The House met at 2 p.m.
Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I have a message from the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor signed by her own hand.
Mr. Speaker: By her own hand, P. M. McGibbon, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor, transmits supplementary estimates of certain additional sums required for the services of the province for the year ending March 31, 1978, and recommends them to the Legislative Assembly, Toronto, March 6, 1978.
SELECT COMMITTEE ON INCO AND FALCONBRIDGE LAYOFFS
Mr. Kennedy: I rise on a point of personal privilege. On Friday last, the select committee report on the Inco-Falconbridge layoffs was tabled. A statement made by four members of the third party contained in the final report of the select committee into Inco and Falconbridge layoffs stated as follows:
In appendix A of the report, there are some additional comments by Messrs. Laughren, Mackenzie, Martel and Wildman. On page 28 they wrote: “In September 1974 a select committee of the Ontario Legislature tabled a document entitled, Interim Report of the Select Committee on Economic and Cultural Nationalism: National Resources, Foreign Ownership and Economic Development, which was signed by members of all parties in this House. Some 23 major recommendations were made by this committee, one of them calling for public ownership of the resource industries. Again this government failed to act.”
As a member of that committee I know of no recommendation which calls for public ownership of the resource industry.
Mr. Warner: Reread the report.
Mr. Kennedy: There was a recommendation on page 63 of this interim report which called for 75 per cent Canadian ownership of equity after 15 years, but that does not mean public, government or state ownership.
Mr. Davidson: It does. You have controlling interest.
Mr. Kennedy: Further, on page 74 of the interim report, there is a recommendation that says that the government should be empowered to take up to 50 per cent of the equity in new ventures in the non-renewable natural resources sector.
Mr. Warner: It should be public ownership.
Mr. Kennedy: But neither myself nor the member for London South (Mr. Walker) agreed to that recommendation. In any event, a recommendation stating that the government should be empowered to take an equity position is not the same as calling for public ownership of the resource industries.
The additional comments of the four members of the third party implied that members of the select committee and members of this party were in favour of public ownership of the resource industry. That is not a factual statement, Mr. Speaker, and I wish the record corrected.
Mr. Nixon: Can’t you see the record being recorrected all over the province?
Mr. Martel: I wish the hon. member would read the select committee’s report that he signed. What does number 20 say?
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
SELECT COMMITTEE ON HIGHWAY SAFETY
Hon. Mr. Snow: Today, as government spokesman on highway safety, I would like to say a few words about the status of the government’s response to the report of the select committee on highway safety. As I was unable to be present at the original debate on the committee’s report, my parliamentary assistant, the hon. member for Algoma-Manitoulin (Mr. Lane), spoke on my behalf. His statement indicated our initial reaction to the individual recommendations and pointed out steps that had already been taken to implement some of the recommendations reported in the report.
Since then, my ministry has started work on various projects related to the recommendations and continued work on a number of others which were already underway.
This afternoon I will be introducing bills relating to photographs on drivers’ licences and a probationary licensing system for new drivers, as recommended by the select committee report. These bills will provide enabling legislation allowing us to proceed with these programs as resources become available.
I would like to point out that since that debate, other ministries and interministerial groups have been at work on those recommendations that fall outside my ministry’s direct responsibilities. Many of the committee’s recommendations dealt with enforcement, health and other matters. As co-ordinator, I will maintain an overview of the progress on highway safety in general, and implementation of the committee’s recommendations in particular. My cabinet colleagues will report to members on the progress of those recommendations which deal with matters directly within their responsibilities.
I will not repeat all of what was said in the earlier statement on the select committee report, nor will I touch on the report’s 52 recommendations at this time -- a compendium will be distributed today, a compendium indicating the current status of the response to each of those recommendations -- but I will speak briefly on progress in various areas.
In the field of driver instruction, we will be coming forward with a comprehensive white paper for tabling in the House later in this session. As the committee recommended, we are taking a more active role in determining the effectiveness and uniformity of driver instruction in the province, both within the high school driver education program and commercial driving schools.
In the testing and licensing of drivers, we are bringing in both bills previously mentioned, photos on licences and probationary licences.
As for impaired drivers, an interministerial group has examined the committee’s recommendations and is providing us with their advice. Progress, of course, will be dependent upon developing a new level of co-ordination and co-operation between the concerned jurisdictions.
On enforcement, analysis of recommendations is continuing within the responsible ministries. Some of the recommendations are costly and may take time to implement, particularly in this period of fiscal restraint. Radar detection devices have been banned, as the committee recommended.
In the matter of automobile safety standards, we are holding discussions with the responsible federal authorities on items relating to new vehicles, and MTC will conduct a benefit-cost study of periodic motor vehicle inspections for both passenger and commercial vehicles.
Steps have been taken to increase enforcement of the seatbelt law and promote further voluntary compliance. Charges laid for seabelt violations in 1977 were up more than 400 per cent over 1976, while occupant fatalities were down a further 10.3 per cent compared with the first 11 months of last year. Through 1976, the first year of the seatbelt law and reduced speed limits, there were 16 per cent fewer fatalities than in 1975, proving we are now experiencing very substantial reductions in numbers of deaths compared to the pre-1976 levels. In fact, I believe that over the two years we have about a 25 per cent reduction in numbers of deaths on our roads.
We have implemented regulation changes and improved inspection of school buses along the lines suggested by the select committee, and we are co-ordinating research on school bus stop arms. Such information will be made available to school boards as recommended.
In the truck area, we have a project on rear collision protection, including underrides and rear visibility; and the co-ordinator of highway safety has been meeting with the trucking industry and others prior to bringing in specific recommendations to reduce truck accidents.
In the highway area, MTC is carrying on intensive research aimed at improved and safer highway construction. It is extending its use of concrete median barriers in new construction and reconstruction projects. A new variable warning sign for motorists is being erected on a trial basis on the QEW, consistent with the select committee’s recommendation.
We have appointed a co-ordinator of road safety activities in Ontario, Mr. Robert Humphries, MTC’s assistant deputy minister for drivers and vehicles, and he is centralizing contacts with other Ontario agencies, provinces, the federal government and private organizations. As the committee recommended, the co-ordinator will be leading an investigation into the rescue of crash victims. As well, I have talked with the Solicitor General (Mr. Kerr) about the possibility of supplying the London-Woodstock region of the OPP, as a demonstration project, with heavy-duty tracked snow vehicles for use in rescuing motorists stranded because of severe storms. Should it prove successful, such a rescue service could be established in other Ontario snow belt districts.
We are also in the process of planning a five-year federal-provincial co-operative road safety program which will include input from RTAC and the CCMTA. As a starter, I brought the select committee’s report to the attention of responsible ministers in all the other provinces, as well as the federal minister. In fact, I personally forwarded them copies of the report. The reaction has been extremely favourable and reflects great credit on both the Legislature and the province. I would like to add that I feel the report offers many sound contributions to the improvement of highway safety. It is to the committee’s credit that it recognizes that progress will be made through orderly changes, scientifically developed, prudently managed and objectively evaluated.
In discussing highway safety programs, two major issues overshadow all others. The first is the terrible suffering and loss that accidents produce. The second is the enormous scale of the highway transportation system and the necessarily limited resources with which we attempt to service it. The question of resources is particularly important at this time, but I am not discouraged. The instant application of large sums of money cannot solve our problems anyway. The measured pace of systematic development can be frustrating, but evaluating each proposed step and using resources where they will do the most good must surely lead to better results.
While one of this government’s major objectives is to reduce red tape and eliminate unnecessary regulation, safety remains a paramount concern and cannot be compromised. In closing, I would point out that we have already made progress under the guidance of the select committee report, and I am confident that highway safety in Ontario will continue to improve.
STATUS OF CIVIL SERVANT
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, on Friday, March 3, the Globe and Mail reported on interviews they had had with Peter Branch, a civil servant employed in my ministry. In response to a question to the Premier (Mr. Davis) on Friday and in fairness to other civil servants, I believe I should clarify the circumstances surrounding Mr. Branch’s employment in the public service.
Mr. Branch was hired by the then Department of Trade and Development in 1964 as a regional development officer to work in support of the regional development councils that were part of the program for promoting and co-ordinating development at a regional level. He was promoted and became head of his section over the next few years when the function was moved to Treasury and Economics. But with the ending of the regional development councils in 1973, the supporting branch became redundant and was discontinued. This was an early example of the government winding up programs when they had served their purpose and redeploying the resources.
Mr. Cassidy: Nonsense. You killed those councils. Why don’t you wind up the government?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Branch and his four associates were given new responsibilities in the regional development branch and since their old classifications no longer existed they were classified as economists 3. Under the regulations of the Civil Service Commission their salaries were held at their prior level in their new positions despite the somewhat lower salary level of the new assignment -- the process known as “red circling.”
Mr. Branch requested and was given opportunity for development in his career, and it was arranged that he be assigned to a position in the program analysis branch of the ministry in the fall of 1973 at the same salary. This did not prove to be satisfactory, and to assist Mr. Branch in the pursuit of his career he was seconded to the Niagara Escarpment Commission in the spring of 1974 as the manager of the administration unit.
All of these moves were developed and arranged by the ministry in consultation with Mr. Branch, because he was a satisfactory employee in his previous position and he wished to remain in the public service. The moves were made to responsible positions to give him an opportunity to maintain his employment in the service and in positions where he would earn his salary.
As the ministry reorganized to better use its resources within new constraints in 1975, the complement position in the ministry from which he had been seconded was, like many others in the ministry, considered to be no longer essential in the future. We notified the Niagara Escarpment Commission to this effect so that it might assume responsibility for the salary and position of Mr. Branch in its own budget. But being faced with similar constraints it had to tighten its belt, and in consolidating it could not continue that position after March 31, 1977.
Yet again the ministry provided Mr. Branch with a transfer, in April of 1977, to the central statistical services in the ministry where there was a vacancy for a person of his capabilities in the client services section.
And this is where Mr. Branch really began to share the necessity to recognize that this government is maintaining service while cutting the costs. The division to which he was transferred is a good example. In reviewing its function in detail it was concluded that some functions were redundant.
Mr. Warner: Like the Treasurer.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Others could be obtained elsewhere and the balance could be refined so that savings could be made. Since 1974-75, complement positions in the central statistical services have been reduced from 88 to 46, or by 48 per cent. Two director positions also have been eliminated, thus focusing the division on those duties and services that are presently required.
Mr. Branch, therefore, has been working in an area that has been dedicated to doing its job with less. It has the minimum level of funding to meet its priority services for 1978-79 and has reduced its budget by over 21 per cent, or $421,000. In addition, the division will be expecting to recover from the users of its services, public and private, approximately $500,000. If there is no demand for these services they will be discontinued with further savings.
In this process, Mr. Branch’s position was thought to be redundant, and he was so advised last fall; but as the reorganization developed it was recommended that the function of that position be retained and that was accepted in the constrained program.
It would seem from the comments attributed to Mr. Branch that perhaps the first decision of his supervisors was the correct one, and indeed his position is redundant.
The deputy minister has ordered an immediate review of his position, and any others which may be in the same category. Obviously the need to treat long-term and otherwise satisfactory employees fairly, even when redundant, cannot be an excuse for creating a continuing position where an honest day’s work will not be forthcoming. But, Mr. Speaker, the statements in these articles, whether from Mr. Branch or the writers, which imply that people in my ministry are not working hard, are most unfair to the public servants in my ministry.
Mr. Warner: It speaks to your leadership, or lack of it.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Between April 1, 1975, and April 1, 1978, the staff of the ministry has in fact been reduced from 1,026 to 777, of which 57 were transfers of positions to other ministries, while 192 were actually positions eliminated from the ministry operations. These reductions include civil service as well as contract positions; and the positions of two assistant deputy ministers, two executive directors and eight directors.
While reducing manpower by almost a fifth, the ministry has been doing more and doing it well at a time when never before has there been more stress on the areas of economics, finance and inter-governmental affairs.
Mr. Davidson: You guys created the monster.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: All this arises from an unhappy civil servant --
Mr. Warner: There are thousands more.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- who has sought to present his concerns over his future pension benefits. He has had the opportunity to discuss his problems with all of his supervisors, including the deputy minister, and on three occasions has filed grievances which were subsequently resolved. We have gone just about as far as we can go to help Mr. Branch and we have done so with all consideration. I cannot, however, accept his aspersions on the integrity of my associates in the Treasury ministry.
COUNCIL FOR TROUBLED CHILDREN AND YOUTH
Mr. S. Smith: A question of the Treasurer: Can the Treasurer confirm that there is a certain Mr. Peter Wiseman listed in the February 1978 directory as “chairman of the Council for Troubled Children and Youth”; can he confirm that his salary, as last reported in the Public Accounts 1976-77, was over $35,000 annually, and is he aware that Mr. Wiseman said last week that in fact the council was actually disbanded in September 1977, that in fact we have not yet seen an annual review of this council since the one dated July 1976, and that in fact the data from the only questionnaire they did of any particular merit are now missing or destroyed and are not available to the children’s services branch which might otherwise use them?
Mr. Nixon: More lean budgeting.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, the answer to all four questions would be no.
Mr. S. Smith: Could the Treasurer undertake to consult with his colleague, the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch), to find out how it happens that a person continues in the position, as announced in February 1978, despite a council that was disbanded months and months earlier; and will he undertake as well to consult with that particular colleague, or with the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells), under which ministry this wonderful council allegedly reported, to make available to this House all the reports that that council ever came up with during the time it was in existence?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, that question might be redirected to my colleague the Minister of Education.
Mr. Conway: Give Elmer Bell a call.
Mr. S. Smith: I would so redirect. Would the minister care for me to repeat the question?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I cannot answer all parts of the question except to tell the member that Mr. Peter Wiseman is a very hard-working and energetic education officer in the Ministry of Education who has been seconded to, and is working for the Provincial Secretary for Social Development on the interco-ordination of problems related to troubled children and youth.
Some of the reports and some of the details that came out of his committee were part of what led to the establishment of the children’s services branch and they are now operating as an ongoing body to help consult and bring the other ministries into the operations of the children’s services branch. I’m not sure what my friend is getting at. If he is wondering whether Peter Wiseman is still working for us and is working hard and earning his money, the answer is yes.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, there is no attempt to cast an aspersion on the gentleman. The question is whether in fact he is continuing to be listed as a chairman of a council in February 1978 when in fact the council was allegedly disbanded in September 1977, and whether in fact the data which allegedly would help children’s services be reorganized in the Ministry of Community and Social Services are missing or have been destroyed? Those are the questions. And why has there been no annual report since July 1976 from this council?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I’ll be glad to look into some of those last things that my friend, the Leader of the Opposition, has indicated. It’s my recollection that while the council as such in its terms of reference and in its designation as a council may not still operate, the function that it served is still performed. Peter Wiseman’s role as a chairman of an interministerial group is still in operation and Peter is still offering advice to other government departments and drawing together their people, but he’s also working for the Ministry of Education and he still is an education officer in our ministry.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of final supplementary, if I might, would the minister be good enough, please, to detail not only Mr. Wiseman’s duties, but would he be good enough to tell us the nature of this new interministerial group that the minister says may have replaced the council to which I was referring earlier? Would the minister in fact give us the membership of that interministerial group and would he answer my question about whether or not the data which Mr. Wiseman obtained as chairman of the council regarding children’s services in Ontario are missing or destroyed?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes, I’d be glad to look into that. I would doubt very much that it’s missing or destroyed. I’m sure that my friend, the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton), can tell the hon. member that all the data that council has put together have been used by the government.
Mr. S. Smith: Don’t be so sure.
Mr. Lewis: One fizzle, strike two.
Mr. Conway: The Minister of Community and Social Services has an awful lot of reading to do these days.
CATALOGUE OF STATISTICAL FILES
Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Treasurer, given his well-known commitment to open government: Can he explain why his ministry publishes two versions of its catalogue of statistical files, one for government use only and one for public use, which is somewhat smaller? Can he explain why one version would not do for everyone, provided it simply identified those files which were to be kept confidential? I might point out that his own ministry actually does give the same information virtually to the two, so why can’t all the ministries do that?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: No, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. S. Smith: I beg your pardon?
Mr. Breithaupt: He can’t explain it.
Mr. Swart: The question was “why?”
Mr. S. Smith: He can’t explain it?
I take it the answer is no, he cannot explain it.
Mr. Reid: He’s practising up for tomorrow night.
Mr. S. Smith: If I might, by way of supplementary, I would ask the Treasurer whether he would undertake to inform himself in this matter so that at some future time he might be able to explain the need for two separate publications.
While he’s doing it, could he make note of and explain to us 33 or more different descriptions -- varying types of confidentiality -- listed under accessibility of these documents? I’ll just read a few of them to him so he’ll know what I’m speaking about.
Some of these titles are: “Confidential”; “Not available to public”; “Not confidential within the government”; “Strictly confidential”; “Not available” --
Mr. Bolan: “For your eyes only.”
Mr. S. Smith: -- “Interoffice confidential”; “Classified”; “Discretion of branch head”; “Confidential except within government”; “Not confidential within ministry”; “Restricted”; “Not confidential within government”; “Strictly confidential until released by government”; “Not confidential within branch”; “Confidential except within branch”; and “Not confidential, statistics are sparingly examined” -- this is from Environment -- “before release to public to avoid misinterpretation of their significance.”
Can the Treasurer look into all these titles and tell us what this says to his commitment to open government?
Mr. Breithaupt: He’s got everything in there except “Burn before reading.”
Hon. Mr. McKeough: The answer to the earth-shattering question asked by the Leader of the Opposition is yes.
Mr. Makarchuk: What’s the penalty for offenders?
Mr. MacDonald: Would the provincial Treasurer undertake to submit these documents to the royal commission on freedom of information, because I'm sure there are a lot of new categories and confidentialities they’ve never heard of and they should take a look at?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: It’s not clear to me that all these documents are in fact Treasury. As I gather, they were other documents. For some reason or another, the Leader of --
Mr. MacDonald: They’re government documents.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Well then I would not make that decision. It would be up to my colleagues, obviously, to decide whether they should be submitted or not.
Mr. Cassidy: Passing the buck, eh?
Mr. Martel: Pretty tough decision to make, Darcy.
Mr. Conway: Is there a category, “for Darcy’s eyes only”?
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question for the Minister of Colleges and Universities, who is responsible for apprenticeships. Given that International Women’s Day is taking place on March 8 -- Wednesday of this week -- and given the references in the Throne Speech to the shortages of skilled tradesmen which the government intends to do something about, can the minister explain why it is that in the apprenticeship programs run by his ministry, there is only one woman involved in auto body compared to 1,573 men as apprentices; and only one woman involved in electrical construction and maintenance apprenticeship compared with 4,255 men?
Mr. Kerrio: Because of the restrictions in the body shop.
Mr. Cassidy: Can he explain why there are only three women involved as apprentices in motor vehicle maintenance compared with 7,109 men; there were only three women involved as apprentices in carpentry compared with 2,026 men; and why overall, for all of the apprenticeship programs run by his ministry, only 1.7 per cent of those people involved are women?
Mr. Kerrio: Maybe they don’t want to go.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I would not be able to give the leader of the third party that information, for this reason: I suspect it primarily reflects the customs of our society in the last many, many years.
I think what is far more important is what the ministry is doing about it. I can assure the member that we are placing a great deal of emphasis on apprenticeship training, not the least of which is the breaking down of those roles that he has identified. I find no conflict with our ministry and what he would have done in this regard. We are as keen to see that the women of this province are given opportunity in the apprenticeship program as much as males.
I think the member will find, if he looked at more of the details, that in some of the other programs it’s all women or significantly so. What I am trying to say is, if the member is expressing a concern that an apprenticeship program be open to males and females alike, I share that concern. Not only that, we are doing something about it.
Mr. Cassidy: Before the minister’s colleagues and supporters get too excited, is the minister aware that in such areas where it might be more traditional for women, as in hairdressing, that women are outnumbered five to one? In barbering they are outnumbered four to one, and in cooking by more than 10 to one.
Is he aware that those are the only three apprentice trades where there are more than a dozen women involved in all of the programs run by his ministry? Can the minister say what specific steps he is taking as a minister to ensure equality of access to all apprenticeships for women, and not just the one or two that are sex typed?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: The equality is there now as far as the opportunity is concerned, and that is the essential thing. In May of this year we hope to lay before the public of Ontario a very extensive program for upgrading our apprenticeship system in Ontario. Last October, there was a symposium that I think stirred the enthusiasm and the imagination of the workplace on the apprenticeship program.
I think it is only a start, that’s all it was intended to be. But there is no doubt of the depth of commitment that my ministry has undertaken to improve the apprenticeship program in the immediate future.
We cannot by ourselves change the customs of the last century. We can only attempt to make the climate such that they will change tomorrow.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Will the minister not agree that the equality of access that he talks about in apprenticeship programs is nothing but a joke when less than two per cent of the apprentices are women?
Hon. B. Stephenson: No.
Mr. Havrot: What would the member do about it?
Mr. Cassidy: Will the minister tell this House what steps his government is taking in order to ensure that young women across the province are aware of apprenticeships and are enabled to overcome any institutional barriers that may exist to their taking apprenticeship programs?
Hon. B. Stephenson: They choose not to.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I would not agree. I think that if the leader would like to look at the latest brochure on apprenticeship training he will see that great importance is put on the place of women in our apprenticeship program.
Mr. Davidson: It took you 20 years to get around to it.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: We have a film that’s depicting it from both the male and the female role. I cannot accept for a moment the member’s suggestion that we are inactive in this area. I know of no area in which we have more concern than the one in which he is expressing interest.
Mr. Cassidy: I think the figures speak for themselves, but we will come back to that question in the future.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer. In the light of the recent study that was published by the ministry a couple of weeks ago, Reassessing the Scope for Fiscal Policy in Canada, which states that the increase in unemployment in this province is due largely to increased participation of women and teenagers in the labour force, and which concludes that total unemployment in the province cannot be significantly reduced unless new job opportunities are provided for these particular groups, what is the Treasurer going to do to assist job creation for women in particular?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest that my friend just hangs in until tomorrow night and he will find out.
Hon. Mr. Davis: He doesn’t mean that literally.
Mr. Martel: If it’s like the Throne Speech, it won’t be much.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh come on, Elie; it was a great speech.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Just try hanging.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Can the minister state why Ontario has set a target unemployment rate of 5.7 per cent for women aged 25 or over when this is close to double the target unemployment rate it has set for men of the same age; and when it is also a higher unemployment rate than it anticipates for Canada as a whole?
Mr. Warner: The Treasurer thinks they are secondary workers.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I would be very interested in knowing where the ministry, as opposed to the minister -- or the minister -- sets a target rate in that staff paper.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: In view of the minister’s apparent lack of familiarity with the statistics, which are so offensive and which were published by his ministry just two weeks ago, may I read from the figures that were published on page 6 of that study?
Mr. Speaker: Can you do it in the form of a question?
Mr. Cassidy: Yes, sir. Is the minister aware that in the study, which was prepared for his ministry and for which he is apparently responsible, it states that the “technical high employment rate” of unemployment for prime-age males in Ontario is estimated at three per cent, for prime-age females at 5.7 per cent; and that compares with a rate for the rest of Canada for prime-age females of 5.1 per cent? Can the minister explain why it is, if his government is committed to equality for women, that it anticipates that unemployment among women will be almost double the rate for men?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: The member can play around with words all he wants but he will not find on page 6, page 7 or anywhere else in this document the word “target,” which he used. He played that little game last year with 5.3 per cent and he was found out.
Mr. Swart: The Treasurer is the one who was found out.
Mr. Warner: The Treasurer is getting too old for this.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: There is no target in this document. I have not used the word “target.” If the member is going to use figures, then let him use the words we use, rather than making up his own little words. He is not impressing anybody over here with the way he is twisting words around.
Mr. Grande: No answer.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: If the minister says this is not a target will he then agree, with this House, to stop using these kinds of figures which have been put forward as an excuse for the failure of his government to come up with adequate job creation programs for women and for men in this province?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I would pride myself on making available to myself and my staff the best figures we can have, the best opinions that we can find, from a whole variety of sources in an attempt to understand the Canadian, the Ontario and indeed the world economies, whether they pertain to employment rates, to unemployment rates, to participation or whatever it may be.
I will not give the undertaking to the member that we will stop using these kinds of studies and this kind of thinking -- all kinds of thinking and studies -- and we will not resort to some sort of socialist dogma in our pursuit of trying to find out what the truth is.
Mr. Grande: The inverse also is correct.
Mr. Cassidy: A final supplementary: Since the Treasury’s own findings are that no further improvement beyond these high rates of unemployment can be achieved, they say, “without major structural changes in the economy,” and since the government apparently is not prepared to make any major structural changes in the economy, will the minister agree that he is therefore condemning the women of this province to endure an unemployment rate at least twice as high as that for prime-age males and will he also agree that that is unacceptable in this province in this age?
Mr. Martel: We might get rid of some of the Treasurer’s dogma.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I will agree that it is unacceptable. I will not agree that I am accepting the words that the member tries to put in my mouth.
Mr. MacDonald: It may not be a target but it is a reality.
GRAY COACH-GREYHOUND BUS SERVICES
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications. Is the minister aware that Greyhound has failed to meet with Gray Coach and other lines to establish schedules due to come into effect April 30 of this year and thereby failed to make the selection of runs with Gray Coach which are essential to the implementation of order in council?
Hon. Mr. Snow: No, I’m not aware of that problem. I know that certain meetings have been held. I’m not sure whether the total schedules have been sorted out yet or not.
Mr. Cunningham: A supplementary: Is the minister aware that Greyhound are holding out for a separate agreement with Gray Coach, thus second-guessing the cabinet decision and the agreement reached by the deputy minister and the other parties concerned?
Hon. Mr. Snow: No, I’m not aware of that. A week ago I received copies of some correspondence between the two parties. I have not met personally with either one; there has been no meeting beyond the meeting that my deputy minister held with them. But I shall look into the matter.
Mr. Cooke: I have a question of the Minister of Colleges and Universities. Now that the details of the student grant program have been made available before the date when the minister was going to announce them, I would like to ask him why he decided to dramatically increase the responsibility of middle-income families in financing their children’s post-secondary education? Does he not agree that this is going to have a dramatic effect on enrolment in our universities?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I’m aware that there was a release of that information prior to the stated time that I thought it was going to be made public. I’m sorry that that occurred.
Mr. Cooke: I’m sure you are.
Mr. Cassidy: So are the students and parents.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I think that it’s a sad day when those people in our democracy will not accept the full responsibility of making sure that system works as well as it possibly can.
There would be no advantage in my replying at this time to the hon. member’s question on those details until, indeed, all of the people of the province have had an opportunity to see and to assess for themselves the new terms of reference for the student assistance programme. Therefore, with some regret, I think that I would rather not answer at this time.
Mr. McClellan: See no evil.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: If the member so wishes I will take that question as notice. When all the people of Ontario, particularly the students, have had an opportunity to see the information and assess it for themselves, then I think that I would be in a much better position to attempt to reply to the member’s question.
Mr. Cooke: A supplementary: Because it has taken the minister so long to announce the details, would he not agree that part of the implications of delaying the announcement is the great decline in applications to universities that was announced in the Globe and Mail today, whereby one university in particular, Trent University, has had a decrease of 27 per cent in applications for universities? It would appear that the government is almost attempting to do away with some of our small universities in the way that they are handling this entire situation?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: That, Mr. Speaker, has to be the most irresponsible statement I’ve heard in a long time.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Right; absolutely.
Mr. Warner: They’re trying to close the door on Trent. Try answering the question.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I would like to say to the member opposite, as we said on Friday, that I believe the plan will give a great deal of equity to the system. If he wants me to suggest to the people of Ontario that free money should be an enticement for any student to go to a college or a university, he’ll have to wait a long time. I would hope -- and I believe --
Mr. Cooke: We’re not talking about free money, we’re talking about accessibility.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: -- that the students of this province have the opportunity to go to a college or university of their choice; and that they can do so without the concern of being able to find the money to do so; and I would hope they would never abuse a program. I’m sure they do not consider the only enticement to be free money. That is not the way it is designed to work. It isn’t working that way, and I think the member makes an error in judgement if he says anything to the contrary.
Mr. McClellan: The minister is like an ostrich -- not a parrot.
Mr. Cooke: Would the minister answer the question?
Mr. Cassidy: Why don’t you make a statement?
Mr. Speaker: We’ll have one final supplementary. The hon. member for Scarborough-Ellesmere.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, would the minister not agree that the additional penalty of $800 to a family whose gross income is $13,000 a year will assist the already growing problem of closing the doors of some of the smaller universities in this province, and that this may very well be the principle that the government is trying to achieve -- closing the doors of places like Trent and other smaller universities in this province?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Tell us which doors have been closed.
Mr. Lewis: Well, the students aren’t going.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I think that’s absolutely a very foolish statement to make and I do not agree.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, on February 27, the hon. member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) raised several questions regarding the use of PCBs at the Ferranti-Packard plant in St. Catharines.
At that time, I said I understood that there were no PCBs being used in either the construction or repair of those pieces of machinery at that plant, but I did indicate I would determine whether the workers in that plant were being exposed to PCBs and would investigate the medical records of the employees.
Members of my staff have advised me that there are indeed some pieces of machinery there in which PCBs are being installed and some in which the content of PCBs is a part of the repair process, but they have advised me there is absolutely no risk of unacceptable exposure to PCBs at the Ferranti-Packard plant as a result of the design of the industrial process itself in that plant and the company’s work practices. The filling process takes about 20 minutes and is done within a vacuum. In other words, the risk has been engineered out.
The plant was visited by a member of the industrial health and safety branch in May 1977, at which time a direction was issued requiring the use of personal protective equipment, such as rubber gloves and overalls, as a precautionary measure in addition. The company has complied totally with this direction. Therefore, I am confident that adequate precautions have been taken to protect the health of the workers from exposure to PCBs.
Of course, the most acceptable solution is to avoid the use of PCBs completely, which I had understood was in fact the position, but I am now informed that the company will eliminate the risk of PCB exposure totally by eliminating the use of the chemical. A senior official of the company has told a member of my staff that the construction of five transformers using PCBs is now in progress. Once those five are completed on March 31 of this year, no further orders for PCB-filled transformers will be accepted by that company. Further, any equipment which Ferranti-Packard repairs will be drained of PCBs and refilled with alternative fluids.
On the second question regarding medical records, I am advised that there is no specific medical surveillance program relating to PCBs in effect at the plant. However, inquiries are being made at the Workmen’s Compensation Board and when I have further information, I shall be pleased to report to the House.
Mr. Reed: Supplementary: Could the minister tell us or refresh the memory of this House as to whether or not the government outlawed the sale and distribution of PCBs over a year ago? Did the previous Minister of the Environment (Mr. Kerr) not outlaw the distribution?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, it was my understanding that the consumers of transformers had made the decision in 1972 or 1973 that no further transformers containing PCBs would be utilized. This company is in fact producing on contract, for export only, these five transformers which are at present being constructed and which contain PCBs. There have been none constructed, apparently, for use in Canada or in Ontario at that plant within the past year.
Mr. Davidson: Supplementary: Given that the minister’s original answer to the original question was such that she was not aware that PCBs were being used, does she not feel that shows a lack of communication between her staff members and herself? Getting to the second part of the question on medical records, does she not think it is incumbent upon herself as the Minister of Labour to ensure that the people who were working with the PCBs do have medical tests upon themselves? Does she not feel it’s incumbent upon her to see that this directive is given to that company, and make that company responsible for seeing those tests are carried out?
Hon. B. Stephenson: As I reported, much fuller information will be available to me in terms of the medical records of the individuals who have worked in that company. When I have had an opportunity to see all those records, I shall be pleased to report to the House.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. Chairman of Management Board has the answer to a question previously asked.
RED-CIRCLING OF CIVIL SERVANTS
Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, on Friday, the hon. member for Waterloo North (Mr. Epp) asked the Premier for the number of red-circled employees in the civil service. I have found that information. I’d like to say first of all that, actually, the proper term is “salary protection for employees,” and it applies to employees when there has been a reorganization, the employee’s job has disappeared and the employee is placed in another.
An hon. member: Like the parliamentary assistants.
Mr. Reid: Dues that apply to ex-cabinet ministers?
Mr. Warner: It applies to the present ones. Red-circle the whole cabinet.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: We’ve been red-circled for quite a while.
Hon. Mr. Auld: As of February 25, there were 439 people red-circled, and that included nine from the Ministry of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs. Of those 439, 64 are 65 years of age, and another 48 are within five years of being able to retire without penalty. I expect the great majority of the remainder are applying for other positions in their previous categories.
I might say that there is always change and reorganization in government. There has been a great deal in the last three years and it’s continuing, and I would say that to have .69 per cent of the civil service red-circled shows the mark of a good employer and indicates clearly that we have only separated those people for whom there were no positions available.
Mr. Kerrio: In the private sector if they were doing a great job they wouldn’t circle them.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Don’t talk to me about the private sector.
RENTAL OF SPACE FOR GOVERNMENT OFFICES
Mr. O’Neil: I have a question for the Minister of Government Services. When the ministry is looking for rental accommodation for government agencies, does it always do so by public tender?
Mr. Nixon: You can put this in your Christmas card.
Mr. Reid: Horatio Alger Lorne.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: When we’re looking for accommodation for government offices there is an ad placed in the local paper for any suppliers interested in renting the space.
Mr. Reid: Tories only may apply.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Not a bad thought.
Mr. O’Neil: Supplementary: Considering that I had been told by the ministry that any space under 5,000 square feet may not be by public tender, and considering a circumstance which I recently encountered in my riding where space which was originally estimated at approximately 4,000 square feet but was enlarged to approximately 8,000 square feet and never put out for a public tender until I raised the question pertaining to it, could the minister give us his comments on whether he feels all space required for Ontario government agencies should be by public tender?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: In reply to the question, any space that has been required since I became member has been put out for tender.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Minister.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Became minister.
Mrs. Campbell: Oh, that’s different.
Mr. O’Neil: From what I understand, this case happens to have taken place since the minister was appointed. I wonder if maybe I could give him the details and get this clarified.
Mr. Deans: Why don’t you quit, Lorne? I think you are getting into trouble.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I’d be very happy to receive those details, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Martel: A question of the Minister of Colleges and Universities. In the monitoring of -- he’s not here.
Mr. Cassidy: Yes he is; there he is. He’s having trouble. He’s under fire today.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Look at the suit.
Mr. Martel: I rented it. I want to listen to the budget tomorrow night, there might be something in it.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: He looks like Sir John A. Macdonald.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Is that for when you become president of Inco?
Mr. Martel: I have higher aspirations. They don’t make enough money.
Hon. B. Stephenson: You have to retire as leader of the third party to make money.
UNIVERSITY HIRING PRACTICES
Mr. Martel: To the Minister of Colleges and Universities. In the ministry’s monitoring of the hiring practices of the various universities in the last year, for this academic year, have all the universities complied with the memorandum the minister sent out about a year ago indicating what he expected from them? If not, would he name those universities which haven’t complied?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I think that all of the presidents have complied with the memorandum and by and large there has been an excellent response. I think I could supply for the member, if he so wished, the results of hiring practices last year. There is a significant improvement, in my opinion, in the number of persons hired, as I am sure the member would wish. The percentage has gone up well.
I would be happy to supply that information.
Mr. Martel: Are there any of the universities which, let’s say haven’t quite reached what the minister anticipated they would reach in respect to their hiring practices for this year?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I think it is difficult to say one has and one hasn’t, for several reasons. Perhaps the most important one is that a university that may have had a high percentage last year may have gone down this year. I think what we have to do is look at it on a broader base than one year. I would propose that perhaps the member himself might be able to judge that when he has the information that I am prepared to supply.
To do it on a one-year basis is a little difficult for a single institution. There are particular factors that might have affected their employment opportunities that year that are not operative the next. So I think we must look at it over not less than a three-year period, and I’ll supply that information to the member.
CATALOGUE OF STATISTICAL FILES
Mr. Sweeney: A new question of the Minister of Colleges and Universities, Mr. Speaker. My question refers to the catalogue of statistical files for the government of Ontario, which we referred to a little earlier.
Given the widespread public concern about the confidentiality of their personal files within the government, and specifically given the new requirement that parental income tax must be available in student award files, can the minister explain why student award files in the catalogue are defined as “Not confidential within the government”? Does this not mean that any government official could have access to those files?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I feel like the Hon. John Clement did one night: It is my turn in the barrel this afternoon.
Mr. Reid: In fact he didn’t know what he meant.
Mr. Makarchuk: Darcy is on the outside.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Not at the time he said it. That is the trouble, you grow on these experiences and they are no fun.
Mr. Reid: Relax Harry and enjoy it.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I don’t think I would like to answer that without giving that question some considerable thought and research. I would therefore ask the member to permit me to reply in the next two or three days.
Mr. Sweeney: While the minister is examining that, could he also look into this question, because I think it really ties in?
Could the minister explain why one of his top officials in the data systems section has admitted that no standard definitions of confidentiality guide officials in the ministry in designating the accessibility of files and, further, that definitions used by the ministry are arbitrary and vague by intention?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Yes, I will be glad to do that, but I think I should point out to the member even before I look at it that I am sure that each member of the civil service is sworn to an oath of confidentiality; and I am sure -- I think it is important -- that we can accept that that is a statement made in good faith.
I don’t recall an incident as long as I have been minister, in two and a half years, where there has been a breach of that confidence. I don’t know whether the member has reference to a specific case or not where there has been such a breach.
In the new program we will not have in our possession the income tax data from the parents. I think, as I have said in estimates, we will try to cross-reference them to see whether the information fits, but we will not ask for the specific income tax file or to seek them from the federal government. We don’t need that much information. I think with three or four macro indicators we can give a certainty to the people of Ontario that their tax dollars are being protected and the confidentiality of the records maintained. But I would like to respond in more detail as I promised in my first answer.
SAULT STE. MARIE CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Correctional Services. In view of the comments contained in the Ombudsman’s report on the Sault Ste. Marie jail, pointing out the present overcrowding at the current official level of 64 inmate beds and the outdated facilities there, and the recommendation that an 80-bed centre be constructed, as well as the minister’s comments in the Sault Star last month that he couldn’t think of a single coherent logical argument why he should oppose that report, can the minister indicate when construction will begin, or failing that, can he indicate when an inmate work program with MNR in the Thessalon area will begin?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, first of all, that statement is taken out of context. That statement was made about the Ombudsman’s report as a whole. If I recall specifically, I referred to the Sault situation and I said we were not in a position to build there, that the same solution would be applied to the overcrowding in the Sault Ste. Marie jail as would be applied in the Sudbury district jail -- that is a forestry camp.
We are now negotiating in two directions for such a camp north of Thessalon. One proposal is being advanced and spearheaded by the community, in conjunction with members of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union stationed at the institution. The other one is being discussed between senior officials of the Ministry of Natural Resources and my regional director for northern Ontario, Mr. Tegman.
Mr. Wildman: Supplementary: Could the minister indicate whether or not such a work program would be centred on a specific camp or is he thinking of some other kind of setup?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, it would be centred on the former operations done for the Ministry of Natural Resources in conjunction with a defunct camp called McCreight’s Camp. I want to make it quite plain that we cannot refuse McCreight’s Camp because it has deteriorated rapidly in the last two or three years. However, the work project -- which will be forestry, access roads, environmental development and conservation protection -- will include and be adjacent to the work done in years past at McCreight’s Camp north of Thessalon.
Mr. Makarchuk: Supplementary: I have a question of the same minister. Can the minister indicate what he is going to do about the overcrowding in the Brantford jail?
Mr. Speaker: That’s not supplementary.
Mr. Makarchuk: Well, he was talking about overcrowding.
Mr. Speaker: That’s not supplementary. It was a specific question about Sault Ste. Marie.
Mr. Reed: I have a question of the Treasurer referring to his statement today regarding one Peter Branch. Included in that statement was a statement regarding the reduction in the number of employees in his ministry. Did he mean to indicate that the workload that is in his ministry now is redistributed over fewer people and that each one of those employees is now taking on a greater share than he or she was before?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Yes, I think that is correct; other than the transfer of certain responsibilities from my ministry to other ministries.
Mr. Reed: Supplementary: Would it be fair to gain the impression that if this reduction could take place and still maintain the level of services, that actually before these efficiency measures were introduced, there was indeed a relatively low workload or low challenge load for these employees?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: No, I wouldn’t say that. Obviously that may be part of it, we attempt to make sure that everyone is doing what I refer to as an honest day’s work.
What also has happened is that there has been a better organization of time, perhaps just better organization generally -- perhaps in some instances more supervision; in other areas there may well be less supervision. There’s been some of that as well -- less committing to paper and less hierarchical control, if there is such a word.
Also there has certainly been a reduction in things which we have decided and the statistical services branch is an area in particular which I would single out as an example where we have decided that some things we have been doing simply aren’t as necessary as they once were and we have discontinued them.
SELECT COMMITTEE ON HIGHWAY SAFETY
Mr. Young: A question of the hon. Minister of Transportation and Communications: First of all, might I offer on behalf of the select committee on highway safety our appreciation for the statement of the minister this afternoon and for the status report which he gave us, indicating the very significant work that has been done here.
I would like to ask the minister, however, in view of the measures which are going to be introduced and the very large amount of matter which is under consideration, whether he has in mind any time-frame when further legislation might come and when some of the matters under consideration might be resolved one way or the other? Is there a time-frame in the mind of the minister, because in my mind this is a matter of very great urgency.
Hon. Mr. Snow: As I said in the statement, many of the recommendations of the committee fall under other jurisdictions. We are following those up with consultation with the other jurisdictions -- other ministries and in some cases the federal government, railroads and so on.
The one that comes to mind immediately, and perhaps it is the one the hon. member is thinking of, is the one on driver education. As far as I am concerned personally this has a very high priority. As I said in the statement, we are preparing a white paper which I hope to table in the House during this spring session. There will then be an opportunity for the next few months for members of the House and the public to consider it. I hope to get their comments with a view to having legislation in the fall.
That’s the only recommendation I can think of at the moment that I’ve set a time schedule for in my own mind. We will be continuing to work on others and as we have legislative action to take, if that is necessary, we’ll be bringing forward further amendments. But I want to give a high priority to the driver education matter during this summer.
SOUTH NATION RIVER WATERSHED PROJECT
Mr. Conway: My question is to the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development and relates to that portion of the Speech from the Throne which makes reference to the fact that: “Work will be started on ... a large-scale drainage, reclamation and resource development project covering the 1,500-square-mile South Nation River watershed. This will enhance the economic productivity of 900,000 acres of agricultural and forest land in eastern Ontario,”
I would ask the provincial secretary if he can at this time indicate whether or not any of that project will, in the first or later stages, bear upon that portion of the South Nation River watershed which is part of or related to the Edwardsburgh land assembly?
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: I think so, Mr. Speaker, but I’ll be pleased to look further into it and give the hon. member additional information.
Mr. Conway: Supplementary: Can the provincial secretary then comment upon remarks made in this chamber last week by the government member for Carleton-Grenville (Mr. Sterling), who said: “Part of the Edwardsburgh land site is located in the South Nation watershed and no doubt will become part of this overall program”? I would like the provincial secretary to comment upon that when he gives us a report and I would be appreciative at that time also if he could give us an indication as to what kind of staging there will be for this major project for the benefit of eastern Ontario.
Mr. S. Smith: One poplar tree at a time.
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: I’d be pleased to do so, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Roy: I would like to ask a supplementary on that. I would like to ask the minister whether in his plans for that site he is consulting with the member for Ottawa South (Mr. Bennett) because that member originally said to him when he first got involved that one had to have rocks in his head to get involved in that in the first place.
Mr. Stong: He still says so.
Mr. Makarchuk: I have a question for the Minister of Labour. Can she indicate if she has had any discussions with the Massey-Ferguson operation in Brantford regarding the possibility of some large layoffs at this time or in the near future?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, to my knowledge there have been no discussions with Massey-Ferguson about this, nor have I received any information at this time.
Mr. Makarchuk: Supplementary: Does the minister have some understanding with the corporate sector in this province that she would be notified of major impending layoffs at any time, or is this left to chance?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, it is not left to chance at all. As the hon. member knows, the employment standards legislation in this province requires specific length of notice for layoffs of various sizes. I must say that employers of this province have been extremely co-operative. In most instances we have been informed shortly before the required time, but usually before any public announcement is made or any discussion is held.
Mr. Wildman: Would the minister comment on the recommendation from the select committee on Inco and Falconbridge layoffs that there be a system worked out whereby the emergency team could deal with the question of mass layoffs so that we can avoid the similar situation that occurred in Sudbury?
Hon. B. Stephenson: The system which has been developed, I think, has been reasonably effective. It has worked in a number of instances in rather discouraging circumstances this year, and it worked to the benefit of employees specifically within this province. I think the program which is established, whereby there is immediate consultation between the ministry which is informed and the Ministry of Labour or the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Industry and Tourism, and in which there are ongoing discussions and activities, has been particularly effective. I do not think there is any need to replace that system with any other at this time.
Mr. Haggerty: Some questions for the Minister of Labour: Could the minister advise what steps the government is taking now to monitor the huge inventory stock of Inco, and perhaps even Falconbridge? Is the government going to monitor it now so that we will have some indication of what we may look forward to in the industry?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I think it is entirely possible that either the Ministry of Industry and Tourism or the Ministry of Natural Resources may do such monitoring. The Ministry of Labour is not monitoring the amount of stock which is presently available, but we are monitoring the situation of the employees in that area who have moved or are considering moving.
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Labour. Does she realize that there are many of us in this House awaiting her statement on the matter of equal pay for work of equal value -- a study which I believe was undertaken some time ago? Is she not yet prepared to give a statement to this House as to the policy of tins government on that issue?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the information which was developed as a result of a conference on equal pay and equal opportunity, which was held in the middle of January of this year, is being compiled at this time. When it has been entirely collated then I shall be pleased to make some relatively more definitive statement than that which I have made today.
Mrs. Campbell: I am glad the minister referred to that conference. Could we understand why the ministry indicated so little interest in this conference that the minister herself was not able to be there to hear what the women were saying and that her deputy was only there for a very short period?
Hon. B. Stephenson: The deputy minister was there for at least one-third of the conference, to my knowledge. Certainly Ms. Marnie Clarke, who is probably the most knowledgeable individual in this province -- in fact in this country -- on the subject of equal pay for work of equal value, was the major co-ordinator of the conference. I shall be very pleased to tell the hon. member that it was as a result of the insistence of one of her kissing cousins that I had to be in Victoria on those dates. I had already explained that the two dates that I could not be available for federal-provincial meetings of Ministers of Labour and ministers with responsibility for manpower, were January 23 and 24 and January 16 and 17. But of course, my colleagues in the federal departments arranged both the conferences for those two dates and insisted that I attend the one on the subject of manpower.
Mr. S. Smith: It’s a plot.
Mr. Nixon: You shouldn’t be such a shrinking violet, Bette. You’ve got to build up your confidence.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I am sorry that my responsibilities did in fact remove me from Toronto at that time, because we had spent a great deal of time arranging the conference on equal pay and equal opportunity, a subject about which I have a great deal of interest and a good deal of concern.
Mr. Peterson: You can’t hide yourself under a bushel, when a pork barrel will do.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: In view of the unanimous recommendation of that conference on equal pay and equal opportunity, is the minister prepared now to announce a date for the introduction of legislation which would guarantee equal pay for work of equal value?
Hon. B. Stephenson: No, I am not.
Some hon. members: Why not?
Mr. Cassidy: The minister’s excuse about Victoria doesn’t carry water.
TEACHERS’ SUPERANNUATION FUND
Mr. Swart: My question is to the Treasurer, before he leaves, Mr. Speaker. Is it not true that the additional $107 million paid into the teachers’ superannuation fund, as announced by the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells), will be deducted from the transfer payments to local government, whether it is next year or the year after, and therefore the slip-year payment for superannuation is being eliminated at the expense of assistance to local government. Is that not true?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: No, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Deans: Tell us about your slipshod financing.
Mr. Peterson: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker --
Mr. Speaker: Order. The hon. member for Welland-Thorold gets the first supplementary.
Mr. Swart: By way of supplementary, is it not true that a supplementary estimate of $102 million for payment into the superannuation fund was approved last fall? Is that not considered as part of the superannuation payments which are to be deducted from municipalities? Would that not be in the same situation as the $107 million and, in fact, be deducted?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: No.
Mr. Peterson: In view of the fact that the Treasurer promised at the PMLC meetings last fall to deduct superannuation payments to the extent of about $331 million from next year’s budget, is it not fair to increase that in terms of grants this year, because he has abandoned slip-year financing and in fact put that money into 1977; and, in fact, if the Treasurer doesn’t do that, isn’t he taking advantage of the municipalities?
Mr. Nixon: Again.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: No.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Will the Treasurer explain how the municipalities will raise the $107 million, for which they now will have to be responsible in view of the fact that this money is being put into teachers’ superannuation payments rather than into grants to municipalities, and is it not correct that the municipalities in fact will have to raise property taxes by that amount of money in view of the way the Treasurer has been handling this in the past?
Mr. Grande: There is no other way.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: What the members are suggesting is that, had the change not been made, the money might have been added to the general legislative grants. General legislative grants have been increased by more than $90 million or roughly five per cent. If the members are suggesting that the general legislative grants should have been increased by another $102 million or roughly 10 per cent, instead of five per cent, that was never in the works; that was never in the cards.
We had no intention of increasing the general legislative grants by that amount. Therefore, the fact that we have taken the teachers’ superannuation commission money into account in the amount that we transferred to the municipalities makes no difference to the local taxpayer in this year or in the year beginning April 1 next. In terms of subsequent years, those are matters which we have given an undertaking will be discussed when we are through the exercise of market value assessment, property tax reform and grant reform.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s the shell game you’ve always played.
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Is it not a fact that the Treasurer told the municipalities at the PMLC meeting that the teachers’ superannuation fund for 1978-79 would amount to $331 million and that this would be taken into account when the government calculated the amount of money they’re going to get; and that assumed, at the time, slip-year financing? And since the government did without it, and had to put into this year’s budget $107 million, which obviously it now doesn’t have to meet next year, why doesn’t the Treasurer recalculate the amount of money that the government owes to the municipalities next year, taking that into account?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, the amount will have to be met next year, the year beginning April 1. A similar amount is in the minister’s estimates.
Mr. Martel: It’s not there to help you.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Let me state as clearly as I can, whether two payments were made into the teachers’ superannuation fund during fiscal 1977-78, or one or none, does not change the amount which cabinet determined for the general legislative grants for 1977-78 or in the year beginning April 1 next.
Mr. Cassidy: You’re playing games, you know.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Only you play games.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: We are not playing games. We feel that with declining enrolments, a $90-odd million increase in general legislative grants is what the taxpayers of this province can afford. If the members opposite want to put in more, let them say so. Let them go right out and say, “Let’s give the school boards another $100 million.” That's what the members opposite are saying.
Mr. Warner: You’re the one who created the huge debt, not us.
Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions has just expired.
Mr. Makarchuk: Saved by the bell.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
HIGHWAY TRAFFIC AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Snow moved first reading of Bill 22, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act.
Motion agreed to.
HIGHWAY TRAFFIC AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Snow moved first reading of Bill 23, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act.
Motion agreed to.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. Welch moved resolution No. 5.
(Reading dispensed with).
(See Votes and Proceedings).
Motion agreed to.
SCHEDULE FOR COMMITTEES
Hon. Mr. Welch moved resolution No. 6.
(Reading dispensed with).
(See Votes and Proceedings).
Motion agreed to.
STANDING MEMBERS’ SERVICES COMMITTEE
Hon. Mr. Welch moved resolution No. 7.
(Reading dispensed with).
(See Votes and Proceedings).
Motion agreed to.
SUBSTITUTION ON STANDING COMMITTEES
Hon. Mr. Welch moved resolution No. 8.
(Reading dispensed with).
(See Votes and Proceedings).
Motion agreed to.
SUBSTITUTIONS ON PROCEDURAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, would the House agree to this at this time? We have some substitution on procedural affairs.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that Mr. J. A. Taylor (Prince Edward-Lennox) replace Mr. Rollins, Mrs. Scrivener replace Mr. G. Taylor (Simcoe Centre) and Mr. Sterling replace Mr. Turner on the procedural affairs committee.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, with respect to those government motions that have been placed before the House, is it the intention that even though they have not been read they will be formally printed in Hansard so we would have that record? I would think it would be most useful if such, in fact, occurred.
Hon. Mr. Welch: They will appear in Votes and Proceedings, as a matter of fact.
THRONE SPEECH DEBATE (CONCLUDED)
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. Speaker: The hon. member for Wentworth.
Mr. Haggerty: The mayor of Hamilton.
Mr. Nixon: How about the federal member?
Mr. Deans: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I have made a number of these speeches. Perhaps the next time someone else might do it.
Mr. Nixon: Just run over one of the old ones again.
Mr. Deans: I thought I might just run one of the old ones through again, since most of the members don’t listen to them, in any event. Nevertheless, there are two or three things I want to say about the budget and a couple of things I want to say about the province of Ontario.
Before I do so, I want to say, as is traditional but as it is felt by me and by many others in the House, that we are certainly pleased with the way that you, Mr. Speaker, conduct the office of the Speaker. We feel very proud in this party that the Speaker comes from the NDP and is representative of all the things that we would like to see happen in the government of the province of Ontario and in the way the government ought to handle the affairs of the province of Ontario.
Mr. Nixon: If the NDP were a little more like the Speaker, it might happen.
Mr. Deans: I can’t help feeling that the government would benefit immensely if the province of Ontario were ever to decide to elect a New Democratic Party government because they could therefore then have the benefit of an entire government that acts in such a fair way towards the affairs of people, as does the Speaker representing this party.
Mr. Nixon: There’s only one Jack Stokes.
Mr. Deans: I want to take a few moments -- and luckily enough I have a few moments this afternoon -- to talk about the way I feel about the province of Ontario, and what I think about the Throne Speech.
I want to start off by saying to the House that I think today’s Star headlines -- the red banner headline -- probably best describes all of the things that I think are wrong with the province of Ontario; not only with the province of Ontario but all of the things that I think --
Mr. Nixon: NDP has 16 per cent federally?
Mr. Deans: -- are wrong with the system in which we live, the system in this country, the way in which the North American continent is changing its emphasis and its focus. The headline pays some reference to the fact that a not bad, I suppose, not particularly brilliant individual, a football player is going to sign to play football for a quarter of a million dollars a year -- plus. When I look back over the last few months and I think --
Mr. Nixon: Play for Hamilton?
Mr. Deans: -- of all the furore that was raised, all the comment that was made in the province of Ontario when this party spoke about the need to pay people $4 an hour for a job of work. Then I pick up the newspaper and I find a football player who contributes absolutely nothing to Canada, who contributes absolutely nothing to the economy, who has done nothing yet for us or for anyone else, who is lining his own pockets. We find that somehow or other our system has become so twisted that we are prepared to pay that individual a quarter of a million dollars a year for some 16 football games in the year, to run up and down a field, to be applauded for running 100 yards if he makes 100 yards, yet we can’t afford to pay working people in this province $4 an hour.
I have got to ask myself just exactly where are our priorities? I look around me and I see 900,000 people unemployed in this country -- 900,000 people unemployed; and I see a football player going to be paid a quarter of a million dollars a year -- a quarter of a million dollars a year to do something that, in fact, contributes absolutely nothing to the economic well-being of the province of Ontario or of the whole of the Dominion of Canada.
I am not blaming the government for that, not for the fact that he’s getting the quarter of a million bucks. But I have got to think, as I look at it, that there’s something perverse about the system in which we live, that there’s something terribly wrong with the system in which we live, when you have acceptance by the general public of that kind of payment. It’s not only in that isolated case. There are a number of other instances where that is occurring, where people with some God-given talent who are able to produce something physically are able to get that kind of remuneration when we can’t afford to spend money to produce employment for the average person trying to raise his or her family in this province.
I start my speech in that way because it’s about that that I want to talk. Mr. Speaker, I want to talk to you for a little while this afternoon about what’s wrong with this province.
What is wrong with this province? I don’t intend to pretend for one minute that it’s all the fault of the members sitting on the other side, because it isn’t, although they have the wherewithal to change it, they have the capacity to change it, they have the mandate to change it. But what is wrong with this province is a sense -- a sense among people -- a sense of futility; a sense of greed in some instances; a sense of a lack of purpose, an inability to recognize the goals or to set goals and to recognize what those goals are and to strive to achieve them.
I think a great deal of what has gone on in this province over the last few years and the deterioration of people’s ideals and the fact that they accept that headline and many other headlines similar to it all across this province, all across this country, is a reflection. It’s a reflection on the lack of political leadership. It’s a reflection on an educational system which places unfair, undue emphasis on that kind of achievement over and against the achievement that can be derived from working together to create a better society on behalf of people now and people in the future. It’s the inability of the population at large to be able to see, here in the Legislature, the honest efforts of people trying to come to grips with very difficult, very complex problems in a fast-changing society.
As I look at that, I can’t help feeling that what we are seeing has to be detrimental to whatever it is we hope to accomplish over the long haul -- over the period of many years and through a number of generations. We’ve got to stop it.
It’s the signing of Tiger Williams for $100,000. It’s the same kind of thing. It’s the Jimmy Edwardses of the world who come to Canada to produce some kind of entertainment and then who demand from the consumer of Canada far more than we can afford. You’ve got to wonder at the ability of people to meet that kind of commitment, about the sense that they rave about what’s right and what’s wrong in a society like ours.
In any event, I want to take a moment or two. I’ve made a number of speeches in the Legislature over the last 10 or more years, sometimes winding up debates, sometimes just simply making comments in the midst of debates. I can recall a number of years ago in a windup speech speaking about the cabinet -- talking about them individually, their strengths, their weaknesses, and it wouldn’t be difficult to talk about them individually right now given that there is but one in the House.
Mr. Haggerty: Pretty weak.
Mr. Deans: In fact, the only one I hadn’t intended to speak about.
Mr. Lewis: Because there was nothing to say.
Mr. Martel: Nice fellow.
Mr. Makarchuk: Talk about his haberdasher.
Mr. Deans: It’s unfortunate, but I was thinking to myself, I look back over the last five or six years, the years in which the present Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) has been at the helm of the expenditures and revenue of the province of Ontario. I was thinking back. I thought, well, back in 1967 when I was first elected I recall the budget of the province of Ontario was $2.6 billion. I remember us standing here in 1968 and suggesting a number of areas into which we could go to expend some money in order to meet the legitimate needs of a number of people in the province and how the government held their hands up in horror that we would want to spend any more money. How could they ever raise any more money? After all, $2.6 billion was the absolute maximum that we could afford. That was back in 1968 and 1969.
Lo and behold, the years go by, and as the years go by, elections come up. As the elections come up and you find you’re beginning to lose a bit at the polls, Mr. Speaker, you have to look for ways to spend more money in order to get yourself back in again. So the budget has risen over that 10 years from the $2.6 billion of 1967 to the almost $14 billion of 1977.
Mr. Makarchuk: The deficit is almost as large.
Mr. Deans: The deficit in 1977 was almost as large as the budget in 1967. I listen to the Treasurer speaking. He travels across the province and makes speech after speech in which he talks about the terrible condition of the economy of the province of Ontario and how we have to make cutbacks. We can’t afford this high level of expenditure after all, he says, and we don’t raise the money that we need in order to spend at the level we are spending it, and we simply have to come to grips with this fiscal mismanagement that we are now faced with. There is no doubt about it -- he said it again today -- the taxpayers of the province can’t afford to spend any more money. They are going to have to tighten their belts, he says. You would swear to God, Mr. Speaker, that somebody else had done the spending. You would swear that we on this side of the House or somebody outside had taken on the job and had decided the budget, and decided that tax rate and had decided the distribution of taxes, that somebody other than the Treasurer had been the person or the people responsible for the current state of affairs in the province of Ontario. In comes the Treasurer and, by God, he is going to solve it.
Mr. Haggerty: Four years of forecasting.
Mr. Deans: You can hear him, Mr. Speaker, as he charges in, sabres rattling as he goes through there cutting and chopping.
Mr. Makarchuk: Frothing at the month.
Mr. Deans: “Here I am, Darcy McKeough, the saviour of the economy of the province of Ontario,” he says. You have to ask yourself as you applaud, how can he save us from that which he inflicted upon us?
Mr. Martel: He is the architect.
Mr. Deans: How can it be that this man who has spent the better part of 10 years undermining the economy of the province of Ontario now thinks he can save us from his own mistakes --
Mr. Makarchuk: It boggles the mind.
Mr. Deans: -- and all of these errors he has made? Tomorrow night he is going to stand up, he is going to posture, he is going to puff and he is going to tell us about his slipshod budgeting method -- I mean slip-year budgeting method.
Mr. Swart: You were right the first time.
Mr. Deans: He is going to tell us how he has now devised new and better ways of saving us money. The best way he could have saved us money was to get the devil out of there because as long as he is at the helm we will continue to expend funds in the province of Ontario in exactly the wrong ways. We will never come to grips with the need for economic planning.
Mr. Martel: He is too doctrinaire.
Mr. Deans: We will never come to grips with the value of the resources of the province of Ontario and utilize them wisely. We will never be able to understand the function of government. We will never be able to come to grips with what it is that a government should be doing at a time when there is some severe economic dislocation, where there is unemployment, when there are major problems in our manufacturing sector, when there are major layoffs in our resource sector and when the public sector is under pressure. The reason for all of those things is that the Treasurer of Ontario, having had the opportunity over 10 years -- and that particular Treasurer personally having had the opportunity over at least six of those years -- has been the architect of our destruction.
Mr. Makarchuk: He is the Dracula in charge of the blood bank.
Mr. Deans: That is why it is very difficult for me to sit and listen to a Throne Speech such as the one that was brought forward, because the Throne Speech that was brought in the other day was one of those political documents aimed at touching all bases. They wanted to make sure that anything that moved or breathed in the province or anything that might have had some political significance in the province was at least mentioned, just in case the group that was most concerned with it happened to read the Throne Speech and was looking for some indication from the government that they knew they existed.
The problem is that the Throne Speech doesn’t speak about any new initiatives. It doesn’t speak about the province of Ontario as it now exists. It doesn’t talk about it in terms of how we are going to remould it. It doesn’t talk about how we are going to deal with that economy that is in some considerable difficulty, although even yet very strong in spite of the government but still in difficulty. It doesn’t talk about how we are going to take that economy and how we are going to get a handle on it and use it in the best interests of people now and in the future.
Therefore when you look at the most recent Throne Speech, you can’t help feeling that it is simply a lot of idle rhetoric. It has no substance; it has no direction; it has no meaning; it has nothing of any consequence within it; it doesn’t speak to reality; it doesn’t talk about the problems; it doesn’t begin to set out new paths or new directions; it doesn’t even recognize that the reason we are in this mess is because of the doctrinaire, hidebound attitudes of the Conservative Party of Ontario. That’s what is wrong with it.
Any idiot could have written such a Throne Speech because it was simply a recognition of problems. It wasn’t a new definition of goals and ideas and ways of meeting those problems. So you have the Treasurer, who I happen to believe is incapable of bringing us out of the mess, simply because he is so doctrinaire, so ideological --
Mr. Martel: It goes with the help.
Mr. Deans: -- that he firmly believes --
Mr. Makarchuk: He is the mess.
Mr. Deans: -- that somehow the private sector in itself, by itself, left to its own devices, will be able to solve the problems of Ontario and Canada.
For the better of 1,960 years the private sector was left to its own devices. There was poverty the likes of which you’ve never seen. There were people who were deprived, taken advantage of, who were made to work in conditions that are almost unmentionable, who were given absolutely nothing, whose stake in society was unrecognized. That’s what the private sector did for 1,960 years.
It’s only since the government became involved in trying to do some planning, it’s only since the trade union movement became involved in trying to bring about some equity, that the average person working for a living had the opportunity to gain some kind of economic return that would enable him to live at a reasonable level.
Now we are going to go back to the private sector. We are going to say to the private sector, “It’s up to you, it’s your responsibility. You do the job.” That’s Darcy McKeough’s economics. Back out; back out; back out. If you have to give money away, give it to the private sector. If you find people in need, hope that they will find jobs. If you find people who don’t have an income sufficient to meet their needs, as with the Ministry of Labour and the Workmen’s Compensation Board, send them to welfare. That’s the attitude that prevails throughout the front benches of the government and it is an attitude that is destructive. It is destructive of all of the worthwhile things that people in society have to have and that people are prepared to work for.
Then, of course, when you mention the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson) you can’t help feeling the frustration of putting a doctor in charge of health and safety. Doctors by their very nature are interested in making people well, not keeping them from getting ill. How often do you find them out there in the forefront beating the bushes trying to help preventive medicine programs develop? Very rarely. So you shouldn’t have a doctor in charge of health and safety in the workplace.
What we need is someone in charge of health and safety who believes it is better to keep people from becoming ill, better to keep people from getting injured, than it is to find ways to pay them after they become ill and injured. Yet that is not the attitude within the Ministry of Labour. The attitude that sort of leaks out of the Ministry of Labour is one of, “We’ll do as little as we can.” When I read that the Minister of Labour is reported to have said she is considering abandoning the health and safety bill because she doesn’t like the amendments brought in by the opposition, I’ve got to think to myself that certainly is --
Mr. Lewis: Yes, that’s right.
Mr. Deans: -- a clear indication of the attitude of that ministry and that minister towards a democratic system.
Mr. Lewis: And towards the labour movement.
Mr. Martel: Towards working people.
Mr. Deans: Here is a minister who doesn’t even understand that in a minority government the majority rules just as in a majority government. Just as we have had, for the better part of 30 years, to put up with inadequate legislation from majority Tory governments, now that the shoe is on the other foot and people who have at least an equal sense of what’s wrong in the workplace and want to make it different and better, the minister says that she’d rather withdraw the bill. Then go ahead.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I did not.
Mr. Martel: You were quoted as saying that.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I did not say that.
Mr. Deans: She is reported to have said she would rather withdraw the bill.
Mr. Lewis: Is this another misquote of the week? That’s three in a row in the last 10 days.
Mr. Deans: One has to wonder whether it mightn’t be better if she were the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.
Mr. Swart: Or on the backbench.
Mr. Lewis: She didn’t say she might abandon the bill?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I said that was one of the alternatives we would have to consider.
Mr. Lewis: She is too much.
Mr. Deans: There are only two alternatives. One is to abandon it and one is to go ahead with it.
Mr. Warner: The worm is wriggling on the hook.
Mr. Deans: Since we assume automatically that a bill introduced will be gone ahead with, when the minister says one of the two alternatives is withdraw it, we’ve got to assume she’s thinking seriously about it.
Mr. Lewis: The only person who moves from S to U in the alphabet for fear that T will mean “truth.”
Mr. Deans: I feel very strongly that when the Minister of Labour says she may be prepared to withdraw that legislation because there have been amendments brought about that resulted from discussion with people in the workplace, representatives of those people, and people in the Legislature, when she says, “It isn’t what I wanted as a health and safety bill, and therefore we might not go ahead with it,” it’s a clear recognition by her of the fact that she does not believe in the democratic process.
Hon. B. Stephenson: What absolute balderdash!
Mr. Lewis: That’s right.
Mr. Deans: That’s exactly what she said.
Mr. Martel: The Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman) defends farmers. When does this minister defend workers?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Constantly.
Mr. Deans: If she believed in it, she would have made the commitment when she took the bill to committee that whatever that committee determined should be done with the bill would be what she would bring forward in the House.
Mr. Haggerty: She can always resign.
Mr. Deans: That’s the clear implication of saying she wants the bill to go to committee, that she wants it to have public discussion and that she wants to afford the opportunity to people who are concerned to bring forward their objections and their changes.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I am more concerned about the health and safety of workers than with the political process.
Mr. Martel: Oh, yes, right.
Mr. Lewis: That’s why she talks about possibly withdrawing the bill.
Mr. Martel: Then she should allow the bill to go through.
Mr. Makarchuk: When did she become a private consulting firm?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. McClellan: Let her open her own firm.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Lewis: As a minister of management, she’d be comfortable in the consulting field.
Mr. Deans: We have a minister who frankly does not think that health and safety in the workplace is the responsibility of the people in the workplace.
Mr. Lewis: That’s right.
Hon. B. Stephenson: That is a prevarication.
Mr. Deans: That is true. She may call it that. Why doesn’t she call it what she really thinks?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: It’s a big lie.
Mr. Deans: There you are. It happens to be a reflection --
Mr. Lewis: That’s what “prevarication” means.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: He doesn’t understand that.
Mr. Deans: I understood. I just wanted to get it out.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s not only wrong. It’s unparliamentary.
Mr. Deans: It happens to be true.
Hon. B. Stephenson: It is not true.
Mr. Deans: Her difficulty is that she cannot see past her medical doctor’s degree.
Mr. Lewis: That’s right.
Hon. B. Stephenson: That’s terribly wrong.
Mr. Lewis: It’s good to hear it said.
Mr. Deans: She is so tied up in solving ill health that she can’t see the need to prevent the accident from occurring or the health problem from occurring in the workplace. And that’s the difficulty.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege.
Mr. Lewis: What privilege?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: What is your point of privilege?
Hon. B. Stephenson: My point of privilege is that as a family physician for 30 years, I practised preventive medicine the entire time.
Mr. Lewis: So?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I was much more concerned with preventing illness than with curing it.
Mr. Lewis: That doesn’t mean she can see past her nose.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I still am, in spite of the allegations of that individual.
Mr. McClellan: What’s the point of privilege?
Mr. Makarchuk: What’s the point of privilege?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Would the member continue?
Mr. Deans: I always feel, Mr. Speaker, that the minister’s statements are measured by her actions.
Mr. Lewis: That’s right.
Mr. Deans: Her actions of the last few days are that she’s not prepared to accept what the people themselves want. That seems to be what she is saying.
Hon. B. Stephenson: That is your interpretation only.
Mr. Lewis: Minimum wage, workmen’s compensation and welfare, one after the other.
Mr. Deans: As my colleague says, it’s evidenced in everything that the minister does.
Hon. B. Stephenson: That’s exactly what he meant.
Mr. Lewis: It’s so much balderdash I am surprised that the minister would believe that.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Martel: That’s the Minister of Industry and Tourism there.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The member for Wentworth has the floor. Would he please direct his remarks to the Chair?
Mr. Johnson: Why doesn’t he make a speech then?
Mr. McClellan: Why don’t you go back to sleep?
Mr. Deans: I want to tell the member for Wellington-Dufferin-Peel, I’m always happy to get advice. That’s one of the benefits of being on this side of the House. One can accept advice.
Mr. Haggerty: Good sound advice, though.
Mr. Deans: In any event, I want to tell the minister that when she’s got to reach to those depths in order to try to find means for aborting the bill then there’s something perverse about her thinking.
Mr. Martel: Right on.
Mr. Deans: And I suggest to her that she rethink it.
Hon. B. Stephenson: If you think I’ve been abrasive so far, just wait, Buster.
Mr. Deans: No, you haven’t been abrasive. You have been very pleasant.
Mr. Martel: My friend’s name is Ian; it’s not Buster.
Mr. Deans: The fact that the minister has been pleasant does not take away from the fact that she also has been destructive.
Mr. Lewis: And wrong.
Mr. McClellan: And incompetent.
Mr. Deans: And that’s the difficulty with it. I said some weeks ago that one of the most useful things the Premier (Mr. Davis) could have done in his cabinet shuffle was to have moved that minister. She could probably have done an excellent job in one of the other portfolios.
Mr. Martel: Government Services.
Mr. Makarchuk: Industry and Tourism.
Mr. Deans: She might have done a better job in one of the other portfolios. I am firmly of the belief that no matter what she may claim her background makes it extremely difficult for her to deal with the problems that confront the people of the workplace.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I’ve been in the workplace all my life.
Mr. Deans: I have listened to the minister’s explanations of how she attempts to seek out the medical information required and you see, Mr. Speaker, the problem with being a doctor is that it doesn’t take into account the human element. It doesn’t and I will tell her the reason why.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Such maligning.
Mr. Deans: I deal with physicians every day in workmen’s compensation cases and every single day they say to me that that man or that woman is fit to return to light or modified work, and they haven’t the faintest idea what is going on in the workplace.
Mr. McClellan: Absolutely right.
Mr. Deans: And the minister, unfortunately, has the same problem. And that’s what’s difficult about it. I don’t suppose it’s anything intentional. I suspect it is something to do with 20 years of practice and being removed from coming to grips with having to go into that kind of environment.
Mr. Rotenberg: Bette, at least you’re popular over there.
Mr. Deans: In any event, enough said about the Ministry of Labour since the Minister of Labour obviously doesn’t understand what it is that is being said.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Did you land on your head when you came down the pole once in a while?
Mr. Lewis: That was positively un-nice.
Mr. Rotenberg: Look who started to be un-nice.
Mr. Philip: If he had, he wouldn’t collect any compensation from your ministry.
Mr. Deans: I’m talking about things that are real, though. I’m not talking about her in herself. I’m talking about real things.
When it comes time to judge between whether the worker in the workplace deserves to have the final say and whether the say should be made by the employer, the Ministry of Labour will inevitably come down on the side of the employer.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Hogwash.
Mr. Deans: That is true.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Hogwash.
Mr. Deans: True. There is evidence in the bill, evidence in the fact that the minister is going to withdraw it; evidence in the fact that she has not been able to change the Workmen’s Compensation Board payments; evidence in the fact she can’t deal with the inadequate level of minimum wage --
Hon. B. Stephenson: Hogwash.
Mr. Lewis: That’s right.
Mr. Deans: -- evidence in the fact that, she, even at this point, still says that if someone is on pension from workmen’s compensation and can’t make ends meet, it is not her responsibility to solve it now because she is studying it and so therefore they should go to welfare.
Mr. Lewis: That’s right.
Mr. Deans: It’s a clear indication of a lack of understanding -- unfortunately.
Mr. Lewis: And why do you have to correct every statement that is attributed to you? You are always doing that. Always.
Mr. McClellan: Doesn’t that strike you as odd?
Mr. Lewis: More than any other minister, you are always having to do this.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. Order.
Mr. Lewis: Maybe she should ask herself why she is always misinterpreted.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Well then, I won’t correct them any more.
Mr. Deans: In any event, Mr. Speaker, the Throne Speech didn’t deal with that in any detail. Unfortunately for us it didn’t.
Let me return for a moment or two to some things that the Throne Speech might have said and didn’t. To begin with the Throne Speech might have dealt with the state of the economy. It might have dealt with national unity and the problems that we are faced with in Quebec. It might have said something more intelligent about the way in which we in the province of Ontario are going to try to deal with the difficulties confronting the people of Ontario.
The Throne Speech speaks about the advisory committee on the quality of working life that has on it a number of very eminent people. The purpose of the committee is supposed to be to identify and study and evaluate innovations in the working environment in Ontario. We called the ministry to ask them what’s happened. We called to ask if they could give us an update on what they have been doing. They couldn’t provide for us one single detail of anything that committee has done since the day it was formed. Not one detail.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I shall be pleased to.
Mr. Deans: Yes, the minister should be pleased to because she could make it up, but they couldn’t.
Hon. B. Stephenson: No, I can’t make it up. I can only give you factual information.
Mr. Deans: We called the Ministry of Labour and we said to them, “We read in your Throne Speech that there is going to be a labour market information program. Tell us about it.”
“Well, it was given cabinet approval last fall but nothing has been done yet.” Nothing has been done yet.
Not one single thing could they tell us about that had been done by this labour market information program. Let the minister tell us about that when she is on her feet in a moment. Let her tell us what she has done in the field of trying to evaluate the jobs, trying to evaluate the training requirements, trying to evaluate the capacities of people who are unemployed in the province of Ontario, trying to make some judgements about what training is necessary in order to bring them up to standards that would enable them to enter the workplace and become useful, productive citizens, because while the Throne Speech speaks about the establishment of this committee, the fact of the matter is that the committee is in place in name only -- and in no other place.
The Throne Speech speaks about buy-Canadian and adjustment for industries program -- a buy-Canadian program. All it is talking about is the --
Mr. Warner: Always for sale.
Mr. Deans: -- final communique from the first ministers’ conference. Let me tell the House what the final communique from the first ministers’ conference said. It deals with two items in particular, item one and item five. Item one says: “Trade and industry policy.” This is what we signed and this is what is in the Throne Speech and this is what we’re talking about in terms of trying to provide some economic stimulus for the province of Ontario. First: “Canadians should be encouraged to buy Canadian-produced goods where quality and price are comparable to imports. A joint federal-provincial advisory committee campaign based on the slogan ‘Create A Job -- Buy Canadian’ should be developed in an overall program of import replacement.”
Where are the initiatives? What good does it do, in heaven’s name, to put out a slogan? We have had slogans -- Buy Canada, Buy Canadian -- for the better part of the last 20 years. They’ve been on stickers, they’ve been in the newspapers --
Mr. Haggerty: On every lunch pail.
Mr. Deans: -- they’ve been on the radio. What good, in heaven’s name, has that done? Absolutely none. When the government had the opportunity to do something useful, something productive, something that Canadians could have seen as being an initiative on the part of this government to guarantee that there would be jobs in Canada, to guarantee that there would be the opportunity to buy Canadian, to move into and to make very strong representation on behalf of Canadian manufacturers in all of those things related directly to the production of the pipeline, where was it? Absolutely nowhere. Nowhere.
It can’t produce a single paper, it can’t produce a single initiative, it can’t produce a single thing that was done by the government of the province of Ontario, on behalf of the steelworkers of Ontario, on behalf of the electrical workers of Ontario, on behalf of the producers of all of the other subsidiary products in the province of Ontario, to say to the federal government that there should be, in fact, a clause contained within the pipeline agreement which says that Canadians are entitled to receive first consideration. That could have been a positive action. That would have been an action on behalf of Canadians, on behalf of our economy, which would have produced many hundreds of thousands of man-years of work.
That’s an initiative that could produce, here in Ontario, many tens of millions of dollars in value. That’s an initiative upon which we could have built the changing economy in the province of Ontario. That’s the kind of initiative which would have reaped for the province of Ontario the benefits in the long and short term which would have made us much more productive in world terms.
But where was the province of Ontario? Sitting nodding its head. Sitting, saying: “Well we think the Canadian industry can be competitive.” How can we tell if we’re being competitive? How do we know what kind of subsidies are being afforded to the many other steel industries in other parts of the world? How do we know whether or not they are being provided with assistance from the governments? And even after we find out, what kind of action do we have available to us in order to bring about the change necessary in order to afford our economy the protection that it deserves?
Where is this government speaking on behalf of the many tens of thousands of people who work in those industries, whose families are directly dependent upon the capacity of the industry to produce? Why is it that we don’t feel the urgency, the necessity in the province of Ontario to say clearly and without any equivocation that we believe that since the United States stands substantially to gain economically from being able to get that natural gas at rates that are considerably cheaper than they could otherwise get it from any other source, that we surely are entitled to consideration, given, incidentally, that we are prepared to run the environmental risks associated with having that particular pipeline go through our country?
Why is it that we can’t say, on behalf of Ontarians, that we think that, consistent with those two things, we are entitled to priority consideration in the production of the materials necessary to build that pipeline in order to assist our economy at a time when it desperately needs it? Why is it that that can’t be done, yet we sign a communique that talks about “buy Canadian” and adjustment for industries affected by GATT?
What kind of adjustment can we make after we find out we’ve been bilked? What kind of adjustment can we make after we discover the companies producing the steel and the pipe outside of Canada have been subsidized in one form or another by the governments of their countries? How do we hope to recover? How do we produce jobs for them? What do we say to those people who are unemployed and who can’t afford to keep their families?
What kind of government is it that, having right within its boundaries the major portion of the steel industry, doesn’t stand up on a day-to-day basis and speak to Ottawa and say:
“It’s time you listened to us. It’s time you heard what we’re saying. We’re speaking on behalf of our people in our jurisdiction. We’re talking about something that will be beneficial not only to Ontario but to the rest of Canada. We’re talking about making sure that that which will benefit another nation, from which we can derive considerable detrimental effect, will at least be offset by economic benefits which are set out in the contract that is signed between the two countries.”
Where is this government? Where is this government in its Throne Speech? Where is this government in its actions in trying to bring about that kind of guarantee for the people of Ontario?
Then, of course, there is the fifth item. The fifth item in the trade and industry policy signed by the first ministers is an interesting one: “There was a general agreement that new arrangements resulting from trade negotiations will require some adjustment for particular industries. Government should move with dispatch to indicate the type of assistance for such adjustment which will be available. The process will be facilitated if changes in the tariff policies were announced gradually.”
What in heaven’s name is the government talking about when it signs these kinds of things? What kind of assistance does it mean? What kind of rationalization is it prepared to see? What kind of destruction is it prepared to reign over in the province of Ontario? How much of Ontario’s manufacturing sector has to go down the drain before the government understands that we’re already faced with an uncompetitive situation?
What kind of destruction has to be throughout the Ontario manufacturing sector before the government of the province of Ontario appreciates with action the fact that we are dictated to by the parent companies outside of this country and that the very thing which has created the problem for us, the branch plant economy, is the very thing which these kinds of agreements help to shore up?
For heaven’s sake, is there no one in the government who understands that the very nature of the economy in Canada, and in Ontario in particular, is so branch plant that as we eliminate the tariffs -- and I recall the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) talking about their gradual reduction to the point of elimination -- we allow the parent company outside of this country to attach on to its productive capacity the needs of Canada and that it will be able to produce for our needs in the end run of its main production schedule? Does no one in the government realize that then there will be no need for those companies to have any manufacturing here in this province or this country; and that the very things the government is doing and the things it is signing and the agreements it is making are, in fact, in the long run destructive? They’re destructive to the very economy that everyone else is talking about trying to build up.
I can’t help feeling, as I read this kind of ridiculous statement in the Throne Speech and then read what the trade and industry policy is that this government attached its name to, that it doesn’t understand the nature of the branch plant economy and the nature of manufacturing in the province of Ontario. And, in fact, it doesn’t really care to understand it. And that its interest is simply in getting through the next election and that its long-term interest has nothing to do with the best interests of the province of Ontario.
That is evidenced, incidentally, by the actions of the government that were taken some years ago. The Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson) sits and shakes her head. I don’t blame her for shaking her head. I understand that she disagrees with everything I’ve said but that’s their goal. That’s what makes her wrong.
The interesting thing is to look back over the last seven years and remember the statement of the Premier (Mr. Davis) as he spoke about the machinery tax rebate and how we were going to give this rebate and how it was going to help build up the industry and how it was going to create jobs in the province of Ontario and then take a look at what really happened. What we have seen is, of course, the expenditure of at least $100 million a year of taxpayers’ money that could have been used for other means and that has been used simply for the purpose of providing for increased profits for many of the companies that are involved in claiming it.
There hasn’t been a new machinery manufacturing plant set up. The production levels in all of those companies have risen but they haven’t been able to find markets for their products. They employ fewer people today than they ever employed and the reason is simply because this government doesn’t understand what happens when you begin a program of subsidizing as they did back in 1970.
I think what we are saying really is this, that the mismanagement of this economy has been clearly evident over the entire last seven years; that the mismanagement, begun with a misunderstanding, has been compounded by the simple pure inadequacy on the part of the Treasurer and the Treasury; that the Treasurer and the Treasury have never stopped to measure the impact of their programs in the long run, and that even their giveaway programs -- their new car tax rebate, their home building rebate -- all of those were so hastily conceived and so ill thought out that in the long run they were destructive.
They were aimed at garnering votes at election time without any consideration for the impact on the economy, the capacity of the province to generate wealth, or the purchasing power of the people involved. Now we have people who took advantage of the home ownership program, who took advantage of the subsidized mortgage program, and who now find themselves, at the end of five years, in a position where they can no longer afford to pay the mortgage. The subsidy has run out and they can’t afford to live in the economic conditions that this government encouraged them to get into.
In any event, I think what we have got happening in this province is a clear indication by the government that it doesn’t have the will to come up with some new and more innovative programs. It doesn’t understand its responsibility. It doesn’t appreciate, for example, that the province of Ontario’s future depends to a great extent on the way in which we: (1) Develop our energy program; (2) develop our natural resource program; and (3) use those programs to develop our manufacturing sector.
If we are not prepared now to see clearly that energy and natural resources are the two tools available to us that can be used in order to develop a manufacturing sector that will have the capacity to deal in world terms, then there is something drastically wrong with the advisers to the government.
It is clear to me, and I think to most other people, that the future of this province and this country depends almost entirely on whether or not we are able, firstly, to have an integrated energy program, one that speaks about conservation, that speaks about the need to utilize resources in the way they are best fitted to be used, that doesn’t allow for waste and discourages it in every single aspect, and that talks about making sure that energy is used to the optimum; and secondly, that takes the natural resources while we still have them in the province and while they are still valuable worldwide, and uses them as the catalyst or the lever for the secondary manufacturing that must be developed if we are going to maintain an economic presence in the world.
We will not be able, within the next 50 years, to develop secondary manufacturing in this province -- simply because our consumer market is too small -- we will not be able to develop the secondary manufacturing necessary unless we utilize the resources while they are still valuable, while we still have them, while they can still be used as that lever for secondary manufacturing and the development of secondary manufacturing and the diversity that must take place right across the province.
That’s not happening. That hasn’t happened under this government. This speech has been made a dozen times before. It doesn’t happen under this government. This government doesn’t realize the degree to which you must be involved as a government in order to bring about rational planning, that planning cannot be something that is done in the corporate boardrooms and there alone, that planning cannot be simply who can get access to whatever it is that’s available as cheaply as possible, use it for their own ends and then walk away and leave us with the dregs.
That’s what’s been happening right across this province for the better part of the last 30 years at least and appears to be what this government is bound on doing over the course of the next 30 years, given that they were given the opportunity to do so.
I want to suggest to the government that the very fact -- and this is a personal opinion -- that it would sign away to Denison the resources of this province at such exorbitantly high rates is clear evidence to me that the government doesn’t intend to use that resource as a catalyst for development. It’s clear to me from the very fact that the government would sign the Onakawana coal contract over for, I think it was, $1 an acre. For $1 an acre we signed over the rights to develop that coal. The payment per year was $12,800 for the lease of 12,800 acres in the province of Ontario. The contract was signed without any consideration for the use to which that coal can be put; without any consideration for the future needs of the province of Ontario; without recognition of the fact that Ontario Hydro said quite clearly they did not require it at the moment and therefore there was no need to develop it right now; without any consideration for the fact that the companies involved, once they have the thing under way, undoubtedly will sell it outside of the borders of Ontario and probably outside of the borders of Canada; without any consideration for the economic impact on the communities in the area; and without giving the Hartt commission the opportunity to complete its study. Without any understanding of the future needs of the province, to turn around for $1 an acre and allow someone the right to develop that resource at that ridiculously low price is a clear reflection of the incapacity of this government to be able to understand what is going on in the province and what the future holds.
Most of us feel frustrated and angry that the government seems to feel, for some reason or other, that this is a never-ending well and that we can go there continually, as we have done over the past 50 years, and draw out of it whatever we wish or give it away in whatever way we please. That may well have been true back in the days of Leslie Frost, but in today’s highly competitive society, with the needs growing as dramatically and rapidly as they now are, to alienate both the uranium and the coal from public sector planning really doesn’t make good sense -- and good sense is what we’re talking about. If we were in business to make money, and if we wanted to guarantee our sources of supply, the first thing we would look at would be acquisition. The trouble here is that the government already had acquisition within its grasp. The government owns the Onakawana situation; it could have had the Denison situation within its grasp.
Mr. Warner: The member for Prince Edward-Lennox knows that. He understands that. No wonder he quit.
Mr. Deans: The government refused to come to grips with that and recognize it as one of the major planning tools for the development of the province of Ontario in the future.
What I’m saying, to be quite frank, is that I don’t think the government has any great concern in the long run for what will happen to the province of Ontario. The government speaks about it as if, somehow or other, it was a bottomless pit from which everything could be taken and nothing must be given back. The government seems to feel that the need to plan as a government function is non-existent.
The government’s job surely is to co-ordinate that planning. The government’s job surely is to make the kind of careful analysis of future needs that will guarantee future generations that they will have available to them that which they will require in order to provide for the lifestyle that we’ve thrust upon them.
Surely there is the need on the part of government to assume its rightful function -- and it has changed over the years. There was a time when the Conservative brand of do-nothing government was the right brand. That was back in 1920 and 1930. That was the brand of government that people needed. The problem has been that instead of keeping pace with the change, instead of recognizing that government now must be the single primary body responsible for planning purposes, instead of recognizing that that’s what government ought to be doing, the government is still trying to play the shell game and hoping that all these individual plans of all these individual groups in society somehow or other will mesh at the end and produce a lifestyle that people can live in. That doesn’t happen any more.
That’s what’s wrong with the government and that’s what’s wrong with the Throne Speech. The Throne Speech doesn’t speak about anything that matters in the province of Ontario in the long run. It doesn’t address itself to any of the major problems in the province of Ontario. It doesn’t even begin to talk about what people have the right to expect. One of the reasons, I suspect, is that probably -- and this is probably true of most, if not all, of us -- we have been too long out of the workplace. Most of us here, most in the cabinet, most in the Legislature, haven’t been down a mine, haven’t had to work in a blast furnace.
Mr. Lewis: That’s true; that’s the problem.
Mr. Deans: We haven’t had to go down and stand on the edge of a dock and unload a ship; haven’t had to go and plow a furrow. Most of us in the Legislature have been politicians too long and we have long forgotten what it is like not to have that personal experience that enables us to bring reality into the debate.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Speak for yourself.
Mr. Deans: The Minister of Labour, for example, has never worked in a coke oven; has never been in a place where there was a fire; has never seen what it is like to work where you can’t see your nose in front of your face --
Hon. B. Stephenson: But I have.
Mr. Deans: -- no matter how short it is.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I have.
Mr. Deans: No you haven’t; not in the last 30 years you haven’t.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes I have.
Mr. Deans: And there is not one of your colleagues in the front benches -- Darcy McKeough doesn’t have to give a damn where his next dollar comes from to pay his taxes.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You’d better not be too loud on that --
Mr. Deans: Well, it is true.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: -- because I have been in places you have never even heard of.
Mr. Deans: Have you? I don’t doubt that for a moment. I wouldn’t be seen dead there.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You wouldn’t be let in the place. Don’t talk about who worked where.
Mr. Deans: I want to tell you that I said by far the vast majority.
Hon. B. Stephenson: That group over there should never talk about working in the real world. Not one of them. Teachers; social workers.
Mr. Deans: By far the vast majority of people in this Legislature -- and I am not talking only of the government -- have not been in the circumstances of the people for whom they must make decisions and about whose future they must decide.
Mr. Lewis: The whole front bench with one possible exception.
Hon. B. Stephenson: You don’t know what working is all about.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: No possible exceptions.
Mr. Deans: It is true; and there is no point in denying it for heaven’s sake; it is a fact of life.
Mr. Rotenberg: It is the same with you guys.
Mr. Lewis: That’s quite true of me.
Mr. Deans: And that is one of the difficulties with being in politics. It is one of the difficulties with being enclosed in this place for such long periods of time.
Mr. Rotenberg: You should resign.
Mr. Hodgson: Why don’t you try a new country for a change?
Mr. Deans: I suggest it may be useful if we could cut down on some of the debates, and some of the discussion that goes on here in isolation from everything that is happening outside; and maybe, as members of the Legislature, we should spend some time out in the province of Ontario. Not walking door-to-door asking for votes, not walking door-to-door trying to show what great people we are; but going into the plants of the province of Ontario; going and working in the factories of the province of Ontario; going down the mines -- not for a visit, with an expensive lunch afterwards; but to go down and spend a week or two working beside the people involved in order to try to come to grips with what is happening in those places. Maybe then --
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I have done that.
Mr. Deans: I am talking about everyone. Maybe then when we came back, we would understand why the health and safety bill is not adequate; maybe then we would understand why the Workmen’s Compensation Board doesn’t meet needs; why the housing problems of the province of Ontario are so terrible.
Because as the former Minister of Housing (Mr. Rhodes) would know, we build a lot of houses, but they are not at the prices people can afford; those are difficulties that we in this Legislature -- most of us in this Legislature -- no longer encounter personally. So therefore it is difficult to see clearly, and to feel for yourself, the kind of agony you go through when you find you can’t make your payments because the government program when it was put in place didn’t take into account that your income won’t rise rapidly enough in order to absorb the additional payments if, as and when the government program ends.
Those are the kinds of things we have to do. You have to go out and attempt to raise a family by yourself to see what it means to be on mother’s allowance, and not just simply to get the odd call at two in the morning. You have to try to take a look at these people and live with them; look them squarely in the eye and hear what they have got to say and stop listening to Darcy McKeough.
If we do those kinds of things -- all of us -- then maybe this place would be a damn sight more relevant; because at the moment it is not terribly relevant. And that is what is wrong with the Legislature; it is not terribly relevant to the people of the province of Ontario. They don’t know what we do, because much of what we do doesn’t relate to anything they understand. And when they do come and give us some first-hand experience we are too stubborn to listen.
When the people of Ontario said: “We don’t want the additional cost of regional government,” we were too stubborn to listen. When the people of the province of Ontario say that the health and safety bill is not adequate, you are too stubborn to listen.
Mr. Rotenberg: When they say they don’t want the NDP, we listen.
Mr. Deans: I’m talking about us all. I’m talking about the Legislature. I don’t know how often I have to say it to you. You are obviously deaf as well as dumb.
The problem is that unless we can see our way clearly to bringing about a great deal more relevance to this place, then there is no question that the view people have of politicians is a view that they should rightfully hold -- that they don’t serve the public of the province very well. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Roy: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I participate with a great deal of pride and pleasure in the closing of this Throne Speech debate -- if I can call it that. I look at the Minister of Industry and Tourism and -- I guess we got here at the same time, back in 1971 --
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Yes, but I spend more time here.
Mr. Roy: You spend more time here? I wouldn't be too sure.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I am sure.
Mr. Roy: But you make a lot more money than I do.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I am worth more.
Mr. Conway: He had a change of heart along the way, Albert.
Mr. Reed: It’s a good thing we don’t tell you what you are worth.
Hon. B. Stephenson: We couldn’t afford it.
An hon. member: If you were paid what you were worth, you would starve.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I am not prosecuting drug cases in Ottawa.
Mr. Roy: I have heard over this period of time a variety of closing comments. I suppose the best ones are usually in the evening after the dinner hour. I don’t know --
Mr. Hodgson: That’s when you make a better speech, Albert.
Mr. Roy: -- if that has to do with the attendance here or with the consumption between the dinner hour and the time of the speech, but some of the better ones have certainly been at that time.
But in any event, coming down from Ottawa today in the bright sunshine I thought, what the heck, it’s a good day for making speeches. It’s nice out. There’s no use being overly negative. One must be positive and have some optimism about the future. It’s remarkable what the sun will do to one’s disposition, and this is the disposition I have this afternoon.
First of all, as is traditional, I want to say I feel that you are performing your task extremely well and I hope, through the methods of communication that we have available, that thought will be conveyed to the Speaker.
I want to say to him as well that in my years here, since 1971, I have the perception that this Speaker, more than any other that we have had here -- and I don’t want to detract at all from his predecessors -- but I clearly have the evidence I think, and the impression, that he truly understands his role as the servant of the Legislature, of the members and not of the government. As long as we proceed in that fashion I think the members of this Legislature will be given an opportunity to perform their role adequately, which is of course the purpose for which they were elected.
I always found a great difference between the roles performed by the Speaker in the federal House and the Speaker here. I have always felt that some of this Speaker’s predecessors were a bit more apprehensive about getting a frown from the Premier. My colleague from Brant, I think, used to tell me that in bygone days it was even worse; a frown from Leslie Frost or George Drew meant instantaneous banging of the gavel with dissolution of the House, or whatever, on the part of the Speaker.
But I do want to take this opportunity to say to the Speaker that I think he is moving in the right direction. We on this side are very grateful for it. We have our moments of disagreement, of course. I think he will understand, because sometimes it is difficult for us in our exuberance to be curtailed by certain rules and regulations.
Mr. Conway: He misses the Sergeant at Arms.
Mr. Roy: But aside from that, we think that his rulings are fair. With a bit more co-operation, at least on this side of the House, from our House leader, I think we’ll get on with our questions fine.
While I am commenting on various individuals, it struck me as well, in discussions with some of my colleagues around here, that the Premier (Mr. Davis) has changed a lot, and especially since the minority government of 1975.
It always amazed me that between 1971 and 1975 the Premier, for a man who had been in the House all that long, didn’t seem to be comfortable in this place at that point. His speeches, his comments and his interjections in the give and take across the floor of the House were not evidence of one who was at ease in this place or who was familiar with the surroundings.
I must say to him, however, in a friendly and hands-across-the-floor gesture, that since 1975 he seems to be a bit more at home. I don’t know whether it’s the fact of minority government or what, but certainly with age, as he is getting greyer, his performance keeps improving -- and it is noticed on this side.
In fact, the Premier’s performance runs contrary to that of most athletes, whose physical fitness seems to deteriorate with age. The Premier seems to be able to get more sentences, and even paragraphs, into the same breath -- something he was not able to do in his first years, at least as Premier in this House.
Mr. Nixon: Sometimes he doesn’t get a verb in there.
Mr. S. Smith: And he leaves out the punctuation.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Now, teacher.
Mr. Roy: But he gets it all across. That performance has been noticed, as have some of the other performances that are characteristic of this Premier. His cabinet shuffles, for example, are done with a lot of fanfare and make for interesting comment. For instance, I see the Minister of Industry and Tourism here. I don’t know if it’s through luck or competence --
Mr. Nixon: Mismanagement.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Give me the benefit of the doubt.
Mr. Roy: I’ll give the minister the benefit of the doubt.
Mr. Breithaupt: You’re going to choose one, are you?
Mr. Roy: He has managed to put out many fires. I must say in all candour to that minister that accepting that portfolio and taking the place of the member for Ottawa South (Mr. Bennett), I think will be a helpful step even in the area of Canadian unity because of some of that member’s comments. In fact, I must say to my colleague from Ottawa South that he should be thankful to us in the opposition for having taken most of the other seats around Ottawa, because if the Premier had any choice out of Ottawa, the member probably wouldn’t be in the cabinet any more. So he should be more sympathetic --
Mr. Nixon: You don’t think that was a promotion?
Mr. Roy: No, and there will be disappointments, I’m sure, in the family of the member for Ottawa South --
Mr. Conway: He may end up being sheriff yet.
Mr. Nixon: The sheriff of Carleton county.
Mr. Roy: That could be. I don’t think his former campaign manager is about to give up that job.
But the disappointment I refer to, when I talk about my colleague from Ottawa South, is that I can recall that his wife went out to meet the constituents in the riding after their wedding; she was quoted in one of the Ottawa papers as saying that she wanted to be married to the Premier in five years.
Mr. Nixon: Oh, oh. Aren’t the Davises getting along?
Mr. Kerrio: Did she tell Bill’s wife?
Mr. Roy: With the last cabinet shuffle, that may be difficult.
Mr. Hodgson: Maybe Trudeau’s looking at her.
Mr. Breithaupt: Does it matter who the Premier might be?
Mr. Nixon: She may have to be a Liberal.
Mr. S. Smith: What if Bette’s Premier by then?
Mr. Roy: I want to say that, apart from this cabinet change, which I certainly welcome, it is interesting to note some of the bodies that have been shifting around. As you see different ministers changing positions -- they’re the same faces but in different portfolios -- it brings to mind a story told by my colleague from Niagara Falls. He says the cabinet shuffle reminds him of the army general who faced all his men after a long and arduous campaign. He looked at them and be said, “Things have been tough, men, but I have some good news for you. There’s going to be a change of underwear. Company A, you change with Company B, B with C, and so on.” There’s some similarity there --
Mr. Nixon: Very similar in more ways than one.
Mr. Roy: -- with the cabinet changes that we’ve noticed.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You guys have changed a little dirty laundry over there too, I noticed.
Hon. B. Stephenson: No, they just keep washing it.
Mr. Nixon: We wash all our laundry in public, you know that.
Mr. S. Smith: I’m afraid Hansard will lose some of your timing, Albert.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, we on this side, my colleagues and I, feel that one of the most interesting and encouraging prospects for us in Ontario has been what has happened to our left.
This is unbelievable but I am sure the Minister of Industry and Tourism will fully understand.
I must comment a bit and congratulate the new leader of the third party -- I shouldn’t miss the occasion for saying that; I’ve never used that word before, the third party -- at any rate, I wish him well.
I know him well. We were elected here at the same time -- in 1971. We have neighbouring ridings. We know each other very well. We don’t associate that often but we know each other extremely well.
Mr. Reid: No intimate dinners.
Mr. Roy: When the leadership race started, I said publicly and privately and on every occasion I had that I was a strong supporter of Michael Cassidy for the leadership; and I said that I would even be quite prepared to contribute to his campaign. I didn’t want to take it further than that, because I felt it may have had counter effects, so I kept relatively quiet. But as I watched the leadership campaign unfold and saw the results, well I have to tell you that it was more than I could have hoped for; more, I think, than most of us could have hoped for. This is really too good to be true. It’s beyond our wildest expectations; we sit here and we say it could not have happened; the inevitable did happen; and, I am sure, to the great concern of that party.
Mr. Conway: They’re now called the “new demolition party.”
Mr. Roy: You recall the support that he had originally from the caucus. The member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) was originally one of the supporters, and of course I think he was banking on a long shot to try to get closer to the leader. His horse came in, and he has moved off now over there; to our pleasure and great satisfaction actually, because we felt he was awfully loud next to us.
And then, of course, I think he had the support of the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Lawlor).
Mr. S. Smith: That’s because he’s quitting.
Mr. Roy: I suppose the old philosopher was entitled to one last moment of folly before he retired and went on to his books, his Thomas Aquinas.
So there was his support.
Mr. Bradley: There is a third one.
Mr. Roy: Was there a third one?
Mr. Bradley: Oh, there was.
Mr. Roy: Who would that be, pray tell? Who would that be?
Mr. Nixon: The member for High Park-Swansea (Mr. Ziemba).
Mr. Roy: Well I suspect that he wanted to stay close to the member for Lakeshore because of his legal experience. I don’t know.
Mr. Reid: The question was -- why would the member for Lakeshore want to stay close to Mr. Ziemba?
Mr. Roy: I won’t comment any further. I don’t want to be nasty. But one thing that strikes me -- and I find it most encouraging -- is that now they say the caucus is behind him; he’s got full support. All I can think of is that if that caucus gives the same support to Cassidy in his quest to become Premier of the province as they gave to Deans to become leader of the party, we have nothing to worry about.
Mr. Nixon: Not much room for Ian.
Mr. Conway: Why do you think your colleague the member for Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes) didn’t support him?
Mr. Roy: Well I don’t know, especially as he got her to run. But I don’t want to get into petty details with this. All I can say is that it was beyond my expectations. I am pleased, and I think that when the people of the province look for an alternative there won’t be any problem.
Cassidy -- the leader of the NDP -- has not in fact disappointed us. His performance is true to form. His first statement, in fact, as leader of the party, was that the Premier was nuts.
Mr. Nixon: Good start.
Mr. Roy: Well, Billy Davis is a lot of things, but nuts he’s not.
And then his latest pronouncement; my God, that’s been something: when he attacked Hydro as being strikebreakers. That’s something that has an awful lot of depth, and it’s something that is becoming of a future Premier of the province of Ontario.
Mr. Nixon: Heaven help us.
Mr. Roy: I just wonder where it is going to lead us. What’s going to come next? Is he going to tell us that by using the phone and not writing letters, we will hurt the postal workers? Maybe this is what is next. Who knows? I feel somewhat vulnerable myself. I’m one who likes to keep fit and active and that sort of thing. By so doing, am I going to be hurting the hospital workers?
What’s next? He’s probably going to tell us -- I shouldn’t say this -- but he may go as far as saying that mothers who are nursing their babies are hurting the dairy industry. I don’t know, it may go that far.
Mr. Nixon: We dairy farmers provide some quality stuff actually.
Mr. Roy: Is it any wonder, with the support which he originally had, that with this type of pronouncement the former leader, the member for Scarborough West (Mr. Lewis), wants to head for the back benches. One can’t blame him for that.
They have brought forward a no-confidence motion. I want to say, apart from the posturing and all that’s involved in making it easy for us to vote against it, there is some strategic significance in our vote because it is important that we allow the province to get to know the new leader of that party as we know him here and as we know him in Ottawa. The public of the province should not be given an opportunity to vote without knowing who this individual is. That makes it easier for us not to have an election at this time. We’ll give him a year or so to let the people of the province get to know him. Then we’ll take him up on it if he wants to bring forward some no-confidence motion.
Mr. Davidson: We’ll hold you to that.
Mr. Roy: We wouldn’t want to give him too long.
Mr. Nixon: He might get out if we gave him two years.
Mr. Roy: Given the proper circumstance, we would oblige.
I want to say that fact is encouraging to us, but the most encouraging aspect is the performance given in this House since the election in 1977 by our leader. They should be concerned across the way because it is going to become exceedingly obvious to this province and the people of Ontario, when the old scene comes around for this tired old government which again has failed to give leadership in the Throne Speech, when people are looking for a responsible alternative, the responsible alternative will be obvious this time. It will be right here on this side of the House.
Is the Minister of Labour saying something?
Hon. B. Stephenson: The member was saying nasty things about his former leader and I don’t think he should.
Mr. Roy: Our former leader? No, not at all.
Mr. Conway: Did the Minister of Labour have some kind of informal political courtship here with the Liberals?
Hon. B. Stephenson: No.
Mr. Roy: I watched some of her interchanges with the member for Wentworth (Mr. Deans) earlier and I think she is annoyed about something today. I suspect that it is because Manthorpe -- did you read the Saturday Star? -- said she was elected in 1971. Did she read that?
Mr. Nixon: And that you’re four years older.
Hon. B. Stephenson: No, I am not. No, I didn’t see it.
Mr. Roy: I hope she will get up and make a statement in the House and correct it.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I shall be pleased to correct him.
Mr. Roy: He was saying something about the fact that the minister looked tired and weary; didn’t have near the spunk and was edgy. He said that about her. Maybe she should bring her couch.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I don’t have one. Only the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) has one. I just go around and see people.
Mr. Roy: No, he’s leading the province. If the minister brings her own couch, she will get free service here.
Hon. B. Stephenson: No, thanks. I don’t need it.
Mr. Roy: All we need is her OHIP number.
Mr. Sweeney: We provide the advice, but not the couch.
Mr. Roy: There is another significant aspect. Apart from the performance of our leader, there is the performance, the hard work and dedication given by my colleagues. I want to say since 1971 this reformer-line party has been attacked repeatedly as being fractious, as being lazy, as not working and all sorts of things.
Mr. Nixon: Poor attendance, et cetera.
Mr. Roy: I won’t talk about some of the more recent trips or anything of this nature. I don’t want to get into that. When things are working well, I suppose the best evidence of how effective this caucus is under the leadership of Stuart Smith is the fact that the press aren’t talking about it any more. The press used to love to write stories about how they were fighting and how they weren’t working and things of that nature. But with the quality of the members that we have now, which was proven in the 1977 election, these people have the confidence of their constituents in all of their ridings. With the effort that they’re putting here, we have a base, certainly, to build on. That’s not to say we don’t miss some of our colleagues -- the Singers, Bullbrooks, Spences; I’ll leave it at that.
The people who have come into this House in 1975 and in 1977 have made a tremendous contribution and will continue to make a tremendous contribution. The NDP often likes to pontificate about how they’re the opposition, but in many, many instances the responsible opposition rests right here.
I’d like to deal briefly with --
Mr. Nixon: The issues.
Mr. Roy: God help us, my colleague from Brant-Oxford-Norfolk said the issues. I don’t want to talk about issues now.
This is something a bit parochial: a school problem in Ottawa. I thought you would be interested to know of some recent headlines in the papers. In fact, Manthorpe -- was it Manthorpe who talked about the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells) as Mr. Clean?
Mr. Conway: The man from Glad.
Mr. Roy: Yes, I’m sorry, the man from Glad.
We’ve had a traditional problem in Ottawa, as many large urban centres have had, where the enrolment is decreasing in Ottawa proper and at the same time it’s increasing in Carleton, in the outside riding. We have a situation where the Ministry of Education says, “No, we won’t give you any money to build schools. Carleton and Ottawa must get together and you must share school space and so on.”
But it’s not been exactly that easy. For the last five or seven years, we have not been able to reach an agreement. The parents in Carleton, in many instances, are in a situation where their children are going to school in Ottawa and yet they have no say to the trustees as to what happens to their children in school. Anyway, they’ve finally thrown up their hands and said to the Minister of Education, “Come on over. We need some help. We want you to solve this problem.”
He did come over, and I want to read to you some of the headlines that were in the Ottawa papers: “Wells gives school but little else to the boards.” That was on the front page. Then it states: “Wells angers, frustrates, disgusts the board trustees.” It goes on to say: “Parents barred from meeting”; and “Wells’ suggestion irks school officials.” He left then.
The editorial in the Ottawa Citizen is great when it talked about this. It stated: “He came, he saw, he collapsed.”
Mr. Reid: Which minister was that?
Mr. Roy: The Minister of Education. “Ontario Education Minister Thomas Wells came to Ottawa-Carleton this week. He came, he saw, he collapsed.
“The minister failed miserably in his mission to resolve the tenacious problem of housing of school populations within the respective jurisdictions of Ottawa and Carleton boards of education.”
What he said, in effect, was “resolve it yourself.” That’s basically it. He was going to come down and solve this long-standing problem. He came down and I was at the meeting. He sat there and put his foot up on the desk -- the whole bit -- and said: “Okay, how do we solve it? What are you going to tell me as to how to solve this problem?” You’ve got the four boards there who have not been able to reach agreements for five to seven years, and the minister is not prepared to accept his responsibility under the guise that he believes in local autonomy.
When I hear that from this government, which has so trampled on local autonomy for so many years -- when there’s a serious problem in Ottawa-Carleton and they’re not prepared to face it, they talk about local autonomy -- I want to put on the record that I think that sort of performance is not conducive to the type of leadership and the type of government that the people of Ontario expect.
It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, and most board trustees -- and as one of the parents who got up said to him: “Why don’t you show a bit of gut?” -- that’s what is needed in this province. In fact, he was given suggestions by the Mayo report as to how he might be able to resolve these problems. One of the suggestions put at that time was about having a homogeneous French language system in Ottawa-Carleton. He could then look at establishing one board for the English separate schools and one board for the English public schools as well, or it could have two boards, as Mayo suggested. But the minister is not prepared to grapple with and solve that particular problem. In the meantime it’s the taxpayers and the parents of Ottawa who are suffering.
I think the member for Carleton (Mr. Handleman) got up the other day to laud his performance in Ottawa-Carleton. I want to put on the record that that type of leadership or that type of abdication of leadership is not what is needed in this province at this time. What in fact we do need is somebody who is going to make a decision, especially when you are dealing with the taxpayers of this province.
Of course, that whole performance was indicative of what we have seen in the Throne Speech: a lot of pious statements on every conceivable topic. Some of my colleagues here have dealt at length with some of these topics and I just want to deal with a couple of topics I found interesting, because I certainly can’t cover all of them at this time.
I wondered what one of these statements was doing in there. The statement about the family and about the children in this province. There was mention made at that time that they are working in the direction of the emphasis of the family unit in Bill 59, which hopefully will be passed shortly in this House. Typical of this government was the fact that here we have these pious statements and yet if you look at Bill 59 there is a contradiction in the bill of these statements in the Throne Speech.
Mr. Conway: The member for Oriole (Mr. Williams) winced.
Mr. Roy: It seems to me -- and that member will understand this -- that when you are talking about enhancing the family unit the way you do it is by having a type of partnership and equality within marriage. Marriage is really the way. When I talk about a fair and equitable partnership within marriage, that is the most effective environment in which a family can prosper. But we have more than this in Bill 59 and it seems to run contrary to the Throne Speech.
In Bill 59 they are talking about giving status to another type of relationship which I am sure is not the most conducive to maintaining the family unit. That’s the common law relationship.
I have said this in committee and I have said this in the House before, but I personally have concern about this, especially when people in the common law relationships don’t want any legal status or obligation or whatever. Of course, that’s not affecting the children because the question of children is already dealt with under our present law, but it seems to me contradictory that the government talks in such fashion about the family unit and yet it is giving status under Bill 59 to the common law relationship and in fact it is allowing them to have contracts. That concerns me and I find that somewhat contradictory.
Mr. Conway: Typical Tory double-talk.
Mr. Roy: But it seems to me that when Ontario is facing an uncertain future -- and I am sure some of my colleagues have seen some of the programs on TV Ontario about Ontario’s economic future; it has been on in French and English and we have had much discussion about it -- but there’s no doubt that Ontario faces an uncertain future in the area of manufacturing, which has always been our base, in the area of resource industry, in the area of farming, in the area of jobs for our young people -- and where is the response? As my leader said, where is the vision? Where is the leadership in this Throne Speech?
We can’t rely on the government saying, “Although we have our problems new manufacturing concerns will be set up here and there.” Unfortunately that is not the case. Unfortunately what has been happening is that much of the manufacturing sector has not been locating here but has been locating in the US, because of the environment that’s been created by this government. The finding of new mines or new mineral resources is not something that is automatically open to us as well. A lot of these companies are going into other areas to do their exploration and so on. In the field of competition we have problems as well.
In other words, we have always had the luxury in this province and in this country of saying that if we have a problem, we’ll just have to sell more oil, more wheat, more uranium, more this or more that. This is not a luxury that more competitive nations, like the United States, Japan, Taiwan, Germany and others, have had; so they have put their emphasis on people. Surely this is the greatest resource that Ontario has.
Mr. Wildman: You’d better talk to your friends in Ottawa.
Mr. Roy: We’ve drawn from all over the world. Our greatest resource, in fact, is people. But to motivate people we need leadership and vision, and we’re not getting it in this Throne Speech.
Mr. Wildman: Tell that to Trudeau.
Mr. Roy: It seems to me the Throne Speech is most lacking in reference to the unity of this country itself. At a time when the separatist government has been in power since 1976, at a time when there is great dissatisfaction in the west -- I was just reading in today’s Globe and Mail about Prince Peter, as they call him out there in Alberta, and what he may want or what sorts of conditions or changes or transfers of power he would like to see in Alberta -- at a time when even the eastern provinces feel they’re not getting a fair share out of Confederation, and especially at a time when Ontario has so much to lose out of all this, again there is the lack of leadership.
I’m not the only one saying this. For instance, in today’s Star there is talk of this:
“Ontario may be losing Constitution game,” reads a headline. No less an authority than a former Premier of this province is quoted in this article as saying he “won’t say what constitutional changes he plans to recommend, but even he agrees that Ontario’s ability to shape policies in Ottawa probably will be cut back.
“‘I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Ontario lost some of its pre-eminent position. It’s an historical development and it doesn’t much matter whether Ontario is willing to lose power or not. It’s what’s going to happen.’”
These are some of the challenges facing us in the future. This is John Robarts, a former Premier of the province, who is talking in this fashion. It’s not some wild-eyed radical.
Where is the leadership, especially in the area of our relationship with the province of Quebec and the leadership that could be given there? I’ve said in this House before, and I’ll repeat it again, that I feel terrible about the lack of English leadership that is given in this debate in this country.
I don’t limit my comments to what happens in this province. At the federal level there is a lack of leadership. I have said to my colleagues up there, “Where is the leadership?” I get told that the English-speaking cabinet ministers do make speeches occasionally but they’re not reported. I’m not so sure. But there is a vacuum there; and there is a tremendous opportunity for the Premier of the leading province to fill that vacuum and to give leadership in that area.
There is the perception -- and you can just feel it in this province -- that this squabble is between Trudeau and Levesque. The unity of the country itself is more important than two individuals, as capable as these two are, and the debate about the future of our country shouldn’t be limited to two personalities. It seems to me that the Premier of this province is missing an opportunity to give leadership in this area.
I want to clear up certain wrong assumptions which people make about this province. A lot of people say -- and it has been the approach traditionally taken by this government -- that time will solve many of their problems; they hope that, with time, things will work themselves out. I say to those people that is an option or a luxury that is not open on this occasion, if for nothing else than that the majority of Quebeckers -- and I’m not talking about the separatists; I’m talking about the majority of the people from Quebec -- are not satisfied with the status quo. The separatists have given another option; they want to separate completely. But the fact is that the majority are not satisfied with the status quo. The people in the west are not satisfied with the status quo. And this is not a problem that is going to go away with time.
Some people feel if the separatists are beaten, if the referendum is defeated, there will be no further problems. They feel we will just go back and it will be the ball game as usual, the same old way of operating. That again is a fallacy. If some people look at the options offered by some of those running for the leadership of the Quebec Liberal Party, which is the alternative in the province of Quebec, they are likely to get an awful surprise because these candidates are not satisfied with the status quo either. Even though the referendum were defeated in Quebec, there would still be pressures from the west about changing some of the power and about changing some of the rules of the game that presently exist here.
It seems to me that the response of Ontario has been totally inadequate. It has been inadequate because the Premier -- and I see him coming in now -- seems to put a certain emphasis on things. He has been down to the Quebec Carnival on two occasions. I’ll read a little clip from a paper of February 2, 1978, where it said: “Ontario Premier William Davis plans a return visit to the Quebec City Carnival. Davis, a guest of honour last year, said he would make a goodwill visit to Quebec City on February 10 and 11. The Premier promised last year Ontario would have a float in this year’s parade for the first time. He said: ‘I thought at the time that a float from Ontario would be one way of demonstrating the affection the people of Ontario have for their neighbours in Quebec.’”
I think that is great too. We should go to the Quebec Carnival and we should have a float. But surely our response must have more depth. It has to be more meaningful than that.
What has concerned me is the response or the strategy of late on the part of the Premier and certain cabinet ministers. I am being cautious here because I don’t really understand what is going on. All I know is that there has been a serious attack on the bilingualism policies of the federal government.
I have his speech to the Canadian Club here. I won’t refer to it because of the time constraint. But on so many occasions he refers to the bilingualism policy of the federal government. I will only say, because this policy has been referred to by other cabinet ministers here, that they should read Webster’s column in the Globe and Mail this morning so that this whole question be not taken out of perspective. I agree that in some of its policies the federal government has made mistakes and that it has been divisive on some occasions. But to write it off and say it has been a divisive program and that it hasn’t accomplished anything is distorting the facts.
What has concerned me is the Premier’s approach towards the francophones in this province. I have here his letter of December 15, 1977 to the Franco-Ontarian Association. I apologize that I only have the French copy of this document. I’ll just read an extract here and I’ll translate afterwards. It says: “Le gouvernement de l’Ontario n’a cependant pas l’intention à ce moment de prendre la moindre mesure visant à faire du français une langue officielle dans la province.”
Basically, what he is saying is that the government of Ontario has no intention of taking the slightest step in making French an official language in this province. That in itself is somewhat misleading because in the Throne Speech that we have just had there is a step forward. We’re talking about changing the Judicature Act, and that is a step that we applaud and think is in the right direction.
Mr. Nixon: It’s certainly official.
Mr. Roy: That is something. The minute the government has a law it is giving some status. I am just trying to understand the strategy. Why did the Premier’s response have to be so categorical and in a sense brutal? The reason I say this is that there is some complaint that although we have had progress in this province -- we have had tremendous progress -- often people don’t know about the progress; they don’t talk about it. Surely when he takes an approach like this, this is what makes the headlines. This is what makes the headlines in the province of Quebec. This type of approach is what makes the separatists in the province of Quebec pleased indeed, because their whole strategy is to say that there is no hope left for negotiation.
Some people in this province say, and I can understand this, “Why should we be moving one way when Quebec is in fact moving the other way?” I say, “Careful! It’s the separatists who are moving the other way, not the majority of the people of the province of Quebec.” The separatist strategy, and my leader has talked about this before, is one of frustration and annoyance. If they can annoy and frustrate the anglophone majority in the rest of the country so that they will throw up their hands and say, “Well, hell, let them go,” that’s what they would like. It is important that we keep our cool and that we not let the radicals, be it on the one side or the other, win the day, that they not be perceived as being in fact the majority.
The reason I am concerned about this situation is that a lot of the people who could be strong allies in the cause of Canadian unity are starting to act in sort of a funny way. I just mention, for instance, that last week a francophone association from outside Quebec made representation to the Quebec government. Some of the things they said were about the separatists in Quebec, or the government in Quebec -- the PQ government, a separatist government -- which was to them a natural ally. One starts saying, “Well look, careful here.” But there is a perception on their part that they have only been able to accomplish or make strides for their rights in other areas of Canada when the Quebec government or when the separatists started shaking the bushes a little bit. That’s what they perceive as a natural ally.
It’s a policy or it’s a brief -- I will read some of the comments here. They are frustrated and there’s a feeling of desperation for many of these minorities across the country. That’s why they are taking this approach. They talk about the fact that they want some money, they want some help from the government in Quebec. They talk about the fact that they don’t want to play what they call the unity game.
I want to say to you, Mr. Speaker -- and Norm Webster in the Globe and Mail commented about his concerns about this -- that as Webster said, it’s a self-defeating policy. Obviously for the francophone minority outside of the province of Quebec, their hope lies not with the separatists. As Webster said, once they separate, the only thing protecting them would be the game laws. It’s not quite that way. That is what I want to make clear.
They are going on the basis -- and Levesque has not been afraid to play that game -- that there would still be a minority of anglophones in the province of Quebec. Levesque has talked about reciprocal agreements and things of this nature. So they are working on the basis that even though they separate, because Levesque can bargain with the anglophone minority in the province of Quebec, the minority outside of the province of Quebec will have better bargaining power. I wouldn’t want to get into that game.
I want to say publicly that I disagree with that approach. When they say that the federation of francophones has no intention of playing the game of Canadian unity, I say I disagree with that. And I’ll continue playing the game of Canadian unity if that is what they want to call it. But it gives you some idea, Mr. Speaker, that these people who should be natural allies are expressing some desperation and in fact some frustration.
It brings us to the suggestion that has been made by my leader as to how we can resolve this problem. I say to the Premier, we want to co-operate in this. Why doesn’t he accept the suggestion made by my leader about having a select committee of all members of the Legislature to look at this problem? Why doesn’t he accept our suggestion made in good faith, because I think the minorities of this province will not benefit by some shouting match -- the leader of the NDP calling the Premier nuts and then some people saying the government has changed its policies -- that’s not going to advance anything. Surely this is something that is more important than policy. And surely the resources, the good will that exists in this Legislature, could be channelled into that select committee that’s been talked about by my colleague.
I mention, for instance, the editorial which appeared on March 1 in the Globe and Mail, saying how “its mandate should be to review such programs as now exist, assemble the information gathered in a clear statement of services now available in French, decide what further services should be provided and propose a timetable for getting them in motion.” Surely that is reasonable. Surely we have sufficient goodwill, sufficient talent and sufficient resources here to have a common front for this. And I think this is something the Premier should give strong consideration to.
For instance, my leader has asked me to take on responsibility for federal-provincial relations and I have accepted with enthusiasm and willingness, because I see, for instance, as I understand it, the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development has that role to play. I have here a bulletin from the Franco Ontarian Council which states that the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Brunelle), the minister in charge of bilingualism -- I’m surprised they are using that word, “bilingualism,” knowing the shots that have been taken recently by the government on this --
Mr. Conway: The Minister of the Environment (Mr. McCague) wrote it.
Mr. Roy: -- discussed his mandate and that of the cabinet committee on Confederation, for which he is responsible. And so I have accepted willingly and with enthusiasm the challenge offered by my leader in the field of federal-provincial relations. And I want to say that it is going to make it a lot easier if we clean up our act here, if we take a cohesive approach, for people like myself to go into the province of Quebec and prove to them that I, as a francophone, can benefit. There’s a certain amount of pride in being a member here, in having the rights and the privileges of my colleagues. I’m living evidence that Levesque is not absolutely right in what he’s talking about. And we should say that to Quebeckers.
It seems to me that the message that can be taken to the majority in the province of Quebec is simply this: “We in Ontario are prepared to understand the threat to your language and culture -- we understand that -- or the lack of economic opportunities that have existed in the past; we understand that. But we in Ontario are in fact prepared to fight for that.”
Having said that, it seems to me that separation at that point becomes a negative force. I think that the people of Quebec realize more and more that separation, or that a separate Quebec, will not be a Camelot that separation will not automatically make everything right in that province. We can show them that as an equal partner with the rest of Canada that it is to their advantage, that they need a stronger partner and a buffer against the larger anglophone mass existing here in North America.
We can say to them that once they have certain guarantees, why should they not benefit from all the economic aspects of this great country, whether you’re talking about the oil and gas in Alberta or you’re talking about the wheat out in the prairies or the ore or the minerals in BC and Ontario and so on? Certainly these are some of the things that we can talk about.
A final thing I would say to them -- and I would say it very simply to my confreres in the province of Quebec -- is simply this: “Why would you abandon us like France abandoned you after the Plains of Abraham?” Which in fact did happen. It was Voltaire who after the Plains of Abraham said simply, “Well, why should we fight for a few acres of snow?” They abandoned their colony of 50,000 or 60,000 people and they’re prepared to do the same to us,
I think it’s important that they know how we feel. I think the majority can be made to understand once they know that goodwill exists in this sister province here in Ontario. That is the type of message and the new role that some of us would like to take to the province of Quebec. We want to be active participants in this. I’m sure that each of us has a message to take to his constituency in this area.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, it is --
Mr. Eakins: Where are the troops?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh listen, they’re busy.
Mr. Conway: You don’t mean they have better things to do?
Hon. Mr. Davis: As a matter of fact, in terms of ultimate government productivity, the answer to that probably is yes.
However, it is a privilege to rise and speak in support of the Speech from the Throne, Mr. Speaker, and also to express once again my congratulations to you for the very objective manner in which you handle the affairs of this House.
Both the leaders of the opposition parties spoke rather directly and forthrightly against much of the program contained in that excellent speech, but in fairness also associated themselves with certain initiatives which the government has put forward. It is their responsibility, under our system as we know it, to point out what they consider to be poor judgement, miscalculation on occasion, weakness or, in few instances, failure. I say with neither rancour nor sarcasm that they both served the system well with their remarks on that particular occasion. I have reviewed their comments with some care. It wasn’t all easy reading. They were in fact good critical speeches which the government will study and assess.
First, I must admit that in looking over Hansard, I was moved by the metaphorical and textual citations that bolstered some of the remarks of both my colleagues opposite. The Leader of the Opposition said in the midst of a careful but, I think it is fair to state, an opinionated assessment of Ontario’s economic prospects, and I quote, “No wind blows in favour of a ship that has no destination.” I hope I am quoting him accurately. Some who are more nautically capable than I, there would be some, would probably observe for the benefit of the Leader of the Opposition in the light of some of his party’s changing positions that the quotation should be, “No wind blows in favour of a ship that tries to steer in two directions at the same time.”
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Are they down to two now? That’s an improvement.
Mr. Laughren: It’s called the doldrums.
Hon. Mr. Davis: But being sometimes less than a nautical expert and wishing sincerely to be less than overtly partisan today, I wouldn’t say that sort of thing, nor would I want to say it.
Mr. Wildman: But are you wont to say it?
Hon. Mr. Davis: The leader of the third party, who has just arrived, moved to cite John Stuart Mill in his rendition on profit. I want to ask what John Stuart Mill ever did to him to deserve being included in such an account, but that would be a very unfair question to ask.
I would say to the new leader of the New Democratic Party that Mill wrote his great essay on liberty in 1859. That is right in the middle of the 19th century and to me that is an appropriate source indeed for a 1978 economic critique by the leader of that particular party.
Mr. Reid: Well, he’s dealing with a 19th century government.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I tell you, Mr. Speaker, as a 19th century government we don’t believe in cutting our neighbours off from food, electricity or coal.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Those people opposite want to help the Third World countries but when their next door neighbour is in trouble they want to cut him off. I will never understand that.
Mr. Renwick: What about the miners in the coal mines?
Mr. Laughren: While you cut off the residents of Ontario.
Mr. Conway: The question is are you really nuts?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, Mr. Speaker, I think that’s a question for which only history will provide the answer. I have my own point of view on that but I really am not prepared to share it with the rest of the members.
Mr. Nixon: Don’t go out on a limb.
Hon. Mr. Davis: There are some days in here when I really think perhaps I am. I am not sure.
I was prepared to admit though, after reading that particular quotation and after some extensive coaxing, that the previous leader of the New Democratic Party had brought that organization beyond the fired and doctrinaire perceptive of the thirties. I think he did. I now realize -- and I want to warn all of us, including members of that particular party -- that we are dealing with an absolute purist who takes comfort in the analysis of bygone times and bygone ideas. He is, and I say this with both awe and respect, developing a new slot for the political spectrum of the left -- a slot for prehistory.
Mr. Roy: You are going to hurt Jim Laxer’s feelings if you talk like that.
Mr. Conway: Have you got anything to say about Stanley Knowles?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I did listen to both of those who summed up the positions of their parties in this historic debate. Would the new leader please convey to the member who wound up for his party that I can assume and understand criticism of myself -- I am prepared to accept it. I am prepared to accept criticism of my cabinet colleagues, that’s part of our system. But when he starts to criticize the Toronto Argonauts he’s gone a shade too far, and I hope the leader will convey that message to him.
I sense something of a total lack of objectivity on his part. He may be concerned that at long last the Argonauts will do the Hamilton Tiger Cats in because of the signing as they did of --
Mr. Reid: I’ll make you a wager on that one.
Hon. Mr. Davis: A dollar? -- you’re on -- of this very able football player.
Mr. Handleman: One halfback does not a season make.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have a horrible feeling that one of my very distinguished former colleagues in cabinet, now a loyal member of caucus, is getting upset about what I am saying. But I would say to the member for Carleton, the Rough Riders had better look out too.
However, I really didn’t come here to comment on that important part of his observations. He did get a little bit personal as it related to a couple of my cabinet colleagues and I don’t really need to leap to the defence of either of them. The members will be hearing from one tomorrow evening at 8 o’clock and all of us are eagerly awaiting that particular event. As it relates to the Minister of Labour one might say to the member, who really should know better, that we have one of the great ministers of labour in the history of this province in our present ministry.
Mr. Grande: The kiss of death.
Hon. Mr. Davis: And the member’s leader should tell him this for me, that in terms of organized labour, they have somebody who understands, somebody they can talk to, and if they’re right, she will listen. They are sometimes not always right and so there will sometimes be differences of opinion. But I have to tell the House that I thought his attack on the Minister of Labour was totally unjustified and unwarranted, and that’s all I will say on this subject.
Mr. McClellan: It was long overdue.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I listened with some interest to the distinguished member for Ottawa East -- have I got the right geographic location --
Mr. Roy: You’ve got to be careful now.
Mr. S. Smith: The only distinguished member from Ottawa.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say that is questionable.
I listened to him -- I understand he doesn’t think we should have had a float in the Carnival parade in Quebec City. I have to tell him I was there and I enjoyed it. It was really not all work, although in some respects it was fairly arduous if I can describe it in that fashion. I can tell him that for the people who were there -- and I saw the reaction from a number of them when the Ontario float for the first time was in that parade -- that it did have some significance. I’m not going to suggest it is going to solve a problem.
I would say to our friend who was quoting extensively from what I thought was a somewhat questionable column this morning that there are some misunderstandings. The member quoted from a letter that I wrote to AFCO in reply to a letter from them that contained a number of specific requests. One of those requests -- so there is no misunderstanding on anyone’s part and so we won’t get into any semantic terminology -- was for the declaration of this province to have French as an official language. That is a very real distinction from what I have been saying and what I now understand the member’s leader shares with me -- and I read that word “share” several times in his contribution in the Throne Speech debate. I would say it’s great for columnists to write some of these things, but the members opposite might say something to people to whom they’re much closer than we are --
Mr. Conway: I’m not so sure about that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: When federal ministers come into this province, and when they start attacking as they have, I would say, for totally partisan interests --
Some hon. members: Oh, no.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Absolutely.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Sure they were. If the members opposite think Marc Lalonde and Roberts et cetera, and now more recently Mr. Danson, are helping this debate and this discussion, they’re wrong. And it’s quite obvious from their own leader’s observations --
Mr. Bradley: And the Minister of the Environment
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- that he disagrees with that which they were saying, and it’s time the members got up and said as much. Tell these fellows from Ottawa, who are trying to really focus the attention on issues other than the economy where they know they’re highly vulnerable. They know they’re highly vulnerable and they’ll sense it when the Prime Minister issues an election writ.
Mr. Roy: What about yourself?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that perhaps some form of communication should be made to those cabinet ministers who make those observations from time to time --
Mr. S. Smith: Look, I’ve made a constructive offer, and I’m waiting for an answer.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would just suggest that that is the place. I have rarely talked about the federal government’s program in bilingualism. Perhaps I have two or three times in the past year.
Mr. Conway: Sidney ran a campaign on it in 1975.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I referred to it in the Canadian Club speech.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Renfrew North doesn’t have to react to everything that’s said.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I identified our position on official language which I did in my letter to ACFO. But what has been neglected by some of the media, less so now in the province of Quebec than was the case before because of the report of the Council of Ministers, was the positive things, not under any constitutional obligation, not because of any desire in terms of the law, but because the people of this province were in support of government programs to assist those citizens of this province who are francophone by birth or by whatever reason. I’ve explained this to the Premier of Quebec. I told the Premier of Quebec, Mr. Levesque, “We will not sign a multilateral agreement in terms of educational rights because there are some Franco-Ontarians who do not want their future educational rights in a position where they are part of an agreement with a government whose political objective is to separate from the rest of Canada.”
Mr. Roy: I agree with that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It’s great to say these things, but I just wish those who comment on this issue and who write about this issue would really tell the whole story when they do so because no government -- and I don’t say that I can, in any way, help solve this problem, but I try and I do my best -- but no government has been more committed --
Mr. Roy: Oh, no.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- no Premier has been more committed in terms of endeavouring to help resolve this problem in a way that is not going to make it further complicated than it presently is. The members opposite can disagree with some of it, although I notice that their leader has really come out in support of it, which I found encouraging.
Mr. S. Smith: Will you accept my suggestion to de-politicize it?
Hon. Mr. Davis: However, Mr. Speaker, I’m digressing and I’m to finish by 5:45. I’m digressing, because I intended to stick pretty much to what I wanted to say today. I hope both members opposite and my own colleagues will excuse a departure from the partisan ritual that usually dominates the tenor of Throne Speech debates in our House and in our system of government. I enjoy it as much as anyone. I guess it’s, for me, the most stimulating time in the House. But today I would like to ask for the indulgence of all members in pursuing a broader concern about the shape and scope of public attitudes and anxieties in the times that we are facing together.
Some of us have been in this Legislature -- I look across the House -- for longer periods of time than others. We have served opposite one another on committees here in the House and we have been side by side in caucus and in the inner councils of party and government. I’m sure there are times when each and every one of us, either when we are reflecting privately or reviewing events with our families and friends, as we tend to on occasion, wonder about the nature of what we are doing, its ultimate purpose, its value and the reason that underlies it all.
Mr. Nixon: It comes with a certain age.
Hon. Mr. Davis: And you’re there before I am, I’ve got to tell you.
Mr. Nixon: That’s why I know about it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We are all aware, Mr. Speaker, of the time and effort it takes to get elected or even to gain re-election in today’s Ontario. We know that it is not easy to support one’s fellow caucus members all the time, or to serve one’s party faithfully all the time and of course, about all, to serve the people to the best of our ability. The pressures are great on all of us in this House and the risks are always high. The satisfactions, despite what some may think, often seem to be relatively few and far between. Yet we return here day after day -- most of us -- to battle ideas that we oppose.
Mr. Roy: It’s not on camera. They don’t know who you are talking about.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We advance those things that we care about and we seek the best way of both governing and serving the people of this province.
Each member probably does as I do and wonders about history and whether it will notice or care about our contribution. Sometimes we wonder about the people we serve, the parties we serve and the causes we champion. We wonder as well whether our effort and commitment as members is ever fully understood. During what I think are difficult economic and political times, the kinds of times we are currently facing as Canadians, I am sure that every thoughtful member of this House speaks inwardly about how well, in fact, he or she is serving and how effectively we are helping to shape solutions rather than to deepen problems.
On many issues, friends -- and even those who are not so friendly -- have called me an incorrigible optimist. That criticism is not totally out of place. I confess to that. In many respects, I cannot help myself.
Mr. Wildman: That’s true.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Optimism is a part of why I am in politics, and I would submit that it is a large part of why most in this House are in politics -- at least I would hope that would be the case -- and yet we are often very hard-pressed to maintain that optimism. International currency fluctuations, massive transfers of wealth to Arab and other oil producers, North American economies that are out of synch with changing developments and trends -- these factors combine with an older population and reduced economic output to create greater economic difficulties, to create real economic challenges in a period when governments and those who serve within them are not always able to accomplish as much as they would like.
Mr. S. Smith: What is this leading up to?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would submit that the kind of structural economic problems we face today defy either ideology or management theory. To suggest otherwise would be to expose naiveté and simple-mindedness which I would hope most in this House would find embarrassing.
Mr. S. Smith: Let us have a try.
Hon. B. Stephenson: We have more concern for the province than that, Stuart.
Mr. Turner: Convince the people first.
Mr. S. Smith: Let us have a try.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, if the Leader of the Opposition didn’t think he would be better, he shouldn’t be in that position. I am one of those who happens to believe that he couldn’t, but I would be disappointed if he didn’t.
Mr. Ruston: Arrogant as ever.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Nevertheless, politicians of all persuasions are faced by many -- whether they be in the bureaucracy, in the media, in the academic world or wherever -- who argue for greater and more massive government intervention. These arguments are sincere. They are well-meaning and stem, I am sure, from a view of government which is progressive and humane. I believe nevertheless that they are quite overstated.
Throughout this whole continent, from the coal fields of Kentucky -- which concern my friend -- and West Virginia to the oil fields of Alberta, from the farms in the great region of Peel -- and there still are a few --
Mr. Martel: Under asphalt.
Mr. Wildman: Not many.
Mr. Nixon: Are you going to set this to music?
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- to the high-rises of our urban cities, we are facing some unalterable economic realities -- realities to which government must adjust while providing basic guarantees and basic underpinnings on which people can depend.
Mr. Nixon: Amen.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Real leadership will emerge from the sensitivity that governments exhibit to the new realities and their results. Government, after all, is composed -- I hope I am not criticized for this -- of quite ordinary people who group together --
Mr. Makarchuk: This sounds like a swan song, Bill. Are you retiring?
An hon. member: It sounds like an obituary.
Mr. S. Smith: Be a little more modest.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, I know the Leader of the Opposition doesn’t consider himself as ordinary. I have no hesitation in confessing that I am.
An hon. member: Ordinarily arrogant.
Mr. Martel: Just plain Bill.
Hon. Mr. Davis: In fact, on a certain television program I was described as being --
Mr. Kerrio: Just plain Bill.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s right, that’s me.
Mr. S. Smith: Since you gave up that cigar something has happened to you.
Mr. Reid: He’s a working man.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I find that I consume less pipe tobacco. It’s part of my restraint program.
But it is composed of ordinary people who group together at the political or administrative levels to provide service; to protect people, law and order; to combat injustice and to provide the basic framework within which a free society and free individuals can function.
In a free society, criticism of government is part of the daily appetite. So, too, is government criticism of the opposition. One can add to the diet a healthy media cynicism for politicians and public servants alike. I have to tell you people in the opposition that you don’t escape that cynicism any more than do people who have the responsibility for government.
That is a form of freedom for which there is a very real price to be paid. In totalitarian countries where governments are not open to criticism, where cynicism in the media is tightly controlled and directed towards the ideological enemies of the state, where opposition parties are just so many flights of fancy, they have in fact achieved lower standards of living and far less progress for their people than we have through that form of jungle warfare that we call open democracy.
This means that every debate in this House, every question that is asked and sometimes answered --
An hon. member: That’s very honest.
Mr. Reid: Name one.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- every political campaign has somehow combined to help bring society in this province to where it is today in terms of its successes and in terms of its failures.
Mr. Martel: The Treasurer is responsible for that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: What I am asking for today in setting our gaze firmly on the future --
Mr. Bradley: Is forgiveness.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- is a clear commitment -- no, no. I would say to the very distinguished member that I never look back.
Mr. Reid: I don’t blame you. There’s a whole crowd chasing behind you.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, if I wanted to tell you of the history of your own rate of success over the past 34 years, it is very dismal indeed, very dismal indeed.
Mr. Haggerty: That’s why we look to the future.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Now who are the optimists?
Hon. Mr. Davis: So what I am suggesting today is really a clear commitment on the part of members in this House that we shall continue to advance the values of social and human progress that will in the long run see this province and this country through this present period of challenge. We should do so with both some real pride in what we’ve achieved and some real determination with respect to those gains that remain to be made.
Every citizen in this province is entitled to hope for personal realization and advancement, and to the extent that that citizen is prepared to do his or her fair share towards that goal --
Mr. Makarchuk: Particularly if his name is Steve Roman.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- it is the duty of government to provide the framework within which those hopes can become realities.
Mr. Peterson: Bill, you picked up the wrong speech. This is for your daughter in grade seven.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, no. It’s very simple. I know the member for London Centre already believes all of this and understands this; but it’s the kind of thing I feel rather personally. I don’t think it hurts to restate it from time to time.
Mr. S. Smith: Or to read it?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Good health care is no longer a prerogative of the rich; it is something that is available to all the citizens of this province.
Mr. Martel: Thank God there is a Tommy Douglas somewhere.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That accomplishment is not negotiable and never will be. Education, economic opportunity, security in our communities -- local autonomy -- do you understand that phrase? -- social compassion --
Mr. Nixon: I have heard you use it before.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- these are values that Ontarians want preserved, and no political party, much as we’d like to, can claim unique authorship of any of these. All political parties have a duty to advance these values in the best way they know how.
This province must always value humanity in government. It must value compassion and concern as the heart of our political and administrative body. It is what government is for, why government is here, and what government must continue to pursue. Those who would have government out-business the corporations, out-organize the unions or out-develop the developers miss the point. Government is not a competitor with any corporation or any union. It does not compete with any citizen or group of citizens. It belongs, in my view, to all of them, and fairness and compassion are the only way governments can respond to these pressures today, a fairness and compassion based on intrinsic judgements and careful assessments.
I believe that a government can have a sort of central vision providing it has no illusions about forcing that vision on a free society as some who seek simple solutions to our problems would have governments do. In a free society all are entitled to the sovereignty of their own personal views for themselves. And none in this House, I am sure, would want to challenge that.
I met recently with the 10 first ministers, each of whom obviously has his own vision for his part of Canada. Some of those are perhaps more short-sighted than others, but they have visions nonetheless. While agreement was neither total nor as spectacular as some would have liked, some common perspectives were put together, perspectives which will in and of themselves solve nothing but which will, if pursued, provide the common ground from which real solutions can emerge.
I have to admit that like most conferences I found a sense of unreality about the perceptions of that meeting, a sense that our administrations were somehow not part of the mainstream of Canadian life but just part of the political game as the politicians had chosen to play it and the media had chosen to portray it. I would submit that the mainstream of Canadian life is not really political at all. It is rather more basically to be found in the families and individuals of this country working in our mines -- and I don’t know that you have to work in one to understand it, but perhaps you do --
Mr. Nixon: Here comes motherhood.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- and in people working in our homes, our offices, schools, hospitals and everywhere else where people are trying to build their own lives for themselves. Most people -- at least I believe this -- don’t really come into the world asking for very much. They want things that are simple as self-respect.
Mrs. Campbell: Jobs.
Hon. Mr. Davis: They want dignity; they want love; they want some purpose that can motivate them and something or somebody they can believe in.
Mr. S. Smith: Leadership.
Hon. Mr. Davis: They would like to avoid sickness and if they can’t avoid sickness, as some of us can’t on occasion, then they want to be treated. They would like to fend for themselves even when that task has become extremely hard. I have always believed that for every welfare recipient who dotes on the welfare cheque, there are thousands who would give anything and have tried everything to break away from welfare support.
Mr. Wildman: Give them jobs.
Hon. Mr. Davis: For every two people who seek unemployment insurance as easy street, there are a thousand Canadians who would do everything and anything to support themselves despite handicaps of many varieties.
Mr. Makarchuk: I am glad you recognize that fact.
Mr. Martel: All they want is a job.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say to the members of the New Democratic Party, I know they think they have a monopoly on concerns about people in attempting to solve problems.
Mr. Martel: You have got the power.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I want to tell them something and it is time they understood it, we may disagree on how these things are to be done, but they are making a fundamental political error if they ever try to tell the people of this province that their party is any more sensitive to their needs than this government on this side of the House that has done so much for so many years. They are making a great mistake.
Mr. Makarchuk: Forget the rhetoric and get the jobs.
Mr. Martel: Throw them another fish.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That is why I believe we can, both as Canadians and as Ontarians, do ourselves and our country great good by letting the professional purveyors of distrust and cynicism peddle their wares unheeded --
Mr. McClellan: Do you mean like the injured workers?
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- while the rest of us learn to start trusting each other and have confidence in ourselves once again. The Throne Speech speaks of a crisis of confidence.
Mr. McClellan: It doesn’t say anything.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would add to that that we also have a certain crisis of trust. It is everywhere and it is the basic cancer earing at our political fibre. We would do well to begin by believing in ourselves in this Legislature. Every member of this House along with every Ontarian has a real contribution to make towards national reconciliation and economic recovery, contributions which cannot and must not be underestimated. In shaping and guiding our society, which is our responsibility to do, I would rather be counted among those who search for those who need help and who are not getting enough, than with those who would root out the small group who would take help they don’t rightfully deserve or realistically need.
Mrs. Campbell: Tell that to the Ministry of Community and Social Services.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would rather be associated with those who have real faith in the union leader, the corporate leader, the farmer and the storekeeper to build the economic bridges and understandings, than to submit to arbitrary government measures as a means of breaking out of economic disorder. I would rather be associated with those who would build a new Canada on respect and on trust rather than on suspicion and defensive guarantees.
Government, during tough economic times and circumstances, can sometimes tax optimists and humanitarians. Fiscal realities know very little sentimentality, I know that, but difficult times need not defeat the optimists and even the dreamers. I am one of those, and I think it is shared by my colleagues, who believe that we can sustain what is important in our society by continuing to do what is right, by continuing to do nothing more complicated or more profound than advancing the human condition. I believe in this province, because she has succeeded so beautifully in the years to date to advance the course of our people while sharing wealth with Canadians elsewhere.
It is interesting when one goes to these federal-provincial meetings that one gets some of the feelings -- sometimes in jest, other times not -- of how people do look at central Canada, as they describe us. They sometimes suggest that we have had more than our share, that we have been the prime recipients of the constitution and of Confederation, but I point out to them -- and they not only accept it, they have endorsed the fact -- that the people of this province have in fact shared in the interests of the country.
I happen to believe in this country because no nation holds more promise or justifies more faith. it is not unusual that countries have faced challenges in the past. We have been through -- I have not personally -- economic depressions, world wars, conscription crises, we’ve been through currency changes before --
Mr. Peterson: The AIB.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- we’ve been through high unemployment and inflation and the election of all kinds of people -- we have survived that -- to all kinds of public office. But we have, as a nation and as a people, not been seduced by the rhetoric of defeat. We have a duty to ourselves and to our children to resist that seduction now.
One need not be seduced by Premier Levesque, for example, to understand the depth of commitment and, I think, a genuine fear for survival that underlies some of the things he says. An open-minded Premier of one English province in a country of nine other French-speaking provinces would find himself, I suggest, with many similar concerns.
One similarly need not be seduced by the well-meaning who would respond to structural economic difficulties which beset both the private and public sectors with radical public sector intervention and involvement. One can instead provide the base for a significant leadership and an initiative within affordable and manageable limits. Above all, one must not be seduced, in my view, by those who would suggest that as Ontarians and Canadians we cannot succeed and that we will not persevere.
This province and this government and this Legislature face a future of unlimited opportunity -- opportunity for innovation, for service and for accomplishment. I am asking the members opposite for the support of the Throne Speech as a basis for that opportunity and as a foundation for its achievement. What we are here to do together before we serve our parties -- and I know it’s not easy to accept this and it’s not always easy for me to say it --
Mr. Reid: It’s hard to disagree with what you’re saying.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- is to serve our system or our ridings, and very simply and directly, to serve the people. We can, and we will, differ on how we do that; I respect those differences and, quite frankly, I relish their articulation.
Mr. MacDonald: It’s a Tory opiate for the people.
Hon. Mr. Davis: But I think we can be united in our common resolve to advance the human condition, the quality of life, the self-respect and the dignity of all of our people. We can co-operate in shaping openly and honestly an air of trust for Canadians.
Mr. Lewis: Why wasn’t this in the Throne Speech?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am one of those who believe that our society needs that kind of trust as never before.
Mr. McClellan: He’ll be glad when this session is over.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is a trust I look forward to shaping together with each and every member of this House in the months, and I would say perhaps even years, ahead. It is the best reason one could ever find to be in this demanding profession of politics. It is my reason. I’m sure it is shared by all members of this Legislature.
As I said, I was nearly provoked by the member who led off for the New Democratic Party in his criticism of a certain aspect.
Mr. Speaker: I must remind the House and the hon. Premier that the debate is supposed to conclude at 5:45. Do we have unanimous consent for the Premier to complete his remarks?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m sorry, Mr. Speaker. I will be only two minutes.
Mr. Cunningham: Not as much as a semicolon.
An hon. member: More.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I said that I was going to be very non-provocative and non-partisan --
Hon. Mr. Henderson: He is getting to the point now.
Mr. Peterson: Did you deliver this on one knee?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I recognize it is not the typical contribution to the Throne Speech, but I thought I would share it with members. It’s a very personal approach on my part.
Mr. S. Smith: He is breaking in a new speech writer.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Because of these views that I have expressed, and given the pressing need for all members of this Legislature to get on with the work that is presently before us, I would ask the members of the third party who have had an opportunity to assess what I have said and the debate that has gone on to reconsider their motion for amendment.
Mr. MacDonald: After this speech, it’s obvious the government is in deeper trouble than I realized.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say to the hon. member who does so well -- I have great respect for him -- I just wonder what he would have done on that select committee on uranium if it had been 6-6 and he would have been totally objective. Do you know what he would have done, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. MacDonald: I know what I would have done.
Hon. Mr. Davis: He would have voted for the contract; of course, he would.
Mr. MacDonald: Is that right?
Mr. Martel: That ends any chance of avoiding the vote. The Premier just killed it.
Mr. MacDonald: This is another Tory opiate for the people.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m saying to the new leader of the New Democratic Party, it is not too late to join in these sentiments. It is not too late to reconsider --
Mr. MacDonald: Time.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- that questionably reasoned amendment that he has presented.
Mr. Cassidy: We thought about it for all these years and the answer is still the same.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would urge him to join the official opposition who in a moment of enlightenment --
Mr. Martel: Hallucination.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- are going to support the government on this most important vote.
Mr. S. Smith: The Premier’s speech is full of platitudes.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I recognize the Leader of the Opposition would regard them as platitudes. I regard them as truths and I tell him that they’re not irrelevant in today’s context. He might do well to read them sometime when he has difficulty going to sleep at night.
Mr. S. Smith: It is a valedictory address. I certainly will use it.
Mr. MacDonald: It’s political sedative; enough to put you to sleep.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I know the member for York South never had difficulty going to sleep. I won’t say what I was going to say.
Mr. Martel: Now you are getting nasty.
Mr. Makarchuk: It’s a tranquillizer.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would urge the members opposite to support the government in a Throne Speech that refers to the need for confidence and the need for some economic direction in terms of national co-operation and in terms of those objectives and goals that are relevant for today’s Ontario society. I say to the new leader of the New Democratic Party that this is an opportunity for him to do at last something significant in his brief political tenure in this House and make the change that is necessary --
Mr. Breithaupt: Ask not.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- to support the government on the very excellent address delivered by Her Honour just a few days ago.
Mr. Makarchuk: Did the member for Oriole (Mr. Williams) write that?
Mr. Speaker: Order. The Throne Speech debate now being concluded, I shall call for the vote as follows:
Mr. McCaffrey, seconded by Mr. Taylor (Simcoe Centre) moved that a humble address be presented to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor as follows:
To the Honourable P. M. McGibbon, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario:
May it please Your Honour: We, Her Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario, now assembled, beg leave to thank Your Honour for the gracious speech Your Honour has addressed to us.
Mr. Cassidy moved, seconded by Mr. Lewis, that the motion for an address in reply to the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor now before the House be amended by adding thereto the following words:
“That this House regrets the failure of the government to provide leadership in rebuilding Ontario’s economy and finding jobs for the province’s 316,000 unemployed, its failure to bring Ontario’s uranium resources into public ownership and therefore needlessly forcing the people of Ontario to pay billions of dollars in windfall profits to the mining industry, and its failure to provide leadership on the question of national unity and Franco-Ontarian rights, and therefore this House no longer has confidence in the government.”
The House divided on the amendment by Mr. Cassidy, which was negatived in the following vote:
Young -- 23
Smith, G. E.
Worton -- 63.
Ayes 23; nays 63.
The House divided on the original motion by Mr. McCaffrey which was approved on the same vote reversed.
Resolved: That a humble address be presented to the Honourable P. M. McGibbon, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
May it please Your Honour: We, Her Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario, now assembled, beg leave to thank Your Honour for the gracious speech which Your Honour has addressed to us.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the House adjourned at 6:03 p.m.