The House met at 2 p.m.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege and information for the members of the Legislature. Yesterday in question period I answered a question from the leader of the third party in which I indicated that equalization factors were not frozen in the province of Ontario.
Mr. Breaugh: And of course they are.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: I wish to correct that statement. They are frozen in the province of Ontario --
Mr. Breaugh: Absolutely.
Mr. Wildman: A small mistake.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: -- under section 96(2) of the Assessment Act.
DEATH OF SCHOOLBOYS
Mr. Havrot: Mr. Speaker, might I ask leave of the House to rise on a point of privilege. I would ask all members to join with me in expressing our sorrow and condolences to the families of the 12 youths who drowned so tragically while canoeing last weekend at Lake Timiskaming on a school outing. The religious faith of these parents has probably never been so strongly tested as in the past two days.
I would ask the honourable members of this House to join me in assuring the parents of those brave boys from St. John’s School at Claremont, that they and their sons are in the thoughts or prayers of people across Ontario.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
Hon. Mr. Davis: Yesterday, the Prime Minister of Canada tabled a white paper on constitutional reform. I also had an opportunity yesterday to discuss the federal government’s proposal with the Hon. Hugh Faulkner, who had been asked by the Prime Minister to meet with me.
The paper that was tabled yesterday deals generally with an approach to constitutional reform. I was pleased to see, in this introductory paper, a recognition of a number of points which had been put forward in recent years by Ontario and other provinces -- I need only refer to its emphasis on the need to improve the practices of our federation through a clarification of existing responsibilities and elimination of duplication.
Because the details of the federal proposals will only be released later this month, it is too soon to comment in specifics on the federal action. Once the detailed proposals are made known, this government will give them intense study and will take a constructive and open approach into the intergovernmental discussions which will follow. I expect that this province, and myself, will take an active part at both the premiers’ conference in August and the proposed federal-provincial meeting in September when constitutional matters are dealt with. This is in keeping with Ontario’s past approach to constitutional discussions when the provinces always work towards agreements that would meet the needs of Canadians in all parts of the country.
I do believe that action to implement proposals to change some of the basic elements of our federal system must only follow intensive public discussions and a high degree of consensus. The constitution requires broad acceptance if it is to have the legitimacy to make it effective.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable members are aware, our health care system is a system in transition. One of the key elements undergoing rapid change is new diagnostic technology, especially computerized axial tomography units, or CAT scanners, as they are called.
These units use a narrow beam of x-rays, radiation detectors, computer science and video display to provide a cross-sectional view of a selected portion of a patient’s body. A CAT scanner provides information clearly, quickly and without the discomfort associated with some other methods of diagnosis.
As well as being an extremely efficient diagnostic tool, CAT scanners are very costly. A single head-scan unit costs up to $400,000, while a whole-body scanner costs as much as $800,000. Annual operating costs can reach as high as $250,000.
In times of cost constraint it is imperative to control the proliferation of high-cost technology. I am therefore announcing a new policy covering the placement and funding of CAT scan units in Ontario.
The CAT scanner was invented only six years ago in Great Britain. The first unit in Ontario was installed at Toronto General Hospital the following year, 1973. It soon became obvious that, to ensure their equitable distribution throughout Ontario, the Ministry of Health would have to formulate a policy to regulate the placement and funding of CAT scanners. Therefore, in 1975, a ministry task force was asked to consider the problems posed by this new technology. The task force brought together experts from the Ministry of Health, the Ontario Medical Association, the Ontario Council of Administrators of Teaching Hospitals and the University Teaching Hospitals Association.
Early in 1976, the group published its report recommending the initial placement of CAT scanners in each of the five health science centres, with an eventual goal of one unit for each 500,000 population. The capital cost of each unit, the report said, should be the responsibility of the hospitals acquiring it. The report also recommended a review of the situation within the following year.
In October of last year I announced the approval of five additional CAT scanning units. Previously, scanners had been approved for Hamilton Civic Hospital, London Victoria Hospital, London University Hospital and the Ottawa General, as well as the unit at Toronto General that I have already mentioned.
The October approvals were for units in Kingston General Hospital and in Princess Margaret and St. Michael’s Hospitals in Toronto, as well as one in Thunder Bay which is now assigned to the McKellar General, plus a second unit for Hamilton, the hospital location to be determined by the district health council.
Since then, a ministry review of the CAT scanner issue, as recommended by the 1976 task force, has been carried out. It is from these recommendations that the following policy has been developed, supported by changes in regulations to the Public Hospitals Act and to the Health Insurance Act.
Briefly, the effect of regulation changes will be to assist my ministry in controlling the proliferation and unauthorized usage of CAT scanners. I will summarize the key changes as follows:
One, since CAT scanners are a regional resource, we are creating a new category of hospital -- group M hospitals, those that may charge and accept payment from other hospitals for the performance of CAT scans.
Two, another regulation change will prevent unauthorized hospitals and private clinics from receiving ministry funding for CAT scanners by prohibiting all hospitals from charging patients for CAT scans and permitting only group M institutions to charge other hospitals for scans performed for patients of those other hospitals.
Three, additional regulations permit OHIP payments to physicians for professional interpretation of CAT scans only when such scans are carried out at a public hospital.
Furthermore, new regulations list specific hospitals approved to operate CAT scanners and to have the operating costs, including depreciation, funded by the ministry. These are Hamilton Civic, London Victoria, Ottawa General and Toronto General Hospitals, approved for head scanners; and Kingston General, McKellar General in Thunder Bay, Princess Margaret and St. Michael’s Hospitals in Toronto, approved for whole-body scanners.
Other group M hospitals have also had scanners approved, but because of financial constraints operating costs for them will only be paid at a later date as funds become available. They will, however, be permitted to charge other hospitals for scans done for their patients. These approved but presently unfunded hospitals are Toronto Sunnybrook, a hospital in Hamilton, one in Windsor and one in Sudbury for head scanners; and London’s University Hospital, Ottawa Civic, Toronto General, Toronto Western and the Hospital for Sick Children for whole-body scanners.
Because of ministry cost constraints, all hospitals will have to provide initial capital costs for a CAT scanner from their own resources. However, those approved for funding will receive, in addition to operating costs, a depreciation allowance permitting recovery of capital costs over a five-year period.
The professional fee will be paid for each scan permitted under OHIP and carried out in a public hospital. However, those institutions outside of the group M category will not be able to charge other hospitals for CAT scans. Their annual budget will not be adjusted to reflect CAT scan operating costs, nor will they be able to charge a patient for a CAT scan. Any CAT scan performed by a private hospital or private outpatient clinic will not be considered an OHIP-insured service. Such facilities would not receive any funding from the ministry for CAT scan work.
To summarize, among the hospitals I have mentioned are seven newly approved for CAT scanners, to be paid for with their own capital and operating funds. These will be located in Ottawa Civic, in Toronto Sunnybrook, Toronto Western and the Hospital for Sick Children. A whole-body scanner to complement its existing head scanner is approved for Toronto General. As I’ve said, my ministry will also approve CAT scanners for Sudbury and the Windsor area. I’m asking the district health councils to advise us as to which hospitals in these areas should receive scan units.
The existing and newly approved CAT scanner installations represent, I believe, an equitable and cost-conscious distribution of this technology in Ontario. The choices have been based on demonstrated regional need, using three criteria.
They are a population density of one unit per 500,000 population -- it is worth noting that the listing just outlined totals 11 units, representing approximately one per 500,000 population as recommended by the task force report; second, sufficient patient load and the existence of the appropriate professional staff of neurosurgeons, neurologists and neuro-radiologists; and third, geographical factors such as access to the unit by other hospitals and sharing of the unit on an equitable basis to provide access for all patients regardless of hospital affiliations.
While I have listed the hospitals designed to provide this valuable service, it should be emphasized that the service will be of a regional nature. All other hospitals in an area must have access to the program for those patients who would benefit. The hospitals selected must develop mutually agreeable policies to make CAT scan services readily available to all citizens.
As a guide to the future, all approved hospitals have agreed to a formal, ongoing evaluation of the use of the scanner by my ministry. This evaluation project will permit us to assess the degree to which the currently approved scanners have been used, as well as the financial and clinical efficiency of their operations. I expect it will take some 18 to 24 months before we get a clear indication of the patterns of CAT scanner usage. Only after this evaluation is completed can we consider additional CAT scanners for hospitals in such areas as northeast and northwest Metropolitan Toronto.
In recent months, I have frequently described our health system as being a system in transition. I have discussed the need to manage the changes taking place in the system. I believe the phenomenon of the CAT scanner is an excellent example of our response to the need to manage change while maintaining Ontario’s health care system as one of the finest in the world.
NUCLEAR PLANT SAFETY
Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Yesterday, the leader of the New Democratic Party asked questions of the Minister of Energy (Mr. Baetz) with respect to a letter which had been sent to me last Friday by Dr. Arthur Porter, chairman of the Royal Commission on Electric Power Planning. Since the royal commission reports to me, I would like to advise the House that I have asked Dr. Porter to clarify precisely what information has come to his attention and precisely why he is concerned. I and my staff will be discussing this matter with him in detail over the next few days.
I am pleased that Dr. Porter has made himself available to the media this morning to explain the contents of his letter to me. In so doing, he indicated that the Atomic Energy Control Board is reviewing current reactor safety principles and criteria with the objective of clarifying the existing situation. The commission, therefore, intends to inquire further into the conclusions of this review in order to supplement information already made available to it by the board. He added that safety standards in Ontario’s nuclear plants are second to none in the world.
In the meantime, I would like to remind members that the full responsibility for determining the safety standards of nuclear reactors rests with the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada. When I obtain more information, I will be pleased to report back to the House.
COMMUNITY SERVICE ORDER PROJECTS
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, on Thursday, June 8, I signed a contract for the funding of a community service order project to be administered by the Elizabeth Fry Society, Peel-Halton branch. This signing was significant for a number of reasons, which I would like to share with members of this Assembly.
This contract, plus the two with native organizations in London and Kenora which I announced on May 30, brings the number of community service order projects for funding by my ministry to nine.
By way of a progress report, I am pleased to report that as of April 30, 1978, a total of 451 community service orders had been issued by the judiciary, of which 213 were in six project areas and 238 in the remainder of the province.
Community support for the concept of community services has been excellent. We are indebted to the judiciary for their innovative use of community service orders and to the agencies who have worked to ensure the projects succeed. To these agencies, through our probation staff, has fallen the responsibility of searching out appropriate service activities and work to be assigned to offenders. Amongst these placements, social service tasks predominate. But physical work placements have also been used. Several offenders have been offered jobs who have continued on as volunteers as a result of their community work.
The number of hours to be worked on community service orders has ranged from between eight and 600, with the greatest number of orders falling in the 50- to 150-hour range. Most offenders carried out their assignments in the evenings or on weekends. Community service placements have included reading books on tape for the blind, helping the disabled to learn horseback riding, assisting on wards and recreational programs at psychiatric hospitals, cooking at weekends at a hostel and working as a receptionist in a senior citizens’ home.
On the basis of present information, it is estimated that approximately 1,500 persons will be placed on community service orders in the next year and similar numbers and perhaps many more will receive this type of disposition in future years. Not all of these persons would otherwise have received prison terms. However, it seems reasonable to assume that approximately half of them would normally have been sentenced to two months or less. In other words, the community service orders as an alternative to incarceration will save the taxpayers the many millions of dollars that would have been required to build, staff and operate at least one new correctional facility. Incidentally, community service orders are already helping to relieve overcrowding in institutions.
Mr. Sargent: You should take some of those millions of dollars and build a decent jail in Owen Sound.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Perhaps more important than the saving is the impetus which has been given to the movement away from the institutionalization of petty offenders. As a result of various initiatives by my colleague the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), in co-operation with the judiciary, steps have been taken to increase the use of alternatives to incarceration. In my view the use of community service orders is one of the most important of these options and I am anxious to see their use greatly expanded.
A community service order provides a sentencing mechanism for distinguishing between lawbreaker and criminal. It provides a much-needed and appreciated help to the community as well as repaying the community for the expenses incurred as a result of wrongdoing by the offender. Community service also teaches the lawbreaker to accept responsibility for his deeds.
From my perspective as Minister of Correctional Services, it is highly desirable that wherever possible nonviolent offenders should be permitted to remain in the community rather than be sent to costly correctional institutions. There will always be a percentage of the offender population who must in the interests of public safety be housed in secure correctional facilities. These persons would include those on remand awaiting trial, sentence or transfer to institutions, as well as the relatively small number of persons convicted of violent offences who must receive treatment and training in a secure setting. However, society would be better served if many petty offenders were diverted to community service rather than being sentenced to institutions.
Our goal should be to return prisons to performing the main function for which they were established: the protection of society from the violent and dangerous. A community service order is not a panacea but is one of a number of alternatives which can help us to achieve this goal and, although we have a long way to go in reducing the large number of male offenders being sent to correctional facilities, there is every reason to be optimistic about the possibility of dramatically changing the situation as it relates to female offenders.
In this context, the contract with the Elizabeth Fry Society to operate a community service project takes on increased significance. As members know, the Elizabeth Fry Society has an outstanding record of achievement for its work with female offenders who are returning to the community after a period of incarceration in prison. The project involving the Peel-Halton branch not only marks the entry of the society into providing services to male offenders, because both men and women qualify for such orders, but it also moves the society into working with offenders who have not been sentenced to institutions.
It is my confident hope that through the sentencing alternatives such as community service orders, and with the assistance and help of experienced organizations such as the Elizabeth Fry Society, we can move towards the goal of de-institutionalizing all but the most violent female offenders within the next two years.
Mr. Peterson: The only decent minister you’ve got, Bill. You should promote him.
Mr. McClellan: One decent minister over there.
Mr. Warner: The rest of you should resign.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Only when you do, David.
VEHICLE PURCHASING POLICY
Hon. Mr. Snow: I would like to inform the House that the government of Ontario has revised its purchasing policy on motor vehicles, a policy my ministry will be implementing this year.
Mr. S. Smith: What about smaller cars?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Cabinet has decided that beginning with the purchase of 1979 model vehicles this fall, all government passenger cars and light commercial vehicles will be purchased directly through local dealers by open tenders on a district basis. As I am sure the honourable members are aware, the government’s present practice is to purchase vehicles from the manufacturer and have them delivered through dealers designated by the manufacturer.
Mr. Laughren: About time.
Hon. Mr. Snow: This new policy will bring our vehicle purchasing practices more in line with the government’s overall policy of assisting small local businessmen whenever possible.
In closing, Mr. Speaker, I might add that MTC will continue to be responsible for all specifications and the purchasing of all government motor vehicles.
Ms. Bryden: What about the gas?
Mr. Peterson: What are you backing off of today, Darcy?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: On May 11 I introduced Bill 79, An Act to Restructure the County of Northumberland. That legislation came about because of a request from the Northumberland county council.
Mr. Cassidy: On a point of order: I have received the statement now, Mr. Speaker, but I wonder whether the Treasurer could follow the practice now adopted by other members of the cabinet and ensure that statements are delivered in advance of and not after his statements to the House.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Mr. Speaker, I apologize. I had read all of two lines.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: The rule says, “at the time of.”
Mr. Laughren: What a difference minority government makes.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: After two earlier votes favouring restructuring, the county council in Northumberland on June 12 voted against restructuring.
I have on several occasions indicated that we would abide by the wish of the county council on this matter and that the government of Ontario was not going to impose restructuring on the county. Bill 79 was based on local initiative from the county and depended upon the continued support of county council. Consequently, the government of Ontario will not be proceeding with the legislation.
Because developments in the Northumberland area will continue to put stress upon the fabric of local government in the county, the government of Ontario will be prepared to consider future municipal reform initiatives from the area. However, I want to stress that the initiative for reform must come from the municipalities themselves.
Mr. Peterson: You have been running backward so much lately that your heels are backward.
NUCLEAR PLANT SAFETY
Mr. S. Smith: A question of the Minister of Energy: It pertains to the question asked by the leader of the third party yesterday, and also Dr. Porter’s statement on the radio this morning.
What is the information that the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada came in possession of that triggered this particular reassessment of the safety factors regarding the nuclear reactors in Ontario? Can the minister give us that information; and if he can’t, can he tell us basically what its nature is? Is it in any way related to the exchange of correspondence for which we put in a request in December 1976, the so-called background notes to do with the Bruce and Pickering safety report?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: As my colleague has already indicated, he is in the process of really finding out from Dr. Porter just exactly what he did mean by his statement. Until we have that kind of information, I suppose, we have to go on a great deal of conjecture. I frankly don’t know.
Mr. McClellan: This is absurd.
Mr. Roy: You are only the Minister of Energy, you are not expected to know.
Mr. Warner: You only know what the chairman of Hydro told you?
Mr. Bolan: You won’t last too long there.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I do know that on February 22, the Atomic Energy Control Board -- which as has been indicated is responsible for setting these standards of safety and for daily supervision of them; it’s not the responsibility of Ontario Hydro, these are standards set by AECB. As I say we have been informed in the last few days that AECB did present a very detailed submission to the Porter commission on reactor criteria studies on February 22 and 23. This appears as exhibit 318 and is now a public document; we do know that. I would find it difficult to answer in detail the questions of the Leader of the Opposition until we have a more precise statement from Dr. Porter as to what triggered him to delay the submission of the report to the Legislature. We’re trying to find out what it was.
Mr. Deans: What do you mean by you are trying to find out?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: We have established that the Atomic Energy Control Board did make a submission and did present evidence. As my colleague has indicated, we have heard this morning from Dr. Porter himself, confirming something we knew all along, that Pickering and Bruce are the safest reactors in the world.
Mr. Sargent: Why don’t you make a phone call and find out?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: To get back to the question, I don’t really know what triggered him. Certainly there was no deliberate attempt on the part of Hydro or anybody else to withhold information.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, I didn’t ask what triggered Dr. Porter’s objection, as we know what triggered his objection. He says clearly he’s concerned that the Atomic Energy Control Board did not disclose to us the fact that it was carrying out a reassessment of the safety. That’s what he’s upset about.
Could the minister tell us whether such a reassessment is under way; and if so, what triggered that reassessment? If he doesn’t know that, does he mean to say he has not bothered to ask Hydro this in the last couple of days, given that Hydro is a party to the reassessment?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: As I indicated, we have established the fact, which was not at all apparent in Dr. Porter’s statement of yesterday, that the Atomic Energy Control Board did, on February 22, submit a brief to the Porter commission, dealing with the very subject he is now raising questions about. Until we hear from Dr. Porter in more detail, we really don’t know what more information he wants.
Mr. Deans: The minister is getting progressively worse.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Hydro also appeared on the panel in March and was prepared to speak to this presentation of AECB of February 22, but no questions were raised. Therefore, we are at a loss to know what more information Dr. Porter really needs or what he wants.
Mr. S. Smith: Did the minister ask Hydro if there is going to be a reassessment?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: There is an ongoing assessment. That was fully documented in the brief submitted by AECB on February 22 to Dr. Porter’s commission. For that reason, we are at a loss to know what more the gentleman wants at this time.
Mr. Cassidy: Can the minister say what discussions have been taking place between Ontario Hydro and AECB over nuclear reactor safety criteria; whether there have been new discussions initiated as a result of the February 22 document or for some other reason within the last three or four months; and what has been the result of those particular discussions, particularly as regards the safety of existing power stations and as regards the possibility of dual failure accidents, about which the AECB has obviously got to be concerned?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: In conversations with the chairman of the board of Ontario Hydro in the last 24 hours, I have had reconfirmed and reiterated the fact that the whole question of safety of the reactors is not a one-time thing. It’s not a sporadic thing, it’s an ongoing thing.
The supervisors of the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada are daily supervising the generating plants to make absolutely certain the standards established and approved by AECB are maintained. It’s an ongoing thing --
Ms. Gigantes: That’s right, it’s an ongoing problem.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- and even the assessment of the criteria is an ongoing thing; it isn’t a one-time shot at all.
Mr. Foulds: Are those standards adequate?
Mr. S. Smith: Could I, by way of supplementary, be sure I understand the minister correctly, because this is an important point.
Is the minister saying that, as far as he knows or has been able to find out from Hydro, the only assessment going on is a kind of continuing assessment to which reference was made on February 22 and an exhibit of which was filed with the Porter commission; therefore the minister himself is at some loss to know why Dr. Porter is so surprised, since this is an ongoing assessment that has already been referred to? Is that basically what the minister has heard from Hydro?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: That is not basically what I have heard from Hydro; that’s basically what I heard from the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada. At a news conference in Ottawa this morning at 11:30, AECB said essentially the same thing. They frankly don’t know why Dr. Porter suddenly feels he needs more information, because he has been getting all the information. He got it February 22. AECB is there to give him the details. Any more details he wants he can have.
Mr. Sargent: So he is a bad guy now.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: So we really don’t know; probably it will be clarified when he responds to the letter of the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Brunelle).
Mr. Cassidy: Is the government now prepared to table the Bruce safety reactor notes which were requested by my predecessor in this House back in December of 1976, which clearly have a vital bearing on the questions of safety; not just to the Bruce plant but also at all comparable nuclear installations in the province, and which the government refused to table at that particular time?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I am assuming that if it has to do with safety we would be ready to table any piece of information that will confirm to this House, and the public at large, what we already know: that Pickering and Bruce are, by world standards, the safest reactors in the world.
OHIP BENEFITS SCHEDULE
Mr. S. Smith: A question of the Minister of Health: Can the minister tell the House whether there has been a policy adopted whereby OHIP will no longer pay for certain experimental and as yet unproven forms of treatment? Has there been a change made in the OHIP schedule of benefits, which is now different from the OMA schedule, which has removed from OHIP payments for certain experimental forms of treatment? Is this a policy?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: In the OHIP schedule of benefits which has recently been published -- and the interim schedule was negotiated with OMA -- there have been several changes in terms of adding, for instance the intermediate assessment, and taking a few things out. I don’t have the list with me. If the member would like an indication of the changes, I will be glad to get that for him. I don’t recall any particular one off hand.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, what I really want from the minister is some indication as to whether there has been a policy of removing experimental and as yet unproven methods from the OHIP benefits schedule? If so, could he list what benefits and what treatments have been removed from the previous existing schedule?
While he is looking at that, could the minister explain to the House why an ultraviolet treatment, photobiology sometimes known as PUVA treatment, has been removed from the OHIP schedule, since I know of at least one instance where the treatment was of very considerable benefit in a most serious case?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Any additions or deletions to the schedule are always based on the medical efficacy of the individual item and negotiations with medical associations. For instance, the member may recall that in 1977 we added reconstructive surgery for radical mastectomies. That was based on discussions with the college and with the medical association to determine that it was, in fact, something that should be an insured benefit. All parties having agreed to that, it was added. The same would be true of any other things being removed.
In our negotiations with the medical association, if we were agreed that something should not be a benefit because it is not proven or it’s not effective, the appropriate steps are taken there. So I will get the member the list. I believe Mr. Armstrong from the Liberal research office phoned OHIP this morning and was speaking with the staff there about this anyway, and that is already in the works.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask a question of the Premier arising out of his statement on the federal government proposals on constitutional change.
Can the Premier say, in the light of his statement, that he believes that constitution requires broad acceptance if it is to have a legitimacy to make it effective, whether that means Ontario is accepting or not accepting the 1980 deadline which the federal Prime Minister appears to be seeking to impose on the provinces and the country at large?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, in fairness to the Prime Minister and to everybody. I think it is too early to make that sort of judgement. Quite frankly, I can understand the Prime Minister’s desire to establish certain tentative timetables. Whether they will be met, whether they should be met, I think is something that discussions over the next few months will determine. Certainly I am not accepting a particular timetable. I think the consensus that is necessary may require a longer period of time, or it may not; I can’t make that sort of judgement.
But I do say to the honourable member that we intend to approach these discussions in a constructive way. It really is early to comment until we see some of the legislation because, while the white paper sort of sets a tone for what may emerge, I think it is the specifics that really should be discussed. However, I am not accepting nor rejecting the timetable that has been suggested.
I would just say to the honourable member, and this may sound strange coming from me, that I can understand why he would suggest a timetable, because in fairness we have been discussing this, to my knowledge, since at least 1971 -- some will argue since 1968 -- and I am one of those who believes that there should be some progress made.
Mr. Sargent: Something like your tax reform, Bill?
Mr. Cassidy: Can the Premier say whether. when the Honourable Hugh Faulkner was here yesterday, there have been assurances from the federal government that this province and other provinces will be consulted in advance of the legislation which the federal government apparently intends to present to Parliament by the end of June? Can he say whether there has been an assurance of that kind of consultation?
As a second part of the question, does the Premier consider that the proposals that the federal government is now recycling from the early 1970s are appropriate, particularly in view of the fact that they do not appear to make reference to the need to co-ordinate economic action on behalf of all Canadians within the constitution?
Mr. Peterson: Who is writing your speeches for God’s sake? Ed Broadbent?
Hon. Mr. Davis: As I am sure the honourable member would agree if he thought about it carefully --
Mr. Makarchuk: It’s better than Eugene Whelan.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That was unfair to say about the Minister of Agriculture for Canada.
Mr. Roy: He is not arguing with you, Bill.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Great Canadian.
Hon. Mr. Davis: In fairness, I think one can understand the principle of the bill being introduced and given first reading before being discussed in public. While both Mr. Faulkner and Mr. Thorson, who was also here, shared some aspects in general terms, I think it is reasonable to assume that the bill should be introduced.
I have every assurance, I am totally confident, that once the bill is introduced, the government of Canada will not proceed with that bill until such time as there has been a rather comprehensive discussion with the provinces and, I would hope, with the public at large. So while the bill will be introduced some time before the end of the month -- and I will not be privy to the contents of the bill; I will not have seen it, nor would I assume other Premiers would have seen it -- I cannot quarrel with the principle of introducing it, because I am totally satisfied there will be no intention of proceeding with any bill until these discussions take place.
Mr. Roy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I recognize the fact that it is difficult to give commitments when we are lacking specifics, as we are in this white paper, but the white paper states on page 24: “Provisions could be made for provincial governments to join in supporting aims and the charter at once or when they saw fit.” In view of the importance of the proposals, in view of the work the Premier has done in that field -- he has had a blue document out, which I have had occasion to read -- and in view of the very important principles, will the Premier undertake that we shall have an opportunity in this House to have a full debate so that all members of the Legislature can participate and give the government our views and have a very positive approach to these proposals?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Taking even the Prime Minister’s suggested timing as to how he would like to see this proceed, it’s quite obvious there will be ample time for both debates and discussions prior to any consideration, in my view, of the government of Canada moving ahead with second reading of the bill. There are two phases, as I’m sure the honourable member senses. There will be those areas where the government of Canada may decide to move on its own initiative. Technically, theoretically, legally they can move without the support or consent of the provinces. In my view it would be highly desirable if there could be as much agreement from the provinces on phase one as could be developed prior to that happening, but I think the Prime Minister does have the option of moving without it.
In terms of what approach we take provincially, as to whether or not we accept, in terms of provincial reaction, some aspects of the charter, the statement of rights or principles -- whatever way it is phrased -- not only will there be ample opportunity for discussion, but I would doubt that this would be done without, probably, ultimately a specific resolution to the House. At the time of the Victoria charter, we contemplated that if it had proceeded not only would it have required, but I was anxious to have, some resolution of the House dealing with our participation in it. I would certainly think there will be ample opportunity.
The discussions in August among the Premiers will, hopefully, be of a constructive nature once again and will give us some positions to put to the first minister and his colleagues in the September conference, assuming that there will be one. I would think that after that there will still be a rather prolonged discussion publicly and between governments, and there will be ample opportunity here for us to discuss not only the issues raised by the honourable member but what will then have emerged, many other issues on which he will want to express a point of view -- a lot of us will. There will be no problem doing that in the fall session.
Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary; Would the Premier make available forthwith, as he promised a few days ago, the statements that were released from the Kingston conference of Joe Clark and provincial Conservative Premiers, and also the document provided by Mr. Clark on behalf of provincial Conservative Premiers to, I believe, Claude Ryan as well as Premier Levesque, so that we might be able to ascertain what relevance those documents have to the forthcoming federal legislation?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I apologize to the honourable member. I brought that historic Kingston communique with me -- I don’t know if it was yesterday or Friday --
Mr. T. P. Reid: The Brampton charter?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Bramalea. Bramalea.
Mr. Breithaupt: You could have a two for one sale.
Mr. MacDonald: What about the other one presented by Joe Clark to Premier Levesque on behalf of the provincial PC Premiers?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have found no formal documentation. I doubt very much whether Mr. Clark had anything other than the material which has either been released by the party federally --
Mr. MacDonald: He said he had.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- or the Kingston communique. I certainly have the Kingston communique. As I said, I had it here either Friday or yesterday, and I’ll be delighted to send it to the honourable member.
Mr. MacDonald: No, no, no; Joe Clark said he had further information.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I have a feeling that will go the way of the dodo bird. I’d like to ask the Premier if, in his wisdom and knowledge of these affairs, he thinks that the constitution of Canada, such as it is, can be changed unilaterally by the federal government without specifics in the first phase of the fiscal responsibilities between the federal and provincial governments being outlined specifically and acutely?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m treading a very difficult area here. I think that question might more properly be directed to the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), who is an expert in terms of constitutional law.
Mr. Roy: Not quite; the Supreme Court of Canada didn’t think so.
Hon. Mr. Davis: However, being a non-expert in the field of constitutional law, I will venture an opinion. That opinion is that probably there could be some constitutional changes, as they relate to federal institutions, without the consent of the provinces or their involvement. I think this would be highly regrettable. I don’t think that’s the way the Prime Minister would wish to move on it. Certainly, I think it would be an unwise course to follow, but technically or legally I think the Parliament of Canada can make certain constitutional changes on its own initiative. So my answer to that question would be -- and I’m open to correction by constitutional experts -- I think that is a possibility.
Mr. T. P. Reid: So is the Attorney General.
Mr. Roy: I think the Premier is on the right track; accept our opinion.
NUCLEAR PLANT SAFETY
Mr. Cassidy: I want to return to the Minister of Energy to talk about the safety-danger possibilities in nuclear reactors which have been raised by the chairman of the Royal Commission on Electric Power Planning.
Has the Minister of Energy been in direct contact with Dr. Porter over the serious concerns which he raised in his letter to the government of yesterday? Has the Minister of Energy consulted the Bruce reactor safety notes which raised specific questions related to a dual failure accident? Can he report on those two questions?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I have not been in touch with Dr. Porter since yesterday because, as I indicated earlier, we are still awaiting clarification from him as to his precise point of concern about why he is delaying the presentation of the report.
I am I having discussions with Hydro on the safety features but, as I also indicated earlier, the standards of safety which are applied to all generating stations in Ontario are set and supervised by the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada. Hydro really doesn’t set those standards. There is a daily supervision going on by AECB supervisory personnel. Certainly if there are questions of safety, I am convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that this daily kind of supervision will deal with these questions.
More than that, it’s really very difficult to know what to say at this particular point in time anyway.
Ms. Gigantes: For the minister it is.
Mr. Cassidy: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In view of the fact that Ontario Hydro operates the nuclear power reactors and will clearly be responsible, as will the government with the AECB, should there be any kind of a failure that affects safety, is the minister satisfied with the standards that have been laid down by the AECB; and in particular is he concerned about the fact that the safety shutdown system under Ontario’s present nuclear plant designs are in fact dependent on each other and are not, apparently, independent? Is this the matter of particular concern to the government; and if so what is it doing about it?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: As I’m sure the leader of the third party recognizes, the safety devices for the generators are a highly technical, highly complex matter. I really think it would be inappropriate for us to second guess, even, those who we think are the best scientists and safety experts in Canada who daily look into this question. If we have been told, as we have been consistently by the Atomic Energy Control Board, that the standards of safety are adequate, even though they are constantly under review -- because, after all, the reactors have only been active for a short number of years so one can assume this has to be reviewed considerably -- I would think that we here, who are not scientists, simply cannot second guess, as it were, the best brains, the best experts in the country.
Ms. Gigantes: Why doesn’t the minister answer the question?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I don’t know how much further the member expects us to go at this particular point.
Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the minister is he is aware that the concerns about the independence of the shutdown systems in the Candu reactor has been raised by the AECB in correspondence with Hydro since well into 1976? Is he not aware also that the AECB is likely to be bringing in new and more stringent regulations in this area? Doesn’t he think he should know about this?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I certainly do know about it. I am keeping myself fully informed on that subject --
Mr. Warner: Why don’t you? You don’t.
Ms. Gigantes: You are sloppy.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- but I am not trying to second guess the experts at AECB.
Mr. Warner: Guessing, that’s all you do.
Mr. Cassidy: Has the minister had the experts at AECB and at Hydro explain to him on behalf of the government the risks that may be entailed in the present kind of reactor design where the two safety shutdown systems are not independent? Has he had them explain it in terms which are understandable to him at the political level; and is he therefore satisfied or not satisfied with the safety features? If he does not know, how can he continue to be the minister responsible at the political level for ensuring that Ontario Hydro is doing an adequate job?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: It is not Ontario Hydro, it is the Atomic Energy Control Board that sets the standards and enforces the standards. Let’s just keep that one in mind.
Ms. Gigantes: Oh come on; Hydro sets them.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: To the specific question -- have I ever had Hydro or the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada try to explain to me in layman’s terms what the safety features are -- the answer is yes. Furthermore, in light of the questions in the House today, I am going to be asking AECB to set out the safety features in layman’s language that all of us in this House can understand. I will be glad to table them in this House; and then I think members will begin to realize that there are about eight or nine safety barriers.
Ms. Gigantes: Table the safety notes.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I think it would be very helpful if we in this House could have this kind of presentation, and I will be happy to ask AECB and Ontario Hydro jointly to give us this information.
Mr. Foulds: Will you table the Bruce safety notes?
Mr. G. Taylor: The question is to the Minister of Health. I have received numerous letters and correspondence and telephone calls on the reports of the meals, particularly breakfast, being served to the patients, some of whom are veterans, at the Sunnybrook Hospital. Could the minister comment on that please, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Martel: That was three weeks ago.
Mr. Cassidy: The member for Sudbury (Mr. Germa) raised that already.
Mr. Samis: Check Hansard.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I can confirm that following my request for a review of the matter the board of Sunnybrook Hospital has decided not to carry out that action.
FINANCIAL PROTECTION FOR FARMERS
Mr. Riddell: A question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food: Having met with the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association last week and discussing with them their concerns, does the minister intend to amend the Farm Products Payment Act to encompass the four basic concepts as outlined by them? The concepts are: the licensing of livestock dealers and dealer agencies, creation of an insurance fund, prompt payment provisions and the keeping of records.
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that question. Yes, I did meet with the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association last week and they did point out to me that the legislation we passed last year upon their request met all the requirements but one which they asked for. They thought they could operate under that bill and work out for us the necessary financial protection. It would involve the payment, I believe, of $25,000 seed money from the province.
We now find out it will not work out quite as well as they had hoped. They have been working on it for almost a year to sort it out and I am quite prepared to look at amendments to the act to make it easy for them to sort it out. Of course we won’t get it in this session.
Mr. Riddell: A supplementary: Being it is allegedly reported that another packing company is encountering financial difficulties, what protection does the beef producer have under the existing act? In other words, have any of the regulations been put into effect as the bill was amended -- I believe it was last year?
Hon. W. Newman: When the bill was passed it was set up on the basis that each commodity board or group would set up its own fund for financial protection. We would put in some seed money when they worked out the details. At this time the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association has not worked out a program. That is why they are asking for a change in legislation.
Regarding the other part of the question about a packing plant that has a problem: we have checked into stories of that, it may be true. We have been unable to find anybody, except one person who was a little hit tardy in paying here about two weeks ago. I understand they had invested their money elsewhere but their financial status is good, if that’s the one the member is talking about. I am not sure that’s the one he is talking about but I know of no others.
Mr. Cooke: I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I would like to ask the minister if he’s aware of the action taken in British Columbia to remove Hiram Walker products from liquor control stores in that province in an effort to take a more neutral role in the current strike that has been going on since the beginning of March? I am wondering if the minister will take the same action in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: That is not neutral. That is taking sides.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, we will remain neutral.
Mr. MacDonald: Neutral against whom? That is like the Irish.
Mr. Cooke: Supplementary: How can the minister say that the government is acting in a neutral role when it is currently providing a market for and selling Hiram Walker products in its stores? How can they possibly say that is a neutral role?
Mr. Nixon: The NDP should boycott all those products.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: So long as Hiram Walker supplies products to the board, obviously, in order to remain neutral we will sell those products. Obviously, if they are unable to provide them to the stores, then to remain equally neutral there is nothing else we can do. We won’t be selling products if they are not supplied to us. What else might we do?
Mr. Bounsall: Supplementary: Seeing that it’s very clear that the minister does not agree with the decision of the British Columbia Labour Relations Board --
Mr. T. P. Reid: A rose by any other name.
Mr. Bounsall: -- however, in any event, because he may be trying to make a mechanistic argument rather than a rational one, would the minister consult with his colleague, the Minister of Labour, regarding what changes would need to be made to the Labour Relations Act in Ontario and urge her to introduce those amendments so that the question that was placed before the British Columbia Labour Relations Board can be placed before the Ontario Labour Relations Board so that we can have the benefit of their considered judgement as they got in BC?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: To quote the Minister of the Environment (Mr. McCague), no.
Mr. Yakabuski: I have a question for the Minister of Industry and Tourism. In view of the fact that I, like many members of this Legislature, I am sure --
Mr. S. Smith: It’s a set-up today.
Mr. Yakabuski: -- get asked quite often by small business, especially in the last week since the retail merchants held their annual meeting at one of the Holiday Inns in this city, whom can they go to and who in the cabinet speaks for small business in this province?
Mr. Breaugh: Can we get it down in Hansard?
Mr. Speaker: Order. The minister deserves equal time.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I speak for small business in cabinet.
Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary: May I ask you, Mr. Speaker, who of the Conservative Party is speaking for small retail businesses in the resources development committee when the member for Renfrew South (Mr. Yakabuski) is always supporting the supermarkets and not the small businessman?
Mr. Yakabuski: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege.
Mr. Speaker: Point of privilege, the member for Renfrew South.
Mr. Yakabuski: Mr. Speaker, my point of privilege is this: All during the hearings looking into the food industry, the farm products marketing boards, et cetera, in committee, I have acted in a very unbiased and fair manner, looking at all sides of the industry. I wouldn’t want to be like the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald) who was shot to pieces on his Mallen report.
HIGHWAY SERVICE CENTRES
Mr. Ruston: I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications. Could the minister tell the House whether the rumours circulating in the oil industry and other areas concerning the possibility of closing the first two service centres west of Toronto on Highway 401 are based on fact? Is the minister contemplating closing those two stations when the present contracts run out?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Not to my knowledge.
Mr. Ruston: Is the minister then contemplating new contracts where gasoline would be separate from the other parts of the establishment? Is he contemplating removing gasoline so that it would no longer be part of the total contract?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I will have to check to see when those particular leases do come up for renewal. I think it is a number of years away. I have not, to my knowledge, as yet seen any proposals for the renewal or for any changes in those contracts. But I would be glad to look into it.
Mr. Bounsall: When the minister is looking into those contracts, will he try to ensure that when the contracts are signed the price of gasoline is less than the 15 to 18 cents more than is charged in the surrounding areas, since those service stations constitute a ripoff of tourists coming into this province?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I am sure the honourable member knows there is no price control system for gasoline in this province.
Mr. McClellan: Yes, we’ve noticed.
Mr. Bounsall: Put it in the contract. It’s a ripoff.
Hon. Mr. Snow: As a matter of fact, the legal advice I have from my constitutional expert on my right --
Mr. Nixon: You would be better to pick the one on your left.
Mr. T. P. Reid: The one behind you.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I am sure the honourable colleague on my left could give me very capable advice, too.
Hon. F. S. Miller: You’ve never asked me.
Hon. Mr. Snow: In fact, I ask him many times for advice.
We don’t have the authority, in fact I have been advised by the Attorney General’s ministry that we would be in trouble with the combines investigation people if we attempted to control or set the price of gasoline at the service centres.
Mr. Bradley: Highway robbery.
Hon. Mr. Snow: As you are well aware, a year and a half ago we adjusted our leases on the service centres so that the lease payments were not payable on the extraordinary increases in gasoline prices brought about by the federal sales tax.
Mr. Mancini: In view of the fact that in 1976, I believe, the annual report of the Canadian Automobile Association not only criticized the price of gasoline but also the food service industry which is along the 401 strip, could the minister assure the House that when these contracts come up for renewal he will not only look at the price of gasoline but the quality of service in the food industry along Highway 401, which our tourists are very interested in?
Mr. Sargent: Just like you do on the Dineley contract here.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I really am at somewhat of a loss to know how to answer that question, but I will take it into consideration.
Mr. Peterson: Supplementary: For those of us who travel these highways and byways regularly, believe me, what the minister allows to transpire on Highway 401 in terms of gas prices, quality of food, and service is a disgrace to this province, as my colleague has said. Would the minister undertake to look into both these matters, including the leasing problem, and report back to this House?
When one finds that some 80 or 90 per cent of the tourists coming to this province do so in vehicles, this is offending the tourist industry in this province. Will the minister get together with the Minister of Industry and Tourism, try to work something out, and report to this House on the clean-up proposal?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I don’t know that we have any service centres on the byways of the province. The service centres that we have --
Mr. McClellan: Answer the question.
Mr. Roy: The problem is you don’t know the problem.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I’m not so sure they’re a quarter as bad as the member says they are.
Mr. McClellan: Say yes and sit down.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I’m not so sure they’re one quarter as bad as the honourable member says. Those people who like to condemn every private businessman in this province who is trying to make a living, I just don’t go for.
Mr. Wildman: I have a question for the Minister of Industry and Tourism.
Could the minister indicate what action he’s taking in response to the concerns raised by the union concerned over the future of Prestolite in Sarnia and other parts of the province especially in relation to the unfunded liability of the pension plan?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I’m sorry. I missed the last part. The unfunded liability of the pension plan?
Mr. Wildman: Of the pension plan.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I have been contacted by the mayor of Sarnia as a result of the Prestolite plant proposed shutdown or layoff. I guess it’s actually shutting it down. And there has been a meeting with the UAW representative.
At the time I spoke to the mayor, I indicated we would be sending one of our officials into the area to discuss what was going on with the company. I have not looked into the question of the unfunded pension plan, but we have been trying to work with the company to resolve the problem and, hopefully, keep the plant operating, if we can.
The other part of your question is something I’m afraid I have not looked into.
Mr. S. Smith: Would the minister undertake to present to this House, at some point, a bill or a policy which would make it mandatory for every firm in the province of Ontario to make public, both to the workers and to potential investors, the extent of any unfunded liability that exists in their pension funds?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I would respond to that by indicating to the Leader of the Opposition that perhaps that sort of bill may be desirable but I believe it should come from the minister responsible for pension funds, the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.
Mr. S. Smith: May I redirect that question? Forced disclosure of unfunded liability in all private pension funds?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I’ll review the current regulations and their sufficiency and I will report to the House. Then we can chat about it further.
Mr. Mackenzie: Could the minister tell me, did I hear correctly, that he has had a meeting with the union involved in the Prestolite situation?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I was not in attendance at the meeting but members of the union met with the Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson) and the Premier (Mr. Davis) and discussed that among other problems. There was the UAW, and other unions -- the United Electrical Workers -- were represented at that meeting. Prestolite was one of those that was talked about.
Mr. Mackenzie: Within the last week?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Yes, within the last week.
I’m sorry they didn’t report back to you.
HIGHWAY 101 CONTRACT
Mr. Pope: I have a question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications.
Is the minister aware of the concern of the International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 793, over the awarding of a contract on Highway 101 to Lamothe Construction, in view of the fact that this company does not, in the normal course of events, hire local labour for their contracts? Will the minister consider a policy change requiring in tender advertisements a requirement of the use of local labour for these contracts, and will the minister investigate whether or not a difference in sales tax between the province of Quebec and the province of Ontario with respect to asphalt may be responsible for the difference in bids?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, it is not the practice of the ministry or of the government when advertising for tenders for construction projects to qualify the residency of the contractor. In this particular instance, I believe the contract called for the resurfacing of a section of highway in northeastern Ontario. The low bidder for that contract was a firm which, although it does have an office or is registered in the province of Ontario, really is a resident company of the province of Quebec.
We don’t too often have companies from other provinces carrying out work for the ministry, but periodically they do. I recall we had one instance last year in northwestern Ontario where a western Canadian contractor who had qualified and met all the requirements of the ministry was the low bidder and was awarded the contract, as was this particular company.
As for the particular contract, I am certainly aware of the interest of all of us in having as many jobs as possible for Ontario workers, but this is a resurfacing contract which does not involve a large number of employees. As usual, there is a crew for the actual pavers and they usually travel with the operation as it requires men who are used to working together.
I will inquire as to the other aspects of the contract, but I am not so sure that the sales tax on the asphalt would make any difference. As I recall, the province of Quebec has a higher sales tax than we have; so I think it would be detrimental rather than beneficial. But I will look into that and get the member an answer.
Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Attorney General about the much-ballyhooed, $35-million suit against Dow, out of which the Premier has had about seven years of mileage --
Hon. Mr. Davis: I haven’t talked about it in years.
Mr. Sargent: I have a two-part question to the Attorney General. What was the total legal cost for seven years of litigation? In view of the fact that the Attorney General says Mr. Robinette’s bill was $15,000, at the going rate of $1,000 a day, that is 15 days in seven years.
Secondly, in view of the fact that today’s Wall Street Journal reveals that the state of Ohio has appealed its case against Dow, why should the province of Ontario accept dismissal and let polluters to go scot-free here when Ohio won’t?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: First of all, Mr. Speaker, as I think all the members of the House fully appreciate, we do not allow polluters in this province to go scot-free.
Mr. Warner: When did that start?
Mr. Kerrio: Another turn of the wheel and we’d be paying them.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Secondly, so far as the legal disbursements are concerned, I can’t give the member a breakdown of the legal disbursements at this time; I have that information. The total of disbursements made by the government, both with respect to legal disbursements and consultants who were retained, was approximately $125,000.
Mr. Peterson: Is that the legal fees, or disbursements, or both?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Legal fees.
Mr. Sargent: Supplementary: Do I understand that for seven years’ litigation the fee was $125,000? And to whom was it paid?
Ms. Gigantes: How many hours were involved?
Mr. Grande: He didn’t answer the second part of the original question, about Ohio.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I will obtain a breakdown. There were various lawyers involved. Mr. Justice Dubin of the Court of Appeal was the counsel who had been retained prior to Mr. Robinette; when he was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal, Mr. Robinette was retained. I can obtain a breakdown for the honourable member.
Mr. Martel: That’s high-priced help.
Mr. Sargent: Supplementary: In view of the fact that the total bill paid to the fishermen was $250,000 and the lawyers got $125,000 -- that’s half what the fishermen got after seven years.
Mr. Warner: Supplementary: I’m wondering if the Attorney General is aware of the reasons for which the state of Ohio would proceed with an appeal, but in the same circumstance the province of Ontario chooses not to do so? Could he reconcile the difference in approach between this province and the state of Ohio in the case against Dow?
Mr. di Santo: Certainly not.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The circumstances are not the same.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT REVIEWS
Mr. Breaugh: I have a question for the Treasurer. Since in his statement today he showed his great respect for local autonomy in municipal affairs in Northumberland, could I ask why then last Friday he refused a request from the council of the region of Durham to conduct a review of their regional government?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I don’t think I did.
Hon. W. Newman: Read the letter over and find out what’s in the letter before you make statements.
Mr. Breaugh: His parliamentary assistant delivered by hand a letter to the chairman of the regional council on Friday refusing their requests for a review of the government.
Hon. Mr. McKeough: Irrespective of the specifics of last Friday or last week, we are not anxious to undertake any more reviews until we see some daylight from the four reviews which presently have been completed.
Mr. Breaugh: Supplementary: Could the Treasurer then give to us the criteria he uses for conducting them? Is it simply that he’s a little snowed under with reviews of regional government now or what?
Hon. Mr. McKeough: I don’t know that I would have put it as eloquently as the honourable member, but he’s put it very well.
Mr. B. Newman: I have a question of the Attorney General. Has his ministry completed its study concerning the use of the polygraph and what policy has he concerning its use?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: This is a matter that that is considered as properly within the purview of the Minister of Labour. I think any question in relation to that might properly be directed to the Minister of Labour.
Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary: I am not using this in the context of someone attempting to obtain employment and the polygraph or the voice stress analyser being used. The Attorney General certainly must have a policy as far as his own ministry is concerned allowing the use of the polygraph or disallowing its use.
Mr. Stong: Admissibility in the courts.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I really don’t understand the question with respect to allowing it. The major problem with respect to polygraphs and the major abuse, in my view, is in relation to employer-employee relationships.
This evidence is not admissible in the courts of this province. The polygraph is regarded as a useful investigative tool, if it’s operated properly. Some police forces do use it, quite properly, as an investigative tool only. The evidence is not admissible in the courts.
As I have indicated before, I am of the view that employees should not be forced, either directly or indirectly, to undergo this type of examination or take these tests.
I don’t know what else I could add because I don’t totally understand the member’s question.
Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary: It was two years ago that I asked the Attorney General this question in the House and at that time he told me he would have a reply. Surely it didn’t take him two years to tell me what he’s telling me now?
Mrs. Campbell: He doesn’t understand the question.
Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary: Since his colleague, the Minister of Labour, has expressed her personal view that the use of lie detectors is not an acceptable procedure in labour-management relations, is the government considering banning their use?
Mr. Laughren: Yes, put up or shut up.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I think this is a question, as I’ve already said, that should be directed to the Minister of Labour.
Mr. Martel: To the Premier.
Mr. MacDonald: May I redirect it to the Minister of Labour then?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I am sorry, I did not hear the question.
Mr. MacDonald: The Attorney General has redirected the question to the Minister of Labour. Since she expressed some concern about the use of lie detector machinery in labour-management relations a year or two ago, has the minister considered bringing in a law to forbid their use?
Hon. B. Stephenson: We are still examining the problem and the study which has been initiated has not, as yet, been completed.
Mr. McClellan: Maybe The Wyatt Company could look after it.
Mr. Laughren: Ask Wyatt.
Hon. B. Stephenson: There are as well two or three instances which have been brought before the human rights commission which are being investigated as well. When we have had a look at all of those, then we will consider it.
Mr. Martel: Give it to The Wyatt Company.
Mr. B. Newman: Will the minister look into the voice stress analyser also as a tool in employment practices?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Yes.
Mr. Sargent: Should get one to use in the House here.
QUEBEC POLICY ON CONSTRUCTION HIRING
Mr. Samis: A question on the meeting of the Minister of Labour on Saturday with Pierre Marc Johnson: Could the minister report to the House (a) on what was accomplished; (b) where things stand now; (c) what lies ahead; and, (d) what issues remain outstanding?
Hon. B. Stephenson: It was a congenial meeting; it was held in Montreal. All of the aspects of the issue were examined and none to my knowledge were resolved totally.
Mr. Samis: Supplementary: Are there further meetings scheduled before the July 1 deadline? Secondly, what is the stated intention of negotiations from Ontario’s viewpoint?
Hon. B. Stephenson: If I could make a respectful suggestion to the honourable member, I wonder if he would enunciate a little more clearly. I am unable to hear him.
Mr. Samis: Clearly, very slowly and articulately, could the minister tell us --
Mr. T. P. Reid: What was that?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We will settle for two out of three. Clearly and slowly will do.
Mr. Samis: Did the Minister of Labour get those? Oh my God. What’s the name of that school the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) goes to?
Mr. T. P. Reid: Belleville School for the Deaf.
Mr. Samis: Could the minister tell us, are there any further negotiations planned? Secondly, from Ontario’s perspective with the July 1 deadline in sight, what specifically is she aiming for in these negotiations?
Hon. B. Stephenson: We have, of course, been aiming for a resolution of the problem. To the construction industry and the province of Ontario the problem appears to be a complete inhibition of mobility of construction workers in so far as the Quebec-Ontario border is concerned.
I anticipate that I will be having a communication from the honourable minister either this afternoon or tomorrow morning. I anticipate that there will be further communication with him as a result of receiving that and I am hopeful that we will be able to resolve the difficulty.
Mr. Martel: And you will report to the House?
Hon. B. Stephenson: I always report to the House.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: Since the minister said when I raised this matter on March 28 that she was still waiting for a legal opinion on whether or not those regulations could be successfully challenged in the court, does she have that opinion? And since she said at that time she “is moving on a different tack,” can she tell us what that tack is?
Mr. Martel: This is a pointed one.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I am sure the honourable member is aware that I reported to this House that we had received the legal opinion and that it was not entirely supportive of the idea that it could be challenged successfully. We have made some approaches as well to our colleagues at the federal level because this does happen to be an inter-provincial problem in which I think they might have some interest, with the hope that perhaps there might be --
Mr. Wildman: I have heard of marching to a different drum. She goes with a completely different band.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- some action that could be taken at that level. It is our hope that we will have some response to the questions which were levelled at the Minister of Labour and the Minister of Justice and others in Ottawa -- hopefully this week.
Mr. Roy: Would Joe Clark not help you up there?
Mr. Samis: Zero on the score card.
Mr. S. Smith: I haven’t heard Joe Clark speak on that.
Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired.
Mr. Laughren: Thank goodness for that.
Mr. Speaker: I would like to advise all members that I have today tabled a statement of statutory expenses incurred by the members of the House which have been paid for from the Legislative Assembly fund.
STANDING GENERAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that the standing general government committee be authorized to sit in camera concurrently with the House tonight at 8 p.m. to consider sessional paper 13, the report on the policy options for continuing tenant protection.
Motion agreed to.
NOTICE OF DISSATISFACTION
Mr. Speaker: Before the orders of the day, pursuant to standing order number 28, the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) has given notice of her dissatisfaction to the answer to her question given by the Minister of the Environment (Mr. McCague) concerning pollution controls in Hawkesbury. This matter will be debated at 10:30 tonight.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, may I take this opportunity, before calling the first order, to advise that in addition to the meeting tonight, I am told that the standing general government committee will meet tomorrow morning at 9 rather than at 10 as indicated in the notice.
To accommodate the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow), may I indicate a brief change in the order of calling bills this afternoon. We will start with Bill 66 in committee.
Mr. Nixon: Oh, let’s not do that first.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Following which we will do, and hopefully complete, Bill 108, and then carry on as the order paper suggests.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
YORK MUNICIPAL HYDRO-ELECTRIC SERVICE ACT, 1978
House in committee on Bill 66, An Act to provide for Municipal Hydro-Electric Service in the Regional Municipality of York.
Mr. Chairman: Are there any comments, questions or amendments to this bill, and if so on what section?
Section 1 agreed to.
On section 2:
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I should like to introduce an amendment to section 2, in order to bring subsection 16 into line with section 39 of the Municipal Act. Section 39 prohibits anyone from running for more than one municipal office in the same election. The reference in the bill to “Members of council ... elected as members of the commission” is therefore an eventuality which cannot occur. Members of the council may become members of a commission only by appointment.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Baetz moves that subsection 16 of section of the bill be amended by striking out “or elected” in the third line.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, we have no objection to this; it is just tidying up the bill. I have some questions about the explanation given by the minister. It seemed to me that the reason for deleting this was that in fact the first year they are appointed by the act, and therefore the word “elected” served no useful purpose there. I think all members are appointed for the first term of office and this refers back to that. There is no election, and for that reason I would concur that it should be deleted, although I was a little bit confused by the explanation given by the minister.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: It simply confirms your view in that the word “elected” is really quite redundant and should be left out.
Motion agreed to.
Section 2, as amended, agreed to.
Section 3 agreed to.
On section 4:
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Baetz moves that section 4 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection: “(14) For the purpose of the calculations mentioned in subsections 7, 8 and 10, ‘original cost’ and ‘equity’ do not include capital contributions by customers or developers.”
Hon. Mr. Baetz: This amendment is a compromise agreed upon by representatives of Vaughan, Richmond Hill, the provincial steering committee and Ontario Hydro. It clarifies the method of calculating the purchase price of assets transferred in the course of restructuring.
Because contributions made by developers are never capitalized by Ontario Hydro, the amendment does not change the formula applied to assets transferred from Ontario Hydro. This formula is identical to that in the three previous restructuring acts. However, the amendment will make a slight change in the formula applied to inter-municipal transfers at the request of the two municipalities involved, namely, Vaughan and Richmond Hill.
For the purpose of restructuring only, Vaughan hydro-electric commission will adopt the practice of Ontario Hydro, and of many other municipalities, and will not capitalize developers’ contributions. While it is not anticipated that this change will have a major effect on the actual price for the assets, I am pleased to present to this House a method of calculation preferred by the municipalities affected.
Mr. Stong: I wasn’t anticipating the introduction of this subsection at this time. I have an amendment to subsection 11 of section 4 that I want to offer as well, so I would like to be able to go back to that subsection. I do want to speak to this amendment as well.
The amendment offered by the minister, subsection 14, is wholly in agreement with what I have endeavoured to do through meetings with the municipalities involved, particularly Richmond Hill, Markham and Vaughan. We are in agreement entirely with the subsection and with the amendment to the act. Although the minister has said that Ontario Hydro does not capitalize these contributions, there is a great deal of confusion surrounding exactly what Ontario Hydro does do to arrive at its calculations. Because of the indefiniteness, confusion and lack of formula in arriving at any calculations in this regard, I have offered an amendment myself which is incorporated into the amendment offered by the minister. We are particularly in agreement with that.
I might say as well, Mr. Chairman, that the circumstances giving rise to this amendment may not be unique in their applications, but because of the magnitude of the capital assets acquired by developers’ contributions since January 1, 1971, a growth in equity may result if this amendment is not placed in the bill. Its incorporation may result, as well, in reductions in cost to the existing and future customers and consumers within the new subdivisions, particularly in the area of Richmond Hill and Vaughan.
Specifically, Mr. Chairman, more than $775,000 in capital contributions has been collected by the town of Richmond Hill by subdivision agreements. These funds have been transferred to the Vaughan hydro-electric commission for the construction of a new plant and for new service for these developments. In turn, the developer passed these capital assets on to the new home owners. My concern is remedied by virtue of this amendment. The proposed legislation, as it was introduced, would include the value of these same assets as part of the compensation payments. So, whether we accept what Ontario Hydro says or not, there is still a grey area in this matter and no one seems to know. We get different opinions from different people, and no matter with whom you speak, home owners and consumers would be paying again. They paid the purchase price of their home, and by virtue of the fact of the restructuring, they are fearful that they would have to pay higher rates again. So, this amendment offered by the minister, based on the wishes of the communities involved and on the amendments I am introducing, remedies that situation.
The area involved presently contains about 3,000 consumer units. Of these, some 45 per cent are within the new subdivision previously referred to by me. These statistics are further magnified by the fact the capital contributions were sufficient to provide the hydro-electric plant for an additional 2,700 dwellings not yet built or occupied. Using these same statistics, it is reasonable to assume that as much as 70 per cent of the assets in that portion of the town of Richmond Hill supplied with power by the hydro-electric power commission of the town of Vaughan were paid for in cash in money already transferred.
It is also reasonable to state, I submit, that the equity of a consumer in the town of Vaughan may be grossly overstated because of these capital contributions. In fact, a large portion of this equity is owned by future customers whose investment in the plant was prepaid many years in advance.
The whole thing is ironical, however, because if the hydro commissions had been restructured in 1971 with the boundaries coterminous with those of the area municipalities as they were structured by regional government, then this problem would not have been presented this take-over and paying for capital outlay. However, with major developments in the Yonge and Bathurst corridor in the interim, we now have to deal with this problem.
It is for these reasons I support this amendment as it applies to the take-over by the town of Richmond Hill of that part of the plant owned now by the town of Vaughan, and also in terms of the take-over of the Markham commission and other commissions throughout the regional municipality of York, which will be set up by this act, from Ontario Hydro and because no one seems to know definitively what Ontario Hydro does, what it accounts for and how it organizes its books in making these accountings.
There are so many opinions on that that this amendment offered by the minister is wholly acceptable to us and ought to give some guidelines in the event there is any determination under arbitration for the capital transfers in all of these areas. So we accept the amendment.
Mr. Swart: This amendment seems to provide two things as the member for York Centre has stated. One is a principle that can be carried forward in subsequent bills for restructuring. I have a special interest because there may be one coming in from the Niagara area in the not-too-distant future. Secondly, it resolves the problem with regard to Vaughan township and Newmarket.
Mr. Hodgson: Newmarket?
Mr. Swart: I am not sure that I totally agree with the minister that it is a compromise per se. It looks to me as though it implements what the member for York Centre had originally proposed, namely, that consideration must be given to the deduction made for those funds which had been expended by the developer in installing services in subdivisions.
However, it does seem to make an amicable resolution of the problem. Because the principle is one that we can support we will raise no objection to this amendment.
Mr. Stong: We are making progress and history.
Mr. Hodgson: I rise to support the resolution. I have talked to Vaughan representatives and the hydro commission in Vaughan and it is quite acceptable to them. In fact, the division of assets as provided by the developer was quite acceptable prior to a resolution at a meeting the ministry had in Richmond Hill, attended by the member for York Centre, myself and representatives for both municipalities and the hydro commission, where Vaughan agreed if there were any assets provided by the developer, they weren’t going to charge Richmond Hill. Now it is in legislation and will be there for ever and ever. I must make an apology to Ontario Hydro at this time. I spoke on the principle of the bill with the belief that in those areas -- for instance, the town of Newmarket, the town of Aurora, and the town of Markham, which are taking in certain areas from Ontario Hydro -- had those --
Mr. Stong: And correctly so, too.
Mr. Hodgson: -- services paid for by the developer, but that is not the case. No, it wasn’t the case.
Mr. Stong: They dazzled you with their footwork there, Bill.
Mr. Hodgson: Listen, I didn’t interrupt you, Mr. Member.
I find in speaking to developers in the area that Ontario Hydro pays all the expenses for an overhead line. If underground wiring is to be installed, the developer is asked to pay the difference between underground wiring and overhead wiring in the first instance. Over a few years as the development goes on, Ontario Hydro pays the developer back the full amount of that investment, less four per cent depreciation.
I have to make an apology because I wasn’t fully informed and I don’t think the member for York Centre was fully informed. I just want to say that I go along with this wholeheartedly. I support it 100 per cent.
Mr. Stong: I think I do have to make a comment in answer to the member for York North. It’s not that I wasn’t fully informed.
In offering this amendment to the minister, it became very clear that there were many people who were confused on this issue. Ontario Hydro certainly went out of its way to fight the amendment and it was very difficult to get this amendment introduced into the legislation.
The amendment covers not only original costs but equity. As I recall, the meeting to which the member for York North refers, that we were both in attendance, Vaughan Hydro was really not satisfied at all with the equity portion of this particular amendment and Ontario Hydro certainly has never agreed to it. However, both original cost of assets and equity are included and that is exactly the purport of the original amendment proposed by me.
Mr. Chairman: Any further comments?
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Is there any further amendment to section 4?
Mr. Stong: I have an amendment to subsection 11, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Stong moves that subsection 11 of section 4 of the bill be amended by striking out “the decision of the board of arbitration should not be subject to appeal and” in the sixth and seventh lines. The member for York Centre.
Mr. Stong: The purport of the amendment will be that in the event there was an arbitration, either side can appeal that arbitration pursuant to the Arbitrations Act.
Originally when this bill on the restructuring of the municipal hydro-electric service in the regional municipality of York was proposed, the proposal was the arbitration be set up in one single arbitrator and that there be no appeal from that. However, pursuant to meetings with the ministry and with municipalities, the minister then introduced the bill, recognizing the fact that the provisions of the Arbitrations Act should be applicable to this act, so more than one arbitrator could be set up to settle any dispute.
But, in proposing this bill and introducing it, the minister has taken away specifically any right of appeal from that arbitration, thereby circumventing the operation of the Arbitrations Act which is applicable to many other situations throughout the province of Ontario including labour disputes, to name only one.
It would seem to me in this type of situation we are depriving either side of a right that would ordinarily be theirs under other statutes, in other situations. To deprive either party of a right of appeal is a gross inadequacy in our law and ought to be avoided at all cost.
With respect to guidelines that have been set down in this bill in other sections I hope there will be no need for appeal. The arbitrators, we assume, will be calm, sensible, knowledgeable people, one appointed by each side with those two appointing a third. Hopefully, as a result of that type of board hearing, even if an arbitration arises, there will be no need for an appeal
However, it is my opinion, having given the right of appeal under the Arbitrations Act, we ought not specifically to exclude it by virtue of this legislation. The Arbitrations Act ought to apply fully to this legislation as it would to any other legislation.
As a result of that, I offer my amendment which would include the provision of appeal as pursuant to any other statute of Ontario and not specifically excluded by this act.
Mr. Swart: I doubt if this is one of the most important things that will come before the Legislature in the next two weeks, this week and next week, and perhaps some for time after that if we don’t get finished. I would anticipate at least a 20 to one ratio -- that there would never be any need for an appeal beyond this.
I’m rather impressed with the procedures that are used for the appointments in this bill. In most other arbitrations, the first two appoint a third person, and if they cannot agree on that person the third person is appointed by the minister. It varies, but in many instances it is the minister who makes the appointment.
However, in this case there’s an application made to the court so I think you’re relatively certain you will get a person appointed by the court who is neutral. Therefore, I would anticipate the decision that was made would be as fair as it is possible to make.
However, having said all that, I’m a little concerned about the precedent that may be set here with regard to appeals. Where do we go next time with denying the right of appeal? Recognizing full well the costs which are always involved in appeals, whether they are appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board or wherever they may be, and that these costs always inevitably have to be borne by the consumer or by the taxpayer in one way or another, I still think the principle of the right of appeal should remain.
If the words are taken out, as suggested by the member for York Centre, it does not imply there is going to be an appeal, but it leaves that right there under the other acts. Because I’m hesitant on the matter of principle to take this away, I and my party will be supporting the amendment put forward by the member for York Centre.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Up until now, as has been indicated on both sides of the House, this exercise has been one of beautiful harmony and compromise all around, but I do believe on this particular point we have some real difficulties in agreeing to this amendment.
As I think the member opposite knows, by indicating that there should be three members on the arbitration body instead of the usual one, we have already made a substantial concession. We frankly think it is unnecessary that in addition to having a board of three members we should agree to a procedure of further appeal. It would be very expensive, it would be time consuming and would just draw out the process.
If there were perhaps one person as arbitrator, the question of appeal could be considered. But if you have three people, carefully named to make sure that they represent all sides, it really seems to us that it goes on ad absurdum to simply take it from there to another appeal body. Therefore, quite frankly we feel that we cannot support that particular amendment. It is unfortunate, because this has been a great exercise in compromise and in a bipartisan approach to a local problem. We would hope, in an appeal to the members opposite, that we could continue right down to this last item to make it unanimous.
Mr. Stong: It is unfortunate that the minister does not agree in principle with the amendment. I think the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) expressed it very well when he said the chances are 20 to 1 that we will not even reach this stage. But in principle we ought not to take away a right of appeal that exists in other situations. Sure, it would be time consuming and it would be expensive, but I think cool heads and reasonable people will prevail in situations such as this in arriving at a compromise. However, in the event they cannot, I don’t think we should take away the right of appeal, as the member for Welland-Thorold has so aptly said.
Motion agreed to.
Section 4, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 5 to 11, inclusive, agreed to.
Bill 66, as amended, reported.
The following bill was given third reading on motion:
Bill 66, An Act to provide for Municipal Hydro-Electric Service in the Regional Municipality of York.
MUSKOKA AND PARRY SOUND TELEPHONE COMPANY LIMITED ACQUISITION ACT (CONTINUED)
Resumption of the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 108, An Act to acquire the Assets of the Muskoka and Parry Sound Telephone Company Limited.
Mr. Foulds: Carried.
Mr. Sweeney: Not quite, I say to the member for Port Arthur. As a matter of fact, the member for Port Arthur is so anxious to get this bill through --
Mr. Foulds: Oh, no.
Mr. Sweeney: -- that if I were the minister, I would have grave reservations.
Mr. M. Davidson: They like the way it’s worded, John.
Mr. Foulds: I could have gone on for another 15 minutes.
Mr. Sweeney: Yes, I hear that they want to use it for a model. That bothers me, too, rather gravely. I wonder what has possessed the minister to be so obliging, to use the expression of the member for Port Arthur, to “the socialist hordes in the House.”
Mr. Foulds: It’s the health and safety of the public.
Hon. Mr. Snow: It’s not normally my inclination.
Mr. Sweeney: That’s what I mean. I find that surprising. I won’t be too long.
I read over the debate from yesterday, and it’s fairly obvious that the tone of that debate is that this bill will probably carry. However, there are other sides to it and, in all fairness, I want to present those sides to the House.
I have no doubt whatsoever -- I see the member from the area here -- that the service which is being provided in that particular area is not adequate. In my judgement, that is not the question. That is given, that is accepted. The question we have to ask ourselves, however, is why is the service not adequate? Is it because the owners of the company are not willing to provide the service? Is it because they are not able to provide the service? Or is there something within the structure of operating telephone systems in this province which makes it difficult, if not impossible? Let me speak very briefly to those.
First, we’re dealing here with a very large geographical area and a relatively small number of subscribers -- 800 square miles and fewer than 1,500 subscribers. One of the problems is that, as I understand it, the people who are complaining the most about poor service are people living in summer cottages coming up there from the city.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Oh no. There are also two fire halls without service.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Permanent residents.
Mr. Sweeney: Permanent residents as well? Okay.
The difficulty, as I understand it, is the rate base which has been allowed to this company. As I read section 12 of the act, it seems to say pretty clearly to me that the rates and the tolls charged should pay for the funded debt and interest and a reasonable return on capital. Yet we know that the owners of the company have gone before the board recently and asked for a rate increase which would do that; in other words, applying directly to the legislation. The decision was that they should not be given that rate increase, because there was evidence that they were not providing adequate service. It goes on to say that even granting the application would not come close to creating a situation which would permit the needs to be met.
In other words, clearly what the board is saying is that “We’re not going to provide an increase because you’re not providing the service.” Yet the owners are turning right around and saying, “The reason we can’t provide the service is because we’re not getting the income.”
I understand that there are a couple of situations where phones are placed at such distances that the owners are paying more in charges to Hydro to run the wire along their hydro poles than what they’re getting in return from the phone owners. In other words, it’s a net loss every time they string a line out that way.
I notice that the member for Port Arthur yesterday alluded to the efficiency of Thunder Bay. That’s not a fair comparison. We’re talking about two independents. First of all, Thunder Bay is a compact city in a relatively smaller area, where you have thousands and thousands of subscribers --
Mr. Foulds: It goes out into the rural area.
Mr. Sweeney: -- abut you’ve got a solid urban base. You don’t have that in this area.
The second point, and equally important, is that the Thunder Bay company is owned by the municipality and is therefore not subject to many of the taxes which this private company has to pay.
Mr. Foulds: I just used it as an example of independent companies that are --
Mr. Sweeney: Yes, I realize that, I say to the member for Port Arthur.
Mr. Ruston: This one is to your advantage, yes.
Mr. Sweeney: All I’m trying to suggest is it’s not a fair comparison.
Mr. Bradley: Great pitchers -- poor catchers.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Sweeney: It’s very easy to say that some independent companies can get along fine, and why can’t this one --
Mr. Foulds: I didn’t make the comparison on a one-to-one basis.
Mr. Sweeney: There are two different situations. I noticed that one of the biggest complainers in this area was one of the summer tourist camps. It is interesting to note that that particular summer tourist camp got a grant from the Ministry of Industry and Tourism a little while back for something in the neighbourhood of $240,000. Shortly thereafter, the owner picks up and walks away. In other words, one branch of the government is quite prepared to recognize that in order to operate efficiently in that area and to draw people in, there has to be some government support. That’s fine for the tourist camp but not for this company.
It clearly seems evident to me that the funding structure here would simply make it impossible for anyone to operate that system at the rates that are being allowed, pay his debts and make any kind of a return on the investment whatsoever. I guess what I am suggesting is that this is going to have to be subsidized in some way by someone. Whether the government takes it over, whether Bell takes it over or whether another independent goes in, they are not going to be able to operate that system and provide the service that is required with the existing rates. Those rates are going to have to go up. I don’t know how much they are going to have to go up. The other alternative is that some form of subsidy is going to have to be paid. I don’t know how that’s done, quite frankly. I understand that it’s not permissible directly from the government, but it is going to have to be done by someone.
The concern I have in this particular case is that in the minister’s statement of a couple of weeks ago he makes the observation that the company has had a couple of years to try to get its house in order. They have been offered to be bought out by the government, to be bought out by Bell Telephone or to be restructured by some independents. But look at the prices that are being offered.
As I understand it, the total investment in this company and everything is in the neighbourhood of $900,000.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Now let’s be honest.
Mr. Sweeney: The debt is $750,000 and there is an inequity investment of something like $175,000. They were offered $450,000. Heck, there is nobody in this House who would accept that kind of an offer. Yet the minister’s statement seems to criticize them for that. That’s not reasonable. That’s not fair. What else would he expect them to do under those particular circumstances?
There is a third point that needs to have a good look taken at it. I don’t know how this affects other companies but I understand that the toll exchange rates between Bell Canada and some of these independents is not as fair as it could be. In other words, Bell Canada with its big clout can go through some of the small independent operations and pay a certain rate, but when it goes the other way the rate is more expensive. In other words, there isn’t a fair exchange of toll rates.
I don’t know all the ins and outs of that, but it’s something I think the minister definitely needs to look into.
Hon. Mr. Snow: The other 35 aren’t complaining about it.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Sweeney: Are we comparing apples and apples? That’s the question. I get the distinct impression we aren’t. Let’s go to the end of the line. As I said at the beginning, it looks as if this bill is going to pass. Is there some evidence at this point or can the minister give me some assurance that the final evaluation settlement has a chance of being fair? Let me show the minister what I’m speaking of.
In order to make that kind of evaluation, I would understand that he would have to bring in experts to look at the whole technology of the thing. Where are those experts going to come from? There are only two sources. One is Bell Canada, which is one of the ones that wanted to buy it out for $450,000, half of what it’s worth. The second is the government, which also wanted to buy it out for $450,000.
I’m not saying anyone is going to do something improper. But, given those kinds of sources, what kind of a real chance of getting a fair price do the owners of this company have? I would like the minister to speak briefly to that. If I had some sense that they were going to come out of this reasonably fairly with some sense of justice, then I would have less opposition to it. At the present time, I don’t get that sense. What it all boils down to is that I am not convinced that the owners of the company really have had a fair shake.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Oh, my goodness!
Mr. Sweeney: I am not sure, even with this particular process, that they are going to end up having a fair shake. I would like to hear the minister’s comment on that.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Are there any further speakers?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: Yes. I will keep my remarks very short. There are a few remarks that the member for Kitchener-Wilmot made that I just can’t let go without challenging a little bit.
I suppose I am the member who is most concerned with this particular problem because most of the telephone system is in my riding. A small portion is in Muskoka, but the major portion of it is in my riding. For the last three years I have been receiving on the average five or six letters every week regarding the poor phone service. Believe me, Mr. Speaker, those letters did not all come from summer residents by any means. They came from permanent residents who have to live with that system.
I just believe in this day and age in the province of Ontario people are entitled to a little bit better service than what has been supplied in that particular area.
I have a great deal of respect for the owner of the telephone company. I know him personally. He is a fine gentleman. I was hoping this bill would never have to be brought to the Legislature. However, it has got to the point where something must be done for the people in that area. They have had a great amount of difficulty and I just don’t feel they should have to put up with any more of it.
I would like to also point out that the member for Kitchener-Wilmot suggested a grant was given to a tourist operator in the amount of two hundred and some thousand dollars. I would suggest to him no grants are given to any tourist operators in the province of Ontario. There are such things as loans that have to be paid back, but they are not grants. We have not been giving grants through NODC or any other ministry department for the last three or four years. At one point we did have what we call performance loans, but they were discontinued some time ago. There were no grants to any tourist operator, but there possibly could have been loans. That person would still be responsible to pay the money back to the province.
I know of at least two fire departments which have been without telephone service from time to time, and for a great period of time. This becomes a safety factor and it has just got to the point where something has to be done.
I know of one area where the phone service was out for eight months. Local people living there were complaining, phoning me weekly, sometimes daily, if I happened to be in the riding. They asked, “When is our phone going to be reinstated? When are we going to have telephone service?” While I have, as I said, a great deal of respect for Mr. Schmidt, the very fine gentleman who is the owner of the company, I do question his ability to operate a telephone company.
The argument about the rates has gone on and on. I have personally attended two public meetings held in my riding regarding rate increases, and applications made to the telephone commission. As the member has indicated, there were always two sides to the argument. The operator suggested he couldn’t provide the service unless he got more money, and the people said, “We are not prepared to pay more money unless you give us some service. We don’t mind paying, but we want some service.” So there was always a stalemate on the issue.
The rates there are not that much different from the rates in the rest of the province of Ontario. I realize it is a very sparsely populated area, and it is a large area. There are a lot of telephone lines that must be maintained, but surely he could have done a little better than he did.
I can recall people phoning me to tell me the lines were on the ground, and in the wintertime were being cut by the wings of snowploughs. They would be without a telephone for weeks until somebody finally decided to come and dig up the line and splice it together. This is the type of thing that has been going on. That is the reason I fully support the minister’s action in this matter. I would hope every member would see that this bill is passed as quickly as possible so those people can have some assurance of a better telephone system.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I too would like to support the bill. I think one has to visit the people who are served by this particular telephone company to appreciate their remote locations and the patience they have had in putting up with, to say inferior service is an understatement.
I’ve visited these homes, some of them 10 to 20 miles from the nearest community.
Mr. Wildman: Bell gives us inferior service in the north too.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I’ve seen the telephone wires lying along the edge of the road in the summertime, just lying on the ground. Local people would come along and jack them up over branches of trees hoping that the service would work. I’ve talked to a tourist operator on Buck Lake --
Mr. Bradley: Just homesick.
Hon. F. S. Miller: -- who hadn’t been able to get calls from potential clients for weeks at a time. The poor soul had the great embarrassment of having the telephone ring while I was there. That was the first time in weeks that it had worked at all.
Mr. Wildman: The tourist outfitters in my area have that trouble with Bell.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Just local member problems.
Hon. F. S. Miller: But the fact remains that rates were not the issue. It had to be remembered that just because it wasn’t part of the Bell system people on that system were paying long distance tolls to make calls that traditionally had been considered local calls. Every call to Huntsville from the people in the Buck Lake area has been charged as a long distance call if, as and when they could get a telephone call through.
Senior citizens living out there -- not those who moved there, in many cases those who had grown up there -- have been without any service for days at a time and often worried about their inability to communicate even with a neighbour under had weather conditions.
I would think that they have the right, in this day and age, when there have been offers made in the company to have a good system. I could only endorse the prompt remedy of the deficient service.
Mr. Wildman: Nationalization.
Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, while listening to the debate here and reading over the bill yesterday, I can understand the concern the member for Kitchener-Wilmot has. Having been involved in the telephone system for eight years in my years in the municipal council, and chairman of our own system for six years -- it was sold out after a few years -- I know the telephone industry is a very capital intensive industry. I’m sure the member for Port Arthur, when he spoke about the one in his city, would recognize this. If you have a major city to make your money on then you can go out and service the rural areas. But if you’ve been involved in a telephone system that serves a rural area, Mr. Speaker, you can get involved in a great deal of capital expenditures before the money starts coming back in.
Mr. Foulds: True, true. That’s fair.
Mr. Ruston: I would take it from what the members for Parry Sound and Muskoka have said regarding the area involved this is, no doubt, one of the problems in this system.
Mr. Wildman: They are socialists.
Mr. Ruston: I suppose part of the problem is the rate structure. In our own cases we would go to the Ontario Telephone Services Commission, at that time, and apply for rates. We had to be competitive with adjoining telephone systems -- I think that also had to be considered. They also had to consider the service being supplied; if it was in an area where it was hard to pick up enough users then, naturally, their costs will go up.
Our own system used to charge a long distance toll into the city of Windsor which was only 15 or 18 miles away. Twelve lines served that area of about 900 phones. We put in toll-free service and we needed 80 lines to serve the same area. That gives you an idea of what the cost is. It cost us $125,000 just to put in a service like that.
I’m concerned about the province owning this system because I’m sure that we should not be in the telephone business in only one area like this and subsidize it. If we’re going to own any of the telephone industry, we’d better own some in the heavily-populated areas to offset the loss in the rural areas.
Mr. Wildman: Take over it all. Take over the whole thing.
Mr. Nixon: Those are irresponsible suggestions.
Mr. Ruston: But I’m not in favour of the province going into the telephone service en masse by any means. I think it would probably be like Ontario Hydro -- it would grow so fast that no one would ever know where it was going and now we’re trying to hold it down.
I have concerns for the owner of this system, because to serve an area such as this and fix it up certainly would be capital-intensive. But I am concerned about what the province is going to do with it, now that they are taking steps to take it over. I would hope that they would put it up for sale and get a fair price, so all involved would not lose too much.
I certainly would not be in favour of the province getting into the telephone industry in Ontario because of the capital it takes. That was part of the problem with the local municipal systems. Every time one wanted to get a debenture, one had to get approval from the subscribers and the Ontario Municipal Board. It required so much capital it was almost impossible to handle. That’s why many of them have been sold out in the meantime.
In our own area, Bell Canada formed a company to take over one of the systems and I think, if I remember correctly, they paid about $800,000 or $900,000 for it. Bell transferred an additional $1 million to bring it up to date and after three years that was all gone. Then they abandoned their charter and turned it over to Bell. It gives you an idea of the capital it takes to give good telephone service, Mr. Speaker.
I am sure I did not add too much to the debate but I am concerned with the wide area that this system covers. Naturally, people have to have service and I am sure we have sympathy for the owner of the system, but if he cannot raise the capital to put it in shape to operate it, then I suppose we do not have much choice now but to take it over and hopefully sell it.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Are there any further speakers to this bill?
The honourable minister.
Mr. Wildman: Take over Bell.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, and I thank the honourable members for their contributions to the debate on second reading of this bill.
As I explained at the beginning, I regret very much having to bring legislation such as this before the House and ask the House to deal with it expeditiously so we can get on with trying to get a reasonable telephone service for the 1,500 or so subscribers in the Muskoka-Parry Sound service area, an area of some 800 square miles. I might mention that as of May 17, there were about 150 minimum subscribers that were out of service at that particular time; some had been out for various periods from three or four days to 30 days. Included in that group that had no telephone service were two township fire halls, so I think you can see the problem and the necessity to take some type of drastic action.
Officials from my ministry, my deputy minister and myself have met with Mr. Schmidt, and I have to say as a gentleman he is a very fine man. I feel some concern for him because of the unfortunate financial and business situation that he has got himself in concerning the ownership of this telephone company.
It is certainly not the intention of the province of Ontario to get into the telephone business.
Mr. Foulds: What a pity.
Hon. Mr. Snow: As I am sure many of the members know, the province is involved, to some degree, and has been for many years, through the Ontario Northland Telecommunications System in northern Ontario, but I assure the House it is not our intention, even though the socialists would like us to -- they are all alone over there -- to start socializing these telephone companies.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Snow: The member for Wentworth North and the member for Essex North both asked what our plans were for the company. I am surprised at that because the statement I made a few days ago was very explicit as to what our intentions were: when this bill is passed, we intend to make some immediate and emergency repairs where we can, to improve service. It will necessitate spending some provincial dollars, but we will immediately put the system up for sale. There are several options as to what its future might be. It could be bought by Bell, of course.
Mr. Foulds: I hope not.
Hon. Mr. Snow: It could be bought by one of the other independent telephone companies. I might say that I met with the executive of the Ontario Independent Telephone Association with regard to this particular problem, and I must say they had no answer for me as to any other option that I had other than to proceed with this bill.
Not as an association but as a group of individuals, some of the well-established private telephone companies offered financial and management assistance to the owner of this company to try to save the company for him. Although I wasn’t involved directly in it, I understand this proposition was turned down, as was the offer of Bell to purchase the company, and as was the offer that we made as a province prior to taking this expropriation action.
This is certainly not a move on behalf of this government in any way to take over the telephone systems or the private telephone companies.
An hon. member: Shame.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I have to say that the 35 or 36 private telephone companies we have in the province, some of them municipally owned, such as Thunder Bay -- and the member for Port Arthur’s comparing the Thunder Bay system with the Muskoka and Parry Sound system was like comparing --
Mr. Foulds: An elephant with a fly.
Hon. Mr. Snow: -- an elephant with a squirrel; I could think of other things but I had better not.
In any case there are other telephone systems in the province that are quite rural in nature. The Bruce Peninsula and Manitoulin Islands are two areas I can think of that have private systems; they are maybe not in quite as sparsely a settled area as this but still do run a good system and provide a good service. So the private companies are doing an excellent job in Ontario and I hope they continue to do so.
Mr. Foulds: Take over Bell.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I do hope that when this bill is passed, assuming that it will be, we will be able to improve the service for these people who have been very patient over the past two years. While I have been trying to give every opportunity to Mr. Schmidt to improve his situation and to improve the service, I have to say that I could not in any way suggest that a rate increase should be granted without there being improvement in service. You don’t grant a substantial rate increase which would have been needed to assist this man financially when the phones won’t even work. I’m sure you wouldn’t expect the people to pay a higher price for a system that wasn’t working on the assumption that it might work some day.
I can assure the honourable members that Mr. Schmidt as the majority owner -- I believe there are some other minor shareholders -- will be used fairly. This is being carried out through this special act but we intend to use the normal expropriation procedure. I expect the settlement of the total compensation to be paid will be established by the Ontario Land Compensation Board, which I am sure will deal fairly. Mr. Schmidt and his lawyer, his consultants, or whoever he may wish to give evidence, will be able to present that evidence to the board, as will the government.
There are independent consultants. The member for Kitchener-Wilmot suggested there is nobody other than Bell who knows how to evaluate a telephone company, and that is not correct at all. I think there are other expert witnesses. There are people in the private telephone companies. I understand there are private consultants -- perhaps none right here in Ontario, but there are some in the United States and in western Canada -- who would be considered expert witnesses to give an evaluation of the assets of the company. I would ask the support of the House to pass this bill.
Motion agreed to; second reading of the bill.
Ordered for third reading.
Hon. Mr. Snow moved third reading of Bill 108, An Act to acquire the Assets of the Muskoka and Parry Sound Telephone Company Limited.
Mr. Foulds: One brief comment. If I implied that there was a comparison between this telephone system and the telephone system in the city of Thunder Bay, I did not of course mean that when I was speaking yesterday. I was just using the city of Thunder Bay telephone system as an example of an independent system that could work well. If it should be sold again I personally would prefer the Muskoka and Parry Sound system be sold to another independent -- or conglomeration of independents -- rather than to Bell, which is a monopoly. The independents in the province have shown that they can by and large operate efficient systems.
Motion agreed to.
MUNICIPALITY OF METROPOLITAN TORONTO AMENDMENT ACT
Resumption of the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 83, An Act to amend the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act.
Mr. Ashe: I would hope not to try to prolong the debate. Most of the discussion so far in second reading has related to an amendment which is not before us as yet so I would prefer not to waste the time of the House by responding at this time. Hopefully Mr. Speaker can put the motion on second reading.
Motion agreed to.
Ordered for committee of the whole.
COUNTY OF OXFORD AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Ashe, on behalf of Hon. Mr. McKeough, moved second reading of Bill 84, An Act to amend the County of Oxford Act, 1974.
Mr. Ashe: This is the housekeeping amendment relating to the Municipal Elections Act changes, along with a small boundary change in Oxford involving approximately four acres in the township of Zorra at their request, and as mutually agreed upon.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of representing a small but important part of the restructured county of Oxford. I wanted simply to bring to your attention, sir, that no objections have been expressed to me as the member.
I have talked to my colleague and good friend the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Mr. Parrott), who represents the rest of that outstanding county, and he indicated to me that as far as he is concerned the local people, the officials and taxpayers, have no particular objection to what the government has brought forward.
As a matter of fact, as the parliamentary assistant has indicated, at least some of these matters are in response to specific requests from the area.
I simply want to comment again that when we move amendments to the various regional bills of the province, the restructured county of Oxford is always included, since in fact it is a region in everything but name. The Minister of Colleges and Universities isn’t here -- that statement always stimulates him to get up to make some comments on a bill as well.
But I think it is interesting that the county of Northumberland, when offered the alternative to restructuring, has by vote of the council turned down that alternative which was announced by the Treasurer earlier in today’s session.
I was interested to note the county of Northumberland simply had a resolution put forward before the county council and each member of the council had expressed his or her view, rejecting it. When a similar vote was put before the county of Oxford some years ago it was rejected at that time -- at least, not approved.
In those days the present Treasurer, feeling a bit more frisky about the concept of regional government or restructuring, simply had them have another vote involving the then-warden of the county, the then-mayor of the city of Woodstock and the mayor of Ingersoll, I believe. He found that by canvassing them he got a unanimous vote in favour of restructuring. The restructuring of the county progressed on the basis of what he then called a “unanimous call for it” by the representatives of both the urban and the rural areas.
I have since felt that the county has adapted itself very well to the imposition of this new style of government. But some people forget when they talk about applying this type of restructuring to other counties, there is one advantage -- I suppose you might call it that -- in Oxford in that population in the urban and rural areas is almost exactly balanced so it’s not necessary for the government or the Legislature to apply any tricky arithmetic to make the representation on the restructured council such that neither one area or group of population or the other feels submerged or in any way unfairly treated.
I’ve got no particular objection to this bill and I hope that it passes without delay.
Mr. Swart: We, too, will be supporting this bill. We will not be asking that it be referred to the committee of the whole House as we have no amendments.
It is similar to the clauses in Bills 80 and 81, by and large, to which we had no objection and which, by and large, are necessary because of the changes in the date in the Municipal Elections Act. Also included in this is the principle of greater autonomy for municipal councils -- in this case, the county of Oxford, to set the remuneration for themselves and for any members of boards whom they may be appointing.
It also provides that it’s not necessary to have separate planning meetings, in case there’s any previous confusion about that. Hearings that may be required under any of the acts may be held by committees rather than by the council as a whole.
It is my understanding that the matter of the annexation of part of Zorra township to southwest Oxford amounts to four or six acres only and the two municipalities and the county have agreed on this annexation.
However, I want to point out that Bill 84 already has a commendable section which we would like to see included in the other regional government acts -- that is the section relating to the election of the chairman of that regional council, in this case called the warden of the County of Oxford.
In subsection 2 of section 3 of this bill, which is section 9, subsection 2 of the act, it states that “At the first meeting of the county council after a regular election at which a quorum is present, the county council shall organize as a council and elect from among its members a warden who shall hold office for that term of the council and until a successor is elected and at such meeting the clerk shall preside until the warden is elected. The warden so elected shall retain his seat on the council of the area municipality to which he was elected.”
The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk stated that in almost all respects at least the restructuring of the county of Oxford was really the imposition of a regional government, and with that I generally agree. Regional government was no longer acceptable politically at the time it was formed, so they used different phraseology. In this instance, it was a restructured county. By the time they got to Muskoka, it was the district of Muskoka.
Here they have restructured the county of Oxford in the form of a regional government, but they didn’t call it that, except for one thing. They decided that the chairman of that regional council or that restructured county council should come from among the elected people of the council and that he or she should retain a local seat while chairman of the regional council. I bring this forward to point out that it is the only one of the regional municipalities that has this clause. It is a clause that should be emulated in the other regional acts in this province. We propose to see that that possibility takes place later on today.
Mr. Speaker: If there are no other members wishing to get engaged in second reading, then the honourable parliamentary assistant.
Mr. Ashe: Very briefly, I would once again point out to the House, as all of the honourable members know, that a restructured county is not a regional government. Therefore, what is right for one is not necessarily right for the other.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
MUNICIPAL AMENDMENT ACT
House in committee on Bill 80, An Act to amend the Municipal Act.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Is there any comment or discussion on this bill?
Sections 1 and 2 agreed to.
On section 3:
Mr. Swart: I have an amendment to section 3 of this bill.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Swart moves that subsection 4 of section 27b of the Municipal Act as set out in section 3 of the bill be amended by striking out the words “the tenth day” in line four and substituting therefor the words “30 days,” so that the subsection shall read:
“(4) A bylaw for any of the purposes mentioned in subsection 1 of this section or subsection 1 of section 27a or a bylaw repealing any such bylaw shall in an election year be passed not later than 30 days prior to the last day for posting notice of the offices for which persons may be nominated in accordance with the Municipal Elections Act, 1977.”
Mr. Swart: There are seven of these amendments, all basically of the same principle, dealing with sections of the act. I think they may find support on all sides of the House. This one specifically provides that a county council may not determine just 10 days before the last day people are nominated for an election, that deputy reeves will no longer sit on the county council. It provides that there has to be some advance notice prior to elections that there may be changes made in the composition of county council. The subsequent amendments provide for cities and towns, villages and townships. Also, the submission of petition for this to a council must be put in well in advance of the election.
I admit that it has to be an arbitrary decision, whether it is 10 days or 13 days or three months before. It seems to me that there should be adequate time so that the public generally can voice their opinions on these things adequately prior to the time people are nominated for the position.
Frequently, a ratepayer would like to comment to a council after they have decided to pass a bill or after a petition has come in to change wards in the municipality. There may be others in that municipality who want to make representation to the council on this. If there is only a 10-day limit, obviously there isn’t the same opportunity.
So we have arbitrarily picked 30 days for all of these. It does give more time and yet provides a council with the opportunity to make changes as they approach election day but not too close to it. A county council would not be able to pass a bylaw to exclude deputy reeves from a county council closer than 30 days to the last day for posting of nominations for election to office.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Any further speakers to this amendment?
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, it is my feeling that what the member for Welland-Thorold has stated is eminently correct. As far as we are concerned, we will support this amendment and the subsequent amendments to other parts of the bill because the 30 days is a little more notice for the public to comprehend what are the changes being made and to have a chance to respond to those changes. The 10 days seems somewhat short. A council may make a change without having given due notice to the residents of that municipality. So we are pleased to be able to support this amendment and have it 30 days. I agree it’s an arbitrary figure, but it’s one that is acceptable to us.
Mr. Ashe: Mr. Chairman, I will be very brief. We actually felt the 10 days was sufficient. In fact, it’s a section that is virtually not used in any event. There’s no doubt that it was rather arbitrary, as is 30 days, but we really have no objection to this amendment and similar amendments that are going to follow.
I personally don’t think it’s necessary to talk about each one that’s doing the same thing -- hopefully.
Motion agreed to.
Section 3, as amended, agreed to.
On section 4.
Mr. Swart: I have an amendment to section 4.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Swart moves that subsection 7 of section 28 of the Municipal Act as set out in section 4, subsection 2 of the bill, be amended by striking out the words “the tenth day” in line three and substituting the words “30 days” so that the subsection shall read: “A petition for any of the purposes mentioned in subsection 6 shall in an election year be presented not later than 30 days prior to the last day for posting notices of the offices for which persons may be nominated in accordance with the Municipal Elections Act, 1977.”
Motion agreed to.
Section 4, as amended, agreed to.
On section 5:
Mr. Swart: I have an amendment to section 5.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Swart moves that subsection 5 of section 30 of the Municipal Act as set out in subsection 1 of section 5 of the bill be amended by striking out the words “the tenth day” in line 4 and substituting therefor the words “30 days” so that the subsection will read: “A bylaw passed under section 29 or under subsection 2 or 3 of this section, and a bylaw repealing any such bylaw shall in an election year be passed no later than 30 days prior to the last day for posting notices of the offices for which persons may be nominated in accordance with the Municipal Elections Act, 1977. Such bylaw shall not be passed unless it has received the assent of the municipal electors.”
Mr. Swart: This amendment refers to towns which are covered under a separate section of the act, a variation of the composition of councils of towns.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Swart moves that subsection 9 of section 30 of the Municipal Act as set out in subsection 2 of section 5 of the bill be amended by striking out the word “the tenth day” in line two, and substituting therefor the words “30 days” so the subsection will read: “A petition presented under subsection 7 or 8 shall in an election year be presented not later than 30 days prior to the last day for posting notice of the offices for which persons may be nominated in accordance with the Municipal Elections Act, 1977.”
Motion agreed to.
Section 5, as amended, agreed to.
On section 6:
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Swart moves that subsection 3 of section 32 of the Municipal Act as set out in subsection 1 of section 6 of the bill be amended by striking out the words “the tenth day” where they appear in line three and substituting therefor the words “30 days,” so the subsection will read: “A bylaw for the purpose mentioned in subsection 2 and a bylaw repealing any such bylaw shall, in an election year, be passed not later than 30 days prior to the last day for posting notice of the offices for which persons may be nominated in accordance with the Municipal Elections Act, 1977, and such bylaw shall take effect at and for the purpose of the municipal election next after the passing of it.”
Mr. Swart: Mr. Chairman, I should just perhaps point out that it is the same thing, only this applies to the section of the act which deals with villages and townships.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Swart moves that subsection 8 of section 32 of the Municipal Act as set out in subsection 2 of section 6 of the bill be amended by striking out the words “the tenth day” where they appear in the third line and substituting therefor the words “30 days” so the subsection will read: “A bylaw for the purpose mentioned in subsection 6 and a bylaw repealing any such bylaw shall, in an election year, be passed not later than 30 days prior to the last day for posting notice of the offices for which persons may be nominated in accordance with the Municipal Elections Act, 1977, and such bylaw shall not be passed until it has received the assent of the municipal electors.”
Motion agreed to.
Section 6, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 7 to 15, inclusive, agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Ashe moves that paragraph 67a of section 352 of the act as set out in section 16 of the bill be amended by inserting after “employees” in the ninth line, “including while acting in the performance of any statutory duty imposed by any general or special act”.
Mr. Ashe: The reason for this addition came from a suggestion from the municipal sector to make it abundantly clear that what we were talking about were duties that should be performed by the particular individual, that were statutorily imposed by any general or special act. We are very pleased to clarify it to that degree by adding those few words. It does not in any way change the substance of the section.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, I would agree this is essentially housekeeping. I know this would put reins on the former mayor of Pickering, somewhat, if he were still in that capacity. He couldn’t go beyond the limits that will be imposed now and I am sure he wouldn’t mind that.
We will agree with the amendment.
Mr. Swart: We support this as desirable.
Motion agreed to.
Section 16, as amended, agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any further discussions or amendments to this bill before section 26?
Sections 17 to 25, inclusive, agreed to.
On section 26:
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Ashe moves that subsection 1 of section 413 of the act as set out in section 26 of the bill be amended by striking out “city or town” in the first line and inserting in lieu thereof “local municipality.”
Mr. Ashe: This amendment comes about through a suggestion by the municipal liaison committee and we have no problem in putting it forward. It probably better describes what we are talking about.
Mr. Epp: We will agree with the amendment.
Motion agreed to.
Section 26, as amended, agreed to.
Section 27 agreed to.
On section 28:
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Ashe moves that section 28 of the bill be struck out and the following inserted in lieu thereof: “28(1) Paragraph 9 of section 460 of the said bill as enacted by the Statutes of Ontario, 1973, chapter 175, section 7, is amended by inserting after ‘specified’ in the sixth line, ‘provided such regulation is not in conflict with the Highway Traffic Act and the regulations thereunder.’
“(2) The said section 460 is amended by adding thereto the following paragraphs:
“10. For designating any lane and any road over which the municipality has jurisdiction as a lane solely or principally for use by bicycles and for prohibiting and regulating the use thereof by vehicles other than bicycles to such extent and for such period or periods as may specify, provided such regulation is not in conflict with the Highway Traffic Act and the regulations thereunder.
“11. Before passing a bylaw under paragraphs 9 or 10 for designating a lane on a road as a lane solely or principally for the use of public transit, motor vehicles or bicycles, notice of the proposed bylaw shall be published at least once a week for four successive weeks in a newspaper having general circulation in the municipality and the notice shall indicate the date and time of the meeting at which the council will consider the passing of the proposed bylaw.
“(a) this paragraph does not apply so as to affect the validity of a bylaw heretofore passed under paragraph 9.”
Mr. Epp: In effect all this does is insert, I think quite correctly and quite properly, that any regulations to set up bicycle lanes and/or bus lanes still must, of course, be set up provided such regulations are not in conflict with the Highway Traffic Act and the regulations thereunder. Again, it’s just clarifying by specifically stating that they still must conform to that act.
Motion agreed to.
Section 28, as amended, agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any further amendments or discussions to this bill?
Sections 29 to 37, inclusive, agreed to.
Bill 80, as amended, reported.
REGIONAL MUNICIPALITIES AMENDMENT ACT
House in committee on Bill 81, An Act to amend certain Acts respecting Regional Municipalities.
On section 1:
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Chairman, I am resuming my role as the member for Ottawa Centre as well as being the leader of my party. We are proposing that in the case of the regional chairman a fundamental and democratic change should be made. I have pleasure in making a motion to implement that change in relation to the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton Act which is covered under section 1(1) of Bill 81.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Cassidy moves that section 4(2) of the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton Act, as set out in section 1(1) of the bill, be amended by striking out the words “or any other person” in lines four and five and inserting after the word “council” on line five, the words “provided he continues to be a member of the council” so that the subsection shall read:
“(2) At the first meeting of the regional council after a regular election at which a quorum is present, the regional council shall organize as a council and elect as chairman one of the members of the regional council to hold office for the term of the council provided he continues to be a member of the council and until his successor is appointed or elected in accordance with this act and at such meeting the clerk shall preside until the chairman is elected.”
Mr. Cassidy: The principle of the selection of the regional chairmen that we have in Ottawa-Carleton, and have had since 1968 or thereabouts, has been comparable to what would exist in this Legislature if, after a general provincial election, the Premier of the province were to be appointed from all of the eight million residents of Ontario and not have to have subjected himself, or herself, to a natural process of election in a provincial constituency.
I’m sure that anybody who saw that process at work in this province at the legislative level would deem it entirely undemocratic. If it would be undemocratic to have an unelected person as the Premier of Ontario, it is surely just as undemocratic to have an unelected person having the right to be selected as the chairman, whether it’s of Ottawa-Carleton or some other regional municipality. We believe that it is important that every member of local councils, which in the case of Ottawa-Carleton have the responsibility for budgets that exceed $100 million, should have passed the test of approval by the electorate in the same way as they have to pass that test in order to take office within the cabinet or as Premier.
It’s hard to see why there should be an exception for any member of the regional council of Ottawa-Carleton or any other municipality. Certainly nobody thinks the alderman for Wellington ward, which I once represented, should be an appointed person. Nobody thinks the representative of Stittsville or West Carleton or some other area like that should be an unelected person. Why, then, should we give to the most powerful person on the regional council of Ottawa-Carleton the privilege of being selected for office without having been elected in the first place? Why should it be that the people of the region as a whole, or the people of any part of that municipality, should not have had the responsibility of ensuring that person was fit to hold office in that most powerful position?
I want to recall to you, Mr. Chairman, the fact that the regional chairman has a number of important responsibilities. In the first place, he or she is the only politician in regional Ottawa-Carleton, as is true in other municipalities as well, who works at regional government full time rather than part-time. The regional chairman is in touch with all of the administrative staff, is the chairman of the executive committee of the region, and through his control and contact with the administrative staff plays an enormous role in shaping the proposals which are often rubber-stamped by the executive, and are just as often rubber-stamped or approved after some debate by the regional council as a whole.
So we have the ludicrous situation where the single member of council with the most power is the one who is not an elected person. That is not democracy, Mr. Chairman, yet it has been perpetuated for a decade by the Conservative government of Ontario in the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton Act.
I would like to suggest regional government in this province, particularly in Ottawa-Carleton, is mature enough that it can surely weather the wind of democracy by having the chairman have to face election every two years, just like everybody else. I would like to suggest that some of the misgivings and discontent people are reflecting about regional government across the province of Ontario has been because of the chairman-of-the-board kind of role which has been played by non-elected chairmen, who were in the first place selected by the government down here and who subsequently have not been forced to undergo the process of election.
An election is a very salutary experience. Even if you only face some of the electorate, it gives those electors the chance to put you to the test and to ask why you took a position on certain issues. The prospect of an election can sometimes be a wonderfully clear breath of air in ensuring you see clearly what issues are coming up, whether it is at the municipal level or at the provincial level.
It is for those reasons, Mr. Chairman, that we are proposing and that I am proposing this particular amendment. I hope, in line with their statements when this matter of the election of regional chairman was originally raised a week and a half or so ago, the Liberal Party will agree with the New Democrats and go along with this reform, which is long overdue and which will ensure, in fact, that all and not just some of the members of the regional council of Ottawa-Carleton will be democratically elected.
Mr. Epp: It is a pleasure to be able to speak on this. I am glad to reply to the leader of the third party and say we do agree with him, particularly with his press release which came on June 1, and included a statement by the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) who is the municipal affairs critic for the third party, who indicated very strongly that this is a housekeeping bill. Therefore, we indicated it was a housekeeping bill on May 30 when this act first came before us. We indicated we were in support of having the chairman elected, but we also said this was no time to do it, in essentially a housekeeping bill. The member for Welland-Thorold at that time agreed it was a housekeeping bill.
The election of a chairman of a regional municipality would be more democratic, there is no doubt about that. We have been on record for some years now as supporting the election of the chairman. We did, however, state on May 30, 1978, which was but a few weeks ago, that we would bring in an amendment at the proper time. I want to read for the edification of the chairman and everybody in the House --
Mr. Cassidy: You are going to wait another 10 years.
Mr. Epp: -- what the member for Welland-Thorold stated at that time. If you recall, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Roy was speaking at the time and he said: “We used to have a policy that the chairman should be elected at large, but whether he is elected at large or in a district or ward, he is in any event responsible to the electorate. There should be some method whereby this individual, who is after all the most important politician in all of these regional areas, is subject to the will and the whims of the electorate at one level or another.”
He goes on to say: “The parliamentary assistant has indicated that in fact other legislation will be forthcoming dealing with various regional areas subject to the reports brought forward in these various areas, such as the Robarts report in Metro or the Mayo report in Ottawa-Carleton.” I understand there are further reports in Niagara. As you know, Mr. Chairman, there are further reports that may be coming in the next few days, certainly in the next few months when the House starts sitting in the fall.
Mr. Roy went on to say: “The fact is that we in this party have discussed this matter with our critic ... ”; and he’s very complimentary here, “and look forward to the other legislation coming forward. At that time, hopefully, we will put across our view.”
Mr. Warner: Lorne wiggles on the hook.
Mr. Epp: “And I must say that I will be in full support of these views, that the regional chairman in fact be elected at one level or another, and that the most important politician in all of these regional areas should be responsible to a group of people who elect him, not only to the members of regional council.” It looks like the leader of the third party has picked it out of Mr. Roy’s speech, because that’s essentially what he was saying.
Now Mr. Swart then interjected on the honourable member from Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) and said: “Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, although I may -- ” he says he may; he doesn’t say he did, he doesn’t say he didn’t, he -- “may agree with what the member for Ottawa Centre is saying.”
Then Mr. Roy said: “No, no, no; your leader is from Ottawa Centre. Don’t confuse me please.” Then Mr. Nixon said: “What a mistake. You should be ashamed.” Mr. Swart said: “That’s the greatest compliment you have been paid in this House.” Mr. Speaker: “Order.” Mr. Swart said: “I rise on a point of order that -- ” Mr. Speaker said: “There is nothing out of order.” Mr. Swart said: “There is nothing in the bill about election of the chairman.”
Now I just want to draw that to your attention, Mr. Chairman, because that’s very important. He’s obviously made a big flip-flop and it looks like it’s the greatest --
Mr. Warner: Lorne, what are you going to do?
Mr. Epp: It’s the greatest retreat --
Mr. Warner: You can’t wiggle out of it.
Mr. Epp: -- the greatest retreat since Napoleon tried to go to Russia back in 1813-1814, Mr. Chairman.
An hon. member: That wasn’t a good year, Herb.
Mr. Epp: I think you are a historian, this is the biggest retreat since that time.
Mr. Jones: No surprises though.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Swart said: “There’s nothing in the bill about the election of the chairman.” Mr. Speaker said: “There is really nothing out of order.” Mr. Nixon said: “except the member.” Mr. Swart said: “Therefore the speaker is out of order.”
Now I didn’t know whether he meant the speaker or Mr. Speaker was out of order, but somebody was out of order according to Mr. Swart. Obviously what Mr. Roy was saying, was out of order, according to Mr. Swart, and he’s the critic for that party.
Mr. Speaker said: “You may rise to correct a record but there is really nothing out of order.” Mr. Swart said: “I am rising to say the speaker is not speaking to the bill. There is nothing in this bill about the election of the chairman or non-election of the chairman, or how the chairman is going to be selected; I suggest the member is out of order.” Mr. Cunningham said: “Yes, there is.”
Mr. Roy said: “With respect, Mr. Speaker, if I may, on the point of order, say to my friend from Welland-Thorold, it wouldn’t be the first time he is confused, but in any event we are sympathetic and very charitable in this party. I would read to him the section I am talking about. This is section 1(2), which talks about, if we will notice on the right side, election of the chairman.” Mr. Nixon said: “Right, got that, Mel?” Mr. Roy said: “I have been accused sometimes of mish-mashing the English language and not understanding what is happening in that language.” Mr. Nixon said: “Hardly ever mish-mash.” Mr. Roy said: “Here we are, election of chairman. It says ‘the regional council shall elect the chairman as one of the members from regional council or any other person.’ Is the member going to apologize?” Mr. Nixon: “You didn’t get your QC for nothing.”
Mr. Swart: “I rise again on a point of order, Mr. Speaker. This section he is speaking about of course is the timing of the election of the chairman. It has nothing to do with the procedures of the election of the chairman or whether the chairman should be elected or appointed or anything else of this matter.”
Now I want to repeat that, Mr. Chairman, because that’s very important and it comes from the third party, it comes from their critic of municipal affairs and says: “The section he is speaking about, of course, is the timing of the election of the chairman. It has nothing to do with the procedures of the election of the chairman or whether the chairman should be elected or appointed or anything else of this nature. I just make the point once again that the speaker is out of order when he is talking about whether regional chairmen should be appointed or elected.”
Just a few seconds later Mr. Roy says, “ ... at least to get some suggestions that are in fact in order.
“To continue -- I was winding up, Mr. Speaker, when this happened -- ” Mr. Nixon said: “Oh, yes.” Mr. Swart said: “There is a difference between winding up and winding down.” I suppose he has got run down.
So there you go, obviously the members of the third party --
Mr. Warner: What are you going to do?
Mr. Cassidy: What are you going to do?
Mr. Warner: Come on, stop waffling.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Can’t stand the heat, eh fellows?
Mr. Cassidy: We have just seen another flip-flop in the Liberal caucus.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order.
Mr. Epp: Talking about flip-flopping, I am sure they are projecting their own thoughts because they are such authorities on flip-flopping. I’m sure that one of these days they will write a book on it --
Mr. Makarchuk: Wait until tonight.
Mr. Epp: -- because they sure are knowledgeable about it. Anyway, there is no flip-flopping on this side --
Mr. Warner: You just changed policies.
Mr. Epp: -- because we indicated when that debate started that this was --
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order.
Mr. Epp: Thank you very much, sir. We indicated that this bill dealt with housekeeping items. The third party said it was housekeeping items. This obviously is a major amendment which we will not be supporting, as was indicated a few weeks ago --
Mr. Warner: That’s shameful.
Mr. Cassidy: You have backed down again.
Mr. Epp: -- and we concur --
Mr. Cassidy: It will be 10 years before we get back to this.
Mr. T. P. Reid: You won’t be around that long.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: The member for Waterloo North has the floor.
Mr. Warner: You sure have a lot of faith in the Treasurer (Mr. McKeough).
Mr. Epp: It is obvious that the members to my left haven’t read the bill as the member for Welland-Thorold has read it. He clearly indicated, as I have just read from Hansard, that it is a housekeeping bill and that they wouldn’t be supporting something of that nature. Obviously it would be out of order to suggest an amendment could be made. We won’t be supporting the amendment.
Mr. M. Davidson: Should we apply the same principle in Waterloo region?
Mr. Warner: Every region.
Mr. Cassidy: The anti-democratic opposition in Ontario.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order.
Mr. Epp: When the bill comes in for Ottawa-Carleton
Mr. M. Davidson: Do you feel the chairman of the Waterloo region should be elected?
Mr. Epp: -- and for Niagara, if we have an opportunity we obviously will at that time amend the bill --
Mr. Warner: Don’t hold your breath.
Mr. Epp: -- so that the chairman is an elected person who will guide the affairs of that particular region.
Mr. Warner: We don’t need to go through the whole debate on the guided reading lesson we had, but I think the member will recognize that during the entire exchange the Speaker maintained there was nothing out of order; that in fact everything was proceeding, and that the comments Mr. Roy was making were entirely in keeping.
Of course, what Mr. Roy wanted to do was to ensure we would have an elected position for the chairman of the region, but the split in that party is sufficient that that democratic principle can’t be upheld. I understand that, I understand the difficulty the Liberal members are having with this concept of having every politician elected. There is a serious split in the party over that.
Mr. Stong: That’s derogatory.
Mr. Warner: It is unfortunate that the Liberal Party can’t come to grips with that.
Mr. Peterson: If we don’t have an election how can we get rid of people like you?
Mr. Warner: It’s also unfortunate that some members of the Liberal Party have such great faith in the Treasurer that they can sit back and say; “We’ll wait until the bill comes in.” We just witnessed a few days ago what the Treasurer intends to do with the legislation on Metro Toronto. We’re not going to see it for a long while yet.
So although the member for Waterloo North (Mr. Epp) can dismiss it as housekeeping and that therefore we shouldn’t clean house --
Mr. Epp: That’s what your colleague said, he said it was housekeeping.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Mr. Epp: That’s what your press release said.
Mr. Warner: And therefore we shouldn’t clean house; he is not prepared to deal with the matter right now, he is going to wait until the Treasurer decides to bring in some other piece of legislation.
I’m not prepared to sit around forever waiting for the Treasurer to make up his mind on when he is going to bring in legislation about Metro Toronto or Ottawa or any other region. We have a bill in front of us. The bill deals with a region. Part of the principle of the politicians operating in that region is that every one of them should be elected.
That’s a pretty basic principle and I don’t know why you shy away from it. I don’t know what kind of logic dissuades the member for Waterloo North from facing up to the principle that every politician should be elected. I can’t understand that.
The Prime Minister of this country seeks re-election in his own home riding, as does the Premier of this province and of every province in Canada. Yet for some reason extremely powerful politicians out in the regions should escape from that. They should be allowed something that no one else in Canada is allowed to do. I don’t understand that kind of logic. I, for one, am not prepared to accept it.
We have a bill in front of us. If you want to put it in terms of housekeeping, that’s quite all right. We’re helping to clean up the house of that particular region and some of the other regions. We’re going to ensure that the democratic principle of electing politicians is maintained.
What disturbs me, and we’ll get around to it in Bill 83, is that you see a press release from the leader of the Liberal Party stating one thing and you get the critic stating the opposite in the House. That obviously isn’t a problem for me so much as it is for the Liberal caucus to deal with. The Liberal caucus has to deal with that sort of split, but it’s not fair to the people of Ontario. We should have the principle dealt with and that’s what we’re attempting to do in this legislation.
I commend my colleague from Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) who has put a great deal of time and thought into the amendments he has brought forward. If his amendments carry we have extended that democratic principle of electing our politicians that extra step that’s so important, into the regions.
In conclusion, I’d ask the members of the government side to carefully consider how they will approach the amendment. I doubt the amendment is going to cause the fall of the government one way or the other. I doubt that by accepting the amendment you’re somehow weakening your position in the province. In fact, I suspect the reverse is true. It’s an opportunity for the government to say to the people of Ontario: “We support the democratic principle of electing politicians and we’re going to show some leadership.”
Perhaps the parliamentary assistant can reconsider his earlier remarks and agree with our amendment. It can be accepted without any further fuss and we can get through this in the next few minutes and get on to other items of concern.
Mr. Swart: The issue that seems to be put before us by the member for Waterloo North and by the Liberals last evening is the appropriateness of the amendment being before us at this time. I think that pretty well sums up the arguments. I see people on my right nodding. I want to take a moment or two to make some comments in addition to those made by the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) to indicate that this amendment is properly before us.
In the debate two or three weeks ago I stated in all conscience that I felt the issue was out of order at that time. I was aware that further on in the act there was further reference being made to the matter of the appointment of the regional chairmen. Those sections were not before us, therefore it seemed to me it would be inappropriate at that time to bring in an amendment which would provide for the election of the regional chairmen. Perhaps more correctly stated, it would provide that the chairmen of regional councils should be selected from among the regional council and that he should continue to be a person elected by the public.
That evening the Liberals said I was wrong, and we have had a great deal of Hansard read into the record by the member for Waterloo North. They said they were right, that the matter was appropriately before us at that time. The Speaker ruled in their favour.
It seems to me that any party that was sincere about the chairmen being elected, about making amendments to the various sections of the act, once the Speaker had ruled in their favour, would have followed this up with amendments, at least to find out if amendments were appropriate.
Surely they must recognize that some of these acts, the regional government acts, at least this section, will not be before us, for perhaps two years, five years, or 10 years. We don’t know when, if ever, those sections will be before us again. I point out that they refrained, or if they did check they decided against bringing in amendments which would accomplish the things they said they wanted to accomplish when we were debating this on May 30. I just want to read into the record exactly the same section that was read in by the member for Waterloo North.
Mr. Roy, who was speaking on this bill, said: “there should be some method whereby this individual” -- speaking about the regional chairman -- “who is, after all, the most important politician of all in all of these regional areas, is subject to the will and whims, in fact, of the electorate at one level or another.”
I am very disappointed that the government has not found a way whereby this is done, and done automatically. I point out to you, Mr. chairman, that our amendment does it. They had the option to do it if they were sincere about it. I say to you that after the Speaker ruled the discussion on this was in order, I checked with the legislative staff and the appropriate people in the Speaker’s office and found out that an amendment such as this was in order.
The amendment is before us tonight because the party to my right -- the member for Waterloo North, the member for York Centre, and others -- stated that I was wrong at that time. They knew that it was in order. If they were sincere --
Mr. Stong: I never said that.
Mr. Swart: The member for York Centre says that he didn’t state that, but at least two or three members of that party did. I withdraw the statement that he did, but I'm going to quote Hansard for you in just a moment or two. If they really meant what they said in that debate about wanting to see that regional chairmen were elected, they would have brought in an amendment of their own, first of all they would have pursued the matter as I did.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s right.
Mr. Breithaupt: Good for you, Mel.
Mr. Swart: Secondly, failing that they would support the amendment which is now before us. I say with all sincerity that no one in or outside of this House can conclude anything other than that the Liberal Party does not want regional chairmen to be elected people. That is a fair statement, otherwise they’d support this amendment. We’re not going to have the opportunity of this amendment before us for years and years.
Mr. Cunningham: What’s your position on regional government?
Mr. Swart: I’ve always had the position, Mr. Chairman --
Mr. Cunningham: What’s your party’s position on regional government?
Mr. Swart: I have always had the position that regional chairmen should be elected. I have the brief which I presented to the Niagara study committee in 1966 which said that the regional chairmen should be elected. I haven’t changed from that. I think we’re going to find out whether some other people have changed from that, but I haven’t changed from that.
The real issue before us on the amendment proposed by my leader is not whether I was wrong in saying that it was out of order on May 30.
Mr. Epp: You were wrong once and you’re wrong again.
Mr. Swart: The real issue before this House, and every member of this House, is whether we want to assure that the regional chairman is a person elected by at least a constituency, always elected by a constituency. That is the issue before us, and it’s properly before us. However it got here, there is no question that that issue today is properly before us.
I say to you, Mr. Chairman, there’s every reason in the world for the regional chairman to be elected. Many of those reasons have been put forward by my leader. I suggest that the government recognizes this. That’s why in the restructured county of Oxford they determined that the chairman there would be elected. Yet just a very few years before, in Haldimand-Norfolk, they decided that the chairman should be appointed.
Mr. Cunningham: And he was defeated.
Mr. Swart: The restructured county of Oxford by the latest figures which I have, has a population of about 85,000. The region of Haldimand-Norfolk has a population of about 87,000. Both have the same kinds of responsibilities for a chairman. In one we have the chairman elected, while in the other the chairman is appointed by the regional council and is not responsible to anyone.
I suggest there is something very basically wrong. As the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy) stated, regional chairmen are exceedingly important people in the municipal field. We judge to some extent the value of service which a person is performing by the amount of money he receives. I would point out that the chairman of Ottawa-Carleton receives a remuneration of $48,700. This is just salary and not expenses.
Mr. Peterson: Are you suggesting he’s not worth it?
Mr. Swart: I’m not suggesting for a moment he’s not worth it. I’m suggesting that if he is worth it he ought to be elected by the people. If he holds such a senior position in municipal government in this province that he receives, I believe, the third highest remuneration of any municipal person in this province; if that position is so important then the public should have some right to say who that person should be.
Down Niagara way, the amount of money which the chairman receives is rather low compared to the rest of them. It is $30,000. The chairman of Metro gets $51,200, a bit more than the mayor of Toronto. If his position is senior to the mayor of Toronto, doesn’t it make sense that he too should be elected to that position like the mayor of Toronto? I suggest if anybody here said that the mayor of Toronto should not be elected, anybody here or outside would say; “Oh, my God, are we not going to elect a person in the community to that important position?”
And of course they would be right. By restructuring and so on, we have said that the chairman of a regional council should not be elected. We should go to Durham. They pay him $34,528; in York it is $35,707.50 -- I don’t know where they get the 50 cents or the $7; in Haldimand-Norfolk it is $25,000; in Peel $38,139; and in Halton $25,000, where the member there is only serving part time.
I say without the slightest hesitation that if the positions which they hold are so important -- in fact with one or two exceptions they must hold more important positions than the members of the Legislature because they get more remuneration -- then surely they should be accountable back to the electorate at election time, by that yardstick alone they should be elected.
Let me also point out that the amount of money which is spent by regional council now equals -- or perhaps surpasses, the latest figures aren’t available -- the amount of money being spent by all the lower tiers in the province. I repeat that the amount of money spent by Metro and regional council now is in excess of the amount of money being spent by all the lower tier governments in this province. In 1974 it was $686 million compared to lower tiers spending $727 million. Since that time I am informed that has changed and that slightly more is being spent by the upper tier.
Whether it is or not, those 11 or 12 upper tier governments now spend more money and have greater responsibilities than the 800 or so other municipalities in this province. By that yardstick alone, I suggest again that the regional chairmen must be elected. If we want to look at their importance, I guess from another angle, it might be the numbers of them who have served on the PMLC. Anybody who goes to these meetings, as the member for Waterloo North does periodically --
Mr. Epp: Almost regularly.
Mr. Swart: -- will know that in the last two or three years there have been up to five regional chairmen who have served on that committee, which is supposed to be the group that has the most influence with the Ontario government. I think it is down to one regional chairman serving on that committee this year, but it has been as high as five; the municipalities think those people are so important that they must have them on the PMLC.
Mr. Epp: Are you suggesting that they shouldn’t be?
Mr. Swart: I am not suggesting that they shouldn’t be. I suggest the member for Waterloo North knows I am not suggesting that they shouldn’t be on there. I am saying that if they are in those senior positions, they should be accountable to the public of this province. That is what I am saying and I suggest that the members to the right know that that is what I am saying.
Mr. Roy: Aren’t you out of order?
Mr. Epp: Read Hansard.
Mr. Warner: Facts are facts.
Mr. Swart: They have contacts --
Mr. Peterson: Mel, you said it about 16 times now.
Mr. Swart: There are more doors open to those people to get into the Ontario government than to any other municipal officials in the province, and the people on my right know that to be true as well. In fact, I think I am right in saying that nine of the 12 original appointments are there -- it may be eight; I am not sure; but eight or nine of the original appointments by the Conservative government of Ontario as chairmen of the regional councils still sit as chairmen of those regional councils.
I would just ask, on what basis do we determine that the head of an important level of government like that should not be elected? Historically in this province we have had direct elections to local government. I guess I have to say that I still favour that even with regional governments. County council is supposed to be a federation; county council now is considered to be a federation, not really another level of government. But a regional government is another level of government. I therefore think that it is desirable that that person be elected by all of those he represents. But, failing that, I suggest that this is a step that we should take and we should take it now.
I know there are a variety of reasons why they say you can’t elect those from all the population of the region, relative to size and all of these things -- maybe that is an indication why the regions are not functioning properly; they are much too big. But because a region is too big, or for a variety of reasons, the government has appointed that person to start and he may carry on indefinitely if the county council determines that he should do so.
I simply suggest that in this system we have the worst of all worlds. We haven’t got the accountability directly back to the public; we haven’t even got the accountability indirectly back to the public by that person having to be elected in a certain area.
I say to my colleagues on the right that it is not too late to reconsider. I say to my colleague from York Centre that the reason he gave is not a very good reason why they should vote against these amendments. Let me read what he said: “Insofar as they are in control” -- he is talking now about the government across the way -- “they can exercise upon us a form of blackmail. That blackmail can take the part of all of what is before us today.”
There are two parties to any blackmail, the one who does the blackmailing and the one who is being blackmailed. First of all, I say they are both guilty to some degree. But if we take the attitude in this House that we are going to give in to the other side because they may withdraw some favours from us at some time --
Mr. Epp: Who is giving in, Mel? We said all this weeks ago.
Mr. Swart: We are not giving in. We have moved forward, you have moved backward.
Mr. Epp: Read Hansard, Mel.
Mr. Swart: If we are going to give in to that kind of blackmail then we are going to make no progress at all in minority government. To me, minority government means that the wishes of the majority of this House in general are carried. You people have expressed --
Mr. Peterson: Is this a filibuster, Mel?
Mr. Swart: No, it is not; I am I concluding.
The people to the right have expressed their wish, their desire, that the chairmen of regional councils be elected, be accountable back. There is no question that the amendments are properly before us. If we wish this, if we can accomplish it, then I suggest let’s do it and let’s enhance municipal democracy in this province; because that is exactly what it means and we can’t have it fully until we do elect those chairmen.
Mr. Haggerty: I wasn’t going to enter the debate, but I just can’t resist the opportunity of following the member for Welland-Thorold. He talks about local participation of all the people within the region of Niagara.
Having listened to the member in the Ontario Legislature and listened to him for a number of years on the Welland county council, and the suggestions in the dialogue in the Legislature, it is too bad the member didn’t show that initiative some seven or eight years ago when regional government was talked about among certain members of the county council.
The dialogue then, and as it is today in the Ontario Legislature would have meant the people would have been better informed in the former county of Welland; and if they had been better informed at that time we would never have had regional government in Niagara.
The honourable member attended the special trip to Sweden. It was sponsored partly by the county of Welland and I think the Ford Foundation. I could be wrong on that particular part, but he was one of the chosen members from county council and from the Ontario Association of Municipalities to attend Europe to look at some of the regional government set-ups in Sweden and Germany and so forth.
I have often coined the phrase that he is the godfather of regional government in the Niagara Peninsula. Definitely he comes down hard on both sides of regional government now, as he did then, in not telling us in what direction the party is going.
I can see reasons, perhaps, for the suggestion that the chairman should be elected at large throughout the regional municipality of Niagara, but if that applies to the chairman it also should apply to other persons who are elected from the municipality, such as the mayor who automatically becomes a member of regional Niagara.
I suggest if we are going to have one election at large, we should have all members of Niagara region elected at large. It is only common sense to take this approach. If you want participation of the public, then it must come about this way, not because you appoint him.
We have the white paper on the Archer report and the response by the government to the Archer report, suggesting the city of St. Catharines perhaps should have one more member. That is still going to cause some difficulties.
There are other areas within the region that are not taken into consideration, areas where population increases due to summer residents, who require all the services a normal resident or property owner require 12 months of the year.
I understand there are other amendments coming to the Niagara region bill. I think we should be looking at the matter of election of council, all of them, at large, from the whole region.
Mr. Chairman: May I say to the honourable member that is not in this particular section.
Mr. Haggerty: No, it’s not in that particular section, but we’re still dealing with the matter of appointment of the chairmen and electing the chairmen from within the county.
Mr. Chairman: That’s correct.
Mr. Ruston: It is the amendment we’re dealing with.
Mr. Haggerty: The point I’m trying to convey is I think there is merit in what he’s saying. I would like to see it go all the way. It’s going to cause difficulties. When he talks about accountability, for example, you can have a mayor elected from a town or a municipality, or a city I should say, within the community, within the regional structure, and he could also become chairman. I’ll tell you, he can’t serve two masters. There is no way, with the work load that is put on the regional chairman.
I might say this much, the present regional chairman, Mr. John Campbell, who is appointed, is doing an excellent job. Perhaps without his leadership regional government would not be moving that much forward in a sense, that is to say that with the other serious difficulties there, it wouldn’t function as well as it has to date.
I spoke on the regional bill when it was first introduced here in the Legislature and I’m not definitely sold on regional government. I can see a larger form of government, a restructuring of county council if you want to put it that way, which would put the cities back in under a county form of government. Restructure a county government, I think this is good, but I suggest the time isn’t right to come back and say we’re going to have the regional chairman elected at large, because there’s going to be quite an expense involved.
The other reason I would oppose it right now is I think there must be guidelines set on the salaries. When you look back at the first regional bill for Niagara, I think this is one of the matters the former member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Bukator) and I raised in the debate. At that time, we thought there should be some guidelines on salaries. That was for staff, clerks and so forth. That never came about. I’ll tell you, it just mushroomed throughout that community. Salaries increased almost 100 per cent. The cost of administration of regional government is one of the difficulties the taxpayer is facing now.
In some cases, they question whether the benefit is that great in this particular area. So I suggest to the member for Welland-Thorold that he may be correct to a certain extent, but I think he is pushing a little bit too far at the present time. If he had only shown that initiative back in 1964-1965 in the county of Welland, regional government would never have been there.
Now he is taking the stand to say, “I’m for regional government on a particular thing, but I’m opposed to it overall.” I don’t know just what his position is. He comes down hard on both sides of it. I’m as lost today as I was back some 10 years ago when there was no debate about regional government in the former county of Welland. The debate on that particular issue was kept away from members. It was all hidden in secret meetings attended by a certain few elected persons within the county of Welland at that particular time. That’s perhaps one of the reasons we now have regional government in the area. But hopefully, with your restructuring of county government, you will have an open book so all the taxpayers and all ratepayers will have a full understanding of the direction this government wants to lead us.
Mr. Charlton: I’ll be brief, but I just want to make a few points about a number of things that concern me about this debate going on here today.
On May 30, when we were debating this bill on second reading, my colleague the member for Welland-Thorold raised the question about whether or not discussing regional chairmen and their election or non-election was in order at that point, given the sections of this bill. The members of the Liberal caucus, the party to the right of me here, went to great pains to impress upon the Speaker that in fact, the discussion and debate on regional chairmen and their election was in order. They made the point and the Speaker ruled in their favour. That was quite clear on May 30. Now the member for Waterloo North is attempting to tell us it’s not in order in this place, on these sections, with this bill; and that “We’ve admitted that we were wrong.”
Mr. Samis: A man of his word.
Mr. Peterson: Why have you changed?
Mr. Roy: That’s what your member said, you should apologize.
Mr. M. Davidson: Which is something more than you would do.
Mr. Charlton: The members of the party to my right should now either admit they are wrong or very simply support the amendments.
Mr. Peterson: That’s where you are wrong.
Mr. Charlton: I have sat in this House for almost a year now. I have watched on a number of occasions the members of the Liberals caucus accuse this caucus of posturing. I would like to say here to this House and to the people of the province of Ontario --
Mr. T. P. Reid: After a full year, with all your experience.
Mr. Charlton: -- that when the members of the Liberal caucus went to great pains to make the point clear that the discussion under this bill of the election of regional chairmen was in order, they were just posturing for whatever publicity they could gain or they should now put up and support these amendments to see that the things they supported in the debate become a reality.
The members of the Liberal caucus and the members of this caucus have made it quite clear to this House that we support the proposition of the elected accountability of regional chairmen. All of them have got up, one after another, and said that they supported the idea of elected chairmen. The argument they have used against supporting these amendments that we are proposing is that the government across the way is holding us up to blackmail and may withdraw the bill.
Mr. Epp: You are the one who said that.
Mr. Charlton: I say to the members of the Liberal caucus, that I have worked with them in committee where we have moved amendments which both parties have supported. That’s what minority government is all about.
Mr. Peterson: You have learned a lot.
Mr. Charlton: If the party to my right gives way to blackmail by the government, then this minority parliament can never work effectively to the benefit of the people of the province of Ontario. For the members of the caucus of the party to my right to be so naive as to hope that in the case of Metro Toronto and each one of the regions listed in this bill the Treasurer and the government across the way are going to give them another shot in the very near future --
Mr. Peterson: We can trust you to back off.
Mr. Charlton: -- at making regional chairmen elected, responsible and accountable, then they are sadly mistaken because it just won’t happen again in any hurry. In fact, the government is probably shaking its head behind the scenes that it let this bill come before us in a form in which we could do this.
Mr. Peterson: We can take for granted whatever the Treasurer does today he will change tomorrow.
Mr. Charlton: The question here for us today on each of the sections of this bill relating to the different regions is whether we support the concept and the proposition that regional chairmen should be elected. If we do, then we should support the amendments which are being placed now, to provide that this fall, in the elections, which are about to occur in the regional municipalities in the province of Ontario, the regional chairmen will be elected.
Mr. Chairman: The member for Ottawa East.
Mr. M. Davidson: Another Liberal flip-flop.
Mr. Roy: I think it’s important that we again state our position clearly on the record --
Mr. Warner: How can it be clear?
Mr. Makarchuk: Which position are you setting right now?
Mr. Roy: -- as we had done on May 30. When I look at the debate on May 30, we had stated at that time, and I said it at that point, that we were looking forward to the legislation coming from the ministry. The parliamentary assistant had given us his undertaking that we would be seeing legislation in the section on the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton dealing with the Mayo report. At that time, as my colleague the critic has said we will be bringing forward amendments to have the regional chairman elected.
Mr. Warner: When is that bill coming forward?
Mr. Roy: It’s a principle which we believe in and which we will certainly follow.
Mr. Warner: You are lucky to be here and you know it.
Mr. Roy: The thing I find confusing about the people to my left is that from day to day I really wonder how they even find this place to get here since they are so confused.
Mr. Cooke: We are consistent; that’s what confuses you.
Mr. Roy: Sometimes we vote with them out of sympathy, I suppose, because they are so confused.
Mr. Makarchuk: The day you figure things out, we will all be in trouble.
Mr. Roy: I recall the debate on May 30, Mr. Chairman, and certainly that’s been brought to your attention. I’ll not ask you to make another ruling on it, but at that time when we were stating our position regarding the election of the regional chairmen --
Mr. Warner: Which position?
Mr. Roy: -- their critic, the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart), as my colleague our critic has said, said it very clearly on the record. He argued vociferously at that time, that he wanted a ruling of the Speaker. He got up on a point of order and said: “I rise on a point of order. There is nothing in the bill about the election of the chairman. Therefore, the speaker is out of order.” That’s what he said at that time. He went on to repeat it: “I am rising to say the speaker is not speaking on the bill.” He said: “There is nothing in the bill about the election of the chairman or the non-election of the chairman.” And he repeated it another time.
Mr. Warner: You gave us that little number before.
Mr. Swart: What did you say? You are proved wrong and I am proved right.
Mr. Roy: I’d like to see him apologize, because I was making a very good speech that evening, we were moving along. He interrupted me. He was the one who was out of order. And lo and behold, we come back to the House, and he now has amendments on a point of order in which he says we were out of order. To be more confused than that I think would be impossible.
But to restate our position, we believe in the election of the chairman. We said it for the record.
Mr. Swart: You won’t vote for it. You believe in the election and you won’t vote for it.
Mr. Roy: You know, sometimes we like to support you, confused as you are. If you bring amendments at the proper time we will support them.
Mr. Swart: When is the proper time, Albert?
Mr. Roy: We said it at that time, when the legislation comes forward.
Mr. Makarchuk: When will it come forward, Albert?
Mr. Roy: My God, they are a vociferous bunch. I just wish they had their leader here to give them a sense of direction; to get his roller skates on and give them a proper sense of direction.
Mr. Chairman, we said when the legislation comes forward, and it is a principle we believe in, we will be moving amendments at that time. We gave our word and the parliamentary assistant knows that. He knows what our position is. As our critic has said, at that time we are for the election of the chairman.
Mr. Chairman: Order. The member for Ottawa East has the floor.
Mr. Peterson: My colleague is not being provocative, give him a chance to express himself.
Mr. Chairman: Order; the member for Ottawa East, please.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Chairman, thank you for the order --
Mr. Makarchuk: Extricating him from his position, whatever that may be.
Mr. Roy: I know that I’m right on when I hear the yappers get going to my left, I know then they’re in trouble.
Mr Chairman: Would the honourable member continue on the amendment?
Mr. Roy: I’m sorry, but when I hear the honourable members to my left start yapping, I know they’re in trouble. They usually do that in that party when they find the time. It’s embarrassing.
We subscribe to the principle of the amendment, there’s no doubt about it. It’s just that their timing is wrong.
Mr. Makarchuk: However, as a matter of principle we don’t intend to vote for the principle.
Mr. Roy: In fact we spoke about it. They are plagiarizing our comments from that time and drafting them into an amendment. We don’t mind that, they have got a copy.
Mr. Makarchuk: As a matter of principle? You never spoke to the principle.
Mr. Roy: We said that when the bills come forward, the proper bills, we will make the adequate amendments. There is no backing off from our principle. This is a principle we have always followed. This is a principle we believe in. Our position was consistent on second reading. We put it on the record, that’s more than I can say for our colleagues to the left. Our position will be consistent at the time of the amendments; when the proper bills come forward we will move the amendments then.
Mr. Cooke: Put your vote where your mouth is.
Mr. Roy: This is something that we believe in. For the members to our left to suggest that we are backing off from our principle somehow is really detracting from the truth.
Mr. Cooke: You can’t back off from what you don’t have.
Mr. Swart: Not the principle, you didn’t mean what you said.
Mr. Roy: I want to make it very clear that I and my colleagues in caucus believe in the principle. I sure wish the member for Welland-Thorold would get his act together and try to be consistent from May 30 to today.
Mr. Swart: It bothers you that you have to vote on the amendment, doesn’t it, Albert?
Mr. Warner: He should have stayed in Ottawa.
Mr. M. Davidson: I think it is quite evident that the amendment, moved by the member for our side of the House is one that consists of one principle and one principle only. That is, that people with responsibility within municipal government, or any other government that exists, should, in some way or another be an elected person, one who is answerable to the constituency.
Such is the case before us. We have found within regional government that does not always hold true. We have, within regional government today, many people who were appointed to that position, and that appointment has been maintained over a number of years.
I really don’t know what it is that the Liberal Party finds inconsistent with our position. I’m sure that the members from the region in which I live, who happen to be in the Liberal Party, are well aware of what I have been saying about the chairman in the Waterloo regional area and how that person should be elected. I find it a little inconsistent on the part of the member for Waterloo North. I heard his comments as I was sitting out there and that’s what attracted me into this legislative chamber. I heard the comments he was making. I’m quite certain he would not go back to the Waterloo region and advocate the same policy there that he was advocating here in this Legislature.
Mr. Epp: I’m consistent.
Mr. M. Davidson: If people were to get copies of the K-W Record, the local newspaper for the area in which he lives, and find some of the statements he has been making regarding the regional governments in that area, I think they would find that the statements are exactly contrary to what he said here today.
I, for one, don’t understand that. I would suggest that the member be consistent in what he’s saying here in this legislative chamber and in the Waterloo region; or say what he says in the Waterloo region here in the House so that we’re all well aware of the position he has. I can only take it for granted now that the member has two positions; one which he’s prepared to give publicly and one which he gives here in the legislative chamber.
I would hate to think that is the case, because I happen to like the member for Waterloo North. I think he’s a very fine fellow. I would hate to think his party has led him to the position he has taken. When he was the mayor of Waterloo he was always known to be a fair-minded person. He was always known to take a consistent position. I would hate to think that his election to this legislative chamber and sitting over there with the Liberal Party has warped his mind so badly that he has lost the consistency for which he has always been noted.
I can only suggest that what we have here is an appropriate amendment at this time. It is an amendment that will ensure that people who sit in the chairmanship of regional governments are people who are elected and who are responsible to the constituency that they represent.
Mr. Ashe: I think one thing that’s been very interesting in this whole consideration of this first amendment is the third party’s inconsistency in their philosophies and statements.
I’m not going to go over the first one in detail again. It relates to whether the item is in order or out of order. I think that point has been adequately made.
When it comes to somebody else speaking on an issue, the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) figures the item is out of order and he made a strong case to indicate that; not very long afterwards he flip-flopped.
I think the other important consideration is that the third party is always suggesting to the government that on all items of major import relating to municipalities consultation should take place whether they be local municipalities, counties or regional governments.
Yet here is this party putting forth a very major amendment that would change the whole procedure of how regional council is made up, operated and so on, literally on the spur of the moment after deciding that an out of order motion really is in order.
Mr. Chairman: It’s very close to 6 of the clock. Does the parliamentary assistant have many more comments?
Mr. Ashe: Yes, I think we’ll leave it over until 8 o’clock.
Mr. Chairman: Fine.
Mr. Ashe: I’m just getting wound up.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Chairman, while we still have members of the committee here: when we come back at 8 we’ll be carrying on from where we left off. Of course, in accordance with the schedule which has been announced, I think it has been generally agreed that when we finish the municipal bills in committee there may be some division called for and that we would hold the bell until 10:15 tonight and carry on with the rest of the program. We would then go back into committee at 10:15 and clean up any divisions that may be necessary at that time. There will be one bell tonight at 10:15. In the meantime well try to accomplish and complete as much of this program as we can.
The House recessed at 6 p.m.