The House met at 2 p.m.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
Hon. Mr. Snow: Today, I would like to table the Ministry of Transportation and Communications roads construction program for 1978-79.
This fiscal year, my ministry is planning to spend an estimated $225 million for construction on the King’s highway system in southern and northern Ontario. In addition, we will be paying out another $185 million to subsidize municipal roads construction programs which, when added to the municipal share, will generate an additional total of $320 million in construction work.
When I tabled the roads construction program last year, I said at that time that in view of the Ontario government’s restraint policy we would be keeping a tight rein on our spending by carefully assessing each proposed construction project in terms of current needs. And we have planned our roads construction program for 1978-79 with that same policy in mind. Projects included in this program, therefore, are those we judge most essential to preserve the present high quality of our highway system and provide for necessary expansion.
Briefly, in southern Ontario, we’re proposing new work on a total of 422 miles or 675 kilometres of the provincial highway system, primarily on two-lane highways. As for northern Ontario, although the responsibility for establishing priorities and allocating funds for capital roads construction in the north has now been assumed by the Ministry of Northern Affairs, my ministry will continue to carry out the planning, design and construction of the northern projects. These will include the four-laning of several highways, construction of access roads and passing lanes, and general work on the secondary highways.
Details of these projects are contained in MTC’s 1978-79 construction program book which I am tabling today, and members will be receiving their copies of the book through the legislative post office this afternoon.
CP RAIL SERVICE
Hon. Mr. Snow: Last July, I advised the Canadian Transport Commission of my ministry’s concern over the Canadian Pacific Railway’s application to abandon the 37.3 mile section of track and freight service between Walkerton and Saugeen. Because of the potential impact on local industry, I asked my ministry’s economic policy office to determine what effect the abandonment of this railway service might have on the economy of the area.
I would like to report to the House, Mr. Speaker, that this study has been completed and we feel that a detailed consideration of the area’s total rail network must be carried out by the CTC before a decision is made on the CP request for abandonment.
A copy of the study, and our position on this issue, will be forwarded to the commission and copies of the study will go as well to all municipalities and all interested members of the Legislature who are concerned with that particular area.
The Walkerton-Saugeen line is the only east-west line connecting the four communities of Walkerton, Hanover, Durham and Priceville. It is also the only connecting line for the three north-south lines operated by Canadian National. Since CN provides alternative or supplementary service in the area, we feel that it is of utmost importance for the CTC to take into consideration any future plans they might have for the area before making a decision.
Just briefly, Mr. Speaker, I would like to outline some of the more important points established by our study of this area of Grey and Bruce counties.
The combined population of the four communities -- Walkerton, Hanover, Durham and Priceville -- is expected to be 14,000 by the end of 1978. Saugeen is a railway junction only and will continue to be part of the CP main line to Owen Sound.
The two main employers are the furniture industry with 55.6 per cent of the manufacturing labor force and the food, meat-processing and feed industry with 28 per cent. In addition, there’s a high-potential source of mineral aggregate in the Durham area which is projected to supply the Metro regions of southern Ontario for the 1980s and beyond. Both main industries use rail transportation and the development of the mineral resource was predicated on the use of rail. All will be affected by the abandonment of this rail service.
The area is well served by a provincial and municipal road system. In particular, Highway 4 runs parallel to the Walkerton-Saugeen line and connects all these communities. Truck transportation in the area is available on a highly competitive basis and the industry is relatively satisfied with the service provided. However, at the present time, furniture, and some cattle shipments are being made by rail or rail express because of the lower transportation costs. As the highest employer in the area, the furniture industry is already combatting the lower production costs of its US competitors and, therefore, transportation rates are a very important economic factor in its future.
The feed cattle industry is also an important part of this area’s economy. Continued growth is expected because of the proximity to large southern Ontario markets. It is also anticipated that this growth will generate new or expanded meat-processing establishments. Here too rail transportation is essential for the bulk transport of cattle, especially during peak periods.
There is also the mineral aggregate industry which, along with meat processing, is considered to be the most promising for future economic development in this area. The future development of the aggregate industry was planned on the continuance of rail service. If it is necessary to switch to truck transportation, there could be serious problems. Existing truck traffic will have to be increased substantially to handle the potential of this industry and would, therefore, necessitate a complete renovation of the present highway network. It is also estimated that moving a possible 50 million tons of aggregate over 100 miles by truck could result in an additional consumption of 67 million gallons of diesel fuel annually, which is not a very happy prospect in view of the present energy situation.
We think this study has uncovered sufficient potential impacts on the economy of this area to warrant the Canadian Transport Commission taking a closer and more detailed look at the benefits of a complete rationalization of the area’s total rail network, instead of only reviewing the abandonment of the CP rail line. If any members would like a copy of that report, and they advise my office, we will forward it to them
Mr. McEwen: I have a point of privilege now that the member for Don Mills (Mr. Timbrell) is about to take his seat, Mr. Speaker. On April 5, there appeared in the Napanee Beaver newspaper some comments attributed to the Minister of Health which were made during a political meeting in the riding of Frontenac-Addington in an effort to collect funds.
Apparently, he had nothing to say about OHIP or the problems of his ministry, but I was his subject for the evening.
Mr. Eaton: A terrible subject.
Mr. McEwen: I would like to straighten out the matter on a couple of issues. One was that there is no constituency office in Frontenac-Addington.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I didn’t say that.
Mr. McEwen: We have three locations. We have one in Northbrook, one in Sharbot Lake and one in the south of our riding. We actually have one in our own home and we have an excellent office here at Queen’s Park.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You have got to agree that’s fair game.
Mr. McEwen: We do look after the needs of the people and we look after them well. The statements attributed to the hon. minister -- I am quoting from the paper and I have no reason to believe that the paper is wrong -- are not true. Also, the minister went on to say that the people at the meeting realized that I could be beaten and they were giving me notice that I was beaten.
Mr. McEwen: They are trained seals over there. Mr. Speaker, that is not a fact.
Mr. Sweeney: It’s not even a good guess.
Mr. McEwen: After 95 years they have a speaker in that riding and I intend to stay for the next 20 years.
Mr. Eaton: Is this your second speech in the House?
Mr. McEwen: I see the leader that may be with them for a while or a short time is wakening up. The last time I heard of him was during the election campaign when he attempted to defeat me.
Also, the minister stated: “Premier William Davis has designed Frontenac-Addington as a priority riding.”
Mr. S. Smith: Send him a copy of the charter.
Mr. McEwen: He designated that during the 1977 election --
An hon. member: What a waste of money.
Mr. McEwen: -- but I’m surprised that he didn’t use his time to look at the economy, look at the unemployment, look at national unity outside of political endeavours.
I’m very sorry to speak about this issue in the House today --
Hon. Mr. Davis: We all are.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Is this the Throne Speech debate?
Mr. McEwen: -- but I went through this with the present government before I was elected to this House and I hope that I won’t be brought back in to discuss it again.
Hon. Mr. Norton: You better run out and phone your press release to the Beaver now.
Mr. McEwen: Also in relation to the riding offices, the minister has stated that there was no riding office in Frontenac-Addington, and the office of the member for Kingston and the Islands and Ms. MacDonald in the federal House had to look after 25 per cent of the calls. This is not true.
Hon. Mr. Norton: That is true.
Mr. McEwen: We all look after each other’s ridings if there’s a call, and we have many, many calls -- for Kingston and the Islands and for the federal member and for Prince Edward-Lennox --
Hon. Mr. Norton: I am sure you do.
An hon. member: I can believe that one.
Mr. McEwen: -- and we look after them as though they were our own constituents.
Mr. McEwen: It is not true that 25 per cent of the requests and all the letters and all the phone calls go to the office of the member for Kingston and the Islands (Mr. Norton), because they can’t reach him in any event.
Mrs. Campbell: Touché.
Mr. Eaton: That is your second speech -- the longest one you have ever made.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to respond to the point of privilege.
Mr. Warner: Just apologize.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: First of all, I’d be glad to send the hon. member a copy of my remarks from that evening. At no point in those remarks did I say that there was not a constituency office in the riding --
Mr. Sweeney: You must have digressed from the text.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: In fact, I’m very familiar with the one which is on Gardiners Road -- at least it used to be on Gardiners Road, with a big red and white sign that most people can’t see.
The 25 per cent is, in fact, true. My colleague from Kingston and the Islands does have to look after a great many of the calls there.
As to the question of the member being beaten --
Mr. Kerrio: That’s the percentage of Tories down there -- 25 per cent.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- it’s something which I fervently believe, and it’s something which I most sincerely wish, as a native of that constituency --
Mr. Sweeney: It’s known as the death wish.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- that it be returned to a representative who could represent it well.
Mr. McEwen: Your halo is falling.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The member suggests that I should have talked about the economy; I did talk about the economy.
Mr. Ruston: You didn’t say anything.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: He suggests that I should have talked about unemployment; I did talk about unemployment. He suggests that I should have talked about national unity; I did talk about national unity.
Mr. Ruston: Didn’t say anything.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: But the point I was making was that --
Mr. Kerrio: Did you talk about OHIP premiums?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- my staff and I scoured Hansard for the last year and nowhere in Hansard can we find anything which that member -- silent Earl -- has said about the economy, inflation, unemployment or national unity.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Nothing. In fact, he has said nothing in this House at all.
Mr. Eaton: He is never here.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: You will be sorry, Earl.
Mr. Speaker: Order, order. It is the right of any member of this House to get up if he feels that his privileges as a member have been breached or simply to correct the record. Of course, the hon. member for Frontenac-Addington has done that and it doesn’t require anything by way of action on the part of the Chair.
Mr. McEwen: On a point of privilege.
Mr. Speaker: A point of privilege? I will hear it.
Mr. McEwen: I just want to inform the minister that I am not silent, and I wasn’t weaned on a pickle either -- on the other end of the Treasurer’s pickle -- like the minister is.
Mr. Speaker: Oral questions. The hon. Leader of the Opposition.
Hon. Mr. Davis: In the absence of the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) I am rising on a point of personal privilege.
An hon. member: How do you follow that one?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Point of personal privilege.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Here’s the other end of the pickle.
Mr. Deans: Let’s get on with the business.
Mr. Lewis: The member must have somebody in the gallery he is worried about. Do you have a school in the gallery today?
Mr. Speaker: Order. Does the hon. minister have a point of privilege?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: If I may, Mr. Speaker -- especially with one of my youngest twin sisters in the gallery today -- I want to reserve a point of privilege, for as soon as I figure out what the member said.
Mr. Lewis: How can you have a younger twin sister?
Mr. Breaugh: How could anybody be younger than you, Dennis?
Mr. S. Smith: I trust that your sisters look like each other and not like you, Mr. Minister.
An hon. member: And not like a pickle either.
Mr. S. Smith: I would like to ask a question of the Premier, if I might, in the absence of the Treasurer. Is the Premier aware that his Treasurer was present at a meeting of the working committee on property tax reform on Friday where the proposed property tax reform package of his government was discussed? Can the Premier confirm the accuracy of the report in the Toronto Star concerning the recommendations of that committee? In particular, what assurance can the Premier give the House that tenants will in fact receive the benefit of property tax decreases that may arise from the recommendations of that committee?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I would be very surprised if the Treasurer weren’t at that meeting. I was not present. I obviously cannot comment on the story in today’s Toronto Star in that it relates to information that may or may not find its way into the report, which I understand is to be made to cabinet, I think, on April 19, although I may be wrong on the exact date.
To speculate on what may be in that report would be unwise; secondly, it is only a report. The committee has been asked to make certain judgements or recommendations to the government. But the government, in turn, will have to assess those very carefully. While I quite understand the Toronto Star running a news item of this kind, because obviously somebody told them something --
Mrs. Campbell: Who?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t know. The member for St. George might have greater insight into these things than I do; she does on everything else.
Mr. Sweeney: Usually.
Mr. Breaugh: That’s true, but then who doesn’t?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I mean she feels she does. So I really can’t help the Leader of the Opposition any more at this point. It is quite obviously a matter that, if it is proceeded with, will receive rather extensive discussion here in this House, but I think that is a period of time away and I would suggest that we wait until April 19, until the report is available.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, if I might rephrase the second part of the question in a way and add another aspect to it: What assurances can the Premier give this House that in fact tenants will receive the benefit of any property tax decreases that arise because of this package? Furthermore, even though the meeting on April 19 is scheduled, will the Premier at least undertake to obtain the proposals and supporting data that the committee has been using, and make that available to the rent review committee, which is starting work this week, since most of the work of that committee and most of the submissions to that committee will obviously be affected greatly by what the disposition of this property tax matter will be?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am anxious that the rent review committee have as much information as possible. I am not familiar with what statistical information the committee that was asked to study this matter had available to it. Whether that information is anything different from what was available to the previous committees, I am not sure. But certainly we would be quite prepared to have whatever statistical information that would be helpful to the committee made available to them.
I do want to emphasize that I can’t give any assurances here today on a subject about which the government has made no decision. Quite obviously this whole matter of property tax reform is complex. It has a different impact on various communities across the province. The government is not going to move into this hastily. It is something we want to look at very carefully. I think it would be unfair to the public generally for me or anyone else to be making some off-the-cuff sort of judgements or opinions prior to some recommendations to this House or some statement of possible government policy.
Certainly in a personal way I am very anxious, if and when property tax reform goes ahead, that it is as equitable as one can make it for everybody who is affected by it -- and I guess we all would be in one form or another. That is an easy principle to express, and in equity that would mean, if there were to be a significant reduction to the people who own the apartment dwellings, that the tenants would be a beneficiary of some of this reduction, but I can’t tell the Leader of the Opposition that this will in fact take place. I really think it is somewhat premature to be discussing it here in the House. I think it is a very legitimate question to ask but I hope the hon. member will understand I don’t want to add to any confusion or any apprehension or misunderstanding in the mind of the general public until there is a clear definition of just what might be involved.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Is the Premier aware that the amounts of money that are involved for tenants are very substantial indeed, according to the figures which have been developed by the working group after the reference to it by the Treasurer, and that in Metropolitan Toronto alone the estimate is now -- on the Treasurer’s own figures, prepared for the working group -- $77,745,400 of tax cuts for multiple units -- that is for rental units which are occupied by tenants -- and the working group has so far come up with no alternatives to ensure that that very large sum of money is transferred back to tenants? Therefore, developers are standing to get that amount of money from tax reforms unless the government steps in. Can we have an assurance stronger than that rather rambling statement that the Premier just came up with in terms of the government’s intentions?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I recognize the leader of the New Democratic Party has instant answers to every question and I must confess to him I don’t.
Mr. Breaugh: The Premier doesn’t have any answers.
Mr Grande: Not at any time.
Hon. Mr. Davis: And I would just ask his understanding that perhaps, on this occasion at least, he might exercise some degree of patience --
Mr. Martel: The Premier has been doing tax reform for 10 years.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- and that we might wait until the report is available to us and until the government has had an opportunity to assess it. I don’t think the committee’s responsibility was to determine if there were to be reductions in some areas, such as apartment buildings, and how that reduction might be passed on to the tenant. I think the principle that must be established is at what rates are apartment dwellings to be taxed? How in Metro, where you’ve used this rather significant figure, does this relate to single families? I think there are a number of questions that still have to be answered, and my guess is that they will still have to be answered after the report comes in. I don’t minimize the amount of money the leader of the party has mentioned, although I would point out to him that the definition of landlord does encompass people other than major landlords or developers, as he would like to call them; and he doesn’t like them very much. It also includes a number of people -- and there are many hundreds of them -- who perhaps happen to own a duplex or a triplex or rather modest investments. Perhaps this is their total investment; --
Mr. Martel: The Premier has been talking about reform for 10 years.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- their life savings may be invested in a small rental unit.
An hon. member: Answer the question.
Mr. Warner: What about Cadillac Fairview?
Hon. Mr Grossman: The hon. member should look to his own caucus.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes, perhaps even in the hon. member’s own caucus; I don’t know.
Before we zero in on anyone or any particular aspect, I just ask the House’s indulgence. Let’s wait for the report and then we will discuss it in a more constructive sort of way.
Mr. Warner: It is a matter of principle.
Mr. Martel: The Premier has been bringing that in for four elections, and now, he has put it off. It’s nonsense.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The hon. member for Sudbury East said we have been putting it off for four elections. Why doesn’t he have the intestinal fortitude to get up and say he’ll implement tax reform tomorrow? He has never said it and he never will.
Mr. Martel: That’s nonsense.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, he won’t.
Mr. Martel: The government has backed off in the face of every election. Darcy has been running around here like the Duke of Kent for 10 years.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Has the member got the intestinal fortitude to do it?
Mr. Martel: The Premier has got so much intestinal fortitude he wears it like a pin.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary: does the Premier not recognize the fact that up until this point many statements had been made by members of the government and others that with market value assessment there would be a reduction for tenants, and that this committee will, I assume, be hearing submissions from tenant groups? Having that in mind, would the Premier not recognize the fact that it is important that the committee and those making representations should have the benefit not only of this report but of the rationale of the report so that the submissions will be based upon up to date information and not that which is already outmoded?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I thought I had made it clear to the member for St. George’s leader that any statistical information that would be helpful we would be delighted to present to the rent review committee. I don’t know what information the committee, which is to report on the 19th, was using. I’m not familiar with the material, but I thought I made it fairly clear to the hon. member’s leader, if she had been listening, that we were prepared to make that material available. I have already answered the hon. member’s question.
Mrs. Campbell: I was listening. Mr. Speaker, could I ask for clarification --
Mr. Speaker: No. Final supplementary, the hon. member for Welland-Thorold.
Mr. Swart: Would the Premier not recognize that budget paper E, which was brought in by the Treasurer two years ago, recommended a policy which would have provided for dramatic reductions in the taxes on apartment units; and would he not recognize that when the Blair commission brought in its report about a year later it recommended the same thing; and would it not be reasonable, therefore, to expect today that the government of this province would be able to give some indication of whether it would pass legislation to see that those savings are passed through to the tenants?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have read very carefully what the hon. member has said over the past couple of years about property tax reform, period. I would say to him with respect that his own position on property tax reform is less than clear.
Mr. S. Smith: Like the government’s.
Hon. Mr. Davis: To isolate one aspect of the committee’s report which will relate to apartment buildings, without recognizing that whatever reduction is recommended there means an added burden on somebody else, whether it’s business, industry or the single-family home --
Mr. Swart: That’s not the question.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- is not a complete understanding of the problem. Certainly we are anxious, if there are to be reductions in terms of taxation to land owners, that these reductions are passed on, in part at least, to the tenants.
Mr. Cassidy: In part?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Before people start saying there’s going to be a major saving to tenants, I hope there is an understanding --
Mr. Grande: You’re changing your mind, aren’t you?
An hon. member: It’s about the greatest ripoff of all time.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- there has been no commitment (a) to implement the report and (b) we haven’t got the report.
Mr. Warner: The landlords will get $77 million. That’s what it’s all about.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think the hon. member, before he makes his judgement, had better make some decision as it relates to some of the single family dwellings, particularly perhaps here in Metropolitan Toronto. It’s great for some of the hon. members opposite to be brave because they see one part of a potential report that has some pluses, but I would caution them, there could be some negatives. I hope we get the same measure of enthusiasm when they start emerging as well.
Mr. Swart: We’ll get to that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Like it ain’t all so simple as you would think
Mr. Lewis: Boy, the best tenant basher in the province gives the words of wisdom: “It ain’t all so simple.”
Mr. Warner: Defender of Cadillac Fairview.
Mr. Conway: Rough morning, Bill?
Hon. Mr. Davis: As a matter of fact, it was relatively peaceful.
Mr. Speaker: Order. We’ve spent 15 minutes on this first question.
Mr. S. Smith: We will all puzzle on what the Premier means by “in part at least.”
Mr. S. Smith: I’d like to ask the Minister of Housing a question: Can the minister explain the basis for the new policy which seems to be emerging from his ministry, where not only does the ministry appear to be trying to get out of the business of building public housing, but it also seems to be getting out of the business of rent supplements? Can he explain, first of all, why it is that an official of his ministry has suggested that Hamilton needs no more assisted housing, given the fact that there is, in fact, a year-long waiting list for assisted housing -- these are people approved and already on the list as well as many others who have never even bothered to apply for the list because of its hopelessness and its length. And why has the same thing happened in Ottawa, where I believe the list is about a year and a half long and the rules have now been changed to disqualify a good many of these people, for reasons that I cannot fathom? What is the basis of this new policy?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, we have not really changed the policy of the ministry. What we have said to the mayors of the municipalities -- and the two that the hon. member speaks of, Hamilton and Ottawa, are two whom we have referred it to -- is that we want to do an assessment with the municipalities in relationship to their annual review of housing requirements in those communities. It would appear at the moment, with the turnover in the housing stock for public use, that there is a sufficient number of units on the market at the moment.
There is some difficulty in filling some of the public housing units in the city of Ottawa and a few of the other communities in this province. We have only asked the municipalities that we do a complete analysis and review of the situation to make sure that we’re not overextending ourselves, either in government-owned public housing, in co-ops or non-profit organizations. We think that in some of the communities at the moment there are too many units in the same price range all going for the same tenant. Before we make those rather substantial financial commitments, either by the federal or provincial government, we should have a complete analysis and understanding of where we’re at at this moment.
Mr. McEwen: Five years from now.
Mr. S. Smith: May I ask, by way of supplementary, why the minister has come to believe there might be a glut of such housing at a certain level and so on, as he describes, in Hamilton and Ottawa when the list of people who have already been approved to be on the waiting list and have already been considered to be deserving of such assisted housing is at least a year in Hamilton and I believe a year and a half in Ottawa? Does that in itself not give an indication that there is no glut of such housing in the market and that there is still a need that real people have for real housing?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I would be pleased to supply the leader of the Liberal Party with the background material that brought us to this conclusion. We would say very clearly and very carefully that with the turnover in public housing as well as the rent supplement programs that have been implemented over the years and the number of co-op houses that have come on the market, there would appear to be a sufficient number of units at this time to satisfy those who are truly in need, according to the grading categories used by the ministry and by the local housing authority.
One of the other reasons is that we are now finding a great number of co-op housing projects, which had secured from the government the right to get into a rent supplement program for a percentage of their overall development, coming back to us for a larger and larger percentage of the number of units they are building. We have some projects in this province right now that would like the government to allow them to go up to 80 and 90 per cent of the entire development in the rent supplement program, which, as I think the leader of the Liberal Party will agree, is generally speaking against the well-founded policy of the social programs of this province, that we should not allow that number of units in a given development to come under the rent supplement program.
I think in due course we will likely find that some units will have to be changed in sizing in the municipalities. We now realize that in Ottawa, in Hamilton and Windsor, for example, the three-bedroom units are overstocked. We have too many of them. Whereas seen to 10 years ago that was the popular unit, today it is no longer the case. We are trying to do an assessment so that we are not putting a tremendous amount of capital funding, provincially, federally and municipally -- and indeed a larger portion of the shortfall by the municipality -- into this public housing problem.
Mr. S. Smith: You will send me the information?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Yes.
Mr. Cassidy: In view of the fact that the vacancy rates in the cities the minister has mentioned, and other major cities in the province, are still running around one per cent to one and a half per cent and that no private accommodation is available for people earning less than $12,000 or $13,000 a year within an affordable proportion of their income, is the minister aware that the pullout by the ministry from the provisions of rent supplement and assisted housing is leaving people with incomes below that level with absolutely no kind of housing which they can afford in order to get decent accommodation?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I am well aware of what the vacancy rate happens to be in the cities of Ottawa, Windsor, Hamilton and Toronto. In every city but the one we are in at the moment, Toronto, the vacancy rate runs at about one and a half per cent. What we are saying at the moment is we are going to settle down and make a review of the situation before we find that we have far too many public housing units on the market and no takers for them.
Mr. Breaugh: We’ll give the minister a list of takers.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question for the Premier, in the absence of the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough). I want the Premier to tell the House whether the government is prepared to undertake a cut in the provincial sales tax in Ontario in order to stimulate the economy, if such a cut is proposed in tonight’s federal budget. If so, can he tell the House what proportion of that sales tax cut the Ontario government is prepared to underwrite?
Mr. Rotenberg: Why don’t you wait for tomorrow?
Hon. Mr. Davis: If the hon. member could tell me exactly what may be proposed in the federal budget tonight, after a hurried conversation with the Treasurer, I might get some reaction for him. In that I am not privy to what Mr. Chretien may say this evening at 8 o’clock, I find it very difficult to answer that particular question.
Mr. Cassidy: Just take my word for it, Mr. Speaker. In view of the fact that the Treasurer said at the finance ministers’ conference last fall that a sales tax cut is the most direct and efficient method of placing tax dollars in consumers’ pockets, perhaps I can ask the question in a more general way. Is this government prepared to participate in any way in underwriting the costs of such a sales tax cut to stimulate the economy?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I’m answering now in a general way and not in any way related to what may or may not be proposed tonight. This government in this province has always been co-operative. I think that’s something everybody opposite would understand.
Mr. Samis: That’s not what Marc Lalonde says.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The other point I would make is, I do recall the Treasurer of this province making that constructive suggestion last fall.
Mr. Peterson: Perhaps the Premier would be good enough to answer in a general way whether he has done any studies on what would happen if, perchance, the federal government does bring in assistance for sales tax cuts. Has he done any studies about (1) the effect of that on our own economy and (2) what percentage of that abatement would be put into purchases of domestically produced products as opposed to imported products? What information does he have in order to be able to respond to the federal government tonight if that is necessary?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t know whether it’s going to be necessary to respond this evening. I really can’t answer on the basis of that hypothetical question. The member opposite is obviously much closer to the gentleman who will be bringing forward a budget tonight and perhaps has some insight that I don’t enjoy.
Mr. S. Smith: What information does the Premier have?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I can only say, in a general sense, I don’t think any study will show conclusively whether a reduction in any tax -- and I guess this would apply to the sales tax -- has greater application to domestically produced products or imported products. I’m sure the member has done his own studies within his own household, and probably his wife can tell him what percentage of his purchasing dollar is spent on the domestic products and how much is spent on the imported products.
I happen to know a little bit about the member’s lifestyle; and if it is an imported liquid, the chances are there will be a higher percentage on that if it’s wine than on the domestic product. But that is only personal information that I have; it could be totally erroneous.
An hon. member: And quite irrelevant.
An hon. member: Thanks for a “nothing” answer.
Mr. Cassidy: Can the Premier comment on the disparity of the behaviour of Conservatives out of office and Conservatives in office, specifically the fact that his federal leader has been calling for a federal tax cut, whereas at the provincial level, while the Treasurer has suggested that the sales tax be cut, he has indicated that it should be done only with federal dollars and has not indicated any preparedness to participate?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I can’t comment on Conservatives who are in office and out of office.
Mr. Breithaupt: The Premier is prepared to do it for the Liberals.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I happen to be a Conservative who is in office, enjoys being in office and intends to be here for a quite a while; and the member’s experience, that will be just what it is, for quite a while. Don’t ask me a supplementary on what is quite a while.
Mr. Martel: Until the next election.
Mr. Cassidy: We’ll hear tomorrow.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Natural Resources. Following the question that I put last Friday, and in the light of the statement in the report “Forest Management in Canada,” that current forest inventories overestimate Ontario’s forest reserves by as much as 30 per cent, can the minister tell this House specifically if the annual allowable cut in Ontario’s forests is being recalculated?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, we recalculate the annual allowable cut almost on a continuous basis based upon upgraded information from our forest inventory. Currently, the annual allowable cut exceeds the actual cut. That’s something that may come as a shock to the hon. members, but the annual allowable estimated cut still exceeds the amount harvested by industry.
Mr. Cassidy: A supplementary: If I can give an example, the same report shows that in fact there has been serious overcutting in certain regions of the province, especially of jackpine. To give an example, in the Englehart management unit only 44 per cent of the area cut in that unit since 1958 has been successfully regenerated as compared with the ministry’s estimate of 66 per cent being successfully regenerated.
In view of that fact, is the ministry preparing to recalculate the annual allowable cut in those areas of the province where it is indicated that the allowable cut right now is too high and is it prepared, thereby, to ensure that there will be jobs in Englehart and similar areas across the province 20 years hence?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, as some of my foresters pointed out to me last week, if I asked three foresters whether a patch of ground was or was not adequately regenerated, I would get four answers.
Mr. Cassidy: That doesn’t answer the question, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Getting four answers would be better than getting none from the minister.
Mr. Martel: Are they all lawyers?
Mr. T. P. Reid: Could I ask the minister if in fact it’s not true that his ministry really does not have a very good inventory of the forest resources in the province of Ontario and doesn’t have a good idea of what species there are and how much are available? Perhaps in conjunction with this, could he bring us up to date about the inventory the ministry was doing for the Reed project? Has that still gone ahead, in view of Reed’s comments about that project not proceeding?
Hon. F. S. Miller: On number one, Mr. Speaker, I don’t agree that we don’t have a good inventory. I am satisfied that any inventory based on the kinds of method currently used, which is basically photography followed up by ground sampling to estimate the visual versus the actual, will have some margin of error. I am told more often we find more good timber on the ground than our aerial surveys have led us to expect and this becomes one of the constant arguments.
As far as the inventory on the Reed proposal goes, yes, that is going on. I have talked to one of the persons who contracted for part of the work during the winter because they were behind schedule and asked them to speed up their efforts to make sure they stayed on schedule, because no matter whether there is a “Reed proposal” or not, those resources are important to this province and an accurate assessment of their content is vital.
Mr. T. P. Reid: That is the point, you don’t have an up-to-date inventory.
Hon. F. S. Miller: That’s an area we never considered cutting before.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Could the minister explain, to be more specific, why it is that the government’s concern about regeneration of the forests seems to have had as a major result the consumption of paper for ministerial statements but that, in fact, there has been a three per cent reduction in the acreage regenerated in Ontario between 1974 and 1977? Can be explain why that is the case and why this government is not getting along with the job of ensuring that our forests are there for the future to provide jobs in northern Ontario?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I would love to read to the member the Thunder Bay Times, where his critic, who is not beside him today, and who has a greater understanding of the problem, in very glowing words commented upon the discussions last week. May I suggest to the NDP leader that he get an understanding before he poses too many more questions.
Mr. Martel: Maybe you should too, Frank. We have some of your letters on the two-for-one policy.
Mr. G. I. Miller: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment: Is the minister aware of a report just released by the Department of Health and Welfare, which tested water supplies in 70 Canadian municipalities over the past year, and among other nasty organic and man-made intruders every sample contained chemicals called halomethanes, which some scientists believe can cause cancer in humans, and of the nine worst municipalities two were in Ontario, Brantford and Cayuga, and what is the minister prepared to do about it?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, no, I am not aware of that report. It would probably go to the Ministry of Health.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Supplementary: Would the ministry consider looking into it and consider taking remedial action?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Yes, we will consider that.
Mr. Makarchuk: Supplementary: Is the minister aware of the fact that the chemicals are caused by the dumping of sewage and treatment of sewage in the water supply? Will the minister ensure that upstream sewage treatment plants are built and are operated properly?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, we will do our best to alleviate any problems which the member may be alluding to.
SALE OF BEER AT BASEBALL STADIUM
Mr. Samis: A question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: In view of the fact that spring is here and the major league baseball season opens this week in Toronto and almost 750,000 people are expected to attend the games at the CNE Stadium this year, can the minister tell the House if he’s reconsidering the puerile, puritanical, prohibitionist position adopted by his government last year in regard to the sale of beer; and if not, Why not?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: At the current time the government is not reconsidering that policy. And why not? Simply because Mr. Hoy hasn’t been convincing enough.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh.
Mr. Lewis: Sensitivity, sensitivity. He is getting to you, young fellow. He is putting it between the ribs.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The hon. member for Cornwall has the floor.
Mr Samis: I never knew this minister was so sensitive to Claire Hoy.
Mr. Breithaupt: He has always been sensitive to Claire Hoy.
Mr. Samis: Can the minister advise the House in regard to the possible granting of a licence to VS Services at the CNE Stadium? Does he regard that as some sort of alternative replacement or token gesture to satisfy the public demand for the sale of beer in the stadium; and can he advise us on what basis this government would ever consider changing its policy so that the services at the CNE Stadium would be equivalent to those in the other 25 stadia in North America?
Mr. Kerrio: Bush league.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, the Orange Bowl only voted on it a year ago -- less than that.
Mr. Lewis: We know you know a lot about Florida.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have been to other ballparks.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: And none finer, quieter or more organized than the CNE Stadium.
Mr. Samis: Baloney!
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The application made by Versafood is in no way a crack in the policy of the government with regard to the CNE Stadium.
Mr. Lewis: Yes, it is.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: As the member will realize, if he considers the case of Woodbine or Greenwood, for example, where there have long been licensed dining rooms, which obtained their dining lounge licences the same way as any other restaurant -- that is, by making application to the Liquor Licence Board for a dining lounge licence -- they happen to be in the same building in order to permit people to watch a sporting event.
Mr. Conway: If people took a brown paper bag to the CNE, would you allow it?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I am informed that with regard to the CNE, unlike Greenwood and Woodbine, you can’t see the ball game in fact, live and in colour, from the dining room. However, even if you could, I am sure the Liquor Licence Board would treat it on the same basis as the Woodbine and Greenwood applications and licences --
Mr. Martel: Like Maple Leaf Gardens.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: They are dining room licences, licensed in accordance with the existing rules. The key difference here, of course, is that in order to serve beer in the stands a change of government regulations would be required.
An hon. member: How about an election?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Well, the hon. member is quite right. If his party wants to go to the people on that ground, good luck to them.
Mr. Conway: Good idea.
Mr. Martel: You might lose on that.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: But we might win.
Mr. Martel: I doubt it. There are not that many temperance people around.
Mr. Lewis: It is better than other issues we have had.
Mr. Martel: Like rent control.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It is better than a committee on the issue.
In any case, the difference is of course that a change in regulations would have been required to permit the sale in the stands. That is not the case with regard to the application in question with regard to the dining lounge, which I am happy to say never reaches the minister’s office, of course, because I don’t have to get involved in it, because there is no change of government policy required in order to issue it. In essence, no change.
Mr. Breithaupt: Supplementary: Mr. Speaker: Were the reports in the media correct that, following up on the availability of alcoholic beverages at the CNE Stadium, they would be available in the private boxes, which were arranged by various particular companies for their friends, guests and clients; but would not be available, of course, to the general public?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Not to my knowledge; they are not treated any differently than the people in the stands.
Mr. Lewis: That is a change.
Mr. Eakins: You wouldn’t do that, would you, Larry?
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for High Park with a final supplementary.
Mr. Conway: Larry, if you put the CNE in a brown paper bag --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: You are on my side on this one.
Mr. Ziemba: In view of the fact that one of the Liquor Licence Board officials admitted that the minister himself appeared or applied on behalf of Versafood in regard to its application, does he think this is proper on his part?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That is not only untrue, but an obviously ridiculous allegation for the hon. member to make.
Mr. Martel: He didn’t make an allegation. He asked a question.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: However, in order to give the hon. member the benefit of the doubt, if he would supply me with details of my intervention on behalf of Versafood --
Mr. Peterson: You will sue yourself.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- then firstly, I’ll faint --
Mr. Warner: Then you’ll resign, which is what you should have done when --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- and secondly, publicly answer the question. I don’t want the name of the official who gave you this foolish information --
An hon. member: Mr. X.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- but for the record let me just say that it’s absolutely, totally, entirely wrong, incorrect and silly for the member to say.
Mr. T. P. Reid: You are being consistent then.
Hon. Mr. Davis: If you can document it, have it documented.
Mr. Lewis: Does the minister mean he wasn’t right?
MACLAREN HOUSE NURSING HOME
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, the member who asked this question unfortunately isn’t in the House today, but I would like to get it on the record because it is now about a week old.
On April 4, the member for Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes) asked if I would provide a full account of what firm proposals Mr. Bordo, the owner of MacLaren House Nursing Home, has filed with the nursing home inspection branch to ensure that the physical plant of the home was in total compliance with the Nursing Home Act, 1972.
Mr. McClellan: Don’t mumble, articulate.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Pardon? I couldn’t hear what you said.
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Dennis, you’re turning away from the microphone.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: As I pointed out to the member in my letter of August 25, 1977, Mr. Bordo has elected to fulfil his commitment that the physical plant of MacLaren House Nursing Home is in total compliance with the Nursing Homes Act, 1972, within 12 months of the date of purchase by undertaking a major renovation of Bellevue Residence in Orleans.
He has not been able to fulfil this commitment due to the fact that he has encountered a number of problems regarding the Bellevue Residence. Specifically, he has not been able to secure an extension in the lease on this property. In addition, he has encountered mechanical and structural problems in the basement of this facility which have prohibited the proposed renovations.
As an alternative he has proposed a new facility to replace the existing MacLaren House Nursing Home, this construction to be completed in approximately two years. In the light of this delay he has agreed to undertake certain renovations and improvements at the existing MacLaren House Nursing Home. I would point out that both proposals have been approved by the inspection branch.
With respect to the renovation and improvement at MacLaren House, I would point out that the drawings are presently being reviewed. In addition, the following improvements have taken place: 1. A new call system has been installed to meet the requirements of the Nursing Homes Act; 2. New furniture has been purchased for many of the rooms and the remaining furniture has been refinished and repainted; 3. Redecorating of lounges and bedrooms has taken place; 4. New drapes are in the process of being installed; 5. A plan for ceiling-mounted privacy screens is being investigated and costed; 6. A new procedure manual for nursing care has been compiled and submitted to the nursing home inspection service for comment and approval; 7. Considerable maintenance has taken place and there is an improvement in the cleanliness and general housekeeping; 8. Outstanding equipment from the pre-sale requirements has been purchased; 9. A new activity director has been hired full time, with a greatly expanded program; 10. A new food supervisor is now employed.
I would also point out that there have been definite improvements in the appearance of the home and in the quality of care provided in this nursing home. The nursing home inspection service is working closely with the administrator and the director of nursing regarding these matters, particularly with regard to nursing care standards of practices and in-service programs for the staff.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: In view of the fact that the complaints about MacLaren House have focused exactly on those issues -- not just for one or two years, but over the past six years -- will the minister not agree that there has been laxity in the enforcement of nursing home standards on MacLaren House going over a long time and which are now being accepted by the ministry, through the statement of the ministry as given today? Will the minister also tell the House what guarantees there are that the existing building will be closed down in favour of the new facility within the two-year period he mentioned?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The question from the hon. member’s colleague had to do with what Mr. Bordo had done. If I remember correctly, Mr. Bordo has only owned the home for about a year. I won’t comment on what happened before. The member is aware of course that after the 1972 Act came in and to date I think 210 nursing homes in the province have been closed, either because of revocation or refusal to renew or where new facilities have been built.
We’ve made considerable progress in this province in bringing the general standard of nursing homes -- physical standards as well as care -- up to exceedingly good levels.
Mr. Warner: Not good enough. You still refuse to table the reports.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Why don’t you resign?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: In the last five or six months the inspection has been intensified at my orders. As a result certainly I can see it, and the number of complaints has fallen off -- I think even in the last six months we’re seeing a further increase in the level of care in the nursing homes.
Mr. Warner: Table the inspection report, then. You won’t table those, will you?
BRONTE SPORTS COMPLEX
Mr. Cunningham: My question is of the Minister of Government Services. Initially, I would like to thank the minister for his reply as it relates to my questions concerning the Bronte sports complex. But, recognizing that moneys for 535 acres of land at a cost of $5.8 million, legal fees of $19,000, surveyor charges of $26,100, parking lot at $219,000 and architects’ fees of $1.3 million have been expended to date on this particular project, which has now been shelved by the Treasurer after it has been promised since 1971, I wonder if the minister could advise the House as to what the particular status of this project is at this time or if he could inform the House as to whether or not this is a $7.4 million forgotten election promise.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: In responding to the hon. member’s question on Friday morning, I gave a complete answer about this particular project. I made it quite clear that the project is still on our books. It has been delayed under the present restraint program. It is felt that the money can be better spent and that more people in the province will get services from that money.
I can assure the hon. member that the project is still on our books and is not forgotten. It is quite active in our minds.
Mr. Cunningham: Supplementary: Perhaps the minister may forgive me if I am somewhat confused with regard to the phrase on the books. Do I take it correctly then that this project at some time will proceed?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Some time is a long time.
Mr. Breaugh: How long is that? How about the fullness of time?
Mr. Samis: Before the next election.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I hope the hon. member is able to stay long enough, although we sometimes question it.
Mrs. Campbell: I wouldn’t if I were you.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: But I do hope he will be able to stay and will be able to receive the benefits that go with this particular project.
Mr. Cunningham: Supplementary: Recognizing that the cost of this project is already an estimated $33 million, would the minister not agree that any inordinate delay of this particular project as it currently is planned will escalate the cost as a result of inflation, and that it will virtually put it out of any kind of realistic possibility?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: No, I would not agree.
WINDSOR CHILDREN’S CENTRE
Mr. Cooke: I have a question of the Minister of Community and Social Services regarding the Children’s Achievement Centre in Windsor. In view of the fact that there are serious problems at the Children’s Achievement Centre with respect to the adequacy of the present director and behaviour management supervisor; in view of the fact that the methods of treatment, namely some of the behaviour modification techniques, such as blindfolding children who are hyperkinetic to calm them down, teaching the child not to run away by taking his clothes away and putting a blanket around him in class and using isolation with children who are afraid to be alone; and in view of the fact that the centre has refused to implement the two key recommendations of the minister’s investigating team -- namely, the hiring of a new director and the provision of a full-time supervisor over the behaviour management supervisor, why did the minister approve the renewal of the centre’s licence?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I think the hon. member realizes that many of the things to which he has referred were allegations that predated the ministry investigation of that centre some several months ago -- last summer in fact -- and which gave rise to the report to which he referred.
Mr. McClellan: Do you have guidelines or not?
Hon. Mr. Norton: There were at that time a number of requirements which were laid down by the ministry, almost all of which have been complied with.
Mr. Cooke: The two key ones haven’t.
Hon. Mr. Norton: The two key ones to which he refers have been the subject of a modification which has met with the agreement of the ministry in terms of the retention of a consultant -- a reputable person in the field of behaviour modification who is on the staff, I believe, at the University of Windsor and who is acting as a consultant two or three days a week.
Mr. Cooke: Two half-days a week.
Hon. Mr. Norton: That arrangement at the present time is meeting our requirements. I was just delivered, as the House was sitting this afternoon, a copy of a rather lengthy article in the Windsor Star, which I presume prompted the hon. member’s question. I have not had a chance to read it in detail but my preliminary reading of this seems to indicate that the incidents referred to here are incidents which we believe -- and we have been assured -- have been remedied.
It is, I agree, a situation which is still very controversial because there are two very strong factions within the community, some who support the approach of the centre and those who do not; and some of the parents of the children are on both sides of the fence.
Mr. McClellan: Does the minister have guidelines or not?
Hon. Mr. Norton: And although I acknowledge that I can assure the members that we are watching the situation very carefully and have no reason to believe this kind of thing is continuing without adequate supervision.
Mr McClellan: It continues under supervision, is that it?
Mr. Cooke: Supplementary: Has the ministry decided to back down on its two main recommendations because it does not want to fund the Children’s Achievement Centre adequately? As evidence of this I would like to refer to part of the article from the Windsor Star where Judge Thomson said that the CAC’s administration is not ideal, and he would prefer the centre to be run by professionals, but given the budget available and other considerations he is satisfied that the Children’s Achievement Centre is addressing the problem. In other words, the ministry doesn’t want to fund the centre adequately to provide it with professionals.
Hon. Mr. Norton: No, Mr. Speaker, I don’t agree with that. I have not had an opportunity since receiving this to see if my associate deputy minister was accurately quoted or not. But I’m sure the hon. member from his own experience last fall understands that there are times when quotations in the newspaper are not entirely accurate.
Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary: In the light of the problem at the centre, I would assume that the minister might hesitate to call a full-scale investigation so recently since he studied the problem one year ago. Would the minister get the two sides to the conflict together face to face and have them talk to one another in an attempt to resolve the problem in the interest of the children who may be adversely affected if this type of situation continues to exist?
Mr. Cooke: They have already tried that, Bernie, and you know it.
Hon. Mr. Norton: It is my understanding that we have attempted to bring the parties together. I’m not sure which is the dissenting group, but certainly the --
Mr. Lewis: Those who believe in behaviour modification came along willingly. They were programmed.
Hon. Mr. Norton: -- those parents who have withdrawn their children and withdrawn from involvement with the centre have, it is my understanding, refused to meet with the other group every time they have been approached. That does not mean that we are not willing to continue to try, but we haven’t had much success at this point.
Mr. B. Newman: But the minister will try to get them together?
Mr. Martel: So the children suffer in the meantime.
Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary, the hon. member for Bellwoods.
Mr. McClellan: I have before me a document called Interim Guidelines for the Use of Behavioural Modification which applies to the minister’s mental retardation schedule 1 facilities; and the minister also has guidelines that came from the Ministry of Health. I want to ask the minister whether what he is telling us today means that he has one set of criteria for the use of behaviour modification in the ministry’s own institutions and a second less stringent set of guidelines for the use of behaviour modification techniques in children’s mental health centres. Because that is what it sounds like he is saying.
Hon. Mr. Norton: No, that is not what I was saying.
Mr. McClellan: What is it the minister is saying?
Mr. Speaker: The hon. Solicitor General has the answer to a question asked previously.
MUNICIPAL FIRE DEPARTMENTS
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, this is a question asked of me by the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy). He is not in the House and he hasn’t been here for a few days, and I want to reply while it is still hot.
An hon. member: He is with the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry ) -- on the same trip.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: He asked me a question regarding provincial policy on fighting fires near the border of a municipality, based on an incident which occurred on March 7 last involving the Rideau and Gloucester fire departments.
On that occasion, a building in Gloucester township caught fire but residents initially called the Rideau fire station just across the municipal border. The Rideau firefighters responded to the alarm but when they realized the fire was in an adjoining municipality they relayed the call to the Gloucester department. The Gloucester department arrived some 12 minutes later and extinguished the blaze.
That was a rare and unfortunate occurrence. It is most unusual for the first department at the scene not to begin fighting the fire immediately and there have been many examples of co-operation in situations like this throughout the province.
While I recognize that fire protection is basically a municipal responsibility, my ministry has been working through area coordinators to draft agreements between neighbouring municipalities to provide this added protection in borderline areas. It was unfortunate that Gloucester and Rideau had not entered into such an agreement prior to March 7.
The fire marshal has discussed this situation with both municipalities involved, and an interim agreement has been reached which will lead to a permanent agreement dealing with such situations in that area.
Mr. McKessock: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Solicitor General. In view of the fact that small harness racing tracks such as Hanover and Owen Sound and Orangeville would be hard hit if offtrack betting was legalized by a substantial drop in attendance at the track when betting could be done at home, why is the minister encouraging and supporting the federal government to make a change in the Criminal Code to allow for offtrack betting?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, the hon. member may know there was a task force studying offtrack betting a number of years ago and that report indicated there wouldn’t be any severe effect to the smaller racetracks if this system was brought into Ontario. It would indicate, first of all, that there would be, over a period of time, substantial revenue to the province resulting from offtrack betting and that although initially there may be some slump in attendance figures at the smaller tracks, after a year or so this would pick up and in the long run the system would benefit even the smaller tracks in the province.
Mr. McKessock: That certainly isn’t the evidence that my constituents have been giving me. But a further supplementary to that: In view of the fact that going to the horse races in these smaller places brings out the aspect of sport and entertainment rather than gambling, does the minister not feel that by allowing offtrack betting he is only encouraging and promoting the evil side of horseracing, which is gambling?
Mrs. Campbell: Culture and recreation.
An hon. member: No beer in the ball park but you can have offtrack betting, is that it?
Mr. McKessock: Has the minister an answer?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. S. Smith: Once you are stamping out sin you might as well be complete.
Mr. T. P. Reid: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In the submission to the federal government did the minister make any provision for assuring that the smaller tracks would be financially protected, by working out some kind of formula to at least match current gates and receipts, so they, in fact, will not suffer in the interim period which the report indicated would take place?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, it has been some time since we spoke to the federal Minister of Agriculture regarding this amendment to the Criminal Code. We indicated as a result of our task force report what we felt could be done that would avoid the problems or the fears of the smaller tracks. The Minister of Agriculture, as the hon. member knows, would continue to be involved in that type of betting, in the tote and in all ramifications of handling funds from offtrack betting so that we were satisfied from the information we had, particularly from other jurisdictions, that the smaller tracks wouldn’t suffer.
Mr. McClellan: I have a question for the Premier in the absence of the Treasurer.
When the Treasurer announced his working committee on property tax reform in January he said in the accompanying document and if I may, I’ll quote:
“In Metro Toronto, because of the large number of apartment buildings which have major tax decreases the net effect of the proposal is an increase in taxes on single-family dwellings.” And he went on to say: “Increases in average taxes on single-family dwellings are not acceptable to me and I’m therefore asking the working group to come up with some alternative for Metro which will avoid this result.”
In view of the reported fruits of the working committee, to the effect in Saturday’s Star that 400,000 Metro homes faced enormous tax increases, may I ask the Premier whether he will assure us that his reported proposals will not be the basis of any property tax reform; and will he tell us, secondly, when he intends to come up with the proposals promised January 4 by the Treasurer in that statement?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I really thought I had partially answered this earlier. I want to re-emphasize what I said earlier, that this is a committee asked by the government to report; it is not a government report. Second, I endeavoured to point out to the member’s leader one of the complications, because quite obviously he is prepared to accept one aspect if it turns out to be accurate. I am just guessing that he may not be, as has been reported, ready to jump in and support one.
I challenge the member for Welland-Thorold to accept then the other principles. These would lead to a problem in Metropolitan Toronto with a single-family home owner.
The point I was endeavouring to make is that it’s great to be on the side of one aspect of a potential report, but please would he also show the same enthusiasm for other parts of the report which might not be quite as politically acceptable?
Quite obviously he is not, in any way, in tune with his colleagues who asked the previous questions this afternoon. He is not in support of a great additional burden on the single-family home owner, so quite obviously he recognizes that the report we are about to receive has to be assessed very carefully before any determination is made.
Mr. McClellan: Don’t play games.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We are just trying to do the responsible thing. Listen --
Mr. McClelland: Mr. Speaker, can we have a little bit of order?
Let me ask the Premier again -- I think it has been asked four times. He can ramble all around but he still hasn’t answered the question. When is he going to come up with a workable proposal that is equitable both to tenants and to single-family properties, in view of the fact that the working committee has failed to do what he said it was going to do in January?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am really very impressed that the hon. member has seen a working committee’s report. They haven’t finished the report. How he has seen it, I don’t understand. I can only tell him that it isn’t finished. That’s all I have been trying to say here for some time this afternoon. It’s taking me a little longer than usual to say let’s wait until we get the report. Let’s not deal with a speculative story.
In terms of a supplementary from the member for St. George, there are some of her colleagues who have been pressing for market value assessment.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Premier. I would like to know from the Premier about Ontario’s policy concerning immigration. In view of the fact that the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch) has recently tabled in the Legislature a letter that she sent to Ottawa stating that Ontario has no policy in this regard, and in view of the fact that half the immigrants to Canada come to this province, can the Premier inform the House why his cabinet has not taken the opportunity to work within the federal framework as three other provinces already have done?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think that is a very fair question to ask. I would just ask the Ottawa member to go back a little bit in the history of this and to recognize that constitutionally immigration has been and still is primarily a federal responsibility. I would be very surprised if the position of the Liberal Party of Ontario would substantially depart from that.
I am not going to comment on what other provinces have done. In the period of time in front of us the government of Canada, I assume, will be laying out before the people of Canada some constitutional proposals. Our own advisory committee on Confederation will be making certain suggestions. The province of British Columbia and this government have communicated to Ottawa on the basis that the Prime Minister has said to us that there will be meetings on the constitution, I believe in September of this year. We are saying let’s wait and have those discussions. We really get down to a question of paramountcy and concurrent jurisdiction.
I would express a personal opinion at this time -- and I don’t want to be misunderstood, as I’m not being critical of what other provinces have done -- in saying there has to be a uniform policy or approach to immigration. We have said we will co-operate because we do have a very major portion of the immigrants coming into this province. We want to see more co-operation in the fields of education and the services we can provide. I would have to go on record at a preliminary stage as not being enthusiastic about 10 different or separate immigration policies, where if a person is going to be admitted to this country, the rules of admission should have some relationship as to whether or not he comes into Nova Scotia or into Ontario.
If the hon. member is being critical because we haven’t opted for a greater determination in the field of immigration and don’t set up our own immigration policy that could be inconsistent with other parts of Canada, then I will accept that criticism. Our approach has been that we want to see a national approach and we want to be co-operative. We think there are many areas yet to be improved upon. But before we get into a question of a debate on distribution of powers, concurrency or paramountcy, let’s leave that for the overall discussions that probably and hopefully will be commencing this fall.
I think in summary that is the approach we’re taking. I may be wrong but I don’t think so. I think it’s a proper approach at this time.
Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired.
STANDING ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE COMMITTEE
Mr. M. Davidson, on behalf of Mr. Philip, from the standing administration of justice committee presented the committee’s report, which was read as follows and adopted:
Your committee begs to report the following bills without amendment:
Bill Pr1, An Act to revive John A. Schmalz Agencies Limited;
Bill Pr5, An Act to revive Hare Transport Limited;
Bill Pr6, An Act to revive A. C. McIntyre Motors Limited;
Bill Pr8, An Act to revive Beaver Construction (Ontario) Limited;
Bill Pr12, An Act to revive Salsberg’s Smoke and Gift Shop Ltd.;
Bill Pr14, An Act to revive MacLellan Construction Limited as P. W. MacLellan Construction Inc.
Your committee begs to report the following bill with certain amendments:
Bill Pr37, An Act respecting Loubill Hobbies and Sports Limited.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
CHILDREN’S RIGHTS ACT
Mr. Elgie moved first reading of Bill 57, An Act respecting Proceedings on behalf of Children who are Maltreated.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Elgie: If I may, on this occasion I would like to extend my thanks to the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) who has also endorsed the principle of this bill and is lending his support to it.
The purpose of the bill is to specifically authorize the official guardian to act as next friend and to bring proceedings on behalf of a child who has been physically or emotionally maltreated by his or her parents or some other person. The bill places a duty upon the official guardian to bring proceedings to obtain compensation for the child, unless the official guardian decides that in the circumstances it is not in the best interests of the child. The bill also requires that a Children’s Aid Society or Crown Attorney shall report information to the official guardian concerning possible cases of physical or emotional maltreatment where the society or Crown Attorney has reasonable and probable cause to believe that maltreatment has occurred.
The bill substitutes the concept of physical or emotional maltreatment in place of the concept of ill treatment as defined in the Child Welfare Act.
GOOD SAMARITAN ACT
Mr. Haggerty moved first reading of Bill 58, An Act to relieve Persons from Liability in respect of voluntary Emergency Medical and First Aid Services.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to relieve persons from liability in respect of voluntary emergency first aid assistance or medical services rendered at or near the scene of an accident or other sudden emergency.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
ESTIMATES, MINISTRY OF GOVERNMENT SERVICES (CONTINUED)
House in committee of supply.
On vote 804, supply and services program; item 6, government mail services:
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Chairman, do I understand that we are on the vote pertaining to the Legislature? Is that correct? Legislative services?
Mr. Chairman: Government mail services.
Mrs. Campbell: Government mail services?
Mr. Chairman: Mail services.
Mrs. Campbell: Sorry. No, I am not on that.
Mr. Chairman: That’s m-a-i-l.
Mrs. Campbell: It’s also m-a-l-e.
Items 6 and 7 agreed to.
On item 8, legislative services:
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Chairman, I have asked on several occasions for answers from the minister with reference to legislative services. Unfortunately, to date I have not had a complete answer. I would like to know at this time if the minister is able to answer those questions.
I would like to know also if he would be in a position now to advise us on the matter of messenger services as they relate to the Legislature. I am very concerned about the services in this building and about the approach of this ministry to this building.
I raised a question in the House some time ago with reference to a dangerous situation. I would like the minister to respond to that and to say what steps he is taking to ensure that school children in the building shall not be subjected to dangerous conditions.
In the ongoing debate about this building, the fact that the minister has not as yet freed up areas of this building so that we may look to the establishment of appropriate committee rooms for the work of this Legislature is something that should be explained. I am of the opinion that we in this House are entitled to have an answer as to why this minister has not followed the commitment of his predecessor with reference to the freeing up of space.
Those are just some of the questions I have. When I have the answers to those, perhaps I will be able to proceed. Those questions I would like an answer to now, since we are in the estimates.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Number one, the answer to the question that was put on the order paper, to which I tabled an interim answer on March 15 --
Mrs. Campbell: Yes.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: -- I have just sent my staff after it; it is somewhere along the way. I may have it in five minutes or 10 minutes, but I will file it. It was brought up-to-date again last Thursday and signed and it's on the way from the office.
Mrs. Campbell: Excuse me, Mr. Chairman, without waiting for the formal answer, could the minister himself advise as to whether he really has studied the Legislative Assembly Act as it pertains to his function?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The answer is yes.
Mrs. Campbell: Then could he elaborate on his position vis-à-vis this building as he perceives it to be?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: In response to the hon. member, yes. I am well aware of sections 93 and 94 of the Legislative Assembly Act. I am well aware that section 93 makes it quite clear that this room we are in, right here, is under the Speaker, and any other portion of this building that is declared to be under the Speaker by order-in-council. There are several portions of the building that are under Mr. Speaker by order-in-council. I could produce maps -- I don’t have them here, but -- yes, we do have them here. If anyone is in doubt, for instances on the lower floor, there are the members’ dining room, the post office, the cafeteria, the pages’ area. In addition to that, we come up to the main floor, and the main entrance into the building comes under the Speaker.
The leader of the official opposition and his offices; the offices of the Clerk of the Legislature; the offices of Mr. Speaker and his staff; the office of Mr. Fleming; the office of the person in charge of this building are all under Mr. Speaker.
Coming up to the floor where we are today --
Mrs. Campbell: And the committee rooms?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The committee rooms on the first floor, yes. Committee rooms 1 and 2 -- are those the numbers? -- in the west hallway.
We come to the main floor here, and the Legislature, the office of the government whip, the government caucus room, Her Honour’s area all come under Mr. Speaker.
We go to the next floor up and there, several rooms that are under the Speaker are taken up by the press. There is another group of rooms that are taken up by the press on the other side. There is an area just across the way that is taken up by Hansard. There is the Liberal caucus on the third floor.
We get up to the fourth floor and there is --
Mrs. Campbell: How about the NDP?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The NDP are mostly in the north wing --
Mr. Martel: In the basement!
Mr. B. Newman: Did you say “win” or “wing”?
Mrs. Campbell: You know your building, all right.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Their offices, there are three of them, are also under Mr. Speaker. Now I know that I have missed some minor areas, but mostly I have named the general areas that are under the control of the Speaker.
Next, the hon. member asked about the safety of students visiting here. Since the accident last week, all lights have been inspected and we believe they are secured. I was not in the Legislature at the time that you are referring to but my staff assure me that they have checked all of this area out.
If I might make my position quite clear to this House, I’m well aware of the commitment given to the members’ services committee in the late part of 1977 by my predecessor. Just to restate that, he suggested that there could be 125 offices in this building for 125 members. That was my understanding of his method. We have gone into it in quite a bit of detail. We have looked at the north wing. When one tries to restructure the north wing to give each member a window, to which I think they’re entitled --
Mrs. Campbell: It isn’t your business to look at the north wing.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: That’s debatable. It is my business to see that --
Mrs. Campbell: Only on your part, not on anybody else’s.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: It’s my business to see that the private members have appropriate housing, whether it’s within this building or wherever it is.
Mr. Martel: Turn it over to the Speaker then.
Mrs. Campbell: No, it is Mr. Speaker’s.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Before I plan on making any changes, my plan is to have assurance that there will be 125 offices. I am convinced that when a member is elected here he should be able to come here in dignity. He should have an office that’s appropriate to the position he’s holding. I still declare that there must be 125 private members’ offices. That’s my position.
At the moment, from the studies I have, we’re from 30 to 40 offices short.
Mr. Martel: Like my friend from St. George, I have been involved in this mess for some three years.
Mrs. Campbell: We didn’t create it.
Mr. Martel: The problem is not going to resolve itself, I suggest to my friend the minister, until this Legislature is brought under the control of the Speaker, the entire facility totally.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Never.
Mr. Martel: The Solicitor General interjects. I would ask the Solicitor General to read standing rule 43 of the provisional orders. I’m sure he hasn’t read it, so I’ll read it for him just to refresh the minister’s memory.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Would you want that if you were the government?
Mr. Martel: Standing rule 43, the provisional rule, says: “It is noted that the government will make known its position on the proposal that Mr. Speaker have jurisdiction over the full legislative building, following the presentation of the final report of the select committee.” The final report of the select committee was received by the government over a year ago.
When are you prepared to tell us what you’re going to do? That’s one of the provisional rules. Until Mr. Speaker has full charge of this building, those members in the opposition are going to get short shrift when it comes to space.
Mrs. Campbell: Sure.
Mr. Martel: My office happens to be the smallest one in the building. It’s 10 feet by 10 feet.
Mrs. Campbell: Is it that big?
Mr. B. Newman: You can’t even move around --
Mr. Martel: I had difficulty getting the squawk box put in it because they couldn’t find space to put the squawk box in it was so small.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The what?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: The what? That is not allowed.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The squawk box?
Mr. Martel: The little squawk box where you listen to what’s going on in the Legislature. It’s so small they couldn’t find space for it in my office.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Those are not permitted.
Mr. Ashe: You’re not supposed to have that.
Mrs. Campbell: He’s a House leader.
Mr. Martel: My friend wakes up in the back. There are some perks that come with this onerous responsibility, one of them being a squawk box and another a glass of water served to your desk without requesting it.
Mr. B. Newman: If they wanted to bug your office, they couldn’t.
Mr. Martel: No, they couldn’t find a place for the device.
Mr. B. Newman: There would be no room for it.
Mr. Martel: I tell my friend the minister that this is not going to change because there is always that suspicion that there isn’t neutrality being offered from Government Services. A musical chairs game goes on with ministers who’ve occupied that seat. There’s no fairness in terms of how that space is being allocated. Over the years it’s been a titantic struggle to get adequate office space, as all of the members know in here.
There’s equality and there are those who are more equal than others. Depending on where you sit in the Legislature, the equality takes hold.
I suggest to the minister his caucus might want to change their caucus room with ours, where meetings have to be held with some of us hiding behind posts. My friend, the Chairman, would recognize that when his party occupied that caucus space some members were behind the posts. There is an inadequate amount of space for a third caucus room. You huddle in that stupid little room down in the basement where the pillars prevent the setting up of proper meeting facilities. That goes on.
I suspect that if Mr. Speaker were in charge of the building there’d be something called neutrality around here. The Speaker has to be neutral and he has to treat everyone in the same light. We might play musical chairs but not with the Ministers of Government Services. We might play musical chairs with the caucus offices and send all the Tories down to the basement for a while where they could play behind the posts for a while.
It doesn’t work that way and it won’t work that way, because there’s a pecking order. I’m afraid any semblance of neutrality goes out in favour of government members. I know what the minister is going to say to me. He’s going to say: “I can recall way back after the 1975 election when the Liberals could have had the third floor or the fourth floor and we had to send our members up there because they didn’t want to move. The Liberal members chose to go in the back.” That of course was to get all the Liberal members together. In those days you could have sent the 19 back-benchers from the Tories up there and they would have all been together.
You can’t send any caucus up there other than caucus members who like to be together in one space. You’re going to have to clear the joint out whether you like it or not. I’m afraid that is not going to occur as long as we have to hassle and wrestle with ministers of the Crown who don’t deal in a fair and neutral way about this building.
I believe this minister is being very practical when he says he feels that members are entitled to adequate space. I know the member’s record over the years in trying to improve conditions for back-benchers. But they might move you, Lorne, God forbid, before you get this work done. They might move you and then they might put someone back in there who says “no.”
For us over here to simply go on blind faith is totally ridiculous, because this rule has been in the provisional rules for over a year. There was a special debate last fall, for well over half an hour late one Thursday night, when the new Minister of Revenue (Mr. Maeck) took off the gloves with some of his colleagues. There wasn’t a minister in the House -- you’ll recall it, I say to the member for St. George -- and that’s how interested the front-benchers were in terms of what happens to the back-benchers from all parties.
I suggest that the person who will be able to rule on this fairly will be the Speaker. I suggest that the only way we’re going to break the back of this -- I’m not sure what one calls it --
Mrs. Campbell: It’s called an impasse.
Mr. Martel: Impasse -- is that within the next couple of weeks we move a private member’s bill which will say that the building comes under the Speaker. Then the Tory members --
Mr. Ashe: Veto it.
Mr. Martel: -- will have a choice: To stand and veto it -- my friend is right, to veto it -- or they can stand like men and say that all members are entitled to the same facilities and not just a chosen few.
I’d like to see you stand on that one, and you’re going to get your opportunity, my friend. I tell you now, you’re going to get your opportunity. This has gone on long enough. My friend might not be aware of it -- the one who made the interjection -- I guess he’s from Durham somewhere. A one-tripper, I’m told, Lorne -- just a short overnight guest.
Mr. Samis: Durham West.
Mr. Martel: For his benefit, in other jurisdictions the Speaker happens to be in charge of the entire building. You might check it out before you interject. The House of Commons comes under Mr. Speaker Jerome -- the total facility comes under Mr. Speaker Jerome, not just bits and pieces. What we are doing is ad hoc-ing this building to death.
There is a select committee report. That select committee was chaired by the former Mr. Speaker Morrow. The present Minister of Revenue and the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Agriculture and Food were also on that committee. There were three Conservatives on that committee, my friend from St. George and I, and another Liberal and another New Democrat. That committee produced a unanimous report which called for space, like yesterday, for members; and it listed those people who must vacate the building at last.
Is it a building for members of the Legislature or is it a building for everyone else? Occupying the office that I shared on the third floor a number of years ago, with five of us in it, was the former Sergeant-at-Arms. He had that office where, for my first two-and-a-half years, five of us had it. That is where he used to change. I mean no disrespect for the office of the Sergeant-at-Arms or for the man who held it; he needs space. I simply make the point that where five members of the Legislature shared that office, one Sergeant-at-Arms held that office when I went to the north wing. That’s how space is allocated around here; and it is because a series of ministers, one after another, begrudgingly and with great reluctance and resistance, have given to the members of the Legislature a little space at a time.
The whole building is out of whack. It’s nuts. The place is decaying. It certainly isn’t a building I am proud of, even in terms of its appearance. There is nothing historical about this building. It is now changing; the paintings have been cleaned, maybe as a result of our report. What about the historical significance downstairs? It is void of any real Ontario down there. We are now changing a few of the displays. In fact, the first changes in displays came within the last year. I think they had been there since I came in 1967. There isn’t a mural that depicts Ontario down there, is there?
We have the two rooms that haven’t been changed since 1967 and which were prepared for the year of Confederation. I don’t think there has been a change in the artifacts in there in that 10-year period. What a magnificent historical building for the capital of Ontario, the biggest and the richest province in Canada! I want to tell you, as the Camp commission wrote, that we could spend $28 million on an Ontario Place and we could build a Hydro building; but to let the building that houses the members of the Legislature, the seat of government in Ontario, to decay is a condemnation of the Ministry of Government Services and this government.
There is nothing here that appeals to anyone. You can bring the students in here; and I have talked to many of them after they have left: there isn’t a thing that impresses them. It wouldn’t take much imagination to put, down in those hallways, things that are significant about Ontario’s past and present and to make it a place that students, rather than being herded here, would want to come on their own to see. That could be done with only a little imagination.
One can move from issue after issue on this building -- from services to the members, who have always ranked last around here, to the things you see, whether it be paintings or displays, or to committee rooms.
The select committee spent a good deal of time talking about committee rooms, indicating that where this building’s administration office is should be a committee room. We suggested that you tear out a partition and make committee rooms 1 and 2 into a large committee room, dependent on the size of the delegation that might be here for hearings.
We have had the problem on more than one occasion where we couldn’t get people into the building, so we have had to go over to the Macdonald Block to try to get delegates in to attend when certain bills were being discussed or certain committee meetings were going on.
I was on the committee that studied the Inco layoffs, and we were shuffled around like a deck of cards. We were in committee room 2, we were in committee room 3 and we were in the Macdonald Block; my God, it was like musical chairs. You never knew from one day to the next where your next meeting was going to be held.
Not so with other people. I suggest to the minister that the cabinet knows where it is going to hold its cabinet meeting every Wednesday, they don’t play musical chairs; but for a standing committee of the Legislature, hell, anything goes.
It has got to stop. It has just got to stop; and it is not going to stop until the Speaker is in charge of the building, because he is going to rule it fairly. He is going to say that this building is for members of the Legislature; it is for people in this Legislature to do the job on behalf of the people of Ontario whom they represent.
But no; we get a series of Ministers of Government Services who are reluctant even to look at this building, and when they do I am afraid their neutrality isn’t there. As I say to the minister, you can talk about committee rooms, you can talk about caucus rooms, you can talk about the decor around this place, the historical nature of the building, what we see in the halls; the Legislature itself -- in fact if you look over on this side of the Legislature you’ve got to almost crawl on top of one of your colleagues to get into your chair.
We recommended some changes in here; when are you going to act? Morrow has now been out of the building for two years. That was what he thought would be one of the final tributes to Don Morrow, that you in fact just might do some of those things.
In fact it’s so bad: in the first report of the select committee we suggested something about television, and in that time we managed to get that gaudy-looking mess up there in place; and since then we haven’t done a thing except add three more cameras, we now have seven. About permanent fixtures for placement of the cameras and the ongoing dialogue as to how you make this assembly a place where the cameras can operate, where you don’t swelter under the lights; nothing ever changes around here.
You can build the Hydro building, you can build all kinds of places across the way, put up new towers and improve the thing; but you can’t put air-conditioning in this building, which was recommended. In fact, if you were to ask the deputy minister, it’s been on the books now -- I guess the Morrow report recommended it for three years; and long before that it was calculated what the costs would be to bring in air-conditioning.
But again, members -- why? -- why are we going to do it for members? But we can find money for everything else.
I don’t think any of us are looking for palatial offices. I am just a little tired of my 10-by-10 cubicle. As House leader I can’t even bring in more than two colleagues to sit down and discuss business because it only holds two additional chairs. I can’t ask my caucus to find space because it means I have to start shifting someone else and we don’t know where we are going to shift them to make an office big enough so I can do my duties as House leader. I can’t say anything to them because we just don’t have it.
It goes on. You see until you make up your mind, I say to the minister, it isn’t just a case of arguing who is going to get X number of feet now. Until this building is turned over to the Speaker then in fact we are out of luck.
It might necessitate a floor of offices in the building next door -- what do they call it, the Ferguson Block or the Mowat Block or whatever it is? The Whitney Block; it’s just across the street, the Whitney; the underground gives access to it. You might need that space.
I would suggest that if the minister is going to hold true to his word that if we need 125 -- that wasn’t, by the way, the recommendation of the Morrow report. I understand why; some cabinet ministers now do some of their business at Queen’s Park. It seems to me that if you want sessional offices -- because you see members are here full time, it isn’t just a sessional office for them, it’s a full-time office. Maybe the answer is to find 25 offices, as sessional offices, in the next building for all the cabinet so that they don’t have to run so far.
But many of the cabinet ministers have offices right across the way. Why do they need another office in here? In fact, that’s the conclusion the select committee came to. I believe it was the present Minister of Revenue who said “We really don’t need it.”
I say to the minister in all honesty, there were sessional offices under a minority government which a minister did not occupy once in a whole session. You might say we need 125 offices. I don’t want to do a cabinet minister out of an office, but they have got to be utilized. Or let them have second kick at the can. That’s part of the fairness. The sessional offices are down there and they are empty most of the time and unfortunately that’s where the fairness doesn’t come in.
I say to my friend from St. George that’s why there is no fairness about this place. There are sessional offices which are never used to this day. So other people work under squalid conditions in the back while there is all kinds of space which sits totally empty or is used very seldom. That’s why the Conservative members, to their credit, said in all fairness we only need eight sessional offices for cabinet ministers, and only two for parliamentary assistants. That was during, I remind the minister, a minority government situation. I am not trying to be unfair but I am saying to you that the needs are for those members who are here daily -- not just on a sessional basis. The need is for those who do their work from here.
If that includes a cabinet minister who wants to be here all the time, let him move his whole office here. But if it’s merely a sessional office, where he is only in it part time -- to receive delegations because he can’t be too far away from the House when a vote is going to be taken -- then surely the block next door would suffice.
We say we should do as they do in Ottawa, where the Speaker is responsible for that building which comes under the Speaker. It won’t change under the present system. We will wait, and we will fight a little, as we play musical chairs as to who are going to move out.
The select committee had no illusions as to who should move out. We listed them and said these are the people who go. It wasn’t a question for the select committee who had rights in here. We determined who had the rights in here and it was the members first. Next in the pecking order were those people we needed around here for support staff. But when you start talking to Government Services, “sorry, it just doesn’t work that way.”
I am not suggesting this minister alone. There have been five in that position in the last couple of years. How do you get enough continuity around the joint to get a decision made? The present minister might be gone tomorrow; or if not tomorrow in two or three weeks. McCague was there what -- four months, three months? He even lasted less.
I would much prefer that the minister say to me, “I’m not going to concern myself at all about this space; in fact all I am going to do as minister is to find space for those people whom you are going to move out. I am going to follow provisional rule 43, and I am going to suggest to the Premier that we accept the Morrow report and we turn over the building to come under the Speaker.”
Maybe you could answer for me why it is that you hang onto the building so desperately. Why is it that the government doesn’t want to relinquish its control of this building, which in parliamentary tradition comes under the Speaker? It does not come under Government Services. Maybe the minister could answer that. Could I get the minister to answer why the government won’t relinquish its hold of this building?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: First, may I answer the hon. member? He referred to the television up here. He referred to the crowded conditions across the way and over here. This room has been under the Speaker for two years and what has he done about it? You say that the Speaker is going to do everything. What has he done? He’s had two years; I’ve had 11 weeks now, last week it was 10.
Mr. B. Newman: You are not counting weeks, are you?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Pretty near. You get some time built up to make the numbers big. I haven’t counted them up in days.
That is my number one answer. As to the number two answer: I made it quite clear at the outset that I have no intention of turning over something that only does half a job. I say to you, and I told you at a meeting one night a week ago, that we can find something less than 100 rooms here to do 125 members and that’s not acceptable to me. I’ll stick to that.
Mrs. Campbell: The Morrow report suggested --
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The Morrow report suggested that certain members should have an office here. The minister previous to me made a commitment that there be 125 offices for 125 members; I stand behind that commitment.
Mrs. Campbell: He also made the commitment that he would get them out in February.
Mr. Martel: Will you add to the building then? If the space isn’t there, as you say, for 125 members, then is it the government’s intention to add to the building? Maybe the hon. minister would tell me that.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The minister has not had an opportunity to speak with the government. I certainly have ideas and plans of my own, but I’m not ready to divulge them today. I will, once the government has dealt with it. I say to you there are not sufficient rooms in this building to accommodate the members in the way I think they should be accommodated. I don’t think you should have an office 10 feet by 10 feet. I had one. I don’t know what number you’ve got, but I had an office in the north wing which was about 10 feet by 10 feet. It is not the type of office a member of this Legislature should have.
Mr. Martel: I see another game being played on this. The Morrow report, which studied it carefully, said there were adequate facilities for about 100 members. There were some renovations that could be made which would provide some more space; not a lot, but more. We did the calculation on 500 square feet and found 500 square feet for about 100 members.
The minister has to answer one of two things. Is he prepared to either build or is he prepared to sequester part of the building next door and add it to the complex which is known as the Legislative Assembly of Ontario building?
Mrs. Campbell: He’s not prepared to do anything.
Mr. Martel: As long as we play the little war of about 125 members for 140 square feet, which we know isn’t there, we can play the game until hell freezes over.
You’ve got to tell us what you are prepared to do. You still won’t answer the question I raised. Why is it that the government itself refuses to bring under the Speaker a building that should under parliamentary procedures practised in other jurisdictions come under the Speaker? Why is it that Government Services wants to hang on? You’re making a decision that affects everyone else’s life in here. That’s supposed to be left to the Speaker who is neutral.
For the 10 years that I’ve been here that’s all we’ve ever heard. We’ve heard the same prattle. We’re going to get it in the fullness of time, down the road or sometime. There is always somebody who gets the short end of the stick. It isn’t the civil service. In Ottawa, Hansard is off two blocks from the main building. All the equipment that Hansard uses is not even in the same building. There’s whole series of services that might partially be shipped across the way.
It is only going to come when the government says, “We are going to do it,” but no one wants to make that commitment yet
I listened for 10 years in this House as minister after minister told us they could not close the Don Jail. Do you recall that, Margaret?
Mrs. Campbell: Yes.
Mr. Martel: And I am sure my friend the minister, who is here before me, heard it from ministers before him. Then the member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea) took over as minister and overnight he said: “I am closing the Don. Whether you like it or not, she’s closed.”
When are we going to get a Minister of Government Services who gets up in his place and says, “In six months, we are going to have equal space for all the members; and it doesn’t matter who I, as minister, have to turf out on their ear because, the members have waited long enough for adequate committee rooms, for adequate caucus rooms and for adequate office space”? And when will we get a minister who is going to say, “We are going to fix up those committee rooms so that they have proper facilities”? You have been to the committee rooms; they are a disgrace. The microphones are falling over. If you move your foot to the left, you knock the microphone off the table and on to the floor. I have never seen much a madhouse.
The select committee, of course, made a series of recommendations for very appropriate, rather inexpensive committee rooms, with all the wiring built into the tables so that you don’t knock the microphones off.
I always chuckle when I go to committees and I see the people from the civil service -- I really feel sorry for them -- because there they are at the back. The minister has his 12 at the front, the rest of the people from that particular ministry are sitting at the back with a pile of books on their knees because there’s no place for them to put their books down and work with them properly. When they are asked to give an answer, they have to come up and stand over a microphone, because they don’t have a microphone to speak into, or they are told: “Come up to the front and give an answer so you can speak into something.” How stupid, how backward, how medieval have we become that we put people through that kind of exercise when they come to the Legislature in Ontario?
It has got better for the members. We used to sit that way too. We now get an old table, but the microphones fall off it. But there they are, the civil servants with stacks of books on their knees, trying to do the business of the province of Ontario and trying to find responses in committee after committee.
Some day I would like to let loose about what I really think of this madhouse. What is it about the functioning of the assembly of Ontario that makes everything so bloody backward?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Cut loose today. It’s a great day.
Mr. Martel: Today? No, I haven’t cut loose yet today. It’s total insanity when you see the legislation that goes through here and the consideration of the estimates that we do; it’s done in the most archaic fashion going, with high-priced people sitting with books on their knees because they don’t have a table to put the crazy stuff on. You bring people in to make representation and they haven’t got a place to sit properly; there they sit with stuff on their knees. When I remember the various bills that have gone through in some of the committee rooms, my God, it’s such a disgrace.
There’s also no French translation, by the way. I will tell you where there is French translation in this building. I didn’t know about it. The cat was let out of the bag. Do you know where there’s French translation? In the Premier’s office, in the cabinet office. If the francophones come in, instant translation is available, but not for the rest of the peasants around here.
Mrs. Campbell: Not for the members.
Mr. Warner: Double standard.
Mr. Martel: It’s down there. There’s no instant French translation here, and there’s none downstairs, but there is over there. That’s called part of the fairness again you see. It’s called equality, some being more equal than others. It depends on which side of the House you sit on. In fact, it breaks down even further than that. It depends on whether you sit in that first 12 or 14 benches in the front row, and about 12 more in the second row. They are more equal than everyone. As for the rest, considering what people are subjected to in this place to try to conduct a $14-billion operation, we operate under some of the most medieval conditions going. One wonders why it is so in Ontario, but you can’t get anyone to change it. You can’t keep a minister around long enough to get the seat warm; you just keep moving them.
Mr. Warner: Musical chairs.
Mr. Makarchuk: It’s a revolving door.
Mr. Martel: I just think the whole situation is deplorable. I think it is stupidity that we can conduct our business in this fashion. For the amount of money we suggested, committee rooms could be repaired. I say to you that none of it is going to occur; or if it does it will be haltingly, with great resistance every inch of the way to try to bring this into some kind of semblance. Like my friend, I have been in a number of council halls over the years in city halls. There is just nothing that compares to committee room 1 for hearing delegations. That is a spectacle. Then you go to committee room 2 and it’s just as bad. If you go to committee room 3 upstairs it is the same.
Mrs. Campbell: What about room 228?
Mr. Martel: You go to 228 and it’s the same junk. Microphones fall over if you move too quickly. If the tape comes off the floor it gets disconnected so you have got to wait for it to be put together so Hansard can carry it. What in hell gives? In all seriousness, what gives in this madhouse that the conditions under which members of the Legislature operate have to be so archaic? Is there that much lack of concern for all of the members of the Legislature?
Mr. Makarchuk: There’s no respect for the legislative process, that’s what it is.
Mr. Martel: Again I point out to you that Camp was very succinct. He said isn’t it strange that you can build an Ontario Place; isn’t it strange that you can build a Hydro building; isn’t it strange that you can have all these wonderful places? But in the nation’s capital, the building -- and what were the words he used? -- looks like an old railroad station.
Mrs. Campbell: That’s the entrance.
Mr. Martel: The entrance is like an old railroad station. Maybe some people wanted to tear down Union Station so they could send up some of the old benches so that we’d have some in the front. Somebody would have to give them to us before we got adequate facilities down there.
Why does it operate thus? Why are committee rooms so lousy? Why do you refuse to put in air conditioning? Why does this go on forever and ever and ever? This ain’t the good old days of Les Frost when you sat here for eight weeks and then walked out and the place shut down. There are committees that meet here all summer. There are committees that meet here in winter when the House isn’t in session. This is a much-used building; and nothing changes.
While my friend means well, I suggest to him that if the Morrow report is followed and if it costs $20 million to fix this place up, if you don’t do it pretty soon it’s going to cost even more. I believe Mr. Thatcher told us when he appeared before the select committee that the cost of air-conditioning then as opposed to now would be much greater today.
Have you looked at some of the offices lately? I am impressed with what I see in the entrance and with what a little bit of paint can hide -- and paint can hide a lot of ills. But you have only to go behind and pull the curtain open. Behind the curtain you see down the sides of the windows all the wires and the pipes. I say this, through the Chairman, that if the city of Toronto sent its bylaw inspectors in here they might put the sad news to us about the hookups one sees in summer as wires run along the pipes and down the windows. It’s like a disaster area.
Mr. Makarchuk: Watch that chandelier. It’s going to come down on the minister.
Mr. Martel: As I say, it would cost maybe $15 million or $20 million to put it in shape, but it has got to be done because it is just deteriorating further.
So I come back to my point. I say to the minister you’ve got to abide by rule; you’ve got to tell us, under standing rule 43, what the government intends to do. It’s there and that’s over a year old. You’ve played games with us long enough. You’ve got to tell us when you’re going to put in adequate committee rooms, when you’re going to find -- maybe you’ll tell us that you’re going to change caucus rooms with us for a while and you’re going to send the Tories down to the basement to hide behind the posts so that we can have a caucus room.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: No.
Mr. Martel: My friend from Sault Ste. Marie says, “no.” That’s what I mean: In this building, under Government Services, that’s why there are those who are more equal than others -- my friend from the Sault nods his head in agreement; I want to put that on record.
There are those who are more equal than others. Until the Speaker gets in charge of the building, totally, then that system’s going to prevail. What’s going to change it then? -- my friend from the Sault shakes his head -- what’s going to change it?
I say to you, I want some very clear answers from the minister on committee rooms, on caucus rooms, on rooms for members; whether the minister is prepared to take part of the block over there and assign it to the Speaker.
And finally, the fifth one, why does the government refuse to turn this building over and bring it under the Speaker’s jurisdiction, as was suggested by Morrow and as is part of provincial rule 43?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, in response to the hon. member and his suggestion of the poor conditions in the committee rooms and the accommodations for the members, I have certainly made my position quite clear and that is, appropriate accommodation for 125 members.
With respect to the committee rooms, they have been under the Speaker for two years.
Mr. Martel: All of them?
Mr. M. Davidson: Only the two downstairs.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The two you were referring to; committee rooms 1 and 2, are under the Speaker. Has he prepared them as you want? Mr. Chairman, I just restate my position that I am ready to do everything --
Mr. Warner: You didn’t answer his question.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: -- within my ability to supply 125 members with the necessary office space --
Mr. Warner: You still haven’t answered the question.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: -- for them, for the secretary and for the research officer as was suggested. No one at this stage has shown me that there is room to do that in this building. Until I get that assurance I’m not ready to say, “Take it and do the best you can.” That’s not good enough for me. I want there to be sufficient room for the 125 members when I’m ready to turn it over.
Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Chairman, I welcome the opportunity of just saying a few words in defence of this grand old building, if I may. I’ve listened to the member for Sudbury East make some of his remarks. I think he’s rather overstated the case.
Mrs. Campbell: You can’t.
Mr. Martel: I don’t think so; come with me.
Mr. MacBeth: He has said some rather disparaging things about this building; that it was in a state of collapse, a state of disrepair.
Mr. Warner: So are some of the Tory members.
Mr. MacBeth: I think that it is in remarkably good repair and that it is far from a state of collapse; I trust it will be here for many years to come.
He suggests the whole building should be under the Speaker. I would question that, Mr. Chairman. If we look at the history of this building, it was once the entire government establishment, not only for the House but for the members --
Mrs. Campbell: It still is under government establishment.
Mr. MacBeth: -- and for all of the departments of government. We’ve long since outgrown that and it may be that the time will come when this will be purely a building for the House and the servants of the House.
But I think differently from the member for Sudbury East. He says no progress has been made. I think in the short period that I have been here a great deal of progress has been made toward the objective that the member for Sudbury East is seeking. He talks about under the Speaker a more fair distribution would be made, and he talks about the caucus room that the NDP presently have, but I would remind him that when the PC caucus was considerably bigger than it is at the present time, when we had some seats over on the other side as well, where the member is presently sitting.
Mr. Martel: The good old days, eh?
Mr. MacBeth: I was over there as a member of the rump, and that was our caucus room, down in the basement of the north wing.
Mr. Martel: You had both then; we didn’t know about that.
Mr MacBeth: We couldn’t use that one; there were too many for us to use this one, that was the only one that we could use and it served us very very well. It is fine to want all of these new things, but before I get onto the desire of wanting all these new things, I would like to say that some very important decisions were also made in that basement room. I can remember when I was chairman of a committee looking into the building of this new Hydro building. We sat down there all one summer. It might have been nice to have the building air-conditioned and to have had a little better electronic system than we had, but it didn’t stop us from coming to some pretty good decisions that have served admirably well.
I agree that it would be nice to have better facilities, but I think that we’re proceeding with it as quickly as the economy of this province can do so. I’m not so sure that the people out on the streets who pay the taxes and who look at the establishment that we do have here are not satisfied that we as members are pretty well treated. I think if my friend was taking his case out to the streets, they would probably tell him to stay right where he is in his little 10 by 10 office or go back to Sudbury. I don’t want to add that latter, go back to Sudbury, where they’ve got lots of room --
Mr. Martel: Sure you would, John, but you can’t do it.
Mr. MacBeth: I simply say that as far as I’m concerned, this is a good old building. I’ll be happy when, in due course, it is turned over to this House, the servants of this House and the members of this House; but in the meantime I think we’ve got to let our purse decide when that can be done. I would urge upon the Minister of Government Services, don’t be in a rush to give the member from Sudbury everything he’s asking for.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Chairman, I will try and put this into some kind of perspective if I can. It is not a question of whether or not the member from Sudbury East has a 10 by 10 office, as opposed to other members including myself who have large offices which are useful to us when we have delegations. I think that if the case were taken to the people on the street they would wonder why a government back-bencher should have so much better accommodation than a member of either the Liberal or the NDP caucus. I think they would wonder why there were special services for government members which were not available to the opposition.
It is interesting that when the Morrow committee was looking through this building, we were accompanied by a member of staff from Government Services. I think his remark reflects exactly what the opposition sees in the way the ministry perceives this building. As we proceeded, we asked this particular staff person, “How did you allocate space in this building?” I hope the member for Sudbury East will correct me if I’m wrong, but I recall his answer was: “We put the Liberals here, we put the NDP there, and we put our members over here.”
Mr. Martel: That’s right; “our” members.
Mrs. Campbell: This is the way this ministry views the accommodation for members of this House. It is for this reason that the members of the opposition are not prepared to continue to have this type of mentality look at the services to the members and to the public as far as this building goes.
The Clerk has his role, his jurisdiction with reference to committee. He has a right and an obligation to provide meeting rooms in order to accommodate the government scheduling of business in this House. I sat here one day and had a notice of a meeting of the members’ services committee retracted from my desk, because there had to be a change in the committee room in which we were to sit.
Let’s just leave out for the moment the matter of space for the members. Let us look at the needs of this Legislature for decent space for committee rooms. It is all very well to say that all these things have been under Mr. Speaker. The administration office, I am sure, is under Mr. Speaker, but how is that space to be vacated if the Minister of Government Services is contemplating the total use of this building before he moves them out?
Mr. Speaker cannot move that group out. The Minister of Government Services must make that accommodation available. But until he concedes the allocation of members’ space is none of his business -- if he understands anything of the precincts of this House, he has to understand that he has or should have, nothing to do with the allocation of space.
Certainly if the government has determined that a cabinet minister must have two offices rather than one, unlike the other members who work here all the time, then of course the government ought to pronounce that policy and not, with respect, just the Minister of Government Services. That, I respectfully suggest, is not the decision of the minister, but rather a decision of the government; and nobody else has said anything about that.
The minister obviously has not familiarized himself with the Morrow report or he simply ignores it, which I suppose is par for the course. But the Morrow report followed the Camp commission report; in both cases these reports were on a tripartite basis. Then the Minister of Government Services, who can scarcely call himself tripartite, vetoes those two reports, out of hand, without debate or anything else.
Perhaps the minister will understand something of the inequities if we turn to something which is simple of understanding; and this is not put forward by me as of significance, except as it may indicate the attitude of this ministry to the members of the Legislature. We have in this building what is known as messenger services. As I understand it, we have six government messengers who are permanent staff; and this staff is available only to the government members. Each of the opposition parties has one person as a messenger, and they are not available to us except when the House is in session.
I only bring this forward to try to have the minister understand that we can no longer sit here and await his pleasure. When his predecessor was appointed, the members’ services committee, like the members’ services committee today, was very anxious to get on with turning the House over to Mr. Speaker. At that point in time, I suppose I share some of the blame, because I felt before we took that step we should meet with the minister to try to see what his thinking was and to see if we couldn’t accommodate some of these problems. That is what we did. We met with some staff of the ministry who, regrettably as far as I am concerned, completely misunderstood their function vis-à-vis the members in the House. However, we waited. We accepted a commitment which was that the minister would begin removal of the secretariats in February. We are now into April and we have heard the minister state that he will be moving them in August.
I would like to hear how firm that commitment is because we have heard this for so long. It’s funny. The minister wants to take responsibility; yet when there was a problem with the relocation of the third-party offices on the first floor the ministry wanted no part of it. It put an impossible situation to Mr. Speaker. He had no way of finding additional space. He had to relocate as best he could within the building and within those areas under his control.
I am sorry this minister seems to feel that until he is totally satisfied that he can relocate the members nothing is going to happen. That leaves the opposition with absolutely no alternative. We have been prepared, as the members’ services committee, to meet with the minister. It is regrettable that he has no time to meet with that committee in an urgent fashion, as the committee sees the urgency.
I would like the minister to explain that simple point about messenger service and how his philosophy looks at that kind of service. Then perhaps everyone can begin to understand. There seems to be two alternatives. I was present when the minister appeared at the Board of Internal Economy. I came away from the meeting with the feeling that what the minister would really like to do is have the government take over the legislative building and farm everybody else out, all of the other legislative people out of the building. He was not going to do anything about Hansard. He wasn’t prepared to look at anything that might free up space. As far as I can see, he hasn’t even any suggestion as to how he could free up space to meet his preconceived idea of what should happen in this building.
I regret it, because I can see nothing but a collision course from the way we are moving. I had hoped we might be able to come to some kind of resolution of the matter without going on a confrontation or collision course. I would like to see the minister’s bill pass through this House, but personally I can’t support his bill until he is in a position to honour the commitment to the House and the members’ services committee. It’s most unfortunate. I would suspect that no one in the opposition could support that piece of legislation with so adamant a stand by the minister. What a pity if that were defeated in the House because the minster was not prepared to look at what the situation really is. That piece of legislation should pass. There is nothing very dreadful about that legislation, except that it doesn’t come to grips with the problems of this building.
I would think that the minister himself would be embarrassed that he is unable to provide committee rooms to Mr. Speaker and to the Clerk of the House to enable the business of this House to be carried forward appropriately, and to allow the members of the public the opportunity to attend at these committees as they are entitled to do.
One might almost think that the government doesn’t want the public to attend these committee rooms and these committees, because how are they to find out where the committees are going to sit when they change at the very last minute, from day to day, because of the failure of the ministry to provide the space.
The minister also said they examined the lights to ensure that this smashing of the globe would not occur again. Isn’t that strange! Our information is that that globe has been broken time and time again -- not because of the fixture but because of the vibration on the stairway. I would like to know if the minister or his ministry really has addressed that problem. Perhaps that is something they should be doing, since maintenance is a part of the Ministry of Government Services’ role in this building. That would be where the ministry should put its main thrust, and leave the members’ services to Mr. Speaker and the Clerk, where they properly belong.
Could I have an answer about the messenger service and some of these other things?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Does the minister wish to reply at this point?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, in response to the hon. member, it is my understanding that the messenger service is available to all three caucuses.
Mrs. Campbell: No, it is not.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: All right. My staff inform me that it is available.
Mr. B. Newman: How do we get the service?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I will certainly check that out.
Let me set the record straight on what I said to the Board of Internal Economy. I want the hon. member to listen, because she was at that meeting of the Board of Internal Economy.
Mrs. Campbell: I was.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I made it quite clear that before I had any intention of making any changes, I was going to have the assurance that there be 125 offices for the members of this Legislature. Until I could have that assurance, I had no intention of changing the order in council in any way, shape or form.
I also made it quite clear that my present plans were well under way to move the secretariats out during the latter part of August.
Mrs. Campbell: No, it was not the latter part of August. It was August.
Mr. Warner: Originally it was February.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: All right, if you want to say August, fine. I made it quite clear; the hon. member sat there that night and was well aware of what I said. Apparently she didn’t hear me.
Mrs. Campbell: Oh, I heard.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: She must have attended the committee and was not listening to what was happening.
Mrs. Campbell: I heard.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, I received a request from the Clerk’s office about two weeks ago, asking if I would be available to attend a meeting of the committee chaired by the hon. member. I was told it would have to be on a Thursday morning and I suggested at that time -- that day, it was a Monday morning -- that I would be available on April 27. That’s the first Thursday morning that I have available. I’m sure that has been conveyed to the hon. member.
Mrs. Campbell: Yes, for a whole month.
Mr. Warner: I certainly concur with the remarks made by my colleague from Sudbury East and the member for St. George. I’m concerned about a principle as well.
In the response the minister gave, he has included a couple of times now: “I will wait until I am satisfied that we have space for 125 members.” What bothers me about that is that surely it is an entirely correct principle that the building comes under the Speaker, that the members represent the concerns of the three parties on the members’ services committee, and that that committee be engaged in the business of trying to sort out the needs of the members within the confines of this budding. That seems to me to be a proper thing to do. It seems to be the proper way to go about it.
If we follow the minister’s logic and his reasoning about him having to satisfy himself with respect to the space for 125 members, what on earth is the point of having a members’ services committee?
It seems to me, Mr. Chairman, that the very first thing that has to be agreed upon by the government and the other two parties is that the building in its entirety will come under Mr. Speaker, and that the members’ services committee will then go about its business of trying to satisfy the needs first, of the members and, secondly, of those support services which are important to the operation of the Legislature -- such services as Hansard, obviously, the legislative counsel and other offices which are so important to our work here.
Of course, Mr. Chairman, this isn’t the burning issue of the day. The people out in Scarborough-Ellesmere did not elect me to come down and debate about what items I should or should not receive. But at the same time I think that the people in Scarborough-Ellesmere expect me to discharge my duties as quickly and efficiently as possible. I should have the same opportunity as any other member in this place to do that, to do it efficiently and effectively. You know that includes not just my office, but includes being able to have reasonable access to the civil servants and it includes the civil service having the opportunity to present things in the best way possible during the estimates and in other proceedings.
My good colleague from Sudbury East pointed out some of the difficulties the civil servants are under at the time of those estimates. That affects me as a member, as an individual member, because I’m interested in those estimates debates, and I’m interested in being able to share the knowledge which those civil servants have accumulated over time.
I think that the Legislature deserves a full answer from the minister on the principle I raise. Why is it not possible to follow, first, the traditions of other Legislatures and of other parliamentary systems in having the building come under the Speaker and then have the members’ services committee deal with the various aspects and being supported, obviously, though the efforts of Government Services? No one would expect otherwise.
When the members’ services committee has dealt with the matter of allocation of space and so on, obviously, it’s going to need the expertise and assistance of the Ministry of Government Services. I understand that and I think that all the other members do as well, but we can’t do it until we solve that very basic problem, the basic principle that’s behind it.
I’m really quite shocked that the minister, today, cannot agree that that’s a proper and fit principle to be following. And I would like from him an explanation as to what’s wrong with that principle. Why can he not agree that the building should come under the Speaker and that the members’ services committee will then deal with the matter the best way that they know how, since it’s a three-party committee? But if he’s going to insist that that can’t happen, that he alone has to find the space for the 125 members, then what’s the purpose of carrying on with the members’ services committee? What’s the point of that?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, the only response to the hon. member is that I believe he is incorrect in his statement that the members’ services committee has charge of this building. It is my understanding that the Board of Internal Economy --
Mr. Warner: I didn’t say that.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: It is my understanding that the Board of Internal Economy --
Mr. Warner: I did not say that.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Then I misunderstood his most recent statements.
The hon. member for St. George wanted to know where she could get these messengers. If she phones 5-7842, I understand they are available.
Mr. Warner: When are you going to answer my question?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I have answered it several times.
Mr. Warner: I asked you about the principle of the matter. Do you not agree that the basic principle is that the building should come under the Speaker? I would like to know, since that’s a principle followed in other parliamentary jurisdictions, why cannot it be so here in Ontario? I would like a straight answer to that very simple basic principle.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: A very straight answer is I don’t agree.
Mr. Warner: Why?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I have made it quite clear.
Mr. B. Newman: I don’t intend to be lengthy because we have hammered this issue long enough this afternoon. I would like to make a few suggestions, hoping that we can expedite the work in the House. The several suggestions I intend to make, I think, are very simple. They are adopted and in use in other Legislatures and I can’t understand why Ontario couldn’t put itself in the 20th century rather than in some instances remaining so old-fashioned and out-of-date.
One thing that impressed me very much in two other Legislatures I did have a chance to visit within the last two years was the use of an electric voting machine right in the Legislature. The names of every individual there are permanently on the board. There is a red button -- or rather a red light and a green light by the side of the individual’s name. There are buttons on each member’s desk. When you are supporting a certain issue and the vote is called, then all you press is the button, either the red or the green button. Then that light comes up opposite your name. After the voting is all over, the Speaker or the chairman of the committee would simply lock the machine and the vote is recorded electronically right on the score board, so to speak.
Look at the time we waste in the House in standing up, having our name called out, bowing to the Speaker and recording all of that. Our two clerks at the desk go through all of that work, checking and rechecking their score sheets, when all of this could be done electronically. It would take a minimum amount of time and the business of the House could be expedited, we wouldn’t be wasting that time.
I sat in the Connecticut State Legislature and the Connecticut Senate and I saw them take care of six roll-call votes inside of 30 minutes. That included the time they had to call in the members. If they can do it that quickly, I think we could adopt something similar to that. I don’t say do it tomorrow, but I think we have to plan on implementing a system like that. It is so simple. Everyone visiting the Legislature can see on the score board just exactly how his or her member voted. There is nothing wrong with that.
The press wouldn’t have to be straining their necks to see. They would look on the score boards that are on opposite sides in the chamber or they could get a printout from the clerk’s office. It’s something very simple. It isn’t complicated and it should be adopted. I know you would say we are losing a lot of the tradition and the formality, but I think we could save the standing and bowing to the Speaker --
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Could I point out to the hon. member that I have listened to see how he connected this up with Government Services? This matter is not under the Minister of Government Services, it would be under the Office of the Assembly.
Mr. B. Newman: I am talking about legislative services, services to the Legislature.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: The matter of a possible voting machine within this chamber would come under the Office of the Assembly. If you can connect it up with Government Services, I would allow you to continue; but it would not be under that ministry.
Mr. B. Newman: Under the Office of the Assembly --
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Under the Office of the Assembly and their estimates.
Mr. B. Newman: The work in that, I assume, would have to be done under Government Services, the ministry would be responsible for it.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: At the request of Mr. Speaker, arising out of the estimates and the standing general government committee, if you can wind up this matter very quickly I will allow you to continue.
Mr. B. Newman: I have given you the suggestion there, Mr. Minister. I hope your officials look into it and implement it within a reasonable period of time. I think it has merit.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: What jurisdictions have them? You’ve been in two.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I have indicated, Mr. Minister, it would not be under your jurisdiction initially, only if it is at someone else’s request.
Mr. B. Newman: I had several other items I wanted to raise, Mr. Chairman --
Mr. Makarchuk: You could arrange for a committee to visit those places.
Mr. B. Newman: -- but I will bring them up under the Office of the Assembly. Probably rightly, as you suggest, they belong under the jurisdiction of that vote.
Mr. Martel: I thought of what the minister said as I walked along the corridor and back into that big office of mine. You heaped some abuse on the poor Speaker, because he has been in charge of certain sections of the building for two years.
I want to tell you that you can’t fix a committee room that quickly. When you suggested that a committee room could be repaired and the Speaker had not done anything in two years, you obviously were not aware that in order to make any renovations or repairs on the west wing you have to close the whole wing. If you are going to bring the conduits in and do all the piping and the air-conditioning, it has to be done in that whole section starting at the top floor right to the bottom. It has been the decision of your staff that if this building were ever repaired, they would have to shut that whole wing off for roughly a year and do every floor at the same time.
That’s why you can’t get any proper Hansard; that’s why those committee rooms can’t be repaired. It has nothing to do with the red herring you tried to bring into it, that the Speaker was responsible because he hadn’t done anything in the two years that that part of the Legislature had come under his control. That can’t be done in isolation, no more than this room can be done in isolation.
In fact things are so bad in here that if you were to look up on the curtain you would see that the bats in the belfry are right out in the open, as our friend sits on the window, that’s how far this building has degenerated. We’ve got bats, John, sitting up on the curtains; things are that bad.
Mr. MacBeth: You noticed where they have chosen to sit, have you?
Mr. Martel: You notice on whose side of the House they are sitting. They are sitting on that side of the House.
Mr. Swart: Your own kind.
Mr. Makarchuk: It must be a Tory bat.
Mr. Swart: All bats are Tories.
Mr. Martel: He might be as awake.
But it is intriguing that two of you have spoken today -- one a former member of the cabinet, one a present member of the cabinet. What both said speaks loads of why things have not changed around here. My friend the minister thinks it’s his prerogative. It has nothing to do with anybody else whether we have adequate space; it’s when the man from on high deems it so that things will change, when it’s satisfactory to him we might get proper conditions.
That’s precisely why the building should come under the Speaker. It’s not when Lorne Henderson thinks it’s fit that we should have office space -- by God, that’s the last straw -- it’s when the members of this Legislature think they need space that there should be --
An hon. member: You’re nobody, Lorne.
Mr. Martel: It should not be left to one individual who repeatedly said today, “When I am satisfied that the conditions will be met, then you will have office space.” Well by God, that’s the height of effrontery, when you’re satisfied indeed.
You’ve got some answering to do for the accusation you made about the Speaker, that he didn’t get that building fixed. You had better ask Mr. Thatcher, who sits in front of you, if it’s possible to do that renovation, one room by itself, and be prepared to tell me that you can get up and do it, when you could tear out a wall -- follow the Morrow report to make that a large committee room; make it into two when you want it as two, one big single room when you need it -- maybe you could tell me that. The same with this building: Tell me how you make the necessary renovations here without doing it in concert with the costs we are going to incur to do the entire building?
My understanding, in meeting with your staff frequently, was that we would have to do it in three stages -- that part of the building, then the east end of the building, and then finally this part. The order doesn’t matter, but that’s the type of pattern your people envisage when in fact you undertake it.
That’s why the Speaker couldn’t make a repair in this building even if he wanted to. Because it would be made in isolation and wouldn’t fit in with any plan whatsoever. So that’s a bloody red herring and you don’t bring the Speaker in and wave your damn finger at him; it can’t be done because of these conditions.
I don’t say it because the Speaker happens to be a New Democratic member, because he has tossed me out. I’m the only member he’s had the honour of tossing -- no, my colleague --
Mr. Martel: Yes, my colleague and I are the only two he has ever tossed out, so --
An hon. member: The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere.
Mr. Gregory: It must be your language, Elie; it must be your language.
Mr. Martel: I guess if I use words like that, Bud, maybe it’s out of a little frustration. You sat on that committee with me for a year. You were delighted to get out and off to another committee because the thing got to be a little annoying, going over and over and over the same things as we tried to make headway. I don’t blame you for wanting to bail out. Maybe there were more trips on that other committee than on ours.
Mr. Gregory: I went on to better things.
Mr. Martel: We were the only ones who rewrote the rules. As we rewrote the rules for the Legislature, we sent everyone and his dog off somewhere to look at the rules in other places. The Globe and Mail isn’t here and that’s unfortunate. We could tell the Globe, Margaret, that our committee didn’t go anywhere, save Ottawa.
Mrs. Campbell: We went to Ottawa in the dead of winter.
Mr. Martel: But I want to come back to my friend the minister and ask him to explain to me how the Speaker could do the type of renovation that was recommended by just taking that one committee room and doing it. You tell me, because you named him.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, no one suggested that one room could be done.
Mr. Martel: Ah, but you had fun. Didn’t you say, “Well, if you put the entire building under the Speaker, look, he hasn’t done anything down in the committee room there. Why would he do any more with the rest of the building”? You had fun saying that.
Mrs. Campbell: Yes.
Mr. Martel: But I wasn’t smart enough to think about it. I went back to my office and I had time to put my thoughts together. That’s why I came back. Because, you know, you have to eat a little crow now.
Mr. Worton: You shouldn’t have gone away.
Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Chairman, I wasn’t intending to get into this debate, but the minister is being fantastically offensive, and I think it just should be put on the record.
The one thing that the Camp commission said in its report was that it was demeaning, it was eroding the integrity and the independence of the Legislature, that the Speaker should be running cap in hand to get what was needed for the operation of the Legislature to one or another minister.
This is an old story around here. As a matter of fact there was a time, maybe even before you were around here -- definitely before you were around here -- when there was a Speaker up there and he was a Tory, who was so offended at the Premier of the day and his treatment of the Speaker, because he thought he should be a rubber stamp and do just as he was ordered, that he took off his three-cornered hat and he sat it on the chair and he walked out and he never came back.
That’s the kind of thing that has been going on vis-à-vis this Legislature and vis-à-vis the Speaker and what is so offensive today is that you have repeated it. You haven’t accepted the spirit of the Camp commission that this Legislature should be independent. You’ve arrogated onto yourself that you will make this building available to the Speaker when you have had assurance that there’s space for 125 members. Mr. Chairman, it’s none of the minister’s business how we solve the problem here.
The Camp commission said it should come under the Speaker, and that the Speaker with the members’ services committee should solve the problem. You shouldn’t arrogate unto yourself the final decision. This is the final stage of this holding of the Legislature in the partisan hands of the minister, and they can do only what you are willing to concede to them.
I’d like to ask the minister a question: Has the position you’ve enunciated in the House today that you will not warrant over this building until you personally -- you, in your great omniscience -- are satisfied that there’s room to provide the services for 125 members -- has that decision which you have enunciated today got the support of your cabinet colleagues?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, I have made it quite clear that I want 125 members to have accommodation that is equal to the accommodation they are entitled to.
Mr. MacDonald: You obviously can’t answer the question, so you continue to repeat the old answer.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: If it’s not available --
Mr. MacDonald: It is none of your business!
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Mr. Gregory: Why don’t you listen for a while?
Mr. MacDonald: I’ve heard it three times and he’s only repeating the same answer. He has made it quite clear that he wants the members to get adequate services. It’s none of his business to see that they get them.
Mr. Gregory: You are totally lacking in good manners.
Mr. MacDonald: It is the responsibility of the Speaker, in fulfilment of the underlying principle of the recommendations of the Camp commission, that the Legislature and the reshaping of provisions around here for the operation of this Legislature should come under the direction of the Speaker.
This partisan minister shouldn’t be hanging on doggedly, to the last, to control of the Legislature in terms of imposing his will on everything else that should be going on here. This is a last effort to hang on in defiance of the recommendation of the Camp commission.
Mr. Samis: Pork-barrelling.
Mr. MacDonald: I suggest to you, Mr. Minister, that it is none of your business how this problem is solved. If you are going to live up to the Camp commission recommendation, it is the business of the Speaker and such committees in this House. So I come back to my question -- and I don’t want you to repeat that you want to see all the members get it. My question is, do you have the support of the Premier and the cabinet in your statement today that you will not hand it over until you are satisfied that there is enough space to meet the needs of the 125 members? Have you got the support of the cabinet in that position?
Mr. MacBeth: It is the cabinet’s business how it is going to be paid for.
Mr. Gregory: That’s right.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Mr. MacDonald: Just a minute. The minister obviously has nothing more to say. I doubt that he has the support of the cabinet. I for one am going to find out why the Premier permits him to frustrate the implementation of the Camp commission report. The Premier has indicated in general terms that he supports the thrust of the Camp commission. You can’t support the thrust of the Camp commission without accepting the basic underlying principle of the Camp commission recommendations; that is, that you hand it over to the Speaker so that the Legislature shall become independent of the partisan interference of petty ministers, despite their physical bulk.
Mr. Gregory: That’s pretty specific.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: If I might respond to the hon. member --
Mr. MacDonald: I am glad you are now willing to do that.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: -- only the government has authority to permit expenditures of money. I am sure the hon. member would agree to that. I am sure that the hon. member would agree that the Board of Internal Economy is the one that approves the expenditure of money by the Speaker.
Mr. MacDonald: Right.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: So where does the money come from if it doesn’t come through the government?
Mr. MacDonald: Just a minute. The hon. minister is incapable of grasping the nuances of the new situation that we’re trying to get here. I grant you that you have got an interesting situation in terms of political science as to how you reconcile the government’s right to spend money and to decide how money is going to be spent and how you establish the independence of the Legislature.
Among the other recommendations of the Camp commission was that the Speaker, in effect, become a minister, with a budget and with deputy ministers who would help him develop that budget. The budget would come before the Board of Internal Economy, which is supposed to be independent of the government -- not lackeys of the government. Once they have okayed that expenditure, if you’re going to respect the Camp commission, the government in this instance, for this small proportion of the budget, has to concede some measure of relinquishing its historic traditional control.
Let me come to another point, Mr. Chairman. This is the constant argument that is being raised out in the public by Globe and Mail editorial writers et al trying to give the public the impression that there’s extravagant expenditure around here. May I remind you that last year, when we considered the estimates of this Legislature and all the operations in connection with it -- and I concede that this doesn’t include capital expenditure; I want to be fair in the delineation of it -- we spent $14 million. Which is what? It is one-tenth of one per cent of the budget in the province of Ontario.
Furthermore, with all of the restraints and restrictions which some of the members on the Board of Internal Economy, including the minister I am looking at, imposed on fuller provision of expenditures and services around here, last year our budget in the Legislature went up five per cent. So it went up one-half of the restraint that the Treasurer has imposed upon us. We could have met all of the needs around here in terms of research assistance and all the other things that the Camp commission have recommended and still have fallen within the 10 per cent increase in budget that the rest of the government is so proud about.
You see, this is the nonsense -- to have this minister come in here and arrogate unto himself the right to say, “I am going to defy the Camp commission” -- he really offends the Speaker; if I were the Speaker, I would come in on a point of privilege -- and say to the Speaker, “Why should we give the whole building to the Speaker? He’s had the committee rooms down there and he’s done nothing about those in two years.” That’s not only a red herring. That’s a deliberate -- if not deliberate, it’s in ignorance -- confusion of the situation for the reason that the hon. member for Sudbury East has just spelled out. You can't isolate the committee room and correct it.
Let me come back to the basic point. I shall find out from the Premier -- and the minister can run to the Premier like a little water-boy now and get him to give the right answer -- but I want to find out from the Premier, has he really accepted the underlying principle of the Camp commission, or has the whole commission been operating on sort of a phoney basis, that the rug is going to be pulled out from under them? Because if the Premier has accepted it, then he will give the minister instructions to say as of such-and-such a date all of this building comes under the direction of the Speaker. He, with the assistance of the members’ services committee, with the Board of Internal Economy being the watchdog and making the final decision as to expenditures, will proceed to meet the needs.
Because it is none of the minister’s business to make those decisions. He has no right to arrogate unto himself in defiance of the Camp commission and demeaning the Speaker in saying that when he is satisfied, when the minister personally is satisfied that there’s enough room to meet the needs of the 125 members, then he will deign to hand the building over. It’s none of the minister’s business. In blunt terms, it’s none of his damn business. Hand it over.
Mr. Ashe: Ten times you’ve said that.
Mr. MacDonald: Ten times at least. I need to say it 10 times for him to grasp it, because he’s been given the question 10 or 15 times this afternoon and he has never answered it once yet.
I don’t know whether the minister has anything more, but if he hasn’t anything more to say, we’ll speak to the Premier and other members of the cabinet to see whether they are defying the Camp commission and its recommendations as much as he is.
Mr. M. Davidson: I don’t intend to dwell on this any longer, Mr. Minister. I think the problems that befall you under item 8, legislative services, have been quite adequately laid out in front of you by the member for Sudbury East, the member for St. George, the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere and the member for York South. I think they have pointed out quite clearly to you that there are in fact two reports, the Camp commission report and the Morrow report, which indicate that this building should in fact come under the jurisdiction of the Speaker. I feel, as I pointed out to you on Thursday evening last, that is in fact what should take place with this building. It is probably one, if not the only, jurisdiction in the British Commonwealth that has a building divided such as we have here.
Mrs. Campbell: Like the whole of Gaul, it is in three parts.
Mr. M. Davidson: It’s certainly no fault of the minister’s but I would suggest that one of the reasons that that division has taken place is so that the cabinet members may have the elegant offices which they have at the present time. I understand the problem you have, because I would understand very clearly that with some of those people who sit in the cabinet over there, you would probably have to chain them to a Mack truck to get them out of their offices.
So I think the case has been made, Mr. Minister. I think the reports are there for you to look at. I would suggest you do one other thing. The members’ services committee had some very interesting meetings last fall, I believe, chaired by the member for St. George. We had the Speaker of the Legislature before us at that time, and it may not hurt you to get some of the tapes of those meetings and listen to some of the conversations and some of the answers that the two staff people sitting in front of you gave at that time. It may serve you well to listen to those tapes. With the greatest of respect we feel, as has been pointed out, that this building belongs in the hands of the Speaker. We look forward to implementing the reports and putting that action into effect.
Mrs. Campbell: I think there is one other point which ought to be made. The minister has consistently stated that until he can see a way to allocate offices for 125 members he is not prepared to turn over the building. In fairness to this debate, the minister must also make it clear that, having predetermined that, he has predetermined that there are certain functions in this building which likewise he is not prepared to move out. If one reads the Morrow report, it is quite clear that that report -- and the committee itself was able to find space for up to 155 members -- did involve moving certain functions out of the building.
Reference has been made by the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere to the movement of Hansard. We have had the opportunity in the Morrow committee to go to Ottawa to see the operation of Hansard there. I am sure the Minister of Government Services would never in the world accept a statement that they could do anything better in Ottawa than he could do here. They are able to move Hansard out. I think it is a matter of several blocks, as I recall it. It’s more than one block from the building. They are able to function very well.
The reason we have an impasse is that the minister has made up his mind on really two points. One is there must be room for 125 members. He did say at the Board of Internal Economy meeting that he was not prepared to look at moving Hansard out or maybe legislative counsel across the street --
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, I didn’t say I was not prepared to move Hansard out.
Mrs. Campbell: I apologize if I have erred.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: You have erred.
Mrs. Campbell: I am glad to know that he is prepared to give consideration to that. If that were to be done -- and of course, that needs preparation -- I think he would find that if one coupled the various suggestions of the Morrow committee, ultimately there would be provision for 155 members. As the Speaker may know, that committee had some serious debates. My friend across the way was present, I think, when we were discussing the ultimate relocation of the Lieutenant Governor’s suite in order to make room for committees. We didn’t say that this should happen at this point in time, but we did look down the road to 155 members because we felt that probably by the next census there would likely be another redistribution.
I personally feel very badly that the minister seems to have dug in his heels because I don’t think the matter can be resolved that way. The problems are serious. The problems are before us and if the minister is not prepared to yield somewhat, then I can see no course other than to force the issue to turn the whole place over to Mr. Speaker.
I am sure that’s not what the minister wants, but from the way he has spoken today he has left the opposition with no alternative at all, because it is obvious we are not going to get anywhere so long as we have two groups, and perhaps even three, trying to allocate space within the building.
It is understood the Morrow committee was adamant that the Premier of this province had his proper place in this building. We also took the position that the cabinet had its proper place in this building, but we did discuss so carefully with the present Minister of Revenue -- and he was not the minister, obviously, at that time -- and with other members of the government, the fact of the needs of cabinet ministers for sessional offices and also offices for parliamentary assistants.
At that time -- I am sorry I don’t remember; Mr. Eaton, I shouldn’t name him but I can’t remember where he comes from -- the member for Middlesex. He was at that point a parliamentary assistant. Now, I can be subject to correction because there were some changes made and I don’t recall at what stage the changes were made, but I believe that he was on that committee and gave input into what he felt were the needs of parliamentary assistants to have sessional offices, but not necessarily to have offices in the building.
There was not desire by the Morrow committee to try to railroad either cabinet members or parliamentary assistants. We sought advice from the government members on the committee. We were told that the sessional offices of the cabinet were not used and it was for this reason that the Minister of Government Services of the day created the lounge for the ministers so that they would have a place to meet and a place to use the telephone and to have the facilities that obviously should be accorded to them in this building. But you know, having created the lounge, having the sessional offices, providing the sessional offices for the parliamentary assistants, we really did try to ensure that all the needs of all the members would be met.
It is interesting that we felt that all parliamentary assistants should have offices here. As I recall the debate, it was again, if I recall correctly, the government members who said that there were parliamentary assistants who didn’t want to have their offices here. They wanted to have them close to the ministry.
I wonder if the minister has addressed himself to those two points, because what he has done today and what he did at the Board of Internal Economy was to indicate that he was in full charge of the building -- which, of course, is not correct because he was looking at space in the north wing, which under the order in council is under Mr. Speaker, but he was looking at that to allocate space there. You see, that is his problem.
We may recall the embarrassment of a former Minister of Government Services who had to apologize in this House to Mr. Speaker, otherwise personally constituted, because she had engaged the services of a consultant for this building without consulting Mr. Speaker at all. This confusion has to stop to start with.
If the minister could give some thought to the very real concerns expressed here today, so that perhaps tomorrow we could get his bill out of the way, when, frankly, I’m afraid we really can’t do that because it involves his right in this building by its extension, it’s a pity. It really is a pity, because we’d like to help him get on with his job. We really would. I for one have never ever liked to be cast in the role of an obstructionist. But you know, Mr. Chairman, I have no choice as far as I’m concerned, and what a pity.
Because, you see, the Legislature really, in the final analysis, is the place where the decisions are made. You’re forcing us into the Legislature to make these decisions.
I would urge the minister not to take that course, not to take us on a collision course but to proceed, as we have expected, to make room for those needs of the people in this building. Provide some alternative space for the administrative group down in the first floor so that can become the committee room, which was urged by the Morrow committee. But Mr. Speaker can’t move them out until there is some alternative space for them. So one can’t point the finger at Mr. Speaker; the finger, moving, always points back to the Minister of Government Services. Thank you.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, my only response to the hon. member is I have the map here of what Hansard does occupy. It would appear to me that you might put five or six members within that area.
The hon. member was in a meeting last week where Mr. Fleming suggested that his committee had found about 84 rooms. Add five or six and that’s still 35 short. Do you have suggestions --
Mrs. Campbell: But that is just if you determine who is going to go.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, I would appreciate knowing the feeling of the opposition. Do they think there are other bodies that should be moved out of this building? Could they give us some idea? Because if they move out of this building, the Minister of Government Services is going to have to find the space. I don’t think there is any argument there.
So would you give us an idea of some of the other bodies and people you think should move out of this building? Could we have that help?
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Chairman, if the question was addressed to me, if the minister would simply look at the report of the Morrow committee, it gives the order of priorities for moving.
You may recall that we even asked that the government would not permit the sale of the old Hydro building less we need the space for other purposes. We have listed the people in priority who should move. It’s all within the report but I’ll be glad to ask that a synopsis of that report be given to the minister, if he is not familiar with it, and we will then proceed on that basis. There’s no question but that it was simply a matter of priority until the whole building became a building for the Legislature as the legislative building of the province of Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I understand the hon. member said it should be a legislative building. There’s no argument there by anyone. But is the hon. member suggesting that the press, for instance, should be moved out of this building? Is that one of the proposals?
Mrs. Campbell: No, that was not a proposal, however, that there be a “hot” room established, as I recall it, for the press close to the Legislature itself and that their offices could be elsewhere in the building. There’s no question about that. The question was whether they ought to occupy the rather large space where they are at the present time. There is no question of moving them totally out. There was the suggestion of Hansard other than the interjectionists. There was the suggestion of the secretariats. There was the suggestion of the Lieutenant Governor’s suite to make available committee rooms.
I don’t have the order in my head at the moment but we did go through it in some kind of priority to try to give ass indication of how we thought we could eventually provide for 155 members, without removing the Premier and without removing cabinet. I believe some of the cabinet offices have already been given up. Unfortunately, I am also advised that space was allocated by the ministry without thought of trying to let Mr. Speaker look at the total impact on the building.
Certainly, the cabinet advised that they did not need any more space than they had and that they could do with less and had already moved out some of the functions. There are functions that I think you will find with some discussion can be moved without disrupting any of this and which were agreed upon basically. Now, apparently, that has changed. I will be glad to go through the report and synopsize it for the minister.
Hon Mr. Henderson: Could I respond to the hon. member and let me just get it straight? It is my interpretation from your remarks that Hansard could be moved out and the press could be moved out.
Mrs. Campbell: I didn’t say the press could be moved out.
Mr. Chairman: Order. The hon. minister has the floor.
Mrs. Campbell: I said they did not need the space.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Relocated then -- am I using the wrong word? The Lieutenant Governor’s offices should be out. You didn’t mention the Speaker. Was it your feeling that the Speaker’s quarters should be removed out of this building as well?
Mrs. Campbell: No.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: All I can say is if those proposed changes were made, it would be helpful, but it still wouldn’t come up with the 125 offices, as I am sure the member is well aware.
Mrs. Campbell: This is really the problem. Yes, you can find space for 125 members if you move out certain functions. Legislative counsel might be in the Whitney Block, for example. There are all sorts of things you can do. The difficulty is that we did feel the least dislocation was the way to go. If a minister has a big office over there or some other place, he perhaps didn’t need to have an office of 500 square feet in this building too. Obviously, the minister feels that that should be the right of all ministers and parliamentary assistants. It was because of that that I came to the conclusion at the Board of Internal Economy that the minister would be very happy -- and he mentioned moving us over to the Whitney Block -- he would be very happy to move everyone out of this building except the government. And that, of course, just won’t wash.
Mr. Chairman: Shall item 8 carry?
Mrs. Campbell: No.
Item 8 agreed to.
On item 9, employee benefits:
Mr. M. Davidson: I would like to raise a question, Mr. Chairman. In doing so, you may wonder what it is I am trying to get at, but I assure you there is a point.
Can the minister tell me the status of the management and information service library within his ministry?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: It’s under the next item, if you want to carry this vote. Or do you have questions?
Mr. M. Davidson: Government payments?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: We are on item 9; it’s under item 10. Wait a minute; it is vote 805, I’m sorry.
Mr. M. Davidson: Vote 805?
Mr. Deputy Chairman: We are on item 9 of vote 804. Were you speaking to item 9, employee benefits?
Mr. M. Davidson: I am trying to find out, sir, where I can bring up a problem regarding an employee.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Of the library?
Mr. M. Davidson: Yes.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Vote 805, item 1.
Mr. M. Davidson: This is a problem dealing with an employee’s problem. We are on employees’ benefits and this affects an employee’s benefits. But I have to find out first certain things before I can raise the question.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Let him bring it up, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: If this is dealing with the benefits of a particular employee which are covered under this item, you can bring it up now.
Mr. M. Davidson: Fine. Perhaps I could go back to the question. Could the minister please tell me the status of the management and information services library of his ministry?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: You will have to be more specific.
Mr. M. Davidson: All right. Is the management and information services library of your ministry in fact operating at the present time?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: A computer tape library?
Mr. M. Davidson: I understand it has been transferred to the computer service division, yes. And this is where the problem lies, Mr. Minister. Do you have information relating to a Mrs. A. Desomogyi, who is the former librarian in that library?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: We have 3,100 employees and, to be honest, no, I am not aware of a problem.
Mr. M. Davidson: Let me explain to you what has happened, Mr. Minister. I am quite sure you may not be aware of what has happened.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Has it to do with benefits for the employee?
Mr. M. Davidson: It affects her benefits because, as a result of certain changes that have been made within your ministry, this woman is no longer employed; therefore, she is not getting the benefits she did have. When the library was transferred to the computer services division, she was asked to go on a GO Temp basis. She refused to do that, as I understand it, because I believe the Ontario Manual of Administration, Vol. 2, of December 19, 1977, states that under no circumstances is a GO Temp to be retained for more than six months. This woman, according to the information I have before me, was in fact a full-time employee; as a matter of fact, she was the woman who set up the original library and was employed by your ministry for some three years.
When we contacted the ministry, we called a Miss Fryer in the manager of administration’s office in the systems development section, and we were told that this lady had in fact resigned. This is not the case; she has not resigned. She was told that if she did not accept the GO Temp status, she would be terminated as of March 10. She refused to accept to GO Temp status and has since been terminated.
I want to know if this is the system under which your ministry intends to operate when dealing with their employees. I certainly don’t think it’s a fair way to handle people who have been faithful to the ministry. Even though I understand you are working under some form of restraint, I don’t think that the way you handle restraint is to take action against those people who are working on your behalf.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I’d be glad to try to get this information, but could you give us the name again?
Mr. M. Davidson: I’ll spell it for you because even I have difficulty saying it. It is D-e-s-o-m-o-g-y-i, and she was hired to start the library, which at that time was under management and information services. My information is that she started up the library, has been its single employee over the past three years, and that library was located on the eighth floor of the ministry’s office at 2 Bloor Street West.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I have some information on it here. We will check it further, but this is the information I have at the moment. The library has been transferred to CSD from SDS. We had considered the CSD library, which is manned by CSD clerical staff. The SDS librarian was a GO Temp employee during the whole time she was with SDS. If you have information contrary to that, we’ll go back and check our records again.
Mr. M. Davidson: My information is contrary to that, but even if what you are saying is correct, the GO Temp Ontario Manual of Administration, volume 2, December 1977, states that “under no circumstances,” and “no” is underlined, is a GO Temp to be retained for more than six months.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: At this time I can’t give you the answer you require. If I might come back to it under 805, I’ll try to have it when we get there.
Mr. M. Davidson: Thank you, Mr. Minister. We look forward to your answer. But I would like to repeat once again that this woman was the person who did establish that library and she was the only employee for three years. I certainly don’t feel that by making her the kind of offer that was made -- that you either accept this or be terminated -- that’s the way you deal with employees under any conditions.
Mr. Ruston: Mr. Chairman, I wonder if the minister could tell us if under employee benefits with regard to moving expenses -- in previous ministries and in previous years we had some problems as far as the report of the Auditor was concerned. I wonder if the minister could tell us how much money he may have allocated in here for moving expenses? Does each ministry keep their own allocations for moving expenses or are they all charged directly to the Ministry of Government Services?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: As I understand it, each department pays their own and it’s a guideline set down by Management Board.
Items 9 and 10 agreed to.
On item 11, telecommunications.
Mr. Ruston: Mr. Chairman: our telephone system comes under telecommunications, I take it? The minister’s officials can maybe help him with regard to the question of INWATS lines. I recall that in the last estimates I was asking the minister to look into the possibility of having an INWATS line into the riding of Essex South. He may recall the amount of long distance calls that was entailed in that area. I wonder if he can tell us whether they’ve checked into this and whether the cost would be feasible? Any idea on that now? Down to Leamington?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: You are not thinking of a Zenith line?
Mr. Ruston: I am speaking of the regular lines --
Hon. Mr. Henderson: You’re thinking of a direct line --
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Is Leamington not covered under the one to Windsor.
Mr. Ruston: No, it’s not.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The only answer I have at this moment is that we study the lines we have and, as traffic warrants additional lines, we purchase them. We will certainly look at the possibility of Leamington being serviced by such a line.
Mr. B. Newman: Is there some reason why an individual, namely, myself, couldn’t call a Toronto number in the daytime from my Windsor phone and use government lines rather than put in a credit card call? I can put in the call after 5 o’clock in the evening but I cannot put in the call in the daytime.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes, I fully understand what the hon. member is saying. Due to the workload on the switchboard, outgoing calls during the daytime are very busy. Government policy is that any calls outside the building are done before 8 in the morning and after 5 at night. To change it would be very expensive. Does the member think that it should be re-appraised? I would appreciate hearing from him on this.
Mr. B. Newman: The thing that disturbs me is that when I put in a credit card call it is costing the ministry $1.50 or $2, where if I went through the government lines it wouldn’t cost one cent. If I can save one dollar, then I am more than pleased to attempt to save that dollar for the government.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The only response I have -- and we will study it, as I say -- is that it would take far more lines. I don’t know where the break even point would be.
Mr. B. Newman: I accept your reply, except that it seems funny to me that here I am trying to save a dollar and I’m told, don’t save it, spend it.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Those people who have studied it are convinced that the present policy is the cheaper policy. We accept your argument too, but it is a matter that staff have studied and they believe that to be the case.
Mr. Worton: I raised this issue some time ago with one of the legislative assembly officers and he indicated that it was a method that was used in order to keep better track of calls. I quite agree with the member for Windsor-Walkerville. Most of my calls from my home in Guelph, for which I need to have an outside line, are with the old age security people. It means, as the member said, a long distance call. It certainly was handled very well three years ago without going through this procedure of having to use a credit card. I can’t see where there is any different mode now than there was then. If it is just for the sake of bookkeeping or keeping track of it, I can’t see the need to have a separate system.
As a matter of fact, it just irks me to think that I have to pay $1.50 or $2 when I have a line here from which I can get any other government department from home. I don’t think the Attorney General’s offices comes under that line either. There are some branches of your government that you can not get during the daytime and for which you have to have long distance. I think that should be investigated most thoroughly because I think it is one of the most costly items you have.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: We can put up a good argument either way. It is a matter of opinion. The member for Windsor-Walkerville put up a good argument. Our advisers believe we are doing it the cheaper way. I would be interested in keeping track of these calls for a month to find out how many times you would use the service. I would be very interested personally in hearing from any of you on this.
Mr. B. Newman: I hesitate even to make the call on a credit card because I think I’m throwing away my money when I do it that way. I simply contact my secretary and then have her make the call. Quite often, if I give the information to the party I’m giving it first-hand. I can resolve the problem a lot easier than if it has to go through a secretary who may misinterpret what I had originally attempted to tell her.
It’s the same thing -- I’ve had occasion to call other branches of ministries in northern Ontario and I can’t get the call through during the daytime unless I put in a credit card call, and if I wait until after 5 o’clock at which time she will accept it, the offices are closed.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: My staff informs me it’s been studied to death, if we might use that phrase. You have a good argument. We’ll look at it again.
Mr. Haggerty: I wanted to add a few comments to this particular section of the estimates, and that concerns the government telephone watts lines, or the lines going into certain communities in Ontario, particularly related to the Erie riding. There is a government line running into the township of Wainfleet, the city of Welland, the city of Port Colborne, but Fort Erie is being perhaps, neglected, I guess it is, or for some unknown reason they won’t continue it through to Fort Erie. They do continue to a small community within Fort Erie called Stevensville, which has an exchange there, but in another two or three miles you could tap into the whole complete town of Fort Erie, which would give a member here access to all provincial agencies in the area and also to the municipality, the town of Fort Erie.
I have checked with Bell Telephone in Welland, Mr. Jim Price who’s the manager there, and I thought perhaps I could have a special line run from Stevensville to Ridgeway, which is still within the municipality of Fort Erie, which has three telephone exchanges. The cost then would have been $50. I suggest to the minister that with the long-distance calls that I have to put through to that community it would be a lot cheaper for the province if they’d tie in directly with the line 871, which includes all the town of Fort Erie. I bring that to your attention. When I look at my constituents’ phone calls back there, long-distance direct calls to Fort Erie are a rather costly item that perhaps could be reduced by almost three-quarters. There are a number of constituents who want access to Queen’s Park, and I suggest that perhaps if someone from your ministry would contact me, I would fill them in with further information on it. But I think there is a savings to the province if you tie in with that one exchange in Fort Erie.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: My response is much the same. Your problem is the same as that of the members for Windsor-Walkerville and Wellington South -- an area not covered sufficiently. Our staff have been studying it. They study the credit card calls, and they believe our present method is the cheaper method. But, you know, it’s under review all the time.
Mr. Haggerty: I think in this particular area you can improve it. I happen to share the 866 line with the hon. member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart). Perhaps you know the difficulties that we have communicating in the House. I have that problem trying to reach the constituents of Erie riding.
Item 11 agreed to.
Item 12 agreed to.
On item 13, protocol services:
Mr. B. Newman: I want to raise the issue of the scrolls to individuals 100 years of age and over. Mr. Minister, your officials will only issue a scroll for the 100th year, and will not give one on the 101st year, or the 102nd. The days of a person who reaches 100, Mr. Minister, certainly are numbered. God give them all the health so that they could keep living, but we know it’s not going to happen.
Why wouldn’t you instruct your officials so that an individual at 100 and every year after 100 receives a scroll if that individual is still surviving. Gosh, we should be so proud they received this scroll at 100, 101 and 102 and 103 -- as long as they are alive. If that will come along and spread a little happiness to that individual I think we certainly should do that.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, I couldn’t disagree with the hon. member on this. I hope I can deliver one to the hon. member at 101, 102, 103, 104; I agree.
Mr. B. Newman: Thank you, Mr. Minister. Then your officials will issue these scrolls regardless of how many they have to send to the individual after they have reached the age of 100? I raise this with you Mr. Minister, because I was turned down point blank in your office.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, I will not differ with the hon. member -- 90, 95, 100; and every year thereafter if requested.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Minister, I wouldn’t have raised this issue at all except that I tried to get one for a lady of 104. “We gave her one last year”; that was the reply from your chief officer there. That’s pretty poor, Mr. Minister.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: If it happens again let the minister know.
Mr. B. Newman: The next issue I wanted to raise on this is why do we have to give your officials the address of the individual to whom that scroll is going to be delivered? I deliver all of mine. I object to having to pass my information on to one of your officials. If your Premier wants to send a letter of congratulation to the individual, there is nothing wrong with that. He can send it to me and I will personally deliver it to the party, but I object to having to tell them the address of the individual --
Mr. Haggerty: You’ll save a 14-cent stamp.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I am sure the hon. member knows there are a lot of people by the same name and if they don’t have the address how would they identify them?
Mr. B. Newman: Easily, Mr. Minister; before they used to send those letters from the Premier to my office and I personally delivered them, and I will continue to do that. I see nothing wrong with that letter going through my hand to my constituent.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Sometimes the honoured party lives in a different riding, I am sure you realize that. That is one of the reasons. I am not sure I can agree with you on this. I’ll take it as notice, but I am not sure that I can agree that there be any change in the present policy.
Mr. B. Newman: Your Premier can send that letter to me and I will deliver the letter. As far as the location of the individual is concerned, if any other member is in there and if I happen to be crossing into another riding I do not do it intentionally. I will not under any circumstance deliver a scroll that belongs to a member from Windsor West or Windsor Riverside knowingly. We always fry to find out from the individual if the person being honoured by the receipt of the scroll does live in my riding. If the party doesn’t, I have the scroll sent or I inform the other member to see that he gets the scroll. But I don’t see why I have to tell your people the address of the recipient of the scroll. As long as I know where that recipient lives, I’ll take care of my business.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The only other defence --
An hon. member: Defence?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: -- that we have outside of the ones I have mentioned is that after a certain age there is recognition sent by the Prime Minister and by the Governor General. They are notified by our office.
Mr. B. Newman: That notification goes to my federal counterparts. I have no problems so I don’t need one of your officials coming along and using up their time to do these extra things. I am saving them that time. I am informing Mark McGuigan, Herb Gray and Gene Whelan in my area as portions of all three of their ridings come in Windsor-Walkerville. I notify them all the time so they can have the Prime Minister recognize the individual’s longevity or married life or whatever it happens to be, I know how to take care of it. I really don’t need any information and advice from your people at all.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Do you object to the Premier writing to them?
Mr. B. Newman: No, I don’t object to the Premier sending it. He can send it to me; I will address it and get it down there. The Minister of Industry and Tourism knows what happened last year on one of the scrolls in my riding. I had the scroll with me.
Mr. M. Davidson: Mr. Chairman, like the member for Windsor-Walkerville, I deliver all of my plaques too, but I am not really concerned if the Premier sends a letter ahead of me getting there, because I have always felt that I could out-talk a letter. But I would be interested in finding out the number of plaques that were distributed though the protocol services branch in the last year and the cost of each plaque.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The 1977-78 cost per unit was $8.93. For birthdays, there were 2,158; for wedding anniversaries, 4,078; and special, 1,545.
Mr. M. Davidson: I appreciate the fact that there are so many going out. I am a little concerned about the cost, however. Can you explain why it would cost that much to produce? It is a very nice plaque, but it really is only a piece of wood and a hunk of plastic. Can you tell me why it would cost that amount of money?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: That is, as I understand it, the total cost of operating the office, but the surprising part to you or to me would be that the 1975-76 cost was $8.70 each, in 1976-77 it was $8.83, and in 1977-78 it was $8.93; so, with the increased cost, they have kept pretty well in line.
Mr. Worton: Mr. Chairman, where are those plaques made? I thought they were made at that institution in Guelph at one time -- at least the wood part.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The paper, as you know, is typed up here; you’re speaking of the wood part. They are made at Guelph and the cost is $3.30 each.
Mr. Worton: Do you mean to say, that with all that labour you’ve got there, they cost $7 or $8 apiece?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes, that’s the overall cost.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Minister, will you then instruct your staff, when they are sending scrolls or when I order a scroll, that I will not have to give them the address of the individual who is going to receive that scroll? And I will give you my assurances that it will be an individual in my riding.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, I don’t think I could agree to that.
Mr. B. Newman: What is wrong with my request, Mr. Minister?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: It is matter of policy and, as I mentioned, there are 125 MPPs; once we start giving special privileges, we would soon be into a pretty serious situation.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Minister, up until maybe a year or so ago, I did that all of the time and there were no problems whatsoever; so there was a change of policy within the last year or two. I had always done it that way and then, all of a sudden, they changed and wanted names and addresses. Don’t you trust me?
Mr. MacBeth: “Some hon. members: No.”
Mr. B. Newman: Doesn’t your staff trust me? All I am asking for is a continuation of the policy that was followed before.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I cannot grant that request.
Mr. M. Davidson: If I may I’d like to find out why the minister can’t grant that request. It seems such a simple request. Surely as the minister he can make that designation on his own. That isn’t something he has to take to cabinet for approval. At least I wouldn’t think so.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I’m sure the hon. member understands the situation. I get requests myself from people and from family members. I don’t know what their address is. If we didn’t have the address, we would not know where they lived or if there was a duplication or what have you.
Mr. B. Newman: What do you need that address for? Just what does it do for you? What good is it for your officials?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: To check out the identification.
Mr. B. Newman: The only reason you ask for the address is so that the Premier can send a letter. There is no other reason at all, you are just playing politics with us.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: That’s not a bad idea for our Premier to send them a letter. I think it’s a pretty good idea for our Premier.
Mr. B. Newman: I don’t say it isn’t a good idea; but I would make it a better idea, I would personally deliver the Premier’s letter.
An hon. member: No, you wouldn’t.
Mr. B. Newman: I certainly do. I delivered one of the Premier’s letters that was received by me.
Mr. M. Davidson: In going through the last estimates of the ministry, I found there was a discussion on the number of flags a member of this Legislative Assembly was entitled to without having to give reason or cause. I believe it was two provincial flags and two maple leaf flags. Does that still stand?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes, it still stands.
Mr. B. Newman: Are there other things that are available to members through Government Services that we don’t know about? Is there anything other than flags?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: It was my intention to send a letter in the next week or two to all members pointing out to them what might be available, It appears that hour of the clock has come for which we have been waiting for the last two-and-one-half hours.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Henderson, the committee of supply reported progress.
ANSWERS TO WRITTEN QUESTIONS
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the answers to questions 19 and 22 on the order paper.
Mr. Speaker: Does the hon. minister have the unanimous consent of the House to table those answers?
On motion by Hon. Mr. Henderson, the House adjourned at 6:02 p.m.