The House resumed at 8:02 p.m.
CORONERS AMENDMENT ACT (CONCLUDED)
Resumption of the debate on the amendment to the motion for second reading of Bill 86, An Act to amend the Coroners Act, 1972.
Mr. Speaker: Order. When we rose at the dinner hour the member for Windsor-Sandwich had the floor.
Mr. Bounsall: I’ll just conclude my remarks very briefly.
Mr. Ziemba: Don’t conclude so quickly.
Mr. Bounsall: I should repeat my speech from before supper again. Over the supper hour I’ve had a chance to talk to the Solicitor General (Mr. Kerr); and, as is his wont, he’s always very convincing about why not all workers who are accidentally killed in the work place should have a coroner’s inquest performed as a result. The argument was an economic one. I suggest that’s a good way of creating employment in the province of Ontario, provided we increase the jurors’ pay at the same time so that jurors can afford to be on coroners’ juries.
I say to the Solicitor General, to justify what he has said to me about amounts of money it would require to have an inquest into every accidental death in the province of Ontario, come up with the figures, convince us. Bring in an amendment of his own to this section of the act to say, in effect, that there shall be an inquest into every accidental death in the province except -- and that’s where he should give whatever discretion and conditions he feels should be given to the coroner releasing him of the obligation to have an inquest into every accidental death.
I think the onus should clearly be on the coroner to have an inquest unless he or she has good reason not to. I would much prefer that we have a coroner’s inquest into every case of an accidental death in the work place in the province of Ontario, for all the reasons outlined before the supper hour.
If the Solicitor General can outline clearly reasons as to why and where a coroner should consider not having one and build it into this section or a subsequent section, then I would say you have a few days in which to prepare that; but I would prefer to see our amendment, as we’ve stated it, carry; that there should be a coroner’s inquest. Come forth with the areas of the work force which he feels do not really need this protection; come forth with the dollars involved and the exceptions, the way he would write them to let a coroner have an out if, in his opinion, it wasn’t desirable to have that particular inquest. I would be quite interested in that amendment; but failing that, there is no justification for having a coroner’s inquest just on those workers who are accidentally killed in mines, having the obligation to have a coroner’s jury set up on those cases. There are too many cases of interest in the province of Ontario where a worker has been killed accidentally on the work place and the facts surrounding that case should be made known to the public in the interests of increasing occupational health and safety in the province.
Mr. Martel: I really hadn’t intended to speak to this, but having looked at section 4(a) I’m afraid it leaves me no alternative. Because what 4(a) does is leave out the rest of mining. It only includes mining per se, leaving out pits and quarries. I am not sure how one can ignore those who work in pits and quarries and deal strictly with those in mining. These remarks have to be made against the fact that at least 35 men were killed in the mining industry last year. That is an indication of why we must expand and not reduce inquests into fatalities for miners as the government was wont to do. Let me make the point very clearly: Had the government had its way, it would have dropped totally that section calling for inquests into miners’ fatalities. They attempted to drop it from section 9 of the Mining Act and did not want to introduce it anywhere else. That section of the Mining Act called for an inquest into all fatalities. This government was prepared, in fact, to drop it, until there was such an outcry from the unions representing those employees in the mining industry that the government felt it had to re-introduce it and saw fit to put it into the Coroners Act.
In fact that’s a relatively new section in this act, on a matter formerly covered under the Mining Act. The government was prepared to drop it.
I want to relate a little of the experience I have encountered over the years in dealing with this section of the act. You would appreciate, Mr. Speaker, coming from northern Ontario, the types of difficulties we’ve had and the number of fatalities that have occurred in respect to the mining industry.
I can well recall the day --
Mr. Speaker: I want to remind the honourable member that although he is dealing with a very important principle, I hope he will address his remarks to a principle that is contained in the bill, not one that is omitted from the bill.
Mr. Makarchuk: Right on; he’s right on, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Martel: With the greatest of respect, Mr. Speaker, I draw your attention to section 3(3) of the bill dealing with section 9(4)(a) of the act, which says, “Where a worker dies as a result of an accident occurring in the course of his employment at or in a mine, but not including a pit or quarry, the manager or other person in charge of the mine shall immediately give notice of the death to a coroner and the coroner shall issue his warrant to hold an inquest upon the body.” I’m speaking directly to that section of the act, which is an addition to the Coroners Act, 1972, but which was formerly included under section 9 of the Mining Act. I want to relate for the House some of the problems that those involved in the mining industry, particularly the unions, have had over the years with respect to that particular section.
I can well recall shortly after being elected that when we had an inquest it was always held in Sudbury on a Wednesday afternoon. You never held it on a Tuesday or a Thursday or a Friday. You went to the business community and you brought five businessmen in who shut their stores down on Wednesday afternoon so that you could have an inquest; they weren’t open for business.
You never allowed an experienced miner to be on a panel involving fatalities underground. You simply brought in businessmen -- who of course knew a great deal about mining; someone selling clothing has some idea of what goes on underground in a shaft or a drift; certainly, someone selling clothes understands those problems.
We argued that with some vigour, again led by the United Steelworkers. The assistant deputy minister, Mr. Frank Wilson, to his credit, and H. B. Cotnam, to his credit, came to the conclusion that some of the people you should have on an inquest should be experienced miners. Lo and behold, we ultimately saw the thing change in the Sudbury district. We ultimately saw people who had experience in mining called as jurors in an inquest.
They also had another wrinkle: in an inquest the only people who could raise questions were legal counsel. It was not for the person who was representing someone who was killed in an accident, but I guess the crown attorney. The union used to submit questions to the crown attorney and the crown attorney, if he saw fit, would ask the question. If he didn’t see fit, he didn’t place the question. Of course, the crown attorney knows everything about mining too. So you never went to the people -- that’s right, they were undermining -- you never allowed those people who knew something about mining to be involved.
The mining industry is fraught with fatalities. I think last year there were something like 35 miners killed in the province, and 54 the year before. In the Sudbury basin we wanted to allow the fellows who were representing the bereaved to ask the questions because they knew something about mining. They knew where you should look to determine how you might avert a fatality in the future.
What I am leading to is a declaration that this area in this bill is still deficient, because despite the fact we might learn how, when and where someone was killed, the recommendations which come forth from a coroner’s inquest do not have to be adhered to. Some of the jurors might have had experience underground or in the smelter and they make recommendations which hopefully would eliminate similar fatalities from occurring in the future if the recommendations from the jury were followed.
But in Ontario you don’t have to follow the recommendations. To me it is a farce to determine how, why, when and where someone was killed -- and then not follow recommendations which ultimately, hopefully, would see the elimination of a dangerous practice leading, to fewer fatalities occurring because of that sequence of events.
Despite repeated efforts over the years by the United Steelworkers and by those with whom I have been associated, and our insistence that the recommendations of a juror’s inquest should be followed, the government has steadfastly said no.
Ms. Gigantes: The coroner’s inquest.
Mr. Martel: The coroner’s inquest, pardon me.
They continue to say no. It becomes an exercise in futility, really. Hopefully we would learn from our mistakes; hopefully we would learn that if a miner is killed because the proper procedures weren’t adhered to underground and we determined who was responsible for that -- and I’m not at this moment trying to lay blame on anyone -- we would establish procedures based on the various recommendations that would prevent a fatality occurring in the future.
Members could talk to the United Steelworkers of America for hours and they can show where the same type of accidents, in the same place, has occurred on a number of occasions.
Think way back, Mr. Speaker, and you’ll recall my raising this about six years ago, about the Edvedicus case. Mr. Edvedicus was killed by an overhead crane at Inco. Subsequently, the same problem arose two years later.
One of the recommendations of the Edvedicus case was to the effect that if the crane was improved and some modifications made, the same thing would not occur a second time, or it was very unlikely. But in fact it did occur. I well recall the union saying to the government in a series of communications that if only it had insisted the recommendations from the Edvedicus case be adhered to the second fatality, or near fatality, wouldn’t have occurred.
I can well recall the Thompson case, in Sudbury, where a man was riding the side of a boxcar and he got pinned between the wall and a door. So help me, within a year, the same accident occurred in the same place. If a jury recommendation had been followed, and a practice had been altered, the second fatality might not have occurred.
Surely that is as important as finding out the how, why, when and where. We should be attempting to follow those recommendations so we could eliminate a reoccurrence in a very similar set of circumstances.
If one works underground, of course, the major number of fatalities occur as a result of loose falling on someone’s head. These could be very small pieces of material falling from the ceiling, but in fact they can go to several hundred pounds, or several thousand pounds.
If you look at the statistics -- and the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson) would be familiar with these -- on underground fatalities, most of them occur from material falling from the roof of a mine. Surely if we know that, and surely if we started to follow some of the recommendations of various inquests --
Hon. B. Stephenson: But we do.
Mr. Martel: We do know it, but we’re not doing anything about it.
Hon. B. Stephenson: We follow the recommendations.
Mr. Martel: You don’t have to, it’s not compulsory.
Hon. B. Stephenson: But we do.
Mr. Martel: I say to the minister that she might follow it.
Mr. Renwick: Why didn’t you stay home? As far as workers’ safety is involved we don’t want you here; do you understand that?
Mr. Warner: You don’t do anything.
Mr. Renwick: We don’t want you here. We’re talking about death, we’re not talking about danger.
Mr. Speaker: Order, please. The only person who has the floor is the member for Sudbury East and he can address all his remarks to the chair.
Mr. Martel: I don’t know that I’m not Mr. Speaker. I’m looking straight at you.
Mr. Warner: The Minister of Labour is about to resign.
Mr. Martel: I want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, that while I know that the ministry is looking at some of this --
Mr. Warner: She does nothing.
Hon. B. Stephenson: You are wrong.
Mr. Warner: When was the last time you ever followed a recommendation?
Mr. Speaker: Will the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere please come to order.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Please resign.
Mr. Makarchuk: Will the minister bring in Bill 70?
Mr. Martel: I say to my friend, the Minister of Labour -- I was going to say mines -- we know the various types of fatalities that occur underground --
Mr. Makarchuk: When are you bringing in Bill 70?
Mr. Martel: -- and despite that there were 35 men killed underground last year in Ontario and 54 the year before, and most of those fatalities occurred under similar circumstances.
Mr. Lupusella: The Minister of Labour is giving a big fat zero to the injured workers.
Mr. Martel: What disturbs me is that we never move to a point where we can reduce it or minimize it. For example, one might start to look at scoop trams that would have something to protect a person operating one of those. I am told the real problem is cost. I don’t know how you measure a human life against the cost of putting a proper protective barrier for someone operating a scoop tram. There has been more than one set of recommendations saying there should be that type of device or that there should be a roll bar on all equipment, but that hasn’t been the case to this date. We will only overcome the problem when we insist that those recommendations are adhered to, and that has not occurred to this time.
To go back to the point I started with, I can’t understand why we have excluded so many workers. In this section of the act we talk about people working in mines but, although pits and quarries have always been related to mining, we leave out those men -- and women, if there are some -- who work in pits and quarries, as we leave out everyone else. I can’t understand it.
I know full well that the government’s intentions at one time were to not make it mandatory that all inquests in mining be investigated by a coroner’s inquest. That was crazy, and I agree with my friend from Windsor that, wherever an accident occurs, we need to look into the circumstances surrounding it. It’s all well and good for us to sit in these surroundings. I don’t think there’s much danger of the chandeliers falling on our heads, although one can never tell.
Mr. Warner: You don't know what the bats are doing up there.
Mr. Martel: But it seems to me that we should be interested in trying to determine what causes every fatality. My friend who is not here this evening, the member for Yorkview (Mr. Young), could tell of a construction worker who was buried in a cave-in; certain regulations apparently weren’t being followed and it cost a life. It’s all well and good for us to stand here and prattle on, but in dangerous industries we should know what causes those accidents. And if the cost is so great, I suggest that the minister charge it to the industry, because they will clean up their act.
Mr. Warner: That’s the only things those creeps understand. But the minister won’t do it.
Mr. Martel: They will clean up their act in the same way, one hopes, as the day when the Minister of Labour brings back Bill 70. If one wants to see an occasion when we will reduce fatalities in the work place, it’s going to be when Bill 70 is in its place.
Mr. Warner: Which the minister is not going to introduce this session.
Mr. Martel: -- which we have had great difficulty trying to get back into the Legislature --
Mr. Warner: The minister is backpedalling.
Mr. Martel: -- because the hope of all of us is to --
Mr. Speaker: Order. We are dealing with Bill 86.
Mr. Martel: Right on, Mr. Speaker. I am trying to reduce fatalities.
Ms. Gigantes: That’s where it leads, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Martel: It leads ultimately from conducting an inquiry -- surely our hope in this Legislature is not to conduct inquests into fatalities. Our aim should be to prevent them. I guess that’s really what I am addressing myself to, Mr. Speaker, when I digress for a moment, with your indulgence, to allude to Bill 70. If we bring that bill into the Legislature and get it as law, we hope we will reduce or minimize the fatalities that occur in this province --
Mr. Warner: A bill that the Minister of Labour holds back --
Mr. Martel: -- and we won’t have to make use of Bill 86.
Mr. Warner: -- a bill that she withdraws from the Legislature.
Mr. Stong: Elie, you are supposed to stop when he’s interjecting.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: You’re getting a lot of help from your friends, Elie.
Mr. Warner: She has an obligation to bring the bill back into the House.
Mr. Martel: That’s right.
Mr. Warner: It’s as simple as that.
Mr. Martel: Despite repeated efforts to try to get Bill 70 back to the Legislature, it’s with some difficulty we are getting this done. We’re interested over here in preventing accidents and not having to utilize that, but surely if we’re going to utilize it, then it should be meaningful. To simply learn how, why, when and where is a lot of garbage unless, as I say to the minister, he’s prepared to put in here something to the effect that we will look at the recommendations very carefully and suggest to industry that those recommendations be adopted so that in the long run we will not have a second and third and fourth repeat of the accidents which led to a number of people losing their lives.
As I’ve indicated already, the most serious underground accident is something falling on your head. But there’s a second one; people not wearing belts and falling down manways and other areas underground. If they had had their equipment on, they might not have been killed. That’s what brings Bill 70 in. If the minister is not talking health and safety, he’s going to have this occurring; if we had the other occurring, this would be used less frequently.
I know the minister understands it, I can see him nodding.
Ms. Gigantes: He does, he does.
Mr. Martel: It’s just that he’s on the horizontal instead of the vertical.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: Vertically and horizontally.
Mr. Martel: I’m hopeful that the minister will look at recommendations very carefully and will start to bring something in which maybe monitors recommendations and then looks back when a report is tabled and says, “Aha, we see the same thing occurring on a number of occasions. Maybe we, as a government, should address this problem to the Minister of Labour; maybe we should address it to the Minister of Agriculture and Food if it’s agricultural workers who are injured for some reason, and have them look at the problem.” It’s a recommendation my colleague, the member for Dovercourt (Mr. Lupusella), will move. It will address itself to that so maybe the government can start to pinpoint rather specifically where problems are occurring and go back to the Minister of Agriculture and say, look, you’ve got too many people being injured in this specific area, what can you do about it? Then go back to the Minister of Labour and say, we’ve had 10 or 15 or 20 fatalities and this has been the root cause of it.
What we want to do is to try and eliminate the root cause. As it now stands, without adhering to recommendations you’ll not reduce fatalities. I beg the minister to start to look to that direction because in the long run, it will pay dividends to the residents of Ontario.
Mr. Mackenzie: I want to speak just briefly on this bill and ask that the minister seriously consider the recommendations, the tone of the arguments, being made on this side of the House and the necessity of broadening the reasons for a coroner’s inquest into a fatality.
If we’re going to deal with prevention, and in view of the fact that we have no idea whatsoever as to when we’re going to get additional coverage enacted such as might be possible under Bill 70, there has to be some protection for workers, not only in a mine but in the industrial plants. It serves a very important role, if there is a fatality in the plant, a fatality that clearly raises questions in people’s minds, there should be no question but that there is an automatic coroner’s inquest into that fatality.
We’re going to have to find ways and means of seeing that some of the recommendations made are carried out.
In my own town, and it was raised on the floor, we have a situation of an extremely bad safety record and an unsafe plant. I’m referring to the Stanton Pipes plant in Hamilton. I don’t think 248 lost time accidents in four years, with about 190 employees, is a very good record.
We recently had a fatality in that plant, a rather tragic fatality that concerns me greatly. We had a coroner’s jury look into that particular tragedy and they made a number of recommendations. Just looking through some of the significant ones, the first recommendation is that because of the nature of their business and materials, Stanton Pipes have first-aid equipment on their own premises for the treatment of burns. Second, that first-aid facilities shared with National Steel Car be open at all times when either plant is in operation with an unqualified attendant on duty.
With regard to the fatal accident in this plant to Robert Foldick last June, his workmates who carried him from the scene, where he was engulfed in molten metal, not only had to crawl over obstructions to get into the next plant where first-aid facilities were available, but had to literally kick in the door, only to find that nobody was on duty. Now we find that one of the coroner’s recommendations in this case was that first-aid facilities shared with National Steel Car be open at all times, when either plant is in operation, with a qualified attendant on duty. This coroner’s report came out early in October.
I now bring to your attention a letter that I received just today from the safety and health chairman in that particular plant, dealing not only with this case but other accidents that also occurred in the plant, which says, “In the case of Mr. Foldick, the first-aid room was closed and he was unable to receive treatment.”
In the letter are listed a number of cases that have occurred recently in the plant, including one where an iron stock block weighing approximately 200 pounds fell on the back of one Mr. W. MacDonald, just missing his spine. Fortunately, he was not that badly injured and was able to walk to the first-aid station approximately 250 yards away, which was shared by the adjoining company. On arrival, Mr. MacDonald found that the first-aid station was closed and locked -- after the coroner’s inquest and recommendations.
He then had to walk down to the secondary emergency first-aid station in the other company, where the powerhouse operator who was supposed to render first aid shrugged his shoulders and said to Mr. MacDonald, “What do you expect me to do?”
At Christmas in that same plant, and in spite of another recommendation of that coroner’s inquest, the first-aid room was closed. Over the Christmas holidays, some 80 per cent of the plant was working. What was the attitude of the personnel officer when he was challenged on the fact that the facilities were closed? He said, “We only need the first-aid room open when we are casting.” They do an awful lot of things in that plant that are pretty tough, apart from the mixing of molten iron and magnesium, which can be a very volatile and dangerous mixture.
It seems to me that, when we have a fatality in one of the plants where there is a real question of the procedures used for the responsibility involved, we simply have to have the right to a coroner’s inquest to look into the circumstances and ascertain not only how the fatality occurred. They do that very well in this report, but one of my criticisms is that they don’t assess blame. In this particular case there are some serious questions as to the management decision that resulted in an old pressure vessel being put back on for mixing after it had been allowed to cool out with the result that the bricks were not secure in the vessel. We also have to get the recommendations that are made, and we have to have some means of following up on those recommendations.
While I really hate to have to say it, probably that inquest’s recommendations, which have not been totally carried out in that particular plan, plus the circumstances of a couple of the more recent accidents and the strike situation that exists there today, are going to give us the ammunition that’s needed to point out just exactly how bad that situation was, with the support of the recommendations that are clearly listed by the coroner’s jury in that case.
I think the minister would be well advised to consider a broadening of the bill he has got before us to give us this right in all work places, not just in the case of mines. I hope that when such amendments are moved, the House will consider them seriously.
Mr. Speaker: Does any other member wish to get involved in the debate?
Mr. Renwick: I don’t how whether I want to get involved in the debate. I want to participate in the debate and I want to speak to the minister about the bill he’s presented to us. I expressed across the floor sotto voce, I hope, my concern that the Minister of Labour was here tonight, because whenever the consequences of death in industrial or other industries in the province come into focus we find that she, as members of her class do, have great difficulty in understanding what we’re trying to say about death and injuries in industry throughout the province of Ontario. I use industry in the broadest possible term.
Hon. B. Stephenson: What class, may I ask?
Ms. Gigantes: Upper class.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Oh, go soak your head!
Ms. Gigantes: The same to you.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Mackenzie: Does that bother you?
An hon. member: Would you stop that cat fight, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Scarcely upper class.
Mr. Renwick: If you ever speak about class, all of the --
Ms. Gigantes: The minister wouldn’t speak about class, would she?
Mr. Renwick: -- Conservatives are always in the lower economic class. They happen to represent those who have the great majority of the wealth in the country, but they’re always in the lower class and they always associate themselves indirectly or otherwise with those questions.
I don’t want to be provocative in one sense, but I want to be provocative in another sense.
Mr. Stong: Try it again.
Mr. Renwick: I want it clearly understood that my colleagues in this caucus have fought for a long time to try to persuade the Conservative Party to change its attitude about what happens in the work place.
Mr. Lupusella: We are wasting our time.
Mr. Renwick: We have had an immense amount of difficulty. Minuscule changes in attitude by the Conservative Party, we have come to believe, are great advances in relation to industrial health and welfare at the work place. I don’t want to worry about that tonight. I want to talk to the minister who is responsible for something called public safety, the Solicitor General of the province, a not intractable man, a man with some humour, a man who told us some years ago that those who were damaging the environment would be behind bars by now, but of course they’re not behind bars by now.
I want to say to him as a human being will he please stand back from the Coroners Act and say to himself: “This act is immensely restrictive in relation to the situations in which there are mandatory inquests required.” For practical purposes at the present time, the act simply says there will be an inquest in very limited circumstances. I want the minister to say to himself, by introducing this particular amendment which is really by transposition simply a provision already required in the Mining Act, that he is not doing justice to the change in the social circumstances of the province of Ontario.
Let me refer, if I may, to the circumstances in which inquests are at present to be held in Ontario. First let me go back a step so that everyone will clearly understand what we’re trying to talk about when we indicate that in committee we want to introduce certain amendments. The limitation presently on an inquest is that it shall inquire into and determine who the deceased was; how the deceased came to his death; when the deceased came to his death; where the deceased came to his death; and by what means the deceased came to his death.
Those are the very limitations which the minister has already imposed upon an inquest in Ontario. He has tried in this bill to perhaps broaden slightly the ambit of the inquest inquiry by saying that where an inquest is held it shall inquire into the circumstances of and determine who the deceased was.
But perhaps the minister will understand that even the most diligent jury inquiring into the death of a person in the province is severely limited about the nature and extent of the inquiry which can be held into the causes of the death. In other words, anyone will understand that the Coroners Act carefully avoids any reference to the cause of death.
It may be said, of course, that the wording of that section which says “by what means the deceased came to his death” may encompass the question of cause. But it does not do so because the language doesn’t say so. Anyone can give a descriptive account of the death of any person but any in-depth inquiry as to the reasons or the circumstances surrounding the death would in modern language use the term “the cause of death.”
I want to say to the minister first of all that the act nowhere says that the inquest is involved in the cause of death. That’s the first elementary principle that I want to get across to the minister. The act should provide that the inquest would inquire into what is the cause of death.
Then when you come to the very lengthy section 9, which carefully enunciates all of the occasions on which an inquest will be required, then you find very carefully set out in the act in subsections 1, 2 and 3 very limiting occasions and procedures under which the coroner will act to determine whether or not an inquest will be held.
There is a mandatory requirement in the present Mining Act which reads: “‘Where a fatal accident occurs in or in connection with a mine or plant, an inquest shall be held.” Apart from that the only mandatory requirement is in section 4 of the Coroners Act. I want to quote it so that the members will understand the very limited nature of the mandatory inquest presently required under the Coroners Act. Section 9(4) of the Coroners Act, 1972, which we are asked to amend, states:
“Where a person dies while detained by or in the actual custody of a peace officer or while an inmate on the premises of a correctional institution, lockup or training school, the peace officer or officer in charge of the institution, lockup or training school, as the case may be, shall immediately give notice of the death to a coroner and the coroner shall issue his warrant to hold an inquest upon the body.”
What we are asking simply is that in a modern society we extend that obligation to hold a mandatory inquest to circumstances other than the mine or the plant.
I want to make a point which was made originally in this debate. It is proposed to amend section 9 by adding subsection 4(a), which says: “Where a worker dies as a result of an accident occurring in the course of his employment at or in a mine but not including a pit or quarry, the manager or other person in charge of the mine shall immediately give notice of the death to a coroner and the coroner shall issue a warrant to hold an inquest upon the body.”
I am saying to the assembly, is it the intention of the minister to extend or restrict, as my colleague, the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Bounsall), has drawn to my attention, provision 612 of the Mining Act? It is a rather cute method of limiting the scope of what is already contained. Or is it his intention, in fact, to do something other than merely amend by transposition the requirement as to when a mandatory inquest should be held because of an accidental death in a mine other than a pit or a quarry?
I don’t know what the minister’s intentions are. It is always difficult when the minister introduces a bill such as this and indicates all he is doing is making certain progressive changes in the act. It is always a question in our mind whether it is his intention to extend the scope of the operation of the act or merely to shuffle sections about. I want to say to the minister, if there is ever a situation which requires change in Ontario, it is the requirement that there be proper investigation of deaths in various areas of the industrial society in which we live.
Many of my colleagues believe it should be all-inclusive. I think it is fair to say our colleagues in the Liberal Party have indicated in the course of this debate they would seriously consider supporting appropriate amendments to extend the ambit of the section the minister has either transposed or introduced into this act with respect to the mining industry about the requirement for a mandatory inquest in the event of death.
Is the minister perhaps prepared at this point in time to say there are other specific instances in the province of Ontario where there must be an inquest, where it is mandatory? Are there other specific instances where it is not just up to the coroner, or where it is not up to the investigating officer to report to the coroner, who will then investigate, and if he decides, shall require that there be an inquest?
I don’t know whether the minister, skilled lawyer that he may be, has any particular experience in the field of deaths on construction sites. I doubt, for practical purposes, whether he has. I think anyone who has attended an inquest held in connection with a death on a construction site in Ontario in the last 10 or 15 years must have come to the conclusion that, even if it is a mandatory requirement, there are very serious defects in the procedures which are followed at those inquests for the purpose of determining the cause of death and therefore the responsibility, ultimately, for the kind of lack of safety and other precautions at those sites which would have prevented that death.
I realize this is very protective legislation from the point of view of the establishment. All it wants to do is have inquests in those circumstances where it may be there is some concern about the death and the cause of the death. I think the minister has got to take a position, and our party thinks it must take a position that there are many occasions when there must be a mandatory inquest on which people who are representative of the public, as jury members, can give their views as to not only the circumstances surrounding the death, but the cause of the death, and to see whether or not there can be some kind of remedial step taken by government in order to reduce that kind of fatality.
I do not think it is possible in a multicultural society for us to rely any longer upon the investigative officers, operating as they may be in very good faith, or upon the coroners to decide whether or not those inquests should be held. My view is that there must be and, if my understanding is that the minister does not wish to proceed into committee tonight, I’m hopeful that there may be an opportunity for representatives of this party to discuss with his party and representatives of the Liberal Party to discuss with his party the question of whether or not it is possible to come to some reasonable acceptance of an amendment to this provision which would have some realism in the kind of society in which we presently live. I don’t know whether that’s possible.
Every now and then, when questions of the welfare of people at the work place are before the assembly, we find a great deal of resistance in the government to any significant changes which would impose any burden on government to take any responsibility for safety at the work place. Surely, it is possible in the case of death for the government to accept the responsibility of having the kind of investigation that will make certain that we get to the cause and the root of the hazardous conditions which exist in many of the construction sites and in many other areas of industry not known to the government and not known to us here in the assembly.
I need not recount the experiences which I’ve had at inquests on deaths at construction sites when I was in the private practice of law. All I can simply say is that I was upset and concerned about the overwhelming desire to get the inquest over, to get the matter closed and to get on with one’s everyday work without any further concern about the havoc that was wrought by the particular death.
I think my colleague, the member for Dovercourt (Mr. Lupusella), has indicated to the minister in his proposed amendment that he at least wants to see an annual report where the recommendations of the various coroners’ juries across the country are published, because by that very act of publication we can be certain that the government will want to indicate those of the recommendations which they have implemented and those which they have not implemented.
Apart from crime and death on the highway, the major source of hazard to life is death in the industrial plants of the province. It is in our view that at this point in time we should be able to work intelligently in a co-operative and minority government the kind of extension of the mandatory requirement for inquest which is inherent in the amendment which the minister has introduced.
I don’t know whether that’s possible. The Tories get quite recalcitrant when one suggests to them that they don’t know all of the steps which are required in order to protect the basic establishment of the society of which they are the elected government for the purpose of protecting. I’m hoping it may be possible, and in an enlightened way, for them to say that the protection of their establishment requires them to be somewhat reasonable about the extension of the provision as set forth in the proposed amendment to section 9 of the Coroners Act.
I don’t know whether that’s possible, but I say to the minister that there is at least, in our judgement, some area in which we might possibly be prepared to negotiate with the minister and with our colleagues on the right in order to achieve a reasonable solution to the circumstances of Ontario which require that there be mandatory coroners’ inquests in the event of certain deaths on industrial, commercial, mining, construction and other sites in the province. I don’t know whether that’s possible. I don’t know whether the minister has given it any thought.
Mr. Martel: One would think the Minister of Labour would be leading the fight.
Mr. Renwick: I want to say to the minister that we in this caucus are very much concerned about the casual change in the method of the selection of the coroner’s jury. We think it is an inadequate recognition of the importance of the coroner’s jury in the province that he would introduce the proposed amendment to section 27 of the Coroners Act. That provision is so informal it almost takes you back into the last century.
It says the coroner shall direct a constable to select, from the list of names of persons provided under subsection 2 of section 28, five persons who in his opinion, that is in the opinion of the constable, are suitable to serve as jurors at an inquest and the constable shall summon them to attend the inquest at the time and the place appointed. I really don’t believe for one single moment that it can be left to a constable, singled out by the coroner, to determine the five persons who will form the jury for a coroner’s inquest. Surely the coroner’s inquest deserves the recognition, at least, of the procedures used through the sheriffs of the various judicial districts to establish juries for criminal trials in the county courts.
There must be some way in which even the minister would agree it is not sufficient for a coroner to say to Constable So-and-so, “Please go out and find five people who are on this list and they will be the jury for the purpose of investigating a death of a person in the province of Ontario.” The minister is quite aware of the major areas of concern expressed about the bill. I would hope he would seriously consider some of the representations that have been made by ourselves, by the members of the Liberal Party, about the amendment to section 9 of the Coroners Act and I would hope he would at some point make a further comment about the method of appointing the juries for coroners’ inquests in Ontario.
But my last plea is for some openness by the government about this vexed question of deaths in the industrial sites that it be considered in a broad sense to include construction and mining sites in Ontario. That is a matter about which I know the minister is upset. He was upset before dinner. He’s upset tonight about it. He’s obviously equally upset because his colleague, the Minister of Labour, has difficulty in understanding the importance of accidents and deaths at the construction sites.
Hon. B. Stephenson: You really don’t know what you are talking about. That’s specious and spurious.
Mr. Renwick: But perhaps we can get it to the government, through the Solicitor General tonight, that if the ultimate result is death, maybe the consequences are such that we should inquire into them and maybe because of some kind of back pressure, we could then become concerned about the living persons at the work sites who suffer disability of one kind or another. I appeal to the minister, because of his interest in people, to seriously concern himself about our worries about this bill in the hope that he will not withdraw the bill but that, as we say these days, in the spirit of minority government, he will meet with us and members of the Liberal Party to resolve these problems.
Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, I wish to speak very briefly on this bill, if I might, particularly in regard to the amendment. I haven’t seen the amendment but I understand it would make it mandatory that an inquest be held whenever there is a death in the work place. It may be narrower than that; I haven’t seen it.
Mr. McClellan: You know what you don’t like.
Mr. MacBeth: If that were to happen, it would make a sham of the many important inquests that are held across this province. Inquests are there to serve a purpose; they’re there to find the cause of death or to make suitable recommendations.
Mr. Renwick: It doesn’t say “cost” John.
Mr. MacBeth: When they’re there to make suitable recommendations --
Mr. Martel: But no one follows them.
Mr. MacBeth: -- and I think that is the point the member for Riverdale is trying to make -- if there can be any value and any good recommendations come forward from it, by all means, let’s have an inquest. But to have an inquest simply because a death took place on the job would make a sham of inquests. Remember that inquests cost dollars.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh.
Mr. MacBeth: Just listen. I’m not putting dollars first, but it costs thousands of dollars to have an inquest. You must supply the room for it; you must supply the coroner -- and they don’t come without some expense -- you must pay the witnesses, because it takes the time of the witnesses to be there; and you must pay the jurors.
Mr. Martel: Ten bucks a day.
Mr. MacBeth: There is expense involved, but there is also the time of the citizens involved. All the honourable members opposite are concerned about the fact that jurors are not paid the kind of fee that we would like to pay them --
Mr. Renwick: Raise their pay.
Mr. MacBeth: All right, but that’s more dollars. More important than the pay, however, is the time that it takes for the jurors to come and sit on one of these inquests.
Mr. Martel: Just try to get rid of fatalities.
Ms. Gigantes: You weren’t elected by dollars. Are you speaking on behalf of dollars?
Mr. MacBeth: If we know the cause of death -- the person may even die of a heart attack on the job; what is the purpose of having an inquest in a situation like that? If we don’t want to turn inquests into some kind of a game or a sham, we must hold them in high repute.
Ms. Gigantes: Were you elected by dollars?
Mr. Martel: Yes.
Mr. MacBeth: If we had an inquest automatically on every death, they would not serve the valuable purpose they are currently serving.
Ms. Gigantes: Were you elected by dollars?
Mr. MacBeth: Inquests today do serve a valuable purpose and, contrary to what some of the members opposite are saying, a good percentage of the recommendations that arise out of inquests are put into effect.
If we just have the inquest automatically, we’ll be causing people to come in to hear these inquests, and they will be annoyed at the system. We’re always worried about costs on these things -- not that I want to put costs above saving human lives; I certainly don’t --
Ms. Gigantes: Don’t do it then.
Mr. MacBeth: -- but, on the other hand, I don’t want to see money spent needlessly.
Mr. Martel: Talk to the 10 widows in Sudbury last year.
Mr. MacBeth: If we’re not going to accomplish anything by holding an inquest, what is the purpose in holding the inquest?
Ms. Gigantes: To change things.
Mr. MacBeth: I say, let’s make sure that there is something going to be gained before we decide to have an inquest automatically on every case.
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I want to speak very briefly to the legislation.
Mr. Stong: Hurray.
Mr. McClellan: -- I find it difficult to understand how the Tories can talk about an inquest into a fatality, for example, on a construction site as though it would be some kind of a game or some kind of a sham, to quote the member for Humber, who just spoke. I don’t understand that. My colleagues on his side don’t understand that.
Hon. B. Stephenson: That isn’t what he said.
Mr. McClellan: I represent a riding where most of the people work in construction. We have suffered very heavily from accidents and fatalities in the construction industry in this province and in this city --
Mr. MacBeth: And generally there were inquests for them too.
Ms. Gigantes: So what are you fighting?
Mr. MacBeth: I’m fighting needless inquests -- inquests that won’t accomplish anything.
Ms. Gigantes: What about the inquests --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Mackenzie: Let’s negotiate a little.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The member for Bellwoods has the floor.
Mr. McClellan: The construction industry is not a very pretty industry. There are not too many industries which operate on the basis of the pushman system, as the construction industry does in this province and in this city. The people in my riding who work in construction are subjected to the pushman --
Hon. Mr. Kerr: The what?
Mr. McClellan: The pushman, the pusher.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: The pusher?
Mr. McClellan: It’s a joke to you, perhaps, but to the guys who work in construction it’s no joke.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: No, I’m not saying it’s a joke.
Hon. B. Stephenson: He was asking a question.
Mr. McClellan: The pushman system is the institution of speedup on the construction site. Every single construction site in this city has the pushman, whose job it is to push the workers, to flog them verbally --
Hon. Mr. Kerr: To horse-whip them -- throw that in too.
Mr. Mackenzie: He didn’t say that.
Mr. McClellan: No, I didn’t say that, I said to flog them verbally, to push them by whatever means he can to work faster and faster and faster.
Mr. Sterling: I have worked on a construction site.
Mr. McClellan: The function of the pusher is institutionalized in the construction industry in this province.
Ms. Gigantes: Fear of unemployment -- do you understand that?
Mr. McClellan: The Ministry of Labour has refused to deal with the problem for years and years and years and the construction industry is as dangerous as it is in Ontario because of the institution of the pushman. We have been unable to deal with it. We have not been able to come to grips with this system.
Hon. B. Stephenson: We have the best record of any jurisdiction in North America and you know it.
Mr. Martel: So what.
Mr McClellan: The Minister of Labour once again, sotto voce, apologizes for the pushman system but, Mr. Speaker, you don’t have to run construction trades, you don’t have to run the construction industry on this system.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I’m not apologizing for anything.
Mr. McClellan: It is not a foreman system. I heard one of my colleagues from the Liberal Party say, “Is it the same as a foreman?” It’s not the same as a foreman.
Mr. Sterling: What alternatives do you have, what alternatives?
Ms. Gigantes: Norm, shame on you, shame on you. Have you seen the injured workers on those sites?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Have you? What construction site did you work on?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Martel: We could put some of you lawyers to work for a change.
Mr. McClellan: The interjections, Mr. Speaker, validate the point that was made by my colleague from Riverdale when he said the Conservatives are incapable, by virtue of their class bias, of understanding the problems of the construction workers in this province.
Mr. Sterling: You’re unrealistic.
Mr. McClellan: As you make your interjections right now, you validate what my colleague said.
Ms. Gigantes: You don’t know those people.
Mr. Martel: You’re pushing the subject.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, order. I just wanted to see whether you could remain silent for a moment or two. I would like to remind the members that we are on the Coroners Act and I would ask the member fur Bellwoods to continue in reference to the bill before the House.
Mr. McClellan: We’re talking about measures that would bring about safe working conditions in the industry in which my constituents work and if I’m not to speak to that kind of an issue, I don’t know why I’m here. I can’t think of a more important subject to raise and to speak on as forcefully as I can. Otherwise, why the hell am I here?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, order.
An hon. member: Why are you here?
Mr. McClellan: My constituents know why I’m here, if you don’t, and I think it is useful, useful in the extreme --
Mr. Sterling: Talk in real terms.
Mr. Renwick: One doctor and I don’t know what the other fellow does up there. He’s certainly not a construction worker.
Hon. B. Stephenson: When did you do construction work, Jim?
Mr. McClellan: -- to establish the principle of mandatory inquest into every single fatality in the construction industry in this province.
Any single measure, any measure at all, that will serve to focus attention on the --
Mr. Mackenzie: You’re being offensive when you’re so slow to move.
Mr. McClellan: -- tragic and chronic unsafe conditions in the construction industry in this province is useful. I would hope my colleagues in the Liberal Party will support the amendment, and I mean this very sincerely. I hope they will support the amendment to bring about a mandatory inquest in a situation of any fatality on a construction site -- indeed on any work site.
Mr. Martel: Nobody’s talking about heart attacks.
Mr. McClellan: We hope, as well, that they will support the amendment that provides for a report to the assembly on the results of the work of the coroner’s office. We should have every year a record of what’s happening in the coroner’s office and in each of the sectors of industry that he’s dealing with.
Ms. Gigantes: A decent description of death -- that’s the least you can ask.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: There is nothing decent about death.
Mr. McClellan: There is indeed nothing decent about death, as the minister said. I would think that this minister would welcome amendments that would provide for mandatory inquests. I cannot comprehend opposition to that notion, when we have in this province an industrial accident rate that stands out in the western industrial world.
Hon. B. Stephenson: You’re wrong.
Mr. McClellan: I am not wrong.
Mr Lupusella: Why are we wrong? Where did you get your statistics?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Hon. B. Stephenson: It stands out because it is lower. That’s right. Just wait until I get to the figures, because you are wrong.
Ms. Gigantes: Throw her out. Throw her out.
Mr. McClellan: The minister is unable to contain herself in her enthusiasm to oppose measures which would serve --
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, could you bring these people to order?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I’m not opposing anything. I’m trying to keep you on the straight and narrow facts and you don’t like it.
Mr. McClellan: -- to improve work safety in Ontario work places. That is her record and she can have it. She is welcome to it. I am not talking to the Minister of Labour. I have given up trying to talk to the Minister of Labour. As my colleague from Riverdale said earlier, we don’t care whether the Minister of Labour is here or not.
Hon. B. Stephenson: But he is saying he’d rather I wasn’t here.
Mr. McClellan: We would prefer in fact that she were not here, because she serves only to obfuscate debate on matters of industrial safety.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I would prefer you weren’t here either.
Mr. McClellan: She does not comprehend industrial safety. She does not understand the importance of these matters. Perhaps it is her class bias. I don’t know what the problem is. Perhaps it’s her medical bias. I just know that there’s a problem with respect to the ability of the Minister of Labour to comprehend matters of work safety.
Mr. Lupusella: You should resign as Minister of Labour.
Mr. McClellan: We’re not addressing her tonight. I’m trying to make an appeal to the Solicitor General to accept the will of the majority, to accept the reality that I was elected here by a group of people to speak from a particular perspective, which I am doing right now. My colleagues as well were sent here to express a particular point of view, which we are doing right now. If there is a majority in this House who express that point of view I’m asking that he accept it. That’s all we’re saying. It is not unreasonable. It is simply an expression of parliamentary democracy. I ask the minister simply to live with parliamentary democracy, to respect the fact --
Mr. Martel: Do like the Minister of Labour. Don’t bring it back. She respects the will of the majority.
Mr. McClellan: -- that I, as the spokesman of the constituents of Bellwoods riding, together with my colleagues, whether we are on this side of the House or on that side in whatever combination, when we are the majority our views hold.
Mr. Martel: Bring back Bill 70.
Mr. Speaker: If there are no other members wishing to participate, the Solicitor General.
Mr. Martel: The minister’s being provocative.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to mention that I may be bringing in amendments to section 13 of the bill when we are in committee. That deals with representation at inquests. At the present time, it is not necessary to have a barrister or a solicitor attend at an inquest. It is my understanding from my colleague, the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), that it is not absolutely necessary at all types of inquest to have a crown attorney attend. Many lay people, in rather simple inquests, can represent the crown. It has been done up until now, certainly, and therefore I will be considering bringing in an amendment to section 13.
Mr. Martel: Is it mandatory to have a solicitor there?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: No. That would be the amendment, that it wouldn’t be mandatory to have a solicitor there.
Mr. McClellan: You had better think that one out now, Mr. Solicitor General. Think that one out very carefully.
Mr Renwick: We can make a deal on that section.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Now I would like to deal with some of the provisions. First of all, I really should apologize to the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell). She indicated I should have made an opening statement and other members have also alluded to that particular situation. As I indicated when introducing the bill, they are basically housekeeping amendments. I realize there are some very important amendments, but they are basically outside of the provision regarding the mandatory inquests in the event of a mining accident. Most of the other sections, are, as I say, basically housekeeping amendments. I didn’t have any notice of the honourable members’ amendments to Bill 86 until this morning. Therefore, I did not have any real reason for any lengthy opening remarks.
Mr. Martel: Mailed Friday, George.
Ms. Gigantes: The mail is slow.
Mr. Lupusella: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. If I may, Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the Solicitor General that the amendments which were presented by this side of the House were introduced and were given to the government last Friday.
Mr. McClellan: Thursday.
Mr. Lupusella: I guess, if the Solicitor General wanted, he had an opportunity to look at those amendments and make opening remarks in relation to the introduction of those amendments. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, I understand the amendments were called in to my office last Friday afternoon and were typed up sometime late Friday and I had an opportunity to see them this morning.
Ms. Gigantes: Wrong again. Wrong again.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: I wasn’t in my office Friday afternoon.
Mr. Lupusella: You knew it when we dealt with the estimates of the Solicitor General.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: I was in my constituency office on Friday afternoon. There was no real reason to wait until Friday to have those amendments. You could have had them earlier than that.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The rules of the House, in fact, state categorically we should submit the amendments Friday before the bill is debated. We met with the order of the House by having them delivered by noon on Friday.
Mr. Speaker: Your honourable colleague before you had already drawn the House’s attention to that fact.
Ms. Gigantes: Why does this whining continue?
Mr. Martel: With the greatest respect, Mr. Speaker, the minister subsequently rose in his place --
Mr. McClellan: Can’t help it if he takes a five-day weekend.
Mr. Martel: -- and indicated that we had not conformed with the rules.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: I didn’t say that, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: I didn’t say that.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Lupusella: Can I rise on another point of order, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Dovercourt has already risen on a point of order.
Mr. Lupusella: It is a second point of order.
Mr. Speaker: His position with regard to the amendments is quite clear. Everybody on that side of the House has had an opportunity to speak to second reading of this bill.
Mr. McClellan: He’s got another point of order.
Mr. Speaker: The Solicitor General has the floor.
Mr. Lupusella: It’s another point of order, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, in dealing with most of the comments raised by the honourable members opposite, there is no question that section 3 of the bill and more particularly subsection 4(a) dealing with mandatory inquests in a mining accident were the sum and substance of most of the remarks. First of all, I want to say the main reason this section is in this bill is because, as the member for Riverdale has suggested, it is being transposed from the Mining Act.
Mr. Martel: They were dropping it.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: It is my understanding the Mining Act will not contain that provision. Because we feel that it is essential and, as a matter of fact, the government wants that provision to continue, this is part of the amendments to this legislation.
In dealing with the suggestion that there be mandatory inquests for all accidental deaths in all work places, as suggested by the amendment from the member for Dovercourt, I should review, as has been done to some extent, the Coroners Act in general regarding inquests. I would refer, first of all, to section 9 which has been mentioned. I will read that section.
Section 9 says: “Every person who has reason to believe that a deceased person died as a result of violence, misadventure, negligence, misconduct or malpractice; by unfair means, during pregnancy or following pregnancy in circumstances that might reasonably be attributable thereto; suddenly and unexpectedly; from disease or sickness for which he was not treated by a legally qualified medical practitioner; from any cause other than disease; or under such circumstances as may require investigation, shall immediately notify a coroner or a police officer of the facts and circumstances relating to the death, and where a police officer is notified, he shall in turn immediately notify the coroner of such facts and circumstances.”
This, therefore, would include, as I say, every accidental death involving a worker in the workplace. There would be an investigation.
Mr. Renwick: But not an inquest.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: I might also add that the member for Riverdale has mentioned there isn’t a definite or specific reference to cause. I might just refer the honourable member in this particular section to the words “the facts and circumstances relating to the death.”
In my opinion, that certainly indicates there must be an investigation as to the cause. The facts and circumstances would seem to be as close to the ascertaining of the cause of death as I can quickly think of at this time. Certainly there is no objection to including the word “cause” in that section.
Section 13 (1) is really a complementary section to section 9. It says: “Where a coroner is informed that there is in his jurisdiction the body of a person and that there is reason to believe that the person died in any circumstances mentioned in section 9, he shall issue his warrant to take possession of the body and shall view the body and make such further investigation as is required to enable him to determine whether or not an inquest is necessary.” Again, the accidental death and the death under the circumstances that I have mentioned in the legislation have to be investigated.
The honourable member mentioned section 7 of this bill as well. Again, referring to an amendment to section 17a of the act, it says: “When making a determination whether an inquest is necessary or unnecessary, the coroner shall have regard to whether the holding of an inquest would serve the public interest and, without restricting the generality of the foregoing, shall consider ... ” Then there are three subsections there as to the circumstances and the reasons under which an inquest would be held.
Section 21a of the present legislation provides that in the event the coroner decides against an inquest, there is reference to the chief coroner to review the decision and the chief coroner shall review the decision of the coroner.
There is another provision in the legislation where the minister may require that a warrant be issued for the holding of an inquest. This, again, is another --
Mr. Lupusella: May, not shall.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: That’s right. He may direct any coroner. That’s true.
Ms. Gigantes: Weasel words. Shall, shall.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: But, again, it’s another form of appeal.
Mr. Renwick: You could have total control over the process and you wouldn’t have it.
Ms. Gigantes: Weasel words.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Again, if the relative of the deceased requests, the decision of the coroner may be reconsidered. All these are provisions where --
Mr. Martel: Ah, come on George, with great pressure you’ll knuckle.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- there is an accidental death. In my opinion, Mr. Speaker, the provisions are quite exhaustive here as to when a coroner should hold an inquest.
Mr. Renwick: No, they are not.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: The honourable members opposite should have some faith in the coroners of the province and in the coroner system of this province.
Mr. Renwick: No, not when you’re talking about private industry, of deaths on private industrial sites.
Mr. Martel: Just ridiculous. Keep the faith, baby.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: When they talk about the provision that’s required, as suggested by the member for Dovercourt, they’re talking about every accidental death in the work place.
Mr. Lupusella: Right. At least that’s the only way.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Whether it’s in an insurance office, whether it’s in a store, whether it’s in a restaurant, whether it happens to be a driver on the street --
Mr. Lupusella: That’s how your government can become irresponsible about accidents.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- an automobile accident, a nurse, even a secretary of a riding office, for goodness’ sake. It could be an accidental death --
Mr. Lupusella: That’s the only way.
Ms. Gigantes: You’re an insurance agent, not a member of a government.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- regardless of the circumstances.
Mr. Martel: No, we didn’t say that
Hon. Mr. Kerr: That’s what you are saying.
Mr. Martel: No, we’re not.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Because you’re doing away with the word “cause,” or the requirements of cause in the amendment of the member for Dovercourt. You’re not requiring any cause.
Mr. Martel: No, no, he said accidental.
Ms. Gigantes: Do you think people are stupid?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: There has to be no mystery. You’re not dealing with the section of the ad where it says --
Mr. Martel: No, they will handle it themselves.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- an inquest is held to inquire into and determine who the deceased was, how the deceased came to his death, when the deceased came to his death, where the deceased came to his death --
Ms. Gigantes: Yes, yes, yes.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- and by what means the deceased came to his death.
Ms. Gigantes: Yes, yes.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Now, surely, “how” and “by what means” indicates that there has to be some cause. You have to ascertain some cause.
Mr. Martel: Most people die from a cause, George.
Ms. Gigantes: It’s an act of God, according to you.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: What the member for Dovercourt is suggesting would make it horrendous.
Mr. Martel: Passed away late in the night.
Mr. Lupusella: They are reasonable amendments.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: I’m not talking just about the cause. I would suggest that there would be an inquest in Ontario 365 days a year.
Ms. Gigantes: How many people die in Ontario every day?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: There would be a jury sitting 365 days a year.
Mr. Martel: Now, there’s a job for you, George.
Mr. Speaker: Order, order.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: There would be inquest upon inquest on the same circumstances --
Mr. Martel: I am just trying to find him a job. He can be the coroner.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- resulting from the same situation. There would be two similar acts having inquests lasting three or four days with a jury empanelled that would counsel the whole structure of an inquest. It is completely unnecessary. And I would suggest -- no, I won’t say it.
Mr. Martel: No, don’t say it, George. Quit while you’re ahead.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: I’m just saying it would be a useless expenditure of money and human resources to hold an inquest in all circumstances when they are unnecessary.
Mr. Lupusella: They are not.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Again, you have to have some faith in the coroners of this province --
Ms. Gigantes: You have some faith in people.
Mr. Lupusella: How can we have faith in this government?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- and the history of the coroner’s office in inquests. You must remember that we’re involving doctors in inquests; doctors have to be part of inquests.
Mr. Renwick: That’s what we’re worried about.
Ms. Gigantes: Holy, holy doctors.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: There are roughly 30,000 investigations now in Ontario and something between one and two per cent of those investigations result in inquests. In other words, there’s no question that most inquests are the result of industrial or construction accidents. There’s no question. Again, there are recommendations so that, hopefully, those same circumstances can be avoided and the problem won’t occur again.
Ms. Gigantes: We don’t hope. We want legislation.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: I certainly understand what the member for Riverdale is attempting to do. I realize the importance of recommendations being published, recommendations that direct some type of required act on mandatory provision should be acted upon. Certainly I would agree to any reasonable recommendation in this legislation that would require the publication of recommendations.
I don’t particularly agree with the amendment of the member for Dovercourt. He is talking about a separate annual report. The Solicitor General now has an annual report. Certainly much of the information he’s requested can be included in the Solicitor General’s annual report under the coroner’s division.
Mr. McClellan: You missed the whole point.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: The hon. member for York Centre made reference to section 11. Again we wouldn’t have any objection to a person who is charged with or acquitted of a criminal offence becoming a compellable witness after these charges have been disposed of, if there is still an inquest and that person would be a relevant and a required witness. There is no objection on our part that the section be amended to provide for that.
Another mention was of the question of a constable. I think the constable has in many respects been acting the same as a sheriff would act in empanelling criminal and civil juries. They are gathering names
Ms. Gigantes: You are scrambling. You are scrambling.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: I know that the constable also will actually choose the names of those jurors. I don’t know if there’s been any great defect in that system. I think the constable attempts to have a representative jury. There are the same number of exemptions and excuses for not serving, so we have the same difficulties in empanelling a jury.
I have no objection, for example, for a provision that says the coroner would have the final approval or the final say in who the actual jurors are at a particular inquest. But I think the process of the constable actually gathering the names, bringing the number down to a reasonable amount and then leaving the final decision to the coroner is something that could be considered. Again, because constables are not doctors, because they are not hearing a particular inquest, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have the ability to pick a representative juror.
Ms. Gigantes: Has the minister ever known anybody who has died in an accident? Has he?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Yes, many people. I know I am not the veteran that the honourable member is --
Ms. Gigantes: Did the coroner investigate?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- or walked on the seedy side of life that she has --
Ms. Gigantes: Did the coroner investigate?
Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- but I have had some experience.
Mr. Speaker: Will the member for Carleton East try to contain herself? She had an opportunity to speak to this bill on second reading and didn’t choose to do so.
Ms. Gigantes: Right, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Lupusella: How many cases were investigated? How many cases?
An hon. member: Throw her out.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: And she has been yapping ever since.
An hon. member: George, that’s unparliamentary.
Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Speaker, I have been yapping ever since because I made a mistake-
Hon. Mr. Kerr: Mr. Speaker, the member for Windsor-Sandwich suggested after our -- oh, I am sorry, he’s not here -- after our brief discussion downstairs at around 6 o’clock, that my only concern was for the cost of having an inquest in all work places. My concern was not that at all. I tried to indicate just the practicality and the necessity of having an inquest in every such case.
He suggested that the bill list the exemptions; in other words, include an all-embracing provision in the work place and then list exemptions. I would not be in favour of that method of designating when there should be a mandatory inquest. It is better, in my opinion, to list specifically when there should be a mandatory inquest.
Under the legislation now, as the honourable members know, we have mandatory inquests for any person who dies in custody as well as the provision in respect to mines. If the honourable members feel that should be expanded in some way within reason, that’s something we can consider when this legislation is in committee.
I don’t agree with the member for Sudbury East when he says that we would have dropped this provision regarding mines if there wasn’t a great outcry from the union.
Mr. Martel: Sure you would have.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: We had every intention of including that mandatory provision --
Mr. Martel: Don’t kid the troops, George.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: We had every intention of including the mandatory provision. The chief coroner would insist on it.
In a weak moment, the member for Sudbury East complimented the coroner --
Mr. Martel: Yes: He has done some good stuff.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: -- for some of the improvement in procedures in respect to fatalities in mines. I think that indicates the general attitude and feeling of the coroner’s office regarding inquests of this kind.
Mr. Martel: You fellows attempted to drop it from the Mining Act and let it disappear.
Hon. Mr. Kerr: A number of honourable members mentioned the fact that our recommendations are never adhered to. I would suggest that many of the provisions in our legislation dealing with safety, such as the Industrial Safety Act, the Construction Safety Act, the Public Hospitals Act, the Mining Act, are based on recommendations that have resulted from inquests or from recommendations directly from coroners who have investigated deaths without an inquest.
I don’t have any objections to some mandatory provision regarding the publication of recommendations, or even of implementation of some of the recommendations of jurors, particularly in respect to rather specific accidents in the construction industry, in a mine or in some industry where by the very nature of the work there is a certain amount of danger involved.
Our aim is also to prevent fatalities, not just to hold inquests.
I realize that the vehicle of the inquest goes beyond finding the cause of death and fulfilling the other provisions of the act in the case of a specific fatality. If there is a death in a mine or in an underground operation of some kind, or even in a plant or in a quarry, for example, the recommendations that may come from that jury can be all-embracing; they can be applied across the industry or in that particular type of operation and not just in a way that could have prevented that particular fatality in relation to that particular inquest.
Therefore, I’m quite susceptible to having recommendations of that nature acted upon and steps taken, as they have been in the legislation that I’ve mentioned, as a result of the coroner’s direction to various ministries in this government.
I really haven’t too much more to say. As for the member for Riverdale’s final suggestion, I’ll have to read Hansard for that, but I believe he was in some way a little more restrictive than the suggested amendment from his colleague from Dovercourt. I think he was sticking to dangerous types of occupation, and that is much more reasonable than the broad provision suggested in the amendment by the member for Dovercourt. That’s all I have to say now.
Motion agreed to.
Ordered for committee of the whole.
BUDGET DEBATE (CONTINUED)
Resumption of the adjourned debate on the amendment to the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.
Mr. Ruston: I hope to get finished this evening, even before the closing hour. I suppose with the competition from the Montreal-Boston hockey game and so forth we don’t expect to have too many listening to our remarks. However, we will have them on record anyway.
Mr. Conway: The member is not going to talk about STOL, is he?
Mr. Ruston: No, I won’t be talking about STOL. I hope to speak briefly on the budget itself, looking over the past 10 years of the operations of this government. Then, hopefully, I will branch out into some other areas of concern that I have. One will be education and where we are heading in that regard at this time.
I was looking over a budget that was presented in the first year I attended this House. That was in 1968 when Mr. Charles MacNaughton presented his budget and it is interesting to note what has gone on in the intervening 10-year period.
Mr. Conway: Where’s Charlie now?
Mr. Ruston: If you look over the budgetary expenditures of Mr. MacNaughton’s budget of 1968 he showed a total net general expenditure of $2,819 million and some odd cents. It is interesting to compare that budget with the one introduced on April 7 by this Treasurer (Mr. McKeough) with total expenditures forecast at $14,005 million.
Mr. Conway: Darcy’s gone Social Credit.
Mr. Ruston: We hear remarks about government expenditures federally and provincially, and how the federal budget has gone out of kilter since the present Prime Minister of Canada took over. On the other hand, I look at what’s happened to the Ontario budget and it seems as though the one that went out of hand in spending was the Provincial Treasurer.
Mr. Cooke: Are you defending Trudeau?
Mr. Ruston: I don’t think he needs any defending; he’ll look after himself, I’m quite sure of that. I’m just referring to how budgets have been raised in the past 10 years in all levels of government, particularly in provincial fields.
The other concern during that period is the deficit.
Mr. Sterling: Not quite $5 billion.
Mr. Ruston: We have run a deficit almost every year since the present Premier (Mr. Davis) took over. The increase in the deficit has been rather astounding. From about $200 million in 1969-70 it has risen each year.
Mr. Cooke: What’s the federal Liberals’ deficit?
Mr. Ruston: The deficit in 1970-71 was $136 million and it went up to $625 million in 1971-72, when the present Premier took over as leader of the Conservative Party of Ontario and we’ve never had anything but a deficit since then. In 1975-76 there was a $1,480 million deficit; in 1976-77, $1,229 million; and in interim 1977-78 $1,597 million.
Mr. Sterling: Absolutely amazing.
Mr. Ruston: And the proposed deficit this year in Ontario is $1.3 billion.
You can only have a deficit for so long and then something has to be done. I don’t know what the present Treasurer has been trying to do, whether he’s been trying to spend his way out of a deficit in the past 10 years, or even the last five or six years. It just doesn’t work out.
Mr. Sterling: Where would you cut?
Mr. Ruston: It seems he has either to quit spending so much or raise taxes. Those are the only two things he can do that I’m aware of. I guess it’s the same as in one’s own financial situation; if one continues to spend a great deal more than one takes in, some day somebody locks the door on you and you’re out in the road. That’s about what we should do with the Treasurer of Ontario, the way he’s run the province for the last number of years.
It’s fine for a government to have a deficit, or to “pump-prime” at certain times, depending on conditions of the province or the country at that time. If unemployment rises, then naturally it’s up to the government to do whatever it can to stimulate the economy. That’s when government should step in. But it seems like this present government has just been stepping in all the time and no one really seems to know what their plans were. I don’t think they had any concrete plans as to where they were going. They just seemed to think it was the ideal thing to continue to overspend and to run a deficit.
The problem is that we have such a large deficit now that the financing of the deficit alone is running into major proportions; and when we see restrictions of hospital care and other such items, but especially hospital and health care in general, the people get very upset. Because, after all, to most everyone health care is the most important thing in life. That’s when you need the facilities, Mr. Speaker. That’s when you need the care, when you’ve got problems with your health. Those are the items that really shouldn’t be cut back unless it’s really absolutely necessary, or unless there is mismanagement of spending.
It behooves anyone to look at the budgets of this government in the last number of years and to try to ascertain what their plans were; what they expected of it when they continued to run such a large deficit. Now we’re using over 10 per cent of our taxes to pay the interest on the debt, and this money would certainly be used in other ways to much more advantage. It concerns me a great deal, because we are putting a debt on our families and our children in the future. We look at --
Mr. Sterling: Nine thousand dollars federally.
Mr. Ruston: -- Ontario’s non-public borrowing, or the Canada Pension Plan now in 1977-78, $858 million --
Mr. G. Taylor: You’re not sitting in your seat.
Mr. Ruston: -- and the teacher’s superannuation fund of $475 million.
Mr. Cooke: What’s the federal Liberal deficit?
Mr. Ruston: I hear a little rumbling around to my left over here.
Mr. G. Taylor: Is that all it takes?
Mr. Ruston: I don’t know whether they’re rooting for the hockey team someplace or what they’re talking about. I can’t make out what they’re saying, Mr. Speaker, so you’ll pardon me if I ignore them.
Mr. Cooke: I am asking you what Trudeau’s deficit is.
Mr. Ruston: I’m sure they’re not going to add anything important to what’s going on here.
Mr. Conway: That gang have been on the public payroll since day one.
Mr. Speaker: I want to remind the honourable members that this isn’t the question period.
Mr. Ruston: That’s right. They have been and that’s all they ever expect to be. I guess they think money grows on trees and they can just pick it off and pass it out to their friends.
Mr. Cooke: The federal Liberals think it grows on trees.
Mr. Ruston: It’s interesting to look at some of the expenditures of different departments over the past number of years. I was just noticing that the Education budget in 1968 was $850 million. Now in this present year we’re over the $2 billion mark; education is around the $2 billion mark. It shows the increases since this present Premier took over. He was previously the Minister of Education.
We would like to talk, if we could, in regard to OHIP and the problems we are having now with the doctors claiming they are being mistreated. I saw an article in the paper the other day about a number of them who hadn’t received their cheques. Somebody had said they’d mailed them out in brown envelopes, and they think the post office department put them in third class mail. Now they are late getting their cheques.
Mr. Makarchuk: I have the same problem with welfare recipients.
Mr Ruston: What concerns me is we have three doctors in my own area who have opted out. They are in the clinic in the La Salle area and they have opted out of OHIP.
Mr. Cooke: I raised that in question period.
Mr. Ruston: Yes, I heard that, but the member doesn’t know everything that is going on.
There are some problems there. There is another clinic that has opened up in a nearby area as well. In this particular one, I think what bothers me about the OHIP payments is general practitioners and the rate to which they have been held. If we look back over the period of the last 10 years, and I know in 1968-69 we still operated medicare under different private plans, Windsor Medical and, in our own county, the Essex County Medico-operative. We were paying, at that time, around $5 for an office visit. Most of the time we paid the full medical association rate. Sometimes we paid 90 per cent and other times we paid 100 per cent, depending on the financial position of the co-op. but it was around $5 an office visit. Now, up until this month the government was paying $7.20.
Well, Mr. Speaker, if you look at what the increase in income has been over the past 10 years it seems to me to be very unfair. I think when they are putting these rates up and negotiating the rates with the doctors it is most unfair to take a flat rate of six or seven per cent and raise it across the board. If it’s an operation costing $200, at least you get $12 or $14 more, but six per cent of a $7 office visit is pretty small. I think the general practitioners have a good case when they say they have been kept down and they would be able to give better care if they could get a little more for general practice.
There are a number of items we think should be mentioned here. Of concern, and I’m sure it is a concern of everybody now in Ontario -- mostly in Ontario -- is the auto pact. It is interesting, Mr. Speaker, to read the comments in all the news media, and so forth. Everyone is an expert on the auto pact. You hear reports. The Treasurer, of course, had a report brought out not too long ago by officials of the Ontario government. There are discussions as to whether it is very accurate. I think it might be a good idea if we read into the record, the actual auto pact, the agreement. I know a lot of people talk about it and many have never actually seen it in print. Of course, it’s available. There is a very small two-page article here, Mr. Speaker, and I’m going to read it into the record and maybe discuss afterwards how it can be negotiated and so on.
This is an Agreement Concerning Automotive Products Between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America.
“The government of Canada and the government of the United States of America, determined to strengthen the economic relations between our two countries, recognizing that this can best be achieved through the stimulation of economic growth and through the expansion of markets available to producers in both countries within the framework of the established policy of both countries of promoting multilateral trade;
“Recognizing that an expansion of trade can best be achieved through the reduction or elimination of tariff and all other barriers to trade operating to impede or distort the full and efficient development of each county’s trade and industrial potential;
“Recognizing the important place that the automotive industry occupies in the industrial economy of the two countries and the interests of industry, labour and consumer in sustaining high levels of efficient production and continued growth in the automotive industry, agree as follows:
“Article 1: The governments of Canada and the United States, pursuant to the above principles, shall seek the early achievement of the following objectives:
“(a) The creation of a broader market for automotive products within which the full benefits of specialization and large-scale production can be achieved;
“(b) The liberalization of the United States and Canadian automotive trade in respect of tariff barriers and other factors tending to impede it, with a view to enabling the industries of both countries to participate on a fair and equitable basis in the expanding total market of the two countries;
“(c) The development of conditions in which market forces may operate effectively to obtain the most economic pattern of investment, production and trade,
“It shall be the policy of each government to avoid actions which would frustrate the achievement of these objectives.
“Article 2(a): The government of Canada, not later than the entry into force of the legislation contemplated in paragraph (b) of this article, shall accord duty-free treatment to imports of the products of the United States described in Annex A.
“(b) The government of the United States, during the session of the United States Congress commencing on January 4, 1965, shall seek enactment of legislation authorizing duty-free treatment of imports of the products of Canada described in Annex B. In seeking such legislation. the government of the United States shall also seek authority permitting the implementation of such duty-free treatment retroactively to the earliest date administratively possible following the date upon which the government of Canada has accorded duty-free treatment. Promptly after the entry into force of such legislation the government of the United States shall accord duty-free treatment to the products of Canada described in Annex B.
“Article 3: The commitments made by the two governments in this agreement shall not preclude action by either government consistent with its obligations under Part II of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.
“Article 4(a): At any time, at the request of either government, the two governments shall consult with respect to any matter relating to this agreement.
“(b) Without limiting the foregoing, the two governments shall at the request of either government, consult with respect to any problems which may arise concerning automotive producers in the United States which do not at present have facilities in Canada for the manufacture of motor vehicles, and with respect to the implications for the operation of this agreement of new automotive producers becoming established in Canada.
“(c) No later than January 1, 1968, the two governments shall jointly undertake a comprehensive review of the progress made towards achieving the objectives set forth in Article 1. During this review the governments shall consider any such further steps as may be necessary or desirable for the full achievement of these objectives.
“Article 5: Access to the Canadian and United States markets provided for under this agreement may by agreement be accorded on similar terms to other countries.
“Article 6: This agreement shall enter into force provisionally on the date of signature and definitively on the date upon which notes are exchanged between the two governments giving notice that appropriate action in their respective legislatures has been completed.
“Article 7: This agreement shall be of unlimited duration. Each government shall, however, have the right to terminate this agreement 12 months from the date on which that government gives written notice to the other government of its intention to terminate the agreement.”
This was done in duplicate at Johnson City, Texas on January 16, 1965, in English and in French, the two texts being equally authentic. In witness whereof the representatives of the two governments have signed this agreement. For the government of Canada, Lester B. Pearson and Paul Martin; for the government of the United States of America, Lyndon B. Johnson and Dean Rusk.
That’s a statement of the auto pact as it is. One of the interesting parts of it is in article 1 which says: “It shall be the policy of each government to avoid action which would frustrate the achievement of these objectives.”
Mr. B. Newman: Repeat that. That was good.
Mr. Ruston: The objectives that I could see is that each country will, at all times, try to produce their fair share of the total production of automobiles.
I’m wondering if some of the things we read about that are being tried or attempted to be done in the United States -- I was reading just recently about a place in Ohio where they were offering tax-free land for a large plant for the Ford Motor Company. I’m wondering if that could be classified as being a policy that may infringe on the rights of Canada to compete. What concerns me is if one starts that then we’ll both have to start it. That could be a very serious situation.
I suppose I could go back and think of one of the tire manufacturing companies that started in New Brunswick -- I believe it was Michelin. It got a large grant from the federal government to build a plant in the eastern provinces. At that time, you may recall, the United States was complaining. If I recall correctly they did put a special import duty on tires coming from that plant. They felt it was unfair competition because the government was subsidizing the plant. That may be, in effect, a part of what we could be facing now.
Article 4(a) says: “At any time, at the request of either government, the two governments shall consult with respect to any matter relating to this agreement.”
They certainly can consult at any time with regard to it, but it does take a year’s notice that they intend to cancel it. I think we’ve got to be very careful. Things in the United States may be changed somewhat right now. We have at this time a Democratic president in Mr. Carter. Of course, at the time it was signed by Mr. Johnson, who was also a Democratic president. But there is a little different circumstance now in that Mr. Carter has tied -- I guess, other people have tied their strings to Mr. Carter, I’m not sure which way it goes. The former head of the UAW and the mayor of Detroit, which is the automobile centre of the United States, have been very strong supporters of Mr. Carter. I’m sure they’re going to have their input as to any changes in the auto pact or exert pressure to have industry expand in the United States, especially in Michigan if at all possible. We’re having some of that right now in Michigan. Governor Milliken went to Washington to try to get some funds to help Chrysler expand in Michigan. That’s something that concerns many people.
In auto production in Canada it’s interesting to see over the years some of the comparisons of what we have. I was just looking over a statement I had made up from some statistics which I read in the magazines and newspapers. In 1965, General Motors produced 351,303 cars in Canada and 68,420 trucks for a total of 419,723 vehicles. In 1972, they produced 406,186 cars and 104,705 trucks for a total of 510,891 vehicles. In 1977, they produced 522,279 cars and 351,256 trucks for a total of 873,535 vehicles. From 1965 to 1977, there was an increase from 419,723 to 873,535.
The Ford Motor Company of Canada in 1965 produced 153,323 cars and 43,792 trucks for a total of 190,379. In 1972, which happened to be a record production year -- these are just years I picked out and then found later that this was a record production year for Ford -- they produced 460,435 cars and 174,031 trucks for a total of 634,466 units. Then, in 1977, they produced 376,785 cars and 212,582 trucks for a total of 589,367, which is down some from 1972, but which is about 400,000 more than they made in 1965.
Mr. Haggerty: It sounds like a good deal.
Mr. Ruston: In 1965, we had a deficit in auto trading with the United States of 500 million. The statement we see in the papers is that we had a trading deficit last year. It depends on who says it but it runs all the way from $1 billion to $1½ billion. That has a lot to do with auto parts themselves, which is one of our problems. I hope to have a little bit to say about what we should be doing with regard to getting into parts manufacturing in a stronger way in Ontario.
Mr. Cooke: What are the federal Liberals doing on that?
Mr. Ruston: We have some employee figures here. For instance, Chrysler Canada in 1963 had 5,000 employees and in 1965 they had 6,200. In 1971, the number had doubled to 13,500, and in 1972 it went up to 14,300. Now they have 16,000 employees. That’s an increase of almost 10,000 employees in Chrysler Canada since 1965.
Mr. Haggerty: Just Chrysler?
Mr. Ruston: Yes. In 1972 General Motors had 26,600 employees in Canada and in 1978 they have 37,368, which is an increase of almost 11,000. During that same time, from the figures I have, employment in the United States in General Motors increased about 10 per cent.
I must say it is a little difficult at times getting all the figures to match. There have been many reports about this auto pact. There’s even some doubt as to the one that the Treasurer has had made up lately by his officials. Some claim that what they are really saying there is that we are short of parts, but when they were assessing their total imports and exports, there are some who claim that that report included parts imported from offshore and not just the United States.
I was talking to somebody in the parts business one day who was telling me about the Pinto car made in St. Thomas. An interesting thing is that the radiator was made in Mexico, the motor was made in Brazil, the transmission was made in Germany and the skin or the body itself was made in the US. We’re assemblers and --
Mr. B. Newman: They should call it a Heinz.
Mr. Ruston: Heinz 57 variety, my colleague from Windsor-Walkerville says.
That’s world trade, of course. That’s part of something that we have to live with to some extent. We’re a trading country and, heaven help us, we don’t want a wall around Canada. I’m sure you’re aware, Mr. Speaker, that there would be many things we would have to do without if we didn’t have world trade, and I’m sure we all expect to carry that on to some extent.
The example I have cited gives an idea, when we’re assessing what goes into a car, where the parts are deficient in our agreement. If they were figuring in those parts when they come in from the United States, all imports coming in, if they came in from offshore countries then it’s not a very fair assessment to say that we’re that deficient in parts if that was put in that latest report commissioned by the Treasurer.
If we look back to 1974 or 1975, when auto production was down all over Canada and the United States, part of it was caused by the OPEC countries raising the price of oil so much. In 1974 or 1975 there were places in the United States where cars were lined up for gas and many stations were out of gas. The automobile industry took a downturn.
In 1975, of course, Canada was affected a great deal, and that’s when our Treasurer took the sales tax off cars to try to stimulate the economy or to try to stimulate the automobile business. It did help somewhat in Ontario. But the problem is that when we have an auto pact with another country as large as the United States, a small downturn there can really affect us a great deal, because we are dependent on the cars that we make here being sold in the United States.
If we look at the total number of cars -- I was looking at some statistics the other day, and I’ve looked at so many statistics that I’m not sure about the old adage that figures don’t lie but liars can figure -- the total number of cars manufactured in Canada in 1977 was 1.7 million, while the total sold in Canada was 1,136,000, which means 564,000 more cars were made in Canada than were sold in Canada.
About 2,500 are employed at the new Chrysler van plant on Pillette Road in Windsor and I’ve heard some say that from 80 per cent to 90 per cent of all the parts going into those vans are imported. Again, that shows we’re not really into the parts business as much as we should be.
What we probably should be doing, I think, is having both levels of government -- the federal government definitely is going to have to get involved -- involved with the auto manufacturers association or any new entrepreneur, wherever he may come from, who can manufacture parts in Canada. We should be looking at some of the parts manufacturing that takes high intensive energy, because we have a fair amount of energy in Ontario and Canada. We should be looking at that.
We should also be looking at new plastics. The new automobiles are lighter in weight because in the United States by 1985 their gas consumption must average 25 miles a gallon; so the cars are smaller. We should also be looking at manufacturing aluminum parts because that’s another thing that’s going to be used a lot more in cars because of the weight.
We do hear rumours that General Motors may be planning a large plant in Quebec, apparently to make aluminum parts for their new models coming out in the next few years. That would certainly be a shot in the arm if something like that were to come into the country.
I think we have to put pressure on the government of the United States. I understand that is being done. We also have to keep in contact with the automobile industry itself, the four large companies, to see that we get a fair share. In most cases we have been doing pretty well. I would certainly not want to cancel the auto pact at this time. I think that would be foolhardy, I just don’t think that that’s the way we have to go. It can be made into or continue to be a good thing. There are going to be times when the United States economy turns down, that it’s going to affect us. After all, they are the ones that are using 90 per cent of the automobiles manufactured in the two countries.
This is something that has to be watched continually but we have to be careful that we don’t, as the fellow says, throw the baby out with the bath water by someone saying we should really go shake the auto pact. We can discuss it, but I don’t think we should go with the intention of drawing up a new one. I don’t think we could do much better as far as that part goes except in the parts business. We have to put our main concern in the parts business and we should spend some time trying to find new companies or new industries that would go into the parts business in Canada.
The time is moving along. I could probably talk a little longer on that as it is an important item in our area. I know that Windsor is diversified somewhat more than it was. I can recall when the Ford Motor Company moved out to Oakville and we thought it was the end of the world. However, it was pretty tough for a number of years but Chrysler took over some of the slack. The auto pact came in and gave us a chance to really build up.
When I say we have to get into more parts and so forth, I am not saying it should be in Essex North or in the city of Windsor or whatever it might be. I don’t want Essex county built over with asphalt and cement. I know we have some of the best farming land in Ontario. It’s not only the land but the heat units that count, though it hasn’t been very warm this year so far. However, I am sure that nature will take care of that in time. I think any place in Ontario would benefit us all wherever it might be.
Naturally, we like to see improvements in our own area but, on the other hand, we also have to look at the total country as well. If the people are working in some other province or in some other part of Ontario making these auto parts, then that’s going to give them the money to buy whatever we make in Windsor and Essex county. That takes care of that and everybody is happy.
I’m a little concerned about another matter where we’ve had some problems in our area in the last few months. We had one teachers’ strike that went on for seven weeks in the Essex County Separate School Board and we now have Essex county secondary school teachers on strike. That really is one of the things that concerns me a great deal. I just wonder where we are going with our education today. We read some startling things that are going on in our neighbouring country, the United States.
I was looking at the Detroit News this weekend. On May 21 there was an article headed, “Taxpayer Revolt Trims Bay City Schools.” That article is really frightening. They have mill rates over there to vote on and they were turned clown. Here’s a city of about 50,000 people where their schools are practically closed and the cost of operations keeps going up. They had to have a vote to get a higher mill rate to pay the costs and they were turned down by the public.
Heaven help us, we don’t want that over here. But I think there’s a feeling among people in general that our education system has got out of hand financially. Enrolment is going down and everyone, I’m sure, is trying to keep the taxes within a reasonable amount, but we just don’t know where we’re heading.
I was looking through the public accounts and comparing the number of people in the Ministry of Education who are working in the main office here. In 1970-71 there were 678 who made over $20,000 a year. On March 31, 1975, there were 486 making over $25,000 a year. Then in March 1977 there were 538. Of course, that has to do with the increase in wages and so forth over that time, but there was still 538.
When the Premier was Minister of Education, he brought in a bill to consolidate school districts in Ontario and these school districts would have the operation of all their schools and they would pretty well run their own show. They wouldn’t really need all these officials in Toronto hustling down every week or two, checking with the teachers and checking with the students to see how they’re doing and if they’re teaching properly and all this. Our understanding was that this would be taken care of locally and we wouldn’t need this massive bureaucratic system here in Toronto. But it just doesn’t seem to have turned out that way.
I was looking to compare our system here with some places in the United States, and I know that their system isn’t perfect by any means, but we must compare it. After all, it concerns government and taxation, and people are interested. I was looking at the director of education for the city of Washington, who has 10,000 employees under his jurisdiction -- 7,000 teachers and 3,000 other employees. He receives $40,000 a year. The directors of education for most of the boards of education that I can find in Ontario have salaries that run anywhere from $45,000 to $55,000, and the total staffs they have jurisdiction over run anywhere from 600 to up to 2,000.
I don’t know why it is that we feel that we have to be a higher level of income than a similar responsibility in the United States. The United States is supposed to be one of the richest countries in the world, and it concerns me a little when I see figures like that. Here again, that was brought in under the Ministry of Education and the present Premier was the one who set up the guidelines. He decided that each board must be headed by a director and must have a superintendent and then must have an assistant superintendent. I think in our own area we have a director, a superintendent and four assistant superintendents. I’m not sure where it goes from there.
But in our strike situation with the Essex county secondary school teachers we have a different situation. The school board has asked to go to final offer selection or a voluntary binding arbitration, but the teachers refuse. In the previous strike at the Essex county separate school boards, the teachers wanted to go to voluntary binding arbitration, and the board refused. From what I can gather from the previous areas of Wentworth, Pembroke or Renfrew and other areas, the teachers always wanted to go to the arbitration and the boards did not. But Essex county, for some reasons or other, is just the opposite.
I don’t know why. I talked to the Minister of Education (Mr. Wells) the other day, since he had sent letters to the boards asking them to settle their strike situations even if they went to arbitration. I said he should send a letter to the teachers’ federation in our area asking them to go to arbitration and get the children back to school so they won’t be losing any of their year. I said it certainly was a shame if at this time, when there is only five weeks left, they should be out of school.
There was a notice in the Windsor Star of May 19 which said the Essex county Board of Education’s negotiations with the secondary teachers have left only monetary issues unresolved. The board here gives the detail of the breakdown of the salaries and so forth. I haven’t got other boards of education to compare them to but effective January 1, 1977, teachers would run from a minimum of $12,355 to a maximum of $25,080. Vice-principals would run from $28,300 to $30,700 and principals $34,800.
Effective January 1, 1978, teachers would receive, to begin with, $13,096 up to $26,585. Then effective January 1, 1979, teachers would get $13,100 to a maximum of $27,500. Effective September 1, 1979, teachers would receive $13,620 to $28,600, plus employee benefits -- OHIP all paid; semi-private hospital; dental plan; 75 per cent paid for the drug plan; and life insurance, three times the salary. Positions of responsibility -- 25 per cent of all teachers receive an allowance in addition to salary as follows: $1,000 to $2,400, and then retroactive salary from $400 to $1,800, then allowance for extra degrees.
As I say, Mr. Speaker, I don’t have the figures from other areas. I am wondering if maybe at some time we are going to have to look at the matter of province-wide negotiations. Not many people in this House may agree to that, but I think it is something we are going to have to look at. It would mean that the contracts would begin on September 1 and they would be for all of Ontario.
Someone said you might have all of the schools closed. Well, maybe we would. But you know, Mr. Speaker, at least we would have a handle on it and when it was settled then everybody would be set then for the next year or two and we wouldn’t have to be worrying about this continual problem. That is something I think we are going to have to look at.
Another thing I am concerned about is that when they are giving increases they continue percentage wise across the board. I don’t think that’s the fairest way. I think there’s got to be a better way. I think the lower ones should get a higher percentage. That always has concerned me with percentage increases.
It’s getting near closing time and rather than continue on another day I might just touch on one more thing. I could talk about a number of things, but I have on the order paper, as you might be aware, Mr. Speaker, a motion that the Legislature petition the government of Canada to have a referendum on capital punishment. I think that that is something that the people of Canada have been denied. I think it’s a very personal thing. A person votes his own conscience on it and I don’t begrudge anyone doing that.
In our own area the federal member, Mr. Whelan, has voted against capital punishment and I respect him for that. That’s his opinion. But I think that something as serious as this should be left up to the conscience of the people of Canada to decide.
I noticed in the Toronto Star on May 11 that a former mayor of Toronto, Allan Lamport, wrote a letter. I don’t have time to read it, Mr. Speaker, but it’s a very good letter. He says that should be the route we should go because right now the leaders of all three parties in Ottawa are against capital punishment and I think 95 per cent of all the newspapers in Canada are too. So we are going to have a very difficult time putting it in unless we have a referendum. If the referendum is a very decisive referendum then I think it should be up to the government of Canada to instigate it and leave it up to the conscience of the people of Canada and not just to the conscience of each of 265 members in the Parliament of Canada.
Well, Mr. Speaker, it is closing time so I will quit at that. Thank you.
Mr. Speaker: Anyone care to adjourn the debate?
On motion by Mr. Cooke, the debate was adjourned.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: Mr. Speaker, the standing committee on resources development has passed a motion asking the House to give them permission to hire legal counsel. I would ask at this time to have the unanimous consent of the House to revert to motions.
Mr. Speaker: Do we have unanimous consent?
STANDING RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
Hon. Mr. Maeck, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Welch, moved that the standing committee on resources development be authorized to engage counsel for its study of the annual report of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food at charges approved by the Board of Internal Economy.
Motion agreed to.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Maeck, the House adjourned at 10:30 p.m.