The House met at 10 am.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY BARGAINING
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, members will recall that in October 1977 the Labour Relations Amendment Act, 1977, or Bill 22, came into force. That Act provides for single- trade, province-wide bargaining in the industrial, commercial and institutional sector of the construction industry and is effective April 30, 1978.
Prior to third reading, the Act was referred to the standing resources development committee of this Legislature for detailed consideration. During their deliberations, concern was expressed by committee members that provision should be made for inclusion of the electrical power systems sector in the province-wide bargaining regime. In response to that concern, I proposed that an industrial inquiry commission be established pursuant to section 34 of the Labour Relations Act to consider the extension of Bill 22 to the electrical power systems sector of the construction industry.
This proposal was accepted by the committee and was included as part of its report to the House made on October 25, 1977. Accordingly, on November 1, 1977, I appointed Mr. S. R. Ellis as an industrial inquiry commissioner on the following terms of reference:
To inquire into, report upon, and make recommendations to me concerning the extension or application of Bill 22, entitled The Labour Relations Amendment Act, 1977, passed at the first session of the 31st Legislature of Ontario, to the electrical power systems sector of the construction industry referred to in clause (e) of section 106 of the Labour Relations Act, including and without limiting the generality of the foregoing:
(a) The feasibility of the merger of the electrical power systems sector with the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors;
(b) The desirability of the retention of multi-trade bargaining, as opposed to single- trade bargaining, in the electrical power systems sector;
(c) The process of, and timing for, such extension, application or merger, if same be recommended; and
(d) Generally, any matter in relation to the foregoing which in the opinion of the commission is relevant to the foregoing.
Further, I requested that the commission report to me not later than January 31, 1978, and in accordance with that request Commissioner Ellis submitted his findings to me on that date. In fulfilment of the undertaking which I made to the committee, I am tabling the report at the appropriate time before the House.
Public notice of the inquiry was given and the interested parties were invited to meet informally with the commissioner and to make written submissions to him, if desirable. Throughout the months of December 1977, and January 1978, 20 such meetings were held in which some 50 individuals and 35 separate organizations took part, a limited number of whom also gave written submissions. In addition, the commissioner appointed two recognized experts in the field of construction industry labour relations, representative of management and labour, to act as technical advisers to the commission.
The report is an exhaustive study of the issue placed before the commissioner. The commissioner’s major recommendation is that a parallel province-wide bargaining structure be established for a redefined public power sector. If adopted, the recommendation would require appropriate amendments to be made to the Labour Relations Act.
Although an initial assessment has been made of the implications of the report by officials within my ministry, further detailed analysis of it is continuing. Further, the report, which runs about 170 pages, has been reproduced and made available to all interested parties.
I hope to receive the recommendations of my officials regarding the report within the next several weeks.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I wonder whether there is going to be a presence here later today by the Premier (Mr. Davis) or by the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) or the Deputy Premier (Mr. Welch) or the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells)? May we have some indication from whoever is in charge over there?
Mr. Warner: Who is in charge?
An hon. member: They are in Montreal.
An hon. member: They are at the conference, are they not?
Mr. Warner: You are all in charge, that’s the problem.
An hon. member: Lorne Henderson is in charge.
Mr. S. Smith: I will reserve my questions until a little later on in the question period, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question which I think should be directed to the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. F. S. Miller) in the absence of the Premier, the Deputy Premier and the Minister for Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier). In the absence of the Premier, the Deputy Premier and the Minister for Northern Affairs, can the minister provide the House with --
Hon. W. Newman: He is not here.
Mr. Cassidy: Oh, sorry. He is not here either? Goodness me. Well, I’ll try again, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Ruston: Bombed out again.
Mr. Cassidy: What a bunch.
Mr. Warner: Too early for them.
Mr. Reid: Three up, three down.
Mr. Cassidy: I’d like to ask a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Can the minister explain why, with all of the promises of high priority that have been given on condominium legislation from the time of the creation of the Kealey task force two years ago until the publication of its report just before Christmas, there was no mention of condominium legislation in the Throne Speech? And can the minister say what the government’s intentions now are?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The government’s intentions have not changed one bit; we will be introducing condominium legislation in this session.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since the minister gave condominium groups only a month -- and that over Christmas -- to reply to the Kealey commission study, can the minister say why that time limit cannot be extended in view of the very evident dragging of feet which is going on in the ministry at this time?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I was really quite interested to compare the remarks of members of the NDP who have been complaining about the delay in bringing forth condominium legislation, and the remarks that followed by one of the hon. member’s competitors, the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) --
Mr. Renwick: A former competitor.
Mr. Blundy: Ed Broadbent’s man.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- who tried to build his campaign in part around the delay in bringing in condominium legislation, piecemeal legislation, and all of those silly things, when in fact what we were doing was trying to implement the Kealey report as quickly as possible. In order to do that, I took the position that most people with interest in the condominium situation had had two advantages: firstly, as much hearing before the Kealey task force as they needed; and, secondly, obviously a great deal of time to reflect upon those submissions and their tactics prior to the time at which the study group reported.
With those two elements there, I thought quite properly that I owed it to the condominium unit owners in Ontario to proceed forthwith to move towards legislation upon receipt of the study report. I know that the hon. member and his party would have been up on their hind legs screaming if I then announced, “Well, now that I’ve got the study report, I’m going to have more public hearings or hold back legislation three or four months in order then to permit the public to once again comment at length and submit briefs.” That’s what they would have been saying. They would have been saying, “Haven’t you heard enough? Isn’t it time you guys got off your butts and started to bring forward legislation?” So I tell the hon. member that we are.
Mr. Warner: The report’s a disaster, and you know it.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I’ve got the report of the task force. I am now moving to legislation. We’re going to have that legislation this spring. If he is making the suggestion that we should now delay it and permit more public hearings, I think the hon. member should level with me. Does he want us to hold off legislation while we have more public input? In that case he should say that he doesn’t want the legislation this spring.
Mr. Cassidy: We had no evidence you are acting. It wasn’t even in the Throne Speech.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The only thing I would add is that I indicated last December in this assembly, in the face of some questions from the hon. member’s colleagues --
Mr. Kerrio: The minister would have made a good quarterback; he’s running down the clock.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- that we would in fact be receiving public submissions to the end of January. There were no squawks coming at that time. In any case, those people who have written saying they cannot get their comments in by the end of January have been told by my ministry and myself that we will be happy to receive their comments, indeed at any time up until the passage of the legislation.
Mr. Breithaupt: Would the minister acknowledge at this time that such legislation would of course go to standing committee so that if there was a requirement for any additional public input at least it could be accommodated then?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I’ve always presumed, on a piece of legislation like this, that it would no doubt end up in committee where there would be more public hearings.
Mr. Philip: Can the minister inform the House how many submissions he has received from condominium groups over the month that he gave them to reply; and can he tell the House why he has not fulfilled the promise that he made to members of this House of Xeroxing in some form, at least in the same way that he Xeroxed the replies of coffee companies, and sending us the submissions of the condominium associations?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes; we have 29 so far, I think. That includes some from municipalities, so not all 29 are from condominium associations. We just thought we would try to organize it in some reasonable fashion for the hon. members before sending it to them.
Ms. Gigantes: What a disaster.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: If the hon. member would like me to send him the 29 that we’ve got, I’d be happy to.
Ms. Gigantes: You are going to have to bring in legislation each and every year.
Mr. Warner: You don’t know what you’re doing over there.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I would like to reserve my second question in the hope that one of the responsible ministers for the north actually shows up.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I’ll ask my first question of the Minister of Health. Can the minister comment on the report on the CTV network last night which seemed to indicate that whole psychiatric files -- not merely the demographic data that is in the possession of OHIP, but entire OHIP files -- have found their way into the hands of the RCMP? Would he like to tell us what he knows about that and in some way explain how that fits, if it is accurate, with his previous statements in the House?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I was made aware of this a few days ago by my colleague, the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), and at this point it is not clear to what the RCMP are referring. Since being made aware of it, I’ve have asked my officials in the ministry and in OHIP to meet, along with the officials of the Attorney General’s ministry, with representatives of the RCMP to clarify as much as is possible exactly what it is the inspector referred to in a recent letter to the Attorney General. The member can anticipate that once that has been clarified the Attorney General and/or I will be making a statement in this House.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of a supplementary, since the minister says it has been some days since he heard about this, may I ask why he doesn’t already have the information that I would imagine he should be in possession of regarding exactly what it is that was in the possession of the RCMP and how they came to acquire it, whether there was a warrant exercised or not?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, it is two days -- in fact less than two days if you wanted to go by the hour -- since I found this out; some meetings have already been held and further meetings are in progress or being arranged.
Mr. Deans: Go by the hour.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Do members want accurate information on it?
Mr. McClellan: That would be nice for a change.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The point is that we are investigating it thoroughly. The other thing that should be emphasized is that whatever information is turned up in this investigation, involving the officials of our two ministries and the RCMP, all of it will be turned over to the Krever commission. Obviously we are concerned in the Ministry of Health and the government as a whole that, given our determination to maintain as secure a system as is humanly possible, if this indicates something lacking in the system then we want that corrected and we would like Mr. Justice Krever’s recommendations on it.
Mr. Nixon: I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Correctional Services. Since the inmates from Glendale, according to the minister’s announced plans, will begin to be transferred Wednesday next week, would the minister give any consideration to delaying that decision until it can be reviewed, either by a group established ‘by the ministry or, preferably, by one of the standing committees of the House? It could be the standing committee on justice or the standing committee on social development.
Does the minister agree that in the time since the evaluation study done by Dr. Coons, the people directly associated with Glendale have not, at least in their mind, had ample opportunity to put their alternatives? Would the minister not consider that such a review by a committee of the House, however the terms of reference might be constructed, would be in the best interests of justice and fair play, involving the ministers and the members of the House in improving the quality of the program under corrections?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, first of all, as of this morning there are about 62 inmates still in Glendale. Thirteen of them will complete their sentences within the next few weeks. The others will be transferred to adult training centres that have identical or equal programs, such as Burtch near Brantford, Brampton and so forth. One will be transferred to the Ontario Correctional Institute because he does require treatment, that would have occurred in any event. Secondly, I think if the member would talk today to the person that he is quoting about a very brief report he made last fall, he would find that he is completely in agreement with my decision.
Mr. Nixon: The Coons report, the minister has indicated is simply a brief report.
Hon. Mr. Drea: It is a letter, not a report.
Mr. Nixon: Well the letter or the opinion. What we want to do surely is in the best interests not only of the people that we want to assist -- as well as, I presume, to some extent incarcerate during this period. We want to assist them -- but surely the minister would agree that the members of this House, many of whom have received delegations and letters of concern from people working there and others in the community, should have a better opportunity than simply the question period in the Legislature to get a view of what is going on? What would be wrong with a brief delay in the transfer of the people concerned? Or if not that, at least a review by the standing committee so that the people concerned can be satisfied and maybe the minister would have the benefit of these additional sources of information?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, in all fairness, most of the inmates at Glendale are on relatively short sentences. We want to keep their program, be it education or social therapy, going. It can be duplicated in other institutions. It is a matter of record that when I met last Friday with the Glendale staff -- and that’s what it was, there was only one concerned citizen who was not of the Glendale staff -- I offered them the opportunity that if they could show me that their program was not being duplicated or matched in any other institution we have under operation at the moment, then I would reconsider. After about five minutes of consultation they agreed that there was no point in pursuing that because the programs could be offered, or are being offered, elsewhere.
Mr. Nixon: There’s not another institution with a similar record.
Hon. Mr. Drea: That is not true. If you read the Ombudsman’s report -- and I would think somebody from Brant county should -- you will find out that the Burtch Correctional Centre, which is in your county, comes out far ahead of Glendale.
Mr. Nixon: As far as recidivism?
Mr. Speaker: Order. The hon. member for Brantford with a supplementary.
Mr. Makarchuk: The minister has in effect partially answered my question in what he has said. He is transferring some people to an institution in Brantford that carries on a similar program. But my question is where in the world in and around Brantford is there an institution that carries on a similar program?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I did not say I was transferring them to an institution in Brantford. I specifically said that they would be transferred to the Burtch Correctional Centre near Brantford, to the Brampton Correctional Centre, and if they are bilingual, to the Rideau Correctional Centre near Ottawa. The member will find that in our correctional centres, particularly those devoted to the adult training program which is youth oriented, the programs are there.
Mr. Worton: Supplementary: In the last few days I have been in touch with the officials in regard to the complement of the Hillcrest Training School in the Guelph Correctional Centre. Could the minister tell me when that complement will be approved for that particular institution?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Yes. First of all, the initial complement will be for the transfer of the Hillcrest Training School to my ministry, and it will replace the old Guelph jail. The initial complement will be the staff of the Guelph jail. We have made a commitment that everybody qualified from the Hillcrest Training School will be brought on stream by this ministry. They may not be in the Hillcrest facility, they may very well be across the highway in the Guelph Correctional Centre.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: I think we have had enough supplementaries. The hon. member for High Park-Swansea.
Mr. Worton: Supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: The previous question from the member for Wellington South really wasn’t a supplementary to the original question. But go ahead.
Mr. Ziemba: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. G. I. Miller: If the minister --
Mr. Ziemba: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Is the member for High Park- Swansea’s question a supplementary?
Mr. Ziemba: Yes it is, and if the last wasn’t a supplementary I would like to get my supplementary in now.
Mr. Speaker: I thought yours was a new question.
Mr. Ziemba: No it was not.
Mr. Speaker: You may have a supplementary.
Mr. Ziemba: Thank you. Given that the Glendale facility has a rehabilitation success rate twice as good as any comparable facility elsewhere in this province, and given that there is a real team ethic there where the community trusts and’ works closely with the facility, and given that there are nowhere near the community resource centres to take care of the prisoners -- the minister talks about 30 resource centres yet we will need 300 -- why doesn’t he consider just delaying the closing of this very worthwhile facility until there is more consultation with the people in the community?
Hon. Mr. Drea: In response to the member for High Park-Swansea, the only research that was ever done about the recidivism rate at Glendale was one that the ministry has never accepted on the grounds of empirical data.
Mr. Ziemba: The minister didn’t want to accept it.
Hon. Mr. Drea: The reason we didn’t accept the study was it showed they had exactly the same recidivism rate as Guelph Correctional Centre, which is almost absolutely without programs.
Mr. Ziemba: That’s nonsense.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I find it highly inconsistent on the part of this member, who in December in my estimates told me to get into the CRCs, the community resource centres, right away as they were the only answer, not the institution. Then when I do it, he says to delay it for a couple of years.
Mr. Makarchuk: So why are you closing them?
Hon. Mr. Drea: In December he was telling me to move right ahead.
Mr. Cassidy: You pick on the best part of your system to close rather than the worst.
Mr. Ziemba: That was in December.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Supplementary: If the minister is so sure that the program he is working towards is so good, what would be wrong with allowing a debate to clear the air for the citizens who has supported the program, particularly in the area of Simcoe and across the province?
Hon. Mr. Drea: I have no quarrels with debates or anything, but I find when I write back to people in the area and tell them exactly what we’re doing they turn around and write me a letter in support.
Mr. Nixon: There are some who certainly won’t buy that.
Mr. Makarchuk: Table the letters.
Mr. Nixon: They didn’t send copies of their agreement to me.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I say in response to the second part of that question the difficulty is that, were I to hold off much longer, my friend and colleague, the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton) would not have a training school on site on April 1 and that would cause that ministry a considerable amount of difficulty.
Above all, I have looked at the Glendale situation. I have the advice of my staff and of consultants, including the one named by the House leader of the opposition, that my decision to put youthful offenders as close to the community as possible is the correct one. On that basis, while I’m certainly open to suggestions at any time --
Mr. Nixon: Are you going to table the report?
Hon. Mr. Drea: I think a formal debate would only beg the question and lead to more delays in the implementation of a very positive policy by the ministry.
Mr. Cassidy: You are moving youthful offenders into jails.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Ottawa Centre has a new question.
Mr. Cassidy: If the Leader of the Opposition has his second question, I’ll take my second question later.
MULTICULTURAL TV STATION
Mr. S. Smith: I have a question of the Minister of Culture and Recreation, if I might just engage his attention for a moment.
Does the minister have his own policy or has the government established a policy which agrees with that expressed by the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) regarding the multicultural television station that is proposed for the Toronto area? The minister is undoubtedly aware that the Minister of Transportation and Communications approached the federal minister to ask that assurances be given that this multicultural station not displace on the cable one of the Buffalo stations. Is that government policy and is that his ministry’s policy?
Mr. Reid: Ask the Minister of the Environment (Mr. McCague).
Mr. Cassidy: He looks well informed and well briefed.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I’m sure the position taken by the Minister of Transportation and Communications, who has the responsibility for making representations on our behalf, was clearly stated. I’m not so sure that it was quite as stated by the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. McClellan: Unfortunately, it was.
Mr. Cassidy: It was a pretty offensive statement. Ask the member for Renfrew South (Mr. Yakabuski) if he agrees with it?
Mr. McClellan: It was as stupid as that.
Mr. Conway: I’m sure he will.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, can the minister tell us what his viewpoint is with regard to the multicultural television station which is proposed for Toronto, as to whether it should or should not supplant, if necessary, an American station; and will he be making a statement on behalf of the government or will the government be making a statement at some point?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I think perhaps the simplest way to answer the question this morning is that we would make a statement clarifying the issue at the first of the week.
ONAKAWANA LIGNITE DEPOSITS
Mr. Cassidy: It is my understanding that the next question will go to a backbencher from my party. I think that’s the way the order went.
I have a question of the Minister of Northern Affairs now that the north finally has a representative on the cabinet side. Who are the principals of Onakawana Development Limited? What has happened to Manalta, the company that was going to develop those deposits? When is the project expected to begin; and can the minister give some more understanding to this House about the guarantees that have been provided for employment of natives and of northerners from the region in the project?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: In my earlier responsibilities as Minister of Natural Resources naturally, I was directly involved with all these discussions. Since that particular minister is not here today and will be back, I believe on Monday, I think that question asking for all those details should be more appropriately directed to him.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: I appreciate the redirection. It’s a bit difficult when the minister isn’t here and something important to that area is announced
Hon. B. Stephenson: He will he here on Monday.
Mr. Cassidy: Has an environmental assessment been done on the project and what does this announcement mean in terms of the Hartt commission’s responsibilities for assessing major projects of importance to the area north of the 50th parallel?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I can only repeat what I said in my early involvement. Certainly all the areas to which the member has referred were considered. I am sure when the minister comes back on Monday he will be able to acknowledge and respond to all those specific questions.
INCOME TAX DISCOUNTS
Mr. Davison: I have a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Would the minister tell the House what he has done to ensure that companies still involved in the practice of discounting income tax returns are abiding by the legislation he introduced and we passed in the House last session? Has the ministry investigated any oases in which the provisions of section 4 of that act have been contravened by the application of unreasonable handling charges to the people involved? Specifically, has the ministry looked into the activities of two firms in Hamilton, Premium Tax Services of 175 James Street North, and Instant Tax of 290 Ottawa Street North?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I wouldn’t want to comment just now on which specific outlets my investigation staff has visited, either openly or not openly, but we have had another wide investigation of who is carrying on in spite of the legislation and who is not. I might comment at this time that if the member has any specific branches -- and he has mentioned a couple -- I will be pleased as a result of his question to go back and see if those happen to be two that have been checked.
I would also say that I wouldn’t purport to acknowledge openly whether they have or haven’t, because that would be unfair to the operators, I think. The other thing I would add is that we have found certain practices being carried on which may have succeeded in loopholing the Act a little bit. Perhaps next week I will be introducing in the Legislature a short amendment Act to close some loopholes, because I do want to get those people this year.
Mr. Davison: Supplementary: I trust, then, from the minister’s remarks, that he will, if he hasn’t, take a look at those two companies I have mentioned specifically. Would the minister confirm that the use of rather substantial handling charges is one of the methods that some of these companies are using to get around the Act?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I must say that in my short check of the practices we know are being carried on, we haven’t found that one as one they have stuck to. Those two that the member may have mentioned may be, but as I say mostly they are using some other more clever means to get around section 4.
Mr. Kerrio: I have a question of the Minister of Industry and Tourism. Is he aware of the impact that Bill C-48, as approved in the House of Commons, is having on tourist resort and attraction operators throughout the province as it relates to the advertising done in the United States not being an allowable deduction as a cost? Is the minister aware of the impact that that is going to have on the tourist attractions and operators across this province, particularly in view of the huge deficit that we are facing in the tourism industry right across the country?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I don’t have specific numbers on what the impact will be. I am assuming that the provisions of Bill C-48 as passed by the federal government will certainly have some impact on persons who are attempting to advertise in American publications. The hon. member well knows the very public debate that was held on that particular bill; the bill itself was aimed at advertising in such magazines as Time and Reader’s Digest. The spinoff from that may very well have an adverse effect on the smaller operators and the attractions that need to advertise in those American magazines.
What we can do about it would be, I suppose, to make some sort of submission to Industry, Trade and Commerce, and ask them to bring to the attention of their colleagues the effect it can have on tourist attractions and on costs to the operators in Ontario and Canada as a whole.
Mr. Ruston: The minister should set up a meeting with Horner.
Mr. Kerrio: Supplementary: I wonder if the minister is aware of the fact that it is not only periodicals and weekly and monthly publications that I am talking about. I am also talking about radio and television advertising as it relates to some of the attractions we have across the province. It seems strange at this time that we would inhibit those people from advertising to get tourists to come to Ontario particularly.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I am not sure whether or not the media the hon. member is referring to, and the advertisers of the type he and I are talking about, were in fact exempt from the taxation. If that were so then his comments are well taken. However, with respect -- and not being facetious -- I would suggest that this Legislature had absolutely nothing to do with the passing of Bill C-48 and as he has some colleagues who are gathering, I understand, in large numbers in Ottawa, he may want to talk to them over the weekend.
Mr. Breithaupt: They are large, very large.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Insignificant numbers.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: But not in the House of Commons.
Mr. Conway: A lot of your old friends, John.
Hon. B. Stephenson: No, there won’t be.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, the advice might be very well put by the minister. But the suggestion I am making is, would he in his office, as it relates to the protection of and interest in Ontario resorts and tourist operators, make known to the federal government his feelings that it is causing grave concern? I have very recently had from a man who does a great deal of television advertising in the States a submission that he will not be able to deduct this cost from his advertising. He brings thousands of people here. I wonder if the minister, through his good offices, would investigate further to see if he can have some impact on the government to change this bill.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: As a result of a phone call from the hon. member to my office yesterday, indicating his interest -- and I think his genuine interest in this matter -- we have already started that. Certainly, we will contact the federal agencies, particularly Industry, Trade and Commerce, and indicate our concern and pass it on to the others.
Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary, the hon. member for Brantford.
Mr. Makarchuk: Supplementary to the minister: Would the minister clarify with the Ministry of Revenue that advertising done on a foreign station and directed to a foreign market is deductible? Would he get that information and get it out to the operators, and tell them exactly what it is?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, I missed the first part of the question.
Mr. Makarchuk: The point is that if the advertising is done on a foreign station, directed to a foreign market -- in fact to a United States’ market -- then that cost is deductible. If he would get this information and convey it to the people concerned, I am sure that would clarify the matter.
Mr. Reed: Is that a statement or a question?
Mr. Eakins: That’s advice, just advice.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I will look into that. I wasn’t aware that situation existed.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. Will the minister tell us what priority he is giving to finding alternative sites or disposal methods for the liquid industrial wastes which are now being dumped in the Beare Road site in Metropolitan Toronto, and can he assure us that there will be no further requests for extension of the use of this site beyond April 30? There have been several extensions already and it is creating a very smelly atmosphere in the area and it is already overloaded.
Hon. Mr. McCague: I cannot give the hon. member the undertaking that we will not request an extension of the deadline that we have at present. We don’t have other facilities at the present time. As the hon. member knows, we’re working on others -- St. Lawrence Cement, Nanticoke -- and some more may be directed to Tricil. We are working on this project and looking for an early resolution but, as she knows, the various hearings are holding things up. We hope to be in a position to handle these in other areas by the end of the year.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Supplementary: What progress is being made as far as recycling these wastes is concerned? Is there any progress in recycling this type of waste rather than dumping in lagoons and waste disposal sites?
Hon. Mr. McCague: The process that we’re going through at St. Lawrence is one of destroying waste by burning, and there is a program at the Ottawa Street site in Hamilton.
Mr. Makarchuk: Supplementary: Did I hear the minister correctly, that burning of waste is carried out at the St. Lawrence Cement plant in Mississauga at this time?
Hon. Mr. McCague: No, I didn’t say that at all. I said in response to the member for Beaches-Woodbine that there was a hearing into that matter coming up later this year.
OHIP CLAIMS PROCEDURE
Mr. Conway: A question to the Minister of Health: Is the minister aware that under the present OHIP legislation it is possible for a doctor who has opted out of the direct payment scheme to refuse with impunity to submit to OHIP the bills his patients have paid, thereby preventing the patients from being reimbursed for the moneys they have paid to that doctor?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Refuse to do what? There were a couple of words there that I think were crucial to the member’s question which I couldn’t hear.
Mr. Conway: For the minister’s edification I will re-read the question.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Enunciate clearly
Mr. Conway: Is the minister aware that under the present OHIP legislation it is possible for a doctor who has opted out of the direct payment scheme to refuse with impunity to submit to OHIP the bills his patients have paid, thereby preventing those patients from being reimbursed for the moneys paid by them?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The patient submits his or her own bills to OHIP and is reimbursed directly for any services rendered by an opted-out physician which are in fact OHIP benefits.
Mr. Conway: Would the minister then care to comment upon a case brought by OHIP to the College of Physicians and Surgeons where this is the matter at hand and where in fact that very point is being disputed? Is the minister aware that there is a Metropolitan Toronto physician at present before the College of Physicians and Surgeons for refusing to submit bills or OHIP claims to OHIP, thereby allowing the reimbursement to take place for the patients involved? Is he aware of that case? What does he plan to do about it, particularly as regards reimbursement for the many elderly people in this instance? The minister might be interested to know that the challenge was made by an Ontario public servant working for the Ministry of the Environment.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Either something’s missing from the question or --
Mr. Mancini: I think there’s something missing from the answer.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- perhaps having the details of the name and so forth would assist. I repeat that in the case of an opted-out physician it is the patient who submits the claim to OHIP and, assuming that it is a service for which there is a benefit under the Health Insurance Act, then the patient is reimbursed according to the OHIP schedule benefits.
If the hon. member would care to give me the name -- there are many cases before the college at various stages -- I will look into it and if there is anything further to be added I will do so.
Mr. Conway: Is the minister then denying that there is, under the present OHIP legislation, no obligation on behalf of the doctor involved to submit claims proving that the medical services have been provided? Is he saying that there is no obligation on opted-out doctors to supply those claim forms to OHIP? They have to, and the minister must be aware of that. Without that the patients cannot be reimbursed.
Mr. Speaker: The question has been asked.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: As I said, something was missing from the question.
Mr. Reid: That was clear to most of us.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: It seems to me that what the hon. member is talking about is providing proof of having performed a service. What he is talking about is submitting a claim which, with respect, is totally different from what he said in the beginning. The member should get his questions straight for once.
Mr. Nixon: Now that you understand it, what is the answer?
Mr. Conway: As a supplementary to that, I want to know if the minister intends to act in this particular case. It is clear to everyone, if not to the Minister of Health, that there must surely be an obligation to remove that loophole because there are several people in Metropolitan Toronto out several hundreds of dollars because of it. I am asking the minister to investigate and do something, with perhaps the help of the Minister of Labour, to plug that obvious loophole so that those people can be reimbursed for the moneys lost to them.
Mrs. Campbell: The Minister of Labour doesn’t know either.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Sean, you are off your rocker.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, with respect, the hon. member didn’t know enough about it in the first instance to even properly phrase his question.
Mr. Nixon: First you didn’t understand it. Now you won’t answer.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I will be glad to investigate, If there is, in fact, a loophole we will consider that. But once again the members of the Liberal Party try to damn the whole medical profession because of what they think might be wrong.
Mr. Nixon: It was directed at you -- an inefficient minister.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I’d like to know your definition of a loophole, Sean.
Mr. Cunningham: Direct the question to the parliamentary assistant.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Mackenzie: A question of the Minister of Labour.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I can’t hear the question.
Mr. Mackenzie: Would the minister enunciate clearly to the House, her thinking behind the possible elimination of the minimum wage in the province of Ontario as reported in one of the newspapers recently? Does she really intend to set up a committee to look into this matter? What would the committee really look into? Can we have assurance that if such a committee was set up it will not be used to delay further increases that are announced for the following year in the minimum wage in the province of Ontario?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I shall be very pleased to enunciate very clearly indeed that I did not say that I was looking forward to the elimination of the minimum wage. What I did say was that a number of eminent economists, a number of important social philosophers, sociologists and others have made statements and arguments within the last several months --
Mr. Cassidy: You are an apologist. Nothing but an apologist.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- stating that they believed --
Mr. Speaker: Do the members want an answer to the question?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I don’t really think they do. Do they wish an answer, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Swart: The real one.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I am giving members the factual answer, which is my wont.
Mr. Lewis: You were misquoted again, eh? You are the most misquoted minister in the House. You are always changing --
Hon. B. Stephenson: Oh no, I am not. I don’t get misquoted nearly as often as the member does. Mr. Speaker, I am trying to answer the question honestly and fully, as I always do.
Mr. Conway: Just the whole truth today. Just the whole truth.
Hon. B. Stephenson: There have been a number of thoughtful specialists and consultants in this area who have expressed publicly a concern that I think indeed we must examine. They say that the minimum wage is not the most valid tool for the provision of a rational economic base for those people who are unskilled and must be employed.
Mr. McClellan: Who are those people?
Mr. Samis: Name one.
Hon. B. Stephenson: There are other mechanisms which have been suggested. I believe that when these suggestions are made by knowledgeable individuals --
Mr. Deans: If you are unskilled, do you get lower food prices, lower rent?
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- it is indeed our responsibility to examine that philosophy and to look at the validity of the minimum wage as a social tool at this stage of the development of our economy and our society.
Mr. Samis: Philosophy is back in the 19th century there.
Mr. Lewis: What a lot of blather.
Mr. Renwick: That’s Milton Friedman.
Hon. B. Stephenson: That is the purpose of the study. There are no biases within the study. It is completely open and will be open to submissions from any and all groups who are interested.
Mr. Samis: A dollar an hour.
Hon. B. Stephenson: We hope to have some solid information about this which will be of guidance, not only to the government, but also to all members of the Legislature.
Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker. First, would the minister please give us the names of maybe two or three of the experts she is talking about. And would she answer the first part of my question -- that is, if such a committee is set up, can she assure us it will not be used as a mechanism to stall the further increases in the minimum wage that have been announced?
Mr. Warner: One of the experts is Colin Brown.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the increases proposed have been announced. They will take place on the dates on which they have been announced.
Mr. Lewis: Supplementary: Since the minister uses them fairly widely, could she not share with us some of the names? Not 10 or a dozen -- I’m sure she has that at her fingertips -- but just three or four.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I shall be most pleased to provide the bibliography which has been established within the research department of the ministry.
Mr. Lewis: You don’t have any of them?
Mr. McClellan: Not a single name?
Hon. B. Stephenson: No, I do not have them off the top of my head.
Mr. Eakins: Ask George McCague.
REGISTRATION OF NURSES
Mr. Gaunt: A question of the Minister of Health: Is the minister planning a meeting with the College of ‘Nurses of Ontario to express concern over the college’s proposal to decertify nurses who haven’t worked at least 50 days in a year in the last five years; a proposal that in my view is unrealistic and certainly unreasonable in view of the high unemployment, particularly among nurses in rural areas?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, to repeat the discussion which the hon. member and I had by telephone yesterday morning, this is in fact a proposal from the College of Nurses to the membership. Of course, I am sure the hon. member, like members on this side, would want to ensure that the rights of the nursing profession through the college to regulate its own profession should be maintained. Since it is a proposal from the college to the membership, one which the nurses are discussing at a number of meetings in various localities around the province, we are leaving it in their hands to work this matter out.
If the membership of the nursing profession makes it clear to the college that it wants this proposal to be amended or repealed as a proposal then that is clearly a matter for the College of Nurses. At this point it is not in the domain of anyone in the provincial government.
Mr. Gaunt: Supplementary: Then I take it that the College of Nurses has not made a proposal to the Minister of Health with respect to asking for a change in the regulation in this regard. If that proposal were advanced to the minister, what would be the minister’s disposition at the present time?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: At this point, Mr. Speaker, I think what they might put before us is purely hypothetical. I have already indicated the college’s intentions. I did meet with Mrs. Evans and Miss Macdonald from the college about two or three weeks ago in one of our regular quarterly meetings with that particular college, at which time they reviewed with me the progress of the proposal and indicated which meetings have been held and that further meetings are going to be held, and that it is their intention, once they have the responses of the various local groups of nurses, to evaluate those responses and perhaps change, either in total or in some respects, their suggestion to their profession. So at this point I would not want to abridge in any way the right of the College of Nurses to deal with its own membership to develop proposals in the interests of nursing.
Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary: Given that one of the proposal is that nurses re-entering the profession would need to be upgraded, would the minister be prepared to give a commitment that if that proposal went through, he would assure those nurses that courses would be available for them to upgrade themselves? That seems to be one of their concerns.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I think, Mr. Speaker, what we would have to do, if in fact that is the final proposal of the College of Nurses -- and I know my colleague in the Ministry of Colleges and Universities is already aware of the proposal and some of the implications of it -- is that we would have to sit down with MCU to look at the ramifications of such a proposal for the college system to ensure that courses were in fact available, if that were to be the final resolution of this matter.
Mr. Gaunt: If this proposal is designed to limit the number of nurses in the province of Ontario would it not be better, and has the minister had any discussion with the college from the point of view of extending the two-year course to perhaps three or four years as another method to accomplish the same purpose?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I’ve neither heard nor read anything emanating from the college to suggest that it is a means of limiting the numbers.
Mr. Gaunt: I think that’s what it would do in practical terms.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I think that’s perhaps one of the concerns. All I’m saying is that I’ve had no such indication from the college in personal meetings with them or in written representations. My understanding of their intent is to attempt to recognize, as in many professions, that there have been significant advances in the methodology of their profession, and they want to assist their members to keep up to date.
The second part of the question had to do with the enrolment, I think.
Mr. Gaunt: Has the minister had any discussions with the college from the point of view of extending the courses to three or perhaps four years instead of the current two?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: That is basically a matter for my colleague, the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Mr. Parrott), but I can perhaps remind the member that that ministry does have under way a review of the two-year nursing program. There have been representations made, I believe, to that review under the Minister of Colleges and Universities by the College of Nursing. Certainly the Ontario Hospital Association has made certain representations as, I’m sure, have other interested bodies and individuals. That matter is already under review.
Mr. Swart: My question is to the Minister of the Environment. He will be aware, I am sure, that the Ontario Municipal Board has rejected the sludge site in the Niagara region, a sludge site which was on agricultural land, and that the region is appealing to the cabinet. Will the minister be making a recommendation? Has he done an examination of this and does he not think, as a matter of principle, that a site should be located on the vast amount of land which is already zoned for heavy industrial purposes rather than on good farm land?
Hon. Mr. McCague: I’m not aware of the particular item that the member mentioned. I will take the question as notice and report to him next week.
Mr. Swart: By way of supplementary, may I inform the minister --
Mr. Reed: Question?
Mr. Swart: -- that there has been a site designated by the region as most satisfactory next to Welland Chemicals, and the region did not pursue it because the land was owned by a major landholding company.
Hon. B. Stephenson: That’s a question?
Mr. Swart: Will the minister examine this and perhaps recommend to the cabinet that that’s where the region should go?
Hon. W. Newman: You will have a chance to make a speech sometime later.
Mr. Speaker: That supplementary might have been acceptable if you had said, “Is the minister aware?”
Hon. Mr. McCague: I didn’t hear most of what the hon. member had to say.
Mr. Swart: It was his colleagues who prevented that.
Hon. Mr. McCague: If he’d like to call me later today or on Monday, I’d be glad to discuss it with him.
Mr. Kerrio: Supplementary: Is the minister aware of the fact that when those hearings are taking place, there’s very much pressure and influence brought to bear by the expertise on the one side? Would he be prepared to do something that would encourage and help those people who have to make their submissions in order to equalize the sort of submissions that might come in? It seems a very David-and-Goliath type of confrontation with the region on one hand with all their expertise and the people on the other hand in the area trying to defend themselves. Would the minister investigate the possibility that those people that are to defend themselves in such an action would get help from his ministry?
Mr. Swart: The hearing has been over for a month.
Hon. Mr. McCague: As I understand the question, it was “Would I investigate?” Yes.
Mr. Reed: I have a question for the Minister of Energy. Could he tell this House how the Nanticoke generating plant has been performing since the much-publicized announcement that it had reached a capacity of 6,000 megawatts, and could he tell us if there are any plans for a further shutdown coming on top of the shutdown that occurred last year for further repairs to this new installation?
Mr. Haggerty: Does he know where Nanticoke is, first of all?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, during 1977 a repair program was begun to correct problems with the boiler suspension system and the generator rotors used at the coal-fired generating stations, and I can give some details if the member wishes. In 1977, hanger rods, which are used to suspend each unit’s boiler from the station roof, were replaced in units one to six after repairs made to cracks and breaks in 1976 proved unsuitable.
Following the discovery of cracks in similar generator rotors installed in England, C. A. Parsons, the manufacturer, advised Hydro to inspect the generator rotor for each unit at Nanticoke. It was necessary to modify rotors on two units to remove potentially dangerous cracks caused by fretting. The Leader of the Opposition will be interested to know that steel, as well as human beings, frets. It was the result of steel rubbing against steel at the rotor shaft.
In working towards a solution to the rotor problem, Hydro and C. A. Parsons have agreed that the existing steel rotor wedges should be replaced with aluminum wedges. A rotor with new aluminum wedges was installed in unit number seven in 1977. The aluminum rotor wedges will be placed in units one to six over the next two years. The first unit is currently being modified and two other units will be shut down in March and April. The last three units will be modified in 1979.
Mr. Reed: What is Nanticoke capable of producing now? Is it capable of producing what it was built to produce or is it incapable of producing what it was built to produce?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I will give the precise answer to that either directly to the hon. member or to this House.
Mr. Germa: Supplementary. Could I ask the minister what loss of horsepower we are going to suffer as a result of going to aluminum wedges?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Again, Mr. Speaker, that is a very technical question and I will supply the answer in the very near future.
Mr. McClellan: A question to the Minister of Labour: May I ask the minister whether she intends to introduce an amendment to the Workmen’s Compensation Act in this session to raise the rates?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I was informed at the beginning of this week that the report of The Wyatt Company, which has been examining the financial structure of the Workmen’s Compensation Board, will be available to me at the end of March. When that report is available to me we shall be seriously considering what modification should be made as a result of the recommendations of the joint consultative committee and I shall be happy to inform the House as soon as possible.
Mr. McClellan: May I ask the minister just how much longer the injured workers of this province are going to have to suffer because of the financial incompetence of the Workmen’s Compensation Board?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, there is absolutely no evidence in the interim report of The Wyatt Company, which was submitted at the end of November, that there is any financial incompetence at the Workmen’s Compensation Board, but I must tell this House that the reason for the delay in the final report of The Wyatt Company is, in fact, due to the large numbers of representations which were made to the investigators by both employers and employees, and as a result of the hearings which they held with those deputations they have been delayed in the production of the final report. As soon as it is available, we shall be considering it.
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Granting that the status of the fund itself and its possible ability to pay additional compensation is in question and is presently being studied, and is a logical thing to study, why is the government forcing the injured workpeople of this province to have to suffer through this winter and this inflationary period with no increase at all while the minister is waiting for this particular bureaucratic study to be done? Why can the government not itself supplement, according to the cost of living, the compensation of these people at the very bottom of the economic ladder and not force them to wait for the valuable study to be finished?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the hon. Leader of the Opposition has first said it was entirely logical to do the study and then says it is illogical to wait for the results before making modifications. Supplemental funds are available --
Mr. S. Smith: You can supplement from general revenue.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- to families of injured workmen through provincial programs at this time. The members very well know that amendments to those benefits cannot be made without introduction of legislation into this House. That must be done on the basis of all the valid responsible information which is available to us. We cannot do it without considering the total impact of whatever modifications may be suggested.
Mr. Makarchuk: You just don’t want to do it.
Hon. B. Stephenson: But I would suggest to the hon. members that if indeed there are problems there are sources available through provincial funding and federal funding which are available to the families of those workmen.
An hon. member: Supplementary?
Mr. Speaker: We have had enough supplementaries. We have time for one more question. The hon. member for London North.
Mr. Lewis: Other than being objectionable, it is entirely unclear. What is the minister talking about? That injured workers should go on welfare because she won’t give them the increase? What’s wrong with the hon. minister?
TEACHERS’ SUPERANNUATION FUND
Mr. Van Horne: A question of the Minister of Education: How does he explain the expenditure of over $100 million for the teachers’ superannuation fund, as revealed in the third quarter report of Ontario Finances, when he told the Legislature last session that the government was all paid up for the current fiscal year and that he was meeting his responsibilities in that regard?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I would suspect, Mr. Speaker, that the figure my friend is talking about is the same one we were discussing previously in supplementary estimates. I would have to take a look at that and find out, but I suspect that is probably so.
Mr. Van Horne: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired.
MINIMUM DRINKING AGE
Mr. Van Horne: I have a petition, Mr. Speaker. It is regrettable that we can’t spend a little more time dealing with $100 million but I will pursue that on Monday.
I beg to present a petition from some members of the congregation of Riverside United Church, bearing 136 names, requesting that the Legislature raise the age of the consumption of alcoholic beverages to 20 years of age and that the government curtail the advertising of alcoholic beverages. This petition is directed to the attention of the Lieutenant Governor and members of the assembly.
ELECTRICAL POWER SYSTEMS INQUIRY
Hon. B. Stephenson: I would like to report the submission of the inquiry into the electrical power system sector by Mr. Ellis.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
THRONE SPEECH DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Resumption of the adjourned debate on the motion of an address in reply to the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, perhaps I can begin by saying thank you to members from all parties, and I will ask you to save a bit of that applause for a few months hence when I hope you will have some more of that kind of support for me.
I want to begin, Mr. Speaker, by paying my respects to you in my new role as leader of the Ontario New Democratic Party, I look forward to serving in this Legislature under your firm hand because we have been party colleagues, because we are friends and because of a special affinity between the two of us -- you, Mr. Speaker, as the first Speaker of this Legislature from northern Ontario, and me, as the first Lender of the New Democratic Party to come from outside Toronto. I think it is significant that even the Conservative government acknowledged that when it came to minding the legislative store the best person for the job was a New Democrat. And the people of Ontario are rapidly coming to understand that when it comes to minding the provincial store and making the economy of Ontario work, the best people for the job are the New Democrats.
Mr. Havrot: You should try running a store.
Mr. Cassidy: Before turning to the Throne Speech, I want to say a few words about how I intend to approach the work of the Legislature in my new role as leader of the New Democratic Party.
Mr. Kerrio: Get the hook.
Mr. Cassidy: First, my party and I will do everything in our power to confront the government on the level of issues and not of personalities --
Mr. Lewis: With one exception. Hon. Mr. Rhodes; You may have issues but you sure don’t have any personality. I’ll buy that one.
Mr. Makarchuk: The Minister of Industry and Tourism doesn’t know the difference between a waffle and a cucumber.
Mr. Cassidy: -- and to treat the Premier (Mr. Davis), his party and all of the members on a basis of respect. We have always treated this Legislature with respect and we will continue to do so.
Some hon. Members: Oh, oh.
Mr. Cassidy: I trust that the public also understands, as we do, that the MPPs in this chamber are here overwhelmingly out of a sense of public service and not of personal gain.
Mr. Hodgson: You did pretty well.
Mr. Cassidy: I do want to caution, however, that the obligation to treat the Legislature with respect rests not just on the two opposition parties but also on the government.
Ontario is a big, complex province and this Legislature has difficult and important tasks to perform. If we just think back to the work of this winter, we have had select committees studying such complex issues as family law reform, the whole question of health and safety in the workplace, the difficult problem of how to protect jobs when a multi-national corporation like Inco pulls the plug on a community like Sudbury, and the equally difficult problems of our energy future and of how to secure Ontario Hydro’s uranium supplies.
That’s a far cry from the days in 1970 when the member for Scarborough West assumed the duties of leader of the New Democratic Party’s program.
Mr. Lewis: That’s progress.
Mr. Cassidy: The Ontario budget has tripled between then and now and government has grown enormously under the guiding hand of the party which now says that Ontario is over-regulated and that there is too much government. These are the fellows who created that.
Mr. McClellan: Too much Tory government.
Mr. Cassidy: On top of all this, the current minority situation has enormously increased the importance of the ordinary MPPs in this Legislature as well as their workload.
Some new support has been provided since I came to the Legislature, but the ability of the opposition parties to participate meaningfully in the work of this House is still incredibly handicapped, because we work with such limited resources. Without going into detail, I would say to the Premier, and ask him to understand, that if this Legislature is really to perform the job for which the members are elected, adequate resources along the lines proposed by the Camp commission and the select committee of the Legislature must be provided. That’s essential.
Mr. MacDonald: The government House leader agrees.
Mr. Cassidy: Respect for the Legislature and for the people of this province must go beyond providing adequate resources for this Legislature alone. The cobwebs that encrust Ontario’s government have got to be swept away. I want to put on the record here my commitment, and my party’s commitment, to open the door on government operations by bringing in a genuine freedom of information law for Ontario to ensure that the people’s right to know how their business is being conducted, is no longer the sham that it is under the Conservatives.
Mr. Foulds: Like the Liberals in Ottawa.
Some hon. members: Hear, hear.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: An enormous response.
Mr. Cassidy: At this point I had planned to turn to the substance of the Throne Speech. Having found none, however, I want to turn to the flim-flam that is there as a replacement.
The Throne Speech is an abdication of responsibility for the many serious economic problems that are facing Ontario in 1978 and as we move into the 1980s. The government acknowledges that jobs in the economy are the most important problems facing Ontario this year. But instead of taking action itself and providing the leadership that Ontario so desperately needs, it has decided to stand aside and pass the buck to the federal government and to the private sector.
In short, this Throne Speech is a copout and nothing more. A strategy for economic recovery must begin with job creation; yet the government’s only specific proposals are to modestly expand the program of temporary jobs for young people, and to give yet another promise of investment incentives which have proven so ineffective in the past. That’s just not good enough for the 316,000 people who cannot today find work in this province because of the policies of this government.
There are some things that one can welcome in the Throne Speech even when it’s as limp of content as this particular one. The government’s decision to improve manpower training programs, an area for which it has had complete responsibility for years, is welcome. New Democrats have pressed for years for action on special education, and we hope that adequate funding will now be provided to back up the government’s promises. We also hope this will not simply be an added burden on the back of the property taxpayers at the local level, but will be backed with provincial funding.
I, personally, have shared too much anguish with parents who have been involved, not to welcome the government’s proposal to do something to try to stop the kidnapping of children by parents who are engaged in family disputes.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Wait for it, wait for it.
Mr. Cassidy: We will wait for it, Mr. Speaker, with interest and concern. It’s a serious area and action was long overdue; and on the administration front, this government could have been acting years ago without even the need for legislative change.
The government is preparing to make automobile insurance compulsory in this province. It must now face the need also to make the insurance universally available and affordable, lest the policy benefits the private insurance industry in Ontario at the expense of Ontario drivers.
I want to draw the government’s attention to the study conducted by a private consulting firm for a committee of this Legislature, which estimated that there would be savings of more than $50 million a year from a fully public automobile insurance program. Half measures are not enough. We will press in this Legislature for a public auto insurance plan that deals fairly with every driver in Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: What are you going to do with Lawlor and Renwick? Come on.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, there is a sort of Alice in Wonderland air, though, to some of the other proposals in the Throne Speech and I have the feeling that the people of Ontario would do very well to read between the lines. I am sorry the minister has left now, the new Minister of the Environment (Mr. McCague). If the government did not intend to undercut environmental standards in this province, then I have to ask why it bothered to include the ambiguous and misleading references to the environment and resource development which are contained in the Throne Speech.
None of us in this party can fathom exactly what the government’s reference to making the public assume more personal responsibility for the health system really means, but I want to serve notice that we will resist any effort by the government to shift the costs of our health insurance system on to the shoulders of those citizens who need health care most, yet can afford it least.
We welcome the news that the Conservative government is prepared to defend the family against its adversaries in the province of Ontario. But it is hard to take these assurances seriously when the government’s disregard for the unemployed is, in itself, a major source of stress for hundreds of thousands of families in this province. If I can add a personal note, I will begin to accept that the government’s concern about the family is real and not just a sham if it brings in legislation to put the needs of families with children ahead of the desire for profits ‘by developers who are running adult-only buildings with the approval of the government of Ontario.
Then there’s that fascinating gimmickry which governments resort to when they have nothing meaningful to offer to the citizens of the province. A government that was really capable of governing would not need a sunset law in order to eliminate obsolete or useless boards or commissions. It’s ironic that this government feels it has to mount a crusade against counter-productive red tape when the people who wrote and approved all of those regulations are Conservative cabinet ministers. And wasn’t it this government in Ottawa last week which spoke of protecting monopolies and of encouraging foreign takeovers at the expense -- my goodness, at the expense of Canadian free enterprise? Bill Davis and Darcy McKeough are opposed to free enterprise in Ontario. The gospel of deregulation has got some very curious twists indeed.
On a more serious note, Mr. Speaker, everyone in this province should be concerned with the doctrinaire way in which this government has reacted to Ontario’s economic problems by resolving to do nothing. What we need in this province is leadership by the government, and not abdication. That applies to our economy, that applies to the proposed sellout of our uranium resources, and that applies in the area of national unity.
The Conservatives’ lack of leadership, the Conservatives’ lack of imagination, their lack of direction are evident now not just in this Legislature but all across Ontario. People are no longer just questioning one or two specific policies that are advanced by the government; they are questioning the basic competence of the Conservatives to govern this province.
Just how far this government has abdicated its responsibility for jobs and the economy was evident throughout last week’s federal-provincial conference up in Ottawa. As we understand it, the government really began to compile its list of 10 job actions only about two weeks before that conference began. Half of those 10 proposals lack so much as a word on how they might be implemented. But when it came to two of the most pressing economic problems affecting Ontario, the Premier abandoned his role of coach and retired to the stands and acted as a spectator.
If the premiers and the federal government were really intent on showing Canadians that they meant business about creating jobs in this province, they had a golden opportunity one week ago. They had a golden opportunity, with the legislation that was before Parliament last week and this week, to ensure that Canadians will supply the pipe for the Alcan pipeline, rather than leaving that open to the rest of the world. That’s what Premier Blakeney called for. But the Premier of Ontario preferred to talk in generalities about accelerating investment in energy areas, without even hinting anything specific on the pipe supply issue, despite the jobs that are at stake in Hamilton, in Welland and in Sault Ste. Marie.
The failure by Ontario and by Canada to intervene could result in some of the biggest steel contracts in Canada’s history slipping between our fingers. Canada is saying that one of our major objectives from the pipeline is to maximize economic benefits from the construction of the line. But the only way to ensure this objective is to legislate a guarantee that the Canadian portion of the pipeline will be built with Canadian-made material.
Even though more than $1 billion worth of pipe and jobs is involved, this government and their Liberal counterpart up in Ottawa are so doctrinaire in their belief that there must be no interference in market forces, that both Premier Davis and Prime Minister Trudeau ignored the issue entirely.
Mr. S. Smith: That would give Stelco a licence to steal, you know. No competition.
Mr. Cassidy: The member for Hamilton West says Stelco is not a competitive firm and has suggested that Canadian steelworkers and Canadian steel management are not capable of providing steel at a competitive price.
Mr. S. Smith: What nonsense. I said that if you guarantee Canadian, then they have no competitor; consequently, they could name their price.
Mr. Cassidy: The member for Hamilton West thinks that Stelco is so irresponsible that it would rip off the Canadian taxpayer, in the case of being given an assurance of having the job.
Mr. Lewis: No faith in the private sector, for God’s sake.
Mr. Cassidy: The member for Hamilton West has no faith in the managers who live in the boskier ends of his riding, nor in the steelworkers who live in part of his riding as well. We believe it is possible to negotiate a price that is a competitive price and ensure that those jobs remain in Canada. That is what Ontario should have been saying at the first ministers’ conference.
Likewise, that conference began on the very day the layoffs at Inco in Sudbury took effect. Yet the Premier of this province couldn’t even bring himself to mention the crisis that is affecting the Sudbury basin. I suspect it is because he had nothing to say to his fellow premiers, or to the 1,200 men whose jobs he refused to protect and who were thrown out of work a week ago Monday.
This government knew a full year ago, they were told a full year ago, that nickel was piling up and that massive layoffs were inevitable if world markets did not improve. Yet the government did nothing. They didn’t prepare a contingency plan; they didn’t bother to consult the unions or the companies, but just sat on the information. They even patted Inco on the back when it said it was going to mine the deepsea nickel nodule market at the expense of jobs here in Canada. Should the Premier really have been so shocked and surprised when the layoffs were announced last fall? No, he should not, because the government knew all along that that was going to happen, and they failed to lift a finger in order to protect those jobs.
Doing nothing has become a habit with this government. Of course, there was some pretence of action. A select committee was established to come up with some ideas, on the assumption, I suppose, that it would not come up with any ideas. But when the committee did just that and made a proposal with a majority report to cushion the effects on the workers concerned, the government of Ontario not only ignored the recommendations, but deliberately undermined the effort to get federal co-operation to keep the men on the job and ensure that those layoffs did not occur.
Ms. Gigantes: Shame.
Mr. Cassidy: I say to the Premier that the people of Sudbury were looking for leadership. They got nothing but silence. That’s an indictment of the way this government has proceeded.
According to the Throne Speech the health of the provincial economy and the security and generation of workers’ jobs and incomes will be the primary targets for government action during the session. But so little is offered in this speech in that area that one shudders to think what might have happened had the government decided to give second priority to the economy and not primary priority. Both my party and I are determined to focus on the rebuilding of Ontario’s economy and that will be our priority in this session of the Legislature.
I promise you, Mr. Speaker, that we will not be content with rhetoric and that we will have tough and specific measures. We will not abdicate our responsibility because we believe that Ontario can lead in creating jobs and in restructuring our economy for the needs of the 1980s. We reject the government’s approach because it is both irresponsible and incompetent.
In a few weeks’ time I’ll have the opportunity to respond to the Treasurer’s (Mr. McKeough) budget, since I have insisted on having my swan song as Treasury critic for my party. I would, however, like to focus just on one area. I’d like to focus on the buy-Canadian proposals in the Throne Speech because they are put forward as such a fundamental precept of the government’s strategy for economic recovery and because these proposals are so obviously lifted from the plan that the Conservative government failed to embrace when my party put it forward one year ago.
Last year we proposed tough provincial action so that Ontario could start winning back our most important foreign market -- the market for foreign products in this province itself. All we are promised this week, however, is a federal-provincial exercise in public relations and one that is directed only at consumers. We agree that Ontario should press for a country-wide scheme to identify Canadian products on their labels, at the point of sale and in advertising, and to encourage people to buy these Canadian goods. But if the federal government drags its heels, as it has so often in the past, there is no earthly reason why Ontario should not sit down with the private sector in this province and work out a practical scheme for the Ontario retail market.
We New Democrats see a lot of sense in this kind of straightforward co-operation with the business community and we’re fed up with the lack of action from the government. Not only that, but Ontario should do more than encourage action by consumers because it has an obvious responsibility to ensure that government contribute as much as it expects from the private consumers and the private sector.
In Ontario alone, billions of dollars of goods are bought by the Ontario government, by municipalities, by school boards and other agencies that use provincial tax dollars. We need now a buy-Canadian policy to govern these massive purchases. This is an area where Ontario can and should move immediately, if it really means business about creating jobs in Canada and relieving the current state of unemployment.
That’s the way you could start now, Mr. Speaker, and that is a lot more than coming up with 10 job actions which apply to the feds, which apply to the private sector but which entail no meaningful commitment from Ontario alone. Nothing is more encouraging than a good example. We in the New Democratic Party believe the people of Ontario would respond to this kind of leadership from the public sector. When it comes to creating jobs in this province they look to this government for leadership, but all they are getting is public relations.
The Premier’s behaviour on uranium was just as unbelievable as it was on the question of Inco and on the question of the pipeline. The federal government’s uranium policy has done enormous harm to Ontario’s interests in the exploitation of the uranium reserves at Elliot Lake. But when it came the Premier’s turn to say something at the first ministers’ conference, there was not even a whimper. The whole affair reveals a pattern of ideological rigidity that is without parallel even for this government and which will cost the people of Ontario billions of dollars. On this government’s head be that cost.
I find the company unusual, but even such well known left-wingers as George Gathercole, the former chairman of Ontario Hydro, were urging back in 1973 that Hydro buy the uranium assets of Denison Mines in order to secure the fuel for Ontario’s nuclear future. This was a view that was concurred in by the people from Consolidated Edison of New York, a privately owned utility, when they appeared before the select committee.
Even Sinclair Stevens, of all people, the federal Conservative MP -- and there is none more Tory than he said that if he had been on the board of a utility locking up a multi-billion-dollar uranium contract, he would have taken the acquisition route and therefore he supported Ontario Hydro’s taking over Denison Mines.
Let me read some of the comments. George Gathercole wrote to the Minister of Energy in December 1973 and said: “We believe that either Ontario Hydro or some other agency of government should effectively own or control a substantial proportion of the uranium resources which are required to meet our need for at least the next 30 to 50 years. The conclusions reached both by Task Force Hydro and the advisory committee on energy support this. In our view we should proceed with the purchase of the uranium assets of Denison Mines, which are understood to have the largest low-cost reserves available, as quickly as possible.” But the government failed to act.
Mr. Lawler: The government deliberately missed the boat.
Mr. Cassidy: Half a year later, on June 4. 1974, Mr. J. G. Matthew, the manager of fuel and supply resources development of Hydro, wrote and made a presentation to the then Minister of Energy, who now is the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough). He said, on behalf of Hydro, that it is probable that with world shortages, price increases will greatly exceed damages in the cost of production from Elliot Lake reserves. “Payment of such prices by Ontario Hydro for an Ontario resource could mean unreasonable profits for the mining companies at the expense of electricity consumers in the province. In the case of Denison there are outside indications of a willingness to sell out. If this is a fact, Ontario Hydro could obtain one of the largest known uranium reserves, which would then be available on a cost-related basis with no market influence.”
He concluded: “Acquisition of the Denison reserves is the key to Ontario Hydro’s bargaining position now and in the future.”
I suspect that on this matter alone, the ideology of the present Treasurer of Ontario may well have cost Ontario’s taxpayers well over $2 billion.
Mr. Foulds: Shameful.
Mr. Cassidy: As the Minister of Energy, he told Hydro: “There has to be a better way than simply buying a mine.” And the die inexorably was cast.
So uninterested was the government in the alternative of acquiring Denison’s assets that the Project Wellesley report, which also urged Hydro to expropriate Denison or buy its shares, was put on the shelf for 16 months before its contents were even communicated to the then Minister of Energy, the present Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell); and the document itself wasn’t examined by the next Minister of Energy (Mr. J. A. Taylor) until it had been called for by the select committee of this Legislature in January of this year.
Why did the government ignore the weight of evidence which suggested acquisition of the Elliot Lake uranium reserves to be the best course? The Minister of Energy from Prince Edward-Lennox (Mr. J. A. Taylor) -- there’s quite a cast of characters there, and he was another in that disastrous succession of those who have held this office -- explained that “the acquisition of shares of a uranium company was rejected as not being compatible with this government’s political philosophy.”
If that is the case, one wonders whether even the ownership of Ontario Hydro is compatible with this government’s political philosophy.
Adam Beck must be thrashing around in his grave right now, for his great motto of “power at cost” has been translated into “power at cost-plus” under the Conservative government of the member for Brampton (Mr. Davis).
The contracts with Denison Mines and Preston Mines are a decided second best that have been imposed upon Hydro by government policy, and not at Hydro’s wishes.
Mr. MacDonald: They are destroying Ontario’s tradition of power at cost.
Mr. Cassidy: The New Democratic Party is absolutely persuaded that these contracts are not in the public interest of Ontario. Unlike the Liberal Party, we intend to set this issue before the people of Ontario in terms of an alternative to signing the contracts, namely the purchase of Denison Mines or the acquisition of its uranium assets.
What is at stake, Mr. Speaker, is a windfall profit of $1.6 billion minimum, and probably far more.
Mr. Breithaupt: Tell us how it can be done.
Mr. Cassidy: I am not even sure one should call it a profit. Certainly the fathers of liberal capitalist economics would not have recognized it as such.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Like Saskatchewan.
Mr. Cassidy: I took the pains yesterday to consult the great British economist, John Stuart Mill, looking at his seminal work, Principles of Political Economy. I happen to have it here and I recommend it for everybody’s consideration.
Mr. Lewis: Absolutely.
Mr. Cassidy: He said on page 406 of this edition, which I got from the Legislative Library and which I might say was last consulted in 1955 --
Mr. Breithaupt: By whom? Probably the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald).
Mr. Lewis: By a Liberal, and they haven’t moved in the intervening 23 years.
Mr. McClellan: Probably Wintermeyer.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Some of us have our own copies.
Mr. Cassidy: “Profits,” he said, “must afford a sufficient equivalent for abstinence, indemnity for risk and remuneration for the labour and skill of superintendence.” If I could translate that into more modern language, by abstinence Mill simply meant the return on invested capital. But under this contract Hydro will be putting up the capital, more than $176 million, for the development of the Denison mine and, as the capital is interest free, no return on capital is warranted. By superintendence Mill meant management skills. But these management skills are handsomely rewarded already because all management expenses in connection with this particular deal are built into the base price of uranium for the cost-plus contract before any profit is even allowed. As for indemnity for risk, I have to ask what conceivable risk is left in this contract if it is signed next Tuesday between the government and Denison Mines.
Denison is using publicly-owned uranium which is not going to go away. It is selling to a Crown corporation whose credit and whose word are as good as that of the province of Ontario. Denison has locked up its capital advances from Hydro so that it doesn’t need the risk, the insecurity of having to go to the bank, and the deal will last until the mine’s resources are completely exhausted.
There is absolutely no risk entailed. There are no costs entailed for superintendence or management; and no return on capital is needed because the capital for this particular capitalist enterprise is being provided for free. In other words, this is a pure windfall, which is utterly without justification in terms of the classical doctrine of risk, uncertainty and management to which the Treasurer and his colleagues so readily and so frequently appeal in their ritual hymns of praise for private business and for free enterprise.
Mr. S. Smith: There is also some capital which Denison has there now.
Mr. Cassidy: And free enterprise this is not.
Ms. Gigantes: That’s right.
Mr. Breithaupt: Call it rewarding their friends.
Mr. Cassidy: They are rewarding friends. As the Premier talks about his good friend Stephen Roman, it makes it very difficult for us to understand what is happening over there. We in the New Democratic Party will ensure that the people of Ontario know who is to blame for the staggering price which this contract will impose upon all users of electricity and how it will damage an economy already reeling from successive cost hikes imposed by federal oil policies.
If I could elaborate on that for a bit; in dollar terms this deal means at least an extra dollar a week on a Hydro bill for every family in Ontario over the 35 years in which these two contracts are going to take place.
Ms. Gigantes: Shame.
Mr. Cassidy: In economic terms, it means that we lose the opportunity of having cheap electricity which could give a major and significant cost advantage to our industry in competing for the markets, both within Ontario and around the world, over the course of the next 30 years. We’ve given up that advantage because of the Treasurer’s decision and the Premier’s decision to reward their friends in the private sector.
Ms. Gigantes: Change your minds; there is still time.
Mr. Cassidy: There is still time. Just let me add a couple of notes to show how handsomely the Davis-McKeough kind of private enterprise is rewarded in Ontario. That $5 a pound guaranteed profit in the Denison contract has already escalated to $5.83 a pound, and this year it will go up by more than the Anti-Inflation Board guidelines, because it is keyed to the cost of living and not to the AIB limits. At a modest five per cent rate of inflation that guaranteed profit will have risen to more than $27.50 a pound by the end of the contract, no matter what happens to the world price. That is apart from any additional escalations that may be coming as a result of higher world prices.
As a sweetener, Denison will be given 50 cents a pound to cover the cost of future explorations, even though there is no guarantee that this money will be invested in Canada. That happens to add a cool $63 million to its returns from the contract.
Even if this were a good contract, and we don’t think it is, it beggars belief that after a decade in which International Nickel has quite obviously and deliberately funnelled $1.5 billion in profit from Sudbury and Thompson, Manitoba, into foreign manufacturing subsidiaries and foreign mines Ontario has not even attempted to set conditions on where the minimum of $1.6 billion worth of profit that Denison stands to earn will be reinvested. Denison will be just as free to take those profits and those jobs abroad as International Nickel has been over the past decade, and we should not be allowing history to repeat itself as the government is allowing under the terms of this particular contract.
Not only that, Mr. Speaker, but I ask members of the House to listen to this figure carefully. It boggles the mind that the mineral lands which are generating these staggering profits return to the people of Ontario in rentals and mining fees the princely annual sum of $7,961.51. That is the total return. I’m glad for the 51 cents. It would have seemed rather inadequate if that hadn’t been included. That is really quite incredible -- $1.6 billion profit minimum on the one hand; $7,000 and change on the other; not even enough to pay the gasoline bill on the Premier’s limousine. What is there left to say?
Hydro concluded in Project Wellesley that it was economically feasible in 1975 to acquire Denison Mines, and that was a high-level and very competent report. The research staff of the select committee has concluded that that acquisition is just as economically feasible today, in 1978, as it was three years ago. In other words, what the New Democratic Party proposes makes sound business sense, because it is actually cheaper to buy Denison now than it is to sign the contracts, and the profits from the contracts are at least twice as much as the price of acquiring Denison.
I want to reflect real concern at this point about what the Premier is so obviously planning to do. The Premier knows the positions of the two opposition parties, but he is using the technicality that the Liberal Party refused to join with the New Democrats and say that the contracts are not in the public interest. The Premier is using that technicality in order to evade --
Mr. Reid: Come on, that’s not what happened.
Mr. Nixon: That is another little technicality. Our motion saying they were not in the public interest was rejected by you.
Mr. Cassidy: The Liberal Party refused to join with the New Democrats and say that the contract was not in the public interest.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege.
Mr. Cassidy: Oh, you are provoked.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Your point?
Mr. S. Smith: On a point of privilege, considering the importance that the Premier not miscalculate and not in any way misunderstand what the opinion of that committee is, let me set the record straight. The committee had a number of motions put before it, the first motion being from a Liberal member -- as I recall, the member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. Reed) -- saying clearly that these contracts were not in the public interest and declaring a series of reasons.
Mr. Foulds: Fatuous and inadequate.
Mr. S. Smith: The member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) then --
Mr. MacDonald: That’s incorrect, Stuart. The first motion was from the government side.
Mr. Nixon: Saying that they were.
Mr. S. Smith: Saying that they were in the public interest. That motion was defeated with the seven opposition members voting against the six government representatives. Then there came a motion from the Liberal Party which said clearly that these contracts were not in the public interest and stated a series of reasons for that belief. There then came an amendment from the hon. member for Port Arthur --
Ms. Gigantes: Yes, that’s right.
Mr. S. Smith: -- accepting the part of the motion which said it was not in the public interest --
Ms. Gigantes: The substance of the motion.
Mr. S. Smith: -- but striking out the reasons --
Mr. Davison: Is this a point of privilege or a speech?
Mr. S. Smith: -- as the reasons were objectionable to that member. The amendment was defeated. However, the motion itself then was also defeated.
Ms. Gigantes: No, it wasn’t.
Mr. S. Smith: Then another motion was presented by the New Democratic member which again said the contracts were not in the public interest and asked for the resource to be nationalized now. That was also defeated.
It is absolutely clear, as the letter from the Chairman makes clear to the Premier, that both parties believe that these contracts are not in the public interest, and therefore it is not only dangerous for the Premier to assume, as he might by listening to the speech by the member for Ottawa Centre, that there is one party that doesn’t believe that -- it is very dangerous -- it would be wrong, and I feel that my privileges as a member have been breached in this way because of the fact that the member for Ottawa Centre has implied --
Ms. Gigantes: Blame the federal government. It’s all you are capable of.
Mr. S. Smith: -- that the Liberal Party has in any way refused to declare that these contracts are not in the public interest. We declared it clearly in our motion and we declared it again yesterday in my remarks before this House.
Mr. Mackenzie: Say whether you are going to act or just talk.
Mr. Foulds: I thought you had a point of order, not a speech.
Mr. Cassidy: It is interesting how much time the Leader of the Opposition is prepared to spend on this. He spent yesterday clarifying his position on the official languages and today his is clarifying his position on the question of uranium.
Mr. S. Smith: If you are irresponsible enough to misrepresent it, then we have to clarify it.
Mr. Cassidy: It seems that the Leader of the Opposition is provoked. The best way to describe him is all puff and no stuff. I just want to point out for the record that there was an opportunity for a majority report from the committee to go before the government to say that this contract was not in the public interest. There was one opportunity when we offered an amendment that allowed the two opposition parties to say together that the contract was not in the public interest. There was second opportunity when the Liberal Party could have offered an amendment to the NDP motion that would have stripped it down to say that this contract was not in the public interest. Both opportunities were not taken up by the Liberal Party because they were not prepared to carry though.
Mr. Nixon: You scuttled it.
Mr. Cassidy: If it had not been for the political pressure --
Mr. S. Smith: Now you are mind reading.
Mr. Cassidy: -- if it had not been the political desire of the Leader of the Opposition to have something different to say from the Conservatives, if it had not been for that the members of his party who were on that committee would have gone along and endorsed those contracts.
Mr. S. Smith: That is a total fabrication.
Mr. Foulds: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, I would ask you to ask the member for Hamilton West to withdraw that last remark. It is unparliamentary
Mr. S. Smith: Speaking to the point of order, if the member for Ottawa Centre can prove that any member of that committee had the intention, which he ascribes to them by his marvellous ability to read their minds, that they were preparing to vote for those contracts, if he can prove in any way that that was the case, then I will withdraw my remarks and leave the chamber.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. There is no point of order, I would ask the member for Ottawa Centre to continue.
Mr. Cassidy: I just have one final question to raise, Mr. Sneaker. If the Leader of the Opposition had had confidence in his members on that committee then he would not have constantly been in that committee in order to ensure that they were toeing the line. I want to continue my speech.
Mr. Foulds: A serious allegation has been made in this House, Mr. Speaker. The member for Hamilton West has used the words “total fabrication” with regard to the remarks of the leader of this party.
Mr. Nixon: Which is correct.
Mr. Foulds: I put to you, ‘Mr. Speaker, that that is unparliamentary and that a member of this House has been ejected for that. The Speaker of this House has ejected three members of the New Democratic Party when such accusations were made and were not withdrawn.
Mr. Reid: And properly so.
Mr. Foulds: I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that the leader of the Liberal Party withdraws his remarks or be asked to leave the House.
Mr. Mackenzie: He has not got the guts to stay and face it.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: I ruled earlier that the member for Port Arthur had no point of order. I would ask the member for Ottawa Centre to continue.
Mr. Cassidy: I regret that decision, Mr. Speaker, but will abide by it. It is clear that the Premier is prepared to go ahead and sign these contracts. I say through you to the Premier, that on the Premier’s head be that decision -- because we will not give up this fight on February 28. We will go across the province and say how the Conservatives have indulged in the biggest sellout of natural resources in Ontario’s history.
Mr. Sweeney: What are you going to do about it?
Mr. Cassidy: I’ve already said that.
The third major issue which will concern us in this session is the one of national unity. No one would disagree when the Throne Speech says that it is well “within the capacity of this Legislature to exert a positive influence throughout Ontario and the nation as a whole to build and strengthen our future.” What dismays me is that this government has increasingly failed to provide the leadership that Canada should expect from Ontario, to the point where I am not even sure that it is any longer within their capacity to give that kind of leadership.
Last November I heard the Premier deliver Ontario’s brief to the Task Force on Canadian Unity. It was a bitter disappointment. What disturbed me was the cold, uninterested attitude which the Premier seemed to display on a question which is so essential to our future.
I looked for passion and for courage, for a sense of understanding, for sympathy and warmth for what is happening among French Canadians in Quebec and in Canada. Instead I heard nothing but the dry words about constitutional realignment and economic restructuring which are echoed in this week’s Throne Speech.
The Premier should have spoken for us all in Ontario, but he was not capable of rising to the occasion. The New Democrats in Ontario are prepared to be flexible on the constitutional question, and our commitment to use the powers of government as well as the private sector in rebuilding the economy of all parts of this country as well as this province are well known. The question we have to confront goes far deeper, and it is a question of attitude which doesn’t just touch alienated residents of the province of Quebec. We face a cultural and economic dilemma in this country which also affects angry Westerners, deprived Maritimers, forgotten Franco-Ontarians, and immigrants who feel they are caught in the middle.
The election of René Lévesque 15 months ago simply brought our concerns about the future of Canada to a head.
Les néo-démocrates croient fermement que les aspirations du Canada français en général et du Québec en particulier peuvent et doivent être réalisées à l’intérieur de la Confédération canadienne. En effet, il est clair que l’épanouissement culturel du Canada français et du Canada anglais ne peut être assuré que si les deux peuples fondateurs font face ensemble à l’influence américaine.
Nous croyons que le Parti Québécois fait fausse route en tâchant d’abord de séparer le Québec du Canada pour ensuite tenter de négocier une nouvelle association économique.
We New Democrats believe that the aspirations of French Canada and of Quebec in particular must be recognized and can be realized within Confederation. In fact with American influences crowding across our border, the chances of cultural survival, both for French and English Canada, are much greater if we stand together than if we drift apart. That is why we believe that the Parti Quebecois is on the wrong track when they seek to separate from Canada and then set up some sort of economic association.
However we must also seek to understand what has gone wrong in the relationship between our two great founding peoples. French culture in Quebec may seem strong to us, but there is still an enormous insecurity in Quebec that flows from English economic domination. French-Canadian language and culture have survived in our history, but they have survived against enormous odds.
Mr. Cunningham: Parlez anglais tout le temps.
Mr. Cassidy: Franco-Ontarians and Franco-Manitobans remember with bitterness the way that insensitive governments denied them their language rights in education and in other fields. What is at stake is how we can somehow break the pattern of linguistic and of economic domination which has marked our history, and how we can move into a true partnership between the two great founding groups in this nation. And it is in that context, the context of national unity, that the status of French is different from the status of all the other languages that have been brought to Canada by peoples from almost every country in the world.
Canada is a country with two official languages and no official culture, and the recognition of French which we in the New Democratic Party are calling for must be seen as complementing the multicultural complexity and diversity which has developed in this province in the last 30 years. I say that because I understand that people from ethnic communities find it difficult to accept the preoccupation of so many Canadians with Quebec and with French.
Some simple truths need to be recognized when we come to deal with the future of this country. One is that the gulf between our province and Quebec is so much one of comprehension and of contact. My riding borders on the province of Quebec, yet even in Ottawa the two solitudes of our nations are embarrassingly present.
No one questions that the majority language and culture in this province is English, yet the same cannot be said for French in Quebec. That uncertainty helps to explain why Quebeckers, who are as far apart as Robert Bourassa and René Lévesque, could bring in language legislation which so many anglophones find repugnant. If there is to be a future for Confederation, we in Ontario must accept, and must be seen to accept, the fact that the majority language and culture in Quebec is French just as they accept that Ontario will be English.
The current pressures on the anglophone community in Quebec must not obscure the fact that Franco-Ontarians still have a long way to go ever to approach the rights that have been traditional for Anglo-Quebeckers. Our record in serving Franco-Ontarians and providing services for Franco-Ontarians in this province is not as bad as it is sometimes painted in Quebec. But we are not getting that message across, and a great deal of the blame must go on the Premier, on this government and on the constantly grudging attitude with which they have moved on the question of Franco-Ontarian rights.
Even though it was supposedly not an issue, the Premier came out of the last election in Ontario with enormous credibility on the issue of national unity. He had posed as the saviour of Confederation and people were prepared to see him in that role. That opportunity has been frittered away.
If Ontario wants to be understood in Quebec, our voice has to be heard -- and the Premier has been almost mute. The Premier of Ontario can get public attention whenever and wherever he wants, but he has contented himself with visits to the winter carnival while his Minister of Industry and Tourism encouraged Sun Life to pull up its roots without even waiting to see how the new language legislation in Quebec will work. That’s the kind of dealings that they’ve had, and it’s simply not good enough.
That brings me to the question of French-language rights in this province on which the debate in Ontario this year inevitably is going to centre. The Throne Speech was remarkably defensive, as was the Leader of the Opposition, when it came to the question of French-language services. The reason was the Premier’s adamant refusal to take the important formal step of making French an official language in this province. No other single act has done more to undermine Ontario’s credibility in its effort to help keep Canada together.
Already there are destructive consequences from the Premier’s position -- not just angry editorials in Quebec and front-page headlines, but clear signs that the Liberal leader in this province is running for cover. The Premier has started to propound myths that are totally untrue in an effort to defend an indefensible position.
Making French an official language in this province does not require anything like the federal bilingualism program. To suggest that, as the Premier has done and as the Minister of the Environment has done as well, is to feed the forces of division which are already threatening to tear our country apart.
The New Democratic Party of Ontario adopted the policy of making French an official language in the province back in 1969. We didn’t make a great song and dance about it because it seemed the natural thing to do, and it still does so today. As members of this House know, I have consistently fought for Franco-Ontarian rights and services which are only now being promised in the Throne Speech.
We welcome the promises of the government and we will do our best to support their initiatives. We welcome the change of heart by which, after rejecting some $500,000 in federal funds that was offered for the translation of our statutes over the past few years, Ontario now has decided to publish our laws in French.
As a party, however, we are still looking for legislative and not administrative protection for the right of Franco-Ontarians to services in health, in education, in the courts and in all government services so that they can have service in their own language wherever their numbers specify it. To make French an official language is quite simply a part of that approach. It is enormously important as a guarantee of survival to Franco-Ontarians as well as a sign of good faith to the rest of Canada and of our good faith and our commitment in keeping this country together.
And given the commitment to services in French which is contained in the Throne Speech, to make French an official language is a step whose additional costs are insignificant.
Last year, I made some modest suggestions in the Throne Speech debate and which I want to repeat here. One is that we must find every way possible for the citizens of this province to make contact and to reach out to their counterparts in French Canada. I would like to see school classes along the Ottawa River getting together in French and in English. I think that trade unionists and hardware merchants and ministers and priests and housewives and people like that -- every individual and group who have things in common should be encouraged by every means possible to visit and make contact between our two provinces.
I think the suggestion that I made last year to take some of our Wintario funds to provide high school students in this province with the chance to go on exchange visits to Quebec and to welcome a Quebec student in return some time during their high school years is an excellent proposal and should be pursued.
I also submitted last year, and I want to repeat again, that it is not enough in this Legislature that only the party leaders are involved in the question of national unity. The future of our country is at stake and all of us in this House should be involved in some way.
Isn’t it strange that this House has not had a single debate on Confederation since the election of the Parti Quebecois some 15 months ago? We have had some speeches of course. There was even the suggestion that a debate be held, but no debate has been held, no meaningful focus has been found for this Legislature to talk about the question of national unity.
I think this summer we should seek that focus. We should take one of our standing committees or we should appoint a select committee on Confederation and give it the task of travelling through Ontario and Quebec, of finding out what’s happening and of working out the approaches that this province ought to take.
Both my caucus and I personally are committed to doing what we can to increase our understanding and make a contribution to the national unity discussion in this province. We do so in part because of the failure of this government to provide the leadership that Ontario so obviously needs. I am glad that the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald), the former leader of my party, has agreed to join with the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) so that these two senior members of my caucus can act as spokesmen as well as ambassadors on questions of national unity and federal-provincial relations.
We are also undertaking a series of visits to Quebec by caucus members, beginning the week of the school break in March, when we will seek to make contact with a wide variety of organizations and trade unions in Quebec, with individual citizens and associations, with people from the press as well as political figures from the major parties. I don’t pretend that we will come back with answers from our first visit, but I intend to see that this contact continues on a regular basis and I think that will bring us increased understanding over time and that’s sure what we need in this province right now.
There’s a great deal that an opposition party can do in building bridges to Quebec and helping the cause of national unity, but there is so much more that Ontario could do if we had a government and a Premier that were prepared to provide leadership and to be heard on the questions of Canada’s future.
Mr. Speaker, I want you to know that we in the New Democratic Party are approaching this session in good heart and eager for the task which lies before us -- the task of unseating the Conservative government and providing a better alternative for the people of Ontario.
Mr. Cassidy: We intend to focus in this session on the issues of the economy, the sellout of our uranium resources and the government’s failure to make a meaningful contribution to national unity. We deplore the government’s failure to provide leadership in these areas, and in our opinion the Conservatives are no longer competent to govern Ontario.
This Throne Speech clearly demonstrates just how incapable the government is. Its proposals on the economy are so vague and so meaningless that even Jonathan Manthorpe is offended. The people of this province want leadership and are entitled to receive it in the battle to create jobs and rebuild the economy. I should say even Claire Hoy was offended, let alone Jonathan Manthorpe. The government’s answer is to stand aside and pass the buck and that is not good enough for Ontario.
The people of Ontario are entitled to the assurance that the great principle of power at cost, which was the foundation of Ontario Hydro when it was created by Conservatives 70 years ago, should be adhered to now that Ontario is in the nuclear age. We condemn the government for putting the financial interests of their friends in the mining industry ahead of the interests of the people of this province.
This province has a vital role to play in Canada as one of the cornerstones of Confederation and we condemn the government for failing to provide leadership on the national scene and for failing to settle, once and for all, the legitimate grievances of our 600,000 Franco-Ontarians.
Consecutive governments have seemed adept at running this province when times seemed good, but when times are bad and the country is in crisis, the Conservative government of William Davis and Darcey MeKeough is no longer up to the job.
Mr. Lewis: And Bob Welch.
Mr. Cassidy: And Bob Welch -- I was going to say that.
Mr. Lewis: Especially Bob Welch. That precious little fellow must be included.
Mr. Cassidy: For all these reasons, I wish to move an amendment to the motion.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Mr. Cassidy moves that the motion for an address in reply to the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session be amended by the addition of the following words:
“That this House regrets the failure of the government to provide leadership in rebuilding Ontario’s economy and finding jobs for the province’s 316,000 unemployed, its failure to bring Ontario’s uranium resources into public ownership and therefore needlessly forcing the people of Ontario to pay billions of dollars in windfall profits to the mining industry, and its failure to provide leadership on the question of national unity and Franco-Ontarian rights, and therefore no longer has confidence in this government.”
Is there a seconder to this motion?
Mr. Lewis: I second the motion.
Mr. Sweeney: Where are Deans and Breaugh?
On motion by Mr. Kennedy, the debate was adjourned.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the House adjourned at 12:08 p.m.