The House met at 2:05 p.m.
RECALL OF HOUSE
Mr. Speaker: Yesterday the Lieutenant Governor’s proclamation was issued calling the House back into session today. I would like, on behalf of all members, to express our thanks to those who worked so diligently and effectively to make the necessary arrangements for the meeting of this House today. We are particularly grateful to the staff of the House, the caucuses, the Ministry of Government Services and other ministries, who made the necessary arrangements for today’s activities.
Mr. Breaugh: What is the member for York East (Mr. Elgie) doing up there?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I wonder.
RESIGNATION OF MEMBER FOR CHATHAM-KENT
Mr. Speaker: I beg to inform the House that a vacancy in the membership of the House has occurred by reason of the resignation of W. Darcy McKeough, Esquire, as member for Chatham-Kent.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
ACTIONS OF FORMER SOLICITOR GENERAL
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, it has come to my attention that the standing committee on the administration of justice has recommended that this assembly empower the committee to conduct an investigation into the alleged impropriety of the former Solicitor General (Mr. Kerr) in the case of Francis Harrison.
I understand that this motion will be before the House later and I advise you, Mr. Speaker, that we on this side will be supporting this request.
Mr. Roy: Reluctantly.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Kerr wants it there, and you should know that.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: At the same time, it is therefore appropriate for me to inform the members of the Legislative Assembly with respect to the opinion I have received from my crown law officers in this regard and the action I have taken and propose to take in relation to these matters.
Mr. Bolan: How can you wear two hats?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: As I advised the chairman of the justice committee by letter on September 6, I have received a formal written report from Mr. W. H. Langdon, QC, the deputy director of crown attorneys, in relation to this matter. I indicated at that time that the case had not yet come to trial and that it would not be in the interests of the administration of justice that the report be publicly released at this time. It would be inappropriate that the details of the telephone call or the surrounding circumstances be dealt with in the Legislative Assembly or in committee, particularly as such matters have already received more pre-trial publicity than what may appear to be fair to the accused.
Mrs. Campbell: From whom?
Mr. S. Smith: All from you.
Mr. Makarchuk: How come the press got the report?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I indicated that a number of matters referred to in the report are inextricably interwoven with evidence relating to the background of the accused and the substance of the report is very directly connected with the charge before the courts.
Some of the evidence may not only be prejudicial to the accused but is also prima facie inadmissible in evidence against him at his trial. It would only become admissible in court under limited circumstances and subject to certain safeguards which may or may not arise during the course of the proceedings, which are now scheduled to commence on November 6.
Mr. Roy: Are we going to have safeguards here too?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: As I informed the chairman of the committee, it is clearly inappropriate that such issues relating to the position of the defendant in relation to a pending criminal trial, become the focus of any public debate and opinion before he has had his day in court.
Mr. S. Smith: The minister mentioned his name. He talked about his hard luck.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: May I indicate to the assembly, as I did in my letter to the committee chairman, that these considerations bring home to this particular case with special force the general principle that matters awaiting adjudication in any court of criminal jurisdiction should not form the subject of proceedings in the Legislative Assembly or any committee thereof, nor should they become the subject of pre-trial publicity.
Mr. Bolan: Or be interfered with by the Solicitor General.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I referred in this regard to standing order 16 of the Legislative Assembly, approved on April 22, 1970, which provides that in debate a member will be called to order by the Speaker if he refers to any matter pending in a court or before a judge for judicial determination.
I indicated to the committee chairman, as I do now to this assembly, that the views expressed in that letter, and which I now repeat, are very strongly shared by the senior law officers in my ministry.
After Mr. Harrison’s case has been concluded I will, as I have previously indicated, release the report from Mr. Langdon to the chairman of the justice committee. I should also like to advise that the former Solicitor General has asked me to advise the Legislature that he welcomes the opportunity of appearing before the justice committee.
As I thought it was important for the members of this assembly to have the benefit in some detail of the legal basis for this opinion and these decisions --
Mr. S. Smith: The Attorney General has already done it.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- I asked the Deputy Attorney General for an opinion with respect to the sub judice rule as it relates to the issues raised in the letter to which I just referred, and for some explanation of the basis for the sub judice rule as it relates to the proper administration of criminal justice.
I have received that opinion and under the circumstances I consider it important that I inform the members of this assembly directly and place on the record of the assembly the opinion given to me by the Deputy Attorney General. The opinion is attached as an appendix to this statement.
It is one of the most fundamental principles of our legal system, and indeed our way of life, that any person facing a criminal charge should be tried in the courts of law and not in the Legislative Assembly or the press. Any further comment by me or any member of this assembly in relation to the circumstances surrounding the proceedings against Mr. Harrison would constitute a serious breach of this fundamental principle which secures our freedoms under law.
My letter to the chairman of the justice committee and the opinion of the Deputy Attorney General speak for themselves. On the basis --
Mr. S. Smith: Read the Premier’s (Mr. Davis) statement of last week.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- of the advice which I received from my crown law officers I will have no further comment to make in relation to these matters until the conclusion of the criminal proceedings now pending against Mr. Harrison.
Mr. Roy: The Attorney General makes the comments he wants.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry. Oral questions. The honourable the Minister of the Environment.
Mr. Breithaupt: Are you next, Harry?
Mr. Martel: I hope you are better than the last one.
Mr. S. Smith: What is the minister going to talk about?
Mr. Speaker: Order, order. The honourable the Minister of the Environment may proceed.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, when I assumed my responsibilities as the Minister of the Environment, I did so with the knowledge that there were several issues which would require substantial discussion and consideration.
These issues have province-wide impact and, in fact, one has global significance. They are: The collection and disposal of liquid waste resulting from industrial operations throughout the province; the abatement program governing the International Nickel Company in Sudbury; the pollution control measures imposed on the pulp and paper industry; the global phenomenon known as acidified precipitation which affects inland waters --
Mr. Nixon: Is it anything like acid rain?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: No, it’s quite different.
-- in northeastern North American and, in fact, many countries all over the world.
Mr. Nixon: Why did the Premier nod?
Mr. Ruston: He didn’t nod.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: That has a nice ring.
During the weeks since my appointment, I have attempted to familiarize myself with the work of my ministry and with the many details of the task which we face.
Mrs. Campbell: That is the first step.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Obviously, they are complex matters, and although a lot of information is available on them, there has been no opportunity for me, at least, to put that information on record, either in this House or in a committee thereof.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) and the leader of the third party (Mr. Cassidy) have indicated their intention to debate these major environmental issues. I welcome this opportunity. However, the more familiar I have become with these issues, the more convinced I am that they call for a debate in a manner which is neither possible nor appropriate during the question period.
It is my responsibility to ensure that the environmental policies of this government are fully explained to the members of this House and to the members of the public which we serve. In this regard, I would remind the honourable members of the petition presented by the third party on June 23, 1978, which called for a review before the Legislature’s standing committee on resources development of the policies and activities covered in the Ministry of the Environment’s annual report.
Accordingly, I propose that the matters I have referred to be fully debated before the standing committee on resources development. Let me say that I would welcome such a debate. I am more than prepared to hear the views of the members of that committee, to enter into dialogue with them, to make myself and the necessary technical experts from my ministry available, and to provide the necessary information related to these issues.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, later today I shall be introducing for first reading, a bill respecting the labour dispute between the Toronto Transit Commission and the unions which represent its employees in collective bargaining.
As members will know, the bill provides for the termination of the existing work stoppage and for the resolution of the outstanding disputes by arbitration.
Mr. Mackenzie: It is easier every time.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I must state candidly and honestly that I have personal regrets that the first bill which I have to introduce to this House as Minister of Labour is a bill that is necessitated by a breakdown in the normal collective bargaining process --
Mr. Cassidy: Then why don’t you withdraw it?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: -- a process which in most circumstances has my full support and which serves the province well. However, as a result of my own personal involvement in this dispute over the past several days, I have become convinced that the normal procedures will not produce a fair and equitable resolution of the matters remaining in dispute within a reasonable period of time.
In reaching this conclusion I do not imply criticism of either of the bargaining parties.
Mr. Deans: You should.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: The employer and the unions have been involved in intensive negotiations for almost five months, assisted for most of that period by able and experienced members of the conciliation and mediation service of my ministry. Over that period many issues have been settled. However, a significant number of matters remain unresolved, including the major monetary items.
This past weekend I became involved personally in the dispute. On the weekend I met with both bargaining committees. When it became apparent to me that it would not be possible to achieve a negotiated settlement before the strike deadline, I urged the parties to consider voluntary binding arbitration as a sensible mechanism for avoiding a work stoppage. However, for a variety of reasons which I can appreciate, such a voluntary arrangement could not be concluded.
I might add that on Monday of this week the Premier and I met again with both sides. During the course of Monday afternoon and throughout the evening we met with the parties and explored every available avenue to bring this dispute to an end, including the resumption of negotiations and further discussions about voluntary arbitration.
I want to say to the Legislature that I appreciate the co-operation of both sides during those meetings and the genuine effort they both made to settle the dispute. However, as members know, early Tuesday morning these talks concluded without a settlement and a decision was made and announced to recall the Legislature to deal with the matter.
As the Premier has said, we have reached the conclusion that this is not an ordinary dispute. The disruption to the public since Monday has been obvious to everyone. It goes beyond mere inconvenience when the essential transportation needs of a vast metropolitan community of over two million citizens cannot be met. With the interdependence and the linkages between Toronto and almost every other part of Ontario, the potential negative impact in commercial and in economic terms becomes all the more serious.
Our decision would have been more difficult if on Monday night there had been some encouraging signs of the possibility of settlement. However, there were not, and we do not see any merit, therefore, in allowing the dispute to drag on for days or weeks.
The principles of the bill will, of course, be fully debated. As members will see, it provides for resumption of service with all outstanding issues to be decided by a single arbitrator within a stipulated time-period. I shall be introducing an amendment to the bill as printed to provide for a general wage adjustment of four per cent, pending the arbitrator’s final decision.
I am pleased to inform the Legislature that subject to the passage of the bill I intend to recommend to Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor in Council the appointment of the Honourable Mr. Justice Sydney L. Robins as arbitrator.
I should perhaps comment upon suggestions which have been made from some quarters that the bill should have provided for some final offer selection arbitration. This was an option which I considered very seriously. I acknowledge that it is a dispute resolution technique which seems to be gaining wider acceptance in other jurisdictions and in appropriate circumstances may well be a workable technique. However, I am not persuaded that it is appropriate for this particular dispute.
For one thing, substantial progress has been made in settling a number of contentious issues and I would not wish to propose a settlement technique which would reopen those matters. Alternatively, if the final offer selection procedure were to be applied only to the issues remaining in dispute, one or other of the parties might, with justification, complain that the rules of the game had been changed in mid-stream and that they would have taken much different positions had they known they were working towards final offer selection.
Thirdly, one cannot ignore the warnings of those industrial relations practitioners and commentators about the consequences of the fact that in final offer selection one side or the other wins all and that this margin can become quite exacerbated as the years go on.
It is argued that this carries a substantial risk that the disappointment and dissatisfaction of the losing side may taint the future relationship between the parties for the life of the collective agreement and perhaps beyond.
Moreover, I can tell members in all frankness that during our attempts to arrange for voluntary arbitration final offer selection was discussed and, frankly, grave reservations were expressed by the union.
I have concluded, in the light of those reservations and for the reasons outlined above, therefore, that this is not the occasion for the use of that technique. I am aware, of course, that collective bargaining legislation governing school boards, teachers, as well as community colleges, contains provisions for final offer selection, but only on a voluntary basis; what is proposed in the bill that I introduce today is a compulsory mechanism and therefore is distinguishable in an important respect.
Finally, while it is obviously the right of all members to engage in full debate, I hope that we may proceed as expeditiously as possible so that the transit service can be resumed and the dispute can be resolved quickly.
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
ONTARIO ECONOMIC STRATEGY
Mr. S. Smith: I have a question of the Premier on what must be, apart from the transit strike, our most important issue; that is, the state of our economy. I would ask the Premier, given the need to improve business and consumer confidence, if he would be able to tell us what is the meaning of these statements by his Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller), who seems uncertain as to whether to continue the previous Treasurer’s (Mr. McKeough) system of restraint or not, seems uncertain as to whether or not to head for a balanced budget, and is now apparently in a position where provincial revenues have been changed drastically both by federal changes and by poor predictions on the part of the previous Treasurer.
Mr. Roy: You are embarrassed over there.
Mr. S. Smith: Given the fact that the new Treasurer apparently has no idea which way to go in the province of Ontario, when can we expect from the Premier, the co-author after all of the now defunct last budget, a detailed statement of the economic and fiscal policy for the province of Ontario to end the drift and uncertainty which presently exist?
Mr. Deans: Summer has not mellowed you a bit.
Mr. Cassidy: Who expected it to?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I read with some interest what I am sure was an accurately reported story, Mr. Speaker, on your own assessment of the conduct of affairs in this House where you said by report -- and report only, because I know you would never have said this directly to the young lady who wrote the story --
Mr. Breithaupt: Do not circumvent.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- that it was your intention to limit to a greater extent some of the excellent contributions that some of us make during the question period.
Mr. Martel: I already sent a note.
Mr. Cassidy: The Premier has not changed a bit. Answer the question.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say to the leader of the New Democratic Party, I have not changed a bit. I only wish for his sake and that of his party he would change a lot, and his prospects might improve a little bit as well.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The question, as I heard it, was, when can the Leader of the Opposition expect some new initiatives from the Treasurer.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, this is really what I was coming around to asking you to clarify for me. Actually, I thought I heard a number of questions from the Leader of the Opposition and I was really seeking some advice from you as to which of the many questions you wanted me to answer.
Mr. Sweeney: You have not answered any one of them.
Mr. Speaker: That is the one I heard.
Hon. Mr. Davis: If the Leader of the Opposition after his rhetoric and his obviously non-objective, political assessment --
Mr. Sargent: Having said that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Having said that -- if he is asking me when the Treasurer will be communicating with the members of this House in terms of his assessment of the financial and fiscal position of the province of Ontario, then I would say that he will be doing that shortly. In that the supplementary question will be: When is shortly? -- I would say shortly after we resume for a longer period of time than hopefully this one- or two-day session will take.
However, in fairness I do have to answer one aspect of the question of the Leader of the Opposition where he did ask: What does the Treasurer mean by certain policies to encourage business growth and consumer confidence? I think if the Leader of the Opposition were to read some of the recent material he will find that the assessment of consumer confidence is somewhat higher than it was and that is somewhat encouraging. I know, as for those who are negative in their thoughts like the member for London Centre, that disturbs him because when he sees consumer confidence increasing he knows that economic activity will increase as a result. While he in his own heart knows that is a good thing, politically he does not want to see it happen. I understand that.
I just want to refer to the specifics. Actually it was prior to the new Treasurer’s assuming responsibility, but with his enthusiastic support, that this government made a very basic decision as it relates to the economy of this province, whereby because of the initiative of this government we have allocated $28 million of the taxpayers’ money for a $536 million capital investment in the city of Windsor which will provide directly 2,600 jobs, 2,100 or 2,200 indirectly in the parts industry and probably 2,000 jobs in other services.
An hon. member: What about the jobs that are being lost?
Mr. Sargent: You are out of order.
Mr. Martel: The blackmail has begun.
Hon. Mr. Davis: So, Mr. Speaker, on the initiative of this government -- and I intend to be in Windsor in about four weeks for the sod turning -- we will have one of the most significant economic incentives and demonstrations of confidence, in spite of the fact that those people opposite are philosophically opposed. The membership of the UAW are delighted. That, I think, is a clear indication of the direction this government is going.
Mr. S. Smith: I confess, Mr. Speaker, to have been a little bit abashed at my circumlocution in asking the question, for which I would apologize to you, but the Premier has outdone me in circumlocution today; there’s no doubt about that.
Mr. S. Smith: May I ask, by way of a serious supplementary, given the fact that it will be some weeks yet before the Treasurer knows where he is going and before the people in Ontario know whether we are going to balance the budget, unbalance it, have restraints or no restraints, can the Premier at least tell us whether the municipalities and school boards of Ontario will as usual be informed this Friday as to the level of transfer payments they can expect next year, as they are normally told at this time; or does the total economic confusion in this government have to extend to them as well? If they are not going to be told this Friday, when are they going to be told?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, 1 think the Leader of the Opposition used the word “normally,” which I find encouraging, coming from the Leader of the Opposition --
Mr. Peterson: He wasn’t analysing you.
Hon. Mr. Davis: What do you mean, he was analysing me? Oh, he wasn’t analysing me.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, he analysed you rather successfully a couple of years ago.
Mr. Speaker: Just ignore the interjections.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m not sure if it was to your party’s benefit necessarily, but he did.
Mr. Ruston: Are you flaunting your authority in front of the Speaker?
Mr. Martel: You are deliberately being antagonistic.
Mr. Makarchuk: Why don’t you get a couch somewhere?
Hon. Mr. Davis: As we’re debating this other legislation at midnight tonight, I may go to the couch for five or ten minutes to get a little rest; I don’t know.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We have informed on some occasions the municipalities and the school boards. I think, if memory serves me correctly, though, it has not always been the case that it has been done in September. I should also point out to the Leader of the Opposition that while on some occasions we have given to the school boards, shall we say the rough figures, I think it is also accurate to say to the Leader of the Opposition -- and I know his colleague to his left will understand this, as he has for so many years -- that while the percentage figure is of some interest, it really isn’t until the grant regulations themselves are made available that the boards can do their calculations in a totally accurate fashion.
I think historically, Mr. Speaker, the grant regulations have not appeared -- and the former Minister of Education (Mr. Wells) can correct me if I’m wrong -- this early in the year in any event. In fact I can recall, Mr. Speaker, grant regulations coming out in February or March.
Mr. Nixon: They certainly didn’t when you were minister.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I assure the Leader of the Opposition the figures will not be available this week. I think most municipalities and their political leaders, most school board members and their leaders will understand that they can make a reasonably accurate guess as to what the financial assistance will be from the province of Ontario, although we will not be giving a specific figure by Friday of this week. With respect, Mr. Speaker, this will not limit the activities of the local municipalities or the school boards who, I’m sure, are exercising the same concern, the same desire for good management and efficiency in their operations as they prepare for the next financial year. We don’t think this will inhibit them in the discharge of their own responsibilities.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, to the Premier: Are we to assume from the length of the Premier’s answer that the government, when it comes up with those grant regulations, intends to further reduce the level of its support for school boards across the province and further cut back the level of its support for municipalities across the province, with the inevitable result of higher property taxes? And if the government is going to make the municipalities and school boards raise property taxes, how soon will they be told the bad news to pass on to their taxpayers?
Mr. S. Smith: Before election time or after?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think it is fair to point out to the leader of the New Democratic Party that, as he has done in the past, it is unwise to make assumptions. If he reads carefully in Hansard what I said, he shouldn’t make any assumptions.
I would also point out to the leader of the New Democratic Party that the question of real property increase doesn’t necessarily relate to the level of support that is provided by the government of this province. There is a certain measure of flexibility which a lot of our municipalities and school boards have demonstrated in their own abilities to maintain the level of expenditure as something that is acceptable to the real property taxpayers of this province. I think it is regrettable that he would suggest that if we pay more money the municipalities or the school boards will of course spend it. Together, the municipalities, the school boards and the province have an obligation to see that the taxpayers are being well served in terms of the amounts of moneys that are being expended, and to necessarily suggest that our level of grants will then provoke them into spending money they needn’t necessarily spend I think is very unwise.
Mr. Martel: That’s nonsense. Your imagination is running away with you.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That was really implied in the question.
Mr. Swart: Will the Premier tell us whether the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells), when making the announcements on transfers to municipalities, will also be tabling some formula, similar to the Edmonton commitment, so that the municipalities will have some guarantee in the future and they don’t find that their promised grants are dramatically cut after a provincial election?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I don’t think we really want to get into a debate today on the Edmonton commitment or the amount of support the municipalities have received as it relates to the commitment. Just going by general figures -- and I am sure the honourable member is as aware of these as I am -- to date we have overpaid the municipalities in terms of the Edmonton commitment.
Mr. Swart: The new version --
Hon. Mr. Davis: And, really, I think to raise this is an irrelevant issue.
Mr. Swap: -- but $400 million short of the old version.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh now, come on. The member knows better. We have been more generous than the Edmonton commitment.
PAPER MILL CONTROL ORDERS
Mr. S. Smith: A question of the Minister of the Environment, Mr. Speaker: Since the Ministry of the Environment issued in July a notice of intent for a new pollution control order on the Reed pulp and paper mill in Dryden, the company still being exempt from all controls and continuing to pump almost 28 million gallons of untreated effluent a day into the English and Wabigoon river system, how much longer does the minister propose to stall before actually issuing this new order and making the contents of the new order public? What is the reason for the delay?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I personally want to look at that order. I am not sure that the members of the House are aware, as I wasn’t, that that order is issued by the regional director; and that is by the legislation of this House. But I want to assure the Leader of the Opposition that I will look at that on a personal basis -- it has taken a good deal of time to look into all of the details -- and that I am proceeding to do so right now. I will have that finalized, and I believe an order will be issue4 before the end of this month.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, is it a fact that the ministry is now drafting an amending control order for the Canadian International Paper Company in Hawkesbury -- which is, I understand, the mill with the highest pollution in terms of oxygen demand in Ontario and a contributor to the serious pollution of the Ottawa River -- extending that company’s licence to pollute? If so, is the amendment just going to be with regard to giving them more time to continue the present level of pollution, or is the ministry actually going to change the standards which have been demanded of that company and of others?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I rather suspect that that order, with that particular company, is under consideration. But I would say to the leader of the Liberal Party that it has not come to my attention as yet, and I cannot give him an answer today as to the details of that particular situation. It will come to my desk, I’m sure, and at that time I will be prepared to discuss it and to advise him of it.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: In view of the failure of ministry inspectors to monitor control orders and to issue a warning which is public when companies are failing to take the necessary steps to comply by the dates laid down in the control order, can the minister undertake that in future those warnings will be made public so that the Legislature and the people of Ontario will know whether or not companies are moving in the right direction to meet control orders? Or does he intend to abandon those standards completely?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I have to disagree somewhat with the leader of the third party when he says that we have abandoned the inspections. Indeed, nothing could be further from the truth. We are making a very conscientious effort in this province to monitor and inspect. I think I can assure the members of this House that I and the ministry I represent are very enthusiastic about the control of the quality of our air and water, and we will continue to be concerned, as concerned as the members opposite.
Mr. Roy: That is what the previous minister said.
Mr. Martel: It was just the last minister who wasn’t concerned.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, in view of the minister’s responses to the questions about Reed and Hawkesbury and so on, and his statement in the House, I would like to ask him if he is merely prepared to debate the question of the cleanup of the pulp and paper industry, or is he prepared to give us a commitment that, unlike his predecessor, he is ready to get tough with the pulp and paper industry, our greatest polluter?
Mr. Warner: You may be the next one to go.
Mr. Martel: Close them all down.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I guess I should attempt to ignore the subjective appraisals of the members opposite, but I must in all honesty come to the defence of my predecessor.
Mr. Warner: Indefensible.
Mr. Bradley: Impossible.
Mr. Roy: That’s why he was shifted.
Mr. Laughren: Give him all the help you can.
Mr. Peterson: You can certainly try.
Mr. Warner: Why don’t you take a sabbatical?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Let me say to the member that I am prepared to discuss it with her. We may not come to a meeting of the minds on any particular issue --
Hon. Mr. Davis: I hope not.
Mr. S. Smith: There are certain prerequisites --
Hon. Mr. Parrott: -- I think that has a high possibility, as a matter of fact -- but that doesn’t mean that I won’t listen attentively to her suggestions.
Mr. Warner: But you won’t do anything.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: At the conclusion of that debate, I guess it is my responsibility -- and I welcome that opportunity -- to make a decision and present it to the people of Ontario.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question for the new Treasurer about the responsibilities he has assumed, or those he has been left by the Premier after the shrinking-down process that took place. With 291,000 people out of work in Ontario today, or 7.3 per cent of the population unemployed, can the Treasurer give us an estimate of what he anticipates the unemployment rate will be in the winter and what measures of job creation he intends to bring into this Legislature when we resume in October?
Mr. Breithaupt: Don’t worry, Frank, it will be the only time.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I thought the clapping was coming from behind me, but when I see it in front of me I’m now really worried about the Premier’s choice.
Mr. Foulds: So are we. Quit while you are ahead, Frank.
Mr. Cassidy: You are more to the right than we thought.
Mr. Bradley: After Darcy, anyone’s better.
An hon. member: You might be worried about what’s behind you.
Mr. Martel: Yes, what’s behind you, Frank?
Mr. Roy: In that job you better look behind.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s why your leader has you in the front row; he doesn’t want to look behind.
Mr. Laughren: Say something, Frank.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable Treasurer is the only person who has the floor.
Mr. Kerrio: It’s hard to tell.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I suppose the figures the leader of the third party quoted are the end of July’s figures. I don’t know whether he has seen the end of August figures or not --
Mr. Eaton: He doesn’t want to admit it.
Hon. F. S. Miller: -- but there was an improvement in Ontario. I think the actual unemployment rate in Ontario at the end of August was 6.6 per cent and it was seasonably adjusted to 7.1 per cent.
I thought the most encouraging fact about that statistic had two parts to it. First, 177,000 more people are at work in Ontario today than were a year ago --
Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s 77,000 more than the charter.
Mr. Roy: The Premier will need them at the end of his 10-year program.
Hon. F. S. Miller: -- and 66,000 more young people were at work today than a year ago.
Mr. Laughren: How many more are unemployed? What a lot of nonsense.
Hon. F. S. Miller: In fact, the unemployment rate for the 15-to-24 group dropped to one of its lowest levels in some time.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: After the next election the member for Nickel Belt will be unemployed.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I think that is an encouraging sign. That doesn’t mean that the problem has been licked, and I can assure the House that the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Rhodes) and I, along with the government we’re a part of, do rate the creation of new jobs in this province as perhaps the most important task we face. We are going to be working on that and I can assure the members that we will be presenting before this House a program for more employment and for the encouragement of investment in Ontario as the fall proceeds.
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, despite the Treasurer’s rather superficial response when he talks about the numbers working versus the numbers unemployed, I’d like to pursue the problem with him a little bit further.
In view of the fact that the budgetary predictions for this year had unemployment as lower than the 7.1 he referred to, and in view of the fact that the budgetary deficit will be higher than predicted, and that revenues will be down and inflation higher, is the Treasurer willing at this point to commit himself to bringing in a six-month budget when the House reconvenes in October?
Hon. F. S. Miller: No, Mr. Speaker, I will not be bringing in a budget when the House reconvenes.
Mr. Peterson: Does the Treasurer know how to do it?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I will be making certain statements then and I will be making the statement the Premier referred to in the response to the Leader of the Opposition.
The overall position is, I think, a reasonably favourable one and I am encouraged that, in fact, we are making progress --
Mr. Peterson: Compared to what?
Hon. F. S. Miller: -- and I feel that by the time I have had this position for another month --
Mr. Martel: The Treasurer will have it mastered.
Hon. F. S. Miller: -- I will have it mastered, yes.
Mr. Breaugh: McKeough hasn’t gone away; he has just shrunk.
Mr. Peterson: Does the Treasurer agree with the statement quoted in the press of one of the chief advisers to his predecessor, Mr. Kierans, who has said that there is no way that the government is going to be able to balance its budget by 1981? Does he agree with that? Number two, is he an adviser with the Treasurer?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Number one, I was asked if it is likely that he is correct and I said that’s very possible, because -- and I know the party opposite loves to sever itself from its Liberal Party in Ottawa --
Mr. Peterson: Don’t worry about us.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I’m not worried about you but there is a bond that unites you and let’s realize it.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: His name is John Turner; that’s your uniting force.
Hon. F. S. Miller: The shortfall in Ontario’s revenue has almost entirely been due to cuts in federal transfer payments in the last while --
Mr. S. Smith: No way; that’s not true.
Hon. F. S. Miller: -- with impending cuts for next year of a quarter of a billion dollars unilaterally imposed in the province, transferring to us the deficit they can’t control.
Mr. Roy: You told them to cut.
Mr. Sweeney: How about municipal governments? It’s the same story.
Mr. Roy: Quit making those statements; Mickey Hennessy is going to have a heart attack.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Cassidy: Am I to take it from the Treasurer’s statement, Mr. Speaker, that since he does not intend to bring down a budgetary statement in the fall, that means that he and his government are going to continue to tolerate unemployment around the level of 300,000 over the course of the next six months, while taking no effective action?
Mr. Hennessy: That is a joke.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Those are not necessarily related statements. This government is taking action and will be taking action.
Mr. Martel: What action? You have got one more vacant seat; I suppose somebody can run for that job.
EMPLOYEES’ HEALTH AND SAFETY
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question for the Minister of Labour. Have the Minister of Labour and the Ministry of Labour completed their consultations with affected groups concerning the proposed Bill 70 on health and safety, and is the minister now prepared to proceed with that bill as it was reported to the Legislature by the standing committee on resources development in the spring?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: As the member well knows, there have been some distracting issues, not alone the recent wedding, the honeymoon of which has been interrupted by the recall.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The member for Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes) doesn’t look happy about it.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I am in the process of reviewing the consultation process that has taken place. When I have reviewed that, I will be prepared to discuss it.
Mr. Cassidy: Can the minister give an undertaking that he is prepared to bring the bill back in the manner in which it was reported by the standing committee, or is he going to start this whole process from the ground up again in the way his predecessor was trying to do?
Mr. Pope: No.
Mr. Sterling: No.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I must say -- and in a sense I apologize that I just haven’t had time to review it in a great enough depth to give a proper answer -- that I will give that bill the consideration that all of us want it to have. I will be discussing it with the Legislature as soon as I have carried out that review.
UNITED PARCEL SERVICE
Mr. Cunningham: As the person responsible for the administration of justice in Ontario, has the Attorney General investigated allegations that counsel for several of the respondents in the UPS application before the Ontario Highway Transport Board actually wrote the decision under the former chairman’s name? Since it has been admitted at the very least that this decision was “dressed up”, has he determined whether the law has been broken, specifically section 18(a) or (b) of the Ontario Highway Transport Board Act?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: That issue is before the divisional court of this province. That being the case, I don’t think it would be useful or proper for me to comment on it.
Mr. Cunningham: Supplementary: I might inform the Attorney General that is not in fact the case; and that being the case, I will ask him has he or have his officials or officials in the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, interviewed the former chairman, Mr. Shoniker, or Mr. Zimmerman, QC, the lawyer in question, or most important Mr. John A. Wardrope who was also commissioner at the time on that particular case, and determined whether or not there has been any impropriety in this particular case?
Especially in the case of Mr. Wardrope, has the Attorney General determined his involvement in these serious allegations and can he comment on them?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I have nothing further to add to my previous answer.
Mr. Roy: You are taking a narrow approach.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: It isn’t a bad approach.
Mr. Martel: Visibility zero.
Mr. di Santo: I have a question for the Minister of Labour. In view of the fact that the workers at the deHavilland plant have been on strike since July 10 and in view of the fact the offices of the mediator have come to a halt since he has not been in contact with the union since August 14, can the minister tell the House what he is planning to do in order to help solve that dispute?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: The member was good enough to speak to me personally last week about this. He knows there were certain matters that intervened which have taken a fair amount of my time. He knows that I have the same interest as he does. I will review that matter and intervene if I feel it will help.
Mr. di Santo: I have a supplementary. In view of the fact that the company has chosen apparently to break off talks with the bargaining committee and negotiate directly with the individual workers, sending them letters, can the minister assure the House that he will bring the company back to the negotiating table and make sure they will negotiate in good faith?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I’m not in a position to decide whether or not there’s been bad faith. I haven’t had the opportunity to review the matter in the detail it requires; but I will do that, and the member knows I will do that.
Mr. Eakins: I have a question of the Minister of Industry and Tourism.
Since the minister has been widely I reported as saying that he has quite some degree of influence in the cabinet, I wonder what progress he is making to persuade his colleagues -- this is his comment in the various newspapers, that he has quite some degree of influence -- to keep the sales tax in the area of four per cent?
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: I thank the honourable member for his confidence in my ability. I don’t recall telling anyone I had great influence -- I think I have some; certainly more than he has or ever will.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Or your leader.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Knowing him for a reasonably rational and intelligent person, I wish he could have some influence on his leader. He could use the help.
That matter has been discussed by my colleagues and myself, and I have discussed it with the Treasurer. It’s a matter for the Treasurer to determine, not for me.
Mr. Mackenzie: I have a question to the Minister of Labour. It would seem that the new Minister of Labour is at least taking his job seriously, which is a plus. I’m wondering, therefore, inasmuch as he’s involving himself in several disputes around this province, and as his staff have not been able to move in the situation at Westinghouse in Hamilton, if the minister would consider involving himself personally in the strike between UEW 504 and the Westinghouse Corporation? This strike is now better than 18 weeks old and certainly has reached the point where there should be some ministerial involvement.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, once again, that’s a problem I will be pleased to review for the member.
Mr. Deans: Look at all the problems you inherited from the former minister.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I must say that even the brief period of time in the office indicates to me that the former minister was an active lady involved in doing very good things. But I do wish to advise the member for Hamilton East that I appreciate his remarks and I will look into them.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable the Minister of Labour has indicated that he has some more information for the House. Is it the wish of the House that he present it at this time?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring to the attention of the members, and in particular to the member for Hamilton East that I have now been advised that the Westinghouse strike is settled subject to ratification.
NIAGARA RIVER POLLUTION
Mr. Bradley: A question of the Minister of the Environment.
Is the minister aware of a recent investigation conducted by the Niagara County Health Department of New York state which revealed extremely high levels of toxic PCBs in Gill Creek, which is a waterway which flows into the Niagara River, and of the levels being so high that apparently the sediment from under the water will have to be buried in a special landfill site?
If the minister is aware of this, what action has he taken? If he’s not aware, will he undertake to gather that information from the New York state authorities?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Yes, I am aware of it. Our staff has been actively monitoring the water in the Niagara River to be very sure that the supply in both Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake is safe.
We will continue to do so until such time as there is absolutely no possibility of any danger to those residents of those communities.
Mr. Bradley: A supplementary: Would the minister indicate what the results of the Ministry of the Environment’s investigation have been, whether or not they confirm that there has been seepage into the Niagara River from this?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I’m not 100 per cent sure I understood that question. If the member is asking me to confirm with him the fact of the origin of the PCBs -- yes, I’m prepared to do so, and will communicate that to him, if we have that information.
Knowing that PGBs are in the water and knowing exactly where they came from aren’t just the easiest of things to do; but within the limitations of our technical ability we’ll do so.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the new Minister of Colleges and Universities. I am wondering if the minister is aware of the fact that the computer processing the OSAP application forms for students in this province has been shut down since August 25, thereby leaving 18,000 students without their applications being processed?
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, it was on August 29 that it happened. There was a problem. Up until that time $17 million in grants had been distributed to more than 20,000 students, but about 3,500 of those had received less assistance than their entitlement. In addition, $36 million of loan authorizations had been issued by that time. The computer is functioning again, as of the beginning of this week, and it is anticipated that by the end of the week the problems will be resolved and that indeed all of the incorrect levels of remuneration which were submitted will be corrected by the end of September.
I am aware that the Ontario Federation of Students has suggested -- I think that is the right word -- that there be some program for assisting the students who may be in difficulties right at this time and I am meeting with the Ontario Federation of Students within the next few days and I will be pleased to talk with them about this.
Mr. Cooke: Supplementary.
Mr. Speaker: Supplementary.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, may I first say that I am surprised that the minister says it was the 29th and that the computer is now running, because at 1 o’clock this afternoon when I talked to her staff the computer was not running.
I wonder if the minister has any plans to supply these students with emergency loans in special hardship cases; and I also would like to ask the minister if she has any explanation at all as to why the applications for OSAP are down 25 per cent from last year. Would she not agree that it is a result of a crummy program?
Hon. B. Stephenson: No, no, Mr. Speaker, I most definitely would not. First, I would not use such language in this House; and secondly, Mr. Speaker, I would not agree on the basis of the argument presented by the honourable member. I think that there are probably several reasons for the reduction in the numbers of applications, and it is considerable. There were approximately 60,000 applications received by September 1 of this year. There were 80,000 applications received by the same date last year. I think that the stricter criteria probably have something to do with it. I think that the students are a little less anxious to get into the program perhaps than they were; I think they are waiting to see what is going to happen to them. I think there has been a great deal of negative criticism of the program by certain student organizations --
Mr. Cooke: And it is deserved.
Hon. B. Stephenson: -- which has produced a good deal of apprehension on the part of the students; and I think the declining enrolment within the post-secondary institutions has also had something to do with it.
QUEBEC POLICY ON CONSTRUCTION HIRING
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs -- is that what we call it or is it federal-provincial relations? It involves the continuing dispute on the border areas with the province of Quebec and pertaining more specifically to the construction workers and, later on, the heavy-equipment operators from the Ontario side. I would like to ask the minister whether he is involved in that problem. Has he taken up discussions now that this new ministry has been created? And would he advise the House on the status of the situation especially involving the construction workers? More specifically, would he comment on the remarks made by the Ministry of Labour in the province of Quebec where apparently they suggested that they establish what they call neutral zones in the border areas?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes, I have been involved in this. The bill that was introduced was introduced by my colleague the then Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson), and at the time of the introduction either the minister or the Premier (Mr. Davis) indicated that we introduced the bill reluctantly, feeling that it was necessary because of the action caused by the Quebec bill, but we wished the Prime Minister of Canada to consider asking the Supreme Court of Canada whether the Quebec bill was within the constitution.
The Prime Minister of Canada indicated, during the recess I believe, that the Minister of Labour of our government, the Minister of Labour for the government of Quebec and the then Minister of Labour, Mr. Munro, should see if they couldn’t work something out. Nothing was able to be worked out. The Premier wrote again to the Prime Minister of Canada three or four weeks ago indicating that there was no accommodation possible and he, therefore, wished that the government of Canada would put the position of the Quebec bill to the Supreme Court to see if it was constitutional. To date, we have received no reply from the Prime Minister of Canada.
There is also a story around that somehow there was a suggestion from the province of Quebec, through the federal Minister of Labour, that the compromise solution would be the establishment of neutral zones in the Ottawa Valley. It’s my understanding that that proposition was never officially and formally put forward to this government by the province of Quebec. As far as we know, it is not agreeable to the province of Quebec. It, indeed, was a compromise solution, as I understand it, that was worked out by staff in our government as a way around the Quebec bill to get over the difficulties being caused in the Ottawa area.
Certainly it would have been agreeable to our government but it has not been officially put. My understanding is that it is not agreeable to the Minister of Labour in the province of Quebec. Therefore, where the situation stands is that we have been waiting for the Prime Minister of Canada to respond to our request that the Quebec bill --
Mr. Sargent: Why don’t you act yourself?
Hon. Mr. Wells: We can’t send a Quebec bill to the Supreme Court. The government of Canada can, but we don’t have that power.
Mr. Sargent: There are hundreds of jobs up our way being frozen.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Let me say this: If the government of Canada does not respond very shortly, or if the response is in the negative, we will proceed quickly with the bill that is on the order paper here. There is no question in that regard.
Mr. Sargent: What do you call quickly?
Mr. Roy: Supplementary: I would like to ask the minister, in view of the fact that the story is going around about the neutral zones -- and I think the Minister of Labour, Mr. Johnson, was quoted as having suggested that -- and in view of the fact that the federal government apparently is not prepared to refer, not the bill but the regulations, as I understand it, to the Supreme Court of Canada for decision as to the intra vires as to provinces; in view of that, and if we do proceed with the legislation here at this level, as unfortunate as that might be, would the minister give some consideration to the suggestions my leader made back on August 22, and include in that bill protection for the heavy-equipment operators on the Ontario side who are faced with severe restrictions by the Quebec government involving, first of all, the licensing, their sales tax and finally the fact that they cannot put in a bid on a government contract unless their office is in the province of Quebec?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I, of course, have been considering that matter also. I might say that I did receive the letter from the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) on this matter. I was happy to have his letter supporting something that I have been told day in and day out by the Minister of Housing in this government (Mr. Bennett) that there was a problem with the heavy-construction industry down there.
Mr. Roy: Or the potential mayor of Ottawa.
Hon. Mr. Wells: He would probably make a very good mayor of Ottawa also.
Mr. Ashe: Maybe Vanier, Albert; maybe Vanier.
Hon. Mr. Wells: There is one thing you can say about that honourable member, he always has the interests of eastern Ontario and the Ottawa area at heart.
Mr. Roy: I hear he is running for your ministry.
Mr. S. Smith: Was he talking about you when he said he was staying because of the instability of the government?
Mr. Warner: You shouldn’t punish Ottawa that way.
Mr. Conway: He is just afraid of Marion Dewar.
Hon. Mr. Wells: There is no question that this is a very serious problem. The people of eastern Ontario want action, and the action they want is retaliation by this government. I think we all would normally feel that way firstly, but we all also agree, as I think the member’s leader indicated in his letter to me, and as I feel, and as I know the Premier of this province feels and the member feels, that the boundaries between provinces should be completely open. Really, the answer to the problem is to get rid of the problems that are being caused in Quebec --
Ms. Gigantes: You want reciprocity.
Hon. Mr. Wells: -- and not to have retaliation from this province, although it may come to that --
Ms. Gigantes: That is what you are building up to.
Hon. Mr. Wells: -- as we have in the bill that is already before this House. We are having a meeting on September 25 and 26 of intergovernmental affairs ministers from all the provinces. At that time I will also be meeting myself with the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs from the province of Quebec. It will be the first time that I have had an opportunity to discuss these issues face to face with him. I intend to do that at that particular time. I want to assure members that one of the top priorities that we have in this government is to bring some resolution to the real serious concerns and criticisms that those people have in that part of the province.
Ms. Gigantes: You had better get your facts straight first.
Mr. Cassidy: I am very concerned when the minister says that the people of eastern Ontario want retaliation, because what they want is open borders both ways. That has been the effort all along which we have been trying to push.
I would like the minister to explain why it is that he now indicates that the government is agreeable to the possibility of a neutral zone along the frontier when effectively that was rejected in the mid-August letter from the Minister of Labour to the Minister of Labour in Quebec.
Mr. Cassidy: Why is it that if this is now the position of this government Ontario has not taken the initiative, in view of the very clear indications coming from Quebec City that they are interested in talking about that kind of compromise?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I would be very pleased to have my friend indicate in very exact details where the idea of a neutral zone has been rejected by this government.
Ms. Gigantes: It has; in the former Minister of Labour’s (B. Stephenson) letter.
Hon. B. Stephenson: It was not rejected.
Ms. Gigantes: It was so.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Then you can’t read.
Hon. Ms. Wells: It has not been rejected. I heard that the Ottawa Citizen had indicated in an editorial that it had been rejected by this government. That was not so; that is not true.
Ms. Gigantes: Have you read that letter?
Hon. Mr. Wells: That is actually not factual. The neutral zone idea was generated within this government as one of the ways this matter could be settled.
Mr. Martel: Another Gaza strip.
Hon. Mr. Wells: It was after that was not acceptable to any of the parties that the Premier of this province wrote the Prime Minister of Canada again and said it is not possible for us to come to any agreement. If there had been any chance that that neutral zone manner of settling would have been agreeable, we wouldn’t have had to write that letter, and we would probably be on the way to a settlement. But we do not have that. I would just tell the member that that editorial was not correct and the idea of our rejecting the neutral zone area is just not factually correct.
Ms. Gigantes: You have got it backwards.
Hon. B. Stephenson: On a point of personal privilege, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Warner: You’re kidding.
Hon. B. Stephenson: It is entirely incorrect that the idea which this province put forward first for the consideration of the province of Quebec regarding the possibility of specific and special zones along the borders of Quebec and Ontario was ever rejected by this province. It has not been rejected. It was put forward as a route to finding a solution to the problem. It was not ever acceptable apparently to the province of Quebec.
Ms. Gigantes: It’s your letter. This is going to haunt you.
Mr. Warner: You wrote it.
Hon. B. Stephenson: You read the letter.
Mr. S. Smith: I have a brief final supplementary, if I might, on the heavy equipment matter. Is the minister aware that unless we develop parallel legislation in Ontario pretty soon or solve the problem pretty soon, a number of these heavy-equipment operators will either be going bankrupt this fall or undertaking to move their head office to Quebec or to buy all further equipment in Quebec; all of which would mean quite a loss of revenue for this province since in Quebec they would naturally not suffer the same problem as on this side of the border?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I am very much aware of that. As I said a minute ago, one of our top priorities is to try to find some resolution to this problem to help the heavy-equipment people and others in the Ottawa-Carleton and the Ottawa Valley area.
Mr. Sargent: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: New question; the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere.
Mr. Sargent: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: This is very important to my area. I want an answer to this --
Mr. Speaker: The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere with a new question.
Mr. Warner: This question is important to my area. I have a question for the Minister of Health. Since coroner Dr. Cass stated on August 12 in reference to the St. Raphael’s Nursing Home inquest that the inquest “raised enough questions about the nursing home to warrant a royal commission into the Ontario Health ministry’s enforcement of the Nursing Homes Act as well as into the general conditions now existing in nursing homes,” when will the minister begin the public inquiry or will he continue to ignore the serious problems which exist at many nursing homes including, for example, Madonna Nursing Home and MacLaren House Nursing Home in Ottawa?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member knows, but for obvious reasons will not acknowledge, the ministry has never ignored the problems where they exist in the nursing homes. I think it’s fair to say that the legislation which we have developed in this province over the last number of years, but particularly since the 1972 amendments, has given us some of the most up-to-date legislation on nursing homes anywhere in the country.
Mr. Swart: That’s not what the coroner thought.
Mr. Cooke: But you don’t bother enforcing it.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: As the member further knows, we are presently engaged in a process to update that even further. Some time ago I released the proposal for new regulations with respect to nursing homes. I have not yet received the member’s comments in particular detail about those changes in the regulations and I would be very pleased to have them and to have his input to that process.
Mr. Cooke: We gave you our comments last year in estimates.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: If the member has any particular complaints about particular homes, he knows he can refer them to me. He will get a report. He will get exactly the same report I get from the inspectors.
I may say that in the last nine months with the introduction, at my order, of group inspections, we have been able to effect significant improvements in the most troublesome of the homes, a small number of the almost 400 homes in the province. We will continue those efforts to close down where necessary certain homes -- we closed two more this year -- and in the others to effect the necessary improvements.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, I realize that under the rules the minister isn’t obligated to answer my question and I take it he’s not going to. I think it’s also fair to inform the minister, since he raised the matter, that I don’t see any point in commenting on his recommendations when he’s trying to --
Mr. Speaker: Do you want to ask a supplementary question?
Mr. Warner: A supplementary to my original question: Since the minister publicly indicated on the CBC radio program Metro Morning that he has changed his policy on government secrecy, may I now have the nursing home inspection reports for the last 12-month period for Madonna Nursing Home, Ottawa, and MacLaren House, Ottawa? The latter may now be known as Centretown Nursing Home. May I have those two inspection reports now? Which recommendations will the minister be agreeing with from the coroner’s jury verdict on the death of Mrs. Edythe Gramshaw at St. Raphael’s Nursing Home in Toronto? Which recommendations will the minister agree with; and on the ones with which he will not agree, why not?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: We are looking at the coroner’s report. I think some comments have already gone from my deputy minister. If the member wants to go on a general fishing expedition, I’m not going to go along with him. If he has specific questions, he will get specific answers. If the member is prepared to tell me exactly what it is he wishes to know, I’ll be glad to give him the information. That has been my policy all along.
Mr. Laughren: He wants the reports, then.
Mr. Swart: He just asked three specific questions.
Mr. Warner: Will you send me the inspection reports?
Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. In view of the fact that polio vaccines have been distributed through his ministry in the neighbouring counties, and in view of the fact that private physicians in the riding of Kent-Elgin are under pressure from their patients for the same vaccines, would the minister tell us, if these vaccines have not already gone forward, when they will go forward to physicians in my riding?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The triad and quad vaccines for those 18 years of age and younger are available to physicians everywhere in the province, so if any physician in the member’s constituency comes to him with a concern about the availability of those, I would suggest that he simply have him or her contact the medical officer of health, since we are using the public health units as our points of distribution for the vaccine.
With respect to the adult vaccines, we have limited the availability of that vaccine to the county in which the outbreak occurred in July and the first three or four days of August, and to the seven surrounding counties which we established as a buffer zone. We intend, once we feel that we have got those eight counties completely covered, to then expand out from that zone in the province, notwithstanding the fact that a national advisory committee on immunization, which met in late August, recommended to the federal government and to all governments that there not be a general program of immunization for adults. We disagree with that and once we have ensured that we’ve covered the affected county and the buffer zone we will then move away from there to cover the rest of the adult population in the province.
Mr. Mancini: Supplementary: Since the medical officer for the area of Essex county has informed me that there would be vaccine enough for everyone in the community come the first or second week in September, is the Minister of Health now stating that this is not so? If this is what he is stating, could he inform the House exactly when there will be enough vaccine for the whole community?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: We are working out with our suppliers, the Connaught Laboratories, who are the only suppliers for the Dominion of Canada, the details of their delivery schedules to us. We are also being very cautious that we don’t jump too soon in making the judgement that Oxford and the buffer counties are, in fact, completely covered. I would suspect that it would be another three or four weeks and the vaccine will be available.
Mr. Hennessy: No applause, thank you.
Mr. Conway: Where is your button?
Mr. Hennessy: Supplementary: I would like to know why the polio vaccine was transferred from the city of Thunder Bay down to the southern part of Ontario during the inoculations.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The vaccine was pulled back from most of the health units to ensure that we would not run short in the county where the outbreak had occurred, namely, Oxford county, and, as I’ve just explained, the buffer counties surrounding it. This decision was taken on the advice, not only of my own staff in the ministry, the epidemiologist and the personal health staff with the Ministry of Health, but after consultation with the Assistant Deputy Minister of Health for Canada, Dr. Morrison, whose responsibility it is for health protection, including questions of vaccine supply and the immunization programs, and after consulting with the president and executive director of the Ontario Medical Association. The advice of all three -- my staff, the staff of National Health and Welfare and of the Ontario Medical Association -- was to carry on a program of immunization, first of all, throughout the province for those 18 years of age and younger and then for the adult population in Oxford and the buffer counties. We did leave, of course, with all of the health units, a sufficient supply to cover travellers to and from the Netherlands, which was the third group and, obviously, a much smaller group in the province.
Mr. Laughren: I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. In view of the fact that during the last 15 months there have been four specific promises broken by his predecessors, would he agree to speak to the chairman of the resources development committee to ensure that when that committee is debating the question of Inco emissions those hearings be held in the Sudbury basin?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I suspect that question should perhaps more appropriately go to you, Mr. Speaker, or to the House leaders. I can assure members that I and the ministry are prepared to discuss the issue wherever the members of this House wish to discuss it. It’s entirely up to the committee. If the committee will summon us, we’ll be there and we’ll be there with pleasure.
Mr. Laughren: Carried. Consider yourself summoned.
STANDING ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE COMMITTEE
Mr. Philip from the standing administration of justice committee presented the committee’s report as follows and moved its adoption.
Your committee recommends that the alleged improprieties of former Solicitor General George Kerr relating to Assistant Crown Attorney David Price be investigated by the administration of justice committee as soon as possible prior to consideration of estimates.
Motion agreed to.
SELECT COMMITTEE ON HEALTH CARE FINANCING
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that Mr. McCaffrey be chairman of the select committee on health care costs in place of Mr. Elgie.
Motion agreed to.
STANDING RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that the standing resources development committee include in its consideration of the annual report of the Minister of the Environment the following matters:
The collection and disposal of liquid waste resulting from industrial operations throughout the province; the abatement program governing Inco in Sudbury; the pollution control measures imposed on the pulp and paper industry, and the global phenomenon known as acidified precipitation.
Motion agreed to.
SITTING OF HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that the House continue to sit through the normal dinner period.
Mr. Martel: Mr Speaker, I want to speak briefly against the motion.
An hon. member: Nationalize it!
Mr. Martel: I haven’t decided to nationalize; the government of Ontario has already done that.
We have made a lot of agreements today to make this possible. There has been all kinds of flexibility expressed and give and take on all sides of the House to in fact allow the government to bring that particular motion to expedite getting the workers back to work. We went along with that willingly.
We have a position to present with respect to that bill. We want to do it in an orderly fashion following the usual procedures of the House. We have no intention of filibustering, but we find it offensive, after making all of these agreements, that the government would then push ahead right through the supper hour.
Mr. Martel: Those of us who were here in 1974 for a similar debate well recall that in fact it took three and a half days, I believe, after the legislation was completed to get the workers back to work in totality.
We are prepared to accommodate the government and try to get this bill through. We just find that this type of procedure, which totally destroys all the rules of the House, is simply irresponsible. If you are going to push it through, we think it can get done and if it gets done tonight, and there is some hope it will, that is fine.
Mr. Martel: We are prepared to accommodate. Let me say to the Premier we are prepared to come back tomorrow morning at 10 o’clock if need be to ensure that that gets done.
There is no filibuster. We just think that the manner in which that is being conducted is simply using a sledgehammer to drive home a compulsory arbitration bill and we find it a bit offensive. I would just say to the Premier all it does is create short tempers with that sort of environment that we have to work under.
Mr. Martel: I would just like to proceed apace and see if we can get it done in the time allocated under the usual hours of sitting and be prepared to come back at 10 tomorrow and continue.
Mr. Martel: There will be no deliberate filibuster on this side of the House but we will move our position in a succinct and orderly fashion.
Mr. Martel: If it takes a little longer -- we would hope it wouldn’t -- but we just think it’s that imperative. We’re tampering with one of the keystones of industrial labour relations in this province -- the right to free collective bargaining. My friends over there, who pretend to be the friends of labour, are so anxious to get this bill though that, as the Leader of the Opposition said, “We’ve got to break this strike.” Well, that ain’t what we’re here for.
Mr. Speaker, I ask the House leader and I ask the Premier to do it in a more orderly fashion.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I completely understand the point of view of the House leader for the New Democratic Party in his exposition of the position his party is going to take and that he wishes the members of his party to have an opportunity to express this.
The concern I have, as the head of government, along with all members of this House, is to reconcile that concern with the concern being felt by thousands of people who at this precise moment do not have a service available to them that I feel is the obligation of members of this House to resolve.
I am not going to debate with the House leader of that party the principles of compulsory back-to-work legislation. None of us likes it.
Mr. Germa: Sure you do.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The honourable member may say we do; but that is just not factually correct. No one would have been more pleased to have had this matter resolved than myself.
But what I have difficulty in understanding is that all of us have made sacrifices in terms of the 6 to 8 o’clock hour. I can assure the honourable member he has many times. So has the Minister of Labour in the past four or five days on two or three issues. The Premier has also missed -- perhaps, very wisely so -- supper hours and even more hours than that in an attempt to resolve certain issues. I don’t think the issue itself is going to be prejudiced by this House continuing to discuss this in an orderly fashion over the supper hour. That’s why I suggest we move ahead.
If I honestly thought the House leader of the New Democratic Party didn’t have his arguments already well in hand, if I felt he needed time, or the members opposite did to further assess the actual wording of the bill, this I could understand. But the members opposite know what they’re going to say. They will be cogent arguments. They will be relevant arguments. I don’t think any of us needs two hours at the supper time to further develop what is to be said.
I’m not minimizing for a moment the importance the New Democratic Party places on this issue -- an importance we do too. It’s something I think all of us in this House would rather not be doing. But we’re here to accomplish something. I think it would not be credible in terms of those people who perhaps do not have the understanding of this House to feel that the legislators of this province, with a vital issue of this kind, whether we agree on it or not, feel we have to have two hours at supper to conduct the orderly affairs of this House.
I honestly say to the House leader that I can understand it; but I really think that in the interests of those people who watch the proceedings in this House we should on this occasion sit through the supper hour and move ahead as best we can with the orderly passage of this legislation.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I want to endorse what the Premier has just said. This may go down in the history of the Legislature as the great dinner debate.
I find that if this is going to be the beginning of some obstructionist tactics, divisions on first readings and any other type of time-wasting device, I’m very disappointed in the members of the New Democratic Party.
Let me just say one thing about this supper debate. There are hundreds of thousands of people in Toronto who won’t be getting home for supper tonight because of this strike.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, before the Leader of the Opposition reduces this discussion to the childish level that only he has the competence to deal with, let us, during the course of the 6 to 8 p.m. usual supper adjournment, keep a little record of just who happens to be filling the seats in the House. Let’s keep a record of just who out of that great sense of emergency and crisis will be in their seats listening to the debate.
If by these remarks I can compel the members of the government, both from Metropolitan Toronto and across the province, and the members of the Liberal Party to be in this House, then we will certainly, through the remarks of the House leader of this party, have accomplished a great deal. By the way, it might be very interesting if all of the ministers of the Crown found themselves in their seats from 6 to 8 o’clock.
It might also be useful if we eliminated from the debate the crocodile tears of sorrow that are streaming down the face of the leader of the government and of the Minister of Labour when they express their concern about the destruction of a right in this province.
Mr. Speaker: Order, order.
The motion is that the House continue to sit through the normal dinner period.
All those in favour will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay”.
In my opinion the ayes have it.
Motion agreed to.
QUEBEC POLICY ON CONSTRUCTION HIRING
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege arising out of the question period: The former Minister of Labour made a statement which I am afraid is contradicted by a letter which she wrote to the Honourable Pierre Marc Johnson, Minister of Labour in the province of Quebec, on August 16, 1978. I should just like to read one paragraph of that letter into the record. It says, and I quote:
“As to the free zone concept I might add that it would not appear to me that Ontario’s concurrence would be required for you to extend unrestricted working privileges to Ontario construction workers along our boundary” -- that means Quebec’s boundary. “However,” she said, “I want to emphasize that I would be extremely reluctant to support any solution which restricted such rights to any limited geographic areas along the boundary, nor could I agree that any such solution be conditional on legislated guarantees by the province of Ontario.”
Mr. Speaker, that is clearly in contradiction to what she has since said.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, if I might respond, I would hope that the honourable leader of the third party would read what I wrote with care. We did not reject the proposal which we had made in the first place -- to the government of the province of Quebec.
The Minister of Labour of the province of Quebec in his response to me of a few days earlier, as a result of a telephone call which I made to him in order to try to get the discussion back on the road, did mention nothing about any potential zone along the borders of the province. I was concerned that he had not mentioned these because it seemed to me that this was one route that we could pursue. But I wanted to make him aware of our specific concerns about narrow geographic borders.
I felt it was entirely correct to suggest to the Minister of Labour for the province of Quebec that indeed that province could extend the border of Quebec to include workers along the Ontario border without any action on the part of the province of Ontario. This is something he obviously had not considered before. But I certainly did want him to know that this province was not in any position, nor did we feel it was necessary, to guarantee employment in Quebec construction workers when the record shows that over the last 10 years, for every one construction worker from the province of Ontario working in the province of Quebec there have been at least five from Quebec working in the province of Ontario. If that isn’t a guarantee, I don’t know what it is.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
TORONTO TRANSIT COMMISSION LABOUR DISPUTES SETTLEMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Elgie moved first reading of Bill 141, An Act respecting Labour Disputes between the Toronto Transit Commission and Division 113, Amalgamated Transit Union, Lodge 235, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local No. 2.
Mr. Speaker: Shall the motion carry?
Some hon. members: No.
Mr. Speaker: All those in favour of first reading of the bill will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the ayes have it.
Call in the members.
Mr. S. Smith: On a point of order.
Mr. Speaker: What is the point of order?
Mr. S. Smith: The point of order, Mr. Speaker, is since a division is being requested on first reading, can we not simply vote on division without necessarily calling in the members at this time? Let them be on record without delaying the proceedings.
Mr. Speaker: There is nothing out of order.
Mr. Speaker: You can agree to a limit, of course.
The House divided on the motion for first reading of the bill, which was approved on the following vote:
Miller, F. S.
Miller, G. I.
Taylor, J. A.
Yakabuski -- 78.
Davison, M. N.
Ziemba -- 26.
Ayes 78; nays 26.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, at this point, notwithstanding the provisions of the standing orders, may we have the consent of the House now to call second reading of Bill 141?
TORONTO TRANSIT COMMISSION LABOUR DISPUTES SETTLEMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Elgie moved second reading of Bill 141, An Act respecting Labour Disputes between the Toronto Transit Commission and Division 113, Amalgamated Transit Union, Lodge 235, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local No. 2.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I intend to be relatively brief since I think the important work that is before us is perfectly obvious. What we have to do is move as swiftly as possible to end the Toronto Transit Commission strike which is presently in effect.
My feeling about the situation is that we are taking a very important step by intervening so soon. I believe that the implications of this quick intervention, which intervention I certainly applaud and I am happy to participate in, will be felt some years down the road and will also be felt in the other services in the public sector which will he negotiating contracts in the not too distant future.
1 also believe it is very important that we recognize that a willingness on the part of government to step into a strike early in a sense changes the rules for public sector bargaining in a way which in my view is healthy, and in the view I guess of others is unhealthy. But it does change the rules and we do have to recognize that in intervening early we are creating a certain atmosphere in future negotiations within the public sector.
Mr. Deans: By intervening at all you are creating an atmosphere -- a bad atmosphere.
Mr. Eakins: Go back to fighting fires. Come on.
Mr. S. Smith: I think, frankly, it is a useful intervention and that the implications of this early intervention can be very helpful, provided we learn the proper lesson from it.
First of all, let us deal with the strike itself. Why has it been necessary to intervene? I think it is perfectly obvious. The process of collective bargaining did not produce a solution although I may say the two sides appear to have been rather close to each other at the end. In fact, depending on how one looks at the figures and what expectations one might have about inflation, arguments can be made that as much money could have been obtained or paid out, depending on how you look at it, under one side’s suggestions or formula as on the other side’s, but with different implications for future years.
I don’t want to go into those details -- that is not our job -- but the fact is the two sides were rather close together, looking at this matter from an historical perspective. I feel that to let a strike continue, to let it go on day after day when there is really little purpose to be served by so doing, is surely not a very reasonable way for the Legislature to behave.
I point out to the House that it is not just an inconvenience and a waste of energy and so on to be tied up in traffic and all that. That is difficult, but it is also a strain on the economy at a time when our economy can ill afford such strain.
Ms. Gigantes: That’s the way with all strikes.
Mr. S. Smith: More important than that, and one doesn’t wish to be melodramatic or in any way exaggerate these matters, but it can be a matter of life and death. Emergency vehicles do have to make their way through this tangled web of traffic that we see.
We do have elderly persons who need to obtain help from time to time. We have the sick, the infirm, the handicapped, who depend upon the public transit and who also depend upon other forms of transit being able to move swiftly through the streets of Metropolitan Toronto.
There are a lot of people who find it necessary now to walk long distances in order to get to their commuter train, whereas their previous habit was to take the subway. In many instances, these are people who may not be in shape for that kind of walking. Although we may say they should be, in many instances they are not, and I would not be surprised if a number of serious illnesses and serious incidents occur during the course of any transit strike in a metropolitan centre of this kind.
Mr. S. Smith: I feel it is a matter of the utmost importance to recognize that we have designed the city of Toronto -- and this government has played some role in that, not always totally constructive, but some role -- to be more dependent upon public transit and less dependent upon the automobile. We have not permitted expressways to crisscross the city, we have not permitted the widening of certain roads, because we have specifically wanted Toronto to be more oriented towards public transit.
And that has happened. In fact, the people of Toronto are right now far more dependent on public transit than those in many other centres. Unlike Los Angeles, where you have expressways criss-crossing the entire city and where perhaps a public transit strike might be a little less noticeable, in this city and in this metropolitan area a public transit strike is extremely important.
It’s also extremely important for many of my own constituents in Hamilton who come to work in Metropolitan Toronto and use the facilities of Gray Coach to do so. As the members know, GO services from that part of Ontario are operated by Gray Coach and, consequently, are affected by this strike.
It is obvious we are going to have to take very seriously the whole question of strikes in the essential public services. The definition of what is an essential public service is something that will have to occupy this House, either now or in the near future.
It’s evident that what may have been an essential service at one time nowadays requires redefinition. There are some services that may not have been essential in the old days which have become essential because of the way we have constructed our complex and difficult-to-manage society.
Mr. S. Smith: It seems very clear to me that we are going to have to have certain ways of proceeding in the public sector different from the private sector. It is clear that in the private sector a strike will have a certain economic consequence for management and for the worker. In these circumstances it might be expected that to permit a strike to be prolonged will allow the natural and expected economic effects to occur and will allow, in some way, a natural economic resolution to occur. Although even in the private sector we frequently find, and I’m sure most people would agree, that strikes can be paralysing in one-industry towns, of course they’re always a source of tremendous social and economic problems to both working people and the economy and management whenever they occur.
The record of strikes in this country over the last decade has not been a happy one. It has been one of the reasons, although perhaps only a small reason, but one of the reasons for our rather poor international performance, economically speaking.
Mr. S. Smith: But in the public sector you don’t have that particular kind of economic weapon that can be exercised against management. You have instead, simply, the public held as hostage. Consequently, there has to be some better way of going about bargaining in the public sector than what we have seen up to now.
Mr. S. Smith: I feel that in fact this day is not the time to consider in great detail all the implications of public sector bargaining in Ontario. But I do hope there will be an opportunity, and perhaps the Premier or the Minister of Labour might consider this, for us to debate this very important matter, becoming steadily more important.
Today, I think the objective that most reasonable persons would keep in mind as the prime objective would be to move as expeditiously as possible to end the strike and not to stand here listening to our mellow tones and our brilliant political philosophies, but to make a reasonably brief statement --
Mr. S. Smith: -- and to move on with the matter at hand, which is surely what we all want to do. I recognize that the matter of having one’s dinner seems to take a higher priority for members of the NDP than the settling of this strike. Fortunately, the government and the official opposition both feel somewhat differently about these matters.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I would say to you that the time has come for a different method of settling disputes of this kind. I would bring to your attention a matter which I brought to the attention of the Minister of Labour and which he had already been dealing with, and that is the technique of final offer selection.
I was rather surprised to find in my discussions with the press and in talking to various citizens that there is really not very much understood about that particular method. It is still a little-understood method of settling labour disputes but I think it is a very important method for us to look very seriously at, particularly for public sector bargaining, although it need not be restricted to that.
I realize that there already exists the possibility of using it. In fact, I believe in the community college dispute it is already being used but, generally speaking, as pointed out quite correctly by the minister, it is a voluntary matter. I am suggesting that it become a regular way of proceeding.
Why do I say that? Let me explain. Here I want to come to the point I made earlier --
Mr. Foulds: Make it clear that it is an arbitration proceeding.
Mr. S. Smith: -- that by the movement into this dispute so early we are signalling to a good many public sector bargainers that we will be moving early on future disputes. If they anticipate that their dispute is going to end up with the conventional form of arbitration, the natural response will be for both parties to present rather extreme views, figuring that ultimately the strike will (a) be stopped early and (b) be sent to conventional arbitration.
As long as people begin to believe that their strikes are likely to be done with impunity inasmuch as they will be stopped early and, secondly, they will be ended by conventional arbitration, the natural response will be for the two sides to present their point of view in extreme form. If they figure that arbitrators tend to choose somewhere in the middle, people will naturally be reluctant to yield ground from their position before the arbitrator actually finds his middle ground. Each side will conserve to itself as much ground as possible, figuring that the arbitrator is likely to pick something in between.
That is the problem we have with the conventional form of arbitration. When you signal to the workers that you are going to send them back to work early --
Mr. Cassidy: If you are opposed to compulsory arbitration, then oppose the bill.
Mr. S. Smith: -- you tell them they can strike with some impunity. When you signal the solution will be regular arbitration, you also signal to both sides to hold back their best offers until much later on.
Mr. Foulds: Why are you filibustering on this bill?
Mr S. Smith: If, however, they know at the beginning that they are both going to have eventually to put forward their best final offer and that a selector will have to choose one or the other, both sides are much more likely to be reasonable from the very start and to present offers which are much more reasonable because ultimately if they eventually produce as their final offer an unreasonable one, at that point they risk losing everything. So both sides are likely to be far more reasonable in their bargaining process and very likely to bead off strikes before they occur.
I believe the government should make a strong statement that it intends to use final offer selection in future public sector disputes so as to encourage a much more reasonable and conciliatory attitude on the part of both management and labour from the very start in their bargaining procedure. I think that would be a real step forward in Ontario and would set the pace for Canada which undoubtedly would follow our lead in this regard. I would like to see a strong statement made at this time.
There are a number of amendments which I could put to this act but it is obvious from what the minister has said and from the continual barrage of interjections on the part of the rather embarrassed people in the soon-to-disappear third party that neither the government nor the members of the increasingly irrelevant New Democratic Party will vote for any amendment to bring in final offer selection in this case. Under these circumstances, I think it would be a form of --
Mr. S. Smith: Give me a drink, somebody. They’re just a bunch of idiots.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. Order. Does that complete the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition?
Mr. S. Smith: No, I feel I would like to continue my remarks, Mr. Speaker. Although I would like to be favoured with the possibility that you might hear my remarks, that perhaps is not as important as the possibility that I might hear my remarks, which has been quite impossible up to now with the constant barracking from the benches of the NDP. I would ask you to keep order, if it is possible to do so with such disorderly people, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Deans: You have to suffer listening to yourself.
Mr. S. Smith: I have a number of amendments prepared, but since it is obvious that these amendments would, in fact, fail to carry then it would serve no purpose for me to bring these forward under these circumstances. It would only delay matters.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. S. Smith: I realize they haven’t had their supper, but it’s only 4:15. Perhaps the cackling and the sounds I hear from the left are just their stomachs rumbling in anticipation of the supper hour. I’m not sure.
Mr. Breithaupt: No, that would be gurgling.
Ms. Gigantes: When we start to chew you up, you will feel it.
Mr. S. Smith: As I have attempted to say before being interrupted so many times, Mr. Speaker, since it would serve no purpose but to delay matters, I will not put these amendments forward. I would suggest to the government that it make a very clear statement that, in fact, final offer selection will be the way to conduct public sector bargaining for the next year or so, so that people will be prepared for that and will bargain with that in mind.
There is another problem and it’s touched on by the minister. There are very few people in the labour movement today who fully understand final offer selection, as I said earlier.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. S. Smith: There may be reason to dispute my statement, but since my statement comes from an interview I had this morning with the president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, and that is the point of view he expressed to me, I felt I could share it with the House.
Mr. Renwick: Why don’t you get back to the principle of the bill?
Mr. S. Smith: Among the rank and file, it may be, as the minister pointed out -- and this is something we’ve certainly considered and I discussed with the president of the union today -- among the rank and file it may well be that since they do not yet have much experience with the final offer selection process, it is conceivable that there would be an instance where if the selector were to choose the management-package final offer as opposed to the labour-union-package final offer, it would be taken not as a form of conciliation or arbitration but as an outright defeat. Under those circumstances, which would indicate a misunderstanding of the procedure, it could in fact lead to some difficulty.
Nonetheless, I think this would be an appropriate case because the two sides are already so close together, and in fact evidence can be presented that more money, as I say, would change hands in some ways under the TTC formula than under the labour union formula. But given the fact that the two sides are so close together, the fact is that this would be a good case for final offer selection.
Be that as it may, and given the lack of support at this time, all I can say is that we should use this technique in the future and I hope the government will seriously consider that.
Mr. S. Smith: I feel that in summary the situation with the Toronto Transit Commission strike is an unfortunate one. It has inconvenienced and, as I say, even endangered many people in Metropolitan Toronto. It is harming the economy. The Premier is to be commended for moving swiftly in this matter after making quite an effort to bring the two sides together. I feel that he has done what I, in his place, would have done as well. Therefore, I can only support that.
I feel, therefore, that I can bring my remarks to a close by promising the support to move this matter through as expeditiously as possible. We are prepared to sit here to whatever hour is required in order to get the matter dealt with as quickly as possible, and the government certainly has our support in this way.
We may, at some future point in the discussion, have some comments as various amendments are brought forward. We may have certain comments, as I say, on possible amendments of our own. But at this point I feel that there would be no point to bringing forward the original amendments that I spoke on earlier regarding final offer selection. Therefore, I will conclude my remarks.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Before recognizing the next speaker I would just like to inform the members that for their pleasure and for their comfort the dining room will be open at 5:30 p.m.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, if the members of the other two parties actually stay here during the dinner hour, as they have committed themselves to do, the deficit of that dining room is going to be more in a day than it is normally in a month.
Mr. Cassidy: I want to begin, Mr. Speaker, in talking to this bill, by expressing concern for all the people in Metropolitan Toronto who have been affected by the transit dispute which has been going on in the city since Monday. The people in Metropolitan Toronto have been having serious difficulties in getting to work, and we understand that they have been inconvenienced substantially because of the dispute -- the people who use Gray Coach lines even more.
But I am also concerned, Mr. Speaker, at the destruction of a fundamental freedom in our society, the freedom of collective bargaining, in which we are being asked to participate with the bill which has been placed before the Legislature today. When the disruption which exists in Metropolitan Toronto has been created in a labour dispute over a difference of only 12 cents an hour, which was the difference that existed in the negotiations over the weekend, we believe that this strike should not have had to occur. We believe that if the TTC had been made to bargain in good faith through the course of the weekend, this strike would not have occurred, and we would have a settlement today, and the Legislature would not have had to be brought back.
What we can see though is that from February on this dispute has been provoked -- this strike has been provoked deliberately by the TTC management, because of the fact that they set themselves a limit to which they would bargain, and no more, and they did not agree to bargain in good faith and they were not made to bargain in good faith by the new Minister of Labour, by the Premier, with the Minister of Transportation and Communications or anybody else who has an involvement at the provincial level.
There are some very basic issues which are before this Legislature today, Mr. Speaker, and they go beyond the short-term problems which we recognize the people are suffering in Metropolitan Toronto today. The issue is whether you make collective bargaining work in this province, or whether you substitute some other system of settlements that are dictated by management, of settlements that are dictated by arbitrators, or of settlements that are dictated by this Legislature itself.
I cannot believe, after all of the efforts that so many people with so much goodwill have tried to make to find alternatives to the system of collective bargaining, that somehow within, was it 18 hours of the beginning of the dispute on Monday of this week that the Premier and the new Minister of Labour could suddenly have stumbled on a better way than the collective bargaining system.
This dispute is also over the question of what’s going to happen to public sector workers after the Anti-Inflation Board controls have been lifted from upon them. This is the first major dispute in the public sector since the AIB controls have been lifted. It is also the first major dispute to come before us with the climate which the government is imposing because of its withdrawal of reasonable provincial support for municipal governments. The government, in other words, is almost at the bargaining table itself only it has refused to see that as a responsibility and it has been trying to pass the buck either to the TTC or, in this case, to the workers themselves.
I want to say that the workers are being made the victims of policies that have been drafted in the office of the Premier of this province which were to have an almost inevitable result; the strike that has actually taken place.
Mr. Breithaupt: What policy?
Mr. Kerrio: Now it comes out.
Mr. Cassidy: I want to recall what the transit workers have had to go through. In 1974 and 1975 they had a legislated settlement; they were ordered back to work. In 1976 and 1977, they were controlled by wage controls imposed by Ottawa. In 1978, they are to be legislated back to work again. The pattern which this government, supported by its friends in the Liberal Party, appears to have undertaken is that every time transit workers come to the bargaining table, they will in future know that if they don’t watch out they’re going to wind up back here in the Legislature or in the House of Commons up in Ottawa. The results are being felt by every streetcar operator and bus driver and maintenance worker here in this city.
Mr. Sargent: Ain’t that too bad? How about three-quarters of a million people?
Mr. Cassidy: Back in 1976-77, the cost of living went up by 8.4 per cent; transit workers had to eat inflation and take an eight per cent settlement. In 1977-78, the cost of living went up by 9.8 per cent, and transit workers had to eat inflation with a six per cent settlement, which meant a drop in their real standard of living of 3.8 per cent. In other words, what the government has decided is that certain groups of workers, notably public sector workers, are going to carry the burden of its anti-inflation policy in a manner which we find to be inequitable, unfair and destructive of normal collective bargaining relationships which we believe should exist as much in the public sector as in the private sector.
My colleagues will go into the details of the bargaining that has gone on since early spring and which reached an intense pitch over the course of the last month. The essence of the bargaining that has taken place, however, is that it has all been one-sided. Back in February, the TTC announced publicly what it intended to offer in terms of a settlement to the transit workers -- six per cent or $6.9 million. The six per cent that they laid on the table then is exactly the same settlement that they have offered today. They have budgeted by not one iota over a period of six months, over a period of conciliation, of mediation --
Ms. Gigantes: Is that bargaining?
Mr. Cassidy: -- of intervention by the Minister of Labour, of intervention by the Premier himself.
I haven’t heard any criticisms by those gentlemen of the bad faith bargaining which that represents on behalf of the Toronto Transit Commission. I think we should have heard that if the government genuinely wanted to take a neutral role between management and labour in labour relations in the province of Ontario.
On the other side, though, you have the unions. They entered with a 10 per cent wage demand. It was a reasonable wage demand for openers. Over the period of time of the negotiations over money, they have gradually moved down to the point where their total demand -- not just their demands for wages -- but their total demand amounts to 7.3 per cent.
Mr. Sargent: Plus indexing.
Mr. Cassidy: The company began at six per cent and stayed at six per cent for six months; the union began at 10 per cent and came down to 7.3 per cent over that period of time. I want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, it looks to me as though it was the union that was bargaining in good faith and that the company was not bargaining in good faith at all.
The fact that the gap had narrowed to only 12 cents an hour was almost entirely the work of the union. You cannot have collective bargaining if management simply decides what to pay and puts it forward on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. If the new Minister of Labour wishes to conduct labour relations on that basis, I want to tell him that the labour climate in this province is bad now and it will get much worse.
I have had the pleasure and privilege of sitting down several times with Charles Johnson, the President of the Amalgamated Transit Union local here in Toronto which is now on strike, Division 113. Charles Johnson has got to be the mildest and most accommodating union leader I have ever met. Charles Johnson is to the labour movement what the member for York East (Mr. Elgie) may be to the Conservative Party.
Mr. Kerrio: Boy, are they in trouble over there.
Mr. Cassidy: The union has bent over backwards to be accommodating in order to get a settlement and in order to show that it’s willing to bargain in good faith. They have the feeling, which I happen to agree with, that on the other hand, Michael Warren, the general manager of the Toronto Transit Commission, has acted like a piranha in this particular ease --
Mr. Martel: Or worse.
Mr. Cassidy: -- and has been adamantly seeking not to get a settlement but to avoid having a settlement and to have a strike or to pass the buck on to the provincial government.
Mr. Martel: And force compulsory arbitration.
Mr. Cassidy: I knew Michael Warren when he was the Deputy Minister of Housing, and he left the government with the epithets of “able”, “ambitious”, aggressive”, “a real catch for the Toronto Transit Commission.”
Mr. Mattel: Arrogant.
Mr. Cassidy: “Arrogant”, “arbitrary”, “abrupt” and “abrasive” -- you’ve got to add a few adjectives now, Mr. Speaker, because that’s what he’s proven to be over the course of this particular dispute.
Mr. Pope: Like you.
Mr. Cassidy: Oh, I’m very mellow these days.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You’ll never change your image. Once a piranha, always a piranha.
Mr. Cassidy: Last spring, Mr. Speaker, you may remember that the chairman of the TTC, Gordon Hurlburt, was criticizing Michael Warren publicly in the press because his profile was too great. But that didn’t stop the high-flying general manager of the TTC, who clearly has been calling the shots and clearly has been steering the situation into a strike.
Mr. Mattel: Why don’t you send him to Outer Mongolia to study subways while we’re getting this resolved?
Mr. Cassidy: The member for Sudbury East and I think that Mike Warren should be sent to study subways -- in Ceylon, wasn’t it, Elie?
Mr. Martel: No, Mongolia is better.
Mr. Cassidy: Mongolia? Okay.
Mr. Martel: We’d get it resolved.
An hon. member: Why send him that far? Just send him to Sudbury.
Mr. Cassidy: That would probably be the single greatest contribution that the TTC could make towards the resolution of this dispute.
We know that this is election year. Maybe the TTC is backing away from taking a tough line or from making a settlement because it’s election year. After all, Paul Godfrey is going to have to face election some time in December or January from 31 or 32 of his colleagues on Metropolitan Toronto council; and maybe Michael Warren may be facing some retribution from the Conservatives themselves because of the embarrassment into which he has put their party as a result of the intransigent way with which he has approached collective bargaining.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: That’s like Doug Moffatt did to you.
Mr. Cassidy: We happen to think that the job of the general manager of the TTC is to negotiate the best settlement possible that will ensure labour peace and keep the subways and buses running. But Mike Warren came along on August 23 and, in a press conference, said:
“This is the first real test of whether our civic workers are willing to accept settlements that are within the means of taxpayers and users of municipal services to absorb.”
He has taken upon himself the responsibility of the civic politicians of this city.
Back in February, he said what he thought the TTC should offer on the basis of estimates prepared in 1977, which are clearly out of date today, and said at the time that, if need be, he would be prepared to see Toronto take a long strike. That’s not the tune we’re hearing right now. The TTC is not prepared to do that. They come running up here expecting the province to bail them out at a terrible cost to collective bargaining.
Mr. Martel: And the government accommodated them.
Mr. Cassidy: On August 23 as well, when he should have been keeping his mouth shut, Michael Warren said publicly: “The commission is firmly resolved not to exceed its financial limitations this year even if it means a strike.” In other words, they were courting a strike, rather than looking for a settlement.
Let me come back to the weekend: On Friday, the TTC had an offer before the union. The union was asked to come up with a counter offer on Saturday. They did. For 37 hours they waited until something would come back from the management. At 2 o’clock on Monday morning, the TTC came back with exactly the same offer they had given on the Friday evening.
The management was informed that the union was prepared to bring the stewards together on Saturday and prepared to have a general management meeting on Sunday in order to consider a settlement, but that was not a factor as far as the TTC was concerned. They kept the unions out of the Royal York Hotel for the entire weekend before the strike deadline and didn’t bargain in good faith at all.
That, Mr. Speaker, should have been said by William Davis and by Robert Elgie rather than talking about men of goodwill who could not resolve the situation.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Would the honourable member please refer to another member by his riding or his position?
Mr. Cassidy: The honourable Premier and member for Brampton and the honourable member for York East.
Not only that, but the TTC, which was ostensibly bargaining in good faith on this past weekend, told the non-resident bus drivers from the north to get themselves home, deadheaded buses back to Toronto, laid off casual employees, told clerical employees that they were being laid off, took all of the steps necessary, in other words, as though it intended that there would be a strike to take place.
Well, that isn’t good faith bargaining either and now we face a situation of 600,000 people who are out on the streets without transit because of the action of the TTC and because of the failure of this government, in our opinion, to tell Mike Warren and to tell Gordon Hurlburt and to tell Paul Godfrey that it was time they went back to the bargaining table and bargained and that surely in Ontario in 1978 a difference of only 12 cents an hour is not irreconcilable. Surely a difference of only one and a half per cent or so in the bargaining should be reconcilable and resolvable without the duress that is involved in bringing the Legislature back into session.
In 1974 the parties started 21 points apart and when we came back they were still 13 percentage points apart. Today, here, it is only one tenth of that distance and yet somehow the Premier abandons hope for collective bargaining within the space of a few hours.
I want to tell you what I believe is one of the reasons the Premier acted in that way. The Premier was manoeuvred into this by Michael Warren of the TTC and it happened to suit Bill Davis’ political needs.
The Kerr affair last week, which was mishandled by the Premier personally --
Mr. Cassidy: -- was embarrassing, not only for himself but also for his government and was revealing in what it showed about the indecision of William Davis, Premier of Ontario -- indecision because he decided to put partisan political advantage ahead of the integrity of the judicial system and the integrity of this Legislature.
Mr. Cassidy: It was particularly damaging because of the orchestration which had been going on for months for the re-coronation of William Davis at the annual meeting the Conservatives planned to have over the course of the weekend. And instead of the angels playing their harps while Bill Davis wafted into another two or three years --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. Would the honourable member again remember to address another member of the House?
Mr. Cassidy: Instead of the angels waving their harps while the exalted member for Brampton was wafted into some further time as Premier of this province, it was all rather unfortunate -- sordid, almost.
Mr. Cassidy: I suspect, Mr. Speaker, that the political need of the Premier, therefore, in the course of the weekend’s ending was to appear decisive on something that would give him short-term political advantage, and therefore the Premier decided that he would lose his cool, and, within a day, went back to 1974.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Oh, motor-mouth, turn off your switch.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Nothing short-term about our political advantage. There is short-term.
Mr. S. Smith: This is a personal attack which I don’t think is warranted.
Mr. Cassidy: The government was prepared to allow the dispute in Metropolitan Toronto to go on for 19 days before they acted. It was a heaven-sent opportunity to look decisive to get the Kerr affair behind and put things back on the rails for the 1978 session.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Quit trying to divert the attention for your Metro members and support it.
Mr. Cassidy: Just as the Premier’s judgement was clouded on the Kerr affair, I want to suggest to you that he made a grave error of judgement in the case of the TTC, because of the impact on collective bargaining in the province and because of the impact on public servants of the province of Ontario.
Consider the contrast with 1974 and you can see what I mean when I say that the Premier lost his cool in deciding to act now. How the Premier can conclude after only 24 hours that the potential of the collective bargaining process has been exhausted is beyond me, because one of the aspects of collective bargaining is that the parties sit there at the table, knowing that if it comes to a labour dispute, whether it is a lockout or whether it is a strike, the public is going to put pressure on them and they are going to hurt personally and their members are going to hurt and their profits are going to hurt. That’s a fundamental tenet of collective bargaining, but the Premier decided to step in after less than 24 hours.
Had the Premier really wanted to be decisive, he would have told Gordon Hurlburt and Michael Warren that the government was not prepared to act and that it wanted this dispute settled with some good faith bargaining for a change.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: And we’d let the people suffer. That’s your motto: “Let the people suffer.”
Mr. Cassidy: There was not a word of blame for management in the statement that came from the Minister of Labour today. I’m sorry he didn’t put his job on the line right at the start in order to indicate the kind of climate of bargaining he wanted to have across the province at this time.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: The New Democratic philosophy is to let the people suffer.
Mr. Cassidy: The options for the Conservatives were either to make collective bargaining work or to admit that the province was a partner at the bargaining table and let the union bargain directly with the province or to say that Metro should have been bargaining there rather than leaving it up to the TTC. None of those things were done. Instead, we find ourselves here.
A number of questions present themselves as a result of this dispute. First, the question of essential services. It’s worth noting that transit strikes in Ontario have gone on for as much as 10 weeks without intervention by the government. They have not seen fit to impose this kind of legislation in other transit disputes, such as the recent one in London or the one we had here 19 days ago.
Ms. Gigantes: What about Ottawa?
Mr. Cassidy: Or Ottawa as well. By the law of Ontario, transit workers are not considered to be an essential service. If they are to be considered to be an essential service, it’s about time we started to pay them as an essential service and not screw them out of 12 cents an hour by legislation here.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: What’s an essential wage? Give us the wage you’re talking about.
Mr. Cassidy: The fact is that we pay policemen and firemen and other people who carry out essential services, and who do not have the right to strike, a very substantial premium, recognizing the essential nature of what they do.
The fact is that enormous inconvenience has occurred in Metropolitan Toronto but, if the service was essential, Metropolitan Toronto would not be alive today. Nobody would be at work. People wouldn’t be downtown. They would be cowering in their homes, watching television, hoping that the Premier would be able to come to their rescue. That is obviously not the situation. In fact, while I can’t say people are enjoying it, at least it’s a change. They will remember this. And as time goes on, they will remember the lighter moments of this particular dispute much more than they will remember the difficulties.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: This is the same guy who said teachers’ strikes were educational.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Cassidy: I want to suggest that it isn’t just the political needs of the province that have brought this legislation today; it’s also the anti-labour climate which has been created by this government and which is being fomented and supported by the Liberal opposition here at Queen’s Park.
The federal Liberals bring in an Anti-Inflation Board and both those parties jump in order to support it.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Let them walk. You’d like to let them walk.
Mr. Cassidy: Workers fight for an adequate health and safety bill, and it’s undermined by the Minister of Labour with the full co-operation of the Liberal Party of Ontario.
Workers try to get a first strike at Fleck Manufacturing. The member for the area undercuts them. The government sits by idly, while they go for almost 100 days without getting a settlement.
Mr. Martel: And they used the OPP to break it.
Mr. Cassidy: The government announces it wants to set a limit of four per cent or 4.5 per cent on wage settlements within the public sector at a time when inflation is pushing the cost of living up by nine or 10 per cent. Good God, the government puts Bette Stephenson in as Minister of Labour and leaves her there for two or three years. Surely that in itself is enough to indicate how they’re trying to poison the climate of labour relations in this province.
Mr. Riddell: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: The speaker made reference to me as undercutting the workers at the Fleck plant.
Mr. Martel: That’s an understatement.
Mr. Warner: That was a charitable comment.
Mr. Riddell: That is completely erroneous and untrue, and I will be indicating what the actual facts are later on, when the House reconvenes in October.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, if you want evidence about that party and its attitude to labour, we have it in full this week.
A Leader of the Opposition who is normally sceptical of the Premier jumps to attention and accepts uncritically every word the Premier has to say about there being no further prospects for the collective bargaining process.
A Leader of the Opposition who comes in with an idea, final offer selection, which is anathema to many people in the labour movement, as he should know, which he wants to make compulsory in the public sector and which is a completely irrelevant answer when what we should be doing is making collective bargaining work.
The Leader of the Opposition said on the radio a day ago that there is nothing wrong with the union, but one way or another this strike has to be broken. Those are the words of the anti-labour Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. Kerrio: I can see how many fans you have in labour. You are kidding yourself.
Mr. Cassidy: I ask you, Mr. Speaker, what kind of balance does that hold between management and labour?
Mr. Sweeney: I am glad that someone is going to talk to the bill; the member hasn’t.
Mr. Cassidy: I should add that his pet idea of final offer selection, which he said has been used in community college settlements, has in fact not to this day been used once by community college workers across the province of Ontario.
My colleagues will talk in more detail about some of the amendments that we want to put forward with regard to the specific bill. It is an objectionable bill. It was even more objectionable before the amendment that the minister referred today about putting in at least some kind of a wage guarantee, but we think that the minister should at least have been prepared to go with the TTC’s final offer effective July 1 of five per cent. We will make that as a motion because it is inconceivable to us that the arbitrator will make any settlement that does not lie between the final offer of the company on the one hand and the final offer for a settlement of the union on the other.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Yes, but you did not want final offer selection.
Mr. Cassidy: We believe among other things that if the government is committed to seeing that the subway trains and buses are rolling as quickly as possible, then they would have ensured that when those workers went back they would at least have known that there was an adequate wage guarantee so that they did not lose here in the Legislature what they had already won at the bargaining table over the course of five months of negotiations.
Hon. Mr. Davis: They are not going to. Be honest about it.
Mr. Martel: Why doesn’t the Premier get up and be honest about his attitude towards Warren for once in his life?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Cassidy: I want to say that the consequences of what is being done today are destructive and will be felt for a long time at many levels in our society here in Ontario. They are going to be felt by transit workers who are now entering their fifth year without free collective bargaining rights, thanks to the action of this government, of the Liberal opposition and of the Liberal government up in Ottawa. That cannot help, in time, to risk having an effect on transit services in the city of Toronto and Metropolitan Toronto which have, as everybody acknowledges, created over the past 30 years the finest system of public transit in all of North America.
But it goes beyond that. It is not just the transit workers who are affected, and the transit riders here in Metro. The climate of labour relations in this province is being very dangerously affected by the action being taken today. We have to ask ourselves whether the member for York East, who had some promise as the new Minister of Labour -- at least some promise where the Conservatives are concerned -- is going to be put in the position where every time public sector workers exceed in their demands what government or what management thinks they ought to give he is going to haul them back in here to have the bargaining rights taken away. Is collective bargaining going to be just progressively undermined bit by bit and piece by piece by this government? I am afraid that that is the kind of path on which we are treading with the legislation that we have here today.
There is a clear sign to every public sector management, be it municipalities, transit entities, the provincial government, or crown corporations, that all they need to do is dig in their heels and the Premier and the Minister of Labour and their cohorts will be along very quickly in order to bail them out. That is the best way I know of encouraging bad faith bargaining in the public sector and embittering the finest of labour relations.
I want to remind you, Mr. Speaker, that the Labour Relations Act of Ontario says specifically that it is in the public interest of the province of Ontario to further harmonious relations between employers and employees by encouraging the practice and procedures of collective bargaining between employers and trade unions as freely designated representatives of employees. That is pretty important. People have not been able to find a better way. All of the evidence that people have looked at is that compulsory arbitration spreads, has an abrasive impact on collective bargaining relationships and that if both sides expect arbitration then they will in fact hold back rather than bargaining in good faith.
It also serves as a crutch for weak leadership, whether it’s management trying to pass the buck to government or union leadership not being prepared to make the difficult decisions that have to be made at the bargaining table in order to reach a solution. All of those kinds of corrosive consequences are going to flow from what the government is doing to collective bargaining in the province of Ontario today.
I want to suggest that ultimately the nature of this province as a free society is affected if workers in the provincial government don’t have the right to strike; if workers now in transit are being effectively told that they don’t have the right to strike and the right to bargain collectively and freely; if this area where those rights are taken continues to expand, one sector after another after another. You know, when they ban the right to strike in Soviet countries or in other parts of the world where they have dictatorships we’re very critical, because this is a democratic society. That’s the way it should be and it should continue that way. We should not for expedient reasons be doing what we criticize in other countries where they have taken away that essential freedom and that’s the reason that we are so opposed to the step that the government has taken today.
When there is only a one or a one and a half per cent gap between the parties, we believe that had the province become involved and pushed on the TTC to bargain in good faith that this dispute could and would have been settled without there having been a strike and without the need of the legislation that we have here today. All of the evidence in fact is that time and again the union, which was anxious to get a settlement, was within just a tiny iota of reaching a settlement, only the TTC refused to co-operate.
In Mississauga they have settled for 16 or 17 per cent. The settlements in Hamilton and London are also of that order over a period of two years, or something of the order of about eight to eight and one half per cent in one year. Yet this government is saying that it believes that the TTC’s offer of even five per cent is too good for the workers and that arbitration should give them something which exceeds four per cent, but goodness knows by how much.
I want to say that those consequences and the difficulties for collective bargaining are going to be felt for a very long time. If the actions today come back one day to haunt the government, it has been warned that there were other courses available which could even now settle the dispute -- with a minimum of delay, if it would put its faith in the free collective bargaining system and make it work, rather than pulling the rug out from under collective bargaining by imposing compulsory arbitration.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t propose to add a great deal in terms of the rhetoric that I just listened to and take too long to express the government’s point of view. I listened to the Leader of the Opposition express his support of the bill and suggest that the government might have considered some other structural process in bringing it to some finality as he might have amended the legislation that is before us.
I must say to the Leader of the Opposition that I’ve had that same proposition or point of view expressed to me with some enthusiasm over the past three or four days and I understand the suggestion. But I do point out to him and to all members of the House that perhaps it isn’t quite as simplistic as has been expressed. I would say to the Leader of the Opposition that during the several hours that these matters were discussed with both management and the unions that two or three creative proposals were suggested that just did not turn out to be acceptable. But what is very complicated about the final offer selection process is the state of negotiations; the fact that no one anticipated this as being a possible vehicle for final resolution, and the fact that one would have to determine what had been resolved prior to the final offer selection process working. One then has to go back through the whole history of the negotiations, perhaps prejudicing some areas where agreements have been made. If you go to final offer selection, how do you do this on monetary items alone without going into what has been already accomplished in so many areas of the discussion? I think in fairness this situation doesn’t really provide a good opportunity to see whether it might or might not work.
I am no expert in labour relations. I have spent a little more time than usual at it the past four or five days. The problem with final offer selection is that it is a little bit like Russian roulette. You put forth your positions and you gamble a little bit, and perhaps that has a certain discipline to it, I don’t know. But the part that the Minister of Labour and I were discussing, and I think can’t be ignored in this process, is that when this is all over, in spite of the dire predictions of the leader of the New Democratic Party, one hopes that out of the process you don’t create situations where there is a total win or total lose feeling at the conclusion of whatever transpires. While I think all of us have an obligation to see what creative ways we can suggest in terms of some of our collective bargaining processes, I am really quite pleased that the Leader of the Opposition didn’t introduce his amendment. I say in all sincerity, from my knowledge of it in this particular situation, it would not have been a practical way of going about it. I think in fairness it is rather unalterably opposed by the one side in this dispute.
The leader of the New Democratic Party -- and I say this very constructively -- obviously was trying to impress somebody today -- I don’t know who it was -- certainly not his own colleagues. I always find it very sad when I see a member of this House who I think can make a contribution, who is dealing with a matter of importance to his party in a philosophical sense in terms of principle, endeavour to rationalize the expressions that he made in this House today in a rather personal, somewhat derogatory, and I think perhaps superficial sort of way.
I have been here, I have lived through personal criticisms and suggestions from a number of sources, and I have to say what the honourable member said today did not surprise me. Neither did it affect the view I have on this issue and the judgement that I, along with the Minister of Labour, came to with great difficulty -- Monday night was it, or early Tuesday morning -- 12:30 a.m. or so. I could, I guess, reply in kind. I guess I could become rather personally critical of his approach and his activities.
Mr. Martel: You have been known to do that before.
Hon. B. Stephenson: He wouldn’t.
Hon. Mr. Davis: But I really think this issue is too important.
Mr. Martel: I remember one night you took on Stephen Lewis in a kind of a speech here about --
Mr. Eaton: He doesn’t have to defend himself.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I remember it well. But I have to tell you this: the former leader of that party has taken me on too, but in a way that was relevant and was fair.
Mr. Martel: Not in the fashion you did that night. I remember that one well.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Your leader today I think did himself no credit, nor did your party any credit.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Can’t motor-mouth defend himself? Why should you do it? Hasn’t he got the guts to defend himself?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say to the member for Sudbury East, those people who are watching in the gallery, whose point of view I think I know, because I too -- everybody, has been talking about who they have been talking to in the past two or three days, and I am not going to embarrass those who I have met with and in any way involve them in what I am going to say. But I know the attitude and point of view of some people in the gallery today, and I understand it. I don’t think they can go away from this Legislature saying to themselves that the leader of the New Democratic Party truly reflects their attitudes in terms of the personalities he became involved in here in this House this afternoon. It does him no credit whatsoever; none whatsoever.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I really didn’t mean to provoke the members of the New Democratic Party. I sat and listened very carefully to what their leader had to say. I listened very carefully, I listened very politely and I didn’t even interrupt. I think really what I’m saying is far more kind to him than he was to me, and yet it seems to provoke a rather defensive response, which must indicate his own attitude towards this particular discussion. To get back to the real concern that I have, it’s not what the leader of the New Democratic Party may feel about me or what motivates me. I guess we’ll have difficulty understanding one another. That I understand.
As head of this government, one who has a responsibility for the concerns of many people in this society, including the representatives of the union with whom I met, and representatives of management -- two very important parties to our present debate -- I think, along with all members of the House, and I hope I speak for the members of the New Democratic Party, that the government too has a responsibility when very large numbers of people are being affected because of the lack of agreement, in this case between the TTC and the employees of that organization.
I guess we could have, as a government, said to ourselves, after ascertaining -- and I want to say to the members opposite that this was done with great conscience, and one only makes his best judgement -- that the union felt that there was no further room, from their standpoint; they made this quite clear, that there was no way they could see fit -- and I respected this point of view -- to alter the requests they had made. One can argue and deal in personalities with respect to one person at the TTC. The member could have named all the other commissioners, I guess, if he had wanted to add them to his litany of personal observations.
I met with them -- I’m not going to get into personalities here today at all -- and I satisfied myself that whether the leader of the New Democratic Party agrees with what they did or whether I agree with the numbers that were being used, the Minister of Labour and I ascertained that the TTC management in its judgement felt that in its area of responsibility it could make no further moves. I was satisfied that we had reached a point where the union felt in conscience it couldn’t move where the TTC felt that it could make no move, and I was relatively satisfied that the strike would go on, that people would not only be inconvenienced but that the economic life of this community would be substantially affected.
Quite frankly, I asked myself, knowing or feeling that the situation had to be resolved, if it really made sense from the union’s standpoint, from the public standpoint, and from the membership’s standpoint -- and I assure you I considered the membership’s standpoint -- if it made any sense to have this go on for a week, 10 days or two weeks because of the examples the member has given to me, and finding ourselves here two weeks hence dealing with this particular issue.
I know the history of collective bargaining. This government is committed to it. I know the difficulty that this has caused the Minister of Labour in terms of his new responsibilities. I also know of the activities of the Minister of Labour. I just wish the member to the right of the leader of the New Democratic Party had some sense of what the Minister of Labour was attempting to do, along with others, to resolve an issue that is pretty close to him when he says that this government is not interested in resolving matters. Yes, him. Because he does have understanding, he knows what went on on the weekend and I think he, as one member of this House, should be prepared to give some measure of credit to the Minister of Labour, and maybe even indirectly one of his colleagues, in terms of trying to bring about a settlement that is much closer to the member’s home than Metropolitan Toronto. And I think for the member’s leader to indicate that the new Minister of Labour is anything but objective, is anything but one who is attempting to resolve issues, that surely the information the member gained over the weekend should have been able to tell his leader if he doesn’t know already -- and I’d be surprised -- that he is being very unfair in his suggestion that the Minister of Labour is doing anything but discharging his responsibilities in a proper way.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I could go into all of these matters --
Mr. Deans: I am just going to ask you -- there is an overriding question here. Does your action simply mean that you will --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I listened to the leader of the New Democratic Party when he talked about the total public sector and all of the dire consequences. Mr. Speaker, this government was asked to deal with a particular issue. A judgement was made. We spent hours at it, literally -- the Minister of Labour and myself, and in its essence I was satisfied, and the Minister of Labour was satisfied, and I think that anybody there from the unions or anybody there from management would feel that we were totally objective in our approach to it. At 12:30 we decided that the issue was not going to be resolved through the normal collective bargaining process, certainly within a reasonable length of time. So we’re faced here today, as a government, with presenting a bill. We don’t like it. I don’t think the members opposite like it in terms of --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, I don’t think they like the fact that we’re here doing it, but it is in our view the right thing to do.
I’ll tell you something else, Mr. Speaker. I’ll make just a small guess that a lot of people who are in the union may disagree with us philosophically but they understand the issue and they understand what it is we’re attempting to do in this Legislature today. You see, Mr. Speaker, I got the sense they didn’t want to strike either. I don’t think anyone wanted to strike.
Mr. Cassidy: They voted nine to one for the strike.
Hon. Mr. Davis: All right, I know. I agree. They voted to have a strike because this is the structure, the routine you go through. But I didn’t sense in my discussions with the representatives from the union that they wanted a strike just for the sake of a strike.
Mr. Deans: They didn’t want a strike.
Mr. Foulds: No, they wanted a settlement.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s what I’m saying. All right, if the members opposite would listen to me they would understand that’s what I was saying.
So, Mr. Speaker, I know that the members in the New Democratic Party aren’t going to change their mind, that’s obvious, but I would hope that the members in that party at least will recognize that while we’re not trying to rush it through, in that sense of the word --
Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s fine, they can laugh, they can chuckle and I can become facetious and just as sarcastic as their leader about what those people want to do, but I’m not interested in being provocative today. I’m anxious to have this bill passed. The members opposite make their points of view known, but let’s understand one thing: there are thousands of people who are waiting to see whether the members of this House can act responsibly, can act constructively, that the democratic process works as we all understand it and that, hopefully, before too many hours, this bill will be passed and the people of Metropolitan Toronto will have restored to them the important transit services they depend on.
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to speak at length --
Mrs. Campbell: Could I have the floor or do I wait for it?
Mr. Speaker: The member for Wentworth has been bantering now for quite some time. I think he should --
Mr. Deans: I only came in three minutes ago.
Mrs. Campbell: Well, why don’t you desist now?
Mr. Speaker: Ever since you’ve come in. If you want to be courteous we should all listen. The only person who has the floor is the member for St. George.
Mrs. Campbell: I find it very difficult to engage in this debate, because I do believe very firmly in the collective bargaining process, and I always have.
Mr. Cooke: Until there is a strike.
Mr. di Santo: Your record proves it.
Mr. Kerrio: That’s where you guys are stuck.
Mrs. Campbell: I think my record, sitting on boards of arbitration, has been rather good. I am concerned about that. But the way I look at the situation today is that, in effect, there are thee parties to this dispute. There is management, there is the union and there are those who pay for these services through taxes and through the fare box and who have a right to be represented in this discussion as well. I would like to say that I am proud to be in the position where that is the group I represent in trying to come to grips with what is happening here today.
I don’t intend to engage in any kind of judgement about what has been going on in the course of bargaining, because I haven’t been there. I did sit in this building on the night in question waiting to see whether there would be some conclusion, because I was concerned. Unfortunately, I guess I got the wrong word -- that it probably wouldn’t be resolved that evening -- because I left somewhere between 10 and 10:30 that night.
I am of the opinion, from what I have read, that the Minister of Labour has brought to this problem his best judgement at this time, and I am not prepared either to be critical of him or of the government in this approach.
I suppose it is corny to talk about individual instances of hardship. I suppose that is something no one wants to hear about. Perhaps I speak for the blind employee of the CNIB who lives in the east end of the city and has been unable to get to the CNIB because there haven’t been possible arrangements for her.
I recall the stories that came out after the last strike, and some of the difficulties and real horrors, I suppose, that resulted from hardships to older people and to those who could not manage to walk and could not find other kinds of locomotion in this city.
I am of the opinion that at this point in time I have to accept that those who sat in those sessions on that night in question were actively trying to resolve the problem and that, as the Premier has said, it became clear that neither side felt able to move in this particular situation.
That being the case, what is the final obligation of a member of this Legislature? Frankly, I have been critical in the past and, indeed, so have members on all sides of the House when we have seen some of the disputes going on for long periods of time to the detriment of members of the public. It would be hypocritical of me, it seems to me, when the government has taken action in this circumstance, to try now to avoid the very issue which is before us.
The member for Ottawa-Centre referred to, among others, the firefighters and the kinds of results of bargaining that they achieved. It has always been a question in my mind, having come from the municipal field, as to what is the best procedure in these circumstances. From personal knowledge, I know it is true that the firefighters in the city of Toronto had a reasonably useful bargaining process. Notwithstanding the pressures upon them from their colleagues in the United States, they themselves have always disallowed the principle of the right to strike.
In their case, therefore, obviously having so limited themselves, it would behoove the government and the municipality in bargaining with them to take that into consideration as one reviewed their requests. I state this because I know it is a fact. I point out that perhaps not just this Legislature but others might look at this whole procedure with a view to coming closer to some accord in the whole process.
I have not been speaking to leaders of the union, nor have I been speaking to management. I have, however, taken the opportunity to speak to drivers. It seems to me that they, too, have some concerns about the way in which this matter has gone. So it is for me a very serious step to vote with the government on this bill. It does offend me as a principle. On this occasion, so far as I am concerned, and representing the constituents which I do, I have no alternative. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I am distressed that we have such a bill before us this afternoon. I do not support the bill. I feel extremely strongly about the action the government has taken in this particular piece of legislation. Once again, it seems to me that this government is making the workers
-- the drivers, the mechanics and so on of the TTC in this case -- the whipping boys. This is so despite the union’s willingness to make concessions right up to the last day, almost the last hour, and despite the commission’s refusal to consider any concessions. In particular, I feel strongly that in the last hours of bargaining, the workers and their unions are ordered back to work and the legal strike, however unfortunate, is broken.
Four years ago, in this Legislature, the then Minister of Labour, the member for Humber (Mr. MacBeth), used words about the sincerity of both sides. In reading the reports of the debate four years ago, I found a number of things interesting, but I suggest that those words were as untrue then as they are today.
He talked about his anxiety in bringing in legislation to send the workers of the Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 113 and the two allied unions back to work. He pointed out in the course of the debate that only twice before in the previous 14 years had this Legislature resorted to such actions.
My colleague the member for Sudbury interjected at that point that “it gets easier every time” and, unfortunately, how prophetic his words are turning out to be.
The Premier talks about our dire predictions. I ask him, does this government treat so lightly a basic right of workers -- and I suggest that is exactly what it is doing -- the right of withdrawing their labour as a final resort? The rights of workers are undermined by such actions and, when the rights of workers are undermined, I might suggest that the rights of others, including employers, have a tendency to follow suit.
In countries where the rights of workers have gone -- and they are usually the first rights that are under attack -- democracy as we know it has invariably suffered. It is not a trifling matter when we are dealing with the rights and obligations of free collective bargaining.
To the Premier and the government, I say -- and I am sorry if I have to be pretty blunt -- I would like to know if they are proud to be made the patsies by the commission, by Michael Warren and by the TTC.
The Premier and the Minister of Labour, as we have heard today and as we knew, spent long hours on the weekend in attempting to use their good offices -- and their position, I suppose -- to assist in negotiating a decent contract. I will accept without reservation that the Premier and the minister did it in good faith.
The union obviously wanted a settlement; there was not any question about that. Also in good faith, they reduced their demands, which already had been substantially pared over the course of negotiations, at least twice during that final weekend in an effort to reach an agreement.
But what was the position of the TTC? They started with six per cent; they ended with six per cent. Fair enough, you say; maybe that is just tough bargaining. But they continued to push at every step of the way and up until the final hour with the possible suggestion of trade-offs or, the impression was left with the union bargaining team at one stage, if there was one more concession maybe we will get some movement. They took it right down to the wire and then threw their original offer on the table, saying “You take it or leave it” and clearly indicated they were not willing even to accept voluntary arbitration.
Only the Premier -- and the Minister of Labour, I suppose -- knows if they also refused to budge if he anted up the extra cash. I wonder about that.
Now comes the crunch. I want this very clearly underlined. I know my leader dealt with it. But I want people to understand. I want those who might still say, “Okay, that is just tough bargaining” to understand.
On Friday, clerical staff at Gray Coach were told not to report on Monday. This was on Friday, and all these negotiations -- this good faith bargaining -- was going on over the weekend. Drivers going out on long runs were told to get back to Toronto on the next bus or return the empty bus. Part-time employees were laid off and had their passes collected. On Sunday, 50 buses were moved from the Lansdowne garage to the western garage to make room for the trains.
In short, I am suggesting that Michael Warren and the commission -- and it’s interesting that we have the same backup man, Godfrey, that we had four years ago -- had decided on Friday that they either got it all or there was a strike; there was nothing there. I am saying that was a dishonest and deceitful charade that was carried on over the weekend.
Ms. Gigantes: That’s right; that’s exactly what it was.
Mr. Mackenzie: What they really did, any way one wants to try to rationalize it, was to make a mockery of good faith bargaining. Those steps clearly underline that, and I don’t know how anybody can really dispute it. Inasmuch as the union had, right to the last, bargained in good faith, and inasmuch as both the Premier and the Minister of Labour, I’ll accept, had bargained in good faith, they not only were dishonest and deceitful with the union but I suggest they made patsies, or maybe fools is the better word for it, of the government. That’s being charitable enough to believe that the government wasn’t party to that kind of a charade.
Mr. Sargent: The company offer was what the union asked for.
Mr. Mackenzie: I really wonder if the government of this province is proud of being suckered in that way. As a matter of fact, one of the things that disturbs me about this situation is that it doesn’t stand alone. The workers in this province, particularly over the last few months or a year or a year and a half, are being made the whipping boy in bargaining situation after bargaining situation and in plant after plant. The list seems endless where we’ve had some real questionable practices over the last three, four or five months -- Chrysler Truck, Canadian Fittings in Oshawa, Budd Manufacturing in Kitchener, Superior Boats in the peninsula, Columbus McKinnon -- there’s an interesting one in St. Catharines --
Mr. Haggerty: How about Swift and Canada Packers?
Mr. Mackenzie: -- and Westinghouse that we finally settled today, fortunately. Once more the respect for this government and its actions seems to be lacking in terms of the corporate sector.
Mr. Kerrio: Tell us about your secretaries’ strike.
Mr. Mackenzie: Let me for just a second tie in how I think this whole situation is tied together and why I think that it speaks for very troubled times in labour relations in this province. Take Columbus McKinnon. The Minister of Labour told me in discussions it’s a viable operation financially. That’s my information from the workers and the union as well. The Deputy Premier publicly said that the company was totally irresponsible. That’s his comment, “totally irresponsible.” Yet the company’s response to all of this was to close down the plant, and 240 workers went down the drain and a 102-year operation, a viable operation that’s supplying part of the Canadian market. It said: “To heck with you, buddy. We’ll supply our customers now from our American plant.” It’s not only 240 workers with up to 20 and 30 years’ seniority and a viable operation, but another drain on our dollars out of this province to buy that machinery from across the border at the expense of Canadian workers.
Only a blind Tory government could fail to have its faith shaken in the corporate management that seems to delight in sticking it to them. It’s clear that words themselves aren’t enough. I said to the Minister of Labour: “Okay, so you went after Columbus McKinnon” -- and I believe he did. “What is the final line?” That’s really what we’re talking about when they talk about whether anybody is posturing or not. At what point in time do we say: “Hey, the workers count and the jobs count. We can’t afford that drain on our dollars”? At what point in time do we say: “Look, if you are totally irresponsible and that’s a financially viable operation, it’s time that we took it over or we saw that there was another purchaser there”? Maybe the kind of pressure we use without going that route --
Mr. Speaker: I must caution the honourable member that there is nothing about McKinnon Industries or anything like that in Bill 141. I’d appreciate it if the honourable member would get back to the principle of this bill.
Mr. Mackenzie: It’s the principle that I’m very much concerned with, Mr. Speaker. It is at what stage are we willing to take an active part in the collective bargaining process that goes on, because if we’re not at some point in time in all of these plants, as in the TTC, willing to say that they’ve got for once to put the interests of their workers first, then I suggest to you that we’re in real trouble.
Mr. Sargent: What about the interests of a million people?
Mr. Mackenzie: That’s exactly what we’re trying to talk about.
Mr. Cassidy: Workers happen to be people.
Mr. Sargent: They have rights too.
Mr. Mackenzie: What I’m saying, and I guess in as friendly a way as I can, is also a bit of a comment to the new Minister of Labour. He’s been involved closely and intimately in three rather major sets of negotiations that I know of. Quite frankly, I’m not impressed with the very minor concessions in the case of the Inco plant in Sudbury. I’m not impressed at all. I am thankful, I’m impressed, that a strong position was taken both in the TTC situation and in the Columbus McKinnon, but we obviously weren’t prepared to go the final step to achieve some results or some satisfaction for the workers. I think three with and three without very good results means that unless we are willing to look a little further than just the words and the rhetoric that has come from this government so far, we are not going to solve our problems.
Hon. Mr. Norton: What steps are you talking about?
Mr. Mackenzie: There are a number of steps that we can take. I went back to the debate in 1974, in Hansard, to see what the Liberals said as well. It was very interesting. When I listened to the new leader of the Liberal Party about the dire results on the ill and the possibility of people dying because they are unable to get to hospitals and so on, it was obvious he hadn’t read the debate even on this in 1974 or followed the words of the previous leader of the Liberal Party. One of the first things I note here is: “I do not agree with the Premier that the main reason is because of the unfortunate elderly and ill who cannot travel around town. Certainly that is unfortunate. But he knows and I know the pressure for settlement comes from hundreds of thousands of people.” So he obviously wasn’t in agreement with one of the main points I heard made by the leader of the Liberal Party.
The leader of the Liberal Party at that time, the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon), said: “It is unfortunate to have this bill” -- I am talking now about 1974 -- “before the House, because once again the collective bargaining processes are being circumvented.” That, I understand, was at least an acknowledgement of the seriousness of the situation. But he was prepared to support the bill, mind you.
On two occasions in his speech he clearly states that the commission -- we are talking now about the TTC -- “had no intention of settling from the very beginning because they knew they could dump the responsibility on to the Legislature through compulsory arbitration.” That is the leader of the Liberal Party at that time speaking, and he is right on once again there. That is exactly what we have done again four years later. But he and his colleagues were prepared to support the bill.
He also calls the commission’s acts a charade, and says that they were not bargaining in good faith. I am rather surprised that the member for Hamilton West didn’t read some of the debates from 1974. But they were willing to support the bill. What colossal hypocrisy. The member should know why he never became Premier of the province of Ontario. His party just demonstrated, as it has done again today, the ability to talk on both sides of an issue, to appear concerned for all, but always reaffirms its faith in the corporate sector.
Mr. Riddell: He came far closer than you people will ever come.
Mr. Mackenzie: What he didn’t maybe realize -- and it is interesting in all the cries about the disastrous results of this debate today to note that neither the Conservatives nor the Liberals benefited very much in Metro Toronto in the election after the 1974 episode.
Mr. Sargent: You won’t do too well after today, I don’t think.
Mr. J. Reed: Wait until the next one.
Mr. Swart: Maybe there are now some people that stick with principles. Could be, you know.
Mr. Mackenzie: If workers in this province, and in this particular industry in the TTC were to get any kind of a fair hearing in a political climate today which is one of fear and restraint, uncertainty in the whole economic sector -- and that is a beautiful chance to put the whip to workers -- it was going to take some combined action by New Democrats and Liberals in this House.
Mr. Sargent: How long should they stay out?
Mr. Mackenzie: It might be popular to play to a public gallery that is much inconvenienced by the strike.
Mr. Ruston: You ought to know.
Mr. Mackenzie: It might even win short-term support. But the ramifications, as far as I am concerned, for workers and for the collective bargaining system are much too dangerous to contemplate. New Democrats are not about to play that game, I hope. I don’t think I would be a member of this party if it was. It is a popularity game, and we have perceived, I think, the ramifications of the action. It could effectively destroy bargaining, particularly in the public sector, and I think, in fact, that is exactly what it has done to the TTC drivers. Given the last two instances, what is the point when they know clearly in advance that they can get the dispute thrown to compulsory arbitration, legislated; what is the use of going through the collective bargaining process?
In both hope and aspiration, I might say, some of us waited for the first Liberal words on this particular bill. It was not with great surprise, but it was, very frankly, with some concern that I heard the leader of the Liberal Party, I think it was on Tuesday morning, say that the strike is dangerous; this strike must be broken. I wonder whether it was a Freudian slip or did he really want to hamstring the workers that way? It is a sad commentary on the Liberal Party when its anti-labour bias -- or is it frustration, I sometimes wonder -- blinds it so totally.
Mr. Riddell: Why are you flogging the Liberal Party?
Mr. Mackenzie: Because you are part of what we are up against.
Mr. Laughren: Because you are no different from the Tories.
Mr. Mackenzie: It fails to understand so totally the struggle of working men and women to build their unions, to achieve protection and to act as their advocates in dealing with a very powerful establishment in the province of Ontario. It’s an even sadder commentary on their leader’s grasp of the hopes and fears of working men and women when he suggests that their approach is so dishonest as to put extreme positions, as I heard in the debate today. It is very obvious that there is reason to fear potential labour legislation in this province. We worried, under the former Minister of Labour, what we were going to get into and what was likely to be coming. I would really worry about it now having heard the words today from the leader of the Liberal Party.
I think the entire trade union movement is going to have to organize pretty effectively if we’re not going to see the basic right of free collective bargaining in the public sector effectively hamstrung. It’s obvious also that the Liberal policies and priorities haven’t changed since the days of Hepburn when they would rather ride with General Motors and to hell with the workers.
Mr. Mackenzie: They clearly state their priorities to this day.
I want to deal with one other thing. The only proposal I heard from the leader of the Liberal Party, and the Premier commented on it, was about final offer selection -- another item that hadn’t been very well researched. The last real attack on the trade union movement, and one of the most serious ones, took place in 1972, 1973 and 1974 in the States when there were massive efforts to bring in final offer selection legislation and other forms of compulsory arbitration. The Nixon administration led most of this attack, it’s interesting to note. I suppose his administration was most closely allied in terms of labour policies with the members to my right. I’m not sure. There had to be a major defence launched --
Mr. Bradley: You are embarrassing some of your members over there.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Mackenzie: I understand that you two people are in bed together and it doesn’t really matter who we talk to.
Mr. Mackenzie: I’d like to read two warnings that went out to the entire trade union movement, not only in the United States but also in Canada, when this battle was on. I’ll quote just three short paragraphs: “The general target, however, is the right of free men and women to join together and take economic action to improve the conditions under which they work. Sponsors of these bills -- I’m talking about the final offer selection bills -- “don’t intend to stop with transportation workers; some of them propose a study of compulsory arbitration in other industries. Stripped of its public relations title, the Crippling Strikes Prevention Act, the administration proposal is little more than an untested, unproven and untried form of compulsory arbitration, backed with the government clout of a denial of the right to strike.
“Once this nation starts down the path of compulsion as a way of life, it will not stop with workers. The history of every dictatorship proves that once a government is allowed to compel workers to labour against their will, it invariably uses the weapon of compulsion against employers and, ultimately, against all citizens.” A pretty strong statement, but part of the campaign.
More directly, in testimony before a US House committee: “The assumption of those who push compulsory arbitration under its own name or a mediation to finality or final offer selection is that the compulsory award will solve the underlying problem. This is demonstrably untrue. The history of discord, protracted and expensive litigation, and eventual strife which followed in the wake of what was billed as the final settlement, for example, of the railroad firemen dispute proves this beyond any doubt, for there is a natural resistance to purported solutions handed down from on high, as opposed to solutions which emerge from a process in which those affected play an active role and which are therefore regarded as legitimate.”
I want to make it very clear to this House that final offer selection is really government or labour gimmickry. Maybe “quackery” would be a word better understood by some. They tried this in a major way. I would suggest a little bit of reading, once again, for members on all sides of the House. Where did it come from? It’s not some new plaything that you can ride into a position of popularity, as appears to be the wish of the member for Hamilton West. The Weimar Republic saw the first major attempt to use final offer selection, and it was found wanting and it was very quickly abandoned. Is there any reason to think that 55 years later and some 3,000 miles removed it’s going to be any more effective? I think we should stop playing games with that one.
I really wonder when this government is going to stop using the back-door method of breaking the workers’ right to strike in the public sector. It’s not an honest way of dealing with an issue. If that’s going to be the approach it’s going to take, and it has obviously got the support of the leader of the Liberal Party, then let it bring in legislation and let’s have the fight so that we know exactly where we stand over what rights workers do have in the public sector. You can’t afford to say you support it. Try to hang your hats on the principles of free collective bargaining. We’re all in favour. We don’t want to take this right away. It just worries us sometimes. Then, every time there’s a crunch or a major strike, the government yanks the rug out and destroys it.
Mr. Sargent: What about police and firemen?
Mr. Mackenzie: You will begin to have people very quickly understand that it’s a second-class right you’ve given them. Surely it’s time for this government to show some compassion and commitment to the working people as well as to the business community in this province.
I can’t help but compare the less than $2 million that separated the transit workers from agreement in that last frantic weekend -- less than $2 million would have resolved it. A whole panoply of things goes through my mind.
It goes through my mind that the transit commission, and I agree with it totally as I think it was a good move, was willing to lose $15 million in favour of the single fare zone here in Metro. I recall that the figure of $2 million -- it may or may not be right -- has been put on the cost of providing 24-hour student passes. I agree with it. I think it’s a good move. Very clearly, they were quite willing to put in $15 million and $2 million in two progressive moves there. Are the workers of that organization any less important?
By the same token, I can’t help but think, when we understand that $1.5 million might have settled this dispute, that we have just come through a major strike in Fleck where there was certainly an attempt to bust the union. Whether their intent was to do the busting or not, it was backed up by the expenditure of more than $2 million on the Ontario Provincial Police to interfere on behalf of 40 women against 70 women, or whatever the figures were, in that particular strike. But we couldn’t find $1.5 million, if that was what was necessary to sweeten the pot, to see that the workers here got a fair shake.
Mr. Kerrio: Tell him to speak to the bill, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Mackenzie: I guess what I’m saying as strongly as I can is that we’re on a very dangerous road. We can’t afford to continue making the workers the whipping boy. That’s going to work only for so long. We or any others will take flak only for so long.
Mr. Sargent: The public is the whipping boy.
Mr. Mackenzie: No, they’re not in this case; I’m sorry.
Mr. Sargent: They certainly are.
Mr. Mackenzie: We’re going to take flak only for so long because we’re dealing with a principle that’s very basic and is going to cause the government an awful lot of problems.
Hon. B. Stephenson: He sounds like C. D. Howe. What’s a million?
Mr. Ruston: What’s $2 million?
Mr. Foulds: That’s your attitude.
Hon. B. Stephenson: No, it wasn’t my attitude.
Mr. Mackenzie: I guess I’ve been listening for three years to Tories and maybe that’s the danger.
Mr. Foulds: You’re quite willing to spend that money.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: What’s a million transit riders?
Mr. Riddell: What price do you put on human life?
Mr. Mackenzie: To continue what I’m saying, we can’t afford and should not subject workers to the abuse they’ve had.
Mr. Riddell: You suppose you are the only ones who care.
Mr. Sargent: If they don’t like their jobs, why don’t they quit, then?
Mr. Mackenzie: That’s the usual Liberal attitude: quit if you don’t like it. Why should the workers at the TTC have to carry the load of the extra expenditures, whether it’s a single fare zone, whether it’s any other improvement made to the system, or whether it’s inflation?
Mr. Havrot: Tell us what their salaries are.
Mr. Mackenzie: Their increase is not going to meet inflation this year or anywhere near it, and the member knows that. Why should they have to be the people who are carrying that load? And the same thing applies to many plants. I’m not denying that the riders, the millions of them, don’t like increases, as none of us likes increases in any cost, but they should not have it at the expense of the workers.
The city of Toronto and Metro Toronto should not have to be able to hang on to the money at the expense of one group of workers in this particular situation. The province of Ontario should not be allowed to cut back and save and not make the grants that may be necessary at the expense of one group of workers. It’s long past time that we reordered our priorities.
Mr. Kerrio: Just print more money.
Mr. Mackenzie: For years we’ve heard the cry from this party and, I think, in various ways from almost every member who sat in this Legislature of the need for improvements in public transit, for changes that improve public transit and how vital and important it is to us and how we can’t afford to tie up the core of our cities with automobiles in jams. You only have to take a look at the results of the strike -- we all acknowledge that -- to see the kind of traffic chaos you have in downtown Toronto.
Mr. Sargent: You should be proud of yourself.
Mr. Mackenzie: Let me ask: For a difference of $1.5 million, and for the principle of either hammering the workers or making them carry the inflationary load, should this strike have taken place? And is it not true, in fact, that the length of this strike, whenever they go back -- probably it would be but a matter of days -- is going to cost a heck of a lot more than the $1.5 million that was needed to give a fair deal to the workers in that corporation? I don’t think there is any doubt about that. I say that with sincerity to my colleagues in this House.
I think it is time we got our priorities in order, it is time we looked at the things that mean things to people, and it is time we stopped bashing the worker. We bashed the workers with the AIB, and that affected the TTC negotiations considerably. They won one contract of 10.4 per cent or 10.8 per cent -- I forget just which -- and it was rolled back to eight per cent two years ago. We thought that was the answer, although the only people really paying the price were workers across this country.
That didn’t work. But it did lower the wage settlements below what has been happening in the last year or two in the cost-of-living area; and that means, effectively, the government over the last three-year period has put the workers in this province down.
We can argue whether they were or weren’t getting too big settlements previously. What the government has done, though, is not only has it put them down with the mechanism that was going to solve inflation, but it also didn’t solve inflation. If anything, it is getting worse again.
I am simply asking, what are we doing? That has given the whip hand both to the corporations and to the government, and the government has reinforced it with its treatment of public sector workers and cutbacks. Everybody now figures the worker in Ontario is fair game; hammer him.
Unfortunately, the government uses the uncertain economic climate and apprehension on the part of citizens and appeals for and gets some general public support.
What the government is doing is dangerous. What it is doing, I suggest, may even be deadly. It is not a route that a free country, a country that believes in free collective bargaining, should be going down. It is time we turned that around and acknowledged that they are making a contribution. They are not just the fall guys in every situation that we face.
Mr. Sargent: You have no corner on collective bargaining -- not a bit. We all believe in that.
Mr. Mackenzie: I just heard my friend talking about taking the rights away today.
Mr. Sargent: What about the rights of the two million people in Metro Toronto?
Mr. Germa: Don’t the 7,000 workers count?
Mr. Sargent: You guys are against giving --
Mr. Germa: You just told them to quit their jobs.
Mr. Mackenzie: If good faith bargaining means anything -- and I am suggesting it is one of the areas where we have the most trouble in the labour relations field -- then, before this legislation is before the House, the Minister of Labour and the Premier of the province should have been tough enough to say to the TTC: “You haven’t bargained in good faith. The record is clear for all to take an honest look at it. You get back there. We give you six or seven days to come up with an offer. And maybe, whatever that offer is -- better than you have made -- we will ask the workers to vote on it.” I don’t know. But we didn’t even see that. We saw blind acceptance of the fact that there wasn’t going to be a settlement, even though all the moves had been on the part of the union.
That just isn’t good enough. That’s why this bill should not be before this House and that’s why the members in this House, if they had any understanding of the potential consequences, would not be voting for it.
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, you have heard that our party will be supporting Bill 141. It is unfortunate that we have a strike today. It is equally unfortunate, I suppose, that a legislative conclusion must be sought to this dispute and that free, open, fair collective bargaining must, in one sense, be set aside.
I am pleased, however, that the government has chosen to move a little faster in this particular disruption of service than it has been inclined to move in the past. Unfortunately, it is becoming an all-too-common occurrence.
I am not so certain whether there is any member in the Legislature here who would be inclined to say we are selling out to one particular group or other, or that we are attempting to see the strike broken, in essence.
My leader earlier today made a suggestion that we might consider final offer selection. I don’t think there are any of us here who are aware of the process of final offer selection who would say it is a panacea for all our labour problems as they exist.
Mr. Swart: There’s nobody in your caucus, because you don’t have labour people.
Mr. Cunningham: But I would have to hope that most of us would set aside what partisan considerations we do bring to this Legislature to contemplate the possibilities or the merits of such a process.
I would be inclined then to suggest that some time in the near future -- five or six years maybe -- the use of final offer selection will be, especially in the public sector, a fair, equitable, intelligent, pragmatic method of bringing about conclusions to labour disputes, especially in the public sector.
My leader was accused of being somewhat simplistic, maybe, in proposing final offer selection. I can only say that when two parties can be so far apart sometimes in various disputes the method of final offer selection brings parties together. It brings some finality to it. It brings some common sense and often removes some sense of combativeness, if I might use that word, that sometimes pervades the labour relations field.
At this time I would commend the new Minister of Labour, who I think has made a tremendous effort in the last several days, as new as he is to his portfolio. I think he is a sincere individual. I might say that if he had been Minister of Labour some time before his appointment we might not be here at all. I have a great deal of faith in that particular individual and I would think the fact that we are here today is an indication that both sides have, possibly, sincerely come to some conclusion as to what their positions will be. There is, I suppose, maybe some sincere intransigence on their part and to that end the only way we are going to see a conclusion is to provide some legislation to effect it. In many ways it may be a face-saving mechanism for both parties.
I would say again I do believe that both parties have made a sincere effort. I think it would be unfair for any member of this House to suggest that any blame be directed to one party or another. Not only do I not think it would be fair; I don’t think there would be any purpose to it.
The legislation in itself is quite clear. Without being too lengthy in my comments, I would commend the government in its selection of the arbitrator, Mr. Syd Robins. Mr. Robins has a distinguished career in the bar in Ontario and is an individual who will bring a great deal of fairness to these considerations. No side need fear his lack of judgement or a predisposition on his part.
Section 3(2), which provides for a replacement for Mr. Robins, I think, with that in mind, is almost redundant. I don’t think Mr. Robins will require a replacement, nor do I think he will require 45 days to come to some conclusion as to what would be a fair conclusion in this particular dispute.
You must realize, I think, that these kinds of disputes, unless some better mechanism for solving labour problems is developed, are going to become more common, not only in the province of Ontario, not only in the public sector but in the private sector as well.
I think at the same time we have to realize -- and I would be one to continue to put this philosophy forth -- you just can’t merely continue to get a cheque book out and write a cheque for demands as they are. We just can’t continue to spend money to effect solutions to difficult problems. It would be nice if we could. Those who would suggest that I think should be brought to task and indicate where those moneys will come from. We can’t spend money like it’s from a bottomless pit.
I must say I am disappointed by the third party, with what appears to be their obstructionist tactics today. I tend to see it as a messianic direction. There seems to be some preoccupation with some rather narrow dialectics.
I would hope too that during the course of this debate some accurate reporting, as usual, will occur in the Toronto media and maybe they will print the record as it has transpired today and print the voting record of the individuals here who would be inclined to --
Mr. Cooke: I hope they print some of the things you people have been saying.
Mr. Cunningham: No reluctance on my part, sir, whatsoever. At the same time I would suggest that maybe today and in the days that follow we consider the right to work or, more important maybe, the right of an individual, a taxpayer, the guy who pays the shot, to enjoy some services he pays for. We tend to ignore the fact that these services are government services, that they’re subsidized by the taxpayer. Many taxpayers don’t use them, but they’re subsidized by the taxpayer and every taxpayer has a right to use those services. Likewise, no taxpayer should be subjected to the dislocation, the discomfort we are now going through. I think it’s unfair.
I want to say again there’s no individual in this Legislature who could be accused of bashing the workers or undermining collective bargaining in some sort of pervasive tactic. That’s not the objective of the exercise whatsoever. This is an unfortunate occurrence; it’s one, I think, that has occurred all too often in the past. I would hope, with the leadership I expect from the temporary Minister of Labour -- temporary because he may be on the other side here some time in the near future -- that some plan for the future will see that we do not get into strikes as the precursor to some legislative conclusion.
In conclusion, I want to offer a message to my friends in the third party. That is, I would hope that through the course of the events this evening they will possibly reconsider their position. Not so far as maybe changing their vote as it is right now, but I would ask them possibly that they consider not obstructing this legislation because it seems to be inevitable -- don’t impede it; don’t delay it. Most important, don’t continue to inflict on this great city of ours, and the area that surrounds it, a considerable inconvenience, an inconvenience I would be inclined to think that the voters will remember in the next election.
At the same time, maybe we just might be a little more objective about life. We might be a little more positive, and less negative and cynical about the motivations of some people --
Mr. Cooke: All you care about is votes.
Mr. Cunningham: -- and the objectivity of an arbitrator who has yet to begin his work. If this kind of messianic nonsense continues from the third party, I would suggest that if in any way the Social Credit decide to make a comeback in the province the NDP may be the fourth party.
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, this bill is one more nail in the coffin of free collective bargaining in the public sector in this province. The Minister of Labour better ask himself how many more nails he intends to drive into that coffin before there is nothing left; not too many more. We are standing here dealing with this bill not because of the strike but because of previous hills and previous actions on the part of this government and the federal government. We are paying the price for successive attacks on free collective bargaining in the public sector; the price of those attacks on free collective bargaining in the public sector is precisely more strikes. It is a vicious circle and we seem to be locked into that vicious circle. Sooner or later, government leadership is going to have to say: “We are going to end the vicious circle and we are going to allow the free collective bargaining process to take place in a normal way.” Until the government does this, we are going to be coming back to this assembly year after year to be doing precisely the same thing again.
To recap the unfortunate and indeed tragic situation that the transit workers have found themselves in, they were legislated back to work in 1974 by this same government; they were deprived of the gains of their bargaining by the federal Anti-Inflation Board in 1976 and 1977; and here we are again in 1978. In each of the years from 1974 until 1978, the transit workers have been victimized by assaults on free collective bargaining.
The leader of our party talked about the corrosive consequences of what we are doing today. The Premier said not to worry, not to make these expressions about dire consequences. The strike we have in Toronto right now is one of those consequences. It is one of the corrosive consequences of what the transit workers have been put through since 1974. There are only two possible consequences, as far as I and my colleagues can see, which result from the stripping of the right to free collective bargaining from public sector workers. You could have the kind of gross exploitation of public sector workers that took place in the hospital sector until hospital workers were granted the right to strike; until they were granted the right to strike, their exploitation was a crime and a disgrace.
Mr. Kerrio: Who granted them the right?
Mr. McClellan: So you will either have, with the destruction of public sector collective bargaining, the exploitation of workers or you will have the kind of chronic bitterness and the kind of repeated disruption that we are facing in the transit sector in Toronto.
Mr. Kerrio: That’s typical.
Mr. McClellan: It is an inevitable consequence of the destruction of collective bargaining that agreements simply cannot be reached. There is no need for Michael Warren to reach an agreement with Local 113. He knows that he can be intransigent and that you will bail him out. That is exactly what has happened. Michael Warren, as our labour critic said, has made patsies out of all of us and out of the government in particular. He’s put you over your own barrel. He’s hoisted you with your own petard. He’s hit you over the head with your own hammer. He’s made fools of all of us because he knows that you are unwilling to accord to the transit workers the rights to free collective bargaining.
I can predict, I think with certainty, that we will be back here again next year. We are operating on one-year contracts for the transit workers. The TTC knows that it doesn’t have to worry about the collective bargaining process. It knows that you will bail them out. Is this process going to extend on indefinitely or are we going to have strikes every single year because of your refusal to allow the collective bargaining process to follow its natural course, a natural course of a mutually agreeable settlement? I very much fear that we are and that we will be back here next year debating an identical bill.
I speak not just out of concern for the principle of the right of workers to free collective bargaining; there are practical consequences that you have to recognize. You cannot strip workers of the rights to free collective bargaining without facing very serious and disruptive consequences. Until the government is prepared to recognize that and allow the collective bargaining process to work itself out, without giving management the assured certainty that you will bail them out and that all they have to do is to be intransigent until you do bail them out, then we are never to have labour peace in the transit sector in this city. I think that is an axiom. I think that is a simple, almost a natural, law. It’s going to happen again and again until you allow the process to work itself out. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support in principle of the bill before us for the reasons that were outlined by my leader but I think we really ought to consider maybe what is at stake.
Mr. di Santo: Where is your leader?
Mr. Makarchuk: Where are your members?
Mr. McClellan: Where is the Liberal front bench?
Mr. Sargent: You had nobody ten minutes ago.
Mr. Makarchuk: Where is the Liberal front bench?
Mr. Kerrio: They have gone for a sandwich for Ian.
Mr. Sargent: You guys have all eaten, eh?
Mr. J. Reed: The most important members are here.
Mr. Acting Speaker: The member for York Centre has the floor.
Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, perhaps what is an issue here is not so much collective bargaining as it is the tool of the strike. I suspect that it is trite to say that every member of this House believes in responsibility. I suspect it is equally trite to say that there is a difference between the private sector and the public sector, when we are talking about collective bargaining accompanied by the tool of the strike. But I think we must always remember, Mr. Speaker, that we are in the cradle of free enterprise in Ontario, and it was the free enterprise parties that introduced collective bargaining into our law, into our statutes, and uphold that very right.
Mr. Stong: 1 don’t think we should ever take leave of recollecting that that is a fact. But, Mr. Speaker, in fact in the public sector there is another factor that is introduced that accompanies and is involved with the tool of the strike. The third factor is the innocent party, the public. It is a pure and simple fact that there is inconvenience and there is hardship out there in the very streets of our city right now. That is a fact; we have all acknowledged that. Likewise, because of that fact, in my respectful submission to this House and to you, Mr. Speaker, that justifies us exercising our responsibility as legislators in trying to ease that hardship and that burden on the innocent people who are out there and suffering from that very tool, the strike.
Mr. Handleman: In here as well.
Mr. Stong: Yes, in here as well. One questions, in fact, the wisdom, perhaps, of the strike in the public sector, but that is not the issue we are here to debate today.
Mr. Stong: What the leader of the third party has done is given a comprehensive and albeit an opinionated account of what happened around the bargaining table on the weekend. He has, in fact, demonstrated in his words exactly what the Premier and my leader have said: that is, two responsible parties have become deadlocked and reached an impasse and have communicated that to the members of this government. And insofar as that impasse has been reached there is only one alternative left for us who are perhaps in the place of judges, perhaps in the place of those who can remedy a very bad situation.
I am not saying the leader of the third party would agree, but I suspect that he is telling us to do nothing and leave 400,000 commuters, some of whom come into this city from my riding, to be held out as ransom, and leave them ignored.
Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, assuming that each party to this collective bargaining has been acting responsibly -- in their own minds they have been acting responsibly, despite what one side thinks of the other, each party obviously thinks it has been acting responsibly in trying to resolve this problem -- but that aside they have obviously come to a deadlock, an impasse. When that happens, in my respectful submission again, the law must be resorted to.
One talks about the fundamental right to collective bargaining. Of course, and we all accept that. One also talks about interference with the basic freedom of collective bargaining. That is not what we are interfering with. We are interfering with the fact of walking out and leaving hundreds of people stranded; that is what we are talking about. That is the pure fact of life in this strike, not the collective bargaining. As a matter of fact, the principle, the spirit of collective bargaining exists in the very program, the very philosophy of final offer selection. That is where responsibility exists.
I’m not going to argue the merits of final offer selection but it exists there -- collective bargaining, accepting responsibility, communicating your wishes -- it exists under that program, under that approach to resolving our difficulties in the labour scene as well.
When two parties believe that they are acting responsibly but cannot be ad idem, cannot arrive at a common ground or become of the same mind, then in so far as and inasmuch as there are people who are not parties to that bargaining, not parties to that communication, inasmuch as they suffer we must accept our responsibility as legislators to minimize that hardship. That is exactly what we are doing here.
I commend the Minister of Labour and I commend the Premier for acting so quickly in this problem. In that regard, I would back and I have absolutely no problem in endorsing what my leader has said and the position of our party in minimizing the difficulty out there in our city that depends so much on public transportation. The responsibilities of the bargaining parties in collective bargaining and in final offer selection are exactly the same. It’s our city collectively.
It is the responsibility of parties to accept their role, not to polarize their positions, but to try to come to a meeting of the minds. That has not been done. One party, under the final offer selection, when it cannot stand the hurt, gives in. That’s the way the situation exists right now. Hold out until the hurt can be stood no more and then we say we’ve come to a meeting of the minds; we’ve come to a resolution of the problem. That is not responsibility, in my respectful submission, in the public sector.
Mr. McClellan: Just abolish the right to strike. Why don’t you just come out and say what you believe?
Mr. Stong: It seems to me we must strive to become of one mind, and when we can’t it is incumbent upon the Legislature to end the situation that exists.
Mr. Foulds: Totalitarian at best. You are going to be called fascists; you know that.
Mr. Stong: We are now in that position, and in so far as there can be no involvement of the commuter in coming to a resolution it is incumbent upon us to impose that resolution. That is why we are backing this bill.
Ms. Bryden: I’m very much aware of how intolerable the present situation in Metropolitan Toronto is.
Mr. Stong: Let’s do something about it.
Ms. Bryden: I know how much it is costing workers in terms of lost wages because they cannot get to their jobs.
Mr. J. Reed: Let’s get on with it.
Ms. Bryden: I know how much it is hurting people who do not have cars or cannot afford taxis. I know it is preventing many people, especially elderly ones, from getting to medical appointments or to the drugstore. I also know that if this strike continues for any length of time our economy will be seriously affected.
Why, then, am I and my party opposing this bill, even though we know that many citizens will be very upset by our opposition to it and may not understand why we do so?
Mr. J. Reed: Your goose is cooked in Metro.
Ms. Bryden: There are several reasons. First, we must recognize -- I’m attempting to see that the members opposite do understand why we oppose it -- that under our present laws it is perfectly legal for transit workers to engage in collective bargaining and they do have the right to strike. We have, by law, taken away that right only from a few groups of public service employees, such as policemen and firemen and hospital workers.
Since transit workers do have by law the same collective bargaining rights as workers in the private sector and in most parts of the public sector, it is, in my opinion, very unjust to take away that right by this kind of ad hoc emergency legislation. It, in effect, makes them second-class citizens. It does not give them in return the same sort of protection which policemen and firemen receive in compensation for being deprived of the right to strike -- namely a public commitment to see they do not fall behind other workers in like jobs.
I oppose this kind of compulsory arbitration because it is unfair to public service employees and means the death of collective bargaining for such employees.
Secondly, Mr. Speaker, I oppose this bill because it is asking the public transit employees of this city to subsidize the riders. The floor which the government wrote into the bill as a last-minute amendment will not ensure that Metro transit employees do not suffer a reduction in their standard of living, if the cost of living continues to rise at anything like the present rate. It also means that transit workers for the top system in North America will be getting less than those in Montreal and in certain other Ontario cities. This does not seem just or fair.
I could have looked on the bill with more favour if it had included as a floor at least the union’s last offer, which was considerably moderated from their first request at the beginning of bargaining, down from 10 per cent to 7.3 per cent.
The third reason why I oppose this bill, Mr. Speaker, was because it was brought in hurriedly before the government, the Minister of Labour, the Premier had made adequate effort to get the TTC management to consider the very significant concessions which the union made during the last weekend. One wonders if the hurry was partly to permit the Premier to get away on his trip next week to Israel. Or was the government in league with the TTC management to force the legislative settlement and to support management’s refusal to consider the way in which its employees are falling behind other workers in Ontario?
I would like to see this strike ended as soon as possible, as I am sure all members would. I believe it could be ended quickly without this kind of legislation if the government would indicate that it is ready to honour its earlier commitment to promote public transit. It can do this by making enough additional money available to the TTC to keep Metro Toronto transit employees in line with other workers in like jobs.
The final request of the transit union is not unreasonable and I am sure it is much less than lawyers and corporation executives are handing to themselves without telling the public except by price increases.
I am opposed to a fare-box increase as a means of settling this strike. It is counterproductive and discourages the use of public transit. It also hits low-income groups, particularly senior citizens and students.
I am also opposed to an increase in property taxes to cover TTC deficits. The province has already squeezed the municipalities too much by cutting back school grants and social grants and tearing up the Edmonton commitment. We also know that property taxes are regressive.
But there are strong arguments for a greater commitment by the province to public transit. It means a saving in road costs. It means savings in our diminishing fossil fuels. It means less pollution and it means fairer taxation, since the province can tap the more progressive tax sources.
If this strike has demonstrated anything, it has demonstrated that this city cannot do without public transit. The streets simply cannot handle all the cars now pouring into the area. It has also shown that any significant increase in cars raises the carbon monoxide readings to dangerous levels.
It has shown, in short, that we need more, not less public transit and good public transit.
For that reason, Mr. Speaker, I hold the province largely responsible for this strike. It is their failure to see that sufficient revenue is available to provide decent wages and working conditions that has caused the strike. They have forced Metro and TTC authorities to face possible property tax increases or fare box increases as part of the equation and have contributed to their stiff-necked approach, but I cannot exonerate the TTC management of all blame for they have not bargained in good faith, as their actions on the last weekend have proved when they came up, after midnight on Sunday, with the same offer as they had given on the previous Friday, and when it later came out that they had arranged for the shutdown of the system on the Friday.
I suggest that it is still not too late for this government to sit down with the union and management tonight and reconsider its fiscal responsibilities to transit workers, to riders and to the citizens of Metro Toronto, and to see if a fair and just settlement cannot be reached outside this Legislature tonight. Then the government can simply withdraw the bill and we can all go back to looking after the other important business of this province, such as the unemployment situation and the pollution problem. Thank you.
Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, very briefly, I would like to --
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Don’t do everything briefly; drag out a few things.
Mr. Sargent: -- commend the Premier and the minister on their vision and protection of the people of this province and of this city. Those of us who don’t live here have a big stake in this city and this transportation set-up. Of the many hundreds of millions of dollars involved, we have put about half of it in ourselves, the outlying parts of the province. So we have a big stake here.
I want to say what I find out in talking to people. They say, “What the hell is happening to our country?”
Mr. Makarchuk: Trudeau.
Mr. Sargent: Total paralysis is going to set in if someone doesn’t stand up and say “no” or start minding the store.
Mr. Makarchuk: The paralysis is in Ottawa, 24 Sussex Drive.
Mr. Sargent: I may buy that, Mac, but the fact is that Air Canada is now talking about a further strike. We’ve gone through --
Mr. McClellan: Where is John Munro when we need him?
Mr. Sargent: We have gone through this, much to our loss. We’ve lost millions of hours across the board in labour unions across the past year. Now we’re facing a postal strike. Maybe we should ask the Premier to submit to the federal government that it should make it mandatory that all the postmen get their pay cheques through the mail. Maybe that might help solve that postal strike. Now we have this deadly transit strike here. I flew into town about three hours ago and I saw below me a city almost paralyzed because almost nothing is happening. It’s a dead city. People are suffering. I came in from Brampton the other morning. It took two hours to go 25 miles.
If my friends on the left can find one supporter in those thousands and thousands of cars, it would be hard to find one. Their lot is not a popular one. I admire their guts for fighting in the way they do for the working man. We all feel the same way. We’re not any different than they are. They have no corner on collective bargaining, not a bit. The record will show that all of us are concerned. I know the Premier is. Oar leader is. So is the minister.
My good friend from Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) talks about the cost being a million and a half dollars’ difference between the two parties. My information is now that the bottom line is the commission was offering more than they are asking for. That’s the bottom line. If it was a million and a half dollars between the two parties, that breaks down to $250 a year per worker, or $5 a week, across the board. That’s what they’re talking about, $5 a week. Isn’t that a hell of a thing to do, to put a whole city in paralysis for?
If they had their way, they would never let them go back to work. The transit system would be dead forever if they had their way. So someone has to start running the show here.
Mr. Deans: Where is Michael Warren?
Mr. Warner: That’s a good place to start.
Mr. McClellan: You still haven’t got it right.
Mr. Sargent: I don’t know. It’s pretty close. These are not Conservative figures. These are Liberal figures I’m dealing with.
Mr. Warner: So much for credibility.
Mr. Deans: They are probably wrong.
An hon. member: Liberal computers.
Mr. Sargent: The real cost is not the $1.5 million. The real cost is millions of man-hours of work lost, millions of dollars lost by the small entrepreneurs who depend on transit and millions of gallons of gasoline while sitting waiting for hours trying to get some place. Maybe lives are being lost to save these guys $5 a week. It doesn’t add up. I want to say that we have to thank collective bargaining for our way of life in this country. I thank the unions for their fights because they made our economy strong across the board. That is true.
Mr. Deans: If they had chickened out as you people have they would have got nothing. I agree.
Mr. Sargent: I do say in the general trend in the United States now management is taking unions onto management boards. I think when my friends to the left here know the problems of management and when they’re a part of the team --
Mr. Deans: They opposed it.
Mr. Sargent: -- then they will not be gouging so much.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: They passed it.
Mr. Sargent: I say that our way of life is due to collective bargaining. Let no one kid you. You have no corner at all on collective bargaining. That’s been your main punch.
Mr. Deans: But we understand it.
Mr. Sargent: We’re the bad guys and you’re the good guys.
Mr. Deans: Now you’re getting it right.
Mr. Makarchuk: Right on.
Mr. Sargent: I want to say that predominantly the most important thing in this whole debate is the rights of people and the rights of workers, but when one balances two million people against 6,500 workers I think that the majority should win. Thank you very much.
Mr. M. Davidson: Is there a difference between people and workers?
Mr. Deans: I want to say two or three words in this debate because of how I feel -- I suppose aggravated is the right word -- about the way it all came about. I feel very sorry to see the Premier leaping politically into something that he should have left alone.
I want to say to the Premier, if he would listen to me just for a moment, I hadn’t realized --
Mr. Warner: He’s got the member for Sudbury East talking to him.
Mr. Deans: Maybe if the member could talk to the Treasurer for a second, I just want to say to the Premier that I hadn’t realized until today that a bus driver performed an essential service.
Mr. Sargent: The member for Sudbury East should notice the cameras are gone.
Mr. Martel: You are here and that is something new.
Mr. Deans: I realized that it was an important service and I appreciated that the service they provided to the community as a whole was valuable, but I had never frankly realized until now that it was an essential service, more essential than almost any other service. I look at Halton and Mississauga and I see looming up there an ambulance drivers’ strike. I think to myself that if there was a place where the Premier might involve himself, then that might be a useful place to become involved because I can appreciate that many people, and I’m included among them, would think that that is an essential service.
I can appreciate that the people in Metropolitan Toronto are aggravated by the strike and are put to some considerable inconvenience by the strike and that they may be angry, not only at us but angry at the bus drivers, angry at the people ahead of them whose car radiators boil over and angry at the people beside them whose fumes come in the window while they’re sitting. I understand all of that, but I can’t help feeling that the Premier moved with indecent haste. If he were to take a look at the criteria that he set out for his intervention, what he said was that he satisfied himself that both parties had bargained in good faith, that they have made every effort over that period leading up to last weekend and over last weekend to find a solution which would be acceptable to those --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I wouldn’t want it to be said that I had satisfied myself. I made no judgements as to what had gone on the previous four or five months because I was not part of it. I couldn’t make any judgement.
Ms. Deans: All right, let me put it another way. The Premier said he was satisfied that they were not going to move. I think he said he thought they had been acting in what they considered to be a responsible manner. I think the Premier said that; he may not have, but the record will show. I don’t much care in any event. But the Premier said he came to the conclusion on Sunday that they were not likely to arrive at a settlement without there being some period of time when there would be a work stoppage. As a result of that, and because the Premier understood that this would be aggravating and an inconvenience to the people of Toronto, and might have some economic disbenefit consequences, he said he would introduce legislation to send them back to work.
The question I was going to ask the Premier when I tried to interject was: Am I right in assuming that that set of circumstances inevitably is arrived at immediately prior to every public-sector strike, that those circumstances are almost identical in most cases? One always arrives at a point where one is reasonably well satisfied that the parties are not going to move any further unless there is a strike. In fact, we arrived at that point in 1974, when there was a strike in transit here; and I am sure we will arrive at it many times in the future and in any number of different public sector areas. If that is to be the measurement against which the minister determines whether or not he is going to bring in back-to-work legislation immediately, then obviously he is going to be bringing it in every single instance in transit negotiations where it is easily seen that a strike will take place.
I don’t understand it. What the minister is doing, in fact, is saying “Never again in Metropolitan Toronto will there be a transit strike.” That is what he is saying.
Mr. Sargent: You’re always setting up straw men.
Mr. Deans: No, that is what is being said, that never again in Metropolitan Toronto will there be a transit strike.
Mr. Kerrio: No, that is what you are saying, Ian.
Mr. Deans: I don’t understand how the Premier can make that determination at this point.
Mr. Kerrio: I don’t understand how you can come to that conclusion.
Mr. Foulds: That’s exactly what the federal Liberal government did with the --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Deans: What the government has done in arriving at the conclusion it arrived at is it has severely undermined the necessity on either party’s part to try to find a solution. Each party now knows that, regardless of the effort it puts into the negotiations, the strike will not be permitted to take place; therefore, there will be an arbitration that will sit almost immediately after any action taken by either side to create a work stoppage. The collective bargaining process is therefore seriously undermined by the action of the government.
I find it difficult because I can see this situation coming up again and again, not only in the transit situation but in many other situations. I don’t like crisis intervention, and that is what it is. The government waits until things are at crisis proportion; it waits until the strike is imminent; it waits until there is, without question, going to he some discontinuance of one service or another and some aggravation created in the community, and then the government moves in. It doesn’t take a look at what is really wrong: How did they get to this position in the first place? How is it that in two sets of negotiations within the last five years -- the last four years, I guess -- we end up with the union and the management unable to arrive at a settlement? How is it that those things happen in Metropolitan Toronto between the transit commission and their employees?
What the government really has to do is take a serious look at the entire process. I listened to my friend from Owen Sound talking about the need to break some new ground. He probably is right; I think there is a need to break some new ground. I think it is time that we made a commitment that, if we believe collective bargaining is to work, then the first thing we are going to have to do is to strengthen the sections of the act which require that people bargain in good faith.
If the minister were to listen to my colleague from Hamilton East and the way in which he described the events over the last weekend, he would have to come to the conclusion that, no matter what, the transit commission certainly did not make any serious effort to extend to the union an offer that they felt was acceptable. Therefore, they did not bargain in good faith. Whether or not they felt they could give any more is neither here nor there, because they now are prepared to allow someone else sitting outside to determine whether they should have given more. So they are going to have to live with the outcome. One would have thought, given they knew they were so close, and since the union did reduce its demands twice over the same weekend, that management would have given at least some indication of the willingness to make some counter-offer, which they never would do.
I want to suggest that if the government hopes to have an impact on collective bargaining, it is going to have to begin to try to understand it. I am not suggesting I have any corner on the knowledge of collective bargaining; I don’t. But the government is going to have to try to understand first of all that it isn’t going to serve any useful purpose if we are repeatedly asked to deal with the crisis situations that we are asked to deal with here in the Legislature. That is not a resolution; that is just a Band Aid, and by the time it comes to us it is beyond hope. It shouldn’t be our responsibility to try to provide in Metro Toronto a transit system that is operating every single day. If the government thinks the transit is so damned important, and it obviously does, and is of such essential nature, why is that not reflected in the dollars made available for the provision of transit all across the province?
It is quite evident, at least in recent years, that transit hasn’t been a priority with the government since the day the Premier got the “transit man of the year” award. After that was over it seemed to deteriorate in importance in relationship to many other things, and we haven’t seen any great effort on the part of the government to promote the development of transit.
In any event, let me say this to the government: I think it is going to have to start all over again. We may have a useful debate some time in this Legislature about the collective bargaining process; not in an atmosphere like this where we are talking about a particular crisis, but a useful debate in the Legislature about the way the process doesn’t work and why it doesn’t work, and what the psychology of the strike really is as opposed to what some people imagine it to be. The psychology of the strike has little, if anything, to do with dollars and cents offered on the collective bargaining table. The psychology of the strike has to do with aggravation and frustration built up over a long period of time as a result of workers and management not being able to get together and to see clearly what the role of each should be and the degree to which each should participate in creating a safe and worthwhile place to work.
Mr. Kerrio: Where has this ever happened, Ian, in your Utopia?
Mr. Deans: I am sure the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Drea) would agree that there is some value in involving workers more and more in the general administration of the place they work. As they become familiar with the difficulties or the benefits that their company or operation, private or public, enjoys, they therefore feel more a part of what is going on and therefore are better able to understand whether or not the things that they believe they ought to be getting are within the capacity of the operation to provide.
We are going to have to stop the situation we are seeing ourselves in. We are going to have to stop getting into this mess. We are going to have to start at the beginning and take a look at the collective bargaining procedures we have established. We are going to have to take a look at the mediation and conciliation services we have made available. We are going to have to take a look at what bargaining in good faith really means, and what it ought to mean, and where if ever it is applied. We are going to have to take a look at the kind of neanderthal thinking that still exists with people like the Fleck Manufacturing Company’s management, who couldn’t see the way to the solution, the path to follow to arrive at a solution, even though it was perfectly obvious to a great number of other people on the outside.
And we are also going to have to look at whether or not we can develop some model in Ontario that is unique perhaps to this part of North America to allow for some form -- I am not sure what form it will take -- but some form of worker involvement, some form of co-determination, if you will, some form of worker participation. The terms can be any terms you want to apply; but that is how we are going to avoid these situations occurring, and that is how we are going to avoid having to face these kinds of crises year after year, that is how we are going to avoid having people go on strike. That is the way we are going to do it.
We’re not going to do it by choosing between final-offer selection on the one hand and arbitration on the other. It doesn’t matter which of the two we choose; we’re still dealing with the crisis when we get to that point instead of having dealt with the problem that created the crisis and got us to the point of crisis. That’s really where I think we’re missing the boat in this Legislature, where I think perhaps the Ministry of Labour could redirect its thinking and where I think the government ought to redirect its thinking too.
I want to finish by saying that if, as I suspect, the Premier’s logic has led him in this instance to say that we must have legislation to send them back to work, then that should mean that these people are performing an essential service; that the very words “essential service” mean that we can’t get along without it; that if we can’t get along without it, then we’re going to have to find ways to provide the money necessary to pay them what is reasonable and fair, given what is being paid other people in similar professions all across the country and all across the province.
We can’t say on the one hand that they’re not entitled to similar wages and benefits arid to maintain their position in the economic ladder vis-à-vis other people in similar walks of life, and on the other hand demand that they work and send them back to work because they are so essential to the well-being of the community in which we are all living. We can’t have it both ways. That worries me.
Frankly, I think that the Premier and the government did not give sufficient time to the consideration of this dispute. We won’t get rid of hard feelings by sending someone to a judge for a solution. That doesn’t solve the general personal behavioural difficulties that people have one with the other. Therefore, while we will send this to arbitration, the basic problems will still be maintained. The antagonism, the animosity, the lack of understanding that currently is in place won’t be done away with simply because an arbitrator sits down and hands down an award. That isn’t going to solve it.
Arbitration can do many things; there is no doubt about that. Arbitration can solve a number of things, but they must be economical, tangible, easily seen. It can’t solve human emotion, which is what brings about a strike. Unless we get to the point of understanding that, coming to grips with that and dealing with it in the way we form our legislation, speaking about it here as if it really mattered and making some effort through the various committees of this Legislature to try to pull together the best possible thoughts and brains, not only here but around the world, to put together a model system for labour relations, we are just going to limp along year by year until we have finally deprived everyone, whether in the public or private sector, of the right to strike. The moment the public goes, the private will follow. Organizations there can make arguments quite consistent with the arguments in the public sector about the necessity to maintain their operations. Of course, the reprivatization that the government is now going through is moving -- or thinking of moving -- so much of what was once considered public sector involvement back to the private sector that many of the people who will be involved will become private sector employees in any event. Then we are going to have the argument there about the necessity and the essential nature of the service they perform. The government is going to have to think it all through again.
This is not the solution. It’s short-term and it’s destructive. It’s even more destructive now than it was in 1974. It’s catering to a political mood, and the government can’t allow itself to do that. It’s easy here. I can understand some of it. I can understand why the Premier wouldn’t want the Leader of the Opposition beating him around the ears all the time he was in Israel because the strike is on in Metropolitan Toronto and the cars are backed up all the way down University Avenue. I can appreciate that. I’m not ashamed to say that I might have shared that if I’d been sitting exactly where he is. I’d have worried a little bit, as I walked around Israel, about the Leader of the Opposition making hay in Metropolitan Toronto, screaming in his normal screaming way about the need to do something. I think what the Premier has done in answer to that is far more destructive than anything else he could have thought of.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You don’t really think that’s why we are doing it today, Ian. I thought better of you.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, there is one reason that the government moved yesterday, in the beginning, to end this strike. The simple fact of the matter is: Enough is enough.
All you have to do is walk outside of this building. You can just walk on the side of the street behind where I am standing and you can look at people trying to go home. You can see them virtually stranded downtown.
These aren’t even people in Metropolitan Toronto. This isn’t a Metropolitan Toronto issue any more because most of the GO service buses are down; Gray Coach is down. This is a paralysis, an inconvenience, a dislocation that extends 50 to 100 miles in virtually every direction from Toronto; unless you happen to be fortunate enough to live along a rail line, and not everybody is that fortunate.
I live in a suburb. I have people who can’t go shopping. They are old; they live in senior citizen apartments or in Ontario Housing or in private apartments. They have to take the bus to get their food. The suburbs aren’t like the city of Toronto where there is a grocery store on every street corner. If there were enough cabs, and cabs are not that prevalent in the suburbs, if there were enough, they are not very cheap. Those people can’t afford that type of thing.
We have people who have to go through the essentials of life. They have to get their children to school. A considerable portion of the population in my riding has been very substantially dislocated by the fact that the bus service is down. They have to drive their children to the high school in the morning.
The suburban streets are just as clogged because people are having to drive in from Oshawa, from Whitby. They have to start off two or three hours early to get their children to school. They have to make arrangements in the afternoon to get their children home -- those people going to work.
Okay, it has now been two days; and that is why I say enough is enough.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Three days.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Three? Okay, three. What do you want, 23 times the chaos you have now, 43 times the chaos you have now? I don’t think there is a person in here, in this House, regardless of their feelings about the approach that has to be taken to bring an end to this, that doesn’t agree enough is enough.
There will be a great many rationalizations tonight about the position other people will take. There are people who are philosophically opposed to compulsory arbitration at all costs. But, in the end, no matter how philosophically you are opposed, there has to come an end. There is no one, no matter how dedicated to the non-intervention of any third party in any dispute, who is going to say that at some point if the stalemate continues, be it 43 days, or 43 months, or 43 years, at some point you have to end it.
The public is out there and what the public is basically saying is, enough is enough. The union has proved its point. It has the ability, and rightfully so, to exercise its total resources at the most opportune time to get the best possible settlement it can out of the Toronto Transit Commission. If the union were less adept, it could have staged a relatively convenient strike. They could have done it some time in July. There wouldn’t have been the type of chaos there is today.
But that is the function of the union. The function of the union and its mandate from its members is to utilize its bargaining strength in the best possible manner to get the best possible settlement.
Mr. Lewis: That is quite unfair. If they had wanted to do that, they would have done it during the Ex. They deliberately held back.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I said if they did it in July, it wouldn’t have had the impact. Will you please understand what I am saying?
Mr. Lewis: I understand exactly what you are saying. You are saying they implemented it at a fortuitous time for them. That is not so.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Renwick: They were at the bargaining table in July.
Mr. Lewis: You know enough about collective bargaining. You had a background in it.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I know enough about collective bargaining and I would appreciate it if you didn’t interrupt me. You have had your day in here; let me have mine.
Mr. Lewis: You are having plenty.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Their function is to get the maximum settlement, right? They have gone as far as they can reasonably go with their resources. After this it is just a war of attrition. We all know it is going to go to compulsory arbitration, whether it is tonight, tomorrow, or next week or next month.
Mr. Foulds: How do we all know that? Why do we all know that?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Members opposite know it as well as I do because their former House leader, the member for Wentworth (Mr. Deans), expressed it very eloquently just a few moments ago. We all know, because the free collective bargaining process in the public sector, as has been adapted in the past few years, simply cannot meet the same criteria nor be as efficient as the private sector bargaining which has evolved since the thirties.
The reason for it is very simple. The public sector is fundamentally different from the private sector. There is no competition. In the ordinary course of collective bargaining in the private sector there are various resources that can be used by either side. There is always the alternative that a new company can be set up or a competition can become big if an existing company decides it is going to be belligerent and stay out too long.
In the public service there is no alternative. No one is going to set up another bus line of the dimensions of the TTC. That is known before we start. No one is going to set up another --
Mr. Mackenzie: Like Canada Packers and Swift.
Hon. Mr. Drea: -- post office. No one is going to be able to set up another civil service.
The very pressures that are in the private sector and contribute so much to the fact that labour disputes can be settled without the particular type of very formal state intervention as we have here simply aren’t present in the public sector.
The former House leader of the third party is absolutely right. It’s not just a model for collective bargaining. We have to start in this country -- it’s not just in this province or in this city; it’s in the dimension of the federal government as well -- there has to be a new type of approach in the public sector. It has to be as fundamental a change in approach as was conciliation and mediation in the thirties and forties in the private sector.
I think it is far too simplistic to say --
Mr. Laughren: How much conciliation was there in the thirties, Frank?
Hon. Mr. Drea: -- that final offer is the answer. It’s just a variation.
I know if final offer selection was applied in my ministry it simply wouldn’t work, because the number of items that are there in terms of working conditions and grievance procedures and so forth simply do not lend themselves to final offer selection. Final offer selection really only lends itself at the very top of the mountain after we have solved the basic issues. It has to be far beyond that.
By the same token, notwithstanding the fact that we can stand here tonight and say “Enough is enough, people have suffered;” there appears to he no real alternative. Surely just the record since the weekend -- the Minister of Labour meeting with both parties; then the Premier and the Minister of Labour meeting with both parties; both parties being responsible and still there’s a stalemate. It’s all very well to say it’s 12 cents or it’s only $1.5 million. The fact of the matter is many thousands of people cannot go about their ordinary lives; a city is being strangled. It’s not just the bus riders. It’s the fact that they can’t make deliveries; things are starting to run short. The small business man and the older person suffer once again. They don’t have control. They cannot end it. Only the government can end it.
Mr. Nixon: The Gardiner was never as wide open as it was this morning.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Reluctantly and regretfully, the government -- pardon?
Mr. Nixon: There was nobody on the York Street ramp at all.
Hon. Mr. Drea: The fact of the matter is the time has come to end it. Government is ending it. There is a mandate from the public that something has to be done. Surely, if the question tonight is are we going to be here a year from now or 14 months from now --
Mr. Foulds: Is that part of the new charter for Ontario, that we legislate transit workers in the public sector?
Hon. Mr. Drea: -- now is the time. Not just on the basis of this particular intervention -- I agree it’s crisis intervention, of course it is, but there is no procedure for the government to intervene as massively as it is doing now prior to the crisis.
There has to be a new approach towards collective bargaining in the public service. It has to reflect the fact that the strike in the public service is not the economic weapon nor is it as influential in the bargaining process in the public service as it is in the private sector; that the very modifying factors there are in the private sector simply do not play any role whatsoever in the public sector. That, I think, is the thing we have to address ourselves to.
To sit back and say we are destroying free collective bargaining -- as a matter of fact, we are showing, quite frankly, that free collective bargaining can work because it doesn’t have to be a total adversary system where one side or the other has to be destroyed before a stalemate can be ended. We are saying that when there is an economic struggle there is a point where the common good has to prevail, and there’s no question that it is for the common good. That is today, Mr. Speaker, and that is precisely why we are here.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, the previous speakers have touched on many issues and I suspect before the night’s over the bases will be retouched again and again.
I would like only to address myself to one. That is, as I sit here and listen, as I have read the papers recently, as I have tried, quite frankly in my very inexperienced way, to understand both the side of management and the side of the union, it comes very strongly to me that one of the basic issues that we’re dealing with in this, and one of the reasons I and my party are taking the position that we are, is the issue of conflicting values.
I’ve heard several times this afternoon and this evening of the issue of the collective bargaining process, and people making very strong cases for the collective bargaining process as if, in my judgement anyway and that’s all I can speak for, there is anyone in this chamber who disputes collective bargaining as a value and a good value. Anyone who has any sense of the history of the labour movement in this country, on this continent, and knowing what it’s done not just for the men and women who have been directly involved but for all of the rest of us who have benefited from the side effects of it, knows it is a value that we’re dealing with in this strike, in this issue. But it is not the only value; it is one of the values.
Secondly, we’re dealing with the value of our responsibility to the transit riders. We have said to people in this community -- all three of the parties in this House, in this chamber, have said time and time again -- that the concept of public transit is something that we support, something that we work for, something that we encourage; something, yes, that we finance with millions and millions of dollars of public money -- federal dollars, provincial dollars, municipal dollars, ironically all from the same pocket, public money.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Federal dollars?
Mr. Sweeney: We have, each and every one of us, each of the three parties in this House, taken a stand on the value, the good value of public transit, and in doing so I believe we have made a certain commitment to those men and women, those boys and girls, those of our citizens who use public transit. That is one of the values that we have to remember in this.
The third value that we have to keep in mind is the entire concept of providing public service. It’s easy for people to say, “We’re not going to raise the fare-box fares. We’re not going to raise property tax. Somehow or other the money is going to appear out of somewhere.” And yet look at all the other public services that we are now struggling with: education costs, medical costs, other transportation costs, social welfare costs. The list is unlimited; we’re all aware of it. We know there is not an infinite pot of money. It is a value, the conflicting services that we have to offer to our people, a value that impinges upon this issue.
I would like to end on this one point. There are public services in this country whose credibility has been seriously undermined, whose credibility has seriously deteriorated. Let me mention only one: the postal service. I would suggest -- I think anyway -- that there is probably not a member here who does not have serious concerns about what has happened to what was once the finest postal service anywhere. We were the envy of European countries. We were the envy of the United States. We had a fine service. I am not going to render a litany of what has happened there or who was at fault. That does not really affect what we are doing here. The issue is that a fine public service has been seriously undermined and the credibility of the people who use that service has been seriously challenged.
An hon. member: That is the union’s fault.
Mr. Sweeney: Now here, in this city today, at this time and in this place, we have a public transit service, as I understand it -- as I have frequently used it -- that is one of the finest on the continent. That is a value that we must uphold as well. The credibility of that service and the credibility of the transit riders are things that we must consider.
What I am obviously trying to suggest is that it is so easy to come down hard and firm on any one of these values and simply to ignore, or to distort out of proportion, the others. I guess what I am trying to say is that, given this collection of conflicting values, and despite some of the disadvantages in some areas, what we are doing tonight, in a totality is the better thing to do. That is why I support it.
An hon. member: Where’s your leader?
Mr. Sweeney: Where’s yours?
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, there has been a great deal said this afternoon about the collective bargaining process in Ontario, and there is no question but that it has been undermined and that that has been accomplished with indecent haste. I think the member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea) put it very well when he said that the government decided to legislate the workers back because it was inevitable anyway. I’m glad the message over here is getting through finally; we have been trying to tell the government all afternoon that if it persists in legislating people back when they go on strike, then it’s a matter of time and it does not take long before each side says: “Well, what the hell, we will wait and let the government legislate us back and solve our problem for us.”
That’s exactly what is happening and it is going to happen again.
Hon. Mr. Drea: What, do you want to play games, then?
Mr. Laughren: Well, if the member wants to put some money on whether or not we are here again a year from now debating the same issue, I’d be prepared to accept that bet, because that’s what is going to happen. The member for Scarborough Centre has been on the fringes of organized labour at least and he should understand that; he should know that. He has only been on the fringes, 1 assure you; I know his background.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Do you seriously say that everybody in this didn’t know that they were going to be legislated back?
Mr. Laughren: That is correct. I am agreeing with the member that they did know that there would be legislation bringing them back, because the government has set the precedent and it has done it again now; the government has re-established that precedent.
Mr. Lewis: How can he say that now? That is quite something, coming from a cabinet minister in this House. Does he realize what he said?
Hon. Mr. Drea: I’m saying to you that --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that this was debated in cabinet, and I am surprised that the minister has broken that oath of secrecy in cabinet --
Hon. Mr. Drea: No, I didn’t say that.
Mr. Laughren: -- and has told us the thinking that went into the decision to legislate the TTC operators back to work.
Hon. Mr. Drea: No. Mr. Speaker, let’s keep it a little bit straighter than that.
Mr. Laughren: It is a thinly disguised camouflage that he has there.
The other thing is that the government is very good at selective intervention when it comes to labour disputes. They sat on their collective hands almost gleefully while a union involved with the Fleck strike was having great difficulties. I want to tell you something: there is an enormous difference in the reaction of the government on this dispute than some of the others. There is an enormous difference, and the trade union movement doesn’t fail to note that, as do we.
I think that is a strange measure of commitment to the collective bargaining process in any given jurisdiction, to move so selectively. It is almost like the way the government moves on problems in the economy. I think it was the Minister of Correctional Services who mentioned that there are several hundred thousand people being inconvenienced. There are almost 300,000 being inconvenienced by unemployment, and I don’t see the government intervening in that problem in a significant way at all.
Hon. Mr. Drea: No? I think you heard the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) this afternoon.
Mr. Laughren: It is what is known as selective intervention, and the government picks and chooses as it will. The Inco dispute is an example. The ones that my colleague from Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) mentioned are other examples. The government is sitting back and doing virtually nothing about them. I think it needs to be emphasized that the government brought in this legislation in a minority government, knowing full well that they did not have to consult with either opposition party to know that they would have no difficulty getting this bill through. They knew full well --
Mr. Renwick: Just like the days of majority government.
Mr. Laughren: -- that if it was a matter of dealing with occupational health, a matter dealing with strike breaking, or legislating workers back, they would have a willing ally in the Liberal Party of Ontario.
Mr. Kerrio: Responsible government; that is what it is.
Mr. Laughren: As a matter of fact, the suggestion was probably made by them.
Mr. Lewis: As a matter of fact, the Liberals would be a senior partner in that one.
Mr. Laughren: Yes, anyone who is tied to the federal wage and price controls as intimately as the provincial Liberals in Ontario certainly doesn’t need any prompting to provide a further crunch on working people in Ontario.
Mr. Kerrio: All the collective bargaining in this country came in under the two traditional parties; what are you talking about? Every bit of collective bargaining has been brought in under the traditional parties. You never brought any of it in.
Mr. Laughren: What you are a partner to with this government is plain and simply a continuation of wage and price controls in the public sector; that is exactly what you are doing.
Mr. Kerrio: Collective bargaining lives because of these two old parties in this country and you know it.
Mr. Laughren: Why don’t you call it by what it is?
Mr. Speaker: The member for Niagara Falls does not have the floor.
Mr. Kerrio: You are right, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Nixon: Yes, but he is making some very good interjections.
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, the argument that is often used is that --
Mr. Kerrio: You’re floundering.
Mr. Laughren: -- the workers must accept wage increases lower than the rate of inflation because if they don’t we shall continue with the vicious cycle of inflation. That is the argument that is always used.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Whose argument? By whom?
Mr. Laughren: And I would ask you this, and I’d ask the former Minister of Labour --
Hon. B. Stephenson: Who uses the argument?
Mr. Laughren: I have heard your people use that argument for years. Many times.
Hon. B. Stephenson: When?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Name one.
Hon. B. Stephenson: I haven’t heard it yet.
Mr. Laughren: I’ll tell you something; that is always the argument that is used. Have you not been reading the editorials?
Hon. B. Stephenson: We don’t write the editorials. What are you talking about?
Mr. Laughren: Are you telling me those are not your people?
Mr. Cooke: Don’t believe everything you read in the paper.
Mr. Laughren: The point is that the transit workers, or other people in the public sector, should not be asked to make the sacrifices that other groups in their society are not making. That is what is going to happen. And it is going to happen particularly in the public sector. I find it very strange that the government sits idly by while the economy spirals downward and does nothing about it, but then when the crunch really comes it starts shooting at the easiest targets available; namely, employees in the public sector. That is what is happening; every single time that is what is happening. It is simply not fair. If the workers in this jurisdiction, or indeed in all of Canada, could see that there was a national commitment and that all sectors were making the same kind of sacrifices we would not have the problem. They would be willing to make those sacrifices, but I certainly haven’t seen any kind of universal sacrifices being made on the part of the different sectors in our society. That’s the whole point of continuing wage and price controls in the public sector. Why should they do it? Why should they submit willingly to it? I certainly would not encourage them to do so.
I think it was either the Treasurer or the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) who talked today about how the federal government is cutting back grants to the provinces and that that’s causing problems in Ontario. That’s absolutely true. As the government cuts down on UIC benefits, those people are transferred to welfare rolls and that becomes a burden on the municipality. The chairman of Metropolitan Toronto understands that. That’s one reason he’s so concerned about the Metro Toronto budget. He understands that. He doesn’t like it either, but that’s what is happening.
This province has done the same thing by reneging on its grants to the municipality. So what you have is a transferring of burdens from the more progressive kinds of taxation to the more regressive -- the property taxes in a municipality such as Metropolitan Toronto. That’s no coincidence. That’s an increasingly regressive way of raising taxes. There is no doubt that the municipalities are going to feel an increasing crunch.
I find that the government has put us through a shabby exercise today by bringing in this legislation when it has. I personally resent it very much. I think it’s one of those days that I will remember as being one of my more unpleasant ones in this chamber. I can assure you that it is with a great deal of concern that we debate this bill but I can assure you we also have no hesitation whatsoever in opposing it.
Mr. Williams: Listening to the events of earlier this afternoon, particularly the dialogue that was carried out as we entered into the debate on this bill involving the House leader of the third party, reminds me of an incident that occurred a few years ago --
Mr. Cooke: Speak to the principle of the bill.
Mr. Williams: -- when a person of much greater importance and refinement told the people of his nation to eat cake. I think as a result of that off-the-cuff comment, a few heads rolled. I think the same type of blasé and indifferent attitude that was displayed here today will have in the long run dire consequences on the fortunes of the party that that member represents.
I must say that in the short time that I have been a member of this House, I haven’t experienced such a sad situation as has been experienced here today in the approach and attitude that has been taken to this matter by the third party. I believe that perhaps the greatest personal knowledge and understanding of this particular situation as it affects the people of Metro Toronto, as known to the member in question, is his observation of the people walking to work while he was coming from the airport in the airline limousine to his residence here in Toronto to come to the special debate on this bill.
I can assure the House that indeed a great deal of hardship is being experienced by the citizens throughout the width and breadth of Metropolitan Toronto. It has been most unfortunate that the third party has seen fit to keep its blinkers on today and look at only one of the parties in the issue. It’s the innocent third party that I think the majority of the members of this House are concerned with. It is perhaps gratifying in one respect that at least, as I understand it from the debate so far, all of the parties agree that both management and labour have negotiated in good faith, albeit futilely to this point in time.
Some hon. members: No.
Mr. Williams: If in fact there is suggestion of bad faith, again I think that argument cannot be substantiated in fact.
Mr. Cassidy: The same offer for six months. Is that good faith?
Mr. Williams: It’s regrettable that same old line of reasoning would be applied which displays an obvious bias and subjective approach to an issue that is too important for subjective pontificating.
An hon. member: You know all about that.
Mr. Cassidy: Talk about your bias for a change.
Mr. Williams: The fact of the matter is that all members of the government party and the official opposition realize that it is difficult to have to bring in legislation that would interfere with the collective bargaining process.
Ms. Gigantes: We can see pain all over your face.
Mr. Williams: But when there is an issue of much greater importance that affects the public interest and welfare, governments do have the responsibility to act in a responsible fashion.
Ms. Gigantes: Why don’t you outlaw all strikes in the public sector? Save time.
Mr. Williams: This is the main issue before us today and it still escapes the attention of the members of the third party.
Mr. Cooke: The main issue is, Metro votes for you guys.
Mr. Cassidy: You don’t believe in the right to strike.
Mr. Williams: It was most interesting that the member for Hamilton East spent some time trying to relate this situation to a number of major strikes that have occurred in the province in recent times.
Mr. Deans: He did it very well, much better than you do.
Mr. Williams: The significant difference was conveniently overlooked. All of those, of course, had to do with strikes in the private sector and not in the public sector.
Mr. Laughren: Oh, tell us the difference; like Inco.
Mr. Williams: Herein lies the very fundamental reason for being here in special session today, to deal with a matter that affects very seriously all of the people in Metropolitan Toronto.
Mr. Cassidy: So workers in the public sector are second-class. You are making them second-class workers.
Hon. Mr. Drea: You did this afternoon. Your speech did.
Mr. Williams: I could only wish that my constituents, one and all, from Oriole riding could come down here to listen to the posturing and the rhetoric that has come from the third party today. They just wouldn’t believe their ears --
Ms. Gigantes: If they heard you they wouldn’t vote for you.
Mr. Williams: -- to hear the insensitivity and the narrow vision that has been applied to this matter. It has been affecting hundreds and thousands of honest workers in this Metropolitan Toronto area, not just the honest workers who happen to be members of the union that works for the Toronto Transit Commission. It’s that higher concern that we as a government party have to express interest and concern in.
Mr. Martel: That type of help we could do without.
Mr. Williams: I found it interesting that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) finally saw fit today to concede the fact that this government over the years has been consistent and correct in maintaining a position --
Mr. Mancini: He didn’t say that. He didn’t say that at all.
Mr. Williams: -- of opposing the right of the strike process in the public sector.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Do you want to run that by us again?
Ms. Gigantes: Yes.
Mr. Williams: It’s most unfortunate, however, that in speaking to that he couldn’t convince his Liberal friends in Ottawa that the same type of approach should be taken --
Mr. Cooke: Ask the former Minister of Education (Mr. Wells) about that. He brought in Bill 100.
Mr. Cassidy: Tom Wells is here. He is a renegade.
Mr. Williams: -- to the public sector and the various crown agencies under the aegis of the federal government. I agree with the remarks made by the Leader of the Opposition in his support of our fundamental position on this matter. The day is long past when the strike process should be allowed to apply in the public sector.
Ms. Gigantes: Ah ha; now we have it.
Mr. Williams: A noted labour leader, one of no less stature than George Meany, said a number of years ago --
Mr. Cassidy: Which part of Canada is he from?
Mr. Williams: -- that the strike process is out of date, that it is antiquated. We so often hear in this House the members of the NDP saying on issues that we deal with that we’re dealing in the 19th century. In my judgement when it comes to dealing with some of the strike issues that come before us it is the NDP who are living in the 18th century. They still think that the strike process is the greatest thing since Swiss cheese. I think it’s time they learned that indeed the strike process is no longer an acceptable form of dealing with labour disputes, particularly in the public sector.
Mr. Mackenzie: What about the teachers?
Mr. Cassidy: So you want to outlaw them in the private sector too.
Mr. Williams: I think a vehicle does have to be found to replace that antiquated technique. Of course, it has to be an equitable and fair process that would be found to replace the strike procedure. Nevertheless, a real and genuine effort has to be made to find that alternative.
Mr. Cassidy: You are opposed to the right to strike anywhere.
Mr. Williams: With regard to the public sector, the public cannot continue down through the months and years ahead, as it has experienced in the past, to be used as the innocent whipping boys of the strike process.
Mr. Cassidy: Would you like your speech to be sent out in the labour studies courses of the former Minister of Labour (B. Stephenson)?
Mr. Williams: As long as the citizens of this province continue to pay their hard-earned tax dollars they expect to receive, and do in fact receive, good, valuable and uninterrupted service from the public service of the government of the province of Ontario. If only that would apply equally as well in the federal sector. That is really the substance of what this emergency session of the Legislature is all about, that hundreds and thousands of innocent people within Metropolitan Toronto are being subjected to a great deal not only of inconvenience but of hardship. As has been suggested by other speakers, it may well go to the extent of jeopardizing the very health and well-being, if not economic well-being, of many of those people.
Mr. Cassidy: You never think of taking on management, do you? You always blame the workers.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, I can assure you from the number of phone calls that I have received from the constituents in northeast Metro, and in my riding in particular --
Mr. Mackenzie: Somoza could use you.
Mr. Williams: -- that they applauded without hesitation the measures that are being taken here today. As has been stated on so many occasions by the speakers who support this bill, it is not to be taken that the members who see the need for this legislation are taking sides on the issue as to the labour and management dispute that we have before us. It’s simply to bring to their attention that there is a much greater need that has to be served as a matter of necessity in this particular situation.
Mr. Cassidy: You learned labour relations from General Pinochet.
Mr. Williams: Under the given circumstances, we have to stop in this instance applying the situations of the strike process in the private sector where the member for Hamilton East keeps talking about the workers being hammered and so forth. I think we have to be more considerate of the innocent public at large being hammered by what has transpired here in a strike that has provided up to the time of their walkout a very essential service. I would hope that the day will soon come when all strikes in the public sector will be outlawed so that the public will be assured of essential services without interruption at great expense --
Mr. Cassidy: And what about strikes in the private sector?
Mr. Williams: -- not only to individuals in the country but to the economy as a whole.
Mr. M. N. Davison: We’re glad to hear your government’s policy.
Mr. Williams: It is therefore on this basis that it’s obvious that support has to be given to this bill and that the necessity of this emergency legislation should take place now and not three or four weeks down the road when just that much more damage to the economy of this metropolis and injury to the citizens at large have been experienced. Therefore I think that we should without too much further delay get on with the voting on this bill. I would hope that the opposition --
Mr. Martel: Why don’t you sit down, then?
Mr. Cassidy: You’ve got nothing to contribute anyway.
Mr. Warner: It would help if you would sit down.
Mr. Cassidy: This is a Tory filibuster.
Mr. Williams: -- will abide by their commitment to deal with this matter as expeditiously as possible. In so doing, I would anticipate that this would mean a vote bringing a third reading to this bill before the debate is concluded this evening.
Mr. Riddell: I’ve listened very carefully to most of the debate, although I must admit that I did slip out for some nourishment during the supper hour, if for no other reason than to coat an ulcer which developed after I got into politics.
However, I would like to point out the fact that not only has this strike had an effect on Metro Toronto, but it’s had an effect right across Ontario, because many of the small towns and rural areas are dependent on Gray Coach for transportation between areas and for transportation from a small town into a large urban centre. Many of our senior citizens rely on Gray Coach in order to get in to visit their sick husbands or sick wives in the hospitals in the large urban centres.
I simply can’t believe that the workers of the TTC would deny or want to deny these people the opportunity to get from our smaller towns to the large cities for such a purpose or to deny the transportation of workers from one town to another. I will tell you, Mr. Speaker, that there are many people who rely on Gray Coach to get from one place to another in order to carry out their working duties.
Mr. Laughren: Centralia, eh, Jack? To get to Centralia?
Mr. Riddell: That could be one. I just simply wanted to make the point that this strike has had an effect right across Ontario and not only in Metro Toronto, as we are led to believe by many of the speakers who have spoken on this subject today.
Mr. Warner: To the chagrin of some -- most -- of the other members, I will not be speaking for very long.
Mr. Lewis: But to the immense joy of your colleagues.
Mr. Warner: That is what I thought. It is nice to have support around you.
Most of my colleagues who have spoken have put the arguments quite succinctly. I have one particular request for the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) who, although he is now sitting under the gallery, I know is listening intently. I have one request.
We shouldn’t be here today. We shouldn’t have to have this bill in front of us, but that is what is happening now. We are going to deal with it. Obviously the coalition government will pass the bill. Likely that will be done in the not too distant future. But if the minister really wants to get at the root of the problem so that we are not back here again -- first on the matter of transit in Metro Toronto and secondly on the matter of public transit in other centres across Ontario, because now it appears that every city in Ontario can now count on the government to bail them out when negotiations don’t go the way they want them to -- to the new Minister of Labour I think the most useful thing that could be done whenever we find we have finished with this bill and it is passed, is to get Michael Warren to answer for his actions, either in front of the Ontario Labour Relations Board, or in the minister’s office or in a committee of this Legislature, because all of the facts as they have been presented to us indicate that there is one person who is primarily responsible for this strike.
Michael Warren wanted a strike. Michael Warren did everything he could in his own power play politics to precipitate a strike.
Ms. Gigantes: He got it.
Mr. Warner: He got his way. He got the strike he wanted. Michael Warren has acted irresponsibly and Michael Warren is the cause of this Legislature being recalled. Michael Warren is the cause of the discomfort that hundreds of thousands of Torontonians have experienced in the last few days, and Michael Warren should be called to answer for his actions.
Mr. Nixon: A nice moderate view, a balanced view.
Mr. Warner: I think it a moderate view. The Minister of Labour is well aware I have always been, as you know, Mr. Speaker, a moderate and reasonable person.
The Minister of Labour is certainly well aware of the events which took place between Friday last and Monday, and knows that captured within those 48 hours or slightly more is the essence of the problem.
Mr. Nixon: You don’t like Warren because he is tall.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That is my excuse.
Mr. Warner: No, I hold no grudge against tall people. It is not their fault they are tall. It is not their fault that they are not as clever either.
Mr. Nixon: That is what they say about short people.
An hon. member: And they’re probably all left-handed anyway.
Mr. Warner: And they are probably all left-handed, yes!
I sincerely hope when the matter is resolved then Michael Warren is going to answer. Surely the Metro council will want to know why he did not come back to them when he couldn’t solve the problem. Michael Warren didn’t know how to get through the impasse that had resulted. He should obviously have gone back to Metro council and asked for some directions. He didn’t do that. He knew he should have, and he didn’t. I can only ascertain from that that there was one reason: he knew what he wanted, a strike, and he got it.
Ms. Gigantes: He knew the government would back him up.
Mr. Warner: The government decided it could support that. The Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Drea) mentioned that it was inevitable. Perhaps that was the message that was passed along to Michael Warren: “It’s inevitable that the Legislature will legislate the workers back to work, so don’t worry if you end up precipitating a strike.”
Perhaps when we’re finished, one of the things the government will do is to take this matter in its broader context and send it to a committee to be dealt with when the House is in session and perhaps get Metro council to come in here, or the executive committee, and let’s thrash it out and find out if there is some way to make sure this kind of situation isn’t going to occur again.
I, for one, am extremely upset and frustrated over the course of events which has led to this unfortunate bill before us. I hope that if the minister is going to wrap up the debate at some point he can lay out pretty clearly what the government’s policy is with respect to the public sector. If the man who’s sitting on the outside of the revolving door, the man from Oriole, is having some influence over there, obviously they’re about to go into more public sector bashing and to outlaw public sector strikes totally in Ontario. If that’s the situation, perhaps they’ll be honest enough to put that forward. Perhaps the Minister of Labour would be kind enough to give us some sense about the policy.
Obviously, I’m opposing this bill. It’s the wrong way to solve the problem. This government doesn’t know how to solve labour disputes. That’s been evident before. It can’t do it here. But it seems to delight somehow -- or at least some of the members delight -- in legislating people back to work. That disturbs me too.
When all is said and done -- and I have voted against this bill but it’s carried -- perhaps the Minister of Labour can bring about a better way of resolving differences; and perhaps we have some way of handling Michael Warren, and perhaps that will be done swiftly too. There’s no question about the frustration that’s felt by people in Metro Toronto, people in my area, over the lack of transit in the last few days. They’re also frustrated and some of the calls I’ve got --
Mr. Turner: Let’s hear the other side of the argument now.
Mr. Warner: -- have shown frustration about the commission. Some of the people who phoned asked me if I could explain why it is that the commission doesn’t seem to be able to run its affairs properly. So there’s two sides to this. The commission has been under fire. They were under fire when they raised the fares and they’re under fire again. The government can surely do more than simply capitulate to Michael Warren’s wishes and legislate people back to work.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I regret the introduction of the bill for perhaps more reasons than one. It’s not the first time we’ve used the power of the Legislature to end a strike and I have a feeling it will not be the last, unfortunately.
While the previous speaker and others have called passionately for some sort of solution, greater minds perhaps than his and mine have sought the solution and have not come up with it as yet, other than to use the judgement of people who are, I would say, committed to the best for the community, who have the power to end the strike and decide to do so when circumstances assume a certain form.
One of the things that has concerned me in the past is not going to endear me to the past speaker, but I have found that a submission to compulsory arbitration is like asking for a visit from Santa Claus.
I can remember the debates in this House when the garbage strike in Toronto had gone on for many weeks and it wasn’t really until the health authorities brought to our attention that there was a real health hazard that the government of the day, supported by the Liberal Party and opposed by the NDP, that old configuration and one which I suppose we can all live with, decided to go forward and appoint an arbitrator to settle the dispute. The arbitrator, a well-known judge -- actually he had been on the bench in Brant county -- undertook to arbitrate and gave the garbage workers more than their own demand.
It’s difficult, and in fact you can’t question the wisdom of the arbitrator, because by law you say you must abide by what he does. We are quite prepared to do so under these circumstances. But to submit the arbitration to one judgement in this connection has in the past been probably unduly expensive for the taxpayers. If we had left it to the normal negotiations and let it go on perhaps for weeks, perhaps even for months, the settlement that the workers get finally would be somewhere between the final offer of the employer and the final demand of the union.
Our experience has been other than that. Instead of relegating the unions to a situation where they are going to be very hard done by, I’m sure the minister would know if he examined the records that in most cases the settlement is an extremely generous one indeed.
I feel that the arbitrator, and perhaps this is proper for him or her, attempts to put into balance the fact that the right to strike has been removed, either after a lengthy strike or in this instance just after a few hours. For that reason, perhaps he is somewhat more generous in that connection. Our experience is that arbitration in police settlements, which are required by law, in certain hospital settlements which are also required by law, and in others where arbitration is imposed by special act, has almost uniformly been, in my judgement, more generous than the settlement would have been if we had let the strike go on for a lengthy period of time.
In this instance, I believe that the judgement taken by the government, which is supported by my leader and this party, is proper. We are not prepared to allow the Metropolitan area to be tied up with the problems that have been recounted by my colleague the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell) and by other members who have spoken here today. I think it is proper to go forward in this connection.
It is too bad that there isn’t some alternative but there simply isn’t. We as members of this Legislature must realize that by virtue of our presence here, we have the power collectively to end the strike and we are deciding to do so. I do have some concern, as I said a moment ago, with the judgement residing in the mind of one individual. I hope that there will be some possibility that this judgement can perhaps be broadened to some extent. I would hope that the Minister of Labour would give this some consideration.
The announcement of the arbitrator has already been made. From my point of view, there is no question about the individual’s ability. I would think that by broadening the arbitration procedure somewhat that we might get a better result for the benefit of all concerned. I know that there will be an opportunity to talk about that more specifically perhaps later this evening or tomorrow but I did want to simply mention it in the principle of the bill.
As I say, members of this Legislature for many years now have tried to wrestle with a better alternative. It’s interesting that in the interjections of a few moments ago from some members in the House, there was an indication that the government is going to proceed to end strikes, for example, in the education system. Oddly enough, the judgement in this House, and I suppose it’s a strange judgement indeed, is that education is no longer considered an essential service and the schools could probably stay closed for a year, and while there would be some concern in the House, I doubt very much if the government would be moved to take action in that regard. We have instances of very long strikes in the school system. I think perhaps one of the last ones was in Renfrew and there was some indication that perhaps the House should have taken action, until a statement was made that the strike could go on until Renfrew froze over -- if members want to substitute anything in there, they may do so --
Mr. Cooke: Then they settled.
Mr. Nixon: -- and a few days later a settlement was achieved. I suppose that the last time we had a strike in the Toronto transportation it had gone on for a number of weeks, the situation was extremely volatile indeed, and in my absence, I understand that one of my good friends in the NDP quoted extensively from Hansard. We really ought to abolish that institution. I think it is a bloody waste of money, with great respect to the interjectionists, who, of course, we would retain. But the circumstances obviously were different. I have no hesitation at all in saying that I support the position taken by the Liberal Party and that we, when we have an opportunity to do so, and I hope it will be still very soon, will certainly vote for this bill which will impose compulsory arbitration and end the strike.
Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, I don’t want to hack away, as it were, at the question of compulsory arbitration being imposed by government in this instance unduly. I don’t want to raise repetitively the consequences for the collective bargaining system, because many of my colleagues have put that during the course of the day and my colleague from Riverdale, when he winds up the debate for us, will probably set it out again.
I want, in the presence of the Minister of Labour if I could, and not at length, to take us back, tying to what my leader began with, to the collective bargaining situation as it existed in the final hours of the dispute and, indeed, to the very considerable efforts which were made to resolve the strike without forcing everyone to compulsory arbitration on Monday night, if I recall, in which efforts, I am happy to concede, the Minister of Labour himself and his staff and a number of other senior people in government were intimately and feelingly involved. My sense of it, from what I know, is that if it could have been avoided that was possibly the time at which it would have happened.
I must say, from the very modest and perhaps superficial grasp I have of that last 72 hours or so, I sense something profoundly sick in the public sector collective bargaining process which ensued in the transit sector. I don’t know quite how to identify it, but what I would like to do briefly is to set up the items which still seem to be in contention between commission and union and try to give a sense of how modest was the difference and how it baffles me that everything was allowed to be driven to extremity when everyone had a sense that the sides were clearly within sight of settlement.
I know we have put a very stark interpretation on the dichotomy. We have said they had dug their heels in, but those who have dealt with labour disputes before, those who have any knowledge of the collective bargaining situation, know that seldom has a strike been forced when the positions were, in fact, so close. I want to try to understand what happened in the process of those last few days, because I am genuinely baffled.
I believe, Mr. Speaker, and I say it through you to the Minister of Labour, that the commission or those who represent and dominate the commission in the weeks of negotiation were terribly intransigent. I won’t say of Michael Warren what others have said, except to note perhaps that he is not a man lacking in self-confidence. One might almost say that he does not drown in humility and that those kinds of somewhat truculent personality styles do not favour reconciliation.
I will not paint Charlie Johnson as a saint, but he is a quiet, deferential fellow, coming as close to saintliness as you will find in contemporary labour history. Undoubtedly, if you knew trade unionists, my God, you would hug Charlie Johnson with the sheer relief of the basic conciliatory view he has of the world. Therefore, what you had juxtaposed was a trade union leader on one side who very much wanted -- and obviously so did his people; you saw that in every interview that was held publicly with transit workers wanting to reach some kind of a settlement. On the other side you had a commission through its voice hard-lining it in a most extraordinary fashion.
What were the areas of difference? One of the areas of difference obviously was the wage question. The company was offering five per cent in July, one per cent in January -- a total of six per cent -- the union was asking 7.3 per cent. Apart from the 12 cents which that represented -- and just ask yourselves in this Legislature, how many strikes do you know have been precipitated by 12 cents on the wage front? The disparity is usually much greater than that. But apart from that crazy business of setting out $6.9 million in February, and refusing to budge by even one penny -- and now let me utter a heresy -- refusing to budge even when I suspect there was an intimation from government in the eleventh hour that the province might assist -- partially if need be, by no means wholly but partially; a refusal to budge even in the face of that kind of overture, that has to tell you something about the commission’s attitude.
I don’t pretend for a moment that the ATU would agree to this, I’ll just say it: the irony is that if those fellows at the commission had taken that five per cent in July and one per cent in January, and amalgamated it to six per cent in July, not an horrendous compromise, you probably would have had a settlement to the strike. The union would probably have been put in the position where the 6.1 per cent that they wanted in July had been met by a six per cent offer from the transit commission, and that they should probably, in the light of other things in the contract, come to some kind of compromise on that. As a matter of fact, a number of weeks ago it was there, and it wasn’t acted on. I am a little baffled about why there wasn’t the compromise to effect this.
Then there was the question of COLA which was raised as the second point. The reality is again, of course, that the Amalgamated Transit Union’s request for COLA was extraordinarily modest. What they said, if I remember the figures, is roughly that “we will accept that the cost of living beyond July 1978 should rise a full 0.7 to 7.5 per cent before any COLA kicks in at all, before we would be entitled to anything more.”
Mr. Germa: Use up the wage increase.
Mr. Lewis: And then on top of that the union said, ‘We won’t ask one for one; the cost of living has to go up 1.7 before we get one per cent additional on the wage packets.”
Again that is just a remarkably restrained bargaining position. I put it to the members of this House, the government as well, that in your knowledge of collective bargaining you have to admit that if a union lets 7.5 per cent inflation take its toll first, before they even ask for anything, and then only one per cent on top of 1.7 per cent over that, that is not backing the commission into a corner. Again, the intractability on the commission’s part was mysterious.
The third point that was in dispute had to do with a benefits package. Interestingly enough the four major considerations in the benefits package which had to do with a dental plan, and had to do with certain extended health care, all of that was resolved. The union said yes and the company said yes. Two things were outstanding. One was that the company wanted to take away from the union their health plan called CUMBA, which all of us in the Legislature know is the co-operative health insurance plan. The company wanted to put that out to open tender, and the union, which felt that it was a good plan, and they liked it, wanted to preserve it. Now one had a sense that that was negotiable. I think the Minister of Labour would agree that when the chips are down the company could certainly have surrendered that position to the union, and probably would have.
Similarly, the union wanted something called an additional denture plan effective July 1978 -- sorry; effective January 1979. When the company said no, that that couldn’t happen, the union said: “All right, we won’t bug you about that. Wait until the next contract and we’ll put it in there.” So, again, there was this very fragile difference that was terribly modest.
Finally, and what I judge has not been discussed excessively here today, there were two non-monetary items which were of immense importance to the union. One was a tiny, symbolic, but highly emotional question relating to parking, involving just a few cars, ironically, and the other was a question of job protection. It was a wish on the union’s part that there be enshrined in the contract some kind of clause on technological change. This was especially true in the maintenance department, where people were losing jobs in considerable numbers.
Ironically, the TTC embodied in its practice the principles which the union wished to have enshrined contractually. They weren’t asking that much more of the TTC than the TTC was already doing. They were asking some things in addition -- I must admit, to be fair. They wanted three months’ notice and they didn’t want a serious drop in pay. They wanted things which, in other words, many of us have accepted as reasonable parts of contracts in an era of automation where working people are anxious. Again, one sensed that there might be a meeting ground.
But how is it, Mr. Speaker, when you have a difference in wage positions which is fractional, a difference in COLA which is fractional, a difference in benefits package which is marginal, and non-monetary items for which a trade-off might have occurred, that we went right to the wire and then over the brink? I don’t really understand that.
I believe, for what it’s worth, I say to the minister, that we could have resolved this dispute with good faith bargaining. In 1974, I did not like the imposition of compulsory arbitration on the ATU and we fought it bitterly in this House, as you will recall, but I must say the prospects for a negotiated settlement then were far, far less than the prospects for a negotiated settlement in this case.
I also believe, as I look over at the Cheshire cat smiles of Tim Armstrong, the Deputy Minister of Labour, who is sitting there saying to himself, “If only Lewis knew how much of a difference there really was. What a naive innocent he is,” as I look over at Tim Armstrong and that excellent group of conciliators and arbiters that the Ministry of Labour has, headed with people like Vic Pathe, I say to myself that something is wrong, Mr. Minister. Something is wrong even with the exquisite excellence of some of your subalterns. Something is wrong with the way in which we handle public sector bargaining that the government was not able to effect a settlement. Something is wrong.
I don’t know whether it is that we have too easily transferred the adversary industrial sector techniques holus bolus to the public sector without understanding the implications. I remember watching a night news television broadcast last week as the strike was coming to a head and the CBC reporter -- I think it was CBC -- was saying; “Up here on such and such a floor is the union, and down below on such and such a floor is management, and in between, is the Ministry of Labour running up and down passing messages between them.” I want to tell you, Mr. Speaker, that’s all right for the auto workers at General Motors, and it may be all right for the steelworkers and Stelco, but it doesn’t work in the public sector. What still hasn’t been grasped, even with all of the sophistication in the world, is that the industrial sector collective bargaining stratagems do not transfer uncritically to the public sector.
Part of what was said by the minister from Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea) is valid. It’s a crazy kind of analogy which we continue to employ and somewhere along the way even the Ministry of Labour here has missed the boat. Now is there any way one can deal with it in the future, because I understand the fait accompli, the realities? I don’t know.
I would have thought that the Minister of Labour -- and I have acknowledged it would do so repeatedly -- from his own involvement, I would have thought that, knowing of the position of the Toronto Transit Commission, it might have been possible in the statement he gave to do something which I think would be enormously liberating for the public sector -- to identify intransigence where intransigence exists. It is not so outrageous to say of a transit commission: “You people could have shown a little more flexibility and the people of Toronto would not have been denied public transit. The fact that you won’t is something that we, as a government, have determined to deal with by going to compulsory arbitration.”
But there is no great villainy to identifying the culprit. As a matter of fact, I never had any use for anything the previous Minister of Labour did, save once -- once, in her entire tenure. And I am concerned I will be expunged from my caucus for admitting that even once I applauded the member for York Mills (B. Stephenson). I will tell you when that was, Mr. Speaker. It was when the member for York Mills said that the women at Fleck deserved the Rand formula as a matter of right.
Curiously enough, having taken a position which was real and was honest and was partial -- and, God knows, the government takes positions which are partial towards management every day of the week, one can find a spasm of generosity and take it in favour of a union where cause be just. Having taken it, it really got Fleck up tight. In the long run it probably helped to resolve that conflict because they suddenly realized they couldn’t expect the normal Pavlovian applause from some of the ministry’s officials and the minister herself.
I think the present minister might consider in the future, if not now, bringing himself to identifying one of the parties who have really bargained in other than good faith. It may be that Michael Warren hangs his hex on the minister, as on all the other members of the front bench. I don’t know what extraordinary Damocles sword he has over there.
The other point I wanted to make to the minister is that it is not beyond our capacity to resolve some of this. Some members of the Legislature, certainly in the Liberal caucus, would be very skeptical when I mentioned the Education Relations Commission, but when one thinks of the nature of strikes in the education school board sector four or five years ago, compared to now, one has to credit the Education Relations Commission with having done a pretty consistent job.
Maybe there is something to be said, therefore, Mr. Speaker -- and I reiterate something we have said before -- maybe there is something to be said for developing a special skilled cadre to deal exclusively with public sector disputes; people who understand the public sector in a special way, whose material pertains to the public sector, whose credibility is high with the public sector, who are sophisticated and sensitive when they are dealing with the public sector. Maybe there is something to be said for that and the Education Relations Commission, I must say, in the school board sector, has done it and done it, all things considered, fairly well.
Other than that, I simply put to the minister that what we are doing as a resolution of it is dreadful. It is especially dreadful because it shouldn’t have happened. We should not have had this strike. We should not have had the workers effectively forced out. We did not need the intransigence.
Isn’t it interesting that literally at the eleventh hour we were faced with the possibility of final offer selection, a concept which I can say with authority Michael Warren embraces with passion? Now, where was final offer selection six months ago? Why was it hauled into the fray at the last minute? Why hazard the corruption of a concept which at times is operable -- it is not as perfect as it has been made out but at times it can work. Why hazard its corruption by throwing it in at the last minute and mucking it up with compulsory arbitration? If you bargain in good faith, then the question of final offer selection might have been suggested several months before you come to the apocalypse.
Mr. Van Horne: Where were the NDP experts in labour?
Mr. Lewis: No, this event should not have happened. This need not have happened. I think, therefore, that what we’re doing today in the context of collective bargaining is not a happy event. It just is never a happy event where we get away with what amounts to a great deal of direct, unconscious and sometimes gratuitous union-bashing. It’s not good what is happening to the public sector in this country. lt’s not good at all. I know and we know that there is an enormous impatience out there. Ironically, in Metropolitan Toronto today there may be more impatience after three days of this strike than there was after 23 days of the strike in 1974. What does that say? That simply says that in four years in Canada we have taken such an antagonistic view of the public sector, feeling so angry about Air Canada, the post office, transit workers and every other group for whom collective bargaining has worked adversely without thought and without sensitivity. We have turned the whole country against the public sector. Of course, there is a willingness now to have at the transit workers.
It’s not fair. It’s not fair in any romantic notion of justice. It’s not fair because it ultimately introduces injustice in large measure to very great numbers of people. What happens today is repeated time and time again. It will get worse and worse.
I know that all the government is possessed of, leaving the politics out of it, is the need to get the workers back to work. So be it. It’s going to happen. It may well happen by a little later this evening and they will be back on the job tomorrow or Friday or whenever, but in the process we say to the Minister of Labour there are some alternatives. There just have to be more sophisticated bargaining techniques in difficult public sector areas. They were not so far apart on this occasion that we couldn’t have somehow brought the sides together. There has to be some initiative within the ministry now to make sure that it doesn’t happen again in the public sector.
We cannot allow people, simply because they choose to be civil servants in the public domain, to be held to ridicule and abuse every time there is a dispute. That is unacceptable in human terms and it is unacceptable in terms of labour relations. It is very much part of the reason why we know it is not a solution and why we must, therefore, oppose this bill in principle.
Mr. Mancini: It is always very difficult to rise and speak after hearing from the honourable member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk and the honourable member for Scarborough West. Having said that, I would like to make a couple of points concerning Bill 141, a bill which would force the almost 7,000 union members who operate the Metropolitan Toronto transit service back to work.
I feel that I can honestly say that there are very few members, if any, in this House who take pride in ending what is a legal strike. I know myself that when you give a responsibility to someone or to a group of people you expect them to carry out this responsibility in the best and most honest manner they know how. Having said that, it is very difficult for me as an individual and as a member of this assembly -- and I’m sure for the rest of us -- to stand here and to say that for some reason -- maybe we think we know them and maybe we don’t -- they possibly have failed in that responsibility. That’s why for the past three days there has been no transit service here in the largest urban centre in Canada and there have been people who have not only been inconvenienced, but people who have been genuinely hurt by the effects of this work stoppage.
We already know that the employees have suffered three days’ loss of pay and have suffered greatly under attacks from different areas. We also know that people such as senior citizens who depend on the transit service, blind people and other people who need the transit service, and people who have no other way of getting around, have also been severely hurt.
As we sit here and listen to different speakers and, it’s hoped, we feel we’re getting a better grip on this thing we call collective bargaining, many thoughts go through my mind. But the main thought I have is that, even though we are ordering these transit workers back to work and it’s to be hoped the service will be restored soon, there is really no solution to the problem. We could be back here next year doing this same thing all over again, and we could be doing it for some other sector of the public service that we deem to be essential at the time.
Mr. Mackenzie: It gets easier all the time.
Mr. Mancini: I had to go though a strike last year that closed down the Essex county separate school system for fully seven weeks. It was hard to imagine, as a member of the Legislature, the feeling of really being useless, of not being able to do anything to assist the thousands of students who were out of school, the thousands of parents who were caused undue hardship by the strike and the many hundreds of teachers who lost wages and who probably are still suffering from the rift that developed in the community.
I say to the Minister of Labour that Bill 141 is not the answer to our problems. It might put the transit workers back to work -- that’s fine -- and tomorrow we’ll have service. But Bill 141 is not the answer to our problems. It is time now in this province to lay ground rules for new ways of bargaining so that what we’ve had in these past three days does not continue to happen.
I don’t say this will be an easy task. I don’t say it can be accomplished overnight. But I say we must get on with it; we don’t have a day to lose. I say it is the responsibility of the Minister of Labour and the government of Ontario to announce to the public and to the public employees that they are embarking on this new initiative, that they will have something to report and that they will be trying new alternatives.
Frankly, I don’t want ever to see another one of these Bill 141s. Let’s get on with the job of collective bargaining. Let’s get on with the new ideas that this province is going to need for 1980.
We pay special people well enough that they can get their heads together. There are enough experts in this province who have experience in the system of collective bargaining, both on the union and management sides. Certainly both sides must know by now that to oppose one another is just the destruction of one another.
I am sure the transit employees believe and know they have one of the best transit systems in the world. I am sure they want to keep the respectability of the transit system. I am sure the commissioners and the citizens of this province feel the same way. It is time we put our heads together and co-operate, if not for any other reason but for our own survival.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I want to wind up the debate so far as our party is concerned, unless someone else in the caucus feels compelled to speak in this debate.
Mr. Sweeney: Good timing.
Mr. Renwick: I do have a characteristic, in addition to being a member of the assembly, which I share with very few other members of the assembly -- perhaps, indeed, it is uniquely mine -- and that is, I use the public transit system in Toronto regularly; and, if not regularly, more often than not. As a matter of fact, I share that distinction with very few of the Metro members that I am aware of.
Mr. Lewis: None.
Mr. Renwick: None, as a matter of fact. I have, therefore, an opportunity to speak as a person who uses the system, buys the tokens and puts them into the box.
I want to say in this debate that I am extremely uneasy about what has happened in the House today and in the days leading up to the convening of the assembly ever since I heard of the announcement by the Premier late Monday night or early Tuesday morning.
The uneasiness is because of -- even for a Conservative party -- the strangeness of the decision which was made; that so precipitately after an event which was part of the ordinary collective bargaining process of the province, the government should have decided at that late hour on the first day of the strike -- in less than 24 hours -- to call the assembly and to have the assembly participate in the decision to end the strike and send the men back to work.
Let me emphasize that it is extremely unusual, when we only have two statutes in the province which happen to have preambles to them -- one the Human Rights Code and one the Labour Relations Act -- and when this government, the Conservative Party, deliberately inserted a preamble to indicate the tremendous public interest involved in the collective bargaining process, to have that truncated so quickly.
Mr. Roy: You’re wrong. The family law has a preamble.
Mr. Renwick: All right, I am wrong then; there’s a third one. There is a preamble in this one too, but there is a distinction that is made because of the nature of the decision which the government obviously made. My uneasiness has stemmed from the atmosphere in which the decision was made and the profound political psychology which appears to have animated the government in taking advantage of a situation that was extremely difficult and could easily be fanned into some degree of hysteria -- as indeed it was through some sectors of the media. The government participated in that by the quickness of their action.
I haven’t understood it all, and I don’t pretend that I will understand it all. But I want to come back to it in a few minutes, because I want to speak with the Minister of Labour about some aspects of this. I want to speak, perhaps through him to the Premier, about the role which he has played in it. I learned a long time ago that you don’t win any marks in this assembly by talking about principles. This isn’t a place in which principles guide the decisions of the House. Indeed, part of my concern today is that when you talk about principles, you’re really avoiding the kind of problem that is inherent in what we’re doing. We’ll use a little bit, not of principle but of trite political theory, that freedom is not a principle but a condition of civilization. You don’t talk about the principle of slavery or the principle of freedom. A condition of freedom of our civilization is freedom --
Mr. Sargent: The freedom to hitch-hike downtown.
Mr. Renwick: One of the many threads that comprise something called freedom in our society is free collective bargaining, and free collective bargaining means that there must be, as a condition of that freedom in our society, free trade unions.
As a further part of that condition -- and let’s not distinguish this strange world of private and public -- one of the basic and fundamental conditions of our democracy, it seems to me, is that those who work for the public institutions of the province must be given and must have those freedoms, even beyond the freedoms which are necessary for those who labour in the private sector.
In many ways, I happen to think that the condition of the fulfilment of our kind of democracy talks about the relationship of people who work for public institutions and who are subject to the combined pressures of what the citizens of the entity of the province and the politicians in the province bring to bear upon those who are in that employ.
It may seem like a rather strange way to put it but, somehow or other, I happen to feel very proud of the progress which we had made collectively in this assembly about the status and the place of the public servant in Ontario, regardless of what institution of public merit he is employed by. We made that progress in some very real, very strong, outspoken debates in this assembly -- sometimes, and more often than not, under legislation introduced by this government.
I thought that in some way the progress we had made, the beachheads we had established, had tended to support the proposition that the public servant, whatever the level of government or whatever the kind of institution in which he was involved, had achieved a status which was at least equal to his counterpart in the so-called industrial complexes of the private sector.
Part of my uneasiness today is that I felt very much beleaguered, very much under pressure, that we were about to regress from some of those positions.
Again, it comes back to the precipitate and, to me, strange decision of the Premier on Monday morning. In this province, if anything, just observing the Premier as Premier, the kind of man he is and the way he has done things, one of the hallmarks of his Premiership in these matters -- and one of the things that has been very good about him -- is that he has always dragged his feet and, by and large, let the collective bargaining process in a strange way work itself out, sometimes under immense pressure from the media and others as to why he didn’t intervene in many of the areas in it.
Certainly his colleague the Minister of Education, the now Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells), was a past master at allowing disputes in the educational field of the public sector to go on and on, to let the process work, if it was at all possible. We in many ways admired the machinery that was finally set up -- the work of the education committee, the work of the chairman of that committee, Owen Shime, and all of that.
I find now that this debate in the assembly has been less than good today, and I want to express, if I can, those kinds of concerns to the minister. Perhaps in his remarks as he closes this debate on second reading, let alone whatever points we may be able to elucidate in committee, I want him very much to say to us now -- and I’m surprised that it has to be left to my colleague the member for Scarborough West (Mr. Lewis); I would have hoped the minister would have taken advantage either in his ministerial statement at the opening today or by speaking in the debate at the opening as well as at the close -- to delineate very clearly to the House, the areas that were remaining in dispute; and the margins which were involved and the dollars which were involved in the monetary considerations; and the psychic and other job security provisions, concerns which were involved in the non-monetary provisions.
I happen to think it is very simple. People who work want job income and psychic security in their work, and I am surprised that, rather than treat this as a matter where there was a bargaining process which had come to an end and allowed the atmosphere of crisis and excitement and consternation to take over, that the government would have tried to say to us in this assembly when we were debating this bill: “These are the matters which are in dispute. This is how far they got to reaching a settlement and these one, two, three, four non-monetary items are the areas in dispute. These are the matters that the mediator, Mr. Justice Robins, will be asked to deal with in order to settle them. This is how close in dollars they were.”
I would have expected that we would have gotten some such delineation. I would have expected the government would have made some announcement rather than call this assembly back to strike out the legitimate action of that union. I would have expected that they would have taken some care and time in order to do that.
I will perhaps come back to that part of it in just a moment, but I do want to speak a little bit about the unions involved, one larger than the other two, but there are three unions which are involved in this. I want to speak to you about them, Mr. Speaker, (a) because they are probably excellent examples of the kind of unionism which has developed in the public institutions of the province and certainly in the city of Toronto. I want those in the House who have been around for four, five or six years to recognize that the short history as we know it on the floor of this assembly must give them real pause as to what is happening to 7,000 people who work in those unions if they have to be involved, in order to achieve what they consider their legitimate objections, first of all in a strike which illustrated so clearly the deplorable relations of management in labour relations in 1974, then to be faced with two rounds -- I believe two rounds -- in front of the AIB, and now to be back here in front of this assembly.
How is it that a union -- and not one single member of this assembly has had anything but praise and support for that union in the way in which they conducted their negotiations -- I say to the House, where are we in Metropolitan Toronto, where are we in the province of Ontario, that the kind of ridiculous statements of rhetoric about what we must do in the public sector in the future, the kind of emotional concern which is addressed to all of us, and for which in particular the members of the Liberal Party fell into that trap, how is it that those particular arguments of an emotional nature, which contributed nothing to the debate today, could have diverted attention away from the fundamental problem that is involved here?
The fundamental problem is still with us and is a matter of immense concern to me because of the circumstances in which the Premier intervened. You see, it is almost as if those unions, in the history of the time when they become cohesive unions well aware of trying to advance their legitimate interests, have been faced with a series of political situations which were almost no-win for them.
I’m not going to talk about the public sector in the future or what should be done in some grandiose way to structure some new processes, be they called final offer selection, compulsory arbitration, voluntary submission to arbitration, all of that kind of nonsense which we have listened about today and which obviously has strong support in the caucus of the Conservative Party and obviously is almost a part of the platform of the Liberal Party to abolish the collective bargaining system and the strike in the public sector. I’m not even going to talk about that. That’s talking around the problem that we’re involved in. I’m involved in it myself particularly as a member sitting from Metro, a person who knows very little about politics except something about municipal politics in the city of Toronto and most of that is confined to the area east of the Don River running through to Coxwell.
Mr. Roy: You are much too modest.
Mr. Renwick: The reason I can speak to my colleague, the new Minister of Labour, in a relatively frank way about my unease and my concern about this debate is that he knows the kind of world that he and I live in. He sits for a riding directly to the north of us in Metropolitan Toronto in the borough of East York.
I want to say to him that I think he got suckered in his early days, because people like him and people are glad he is a minister. He had a resounding round of applause when he stood in the House today, but he was had. He was had by a man who is the Premier of the province, who is so obsessed at the moment with political considerations about his own political career, about the career of the Conservative Party federally and about the longevity of his own government here that the minister was faced with politics at three levels.
Mr. Hodgson: His greatest concern is for the people who are walking in.
Mr. Renwick: I can say to him if one is a member of a trade union, these three trade unions were babes in the woods in that game that was played over the last few weeks.
Mr. Kerrio: Come on! Speak to the bill.
Mr. Renwick: Let me put it to the members because they are politicians and I know they’re now listening because they are beginning to interject because they know that there’s a lot of validity in what I’m going to say. I’m going to expect a lot of interjections from here on in.
Mr. Hodgson: You are off base and you know it.
Mr. Van Horne: That’s why you guys interjected when our leader was speaking because you know he had something to say.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: It’s coming to life now.
Mr. Sargent: That’s the same speech you said years ago.
An hon. member: It’s almost a Pavlovian response.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Renwick: I can hear them. I know we’re all politicians. I’m getting to them now. It doesn’t take very much knowledge of politics to say that in Metropolitan Toronto there are going to be municipal elections in November. If members will remember very clearly, the last time round in this thing there was someone called Chairman Mallette. I think he was a politician from one of the boroughs.
Mr. Sargent: Good memory.
Mr. Renwick: He’s not in politics any more. The only person that we have heard from this time is the fellow who isn’t elected, Chairman Godfrey. He’s the one who’s deploring. I haven’t heard any other person in Metropolitan Toronto politics of any nature or kind who has been talking on this issue. They have been extremely quiet but Chairman Godfrey, because he doesn’t stand for election, is deploring matters.
Then, of course, it’s the general manager of the commission who’s doing it. So we have a political situation here where the politicians are going to fight an election. Does the minister think for one moment that they are going out to advocate a fare increase or an increase of this so-called 15 per cent from Metropolitan Toronto taxes for this commission as part of its sources of funds? Does he really think that the unions have any position at a metropolitan level? Remember I said that it was politics at three levels. But just at that one level does the minister think they had any chance whatsoever of achieving their legitimate objectives through the collective bargaining process?
Let me go to politics at the second level. The Conservative Party knows very well that it wants to hang on until 1981, and it has introduced this policy of retrenchment in Ontario. They believe -- at least until the new Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) changes it; it is part of their 10 commandments at the moment -- that you hold the purse strings tight. So there is no money going to come from the provincial government, and there is no politician in Metropolitan Toronto who is going to say more money should come to the TTC from the metropolitan government or who is going to advocate a fare increase at the box. There is no money coming from this government because that is its principle and its policy. That is politics at the second level.
Politics at the third level: Some time in the middle of October there are going to be seven by-elections in Toronto for the federal House of Commons. Do you think that this Conservative Party, wanting to advance the interests of theirs, are going to allow the strike to continue for 23, 24 or 30 days or let the collective bargaining system work? Of course not.
Mr. Sargent: How long would you let it go?
Mr. Renwick: Perhaps people don’t recognize, when they go to put their ballots in those seven by-elections -- is it seven in Metro or five? Five in Metro -- that they are voting federally, municipally or provincially. Or maybe they will remember. And maybe this government will be blamed politically, not for wisdom, but just for straight politics.
As I say, and without belabouring it, at the three levels of politics there was no way in which the unions involved would be able to break through, particularly with a general manager who received all of his training as a civil servant and a deputy minister in the government here before taking on the job as general manager of the Toronto Transit Commission.
I say to the minister, my uneasiness was that in fact he and the members of his ministry were doing a pretty good job of gradually edging each of the parties closer together until suddenly the circumstances began to develop that there wasn’t anything he or the members of his ministry could do, skilled and able as they are, to effect a settlement in this case.
That is perfectly clear, because all one has to do is read, and reread and reread it, if one needs to do it, the statements made by Michael Warren on August 23, when the strike vote had been taken.
He said very clearly, no matter how you read his remarks, “There is going to be a strike. We have no room. We get our money under the new formula: 70 per cent from the fare box -- there is going to be no increase in fares; 15 per cent from Metro -- there are going to be no increases in taxes to provide any additional funds to us in the transit commission; and 15 per cent from the provincial government -- and they have said no to us.”
He categorically stated, “There is no money coming.” So my fears really get compounded when I see the original bill. I see no floor provision in it. I see no floor at all in the original bill. I say to myself, there was a floor in 1974.
Mr. Sargent: Wind it up.
Mr. Renwick: Eddie, why don’t you go out and walk to the airport?
Mr. Sargent: I can’t get a ride.
Mr. Renwick: When the minister stood up and said in his opening statement today, “I am putting in a floor at four per cent,” one per cent lower than the commission had offered, then I began to really worry and I began to understand what had happened.
In this debate, I want the minister very clearly to understand the question I am asking him. There is no point in appointing the Honourable Mr. Justice Sydney Robins as the arbitrator in this dispute. I recognize the validity of the choice; after all, we were classmates. He sat beside me. Most of what he knows he learned from me. I let him use my notes. He’s a very good man.
He responded as a member of the judiciary to a call from the government to perform a public service. That’s what we expect of our judges.
What are his ambits of discussion? He is instructed in this bill to settle the matters which are in dispute and to settle any other matters, as I understand it, that may be referred to him by both sides in order that a collective agreement can be entered into.
The minister comes in with a floor less than the commission offered. The general manager of the commission has categorically said that the provincial government will not provide any more funds. The Metropolitan Chairman apparently has said to the general manager that there will be no funds from Metro.
Where is the money going to come from? Is it going to come out of the fare box? Or is Mr. Justice Robins already so circumscribed within the narrow limits that my colleague the member for Scarborough West (Mr. Lewis) delineated as being the marginal questions with respect to financial matters, that this time he’ll be coming down low? Not because he thinks it’s the fair and just thing but because the margins are so small.
I want a categorical answer from the government. It may be that the Minister of Labour is not able to give it, but I would expect that, with the Premier’s intervention in this dispute, maybe we can get it from the Premier. I know we can get the unanimous consent of the House to allow him to speak again, if he wants to do so.
I want to know very clearly if there are any dollars available to the Toronto Transit Commission from the province of Ontario to implement the decision made by the arbitrator so that he doesn’t operate under blindfolds when he goes in to do the arbitration. Is he going to be able to look at the fairness and equity of it?
This government has to do it because the government had a choice and made a political decision that, rather than spend another cent on transit, it was going to call this House into session so we could participate with the government in an atmosphere of crisis and relative hysteria in the city of Toronto and be swept into voting for the back-to-work bill.
Listening to these people, one would have thought we were about to become some kind of Reichstag. My colleagues and I, in speaking about matters we felt strongly about in relation to our friends in the trade union movement -- and we subscribe to the same kind of principle the Tories do, that you reward your friends by supporting them in politics -- we were going to support them, and the Tories were trying to turn us into some kind of pariahs. One would have thought that we had no right to come in here, except to say: “Ah, yes. Heil, heil.” First reading, second reading, third reading; swish, out.
I just want to get it straight, that there are some fundamental questions -- sure, there are a lot of questions of rhetoric, principle, freedom and all the rest of it; we’ll deal with those on some other occasion. I want to know from this government, are we carrying out the policy of the government, in supporting them, that no money will be available to the transit commission? Or will there be any money available from the provincial government to the government of Metropolitan Toronto in order that their share of the funds which may be required to provide a just and equitable settlement to the unions will be made available to them? Or are you saying: “We know the mood and atmosphere of people now. Let’s make certain that everybody feels the whip. Let’s make certain everybody feels the whip, so that those who use the much-vaunted transit system in the city of Toronto will share the burden by putting the tokens in the box.”
One of the disastrous statements that was made in the media on a couple of occasions was to try to turn the people who use the transit system against the people who operate it. In other words, you try to turn an old trick. You try to turn part of the working people against another part of the working people so that one part of the working people fights with another part, and everybody can say, “Isn’t that too bad?” They did it at Fleck. They brought some in from the countryside into the Fleck plant. We did it at Proctor-Silex. We do it everywhere. Get the working people fighting against each other and you’ve accomplished quite a bit.
I come back to my fundamental point: What is the role of this government? I wish I were also a member of Metropolitan council so I could ask the chairman what is the role of their government. If this government is saying there is no money coming from the provincial government, either to Metropolitan Toronto or to the transit commission, that all of the moneys to effect this settlement come out of the fare box, then in all honesty and integrity the government owes it to this House to tell us; it owes it to the commission to reaffirm it if it has already told them privately, as I understood Michael Warren to say on August 23; it owes it to the workers in the system and it owes it to the people of Toronto. The government had better get it clear because regardless of the esteem with which I hold Mr. Justice Robins, it can’t put him into that kind of a mousetrap. There isn’t enough room. He wouldn’t be able to get out of it.
What is the minister saying? What are the dollars involved? What are the monetary items? What is the dollar spread? Put it down in accounting terms in Hansard for us to see. What are the non-monetary items that are involved that relate to job and psychic security in employment, and what are going to be in substance the matters that go to the arbitrator?
Just as an addendum, perhaps, let me reinforce what doesn’t need to be reinforced -- what my colleague from Scarborough West said, that underlying it all is there an automation problem? Is there in fact a reluctance or a refusal by the commission to put into language a technological change clause that will provide some protection in a service which may well be, as other industries are, wide open to automation and job loss and insecurity? Level with us. The government intervened; that’s why we’re here. It should level with us. Then I wish we could have the debate over again.
My uneasiness is profound and real, as a member sitting in this Legislature for the riding of Riverdale. I want the answers and I want them clearly and I want them in a way that we can understand them and discuss them rationally and intelligently, because that’s what we’re about here.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable Minister of Labour. This will close the debate on second reading.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, my remarks will be very brief. I must say that I appreciate greatly many of the valuable and constructive remarks and suggestions that have been made today, and I have instructed the Cheshire cat over in the wings to take careful notes and to review some of them with me.
To go on at any great length to review the subject would be, in a sense, redundant since we have heard, I think, every possible point of view that could be expressed. I’m an admitted novice in this ministry. I must say I’m no expert in collective bargaining but I will say I have learned a lot in the past three weeks -- not enough; I still have much to learn.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s true too.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I never stop feeling that way, though; that’s the difference.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: The member for Ottawa Centre is not bursting with intelligence either, I’ll tell him that.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: This much, though, I can tell the House. As I met with representatives of both parties on Sunday morning for a considerable length of time, as I sat with the Premier as he met with the same parties later that Sunday, and as I met again with the parties at 3 a.m. on Monday to see if there was any possibility of reconciliation, there was no doubt in my mind that reconciliation and compromise were not possible.
I met again with cabinet and my colleagues, and we all felt that this was a situation that should be resolved without government action, if that was humanly possible. That led again to prolonged meetings, moments when we thought there was a possibility of a compromise and, finally, as the midnight hour of Monday approached, it was clear that there still remained some positions which could not be settled and could not be resolved.
The government’s action, therefore, it seemed to us, was pretty clear and the path obvious. There was no possibility of compromise. I could list three pages of items for the member from Riverdale. I don’t intend to, quite frankly, because those are the issues.
Mr. Renwick: We want them.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: The issues are well understood by both the parties. There is no mystery about it.
Mr. Renwick: Are you going to give them to us in committee?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I will give them to you privately any time you want.
Mr. Renwick: Why not in this House?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Let us not get into a discussion about a matter that may possibly be going before the Honourable Mr. Justice Robins.
Mr. Renwick: Let’s not get into the matter of supposition.
Mr. Germa: What is the big secret?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: In any event, it is clear to everyone who has anything to do with it, and there is no one who doubts it, that there was no possibility for compromise.
Ms. Gigantes: Why?
Mr. Renwick: Are you going to give them any money?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: It is clear to us, as it is to most members here, that Metropolitan Toronto presents a unique situation, a population of two million people tied up in an incredible way by this strike. Therefore, our position was clear.
I hope I didn’t misunderstand the member for Riverdale when he suggested there would be some doubt about the equity of the decision from Mr. Justice Robins. I know he didn’t mean that. I have a great regard for that man, as the member does. I didn’t sit next to him, but he taught me.
I have a great regard for him and I know that he will look at the matter as it should be looked at.
Mr. Renwick: You understood me very clearly; you know that.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: That is all right. He will look at it as it should be looked at. Are there provincial dollars? Do you really think that I should be answering that question now on behalf of the government?
Mr. Swart: Yes.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Do you think that I should prejudge a situation while there is a judicial hearing possibly about to take place? I think that would be most inappropriate and don’t intend to do it.
Mr. Renwick: That is not what we said. Let’s put it the other way -- why not?
Mr. Cassidy: The Premier was once the transportation man of the year.
Hon. Mr Elgie: I am also distressed with the suggestion that there was some hidden meaning in the putting in of a four per cent base.
Mr. Renwick: Why did you make it this?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: There is no hidden meaning. We are trying to give the arbitrator the freest range of choice that he can have without trying to influence him.
An hon. member: Where did you get the four per cent from?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: The last TTC wage offer to the best of my recollection was about 5.5 per cent. Surely, if one were to put a base of 5.5 per cent, then one has told him what to do. He is to go above it. I am not saying whether he should or shouldn’t.
We have tried to leave enough of a difference there between four --
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I listened to members patiently. Try to listen to me. We have tried to put a difference in there between four and 5.5 per cent which makes it clear that we are not frying to influence him. Surely no one can pretend the cost of living isn’t going up.
Mr. Renwick: You would take the right to strike away from them.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Did you really think he would go by four per cent as some indication of where he should be?
Ms. Gigantes: Yes. What else are you going to do -- to offer them?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: We are trying to give the working men some assurance of income retroactively and over the next few days as the strike proceeds, and some security until a decision is reached.
It is nothing other than that: just our interest in giving them something during this interim period.
Mr. Germa: Just like the other ministries.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I don’t want to get into any of the other matters at this moment, but I would like to tell all members that I appreciate their remarks and I would like to get on with the conclusion of the debate, if we could.
Mr. Germa: You are very highly overrated. I can see that already.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I will come and have a beer with you in my jeans any time.
The House divided on the motion by Hon. Mr. Elgie for second reading of Bill 141, which was approved on the following vote:
Smith, G. E.
Taylor, J. A.
Yakabuski -- 72.
Davison, M. N.
Ziemba -- 27.
Ayes 72; nays 27.
Motion agreed to.
Ordered for committee of the whole.
House in committee of the whole.
TORONTO TRANSIT COMMISSION LABOUR DISPUTES SETTLEMENT ACT
Consideration of Bill 141, An Act respecting Labour Disputes between the Toronto Transit Commission and Division 113, Amalgamated Transit Union, Lodge 235, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local No. 2.
On section 1:
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that clause (ii) of section 1(1)(b) be amended by striking out “30th” in the second line and inserting in lieu thereof “31st.”
Motion agreed to.
Section 1, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 2 and 3 agreed to.
On section 4:
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, I would appreciate it if the minister would delineate for us in the assembly the matters which are in dispute at the present time to his knowledge, so that we in this House will be aware of the matters which have led to this assembly being called now.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I would sincerely like to assure the member that it’s not a matter of keeping any of the items a secret. I would refer him to 4(1), where it says any matter that may be subject to dispute is open.
Mr. Deans: You don’t know.
Mr. Renwick: All right. Perhaps I could clarify my request then. The subsection is in three or four parts. What I was asking for on this question -- there may be other questions in a moment or two -- refers to where it says: “The arbitrator shall examine into any and decide all matters remaining in dispute between the employer and the unions immediately before the coming into force of this Act.” Surely, the minister and the ministry must know what those matters are at the present time. If not, then they should just say they don’t know -- that we’re here because they don’t know what the matters in dispute are.
Mr. Nixon: Don’t let him lead you, Bob.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, through you to the member for Riverdale, in the most humble way I can I say I have quite a list of what the disputes are. But my point is that in that section, if one goes down to the next line, it makes every item a possible item of dispute. I would therefore feel that it would be inappropriate to read off lists of things when there may be other items that will still be in dispute.
Mr. Renwick: I understand, and I’m grateful for crumbs. I just want to know what the matters are which are in dispute, to your knowledge, at the present time, and whether or not there is a dollar figure on top of them. Would you like to consult with the House leader and the Premier about it?
Mr. Breithaupt: Ask the Premier to present a list.
Mr. Pope: Go ahead and tell him.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I think it’s fair then. I see no reason not to outline these matters.
Prior to the breakdown of negotiations on September 11 the following items proposed by the commission remain unresolved:
Number one, CUMBA: The employer wishes to delete reference to the specific benefit carrier from the agreement and thereby effect a significant saving which they are prepared to pass on to the union.
Number two, predetailing: Do you want me to outline them in greater detail?
An hon. member: Yes.
Mr. Sweeney: Oh, come on, for crying out loud.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Mr. Cassidy: Yes, it is important.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, would it be in order just to pass the paper or table it?
Mr. Chairman: If the honourable minister wishes to do that, he certainly may.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I have no objections to that.
Mr. Sargent: When you find out, what are you going to do with it?
Hon. B. Stephenson: They already have it.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I will be interested to know how that changes things.
Mr. Chairman: I understand that the minister wishes to pass this over to the member for Riverdale -- to put it in Hansard? Is the member for Riverdale satisfied that this be placed in Hansard without being read?
Mr. Cassidy: Yes, we want it.
Mr. Renwick: I would actually like to see it and then I will give it back to the minister.
Mr. Sargent: Make 126 copies and then send them around.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Write it down for him and give it to him.
Mr. Chairman: Order. I was unable to hear the comments of the member for Riverdale.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, I have only one wish and that is that perhaps with the facilities of the government we could have a copy for the Liberal Party, a copy for ourselves and a copy for your files.
Mr. Hodgson: Your leader already has one. Don’t you share with your members, Mike?
Mr. Cassidy: Where have you been hiding for the last few days?
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Mr. Breithaupt: Perhaps we could hear from the member for Riverdale that the provision of the list will be sufficient to allow us to continue or whether it would be still his view to read this matter entirely into the record of the House.
Mr. Chairman: I understood that the member for Riverdale just stated that he would be satisfied if the list was given to himself and to the Liberal Party and to the chairman.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, I don’t want to make an issue out of it. I had hoped that the easiest way would be for the House to agree to have it printed as an appendix to Hansard and for each of us now to be furnished with it so it would be available to us immediately.
Mr. Nixon: Surely if the Minister of Labour is prepared to use the good offices of the whip of the government party to see that a copy is provided to each party, that’s sufficient. Surely we don’t have to print it as an addendum to Hansard.
Mr. Cassidy: Yes.
Mr. Renwick: I would love one.
Mr. Chairman: Order. Are there any further comments?
Mrs. Campbell: What is the resolution --
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, could the minister delineate for me the dollars that they believe fall between the commission and the unions in relation to the monetary matters? Is it something under $2 million? What is your best estimate of the range of difference between the unions and the --
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, it has just been drawn to my attention that under the Labour Relations Act, section 100(3), “no report of a conciliation offer shall be disclosed except to the minister, the deputy minister or the chief conciliation officer of the Ministry of Labour.” Although I personally have no reason not to discuss the contents with anyone, I have no right to release it publicly.
Mr. Renwick: Perhaps we could move an amendment to this section of the bill to provide for this exception then.
Mr. Chairman: Order. Shall section 4 carry?
Mr. Renwick: Let’s settle this now.
Mr. Renwick: I don’t want to resort to a point of order, and section 4 was not carried. We’re engaged in a discussion about it.
Mr. Havrot: Why don’t you listen?
An hon. member: It was carried.
Mr. Renwick: If you want to call section 4 as carried, fine. I’ll raise a point of order. I don’t want to get involved in that. I thought you had the document in your hands. I thought that was tantamount to tabling it. I thought we were each going to get a copy. Now I’m suddenly told that we’re not entitled to it. What is the government’s position about it?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: The position is, we will comply with section 100(3) of the Labour Relations Act.
Hon. Mr. Welch: That’s the law.
Hon. B. Stephenson: It is the law.
Mr. Renwick: Was the document not in the minister’s possession?
Some hon. members: No.
Mr. McClellan: It certainly was.
Mr. Renwick: I specifically wanted to avoid this problem. Is the government saying that it does not want us to have this information?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, and through you to the member for Riverdale, the government is not saying anything. The law is saying that it’s improper and illegal to table such information and to counsel tabling or disclosure of such information.
Mr. Lewis: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, if I might. Rather than cause a contretemps, rather than attributing it to a conciliation officer and reading it to us as a conciliation report, would it be possible for you to outline what you understand as minister? We don’t care what the sources are -- what you understand, as minister, the outstanding areas of dispute to be. Can you lust read them in rapid order into the record of the House so that we could have them?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I would be delighted to do that.
Mr. Havrot: He already read it four hours ago.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: From my discussions with the parties involved, and without going into several of the detailed items that are recorded, the items in controversy are these. First of all, there is wages. The commission’s last offer was five per cent as of July 1 and another one per cent as of January 1, with a COLA clause that was, I believe, a lump sum payment in the last three months.
Mr. Lewis: It was $50,000.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Yes, something like that. The union’s position on that --
Mr. Pope: He’s got all that information anyway.
Mr. Lewis: No, we haven’t.
Hon. B. Stephenson: You do have it.
Mr. Pope: Yes, you have.
Mr. Mackenzie: Who’s the Minister of Labour? You or the member for York Mills?
Mr. Chairman: Order. The honourable minister has the floor.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: The union’s position varied three times over the weekend. On one occasion it was six per cent and two per cent compounded; six per cent and two per cent; and then six per cent and 1.5 per cent compounded. That was their final position.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s because they were bargaining in good faith.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: They also had an entirely different COLA program.
Ms. Gigantes: What’s COLA?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Cost of living allowance.
Mr. Cassidy: It was a COLA, a real one.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Whatever that means. There was a different COLA clause. The other items were primarily administrative things, with or without some cost, that the commission was requesting. The union’s requests were again some administrative things, but a lot of the arguments centred on the health plan, as was mentioned, I believe, by the member for Scarborough West. The union wished to retain the existing CUMBA health plan; the commission wanted to put the plan out to tender, feeling that it could save $300,000 by so doing and could give that money to the employees as wages or other benefits.
In essence, those were the major items, although there is quite a list of other minor items. Nineteen of 50 items had been resolved by July 27.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, it is most unfortunate. The government House leader is too sharp.
Mr. Lewis: It wasn’t the government House leader. It was somebody under the gallery perhaps. He isn’t that sharp.
Mr. Cassidy: Harold Greer, right?
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, perhaps I could ask the minister if he could tell us, or perhaps the Premier could tell us, what is the dollar margin we’re talking about in his best assessment?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: That too is an item that there wasn’t general agreement about. Representatives of the union estimated a difference of approximately $1.5 million, whereas the commission’s representatives estimated it was more than $2 million. I think the difference in figures was due to a different triggering-in point with COLA.
Mr. Sargent: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order: This is not a valid blockage, because this afternoon the labour critic for the NDP quoted to the House all these figures that the member now wants to know. This will not affect the vote, Mr. Chairman, because any information he wants after the vote he can get from the minister or through you.
An hon. member: He already has it.
Mr. Sargent: He already has it. It’s a matter of filibustering this vote.
Mr. Chairman: Order. The honourable member for Riverdale.
Mr. Renwick: I quite agree that my colleague from Hamilton East would be a good Minister of Labour.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: You’re just delaying.
Mr. Renwick: So we are speaking of somewhere between $1.5 million and $2 million-plus; that’s the spread? Would the minister tell me whether or not the government of which he is a member has indicated one way or the other to the commission or to Metro Chairman Godfrey, prior to the strike deadline, that there were no funds available from this government to the commission or to Metropolitan Toronto?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: With the greatest of respect, Mr. Chairman, I don’t see that that question has anything to do with section 4.
Mr. Warner: He just answered the question. The answer is yes.
Mr. Laughren: I think he just answered the question.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Mr. Renwick: I take it, without putting words in your mouth, that what general manager Warren said on August 23, when he was told that there were no funds available at the provincial level, is an accurate statement.
Mr. Pope: I wouldn’t infer that.
Mr. Kerrio: What does this have to do with the bill?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I repeat that I don’t see where this line of questioning relates to section 4 of the bill that we’re discussing now.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Mr. Cassidy: I think this is the appropriate place to ask questions such as the ones that have been put by the member for Riverdale.
Mr. Breithaupt: Not the ones you know the answers to.
Mr. Cassidy: Up until now the members of this House have not had a chance to question either the new Minister of Labour or the Premier about what it was they were able to establish about the dispute during the course of some fairly long hours of discussion with both sides.
It is my understanding that the final offer of the commission and the offers the commission talked about during the course of the conciliation or mediation or last-ditch attempts to intervene that were made by this minister and by the Premier at no time exceeded the six per cent and that the six per cent is exactly the same figure which they said back in February they were prepared to offer.
Is that correct? If so, I’d like the Minister of Labour to say whether he feels that failure to budge one iota from six per cent constituted good faith bargaining on the behalf of the TTC.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I hesitate to be repetitious but I would like to repeat that that has nothing to do with section 4(1). The matter dealing with the negotiation by mediators and conciliators is a private matter, as I understand. It has nothing to do with section 4(1).
Mr. Cassidy: If the minister wishes to answer this kind of question elsewhere in another clause of the bill, we’d be happy to wait until that particular point. However, as the member for Riverdale pointed out, surely the matter of wages is one of the major matters in dispute and, in fact, that’s just what the minister has indicated in giving us a brief outline of the matters in contention, at the request of the member for Riverdale.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That is what the arbitration is all about.
Mr. Cassidy: Is the minister prepared to answer the question as to whether or not in his opinion the TTC was acting in good faith when it failed, apparently, to make any advance between February and now in the offer it was prepared to make to the union in order to settle this dispute?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I repeat that the issue before us tonight is not the negotiations that took place. It’s the passage of this bill. Section 4(1) requires that the arbitrator shall set out those matters that are in dispute.
Mr. Cassidy: On section 4 -- I will try one last time: The government has asked us to pass this bill in the first place on the basis of information to which the minister will now not make this House privy. The minister will not say what he thinks about the behaviour of the union or the company or anybody else. He’s being extraordinarily circumspect after telling the House it was because he and the Premier had reached the conclusion that no further means could be found for collective bargaining to take place.
Hon. Mr. Norton: That’s absolutely a red herring. It is totally irrelevant.
Mr. Cassidy: Surely we have the right to the opinion of the Minister of Labour as to the behaviour of the parties which led to the need for this particular section with all that it connotes for collective bargaining in the province of Ontario. Will the minister give us an answer or not?
Mr. Chairman: Order. Does the honourable minister have any comments?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I have no comments, Mr. Chairman.
Sections 4 to 6, inclusive, agreed to.
On section 7:
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that the bill be amended by adding thereto the following new section 7: “The basic hourly rates of wages for employees to whom this Act applies are hereby increased by four per cent over the basic hourly wage rates in effect on the expiry date retroactive in each case to the day immediately following the expiry date; and the decision of the arbitrator shall include such increase but nothing in this section prevents the arbitrator from granting increases in the basic hourly wage rates in excess of those established in this section.”
Is there agreement on the amendment?
Mr. Mackenzie: No. We have an amendment to that section.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Mackenzie moves that the new section 7 as read by the Minister of Labour be amended by replacing the figure “four” in line three with the figure “five.”
Mr. Rotenberg: Will you vote for the bill if we do?
Mr. Mackenzie: My remarks, Mr. Chairman, will be brief.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: If not reasonable.
Mr. Laughren: Don’t tease the bears.
Mr. Mackenzie: It would seem to me that we are taking a very firm line with the transit employees and a very basic right away from them. Five per cent has been agreed to at the bargaining table. There was no question of that. And it would seem to me that that floor at least should be guaranteed to the transit workers.
It might help, as well, to remove some of the fears or suspicions that I’m afraid the previous debate has aroused over what money is there or isn’t there. We would want to think and hope that they are starting from what had been agreed upon and that what is in dispute is the difference between the five and 7.5 per cent that the union’s total demand was. I would certainly hope that the House would agree to at least what has already been agreed upon in the negotiations between the parties.
Mr. Lewis: Mr. Chairman, I would simply like to support my colleague. I didn’t understand what the Minister of Labour said at all when he tried to explain the position of setting it at four. This feels very punitive and prejudicial towards the workers. What you are doing is saying if you write in five this is the offer which the commission made effective July 1. We understand that the arbitrator can settle there or somewhere between five and 7.3 which is the position of the parties. Why do you come in under the last offer which the company has made, thereby saying in effect to the workers we would consider driving you even lower than that which the commission has offered and we are giving the arbiter --
Mr. Lewis: Just a second, Mr. Chairman; that’s the way it feels to working people.
An hon. member: You never worked a day in your life.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Only a devious mind like yours would think of that.
Mr. Lewis: You may say to them, “what we are really doing is giving you four per cent retroactively to July 1 and guaranteeing you that floor. Isn’t that generous of us?” But they don’t understand why you will not give them the floor which the commission has offered, and still leave the arbiter all the freedom in the world to determine what he would wish to determine. I must say that we don’t understand the four per cent at all.
Mr. Havrot: It is in the legislation.
Mr. Cassidy: I just want to add a couple of words to that, Mr. Chairman: I think the Minister of Labour knows that on August 22 of this year there was a vote by the members of the union on the offer of the TTC which was four per cent effective July 1 and then two per cent on January 1 of the coming year. By a vote of something like 4,900 to 490 -- 90 per cent of those who voted rejected that particular TTC offer. The number of workers who voted was something like 70 per cent of the entire bargaining unit. Yet now the Conservative government has decided in its wisdom that is all they are going to guarantee for the workers.
The negotiations, as the minister knows, have gone on for a period of about five and a half months. Over that time, that four per cent was all that the company had on the table. That was all they were prepared to offer effective July 1. Five months of work by the bargaining committee, by the paid staff of local 113, by all of the other people who have been involved in this particular dispute on behalf of the union; finally, last Friday, got the company to budge to the point where they were prepared to say that they would give five per cent on July 1, 1978 rather than four per cent.
It may not seem like much, but when you’ve fought for it for four or five months it looks like something that’s worth trying to keep. For the government to come along with a piece of legislation which is completely objectionable and outrageous by itself, and then to add insult to injury by saying that the workers may finally get even less than what they bargained in good faith for, for a period of five months; when the workers, step by step through their union, took steps downward from their original demand and were genuinely bargaining in good faith all the way along while the company was simply standing firm; that is not to take a balanced view at all. This, it seems to us, is to simply take a pro-management view. It leaves it open to the arbitrator to finally come up with a solution, which was what Michael Warren was wanting in the first place and which is something no more than six per cent. We should not give that kind of mandate, or leave that kind of door open to the arbitrator, good as he may be.
Hon. Mr. Rhodes: Garbage; pure garbage.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Why not?
Mr. Cassidy: Everybody knows that if five per cent is written into this particular section the ultimate settlement will be no lower than what is guaranteed in the bill and will be no higher than the union’s final demand. That’s the range within which it is proper for the arbitrator to make a decision. But he should not be told on the one hand --
Mr. J. A. Taylor: Tell us why.
Mr. Cassidy: -- that he cannot exceed the six per cent which has been the sticking point of the TTC and which was the reason that the TTC provoked this strike. On the other hand, he surely should not be given any latitude at all to give to the workers in the ATU less than what the company was actually prepared to offer only four days ago.
Mr. Havrot: Whose money are you dealing with?
Mr. MacDonald: Certainly not yours.
Mr. Havrot: Not mine, that’s for sure.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, I would lust like to comment that the member for Ottawa Centre suggested an offer. There is no suggestion of an offer in this. This is our suggestion and concern that the workmen who now have not had a contract since July 1, should receive some interim award. There is no suggestion that it’s an offer at all. As a matter of fact, we’re trying to stay out of the business of suggesting an offer. That’s what the arbitrator is being appointed for. There is nothing to do with an offer in this, I suggest. Our only concern is to compensate workmen during the interim and not in any way suggest to the arbitrator where he should start or where he should finish --
Mr. Germa: Did Michael Warren give you that figure?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: -- but he must not go lower than that.
Mr. Cassidy: The member for Hamilton East has pointed out, among other things, that very soon both the TTC and the union will be contacting the workers who were involved, given the determination of the government and its friends in the Liberal Party to pass this bill --
Mr. Havrot: Yes, look at the clock. You can kill the time.
Mr. Cassidy: -- and telling them to start to come back to work.
Regarding the four per cent versus five per cent, we’re talking about eight cents or nine cents an hour over a period of 45 days until the arbitrator eventually is meant to come down with his actual award. So, somebody who has recently been elevated to the cabinet -- I’m sorry -- somebody in this House might say: “That isn’t very much. Surely there’s not a real problem there.” But this is a psychological thing.
Mr. Lane: Just to you.
Mr. Cassidy: People are involved. Streetcar drivers and bus operators are not automatons. They’re human beings and they feel abused by the way that they’ve been treated. They feel abused by the fact that they were not able to get a contract in negotiations with the TTC, and they certainly feel abused that for the fifth year in a row they’re coming under legislative action or wage controls.
Mr. Havrot: So do two million other people.
Mr. Cassidy: If you compound that by saying four per cent is all you’re good for, it seems to me, when they know that the TTC had put five per cent on the table --
Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s not right.
Mr. Cassidy: -- effective July 1 of this year --
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Mr. Cassidy: -- it is just adding to the problems of transit in the city. I want to suggest to the minister that he seriously consider accepting the amendment of the member for Hamilton East, which merely assures that what the TTC was prepared to pay four or five days ago will be the minimum settlement which the workers will get when the arbitrator finally finishes.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Chairman, just one further comment: I won’t run through the reasoning of my last discussion, but I do resent the suggestion that there is a punitive or an abusive element being suggested. This is this government’s expression of its concern for the well-being of workmen during the forthcoming period of arbitration and during the past period when they had been negotiating. I have nothing further to add.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Mackenzie has moved that the new section 7 of the bill be amended by replacing the figure “4” in line three with the figure “5”.
All those in favour will say “aye.”
All those opposed will say “nay.”
In my opinion, the “nays” have it.
The amendment to the amendment is lost.
Hon. Mr. Elgie has moved that the bill be amended by adding thereto the new section 7.
Motion agreed to.
Section 7 agreed to.
On section 5:
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that clause (c) of subsection 1 of section 7 of the bill, now renumbered as section 8, be deleted and the following substituted therefor:
“(c) The employer shall commence startup operations immediately and as soon as practicable shall operate and continue to operate its undertakings to their normal extent, scope and capacity.”
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Elgie moves that clause (e) of subsection 1 of section 7 of the bill, now renumbered as section 8, be amended by inserting, after “employees” in the third line, “as increased by this Act”.
Motion agreed to.
Section 8, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 9 to 13, inclusive, agreed to.
Bill 141, as amended, reported.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the committee reported one bill with amendments.
The following bill was given third reading on motion:
Bill 141, The Toronto Transit Commission Labour Disputes Settlement Act, 1978.
The Honourable Lieutenant Governor of Ontario entered the chamber of the Legislative Assembly and took her seat upon the throne.
Hon. P. M. McGibbon (Lieutenant Governor): Pray be seated.
Mr. Speaker: May it please Your Honour, the Legislative Assembly of the province has, at its present sitting thereof, passed a certain bill to which, in the name of and on behalf of the Legislative Assembly, I respectfully request Your Honour’s assent.
Clerk Assistant: The following is the title of the bill to which your honour’s assent is prayed:
Bill 141, An Act respecting Labour Disputes between the Toronto Transit Commission and Division 113, Amalgamated Transit Union, Lodge 235, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local No. 2.
Clerk of the House: In Her Majesty’s name, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor doth assent to this bill.
The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor was pleased to retire from the chamber.
RESUMPTION OF SESSION
Honourable Mr. Welch moved that when the House adjourns, it stands adjourned until Monday, October 23, 1978, provided that if it appears to Mr. Speaker, after consultation with the government, the public interest requires the House to meet at an earlier time, Mr. Speaker may give notice and thereupon the House shall meet at the time stated in such notice, and that should Mr. Speaker be unable to act, owing to illness or other cause, the Deputy Speaker or the Deputy Chairman of the committee of the whole House shall act in his stead for the purposes of this order.
Mr. MacDonald: I feel driven to make just a brief comment on this.
Mr. MacDonald: You fellows were going to be here until tomorrow and now you are going to get out at 10 o’clock. Do you want to get out at five to 10?
Mr. Speaker: Does the honourable member have something cogent and relevant?
Mr. MacDonald: Yes, I have -- well, whether or not it is cogent, Mr. Speaker, will be for you to say, or for you to judge.
I just wanted to say that I can’t conceive of a more absurd way to operate business of this House than by what we have just done. Let me remind you what has happened.
Everybody has been operating on the assumption that the Legislature was going to come back on October 17. All of the select committees have prepared their work on the basis of October 17. I know the Premier now wants to talk to the House leader and nobody knew for certain. That is part of the absurdity -- nobody knows for certain. Yet we have time and a lot of work to do between sessions.
Not only did the select committees prepare their work, but the House leaders or their executive assistants did a lot of work on scheduling estimates and everything; and interestingly enough, they found that with the greatest pressure possible we will finish the estimates on the third week of December, almost on the eve of Christmas -- if we began on October 17.
Mr. Hennessy: Merry Christmas.
Mr. MacDonald: Okay. The Irish we always have with us.
Hon. B. Stephenson: Thank God.
Mr. MacDonald: Let me proceed with the absurd scenario. I heard, and maybe it was wrong, that the Liberals were going to move a motion to October 10.
Mr. Martel: Grandstanding.
Mr. MacDonald: Sure they were, which would have meant they would have cut off all of the plans for the select committees in the middle of the preparations. Admittedly we would have had one more week of the session.
Mr. MacDonald: Shuffling behind the scene, the Liberals, with that firmness of decision which characterizes their operation, changed, and, wanting to meet earlier, they now agree with the government to meet later. To coin a --
Mr. MacDonald: To paraphrase the operation in a way that you would understand, Mr. Speaker, it is a helluva way to run a railroad.
Mr. Speaker: You have heard the motion; shall the motion carry?
Mr. Lewis: On a point of order, sir, which I am providing for your guidance alone, whether or not you are here, as was ominously referred to in the House Leader’s motion to call the House back together or indeed to call us back on an earlier day, depends, if you will listen to me carefully, on whether or not you give any further newspaper interviews.
Mr. Speaker: I accept your admonition. Shall the motion carry?
Motion agreed to.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the House adjourned at 10:06 p.m.