The House met at 2 p.m.
Mr. S. Smith: I rise on a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I have in front of me, from the minutes of the Board of Internal Economy, a revised estimate for the select committee on Hydro affairs. This committee is, apparently, budgeted to require $584,100 in order to conduct its business this summer. In view of the fact that the committee members have never at any time had an opportunity to approve or examine this particular budget, and also in view of the fact that both the Premier (Mr. Davis) and I have spoken on the need for restraint in terms of expenditures of this kind, may I ask your guidance, sir, as to whether there is some procedure by which the members of the committee should first of all have the opportunity to look at such a budget and request information about it before this comes before the Legislative Assembly and, for that matter, before it comes before the Board of Internal Economy?
Personally, I believe that it’s necessary for us to show a good deal more restraint than this budget would indicate, but I believe the principle of the committee members looking at the budget and having to approve it first is an important principle which I would commend to the assembly. I would seek your guidance as to whether this might in some way be achieved with regard to this, and perhaps other select committee budgets.
Mr. Speaker: As most members of the assembly are aware, the Board of Internal Economy is made up of seven members. Three of them are cabinet ministers, three of them are the House leaders of the three parties and of course, the Speaker acts as chairman. It is the ultimate responsibility of the Board of Internal Economy to answer for all expenditures dealing with the Office of the Assembly, and, of course, standing and select committees of the Legislature fall within that ambit. Now, if the House generally feels dissatisfied with the scrutiny the Board of Internal Economy is giving to expenditures -- in this case of a select committee -- then we are open to any kind of suggestions from the House as to how we may perform that function more adequately and more thoroughly. We did have a motion that was put to the board -- it wasn’t properly before the board, it wasn’t seconded -- but the decisions taken with regard to the allocation of funds to the standing and select committees were taken in a very democratic way on the basis of a majority vote of the board. So I would look for some guidance from all parties if they feel the method of scrutiny and the method of allocating funds for select and standing committees of this House could be improved upon.
Mr. MacDonald: Is this a point of order, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Speaker: It was called a point of order.
Mr. MacDonald: If I may speak to the point of order, Mr. Speaker, you will recall, since you were in the chair at the Board of Internal Economy, that the motion was put and it was referred for consideration for three months by agreement of everybody, with one or two exceptions -- perhaps one, the spokesman for the Liberal Party at that time. You are right in that the House can have input, if it so desires, because I the Board of Internal Economy, presumably, is the servant of this House. But I suggest that any further consideration of the motion or any action beyond what the board took at this point, since they have referred it for consideration three months hence, is out of order.
Mr. Martel: On the point of order: I would just like to make one small clarification. The motion put forward the other night was seconded. An amendment was moved and it was voted against. In fact, the motion was seconded and amended.
Mr. Samis: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: My point of privilege is based on the visit here yesterday by the provincial executive of ACFO. It is my understanding that when the delegation met with the Conservative caucus or cabinet simultaneous translation facilities were provided. I would point out that when they presented their brief to the Liberal caucus and our caucus, no such facilities were provided, which meant they had to speak in English.
It would seem to me a violation of our rights and privileges that when a delegation comes here they can speak to one caucus in their language of choice, but because of the lack of services for the other two caucuses they are denied that same right. I would ask you to act upon it, sir.
Mr. Sterling: Did you ask for it?
An hon. member: Why didn’t you ask for it?
Mr. Martel: You are wrong again; it’s in the select committee report.
Mr. Nixon: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: On Thursday, May 4, the Premier (Mr. Davis) answered a question put by the members for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Sargent) and St. George (Mrs. Campbell) having to do with the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act. The Premier is quoted on page 2216 as follows: “I would only remind the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell) if she wants to be a little bit snide, that her party supported the Niagara Escarpment legislation. They supported it in principle and voted for it. Let her not ever forget it. Her party was part of the legislation that was passed.”
I now quote from Hansard on June 14, 1973, at the conclusion of the debate on the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act. I quote my own words in this connection: “We cannot support the bill, most specifically because of those untrammelled powers of land controls and dictation which originate with the power this bill gives the Treasurer himself.”
That was followed by the vote in principle in the House. The House divided on Bill 129; the result was 49 in favour, 33 against.
I and my Liberal colleagues voted against it at that time.
Mr. Sweeney: Apologize.
Mr. Sargent: Wrong again.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: What has the Treasurer to do with the commission?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I have a brief statement, but I too have checked the record. The then leader of the opposition is right in that part of the discussion. I will not take the time of the House to go through the rather lengthy procedure that led up to the escarpment legislation. Some of the views expressed go back to the Gertler report, the preservation of the Niagara Peninsula farm land and many other things that relate to this particular project --
Mr. McEwen: Let’s hear it all.
Mr. Nixon: Gertler said the viable land.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- where, with respect, there was some indication as to the then position of the Liberal Party which was a little more interested in environmental and conservation issues than perhaps it is today.
Mr. S. Smith: Conservation costs jobs according to you; listen to your ministers.
An hon. member: Another flip-flop.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It happens to be factually correct. You people were the same way on bottles and cans.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: They are great environmentalists over there.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Do you remember your bottles and cans position?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: The wind blows.
Hon. Mr. Davis: In the speech from the throne --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Well it’s true.
Mr. S. Smith: Do you remember yours?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes. We were in favour of doing something about bottles and cans and the Liberals were opposed to it.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh.
Mr. Breithaupt: That was your position.
Mr. Peterson: You would use anything; you are using pollution as a revenue source.
Mr. Speaker: Order. We are in routine proceedings. I hope we can get down to statements by the ministry.
Mr. Sweeney: We are waiting for your position.
Mr. Mancini: Could I rise on a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Point of privilege.
PREMIUM ON U.S. FUNDS
Mr. Mancini: This morning I was in the members’ dining lounge and I was refused a premium on American money. I was told that it was the policy of the dining lounge in this building not to give a premium on American money.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh.
Hon. W. Newman: Why don’t you use Canadian money?
Mr. Mancini: I wonder, sir, if you could check into this matter to see if it is the position of the person in charge of the dining lounge not to give a premium on American money.
Mr. Speaker: I will check into it.
An hon. member: What’s wrong with coin of the realm? What has the member got against coin of the realm?
An hon. member: He’s just a tourist here.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
JOB SKILLS CONFERENCE
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, you’re quite right. I was just somewhat provoked by the member for London Centre -- not really, not really --
Mr. Speaker: Is this part of the statement?
Hon. Mr. Davis: In the speech from the throne the government indicated its intention to convene a conference to promote both government and private efforts to improve the match between skills and jobs available in the labour market. I am pleased to inform the House today that the conference will be held on June 8 and 9 at Seneca College. Invitations are now being sent out to people in various lines of endeavour to participate in this very meaningful undertaking.
We anticipate the conference will help ensure the success of the various initiatives my government is already taking, identify the need for others and provide an opportunity for full and open consultation on how all interested parties can contribute to achieving a higher level and the most useful mix of skills in the Ontario work force. am confident that all members of this House join with the government in its determination to deal with the problem of high levels of unemployment coupled with a current shortage of some skilled jobs. I am also confident that members share with me in anticipation of the beneficial results that will come from this conference.
CORRECTIONAL SERVICES BILL
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, later this afternoon I will introduce a bill entitled an Act to revise the Ministry of Correctional Services Act. This bill will revise the existing Ministry of Correctional Services Act, which has undergone relatively few changes since it was first enacted in 1968. The last amendment to the act occurred in 1972.
The amendments which I am asking the House to approve contain a number of housekeeping items as well as changes which reflect new developments and directions in the corrections field. For example, the concentrated thrust towards community-based correction is reflected in the sections which recognize the important work of citizen volunteers, the continued expansion of probation and the development of community resource centres.
The act provides for a simple procedure for the establishment of community resource centres, of which :there are now 25 across the province, with plans for 19 more to be opened this year, depending on the availability of suitable property. Many of these centres will he radical departures from the traditional model.
The act also clarifies the ministry’s authority to enter into contracts for the provision of community service order projects which are designed to serve as an alternative to incarceration by having offenders perform tasks which benefit the community. Probation staff play a key role in community service orders, providing pre-sentence reports on offenders as well as supervision and support to ensure that each individual completes his assignment under the order. To facilitate the work of probation staff, an amendment to the act will provide a probation officer with a mechanism whereby he can apply to the court to change the original probation order.
This act also serves to align provincial legislation with federal legislation, specifically the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1977.
The important changes contained in that act relate to the elimination of the indeterminate and indefinite sentences and statutory remission as well as provision for the establishment by this province of its own parole board with I full responsibility for the paroling of inmates in provincial institutions. These changes will occur this fall.
The new parole board will eliminate costly duplication which currently exists as a result of the operation of both a federal and a provincial parole board and will allow for greatly improved planning to meet each individual inmate’s needs.
The new remission system is in keeping with the impetus which I have provided to the use of inmate work crews from correctional institutions to perform a wide variety of tasks which will benefit the community. The existing remission system functions in an essentially negative manner in that inmates are automatically granted a reduction in their sentences at the beginning of it and can then be penalized with the loss of remission for unsatisfactory behaviour. Under the new system, we will provide opportunities, incentives and rewards for inmates similar to those in the world outside of prison. Inmates will earn remission as a reward for satisfactory work performance on a thy-to-day basis.
I am proud to say that wherever you look in this province today you see the result of initiatives by my ministry. You will see inmates performing tasks which would otherwise not be done, either because no one is willing to do this kind of work or no funds are available to pay for it. Our inmates are working today in the fields, in the forests, in the hospitals and, I’m very proud to say, within the shadow of the Legislature doing the necessary remedial work at Wycliffe College across the street. it is my intention to continue to expand the practical approach to rehabilitation which requires inmates to accept responsibility for their destinies and which at the same time saves tax dollars and helps to make the community a better place in which to live for all of us.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, later this afternoon I will introduce an act to restructure the county of Northumberland.
Legislation establishes a restructured county of seven area municipalities which carries on the county level of government with increased responsibilities. This legislation results from nearly four years of intensive study and discussions on the advantages and disadvantages of proceeding with local government reform in Northumberland. The county initiated the original study in 1974 and has taken an active role in arriving at the bill presented today. County Warden Walter Rutherford and members of his council and senior staff are in your gallery today, sir, and you may wish to join with me in welcoming them.
Hon. Mr. Davis: They’re a very good group of responsible people --
Mr. Sargent: You better believe it.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: In recent weeks, Warden Rutherford and his committee worked closely with my parliamentary assistants and ministry staff to finalize the details of the proposed new arrangements. In effect, the legislation bears a distinct imprint of the wishes of county council and the councils of the area municipalities.
There are two fundamental principles to the restructuring legislation. First, the existing 15 local municipalities are consolidated into seven new area municipalities. Secondly, the county assumes increased responsibility for planning, water supply, sewage treatment, waste disposal and issuing debentures on behalf of the local municipalities. The seven new area municipalities will be responsible for, among other things, police, fire, libraries --
Mr. Sargent: You should have done that 10 years ago.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: -- local parks and recreation, residential and other local roads and garbage collection.
It is my hope that these proposals reflect broad support in this county, and as well will strengthen the capacity of the residents of this area in implementing and in defining better local government. It is my intention to leave the bill on the order paper for several weeks to allow an appropriate evaluation before proceeding further.
ARTS COUNCIL GRANTS
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, the honourable members will recall that during the question period on Monday I gave an undertaking to provide additional information concerning a Wintario grant of $4,000 to the Kensington Art Association Centre for Experimental Art and Communication. I now have this information.
As I pointed out to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) on Monday, the grant in question has no relationship whatsoever to any activities of the publication called Strike. The Wintario application was received in July of 1977 from the Kensington Art Association Centre for Experimental Art and Communication to assist in the establishment of a video resource centre. After discussions which took place over the next four months, the original application was significantly revised to include only the purchase price of secondhand video recording and playback equipment which would be necessary to reproduce and view existing video works.
The Kensington Art Association Centre for Experimental Art and Communication gave an undertaking to provide the services of their video resource centre free of charge to non-profit groups with the exception of material costs, such as film or tape, and at a pre-established fee to other groups in the community. The total value of the secondhand equipment was established at approximately $8,000. On December 8, 1977, their application was officially approved for 50 per cent of this amount, namely, $4,000.
This equipment has nothing whatsoever to do with the activities of Art Communication, Edition or Strike, and plays no part in the production process of these periodicals.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, you will recall that recently I indicated I would have further comments to make with respect to news reports of statements made by an officer of the RCMP before the McDonald commission.
Mr. Bradley: Lots of statements today.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: These concerned a number of entries that had been made by members of the RCMP without the authority of a search warrant. As I indicated at that time, I received a report from Assistant Commissioner M. S. Sexsmith, commanding officer of O division of the RCMP, as it relates to Ontario. I have also reviewed this matter with him and with Chief Superintendent R. R. Schramm.
In his letter, the assistant commissioner said that in preparation for the hearings before the McDonald commission, surveys were done by each of the commanding officers of the divisions that are responsible for criminal operations sections within Ontario. This was to ascertain whether there were any instances of entry for the purpose of search, inspection and/or seizure without warrant or other legal authorization.
The surveys covered a period of 1970 to the present time. At my meeting with the senior RCMP officials, I was further informed that the officer or member in charge of each unit or detachment was specifically assigned the responsibility of ensuring that each person under his supervision was personally interviewed with a view to ascertaining whether any unauthorized entry or intelligence probe had taken place. I am informed that there was no evidence of any such entry or probe having taken place in Ontario during this period.
Similar surveys have apparently been conducted by the RCMP security service on a national basis, and the results of those surveys are being provided to the Solicitor General of Canada and the McDonald commission. I have as yet received no report with respect to that part of the operation of the RCMP within Ontario.
Assistant Commissioner Sexsmith has advised me that upon receiving further instructions and information from his superiors in Ottawa, he will be answering my request for information with respect to the activities of the security service in Ontario in this regard. In relation to the type of searches cited before the McDonald commission, I have been assured that the policy of the force in Ontario did not permit such searches without a warrant or other legal authority.
A senior law officer in my ministry has reviewed the written policy of the RCMP and advises me that in addition to permitting only those entries where there is legal authorization, the policy specifically prohibited any attempt to use even a legally authorized search for the purpose of a so-called fishing expedition.
I approached this matter with a great deal of concern after seeing press reports that more than 400 entries had taken place in Canada. I think it’s fair to say one would have naturally assumed that at least some of those had occurred in Ontario. However, from my discussions with the RCMP officials, it was apparent that when they first learned of the evidence about the number of these entries in other provinces, they too were concerned that initially it might appear rather odd that there were such a large number elsewhere and none in Ontario.
In our discussions we explored at considerable length this apparent difference between what occurred in some other provinces and what had apparently occurred in Ontario. Assistant Commissioner Sexsmith and Chief Superintendent Schramm have suggested to me that the fact that there appears to have been no divergence in Ontario from the force policy prohibiting such entries without authorization is attributable, at least in part, to the leadership and direction provided in Ontario by the senior officers who were in charge of criminal investigations at the relevant time.
They have assured me that strict adherence to the force policy in this regard has been and is the rule in so far as the criminal operations section of the RCMP in Ontario is concerned. It is apparent from the reports of the proceedings of the McDonald commission in other provinces that the commission is attempting to deal with the policies and activities of the RCMP in these areas of its criminal operations branch.
Mr. Speaker, officials of my ministry are continuing to monitor the transcripts of the McDonald commission hearings. We will examine fully any evidence of illegal activities that fall within our jurisdiction. In addition, I am now awaiting a response to my request for information on this subject as it relates to the security service of the RCMP within Ontario.
Mr. Speaker, I have undertaken to keep the Legislature informed of information I have received in this regard. That will continue to be my policy.
Mr. McKessock: Point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is there any way that we can limit the amount of ministerial statements on Thursday? As the government well knows, it cuts into the time that is allocated for the private member’s bill.
Mrs. Campbell: That’s why they do it.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I know that it is not a legitimate point of order, but I think, to put things in proper context, we know the particular interests of the honourable member today.
Mr. Bolan: We know your embarrassments.
Hon. Mr. Welch: But for those who are visiting with us today, we should remind all that we did not sit on Tuesday and it should be no surprise that there is some accumulation of things intended for Tuesday, and these are to be included today. Now, let’s be reasonable and fair.
Mrs. Campbell: Every Thursday.
Mr. Rotenberg: What about your points of privilege that take up so much time?
Hon. Mr. Welch: We could reduce the question period if you want to give up some time.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Do you want to reduce the question period a half hour?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring the members of this House fully up-to-date concerning the dispute between the Renfrew County Board of Education and its 423 secondary school teachers.
It is well known that the secondary schools in Renfrew county have been in a state of disruption since January 30 of this year. At that date, the teachers began a work-to-rule process, which was followed by a lockout of the teachers by the school board, effective March 13.
Although the lockout was subsequently lifted, the teachers have continued to exercise a full withdrawal of their services, with the result that, as of today, the secondary schools of the county have been closed for a period of 38 days.
Under the provisions of Bill 100, the Education Relations Commission has employed every effort and every means at its disposal to attempt to resolve the impasse between the board and the teachers.
The full processes of mediation and fact finding, including the involvement of a three-man mediation tribunal, have been brought to bear on the situation but still the impasse remains, to the continuing detriment of the almost 7,700 students who are caught in the middle of this dispute.
Two days ago, on Tuesday of this week, I received a communication from the Education Relations Commission, in accordance with its responsibility under Bill 100 to advise the Lieutenant Governor in Council when, in its opinion, the continuation of a situation such as exists in Renfrew county will place in jeopardy the successful completion of courses of study by the students affected. The commission has concluded that hope is dim for an early negotiated resolution to the impasse in Renfrew county. In part, the commission states:
“While we do not rule out the possibility that a resumption of negotiations by the parties might produce a settlement at a future date, we believe that the difficult and lengthy history of negotiations to date, coupled with recent efforts by a highly qualified factfinder, mediators and a mediation tribunal, justify a prediction than an early negotiated settlement cannot be anticipated.”
The commission then went on to state, and I quote again: “In the circumstances of this case, and having regard to the efforts of the learned mediation tribunal, we believe that the time when the students would have been placed in jeopardy would almost certainly have arrived before a negotiated settlement is concluded.”
Mr. Speaker, it will be very clear to all members of this House that this dispute in Renfrew county needs to be resolved promptly, for the sake not only of the students but also because of the broader disruptive effect it is having on the communities involved. There is no question that the most appropriate and desirable way for this to occur is for the two parties -- the board and the teachers -- to resume negotiations at the bargaining table at once, and to stick with it until the impasse is broken and the schools can be returned to normal.
Even at this stage, Mr. Speaker, the provisions of Bill 100 provide a number of alternatives. Should the parties continue to find it impossible to negotiate to a settlement, clear options are open to proceed voluntarily to binding arbitration or to final offer selection -- both of which have been employed successfully in similar circumstances elsewhere in this province. The preferable course for the board and the teachers, I believe, is to work responsibly and expeditiously to a negotiated settlement. But should these efforts fail after a few concerted days of continual effort, then I think the onus is on the two parties to agree jointly to proceed either to arbitration or to final offer selection.
For these reasons, Mr. Speaker, I have today sent telegrams to both the Renfrew County Board of Education and to the secondary school teachers in that jurisdiction, strongly recommending to both parties that they proceed as I have described here. As I said, Mr. Speaker, the onus is clearly upon both parties to work their way out of theft own impasse and to do so without further delay. I have strongly reminded them of their public responsibility in this undertaking, and have also restated the willingness of the Education Relations Commission to lend a helpful hand beginning immediately.
Mr. Speaker, I also made it very clear in my telegram to both the board and the teachers that to proceed as I have recommended is the only real choice which they have, because it is not the intention of the government to introduce legislation to resolve this dispute. I have made it plain to both parties, Mr. Speaker that it would be futile, not to say irresponsible, for either or both parties to sit back in the expectation that ultimately the dispute will be resolved by this Legislature.
ARTS COUNCIL GRANTS
Mr. S. Smith: I’d like to ask a question of the Minister of Culture and Recreation regarding the statement he has made in the House today, and his response to a question on Monday on the funding of CEAC, or Kensington Art Association as it is known.
Do I take it that the minister is in no way concerned that the editorial board of Strike takes a pro-terrorist approach in its newspaper, and has its circulation largely abroad and not even here in Ontario. About 2,400 of its 3,000 copies are circulated abroad. Do I take it he has no concern about the fact that three of the members of that editorial board are well known as the general manager, the president and a member of the board of directors of the Kensington Art Association? Is he quite prepared to continue to fund that group of individuals, just provided they happen to wear a different hat from the bat they wear when they act as the editorial board of a pro-terrorist newspaper? Is he prepared to justify not only having given public funds to this group, but continuing to give public funds to this group?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I am certainly not suggesting and I hope that the Leader of the Opposition is not suggesting in any way that he would condone any news story carrying the headline of the Toronto Sun of last Tuesday. It was suggested that he was accusing me of being responsible for the funding of a terrorist organization with resources I have at my discretion. In fact, I have been sitting here waiting for the Leader of the Opposition to dissociate himself from that charge. I think it is very irresponsible on his part. If he hasn’t seen the article, I would be glad to send it to him.
Mr. S. Smith: I rise on a point of privilege, if the minister would yield the floor.
The minister may be unaware that I do not write the headlines for the Toronto Sun. No charge was ever made by me regarding the minister, other than what he heard here in this House. The very same matters were repeated outside the House. I think it is a very shabby thing for the minister to suggest that I have rendered some personal charge against him.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to accept that as a dissociation with the story that started out, “Liberal Leader Stuart Smith charged Welch with funding a terrorist organization.”
Mr. S. Smith: The minister was in the House, and he knows what I said.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I think that is shameful, and I don’t stand up here and accept it. I want the member to know that, that’s all.
Hon. Mr. Welch: That is why we are answering this question, to say that I hope that the same applies to the fact that we are not knowingly involved in the funding of any particular journal violating the Criminal Code of Canada.
I explained to the honourable member on Monday, by the statement that was made and the answers to questions that followed that statement, that the Ontario Arts Council last June dealt with applications. I explained the procedure of the Ontario Arts Council with respect to the advice it sought insofar as that type of application was concerned. I also shared with him the fact that I wouldn’t be surprised, since the time has come again to review a number of applications, that the change in the editorial policy and other factors that follow public discussion of this issue might well influence the arts council in dealing with that type of application in a different way. Surely that was explanation enough for that?
Mr. Kerrio: What are you going to do about it?
Hon. Mr. Welch: The next question is, I know the honourable member would share with me some concern as to the degree to which government as such -- in so far as a declared arm’s length policy and leaving it to an independent board making determinations with grants to arts organizations --
Mr. T. P. Reid: You need a new board.
Hon. Mr. Welch: -- the degree to which we might go in interfering with other activities in so far as those organizations were concerned. The Kensington Art Association, now known as the Centre for Experimental Art and Communication, is an organization which has been around for some time. It started some years ago and has been recognized by federal authorities from the standpoint of a revenue number for donations. There may be some similarity between the board of directors or some members of the board on the association and the publication. The degree to which that would influence the arts council in considering that tabloid application is a matter for the council. The Kensington Art Association is a non-commercial gallery established in the Kensington Market to provide free space to individual and group exhibitors, and so its aims and objectives go. I would point out to the member that as they move they seem to be able to attract some very responsible tenants to their new quarters, one of which, of course, was the Liberal Party of Canada.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Shameful.
Mr. S. Smith: They didn’t attract them. The Kensington group didn’t own the building when they took out the lease.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I would be the last to be standing up in my place --
An hon. member: Why don’t you sit down in your place?
Mr. S. Smith: On a matter of privilege, the minister knows well, first of all, that the Ontario Liberal Party moved out of that building some time ago.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I didn’t say the Ontario Liberal Party.
Mr. S. Smith: Secondly, he used the words “attract to the building.” The minister knows full well, if he has done any research, that the federal Liberal Party has a lease that went five years that they took out with an elderly gentleman who owned the original building.
An hon. member: You know a lot about it.
Mr. S. Smith: It is a binding lease; and he then sold the building.
Mr. T. P. Reid: They used Wintario funds to buy it.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Apologize.
Mr. S. Smith: The minister ought to know that although they did not --
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Apologize. Mr. Breithaupt: For those insinuations?
Don’t be silly.
Mr. S. Smith: The minister ought to know that although they did not attract such tenants to the building --
An hon. member: You’ve lost this one.
Mr. Makarchuk: Who’s asking the questions?
Mr. S. Smith: -- they did attract $55,000 of Wintario money, which enabled them to buy the building.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Let’s just push that a little further, if it’s of any relevance. One of the matters which made it possible for them to meet some of the matching of funds required was, of course, the fact they had such a good tenant and the rent that was being paid was, in fact, used as some type of security with respect to the mortgage.
Mr. Kerrio: You are giving concerts there now.
Mr. Breithaupt: It’s the same people.
Hon. Mr. Welch: If I might be allowed to continue to answer the question, I would think that the Wintario applications and the tabloid are very open to any discussion, and I would hope I am not hearing the Leader of the Opposition say that government should start -- in so far as the activities of the Kensington Art Association Centre for Experimental Art and Communication, an organization that has been around for some time, recognized by both the Canada Council and the Ontario Arts Council for the work it does in the cultural community -- should start a move to have its activities in any way confused with the activities of the magazine. They themselves have made it quite clear that they are separate. I find it a bit distasteful --
Mr. Breithaupt: It’s the same people.
Mr. T. P. Reid: It’s the same people.
Hon. Mr. Welch: -- that by innuendo and suggestion the member is trying to relate this particular aspect of the thing to the unfortunate world situation involving, as it does, terrorist activities. I just find this whole exercise on the part of the Leader of the Opposition very strange and distasteful.
Mr. Breithaupt: It’s the same people.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: It’s a waste of time.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Kerrio: Doesn’t that scare you?
Mr. Speaker: Order, order.
Mr. Mackenzie: Do you want a pick to go with that shovel?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Welch: The fact that you would say does that scare me scares me.
Mr. Havrot: Do you want to try it over again?
Mr. Kerrio: Just don’t give any money.
Mr. Peterson: We just want a little taste of judgement for a change.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, can the minister tell us the present status of a $25,000 grant for the Centre for Experimental Art and Communication, approved by the arts council in their meeting of April 25 to 27 of this year? is that grant in fact going ahead? Does the minister see absolutely nothing wrong with continuing to send public funds to an organization whose directors, whose president, whose general manager, put out a publication supportive of terrorism in today’s world?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Although I don’t have that particular information with me, there is absolutely no connection between the application and that grant that is being discussed by the Leader of the Opposition and the tabloid.
I have pointed out to the House that the application by Strike, the tabloid, was last June -- June 1977 -- which was dealt with, for a tabloid that carried a different name, and indeed, let’s report, a different policy, which has changed as of the beginning of the year. There is no question that the Kensington Art Association -- quite distinct from Strike or whatever else the tabloid was called previously -- the Kensington Art Association Centre for Experimental Art and Communication has been dealing with the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for maintenance grants on a regular basis since they came into existence. There’s no doubt but that the particular matter about which the Leader of the Opposition asks in his second supplementary question relates to that.
Mr. Sargent: It’s still a big slush fund anyway.
Hon. Mr. Welch: It is completely, absolutely distinct from the activities of the tabloid strike.
Mr. Breithaupt: It’s just the same people.
Mr. S. Smith: The same building.
Mr. Sweeney: Same people.
Mr. Cunningham: Sounds like the Maple dump.
Mr. Speaker: The Leader of the Opposition with his second question.
Mr. S. Smith: Incredible.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You are.
Mr. S. Smith: Do the trained seals want a little time to pat their desks?
Mr. T. P. Reid: There aren’t as many of you as there used to be either.
Hon. Mr. Welch: With a full gallery he becomes completely irresponsible.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
An hon. member: Don’t lose your cool, Stuart.
Mr. Sweeney: You’ve become completely foolish with your explanation.
Mr. Havrot: Give him a crying towel.
Mr. S. Smith: It’s one thing to have the policy changed on you; it’s another to do nothing afterwards.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Ask the question.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Give us your views on censorship.
CHAIN STORE DISCOUNTS
Mr. S. Smith: A question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food: Does the minister now have an answer as to when his staff first learned of the so-called chain store discounts which suppliers are required to pay? I refer to his commitment on May 5, when he said: “I have a very competent staff in my ministry and if there is a problem that arises in the agricultural industry, I am notified by my staff. You have asked me when my staff was first notified. I will try and find that out for you.” Can he give that information now?
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, as the member well knows, he has contacted my staff, to my knowledge my staff were contacted -- when was it, a week ago Thursday.
Mr. Speaker, while I’m on my feet, I’d like to answer the question a little more thoroughly, if I could, because I think the Leader of the Opposition might benefit a little bit from the agricultural knowledge he might gain today.
Mr. Breithaupt: We’ll try.
Mr. S. Smith: If it is a statement, we will revert to statements. We’ll revert to statements, if you like.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The minister may continue as long as it relates to the question posed by the Leader of the Opposition.
Hon. Mr. Welch: The member for Grey thought we were taking too much time on statements.
Hon. W. Newman: There are over 20 marketing boards in this province and we have contacted all these marketing boards. I’ll just tell the member who we have contacted in the last few days: the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Producers’ Marketing Board, the Ontario Milk Marketing Board, the Ontario Egg Producers’ Marketing Board, the Ontario Chicken Producers’ Marketing Board, the Ontario Turkey Producers’ Marketing Board, the Ontario Fresh Fruit Growers’ Marketing Board.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: The knee bone, the ankle bone.
Mr. Ruston: The checker board.
Hon. W. Newman: Every last one of these boards, plus others, have told us there are no costs to their producers in any dealings that the brokers have or the dealers have with the chain stores. Ml these people have confirmed this to us. There has been no problem there as far as the producer is concerned, as far as their income is concerned. These are producer boards that are elected by producers to operate where operations are concerned. Some of them are negotiating boards -- the fruit and vegetable boards -- which negotiate prices with processors for the commodities. Some are price-setting and quota-setting. Some other boards, as I say, negotiate. Some of them are under national supply and management, where they have a formula price on products such as milk, eggs and other matters.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. If I may remind the minister, the question was: “When did the minister learn of the two per cent?”
Mr. T. P. Reid: He learned something about parliamentary rules today.
Mr. Breithaupt: In 25 words or less.
Mr. S. Smith: When did your staff hear about it?
Mr. MacDonald: When did the minister’s staff hear about it?
Mr. Eakins: Arrogance.
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, did the member ask when I heard about it? If he looks in Hansard he will find out that it was the other day that I told him when I heard about it.
Mr. Warner: Answer the question.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I would seek your guidance in this, since the question is that the undertaking of the minister was:
“You have asked me when my staff was first notified. I will try and find that out for you.” I’ve asked him can he give us that information now? Why is he resisting answering such a simple and straightforward question?
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, as I said, as far as I know my staff notified me a week ago Thursday.
Mr. S. Smith: When did they find out?
Mr. Sweeney: Answer the question.
Hon. W. Newman: I beg your pardon? I said, as far as I know that’s when they knew and that’s when they notified me. That’s what they told me.
Mr. S. Smith: Just a moment, by way of a supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: A supplementary: the member fur York South.
Mr. MacDonald: This is exactly the question that I put to the minister three times, and sought your assistance because I didn’t get a reply. The question still stands.
From the minister’s examinations and his inquiries, when did his staff first learn about it? The minister said a moment ago: “As far as I know they passed it on to me immediately.” Has he inquired to find out when his staff first learned about it?
Hon. W. Newman: I have asked the chairman of our food council and I believe his answer was: “A week ago Thursday or a week ago yesterday.”
Mr. MacDonald: It isn’t true.
Hon. W. Newman: I beg your pardon?
Mr. MacDonald: It isn’t true. I know it isn’t.
Hon. W. Newman: Well, the member may not think it’s true. But that’s what he tells me. Is the member saying that the chairman of my food council is not telling me the facts?
Mr. S. Smith: That’s right. What did he say to that?
Hon. W. Newman: We’ll deal with that matter later.
Mr. MacDonald: I didn’t get a report. The question still stands.
Mr. Sweeney: Answer the question.
Mr. S. Smith: What did the chairman of the food council say to the minister?
Hon. W. Newman: I think that maybe the member for York South owes him an apology.
Mr. MacDonald: I don’t owe him an apology.
Hon. W. Newman: He had better make an apology.
Mr. Speaker: Order, order. The minister should be allowed to answer the question uninterrupted.
Mr. S. Smith: The Speaker did ask the minister to answer the question.
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I did answer the question. The chairman of the food council informed me that he found out, I believe, a week ago today or a week ago yesterday.
Mr. S. Smith: This is a very important matter. By way of a supplementary. Is the minister assuring this House that the chairman of the food council and all the other members of his staff are saying to him, as a result of his inquiry, that the first they heard about the practice of asking for rebates was a week ago or thereabouts, a week or 10 days ago? Is that what he is saying he heard from the chairman of the food council and also from other members of his staff?
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I pointed out that I talked to the chairman of the food council. My major concern was for the producers of this province. I asked when he first heard about it. We have checked on it, and the producers of the province have not been hurt by the whole process. I pointed out to members that the chairman of the food council said that it was drawn to his attention a week or 10 days ago or whatever it was. I’ve also issued instructions to our milk commission and to the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Board to contact all the marketing boards in the province -- about 24 marketing boards -- and if they have any problems they are supposed to deal with them; and if they have any specific problems they are to make sure that they get in touch with us. They usually do, but we’ve gone through the process again just to be sure.
Mr. Swart: You know and I that’s why you’re evading it.
Mr. Speaker: One final supplementary.
Mr. S. Smith: Did the minister ask only the chairman of the food council; and if so, can he assure the House that the chairman of the Ontario Food Council was not informed of the problem some two months ago? Furthermore, did he ask the chairman of the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Board about this matter? If not, why did he not ask him; and if he did, can he assure the House that the chairman of the board was not informed of this problem by a producers’ cooperative last July?
Hon. W. Newman: The member is talking about a completely different matter in referring to the producers’ co-operative; he is talking about the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Producers’ Marketing Board. I assume that is what the honourable member is talking about. Is that what he is referring to?
Mr. S. Smith: The question is self-explanatory.
Hon W. Newman: If the honourable member doesn’t know then tell me what it is. Is he talking about the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Producers’ Marketing Board? If he is then there is a specific problem there.
Hon. Mr. Welch: He is just reading what is written there for him.
Hon. W. Newman: It’s an elected producer marketing board and they do handle the greenhouse industry. You know very well what the story is, because I know you were in touch with them the other day and are fully aware of the situation --
Mr. Sargent: What took you so long then?
Hon. W. Newman: -- and so am I aware of the situation. There are times when they have surpluses of commodity in the greenhouse. They do what they call a pooling system. They reduce their price on a pooling basis and they sell their commodities to the dealers who in turn sell them to whoever they sell them to. There are some producers who have taken exception to this -- basically it is the co-op which has gone after the greenhouse marketing board. I believe there’s litigation in process now. Our farm products marketing board people are in touch with them on a daily basis and we are trying to resolve their individual problems within that marketing board.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question of the Minister of Labour, Mr. Speaker, arising out of her comments a year and a half ago, in November 1976, that she thought that it was Orwellian and frightening to have TV monitors looking over the work of immigrant women workers at the Puretex Knitting Company. I would like to ask the minister whether she is now prepared to intervene to stop the use of those monitors, which is still going on, and to take action in this Legislature or otherwise in order to prevent that kind of spying on workers in industrial plants in the province?
Hon. B. Stephenson: As the honourable leader of the third party well knows, the matter was placed before the Ontario Human Rights Commission. There was a meeting 10 days ago, I believe, of certain of the principals in this matter with the commission members themselves. I am informed that the commission is communicating with me by letter the results of their deliberations after that meeting. I have not as yet received that communication. When I do, I shall be pleased to report to the House.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In view of the minister’s comment 18 months ago that she was prepared to see that action was taken on this expeditiously, and in view of the continuing frustration which the workers at Puretex have had in having their complaints processed by the human rights commission, is the minister prepared to ensure that a board of inquiry is set up to investigate the statements by the workers and which the human rights commission up until now has resisted?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I am very much prepared to consider extremely carefully the recommendation and the reasons for the recommendation, whatever they are, of the human rights commission. I think it is a very responsible body of concerned individuals who make very rational recommendations to me.
Mr. Warner: In the fullness of time.
Mr. McClellan: Very speedy too.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Well, I can’t help that.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Supplementary: Is the ministry happy with the operations of the human rights commission and the fact that they do not give people who make a complaint before them the reasons for the decision to recommend a board of inquiry or not to recommend a hoard of inquiry, and their practice of inviting in the adversaries on the other side of the question and not informing both sides what’s going on?
Mr. Makarchuk: That’s not a supplementary.
Hon. B. Stephenson: They don’t have a practice of inviting in any of the participants, as a matter of fact. In this case, at my specific request, they heard the principals of one side specifically because those principals were concerned about the fact that a board of inquiry was not recommended. They were concerned that there was perhaps some information which the commission had not heard as a result of the investigation which was carried out. I am awaiting the communication from the commission because I am sure that they will explain to me fully what it is they have learned, if anything, as a result of that meeting and what their recommendations are. But that certainly was an unusual practice, if I might say so.
Mr. Cassidy: I just wanted to ask the minister, as a final supplementary, is the minister satisfied with the apparently one-sided nature of the investigation originally carried out under these allegations? Does the minister still feel as she felt two years ago that this was an Orwellian and frightening practice and that it ought to be stopped?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Every time the honourable leader of the third party stands up the time gets to be a little bit longer. It was not two years ago --
An hon. member: What are you waiting for?
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- and I do not think that the investigation was one-sided. My concern was that the representatives of one group felt that it was one-sided --
Mr. McClellan: You still haven’t done anything.
Mr. Warner: Sit back and let it happen.
Hon. B. Stephenson: From my reading of all of the information, I would have to say that it was a balanced investigation. We were attempting only to allay the concerns of the individuals involved that it had been a balanced investigation.
Mr. Warner: You’re supposed to be the Minister of Labour.
Mr. Martel: Do you think they will set one up in your office?
Mr. T. P. Reid: Supplementary: Whatever time it was over a year, does the minister really feel that justice can be done when the process takes that long? Does she not feel that she should give instruction to the human rights commission that the reasons for their decisions for a board or no hoard should be communicated to both sides in these cases?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I shall most certainly take that into consideration.
Mr. McClellan: You make human rights a joke.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT REVIEWS
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question for the Treasurer. Is the government still of the opinion that it expressed on May 4, a week ago, in relation to the arrangements for Metropolitan Toronto, where it concurred wholeheartedly with the commission’s evaluation in calling for the abolition of boards of control and said: “The government is of the firm opinion that boards of control are inappropriate to the needs of local government in Ontario”? Is that still the government’s opinion?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Yes.
Mr. Cassidy: As a supplementary, if that is still the government’s opinion, can the minister explain why on May 8 this government rejected the abolition of the board of control in the city of Ottawa, despite both the recommendations of the Mayo commission and also the repeated requests of the Ottawa city council, as well as the promises made by the minister over the course of last fall?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I know of a few issues about the province which seem to have attracted more attention than the board of control in Ottawa.
Mr. di Santo: The economy, for instance.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: It is my view that in terms of editorial comment and other comments there is no unanimity of opinion -- far from it -- in the city of Ottawa on that subject. I would remind the member that the private hills committee did not see fit to endorse that particular request for abolition just a few months ago. It seems to me that until there is a clearer expression of opinion it might be precipitate to move.
Mr. Cassidy: In view of the fact that there has been such a clear expression of opinion on this subject in that the Ottawa city council has actually presented a private bill in the Legislature in order to bring about the abolition of the board of control, what does the minister expect to hear from Ottawa in order to convince him that he should take action and that he should respect the autonomy and the wishes of the elected representatives in the city of Ottawa?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I would hope that we would hear some greater consensus.
Mr. Martel: Some greater? Another resolution?
Mr. Cassidy: You sure play your own game.
CHAIN STORE DISCOUNTS
Mr. Riddell: I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. This is pursuing the matter of discount pricing practices on the part of chain stores and the report that the minister made last week that such practices have been discontinued.
Mr. Warner: Call it a kickback.
Mr. Riddell: Can the minister assure the House that no form of discount buying is practised by the food chain stores now, whether it is called an earned cost reduction or co-operative advertising allowance? Is it merely the practice of a two per cent special discount on fruit and vegetables that has been discontinued, as he reported in the House last Thursday?
Hon. W. Newman: As I reported last week in the House, the discount was discontinued on the horticultural industry by and large. I think that was the way I reported it. I would like to point out to the member, as far as the discounting is concerned, what is very important here is that the producers are not being affected. The dealers or the brokers or whoever is dealing with the chain stores or with other groups, such as wholesalers, all make their own arrangements in negotiations, which is the common practice in the business world.
The member’s leader was suggesting the other day that we should get involved in regulating prices after the producer is paid his price. Of course, we are talking then about what we call resale price maintenance, which comes under federal legislation.
Mr. Riddell: Supplementary: Considering the fact that we do have an Ontario Food Council connected with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, how thoroughly have they investigated this matter and have they reported to the minister just what effect the discount pricing practices of the chain stores have directly on consumers who buy the products, and indirectly on the producers who sell the products?
Hon. W. Newman: Answering the last part first, as far as the producers are concerned, I have already pointed out here today, as the member well knows, that there are about 25 marketing boards in the province of Ontario. Some of them are price-setting; some of them have negotiated prices and some of them have formula prices. We have contacted them and they have said their producers have not been affected by this. If the dealer or broker decides to deal with a chain store or with a wholesale house and decides to give a volume discount or some sort of a discount, or some sort of discount arrangement is made with that store, that is between the broker and the chain store or whoever is involved. That’s a straight business transaction.
Mr. Riddell: One last supplementary --
Mr. Speaker: Does the member for York South have a supplementary?
Mr. MacDonald: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I was informed this morning that there are practices of 10 and 15 per cent discounts in some areas, and certain farm organizations are attempting to get the documentation of that. Therefore, my supplementary to the minister is this: In view of what the Leader of the Opposition pointed to last week in terms of this two cents on eggs and a cheque being sent to Intersave, which the minister conceded would be in violation of the supply management commitments, and in view of the comments of the honourable member for Brantford that it exists in the poultry industry, will the minister recommend to his cabinet that a royal commission be set up to examine the whole situation? Even if prices are in negotiation for the moment with the brokers any reduction is ultimately going to be passed hack to the producers. Will the minister recommend a royal commission to examine this whole area so that it can be cleaned up?
Hon. W. Newman: The answer, of course, is no.
Secondly, Intersave is a section of the Loblaw company; there’s no doubt about it. They do buy -- they’re a good part of the massive Weston group. If the member or the Leader of the Opposition would like to have a copy of this sheet, which shows the massive Weston group, I’d be glad to show it to them. But the answer to the member s question is no.
Mr. MacDonald: I dealt with that in the estimates four years ago.
Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary; the honourable member for Huron-Middlesex.
Mr. Riddell: To get back to my original supplementary, the minister indicated that the discount pricing practices have no effect on the producers. My question was, what effect does it have on the price that the consumer has to pay for the product when you consider that there is a 10 to 15 per cent price added on to the producer price, whether it be sent to Intersave or wherever it’s going? What effect does it have on the price the consumer is paying for the product?
Hon. W. Newman: I don’t know where the member gets 10 or 15 per cent or whatever it is. If a broker or a dealer wants to make a deal with a chain store or with anybody else, the matter of who absorbs the difference, whether the broker decides he’ll take a smaller markup or the store decides they’re going to take a smaller markup, it’s their decision.
As far as consumers are concerned, there’s enough competitiveness in the field today in all the various stores that the consumers, who are very intelligent people, will go out and take advantage of any breaks they get at stores in buying commodities. I noticed today in one of the chain stores that people were out buying certain commodities because they were on special today.
BECKER MILK COMPANY
Mr. Mackenzie: A question to the Minister of Labour: In view of the Ontario Labour Relations Board’s refusal to deal with the reinstatement of 27 strikers at Becker’s, forcing them to arbitration to get their jobs back, and in view of arbitration costs which now quite often run to $850 for a single-arbitrator, single-day, three-hour hearing, can the minister tell us what protection a returning worker has, and can she comment on the potentially tragic implications of this particular decision? And is she prepared to amend the Labour Relations Act to provide for some protection and an orderly reinstatement procedure such as is now provided in Quebec for returning strikers?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the unusual circumstance in this case will force us to examine the situation related specifically to the Becker’s workers and to the effectiveness of the Labour Relations Act in this area. In our continuing review of the act, this most certainly will be kept in mind.
Mr. Mackenzie: A supplementary: Because this is threatening the entire collective bargaining process in this province, can the minister also tell this House what has happened to the Kelly commission report, which was to look into delays and costs in the whole arbitration procedure?
Hon. B. Stephenson: As the Honourable member knows, Mr. Justice Kelly was asked a year ago January to investigate arbitration in Ontario and to bring in recommendations. It was impossible, apparently, for Mr. Justice Kelly to begin his work until the end of March 1977. I had a meeting with him about a month ago and he is in the process now of writing his report. He informs me that it will be available to me at the end of June.
PLANT NATIONAL LIMITED
Hon. B. Stephenson: I would like to provide some information requested by the member for Hamilton East regarding occupational health and safety conditions at Plant National Toronto Limited, of 230 New Toronto Street, Toronto. On April 21, the honourable member requested that I determine, “Whether or not reports of a significant number of urinary tract infections and diabetes among workers in the plant are accurate.”
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform the House that those reports are not accurate. I should explain that this company manufactures polyethylene containers for the food industry by the extrusion method.
On Monday, April 24, an official of the occupational health branch and an industrial health and safety branch inspector visited the plant. They spoke with the general manager. the plant manager, and representatives of Local 393 of the Steelworkers’ Union, which is the certified bargaining agent for the employees in that plant. Neither management nor union officials were aware of any incidence of urinary tract infection amongst the company’s employees. There was one mention of one woman employee having diabetes, but it is not work-related.
As the member for Hamilton East suggested, the occupational health branch official then contacted an official of the Queensway Medical Clinic. The clinic has no contractual arrangement with the company and, further, there is no record of any company employee having been diagnosed or treated for urinary tract infection or diabetes at that clinic. The occupational health branch official contacted the Evans Clinic as well, which does in fact provide a medical service to the company. This clinic has no record at all of any employee of Plant National being treated for any urinary tract infection or for diabetes.
Perhaps I should provide one other piece of information over and above that requested by the honourable member. As the members of this House may know, extrusion nozzles give off heat in the area of 380 to 410 degrees Fahrenheit. A heat survey will be conducted in this plant, because there is some possibility that it might have some deleterious effect. The shredding of the raw material, as well, gives off dust and noise. Therefore an engineering visit is also to be made at the plant.
But to summarize, Mr. Speaker, there does not appear to be any evidence of employees at Plant National Toronto suffering from work-related urinary tract infections or diabetes. However, if the honourable member has any further information, I should be pleased if he would provide it to me so that the staff of the ministry can take the appropriate action.
ONTARIO NORTHLAND RAIL SERVICE
Mr. G. E. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Northern Affairs. Further to questions asked by myself on previous occasions, can the minister advise us as to any rescheduling of the Northlander, which is operated by the Ontario Northland Railway, to better serve the residents of the city of Orillia and area, as well as the tourists who will be visiting the area this coming summer?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, Mr. Speaker, in keeping with the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission’s policy of --
An hon. member: You just happened to have the answer.
Mr. Sargent: Glad you asked that question!
Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- providing that part of northeastern Ontario with continuing excellent service -- and wanting to operate the service to meet the people’s needs, I can tell the honourable member that we will be rescheduling a stop at Orillia when the spring schedules are printed. We hope this will be in early June of this year.
Mr. G. E. Smith: Supplementary: I am wondering if the minister might indicate a policy of publicizing in the local area the new schedule, so that the residents might be aware of when the trains are going to be operating?
Mrs. Campbell: He just happens to have that, too.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I am most pleased the member brought this up, because the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission will be embarking on a very ambitious program here in southern Ontario --
Mr. Ruston: It’s a commercial.
Mr. Sargent: What a clown you’ve got there, Bill.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- to promote not only the Polar Bear Express into Moosonee, but the Ontario Northlander. It certainly will include advertising in the Orillia area.
An hon. member: How could you do that and be so serious, Leo?
LOCKOUT OF TEACHERS
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education. Given that the Wentworth county teachers’ contract negotiations have deteriorated to the point where over 7,000 students are locked out of school, that both sides are at a total impasse and that the balance of the school year is in real jeopardy at this point in time, would the minister use a little moral suasion to see that the schools are reopened? Would he direct the various parties to get back to the bargaining table, as he has suggested today in his statement with regard to Renfrew county?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I, of course, have been concerned about the various disputes. We do have several at the present time in the province. I have been in daily contact with the Education Relations Commission and they are attempting to do exactly what the honourable member has asked.
Mr. Cunningham: Supplementary: Recognizing that both parties have rejected, albeit very sincerely and somewhat correctly, some of the suggestions put forth by the ERC, would the minister not use his office to see that they are encouraged yet one more time to get back together insofar as they haven’t been discussing things for some time so that possibly some form of arbitration could take place or at least some date could be set for some finality to this unfortunate situation?
Hon. Ms. Wells: If my friend believes I should send the same kind of telegram to that board as I sent to the Renfrew board, I would be happy to do that. All the things I said in my statement about the Renfrew board, particularly concerning the provisions in Bill 100 and the procedures that can cause a settlement to come about, are available to that board. The same request would go forward to both the board and the parties that they settle their own impasse and get at it right away.
Ms. di Santo: I have a question for the Minister of Labour. I’d like to ask the minister whether the study of the committee on the Workmen’s Compensation Board that she had a month ago is available at this time for the members of the Legislature? In the light of the study, is she ready at this time to tell us when she is going to increase the benefits of the disabled and widows? Thirdly, can the minister tell us if at this time she is able to explain the board’s policy vis-à-vis the concession of supplement on the basis of section 42(5) as she promised us on April 13?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Part of the Wyatt report has been delivered to me. There are five chapters as yet incomplete, which the company has informed me they will have in my hands as rapidly as possible. I have been pushing daily to have them delivered.
Ms. McClellan: I’ll bet you have.
Ms. Martel: It’s been only three years.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I hope they will be here before the end of this month. At that time, in conjunction with the recommendations which we have had through the board from the joint consultative committee, examination of the benefits will be made and recommendation will be made to this House as soon as it’s humanly possible to do so.
I do not have with me the mailer of supplements under section 42(5). I shall be pleased to respond when I have that information at hand.
Ms. di Santo: Mr. Speaker, I have a point of privilege before asking a supplementary. On April 13 on page 1491 of Hansard, the minister said: “It has not been ready until this week” -- the study -- “and I now have a copy of the study which I propose to distribute to all members of the House as soon as I have sufficient copies.”
Ms. Lewis: How do you reconcile that?
Ms. di Santo: Mr. Speaker, I’d like to ask your advice. Is it conceivable that the Minister of Labour makes statements which are the opposite of statements that she keeps making time and time again? By doing that, doesn’t the minister prevent us from understanding what the real situation is? I’d like to have your advice.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I should be delighted to answer that. On the day the question was asked a document was delivered to me which I understood was the complete report of the Wyatt committee. I, therefore, answered the question in the House believing that I had the complete report.
Mr. Warner: With your sleight of hand, you should be a magician.
Mr. McClellan: This is only the 15th or 16th time this has happened.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Unfortunately, there are five chapters related to the development of rates and assessments for employers which have not as yet been completed. I was informed on the following day that they were not a part of that report. I have been waiting for those five chapters. When they are available to me, as I said to the honourable member, I shall be pleased to bring the copies to the House.
Mr. Cassidy: Injured workers have been waiting a long time for you.
Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: Do you not think that it would make sense in this House that when the minister has, if inadvertently, given a piece of information that is clearly wrong to the Legislature, it might be wise to come lack the next day when she found out to correct the record?
Mr. McClellan: Just for a change. Wouldn’t that be a nice change?
Mr. Lewis: Wouldn’t that be a pleasant change, just once?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, if I have made errors I have attempted to correct the record in all instances. I have not at any time ever given false information knowingly to this House --
Ms. Lewis: I didn’t say that.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- but I most certainly was not aware that that document was not complete --
Mr. Lewis: Then tell us.
Mr. Warner: You don’t explain anything.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- on the day that it was delivered to me. I should be delighted to tell the honourable members when the documents are incomplete. In most instances, they are complete. This one unfortunately was incomplete.
Mr. Lewis: Just tell us.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Why didn’t the member ask me?
Mr. Martel: You said it was complete, that’s why. Don’t be so dense.
Mr. Warner: You should resign.
Mr. cli Santo: Mr. Speaker, I didn’t have my supplementary yet.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member for Downsview had an initial question and a supplementary.
Mr. di Santo: No, I did not.
Mr. Speaker: He asked a question that was answered by the minister --
Mr. Lewis: There were two points of privilege.
Mr. di Santo: With all due respect, Mr. Speaker, I didn’t ask a supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member for Dovercourt, with a supplementary.
Mr. Lupusella: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Considering that the study will be available at the end of the month, is the minister going to give a particular commitment to the Legislature that about July 1, 1978, injured workers’ pensions are going to be increased in the province?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I have said on several occasions that as soon as that information is available to us, the kinds of recommendations that are necessary will be introduced into the House. With the total co-operation of the parties opposite, I am sure it can be passed in one day.
Mr. G. I. Miller: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment regarding the report of the Environmental Assessment Board which rejected the industrial waste disposal site at Nanticoke. Will the minister comment on the report in the Tuesday, May 9, issue of the Globe and Mail which quotes the ministry staff as stating that “the proposal will be approved tome hell or high water”? Is this also the opinion of the minister and if so, who is running the ministry?
Hon. Mr. McCague: I presume that the honourable member knows that the report of the Environmental Assessment Board is made to the director of environmental approval, and it is the director of environmental approval who makes the decision as to whether the report will be accepted or rejected. If the report is rejected, which is what the member is suggesting, then the proponent has the opportunity of an appeal to the Environmental Appeal Board.
I have read the recommendations in that report but I have not had any discussions with the director and I don’t intend to have any. It is up to him to make the decision. Following that, we will see what will happen.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Is the minister aware that this proposed site is within an area where there are now four dairy farms in operation?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Oh yes, I am well aware of that. The member has brought that to my attention before.
Mr. Riddell: Being a dairy farmer yourself, George, are you going to do something about it?
MAPLE PARK SITE
Ms. Bryden: I also have a question for the Minister of the Environment. It is a two-part question.
First, will the minister confirm that he expressed a desire for an environmental assessment hearing into the proposed amusement park in the Maple area, as reported in the King Weekly for April 12, 1978?
Secondly, has the ministry been asked by the Ontario Municipal Board to prepare and submit any reports on the environmental impact of the proposed theme park after the OMB received the application from the town of Vaughan relating to this park? If so, would the minister table such reports?
Hon. Mr. McCague: I have made no comments on the Maple theme park.
Ms. Bryden: Has the OMB requested any reports from the ministry -- this is the second part of my question -- since it received the application from the town of Vaughan?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Not that I am aware of, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Peterson: What are you aware of, George? Say what you are aware of.
OTTAWA RIVER POLLUTION
Mr. Gaunt: I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. In regard to the joint federal-Ontario-Quebec report on pollution in the Ottawa River, could the minister indicate what was deleted from the report before it was released; and secondly, what additional steps is the ministry taking to persuade Quebec to advance the completion date of 1982 for the ORC treatment plant?
Hon. Mr. McCague: I don’t know what was deleted from the report. The report was released by the federal government. I tried very diligently to get a tripartite release of that report, because it was done in cooperation with the two provincial governments and the federal government. I have no idea what was deleted from it.
With reference in the newspaper article to something having been deleted, there may or may not have been things deleted from it. I don’t really know.
Mr. Wildman: Did you try to find out?
Hon. Mr. McCague: As for what we can do about the Quebec situation, we have by example, as the member will have noted by the report, done a great deal. We would hope that Quebec would follow. I will be meeting with the ministers of the environment in June and I certainly will be discussing it with them at that time.
Mr. Gaunt: Supplementary: Have there been any samples taken along the Ottawa River, and if so, what have been the results? When will the river be safe for swimming purposes?
Mr. T. P. Reid: George Kerr could walk across it.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I don’t have the information as to whether there have been samples. I know we are continually taking samples, and the study indicated that.
Mr. S. Smith: What about Wentworth Bay?
Hon. Mr. McCague: If we have any recent sampling I will get that information for the member.
Mr. Handleman: Supplementary: I wonder if the minister could clarify the deletion? Since he obviously had a representative on the committee that drafted the report, and since the federal government’s representative knows what was deleted, I have to assume that the provincial representative knows what was deleted, having the original draft which he gave to the minister. Will the minister not look at the original draft and let us know what was deleted?
Mr. S. Smith: Hear, hear, Sid. Good point.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I would be glad to have someone look at the original draft and see what was deleted.
Mr. Lewis: What you call the Herb Gray of the Conservative caucus.
Hon. Mr. McCague: I did not have a copy of the original draft of the report, and I wasn’t particularly interested in seeing the original report because it was a tripartite study, and I presumed it would be released in its original form.
LOCKOUT OF TEACHERS
Ms. Gigantes: I have a new question of the Minister of Education. I wonder, following on his statement concerning the labour dispute with the Renfrew Board of Education, has the minister indicated in the telegram that he sent to the Renfrew Board of Education that the board’s rejection of the ERC mediation report and the board’s attack on what it terms “the ill-advised intervention” of the ERC mediation team is unacceptable to the minister and inimical to the processes of Bill 100?
Hon. Mr. Wells: No, Mr. Speaker, I did not indicate that in my telegram.
Ms. Gigantes: Supplementary: Doesn’t the minister think that would be appropriate, considering the circumstances of this dispute?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I think the first thing I am most concerned about in this dispute is getting the two parties together at the table and then to reach an agreement.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food in regard to colour restrictions on margarine.
Hon. Mr. Bender: For or against?
Mr. T. P. Reid: Since his inspectors have been seizing great quantities of margarine in northwestern Ontario, in the tidings of Kenora and Rainy River particularly, can he tell us if the inspectors, first of all, are treating all stores equally, and what do they do with the margarine so seized? Do the merchants get refunded for the cost of the margarine? Is the minister considering changing his policy to comply with the rest of Canada, which doesn’t have the margarine colouring restriction?
Hon. w. Newman: I’m sorry, I missed the last part about Hudson.
Mrs. Campbell: Just say yes.
Mr. S. Smith: That’s fine.
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, in answer to the question regarding the seizing of margarine, any margarine that is seized in the province by the inspectors is given to public institutions to use.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Not mine.
Mr. Nixon: I am sure they just use lard in the jails.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Now don’t get personal.
Hon. W. Newman: There are occasions, Mr. Speaker, where butter is seized or margarine is seized which is what we call either phoney butter or phoney margarine where they have actually taken some sort of an oil like --
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Like lard.
Hon. W. Newman: -- lard, okay --
Mr. Makarchuk: You should know about lard.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy.
Hon. W. Newman: -- and they mix this with butter or with margarine. This is picked up by our inspectors and tested at the necessary lab and charges are laid. As far as the colouring is concerned --
Mr. Breaugh: Leo, when do you write his speeches?
Hon. W. Newman: -- the 15,000 dairy farmers of the province of Ontario want the consumers to know the difference between butter and margarine when they are buying it in the store.
Mrs. Campbell: They know it. They are not so stupid.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Supplementary: Since we are the only province in Canada that doesn’t allow butter-coloured margarine, and the consumers are now sophisticated enough to know the difference, does the minister not think it is time he brought his policy on this up to date?
Hon. W. Newman: We are looking at it. But all I have to say to the honourable member is why don’t you watch the ads on television when they try to make margarine look like butter all the time?
Mr. Speaker: New question.
Mr. T. P. Reid: What’s that got to do with it?
An hon. member: What is lard?
An hon. member: Glory, a flock of them went over that time.
Mr. Kerrio: You wanted an answer, didn’t you?
Mr. T. P. Reid: I am sorry I asked.
PLANT LOCATION INCENTIVES
Mr. Laughren: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Industry and Tourism. In view of the fact the federal government has stated there will be $116 million of assistance provided to encourage the location of auto parts plants in this country, would the minister tell us if the provincial government was a party to this decision, and in particular if the provinces agreed to fund the 25 per cent of the subsidy mentioned in the statement of the federal government?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: First of all, I don’t think the federal government has in fact made such a statement. There was a report in the newspaper to this effect but the Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce has, as I read the report this morning, neither confirmed nor denied that such an arrangement would be made. Aside from that, I have been aware that there have been discussions going on between the major auto makers and the federal government as it related to possible financial incentives to locate plants in Canada. But there has been no decision made by Ontario to participate in an incentive program to this date.
Mr. Laughren: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In view of the fact that there are as many as 25,000 jobs and $866 million worth of investment at stake in these negotiations, doesn’t the minister think it is time the province of Ontario got off the side lines and into the game? Could he tell us exactly the state of negotiations at this time as it relates to the provincial government, the federal government, the auto makers, and the trade union movement in regard to the auto pact?
Mr. Kerrio: Give money to the private sector? Subsidize the corporations?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I believe the honourable member is aware of the fact that there have been a number of meetings held involving the Premier and other members of cabinet --
Mr. Wildman: What are the results?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: -- with people from various sectors interested in the auto pact. I think the honourable member is aware the Premier has made a commitment to the House that he would make a statement once all of those discussions had been completed.
Hon. B. Stephenson: They are not completed.
Mr. McClellan: When?
Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary: Is the minister aware that the final communique of the first ministers’ conference last February said, “Federal and provincial governments will provide incentives and take measures to ensure a proportional share of the increasing investment in new plants for the automotive industry that takes place in Canada”?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I am aware of the context of that statement. I think the honourable member should recognize though that at that time there was certainly no indication as to the size of the incentives we might be involved in. There are all sorts of incentives including the tax concessions and what have you that can be made. I would point out to the honourable gentleman that at the present time we are facing a very difficult decision as to whether or not we want to get into the great bidding war that is going on, involving hundreds of millions of dollars, not the least part of which involves the plant that went to Ohio which was reported in the newspaper recently. The involvement there is very, very large.
Mr. Warner: And we’ll lose out again.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I would hope the hon. member would not want us to just keep blindly into that sort of incentive program considering the number of dollars that are being thrown around.
Mr. Laughren: Supplementary: In view of the fact that the Treasurer and the Premier seem reluctant to convene a meeting with the bodies I mentioned previously, will the Minister of Industry and Tourism take it upon himself to convene a meeting of the federal government, the provincial government, the trade union movement and the auto industry to ensure that Ontario doesn’t have to buy its way into a fair share of the auto pact? Will the minister do that?
Mr. Warner: We want some leadership.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Mr. Speaker, I believe that if such a meeting were to be held, it is in the interests of Ontario at least to have an opportunity for discussions with the various sectors involved in the industry here in Ontario first. That’s what we have been doing: meeting with those industries that are involved.
Mr. Cooke: In the meantime, you keep passing the buck.
Mr. Laughren: You’re running around the end of it, John.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: No, I’m not end-running it at all.
Mr. Makarchuk: You’ve been doing that for about three years.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: As the member well knows, we are not going to be able to have a meaningful dialogue with the federal minister at this stage. I have been following statements made by him, both in the House and out of the House, and he has not really come out and taken any positive position as to which way they’re going. We want to be able to go to them and place our position before them.
Mr. Bounsall: It depends when the election will be.
Mr. Breaugh: He’s somebody like you have.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: The honourable member says “someone like we have.” I draw to his attention that that party of which he is a proud member, and a losing leadership candidate --
Mr. Breaugh: You were lucky on that one, John.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s a cheap shot.
Mr. Lewis: At least he has only tried for it in one party at a time.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I point out to the member for Scarborough West that I’ve only tried one at a time too.
Mr. Lewis: That’s true. It’s a good thing there isn’t a third.
Mr. Sargent: He can’t come back to us.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: If I thought that there was unanimous support among that particular party for an incentive program and the giving of that sort of money; but I draw to the honourable member’s attention that there was an ad put out by the state of Ohio; there is one clause in it that he should perhaps read. I would like to put out a similar ad with the unqualified support of the party opposite and put in the phrase in that ad which says, “Profit is not a dirty word.” I would like to do that.
Mr. McClellan: That’s very helpful.
NOTICES OF DISSATISFACTION
Mr. di Santo: Mr. Speaker, I would like to give notice that I’m not satisfied with the answer given to me by the Minister of Labour, and I’d like to discuss it on the late show.
Hon. B. Stephenson: You can’t stand the truth.
Mr. Martel: You can’t tell us the facts.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I tell you the truth and you won’t listen.
Mr. Lupusella: Mr. Speaker, I, too, am not satisfied with the Minister of Labour’s answer; therefore, under standing order 27(g) I would like to debate this matter on the adjournment of the House this evening.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Oh, this is going to be a late, late, late show this evening.
NIAGARA ESCARPMENT PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. McKessock: Mr. Speaker, I beg leave to present a petition to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario:
Mr. Foulds: The election has been called off.
“We, the undersigned, beg leave to petition the parliament of Ontario to support the private member’s Bill 62, which will be debated later today.”
This has 1,353 names to be added to the 3,500 entered earlier.
Mr. Kerrio: The people are speaking. You’d better listen.
COMMISSION ON DECLINING ENROLMENTS IN ONTARIO
Hon. Mr. Wells presented the interim report of the Commission on Declining School Enrolments in Ontario.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
COUNTY OF NORTHUMBERLAND ACT
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved first reading of Bill 19, An Act to restructure the County of Northumberland.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Nixon: Same old thing.
Mr. Kerrio: New name.
Mr. Eakins: Regional government by any other name.
MUNICIPAL AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved first reading of Bill 80, An Act to amend the Municipal Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Eakins: Regional government again.
Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I think that with the bills coming up, the Premier and the two ministers involved should be in the House.
Mr. Speaker: That’s not a point of order.
An hon. member: Welcome back, Eddie.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I have a number of amendments to the Municipal Act to present to the House. The bill contains several amendments which are related to the recent changes to the municipal election date and the commencement date of the term of office to the second Monday of November and the first day of December.
For example, in order to avoid an excessive lame-duck period, the newly elected council of a local municipality will now hold its inaugural meeting on or before the second Tuesday of December. Similarly, the first meeting of county councils will be held on or before the third Tuesday of December. Other related changes affect the present deadlines for undertaking certain procedures.
In addition, there is an amendment to clarify the description, but not the meaning, of the qualifications of members of council.
In response to the concerns of municipal councils about the organization of their activities, an amendment will enable a council to assign responsibility to one of its own committees for holding hearings or providing persons with an opportunity to be heard, whatever the council would otherwise be required to do.
At the request of municipalities, and after discussions with municipal liaison committee, we are proposing to broaden municipal authority over the remuneration and expenses of members of council and local boards. Councils will be permitted to pay remuneration to their members and their appointees to local boards in any manner or amount the councils consider appropriate. The amendments will also increase the councils’ flexibility to reimburse their members and appointees for any out of pocket expenses.
The amendment of the bill will help to provide more accountability for these kinds of expenditures by requiring the municipal treasurer to prepare and present a statement each year of the complete remuneration and expenses paid to the members of council and their appointees to local boards.
Briefly, I shall highlight the other significant changes:
An amendment to section 14 allows municipalities to close roads temporarily for the installation of sewer or water pipes, gas mains, telephone lines and so forth.
We are giving the municipalities the authority to establish bicycle path systems and the right to enter into an agreement with any other municipal bodies for the use of land for this purpose. Municipalities may also establish bicycle lanes on roads, as is now generally the case for buses, but will be required to give public notice before establishing both bicycle and bus lanes.
An amendment particularly important to councils is one that allows them to insure municipal employees for liabilities. Another amendment that has been asked for is one that expands the definition of fire routes to include part of a parking lot. There are also changes to delete certain imperial measure units from the act.
REGIONAL MUNICIPALITIES AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr McKeough moved first reading of Bill 81, An Act to amend certain Acts respecting Regional Municipalities.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I want to stress that any amendments I am presenting today to the Regional Municipalities Amendment Act pertaining to Ottawa-Carleton and Niagara are not in response to the Mayo or Archer reports. As with the amendments to the Municipal Act, this bill contains several changes, such as to the time of first meetings of the councils of the area municipalities and regional municipalities which are consequent upon the new election date and commencement of the term of office. There are also several cross-references to the amendments to the Municipal Act dealing with remuneration, hearings, municipal employee liability and bicycle lanes. Certain parts of the planning sections of various regional acts are being clarified. Finally, there are some amendments to the bill to effect certain requested changes to a few of the regional municipalities.
DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY OF MUSKOKA AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved first reading of Bill 82, An Act to amend the District Municipality of Muskoka Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, once again the amendments to this Act are similar to the changes in the Regional Municipalities Act.
MUNICIPALITY OF METROPOLITAN TORONTO AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved first reading of Bill 83, An Act to amend the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: The amendments in this bill, the Metro Act, are similar to the changes in the Regional Municipalities Act and are not a response to the Robarts report.
COUNTY OF OXFORD AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. McKeough moved first reading of Bill 84, An Act to amend the County of Oxford Act, 1974.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, this bill contains amendments similar to those in the Regional Municipalities Act. In addition, there is a small boundary change in I Oxford involving a portion of the township of Zorra at their request.
MINISTRY OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES ACT
Hon. Mr. Drea moved first reading of Bill 85, An Act to revise the Ministry of Correctional Services Act.
Motion agreed to.
CORONERS AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Kerr moved first reading of Bill 86, An Act to amend the Coroners Act, 1972.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, these are basically housekeeping amendments required to update the act. There’s no change in the principle of the bill but the amendments will help to clarify some provisions in the Coroners Act and assist the operation of the coroner’s office in certain areas.
PRIVATE INVESTIGATORS AND SECURITY GUARDS ACT
Hon. Mr. Kerr moved first reading of Bill 87, An Act to revise the Private Investigators and Security Guards Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: The purpose of this bill is to revise, update and extend the application of the existing Private Investigators and Security Guards Act.
ONTARIO MINERALS CONSERVATION ACT
Mr. Wildman moved first reading of Bill 88, An Act to conserve the Mineral Resources of Ontario.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Wildman: Over the years, mining communities have experienced rapid expansion and production increases but sudden production cutbacks and massive layoffs as market patterns change or the resource is depleted. The purpose of the bill is to ensure the conservation and wise management of the mineral resources of Ontario. The bill requires that all mineral production operations in Ontario be licensed by the Ontario Minerals Management Board. The bill establishes the board and contains provisions setting forth the board’s powers and duties.
The board has authority to issue and revoke producing licences. Any appeal from a decision of the board lies though the Mineral Production Appeal Board and then through the Minister of Natural Resources.
The bill also contains provisions requiring regular reporting by mineral producers to the board concerning several aspects of mineral production in Ontario.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ON NOTICE PAPER
Hon. Mr. Welch: I wish to table the answers to questions 40, 41, 42 and 43 standing on the notice paper.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
PRIVATE MEMBERS’ BUSINESS
NIAGARA ESCARPMENT PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. McKessock moved second reading of Bill 62, An Act to amend the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, 1973.
Mr. McKessock: I would like to reserve about three minutes to wind up my remarks. I know that the government is afraid of this bill. They have tried to bring before the House today everything imaginable except an act to conserve the tomcats of Ontario.
The issue does not end today and the landowners of this province will be heard from again. I have never seen so much support come in for any bill as for this Bill 62, An Act to amend the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act. It has come not only from Niagara Escarpment property owners, but from property owners right across Ontario who are afraid they will lose their ownership rights if legislation like the Niagara Escarpment Act should spread right across Ontario.
I think the public through their resolutions, petitions, public meetings, letters, the demonstration at Queen’s Park today and the full galleries have done a good job in letting us know that there is a problem with the original Niagara Escarpment act passed in 1973, which many still refer to as Bill 129.
Every one of us agrees that the Niagara Escarpment is one of our valuable natural resources. Those of us who have lived on or near it have done a good job of looking after it for generations, while we tried to eke out a living on the marginal farm land that surrounds it in most places. Yes, we condemned it now and again when our cows got hidden in the hills and the valleys and we spent many extra hours trying to find our livestock. The thing that kept us sane was the fact that we were surrounded by nature and its beauty and could sit down on a rock to rest awhile to collect our thoughts and try to figure out where the cows were.
It sounds nice, but we worked hard, generation after generation. We improved the land, came through the depression, kept roofs on the barns and paid our taxes. Then the time came that the city dweller became rich.
He began to wander out into our country and he saw our beautiful countryside. He began to invest a bit of his wealth in our lands. We had lands not suitable for agriculture, so we began to sell some of this for big dollars. For the first time in our life, we began to get a piece of the country’s wealth in dollars.
To the city person, this rough land we sold him was a piece of heaven. It did not impede our farming and there was lots of room for more people in the country and everything was going fine.
Then along came the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, 1973. Some of these people who had paid as high as $50,000 for a piece of land were now ready to retire and applied for a development permit to build a retirement home. They found themselves under development control and unable to get a permit.
Some have said there are rumours going around that the controls prevent sales. It is not a rumour: it is truth. As soon as the person finds out the land is under development control, he won’t buy it. Would you, Mr. Speaker, give this fellow back his $50,000 plus interest, even his $50,000? How about $40,000? It would be like buying a car you weren’t allowed to drive. Not many can afford a purchase like that.
The Niagara Escarpment is a valuable natural resource. Another valuable natural resource which I believe is more important is people. They must be treated fairly and with respect.
Section 6 of this Bill 62 will do that. The section allows for all existing lots as of February 14, 1978, to be granted a development permit upon application, or purchased by the government within one year at fair market value.
The government is hereby given a choice. They can, if they feel the lot is too close to the escarpment, purchase it.
I might as well mention here that it has been brought to my attention by our local planners and council that this permit should be granted only for an application that complies with local municipal regulations. Very few bills pass without some amendments made to them. I am quite prepared to send this bill to committee after it passes second reading today and make that amendment and other amendments that would improve the bill.
Although sections 3, 4, and 5 take up quite a part of the bill, this part is quite simple. It takes some of the control away from the minister and allows appeals on development control decisions to be heard by the Ontario Municipal Board rather than the Ministry of Housing as it is now.
Sections 1, 2, and 3, although I have left them to the last, deal with the main part of the bill -- to cut down the planning area from its present size. I feel the people who determined the present boundaries of the Niagara Escarpment planning area stepped outside the original intent of the act when they set the boundaries at widths of up to 15 miles, stretching 450 miles in length and taking in 1.3 million acres.
This bill will bring the area back to the scarp and land in its vicinity, as the original bill intended. Bill 62 will set the new planning area to include the scarp and scarp protection area as outlined in the Niagara Escarpment Commission’s preliminary proposals and maps of February 1978, and all abutting government-owned land. The rest of the planning area will automatically fall back into the county plan.
I am certainly in favour of good planning. There was a time when planning was lacking. This has not been the case in the last number of years. Most places along the escarpment have adequate planning without the Niagara Escarpment control.
Grey county, where 30 per cent of the planning area lies, has seven full-time planners who have developed the Grey county plan, the Beaver Valley official plan, several secondary plans and all the zoning bylaws which go along with it. We need another plan like a hole in the head. The Niagara Escarpment Commission comes along and spends another $5 million and says their control supersedes all previous planning. This means we have great duplication of planning.
Some may say it protects farm land and to cut it back will destroy this aspect of it. I want to make it clear that there is no one more anxious to preserve farm land than I am. I call farm land our most valuable natural resource, next to people.
This Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act is not a farm land act. It is to protect the scarp. If we want to protect farm land, let us bring in an act to protect farm land, right across the province, and treat every municipality the same. You cannot protect a little farm land in Niagara and a little in Grey county and say that’s good enough or fair. The government wants to tell us what we can do with our land.
Down here in Toronto, such destruction of natural resources is taking place at a rate unequalled anywhere in Canada. Toronto rises more prime agricultural land than any other city in Canada, yet the government comes to the people along the escarpment and tells us that it must step in and protect us from destroying our natural resource.
We can see what is going on here. The government tries to run all over us and it is afraid of the big land-owners near Toronto. Anyone who thinks the escarpment is more important than farm land should have to wait out a few meals. Farm land is not only a natural resource, it produces renewable natural resources. Marvellous, eh? We could feed ourselves and produce energy crops to keep ourselves warm forever, if we don’t blow it and let all the farm land go. Then we can starve to death while we freeze watching the beautiful escarpment.
I suggest the government puts its own house in order near Toronto and right across the province on farm land before it comes down too hard on a few of us.
These three changes to be made to the Niagara Escarpment act are changes that must be made, but I want to point out that these three changes don’t make everyone completely satisfied. There are many more problems and I would like to give an example of the type of thinking that went into these proposals and the act.
The act gives the government the right to require land by purchase, lease, expropriation or otherwise; one can’t get an act much broader than that. I came across a case in the town of Lincoln, and I have it right here, where I think they used the word “otherwise.” They made a development permit conditional on the land-owner entering into an agreement with the Bruce Trail Association to allow them to pass through their property. I feel the “otherwise” in this case turned out to be blackmail.
In the proposals they suggest expropriating a 30-foot strip on each side of the Bruce Trail, if it cannot be obtained in any other way. This is the reason that many landlords have notified the Bruce Trail Association in the last few months that they can no longer use their property. It started with a friendly agreement and before long it was expropriation and a forced takeover. I bet the Bruce Trail Association wishes, like many others, that the Niagara Escarpment Commission had never been born. I feel there is no need for expropriation in this act. The government already owns more land than it can afford and more than is necessary for adequate trails and recreation.
Another point I would like to make, because I live in a scenic resource area of development control -- and this is quite plain on page 91 of the proposals -- if my house and barn were to burn down or I was to build an addition, I would have to apply for a development permit. Then an appointed body or civil servant responsible for administering the plan would decide whether or not I could build or rebuild.
Mr. Haggerty: Do you have a blue barn or a red barn?
Mr. McKessock: If they decided I could, the design, height -- and the member is right -- the colour of the building must meet the group’s approval. I say this is not planning. A group of appointed people decide behind closed doors what I should be allowed to do and what colour I should be allowed to do it in. Planning is when one knows what one can do with one’s land.
Because I felt the bill was a reasonable and responsible amendment, I had no hesitation in presenting it to a number of people and councils, including the Niagara Escarpment Commission itself and the Niagara Escarpment Commission’s advisory committee.
In Owen Sound on April 5, when there was so much opposition to the size of the plan, even the chairman of the Niagara Escarpment Commission, Mr. Ivor McMullin -- and I welcome him here today -- said, “The planning area may well be too large. Mr. McKessock’s bill is the way it can be reduced.”
I presented this bill to the advisory committee of the Niagara Escarpment Commission at the Skyline Hotel on April 12. The chairman, Mr. Lou Parsons, said, “Any good politician will be waiving our position if he is trying to get support for Bill 62,” and I am waiving it here now.
The Niagara Escarpment Advisory Committee’s position is practically identical to the bill in recommending a new planning area and they have suggested that the development control area should also be greatly reduced in some areas.
As to the announcement made on Tuesday by the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Brunelle) with regard to reducing the planning area of the Niagara Escarpment, the announcement is too fuzzy. It states that the Niagara Escarpment Commission will proceed with the preparation of the proposed plan based on a smaller area which coincides approximately with the section now known as the development control area. If they had left out the word “approximately” it might have meant something.
The next sentence says, “This would reduce by about 60 per cent the area originally covered by the preliminary proposals.” The development control area and the 60 per cent reduction don’t jibe, so what does the minister mean? The public is fed up with fuzzy statements. My bill makes it definite and is fair to everybody.
I wish I could have the attention of the Provincial Secretary on Resources Development.
Also, he does not say that it would be a change to his original order, which means the Niagara Escarpment Commission could bounce back to the present size any time they feel like it. Let’s get it definite and approved by the Legislature.
Mr. Taylor, who is on staff with the Niagara Escarpment Commission, mentioned that there was an opinion going around that this round of hearings by the commission was just a put-up and that the commission won’t listen to the municipalities. I suggest that this has been brought about by the commission’s past record. I attended a meeting three years ago when the Niagara Escarpment Commission was going around looking for input. The now Minister of the Environment was still the chairman, and he will remember this.
Mr. Hall: Listen, George.
Mr. McKessock: I wish I could have his attention.
Mr. Riddell: This is very important.
Mr. McKessock: The minister will remember I accused him of not taking notes at the meeting and not taking back what the people were saying. If they had listened then, we would not have all of these horrible proposals before us today, three years later. So it is no wonder that people are getting upset and wondering if this round of meetings is going to be any different.
This act has been enforced for several years, but only as of February 14 of this year had its tactics been written down on paper. It is another reason for the sudden opposition in the last few months. These stories about development control, that people wouldn’t believe and sometimes were told were false, are now down on paper for everybody to see.
Mr. Speaker, it amazes me that since I presented my bill in the Legislature and the public input has started, nobody wants to take responsibility for passing Bill 129 back in 1973. The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) stole my thunder a little earlier, but I think it is worth another blast.
The NDP issued a press release saying that they did not support it. The Premier (Mr. Davis) does not want to take full responsibility, so he’s said on various occasions that Bill 129 was supported by all parties in the House. He did such a good job of it that he had most people believing it, including myself.
Mr. Swart: Not so.
Mr. McKessock: I wasn’t here in 1973, so I know I didn’t vote for it. I thought amid all this confusion, I would check back in Hansard for June 14, 1973. It clearly shows that neither the NDP nor the Liberals supported this in 1973. It is right there, and if you like, I could read you the names. I hate to put the responsibility solely on the shoulders of the government, but here it is in black and white. I have received about 800 letters, Mr. Speaker, and I wish had time to read of them, How much time do I have left?
Mr. Speaker: Four minutes.
Mr. McKessock: Mr. Speaker, I am interested in hearing the other speakers, so I will save the rest of my time to close off the debate.
Mr. Speaker: Order, order. I must remind our visitors in the galleries that they are perfectly welcome to come and listen to the debate, but we don’t allow applause or any outbursts. I would appreciate it if you would go along with that rule of the House.
Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, it was an interesting point you made, because I am about to offer some observations which will not be popular with the gallery. But I have played for the gallery so often in this House, perhaps on one occasion I may alienate it. Let me say to my colleague from Grey, though, that there were obviously parts of the presentation with which we can agree. I will come to that momentarily.
Mr. J. Reed: Are you going to oppose this bill?
Mr. Lewis: I can’t pretend to speak for all my colleagues on this bill, because it is a private member’s bill. But we see this bill, many of us, as a very destructive initiative and disappointing in the extreme. I don’t want to retreat from that for one moment.
This bill shows very little reverence for or appreciation of the struggles that were part of the history of Ontario throughout the 1960s and the early 1970s. I want to bring you right back to the Gertler report, Mr. Speaker, when Liberals in this Legislature, as well as New Democrats and a large number of Tories to boot, recognized that the escarpment was under siege; that we were losing land, unconscionably, to developers and speculators in very considerable amounts; that the recreational possibilities of the escarpment were obviously threatened; that the farm land, and particularly the fruit land, of the peninsula was under siege and that there had to be some desperate intervention.
Curiously enough, if I can recall, Gertler’s proposition was much more modest than subsequent events. Gertler's proposition at the time was something like 390,000 acres under development control. He wanted us to purchase about 32 per cent to 35 per cent of that at a cost at that time of $31.5 million. That is all, If those beggars on the government side of the House had had the courage to buy that appropriate land then, we would not have this trouble which we inherit from them today.
Mr. Martel: You wouldn’t listen.
Mr. Lewis: What did we settle for instead? We settled instead for the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act. We were very critical of that act; ironically, I recall some of that debate. I was here on June 14, 1973, and prior to it. We were critical of that act for two reasons.
First of all -- and I make no apologies -- we didn’t think it was strong enough in certain of its aspects to protect the vulnerable parts of the escarpment fairly. Second, we thought that the bill was too general in its development plan application as envisaged by John White, too general to respond sensitively to legitimate individual grievances which would emerge when the government set up vast development controls and designated a very large planning study area of what I guess was 1.2 million acres.
The group, the outfit we established to monitor all of this was the Niagara Escarpment Commission. With remarkable alacrity the escarpment commission then set out to prove our point. I want to say something which I regret enormously, but the Niagara Escarpment Commission has not had what you could call a distinguished career. Ironically, the commission, on the one hand, capitulated too often to development and speculation in parts of the escarpment planning area which should not have been violated, On the other hand, the commission showed itself totally incapable of responding to legitimate property grievances when placed before it. That is where I agree with my colleague from Grey, even though I consider his solution to be an emasculation and far too extreme.
There is no reason in the world why the commission couldn’t have seen what was coming, couldn’t have understood the feelings and passions of people who had invested much of their lives and souls in their farms and recreational homes, and couldn’t have felt an almost human response to some of the positions which were put before them. No, on the one hand, the commission capitulated to development interests. On the other hand, the commission showed itself totally unable to respond adequately to individual interests. Now we inherit the whirlwind. In this caucus at least, we are a little tired of forever dealing with the follies of government thereafter.
The objections of some of the individuals are perfectly legitimate, just as the objections of some of the people in the Pickering area are perfectly legitimate. They on that side of the House move from botch to botch with an almost irresistible momentum. However, Mr. Speaker, the Niagara Escarpment Commission having failed to do what most of us would have wished it to do, there is no reason now to encourage a kind of environmental philistinism. There’s no reason now to encourage the whole proposition to be emasculated. With great respect, I think that is what the member for Grey’s bill does. His bill, in bending over backwards to accommodate some of the fears that have been expressed through the area, goes too far. Some of those fears are utterly legitimate. Some of them are grossly exaggerated. Some of them are wilfully manipulated.
Mr. McKessock: Read the bill. Read it.
Mr. Lewis: If one had to make accommodations, one didn’t have to go so far as has been gone. Therefore, we in this caucus cannot support that kind of bill.
What is even more unfortunate is that the government, under the enormous pressure that has developed, has also capitulated to an excessive degree. If I may say -- and I don’t mean to offend, or maybe I do mean to offend; one never knows these days -- if I may say to the government, what it has introduced by way of the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Brunelle) is not a planning act of a different kind; it is not a new approach to the escarpment; it is not a more thoughtful and conscious redefinition of what should be within development control.
What the government has done, for heaven’s sake, is an act of cowardice. What it has done is to attempt to compensate in 1978 for the loss of Eric Winkler’s seat in 1975. That’s no way to deal with the Niagara Escarpment. The Tory side of the House is absolutely obsessed with the incursions which the Liberal Party has systematically made in sacred Tory domain in western Ontario; and if the government can reclaim a little land, and maybe a few seats in the process, it is prepared to make unnecessary Concessions as well.
The government can’t even exactly define what it means by its 60 per cent, just as it’s very hard to define what the member for Grey means by his approximate 80 per cent.
Mr. J. Reed: He’s accurate.
Mr. Lewis: Both have gone too far, needlessly. One only wishes that the Niagara Escarpment Commission -- its former chairman is here, and I’m sorry to say it in his presence -- one only wishes that the commission had acted adequately and we would not be faced with this today. We are getting the worst of both worlds. People in my caucus, my colleagues, all of us, believe that there has to be some kind of planning mechanism. If it isn’t the Niagara Escarpment Commission, then it has to be part of a land-use plan for Ontario. If it isn’t a land-use plan for Ontario, then it has to be specific plans, of which we know in advance, from regional municipalities, counties, cities or whatever. But none of that is now adequately available, nor can we rely on the Ministry of Housing to provide it. The Ministry of Housing was there in 1973 when we passed the act in order to knit together the fabric that it had torn asunder.
By doing what the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development is doing through the government, and by doing what my colleague from Grey wishes to do, we are leaving ourselves with a situation in the escarpment which is absolutely indefensible. Much as we would have it otherwise, let me say that if the member for Grey’s bill passed, with the best will in the world, 25 years from now the precious parts of the escarpment would exist no longer. Therefore, we cannot support it.
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Mr. Speaker, having listened to the last speaker, I want to assure him and the other members of the House that there has been a lot of planning, that planning will continue and that the objectives of the act will be met. I would like to say to the honourable members that we oppose this act on various grounds. We think that this bill, Bill 62, is hasty, ill-conceived and ill-advised. I’ll give the reasons.
Mr. Nixon: Who wrote that for you, Rene?
Mr. J. Reed: Who wrote it for you?
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: The proposed bill, while intended as a means of alleviating public concern, only complicates the situation. It would make the situation considerably worse.
The process established under the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act has provided for effective planning and has resulted in the recent publication of preliminary proposals and in the careful management of this significant resource through development controls.
First, I would like to deal with the amendments to the Niagara Escarpment and Development Act, 1973, as proposed in Bill 62.
Section 2 of this bill proposes to reduce the size of the escarpment to the scarp and scarp protection area as described in the preliminary proposals. Such a reduction in size to the extent proposed would undermine the whole intent of the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, thereby sacrificing the objective for the escarpment and its vicinity.
Mr. Kerrio: That’s the general idea.
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: If the planning area is changed to the extent proposed, then the objectives no longer become relevant.
The government’s position is that the plan should be prepared for a smaller area than the planning area. It should be sufficient in extent, however, to satisfy the objectives of the act.
On May 8 I recommended that a plan he prepared for an area that coincides approximately with the development control area. I also indicated that municipalities would be entrusted with the responsibility of carrying out planning policies in the remainder of the planning area. This adjustment can take place within the context of the existing act without the need for amendments to the legislation or to the regulations.
Mr. J. Reed: What about the right of appeal?
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: The proposed Bill 62 establishes the planning area by means of a schedule. Under this amendment, subsequent changes in the planning area could only be effected by an amendment to the act rather than by resolution, as it is in the present system. This eliminates the flexibility the act now provides and introduces a complex legislative procedure where such an extreme tool is not required.
Section 3 of this bill proposes the minister delegate to municipalities the authority to exercise development control. In my opinion, this proposed section adds nothing to the provisions embodied in the present act. The relevant sections of the act enables me to delegate my authority to municipalities to exercise development control.
I fully support the delegation of such authority to municipalities. Consider, however, the impact of such a change as is being proposed, without an approved plan to guide municipal councils in dealing with development proposals. Substantial delegations with-
Out an approved plan would be premature, leading to a diversity in decisions from area to area along the escarpment. It would also compound public confusion and concern.
Section 4 of Bill 62 proposes a system of development control by repealing section 23 of the act. I am pleased to note that it substitutes essentially the same system of development control as currently exists. The major difference is the delegation of authority referred to in the preceding section.
Section 5 proposes that appeals on development decisions be made to the Ontario Municipal Board. This is difficult to understand, Mr. Speaker, because OMB hearings would be much lengthier and would be much more costly. Under the existing act, proceedings may take place within a month of the appeal being made.
The present act also provides for the Minister of Housing to have the final decision on appeal, whereas Bill 62 proposes that the decision of the board shall be final. However, section 94 of the Ontario Municipal Board Act specifically provides the right of further appeal from the board’s decision to the Lieutenant Governor in Council. The potential time for the determination of any appeal of this nature would be considerable.
Section 6 of Bill 62 proposes to repeal section 25 of the act. The proposed section 25, as the explanatory note describes, will require “upon application, a development permit be issued for any lot existing on February 14, 1978, unless the government of Ontario files notice that it intends to acquire the lot at its fair market value within one year I of the date upon which the application was made.”
The first problem raised by this proposal is that if any person could obtain a development permit without the intervention of planning control as presently set out in the act, then there would be no planning or zoning controls in the municipalities within the development control act.
Mr. J. Reed: That’s nonsense.
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: All such bylaws were previously set aside by section 22, subsection 2(a) of the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act.
The other issue raised by this proposal is the provision for mandatory purchase by the government should it not wish to allow development to proceed for an “amount equal to the fair market value of the lot or land.” This concept has not been approved in any legislation in Canada to date. The term “fair market value” is, to say the least, ambiguous and has been and still is the subject of litigation in the courts.
Mr. Speaker, with reference to the effectiveness of the procedures established by the government:
In June 1973 the government presented a comprehensive policy statement on the Niagara Escarpment. The intent was to establish a process that would preserve this unique feature as a continuous natural environment and also accommodate other land uses compatible with the objective of its preservation.
Recognizing that the Niagara Escarpment represents a resource of provincial significance, the government decided the task of meeting provincial objectives and municipal needs would be served best by the establishment of a commission to prepare a plan. Membership of the commission was drawn from municipalities and residents in the area, as well as individuals representing the broader provincial interest.
The region to which the planning exercise would apply was designated the Niagara Escarpment planning area. The act also assigned specific objectives and tasks to the commission, including the responsibility of administering development control within a development control area. Provision was made to the Minister of Housing on decisions regarding development proposals in the development control area These two advisory groups were established by the act in October 1976.
These are some of the basic and innovative steps that have been taken by the government to prepare the way for the preparation of the Niagara Escarpment plan.
Since 1973 the key activity of the commission has been the preparation of the master plan. In February the draft, called the preliminary proposals, was released. The commission’s purpose in releasing this document was to secure comments from municipal councils and interest groups to the proposed objectives, policies and programs contained in the document.
Mr. J. Reed: You are getting them.
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Members of the commission and their staff have now met with nearly all of the 55 councils along the length of the escarpment to discuss these proposals. I have been advised by the commission that a number of changes will be introduced to the proposed plan as a result of these discussions.
It is unfortunate that certain groups have distorted the intent of certain policies in the preliminary proposals to serve their own purposes.
Mr. Sargent: That’s a lot of nonsense.
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: And I hope that these people with an interest in the escarpment will take time to consider the preliminary proposals.
Mr. Eakins: Which groups?
An hon. member: You will never elect another Tory in the whole escarpment. You won’t even get one to run.
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: The Bruce Trail Association, for example, has made its views known to the commission, pointing out that the concept of a 60-foot wide trailway is misleading and should be replaced by a more flexible approach that does not involve expropriation. If this is an indication of the discussion that is beginning to emerge on the preliminary proposals, then I am optimistic that the process for public discussion envisaged in the act is working.
Development control was introduced by the government to regulate development while the plan was being prepared. This should not be interpreted as :a freeze.
Here is the record, Mr. Speaker -- the commission commenced development control in June 1965 and has received more than 3,000 applications for development permits. Of this number, 90 per cent have been approved. The commission can render decisions on applications within 21 days. Municipalities are also consulted on all applications before a decision is made, and municipal requirements are included in the conditions when permits are approved.
An hon. member: They have no guarantee.
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: As I indicated in my statement a few days ago, we are satisfied that the commission has acted responsibly in carrying out the tasks assigned to it in the legislation. The preparation of the plan and dealing with the substantial number of development proposals has been a difficult and time-consuming task. The enormity of this task has been computed by the four regions, four counties and the 55 municipalities. Therefore, I would like to commend the commission for all its bard work and its conscientiousness.
Bill 62, which is before us today, falls very short of the procedures already in effect. The flexibility of these procedures for getting the job to be done satisfactorily has been demonstrated, and therefore I would ask the members to join with me in opposing Bill 62.
Mr. J. Reed: I hope you bring it to a vote.
Mr. Sargent: I say to the minister, if anything he has said now is true, why are these thousands of people here? What are they here for today, if what he says is true? Why are they here?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Never mind. This isn’t question period.
Mr. Sargent: I say respectfully to my colleague from Scarborough West --
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Good to see you here, Eddie.
An hon. member: Leo, you should talk.
An hon. member: Where have you been, Leo?
Mr. Sargent: I say to him that he is asking the farmers of the escarpment area to subsidize the southern Ontario recreation plan totally.
Mr. Foulds: That’s not true.
Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, in my 35 years of public life, I have never seen so much injustice and dictatorship as this Niagara Escarpment Commission. Let me read the minister this bill and If he can vote for this, then I will leave the country.
An hon. member: You will be back, though.
Mr. Makarchuk: In one vote, we may solve a lot of problems.
Mr. Sargent: Clause 18 says --
Mr. Foulds: He is not saying how long for, though.
Mr. Sargent: -- “For the purposes of developing any feature of the Niagara Escarpment Plan, the minister may, for and in the name of Her Majesty, acquire by purchase, lease or otherwise, or, subject to the Expropriations Act, without the consent of the owner, enter upon, take and expropriate and hold any land or interest therein in the Niagara Escarpment planning area and sell, lease or otherwise dispose of any such land or interest therein.” That smacks totally of Germany and Russia. That’s what we are talking about today.
Mr. Gaunt: Down with Russia.
Mr. Sargent: This commission, as you know, has spent many untold millions to date. They control about $1.3 billion worth of land. Mr. McMullen showed us a big thee-hour display of the new empire building; they are going to give us about 30 new boards and commissions that will cost untold millions of dollars to put a new plan in motion, when they can’t pay for the land they have already frozen. They will spend millions of dollars they don’t have and you don’t have. You know the bills they can’t pay for. I’ve had a lot of dialogue with the member and with the Premier (Mr. Davis) and with the minister; and they skunked out, the three of them, every time. You know they owe money; they freeze the land and they say they haven’t got the money to pay for it.
The budget is $1.6 million this year for salaries and travelling. They’re paying these people $85 a day -- Mr. McMullen $31,000. Last year they spent $874,000 in salaries. Since 1973 they have acquired 45,000 acres of land at a cost of $18.4 million. Tell me about the untold millions of dollars’ worth of land they froze and can’t pay for. So they put it under control. That allows the man only to pay his taxes, but not to build on it and not to sell it. Just pay your taxes, keep in line and keep quiet.
We have many thousands of sincere, angry people, concerned about the basic Canadian rights of which we are so proud. I congratulate these people who come from all parts of the escarpment area. Hundreds and hundreds of miles they have come, back and forth. They have attended nights and nights of meetings for their rights as Canadians. In my area, we are now in total limbo because of these laws. We can’t develop. We can’t do anything. The minister knows that, and you should know that too.
Mr. Worton: Tory bondage, Tory bondage. Mr. Sargent: We are the lowest and second lowest, in the economy in Grey and Bruce counties. Our development is at a complete standstill. They have killed our expansion and our tourism. I have received, as has the member for Grey (Mr. McKessock), thousands of letters and phone calls and petitions; and the minister has the nerve to get up and say what he has said today.
Mr. Worton: War has started over less.
Mr. Sargent: The other day I recorded a phone call from a man who has 30 acres on Georgian Bay across from Georgian Peaks. He values that land at $2.5 million; but the Treasurer’s (Mr. McKeough) valuation is $1.5 million. The man can’t build on it, he can’t develop it; he can’t do anything with it. The government says, “We want that land, but we have no money to pay for it.” So what does the man do? He pays taxes. Angus Ralph in Tobermory is on the map, his property is shown as one of your tourist areas where you have camping facilities. He can’t sell it and he can’t develop it. He pays $16,000 a year in taxes for all these islands and thousands of feet of shore frontage and he can’t do anything with it. That is British justice.
Mr. Gaunt: That’s Tory justice.
Mr. Sargent: Thank you, Murray, Tory justice. Tens of thousands of people are being deprived of their rights and title to their land. Title to your land in this country is a sacred part of our democratic way of life. No one should have the right to tell you whether you can sell it, build on it or subdivide it. If the government wants to control my land or your land, let them put their money where their mouth is and pay for it in cash; and no promissory notes, we want cash, we don’t trust you.
But the government doesn’t even consider the rights of land to be sacred. About 75 per cent of the total escarpment area is in my area, and in one township 50 per cent of it is under control. It’s time to tell all the people of Ontario just exactly what is going on.
Most of the government members don’t know what we’re talking about over here. The rights of people are important in this land. Do they think these thousands of people would travel from all over the province if they weren’t experiencing injustice? I have a lot of personal friends over there. I ask the government to think of this thing in the area of justice and the rights of people to control their destiny.
When people are told they have to pay taxes, but they can’t sell their land, they can’t develop it and they can’t build on it, that is not my idea of our Canadian way of life. I suggest to the minister that the people of the escarpment area want total abolition of this escarpment area.
An abuse of power has resulted from a breakdown of our system of checks and balances. This includes the declining influence of elected officials over the bureaucracy and the breakdown of competitive forces which could act as a form of social control over the power groups in society. Don’t forget that, that’s important.
Rarely if ever, I say, have the people in a certain area of Ontario been able to pull back the curtain and display before this House the kind of naked arrogance, and yes almost corruption, that we find displayed in the Niagara Escarpment control. I have headlines here that say: “Yaremko Bought Escarpment Land for $47,000 and Made Profits of $130,000; Friends in the Inside.” These are headlines in the paper.
Mr. Cunningham: Where is he now?
Mr. Sargent: The intimate details are here. The Premier and the two ministers --
An hon. member: You are inviting more of that.
Mr. Sargent: -- know of the hundreds of injustices I have been talking about of land seizures --
An hon. member: He is chairman of the liquor licensing board.
Mr. Sargent: -- and are doing nothing about it for their own reasons. Mr. Speaker, I suggest to you and the members of the Legislature that rarely has an incensed and aroused public ever been able to reveal such a woeful flouting of the laws of this province and of this country. Parallel cases are rare indeed and they’re not easy to come by, but thousands of people in my part of Ontario have driven all over this province and this area to meetings night after night to show the injustices they are fighting against.
I say to my people, just as the trees that grow in the forest reach for the sunlight, so their fight has brought within our reach the right to control our own land. I think future generations will admire them for their guts and the fight they’ve put up. I implore the NDP, the official opposition and the fair-minded members of the government to support a bill of rights for these people here today.
Mr. Swart: I want my first comments in this debate, as they were when I spoke at Orangeville, to leave no doubt that I desperately want to maintain the escarpment substantially as a continuous natural environment and to ensure that only such development occurs as is compatible with that natural environment. That is taken from the first section of Bill 129.
Mr. Riddell: We’ve got to be careful if he does what he said in Orangeville.
Mr. Swart: Equally, I want to assure that there is a continuous Bruce Trail the length of that escarpment so that the citizens of the province can enjoy that environment in the way in should be enjoyed.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Are you voting for the bill?
Mr. J. Reed: Are you flipping or flopping?
Mr. Swart: Coupled with this, as part of it yet somewhat separate, is the tremendous need to preserve our irreplaceable and desperately needed prime agricultural land. Let me also say that I am convinced we are approaching a crisis in the procedure for that preservation, and perhaps a crisis in the preservation itself. Witness the meeting which I attended at Orangeville. Although it might be said by some, as was said by the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Brunelle), it was manipulated, I want to say there were many people there, fanners with their wives and families who had legitimate complaints as bona fide farmers.
Witness this government’s action in removing 60 per cent of the land from the escarpment control, if we’re concerned about losing our life’s preservation. Witness one quarter of the Bruce Trail now being barred; witness the granting of 90 per cent of all applications for development permits in the escarpment area since the commission was given such control; witness the recent flip-flop of the commission giving approval to Walker Real Estate Company of St. Catharines for construction of a 200-employee, 90,000 square foot office complex on prime agricultural land at the foot of the escarpment, just east of St. Catharines. The latter site is in the designated agricultural area of both the official plans of the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the Niagara regional government. The escarpment plan report states that it is contrary to the objectives of the commission.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Are you against that building? Are you opposed to that development?
Mr. Swart: Witness also Bill 62 which we have before us at this time.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Are you opposed to that?
Mr. Swart: Section 6 of the bill put forward by the member for Grey provides that a development permit must be issued if an application is made --
Hon. Mr. Welch: It will provide 300 jobs.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: What did you say in Orangeville, Mel?
Mr. Swart: -- for every parcel of land unless --
Hon. Mr. Welch: That building is not on good agricultural land.
Mr. Swart: -- the minister acquires the land within one year. In the escarpment area, the existing planning area and the development area, there are some 24,000 parcels of land outside of the city.
Hon. Mr. Welch: It is right by the highway.
Mr. Swart: Perhaps at least half are in the development :area of the escarpment commission. Let me say to you this would mean permits must be given within that year for anything and everything, for a residence, for an office complex, for a ski lodge, for industry, for a garage, even for a junkyard according to this bill.
Mr. McKessock: If you didn’t amend it in committee it would be a strange thing.
Mr. Swart: The honourable member says it can be amended in the committee so that local official plans and zoning could take over.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mel, somebody slapped your wrists.
Mr. Swart: But where are those local official plans and where is the zoning? There isn’t a single approved official plan for a county or region along the route. Niagara is the furthest along. There are, of course, several, perhaps many, local official plans and zoning bylaws but some municipalities along the escarpment don’t have either.
Mr. Hall: All sorts of municipalities have plans.
Mr. Swart: I say there are many.
Mr. Kerrio: The whole city of Niagara Falls is covered there, Mel.
Mr. Swart: Do the ones that are in place provide any special protection for the escarpment? Of course not; the government of this province has never required it because it appointed an escarpment commission to do just that If clause 6 became law there would be little need for an escarpment commission or protection by official plans or zoning, the escarpment will be well down the road to destruction.
Section 2 of the bill would reduce the area of authority of the escarpment commission from its present 1.2 million acres to perhaps one quarter of that, just the scarp and the scarp protection area. Much of that three quarters to he turned back to municipal control is good farm land area, particularly in the Niagara Peninsula but also elsewhere throughout and adjacent to the escarpment.
It could make sense to turn that back to the municipalities if there existed in regions’ or counties’ official plans the necessary protection for food land to ensure that development doesn’t gobble up this irreplaceable resource. Unfortunately, most of those that exist don’t even give protection so the farmer can carry on his normal farm operation without interference from the urbanites who have moved into the area, Of course the minister, the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development recognizes this problem, so I must say to him and his government, why are those plans not there? It is because the government have not taken action. I believe the proposal of the member for Grey to place arbitration of development decisions before the Ontario Municipal Board is basically commendable. Unfortunately, it is not the major part of the bill. In any event, the mandatory provision of development permits as provided by clause 6 bypasses the OMB -- surely the member recognizes that -- on all the existing parcels of land. Therefore it becomes largely meaningless.
There are a lot of people upset and angry over this whole issue and 1 am one of them. My anger is directed largely against the government. It never had the courage to do the job of land-use planning that is needed in this province. The Gertler report laid out the principle as to how it should be done as far as the escarpment is concerned. The government was to decide the provincial policies and general plan that is needed for the escarpment. In fact, Gertler largely laid it out for the government.
In addition, there was going to be a great deal of land acquisition so as to prevent conflicts between users and owners, but the government backed off and appointed another task force and then the commission with the hope that the commission would take the flak.
The party of which I am a member voted against Bill 129 -- in fact I stated this when I was up at Orangeville because we knew it wouldn’t work either in providing protection or setting up a structure acceptable to the people. Let me quote my then leader who spoke on this issue when the bill was debated on June 13, 1973: “It is a graceless, bureaucratic finale to the finest recreational hinterland outside of Metropolitan Toronto.”
Mr. Sargent: And it belongs to us.
Mr. Swart: Yes, it is the people over there on the government side who have brought us to this position of confrontation and crisis on escarpment preservation. They have stoutly ignored their own recommendations which could have prevented it. They have been for years pledged to bringing in an overall land-use plan for the province. As an example, the government’s guidelines for land-use planning dated January 1, 1974 said -- and because my time is getting close I will read it very quickly: “The first part of the strategic land-use plan the provincial government proposes will be an overall provincial plan where provincial policies are formulated and where areas of provincial significance are designated. Then working within the overall provincial framework, policies will be refined and a broad land-use plan will be prepared for each of the planning regions. The provincial plan together with the regional plans constitute the strategic land-use plan. It is assumed that all local plans of the ministry would then be required to conform to the strategic land-use plan.”
The first one mentioned is the Magara Escarpment Commission. Where is that strategic land-use plan the government has promised? Of course, it is non-existent. We have an appointed commission doing what should be done by government.
Mr. J. Reed: Your party would seize it.
Mr. Swart: I want and demand that overall land-use plan, and when we have got it the confrontation by an appointed escarpment commission may not be necessary. Until we have some other, hopefully more accountable but effective system to preserve the Niagara Escarpment and Bruce Trail, I won’t be voting for Bill 62 which we have before us today.
Mr. J. Reed: What a flip-flop; flipped right over.
Hon. Mr. McCague: I understand that the remaining time is that of the member for Grey. I am going to indicate to the honourable member that I am going to support his bill on the understanding that it is going to go to committee. I will in a very few moments table a copy of the statement I was going to make -- at least I will give it to the honourable member.
Mr. McKessock: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the contributions made by the other speakers on this bill. There have been some good points made. Obviously, the member for Scarborough West hasn’t read the proposals. I hesitate to say that, because that is what the Niagara Escarpment Commission says when it is going around now if it doesn’t know the answer to a question.
The minister is a nice fellow, and I thought on Monday he was with me. I wonder who wrote his speech.
The announcement on Tuesday is just what I thought it was; it isn’t going to be a change to the act and it means I that the commission will be able to bounce back to the same area they have right now any time they want. I certainly hope the minister gives that consideration.
The Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act has unnecessarily stripped too many land owners at their rights and privileges, and it is regrettable that something as important to our basic rights and to this province is only allowed one hour in the Legislature. Worse than that, if it hadn’t been for this bill, the Niagara Escarpment Commission development plan would have been born, raised, completed and passed by cabinet with no input from the Legislature.
When this Bill 62 passes today on second reading, it will then be up to the minister to schedule it for completion. As I mentioned earlier, this bill does not do everything that we would like done, but it is better than anything we have yet. The minister’s announcement on Tuesday agreeing with the reduction of the planning area, and the chairman of the Niagara Escarpment Commission’s statement in the Toronto Star last week saying that he supported the second part of my bill
-- and even the NDP support the third part -- make it look as if this bill shouldn’t have too much trouble passing today. My own caucus is solidly behind me on this, and I would hope that at 5:50 p.m. this bill would pass.
If, after today, the minister decides to let the bill die on the order paper, and brings in something better for the land owners, that is all right with me. But this bill is the least that we can accept.
Mr. Bolan: Bring it in.
Mr. McKessock: This bill must pass second reading today to give some protection to ownership.
Where are our ownership rights going? Was this country not built on hard work and pride in ownership? Our ancestors came over here, worked hard, sweated and toiled to gain ownership to a piece of land. They had their own piece of Canada and were proud of it. It was the right to that land and the pride of ownership that kept them working through the ups and downs of the Depression, and it was their rights and pride that gave them the strength and determination to go to war and to fight and to protect their country and theft land.
Each generation has inherited that pride of ownership, paid off mortgages and has continued to improve the land and pay their own way. Will we be able to keep them working as hard? Will we be able to get them to fight again for their land if their rights’ and privileges as land owners are destroyed? I doubt it.
We have spent some time talking about unity in this country. I believe that it is time we looked at legislation such as the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act and made the necessary amendments to keep unity in this province. Let us not deprive these people of their property rights and pride in ownership. There is lots of land in Ontario for all of us, even though t government does own 90 per cent of it If there is anyone here who doesn’t agree with my bill, let him get his own piece of land and he will know the feeling. But don’t control ours ,o the extent that the pride of ownership is lost and we become state-controlled.
NOTICES OF DISSATISFACTION
Mr. Speaker: Before proceeding to the second ballot item, in accordance with standing order 27 I am required to inform the House of matters to be debated at 10:30 this evening. The members for Downsview (Mr. di Santo) and Oakwood (Mr. Grande) have filed notices of dissatisfaction to answers given by the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch) which have been adjourned for some days. These matters will be debated at 10:30, followed by the notice filed by the member for Downsview of his dissatisfaction with the answer given by the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson) concerning the Workmen’s Compensation Board.
NURSING HOMES AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Cooke moved second reading of Bill 73, An Act to amend the Nursing Homes Act, Act, 1972.
Mr. Speaker: The member has the floor for up to 20 minutes.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I might say I am very pleased to be able to present this bill to the Legislature today.
I might say the principle of the bill deals with whether or not nursing homes should be run on a profit or a non-profit basis, and that’s what we should be dealing with today. There will be some members of this Legislature, I suppose, who will try to say that this is a debate on free enterprise versus socialism. That would be distorting the facts of this debate.
Mr. Pope: It’s a dirty word.
Mr. Cooke: If this was to be a debate on free enterprise versus socialism, we would have to take some other things into consideration. First, free enterprise is based on competition, as I understand it. I must confess I haven’t had a lot of education in economics, but I understand that competition is important when you’re talking about free enterprise. The fact of the matter is that in the nursing home industry in this province there is no competition because the number of beds is controlled. Therefore, if we were going to have competition in the nursing home industry, the minister would flood the market with nursing home beds so that there could truly be competition. If he did that, then costs would increase and the provision of nursing home care would be out of the reach of the province.
May I say that we are not talking about free enterprise versus socialism, because there is no competition and because there is no way to enforce the regulations and the Nursing Homes Act because of the lack of competition. It is interesting to note that when the of the Nursing Homes Act are being contravened, it is impossible to put a nursing home out of business. It is impossible to revoke a licence because, not having a surplus of beds, there is no place to move the residents.
I will quote a section from the report of the Ontario Association of the Homes for the Aged in which they talk about the nursing home industry and profit versus non-profit. They say: “The basic condition for the operation of free enterprise, namely competition in the open market, does not really exist. To have free enterprise work effectively, there would have to be competition for the user patronage, rewarding those who give the purchaser more for his dollar. For competition in the long term to exist, there would have to be excess bed capacity so that the consumer would really have a choice of where he wanted to go. Excess bed capacity would, of course, be wasteful and difficult to control in the public interest.”
I agree with that statement. I think the members of the government and the members of the Liberal Party should realize again that we are not talking about socialism. We are talking about what is the best way to provide adequate services for those who need nursing home care in the province of Ontario.
When I’m talking about the enforcement of the Nursing Homes Act, I think it’s interesting to note also that from 1973 to 1977 in the province there were only three hearings in front of the Nursing Homes Review Board, indicating that for some reason somebody is not doing his job. There were no licences revoked in this province from 1973 to 1977. There was, however, one owner of a nursing home who voluntarily surrendered his licence before a Nursing Homes Review Board hearing could be held. Because there have been a number of incidents brought to the attention of the Legislature where nursing homes have not been providing adequate service, it indicates that before a review hearing can be held in this province the conditions in a nursing home have to be pretty disastrous.
The motive of free enterprise nursing homes or profit-oriented nursing homes in this province is strictly profit. By turning the system around and making it a non-profit system, the motive would be service. I’m sure that’s what all members of this Legislature want, namely, adequate service for our seniors and for those who need nursing home care. In summary of that part of what I’d like to say, the present profit-oriented system is based on free enterprise that does not really exist because of lack of competition. It’s difficult to enforce the regulations because it’s almost impossible in Ontario to revoke licences because of lack of extra beds.
I should also like to point out that this idea of non-profit nursing homes is not completely against what the government already does in this province. Homes for the aged are run by the municipalities under the Charitable Institutions Act and they’re not allowed to make a profit. Hospitals in this province do not make a profit nor do many other social services in this province. It’s not a profit-oriented segment of our society. I’m simply suggesting that nursing homes should be run on that same basis.
I would like to quote again from this report by the Ontario Association of the Homes for the Aged, called Directions. In an article entitled, “Profit versus Non-Profit Issues and Public Policy,” it states: “The claim of the nursing home industry that is supplying the same service” -- and they’re referring to the same service of the homes for the aged, a nonprofit service -- “but presumably at a lower cost than non-profit homes for the aged is largely a myth and grossly deceiving. With revenues fairly well controlled on the one hand, and the demand that managers of nursing homes produce a reasonable level of return on invested capital on the other, those managers who cannot produce will be replaced by someone who can. This leaves some of the important aspects determining level of care vulnerable to erosion. More of the manager’s time must be put into cutting every single cent of expenditure and maximizing revenue and less into what the quality of care being delivered to the patient is.
“The money to pay proprietary enterprise for the amortization of capital and for a reasonable level of return in its investment must come from somewhere, someone must pay. That person is the resident. The fact that the resident may pay for this through lower quality of service or supply, such as food or less tangible means such as quality of nursing care rather than through direct charge, does not mean that the resident is not paying.” I think that’s important to note. “The truth is that they are not given the same service, but it is the user who feels the difference and not the financial statement.”
The point they’re making here is that it’s fine for people to say that nursing homes provide an adequate service, hut the people that suffer are not you and I. We may be proud of the fact that the service is provided at a cheap cost to the taxpayers, but the people that suffer are those who can’t talk for themselves.
Ms. Gigantes: It’s not that cheap.
Mr. Cooke: The people who suffer are the residents in the nursing home. I think it’s important to talk about where nursing homes do cut back in service in order to show a profit and in order to satisfy the owners of the nursing home. I’d like to talk shortly about some of the nursing homes I’m familiar with and show members how they have cut back in service in order to increase profits.
The first nursing home that came to my attention was shortly after I was elected in July, 1977. The complaint was lack of staffing. I forwarded my complaint to the nursing home inspection branch. I got a reply back from the present Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Wiseman) who was the parliamentary assistant at that time. In his letter back to me he stated: “It is determined by examining the time sheets in the nursing home that although the staffing has been increased during the last two months, a further increase is required on the afternoon shift.”
I simply ask the members what other reason would a nursing home want to cut back on staff for and not meet the regulations in the nursing home for staffing other than to increase profits? It’s very clear that the only reason and the only motivation for cutting hack staff and not meeting the regulations is to increase profits.
Another nursing home in the county that I live in is the Country Village Nursing Home. I had a similar complaint from that home also. In a letter from Doctor Skelhorne of the nursing home inspection service, he said:
“Your complaint regarding inadequate nursing care appears to be partially substantiated and the administration has been made aware of this defect.”
I don’t know what “partially substantiated” means. It’s either correct or it’s incorrect. The fact again is that a nursing home was cutting back on staff in order to increase profits. I think that is wrong. It’s the only motivation that makes any sense for the nursing home owner; that’s the only way that that type of thing can be explained.
We also have problems in nursing homes in this province with food and the quality of food. I know that last year, in the estimates, the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) denied that, but it is true. Again, the only motivation for providing inadequate food is to save money and increase profits.
I complained about a nursing home, namely Windsor Nursing Home; I have had at least a dozen complaints about it, but this one was on food. Let me read the letter I got back from Mr. Graham, chief inspector for the nursing home inspection branch. He states:
“With reference to your concern regarding cold food at Windsor Nursing Home, on the day that the inspectors visited it was determined that there was some justification to this complaint.” Again, I don’t know what “some justification” means; the food was either cold or was hot. Obviously it didn’t meet the standards and there were orders made to clean up that particular problem.
The same letter goes on to say: “There was also some justification with respect to your concerns regarding the posting of menus and sandwiches being served as alternative meals.”
We know that in the regulations for nursing homes, the nursing home managers and owners are required to provide an alternative menu to the meal that’s being served. In this nursing home and in many nursing homes, because it has also turned out to be true at other nursing homes, the owners and the managers simply offer sandwiches to the residents as an alternative meal.
I never got this in writing from the nursing home inspection branch until recently, and I assure members that when they say there is some justification and they point out a problem in their letters to us, it is very likely or it is a fact that the problem is very serious indeed because, if it’s a minor problem, they just don’t mention it to us.
While I am talking about the nursing home inspection branch, I might point out that when we talk about competition and about people looking at different nursing homes when they have to enter a nursing home, if we are going to operate in the free enterprise system -- and that’s what the government wants to do -- it should be a right for the people who are shopping around to look at the nursing home inspection reports so that they know what they are getting into and they can shop around properly. But again, in our system in Ontario, those nursing home inspection reports are kept confidential between the owner and the ministry.
Even I, as a member of this Legislature, when I turn in a complaint, can’t see a copy of that nursing home inspection report. I think that that’s a shame; that’s not the way it should be, unless there is something the ministry is trying to hide. Obviously that must be the case. Last year, when we were in estimates, I asked the Minister of Health for a copy of a nursing home inspection report. He said he would get back to me the next day at estimates and he did, but he said I couldn’t have it. Obviously he had had a chance to take a look at it and it was too embarrassing to expose.
Here’s another example of how a nursing home can cut back in order to increase profits, and this has to be one of the more angering ones for me. In my riding, the Windsor Nursing Home, which I might point out used to be a public utilities building that was turned into a nursing home, has had an order for a number of renovations for a year when they transferred ownership. They have had quite a few problems in that nursing home.
I was speaking with one of the former administrators, who told me that in order to increase profits at that nursing home, when they were sending in the renovation plans to the Ministry of Health for approval, they deliberately sabotaged those reports by putting in such things as the wrong size doors in the plans in order to delay approval. By delaying approval, and they have been able to do that for more than a year now, they are able to turn the profit at the same old rate by providing inadequate service in an inadequate nursing home. I wouldn’t have known that except the former administrator of that home told me that this was done deliberately to increase profits by the owner of this nursing home.
My bill would make it necessary for all new applicants for nursing home licences to operate as non-profit corporations. That is consistent with homes for the aged that are run by the Ministry of Community and Social Services, and I think it’s an appropriate way of providing health care to people in need in this province. It also provides for a phase-in period, whereby the owners of nursing homes that are currently licensed would not have to conform to this non-profit section until their licence comes up for renewal. So there is provision for a phase-in period.
The advantages, I think, are clear. The motive will change from profit to service, and that’s what we all want. I think with government encouragement, municipalities, charitable organizations and churches will also get into providing this type of service. They may also begin opening up nursing homes, as they do homes for the aged. This system is used in other provinces of this country as well. I think the facts in other provinces offering this type of service speak for themselves. The quality of care is better. Rehabilitation, as opposed to just taking care of the individual, is the number one consideration.
I look forward to the debate on this bill, and I hope that all members of the House will support it.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Does the member wish to reserve time at the end of the debate?
Mr. Cooke: Just a couple of minutes, yes.
Mr. Turner: I am pleased to take part in this debate on Bill 73 this afternoon. I would suggest that the honourable member has proposed, in effect, that the Ontario government abandon the proven system of providing for the health-care of its elderly citizens needing nursing home care. The proposed amendment to the Nursing Homes Act, 1972, would mean that the government and the taxpayers of Ontario would be obligated to buy out all of the privately operated nursing homes. At today’s market prices, the cost of that move alone would be many millions of dollars.
Ms. Gigantes: You’re paying that already.
Mr. Turner: That’s not true; that is just not true.
Subsequent to that, the Ontario government would have to provide funding and a flow of capital into an area where needs will be even greater in the future than they are now. It is being suggested that this should be done, even though through the free enterprise system there is commitment, diversity and economy in the provision of nursing home services.
In the next 10 years there will be an increase in the numbers of people who make up the elderly population. The ratio of senior citizens to the overall population increased by 56 per cent since the turn of the century. It has been projected that the ratio of senior citizens will increase another 35 per cent within the next 20 years. The government, through the Ministry of Community and Social Services and the 181 homes for the aged under its administration, is providing services for 28,000 residents. About 13,000 of those residents require a level of care comparable to that provided in nursing homes.
There are 367 private nursing homes in Ontario, and eight of these are non-profit or hospital-based. It has been proven that the government and the private sector can work together to provide services for the needs of the elderly people. Our goal is to maintain or improve the quality of care, and we are doing that through the standards we set and which we insist on from the private sector.
Mr. Cooke: How do you enforce it?
Ms. Gigantes: Baloney.
Mr. Pope: Read the act.
Mr. Turner: I don’t want to become personal or take issue, but I can speak from some personal knowledge in this regard. I would question the interjection from the member opposite very seriously.
Private nursing homes are inspected on a regular basis. Their licences are issued on a yearly basis, with the provision that the homes meet the fire and safety standards, the nursing care and environmental standards of the Nursing Homes Act. Private nursing homes have been and will be good corporate citizens. They do, in fact, provide a high level of care in the communities. They work together with many volunteer agencies in the provision of care that contributes to the optimum health and enhancement of life for their residents, including rehabilitation.
To legislate the private nursing home operator out of business would have a number of negative results. There would be a loss of tax revenue to the province. A tremendous amount of capital would have to be poured into a rapidly expanding area and additional funds would have to be allocated to provide a service that is already being provided by very dedicated and conscientious people in co-operation with the ministry.
It was interesting to note that the honourable member, time and time again, referred to lack of competition, to profits, lack of service and cutbacks in various ways to maximize profits. Quite obviously, he knows little of the nursing home operation.
We can show members -- and this is interesting -- many nursing homes that are very marginally operated. Some are in a loss position. Lack of competition is just nonsense. It’s not true, it’s a very competitive situation.
Mr. Cooke: How about waiting lists?
Ms. Gigantes: There’s a four-month waiting list, even six months.
Mr. Turner: Are you talking about admissions or are you talking about competition? They’re two different things.
Mr. Cooke: You obviously don’t know what you are talking about.
Mr. Turner: I certainly do, because we have not advertised proposals to which we have had a great number of responses.
To carry on, I would like to say that we in the Ontario government and on this side of the House are committed to free enterprise. We’re committed as well, and just as strongly, to the health and wellbeing of the people of this province. We are receiving good value for our health dollars from the private nursing home operators, there’s no doubt about that.
The high standards of the Ontario healthcare system, and I would suggest to you very strongly that it is one of the finest systems in the world, are being maintained. For these reasons, I would hope the members of this assembly will join with me in defeating Bill 73.
Mr. Conway: It’s one of the rare occasions in a private member’s hour where I will take issue with some of my colleagues in the New Democratic Party. On this occasion I will not be supporting a bill put forward by one of their members, for some of the reasons that I’d like to involve myself in for a few moments.
At the outset, I must say I’d like to thank my parliamentary intern, Mr. Christopher Wardell, who prepared, as is his wont, some very good background notes. Some of us with teacher board negotiations and other problems have not been able to spend the time on this matter it really required.
I remember very well, in the estimates of the Ministry of Health last November, comments made by a number of members. Very cogent comments were made by the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Cooke), I think, and the member for Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes), and others, who I thought made a particularly strong case for concern in that particular field of provincial policy.
I’m not surprised that we are here today to debate a continuing part of that matter. I must say that while the member’s concern has been well set forth and is well taken, I look at Bill 73 and I find that, to my liking at least, it does not redress the fundamental difficulty that I think we can all recognize in this particular area. In principle, I will not accept this bill because I do not believe that by making the requirement for the licensing of nursing homes a function of a charitable corporation we necessarily improve the situation. That, I suspect, is a fundamental difference of opinion between myself and the member for Windsor-Riverside. We could perhaps debate it for some time to come.
I must say I am not particularly pleased on the basis of what evidence I have seen, that all is well in the nursing home sector in this province. There are, without any question. very significant problems. These must not be taken very lightly. I certainly remember the difficulties in the Ottawa region that were brought to my attention by the member for Carleton East in one or two areas. One or two specific nursing homes indicated in a very graphic way for those of us in the eastern Ontario region some of the problems as they relate to this area. For the benefit of some members, I must review some of the notes on that occasion of last November when we looked at the review, and the recommendations of the review, of the nursing home legislation tabled by the Minister of Health during the course of those estimates, or very close to them in November, 1977.
At that time, the comments were made that the problem in the nursing home field had more to do with inspection than ownership, as they were outlined on that occasion. It seems to me that if there is an area of significant and possible improvement in this particular field, it must surely rest in the area of inspection. Whether or not these are owned privately or through a charitable corporation, I don’t think they are going in any way, shape or form to operate differently. I think the inspection procedures which are in place provide much of the solution. It’s simply a matter of getting the Minister of Health and his officials to enforce more effectively the regulations which are presently in place.
I must say that the member for Windsor-Riverside took a very constructive course of action last November when he said that perhaps the most important thing we should do before jumping into the field is to have an inquiry, an investigation. I think the member will recall making those statements on that occasion. I will quote for his edification some of the estimates debate on that occasion.
Ms, Gigantes: So what has happened? How long are you going to wait?
Mr. Conway: I just take the member at his word and I take the member for Carleton East at her word, when we suggest that perhaps before we move precipitously into a field that it might be useful to have an investigation.
Ms. Gigantes: Useful, my eye.
Mr. Conway: It was thought to be useful last fall; surely it’s as useful now. I’m just saying to the member for Carleton East that perhaps what was said last fall is relevant today. I agreed with them then. I hope they agree with themselves now, because I don’t think it would be particularly --
Ms. Gigantes: That is just my point. How many people are going to die in the meantime?
Mr. Conway: -- useful to move headlong without an inquiry to lay some of the basis for some of the problem correcting we all must surely agree is necessary. I have too much respect for the honourable members in the NDP to argue --
Ms. Gigantes: They are not going to wait forever. They can wait forever.
Mr. Conway: -- that they would say that what they said last year is no longer relevant now. That’s a crime in politics that they are too readily willing to ascribe to a certain other party here. I just advise them that perhaps an inquiry would be a very useful procedure.
Ms. Gigantes: You won’t get one.
Mr. Conway: As the member for Windsor-Riverside knows only too well, there is a very good point in that particular argument. I want simply to say that I agreed with the member then and I agree with him now that an inquiry must surely be held --
Ms. Gigantes: That was seven months ago.
Mr. Conway: -- if we are going to find exactly the nature and extent of the problem. It was interesting to hear the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) in the same debate say, and I quote: “I fully realize that there are 378 nursing homes and they are not all bad. The majority of them are probably extremely good establishments.”
We are left to wonder what is the position of the members in the New Democratic Party. The member for Windsor-Riverside says five or six m:onths ago we must have an inquiry. The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere says:
“They’re not all had. I suspect that most of them are extremely good establishments.” Now we are presented with a bill which says they are by implication all bad and they all must he brought under the ambit of the Charitable Institutions Act.
Mr. Cooke: I said they could be better.
Mr Conway: I don’t think we can move so precipitously without the kind of evidence that we could have provided by an inquiry. I suspect the members in the New Democratic Party --
Mr. Dukszta: I see -- to the right from Sean Conway.
Mr. Conway: -- will not share the views, of most in the government party, and certainly most in this party, that there is a role for private involvement in this field; that the ambit of government activity has been too generously expended in the past few years and that just because government is running the proposition in the name of charity or otherwise it is going to be fundamentally a better proposition. I don’t agree with that.
Ms. Gigantes: Who is supporting them now? Who is paying for it now? How old are you? You are awfully patient.
Mr. Conway: I don’t even agree that if the member for Carleton East, in all her infinite wisdom, were placed in total charge of the nursing care program in this province that it would be fundamentally different or in any way better than it is today. That is my own personal view, that might not he agreed to by all members in this House.
I must say, though, that I agree there are problems. I agree there should be an inquiry and an investigation to find out the nature and the extent of those problems. On the basis of that kind of evidence, we can move to take some corrective action. I certainly would not suggest for a moment that this bill and the specific remedy that it offers is in any way, shape or form a useful redress to the fundamental problem which I see in this area as one basically of inspection. We have regulations: let us enforce them.
On the occasion of the estimates debate last November, the Minister of Health and myself had an exchange on the subject. I put the question: “I wonder if the minister could be at all specific with us this afternoon in indicating when we can expect something in terms of major legislative redress to the inadequacies as they have been pointed out in the debate on the nursing home situation.”
The minister at that time said, “I would hope that the response of the government to it” -- basically to the recommendations of the nursing home review -- “would come about the end of January so that we would be able in the six weeks following that to collate all of the information anti then propose to cabinet in the early spring the changes to regulations and to the act.”
I replied, “So certainly then you would see it as a priority to the extent that you would like to see something done legislatively say, by the spring session of 19787
The minister replied, “Yes, the same as for instance, the public health review.”
I simply want to remind the Minister of Health that we are now well into the spring session -- it is mid-May. 1978. I have not heard that there are changes in response to the nursing home review forthcoming. I would hope that the minister will keep his commitment at that time. I certainly look forward to some changes along the lines as suggested in the nursing home review. But in terms of Bill 73, I think it speaks very directly to a serious problem acknowledged by most members in this House, but to suggest for one moment that by making all of these nursing homes operate as charitable institutions, we would fundamentally alter the situation or change the problems I do not think is in any way an answer to the problem.
Ms. Gigantes: I rise in support of Bill 73. I think my personal concerns for the people who live in nursing homes in the Ottawa area has been clearly registered with members of this Legislature for close to three years now. Since the fall of 1975 I have used every method available to me to bring to the attention of the two Ministers of Health the gross and undignified circumstances which exist for many of the people who live in nursing homes in the Ottawa area.
Time and again I have argued both publicly and privately with the current Minister of Health and his predecessor that the enforcement of nursing home standards is totally inadequate and that a nursing home system which rewards understaffing and cost cutting on food and service is an intolerable system. I have argued to no avail, and this bill is the only reasonable alternative to the failures of the present profit-motivated system.
Let me cite a recent example of some of the atrocious failures of the system as I know it. Two and a half weeks ago, a woman came to my office. She’s a mature person, a former nun, an energetic and dedicated teacher. She alone in her family is capable of assuming direct responsibility for her 76-year-old father.
Her father fell ill and was placed in an Ottawa area residence. During the several months that he was there, he lost his ability to walk, his condition deteriorated generally, his call bell broke and was not repaired. She noticed on more than one occasion that the floor surrounding his bed was sticky with urine.
After several unsuccessful attempts, the daughter succeeded in having him transferred to a nursing home, which I will call Home X for reasons which will soon become apparent. That was November 1977. By early spring of this year, the father was obviously becoming weaker and losing weight. On one of her regular and frequent visits at the beginning of April, the daughter had an aide at Home X complain to her that a volunteer was visiting her father and feeding him with food provided by the volunteer. The aide said that her father was refusing the regular Home X food because of the volunteer’s visits. The daughter was surprised by this information but a second aide later approached her and said that it was a good thing that the volunteer was feeding her father because he couldn’t eat the regular food.
The daughter then managed to meet the volunteer. The volunteer it turned out, was a former employee of the home who regularly returned, sneaking in the rear entrance with bottles of baby food in her purse to feed the old man, whom she knew to be incapable of eating the regular food. She also had washed and changed him many times and regularly cleaned his nose because he was incapable of blowing it.
The daughter was surprised and upset. She made a point of visiting three times in quick succession at meal time. Each time her father was served solid food, although he was supposed to be eating puréed food. The daughter checked and was told that the blender was broken. The daughter spoke to the head nurse, who claimed his meals were being puréed.
This is a man who is a diabetic and who can go into a coma if he doesn’t eat properly. His daughter tells me he was on intravenous feeding for two days at Home X. The nursing home doctor was at this period on vacation.
On Thursday, April 20, the daughter could stand the situation no longer. She made an appointment for her father with her own family doctor, called an ambulance and took her father to the family practice clinic at a local hospital. There, he was rediagnosed as having Parkinson’s disease to the point that he could barely eat and he was admitted to the hospital for treatment.
On Friday, April 21, the daughter learned her father would be released and sent back to Home X.
On April 22, she came to my office in a distressed state. I had a lengthy interview with her and reached the family doctor. He told me that the hospital could not assume the responsibility of having the father lose his place at Home X, because legally it is held only for three days and admission to chronic care in Ottawa now is taking up to nine months, he tells me. He assured me he was in contact with the administration at Home X, that the staff of the home would carry out the necessary dietary and drug therapy program prescribed by the hospital family practice team, that the father would immediately he assessed for a rehabilitation therapy program and that the daughter could monitor his progress satisfactorily.
He also spoke to the daughter later that day and did his best to reassure her. But she was still apprehensive and, because her own job does not allow her to visit her father every meal time, she worked out a three-person visiting team: herself, the volunteer who had helped her father before, and a volunteer contacted through my office, a retired man who had spent his life in health care and whose son is now a well-known health care administrator in the Ottawa area. I’ll call this man, the volunteer through my office, Mr. W.
I read directly from the notes taken by my assistant when Mr. W called her at my constituency office on April 27: “Mr. [W] was there at noon on April 26. Mr. [X] had been taken a tray with two slices of bologna, potato salad and milk. Mr. [W] was appalled at a number of things. Wednesday evening, he said, Mr. [X] was sitting on a wooden chair, tied on with no pillows, and crying. His water jug was smelly. Mr. [W] points out that diabetics should always have a lot of fresh drinking water available at all times. He also said Mr. [X] has blisters on his heels which indicate to Mr. [W] that they are not changing Mr. [X]’s position often enough. In a diabetic, this can lead to diabetic ulcers and, ultimately, to gangrene.”
About the same time, the daughter received a letter from the nursing home director. The letter was dated April 25 and it said the daughter had 1, interfered with the dietary program of Home X, 2, made unauthorized appointments (although the nursing home doctor had been away when she made the appointment with her family doctor), 3, made coherent criticism of the care in Home X and exhibited lack of care and respect for the nursing home doctor (who had been absent), 4, shown lack of respect for Home X and its personnel, and that, therefore, the father would no longer have a place in Home X as of June 23, 1977.
During this whole saga, the daughter had made a personal appointment to describe the situation at Home X and her father’s circumstances to a member of the nursing home inspection branch. Just as she was reeling from the notice of eviction for her father, she received a letter from the inspector, saying that Home X “has recently been reinspected and all is well there.”
On April 28, the daughter hired a private nurse to spend seven hours a day with her father in Home X, see to his hygiene and make sure he eats properly. The first 11 days of this care has produced a bill for her of close to $400. Home X is charging the normal fee in addition, of course. But, as the daughter said to me yesterday, “At least this way I’m not getting sick just from anxiety.”
One other thing she said struck me hard. She said, “I came to see you because I wanted to change things for older people, not just for my father, but now I’m scared.” One can well understand why. The private nursing home system of this province has her father in a kind of hostage situation, and she’s right to be scared, but it is not right that this profit-oriented system should continue to treat so many elderly people so miserably and that their relatives and friends and the people who work in such places should feel vulnerable and afraid to complain. Bill 73 provides the only alternative.
An hon. member: Do you really believe that?
Mr. Ruston: John Brown runs that.
Mr. Tuner: Who said that? That guy over there.
Mr. G. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I’m pleased to participate in this debate this afternoon concerning Bill 73, brought forward by the member for Windsor-Riverside.
I think this private members’ hour, as it’s referred to, gives us ample opportunity to bring these things to the attention of the members of this Legislature. It’s probably exclusive to this Legislature, something that no other Legislature has.
The member for Carleton East has brought forth a very particular situation in which she has been involved, which I will discuss a little later. But before that, the member bringing forth the legislation discussed it as a contest between socialism and private enterprise. I don’t think it’s a contest, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Cooke: No, I said it wasn’t.
Mr. Makarchuk: How come you guys always manage to simplify everything?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: You clutter it up.
Mr. G. Taylor: I think it is more than that.
Hon. Mr. Norton: It’s just ideological hogwash -- that’s what it is.
An hon. member: Your homes for the aged are non-profit.
Mr. Dukszta: You would like to make them make a profit.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member for Simcoe Centre has the floor, I believe.
Mr. C. Taylor: I wasn’t sure, Mr. Speaker. You’ve done an excellent job keeping order in this House, but I wasn’t sure I had the floor at that moment.
Mr. Cooke: Call the member for Kingston to order.
Mr. Speaker: You have that assurance.
Mr. C. Taylor: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. To put forth a bill such as this, to attack the problem the way the member has, to make a corporation a non-share charitable corporation is really an income tax situation.
Ms. Gigantes: It is non-charitable now.
Mr. G. Taylor: A non-profit, charitable corporation is really playing around with corporate rules. It won’t get at the heart of the problem of providing the best form of service to those people in those homes. The best form of service gets down to that of a very good inspection system, a cunning and sure way of putting forth work for the individuals in those homes. Operators of nursing homes and homes for the aged provide commercially certain types of benefits to individuals. Other benefits are provided by churches and agencies, and by some municipalities as well.
To put all of these into a non-profit or charitable situation does not prove that operators are going to hand forth services to the people for whom they are caring.
A lot of these are covered by our OHIP provisions. Naturally, when we look at the situation we’ve had with OHIP in the past while, it would be naive and unrealistic to think that, just because these homes would be restructured by this bill, the problem would be corrected.
I cannot support this piece of legislation. Firstly, there is no regulation present prohibiting non-profit nursing homes. The fact that we make them non-profit would not relieve some of the problems that are there. If it was possible, this would be happening now. Obviously, there are not enough nursing homes, and we will admit that. But then, there are not a lot of people coming forth offering to operate non-profit, charitable nursing homes.
Secondly, a non-profit corporation will not necessarily result in lower rates in these nursing homes. I can visualize the situation where, by transferring these present nursing homes into non-profit, charitable corporations, all the so-called profit might be extracted out in directors’ fees or administrative fees or repaying the capital on the buildings. So if you just change over the licensing provisions and the corporate tabulation, you might not correct the situation. You might just allow it to be used in a different way, and the same or lesser service might be provided. Indeed, the administrators might take out the entire profit just in salaries to themselves -- or do we get into the manner and method of regulating their salaries as well as their licensing provisions?
What happens to the capital already invested in these nursing homes? Do we embark upon a program to buy out those nursing homes to change them as it would take place? Here, he says: “Those licences coming up for renewal will not be renewed unless the corporation becomes a without share capital corporation and non-profit.” Where do we get the money for that?
We have discussed, all this afternoon, the Niagara Escarpment provision. They have been discussing the expropriation possibilities of properties and their compensating feature. This is no different from that, Mr. Speaker. We have here, the member for Windsor-Riverside saying take away those homes and put them under some auspices, be it the government or otherwise. But who pays for that provision, and who is going to compensate those people? Do we refuse to renew their licences and say, “Do what you want with your homes, do what you want with your beds”? Where do we get the alternative forms of beds for those people who so dearly need them at this time?
The legislation also, without being particular would reduce the amount of corporate tax we are presently receiving and using to support other services we provide to the people and are indeed using to subsidize some of those people who are already in those nursing homes. OHIP presently provides a great deal of support for those particular nursing homes and the different types of wards they get. A lot of their money comes from OHIP, which is a very good plan in this province.
I am not in disagreement with the profit system of nursing homes. Profit is not their entire motive for being there. They do provide a very worthwhile service and I am sure that the people operating those nursing homes are conscientious, are worthwhile and are concerned about the people receiving their services. I don’t think that one is entirely in the nursing home business to be solely concerned with profit. One would then have to look at the entire health care system and see whether we are in it for a profit. Then I am sure, they would look to our doctors. Are they in it just for the profit or just for the service they are providing?
Mr. Speaker, all of these things cannot be taken lightly. I know the Ministry of Health in their inspecting system are concerned. I know the member from Ottawa-Carleton has brought forth her problem here today, an exposé of one particular home. I am sure that is not the service provided by all the homes. Then again, Mr. Speaker, she kept this to herself in her operations. Did she involve the inspectorial branch around there quickly? No, it was a cloak and dagger little game between her and the patient involved. Where was the doctor involved in this? One could have brought forth --
Hon. Mr. Norton: Manipulating the people of the province.
Mr. G. Taylor: Why was that not done?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Trying to climb to power on the backs of the poor.
Mr. G. Taylor: Why was not the doctor brought in, the sister brought in and an end put to this service immediately? Instead, she tried to, in the cloak and dagger method, come forth with a manner so that an exposé could be carried out.
Hon. Mr. Norton: No scruples at all.
Mr. G. Taylor: I think that attests wrongly to her advice on that particular constituent and to her insensitivity to the situation, for her own political exploits to take it upon her provision --
Mr. Breaugh: No. Now, George, simmer down.
Mr. G. Taylor: -- to allow this poor individual to remain there so she could have her chance today in the Legislature.
I think OHIP is a very admirable plan. No doubt we can find improvements. We can put forward improvements to our nursing home situation. Possibly some of them might want to go into the situation that the member is putting forth in his particular piece of legislation, but I have not seen any grand rush to get into that system.
I think the OHIP plan and the Ministry of Health are providing an excellent service in these homes. It can be improved. This government doesn’t stop trying to improve the programs they have. I am glad the member has brought to the attention of this Legislature that there are failings in the system, although probably not in the entire system. Maybe -- to get very partisan in this manner, because we often have fun in that situation in the afternoon, Mr. Speaker -- but maybe all the problems are in Windsor-Riverside, the area of the member who has brought forth this particular legislation.
Mr. Bounsall: By no means.
Mr. G. Taylor: I wouldn’t think that it was characteristic of the entire province, Mr. Speaker. I think in this situation I cannot support this bill. I do not think it would be in the best interests of the nursing home program or of the people who use the nursing home program or help to provide for them the system of health care service that they are desiring, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Cunningham: I too must oppose Bill 73. I know that we all as members have from time to time experienced some difficulties, not only in finding accommodation for senior citizens in nursing homes, but also we probably have from time to time seen or heard of some of the sad situations that were described by the member from Ottawa-Carleton. Certainly all is not right in the nursing home industry.
Ms. Gigantes: Carleton East.
Mr. Cunningham: Sorry, Carleton East. That is the kindest thing I have probably said about the member. I think to deregulate the nursing home business or to effect a government takeover is by no means a solution at this time. What I would suggest as an alternative would be some serious consideration to privatizing the delivery of that service in conjunction with the establishment of some effective and enforceable standards.
The honourable member who introduced the legislation intimated that only one home has been put out of business. I know for a fact that in the city of Hamilton a rather inefficient operation was ordered closed more recently. I must say to the honourable member that it was the members of the private enterprise group of nursing home operators within the city of Hamilton and surrounding district who responded by finding positions for these people.
I have visited a number of nursing homes. I have a number of them in my riding, some of which are operated on a non-profit basis and very well. They could certainly enjoy some municipal taxation relief. I think that would be a benefit to them. We do as well have a number of privately-operated facilities. Regardless of which facility the individuals are in, they tend to get a great deal of attention and on many occasions more loving care than they would have got in their own family residence.
I am not against the idea of self-regulation. I think it is an area we have come to look at within the profession. In my own particular constituency, I think of the Blackadar Nursing Home which has recently expanded. If the Minister of Health were here, I would suggest to him that it should expand again because it is a very fine facility. It is one, I might add, that operates at a profit, which I don’t regard as a dirty word, but provides a standard of care probably far in excess of any public institution I have seen and certainly better than any hospital.
In these days of OHIP crises and the high cost -- the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Pope) is listening -- of delivery of healthcare systems, we should be looking at a massive plan to build private nursing homes across the province. Clearly there are many people sitting in hospitals today at $200 or $250 a day when they should be in nursing homes. I heard of a situation not that long ago where a patient was in the McMaster University clinic for over half a year at in excess of $250 a day. We could have bought and purchased a nursing home in that period of time.
One of the honourable members opposite made an excellent point and one that I think we should draw to the attention of the socialist party from time to time; that is, where is the money going to come from, or are we just going to confiscate these properties?
Ms. Gigantes: Who pays for it now?
Mr. Cunningham: These people have invested good money, but that’s something you socialists wouldn’t understand.
Mr. Cunningham: In concluding, I can only say that it really is nice to see that under the new leader of the NDP they are no longer ashamed to talk about socialism. It is going to make it very much easier for the private enterprise parties of this province to conduct an intelligent election campaign between ourselves, I might add, the next election.
Mr. Cooke: I would just like to make a couple of points before this debate is completed. When we talk about whether or not the government can afford this, I thirds the point should be made that we are already paying for this. Who’s paying for all this? When a nursing operator makes a profit, he’s making the profit based on the per diem rate that we pay through OHIP.
Mr. Makarchuk: That is subsidized free enterprise.
Mr. Pope: You are right; all those public-spirited non-profit corporations.
Mr. Cooke: I think it is important to know that when the member for Peterborough was talking about enforcing the regulations, as was the member for Renfrew North, he was saying we should enforce more strictly the regulations already in the Nursing Homes Act. I pointed out in my opening remarks, that’s impossible to do under the present system because there is no competition and there are no excess beds. If the time comes that a nursing home should be closed down, the Minister of Health can’t do it because there’s no place to put the residents. That’s one of the reasons why the Nursing Homes Act is not working.
Mr. Turner: That’s not the reason.
Mr. Martel: Sure it is, John.
Mr. Cooke: Also, there was a suggestion that the government was going to have to buy all the nursing homes.
Mr Pope: Where are all these non-profit corporations now?
Mr. Cooke: The members who suggested that don’t know what they’re talking about. The nursing homes would not have to be purchased by the government. At present, as I said earlier, they are being purchased by the government through the per diem rate, except we’re putting them in the hands of private enterprise and letting them do a pretty bad job of providing the service.
We could turn the system around. We could change the motive from being profit-oriented, as it is now, and we could make the system service-oriented. That would be a fundamental change in the system that would correct a lot of problems.
I am not suggesting anything that is not consistent with government policy in other areas because, as I already suggested, homes for the aged run by the Minister of Community and Social Services are already run on a non-profit basis. It’s the government that’s inconsistent; not this party.
Mr. Speaker: There are approximately three minutes left, if any other member wishes to get involved in the debate. The honourable member for Scarborough-Ellesmere.
Mr. Warner: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Some hen, members: Resign.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Warner: As the Speaker will remember, I am the member of this assembly who has been working on this problem for some time and I had drafted a private member’s bill. The urgency of the crushing OHIP premiums precluded my bill on nursing homes. I’m very pleased that my colleague from Windsor has also followed the problem.
We can see today that the two right wings of the turkey are going to rise again and fly. So the problem will remain. But I will not rest until this problem is solved. The minister can sit there and allow the problem to fester in this province, without stopping the problem that exists in so many nursing homes, without releasing the inspection reports that are needed, without bringing owners such as the one in the Ottawa area under the control that’s needed. That man, Bordo, who operates those homes in the Ottawa area, but lives in Toronto, should be brought under prosecution, and the minister knows it. Those homes should be operated properly. If the minister can’t get him to do it under his legislation, then the minister should take over control of those buildings and make sure that the citizens in those buildings will no longer suffer. But the minister won’t do it.
Quite frankly, this issue isn’t going to go away by the government killing the bill today. It’s not going to go away by the minister refusing to release the reports or by sitting there and refusing to do anything about Mr. Bordo or any of the other scoundrels out there.
Mr. Yakabuski: Remember John Brown.
Mr. Warner: I’ll not stop, and neither will the member from Windsor, the member from Ottawa nor any other member of this caucus, until we’ve solved the problem and until the elderly citizens get some adequate care in nursing homes in Ontario.
NIAGARA ESCARPMENT PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT AMENDMENT ACT
The House divided on Mr. McKessock’s motion for second reading of Bill 62, which was negatived on the following vote:
Davison, M. N.
Miller, G. I.
Taylor, J. A.
Smith, G. E.
Ayes 41; nays 60.
NURSING HOMES AMENDMENT ACT
The House divided on Mr. Cooke’s motion for second reading of Bill 73, which was negatived on the following vote:
Davison, M. N.
Miller, G. I.
Smith, G. E.
Taylor, J. A.
Ayes 27; nays 74.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, may I just take a minute at this point to indicate the order of business, as is the custom.
Tonight, the House will consider Bills 71, 72, 69 and 77. Tomorrow morning, the House will be in committee of supply and we’ll carry on with the estimates of the Ministry of Revenue.
For the week of May 15, because of the holiday on the following Monday, May 22, it has been agreed that the House will adjourn next Thursday evening at 10:30 and not sit on Friday, May 19. With this in mind, the business for next week is as follows:
Monday: House in committee of supply -- estimates of the Ministry of Revenue.
Tuesday afternoon; legislation, Bills 22, 20 and 66. And if by any chance we don’t finish the legislation that has been proposed for tonight we will carry on with it following completion of Bill 66. I would like to draw members’ attention to next Tuesday evening when the House will be in committee of supply to complete the estimates of the Ministry of Revenue as necessary and to commence the estimates of Northern Affairs. That will make up for the fact that we’re losing estimates time on the following Friday.
On Wednesday: general government committee resources development committee and the justice committee may sit in the morning.
Next Thursday: private members’ public business -- first, resolution, ballot item 19, standing in the name of the member for Carleton-Grenville (Mr. Sterling) and, secondly, resolution, ballot item 20 standing in the name of the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley). On Thursday evening we’ll have budget debate, and as I indicated, we’ll rise at 10:30 and stand adjourned until the following Tuesday.
The House recessed at 6:08 p.m.