The House met at 10 a.m.
Mrs. Campbell: In view of the fact that at this point in time there are no ministers in this House, I would move the adjournment of the House, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Sweeney: I wonder if the House leader will second that motion.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: I would remind the hon. member for St. George that it is in the standing orders that I cannot accept a motion to adjourn the House before the orders of the day.
Mr. Conway: All the heavyweights are here now anyway.
Mr. Ruston: Slim pickings.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Better late than never.
Mr. Sweeney: That is what they call mulligan stew.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. S. Smith: I’ll reserve my questions until a little later.
Mr. Deans: We will reserve ours too.
Hon. Mr. Norton: In the absence of the leader of the third party.
Mrs. Campbell: I have a question, if I may, for the Attorney General. In view of the fact that the Attorney General advised this House last November that the suit -- or should I call it the “sweet” settlement -- between the provincial government and Dow Chemical was about to be settled and that he would have some statement within a few weeks, is he prepared to advise us as to the terms of the settlement today?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, the matter has not been settled. I indicated that I had some reason to feel optimistic about an impending settlement, but I have to state at this moment that the matter has not been settled.
I want to advise the House that it’s not just a matter between the government and the Dow Chemical Company. There are a number of commercial fishermen who are represented by counsel. They are very much a part of the process. There are certain issues outstanding between the individual commercial fishermen and Dow Chemical which have not been resolved, and until we’re satisfied that the fishermen’s interests have been resolved we will not be concluding any settlement.
Mrs. Campbell: A supplementary: Is the Attorney General doing anything to try to protect the estates of these fishermen in view of the lengthy and protracted dealings in this matter?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I’m not so sure that I understand the question.
Mrs. Campbell: Oh, I’m so sorry. I will spell it out.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Margaret, you’re not sorry.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Are there any further questions? The hon. member for Ottawa Centre.
Mr. Cassidy: I’m not sure I can ask further questions until I begin to ask questions, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Kerrio: We were asking questions about things while you were out in the hall.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question of the Premier. Can the Premier indicate what specific steps the government of Ontario has taken, either alone or in conjunction with the government of Canada, to secure the location in this province of at least some of the three or four automobile parts plants for which Canada is apparently competing with various states in the United States, according to yesterday’s statement in Parliament by the federal Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes, Mr. Speaker, there have been a number of discussions.
Mr. Cassidy: A supplementary: Can the Premier be more specific, in light of his insistence at the first ministers’ conference that we must have action by government on the problems of the automobile industry? Can he say whether Ontario has made any specific initiatives to counter the apparently lucrative offers which are being put before the automobile manufacturers by some of the southern states?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I can only say to the hon. member that we have been communicating with both the government of Canada and the automotive industry. We are continuing these discussions.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The member for Hamilton West has a supplementary.
Mr. S. Smith: Has the Premier personally called in the heads of the big four auto makers in this province, sat down with them and told them that we, in Ontario, want to have a fairer balance in terms of the auto parts manufacturing that supplies their large assembly operations? Has he called them in and told them that, as a matter of public policy in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, they haven’t been called in but they know as a matter of public policy that we do. I would point out to the Leader of the Opposition that what the member for Ottawa Centre has been asking about is not the parts section of the industry; it is the potential of the new capital plant that is being planned by the industry. I can’t say by the big four, really -- to our knowledge it is the big three, although I would add that the fourth is a very important part of the automotive industry. It is geographically located in one of the finest areas of the province of Ontario.
Mr. S. Smith: I am aware of that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It’s a very fine plant, it’s a great product. We have really been dealing with the question, at this moment, of possible capital plant expansion in the province of Ontario, at a time when the industry is receiving a great deal of attention, not only from the northern states but two or three of the southern states as well.
Mr. Cassidy: A supplementary: In view of the enormous importance of the automobile industry in this province, and in view of the suggestions that have been made that one of these automobile parts plants might go into the Sudbury area, and in view of the fact that we now have an enormous deficit in our automobile parts trade which is costing tens of thousands of jobs to this province, has the Premier had any specific and direct contact with the parts industry, or with the “big three,” in relation to these particular plants; and can he give details to this House?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I would reiterate once again we have had rather extensive discussions with the parts industry. In fact, as part of our submission to the first ministers’ conference we used some of the material provided by the industry itself, represented by Mr. Lavelle as a matter of fact, and this is a very important part of the discussion obviously.
I think what the member was really asking about was the potential of these four or five major plant expansions that relate to the companies themselves, not to the parts section of it, which as I say is part of the pact but it is also the area that is somewhat independent of the four major producers of automobiles. We have made our views known to the government of Canada. There have been discussions with the industry and there will be further discussions over the next two or three weeks. I can’t give the members any indication of the time-frame involved but I will keep the House informed to the extent I can during this period of discussion.
Mr. Kerrio: Supplementary: I wonder if the Premier might have some information as to what kind of competition we might be having in other jurisdictions, or what considerations might be given to the companies to locate in some of those other jurisdictions?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, it is a very difficult question to answer. I can’t tell the member of the proposals being made by some states to the industry. Some of it is public knowledge obviously. We have been reluctant, and we still have a concern as to what extent tax dollars should be used, particularly as it relates to three large companies which are not without financial resources. This does create a problem in terms of using taxpayers’ money for any of the “big three” to locate here in the province of Ontario.
At the same time, we are concerned about the competition that obviously is emerging. I think the ground rules in this area changed somewhat with the decision, I guess it was by the state of Pennsylvania, with respect to Volkswagen; I think that started this sort of bidding war in terms of just what inducements or incentives would be offered. There’s no question that some states of the union are presenting fairly attractive proposals to the automotive industry.
We want our share here and we are working very hard to obtain that share, but I can’t tell the members of the House what measure of success we may have and what proposals will be made to the automotive companies. I do present the concern that we feel as a government as to whether or not tax dollars should be paid to General Motors and Ford and Chrysler, who, in terms of access to resources, aren’t what one might describe as impoverished.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Final supplementary, the member for Ottawa Centre.
Mr. Cassidy: I defer to the member for Hamilton East, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary to the Premier: While I share his concern about incentives to, say, General Motors, can I ask the Premier why he worries about the tax dollars as a concession in this case, where we would definitely have additional plants and additional employees, and the government’s general policy of giving tax concessions with the argument that they will provide jobs and it’s across the board and we never see any evidence of it?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, we hear some of the inducements being offered by competing jurisdictions that go beyond, shall we say, any tax situation; I think there is a difference between offering tax incentives and outright grants to attract industry. There is a distinction. This government has provided incentives to industry generally --
Mr. Deans: What are you talking about?
Ms. Gigantes: Dancing girls, or what is it?
Mr. Wildman: That is semantics.
Hon. Mr. Davis: With great respect, it is not semantics. There is a difference between having a general tax incentive and giving an outright dollar grant to a major corporation --
Ms. Gigantes: You do it to Denison.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- and I say with respect that even the member’s new leader will understand that distinction.
Mr. Deans: I’d just like to know what you are talking about.
Mr. Turner: You wouldn’t understand anyway.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am delighted to know the member is prepared to give tax credits to the “big three.”
BURNING OF PCBS
Mr. Cassidy: A question to the Minister of the Environment: Could the minister explain why St. Lawrence Cement is still burning material with PCBs in it when the minister informed us there would be no more burned until after the public hearing, which is scheduled for late this summer?
Hon. Mr. McCague: The withdrawal of the order to burn PCBs, the member well understands, was the order that allowed for the burning of high-level PCBs. As far as I am personally concerned, I was not aware there were PCBs being burned there. When we found there were PCBs in the oils that were being spread on roads I asked that a check be taken of the oils in storage for burning at St. Lawrence Cement; and we did find that there were 15 parts per million in the sample taken.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Now that the minister has discovered there are PCBs in the waste oil that is being burned at St. Lawrence Cement, what does he intend to do about it; and specifically, does he intend to stop that burning?
Hon. Mr. McCague: At the moment, I don’t intend to order the burning to stop. As the member will know, we were burning PCBs there previously on an experimental basis at the rate of 250,000 parts per million and we were satisfied there were none escaping into the atmosphere. The present 15 parts per million is very insignificant as far as we are concerned; we are told by the occupational health people in the Ministry of Labour that this does not pose any danger to health. We must get rid of these waste oils somehow; if we are not going to be able to put them on the road, burning is a safe method, in the ministry’s opinion.
We do not at this time intend to stop the burning, but we do intend to monitor the situation very closely. Members will have noted in the press that we have purchased a machine that will give on-the-spot, instantaneous results. The problem is that we are not going to have this for six months. The federal Department of National Defence has one that is not of as high a quality as the one we are purchasing; we are attempting now to get that from them to do tests at St. Lawrence Cement.
Mr. Bounsall: Supplementary: Would the minister check further with the operation at St. Lawrence Cement to ensure that tests are being fully made at the hood, or the firing end of that apparatus? It is my information that no tests are being made for leakage of PCBs at that end of the operation, which because of the tumbling action of the feed-in can cause real problems. Secondly, would the minister investigate companies like Rollins Environmental Services which appear to have at this point the most advanced technology for the burning of PCBs, where they have assimilators --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Question.
Mr. Bounsall: -- that have very steady state conditions and have extensive back-up systems. They are, therefore, much safer than any kiln operation for burning anything that contains PCBs.
Hon. Mr. McCague: I will be glad to check into those matters the member has brought to my attention.
Mr. Cooke: Supplementary: I would like to ask the minister why he would continue to allow this type of material to be burned, when he admits he hasn’t purchased the monitoring devices -- they are on order -- and I don’t know how he can say it’s safe. Second, does this procedure not make a mockery of the assessment hearings he’s going to be having this summer? Third, how in the heck does he expect his ministry to get any credibility when we are dealing with this type of material when he didn’t even know that PCBs were being burned? This is the second time this type of thing has happened.
Mr. Gregory: Do you know what they are?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I think it goes without saying. We burned PCBs at levels up to 250,000 parts per million and the ministry and the occupational health people were satisfied that the burning was satisfactory, that the PCBs were destroyed. At 15 parts per million we don’t see any problem, and until we --
Mr. Cooke: Why is the minister having the assessments then? Why is he having environmental assessments?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Because the public asked for the assessment, we are holding those hearings.
Mr. Cassidy: Oh, not because you wanted them or thought they were necessary.
Hon. Mr. Drea: We respond to the public.
Mr. Cooke: So the minister is just making a mockery of it and the assessment is a joke; what a joke.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary: Is the minister aware of the report submitted by Mr. L. S. Romano, the director of pollution control for the city of Windsor, concerning the burning of PCBs in the complex in Mississauga? If he isn’t, would he make himself aware of that? Because the concerns of Mr. Romano are very, very explicit and lead one to believe that facility should not be used in its present state.
Hon. Mr. McCague: I’m not aware of that specific report but I will read it.
Some hon. members: Make yourself aware.
Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications: Can he confirm that he was accurate in his letter to the Cedarvale Ratepayers Association? I’m speaking now of the use of the Spadina expressway lands which he says in his letter “will be leased back to Metropolitan Toronto in accordance with the provincial commitment noted above.”
He says, with regard to that commitment: “These properties will be leased to Metro Toronto on a long-term lease of 99 years for use by Metro in its housing program. The lease will stipulate the lands cannot be used for road purposes.”
Is there any aspect of the eventual dedication of these properties which is still in some doubt in the minister’s mind, or has he by now made himself quite clear as to exactly what dedication these lands are to have and precisely what the province wishes to sign with Metro?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I think it’s very explicit in that letter that the hon. Leader of the Opposition was quoting from. I think that letter is exactly in accord with statements made by the Premier (Mr. Davis) that the land, the housing units owned by Metropolitan Toronto, would be taken over by the province.
I listened with interest yesterday or the day before to the member’s questions to the Premier, which were somewhat confusing to me in that the lands are not going to be turned over to Metro. They’re to remain in provincial ownership but be leased to Metro for administration by the Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority.
There were three commitments at that time, as I recall. One was the taking over of these properties and the leasing back. The second was that the road allowances in the area involved would be assumed by the province. This has been done; we have assumed those road allowances. The third was the three-foot dedication, and I think that was well explained by the Premier a few days ago. There have been several suggestions and my legal staff have been working with the legal staff of the city now for several months in trying to come up with the exact location of that three-foot lease to the city, which I hope will be finalized in the near future.
Mr. Kerrio: Do you qualify for Legal Aid?
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: if then, as the minister says, he is quite explicit and totally clear as to exactly what the eventual dedication of those lands is to be, can he explain to us the letter he wrote on November 18, 1977, to the borough of York saying: “When the province takes title to these properties, discussions will be commenced immediately to determine their eventual dedication. These discussions will involve the borough of York and the city of Toronto and Metropolitan Toronto”? Can he explain why neither the borough of York nor the city of Toronto has heard the faintest thing about this, nor have they been involved in any such negotiations?
Hon. Mr. Snow: First of all, we have not been successful in finalizing the arrangements for the provincial assumption of those lands.
Mr. S. Smith: The minister just said he did.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I did not.
Mr. S. Smith: He can read it from Hansard.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I said we had assumed the unopened road allowance. We have not yet been successful in negotiating the takeover of the Metropolitan-owned housing units. It is part of the arrangement that we would take title to the housing units and lease them back, so that they would be in provincial ownership. I did not say we had provincial ownership of them at this time.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, since the obvious dedication of the land has been determined by the minister and since he admitted in his first answer to me that he knew explicitly what the dedication was to be, what remains to be discussed with the borough of York and the city of Toronto and why has the minister not negotiated and consulted with them up to now?
Hon. Mr. Snow: One of the things we have been considering with the borough of York, as I recall, is that a three-foot strip would also be offered -- and it has been offered as I understand -- to the borough of York as well as to the city of Toronto.
Mr. MacDonald: Sort of a mini-Maginot line.
Hon. Mr. Snow: That was not part of the original statement but there was the offer of a three-feet strip to each.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I will draw a map for the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. S. Smith: The minister didn’t consult York and the city.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Grande: Supplementary: Since the minister has decided that the borough of York and the city of Toronto have no input whatsoever into the negotiations as to what to do with the lands and properties south of Eglinton, and since the minister has taken title to those lands and is leasing them to Metro for 99 years, would he entertain the proposal that some of those houses, which the tenants themselves want to buy, will be placed on the private market?
Mr. S. Smith: The member is treading a thin line. That’s not the New Democrat way. His party doesn’t like private ownership.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I am very surprised that a member of that party would want anybody to own anything.
Mr. MacDonald: That is a silly comment.
Mr. Foulds: Don’t be an ass. We would like the people to own the resources.
Mr. Cassidy: You take that choice away from too many people across the province.
Mr. S. Smith: People can own houses but not lots.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I will have to check the specific remarks of the hon. member in Hansard. As I heard them, he said, “Since the minister has taken title to the properties.” I just told the Leader of the Opposition that we have not yet taken title to the housing properties.
Mr. Germa: Make up your mind.
Mr. Grande: When the minister does it then.
Hon. Mr. Snow: It is our intention to do so, and it is our intention, as part of the original announcement, that when we do so we will lease those properties to Metropolitan Toronto.
Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary: In view of the fact that in the letter written to the rate-payers the minister has expressed his appreciation of the fact that housing will be available because of the Metro commitment of housing, and in view of the fact that the chairman of Metropolitan Toronto has recently been recorded in the newspapers as being desirous of getting out of the housing business, what protection is the minister building in that those properties will be housing properties?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I don’t monitor everything the chairman of Metropolitan Toronto says, and I wasn’t aware of that particular statement.
Mr. Foulds: You should. He monitors everything you say.
Hon. Mr. Snow: But I think it has been quite definite that title to the housing units would be taken by the province and would be leased to Metropolitan Toronto for housing purposes only.
Mrs. Campbell: A point of clarification, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Very briefly.
Mrs. Campbell: In view of the fact that the province has tried to get out of housing and in view of the fact that Metro is trying to get out of housing, wouldn’t it be a good idea to look into it and to ascertain the status of those units at this time?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware that either Metro or the province is trying to get out of housing.
Mrs. Campbell: You are wrong.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I don’t accept that statement.
Mr. S. Smith: You haven’t been watching what’s happening.
Mr. Warner: The government has given up on housing. You do nothing.
Hon. Mr. Snow: As I understand it, a number of houses are being used for housing now. They are being leased.
Mrs. Campbell: Those are the ones.
Hon. Mr. Snow: They are being leased by Metropolitan Toronto to people to reside in and it is our intention when we take title to those houses that they be leased back, as has been stated before, very explicitly, for very long-term periods, to be used for housing.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of the Environment: Can he tell us what action he has taken with regard to the remarks made by the solicitor for the ministry, a Mrs. Linda McCaffrey, in addressing the mailer in Nanticoke, when in those hearings she made the following comment? Her comments were in response to an approach by a Mr. Lee in front of that committee asking for more information to be made public and I quote her answer: “This approach is viable if one assumes that the public is a leisured class enjoying a high standard of education, open-minded and judicious in all of its judgements and extraordinarily diligent in applying itself to the resolution of complex scientific issues.”
She went on to reject the notion that this type of information should be made public inasmuch as I assume she feels, since in her opinion the public is neither a leisured class nor enjoying a high standard of education nor open-minded and judicious in its resolution of complex issues, it has no need for such information. What has the minister done about those comments? Has he talked to his solicitor? Does this represent the point of view of his ministry?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition wrote me about this matter in late January. I responded to him but he wasn’t satisfied with one particular part of the answer.
Mr. Lawlor: It’s a matter of immediate public importance.
Hon. Mr. McCague: He has asked me to look into the matter again, which I am presently doing. Yes, I have discussed it with the ministry’s solicitor.
Mr. S. Smith: Well, I thank the minister for that constructive approach to my letter to him. Would he share with this House the nature of his discussion with the solicitor and would he assure the House that this does not represent the policy of the ministry?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, yes, I am always concerned about those kinds of remarks and I am sure they have to be taken in the situation in which they were given. I guess I can’t do anything more than say that I don’t like those things being said and I am looking into the matter.
Mr. Cooke: A question of the Minister of Colleges and Universities: Would the minister agree that the proposal by the University of Toronto as reported in yesterday’s Globe and Mail is a direct result of the serious problems with the present method of funding universities and in particular the problems that will arise out of his announcement last week whereby university grants will be increased for 1978 by only 5.8 per cent, far short of the increase in the cost of living?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: No.
Mr. Cooke: Maybe the minister could offer an explanation. I would like to ask a further supplementary. Would the minister also agree that the declining enrolment problem which the universities are experiencing is a result of the student grants program whereby students will now be eligible for grants for only four years, thereby making graduate education and university education available on the basis of wealth instead of academic ability?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Bunk; absolute bunk.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Nothing could be further from the truth and the hon. member knows it.
Mr. Foulds: Nonsense.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes, what he just said is nonsense. Absolute nonsense.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: That is a very foolish statement to have made.
Mr. Warner: That’s the way the system works.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Indeed, the new grant program for student assistance will make it a far more equitable system, especially for those from low income families.
Mr. Foulds: Nonsense. To say that is nonsense.
Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary: Does this ministry provide any guidelines to the universities as to how far down the scale they should go in changing their admission standards? Is there any limit at all to it?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I think it’s known that the universities are to accept only those who are qualified entrants to the system as judged by the standards established in the secondary system, and that has been in effect for very many long years.
Mr. Conway: What about my student loan, Harry?
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: In view of the minister’s categorical denial to the question of the member for Windsor-Riverside, can the minister then bring this House into his confidence as to what the income cutoffs will be under the student assistance program so that this House, and not just he personally, can assess whether or not students from low and modest income families will continue to be able to attend university?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Yes, we’ll be very pleased to supply that information in complete detail on Thursday, March 9 -- next Thursday.
Mr. Foulds: As part of the budget?
Mr. Cassidy: You have sure delayed as long as possible.
TRANSPORTATION OF HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES
Mr. Kerrio: I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. First, I would like to thank the minister for his answer to my question regarding the moving of hazardous substances. In his answer, he stated that it will be the responsibility of the federal government to introduce legislation because of this transportation problem.
I wonder if the minister could answer a question in regard to his ministry: Is his ministry involved in formulating the regulations, and would he consider some of the regulations that are being instituted in the United States as regards new tank cars carrying dangerous cargoes being built with special shielding to prevent puncturing in case of derailment, which seems to be the major cause of really serious accidents with some substances that are toxic and dangerous?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, yes.
Mr. Kerrio: Could the minister elaborate? Is he involved with the ministry in formulating the regulations?
Hon. Mr. Davis: One day you complain the answers are too long, and then you get a short one and you want elaboration.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Yes.
Mr. Kerrio: The minister is involved? If he is, is he dealing with the matters that I’ve suggested because of the concern of the US shortcut through southern Ontario, and would we be guaranteed that we would have regulations as diligent and safe as the ones that are being formulated in the United States for the safety of their citizens?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I’m sorry that I didn’t answer the hon. member’s question more properly the first time. Our House leader went walking by saying something to me at the same time as the hon. member was speaking.
Mr. Cunningham: How could you see him?
Mr. Conway: You could hear him but not see him.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: And the House leader is more important.
Hon. Mr. McCague: I’ll speak to him about that later.
However, we are working with the federal government on the regulations and my answer, “Yes,” was to confirm that yes, we’d be glad to look at anything they’re doing in the US.
Mr. Foulds: You’re not involved in formulating regulations?
Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary: May I ask the minister if he is considering suggesting to the federal government that these tank cars and other cars that are carrying such toxic chemicals be readily identifiable, so that fire department forces and other forces in municipalities would know the proper method of fighting any dangerous spillage or accident that may occur to the tank car?
Hon. Mr. McCague: It’s my understanding that the cars carrying these cargoes are very well identified at this point. The problem is that if one goes on fire or explodes it’s then very hard to locate the directions. So what we have done is we have sent out to all municipalities a very large volume of information. I had intended to have a volume of that information here for each of the opposition parties and I will do that on Monday.
BURNING OF PCBS
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, this seems to be the Minister of the Environment’s day.
Mr. Foulds: That’s why it’s so dull.
Ms. Bryden: I have some new questions on the St. Lawrence Cement burnings. Since the certificate of approval under which the experimental burnings were being carried on has been returned to the ministry -- it was not cancelled but, according to the press release, it was returned -- will the minister table the certificate of approval under which the present burnings of waste oil are going on and will he indicate whether the certificate includes any reference to oil with PCBs possibly in it?
Secondly, is he asking the company to carry on compatibility tests, which the reports that the city of Windsor has just given us on PCB burnings in the United States shows are essential --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Would the hon. member come to the question mark?
Ms. Bryden: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I just would like to quote one sentence from this report. It says they must be tested for compatibility because “oils can severely react to each other when mixed, sometimes to the point of causing an explosion. Most times the waste oils can liberate gases which are up to 100 times more toxic than PCBs.” Will the minister comment on whether such compatibility tests are being carried on in the St. Lawrence Cement burnings?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, please. Before the minister answers, could the private conversations be toned down a bit, please?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I understand that the kind of information that the member is requesting as a result of the quote she read, was part of the experimentation that went on at St. Lawrence some months ago.
When she mentioned the mixing of two types of PCBs, of oils or whatever it may be, just recently we did random tests of crankcase oil from three cars and found that two of them contained no PCBs at all and one contained 17 parts per million. So I think the hon. member can appreciate that we have got a lot of research to do on this matter yet.
Ms. Bryden: Supplementary: Are compatibility tests being carried on in connection with the present burnings to see whether they may react in a dangerous manner with what is going into the burnings?
Hon. Mr. McCague: I don’t have the answer to that question today.
Mr. B. Newman: Since the minister made mention that he had tested the oil from crankcases of certain vehicles, has the minister tested any of the new synthetic oils that are being used to see that there are no PCBs involved in them?
Hon. Mr. McCague: There are an awful lot of things we have not tested yet, but we will be glad to do that one.
Mr. Foulds: Would the minister answer the first part of the question from my colleague the member for Beaches-Woodbine, i.e., will he table the certificate under which the burnings have taken place?
Hon. Mr. McCague: We will table the certificate that St. Lawrence now has.
Mr. Foulds: And the previous one that was returned, please?
TAX INEQUITIES IN WATERLOO REGION
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Premier: My question deals with tax inequities in Waterloo region and the Premier’s letter of February 7. Could the Premier please explain --
Hon. Mr. Davis: No.
Mr. Sweeney: He had better explain, because no one else knows what he is talking about. Could the Premier please explain this one sentence: “However, it is my understanding that a number of mechanisms are available to the municipalities in the region to mitigate or remove tax inequities for 1978.” What does the Premier mean by that?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I assume I meant by that that there are a number of mechanisms available to the municipalities to mitigate the mill rates in 1978.
Mr. Cunningham: Has the Premier ever wondered why his government doesn’t have any seats there?
Hon. Mr. Davis: You know why? Because those who represent it are more conservative than Conservatives.
Mr. Breithaupt: Certainly they’re more successful than Conservatives.
Mr. Sweeney: If what the Premier says is true, could he explain why no official in the municipality knows what he is talking about?
Hon. Mr. Davis: The hon. member is suggesting that no official in that municipality understands that very -- I think -- understandable sentence. I will review that sentence and see if I can draft it in a way that would me more understandable and communicative to the municipality.
Mr. Reed: I don’t think the Premier knows what he is talking about.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The member doesn’t know whether I know or not.
Mr. Sweeney: That’s what we are worried about.
Mr. Lewis: The Premier is inscrutable.
CLOSURE OF HILLTOP ACRES
Mr. McClellan: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services. At a meeting in early December, I believe, the minister met with members of Metro Toronto Social Services Committee regarding the social service restraints and, as I understand it, the minister agreed to the closure of Hilltop Acres Home for the Aged. I want to ask the minister, whether there had been previous discussions earlier in 1977 between his ministry and officials from Metro social services regarding the closing or phasing out of Hilltop Acres. If so, what was the nature of those discussions?
Hon. Mr. Norton: First of all, I would like to correct one part of the preliminary statement the hon. member made. To the best of my knowledge, my agreement was not necessary for the closure of Hilltop Acres.
Mr. McClellan: I didn’t say it was.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Well, the suggestion was that at that time I had agreed to the closure of Hilltop.
What, in fact, I did agree to at that time was to assist Metropolitan Toronto in providing for alternative accommodation and relocation of those residents should they decide to close Hilltop. I was not party to that decision. In fact, at that time, they had a rather comprehensive report from the Toronto inspection department indicating certain deficiencies in the building. I, personally, had not been party to any discussions.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, would the Premier and the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) cease and desist?
Mr. Foulds: The Speaker would have said “decease.”
Hon. Mr. Norton: Yes, I was going to observe that you are much more moderate than one of the other hon. gentlemen who occupies your chair. He occasionally asks people to “decease”.
Mr. Conway: The Liberals are always more moderate.
Mr. Deans: More wishy-washy.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You are in the radical middle.
Hon. Mr. Norton: The question was, if I recall correctly, had there been earlier discussions. I had not been party to any earlier discussions. Whether there had been discussions specifically relating to Hilltop or not, involving my officials, I don’t know; but I will find out for the member, if he wishes.
Mr. McClellan: Supplementary: I want to ask the minister whether he is aware that at the Metro council meeting on February 28, Bruce Sinclair, chairman of Metro Social Services Committee, indicated that some time in the late spring of 1977, Metro had consulted with his ministry, and the province encouraged Metro, according to Mr. Sinclair, to phase out and demolish Hilltop Acres. This was the basis of my question, and I would like to ask the minister if he would review that matter and report back to us as to whether or not that is accurate.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I will undertake to do so, but I can tell the hon. member at this time that it was certainly never the policy of my ministry, as expressed by me or agreed to by me, to particularly encourage the closing, except perhaps insofar as the question of safety was involved. At some point -- and I am not sure of the precise time during the year -- Metro had received from the Toronto inspection department a list of deficiencies; and the figure that sticks in my mind is the potential cost of $168,000 to remedy those.
Should we have been in a position to assist with the financial cost at that time, we would, of course, have had a report from the Ontario fire marshal and chances are that the cost would be much greater even than that. Insofar as the cost element was involved, we might have encouraged that something be done about the safety of the building, but I don’t think it was ever our policy to encourage specifically the closing.
Mr. McClellan: That is very strange. I will wait for the minister’s report.
STATUS OF CIVIL SERVANT
Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, in this morning’s Globe and Mail, there is a story about Mr. Peter Branch, a civil servant who has been getting $25,000 a year. I’d like to ask a question of the Premier. First of all, is it true that most of his day is spent browsing through the newspapers and contemplating his personal affairs? Secondly, how many members of the civil service --
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am glad you asked that one.
Mr. Epp: How many members of the civil service in both TEIGA and each of the other ministries are red-circled?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I can’t answer the latter question. I’m sure the Chairman of Management Board (Mr. Auld) would be delighted to give the member that figure. What was the first part of the question?
Mr. Epp: The first part, Mr. Speaker, is whether it’s true whether this person is permitted --
Hon. Mr. Davis: To read the newspaper?
Mr. Epp: -- to read newspapers.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m sure there is no prohibition on him reading the newspapers.
Mr. Epp: Most of the day?
Mr. S. Smith: Is he permitted to do anything else?
Mr. Foulds: It depends on which paper he reads.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m sure he’s permitted to do many other things.
However, Mr. Speaker, I read the story and am familiar with some of the details. I understand the Treasurer is going to make some observations on the subject Monday afternoon.
Mr. Cassidy: Can the Premier confirm that the civil servant in question, Mr. Branch, was formerly very much involved with regional planning and that his apparent idleness in recent years reflects the complete lack of commitment by this government to any meaningful planning for the various regions of the province?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You know, you are like a vitamin -- one a day. You dump one a day.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Conway: They call him little black Cassidy in Ottawa.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: It is “blackout” Cassidy.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I was so intrigued by the question I forget what it was. Would the member mind repeating it for me?
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, it was a good question so I will be happy to repeat it. Can the Premier confirm that the apparent idleness of Mr. Branch, at government orders, reflects the lack of commitment of this government to the whole area of regional planning in which Mr. Branch was formerly occupied?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I have two choices here. I can say “no,” which is the simple, very accurate answer which would not be satisfactory to the hon. member. Or I can take the balance of the question period explaining the extent of regional planning that has gone on in this province --
Mr. MacDonald: But you wouldn’t do that.
Mr. Deans: Please don’t do that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- some of it supported by members opposite and a lot of it not supported by members opposite --
Ms. Gigantes: You couldn’t last out the balance of the question period explaining that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- depending how it affected their own particular constituencies. However, if the member wishes me to go through the litany of the Niagara Escarpment, the Toronto-centred region, all of those great programs, in terms of regional planning for the public of this province, I would be delighted to do so.
Mr. Kerrio: Dispense.
Mr. Warner: Don’t explain disasters.
Hon. Mr. Davis: However, I would say that Mr. Branch’s present activities do not reflect the commitment of this government towards regional planning.
Mr. Cunningham: While the Premier is asking the Chairman of Management Board to involve himself in a study of how many people have been, in fact, red-circled in the government, would he also ask him to find out how many people in the executive council have, in fact, been red-circled?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I recognize the very important nature of that very important question from the hon. member, which really reflects the general tenor of most important questions he asks in this Legislature.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Were you standing up Eric?
Hon. B. Stephenson: They are inane.
Hon. Mr. Davis: In fact, I could go one step further. It really reflects the depth of his intellectual capacity in terms of statements he makes outside this Legislature.
Ms. Gigantes: You are insufferable.
Mr. Lewis: Boy, he certainly got to the Premier. He is relatively harmless.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. In view of the fact that the Premier said that a statement would be made on the original question, and it seems to be spreading out from there, I’ll now ask for a new question.
Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Provincial Secretary for Social Development -- I think. It may be for the Minister of Community and Social Services and I would appreciate it if he would listen to it too, because I’m not positive.
There is an advertisement in the business section of the Hamilton Spectator which has appeared now on at least two occasions which says, and I quote: “Dollars roll in, 25-bed retirement home, $10,000 per bed, 45 minutes from Hamilton, gross income over $100,000, low expenses.” I find it most offensive.
Mr. Lewis: It is what you call a gross ad.
Mr. Deans: I think that if it is possible in Ontario to do that, it should be stopped. I would appreciate it if either one of the ministers would take a look at the whole matter of retirement homes and the incomes derived from them and the way that people are being gouged, and take some action to put an end to it.
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, through you to the hon. member, if he will send me that information, I will certainly make sure that it’s included in a study that we are anticipating on accommodation for senior citizens.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The Minister of Correctional Services has a reply to a question previously asked.
GLENDALE TRAINING CENTRE
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, on February 22, the hon. member for Haldimand-Norfolk (Mr. G. I. Miller) asked me if offshore beef was being used at the Glendale Adult Training Centre.
In reply to the hon. member’s question, I wish to inform the House that all tenders for beef to be used in correctional institutions operated by my ministry specify that the meat supplied must be Canadian beef. We have had no written reports from the Glendale Adult Training Centre to indicate that other than Canadian beef was supplied to that facility. However, there have been verbal reports to this effect from kitchen staff following the member’s question.
In view of the question by the hon. member and these verbal reports, I have asked the Ontario provincial police anti-rackets squad to undertake an investigation of the matter involving both the suppliers and the staff who receive, prepare and serve meat at Glendale.
I want to make it very clear that the government will not tolerate abuse by suppliers of government tenders which call for the supply of Canadian beef --
Mr. Lewis: Okay, now this is what’s called going one step too far.
Hon. Mr. Drea: -- nor will we allow negligence or lack of action by staff in reporting cases of abuse.
Mr. Lewis: Don’t ask a supplementary. Leave it. Sit down.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, in view of the answer that has been given by the minister this morning --
Mr. S. Smith: We demand the militia as well.
Mr. G. I. Miller: -- would he not only look into Glendale, but would he look into all the institutions in Ontario to make sure that they are all using the same products?
Mr. Lewis: You take that anti-rackets squad and you wheel from institution to institution.
Hon. Mr. Drea: In the month of November 1977 I put out written instructions throughout the ministry that the practice of accepting substitutions -- that is, products not Canadian in origin -- was to be discontinued. I brought to the attention of the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman) and to a number of marketing boards that apparently there had been developing a trade practice whereby -- and I wish to remind the House that when one tenders on the basis of Canadian prices, one pays much higher prices than one pays perhaps for dumped commodities -- there were sudden shortages of Canadian products at the time of delivery.
In the month of November I put out written instructions throughout the ministry and all suppliers were notified that no substitutions would be accepted at any time. A second instruction was that if a supplier twice showed up with substitutions, his tender was automatically null and void. Furthermore, I said I would go to the combines branch of the federal government regarding that type of trade practice.
Ms. Gigantes: Do it for hospitals too.
Mr. MacDonald: You want to watch out. He will clean you all out.
Mr. Lewis: Is this a matter of national security?
Hon. Mr. Drea: No, it is a matter of honest business.
Mr. Lewis: I just wondered how high we would elevate it.
Mr. Foulds: Were we a little short of tomato juice in November?
Mr. Lawlor: Would the Attorney General make a brief and searching statement about the recent abortive conspiracies trial at Woodstock?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: There is an ongoing investigation in relation to that aborted trial, as described by the member for Lakeshore, and until that investigation has been completed I will not be in a position to make any statement.
GLENDALE TRAINING CENTRE
Mr. G. I. Miller: I have a question of the Minister of Correctional Services. When members of the opposition party met last Monday in the minister’s office to discuss the closing of Glendale Adult Training Centre, the minister indicated he would consider the brief presented by the citizens’ committee and bring the matter to the attention of his House leader for referral to the Justice committee. Can the minister inform me if this has been done, and if, in fact, the matter will go before the Justice committee?
Hon. Mr. Drea: I pointed out last Monday that I would refer the matter to my House leader, and, as I indicated to the House leader of the opposition on Tuesday, the House leader of the government party would be replying directly. It is my understanding that yesterday the House leader did inform the House leader of the opposition that this matter was not going before any standing committee of the House.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The Minister of Industry and Tourism has an answer to a question asked earlier.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The hon. member for Niagara Falls --
Mr. Foulds: Are you still a closet Liberal?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I can’t believe I finally got the deserved applause.
Mr. Foulds: John, they didn’t even wait for your answer.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: The hon. member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) inquired of me earlier this week about the problems being faced by small tourist operators in advertising in the United States, as a result of not being allowed the exemption from taxation. We have discussed this privately, but I would like to put it on the record that any advertising on a United States radio or television station that is directed primarily to a market in the United States is a deductible expense for federal and Ontario purposes.
The relevant provision, section 19(1) of the Income Tax Act disallows the expense only if the advertisement is directed primarily to a market in Canada. In the case in question, as raised by the hon. member, the expenses would be deductible if the advertisements were placed on US radio and TV stations and were intended primarily to attract US tourists to Canadian tourist attractions.
I would comment that the hon. member for Brantford (Mr. Makarchuk) did make that point, and was quite correct, the day the question was asked.
Mr. Bounsall: A question of the Minister of the Environment: Would the minister let it be known in no uncertain terms to Governor Milliken of Michigan that Ontario and his ministry will not tolerate any relaxation or even temporary suspension of environmental controls on electrical power generating stations using coal, inasmuch as that is now being considered in Michigan, just as Ohio did; it is counter-productive, since one saves fuel with the controls that are there rather than uses more; and because the effect of that would cause the Detroit-Edison generating plant to pour out yet even more pollution over the west end of the city of Windsor?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I will take that matter under consideration.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired.
SELECT COMMITTEE ON INCO AND FALCONBRIDGE LAYOFFS
Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to present the final report of the select committee on Inco and Falconbridge layoffs. Copies have been placed in the mail boxes of all members of the House.
Under the provisional orders I am permitted, and I believe am expected, to make a brief statement as chairman of the committee. Initially, I would like to point out that, simultaneously with the presentation of this report to the House, copies are being distributed to interested parties in Sudbury, Port Colborne and Ottawa.
The select committee on Inco and Falconbridge layoffs was asked to inquire, within a very limited time-frame, into the factors and considerations leading to the layoffs; to examine the future plans of Inco and Falconbridge in relation to their effects on the Canadian operations and to make appropriate recommendations.
On February 8, 1978, the committee’s interim report was published. Contained in that report was the recommendation for a 60-day moratorium on the layoffs in the hope that the two senior levels of government could use the time to develop a program to alleviate the impact of the layoffs. In the light of the responses of the two governments to the recommendation in the interim report, the select committee reluctantly acknowledges that it has no additional specific recommendations to make to avert the pending Falconbridge layoff scheduled for April 1, 1978.
The final report, which I am tabling today, contains a series of specific recommendations aimed at reducing the long-range impact of the layoffs in the Sudbury and Port Colborne communities. In addition, the report contains recommendations designed to improve the stability of the Canadian mining industry and to prevent future mass layoffs.
The committee was fortunate in having the services of a very competent staff. In particular I would like to thank our counsel, Mr. John Clement, QC, and his associate, Mr. Peter Williams, as well as the mining consultant to the committee, Mr. Geddes Webster. It was only with their help that the committee was able to cope with such a complex subject in so short a time.
In addition, I would like to thank Mr. John Holtby, first clerk assistant to the Legislature and clerk to the committee, for his faithful service. I would also like to extend my gratitude to the panel of committee chairmen of this Legislature who graciously permitted the Inco committee to take priority over all other committee work, even at the price of some dislocation in their own committee activities.
In conclusion, I’d like to congratulate the members of the committee for their ability to work together under great stress and to thank them for making the position of chairman a very rewarding experience.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
THRONE SPEECH DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Resumption of the adjourned debate on the amendment to the motion for an address in reply to the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.
Mr. Swart: You may recall, Mr. Speaker, that last evening I had not quite finished my remarks by adjournment time. I had dealt with the matter of procedures of this House and presented some perhaps rather radical proposals for changes in those procedures and operations. Those included the proposal that there should be monthly sittings whereby we would eliminate the need for the government to use orders in council as it does so frequently between sittings and even during sittings.
I suggested there should be no committees sitting while the House is in session, that we should eliminate less meaningful debate from this chamber, such as the estimates, and that we should shorten the time for debate on the Throne Speech and the budget speech. I suggested that budget estimates should be dealt with early in the year rather than letting them carry over till November and December when the money has either already been spent or has been committed. There is really something unreal about discussing those estimates at that time.
On these items I suggested that the result could be less House time, therefore better attendance in this House and more efficient and democratic conduct of the business of this province. I guess when talking about the effective workings of this Legislature and the dignity of the House, one cannot omit the question of decorum during the question period. About two years ago, more than 100 students from one of the secondary schools in Welland visited this Legislature. I invited them to write me about their impressions of the Legislature. Their teachers made it a class project, and I got letters from them all.
I want to state that 75 per cent of them stated as their first comment that they deplored our conduct during the question period. Every member here has heard the same comment from visitors whom they know. I guess it has to say something to us here in the Legislature.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: The problem is over there.
Mr. Swart: In no sense do I say this in condemnation of the quality of the MPPs on either side of the House. My colleagues here and I personally are as guilty as anyone. It is understandable; feelings run high. We don’t hold our views lightly. We don’t accept arguments, contradictions or evasions. But I am convinced that we hurt the public perspective of democracy by our boisterous actions.
I am not sure that it can be curbed. But I say to you, Mr. Acting Speaker, and through you to the Speaker, that there may be some merit in calling the House leaders or party leaders together to make it clear that you are going to enforce order more rigidly and to win some sort of voluntary agreement on more appropriate conduct by us, the MPPs.
Finally, I want to mention one other sort of non-issue, but it is a matter of concern. It is the designation MPP -- Member of Provincial Parliament -- by which we are known.
My standing orders tell me this is the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. I am a member of that as is everyone else here. We are not members of the provincial Parliament. My designation, and everyone else’s therefore should be MLA, not MPP. We do not need to aspire to the status of the federal members -- if that is any sort of an aspiration -- or the equivalent of the National Assembly of Quebec. If that was the reason for the MPP title -- as I understand that it was -- to give a bit more prestige, if MLA sounds a bit more lowly, so be it. But I think Ontario is a pretty good place and I no more want to copy the designation of those people in Ottawa, particularly the majority that is there now, than I would want to be associated politically with those on the other side of the House here. I would ask you, Mr. Speaker, to rule that we should be known for what we are -- MLAs, not MPPs.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I disagree.
Mr. Swart: You will note, Mr. Speaker, that I have not dealt with any of the subject matter in the Throne Speech. I couldn’t; there was so little there.
When we come to budget matters I will have my say about the deplorable failure of this government to deal with the economic and social issues in this province.
I simply hope that my comments today may improve in some small measure the machinery for dealing with those issues. It just may be, by more committee work instead of dealing with vague and minor items in the House, by not permitting committees to sit while the House is in session, by monthly sessions and by less being done by order in council, that the House attendance will improve greatly and business will be carried out more efficiently. Add to these things better conduct in this House and we will enhance our respect by the public and the press.
I am, of course, a relative newcomer to this House. I have only been here two and a half years. But all my adult life I have been a staunch, and perhaps I should say almost a fanatic, supporter of and believer in the system of parliamentary democracy.
I must say that I wince a bit when I read accusations of a political party receiving $25,000 at the same time a request is made for a government permit, or that committee members of this House were vacationing in Florida at the expense of the Ontario taxpayers. These things frequently are groundless or blown out of proportion. But, I say, surely we as politicians cannot risk even the appearance of self-serving actions by our decisions. Public cynicism is the greatest enemy of democracy and it feeds and thrives on such things. I look forward to greater dedication, consecration and idealism by the MPPs in this House and I hope that I too may conduct myself in that manner when that is the case.
Mr. Williams: I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the response to the Speech from the Throne. In so doing, I found it difficult in assessing this blueprint for constructive government actions to single out any one particular area in which I would have the opportunity to speak at length because there are so many positive initiatives set out in the Throne Speech.
Mr. Reed: How about the five Liberal policies?
Mr. Williams: One can identify a number of the important issues which have been spoken on at length by a number of members in the Legislature, including the economy and jobs which are probably the salient concern today. We have the speech outlining the initiatives in the private sector that this government suggests are the appropriate initiatives to be taken along with continuing constraint in the public sector.
The speech outlined a program for energy conservation and security of supply of energy. The latter part of that was very significantly resolved earlier in the week when the government took a responsible action in signing the Hydro contracts that have received so much debate and consideration in committee and House in recent days.
Mr. Reed: Only time will show up the mistake.
Mr. Wildman: A sellout.
Mr. Williams: Then too the matter of compulsory auto insurance is one that will receive a great deal of attention in the government legislative program in the coming weeks. Reference has been made to refinements and new directions in health care with a particular emphasis on assumption of more personal responsibility in this field. This is an area on which I was thinking of speaking at some length. There is also the very genuine concern this government has with regard to cultural and language privileges and services, which is a matter that has been spoken to by many members of the House.
It’s to none of these that I will be speaking today because, while I understood I had the luxury of speaking for the balance of today’s session, I find that I am going to be limited to approximately a half-hour of time. The topic I will address myself to is going to be difficult because it’s hard to find out how I can condense the many things I want to discuss on an extremely important issue that has received very little consideration in the debate on the Throne Speech but yet which is an important and significant new government involvement, direction and initiative, and that is the announced intention of the government to take a leading part in the supporting and strengthening of the family in Ontario.
Last December I expressed my open concern as to the status of the family in our society and what government was or was not doing with regard to giving support and recognition to the stance of the family in our current society. I did this by introducing into the House an Act respecting Family Day which was introduced for the purpose of setting aside a specific public holiday during which the families of our province could celebrate and pay due respect to family life. At that time, I think it received a certain amount of shouts and derision and ridicule by some members of the House as they yelled “motherhood” and “apple pie”.
I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that the strength and security of the family in today’s society is no longer an assured thing that can be taken for granted. In fact, I think one of the omissions of governments at all levels has been this assumption which has led government not in any way to endeavour to assist family life in our society. I said at the time I introduced my family day legislation into the Legislature, which I will again be reintroducing to complement this significant new government initiative, that we must now take stock and reassess the importance of the family in our society. I felt that a public attitude seems to have evolved in recent times that emphasizes and commends other lifestyles while minimizing, or even treating as irrelevant, the basic worth and importance of the family unit.
Our society seems to have developed a fixation on self-indulgence of the individual, devoid of legal or social responsibilities to anyone or anything. As a result, I say with conviction that the traditional role and importance of the family as the cornerstone of our society has been severely shaken. So it was with great delight that this new initiative and concern of government and involvement has been displayed in the Speech from the Throne. I’m looking forward in the coming weeks when the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch) will be upholding the new initiatives in the form of ongoing government administrative and policy actions that will be presented to this House.
The basic moral and social values which are intrinsically woven into the family structure and conscience, it would appear, are no longer revered or honoured as a matter of course. Rather they are being challenged, questioned, ridiculed and even rejected as being out of step with the dawning of a new era of liberalization of the individual. It seems to me that governments and society as a whole have been caught up with the over-indulgence of the individual at the expense of all other segments of society.
Of course, it’s the social heritage that is found in the family unit that has made our society what it is today. But the security that’s found in the family unit, the communal association that exists between parents and children, is being challenged by outside influences today that didn’t exist 20, 10, even five years ago. But still the valid concepts of the family unit remains as sound today as they did in the first half of this century and centuries before.
The growing individual has to find within the family his or her first involvement in a communal fashion, the first experience of social living with members of the family. It’s within the family structure that we find the primary place for establishment of morals and values. It is from these we develop, as well, a knowledge and understanding and appreciation of our culture, both past, present, and hopefully into the future.
There is within the family both individuality and yet interdependence, and in this potential conflict there is a unification factor. People are strengthened in their own character by developing their own personalities, yet knowing how to work with and care for people within their family. It is not only a matter of self-help but also a question of helping others, not only within the family but as they grow and mature, learning to work and care and work with others in the broader community.
There are those of us today in and out of government who are obsessed totally and fully with social innovation to the point of rejecting and putting aside social heritage and discounting the validity of the family unit and its strength. I suggest that is going to excess and extreme that cannot be justified when examined.
The public attitude that is eroding the paramount importance of the family unit today, I suggest is threefold. Firstly, there appears to be an irreverence shown towards the traditional or conventional marriage institution. There is indeed an irreverence being shown towards the traditional religions upon which most family concepts are grounded. In fact, there is a diminishing respect for human life itself being displayed in various sectors of our society today.
If I might, I would like to identify some of the negative influencing factors to which I have alluded, because they are with us and they are significant influencing factors that do impact upon the family, particularly the younger members, so that they do start questioning and challenging basic values. It is not that they shouldn’t be questioned and challenged; it is a question as to whether some of the new influences in fact are intended to replace the foundation of the family unit.
One of the common social trends today has been associated with the alternative to the marriage institution, which is the common-law union. New family law legislation will he introduced in this Legislature in the coming weeks which will give to that type of union some sense of legality that heretofore has not existed. It seems to me that here is an example of where men and women have an infatuation or a love for each other, yet have a concern or fear of assuming a permanent form of responsibility that would exist in entering into a marriage union. So they feel they will experiment with all of the benefits and traditions that flow with marriage without entering into any legal or moral responsibility that one normally would identify with the marriage ritual. Of course, without that type of responsibility, you do not find the development of the family concept nor the growth and nurturing of our society through procreation to the extent and degree that you will find within the normal family unit.
Perhaps some of this has developed because the family setting has changed so dramatically in recent times. This may have arisen largely out of the urbanization that has taken place and the mobility of our society whereby the younger members of the family voluntarily, but in any event, have left the family home, have moved to other communities to seek employment or to seek out a new life. We no longer have the predominant rural setting where the family life was the focal point of our daily activities from morning to night. Even during the working hours one might be working on the homestead or the farm, so that the continuing influence of the senior members of the family who tried to develop a sense of morality and values within the family is perhaps removed at an earlier age than it was in the past.
It is not uncommon to find members of families living in all corners of the nation and coming together infrequently to talk and to meet and to review their interrelationships. Along with this dramatic new social upheaval, if you will, as far as the effect on the family is concerned, is the accelerated materialistic self-indulgent society that has evolved in the last half of this century, greater than at any other time in our history.
I am not sure but I think a lot of it can be attributed, not only to this matter of urbanization wherein we have closer contact and greater outside involvement with people within a heavily populated area, but also perhaps to a more sophisticated communication and news media; also within the entertainment industry we find a great deal of emphasis being given to those elements and undertakings in our society which appear to be in conflict with the family concepts and values.
I refer, as only one example, to an article that appeared in a Canadian publication last fall, authored by a professor at the University of Toronto in the faculty of social work, Dr. Benjamin Schlesinger, when he was commenting on where the family is today. He pointed out, if I could quote: “The increasing emphasis of ‘me’ in families has also taken its toll. Once ‘me’ takes precedence over ‘us,’ the family is in trouble. Relentlessly doing your own thing is just not compatible with being part of a family.”
I might extract just one other observation from his article which pertains to the media, and I think it is an interesting observation. Dr. Schlesinger was commenting that we really haven’t found a viable substitute for the family in the past 100 years. We have abused it; we have said it was boring or that it stunts our development as human beings. Maybe we expect too much from the family and we are disappointed so we want to reject it.
Then Dr. Schlesinger goes on to say: “Part of this, sad to say, goes back to the usual whipping boy -- the media. In examining television and newspapers, especially, we see that family issues are false and distorted. Most so-called family programs deal with single parents, which have helped to convince us that the Canadian family is falling apart in record numbers. This negative view of family life makes headlines all right, but the positive aspects don’t. The brutality within the family is what’s emphasized, not the health and sanity of most of our five million Canadian families.
“I would put the percentage of families that come into the attention of social agencies, police and hospitals at between 10 and 25 per cent. The majority of Canadian families manage to lead a satisfactory life, unheralded and without fanfare. I sometimes think that the image-makers on TV really project their own negative lives on to the screen and think this is a true reflection of family life today.”
I close the quotes but add one from further along in the article which ties in with those observations. Dr. Schlesinger says: “It’s interesting, but in this country there is not a single study that has examined what makes a sane and healthy Canadian family tick.”
There are people expressing concern in our society about the well-being and the security of our families. I think it is imperative that government take some initiative and show some sensitivity to, and support for, the families.
I spoke earlier about three considerations that I felt were challenging the family setting. I made reference to the marriage institution. Even our traditional religions, not only the Judaeo-Christian religions, but all major traditional religions today, seem to be challenged, questioned and even ridiculed. There is an interwoven allegiance between the family concept and the traditional religions of today.
Then, too, there was the third area of great concern, and that is the diminishing respect for human life itself. There are many well-meaning groups and vested-interest organizations today that are showing a concern for our society and for the environment but which perhaps unknowingly are working at odds with the well-being of the family. Perhaps I might briefly identify one or two of the types of organizations that I think are having this negative influence.
First of all, we have that group in society which calls itself the zero population association or organization. I think it is composed of a lot of responsible well-meaning people but it seems to be taking to the extreme the concept of responsible family planning. It suggests that society, somehow, as it exists today, should remain exclusive and prevent future generations from coming into existence.
It’s interesting that some of the social environmentalists seem to show greater concern today for the lower forms of life than for what we assume to be the highest form of life, namely, homo sapiens. While great concern is being expressed with regard to the imbalance of nature because of the use of pesticides or other artificial means so that the balance of nature is being interfered with and disrupted, interestingly enough it now has come home to roost within that highest form of human life, our own, and it has been reflected in our diminishing population.
We find that the teaching profession has been probably the first to feel the impact of it because they have found they no longer have the children to teach for which they were trained several years ago. We are closing schools because the population of children that was there after the war years has diminished to the point where we are now at a no-growth stance. This is not only impacting on that particular type of situation but other areas too. It has disrupted the economy and is affecting it in an adverse way. There are many products that are being manufactured that were designed to appeal to a certain age level which is no longer coming into existence in the numbers that it was years ago.
Even within our area, there is an imbalance that is being created by an extreme measure which is being taken. The zero population concept is perhaps a selfish approach to take, arising again perhaps out of the concept of self-interest. The other ends of the life spectrum too, are ones that are receiving considerable attention these days, whether it be a growing concern in the States, or I should say a growing initiative by some organizations that have been developed in the States towards terminating life in its later stages. Here we have been reading about, and there has been debate in the past about the activities by some of the organizations in the States asking for laws that deal with euthanasia.
At the other end of the life spectrum, we have that perhaps most controversial social issue that rages today, the matter of abortion, which deals in fact with the taking of human lives before they are fully developed. I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, that perhaps the greatest human tragedy in the latter half of this century is the public attitude that has been developed towards human life at the earliest part of the human life spectrum.
In this province during the past two or three years, lives that could have been nourished and brought to fulfilment have been extinguished in growing numbers because of the existing laws that we have today. Within the province of Ontario alone abortions approaching the 20,000 mark are occurring on an annual basis. This indeed is a human tragedy and it has to be in conflict with the family concept of nurturing and building future generations. it is one with which this government and this society have to come to grips.
These are some of the important social issues that this government is prepared to address itself to.
Mr. di Santo: This government? What are you talking about?
Mr. Wildman: Abortion is a federal matter.
Mr. Williams: While one of the members from another party spoke earlier today about the importance of dignity and decorum in the legislative chamber, I think the ridicule and the shouts of derision are only passing expressions of frustration that really don’t have the importance of dealing with the actual issues and debating them fully and freely in this House.
I am pleased that this government will be unfolding in the weeks to come a program that will indeed enhance the role and the authority of the family unit and will again continue to give support throughout the communities to the family by giving traditional support to family unity month, which is the month of May, and a matter which I had referred to at the time I introduced my Family Day Act.
There has been long discussion and a request for a Heritage Day Act, but this seems to have become stalled at the federal level. It seems to me that perhaps, while the concept of a Family Day Act received some ridicule and criticism, it might, in fact, with critical scrutiny, be a better substitute and more sound than even a national heritage day bill, because the greater part of our heritage is, in fact, found within the family.
In concluding my remarks on this aspect of the Throne Speech, I look forward to the days and weeks ahead when the initiative will be taken by this government -- as I think it is being taken by no other government in recent times --
Mr. Haggerty: In the fullness of time.
Mr. Williams: -- to address itself to the primacy of the family and the ordering of this primacy within our social priorities. I look forward to working with the Provincial Secretary for Social Development and the other members of the government party to give meaning to this blueprint for social concern and involvement by government.
One of the initiatives that will be dealt with, of course, will be that pertaining to alcohol abuse in our society. That will be debated at length in coming weeks. One of the difficulties that we find in our society today probably has to do with the accelerated majority rights that have been given to younger people in our society when the age of majority laws were introduced some years ago. I think these are deserving of reassessment and reappraisal, but these are all matters which will undoubtedly be looked at and discussed in the coming weeks.
Mr. Speaker, it has been with a great deal of pleasure that I have had the opportunity to address myself to this all-important aspect of the Speech from the Throne. I look forward, with you, in anticipation to seeing the government program in this area unfold in the weeks ahead.
Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank you for this opportunity to reply to the Speech from the Throne on behalf of the good citizens of my riding of Kent-Elgin and also on behalf of the people of Ontario.
I have spoken on a number of occasions since being granted the privilege of attending this historic chamber, but this is my first opportunity to reply to the Speech from the Throne. No doubt my predecessor, Jack Spence, during his 22 years of office performed this privilege many times, and I am sure more effectively than I. Jack was and is a singular fellow. His mind was possessed of a great storehouse of good sense. Daily, I meet people who tell me of his great storehouse of anecdotes and stories of good humour gained during those years as a member of the Kent county council, as warden in 1949, I think, and as a member here for some 22 years.
During the election campaign, and many times since, people have told me of the many acts of kindness that he performed as a neighbour and that he extended to them as their member. I might say that during the course of the election he advised me on the best way to conduct my campaign. He always had a unique ending to his advice: “Of course, I’m not always right.” I looked at his record and decided he was always right; so I followed his advice.
He had his feet planted firmly in the Oxford township soil and he had his head held high in the clear Kent county air. He was dreaming at times of a better world and he acted to make this a better world. It has been a great privilege to follow in -- not to fill -- his footsteps, as no one can take his unique place in Kent-Elgin history. I am happy to report that Jack is enjoying his retirement. He especially appreciated the Jack Spence night held in his honour last fall and he shortly will be taking a trip overseas, a gift from the constituency.
I applaud the platitudes in the Speech from the Throne and I hope they become more than platitudes; I hope they become facts. I am especially pleased that the government has recognized the need to encourage manufacturing. Several small towns in my riding depend upon manufacturing to supply employment. Many of these plants are parts plants and fabricators, and in some cases they’re assemblers. We hope they are able to expand their economic activities.
Our riding is known primarily as an agricultural riding, and yet I recognize that we need a healthy industrial sector to bring a balance to our economy. My riding, as part of Kent and Elgin, has a great capacity for agricultural production, blessed as it is with good soils that are drained either naturally or on an engineering basis by well-skilled people. It is a warmer climate than most parts of Canada, and the population are aggressive people who know how to make use of those soils and the climate.
I believe that many members will be disappointed by the fact that the speech gives only two lines -- 13 words, actually -- to an agricultural orientation. I quote: “New initiatives will be developed to sell more of our food commodities abroad.” I acknowledge that reference was made to the fact that Ontario participates in a buy-Canadian campaign to support domestic products in manufacturing and agriculture. But surely the industry that represents 20 per cent of the economic activity of this province deserves more than 13 words of direct concern and a passing reference in a 25-page document.
I would like to make some suggestions to the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman) that he could carry to the Ontario Food Council and to his ministry for study and action. My thoughts are based on the realization that we will probably be faced with low grain prices for the next several years. I acknowledge that we have in place, both in the federal and provincial governments, stabilization programs -- Liberal programs, I would remind you, Mr. Speaker -- that are going to enhance the agricultural producers of grain. Yet I believe we have to face the fact that we have to face low grain prices for the immediate future, the reason being that grain prices are established in the United States.
That country is currently spending $45 billion a year for offshore oil. That is $45 billion spent for consumption -- it does not go into construction, highways, bridges, public buildings and so on -- and it is paid for by printing money. The consequences are massive deficits and a deterioration of the US dollar versus most other world currencies.
To try at least to partially offset this, the United States is committed to high grain production and low prices for grain. Foreign governments can only buy grain for livestock feed if it is low-priced, and these foreign governments, in nearly every case, are struggling themselves to pay for high-priced oil, having less money therefore left over for grain.
The US Congress has not been able to pass comprehensive energy legislation and so the situation will not change until the OPEC countries refuse to exchange oil for paper. The result is that the best opportunities for Ontario farmers are right here at home. One of the head officials of the marketing section of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food agrees in a recent speech to the Ontario Crop Improvement Association.
I would point out that the greatest gains in Ontario agriculture can be made in the specialty crops -- fruits and vegetables. This is an area where we have a deficit in our trade -- the production of vegetables for processing -- and the processing plants themselves are quite modern and highly mechanized. They can compete with producers anywhere in the world where the terms of competition are equal.
I believe the most neglected area is the production of fruits and vegetables for fresh consumption. The area that I represent in southwestern Ontario has all of the requisites for this production. If we had proper nutrition in this country we would double our per capita consumption, and we would accomplish some of the goals the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) is promoting in his media campaign.
When you look specifically at this area of production you find an industry that has copied the packaging practices of shippers from such distant points as Mexico, California, Texas, Arizona, Florida and Washington state. We did this because we wanted to present as attractive and acceptable a package as these distant, cheaper shippers. We wanted to get rid of the dirty and broken wooden crates that once spoiled our wholesale markets.
I was part of that movement, and I acknowledge my participation. But I now recognize that Ontario products shipped to nearby markets are overpackaged. As an example, a four-quart basket of fresh fruit or vegetables is packaged in a 17-cent consumer package and is shipped to market. Four of these units go in a master container -- a disposable carton that costs approximately an additional 17 cents per four-quart unit. Many of these master containers do not even get into the retail store. The consumer units are taken out of the master container at the receiving dock. The units are placed on portable display racks and the empty master container is thrown into the waste container.
Our industry needs to attack this problem. We need a master container -- probably of fibreglass, but there may be other materials that are available -- that would carry a monetary deposit, and a system of collecting these for re-use, a system of sanitizing them, and a system for financing them.
Retailers would not voluntarily support such a system. They are concerned only with making a profit on the movement of the product from the receiving dock to the checkout point. They are not in the business of reducing farmer-to-consumer costs. They measure their profits in terms of markup percentage and in terms of dollars of sales per hour of employee labour. As long as their profits are on a par with, or above industry averages, by these measurements they are satisfied.
I submit a far better measurement for all of us would be a measurement of net profit. However, they go by these other terms. There have been examples of returnable deposit containers in the industry in the past -- the returnable deposit wooden banana box; and the returnable wooden Owossa, an apple crate used in the state of Michigan, the use of which died out there because there was no orderly system to guard this system.
Growers who put out a new container usually got back a used or broken container. These problems could be overcome with a little imagination and I suggest to the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman) that we are long overdue for the recognition of the opportunities. These are opportunities that really had their turning point in the escalation of oil prices in 1973, which ended cheap packaging and cheap transportation.
I have attended many conferences of fruit and vegetable marketing people in the United States and I can assure this House from my observations that whatever practices we develop here would be a distinct advantage. In that very free enterprise country they are not about to adopt any such methods. In fact, they have laws that would prevent them adopting such methods.
I would point out to the Minister of the Environment (Mr. McCague) that the development of a deposit container for fruits and vegetables would have benefits in reducing the solid waste load of our towns and cities. The foregoing comments also apply to the 40 by 48 inch wooden pallet. Surely we can devise returnable deposit containers that would be compatible with a returnable deposit pallet. No doubt the measurements would be metric, and our industry has already begun conversion of our packages to metric sizes and weights.
I live on a road leading to a landfill site and quite frequently see semi-trailer loads of perfectly good pallets worth about $8 apiece sent out to the dump, where they are buried. The reason this happens is that the goods are unloaded on a dock and since the stores have a policy of having a very small receiving area there is no place to store that pallet to be picked up and returned to its point of origin.
They are thrown down on the ground and this means the next time an empty truck which might pick these up comes by the driver of the truck has to lift about a 90-pound pallet up to a height of six or seven feet, a rather impossible task. So the pallets go to the dump. I would suggest that if we had a comprehensive study and legislation to cover this, these could be returned and used over and over again.
The Throne Speech also mentioned deregulation in the trucking industry, and I believe there are savings here for both agricultural producers and for consumers. Agricultural products are trucked to Toronto, which is our greatest concentration of consumers and our most important port in Ontario. Bulk goods come to Toronto by way of ships and these could be trucked back to our small towns and our smaller cities if we had a backhaul system allowing these trucks to take the backhaul.
It would seem like a natural system; agricultural goods to Toronto, bulk and manufactured goods by return. We all pay for this inefficiency in terms of higher costs and wastage of energy. I know my colleague, the transportation critic, the member for Wentworth North (Mr. Cunningham) would not support free-for-all trucking, nor do I. That policy amongst exempt haulers in the USA has bankrupted thousands of independent truckers and has resulted in serious shortages of trucks in certain shipping areas and surpluses in others, but as a society we in Ontario are not as opposed to using the wise and judicious hand of government in the marketplace as our friends to the south. Surely with our successful experiences of more than 40 years in the marketing board field we could find ways of facilitating backhauls without creating chaos in the industry.
Mr. Speaker, I’ve addressed myself to a narrow field of agriculture. I’ve confined my remarks to this field not because of any lack of understanding of grain and livestock production, indeed I was in the grain and livestock business for many years and I still remain a producer of grain. I’ve confined my suggestions to this narrow field because it is where great strides can be made, where jobs can be created, where foreign exchange can be saved, and where we can find confidence in our ability to do a great deal more.
I hope the government and the Minister of Agriculture and Food, the hon. Member for Durham-York, and the Minister of the Environment, the hon. member for Dufferin-Simcoe, will take note of these suggestions. Thank you.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I’m pleased to participate in the Throne Speech debate and to try in my own limited way to speak to some of the issues and concerns of the people of Hamilton East and, as I see them, of working people throughout the province of Ontario. I think I would I be remiss if I didn’t at the start congratulate the Speaker of the House and the Deputy and Acting Speakers for the job they’re doing.
Commenting on my riding, as some others have done, I’d like to make one comment only. There are probably two or three members in this House who will remember my predecessor who sat here for 20 years; and I’m talking about Reg Gisborn. I think most of the hon. members would be pleased to know that while he has, I think, had a real rough five years, he is still hanging on, still showing an interest in what goes on in this House and reading at least two or three newspapers a day and following up on the key debates. I get constant demands from Reg for copies of bills or particular speeches that are made by members of the House. So he has not lost his interest in what’s going on in the Legislature.
One of the reasons I wanted to speak on this Throne Speech is simply that the government, in my honest opinion, is not responding to the needs and concerns of the people in this province. I get the feeling, I’ve had it for a long time -- and I know others disagree with me -- that this government seems to shudder at the idea of breaking any new ground or looking at any new initiatives, particularly in the economic field. If this government hasn’t tried something before, quite often seven or eight times, it’s no good. That that they’ve tried seven or eight times has failed seven or eight times.
I think the classic example is the Treasurer of Ontario (Mr. McKeough) and his tax concessions to industry which we’ve seen in several consecutive budgets; and with the same results every time, more unemployment. Unfortunately, it looks like we haven’t put enough people out of work in this province, because I get the feeling that he’s going to try it once again in the coming budget for the province of Ontario.
He should take a look, not necessarily at some of the things we’re saying, but at some of the comments of other people around the province. I thought a comment was well made by a columnist -- I believe he operates out of our gallery but I’m not sure I’ve ever met him personally -- John Belanger in the Sun, on March 1. He makes a pretty good point of the fact that the tax concessions, whether at the federal level or provincial level, simply haven’t worked in terms of producing jobs in this province of ours. Another comment in that same day’s paper really wonders how concessions to industry are going to work when we have our industrial establishment in the province of Ontario today working at considerably less than 85 cent of capacity. I don’t know how the concessions improve this situation when we’re not currently using the full capacity that we have.
If we have to go the business incentive route, I wonder what is so wrong with making the concessions that we give to industry conditional on actual new job production, a point New Democrats have been making for long time. Just to say that we think we’re going to get the jobs as a result of these concessions hasn’t worked; it hasn’t worked, consistently, and I don’t think it’s going to work; and it’s open to all kinds of abuses. The Treasurer and the Premier (Mr. Davis), when they talk about this, say that’s the purpose of the incentives to industries we’ve seen so far in various budgets. Why not drop the rhetoric and substitute some positive actions? That is why, in the question period today, I referred to the Premier’s comments about what he was going to do, or what this province was trying to do, in terms of the new automobile parts plants that are going to be built. We’re apparently in competition with some of the lower wage areas in the southern United States for these plants. We have some concern because one of them at least got discussed at some length in our Inco committee as to the possibility of principle seems to apply even if the thing locating that plant in the city of Sudbury. The Premier made the point that he was, very reluctant to use public funds as an incentive in I this kind of game of trying to get these particular companies. In spite of events in the House today, I cannot understand how to rationalize his statements that he refuses, or doesn’t think it is a good idea or has reservations about using tax dollars for this kind of incentive. I had them as well when we were dealing with some of the big companies, but how does he rationalize that with the position we hear all the time in this House, that we are giving across-the-board concessions to industry to produce jobs?
The one thing about a little help in this particular field is that it almost certainly would have produced a job. It seems to me there is some kind of a double standard that the government is applying here.
It seems to me also that when we have unemployment in Ontario at a level of 316,000 -- and that’s the highest since the Depression -- it’s got to be a matter of government concern. So help me, looking through that Throne Speech, I really don’t see anything other than a few Band-Aids or temporary make-work projects. I see nothing that is going to lead to producing an economic policy that will give us more employment in the province.
If the government has a concern, up until now we have seen it in words only; I think it is time that we replaced the words with some action. It sure as blazes hasn’t shown positive action up until now. We have been promising 100,000 new jobs for the last couple of years. Apart from the charters, I have heard statements from the Treasurer and from the Premier that we have had serious concern for at least the last couple of years over the deteriorating employment situation in the province.
And what happened? Last year, we saw an increase of 79,000 -- say 80,000 jobs in the province. To me, that’s far short of 100,000 new jobs. We saw an increase in employment in the province from 3,720,000 in January to 3.8 million at the end of December last year. That’s an increase of 80,000 jobs in the province of Ontario.
I think that there should be concern that we didn’t reach the target of 100,000. It should have been a lot higher. During the same period, the work force in the province of Ontario increased by 123,000. My limited ability in arithmetic tells me that’s a deficit of some 43,000 workers between the new jobs that were created and the larger number of people who entered the work force. It’s one of the reasons we have an even worse situation this year.
I don’t think that should be just political rhetoric. It is one thing to miss a target in normal times, but in my honest opinion an entirely different thing to miss a target when your back is against the wall and when you are dealing with unemployment at record levels. This demands action and not a continuing policy that has been a failure for the last several years. That policy -- the best way I can put it -- is a policy of government freebies to the corporate sector.
The unemployed do come from all segments of our society but the young people or those with some form of handicap seem to be hit hardest of all.
The situation concerning women in the work force has not improved. Figures show that clearly. They still get paid less for similar jobs done by men, and they have much less chance for advancement to higher positions. I think it is interesting, but I cannot help but feel it underlines this government’s thinking when we see the miserly increase we saw in the minimum wage and then realize it excluded any increase at all for waitresses or those who might be serving alcoholic beverages. That would cover a majority of them, and most of those people are at the very bottom of our income level.
Another group that was frozen at the $2.15 level were the young people -- students under 18. I am wondering if this is because this government doesn’t consider them equal as workers to the rest and therefore not entitled to at least the small increase that was given to other people covered by the minimum wage.
Maybe it is just a question of if you don’t have too much power, or aren’t too well organized, or are too young to vote, you don’t really count with this government.
I wonder, when we take a look at the situation in the building trades -- 31,000 members in Metro Toronto and 9,000 of them unemployed, better than 27 per cent -- why we didn’t see more positive recommendations in the Throne Speech concerning the building trades people.
I suggest that another area we have really fallen down on for a long time -- we are now seeing maybe the first discussion of it -- is the whole area of apprentices and a program of industrial planning -- taking a look at where we are going to need the apprentices and what kind of trades people we are going to need. One aspect of this that has been in the paper recently and has stood out for an awful long time is a program for qualified tool and die makers, and you know the policy we have had in this province, and unfortunately in Canada as a whole, up until now has been that as long as we can cannibalize in Europe or other nations, and other places and bring them over here, then fine and dandy, we were not going to go to the cost of setting up the programs. When that overseas market dries up, we’re all of a sudden caught in a bind and we now have to react or try to react. As usual, the reaction of this government seems to be extremely slow.
Even more tragic as a root cause of some of the increasing unemployment in the province of Ontario is the increasing imbalance of income in Ontario. In this province those families and individuals earning over $20,000, jumped from a total of 25.4 per cent of the work force in 1975 to almost 32 per cent in 1976, and unfortunately a big part of that jump was at the top end of the income or salary level. Those in the less than $20,000 income bracket saw little change in their disposable incomes.
It seems to verify another long-time truth in our society and one which everything the Conservatives do underlines. To use a couple of words from an old song that I have always thought really told the true story: “It’s the rich what get the gravy, and it’s the poor what gets the blame” in this province.
One can’t help but be struck by the fact that while government freebies are prescribed for business, government cutbacks zero right in on the poor, the disadvantaged, children, the old, widows, widowers and pensioners.
Particularly dangerous are the health service cuts or restrictions. They invariably hurt the less well-to-do the most. The constant reneging on municipal grants means a transfer of costs to the municipalities and the resulting tax increases hurt homeowners, but particularly those on low or fixed incomes are hurt the most.
The cuts that are coming in the hospital field are having effects: I’m constantly getting letters. I had a couple just the other day from ward attendants at the Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital telling me on some shifts there is now one single attendant on the entire ward, or at the most two, and they just simply can’t handle it. In many cases they have to dress or undress some of the patients and they can’t back up one another as well in terms of some of the patients who may be a little bit dangerous to work with. This is an area where we need to put people to work and it is an area where we’re cutting jobs and cutting employment.
Yesterday’s Hamilton Spectator had a couple of very interesting comments on the new budget the provincial government is allowing. I notice that Don Willard, the administrator of finance at Chedoke Hospital, says that cutbacks will be implemented. They are going to have to cut back in staff and they are also going to have to cut back in services. Mr. Walker at the McMaster medical centre says much the same thing. These are unavoidable costs. He was dealing with the costs they have to deal with, such as salaries -- and the increases in the salaries of the workers have not been very large in this field over the last year -- and various energy costs. He said where there is less money there is less service. It’s all part of the tightening-up process.
Once again we’re zeroing in on those who are least able to help themselves in our society and in the province of Ontario. I really can’t understand why the party that forms the government in this province, which is honest enough, I have to tell you, Mr. Speaker, to admit its total dedication to private enterprise, cannot find a social conscience that at least accepts the rights of people to some of the basic necessities.
That used to be one thing one expected from the Conservative Party. I find it changing; I find it changing rather rapidly and it bothers me. I keep wondering what are the leaders of this party, the Premier and the Treasurer, trying to prove. Why do they have to be so blind as to refuse to look at anything but the most orthodox, and conservative approach to an issue?
It seems to me that common sense tells all of us that if we put a little more income into the hands of those who are most in need -- and we have some tragic examples -- they are going to spend every cent they get. They are going to spend it buying needed goods and services. That helps to create some small additional demand for goods; and when we have to produce, that usually means employment, I always understood and I still believe that.
It seems to me also that large numbers of workers don’t want to work extended shifts and overtime. The Ford plant is the best example I could give of this. Incidentally, I’m still waiting for an answer to a couple of questions about this issue from the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson). When they don’t want to work these extended hours we should be working to eliminate the overtime hours at a plant like this and thereby putting a few hundred more of our unemployed people to work.
I can’t miss the opportunity of saying that this government had put before it concrete proposals to share work and to keep people employed and off UIC and welfare rolls in the Sudbury basin. It rejected them out of hand. They moved so fast, as a matter of fact, with their rejection, that they saved the small Inco corporation the embarrassment of having to reject their part of the proposals themselves.
Dollars will still get you doughnuts, though; the government will offer Inco retraining incentives and Inco will grab that particular portion of it very quickly. This seems to be the pattern of this particular province.
Why, also, are we not coming up with programs that employ large numbers of people in our forest industry -- in terms of renewing our forests in particular? The experts tell us this is crucial to our future. We are a province based on our natural resources and we have a problem in this field. Most people admit that. We haven’t done a particularly good job here, and yet I don’t see any real initiatives in this area.
Why, as well as requiring the actual production of additional jobs to qualify for tax incentives, do we not purchase equity when we advance governments funds, particularly on tax incentives, grants, and low-interest loans? Why does the government of Ontario not demand, what any good businessman in the province of Ontario would, and that’s a piece of the action if you’re going to help pay for it, particularly in our resource sector?
Why does this government not consider a suggestion made by the member for York East (Mr. Elgie) on regional tax incentives in problem areas? I think it’s a good idea. It’s a good idea providing the other side of the coin is considered.
In other words, possibly we should borrow some of the Swedish approach and increase taxes in these areas when times are good and the profits are high. That might give us some flexibility in terms of what we can spend when we hit a downturn and might allow us to use the incentive route in particular areas or professions when we hit a rough period.
I’ve looked through the Throne Speech and can’t find a help for our handicapped citizens. Epileptics still can’t find jobs and don’t qualify for help even from the Human Rights department of this government. They are discriminated against because of their handicaps.
I don’t always like to raise individual cases, but where I have the permission I do. I know of a young chap, Randy McMann, and I’ve raised this in this House before. He’s 21 or 22 years of age. He has a very mild form of epilepsy; the shaking of the hand, not the seizures of which some people think. He has been looking for a job for almost two years and has had a couple of three-month periods in that time. In one period of three months he brought into my office 84 particular job searches.
I talked over his case with some of the people at Manpower. There are a number of times when, from the phone conversations and some of the calls in which I got involved, we know the reason he didn’t get a particular job was because he was honest enough to report that he does suffer from epilepsy.
I’ve noticed lately that there’s a bit of deterioration in Randy’s attitude and condition, usually at the end of a day looking for work. The other day he came into the office after having gone down to the welfare people. He said: “Look, I must qualify for something. I don’t really want anything; I don’t qualify for an automobile licence to help me in that particular area, I can’t go into the armed forces. I don’t qualify for a number of things. I can’t get a job. My bills for pills have now gone up to $40 a month.”
I think the pressure is getting to him after the couple of years he has gone through. “I’m paying only $20 a week with some good people I’m staying with, fortunately. But if I don’t qualify for any of these other things, maybe I can qualify for some kind of assistance or disability pension, or something.”
He didn’t get to first base. He couldn’t even get a drug card. And one of the reasons was because he had been an energetic and saving young chap whenever he had a job. He was down to about $900. That was goodbye. There just doesn’t seem to be any way to assist people in this category, and I don’t see the incentives for these kinds of people in the Throne Speech.
Where is the justice in the province of Ontario when a person who is on a GAINS or other disability type pension, or any type of limited fixed income, is set a budget by his worker, and has his GAINS payment from the province of Ontario reduced every time he gets a cost of living increase through CPP or a private pension plan? The cost of living goes up. The increase usually doesn’t come anywhere near to what the actual cost of living increase was, so they get an extra three or four or five dollars on their CPP and what happens? Their GAINS payment goes down that amount. Are we not trying to give some incentives to these people, let alone help them to keep up with rising costs? But they don’t come close to keeping up with the cost of living.
And where is the justice in the ease of an unemployable widow who is between the ages of 60 and 65 and who gets a maximum of $270 a month income, but suddenly when she becomes 65 -- and you know $270 is nothing to live on -- it increases to $299.94. Is it any less expensive for her to live from 60 to 65 than it is at 65 when she jumps an extra $24.94?
I have sent a number of letters -- and it seems to be very slow to get a response from this government -- to the minister involved, the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton). The lady was so desperate that she said: “What can you do, Mr. Mackenzie? Use my case if you can.” And I want to put it on the record. I will read just a small portion of the letter I sent to the minister a couple of weeks ago, on February 15. Once again, this is how I headed the letter, because I have a number of them:
“I would like to bring to your attention another example of real hardship being worked on some of our Ontario citizens in the 60 to 65-year age bracket. I am referring to a widow who is not as yet entitled to full OAS pension and who is existing on CPP and GAINS. The specific example I am referring to is a Mrs. DiMascio of the Centre Apartments on Ottawa Street North in Hamilton. Mrs. DiMascio came to my office to voice her frustration and made a very strong plea for some justice.
She has a total income of $270 a month. Because she had a brief period when she earned a few dollars and went slightly over, she is now paying back an overpayment of $10 a month, so her actual income at the moment is $260 a month. She is 62 years of age and is paying $152 a month rent, plus hydro, telephone and cable for her television which she is going to have to cut off, although that’s about the only luxury she has at home.”
Her rent incidentally -- I am having a meeting with some of the tenants in this apartment -- is going up $20 a month, effective March 1, so that $152 will come to $172 out of the income she’s trying to live on. One of the few suggestions that were made to her by the ministry people was to enter into senior citizens housing where she could get in at a cheaper rent than she is now paying. This lady has a lovely streak of independence in her and says, “Look, I have lived for almost 14 years in this location. I know the people. The Dominion and Loblaws stores are just around the corner. That’s where I do my shopping and watch for the bargains and I can walk to the Centre Mall and that’s the only recreation I have got. I don’t want to move. This is my life.”
Obviously, she is going to have to move at some point very shortly unless we do something about a case like this and I am simply asking, as I asked the minister, why don’t we take a look at those who really are in need? Why aren’t we doing something about these kinds of people in the budget?
I want to start to wind down but probably in doing it come to the crux of what I really want to say to this House, and that is why we need to take a closer look at the government’s blind faith in private enterprise and its concessions to the corporate sector.
I think first of all that we have to understand that we have to sort of split the private enterprise sector and understand that many small businesses and individual entrepreneurs are also having a difficult time. They don’t have a heck of a lot of bargaining power. They are themselves looking for help and
-- because it seems to be the philosophy of private enterprisers -- while they decry government involvement, they go to the government, as we have seen, for some assistance. What they are really only looking for, as I see it -- and I do understand it -- is the ability to compete in our society.
This area, I guess, in both of the two old parties does disturb me because it seems to me that they give a lot of support, at least in words, to this idea of assisting small businesses. But, you know, the problems of the small business people are really the same as the problems of the workers and, I think, the problems of this government; but this government hasn’t, as yet, recognized it. And that problem in a large part is the size and the power of the corporate world that we are now dealing with.
We have, in this country, simply lost control of many of the huge companies that operate in our country. In many cases, they are multinational and they have no national loyalties whatsoever. They have no responsibility to governments or to the people of the province of Ontario. In many cases, I feel they are also not even responsible to the shareholders of the company involved; they are too impersonal. The shares, in many cases, are blocks of shares held by large banks or trust companies for pension funds. I fear the responsibility, in all too many cases, is to the board itself or to the corporate entity and that their interest is in expanding their own power. That is something that is not necessarily for the good of the province of Ontario.
There are examples every day of the week of what I am talking about. Companies large and small, all of them, in effect, are thumbing their noses at the government of the province of Ontario and, in many cases, at our federal government. We have recently had the situation of the Johns-Manville plant in North Bay. I had a letter from the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Rhodes) today extolling the virtues of the company that bought the plant and really looking at it as in the best interests of the workers. As you will recall, Mr. Speaker, in this House he said there was no way he would be willing to intervene on behalf of the employees who were trying to set up an organization through Tembec to purchase that particular company.
It may be -- and I sincerely hope so -- that the company that has won out and has bought that plant will continue to operate it and try to employ the people. But they have already moved out most of the supply of coal. They have fired the plant manager, as I understand it. They have cut back further on the work force. Most of us have a very sinking feeling of suspicion that what really is at stake is the very valuable property right in downtown North Bay, and that it is a real estate deal we are going to see a number of months down the road. In fact, the people involved have had a record in at least four other cases of doing just that, of purchasing and closing down small plants in northern Ontario.
I ask you, Mr. Speaker, why shouldn’t we at least take a look at the offer of the employees in that plant? One thing you can be doggone sure of is that with the kind of seniority and involvement those employees had, that plant would continue to operate, were they given a chance to purchase it.
Mr. McClellan: Why don’t you do something for a change?
Mr. Mackenzie: We had the case, which I raised, of Shepherd Boats. I think that would bear a lot more investigation than we have had. We have cases where a Canadian consortium takes a look at the situation. If some of the members, including the federal member from down in the Peninsula hadn’t jumped on it, we might have had a Canadian consortium given another substantial loan -- they were talking about $150 million from EDC -- to put up a stainless steel rolling mill in Cuba, a mill that would have been in direct competition with the kind of steel we are rolling at Tracy, Quebec, and at the Atlas plant in Welland. I ask whether that’s in the best interest of this province of ours.
We have the case of Anaconda. There were a couple of curious little twists about that. I understand there may now be a purchaser for that. I hope so. That is an example where this government should have used every effort it could to make sure that we did have a purchaser there. One of the interesting things I found out in talking to some of the workers in that plant was that it wasn’t just a case of the 825 workers there and the loss of another plant through being shut down because of a multinational decision in the States by the huge Anaconda chain. If one knows a little bit about them, he will know that, like Noranda, they are not averse to doing this and doing it quickly.
One of the interesting things was that about half the production of that plant was automotive trim and larger-than-four-inch copper pipe. We already have a serious trade deficit in terms of our auto pact industry. The only other plant producing that particular trim is in Buffalo and we would have been forced into importing that product for our automotive industry if that plant did shut down. The other thing I found out was that that is the only plant, as near as I can find, in all of Canada that produces larger-than-four-inch copper pipe. Once again, what we are facing, apart from the closure without so much as a by-your-leave of a large plant with 825 employees in the province of Ontario, is having to purchase any and all of the larger-than- four-inch copper pipe from the plant in Buffalo, New York, which that same Anaconda corporation owns. It seems to me, in my simple grasp of economics, that that’s another drain on our balance of dollar payments in this particular province. I can’t understand this.
The clincher to me is Sudbury and the Inco corporation. If nothing else came through it was that there was no responsibility. We had a great time for a number of days on that committee trying to dig into whether or not there had been any serious consideration, either presented to the board or done in the form of studies, about the effect on the community and the cost to the community, to the workers and to the province of Ontario.
While they skated -- I guess that is the best word -- without giving us a clear answer, after we finished the hearings, we finally got a letter from the company. I should have brought it with me today, but I didn’t. It’s in our addendum to the Inco report which some members will have had a chance to read. It clearly stated that they had done no research whatsoever. No documents were filed and they had no idea of the impact on the community. It stated that they had had some in-house discussions, and that was the extent of it.
Yet what we have here is a corporation -- to save itself $45 million to $50 million in salaries plus additional related costs -- willing to transfer millions to the province of Ontario, to the people of Ontario, to the people of Canada. We never could get a proper figure put on it, but it’s millions of dollars in costs. I really wonder, is that in our best interest, when this corporation can do that without, once again, so much as a by-your-leave? They didn’t even talk to the Premier (Mr. Davis), as near as we can tell, unless it was the night before the press release actually went out. It seems to me that that’s not corporate responsibility.
I have to raise one other matter, because I think it’s as important as anything else I’ve raised. If you ask us why we have some doubts about this constant blind faith on the incentives and that they’re going to do the right thing by the people of Ontario -- and I’m talking about the corporate sector now -- it is because of the comment that came out without our asking in the Inco committee hearings when we had before us officials from Ottawa from the EDC. And we certainly jumped on it once the comment came out.
We were questioning them as to the usefulness, the justice, or what the $77 million that they got in loans from the Indonesian and Guatemalan projects was going to do or was meant to do, The EDC officials -- because I guess that’s what their department was justified in doing -- made a tremendous case for the fact that we were exporting some jobs, some material, some technology, that this did produce $77 million worth of orders in Canada.
That we can understand. It produced 4,000 man-years of work, 4,000 jobs. If we ever start doing some kind of a balance statement, I don’t think that one year of 4,000 jobs comes anywhere near to what we may lose -- and lose for a lot of years to come -- from the Sudbury basin.
Nevertheless, they made the case very strongly that, “Look, the loans were successful.” I found it very interesting to find out that Inco has no responsibility to pay any of those loans back. They’re actually made, through the EDC, with the governments involved; and really they could thumb their nose at any form of repayment. Nevertheless, this was successful because it had done this. So I asked -- I guess rather innocently -- what would Inco have done anyhow?
It’s a $1 billion project in Indonesia and Guatemala -- $1 billion. And Inco is, I think -- at least they claimed they were -- a Canadian corporation, a Canadian company. The majority of the directors were Canadian. Most of their wealth came out of the Sudbury basin, out of Canada. And what did they let drop? The rather amazing statement that they had been talking for a lot of months before they finalized those two loans and that Inco was not prepared to spend any more than $1.5 million in Canada.
They made that very clear in the testimony before the committee. A $1 billion overseas project financed to a large extent with profits out of this country, and they were going to purchase goods and services totalling $1.5 million. That’s not the price of one of the generators that hauls up a mine cage in one of the major mines built in my own town of Hamilton.
Mr. McClellan: These are Leo’s friends.
Mr. Mackenzie: You have to wonder -- even the most avid fans of private enterprise have to wonder -- what kind of a corporate responsibility there is when that’s exactly what we face. What, in effect, happened was a gentle little bit of blackmail -- and they didn’t like it in the committee. If we hadn’t gone to them with this freebie again where they could pick up $77 million, we wouldn’t have got any jobs whatsoever. We only got those jobs because we gave them this kind of loan, and heaven only knows if it will ever be repaid.
Surely this government, if it has any self-respect left, has got to realize that the game -- the free or private enterprise game -- has changed. We’re going to have it with us -- or parts of it with us -- for a long time to come. But the multinationals -- the huge corporations with no loyalty to anything but the balance sheet and not our country or any other country, as near as I can tell -- mean that we’re playing by a completely new set of rules. We’ve got to understand that. It’s no longer our company and the resources they’re using in development are no longer ours. We don’t have the control of them, or at least we have not been willing to exert any kind of control or have any major input in how they’re going to use them and what they’re going to do with them.
Mr. Foulds: Not under this government.
Mr. Mackenzie: It seems to me that the old game of government incentive, when we really have no say in what their policies are going to be or whom they’re going to help, simply can’t continue any longer. They really consider it one more tap to the public purse. I always thought the Conservatives and members of the Liberal Party were against this kind of misuse of the public purse.
I suggest that if this government doesn’t decide to reassert some kind of control and responsibility over these major companies -- which have in some cases become bigger than government themselves -- and that was very clear in some of those hearings with Inco -- I have serious reservations about the future.
One of the speakers a few minutes ago was expressing concern about youth, and why they were becoming so cynical. I can tell you why. When they see the kind of games we are playing with our own resources and the lack of control we have over our own economic future then they have a right to be cynical. I predict that if we are not going to come to grips with this problem we are going to be damned by our children in the not too distant future.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, may I first express to you, sir, and through you to the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes), my pleasure in being able to participate in the Throne Speech debate. This is the first opportunity I have had since the election of your counterpart -- the member for Lake Nipigon -- to congratulate him and commend him on the way he is discharging his particular duties in regulating and controlling the affairs of this Legislature.
I think those of us who have known him over the years -- a fellow member from northern Ontario -- have come to recognize his leadership qualities, which he displays on a very regular basis. He has certainly given excellent leadership, and I think he is setting a good example for those who come after him in that position.
To you, sir, I extend also my congratulations for your excellent handling of the affairs of this Legislature. I hope you are in that position for some considerable time to come.
As a northerner, I am sure that the Speaker, the member for Lake Nipigon, would join me in expressing pleasure in the progress that has been made in the past year with the new Ministry of Northern Affairs. We are not only alive and thriving -- largely I might say in northern Ontario -- but I believe that we are focusing more thoughtful attention on northern Ontario than it received at any time before this new ministry was formed.
It is true, sir, that circumstances beyond our control have contributed a great deal to everyone’s appreciation of the enormous economic impact of northern Ontario on the lives of everyone in Canada. Excluding the automotive industry, almost half of Ontario’s exports are generated by the mineral and the forest industries which are mainly located in the north. In other words, our ability to earn foreign exchange rests to a significant degree on the industrial activity of northern Ontario. This is one of several important considerations to keep in mind as we continue to carry out this government’s long term strategy to further the development of northern Ontario, and thereby increase the well-being and the prosperity of the people who live and work in that great area.
While the decline in the value of the dollar has had its drawbacks, there are advantages. And it could hardly have come at a more welcome time, as far as northern Ontario’s export industries are concerned. The dollar devaluation certainly offers more than welcome prospects this year in the tourist business in the north. Having been through one season recently in which a great many Americans decided to stay home in the celebration of their country’s bicentennial celebrations, our tourist operators in the north are looking hopefully for a resurgence in business -- especially since the American dollar now has a relatively greater buying power in Canada.
I do hope that the tourist operators throughout the north, and for that matter throughout the rest of the province, will fully honour the present premium on the US dollar, now that this premium is large enough to make a substantial difference in each visitor’s purchasing power while in Canada. The proper recognition of the premium can do much to reaffirm the excellent value of a Canadian vacation and generate a lasting impression of goodwill on our part towards our neighbours to the south.
Mr. di Santo: That is why Davis goes to Florida.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Before I leave the subject of tourism, I should mention that I have been particularly impressed by the interest which communities in the north are showing towards developing tourist programs on a regional basis. For instance, I had a very worthwhile meeting not long ago with the members of the James Bay Frontier Tourist Association in Timmins. They have been anxious to take a greater advantage of the potential of the Polar Bear Express operated by the Ontario Northland Railway Transportation Commission to bring visitors to the entire northeastern Ontario corridor.
My colleague, the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Brunelle), and I were able to respond to a number of their suggestions for joint programs to bring tourists to the area and make their stay more enjoyable. We would like to develop similar programs for other areas of the north and I can guarantee that any local initiative in this area can expect the complete co-operation of this government.
Northern Ontario’s major export industries are also showing some good results. We are living in a period when there is plenty of good news but its very nature makes it less dramatic than the bad news which so often makes the headlines.
Mr. McClellan: Give us some good news.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Everyone knows about the layoffs that have occurred in Sudbury. The member previous to me made mention of it. I am sure most people are aware of the sluggish condition of the mining industry in general.
Mr. McClellan: What’s the good news?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: This kind of bad news travels fast. It also leaves a strong impression in people’s minds. I wonder how many people know that Ontario’s forest-based industries are on the other hand enjoying a real boom. After a three-year period of expansion that began in 1973, the largest expansion since 1950 --
Mr. McClellan: Two trees for one.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- Ontario’s forest industry is just completing a fiscal year in which the harvest of Crown timber is expected to reach 560 million cubic feet.
Mr. McClellan: What about the reforestation program?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: You can’t stand good news, can you?
Mr. Foulds: It’s a little below expectations though.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Just listen to it.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: This will be the largest harvest of its kind in the past 60 years. This forecast is based on a 20 per cent increase in the volume of Crown timber harvested by licensed operators in the first 10 months of this current fiscal year compared to the amount cut in the same period a year earlier. As most members would suppose, the major reason for this dramatic increase is the additional demand for wood caused by new and expanded pulp and paper facilities in northern Ontario.
Late in 1976, the Great Lakes Pulp and Paper Company started up a new Kraft mill with a capacity of 250,000 tons a year plus facilities for making particleboard and waferboard. Soon after that Kimberly-Clark expanded the capacity of its kraft pulp mill at Terrace Bay by 315,000 tons a year. The increased harvest in Crown timber can also be attributed in part to buoyant market conditions for lumber, plywood particleboard and to the increased use of domestic fuel-wood.
A moment ago in the context of good news and bad news, I mentioned the recent layoffs in Sudbury. I believe this is an appropriate moment to draw to the members’ attention the part which the Ministry of Northern Affairs has played in reducing the impact of those layoffs on the people of the Sudbury area.
Mr. di Santo: What did you do?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: As one short-term measure to provide employment and income for the area, my ministry and the Ministry of Natural Resources have each budgeted a share of the $1.2 million necessary to construct the Nickeldale conservation dam in the current year. Other immediate measures include speedups of construction on municipal water projects in the Sudbury area. The real challenge in the Sudbury area lies in the community’s need to advance from its --
Mr. McClellan: You should go up to Sudbury and give them the good news.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- present economic base of mining and metal processing to a more diversified and thus more stable economy. Such an achievement demands a great deal of careful thought and planning. With the help of a grant of $190,000 from the Ministry of Northern Affairs, the regional municipality of Sudbury is embarking on studies to import substitution and the diversification of agriculture in the Sudbury area. I think most members would agree that import substitution is a timely strategy to consider right now.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: If we could substitute their members we’d be in good shape.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: That will come next. With the purchasing power of Canadian dollars having declined in the foreign marketplace and with mining equipment and machinery representing $500 million a year in imports, the substitution of Canadian-made equipment and machinery to any extent whatever could provide an enormous two-way advantage.
Mr. McClellan: Is it going to happen or not?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Since the responsibility of setting the priorities for highway development in northern Ontario is now among my ministry’s responsibilities --
Mr. McClellan: I suppose that’s good news.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- I must also mention with regard to Sudbury that extra road work is being undertaken to help minimize the consequences of dislocation and to bolster the commercial activities now established in Sudbury. Increased production in the Elliot Lake area will require 2,870 additional mine-related employees between now and 1984. Many of these jobs will be filled by miners and others who have been laid off in the Sudbury area.
Mr. McClellan: They’ll all back at work by 1984.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Since many of those who find new jobs in Elliot Lake will no doubt maintain family or other ties in Sudbury, we have felt special and immediate concern about highway facilities in the general area.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Their local member’s in Florida.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: In this fiscal year, we have spent $2.5 million on improvements to Highway 108, which forms part of the highway between Sudbury and Elliot Lake. This expenditure completes a $3.1 million program of improvements. Also in this same fiscal year, we have committed $7.4 million in three projects on Highway 17, between Sudbury and Elliot Lake, and in the next fiscal year we intend to spend further funds on this same section of highway.
I believe it is indicative of our government’s economic strategy for the north that I have the support --
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I want to repeat that. I believe that it is indicative of our government’s economic strategy for the north that I have the support to spend $13 million of the coming year’s expenditures on resource roads in northern Ontario.
Mr. McClellan: You should ask Peter Branch.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: But then virtually every major expenditure in our budget for this past year has been for some type of project to provide the north with the broader, more solid economic base it needs.
This philosophy underlies the government funding of our ministry. In our first year, we had a 20 per cent increase in the funds available for roads and highways, local and regional priorities, remote and community airports, and all other activities which contribute to improved community life and greater economic opportunities for the people of northern Ontario.
I am pleased to admit to this House that much of our success has been the result of the encouragement and the co-operation of the people of northern Ontario who are demonstrating their support for this new ministry.
Mr. di Santo: Especially the miners in Sudbury.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: We are seeing this in a much expanded role in the use of our community service offices which have done so much to bring the services of government to the communities of the north. We opened a new office in Rainy River this fall and I will be going to Chapleau next week for the opening of a new office there.
Mr. Foulds: Hope you invited the local member.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: We have opened our new office at Ignace and we have found accommodation and will be appointing officers very shortly in Iroquois Falls and in Hearst. This involvement of the people of the north is so very important because we all recognize that the government alone can do very little to ensure the successful development of the north and the provisions for new jobs.
Here we need the help of the private sector. I was very interested in the comments of the member who preceded me about the involvement of the private sector.
Mr. McClellan: About the multinationals. Tell us about the multinationals.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I would like to take a moment to inform the House of a rather unique example of this type of endeavour, which is currently in the development stages, relating to the construction of a town centre in Hornepayne in northeastern Ontario. I regret that the member for that particular area left earlier.
Mr. Foulds: He really worked hard for that.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I’m sure he would be interested in this and I hope that the members opposite will bring it to his attention.
Mr. McClellan: Absolutely.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: And accurately.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Plans have been put together to build a mall-type community town centre comprised of residential, commercial and public-service facilities, all enclosed within one structure.
As the hon. members are aware, Hornepayne is a key railroad community on the main line of the CNR. Because of its geographic location, the centre has become a key divisional point for crow changes on the transcontinental operation of the CNR. The community town centre is to be built and operated by Hallmark Hotels Limited. It will include approximately 100 bachelorette apartments for railroad employees. Commercial facilities will include a department store, a groceteria, a hotel, post office, and other small retail operations.
Mr. McClellan: Tourism paradise.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Public sector facilities to be enclosed within the project will consist of a high school, a recreational centre, senior citizens’ residence, a health centre, as well as quarters for the Ontario Provincial Police. The total project will be approximately 160,000 square feet and it will cost in the order of $10 million. Tenders have been called in the last several weeks and it is hoped that the project will proceed to construction this spring, subject of course to acceptable bids being received.
Because of the complexities of the project and the number of parties involved, putting the town centre concept together has been a major undertaking. The benefits to the residents of Hornepayne will of course make the efforts on the part of all parties very worthwhile. In turn, the experience that will be gained in working with the private sector on this undertaking will be most valuable in trying to find new ways of meeting the needs of the citizens of northern Ontario communities faced with problems of growth regarding the expansion of resource industry operation.
These are just some of the issues and some of the problems and some of the prospects that are uppermost in our minds these days in the Ministry of Northern Affairs.
I would just like to close by recognizing that this month marks the first year of the creation of the Ministry of Northern Affairs. Certainly the accomplishments that we have been able to achieve in the past 12 months have been most encouraging and they are being recognized by the enthusiasm and the full co-operation of all those who live in that area north of the French River.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I regret very much that time does not permit one to partake fully in the Throne Speech debate. However, I would like to put on record that the windup will be on Monday and, as a result, there will be only the three windup speakers allowed and everyone else will be prevented from speaking. I would like at the outset to join with my colleagues from the Windsor area in their comments concerning the unemployment situation as well as the auto trade pact and some of the ramifications of it.
In addition to that, we have all been fairly well united when it comes to the PCB problems, especially in relation to the Peerless Cement company in Detroit. We just dread the thought that Peerless Cement might be given a permit to burn PCBs and seriously affect the health, of the residents in the Windsor area.
The grant equalization program was one that was originally brought to the attention of the government back in 1975 when the mayor of the city of Windsor met with the cabinet in the city of London and pointed out the inequities of the grant. He showed to the Premier and the cabinet that Windsor’s assessment figures were far more recent than those of other municipalities and, as a result, we looked as if we were a wealthier municipality and we were denied any resource equalization grants.
The treasury department in the city of Windsor pointed out to the Premier and the cabinet that because of using such modern figures and the other municipalities using outdated figures that the city of Windsor was denied some $8.5 million annually over an extended period of time.
The solution to the problem now is that a transitional grant of that amount be given to the community so that at least while the province decides just exactly how to phase in a market value assessment with tax reform, the city of Windsor is not penalized, because that penalty does discourage industry from coming into the community. It means an increased tax burden to the industry. Rather than settle in the city of Windsor they will go to other areas or maybe even go into the southern parts of the United States.
The only other issue that I was going to raise at some length was the CPR railroad tracks in my riding and the fact that the Ministry of the Environment has not taken an active part in protecting the environment in that vicinity of the tracks. I think it is a shame that the province of Ontario would disregard this simply because it happens to be a federal emanation; that is, the federal emanation is the railroad tracks. I will have an opportunity to make comments on some of these other things in the budget debate and I will take that opportunity.
There are other issues that I would have liked to have raised but it is 1 o’clock and it is time to adjourn the House. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
On motion by Mr. di Santo the debate was adjourned.
Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, if I may. The member for Downsview adjourned the debate; does this mean that he speaks on Monday?
Mr. B. Newman: No.
Mr. Gregory: This was not the agreement that was made.
Mr. di Santo: I don’t know what the agreement was.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The motion has been made and agreed to by the House, and I believe the matter can be handled when the House resumes sitting.
On motion by Hon. Mrs. Birch, the House adjourned at 1 p.m.