The House met at 2 p.m.
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to advise the members that earlier today I arranged to have deposited the annual document on provincial assistance to local governments. Normally this publication becomes available on budget day, but this year’s early budget made that impossible. As it is, today’s release makes it the earliest on record.
As the members will note, the document provides an overview of total assistance, accompanied by detailed descriptions of the more significant changes in grant programs for 1978. Particularly, it emphasizes the unconditional grant programs and provides every municipality with our best estimate of its 1978 entitlement to total unconditional grants. Most of the critical information on 1978 assistance was already provided in my September 16, 1977, announcement, plus subsequent details from other ministries. However, the data in the document I am releasing today should be of great assistance to municipalities in verifying their own calculations.
Mr. S. Smith: A question to the Treasurer. Could the Treasurer please explain the nature of his policy which has prompted him to use $362 million of his borrowings this year to increase liquid reserves, the cash that the government has on hand, to more than $1 billion? Could I ask the Treasurer why he is following quite that small-c conservative policy with regard to cash on hand? What is the lowest level to which these reserves have dropped during the last five or six years, and what problems is he anticipating that lead him to wish to have a little more than $1 billion in cash on hand?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I think I might bring together some information for the Leader of the Opposition. Perhaps I might give a brief statement with that information, either at the opening of the House or on second reading of the Ontario Loan Act, which I believe is tomorrow. Then I can give more precise details.
The reserves, for obvious reasons, did not increase during 1977-78; in fact they fell. I don’t have the precise figure. Even at the level we had hoped to have, there perhaps was not sufficient in the liquid reserves at any given point during the course of the year.
The reserves normally go up in the first two or three months of the year, then fall off very dramatically during the course of the summer and start to build again in the fall. We would come very close to having a theoretical zero balance at some points during this year -- or would have, had we not moved to increase the reserves.
Finally, I might say that as a rule of thumb -- and it is a very rough rule of thumb -- it is felt that reserves at year end should be about 10 per cent of the budget, which in this case would make them in the neighbourhood of $1.5 billion. That may be somewhat high, but we would like to increase them somewhat.
I should also add that these monies are constantly employed in short-term deposits and various other ways so that we are earning interest on them at any given moment in time.
Mr. S. Smith: I appreciate that answer and I look forward to hearing a more detailed answer from the Treasurer. By way of a brief supplementary, may I ask him if, when he is explaining why it should be at 10 per cent of the budget, he would give us the record over the years and if he would also agree with me that if he did not have to increase his borrowing by $362 million to increase the liquid reserves, and merely left the reserves at $688 million -- which is where they are now, or at least at year end -- that the $362 million he borrowed would have been available to have been used by the pension funds in the private sector? Is this a factor which he takes into consideration when he decides his liquid reserve policy?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: No, I don’t think the two things particularly tie in together. If our reserves were invested, as I have just said, then of course the option -- and this has been done -- would be to use them, if they became too high, to reduce outstanding debt, which has been done on several occasions.
OMA-OHIP FEE SCHEDULES
Mr. S. Smith: A question, which I would prefer to direct to the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) but which, in his absence, I will direct to the Premier: I wonder if the Premier could assist us with regard to the question of the two fee schedules currently being negotiated, where I think the minister has assured us in the Premier’s absence that there would be two fee schedules, an OMA fee schedule and an OHIP fee schedule.
Is the Premier familiar with these negotiations and can he tell us whether we can assume that the two schedules, in total and in average, will be a percentage apart greater than the present difference of 10 per cent, and exactly what measures the government has in mind, other than the Anti-Inflation Board, to make sure that the doctors do not opt out in great numbers as a consequence of this additional incentive?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that the subject is still being negotiated or discussed, and when the minister or the government has some specific answers to that particular question, and to the supplementaries to it, I am sure the minister will certainly be pleased to inform the House. I think it is somewhat premature at this moment.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: Given the fact that we would like to know in this House what is considered negotiable and what is not considered negotiable by the government of the day, would the Premier not agree, if people are going to the trouble of developing two separate fee schedules, that chances are they are likely to be considerably more than the present 10 per cent apart? Can he explain to us why we should be so sure that the doctors are not going to apply the higher fee schedule and opt out in order to do so? Why would they go to the trouble of negotiating an entirely separate schedule if they had no intention of using it?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I can’t speak for the medical profession. I think this is a subject that is not only complex but very important, and when the minister is ready to disclose further information to the House he will be more than prepared to do so.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Can the Premier tell this House whether it is the intention of the government to abandon the principle of universal health insurance, which was adopted in 1969 by Ontario, by means of deterrent fees or their equivalent, which would in effect prevent people on modest incomes from having adequate health care? Is that now the government’s intention? If so, how can the government justify it?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) -- and I am only going by memory -- made some reference to the question of deterrents in the budget. I think there was some reference to the decision on the part of the government to increase premiums rather than go the route of deterrents. So the answer to the question has already been stated.
Mr. S. Smith: If I might have one more supplementary on this, is the Premier aware that if the two schedules are farther apart and doctors do opt out and bill for the higher amount, that will effectively be for their patients a very large deterrent fee indeed? Can he assure us that the difference in the schedule being contemplated would not be such as to render the entire plan ineligible under federal legislation which, as he knows, says that in order to be part of the federally approved plan it must not impede or preclude either directly or indirectly, whether by charges made to insured persons or otherwise, reasonable access to insured services by insured persons? Is the Premier familiar with that piece of legislation and can he be absolutely certain that what the government is contemplating will still be within the framework of that piece of legislation?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I know there has been some speculation in the past few days on this matter. I would only re-emphasize that nothing has been settled or decided and that really it is premature to be having this sort of discussion. I am quite aware of the legislation. As with all policy decisions made by this government, we make a very real effort to abide by whatever legislation exists. We are not always right.
Mr. Breaugh: Supplementary: I would like to ask the Premier, since he has just told us that the government opted for higher fees as opposed to deterrents, would he give us his assurance now that the government does not intend to implement that part of the Taylor committee’s recommendations that it referred to as balanced billing?
Hon. Mr. Davis: The Taylor committee’s report is being assessed by the ministry. Ultimately, there may be some recommendations coming to the cabinet. If there are such recommendations, these too will be discussed here rather fully in the House. I think, once again, to take any one particular aspect of the Taylor committee’s report and say we will or we will not, would be somewhat premature. It is the kind of report that needs a rather complete assessment, which it is receiving.
DENISON MINES LIMITED
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question of the Minister of Energy. Is the minister aware that Dome Mines Limited of Toronto and two of its subsidiaries have just agreed to purchase a 10 per cent interest in Denison Mines Limited from Madison Funds Incorporated of New York for $31 million and that at this price all of Denison would have been available to Ontario for $307 million, which is equivalent to the $300 million in interest-free advances that we have put forward for uranium developments in Elliot Lake? Does the minister not feel, with that evidence before the House, that Ontario missed an opportunity to provide the people of Ontario with a more economic uranium supply by acquiring Denison Mines?
Mr. Havrot: You’re only two weeks behind time.
Mr. Samis: The answer is yes.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I do not accept as at all valid the premise on which this question is asked. It says the mines “would have been available.” That assumes they would have. There is no shred of evidence to say that in fact all that stock would have been available.
Mr. Deans: There are ways of doing it though.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Did the government, in fact, investigate to see whether Denison was available, and is it the minister’s position, if a company refuses to sell because of ideological reasons, that he should just simply take that decision lying down?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I think the evidence on that subject is available in voluminous amounts, based on the deliberations of the select committee which looked at this thing.
Mr. Reed: Mr. Speaker, now that the minister is obviously very satisfied with the position taken by his government in terms of the purchase of uranium, has he made any concerted efforts, since the time of that signing, to deal with the federal government in order to establish a two-price system for indigenous uranium?
Mr. Deans: How about the indigenous energy?
Hon. Mr. Davis: How about the indigenous gas?
Mr. Warner: Talk about a two-price system! Talk to Gillespie about that.
Hon. B. Stephenson: How about oil and gas?
Mr. Reed: We are not net importers of uranium.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Does the hon. minister have any response to that question?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: We are exploring this question with the federal government, as we are other matters relating to world prices on other energy commodities.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Denison Mines, which is being bid for, is also bidding; and is the minister aware that Denison has recently bid $158 million to acquire a one-third interest in the Key Lake uranium deposits in Saskatchewan? Has the government attached any condition to the profits that Denison Mines will earn from its contract for Elliot Lake uranium with Ontario Hydro in order to ensure that those profits are reinvested in this province and not elsewhere in the world?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Elsewhere in the world? Saskatchewan is in another country, is it?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I thought Saskatchewan would be one place you would approve of.
Mr. S. Smith: The NDP wants a financial barrier to the rest of Canada so you can’t take your dollars out of Ontario into Saskatchewan.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I will take that question under advisement, Mr. Speaker. It’s a ridiculous question to begin with, but I’ll still take it under advisement.
Mr. Conway: Reuben, you left the NDP at the right time.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question for the Treasurer: Since he is committed to improving tourism in Ontario, can the Treasures explain how he justifies removing the provincial sales tax on tourist accommodation while, at the same time, allowing provincial campground rates in Ontario to increase by up to 75 per cent, thus putting them at a level which is not competitive with other neighbouring jurisdictions?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I don’t accept the last part of that question, and perhaps the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. F. S. Miller) might have something to say about it.
There is another competitive aspect: I don’t think it’s any secret that, in fact, we undercharge for services in our own campgrounds, thereby putting at a very serious competitive disadvantage those in the private sector who operate similar enterprises --
Mr. Laughren: That’s really where it’s at.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- and whom we would very much like to encourage and, in fact, do encourage. By holding our own rates down, we make it very difficult for those in the private sector in the campground industry, of whom there are many who are doing well and making a significant contribution to this economy. I would doubt, however, that that would be a consideration the hon. member would take into account.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Is the minister aware, to take one neighbouring state, that in the state of Michigan they charge $2, compared with the forthcoming $5 charge in Ontario for an unserviced campsite --
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: No, no. That is not true.
Mr. Cassidy: -- and that they charge $5, compared with a forthcoming $7 in this province, for a serviced campsite? Has the minister determined what effect differentials like those will have on tourism by campers in Ontario?
An hon. member: Why don’t you move to Michigan?
Mr. Martel: You go to the Bahamas.
Mr. Deans: Why don’t you camp in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I would suggest that the leader of the third party put that question to the Minister of Natural Resources, but I indicate again what I said before: We are also interested in fair competition with those in the private sector within Ontario and we aim to maintain our respect for fair competition with them.
Mr. Deans: That’s what drove the price of housing up. That exact same policy drove the price of land up in Ontario.
Mr. Samis: Supplementary: Could the Treasurer tell us, in view of reports in the Ottawa press on the weekend that certain operators in the Ottawa region were not passing on the reduction, whether he is doing any follow-up to see that the tourists in Ontario get the benefits of that seven per cent removal?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I’m not aware of such reports. I’ll have a look at them.
Mr. S. Smith: What about when the minimum wage makes us non-competitive? What does the hon. member think of that?
Mr. Foulds: I think maybe you should go on minimum wage, Stuart.
Mr. Swart: Is the Treasurer not aware that the rates of the private camp operators usually follow those set by the provincial parks, and therefore there will likely be a very substantial increase in all of the rates, which will be a deterrent to the tourist industry? Would he be prepared to comment on this?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: My experience would be that it’s the other way around.
Mr. G. I. Miller: I have a question for the Premier and I would like to direct it to the Premier, though part of the answer may have to come from the Minister of the Environment. Can the Premier inform me whether a decision has been reached by the Ministry of the Environment to establish a liquid industrial waste treatment facility in the city of Nanticoke in the region of Haldimand-Norfolk, and does he realize the extreme opposition to this proposed facility by residents of the area, to the extent that I have on my desk 1,200 signatures from people voicing their objections? With his permission, I would like to hand these petitions to the Premier today.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member is asking me a question as to whether or not I would accept the signatures that he is sending across during the question period, the answer to that is yes. I always made an effort to accommodate his constituents before he became a member, I do so while he is a member, and will at that point in time in the future when we will once again have representation from that particular great geographic area on this side of the House.
Mr. Kerrio: You don’t have the addresses to prove it.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, after those kind of remarks, can the Premier give an answer to the first part of the question?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I would suggest the first part of the question might be properly directed to the Minister of the Environment.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, can the Minister of the Environment advise me whether a decision has been made on the industrial waste site being advocated in the city of Nanticoke in the region of Haldimand-Norfolk?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, if the hon. member is asking if a decision has been made by the cabinet, maybe the Premier should have answered that, but I’ll tell him no.
Mr. S. Smith: Pass the buck.
Mr. Warner: That was a short stay in the cabinet.
Mrs. Campbell: Obviously neither of them can answer it.
Mr. Wildman: I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications. In view of the opposition of the band council of the Garden River reserve to MTC’s plan to pave the shoulders of Highway 17 through the reserve, expressed to the minister at a meeting we both attended a few weeks ago, and the government’s commitment to restraint in expenditures, does he intend to proceed with the contract without modification?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Yes, I intend to proceed with it, as I stated to the chief and the band council that day. I also agreed to take into consideration possible signing and other things that we might do to accommodate some of their concerns.
Mr. Wildman: Has the minister also considered the proposals made by the band council for indications of MTC’s good faith and for the paving of only three feet on either side of the road, rather than the 10 feet stipulated in the contract?
Hon. Mr. Snow: No, Mr. Speaker, we don’t feel that would be a suitable solution to the problem.
Mr. Nixon: You should have a four-lane highway up there.
Hon. Mr. McCague: The hon. member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) asked me about the spill in the Niagara River last week. We are aware that the Olin Corporation did, indeed, discharge excessive quantities of mercury to the Niagara River but do not know of the specific quantity.
Immediately we became aware of the discharge, my staff contacted the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to obtain details of the discharge. We found that the company had provided the state with false information concerning the concentrations and quantities discharged over a seven-year period. The company apparently made a voluntary disclosure of these activities.
The state is not aware of the actual amount discharged but considers the figure of 38 tons to be highly exaggerated and thinks the amount is closer to the company’s revised figure of 5.17 tons but it is carrying out further investigations. Information which was provided to the state in the past and of which we were aware through our discussions with the state indicated that the company was regularly in compliance with its permit.
The United States EPA is proceeding to prosecute the company and three former employees. New York state is obtaining additional data and was understandably quite reluctant to disclose further information because of the pending court action.
Notwithstanding this, I have written Mr. Peter Berie, commissioner of the department, to express my concern and obtain a full report of the situation. With regard to the hazard to human health, mercury discharge to the water course poses no direct threat. Any hazard to human health would be as a result of eating fish containing excessive amounts of mercury, and we are continuing to sample and monitor the fish.
Mr. Kerrio: I have a new question, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: A new question? The hon. minister has the answer to another question.
Mr. B. Newman: I have a supplementary.
Mr. Deans: Why can’t the minister answer them one at a time?
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Windsor-Walkerville.
Mr. B. Newman: Would the minister care to tell us just exactly the date on which he first found out that Olin Chemicals was dumping mercury and mercury contaminated compounds into the Niagara River?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I personally found out about it the same day as the hon. member for Niagara Falls, who read it in the paper.
Mrs. Campbell: How does the minister know?
Mr. Speaker: The hon. minister has the answer to another question.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Wentworth (Mr. Deans) asked a question on Friday.
The region of Wentworth is responsible for monitoring and controlling municipal and industrial waste being deposited into the upper Ottawa landfill site, and for sampling, testing, recording and controlling any leachate emanating from the site. My staff have also carried out leachate investigation and have instituted monitoring procedures to determine the effect of the landfill operations on Red Hill Creek.
The most recent inspection reports dated November 17 and November 22, 1977, of inspections conducted by ministry staff, are being forwarded separately. These investigations have not demonstrated any detectable adverse effects on Red Hill Creek stemming from the disposal of industrial liquid wastes at the site. Any pollution from the industrial waste in Red Hill Creek would be mostly in the dissolved form and, therefore, it could be detected by normal sampling procedures even under high flow conditions. Concentrations, however, would be diluted in this case.
In discussions with the staff of the region, it was learned that they recently became aware of some industrial liquid waste being deposited into the site that appeared to be suitable for disposal by other means or that appeared to have an excessive concentration of some metals. It is understood that the region, as a matter of prudence, took prompt action to ban access of these materials to the site until a more thorough investigation could be carried out.
The follow-up investigations revealed that some liquids can, in fact, be disposed of more efficiently by other means. However, the metals detected in the sampling program were in the solid form similar to the metal on tin cans and thus would not gain access to Red Hill Creek. It is stressed that the action taken by the region was a precautionary measure and not a result of any detrimental effects being found in Red Hill Creek.
It may also be worth noting that the Ottawa Street site has been used for approximately 20 years by the city of Hamilton. The amounts of deposited industrial waste in liquid form have been recently dramatically decreased by the introduction of the solidification program and by the recycling of oil recovered from the waste.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. provincial Treasurer has the answer to a question asked previously.
Mr. Foulds: That will be a switch.
FIRST MINISTERS’ CONFERENCE
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, on March 30, the Leader of the Opposition requested that I provide him with information regarding the package of materials distributed by the government entitled, “Ontario at the Conference of First Ministers on the Economy.”
The package, sir, was mailed to about 90,000 Ontarians across the province. Another 2,000 copies have been made available to the government book store to respond to public requests for this material. It is available in either English or French. The total cost of this distribution was $154,000 --
Mr. Bolan: What? Shame!
Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- including printing, postage and handling. A sample of the groups across the province which received the material are insurance companies, credit union managers, real estate brokers, doctors, lawyers, manufacturers and union executives.
Mr. Conway: What, no plumbers?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: For this last group, the Ontario Federation of Labour was kind enough to make available to us its current mailing list, as did several other organizations.
Mr. Bolan: What about the unemployed?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: The purpose of this broad distribution was clearly set out in the letter from the Premier (Mr. Davis) which accompanied this material, to provide as many citizens as possible with an opportunity to comment on the Ontario proposal to the conference and the conclusions reached by the first ministers.
An hon. member: Why didn’t you run an ad?
Mr. S. Smith: Some of them could read the newspapers.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I’m sure the members opposite would agree the Ontario proposals played an important part in the conference and deserve a more detailed consideration by the people of the province.
Mr. Peterson: Don’t assume anything like that. Don’t insult us.
Mr. S. Smith: At a cost of $154,000?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Second, the English-language media coverage of the conference was far from complete. Neither English-language television network provided full, live coverage.
Mr. S. Smith: That’s pure propaganda.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Third, the process of devising a medium-term economic strategy for Canada is a continuing one.
Mr. Wildman: How much time does the minister want?
Mr. Conway: Only Gallup polls are more expensive.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: In my view, the first ministers made a positive beginning in February, and they intend to meet again in November; in these circumstances, consulting with the people of Ontario on their number one concern -- job creation and economic development -- is, to my way of thinking, just plain good common sense.
Mr. Martel: Too bad it wouldn’t be the government’s.
Mr. Samis: Then came the budget.
Mr. Martel: What in the budget created a job? What jobs did the Treasurer create? He has such concern.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: Mr. Speaker, I have a response to a question by the member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan) last Friday who asked if it would be possible, in view of this government’s interest in energy conservation, to eliminate the retail sales tax on thermal blankets for greenhouses. In the past, those greenhouse operators who produced food were entitled to exemption on thermal blankets for greenhouses as farm equipment while those who produced flowers were not entitled to the exemption.
Mr. Speaker, I ‘am pleased to inform the House that we are in the process of preparing a change in the regulation dealing with farming which will include all greenhouse operators under the definition of “farming.” Consequently, effective March 8 of this year, which was the date of the budget, all greenhouse operators will be entitled to exemption on their purchases of thermal blankets for greenhouses.
Mr. Reed: Since the minister has taken the initiative and demonstrated his interest in energy conservation, I wonder if he would now extend the tax exemption to stove pipes.
Mr. Speaker: That’s not really supplementary. The hon. member for Niagara Falls.
Mr. Kerrio: Thank you, Mr. Speaker; I have a question of the Premier. In answer to a supplementary question on March 3, regarding subsidization of the big three, the Premier made some comments that I think were valid, and I just wondered if he has decided on a particular policy as it relates to incentives to the big three to locate in Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to know the hon. member recognizes the validity of everything I say.
Mrs. Campbell: Oh, no; that’s not what he said.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh, didn’t he say that?
Mr. Ruston: Not quite.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I thought that’s what he meant.
Mr. Speaker, just to add to this discussion, I did communicate to the Prime Minister my concern about this province or any province getting into, shall we say a bidding war in terms of location of major capital plants of this or any other nature. I reminded the Prime Minister of our discussions at the first ministers’ conference related to the auto pact and the automotive industry, and pointed out that I was concerned about the principle of having to get into this type of situation with those particular corporations. At the same time, Mr. Speaker, we are keeping something of an open mind, because we want this kind of investment within the province, but we would much prefer to have it done in the spirit of the auto pact rather than by having some major capital appropriation made to any of the big four. The Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Rhodes) has commented on this as well as the Treasurer and myself.
There’s no question that some states of the union, and perhaps, sister provinces, are taking a somewhat different approach. This is one reason we are meeting with the auto companies again in the next few days, and we will continue to keep a very close eye on it. I do emphasize that we are reluctant to get into a situation where we have large scale capital funding in order to attract an industry that under the spirit of the Act should be locating here in any event.
Mr. Kerrio: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker. I wonder, then, if a survey has been made of production capacity in automobile making and parts, and to what degree do the auto manufacturers really owe us a future in the manufacturing of autos and parts in Canada, and in the province of Ontario specifically?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Obviously, we have a particular interest in the province of Ontario. I must confess I am not sure that the auto pact specifies the province of Ontario. I think it refers to Canada, and so it is difficult for me to comment other than as it relates to our own province. Obviously, we would like to see the bulk of this investment take place in our own province, but I don’t think the auto pact precludes the possibility of some of it taking place in our sister provinces, and I am sure the hon. member wouldn’t want to preclude the possibility of that happening on occasion, knowing the very fair-minded type of person he is.
In terms of what is presently going on, we are discussing not just the existing figures but the publicly stated figures of the industry as to their tentative plans over the next several years. It is very difficult to develop figures that are based on possible investment. I can get figures for the hon. member relating to the state of the auto pact, say in 1977; I don’t think we can get them for 1978 yet. We are really talking about future investment at this precise moment.
Mr. Makarchuk: Supplementary: In view of the fact that the Premier has written letters regarding the auto pact to the federal minister who is supposed to be in charge, can he indicate at this time whether he has received a reply, whether he intends to get a reply or whether he has given up hope of getting any kind of reply from the federal government?
Mr. Worton: Where there’s life there’s hope.
Mr. Makarchuk: I’m not sure there’s life.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I always live in hope.
Mr. Cooke: Supplementary: When the Premier is meeting with the executives from the big four, what approach does he plan on taking with these people? Does he have any proposals to give to them in order to encourage Chrysler in particular to keep the 750 jobs at the truck plant in Windsor? What approach does the Premier plan on taking with these people, or is it just an information meeting?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I can assure the hon. member we will certainly make it very clear to Chrysler that we are concerned about not only the maintenance of existing employment, but the potential in terms of whatever future investment they may be contemplating as a corporation. We will be dealing with both.
Mr. Breaugh: I have a question for the Minister of Health. It is a little difficult to find hospitals with expansions going on, but I did find two, and I have a question relating to both of them. The Peel Memorial Hospital, which is well-represented in this Legislature, and the Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital, also well-represented in this Legislature, both have expansion programs on for this current year.
Hon. B. Stephenson: What’s the second one?
Mr. Breaugh: It’s the Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital in Petrolia.
Mr. Nixon: Where’s Petrolia? Is that Lambton riding?
Mr. Breaugh: It’s in Lambton. In the case of these two hospitals which have expansionary programs and yet at the same time are trying to live with the ministry’s budget operating restrictions, will we see the phenomenon this year of hospitals closing beds in one ward while they open up new beds in new additions?
Mrs. Campbell: Again.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: First of all, I want to agree with the comments about the quality of representation in the two ridings concerned; I think we all agree with that in all parties.
Mr. Wildman: They will have to increase the size of the beds.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Let the record show I paused to let the applause to that die down.
Mr. Foulds: Let the record show there was a short pause.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I am sure members will find in a number of parts of the province that the uses to which certain beds are put will change during the year. They will see in some cases active treatment beds become chronic care beds and they will perhaps see obstetrical beds become medical-surgical beds and that sort of thing. I don’t carry around in my head the facts and figures to do with all of the almost 250 hospitals -- who is doing what and who has got new programs and in what ward.
Mr. Lewis: Why not?
Mrs. Campbell: Just for Tory ridings.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Certainly, in the case of Peel Memorial they have been given the go-ahead to proceed with an additional 60 beds. Their architects are working on it now. There are a number of projects like that around the province. There are also as many or more projects involving the rationalization of existing facilities to make sure they are put to the most effective and economic use. As I stated, with almost 250 hospitals I can’t carry all the figures around in my head.
Mr. Deans: You are speaking too quickly again.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: If the member would like me to find out for him from the area planning co-ordinators what these two particular hospitals are doing vis-à-vis their budgets for this year, I will certainly be glad to get that information for him; or it could be that if he wanted he could get it directly from the hospitals himself.
Mr. Breaugh: Supplementary: The question was not related to rationalization of bed use. I want to know will we see the phenomenon of certain wards in hospitals being closed and those beds not used at all, while we have expansion and new beds provided in other parts of the same hospital?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: It could happen; for instance, if a hospital is opening up a day-surgery unit and a traditional ward was closed down and something near the emergency area or the operating theatres was opened for this purpose, that’s possible. Every hospital, of course, is different. The layouts are different and sometimes in order to make the most effective use of the facility it means closing down one area and opening up another. But --
Mr. Warner: That’s not good practice, Dennis.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: It is good practice.
Mr. Bradley: My question is for the Minister of Education, Mr. Speaker. In view of the policy of the Ministry of Community and Social Services to phase out training schools and to integrate the children from them into the various communities across the province, would the minister indicate to the House what special provision for funding he has made to various boards of education so that they can accommodate the needs of these children? I think we can assume such funding would be over and above what one would expect from the children who are in the present schools in terms of special education, special training for teachers and special programs.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, under the Education Act and the general legislative grant regulations, the province pays for these services to children, such as the hon. member has indicated, that are provided by local boards. There’s a special arrangement and special payment for services provided to students from those homes or community facilities going into the local schools. There is also provision for the local school boards to provide educational services to teachers and supplies into various community institutions that happen to be in their jurisdiction.
Mr. Bradley: Supplementary: Could the minister indicate to the House in general terms -- I recognize he wouldn’t have specific figures -- how the various boards of education have been responding to this particular policy? Has he received further representation from boards or from organizations representing those boards as to the need for further funding in this area?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I’m not aware that anybody is in the need of further funding. It’s my recollection that the provisions we have provide for close to 100 per cent payment by the province for services in this area; either for the students attending the school in n local board jurisdiction where they don’t have taxpaying parents, or for the services provided in an institution.
I do know there is concern in certain parts of the province that too many of these facilities will be in their particular jurisdiction. Some of the boards and some of the directors have spoken to me about this concern and whether they will be able to provide all the services that would be necessary if a whole host of community facilities suddenly ended up in their board’s jurisdiction. We’re working with them on that.
Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: When the minister was consulting with the directors of education and some of the boards about this change in policy, did any of them bring to his attention their concern that many of the young people have behavioural problems that are treated better in separate settings? Was he told they anticipate, unfortunately, some problems in the general classroom setting when these young people move into that setting?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I think it’s fair to say that it’s easy to generalize in this area. There’s a great tendency today to believe that regularization -- putting everyone in a regular classroom setting -- is the best answer and that’s the way we should be moving in every case; of course that really isn’t so. Each individual child must be looked at, and in some cases provision of a program in a regular classroom will present a problem. That concern has been expressed to me.
But on the other hand, for a long time we’ve felt that the only way to treat a lot of people was to create special facilities and special classes and keep them away from the regular school program and the regular school stream. We’re now trying to hit a middle course that provides regular programs for those that can take those programs, but not forgetting there will always be some students who will need some specialized form of facility or class.
Mr. Deans: I have a question of the Minister of Energy. Did he read the report in which Mr. R. J. Toombs was quoted as saying there might have to be oil and energy rationing in Canada by the year 1982?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Yes, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Deans: He did; good.
Mrs. Campbell: Did the minister read Alexander Graham Bell on the same subject?
Mr Deans: I’m sorry, what was that? I know it must have been important.
Mrs. Campbell: I asked if the minister read Alexander Graham Bell on the same subject.
Mr. Deans: Did the minister read Alexander Graham Bell on the same subject? No; okay. I just wanted the minister to answer and save a supplementary.
Mr. Martel: He can’t read.
Mr. Deans: Given the nature of that report and the problems that that obviously brings to mind, has the minister given any thought to whether Ontario might make representation to the energy board with regard to the continued sale of natural gas out of the country in very large quantities, and the fact that in many instances the use of natural gas and the use of oil is interchangeable, so we could in fact make some rationalization and change?
Does the minister think it appropriate that we continue to sell natural gas? Today’s report is of another 250 million cubic feet daily to be sold, that is another 250 million cubic feet to add to God knows how many other millions of cubic feet we sell. Is the minister prepared to make some representation with regard to energy conservation at that level; keeping it here in Canada for our use and rationalizing the uses to which it can be put?
An hon. member: Dog in the manger.
Mr. Deans: Dog in the manger nothing.
Mr. Kerrio: The minister didn’t even do that with uranium.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Certainly this whole very complicated question of energy supply and how much we require domestically, and how much we should sell to other countries -- is, as the hon. member opposite has implied, a very complicated and complex question.
Mr. Haggerty: What is the minister doing about it?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: And it certainly needs to be constantly reviewed.
Mr. S. Smith: That’s Joe Clark’s policy.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: In this particular report that the member has cited, I would have to question some of the statements, some of the assumptions, some of the conclusions that have been reached by that author, because I suspect some of it is based on conjecture more than on fact.
In other aspects of the report, it may well be that he is operating on a very solid basis, but certainly at this given point in history it remains very difficult to know really how much reserves we have in natural gas for our own purposes and how much we can sell.
Mr. Foulds: How about this given point in time?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: We don’t know how much natural gas may be available if we were to embark on a Polar Gas pipeline proposition. There are people who are saying now that in fact the Americans don’t need all the natural gas we probably would be selling via northern pipelines. There are all kinds of questions and conjectures and everything else in this field.
Mr. Peterson: Tell us what you do know, Reuben.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I can only promise members opposite that the whole area is something we will be actively considering and following as part of our energy policy.
Mr. Warner: We should export you.
Mr. Deans: Supplementary question: Since the minister doesn’t know --
An hon. member: Do you?
Mr. Deans: I don’t know either; but since the minister doesn’t know, and since it is becoming increasingly more apparent that we are not going to have a sufficient amount of oil-based products to meet our needs in the future, doesn’t it make sense that wherever possible we should attempt the transition from the oil base to the natural gas base, and that we should attempt to utilize the product that is in fact here in Canada; and that we should stop selling it off until we do know?
Mr. Conway: Aren’t you glad you left the CCF, Reuben?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I would certainly agree with that observation and I thought I would include the energy of electrical power in that as well, because that is something we can produce at home without having to import it if we use uranium as we are doing. But I think the hon. member opposite also knows that while you can replace some oil with natural gas for certain purposes, you cannot do it for every purpose.
Mr. Deans: That’s all I am saying; I didn’t say you could.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: We have not yet invented the automobile that can use natural gas; at least as far as I know.
Mr. Reed: Oh yes we have.
OMA-OHIP FEE SCHEDULES
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, my question is of the Minister of Health and deals with the negotiations in the matter of the OHIP-OMA fee relationship. Can the minister assure this House, following upon his answers on Friday, that the result of those negotiations will in no way alter the universality of our Ontario health insurance program and that whatever is decided upon by the government and the Ontario Medical Association will respect that portion of the Medical Care Act of Canada which says that “it must be based on a provision for reasonable compensation for insured services rendered by the medical practitioner and does not impede or preclude, either directly or indirectly, whether by charges made to insured persons or otherwise, reasonable access to insured services by insured persons?”
Can the minister assure this House that that provision of the Medical Care Act Canada will be respected and that the universality of the Ontario health insurance scheme will in no way be altered by the present negotiations?
Mr. Speaker: It seems to me that question has already been asked and answered.
Mr. Foulds: No, it has not been answered.
Mr. Conway: It was indeed asked by my leader of the Premier, but I think it is sufficiently important that it should be redirected to the Minister of Health since it is a matter of what I determine to be urgent public concern.
Mr. S. Smith: The Premier didn’t answer the question.
Mr. Nixon: He passed the buck.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I really can’t add very much to what the Premier said earlier.
Mr. Makarchuk: You are adding nothing to nothing.
Mr. Nixon: He didn’t say anything.
Mr. Conway: Can the Minister of Health assure this House that what the Treasurer stated in his budget of March 7, 1978, where he pointed out “that we as a government argued eloquently against deterrent fees, quite rightly pointing out that such a policy would deny access to our high quality of health care system” --
Mr. Speaker: That question has also already been asked and answered.
HOME RENEWAL PROGRAM
Ms. Bryden: I have a question of the Minister of Housing. In October, 1976, the Ontario home renewal program was extended to cover rental accommodation for low and middle-income groups and the usual housing-by-headlines press releases were issued extolling this program and promising an expenditure of $2 million in the 1976-77 fiscal year and future payments based on the need established in that first year. I would like to ask the minister how much was actually spent on this program in 1976-77 and whether any expenditures were made in 1977-78 or are contemplated for this year, or is this another housing program which the government is quietly phasing out?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I have not got the exact sum of money that was spent in 1976-77, but I will be pleased to get that for the member. Let me assure her that this program and a great number of others in the field of housing are now being reviewed by the Ministry of Housing for ‘the province of Ontario with the federal government and CMHC. I would hope that some time later this month there will be an announcement relating to national and provincial housing policies for the future.
Ms. Bryden: Supplementary: I take it if it is being reviewed that it may be being phased out. I would like to ask the minister how can he justify an allocation of only $60,000 from the first year’s $2 million to the city of Toronto? That would cover only six units, if the maximum of $10,000 was taken up. There has been no further allocation in the next fiscal year to the city. How can he justify that in the city of Toronto where the housing need is so great?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I think the member should realize that it is upon application, not just the province deciding to hand it out wherever they think it should go. Municipalities apply for it, and the program is in place. As for phasing it out, I would not accept the remark that we are phasing it out this moment except to say that it is being reviewed in relation to other programs that are presently in place in Ontario and federally.
Mr. Warner: You should phase out the ministry.
Mr. Cassidy: Your reviews all mean phasing out.
Mr. Sweeney: I have a question of the Minister of Education. Could I have his reaction to this headline:
Mr. Foulds: It will be unique.
Mr. Sweeney: -- “Will Risk Failing of Pupils to Raise Quality of Education,” referring to teachers in the Huron public school board?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I don’t know that it is really proper for me to comment upon what goes through the mind of a headline writer for the Toronto Globe and Mail.
Mr. Wildman: Headline hunter.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I don’t know what they’re getting at. I read the story and it comments on the teachers’ strike that’s presently going on, in Huron county I believe. As my friend knows, the Education Relations Commission and all concerned are working night and day to try and bring a successful conclusion to that very knotty problem.
Mr. Sweeney: Can the minister reconcile the decision by Mr. Owen Shime of the Education Relations Commission that he will not intervene, and the comments of the five secondary school principals who have warned both the teachers and the board that the education of 4,500 students is in jeopardy?
Mr. Ruston: Right; Shime won’t do anything.
Hon. Mr. Wells: First let me say that I haven’t talked to those principals nor received any communication that I have seen from them. But I would be very surprised if what they had said is exactly as was reported in that story. I think that Owen Shime and the members of the Education Relations Commission are very diligently carrying out their jobs. If they feel that the students’ education is in jeopardy and that some action should be taken, they will recommend that action to the government.
UNIVERSITY HIRING PRACTICES
Mr. Martel: A question of the Minister of Colleges and Universities: In the material which he submitted to me concerning the hiring of Canadian faculty at our universities, can he indicate if the four universities still well below the 70 per cent in hiring Canadian staff have given him any reason as to why they can’t reach the same level as the rest of the universities have in the province?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I think in reply, Mr. Speaker, I would say to the hon. member that all of the university presidents are aware of my concern on this item. As a matter of fact, I think I’ve been quoted rather extensively as being hawkish on this. So to say that they’re not aware would be anything but correct -- and I’m not suggesting that the member said that. They have come to my office and indicated on a direct basis, one by one, why they were not able in this instance to hire faculty members other than the way they did. I don’t think there’s any doubt that they have made it their personal concern to look at these hirings and to do the very best they can. Those situations change year to year.
Mr. Martel: Supplementary: In view of the fact that the four in question are still hiring only in the vicinity of 50 per cent new faculty, which is less than the number they already employ, at that rate is the ministry not aware that they’ll never reach a 70 per cent level because approximately half their hiring is non-Canadian?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I think in that one instance the hon. member refers to, this year was particularly low at the same institution -- if we’re thinking of the same one -- and that last year was much better.
The presidents feel that it would be unfair to look at this on a yearly basis, and with that I agree. I think we have to give the policy that we have put in place -- and which we have stated rather forcefully on occasions -- a little more opportunity to become effective. We’re monitoring this yearly and I would think that in the future, particularly given the conditions as they exist today in our faculties, the hon. member will see improvements each and every year. I think, for instance, the president of the University of Windsor has made that very clear and I think he would be the first to admit that was at our insistence.
TRAINING CENTRE STAFF
Mr. Worton: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Community and Social Services: Did the minister and the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Drea) have any input into assisting people who had been long-time employees of this ministry and the Ministry of Correctional Services in avoiding the moving of them from Glendale to Hillcrest or vice versa? This is causing considerable disruption and in some cases putting people out of work. Did ministry people talk to one another to see if they could assist in order to avoid one or two employees being unemployed after long-time service?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, not only have I had some discussions with the hon. Minister of Correctional Services but there was also a considerable amount of work done at the staff level to attempt to ensure that there would, first of all, be no loss of employment without our at least being able to present to the employees an alternative within either the adult corrections system or the juvenile corrections system.
In some instances, it became impossible, as I understand it, to ensure that it would not be necessary for some people to relocate. Given the fact that the facilities which were involved in the transfer were geographically reasonably close to each other, we had hoped the disruption would be minimized and that in some cases the relocation of an individual or a family would not be necessary, but commuting would be possible.
Mr. Worton: Supplementary: In this case, there was a gentleman in charge of stores at Glendale who is supposed to be taking a position at Hillcrest and then there is a maintenance gentleman at Hillcrest who was supposed to be taken to Glendale. I understand that neither of these was given the opportunity by the ministries to discuss this. Both of them were satisfied where they were but now, through the disruption, one if not both of them are going to be without positions.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I do recall the hon. member bringing to my attention one of those individual cases and my following it up with staff in an effort to try to ensure that the individual would not be without employment as a result of the changes. I was not specifically aware of the other. If the hon. member would bring those two cases to my attention, I would be pleased to see if we could resolve them with the Ministry of Correctional Services.
Mr. Yakabuski: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education. Because of the concern demonstrated by both parents and students alike with regard to, first, the teachers’ withdrawal of certain services in the high schools of Renfrew county and then the lock-out of these teachers by the boards, can the minister advise the House what new developments or what progress has been made by the negotiator from the ERC in the last few days?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, all I can tell my friend is that Tom O’Connor, who I believe is the mediator in that particular situation, is still working on it and is available, and he and the Education Relations Commission are attempting to, as I said earlier, arrive at a satisfactory settlement in the dispute.
Mr. Yakabuski: Supplementary: Does the ministry plan or contemplate any changes or amendments to Bill 100 whereby the kind of work to rule that is carried out in Renfrew county high schools could be better defined? If it had been, it would not have resulted in the lock-out we are faced with now.
Hon. Mr. Wells: No, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that the proceedings of the standing social development committee, when considering the annual report of the Ministry of Health, be recorded, transcribed and printed by Hansard in the format of the daily House Hansard.
Motion agreed to.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
ESTIMATES, MINISTRY OF GOVERNMENT SERVICES
House in committee of supply.
Mr. Chairman: The hon. minister.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. McClellan: Could the minister tell us what he does?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I consider it a great honour today to be chosen for the first estimates to come before this House. As you know, it was 10 weeks ago last Saturday, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, when I assumed my responsibilities as Minister of Government Services.
Before proceeding with the discussion, and the various votes and items, I would like to make a few brief remarks concerning the Ministry of Government Services.
Mr. Chairman: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The operations of the ministry are grouped into three major programs: service of accommodation; supply and services; and management and information.
1. The accommodation program has the responsibility for the provision and maintenance of accommodation for the ministries and agencies of the government.
2. The supply and services program involves the provisions of a wide variety of centralized services and facilities to achieve efficiency and economy in the supply of purchases, goods and services, as well as certain commonly used government support services.
3. Management and information services is responsible for the provision of information systems design and computer programming and management consulting services.
The report recently tabled in the design and construction program, 1978-79, outlines the accommodation projects completed and those planned for this year. In addition, the ministry’s annual report, 1976-77, provides information on the achievement of all ministry programs.
My ministry is very mindful of the importance of ensuring fair competition and economy in the award of government contracts. This is accomplished through publicly advertised tenders and the award of contracts on the basis of the lowest acceptable and responsible tender. Complete information on tenders and contracts awarded are published each year in the ministry’s annual report.
I will conclude these brief remarks by saying that the 1978-79 estimates of the Ministry of Government Services are within the target established by the government and in accordance with the government program of expenditure restraint. I will be pleased to answer questions concerning the estimates of my ministry.
Mr. Ruston: I am sure we’d all like to congratulate the minister on his appointment to Government Services, having been in the cabinet for a year or so before that as Minister without Portfolio. We’re glad that he has been assigned a particular position, although I’m sure that this minister was always able to find things to do, even if it was opening up new buildings in western Ontario with whomever was building them, or opening up new highways, or whatever there was.
I would suppose, as Minister of Government Services, being the real politician that he is from way back -- he’s not that old, I don’t mean that --
Mr. Foulds: Yes, he is.
Mr. Ruston: I guess we call them the pork barrel politicians, Mr. Chairman, where, if the government was building any new buildings or new bridges, this minister would be there.
It seems too bad that they’re cutting down his total budget from previous years because that isn’t going to give him the opportunity that he likes. He does very well, I must say. He attended the opening of a street reconstruction in the town of Essex and presented the mayor and myself with a new tie that day. I think I still have it, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Samis: Is he left-handed or right-handed?
Mr. Ruston: However, that is one of the things in politics that people accept to a great extent since they like to have the minister down into their community, Nat it does bother me somewhat that we are cutting back when we have an unemployment rate of more than seven per cent in the province; and in some areas it is much higher.
At one time the government was supposed to be in the building business when times were kind of tough and we had high unemployment. I can recall the former leader of our party, five or so years ago, saying to the Treasurer and the then Minister of Government Services that when times were booming and there was very low unemployment, the government should not be constructing buildings for the future -- any new courthouses and things like that -- if they could possibly get along without them, because it’s really government’s place sometimes to kind of pump-prime, and when we have high unemployment that’s when they should build the buildings they will be using for the next 25 or 50 years. So it’s of some concern to me that we see the budget cut down at this time.
One of the new methods the government is using for buildings is the lease-back proposition, where the contractor signs a lease with the government for 20 or 25 years, and at the end of that period the government owns the building and the contractor is then out of the picture. This is easy financing, I suppose, and the government doesn’t really have to get involved. A contractor can go to a bank or another lending institution and, if he has a 25-year lease on a building, I am sure he can go into the bank and walk out with most of the money to build that building and not have to supply too much of his own, because a guaranteed lease with the government is certainly good collateral.
While that’s another system the government has been using over the past few years, I believe I questioned a year or two ago in the estimates -- and there is some difference of opinion -- as to whether that’s the most economical way to provide government buildings. It certainly avoids the government getting into capital debt and having to borrow the money to build, and it leaves the private sector to furnish the money. So it has that advantage. But at the end of the 20 or 25 years most buildings need a certain amount of rebuilding, and of course the government would be involved in that and it could run into a fair expenditure after 25 years. There are, as I say, some different thoughts on that, and when we get into each individual vote, I would like to get into a little more detail and see whether the minister and his officials have any figures as to how that does work out as to cost.
One of the other matters I will be bringing up under the proper vote is the matter of the Burwash centre, south of Sudbury. I understand that some of it has been sold to the federal government for about $350,000 but that there is a great land mass there yet that the province still owns. You will recall there was a considerable sum of money spent in 1974 and 1975 to reconstruct that edifice and the surrounding buildings, and then it was closed. We are concerned with what might be done there to make it into some kind of an area where we can get some employment and whether it can be used for some form of an industrial area or whatever. It certainly is something we have to look at, because there is an awful big acreage there and I don’t think the province is making enough use of it now, considering the cost of maintaining it. That’s something we will be bringing up a little later.
As far as the total estimates are concerned, I don’t think it’s necessary to engage in diatribe or to make a long speech on the Ministry of Government Services. It’s something that’s more or less a caretaking job. I guess that’s what you would call the minister -- a caretaker of the public buildings in the province of Ontario to see that they are maintained properly. We have some things we want to bring up under the proper vote on employment of contract help in maintaining the buildings. Members’ services and the members’ share of this particular building, I am sure will be brought up under a later vote -- probably by the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell) and other members of the committee that deals with that. I don’t think I will speak any longer on that.
I will be looking forward to getting into some details of the estimates as we go along, and let it go at that now.
Mr. Davidson: I would be remiss if I did not, in my opening remarks, offer congratulations to the member for Lambton on his appointment to the position of Minister of Government Services. I do so not only on behalf of myself but also on behalf of my colleagues in the New Democratic Party caucus. I would suggest that in this case the appointment is particularly long overdue, given the minister’s true and faithful service to his political party over the years. Be that as it may, we wish him well in his new role, knowing full well the limitations of decision allowed a minister, other than a few, under the present government.
I, too, am new in the role of critic for this ministry, having been the critic for Correctional Services prior to this time. During that period, I also found myself working with a new minister; and although we did not always agree, we found we could work well together. I am confident that this will also be the case with you.
I was a little envious there; the member for Essex North referred to receiving a tie. I’ve never had that pleasure, but maybe one day the minister can accommodate me with a tie.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: We’ll see.
Mr. Davidson: It’s been some five months now since discussion of the 1977-78 estimates for this ministry took place. At that time our previous critic, the member for Hamilton Mountain (Mr. Charlton), raised a number of important items during the debate. We will, of course, be following these through as we go over the normal procedure of voting on the various programs of your ministry. But perhaps by reviewing them now you will be able to have the necessary material available at that time.
Of particular interest and concern was the area of capital construction, the tendering processes carried out in that program, and any follow-up the ministry may or may not do regarding construction projects. Through the member for Hamilton Mountain, we specifically raised the problem of the number of suppliers and contractors who were having difficulty with a company called Embassy Management Limited, and the details relating to these matters can be found on pages G-230 to G-232, Volume 1 of the Legislature of Ontario Debates, 1977.
On page G-232, the then minister, the Hon. Mr. McCague, acknowledged that there was a problem. If I may, I would like to quote his statement, in which he said the following: “The problem of Embassy Management Limited is not an easy one. We are aware there have been some doubtful practices. I personally have not signed a contract with Embassy Management since I became minister. I would be very hesitant to do so, in view of what has come to light in the last few weeks. But I really don’t know under what authority I could refuse to sign a contract if they were low bidder.”
We would like to know if in fact the problems with Embassy Management Limited, or Lamco Services Limited, which is a sister company, have been corrected. Have all of the moneys owed to those people listed by my colleague for Hamilton Mountain been paid in full? We would also like to know if the ministry has applied any pressure on Embassy Management to settle these matters nut of court; and if not why not?
It would also be of interest to us to find out whether or not the ministry has had any further dealings with Embassy Management or Lamco Services Company, given the statement of the previous minister. Surely on its record this company does not deserve to be given any government business at all. There are, no doubt, other companies which conduct business in a similar manner, and it is our opinion that any such companies should simply be rejected in any bid or tender.
Another item raised in the last debate was put forward by the member for Grey (Mr. McKessick). It is also an area of interest to us; that is the number of acres of land owned by the government throughout Ontario. This is something which both opposition parties have been attempting to find out for a long period of time. While we recognize the difficulties faced by the ministry in getting this all put on computer, we have been told it can he accomplished in six months. Since, as pointed out previously, the estimates took place some five months ago, and since the original question had been raised quite some time prior to that, can the minister tell us if this program has been completed? If not, why the delay? And if completed, can he provide us with the figures requested?
Another area of concern to those of us in the New Democratic Party is the tardiness with which this government is carrying out the proposal to decentralize services in the province. We, like others, were pleased with the announcement that the Ministry of Revenue would be moving its head office to the Oshawa area, but the program appears to have been stalled there. We have heard nothing further regarding the decision of other ministries moving out of the Toronto area. Yet by their very nature there are those that should not, in fact, be located in Toronto.
Take, for example, the Ministry of Northern Affairs. Here we have a ministry designed specifically to provide much-needed services to the people of northern Ontario, and where do we find it located? Why in Toronto, of course, as far away from the needs of those requiring the service as one can be without swimming across Lake Ontario. It only makes sense, Mr. Minister, that this particular ministry be located somewhere in northern Ontario --
Mr. Rhodes: Sault Ste. Marie, right on.
Mr. Martel: Come on, John.
Mr. Davidson: -- for example Sudbury, where there is a need for employment -- for the convenience of the people using the services; perhaps you can tell us if there is any move in that direction.
It is also difficult for us to comprehend the necessity of maintaining the Ministry of Natural Resources in the Toronto area. Here again we have a ministry which by its very nature could be and should be located outside the city of Toronto, and again we request any information you may be able to give us regarding any contemplated move.
There are others, of course, which should he looking outside of Toronto in an effort to provide a better service to the people of Ontario. If you have any information on this subject we would be pleased to be made aware of it. We will also be raising with you questions relating to the future use of property now under control of your ministry. As an example, we will refer to the buildings and property which were once a part of the Grandview School located in Cambridge.
As you are no doubt aware, the Ministry of Correctional Services has used a small portion of this property to create the new region of Waterloo jail. The Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Drea) has said on many occasions that he has no further use for any more of that property, or for that matter the buildings remaining on the property. I note, however, that under your design and construction program 1978-79, page 31, you have listed for Cambridge an adult training centre, which of course falls under the Ministry of Correctional Services. Prior to raising any questions regarding this, I should perhaps make you aware of the recent history of the Grandview School.
Back in the 1940s the school was a training school for young men -- or boys, as your government saw fit to call them. It served its purpose well in that capacity and the community was aware of its existence. Later it was transformed into a training school for young women and existed as such until 1976, when it was phased out as a school. A portion of the property was maintained by Correctional Services, and the balance of the property turned over to Government Services.
Prior to this taking place, the Ministry of Correctional Services had spent in excess of $100,000 for renovations to buildings on the property. Those renovations included renovating the washroom areas, the showers, the living quarters, the lounges, the entranceways to the property and all that. In addition to this, sometime during the early part of 1972 or 1973 they installed an outdoor swimming pool which cost in excess of $35,000; and they made renovations to the arena, built a lounge area onto the arena, developed soccer fields, softball diamonds, et cetera, which cost an additional amount of over $100,000. Then they turned around and phased out the property.
The reason for doing this was that Grandview was to become a co-educational facility -- these are the reasons for the renovations --
Mr. Laughren: It is called Tory mismanagement, that’s what it is called, Lorne.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: You don’t believe that.
Mr. Davidson: -- which would house both young men and women, but as you are aware, your government changed its policy and Grandview now sits empty, unused -- other than Churchill House, which is now the jail -- and under the control of your ministry. It is my understanding that the estimated value of the remaining buildings and property is somewhere in the neighbourhood of $4 million to $5 million, but there it sits, unused and costing the taxpayers of this province, in addition to the renovation costs, a substantial amount of money in maintenance fees.
Though on a smaller scale, it almost reminds one of the situation at Burwash, where the government saw fit to spend countless millions of dollars on a refurbishing project, only to later close down an institution that was functioning and serving its purpose.
I may point out to you that when I say around $4 million, the renovations that took place in Burwash were the building of a gymnasium and the building of single male quarters. Aluminum sidings and windows were put onto the houses. They repaired the interiors of existing homes. There were road improvements, transformer improvements and cell renovations. That total came to somewhere around $4 million.
Here again we have a property of somewhere in the neighbourhood of 35,000 acres, if I am not mistaken, on which many buildings are located, sitting idle because of the policies of this government. While we are aware that the federal government has purchased a small portion of this property for its use, we would like to know what is to happen with the rest of it. During last fall’s debates we were told by the then minister (Mr. McCague) that the ministry was looking at the optimum use of the property and that the process was under way at that time. I am also given to understand that you have met with the mayor and a delegation from Cambridge regarding the Grandview property.
We will be questioning you regarding these matters during the appropriate votes. Some of the information we would like to have available would be as follows: How many other properties such as Burwash and Grandview are under the control of your ministry? What, if any, decisions are being made with regard to the two properties mentioned? What is the estimated yearly cost for maintenance of the two properties? And do you not as the new minister and a member of this chamber, have a total disregard for any government which would spend millions of dollars of the taxpayers’ money for renovation purposes, only to close down the buildings, render the property useless and allow it to sit there unused for a number of years? Surely this could only happen in the province of Ontario.
In closing, I would like to point out to the minister that the concerns we have raised are not the only ones we intend to deal with. It is our intention to go through these estimates with a fine-tooth comb; we reserve the right to raise many questions under the appropriate vote. These will include questions relating to wages, benefits, working conditions, et cetera, of those persons both within the ministry and those working under contract to your ministry. We will also be discussing the money spent on protocol services, and more important hospitality services provided by your government. We look forward to an interesting discussion during the debate.
Mr. Foulds: A fine opening statement.
Mr. Chairman: Before calling for discussion on item 1, would the minister wish to reply?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes. In reply to the hon. member for Essex North, I would have to say that his remarks are well taken. I have always enjoyed my visits to his area of the province. I like to think it is one of the greatest areas of this province. Just to cross over to my opponent, with your consent, Mr. Chairman, I would be glad to give my tie to the hon. member for Cambridge.
Mr. Reed: Has it get any soup on it?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: It has got lunch on it.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: But if he would wait, I might have a different one that I can present in the upcoming days.
Burwash will certainly be a subject that will be discussed later. The hon. member for Cambridge mentioned Embassy Management. I have not had the best of relationships with Embassy Management. There has been no contract signed with them since I became minister. I would agree with all of your comments respecting them.
Respecting the buildings and the spare space around and within Cambridge, I met with the mayor and officials, and I believe the city manager. I would only answer you to the effect that when we do have government property such as this as surplus property we do circulate it among all ministries before we do anything further to see if other ministries have a use for the property.
As to your suggestion about decentralization: yes, our government is committed to this. As you know, in the 1976 budget the Treasurer suggested that we were committed to decentralization. You have mentioned the Revenue Ministry going to Oshawa. You didn’t mention the OHIP building going to Kingston, and you didn’t mention Northern Affairs.
Mr. Samis: He didn’t mention that you announced that before the election.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The main point is, it is going to proceed; it doesn’t matter when the announcement was made.
Mr. Samis: In time for the next election.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: It’s a fact that it is going to happen.
Northern Affairs doesn’t have an office in Sudbury with an assistant deputy minister. It does have an office in Kenora with an assistant deputy minister. And, of course, I am sure you are all fully aware that the Minister of Northern Affairs does have a private and personal office in the Kenora area. So the ministry is well distributed --
Mr. Foulds: A private and personal office?
Mr. Laughren: Do you call that decentralization, Lorne?
An hon. member: Tokenism, Lorne.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: -- and fully represented in the north.
Mr. Laughren: Is that decentralization? Is that your idea of decentralization?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I would suggest that the Minister of Northern Affairs has taken himself straight across the northern part of the province and has established offices all across.
Mr. Foulds: Is the head office in the north?
Mr. Laughren: That’s Tory decentralization all right.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: With respect to Embassy Management, the member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. Reed), I believe it was, drew this to my attention a few days ago; he does agree to a certain extent with the minister, although he does have some differences in thought and concern.
Mr. Chairman, I am ready to answer any questions that may be brought forth.
Mr. Chairman: If the committee is agreeable, we will discuss vote 801 item by item.
On vote 801, ministry administration program; item 1, main office:
Item 1 agreed to.
On item 2, financial services:
Mr. Ruston: I see the staff in the financial services has been increased by five, from 65 to 70. Are they involved in buying and selling, or what are they involved in? I was just wondering if there was any reason for this when we hear the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) say he is keeping our civil service staff to a kind of a steady stream and yet this minister is increasing that staff by five. Can the minister tell me what financial services entail?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, under item 2 there has been an increase of $44,900.
Mr. Ruston: For staff.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: It’s the conversion of unclassified staff to classified staff.
Items 2 to 8, inclusive, agreed to.
On item 9, ministers without portfolio:
Mr. Chairman: I believe the member for Dovercourt is not in his seat.
Mr. Lupusella: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In relation to item 7, which is described as legal services, can the minister explain to this House --
Mr. Chairman: I believe this was carried.
Mr. Lupusella: I was trying to raise the point, Mr. Chairman, and I hope that I can have your indulgence to raise particular questions in relation to legal services. I am just wondering if the minister can explain to this House what this service is all about and what this money is spent for. Can the minister give us guidelines what this operation of legal services is involving?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Even though the vote is carried, I’ll be very glad to speak about this service. I am sure the hon. member understands that all moneys owed to the government come to this ministry for collection.
Mr. Foulds: I thought it went to the Treasurer.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: No, they come to this ministry for collection.
There are many different real estate transactions that we have to deal with and it is for that reason that; to step up the collection we do require the additional staff.
Mr. Lupusella: Mr. Chairman, if I may reply to the minister’s comment. Can the minister outline how many transactions covered by legal services expenses took place in the previous fiscal year -- 1977-78?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: My answer to that might be a little bit longer, but I would appreciate being able to answer that question fully. The total budget estimate is $436,500. The classified staff is 10 man-years. The complement is not with the Ministry of Government Services but with the Ministry of the Attorney General. The unclassified staff is 10 man-years. At the time of the preparation of this material, unclassified staff has not as yet been converted to the regular staff. The goal is to ensure the legality of the ministry’s operation and to provide legal services for its program and activities.
The legal services are provided by the Ministry of the Attorney General and include legal matters related to property acquisition, leases, expropriation, sale of property, contracts, orders in council, collections, drafting of legislation, and appearing before various courts and administrative tribunals. Of the additional funds, a sum of $30,000 is included in the budget estimates to cover salaries and wages for one additional solicitor and one articling student to handle the additional requirements arising from the collection service activities. The number of writs issued in 1977-78 was 95; the expected number in 1978-79 is 125. Judgments signed, 1977-78, were 58; in 1978-79 it will be 125. Collected, other than for collection services, $196,000 in 1977-78; and we expect $250,000 in 1978-79.
Mr. Lupusella: If I understand the statement properly, the minister has just one solicitor working on that particular branch and from time to time he is using the legal services of the Attorney General. Is this the regular procedure which you are using? You have just one solicitor and the clerk, so you get service from the Attorney General’s office as well?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: In response to the question, we do have four to five solicitors with our department. They’re hired through the Attorney General’s office but we pay them out of our budget.
Mr. Reed: So actually, as I understand it, according to your explanation, Mr. Minister, these lawyers are simply paid by your ministry but they work under the aegis of the Attorney General? Would that also include the Attorney General’s full complement of lawyers? Is his full complement paid by your ministry, or what portion?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: These people, whom I referred to as the four or five, actually worked in our ministry. They are not the complete complement of the Attorney General, as I understand it. As I understand it also, the Attorney General does acquire all lawyers needed by all departments and we pay the ones who work in our ministry through our ministry.
Mr. Reed: Do these lawyers go on loan to other agencies of government and other ministries when there are special project cases to be deliberated, or do they work entirely within the framework of the Ministry of Government Services?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I think these particular lawyers work within the framework of Government Services.
Item 9 agreed to.
Vote 801 agreed to.
On vote 802, provision of accommodation program; item 1, program administration:
Mr. Ruston: With regard to your policy on requiring accommodations of less than 5,000 square feet, I understand you do not put those out to tender at this time.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: For less than 5,000 square feet, one of our agents goes out to the area concerned to see what is available in space, if there is any. Once we find there is sufficient space that there can be competition, it is then advertised for public tenders. Does that answer your question?
Item 1 agreed to.
On item 2, capital construction:
Mr. Charlton: I have a number of questions for the minister under this item. I could start out with the proposed provincial office tower in Hamilton. I understand from statements by the minister that the project is now going to go ahead. Perhaps the minister could tell me: have all of the problems that were related to us last fall during the last estimates with the region and the city of Hamilton been straightened out, and do you have the date for start of construction on that project yet?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: In response to the hon. member, I am sure that he has read the article in the paper in the last few days. About two weeks ago tomorrow I had a letter hand-delivered to the mayor whereby we rejected the proposal by the city of Hamilton for private enterprise to build the necessary accommodations, including an office tower, hotel and recreational convention centre.
In that same letter, I proposed to the mayor that we would give the city of Hamilton up to one year to accept the original proposal that the province had put forth. Under this original proposal, we agreed as the province to pay $5.1 million towards the cost of a convention centre, which would be two storeys on top of the present parking garage in Hamilton, providing the city picked up the balance of that. There was a slight difference between us and the mayor who was in to see me last week with Mr. Bob Morrow and some of the city officials. We estimate the cost of this convention centre at about $17 million while the city estimates it at slightly less, possibly $16 million. However, our proposal was that we would pay the $5.1 million on whatever the cost was and the city would pick up the difference. Following this, if a satisfactory agreement can be reached the province would continue and build an office tower that would cost a similar amount of money -- possibly a little more -- on top of the convention centre.
I would only add that I have spoken with his worship the mayor, as I mentioned, and his controller, Mr. Morrow and the city engineer Mr. Phillips. They put forth another proposal to me and I will be taking that to my colleagues in cabinet. I don’t have sufficient money in my budget this year to proceed with the whole project but I am convinced that I have sufficient money, if we can work out a satisfactory arrangement, to make a start on this building.
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Chairman, I wonder if I might make a comment.
Mr. Chairman: Go ahead.
Mr. Cunningham: I wonder if I may, with the indulgence of the member for Hamilton Mountain, ask a few more questions on this subject. It is of vital concern to all of us in the Hamilton area.
First of all, I’m wondering if either you or your officials could give us some indication as to what the cost has been in terms of the delay associated with this project. It’s been talked about for a long period of time now and your commitment for $5.1 million means less every day as the rate of inflation continues. I’m also wondering if you’ve given some consideration to possibly sharing with other members of the Legislature the proposal that has been put forth so that we might offer our suggestions on it. I know we’re all vitally concerned, as residents of the Hamilton area, in so far as we do not, in our view, obtain the kind of assistance that some other larger municipalities, like Toronto, have received in the past. Quite often, it’s with a great deal of justification that we feel left out.
I don’t think the city fathers of Hamilton are out of line in any way in their proposals, especially as their concept relates to private enterprise proceeding with this project. I’d like you, if you would, or maybe your officials, to let us know exactly what your objections are to the private sector taking over this particular project. Possibly you might indicate to us the possibility of amortizing the cost of this over several years of your budget, so that the city of Hamilton won’t have to pay the tremendous price that they’re going to have to pay; certainly you might reduce the effect of the delay that is associated with this project.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I don’t have any idea of what the cost of this project will be in however many years you are proposing. His worship the mayor made me well aware that the city of Hamilton has been making proposals for a great number of years for this project. He made me aware that at one time it was a 50-50 proposal for the convention centre, but he also agreed that at no time did we ever commit the province to more than $5.1 million.
I would only tell you that beyond that it’s been pointed out to me that the steel for the second project to go on top of the convention centre will possibly add $1.5 million to the cost of the number one project. He felt we should accept the responsibility for that cost and he pointed out other items.
I just received quite a lengthy letter from the mayor. It’s a personal letter to me. He has proposed in it that we should maybe accept half the cost of the building. I’m not ready to accept that at this moment. I should have brought a copy of the letter I sent to his worship the mayor, because it’s no secret what I said. I pointed out that we had spent some $5 million in the general area of preparing for this project over the last number of years. I pointed out that through Wintario the government had committed itself to about $2 million to the arts centre, and once again we in the government are studying the suggestions of his worship, the mayor, respecting additional funding. He suggested in his telegram to me that a start should be made April 7, which as you know, is less than a week away. I pointed out to him that the negotiations will take several weeks to work out and he was, I believe, quite happy, with the hope that if we can work out an agreement an early fall start will be made on the building.
Mr. Cunningham: For a clarification of part of what the minister said: am I to understand then that until he and the ministry reach an agreement with the city on the convention centre none of the project will go ahead, including the provincial office tower?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes, we must reach an agreement before we proceed; that is correct.
Mr. Makarchuk: On the matter of capital construction, as the minister is aware, there is unemployment in the province and in the country, and one of the methods to try to take care of the problem is to proceed or encourage capital construction projects. Saskatchewan is embarking on a major capital construction project that will probably create something like 35,000 jobs in the province. Relatively speaking, if we did something similar, Ontario would create about 100,000 jobs in capital construction. The minister has put out a book showing the various projects he has in the contract phase, on the drawing boards, in the planning phase, et cetera; I wonder if the minister could indicate if he is considering trying to expedite some of those projects at this time in order to help alleviate the unemployment problem. Is he personally of the opinion that perhaps we should expedite construction on these projects because of the unemployment problem? Has he made any representations to cabinet? Also, perhaps he could indicate whether cabinet is interested in listening to him.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The minister is looking at all the projects you mention as listed. I have spoken to my colleagues in cabinet. The Premier (Mr. Davis) himself has suggested that we look at anything that will cause employment and help the present situation. The answer is yes, we are looking at all projects.
Mr. Makarchuk: Can the minister at this time give us some indication as to which of the projects he has listed he intends to expedite? He hasn’t listed the year 1978-79 and so on. We are not concerned about the projects in 1979 or 1980, but it would be interesting to know if he has moved some of the 1979 or 1980 projects into 1978 in order to take care of the unemployment problem.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The hon. member realizes this is my 11th week in office. I am sure he also realizes that during that 11 weeks the Sudbury building has got the nod and we are negotiating on the Hamilton building. To help him a little further, the Hamilton building will provide 1,600 man-year jobs. I estimate it will take four years, and that’s 400 jobs a year in construction. I don’t have the actual estimates on the Sudbury building, but that’s two pretty major jobs to get underway in 10 weeks.
Mr. Makarchuk: I will assume of course that you will continue to look outside Sudbury and Hamilton; and that there are other projects that you will be concentrating on and be trying to bring to fruition a lot sooner.
The other item that is of concern under this vote is a matter of supply, acquisitions for construction, et cetera, the supplies particularly. Have you made it a policy within your department to buy Canadian or buy Ontario products? If you have, have you got any indications now as to whether there has been any change in terms of the percentage of spending on the purchase of Canadian products versus what was being spent a year or two ago? I notice that Ontario Hydro just put out a booklet to the members indicating what their spending was and which jurisdiction received the money, et cetera. Are you doing something of that nature in your ministry right now? I realize it is only 11 weeks since you have been in charge and that could be a problem.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: It is the policy of the department that I am minister of, and of this minister, that we shall give a preference to Canadians of 10 per cent.
Mr. Makarchuk: At this time, Mr. Minister, is there any noticeable change? In other words, is this preference working in terms of change in the purchasing now as compared to about a year ago? Do you have any figures or any indications as to whether there was an increase, on the percentage of your spending that is done on Canadian products versus the percentage spent on Canadian supplies, say a year ago? Do you have any figures at this time to indicate whether it is effective or working?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I can’t give you a confirmed figure on that.
Mr. Makarchuk: Again, Mr. Minister, I feel that on the one hand you have your government saying that we are interested in encouraging the economy, we are interested in promoting private enterprise, we are interested in having our industry working; on the other hand, we find out that your approach to these matters is rather haphazard. You said that in certain contracts if there is a 10 per cent differential we’ll give it to an Ontario --
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Not in certain contracts; in all contracts. In all contracts we give a preference of 10 per cent to Canadians. We are Canadian-first.
Mr. Makarchuk: Then we will find that in all contracts if there is a 10 per cent difference in price, you will prefer to give it to the Canadian? Have you looked at the possibility that perhaps this is not the only policy that is available to you in order to ensure that there is an opportunity to increase the spending of Canadian dollars in Canada?
It is not something we have to worry about. If you look at the American disincentive programs, their incentive programs, and everything else, they have been doing this and are doing it on a grand scale. I am not necessarily saying that’s the best policy to follow in world trade, but in the matter of self-interest and self-defence I think it is necessary for us to embark on some of these types of programs. Have you looked at any programs that may perhaps increase Ontario spending in Ontario -- or in Canada preferably?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The minister looks at every contract that is let, every project. If he has any doubts or thoughts that there should be something different considered, the minister intervenes himself.
Mr. Davidson: I notice your funding for this year has gone down some $34 million, I believe, approximately. That, to my mind, would indicate that in all probability there was a capital construction project that had been planned but will not now be completed. Could you tell us if that is the case, and if so, which capital projects that were on the books for this year will not be completed?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: In response to the hon. member, yes, there has been a reduction of $34 million, but I would suggest that this has not reduced our overall capital projects. As you know, we went to a lease-back agreement whereby we let the job to an outsider and at the end of a term of years we own it. I note the number of projects we have in the planning stages and I believe we are up to the original intentions, even though we are spending $34 million less this year.
Mr. Davidson: Has anything that was planned to go on board this year been curtailed as a result of the cutbacks?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I would have to respond this way: There has been no cutback of any planned projects since I became minister. That’s only 10 weeks, I realize, but --
Mr. Warner: The dirty deed was done earlier.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: -- but I do say to the hon. member that the Sudbury building has been put on stream, and I hope the Hamilton one. So the two of them together is the $35 million.
Mr. Makarchuk: In other words, you wouldn’t let the Treasurer intimidate you, would you?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I have great respect for the Treasurer.
Mr. Warner: Providing we get a courthouse in Scarborough.
Mr. Samis: Does he have great respect for you? Look what happened to Margaret.
Mr. Cunningham: While we’re on the subject of capital construction, I’d like to ask the minister some questions about the Bronte athletic complex. Possibly you could correct me on this, but I gather this has been either scrapped or has just been put off for a long time. Am I correct in my assumption there?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The Bronte project has been delayed till the ministry has an opportunity to review the needs.
Mr. Cunningham: If I could, I’d like to make a couple of suggestions to the minister. One is that hopefully through the sad experience associated with this particular project, you might develop some better standards with regard to the establishment and study of the needs before you start these projects. This particular project, as you may recall, was talked about immediately prior to the 1971 election. Thereafter they started talking about it in the 1975 election. The minister was backtracking in the 1977 election because I think he realized the tremendous costs associated with the project. Now we find out it’s been scrapped.
I’d like to know from you now the extent of the costs associated with the plans, the extent of the costs associated with the delay and just what are your plans to compensate people to whom you had already made a commitment in terms of architectural support and to people who were going to supply tile for the pool and all sorts of things like that. It really is frustrating to see you people track out some great, grandiose plans to bail out a political minister in 1971 and then have the temerity to come on almost eight years later and say that this particular project is not going to take place.
I, for one, accepted in 1971 the idea for this provincial facility. I thought it was a great idea. I thought it was at least an indication to me, an individual who has been interested in amateur sports, that the province was now going to make a very significant commitment, albeit in a Conservative riding, to amateur sport. I looked at it quite objectively in that regard.
I must say my objectivity waned year by year to the point that, now that you’ve cancelled it, I’d like to know exactly how much this fiasco has cost the Ontario taxpayers. I’m talking now about the architect’s plans, the commitments that you’ve made, consultants’ reports and the whole shot. Would you not agree that once you’ve spent all that money that it’s not prudent to go ahead with the project?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I would have to differ with my hon. friend. This money has not been wasted. This project has gone forward this far. We would not know the cost and we would not know the proposal if we had not hired an architect and brought in a plan. I don’t know of anyone who has not been paid for the work he has done on the project. If the hon. member knows of anyone, he should bring it to the attention of the minister.
The project is delayed; it’s being studied. There is no one who has said it’s not going to go. I have not said so; I don’t know of anyone else that has said so. It is being studied; it’s delayed.
Mr. Cunningham: Are you going to build it or are you not?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I think I answered that. It’s being studied.
Mr. Cunningham: If I could ask yet another question then, what are the costs? I want to know exactly how much you’ve spent on this so far, on acquisition of land, legal fees, the architect’s work and the consultant’s work. I’d like to know that before this particular ministry’s budget is passed here in this House.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: We will get that. I don’t have those figures all here. We’ll supply them later in the week.
Mr. Charlton: I’d like to go back for a moment, if I could to the Hamilton project. You laid out for us the negotiations that are going on and the proposals that are going back and forth. Some of the details are a bit scanty, but you mentioned you hoped you could come to some kind of an agreement with the city of Hamilton. In the negotiations, as they go on, is this $5.1 million to be a hard figure on the part of the ministry, or is that negotiable as well? Has the minister thought about it? Is he willing to move beyond that $5.1 million to see this project come on stream this year?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I suggested in a letter to his worship two weeks ago tomorrow, to which I referred, that we were ready to put up $5.1 million. His worship did respond immediately with a telegram, accepting the offer and suggesting we should get on as of April 7. If the hon. member will remember, a few minutes ago I suggested that his worship came back and gave me another proposal. He did not turn down the proposal of us paying $5.1 million and the city paying the balance. He asked me to reconsider our position. Firstly, he reminded me that for the office tower that will be going on top of the convention centre the additional cost of steel is about $1.5 million. He went on to say his estimate for the cost of the building is $16.2 million and suggested that we should assume half that. I am taking that back to my cabinet colleagues.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Chairman, I want to ask the minister a few questions concerning the provincial public building that is going to be opened formally within the next two or three weeks.
I am wondering why the whole proposition was downgraded. This has been under discussion in the community since prior to 1959, and when the plans were originally proposed for the project it was going to be substantially higher. If I am not mistaken, it was going to be an 11-storey building to accommodate the many offices in the Windsor and environs area. Now it is ending up by being a six-floor government office building. Why was it downgraded?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, my only response to that question would be that I am not aware that it has been down-sized. It is my understanding that we built for the need, and that is the size of the building.
Mr. B. Newman: I can understand the minister not being aware of it because, after all, he has been in this particular portfolio for only a short period of time. But I would have assumed that members of his staff would have known about the original plans for the building and that practically all of the provincial government offices were going to be centred, concentrated and located right in that building. The location, by the way, is a very fine one, in my estimation. But it was going to contain most or maybe even all of the provincial government offices. Why, all of a sudden -- and this was within the last two or three years -- were the 11 floors whittled down to what we have there today? And it is a very nice building.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, the staff that I have with me today are not aware that the size was reduced. They again confirm that the building was built for the needs of the area.
Mr. B. Newman: When the minister says “for the needs of the area,” we have the OHIP building, now that the OHIP offices have moved out of there and are being concentrated in the London area. What is the minister’s proposal for that building? The government is going to be renting that facility for other purposes, and apparently we are going to be putting some offices of the OPP and other branches of the Ontario government in that building, whereas the building that has just been completed is all filled up. So there must have been a need for a greater amount of space than actually was constructed. Could I have an answer on that from one of the ministry officials, through the minister?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The hon. member will understand that my officials can’t speak within the Legislative Assembly, but they inform me that it is going to be used for other government offices. I don’t think the hon. member would want surplus space in Windsor any more than I do, and the OPP and other government agencies will be in the OHIP building. We are going to keep it for a few years for government needs.
Mr. B. Newman: I would think the ministry will be keeping it longer than for a few years because there are enough government offices in the community, in my estimation, to use up completely the space that is in the old OHIP building.
Somehow it strikes me that there was some kind of faulty planning there, Mr. Minister, or some type of intentional downgrading of the size of the facility in the community. When we lose so many government offices and find that we don’t get treated in the fashion in which we think we should be treated -- and maybe it is the fashion in which we should be treated -- people get very sceptical. And it doesn’t speak well of government because they immediately say, “Well, don’t listen to governmentl; you can’t trust them. They will promise you anything at one time and then they will renege on their promises.”
I know you can’t answer, Mr. Minister, and maybe your officials can’t answer, but if you wouldn’t mind would you try at some time or other getting the answers to that? Perhaps you can tell me personally, rather than telling me on the floor of the House, if you don’t wish to do so.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, there is nothing I want to hide about this. We built the building to serve the government offices in the area. The OHIP building is going to be used. It’s a choice site -- I think you would agree both of them are choice sites. I don’t think there was any misplanning or anything. It has worked out that we are using both buildings.
Mr. B. Newman: You said there was no misplanning. Then I can assume that the government’s intention to close the OHIP offices was a long-planned affair? Otherwise, why would you not have continued with the 11 floors on your provincial government building, the new building, unless you had plans to close up the OHIP offices in Windsor, knowing that instead of making the one building substantially bigger in size you could use the OHIP building?
I don’t think for one minute we should have vacant space. I think we should build according to the needs in the community and I think it turned out that way, but I don’t think you intended it to be that way. I think it was by some strange quirk, because of what did happen over the last couple of years, that you have the surplus space in the OHIP building.
I don’t think for one minute you should not have kept the OHIP offices there; I think you were wrong in moving them out. I think they served a real need. And remember, Mr. Minister, the first prepaid health services scheme in North America was in the city of Windsor and I think that deserves some type of recognition -- you should have considered the historical importance of a prepaid medical plan.
Naturally you may say you are going to be wasting funds by maintaining that office and duplicating facilities in the London area. You could have just as easily transferred London to Windsor instead of Windsor to London, because after all I am told that everything goes by telephone. Does it matter where the office is if communication is going by telephone or Telex or some other electronic means? It could be located up in James Bay and you could still process various problems by electronic methods.
We in the community were disappointed when the government closed the OHIP office. I would say now that the plan to close the OHIP office was a long-range plan and that the provincial public building was downgraded because you had intentions of eliminating the OHIP office years ago. I hate to say this, Mr. Minister, because I know you as a very good friend and I don’t think you would have acted in that fashion were you the one responsible for Government Services several years ago. You would have built it to the size that was needed for the community and you would have kept the OHIP offices in there.
I have another thing to raise, Mr. Chairman, but I will raise it under another vote rather than under this vote.
Mr. Deans: I won’t be very long, but I want to go back to the Hamilton thing again so that I fully understand exactly what’s happened.
Am I to understand that you are going to proceed on the basis of the $5.1 million, but that you have made a recommendation -- and I want you to listen to me -- that you have made a recommendation to Management Board and to cabinet to assume on behalf of the province 50 per cent of the anticipated cost up to half of $16.2 million? Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: No. The mayor of Hamilton and the deputy mayor presented a plan to me requesting that we assume one half. I have put a proposal to cabinet, which I hope it will be dealing with over the next three or four weeks, and I have included in that the suggestion of the mayor of Hamilton. I have not necessarily made that my proposal.
Mr. Deans: When you say then that you have not necessarily made it your proposal, what you’re telling me in fact is you haven’t made it your proposal. You have proposed something somewhat different from the proposal put forward to you by the mayor and the deputy mayor on behalf of the citizens of Hamilton. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: No, I have made a proposal that would include the building of the building, but I don’t believe I will divulge the financial breakdown at this time. I’ll be very happy to do so once cabinet has dealt with it, but not at this time. As I suggested, I did include the proposal of the mayor, but I’ll leave what my own thoughts were until cabinet makes the decision.
Mr. Deans: Without trying to extract from you anything that you wouldn’t want to tell me -- which I couldn’t do anyway; I know that -- I just want to have some sort of an inkling as to what we’re talking about. We have $5.1 million which is firm, but that’s a figure that was arrived at some years ago, based on construction costs of the day. Construction costs have risen. The mayor of Hamilton, quite rightly, says that the $5.1 million, which may well have been approximately 50 per cent of the original cost, now is about one-third of the actual anticipated cost. I think that’s a reasonable way to put it.
What you’re telling me is that the $5.1 million is firm. You have made a recommendation to your cabinet colleagues for something other than the $5.1 million. You’re not going to tell me whether or not it’s $8.1 million; but that doesn’t matter, I don’t care whether you tell me that or not. You have also put forward the position of the city of Hamilton that it is entitled to 50 per cent. Am I correct in my recollection that the $5.1 million that was originally proposed to be spent was about half of the anticipated cost at the time it was first put forward?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: If I might answer the hon. member this way: In 1971 the government committed itself to $3 million for the Hamilton project.
Mr. Cunningham: Was that before or after the election?
Mr. Deans: It was just prior to the election.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: In 1975, it committed $4.5 million.
Mr. Warner: It’s called an election gimmick.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: In 1977 the government committed $5.1 million.
Mr. Martel: That sounds like pork-barrelling.
Mr. Cunningham: You’re not planning more elections, are you?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: It’s my understanding, though the mayor would argue --
Mr. Cunningham: Five more elections and we’ll be right up to the top.
Mr. Warner: They have no principles left over there.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: -- that these figures did represent half --
Mr. Deans: About half.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: -- it’s my understanding from my staff that they never did represent quite half. The mayor would put forth the argument that it did. He did put forth that argument to me.
Mr. Deans: Would it then be reasonable to assume that if tomorrow we were to vote no-confidence in the government, we could anticipate an added amount would be offered to the city of Hamilton on the eve of the 1978 election? Would that be a fair assumption?
Mr. Warner: Right; if they have an election, they give out money.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: No, Mr. Chairman, I would not accept that as feasible at all. Things like that don’t happen.
Mr. Warner: Cheap tricks.
Mr. Deans: I want to go back with you, because you missed one part of it. In 1967, in the Scott Park High School, John Robarts stood and offered $2.5 million. That was the first one. That was just before the election. In 1971, you upped it. In 1975, you upped it again; and in 1977 you upped it again. The only thing that was consistent throughout that period of time, with the possible exception of the fact that the dollar amount being offered in each of those years was approximately 50 per cent of the total costs, was that in each of those years we had an election.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: And we lost seats.
Mr. Martel: And they lost seats.
Mr. Deans: If you would come up with $12 million you might win a seat. We could maybe guarantee you Eric Cunningham’s seat; or maybe we could do something for you with Stuart Smith’s seat if you would make it $12 million.
Mr. Cunningham: We were thinking of Hamilton Centre.
Mr. Deans: You can see the degree of co-operation you will get from me in this regard and you can understand how eager I am to help you.
If you would just raise it to an amount that would save the taxpayers of Hamilton this onerous burden they are going to have to carry as a result of the Treasurer having reduced the amounts of the grants currently available to offset municipal taxes, if you would increase the amount on this building, then I am sure the people of Hamilton would look very favourably upon that. If you could get Maurice Carter to come out of retirement, and if you could get him to run against Stuart Smith, we would all go down and canvass for him and the end result would be Utopia. How about that? That’s better than the mayor’s proposal.
Mr. Cunningham: Stuart Smith will win again.
Mr. Martel: I have a number of points I want to raise, Mr. Chairman. Would you like to call the quorum now or should I wait?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I recognize the member for Sudbury East.
Mr. Martel: I’ll give them to the minister in order and I will take them one at a time.
I want to talk about Burwash and some expenditure there; I want to talk about the land registry office in Sudbury; I want to talk about the courthouse in Sudbury; I want to talk about the provincial building that you promised in Sudbury; and then I want to talk about the Legislative Assembly if it is under this vote as well.
Mr. Chairman: Can I ask the member for Sudbury East to only deal with matters of construction under this vote.
Mr. Martel: It’s all construction, Mr. Chairman; all are construction, all are on the planning board and all have been there for quite some time. The Burwash project goes back to 1974. The province closed it down after the estimates of the Ministry of Correctional Services were completed. This was about three days later so you couldn’t talk about it. I visited it a few times -- I had difficulty staying away from the place.
We spent $4 million remodelling it only to shut it down. Then a previous minister, the Hon. Margaret Scrivener, about a year ago announced -- by the way, they had a big celebration over at Government Services when they moved her out of the portfolio; they threw a party over there.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: That’s not nice.
Mr. Martel: But it’s true though.
Anyway, the minister announced she was going to sell Burwash. Do you recall that? We came to meet the Premier, and Mr. Thatcher was there, and the Premier said, “No, we won’t put it up for tender.” You got, in fact, one offer; a $1 million offer for the whole thing. Ultimately, by hanging onto it, we sold Camp Bison to the federal government, for over $4 million I guess. This left the whole of Burwash still intact, to be used hopefully in a multi-use scheme.
I understand that went to Dillon recently for a laud use study for the ultimate function of that facility. It has now sat idle for the better part of four years and has cost the province, I suspect, over $1 million in that time just having security people there and keeping the place heated.
You wiped out the fourth-largest employer in the Sudbury basin overnight on that move, by the way; and you have a facility there that has cost us $1 million, at least, to look after in the past four years; and we have now, I think, reached the drawing board stage of some type of multi-use concept, which I have been advocating now for four years, from almost the day it closed. We have a situation now here you could take those facilities and offer services to the Sudbury basin via the government of Ontario which don’t now exist.
I can give you a whole series of illustrations if you want. You’ve got the single quarters, which is comparable to any motel in the province and which, in fact, would be a great place to train civil servants in northern Ontario rather than bring them down to Kempenfelt Bay at Barrie. That’s been in the wind for a long time.
That building sits and deteriorates. I don’t think it’s been lived in for more than six or eight months. It’s an absolutely beautiful building. If we put a kitchen in it we could then, in fact, offer food and train the civil servants in northern Ontario.
The government of Ontario is presently going to build a facility near Toronto for the mentally retarded. I’ve been trying to get this government to take 15 of the homes in Burwash and make them into group homes so that we could bring the young people from Smiths Falls back to Burwash and then back into the community of Sudbury itself. In fact, we would do what we haven’t been able to do in two years, and that’s to successfully get a group home for the mentally retarded in Sudbury. In fact, you’ve got some 60 kids sitting on the fourth floor of the Sudbury Nursing Home. I would hope that the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Rhodes) would support those ideas and kick this government along so that we could utilize those facilities.
I understand the Ministry of Agriculture and Food want partial use and so does the Ministry of Natural Resources. In fact, it might make a good headquarters if you were to move the whole Ministry of Natural Resources to --
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Sault Ste. Marie?
Mr. Martel: No, not Sault Ste. Marie. What would you offer them there, John? You could offer them access to the American border, but besides that?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Compared to what?
Mr. Martel: Compared to the facility that we’ve already got built and which is empty. It wouldn’t cost you any money.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Oh. I see; the community is bargaining for representation.
Mr. Martel: They’ve got that in the Sudbury basin; you’ll notice how intelligently those people vote.
It’s on the drawing board. I want to ask the minister how much longer he intends to keep Burwash on the drawing board. How long before he adapts that facility and brings it into some type of use, particularly in view of (a) the unemployment problem in the Sudbury basin as a result of the massive layoffs by Inco; (b) because he, in fact, wiped out the fourth-largest employer; (c) because he has got a facility that’s costing from $350,000 to $500,000 a year to look after and which sits there vacant; and (d) because there are so many services which aren’t available to the people -- and not only in the Sudbury basin, as my friend from Manitoulin Island would agree, I’m sure.
If you build a road through Manitoulin across to Killarney then you would have easy access to a variety of government services which could well be offered at Burwash and which don’t exist in northern Ontario. He agrees with me. I know he does, because he and I have had some discussion on the utilization of Burwash and the road into Killarney park over to the island. We’ve had a number of people who have taken shots, particularly at my friend; but we’ve indicated that we have supported his move to try to get a road built for people to travel from Killarney to Espanola to school, which is much shorter than driving them all the way to Sudbury.
You could combine all of those things. The facilities are there. All it really takes -- and I say this to a minister with a little bit of clout in the cabinet -- is a minister who has a little clout, who can use his influence to put that facility to use, to provide the services which are lacking now, which would create employment; and the cost wouldn’t be all that great because the facilities are there.
I speak of a gym that has, I guess, four basketball courts in it. I speak of new single-male quarters, which could easily be adapted for female and male; it’s so well laid out there’s no problem at all. It cost $300,000 or $400,000 and it’s deteriorating. You’ve got the 85 or 90 homes which have all been repaired, with new windows and aluminum siding. In fact, the day the government was closing it, the contractor was in there remodelling the insides of the homes. To let that lie there, when there are so many services and so much unemployment in the basin, is really a disgrace!
I would ask this minister if he’s got -- and it has happened every time we have spoken to a Minister of Government Services; each year there has been a new minister, and there has been no continuity. I don’t know if it’s a hot seat, but I want to tell the minister that every time we hope there will be some continuity, we can extract an answer from a minister; and a year later, when we come back and ask, “Aha, now what have you done?” -- they play musical chairs. We can’t even get continuity in the ministry long enough from one year to the next to get a follow-up answer. Maybe this minister can tell me about Burwash.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, I am sure most hon. members are aware that Burwash is located on Highway 69, approximately 25 miles -- not kilometres; miles -- south of the riding represented by the hon. member.
Mr. Martel: It’s right in my riding.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Oh, it’s right in the hon. member’s riding -- not south of his riding? It includes some 35,000 acres --
Mr. Worton: Now we know.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: How in the world do we get any voters there if there are 35,000 acres for that one institution and there’s no one there?
Mr. Martel: All the civil servants you put in those facilities.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Of the 35,000 acres, there is 32,000 of rough outer terrain, 2,700 acres of choice agricultural land, and 300 acres in two camps, the main camp and Spruce camp. The camps are serviced with water, sewage disposal, roads and electrical power by Ontario Hydro.
The Ministry of Government Services was given the responsibility for this property on January 15, 1975. It includes 54 single-family dwellings, eight semi-detached dwellings, nine four-unit apartment dwellings. Those totals add up to 106, up 20 from what the hon. member suggested.
Mr. Martel: Yes, I said 85.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes.
Mr. Martel: You tore down some. I wasn’t sure how many.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Well, there are 106 now.
Mr. Martel: That makes it a bigger disgrace.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Bigger and better, we say. There are 34 rooms in the single staff quarters, four self-contained and 30 with shared washrooms.
I could go on at some length and make further statements respecting this particular piece of property. We consider it’s a valuable asset that could be used for many things. I would simply respond by saying that when a previous Minister of Government Services (Mrs. Scrivener) suggested that we should sell this property, there was great pressure from the other side of the House to appoint somebody to find out what we could do with it.
The government has done this. It has appointed M. M. Dillon, who, we hope, will come up with some company or form of organization that will create employment in that area. I do hope to have the report by the year’s end, but I won’t make that a promise; that’s our hope. I would suggest that M. M. Dillon was appointed because the hon. members suggested that to the former minister. I do have that recollection.
Mr. Martel: I am glad the government is looking at it, but it seems a long time. Dillon has had it some time.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Not too long, I think.
Mr. Martel: A substantial time; the Premier indicated to me some time ago that it was six to nine months. I hope it’s not until the year’s end. I would hope that the Premier, come Friday -- you know, he’s speaking at a clambake in Sudbury on Friday called “2001,” at which he’s going to talk about jobs for the Sudbury basin. I suggested to the Premier he bring his satchel with a bundle of --
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Are you going?
Mr. Martel: Yes, I am. I am on one of the panels and I hope to contribute in some way. But I would hope the Premier might make an announcement that we are moving ahead and going to open up 15 of the homes as group homes for the children. We could bring back from Smiths Falls or any other institution -- in fact, to me, the biggest black eye in the city of Sudbury right now is about 65 or 70 kids who are on the fourth floor of the Sudbury Nursing Home. They have no yard in which to play and they are kept like sheep. The staff looks after them well, but I want to tell you, the yard those 65 or 70 kids have is as big as the size of this chamber. It is an absolute disgrace.
What is more frustrating than anything, I say to the minister, was a promise by his colleague that the only children who ever would get into that facility would be those who were bedridden. And I want to tell you, none of them are; none of them. They all get around fairly well. They should be taken out of that cruddy place and put in a place like Burwash, where you could make 15 group homes and bring them into the Jarrett Centre to work and get their education.
To put 65 or 70 kids in a place like that is an absolute disgrace. I can think of no other term for it. I have opposed it bitterly. I had the words of the previous Minister of Community and Social Services that the children in the home would all be bedridden, and not one is bedridden. It is a disgrace to put kids in that type of environment.
I hope the minister will be in that position long enough to table the report in the very near future. He says the end of the year; I hope it doesn’t take quite that long. Hopefully, the Premier might have something to say about it when he is in Sudbury on Friday or Saturday, on whichever day he speaks.
I want to turn to the land registry office. This is capital, Mr. Chairman, so I don’t want you to get too excited. I see you moving in to look at it.
Mr. Chairman: I was just leaning forward.
Mr. Martel: It is a capital expenditure, because the province is in the process of building a new building in Sudbury, a provincial building, which I know is going to house the land registry office. I would like to combine my remarks with respect to two facilities that are vitally necessary, not two and a half years down the road, but now.
I understand from correspondence with this minister, with the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Grossman), who is responsible for the land registry office, and the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), as it now exists in Sudbury the land registry office is so small they virtually stand on each other’s shoulders to do work. It is that bad. The province is well aware of it and was prepared to, in fact, move into rented premises on March 31 or April 1, but the costs were going to be something like $80,000 to renovate, plus the lease. So that, together with the announcement of the new provincial building with which the province was moving ahead as a result of the layoffs in Sudbury, we are not going to move the land registry office.
I really don’t know how the Hon. Mr. Grossman keeps people in that land registry office. It too is something to behold. I mean, you have to sidle along just to get from one set of files to another, it’s so small.
Mr. G. Taylor: Only lawyers would work in there, Elie.
Mr. Martel: You’ll have to speak from your own place, George, and you don’t happen to be in yours.
You have to sidle along to get to the various files and so on, it’s that bad. But what even compounds it, I was in Sudbury just the other day and I was at the President Hotel --
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Is that unusual?
Mr. Martel: Well, it’s not unusual. I was at the President Hotel, and that’s not unusual, but I was there to appear before the Workmen’s Compensation Board which was holding hearings in the hotel. I went to leave through the basement and there was the coroner holding a coroner’s inquest in the basement of the hotel. If you wanted the family court, you went over to yet another building. You don’t have to be surprised to see that lawyers in Sudbury can’t get into the library in the courthouse to get at the books because they are holding court in the legal library. In fact, there are no facilities for the 13 different courtrooms that one would need, or some combination of them. It is actually impossible for the judges to operate.
If we had moved the land registry office out of its present location you could make at least two more courtroom facilities in the land registry office, which is adjacent to the present courthouse. In fact, they could become permanent courtrooms, I suspect, if you don’t have the money to build a new courthouse -- which has long been promised, although I understand you just finished a new one in Peel. Everything goes to Peel. I can never understand it. I’m told there’s been an addition within the last year or year and a half in Peel. Is that right?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Very smart people live in Peel.
Mr. Martel: Yes, right. I heard my friend, the Health critic, telling me today they are one of the two areas that are getting new hospital beds this year, an addition for Peel; is that by coincidence?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: He was wrong on the two areas; there was only one.
Mr. Martel: All right, the one I’m making reference to, Peel, also got the new courtroom facility, as I understand. Is there something magical about Peel? Does it go based on need --
Mr. Johnson: Yes.
Mr. Martel: -- or is there something else there that’s the drawing card?
Mr. Warner: That’s how you get stuff.
Mr. G. Taylor: Barrie got one.
Mr. Martel: Did Barrie get one? How many years was it in the making?
Mr. G. Taylor: For years.
Mr. Martel: Hundreds? Well, there you go.
Mr. Warner: The county courthouse goes into the riding of the member for Scarborough East (Mrs. Birch).
Mr. Martel: You can’t tell me that the administration of justice can be administered properly in Sudbury when all of the WCB hearings are in one building, in a hotel; the coroner’s inquests are held in a hotel and family court is held in an old building adjacent to the Holiday Inn.
You have to use the library facilities, so the lawyers have to get out. The librarian sits in there while court is being heard. How do the lawyers check references? What do they do? They carry a whole case full of books with them because they can’t go into the library on a given day to get some of the books they need as they look up certain things in the law. They can t do it because court’s going on. What in the hell kind of way is that to run a ship anyway? All we get is the nonsense we’re going to save $80,000 because of the renovation.
Have you ever thought of what it would mean in terms of the employees who work in the land registry office to have an adequate facility to do their work in? I’ve visited it and it is a disgrace; but going to the courthouse is even worse. It is really something to have to hold a coroner’s inquest in the basement of a local den of iniquity. That’s where we hold it.
Surely to God we’re not that poverty stricken that we couldn’t proceed with that, even if it meant $80,000 until the provincial building is completed in 1980 or 1981. Surely it’s time that the people in the land registry office worked in proper facilities so that the people of Sudbury could go in and have this work done for them on their behalf in a proper environment.
Certainly in terms of the administration of justice there is absolutely no reason why court should be held in the library or in the local hotel. Surely it’s time you parted with the $80,000, renovated the building as you were going to do and used it for the next couple or three years. You’re talking about two or three years, providing everything goes well, and if it doesn’t then we’re a little longer down the road. Then you could use the land registry office for a couple of courtrooms so that you might not have to build a new court facility in the meantime.
You just can’t have it all ways and simply say we’ve got a provincial building that’s coming sometime in the 1980s, and expect that both in terms of justice being meted out properly and in terms of people getting services adequately from the land registry office that that hodgepodge can prevail. The only thing that’s holding it up, I suspect, is the $80,000 or $90,000 that you might spend, in view of the fact that in 1980 you’re going to have a facility which you could utilize.
It’s just an untenable situation. I’d ask the minister: is there no way he can proceed with the agreement and then make the two moves that I recommend? Move over to the old Loblaw building and put the land registry office there for the next two-and-a-half years, and then renovate the land registry office to make two more courtrooms available so that we can have the administration of justice meted out properly in the Sudbury area.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I can agree half-way with the hon. member. Once we get the new building that we propose to start construction on later this year, we will put the registry office in that building. Then, as to your suggestion to renovate the registry office for additional court facilities; yes, we’ll do that, but the actual new registry office is some years away.
Mr. Martel: I realize it is an $80,000 expenditure to lease and renovate the facility you were prepared to go into -- at least the Hon. Larry Grossman tells me you were prepared to go to -- up until two months ago. You had entered into an agreement and then got out of the agreement. If it was the $80,000 that was the deterrent, don’t you think it would be advisable to proceed to put the land registry office in a proper facility for the next two or two-and-a-half years, and utilize the land registry office for a proper purpose?
Every time you hold a Workmen’s Compensation Board hearing in the President Hotel surely that is costing some ministry a vast amount of money in the form of rental; if you have got to have a coroner’s inquest that runs a week downstairs in the Mayfair Room at the President Hotel, that has got to cost a fair bundle. If you have to rent accommodation at the President every month for the Workmen’s Compensation Board, because there isn’t even a small room that you can hold it in at the courthouse, don’t you think these things over a period of two-and-a-half to three years are going to cost the province a considerable amount of money? Is there not a trade-off whereby we could bring those facilities into line, make proper accommodation and save money in one place, while it might cost you somewhere else, but provide the proper facilities?
I am not sure if you have ever looked at the number of facilities that various government agencies have to rent daily or weekly in the Sudbury area. It seems to me that rather than have to hear court or a coroner’s inquest at the President, you might be better off taking the money and entering into the agreement for the facility you were going to renovate and rent for two or two-and-a-half years. Calculate how much money you would save the other way; you might find it is not really that much. And it would be a lot more convenient for the people who are working to have adequate facilities in which court could be heard.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The hon. member puts up a very good argument. The ministry has decided the route it will take. Naturally, we are always open for reconsideration, but I do believe that to this point you have not presented sufficient argument to change our minds. So I would ask you to continue presenting your arguments as to why we should make this move.
Mr. Worton: Try another argument.
Mr. Martel: Might I ask if in fact the ministry has asked the various agencies of government what facilities they rent on an ad hoc basis, to determine what we are laying out in terms of rental facilities for the Workmen’s Compensation Board when it comes to Sudbury every month, or what it is costing to rent for inquests? Have you looked at that sort of calculation to determine if -- I am not saying save money because if you are going to rent somewhere else it is going to cost money; I wouldn’t be saying you are going to save money -- for what it costs somewhere else, you could not obtain better facilities and a more permanent facility by going another route? Have you, at least, looked at it?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The only comment I could make is that the Workmen s Compensation Board is one body that does supply its own room. Personally, I don’t know the amount of money they pay in rent. But I think we looked at the overall situation when we agreed on the size of our new proposed building.
Mr. Martel: The new proposed building, yes.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I don’t know the amount of money the Workmen’s Compensation Board pays. You would have to take that up with the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson) during her estimates.
Mr. Martel: I suspect it also includes people like the Solicitor General (Mr. Kerr) who would be involved. If you are going to hold a coroner’s inquest, you have to rent accommodation. I would suppose that one could ask Government Services to find out what it is costing monthly. While I recognize the Workmen’s Compensation Board has its own funds, ultimately it is the same people that pay in this province. All I’m looking for is to see if it is worthwhile to transfer the land registry office and maybe make sure of the facilities that are there, and the former land registry office. Then you might not have to rent all this accommodation on an ad hoc basis and you would have something in place, for the next couple of years, at roughly the same cost. I am not suggesting you are going to save money but it might provide better and more suitable facilities, and I would ask the minister if he would consider that.
The provincial building, has that gone to tender yet?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes, the provincial building has been tendered; tenders are in. The contract has not been announced yet.
Mr. Martel: I might ask for some guidance, then, on the last item, the Legislative Assembly. Is that to be discussed under this vote or some other vote? I want to talk about the recommendations of the select committee and the suggestion about a $20 million expenditure that was calculated roughly as the cost of bringing this building up to standard. I am not sure where you want to discuss it. I would ask the Chairman where the minister is prepared to discuss this particular item.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: If you are speaking of this building here it should really come under legislative services, vote 804, item 8.
Mr. Worton: Last October, Mr. Minister, the former Minister of Government Services (Mr. McCague) indicated that tenders would be advertised and they were -- and I think they were closed December 19 -- for new provincial court facilities. When do you expect to make an announcement as to whether this is going to be built or whether you are going to lease or what? Could you bring me up to date?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Where?
Mr. Worton: In Guelph. I’ve spoken to you about this before.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I know you’ve spoken to me before on one or two occasions. I now believe that the police building is crowded and we do need additional courtroom space in Guelph. In a moment we hope to have the answer here for you.
Mr. Chairman, at this moment we haven’t got the answers the hon. member wanted. Could we go on with another area and once we get the answer --
Mr. Warner: I just wanted to know at what stage the Scarborough courthouse was. I understand it was shelved earlier. Are there any plans as to when we can see that come back? The one that is not in my riding?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes, we do have plans for a courthouse there and I would suggest that you take this up with the Attorney General during his estimates. The Attorney General sets the priorities. We have the plans and everything ready to proceed once we receive the word from the Attorney General that it is on the priority list.
Mr. Warner: You are not given the priority of that until somewhere along the line?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: It has no priority to be built at the moment. Its priority will be arrived at through the Attorney General.
Mr. Warner: But it was earlier on the priority list -- is that not so?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Not during my term.
Mr. Warner: No, I realize that, but I’m speaking of last year.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: It was never on the A list -- never on the list for active construction. It was never on the priority list.
Mr. Warner: If I could --
Hon. Mr. Henderson: No, let me clarify that. We do have a plan of a building, the architect’s drawings, but it never was on the list to go to tender.
Mr. Warner: It really raises a point of curiosity with me then. What is the purpose of making an announcement of some significance to the local area, if it is in fact not on a priority list and it’s just an idea? I assume that you’ve got lots of ideas over there, not all of them good, but you’ve got lots of ideas. What’s the point of announcing it if it’s not on a priority list?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, in response to the hon. member’s question, we do have other projects in a similar stage. It’s not imagination or anything. We do get the architect’s drawings and once the department concerned puts it on a priority then we are ready to proceed. So we, Government Services, can be ready to proceed almost immediately.
I think the Sudbury building is an excellent example. We were ready to proceed with it once the crisis came about, once the need for the employment and everything within the area became known -- I know we could say that employment is needed all over Ontario, but the Attorney General has not at this moment placed it on the class A list.
Mr. Warner: I can appreciate that, Mr. Chairman, and the minister certainly is not responsible for the Attorney General. I will raise the matter with him at the appropriate time. But it just seems to be inappropriate to make a first-class announcement about the project unless in fact it has been placed on the priority list and you know that it’s going to be dealt with within a particular period of time.
The courthouse is needed. It’s got a good location that’s been selected. It is, I would think, an overall part of that civic centre area complex. But quite frankly it just seems to me that it’s nothing more than a political game to make an announcement when you don’t have any priority and you have no immediate plans for actually constructing the thing.
So with some sense of futility, Mr. Chairman, I will take my seat and raise the matter with the Attorney General when his estimates come along.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: In response to the hon. member, we have in our program three ratings. Priority A is under construction, going -- either advertised or in this current year; we have B which is under active consideration by our department, waiting for the final word from the ministry concerned; and then we have C projects that we visualize for some time in the future. The Scarborough one is in the B category.
Mr. Young: I see North York is in the C category.
Mr. Chairman: The hon. member for York Centre.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I’d just like to respond to the hon. member for Wellington South (Mr. Worton).
We have obtained tenders for the leased space. We have re-erected a building and we are drawing up plans for alternative sites. So the tenders that were advertised were not acceptable. We are drawing plans to make proposed changes to an existing building; once we get those plans ready, we will be ready to make some announcement.
Mr. Stong: Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask questions of the minister with respect to the courthouse complex in the Newmarket area. I would like to know whether that complex is going ahead as originally planned and scheduled or whether the original plans have been scaled down. I would like to know whether the entire concept will be built and whether the project is meeting with the plans and the timetable. As the minister is no doubt aware, there is a tremendous need for courthouse space in that area.
Perhaps in the same answer the minister could direct his mind to whether the provincial courthouse in Richmond Hill is to be used for criminal trials or whether it will be used for highway traffic matters, with the transfer of all criminal matters to Newmarket. I understand the ministry is currently seeking space for highway traffic trials in that area, and I wonder what provisions the minister is making to accommodate the police forces and the trials under the Highway Traffic Act and other provincial statutes.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, in response to question number one, the original plans are proceeding. There is no reduction in size. The estimated time of completion is March 1980.
Regarding the hon. member’s next question, about Richmond Hill, we don’t have answers on that. We will have to get some priorities from the Attorney General and the Solicitor General.
Mr. Stong: I understand the ministry is currently seeking accommodation for provincial statute matters such as Liquor Control At and Highway Traffic Act trials, which are already being heard in Richmond Hill provincial court.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Our ministry is not aware of those requests at this time. I would suggest that the hon. member follow it up under the estimates of the Solicitor General and the -- did he say the liquor laws as well?
Mr. Stong: As I understand it, the provincial statute offences that are being heard in Richmond Hill now are to be moved out, or there is some movement afoot to have them moved out. I am just wondering what the timetable is and what accommodations the ministry is making for those matters.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: We here are not aware of that request. If we find out we are, we will bring back the information later. But at the moment we are not aware of any request by that ministry.
Mr. Stong: I wonder if I could also make an inquiry with respect to the Willowdale courthouse, where there has been a move from the present courthouse on Yonge Street to new or other facilities. I am wondering if there is a policy in the ministry with respect to finding this type of accommodation. In view of declining enrolment and available classrooms, and the movement of students from one school to another to try to satisfy the presence of those classrooms, I wonder whether there is a policy to look at schools that may no longer be in use, or parts thereof, for purposes of courtrooms and housing trials -- provincial traffic offences, for example. Is there a policy in the ministry to consider that type of consideration when looking for accommodations for courthouse facilities?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes. Every time a vacant school room is brought to our attention, it is looked at and studied; and I am sure the hon. member knows that a family court in Etobicoke has been placed in a school.
Mr. Stong: I understand there were schools or classrooms available in the Willowdale area, and a factory has been taken over. I am just wondering how much emphasis has been put on the use of those vacant classrooms.
Mr. Chairman: I’d like to say to the hon. member that he’s probably straying a bit from capital construction.
Mr. Stong: I’m concerned about the use of already existing facilities, which would save costs.
Mr. Chairman: That might come under accommodation alterations, or some other vote.
Mr. Stong: I’m sorry, I don’t want to get off the track on this but I thought we were talking about capital expenditures, and perhaps my other observation on the use of facilities that are already in existence to cut down on the acquisition of new property is in order. For instance, is there any consideration by the ministry to make better use of existing facilities?
We all know that judges can only put up with between four and five hours of listening to evidence per day. That day is stretched from 10 a.m. until 4:30 in the afternoon, with perhaps a two-hour split at noon with very adequate breaks during the day. Would the minister not consider that perhaps better use can be made of our facilities, to cut down on the acquisition of further courtroom area and also to cut down on the long waiting list, by perhaps considering that the courts begin at 8 o’clock in the morning and go through until 12 noon, which is a four-hour stint, and then that another shift begins at 1 and proceeds to 5 o’clock?
It seems to me that the public would be better accommodated and better served in terms of having earlier trials --
Mr. Chairman: Order, please. I think the member is straying considerably from capital construction.
Mr. Stong: Mr. Chairman, I’m just trying to get some kind of a commitment from the ministry about saving capital cost by better use of existing facilities. It seems to me that if I’m in the wrong vote I would be glad to withhold my observations until a different time. It seems to me that these things should be considered, but I’m in the hands of the Chairman as to when this should be discussed.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, the hon. member puts up a very good argument. I would suggest the appropriate time would be under the Attorney General’s estimates.
Mr. Chairman: The member for Hamilton Mountain.
Oh, sorry, did you have another question? The member for York Centre.
Mr. Stong: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It concerns Pine Ridge Hospital in Aurora, which is just on the boundary of my riding. I’m given to understand that that hospital, which is a converted school, houses the mildly mentally retarded. It is located on something between 98 and 110 acres of land, as I understand it, which is under the control of the Ministry of Government Services.
I’m wondering if any consideration has been made to utilize that 108 or 92.8 acres -- I’m not sure just what the figure is; I’ve had both figures given to me -- to better purposes. It is vacant land under the control of your ministry. With the emphasis in the ministry on the assimilation of the mildly mentally retarded into our communities by virtue of work projects and even living accommodation, which I think is a very commendable policy, would it not be worthwhile exploring the use of that land -- to put it in the hands of a developer, for instance, to build homes that would be considered low-cost homes, and which would also have a designation for the mildly mentally retarded, to have them incorporated into our society and into our communities and fulfil a useful life, rather than be housed in that jail that is called Pine Ridge?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, this is under another ministry. For our ministry to take such action under present policy a ministry must declare the land surplus before we become involved, and at that time we circulate it to all other ministries to see if they are interested in it before we take any action. At this moment, the ministry concerned has not declared it as surplus.
Mr. Stong: Does your ministry not have control over the acreage and is your ministry not responsible for the upkeep and the buildings at Pine Ridge? I don’t understand the policy as between these two ministries. They seem to be operating in a vacuum and there is no communication between the two. Perhaps that’s one of the faults of the government.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Our ministry takes care of the general maintenance. The management of the building, of the space within it and of the use of the grounds, is up to the occupying ministry.
Mr. Stong: Does your ministry have any say in the use of that vacant land since you are responsible for the upkeep of it? Do you have no say at all in the use of the vacant land and the usage to which it could be put?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: No, we do not have any involvement until it’s declared a surplus by the occupying ministry.
Mr. Charlton: 1 would like to raise with the minister some questions under contract tendering. My colleague from Cambridge mentioned in his opening remarks the Embassy Management situation that I raised last year in the estimates. I don’t want to go through that whole story of Embassy again, but there were a number of things in terms of policy that emanate from that kind of a case, things which I raised last fall as questions of policy. I am just wondering if in some of these areas the ministry has done anything to try to deal with some of these situations.
One of the first questions I raised was the question of the advisability, the necessity and the cost involved of awarding contracts under the tendering process on small projects of less than $50,000 to companies that essentially were management firms, that did none of the construction work themselves and subcontracted all of the work, in many cases to one single subcontractor. I am just wondering if the ministry has had a look at this situation at all since I raised it last fall.
The second thing I would like to raise is the whole question of how the ministry deals with complaints from subcontractors when they don’t consider they are being fairly dealt with by the contractor or the management firm, or whatever, that is operating under a contract from this ministry. I am just wondering if the minister and the ministry have considered any actions or any procedures by which they can control this kind of problem.
I will give you one example. There was a case with the federal government with the same company we talked about last fall, Embassy, where the federal ministry responsible for the contract in question got the same kinds of complaints that have come into this ministry about that kind of a situation of the subcontractors not being paid. The federal government’s approach to the problem was to demand of the management firm, Embassy, a statement on whom they had subcontracted to, how much work they had done and how much Embassy felt they owed those subcontractors.
The subcontractors did not totally agree with the statement which Embassy submitted to the federal government, but the federal government took the position of paying Embassy for the amount of work done to date, based on their statement, in cheques that were made out to Embassy and the subcontractor, instead of solely to Embassy, in order to ensure that at least some moneys were going to the subcontractors. I am just wondering again if the ministry has had a look at that problem and at some method of dealing with those kinds of complaints now and in the future.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: In response to the hon. member’s question, for tenders of under $100,000 we don’t require that they put up the necessary bond. We believe it is important to let the small contractor in on our work; we think it is very important to give anyone an opportunity.
Regarding Embassy or similar companies being, as you suggest, really management companies which sublet the work, there are many companies going this route. Many tenders come in where we know full well that it will be done that way. We don’t get involved with the subcontractor, except that there is a lien placed against the building. As the contract progresses, we pay the contractor the amounts of the award less 15 per cent. Before the final payments are made, we get an itemized statement from the contractor as to whom he is paying and what he is paid, and the assurance that everybody is paid up -- except the time limit has gone by. So we do follow a plan similar to that of the federal government -- maybe it is slightly different, but overall I would suggest it has the same end result.
Mr. Charlton: That is essentially the same procedure the ministry had when I raised the questions last year, and it is the same procedure which allowed a situation where subcontractors were having to go to court. I don’t like to make a judgement on those court cases as to who was right and who was wrong, but it left open the situation where all of these outstanding legal actions were necessary in order for these subcontractors to get what they felt was their due. That says to me that your procedure wasn’t ensuring that people were being paid for their work, and that the ministry should be having a look at some way of safeguarding against that kind of mishap.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I think the hon. member put out his own suggestions and his own answer. He suggests that he would not want to make that decision, that he would not want to take the place of the court and decide who should be paid and who shouldn’t. Does he suggest that the ministry should?
Mr. Charlton: I am not suggesting that the ministry should decide. What I am suggesting is that the ministry may consider setting up some procedures which would discourage this kind of practice in the first place. I am not suggesting that once it has happened you as a ministry should be deciding who is right and who is wrong. What you should be doing is setting up a procedure in your payments structure, and so on, that will discourage this kind of practice happening in the first place, so that you don’t have to make the decision.
The suggestion I made, for example, was where the federal government demanded a statement, earlier on in the game than the last and final payment, of whom the contractor owed what, and issued the cheques jointly in the names of the contractor and the subcontractor. That’s not necessarily the only procedure that could be used, but I am suggesting that some procedure be followed to discourage this kind of thing from going on. Perhaps even just the threat of no more government contracts would be sufficient.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: If the general contractor and the subcontractor make an arrangement of this nature, we would not kick about it. If that would be the wish of the general contractor and the subcontractor to come in with a signed agreement that the cheques be issued jointly to the two, we would not object. We would accept that arrangement. Otherwise, it’s a free-enterprise world we’re living in and they’re free to negotiate between the general and the subcontractor. I would hope that it always remained that way.
Mr. B. Newman: I want to raise the issue of the county courthouse in the city of Windsor, which is having an addition put onto it, directly across from the provincial public building. Is it your plan, Mr. Minister, to complete it this year or in November 1979? In case you don’t complete it for another year and a half, will you have the work proceed in such a fashion so that at least parts of that building could be put to use as quickly as possible after they are completed?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Present plans are for partial use, June 1978; completion, August 1978.
Mr. B. Newman: What you’re saying, Mr. Minister, is that as you complete part of that building, it is going to be occupied, and then you’ll continue construction up until the time the whole project is completed and then the whole building is put to use?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: What I am saying is that we expect the building to be far enough advanced by June this year, with completion in August. But I also understand that the citizens are living better in the Windsor area, and that we don’t need these buildings.
Mr. Haggerty: Well, it’s because of the representation they have at Queen’s Park.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: It’s the representation they have here which is causing that.
Mr. B. Newman: I was going to ask if you are planning to purchase the building at the corner, behind the provincial public building. It was formerly a grocery store, and purchasing that would finish off the block very nicely so that the parking could be at the rear end of the provincial public building in the Windsor Avenue area all parking could be taken out and a mini-park might be established there.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I would have to report -- that is not part of our plan at this moment.
Mr. B. Newman: Would you look into it for some future date then, because I think you need the parking in the area? You would also be accommodating the city because, you know, the city market is almost directly across from the provincial public building and on certain days of the week there just isn’t enough parking in the area. I know you may say it’s not your responsibility, but I think you also have a responsibility when you finish the building to make it really presentable to the public.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Ma9be 1 have not got the total picture. Are you talking of the little fruit market or the building?
Mr. B. Newman: It’s the Berkowitz property that is directly to the east of the provincial public building. It had been used as the supermarket for years and years and now it’s been abandoned for approximately a year -- maybe a year and a half. It’s up for sale.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: My original answer then was correct.
Mr. Davidson: Mr. Minister, in your booklet, Design and Construction Program, 1978-79, you have listed an adult training centre for the city of Cambridge. Am I correct in assuming that that adult training centre was the one that was on the board to be built on the remaining structures that exist at Grandview School and that it is no longer to be put into effect?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: There was no previous location established for it. It is a brand new location.
Mr. Davidson: So you are telling me, in effect, that when the Ministry of Correctional Services deemed that Churchill House would become a jail and remaining facilities would become an adult training centre, we are now talking about a different location under the C listing in the 1978-79 program?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes.
Mr. Davidson: So there are still plans on the drawing board to build an adult training centre in Cambridge?
Hon. Mr. Henderson. Yes.
Mr. Davidson: If I may, I would like to follow up a little more on the Grandview School. I believe I understood the minister correctly to say, when he was answering one of my questions, that the Grandview property is in the hands of the Ministry of Government Services, including the buildings.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: It is not in the hands of the Ministry of Government Services. It is still with the Ministry of Correctional Services.
Mr. Davidson: The entire property?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes.
Mr. Davidson: Thank you.
Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Chairman, I want to direct my questions to the minister concerning recent meetings involving the minister, the mayor of Fort Erie, Mayor Girve Fretz, and a couple of the private developers in the area, where they were discussing the new tourist centre at Fort Erie. In the ministry’s Design and Construction Program, 1978-79, I do not see that listed as a project that is going to get off the ground this year; and yet, as I recall our meetings with the minister, I understood that proposal would be made this year.
Mr. Ruston: It has been approved for design.
Mr. Haggerty: I see now on page 33 that it has been approved for design; it’s the Fort Erie travel information centre, and it relates to the Ministry of Industry and Tourism. Could the minister tell me when he expects construction to start on this particular building?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: We have taken the necessary steps to acquire the property from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications. I would have to tell the hon. member that this is one of the C list projects. As regards the actual date of starting, the C list means the starting date has not been established.
Mr. Haggerty: Perhaps I could bring to the minister’s attention the fact that this proposal for a tourist information centre has been on the government drawing boards for some 15 years -- maybe longer than that. Fort Erie is perhaps the largest port of entry in Canada, and at present the tourist information centre is accommodated in a small trailer at the entrance of the Peace Bridge. I am a little bit shocked that we won’t have the foundation being laid at least this year and perhaps construction later, in the fall. I had high hopes of sending an invitation to the minister to come down for the sod-turning this spring.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, I certainly look forward to the opportunity of being there for the sod-turning. But before we can make such arrangements the hon. member will remember that I requested of that delegation, including the mayor of that great area, that they give us any proposals as to what we should incorporate in that particular project. To the best of my knowledge, we don’t have any proposals in addition to what was proposed on the day of the meeting. So we are really waiting for proposals from the town.
Mr. Haggerty: What the minister is telling me is that we are not just going to be building the tourist centre, which would cover perhaps one floor; that the proposals, put forward by the developers, might add three or four floors to this building, perhaps to house some federal government agencies around the Peace Bridge. It could involve part of the Customs and Immigration offices, or a number of private businessmen in the area who might want to locate in this particular building. I don’t know. The letter I have here from them says the minister has suggested this to them; but that was when a private developer wanted to purchase the land and to have a lease with the Ministry of Industry and Tourism to rent perhaps one section of the building.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: My recollection of that meeting -- and I don’t have my letter here -- was that the mayor was to present us with proposals of those he felt would be good tenants for this particular spot. It might well be the government of Canada as tenants. I believe you proposed that maybe we should consider the OPP. We are ready for those proposals and we really haven’t received them as yet. Until we either receive the proposals or get a clearance from them that they don’t have proposals, we are sitting in limbo.
Mr. Haggerty: The only thing I can report on that is that I have a copy of a letter sent to the Hon. John Rhodes from Mr. Herbert C. Clayton. He says the proposed complex is to house the tourist information centre in the town of Fort Erie. They were not too happy with the recent government changes through the different ministries suggesting they are no longer interested in the private sector building the centre there. They have a letter from the Ministry of Industry and Tourism that is addressed to Mayor Girve Fretz. I perhaps should read it into the record. It says: “In a letter to the former mayor of Fort Erie, Mr. John M. Teal, of October 21, 1976, I proposed that our ministry would rent” -- and the Minister of Industry and Tourism is writing this letter -- “space in the building to be erected by your municipality or agent. This was under the provision that the architecture, site location, layout of this accommodation, parking facilities and rental costs were agreeable to us.
“From the plans, the leasing proposals you have provided to our ministry, we are pleased to advise you of our approval to proceed with the details of the leasing agreement. We will look forward to seeing the completion of this new modern building in the town of Fort Erie.
“Sincerely, Claude Bennett.”
Apparently, it is the policy of the Ministry of Government Services to have the private sector build it, lease the land from the ministry and turn around and give it back to the province or to the ministry, say, in 25 years. I don’t think this is acceptable to the developers in the area. They have an agreement with the minister, a letter from him stating he approves of the tourist centre, and would like to proceed on that.
In fact, they have written a further letter to the present Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Rhodes) and I will tell you they are not too happy with the government’s handling of this. They have included a bill for $9,000. The letter goes on to refer to the preparation of three design concepts of the office complex, the Ministry of Industry and Tourism approval, consultation with the town of Fort Erie and council and staff, negotiations with the Ministry of Industry and Tourism personnel, both from the St. Catharines and the Toronto office. There are about six or seven different items there and the total disbursement is $9,000. They feel that they have been led down the garden pathway by the Ministry of Industry and Tourism.
Mr. Ruston: Oh, terrible.
Mr. Haggerty: They were going to proceed with the construction of this building in Fort Erie. I ask the minister to reconsider his position on this particular site and let the private sector buy the land or let the municipality buy the land and lease it to the private sector and let them construct the building.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I believe we had quite a bit of dialogue respecting this proposal and I pointed quite clearly at that time that it was the responsibility of our ministry to provide any office space for the Ministry of Industry and Tourism. I suggested that if a wrongdoing had taken place that a second wrongdoing would not correct the situation. Maybe some of those present disagree, but outwardly they agreed that two wrongdoings don’t correct one.
Under proposals our department carries out -- which I suggested to those people that morning they may be interested in -- we, the province of Ontario, have the land, we appoint an architect and come in with the necessary drawings to accommodate the area that needs covering. At that time we advertise for tenders for a builder who will come in and build the building and will lease it back to us for a 25-year period, on more or less an option whereby at the end of 25 years we’re the sole owner of the building. I am convinced that this is good for the people of Ontario and it does give the private citizens of that area the opportunity to build on it.
If this group of individuals who were putting the proposals to Industry and Tourism can come together with other tenants who are ready to perform a public service, we will certainly look at it. But the commitments that were proposed in the letters you have referred to are not acceptable to our ministry.
Mr. Haggerty: But can you assure me and perhaps the town of Fort Erie that if this proposal between the private sector and your ministry isn’t agreeable you will get on with the construction of the tourist centre in Fort Erie? Can we expect some real initiative this year?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: As I suggested earlier, before I take another step as to their proposals of what should be included in this building, I am waiting for a response from the town and from those individuals.
Mr. Haggerty: In other words, you have no funds allocated for this type of construction in Fort Erie? That’s what you’re telling me. Not this year, is that it? Do you have, say, $200,000 set in a nice little nest egg?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I don’t remember making any statements either way. I was waiting until we got the proposal to see what might be needed.
Item 2 agreed to.
On item 3, leasing:
Mr. Davidson: Under the leasing program, I notice that there is a reduction of probably $2 million. One of the answers I was given when I raised the reduction in capital construction was that they’ve gone partially to the leasing program and partially -- I understood it this way -- and partially to the lease-purchase program. Are we in fact not leasing as much property as we have been in the past in direct leasing?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The reduction in this amount is recoveries from other ministries.
Mr. Davidson: Can the minister or his staff advise us as to how much waste space, I guess it would be, we are leasing? In other words, how much empty space do we have available in properties leased by the government?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: In response to the hon. member, the present figure is that 2.97 per cent of office space is vacant. We don’t think this is too bad a figure. If we can stay in that area, with movements from one office to the other, and with changes -- new buildings, new offices, coming on stream -- we think that the figure of under three per cent is very close.
Mr. Davidson: Do we have that in square feet, Mr. Minister?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: In Metropolitan Toronto, there is 99,949 square feet. Elsewhere in the province of Ontario, 78,642 square feet.
Mr. Ruston: Mr. Chairman, would this vote here also come under leasing? And then buying back ownership of it at a later date, is that included in that estimate?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: That would come under item 6.
Item 3 agreed to.
On item 4, real property acquisition:
Mr. Ruston: In real property acquisition, could the minister tell me whether his people are involved in the acquisition of property at any stage when Ontario Hydro is acquiring any property?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The only property we have purchased for Ontario Hydro is in the parkway belt around Metro. Elsewhere, no.
Mr. Ruston: The old Hydro building is still in the ownership of Ontario Hydro?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes.
Mr. Davidson: Mr. Minister, correct me if I am wrong but would your ministry acquire property on behalf of other ministries -- for example, the Ministry of Housing?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes.
Mr. Reed: I would like to ask the minister some questions about the acquisition procedures that are used in the parkway belt. I think it is one of the great misnomers of the 1970s, calling that utility easement a parkway belt. But some of the basic method that is being used to acquire property is open to some question, I think.
I would put the scenario to you like this, Mr. Minister: The parkway belt is, in effect, not legislation at this time but rather a second statement of draft plans. The first draft plan was originally conceived, I believe, in 1973, and the second one -- with certain territorial exemptions -- came out last year. The value base that is being used by your ministry for establishing the price to be paid for expropriated land goes back to the time of the original statement of the parkway belt -- that is back to 1973.
What this means is that farmers and landowners in that area of the parkway belt who are presently faced with acquisition by expropriation are being offered prices and evaluations based on a bureaucratic creation which has been imposed upon them. They are there by an accident of geography. The property to the east of them is selling as raw land for much greater amounts. To the west of them much of the property was acquired by the government for future urban development. It was said to be one of the great wise moves of the early 70s -- or I suppose it seemed like a good idea at the time.
I would ask you seriously, is it not fundamentally wrong in principle that a bureaucrat imposes a particular set of impositions on the expectations to be derived from a piece of property and then to have the government come in and expropriate that property on the basis of that bureaucratic imposition?
We designate property all the lime. We do it in towns with bylaws; we classify certain areas as being commercial and certain areas as residential; and it does affect the value of that property. However, I would submit to you, Mr. Minister, that in those cases the people making those bylaws are elected people. They’re elected by the people in the town and their decision is either accepted or rejected by those electors when they go to the polls.
This is not the case with the parkway belt; nor is it, if you like, with the Niagara Escarpment draft plan; nor is it with the conservation authorities’ draft plan. But in those cases, up until now I know of no expropriation taking place in those areas. There are some acquisitions or purchases, but I really don’t know if they have proceeded to the point of expropriation or whether they yet deem themselves to have the power to expropriate.
In this case we have a draft plan and that’s all it is. And it’s subject to change without notice, as you know. It could change in another six months. As a matter of fact, it is presented as a draft plan for purposes of input and making changes as the months go by before the final entity comes forth. Yet your ministry now evaluates that property on the basis of that non-existent imposition in terms of legislation.
I submit to you that the parkway belt is simply a bureaucrat’s dream and that’s as far as it goes. How, in the name of conscience -- and you may be able to tell me in a few minutes that you’re legally right in doing it -- can you tell me that government is morally right in using this kind of method for acquiring property?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The price paid for property in the parkway belt is the higher of either the price of this property June 3, 1973, or the current market value, according to other property selling in the area.
Mr. Reed: Just as a point of clarification, are you saying that it is the higher of the 1973 value compared to other properties in the parkway belt, or other property? Because if you’re saying other property -- if you go one concession, one road width cast of the ninth line, south of Derry Road -- you will find that raw land is trading, in the Erin Mills development, for many times more than the price being offered by your ministry for a railway access to a hydro switching station or connecting station, or whatever it happens to be.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, I said within the designated or the defined area.
Mr. Reed: That being the case, then the proposition I put to this House is that if not illegal, there is in principle something fundamentally wrong in making this kind of designation and saying: “Okay, Charlie, here’s your property. We’re going to declare it to be so and so,” and then come in a couple of years later and say: “Now we’re going to expropriate.” It’s wrong.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The only property we’ve expropriated was for Ontario Hydro and not for the parkway belt as such.
Mr. Reed: I understand that, and I understand that the expropriation was made for Ontario Hydro, but it was made, Mr. Minister, with the parkway belt’s imposition as part of the evaluation process.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: That’s correct, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Davidson: Mr. Minister, under real property acquisition, there are in Cambridge, north of Highway 401, some 3,000 to 4,000 acres that were purchased for development by the Ontario Housing Corporation. Could I ask you if that land has been in fact declared surplus and has been turned back to the Ministry of Government Services, or is it still in the hands of Ontario Housing?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The Ministry of Government Services is responsible for managing it and I am sure the hon. member knows that it’s in production as farm land.
Mr. Davidson: You are still in control of it? My understanding is that the Ontario Housing people are not going to use it for the purpose for which it was purchased. Say the people farming that land wanted to repurchase the property; who would they deal through? Would they deal through your ministry or would they have to deal through the Ministry of Housing?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: We are the ministry which has the land, but to my knowledge, Housing has never said that it is surplus to them. We are managing the land and it may have been said out there that Housing don’t want it, but officially I am not aware of that.
Mr. Davidson: If I may, I would advise you that when the member for Sault Ste. Marie (Mr. Rhodes) was Minister of Housing he made it quite emphatic in the K-W Record that the Housing people no longer required that land -- the ministry would not be using it. I just wanted to find out for the people living in that area that if there was an opportunity to buy back, would they do it through your ministry or the Ministry of Housing?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: They would do it through our ministry, but I just don’t want to leave the impression that it is for sale, because as far as we are concerned the Ministry of Housing does want it.
Mr. Stong: Mr. Chairman, I would like to go back to the parkway belt situation that the member for Halton-Burlington brought up and that is with respect to the purchase and acquisition of property within that belt. Are you indicating to this House that those sales, particularly in the Langstaff area, were willing sales and that the people who sold had the opportunity to sell as if they were selling on the marketplace?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: If there was an expropriation, it would be for Hydro. We have not expropriated as far as the parkway goes.
You know I don’t live in the immediate area. Where is Langstaff? It would help me if I knew that.
Mr. Stong: Langstaff is in that part of the parkway belt in the town of Markham on the south side of Highway 7; it runs between Yonge Street and Bayview Avenue. There was a move by the Treasurer to have a hydro line put through that area. When the people objected and the hearing officer heard their objections, recommendations were made to remove the hydro line.
However, there have been sales of that property there that have not reflected the true market value -- as if they had been sold on an open market with willing sale. I am wondering if your ministry, when these facts and figures can be substantiated, is prepared to make up the difference to those people who have already sold under a situation that was not a willing sale.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, I am not in a position to give any such guarantee. The only statement I can give you is that any land that has been expropriated -- I am just restating what I said -- was expropriated because of Ontario Hydro. In that particular area there is a hydro line going through; it is being planned.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Henderson, the committee rose and reported progress.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Henderson, the House adjourned at 5:55 p.m.