31st Parliament, 2nd Session

L048 - Thu 27 Apr 1978 / Jeu 27 avr 1978

The House met at 2 p.m.




Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, later today I am introducing for first reading a bill to enact the Provincial Offences Act, 1978, together with a bill to amend the Provincial Courts Act.

The proposed Provincial Offences Act will establish for the first time in Ontario a self- contained code of procedure under which all offences created by or pursuant to provincial statute law will be prosecuted. It will replace the Summary Convictions Act, which incorporates by reference many provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada. The companion bill, the Provincial Courts Amendment Act, will establish a new Provincial Offences Court.

These bills give formal recognition to the fact that offences under provincial statute law are, for the most part, regulatory, and that it is wrong in principle to deal with them automatically in the same procedural stream as offences under the Criminal Code. This concept flows from the recognition that the person who breaches an Ontario law need not be treated as if he or she were a dangerous criminal.

Under this legislation there would be less emphasis on formal court appearances, technical and adversarial procedures, and ceremonial trappings. The unnecessary and often hidden procedural baggage would be stripped out of the system without diminishing the existing rights of accused persons to defend themselves and to have their views considered by those who judge and who may ultimately sentence them. The Act will bolster the citizen’s ability to answer charges by making the assertion of a defence or explanation more convenient, speedier, less expensive and less intertwined with legal technicalities.

As an illustration, consider the position of a person charged with a minor highway traffic offence. At present, that person may pay the fine out of court, appear in court to defend or explain, or take no action, in which case he or she will be tried in his or her absence.

Under the Provincial Offences Act, a person charged could still at his or her option have a full trial of the issue or pay the fine out of court. But in addition the defendant could either:

1. Drop in at the court at his or her convenience at any time prior to the date set for trial, to plead guilty before a justice of the peace and offer an explanation in mitigation of the penalty; or

2. Plead not guilty by mail, simply by mailing in his or her side of the story. If a justice of the peace determined that the explanation disclosed a legal defence to the charge, he could, without the person accused having to attend, require the Crown to prove its case fully at a trial, with particular attention being paid to the defence raised in the letter. The person charged would not, therefore, have to take time off work or incur travel expenses to have the defences raised.

We see these additional alternatives as mechanisms to reduce very substantially the out-of-pocket cost involved in offering an explanation where guilt is admitted, or in putting forward a defence where the individual cannot afford to take the time to appear in court. I want to stress, Mr. Speaker, that these are simply alternatives and that the right to appear and have the Crown prove its case, as is the law at present, is not in any way diminished, not in any way interfered with.

To facilitate court scheduling, the citizen who receives a ticket will have to indicate within a reasonable time period, by checking a box on the ticket, which of these routes he or she proposes to follow. Failure to make this indication within the prescribed time period will result in a conviction being recorded without an expensive in absentia trial being held.

The proposed new appeal process reflects the desire to simplify and expedite the process for the average citizen. For minor offences, we propose to replace the current expensive, technical and slow appellate remedies by a speedy, informal and inexpensive drop-in appeal by way of review by a provincial judge. This appeal will exist as of right in all minor offences, with the relatively few more severe offences having a separate criminal-law type of appeal process.

The citizen who wishes to appeal a minor offence conviction will be able simply to attend upon a provincial court judge shortly after the conviction to have that judge review the matter. The judge may allow the appeal on the spot, adjourn the matter to obtain a transcript or more complete argument, order a new trial or dismiss the appeal. There will be a further right of appeal from that decision to the court of appeal on questions of law, if a judge of that court grants leave to appeal.

In these and many other ways we have sought in this legislation to remedy the problems that the present situation creates for defendants as well as for the administration of justice. We believe these proposals to be innovative, and when implemented they should have the advantage of resulting in the saving of millions of tax dollars annually. A large part of this saving will be from significantly reduced police time now expended in attending court to testify at in absentia proceedings, and in processing and serving warrants of committal.

It should be pointed out that there are literally tens of thousands of cases every year where the accused in minor offences do not appear in court, have no desire to appear in court, and yet the police and civilian witnesses will still be subpoenaed.

More efficient court scheduling will assist in achieving optimum use of court resources and more convenient service to the public. Alternative procedures for collecting defaulted fines will reduce costs to our correctional institutions generated by the all-too-frequent use of committal for failure to pay fines.

These important bills are part of my ministry’s continuing process of law reform and are evidence of the government’s commitment to bring the justice system closer to the people. We have done this in many ways, including the expansion of the jurisdiction of the small claims court, decentralization of the provincial courts in Metropolitan Toronto and the establishment of traffic tribunals which have become a model for other jurisdictions.

While there is an obvious need to proceed with this new legislation at the earliest opportunity, we are anxious to have the advice and opinions of all interested persons. Accordingly, 1 am tabling today a publication entitled “Provincial Offences Procedure,” which addresses the subject matter of these bills in detail and which will be distributed widely.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, a second, very brief statement. I am today introducing for first reading the Change of Name Amendment Act. The proposed amendment is purely of a housekeeping nature. It will remove a redundant subsection of the Act that, on a number of occasions in the past few months has been interpreted erroneously as giving minors an unqualified right to apply in court for a change of name. This has resulted in an uneven application of the law across the province and it has also created difficult problems for the office of the Registrar General.

Accordingly, it is a matter of some importance to remove any doubt that an applicant must be 18 years of age to bring his own application for a change of name under the Act. In introducing this bill, I would like to take this opportunity to confirm that it is my intention to come forward in the next few months with a comprehensive package of reforms concerning the law relating to the change of name. The bill I will be introducing today is simply an interim measure which must be taken to ensure that the intentions of the Legislature as expressed in the current Change of Name Act continue to be carried out until a review of the law is completed.


Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, Ontario Hydro president Douglas Gordon today advised me that Ontario Hydro proposes to increase its bulk power or wholesale rates to its municipal utilities and direct industrial customers by 9.8 per cent and 10.1 per cent respectively, effective January 1, 1979.

Mr. Deans: Disgusting -- they are out of control.

An hon. member: We’re still paying for that building.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: As I view any increase in electric power rates with serious concern --

Mr. Deans: They are out of control. Take them into the public sector.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- I will take steps to have the Ontario Energy Board closely scrutinize the Hydro proposal to see what, if any, margin of that increase can be trimmed.

Mr. Sargent: On top of 30 per cent?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: I am very disappointed that Hydro finds its costs increasing to such an extent in this time of general fiscal restraint. I have, however, been assured by Hydro that in making its calculations --

An hon. member: New minister!

Mr. Sargent: You know what happened to Darcy.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- with respect to its 1979 rates it has conformed to the spirit and intent --

An hon. member: We want Jim Taylor!

Mr. Sargent: He’s going to get it, too.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- of the current anti-inflation guidelines --

Mr. Kerrio: Where’s Jim Taylor?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- even though the anti- inflation program will have no further application after December 31, 1978.

Mr. Deans: That’s just utter nonsense.

Mr. Philip: It never had any effect on business anyhow.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: I will ask the Energy Board to verify that Hydro has indeed conformed to the anti-inflation guideline.

In spite of this rate proposal, I am optimistic that the increase in 1979 could well be significantly less. This is as a result of an estimated $130 million expected to be obtained by Hydro in 1978 through increased sales of power to the United States. It is also because of the current high level of performance of Hydro’s nuclear power stations. If all of these funds materialize, it could mean Ontario Hydro wholesale customers -- i.e., the municipal utilities -- would receive a rebate in 1979 in the order of 6.5 per cent.

The effect of Hydro’s rate proposal and this additional revenue on retail customers is still not precisely known, but it should make the size of its 1979 retail increase substantially less than otherwise would have been the case. In this regard, I am pleased to be able to announce also that the actual net revenue earned in 1977 generated an additional $14 million more than forecast last summer. This amount is also to be rebated to Hydro’s bulk power customers, resulting in a further three-quarters of one per cent reduction in the 1978 rates. This will lower the increase for 1978 to an effective level of about two per cent, or more than seven per cent below the actual increase of 9.5 per cent instituted by Ontario Hydro for 1978.

We have been fortunate that rebates in 1978 and those forecast for 1979 help very considerably to offset the effect of increased hydro costs to the consumer. I am, nevertheless, very concerned about these rate increases and the fact that rebates are not a permanent factor in keeping down rate levels. I would like to caution, moreover, that while the lowest possible consumer rate is of utmost concern to me, we must also be mindful not to damage Hydro’s long-term financial health, which is vital to the province’s own financial health and credit rating.

After I have reviewed fully the Hydro proposal, I will, in accordance with section 37(a) of the Ontario Energy Board Act, be referring it to the Ontario Energy Board for a detailed review. I would urge any groups or individual citizens who are concerned about the potential increase to contact the Ontario Energy Board.



Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to draw to your attention and the attention of members of the assembly that we have with us today as a guest in your gallery, the Hon. Peter Cox, Minister of Transport and Highways from the state of New South Wales in Australia. With him is Mr. Ken Trott, his deputy minister.


Mr. MacDonald: On Tuesday of this week I asked the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) why, when the government had ordered a rehearing by the OMB of the town of Hanover’s move to annex 200 acres of prime agricultural land, it had also taken the unprecedented step of designating which members of the OMB should have that hearing.

The Treasurer intervened and said, “I’m sure we didn’t.” He then pointed out that this fell into the responsibility of the Attorney General and added, “I am sure that he would be aware.” He was mumbling sotto voce that it was not correct.

Mr. Speaker, I draw to your attention and to the attention of the House that order in council 400 for this year states that “the aforementioned decision of the Ontario Municipal Board, dated October 3, 1977, shall be the subject of a new public hearing before the following members of the board: A. B. Ball, E. A. Seaborne.”

My question stands: Why did the government, in ordering a rehearing, hand pick the members of the board who should hear that case?

Mr. Swart: What does the ministry have to say about that?

Mr. Speaker: That is properly a problem that should be brought up during question period.

Mr. Martel: It was a point of privilege though.

Mr MacDonald: But he misinformed the House -- unwittingly.



Mr. S. Smith: I would like to ask a question of the Attorney General. Does the Attorney General intend to appeal the sentence in a vandalism case in Hamilton involving over $50,000 damage? In the case, the judge, Gordon McTurk, refused to grant the Crown’s application for an order requiring restitution on the grounds that it would impose further hardship on the parents. Is the Attorney General familiar with this case and would the Crown consider an appeal so that restitution would be imposed as a condition in the sentence?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I am not familiar with the case. I will certainly look into the matter and respond to the Leader of the Opposition’s question as soon as possible.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, would the Attorney General have a comment to make with regard to the recommendations made by Metro Toronto council concerning the need for amendments to the federal Juvenile Delinquents Act which would make parents automatically financially responsible for acts of vandalism committed by their children? Does he have any comment and what progress has he made in his discussion with federal authorities in order to make progress on this particular matter? I know from previous occasions that the Attorney General has agreed with me that restitution is important. I wonder whether he has been working on that particular matter.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I must state I have some misgivings about that proposal. This of course is a matter within the jurisdiction of the federal government, as has been pointed out by the hon. Leader of the Opposition.

In our ministry we have looked at the experience of similar legislation in other jurisdictions in North America, more particularly the United States. The experience has been not a very happy one. We recognize the very serious problem of vandalism, but in many of these cases the very fact that there are charges laid and young people are brought to court has created situations of high tension within the family circle.

To state that the parents shall automatically be responsible for the acts of the children has, in many cases in states of the US, produced irreparable breaches between the parents and the children. People in this area who have studied the matter carefully do have very serious misgivings about that aspect of it, that when we are trying to rehabilitate children they obviously cannot be considered to be confirmed criminals when they are still children in law.

To produce that additional polarization in the family with the parent who is forced to pay for something that he or she is not responsible for has led to serious breakdown in the family relationship, and I have to say, quite frankly, this proposal would give us great concern for that reason.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Has the Attorney General any substitute proposal which would guarantee and bring about the state of affairs where young people who are engaged in vandalism would undergo the very therapeutic and rehabilitative action of having to make restitution within the limits of their ability? If one does not force this on the parents, and then indirectly presumably on the children, what alternative method is available, and will the Attorney General give us some policy in this regard?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The issue is a very serious one, let there be no doubt about that. Obviously one of the approaches that must be used is to make children more aware of their responsibility without incarceration. What we are doing in this area is to develop the concept of community service orders within the juvenile court system. This is one method with which we hope to attack this very serious problem, to provide for situations where children will have to work in the community in order to create a greater sense of responsibility in themselves for the acts they have been responsible for and for which the whole community has to pay a price. We think the development of our community service orders in the family courts will be one useful method of combating this very serious problem.

Mr. Deans: A supplementary question: Would the Attorney General be able to provide us with information showing bow the community service orders actually work in the communities? Subject to that, does the Attorney General realize that within a large cross-section of the juvenile community the whole matter of vandalism is treated with more or less contempt, and it is looked upon as a somewhat playful act rather than a matter that is to be seriously considered?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The whole concept of community service orders has developed very extensively in recent months. I should point out that the community service orders themselves are the responsibility of the Ministry of Correctional Services, and the present minister (Mr. Drea) has made a very significant commitment to this concept and has developed it very dramatically.

If the member wants us to give him individual cases of where this is carried out we can. Basically, the concept of it is that obviously the court must initially make the order, but the importance of success is dependent upon having the community resources -- starting with the probation officer -- to ensure that the order is properly carried out.

Mr. Deans: You don’t have it.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: We do. As a matter of fact the Minister of Correctional Services and I were discussing this very matter of community service orders as recently as two hours ago, and we have the capacity for community service orders in virtually every area of the province.

With respect to dealing with juveniles and young offenders, there are additional problems because of the type of work that can be done. For example, you will recall exchanges earlier in the Legislature that indicated that we required the co-operation of unions because obviously a number of community service orders, to be meaningful, involved working in relation to municipal institutions which are the subject matter of vandalism. If the member doesn’t know that, he is really out of touch.

Mr. Kerrio: If you don’t know what’s happening out there, you are out of touch.

Mr. Deans: I understand. I know something; I know that it isn’t actually working. You talk a lot but nothing happens.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: There was some local objection by a particular union in Toronto many months ago. I might say that since that time the union movement has been very supportive.

Mr. Deans: That’s not juveniles.

Mr. McClellan: That has nothing to do with juveniles.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I’m telling the members that a lot of these community service orders, to be effective, have to relate to vandalism and vandalism is particularly a problem with respect to publicly-owned buildings. Obviously what we are trying to do is develop community service orders that relate -- where we can -- to the very property that has been damaged. And so there are a number of matters that must be worked out. This whole business has gone ahead faster in the adult courts that it has in the juvenile courts but we are developing this and we’ll keep the House advised.


Mr. S. Smith: I will ask a question of the Minister of Energy, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Foulds: Good luck.

Mr. S. Smith: What does the minister mean when he comes before us today to tell us that Hydro has told him that it wants to raise its rates around 10 per cent in 1979 and he says, “I am very disappointed”? What is the meaning of that? Has the minister, in fact, looked at the basis on which this 10 per cent is being requested? Has he looked at the figures? Has he assured himself one way or another whether these figures are accurate, whether they are defensible? Of course, it is going to go to the Energy Board. That’s automatic. But what is the meaning of this “disappointment”? What is it based on? What has he done in terms of research to decide whether or not those are justifiable increases?

Mr. Roy: Show some guts.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: We are disappointed here whenever we see any increase in costs and prices exceed six per cent. That’s what we strive for.

Mr. Roy: You would have ruled them back, eh, Jim?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: I don’t think that should surprise the members opposite at all. That’s what we are still straining for.

An hon. member: I’ll bet you were disappointed when you heard about the budget.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: What is disappointing, of course, and what we expect to be inevitable is that the chicken of world oil prices is coming home to roost, and the fact is that if members opposite -- and particularly that party there -- had not fought as hard for Canadian oil prices going to world price, the chances are very real that I wouldn’t have to announce here today --

An hon. member: What does Joe Clark want on that? He wants world prices.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- that Ontario Hydro is proposing a 10 per cent increase. That’s why I’m disappointed, and I think all of the people of Ontario should be disappointed in this.

An hon. member: What kind of a junk answer is that?

An hon. member: Just like Joe Clark.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: Is the minister saying, first of all, that he feels these 10 per cent increases are justified? Second, is he saying they are justified based on world oil price? Third, can he tell us whether these new suggested increases are based on the new or the old load forecast and whether one of the reasons for these increases is the huge capital costs and the financing costs due to the overbuilding of the system which he announced here the other day?

An hon. member: Bring back Jim Taylor.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition seems to be puzzled at the relationship between the --

Mr. Roy: We are puzzled about you.

Mr. Laughren: You are being condescending now, eh?

Mr. Roy: Answer the question.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- increase of electric energy in this province and the increase in world oil price. I think what he should know is that there is a very definite correlation in energy prices -- and anybody who has done any study in the field would tell him this. Some of it is regulated and fixed and others simply follow lock-step along.

Mr. Roy: You are the minister now. Quit apologizing and do something.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: But I am certainly not prepared to say here that I have done a vast amount of research or that I’ve gotten the slide rule out or the sharp pencil. We have an Ontario Energy Board to do that.


Mr. Roy: You haven’t done anything.

Mr. Warner: Bring in the chairman of Hydro and we might get some answers.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: All I’m saying is that we can surely express disappointment when the rates seem to go up by 10 per cent. That surely is a good reason for disappointment.

Mr. Foulds: Your crocodile tears serve no purpose.

Mr. Deans: Mr. Speaker, I’m puzzled too. Can the minister tell me what the purpose will be of his fully reviewing the Hydro rate increase prior to sending it to the Ontario Energy Board if he doesn’t intend to review it with an eye to trying to bring Hydro into line with what would make him happy, as opposed to what now makes him disappointed?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: The Hydro proposal is going forward to the Ontario Energy Board immediately. We don’t intend to review this in the ministry in any great detail. We’re sending it on to the Ontario Energy Board, and we’re doing that right away.

Mr. J. Reed: Mr. Speaker, does the statement mean, first of all, that the minister is proposing to tie the price of electric power on a Btu basis with the world price of petroleum? Is that what he’s saying?

Hon. Mr. Davis: No; no way. The member is still apologizing for his party’s world price for oil.

Mr. Bradley: Your friend Peter Lougheed put that up.

Mr. J. Reed: Secondly, perhaps he could tell us what the relationship is right now between the Btu price of electric power and the Btu price of petroleum.

Mr. Bradley: I thought you Tory Premiers were solid.

Mr. J. Reed: And I would ask the minister if he’s prepared to go to the Ontario Energy Board and oppose this increase.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Once again, the member opposite seems so puzzled and so surprised that there should be some relationship between the price of electrical energy in this province and the world price of oil. Read the literature on the subject. It’s elementary, Watson; it’s elementary. It’s there.

Some hon. members: Oh, oh.

Mr. Renwick: By way of a supplementary question in relation to the question of my colleague the member for Wentworth, what prior knowledge did the minister have of this proposed rate increase by Ontario Hydro and what action did his ministry take to review the background figures to come to the conclusion that has caused him such immense disappointment?

Mr. Mancini: Jim Taylor looked like a superstar compared to that.

Mr. Renwick: And did the minister give consideration to saying to Ontario Hydro, ‘You must not implement in any way any rate increase without the approval of the minister”?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: I, of course, do not have the authority, nor does anyone in this government have the authority, to tell Ontario Hydro precisely what their rates will be.

Mr. Deans: It’s time you did.

Mr. Warner: You’re bringing Ontario Hydro under public control.

Mr. Foulds: All you need is the will and the guts to do it.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Unlike Consumers’ Gas and Union Gas prices in this province, we cannot set the rates; we can only advise.

Mr. Sargent: Why isn’t Jim Taylor running again?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: It would have been completely inappropriate for our ministry to be advising Ontario Hydro or telling it or commanding it what its rates should be. We did not do that; that would have been inappropriate.

Mr. Roy: Bring back Jim.

Mr. Mackenzie: What are you Energy minister for? Why are you Energy minister?

Mr. Warner: He’s lost, totally lost.

Mr. Speaker: The Leader of the Opposition with a final supplementary.

Mr. S. Smith: Basically, is the minister simply standing in this House purely as the mouthpiece of Ontario Hydro --

Mr. Roy: Exactly.

Mr. Warner: He’s an apologist.

Mr. S. Smith: -- with no ability even, as he says, to use a slide rule, if necessary, to justify at least in his own mind whether or not Hydro is on safe and correct ground in asking for this increase? If he doesn’t intend to review it and, as he told the member for Wentworth, he’s just sending it directly to the Ontario Energy Board, what does this final paragraph in his statement mean: “After I have reviewed fully the Hydro proposal, I will send it to the Energy Board”? Why bother? The minister is just a conduit and a channel for it anyhow.

Mr. Deans: That program is nonsense.

Mr. Foulds: Why doesn’t the minister read his speech?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Either the Leader of the Opposition doesn’t know the formal sequence of events by which way Ontario Hydro’s annual rates are developed and finalized --

Mr. Sargent: Tell us how you do it.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- or he’s trying to confuse the issue here. The next logical step is to send Hydro’s proposal for its rates for 1979 to the Ontario Energy Board, where it will be thoroughly reviewed by all kinds of people, including the staff and including my ministry to a degree.

Mr. Martel: It has nothing to do with world price then.

Mr. Warner: The minister has only one course of action left and he knows it. He can’t run that ministry and he knows it.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Cassidy: That’s true, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Is the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere trying to invoke the Magna Carta again on Hydro?


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer. I’ve had the opportunity to review a study prepared in the Treasury ministry entitled, “Canada’s Fear of the North American Automotive Industry -- An Ontario Perspective.” Is the minister aware of this document which shows that Canada is receiving a full 20 per cent less than its fair share of production activity in the automobile industry? Does he agree with the findings of that study, and will he undertake to table that report as soon as possible in this Legislature?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I’m most definitely aware of the study. It was completed a week or so ago. We have mailed it to the automobile manufacturers, to Mr. Horner, to Mr. Chretien, to the parts people, and to the United Auto Workers, and we have asked for their views on the study.

Mr. Deans: Why don’t we get it? Why don’t we get a copy?

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Can the minister then explain to the Legislature why, after all that consultation has taken place, he did not see fit to table this matter so the members of the Legislature could also be consulted and express opinions on that study?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: No consultation has taken place. I only mailed it, I think, the day before yesterday.

Mr. Kerrio: Does the minister see a direct connection between that study and the imbalance of the auto pact trade?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: That is what the study is all about. There have been differences of opinion as to the numbers. This staff study approaches it from a somewhat different basis than the government of Canada has been approaching it and than we traditionally have approached it. Whether it’s a fairer basis and, therefore, whether the conclusions hang is something about which I would like to have the reaction of the various parts of the industry before coming to any conclusion.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, is the Treasurer aware that one of the specific observations in the report indicates a fair share of production in Ontario would require production levels consistent with the market share; second, that it would require a mix of assembly and parts activities equal to the North American average; third, that a fair share of research, design and development targets would require that Canada be allocated research, design and development jobs and expenditures proportionate to its market share; and if those three goals were realized, that in 1976 alone there would be an additional 25,000 jobs in Ontario, an additional $868 million net investment and an additional $200 million in research and development expenditures in this province?

If he is aware of those specific observations, why does the Treasurer not now himself convene a meeting of federal authorities, the auto industry, the trade union movement and his officials to get on with renegotiating the auto pact rather than sitting back and passing the buck to the federal government?

Mr. Makarchuk: It’s a good time of the year to do it.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Let me make a very elementary observation. This government has no authority to renegotiate the auto pact and the member well knows that. The responsibility for and the signatory to the auto pact is the government of Canada.

Mr. Renwick: He said to convene a meeting.

Mr. Makarchuk: When is the Treasurer going to do something about it? Stop sitting around.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: It is not the government of Ontario.

Mr. Laughren: Call the meeting then.

Mr. Martel: Why doesn’t the Treasurer force their hand for a change? He is posturing again.

Mr. McClellan: Show some leadership.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: In answer to the member’s question, certainly I’m aware of it. I read it before it was mailed out. There are differences of opinion. Ottawa doesn’t necessarily agree with the conclusions that some of my staff have come to, and we do want other opinions.

The Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Rhodes) and I discussed this matter a month ago with the United Auto Workers. They shared some of the same concerns. They, however, are also interested, in my opinion, in getting at the facts of the matter and there will be, I’m sure, a full debate on whether those statistics hang together or not.

Mr. Laughren: Why doesn’t the Treasurer convene a meeting then?

Mr. Kerrio: The question is, isn’t this an urgent matter as it relates to talking about subsidizing these large corporations? This is the question I was leading up to. Doesn’t the Treasurer think that we have to get with it?

Mr. Foulds: Is the member for Niagara Falls going to subsidize them?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, if the member will go back and read the 1976 budget, he will find there that this government believes it is an urgent matter. We drew it to the public attention first and we will continue to pursue it and to put the spotlight on what we think is a situation which can be improved.

Mr. Peterson: It was urgent 10 years ago and it is urgent today.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Certainly.

Mr. Laughren: Talk is cheap.

Hon. Mr. McKeough: This side of the House takes the credit for bringing it to the attention of the Canadian people and the government of Canada.

Mr. Martel: The Treasurer is just posturing.

Mr. Peterson: You deserve a lot of credit.

Mr. Bradley: Mr. Bluster. Nerves are pretty raw over there.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Martel: You just sit in the weeds.

Mr. Cassidy: As a matter of fact, the minister is taking a long time to get to this point and we haven’t yet had a commitment from him that the study will be made public. In view of the significant differences between the Ontario figures and the federal government -- which indicate, for example, that Ontario believes that we have less than our share of employment in the industry, whereas the federal government is saying we have far more than our share -- and in view of the differences over the next course of action to be taken to ensure a fair share of production here in Canada, what specific steps does the Treasurer now plan to take in order to ensure that we build up this industry and stop having such massive trade deficits which are costing so many jobs and so much investment and so much research to Canada?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, the first step we have taken, obviously, is to determine whether the various parties think the study has validity. When we have determined that, then presumably we will be ready to take other steps and recommending certain steps to the government at Ottawa, which has responsibility for the auto pact.

Mr. McClellan: Ask Lorne Maeck about the auto pact.


Mr. Cassidy: I have a question for the Premier arising out of some comments that he made at the close of the debate on Tuesday at 6 o’clock. In those comments the Premier talked about minority government, referred to Bill 70 and then made a reference to it having to be a two-way street, and I wonder if the Premier could explain those remarks, particularly with reference to Bill 70.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I assume when I am talking about Bill 70 that we have the right number of the bill.

Mr. Cassidy: The health and safety bill.

Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s right.

Mr. Sargent: You were kind of mixed up on Tuesday.

Hon. Mr. Davis: As I recall the history of it, the bill was introduced by the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson), it received approval here on second reading, then went to committee, where certain fundamental changes were made. What I was trying to point out to the parties opposite was that in the context of minority government there is a tendency for members opposite to --

Mr. Bounsall: Do the right thing.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, sometimes we hear a point of view that is not necessarily a representative point of view. I think it’s fair to state that we usually get those who are opposed to whatever government is initiating --

Mr. Bounsall: It is more than representative.

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- not necessarily those in support. Yesterday afternoon at 2 o’clock we met with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. As I understand the amendments that have taken place with respect to Bill 70, and I could be corrected on all of this, there was some inclusion of the farm community in Bill 70.

An hon. member: Your members voted for it.

Hon. Mr. Davis: It is fair to state --

Mr. S. Smith: And some said the farmers voted for it.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, if the Leader of the Opposition wants to make a speech, let him do so. I am trying to answer a question. What I am saying is that we have had very strong representation from the federation of agriculture, as one example, that it should not be included. We happen to support that point of view. We hope the members opposite understand that as well. We have also had representation very recently from the police commission, which I understand probably will be approaching some of the rest of you too, and I hope you give them the same enthusiastic reception --

Mr. Boy: We always do.

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- as you give other groups, in terms of the inclusion of some public bodies within Bill 70.

Mr. Bounsall: What about the associations?

Hon. Mr. Davis: All I am saying to the leader of the New Democratic Party is we have demonstrated that we are making a genuine effort to make minority government work. It is our responsibility to initiate legislation which we think is in the public interest. We are suggesting in Bill 70 that some of you have tried to bite off more than can be properly digested at one time and that Bill 70 should proceed as initially proposed by the Minister of Labour. It’s as simple as that.

Mr. Martel: What makes your position right?

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary to the Premier: Am I correct in understanding that the government is therefore abandoning its commitment to bring forward Bill 70 in the form in which it was adopted by the standing committee on resources development, and if that is the case, and we regret it very deeply, would the Premier here in this House say which other sections of the bill the government intends to try to change from the decision that was reached by the standing resources committee?

Hon. Mr. McKeough: You know. You know.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I don’t know. I can’t even give you the section numbers. I do know there has been some discussion with respect to the question of a public sector, if I can use that terminology, being included within the Act. I think there is a genuine concern by the people who have the responsibility to administer this legislation that that whole area requires not only some study but some consultation with those groups which would be involved, and that includes the farm workers.

Mr. Bounsall: Exactly what was provided?

Hon. Mr. Davis: We have made it very clear to the federation that we think it requires very close consultation.


Mr. Foulds: What were the public hearings about?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am not saying today that it will not be brought back to the House. I am hopeful that if the leader of the New Democratic Party is maintaining his approach to the functioning of minority government, he and his colleagues will reassess some of the suggestions they have made. It is as simple as that. I am not saying whether it is coming back or not.

Mr. Deans: Which ones?

Mr. Cassidy: That is what the committee was for.

Mr. Mackenzie: Supplementary: Surely the Premier is aware that we went through a long series of hearings. We have been through a previous bill and this has been on the record for well over a year now. My understanding of the workings of Parliament is that when it went through the hearings and a majority voted, as the majority in this House did, for the changes that were made in that bill, the majority carries. Is the Premier now telling us that that is not the case?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I have always respected the majority will of this House.

Mr. Martel: Especially when you have it.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I also understand the system under which we work. That is that it is the responsibility of the government -- and that happens to represent this side of the House -- to determine what legislation is brought forward. We have to assume the ultimate responsibility for its administration. It’s great for the members across the road to suggest many of these things and then hie for cover when the flak starts to emerge. We have to assume the responsibility for what happens.

Mr. Foulds: Are you going to withdraw the bill?

Mr. Warner: Backtracking.

An hon. member: No more bluster now.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Cunningham: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Do I take it from the Premier’s comments in the House today that he has been persuaded, quite rightly, by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture to exclude the farm from the provisions of Bill 70 contrary to the suggestion by his own committee members?


Hon. Mr. Davis: We needed no persuasion at all, because we never included it in the bill. The member’s party supported a motion in there.

Mr. Cunningham: It is a flip-flop. You’ve changed your mind again.

Mr. Eaton: Had to run out in the hall and come back with amendments. Didn’t know what you were doing.

Mr. Breithaupt: Your members supported it.


Mr. Speaker: Order. Order.

Hon. W. Newman: You are kind of on the horns of a dilemma, aren’t you?

Mr. Speaker: Order, order. The hon. member for Essex South on a point of privilege.

Mr. Mancini: if the Premier would take the time to check the records of the standing resources development committee they will show that it was this party that put forth the proposal to --

Mr. Eaton: Put everybody under the bill.


Mr. Mancini: -- withdraw the agricultural --


Mr. S. Smith: Listen, and you will hear something.

Mr. Eaton: Had to run out in the hall to make your amendments.

Hon. Mr. Norton: You guys are going to wear it.

Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, the record will show that it was this party that included an amendment to have agriculture not under Bill 70. Also, the record will show that it was the Conservative caucus members and the members of the New Democratic caucus who voted that motion down.


Hon. Mr. Davis: I was not present but I know exactly what happened. And I’ll tell you something else -- so do the farmers of this province know exactly what happened.

Mr. S. Smith: The record doesn’t lie. Unfortunately, that is not true of some others.

Mr. Roy: What can we do to calm down the member for Middlesex? He is getting excited up there.

An hon. member: What can we do to meet with the OFA more often?

Mr. Speaker: Order, order. Do we want a 10-minute recess just to sort of cool out and reflect for a moment?

Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Speaker, has the Premier met with as many police associations as he has met with police commissions? Secondly, has the Minister of Labour and her staff, to his knowledge, met yet with the two farm-worker groups that she said she had difficulty pulling together but was able to identify at the time of those committee hearings as groups that should be consulted on the agricultural question?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I say to the hon. member I can’t answer for the Minister of Labour. I haven’t met with any police commissions. I was asked to speak to the association of police commissions a week ago yesterday or whatever evening and, for the first time, some of them began to realize what was involved in Bill 70.

They raised it with me in a very informal fashion. I suggested that they first discuss it with the ministry. Then I took the liberty of saying to a former distinguished member of this House, a colleague of the members opposite, who is involved with police work here in Metropolitan Toronto, that knowing his great rapport with the people opposite, he should go and visit the opposition to express his concerns there as we already knew about them.

Mr. Bounsall: He is more to the right than the Premier.



Mr. B. Newman: I have a question of the Minister of Labour. Is the minister aware that Perfection Automotive Products Limited decided to close its operations in Windsor three hours after the plant was legally struck by its employees, who could not accept a 60 cent per hour pay cut? Will the minister use her good offices and ask that both management and union meet with her and/or her officials in an attempt to resolve this problem and have the company continue their operations in Windsor, thereby saving 80 jobs?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I’m delighted to be able to tell the hon. member that the Perfection Automotive Products plant is not going to close. We have that assurance from management today. I’m also happy to tell him there was a tentative agreement between the union and the company as of this morning and that a ratification meeting was held by the union this morning, the results of which I do not know, except that 1 am informed that everyone is reasonably optimistic about it.

I am also informed that there might have been some verbal statement about closing but there is nothing in writing anywhere that anyone has been able to find about closing the plant. That plant will stay open and the jobs are saved.

Mr. Bounsall: Supplementary: In matters of this sort where at the time of a strike or shortly thereafter management indicates it may be closing, as did occur in this case, would the Ministry of Labour take it as a matter of course and practice that whenever that threat is used that the company should open up its entire books so that the ministry and the union involved or a group of workers involved will know the true financial situation of the company?

Hon. B. Stephenson: In this specific case I am not positive that there ever was any commitment or any statement on the part of the company, except perhaps in some kind of conversation. If this is a practice, it is not a widespread practice in the province of Ontario and it is one that has not been of any particular trouble. I shall be interested in considering the hon. member’s suggestion.


Mr. Samis: I have a question of the Minister of Labour. In view of the announcement on Friday that RCA will close its Smiths Falls plant by the end of March 1979 with the loss of 287 jobs, and in view of the fact that 100 employees were laid off earlier this year at the same plant, can the minister tell the House what measures the government will take to alleviate the loss of jobs, particularly among the women who make up the bulk of the labour force and in view of the fact that 800 women are presently registered with the Manpower office in Smiths Falls?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I am aware of some efforts on the part of this company. We have been investigating the statement which the company has made. I know that my colleague, the Minister of Industry and Tourism, has also been involved in this. Although the company has made the statement that it will be closing at that time, hopefully, there is a possibility of purchase of the plant by another employer so that most of those jobs could be saved.

Mr. Sargent: We’ve heard that song before.

Mr. Samis: Can the minister tell us if she will seek any guarantee from RCA, in case the plant isn’t bought by another outfit, to ensure that affected employees would be offered jobs by a Metro-based Canadian company which will be receiving much of the contract work from RCA for future production transferred from Smiths Falls?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I’m aware that if production is to be continued it will be in Metropolitan Toronto, which, I think, would pose a mobility problem for many of the Smiths Falls workers. There are certain kinds of guarantees -- unless they’re within the contract -- which cannot be made to those workers. We will most certainly be working with both the company and the workers in that instance to try to resolve the difficulties which may arise if the unfortunate eventuality should take place. We’re hopeful that the eventualities will not be unfortunate.

Mr. Sargent: Supplementary: Mr. Minister --

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mister?

Mr. Cassidy: It had to be said.

Mr. Sargent: I’ll start off again. Madam Minister, in view of the fact that from week to week --

Mr. Martel: It’s the glasses.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Just take your glasses off.

Mr. Sargent: -- we hear of these plant closings, is she not concerned about her Premier’s position with regard to unemployment in this province? Is she not concerned about this do-nothing policy for getting new jobs?

Mr. Martel: We have suspected that for a while.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, although I would suggest to the hon. member that he remove his glasses before he addresses me so that he can see that I’m not “Mr. Minister” --

Mr. Sargent: You don’t look any better with them off!

Hon. B. Stephenson: In the light of that very chivalrous remark on behalf of the hon. member for -- for where? Grey-Bruce? --

Mr. Martel: You have never had to use that defence before.

Hon. B. Stephenson: -- I can assure the hon. member that the Premier of this province is extremely concerned about unemployment, as are all members of this government and that, indeed, all of us are making every effort to solve those problems.


Mr. G. Taylor: I have a question to the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Agriculturalists in Simcoe county held a meeting yesterday and made a statement that the province of Ontario isn’t doing enough to promote the purchasing of Ontario grown products and promoting the processors of the province of Ontario, particularly in the Holland Marsh area. What does he say in defence of that statement?

Mr. McClellan: Right on.

Mr. Foulds: Yes, what’s your defence, Bill?

Mr. Makarchuk: They don’t know what they’re talking about, right, Bill?

Hon. W. Newman: You wouldn’t know a gelding from a mare.

Mr. Breaugh: Well, there is one standing up just now.

Mr. S. Smith: With your food policy we will end up eating both of them.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, in answer to that --

Hon. Mr. Kerr: What is the difference, Bill? One has horns, he says.

Hon. W. Newman: In answer to that question, I just point out that we did have the winter vegetable promotion program. A great deal of that promotion program was geared to the Holland Marsh people and the storage of winter vegetables that they had on hand. We had excellent --

Mr. Makarchuk: Whelan said, “Eat onions.”

Hon. W. Newman: You smell like one.


Hon. W. Newman: I’m sorry. I’ll withdraw, Mr. Speaker. I’ll withdraw that. I’m sorry.

Hon. Mr. Kerr: You guys provoke over there.

Mr. Eakins: That’s the strongest statement you ever made.

Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, on our winter vegetable promotion program, I think it’s very important that we realize that in sales to the chain stores in Metro Toronto, where we did some survey on the winter vegetable promotion, our average increase in sales of Marsh products was about 300 per cent during that program.

Mr. McClellan: Better write him a letter.

Hon. W. Newman: We have an ongoing promotional program where many of our chains are still promoting some of the Marsh products, and it has been perhaps the most successful program of all of them as far as alleviating the problems and moving out many of the commodities of the Marsh.

Mr. Martel: Aren’t you reading the minister’s press releases, George?

Hon. W. Newman: I know they still have some surplus onions. I know we still are getting co-operation from the chain stores to move out those commodities.

Mr. McKessock: Supplementary: In view of the presentation made to all caucuses yesterday by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, which stipulated that the $1 million program was only a token to what should be presented and asked for $10 million in regard to promoting agricultural products, how far does the minister intend to go in this regard?

An hon. member: You said, “Let them eat onions.”

Hon. W. Newman: The $1 million promotion program we had in place last year -- and I can give members the results in detail within about two weeks’ time of all of our promotions -- has certainly paid off extremely well. Because we used our money wisely and well to promote these commodities and were so successful in doing it, if members look at our budget this year --

Mr. Kerrio: There is our new Treasurer.


Hon. W. Newman: -- we have about the same amount of money in it and I’m sure, with the very small staff we had to operate that program, that we can operate it just as effectively and as well this year. Also, the marketing hoards and the various agencies in the province are getting very much involved in putting forward funds, and we are also supporting them with funds to do a lot of their own promotional work. Advertising is paying off; the marketing boards are getting more involved and will be putting in a lot more money themselves this year. So actually this total budget will be much larger. I am absolutely confident that the program will go forward in a very successful manner in the coming year.

Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Does the minister agree with the criticism of the Simcoe federation, as reflected in the OFA brief of yesterday, that his present program is just an emergency program to pick up on surpluses and that what it should be is an ongoing program for the promotion of Ontario produced food?

Hon. W. Newman: I am surprised at the Agriculture critic over there.

Mr. MacDonald: I am only repeating what the fed people said yesterday.

Hon. W. Newman: I hope you have seen this little button -- Foodland, Ontario.

Mr. Foulds: Abracadabra.


Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to answer the question and point out to the hon. member that this is an ongoing program. We have developed a symbol and we also have a slogan, as I think you know, and in case you don’t, I will repeat it, “Good things grow in Ontario”.

Mr. Martel: Did you ever try eating a slogan?


Hon. W. Newman: It is an ongoing program; we are now getting a commitment from processors down the road to use this symbol on their products. We are getting cooperation in the beef industry to use this symbol --

Mr. MacDonald: That’s not what the feds said yesterday.

An hon. member: Oranges and lemons.

An hon. member: Are you going to spend more money?

Mr. Kerrio: Can you get that symbol on the beef, Bill?

Hon. W. Newman: You know, the facts speak for themselves. As I said once before, the members opposite always want to knock success.

Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s right, you are always jealous of success.

Mr. Martel: Like Bill 70.

Hon. W. Newman: It has been a very successful story and it will continue to be just that. It is going to help the fanners of this province and the members opposite mustn’t forget it.


Mr. Roy: In the absence of the Minister of Natural Resources (Hon. F. S. Miller), I would like to direct this question to the Premier. It relates to the unfortunate drowning of a young boy in Ottawa, William Labrosse, on April 21.

I wonder if, in view of the fact that the city of Ottawa has been attempting since 1972 through correspondence and telephone calls to the Ministry of Natural Resources to do something about a quarry on Montreal Road -- an open quarry that has been abandoned now for some 20 years -- and in view of the fact that the previous Minister of Natural Resources, the member for Kenora (Mr. Bernier), on May 26, 1972, advised that they would be exercising more control over the rehabilitation of operating pits, and because nothing has been done for the protection of young children in that area, which has led to this unfortunate incident, would the Premier advise the Ministry of Natural Resources to take immediate action to correct this situation and avoid any further such incidents?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I share the hon. member’s concern about the drowning that took place. I am not familiar with the circumstances of the pit. I gather from what the hon. member has said that it is a non-operating pit so it probably doesn’t come within legislation. I am only guessing at this. I will find out as much as I can. There may be some municipal bylaw; I don’t know whether that would be the case. Whether the ministry can in fact assist, I don’t know, but I shall inquire for the hon. member. From what he tells me, if it is not an operating pit, it may not be that simple.

Mr. Roy: If I may, as a supplementary, Mr. Speaker, and as information to the Premier, because I understand that he may not be aware of this situation.

The Premier may not be aware that in these situations it comes under the jurisdiction of what is called the Pits and Quarries Control Act, under provincial jurisdiction and there are very limited things that the municipality can do under the Municipal Act. Because it is under the provincial jurisdiction of the Ministry of Natural Resources, and in view of the fact that the latest response from the Ministry of Natural Resources, just last week, was apparently that they were not even aware of this situation in Ottawa, would the Premier immediately look at the position and convey to his colleague in the cabinet that it is clearly under provincial jurisdiction?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I really don’t think we want to get into a debate in a situation of this kind as to whose jurisdiction it is. I certainly don’t intend to debate that with the hon. member. I will take it up with the Minister of Natural Resources tomorrow; if not tomorrow, on Monday.


Mr. Germa: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Labour. I am assuming the Minister of Labour is aware that her federal counterpart has indicated that he is desirous of setting up an occupational health centre someplace in central Canada. Has she informed him that owing to a lack of inspection and a lack of enforcement by her ministry, tens of thousands of workers have suffered industrial hazards and, consequently, it would be a good place to put an occupational health centre?

Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, that opinion of the hon. member for Sudbury cannot go unchallenged.

Some hon. members: It’s a fact.

Hon. B. Stephenson: But nonetheless my reason for encouraging the Minister of Labour at the federal level to site the institute in central Canada was that it would be accessible to all parts of Canada, and that it would be available to all ministries of labour and divisions of occupational health and safety throughout the country.

I must admit that at one point I did suggest that he might consider Winnipeg, which I gather is considered to be the geographical centre of Canada, or perhaps even Thunder Bay.

Mr. Foulds: Or Geraldton.

Hon. B. Stephenson: Geraldton didn’t seem to be exactly the right location for an institute which I think must have some university affiliation. But we did suggest Thunder Bay.

Mr. Foulds: What about Sudbury?

Hon. B. Stephenson: I have no idea what the hon. minister has decided about this, but I would be suspicious that with an impending federal election he is going to suggest that it be in Hamilton.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am sure Ivor Wynne Stadium --


Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. Is the minister aware that the St. Lawrence Cement Company has been awarded the Chemical Institute of Canada’s environmental improvement award for 1978?


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. McCague: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. B. Newman: Is the minister aware that the federal report on the Mississauga experiment says, “Ring formation prevented proper burning of liquid hydrocarbons and the tests had to be terminated time and time again” -- concerning PCBs?

Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, is that a supplementary question?

Mr. Speaker: I allowed it.

An hon. member: He can’t answer it.


Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Energy. In view of the fact that his ministry has tabled a study concerning the feasibility of using waste hot water from the Bruce hydro station as energy to heat some greenhouses that he hopes to have built there; and in view of the fact that his ministry has assigned this matter to a civil servant and has given him the mandate to promote this idea, and since neither this civil servant nor anyone else in his ministry can explain how it will handle the detrimental effects on the existing greenhouse industry in my area of Essex South if his ministry’s Bruce project is feasible and successful --

Mr. Martel: Grow more food; that’s all.

Mr. Mancini: -- is the minister now willing to cancel this program?

Hon. B. Stephenson: What detrimental effects?

Mr. Makarchuk: That’s a flip-flop within a flip-flop.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, the simple answer to the last part of that question, asking whether I would cancel this very exciting project at this particular stage and time, is certainly not -- not now.

Mr. Martel: Quit while you are ahead.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: But the other comment to that rather peculiar question is, I really wonder whether perhaps the hon. member shouldn’t check with his own party leader and perhaps with his colleague from Huron-Bruce (Mr. Gaunt), who is very much interested in that particular project.

Mr. Roy: Good member. Both excellent members.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Certainly his whole party has for weeks been saying that they are very much interested in energy conservation --

Mr. Makarchuk: Consistency wasn’t one of the bright lights.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- and experimentation and demonstration. There can be no better, more classical, more beautiful example of exactly that kind of thing than what we are trying to do in Kincardine.

Mr. Roy: Bring on Jim Taylor, 1 tell you; bring on Jim Taylor.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: We are trying to do it in a collaborative way with local government, with the town of Kincardine, with the township of Kincardine, with the county of Bruce, with the township of Bruce. There are many people involved in it and we did not hire a civil servant to call the shots.

Mr. Ruston: A former candidate? Sam MacGregor?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Furthermore, I would suggest that the bon. member opposite better lay off the civil service and quit threatening them, as he has done.

Mr. Ruston: Give Sam MacGregor another chance.

Mr. Sargent: Get Sam MacGregor.

An hon. member: Poor Sam.

Mr. Bradley: That’s the Tory senate.

Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, it’s clearly shown today and it is very unfortunate --

Mr. Speaker: Order. Just ask your question. The original one was far too long.

Mr. Martel: He is being argumentative.

Mr. Mancini: Yes. In view of the fact that it has been clearly shown today that the minister does not understand the greenhouse industry in Essex county --

Hon. W. Newman: That’s nonsense and you know it.

Mr. Mancini: -- why was his ministry not able to explain to the growers when he sent this civil servant to my riding last week what would happen to the greenhouse industry, and how they were supposed to compete with another group of greenhouses that were going to get this energy for nothing; secondly, who was going to give these other greenhouse growers the expertise that it has taken --

Mr. Rotenberg: You are an embarrassment.

Mr. Mancini: -- and thirdly, how is the minister going to justify the detrimental effect that this project will have on the Essex county greenhouses if his project is successful? He has not been able to justify that. It is a hare-brained scheme.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. B. Stephenson: What detrimental effect?

Mr. Makarchuk: What is this anyway?

Mr. Martel: Liberal consistency, it’s called.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Just to clarify one part of that question, the civil servant was not sent to Essex county.

An hon. member: He had the day off.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: He was invited to come down there by some greenhouse owners. The other point is that I wish we could discuss this after the session sometime. The hon. member is welcome to discuss this whole project with us here.

Mr. Conway: You are in the greenhouse now, Reuben.

Mr. Makarchuk: Let’s discuss it in the House.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Quite frankly, what we are planning to do at Kincardine, or at the Bruce generating plant, with the greenhouses has absolutely nothing to do with the problems that the member is facing with the greenhouse industry in his riding. I think it would be more honourable on his part --

Mr. Bradley: You are the last one to talk about honour.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- if he would just desist from the dog-in-the-manger attitude that he is exhibiting here today --

An hon. member: Bring on Jim Taylor.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- by saying that there may just be success up in Bruce county.

Mr. Martel: That is argumentative and provocative. He was really provocative -- dog-in-the-manger.

Hon. Mr. Norton: We want to hear the official position of the Liberal Party a little further.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for York South.

Mr. Mancini: I have one more supplementary, Mr. Speaker, which is very important because the minister has given the impression to the House --

Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Order!

Mr. Martel: It’s not even parliamentary.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Essex South will take his seat. The hon. member for York South with a supplementary.

Mr. Mancini: May I ask, on a point of personal privilege --

Mr. Speaker: Sit down.

Mr. Mancini: No, I have a point of personal privilege.

Mr. Speaker Sit down. Sit down! The hon. member for York South.

Mr. MacDonald: May I ask the minister to what extent his studies have focused on the point that was discussed in last year’s agricultural estimates, namely, that any expansion of the greenhouse industry should not provide competition for the Essex greenhouse operators but should replace imported foods and vegetables?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: As the hon. member opposite knows, one of the problems with the greenhouse industry today -- and as my colleague, the Minister of Agriculture and Food, I’m sure, knows better than anyone here --

Mr. Sargent: Sure he does.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- one of the problems is the high cost of the greenhouse operations. One of the factors in that high cost is the high cost of energy. This is precisely the kind of problem we are trying to deal with at the Kincardine plant, where we are using the surplus thermal heat from the generating station. It is also, I might say -- and I think really my colleague, the Minister of Agriculture and Food, should be speaking more about this --

Mr. Martel: He doesn’t understand it.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- but this whole question of getting cheaper energy into the greenhouse industry in Essex is quite a different and unrelated subject.

Mr. MacDonald: Answer my question. Answer my question.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: The other part of this question here is, how does all of this relate to the imported food? I can tell the member that is a problem that is not in any way related to what we are trying and planning and hoping to do at the Kincardine greenhouses.

Mr. MacDonald: How are they going to compete?

Mr. Martel: He just bombed.

Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Middlesex with a supplementary.

Mr. Eaton: Supplementary to the minister: Is it not a fact that the study group involved in this project --

Mr. Bradley: A rehearsed question.

Mr. Eaton: -- set up a display at the annual meeting of the growers and, at that point, there was an opportunity for all the greenhouse growers to be involved in the project, to see what was going on, and to ask questions?


Mr. Bradley: I’m glad you asked that question.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: I’m glad -- Yes, the answer is yes, twice.

Mr. Martel: That was fast, Reuben.

Mr. Gaunt: Supplementary: We’re in favour of energy conservation over here, but --

Mr. Makarchuk: The way you guys are talking, it’s not greenhouses you need.

Mr. Gaunt: -- the question is, would the minister stop his Tory hacks from harassing my colleague from Essex South?

Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Get on with the project in Kincardine.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: The answer is obviously no.

Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that the minister has given the impression to this House that I am not for energy conservation --

Mr. McNeil: Question.

Mr. Havrot: Question.

Mr. Mancini: -- could the minister inform the House why, six months after myself and five well-qualified people put forth a brief --


Mr. Speaker: Order. All hon. members are entitled to their own opinion.

Mr. Mancini: As I was saying, after myself and five well-qualified technical people put together a brief and submitted this brief, after it was endorsed by resolution of the greenhouse marketing board, to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food --

Mr. Speaker: Order. Put the question.

Mr. Mancini: -- and we had asked for funds to have a solar energy project, why, after six months, have we not heard about whether we’re going to get funds? When the minister makes statements in this House concerning solar energy and other types of energy conservation, would he please refer to that also?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: I am glad the member opposite has referred to this particular subject because it confirms we have, in fact, been doing a great deal of research and demonstration on solar energy related to greenhouses. That will continue, but that is not related to the excess thermal heat coming from the Bruce generating plant. The two things have gone in a parallel fashion.

We certainly would hope we could cooperate across the House with the hon. member every step of the way. There will be no unilateral decisions taken. We want to work with the opposition on this because it can be a very exciting project.

Mr. Sargent: Is Sam MacGregor working with you?

Mr. Mancini: Nonsense.



Mr. McKessock: I beg leave to present a petition bearing the names of 3,415 people to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:

We, the undersigned, beg to petition the Parliament of Ontario to support Bill 62, An Act to amend the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, 1973.



Mr. Breaugh from the standing procedural affairs committee presented the committee’s report which was read as follows and adopted:

Your committee has carefully examined the following application for a private Act and finds the notices, as published, sufficient:

City of Cornwall (No. 2).



Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved first reading of Bill 74, An Act to establish a Code of Procedure for Provincial Offences.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved first reading of Bill 75, An Act to amend the Provincial Courts Act.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved first reading of Bill 76, An Act to amend the Change of Name Act.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Foulds: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: On a point of order. The hon. member for Port Arthur.

Mr. Foulds: We do not seem to have received the package of information the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) should have filed with the opposition parties before the introduction of a new piece of legislation, or the bill itself.

Mr. Speaker: I’m sorry, what ministry?

Mr. Foulds: The bill introduced by the Minister of Transportation and Communications. We do not have it.

Mr. Speaker: There was no bill introduced by the Minister of Transportation and Communications. There were three by the Attorney General.

Mr. Foulds: Oh, my apologies.


Mr. Speaker: Before the orders of the day, it is our custom to say thank you to our pages, who have served us with distinction and diligence, and to read their names and constituencies into the record. I will do so now. They were with us from February 21 and will complete their stint of duty tomorrow at 1 o’clock. They are as follows:

Jeremy Bateson, Durham West; Martin Berthelot, Algoma-Manitoulin; Vito Cuddemi, Yorkview, Cameron Douglas, Humber; Thomas Gray, Scarborough-Ellesmere; Philip Hoddinott, Etobicoke; Scott Kantymir, Fort William; Robert Lang, Armourdale; Ian McLeod, York Centre; Shayne Smith, Essex South; Richard Yamashita, Etobicoke; Jennifer Archer, York Mills; Karen Bennett, Mississauga North; Sharon Boyd, Brock; Kathy Lynn Fiander, Wellington South; Patricia Hall, Lincoln; Cynthia Higgins, York East; Michelle Kelly, Beaches-Woodbine; Jodi Martindale, Rainy River; Lisa McKessock, Grey; Kathleen O’Donnell, Brantford; and Nancy Scott, Scarborough North.

I’m sure all members would like to join with me in thanking our legislative pages for the excellent work they have done.


Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day, I wish to table the answers to questions 26 and 27 and the interim answers to questions 28, 29 and 30 standing on the notice paper.




Mr. Ashe moved private member’s resolution 8:

That in the opinion of this House, the government should give immediate consideration to legislation that would prohibit, during any provincial election, the publication or broadcasting of all public opinion polls that purport to indicate the standing of any leader, candidate or party or the status of any issue in the election.

Mr. Ashe: The first thing I would like to comment upon today is the fact that I brought in a resolution rather than a bill.

Members of both opposition parties have introduced bills covering much the same topic in previous years, so I know there is some rather widespread interest in this subject. However, at this point, I don’t feel we’ve had enough input to warrant the presentation of a piece of legislation.

I want to hear -- in fact I look forward to hearing -- the comments of members from all parts of this House.

What I am looking for is a sampling of opinion from fellow politicians. That may sound ironic but it is a fact. There are all kinds of items in the media about public opinion polls and their value or lack thereof, but I thought it would be valuable to hear what successful politicians think about them. After all, there is hardly a group in the country more familiar with the existence of polls with the possible exception of the producers of television shows.

Despite the fact that most parties and most media outlets use or have used public opinion polls, and despite the fact that political scientists and others have developed the science of polling to a relatively fine degree, I think the principal argument against their publication or broadcast is that they can be misleading. No responsible pollster ever claims that a poll can predict the outcome of an election. What the results of a poll show is how a certain number of potential voters feel about a leader or a party or a candidate or an issue, et cetera, on a given day. They may or may not feel that way when they go into the voting booths.

I would venture to say that very few of us in this chamber arrived here without reading a poll which claimed that we had no chance of winning or, worse still, that we did not even merit a chance of winning. There would appear to be some notoriously safe tidings -- for example, Brant-Oxford-Norfolk -- where public opinion polls would serve probably little or no purpose. But in the main we have all had experience with such polls.

The main purpose of my resolution, as I said at the outset, is to generate some debate and to sound out the views of as many members as possible within the time allotted. I do not pretend to be an expert on the science of polling. I am not thoroughly familiar with polling techniques, sampling, statistical testing and all the rest, and I assume it’s highly likely that many members in this chamber are in the same position.

But that is not what the resolution addresses, in any event. What I have suggested in the motion is that the publication or broadcasting of the results of such polls be banned during the time of a provincial election. I repeat, my resolution is presented simply as a stimulus to debate. I believe the issue requires some airing and hopefully this is our opportunity.

There is a notion that the publication of poll results can influence the decision of some voters. It goes without saying that this notion also implies that polls can influence the behaviour of candidates, leaders and parties. This is not true of all polls however and here we are faced with the problem of definition. What polls can reasonably be included under any ban that we might propose?

Here for instance I am thinking about the so-called poll done in British Columbia during the last provincial election held there. An enterprising entrepreneur got the idea of selling Bennett-burgers and Barrett-burgers --

Mr. Samis: No Tory-burgers though.

Mr. Ashe: -- and comparing the sales figures for each as an indicator of how people were going to vote. I might add that the publication or broadcasting of public opinion polls is, I am told, prohibited in BC during provincial elections. Hence, the importance, I suppose, of the burger poll.

Are man-in-the-street interviewing polls, polls in the strictest sense? What about straw polls? If I might venture into the area of definition, I would say what I am talking about are polls conducted by organizations whose normal business is the sampling of public opinion and which, therefore, can claim some supposed reliability for their results. Of course, I do not mean I would exempt those firms who are considered unreliable, but I think you know, Mr. Speaker, and the House surely knows what I am referring to. I mean those polls conducted by such enterprises as Gallup, Roper and Regenstreif -- those polls which are commissioned or otherwise paid for by the media.

I will return to this subject in a moment, but first I want to explain why I think this resolution has merit and deserves the consideration of this House. As I said before, it is generally accepted that the publication of poll results can have an influence on people’s behaviour. I think this is true or why would politicians be happy with the polls which show them ahead and scornful of those which show them in a less favourable light?


“Dogs know what to do with polls,” is a famous quotation from an equally famous former Prime Minister of our country. But there is more to that story than just that. To my mind, there are at least four basic responses open to potential voters who are presented with the results of a public opinion poll which purports to show the standing of leaders, candidates or parties in an election campaign.

First, the voter might say that the leading party looks like a sure winner, and can therefore decide to join the bandwagon. Second, the voter might react to the notion that a certain candidate or party is going to win and vote for the second or even the third party more or less as a protest. Third, the voter might decide, since the winner is almost certain, that they don’t need his vote any way and stay at home. Fourth, the voter might wholly ignore the poll and vote his or her own way.

There are a number of bothersome elements to the choices I have just outlined. First, let’s talk about the bandwagon effect. There is a notion that such a thing cannot happen in a free democracy like ours, that all voters are rational and make up their own minds without external influences. I happen to believe that this is unfortunately, only a cherished myth.

I could tell all kinds of stories about the last election, and I am sure every member of this House could as well, about the people who said they would vote for us or against us on the basis of incomprehensible reasoning. I was asked my stand on baby seals, hanging, abortion and all manner of issues outside of provincial jurisdiction. It did no good to explain that these were federal matters, because the questioner was determined to make up his or her mind on the basis of my answer and nothing else. I am not talking about a great many people here, only a few. But a few can very often change the outcome of an election. It doesn’t take all that many voters to be swayed by the bandwagon effect to make the difference between winning and losing.

In a two-party race, for example, every switched vote is really worth two -- one for the winner and the one that the loser lost. In a riding where two candidates are very close, by changing their mind 100 voters can mean a margin of victory of 200 and probably avoid having a recount. The question here is whether the voters change their minds because of real differences between the candidates or because the publication of a poll showed one candidate’s party to be ahead regionally or provincially. The situation is complicated all the more if the poll which influenced the voter was poorly structured, incorrectly tabulated or otherwise erroneous.

Here I might digress for a moment and talk about a curious fact in Canadian politics. All parties rely, in theory if not in practice, on their ability to identify their supporters and get them out of the polls on voting day. This is generally accomplished by canvassing door-to-door. This is, I suppose, in itself a form of opinion polling. But without the help of alert and experienced canvassers, the numbers of potential allies in most instances are vastly exaggerated.

The reason for this is that Canadians are simply too polite to tell a canvasser, particularly if the canvasser happens to be the candidate, that they will not vote for him. All kinds of smiles, nods and friendly handshakes are listed in the definite supporter category. It’s no wonder that when parties within certain tidings release the number of votes they expect to gather, the totals sometimes exceed the eligible voters by two and three to one. The point here is that the bandwagon effect, where and when it takes place, detracts from a serious evaluation of the candidates and their merits.

The second notion, that people can react negatively to the results of a poll, has often been documented. There is the famous example of the 1948 presidential election in the United States, when Thomas Dewey was the leader in all of the polls, and Harry Newman was not given a chance to become president. I meant Harry Truman. I was thinking of Bill Newman’s father, of course, who is a very good resident of my area. That idea was so strong that, as we all know, a Chicago newspaper came out with the headline, “Dewey Wins.” But we all know that Harry Truman prevailed in the end.

What is important here is that the polls were wrong. The same thing happened in the 1957 election here in Canada, when nobody expected John Diefenbaker to prevail over Louis St. Laurent. The point here is not that polls are wrong, but that people’s perceptions of reality are often very changeable.

One of the problems acknowledged by pollsters is the fact that respondents aren’t necessarily definite in their answers to questions. They may give answers along the lines they expect they should give. For instance, with regard to the question of putting a public housing project into a neighbourhood, people might say they’re all for it in response to a questionnaire, whereas in reality they might be totally opposed to the idea. They simply wouldn’t want to appear prejudiced to the questioner.

The third option open to voters is of far greater concern to me, and that is, that poll results might encourage apathy. If one candidate or party appears to have an insurmountable lead in the polls, people might choose to stay at home on election day, thinking their vote isn’t needed or wouldn’t count in any event.

That kind of reaction is the very antithesis of the democratic ideal. We all know the importance of every vote or potential vote in an election. At this moment, there’s probably no one who knows this better than my friend and neighbour, the member for Durham East (Mr. Cureatz), with the possible exception of the former member for Durham East.

Mr. Samis: That’s right.

Mr. Ashe: Apathy is the concern of elected members and potential elected members. I’m not sure I would support an electoral system that forced people to vote, like the system employed in Australia, because I firmly believe people should vote on the basis of free choice. And that goes to the heart of my resolution. All of us in this House would like to believe the voters in our riding have made a firm choice on the basis of comparing the merits of all the candidates in the race. Anything that detracts from that free choice should not be encouraged.

This is particularly important for incumbents. We would all like to have our records judged fairly and openly. There isn’t a member in this assembly who does not give his or her best on behalf of the voters who elected him or her. The idea that our work would be negated by the results of a poll, especially if that poll were inaccurate or misleading, is indeed repugnant.

To sum up, Mr. Speaker, there’s a great deal of questioning being done regarding the relative value of publishing or broadcasting public opinion poll results. I happen to believe that any influence they have on the outcome of an election is bad.

I’m wholly in favour of voters making up their minds on the basis of what we, the candidates, say and do. I’m not in favour of voters being influenced, either positively or negatively, by publication of figures which show party standings. I am in favour of voters being influenced by parties and candidates, not by other voters’ notions.

The goal of every democratic society is an educated, alert, and active electorate. We should encourage every effort to have voters weigh the issues, balance the claims of the competing parties and make a rational decision.

There’s a great deal to be said on both sides of this issue, and I look forward to hearing from other speakers in this debate.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The member for Durham West has not used up his time. Does he wish to reserve the balance, about seven minutes?

Mr. Ashe: I thought it was longer than that. I’ll keep it open in case it’s necessary, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

Mr. Cunningham: I want to commend the member for Durham West for what appears to be a very objective and sincere suggestion. I hope a constructive idea like this will enjoy the support of all members in all three parties.

As a kind of suggestion, especially as it doesn’t involve the expenditure of public moneys, may it be reflected into law as soon as possible so the perversities that flow from the publication of inaccurate or even accurate polls would not have a disadvantageous effect on one candidate or another for any one particular party during the course of an election.

I view this particular resolution as a constructive idea. Unlike some cynics in this particular environment and out, I tend to think the suggestion was put forth very constructively and objectively, knowing that the member for Durham West, not being a member of the Executive Council, is not apprised of the standing of his own particular party in the polls at this time and to that end has no conflict of interest. Of course, as of this last week his party may not be in great favour in the public opinion polls --

Mr. Pope: You said that this morning and you’re wrong.

Mr. Cunningham: -- at this time.

However, we all know that as time goes by people may forget the effort made, quite objectively, by the opposition parties in reducing the 37.5 per cent OHIP increase and the good work done this past week. Their position in the polls at best, may be static.

The voters are getting wise to some of these polls. I appreciate the analogies put forth in an historical context by the member. I couldn’t remember 1948 -- I’m sure he’ll appreciate that. He was just in his early 30s then, so I know that he wouldn’t remember it, but --

Mr. Samis: Ask Dick about it, he will tell you.

Mr. Cunningham: -- certainly the Truman- Dewey situation was but one of the first so-called polling fiascos. In the time that has transpired --

Mr. Ashe: I was a teenager.

Mr. Cunningham: -- in the last 30 years I do not think there has been a great deal of progress in the sophistication the pollsters use at this time. Certainly in 1960 the polls indicated that President Kennedy would not enjoy the favour of the electorate in the United States, both early on and right up until the end. Of course, the results proved that wrong.

In our own domain in 1972 I recall a number of polls that indicated that Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau had no difficulty whatsoever. To quote the phrase of the federal Liberals at the time, “The land was strong,” and there was nothing to worry about. Of course the results spoke for themselves. Possibly the effect of the polls that were predominant and well published during the course of that campaign had a profound effect in one particular riding. I’m sure the member coming from that area may recall the tremendous margin enjoyed by the Minister of State for Multiculturalism. I believe his margin was -- well, less than 10, anyway -- four or two. Four, was it?

If the polls had an effect, just on that riding alone, it had a perverse effect on the outcome of the election, because one seat in the hands of the Conservative Party would have caused a tie at that time and possibly the course of events as they are today may have been radically different.

I recall the 1975 provincial election, when it appeared that our party was running somewhere in excess of 40 per cent -- we’re just about there right now, I might tell you, Mr. Speaker -- and the results were not reflected in what obviously looked at the time like a Liberal government -- maybe not a majority government but a Liberal government in Ontario. We may have to wait for that yet.

I recall a by-election, and I’m sure that the hon. Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), were he here at this moment, would recall that by-election too. It was March 15, 1973. The polls at that time indicated that the Attorney General would be in by quite a pile, I think. It took some years for him to attain that kind of majority, but the polls on that occasion certainly were wrong. For the record, they were wrong by over 2,000 votes. The presence of the hon. member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell) in the Legislature today and the contribution that she makes is testimony yet again to the fallacy of polls.

I recall in 1974 I was a participant in that federal election as a candidate in the constituency then called Halton-Wentworth, now redistributed. I recall driving home from the very far end of the constituency and I heard a poll as the hon. member for Durham West described, albeit not a very sophisticated one, on one of the local radio stations. It was a man-in-the-street interview. The interviewer asked who was going to win and four of five respondents indicated the incumbent was going to win. Win he did but certainly not with a margin of four out of five. The last respondent indicated that he didn’t particularly care who won as long as it wasn’t a Liberal or an NDP.

I want to assure the members of the House that in no way reflected the results of the election. In fact, it was a margin of approximately one per cent -- 26,600-some odd to 26,150 or whatever. But it wasn’t enough and we were not successful. Yet were someone to listen to that broadcast -- which I believe was done quite innocently and not with malice aforethought -- one would be of the illusion that there was only one candidate in the area to vote for and the other fellows weren’t even in the ball game.

Such was the situation, I believe, in 1977. I hope I wouldn’t be accused of being cynical, sir, if I suggested to you that the election, albeit unnecessary in 1977, was somewhat provoked by some polls which indicated that my particular party was approaching decimation and that the lender was running at somewhere around nine per cent popular opinion in the city of Toronto --

Mr. Samis: Thirteen.

Mr. Cunningham: -- not a heck of a lot more outside of Toronto. Of course, it manifested itself in a matter of confidence in the view, I suppose, of the Premier (Mr. Davis), the great six or eight per cent review debate. It certainly was a matter of utmost crucial importance to the people of Ontario.


I must say to you, Mr. Speaker, and not cynically in any way, that I am glad we had that election. Some of us were getting a little overweight, and it certainly was time to go out and see the people again. From my perspective then, as a member of the third party, it was time for us to move over to the official opposition.

Mr. Samis: That’s not what you said before the election.

Mr. Cunningham: Certainly for members such as the member for Durham West and the member for Durham East, who I see has left, unfortunately -- I wanted to talk about his riding very briefly, although it may not be germane to this resolution -- it was an opportunity for them to come to this Legislature and propose suggestions such as this.

The member for Durham East I suppose has been a beneficiary, albeit somewhat innocently, of these particular polls because I believe, as has been suggested, that these polls do have a real effect on the voter. It is for that reason that all political parties -- I believe the NDP do this; I know the Conservatives do; and I certainly know we do -- are involved from time to time in the polling process. We like to know what the issues are and, most important, as politicians who inherently are concerned about what the public think of us and just what kind of favour we may curry from them in the next election, we are anxious to know just where they stand at a given moment, day to day, on a particular issue.

It would be a great idea to see the banning of these particular polls during the confines of an election. The most important thing we could do during the course of an election possibly would be to either publish attendance records or voting records or, most important, policies. If we are facing a crisis in this particular country of ours, it is a leadership crisis. It is a crisis that is not common only to Ottawa; it can be seen here on a regular basis. It can be extended even to the level of a school board or a school board’s negotiation with teachers. It is a severe problem and in many ways one that is not beyond at least a solution by members of the Legislature.

If we are going to see elections determined on the basis of traditional support, we are not going to see the kind of change within a province like this or within the country that is required from time to time. I would be very disturbed if someone stayed home because they felt their vote was useless.

Since I am being told that my time is almost up, I can only suggest to the member for Durham West in conclusion that he pursue this matter with a great fervour. As a private member in this House I would like to see resolutions such as this reflected in legislation and, of course, the importance of this process itself respected.

Mr. Samis: First of all, may I say it is almost superfluous to talk about polls when you are occupying the chair, Mr. Deputy Speaker, since I believe you have the largest majority in this entire province.

Mr. Ruston: Polls are just a waste in his ease.

Mr. Samis: Polls obviously are totally irrelevant in your riding because of your reputation as the landslide victor in this province of ours.

Naturally, I rise in support of this resolution, having brought in a bill saying exactly the same thing in a session immediately following the 1977 election. It has already been referred to that the province of British Columbia has had such a ban for quite a while, brought in by none other than “Wacky” Bennett, who is not world-famous as the world’s most progressive parliamentarian or democrat.

I believe Australia has a ban on polls. I don’t think it is quite as rigid as the one in British Columbia; I believe it is one week prior to the actual voting day. I notice that the new government in Quebec in its electoral platform -- since the very beginning of that party, in fact -- has advocated a ban on public opinion polls during election time. I wouldn’t be surprised that before the next provincial election in that province, such legislation will be enacted.

The member for Wentworth (Mr. Deans) referred to polls in the last provincial election campaign, and I recall quite vividly the Regenstreif poll in particular. I have here some copies of articles done by somebody probably familiar to my friends to the right, none other than Harold Greer, who I think performed a tremendous service to the people of this province by demolishing the validity and methodology of that Regenstreif poll, which rendered it utterly useless.

The point is, the damage had been done, especially to our friends to the right. I recall screaming red headlines in the Toronto Star about what terrible shape the Liberal Party was in and how Stuart Smith was so badly down in the polls. We found out, after the methodology of this poll had been so logically and effectively attacked by Greer and changed, the results of the second poll prior to the actual election were considerably different.

I think the Regenstreif poll in the last provincial election was an excellent argument for why polls should be banned in this particular province. I notice some quotes I came across when doing a little reading on this. For example, author Walter Stewart says: “Polls are a nuisance at best, a danger at worst.”

One, in which the member for Durham West might be interested from the Globe and Mail, June 2, 1977: “I think there have to be some controls. I think you can alter the democratic process if you aren’t careful. They do have some effect, and they can be -- while manipulated isn’t the right word, but you can have some figures that vary from what can be the case.” I think it was the hon. member for Brampton (Mr. Davis) who uttered that statement in the Globe and Mail.

We all know what John Diefenbaker said about polls; I don’t think we have to reiterate that.

I was interested in what Edwin Newman, the American journalist, said about polls: “It is a bad business because it puts the emphasis in the election in the wrong place, on who is thought to be ahead rather than what the candidates propose and rather what their election might mean.” I think that is the nub of the whole matter, quite frankly. We are here to be judged by what we stand for, not who is going to win or who has the best chance of winning.

I notice the former leader of the federal Conservative Party has been very critical of the role that polls played in the 1968 and 1972 elections, especially the polls published in the last 10 days, and their actual effect on the results of those two campaigns.

I notice Hugh Whelan had an interesting comment from the University of Newfoundland. He argues: “A four per cent error on a total vote of 40 per cent, for example, should be considered as an error of 10 per cent, not four per cent.” By his yardstick: “Gallup has been outside his stated margin of error on almost every occasion since 1945.”

In the 1972 federal results of the Regenstreif poll, for example, the margin of error is rather interesting. The Liberals are plus six, Tories are minus four, NDP are plus one, and Social Credit are minus three. Go back a little further to 1968; the Liberals are minus one, the Tories are minus four, and the Social Credit, minus two. Looking back at the ‘75 provincial election, the Regenstreif record in terms of margin of error; Liberals plus seven, Conservatives minus three, and NDP minus three. This is hardly the world’s greatest record for accuracy. I must say, in comparison, the Gallup record is considerably better.

I think there is no question there has to be some form of regulation. But who would regulate it? Who is there in the media to regulate it? I, unfortunately, don’t have confidence that there is any meaningful, effective agency to do that, and that is why I support the bill. That is why I think we need a complete ban on all polls between the issuing of the writs and election day, provided those polls are based on the standing of the party leader, the standing of any political party, or the standing of any particular candidate.

I would not be opposed to publication of polls on particular issues during the campaign. But I wholeheartedly agree polls on any of the candidates, or the leaders of the parties should be completely banned. Obviously, the publication of a poll especially favourable to one party or unfavourable to another affects the political party’s performance, its ability to raise funds, its ability to recruit workers, and its ability to motivate workers and supporters.

I think the member for Durham West has already suggested that if one poll shows a party a particularly long way in front then some of the voters become apathetic, or they say, “They don’t need my vote. Why should I vote? What value is there in my vote? It is already sewn up.” That is very destructive, I think, to the democratic process.

Then there is also the danger that when polls are published some people may swing one way merely because of the result of a poll. I was rather interested in what a famous Tory by the name of Winston Churchill said: “Nothing is more dangerous than to live in the temperamental atmosphere of a Gallup poll, always feeling one’s pulse and taking one’s temperature. There is only one duty, one safe course, and that is to try to be right, not to fear to do or say what you believe to be right.” That is a danger of the public relying too heavily on polls.

As I said, there is some restriction on the information of the general public and I know some will say: “What about freedom of information or access to information?” But what this resolution or my own bill would do is prevent the publication of polls for a total of five weeks out of the 208 weeks in a normal four-year term of office. I don’t think that is a very drastic curtailment.

I know some will still argue that it is an absolute right of information. I don’t really believe that because I don’t really believe we have control over how the polls are being used by the people who publish them. Let’s remember that not every political party can afford to have a poll done, not every newspaper can afford to have a poll done, not every television station can afford it and not every radio station can afford it.

When they are done, what control do we have on how they are being used, whether they are front page, whether they are screaming headlines while the actual results are buried in the back or whether certain questions are ignored and only one question is built up as the conclusion of a newspaper? We have no control over that. I think that’s a powerful factor in how people can be influenced. If a newspaper has a very built-in bias -- and most of them in this province do -- it can seize upon a poll to become a part of its overall electoral campaign to build up one party or to denigrate another party and, in that sense, the people are very poorly served.

I recall quite vividly during my own election in 1974, a by-election, when a television station from Ottawa came down two days prior to the actual voting day and proudly proclaimed in a poll that I would be third on election day that particular week. Naturally the good burghers of Cornwall have more sense than that. I think it was very instructive in a sense in that they gave no indication of how the poll was done, they gave no indication of who conducted it, how many people were interviewed, what the question asked was and what expertise was involved by the people who conducted it. They just came out with a bald percentage, stating that if the election were held today, X, Y and Z would get the following percentages. I think that’s shortchanging the people. Again, I come back to my point: There were no controls over any of those criteria or factors because there is no legislation.

On that basis, I think the easiest and most effective way of handling that situation would be to eliminate polls from the issuing of the writs to the actual election day. We all know that polls have a value in democracy. We all know they are very useful between elections. But I think that we must want people to vote on the basis of who is the best candidate, who has the best record, who offers the most to people and which party would best serve the interests of the vote -- not who would win, not who was most likely to win, but who would be the best.

Mr. Johnson: Since all parties are agreed on this debate, maybe we could have the vote now and dispense with the rest of the speeches.

Mr. Kerrio: Give us time.

Mr. Johnson: Failing that, I would like to congratulate the member for Durham West for presenting such an excellent resolution that it received such unanimous support. When I first considered this resolution I was rather indifferent to the idea, as I believe were many other members in the House. After reading some of the literature on the impact of public opinion polls on the electorate, I find myself prepared to support this resolution.

Generally, much of what has been written on this topic can be divided into two categories: The material prepared by the pollsters themselves and articles and books written by political scientists, academics and journalists. The general consensus among the former group, the pollsters, is that public opinion polls do not interfere with the electoral process, nor do they influence votes. In their view, polls are simply a tool to provide a better understanding of the election, its candidates and the issues. Their position is understandable since they have a vested interest in this matter. I might also point out that many of the articles were written for others in their profession. Those I have perused were generally sophisticated, methodically oriented and, quite frankly, beyond my understanding.

I was quite surprised however, to find that opinion was divided among the other group. There were those who argued in defence of public opinion polls during an election. But on the other hand, there were those who expressed doubts about their credibility. Others were unconvinced that public opinion polls influence the opinions that they seek to measure. This, of course, is not done intentionally. The most common perceptions are the bandwagon effect and the reverse bandwagon effect. The implications of the former are obvious. Voters, upon hearing or reading the results of an opinion poll, may decide that their vote is not needed if their candidate appears to have a comfortable margin over the competition. Supporters of the trailing candidate may lose heart or donations may dwindle because the candidate has fallen behind; or a voter may alter his vote to support a winning team.


A classic example of this was the 1936 election. Harry Truman, who had no love for public opinion polls, stated: “I accuse the Republicans of issuing false polls with high ratings for their party in order to keep Democrats away on election day.”

Hence, he dubbed them “sleeping polls.” Harry also had some definite opinion about the polls in the 1948 election, many not fit to repeat in this chamber.

A recent study by Robert Navazio in the Public Opinion Quarterly does support the theory that an opinion poll can play a role in influencing voting patterns. Although he stated that his results must be used with caution and they run contrary to other studies, he does point out the inherent weakness in previous bandwagon studies and suggests that if his methods were used in a wider area the results would be the same.

The reverse bandwagon effect is evident in cases where voters are drawn to a trailing candidate because he’s the underdog. Mervin D. Feld, a leading California pollster, has put forward this argument in a well documented speech to the American Psychological Association in 1968. Leo Bogart in Silent Politics has stated that there is some very limited experimental evidence that supports the common-sense supposition that when a poll report shows that candidate or position is favoured by the majority, there is a corresponding change in voting intention and opinion.

If, indeed, this relationship does exist, and I believe that it does, then I believe that it is in the interest of the voting public to support this resolution.

In my view, Mr. Speaker, the electorate has a responsibility to make up its mind on the merit of the candidates involved, on the issues and on its perspective of the political party whom the candidate is representing. Is the interest of democracy being served if it is otherwise? I think not.

I remember a quote from Walter Bagehot: “Public opinion is a permeating influence. It requires us to think other men’s thoughts, to speak other men’s words and to follow other men’s habits.”

When we appear before the electorate, do we want to be judged on the basis of trends or opinion polls, or do we want to be judged by the service we have rendered to our constituents, or the merit of the platforms that our parties have put before the people of Ontario and on the assumption that people are concerned enough to judge us on that basis and that alone?

When I first looked at the impact of public opinion polls upon the electorate during writ period, I did so with an open mind. Frankly, I could have been persuaded either way. But after reading a representative sample of the material on the subject, I came to support the resolution placed before this House.

I am not convinced the polls are always accurate. Like most of us here, I believe those who favour my position and disbelieve and question those who do not. I do not question the intelligence of the electorate to see through them, but at the same time they may place an inaccurate picture before the public. If it does have an effect upon the public, as some of the literature I read suggests, then I believe this resolution should be passed.

Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) was to be here but he is in the justice committee and I think he may be on his way up. I’ll take a few minutes and if there’s time later on he may be able to come in.

With regard to this resolution, ballot item 13 with regard to opinion polls, I feel I could support the resolution. I don’t know that they have the effect that some people here have said, but the problem I find with them is that I don’t think some of them are taken in any great depth. That creates a problem if they have a tendency to sway the vote one way or another. I have heard many people say at times that they don’t think even the press should come out with editorials in favour of one candidate or another, or one party or another, but since we have freedom of the press and they have that right, I am sure that can’t ever be accomplished.

However, it’s interesting when you see what happens in the polis. The member for Wentworth North (Mr. Cunningham) mentioned it quite well, that when we talk about the polls we need only go back to those just in the last few years. Of course, the famous one in the United States was the one involving President Truman.

In our own case here in 1975, I happened to be coming back from a trip and I got a copy of one of the Toronto papers on the plane. It was kind of a nice ending to a trip to see the results of that poll showing our party doing so well. However, a few months later when election day ended it didn’t pan out quite that way. Sometimes maybe it builds up false hopes for those who like to see the polls one way, and on the other hand, it’s the opposite in other cases. So, one has doubts about them in that way.

I think the member for Cornwall (Mr. Samis) mentioned about the poll a year or two ago, when one of the columnists spent a great deal of detail and time looking over how it was made up and surveyed, and he proved without too much doubt that the way the poll was taken left a very great deal to be desired.

I could support this, Mr. Speaker. I think I would not want to take it all the way as far as policies and things like that are concerned. I think we have got to leave that open, because after all that is part of politics. I don’t have any objections to that. I think that should be left open. I think the main criterion should be strictly the standing of one party or one leader, whatever the ease might be, as opposed to policies and not on any other matter. After all, the people have a right to know if there is a poll taken as to certain policies, even during the election campaign. I certainly have no objection to that.

With those few remarks, Mr. Speaker, I would support the resolution.

Mr. Deans: I don’t intend to speak at any great length on this matter but I think it’s worth some discussion because polls, of course, cut both ways. There are those who argue that they tend to influence public opinion: if you appear to be winning, then people join your side. There are, of course, those of us who might argue that the poll is sometimes interpreted the other way: if you appear to be winning they leave you in droves in order to make sure that you don’t win.

Mr. Samis: There was no poll on that though.

Mr. Deans: And so I always have to look at this from both sides.

Hon. Mr. Norton: It depends on which party you are in.

Mr. Samis: You have had a unique experience.

Mr. Deans: I can remember, like most of the members, the pre-1975 polls which showed the Liberal Party at 41 per cent, the Tories trailing somewhat, and us nowhere. As it turned out, they were inaccurate, to say the least.

I have never put a lot of stock in polls but I do think their intention is wrong. it’s not just simply to give people information, unfortunately. The use of polls is really an attempt to manipulate; an attempt to manipulate people not to support someone else.

And there is no way to test the validity of them. There is no way to test the methodology; no way to determine whether or not the poll is an accurate reflection of anything. You don’t know the question, you don’t know the methods used to determine the answer, and the end result, quite frankly, is that the poll is inaccurate.

During an election period we are attempting to provide the public of Ontario with a clear opportunity to sit back and view the platforms of the various parties and the candidate qualifications; to muddy the waters by injecting into the equation polls which may have questionable validity or no validity at all doesn’t serve the cause of democracy very well.

I wish in many ways that governments and politicians in general were as interested in public opinion between elections as they appear to be during elections; as interested in the publishing of polls between elections as they appear to be during elections. I am sure there are many people in the province of Ontario who would be extremely eager to exercise the opportunity to respond to some serious questions in matters of the economy of the province, and matters of the handling of the labour relations in the province and in many other matters.

Yet nobody seems to bother very much about polling the electorate on those matters. In fact they tend to shy away from doing it for fear it may reflect positions which are not consistent with the things they want to do.

So on balance, I feel it would be helpful to eliminate the taking and publication of polls, but particularly the publication of public opinion polls during elections.

I just finished reading a book that deals with the vice-presidential candidacy of George McGovern. If you were to read it, you would find just how public opinion polls can be manipulated, just how easily they can be misinterpreted, always inadvertently of course, by those who would have them published. In fact you often find there really isn’t any poll at all, that it is just an opinion somebody leaks to the press in an effort to alter the voting intention of numbers, if not large numbers, of the overall population.

You can imagine in today’s multicultural, multiracial society that unless there were very carefully defined and designed methods of poll-taking, unless there was some clear jurisdiction over the questions which could be asked, and unless there was some final legal responsibility placed upon those who take the polls for their authenticity, it would be very simple -- and I don’t doubt for a moment it has happened -- to misrepresent the position of a candidate or a political party in an effort to bring about the result desired by the person who had either paid for or would be the beneficiary of the poll. It might not represent the view of the vast majority of people if the question were put to them more forthrightly.

If you can’t get acceptance of the proposal to eliminate or prohibit the publishing and use of polls during an election, it might be that we should take a look at registering pollsters and setting out how those people can undertake the polling, the uses to which they can be put, and the way in which the information has to be distributed throughout the jurisdictions in order to guarantee an impartiality and fairness that would guarantee at least some degree of honesty in the methods used and the goals of the poll-taking operation.


Maybe we should say people taking polls have to clearly maintain a record of the questions and the methods used in determining the answers. In the event they are found to be improper and done without proper care, and therefore an attempt to improperly influence the voting patterns of the electorate, the person who is responsible for the design of the poll should be legally responsible for the consequences. Maybe that would tend to make them a little more honest in the long haul. I don’t know how you would do it, it’s a pretty complex problem; but it may be that should be done throughout, maybe that’s something that should be done in any event.

When the members of the Legislature attempt to influence public opinion, they do so knowing full well that they are answerable for their actions. If the Premier (Mr. Davis) stands and makes statements in an attempt to influence public opinion in the direction of the Conservative Party, or if the leader of the official opposition, the member for Hamilton West (Mr. S. Smith) does likewise, or the leader of the New Democratic Party does the same; there is an ultimate responsibility. That responsibility is that the electorate have the opportunity to go to the polls and to cast a ballot and therefore to pass judgement on the actions and statements of these people.

But who passes judgement on the poll? Who passes judgement on the person who takes the poll? Who decides whether that poll was designed purely and entirely for information purposes or whether or not it was intended to do exactly what it did, and that was to unduly and unfairly influence the outcome? Who decides whether or not it was valid in the first place? Who decides whether or not the methods used were fair and impartial, as they should be in any poll-taking operation?

With that in mind, I tend, in a very general way, to support the proposition as put before us. In a much broader way I suggest that maybe we should look at the broader picture of the taking and publishing of public opinion polls in any event. I have some serious question about the validity of many of the polls I read about in the newspaper. I certainly have some serious question about whether or not those polls are intended simply for information or whether they are designed for the purpose of influencing.

I don’t think, on balance, the democratic system works well if people can hide behind anonymity and use supposedly valid opinion poll results to attempt to influence the outcome of any discussion in a democracy.

It may well be that this first step would be helpful, and we should then look at the overall picture to determine whether there are further steps which should be taken, without infringing, of course, on the freedom of the press, or without infringing in any way on the right of individual people to try to ask what other people are going to do.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. member’s time has now expired.

Mr. Warner: Oh, no.

Mr. Samis: Oh, oh.

Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the debate this afternoon. In my mind it is a privilege, because I think we’re dealing with a fundamentally important issue and one that bears a great deal of consideration.

I’m firmly convinced that substantive electoral reform in this province is long overdue. We have, in recent time, on a patchwork basis, dealt with matters that pertain to elections and the election process. We have in recent times brought in the Electoral Expenses Act. We’ve made amendments to the Elections Act. We’ve dealt with other pieces of legislation that have some bearing on the electoral process.

I think the Premier himself has indicated he has committed the government to bringing forward substantive electoral reform. It is largely because of the changing times, because the tried and true methods of conducting elections really have not been exposed to significant reform or change or examination in recent times, and because of more sophisticated methods used in reporting the news through all of the forms of media we have available -- radio, newspapers and more particularly television. All these matters are existing situations that do not necessarily stand the test of time and warrant a review and reassessment. Things which have stood in place for many years do warrant exhaustive review.

On the other hand, new concepts that have come forward have contributed in an immense way to the whole election process, and in fact have substantially changed the course in which elections are conducted. I’m referring again to the television medium.

But one of the major ingredients of this electoral reform and process to which the Premier has alluded and on which he is committing himself to taking action in the coming months has to include this whole matter of polls taken during elections; it’s a fundamentally important part of the review of the electoral process.

One of the major considerations has been the time period for conducting an election. In this province we have the 37-day period; federally we have the 60-day period. Invariably, after a long, hard election, those candidates fortunate enough to be elected to office will get up in the Legislature to complain that the process really is too long and unnecessary. We spend the first quarter or maybe even a third of our campaigns getting organized, going through the ritual of getting out the voters’ lists and so forth, and this could be time better spent actively campaigning and bringing the issues to the people.

Certainly if there was reform in this area whereby we would have a permanent voter registration system, we would avoid this administrative process which impedes the main purpose of an election, which is to lay before the public, in an informed fashion, the issues of the day as each party sees them.

Reference was made earlier to the Australian system whereby there is a mandatory requirement that people will exercise that most sacred right, the right to vote for a person as he or she sees fit. I’m not necessarily in agreement with my colleague when he suggests we shouldn’t go that far. I don’t feel it would be imposing a hardship or a penalty on people that they must go to the polls to vote. When we see what’s happened in countries where the right and freedom to vote in free democratic elections has been denied the public, we realize it’s a fundamental right and perhaps one the populace should be encouraged to exercise to the extent of making it mandatory unless illness or other dire circumstances justify excusing one from exercising the franchise.

These are some of the major issues of electoral reform to which this government will be addressing itself in coming months, as alluded to by the Premier and in previous statements in this House. This particular issue, as I have suggested, is an integral part of that major electoral reform process. What does concern me, as has concerned all of the speakers in the House today, is the fact that the quality of the polls that are produced, including a variety of polls that are brought forward during the election period and immediately preceding elections, is indeed open to question. In fact, some of the more exhaustive and professional polls that are undertaken have their credibility taken away from them when they are immediately followed up by random sampling polls that have very little sophistication or expertise attached to them. These, in effect, turn out to be deceiving and misleading because of the fact they have been conducted in an unprofessional and slipshod manner. They cannot really, in the professional sense, be considered at all as polls which test the true feeling of the public at large.

The major concern, as I see it with regard to public opinion polls, is the fact that a thoroughly exhaustive professional poll that has been taken has to involve a time lag. I am sure you will agree, Mr. Speaker, as will the other members of the House, that the real heart of an election campaign and the real public interest in an election campaign usually occurs in the last two- or three-week period of the campaign. That is the time when all-candidates meetings are held; that is the time when the candidates are really brought before the public to account for their party’s policy and position; that is the time when events develop so rapidly and when party policy statements are being made and pronounced.

So often, the polls that have been taken were started two or three weeks prior to the beginning of an election campaign, before the issues and the different party positions have really become clear. The attitudes of the leaders; what they may be saying on a day-by-day basis; how they come across or address the issues; all of these things are happening so quickly in the closing days of a campaign that a poll that comes out suggesting how the parties and the candidates stand has to be out of date before it is even published. In that sense, polls are indeed misleading.

I think in this respect they do a great disservice to the public. There is no question in my mind that they can influence the public; because they can be outdated and therefore misrepresenting the current situation they do a disservice to the public at large.

As I indicated a few moments ago, the news media, whether it is through radio, newspaper or television, has arrived at a new degree of sophistication in covering elections. I have never seen more so than in recent times how effectively and thoroughly the people in that industry are able to convey to the public at large all of the issues and all of the events going on in elections. I suggest to you that while they do their job well in reporting the news to the public, I don’t think their responsibility should extend to influencing the views of the public by way of public opinion polls. It is here I feel a distinction has to be made.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. member’s time has expired.

Mr. Williams: With the permission of the sponsor of the resolution, he has given me two minutes of his time. If I might continue, with the pleasure of the House, I would appreciate concluding my remarks, which would take two minutes.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. member’s time has expired and the member for Durham West has reserved seven minutes.

Mr. Ashe: I have no disagreement with giving him two of that seven, Mr. Speaker, if that is in order.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. member’s time has expired and I have to ask if there is any other member wishing to participate. If not, agreed.

Mr. Williams: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I just want to come to one point with which I take issue based on the comments made by the member for Cornwall (Mr. Samis). He suggested he supported the resolution with one exception. He felt the status of any issue in an election could be free to public opinion or poll, whereas the other matters could fairly be excluded by statute.


I suggest that is an inconsistency, because obviously any major issue in an election does involve the positions being taken by the parties, and so indirectly an opinion poll on an issue has to have some bearing on party positions. I think it would be dangerous to leave that loophole or exception in the total ban or exclusion that I feel should be imposed.

For instance, I suggest there is going to be a very important referendum coming before the people of Quebec in the immediate future. It is going to be interesting to see what type of poll will be taken with regard to the Quebec referendum, which will be followed with a great deal of interest. It would serve the public interest if publishing of polls prior to that referendum were banned so that people could consider the matter without being influenced in that fashion.

I do appreciate the members extending to me this additional time. I do support the resolution and the principle behind it. I would hope it becomes part of the electoral package of legislation that would come forward before this province enters into another election.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Durham West, with four minutes and 30 seconds.

Mr. Ashe: That will be more than sufficient, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Kerrio: We will make an agreement with the member that if he doesn’t block our bill we won’t block his.

Mr. Ashe: Agreed. First of all, I would like to thank sincerely the members from all sides of the House for expressing their support for this resolution. As I indicated in my opening remarks, it was sincerely put forward to try to bring forward the feeling of all parties openly, so that if there was general consensus I would use that vehicle to impress upon the government that it would appear that specific legislation is in order.

There seems to be no doubt at all from the various comments that this is the general feeling of the House, with one possible exception. There are obviously some differences of opinion as to whether the status of any issue should also be included in the ban that is proposed by this resolution. I suggest that possibly this is one area we would have to explore somewhat further.

There was general indication in just about all the remarks of the various speakers that they were very concerned about the methodology that was being used for polls and whether it was accurate and whether it was justifiable. In the very best of circumstances, people were not knowledgeable about what methods were used, and therefore the polls couldn’t even be challenged as to their validity. Last but not least, there was the concern expressed by all as to the accuracy, in any event, of all polls.

In closing, once again I want to thank all members for their support of the resolution. A few of the words that I used in my remarks previously bear repeating: “The goal of every democratic society is an educated, alert and active electorate. We should encourage every effort to have voters weigh the issues, balance the claims of the competing parties and then make a rational decision.” We should not in any way provide a vehicle that might negatively affect this process.

Mr. Acting Speaker: The time for debate on this matter has expired.


Mr. Haggerty moved second reading of Bill 58, An Act to relieve Persons from Liability in respect of voluntary Emergency Medical and First Aid Services.

Mr. Haggerty: The purpose of this bill is to relieve persons from liability in respect of voluntary emergency first aid assistance and medical services granted at or near the scene of an accident or other sudden emergency.

To read from the bill: “In this Act,

“(a) ‘physician’ means a medical practitioner licensed under part III of the Health Disciplines Act, 1974;

“(b) ‘registered nurse’ means a person who is the holder of a certificate as a registered nurse issued under part IV of the Health Disciplines Act, 1974.

“2. Where, in respect of a person who is ill, injured or unconscious as the result of an accident or other emergency,

“(a) a physician or registered nurse voluntarily and without expectation of compensation or reward renders emergency medical services or first aid assistance and the services or assistance are not rendered at a hospital or other place having adequate medical facilities and equipment; or

“(b) a person other than a person mentioned in clause (a) voluntarily renders emergency first aid assistance and the assistance is rendered at the immediate scene of the accident or emergency,

“the physician, registered nurse or other person shall not be liable for damages for injuries to or the death of such a person alleged to have been caused by an act or omission on his or her part in rendering the medical services or first aid assistance, unless it is established that the injuries or death were caused by the gross negligence of the physician, registered nurse or other person.

“3. Nothing in section 2 shall be construed to relieve a physician from liability for damages for injuries to or the death of any person caused by an act or omission on the part of the physician in respect of medical services rendered by him in the normal and ordinary cause of his practice and not under the circumstances set forth in section 2.

“4. This Act comes into force on the day it receives royal assent.

“5. The short title of this Act is the Good Samaritan Act, 1978.”

Mr. Speaker, the Bible is recognized as the greatest source of knowledge. A book of character, so true to human life are its teachings but almost every passage illustrates the many facets of human character. Reference can be found in the Good Book, St. Luke chapter 10, verses 30-37, to one of the Bible’s oldest parables. A man fell among thieves on the road to Jericho and was robbed and beaten almost to death. It was a well-travelled road. There were many travellers, including some important persons. As the story is told, a priest came along who was going to take part in a gathering at the temple in Jerusalem; seeing the injured man lying in the road, he refused to provide first aid treatment or to bandage his wounds. He simply did not want to get involved. Likewise, a Levite and others passed by, just looked and continued on their way -- people who could not spare a moment of their time.

How often have we heard these same remarks in present-day life: “I have not the time, nor do I want to become involved”? Needless to say, there are a number of injured persons, victims of highway accidents, who are treated in the same manner and left to suffer; in some cases, death may occur.

It was so until a Good Samaritan came upon the injured traveller, stopped and paused for a moment, then took the wounded man in his arms, bound up his bleeding wounds and removed the injured traveller to an inn, where care was provided.

I was interested to read, on the front page of Saturday’s Toronto Star, a story headed “Man Trapped; Star Reporter to the Rescue.” The story reads:

“A young woman stood by the side of Woodbine Avenue yesterday afternoon, frantically waving her arms and crying for help as her 30-year-old husband lay trapped in a car that had flipped upside down in a water-filled ditch.

“The six or eight cars in front of me [the reporter] didn’t stop. I did. As I tried to comfort her against my shoulder, we both waved for help. Nobody stopped.

“Finally, I dashed to the middle of the road in the northbound lane, raised both arms in the air and forced traffic to a halt.”

You might say that the reporter risked his life in in this particular instance. He went on to say:

“The first to stop after I stood out in the road was a Bell Canada driver, who joined me and ... a Newmarket truck driver who pulled up behind me.”

Finally, he says:

“An 18-wheel transport truck pulled up and I ran for it.

“‘Got CB?’ I asked.


“‘It’s bad, man,’ I said. ‘Police and ambulance, quick.’”

That is one of the good things about CBers; there are a number of them on the road today, and they can provide emergency calls or calls for special assistance at any time.

Later, Constable Alex Lowe, 33, of York Regional Police, arrived and apparently removed the man from the car and applied artificial respiration.

He goes on to say that the ambulance arrived, more oxygen was provided and he was taken to hospital for further medical treatment.

I might say in this particular case if any of these Good Samaritans hadn’t stopped and provided assistance we perhaps could have had a loss of life. Much credit should be given to the persons at the scene of the accident who provided the first medical treatment and no doubt saved the man’s life.

I give praise and thank God there are citizens of this province who are dedicated, who believe in following the Good Samaritan’s example, and who want to help the injured regardless of any emergency in which they are called upon to act. The St. John Ambulance volunteers are just one example of our Good Samaritans assisting in first aid emergencies. It has been in existence since the year 1099, initially formed to care for injured Crusaders on their journey to Jerusalem. Not only do the St. John volunteers perform emergency treatment, but they are responsible for the training of many persons through a 25- to 30-hour course. Those taking the course receive a certificate in first aid emergency treatment when it is completed.

There are other groups which have successfully obtained credits in first aid treatment and rescue courses in many industries. Saving a life or treating an injured person is a serious matter in itself and should be handled with extreme care.

I would like to single out one or two organizations in the province, and I believe we are fortunate that they include men of great character. They are our police officers who are called upon to display courage in many emergencies and proudly wear the St. John insignia on their uniforms. Members of our fire departments, either full time or voluntary fire fighters, must be alert and ready at all times for an emergency call. It does not necessarily have to have anything to do with fires or smoke; it can be plant emergencies, car accidents, heart attacks -- you name it, they also take care of them.

There are a large number of car accidents in the province -- and I take this from the 1976 MTC motor vehicle accident facts sheet -- in 1976 there were 211,865 reported motor vehicle accidents. Personal injury accidents in that year totalled 58,028 and persons killed totalled 1,511. So members can see the number of emergency calls that are required on our highways alone. Those are just highway cases.

I have emphasized certain groups that are involved in emergency first aid. Of course, there are more important groups or individuals. For instance, there are medical doctors, registered nurses and many more related to the medical profession who are available for all emergency calls in hospitals or doctors’ offices. But in many instances these people are not readily available for emergency care at the scene of an accident, be it a car, industrial accident or so forth.

Perhaps there is another reason that many medical doctors are not providing medical treatment at the scene of an accident: the possibility of civil action. The question arises: Should a person such as an MD, nurse or persons who are trained in emergency first aid be a Good Samaritan and subject themselves to the possibility of a court case? Almost every country in Europe -- France, Belgium, Bulgaria, Russia, Germany, Norway -- has some form of Good Samaritan legislation. Most are structured so that if a physician renders voluntary assistance in an emergency situation total immunity from civil liability is assured.

In 1959, California passed the first American Good Samaritan statute, which reads as follows: “No person licensed under this chapter who is in good health and renders emergency care at the scene of an emergency shall be liable for any civil damage as a result of acts or omissions by such persons in rendering emergency care.” Other states have followed suit.

Perhaps the bill that I have before you follows much on the principles of Alberta’s and New York State’s Good Samaritan Act. I have been informed that there is only one province in Canada that has similar legislation, and that is Alberta. For some unknown reason, Ontario, a province which has the greatest number of citizens, a province which has the greatest number of highway accidents, boating accidents, fire accidents, and industrial accidents, refuses to recognize its responsibilities toward its citizens. In my mind, as well as others, much suffering and pain can be reduced by first aid emergency treatment by a knowledgeable person which could be accomplished if the fear of civil action was eliminated. Many more citizens would then be willing to become involved.


Ambulances and emergency personnel and others with the balance between life and death placed constantly in their hands should be prepared beyond a basic first aid course to administer first aid emergency treatment. As I am a part-time resident of Toronto, I express my gratitude to the Toronto Fire Department for its exceptional record in emergency treatment. The Port Colborne Fire Department, under Chief Frank Dimond and Deputy Chief William Haggerty, has just recently enrolled 15 firefighters in a cardiopulmonary resuscitation course at Mount Sinai Hospital which is being sponsored by the ladies’ auxiliary of the Mount Sinai Hospital.

In Germany the statute is directed particularly to physicians who do not render aid in emergencies and is a tough piece of legislation that comes from the Criminal Code of 1953. I am quoting: “Anybody who does not render aid in an accident, or common danger or in an emergency situation, although aid is needed and under the circumstances can be expected of him, especially if he would not subject himself thereby to any considerable danger and if he would not thereby violate other important duties, shall be punished by imprisonment not to exceed one year or a fine.” Bill 58 is not as harsh a step as that taken by legislation in Germany, but the statute relates to their Criminal Code and surely indicates a need for the Good Samaritan Act here in Ontario.

I have confidence in our medical profession that such harsh measures are not required in Ontario and that Bill 58 is a reasonable humanitarian statute that will be supported by all members of the Legislature, the medical profession, the nursing profession and the citizens of this province.

I believe strongly that the government of the day must provide measures to ensure that any person providing emergency first aid treatment has that cloud of doubt removed, that the concern of health and welfare for his fellow man does not leave him a sitting duck for a possible liability action or tort action.

People today have far greater access to the legal profession in the courts than ever before and this is one of the reasons why I moved the bill in second reading today. Hopefully, all members will support this humanitarian piece of legislation. It’s interesting to note the bill does not cost the government or anybody one cent. I hope all members who speak on the bill today will support it and that it in fact becomes processed as legislation. I want to thank the members for their indulgence today in listening to me.

Mr. Acting Speaker: Does the member wish to reserve time at the end of the debate? We have six more minutes.

Mr. Haggerty: Depending on the interest shown.

Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Speaker, in rising to speak to this bill, let me say that it’s almost impossible for any of us in this House to vote against a bill whose short title is the Good Samaritan Act, particularly with no expenditure of money involved on the government side. That certainly is voting against motherhood and all the other consequent emotions which flow in this whole area from bills which touch on areas of that sort. As far as the bill goes, the principle involved here is one which we should thoroughly establish in the province of Ontario. If a physician, a nurse or some other person, in all good faith, renders medical assistance to someone in need of such as a result of an accident or other emergency, those persons, in their good faith, should not be held liable for the injuries that do ensue because of their Good Samaritan-type involvement. In most cases, the health and sustenance provided by a Good Samaritan passing by will not result in further injury to that person. But I do know as fact that one of the things taught to first-year medical students and thumped home, although I am not so sure McMaster does it as a new institution, but certainly U of T did it back in the 1950s, was that they were not doctors yet, and even when they became doctors they should not render on-the-spot medical assistance, or should do so with great caution. This was not from the point of view of their being prosecuted, but rather in any accident there is a danger in moving the person lest there be a bone, albeit small, broken in that person’s neck which if it were moved, even to place a pillow under the person’s head, could result in a further injury which would terminate the life of the patient or cause a permanent injury by affecting his spinal cord and ambulatory situation for the rest of his life.

This was drummed in. I actually witnessed such a situation on Hoskin Avenue some 15 years ago. A person had been struck at the crosswalk between Wycliffe College and Trinity College, and medical students from both nearby residences turned out. Calls had been made for professional help and they were the first ones on the scene. They treated the pedestrian, who wasn’t, I am glad to say, badly hurt. They treated the situation very carefully, and only after great consultation and much feeling of the injured person’s neck area did they finally put a pillow under his head. This was as a result of their already trained concern over the moving of a person injured in an accident, because of the danger of possible neck injuries which could result in much more severe injuries if the accident victim were even slightly moved.

I certainly have no quarrel with the principle of the bill, but in the actual practice of the bill I know that medically trained people are warned very carefully about the dangers of moving an accident victim. It would be equally dangerous for the victim, were he to be moved by medically trained people or by the concerned passersby, if such precautions were not taken. From all the best medical evidence I have been able to gather, clearly one doesn’t move an accident victim at all, if possible. If it is necessary to move the victim to make him more comfortable, it can be done; but certainly one doesn’t pick him up and put him down some place else. One must be cautious in moving the accident victim because of possible further medical damage.

If it were quite clear that the injury did not involve the head, neck or shoulders, I think a medical person could move the victim with more certainty in making that person more comfortable, but if there is any suggestion of such an upper body injury there is real danger in moving or treating the victim.

The other thing that disturbs me a bit about the Act is not what’s there -- and I say this particularly to the member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty), but I wonder whether, when his next draft of this comes in, would he not go into another entire area? I know it would destroy his point about not having in the bill something which may cost the government some money in the long run. When I listened to the member for Erie, I was struck by the fact that many of the examples he used involved assistance to a person who was involved in a given situation in which that person required some help for an illness or an injury. I am referring to the whole area which I think is of equal concern in terms of our Good Samaritan attitude, one to another that whole area where an act of violence is being committed. I recall various stories from the past of someone being involved directly in stabbing, someone being held up and being robbed and someone in the process of being raped, in which passersby did not respond and did not intervene.

Their fear is not of being sued because of their intervention because of further damages, but their fear of being injured themselves, if they intervened on behalf of that person who is being mugged, raped, robbed or just murdered for whatever reason, which seems to be the case in some of the incidents which I can recall. Particularly, I recall one case about 15 or 17 years ago when I lived for a short period in the city of Chicago, when, for no apparent reason, a young lady returning home in the late hours of the evening was stabbed over a period of half an hour outside her apartment building.

Many of the residents in the apartment building heard it. It was some time before one of them even got sufficiently involved to phone the police. If any of them had gone down, they would have found a single assailant, armed with a knife only. By the time it was all over and the police arrived, the assailant had fled, but he’d had sufficient time to inflict 17 wounds, one of them being fatal. It was hard to tell which one was the fatal one.

Intervention by one or more of the residents of the same apartment building in which she lived may well have prevented the young woman’s dying. There would seem to be no motive at all for the assault. There was no attempted rape. There was no connection established between the woman and her assailant who, subsequently some two years later while on another charge, confessed to being the assailant in this case.

I wonder if one would add a section to this bill or a subsequent bill that clearly established that when a person intervenes on behalf of an individual requiring help because of an act of violence being perpetrated against him, that the original Good Samaritan, if he or she becomes injured in the course of going to that assistance, would be automatically eligible for compensation without doubt or question from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board. I would think that would be a very useful addition to the bill, although it might involve the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board having to pay out more funds than what they would ordinarily receive.

Mr. Elgie: I want to take this opportunity to congratulate the member for Erie for bringing this problem and this piece of legislation before this Legislature. I’m certain we all share his concern and his desire that if such legislation is indeed necessary in order to encourage more people to be Good Samaritans, then we should approve this bill.

Clearly, the prospect of the doctor, nurse or other person with first aid experience hesitating to stop at the scene of an accident because of the fear of being sued is not a pleasant one and, if it is indeed a problem, then we should given serious consideration to remedying the situation.

I would concur with the member for Windsor-Sandwich that those rendering assistance must be well trained, lest they do more harm than good. As a physician I, personally, have on several occasions stopped at the scene of an accident but almost inevitably have found that the situation was being well handled by the police, the fire department or by ambulance attendants, to whom the member for Erie has paid proper tribute.

In December, 1975, 1 recall rushing to the scene of the bus-GO Train disaster in Scarborough. On arrival, I found that once again the police, the fire department, a nurse who had been in the area and the ambulance attendants had the situation well in hand. I, accordingly, returned to the hospital, where I was better able to deal with survivors from that disaster.

I do however appreciate, as does the member for Erie, that there may well be other occasions when the presence of a willing Samaritan could make the difference between life or death. The thought that he or she might pass by on the other side because of the fear of a lawsuit is something that’s abhorrent to all of us.


Having said these things, we must, however, ask ourselves whether there is really a problem -- at least in this country. Is it true that North American physicians, for example, are reluctant to stop at accidents because of the fear of a lawsuit? My own personal experience and comment that I have received from colleagues would indicate that there is no such omnipresent concern in Canada. A survey of Canadian doctors carried out in Ontario during the summer of 1971 indicated that over 90 per cent would stop to help if they saw someone injured along the road. On the other hand, two polls carried out among United States physicians have found that approximately 50 per cent of those who answered indicated they would not stop, and cited as the principal reason their fear of a malpractice action.

Clearly, this fear which seems to pervade the minds of so many American physicians has led to the passing of various types of Good Samaritan acts in over two-thirds of the states in the USA. As a side effect, three provinces in Canada have passed similar legislation.

Why there should be this marked difference in attitude towards stopping at roadside accidents is a subject for another discussion on another day. Rut basically it is clear that Canadian physicians in general do not have the same overwhelming fear of malpractice suits as their counterparts in the United States do. Having made that brief comparison one still must admit there remains the concern that a substantial amount of suffering -- even a number of deaths -- may occur each year which might not occur at all if more physicians and indeed more people were prepared to render aid at the roadside or other accident situation.

Before deciding whether or not this Legislature should intervene, we should understand what the situation is at common law. We should also remember the famous words of the former Mr. Justice Riddell when he said that the common law usually makes sense until Parliament intervenes. It’s clear at common law -- and this is clearly stated by Mr.Justice Jessup in the Ontario Court of Appeal -- that there is no duty to take positive action in aid of another, no matter how helpless or how perilous his position is. While there is no duty to take action in aid of another, there is a legal duty imposed once a person does start to aid another. It is an old distinction made between nonfeasance, where there is no penalty for passing by, and misfeasance, where there may be a penalty if you don’t pass by or do so negligently.

As an extension of this common law principle, there is generally no liability attached to such aid so long as the Good Samaritan does not place the injured person in worse condition than the condition prior to rendering assistance.

Many legal commentators feel that common law emergency doctrines adequately safeguard the Good Samaritan already. The skill required is that of a reasonable man, and a physician, for example in an emergency situation, is not held to the same level of judgement and performance as he would be in a hospital situation; but it is this unhappy anomaly of the common law that you may be damned if you do but you can’t be damned if you don’t that somehow has found its way into the consciousness of the malpractice-oriented medical profession of the United States.

Mr. Lawlor: That’s what Riddell likes.

Mr. Elgie: That’s what he liked, was it? Yes, that’s not bad actually, Patrick.

Mr. Lawlor: Thank you.

Mr. Elgie: Basically where Legislatures have intervened in this situation there have been one of two approaches -- the so-called American solution, with its negative or Good Samaritan Act; or the European solution with its positive legislation compelling individuals to stop and render first aid. Of the numerous states in the United States that have such Acts, there is a great variation both with regard to the individuals who are protected and with regard to the degree of misconduct that will he allowed. Some states grant absolute immunity while others will not excuse gross negligence or wilful or wanton misconduct. These very words -- “gross,” “wilful” and “wanton” -- have, as most lawyers will agree, kept generations of lawyers occupied when similar terminology has appeared in other statutes.

Interestingly enough, a survey of American physicians carried out in 1961, before there were many Good Samaritan Acts, indicated as I said that 52 per cent of physicians were prepared to stop. Two years later, after many such Acts were in place, 50 per cent still were prepared to stop. Clearly, therefore, the passing of these Acts, at least in America, has not led to a change in the willingness of individuals to stop and render assistance.

The European solution, on the other hand, has been to introduce positive legislation which has required all persons to aid those they find in distress; in other words, to make it an offence to fail to be a Good Samaritan. It is felt by many that, in addition to reinforcing community attitudes in favour of assisting those in distress, this sort of positive legislation has indeed been applied in many cases and has served to enhance citizen awareness about the need to come to the assistance of people in distress. Certainly this approach is not an uncommon one. In Ontario, section 140 of the Highway Traffic Act requires that every person in charge of a vehicle or car that is directly or indirectly involved in an accident shall remain at the scene of the accident and shall render all possible assistance.

The questions posed by all these considerations, of course, are whether or not there is a need for any legislation, and if so which approach should we take. Canadian experience does not substantiate the existence of a problem with regard to stopping and rendering assistance. Over 90 per cent of Ontario physicians indicated a willingness to stop. To my knowledge, having phoned several people who should know, there has never been a malpractice action initiated in this country as a result of such behaviour. In spite of the great fear of American physicians that any action may result in a malpractice suit, a 1968 study carried out by the American Medical Association indicated that only 10 physicians out of 40,000 had ever had any kind of difficulty from these acts; and of these 10, only two cases had resulted in payments of any kind. In each case they were $500 for nuisance value.

On the other hand, a 1965 study regarding the effectiveness of the positive European legislation was interesting in that it showed that 86 per cent of German physicians realized they had an obligation to stop. Similar studies in the United States indicated that 81 per cent of Americans realized that they didn’t have to stop. I would ask you to draw your own conclusions from that.

It would therefore appear to me that if this Legislature is going to give consideration to some type of Good Samaritan Act, it should be looking at the positive, or European type, of legislation. Frankly, however, I tend to share Mr. Justice Riddell’s concern that the common law usually makes sense until we intervene.

Mr. Lawlor: Come off it, not after all that. Come on, the law’s an ass and you know it.

Mr. Elgie: I was setting you up, Patrick.

I also have grave doubts that it is possible to legislate conscience, honour and concern.

Mr. Lawlor: Don’t forget obligation.

Mr. Elgie: The moral values we may desire cannot be legislated. We may, however, decide to legislate as a matter of principle, but only if there is a need to do so.

I would like to conclude by quoting from a letter I recently received from a former member of this Legislature, Mr. Elmer Sopha --

Mr. Acting Speaker: The member’s time has expired.

Mr. Elgie: May I just finish my concluding remarks? Mr. Elmer Sopha, discussing a different problem, did, however, say that “we must beware that human feelings of people are being destroyed by the humanitarianism of government.”

Mr. Lawlor: Sometimes I think you are an ultra Tory.

Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of Bill 58, An Act to relieve Persons from Liability in respect of voluntary Emergency Medical and First Aid Services, and commend my colleague, the member for Erie, for having persevered year after year in introducing this legislation, hoping that we may eventually get some action from the government.

The previous speaker, being a medical doctor, pointed out some of the problems involved and also mentioned that maybe there isn’t the need for it; when we demonstrate the need, then legislation will be introduced. In my estimation, there is need. People have a tendency to hesitate to get involved, whether it happens to be in the case of an emergency or even in various social activities. You can see by the number of members in the Legislature today an indication that there are some who don’t want to get involved in simply listening to what is going on in here. Maybe they have other more important things to do, and as a result we have to forgive them for that.

Mr. Martel: They got tired of the veto.

Mr. B. Newman: Oh well, they will be involved later on in the afternoon I assume.

There is always the fear of lawsuits and malpractice action, but I don’t think that fear exists in Canada to the extent it does in the United States. When one looks at the various jurisdictions throughout the world one wonders why we here in Canada, and especially in Ontario, don’t copy some of the things they have in legislation. Surely if legislation wasn’t needed in those other jurisdictions it would not have been introduced. For example, France had it back in 1941 under which, “any person who by his immediate action and without danger to himself or others could have prevented either a felonious assault or a misdemeanour involving bodily harm wilfully abstains to do so shall be punished with imprisonment of from three months to five years, and with a fine from 360 francs to 15,000 francs.”

That is only one of the penalties. France has such legislation, Mr. Speaker. The USSR enacted legislation in 1960 which requires an individual to assist his fellow man when that need arises. Belgium in 1961 introduced article 422 in the Criminal Code. Others introducing legislation include Albania in 1952, Bulgaria in 1951, Czechoslovakia in 1961, and Denmark in 1930. You can see the Danes were well in advance of any of the other jurisdictions. Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, and Norway also have legislation. Poland gives a penalty of three to five years’ imprisonment as a result of failure to render assistance to one in need. Spain, Turkey, Ukraine and Yugoslavia have legislation. Practically every one of the European countries, Mr. Speaker, does have legislation pertaining to the Good Samaritan Act that my colleague from Erie has introduced, I think it is for approximately the seventh or eighth time.

I also realize there is danger in precipitous action on the part of the individual who is not skilled when it comes to rendering some type of first aid. I have had a substantial amount of experience in the first aid field as I was an instructor for the St. John’s Ambulance Association for years and years.

I have promoted the teaching of first aid on a secondary level because I know the value of the ability to render first aid when it is needed. The individual who goes through that type of program or course, I would assume, would be familiar with some of the times during which the first aider has to be extremely cautious because with neck injuries and back injuries there could be paralysis to the balance of the body.

I had an unusual experience over the weekend, Mr. Speaker. I attended the 50th anniversary of a couple, and on my way out of the club I came across a man propped up against the bumper of an automobile with his face all covered with blood. He had a cut across the forehead, one across the bridge of the nose and one on the cheek. Everyone was looking at him, and no one wanted to assist in any way, shape or form. I knew that quite often the picture is probably more dramatic and scares you a little more than the actual injury the individual suffers. As a result, I simply got to my car and immediately took the individual to a hospital. I knew all he needed, or I thought all he needed, was a medical doctor to clean him up, and possibly several stitches to take care of the cut on the forehead.


But it surprised me that no one going into that club was willing to stop and give some type of assistance. Now I know they were probably all well dressed, much better dressed than I was and as a result didn’t want to get any blood on their clothing. However, there was no danger of that, really. The man, after being brought to the hospital, was released after the emergency first aid was applied to him.

I also had another kind of peculiar experience, Mr. Speaker, where the individual happened to fall down a ventilator chute in a school, from the fourth floor to the basement He was playing on the fourth floor and didn’t realize the ventilator cover folded in. He walked on the cover and down he went. It was lucky he suffered no serious injuries, but who knows whether the injury is serious or not when the individual is unconscious.

It was fortunate for the individual there was a stretcher available, there were first aid bandages available and we were able to tie him right down on the stretcher to immobilize him until an ambulance came and removed him to the hospital. The individual recovered with only a broken leg just above the knee, and as a result today is a man who has full use of all his facilities. If he had not been given first aid immediately, there could have been some real problems later on in life.

One of the things we want to remember in the rendering of assistance to the individual is the contribution being made by many voluntary ambulance services throughout the province of Ontario. I can single out one with which I am familiar and that is the one in the riding of the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini), the Amherstburg volunteer service. They do yeoman duty as far as the rendering of assistance to individuals who need their services throughout the southern part of the county.

Time does not permit me to bring to the attention of the Legislature the need for a strong educational program. In fact, the one I would suggest is the one that I asked the Minister of Health about, a cardio-pulmonary resuscitation program. The editor of a magazine in the United States has promoted this program, hoping that others would pick it up, and in the United States it is catching on like wildfire. Cardio-pulmonary resuscitation helps restore a victim’s breathing and circulation in the crucial first minutes after a heart attack.

Mr. Acting Speaker: The member’s time has expired.

Mr. B. Newman: I hope other members in the House join with the member for Erie in supporting the bill so that Ontario will be one of the provinces that has a Good Samaritan law. Thank you.

Mr. Lawlor: Brethren and sistren, I want to give a sermon. And in order to do so, one needs a text. The text is: And behold a lawyer -- why is it always a lawyer? -- stood up and put him to the test saying, “Teacher what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And he said to him, “What is there in the law? What do you read?” But he desired to justify himself. “And who is my neighbour?” And Jesus replied, “A man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho fell among robbers who stripped him and beat him and departed leaving him half dead. A priest came by, and he passed him by. And a Levite came by, and he passed by. And the despised, despicable pariah of a Samaritan, held in contempt by the peoples of Galilee because he was somehow outside the law, stopped and looked at him.” Such was the generation of the story. At the end of it, Jesus said: “Now you know, lawyer, who the neighbour is.”

That’s something English law never managed to pick up. For all its prating of biblical text, et cetera, it’s one of those shameful pages throughout. The pages that are unjust in Richmond are bad enough, but here is this, a crutch issue. The Roman law, for all its vacuousness and its cruelty, was more positive and was more socially aware than English law with its emphasis upon the privacy of the person and retrograde approach to the commonweal. It was far more benighted and remains so to this day.

How anyone can pretend to justify the law as it presently stands in the common law jurisdiction quite puzzles me. It shows also the discrepancies between morals and law. They aren’t coincident; they’re very often in conflict and have completely different traditions. It’s up to legislators to come forward in many instances to bring about what would be a common consensus in the community, where decency lies to override the common law in the courts as it presently stands and say this must be the case.

My other comment is that this is not Good Samaritan legislation in any plenary sense. On the contrary, as it has been pointed out, it’s the negative approach, saying that if you do this then certain consequences will not follow. It is not the positive, full-blooded, plenary approach to the Good Samaritan legislation I would like to see, namely that over and above the moral obligation that an individual has to assist another human being to the best of his ability, the law would enfranchise and enshrine that and make it obligatory, as they do in many European jurisdictions at the present time.

That would have to be safeguarded, like everything else, according to the present capability, capacity and qualifications of the individual rendering the assistance. A lesser degree of capability would only attract a lesser degree of obligation. A person who sees someone drowning but can’t swim wouldn’t exactly be expected to risk his own life in that particular context, but if he could and was a capable swimmer with some capability, then I see no reason why the law shouldn’t say he was under an obligation to rescue that other human being, and if he didn’t do so then certain consequences in terms of damages, if not of criminal law, should ensue. That is not the way we have it.

As a matter of fact, I want to bring to the attention of the House the law set forth by an adviser until recently to the corporation law committee, Mr. Allen Linden, now His Lordship, Mr. Justice Linden. He wrote a book, Canadian Negligence Law, in which he set it all out, et cetera. He says on page 228, in reference to the Ontario Court of Appeal decision, Horsley versus MacClaren, a decision in 1970, reported in the 22 Dominion Law Reports at page 545:

“In the Horsley case, Matthews fell overboard and the defendant yacht owner began a rescue attempt by backing up towards him. Expert evidence was adduced to the effect that this was the wrong procedure. At trial, Mr. Justice Lacourcière exacted the standard of reasonable care usually demanded from a rescuer and asked: ‘What could the reasonable boat operator do in the circumstance?’ Because the defendant used the ‘wrong procedure’ in backing up the boat and because of his ‘excessive consumption of alcohol,’ Mr. Justice Lacourcière held that he was negligent. The Court of Appeal, however, reversed the trial judge and decided that the defendant was guilty only of an error in judgement, which did not amount to negligence. Mr. Justice Jessup relied upon the Kent case and adopted its test for these rescue cases. He contended that ‘where a person gratuitously and without any duty to do so undertakes to confer a benefit upon or goes to the aid of another, he incurs no liability unless what he does worsens the condition of the other.’ Mr. Justice Jessup rejected the rationale by the use of the trial judge and argued: ‘I think it is an unfortunate development in the law which leaves the Good Samaritan liable to be mulcted in damages, and apparently in the United States, it is one that has produced marked reluctance of doctors to aid victims.’ Mr. Justice Schroeder echoed this view and argued that ‘if a person embarks upon a rescue, and does not carry it through, he is not under any liability to the person to whose aid he has come so long as discontinuance of his efforts did not leave the other in a worse condition than when he took charge.’”

It goes on with these American jurisdictions and finally winds up as follows:

“The moot case is still the one where a hero dives in to save a drowning man, pulls him most of the way to the shore and then abandons the rescue. Prosser” -- he’s the Californian who is the great writer on the subject -- “Prosser contends that no court would permit such conduct to go without a remedy.” Lawlor contends he doesn’t believe it. “Yet if the principle of Kent and Horsley were to be applied here that result would follow, since the defendant’s position has not been ‘worsened’ by the defendant’s conduct.” He simply dropped him and let him drown. “It may be argued there has been a mere failure to confer a benefit. One way to handle this problem is to reject both Horsley and Kent, and recognize as an exception to the nonfeasance rule the situation where someone singles himself out as a deliverer. Despite the possibility of unfairness to the Good Samaritan who does his best, as contrasted to the Bad Samaritan who does nothing, this might foster safety in rescue efforts. Better still, perhaps the time has arrived for the courts to proclaim that there is a duty to rescue those in peril owed by anyone who is aware of this and is able to assist without risk to himself. The adoption of such a rule might be expedited if the crime victim compensation schemes were amended to provide reparation for any rescuer, whether or not he is hurt by a criminal act.”

That, on the part of Allan Linden, seems to me a fair summary of the situation. I hope the next time the member brings in a bill of this kind -- he’s brought them in before, and I congratulate him for doing so in the past -- he’ll go that extra step, be a little like another Good Samaritan, take a little bit more off his coat and make it an obligation to rescue people when people are able to do so.

Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to participate in the debate on the Good Samaritan bill. I hope we don’t have to wait for the member who has sponsored this bill to bring in a similar or the same bill again in the future, as was alluded to by the member for Lakeshore. I would hope that some positive and specific action could be taken on this bill so that his long campaign to bring this concern into meaningful legislation will take place in the foreseeable future.

The legislation in my judgement makes good sense, and I certainly support the bill before us today. What does disturb me, however, is the fact that we have to resort to applying legislation to provide protection for people who in times of crisis want to assist their fellow man who finds himself in an emergency situation where obvious injury has occurred.


The member has pointed out that the bill has basic humanitarian aspects and concerns built into it. That is to say the obvious. What does, of course, create the concern is the fact that it is necessary to formalize what has in the past been considered to be a basic, prevailing, public attitude where a man would automatically come to the assistance of his fellowman in time of obvious trouble and need.

It is unfortunate that in this day and age we have arrived at a social setting or at a point where there seems to be a definite public attitude that has developed whereby there is a lack of personal concern or response to emergency situations. The humanitarian attitudes one has assumed would exist in these emergency situations have appeared largely to have evaporated because of the potential mercenary concerns and consequences that may flow from one volunteering to assist in time of an emergency.

It may be that these concerns have been fostered by the great amount of attention that has been given to these kinds of situations in the entertainment media, particularly in television and the movies that we see today. A great deal of emphasis seems to be given to violence and to people being injured through certain plots or circumstances that are beamed at us through the television medium as a form of entertainment. More often than not a part of the plot seems to include the involvement of the big insurance company and the fact that once the emergency is over and the humanitarian considerations have paled, one should start considering whether there is any financial benefit to be gained from the circumstances that occurred during the emergency situation.

All too often we have had portrayed in television shows and in the movies someone who decides maybe he can find ways and means of making a dollar out of a situation, an idea that had been furthest removed from the mind of the individual during the height of the emergency, but when cooler minds prevail, these stories or situations portray a different attitude developing. I think too much of this, perhaps, has been presented to us in the form of entertainment and it certainly seems to have had some effect on the public at large. It is unfortunate, but I think it has been a very gradual but effective means of changing public attitudes and it is regrettable that so much emphasis is given to this type of situation.

My colleague from York East (Mr. Elgie) has suggested that the degree to which this problem has existed in the United States should not concern us, because it is obviously not here in Canada. I think I would have to take issue with my colleague on that point. I’ve talked to numbers of people in different settings, doctors as well and others who are paraprofessionals in the medical field. I have been alarmed by the increasing number of them who have in personal conversation expressed concern about getting involved or participating in rendering voluntary assistance in emergency situations such as this bill is designed to cover.

Very recently I spoke to a doctor who voluntarily and without hesitation indicated that he had purposely avoided going to the aid of a party at a particular accident because of the great concern he had about rendering aid when he was not in the proper clinical setting whereby he could best apply his professional skills. To me, it was a tragedy to hear that comment coming from one who is best trained to assist in these types of situations. Yet I had to understand and appreciate the doctor’s concerns.

The fact that the courts in the United States seem to have gone to the extreme in awarding huge amounts in settlements because of malpractice actions arising out of professional people attending at accidents and assisting on the spot has obviously had a negative impact. It’s one that I suggest is here, and is a concern that’s going to continue to grow unless some form of legal protection is provided to those who would, in a calculating way, try to derive some mercenary benefits out of a human tragedy or near tragedy.

It’s regrettable that the public attitude in some measure has come to this point where we feel we have to legislate that which was assumed to be a natural instinct of man to help his fellow man.

It’s without hesitation that I support the legislation. As I say, it’s regrettable that we have come to the point where we feel it’s necessary to encourage people to give support.

I think the member had suggested only one other province had enacted legislation to date; namely, the province of Alberta. I believe Nova Scotia and Newfoundland also have similar legislation on the books. I believe, also, up to 40 of the states in the USA have similar legislation. It’s not without precedent or without justification that we consider giving support to this bill as presented by the member for Erie.

I’m not totally convinced by the arguments made by the member for Lakeshore that there are some negative features to this type of legislation, in the sense that it would in some way inhibit people from going to the aid of injured parties. There is still the matter of choice in the legislation. A person is not forced to go to the aid of a person. They can still make that choice.

I would counter his suggestion that there should be legislation which does make it mandatory for any passing citizen to go to the aid of an injured person. It may well be that the nature of the personality of the person passing the scene, who felt that at law they were obliged to attend, may be the person least suited to assist in the emergency and may be one who could do more harm than good because they would not be able to respond well in that situation.

I understand my time has passed. I do thank you for letting me participate, Mr. Speaker, and I support the bill for the reasons stated.

Mr. Kerrio: It’s certainly a privilege and pleasure to join with my colleague in debating this bill. I hope the true intent of the short term is recognized by those opposite and that we start by being true Samaritans here on the floor of the Legislature and not stand 20 strong and block this from going to the vote.

I find it kind of a strange world that we live in that from jurisdiction to jurisdiction there can be such a difference of legislation and opinion. I would go to the kind of legislation that exists in France where, in a clearly defined way it reads in part, “If a French doctor passes by an accident scene where an individual is clearly seen to be lying injured beside his damaged car, then the physician would be liable to prosecution and up to five years’ imprisonment if he were not to help.”

Mr. Haggerty: They play a rough game over there.

Mr. Kerrio: In other jurisdictions there are such laws dealing with the bad Samaritan, those who fail to give help at the scene of an injury. Witness the same kind of legislation in Russia, the same kind of legislation in Belgium and many other jurisdictions.

We have had representation here relating to the hon. members’ vocations. We’ve had two lawyers speak to this as it relates to some of the legal aspects of liability. We have our good friend from York East speaking as a doctor, a medical man, who fully understands that in other jurisdictions there is certainly a real problem as it applies to those people who would leave themselves open to legal action from an act of mercy, as it were.

We have had representation made to us by various firefighters, police, rescue squads, first-aid groups, paramedics -- people who are on the scene; people who are asked daily to participate in quick decision-making at the scene of an emergency. Take, for example, the frequency with which those things happen. In regional Niagara the total road accidents for the year approached 10,000 and 3,730 people were injured. Add to that various other accidents that cause other types of injury and you will find, Mr. Speaker, there are a great many instances where people are called on to render first aid and in some cases would hesitate to do so because of the laws as they exist today.

An interesting thing that’s happened to my colleague is that he’s placed this legislation so many times before. I know, Mr. Speaker, while you sit in the chair you have to remain completely impartial, but from the time when you did address yourself to this legislation, when my colleague presented it before, I’d like to quote you. The then member for Thunder Bay said, on reading Mr. Haggerty’s bill, “The community applauds the Good Samaritan so the law, if it encourages rescue, is helping to satisfy the interests of the individual and the wants of the community.” I thought those words were very appropriate, Mr. Speaker, addressing themselves to the bill.

I would further like to report, after the bill was introduced at that time, one of our good Conservative members who was sitting in the Legislature at that time supported the bill. It’s very interesting.

The particular document I have before me was written and printed in the Kitchener-Waterloo Record in June, 1972. The heading is “Risky to Be a Samaritan.” It goes on to say: “When a Conservative jumps to his feet in the Ontario Legislature to support a bill introduced by a member of the Liberal opposition, there is a strong predisposition to think that the bill is a good one.”

Mr. Foulds: Oh, I wouldn’t go that far.

Mr. Kerrio: “It happened this week when Ray Haggerty (Liberal) sponsored a bill to alter Ontario law as it applies to a doctor giving medical aid in an emergency.

“A medical doctor can hardly use his car on the highways these days without happening on the scene of a traffic accident where someone has been injured. Should he stop and try to help some stranger bleeding in a ditch, or should he pretend not to notice and drive on? Experienced doctors feel some reluctance to give emergency aid. Their instinct may be to play Good Samaritan, but they know they might run the risk of being sued if the injured person or his relatives decided that they don’t like the help that was given.


“The Haggerty bill would, in terms of his explanation, 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 emergencies.” And so he was addressing himself to much the same concerns as does the bill being presented today.

“The MPP who rose from the opposite side of the chamber to support Mr. Haggerty did so with more than the usual qualifications to speak. Dr. Charles McIlveen (PC, Oshawa) recalled working for 30 minutes at the Oshawa rink giving emergency treatment to a girl hit by a puck fired by Bobby Orr when the latter was a junior with the Oshawa Generals.” This is the interesting part. “The next day the father of the girl threatened to sue the good doctor.”

So while there have not been many judgements handed down in specific cases as they relate to malpractice suits directed towards doctors, you can see in this particular instance, that very thing came very close to happening. One or two experiences like that would make any doctor wary about being noble in the practice of his profession.

The usual fate of private members’ bills such as the Haggerty bill is to die on the order paper. That brings us to the particular point in time, here in the Legislature, that has changed that part of the legislation. We can, in fact, debate worthwhile bills, put them to the floor of the Legislature, and vote in a free and democratic fashion on the merit of the bill so good legislation that comes from the floor of the opposition benches might be heard and dealt with in a manner that can be nothing short of a real asset to those people we represent.

I would ask those members on all sides to support this very worthwhile bill and to make the voting, as was originally intended in private members’ hour, something that is really worthwhile to the people we represent.

Mr. Speaker: We have two minutes. Does any other member wish to participate?

Mr. J. Reed: I would like to rise in support of this bill. When you come into the Legislature as a fledgling politician, you find legislation being passed that --

Hon. Mr. Welch: Who’s the fledgling?

Mr. J. Reed: I am. 1 am still wet behind the ears, as the member well knows. A babe in the woods; a rose among thorns.

Considering legislation about the vagaries of human nature we would think, in our idealistic way, that somehow we were all Good Samaritans and somehow, if an accident happened to a loved one or a relative, the last thing in the world we would consider would be to sue that person who, acting in an altruistic manner and in a generosity of spirit, rendered help to the best of his ability.

The human nature in us compels us to make a statement that will show the intent of this Legislature, and put it down in writing that a law suit will not occur when something like this takes place. I therefore support this bill very proudly.


Mr. Speaker: Mr. Ashe had moved private member’s motion 8.

Resolution concurred in.


Mr. Speaker: Mr. Haggerty had moved second reading of Bill 58.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for committee of the whole House.


Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, it is the custom to indicate the order of business for the following week. May I report as follows:

On Monday, we will be in committee of supply to continue the estimates of the Premier and the cabinet office.

Mr. Rotenberg: Be here, Albert.

Hon. Mr. Welch: On Tuesday, in the afternoon, the following bills will be considered in this order: Bills 48, 22, 42 and 66. In the evening, the following bills will be considered in this order: Bills 31, 60, 61, 68, 71 and 72.

Mr. Martel: Budget if there is time left.

Hon. Mr. Welch: On Wednesday, as usual we indicate the committees that will meet in the morning. The general government committee, the resources development committee, and the justice committee may meet next Wednesday morning.

Thursday afternoon, private members’ public business; first, Bill 64 standing in the name of the member for Oshawa.

Mr. Breaugh: That one will go.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Secondly, ballot item 16 --

Mr. Martel: The seals will be in great shape next week.

Hon. Mr. Welch: -- standing in the name of the member for Timiskaming (Mr. Havrot). On Thursday evening, the House will take into consideration sessional paper 65, known as Life Together, a report on human rights in Ontario.

On Friday morning the House will be in committee of supply and will start the estimates of the Ministry of Revenue.

The House recessed at 5:52 p.m.