The House resumed at 2 p.m.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
NORTHERN GAS PIPELINE
Mr. Deans: Tell us about your visit to Ottawa.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the hon. members about my appearance last Tuesday before the House of Commons special committee on the northern pipeline bill and of my concern, which I know all members will share, that Ontario’s interests be protected to the utmost in this proposed legislation.
Mr. Bradley: Tell us about the uranium deal.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: The legislation will establish the Northern Pipeline Agency, will affect jobs, energy supplies and the economic health of Ontario’s residents in both the near- and the long-term future.
I must say, first of all, that I was shocked and surprised at the reception granted the Ontario presentation, particularly from the federal Liberal members of the committee. They seemed perplexed and hostile to the idea that Ontario would want to participate in the consultations on jobs, industrial involvement and energy planning that would be related to the construction of the northern pipeline.
Mr. Bradley: And uranium contracts.
Mr. Deans: They were probably even surprised.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Further, they felt that Ontario should be pleased to have the federal government represent this province’s interests on that pipeline.
I must say I was equally surprised at their surprise. In fact, I was shocked by the narrowness of their outlook. I surely don’t have to recall for the members of this Legislature that in the case of our uranium supplies the federal government turned a deaf ear on the repeated entreaties of both Ontario Hydro and the Ontario government to enact measures which would be of benefit to the public of Ontario in the negotiation of uranium contracts involving the province’s own uranium reserves.
Mr. Roy: That’s because they consider you a patsy.
Mr. Cassidy: And you ignore the interests of the taxpayers of Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: If we have learned one thing from that experience, it is that Ontario emphatically cannot count on the federal government to protect or further Ontario’s interests in any matter of concern for our energy future.
Mr. Cassidy: And the people of Ontario can’t count on you.
Mr. Bradley: You’re passing the buck.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Secondly, I think the reaction of some of the federal committee members clearly shows how shallow is their commitment to the principle of co-operative federalism.
Mr. Reid: Oh, come on. What kind of nonsense is this?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Here was a chance to involve directly those provinces which would have the greatest interest at stake in the pipeline issue. But, instead, the federal government has opted to follow a course of action that ignores Ontario. They just don’t seem to care what Ontario thinks. All the rhetoric and embellishment we hear about national unity from the federal government is apparently just that -- rhetoric.
Mr. Deans: This is an abuse of the order for statements.
Mr. Roy: That’s lack of leadership. You are just a patsy.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Here was a concrete opportunity to demonstrate how much they really are concerned about greater federal-provincial co-operation, and, to put it bluntly, they blew it.
Mr. Kerrio: Why didn’t you tell them that when you made the uranium deal?
Mr. Bradley: You’re a pussy-cat.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I must add I was gratified --
Mr. Pope: Don’t offend them over there.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I am sure our visitors would like to hear this ministerial statement even if the members don’t.
An hon. member: Not even his own members want to hear it.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I was gratified the federal committee agreed to hear Ontario’s brief.
Mr. Deans: I would like to hear Ontario’s brief too.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I can’t help but wonder, given the reception received, whether our hearing wasn’t more the result of the interest of the federal opposition parties rather than that of the government, given that the members of the opposition seemed much more receptive and supportive than the Liberal members were.
Mr. Bradley: One thing: You are not partisan.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: In short, I intend to continue to speak out on this issue and to press Ontario’s case. The consumers of this province currently use almost 50 per cent of the natural gas used in Canada. Further, Ontario provides the largest potential market for any additional supplies of Canadian natural gas, whether from the Mackenzie Delta or the Beaufort Sea. Of equal importance, Ontario would be the largest supplier of goods and services for this pipeline.
Mr. Roy: You can’t even control Hydro, never mind the pipeline.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Wait until the election is called; Ontario will speak out.
Mr. Martel: The Minister of Northern Affairs must have been listening to Joe Clark last night. He must have been listening to that malevolent marshmallow.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: We have a lot at stake in this project: energy prices, jobs, manufacturing capacity. I think it’s time the federal government recognized our interests and our rights and granted us full status on the consultative council, which will consult and co-ordinate on this gigantic project --
Mr. Bradley: You should run federally.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- just as the federal government has granted such status to Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Alberta and the Yukon Territory. Now is the time for all members of this House to make it known to the federal government that they are unanimous in their view that Ontario should participate directly and fully in this process.
Mr. Deans: Now that you’ve told us that, Reuben, what did you say to them?
Mr. Roy: You can’t even run Hydro, never mind running a pipeline. You should resign.
Mr. Deans: Have you got a copy of your brief? No, not your statement -- the brief you presented.
Mr. Bradley: Your Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) says there is no unemployment problem.
Hon. Mr. Snow: It’s a very silent statement I have to make, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, on March 2, I introduced in this House several amendments to the Public Commercial Vehicles and Public Vehicles Acts. At that time, I indicated to the members that I would bring in additional amendments strengthening the enforcement procedures under the PCV Act. Today, I would like to present those additional amendments.
In preparing these proposals my ministry has given careful consideration to the recommendations on enforcement contained in the report of the select committee on the highway transportation of goods, a report which contained more than 300 recommendations in all.
At the same time, we have kept in mind the principles stated in the Speech from the Throne, namely the need to restrain government spending, simplify rules and regulations and conserve energy.
One of the central issues raised in the select committee report was a concern over the growth of unlicensed trucking in Ontario -- a result, it was felt, of deficiencies in the enforcement of the PCV Act by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications. The object of these amendments, therefore, is to resolve those deficiencies identified in the committee’s report.
My ministry took the initial step in this direction on March 2 with proposals for the enfranchisement of certain unlicensed carriers, together with the substantially increased penalties for offences under the PCV Act as recommended by the select committee.
Today, I am proposing, first of all, an amendment to the PCV Act recommended specifically by the select committee which makes it an offence for a shipper or any other person otherwise arranging transportation knowingly to engage the services of an unlicensed carrier or a carrier not properly licensed for that shipment.
At the present time, the only party subject to prosecution for contravention of the PCV Act is the provider of the illegal service; in other words, the carrier. The amendment will, we feel, deter collusion between shippers, carriers and other parties that might result in the encouragement of unlicensed trucking.
The remainder of the amendments are aimed at resolving some of the deficiencies in the enforcement system by increasing the powers of the PCV enforcement staff.
One of the roadblocks to proceeding with a prosecution under the PCV Act is the difficulties encountered by ministry officers attempting to get direct documentary evidence from the parties involved, evidence that would support a charge. At present, a ministry officer may enter the premises and examine the records of the holder of the operating licence for investigative purposes. But he or she has no authority to examine the freight forwarder’s records.
The second amendment, therefore, extends the officer’s authority as recommended by the select committee to allow him or her to enter and inspect the records of a licensed freight forwarder in the same manner as a licensed carrier.
The third amendment is aimed at eliminating the red tape that requires the minister to make a specific appointment for each investigation of a contravention of the Act and for each link in the chain of the investigation. Under this amendment, the minister will be allowed to appoint investigators for the purpose of entering the premises and inspecting the records of any person suspected on reasonable grounds of having contravened the Act. This amendment, by the way, is also based directly on the select committee’s recommendations.
The fourth item is an amendment to the Highway Traffic Act which seeks to resolve another enforcement problem, the fact that there is no procedure at the present time for exercising administrative enforcement against carriers holding neither Ontario operating authority nor Ontario registration. This amendment will give the registrar of motor vehicles the authority to remove the permit and plates from a vehicle registered in a jurisdiction other than Ontario, as is presently the case with vehicles registered in Ontario, subject to the appropriate hearing and appeal procedures.
I feel this particular amendment will become more and more important as Ontario moves towards increased reciprocity with other jurisdictions. While on the subject of reciprocity, I’d also like to inform the House that my ministry will be reviewing the requirements applied to non-resident carriers operating in Ontario with regard to safety, documentation, insurance et cetera.
A final point before I close: I mentioned at the beginning of this statement that in studying the select committee’s recommendations and drafting these specific proposals, we kept in mind the principles stated in the Throne Speech. As a result, we have decided not to implement two areas of the select committee report at this time on the grounds that they are incompatible with those principles. We felt the recommendations concerning the registration of driver pools and commercial vehicle lessors would be contrary to the ministry’s and the government’s stated policy of simplifying and reducing rules and regulations and would create an unnecessary and costly administrative burden.
The select committee also made a series of recommendations concerning transportation brokers and owner-drivers. In these areas, I am concerned that even with the investigations undertaken by the select committee, we do not have sufficient knowledge of the actual and the potential operations and relationships of these groups. I have, therefore, asked my staff to undertake a detailed study of transportation brokers and owner-drivers in cooperation with the appropriate industry representatives.
In closing, I’d like to direct the members’ attention to the two bills I will be presenting at the appropriate time today and the accompanying compendia.
FLECK MANUFACTURING COMPANY
Hon. B. Stephenson: On March 10, the hon. members for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) and Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy) asked questions regarding the occupational health and safety conditions at the Centralia facility of Fleck Manufacturing. Because of the length of the response, may I beg to make the response at this time rather than taking up the time of question period? Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I would intend to deal with the 10 points which the two hon. members posed in the order in which they were raised. Before I begin I should point out that an official of the industrial health and safety branch visited the facility as late as March 13. I will refer to the results of that inspection later.
The following topics were raised on Friday, March 10 by the hon. members: outstanding directions; frequency of inspections; injuries from a moulding machine; injury from wire racks; guarding of machinery; the alleged practice of turning off machines during ministry inspections; washroom facilities; the alleged presence of garbage; the alleged presence of rats, and the alleged failure of industrial health and safety branch officials to contact representatives of the United Automobile Workers local.
First, let me deal with the hon. member for Ottawa Centre’s question, regarding outstanding directions. On January 5, 1978, an industrial health and safety inspector left one direction as a result of his inspection. That direction was that an employee wear a hair-net because her long hair posed a personal safety risk. I am advised that this direction has been fully complied with.
Turning to the questions and comments raised by the hon. member for Hamilton East, industrial health and safety officers inspect the Centralia facility approximately every six months. The inspections were on the following dates: January 9, 1975; July 10, 1975; February 9, 1976; August 28, 1976; February 8, 1977; July 27, 1977; October 20, 1977; January 5, 1978, and March 13, 1978. During those inspections, a total of 19 directions were issued. All 19 directions have been complied with.
The hon. member for Hamilton East alleged that five women have been burned by a defective moulding machine. According to Workmen’s Compensation Board accident records, there was one lost-time incident at the plant on October 21, 1977, when a woman’s right hand was burned. A direction requiring modifications to the machine was issued at that time as a result of the incident and that direction has been complied with.
Prior to November 1, 1977, an additional five employees had suffered very minor burns which required only first-aid treatment, but since November 1, 1977, there has been one burn incident which was not related to the condition of the moulding machine.
Ms. Gigantes: Are the minister’s hands scarred?
Mr. Lewis: Then the member was right.
Hon. B. Stephenson: He also alleged that there have been injuries resulting from falling wire racks. There is one such incident recorded. A wire rack tipped over on September 8, 1977, scraping the left shoulder, the arm and the leg of a female worker. A corrective direction was issued and that direction has been complied with.
Mr. Martel: Seven.
Hon. B. Stephenson: In addition to these incidents, there have been accidents on the following dates: On March 10, 1977, a female worker pulled tendons in her right wrist and forearm while stringing wire. On April 20, 1977, a female worker sprained an ankle. On May 10, 1977, a female worker’s left thumb was punctured while she was taking wire from a cutter. Unfortunately, her thumb later became infected. On July 11, 1977, a female worker’s left thumb was cut while she was operating a cutter. On September 6, 1977, a mini-moulder under repair was activated and cut off approximately one inch of the finger of a male worker’s right hand. On November 10, 1977, a female worker injured tendons while pulling wire.
Mr. Lewis: Some accidents.
Mr. Martel: Thirteen.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Approximate investigations were carried out on all these occasions and, where necessary, directions were issued. Thus far, there have been no lost-time injuries during the year 1978.
The hon. member for Hamilton East had a question regarding machine guards, as required by section 32 of the Industrial Safety Act, 1971.
Mr. Lewis: That’s a terrible record.
Hon. B. Stephenson: As I mentioned earlier, there were 19 directions issued between January 1975 and January 5, 1978. Of these 19, nine were related to guarding and the company has complied with all 19 directions.
It is always possible that machines were turned off upon the arrival of an inspector of the Ministry of Labour, but I would point out that the industrial health and safety branch has received no complaint to this effect from any employee of the Centralia facility nor from any other person.
The seventh question raised concerned washroom facilities. Adequate facilities are, in fact, provided. Under the Industrial Safety Act, one toilet must be provided for every 15 employees. The day shift at the Centralia plant includes 90 female employees. At present, there are six toilets available to female workers, including two within the first-aid area. During the inspection on March 13, one of these was out of service due to blockage. It has since been repaired.
The eighth and ninth questions dealt with garbage and rats. Neither during the inspection on March 13 nor at any other time were any problems noted in this area, but specifically on March 13 there was no uncollected garbage and no rats were visible.
Mr. Lewis: They didn’t come out for the inspector.
Mr. Martel: They fed them all the day before.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Nor were any such complaints made by anyone.
The hon. member for Hamilton East’s final question concerned the alleged failure of inspectors to contact UAW officials before inspections or during inspections. The union was certified on October 20, 1977. The first inspection thereafter was January 5, 1978. The industrial health and safety officer unfortunately did not contact the UAW representative during that visit because he was not aware that the UAW had been certified.
Mr. Lewis: Oh, that’s good.
Hon. B. Stephenson: In order to ensure that officers are made promptly aware of union certification, I have instructed the Ontario Labour Relations Board to advise branches of the occupational health and safety division immediately when the board grants certification in any situation.
Mr. Lewis: Small but useful.
Hon. B. Stephenson: During the March 13 inspection, a direction was issued under section 32 of the regulations to the Industrial Safety Act regarding the guarding of one cutter, two mini-moulders and five shuttle presses.
Mr. Lewis: Good grief
Hon. B. Stephenson: Five of these machines were ordered out of service pending modifications to the control systems so that they cannot be operated --
Mr Lewis: Unbelievable.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- unless the operator has both hands on the controls and thus out of harm’s way.
Before I conclude, I would like to provide the members with some additional material on the Fleck Centralia facility beyond the questions posed by the hon. members.
First, to this date, no exercise of the right to refuse hazardous work has been brought to the attention of the Ministry of Labour.
Mr. Mackenzie: They have got no protection.
Mr. Cassidy: They were being intimidated.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Secondly, before these matters were raised in the Legislature on March 10 there had been absolutely no complaints at all about occupational health and safety conditions by any of the staff of the Fleck Manufacturing facility.
Thirdly, there is and has been a joint employer-employee occupational health and safety committee at the Centralia plant for some time.
In conclusion, I would like to point out that officials of the industrial health and safety branch will continue to assist both management and labour at this facility to develop an internal responsibility system which will enable management and employees to assume their specific responsibilities under the law.
Mr. Lewis: That is a very unsafe plant.
PAYMENTS TO MUNICIPALITIES
Mr. S. Smith: A question if I might to the Treasurer regarding the matter of property tax reform. Do I understand correctly, referring back to the documents that he issued regarding property tax reform in January 1978, that in his calculation about provincial tax contributions to municipalities, he has arranged that the total grants decrease would equal the increase in total provincial tax contributions? In other words, although the province would be paying more taxes to the municipalities, in fact the grants to the municipalities would decrease by an equivalent amount. Do I understand that correctly?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: On the basis of 1976, yes.
Mr. S. Smith: If that is the plan -- that the one will cancel out the other -- do I take it that the Treasurer’s plans would be different in future years if his provincial-municipal reciprocal taxation arrangement comes into being? On page 14 of the budget the Treasurer says that if the province will be paying full local taxes on its properties under property tax reform, then it’s only fair that the municipalities will have to pay sales tax, fuel taxes and licence fees to the province. I take it there will be a complete allowance for whatever fees are payable to the province, and this will be over and above the money presently included in his re-creation of the Edmonton commitment?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Yes, I think the figure was a very rough estimate. It would be for municipal, utility and education reciprocal taxation which we forgo at the moment and it would be a move to simplify things. It’s an exemption process. I think the figure, as I remember, is somewhere around $50 million. If we stuck to what we showed on January 4, then I would expect to add that $50 million by way of, I suppose, unconditional grants -- what would that be? -- $6 per capita or some such figure across the province. Or we would put it into the grant system somehow or other before we started collecting the $50 million on the other side. I wasn’t as clear on the budget as perhaps I should have been.
The other reason we have portrayed through the piece -- and there’s a great thick book for every municipality in the province -- is that the committee, which is meeting again today, as a matter of fact, and tomorrow, is correct I think. For one thing, if this came into being in 1979, obviously the transfer figure would then have grown by three years, in any case, so the figures will never be exactly the same as they are. But we wanted the debate, and we have attempted to look at it on the basis of the same amount of money going in. Undoubtedly, in my view, there will be something more.
I indicated to them this morning that if we proceed with the property tax credits, that’s $75 million which I would not expect to deduct as a further deduction. They were pushing me this morning as to how much extra I was prepared to put in, and that is a question I still can’t answer until we see the dimensions of the problem. I may say, for the interest of the members of the House, the committee has been working diligently and very well and is reaching an agreement on a significant number of points.
Mr. S. Smith: Just one final supplementary, if I might.
Mr. Cassidy: It is not a final supplementary.
Mr. Foulds: It’s his final one.
Mr. S. Smith: It’s my final one; I’m sure there may be others. It’s basically a brief one. In the reciprocal taxation arrangements -- which seem to make a lot of sense and which now, I’m reassured, will not penalize the municipalities -- can the Treasurer assure us that there are no particular municipalities where, for whatever reason, these payments in provincial taxes -- fuel taxes and licence fees -- would be considerably above what an average per capita grant back to them might be, and that special arrangements would be made in those instances?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I can’t give the hon. member the assurance that there wouldn’t be. I used the example yesterday that a municipality near and dear to my heart might decide to build a bridge for $5 million of which the steel and material was $1 million and on which the sales tax in that given year would be $70,000; over a period of a year, I’m sure it would work out. But I’m sure that before we do this we will have to take a look at where there are unusual circumstances so that it’s phased in over a period of time. I think it’s at least a couple of years away but I wanted to flag it in this year’s budget for the attention of municipalities.
Mr. Swart: Will the Treasurer then give assurance to this House that any additional cost levied against municipalities this year -- due to sales tax or for any other reason in the budget -- will, in fact, be reflected in increased grants to the municipalities?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I’m sorry, I missed the first part of the question.
Mr. Swart: I said, can the Treasurer give assurance to this House that any increased costs to the municipalities this year, due to the sales tax increases, et cetera, will be reflected in his transfer payments to them; that there will be a corresponding increase in grants to match their costs?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I’m not aware of any sales tax increases in the budget which would be applicable to municipalities, other than the railway rolling stock which applies to only one municipality, and the Minister of Transportation and Communications and I have been having some discussions about that.
Mr. Warner: It’s a sizeable bill.
Mr. S. Smith: I ask a question of the Minister of Colleges and Universities: Can he give us the figure for the average transfer payment grants to universities, averaged out per student attending universities on a full-time basis? Does he have a figure, and can he tell us how that compares with other provinces?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: By memory, I can tell the hon. member the value of the basic income unit. It’s essentially $2,650 this year. That isn’t quite a direct answer to the member’s question. I’m prepared to table that information; we do have it. Obviously, the average grant per student is a reflection of the number of BIUs per student which averages approximately 2.5 BIUs per student. I would not be sure that two and one-half is the correct figure. I’m more than prepared to give the member that information though.
I would certainly suggest that the number of dollars per student is about average. Another figure that must be put into that same equation is the number of dollars per taxpayer given per student. On that basis, Ontario fares very well. With regard to per student, we do not appear to do as well for this reason. We educate a larger share of the students in Ontario than our population figure would reflect. We have about 36 per cent of the population of Canada and we educate about 42 per cent of the post-secondary students of Canada.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, I understand the minister feels that Ontario is justified in ranking somewhere between sixth and eighth, which is the figure I have, in the amount of dollars spent per student in the university sector in the country as a whole, and that that low ranking is justified in the minister’s mind on the basis that we simply allow a larger number of students into our universities. If that is the case, is he not worried that in point of fact he is sacrificing quality for quantity in a way that has not been adopted elsewhere in the country and in a way that may in the long run be the undoing of our post-secondary system?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: No, I don’t see it in that perspective. One of the things that should also be considered when we are discussing this problem is what was the commitment in the last decade. Based on those figures, I think you will see that a few years ago Ontario was at the top of those percentages and those commitments. Therefore, we have a more mature system that over the years has had the benefit of those large numbers of dollars previously spent and now in the system working to its advantage. We can’t view it for one year only. I think that’s far too short a perspective when we view the commitment to our post-secondary institutions.
Mr. Cooke: I have a supplementary for the Minister of Colleges and Universities. I was interested to hear his news conference this morning. I would like to ask him, when he was calculating the increased grants to universities for the upcoming year, did he not feel it’s a much better comparison to look at the overall percentage increase to universities rather than the increase in the basic income unit? Was he not just attempting this morning to fudge the issue?
Hon Mr. Parrott: I don’t think so. I just heard yesterday -- and I am not 100 per cent certain of these facts, but if I had wanted to fudge the issue I might have presented this kind of information to that particular press conference -- that the province to the west of us, I believe, will have a much smaller contribution to its system this year than we will.
Ms. Gigantes: They are Tories. What do you expect?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I am not going to try to justify the number of dollars that we spend on our post-secondary system by the number of dollars that Alberta spends or Manitoba spends or Nova Scotia spends.
Mr. Cooke: I am talking about here in Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I think the commitment that this province has made this year and in the last decade to post-secondary education has indicated the very strong and high priority that this government places on post-secondary education.
An hon. member: You are talking about the past now.
Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary: Given that the figures that you were using earlier refer to operating grants and not capital, would the minister not agree that the maturity of the system has nothing to do with it? Would he not also agree that the fact that we have dropped from first place to eighth place is a clear indication of a deterioration in the support of this government for the post-secondary system?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: No, I don’t see it that way at all. I have in front of me figures which indicate how well we have fared with inflation. In the year 1967-1968, taking that as a base, the value of a basic income unit was $1,320. Inflate that throughout that decade by the same proportion as CPI would inflate dollars and we are right with it. In addition to increasing our commitment from $1,320 to some $2,650 a year per basic income unit, we have dealt with a very significant growth in the system. Combine those, and I think we have ample reason to say we have done an excellent job of funding those institutions.
The point I make about capital is simply this, if I could use this analogy, if I have a home and the member has a home but I have a mortgage on the home, I submit to him that it costs a good deal more for me to live in that home than he in his home of an identical price with no mortgage payments to make. I am suggesting that those large commitments made on the basis of capital grants to those institutions in a long period of time are reducing the needs for operating grants today in our system. It is part of the maturing of the system.
Mr. S. Smith: Universities don’t pay capital costs like that. It is not part of their operating expenses.
Mr. Sweeney: It is a capital cost, not an operating expense.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I’m afraid that capital costs -- rental costs -- do come out of operating funds.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary to the minister: In view of the fact that students are being driven out of universities and colleges because of the inadequacy of the student aid program, would the minister not agree that his statement today was patronizing and irresponsible in its attack on students, and that he would do a more constructive job as minister by ensuring that there was enough funding there so that the universities could, in fact, continue to provide quality education and meet the needs of Ontario society?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: What nonsense.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Irresponsible distortion.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Totally irresponsible.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: It is extremely difficult for me to treat that question seriously. It really is. There is absolutely no possibility that the facts are as the member just presented them. The opportunities in our post-secondary educational system are such that a person wishing to attend an institution is more than able to do so.
Mr. Cooke: Once they graduate there is no opportunity at all, thanks to your government.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I have no hesitation in saying that to the hon. leader of the third party whatsoever. None.
Mr. Foulds: You have not solved the accessibility problem.
CHRYSLER PLANT CLOSURE
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question for the Premier. Is the Premier aware that as of this morning Chrysler announced the closing, effective July 1, of their Tecumseh Road truck assembly plant in Windsor, which will result in a loss of 750 jobs? Also, what steps does the government intend to take to protect these workers and ensure that these jobs remain in Canada?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Those are not the facts. Distortion, distortion.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m not aware of that.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Well I am.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The most recent information I have, as of just a few moments ago, is that there is a study under way in terms of the old plant, the possibility of moving the truck production to the newer plant, something of that nature. I will check right away; but as of my information of about half an hour ago, no such decision has been made public that I know of.
Mr Cooke: They held a press conference this morning.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I know about that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m sorry, the Minister of Labour has more recent news than I have. If, in fact, they have made a decision, it has been done since about 2 o’clock, that I am aware of.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I will redirect the question to the Minister of Labour.
Hon. B. Stephenson: It is my understanding that the 62-year-old facility is to be terminated as a truck production plant. It is to be used as a supportive fabricating plant for the van plant, and indeed it is the intention and obviously the goal of Chrysler Canada Limited to employ, within a six-month period, all of those 750 people at present working in that plant within the Chrysler operation in Windsor. The truck production will be phased out by the end of July of this year.
Mr. Deans: Where is it going?
Hon. B. Stephenson: It is anticipated that the increase in production in the van plant will be accommodated and accomplished by the first of January, and within six months, between the end of July and the ensuing six months, all of the workers who have been working in the truck plant will be employed by Chrysler in some other capacity; it is expected 350 will be in the support fabricating plant and the other 400 throughout the entire Chrysler operation.
Mr. Deans: I’ll believe it when I see it.
Mr. Bounsall: Since, in the questioning by the union at the announcement today of the closure of the Chrysler truck plant, it was indicated that those employees would be retained only if their sales increased, and only some of them would be rehired in fact, this does represent a closure and a termination of many of the jobs in the Windsor area.
The rumoured closure was first heard of on Monday and it is now confirmed today, and since today it is rumoured and not denied by the company that the plant 2 six-cylinder engine plant, involving 600 employees, will be closed, what steps will the Minister of Labour and the Premier take to ensure that the engine plant does not close in the near future, providing as it does employment in the parts sector of the auto industry already woefully unbalanced in a manner detrimental to us under the auto pact agreement?
Further, what steps is the minister prepared to take and what talks is the minister prepared to have with Chrysler Canada Limited to retain all of those truck plant jobs in Windsor, so we don’t have the disastrous economic effect in Windsor and Essex county that will otherwise take place and we don’t further unbalance the auto pact, which is already seriously imbalanced to our detriment?
Hon. B. Stephenson: The hon. member knows that at any time the Ministry of Labour staff and the minister are very pleased to talk to both the union and the employers in order to minimize any potential disturbances which might occur. But at this point in time it is my understanding that although there will be temporary layoffs, those jobs are not in jeopardy. The 750 employees presently employed there will indeed be employed in the Windsor area by Chrysler Canada Limited.
Mr. Deans: What proof do you have of that?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I have the word of the president.
Mr. Deans: What information have they given you to back that up?
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Will the Ministry of Labour, together with the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Rhodes) and together with the Premier, immediately call in the presidents of Chrysler, of Ford and of General Motors, and have on the table the plans of those companies and make clear the determination of this province to have a fair share of all the new plant investment which is going to have to occur in the next little while, and also a fair share of both the parts and the assembly jobs in this province?
Will the minister take that kind of action and do it quickly before the thing is closed on us piece by piece?
Mr. Cooke: Why doesn’t the Leader of the Opposition get his Liberals in Ottawa to do something?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I’m sure the Minister of Industry and Tourism and the Premier are much more fitted to talk about the ongoing conversations which have been held, but I spent one half hour today talking to the president of Chrysler Canada Limited --
Mr. Bounsall: Oh, taken in again.
Mr. Mackenzie: Did you call the president of the union?
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- who informed me that indeed they were willing to spend within the next very short period of time another $13.5 million to upgrade their plant in Windsor which they fully intend to keep totally operational.
In so far as General Motors and Ford are concerned, I am aware that there have been discussions with the presidents and senior officers of those companies, because as you know, the Premier has made a very positive public statement that we were going to do everything we could to ensure our fair share of whatever expansion those companies would have within the province of Ontario.
Mr. Cooke: Supplementary: The question started off with the Premier. I’d like to ask the Premier or the Minister of Labour -- whoever wants to answer it -- if they would in fact look at the problem in Windsor. Would they find out if these jobs are going to Detroit, as we have been told? I have been hounded by members of the press from Windsor this morning telling me of the 800 jobs that are lost, so I can’t see that the minister has the proper information.
Mr. Lewis: Your ministry never knows what’s going on, for heaven’s sake.
Mr. Cooke: Maybe the Premier could today inform me of the new initiatives that he is willing to take to get a balance in this auto pact -- not the old things that he has done, the new initiatives. We in Windsor are sick and tired of this government’s inaction.
Mr. Mackenzie: Inaction on everything.
Mr. Lewis: Your ministry doesn’t know what’s going on -- it never does until after the event.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I’m sorry that the hon. member for Scarborough West is deaf and really doesn’t understand.
Mr. Martel: You don’t?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I had a conversation with the president of Chrysler Canada Limited --
Mr. Bounsall: Co-opted again.
Mr. Mackenzie: Why didn’t you phone the union president, too?
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- an honourable gentleman -- who informed me precisely what their intentions were.
Mr. Lewis: Their intentions, not their undertakings.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I have no reason to doubt that gentleman.
Mr. Mackenzie: Just like Inco -- trustworthy.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I have no reason to doubt that the information which he gave me was correct. The small truck plant will not be, I gather, located in Windsor.
Mr. Martel: Where will it be?
Hon. B. Stephenson: The van plant will be expanded.
Mr. Martel: Where is the truck plant going to be? That’s the bloody question.
Hon. B. Stephenson: The small truck plant, I would anticipate, will be moving to Detroit, because of the fact that the plant in which that truck is being made is 62 years old --
Mr. Martel: Don’t build a new plant in Canada, heaven forbid.
Mr. Cooke: The union’s been on their backs for years to upgrade it.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- and is very difficult and very expensive to upgrade for that purpose. It is their intention, as I said before, and I would re-emphasize it, to continue to use that facility as a support fabrication plant --
Mr. Mackenzie: You guys over there are great managers. You are great planners.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- for the van line which will be produced, in much larger numbers than it has been, in the new plant --
Mr. Bounsall: That will create few jobs.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- for which Chrysler Canada Limited spent $40 million two years ago. That production line is to be increased dramatically.
Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, on a point of personal privilege, I would like to inform the hon. minister that I am not deaf. What I heard clearly was that the truck plant is going out of this country to the United States and that the minister has no undertaking from Chrysler but only a statement of intentions. That is not good enough for the workers in Windsor.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s right. You’re being taken in.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Yon are a misogynist. You really are.
Mr. Lewis: I am not a misogynist; I am a misanthrope.
Hon. B. Stephenson: You are both.
Mr. Lewis: You have to be careful the way you handle the language. I am not a sexist either.
Mr. Sweeney: On a point of order.
Mr. Speaker: What is your point of order?
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, I have to ask your assistance to direct me or guide me in this matter. I have just been advised that there is an unmarked police van out in the front taking movies of the students. Whom may I ask on the government’s side as to which ministry gave approval to do this?
Mr. Lewis: And where is the screening?
Mr. Bounsall: It is your responsibility to withdraw it.
Mr. Speaker: I am not aware of any such occurrence out there. We did have a meeting to run over what the procedures would be for large demonstrations. There was none authorized by the Speaker’s office and the Speaker was not advised that any of this would he going on. We have the director of administration who is in charge of the demonstration out there now, trying to liaise between the demonstrators and our security forces.
Ms. Gigantes: It is the Solicitor General (Mr. Kerr).
Mr. Speaker: Perhaps if he is within hearing distance of my voice he can get out and investigate. In any event, I will try to get to the bottom of it.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, would either the Solicitor General or the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Henderson) have anything to do with such authorization?
Mr. Speaker: Not to my knowledge.
Mr. Mackenzie: Who then?
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, is it not a fact that the Metro police are not able to come on these grounds without the authority of you or the Premier or the Solicitor General? Who gives them the authority?
Mr. Speaker: It is common practice for large demonstrations. We have a full-time staff of only 19 around here. It is common practice to invite the Metropolitan Toronto police force and on occasion the Ontario Provincial Police when we need assistance just for crowd control.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Order. You are not going to debate this matter. Does the hon. member for Riverdale have a point of privilege?
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I thought since it touched upon my privileges it would touch upon the privileges of the Solicitor General. I am surprised that he is not making a response in this House about that matter.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: I really hadn’t had a chance to. There have been a number of people on their feet at the same time. As far as the hon. member’s question is concerned, I am not aware of any authorization for the taking of movies or pictures, as the hon. member referred to them. Certainly the metropolitan police force has every right to be in front of the building today.
Mr. Martel: They have got to watch for goons.
Mr. Lewis: They’re a bunch of paranoids all of them. They sit there and they tremble at a student demonstration.
Mr. Laughren: Allan Grossman is running the camera.
Mr. Lewis: They run around taking pictures of the demonstrators.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question of the Treasurer: In view of the fact that the federal Minister of Housing has today announced a doubling of federal money available for public housing, in view of the fact that thousands of jobs can be created in the construction industry were Ontario to take advantage of this particular offer from the federal government, and in view of the fact that last year Ontario took only half of the $92 million available from the federal government for public housing, will the Treasurer take action to ensure that funds from Ontario are made available so that this year for a change we take full advantage of that opportunity both to create jobs and also to meet a very bad need for housing for people of modest incomes?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: That question should be put to the Minister of Housing.
Mr. Martel: He is new and he will say he doesn’t know.
Ms. Gigantes: He doesn’t believe in public housing.
Mr. Warner: He doesn’t believe in housing.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I would have to say the statement by the federal minister is somewhat premature inasmuch as since January 30 there have been discussions going on with the 10 provinces, the senior representatives of the ministries of housing across this country, and the federal representatives of CMHC.
It is my understanding that at this very moment there has not been a conclusion arrived at between the 10 provinces and the federal government. They will meet again on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of the coming week to discuss and to try to finalize a plan, an attack or an approach for housing in Canada that will relate to the 10 provinces. Until that is concluded, I would think it is somewhat premature for the federal minister to be speaking out in this particular way in terms of programs.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: In view of the need to create jobs in Ontario at this time and the very severe unemployment that exists in the construction industry, will the Minister of Housing guarantee to this House that we will use all of the funds that are made available for this program from the federal government and not underspend it by $46 million, as Ontario did last year?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I offer the assurance to this House and to the people of the province of Ontario that we will take full advantage of all the programs that are put at our disposal by the federal government The programs we are now discussing will go far beyond just funding of housing; they will relate to other programs for which we, as a government, have responsibility.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Can the minister explain how Ontario intends to take full advantage of the federal programs when this very Minister of Housing, within days of taking the job, said that Ontario was going to get out of public housing completely and would not build any more?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The leader of the third party should go back and try to read some of the news stories. I don’t think that is exactly what I said.
Ms. Gigantes: Oh yes, it was.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I said as explained previously by the former Minister of Housing, this government would try to withdraw its participation in public housing --
Mr. Cassidy: Exactly.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: -- and to get into other programs that would assist the private sector to produce the type of housing that’s necessary.
Mr. Deans: How does that differ from what my leader said?
Mr. Foulds: What does that mean?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: If the hon. member also would read Mr Ouellet’s remarks of this morning, I think his point of view is exactly in that direction. Indeed, the other nine provinces are taking the same attitude as well, that there has to be a reduction in government ownership but a greater participation in assisting the private sector to produce the type of housing that is needed.
Mr. Samis: That’s not what they said in Quebec.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The program that Mr. Ouellet is now bringing forward, I think will complement that very point of view.
Mr. Roy: Supplementary: In view of this policy of the minister’s about encouraging the private sector, could he tell us what policy initiatives he has taken since he has been minister to change the shift from public ownership to encouragement of the private sector. What are the new programs that he is talking about?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: In the fullness of time, that position will be made clear to this House.
Mr. Roy: You are looking at alternatives without action.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: We have them.
Mrs. Campbell: Tell us. Tell us!
Mr. Warner: Supplementary: Exactly how long will it be before the 10,000 people who are on the waiting list in Metro Toronto for housing will know of the minister’s specific plans? How long will it be before those 10,000 people will get an answer as to when they can expect some housing in this city of ours?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I think the member should be aware of the fact that a certain portion of the responsibility rests with the metropolitan housing authority and not with the Ministry of Housing entirely.
Ms. Gigantes: Promises, promises.
Mr. Deans: They can’t build houses; they don’t have a supply of money.
Mr. Cassidy: It’s a puppet of your ministry.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The housing list has been reviewed and examined here in the metropolitan area, as it is being examined in every major city. As to specifics for Metropolitan Toronto, I will be pleased to table that information with the House.
Mr. Warner: Your first major day and you are a failure. You should resign. You are a failure.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: You’re not the ones to talk about failure.
Hon. B. Stephenson: You should resign, David.
INCREASE IN OHIP PREMIUMS
Mr. Bradley: My question is of the Treasurer: Is he aware of the financial impact of his 37½ per cent increase in OHIP premiums on community colleges and universities in this province? If so, is he prepared to modify this proposed increase, or withdraw or to compensate these universities and colleges with increased grants?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of the specific impact. I suppose it could be completely sorted out. The answer to the second part of the question is no.
Mr. Bradley: Supplementary: In the light of the fact that it will cost Brock University approximately $60,000 and Niagara College about $35,000 -- and these are just two examples -- would the Treasurer not agree that it is very likely that the number of faculty will have to be decreased and, therefore, the quality of education in these institutions will go down as a result of this particular move?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I doubt that very much. I suppose there may be some faculty on staff who perhaps were looking forward to, let’s say, a five per cent raise and who may only receive a 4½ per cent raise. That may happen.
BEARE ROAD LANDFILL SITE
Ms. Bryden: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment: Will the minister tell us if a formal request has gone from the ministry to Metropolitan Toronto for a further extension of the right to dump liquid industrial waste at the Beare Road landfill site beyond the present extension which expires April 30, 1978?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, not that I am aware of.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that when Metro Toronto applied for a certificate of approval to continue to operate this plant in an application dated February 5, 1974, it was stated that the future life of the landfill site was two and a half years, which would bring it to July 1976?
Hon. Mr. McCague: No, I wasn’t personally aware of that.
RESTRUCTURING OF UTILITIES
Mr. Hodgson: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Energy: In the last four years, there has been a very comprehensive study by a study team on the restructuring of hydro within the region of York. That report was presented to his ministry late in 1977. My question is, has the minister accepted the report of the study committee of the region of York on restructuring? If the answer is yes, when can we expect legislation to be presented to this House?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I’m aware of the hon. member’s impatience with the progress on the restructuring of the utilities there, but I am pleased to advise him that legislation is now being drafted and we will be introducing it in this House in the month of April. It has been slow in coming, but we wished to make sure that the people living in that particular area were in full agreement and consensus had been achieved before we would introduce legislation.
Mr. Hodgson: Supplementary: Could we give the municipalities that are prepared to take over restructuring by May 1 of this year, some hope that they will be able to take over the restructuring plan that they have presented to the minister? Certain municipalities are ready to take over May 1.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I have every reason to believe that to be the case.
GLENDALE TRAINING CENTRE
Mr. G. I. Miller: I have a question for the Premier. Would the Premier please inform me if he has written to Mr. Baldock of the Glendale community committee concerning the fate of the Glendale adult training centre? If so, could he please indicate his decision?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t recall having sent a letter to him as yet. If the hon. member would like a copy of what that correspondence may contain, I will endeavour to get that to him.
ROLLING STOCK TAX
Mr. Foulds: I have a question for the Treasurer: Did the Treasurer take into account, when he imposed the seven per cent tax on railway rolling stock, the adverse effect that such a tax would have on the development of rapid transit through TTC and GO Transit, and on the competitive position of one of the few secondary manufacturing industries in northwestern Ontario -- namely, Hawker Siddeley division of Canada Car in Thunder Bay -- which has successfully produced rapid transit parts for both those operations? If so, can he tell us what that effect will be and what steps he can take to remedy that?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, in response to the second part, I think none. In response to the first part, inasmuch as I believe on present order we’re paying something like 80 per cent of the cost, the cost to the users of Metropolitan Toronto is not going to be that great. In so far as our own use through GO Transit is concerned -- and I’m sure the minister would want me to say this -- we believe in the benefits of public transit and seven per cent isn’t going to stand in our way.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Do I understand correctly that the Treasurer went through the process of establishing a tax in the budget and gave absolutely no consideration to how that tax would affect one of the few secondary manufacturing plants in northwestern Ontario?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, it’s not going to affect them, obviously. It’s not going to affect them. It’s paid by the purchaser.
Mr. Foulds: What?
Mr. Renwick: For heaven’s sake. That won’t affect the purchaser then, eh? His sense of economics has deteriorated.
Mr. Foulds: Does the Treasurer not understand that the contract with the Hawker Siddeley Can-Car plant in Thunder Bay will have an additional seven per cent cost and therefore its competitive position in bidding for contracts with TTC and GO Transit will be adversely affected?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: No. Why would it be? If Bombardier bid on a contract for TTC and the goods are sold in this province then the tax would have to be paid. It doesn’t change the competitive position one iota.
Mr. Roy: I have a question of the Solicitor General. Would he advise whether he is aware of the arrest that has taken place in Ottawa, apparently involving charges of extortion and conspiracy to extort on Ottawa students? According to the investigators the people involved are part of what they call the Hong Kong based Triads, or the Chinese mafia, which have centres in San Francisco, Toronto and Vancouver. Would the Solicitor General advise whether he has this problem under control, because according to the Ottawa investigators it would appear that these people are receiving their orders from Toronto?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, we are aware of a certain group, allegedly from Hong Kong, that infiltrated the Chinese community in various parts of the province, mainly in Toronto. Whether or not this is the head office, as the hon. member implies, we are not aware. We know that they are involved mainly in the Chinese community here, because it is the largest Chinese community in the province.
The hon. member may know there was a trial just recently in St. Catharines involving that group. Our combined forces operation is quite aware of the activities of that group and it is under continuous surveillance. We expect more arrests. The hon. member has indicated an incident in Ottawa, and this would be part of the operation.
Mr. Roy: Supplementary: May I ask the Solicitor General if he would confirm that the police here in Toronto apparently have to contend with two groups in the Chinese community here which apparently are responsible for a number of incidents, including multiple shootings, robberies and a dozen reported extortions? Would he also advise, in view of the fact that apparently this group comes from Hong Kong, whether his ministry or the police forces in the province have been in touch with the federal minister responsible for immigration about these people coming into the country?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, I mentioned the combined forces operation, and that includes the RCMP as well as our local police and the OPP. I could get that information for the hon. member.
Mr. Roy: How are they getting in?
NATIONAL STEEL CAR STRIKE
Mr. Mackenzie: A question of the Minister of Labour: I am wondering if I could make a personal appeal to the minister to involve herself in the strike situation at National Steel Car in Hamilton, where, as the minister I am sure is aware, 667 employees have been out since January 12? Would she have a senior member of her ministry take a look at the entire situation, re-evaluate it and see if they could not do something now that might head off what will be a potentially explosive situation if the injunction that has now been applied for in that situation should be granted in that section of Hamilton?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, senior members of the staff of the mediation branch have been involved in that dispute and, indeed, there was a mediation meeting held not longer than eight days ago.
This is certainly being monitored very carefully and I shall see what we can do to attempt to bring the parties back together.
Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I made the appeal personally to the minister because I think the threat of the injunction that is there has started to accelerate an already touchy situation. I think we might be able to head it off if there were some real effort shown, particularly by the minister herself, in getting them together in that situation. I’m aware of the mediation effort on March 8.
FLECK MANUFACTURING COMPANY
Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Solicitor General: In view of the continued violence at the Fleck industrial plant -- and I make reference to the incidents this morning in which the vice-president’s car was stopped and damaged and threats made on his life by workers from outside the area -- and in view of the report that 100 workers from outside the area are going to beef up the picket line tomorrow morning, what additional measures is the ministry prepared to take to ensure that those who are rightfully entitled to enter the plant can do so without threats to their person and property?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is correct. There was an incident this morning. I understand that charges of wilful damage have been laid against two people and there’s a possibility that charges of threatening may also be laid. As far as tomorrow morning is concerned, there is the rumour that there may be an additional number of employees from Talbotville who will join the picket line. We don’t anticipate that there will be that much trouble. The OPP presence there will be pretty well as it has been all along. There may be some additional policewomen at the scene tomorrow morning, but hopefully there will not be any incidents such as happened there today and on previous occasions.
CENTRAL INVESTIGATION BUREAU
Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Solicitor General. Will the Solicitor General cause to have investigated the statement which appeared in the Hamilton Spectator for Wednesday, March 15, in which the headline says “Private Force Shocks Union” and in which the Central Investigation Bureau of Hamilton appears to have set up a team or SWAT unit for the purpose of providing protection of property for people who may be faced with a labour dispute?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I also noticed that article in the Hamilton Spectator. The head of that organization has been advised by the registrar that security guards are required to have licences; that only in very particular circumstances are they allowed to carry weapons such as was indicated in the article; and that the idea of being a security guard under our legislation is to protect property, not to indicate that there will be confrontations using weapons or animals or anything of that nature. Apparently, the head of the squad, a Mr. Fitzgerald, has indicated that when he made the remark that “We are mercenaries, pure and simple,” he was misquoted.
Mr. Deans: Of course, everyone always is.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: I hope he was because we will not tolerate this type of private organization in the province.
Mr. Deans: Supplementary question: It’s funny, you know; I don’t remember ever being misquoted in 11 years in politics. Everybody else seems to be misquoted every day.
Let me ask the minister if he would investigate further the claim by Mr. Fitzgerald that they have, apparently, been accustomed to arming the people who have been providing this service with baseball bats, axe handles and guard dogs. Would he look into that, in the light of the sort of thing that’s happening in southwestern Ontario and in the light of the general mood that seems to be developing, the sort of anti-union mood that seems to be developing in the province of Ontario? There’s something terribly wrong. Would the minister take a look at that and instruct them clearly that they do not have the right and must not and shall not engage in that kind of undertaking, and that if they do they will be subject to the full penalty of the law?
Mr. Conway: We’re hearing about that leadership race at last.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: The head of this Central Investigation Bureau, Mr. Fitzgerald, had a licence for about 10 or 11 years as a security guard, so he’s quite aware of the laws in respect to security guards and private investigators. As I say, our inspector in that area intends to call him in, as he has on previous occasions in respect to a particular strike in Hamilton, and I anticipate that the so-called private SWAT squad will not develop.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, by way of a supplementary question.
Mr. Speaker: You can make it a new question. The hon. member for Nipissing has a question first.
Mr. Bolan: My question is for the Minister of Housing. Having informed him on Tuesday last that I would ask him a question today about a proposed plan of subdivision on an island in Lake Nipissing, having regard to the fact that there is a known quantity of uranium ore on this island system, and in view of a report filed by the Ministry of the Environment calling for a halt to the development because of the potential for the water supply being contaminated by radioactive material, what does the ministry propose to do about this potential health hazard and doesn’t the minister feel that the development should be discontinued?
Mr. Martel: You should get a policy over there.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I do recognize the fact that the member for Nipissing handed me the question earlier this week. It’s correct to say there was a plan filed with our ministry in October, 1977. As the member knows, we have been having a number of meetings with an organization, a group of people he is associated with. The Minister of the Environment (Mr. McCague) and the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. F. S. Miller) have given us preliminary reports. They are being further analysed in relation to some of the subjects the member has raised. There are other areas we are concerned about as well and we hope we’ll have a conclusion on this within a short period of time.
Mr. Bolan: By way of a supplementary, in view of this potential health hazard, is the minister not prepared to instruct his ministry officials to place a ministerial order on the entire island so that there is no development whatever pending the determination of these matters relating to health hazards?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I would think it somewhat premature of me to try to put a ministerial order on the property or on the island until we have had some conclusive information from the Minister of the Environment, the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) and the Minister of Natural Resources in relation to the problems the member has mentioned. Until I have that information I do not intend to put a ministerial order on this particular project.
METRO BOARD OF EDUCATION
Ms. Gigantes: I have a question of the Premier. Considering the events of the last few days in Metropolitan Toronto and the fact that the Toronto board has been driven to considering legal action to protect the interests of Toronto taxpayers and the Toronto education system, and the fact, as I stated last week in the House, that the Metro board is not protecting the special education teachers in the Toronto system, even when it was given $1 million by the government to do precisely that last May, I would like to know when the government is going to make a decision on the dissolution of the Metro board of education?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I assume from the hon. member’s question that she believes the Metro board, should be dissolved. She might consult with some members opposite whether they share totally that point of view. There has been no such decision made.
Ms. Gigantes: Oh, yes; they do.
Mr. Warner: It was unanimous.
Ms. Gigantes: When will it be made?
Hon. Mr. Davis: The decision to dissolve the Metro board?
Ms. Gigantes: Yes. When will the Premier make a decision on the question?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I wouldn’t count on it coming in at all.
Mr. Reed: This question to the Minister of Energy is very much in line with a couple of phrases he used in his opening statement today in the House about “narrowness of outlook” and “blowing it.” Now that the minister has capitulated to cabinet and denied the interested citizens’ group the justice of an independent study on the Bradley-Georgetown Hydro corridor, will the minister act to preserve his own credibility and follow his predecessor into resignation from the cabinet?
Mr. Roy: And if he has any guts he will run federally.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, that question is so irrelevant to the current situation that I think if there are any signs or thoughts of resignation they should be for the opposition’s energy critic rather than over here.
An hon. member: And David Warner too.
Mr. Bradley: Very arrogant.
Mr. Kerrio: If you won’t resign, will you take a long leave?
Mr. Reed: Could I ask the minister what has happened to the statements that he made shortly after his --
Mr. Bradley: Ascension.
Mr. Reed: His ascension -- thank you -- into the cabinet -- about turning the light on Ontario Hydro and letting the people know?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I am prepared to answer that question, which finally came out. He even had to have some help to get the question across the floor here.
Mr. Kerrio: We’ll let them help you with the answer. Let Lorne help you with the answer.
Mr. Nixon: You’re an LLD. Let’s see what you have to say.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, we have had any number of meetings with interested citizens’ groups. We have heard them out. That particular group is satisfied with the decision that was finally taken.
Mr. Reed: Oh, were they?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Yes, indeed they are. And if the hon. member would read some of their public statements, he would see that they say, “We have to accept reality.” They agree that the line, going as it now will be going, was in fact the best of all alternative routes.
Mr. Reed: Where will we read that?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I read it. I read it a few days ago.
Mr. Roy: That is a poor answer for an LLD.
An hon. member: Why don’t you resign, Reuben?
NORTHERN GAS PIPELINE
Mr. Swart: My question is also to the Minister of Energy and it concerns his somewhat belated and apparently abortive trip to Ottawa to make representation on the Alaska pipeline bill. Would I be right in assuming that the minister’s submission to the special committee of the Commons on Bill C-25 was directed solely towards urging that Ontario be included in the federal-provincial consultative council or did he make other proposals for improving the bill?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: In that particular visit to Ottawa, we dealt only with the question of membership for Ontario in the consultative council because that was the issue under study by the House of Commons committee.
However, in the way the presentation was made, we certainly did make it very clear that we were interested in the northern pipeline for a substantial number of reasons, including that of providing supplies, creating jobs here in Ontario and so forth, just as the hon. member opposite and some of his colleagues had done in their submission to Ottawa a few days before. I think there was a commonality of interest there.
We were rather disappointed, however, to find nothing -- and here are the people sitting right over there, whose speaker has been shouting and pounding and saying we should be doing more and more in terms of stating our case to the federal government, and all they have been doing is playing patsies. They haven’t opened their mouths once to try to get Ontario into the membership of this consultative council. But the NDP have.
Ms. Gigantes: Two namby-pambies don’t make a policy.
Mr. Roy: Hey, Reuben, what does LLD mean?
Mr. Swart: Supplementary: Did the minister or will he, make special representation to that committee for inclusion of another clause or for a change of a clause in the bill so that there is a guarantee that Canadian pipe and facilities that can be produced in Canada will be used in the construction of the pipeline in Canadian soil?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: We did not make that specific recommendation.
Mr. Swart: Will you?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: As far as I know, the committee terminated its hearings last night.
Mr. Swart: No, it didn’t. It’s not through until tomorrow morning.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Well, we are certainly prepared in any way, shape or form to make our views known to that committee or to the federal government.
Mr. Warner: My colleague knows more about the committee than you do.
Mr. Bradley: You’re not getting an answer, Mel.
Mr. Warner: We should send Mel up there. He knows more about the committee than the minister does.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Transportation and Communications: In specific terms, what is the nature of the commitment, outlined in the Throne Speech of some two or three weeks ago, to improve the quality of air commuter service in eastern Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I believe, as I recall the language --
Mrs. Campbell: You’d better ask.
Hon. Mr. Snow: As I recall the language of the Throne Speech, it was quite specific.
Mr. Roy: We’re not concerned about the language but about the intent.
Hon. Mr. Snow: It was stated that my ministry would carry out a study --
Mr. Martel: Oh, we know all about studies over here.
Hon. Mr. Snow: -- of the possibility of implementing a commuter air service serving the communities of eastern Ontario. The intent as I see it is for us to explore the possibilities, along with the present licensed private carriers, to see what could be done to have a better service -- a service possibly along the lines of the norOntair service in northern Ontario, but not necessarily operated in the same way; perhaps with not as much, or perhaps with very little government involvement. I would like to see us able to work with the federal government and with the presently licensed carriers to get a better integrated air service and perhaps operating into more communities.
Mr. Conway: The phrases “not as much” and “very little” are terms we well understand in eastern Ontario from this government.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s not fair, Sean. You know that’s not true.
Mr. Sweeney: You’re right, it isn’t fair.
Mr. Conway: When does the minister expect those studies to be completed and when can we expect a policy statement from this ministry? What is the time-frame for those studies presently under way, and at what point can we in the Legislature expect to hear from this government a policy direction to produce what the minister intends in the way of an improved air commuter service?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Perhaps the people from eastern Ontario might be used to very little, with comments like that from the hon. member.
Mr. Roy: No, no. It’s the evidence we have been getting from that government -- that’s what we are used to.
Hon. Mr. Snow: In any case, we have certain initial work under way right now, getting these studies started. I have not established a definite timetable at this time; I have recently had some personal conversations with the federal government. I would hope, though, that we would have the studies completed by the end of the year.
STANDING GENERAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE
Mr. Belanger, on behalf of Mr. McCaffrey, from the standing general government committee reported the following resolution:
Resolved: That supply in the following supplementary amount to defray the expenses of the Ministry of Government Services be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1978;
Supply and services program .... $31,335,000
That supply in the following supplementary amount to defray the expenses of the Ministry of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1978:
Local government affairs program .... $1,500,000
Report agreed to.
STANDING RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
Mr. McNeil, on behalf of Mr. Havrot, from the standing resources development committee reported the following resolution:
Resolved: That supply in the following supplementary amount to defray the expenses of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1978:
Agricultural production program ..... $2,739,000
Further resolved: That supply in the following supplementary amount to defray the expenses of the Ministry of Northern Affairs be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1978:
Regional priorities and development program .... $2,500,000
Report agreed to.
STANDING SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
Mr. Gaunt from the standing social development committee reported the following resolution:
Resolved: That supply in the following supplementary amount to defray the expenses of the Ministry of Education be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1978:
Services to education program .... $107,189,000
Report agreed to.
PROCEDURAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that Mr. Grande be substituted for Mr. Foulds on the standing procedural affairs committee.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
PUBLIC COMMERCIAL VEHICLES AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Snow moved first reading of Bill 41, An Act to amend The Public Commercial Vehicles Act.
Motion agreed to.
HIGHWAY TRAFFIC AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Snow moved first reading of Bill 42, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act.
Motion agreed to.
The following bill was given first, second and third readings on motion by Hon. Mr. McKeough:
Bill 43, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain additional sums of money for the Public Service for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1978.
EDUCATION AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Sweeney moved first reading of Bill 44, An Act to amend the Education Act, 1974.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Sweeney: The purpose of this bill is to provide for the establishment by the province of schools for children with severe learning disabilities. The bill requires the minister to make an annual report concerning the facilities and services provided for these children; and the report shall be referred to a standing committee for review.
CONSUMER PROTECTION AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Blundy moved first reading of Bill 45, An Act to amend the Consumer Protection Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Blundy: Mr. Speaker, this bill provides for warnings in rental contracts as to whether or not loss of or damage to the goods rented is included in the rental fee. The warnings also point out that the person renting the goods may be responsible for loss of or damage to the rented goods where no insurance is included.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before calling the orders for this afternoon, I wonder if I could make announcements at this point.
This afternoon, following completion of the private members’ public business, Her Honour will come in to give royal assent to Bill 59 and to the supply bill which the House has just agreed to.
In view of that I am wondering if I might take this opportunity to give the usual statement of the order of business. Following the completion of private members’ public business this afternoon and the royal assent, the House stands adjourned until Tuesday afternoon, March 28.
On Tuesday, March 28, we will take some legislation into consideration and in this order: first, the Land Titles Amendment Act and the Land Registry Amendment Act for second reading and committee of the whole House; second, Bill 23 for second reading and committee of the whole House; third, a debate on a motion for interim supply; fourth, Bill 25, the Tobacco Tax Act; fifth, Bill 27, the Retail Sales Tax Act; sixth, Bill 30, the Municipal Elections Act.
We won’t be in the House on Wednesday. On Thursday, March 30, in the afternoon is private members’ public business. We will do Bill 40, standing in the name of Mrs. Campbell, and Bill 32, standing in the name of Mr. Warner. In the evening we will continue from where we left off on Tuesday night with respect to legislation.
On Friday we will first debate a motion to refer sessional paper 13 to the standing committee on general government, and secondly, resume debate on the first order as time allows.
On Monday, April 3, the House will be in committee of supply and will take into consideration the estimates of the Ministry of Government Services.
On Tuesday, April 4, in the afternoon, we have arranged to debate and vote on private members’ notice of motion No. 5, standing in the name of Mr. Cassidy. Then, of course, we will have an opportunity to discuss subsequent business after we return.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I might also take this opportunity, Mr. Speaker, to say that in accordance with procedures laid down in the rules we have arrived at some agreement with respect to the estimates schedule. Perhaps that could be read into the record at this time as well.
In committee of supply, these ministries in this order and within the time allocations as set out: Ministry of Government Services -- eight hours; Management Board -- five hours; the Premier, Cabinet Office and the Lieutenant Governor -- five hours; Ministry of Revenue -- nine hours; Ministry of Northern Affairs -- 10 hours, and Ministry of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs -- 25 hours.
In the standing committee on justice: the Solicitor General -- 18 hours, to start on April 26; Ministry of Correctional Services -- 10 hours; Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations -- 20 hours; the Attorney General -- 20 hours, and the policy secretariat -- five hours.
In the general government committee: Office of the Assembly -- three hours; Office of the Ombudsman -- five hours, and Office of the Auditor -- seven hours.
In the standing resources development committee: Ministry of the Environment -- 20 hours; Ministry of Natural Resources -- 22 hours; Ministry of Agriculture and Food -- 20 hours; Ministry of Industry and Tourism -- 15 hours; Ministry of Transportation and Communications -- 20 hours; Ministry of Labour -- 25 hours; Ministry of Energy -- 15 hours; Ministry of Housing -- 12 hours, and the secretariat -- five hours.
In the standing committee on social development: Ministry of Culture and Recreation -- 12 hours; Ministry of Education -- 20 hours; Ministry of Colleges and Universities -- 12 hours; Ministry of Community and Social Services, 25 hours; Ministry of Health, 20 hours, and the policy secretariat, 10 hours.
To assist the members, the critics and the ministers, I would indicate now that it has been agreed through the usual channels that the estimates of the Ministry of Culture and Recreation will begin at the standing committee on social development on Tuesday afternoon, March 28, and that the estimates of the Ministry of the Environment will begin at the standing committee on resources development that evening, March 28. As for the estimates in the justice policy field, it has been agreed that we shall begin with the estimates of the Solicitor General at the standing committee on the administration of justice on Wednesday morning, April 26.
LAND TITLES AND REGISTRY AMENDMENT ACTS
Mr. Martel: Just before the orders of the day, Mr. Speaker, for clarification, it was my understanding that the land titles amendment and the land registry amendments were to be moved today. I can’t find them in the order paper and I can’t understand how they are going to be debated on March 28.
Hon. Mr. Welch: It may be that sometime during the course of the afternoon we can locate them and get the concurrence of the House to introduce them. It was my understanding that we were going to introduce them this afternoon.
Mr. Martel: Otherwise we can’t debate them on March 28.
Hon. Mr. Welch: That’s right. You are quite right. I’ll follow up on that. Thank you very much for drawing that to my attention.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
PRIVATE MEMBERS’ BUSINESS
FOODLANDS PROTECTION ACT
Mr. Swart moved second reading of Bill 12, An Act to provide for the Designation and Retention of Foodlands.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member will have up to 20 minutes; he may reserve any portion of it for a windup if he so desires.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I have been involved in the matter of foodland preservation for many years and I am obviously pleased to rise to promote this bill.
It was in 1965 that the then Premier of this province, John Robarts, told a St. Catharines audience that their area was “the outstanding example in Ontario of the need for long-range planning.” He prefaced those remarks by saying that the problems facing Lincoln and Welland counties were more acute than in any other area of Ontario and he referred specifically to the disappearing fruit lands.
He then pledged that his government would take action to resolve the problem. He had reason to know there was a problem of disappearing fruit land and a rising public consciousness about it. Ralph Krueger, the noted geographer from Waterloo, had been hired to do a study in Louth in 1957 and his report focused on that issue. In 1961 the community planning branch of the Ontario government updated Krueger’s work and showed that the loss of fruit land to urban development was increasing year by year.
Several other reports were also done in the early 1960s but no action was taken by the Ontario government. Then in 1968 Professor Gertler’s Niagara Escarpment fruit belt study report was completed. It was a most comprehensive planning study ever done for a region in this province and it provided a clear blueprint for provincial government action. It was so good and so embarrassing to the government that it refused to release the report to the public until four years after, in 1972.
By that time, of course, the Niagara regional government had been formed and the province had passed over to it the overall planning responsibilities. Let me say that for three years a bitter battle raged in the Niagara regional council between the food land preservationists and the “development anywhere” exponents, and I am conscious of this because I was there. Lined up with the preservationists generally were the regional planners and, no doubt about it, the bulk of the public, but the preservationists on the council were always a minority and we lost every battle, at least the final battles. The culmination of the exercise was a regional plan produced in 1974 which placed 26,000 acres of undeveloped land inside the urban development boundaries.
That 26,000 acres was an area capable of accommodating a population of 275,000 people in the succeeding 20 years, although the highest estimate of the region’s expected growth was only 155,000, some 120,000 less. When this planned destruction of the grape and fruit land became a hot political issue in the 1975 campaign --
Mr. Hall: Why aren’t you talking about the whole province? Why just fruit land all the time?
Mr. Swart: I’ll get to the province -- the Ontario government through its then Housing minister, Mr. Irvine, told the regional council it must cut back those boundaries to preserve more of the unique land. In August 1976 the region produced a revised plan cutting out 600 acres or 2.5 per cent of the 26,000 acres originally put in.
Mr. Hall: By a vote of 22 to 4.
Mr. Swart: Then in February 1977 a new Housing minister (Mr. Rhodes) ordered the region to take out another approximately 2,400 acres. This cut the total original amount still further.
Mr. Hall: It was 3,000 acres.
Mr. Swart: No, it was not 3,000 acres. The member for Lincoln should know. He has examined it. The minister included the 600 acres that had been taken out by the region in his 3,000 cutback. That cut it actually by about a twelfth. By then, the projected growth rate had greatly changed. Niagara regional government then estimated that the 20-year growth would be a maximum of 110,000, not 165,000, a cut of one-third. The latest projections prepared by Peter Barnard and Associates for the Ontario government, for the Minister of Housing, put the growth in the next 20 years at 48,000.
Mr. Hall: No way. That’s not the situation.
Mr. Swart: There are 23,000 acres of vacant land inside the urban boundaries --
Mr. Hall: There is a lot of unemployment down there now.
Mr. MacDonald: Whose side are you on?
Mr. Swart: -- of which 11,000 is prime food land, including 7,500 acres of grape and fruit land. That’s double the amount of development land needed for the growth during the next 20 years.
During the decade and a half following the war years, only half the Niagara Peninsula growth located in the unique land, but in the eight years that regional government has existed -- and this was a gradual increase -- 75 per cent of all the region’s population growth has been in those communities on that grape and fruit land. Originally there were some 38,000 acres of tender fruit land in the Niagara region. Now it’s down to 23,500 acres and that figure’s a year or two old. It would be somewhat less by this time.
The loss of the grape lands is similar. Yet for the rest of this century the regional plan will permit -- and these are pretty significant figures -- three-quarters of the Peninsula’s growth to locate on the one-quarter area of the Peninsula with the unique climate and soil conditions. Three-quarters of the growth can go on that one-quarter of the very special crop land.
All these statistics can easily be documented and they tell a sordid tale, but it’s even worse than those figures portray. The urban boundaries over which millions of dollars have been spent are little more than meaningless lines on a map. Recently, Walker Real Estate of St. Catharines, as agents for an unnamed firm whom we all know, proposed construction of an office complex to house 320 workers on 32 acres of land below the escarpment just south and east of the Queen Elizabeth Way-Glendale interchange. That land is 70 per cent class one and 30 per cent class three.
The report of the Niagara Escarpment Commission staff, dated February 10, 1978, states that the site is located outside of the urban development boundaries -- those boundaries have 23,000 acres in them -- of the official plans of both the Niagara region and the municipality of Niagara-on-the-Lake, where it is proposed that it locate, and also that it contravenes the Niagara Escarpment proposals.
It further notes: “That it is the belief of the municipality and the firm that the location of the office building in its proposed site would act as a catalyst for similar types of development to occupy adjacent sites.” That is a deliberate statement of trying to attract more on to the agricultural land which is outside the urban boundary.
For all these reasons, the staff recommended that the commission refuse the development permit. What has happened? The council of Niagara-on-the-Lake has approved it and Niagara region has approved it. The Escarpment Commission has approved it and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food has by letter indicated no objections to the proposal.
So much for the possibility of the Niagara regional plan ever saving one acre of Niagara’s unique land, and as everyone knows, Niagara is the bell-wether as to what happens to food land preservation in the province. If the exceptionally unique food land is not saved there, land won’t be saved any place in Ontario.
Mr. Phillip: Between the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman) and the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) we won’t have much land left.
Mr. Swart: What kind of leadership has the Ontario government given in the preservation issue in Niagara? I quote from a September 10, 1976, statement of Mr. Robert Bell, whom some of the members of this House will know. He is a Conservative and he is chairman of the Niagara Regional Planning Committee which is a committee, of course, for regional council. He said, “We asked for guidelines from the province and got no reply. They told us they didn’t like the original urban boundary bylaw we passed but they didn’t say what they wanted.” That just about sums up past and present Ontario government policy on the preservation of food lands.
On April 20, 1976, the then independent well-known columnist, Harold Greer, said in his column, and I quote: “For the most part, planning in Ontario under the Conservatives has been a massive con game in which the printing of ever more plans has been substituted for real planning.” I further quote: “Even this in the talk about the plans is an overstatement. The Ontario government does not publish plans. Instead, it publishes designs, concepts, challenges and strategies which sound like plans until one discovers on reading the fine print that they lack the definition and official commitment which plans are supposed to have.” How true that statement is. The government has simply refused to develop a firm position.
One of the first documents I sought out when I arrived at Queen’s Park was called, “Guidelines for Land-Use Planning”. It was produced by the Ministry of Natural Resources, and dated January 1, 1974. It had the following noble statement on page 1; I quote: “The first part of the strategic land use plan will be an overall provincial plan where provincial policies are formulated and where areas of provincial significance are designated. Then, working within the overall provincial framework, policies will be refined and a broad land-use plan will be prepared for each of the planning regions.”
That’s great stuff and I naively asked in the House when I was first here when the overall provincial plan might be forthcoming. The answers at that time, as they so frequently are, were evasive.
Then, on April 8, 1976, in great fanfare, the government produced 11 planning reports, one of which was titled, “A Strategy for Ontario Farmland.” Well, I say to the House that it was a masterpiece of flimflam. It was full of options, alternatives and possibilities but not a provincial plan mentioned anywhere.
The year 1977 brought forth another document of equal vagueness and indecisiveness; it was called “the green paper”. After soliciting input from municipalities and the other groups that green paper will now be slightly amended and then become about the sixth set of guidelines for municipal land use planning. No legislation, of course; no overall provincial plan; no firmness; just a very weak map which municipalities may follow if they wish.
Those guidelines will be nothing more than a rewrite of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food guidelines for revising official plans and amendments which were produced in March 1975. Identical; all the same stuff. It is simply too much to expect the regions and the municipalities to do the broad planning for the province. Their actions to date have proved that they won’t, and Niagara clearly demonstrates it.
The Ontario government has failed totally in land preservation. Whether the food-land loss has been the well-documented 26 acres an hour or 36 acres an hour or 16 acres an hour, I want to say that we haven’t, in this province, yet saved one hour’s worth. I simply challenge -- and I’m not sure whether he is still in the House -- the Minister of Agriculture and Food; I wish he were here --
Mr. G. Taylor: He’s listening.
Mr. Swart: I simply challenge him today to name a single, proposed major industrial or residential development which has been refused because it proposed to locate on prime food land. Just name one. I don’t want the answer to be, “Well, we’ve drawn lines on that and we’re going to prevent them from locating there.”
It is that dismal failure of the government that causes this bill to be before us today. You will recognize that it is a principle identical to the one submitted by the member for Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. McCague) on November 15, 1976. It is submitted here in that form, not because I think it’s ideal, but because it’s far better than the vacuum we’ve now got and because I think, too, the bill ought to find some favour on that side of the House when several Conservative members and Conservative organizations lauded it so highly when it was tabled a little over a year and a half ago.
If passed, as I hope it will be, certain changes could be made which would not meet objections from me. I am not at all sure that class four lands should be put in the same classification as one, two and three; and we may want to look at that. Section 5 could be strengthened by including approval of other authorities on exemptions from the retention of the farm land instead of just the local planning group.
I like the bill because it does strike some appropriate balance between provincial responsibility and local jurisdiction, although it should require the Ontario government to produce its own master plan within two years, as it is going to require of the municipalities, and which the government has promised to produce on so many occasions before.
Unlike the green paper, however, it does require planning authorities to produce plans for the protection of food lands, and where there is no planning authority over food lands, the minister shall designate such authority. The passage of this bill will be the first step towards recognition of the value of our food lands, and no one recognizes better than I do the need for an adequate farm income stabilization program and the security of the home market for the food we can produce in this province; at least the last one, I think, meets the general approval of the members of this House on all sides.
Measures to meet those needs should have been implemented by our government long ago, but refusal to shift urban growth away from our best food lands doesn’t help the farmer or anyone else. As much land is needed and is thus sold by the land owners -- which in almost all cases are farmers -- to locate a 100,000 population increase on class five land as is needed if they located on class one land. You are not depriving any farmers of the right to sell their lands; maybe one against another but the same amount of land is going to be sold. What we’re doing, in fact, is seriously jeopardizing the farmers’ long-range viability by forcing their operations on to land of lower productivity. It’s an economic loss to them and to our society.
No one questions that there is an approaching energy crisis. Even more than energy, however, we know now that the food-land resource is finite. We know that at least one-third of the world’s population is now undernourished. We know that 10,000 people die weekly in Africa, Asia and Latin America from hunger and improper distribution.
We know that the population of this planet will go from four billion to six and a half billion by the end of this century -- and that’s just 22 years away. Last week’s newspaper reminded us that there are now 74 million more mouths to feed than just one year ago. We are told by every responsible organization studying the matter that we’re going to be short of food land. Whether it’s the World Food and Health Organization, the Science Council of Canada, the agrologists of Ontario, or the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, they all sound the warning of an approaching world-wide food shortage in which we in this province and nation won’t go unscathed.
Federal Environment Minister Leonard Marchand released a report less than two weeks ago which confirmed the loss of 200,000 acres of land to urban expansion alone from 1966 to 1971 and that report --
Hon. W. Newman: In Canada, in Canada.
Mr. Swart: That’s correct. But listen to what I’m going to say now, too. It said:
“About 63 per cent of the land paved over in the six-year period had been used for crops, orchards, market gardens and pasture. Toronto was the major glutton, expanding over 29,000 acres, almost all of it on prime farm land, but St. Catharines, Niagara, was the worst offender using 699 acres of irreplaceable fruit belt for every 1,000 increase in population.
Then the report said: “The land now being lost will be needed in 25 years to feed a larger population.”
A short while ago, Robert Long, the United States Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, put it more bluntly when he said: “The hand on the granary door will soon be the one to rule the world unless food production continues to stay ahead of the global population explosion. The key issue is that world food supply and population growth are headed along a collision course.”
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. member’s time has expired.
Mr. Swart: One sentence: Ontario’s contribution to that collision course to date has been to put green lights at the intersection. This bill might at least switch on a caution light down the food lands’ road to destruction.
Mr. McNeil: Mr. Speaker, it is rather difficult to understand why some people want to put this province in a land-use straitjacket. Land-use policy isn’t the kind of thing that should be written into legislation.
Mr. MacDonald: Are you back in that old rut?
Mr. McNeil: It covers too large a territory and has too many variables to be engraved as a statute. I wonder if the hon. member for Welland-Thorold realizes the full implications of his bill?
Mr. Swart: I sure do.
Mr. McNeil: Does he realize the effect of his bill will be to freeze 21 million acres of land for two years and that for the two years it would take to draw up a new plan for every municipality in this province, no development could take place at all? There are some municipalities where it would be almost impossible to second-guess what land is likely to be defined as food land so no decisions would be made at all. It seems to me that two years is an optimistic time limit. There are municipalities where it would take a lot longer than two years to draw up a plan if they could find any planners to do it.
Mr. Swart: The planning authority can give approval. Read the bill.
Mr. McNeil: The two-year freeze is a particularly strange result of a bill coming from a member whose party is so anxious about jobs and housing.
Mr. MacDonald: That’s claptrap.
Mr. McNeil: Does he have any idea what this two-year hiatus would do to the housing supply and to the economy of this province?
Mr. Swart: Read the bill.
Mr. Warner: Cadillac-Fairview put you up to this.
Mr. McNeil: The bill just proves what I said about legislating land-use policy. Look at the contradictions it has built into it. There is a much better way of achieving the result we all want -- namely, the protection of our productive farm land and we’re already doing it.
Mr. Swart: Where? Name the places.
Mr. McNeil: We’ve stated the principle to which we are committed. I’ll quote it from the Foodland Guidelines: “To maintain a permanent, secure and economically viable agricultural industry for Ontario, not only as a producer of food -- ”
Mr. Swart: You are the government.
Mr. McNeil: “ -- but as an important component of our economic use, a course of employment and as the basis of a rural community and the rural way of life.”
To put the principle into practice, we have to consider a number of factors. One of the most important is the land. The government’s guiding statement on land is -- and I’ll quote the guidelines: “Our land-use policies and planning must assure that as much as possible of the land area with capability for agriculture is kept available for farming when needed.”
Mr. Swart: What is that other than a pious statement?
Mr. McNeil: It seems to me that the next logical step is to identify the land with a capability for agriculture. That is the next section to the guidelines: “A description of what kind of land is valuable and how to identify it.”
Mr. Swart: That’s kindergarten stuff.
Mr. McNeil: The guidelines then go on to discuss how the various classifications of land should be treated in various situations. The final section of the guidelines sets out how this shall be applied and by whom. The document is short but comprehensive, explicit as to intent, yet flexible. It has all the things a land-use policy needs to be if it is to accomplish its intentions, while at the same time being applicable to so diverse a geographical area as the whole province of Ontario.
The ministry published this document last year and asked for public comment, particularly from the municipalities. As members will be hearing later from my colleague, we have had largely favourable reaction. In the near future we will be adopting the guidelines possibly in a slightly amended way --
Mr. Swart: That’s exciting.
Mr. McNeil: -- as a formal government policy. We can do that with confidence, because we know they work. We have been using them in our regular review of plans submitted to us by the Ministry of Housing. By applying the guidelines --
Mr. Swart: You adopted them in 1975.
Mr. McNeil: -- it is quite a straightforward matter to decide whether a doubtful section of a plan conforms to desirable planning principles. This has been especially helpful in making decisions on estate development, severance policies, application of the code of practice and uses that conflict with agriculture.
There is an even more encouraging aspect of this, however, and that is the use the municipalities are obviously making of the guidelines. We see more and more plans coming in where the municipal councils and planning boards have used the guidelines to provide their municipalities with extremely well-designed plans. In fact, I would like to mention just a few municipalities by name. Municipalities that have followed the sound planning guidelines that the provincial government has developed for agricultural land -- a few, there are many more -- include London township, Pembroke township and the north Perth planning area. I believe these plans are still undergoing the approval process but the Ministry of Agriculture and Food is satisfied with the agricultural aspects of them.
I am sure members will recall that we applied the principles of the food land guidelines in the Niagara decision, which received a lot of publicity. We were able to save 3,000 acres of fruit land from urban development.
Mr. Swart: And lost 4,000.
Mr. McNeil: Since that time, we have used the guidelines to protect land in similar situations --
Mr. MacDonald: Destruction by instalment.
Mr. McNeil: -- none of them so dramatically large as the Niagara situation, but at least one amounted to 358 acres of corn and processing crops land. Just protecting the land isn’t enough, however. It’s no use having land sitting there if nothing is being grown on it and if we can ensure a reasonable market at reasonable prices so our farmers make a decent living that’s just what will happen, so the protection of food land involves much more than land-use policy. It involves a viable farming community.
It can easily be argued that every one of the programs of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food is designed to ensure a viable agricultural industry. That, indeed, is their purpose, but I will confine my remarks to our marketing programs because when we come right down to it, if the market is inadequate, production will drop off and consumer prices could rise.
The government has been running its Foodland Ontario food promotion program since last fall. We have been getting tremendous co-operation from the commodity groups and from the major chains and we have been seeing results. More turkey has been sold this past Christmas than ever before after our ads appeared --
Mr. MacDonald: What has that got to do with agricultural land use and production? You have one string to your bow and you are plucking it.
Mr. McNeil: -- and our winter vegetable promotion has pushed sales way up. Let me give a couple of examples. After our promotion, sales of onions in one chain went up a whopping 1,200 per cent; sales of carrots in another went up 40 per cent. We calculate the overall sales are up an average of 50 per cent in the chains on items promoted. That’s the kind of results that keeps our land productive.
Mr. MacDonald: He has nothing to say so he is filling it with irrelevancies.
Mr. McNeil: The government is protecting our high-quality productive farm land and we are doing it the right way, with a land-use policy that can be applied fairly and equitably right across the province and a marketing program that is giving our farmers a decent return for their labour and investment.
Mr. Warner: The Minister of Agriculture and Food doesn’t believe that. You know better.
Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, we had a chance to look at this exact same bill, the same wording with very few exceptions, when it was introduced in the House in November 1976 by the member for Dufferin-Simcoe and now the Minister of the Environment (Mr. McCague). It is a duplicate of this bill with very few exceptions. Inasmuch as I believe in land-use planning, I would be inclined to think the member for Welland-Thorold who introduced the bill is using it as a wee bit of a forum to appeal to the urban people in the Niagara Peninsula.
Having said that, I would like to say that I believe the concept of a mandatory designation for food land, as outlined in the member’s bill, An Act to provide for the Designation and Retention of Foodlands, is a step in the right direction. Mandatory designation is the type of legislation that groups such as the Ontario Institute of Agrologists have been asking for. Present municipal zoning is very flexible. It is often merely a review process whereby individual applications for land-use changes are considered as they arise and are either approved or rejected.
The zoning can be changed as growth pressures increase, and so land values are not affected as much as by stricter provincial control. In this way, the value of zoning as a planning tool is usually overlooked. A move to designate all class one, two and three lands and special crop lands as food land could reverse the current assumption that agricultural designation is merely a holding category for development land and could thus slow the loss of prime food land. Moreover, it could also be used to establish and effectively maintain planned urban edges and prevent uncontrolled urban sprawl and the breaking up of farming units in a growing urban and industrial economy.
In his Strategy for Ontario Farmland, tabled on April 8, 1976, the Minister of Agriculture and Food rejected provincial control to protect farm land, and there was nothing new in the government strategy. The protection of farm land will be left to the municipalities and their local plans, as has been the case in the past. Municipalities, however, cannot be counted on to preserve agricultural land through zoning, if an agricultural zoning is merely a holding zone for future development. Therefore, zoning as a method of implementing preservation of food land at the local level will not be sufficient, and other methods of preserving agricultural land will have to be devised. Examples of local control of farming in many municipalities, such as Huron county, do not apply to growth municipalities.
It has been pointed out that a legislated designation of agricultural land would fit in well with the green paper on food land guidelines which was released last year by the Minister of Agriculture and Food for use in the planning procedures in municipalities. I would agree that the designation would give a base for the guidelines. As the Ontario Institute of Agrologists has pointed out, it would also provide a means whereby the preferred approach would have to be followed.
However, the success of government measures, such as the Foodland Guidelines, will depend on their implementation. Are they to become government policy or merely weak suggestions? It is interesting to note that they have been presented in the form of a discussion paper, and so are not policy. It is also noted that the government has not indicated the degree to which these guidelines must be followed by the municipalities in their planning and the degree to which they are merely suggestions.
This would seem to me to be a crucial aspect of any guideline principle. I would agree with observations which have been made that these guidelines are merely an elaboration of the government’s agricultural strategy and focus on local land-use policies to assure that as much as possible of the land area with the capability for agriculture is kept available for farming when needed. The province is merely saying that this is the way they want the municipalities to go.
Moreover, in the long run these measures will never be successful without government incentives to draw development on to the lower-quality land. However, no such incentives have been announced. Neither is any mention made for public utilities, such as Ontario Hydro, or government ministries, such as the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, to conform to the guidelines.
While the proposed bill would require all municipalities in the province to survey and classify all agricultural land within their planning areas, using Canada Land Inventory maps as a guide, there is ample evidence to demonstrate that this classification does not supply an accurate map of the significant agricultural lands to be preserved.
Mr. MacDonald: That can be corrected in the first two years.
Mr. Riddell: Rapid improvement in Canada Land Inventory is a vital element for improved agricultural planning. The total acreage with a soil capability for class one, two and three agricultural lands for most of the Canada Land Inventory area in Ontario is about 16.4 million acres and nearly 10 million acres of improved farm land. There is, however, a definite constraint on the climatically favourable land.
If we add an important climatic indicator such as heat units at a selected level, then we get a clear indication of how limited is the best farm land in southern Ontario. In fact, it has been estimated that perhaps seven million acres is a safe figure to use for the significant farm land, meaning land which is outside the urban arc, not affected by the Shield and in a relatively favourable climatic situation. It is these agricultural lands, based both on soil classification and climatic constraints, which are the significant farm lands in Ontario and which must be designated as food land and preserved for that purpose.
In conclusion, while I would support a mandatory designation of the significant agricultural lands as food lands to be kept in food production, this land-use strategy on its own, without meaningful guidelines from the province, cannot ensure that prime agricultural land is kept for farm land. This would leave the major implementation to the municipalities and assumes that the problem of maintaining good agricultural land is universal throughout the province. On the contrary, some municipalities have little concern with the preservation of viable agricultural land.
What is needed is a provincial land inventory of prime agricultural land based on the significant class one, two and three soils and special crop lands. An important climatic indicator such as heat unit must be added at a selected level. The province, in co-operation with the local municipalities, would identify and establish the significant agricultural resource areas. The local municipalities would work within Ministry of Agriculture and Food guidelines to determine which areas should be eliminated or included for designations, taking into account criteria such as physical conditions of the land, proximity to existing development areas, price of land et cetera.
Once these areas are established and the provincial agricultural strategy is put into effect, the official plan of the municipalities would be amended by the local councils to reflect this policy, designating significant farm land as agricultural priority areas. These lands would be released to other uses only when it is proven that the need for such land cannot be met from the supply of lower-quality land and that society will benefit from the change in use.
Different planning strategies will be required for different areas of the province. Planning in the predominantly rural agricultural areas of the province would encourage and support agriculture, rather than limit, restrict and control it, as has been the case in the past. In the urban fringe areas, buffer zones must be established which encourage open space and which are compatible with the urban nature of the area, such as pick-your-own fruit farms.
The detailed follow-through on land-use policy must be put in the hands of the local government, because it is the government most accessible to the people. Incentives must be provided by the province to attract industries on to the less productive lands in eastern and northern Ontario.
In closing, I would like to say that synonymous with the preservation of agricultural land is the good management of that land. Unless we are prepared to save the farmer, then it is futile to save the land.
Mr. MacDonald: What appals me, Mr. Speaker, is the lack of intellectual integrity on the other side of the House. When the first spokesman for the government rose, what was his phraseology? It was about the hon. member for Welland-Thorold, who wanted to impose upon this province a land-use straitjacket. You’re aware of the fact, sir, that what we are introducing is a bill that was introduced more than a year and a half ago by a member who is now in the cabinet of this government.
Hon. W. Newman: There are some differences.
Mr. MacDonald: There are no differences in it at all.
Mr. Foulds: Don’t nit-pick.
Mr. MacDonald: There are no differences at all. That is nit-picking.
Hon. W. Newman: You have been nit-picking for 20 years.
Mr. MacDonald: He introduced it. It called for the mandatory designation of prime agricultural land and it received the support of all those who are interested in the preservation of prime agricultural land; indeed, that includes many Tories. This is what appals me about the government’s willingness to try to dismiss what we’re suggesting when they have no intellectual integrity at all.
I have in my hand a clipping from the Globe and Mail of November 16, 1976, which was the day after the member for Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. McCague) introduced that bill in the House. How does it read? “The use of government-imposed freezes to control land use in Ontario has been endorsed by the Metro Toronto Progressive Conservatives.”
Next paragraph: “The endorsation is a significant step for Conservatives still smarting from election losses last year in which the defeats in some ridings were attributed mainly to controversial land use and development control measures. Delegates of the 29 Metro Toronto Conservative riding associations” -- and listen to this --
Hon. W. Newman: I’ve read the article.
Mr. MacDonald: -- “voted 73 to 21 at a policy conference last night to ‘tolerate a very limited use of the land-use freeze tool’”. That’s what the Conservatives want, so please don’t get up with a total lack of intellectual integrity and describe us as trying to put this province in a land-use straitjacket.
Hon. W. Newman: That’s exactly what you’d do.
Mr. MacDonald: What we are doing is introducing a bill which was introduced by one of the minister’s members over there, and which has the support of the Ontario Institute of Agrologists, the Rural Ontario Municipal Association, and every other collective group in this province interested in the preservation of prime agricultural land.
It is really very simple. The objective of the government is that we should preserve prime agricultural land, but they have no mechanism for achieving it. A guide is only a guideline that has no backing in law, so what they are engaged in is doubletalk. I’ll come to show how much backing in law it has in a moment.
Hon. W. Newman: You know better than that. Just don’t mislead us.
Mr. MacDonald: Mislead? The minister has just come up with total doubletalk; what does he think he is engaging in if that isn’t misleading?
Hon. W. Newman: I just said don’t mislead us.
Mr. MacDonald: What this bill does is to set out that objective, which presumably is the minister’s objective, and then it provides a mechanism for achieving that objective. What it says is that in two years the guideline to municipalities shall be with the backing of law, that they will proceed to examine in a mandatory way, class 1, 2, 3 and 4 lands -- I will agree with my colleague that class 4 should not be in there, although conceivably in some northern areas where you have no class 1 at all you may want to move into class 4 for agricultural land, but that is a detail.
I would agree with the hon. member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) that there needs to be an updating of the CLI categories, in many instances they are very much out of date. But you use that guideline with the backing of law and within two years the local planning authorities come up with a designation of agricultural priorities, it is approved by the council, it gets the approval of the government and you have saved agricultural land. The government then is not playing games, is not engaging in double talk.
Mr. Lupusella: Come on, change your policies once and for all.
Mr. MacDonald: This is where the intellectual integrity is totally lacking. That is not a land freeze; we have operated for years where agricultural land, as a vital natural resource, has become a commodity on the market that can be bought and sold at will for whoever can make the fastest buck out of it.
Most people in society who have the future of our own province, the future of the human race at heart, recognize that you can’t continue to dissipate a vital natural resource like that; therefore we have to protect it in some fashion or another. We have to say that this can’t be bought and sold at will; that this is going to be maintained as a vital resource for future food production for our needs and the needs of the rest of the world.
And that is what this will do. It represents a fundamental change in approach. In other words, agricultural land isn’t something to be played with in the marketplace. It is something that will be preserved for future purposes.
Let me give you an example, just to reply directly to an interjection of the Minister of Agriculture and Food a few moments ago. Let’s take the Barrie example. Here is a government that presumably is in favour of protecting prime agricultural land. It enunciates a policy which is going to gobble up 20,000 acres of prime agricultural land around Barrie. So we go into the OMB to have an examination of it, and the local townships, which don’t want their prime agricultural land to be absorbed into Barrie, fight the battle.
I don’t want to get into the legal technicality of the OMB mistakenly saying that they couldn’t question the population figures for Barrie and now it has gone to the court of appeal and the court of appeal has decreed that the whole of the OMB’s operation is in nullity and we have to go back to square one. The important thing is that this government said it wanted to use 20,000 acres of prime agricultural land to build a growth point.
What is the situation today? Barrie today has 33,000 population. Barrie’s current area, within the city boundaries, could hold 57,000 population. The most optimistic speculation in terms of Barrie’s growth can’t go beyond 75,000 or 77,000 population; yet this government comes along and says they want to have 125,000 population.
They have no policies to force feed Barrie to a figure that nobody conceives as possible, but they are willing to use all of that agricultural land; and yet the OMB cuts their 20,000 acres back to 8,800. Indeed if the government were really intent on protecting agricultural land it could have met the future needs of Barrie’s prospective growth up to 77,000, the highest possible figure, with their current size plus at most another 3,000 or 4,000 acres to meet industrial and residential needs.
Don’t tell us that this government is protecting prime agricultural land; it has no control over the Treasurer. The interventions of the Minister of Agriculture and Food to cut back on that massive grab on prime agricultural land had no effect at all; Darcy runs the show, and the Minister of Agriculture and Food, as protector of prime agricultural land, isn’t really in the picture at all.
Hon. W. Newman: That’s great rhetoric.
Mr. MacDonald: That’s why we need to have a law, a backing of law. I am not saying this is any guarantee, because I suspect the Treasurer would challenge the law and run around it, over it and through it and everything if he could get away with it, but at least with a law he could he called to halt.
Mr. Warner: Bring the Treasurer under public control.
Mr. MacDonald: What this bill does is to enact in law what the Ontario Institute of Agrologists suggested two years ago, and they reaffirmed it at their annual meeting that was held two days ago in this city. But even more important, Mr. Speaker, I have always found it very convincing and impressive that another group that is calling for this kind of an approach to the protection of prime agricultural land is the Rural Ontario Municipal Association.
The Rural Ontario Municipal Association is made up of the municipal leaders who have been wrestling with this problem and not succeeding, because they know they are helpless in fact of the kind of powerful pressures of developers who gradually wear them down and manoeuvre in one way or another to achieve their purpose of eating up still more prime agricultural land. Two years ago they passed a resolution which calls -- and let me read this just as one sentence: “When legislation that restricts the uses of the designated agricultural land is enacted.”
I don’t need to go any further. Their whole approach is premised on the basis that there shall be a legislation to designate prime agricultural land and to protect it. When that is done, then they go on to say that we should have exemptions so that if anybody wants to use agricultural land -- it is not a freeze, may I say to the hon. member for Elgin, it’s not a freeze: if they want to use agricultural land they will come in and prove that there is no lower class land available for that project, or alternately it is a project which is of such great community need and paramount importance that it is legitimate to sacrifice a small portion of agricultural land. But at least --
Mr. Acting Speaker: The member’s time has expired. Would he please wind up?
Mr. MacDonald: Yes. Not only the Institute of Agrologists, not only one of your own cabinet ministers, Mr. Speaker, not only rural municipal leaders, but everybody who has at heart the protection of prime agricultural land favours this bill. So don’t give us any of this sophistry and this reflection of a lack of intellectual integrity.
Mr. Acting Speaker: I indicated to the member for York South that his time has expired.
Mr. MacDonald: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Cureatz: Mr. Speaker, could you indicate my timing on this? Have I got till 4:30?
Mr. Acting Speaker: You have your full 10 minutes.
Mr. Swart: When is the Minister of Agriculture and Food speaking?
Mr. MacDonald: He hasn’t got anything to say, he knows the policy won’t work.
Mr. Cureatz: I would like to open up by saying, as I have heard many judges say to me, I remember the judge commenting, I appreciate very much your intent; and indeed I would like to comment to the member who is proposing this bill that indeed I do appreciate his intent. I would like to comment also to the member for York South, I believe I heard him on radio a week or two ago, a CBC broadcast with regard to these very concerns, and he spoke very adequately in regard to his arguments.
My concern is that if this food land act becomes law it seems to me that to begin with it would be hard on the 837 municipalities that would be required to prepare new plans within two years.
Mr. Swart: It doesn’t say new plans.
Mr. Cureatz: Surveying and classifying all classes 1 to 4 land would be an enormous job. I am told that there are just not enough planners around in the province to do that kind of a tremendous task. My own personal belief is that I think at the moment we have enough planners in this province. The cost to the municipalities across the province would probably run into thousands.
Mr. MacDonald: That’s a copout.
Mr. Cureatz: And what would the people get? I’m not sure whether we know. That would depend on each municipality, since the bill provides for no overall direction by the province. I feel that in some areas it would result in a freeze on necessary development, and members will note there are no provisions for varying or revoking the plans once they are adopted.
I wonder if the member for Welland-Thorold has considered that the Canada Land Inventory identified more than 21 million acres of land in Ontario in classes one though four, and that is 40 per cent of all our land. In the region of Durham, of which my riding is part, those classes account for 80 per cent of our total acreage. Is all that likely to be defined as food land, I question? Permit me to remind the member and the House that under section 5 of the bill, “no agricultural land which, prior to the completion of a planning study pursuant to section 2, is likely to be defined as food land, may be authorized for a non-agricultural use without the specific recommendation of the planning authority.” What will happen to poor old Durham out there? Would we go into a deep freeze, as indicated by the previous member?
Mr. Swart: Who is the planning authority in Durham? Isn’t it the council or the region?
Mr. Cureatz: We have a difficult enough time already, I would like to mention to the House, in regard to the Durham regional official plan, without adding another burden. From a legal point of view, it appears to be in conflict with the Planning Act. It requires every municipality to pass a bylaw adopting a plan. Does that mean that the new plan would supersede other official plans adopted in accordance with the Planning Act?
Mr. Swart: Many don’t have plans; the others simply add to their plans.
Mr. MacDonald: Did you talk this over with George McCague before you decided to write that stuff?
Mr. Cureatz: If so, the plan required by this bill would take effect without the public meetings, the public involvement and the public safeguards guaranteed by the present Planning Act. The Planning Act provides a mechanism for any landowner to appeal an official plan to the Ontario Municipal Board, as the member for York South intimated previously; but this bill contains no such provisions in regard to such appeals, nor can I find any penalties for failing to comply with the provisions it does contain.
I imagine the bill could be reworded to clear up these particular points and a couple that I haven’t mentioned, and indeed as I mentioned previously I do appreciate the overall intent of the legislation, but I have a couple of other reservations.
Mr. MacDonald: Make those criticisms in committee; support the principle.
Mr. Swart: Make the changes. Don’t kill the bill.
Mr. Cureatz: In areas where protection of food lands is a more legitimate concern, this proposed Act apparently would permit the local council to decide arbitrarily what should be protected and what might be used for other purposes. Obviously, the standards could vary widely. It is possible that such a system would work most of the time, but I believe it just could not work all of the time. The government of Ontario must have a coordinating role to ensure that planning criteria and public involvement are uniform across the province.
I think it’s plain that detailed land-use planning is done best at the local level by people familiar with local situations, but they must operate within a policy framework for Ontario’s development. That requires close provincial-municipal co-operation. The government realizes that Ontario’s urban growth has to continue and makes allowances for it. In many cases, the better land is kept for food production while development is directed to less valuable land, and certainly land severances should be made more readily available in less valuable agricultural land areas.
The alternative to the course was found in the Strategy for Ontario Farmland, which the government tabled two years ago. That strategy renewed the commitment to maintain a strong and viable agricultural industry through two approaches. One consists of measures to ensure the economic feasibility of farming our prime land and keeping it in production. The other approach consists of measures to ensure that the better land in every part of our province is kept for food production.
The later campaign resulted, among other things, in the government’s green paper on planning for agriculture. It was issued in February of 1977 and it proposed guidelines to help municipalities identify and preserve our better food lands. That means not only good cultivated land, but good potential food land. In setting goals, the guidelines didn’t just say, “Thou shalt not touch class one to four.” No; they established such priorities, but they also gave high priority to areas with a high capability for specialty crops and they drew attention to other areas because of special conditions that made them valuable.
The municipalities were told that their official plans should designate some high priority food lands where only farming or uses compatible with farming would be allowed. The guidelines might allow a broader range of ultimate uses on land with a lower agricultural priority, but only if spelled out in the official plan.
The guidelines made it clear that in future, before any lands designated for agriculture could be used for other purposes, the need for the change would have to be justified and documented. In addition, the amount of land allocated for various uses must be realistically related to population projections and growth objectives for the general areas.
When the foodland guidelines were announced, copies were mailed to all the municipalities, to farm groups and to private and government planners. All were invited to comment by the end of last year. Officials are now clarifying some areas that were questioned and co-ordinating some changes that were suggested. The guidelines will become government policy in due course, without losing the flexibility that will make them effective. As a result, I believe the government has already in motion a land-use policy. There is a consensus in Ontario that it is a reasonable policy to date in reflecting as best as possible today’s concerns, although some improvement could be made.
However, this bill is not the way of improvement and I will not be supporting it this afternoon.
Mr. Bradley: I rise in support of this particular bill. As an urban dweller, I suppose it is easy for me to do so. I would find, even amongst my own caucus, many who would disagree with me on this particular policy as it relates to agriculture and to planning.
I presently reside in a home which is on fine agricultural land and which probably is an excellent example of where development should not have taken place, in the north end of the city of St. Catharines where we have some of the best soil and the very excellent climate which is necessary to grow tender fruit. One of the reasons I became involved in the political arena was in the hope of saving that land which is valuable for agricultural use for future generations.
The hon. member for Welland-Thorold has mentioned the difficulties he experienced on the regional council. As a member of an area municipal council, I must say I experienced some of the same frustrations in attempting to bring about policies which would tend to restrict the growth of the municipality in which I reside.
As has been said on many occasions, to speak about the Niagara Peninsula for just a moment, it is an area which has possibly some of the best soil in Canada in terms of growing tender fruit, and in terms of growing grapes. The difference between the top of the escarpment and the bottom of the escarpment in terms of growing days is 27 frost-free days. I think we would recognize it is unique land which, as much as possible, should be saved for future use, and that use should be agricultural.
Many in this House will remember that in mid-May the thing to do was to visit the Niagara Peninsula to look at the blossoms. Understandably, that’s not the main purpose of growing tender fruit, but nevertheless it was an example of how it became a tourist attraction. People looked upon the Niagara Peninsula primarily as an agricultural area and one very valuable, not only to this province but to the nation.
As well, 15 or 20 years ago, people looked almost with pride upon the fact that some day we would have a megalopolis from Metropolitan Toronto to Fort Erie, and that somehow this was something we should look forward to. Those were the days when growth was worshipped for the sake of growth and we were not perhaps using growth to our best advantage as we would now try to do in the year 1978. Things have changed from those particular thoughts, but they have not changed enough, because there are still those who wish to see some of this land gobbled up for development purposes, and I am not suggesting that every piece of agricultural land in this province necessarily has to be retained.
The need for a bill of this nature then is rather obvious and the member for Welland-Thorold and the member for Dufferin-Simcoe (Mr. McCague) deserve credit for this particular initiative. While we have sufficient farmland to meet our present needs, and our needs in the immediate future, the supply of prime farmland is not sufficient to meet the needs of the next generation or the generation after that. According to the Ontario Institute of Agrologists, and I am quoting from a Globe and Mail editorial of August 7, 1976, given population increases that can be expected -- and they are talking here about this particular group -- they found the future grim. “Even if no future improved land were lost to urbanization, it would be difficult for Ontario farmers to produce enough food to satisfy the Ontario population 25 years from now.”
Our short-term interest may be served by random development or massive development of prime agricultural land, but our long-term interests are clearly in the preservation of good agricultural land. If we are to look beyond our own borders, or beyond the needs of our own population, we find that our present trade deficit could be turned completely around. Indeed, agricultural products could be to Canada what oil has been to certain Mid-East countries.
With the $5 billion to $10 billion oil energy deficit expected in the 1980s, this export of food to a hungry world could provide a much-needed infusion of funds and at the same time perhaps meet a need that we should look at in moral terms. Today foreign-produced foods as well are relatively cheap, but if we take away the competition of local grown foods, I think we’ll find that the prices of these products will tend to soar.
What has been overlooked in this debate also is the possibility of a significant change in weather patterns. I note an article that appeared in the Toronto Star some time ago -- it would be August 7, 1976 -- entitled “Disasters Feared as Climate Goes Haywire.” Quoting a meteorologist, Patrick McTaggart-Cowan, it says the following: “For Canada, where existence is already a battle with winter cold and summer heat, the implications in a weather change are immense. All our planning in agriculture and urban development and development of the north has been done on the basis of weather records for the last 30 years and now that’s all changed.” I suggest to the members of this Legislature that if the average temperature in this country were to drop even a few degrees, the effect on the growing of farm products could be rather devastating.
Some will say that certain prime agriculture land is really not viable; that it lies fallow, that it is not financially attractive to farm. This is, however, a practice used by certain members of the development industry and by certain farmers who think that there is much more profit to be made in the sale of this land or the development of this land. I suppose this is, in their terms, in their personal interests, rather legitimate; but in the terms of the well-being of this entire province or country, I think this is difficult to justify. To use this tactic of letting the land lie fallow so that members of municipal councils will point to it and say, “It’s really no good for farming and should be used for development,” is not a practice that we should encourage.
This bill by itself will not solve the problems related to agriculture. Indeed it will need emendment to gain even a measure of support from the majority of the members of this House. But it is a step in the right direction. Tariff protection, import quotas, adequate financing for farmers, a buy-Canadian or buy-Ontario policy by our governments and people, such as practised by the Ministry of Correctional Services in its purchase of products from the Niagara Peninsula rather than from the southern United States; these are just a few of the measures needed to assist the Ontario farmer.
What this bill will do is give this province time to develop policies to ensure the long-term viability of the agricultural industry. I quote again from an article back in August 1976 -- this article appearing in the Globe and Mail. It quotes J. J. Shepherd, of the Science Council of Canada at that time: “He said in an interview that a forthcoming Science Council report will strongly recommend that provincial governments immediately designate all agricultural land in the country for agricultural use only. No other consideration should have priority in the use of agricultural land.”
As an urban dweller, I recognize the needs of the farmer. I also recognize the needs of the population as a whole. I recognize that this bill, or certain other isolated bills or measures proposed to this Legislature, will not in themselves solve all the problems related to the production of food for our country, for our province, or for the world, but we do have to move in the correct direction, we do have to give an impetus to saving agricultural land because we know that once it is gone, once the pavement is on top of the land, on top of the excellent soil, it is no longer good for the growing of agricultural products.
On this basis, although I cannot agree 100 per cent with the bill, I strongly support the main thrust of this bill and hope that members of this Legislature will give it assent and send it to committee for necessary study.
Mr. Martel: It will probably get guillotined again.
Mr. Acting Speaker: The member for Etobicoke. There are three minutes left for this debate.
Hon. W. Newman: Yes, you would stop the world; and you want jobs.
Mr. Philip: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the fact that there are only three minutes left, but I can’t help but think that even though the member for St. Catharines spoke at some length he brought out the very points that I was going to bring out. I certainly compliment him on an excellent speech and one which brought out a number of interesting points.
I think that perhaps it is significant that two of the most pointed and reasonable speeches that I’ve listened to in this particular debate were given by the member for St. Catharines and the member for Welland-Thorold, for they are in the middle of the very area that is being the most devastated at this moment by urban sprawl and development over the fruit-land areas.
One of the main objections to food-land use regulation is that farm prices are already low due to surpluses. We are already producing too much food as it is. The fact is that our basic crops -- that is, corn, soya beans, pork, beef, white beans and fresh fruit -- fluctuate with world markets, and that prices are low despite Ontario’s deficit in production and would not be significantly lowered if Ontario entered into a position of self-sufficiency in production.
This bill allows for flexibility at the local level. It allows for considerable input and control by the local municipalities, and I think it is significant that the minister chooses, and that this government chooses, to listen to the spokesmen of the developer and the real estate industry rather than the spokesmen of rural municipalities, farmers’ groups, agrologists and other people who are interested and are dealing on a day-to-day basis with farm-land use and farm production.
Mr. Acting Speaker: The time allotted for the debate of this bill has concluded.
KIDNAPPING OF FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF ITALY
Mr. di Santo: Mr. Speaker, I have a point of personal privilege. It’s on a matter that concerns all of us, as legislators, and all the people who are concerned with the democratic process.
The kidnapping of the former Prime Minister of Italy, Aldo Moro, and the killing of his five bodyguards by a group of criminal terrorists represents the peak of an escalation of violence against the Italian democratic state.
I express, on behalf of the Legislature and the people of Ontario, our condemnation of the absolute and criminal attack on the Italian democratic institution, and while we condemn with all our strength and convictions the insane violence of the terrorists, we express the solidarity of the people of Ontario, with the Italian government, with the Italian people, with the families of the murdered innocent victims, as well as with the family of Mr. Moro, with the full confidence that the people of Italy will be able to defend their democratic system.
Mr. Acting Speaker: I would assume that the member for Downsview is asking for unanimous consent to place that before the House.
Mr. Acting Speaker: We thank the member for bringing that to our attention.
Mr. Foulds: The Premier (Mr. Davis) should have made that statement.
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, on a point of personal privilege. I would take this opportunity to acknowledge the hon. member’s concern. I shall pass it on to the Premier.
Mr. Foulds: The Premier should have made that statement.
Mr. Breithaupt: Not really.
Mr. Martel: Trudeau did, at great length.
Mr. Breithaupt: He did? That’s nice.
WRITING OF CONSUMER CONTRACTS
Mr. G. Taylor moved private member’s resolution No. 2:
That in the opinion of this House the government should give immediate consideration to legislation which would require consumer contracts to be written in non-technical language and in a clear and coherent manner using words with common and everyday meanings.
Mr. Reid: Could you explain that?
Mr. Martel: Only too well, I understand.
Mr. G. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, what time I do not use at this point, I would reserve at the end for comment. This is private members’ time and I put forth a resolution instead of a piece of legislation and the resolution is primarily designed to end what might be termed, in the vernacular, legalese in consumer contracts.
One might ask why I chose the resolution instead of legislation but there are many difficulties with legislation. There is the cost of preparation of such an item, and it is often difficult for a private member to caucus the other members in this House, particularly the opposition, as to the success of a piece of legislation. One might say it’s no use putting forth some pieces of legislation only to have them reach the veto or no status at all.
Also there is the difficulty of the advance knowledge of the business community and how your piece of legislation will be received by the business community. It’s often difficult to assess the cost of such legislation to the business community should one insert it by private member’s bill without the resources of the ministry and people advancing on it so that one can tell what will be the actual costs of such legislation.
It’s also difficult to assess the consequences of a particular piece of legislation to the community as a private member, so I put forth this resolution as a prod and a catalyst to put the government on notice, and the consumers and the business community that --
Mr. Martel: It will take more than that to prod the government.
Mr. Foulds: They ignore resolutions.
Mr. G. Taylor: -- such legislation may be forthcoming should it reach the consent of this House to put forth this resolution.
Let’s look at consumer contracts, leases and such conditional sales contracts, personal instalment loans, purchase of goods such as cars, and insurance. All of these have very complicated contracts presently. One can look at the rules in law that say he who prepares the contract receives some of the benefit of it, but we can usually discover that the person preparing the contract does it for his benefit and it’s usually the vendor or the person who is most concerned about the contract. If one is a purchaser one has to take what is there or one doesn’t buy the goods, which is not always beneficial to the purchaser.
We can be sure that when somebody prepares a contract it’s a seller’s contract and it is usually loaded with fine print. One I have looked at starts out with large print, then fine print, fine fine print and then fine fine fine print, so one has great difficulty wondering what he is presented with. I can assure members that most purchasers do not know what they are getting into when they look at the contract as it sits.
Mr. Martel: Free enterprisers wouldn’t do that to the public.
Mr. G. Taylor: The common law is of little assistance at times, although there is the common law rule that’s there and it’s a general rule: If there is any ambiguity in a contract, it’s usually construed against the person preparing the contract. In my resolution, I don’t intend that that rule would be dissipated but this is an amplification of that rule and something that will assist them.
Just to give you some examples, Mr. Speaker, and my colleagues, of the type of legislation that would be prepared and what we have been trying to get away from in these contracts, just look at these examples of contracts. This is to help the person purchasing, and I quote: “We have read this agreement and we acknowledge receipt of a copy hereof,” and that’s usually at the bottom of the page where one signs the contract and then they will give one a copy of it. The purchaser gets the pink copy with the blue printing, which in itself is difficult enough to read, not the white copy with black printing, which the vendor usually gets.
I doubt if most people would have read the contract in the first place, in the second place, usually the print is too small to read, and in third place, if one does read it I doubt whether most people would understand it. When I speak of these examples, I hope that these examples can be cleared up with the type of legislation that might be forthcoming out of this type of resolution.
Let’s look at car contracts. I read another contract; the long details are in the top part of the contract and when I get down to the bottom it says, and I quote: “Information below this line not part of the contract.” That’s very helpful -- below that line there is nothing. There again, it’s simply words to confuse. At the top of the contract it says, “Conditions on the back form part of this contract,” hidden up in the right hand corner of the contract. That’s not very helpful to the purchaser as to realizing what he is getting.
Mr. Martel: Sounds like something Walker would do; he’s a great free enterpriser.
Mr. G. Taylor: Another example; listen to this one: “Warranties: There are no warranties or representations by the dealer with respect to the motor vehicle described herein or affecting the rights of the parties other than those set out in any applicable legislation in the case of a new motor vehicle provided a new warranty is given by the manufacturer and/or the dealer. No other warranty, agreement or representation made hereto nor modification hereof shall be binding upon the dealer or his assigns unless endorsed herein in writing.”
What does that mean to the purchaser? That’s what he is getting as a warranty, but what he is getting he does not know. He has to look at some other document outside the one he is signing; he has to look at some other piece of legislation outside that which he is signing. So there again it’s another area where the vendor is not really helping the purchaser, he is trying to disguise something of what he is giving.
Again, other examples: “Conditions of sale.” Listen to this one: “Time is of the essence of this contract, and if purchaser defaults hereunder or violates any condition contained herein or if a proceeding in bankruptcy, receivership, winding-up, or insolvency is instituted by or against the purchaser or his goods, or if any execution, attachment or writ should be levied upon any of purchaser’s goods or the goods are confiscated” -- and it goes on ad nauseam. What it really means when you boil it all down is, “If you don’t pay off this contract, we are going to take back the goods.”
So there’s another one of the examples, not of clarity in the contract, but just the opposite -- the very fine print that goes on. There are some that go on for pages -- no paragraph delineation, very little cohesive sentence structure. You could read them and read them and read them. These contracts go on, not for clarity but, I would submit, to confuse the purchaser.
Business alone is not to be condemned for this style of contract. Indeed, in our Legislature we put forth even more confusing legislation. That is not part of the resolution, just an aside. Many of our pieces of legislation have totally confusing words. Again, we put forth in some of our statutes clauses that must go in certain styles of contracts, such as insurance contracts and the Mortgages Act. They are just as confusing as those which some of the people use in businesses and which commercial people use in their contracts.
How do we propose putting forth such a campaign to promote the use of less legalese in the business community? Well, with the start of this resolution, should it receive the approval of this House, we would then start into the usual promotional campaign so that they know there is pending, and support in this House, for forthcoming legislation concerning the consumer contracts that are used by individuals out there.
The type of contracts that this resolution particularly gets at are the non-commercial consumer contracts which are written to cover transactions where money is involved -- for property or service, for personal family goods, household goods -- the usual everyday contracts that are on printed forms and which everybody runs up against in the commercial situation. They include apartment leases, instalment loans, credit applications, conditional sales contracts, retail sales contracts and new car purchases. You could have in some forthcoming legislation monetary limits of the size of the contract that might be involved, such as would they be non-commercial contracts of a personal nature that don’t exceed $10,000, $25,000 or $50,000. There could be a monetary limit put on.
Another piece of possible legislation could be that each paragraph concerning a term would be segregated and the paragraphs captioned, so that one has a brief summary similar to our legislation, which has a brief summary at the lefthand side, telling you what might be in the legislation in the right-hand side, although it’s not always totally accurate, so you don’t have the intermingling of paragraphs, numbers, sentences and words so that it becomes confusing rather than understandable.
Language could be simplified. Get away from some of what we would term legal jargon -- the whereases, the heretofores, the hereins, the hereafters. I am sure the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk -- he must be here -- would love to read some of these contracts. He is so knowledgeable in the legal field that --
Mr. Nixon: I’ve got an LLD.
Mr. G. Taylor: From McMaster. I am sure if he would try to read some of the legal jargon he would be surprised at what it means at times.
The sanctions -- what types of sanctions could be in such legislation? Sometimes you could make the contracts void or voidable. I would suggest the voidable situation might be more acceptable. There might be damages flowing out of the contract where the person injured, who didn’t prepare the contract, would receive the benefit from the damages.
Class actions might be forthcoming where the damages would be pro rata and spread among all consumers in that particular area. Then, of course, we could have some lead time in the legislation, should the legislation come forth, saying contracts must be done within one year from the date hereof or some attempt done in that way. You can have good-faith and simplification clauses where the person who has prepared the contract and has tried to comply with the legislation is exempted from it in a court action concerning that.
With all of these, there is some benefit provided to the consumer. The reason for this, I think, is that a consumer who understands his obligations will better meet them. A vendor who sells accurately in the printed area will not receive unnecessary arguments at a later date. It will void unnecessary criticism and unnecessary callbacks as well as promoting better public relations with the people and the consumers he is serving. Even lawyers may better understand the contracts if they were read and printed in more simpler language.
Mr. Nixon: More simpler? How simple can you get?
Mr. G. Taylor: We may receive some objections to this from the legal community or from the business community but, to counter those, I must say it might even be productive of more work for lawyers rather than less. Think of all those contracts out there that have to be rewritten and corrected.
Mr. Foulds: Now we have the motives!
Mr. G. Taylor: It was coming. My friend had to wait to the end of the chapter.
Mr. Foulds: If Darcy’s not going to make work, you will.
Mr. G. Taylor: But there is already legislation similar to this. There is the truth-in-lending legislation which requires that you have to set out the accurate terms of interest. So it is not uncommon.
The Royal Insurance Company has embarked upon a promotional campaign, and if you read their insurance contract, it has wording in it that is understandable. So it’s not unheard of in the business community today.
Mr. Foulds: How fine is the print?
Mr. G. Taylor: Many US jurisdictions have gone into this. The Citibank in the United States has a consumer loan that is prepared in non-technical language. It hasn’t changed the common law. The common law is still there. But I hope this resolution is a prod, a catalyst and gives this House the intent so that contracts, printed and reproduced in a standard form, are put forward in good, plain language so that when the person goes to buy the gold mine, he gets the gold mine and not the shaft.
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and speak in favour of this resolution in principle. So far as the average citizen in Ontario is concerned, a study of the various contracts and agreements to which the member for Simcoe Centre has referred is clearly an example of floccinaucinihilipilification.
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, is that parliamentary?
Mr. G. Taylor: Would you do that to me?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: Point of clarification!
Mr. Breithaupt: As members are well aware, the meaning of that word is the art or habit of estimating as worthless. Certainly, so far as the citizens of the province are concerned in dealing with contracts and agreements of this sort, the time which is spent by them in attempting to work out the meanings of various terms and phrases is indeed part of the habit of estimating as worthless the results with which they are faced.
Our Legislature should approve this as a challenge to the financial and commercial areas of our community to be more responsible to all of us as consumers.
There are two particular examples of areas where the principle of this resolution is already being brought about. The first of which I am aware is in the life assurance field. At the last annual meeting of Canadian superintendents of insurance in September 1977, Mr. E. S. Jackson, the chairman of the Canadian Life Assurance Association, announced that a plain-language life assurance policy was close at hand. A committee of that association has refined and reworked some 24 model clauses to have them available for the various companies to use. As Mr. Jackson commented, the clauses cover such areas as the insuring clause, the relationship of beneficiary and owners, contestability, policy dividends, exchange options, and misstatement of age particulars and certain other matters.
It is clear that the end result will be better understanding and comprehension for the policyholder, as Mr. Jackson had said.
At the recent annual meeting of the Mutual Life Assurance Company of Canada in Waterloo, part of the address of the president, Mr. John Panabaker, related to the practice which that company is undergoing.
Mr. Nixon: Graduate of McMaster.
Mr. Breithaupt: He stated as follows: “Visibly the new policies have been given a bright, informal appearance, they have also been completely rewritten to make them easy to read and understand. We have reduced insurance jargon and verbiage to a minimum. For example, one paragraph which formerly contained three sentences totalling 130 words, now gives the needed information in two sentences of only 44 words.”
I am sure that members of the House in asking questions and in answering them, as well as in making speeches and comments generally, would all benefit from the reduction of that kind of verbiage so that more clear and simple results are available --
Mr. Roy: It’s important for new cabinet ministers.
Mr. Breithaupt: -- not only to the people of the province listening to politicians, but also in this way as consumers.
A visit to a Mutual Life office this morning obtained for me a copy of some of the provisions which that company is using. They are clearly set out, they are well defined. I am sure that is an example of only one company that is proceeding in that kind of a manner. I might say that even I understood the provisions once I had read them over a second time.
The second area is one that has been referred to by the member for Simcoe Centre (Mr. G. Taylor). That is particularly the approach which has been taken by the Royal Insurance Company as it has developed its homeowner’s coverage. There have been a series off advertisements which have attempted to bring forward the principle upon which this kind of policy is being written.
The select committee on company law has noted during the past two years of our study of automobile insurance that there are many changes which could usefully be made to clarify the terms of the standard auto insurance policy. These changes have been actively reviewed by a number of the companies and I would commend Royal Insurance for their moves to bring out their new home shield select policy.
Mr. Alan Horsford of Royal Insurance has sent up to us an example of the policy. Royal of course, as one of the largest purveyors of insurance coverage, have used their approach in the market to give leadership in this matter. I believe this will have a great effect on the insurance market generally. The policy is clearly printed; it is crisply worded; and I would think properly understandable to the average citizen. The seven pages of it are clearly set out, and then there is the additional page which sets out the conditions required by this Legislature. The wording there isn’t as clear as is the wording in the earlier seven pages, but that is the kind of thing which we as legislators can work upon.
This policy sets out the who and the why and the where and the what and the when so far as the individual policyholder is concerned. I commend Royal Insurance and Mutual Life as only two examples of companies taking this kind of approach. Of course, there are many others, not only in the insurance field but in the finance and credit granting institutions which are moving in the same way. Government here has an opportunity to give leadership and to deal with these kinds of approaches in a positive and intelligent way.
I commend the member for Simcoe Centre for bringing forward this resolution. I hope that its approval by members of the House will give the government encouragement to move to draft legislation and forms in much more clearly understood ways so that the people of the province will be better served by us as legislators, as well as by the various financial and commercial aspects of our society, of which the activities we have are a reflection. We should certainly encourage this approach, and I commend the member for bringing forward this resolution.
Mr. Davison: I also rise to congratulate the member for Simcoe Centre, and to support the principle of this resolution that consumer contracts be written in non-technical language and in a clear coherent manner, using words with common and everyday meaning. I have found in my experience, and my constituents have found in their experience, that consumer contracts for everything from automobiles to bank loans are not written in that fashion, and indeed not in the English language but in an off-shoot of the English language called legalese.
This language of legalese is readily identifiable from English in a number of ways. First, it takes a minimum of 10 times as many words to describe the same thought or matter of fact. Second, it contains a substantial number of words that are merely combinations of simple English words all run together with the spaces missing -- words such as notwithstanding. Third, it is peppered liberally with hyphens between words instead of spaces such as herein-before. Fourth, it can only be understood or translated by someone with legal training or by one of those rare citizens in our community that understands these matters and specializes in the art.
Some time ago a gentleman who is familiar to all of the lawyers in the House, Mr. Justice Reilly, offered what I think is a rather fine and excellent comparison of the English language and legalese to the Canadian Bar Association. If I might quote a not overly long sentence from that address, I think members will get the point quite well. Mr. Justice Reilly said: “When a man gives you an orange he simply says, ‘Have an orange’, but when this transaction is entrusted to a lawyer he adopts this form: ‘I hereby give and convey to you all and singular my estate and interest, right, title, claim and advantage of and in said orange together with its rind, juice, pulp and pits and all rights and advantages therein with full power to bite such and otherwise to eat the same or give the same away with or without the rind, skin, juice, pulp and pits, anything herein-before or herein-after or in any other means, whatever nature or kind whatsoever to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding’.”
Mr. Ruston: He sounds like Pat Lawlor.
Mr. Davison: And he said it without taking a breath.
Mr. G. Taylor: He probably had to buy the orange. He wasn’t giving it away.
Mr. Martel: It says a lot about lawyers.
Mr. Davison: Lest any of us think we can escape this off-shoot of the English language, legalese, by dealing and entering contracts in our other official language, French; or in any of the languages which are in common usage in my riding, such as Polish, Italian or Portuguese, we should all be aware that legalese does not recognize such linguistic bounds and jumps freely back and forth. I believe every consumer has an absolute right to know and understand what he is signing without having to seek legal advice or the services of a lawyer.
Mr. Warner: It sounds revolutionary.
Mr. Davison: In most consumer contracts of any length, this is not the case. Frankly, rather than requiring all of the citizenry of the province to take courses in legalese and become lawyers so they can understand contracts, it is much more sensible to do as the member for Simcoe Centre has suggested and to change the nature of the contract so that the contracts are written in plain language which is understandable to the vast majority of people in the province.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Think of the teaching jobs that will create.
Mr. Davison: A second matter touched on by the member for Simcoe Centre in his resolution and in his comments today is the question of the very technical nature of languages in some contracts. To some extent, of course, that is unavoidable, but it does present an equally difficult problem to the consumer.
We, unfortunately, live in a society where it would take a chemist to discern the contents of cosmetics, it would take a pharmacist to comprehend the contents of patent medicines, and an engineer of some great skill to interpret the assembly instructions for a child’s model car kit. All of those situations are bad enough, but the fact is that before the consumer can even come to that problem he has to get through the contract. While at some other point I hope we can seek solutions and adopt solutions to the problem of what he does with the product when he gets it, today at least we can make the argument that that kind of language really doesn’t have a place in consumer contracts.
Consumers in Ontario very rarely purchase products such as nuclear power stations, so I can see no reason why the contracts for everyday items and everyday services should be written in a language which draws on the same technical requirements in many cases.
While I fully support, as I suspect most members of the House do, the fine principle embodied and expressed in the resolution, I can also understand the difficulty our colleague from Simcoe Centre must have had when he considered whether he would put this to the House as a resolution or as a bill, and as he has alluded, it will be a difficult bill to write but one that I think has to be written. It will also be a very difficult bill to enforce without a lot of good will on the part of people writing these contracts.
However, that said, I would hope that, regardless of the outcome of any vote today, the most excellent Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Grossman) will read the record of Hansard today and on his own initiative, as he so often does, bring forward the proper legislation so that sometime not too far down the road the members of this House can have the opportunity of debating legislation to simplify these contracts.
Finally, lest I be subject to criticism, I’m not supporting this bill because I think it would be nice to see a few lawyers on the unemployment lines as well as a few workers, but simply because the principle of the resolution is a sensible one.
Mr. Eaton: Mr. Speaker, I was prepared to rise and speak to the bill in support of my colleague, but after he came out with that hidden meaning of making work for lawyers, I begin to wonder because it’s just like some of the contracts lawyers have drawn up -- they’ve got hidden meanings in them. So it makes one wonder what they’re getting at sometimes.
Mr. Warner: That’s what he’s up to.
Mr. Martel: You don’t think they’re going to do themselves in, do you?
Mr. Roy: We don’t need two bills for lawyers in one day. We just passed one, Bill 59.
Mr. Eaton: However, I do support the principle that is being put forth by my colleague, not necessarily that legislation is required to do this, but that action be taken. I think the trend towards simplification of contracts is obviously one which will continue and one which is to be commended. It does not appear though that legislation of itself will do the job without incredible enforcement, and I think this was pointed out by the member. It’s going to take a lot of good will on the part of people without a general enforcement of it to do it.
I think the most important thing to remember is that the consumer interest must come first, and it’s not always met by simplification. Thus, for example, it’s also important that contracts within a given industry bear a resemblance to each other and that as much uniformity as possible is put into the various types of contracts that are placed before the public.
It’s similarly very important that information in sufficient quantity be of assistance to consumers in the contracts that they receive, that contracts can be drawn up too simply so that the information they do need is not before them.
In our Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations we have attempted to approach the subject in a broad, general way. Rather than attempting to specify what may or may not be said in a contract, we have concentrated our efforts on the development of such general areas as warranty legislation, which will have a uniform effect regardless of the industry in question, and on the Business Practices Act, which will deal with improper practices of deceptive wording in contracts or approaches to contracts that may mislead the consumer.
In those areas which are specifically administered by the Business Practices Act, we’ve had a considerable success in having industry work to develop common and fairly simple forms. Thus, the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act is similar right across the province. My colleague did make reference to that particular form, and stated that on the bottom of it, it said, “Information below this line is not part of the contract.” He said there was nothing below the line. It so happens that the portion that he had is the portion that’s been agreed to by the ministry. However, it’s a long form and the motor vehicle dealers do put some information of their own below it. That’s why it says, “The information below is not part of the contract.”
I think we have had good co-operation from a number of industries in trying to make contracts simple. There are a few problems, and I think there are probably two major criticisms of the legislation. There is the fact that statutory requirements often make it almost impossible to word contracts simply while still complying with the requirements of the law, the law that we have sometimes created here; sometimes we get into committee, especially the lawyers in our committee, and we wrangle over a word or something and add three or four extra clauses in a sentence to clarify what a word means, when I think most of us recognize the common need.
In that regard, I think there was reference made to the insurance contracts put out by Royal Insurance and how clear they are. I would like to read into the record a couple of statements in these contracts that do show very clearly what is intended. For instance, they point out examples in their contracts: “Your son is playing baseball in your neighbour’s backyard and he breaks a window with a wild throw; if you want the cost of replacing the window covered, it can be done under this policy.”
However, with all that simplification, our legislation requires certain things at the back of it; so you go to the back page and you read something like this: “Statutory conditions misrepresentation. If a person applying for insurance falsely describes the property to the prejudice of the insurer or misrepresents or fraudulently omits to communicate any circumstances, that is material to be made known to the insurer in order to be able to judge of the risk to be undertaken, the contract is void as to any property and relations to which the misrepresentation or admission is material.”
That’s required to be put in there by our statute. So rather than bring in more legislation that would require them to put certain things in contracts, such as that does, we should be reviewing some of the legislation we already have which requires statements like that be put in. There is one sentence in the contract that covers about 10 lines. That’s the kind of thing that has developed from the legalese inside our ministries, where they are trying to see that everything in a statement that is going out to the public is clarified.
The other thing I think we must guard against in these contracts is making sure, in telling the company that certain things should be done, we don’t get away from using phrases that have become particular in their meaning in law, phrases that people recognize in contracts that are before them every day.
So, in general, I would say we certainly support the thrust of the resolution of my colleague. It is consistent with government policy and we should certainly encourage all industries or trades or associations to work towards developing uniform forms that are simple contracts that can be understood by the public and will protect the consumer.
Mr. Blundy: I am very pleased to arise in support of the resolution that has been placed before the House by the hon. member for Simcoe Centre.
I believe there is a possibility of us improving the situation for consumers. You know, we have always heard the dictum “read before signing.” If the consumer is to be really protected, then he has to read it and he has to understand it. But I suggest that some of the words and some of the phrases that are used in contracts today and for many years past do discourage very much the people from reading before signing. So I think it is important that we try to put across not only to the government but to people in business and commerce and the province of Ontario that we want to protect the consumers and to do that they must be able to read and understand what is in the contract.
There are many technical terms in contracts and I don’t believe these are essential for either the consumer or the person who is putting out the product. There are complicated legal phrases that certainly do not have to be used. I think common English could very well take their place.
The member for Simcoe Centre gave several very excellent examples of the language and phrases used in contracts. They are glowing examples of what we are trying to avoid in this resolution. Many of these words and expressions that are now used in contracts in general use in the province were words that were used in previous days. They were used by those who were educated in the use of contracts.
We are living in a new era -- an era in which nearly every one of us, regardless of our position, our education or our income, is faced with such contracts -- from mortgages, automobile and other loans, right down to buying a hair dryer. In all of these things, the ordinary consumer in the province is being faced with these contracts. I submit that they must be very discouraged when they remember that they have been told, “Read carefully before signing,” and they come upon some of these very difficult phrases and technical terms.
Times have changed. Our ways of buying and of renting have changed. It’s time that the legal jargon and technical phrases in consumers’ contracts are also changed. I know that it may be very difficult to do this, and I know it can’t be done overnight; it’s going to take a little encouragement and, above all, some leadership to accomplish what the resolution of the member for Simcoe Centre has in mind. It is going to take leadership on behalf of the government; particularly, it is perhaps going to take leadership on the part of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. It will be not too long before the examples that can be set, particularly by that ministry, will filter down.
I would think that many of these companies, with their long, wordy and difficult-to-understand contracts, probably could save a great deal of money in printing up a contract that will be so much less wordy.
The member for Kitchener gave us examples of how many terms of the contract, which are so essential to the buyer and the consumer, could be put in fewer sentences and words.
I must support the resolution, Mr. Speaker, and I hope that there will be some action taken on it because if we are truly to protect the consumers of Ontario, we must make it easy for them to protect themselves; and I submit that, under some of the present contracts that are to be signed, that is very difficult.
Mr. Foulds: On a point of order, if I might, Mr. Speaker: I believe the Attorney General would like to interrupt the proceedings, with which I fully agree.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I wanted to revert very briefly to bills for the introduction of two bills.
Mr. Speaker: Agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
LAND TITLES AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved first reading of Bill 33, An Act to amend the Land Titles Act.
Motion agreed to.
REGISTRY AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved first reading of Bill 34, An Act to amend the Registry Act.
Motion agreed to.
WRITING OF CONSUMER CONTRACTS (CONTINUED)
Mr. Foulds: I rise to speak on the resolution before us with some mixed feelings. I support the aims and objectives of the resolution because I think it is important, as a number of speakers have indicated previously, that both seller and buyer understand the terms of the agreement that they come into.
However, I do find it strange that the lawyers of the province and of the Legislature have taken such a kicking, if you like, in the Legislature today. I find it strange that legislators themselves have taken such a beating in the Legislature during the debate on this resolution. I can understand fully why the hon. member for Simcoe Centre has introduced a resolution rather than a bill because, if he had introduced the bill, I suspect that it would have suffered from all of the faults of a contract that he decries. I suspect that is one of the difficulties that faced him when he came up with this idea.
I found it strange that --
Hon. B. Stephenson: You’re supposed to say “passing strange”.
Mr. Foulds: Passing strange. I found it strange that so many members of the Legislature felt compelled, not only to condemn business for the contracts that are afloat in the province, but also to condemn themselves. It’s almost as if we had, in the Legislature, a massive public confession of guilt. I frankly don’t want to participate in that. If I have confessions to make I’ll make them privately, I think.
I think we must admit that in any contractual arrangement, no matter what it entails in terms of sale, there must be some precision of language, some precision in the terms that both buyer and seller agree to. What I find a little worrisome is that in the debate that has taken place there has been no recognition of the necessity for precision. If we devise contracts or terms of sale that are so simplified that the words are ambiguous and vacuous, we will get into more problems than we already have.
Earlier in the day we had a long involved debate involving Bill 59. Many of the speakers referred to the “real world” as if there were a single real world out there that we speak of. There are, in fact, a number of real worlds.
With reference to this bill, we have to admit that every profession and every endeavour has its own specialized language. If we, for example, are engaged in buying or selling an automobile, there are certain precise descriptions of the mechanics of that particular consumer good, and a precise relationship between its moving parts. How do we design consumer protection that fits that and fits a box of corn flakes? I don’t know how you do it with one simplified single contract. Engineering has its specialized language of necessity. Drafting has its specialized language of necessity.
I would suggest that probably the activity that receives most attention by the general readership of the province and by the populace generally is sports. Sports activity in all of its areas has its own precise meanings for its own language. For example, in baseball we talk about a foul ball. There is a specialized meaning to that expression that is quite different from the meaning of the term as taken in general parlance. We talk about icing in hockey which has the specialized meaning of the momentum of the puck down the ice and it being touched or not touched for certain lengths of time. That meaning is quite different and quite precise but different from the term icing generally, which either has to do with frozen water or sweetness on top of a cake.
We talk in tennis, for example, about scores like one or two love, and love there has a very precise and specialized meaning.
An hon. member: It usually means hate.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Don’t talk about one or two love. You haven’t played tennis lately.
Mr. Foulds: I have never played tennis, but it has a quite different and specialized meaning from the usual four that arise as a result of the original four Greek words that have to do with that particular activity. I would say there is a little bit of a danger that we could be jumping on a bandwagon, when we talk about simplified language, of getting into ambiguous and vacuous language. While I would support the aim and the objective, I really have yet to be convinced that the member has come up with a practical solution so that if this Legislature passes this resolution there will be immediate and responsible response from the government side.
He has said he would like this resolution to act as a prod. The word “prod” itself has a number of specialized and different meanings that the member didn’t go into. I point out to the House the particular bon mot with which the hon. member concluded his address which was that when a buyer buys a gold mine, he hopes the buyer will actually get the gold mine and not the shaft.
From those words themselves, the definition of a gold mine is extremely difficult in terms of grades of ore, where the veins happen to run, in terms of geography and in terms of depth. “Shaft” in that context has a deliberately ambiguous meaning, a deliberately double meaning which I think we should avoid at all times in consumer protection legislation and consumer contracts throughout the province.
Mr. Rotenberg: I rise to support the motion and I commend the member for Simcoe Centre for bringing forth the motion. I do so for one reason, because it seems it’s one of the few private members’ motions that has seemed to receive unanimous support around the House. But also I commend him for bringing this forward as a motion and not as a bill.
I have been listening to the speeches around the House and I find myself most in agreement with the last speech of the member for Port Arthur, and that made me instantly want to reconsider my position.
Mr. Lawlor: He is perfectly right.
Mr. Nixon: Don’t you always agree with the last person?
Mr. Rotenberg: Had this been brought forward as a bill, I probably would have had great difficulty in supporting it.
Mr. Lawlor: In reading it.
Mr. Rotenberg: Yes, in reading it and supporting it. A bill which tried to solve this problem for the total consumer industry, let alone for just a wee bit of the consumer industry, would not only be very difficult to draft but before we even get into the bill stage, before we consider legislation, there has to be an awful lot of research done as to what effect any legislation would have on various areas of the consumer industry.
I also want to echo the warnings by the member for Port Arthur. We have to be very careful in not going too far the other way, because consumer contracts are legal documents, and whereas some legal documents have too much verbiage, whereas some legal documents may be loaded in favour of the vendor -- as some are -- legal documents are there for the protection of both sides, the consumer and the vendor. If a document is written ambiguously in non-legalese, if a document is written in such a way that lawyers in court will have trouble interpreting it, I think it would be a great disservice to the consuming public.
Mr. Deans: The problems are the lawyers. The lawyers are the problems.
Mr. Rotenberg: Sometimes they’re the problem --
Mr. Deans: Let’s be perfectly frank about it; the lawyers create the problems.
Mr. Pope: Oh, no, not unless they are from Kilmarnock.
Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Speaker, lawyers sometimes create the problems. As the member for Wentworth knows, lawyers also do sometimes assist in putting out fires, and they are legal fires, so he would have some knowledge of that as well.
Mr. Deans: They set a few, too.
Mr. Rotenberg: So we have to be very careful before we draft legislation. But this doesn’t take away from the principle that the member for Simcoe Centre has brought forward, and it doesn’t take away from the fact that we should be adopting the motion and giving consideration to it.
The member for Kitchener earlier brought up the matter of insurance policies and the work we have been doing on the select committee on company law. Certainly in insurance, as in other fields, there is room to improve the language in a contract, not only in the statutory conditions, as the parliamentary assistant has brought forward, but simply in the total language of the contract.
I don’t want to give a commercial here, but I do commend the Royal Insurance Company for the new type of contracts it has brought forward. I think a number of members have the contracts before them. The parliamentary assistant to the minister, the member for Middlesex, read out from some of the simple language and read out from some of the legalese. I think the Royal Insurance has come to a very good compromise and a very good solution for this problem, because in a way it has the best of both worlds. It has given, in a non-contractual part of the form, a simple explanation that the public can understand. Yet it has in the back page, the required conditions, the statutory conditions, the legalese which are necessary to protect, yes, the Royal Insurance Company, which puts out the contract, but also to protect the consumer who purchases insurance, the person who wants to or may eventually get to court, the person who may have a legal argument.
There has to be -- as the member for Port Arthur said -- precise language in at least part of the document so that if there is a dispute as to what the contract meant, the lawyers who drew it up in the first place will be able to sort it out, and if it ever gets that far, the courts will be able to adjudicate as to who is correct, who is wrong, who has to pay whom.
I think, really, the purpose of this motion is a message to the government, a message specifically to the Ministry of Consumer and Corporate Relations. I think there are some industries and some ministries whose contracts can use some clarification. Some of them are statutory conditions where legislation may have to be amended; some of them are simply the contracts which these industries use, and a redrafting for clarification would be necessary.
There are probably some industries where there will be required legislation, or change of legislation, in order to make those contracts reasonably readable and to bring them into conformity with present-day practices. Probably the vast majority of industries simply need a nudge to do the sort of thing the Royal Insurance Company has done. I think it is within the purview of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations to look into the various types of contracts, to look into the various industries, and to bring forward legislation where necessary, but in most cases to give the industries this nudge, this prod to try to bring their contracts into understandable form without giving up the necessary legal protection to both the vendor and consumers.
For these reasons I will support the motion and hope that the members of the House will do likewise.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Lakeshore, for about three and a half minutes.
Mr. Lawlor: The passion for the meticulous has dried all the sap and ardour out of my veins. That’s the whole history of law.
Hon. B. Stephenson: It obviously flowed to some of your colleagues.
Mr. Lawlor: There are two kinds. As in most things, there has to be some balance in this. Every profession, every group and every self-interested little clique in the country, no matter what it is -- the country club in golf or whatever area; women purling in a knitting contest, in any other area -- each area, particularly professional associations, has its high priests, its witch doctors and its mumbo jumbo. They enter incantations in the night and feed one another the pablum of tricky words. That’s to be understood.
On the other hand, there is the sloppiness that goes with most of our speech where we don’t say precisely what we mean, mostly because we don’t know precisely what we mean and therefore adopt some kind of vacuity, blathering around. If the layman were permitted to draft most of the legislation in this House, because of the monumental lawsuits, the estimates of the Attorney General would have to be expanded at least 12 times in order to provide enough accommodation for courts and judges.
I just want to say a word at the end of this debate, giving commendation to the professional draftsmen bringing law before us in this House. I think they do an exquisite job, because most members of this House understand the legislation that’s set out before us and I would defy many of them to be able to boil it down to simple terms.
Simplicity is not something one starts with. It comes at the end, after great ardour and enormous struggle. You boil yourself down in terms of purification to some form of simplicity. It’s a state of mind which I hope never to reach.
Mr. G. Taylor: I thank my colleagues in this House for such great support for my resolution. I’d like to speak on the member from Lakeshore’s comments, but he talked in so much legalese I’m having difficulty in understanding him, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Foulds: No, it’s just the richness of language that you don’t understand.
Mr. G. Taylor: I’m so pleased also that my resolution brought such soul-cleansing into the House this afternoon. Every organization and body needs that from time to time, and if it’s brought just that to this House, I’m gratified.
The other part one might say -- and I hope some people will accept this in jest -- if you were wondering why I introduced a resolution and not legislation, in my calculations of the number of participants in this House there are 22 lawyers, and you know what it takes to veto legislation. I’m not so sure I would succeed in bringing to my side 22 lawyers. The other grouping -- there are 14 teachers in this House and I’m not so sure they would agree with the motives of 22 lawyers.
Mr. Foulds: I thought there were 17 in our caucus alone.
Mr. G. Taylor: So that the resolution was the more honoured form to bring this in.
Mr. Roy: How many LLDs?
Mr. G. Taylor: There are a few QCs who still have wet documents, Mr. Speaker, and I’m not sure they would understand my resolution.
Mr. Roy: It is a shiny gown.
Mr. G. Taylor: Once the ink dries on the QC of the member for Ottawa East then he may comment on it.
The other thing -- and I comment upon it as a prod and a catalyst -- is that there are some organizations that have gone forward with this type of contract, being Royal Insurance, Mutual Insurance, and Citibank. There is presently one state in the United States, the state of New York, that has the legislation in place and going forward, but it’s receiving, as you can imagine, the greatest amount of challenge from the lawyers in that area.
I heard my friend from Port Arthur there comment upon language. Of course, we put language in and he talked about love and items such as that. Of course, when you put your contract together, you hope that when the words are put in the words have some meaning pertaining to that type of object that you’re contracting.
If he’s discussing tennis and love, you’d think that would go together with tennis and he would understand the type of love. If he was into some type of body shop and contracting with love there, he would know the style of love and the meaning that might have.
And if he was going to a body shop that has to do with cars he would understand that they are not in love with him for wrecking the car. So the type of love that would be inserted in any one of those contracts would be, I am sure, understandable.
My friend from Lakeshore comments that I was whistling in the moonlight.
Mr. Foulds: You can’t even tell the difference.
Mr. G. Taylor: The difficulty with whistling in the moonlight on contracts that are presently in the consumer field today is that they are not always playing the same tune; the whistling is not always there. I had hoped this resolution would bring some tune to the contracts that are in the consumer field so that at least those receiving them on both sides of the bargain would have some harmonious music in what is being put forward to them so that the discordant vibrations, after they have discovered what the words mean, would not lead them to slow up the orchestra and stop playing altogether and head for the courts into the arms of those lawyers who would naturally charge them large fees to discover what is in the contracts.
Mr. Foulds: A bad analogy.
Mr. G. Taylor: If the member for Lakeshore comments further I could use up more minutes, Mr. Speaker, but how many do I have left?
Mr. Speaker: We cannot vote before 5:50 p.m.
Mr. G. Taylor: With that I thank all the members and my colleagues. I hope they will support my resolution and that it will bring some semblance of the problem to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Grossman) that he will prepare some legislation in the near future; or maybe no legislation, just the resolution will bring to the people of this province the idea that there can be words simplistic enough in nature to put in contracts to ease the problem.
FOODLANDS PROTECTION ACT
Sufficient members having objected by rising, a vote was not taken on Bill 12.
WRITING OF CONSUMER CONTRACTS
Mr. Speaker: Mr. G. Taylor had moved private member’s resolution No. 2.
Resolution concurred in.
ANSWER TO WRITTEN QUESTION
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I might be allowed to table the answer to question 13 standing on the notice paper.
The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario entered the chamber of the Legislative Assembly and took her seat upon the throne.
Hon. P. M. McGibbon: Pray be seated.
Mr. Speaker: May it please Your Honour, the Legislative Assembly of the province has, at its present sitting thereof, passed a certain bill to which, in the name of and on behalf of the said Legislative Assembly, I respectfully request Your Honour’s assent.
Clerk Assistant: The following is the title of the bill to which Your Honour’s assent is prayed:
Bill 59, An Act to reform the Law respecting Property Rights and Support Obligations between Married Persons and in other Family Relationships.
Clerk of the House: In Her Majesty’s name, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor doth assent to this bill.
Mr. Speaker: May it please Your Honour, we, Her Majesty’s most dutiful and faithful subjects of the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario in session assembled, approach Your Honour with sentiments of unfeigned devotion and loyalty to Her Majesty’s person and government, and humbly beg to present for Your Honour’s acceptance, a bill entitled An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain additional sums of money for the Public Service for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1978.
Clerk of the House: The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor doth thank Her Majesty’s dutiful and loyal subjects, accept their benevolence and assent to this bill in Her Majesty’s name.
The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor was pleased to retire from the chamber.
Mr. Deans: I hope you spend that money more wisely than you spent the rest.
Mr. Renwick: He said it’s all gone.
Mr. Deans: It’s all gone? Did you dribble it away again?
Mr. Speaker: I would remind members that the adjournment today is until 2 of the clock, Tuesday afternoon, March 28, pursuant to the order passed on March 9.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the House adjourned at 6 p.m.