to get better, more concise, more attractive signs than the present format being used, which was established over 20 years ago.
Mr. Eakins: Supplementary: Is this program mandatory immediately -- is there a delay period? And did the minister have the approval and support of the Ministry of Industry and Tourism and also Resorts Ontario, the voice of the Ontario tourism industry?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I personally didn’t meet with Resorts Ontario, Mr. Speaker, although I did meet with people from the tourism industry, or segments of it, who asked to meet with me. I don’t believe I mix with the organization known as Resorts Ontario, but we did certainly prepare this new policy in conjunction with and with the support of the Minister of Industry and Tourism.
I might say that I don’t think there’s any objection from anyone as to the format of the new signs and the purpose for which they are being developed. The concern of some of the tourist operators that I have heard is that the cost is going to be higher than that of the old signs. The old signs have been at the same price for something over 20 years -- 20 or 22 years. There has not been a change in the cost of putting up a sign for an establishment or the cost of its maintenance.
To answer the other part of the hon. member’s question, we obviously won’t be -- I don’t believe we will anyway -- changing all the signs at one time and I don’t believe it will be mandatory. We will be working with those people to do it on a phased basis because it would be physically impossible to change every sign at one time.
But the new signs are very attractive. They are more costly, unfortunately; we are still not recovering the full cost to our ministry of the new signs, but we feel we should get a substantial portion of the cost of putting up and maintaining these signs for the private operators from them rather than from the public purse.
MINE DEATH INQUIRY
Mr. Germa: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Solicitor General, and it’s with reference to the coroner’s inquest into the death of Mr. William Irving who was killed on February 16 at the Frond mine of Inco Limited in Sudbury. Is the minister aware that the coroner, Dr. Bloomfield, is desirous of having the jury visit the site on the 2,600 level of Frond? And is the minister aware that Inco has responded by saying that if the jury does visit the site, they would not guarantee their safety; secondly, that the jury would have to be all male; and thirdly, that the jury would have to be all young and healthy?
Mr. Mackenzie: That’s Inco.
Mr. Germa: Will the minister intervene on behalf of the coroner to ensure, first, that the work site is preserved for viewing by the jury; and would he also take steps to convince Inco that they should in fact take steps to guarantee the safety of the jury when they do visit the site?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, I was aware of the incident that the hon. member has mentioned and also the fact that there would be an inquiry. I wasn’t aware of the conditions that have been laid down by the company in respect to --
Mr. Martel: What right have they got?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- visiting the particular mine. I will discuss that with the chief coroner and decide what should be done to make sure that the inquest is properly carried out.
Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired.
SITTINGS OF HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that commencing on March 1, this House will not sit in the chamber on Wednesdays unless otherwise ordered.
Motion agreed to.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, just before calling the orders of the day, it is usual on Thursdays that the government House leader give some indication as to the business of the House for the ensuing week. Perhaps it would be sufficient at this stage to indicate that next week will be pretty well occupied with the first order; that is, the adjourned debate on the motion relative to the Throne Speech. The House will sit on Monday afternoon, Tuesday afternoon and evening, Thursday afternoon and evening, and Friday morning; and after the routine proceedings will devote all that time to the Throne Speech debate.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
THRONE SPEECH DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to respond to this motion and to deal with items that were in the Throne Speech and with items which ought to be of concern to every Ontarian at this time.
I would say for the benefit of members that during my discussion I will have a few introductory remarks, some remarks regarding the economy, some remarks regarding the uranium contracts recently discussed in select committee, and some remarks regarding the place of the French language in Ontario. I would expect, also for the benefit of members, that my remarks probably will conclude somewhat after 4:30 p.m.; perhaps around 4:40 p.m.
To begin with, our feeling about the Throne Speech -- and certainly this is the way it struck me -- is that although there were some reasonable efforts made to tie up some of the loose ends that remain from years gone by, there was very little in the speech, if anything, to give us a sense of what direction this government feels is the appropriate one for the province of Ontario.
There is a certain amount of housekeeping in the bill, and some of it is good. But in general the Throne Speech, it seems to me, lacks that sense of direction; that sense of where this government hopes to take Ontario in the near future, while it has responsibility for its affairs, and where it hopes ultimately the future of Ontario will lie for the benefit of our young people, the people finishing their education now, and the people among whom uncertainty and worry is very much a part of their lives right now.
There is no clear idea that this government understands why we are in the difficulties that currently beset us. Nor is there any clear idea that the government has any real sense of the direction to take in order to surmount these difficulties. There is most certainly no willingness on the part of the government to accept responsibility for the difficulties, but in the real world of politics that would be too much to ask.
I feel disappointed -- I guess that would be the main word, disappointed -- in the Throne Speech because of the fact that there is no real indication of where we are going. There is no clarion call to the people of Ontario to get behind the government in the pursuit of some noble purpose, in the pursuit of some new direction, in the pursuit of some newly understood, or even newly-to-be-explained policy and explanation for what has happened to us at this point.
I believe that we are a nation of very fine people and that Ontario need at no time take a pessimistic view. My personal belief is that Canadians have surmounted difficulties before; that in many ways we have come through much worse times than those which currently are upon us; and that the people of Ontario, given proper leadership, have the ability, the resilience and the dynamism to overcome whatever our difficulties are at the moment.
My great feeling, however, is that we are not being shown the leadership in this province to enable us to galvanize our energies and to aim at something a little better than that which we have at present. I’ll have more to say about this with regard to the economy of our province.
I want to make passing mention, however, of a couple of statements in the Throne Speech which caused me some considerable uneasiness. Perhaps I’m reading more into the phrasing than deserves to be there and I hope that my anxieties will in some way be assuaged as time goes by. But I’ll point out that there was a statement with regard to health care, suggesting that somehow we, as individuals, are going to have to take more responsibility for our health care.
I’m not too sure what that means. I have this vague suspicion that the government was not referring merely to a collective notion that perhaps we should cut down on our smoking or our over-eating. I have this nagging suspicion that the government has in mind hitting us in the pocketbook in some way. Considering the recent report which was released with regard to health care, which made it very clear that the administration of health care has been a shambles for some time, I trust that the punishment for this shambles and the remedy for it will be sought first of all in the administration and not first of all among the patients and the ordinary citizens of Ontario.
Again, there is the possibility that I may be reading in more than deserves to be read, but I see in the statement that there is somehow going to be a new balance struck between the protection of the environment and the provision of jobs. I see a slightly dangerous chord being struck there, because unless the government is simply admitting that its present legislation is unbalanced in some way, I have the feeling that the temptation to go abroad among the populace, at a time when people are very legitimately concerned about jobs and when people can truly understand in plain terms what a job is and what unemployment is; the temptation to cater to that worry and at the same time obscure the longer term but just as vital -- and maybe in the long run even more vital for our children and our children’s children -- concern that we all have with the planet on which we are living, with the need to stop fouling our own net as only human beings seem capable of doing for some reason; and the temptation to relax what are already very weak environmental regulations, may be somehow raising itself in the minds and spirits of the members of the government. Before they clarify that little statement that was in the Throne Speech, I appeal to them to recognize the responsibility we have to future generations, and not simply to cater to the worries, and perhaps even the unnecessary worries, of some who have raised their voices recently on behalf of certain corporations.
I would also point out to the government that with only the slightest imagination -- and I will speak about this when I refer to the economy -- they could recognize that in the control of the environment, in the control of pollution, in the treatment of waste, in the treatment of toxic substances -- in conservation generally -- there exists the potential for jobs by the thousands and by the tens of thousands in Ontario. In conservation related industries, in the technologies related to conservation, there exists the potential for Ontario to achieve new heights in teams of not only employment, but in terms of world leadership in these important and vital fields. I hope they won’t try to sell to the population of Ontario some simplistic notion that, “You’ve got a choice of jobs on the one hand or a clean environment on the other”; because it just isn’t so.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Only a mind as weak as yours could figure that out. How absolutely incredible.
Mr. Roy: We don’t expect you to understand that.
Mr. S. Smith: Let me say that I am very pleased to see in the Throne Speech some mention of an increase on the government’s intentions to stimulate and support special education programs. I recognize that in a lot of the suggestions that are made in the Throne Speech, the government is now responding to suggestions which originated in one or the other of the opposition parties. And, of course, it is reasonable that that be the case. We do have a function on this side of the House. Both parties from time to time do attempt to be constructive, and I for one am not going to decry the fact that these ideas have been pursued; I am pleased that they are being pursued. I hope frankly they can even be improved upon in the implementation. There is no concern on my part about that.
I want to be clear that the government deserves commendation for bringing in -- as they have promised to do -- a much better program with regard to special education, some improvement in children’s services. I trust that what I heard about the handicapped means that they will be bringing into the Human Rights Code certain provisions to deal with the disabled and the handicapped.
I am very pleased to see that there is going to be some serious consideration given to compulsory auto insurance, to selective deregulation in the trucking industry, and one or two other matters.
Mr. Nixon: The implementation might be inadequate; it is difficult to tell at this time.
Mr. Conway: Piracy nonetheless.
Mr. Haggerty: Plagiarism.
Mr. S. Smith: I wish, therefore, to go on record as saying that these ideas are good ones and that the government can count on our support in the implementation of these ideas.
Mr. Nixon: They were lifted from the Liberal program holus bolus.
Mr. Conway: Just like the member for York Mills (B. Stephenson) and her sidekick from Sault Ste. Marie (Mr. Rhodes); lifted from the Liberal fold.
Mr. S. Smith: The enthusiasm of my colleagues, Mr. Speaker, is such that it hardly knows any bridle.
Mr. Swart: Or any direction.
Ms. S. Smith: I wish now to turn my attention, if I might, to certain of the problems that I think are the major ones right now; and I start with the economy of this province.
Let me begin by saying that we understand that the difficulties that beset our economy in Ontario cannot all be laid at the doorstep of the provincial government. We recognize fully that, first of all, a lot of what has happened to us economically in Ontario and in this country frankly is beyond the understanding of economists and so-called experts -- at least the ones I have come in contact with, and I have met quite a few.
As far as I am concerned, there has been a combination of circumstances in the free world which partly is related to the increased energy costs and the change that has come about in our understanding of energy supplies for the future; maybe partly as a result of the waste of real resources that occurred in the Vietnam war; partly as a result of the general direction of government policies in the free world. But frankly, I don’t think anybody knows all the reasons why we are now beset by this peculiar and drastically bad combination of unemployment and economic slowdown on the one hand, and yet continuing inflation on the other. I believe, frankly, that there are many explanations from many economists.
Mr. Philip: Some say it’s 10 years of Liberal mismanagement.
Mr. S. Smith: Although economists have been defined as that group of persons who can usually provide the answers to yesterday’s questions, I have found that in this instance most of the economists can’t even do that. The situation now is simply beyond the total understanding of anyone.
Furthermore, the situation in Canada obviously has a very large impact, for the policies of the federal government, be they unwise or wise, and I am not going to get into that here, have a drastic effect on Ontario, and Ontario is limited in what it can do within a world and federal context.
But I say this sincerely: There is much that can be done within Ontario to help us understand the dilemma we are now in economically, and to influence the direction in which we should be going. We can do this directly as a government that can form opinion in the province, as a government that can form financial policy in the province, and as a government that can influence the federal government and other provincial governments. There is a real role for Ontario to play.
Although I don’t want to exaggerate this -- and I really would like, in my reply to the Throne address to try to be reasoned without exaggerating the situation at all -- I do believe, and I say this from the bottom of my heart, that there has been an excessive abdication of responsibility in the present unemployment crisis as far as the provincial government is concerned. I say this fully aware that the blame doesn’t lie entirely here. It may lie here only in small measure.
Mr. Cassidy: You believe in abdication without going quite so far.
Mr. S. Smith: There has been an abdication of what could have been done as far as the job situation is concerned. I don’t want to take up time unnecessarily to regale a knowledgeable audience, such as the members of this House, with regard to the numbers of persons unemployed, but we know that the sheer numbers and the percentages are far beyond what any reasonable person, what any member of this House would regard as acceptable and as something of which we can be proud.
Certain parts of the province of course are suffering even more than others. We know about the problems in northern Ontario. How many people realize, for instance, that in the St. Catharines-Niagara Falls area and in Windsor the unemployment percentage is 11.4 per cent? These have traditionally been thought of as prosperous parts of Canada.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Northern Ontario is much better.
Mr. S. Smith: The Minister of Labour is expressing a certain pleasure, or perhaps just a statistical accuracy, in the fact that northern Ontario is actually even better in terms of the unemployment rate than the situation in the peninsula. Well she is correct. However, with the layoffs in Sudbury I suspect that the statistics for northern Ontario are shortly going to become just as bad as those in the peninsula.
In any event, there is no cause here for rejoicing at the fact that in Sudbury before the Inco layoffs there was 7.1 per cent unemployment and in Ottawa 9.4 per cent, while in Windsor there is 11.4 per cent. There was a time a few years ago when the Treasurer of Ontario said that anything above three per cent was unacceptable in this prosperous province. We are not now talking about outposts in Newfoundland and so on, where it may be difficult for people to derive other forms of employment when there is a little trouble in the one resource that normally employs them; we are speaking of highly populated, very complex areas of Ontario where such unemployment really should not be tolerated.
What has the Ontario government accepted as its responsibility in its Throne Speech regarding the stimulation of employment during this time of unacceptable unemployment? What they have said basically is that relieving the current state of unemployment is really in many respects beyond the control of a provincial jurisdiction. They have basically come up with no proposal whatsoever with regard to those unemployed who are over the age of 24. As I pointed out yesterday in this chamber, the actual rate of increase in unemployment in that group is even worse than the rate of increase in the already seriously unemployed and under-employed youth of our province.
Yet there is not a single proposal regarding that particular age group. What we have in the Throne Speech is a promise to create 36,000 jobs for $26 million.
Let’s look at that promise, Mr. Speaker. One must realize that the two programs they are talking about in order to accomplish this are the Youth Employment Program, which is a summer job program, and the Career Action Program, which I believe is six months to 12 months, as a means of employing certain young people. Without in any way wishing to be critical of these programs -- although there are certain administrative aspects which the Provincial Auditor has criticized -- but even accepting that these are worthy programs, the fact is that last year the Youth Employment Program provided approximately 26,000 summer jobs at a cost of approximately $12 million and the Career Action Program provided 4,500 jobs for $7.3 million.
If you total that, Mr. Speaker, you realize that last year the government spent some $19.3 million and all they are suggesting this year is an increase of $6.7 million. The only item that this government is willing to advance to deal with the present terrible crisis in unemployment, possibly the worst since the Great Depression, is $6.7 million. I suspect they spend that amount on postage stamps in the course of a year. It is incredible that on a $12 billion or $13 billion budget they are able to provide a grand total additional expenditure of $6.7 million with regard to the provision of jobs.
And what will this provide in the way of jobs, Mr. Speaker? It will provide an increase from last year’s 26,000 summer jobs and 4,500 Career Action jobs to a sum total of 36,000. That means a total of 5,500 new jobs -- 5,500 when 316,000 people are unemployed, and even these 5,500 are almost entirely going to be summer temporary jobs.
Mr. Conway: So much for the charter.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It’s a lot like yours.
Mr. S. Smith: I really believe Mr. Speaker, even though I think you know very well that we are totally unwilling to launch a large public expenditure in the way of creating new public service jobs -- we do not believe we should go into huge expenditures of this kind for make-work projects and so on -- we believe that $6.7 million is an embarrassingly, pathetically low amount of money at this time of crisis. It is an absolute insult to the unemployed of this province and something I think the government should be thoroughly ashamed of.
Mr. Foulds: How much should they spend?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Oh now, that’s a tough one.
Mr. S. Smith: There are a few items that the government has mentioned with regard to manpower planning,
Mr. Foulds: You are saying they shouldn’t expend large expenditures and $6.7 million is too small. Give us your figure.
Mr. Rotenberg: Michael will tell us.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Harold will send them in a note.
Mr. S. Smith: The Throne Speech has made a number of vague promises with respect to manpower planning and labour relations.
Mr. Foulds: What would be a Liberal amount?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It depends when the election is.
Mr. S. Smith: Provincial policies with respect to manpower forecasting, career counselling and manpower training have, in my view, been shameful. We know of teachers, we know of nurses and many others who have had their expectations raised, and then destroyed. As far as I’m concerned, there’s a human tragedy in this. To lure people into teaching and into nursing when it has been obvious for years that there would be no employment for these people is absolutely tragic and utterly wrong.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Lure? Nobody’s luring anybody. Is he taking lessons from Cassidy?
Mr. S. Smith: The fact of the matter is that while these people have been educated in a way that leaves them with little alternative but to leave the province in order to find employment --
Hon. B. Stephenson: I have a towel for you when you need it.
Mr. S. Smith: -- while these people have had to leave the province to find employment, we have another very peculiar situation. Many Ontario employers, Mr. Speaker, are facing a shortage of skilled labour, including machinists, welders, certain types of engineers.
The fact is that in Kent county, for instance, in an area represented in part by the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough), there is an urgent need for 300 skilled tradesmen and they’ll require an additional 1,700 tradesmen over the next 10 years. But we have not been producing these people. In another example of shortsightedness on the part of the Ministry of Colleges and Universities and the Ministry of Education, there has been little effort made to provide the kinds of job market information that would have led to the training of people to fill these jobs. There has been mention in the Throne Speech of some improvement in this regard, but we’ll wait to see exactly what this consists of.
You will remember that we in this party have called for a vastly expanded apprenticeship program to provide relevant, on-the-job training in a variety of occupations, and that in fact we also said in June of last year that we would establish a labour market information service and vocational counselling service.
Hon. B. Stephenson: It’s already been done, Stuart, you don’t have to do it.
Mr. S. Smith: And now they’re just going to start to think about it in the Throne Speech.
Mr. Eakins: Now, Bette, just listen.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I just want him to keep up to date. It’s already been done.
Mr. Eakins: You look at your record over there.
Mr. Gaunt: Tick that one off.
Mr. S. Smith: Let me talk a bit, Mr. Speaker, about the manufacturing industry in this province. I put it to members of this House that we in this country and in this province have been basically living on our resource wealth. There has been an assumption made at the federal and provincial levels that we simply can look at Canada as a vast storehouse of natural resources; that foreign countries would be quite happy to lend us money almost without limit and trust our ability to repay these loans because of the resource wealth of this great country.
We have simply assumed as a small population, able to exploit these resources, that we have had it made. We have made the assumption that, based on that wealth, we can borrow without limit; that we can invite other countries to handle our resources and to create manufacturing opportunities simply behind a tariff, without worrying about the potential for export or about competitiveness in the real world; and that most of us and our children could be employed in the service sector. The wealth would come from the resources and the rest of the people would become social workers, doctors, nurses, teachers, civil servants and so on.
For a while that worked very well. For a while, based on that wealth, Ontario became a centre of manufacturing behind a tariff. Behind this tariff there came branch plant operations from other countries. The rest of the country was forced to buy the products from those branch plant operations because of the existence of the tariff. We could provide employment in these manufacturing industries, we could provide employment in the service sector and all this could be financed by people’s dependency eventually on our natural resource wealth and the resource of our food industry.
Mr. Foulds: What was your solution in Sudbury? Ship out the matte, the unprocessed stuff. Don’t you find that slightly inconsistent?
Mr. S. Smith: The fact of the matter is that that wonderful situation, where we could live on our resource wealth, has now come to an end. And if it was ever true that we could get by for the rest of this century, we now know the bitter reality is otherwise. We know now that it is difficult to sell our nickel in competition with other parts of the world. We know now that it is not so easy to sell our pulp and paper in competition with parts of the United States and other parts of the world.
Mr. Foulds: Our paper exports have been increasing.
Mr. S. Smith: We know now that it is not as simple for us to continue to produce wealth from our fisheries when we have polluted a good many of our inland fisheries.
Mr. Cassidy: So the Liberal Party wants to export jobs.
Mr. S. Smith: We know now that the truth, whether we like it or not, is that we need a competitive manufacturing sector in Ontario. And I think we should be plain about that. In devising a competitive manufacturing sector for Ontario, let’s not make the same mistakes we have made in the past. Let’s not rely on foreign capital to come here and put up branch plants with no other purpose than the selling of their own product; although I am quite happy to have them come and do just that, let us not rely on only that.
Let us recognize that we are going to have to have Canadian-owned industries that take advantage of natural advantages that we have in Ontario and in Canada and that the manufacturing sectors that we decide to enhance and to really go into in a competitive way with the rest of the world must be those sectors where there is a real future for the products, for the general direction of those industries and for us to be world competitive.
Hon. B. Stephenson: You’ve been reading the Treasurer’s speeches. Astonishing!
Mr. S. Smith: Now, how do you normally pick an area in which to really put your resources to be world competitive? The first thing you have to do is create an atmosphere where you can be competitive; that means you have to keep under control the taxes, the interest rates, the level of government spending and the wages -- all the expenses that are, in fact, required to make business work.
Hon. B. Stephenson: That’s what we are doing very well.
Mr. Cassidy: He sounds like the Treasurer.
Mr. S. Smith: If we do not keep those under control, if people are not prepared to keep those under control, then we can forget any idea of making manufacturing investment because we will invest it today and close the plant tomorrow. Let us recognize that we have to have that degree of restraint, control and, to some extent, belt tightening.
Hon. B. Stephenson: We are glad that you are now recognizing it.
Mr. S. Smith: But I tell you this -- and I say this constructively, and I hope it will be taken in that sense --
Mr. Foulds: Is this the 1978 version of Moral Rearmament?
Mr. S. Smith: I will tell you, Mr. Speaker, you give a message of that type of restraint to citizens, to working people, when you ask people to show that kind of self-control, it is no good just saying to people that you have to restrain yourselves or you have in some way to cut back, unless you show people at the same time how you’re going to use that restraint to enhance their future and their children’s future.
In other words, you do not just go and ask people to show restraint; you have to show them how that is going to turn out in the long run to be in their benefit. You have to show them the direction in which you intend to take the economy. You have to show them the way in which this restraint will be translated by competitive manufacturing industries into really meaningful jobs for them and for their children and their children’s children. Unless you have that kind of plan to show people, unless you can show them a sense of direction where you would like to take them tomorrow, you can’t ask them to make sacrifices today.
That is one of the great problems that seems to exist right now at various levels of government in this country.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: We started three years ago. Tell that to the federal government.
Mr. Foulds: Show some restraint.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Your kissing cousins in Ottawa haven’t got that message unfortunately. The fact you are mouthing ours is great.
Mr. S. Smith: What is the plan that we can put before people? After all, I remind members that no wind blows in favour of a ship that has no destination. You have to have a sense of where you’re going if you want in some way to be able to handle the ups and downs of the world economy and take advantage of those vagaries as they occur. How do you chart a direction? How do you pick an area where we can become competitive in manufacturing?
I put it to you, Mr. Speaker, that the United States has a great advantage over us in this regard because they can use the great effect of the marketplace and there is really no better chart than that provided by the marketplace. They are big enough that they can afford in fact to launch a thousand ships and presume that if even a few of them get to port eventually they will in fact do very well and prosper at their destination.
Mr. Foulds: You certainly have nautical metaphors today, don’t you?
Mr. S. Smith: Our problem is we’re too small for that. We cannot afford to rely totally on the marketplace to select those areas of manufacturing in which we should he specializing and taking on the rest of the world. We’re not a big enough country to compete for gold medals in every item at the Olympics. We’re got to pick the items where we think we have got a real chance to win and put a real effort into those areas.
Mr. Foulds: Who writes your metaphors for you?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Sesame Street.
Mr. Foulds: Don’t degrade Sesame Street.
Mr. S. Smith: How do you pick it? The fact remains that there are a number of suggestions. There are those who suggest that government has a responsibility to choose all by itself the areas in which we should try to be competitive. There are those who believe that we have to leave the whole thing to the marketplace. Personally, I believe we have to have a group in which government shows considerable leadership but is joined by industry, by businesses large and small, by labour and by academics and is basically a joint group to chart a direction and to pick specifically sector by sector -- I speak now mostly of manufacturing, although the same is true in resources and the same is true in the service sector -- within manufacturing those areas where we feel in this country we can be competitive with the rest of the world. That is how Ontario can prosper again.
Hon. B. Stephenson: You are three years late. That is what we are already doing.
Mrs. Campbell: You haven’t even started buying Canadian.
Mr. S. Smith: I have some ideas. The fact of the matter is that we have some clues as to where we might be competitive with the rest of the world. We know from the present situation that some of our industries already have that capacity. I think of the steel industry, for instance.
Mr. Cassidy: You wouldn’t call that typical.
Mr. S. Smith: We have certain clues that can guide us. First of all, we have the fact that we do have in this country an enormous investment in education. We have in terms of years of education probably the most highly educated work force in the world. We have put an enormous amount of money into the education of these people.
We can say it’s enough that they enjoy life a little more because of education -- that’s certainly a value; I don’t diminish that -- but we will not recover our investment in this social capital which we call our educated population unless we find a way in which they can use that education to create real wealth for all of us.
Part of it, of course, can be in the selling of knowledge to other countries; part of it the provision of services, tourism for instance. Part of it can be, of course, in basically banking, finance, things of this kind where we can bring real wealth into the country. But most of it, in some way, has to be put to work in the productive sector, in what they call the “value added” sector of our economy. If we don’t put these intelligent minds to work then we have not only performed a human tragedy but we have, in fact, wasted an enormous amount of money, pure billions of dollars, if we can’t put these people to work in a way that uses their education and their knowledge.
So when we decide where we’re going to compete with the rest of this world we must pick those areas that require knowledge, that require education, things that can’t easily be duplicated tomorrow in some other country of the world, in some of the developing nations, or whatever. We should pick that type of industry, and that means to me an enormous commitment to research, to development, to design. These are things which we have neglected in our province and our country. I don’t blame any individual person or government but I tell you we have the worst record in the whole western world in terms of research and development as a percentage of our gross national product.
The fact is that in Ontario, for our own future, whether the federal government has enough intelligence to do it or not, to make good on our own investment in our own people, we should become a world centre of research and development. We should be encouraging those industries which are high technology.
Look at the United States of America. Look at the enormous wealth which has accrued to that nation because of its stranglehold on the computer industry and on the high technology of modern day. No longer is resource wealth the only real wealth in the world. Technology is now wealth. Knowledge of that kind is wealth provided it’s translated into real technology. I say to you, Mr. Speaker, and I plead with the government, we must make Ontario a world centre for research and development. We must pick those high technology areas here which, in fact, can be our salvation for the future.
What type of high technology area? Again, I wouldn’t suggest that I have all the answers to that. It would be up to people far more expert than I to make these selections, but I say to you, Mr. Speaker, that there are the technologies of renewable energy. There are the technologies of all types of energy. There are the technologies related to mining, where we have expertise; to agriculture, where we have expertise; to metallurgy. There are the various technologies related to pollution control, to waste management, to the treatment of toxic chemicals, to the managing of our environment. These are technologies that will be demanded throughout the world in the coming years. These are the technologies that we have an opportunity to pioneer in in this province.
I point out to you, Mr. Speaker, that merely by delaying a $2 billion investment in a nuclear power station for one year, you save close to $200 million in financing costs. If we took that money and invested it right now into research in the private sector, in the public sector, in the universities, if we now did that we could make Ontario a centre for development in the high technology areas, which could assure a real future for our children. Every year that we delay -- and I tell this to the Minister of Energy -- every year that we delay in doing that, we are further guaranteeing that our children will have to leave this country to get jobs that employ them at their level of education and expertise, and --
Hon. Mr. Baetz: With the lights out.
Mr. S. Smith: -- furthermore, that we shall become ever more a client state of the United States. We will be a client state of Japan, of western Europe and all those countries that are at present going ahead and developing the very technologies of which I speak, but countries with whom we could compete.
Mr. Gaunt: So get busy, Reuben.
Mr. Stong: Smarten up.
An hon. member: That’s buying Canadian, George.
Mr. S. Smith: Now, instead of that kind of leadership, instead of that kind of inspired view of where our future lies, instead we get something about “buy Canadian” and things of this kind; all of which is helpful, I am sure, but really it is not very inspiring.
Mr. Foulds: Neither is your speech.
Mr. S. Smith: We have some comments on the Throne Speech on other matters as well.
The GATT negotiations: it would appear that finally after a lot of comment from this side of the House and after an exchange of speeches which probably most of the public is not aware of -- these occurred when the Treasurer and I went about the province for a few months speaking and including comments about each other in our speeches; it will be a pleasantry that some historian might look at some time just to pass the time.
Mr. Foulds: I would doubt it.
Mr. Cassidy: I would doubt it, too.
Mr. S. Smith: Frankly, I doubt it as well, as the member for Port Arthur says.
Mr. Foulds: If we are lucky, it will be lost to posterity.
Mr. S. Smith: It’s of some interest that the Treasurer came out and called for a freer trade; and I started to make speeches saying that we should not go to freer trade, and that Ontario must raise its voice for more protection for its industries, for agriculture and for manufacturing until such time as we have in place those high technology industries in which we are prepared to compete, and that to actually lower our tariffs now, before we even know where we want to compete, is suicidal. But I note that after a series of speeches in which I was variously described by the Treasurer as a Neanderthal or a medieval thinker or heaven knows what else, the Treasurer has now decided that maybe we shouldn’t go headlong into freer trade, that maybe we do need protection and that maybe we don’t have the faintest clue where we are going in Ontario, given the lack of economic leadership that this government has provided.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Wilfrid Laurier would roll over in his grave.
An hon. member: He’s pausing for applause, fellows.
Mr. Cassidy: They over-exerted themselves the two previous times.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: The Leader of the Opposition sounds like R. B. Bennett.
Mr. S. Smith: I want to listen to the minister, the new Solicitor General --
Mr. Conway: On his way back to becoming the Minister of the Environment.
Mr. S. Smith: I suppose he is just Solicitor General today. He hasn’t gone back to Environment again, has he?
Mr. Reid: They are calling him Boomerang George.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Stick to the facts.
Mr. Reid: Boomerang George.
Mr. S. Smith: There were comments, Mr. Speaker, in the Throne Speech about the auto pact and about the need for us to get our fair share of employment under that pact, and we are pleased to see that the comments which have been made by both opposition parties in this regard are finally being listened to. But I really wonder what the province has truly done to put forth its case at the federal level. I get the feeling that the province has this way of paying lip service to things but is giving the tacit message that we don’t really expect a whole lot of action. In any event, perhaps they are negotiating, and more power to them.
As far as the construction sector goes, not a word. Nothing in the Throne Speech related to construction; yet innumerable bureaucratic delays are causing enormous slowdowns in that industry. Surely, the recognition that if we ever want to stimulate any part of the economy in this province where we have, after all, a furniture industry languishing in all the smaller towns and centres of Ontario, where we have carpet industries languishing, where we have people who make television sets practically at the point of having to leave the country; surely, it is in construction, which automatically not only provides money for those who are working and for the building products industries but also for all the furnishings industry that goes with it, surely -- if you are going to spend a dollar at all -- it’s the construction industry that you want to stimulate. And the interesting thing is that we could stimulate part of that industry without an enormous expenditure, simply by getting rid of some of the bureaucratic delays and red tape which, unfortunately seem destined to continue.
Mr. Bradley: And by building a new courthouse in St. Catharines.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: And Ottawa.
Mr. S. Smith: That comment from the member for St. Catharines reminds me of the sort of national advertising on which a local company can add a tag line at the end. I timed it at about 11 seconds, and I will send a bill to the member for St. Catharines, as far as this is concerned.
The other notable absence in the Throne Speech of any comment with regard to the economy has to do with the small business sector. Hon. members know that we in this party are committed to the support of small business in this province. Small business employs probably between 50 to 60 per cent of Canadians. We think it is a very important sector; we think it has been discriminated against. And we hope we will be able eventually to adopt, with some changes, the Act respecting small business which was introduced by my esteemed colleague from Victoria-Haliburton (Mr. Eakins).
I want to mention also this matter of restraint in the public sector. I enjoyed watching the first ministers’ extravaganza, although I must say I didn’t have that much time to spend in front of the television set. But when you think back --
Mr. Cassidy: I was helping to pay for it.
Mr. S. Smith: -- you, Mr. Speaker, as much as any others will recall how we went around this province and we said that you have got to make sure that the share of every dollar in the economy that goes to government gets no larger, that you have to have a guideline -- and at the time we spoke of the anti-inflation guideline -- which says that the government share of each dollar, and I include all three levels of government, doesn’t go up any more --
Mr. Cassidy: Including the Liberals in Ottawa? Did you read the paper this morning? They are going up by 10 per cent.
Mr. S. Smith: -- than the wages of the people themselves. When we went around the province and we spoke of this need to restrain, to have some guidelines so the share that the government takes out of each dollar doesn’t go up, we were greeted with derision from the government benches.
Mr. Cassidy: And from Ottawa.
Mr. S. Smith: We were told how impossible this was, how simplistic this was, how impossible it was to accomplish anything resembling that; that there would be hardship and squalor introduced into Ontario if we tried to accomplish that. Now all levels of government, at least as represented at the first ministers’ conference, have agreed that you can’t take any larger share of each dollar than it already is taking.
Mr. Foulds: There was one voice of integrity dissenting from that yahoo view.
Mr. S. Smith: But may I draw to your attention in this regard the fact that although the Treasurer of this province is proud of the fact that he is finally, belatedly, learning something about restraint, he conveniently forgets the municipal sector of government. In fact, the Treasurer has followed a policy specifically designed to increase the property tax burden in Ontario by his so-called rewording of the Edmonton commitment and including such matters as teachers’ superannuation funds --
Mr. Cassidy: But you support that. You just said you supported that.
Mr. S. Smith: -- the complete reneging on the Edmonton commitment -- he has in fact decided that the property taxes shall go up, even if other taxes might or might not.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Not necessarily.
Mr. S. Smith: The Solicitor General now says to me it’s not necessary. You tell me, sir, how it is possible for school boards to live within a 4.7 per cent increase --
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Declining enrolment, laying off teachers.
Mr. S. Smith: -- even with a slight decrease, a declining enrolment, when you think of the fact that their salaries have already been negotiated, with the approval of the government, at the anti-inflation level last year of eight per cent, plus the fact that teachers become more senior all the time, plus the fact that energy costs for heating these schools have gone up. You know perfectly well declining enrolment doesn’t handle that.
He has followed a policy deliberately designed to increase the property taxes in Ontario, and he has said in this House that he believes the property taxes of Ontario have not gone up rapidly enough to keep pace with other taxes. He believes that. That is how he is the great apostle of restraint. He is able to stand and posture as the great restrainer and criticize and point fingers at other levels of government when he is the cause of increased municipal spending.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Come on, even you don’t believe that.
Mr. S. Smith: Let me tell you, when it comes out of the taxpayer’s pocket, it doesn’t matter if it goes to the city, the province, the region or any of the other levels of government. It is money and it goes to government, and it is money not available then for the private sector of the economy.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Let the employer of the teacher deal with the teacher.
Mr. Eakins: George, we’re going to have to make you Minister of Education.
Mr. Kerrio: Going to ask you to change your ministry.
Mr. Eakins: He’s got the most to learn.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I put it to you, therefore, that with regard to the economy, with regard to the crisis in front of us right now with regard to jobs in Ontario, the Throne Speech is terribly disappointing. It shows no chart for the future of this province. It provides a pittance of $6.7 million at a time when we should be creating real jobs. I remind you at this time of the continuing program of the Liberal Party to pay 20 per cent of the salaries of new employees in the province of Ontario, knowing full well that the majority of that money will be recovered in terms of taxes paid by these employees and in possible arrangements to he made with the federal government regarding the diminished unemployment insurance benefits which would have to be paid as a consequence of the program’s existence.
That program, which would have created thousands and thousands of jobs, remains available for the government to use. They use the principle of it for their little summer job program. Why will they not show the imagination necessary to create the jobs in the private sector that they’re so fond of speaking about but that they do absolutely nothing to accomplish?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Did John Bulloch write that for you?
Mr. S. Smith: With regard to matters other than the economy itself, I want to speak for a while on the uranium contracts that we discussed at great length in the select committee of this Legislature, the committee which has been named by its chairman as the select committee on Hydro affairs.
Mr. Conway: Hear that, Reuben -- Hydro affairs?
Mr. S. Smith: My colleague, the hon. member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. Reed) submitted a comprehensive motion to the select committee --
Mr. Ashe: Which said nothing. Six pages of garbage.
Mr. Bolan: Who woke you up?
Mr. S. Smith: -- which explained why we feel that the contracts are not in the public interest of Ontario.
Mr. Foulds: Was that ever a weak document.
Mr. S. Smith: We know already that the motion was not supported by the Conservatives and it was not supported by the New Democratic Party, and they all have their reasons for this and they will no doubt explain these to the voters in due course.
Mr. Cassidy: When you had the opportunity to get a majority report you backed down.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Because it was hypocrisy.
Mr. Cassidy: The Liberal Party backed down from a majority report.
Mr. S. Smith: The views of this party have been well explained.
Mr. Kerrio: You’re being abrasive.
Mr. Cassidy: No question about that.
Mr. Kerrio: Aren’t you going to speak tomorrow?
Mr. Cassidy: Just getting a few licks in in advance, that’s all.
Mr. Kerrio: You’re going to run out of gas.
Mr. Foulds: That it easy, Vince. Take it easy.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please.
Mr. S. Smith: Nobody has greater sympathy than I for the trials and tribulations of a person newly elected to be leader of the third party in this House. I know the strains and I know the difficulties and I know the problems only too well, but I would hope --
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mike, he’s being condescending.
Mr. Cassidy: I’m doing a lot better than you did.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Get him on the couch.
Mr. S. Smith: -- the member for Ottawa Centre would bear his bruises from his first two question periods with a little better grace and would in fact --
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Give him a little psychiatric help.
Mr. S. Smith: -- confine himself to interjections which demonstrate either wit or accuracy, but refrain from those that show signs of neither.
Mr. Reid: He’s certainly going to be quiet.
Mr. Handleman: The battle of wits is on our side.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: You are on the couch now, Mike.
Mr. Cassidy: I think you’ve got to charge the Leader of the Opposition with some order, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Foulds: He certainly was convoluted.
Mr. Bradley: Have you got all three supporters in the House with you?
Mr. Cassidy: Yes -- one, two, three.
Mr. Reid: Where’s Ziemba? Getting the inside goods?
Mr. McClellan: This is graveyard duty.
Mr. Mackenzie: Graveyard performance, too.
Mr. S. Smith: I want to comment briefly if I might on the appearance and the evidence of the Premier (Mr. Davis) at the conclusion of the select committee’s hearings.
Mr. Foulds: Why don’t you deal with the substance?
Mr. S. Smith: I invite all members of the House to read the record of that evidence on February 20 last and they’ll find that what I’m about to say is a sad but fair and accurate summary of what the Premier told the select committee. Mind you, he was not provoked, he was not tripped up, he was not trapped into embarrassing answers. He was simply invited to say what part, if any, he played in negotiating the Denison contract which is now before the government and to say anything else he wanted to say about that contract.
What did the Premier say? He said he knew little or nothing about the matter. He said he had not been involved in the negotiations in any meaningful way. He said he was vaguely familiar with this or that aspect of the problem, but that he had full confidence in Hydro to negotiate contracts which were in the public interest of Ontario. But there had been one occasion -- he wasn’t quite sure when -- he wasn’t even sure where --
Mr. Martel: The Albany Club.
Mr. S. Smith: -- when he had played apparently a small role. That was when Stephen Roman, the chairman of the board, and largest shareholder of Denison Mines --
Mr. Bradley: And former Tory candidate.
Mr. S. Smith: -- had protested, or complained or suggested to him -- he wasn’t sure which -- that Hydro was being very tough in the negotiations and was refusing to pay world price for the uranium it needed.
And what did the Premier of Ontario tell Mr. Roman? Did he say to Mr. Roman that he had full confidence in Hydro to negotiate a fair deal in the public interest of Ontario, and that he fully supported Hydro’s position? Did he, in fact, tell them that he knew that Hydro was asking to buy that uranium only for the cost of production plus a fair profit and not more, and for no price related to world price?
No, what he told Mr. Roman was that he felt Mr. Roman and Denison Mines, in the public interest of Ontario and in the interests of the power consumers of Ontario, should he so kind as to accept “something other than world price, something less than world price.”
Mr. Foulds: Oh be fair -- less.
Mr. S. Smith: He said both those things: something other than, something less than. That was all he said. Although, of course, he added that being a politician he was happy to think that he had been influential with Mr. Roman and that he could in some small way take credit for the so-called compromise on price which is reflected in the contract now before the government.
As far as I am concerned, we are very happy that the Premier accepts that much responsibility for the contract. In our view the contract provides for unjustifiably high prices, and unconscionable profits to Mr. Roman and the shareholders of Denison Mines.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Spell it out. Prove it. Details --
Mr. Ashe: What is your alternative?
Mr. S. Smith: I have been asked by the Minister of Energy to spell it out and provide details. I trust Hansard has heard that particular interjection. I’ll spell it out, Mr. Minister.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- monotonously often.
Mr. S. Smith: There is no reason why the public of Ontario should have to pay for uranium in the soil of Ontario any more than the cost of production of that uranium, plus a fair incentive level profit, and not one cent more. And I’ll spell that out if you like.
Mr. Martel: Would you tell the federal government to give the oil companies exactly the same thing?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: You tell your Liberal colleagues in Ottawa that.
Mr. Foulds: Would you like to define fair profit for us?
Mr. S. Smith: There is not the slightest --
Mr. Martel: Tell your federal friends in Ottawa to stop ripping us off.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mrs. Campbell: Since the NDP doesn’t agree, can we get on with it?
Mr. Cassidy: We are fed up, Stuart. You had the chance to block the contract.
Mr. Martel: You might tell Pierre that.
Mr. Eakins: It’s nice to see you are feeling well, Elie. Back to your old self.
Mr. Martel: Don’t you worry about it.
Mr. Cassidy: The fact is your members would have signed that contract if you hadn’t --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. S. Smith: There is not the slightest reason why we in Ontario should not be insulated against the possibility of escalation in the world price. As even the Minister of Energy must know, for every $10 or $12 increase in the world price in the next several years -- given that we’re asking for 200 million pounds of uranium -- and we had experts who said it might go up as high as $60 --
Mr. Foulds: How much?
Mr. S. Smith: For every $10 or $12 that is an extra billion dollars in clear profit for the companies involved.
Mr. Cassidy: How much?
Mr. S. Smith: I don’t know if I have to spell that out any more clearly for the Minister of Energy -- that is b-i-l-l-i-o-n -- billion, for every $10 or $12 increase that might occur in the world price for uranium.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Talk about after taxes.
Mr. S. Smith: I have not heard a single cogent argument as to why Ontario’s people should have to be exposed to such a penalty because of the escalation which might occur --
Mr. Foulds: Watch the way you are waving that finger, will you?
Mr. S. Smith: -- in something called the world price when the uranium is in our soil and it’s to be used to produce electricity for our people and our companies in this province.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Talk about after taxes. Let’s hear those figures.
Mr. Roy: Your taxes, as you know, are red herrings.
Mr. S. Smith: We hear from the Minister of Energy that we should talk about after taxes. Did you hear that, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Cassidy: You were a six-day wonder when you made that promise.
Mr. S. Smith: He says we should talk about after taxes. He is not concerned that they are to get an extra billion dollars in extra profit for doing nothing other than sitting on their chairs and watching the escalation in the world price for whatever reason in South Africa or Korea or whatever. He is not concerned that they are going to receive a windfall of an extra billion dollars for doing that, according to the contract that his ministry has recommended and which the Premier will probably sign.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: How much after taxes?
Mr. S. Smith: He has not any worry about that. He is worried about after taxes. Mr. Speaker, you know who is going to get the lion’s share of those taxes?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: The people of Ontario.
Mr. S. Smith: The federal government is going to get the lion’s share of those taxes because the corporation taxes will go largely to the federal government.
Mr. Martel: To the lion always goes the lion’s share.
Mr. S. Smith: What good is that going to do the power consumers of Ontario?
Mr. Cassidy: Why don’t you talk to your friends in Ottawa?
Mr. Martel: No good at all. Look what they did with oil.
Mr. S. Smith: There is a comment made by a member that I respect from the NDP, the member for Sudbury East, who comments on the fact that --
Mr. Foulds: Now you are in trouble.
Mr. S. Smith: -- there is a policy regarding oil. He draws some parallel, as the Premier did in front of the committee, regarding oil and uranium.
Mr. Nixon: There is a great similarity between the two policies.
Mr. Martel: You should check with Prime Minister Trudeau and demand less than the world price for oil, as has been requested for uranium.
Mr. S. Smith: Let me at this point make it clear for any who care to listen what I consider to be the very vital differences between the two. We recognize fully, of course, that in both instances you could if you so choose develop electrical power from those two substances. In that sense it is perfectly obvious that there is to that extent a similarity. Furthermore, they are both energy-related substances and consequently there is a very obvious similarity there. But there are such fundamental differences that it astonishes me that the member is unable to see them.
Mr. Martel: Where? Tell me where.
Mr. S. Smith: With regard to oil we are now net importers of oil. It is quite obvious that in the next few years we shall find ourselves with less and less in the way of domestic oil supply and more and more requirement to import oil. Consequently, no matter how much we would like to protect ourselves, when that time comes, against the world price we can hardly do so, because we will be buying oil on the world market. Therefore, we are headed in that sense at some point to having to deal with the price of world oil whether we like it or not.
Mr. Foulds: So you would rather do it sooner than later.
Mr. S. Smith: We have a choice. We can -- and it’s a legitimate policy and I respect the member --
Mr. Martel: The tar sands have not even been touched.
Mr. S. Smith: -- if we wish, continue to have low prices for oil and wait for that day to come upon us when we have to pay world price for oil and, at that time, hope that our economy can somehow accept the lurching adjustment that will be required at that time, or we can accommodate ourselves gradually to that day. That’s a possibility.
Mr. Martel: That’s a long way down the road. That’s a red herring.
Mr. S. Smith: In the ease of uranium we are exporters of uranium. We have a large segment of the world supply of uranium. The very contracts we are speaking of are to supply 80 or 40 years’ supply for all the reactors we presently have on the drawing board. Consequently we can hardly see any necessity to artificially expose ourselves to higher prices for uranium which is in our own soil when we have an assured supply of that uranium.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Tell Uncle Pierre and Alastair Gillespie that. They are the dummies.
Mr. S. Smith: We can see no reason in the world to draw a parallel between oil and uranium as far as that goes. It would be like saying we ought somehow or other to charge ourselves world price for somebody putting up a hydro-electric dam and pay the cost here --
Mr. Cassidy: Why don’t you argue to bring the uranium into the provincial resource base?
Mr. S. Smith: -- at what it might cost to put the same thing up in Kenya. That’s ridiculous. If we happen to have the water power here and it’s cheaper to put it up here, we are obviously going to take advantage of an inherent resource. There is very little oil in the soil of Ontario. There’s lots of uranium, and that’s the difference.
Mr. Foulds: So?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Right, and we are going to use it wisely.
Mr. Martel: That was pretty weak stuff.
Mr. Foulds: What does that mean? What is the implication of it?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. S. Smith: The implication of it -- no, they want a lesson, Mr. Speaker. It’s not every day --
Mr. Speaker: I’d prefer you didn’t give them one at this time.
Mr. S. Smith: Oh, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Speak to me.
Mr. Martel: Teach me, Stuart.
Mr. S. Smith: You understand, Mr. Speaker, that when you have three such willing, open, and some might say very open minds --
Mr. Breithaupt: Vacant.
Mr. S. Smith: -- vacant is another word -- such as those three members have --
Mr. Martel: That’s better than having none at all.
Mr. S. Smith: -- it is too much to resist filling the minds with some knowledge.
Mr. Roy: A short lesson in economics.
Mr. S. Smith: The member for Port Arthur wants to know the implication of the fact that we have a lot of uranium, maybe 50 years’ worth, here in Ontario, whereas we have virtually no oil and have to buy it either on the world market or at the very least from our friends in Alberta --
Mr. Cassidy: Do you want uranium to be under provincial jurisdiction?
Mr. S. Smith: -- and he wants to know the difference. The difference is this, whereas Mr. Lougheed has only one way that Albertans can make money from his oil --
Mr. Foulds: Watch that finger.
Mr. S. Smith: -- and that’s to sell it at the highest possible price, we in Ontario have two choices as to what to do with our uranium. We can either sell it at the highest possible price, or we can use it to generate the cheapest possible electricity. We have two choices.
Mr. Foulds: I would have thought that’s the same with oil.
Mr. S. Smith: I tell you, Mr. Speaker, that we have that choice and should exercise the choice in order to generate the cheapest possible electricity.
Mr. Foulds: I would have thought that if the Liberal government in Ottawa had any leadership they would do the same with oil.
Mr. S. Smith: I trust the members of the New Democratic Party have now learned their lesson with regard to the difference between uranium and oil.
Some hon. members: Give us another one.
Mr. Kerrio: No, that’s all you can soak up in one day.
Mr. Martel: I’m a slow learner. Can you repeat that?
Mr. Speaker: Thus endeth the lesson. Now back to the text.
Mr. Martel: I didn’t catch the lesson. Will you repeat it?
Mr. S. Smith: I warn you, there’s going to be a spot test shortly, so watch it.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: You’d better cross the floor.
Mr. Nixon: Maybe even a saliva one.
Mr. Martel: A saliva will be better.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, we believe therefore that these contracts are not in the public interest, and I want to say something --
Mr. Cassidy: But you wouldn’t vote that way when it came to the crunch.
Mr. Roy: We did.
Mr. Cassidy: No, you did not.
Mr. S. Smith: The Premier has said that the committee has somehow not given him a message. I think that everybody who was present at that meeting is fully aware that the majority of the committee has, in fact, let it be known very clearly that we do not accept that those contracts are in the public interest and that we regard those contracts as not being in the public interest. A majority of the committee, namely the members of the New Democratic Party and the Liberal Party, voted in that way and the message could not have been any clearer. There is no doubt about that.
The Premier complained that he was not given a message. That’s the message. If he still doesn’t understand it, I’ll give it to him again. The contracts, according to a majority of the committee, are not in the public interest.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: You tell us what is.
Mr. S. Smith: The second thing the Premier has said is that we haven’t given him any alternative. To begin with, the New Democratic Party gave him an alternative. The alternative suggested by that party --
Hon. Mr. Baetz: It is unrealistic.
Mr. S. Smith: -- is to acquire shares of Denison Mines at this time.
Mr. Martel: That is called control.
Mr. Cassidy: Or to acquire the uranium assets.
Mr. S. Smith: Now it’s just been changed. It’s not the shares of Denison Mines; the leader of the party has just said “acquire the uranium assets.”
All right. Let me make it clear that we have had legal opinion on these matters. Let me make it clear that it is absolutely impossible to expropriate the uranium assets of that company.
Mr. Cassidy: Who said that?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: We told you that a long time ago.
Mr. S. Smith: The fact of the matter is that it is under federal jurisdiction and such expropriation cannot occur.
Mr. Martel: No one talked about expropriation.
Mr. S. Smith: If the hon. gentlemen in the New Democratic Party believe that instead of expropriation they can merely make a business transaction, then I would put it to them that although I personally believe that in 1974 that company should have been acquired without a moment’s hesitation --
Mr. Germa: You can’t; you just said you can’t do it.
Mr. Cassidy: You can’t sit on both sides of the fence like that.
Mr. S. Smith: In those days Mr. Roman was willing to sell, and would, in fact, have arrived at a reasonable price for that sale --
Hon. Mr. Baetz: How do you know?
Mr. S. Smith: Furthermore, the world price for uranium was a small fraction of that which it is now. But in point of fact he is not now talking about selling. In fact he would probably sell if the price were enormous, but I believe that the price would be so high that we have other use to make of the money that would be involved.
Mr. Cassidy: Do you know?
Mr. S. Smith: Furthermore, I believe that with the increase in the world price and with the impossibility of expropriation --
Mr. Foulds: The economics are essentially the same as in 1975.
Mr. S. Smith: -- that, in fact, we would find ourselves at a huge price for these assets which would allow Mr. Roman to sell the company to us.
Mr. Foulds: The economics have not changed.
Mr. Roy: It is obvious you have never traded in the world market.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Port Arthur does not have the floor. Stop mumbling, please.
Mr. S. Smith: My view, therefore, is that because, under federal control, we cannot expropriate and because the price has gone up enormously and because we are in a position where if we tried to make a market offer -- in fact, Mr. Roman has control of a good proportion of those shares and we would not succeed with simply an open market offer to gain control of the company, and even if we did we would have to operate with them at arm’s length at this point -- I believe the chance to acquire that company has now passed. I believe, therefore, that the alternative suggested by the New Democratic members of the committee is not at this time a real alternative -- although it was a real and, in my opinion, a very good alternative back in 1974 when the Hon. Mr. McKeough, at that time Minister of Energy, simply decided not to pursue it any further.
Mr. Cassidy: It was good four years ago, but it isn’t good now, right?
An. hon. member: Well, sure -- things were different.
Mr. Cassidy: There’s no difference.
Mr. Foulds: The economics have not changed.
Mr. Roy: It is a difference in the price of shares.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Ottawa East is being provocative.
Mr. Roy: Oh, I am sorry. It is not my style, you know that.
Mr. Deans: No style. No content.
Mr. S. Smith: What is the alternative that the Liberal Party is recommending? I have to put before you some of my thinking process with regard to the task that was set before the committee in deciding whether or not these contracts were in the public interest.
Mr. Foulds: Do not betray the weakness of your position.
Mr. S. Smith: I had to ask myself two questions. What would I have done had I been Premier when all this started?
Mr. Deans: Collapsed.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: He did anyway.
Mr. S. Smith: What would I have done had I been elected Premier in 1977 and, of course, as maybe a corollary of that, what would I do right now; what am I suggesting the Premier do right now? But really what would I do if I were Premier today? Those are the questions really that we have to ask.
Mr. Deans: Get better advice than you are getting.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Call Harold Greer.
Mr. S. Smith: I will tell you that had I in fact been Premier in 1974, I would not have hesitated to acquire the assets of the Denison corporation. I believe Hydro was correct when it requested that course of action.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: With the advantage of hindsight, the Indians would not have sold Manhattan Island, either.
Mr. S. Smith: The Minister of Energy is now suggesting that this deal that the government is arranging on our behalf is equivalent good business to the Indians selling Manhattan Island. And you are right. You said it and you are right. That is exactly what it is. Truer words were never spoken by that new minister. This is a sellout. This is a sellout equivalent to the Indians selling Manhattan Island. I could not have found words more appropriate to express it than those the new minister has found. Out of the mouths of babes; out of the mouth of Baetz.
Mr. Sweeney: Open your mouth and put the other foot in it.
Mr. Deans: How many mouths do you have?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Let’s hear your proposition. Let us hear the proposition. We are hanging here waiting. The better-idea man.
Mr. S. Smith: The next thing: Let us say that for some reason you decide, for doctrinaire political reasons, not to acquire the company. The next thing to do and the next thing I believe I would have done -- I say this sincerely and I have given a lot of thought to this, Mr. Speaker -- the next thing to do is to make a statement of public policy. The statement of public policy that I would have made was simply the statement that the uranium to be bought by Hydro should be bought for a price that represents the cost of production and a fair incentive profit but which is in no way related to the world price. That would have been public policy.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Tell that to Uncle Trudeau.
Mr. S. Smith: Then it would be a matter of making sure that that public policy was actually brought into practice. It would have required a Premier who was knowledgeable, of course, which this Premier admits he was not at that time. It would have required a Premier who was interested enough in the matter --
Mr. Martel: You said the same thing about oil.
Mr. S. Smith: -- and who was, of course, informed by his cabinet. It would have required a campaign to make certain that Mr. Roman and that everyone else in Ontario understood that that was to be the public policy of this province. Sure, if that were done and carried through two elections in 1975 and 1977, it is possible that the federal government would still have done absolutely nothing to assist in this and might even have actively opposed that public policy.
Mr. Cassidy: I thought they were Liberals in Ottawa and friends of yours.
Mr. S. Smith: It is obvious that the federal government’s policy is in no way in keeping with that kind of protection for the domestic consumer. It is obvious that the federal government’s policy in this regard is about as short-sighted and as unprotective of the citizens of Ontario as it could possibly be.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: That’s a typical Liberal position.
Mr. S. Smith: But it is also evident that the people who are supposed to be representing the best interests of Ontario, the people who are elected to protect the citizens of Ontario, the Progressive Conservative government of Ontario did absolutely nothing --
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Wrong. The record proves otherwise.
Mr. S. Smith: -- other than to send a few perfunctory and timid Telexes from time to time. Is there a citizen of Ontario who has ever heard the Premier stand up at a first ministers’ conference or on television or during an election campaign or at any other public gathering to demand a change in the policy of this country --
Mr. Roy: Never.
Mr. S. Smith: -- and to put forward as a basic policy of this province to protect the domestic consumers, to demand back the resources which should belong to us. Why has he not stood up and had a policy of Ontario uranium for Ontarians? Why have we never heard that from the Premier of this province?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: The Liberal government of Ottawa decentralizes.
Mr. Roy: The Ontario government was asleep at the switch and they know it.
Mr. Ruston: All the Premier talks about is oil.
Mr. Cassidy: What about the failure of the Liberal government to act in Ottawa?
Mr. S. Smith: Why is it that you never stood up and demanded control of that resource? It would be one thing if all the energy resources were under federal control but only our resource is under federal control. Water power isn’t. Coal is not. Oil is not. Natural gas is not. Our uranium is. Nobody in Canada is making atomic bombs from this. Why should we leave it under federal control? Why has the Premier of this province never been heard publicly to be out there fighting for this resource when we’re talking about billions and billions of dollars going to the corporations, the president of which is a good friend of the government of this province?
Mr. Cassidy: Where have you been for the last couple of years?
Mr. Samis: What else is new?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: We have some concern for other Canadians too.
Mr. Roy: You are irresponsible and you should be ashamed.
Mr. S. Smith: The question then comes. I would have done that. We would know by now whether there was any hope at all of getting protection for our consumer. However, that wasn’t done.
Mr. McClellan: Protection from Trudeau.
Mr. S. Smith: We now find ourselves in the position where I have to ask myself honestly, what would I do on this issue if I were Premier tomorrow?
Mr. Martel: Sign the contract.
Mr. S. Smith: I’ll tell you, Mr. Speaker, what I am recommending as an alternative.
Mr. Roy: That is something the leader of the NDP doesn’t have to worry about.
Mr. Cassidy: My chances are better than those of the Leader of the Opposition’s.
Mr. S. Smith: First of all, I would absolutely refuse to sign this contract. I would never have my signature affixed to a contract which in my view is a sellout to Steve Roman and to Preston Mines. So I would not sign.
Mr. Eaton: You would never have the chance.
Mr. Cassidy: When it came to the crunch your party refused to get a majority report.
Mr. S. Smith: I would declare the public policy of Ontario to be one such as I have just pointed out, where we are insulated from world price and pay a fair incentive profit but not more than that. I would then move heaven and earth to bring about a situation where we could accomplish this. I recognize that Mr. Roman is threatening that on February 28, if the Premier’s signature is not there he will turn around and sign a contract with Japan for our Ontario uranium.
Mr. Germa: He would sell his grandmother.
Mr. S. Smith: I suppose it is conceivable that the federal government might be stupid enough to let him do that --
Hon. Mr. Baetz: You’re right.
Mr. S. Smith: -- but I don’t believe it.
Mr. Lane: You are contradicting yourself.
Mr. S. Smith: I believe that if the Premier refuses to sign that contract and then carries on a genuine battle, if he believes, as I do in my gut, that it is wrong to do that and he carries the battle to the people of Ontario and to the government of Canada, then Mr. Roman wouldn’t dare turn around and sell that uranium out from under our feet to Japan or any other country of this world when we need it for our own hydro-electric system. I don’t believe that.
Mr. Philip: Don’t underestimate him.
Mr. Germa: You don’t know Stephen.
Mr. S. Smith: There are two problems and they are the reason the Premier is probably going to sign.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: One is in Ottawa.
Mr. S. Smith: One is that he doesn’t agree with me that that should be the policy of Ontario. He’s willing to tie this to world price and he’s pretty well indicated that to us.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Wrong.
Mr. S. Smith: All he asked Steve Roman for was something less than world price, that’s all. He did not support Hydro when Hydro was asking to have nothing more than a fair profit.
Secondly, not only doesn’t he believe it, and won’t, in fact, take such action, but I believe he’s afraid of Mr. Roman. He told us what a tough negotiator he is, and I tell you, even if we don’t sign and Steve Roman turns around and sells that stuff to Japan, the one thing we would have learned anyhow is who runs this province and who runs this country if he could get away with that kind of thing.
So if the Premier wants to have my alternative, the alternative is, don’t sign. Declare that we will not sign anything that gives Mr. Roman anything other than a fair profit and then move heaven and earth to bring it about and dare Mr. Roman to sell our own uranium out from under our feet to the Japanese or to any other country in this world. That’s what the Premier should do and that’s our alternative.
Mr. Martel: And if he decides to sell, what do you do then?
Mr. S. Smith: We call you in, Elie.
Mr. Martel: It would be much easier if we bought him out.
Mr. Roy: Too expensive.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Talk about post taxes.
Mr. Roy: And you’re talking about taxes, my God.
Mr. Martel: You move heaven and earth and he says no; what do you do then? Give me that economic lesson. When he says no, what do you do then?
Mr. S. Smith: We call you in, Elie.
Mr. Martel: If he says no what do you do then?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Is that what you said? Let’s hear Ed Broadbent on leadership.
Mr. Speaker: Let’s have some order please.
Mr. S. Smith: I can’t believe that the member for Sudbury East is also afraid of Mr. Roman. He must be a very powerful man.
Mr. Speaker, I want to turn now to a matter which I consider a very, very serious one and one which I hope will not be taken in a partisan way. I say that very sincerely.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Wasn’t the other one serious? You were kidding?
Mr. S. Smith: I want to turn now to the question of minority language rights. During the last two months there has been a lot of discussion concerning the role Ontario should play in expanding minority language rights in this province. Speaking before the Canadian Club in Toronto on February 6 and to the Sales and Marketing Executives of Montreal in that city on February 16, the Premier has most recently set out his approach and that of his government.
The general thrust remains that which he first set before the Legislature on May 3, 1971. The fundamental principle enunciated at that time, and, indeed, by the Premier’s predecessor, John Robarts, in 1968, is that, and I quote: “The government of Ontario agrees to provide wherever feasible public services in French as well as in English so that the people of Ontario will be able to deal in either language with the various levels of government with which they come in contact.” That is a quote from Mr. Robarts at the federal-provincial constitutional conference in February 1968.
I share with the Premier this commitment, and a belief that respect and opportunity for both major language groups is a basic principle of Canadian society. I share with him the concern he also expressed in his Canadian Club speech, that in implementing federal government policy on this question a number of serious errors were made in its development. These errors have affected negatively the way in which many people now understand the term “bilingualism” and the approach they take to minority language services.
I share with the Premier his belief that each province should develop a minority language program which meets its needs. Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick can all respect a common principle but develop minority language policies and programs which may be quite different one from the other in their implementation.
I share with the Premier his commitment made in the Throne Speech to the Franco-Ontarian community that French-language government services should be expanded in accordance with need and population distribution. Clearly, there is a requirement for common sense and practicality in the way in which Ontario’s minority language program is elaborated.
Let me add, and let me make clear, that in no way is French being forced on anyone. It isn’t now and it won’t be in the future, no matter which party forms the government of Ontario. Simply put, I share with the Premier his desire to continue to expand French-language services in Ontario. The members of my party, and I believe those of the New Democratic Party, would share these views which the Premier has set out.
I have tried to outline areas of agreement because I believe all parties in the Legislature can find common ground on this issue and because I believe we can move farther and faster if all parties work together. The document which the Premier tabled before the Task Force on Canadian Unity sets out in summary form what has been accomplished in the field of minority language rights. One regret I have is that this story has not been told by the government as effectively as it might. I believe that more vigorous leadership is needed to convince Ontarians as to the need and worth of expanded minority language programs.
I also believe it is the duty and responsibility of all political leaders to speak to this issue and to provide leadership. This is one of the reasons I have asked my colleague, the hon. member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy), to take on the responsibility in our caucus for federal-provincial relations. He is able, in an extremely articulate and understanding way, to speak to all Ontarians, English- and French-speaking, about the need for expanded minority language programs and services.
Furthermore, it is my view that this issue and its solution is one which should be borne by all of us, not just the government. We all recognize that there are those in Ontario, including Conservatives New Democrats and Liberals who believe more attention should not be given to French-language services. Politically, this issue is not an easy one. As the Premier has stated, it can be divisive. It can generate fear, rancour and distrust. Nonetheless, it is an issue where we politicians, for the sake of our country, must resolve to seek fair and meaningful solution.
I therefore want to propose today that the three parties unite to make a major thrust to complete Ontario’s minority language program. It has been my personal view, and one I have expressed frequently, that the most effective way to proceed in implementing Ontario’s minority language program was to bring together in one statute all the legislation pertaining to French-language services. Such a statute would then clearly define in one place the official status of the French language in Ontario. This statute would serve as a kind of charter for minority language rights.
Mr. Cassidy: Are you backing down from French as an official language?
Mr. S. Smith: In his speech to the Canadian Club, the Premier suggested that his government was prepared to examine an approach which is, I believe, somewhat similar to mine. In that speech he made the following statement: “While we have set aside official proclamation of bilingualism” --
Mr. Cassidy: As have you.
Mr. S. Smith: -- “we have not as a government set aside the possibility of a statutory framework to the French-language service commitment we already have and which we will be expanding. These exist already in the context of education.”
Mr. Cassidy: You are backing down.
Mr. Roy: You wouldn’t understand --
Mr. Cassidy: Do you support this approach?
Mr. Roy: Of course I support legislation --
Mr. S. Smith: In our view, the statutory or legislative route in developing minority language services is an excellent one. Coupled with progress which can be made through simple administrative changes, legislative status in such areas as health, justice, municipal and social services and others would be a real step forward. This would not be anything radically new as legislation now exists in the educational area. Indeed, the standing orders of this Legislature include the following resolution, which was passed unanimously on July 22, 1968:
“Resolved: That henceforth every member of this House may as a matter of right in this House address the House in either of the two official languages of Canada.” That’s the resolution which was passed here.
The Premier has already alluded to this legislative approach in the Throne Speech. He stated that his government will be introducing legislation to increase the availability of French-language court trials by amending the Judicature Act and the Juries Act. We welcome this initiative and this approach. By putting down in statutory form the rights of the French language, Franco-Ontarians can feel more assured about their future as French-speaking Canadians in their own province.
I therefore recommend that an all-party committee of the Legislature be created to do the following:
1. Review the state of minority language programs and services in Ontario and prepare in both English and French a comprehensive information document on what programs and services currently exist;
2. Set out what programs and services remain to be developed;
3. Recognizing current budgetary limitations, propose a timetable for the implementation of such a program.
I would propose that this committee be constituted as soon as possible and that it report to the Legislature at the beginning of the fall session. I would further suggest that we all ensure that senior members of our parties take part in this committee. I believe that consideration should be given to permit the inclusion of one or more ministers.
There is a wealth of goodwill and common sense in this Legislature; let us now use it to give Ontario a strong minority language rights program with all-party support. I say to the Premier that this proposal is made in a spirit of co-operation and in the recognition that this issue requires not only patience and understanding but also perseverance and progress. He will find us serious in our support of his stated objectives and firm in our resolve to help in meeting them.
I want to make it clear that I have stood in every public forum and on every media opportunity and I continue to stand, for the fact that we must have our French-language services provided as a matter of right and inscribed in the law in a way that they can clearly and easily be understood to exist in perpetuity and not as something to be given as a privilege from time to time, depending on the circumstances or the mood of the government of the day.
It is not right that Franco-Ontarians should feel that the services they do require, and which are being expanded by the government, are services that they should have constantly to request and practically ask for over and over again. They should be written down and brought together in one statute, which in that way would give official status to the French language in terms of all the services that are required.
I believe that in the province of Ontario, which after all has a sizable minority of French-speaking citizens, although only approximately six per cent of its population is in that language group, it would be patently ridiculous for the government to try to implement here a program of bilingualism in any way resembling that which was adopted at the federal level.
Bilingualism in that sense is not an appropriate word for Ontario. In fact, given the pejorative emotional connotation which it has taken on, probably because of some of the federal experience, it probably would be better not even used. I have tried to make a point of saying that it is impossible even to consider a bilingual Ontario, given that we are speaking of a six per cent minority, but that where numbers warrant and where need and demand exists for French-language services, we should have those services inscribed in the law as a matter of right rather than as something that has to be begged for.
No English-speaking person has to have French forced on him or her in any way. It is merely the same program which has already been accepted by the government, but brought together, brought to fruition and probably added to in some way so that you can have a trial in the French language; so that it will be possible to have reasonable health services in the French language, reasonable municipal services where numbers warrant and demand exists, and reasonable educational services.
It shouldn’t be something that has to be fought for and begged for and struggled over in the local community. It should be written down as something which is a matter of right because we consider Franco-Ontarians not just to be the six per cent of the population, but to be a very important group in Ontario, representing something fundamental about the nature of our country.
After all, in sheer percentage terms there are probably more people of Italian origin. But there’s something about our country, something special and something meaningful, and the French-speaking population outside Quebec is one of the main arguments against separatism. It’s one of the main arguments against having to set up separate cultural walls around the province of Quebec, which in my opinion would be counterproductive for the French culture in Quebec.
So I say, therefore, let us stop referring to the question of shoving French down people’s throats or official bilingualism a la Ottawa. Let us realize that what we really want are services. Let us define the services, and let us inscribe them in a law so that our Franco-Ontarians can see that it’s inscribed there and they don’t have to worry about whether it’s something to be given or taken away at the whim of the government of the day or the whim of an individual minister.
That is really what we are asking. To define that, we are asking that an all-party committee of the Legislature be established to work on exactly that possibility. I think there’s very little difference in what I’ve said from the intentions of the Premier. But I believe that the official status that the French language would gain simply by having that Act there would satisfy the people who, after all, want their rights looked after -- the Franco-Ontarian minority who depend on us in this Legislature to protect them. It would be a genuine gesture taken very seriously by our friends in the sister province of Quebec at this crucial time for our country’s future. I put it therefore to the government in the hope it will be considered very seriously so we can avoid any of the political divisiveness which might otherwise occur.
I’m sure you agree with me, Mr. Speaker, that this topic, being so poorly understood and the word bilingualism having so many emotional connotations, is potentially a far more divisive topic than even the separate school controversy was in 1971. It’s not the kind of topic we want to have as a partisan wrangle right now. It’s not good for Ontario. It’s not good for Canada. It benefits no one. I hope therefore that that will be taken seriously.
I was disappointed in the words of the hon. Minister of the Environment (Mr. McCague), and perhaps there’s some explanation -- I trust that with my remarks today any misapprehension about my policies will now have been cleared up. I was disappointed that on February 22 -- that’s last night -- in front of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, he said, “Bob McKessock and Murray Gaunt are here tonight. I know that, as Liberals, they would not agree with their party leader’s desire to make this a bilingual province. In this province we need only one language.”
Mr. Cassidy: Shame.
Mr. Cunningham: Resign.
Mr. Reid: Did you really say that, George?
Mr. Cassidy: That kind of red-neck attitude does nothing for Ontario.
Mr. S. Smith: Personally I believe that that was undoubtedly a personal comment --
Mr. McClellan: That’s a real Canadian for you.
Mr. S. Smith: -- and I trust that this is not part of an orchestrated --
Mr. Martel: Another red-neck over there. He and Red Horner.
Mr. S. Smith: -- political strategy of any kind. I trust it was merely a personal comment, and it may well have developed from a misunderstanding on the hon. minister’s part of what our policy has been.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: We are all confused now.
Mr. S. Smith: I have never been for a bilingual Ontario in that sense because it makes no sense, given the population figures. I am for bringing together services and guaranteeing them in law so that they no longer have to be a matter to be begged for but are actually written into the law in a way that gives the language an official status of that kind.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Oh, come on. He criticized the Premier.
Mr. Martel: No, no, he’s changed his position again.
Mr. S. Smith: I am more disappointed, by the way --
Mr. Martel: Oh, that doesn’t matter. That was last week. This is this week.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. S. Smith: -- that the audience, following that remark which I quoted from the hon. minister, gave him a standing ovation immediately upon --
Mr. Gaunt: Not a standing ovation.
Mr. S. Smith: Not a standing ovation, I’m sorry, but some ovation -- take that from the record, it is my error -- but gave him an ovation following those remarks.
Mr. McClellan: Another big contribution to national unity.
Mr. S. Smith: My feeling is that that type of thing does no good whatsoever for any person in Ontario, and I trust that with the clarification that I presented today and with my genuine effort to work on this in a non-partisan way --
Hon. B. Stephenson: Clarification? Sounds like a different position to me.
Mr. Martel: The Premier should take him out of the cabinet.
Mr. S. Smith: -- that we can put an end to the divisiveness that exists in great potential in that topic.
Mr. Speaker, I will draw my remarks -- (Applause).
Hon. B. Stephenson: Who is holding up the cue cards?
Mr. S. Smith: I will draw my remarks to a close, Mr. Speaker. I have tried on this occasion, at some greater length than I had originally intended, to point out why I feel that the Throne Speech has failed to give us a sense of direction. I have expressed my very sincere disappointment with the mere pittance which the government has offered in terms of job creation initiative. I have tried to outline a sense of the future direction for our manufacturing sector -- especially in the high technological area -- in this province and in this country. I have tried to put forward what I believe is a genuine statement and a genuinely held belief regarding the uranium contracts and regarding the alternatives we would present.
Mr. Foulds: Your speech was as vague and as wishy-washy as the Throne Speech itself.
Mr. S. Smith: And I have attempted as well to make a constructive contribution to the debate regarding the status of French language rights in Ontario, and made the suggestion of an all-party committee which, I think, could advance the cause of unity and the cause of a more united Ontario in a way that would be very desirable.
I thank the hon. members for their attention and I thank you for the opportunity to address the assembly.
On motion by Mr. Cassidy, the debate was adjourned.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the House adjourned at 5:10 p.m.