The House resumed at 8 p.m.
LIQUOR LICENCE AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Grossman moved second reading of Bill 96, An Act to amend the Liquor Licence Act, 1975.
Mr. Breithaupt: The only real principle with respect to this bill is the increase which is proposed in the drinking age within Ontario. I must say at the outset it is my personal view that all responsibility should be at the age of 18. That, I believe, is the age of majority for our young people, and I believe the results of that majority should be secured for all of the young people of the province.
If actions are taken by 18-year-olds for contract or for marriage, then of course they are personally responsible; military service, as we know, can occur, and certainly the right to vote as an adult, and indeed to represent their fellow citizens, flows from the fact of their majority.
Indeed, I would prefer that even the driving age be set at 18 unless there was a proper course of instruction taken by the 16- or 17-year-old in our society. In my opinion, as a result, the change which is proposed by this legislation is only a cosmetic solution. Those who want to think that this move will benefit our society will of course be allowed to do so; and they will do so, however, without ever knowing if proper enforcement of the present law at 18 would have worked.
A majority of members of this House, including a majority of the members of my caucus, favoured the private bill which was introduced by the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini). As a result, I expect --
Mr. B. Newman: The Mancini bill?
Mr. Breithaupt: -- that this bill, particularly this section, will be approved probably by a voice vote --
Mr. B. Newman: It’s a good thing he gave you fellows the idea.
Mr. Eakins: A fine bill by a fine member.
Mr. Breithaupt: If a recorded vote is taken, I announce now that I will abide by the decision of my caucus. As the critic responsible for this legislation, I intend to stand in my place and follow the views of my colleagues and vote for the bill. I will not be absent.
There was one area of added concern with respect to the effective date of increasing the age to 19. The bill had suggested August 31 and the minister by his announcement today has finally become aware of what a number of us were concerned about for some time; that is, that the education classes’ structure included those students born before December 31 of a year in the class beginning in September of that school year.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Why didn’t you tell me earlier?
Mr. Breithaupt: In order to avoid the division within the peer group of that class I was going to ask the minister to consider the necessary amendment. His statement in the House this afternoon is welcomed and we look forward to the placing of that amendment when the bill goes to the committee stage.
I am interested in the change which is proposed with respect to possession except at a residence of licensed premises unless the liquor is in a closed container and not subject to public view. This, I understand, will stop a person from walking along the street or being in a public place with a glass of wine in hand or a part bottle of beer. While it was earlier illegal to drink such a beverage in public it was not illegal to carry it about
I suppose there will be a number of arrests in the parks of Toronto as a result of this change. These may well result from a confrontation with a group of those who may be down on their luck and be busy sharing a bottle of Niagara’s finest in full view of a passing constable.
But what about the events on Centre Island this summer? There will be many new Canadians and many not so new who would like to take a bottle or two of wine along with their lunch. Will they now be arrested?
More important, will this new legislation strike at the heart of Ontario’s summer culture -- the elegant and chic picnics at Stratford on opening night? Are the constabulary of that city going to patrol the banks of the Avon like the chorus from the Pirates of Penzance? Will they be softly humming “a policeman’s lot is not a happy one” as they admonish those who come to see and those who come to be seen?
The lobster du jour and the shrimp quiche will have to be choked down with Kool Aid, I suppose. Perhaps even Veal Oscar, who knows? This will, apparently, resolve the moral peril which may result from such a flouting of convention under the new laws which are proposed.
Of course, we may well now have a law for the brown paper bag set and another for the checked tablecloth gang. However, I expect that the enforcement of this law will likely be as equal as the statement that both the rich and the poor are forbidden to sleep in the parks. Of course, for some, the problem doesn’t arise.
The wWho card remains with us, at least temporarily. I would expect that when a person’s driver’s licence has a photo on it, then these provisions will likely be done away with. Then, the Who card will join the mythology of current Ontario history, along with Stan Randall’s hippopotamus and Bill Shatner’s view that, “By golly, the price is right.”
The other sections of the bill are only housekeeping. There are those who would say that the changes in section 7 are important because licence suspension is now provided where a person under 19 is served. Of course, I don’t believe that any of the other earlier provisions have ever really been enforced when the drinking age was 18, so I don’t have any great expectation of reform here, either by fear or by example.
The bill then turns from the picnic situation to the stadium crowd. The summer’s evening is replaced by the crisp autumn colour and the long lines of police now relieved from their earlier duties are busy frisking the thousands lined up for an Argo game. This appears to be a way out from the plague of unemployment because we’re going to be able to hire half the population to search the other half.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Which half do you want to be in?
Mr. Breithaupt: I don’t really look forward to the turmoil which is about to be created because I think this may be somewhat a bit of overreaction. However, it may stop the obvious abuse of the person carrying in a case or two. I don’t think it will have very much other concern.
It has always been thought that a publican has had a right to discipline the unruly in order to protect his better-behaved guests and more-valued clientele. Indeed, a symbol of Ontario’s probity has always been the fly- specked sign in a pub which said the management reserved the right to refuse service to anyone. That sign, of course, was usually beside one, hand-lettered, which read: “You must be 21 and prove it.” Latterly, of course, that “21” has been struck out and “18” has been scrawled on, usually with chalk from the dartboard. Now, I guess, “19” is going to replace that.
It now appears that some legislative sanction needs to be given to allow the removal of an undesirable from one of our many problem situations; and certainly, in order to keep a balance in our fragile society, the undesirable must stay out for the whole day. In this chamber, of course, Mr. Speaker can call upon the Sergeant at Arms to enforce our rule 17. However, the pubs of downtown Toronto will have to rely on their bouncers’ remembering to cite section 47(4)(b) as they chuck some undesirable out the front door. I only hope that there will at least be the poetic justice in our province that perhaps the member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Sargent) will be the first to enforce this new rule in his location, since he’s an expert on our rules.
The bill is otherwise housekeeping, besides the matter of the liquor age. I know it’s a matter of some concern to a large number of the members of the House, and I respect them for their opinion, even though I may not personally agree with it. In any event, the opposition caucus, my colleagues in the Liberal Party, will support the bill in principle.
Mr. Samis: That’ll never wash in Pembroke.
Mr. Conway: That was a temperate address.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Mr. Speaker, in my mind there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever as to what the results of the vote will be when we do complete the debate on this Bill 96. This bill, upon conclusion of debate, will be approved in principle by the Legislature.
I also believe that no member of this Legislature will change his or her opinion or vote as a result of the debate this evening. I say that because on November 10, 1977, after a long debate both inside and outside of the House, the members of the Legislature had a chance to make their feelings known on this issue, free of caucus discipline, and a substantial majority of the members of this House did indeed support the Man- cmi bill, the private member’s bill that would have done the same thing as the basic principle of this bill does.
Since November 10, 1977, in my estimation there has been no significant change in the factors that led the members to take the positions they did in 1977; so I can’t see tonight’s debate ending in a different result from the result of November 1977.
Therefore, while I speak in opposition to the passage of Bill 96, it is not my intention to do so in an attempt to persuade my fellow members of the Legislature to change their opinion and to vote against this government legislation.
By and large, I accept the results of November 1977 as a most accurate assessment of the opinion of the members of the Legislature and perhaps a more accurate assessment than we would find if party strictures and caucus rules were to prevail, as they might in any vote on a piece of government legislation.
I don’t intend this evening, as we often try to do, to speak on behalf of the members of my constituency. Frankly, I believe my constituents, like the constituents of most of us in this House, would not only favour raising the drinking age from 18 to 19, but would also overwhelmingly support raising the drinking age to 21. This evening I simply want to express my own feelings and opinions on this matter and to offer what I think are some reasonable warnings about real problems to my fellow members of the Legislature.
If I may be permitted, I would simply like to speak to the young people of the province so that they would know, as a matter of record, that it is not the unanimous intention of the Legislature to raise the drinking age to 19. When I speak to the young of the province, it is not my intention to criticize members of the Legislature who hold a different view from my own on this matter because I realize and accept that on this issue they hold their opinions with the same deeply and morally felt view as I do.
If I may be allowed, my expression would simply be one of faith, an article of faith in our young people in this province of Ontario. I would trust that members of the Legislature would accept my remarks that I make in that sense.
There have been many points made in the debate -- perhaps not this evening --
Mr. T. P. Reid: Does the member for High Park-Swansea (Mr. Ziemba) agree with this speech?
Mr. M. N. Davison: I think the leader and only member of the Liberal-Labour Party of Ontario has been around the Legislature long enough that he learned how to read votes. He could quite well go back to November 10, 1977, and find out how the member for High Park-Swansea voted on that occasion.
Mr. Conway: He’ll have Sheila Copps-Miller in his caucus soon.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Yes, well she will have to run in a riding other than Hamilton Centre if she intends to get elected.
Mr. T. P. Reid: For someone who won by only 15 or 14 votes, you are awfully cocky.
Mr. Conway: Let the record show that.
An hon. member: If there had been one more recount, he’d be in trouble.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: He’ll probably double it next time.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Why don’t you hold your smart aleck remarks for a more appropriate occasion?
There have been many points made on the debate on this issue both in the Legislature and outside of the Legislature. They are strong points, they are reasonable points and they are sensible points for raising the legal drinking age. This evening I would like to enumerate a few of them and offer what I would consider to be counter-arguments to them. I would raise them in no particular order of importance.
A lot of people in this debate have cited the fact that our sister province of Saskatchewan in 1976, when in a similar position to the one we face today in Ontario, decided to raise their legal age from 18 to 19. That’s a game that is not won on one side alone because a year later in 1977, Prince Edward Island, when faced with the same choice in their province choose to keep the drinking age at 18.
The point has been made and made well that 97.8 per cent of the students in high schools in Ontario are 18 or under. Therefore, when we increase the drinking age to 19, we will remove alcohol from the high schools. That’s a point and that’s a statistic that is not arguable -- except to say that is only true in September of the school year. By June the figure is in the low 90s, not 97.8 per cent, and perhaps not so overwhelming.
It has been suggested that if we really want to remove it from the high schools what we should do is raise the drinking age to 21, or at least to the age of 20 as was suggested by a member of the Conservative caucus, the member for Middlesex (Mr. Eaton) when he brought in a private member’s bill last year. I suspect that that would be the only way we would meet the desire to remove it completely from high schools in the public and technical sense of the phrase.
Perhaps a better way to go about removing alcohol from high schools, if that was the intent, would be to remove grade 13, a grade that is not found by everyone in the province, to be the most useful part of our education system and not a grade that we find in most other provinces in the country.
There is a lot of argument that underage drinking is a result of peer pressure. Somehow that is all connected to some kids in the high schools being able to drink and bringing it into the high schools. Therefore, these underage kids are going into the bars and boozing it up, and that is all very bad. That is probably all very true, but the way to end that problem is not by raising the legal drinking age to 19, but rather by enforcing the laws we now have.
The law is very clear. The law is very specific and if it is enforced rigorously and vigorously, then we won’t have that problem to face. It is perhaps only because of our failure to enforce the law that we have come to the point we are at tonight.
There has been a complaint made that overconsumption leads to violence and that it is particularly prominent among young kids who overconsume. Again, it is probably true, or it is perhaps true, but raising the drinking age won’t change those facts. What we should have done, and what we could still do, is better teach or better educate our young as to how to handle alcohol.
The point has been made that high school students are coming into class drunk and that is disrupting the education system. On the other hand, perhaps it says something about the education system in Ontario that a significant minority of our young people feel they have to go out and booze it up to make it through the day’s classes.
Mr. Conway: Well, their job prospects are so tremendous.
Mr. M. N. Davidson: Really, when you come down to it, that sort of problem in the education system is something for the teachers to address and something for the education system to address, and not something for the Legislature to address by raising the drinking age. That is not a real solution to what may be real problems.
I guess the most important argument, and certainly the argument to which I would give the most credence, put forward by those who would see the drinking age raised, is in relation of the number of alcohol-related accidents. It is pointed out in studies such as this Legislature’s select committee on highway safety and the Jones report that alcohol-related traffic accidents are the biggest single killer of people under the age of 25. That point of view is held and based on statistics.
Frankly, Mr. Speaker, I believe those statistics are open to various interpretations. One interpretation I could see people having of those statistics is our young people don’t drive very well. It would seem to me those statistics could as well represent the critique of our driver education system as they could relate to the problem of young people drinking alcohol.
I don’t mean to raise this report as a counter argument specifically to the highway safety committee report, whose chairman is sitting beside me, or to the Jones report, but there is another report which holds a different view on the same issue. The Traffic Injury Research Foundation’s report found and held that lowering the drinking age had no discernible impact in traffic death among young drivers in the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.
There are other arguments put forward by proponents of raising the drinking age, which are also real arguments and which are also sensitive and sensible arguments. I am sure I haven’t canvassed them all or canvassed them all thoroughly this evening, but the point I wanted to make is that while they are real arguments, and while they are serious arguments, the one thing I can definitely say about them is they are all debatable. It’s a question, in many cases, of degree. They’re not arguments to which there is only one side that members of the Legislature could subscribe to. I think that’s worth remembering.
Statistics are often used in this issue. In some cases, it becomes a battle of statistics. I don’t mean to engage in such a battle, but there is one statistic that always got through to me on this issue. It comes from the often-quoted and often-referred-to Addiction Research Foundation study of 1976. That study very clearly pointed out that 86 per cent of high school students in Ontario drank liquor in spite of the fact that less than 25 per cent were eligible to do so.
What that says to me is something very clear and something I believe is very important in this debate. That is this: if the Legislature passes this bill, I believe the effect will be to criminalize an activity that in all likelihood will continue to go on. I really don’t believe that’s a particularly useful thing for the Legislature to do.
It’s been said by some that one of the reasons the Legislature lowered the legal drinking age to 18 in 1971, when they lowered the age of majority, was to help us effectively combat the use of drugs by our young people. I don’t know how much influence that had on the assembly at the time, because I was not there in 1971, but I believe, to some extent, that was an important part of the decision to lower the drinking age.
As legislators, we should consider what impact raising the drinking age, even one year, might have on that aspect of the problem. While overconsumption of alcohol leads to very undesirable effects, I would remind the members of this Legislature that the use of drugs can be much more dangerous and debilitating to our young than the use of alcohol.
I say that as one who grew up in the days of the ever-expanding drug culture in North America. While there are times I would like to see a return to what were my “good old days,” I would not like to see that particular aspect of the good old days rise to prominence again with our young people. I point that out only as a warning, perhaps only as a fear of one member of the Legislature.
The real issues before us are, and must be, that of alcohol abuse and alcohol-related traffic accidents. There’s nothing particularly magical or important about age 19. At the time that the Legislature lowered the age of majority and the drinking age in 1971, there was not, in Ontario at any rate, such a high degree of lifestyle advertising, nor sophisticated lifestyle advertising geared to our young people.
When we lowered the drinking age, the liquor companies of this province, of this country, were very quick to see and to understand not only the market’s size but the market’s nature. I have argued with the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations about this. We hold differing views perhaps, perhaps not, but I very much believe if we had acted earlier and we had acted more effectively to ban lifestyle advertising and, I believe, to ban advertising of liquor, we would not have been faced with the rapid increase, with the rapid overconsumption of alcohol by our young people.
It was possible for us, in 1971, 1972 or 1973 to have taken measures in this Legislature that would have effectively, I believe, combated the real problem of alcohol abuse among young people and, indeed perhaps, among our population in general. One of the reasons we’re here tonight debating a rise in the drinking age is because we, as legislators, have failed in our responsibility to come properly to grips with the problem of alcohol abuse in our society.
Alcohol abuse is a very damaging problem, but we cannot, I believe, make the young a scapegoat for our own failures as legislators and, I suspect, that is what we would do if we passed this bill, as we no doubt will.
The other problem is that of alcohol-related traffic accidents. Again, while one may debate the degree involved, it is nonetheless a serious problem. When we look at the statistics that show the alarming number of our young people killed in these accidents, it really does say to me that perhaps our young drivers are poor drivers. It says to me that if, back in 1971, 1972 or 1973, we as legislators had acted to tighten up and improve the instruction given to our young when they learn how to drive a car, or if we had made tougher and improved testing procedures for young drivers, perhaps some of that slaughter, some of that carnage on the highways could have been limited.
I really don’t see how it is that we can delude ourselves into believing that raising the drinking age one year will have that great an impact on such a serious problem. There are many other ways that problem can be approached. I don’t think we can be too happy about our failure to come to grips in the most appropriate manner with that problem either.
The argument is made by some that -- and, Mr. Speaker, you know I don’t subscribe to it -- that if 18-year-olds are old enough to go to war, they’re old enough to drink. Therefore, there has to :be some consistency in the age of majority; we can’t divide it out like that. While I can’t subscribe to the rather simple and badly put argument that way, I can subscribe to it when we put it the other way around.
If the young people of this province, the 18-year-olds, are so totally irresponsible that we cannot trust them to consume alcohol, should we really allow them to enter into legal contracts? That’s a real question. Should we allow them to vote? Should we allow them into the Legislature? I think, put that way, the argument does have some modest validity, but more important than that, and to conclude, it’s a question of faith.
I believe we have to give our young people that chance. We haven’t made a serious effort to combat the real problems. I think it would be terribly wrong for us to treat those young people as scapegoats for our own failures. Mr. Speaker, the future belongs to the young.
Mr. T. P. Reid: That’s very good. That should be engraved in stone.
Mr. G. Taylor: That’s very profound.
Mr. M. N. Davison: If we have no faith in our young people to be responsible, what kind of nightmare future does that conjure up for us in Ontario? I believe our young people are responsible and I believe there is no reason for this Legislature to separate the legal drinking age from the age of majority. I think this legislation is a bad excuse for the kind of solution we, as legislators, should be seeking for real problems. As such, and perhaps on behalf of the young people in the province, I oppose it.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to make a few comments on this legislation. I did not participate in any earlier debates when my colleague, the honourable member for Essex South presented his bill which was accepted by the honourable members of the Legislature. I have watched with interest and observed with interest the various debates that have been going on about this question of the drinking age for the last two or three years. I must say it is with some concern and with cynicism that I view the whole process that has taken place since 1971 when we reduced the drinking age, to now, when we are, in fact, increasing it again.
I think it has to be said for the record that the legislation reducing the drinking age was passed some time prior to the election in 1971 when some of us made our first entry into the hallowed halls of this building. I can recall watching the provincial scene from a distance at that time, and watching while various pieces of legislation were being cranked through this Legislature. I don’t think there has ever been such a period since the election of Bill Davis as Premier of this province that they cranked out as much legislation as during that period of time until the election in the fall of 1971. Of course, that was part of some of the legislation enacted at that time. All bases were being covered and legislation was introduced, as in many other jurisdictions, to reduce the drinking age in this province.
I think, in the process, it is obvious now there was undue haste. I think it should be underlined that the decision made by the government and by the Premier at that time about the drinking age was typical of some of the decisions which had been made in the attempt by the government and the Premier to gain this sort of leadership image. As my colleagues will recall after the election of Bill Davis, in 1971 the pollsters, and those were the famous days when pollsters had a lot of weight with politicians, --
Mr. Foulds: They still do.
Mr. Roy: -- decided at that time the Premier’s image after being Minister of Education all those years was somewhat mushy. They decided they had to build up the image. Of course, there was the Spadina decision. We recall that. At that time it in fact gave the impression at least of him being someone prepared to give leadership, and make hard decisions. We know what has since happened to that decision. It has been watered down and the alternatives put forward in fact --
Mr. Gaunt: Emasculated.
Mr. Roy: -- the great Krauss-Maffei and all this since 1971 have turned out, in fact, to be a political decision made at that time with a purpose in mind in 1971. Of course we can go on. I can recall the decision on the separate schools. It was another matter to give leadership image to the --
Mr. Speaker: If I might remind the honourable member, he is watering down the principle of this bill too.
Mr. Roy: I am just setting the preamble. It is just a preamble, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Foulds: The word is diluted.
Mr. Samis: It’s habitual with this member, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Roy: And again the separate school decision was part of this and of course a variety of other decisions. The decision to lower the drinking age was part -- I am not trying to put the type of cynicism on it I’ve heard some members of the Legislature put on it -- but nevertheless I think that was considered to be part of the process at that time. Unfortunately here we are back in 1978, of course, changing it back.
My concern, and I think it should be said, is that we did the young people of this province a disservice. I think it’s important we underline that fact and in some way admit that. I wasn’t part of the process at that time, but I am convinced my colleagues, who I think at that time supported the bill and certainly the Premier and the government who took the initiative of the bill, made the wrong decision. In the process I think it’s important that we tell the young people of this province that a mistake was made. We should apologize to them because we did them a disservice.
Having watched the debate proceed during these years, I was firm in the position that we shouldn’t be tampering with that. There was some form of cynicism in lowering it or increasing it in that sort of approach. I suppose I was part of those who felt that if young people of this province were considered adults, enter legal contracts, to vote, to go to war for this country and so on, then we should try to have a regular and a common age for all of these factors. The one factor that changed my mind on this subject of drinking age was the report of the committee on highway safety chaired by the member for Yorkview (Mr. Young).
I appeared before that committee when they were talking about drinking and driving. I was the one who looked at the committee recommendations and the overwhelming statistics involving young people which were just atrocious. For instance, by 1975, teenaged drinking drivers were involved in a staggering 37.2 per cent of alcohol-related collisions and their involvement was still rising. Research has shown that 18- and 19-year-olds are 70 times more likely to die in a collision than the average non-impaired Ontario driver. With 16- and 17-year-olds, the risk of collision is 165 times greater than for the average non-impaired Ontario driver.
These are atrocious statistics, statistics that we in a democracy, we as members of the Legislature, cannot help but be convinced show there is in fact a problem. Of course it’s our role, as members of the Legislature in a democracy, to respond to a need, to respond to a problem in this province. We have done it before; we have taken the initiative before. There are those who say, “Well, what you are doing by passing this type of legislation is criminalizing or putting some legal sanction on what was considered to be a legal act.” We do that every time we pass legislation.
Mr. Speaker, surely you will recall the debates on seatbelt legislation, and lowering speed limits. Again, this legislation put a sanction on an action that was legal at one time. Not wearing your safety belt is now considered to be a crime under the Highway Traffic Act. The speed limit is the same thing. At one time you were able to drive at certain speeds on certain highways. Now you can’t.
There’s nothing unusual about that. That’s part of the process. We, as responsible citizens, as leaders elected in our respective communities, cannot help but take some role, take some initiative when statistics such as these are so overwhelming. It is our duty to act, just as we acted in various other areas.
People say there are too many laws, too many curbs on the freedom of individuals. But of course that’s the problem with a democratic urban society. If young people were only driving out in the middle of a field with no chance to cause damage to themselves or to anybody else, it would not be a problem. We have all sorts of legislation in our cities which are in fact a curb on the individual liberty of certain individuals. The problem with that is when you give wholesale liberties to some, that is an encroachment on the liberties of others.
That’s the role of a democracy -- to respond to a particular need. And unhappy as I am about what took place in 1971 and what is now taking place in 1978, we must respond. In view of the statistics quoted in the report by the committee on highway safety, there are only two ways to respond. Either you deal with the driving, or you deal with the drinking. It seems to me that it is more reasonable to deal with the drinking than with the driving.
Why should we punish all young people who drive cars without drinking? Why should we not put the emphasis on the drinking drivers and put curbs on them? We in this Legislature, as with the role of the federal government on criminal law, have to impose the curb on a combination of both. I think it is more reasonable in these circumstances that we proceed in that fashion.
It may well be, that having proceeded in that fashion, we will find in a few years that the carnage on our highways is still too great so that we will have to act further. That is the process that has taken place in relation to impaired driving.
You will recall that many years ago when the government moved in that area that there was some opposition to it. It was felt that this was an encroachment on the rights of the individual.
You will recall that when legislation was passed to force drivers to blow into a breathalyser we felt it was offending one of the basic principles, that of incriminating oneself; that there was a legal principle that one should not be obliged to incriminate oneself. But we breached that principle to satisfy a higher community need. That’s what we are trying to do in this case.
I agree that if we are going to do something, we do something about the drinking rather than punishing those who do not drink and drive and are responsible people in our community. I agree with the approach taken in this bill. But I don’t agree with the process that took place in 1971 which we now have to change in 1978. We admit we made a mistake and that in the face of the statistics the leadership that must be shown requires hard decisions. That is what we are doing now.
Having watched the process, having studied the problem, having looked at the statistics and as the health critic for our party I was the one who suggested legislation dealing with seatbelts, reducing speed limits, and got a lot of abuse for it at that time. But today that is accepted. The Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) is always very proud to report the statistics, although he never mentions the fact that the leadership was taken by others. The fact is that the statistics are pretty well what we had suggested they would be -- the number of deaths on our highways and the number of injuries have been reduced and there have been savings in OHIP costs in this province.
Having looked at the whole situation, I as one member of this Legislature -- as much as I think the whole process has been totally unsatisfactory -- feel that in the circumstances I have no choice in the face of the statistics but to support the legislation.
Mr. Foulds: First of all, I want to say very clearly that our caucus is not going to vote en bloc in this bill. The people in our caucus feel very strongly on both sides of this question and we are going to have a free vote on the bill.
An hon. member: It means you can’t decide.
Mr. Foulds: I respect the views held by members on both sides of this question.
Mr. Samis: It is democracy.
Mr. Foulds: I think that it is important we understand that this is a political issue; but it is a political issue like no other political issue that we encounter. This is because many people view it as a moral issue. I myself do not. I happen to view it as a very broad social issue; but many people do view it in a moral sense. I think it enhances a legislature, it enhances a party when those deeply held convictions can be expressed clearly on an issue that has caused such controversy and is as fundamental as this.
I myself am not supporting the bill because I believe there are two provisions in the bill that I simply do not agree with, as a legislator or as a human being. The age of 19 provision is, frankly, tinkering. I think one of the problems is that we have not as a legislature defined what the problem is that we want to cope with. Is the problem alcoholism; is the problem traffic deaths on the highways; or is the problem booze in the schools? Well, in part of the bill, the problem is booze or not booze in the stadiums, but that’s another issue I’ll get to in a few minutes.
If the basic problem in our society is alcoholism, then I say to this Legislature that this bill does not speak to that problem in any real sense. There is no government program of education about alcohol and its use and abuse. There is no education program about the proper use and the acceptable social use of alcohol. The piddling fraction of the budget in the Ministry of Health for preventive care with regard to alcoholism is infinitesimal and disgraceful -- it demonstrates that the government party is not serious about attacking that fundamental question.
If the problem is about traffic deaths, especially among our young people, I don’t see how cutting off the band of one narrow year, when those traffic deaths extend roughly from 13 to 25, is going to have any fundamental effect on those statistics.
If the problem is drinking and driving, it might just be worthwhile for us to try a tough enforcement of our Highway Traffic Act. We do not have before us in this House the supposed companion legislation to this minister’s bill dealing with that problem.
If the problem is booze in the schools, the schools now have the authority and the administrators in those buildings have the authority to exclude from the school people who are drunk, people who are unruly, even people who are disobedient. They have that right.
I’ve heard the complaint; “I can’t teach the kids because they fall asleep in my class after they have had a liquid lunch.” I say to the House, the schools and those teachers and those principals have got to have the guts to send those kids out of the schools and not allow them back.
Mr. Van Horne: They’ve got to, without this.
Mr. Foulds: They’ve got to without this, exactly. If they had the guts and the fortitude to do it, they could send those kids home without this provision. It seems to me they must develop the conviction that the schools are not a babysitting service, either for drunken or sober children or young adults in grade 13. If they’re not doing their proper academic work, they should not be there.
I think there is nothing in this legislation that comes to grips with the fundamental question of what is it in our society that makes alcohol such a desirable escape. I have no magic solution to that problem, but I would favour not merely a lifestyle ban on liquor advertising, but a ban on liquor advertising, as I favour a ban on cigarette advertising. I both smoke and drink. I know both of those things are relatively harmful to me.
Mr. Elgie: What else do you do?
Mr. Foulds: I enjoy both of them. I did not learn about them through advertising. It is not because of the advertising I enjoy them.
Mr. Conway: How did you lean about them?
Mr. Foulds: As a matter of fact, if you really want to know --
An hon. member: Stick to the bill.
Mr. Foulds: -- and I don’t believe in making arguments in the Legislature autobiographical, but I had a beer when I was 18, illegally, in the backyard of my own home after I’d dug the entire two lots of the garden, because my dad had a beer -- a couple a week, in fact. I learned that at home. I learned smoking when I was six or seven from the kids I grew up with in the neighbourhood.
Mr. Van Hone: Banana leaves!
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Six or seven? That explains it.
Mr. Foulds: Not banana leaves, honeysuckle leaves. I actually started seriously smoking a pipe when I was 18 or 19.
Mr. Roy: You have been puffing ever since.
Mr. Hall: On with the bill; we want to be out of here by July.
Mr. Foulds: Should we ban smoking for those under 18 or 19? Smoking, surely, is just as harmful as is alcohol.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: As long as you don’t smoke and drive.
Mr. Hall: Drinking, not smoking.
Mr. Foulds: Is the member for Lincoln speaking on this bill? He’ll have his chance to speak on the bill.
By the way, it’s a shame -- I’ve been diverted -- it’s a shame the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini) who brought in the private member’s bill last November and who felt so strongly about the issue at that time, is not here in the Legislature this evening when we are actually bringing in --
Mr. Roy: Who cares? He’ll be here for the vote.
Mr. Foulds: -- government legislation that will pass, that will have some effect and that achieves the aim he spoke about so strongly last November.
Mr. Roy: For the record, he is working on behalf of his constituents.
Mr. Foulds: I would have thought he would have been here for this historic occasion.
I want to make one or two comments. I asked the question: what is it in our society that makes alcohol such an attractive escape? I think there was a saying in the 18th or 19th century in Great Britain that the shortest route from Manchester was through alcohol. That was when Manchester was the epitome of the dingy, dirty, crowded industrial town. I think there are many things in our society we have to say alcohol is the shortest route from --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Queen’s Park.
Mr. Foulds: -- not necessarily a geographic location but sometimes, say on Thursday evenings during the course of debate, including this chamber.
I think that largely despair, lack of hope, a sense of no purpose --
An hon. member: I think this is all George Kerr’s fault.
Mr. Conway: George looks better in the third row.
Mr. Foulds: -- a sense of frustration, a sense of being caged in -- all are reasons for alcoholism. Nothing this government or this Legislature is coming to grips with is moving to give young people a sense of purpose, a sense of direction.
I want to say something about the role of the Addiction Research Foundation in the course of the whole debate, because I have found their role somewhat objectionable. It seems to me a questionable role for a government agency when it turns from objective research to advocacy. This is what they did during the course of a provincial election, by sponsoring meetings that were deliberately designed to bring pressure on legislators to raise the drinking age. That is questionable no matter how sincerely held the feelings were of the people who were engaged in that research. It seems to me kind of strange, if I recall correctly from 14 or 15 years ago, that the ARF was advocating lowering the drinking age. They thought that because of the education that would involve, and the longer period of incubation, there would be less alcoholism as a result. I find the role of the ARF in all that somewhat questionable.
I find the age of majority argument a convincing one. If you are going to have an age of majority that includes the other things we all talk about, drinking is a perfectly reasonable thing to include in that age of majority. If you wanted to raise the age of majority generally, I might have more sympathy with the aims of section 2 of this bill. Frankly, I would not be in favour of raising, generally, the age of majority, but that at least would show some consistency.
I want to read into the record some parts of a letter I received from a medical doctor and a psychiatrist who is in my own area who has given thought to the matter. She says: “There is no doubt in my mind that many responsible youngsters develop better drinking habits in today’s related attitude. The 16-year-old who has a glass of wine at a Sunday dinner with his parents, having tried the odd half liquor glass at Thanksgiving or New Year’s before that, is an example; as is the responsible youngster who enjoys music and to the dismay of the lounge manager sips one bottle of beer all evening in order to listen to the band.
“These youngsters have learned to put liquor in its place and are learning when it adds to pleasure and learning to handle its effects on them individually. While some physicians believe changing the age limit back to 21 or so would decrease the abuse of liquor, others including myself do not share this view. It is my opinion it would only substantially increase the illicit drinking, and since our law enforcing agencies cannot or do not wish to enforce the present laws, further law-breaking would only diminish the respect for the liquor laws that remain.
“That there is an increased use and drunkenness among young people from age 10 on is obvious. Hospital and school figures support it, as presumably do court charges, employer complaints and other available figures. I believe lowering of the drinking age some years ago has only -- ”
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, order.
Mr. Mancini: Point of privilege.
Mr. Foulds: I am glad to welcome the member for Essex South.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order; point of privilege.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Chairman, if the member for Port Arthur will let me, I just want to inform the House a very important committee is sitting downstairs and it is concerning itself with discounting in the chain stores. The committee is hearing the chairman of the Greenhouse Vegetable Producers’ Marketing Board, who is from my riding. That is where I was and I am ashamed of the member for Port Arthur for making such a remark as that he made earlier.
Mr. Stong: You have been chastised.
Mr. Conway: However predictable it is none the less sad.
Mr. Roy: It is facetious; the member should apologize.
Mr. Foulds: I deeply regret the fact that the member for Essex South cannot be in two places at once.
Mr. McClellan: He has always been able to take two positions at once.
Mr. Foulds: I admit I didn’t know be was in committee downstairs. I don’t apologize for my remarks. I made no innuendoes and I cast no aspersions. I simply said, as I recall my remarks earlier, I found it curious, and I regretted that the member for Essex South could not be here during the course of this historic debate.
Mr. Conway: Very tacky; tacky, tacky.
Mr. Roy: The record should show that he is smiling and smirking and is making all sorts of gestures with his nose. His glasses :are crooked.
Mr. Foulds: If my remarks stimulated him to come and attend, then I think that has been very useful. If he feels the debate in the committee is more important, I am sure we would be glad to excuse him.
Mr. Foulds: Now, if I may continue.
Mr. Lupusella: No sense of humour.
Mr. Sargent: Do you have to read all that stuff, Jimmy?
Mr. Foulds: I am just reading a few short quotations.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order; the member for Port Arthur, on the bill please.
Mr. Foulds: I am sorry. I must admit I am sorry that I caused the sensitive skin of the member for Essex South to prickle so easily. I had no intention to gain or lose in any way, I simply made an observation. If the member for Essex South feels hurt by that, I am deeply sorry; and as I say if he wishes to return to the committee, we would be glad to excuse him. All of us would understand. The people of Ontario would understand. The people of the caucus would understand. The people in the press gallery would understand. Why doesn’t he go?
Mr. Conway: Throw him out.
Mr. Hall: No wonder you got out of teaching.
Mr. Conway: Three hundred votes; almost the last time.
Mr. Foulds: The letter I was reading goes on: “I believe the lowering of the drinking age some years ago has only been a small factor in this happening. We have seen a great increase in sexual intimacy in the same age group; at a time when birth control has been more easily available than ever before teenage pregnancies have markedly increased, and there is no change of age limit in this activity.
“I believe the reason for change reflects the change of attitude. We have raised children with greater permissiveness in the hope that this in turn would help them be more self-directed, more responsible. So they do things because they want to, not because they are afraid not to.
“In a large group of people this has worked beautifully. No thinking person will deny that many of today’s adolescents are hardworking, considerate, knowledgeable, co-operative, responsible people who are far more mature than we, the middle-age establishment, were at that age.
“However,” the doctor goes on, “this positive kind of reinforcement has never worked with everyone. In as highly an individualistic country as Canada, there were bound to be failures. Some parents took neither time nor effort to raise children responsibly; some parents were simply unable to give this guidance; and some youngsters cannot be taught in this way.
“We accept that there are mentally-retarded children with special educational needs. We must learn to accept similar concepts with regards to the emotionally disadvantaged child.”
The doctor then goes on to mention some techniques that she feels could improve the present situation, and she says: “We must also turn our attention to deterrents. While better educational means for problem youngsters are being developed, the offenders, for their own and society’s protection, must learn the hard way and be restrained from doing too much damage to themselves and others.”
Hon. Mr. Grossman: They’re not going to learn anything here; they won’t learn anything here.
Mr. Foulds: “We must keep up respect for the law, since allowing the law to become a laugh breeds cynicism and corruption.”
Mr. Sargent: Take it to bed, Jimmy.
Mr. Foulds: “Is it so hard to find liquor lounges that allow underage drinking? Is it so hard to find imaginative deterrents for drinking offences? It occurs to me that one deterrent for drinking under 16 might be not to be automatically permitted a beginner’s driver’s licence. For the over-18 being found publicly drunk, driving restriction could be enforced more rigidly. Youngsters might be asked to attend group sessions.
“I think there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that adolescence is a difficult enough time, emotionally speaking, without liquor, and that the adolescent seems particularly vulnerable as to the physical and psychological effects of alcohol.
“Present-day affluence is a further problem. At no time in our history have so many people had so much money. Drinking was limited by lack of money to the reasonably well-off and the ones who would do anything to get drunk. The in-between group tended to limit drinking to paydays and special occasions. Today, lack of money does not appear to exist as a controlling factor.”
I believe that this bill expresses a change in thinking. Unlike the previous speaker, I have no doubt in my mind that the legislators who took the decision in 1971 took a sincere decision. I do not believe that it was an initiative that was taken in order to show the leadership of a particular party leader or to get a certain age group’s vote. I do not think that was why the initiatives were taken.
No doubt there has been some considerable evidence, particularly as it has accumulated in the report of the select committee on highway safety, that we have a couple of very basic and profound problems. But I do not believe this particular bill, by tinkering with the drinking age, by raising it by one mere year, meets those needs.
There is one other section of the bill that I want to speak to. It is the principle embodied in the section that I want to speak to. I would like the minister, during the clause-by-clause discussion, to correct the impression I have if it is faulty, but it seems to me the bill gives the power to a police officer to confiscate liquor where no offence has taken place if he suspects that an offence or an abuse might take place. I believe, if that is accurate, that it is too wide and sweeping a power. It is a power that we should not give carte blanche to the police. Perhaps we could deal more with that in clause-by-clause debate.
In conclusion, I want to say that this question has been a difficult one for all legislators. It is one most of us have thought through two or three times, in a political sense, in terms of the evidence that has been given, in a medical sense, and so on. Many of us have changed our views. I understand why many of us have changed our views over the last three or four years. On balance I found a lot of those arguments disturbing, but I have not found anything convincing enough to vote for this particular legislation, although many of my colleagues will be doing so, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.
Mr. Stong: As with most legislation, the bill before us now contains good points and what I would regard as not so good points, or weaker points. As most speakers who have addressed themselves to this bill prior to me in this debate, I also address myself to the raising of the drinking age to 19.
Mr. Haggerty: It will be 20 next year.
Mr. Stong: I had hoped that when this bill was introduced by the minister, raising of the drinking age would have been postponed for at least two years. I say that because it seems to me the bill contains some good moves in the right direction with respect to enforcement, particularly with regard to an establishment losing its licence when breaching the law. Up to this point, I know of no case reported or tested through the courts where an establishment in fact has lost its licence because of continually, as a result of spot checks, been observed serving liquor to those under 18.
We have laws, and I would urge that those laws, even these new laws being introduced in this bill, be enforced more fully than they have been in the past.
Mr. Haggerty: Right on.
Mr. Stong: If they’re not working, then raise the drinking age.
I have tried my best to approach this matter with an open mind, although I do tend towards not raising the drinking age. I have never been ashamed to admit I was wrong or change my mind when I’ve been proven wrong, but I have seen no evidence to date that would prove anything else but that most teenagers --
Mr. Conway: A true Liberal.
Mr. Stong: -- are anything but law abiding citizens and want to be that way. It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that when we’re talking about this bill, we as legislators are not only picking on, demonstrating or zeroing in on the most inexperienced segment of our society, but also grossly underestimating their intelligence, or their desire to be responsible citizens. We have completely overlooked, as legislators, the fact that teenagers, 18-year-olds, who are wholly dependent upon their superiors, want to look to the people who are older, their elders, for guidance. In fact they get their values from their elders and look to them for those values.
We’ve heard all sorts of arguments. We know that an 18 year old person is required to cast an intelligent and informed vote; we look to him to inform himself to cast that ballot.
We also regard him as a person responsible for any contract he might sign when he’s 18 years of age. We’ve also heard the argument that we expect them to defend their country at 18 years of age. I was most impressed by a letter I received from an 18-year-old in my riding who wrote to me on this issue and said:
“I was married when I was 18. I have a younger brother who may be married when he’s 18. He may have a child when he’s 18.” He has accepted all of the responsibilities of a married man. He’s employed, he’s expected to support his family and contribute to their education; but that man, having accepted all those responsibilities, will not be allowed to have a bottle of beer in a licensed premises.
Mr. Speaker, this law we are introducing now is really -- to use a cliché -- a Band Aid approach. We’re treating a symptom instead of the disease. Teenagers are not hypocrites -- not by far are they hypocrites. They recognize the problem that we are facing and they are reacting to it. We as adults insist that our teenagers go to jail for theft, and yet those same teenagers come from families where the fathers have pilfered from the factory; they come home daily with their lunchboxes full of goods from their employers; they have padded their expense accounts; they do not pay their income tax. The mothers go and shoplift on the weekends. These teenagers are not hypocrites; they can see those values, and those values are being imparted to them.
We also insist that our judges send teenagers to jail who abuse drugs, and yet all you have to do is look behind the scenes, into the medicine cabinets of those same families, and find out what pills the parents are on -- the uppers, the downers, the mood-controllers, the mind-benders. It is a drug-oriented society. Our teenagers are not hypocrites at all, but they can certainly see where the weaknesses are in us.
Mr. McClellan: Why do you insist you are a hypocrite?
Mr. di Santo: Are you for it or against it?
Mr. Stong: But there is one thing: They are not hypocrites; they can see fully the hypocrisy in us. I must say as well that all we have to do is to look at any person who is over the age of 19 and goes to a social event; they cannot communicate with one another unless they are holding a glass in their hand. This is the type of value that we are imparting to our young people. Rather than let them have the responsibility of making up their own mind, we tend to do it for them by trying to legislate morality. You can no more legislate morality than you can legislate brains into people; and, in fact, that is exactly what this legislation is attempting to do.
The strongest argument for the raising of the drinking age to 19 is the fact that it is in our schools. It seems to me that, if our teachers would quit trying to compete in personality contests among themselves and start calling the shots in the classroom and among the students, we wouldn’t have this problem. I am aware of the fact that students are disruptive, but how many charges are laid of contributing to juvenile delinquency by virtue of supplying liquor? Not too many. That is a law that is on the books, and it has been on the books for a long time, but we have not resorted to it. The select committee on highway safety reported to us, indicating what the insurance companies have told us, relying on statistics, but there are laws that can control that problem if we care to enforce them.
It seems to me that, rather than raising the drinking age at this time, the minister should have introduced this matter in a way that would be testing the waters and enforcing the laws that we have now. I agree that there are some good points in Bill 96; one of the good points is the suspension of the licence of a premises or establishment that is abusing the law. We should also have more stringent legislation with respect to advertising, and we should be implementing this type of law on a piecemeal basis.
When we are speaking of young people, it seems to me that we expect an awful lot of them, but in turn we are imposing our wishes upon them without truly giving them any type of guidance in our own behaviour. That is where the problem really lies as I see it. How can you possibly control behaviour when those who are making the laws are not prepared to live in accordance with that behaviour themselves?
In this type of legislation, I don’t think there is anything to be gained by zeroing in on a segment of society that is inexperienced, and weak by virtue of that inexperience. These people do not have the experience in life that we have; they have gained their values from those of us who are standing here and voting in this House on such a law.
I would much more prefer to see the law enforced, even the more stringent laws that are being introduced in this bill, and withhold the raising of the drinking age until all else has failed. But let’s give it a fair trial, which has not been done to date.
Mr. Samis: First of all, Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate the member for York Centre for a very, I thought, reasonable approach towards this difficult and complex problem. It’s one, I think, that perplexes many people; not just in this province but in society, because I think there’s a general climate of worry and apprehension about what’s happening to the social, as well as the moral fabric of our society. I am a little afraid this bill is a reaction to that general apprehension within society and is sort of lashing out in a one prong approach to try and solve it. For that basic reason, I don’t intend to support this bill.
Before getting to the basic principle of the bill, Mr. Speaker, let me, just in passing, mention I have some severe reservations about some of the other sections within the bill as well, namely the idea of granting increased discretion to the police to confiscate liquor and to exercise their authority, on a very discretionary basis as I see it.
I have very grave reservations about the idea of placing the onus of blame, especially when it comes to fines, on employees in bars and hotels for illegally serving minors. It seems to me if the policy of the establishment to observe the law is very clear cut, then it should be the owner or the manager upon whom the responsibility should fall, and not on an employee, usually earning the minimum wage, who is sometimes harassed, and in a beer joint, for example, has to move around pretty quickly to satisfy his or her customers. I think it’s rather unfair to establish the onus of responsibility on them, plus put a minimum fine on them.
Of course, I couldn’t talk about this bill without having some reference to section 4 and the idea of granting municipalities the right to restrict the possession of alcoholic beverages in certain arenas, parks and buildings for other sorts, without commenting on the natural, basic, obvious, overwhelming hypocrisy that the minister is aware of at the largest outdoor stadium in this city, namely the CNE. Ontario and Toronto have obviously retained their unique distinction of being the only city in major league baseball to ban the sale of suds at that beautiful outdoor emporium, especially as the hot weather approaches.
I want to get to the main principle of the bill, Mr. Speaker. When the various parliaments and legislative bodies of this country, in the early 1970s, almost without fail voted to make 18 the age of majority and adopted other laws in that spirit, I supported that initiative. I thought it was a recognition of the fact that people at 18 were able to accept those responsibilities. I thought it was a progressive move. I must say I haven’t seen any really convincing or overwhelming evidence to convince me that those parliaments, those legislatures, including this one, made a mistake.
I think it was an intelligent move. I think we are going through growth pains. I think we are facing problems, but I am still convinced the move to give people from 18 to 21 their full rights in our society was the right move. I continue to support the right of someone at 18 to exercise the full rights of an adult.
Coming from the part of the province I do, Mr. Speaker, I have some memories before I got into this insane business. Down in eastern Ontario, obviously, we are in a jurisdiction that’s exposed to other jurisdictions, as the member from Pembroke knows, namely the province of Quebec and New York state.
I seem to recall when I started teaching in Cornwall in 1967 that the drinking age in those days was 21. Supposedly those were the good old days. I recall very vividly the inclination among a good number of my students in the senior grades, all of whom were under the age of 19, was to drink. Drinking was a reasonably common thing. The law was 21, Mr. Speaker, but the drinking was going on at 20, 19, 18, 17, 16 and 15 years of age. This was being done, in some cases, in hotels and bars.
There was one particular establishment in my constituency that was famous for allowing 15- and 16-year-old kids to drink; that’s when the age was 21. That wasn’t necessarily the fault of the kids. Obviously the problem was the proprietor was being allowed to get away with those violations.
It made it difficult in our jurisdiction, because I recall the province of Quebec had lowered its drinking age and the state of New York had lowered its drinking age. We had a situation where the drinking age was 21 in this province, but it was 18 in two surrounding jurisdictions. I can tell you, Mr. Speaker, there was a powerful incentive for those young people to go to Quebec and New York State to drink. They did so quite frequently and in a few cases with very serious results.
Drinking is obviously becoming more and more prevalent among young people. There is no question about that. The same is true among adults, among every age group in our society there’s no question there’s more drinking going on.
But who sells the stuff in the first place? Who profits from the sale of it? It is not the young people, it is the adults. Who operates the bars and hotels that profit from this particular habit? It’s the adults.
Mr. Haggerty: Who runs the LCBO?
Mr. Samis: Or as my good friend from Sudbury would say, mainly Tories; but not in all cases, as he well knows. Who first exposes young people to drinking habits, drinking attitudes and drinking values? Usually it is the adults, usually it is the parents. Usually that is where young people first get exposed to the idea of a glass of beer, a glass of wine or a glass of liquor. I would dare to say that the predominant influence on the teenagers is the father’s attitude on drinking.
Who is failing to produce the leadership in terms of educating young people to adopt so-called modest or proper or moderate habits of drinking? Where do they get these habits from? Where is there failure? It has to be among the adults in the first place, not the young people.
I always wondered who writes and who profits from those slick, seductive ads that lure not just young people but people of all ages to drink beer, wine, liquor and liqueurs, Again it is the adults. So here we have the adults profiting from everything that is going on; and yet here we have the adults complaining about the excessive drinking among young people.
Before coming into the chamber this evening I took a little stroll to the library to check up on Maclean’s Magazine -- Canada’s so-called national magazine -- just to look at the advertising. In the space of 88 pages -- not in the most recent edition but in the previous edition -- I counted 20 ads for liquor, wine or beer. That’s the magazine that we are pushing as Canada’s national magazine, et cetera. Young people are exposed to that.
Liquor was the one product advertised more by far than anything else in that magazine. Compared to cars, travel or other consumer goods, the liquor ads predominated by far.
Then we turn on the TV sets. Obviously, even with the announcement by the minister, we see all sorts of lifestyle advertising on TV. I recall last week, I think, he was questioned and said, “If they have a contract, we are not going to stop it or change it. We’ll let that contract reach its natural end before the new regulations take effect.”
Who watches television the most? Young people. Who are the most susceptible to lifestyle advertising? Again young people. My own opinion is that there should be a complete ban on all lifestyle liquor and beer advertising. We should stop playing around with regulations and kowtowing to the ad agencies, the breweries and the distilleries.
Another thing I have noticed is the increasing presence, of the breweries especially, at sporting and social events. The amount of promotion being done by the breweries is really astonishing in the field of athletics. The time of year doesn’t really matter; they somehow get in on it and get their advertising, whether it is a mobile van, a booth, free schedules -- you name it, they work every possible angle, they make their presence felt. Again, young people mostly are being exposed to it and they are the most susceptible because they obviously participate heavily in sports.
I am not really surprised there is an increase in the amount of drinking by young people. They are just being saturated with pressure by us adults, by the advertisers, and of course by peer group pressure.
I don’t think we should put the whole focus of blame, as the member for York Centre said, on the young people. I think the basic fact of life, even today, is that the vast majority of our young people are not abusing alcohol. It has not been proved that the majority are abusing alcohol. There may be a minority abusing it. That minority may be increasing in numbers, but the same thing is happening with adults. A minority abuse alcohol, and the size of that minority is increasing. I think in effect it is tantamount to punishing an entire age group without really having proved any consistent case of guilt. I think if anyone has failed it is not the law so much as the adults, the advertisers and parents, rather than the young people.
One of the main arguments we hear in favour of this bill by people from the research institutes is, “look at the accident rate.” They relate the high degree of accidents involving alcohol with the drinking age and suggest that if it were raised to 19 or 20 that would somehow solve the problem.
First of all, the increase in accidents involving alcohol, once again, is not confined to 17-, 18-, 19-, or 20-year-olds. There has been an increase in other age levels as well. I’ll be the first one to admit that the rate of increase is greater among minors.
At this stage, I’d like to express a personal opinion. When we talk about people of 16, 17 or 18 in accidents involving alcohol, it sometimes mystifies me why we’re considering a law that would raise the drinking age to 19 yet we allow someone to drive a muscle-machine, a souped-up car, you name it, at 16 years of age in this province.
Somehow the logic escapes me of saying that you can vote, drink, borrow money, get married, et cetera, at 18 or 19, but you can drive a car at 16. In an industrial society as opposed to a rural society that, somehow, seems to me to show a little lack of consistency when we say you can drive a car at 16, but you can’t drink or do those other nasty things until the age of 18 or 19.
In my last report to my constituents I included a questionnaire on the question: “What do you think should he the legal minimum age for driving in the province of Ontario?” I checked off 16, 17 18, 19, 20 and 21. If I recall the figure, over 70 per cent of the people who answered the questionnaire said it should be 19 or over for driving a car in the province. Yet, somehow we focus consistently on the drinking age, without ever giving any attention to the driving age.
I think it’s about time we gave some attention to the whole premise and the whole preconception of allowing people to drive at the age of 16. I know my colleague from Hamilton mentioned it and I’m sure others will. I think this bill, if it passes, will create some very obvious inconsistencies. I know some of them sound like they’re clichés but I think, nevertheless, they contain a modicum of truth.
If you can drive at 16 -- and nobody ever suggested you’re an adult or mature at 16; if you can vote in a provincial, municipal or federal election; if you can get married in Ontario at the age of 16; if you can go into debt legally by yourself at 18; if you can serve in the armed forces at 18; how do we tell young people, “You can do all those things, but, no, with this new bill you can’t do it at 19”?
What’s the consistency of it? How do we explain the logic of that to the younger generation? I have a suspicion that the logic of it is so weak, the inconsistency is so obvious, that this is going to breed some considerable disrespect for this law among our young people. I just don’t see young people buying the validity or the credibility of the argument. I think the inconsistency is painfully obvious and I’ve yet to hear a convincing argument au contraire.
Another reason why I speak in opposition to the bill is that I have very grave reservations that it will work in the first place, especially in terms of the problem it purports to attack. I suspect the police will not particularly enjoy having to enforce it because it will make their job more difficult and we have all sorts of new laws coming out in addition to this one that are going to make their job more difficult. I suspect the hotel and bar owners won’t particularly support it because it will make their jobs more difficult.
Frequently, we hear the argument: “What about the high schools? That’s where the real problem is. That’s where the real abuse exists.” I recall my days of teaching high school. Most of the drinking -- and I suspect it hasn’t changed much today -- obviously is done on the students’ free time. If you’re 18 years of age, damn it all, that’s your right in society. Then they say, “They go out at noon and they either get smashed or they have x number of beers and they come back to class.” I would maintain that’s a small minority within the high-school population and within the 17 to 19 age range. Among those who do it, where did they get the habit from in the first place? Who concocted this great idea of going out to quaff a few at noon hour? Again, I don’t think we can afford to cast any stones.
Mr. Sargent: Tory members of Parliament. That’s where they got it.
Mr. Warner: Certain members, Eddie.
Mr. Samis: Sometimes the idea is mentioned -- I’ve seen it here in the Toronto press -- what about the dance situation in the high schools? Some allege that it’s extremely difficult now to even conduct a teenage dance in the high schools. If we think back ourselves, and obviously being far younger than the member for Grey-Bruce, my memory can’t go as far back, but I recall having to supervise high school dances in the 1960s and the early 1970s. If anyone suggests there wasn’t drinking going on then, when the drinking age was 21, he’s just deceiving himself beyond all credibility. It was a problem then; it’s probably a problem now. It may have increased even more so, but that’s part of the general change in society. It’s not restricted to young people. The same thing exists at the Argo games, where the minister will be going this summer.
Mr. Sargent: They won’t let him in.
Mr. Samis: I would dare to say, as he has all his squad out there, the amount of drinking at Argo games has increased.
An hon. member: I’m not going to the Argo games.
Mr. Warner: You should. Punish yourself, you deserve that punishment.
Mr. Roy: He is going to have to drink to tolerate the Argos this year.
Mr. Samis: I’m sure at the “Make Believe Palace” on Carlton Street, for “Pal Hal”, that the amount of mickies found over there in the last 10 years has increased drastically.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No.
Mr. Samis: I’m sure any good bartender at a golf club will tell you that consumption has increased there over the past 10 years. So I really don’t think we should isolate the instance of the teenage dances and say, “There’s the problem; there’s the proof.”
If this bill passes and becomes law, I know that in my particular part of the province it’s going to cause serious problems; we’ll have a situation where the drinking age will be 19, and we’ll be surrounded by two jurisdictions where it’s 18. I can see it happening now as it happened when the age was 21; they’ll be driving across the Quebec border to the hotels on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, or they’ll be driving across the border into northern New York state. We’ll have increased automobile accidents. I recall very vividly one of my students having been killed on a Sunday night coming back from the province of Quebec. Obviously, he’d gone out drinking and that was one source of his ultimate demise.
I really worry that, when this bill passes, the pattern we have been able to overcome in our area is going to resurrect itself, because there’s now going to be the incentive to go over to Quebec or New York state as a result of the law in Ontario being different. I would point out, when we constantly hassle high school kids for drinking too much, that most of it is done after 4 o’clock and on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sunday nights. With the vast majority who do drink, it’s not really related to the high school in the first place. Sure, there are some who do, but let’s not cast stones when we look at our own habits.
Mr. Speaker, I would say that this bill does not really get at the source of the problem. I’m afraid it won’t solve the problem. I’m afraid it will create a whole host of new problems. It will be a glaring inconsistency and among young people it may even breed disrespect for the law. On the basis of that, I will not support the bill.
Mr. Conway: I, too, Mr. Speaker, would like to join briefly in the debate on Bill 96. I must say that I share with the member for Downsview a certain difficulty, because we’ve not yet heard from the archbishop on how we can vote on this matter.
Mr. Samis: The parish priest will do.
Mr. Warner: Someone should tell you how to vote.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Frank will tell you.
Mr. Conway: The member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick informs me that the member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea) will tell us, and I suspect that’s probably true.
Mr. B. Newman: Remember, that’s not Jimmy Carter.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I hope he is with me this time, Sean.
Mr. Conway: I was happy to hear the member for Cornwall make the remarks about his personal experience from the far eastern region of this province, because it’s been my experience to have seen many of the same things.
I’m happy to be here tonight with the minister and his bill, because as one relatively young Ontarian I have found his remarks and his general approach to the liquor question in this province more than slightly embarrassing and at times downright overbearing and intolerable. He has brought to the politics of moral uplift a sense of a sort of new earnestness and zeal that we haven’t seen in many years.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Remember, I get to speak last.
Mr. Conway: I must say, Mr. Speaker, that there are many of us in this chamber who find it particularly difficult to accept that the minister in charge of the liquor policy of this government should be so prepared to make the sort of moral pronouncements that he is becoming increasingly famous for.
I know that many members of the House would join with me in suggesting to the minister that he become slightly less impolitic in his remarks about what may or may not happen to his children at the ball park where he would like to take them.
You know I was thinking, Mr. Speaker --
Mr. Sargent: Does he have children?
Mr. Conway: -- in that connection, because I have heard all his great speeches and all the powerful arguments he has made and all the tremendously significant points he has put in this respect. On the question of liquor policy in the past in this province there have been an awful lot of people like the present member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick who would guard the moral virtue of the young and older citizens in this very important respect.
When I hear his speeches, I think beck to an earlier day and I just wanted to quote briefly from a similar such speech by --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Remo Mancini.
Mr. Conway: -- someone given -- No, my friend from Essex South is, of course, not discharged with the responsibilities of --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Discharged? Charged, not discharged.
Mr. Conway: -- handling the liquor policy in this province.
Mr. Speaker, I was earlier tonight looking back into some of the old arguments in favour. I found this old song that made me think of the present member --
Mr. Stong: Then sing it.
Mr. Warner: Going to sing it?
Mr. Conway: -- for St. Andrew-St. Patrick. Only one paragraph --
Mr. Warner: Sing it, Sean.
Mr. Conway: -- of which I would like to read into the record, because I think it speaks --
Mr. Warner: Sing it.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Sing it, Sean.
Mr. Conway: It is not an Irish drinking song, Mr. Speaker, but it does say something about where the minister’s heart lies in this. It goes something like this in part:
Mr. Warner: Sing it, sing it, Sean. We will join you.
Mr. Conway: “Someone’s boy may be your boy, his eyes just the same shade of blue;
Someday your tears may be falling, the breweries don’t care if they do;
‘Tis theirs to ruin and trample, to crush out all hope and joy;
Won’t you go to the polls at election, and vote to save someone’s boy?”
That, just so the honourable minister will know in what context he finds himself, was authored by Miss E. W. Farley, in Belleville, 74 years ago.
I just wanted to bring that to his attention to put him in the proper stream --
Mr. Warner: Sing it at the CNE stadium now.
Mr. Conway: -- because I must say that I have found his statements about people who can’t handle their drink in this province just about at one with that kind of remark.
You know, the almost ancient hypocrisy of Tory politicians, certainly not members of this party traditionally --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, no, not members of your party.
Mr. Conway: -- but Tory politicians in this province with respect to the liquor question is quite frankly something more than I can bear.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: So you will vote against the bill.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, it is well characterized by what I think we can best describe as their brown paper bag morality.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: So you are voting against the bill.
Mr. Conway: I often think that if we put the minister and a good mickey in a brown paper bag --
Mr. Warner: Why not put the minister in a brown paper bag?
Mr. Conway: -- would that be acceptable if we took them both into the Exhibition Stadium for a ball game or some other such matter?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Only one of us would come out alive.
Mr. Conway: The principle of Bill 96 deals with the matter of establishing a drinking age generally and, in fact, raising the age from 18 to 19.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: So you are voting against it.
Mr. Conway: The member for Cornwall pointed out very aptly the experience --
Mr. Warner: Eloquently.
Mr. Conway: -- of those of us who live and who continue to live in a border region. I suspect that if the member for Carleton has his way, that phrase will mean an awful lot more --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: And being a border member.
Mr. Conway: -- and being a border member, to be sure, we can well remember the days back --
Mr. Warner: That is different from being on the fringe element, Larry.
Mr. Conway: -- pre-1911 when the drinking age in Ontario was significantly different from that in Quebec and certainly in the United States. I grew up in a part of eastern Ontario that was 65 miles from the nearest tavern in western Quebec. There was a veritable panoply of legislation in this province to induce me not to make that 65-mile trip to indulge myself.
I must say, Mr. Speaker, that that legislation did not in any material way prohibit my interest or my activity in crossing the Ottawa River and partaking of the evil drink in question.
An hon. member: Shame, shame.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: So you are voting against the bill.
Mr. Conway: The hypocrisy of trying to legislate these matters in the moral domain I find really quite fascinating.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: You are voting against the bill.
Mr. Conway: There are those in this House who know Irish Catholic partisans from the Ottawa valley have an historic commitment to the temperance side in the debate. I don’t want to let that ancient prejudice bear upon my decisions in this vote.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: But.
Mr. Warner: Here it comes.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Downhill from here.
Mr. Ashe: He smokes too.
Mr. Conway: -- it seems to me the arguments put by the select committee on highway safety are important arguments.
Mr. Warner: The cap is off the bottle.
Mr. Conway: I heard the NDP crowing, as only they can crow. I heard the member for Port Arthur earlier tonight telling us all that they have decided to have a free vote. I am sure they are going to have a free vote, now that they have given themselves to the roller-coasting, roller-skating politics in a parking lot where the meter has long since run out.
I am not surprised to hear the NDP is having a free vote tonight because on such questions as we have found increasingly in this spring session, theirs is a party completely bereft of leadership. I suspect we will see, rightly or wrongly, willingly or otherwise, that party commit itself to an incredible series of free votes to avoid embarrassment to which they would otherwise be committed.
I am one of those members who listens to the passionate civil libertarian arguments of certain members of that party in certain committees and I no doubt will hear from the distinguished member for High Park-Swansea (Mr. Ziemba). I am sure he will grace this House with his stentorian orations on this matter in which he has some degree of interest. And no doubt that will represent a traditional position for that party.
Mr. Hall: Third position.
Mr. Conway: But I must say it is my feeling, as a private member that if we seek to legislate in the general questions of morality, in so far as removing from young people in this province the drink goes, as the minister would have it.
I think we operate on some fundamentally wrong premises. I happened to be listening to the radio the other morning and I was thinking of an effort the government and others, in respect to another moral area -- a moral conundrum --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Why did you support the bill last November? Why did you vote for Remo’s bill?
Mr. Conway: -- the business of legislating certain things out of the city of Toronto that had previously become quite apparent on lower Yonge Street. Now, I listen to the radio in the morning and I understand that it is off Yonge Street, but it is certainly alive and well at the corner of Church and Isabella.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Where are you staying, Sean?
Mr. G. Taylor: Hey. I live there. Watch that, Sean. I live at Church and Isabella.
Mr. Bradley: Welcome back, George.
Mr. G. Taylor: I am moving to lower Yonge Street.
Mr. Conway: Some of us have certain latitudes in that respect, not free to others who have entered into more lasting commitments. I see the member for Simcoe Centre evincing his conflict of interest in that respect, no doubt.
I want to say that I think the efforts of this and other governments to effectively legislate in the moral areas has been proven to be somewhat bankrupt.
Mr. McClellan: He’s going back in the other direction.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: But Remo’s bill, which you supported, was no different.
Mr. Conway: All members have argued -- no, I am going to be quite simple and quite sincere --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: As always.
Mr. Conway: I don’t think it is quite frankly the hallmark of a civilized society that we should have a drinking age.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: You are half right.
Mr. Conway: I find it repugnant, to say the least, that civilized people cannot drink as they see their capacities to allow them to drink. Quite frankly, I find it very unfortunate that we need to have a drinking age.
Mr. Roy: Just listen, as you said this afternoon.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: He is voting against it, that is what I cannot understand.
Mr. Conway: I must say that the history of this province and the history of much of western society is not more unfortunate than in these questions of liquor and related moral questions. Clearly, as a society, we have not from the very beginning learned how to handle the matters of alcohol in particular.
That disturbs me. That disturbs me greatly.
Mr. Germa: You haven’t learned anything. What a pussy willow.
Mr. Conway: Many members of this House have been circularized recently by some constituents --
Mr. Germa: What did you ever see or do in this world? Where have you been?
Mr. Conway: On Yorkville with the member for Sudbury waiting for the --
Mr. Germa: What a pussy willow. You never worked a day in your life. You haven’t done anything.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Warner: He wants to go up to the Ottawa River to study drinking.
Mr. Conway: I take seriously --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Come back, Bud; don’t leave now.
Mr. Ruston: Stick around, Bud, stick around.
Mr. Conway: I take seriously what the member for Sudbury says.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The first time in two years I want him to stay and he leaves.
Mr. Conway: I take seriously what he says. It’s interesting, Mr. Speaker, that he happily followed the member for Scarborough West (Mr. Lewis) in his years of being both leader of that party and a member, and as I recall he entered this Legislature under circumstances not too different from my own. I am, for the benefit of the member for Sudbury, trying to get the flavour of it all. I only suggest to the member for Sudbury that he be somewhat more generous in his tolerance of the younger portion of this society.
I have not been spending my life in the Frood mine and I am probably very seriously deficient in that respect.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: You’re seriously deficient, but we won’t hold that against you.
Mr. Conway: Someday I may have the opportunity -- sooner than I might like -- to take him up on that offer.
Mr. Warner: You should go underground somewhere.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I want to say to you that I find the matter of a drinking age quite unacceptable in general. However --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: However.
Mr. Conway: -- there is clearly a will among the members of this House, and clearly a desire on the part of the community as a whole, to have a drinking age.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: And you too, you agree.
Mr. Conway: I will accept from my constituents in this respect, the notion that they want me as their member --
Mr. Warner: They want to run a referendum on it.
Mr. Conway: -- to support, on their behalf if not on my own --
Mr. Warner: A referendum now. Is that what you’re going to do?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Some leadership. There is leadership, there’s leadership for you.
Mr. Conway: -- to support the principle of a drinking age.
Mr. Roy: It is better than you guys. You changed the law in 1971 and changed it back in 1978; some leadership.
Mr. Bradley: A man of the people, no doubt about it.
Mr. Conway: It seems to me the people of my constituency and the people of the province insist that we have a drinking age.
Mr. Warner: Fifty-one.
Mr. McClellan: How about 35?
Mr. Warner: How about 81?
Mr. Conway: Speaking as a citizen in the province I think that that is not a civilized thing to do in some respects; however, I will accept that.
Mr. Warner: Just ban it from the Ottawa valley.
Mr. Conway: If we must have a drinking age, I will accept further the notion --
Mr. McClellan: Have an escalator.
Mr. Bradley: He’s wandering now.
Mr. Conway: -- that we should make that drinking age as useful as possible.
Mr. M. N. Davison: However.
Mr. Warner: Here comes the other side.
Mr. Conway: Therefore, on this one occasion, I want to make it --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Perfectly clear.
Mr. Warner: Well, it’s audible.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Where have we heard that before? Now I can identify your speech.
Mr. Conway: -- because any other clarity the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick would not understand. I want to make it perfectly clear that I appreciate the direction given me by my constituents as I understand it.
Mr. Warner: Not as they understand it, but as you understand it.
Mr. Conway: And on their behalf, notwithstanding Edmund Burke’s letter to the electors of Bristol, I will support in principle the notion that the drinking age should be made more practical than has been the case post-1971.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: How do you feel personally?
Mr. Conway: I do so with the following caveat, that I know that those in this province who are 16, 17, 18, or whatever, who want to have a drink will have a drink despite what this Legislature might rule to the contrary. There is no one in this chamber who can leave here feeling that this is a purity that we can make stick; and no one knows that better than the member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea) who has just arrived on the scene.
An hon. member: Aren’t you glad you’re here?
Mr. Conway: I hope, for however long that government lasts -- and if today’s performance in question period is any example I am sure --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Another 19 years.
Mr. Conway: -- I am sure that the sunset, in the member for London South’s phrase, is surely approaching -- that we will have an opportunity to see the member for Scarborough Centre become the minister in charge of the liquor policy of the Tory administration.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: He will be before you will.
Hon. Mr. Drea: It’s a damn hard policy, I’ll tell you.
Mr. Conway: Then we might have another view; we might have a liberalizing, progressive view.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Don’t complain about me.
Mr. Conway: We might have an understanding view.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Not on liquor.
Mr. Conway: -- perfectly clear --
Mr. Conway: We might have a more sensitive social view, that we cannot expect, and that we do really expect from the present member.
Mr. Roy: Frank, are you against sin?
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, for those reasons, and I want to make it very clear, like the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt) who, I think, makes the case for those of us who find it very difficult to accept a drinking age in principle, and because the constituents we represent so direct us, we will accept their majority mandate. For that reason, I will support the principle of Bill 96. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Walker: You can’t even accept a drink.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: How do you feel personally?
Mr. Walker: You are a teetotaller.
Mr. Speaker: The member for High Park- Swansea.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Don’t go away, Sean.
Mr. Ziemba: I rise in support of Bill 96, Mr. Speaker, not because my constituents have directed me to do so, but because I believe it’s a small step in the right direction. I think this Legislature made a terrible mistake back in 1971 --
Mr. Bradley: Is this going to be as good as the speech on the wolf bounty?
Mr. Ziemba: -- and it will go a small way towards correcting that mistake.
We heard this evening that smoking could be banned or, because the age of majority was lowered, there has been an increase in sexual activities. That wasn’t what the doctor ordered.
Mr. Roy: Leave that out of it.
Mr. Foulds: There was no cause and effect.
Mr. Walker: Bring the bill in again.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We are setting up a board.
Mr. Roy: A board? Yes, Frank can use it, you know.
Mr. Ziemba: While there are probably cases where people engaged in these pursuits --
An hon. member: I agree with that.
Mr. Ziemba: -- were participants, and where the pursuit of these activities proved fatal, at least they didn’t end up killing other people as we have with the drinking problem. Bars, taverns and discos that are catering to the teenage trade are not going to close down because we’ve passed Bill 96, Mr. Speaker. Young people will continue to drink in these bars rather than at home and cars will continue to be used to get from one bar to another. Eventually they will be used for the trip home.
This bill may cut down on some of the carnage on our highways but there are no guarantees that it will eliminate it, as far as young people are concerned. It would be a lot better if this bill restored the drinking age to 21.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Are you going to speak, Gordon?
Mr. Ziemba: Nowhere in this bill does it suggest that the brewers and distillers should cut back on their advertising. The member for Cornwall told us about our national magazine, Maclean’s, having 88 pages with 20 ads. While we have 20 pages of liquor advertising, we have a more popular magazine, Quest, distributed free of charge to 700,000 homes in this province on a regular basis, and this particular copy has 88 pages with 35 pages of liquor advertising. They do better than Maclean’s
The more any product is promoted, the more advertising we have, the higher the consumption will be. This bill does not attack the root cause of alcohol abuse, which is alienation and loss of self-worth.
Mr. Bradley: On that basis, you should have a majority government, eh?
Mr. Ziemba: Youth employment stands at 40 per cent. There are no jobs for young people, young people who can’t make it in school, and even graduates, face a bleak future. Thanks to our mismanaged economy, there are few meaningful jobs for anyone under 25. This loss of self-esteem, this loss of a sense of belonging and identity results in alcohol abuse as well as anti-social behaviour. We’ve learned that today’s teenagers are, and will continue to be, over-represented in our prison system. I don’t think this bill will change that very much. However, Bill 96 will go a long way, I think to removing alcohol from high schools and the peer pressure that accompanies it, and it is for that reason that I am going to vote for it.
It was also suggested in an earlier speech that we can’t legislate morality. While we can’t legislate people to be good, we can legislate in such a way that it will make it difficult for people to be bad.
Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, I will attempt to be brief, because I realize there are other members who wish to make their contribution this evening and particularly our member from Essex South.
I would submit at the beginning that I will speak in favour of this bill. However, I would caution the minister in the flush of the excitement of what we are doing right now that he has a greater responsibility; that, I submit, is to examine though his ministry those factors which I personally perceive are things or factors which are changing the habits of the people in our community, in the province of Ontario, who are choosing to consume some form of alcohol.
The evidence I have is rather limited and yet, coming from London, Ontario, with Labatt’s Brewery being one of the corporate members of our community, it is my understanding that the habits of the people in Ontario are changing very radically and rather quickly from that of consuming what is called soft alcohol -- that is, in the form of some beer, ale, lager or what have you -- to some harder form of alcohol. I would submit to the minister that his responsibility would have to extend into the area of consideration, or research if you will to examine what factors are causing the change and then, along with his cabinet colleagues, to do something effectively which would bring that change back or away from the rather horrendous direction in which it seems to be proceeding.
The next point I would like to make is that the amendment which the minister submitted to us today is one which pleases me very much. I say that for a personal reason. My family consisting of six young people, has in it two people -- my second daughter, who was born in January 1960, and my first son, who was born in that same year, in December 1960. These young people, who are just over 11 months apart in their age difference would have been caught in a rather awkward social situation had the minister’s original proposition proceeded. They are where they are -- that is, in grade 12 of their secondary school life -- by virtue of the Education Act. In the Education Act at page 25, and I am referring to section 20 in part II, which defines compulsory school attendance, an essential in there is the definition of “admission and time” for people entering our school system. Essentially, “those young people born between January and June of a school year may not enter until the September of that school year; however, the young people born between September and December may enter in that particular year.” So, in fact, we have a division within a calendar year of the young people in our community.
I checked with Statistics Canada to see how many of our present 17-year-olds that might affect, and the information given to me this morning by Statistics Canada indicated that two years ago -- they have no up to date information for 1977 because they have not the proficiency to have the information available that quickly, but for the preceding year the births in Ontario totalled 124,229. In the period from September to December there were 42,395 births. In other words they represent 33.8 per cent of the young people aged 17.
If you were to extend this or if you were to go back -- and I asked him to go back to check the month by month birth rate and birth numbers and the numbers come out within a percentage point of each other. The number that would have been affected at this point in time, also making reference to the Ministry of Education statistics, would have been in the neighbourhood of 37,000 young people in our province if that age had been left effective September 1. Those young people, those 37,000 in our province, I am sure are grateful that amendment moves it up to January. In my opinion, it is very consistent to make that change.
Aside from making that comment I will note that my own son, who would have been affected, and many of his friends, who brought to me a list of names of people who are affected and who are concerned, all expressed the opinion, as mentioned a few moments ago by the member for York Centre, that if we have a problem right now it is that our law, as we know it today, is not properly enforced. The young people with whom I am associated -- and again I have to make reference to my own family, aside from those many thousands of young people I was acquainted with in my 21 years in teaching -- by and large the young people I am acquainted with have all made the same observation and that is that our law is not enforced.
They are not inclined to be critical of the law, but they are inclined to be very critical of the lack of enforcement of the law. For example, they and their friends do this -- and I would submit that most of them, being human, probably have attempted the same thing -- when they go into an establishment that serves alcohol, no one is questioned about his or her age. They have witnesses, associates and people they know in the same class who go into LCBO or Brewers’ Retail outlets and never are they asked, according to these people, for identification. I would submit to the minister that that was one of the main criticisms that the young people have: enforce the laws that exist.
Beyond that, I would say that in section 6 of the act there is reference made to identification. I am torn at various times on my thinking on this, whether it’s right or not, but we talk in one breath about identification for federal reasons and we look at our social insurance number. We then take a look at identification for this purpose. We talk about personal identification or identification forms for such things as OHIP and then we hear from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications that we will likely be getting drivers’ licences with an identification photo.
To me this is an area that demands of our government a further investigation because essentially, if you sit and analyse it just on the surface, Mr. Speaker, you could end up with four or five or six pieces of identification. I don’t think that is the minister’s intention and I would hope that in the cabinet debate he comes up with some kind of solution for the people in the province of Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We will be using the licences.
Mr. Van Horne: You will be?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, as soon as they are out.
Mr. Van Horne: I am sorry. I didn’t understand that, having read this. But at any rate, I hope I have made my point that a variety of forms of identification are not necessarily needed. I would submit that if we had a form of identification and, beyond that, if we had a determination to pursue the laws that exist that perhaps we wouldn’t have to get into such long debates and such concern as we are looking at right now.
Mr. Charlton: I rise to speak to Bill 96. Although there are a number of things in the bill that are probably useful in terms of tightening some of the aspects of the law a little bit, there are a number of problems I see with the bill. The basic one is the whole question of the drinking age.
It seems to me that to a great degree those of us who are debating this bill here tonight are playing games with ourselves if we think that the problems we are talking about didn’t exist before 1971. If we think that by raising the drinking age by one year those problems are going to go away, we are being somewhat naive.
Drinking teenagers are no new phenomenon. Drinking in high school is no new phenomenon -- a number of the members here tonight have mentioned that. Most of us here tonight know, whether we participated ourselves or not, that the problem existed long before the change in the drinking age in 1971. One point that has been made tonight by a number of speakers that I think is very important and that we seem to a large degree to be overlooking is that the vast majority of young people in 1978, as in 1971, as in 1965, in 1955 and in 1945, are responsible and reasonably mature. They are not abusing -- as they did not abuse -- the privilege, or the “snuck” privilege, of drinking, whether it was before or after 1971.
Perhaps we should recall for a moment the prohibition that was attempted in the 1930s. It was a prohibition to deal with a social problem; and the prohibition failed miserably. It just didn’t work, because society was not prepared or able to deal with prohibition. They were not prepared to change their attitudes.
I recall a situation I was involved in when I was 18 years old. I was driving one night with a friend. We were following a car which was weaving all over the road. On a number of occasions it crossed the centre line of a four-lane highway onto the wrong side of the road. Obviously the driver had dozed off and on each occasion managed to get back to the right side of the road only after some very loud beeping by the rather heavy traffic coming the other way.
Eventually we got this car stopped and got the 45-year-old gentleman out of his ear. We managed to get his name and address and to get him home. I raise this example tonight for two reasons: first, because the gentleman we were involved with that evening was part of a society that has set and is setting the examples for the young people we are talking about here tonight; and secondly, because he wasn’t a young person and still hadn’t been able to deal with his problem -- which was a social problem.
We set the attitudes. We set the examples. And now we throw the stones.
One of the things that has bothered me somewhat is that we try to deal with a social problem and a social attitude by a prohibition. I’ve heard no discussion here tonight about trying to deal with the rather high death rate from alcohol-related diseases through prohibition.
I don’t have any facts and figures on it but I would imagine that if we delved into the statistics on people who die from brain damage and from heart damage and from kidney and liver damage we would find that the rate is disgusting, to say the least But we can’t deal with that problem through prohibition, because the people who find themselves in that situation are a part of this society and living the social attitudes this society pushes. In the same way I don’t think we can deal with the social attitudes and the social pressures of young people by prohibition.
This society has bombarded itself and the young people in it with the myths of the social benefits of the use of alcohol. We have tied the use of alcohol directly to sexual achievement and sexual acceptability and to athletic prowess. All of the things we worship in this society we in effect say you can accomplish with the use of alcohol or as part of your social involvement.
In the same way that this society has problems above the ages of 18, 19, 20 and 21, this society has to deal with those problems. For us to single out young people here tonight is a cop out. We have a social problem of alcohol abuse to deal with and we’re hiding from that problem, finding a scapegoat. What I very sincerely fear is that when this bill passes, all of us as legislators, and all of the parents out there who have related the problem to us, will breathe a sigh of relief and say: “Thank God we’ve got it out of the high schools,” or, “Thank God we’ll save a few lives on the highways.”
A number of the members mentioned the drinking that went on at high schools before 1971 and the drinking that went on in other jurisdictions as well.
I can well recall the problems of drinking in high school. A very small minority actually took alcohol into the schools during the day; a very, very small minority, but it happened even then. There were some who got drunk and rowdy at dances; and a large number drank on their own private time. Many went across the border from the area where I lived into New York state, to Buffalo, to Lakewood, to a number of other places, and ran the risks of the long drive home.
Mr. Bradley: Did you go to Lakewood?
Mr. Charlton: On occasion, yes.
Mr. Bradley: That place has burned down.
Mr. Charlton: That’s probably going to be a saving for the 18-year-olds in Hamilton.
At any rate, my point tonight is that we are trying to deal with a problem that is a problem of the whole society in the wrong way and in a way that cannot work.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I shall be very brief. I, obviously, rise in support of this bill. I want to commend my colleague for his courage, not just on the --
Mr. Roy: What courage?
Hon. Mr. Drea: -- issue of the raising of the drinking age --
Mr. Roy: It was the member for Essex South.
Hon. Mr. Drea: -- but on the package of recommendations that came forward in a previous parliament.
Mr. Foulds: Mancini doesn’t have the bruises from cabinet that the minister has.
Hon. Mr. Drea: As you know, Mr. Speaker, I had something to do in 1975 -- as a matter of fact, I did the bulk of the work -- dealing with the previous liquor act. At that time, because of certain circumstances, there were a number of ministers involved, and I can say very truthfully to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the House, that had the degree of courage that has been shown by the present minister been shown then, perhaps we would not have to be here tonight.
Mr. Mancini: Don’t ruin your credibility because of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.
Mr. Roy: Give some credit to the member for Essex South.
Mr. Gregory: Oh, come on. He’s Johnny-come-lately.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I want to talk for a few moments on an aspect of the alcohol problem. I am not naive and I’m fully aware of human nature and the vagaries of the human condition as subject to pressures both from within our society and from within the person. I don’t think that this bill is going to be a panacea. Quite frankly, it is a small step forward, but it is a step forward in the right direction.
For those who like to ponder certain things -- as a matter of fact, I don’t understand where this sexual attractiveness aspect comes from; from some of the speeches here tonight it’s almost enough to make a man get extremely thirsty and see the things he’s been missing over the years.
Every day when I go to work I have to face the grim reality that 90 per cent of the inmates in the Ontario institutions are there because of alcohol-related offences. This is not to say they’re alcoholics; in fact, many of them aren’t even heavy drinkers. But it is a statistical fact that their troubles in society that have led them to become offenders are over their inability to control the use of alcohol.
It may be of interest to you, Mr Speaker, that the federal penitentiary service tells me that 80 per cent of the inmates -- and, quite frankly, that is probably more shocking, because the bulk of their inmates are violent offenders -- that 80 per cent of those offenders are alcohol-related.
Mr. Roy: Or drugs.
Mr. B. Newman: Mancini deserves the credit.
Hon. Mr. Drea: No, alcohol. We’ll give you the drugs, too.
An hon. member: Alcohol is a drug.
Hon. Mr. Drea: What bothers me, and I’m sure it bothers those of the profession in this House who are in contact with the inmate population in institutions, is that about 45 to 50 per cent of the inmates in Ontario, and about the same ratio of the inmates in the federal penitentiary system, aren’t even shaving yet They’re 16, 17, 18, 19 years old.
An hon. member: Then what are they doing with shaving lotion?
An hon. member: Give them the vote.
Hon. Mr. Drea: It seems to me that we have to make a start in our society, in our community, towards a coherent and a personal control of the alcohol problem. Prohibition won’t work. Temperance won’t work. All the regulations and the legislation won’t cure the problem. It is a matter of personal control. In this regard, the present minister has removed many of the anachronisms of the old act, which makes the act that will pass in this session much more acceptable to the population. Liquor control is not something to be snickered or laughed at or to be deliberately broken because it is expected in society. That’s probably still the impact of prohibition upon us.
An hon. member: Howard Ferguson would be happy.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Alcohol abuse has an enormous impact; albeit probably less than four or five per cent of the population is involved, it is a growing thing. If you want to look at the impaired driving in this province, Mr. Speaker, take into account that each and every weekend I have 600 weekend sentences, 95 per cent of them on multiples -- this is their third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, 10th impaired driving sentence. These figures are going up.
An hon. member: Ten?
An hon. member: My boys.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Therefore, while this bill is not a panacea -- it is not in any way, shape or form, nor has it attempted to be, a total look at the situation -- it is a step forward. It is a step forward that will only be meaningful if there is enforcement. I don’t think it’s telling any secrets to say that the present enforcement of the act is at best non-descript. But enforcement alone won’t carry it out. It has to have the support of the community. It has to have the support of the individual.
In this manner, I think that the package that has been proposed in this bill by my colleague the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations is not only a step forward in the right direction as regards youth and the problem they are having with this commodity, but also it is drawing to the attention of the public that liquor regulation and liquor control is something that is absolutely essential in our society, not something that is to be snickered at any more, something that can be made practical and understandable. On that basis, I support the bill.
Mr. Speaker: Would the member for Essex South care to adjourn the debate?
On motion by Mr. Mancini, the debate was adjourned.
An hon. member: Well done, Remo. That’s the best you’ve done all year.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, may I give some indication as to the order of business tomorrow and next week? Tomorrow we will carry on with the consideration of the fourth report of the select committee on the Ombudsman. Once that is completed we will return to this bill, that is Bill 96.
During the week of June 12, on Monday, the following legislation will be considered in this order: Bill 96, if it hasn’t been completed tomorrow morning, followed by the second reading of Bill 108. Then we will do Bills 96, 91, 86, 85 and 108 in committee.
On Tuesday we will start with Bill 66 in committee, no matter where we finish up on Monday. Then we will do second reading of Bills 83, 84 and 19. Then we will do Bills 80, 81, 83, 84 and 799 in committee. Then we will come out of committee to do second readings of Bill 110 and 111 together with any legislation left over from Monday.
On Wednesday, the general government committee, the resources development committee and the justice committee may sit.
On Thursday, private members’ public business in the afternoon will consider Bills 65 and 99. Then on Thursday evening at 8 o’clock we will start Bill 103.
On Friday, we will carry on with Bill 103 until second reading and then if time permits, the House will consider any legislation left over from Tuesday.
Mr. Cunningham: Bill 78?
Mr. Conway: Not even Brezhnev has such power.
Mr. Breithaupt: Might I ask the House leader is it then the intention to only complete Bill 103 at the second reading stage before the adjournment of the House?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Yes.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the House adjourned at 10:33 p.m.