The House met at 2 p.m.
CALEB HOPKINS CAIRN
Mr. J. Reed: On a point of personal privilege, Mr. Speaker: There is a point of privilege that I feel is necessary to raise in this House this afternoon which should affect every Liberal in the province of Ontario, and I’m sure anyone else who is concerned --
An hon. member: Almost everyone.
Mr. J. Reed: -- almost everyone else who might be a little bit concerned with the history of our province and those things that have gone on in the past.
At this very moment, at the corner of Highway 5 and the Guelph Line in my riding, a cairn which was erected on the Caleb Hopkins farm to the memory of one of the first Liberals in the province of Ontario --
Mr. Nixon: The founder of Liberalism, as you all know.
Mr. J. Reed: -- is being covered over by Ministry of Transportation and Communications machinery --
Some hon. members: Shame.
Mr. J. Reed: -- and no effort has been made to this point in time, as I understand it, either to leave that cairn exposed for everyone to see or to move it to another more suitable location.
The cairn is actually on the old Hopkins farm, and I would ask that the Minister of Transportation and Communications investigate what I think should be a matter of concern to all of us.
Mr. Sweeney: An explanation is in order.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, this is the first I’ve heard of the matter. If the hon. member is so concerned about it, one would think he might at least have let me know about the problem.
Mr. Nixon: That’s what he’s doing.
Mr. J. Reed: First I heard of it.
Hon. Mr. Snow: But I’ll be glad to look into it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I, too, am rising on a point of personal privilege.
Mr. Deans: Oh no, not you, too. Are they moving a cairn?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t often do this, Mr. Speaker, but on the weekend that great Canadian publication called The Canadian magazine reported that the Premier of this province has outside his home an Ontario flag which, in the magazine’s description, “looks like a tattered, faded pair of red long johns.”
An hon. member: You can’t confuse the word “red.” You’ve got blue long johns.
Mr. Makarchuk: Bob Stanfield’s gift.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t want to be provocative or controversial, but I do want to state here now that I have never owned a tattered, faded pair of red long Johns --
Mr. Kerrio: Yours were blue.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- let alone should I fly such an article from my flagpole.
Mr. MacDonald: Where did you borrow them?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I take great umbrage with the magazine article. It is not only exaggerated, but it is inaccurate. I will acknowledge that, like some of the rest of us here in this chamber who have flagpoles, the Ontario flag on my front lawn did emerge from the winter somewhat worse from wear. I won’t debate that. But I want it noted that the flag in question was replaced roughly six weeks ago. My note said three, but I checked with my son and it was about six weeks ago. My constituents from the great riding of Brampton will attest to it.
I am aware that this is allegedly spring, although yesterday and today would prompt me to question that, and that the silly season might well be finally upon us.
Mr. Deans: It certainly sounds that way.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I believe it is all well and good for the media to poke fun at potholes and to assign teams of investigative reporters to a relentless search for these irritations to motorists. However, I believe it is terribly unfair and unpatriotic for a publication to hold up to ridicule the proud flag of this great jurisdiction by comparing it to underwear.
Mr. MacDonald: Have you cleared this with Bob Stanfield?
Hon. Mr. Davis: While the restraint program is definitely upon us, both in terms of government and personally, I want to advise the House that I am quite capable of replacing the flag and I will have no cause to call upon the fine offer of the firm named in the article as being willing to provide me with a new flag at a discount.
In the meantime, I am consulting with another great Conservative, Robert Stanfield, to ascertain whether he may be able to provide a set of tattered long johns which I will present to the editor of The Canadian magazine at a reasonable discount. Mind you, they will have historical value so they should be worth quite a bit. I think he might want to wear them if he ventures out into the chilly spring to join the current media crusade searching for potholes across this province.
Mr. Lewis: I think you wrote that yourself.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I did.
Mr. Lewis: It shows your fine hand -- finally, your own statement, after all these years.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I should like to clarify a response I made to a question in the Legislature on March 16. I expressed the view that the Interested Citizens Group was satisfied with the reality that the Bradley-Milton transmission line was the best of all alternative routes. I reached that opinion after two meetings with them, during which we considered alternatives and the status of the present route.
My opinion has been further strengthened during the interim period of almost six weeks since we officially informed them of our decision. During this time, the only response was a very brief press report that indicated the Interested Citizens Group’s recognition of the need to be realistic.
I have now received a Telex from their spokesman in which he indicates that they will continue to oppose the Bradley-Milton route. I am, of course, disappointed to hear this. While this latest communication will not change our decision to proceed with the present route, I am pleased to accede to the spokesman’s request that their views be made known in this House and to the general public, in order to correct any contrary impression my response may have created on March 16.
FAMILY UNITY MONTH
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to note that the month of May has been proclaimed as Family Unity Month here in Ontario. While it is widely recognized that the family is the foundation upon which our society rests and that the quality of community life begins with the family, it is not often that we take the time to reflect and to realize just how important our families are to all of us. It is our hope that with the official declaration of Family Unity Month, we can promote an awareness of the worth of the family and encourage all families to set aside special times to do meaningful things together.
The recent Speech from the Throne indicated this government’s concern and interest in supporting and strengthening family life here in Ontario. It was stated that the government would undertake a comprehensive review of its policies and programs as they affect the family, with the aim of making appropriate changes to enhance the role and the authority of the family unit.
We will initiate this work with a review of existing provincial legislation and policies in order to determine which legislation and what policies have a direct effect on the family’s ability to cope with its own responsibilities.
Further, a committee on families will be appointed within government to examine the pertinent legislation. As well, the committee will compile and monitor current data and information in order to identify changing family patterns and population trends and it will assist in the development of government policies with a view to promoting programs which foster the independence of the family.
As might he expected, our internal review will be paralleled by a series of consultations with various interested groups. As you may recall, Mr. Speaker, last May I convened a very successful one-day consultation, “Think About the Family,” with participation by church and social agency representatives.
I trust the members will support these initiatives. Every day, government affects the lives of individual families through its action or inaction. It is our sincere hope that by undertaking this review we will be able to improve and enhance our policies and our programs to foster and strengthen family life in Ontario.
Mr. Warner: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker. Apparently the Premier (Mr. Davis) made a statement of government policy on the weekend regarding rent control, but that statement was not made available to the rent review committee. It would seem that unless we have statements made here in the Legislature, remarks made outside by the Premier may very well undermine the work of the rent review committee. I would appreciate it, Mr. Speaker, if you could inquire of the Premier if he would be prepared to make statements here in the House before making them public.
Mr. Nixon: He was just riding trains this weekend.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I don’t recall making a statement in that sense of the word on the weekend about rent controls. I do recall being in our nation’s capital --
Mrs. Campbell: Renting a GO-GO.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- I spent most of it on the GO Train, as a matter of fact.
Mr. Kerrio: Actually you were talking with Joe Clark.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It was a great trip. The member opposite went the whole route and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Mr. Deans: What is it about hamburgers being more popular?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, I helped write the story for the Star reporter. I observed as we were going through a very important official opening ceremony that it was intriguing how not only hamburgers but the steam locomotive certainly attracted far more attention than anything the Premier or anyone else was saying. If I had been free to make my own choice I probably would have done the same thing because I was hungry.
Mr. Foulds: I thought this was Monday afternoon -- not Friday morning.
Mr. Lewis: I had that problem too, just before we lost a lot of seats.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I understand the member for Scarborough West has had that problem for a number of years. But I want to make it quite clear I made no statement. I did have a press conference, and somebody asked about rent controls I think.
Mr. Breaugh: It went on for an hour and a half.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I just made a casual observation that I think is substantially correct. I said one of the problems we faced in terms of rent controls was the fact that because of the control program -- and you may disagree with me -- there has been less investment in new rental accommodation, and that this was one of the negative aspects of the control program; I felt that the way to ultimately resolve the problem is to have a sufficient supply so that the marketplace -- and I am not saying what period of time -- would once again, as it did three years ago, dictate a reasonable rent.
So I really wasn’t interfering. Mr. Speaker -- I would never interfere -- with the activities of the committee. I did however make a personal point of view known that I think can be borne out in fact. If it can’t, I still have that point of view.
Mr. Lewis: The facts be damned; I have my point of view.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We all have a point of view.
VENTURE INVESTMENT CORPORATIONS
Mr. S. Smith: I’d like to direct a question to the Treasurer, Mr. Speaker, regarding the Venture Investment Corporation concept which I think he knows I favour as much as he does. Can the Treasurer explain, however, why there has not been a single application by a corporation to form a Venture Investment Corporation since this much-touted and long-promised -- I think it went hack four budgets or so -- legislation finally was passed? Has his ministry investigated the reasons for this lack of interest? Does he have any remedies to suggest? What is he planning to do about that?
Mr. Lewis: It is cost cutting. Saving money.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, we are in the process of looking at that matter now. It was drawn to my attention a couple of weeks ago and discussions are going on. But I have nothing to report to the House at the moment.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, can the Treasurer suggest whether one of the remedies he might be looking at is to make these particular funds a little less restrictive and also perhaps to require less in the way of initial capital so that they can be undertaken on a small level, a more flexible level? Does he have any particular remedies to suggest? I think he and I will agree that we must have some venture and risk financing for the small- and medium-size sectors in Ontario, and we have to have it soon.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: No, I am not looking at any remedies because we haven’t identified the problem as yet. When we do that we will look at remedies.
Mr. S. Smith: Final supplementary: Do I take it then that the Treasurer will share with this House what he diagnoses to be the problem and present some remedies as soon as possible so that we can get the entrepreneurial sector revived in the province of Ontario?
Mr. T. P. Reid: Supplementary: Are there any civil servants within the Treasurers ministry or any other ministry who are in charge of this program who are looking specifically after the venture capital program?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: No, the administration of it is in the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations.
Mrs. Campbell: Oh!
Mr. T. P. Reid: Could I redirect my question, Mr. Speaker, and ask that minister if there are people on the civil service payroll who in fact have offices and everything that goes with them, people who are running this program which doesn’t seem to be running?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, there is no bureaucratic structure set up with offices and red-circled public servants sitting in them.
Mr. Lewis: You see, that is the problem.
Mr. Nixon: The minister himself is responsible for that failure.
Mr. Kerrio: It’s on automatic pilot.
Mr. S. Smith: It’s a great program on paper, you know.
CHAIN STORE DISCOUNTS
Mr. S. Smith: A question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food: What inquiries has the minister made and exactly how widespread is the practice by which supermarket chains demand a two per cent discount on produce from produce growers and shippers, allegedly in order to promote Ontario produce? What has the minister done to look into this? How widespread is the practice? And what can he tell us about it?
Hon. W. Newman: In order to answer the question, I have talked to one or two of the chains and, by and large, farmers or groups do negotiate with the chain stores on so much per hundred units or thousand units or whatever it is. It is a negotiated price with them. It was drawn to my attention by one person that they felt they were taking this off for promotion. We’ve talked to the chain stores about it and they tell us they do negotiate price when they are buying large quantities of produce and I have actually asked my people to look specifically into this single complaint that we have had about this particular situation.
Mr. S. Smith: I would like some clarification, by way of supplementary, Mr. Speaker. Does the minister agree that there is a practice by which certain supermarket chains demand a two per cent discount from the grower in order, allegedly, to be able to promote the grower’s product or Ontario produce generally? Does that practice exist? If so, how widespread is it? Given the fact that the ministry is spending money, allegedly to promote Ontario produce, why should it be necessary for the grower or the shipper to have to suffer this discount in order to have its produce promoted?
Hon. W. Newman: To my knowledge, at no time are the chain stores charging any producer, on any products they are buying from him, for the promotion of Ontario produce -- not as far as the ministry is concerned. Of course, as I said, there are negotiated prices with the producers and the chain stores from time to time. I can give you an example of a producer who -- it may come up when I am discussing the bill -- lowered his price for a certain commodity in order to move his product out. He had a large quantity of a certain product and he reduced his price to the chain stores in order to move that particular commodity. As far as I am concerned, it’s a free enterprise system and if he wants to negotiate, that’s fair enough. But as far as a cutoff is concerned, or whatever word the member wants to call it --
Mr. S. Smith: Discount.
Hon. W. Newman: -- we are looking into that whole matter. But, as far as I am concerned, if they want to negotiate price, they do. If you go out to the Ontario Food Terminal you’ll find that many of the large chains go out to buy directly from the farmers who bring their produce in there and it’s a straight matter of dickering back and forth on the price they are paying for their commodities.
Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: Would the minister refer that matter to the Ontario Food Council or would there be another branch of his ministry looking into it? The reason I ask is that on the matter of food pricing there was recently an indication that the price of beef was going up because of the change in the Canadian dollar vis-à-vis the American dollar. When we want more money for the beef farmer, as the minister used to be, surely that is an irresponsible suggestion and the Food Council ought to be asked to inquire into it.
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, being a beef farmer, would fully understand what has happened to the beef market in the last few months. We were getting about 43 cents a pound for number one, top-choice steers, which every farmer was losing money on. Those were top prices; the average was closer to 40 cents. In the last few months, the price has gone up around 58 cents a pound. On the hoof, that’s 28 cents a pound; if you take that price and double it, you have what it will actually cost consumers in the long run in increased costs for beef. Keep in mind that with the prices they’re getting now for their beef, they’re just beginning to break even.
Mr. Swart: I wonder if the minister could clarify this matter a little further for us, and I’d like to put a supplementary question to him to do that. Is it not true that at least two of the main chain stores have been charging a two per cent discount or kickback, whatever word you may want to use, which has now been raised by one store to three per cent, for handling produce from local farmers, while this same charge is not made for foreign farm produce that is brought in here? Will the minister tell us if that is the case and will he give a full report to this House on it?
Hon. W. Newman: I thought I’d already answered that question.
Mr. Swart: No, you hadn’t.
Hon. W. Newman: I’ll answer it again, if the hon. member likes. When chain stores are buying from certain producers or processors, they do negotiate price, which is the normal reaction. What the member is implying is that there is a two per cent kickback -- that’s the word he is using.
Mr. Nixon: Payola, we used to call it.
Hon. W. Newman: I am told these are negotiated prices.
Mr. Swart: I am told they’re not.
Hon. W. Newman: If the hon. member is such an expert, let him give me an example.
I would just point out to him that I have asked our people to look at the situation, because I would deplore any sort of indication of a kickback and I would certainly get right on it.
Mr. MacDonald: Don’t be too sure that you’ve got the thing assessed correctly.
Hon. W. Newman: I didn’t say I did. I said I’m looking into it.
Mr. MacDonald: Right.
Mr. McGuigan: I would like to ask a supplementary question, Mr. Speaker. The minister has said it’s a normal practice, and it may well be; but if he finds this to be true, would he consider legislation making it mandatory that all buyers -- I’m thinking of smaller stores and independent stores -- be granted the same concessions that have been negotiated by the chain stores? As a farmer, I find this an absolutely deplorable situation. If it is a commercial practice, then it should be made available to all buyers.
Hon. W. Newman: I’m not exactly sure I fully understand the question.
Mr. MacDonald: Nor do I.
Hon. W. Newman: I take it to mean: Should this apply to all buyers across the province, smaller stores and others? At the Ontario Food Terminal, which handles a lot of produce -- and I’m sure the hon. member has been out there -- a lot of the smaller stores go there and buy their needs for the week, or sometimes they go twice a week. It’s open every morning at 5 o’clock, if anyone would like to go out. I’ve been there on many occasions and I think there is a possibility or a chance there for the smaller stores to buy in quantity, as well as the larger stores.
Mr. Foulds: I have a question for the Treasurer. In view of the application by the township of Ignace, currently before his ministry, to annex Mattabi and Falconbridge mines as part of the municipality for taxation purposes to offset the financial difficulties brought on by its boom-town status, and in view of the rejection by the provincial government of a similar application in 1972, can the minister tell us whether he will approve this new application at this time in order to set a pattern to help solve the continual taxation problems of one-industry resource towns in the north?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, this matter, I would think, would have been sent to the Ontario Municipal Board. I am not aware whether they have referred it to me; in any case, it hasn’t come to my attention. No doubt it will. I will then be in a position to respond to the member, but I can’t at the moment.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary question, if I might: Does the minister not think that, as a general matter of policy, it would be a good idea to include mines such as these as part of a municipality for taxation purposes because, as in the example of Ignace, about $1 million in commercial assessment would accrue and the expansion in the town has been almost entirely due to the services it has had to provide because of the development of the mines?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: To say yes to that question would be very sweeping indeed. One would want to look at the individual circumstances before saying yes or no to them. Certainly in the case of Timmins, which the government proposed and which this Legislature implemented, I think that has been a very satisfactory arrangement and, despite some of the doomsaying from some people, it has worked out very well indeed. Whether it would work out well in all circumstances is something I would like to reserve judgement on.
Mr. T. P. Reid: A supplementary: I presume from the Treasurer’s remarks the policy of looking at each situation on an individual basis rather than having a policy to cover all of northern Ontario stands.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Indubitably.
Mr. Foulds: A final supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Does the minister not think that this problem has been before his government long enough and is it not time that his ministry came up with a general policy to solve the taxation problems of mining towns in northern Ontario? Doesn’t he think it would be a good idea if the municipalities could assess the true commercial value of those few mines that are incorporated in municipalities so they could tax the workings and facilities underground as well as the mere structures on top?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Inasmuch as it’s not in front of me I can’t answer that question.
Mr. Foulds: I might just point out it’s been in front of this minister for many years and has just been put in front of him again and he ignores the problem.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Not so.
PULP AND PAPER INDUSTRY
Mr. Foulds: I have a question of the Minister of Industry and Tourism. In view of the upturn, after a recent downturn, in net incomes to the pulp and paper industry in 1977 that showed increases in Abitibi’s net income of 191 per cent; Domtar, 153 per cent; and Great Lakes Paper, 194 per cent; and in view of the fact that the average pulp facility in Ontario is 38 years old and the average paper mill is 44 years old, what steps is the government taking to ensure that the pulp and paper companies in Ontario are reinvesting in modernization of their plants, particularly in those years when they do receive good net incomes?
Mr. Pope: Totalitarianism.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: First of all I’m not totally aware of those massive increases. I don’t know what a 194 per cent increase is. It is a percentage increase of what? If one had one per cent last year, 194 per cent doesn’t mean an awful lot of an increase.
Secondly, I don’t know of any particular effort that is being made as far as this government is concerned, or my ministry, in any way to force companies into capital expenditures, into modernization of their mills. That’s still, I think, a corporate decision that they make.
Mr. Foulds: A supplementary: Does the minister not realize that unless the companies are somehow persuaded, or encouraged, or pressured into modernizing their facilities, all the efforts that are being taken by the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. F. S. Miller) to increase forest regeneration will be of no avail as the companies will not be competitive on the world market because the plants will be outmoded?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I am quite prepared to encourage and perhaps persuade, but I’m not about to pressure anyone. It seems to me the companies are as interested in being competitive in the markets as anyone else is. For me to presume that the only people concerned with seeing that those mills are modern and producing a satisfactory income for the companies are here in this Legislature is, I think, a great presumption.
Mr. Foulds: A supplementary question: Does the minister not realize that Abitibi, for example, has invested in two mills in the southern United States in recent years and none in Ontario? Doesn’t he think it is important to the economic life blood of Ontario that that industry be maintained, because it provides 67 per cent to 75 per cent of the jobs in northwestern Ontario and six out of 10 jobs related to that industry are here in southern Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: There can be no question that we would like to see that investment taking place in Ontario or somewhere in Canada. I am well aware of the number of jobs in northwestern Ontario and in Ontario as a whole that relate to the forest products industry. However, as to the investment these companies are making in the southern United States, I am sure the hon. member is aware that the paper industry as well as other industries are being wooed into those areas by some rather interesting incentive programs that are being offered to them by those jurisdictions.
An hon. member: Low energy costs.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Also, they have made an assessment of how their operations can work in those areas, not the least of which are the climatic conditions which permit them to have a greater yield on their forest products. When one can grow a tree -- and I certainly don’t have to tell you, Mr. Speaker -- in 25 years in the southern United States as opposed to 50 years in northern Ontario, they are looking at that as well.
Mr. Foulds: Is the minister telling us that he and his government are powerless to help reverse that trend and to maintain the pulp and paper industry in this province?
Mr. Grande: Oh, they have always been.
An hon. member: Right on. They will do nothing.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, we are not totally powerless. We can use persuasion, but I say to the hon. members without any hesitation, I am not going to take the attitude that this government should force any company into doing what it will make a corporate decision not to do.
Mr. Warner: You are not going to assist either.
An hon. member: They don’t want to do it.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: That may be the approach the NDP would take, and the only way we will ever know for sure is if the people of this province decide to give them the chance to do it.
Mr. Foulds: They will.
SERVICES FOR THE PHYSICALLY HANDICAPPED
Mr. Blundy: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services re the physically handicapped in community living. Has the minister received from his colleague the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) a study promised one year ago reviewing delays and gaps in service between the two ministries concerning the re-entry into the community of physically handicapped people, and is this the same study that Mr. Crichton and Mr. Pitt of his ministry have been working on?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I am not aware of any specific study that has been forwarded to me by the Minister of Health. It is true that there has been an interministerial group working for some time now and I believe it will be reporting in the very near future to the Social Development policy secretariat on that subject. I am aware of the work they have been doing but I am not aware of anything that might have been referred specifically by the Minister of Health, although I will inquire to see if there is a report that I may have identified as something else other than originating from the ministry.
Mr. Blundy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In the second annual report of the Ontario advisory council on the physically handicapped, the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch) is quoted as saying, subsequent to March 1977, that the Minister of Health would be doing “a complete review of the present situation, taking into account your council’s comments about unnecessary delays in being released from hospital and other programs of the Ministry of Community and Social Services which provide assistive devices. Hopefully we can come to some satisfactory solution in the near future.” That was subsequent to March 1977. Does the minister have any further comment on that?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I am still not aware of any specific report but we have, in fact, addressed that problem and have taken steps to attempt to move up the assessment process, for example, in cases where people will be moving from perhaps a chronic care facility into a community setting, with a view to having their benefits approved prior to their moving into the community to avoid the kinds of delays that I think were being addressed in the minutes the member refers to. I might also add that my ministry and I have been working now for some time to develop a more comprehensive approach to the whole question of coordination of services for the physically handicapped, although I am not yet in a position to make any formal statement on what those plans are.
Mr. McClellan: Supplementary: Pursuant to the minister’s last remark, what’s the status of the care package proposals that were killed during the regime of the benevolent James Taylor? Is that what the minister is talking about reviewing and hopefully reviving?
Hon. Mr. Norton: That wasn’t specifically what I was referring to. I was referring to a broader picture than just that.
Mr. McClellan: You had it in the back of your mind.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I might also add that I was not aware that there had been any effort on the part of anyone to kill the care package, if the hon. member means the same thing by “care package” as I do.
Mr. McClellan: It’s your proposal.
Hon. Mr. Norton: There are four pilot projects in the province, two of which are operational, one of which is still under construction; the fourth is yet to begin -- the one in Thunder Bay -- although I understand they are about to make more substantial progress. I have been reviewing the results to date on the two projects that are operational. I am very favourably impressed with them and will be making recommendations almost immediately with respect to some expansion of that program within the next fiscal year.
Mrs. Campbell: Could the minister advise to what extent the Ministry of Housing is involved in this interministerial study?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I’m sorry, I can’t be certain of all of the ministries involved. I believe the Ministry of Housing, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and a number of ministries from policy fields other than the Social Development policy secretariat have been involved. It has involved, really, all of those who are involved in some way in rehabilitation programs. In fact, it goes beyond specific ministries; for example, as I recall, there has been involvement with the Workmen’s Compensation Board as well, to try to develop a broad approach that would coordinate those services. I know the committee will be making recommendations within the next few weeks.
FOODLAND ONTARIO PROGRAM
Mr. MacDonald: A question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food: In view of the editorial in the April issue of The Grower which stated, first, that the big-dollar commodities, namely, beef, poultry and milk, have not joined in the government’s Foodland program; second, that the first approach to the fruit boards was -- and this is their words -- “a bald bribe” of the government offering to finance promotion programs only if high-profile media work was done by civil servants and mailed from Queen’s Park; and third, that Foodland Ontario poured $100,000 into the spring storage vegetable promotion when it wasn’t needed and wasn’t solicited, and did so so that it could exhaust its appropriation before the end of the fiscal year and be able to claim the same amount the next year -- in view of these rather serious charges, what is the minister’s reply? They suggest that the program isn’t as unqualified a success as the minister has been hinting.
Hon. W. Newman: With respect to the editorial that appeared in The Grower, I have asked our legal department to look into it and to report back to me. There are certain things in it that are not factual, and which are very misleading. It is a very difficult situation to deal with. I don’t want to cause any problems but the person who wrote that article -- I won’t say what’s going to happen, but I know what’s happening down the road.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh.
Hon. W. Newman: I think that was the last shot. I had nothing to do with it. They don’t work for me. I’ve asked our legal branch to look into it and to make recommendations to me as to the appropriate action to be taken.
An hon. member: Intimidation.
Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary: Would the minister clarify his reply? Is the government contemplating suing the official organ of the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association?
Hon. W. Newman: Nice try. I said we were looking at the full article and its contents, because, in fairness to those involved, I don’t think the editor even saw it before it went in.
Mr. Warner: What are you going to do?
An hon. member: Is somebody going to read it to you, is that what you are saying?
Mr. McKessock: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The member for York South mentioned that the money wasn’t used in the beef program. Would the minister consider using some of this $1 million to inform the consumers how important it is that there not be a backlash on the increased price of beef, in order to allow the beef farmers to recoup some of the losses they have sustained over the last three or four years?
Hon. W. Newman: I don’t think that’s supplementary, but I’ll be glad to answer it.
Mr. MacDonald: The minister’s right so far.
Hon. W. Newman: As far as the beef industry is concerned, we have met with the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association regarding a promotional program. We have also met with some of the packing plants. I think you’ll find that the beef people will be getting involved to some extent in the promoting of beef. As a matter of fact, as far as dairy products are concerned, the Ontario Milk Marketing Board has had about a $2 million budget every year to promote their own products and they’re doing a good job on it.
Certainly, as far as I’m concerned -- I’ve said it in this House and I’ve said it in speeches -- the beef farmers in this province took a loss for three years, and I will continue to say that. They’re just now beginning to get break-even prices back again. Beef is still a bargain for the consumer today.
Mr. Epp: I have a question for the Treasurer. I’m wondering whether the Treasurer is serious about introducing market value assessment and property tax reform this year. If so, when can we expect legislation to this effect?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: In the fullness of time.
Mr. Warner: We haven’t heard that one for a while.
Mr. Epp: A supplementary for the Treasurer. Since he flunked on answering the first one, maybe he can try the second one.
Is it true that if market value assessment and property tax reform is introduced this year it will only be introduced in three areas of the province -- in the regional municipality of Waterloo, in Windsor and in Sarnia?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: That is not true, to my knowledge. Perhaps I can say just a little more about the first part of the question. I would hope to be in a position to make a statement in the House in the next few weeks.
Mr. Swart: If there is some doubt that market value assessment is going to be introduced this year, as would appear from the minister’s statement, will he then bring in legislation to lift a freeze on the equalization factor so that municipalities that are losing substantial grants now because of outdated equalization factors, at least next year will get their fair share?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: No doubt there are municipalities which are also gaining substantial amounts. The member might want to think about that as well.
Mrs. Campbell: You didn’t answer the question.
SENIOR CITIZEN HOUSING
Mr. Warner: I have a question for the Minister of Housing. I wonder if he would be concerned in helping not only to support the present policy of CMHC with respect to senior citizens housed in Metro housing, but also to protect about 10,000 senior citizens who are presently not being treated fairly by Metro Toronto Housing?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I’m aware of the fact that Metro Toronto Housing has tried, over the last number of years, substantially to look after those people who have made applications for senior citizens’ accommodation. I compliment the Metro housing authority which at this time has better than 10,000 units in use in this community and over the next number of months will increase that by better than 1,000 units. This afternoon I shall have the opportunity of opening up one of their new senior citizen housing projects in Etobicoke.
I would like the hon. member to detail for me in more specific terms where he thinks there is a neglect by the housing authority here in the metropolitan area in not looking after the requirements of the senior citizens.
If the hon. member means that he thinks that the criteria for getting into a senior citizen’s accommodation should be altered substantially to allow for a greater number of people to participate, that’s another discussion that we can have. But at this moment my understanding is that the waiting list for senior citizens in this community is relatively small and could very well be accommodated in the turnover factor that takes place within the operation of the senior citizens’ units in this community in any given year.
Mr. Warner: A supplementary: Since CMHC has specifically directed Metro Toronto Housing not to change their fixed rent scales to rent-geared-to-income, and since they also specifically said, “They must not demand tax returns as proof of income” and Metro Toronto Housing has chosen flagrantly to disregard both of those demands by CMHC, will the minister assist the 10,000 seniors who dislike being treated so shabbily by Metro Toronto Housing by putting pressure on Metro Toronto Housing to conform so that the seniors don’t have to put up with this frustration?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Concerning the two remarks made by the member the requirement about the tax rebate is not one that I know is being exercised.
Secondly, CMHC has very clearly indicated to me that they are seriously looking at moving towards the 25 per cent rent-to-income factor across all of the housing sectors in the province of Ontario. They are not looking specifically at senior citizens, but at all of those who are in public tenements at the moment.
I’d be delighted to receive the quotes the member has made, because I am not aware of who made them, or at what time or in what correspondence.
Mr. Nixon: Late show tonight.
HYDRO EXPORT SALES
Mr. J. Reed: A question for the Minister of Energy. Since the professed need for Ontario Hydro to raise some of its rates approximately 10 per cent next year seems to be based mainly on increased fuel costs, could the minister tell us how much of that fuel being burned is turning generators for power export? Is the export sale price actually reflecting the cost of that production, or are we in Ontario bearing an averaged cost for power which is naturally inflated by the cost of fossil fuelling?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I think I can at least partially answer that question. During the export of surplus power, particularly during the strike, the rates charged to the American consumers were based on the estimate that the fuel that was generating that particular power was oil, which is more expensive than coal. Ontario Hydro did this to protect the Ontario consumer because it was recognized that had the strike gone on for months and months and months they might have exhausted their supply of coal and eventually would have been forced to charge the Ontario consumer for hydro based on the cost of oil.
So Ontario Hydro took what I think was a very excellent step to protect the consumer here in Ontario against the kind of thing I suspect the hon. member was concerned about.
Mr. J. Reed: Supplementary: I think that satisfies the question for the period during that strike, but what is the general policy regarding the export of power and the sale price of that power?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I cannot confirm this at this time but I am under the impression that that policy applies at all times. I will check into that and I will convey the answer directly to the member or to this House.
Ms. Gigantes: Supplementary: I’d like to ask the Minister of Energy if he realizes that the long-run effect of the policy now being pursued by his ministry in approving hydro export sales in the manner he’s proposing is that we’re going to end up paying an international price for electricity here in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I would wish that the member who has raised that question might elaborate somewhat further, because --
Ms. Gigantes: You don’t understand it, do you?
Mr. Warner: She knows more about it than you do.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- I don’t quite get the relationship between the two. I just don’t.
Ms. Gigantes: You’d better figure it out.
Mr. Warner: You’re lost over there. Bring back Taylor.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I’d better figure it out. I would simply ask if, as a supplementary, the hon. member --
Ms. Gigantes: You have a lot to learn.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- opposite would clarify, because I think she --
An hon. member: It won’t be long, it won’t be long.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- she doesn’t know. So I’m wide open, ask your question. Come on.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Windsor-Riverside.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Give me your supplementary.
Mr. Foulds: Why don’t you resign if you can’t handle your ministry?
An hon. member: Give him a supplementary.
Mr. Lewis: Who would have thought we would have begged for the return of Jim Taylor?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I thought you were going to keep quiet.
Mr. Cooke: I have a question for the Minister of Colleges and Universities. I’d like to ask the minister if he has made a decision as of yet whether or not he’s going to continue to fund the transitional classes at the University of Toronto and the preliminary classes at other universities across Ontario. If he hasn’t made a final decision, when will he be able to, or when will he announce the decision? If he has, what thoughts were in his mind in order to make that decision in order to cut out the funding, if in fact that’s his decision?
Hon. Mr. Davis: When did you start asking about thoughts going through minds?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: A final decision has not been made on that particular question. I think I could respond to the last part of the question best by suggesting that the Council on University Affairs have made a very strong recommendation to the ministry that several programs be discontinued, the transitional year being one of them. I suspect that that decision won’t be completely finalized until late June or early July.
Mr. Cooke: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I would like to ask the minister if there has been any consultation with local school boards to see if they could take over this course, because the information I have in talking with the director of the Metro Toronto board is that they could not take over the course and they just don’t feel they would be able to provide the same quality of education for these particular students as is offered presently at the university level. What discussions have taken place?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I personally have not had any discussions on the matter, although I believe people within our university affairs division have. That is part of the reason why we are not prepared at this time to state our final decision on the transitional year.
Mr. Sweeney: Is it not true that the per student cost of running the transitional year is less than if those students were to go back to the secondary school to receive the same kind of education?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I would assume that the hon. member was referring to the actual dollar costs. I think there are many areas we must consider when we consider cost, not just the dollars involved but whether or not people will avail themselves of the opportunity. In the social sense, it would be a cost if they did not. I suspect that as far as dollars are concerned the programs are of rather comparable cost. I do not have, at this stage of the game, a direct analysis of the two costs.
Mr. Sweeney: One more supplementary: With reference to the minister’s own point about people availing themselves of it is it not true that his own officials have indicated it is more likely that people will avail themselves of that service at the university than they would at the secondary school, and consequently, by trying to push it down to the secondary school level, is he not discouraging people from availing themselves of that service?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: All I can say in reference to the last question is that those are the things we are considering at this time. I am not prepared to say to the hon. member that we have decided that one cost outweighs the other. We must give the question a lot of careful consideration because there are many ramifications. It is that very reason that has delayed our decision making in this instance.
COMMUNITY RESOURCE CENTRES
Mr. G. I. Miller: I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Correctional Services: Given the fact that Glendale Adult Training Centre in Simcoe has closed and the inmates transferred to the Burtch and Brampton institutions as a temporary measure, could the minister inform me when the Glendale inmates will be sent to community resource centres, and in particular, to a resource centre in Haldimand-Norfolk so that they may carry on the training programs provided at Glendale?
Hon. Mr. Drea: As a matter of fact there are some former Glendale inmates in community resource centres now. I take it what the hon. member is saying is if there was an inmate in Glendale from the region of Haldimand-Norfolk, he would like to have him placed in a CRC in the Haldimand-Norfolk area. Is that basically what the member is asking? I have Glendale inmates all over the province in various places.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Could the minister provide me with a list of community resource centres already established in Ontario and, particularly, advise if there is one to service the area of Haldimand-Norfolk? Could he also indicate if the resource centres are being accepted within the community?
Hon. Mr. Drea: They are accepted so much we don’t even have zoning difficulties. In Belleville, Brockville, Mimico, Parkdale, all over the place -- no problem at all.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Thunder Bay.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Just so I understand -- I don’t want to give notice on this because I have answered most of it. What the member wants to know is if there were any inmates from Haldimand-Norfolk who were formerly in Glendale, where they went, and if it is possible to relocate them in the region. Is that right?
Mr. G. I. Miller: No. I would like the minister to specify what community resource centres are servicing the area of Haldimand-Norfolk. Is there one in that particular area that can service that area, and how many are there in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Drea: There are now 29, if memory serves correctly because we are adding them on at about the rate of one every two weeks. I will find out what CRC serves the Haldimand-Norfolk area particularly.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Can the minister provide us with information as to the per person cost in correctional institutions as opposed to a community resource centre?
Hon. Mr. Drea: On average the cost of a jail or an institution is about $40. As for the CRCs, it depends where they are; they range from $19 to $23. It depends upon the program.
I may say there are certain areas such as the jail for the Rainy River district where --
Mr. T. P. Reid: One of your few good programs.
Hon. Mr. Drea: -- because of its extremely low capacity -- I think it is 12 -- the per diem cost is, obviously, up around $100 a day. But that is an artificial figure.
Mr. Nixon: They don’t need a big jail up there.
Mr. T. P. Reid: We don’t have those problems.
An hon. member: They are all good people up there.
An hon. member: They are big eaters up there.
JUVENILE TREATMENT FACILITY
Mr. McClellan: I have a question of the Minister of Community and Social Services who announced today the abandonment of his previously announced secure treatment facility at Oakville. I want to ask the minister if he recalls the pledge that was made to this House on December 9, 1976, when the Provincial Secretary for Social Development announced the removal of section 8 of the Training Schools Act as follows: “I would like the members to know now that our priorities include the establishment of a small secure treatment unit for severely disturbed adolescents”? This was in December 1976; and I would ask the minister when, in fact, he intends to honour that promise and that pledge?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Almost immediately, Mr. Speaker. I think to construe my announcement today as an abandonment of the commitment is to misconstrue it.
Mr. Lewis: The minister is certainly very defensive in his press release.
Hon. Mr. Norton: In fact, I think the press release made it very clear that that was not in any way a change in terms of the commitment to the new philosophy and the new plan for the juvenile corrections branch of my ministry.
The only significant change that has taken place is that the secure treatment unit will be located other than in the Oakville centre and I hope to be in a position in the relatively near future to announce the alternative location. I don’t anticipate there will be any significant delay as a result of that change in plan.
Mr. McClellan: By way of supplementary: Would the minister not agree that his whole proposal to close the training schools and to move to a deinstitutional mode of treatment depends on the bedrock of closed treatment facilities for the severely disturbed adolescent. In view of the fact that the minister has already had a year and a half to “pursue the alternatives,” can he tell us precisely when he intends to announce the establishment of a secure treatment facility and where?
Hon. Mr. Norton: I will be telling the hon. member along with the other members of the House in, I hope, the immediate future. At that time I will indicate where. I do not intend to make such an announcement today.
Mr. McClellan: The minister doesn’t have the foggiest clue; that is why.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Just for clarification on that supplementary: The fact of the matter is that there are so many alternatives, and there are a number of communities that would dearly love to have the facility located in that community.
Mr. Breaugh: But not Jim Snow.
Mr. McClellan: But not Jim Snow.
Mr. Breaugh: Not Jim Snow, in Oakville? I thought Jim would like that.
Hon. Mr. Norton: The process is not a difficulty in finding a site; it is finding the very best site possible, and that is what I am doing.
Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, my question is of the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development, in the absence of the Minister of Natural Resources. In view of the information that the states of New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania plan to plant six million cohoe salmon in Lake Erie, stock that was originally intended for Ontario but because of Mirex contamination is now going into Erie; and in view of the fact that commercial fishermen fear that these predator fish, which at the age of about a year eat their weight each day and therefore will deplete the commercial species such as perch, pickerel and smelt, would the minister tell what his government is doing to represent the fishermen in this interest?
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: I would be pleased to take that under advisement and reply either tomorrow, or have the minister himself reply.
Mr. Grande: My question is of the Provincial Secretary for Social Development. Is the minister aware of the recent response of the Ontario advisory council on multiculturalism to the Pitman report? If she is aware, does she condone the condescending and patronizing attitude that comes through in the introduction of this report in statements such as, “Where else indeed is there a community which through a Heritage Language program would offer subsidized courses in such esoteric languages as Iraqi, Punjabi and Urdu, to mention only three of a total of 18?” If she does not condone that attitude, what is she going to do about it?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, I certainly don’t accept the member’s interpretation of that report at all. I don’t find it either condescending or patronizing. That report was put together by a group of people who represent the ethnic communities right across this province. I certainly don’t find anything objectionable in their report at all.
Mr. Grande: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Given the supposedly multicultural policy that the government has, does the minister not think that those kinds of remarks in this kind of a report coming from the Ontario advisory council on multiculturalism are condescending? Are they not saying to the different cultural groups in this province, “Why aren’t you thankful? What else do you want?” Is that not condescending?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, I think the hon. member is reading into it something that isn’t there. It’s his interpretation --
Ms. Gigantes: Do you know what esoteric means?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: -- it certainly isn’t mine.
Mr. di Santo: Supplementary Mr. Speaker: If the minister read the report then surely she will agree with us that part of the report puts the blame for racism on the so-called visible minorities. Does the minister think that is the role of the advisory council on multiculturalism? And if that is not their role, will the minister ask the chairman of the committee and the committee to resign?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: I have no intention of asking either the chairman or any members of the advisory council to resign. I applaud them for the work they have done in this province.
Mr. Warner: Maybe you should resign.
Mr. di Santo: That’s shameful.
SCHOOL BOARD STAFFING
Mr. Nixon: In the absence of the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells) I would like to direct a question to the Premier having to do with government policy on the problem school boards are facing with the numbers of students declining. Since there are schools closing and teachers being fired, would the Premier not think that the ministry should advise the school boards that they should reduce their numbers of supervisors and administration in general, along with the reduction in the numbers of students, rather than have the full load come on the closing of schools and the firing of teachers?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think the hon. member might discuss this at some greater length with the minister. I must confess to the hon. member I am really only somewhat familiar with a single school board and in that area we are still faced with the problems of growth and expansion and the addition of more classroom facilities.
I think it is reasonable to assume that if the reduction in numbers of young people results in a reduction in some numbers of teachers, and if there are X number of supervisory personnel per teacher those figures should also be affected -- and they may be. I am not familiar with any specific example. I’ll certainly raise it with the minister and perhaps the hon. member would like to raise it with him tomorrow or on Thursday.
Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: The Premier perhaps recalls that when we started the county boards of education there was direction from the ministry (the department, as it then was) and the minister, as he then was, that certain officials had to be hired. There was no autonomy in this matter. They had to have certain administrative officials and if the top people were not assigned, more or less, by the then department, then there was clear indication who should be hired and at what salary.
Since the responsibility for the administration really began with direction from the then Department of Education, would the Premier not think that we have a continuing similar responsibility, now that things have changed, to see that the top-heavy aspects, the expensive aspects, of administration are somewhat controlled and curtailed?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think that’s a very logical thought. I would expect, in fact, that it is happening to a certain extent. My recollection, though, is that the legislation really only provided for the appointment of a director. I don’t think it did provide for the specific administrative structure.
Mr. Nixon: The seeds were planted.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No. As a matter of fact, I would say to the hon. member that where part of the problem exists here in Metropolitan Toronto, in fact the county school board legislation, which the hon. member had advocated long before I did, had no impact whatsoever. He is smiling, and he remembers well.
Mr. Nixon: I remember you misleading --
Hon. Mr. Davis: He remembers well how he campaigned for it --
Mr. Nixon: I retract that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh no, he can’t retract it. I haven’t even lost the pamphlet, with his picture on the front of it, saying: “Elect us and we’ll have county school boards and regional government.” I remember it well.
Mr. Nixon: You were more surprised than I was. Premier Robarts put that in and surprised you.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I should also point out, I don’t think the legislation -- and perhaps it should have, remembering the debate -- set out the salary schedules for the directors. I may be wrong in that.
Mr. Nixon: Set up.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, no. As a matter of fact, once again, as some things do, the salary schedule sort of flowed from Metropolitan Toronto in a scale related to the numbers.
Mr. Nixon: It flowed from what they were getting here. They all had a $10,000 raise the first year.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We’re really getting into a debate, Mr. Speaker. Not even members got a $10,000 raise during that period of time, as I recall it. Or since.
Mr. Nixon: The administrators did.
Hon. Mr. Davis: But it didn’t really happen quite the way the hon. member said --
Mr. T. P. Reid: They went from inspector to director --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh no. As a matter of fact, to answer the supplementary question, there were very few who went from inspector to director. I don’t think any did, as a matter of fact.
Mrs. Campbell: Very few women, anyway.
Hon. Mr. Davis: However, as a matter of fact, what the hon. member is suggesting is probably happening, but I will speak to the Minister of Education about it so he can inform the member in a more specific way than I can.
Mr. T. P. Reid: And since he knows what he is talking about, it will be a shorter answer.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I can only tell the member that in the great region of Peel they’re still having children, the families are still growing, and our problem is capital funds to continue to add to an excellent school system in that particular region.
Mr. Speaker: The hon. member for Hamilton Centre.
Mr. Warner: Supplementary?
Mr. Speaker: No.
Mr. Warner: No supplementaries allowed? Why shouldn’t the opposition have a supplementary?
Hon. Mr. Davis: There were four supplementaries, and I answered them all.
Mr. M. N. Davison: A question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: In view of the fact that there is now a significant body of evidence indicating that the ionization type of smoke detectors constitute a risk to the health and safety of individuals who come into contact with them, and in view of the fact that the photoelectric type of smoke detector does not constitute such a hazard and thereby provides an acceptable alternative, will the minister consider amending the provisions of the Ontario Building Code so as to not permit the use of the ionization type of smoke detector in Ontario buildings?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I’ll have a look at that. One of the problems we have, of course, is that product standards and so on more properly fall within the jurisdiction of the federal government; but as is so often the case, we do have to get involved in matters such as these, whether they be through the building code, through simple arm-twisting or through misleading advertising. We often do get involved and I’ll be happy to have a look at that.
Ms. Gigantes: What about public health?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We are looking into two or three other problems with regard to smoke detectors, and I’ll see that this is included in that review.
Mr. M. N. Davison: A short supplementary: Will the minister look specifically at the Ontario Building Code, because it is in the Ontario Building Code?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, I shall. I’d be happy to do that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It must have been a slow news week.
WINDSOR GENERATING STATION
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Energy. As the J. Clark Keith generating station in the city of Windsor is being renovated to burn low-sulphur coal when it reopens in 1980, will the minister look into the possibility of altering the station’s boilers to burn either coal and/or propane in the light of Dome Petroleum’s propane storage facilities being built adjacent to the Clark Keith station and the fact that Dome expects to have an excess of supplies and propane will be more abundant in the future?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, I’ll be pleased to look into that.
Mr. Swart: My question will be of the Attorney General, if I may have his attention please. Is he aware that in the March edition of Alive and Well, a publication in St. Catharines, the statements are made by a reporter, Mr. Rob Potter, to this effect: “Contrary to what most people would like to or do believe, the Niagara region is a virtual warehouse for the illicit drug trade.”
It goes on: “What you have to understand is that Niagara Falls and St. Catharines are source communities. Individuals come from all over the province -- in fact, from across the country -- to buy drugs here.”
Could the Attorney General tell me if this statement is correct and, if so, what special steps are being taken to correct it?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: In order to respond properly to the question I’d like to see the whole context of that article. I’m not familiar with it and perhaps if the hon. member is prepared to let me have a copy I could respond later, because I think it would be unfair for me to attempt a response to the question in its present form.
Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired.
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells) I beg leave to present to the Premier in excess of 2,000 letters and petitions from students affected by the work to rule situation in the county of Wentworth who are urgently petitioning some action on the part of the government, specifically for the Minister of Education to involve himself in the dispute should it not be settled today.
NOTICES OF DISSATISFACTION
Mr. Grande: Mr. Speaker, I would like to serve notice that I am not satisfied with the answer of the Provincial Secretary for Social Development and wish to debate this at a proper time.
Hon. Mr. Davis: How can you interpret how one interprets an argument?
Mr. di Santo: I’d like to give notice to the same minister that I’m not satisfied with the answer and I’d like to debate it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: How’s the member’s newspaper going?
Mr. di Santo: Very good.
An hon. member: Is the Premier doing any more advertising in it?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, I’m not satisfied with what the hon. member writes in his newspaper.
STANDING ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE COMMITTEE
Mr. Philip, from the standing administration of justice committee, presented the committee’s report which was read as follows and adopted:
Your committee begs to report the following bills without amendment:
Bill Pr4, An Act respecting the City of Cornwall;
Bill Pr10, An Act to revive Congregation Beth Am;
Bill Pr15, An Act to dissolve the William Hall Peterborough Protestant Poor Trust.
Your committee would recommend that the fees, less the actual cost of the printing, be remitted on Bill Pr10, An Act to revive Congregation Beth Am, and Bill Pr15, An Act to dissolve the William Hall Peterborough Protestant Poor Trust.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ON NOTICE PAPER
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day I wish to table the answers to questions 32, 34 and 36 and the interim answers to questions 33 and 35 standing on the notice paper.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of supply.
ESTIMATES, OFFICE OF THE PREMIER (CONCLUDED)
On vote 301:
Mr. Chairman: Before recognizing the member, I would like to remind the members of the committee that we have two hours and 11 minutes for the Office of the Premier and the cabinet office. If you wish to set aside a short time at the end for the cabinet office, that’s just a reminder.
Mr. Kerrio: We’d rather get the Premier.
Mr. McClellan: I had an opportunity at the last sitting to raise two issues with the Premier that I feel are being neglected by his government. I wanted to take the opportunity to draw to his attention the issue of income support for senior citizens and, secondly, the matter of this government’s failure to raise the rates of Workmen’s Compensation Board pensions and benefits since prior to the 1975 election.
I had made a statement with respect to GAINS that I think needs a little correcting. I had said that I had thought that there hadn’t been any provincial enrichments of GAINS levels since January 1976. In fact, I was only partly correct. There has not been, as I understand it, an enrichment of the rates for single pensioners under the GAINS program since 1976.
Hon. Mr. Davis: If you were partly correct, it means you were partly incorrect.
Mr. McClellan: Yes, but I choose to put my own interpretation on it. At any rate, the point of major concern that I was trying to stress to the Premier was that there is an inequity even as regards the two classes of pensioners, single and married. Single pensioners are particularly hard pressed in these inflationary times and there needs to be adjustments, at the very least, of the rates of the single pensions.
I had also the opportunity to look at expenditures on the GAINS program since it was started to date. I obtained as well from the ministry an estimate for 1978-79 and those figures are very interesting and deserve to be noted. In 1974-75, the first year of the program, GAINS expenditures were $60.4 million. In 1975-76, they had jumped to $104.7 million. In 1976-77, they had increased again to $117.5 million but that was the last year of increase. They have declined since. In 1977-78, GAINS expenditure by this government had dropped to $108.6 million for a nifty little saving to the Treasurer’s cost restraint program of some $12 million -- some numbers of millions of dollars.
Mr. Bradley: All alone against the hordes.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m worried about getting my estimates through.
Mr. McClellan: It was some $9 million. I am almost as bad as the member with the faulty electronic calculator, except that my fault was in the lip. The estimates forecast for 1978-79 show a further decline to $106 million.
I don’t think this government ought to be saving its dollars at the expense of senior citizens. I would plead with the Premier to advise us how he intends to enrich the GAINS program and to make it adequate at least to a recognizable poverty line.
The Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) acknowledged in the social development committee when we were talking about OHIP and the notching in the OHIP premium that he doesn’t pay any attention to poverty line figures of any kind -- Statistics Canada, the Senate poverty committee, the Canadian Council on Social Development and those of social planning councils. All these statistical indices of poverty are equally disregarded by the Treasurer who, I assume, then pulls his figures out of a hat, regardless of any standard of adequacy.
There is no way that you can persuade me or, I suspect, anybody in this House, that a single person, a widowed pensioner, for example, can live at any kind of standard of adequacy on a monthly income of $305 in any of our large metropolitan areas. I would hope that the Premier would respond to that.
The second issue, to recap, is that of the workmen’s compensation rates. I say again to the Premier that it is a simple disgrace that you have singled out injured workers and their families for special treatment. Three years without an increase in pension benefits, during which time the cost of living has gone up in excess of 20 per cent, is inexcusable.
We know the reason the rates haven’t been raised, and we have had these discussions in the estimates committee. I think I was the first to raise in estimates, in 1976, the fact that the Workmen’s Compensation Board had an unfunded liability of some $400 million. This was a result of their not having raised the assessment to an adequate level to cover the increases that were granted in 1975. That’s why there is a $400 million unfunded liability, which has now, we learned in the most recent estimates of the Compensation Board, risen to $500 million.
The solution is very clear: The assessments have to be raised to an adequate level to pay for benefits. It’s as simple as that. The government has no right to tolerate that kind of treatment of injured workers. They cannot he expected to bear the brunt of these kinds of constraints. They cannot be expected to bear the brunt of that burden, regardless of what your ideological predispositions may be. It is simply unjust. I plead with the Premier representing as I do a constituency where this is a matter of considerable urgency, to prevail upon his cabinet and bring into this House quickly amendments to the Workmen’s Compensation Act which will raise the rates to an adequate level.
I would be grateful if the Premier would respond to both of those points.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Just very briefly, both matters have been discussed. I want to assure the hon. member that we believe, as a government, that we have made real progress in terms of dealing with our senior citizens, not just as it relates to GAINS, but through many other programs. I am not saying for a moment that more can’t or shouldn’t be done. This is true for a number of groups. The government is making every effort it can to establish priorities, which is always difficult for us, but we feel we have made a lot of progress in terms of our senior citizens.
With respect to the question of the injured workmen, all of us are sympathetic to the problems of any group in our society. It has been debated before; I suspect we will be debating it further and discussing it further. I do take exception to the observation made by the hon. member that this group has been singled out in any way.
Mr. McClellan: No other group has been treated this way, not one single group in our society.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I just want to make it very clear that this government has not singled out that particular group in the way that the hon. member has suggested.
Mr. McClellan: Then remedy the situation.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We can debate the level of benefits and that’s fair and valid discussion. I just don’t want it to be left on the record without my observation when the hon. member has suggested they were singled out for a particular form of treatment. That just isn’t so.
Mr. McClellan: If I could just say, by way of a response, because this is important, that the Premier may choose to dispute the term “singled out”, but I say again that no other group in our community -- and I challenge you to identify such a group -- has experienced this kind of treatment, whether it is “singled out” or whatever term you may wish to use. Whether it is singled out for special treatment, which you seem to object to, or would you prefer the word “neglect”? Tell me what other group in this society has not had an adjustment in their income since, I believe it was April 1975 -- not very many. I can’t think of any.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t have an assessment of all those so I can’t answer that.
Mr. McClellan: There isn’t anybody else.
Mr. Grande: There isn’t one.
Mr. Kerrio: It isn’t often we get a chance to go at the top man and I think everyone should avail themselves of this privilege. Mr. Premier, I have some comments to make as they relate to the top office.
Our friend Harry Truman had a plaque on his desk that said, “the buck stops here.” I hope you concur with that kind of thinking. When we get frustrated from time to time, I’d hope that as the top man, that kind of philosophy would be uppermost in your mind.
I think there are a couple of comments worth making here at this juncture.
As a traditionalist, I have great respect for your office and I feel that all of us are very proud of the way you carry that office aboard, representing the people of Ontario. I have to say that in most instances members are well treated by various ministers regarding information and those problems they have in their own constituencies.
Having said that, where I have problems is with your philosophy and policy as they relate to, I think, a very, very important part of good government today -- that is, as it relates to priorities.
I had occasion to debate the estimates of the Minister of Culture and Recreation (Mr. Welch) not that long ago. My concerns were that interministerial priorities are wanting. If we’re going to do something and be fiscally responsible, I would ask, Mr. Premier, that you consider a kind of a priority arrangement between ministries as they have in the province of Manitoba.
Coincidentally, as we’re discussing these particular budgets, the Premier of Manitoba was on TV late yesterday afternoon and he suggested that he was going to set a precedent in that province. He had promised those people who had given him the mandate that he would cut back considerably on government spending. He has set as a goal some 2.9 per cent overall increase in the budgetary expenditures of that whole province. The only way he’s been able to do it is to bring into effect priorities as they relate to various ministries.
I would suggest to you, Mr. Premier, that you should consider that very kind of priority. If we’re going to attempt to relate to the people of the province who pay the taxes we might very well relate to their restrictions when it comes to paying out their hard-earned dollar. They must address themselves to the priorities within their household. I’m suggesting that those ministries such as Culture and Recreation have to be prepared to take a cut, which is exactly what’s happened in the province of Manitoba in order to hold that 2.9 per cent overall increase.
I talked to their minister of culture and recreation during the estimates here and they are taking about an eight per cent cut. That is the only way that that government is going to be able to set into motion a very responsible way to get government spending back within some kind of parameters.
The reason I speak to these issues as they relate to your ministry, Mr. Premier, is that there is only one place that those kind of determinations can be made, and that is, right at the top.
I will draw a comparison for you as to how I think the so-called superministers have failed within smaller breakdowns of segments of our government. The Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) could not put into place a decent facility at Niagara for the whole peninsula -- the Niagara Centre for Youth Care as it relates to those young people who have very serious emotional problems. I’d like to bring this point into being. I’m not suggesting that I would ever come in and criticize you for not providing a particular facility if I weren’t going to offer an alternative in the funding aspect. We can’t have it both ways and I appreciate that. But I want to suggest to you here that at the same time that we were told that we could not provide this facility in Niagara, the Arts Council of Ontario had an increase of over $1 million in a $10 million budget; and in two years they’ve had an increase amounting to nearly 25 per cent in that particular aspect of culture and recreation.
So you see, Mr. Premier, I think that when we start talking about interministerial priorities, it’s going to have to be dealt with by you and the cabinet. In fact, we have designed the top structure in government where each individual minister fights for his ministry to get all the funding he can, based on last year’s spending. Unless we are prepared to do what the province of Manitoba has done -- and the Premier there, Sterling Lyon, made mention of the fact that he was hoping other provincial governments would follow suit, and that the federal government would take it on themselves in the overall picture right across Canada to assume that kind of responsibility -- I can’t believe that we’re ever going to get any kind of fiscal responsibility to the people of Ontario and to the people across Canada. If that were to happen here in Ontario, as in Manitoba, we would get responsible people to really talk about priorities.
Mr. Lyon made specific mention of provincial and federal governments overspending. He mentioned being criticized by some of those people who suggest that when you cut back on government spending some jobs go. He reinforced his particular philosophy that it wasn’t government’s responsibility to create jobs; it was government’s responsibility to create the climate for the job creation from the private sector. That needs to be done and if we’re going to get anywhere with real responsibility we’re going to have to accept that that’s the route to go, and provide the private sector with a climate that can help things grow.
He went on to suggest that because of the stifling effect of overspending at the government level we’re wasting the potential of the provinces and the potential of Canada to really get competitive on the international market. Mr. Premier, I ask you if it isn’t a valid comment to make, regarding the kind of precedent that has been set in the province of Manitoba, if it isn’t in fact well within the ability of you and your cabinet to go this route, to include some of the things that have been a personal commitment, as far as I’m concerned, and that is diligently to pursue the argument that lottery funds should be redirected?
I wonder, on this particular aspect, if we can continue on one hand to close beds at Sick Children’s Hospital, and to cut back in certain areas. Mind you, I concur with those people who suggest that we have to cut back the abuses in health care. But where there is real need, I can’t believe we can continue along these lines, even though it’s been government policy for a good long time.
The minister has spoken to me on many occasions and suggested that all sides concurred with the legislation that would address itself to spending the lottery moneys as they are, and I agree. But by the same token he should listen when I suggest to him that those commitments were made when it appeared that we didn’t need lottery funds to go into general revenue to maybe pick up the slack in this era just gone by when we talked about OHIP and talked about cutting $9 million from northern Ontario.
I can’t believe that there are people who would not agree that some of those worthwhile things that we had to cut and were not willing to make those cuts, because of reasons beyond my understanding. When the minister suggested it was because of legislation being drawn up that way, I think it is our function here to change any legislation that would hamper putting that money to better use.
I say to the Premier that the concerns I have relating to interministerial priorities, and relating to becoming more responsible to the taxpayers of the province by using all funds available to us in a responsible way, really rest with the top office. In any large corporation, after all the input, the ultimate decision is made by the top man in management. In this instance that is the Premier, and I ask him if he wouldn’t consider some of those comments.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I appreciate the constructive way in which the hon. member has made his observations. I certainly made a note of the first part of his remarks, which I will copy out of Hansard and repeat across the province at every opportunity that I can. No, I won’t.
I recognize what the hon. member is saying. Perhaps I can give him another aspect of the discussion to consider. I am impressed at the job that the Premier of Manitoba is doing, but one has to understand that he has come into his period of responsibility after perhaps two or three administrations of some extravagance in Manitoba, which we haven’t experienced here.
Mr. Kerrio: The very thought that I had here.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think if one looks at the figures over the past four or five years, one will find that Ontario has done pretty well in terms of percentage of budget growth. One can argue whether it should be one or two per cent lower et cetera but we are talking fairly significant figures, with some items built into it that are very difficult to reduce.
When one looks at the provincial budget and calculates that perhaps 70 per cent of it goes by way of transfer payments to the school boards, the hospitals, the municipalities, in terms of our own internal decision-making process -- other than to reduce the grants to the school boards, which then ups the mill rates in Niagara Falls, or to reduce the transfers to the municipalities, which once again could have the impact of increasing mill rates unless we were to put an absolute ceiling on expenditure for all municipalities, which I don’t think would be equitable, certainly in growth municipalities -- it doesn’t give us quite as much discretion in terms of our budgeting process as most people realize.
As to what the hon. member has been saying, it is hard for me to argue an allocation of money for a cultural development vis-à-vis support for a hospital. I find that difficult. But then I look at the total budget. I look at what this province has historically provided to the whole area of culture and recreation. Then I think one must ask oneself, not on each individual project but in terms of a priority for society as a whole, are we allocating too much?
I started to raise the Hospital for Sick Children; some of the hon. member’s colleagues, as I recall, interrupted me when I made these observations. If one had to make a choice at this moment in Metro Toronto, for instance, as to more funding for the Hospital for Sick Children or some of the Wintario money that is going to help construct the new Massey Hall, I think I sense where our priorities would be. On the other hand, if Sick Children’s can continue to operate a quality health facility -- which I understand they feel they can, if there is no actual reduction in program -- is the hon. member suggesting that we should not as a province participate with Metro or the city of Toronto or whoever in terms of the building of Massey Hall? There you are talking about a fairly substantial capital commitment.
They have started the addition to the ROM. If the hon. member were to weigh the addition of the ROM against some other physical facility that in his mind might have a priority, I might tend to agree with him. But do we say to the ROM, which is one of the significant institution on this continent and which legitimately needs this expansion, that that area of our cultural life isn’t relevant? Those are the things that you have to weigh.
I was up at the CNIB the other day. The hon. member has raised Wintario from time to time, in fact, fairly often. They were granted an allocation of half a million dollars, which didn’t receive much press or publicity, with respect to their library, to give them the opportunity to tie in their library services and update them for the blind people in our province. I think the hon. member would agree with me that is a priority. That was a half million dollar priority, but not one that the public knows much about. Those are the sorts of examples you would have to consider, as I have to consider, when government policy or priorities are being established.
I am not going to argue that there is too little or too much in terms of culture and recreation here this afternoon. I read of some of these examples of grants that raise questions in some people’s minds. I also see the dollars that have been funded for arenas. If you look to the member on your geographic left and, as I listen to you today, even on your philosophical left somewhat, a hospital is essential to a community. Many things are essential to a community.
I would tell you that in some smaller rural communities that a local community centre is a very important institution. It is the centre of social, athletic or recreational activity. I don’t think the hon. member for Niagara Falls would suggest that those sorts of programs shouldn’t be continued.
I am just asking him to weigh these matters as we look not at just today’s problems, but those three years from now, or five years from now. I think really the debate is are we allocating too much? Should we reduce our grant to the Toronto Symphony, as an example, or the other symphony orchestras? Does Hamilton Symphony participate in a certain amount of funding? Should we reduce that grant? Should we limit the amount going to -- I don’t know whether we still pay something to the Canadian Opera or not. We used to when I was minister and to the ballet. These may not be big things with the member for Niagara Falls, and I would understand if they weren’t.
Mr. Kerrio: My whole background gave me more culture than many others.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would think that as it relates to the opera he would certainly be very supportive. I don’t know that he could ever have participated in it, but certainly he has the background.
Mr. Ruston: You’ve never heard him sing.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Then look at many other things we are doing in terms of culture and recreation. Sometime, not in terms of legislation or amending bills, perhaps we could set aside our own potential biases and have some discussion on this, though not on Wintario per se. I could make a fairly good argument that the bulk of Wintario money is going to worthwhile projects, if you were to assess them on a day-to-day basis, and if you were sitting there as a government or minister which, much as I may like the hon. member for Niagara Falls, I don’t really suggest is ever going to happen. You have to make some of these judgements as well.
I know in some countries, perhaps much older than ourselves in cultural and economic terms, their allocation over the years to culture and to recreation has been substantially higher than ours. In fact, when I was Minister of Education our allocation in this area was relatively limited as a government. We were being criticized with some regularity that our support of the arts or culture, et cetera, was not what it should be. I think those criticisms were valid. What we have to ask ourselves in a period of some economic difficulty, when the hon. member is quite right in saying certain priorities have to be determined, is: how do you make them? I am not giving you answers today. I am giving you some of the problems.
We made a decision, for instance, to postpone Bronte. I personally am supportive -- I’ll confess this to you -- of that facility because I think it has great potential in terms of the young people of this province. It doesn’t serve just Bronte nor just the local member. People from all over Ontario would be the beneficiaries of this specialized sports facility. I guess I am one of those who argues that excellence in sport is probably a good thing for society. I am not talking about just straight competition or professionalism or what have you, but I think that it is a good thing.
I would be prepared to argue that Bronte be reactivated -- and I hope it will be at some point fairly soon. Obviously we are not going to in terms of some of our existing difficulties, but would you put it way down at the bottom of your priority list? I think it you were looking at it you might not. I know that some members from the Hamilton-Wentworth area would put Bronte pretty high up on the list, in terms of their assessment.
I am not arguing with the hon. member, but you should point out to those people -- because I make these same speeches -- that although we should be spending less as a government to free up the private sector, et cetera, there are some aspects of government that the private section can’t take over for us. We have reduced somewhat the budget of the Ministry of Transportation and’ Communications, but the private sector isn’t going to move in and build highways for us. That’s something that we have to do as a government. And it is, I think, a positive economic sort of investment.
You weigh capital construction of a highway program against perhaps an addition to Peel Memorial Hospital or Mississauga Hospital or Niagara Falls Hospital or what have you. The priorities once again are difficult to determine.
But I want to assure the hon. member that this process does go on. You can question our judgement; that’s fair and valid. But it is not made on the basis of the ministry saying my colleague the House leader, the Minister of Culture and Recreation, on the basis of “my budget being this last year, it has to be this plus this year.” If you look back at the figures, you take out the non-budgetary items, many of the other things, and you’ll find that this has been the case.
I am always delighted to have constructive suggestions made, but I would hope that when we discuss this area of priority, and you raise health -- it’s very significant -- but I think there is still a place for government support of many aspects of our cultural and recreational life. Please don’t ask me to put them on a scale. It’s not that easy to do. I think you almost have to go project by project and you have to make some judgements.
Perhaps you give a commitment, as we did for Massey Hall a year and a half to two years ago. You might argue about whether or not it is still valid. The fact of the matter is that we are not always going to be in this economic crunch. If you are one of those interested in Massey Hall you would argue that it’s going to be an institution that is going to have some importance, not just to Metropolitan Toronto but perhaps in a broader sense, for several generations. It’s not an investment being made for two years or six years. It’s a prolonged sort of thing that most people would argue I think will enrich the cultural life of this community.
I think anything we can do without being extravagant, anything we can do to provide greater outlets in terms of recreation, in terms of culture, for what is a rather different society today, particularly with some of our young people, I think that’s money well invested. I don’t think it’s a waste. You could even get me to support an even greater expenditure in some areas of youth activity in the recreational sense, because if they are busy there they are not busy doing some other things. We are not talking a lot of dollars.
That’s sort of a long rambling answer. I won’t get into any philosophical feelings I have about lottery funds going to ongoing government programs. I could get into a lengthy philosophical discussion on both sides of that issue. There are two sides to that in the minds of a lot of people, as with most issues. But it is interesting, whether in terms of one’s personal attitude towards these things, whether lottery funds should be going to support on an ongoing basis programs that some of us might feel should be paid out of current revenues. Lotteries may not always be as popular as they are today. I don’t know. They may even become more popular.
Mr. Deans: They may become as popular as taxes.
Mr. Kerrio: Neither are taxes.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, taxes certainly aren’t. We have sort of come to accept them up to a point.
But I welcome the hon. member’s observations, Mr. Chairman. If he has any particular projects he wants to identify over the next several months where he thinks government shouldn’t be building this or supporting that, and has some other priority in mind, as long as it isn’t confined directly to his riding where he might not be totally objective, I would be delighted to have his thoughts.
Mr. Warner: I can’t help but make a common reflection. To my knowledge, it’s the first time since I’ve been a member here that I’ve heard the Premier talk in terms of a philosophy about the arts and cultural endeavours in the province. It’s welcome, at least from this seat, to hear those views. We may, at some point, get a chance to debate the Ontario Arts Council but we’ll leave that for another day.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Some aspects of it.
Mr. Warner: Some aspects of it, yes, I appreciate that.
I wish to raise a matter which is extremely frustrating to me and, perhaps, to each member of the assembly, and that is the future of our country, the constitutional issue that is of concern to, I would think, each Canadian and in particular to myself as a member of this assembly and to each of the other 124 members. How do we approach the problem? What is it that we have to offer, particularly by way of friendly dialogue, to the province of Quebec and to the other provinces?
I’ve never believed that the whole discussion of the constitution is simply a matter between Ontario and Quebec. A lot of the concerns raised by people in Quebec are concerns shared by those in the Maritimes and by those in western Canada, whether you want to discuss a disappearing fishery industry in the Maritimes or unequal freight rates for the west. Whatever it is, there are factors about our Confederation which affect each of the provinces, and it’s just in the last couple of years that it’s been focused more directly and more sharply on what has been occurring in Quebec. That then becomes a starting point, perhaps, for all of us.
I’m not sure how we proceed from here as a province. I’m not sure, at this point, how the government intends to involve the members of the assembly. I, for one, am quite anxious to take part in whatever discussions can evolve so that we can have as full and open a discussion of Confederation and of our role in Confederation as is possible. I think we need to discuss it fully, but it’s my impression that we cannot any longer continue in Confederation in the present way in which it’s structured. It’s not serving the needs, particularly, of the other nine provinces. There may be ways in which it doesn’t suit the needs of Ontario either, but I think in particular the other nine provinces are affected, and I think we’ve got to have a different kind of arrangement.
I don’t want to take his remarks out of context, but I believe the Premier earlier stated that there were certain issues which were essentially of a federal nature, such as immigration, and so there should be a federal immigration policy. I agree with that. I think that makes good common sense. At the same time, how do we include the concerns which Ontario may have about immigration, or Quebec, or any other province? What kind of formal mechanism is there that would allow the provinces to express, in a very real way, concerns they have about immigration? I don’t know the answer to that, I don’t pretend to, but I think it’s a very real problem and I think it’s one that deserves a proper answer.
What bothers me most about the problem of Confederation is that it appears to be, at this juncture, a confrontation between the Prime Minister of Canada and the present Premier of Quebec. That’s not good enough if that’s all it is. If that’s going to be the battleground, so to speak, or the place where it’s going to be decided, I don’t think that’s good enough. I don’t think that serves the need of the people of Canada, quite frankly.
There are a couple of things I wish to raise. One is the question that was raised by my colleague the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) on Friday last, where he asked what was the document on constitutional reform that the federal leader of the Conservative Party had handed to the Premier of Quebec on behalf of Premier Davis and the other Conservative Premiers which is supposed to pose a dilemma for Premier Levesque. I think those were the words used, at least in the press reporting.
The member for Riverdale said in the House: “Will the government House leader ask the Premier to table the document immediately and tell us what, if any, authority it has about the government’s policy” -- meaning the government of Ontario’s policy -- “on constitutional change?” I think that’s one of the essential ingredients, because we should know first of all if the government has any perceived notions about how it wishes to proceed; and then secondly, such being the case, how do individual members of the assembly such as myself become involved in this process?
I don’t know how we have failed as an assembly in having a fuller discussion, but it hasn’t happened. The fault is as much mine, I think, as anyone else’s. I would have to check Hansard, but I don’t think I raised it the last time I had an opportunity to speak freely in the assembly, outside of question period, and I am not sure that very many members have raised it; but at the same time we have not had any defined way for the members of the assembly to be involved.
One of the suggestions put forward earlier was to have a committee of the assembly to look at the whole question. I don’t know whether that has to be a standing committee, a select committee or whatever, but I do think we have to have some way of doing that. I know that our party has had one trip to Quebec with caucus members, and they were warmly received by everyone they met, supposed friend and foe alike. They met with a real cross-section. They met with each party represented in the National Assembly in Quebec. They met with public groups, with the Quebec Federation of Labour, with the press people; they met with just about everyone and they were warmly received. They were given the opportunity for a learning experience about the problems which Quebec are concerned with and which obviously we should be concerned with. I hope to have a similar opportunity in the near future, as do other members of our caucus.
I would like to know from the Premier if it’s possible to structure that kind of event for members of the assembly so that we can go to Quebec as three parties, in a small group perhaps, to meet with a cross-section of Quebec society to discuss those matters and then bring them back for a full and proper discussion here -- and I don’t mean debate; I purposely leave the word “debate” out. I don’t think that’s appropriate at this stage.
It does arise out of frustration, but I am quite concerned that events are moving and we are not part of what’s happening; therefore, we are not going to have any say over the ultimate end of it all. The country may be weakened and we will not have done very much about it. As a Canadian and as a member of society in Ontario, I am deeply concerned about that.
I don’t want Quebec to leave. I think Canada would be much the weaker for it. To tell the truth, I think the biggest loser would be Ontario. In terms of the trade that has been developed between the two provinces, the kind of interdependence that is there, Ontario would be the loser in very big terms.
I hope the Premier will take my remarks as being put forward in a non-partisan and very concerned way and out of frustration. It is the most serious matter that has confronted our country since 1867, and it is not going to disappear. It’s not going to disappear, for example, if Claude Ryan becomes the Premier of Quebec; that isn’t going to mean that the problems of Quebec are suddenly going to dissolve, I don’t believe that for a moment. Claude Ryan will give the situation a different focus, I believe, but the problem isn’t going to go away.
One of the basic problems is that the provinces have never been treated as equals in a federation by Ottawa. I don’t think that has ever happened. If you want to extend it a bit, what we have seen over the hundred years is more of a colonial approach, with Ottawa being the centre and each of the provinces in some sense being a colony. It’s not good enough. This country is far too advanced for that kind of approach. The western provinces have real concerns, and so do the Maritimes. A lot of people in those parts of the country really wonder on occasion why they joined Confederation. They really have serious questions about that and whether it has been to their advantage.
I guess what I am asking the Premier is a couple of things: an answer, if it’s possible today, to my colleague’s question from Friday; and how I, as a member of this assembly, and other members, can be involved in a constructive way so that the voice of Ontario will be heard and so that we can participate in helping to keep this country together. That’s what I would like to know.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’ll try to help as much as I can on the specifics. The House leader showed me what the member for Riverdale had asked. I haven’t seen the press reports. The only thing that comes to mind is whether or not Mr. Clark gave to Mr. Levesque a copy of the statement, or communique, that came out of the discussions in Kingston some months ago, which was well publicized.
I’m not certain what sort of dilemma that would have caused Mr. Levesque. I’m sure he was already aware of it. But that’s the only document, and I’ll be delighted to try to get a copy of it for the hon. member. That’s the only thing I can think of. It emerged as a result of our discussions in Kingston, which basically pointed out some philosophical points of view as to what Confederation was about. Mr. Clark indicated he believed in greater involvement of the provinces in the process, greater consultation, many of the things that we as Premiers have been suggesting. I don’t think there was anything fundamental in that document as it related to proposals, say for constitutional reform.
The other observations by the hon. member, I think, have been quite constructive. I’m quite prepared to have a discussion in the House. Unless it had some focus -- and perhaps now the advisory committee’s report gives us some focus -- probably all of us would be getting up and saying approximately the same thing with different emphasis. I don’t say it wouldn’t be helpful, but I am not sure just where it would lead and what would result from it. Where I think there will be, hopefully at some point in time, a rather detailed discussion that might even border on a debate is when the constitutional proposals from the government of Canada are made public and when the provinces are asked to comment.
It’s a strange process that we go through. I can recall going through it leading up to the 1971 Victoria Conference. There were certain discussions here, and we had a debate afterwards, because if they had gone through it would have required certain resolutions to see some of it move further down the road.
I would say to the hon. member that I don’t think it’s a question, when those discussions commence, of everybody having a set position. I think we have to have points of view. We have to have areas where we say, “Yes, this should be a matter of federal jurisdiction, this should be provincial.” But I don’t think it is a question of going into a conference of that nature and saying, “This is Ontario’s position; we won’t budge; we won’t move”; because nothing would happen if everybody went into a conference with that sort of approach.
I’ve made it pretty clear that in terms of constitutional reform my view is that Ontarians are prepared to be flexible. I said in discussions a week ago today that while I was prepared to see a certain flexibility in the constitution, I was not prepared to see the government of Canada without the appropriate power to properly administer this country.
I would like to see more co-operation. I’m not sure I would go as far as to suggest, as the hon. member did, that the federal and provincial governments represent a full partnership. There are some things that are totally the responsibility of the government of Canada. I think it should be that way and this country will only function that way. It’s interesting to look at the views of the various provinces. You suggest that some of the western provinces are less than enthusiastic about some aspects of the way the government of Canada deals with some issues. At the same time, you may find some sister provinces which are also unhappy, but for different reasons, and would not be enthusiastic about the point of view of Ontario or even some of the western provinces.
I think you will find in the Maritimes, that while they have their differences with the government of Canada, they are enthused about shared-cost programs, for example, which we have suggested are not the right thing from our standpoint. They see a greater sense of security in their programs with the central government. I think if you were in their position you would share their point of view.
It was also relevant what the hon. member said in terms of this being a national discussion. I’ve been impressed -- not impressed as much as I wasn’t that surprised actually -- that so many of the representations made to the task force on national unity really didn’t focus on language or culture. The initiation of the task force was obviously because of the situation in our sister province of Quebec. A lot of the discussion initially related to language and culture; and yet a lot of the submissions being made to the task force -- and, as I say this shouldn’t surprise any of us -- didn’t relate to those issues at all. They related to the rate of unemployment, regional disparities, the opportunity for economic growth, and the fact that some parts of Canada think that central Canada -- and that’s us and Quebec -- have had more than our share and that federal policies have been designed for the economic growth of central Canada.
I’ll debate that. I think there is some validity in it, but there are other reasons why we’ve had greater economic prosperity here than in some other parts of Canada. It’s also true in the United States. One can hardly argue that historically because of their government structure the New England states had greater difficulty than states in the southwest. There are geographic reasons, resource reasons, et cetera.
In terms of how members might more effectively become involved, I’m not going to suggest for a moment that discussions of this nature are premature. I look back just a few months -- and this shows how rapidly time goes -- and I sense that the concern felt about the province of Quebec seems to ebb and flow with whatever new political event takes place. The interest, I sense, is still there but I’m a little concerned that perhaps some events have led people to think that the problem is in the process of resolution. I don’t happen to share that point of view. I also know people can get tired of an issue. On this issue, people have to persevere. We have to continue to give it a great deal of attention.
We should also be cautious that we don’t appear in the province of Quebec as telling either the government or the people of Quebec what we think the answers are from our point of view. I was asked whether I would be involved during the referendum campaign. I think there may be great merit, as we get closer to the referendum, if a date is ever established, in involvement by a lot of Canadians. I’m not sure that it would be in the best interests of the side of the referendum that I would naturally be supporting if there were politicians from Ontario involved during that 60-day period. One has to assess whether it would do more harm or good. Put yourself in the position of someone making a judgement. Do you want to be told what your judgement should be by somebody who is not, in some of their views, a part of the process?
My argument is that the referendum does have an effect on me. Quebec is a part of Canada. They are, in my view, Canadians in the full sense of the word. So one can rationalize it. But, in terms of strategy, you have to be fairly careful.
That is why -- I hope I’m not misunderstood -- I’ve been concerned about a select committee. Not that people start looking for issues to raise, but what would a select committee do per se? Would it travel into Quebec? Would it ask questions? Would it run into the situation of the Quebec media asking, what right has it to come in here asking questions et cetera? These are our decisions internally that might be made.
As regards the question of a visit by members, I think the visit of members of a caucus on an informal basis, not with any policy point of view, shall we say, but to find out some of the problems and, just as important in my view, to convey the interest of legislators, as well as the friendship and affection we have, and the desire we have to see Quebec stay within Confederation -- that sort of thing could be helpful. But I worry a little bit about having a formal government committee or structure convening meetings and having meetings in Quebec and as to whether that would really solve any problems or would help in the discussion.
There will be an opportunity and perhaps it will be before the end of the session -- to discuss the initial proposals from the advisory committee. Maybe we will have from the Prime Minister of Canada some of the constitutional proposals they’re putting before us. Those would be occasions, I think, to discuss it. But I would caution the hon. member that it is an ongoing process; to say at any given time that this is Ontario’s position, period, on constitutional reform would be unwise.
We have to give whatever leadership we can, and I think we’re in the process of doing it. But it’s also important for people across Canada to know that we’re as interested in their ideas about the future of this country as they are interested in ours. I hope that is helpful to the hon. member.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Chairman, I have about five or six items that I’d like to share with the Premier and with the members of the Legislature. I guess the only thing they have in common, apart from the fact that they bear some very tangential relationship, at best, to the estimates before us --
Mr. S. Smith: That’s right. I just might shock the House by reminding the members what we are supposedly discussing.
The thing they might have in common is that they’re the kinds of things that, as a party leader and as opposition leader, I think about when I’m home or on the weekends -- things I worry about as far as the direction of our province is concerned -- and, therefore, I have to assume they’re the kinds of things that the Premier is concerned about. I can see some possible benefit to simply sharing some of these thoughts here.
The first one is slightly political and may not really fall into the same category as the others. I’ll mention it briefly and then I’ll basically move on to the other things I’m very concerned about.
The first one I want to mention relates back, I guess, to the interesting week we came through this past week and has to do with the way in which the government finally resolved the OHIP matter. In particular, I must say there are two things that leave me with some concern. One is the cuts that were detailed by the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) and referred to by the Premier in his answer to the comments by the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio).
The Premier and the Treasurer take the view from time to time that we have to set these very difficult priorities; that whatever you cut, somebody’s going to be very badly hurt. We hear repeatedly about the Hospital for Sick Children for some reason, but when the cuts were actually made this time they listed such obviously worthy endeavours as $6 million or $9 million, I think it was, for northern Ontario -- money that’s desperately needed up there -- and $2 million of government building, which by coincidence it just struck the minister might apply to the one in Hamilton and things of this kind.
The thing that bothers me about that, and I don’t want to belabour it, is that I hope the Premier is aware that last year alone, during the course of the year, Ontario’s budget, which as the Premier said was already very tight, was already, unlike that of Mr. Lyons’ predecessors in Manitoba, was allegedly austerity-type budgeting -- the expenditure side of that budget was cut on at least three occasions that I remember. One occasion was, I think, after the election when it turned out that the revenues weren’t coming in as anticipated; about $134 million was cut in a week, just like that.
How was it done? According to the Treasurer, I quote: “I told the Chairman of Management Board to cut $134 million”. It may not have happened as easily as all that, but the point I am making is not lost on as discerning a person as the Premier.
There were two other occasions on which the teachers’ superannuation fund beckoned -- once a foreseen occasion where I think some $80 or $90 million had to be found; and once a rather unforeseen occasion provoked mostly, I suspect, by the Provincial Auditor’s comments which required another $102 million or $103 million to be found. The point I am trying to make is that they found the money and undoubtedly things were cut. But we didn’t hear about just how much bleeding was going to occur because of each of these cuts; it amounted to $297 million.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I heard it.
Mr. S. Smith: The Premier may have heard about it, but he mercifully spared the people of Ontario the same gory sight and detail. It is of interest that when they had to capitulate -- not to use a provocative word, when they had to make an accommodation -- with regard to the OHIP matter --
Hon. Mr. Davis: I met you half way.
Mr. S. Smith: Yes, indeed you did. You know I have accepted that.
What I am saying to the Premier is this, and he understands my comments: When you had to make some cuts -- and frankly you didn’t make as many cuts as I would have -- but it is amazing the painstaking detail with which every cut has been outlined in the press and how carefully they have been chosen from areas, all of which have a noble right and every good reason to believe that the government would be interested in their particular ventures.
By contrast, when you think you could cut $297 million from your expenditures last year, after your tight budget, without any detail about how many people in the north are going to suffer, how many sick children would find themselves on the street, and how the only alternative to that was to tear down Massey Hall or whatever, it is amazing that this time we had to be treated to these cuts in such precise detail.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Your resolution asked us to do that.
Mr. S. Smith: It is particularly amazing when you consider that no one knows better than the Premier the fact that, for instance, the Ministry of Health’s real expenditures last year compared to their estimates fell $77 million short of what their estimates were. Yet this year’s estimates were based on last year’s estimates plus a certain, albeit restrained, amount.
It does not require a budgetary genius to see that is the kind of budgeting that leaves a little room for movement, should by chance the teachers’ superannuation fund suddenly have to find another $50 or $60 million this year, in the midst of the year. Similarly, there was reference to the cuts being made in capital projects which were labour intensive and had some economic value -- the Premier, for example, referred to road building as something with economic value. The proposal that we made, which I know he carefully studied, was to cut the so-called services portion of the government’s budget, such as the services which are leased and rented and have to do with all kinds of consultants and so on, which are basically administrative type cuts. Surely the Premier recognizes that those cuts could have been made with less economic impact than cutting some of the capital spending that he was referring to.
Still that budget could have lived with a 2.5 per cent increase. We were only going to reduce it five per cent. It still would have been 2.5 per cent more than last year. The whole of the Sterling Lyon government is living with that. Really, I was a little perturbed because of what I saw to be, without being provocative, very political -- and of course I wasn’t political at all last week --
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m going to reply to it in a moment.
Mr. S. Smith: I was most perturbed to see such a political point of view shown with regard to these budget cuts.
A word on Wintario, if I might: I am not certain that the member for Niagara Falls and I have exactly the same point of view with regard to all these individual expenditures. I am perhaps a little keener on the arts than he from time to time, but we will settle these matters in caucus, I am sure. But he does have a point, and a very important point; that is that lotteries are now bringing in far more than was ever anticipated. It is not unreasonable to set aside funds from these for the many worthy cultural and recreational pursuits, which the Premier enjoys and which I think are very important, but having set that aside, it is not unreasonable to have the remainder for more vital purposes at a time of restraint.
I would point out to the Premier -- and I don’t know if he has actually seen it, though I was asking questions about it in his absence, as I recall, the other day -- that there is an item called “cumulative funds available.” When they do the lottery accounting, they have basically the money they have on hand, then they have the money they are spending and the money that they are committing. Then there is something left over called “cumulative funds available,” which is quite understandable.
Interestingly, the cumulative funds available, just for Wintario, was marked in the budget as $27 million estimated for next year. For this year it is estimated at $21 million as at the end of the fiscal year. This budget was made up, I guess, as of the end of February. As of the end of February, the guess was that by the end of March there would be $21 million left over. That was before all this talk about the possibility of shifting Wintario funds into OHIP, and heaven knows what else, and the Treasurer’s comments about not liking earmarked funds very much. The minister who usually sits to the Premier’s right obviously got busy. Between the time this thing was published and the time we got to talk to their ministry by the end of March, the difference was that they had only $1 million left over. They thought they would have $21 million but they had only $1 million; and that is allowing for the fact that they got an extra $1 million they didn’t expect to receive in proceeds.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am not sure they did, but the Treasurer may have.
Mr. S. Smith: One way or another, they got rid of $21 million so quickly I had to ask the minister whether he was giving it away to everybody who happened to pass by the door. I am also interested in whether he is ever going to start signing the rejections or only the acceptances, but that is a separate matter.
Hon. Mr. Davis: He’d never do that if he could avoid it.
Mr. S. Smith: Exactly, and he has been able to avoid it. I say that simply to say there were other ways that the OHIP matter could have been handled financially. Frankly, there are certain differences there and I wish the Premier had handled it a little differently. I just throw that out and I don’t expect a reply, unless the Premier is particularly interested in replying.
The remaining items I want to take up today are not really political. They are the kinds of things I worry about. I’ll just share some thoughts with the Premier, if I might.
The first has to do with our economic policy. I think it is a very difficult matter, and I see this on the federal as well as the provincial scene, to ask people to show restraint in government spending, in what they expect from government, in wages that they demand and in purchasing power, which is really what we are asking them to do; it is a very difficult thing to do that unless we are also going to tell them how we will make use of that sacrifice and of that restraint in order to better their lives and the lives of their children.
That is really leadership. It requires an economic strategy, an industrial strategy, and it requires that that strategy be put into words which are both understandable and inspiring. I must say we are not receiving much of that. I say that without wishing to be personally provocative. I worry about the fact because a lot of people I talk to do not have a sense of what this restraint is all about, or what is the purpose of why we are asking people to put up with this, or where it is going to get us. They don’t see the connection, if I may put it that way, between what you are asking of them and what I have supported you in asking of them.
Mr. Breithaupt: An invisible link.
Mr. S. Smith: An invisible link, as my friend says. They don’t see the connection between that and how it is going to help them and their children find jobs in the future.
I think, therefore, that we need a little more in the way of leadership to provide an industrial strategy for Ontario, to give us some idea of where we’re heading, what the keystones of the strategy will be. I have suggested in this House -- and the Premier has been present, I think, although I am not certain that he has -- an industrial strategy based mainly on manufacturing, mainly high technology manufacturing, mainly on small and medium-sized businesses, Canadian-owned industries; mainly research intensive and mainly related to certain of the technologies related to energy, to metallurgy, to environmental concerns, to treatment of pollution, waste and so on.
All right, these are only suggestions, you may have others; but we need to have some strategy, some sector-by-sector analysis and some overall strategy that people can understand.
People must get the feeling, therefore, that we are not just adrift but that we know where we are going, that we have some general notion of why we ask them to sacrifice, if we do ask them to sacrifice. Maybe we have a difference there, I don’t know -- but there has to be some sense of where all this is heading, something they understand and something that inspires them.
Without in any way demeaning the contribution made at the first ministers’ conference, it is not getting through to the people in the way I really think it should be, nor is it being debated here. We never have a discussion of industrial strategy, and surely that is an important thing. I’m not just talking jobs; I am talking about how we are going to accommodate all our young people with all the education they have, the enthusiasm they have, how we are going to fully utilize that before they become disillusioned. We need to talk about that. I believe we do.
I throw that out to you. Obviously there is an implied criticism, I don’t pretend otherwise, but it is not meant as a provocative thing. It’s meant as a constructive suggestion.
The second point -- I know the Premier has one of these photographic memories, but if he wishes to make a note of these he should feel free to do so.
Mr. Deans: It will be in Hansard.
Mr. S. Smith: He may wish to reply before Hansard arrives, you never know.
The second point, and I’ll speak on it briefly because we’ve talked about it so many times, is the matter of a select committee to look at French language services in Ontario and to come up with the kind of constructive program which could have both the symbolic value which so many people want, and the reality value, without committing ourselves to a program that for Ontario would be silly.
In other words, I know the Premier is expanding services. The improvements to the Judicature Act and so on are very welcome indeed. I salute those. I do believe, however, that we have to try to inscribe in law, and preferably in one or two laws so that we can pull these things together as much as possible, the various services that are to be provided for our franco-Ontarians. Not to get into divisive arguments about what bilingualism means, because heaven knows that word has so many emotional connotations today, but the services that probably we agree on. I would like to see that committee have what I would promise to be a non-political and non-partisan way of looking at those services, at least to the extent that it is possible for me to keep that promise. Of course, I can’t keep it on behalf of the other two parties.
The third point on which I am concerned is the direction the select committees of this Legislature are taking in terms of cost. From the comments the Premier made the other day I take it he shares that concern. I suspect he has the same, shall we say spectrum of viewpoints within his caucus that I have within mine. I think, however, the time has come for us to show some leadership. I would like to see us be very clear on the fact that these select committees retain counsel and retain experts; and recognize their need to be well counselled and well advised; and understand that there may, on rare occasions, be a need to seek information outside our precinct; and I emphasize rare. I think the time has come for us to put to a stop to the apparently vast ambitions of those who seem to be planning the course for these committees, and I want to tell the Premier I am prepared to work with him to really prune this to the bone.
I think the whole procedure, the very valid and necessary procedure of select committees, can fall into terrible public disrepute if we don’t exercise certain control on the cost side. I was pleased to note his comments the other day, because I detected that he and I are of like mind on the subject. I hope we can reach a meeting of minds on that by the normal mechanisms or by any other way. I just throw that comment out.
Another point I’ve been thinking about -- and this may seem to come out of nowhere, but I did refer to it in the House the other day -- is the provincialization of uranium as a resource.
I am as federal as the Premier. I believe in Canada. He has no doubt of that, I’m sure. But when it comes to the natural resources of this country, it has been our tradition that the provinces have some priority. I would not want to change that. I cannot, for the life of me, see the slightest justification for such a valuable modern resource as uranium to be out of our control when you consider the original rationalization, being one of production of atomic bombs and so on, surely has long since disappeared. In any event, such defence concerns could easily be handled by other regulations that would be superimposed without having to have the entire resource taken out from our jurisdiction.
It may be that the Premier has commented on this behind the scenes at first ministers’ conferences, it may be that he has been in correspondence with officials, I don’t know; but what I do know is that the Premier hasn’t done very much in the way of making this a public issue. Possibly because of his preference for quiet diplomacy, which I respect, he has done nothing to raise the consciousness of Ontarians about this matter; and I know he will have to admit that.
I believe it’s an important matter. Maybe it will be resolved as we enter upon the constitutional negotiations, which I guess are around the corner, but I do believe that the time has come for the Premier to make very clear Ontario’s determination to control its natural resources for the good of Canada and in concert with the rest of Canada, but to have as much right over our uranium as Alberta has over its oil. I hope the Premier is doing something about it; I hope he will do it more publicly.
I guess the last point I want to make will, again, seem even more unrelated; that is, what I see ahead of us as a very bitter problem coming up in the near future of Ontario. I’m not speaking of the slightly more distant future, when I think the way we handle our aged population is going to be one huge, horrific problem that we’re not doing very much about at the moment -- but he and I will discuss that some other time; just around the corner, like January 1, 1979, we’re heading for the worst bitterness imaginable between the medical profession and the rest of society.
We had a few unhappy exchanges in here. The question period especially, in the middle of the OHIP dispute, is not always the best locale and time for such discussions. I want to tell the Premier that I have been talking with people in the medical profession in various parts of this province. They’re not the usual militants and not the people who are still hoping that medicare will disappear; I’m talking about people I used to know, and used to teach in many instances, who have now become family practitioners.
Many of them are my former students. They are mild, dedicated people who are very bitter and who are allowing themselves, in their bitterness, to put forward demands that are clearly excessive. I don’t think they are understanding, nor is their leadership telling them, that such demands will never be accepted.
They can never be accepted; the Premier knows that. There is no way the government can accept a 36 per cent fee scale increase. The Premier knows that and I know that. There is no way they can be allowed to opt out in huge numbers; and I tell the Premier they’re intending to do so. Yet the only means at the disposal of the government to keep people who are determined to opt out from opting out -- apart from a very large increase -- the only means available are both Draconian; both are measures that nobody really wants to undertake. Yet we are heading for that showdown. It’s coming for sure.
The doctors are planning, in large numbers, to opt out. It’s necessary, quickly, for us to find some middle ground, to find something that is not too large an increase to be acceptable but is something which the doctors can accept in good faith. I would ask the Premier to take a little time to meet with the members of the Ministry of Health, to meet with some of the doctors he may know and to meet with some of the official leadership of the profession as well and to inform himself of the kind of showdown which is coming and the very nasty consequences which can occur.
I would ask, therefore, that he use his own good offices -- and if I can help as well I would be glad to -- to try to find some middle ground which is not going to be a political disaster nor a financial disaster before the atmosphere becomes so poisoned and bitter that we will regret it, let’s put it that way.
I make these suggestions to the Premier. These are not ringing declarations and they are not demands for his resignation nor for his salary to be reduced. It’s listed at $25,000 in the estimates, but those who read Weekend Magazine have a much more accurate notion about that. I won’t ask for it to be reduced. The Premier is worth almost every cent of the $25,000 he receives.
I do mention some of these issues, not to suggest that all my answers are correct or that everything I have always done has been of the utmost help to the Premier, but these are issues which are important. I trust if the Premier wishes to respond he will do so and, if not then at some other time will indicate his views by his response and by his actions on these important matters.
Hon. Mr. Davis: To respond very briefly, on one or two of the items: The Leader of the Opposition has pointed out the potential of the problem without obviously having the solution. I am referring in particular to the last one. I don’t intend to get into a discussion of it today, because I don’t think it would serve any useful purpose. We are aware of the concerns in the medical profession. It’s known to many of us and is something that the government has very much in mind. I don’t think I will add anything more at this precise moment.
With respect to the second last item which we have discussed here, I could go on at some length because I still haven’t quite grasped the real need for the total provincialization of the uranium resource. I think part of this stems from the discussions related to Ontario Hydro.
I would say to the Leader of the Opposition that I can make a case as it relates to the resource industry generally. Perhaps if we didn’t have uranium or we were one of those provinces without resources of this nature, one might argue that in most jurisdictions of the world resources are totally the responsibility in many respects of the central government. In fact, I can recall making an observation here that I could almost be persuaded -- this was at the height of the debate on the price of oil and gas, et cetera, some four or five years ago -- that resources should be a matter of federal responsibility in a nation such as ours. I have never pursued that and I am not pursuing it here today, except to make this point that I think uranium is different from oil, gas, coal, et cetera.
While I am not going back to the historical relationship of the government of Canada with the uranium resource, I would say with respect that some of the reasons for that initial relationship are still relevant today. There’s no question in terms of the next generation of nuclear power, to have the province of Ontario with total control of uranium might be a policy different from a federal policy in terms of breeder reactors or what have you and their policy in terms of export to Japan, Spain or France or whatever country. I don’t think we can divorce ourselves from that. The government has urged a greater provincial involvement in the determination of policy as it relates to the peaceful use of uranium, but I can’t really go on the record as saying that uranium should he totally a provincial responsibility without any involvement of the government of Canada. I couldn’t do that in conscience.
I think there are some areas where the provincial responsibility can be clarified, where it can be improved, but I can’t honestly say that I am going to press for total control, including export permission, et cetera, so that it is totally a resource similar to gas or oil. I think there are still some inherent problems with uranium and that there has to be a national policy. I am the last one in the world to rise up in defence of the government of Canada, if I can conscientiously avoid it.
With respect to the third last item, the item on the select committee, I actually expressed some of my views a few moments before to the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere. I think there will be opportunities to discuss, on an ongoing basis, the provision of French language services here in the province. I honestly don’t know that we need a select committee to do this. I haven’t closed my mind to it.
In terms of select committees I generally I would say this, and I am not being provocative today either, that historically the initiation for the extended use of the select committee and the provision of additional personnel traditionally -- I think I can say this -- has come from members opposite rather than from members of the government. I think I am right in this, historically.
If the Leader of the Opposition is saying to me that he is prepared to support something I have felt for some time, and I think this feeling is shared by most of my colleagues, that there be some limitation -- maybe that is not the right word, but that there be some restraint -- not only in terms of select committee expenditure as it relates to the members, but people who are retained, counsel, et cetera, the government will provide no negative response to that to the Board of Internal Economy or to our own members whatsoever. As I say, and I think I am right in this, historically most of the pressure to extend has come from the opposition, which is understandable.
With respect to industrial strategy, that really is a subject that should be discussed at some length. I have called upon the government of Canada for a national industrial strategy almost since I have been Premier. I think it is important. I am not saying you can’t have a provincial strategy without a national strategy, but I would argue that a national strategy makes greater sense, with the provinces all being a part of it.
I think it is also important to realize, when one is practical, that you can develop a strategy in 1973, say, that is totally put out of whack by a certain decision by the oil-producing nations of the world which alters whatever strategy had been in place. Because of the discussions going on in Geneva we are in a process at the moment where in some aspects of our economic life it might be a shade premature to develop a strategy until we know the outcome. What we can do is to prepare for some of the potential possibilities, but until we know exactly what may emerge from the GATT discussions, there are three or four sectors of our industry where it would be premature to develop a total strategy.
In terms of research and development, the member has no reason to recall but we have made not only many speeches but we have done some things to improve the climate for research and development. It has been a pet theory of mine for quite a while and it is one that we are going to continue to promote.
But I am also somewhat realistic. I have discussed it fairly recently with some of the larger corporations; I know that some of them were positive with respect to the acceptance by the government of Canada of our suggestions on research and development. Some of them were very frank about it and said that for their corporations it wouldn’t make any difference. So then you get around to discussions. Do you go further by way of incentive? Do you become punitive if it isn’t done here? Those are things that any government would have to assess very carefully, indeed.
I don’t quarrel at all. We think we have, in one form or another -- and the Leader of the Opposition would say he doesn’t totally recognize the form -- an industrial strategy. I think it’s foolish to say that anyone can sit down and write out precisely what any strategy is going to be over a period of time. We like to think there is one here but we do regret there is no national strategy and we can’t have a completely successful provincial one without a national one, certainly not in a country such as ours.
With respect to the first item -- I have gone in reverse order but I hope I haven’t neglected any.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Some of us do things backwards, I would say to the member for Port Arthur, some of us do things frontwards and then there are some who don’t do much at all. Not you, not you.
An hon. member: Is that self-reflection?
Hon. Mr. Davis: That may be, that may be. With respect to the first item --
Mr. Deans: Sometimes it’s better to do nothing than to do it badly.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That is very true -- sometimes it’s better to do nothing. All of us have been through personal experiences where that’s true but some of us have never learned those lessons.
Mr. Foulds: You came pretty close. What’s Allan doing now?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Allan is running again and will win and probably will be a minister of the Crown in Joe Clark’s government some time fairly soon.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You fellows over there should be pretty nervous.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order.
Mr. S. Smith: That’s how nervous I am -- if Joe Clark can go, I can go.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I made it quite clear in Ottawa that I rarely gamble. I don’t buy Wintario tickets. I might be prepared to discuss something of a monetary nature --
Mr. S. Smith: I will do as well as the Argos.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- when the writs are issued. I’ve got news for you -- Well, no, I won’t -- that’s controversial if I said the Argos are going to beat the Tiger Cats.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You had to import --
Mr. Nixon: He is feeling better about the Argos.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Certainly I am, much better.
Dealing with the first item, the question of whether you can find money or can’t find money, I would suggest that this is really a matter for more detailed discussion in the budget debate.
I would say to the Leader of the Opposition that it’s somewhat easier to take the budget statement, to get out the slide-rules and to do some calculations. I can only tell you what it’s like from my perspective. While there are occasions when Management Board can effect savings, as we did last year, there have been occasions where there have been requirements for additional funds in programs, which includes health.
I’m going back traditionally. I don’t say last year. I can recall it so vividly in the educational field as we moved into that enlightened approach to county school boards we had difficulties with equalization factors, and all the rest of it. Your predecessor, and he was really in the educational field, always helpful and constructive, was urging me to allocate more money, which we had to do. There was no question in terms of the mill rate impact, et cetera. It was essential that there be additional funds -- that goes back a few years.
I think it is fair to say that government can on occasion find savings during the course of the year. I forewarn you it is also possible that we run into situations where those moneys that had been budgeted, that additional funds are required and by and large the members opposite always support the requirement for those additional moneys.
I think in terms of the perception of government that to have said very simply, “18 per cent, one point on the corp tax; we will sort out the rest internally,” would not have been responsible. The perception in terms of those who watch the activities of government -- and I’m not talking in a political sense, I’m talking now in terms of the financial capacity of this province -- was that wouldn’t be a totally responsible position to take.
I think you have to identify the source -- and we did. The Leader of the Opposition may argue as to where the reduction in budget is going to take place; they’re not comfortable for us. I can’t tell you exactly what the final projects or items will be -- we don’t know that. I do know that it is important for us in terms of the process here in government that there be some specific identification.
I could only point out that we, too, are concerned about many aspects of minority government. I would make one other observation about select committees and standing committees. I would hope that after our experience of a week ago we would in fact use the committee process. I did sense a little bit prior to last week that the standing committee on social development was almost being run by press conferences, not necessarily by totally constructive activity which hopefully the committee that will be appointed will get into, because I think that that will be relevant and helpful to us.
I hope I have covered most of the items raised by the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: The member for Wentworth.
Mr. Deans: Thank you, Mr. Chairman --
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I would point out there are 35 minutes left in the Premier’s estimates.
Mr. Deans: Why tell me?
Hon. Mr. Davis: It’s very gruelling.
Mr. Deans: No point in telling me. I haven’t --
Hon. Mr. Davis: You know, no one has asked me how many staff, how many letters, how many --
Mr. Deans: I don’t frankly care what your staff is.
Mr. S. Smith: You can send that out.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I spent a whole weekend reviewing all this.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order, order, The member for Wentworth has the floor.
Mr. Deans: Why is everyone so anxious? Every time I get to my feet everyone starts shouting. For heaven’s sake!
Mr. Nixon: We want to get out.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order. Ignore them all.
Mr. Deans: All I want to do is raise a couple of things that I think are important, for God’s sake. I don’t even want to talk about the failure of leadership, either the pursuit of it or the exercise of it.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Are you talking about yourself? Talking about your failure?
Mr. Deans: Listen, I conceded that I didn’t want to talk about the pursuit of it or the exercise of it, okay?
Mr. Makarchuk: An experience you can look forward to, John.
Mr. Samis: Lots of advice over here for you.
Mr. Makarchuk: Do you want some consultants on how you could lose it?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You have got a whole front row full of those.
Mr. Deans: Yes, oh well. Mike what are you going to say?
I want to say something about minority government, by the way, just before I get to the comments that prompted me to get to my feet. We can’t go through the government process from one crisis to the next in terms of whether or not the minority government is going to succeed or otherwise. I look at the example of Britain that has had a number of minority governments over many years and the relative success that they have in dealing with the day to day business of governing the country without always being faced with the threat, from one side or the other, of the government either falling or calling an election.
I wish that somehow or other we could clearly understand the role that the government has to play. Minority government is a tough role, I don’t deny that for a moment.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Nothing over there is confidence any more.
Mr. Deans: I don’t know what that means any more either, to be quite frank with you. We went to the electorate in 1977 on a matter of confidence. Well, by jeez you’ve got to be pretty narrow in your view of the government’s role, in retrospect or in terms of what was happening at the time, to honestly believe that that was in fact a matter of confidence.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I sense that you still had confidence in the Legislature.
Mr. Foulds: You didn’t.
Mr. Deans: I had confidence in the Legislature and to be honest -- the way I look at it, I’d rather have been there than here. There’s no point in lying about that one. But anyway, that’s the way it goes. You can’t win them all.
But I do think that it sure would be helpful if we could --
Mr. Cunningham: I would rather be over there.
Mr. Deans: -- get a clearer understanding of what does constitute confidence. Maybe we should just simply say that the truth of the matter is the government will have the next election when the government decides that it’s to its advantage politically so to do. Beyond that there is virtually nothing that we in the opposition can do one way or the other, short of total capitulation, to accommodate the government in its desires in terms of whether or not it will or will not visit the Lieutenant Governor and have an election.
In any event, that’s not what I wanted to talk about.
An hon. member: It’s a good subject though, Ian.
Mr. Deans: Well, it’s a good subject, but it’s not a subject that I want to take up much time over at the moment. I want to talk to you about what I think is wrong in terms of the public’s perception of polities, politicians and the Legislature in particular. It is particularly relevant in the Premier’s estimates, because the Premier sets the tone. The Premier sets the tone for the degree of confidence that the public of Ontario will have in the way that we exercise our responsibilities. It is not totally the Premier’s responsibility; obviously what happens at the federal level will have some bearing. On balance, the way the Legislature operates, the way in which it is seen to operate, its capacity to deal with major issues and to afford the people of Ontario a sense of wellbeing about the capacity of the government and the Legislature to respond -- not always to respond after the fact but to respond to situations that are seen to be arising -- will determine to a great extent the way the public of Ontario will view politics and politicians.
I get a feel that their view at the moment is that we are faced with government by crisis: There doesn’t appear to be any overall direction; there doesn’t appear to be any overall plan of attack; there doesn’t appear to be any clear understanding of what it is that we are attempting to accomplish both in the short haul and in the long haul.
The Treasurer may say, as he does, that he wants to balance the budget. It gives all kinds of confidence to people to think that the Treasurer is going to balance the budget. But those of us who understand politics understand that in itself is not a goal one would pursue with great vigour. One might say that if one could develop in Ontario a changing economic mood, a changing direction, new growth in the economy, then to finalist balance the budget at some point would be desirable. But we have to do that on the strength of our ability to generate new wealth.
The Treasurer can’t balance the budget if what he is really saying is that he will cut back expenditures which, when measured in terms of employment or benefit to the people of Ontario, are seen to be necessary and obviously are necessary. He can’t balance the budget simply by saying that he is going to cut back those expenditures in the hope that the people of Ontario will vote for his party in the next election.
The electorate is probably more aware today of politics than it ever has been, less traditional in voting patterns, understands a little better what goes on in the general process of the Legislature and of parliaments and is disillusioned and unimpressed. I think it is disillusioned inasmuch as nobody seems to be able to offer any suggestions as to how we will deal with what the people of Ontario perceive to be the crisis that they face.
Nobody is able to talk about how we will develop a stronger economy that will lessen the burden of taxation. There is no question that people do feel oppressed by the burden of taxation. It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about income tax of one kind or another, about property tax, or about the imposition of higher levies for health care cost, the people are beginning to understand that together they all constitute the burden of taxation. They don’t see anyone -- not the Treasurer, the Leader of the Opposition and not us -- offering that kind of alternative which they could visualize, at least in part, as bringing about the changes necessary to reduce that oppressive burden.
It is okay to say that the government is providing numbers of grants to try to offset the burden at certain levels of income for certain groups of people. In fact, everyone knows that, in so doing, the government is simply transferring it to somebody else and that person will have to carry, directly or indirectly, a larger share. That may not be such a braid idea provided that, over a long period of time, the government has an overall plan that takes into account the capacity of people to continue to purchase and the detrimental effect that cutting back on that capacity has on the productive capacity and the ability to create employment in Ontario.
People in the main are disillusioned and unimpressed with the performance of the politicians, whether they be government politicians, and the Premier in particular, or whether they be opposition politicians in the way in which they offer their suggestions for dealing with the difficult times,
I don’t think we have spent nearly enough time in the province of Ontario educating the public. We are obviously going to have difficulty educating the public through the press because the press tends to want to write only about those things which will sell newspapers or get people to turn their television channel from one to another. They don’t want to talk about the tougher aspects of politics. They don’t want to try to put forward the kinds of philosophical and directive articles that will allow people to make judgements and, therefore, the media doesn’t serve as well in that regard.
The educational system -- if I may be so bold, not knowing a heck of a lot about it -- but the educational system doesn’t do it either. Within the educational system there is very little in terms of comparative politics which allows people to make proper choices, not choices based on who puts out the most colourful folders, not choices based on who can afford the largest signs, not choices --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Can you see the member for York South giving that course? He might get away with it.
Mr. Deans: No, I can’t see him giving the course any more than I can see anyone else giving the course. That’s the whole problem.
Hon. Mr. Davis: He would not be objective.
Mr. MacDonald: If there is any time left, I have a few questions for you.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I couldn’t give that course objectively.
Mr. Deans: Of course you couldn’t give it objectively. I understand that. That’s what is wrong. The very fact that you couldn’t give it objectively, or perhaps Donald MacDonald couldn’t give it objectively either, or Robert Nixon couldn’t give it objectively, doesn’t in itself justify not doing it. But it is important if you believe more in democracy than you do in the Conservative Party or if you believe more in democracy than they do in the Liberal Party or we do in the New Democratic Party’s survival. Then you recognize the value and the importance of attempting to influence people through the educational system and to enable them to be able to make choices based on facts and not based on advertising and media help.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is like asking someone in high school to give a course in comparative religions.
Mr. Deans: When you pose that question, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. The trouble is that you’re probably correct that there are not a lot of people who I have the capacity to undertake such a task, but that doesn’t diminish the importance of doing it. Just because it’s difficult, and just because it is hard to find people with the capacity to overcome their own particular political bias in order to make available to people the truth about the various options that are open to them, the fact that it’s hard to find people who can do that doesn’t mean that it ought not to be done. In fact, it probably means you should pursue it even more vigorously, because that’s what will ultimately determine whether or not the democratic system we live in and work in is going to be sustained, or whether we are going to end up like the United States -- which always worries me -- like the United States where the corruption of politics has reached the level where it is totally intolerable and where you can’t distinguish one politician from the other, other than they look different.
That always bothers me when I see it happening. If you read a little about the most recent history of the United States, you see it all coming to the crunch point. They have now determined that politics at any cost, power at any cost, is the single, most valuable pursuit and regardless of whether it requires corruption or not, they will pursue it.
I don’t think we are at that level. I hope we’re not. I don’t believe we are, but we could get to that level, and we have to be careful that we don’t. That’s the reason why the system, and, I say the educational system, doesn’t satisfy what I believe to be the important aspects of trying to get people to be able to make decent and wise choices. I don’t frankly care in the long run who they choose, provided they are given the opportunity to choose on the basis of truth. I think that’s the most important thing, that’s what you should be striving for. You may be. You may say to me, “I’m striving for that every day.”
In any event, let me go on for a moment, because I don’t want to take any more than another five minutes.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Ian, I don’t want to be philosophical but you have to start defining what you mean by truth.
Mr. Deans: Of course. No, what I want is to give people the capacity to judge between the various truths. Okay? Because as you said earlier today --
Hon. Mr. Davis: It sounds like you’re saying there is no absolute truth.
Mr. Deans: In many things there is no absolute truth. I mean, that’s just a fact. In many things there is no such thing as absolute truth, there are opinions. As you said earlier today in the question period, you are entitled to have your opinion even although it has no basis in foundation.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Although in that particular instance it did.
Mr. Deans: I concede to you not only are you entitled to have it but you frequently exercise it. And I don’t deny your right to it. And I do the same thing. And so does everyone else here.
But let me say this to you. More and more we are influenced by what goes on outside the province of Ontario -- in fact, outside the Dominion of Canada. More and more the state of our economy is influenced by decisions made elsewhere and more and more we find ourselves getting what you might call the short end of the stick. More and more we find ourselves being squeezed out in the battle for economic survival in world terms.
Part of the reason for that is because political parties of years ago didn’t recognize the hazards of developing a branch plant economy. They didn’t recognize it. They saw the benefits in terms of jobs. They saw the benefits in terms of income potential, but they didn’t understand the hazards of it and so they encouraged that development to take place.
The problem with all of that is that because much of the discussion which now takes place in the world takes place between multinational and extremely large corporations on the one hand, or between governments on the other hand, we are squeezed out of the debate. We are squeezed out of the debate because we don’t have at our disposal the multinational corporation situate in Ontario, or in Canada, if you will, that has the power to sit down and to negotiate on an equal basis with the others in the world.
The second problem is that we don’t have -- we don’t appear to have at least -- a government that says there is a recognition that we are in an economically inferior position at the moment in tents of strength and so therefore as a government we will attempt to co-ordinate all of what we do have and then go forward into those negotiations on behalf of the economy as a whole. And so we are in a mess.
We are in a mess. We have resources that have almost reached the point where they are not of value to us anymore because we don’t derive value from them. We have resources that could have provided the very foundation for the development of a strong indigenous manufacturing sector in Ontario with all of the things that flow from that that the Leader of the Opposition spoke about earlier and that you have spoken about frequently too. We could have had, had we used those resources wisely and judiciously. We could have in fact developed in Ontario a strength second to none, but we didn’t.
We tended to look upon those resources as a means of deriving an income -- an income today, without consideration for what the implications of simply taking the money today at today’s dollar value and using it today to provide services will mean if, as and when -- and I believe it to be almost inevitably true -- we no longer have those resources available to us or they are no longer in the demand that they were in before.
I happen to think the government has a major role to play and as the leader of the government your role is to co-ordinate the private and the public sector, to try to recognize that while we still have a resource base that has value we have to use that resource base as the catalyst for the development that has to take place if your kids and my kids are going to be able to provide for their families in the way that you and I have been able to provide for ours. If we leave it up to the multinational corporation with its branch plant to make the decision they will inevitably make the decisions on the same basis that they have made them over the years. That means that when it is no longer to their advantage personally to have a plant operating in Ontario they will bloody well move it to somewhere else.
You can’t be providing for the future needs of people if you adopt the philosophy that whatever they do is fine; that whatever they want to do as long as it gives us a few jobs now, that’s okay; that if they want to make a decision that they can make more money located in Pennsylvania or if they can consolidate their operation in the truck plant in Detroit we don’t have any say in that and so therefore that’s fine. The trouble with that approach is that in the final analysis they will inevitably find places in other parts of the world where they can do things more cheaply. Transportation being what it is, it becomes increasingly simpler for them to reach their markets regardless of where they’re located.
The Inco situation in Sudbury is only the beginning. Over the course of the next 10 or 15 years, the Premier will have International Nickel revisited upon him, if he’s still the Premier, on numerous different occasions and in any number of different communities all across the province.
Unless we begin to recognize the responsibility of the government to have a say as the custodians or as the managers, if you will, of the public sector, and unless the government develops the procedures and mechanisms that will co-ordinate public and private involvement -- recognizing that there has to be both -- then the government has failed in its responsibility to provide leadership for the next generation.
We’re not suffering to any great extent from the Premier’s personal mismanagement, if he’ll forgive me; we’re suffering from a lack of foresight on the part of those who preceded him. What is happening in Ontario today could only have been avoided if measures had been taken 10 and 15 years ago. So what will happen 10 or 15 years from now will be the result of the actions that the government of Bill Davis takes or doesn’t take in 1978.
There has to be some clear understanding as to the direction we’re going. What I suppose I’m trying to say is this: I understand the importance of dealing with political matters on a day-to-day basis, I understand how important it is to see a crisis and to be able to come up with a solution to a crisis as it arises; but that crisis is only one of any number of crises that will arise. Every year, the Premier will have more and more crises heaped upon his head because, forgive me, the economy is not going to turn for the better by itself.
Because our economy is so unstable, because our economy relies to such a great extent on decisions made in other than the province of Ontario, we will be the last people to see the benefit of beneficial changes in the economy; but we will almost inevitably be the first people to see the detrimental results of changes which are downturns in the economy.
Whether he likes it or not, the Premier at some point is going to have to come to an understanding that the government’s role is to govern. That doesn’t mean simply to maintain power. It means to take decisions, and, on occasion, to take positions and make decisions that are unpopular and perhaps reflect a vision of something that is 10, 15 or 20 years away. It also means to be prepared to try, through all of the various avenues, to explain why the government makes these choices.
The one choice the government is going to have to make, in my opinion, is this: While we still have a resource base from which to operate, the government is going to have to try to use that resource to the long-term benefit of the people of Ontario; and the long-term benefit is not simply how many dollars you can get for it today, but rather how we can use it to develop a great deal more stability within the economy in terms of the long-term reinvestment that has to take place year by year if we’re going to maintain any kind of economic position in the world.
It requires a somewhat different view. It may be that the Premier’s view is entirely different; and I don’t exactly know what it is, perhaps a little laissez-faire in many ways. The government places much emphasis on the private sector. I don’t deny the value of the private sector, of individual initiative or of investment by individuals in the development and growth of the economy. But I also understand that if that doesn’t satisfy some long-term political goals aimed at meeting our responsibilities to a generation that is not yet born, then whatever those people do is simply taking advantage of an inadequate system for their own personal betterment and to the long-term detriment of everyone else.
I would like, some day and in some more appropriate place, to hear the Premier tell us what his vision is for the province of Ontario, what he really thinks he would like to see happen; what he would like to accommodate and accomplish over a decade; what he thinks the benefits of all of that would be; and how he intends to co-ordinate the various actions of all of the ministries involved to try to achieve that long-term goal.
I think that’s important. I think that’s very important. When we get the Ministry of Housing backing out of the housing field but there’s no one to take the ministry’s place in the field and we hope that something will happen but we are never sure; and when we get the Treasurer bringing in proposals that even some of his own people have some grave reservations about, then we have to wonder just what’s wrong with the process.
Someday, in the fall of next year or whenever it happens -- make it at the Canadian Club or do it on his next visit to Ottawa with Joe Clark; I don’t much care whether he says it here or outside -- I would like to hear what the Premier has in mind for this province. I would like to know what he has in mind for it, not just simply to hear him say he wants to see it get better. We all want to see that. I would like to hear the Premier tell us what he really has in mind for us, what he would like to see happening and how he imagines we might get to those goals. Because I think it’s about time people had something more to hang on to than just simply the faith that they might be able to build up within themselves.
The Premier doesn’t have to reply.
Mr. Kerrio: I was anticipating his answer.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: The hon. member for Beaches-Woodbine.
Ms. Bryden: Thank you, Mr. Chairman --
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I would point out to the hon. member there are nine minutes left on the clock for this ministry.
Ms. Bryden: Perhaps in the nine minutes I can introduce a new subject, which is to discuss what you might call the lifestyle of the government. I am not sure, after 35 years in office, whether there’s been so much hardening of the arteries that they can change their lifestyle, but I would like to put up for consideration two or three points of lifestyle that the government should be considering with regard to government entertaining, goodwill trips and expenditures on things like automobiles. I think in this time of restraint, it is a particularly good time to re-examine what has been traditional spending in these fields.
When we recall the days when elected representatives of the people took over from the kings and barons, part of the reason was because the people felt that the kings and the barons were wasting the taxpayers’ money on high living, but when they took over the representatives of the people often appeared to mimic the activities of the former rulers. I think the question should be whether a government considers itself as lords or as stewards.
Mr. Mancini: Sounds like the NDP.
Ms. Bryden: I think it’s time to re-examine some of the expenditures we have been making in these fields.
It’s also a matter of setting an example in a time of inflation, because while some people say that government spending is the cause of inflation, we know the real cause of inflation is wasteful spending, the waste of our resources by both business and government. I think a lot of this high-living expenditure is wasteful spending and is adding to inflation, because it ultimately gets built into prices or taxes or borrowing. I think that’s something we must remember, Mr. Chairman. Every extra dollar spent unnecessarily particularly adds to our deficit, adds to the borrowing we have to do and often it costs us nine or 10 per cent a year in interest charges.
Now that we are faced with a real choice of priorities because of the shortage of government funds for all the programs and all the demands that are made for services these days, I think we should be re-examining our priorities on these kinds of items.
I would particularly like to raise the question of government automobiles. The form which the Treasury board or the Management Board sends to cabinet ministers from which to choose lists four of the most expensive cars, four of the greatest gas guzzlers, and then just has one line that says “other,” so that if a minister wants to buy an economical compact car of the kind that would conserve gas --
Mr. Mancini: A small Ferrari.
Mr. Kerrio: A big red Ferrari.
Ms. Bryden: -- and would serve adequately for transportation, he has to fill in the blank. There are also 23 options listed on the form and apparently a minister can order all 23 if he likes; there is no restraint on this, as far as I can see. The Minister of Industry and Tourism ordered a car that cost $9,749 last year.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Who was that?
Ms. Bryden: The Minister of Industry and Tourism -- the former Minister of Industry and Tourism, I’m sorry; he is now the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett).
Mr. Kerrio: Lorne Henderson would have to wear them like roller skates.
Ms. Bryden: This, therefore, is an area where I think the government should be reconsidering its lifestyle and seeing whether it might be setting an example with smaller cars; conservation of energy, less pollution and so on.
Mr. Cunningham: Tony will lend him a Fiat.
Ms. Bryden: With regard to the question of hospitality, again I think that governments have adopted a sort of Louis XIV attitude that “nothing is too good for the government” and have gone in for lavish entertaining. I recall that a dinner was given for the consular corps in 1976 at the Art Gallery of Ontario which cost $2,393. If you look at the hospitality fund expenditures that come under the Ministry of Government Services, there was $200,000 spent there last year. There is a list of perhaps 50 to 100 organizations which benefited from this spending. Many of them were organizations which were having conventions in Toronto. A lot of them were on expense accounts anyway, so that they hardly needed government dinners and luncheons, and so on.
The thing is, the taxpayers, the ones who put up the money, seldom get to attend these functions. It’s mainly the people who come on expense account and who are well able to afford their own convention expenses.
There were things on the list such as the Family Medicine World Conference, a wine and cheese reception for $4,717; the Society of Industrial Accountants, a luncheon for $2,576. And this is an item that I think the Premier should be particularly looking at, “administering the Oath of Office reception, $2,096”; this was in 1977. Just last week in the paper we noticed that the May Court Club, a group of women volunteers who do very good work, having a convention in Toronto and the government decided, through the Lieutenant Governor’s office, to give them both a reception and a dinner for 225 guests. While I think the May Court Club deserves recognition like any other club, this sort of expenditure could be reduced considerably to fund only receptions, mainly with non-alcoholic beverages I would think.
That’s another point I think the government should be considering. The definition of hospitality in the past has been a free-flowing bar. Now that we are discovering the dangers to our society from our present lifestyle and the increasing alcoholism, I think the government should consider cash bars and not add to the overuse. I am not a teetotaller myself, I enjoy a drink, but I think that governments should not be encouraging this kind of overuse of alcoholic beverages.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We are very careful about that.
Ms. Bryden: Those are some of the things I would like the Premier to consider regarding lifestyle. He may say: “This is not going to save very much money. This is not going to provide pensions for the Workmen’s Compensation pensioners who so badly need it.” But it will start an example which may flow through the whole economy, which may reduce business entertaining as well as government entertaining. It seems to me that it will also indicate an orientation towards a conserver society. I think that’s what we need if we are going to survive in the present climate of inflation, a conserver society that will look at every expenditure very carefully and see what is best for our society.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any further speakers on the Office of the Premier? Shall the estimates of the Office of the Premier carry?
Mr. Mancini: Reluctantly.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Grudgingly.
Vote 301 agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Vote 401, cabinet office, shall these estimates carry?
Vote 401 agreed to.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Davis, the committee of supply reported certain resolutions.
BUDGET DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Resumption of the adjourned debate on the amendment to the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.
Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, in rising to speak to the budget, I intend to speak to a particular section of the budget; it’s a section that’s very important not only to the riding of Kent-Elgin but also to every citizen of Ontario. It’s a sad story to relate that the budget for the Ministry of Agriculture and Food will increase by only 1.15 per cent --
Hon. Mr. Davis: We were just talking about restraint.
Mr. McGuigan: I hope to develop a fuller picture.
Mr. J. Reed: Priorities, Mr. Premier.
Mr. McGuigan: As pointed out by the brief of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, this increase really translates into a reduction in real dollars of between six and eight per cent. Inflation, of course, makes the 1978-79 dollars cover less ground than the 1977-78 dollars.
I know these comparisons upset the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. W. Newman), as he points with pride to the many programs his ministry has for the agricultural industry. I realize he has many programs, and I personally fought for many of those in my career as a farmer and as a farm politician. Farm marketing legislation -- not begun by this government but certainly advanced by this government -- crop insurance, income stabilization programs and, lately, the advertising program using the trillium logo, are but a few examples of the very beneficial programs.
However, when farmers see their incomes going down and their debts going up, and Ontario’s share of the production of agricultural goods gradually giving way to other provinces, especially beef, pork, poultry, dairy products, fruits and potatoes; and when they see the effective budget of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food decline, they understandably become upset and a little nervous.
Yes, some agricultural products are on the increase in Ontario, notably corn, soya beans, vegetables and wheat. But these increases are not very reassuring, the reason being that these increases are in the group of products that are low labour-intensive, and fewer and fewer farm families are required to produce them, because they are produced by automation. Farmers don’t see room for their sons and daughters in a production area that is largely mechanized.
It’s the same fear that our friends on the left express when they complain about resource extraction, rather than secondary manufacturing which creates far more employment. Rural communities depend on farm families. The loss of farm families and the destruction of service businesses that serve these families eventually produce towns and villages with boarded-up storefronts and ageing population of retirees and pensioners.
You can find these towns in parts of Ontario where the agricultural population is in retreat. The farm community is appalled when it sees the agricultural budget of this government falling in real terms and the budgets of other ministries increasing in 1978 dollars by 14 to 44 per cent. Housing has an increase of 14.8 per cent; Environment, 14.4 per cent; Industry and Tourism, 14.81 per cent; Labour, 16.13 per cent; Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs, 28.5 per cent.
Certain producers -- those whose products go to the manufacture of wine, alcohol, tobacco -- see the end products used for an increasing share of tax revenues. It happened twice within the space of 12 months and they’re understandably upset.
People in agriculture have an affection for the minister. He’s accessible, he talks our language -- not quite the same language as the federal minister perhaps -- and he gets a bit excited, but we like him.
An hon. member: A nice old guy.
Mr. McGuigan: But we don’t like a government that cuts this ministry’s budget by six to eight per cent in terms of 1977-78 dollars. We in this party realize that Ontario has serious economic problems, problems that this government helped to create with their huge deficits by refusing to really face the reality of high energy costs and the adverse effects that this has had on our economy.
We realize that the other ministers have a problem meeting the social goals of the government, but we find it rather hard to accept that a sector of the economy that is responsible for about 25 per cent of the total economic activity of Ontario receives only about 1.4 per cent of the budget.
We have affirmative action committees in the government ministries to increase employment opportunities for women. We need an affirmative action committee in the Ontario government to increase employment opportunities for farmers and for those who depend on a healthy farm community for their livelihood.
Producers of a great many consumer products are upset by the fact that under federal legislation grade designations begin with the prefix Canada. We have Canada Number 1, or Canada Fancy, or Canada Red, and so on. The impression often created when an imported product bears this grade designation is that the product is of Canadian origin. Most would realize when they see a Canada Number 1 pineapple it’s not produced in Ontario, but other products such as deciduous fruits and most vegetables are not readily identifiable as being grown in Ontario. A discriminating shopper can often tell if they are Ontario grown from the fact that the product was tree or vine ripened, and that it is fresh. But we need a better system.
Of course, Ontario can’t change federal regulations and Canada cannot change the regulations except in concern with our trading partners, the most important being the United States. The US producers are not about to give up the grade designations they use, using a prefix US Number 1, or US Fancy, and so on. We do honour each other’s grades and to do otherwise, of course, would be utter chaos.
Just as an example, US Fancy apples and Canada Fancy apples are not exactly the same grade. Our grade is a bit higher in that our grades give considerable weight to condition, such as maturity. US grades place less importance on condition, but we do honour each other’s grades.
This two-way trade is important to us. If I can use apples again, as an example, the British Columbia apple growers ship Mackintosh apples to California. It’s the city of Los Angeles, I believe, that has a large population of expatriate Canadians who like the Mackintosh apple. It can’t be grown successfully in California but grows well in British Columbia and in Ontario and Quebec.
In Ontario we import Delicious apples from British Columbia and from several US states because we do not grow enough of these apples in our province. But we export Spy apples to New York state because they don’t have the climate suitable for this apple as exists in the riding of the member for Grey (Mr. McKessock).
The Canadian Horticultural Council is working on this problem. The answer is not as simple as some would suggest, but Ontario can do a great deal to overcome this problem. The $1 million in the budget for the Grow with Ontario program, plus the funds of various marketing boards is only a beginning. We need several millions more -- as much as $10 million as suggested by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. And we need it for a wider purpose than just advertising Ontario products. We need to sell the people of Ontario, they are our best and our closest market, on the idea of eating Ontario products on the merits of their nutrition and their safety.
We have in Canada and in Ontario the highest food standards of any nation on this planet. The standards required in our processing plants, our slaughterhouses, our packing plants and on the farms are the highest in the world. We import from countries where standards are well below our own. There are still millions of pounds of DDT used in world agriculture and we get some of the products from those countries, even though we banned the use of DDT many years ago. I am not suggesting that these products contain DDT, but nevertheless they are grown in an environment of DDT.
Our products are produced by workers are protected by some of the best labour legislation in North America. The United States, for instance, only moved to a minimum wage of $2.65 per hour on January 1 this year and the rate holds until January 1, 1979. In Ontario the rate is $2.65 at the present and moves to $2.85 on August 1 of this year. Last year the rate in United States was $2.20 for agriculture and $2.30 for non-agricultural wages.
We need a program to sell nutrition. In fact, we need a nutrition labelling Act in Ontario. We need a program and an Act to provide the public with accurate and useful information about the relation of diet to health. The co-ordination of federal and provincial governments to achieve this goal should be the goal of all political parties in all sectors of our society
The budget allocates $1,714,200 for home economics, but how many consumers are touched by one home economist working in an area the size of a county? How many children get the message that it is better to eat an apple than a candy? How many people know that a properly cooked potato contains as much vitamin C as a fresh orange; or that potatoes by themselves are not high in calories, it is the butter or the gravy or the cream sauce that are so often served with potatoes that make them high in calories?
How can the Ontario consumer make a wise choice in a marketplace offering about nine thousand individual food products, backed by an advertising budget of several hundred million? It is fundamental to our democracy that we can have an informed public, yet how can consumers choose among such a bewildering variety unless they have the knowledge and skill to distinguish foods on their nutritional merits and not their advertising appeal? The need for information is especially critical for children who, it’s estimated, watch between 8,000 to 13,000 food and beverage commercials a year.
According to the Comptroller-General of the United States in a report entitled Informing the Public About Nutrition, and I quote: “Clearly efforts of the federal government to help inform the American people about nutrition have been insufficient.” On the basis of an official survey, the Comptroller-General found that currently the federal government’s effort to co-ordinate its nutrition dissemination activities is minimal. There is no formal co-ordination or central planning directed at improving the food and nutrition practices of consumers.
Do we realize that several of the sugar-loaded breakfast cereals have a sugar content as high as 40 per cent? These highly advertised products carry a high profit margin and therefore they command the best advertising and receive the best shelf space in the supermarket. Next time you go to a supermarket, just notice the products at the end of the aisles and at eye-level; those are the products that carry a high profit and are picked up because of the preferential position.
Do we realize that, at the turn of the century, 40 per cent of our carbohydrates was supplied by cereals and vegetables, while today it’s only about 20 per cent; and the balance of course, comes from sugar and fats? Just as a disturbing sort of shocker, the Coca Cola Corporation in the United States uses 10 per cent of the total US sugar consumption.
In an age of mass media and instant communication, nutrition education approaches such as one-on-one or small group instruction are inefficient and misguided. For consumers concerned about cancer, heart attacks, cholesterol, diabetes and food additives, lectures on the food rules are outdated. No one really knows who we’re really reaching with our feeble efforts, low well the information is communicated or whether it’s supportive of the objectives of a nutrition education program.
Mr. Ruston: There are only two Tories listening now.
Mr. McKessock: They’re listening well.
Mr. McGuigan: The province cannot do it alone. We need co-ordinated federal and provincial action and forces of the marketplace to make a real effort in this field. Nutrition Canada, a national nutrition study, was developed from evidence provided by scattered research reports indicating malnutrition in Canada. It hardly seems credible, doesn’t it, in this country of food?
The general public of all 10 provinces was surveyed using proper techniques of selecting sample families. The survey, I guess to no one’s surprise, found half the adults of Canada are overweight, high levels of serum cholesterol are common amongst women and men and large numbers of Canadians have an iron deficiency.
Many Canadians of all ages have low levels of vitamin B12, and the survey showed a protein and calorie deficit among some pregnant women and a small proportion of young children. The data showed a shortage of calcium and vitamin D of all classes, except adult men. The survey found vitamin C deficiency among Eskimos and to a lesser extent among Indians and the general population. Many adults, particularly men, have moderate thiamine deficiency.
Moderate thyroid enlargement was observed in the general population but not in Eskimos and Indians. More research is needed to tell whether this is a result of a shortage of iodine or for some other reason.
In the United States, the Federal Trade Commission is looking closely at television advertising of food aimed at children. The FTC staff is expected to make proposals in the near future calling for a ban on advertising of highly sugared foods to children under six years old. The FTC may also try to require food companies that advertise to children to try to help fund public service nutritional spot television announcements.
The point is that we can do a great deal more here in Ontario in promoting nutrition and thereby promoting the sale of Canadian-grown products, and especially Ontario products.
In 1972, Canada’s newly formed Fresh for Flavour Foundation set a goal of increasing our nation’s per capita consumption of fresh produce from 350 to 400 pounds; this goal was reached in 1976 when Statistics Canada reported consumption at 406 pounds. The new goal was recently set at 500 pounds.
Canada’s Food Prices Review Board has suggested that Canadians should eat 560 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables. Dr. Zak Sabry, a professor of nutrition at the University of Guelph, in speaking to the Fresh for Flavour Foundation, recommended that Canadians double the per capita consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables in the next 20 years.
I could talk on many more points: the fact that one-third of all meals are now eaten outside the home; that the fast-food outlets sell high-caloric foods -- hamburgers, french fries and fried chicken, and very few fresh products. I have said nothing about the cost of poor nutrition; in ill-health and welfare benefits. The $10 million suggested by the OFA as an adequate advertising program might look small indeed compared to the need and the benefits that would accrue from improved nutrition. Using an extreme example, scientists know that low protein levels in the diet of children often produce brain damage that can be passed on to succeeding generations. Environment can influence genetics.
The federation also requested capital grants up to $20,000 per farm. No doubt the minister found that figure hard to swallow. If every farmer in Ontario qualified, it would mean about $1.5 billion, or almost 10 per cent of Ontario’s budget. Of course they are not suggesting that this would happen in one year. It sounds like a good bit of money, I would agree, but if one considers the return on that amount of money spent on saving farm energy compared to the short way that $1.5 billion goes in finding and delivering new energy, it might be a bargain. I don’t have the research to cost it out but I suggest the minister has a go at it.
It has been said that Ontario livestock farmers produce enough nitrogen in animal manures to grow Ontario’s corn crop. Much of this nitrogen, and also potash and phosphate is lost in the storing and spreading of the manure. It goes on into our waterways and degrades those waterways. Manure, for instance, should not be spread on frozen soil. It should be applied and immediately ploughed under. It’s not very practical but it could be practical, if we had the huge investment that is needed. Our environment would be greatly improved. Fewer nutrients would reach our streams, rivers and lakes. The energy saving in the nitrogen would be enormous.
Pure nitrogen cannot be handled. Only when combined with a hydrogen can the products be handled, at least with known technology. That hydrogen comes from natural gas or from an electrical reduction process that breaks off the hydrogen atom from water, from H2O. Energy consumption in either process is very high and that energy is lost to mankind when the nitrogen in manure is lost.
I would not personally support a blanket figure of a $20,000 grant per farm. I believe there are areas where on a selective basis larger capital grants would give a greater return in terms of social goals, environmental goals, job creation goals and a higher quality of life for all the people of Ontario than would the money invested in massive, one-shot Hydro projects.
I believe these criticisms of the budget are valid. I believe the people of Kent-Elgin have the ability, the knowledge and the facilities to take advantage of an expanded agricultural effort in Ontario, and so do those of other tidings. I have emphasized the horticultural side because I believe this is where the greatest gain could be made in production, in meeting the nutritional needs of the country and in the providing of jobs in areas of production that are labour-intensive.
But I have not forgotten that cash grain and livestock production is by far the greatest part of Ontario’s agriculture. There are opportunities here in developing better nutrition, especially in the area of providing high quality protein. Look at the advances in milk production and storage. Fifty years ago milk could only be stored a few hours and it might carry diseased germs at that. Today milk is absolutely safe and it can be stored for up to two weeks; in fact processes are coming on the market for even longer times. Look at the success story the dairy industry has had in its promotional efforts; and pork producers have done the same. When the livestock men prosper, the feed grain people have a market for their products. I ask the Minister of Agriculture and Food to look at his budget and ask himself if it is adequate for the needs. I think he will say not.
In summary, we need a co-ordinated effort headed by the province, and at least partly funded by the province, to research and find the most effective and cost-efficient approaches to reaching all segments of the population with nutrition information; to develop a coordinated nutritional education policy, involving all agencies and sectors with experience in conducting nutritional programs; to develop alternative approaches to communicating to the consumer the nutritional values of food; and to improve and expand the support services available to nutrition education programs at the community level.
The purpose of all this is to improve the health of our people and to improve the agricultural industry in Ontario. I believe if we make consumers aware of proper nutrition, we will at the same time help to sell Ontario food. Tea, coffee, chocolate and sugar, to give a few examples, are imported products. Fruit juices, fresh and processed fruits and vegetables; dairy products, poultry and eggs, red meat and cereals are Ontario and Canadian-grown.
Mr. Speaker, you already know our opposition to the OHIP fee increases of 37.5 per cent. We would have preferred to see the increase held to six per cent. However, we accepted the 50 per cent reduction. Farm families, merchants and small business people of rural communities, one of which I represent, unlike civil servants or employees of large corporations, pay their own premiums. In times of falling farm income, it would have been extremely unjust to have a 37.5 per cent increase thrust upon this self-paying sector of society.
I’d be the first to admit that rural people are great gamblers. They lay their futures on the line with every crop they plant or with every lot of livestock they put in their barns. But they’re not great gamblers once they receive their income. Very few speculate in the commodity markets. As people, they work hard and they don’t expect windfall gains. I think they have some philosophical problems when seeing the province raise huge sums of money by the lottery route. I believe they would support the suggestion that a portion of these funds be used to finance health, and perhaps more specifically hospital costs.
I would also like to mention a matter concerning the environment. I think the offer of the Ministry of the Environment to grant 50 per cent of the cost and a loan of 50 per cent of the balance to build an incineration plant is a great offer. The unfortunate part is that mathematics favour the waste dump sites rather than waste management and incineration. We need an affirmative action committee to put this generous offer into action and we need an affirmative policy. Municipal officials, quite naturally, want to take the cheap way out. It’s an issue in my riding and we are disappointed in the lack of affirmative action on the part of the Ministry of the Environment.
If I can close on a personal note, in pleading for a separation at source, recycling and incineration of waste I’m asking for a course of action my wife and family have practised for years. We put the waste in one container which eventually returns to the land; the glass and metal go to the landfill only because there is no system of recycling these items; all the combustibles such as newsprint, paper and containers are burned in our wood-burning stove. I know that not every resident is in a position to follow this practice but we have found the separation to be a simple matter.
With just a minute or two left, in closing I want to summarize and say we believe the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food should embark on a much wider program to sell nutrition to the people of Ontario for the benefit it would give to the health of our citizenry and for the opportunities it would develop in the agricultural market. I feel this is the area where we stand the greatest chance of making gains. On that, I’ll close.
Mr. Samis moved the adjournment of the debate.
Motion agreed to.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Parrott the House adjourned at 5:55 p.m.