The House met at 2 p.m.
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Later today I will be introducing two bills for first reading. The Art Gallery of Ontario Amendment Act, 1978, is to effect certain housekeeping matters involving the board of trustees and the day-to-day operations of the Art Gallery of Ontario. The Foreign Cultural Objects Immunity from Seizure Act, 1978, renders immune from seizure under judicial process certain works of art and other objects of cultural significance brought into Ontario from a foreign country for temporary exhibition and sponsored by the Ontario government or a cultural or educational institution in Ontario, if the Lieutenant Governor in Council has determined that such works of art or objects are of cultural significance and that the display thereof is in the interest of the people of Ontario.
Mr. Warner: Hide in the art gallery; that will keep you out of trouble.
Mr. S. Smith: I have some questions of the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) who, I understand, will be in the House shortly. Perhaps I could temporarily yield my place in the question period order to the leader of the third party.
Some hon. members: No.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I’m in your hands but I have questions for the Premier (Mr. Davis) and for another minister who is not present.
Mr. McClellan: Why don’t we adjourn for five minutes?
Mr. Bradley: Let’s have a recess.
Mr. Cassidy: I would suggest that in that case, Mr. Speaker, you rule that we go to questions from back-benchers, if the Leader of the Opposition is not prepared to go forward at this time. Perhaps you’d like to adjourn the House until the relevant ministers are here.
Mr. Speaker: All right. I suggest we start the rotation of the back-benchers until we get some targets, starting with the official opposition.
Mr. G. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I’ll take the first question.
Mr. Warner: There’s a member here who wants to ask a question, Mr. Speaker.
Ms. Gigantes: I have a question for the Minister of Education. I wonder if, arising out of the recommendations and analysis of the Committee on the Costs of Education, the minister is now willing to accept the fact, pointed out to her and to the Treasurer over many months and indeed many years, that the kind of shift in the burden of education costs from the province to the municipality which has been occurring in Ontario is inequitable and reduces access to equal opportunity in education for students across Ontario?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: The documents referred to by the honourable member have been rereleased as a compendium and will provide a very informative piece of information for my examination of the problems relating to education, particularly in this era of declining enrolments.
Mr. Warner: That’s no answer.
Ms. Gigantes: Supplementary: Can I ask the minister when we can expect from her ministry and from her a statement on her reactions to each and every one of the criticisms and recommendations that are contained in the final report?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I would remind the honourable member that the final report is a reiteration of all of the interim reports and that most of those were dated long before the year 1978. I am aware of the criticisms which have been established and delineated within each of those reports. I am concerned about them and I am in the process of examining each one of them.
Mr. Warner: Supplementary: Since, according to the minister, she has known about this report, which has been released -- in other words, she has known for some time that the province has been punishing the municipalities and the boards of education -- why is it she hasn’t stopped this policy? Why does she continue that policy of cutting back grants to municipalities and boards of education?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: The hyperbole indulged in by the honourable member is not falling upon receptive ears at this point. The particular problems of school boards in these days of limited financial resources and declining enrolments are a specific problem which I believe must be attacked as vigorously as possible. This information, which on the whole is information developed in years past, much of which has been corrected, will play an important part in our deliberations on the subject.
Mr. Hodgson: I have a question for the Minister of Education and Colleges and Universities. Since the college year started, I have had several calls from students in my area wanting to know why there is a delay in grants this year compared with other years. Could the minister tell us why the delay has happened this year and what progress is being made as far as student grants and loans are concerned?
Ms. Gigantes: It’s the computers.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I shall be delighted to give the member the factual information about the numbers of grants which have been processed and the numbers of applications which have been received.
Mr. Warner: The computer broke down again.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Applications which have been received up until October 20, 1978, amount to 76,204, of which 65,181 have been processed at this time. There are a number which have been rejected by the computer because of errors within the documentation. Some of these errors were student errors and some are due to keypunch or program errors. At this point, there are at least another 11,203 applications, of which 5,462 are being keypunched, 3,466 are special consideration cases, and 2,000 were sent back for more information.
There was a problem in the programming of the OSAP applications early on and again in August, for which we apologize profusely, but at this point most of the applications have been processed and a great bulk of the funds has been delivered to the students.
FOOD LAND GUIDELINES
Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food: Can the minister tell us what the status of the food land guidelines is now that he has had about a year to examine any comments that have come in on these guidelines? Have the guidelines been redrafted yet, based on those comments?
Hon. W. Newman: Yes, Mr. Speaker. There were, I think, 86 submissions on them. I was asked to have several meetings with groups to discuss their various briefs. I have met with them. We have basically redrafted the guidelines. I undertook to meet with the provincial-municipal liaison committee, and I will be meeting with them tomorrow morning to discuss any matters they have on that. Once I have met with them and discussed the guidelines with them, I hope the guidelines will go to the printers and, once they have been printed, we will be releasing them.
Mr. Riddell: Supplementary: Could the minister give us some idea as to a date when these guidelines might take effect and how the guidelines are to be implemented? How do we know this thing won’t go on for another year?
Hon. W. Newman: In this day and age that we live in, with the transportation and other problems that face us from day to day, one can never guarantee anything. But I would give a commitment that it’s hoped the guidelines will be printed this fall.
Mr. Swart: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister planning to provide any firmness to these guidelines so as to ensure that they are used? Or will they become just another façade, as the other guidelines have become?
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, these guidelines, as revised and reworked, go into a lot more detail perhaps than the former guidelines did.
The honourable member commented on the fact of them being a façade. My only comment to him is to find out what is going on -- I think he might learn a great deal about what we are actually doing as far as subdivision control and land-use control in this province are concerned -- instead of sounding off to the newspapers about something that he knows nothing about at all.
Mr. Makarchuk: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. Can the minister explain why the Ministry of the Environment approved the construction of sewage storage cesspools in an essentially urban area of Brantford township in view of the fact that the raw, untreated sewage will be discharged into the Grand River and in turn will be taken in downstream by the residents of Cayuga, who draw their water from the river; in view of the fact that to make the water potable or drinkable it will have to be highly chlorinated, which in turn creates more chlorinated hydrocarbons, which are already a hazard on the Grand because they induce cancer; in view of the fact that open cesspools are unsightly, smelly and hazardous, particularly in urban areas; and in view of the fact that his ministry --
Some hon. members: Question!
Mr. Makarchuk: -- and the city of Brantford are spending about $14 million to expand an existing sewage treatment plant so that the services can be extended to this area? Can he explain the actions of his ministry because of those circumstances?
Mr. Bolan: Ask him to repeat the question.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure I can answer that in 30 seconds or less. As a matter of fact, with all the assumptions that were in that question, I think I had better take it as notice and will reply in due course.
Mr. Makarchuk: Supplementary?
Mr. Speaker: He has taken it as notice.
Mr. Nixon: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: No.
Mr. Nixon: You ask what would be supplementary -- and we have been through this a number of times --
Mr. Speaker: Order. I think there will be ample opportunity when the honourable minister formulates a reply to that very lengthy question.
Mr. Nixon: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: My question has to do with matters that he should be sure to report to this House so that the information for our benefit will be balanced.
Mr. Speaker: If the House thinks that the base of the question should be amplified, I will hear the member for Brantford for a supplementary.
Mr. Makarchuk: Speaking to the point of order, Mr. Speaker: If the member for Brant --
Mr. Speaker: It is not a point of order. Do you have a supplementary question?
Mr. Makarchuk: I am speaking to his point of order.
Mr. Speaker: He doesn’t have a point of order.
Mr. Makarchuk: All right, then.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I would ask the minister whether, when he is obtaining the information referred to by the member for Brantford, he will report to the House whether or not the prediction from the ministry that the outflow from the sewage disposal system described in such disparaging terms by the member for Brantford will be purer than the outflow from the Brantford sewage disposal system -- is in fact correct?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Yes, I think that is a very reasonable and sensible question and I will try to answer it with the other ones.
UHT MILK PLANT
Mr. Pope: My question is to the Minister of Industry and Tourism. Will the minister meet within the next two weeks with the principals of Korman’s Dairy Limited with a view to resolving difficulties which could prevent the establishment of an ultra high temperature milk plant in northeastern Ontario? Will he verify the decisions that have been made by the Ontario Milk Commission, and the position taken by the Ontario Milk Marketing Board, with a view to trying to resolve the apparent difficulties between the points of view of the marketing boards of the province and the need for industrial expansion in northeastern Ontario?
Mr. Bradley: Same answer you got in caucus.
Mr. S. Smith: You don’t go to caucus, eh, Larry?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, as a matter of fact. I missed it this morning.
As I recall, the ministry has looked at that proposal and for ministry purposes we have no objection to looking at it in more depth to see if we might be able to assist that project along. At that time I understood the major objection was with the milk marketing board. Perhaps you might redirect the balance of that question to my colleague. If those difficulties can be resolved with our assistance in some way, we would be happy to go ahead from our standpoint.
Mr. Bolan: Alan, don’t you meet him in the morning?
Mr. Pope: May I redirect part of that question to the Minister of Agriculture and Food, then?
Mr. Speaker: Does the Minister of Agriculture and Food have anything further to add?
Hon. W. Newman: Yes, Mr. Speaker. As far as ultra high temperature milk is concerned, I have very strongly urged to the milk marketing board and all others concerned that we should have an ultra high temperature milk plant in the province to meet the competition from other provinces and from other areas and I have always encouraged such a plant. My personal preference is that I don’t care where it is built as long as we have one to supply the needs of Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I wonder if I might ask for the concurrence of the House to return to statements? I inadvertently was unable to get to the Legislature in time to make a statement at the appropriate time.
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY
SAMUEL JOHNSTON CASE
Hon. Mr. Norton: Later this afternoon I shall introduce for first reading a bill entitled the Grievance Settlement Board Hearing Act, 1978, a bill which I would much prefer not to have to recommend to the House but which I feel I am compelled to by the circumstances I shall outline. If acceptable to this House, the bill will rescind the March 17, 1978, award of the grievance settlement board and will require the board to reconsider its decision of that date.
In September 1977 Mr. Samuel Johnston, as subsequently established by a criminal court, assaulted a retarded woman who was intimately dependent on his good will, his maturity and his commitment to standards of professional conduct as a residential counsellor to retarded persons. The bill attempts to address directly the implications of that incident and of the grievance procedure which followed his dismissal from the employ of the ministry.
I and the government are convinced that it is necessary to ask the Legislature to intervene in the matter of the crown employees’ grievance settlement board’s decision to reinstate Mr. Johnston to the public service as a residential counsellor to the mentally retarded. All feasible remedies of appeal have been exhausted. The grievance procedure and the facts of the case have been reviewed carefully. The judgement of the settlement board was, I believe, inadequate in this case.
I am advised that the grievance settlement board, since it was constituted in 1974, has heard a total of 106 cases, all of which were raised to it by an employee or by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union on an employee’s behalf. Mr. Johnston’s grievance is the first of those cases which has involved directly a criminal conviction. It is also the first which the government has felt compelled to draw to the attention of this House.
As I shall present it, the bill orders a rehearing of the case of Samuel Johnston. It directs also that the grievance settlement board will consider all relevant evidence, including past conduct, some of which evidence was not known to it nor to my officials when the board reached its original decision.
Mr. Martel: That was lousy.
Hon. Mr. Norton: For the benefit of members, I shall summarize the events that have led me to submit this bill.
On September 29, 1977, Mr. Johnston, a residential counsellor at the Huronia regional centre in Orillia, was witnessed abusing a mentally retarded woman in his charge. While the woman knelt in a hallway of the facility, Mr. Johnson kicked the side of her head with his foot. The incident was reported to senior staff by two residential counsellors who were on duty with Mr. Johnston at the time. As a result of an investigation undertaken by the ministry, Mr. Johnston was dismissed on November 3 and told that termination of his employment resulted from the physical abuse of a resident, a violation of the ministry’s policy on residential care.
In addition, following a police investigation, Mr. Johnston was charged under the Criminal Code of Canada in connection with the incident and convicted in provincial court of criminal assault. He was fined $200 with the option of serving a one-month jail term. No appeal was filed against the conviction or the sentence.
Mr. Johnston, through the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, grieved his dismissal, as was his right. On March 17 the grievance settlement board directed my ministry to re-employ him. The decision ordered that Mr. Johnston be reinstated at Huronia to the same position of trust and responsibility which he had enjoyed before his suspension.
Mr. Riddell: Unbelievable.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I did, reluctantly, accept the decision of the grievance settlement board pending appeal and returned Mr. Johnston to a position at Huronia. He is working there now in a job which restricts severely any contact with the resident population. My personal moral commitment to discharge my responsibility, however, prevents me from reinstating Mr. Johnston to a job in which he is responsible for direct care and in direct contact with mentally retarded residents.
The terms of the grievance settlement board decision directed us to return Mr. Johnston to such direct-care responsibilities, as a residential counsellor. My instruction to senior staff of the ministry has been not to comply with that aspect of the decision since it is my conviction that such an action would be in direct conflict with the responsibilities for the interests of the mentally retarded with which I have been charged by the government and by the people of this province.
Two distinct legal actions were initiated as a result of that decision. The first alleges that three senior officials of my ministry who acted on my instruction are in contempt of court for failure to reinstate Mr. Johnston to his former duties. If found in contempt, they may be fined or imprisoned or both. The second legal action is an application to the Ontario Public Service Labour Relations Tribunal for leave to prosecute me and the same three senior officials for alleged violation of the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act in connection with the Johnston case.
Mr. Riddell: I know what that’s all about.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union believes strongly that it has a responsibility to articulate and defend the interests of Mr. Johnston. To meet that responsibility, the union has fulfilled its role as an advocate in this dispute. It has initiated both of the legal actions which I have described and I appreciate the commitment that the union feels to uphold Mr. Johnston’s interests. But I do believe, and it is the view of the government, that this issue that was before the grievance settlement board must be reviewed in the light of all relevant evidence.
I hope that there will be no suspicion that Mr. Johnston has been singled out vindictively. Mr. Johnston has singled himself out by his actions. Over the past year, as a result of his crime, he has suffered financial loss and he has suffered public embarrassment. I am sure that no member of this House will take any satisfaction at the distress which he has endured, but I believe that he cannot now be entrusted with his former responsibilities. My ministry may he unique in the degree and intimacy of the commitment which it demands from those who do its work. That work is founded upon trust and service, and those of our citizens who need our help must be served to the best of our ability and to the fullest extent of our human and economic resources.
I feel proud to repeat my own conviction that the staff of my ministry exemplifies selflessly that dedication, both personally and professionally. The vast majority of the staff have shown that they have accepted the heavy responsibilities entrusted to us on behalf of the people of Ontario. It is my conviction that at this point in time we would abrogate that responsibility by returning this employee now to a position of trust. By failure to uphold the standards of conduct which we advocate, we imperil the people in this province whom we are specifically charged with serving.
It is essential that my ministry be prepared to deal with any similar emergencies in the future, if and when they occur. My ministry will continue our efforts to provide the highest quality of care for the people in our charge. Our staff merits such an expectation, and the people we serve deserve nothing less.
I shall be asking for the support of all sides of the House for this bill so that we may fulfil our responsibility in this particular case. I would also indicate to the House that, just prior to coming into the House, I had a meeting with some senior officials from the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. We have had discussions which I trust will be fruitful and may well lead to an acceptable resolution of this matter, which could conceivably mean that it might not be necessary to proceed to third reading of this bill. If that type of solution could achieve the same result, I would be quite prepared to accept such proposals from the representatives of the union.
My colleague the Chairman of Management Board (Mr. McCague) will be addressing himself at some point to the more comprehensive issue of criminal abuse by staff of all provincially operated facilities.
Mr. Speaker: Ten minutes will be added to the question period.
In the interest of fairness, since we have only had one back-bench question from the Liberal caucus, if there is a member who has one now, I will hear that question.
ORAL QUESTIONS (CONTINUED)
Mr. Eakins: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Industry and Tourism. With respect to the province’s travel account, is the minister aware of the fact that in spite of the removal of sales tax on hotel rooms, in spite of the “We treat you royally” campaign, and in spite of the increased value of the US dollar here, my preliminary data indicate that Ontario’s tourism deficit has not improved and in fact is likely to deteriorate further this year to about $600 million?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I’m obviously not in a position to comment precisely on those figures, although I will be pleased to give the honourable member our analysis of them.
There is no question that one of the key things I have looked at initially is the area the member has referred to. At this stage I can assure all members of the House that it will be one of my areas of high priority. I will be looking to see if we are reacting quickly to take advantage of things such as the declining dollar and changes in the types of things the tourists are looking for when they come to Ontario.
We’re going to be looking at all those things, and I would welcome the member’s comments and suggestions as to how we might encourage both government and the industry to better respond to those changing situations.
Mr. Eakins: Supplementary: Will the minister also take a look at the very successful operation of the BC travel industry ministry, and others, who this year should show a reduction of their deficit while Ontario’s tends to worsen? Will he be taking a look at British Columbia and other areas where they have been very successful in this regard?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I’m not unaware of the fact that for example, British Columbia built a program this year, I think, around Captain Cook and the various enterprises following his time in British Columbia and tried to build an attraction around following his route, where he had been and so on, with some success.
Mr. Warner: Start with the Family Compact.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: That’s a useful place to start.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The other campaign that had some success was “Stamp Around Alberta,” where they arranged something that travelled throughout Alberta.
Mr. Warner: Some are probably still here.
Mr. Martel: That would set us back 100 years.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I’m going to be looking for some industry advice and assistance, and indeed offering them our encouragement to try to respond in that fashion. I think that was a good idea.
MIND DEVELOPMENT GROUPS
Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Attorney General: I have sent to the Attorney General a photocopy of a photocopy which has come into our hands and which purports to be a so-called cabinet submission. I would ask the Attorney General whether he could confirm to the House that the document I have sent him is in fact a copy of a genuine document and is itself a genuine copy. I would ask him whether the document did in fact go to cabinet.
When he’s answering that, I would ask him to explain why, when he made the decision regarding the study into the so-called mind-bending groups and so on, he rejected what would appear to be the main recommendation of this submission, which is that a proper study under the Public Inquiries Act be instituted because, “While groups like Psi and Scientology may be willing to co-operate with the commission, there’s a real possibility that the commission may need to appoint investigators, obtain search warrants and apprehend witnesses to testify. It would be advisable in such circumstances to equip the commission with part three powers at the outset,” and so on.
One other comment in favour of an inquiry in this recommendation is that a witch-hunt would occur, or might be thought to occur, if clear terms of reference were not outlined. Is it a genuine document? Did it go to cabinet? If so, why was it rejected?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I have no intention of making any comment on the document the Leader of the Opposition has in his hands. He has supplied me with a copy of it. I haven’t looked at it beyond the first page which does say “Cabinet submission.” I have no intention of discussing any document that goes to cabinet as a policy submission. If the Leader of the Opposition wants to ask me specific questions, I’ll attempt to answer them.
I will say this in relation to the terms of reference as this matter was raised by the member for St. George (Mrs. Campbell) yesterday during the Ministry of the Attorney General’s estimates: I want to clarify that it is the intention of the government to set down specific terms of reference for Dr. Hill. This has not yet been done simply because Dr. Hill is out of the jurisdiction and unavailable.
It is my view that before the specific terms of reference are finalized we should at least pay Dr. Hill the courtesy of inviting his comment thereon. These terms of reference will be available and as soon as they have been agreed upon, I will certainly share them with the members of the Legislature.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, will the Attorney General explain why, given the very strong argument made in this document for a public inquiry under the Public Inquiries Act, the government has been content instead to set up a mere study to look further at whether or not an inquiry is required? Why has he ignored the very strong argument contained in this document?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I’m not prepared to concede that it is a very strong argument. Certainly I would concede that one of the alternatives the government was considering was a public inquiry because it is only a matter of common sense that this is an option to be considered.
I will attempt to reiterate what I said the other day when I announced the Dr. Hill study. This issue is a highly controversial one and at the present time a very emotional atmosphere has been created with “charge and countercharge” to quote my statement. There are a number of people in the community on all sides of the issue who are rightly and justifiably concerned, as we are, with the perception of the government in relation to basic human rights in so far as they relate to freedom of religion and freedom of association.
In view of the fact that this is a very sensitive area, it is my strongly held view that the retaining by the government of an outside consultant, who has a very distinguished record in the area of human rights generally, was a wise move and a move which I strongly recommended to my colleagues and which they enthusiastically endorsed.
Mr. Cassidy: In view of the dangers of the kind of investigative procedures which are suggested in that memo and the dangers as well that those techniques could be used to look at practices of established and reputable religious organizations, will the minister give an assurance that he will do everything in his power to avoid those kinds of McCarthyite tactics being used in any subsequent inquiries that may flow from the study by Dr. Hill?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Absolutely. Obviously, this is a concern we all share and it’s a perception that all of us would do our utmost to prevent and avoid. Not only the reality, but also the perception, should be avoided at all costs in my view.
Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary: I am grateful to the Attorney General that he has addressed himself to the problem of the terms of reference in the House. Another mailer was raised in the committee. Is the Attorney General in a position to say at this time whether witnesses before Dr. Hill will be sworn?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I’m sorry. One of my colleagues was delivering me a message half-way through the question. Would the member repeat the last part of it?
Mr. Breithaupt: Something about training camps.
Mrs. Campbell: What I’m asking is whether the Attorney General is going to provide for the taking of oaths before Dr. Hill in this study?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: As I said, the terms of reference have not been finalized. At this point in time, Dr. Hill did not recommend it. We haven’t had an opportunity to review the whole matter in detail. It was not contemplated that there would be a formal public inquiry inasmuch as it was not anyone’s desire to ask Dr. Hill to make any adverse findings in relation to any identifiable individuals or groups. Obviously, no such findings should be made without those people who are specifically identified having an opportunity to make full representations.
Whether or not Dr. Hill is provided with the powers under the Public Inquiries Act to compel the attendance of witnesses and have evidence under oath will be determined at least by his preliminary study. If Dr. Hill states to us that he cannot carry out his responsibilities in a meaningful fashion without these formal powers of a commissioner under the Public Inquiries Act, I think it’s fair to say we would be very sympathetic to any request coming from Dr. Hill in that regard.
Mr. Lawlor: Supplementary: In line with my request in estimates yesterday about levelling with us in this particular matter, would the Attorney General consider releasing or completing the leaked document and letting us have the appendices that were somehow omitted?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No, I have no intention of doing that. I’m looking forward to participating with the member for Lakeshore in the estimates for the next little while. If the member for Lakeshore wishes to direct certain questions with respect to specific areas, I will do my best to assist him. I don’t think I can do any better than that.
UNITED PARCEL SERVICE
Mr. S. Smith: I have another question for the Attorney General, Mr. Speaker, in regard to the UPS matter.
Can the Attorney General tell us whether to his knowledge the allegations which have been heard are true, that Mr. Zimmerman wrote the entire decision and did not merely dress the grammar? What is the nature of the investigation that the Attorney General has done into this? Has he discovered that this sort of thing has ever happened before and, if so, in which cases?
I would also ask him, when he is answering that, to inform us whether anybody bothered to ask the other hearing officer, Mr. Wardrop I believe it was, whether he agreed with the decision as eventually written?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I don’t think I can add much to what I’ve already said. That is, first of all, my reliable information is that the former chairman had made up his own mind as to what the decision was going to be prior to requesting the lawyer for one of the parties to assist in the preparing of the final decision.
I can’t tell you at this point -- and I’m not suggesting we don’t have this information -- the precise details in relation to the preparing of the decision. However, it is quite obvious that the lawyer for one of the litigants participated in assisting in the wording -- I emphasize “wording” -- of the decision. The board, as you know, does not come under the Ministry of the Attorney General -- but as the Attorney General I’ve already indicated that obviously cannot be condoned. As a result the new chairman has ordered a rehearing.
I don’t think it would be fair at this time to go into this matter any further as this new hearing is, of course, about to take place. I am satisfied that an investigation was done and it was complete enough to make it abundantly clear that there is no suggestion whatsoever of any criminality -- to even consider the laying of criminal charges. There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that any further investigation is necessary in that respect. In view of that fact, and the fact there is a rehearing, there is nothing further that I intend to add at this time.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: I note that the Attorney General has not denied the possibility that the entire report was written by one of the lawyers of one of the parties to the dispute. I would ask him again to confirm whether it is a fact that the entire report was written by Mr. Zimmerman? Is it the first time that this has happened and what is the nature of the investigation the Attorney General has done to assure himself it is the first time? If it is not the first time, in what other instances has it occurred? I ask again, did anybody bother to ask the other hearing officer, Mr. Wardrop, whether he agreed with the decision?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I have said that I have nothing further to add to my previous answers.
Mr. S. Smith: Oh, come on.
Mr. MacDonald: A supplementary: Since the government has reacted so firmly with regard to the questionable procedures of the chairman in that instance, doesn’t the Attorney General think there’s an obligation to give the public some assurance as to what extent he was acting that way during his whole tenure of office?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The assurance that I’ve attempted to communicate to the public is that there is a clear recognition on the part of the chairman and the members of the board that is presently serving the public that this was a wrong approach. I am confident it won’t be repeated in the future.
Mr. MacDonald: You have evaded my question.
Mr. Cunningham: I have a supplementary to the Attorney General: The August 30 edition of the Globe and Mail indicated a comment from the then chairman, Mr. Shoniker, that this was common practice and had, in fact, happened before. Does that not alarm the Attorney General? Would he not involve himself in some kind of investigation to see what the circumstances are surrounding such a breach, not only in legality or fair play but also in statute?
Mr. Warner: Put skates on and you will get him interested
Mr. Cunningham: Has the Attorney General himself estimated the cost to the Ontario taxpayer and the cost to the people participating in these hearings as a result of this sham, and the cost to the Ontario taxpayer for seeing a rehearing, recognizing that this is the longest case the board has ever heard? Has he not involved himself in this? Where is his responsibility?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: On the matter of responsibility, I would just like to make one observation.
Mr. S. Smith: Answer my question, what is the cost? How many times does it happen?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: In the brief one-day session in September, the same member stated to me that I was incorrect when I advised the House that the matter was before the divisional court. As a result of that I wrote him and delivered him a complete set of the documents that were before the courts. I have to say that any matter that might be addressed to me from that particular member in relation to his recollection I have to be concerned about it.
Mr. S. Smith: Who bears the cost? How much does it cost?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I repeat what I said before, I have nothing more to add at this time.
Mr. Cunningham: Point of order.
Mr. Speaker: What is your point of order?
Mr. Cunningham: Sorry, a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker. The Attorney General has indicated to me and indicated on that occasion I believe that his reluctance at the time -- and I took him at his word -- was that the matter was sub judice. The matter, in fact, was not sub judice. The applicants, if I may, sir, were making an application to the court under section 42 of the Judicature Act where they wanted an option to delay in the proceedings to ask for an option to appeal. If the Attorney General regards that as a matter of sub judice then I tell him he should resign.
Mr. S. Smith: He has refused to answer the question.
Mr. Speaker: He said he had nothing further to add.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Premier relating to the Cantrakon decision, in which the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett) was involved.
Is the Premier aware that the Niagara Escarpment Commission was so upset about the Minister of Housing’s decision with regard to Cantrakon, in which he overruled both the commission and the hearing officer and everybody else who had a look at that proposal, that it took the unprecedented step of writing directly to the Premier to express its disappointment with the decision? If he is aware of the letter, will he table the letter here in the Legislature, and will he indicate to this House what has been his reply and table his reply as well?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I have, in fact, received a letter from the Niagara Escarpment Commission, signed by the chairman of that commission -- who is a resident of the former township of Caledon, now the town of Caledon -- a gentleman for whom I have great respect. I also know him relatively well. I know he is less than enthusiastic about the decision of the ministry.
I have not yet finalized my reply, but in that the honourable member already has a copy of Mr. McMullin’s letter to me, quite obviously it is not necessary for me to table that letter because he has already received it. When I send my reply to Mr. McMullin, I will contemplate then whether it would be appropriate to share it in its entirety with the leader of the New Democratic Party.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Since the chairman of the commission indicated very clearly through his staff that they thought it was appropriate that the letter be released by the Premier and not by anybody else, and since we certainly would wish to abide by that judgement, or decision, or request, will the Premier agree to table the letter in the Legislature in time that it can be discussed when we resume our discussion of this matter with the Minister of Housing in the Legislature in his estimates tomorrow?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m really not sure that’s totally necessary.
Mr. Martel: Oh, come on.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You people have never been reluctant to release any information before. If the leader of the New Democratic Party is sitting there with a copy of a letter that he knows is a true copy from her McMullin to myself, I can tell him right now I have no reluctance whatsoever if he uses that letter for the purposes of the estimates, if he gives it to the press gallery or if he presents it here in the House. I have no objection.
Mr. Peterson: You’ve probably got the answer all ready.
Mr. Martel: No, it’s not written yet.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Let’s have this done expeditiously. If he has a copy of Ivor’s letter, table it. I have no objection whatsoever. If he has it here with him, give it to the Clerk. It will take me 10 minutes to find it.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Mr. McMullin has asked me to ask the Premier for the letter. I haven’t got a copy, but I think he should table it and not hide since it is clear that the chairman of the escarpment commission is prepared to see that done.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh, I thought you had a copy.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a supplementary to the Premier arising out of the concern for jobs which the government has expressed in this particular affair.
In view of the fact that an official plan amendment, which may take months, if not years, to get passed by the town of Caledon and go before the OMB and possibly be appealed to the cabinet, will still be required before the building permit for this project can go forward, despite the development permit which has been approved by the Minister of Housing; in view of the fact that months, if not years, of delay still stand in the way of this project being built, is the Premier prepared, in his interest to have jobs in the Caledon area now, to bring together the Minister of Housing, the Niagara Escarpment Commission, the town of Caledon, the interested ratepayers and the company proposing this development in order to find a location on land which is controlled by the developers in the general area of Caledon, which is acceptable to all parties concerned, which would not violate the escarpment and which would permit the immediate commencement of this project rather than have delays that could be another year or two?
Mr. Martel: That’s positive.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I apologize to the leader of the New Democratic Party in that I assumed from his question that he in fact had a copy of the letter. Quite obviously, he hasn’t, and I was a little suspicions that he didn’t have. I can only answer the supplementary question by observing that if he is correct and if we’re talking about a project which in his view is many years down the road, I find it a little bit difficult to understand his being so consumed by this particular issue.
If there is not going to be any official plan amendment or if it is going to go through a very lengthy process so that this issue will be in front of us when he is there and I am here five years hence, maybe that would be the mere appropriate time to debate it.
Mr. MacDonald: What about the Premier’s concern for jobs?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I question whether it will take that length of time; I have no way of knowing. I have not consulted with the municipal council of the town of Caledon. I think it’s not an appropriate time at this moment to make this suggestion. The municipal councillors there are engaged in a very important discussion with the ratepayers in terms of their own political future. To say that I would arrange such a meeting at this moment, it would be very difficult to accommodate that.
I can only say to the leader of the New Democratic Party -- and I want to be as helpful as I can on this issue -- I think the facts are there. I don’t think there is anything that he doesn’t understand and he can disagree.
Mr. Warner: Table the letter.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I’m sure he’s been to the site, he has surveyed it carefully himself, he has a total knowledge of the area and he realizes perhaps there are thousands of acres, some of them not too far from the Forks of the Credit. There is the conservation area at Belfountain which isn’t too far distant from this particular proposed development. In fact there are many areas in that area, which I think is one of the great ones in the province.
While this matter is being discussed in the courts at this moment, and I am reluctant to do anything that would be prejudicial to that hearing, I’ll share any factual information I can with the leader of the New Democratic Party. It’s all there. You have the information. A judgement has been made by the minister. The only point I would add --
Mr. Warner: Table the letter.
Mr. Foulds: Have you tried to change the minister’s mind?
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- is that it’s great to zero in on this -- it’s great to say because some people are opposed -- and I understand their opposition -- I happen to know some of the people who are opposed to it --
Mr. Breithaupt: Everyone except the minister.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: That’s not true.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would only say to the leader of the New Democratic Party there are also people in favour of it. It is like everything else; there is no total unanimity. The responsibility of the Minister of Housing is to assess the judgements made, in this case by the Niagara Escarpment Commission. We know what their judgement is. We know the judgement of those planners who are involved. There is no question that for those people who are in the position to give advice but not to assume the responsibility -- that is, the responsibility of the minister -- their preference would have been that this development not proceed. This is not a unique situation --
Mr. Breithaupt: He is the only one in favour.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- as the minister has pointed out. He is faced with this fairly regularly in terms of conflicting interests, conflicting points of view, and he ultimately has a decision to make.
I am not going to debate the particulars of the case here today. I think there will be an occasion to do it. I can only say to the leader of the New Democratic Party I don’t think what he is suggesting is practical, because to achieve that requires unanimity of everybody involved. I don’t think that that is possible to attain at this moment.
Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary.
Mr. Cassidy: I will be very brief: Will the Premier table the letter we have referred to? Will he state specifically whether he believes that the decision of the Minister of Housing is in accordance with the Premier’s commitment to the Federation of Ontario Naturalists and to many other bodies as to the preservation and continuation of the natural environment of the escarpment?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I really think there are --
Mr. S. Smith: Just state your opinion, Mr. Premier. You are the Premier, just state your opinion.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen --
Mr. Speaker: Order. Just ignore the interjection. The question was would the Premier table the letter?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think, Mr. Speaker, with respect, there were two questions. And I heard some interjection from the Leader of the Opposition --
Mr. Speaker: I didn’t hear that. I didn’t hear anything.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, I heard it. I know he gets frustrated. He’s not winning and when he is not winning he’s losing and when he’s losing he wants to pick up his marbles and go home. I can understand his frustration.
Mr. Riddell: Who says we’re not winning?
Mr. Speaker: Order. The question asked by the leader of the New Democratic Party had nothing to do with the Leader of the Opposition.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the first part of the question was, will I table the letter. I will have to reread the letter before I make that decision and I will also have to have a consultation with the chairman.
Mr. Makarchuk: Are you a slow reader or a fast reader?
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, I think it was actually about a three-page letter, but it will take me a few moments to read it. I will consider whether or not that letter will be tabled. I will discuss it with the chairman of the Niagara Escarpment Commission to see whether this would be appropriate from his standpoint.
Mr. Van Horne: He asked you to table it; why can’t you do it?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I personally don’t think there’s a great deal in the letter that the hon. leader of the New Democratic Party doesn’t already understand. But I will consider that.
Mr. Warner: It’s public business; why don’t you table it?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, there was a second part to the question; I am trying to recall it exactly. The legislation provided exceptions for development permits. That was legislation approved by all members of the House. If the leader of the New Democratic Party is saying that there can be no exceptions in order to retain the integrity of the Niagara Escarpment Commission --
Mr. Warner: Nobody said that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- then I have to say to him no. That is a point of view that I think has been expressed by the members in the official opposition; it is a point of view that we hold. You cannot freeze a million acres in this province. You cannot say there will be no development, period --
Mr. Foulds: They sure do in the north in the wintertime.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- within the area of the escarpment. What is important is that it meets the compatible relationship between the escarpment that there are environmental restrictions, which have been imposed in this case, and that it doesn’t restrict public access to this very important part of the province. I would say that my commitment to the naturalists, to the Bruce Trail, to anyone else in terms of the preservation of the escarpment area, is there, and I just wish we had a little more enthusiastic response from across the House for that same objective.
Mr. Speaker: Does the member for Ottawa East have a second question?
Mr. Cassidy: Ottawa Centre, Mr. Chairman. No, we’ll come back to the matter of the escarpment and you’ll regret some of those words, Mr. Premier.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. In view of the fact that the anti-inflation board study of a few days ago determined that retail margins on beef in Toronto had risen from 11 cents a pound in the second quarter of last year to 41 cents a pound in the second quarter of this year, does the ministry have any plans to investigate this very sharp rise in retail margins which contributed substantially to the price of beef rising as much as it did and can he tell us what those plans will be?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Until this was drawn to my attention by the leader of the New Democratic Party, I was unaware of it. I will look into it. If the situation is described accurately by him, and the figures reflect the findings as he represented them, I tell you, we sure will. But I want to look into the matter and I will come back to the House.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In view of the fact the retail cut of the price of beef increased over that period from 10 per cent of the consumer dollar to 22 per cent of the consumer dollar in Toronto, will the minister also undertake to find out what retailers are doing to consumers in the rest of the province and whether there was an equally sharp and unjustifiable increase in the margins elsewhere in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Drea: In answer to the principal question, I said I wanted to look into the figures and if they were as represented by the leader of the New Democratic Party, we sure will do the whole of Ontario. But I want to come back to the House, in case there’s some question about those figures and so forth, and I will report back either tomorrow or Monday.
BREWERS’ RETAIL STORES
Hon. Mr. Drea: A question was asked of me informally on Monday last by the member for Wellington South (Mr. Worton) and on Tuesday last in the House by the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt). The question was; was there some appeal procedure by which various groups could go to the Liquor Control Board of Ontario concerning a decision by Brewers’ Warehousing Limited to keep its retail beer stores open on November 11?
I am pleased to report to the House, after discussions between the Liquor Control Board of Ontario and Brewers’ Warehousing, all beer stores will be closed on November 11, just as liquor control board stores will be.
Hon. Mr. Drea: In reply to a second question which was not addressed to me and led to some confusion in the House on Tuesday last, the question was originally addressed to the Minister of Natural Resources and Energy (Mr. Auld) by the member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. J. Reed) concerning when the report of the Royal Commission on Aluminum Wiring might be received. In reply to that, it is my understanding that with the final editing, printing and so forth, the report should be available by mid-December.
Mr. Warner: Supplementary: Since we have waited from the end of April, when we were supposed to have the report as recorded in Hansard, and we will not receive it until the middle of December, could the minister please inform us, since the government already knows of the hazard inasmuch as Ontario Housing Corporation refuses to use aluminum wiring, what precautions he will put into place for the home owners who have aluminum wiring, and what precautions he is planning for the future? Specifically, will he be asking Ontario Hydro to replace the appropriate receptacles and wiring in those buildings in Ontario which have aluminum wiring, or shall thousands of people continue to wait under a cloud of fear?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I am going to have to take that question as notice. Indeed, I think it somewhat violates just a mere supplementary. I want to assure the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere that I had nothing to do with the preparation of this report, how it is being prepared now, how it is being printed, or what anybody said to him last April. He asked the question the other day, or attempted to. I gave him an answer, and I am taking the rest of it as notice.
Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Education --
Mr. Peterson: This man sits in the cabinet. Are we going to have cabinet ministers asking each other questions in this House? Is that how far we have deteriorated, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member should be aware that whereas I sit in cabinet meetings, I am not a cabinet minister. I thank him for the compliment, however.
Mr. Cassidy: You are just a fly on the wall, is that it?
Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, may I continue with my question of the minister?
In view of the fact that Bill 100, An Act respecting the Negotiation of Collective Agreements between School Boards and Teachers, was passed some three years ago, and some of the problems that have arisen as a result of the passage of this bill, I wonder if the minister would consider at this time doing a review of this bill in an endeavour to correct some of the problems?
Mr. Riddell: What parts of the bill? What is the member concerned about particularly?
Mr. Gregory: Is the member for Huron-Middlesex going to answer the question?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, any piece of legislation with important manifestations, such as Bill 100, I believe requires and deserves assessment on a regular basis to ensure that it is meeting the requirements or the needs which were perceived when the bill was originally drafted.
It is indeed my intention to begin that assessment of Bill 100, because certain sections have been queried by certain of the groups which are intimately affected by the bill. I think that an accurate and objective assessment of that legislation is required at this time and it will be carried out.
ACTIONS OF FORMER SOLICITOR GENERAL
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, my question is of the Attorney General and concerns his handling of certain interventions by the former Solicitor General (Mr. Kerr). The first question is this: Did Mr. Langdon, the deputy director of crown attorneys, who investigated the interventions of the former Solicitor General, conclude either that the former Solicitor General had made a plea for leniency or that assistant crown attorney David Price could reasonably have come to that conclusion under the circumstances; and if so, did Mr. Price report such conclusion to his superiors?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, the report of the deputy director of crown attorneys, Mr. Langdon, is a relatively lengthy report, as the member for St. George and the justice critic will see as soon as the trial, which is scheduled for November 6, is completed.
Quite apart from any issues that are before the courts, it would be most unfair to the former Solicitor General to just take bits and pieces from that report. I really think it would be unfair to him, without having the whole report before the Legislature, as it will be. As the member well knows, the Legislature has passed a resolution in relation to this report
I don’t think it would serve a useful purpose to discuss the matter further than that. I’m trying to recall specifically what’s in the report as I really haven’t read it for some weeks. The report really should be read in its entirety. I think that’s the only proper way to deal with it.
Mr. S. Smith: The minister is really helpful today.
Mrs. Campbell: I realize the Attorney General’s answer, but I wonder if I could come at it in this way: This again refers to the report, and unfortunately none of us have seen it. Did Mr. Langdon or anyone on his behalf interview the former Solicitor General in order to arrive at a legal opinion as to his intent in contacting Mr. Price? If not, could the Attorney General explain why not and on what basis the Attorney General, as chief law officer of the crown contends that he took adequate steps to ensure a complete investigation of the matter?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I will just reiterate that I’m not going to deal with this report on a piecemeal basis. When the report is available, as it will be in the not too distant future, I will be more than delighted to discuss the manner in which this matter was handled. I think when the member sees the report, she will be satisfied that it was handled in an eminently proper manner.
Mr. Cooke: I have a question of the Minister of Colleges and Universities. I’d like to ask the minister if she is aware that because of the administrative problems of OSAP no reviews or appeals though the local awards officers will be dealt with until after November 20, meaning that thousands of students requiring reviews will be left without money through the student awards program until well into the new year? What does she plan to do and will she attempt to speed up the process?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I was not aware that any specific date such as that had been set; I am aware that the appeal committee is already sitting and is looking at specific appeals which have come through at this time.
Mr. Cooke: On a point of clarification: The minister misunderstood my question. I am not talking about formal appeals with the appeal board. I am talking about the reviews that are completed by the local awards officers and then forwarded for reassessment through the computer process.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: If the awards officers have set a specific date for beginning of their secondary reviews of applications, I shall attempt to find out why this is so and see if we can speed it up.
USE OF INSECTICIDES
Mr. G. Taylor: A question of the Minister of the Environment: In the Holland Marsh area there seems to be some evidence that insecticides, particularly those called organophosphorous --
Mr. Bradley: That will shelter the government.
Mr. G. Taylor: -- used in control of onion maggots are affecting workers and fanners in the area. Is the ministry keeping tabs on that; and is the Minister of Labour keeping watch on that to see that the farmers and the workers, particularly imported workers from other nations, are being protected so they will not he overexposed to this chemical insecticide?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I wasn’t aware of that particular problem and I am certainly not sure whether the Minister of Labour is aware. I will consult with the minister in response to the member. I apologize for not being able to reply to that question. It may surprise the opposition that I didn’t get notice of that.
I would like to say to you, Mr. Speaker, on some of these items of a technical nature it would be very helpful if some notice were given. I am not asking for any notice of policy decisions, but there are a lot of important, yet of rather minor consequence, questions of a technical nature, that could be asked of this ministry. I would appreciate notice on some of those so that I could answer in the House the day they were asked.
Mr. Deans: Stop crying; if you don’t know the ministry well enough don’t complain to us.
GUIDELINES FOR INQUIRIES
Mr. T. P. Reid: It is with some trepidation I ask a question of the Attorney General.
Mr. Speaker: You have one minute.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Has the Attorney General set up under the aegis of his ministry a department secretariat, on whatever he wants to call it, to deal with royal commissions and other boards of inquiry and investigation to ensure they follow guidelines as set down by Management Board and the government generally?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: He can’t have it both ways.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I would be delighted if the learned member opposite would come along the hall and share his views with us again during the hours that we will be spending on our estimates, where I would be happy to deal with some of these matters at great length.
At this point in time, I would like to make a very important observation. In relation to royal commissions one must be very careful to distinguish between what is a judicial inquiry on the one hand as opposed to a royal commission in some other context. The majority of the royal commissions with which I have been familiar were in fact judicial inquiries. While we do have a group of people --
Mr. S. Smith: I am wondering what the accounting difference is?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: There is a very important difference. The Leader of the Opposition could possibly learn something today if he lingers for a moment or two.
While there are certain guidelines laid down and while we provide certain staff people to assist in these inquiries, the majority of them are of an investigatory nature themselves.
Mr. Mancini: A vested interest again.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: For example, when the government appoints a judge to conduct a form of judicial inquiry, we are not in a position to tell him how much he can spend on investigation or how much he can spend on research assistance of one kind or another.
Mr. Peterson: A bunch of limousines though.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: For us to do that -- and I am sure the members opposite appreciate this -- would obviously be undermining his role or making it very difficult for that individual to carry out his responsibilities. In relation to judicial inquiries, the judicial discretion that is exercised is obviously broad and relatively unfettered. It must be if they are going to be able to carry out a proper inquiry.
SELECT COMMITTEE ON ONTARIO HYDRO AFFAIRS
Mr. MacDonald presented a report from the select committee on Ontario Hydro affairs and requested it be placed on the order paper for consideration, pursuant to provisional standing order 6.
Hon. Mr. Welch: If I could just alert members of the House, at a meeting earlier today, the results of which we will be announcing in the order of business, we agreed that report could be taken into consideration a week today in the evening session.
STANDING GENERAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE
Mr. McCaffrey, from the standing general government committee, presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bill without amendment:
Bill Pr40, An Act respecting the Composition of the Lincoln County Board of Education.
STANDING PROCEDURAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
Mr. M. Davidson, from the standing procedural affairs committee, presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your committee has carefully examined the following applications for private acts and finds the notices, as published in each case, sufficient:
City of Sudbury;
Reg. Booth and Son Limited.
STANDING ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE COMMITTEE
Mr. Philip, from the standing administration of justice committee, presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bill with certain amendments:
Bill 103, An Act to revise the Condominium Act.
Mr. Speaker: Shall the bill be ordered for third reading?
Ordered for committee of the whole House.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that the standing procedural affairs committee may for the balance of this session sit on Monday evenings.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that the following substitutions be made: On the standing administration of justice committee, Mr. Cureatz for Mr. Gregory, Mr. MacBeth for Mr. Pope, Mr. Sterling for Mr. Walker, Mr. G. Taylor for Mr. J. A. Taylor; on the standing social development committee, Mr. Lupusella for Mr. Breaugh, Mr. Villeneuve for Mr. G. Taylor; on the standing procedural affairs committee, Mr. Grande for Mr. M. Davidson, Mr. MacDonald for Mr. Wildman.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Just before I call for the orders of the day, I wonder if we might revert to motions to clear up one little point.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that Mr. Johnston be substituted for Mr. Hennessy on the standing social development committee.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that in the committee of supply the time allocation for the Ministry of Housing estimates be reduced by six hours; the estimates of the Ministry of Industry and Tourism be transferred to the standing resources development committee; the estimates of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs be split and considered as follows: first, Intergovernmental Affairs, 10 hours, then Treasury and Economics, 15 hours; in the standing administration of justice committee, the estimates of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations be reduced by three hours; in the standing resources development committee, the estimates of the Ministry of Energy be reduced by five hours, estimates of the Ministry of Labour be reduced by three hours, estimates of the Ministry of Industry and Tourism, now allocated for 15 hours, be considered following the Ministry of Labour; resources development policy estimates be reduced one hour; in the standing social development committee, the estimates of the policy secretariat be reduced by one hour.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
GRIEVANCE SETTLEMENT BOARD HEARING ACT
Hon. Mr. Norton moved first reading of Bill 154, An Act respecting a Decision of the Grievance Settlement Board dated March 17, 1978, in the arbitration of a grievance between Samuel Johnston and the Crown in right of Ontario under the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, 1972.
Motion agreed to.
ART GALLERY OF ONTARIO AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Baetz moved first reading of Bill 155, An Act to amend the Art Gallery of Ontario Act.
Motion agreed to.
FOREIGN CULTURAL OBJECTS IMMUNITY FROM SEIZURE ACT
Hon. Mr. Baetz moved first reading of Bill 156, An Act to render Immune from Seizure certain Objects of Cultural Significance brought into Ontario for Temporary Display or Exhibition.
Motion agreed to.
INCOME TAX AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Maeck moved first reading of Bill 157, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: With one exception, all the amendments proposed in this bill are those required by the government of Canada to preserve uniformity between the federal and provincial acts. These amendments are required under the terms of the tax collection agreement between Canada and Ontario. The one exception is an administrative deregulation measure to enable the Minister of Revenue to grant remissions of the provincial portion of income tax where the federal government has remitted its portion of the tax to individuals where hardship, inequity or similar circumstances exist.
GASOLINE TAX AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Maeck moved first reading of Bill 158, An Act to amend the Gasoline Tax Act, 1973.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: This bill proposes amendments to the Gasoline Tax Act to reflect the change to metric from imperial measure which will be implemented by the majority of oil companies as of January 1, 1979. The bill further proposes amendments to allow the government to enter into interprovincial agreements in order to prevent double taxation between provinces.
MOTOR VEHICLE FUEL TAX AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Maeck moved first reading of Bill 159, An Act to amend the Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: The remarks I made earlier on the Gasoline Tax Act introduction apply to this bill as well.
REG. BOOTH AND SON LIMITED ACT
Mr. Eakins moved first reading of Bill Pr45, An Act to amend the Reg. Booth and Son Limited Act.
Motion agreed to.
CORONERS AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Lupusella moved first reading of Bill 160, An Act to amend the Coroners Act, 1972.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Lupusella: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to provide the mechanism for the mandatory investigation of all industrial deaths in the province of Ontario occurring in the workplace.
EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Mackenzie moved first reading of Bill 161, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Mackenzie: As an explanatory note, the purpose of the bill is to ensure that no employee engaged in the preparation or service of food in a tavern, restaurant, hotel, motel or tourist resort be required as a term or condition of employment to work while nude or partially nude.
Mr. Warner: If Frank Drea can’t do it, we will.
LABOUR RELATIONS AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Mackenzie moved first reading of Bill 162, An Act to amend the Labour Relations Act
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Mackenzie: As explanation, the proposed amendment requires the inclusion in every collective agreement of a clause providing for the deduction of union dues by an employer from an employee’s wages. The provision does not apply to the construction industry.
SUDBURY YWCA ACT
Mr. Germa moved first reading of Bill Pr43, An Act respecting Sudbury Young Women’s Christian Association.
Motion agreed to.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, with the concurrence of the House, I am wondering if we might, just before going on to private members’ public business this afternoon, deal with the private bill that’s been reported back standing in the name of the member for Lincoln (Mr. Hall). It would be appreciated if we could give it the necessary two readings now. It’s important for the municipal elections that are presently there.
LINCOLN COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION ACT
Mr. Hall moved second reading of Bill Pr40, An Act respecting the composition of the Lincoln County Board of Education.
Motion agreed to.
Third reading also agreed to on motion.
Mr. Hall: Mr. Speaker, if I may, I’d just like to thank the House for expediting the passage of the bill so that certain matters can be attended to in due time for the municipal elections this year. Thank you.
PRIVATE MEMBERS’ PUBLIC BUSINESS
FINANCIAL PROTECTION FOR DEPENDANTS
Mr. Hennessy moved resolution 22:
That, in the opinion of this House, the government should introduce legislation to provide that wherever a police officer, fireman or prison guard is killed in the line of duty, the salary and other income benefits of the deceased shall continue and shall be paid to the deceased’s dependants until such time as the payments are no longer necessary for the maintenance and support of the dependants.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member has up to 20 minutes.
Mr. Hennessy: Thank you. Have I got the floor now?
Mr. Speaker: Yes, you have.
Mr. Eakins: Put lots of punch in it, Mickey.
Mr. Makarchuk: So much for parliamentary procedure.
Mr. Hennessy: Mr. Speaker, I rise this afternoon to seek the support of the members assembled for a resolution about which I feel strongly. Miners and construction workers; to name a couple, provide an important service and are exposed daily to occupational hazards, but as the protectors of the well-being of society at large, policemen, firefighters and correctional guards deserve special attention. I am proposing to these workers that society recognizes the dangers inherent in their everyday work activities and that it is prepared to adequately look after their families should they be killed while on duty.
The job of a police officer, a firefighter or a correctional guard is distinct from that of most other employees. The nature of his work exposes him daily to activities that potentially endanger his life. In my opinion, and I hope that of the members assembled, some added compensation should be assured to the families of these people should they be killed while on duty.
Each of these groups is covered to some degree already by a pension plan through their respective work groups, but in many cases if the worker was killed at an early stage in his or her career the compensation that family receives is minimal when compared to the salary they were receiving before the worker was killed.
In the case of a correctional service guard or an Ontario Provincial Police officer, if he or she should be killed on duty before completing 10 years of service, his or her family would receive the same benefits offered any other civil servant. The employee has a certain percentage of his or her pay withheld for his or her retirement or for a family pension, should he or she die while employed. If he or she has served less than 10 years at his or her job at the time of his or her death, the family would have all these deductions refunded and therefore receive no further money.
The widow or widower and dependants of a person who has worked more than 10 years would receive a yearly pension. It is calculated as follows: the family would receive an amount equal to two per cent multiplied by the number of years the employee worked, multiplied by his or her salary at the time of his or her death, divided by two. Translated into English, this means the family of an OPP officer who is killed in his or her tenth year of service would receive half of 20 per cent of the salary he or she was earning on the day he or she died.
If he or she was earning $15,000 a year, the family would receive a yearly pension of $1,500. The small sum of the benefits would be traumatic in the case of any civil servant, but I must stress that while all civil servants now receive the same benefits, there must be some recognition of the degree of risk to the safety, and indeed to the lives, of these employees.
In the case of police officers, firefighters and correctional guards, their daily activities constantly expose them to personal danger. These people risk their lives daily to ensure that ours are protected and safe. It is this aspect that sets them apart from other public servants. Therefore, the purpose of my resolution is to recognize the sacrifice of the life of any of these workers.
It would not be an expensive proposition. I am not asking for large across-the-board salary increases for these people. Indeed, the worker would not receive directly a penny from this proposal. However, it may benefit the worker in one indirect way.
The worker, whether he or she is a firefighter, a police officer or a correctional service guard, could approach his or her job with one less reservation. He or she would at least be assured that should he or she be killed while on duty, his or her family would be adequately looked after, that the family would receive benefits equal to his or her salary after his or her death. This is a point of very great importance.
The person who daily faces dangers to his or her life and therefore dangers to the security of his or her family should have some guarantee that those he or she leaves behind will be adequately looked after.
Nothing can bring the deceased person back to the family; there is always great pain after a death. Money is neither an adequate nor an appropriate salve for the wound this death causes. But death is hard enough to deal with, and when you add great financial hardship to this situation it becomes almost intolerable.
I would like to return to the hypothetical case of the police officer I spoke of a few minutes ago. If he or she were killed in his or her tenth year of service while making a salary of $15,000, his wife or her husband and family would receive $1,500 a year in benefits. Assuming that he or she had a mortgage and other debts a young married couple would incur, $1,500 would not go very far. I think the family of a person who is killed while protecting others deserves, and indeed should be guaranteed, a better deal than this.
This resolution will not cost the government large sums of money. The statistics will show that the number of deaths occurring in the categories of jobs I mentioned is not large. But where deaths do occur, it is of high importance that the family be adequately compensated for loss of life which occurred in the protection of society as a whole.
Most of the families of past victims are already receiving compensation to some degree. I am told that in the OPP, 45 officers have been killed in the last 55 years. While a single death is significant, this is a very small number when compared to the number of people employed by the force in that time period. Therefore, I feel that the funds required to compensate the victims’ families will not be great.
Again, I am asking the members present to help the families of those people killed while serving the public. Danger is a characteristic of the work these people undertake daily. Without these people our own lives will become a great deal less safe. The worker, himself or herself, is not the beneficiary of this resolution, but he or she deserves the assurance that when he or she is doing the job of protecting society, society in turn will look after his or her family should he or she be killed while doing so.
I would just like to add to the members of the House that a death did occur in the city of Thunder Bay. It was very distressing to see in the local newspaper, on TV and on the radio that there would be a benefit dance held for the constable who was killed. I thought that was sort of chintzy. After all, it was a young widow. Her parents, his fellow officers and other people have to read that they’re going to have a dance or a stag for somebody who got killed in the performance of his duty. I don’t think that is recognition enough for the people who are protecting society.
It’s tough enough being a policeman now. I think it’s tough enough being a politician, I realize that now. But with all due respect, just put yourself in the position of that family, picking up the newspaper and seeing that there is going to be a benefit dance for a husband who got killed in the performance of his duty so that they can pick up a few nickels and a few dimes, when the municipality or the government should be responsible for the welfare of that family. I sincerely hope that members support my bill.
Mr. S. Smith: May I just intrude on the debate for one moment to table the documents which I referred earlier in question period having to do with the so-called mind development groups. I wish to send this document to the table. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for your indulgence.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Does the member for Fort William wish to reserve any of the balance of his time for the end of the debate?
Mr. Hennessy: Thank you very much, I do.
Mr. Stong: I rise this afternoon and consider it an honour and privilege to join in the debate of this resolution that is before us for consideration. I support it unequivocally in so far as it goes. My only regret, Mr. Speaker, is that it is a resolution and not a bill before us and that it has been so long in coming before the House.
I know the purport of the resolution is to recognize the importance and the essential service of firemen, of policemen and of prison guards. It also goes at length to recognize the risk, the very great personal risk, that these men and women perform on a daily basis for the rest of society.
I am concerned, however, as a member, and as an individual who has been brought up in a family whose head was a man who spent his entire life in community service. My father was the fire chief of the town of Richmond Hill for some 15 years before his death in 1972. I will say that I speak from personal experience when I say that not only is the individual who is on the payroll of the civil service committed, but the entire family ends up committed to the service of the community in the capacity of that individual. There are great demands made on families. There are great demands made on husbands, wives and children by those who serve us in public life, not to speak only of police officers whose lives are at risk daily, and firemen and prison guards.
I would like to direct my attention to this resolution in one aspect. I am concerned that the resolution does not go far enough. It relegates itself to those who are killed in the line of duty. We all know that a police officer is on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 12 months of the year. Likewise, firemen are on duty 24 hours a day, subject to call whenever the need arises. Prison guards, although in a different category, are likewise subject to call at a moment’s notice.
It would seem to me that in recognizing, as this resolution purports to do, the importance and the risk element, it doesn’t go far enough in recognizing the loss that is felt by that family that has dedicated itself to public service indirectly. The loss to the family is no less great by virtue of the fact of one of our firemen, police officers or prison guards being killed on duty as it is if he dies while in active service or dies from causes independent of active duty in any given circumstance.
I would like to see in such a resolution, and in a bill should it be presented, consideration given to the fact that any person who is serving us in the capacity of fireman, police officer or prison guard -- because that is what the resolution directs our attention to -- should not necessarily have to be killed violently on the job, but even should they die from natural causes the same consideration be given to his family, his widow. She and the rest of the family have been subject to the call of the community from the time that the individual took on his position. We must consider the loss in any eventuality.
I know that when my father died, my mother got a pension. It was wholly inadequate. He died from natural causes but he was an active fire chief at the time of his death. I speak from personal experience when I say that consideration must be given to those who risk their lives daily and give up so much to serve the rest of the community.
I would hope as well that the salary that is referred to and the benefits that are referred to in the resolution will, in the event that legislation is brought forward, keep abreast of the times and not be allowed to stagnate. They must keep abreast of the inflationary period that we are going through. The demands are just as great. As has been indicated by the mover of this resolution, we are not looking for an increase in salary, but I am suggesting that that salary keep abreast of inflation and the demands made.
I would also hope that in the event that a bill be introduced by the government as a result of this resolution, consideration be given to the suggestion that as dependants become no longer dependent, the amount of money to the remainder of the dependants not be decreased proportionately. I would prefer to see that salary remain so long as there is even one dependant. We all know the demands made on young families, as the mover has mentioned.
It would seem to me that these considerations ought to be given, not only, as I indicated, to those who are killed while on active duty but to anyone who dies while active in the service of others, such as a fireman, policeman and prison guard. That’s what the resolution directs our attention to: that in those three categories, consideration be given to those who die while in active employment in those capacities. And I would urge that the same considerations in salary be directed towards the dependants.
Very briefly, with those considerations in mind, I would like to say that my only regret about this resolution is that it has not come sooner and that it is not before us as a government bill but simply as a private member’s bill. I congratulate the member for his initiative and I hope the government takes up the cause that the mover of the motion has brought forward. Thank you.
Mr. Foulds: It is often my duty to rise and speak on private members’ bills on behalf of our caucus, but it is a real honour and pleasure to do so on this resolution and to express my very strong support for the resolution put forward by my friend, the honourable member for Fort William.
The resolution itself, I believe, arises out of a particular incident that arose in our home community in Thunder Bay when a young policeman was shot during the course of duty. It is very easy to get emotional about that situation. The young man in question was a pupil of mine the first year that I taught high school. I knew him and his family quite well. He was a good man. It was shocking to all of us in the community to see him killed during the line of duty.
Sometimes the emotions do not play us false; sometimes the emotions are good things on which to make a judgement. I believe that this is one of those occasions; but I think that judgement can also be balanced by reason, because the resolution does have, as the phrase goes, a hard-nosed and practical reality to it. Although, as the member for Fort William has pointed out, there are often pensions and benefits and insurance plans, very seldom do they provide the amount of income that was coming into the family, and very seldom do they compensate for the additional cost that is often incurred in such situations when the death arises violently and suddenly. Certainly, as he well pointed out, no amount of compensation can compensate for the emotional and tragic trauma of the situation.
The principle is a sound one. Police officers, firemen and prison guards do jobs for society that many in society do not want to do, and they do jobs that prejudice their safety in a particular kind of way because the deaths that arise are often sudden and violent and completely unexpected and sometimes occur in the most apparently innocuous situations.
I in no way intend to be critical of the resolution, but I do think there are some improvements that we should make as members, and I would hope the government would consider, should the government decide to follow the resolution in terms of drafting legislation. I would like the government to look at the possibility of, if not exactly parallel benefits as outlined in the resolution, at least contemplate comparable benefits for a person in this situation who is permanently disabled during the course of duty, immobilized to the extent that he could no longer perform any function. Occasionally that does happen, so much so that the person may need to be confined to an institution such as a hospital in permanent injury cases. As I say, we need not consider exactly parallel, but at least we should look at comparable benefits.
I note that although the previous speaker, the member for York Centre, pointed out that he was disappointed that it was a resolution and not a bill, not legislation -- and in a sense I am too -- I can understand the dilemma of the member for Fort William because the drafting of a bill would be extremely difficult. It seems to me that this certainly is a good first step, and the brains and power of the Attorney General’s office in drafting a proper bill are probably needed.
The resolution itself does need some refinement. I want to speak in two areas. One is to point out that although these people mentioned in the bill do serve society in a particular and highly dramatic kind of way, there are others in society, even in the private sector, who serve in an equally valuable way and who suffer death during the course of theft jobs because of the job. I am thinking, frankly, of people as diverse as miners, electricians and sectionmen on the railway.
For example, the previous speaker, the member for York Centre, mentioned that all of the people mentioned in the resolution are on call 24 hours a day. People like sectionmen on the railway are on call 24 hours a day because we consider transportation to be of such utmost importance to the wellbeing of other people and to the economy of the country that during the course of storms, during the course of washouts of bridges, train wrecks and so on, all of the forces necessary are called out and often work 24 hours and 36 hours a day.
I too know this personally from the point of view of my own father who was a sectionman and later a section foreman on the railway. They too serve all of us in society. I want to point out that there are more miners’ deaths from unexpected if not violent causes -- not violent in terms of crime but violent in terms of accidents -- deaths of the people mentioned in the resolution. That would be one area that we should look at, or the government should look at, in terms of the principle enunciated in the resolution.
One of the things that the resolution does point out is the inadequacy of Workmen’s Compensation benefits for the spouses of those who die while on duty. That is an avenue in terms of legislation that perhaps the government, and we as a Legislature, should be looking at for possible consideration, if not in terms of these people then in terms of the workers that I mentioned.
There is one other area that I’d like to touch upon, that is whether or not -- and it’s here I think I differ from the previous speaker the member for York Centre -- the benefits should remain forever as long as there is one survivor. I have some difficulty with that because all of us can expect to leave our families at some time, and I think that one has to be a little careful. Say, for example, you had a child who became an adult who was unemployable in terms of Community and Social Services legislation. I’m not quite sure whether that person should be receiving to the end of his or her life the full salary of the parent, with an indexing. It’s certainly something that I have sympathy for, but I think that it’s an area where when we get into this kind of an equation we should consider the matter carefully.
I just want to sum up. I enthusiastically endorse the principle of the resolution put forward by my friend, the member for Fort William. I think it’s a good resolution. I think it’s a principle that we can all support and we should strongly support. I think that it’s a good step along the road to the improvement of benefits for people working on behalf of society.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The member for Durham West.
Mr. Nixon: Here’s trouble. Now we are going to get the other side.
Mr. Ashe: That’s right. I find it difficult to actually stand and unfortunately have to speak against and oppose the resolution put forward by my colleague.
Mr. Nixon: You won’t be standing again; we will give you one in the nose.
Mr. Ashe: Unfortunately, I’m not quite sure that the full intent and the full feeling that the member for Fort William bad behind this particular resolution is really the correct way to go. I’m going to try to point out many of the reasons and many of the areas of discrepancy.
Mr. Mancini: Straighten him out.
Mr. Ashe: I know for a fact that the honourable member was well meaning.
Mr. Nixon: It goes without saying.
Mr. Ashe: But I think in being well meaning he has possibly created many other possible inequities and maybe doesn’t recognize what already is available in legislation to fulfil what he has in mind.
Mr. Haggerty: Inequities are there now.
Mr. Ashe: First of all I’d like to point out -- and I’m sure many members in this House are already aware of it -- that legislation is already available, granted on a discretionary basis, to take care of these kinds of situations. Section 363(6) of the Municipal Act allows municipalities through the municipal council to grant financial assistance to the dependants of firefighters killed in the line of duty. That is very clear and very explicit. It goes beyond that, but that’s the relevant portion at this point of time.
There are two sections in the Police Act, both in the case of municipal police forces and another section relative to the Ontario Provincial Police, to allow this same discretionary payment of benefits. That discretion is a very positive and good thing, not a negative thing.
The resolution does not provide for the particular circumstance of the surviving family members. It is very inflexible in this regard.
The discretionary powers already in existing legislation allow for the kind of discretion needed to take care of the particular situation.
All honourable members would agree that these situations are unfortunate, there is no doubt they are all unfortunate, but they are not all the same and the existing legislation allows for those differences.
The resolution does not provide clear definitions of the classes of employees involved. For example, will volunteer firemen be covered?
Mr. Foulds: You have been a parliamentary assistant too long George.
Mr. Warner: Where is your heart?
Mr. Swart: Working for the cabinet.
Mr. Ashe: Would police cadets, auxiliary policemen and traffic crossing guards be covered? There are many other areas or subareas, even within the particular avocations that have been alluded to in the resolution, that may or may not be covered. You could go to the other extreme and say anybody fighting a fire, even if it is in their own home for their own self-preservation, would be covered.
Mr. Foulds: Oh George!
Mr. Ashe: Granted, I said that was the other side and I appreciate that.
It is amazing, Mr. Speaker, how people were rather quiet to hear the members before. When they hear the other side they don’t give out the same courtesies.
Ms. Gigantes: Use it as inspiration.
Mr. Haggerty: They made sense.
Mr. Nixon: But you are so vulnerable.
Mr. Swart: We did, we listened quietly to reason.
Mr. Eakins: Give us something to listen to George.
Mr. Ashe: I have never heard too much coming from that side frankly. A very important point, and this is always part of the New Democratic Party philosophy as I understand it, is that the resolution discriminates against many classes of employees. The member alluded to that to some degree when he mentioned some other classes of employees who should possibly or probably be covered.
I am not speaking only about other public employees. There are many employees in the private sector who would be affected. I would suggest this would create a special category of public employees and we don’t need any form of legislation that would create a mandatory separate class; discretionary, yes, taking into consideration the conditions as they exist.
I understand statistically from many municipalities that there are other occupations within many municipalities which have a proven record, even within the works department, of higher fatality rate than either the police service or the fire service, and this is restricting it to municipalities. As one of the other members already indicated, there are many other forms of occupation where the accident rate and even the death rate is substantially higher.
The resolution would require, and this has been alluded to already, a very complex piece of legislation. It would be extremely difficult to cover all the possibilities you could enter into in any kind of terminology. I tried to give the extremes, and I agree they were extremes, you would be trying to cover by having either too few words or too many.
I know we have lots of words coming from that side; there always are. They are not usually very good or very fruitful, but the quantity is there. Not the quality, however, and I appreciate that.
Mr. Nixon: Not very truthful.
Mr. Foulds: You know what? You make Fagan look like a progressive.
Mr. Ashe: I am always trying to pick up the philosophies of the third party. They talk about taking away rights at the bargaining table.
Mr. Warner: You are a true regressive conservative.
Mr. Ashe: I would suggest that an employer also has bargaining rights at the same bargaining table. You don’t allude to those rights, but two sides make up a bargain. Within the province of Ontario, I am told, some collective agreements already recognize what this resolution is attempting to do. It was negotiated at the bargaining table. I can also tell you that I have sat at that bargaining table in police negotiations and in fire negotiations.
Mr. Foulds: So what?
Mr. Warner: Heaven help the firefighters.
Mr. Ashe: There has been give and take on that particular issue. It has also been used by the employees -- quite rightly, and I don’t deny this right -- that they are in a particular occupation where there is maybe above-average danger. That is one of the reasons for their salary demands and hence the higher level of compensation than they would normally expect to receive. I have heard it, I’ve sat there. It’s legitimate and it’s real. But how often should you be compensated for any one particular part of your occupation? It has been recognized, and if you want to use the words the “danger pay” has been incorporated into the pay structure in many of these occupations over the years.
Last but not least -- and it’s unfortunate that I have to use the member’s own example but I think it’s valid -- the honourable member’s good intention in this particular resolution was prompted by an unfortunate situation in his own riding.
Mr. Foulds: My riding, our city.
Mr. Ashe: In your area then, I’ll put it that way.
Mr. Warner: My area’s Ontario.
Mr. Ashe: Just very recently the chief of police provided what has been the survivor benefits to that family. I appreciate and acknowledge that you can’t equate the money to the loss of the father and the loved one in the family; I’m not trying to do it in that context, but this resolution doesn’t either. Don’t forget, we’re talking about money. In that particular situation, the current benefits available and/or being received -- I say “available” because I don’t know the investment choices the survivor has made -- but even taking the most minimum life-expectancy rate in an actuarial table -- and they are not overly generous I can assure members -- the surviving family is at this time receiving approximately 10 per cent more than the income the deceased would have been receiving.
Again, there are the existing benefits at work. I’m sure that if the existing benefits had not worked out so generously the council might very well have considered any additional compensation that was necessary to carry on supplying the needs of that family.
Ms. Gigantes: For how long?
Mr. Ashe: I might even say in looking at those needs, the life benefits to the widow, even when the family is grown, are still quite substantial. They’re obviously not as high, but they’re still quite substantial relative to the earning capacity of that individual.
Mr. Speaker, I think I am out of time but I did want to point out the other side of the question. I appreciate this is another, shall we use the word “motherhood” type of resolution that has lots of appeal. But I think we have to be aware of all sides of the issue and all the pluses and minuses of anything before we vote on a motherhood basis.
Mr. Foulds: You’ve got the heart of an accountant.
Mr. Hennessy: Simon Legree.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The member for Essex South.
Mr. Hennessy: Give him a hand.
Mr. Bradley: Let’s see if he’s on your side, Mickey.
Mr. Mancini: Thanks very much, Mr. Speaker. I’m pleased to rise and enter into the debate concerning ballot item 31.
The way the resolution has been drafted and has been presented before this Legislature, I would say it would be pretty well impossible for anyone to stand here and not agree with it. I don’t know how any one can disagree with the resolution that states in principle when the head of a household has been killed at work the family shall receive proper compensation, so that the children may go on to school and hopefully find a useful career for themselves, and so that the family home will not be lost, and everything be in ruin -- in addition to the loss of the parent.
Although I support the resolution for those reasons, I don’t think the resolution is adequate in that it does not protect the people of the province in general. I don’t think I as a legislator can say that a policeman should have this type of benefit when an unorganized worker should not. I don’t think I can say that a policeman or a fireman should have this type of benefit when a person who drives an ambulance does not or a person who works for Ontario Hydro and is a power lineman does not. I think the resolution has good intentions. One good intention is that when a person is fatally injured on his job there should be protection for his family. I think there is enough wealth in this province for that to be put into effect.
I would like to say to the member who introduced the resolution that when he winds up his address and when he answers some of the questions and concerns of the members who have spoken in this debate, I really want to know what his position is on the rest of the people in the province of Ontario. I want to know if he believes that all people who take their place in society and work, if they are able, can have the same protection that he wants to give policemen and firemen and other people that he mentioned.
If it is his intention not to do that, if it is his intention just to create this class, then the purpose of his resolution, to my way of thinking, really has not accomplished anything and I would hesitate to support it.
But if it is his intention to include firemen, policemen and everybody else -- people who work in mines, people who work in quarries, people who are not organized and who do not have the benefit of a union, people who do not have the economic clout to get good contracts for themselves -- if it is his intention to include protection for all of those people, then I think his resolution is most honourable and it deserves the support of this House. Thank you.
Mr. Swart: The first note that I had made to speak on this resolution was that it is the kind of resolution that nobody will oppose. However, I guess that was wishful thinking, because it looks at least as if there is one member on the opposite side -- and quite possibly he is speaking for the government and there will be substantial numbers -- who will oppose this resolution.
I thought it was the kind of resolution nobody could oppose, first of all because it really is just a statement of principle, it doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty of who is going to pay for it, it doesn’t get into the nitty-gritty of the details of how long this will continue, how you will determine when they don’t need it any longer -- the resolution says “until such time as the payments are no longer necessary” -- so it is such a broad statement of principle I didn’t think anybody would oppose it on those grounds; secondly, because there is, I think, some special sympathy, and rightly so, for the families of those people who are killed in these particular types of protective services.
Most of us realize that policemen at this time in our society are not shown very often the respect they deserve. There is a great deal of criticism of the police, and there are a few that deserve it, but by and large they have an unpopular job which they are doing well.
Also, I want to say I don’t think there is really any technical problem in bringing in legislation with regard to this. There are many ways it can be done, of course. We could set up a fund that would be paid into by the province and by the municipalities, which would pay out so much a month to these people, or maybe just straight insurance on these people. The death rate is not that great. They probably have an insurance policy of $200,000 or $150,000 so that we would know there would be no poverty in the family afterwards.
So I suspect that this House will vote for it, I suspect it will pass in this House and I suspect it will die and nothing will happen from there on, because I think the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs has indicated that he is opposed to even the principle involved in this.
I want to point out to the member for Durham West (Mr. Ashe), because I think it should be pointed out -- does he know how many people we are talking about, how many people in these classifications are killed in a year in Ontario? In the last 10 years there have been 18 policemen killed, but no firemen and no guards. Surely this province can afford to see that the widows and families of those two people a year aren’t going to be in poverty when they perform a special service to our society.
However, I have to share the view expressed by my colleague from Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) and by some others that when we are talking about families where one of the breadwinners is killed -- very often the breadwinner is killed although there can be two breadwinners in the family -- we have to relate what we are doing here to the others in our society too.
I want to say, and to say very pointedly, that it is the inadequate policies and the inadequate program of the Workmen’s Compensation Board of this province that make this kind of a resolution necessary, because there is not adequacy in the amount of payments to the families of those killed, whether they are policemen, whether they are firemen, whether they work in a mine or whether they drive a truck along the road. The payment they get is inadequate.
Let me just point out that the average family income in this province in 1976 was just over $20,000. Even if you figure the average family income including the unattached individuals, it is still $16,000. But if the breadwinner is killed, and a wife and two children are left, the Workmen’s Compensation Board pays $563 monthly for the woman and the two children, or about $6,000 a year. The income goes down from about $20,000 a year to $6,000 a year. If they are not covered by workmen’s compensation and have to go on family benefits, it’s $520 maximum that is paid to a woman and the family under family benefits. If she has to go on welfare, of course, it is even less. Those kinds of things are inadequate in this day and age.
If a policeman is totally disabled and is not able to work ever again, now he gets $509 monthly. I must point out to the member for Fort William (Mr. Hennessy) that when he gave the example of them only getting $150 monthly, he was of course talking about theft pension, and, in addition to that, they would get workmen’s compensation. I say that is very inadequate.
In this province over the last 10 years there have been about 3,000 industrial workers killed whose wives and children are existing on those kinds of payments, compared to, as I have already stated, about 18 policemen, firefighters and guards. I want to say, as my colleague said, that many of those people working in industry too have hazardous jobs. I also want to say that their wives and families suffer the same kind of hurt when the husband or the father -- or the mother, in some instances -- is killed, and we should be giving some thought to those too.
The resolution recognizes the public service and the needs of widows and children. If we are concerned about the policemen, perhaps there are other things that should be done about the numbers that are being killed, such as putting two policemen in cars, paying them salaries that recognize it, and perhaps we should have that higher life insurance.
I am concerned that this resolution does nothing for those who are permanently disabled, whose numbers equal the numbers of those who are killed in these services. But because it is a step in the right direction, because it is my hope that this kind of conscientiousness in this Legislature will be translated this year and the years ahead to the condition of the wives and the families where the breadwinners have lost theft lives in every walk of life, I’m going to support this resolution that is before us today.
Mr. Acting Speaker: The member for St. Catharines for seven minutes only.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, speaking in favour of the resolution, or at least the principle of the resolution which is put forward by the member for Fort William, I see this as being a mechanism for protecting the financial security of the members of the families of those who lose theft lives in the line of duty. I think the mover of the resolution has been careful to point out in his introductory remarks the fact that these people are in a special or different position -- a unique position, if you will -- in that the very nature of their occupation is such that the possibility of death lurks just around the corner at all times.
Since the members of the federal Parliament -- and this is a matter of some controversy, but looking at it as part of this particular question -- since the members of the federal Parliament have withdrawn the penalty of death as a consequence of the murder of police officers and prison guards, there are those who would suggest that in their particular situations the risk of death indeed has been increased.
When previous federal legislation concerning capital punishment was passed, special provision was made for the death penalty for those convicted of the capital murder of police officers or prison guards on duty. The federal Parliament at one time, along with certainly a large portion of the population of this country, recognized the very unique circumstances in which prison guards, firemen and police officers find themselves.
We have all experienced, I’m sure, situations where we have seen people who have given their lives or have come close to giving their lives in the line of duty in these occupations. I think of a situation within my own constituency. I can recall where a 13- or 14-year-old lad fell into a large ditch of water which was flowing and it eventually went out into the canal. It was determined that the child had probably lost his life. I watched, as did many other people, as a member of the St. Catharines fire department lowered himself into a situation that was extremely dangerous. He was really placing his life on the line to attempt to save another life. This particular individual had a family of his own, dependants of his own. I was very impressed with the courage that was shown at that time and could very well understand the kind of uneasiness that would be felt by the family of a fireman, knowing that he could face these circumstances.
We have all seen situations where we have had some disastrous fires, many of them in present-day circumstances involving chemicals, some of whose consequences we are not sure of. Therefore, we see firemen, as they enter a building or structure of any kind, once again placing their lives on the line, which is a little different from some other occupations, albeit that some of them do not have the kind of safety we would like to see.
With the increasing number of hostage-taking incidents, and with the increase in the use of drugs by certain segments of our society, we see that police officers are placed in increasingly difficult situations, where those who would be taking violent actions against a police officer may not be doing so with their full psychological, psychiatric and mental facilities, or at least being impaired by the use of some form of drugs.
We see many other examples where police officers are asked to enter circumstances -- family squabbles, for instance -- which end up in a shooting or knifing. Once again, their lives are placed on the line, and their families must be constantly thinking of the possibility of this happening and must not have the kind of peace of mind that others would have in other occupations.
We know that prison guards are in a difficult situation. I have mentioned already that we have taken away an ultimate penalty for the murder of prison guards. We also see an increased number of disturbances and outright riots occurring, most particularly in the federal prison system where we have those who would be most difficult to deal with. Once again, the families of those people would be very concerned as they head out each day or each evening to their jobs.
I was interested in the comments of the member for Durham West, concerning the fact that there are already certain provisions made. I really have to ask the question whether or not a family should be required to -- perhaps beg is too strong a word to use -- almost beg or make a strong request of whomever, be it the local council or the police commission, to provide certain funding if that funding is necessary. I think that should flow from a right rather than a privilege.
We have to ask also who will make that kind of decision. Who are we going to place in the position of saying one particular family will receive this kind of benefit and another will not? If there are opposite decisions made, is it not going to cause hard feelings within that particular police force and the families represented therein?
Also, discretion according to financial circumstances could penalize those who have chosen to save their money, taking into consideration there may be two police officers. One police officer, for example, has chosen to spend his money on many of the worldly goods that we all like to have, while the other has chosen to save most of his funds. I think it would be unfortunate if we were to pick and choose on that basis, not taking into consideration those circumstances.
The thrust of this resolution deserves the support of this House. We will never be able to replace the personal guidance and presence of the deceased person, but we can provide the kind of security which I think is implied in this resolution. Therefore, I will be voting in favour of it.
Mr. Hennessy: I listened with interest to the comments made by the opposition member and by the member for Port Arthur and the member for Essex South. I agree in principle with what their thoughts are. I admit it all can’t be perfect in bringing in something like the resolution I have -- I haven’t got the market for brains cornered -- to be able to come in with something perfect that everybody here is going to agree with. I agree with the summation of the member for Welland-Thorold that there are some people we forgot. I would say in all fairness that you’ve got to crawl before you walk and you’ve got to walk before you run. In this respect it’s a start in some direction.
If I were to bring in all these, I would have my friend over here taking a heart attack before the day’s over. I don’t know whether he’s on my side or the fourth party’s.
Mr. Swart: That’s why I’m supporting you.
Mr. Hennessy: I’m a little disappointed, but there are plenty of people in politics, I guess.
In all due respect, I wanted to say to the other members who have mentioned their concerns that I share those concerns. I wasn’t born a millionaire. I worked for a living. I realize the aspects and the frustrations that we go through in trying to keep a family together. If something of this nature does happen, it is very tragic. Sympathy is nice, but you can’t buy a loaf of bread with sympathy.
In all due respect, I definitely have taken into deep consideration the suggestions made by the various members. I thought of those things but I thought if I can’t include the whole ball park, at least I can get something to start on. I think it’s a start in the right direction.
The police department, the fire department and the correctional guards are risking their lives. My colleagues mentioned that section 360 allows the family to approach council. I was a member of a city council. If there’s anything pathetic and frustrating it’s the post of a member of city council. A lot of members of council are getting a free ticket as far as I’m concerned. They just happen to be the only one running in that ward and they get in. They have no qualifications and no understanding.
To give an illustration of this to the Legislature, I remember years ago when I was a member of council a department head died. There was no insurance policy for municipal employees. His wife was not financially secure enough to give him the proper sendoff he was entitled to. She approached council and the council all agreed he was a great fellow. They all played baseball with him, they all went to school with him and they all knew him, but they couldn’t give her any money. So what good did that do? I don’t believe that something of this nature should be put across on the cold basis of the bargaining table. I think the elected officials and the people who are in power should have the responsibility to realize that they’re dealing with human beings. They’re not dealing with dollars and cents. They’re not dealing with desks, tables and chairs. They should have a little bit of heart. I admit some politicians may not have that much intelligence, including myself, but at least we’ve got a heart and try to use it when the matter does present itself.
A thing that really concerned me -- and I wish the member was here because I like to say things the way they should be said -- he mentioned that because it happened in Thunder Bay he was concerned about it. My God, since I’ve been in Toronto it’s happened three or four times. I don’t live in Toronto. I’m concerned about the welfare of the police constable, or the prison guard or the fireman whether I am in Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie or Simcoe or wherever I am. After all, human beings are being murdered and all they do is send the widow a card of sympathy. Then she has to go on hands and knees for anything else.
I’ll use the instance that if you are a politician, when you’re in power you have a lot of friends, but when you’re not in office you see how many friends you’ll have. Half of the fellows that were saying hello to you won’t even answer their phones. The same thing applies when a person is dead and buried; he’s forgotten or she’s forgotten. Let the widow try to get some money and get a helping hand. The mayor or the council will be too busy. The incident mentioned in Thunder Bay -- and I think the member for Port Arthur can back this up -- the city council had no jurisdiction over the police force. It is a board composed of the mayor, a judge and somebody appointed by the police commission to sit on police affairs. Therefore, the elected officials in the city of Thunder Bay -- except for the mayor and he only has one vote in council -- the 12 members of council have no say whether the widow gets any benefits whatsoever. So for his statement to mention it shows how much he knows about Thunder Bay. I wish he would do a little homework.
Mr. Swart: It’s the same with all Ontario.
Mr. Hennessy: Guaranteed. So, with all due respect, when he makes a statement like that, since the short time I’ve been in Toronto, unfortunately there have maybe been two or three deaths, that would cover people in Toronto as well as in other municipalities. I don’t believe there should be an ad in the paper that there is going to be a dance this Saturday night to pick up some funds to help out the widow. After all, she’s had enough problems as it was and to read that doesn’t make any sense.
As I said before, there are times you should act with your head when you’re politicians, but there are times when you have to act with your heart. I think that in this case it’s acting with your head and with your heart. You’re doing the right thing for humanity by going along with this proposal. Also, as I said to the city members who voiced concerns in regard to people being incapacitated by an accident and laid up for years, these are taken into consideration. I would just say to the members that if we don’t make a start in some direction we’ll never get there. If we can’t ask for all the apple pie then let’s take a piece of the apple pie today and maybe tomorrow we can get the ice cream.
Mr. Acting Speaker: There is a brief period of time left on this item if anyone else wishes to enter the debate.
Mr. Foulds: Call the next bill.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Fine, then the time for the debate on this matter has expired.
HOSPITAL ABORTIONS PROCEDURES ACT
Mr. Sweeney moved second reading of Bill 139, An Act respecting Hospital Administrative Procedures relating to Abortions performed in Ontario.
Mr. Sweeney: I rise on this issue with some trepidation because I fully appreciate that the issue we are debating here this afternoon is one that has been and can he a divisive one. I did not make lightly the decision to introduce this bill. I gave it a great deal of consideration and I realize the points I’m going to try to make this afternoon will not be shared by all my colleagues in this House. I realize they will not be shared by many of the people outside this House. But I do believe the issue is of sufficient importance that the point of view I hold, and hold strongly, needs to be debated. I believe it is of sufficient importance that the public beyond this chamber needs to have an opportunity to hear once again both sides of it.
I would point out to my colleagues that to the best of my knowledge there is no other provincial legislature in which a bill of this nature has been presented. I say that only because whatever we decide to do before this afternoon and evening are over, we will be setting some kind of precedent that will be felt in other jurisdictions in this country.
I am not unaware that we are dealing with a balance of rights in this issue. I am not unaware that there are women and young girls in our community even this day who are troubled by an unexpected and unwanted pregnancy. There is no way I can put myself in their place. I can’t do that. I can only listen to the people who have come and spoken to me, both those in favour and those against. But I can sense the anguish and the desperation and yes, even the fear, that these women and young girls feel.
I don’t in any way want to suggest that they do not have rights. That’s not the purpose of my presentation or my bill. What I will try to suggest though, is that we are talking of the right of two people in this issue. It is pretty clearly established now that the child in a woman’s womb is a person. Now I know that that is in dispute. May I just take this moment to refer to a couple of cases where this has been described. In the First International Conference on Abortion held in Washington, DC, in October 1967, a conference that included people from the fields of medicine, law, ethics and the social sciences, as well as biochemists, professors of obstetrics and gynaecology, geneticists, and so on, a very broad representation, their almost unanimous conclusion, 95 per cent, was this: “The majority of our group could find no point in time between the union of sperm and egg or at least the blastocyte stage and the birth of the infant at which point we could say that this was not a human life.”
More recently, the noted pathologist H. M. I. Lilly, in her book Modern Motherhood, states: “From the moment a baby is conceived, it bears the stamp of separate, distinct personality, an individual different from all other individuals.” In September 1973, in the Canadian Bar Journal, this statement appeared:
“Any honest review of the current medical status of human intrauterine life demonstrates conclusively that a separate human life is present from conception and that this human life matures and grows according to an orderly and predictable pattern which begins intrauterine and continues through the immediate postnatal period, infancy, childhood, adolescence, maturity and old age.”
I take the time to point that out because my entire position stands or falls on that single beginning point: that we do have within the womb of the mother a distinct human being. What is at issue here is balancing the rights of those two human persons.
The question has been raised that abortion is totally a federal matter; why do we bring it up in the provincial Legislature? That causes some difficulty with our constituents out beyond this chamber. What we must remind them is that, although the law is a federal matter, the administration of that law is clearly a provincial matter.
May I quote two paragraphs, one from a letter from the office of the Prime Minister of Canada, and one from the office of the Minister of Justice of Canada? “However, one must appreciate that while the federal government enacts the criminal law, it does not administer or apply it. The provincial governments in the 10 provinces administer all the provisions of the Criminal Code, including the provision relating to abortion.” The paragraph from the Prime Minister’s says almost the same thing.
I point that out because there has been some discussion that maybe we do not have the right to bring such a bill into this Legislature. I want to emphasize that it is the administration exclusively of the federal law which is in the provincial jurisdiction that my bill deals with.
The question may also arise: If we have a federal law, and we have a provincial administration, what’s the problem? I would suggest that there is some evidence -- and I’m sure my colleagues will produce other points of view -- to suggest that in this province the administration of that law is somewhat more lax than what we as legislators should be willing to accept.
I will make a couple of points. First of all, I would draw to your attention that slightly less than half of all of the abortions in Canada are performed in Ontario. Given the fact that we have approximately one third of the population, I would suggest that is a distortion. I would also suggest that is not what it should be.
I would also point out that there is an inverse and growing ratio between the number of live births in this province and the number of abortions. There has been roughly a 10 per cent increase every single year since the federal law has been passed. There has also been an increase in the rate of abortions per 1,000 of the population -- not just a raw increase. At the same time there has been a corresponding decrease in live births.
I would also draw to your attention that between the years 1974 and 1976 the number of women in this province who have gone back for a second or a third abortion, namely what could be called repeating the process, has doubled -- there were twice as many. There are many things you can read into that. One that I would suggest is that abortion is being used by some people in this province as a form of birth control.
Maybe that’s not surprising. One of my constituents recently wrote the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) of this province and asked for some literature on male birth control. This is what he received; it is entitled What Every Man Should Know About Birth Control. There is only one small problem: On page 10 of this booklet, abortion is listed as an acceptable method of birth control in this province. That’s from the Ministry of Health of Ontario.
Dr. Robert B. Salter speaking at the American Academy of Medicine last month made the following observation: “One of the most disturbing outcomes of the liberalization of the abortion laws has been an increasing widespread abuse.” Dr. Salter specified particularly the all-too-pervasive phenomenon, especially among adolescents, of using abortion rather than contraception as a form of birth control. Dr. Salter, for those who may not know, is the president of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
Finally, it is very difficult to pin this issue down, but in 1976 Dr. Leigh Clarke of Goderich was so concerned about an obvious abuse of the abortion process in this province that he wrote up an official legal declaration on a specific case. He interviewed an 18-year-old girl. In his opinion, this patient was normal in her physical and mental health and was neither depressed or anxious to any unusual degree. That was on November 13.
On November 17, just four days later, this same young girl went to two doctors in Victoria Hospital in London. Dr. Anderson approved her abortion with this statement: “She is depressed and crying and really believes that this pregnancy is detrimental to her health, I would have to suggest that if she were not depressed, then we would have to be concerned about that young woman’s mental health.”
Dr. Allan of the same hospital approved the abortion for these reasons: “She is depressed and anxious and she is unable to concentrate on her studies.” Those two doctors saw that young woman at 10 o’clock in the morning of November 17, and at two o’clock in the afternoon of November 17 the young lady had an abortion. I could go on but I think perhaps I have made my point.
The purpose of my bill is fivefold. First, it says that there must be informed consent of the woman who is seeking an abortion before the abortion can be performed. The Badgley report, one of the more authoritative documents of that nature in this country, clearly identifies with that. It says that the information given to a woman must be of a nature that she can fully understand what she is getting into.
That is all I am asking for in my bill. I am asking that she know the condition of the fetal life in her womb; that she know what risks there might be to her; and that she know what options might be available to her. I am suggesting these are simple rights. How can we ask anyone to given consent to a surgical procedure without that?
My bill also deals with an aborted child who is aborted alive. The incidence of that or even the potential incidence of that is very low. Research done in California recently suggests that it would be about 1.3 per cent of the time. I would mention, however, that with an average of 28,000 abortions in Ontario, that would represent about 340 young aborted babies. Even though the incidence might be low, the actual number of human beings is not low. All I am saying in the bill is when that happens, then that baby be treated the same as if it were a premature baby and be given the necessary medical attention to keep it alive.
I am asking in my bill that doctors and nurses in our hospitals who for conscience or moral reasons do not wish to participate in an abortion are not forced to do so. There would be no discipline and no dismissal. Once again the Badgley report clearly makes that observation.
I am asking that the Minister of Health of this province monitor what is happening in the hospitals of this province. Someone was suggesting that is a betraying of the confidential records. I would only draw to your attention that the Criminal Code with respect to abortion very clearly gives the minister that power: “The Minister of Health of a province may by order require a therapeutic abortion committee for any hospital In that province or any member thereof to furnish to him a copy of any certificate issued by that committee together with any such other information relating to the circumstances surrounding the issue of that certificate.” It’s in the law. It just isn’t being applied in Ontario.
I am also asking in my bill that we take a look at the definition of “health.” It’s one of the most contentious issues in this entire problem. I would suggest that Ontario do as Prince Edward Island has done -- define what “health” means in this jurisdiction -- and say that if an abortion is going to be performed there must be serious health matters involved, that a life would not be taken for light reasons but only for serious reasons.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw to your attention that I believe this bill reflects the sentiment of the public of this province at the present time. At least it reflects the sentiment of the public of Canada. When the Badgley report came out, one of the surveys done clearly indicated that only 16 per cent of the people surveyed believed that we should have abortion with no restrictions. In April of this year a Gallup poll was taken and the same results surfaced: Only 16 per cent of the population believed that we should have abortion with no restrictions. My bill, I would suggest, speaks to that.
I know there is some resentment in this House from some of my colleagues for my even introducing this issue, but I suppose that issues of life and death have always created some division in the human family. Perhaps in the final analysis it’s that kind of an issue that this is all about. Perhaps we’re being faced with the question. Shall there be life or shall there be death?
Mr. Acting Speaker: Does the member for Kitchener-Wilmot wish to reserve two minutes at the end?
Mr. Sweeney: Yes, I do.
Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to Bill 139. It’s my considered opinion that this bill is not what it pretends to be. The purpose of the bill, according to section 2, is to “establish administrative procedures for hospitals applicable to the performance of abortions in Ontario to facilitate proper administration by the hospitals of the laws relating to abortion operations.” So reads section 2, but it’s my considered opinion that the word “facilitate” is out of place in this bill, that the bill is designed not to facilitate administration but to obstruct the performance of abortions in Ontario.
It is my considered opinion that the bill proposes measures for “proper administration” which imply that proper administration should be able to ensure that any woman who obtains a legal abortion in Ontario suffers an intolerable administrative ordeal, an ordeal designed to sophisticate the tortuous administrative obstructions which exist in the status quo.
The status quo administration of the law governing abortion in Canada was reported in January 1977 by a committee on the operation of the abortion law appointed by the federal government, the Bagdley committee. It reported, among other significant findings, that because of federal and provincial regulations most hospitals in Canada, 58.5 per cent, could not qualify as hospitals in which abortions may be performed. Of that minority of hospitals which could qualify according to federal and provincial legislation, fewer than half had established abortion committees. Thus, in 1976 only 20.1 per cent of Canadian civilian hospitals were in a position even to consider an application of a woman who had an unwanted pregnancy. When a woman managed to be lucky or well-placed enough to find a hospital which would receive her application, she waited an average of eight weeks while the administrative gears ground slowly on.
The status quo administration of Canadian abortion law means that the average abortion performed in Canadian hospitals is performed later than it should be if the health of a woman is a concern, and later than it should be if we are concerned that the foetus should be aborted before it could live independently outside the womb.
Bill 139 will add to the current administrative procedures in a way that will encourage an even longer period than the average eight-week wait after the confirmation of pregnancy, and it will load even greater emotional burdens on the woman who must wait -- all this in the guise of facilitating proper administration.
I feel it necessary to put on record my own feelings about abortion. When I was 23 -- a long time ago -- I categorized myself as what is commonly called anti-abortionist. The basis of my objection to abortion was, and remains, that I believe it to constitute the cutting off of life.
When I was 23, a friend of mine who is 15 years my senior told me I would change my mind about my right to impose that view on other women when they were at their most vulnerable. She said that when I learned more about life, I would no longer be so ready to judge. She was right.
In the intervening years I have had to accept that women I know have decided, for reasons that in each case have been compelling -- even tragic in the true sense of that word -- to seek an abortion.
In only one of the cases I know of has the woman had an abortion in Canada, in spite of the change in Canadian law. Knowing the anguish these women went through, I could not vote for a bill which would increase the difficulties they faced in obtaining an abortion under Canadian law.
For roughly 30 years of her life almost any woman is in a position where one sexual mistake can result in pregnancy. Throughout history this fact of life, and the potential it has always carried for creating chaos in a woman’s life, has led to the practice of infanticide, the practice of abortion and the practice of some very unhealthy methods of birth control.
The pill, which is currently the most popular method of birth control, is the biggest drug experiment in history. The loop is an abortive mechanism. The pill may also be abortive; I don’t believe science knows enough about it to say one way or the other.
For religious and health reasons I dislike them both, but women will use them until they find some other way of avoiding the chaos of unwanted pregnancy. When that chaos descends, women will seek abortions or they will seek the solution of infanticide. That is our history and that is the present reality.
As we work slowly away at the task of creating a more humane, more civilized society, women will feel the burden of fertility lighten. There are better methods of birth control. We have to find them. There are better ways of life for women and for children. We have to create them. But while we struggle slowly forward to these goals, we have no right to add our moral judgement to the pain of women who get caught in the imperfect present. Bill 139 would do just that, and I cannot support Bill 139.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, the issue before us today is not only figuratively but literally as big as life itself. First and foremost, we must not lose sight of the fundamental truth that with each abortion there is termination of human life.
Traditionally, the civilized world has recognized and respected the sanctity of human life -- human life in all its manifestations, which encompass the gestation period during which the individual human foetus lives and draws nourishment from the mother’s womb, through the birth and aging cycle, down to that moment in time when that person takes his or her last breath. No individual or group of individuals, no matter how militant, no matter how vocal, no matter how large in number, will ever be able to change that basic truth.
However, the events of the last decade have truly put this fundamental truth to the test, and our society will no doubt have to continue to meet this challenge, one which goes to the very roots of individual moral conscience, whether or not strengthened and enriched by religious conviction. This challenge emerged in a formidable manner in 1969 when the federal government saw fit to enact amendments to the Criminal Code which clearly liberalized circumstances under which abortion could be legally obtained in Canada.
We all know that in certain restricted circumstances a woman who obtains permission for an abortion cannot be found guilty of an indictable offence. Section 251 of the Criminal Code provides that a therapeutic abortion committee of an accredited hospital can, by majority vote, issue a certificate stating that in its opinion the continuation of the pregnancy of such female person would or would be likely to endanger her life or health. The mechanism of the therapeutic in-hospital abortion committee appeared to many as a responsible vehicle for monitoring legitimate requests for abortions.
However, a large number of the federal legislators at that time had grave concerns and expressed strong objections to the lack of provision of firm and specific criteria to guide the therapeutic abortion committees in the exercise of their discretion. This concern was centred on the lack of definition of health in the section. No one quarrelled with the need where the very life of the mother is imperiled. However, lack of definition or direction as to when the health of the mother is endangered, or likely to be endangered, allows a committee total discretion and makes abortion available for the asking.
The response of the then federal Justice minister, John Turner, to this criticism was that the bill, and I quote, “does not promote abortion. It permits it under the restricted circumstances when the mother’s life or health might be in danger.” The over 325,000 abortions in Canada since 1969, the majority of which applications have been rubber- stamped by therapeutic abortion committees for so-called health reasons, attests to the extreme naivety which obviously dominated Mr. Turner’s thinking at that point in time.
The principle of Bill 139 deserves support for the following reasons: Firstly, therapeutic abortion committees cannot be left in the invidious position of rubber-stamping abortion applications due to the lack of any meaningful legislative criteria or guidelines that would clearly impose limitations on the exercise of committee discretion.
Secondly, the mother who is contemplating the abortion is entitled to understand the consequences of her decision before giving her consent, the same as she would be for any other surgical procedure involving irreversible consequences. Only then could one say that the mother’s final choice was truly an informed one.
Thirdly, the medical records, inspection and provision for inspectors as provided for in section 8 of the bill are consistent with the requirements imposed by the government under section 39 of the Public Hospitals Act where provision is made for this type of monitoring of hospitals in their day to day operation.
The bill before us today clearly speaks to the deficiencies of section 251 of the Criminal Code and provides the means for carrying out the administrative responsibilities conferred on the province in accord with the intentions professed by the federal Justice minister at the time of enactment of the Criminal Code. It is deserving of support from legislators on both sides of the House.
Who and what then is the objection to this bill? We have had the predictable lobbying of the pro-abortion faction, notably the Canadian Association for Repeal of the Abortion Law. Their traditional posture is an obsession for establishing as paramount the right of the woman to complete freedom of mind and body without a sense of responsibility, regard or consideration for the dire consequences as they affect another human life. In fact, some of them even deny the existence of human life within the pregnant woman. They relegate and reduce human life in this setting to some species other than human. They would try to make us believe that there is no difference between destroying a living human foetus in a hospital abortion and having a wart or tonsil removed from the body by a medical procedure in the same hospital.
The logic of their argument is as vulnerable as the misleading statements contained in the press release of this week wherein their president states in part, “To circumscribe a legal right through this kind of obstructionism” -- meaning Bill 139 -- “is to give recognition in law to the views of a very small minority of citizens.”
The most recent Gallup poll on abortion which was printed in one of the Toronto papers in April of this year shows that only one Canadian in six thinks abortion should be legal under any circumstances. Five out of six persons believe that either abortion should be legal only under certain specific circumstances or else illegal under all circumstances. The validity of that poll is reinforced in the findings of the Badgley report.
An interesting fact is that women, for whom the CARAL organization purports to speak, are much less favourable to the idea of abortion than men. The Badgley report claims that approximately 23 per cent of the men interviewed favour abortion on request while less than 16 per cent of the women questioned answered in the affirmative.
There is irony in the CARAL organization opposing Bill 139, I would suggest. The Canadian Association for Repeal of the Abortion Law endeavours to portray itself as a pro-choice, women’s rights organization in an attempt to remove the stigma of its socially and morally unacceptable pro-abortion position. Their members have avidly supported and worked for the establishment of information centres that will provide information and counselling on the availability of abortion so that women will be fully informed on theft particular options.
On the other hand, they oppose Bill 139 because of the informed consent provisions therein that would require a doctor to inform a patient on the life condition of the unborn child and on options available other than abortion. It is obvious that the pro-abortion zealots object if the options presented are not theft options. It is clear that what they mean by choice being available to women is the choice of either not becoming pregnant or of having an abortion.
In the political arena the predictable position of the NDP in opposing this bill has emerged. However, what is different so far in the debate from their usual posturing in support for removal of abortion from the Criminal Code is their unwillingness -- at least up until this point in the debate -- to acknowledge their party position in this matter. It’s come to my attention that the Health critic for the NDP, the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh), in answering letters of inquiry from citizens on the position of the NDP on this bill --
Mr. Swart: How did the Conservatives vote federally?
Mr. Williams: -- states that this opposition to the bill --
Mr. M. Davidson: Point of privilege.
Mr. Williams: -- is founded first and foremost on the additional administrative expenditure that the bill would purportedly create.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, order.
Mr. Williams: He has made the ludicrous objection that the legislation --
Mr. M. Davidson: Point of privilege.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, the honourable member’s time has expired. What’s your point of privilege?
Mr. M. Davidson: The member for Oriole has implied that the letter sent out by the member for Oshawa stated the New Democratic Party position. Might I state at this time that the letters sent out by the member for Oshawa were as a private member sitting in this Legislative Assembly dealing with and talking to a private member’s bill, which gives each member of this Legislature the right to take a position on his own, without party position being stated.
An hon. member: Quit playing games.
Mr. Williams: The member for Oshawa clearly stated that he was giving his personal opinion as the Health critic for the NDP. He made the ludicrous objection that the legislation would have the effect of creating so much red tape as to prevent abortions.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, the honourable member’s time has expired.
An hon. member: Good, finally.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, then, in concluding, Bill 139 deserves support in principle.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
An hon. member: Sit down.
Mr. Stong: I rise in support of Bill 139. Having the opportunity to second the bill this afternoon, I do not intend to reiterate what the member for Kitchener-Wilmot has spoken to. He has dealt with the emotional issue and the divisive factor of this type of legislation. He also has referred to the constitutional validity of certain aspects of this bill balancing the rights of individuals and the administrative responsibility we have as legislators in Ontario.
If I may I shall refer to two aspects of this bill I would like to direct the members’ attention to. I find it ironic that this afternoon the first debate on the resolution we dealt with before dealt with our universal interest and right to compensate for loss of life, but we are thoroughly divided on a bill that tends to protect life.
I would like to say, Mr. Speaker, that there is objection to Bill 139 on constitutional grounds. To my mind, the five objectives of that bill meet with our authority and our jurisdiction as the Legislature duly constituted in Ontario and in our country.
Informed consent clearly falls within the ambit of our responsibility, as does the administrative aspect of this bill. To assist keeping alive a child that has been born clearly is within our responsibility and that of the Ministry of Health to maintain those standards. It is clearly within the ambit and the jurisdiction of Ontario to protect doctors and nurses who refuse or do not want to participate in abortions on religious or moral grounds. That falls within our jurisdiction of property and civil rights. It is also clearly within our responsibility to monitor abortions and keep lists and checks on their frequency.
The real difficulty comes, I suppose, with the attempt by Ontario in this bill to define health, which has been attacked as a federal jurisdiction. In my respectful submission, it is within the ambit and within the proper jurisdiction of this province and this Legislature to define “health” within the Ministry of Health, as it would apply to this type of legislation.
We open newspapers on a daily basis and we see many, many incidents of vandalism. We also see that assaults are on the increase. It is reflective of a social breakdown, a breakdown or respect for the dignity, the value and the importance of the human being in our society. We, as legislators, in my respectful submission to this House, must take up that challenge and overcome increases in crime and violence to one another by trying to ascertain some semblance of the dignity of the human being.
The whole debate on abortion -- this whole debate that we have entered upon this afternoon -- seems to narrow down to those who would object to this bill on the grounds that it is a moral issue. I might say that as a lawyer who has prepared cases for court -- I am not a medical scientist -- whenever there is evidence to be produced in court, we as lawyers do call upon those whom we acknowledge to be in the know.
If it were only a moral issue, I as a legislator could not stand here, and would not stand here, and affront this House by imposing my moral convictions on other members of this province. But, in my respectful submission, it is more than a moral issue.
The member for Kitchener-Wilmot referred to the First International Conference on Abortion, held in Washington, DC, in October 1967. Present at that conference were authorities -- authorities including medical scientists, lawyers, members from the ethics and social sciences -- experts in their own fields.
The member for Kitchener-Wilmot read to you the almost unanimous conclusion of that conference; namely, that from the moment of conception onward there is human life. That surely is the issue, not whether to terminate that life, or the fact that life is a moral issue. It’s either a scientific fact or it is not.
As early as 1967 it had been ascertained by medical science that life does exist. That not being a moral issue, we must proceed from there. In my respectful submission it is incumbent upon us as legislators to protect that life where it has been found to exist.
In speaking to this bill, I am satisfied that it falls within the constitutional responsibility of this parliament to pass such a bill. I also find, on the basis of the authorities referred to by other speakers in this House, that where there is life, it must be protected. Where there is doubt about life, the benefit of that doubt must be given to the existence of life rather than the non-existence of life. It is on that basis that I, as a legislator, accept my responsibility in supporting this bill.
Mr. di Santo: I enter this debate in the few minutes at my disposal in an attempt to avoid an argument with the member for Oriole who doesn’t understand the importance of this bill and who wants to score political points. That is absolutely imprudent and ridiculous.
I support this bill because there are two important points that have to be emphasized. One is the right of people working in hospitals to refuse to perform abortions for religious or moral reasons. This is very important for human beings because it’s part of our moral and religious convictions. We cannot force people to perform things that are against their convictions.
Secondly, even if this isn’t the best possible bill, we have to realize that it deals with the requirements which fall within the provincial jurisdiction according to the federal law, the Criminal Code. This bill provides a mechanism for information to the patient which is extremely important. Having an abortion is a tragic reality to which women are subjected. It is essential that women know exactly What will happen to them and what the consequences and implications of what they are doing are.
Last year I supported a bill on a patient’s rights presented by my colleague, the member for Parkdale, who said the same thing -- the right to adequate information about the proposed form of treatment before giving consent to the treatment is essential. He also went on to say: “It is an essential part of good clinical practice that a relationship occurs between a patient and the physician in which an exchange of information is essential.” That part of possible recovery treatment is already in that exchange of information and it is time extremely well spent. This bill provides a mechanism for that exchange.
There are parts of the bill which are redundant, such as the part that refers to the unborn child because we know the medical profession provides some ethical rules to doctors to behave in a certain way under those circumstances.
The definition of the danger to the life and the health of the patient should have been better defined. Perhaps the sponsor would have accepted the definition of the World Health Organization which states: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and/or infirmity.”
For this reason, I think the bill can be supported. I realize the discussion on this bill unavoidably tends to degenerate into a pro- or anti-abortion debate mainly due to the intentions of the very intensive lobbying of groups to impose their conflicting views and to sway us in support of their positions.
Personally, I do not accept those totalitarian practices which in some instances amount to outright intimidation or prevarication. The intent of this bill is very limited within the existing law of the nation, section 251 of the Criminal Code.
I might add that the problem of abortion is a tragic reality of our society which will not be solved by taking extreme positions in one direction or another. It is my personal conviction that the solution to the problem will be found when abortion will cease to be necessary. However, given the interest groups existing within our social system, I do not think that a solution will come about within the very near future.
The gigantic interest groups operating within the realm of modern capitalist structures are flourishing and reaping enormous profits from the production and sale of contraceptive drugs and devices. The industry’s pressure undoubtedly results in a situation where government is most unwilling to find the means of providing adequate fund allocations to develop excellence within the field of contraceptives. Unwanted pregnancies, as well as the use of abortion itself as a contraceptive, will then continue to exist because of a lack of research and funding.
I certainly do not expect any aid or cooperation in this sphere from pharmaceutical firms, whose prime interest is financial profit and who are thriving on the present situation. However, this desperately needed co-operation must emanate from nonprofit organizations if we are ever to seek a true and lasting solution to the dilemma of abortion and even of artificial birth control since, for many, the use of artificial contraceptive methods also intrudes into an uncertain moral question and may be considered abortive per se.
The only organization at the present time which is indeed seeking to try to solve this dilemma and to find an ultimate solution for moral and religious reasons is the Catholic church. I think the hope comes from there. Therefore, if we do reject abortion as a means of birth control and if we, as legislators, must operate within the existing laws of the country, we must discuss Bill 139 on its merits and concur with its sponsor, although we may disagree with his political views.
Mr. G. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I too rise to give the views that I possess, and they are mostly personal on this, although they have been interwoven these past few minutes with the other members who got up to speak on the bill.
This is probably the second most contentious issue this House has had to deal with during my time in here. It’s unfortunate that so few members can have the opportunity to speak on the subject and can only speak within as small time frames as 10- and 20-minute periods. There are many members, I’m sure, who would like to put their views forward. Many members possibly will not be able to get that position. Some may delight in not being tested to put forth their position or in not having to put forth their position.
I find it unfortunate that we, as a Legislature are being put through this form of test. Despite what other members have said in this House, I consider that, except for a very minor section in this entire act, this is a subject that is totally ultra vires and without jurisdiction for this Legislature to be discussing or to be putting forth legislation on. One can bring forth as many legal opinions as one wants and one may get varying legal opinions. But here we are bringing forth something that is quite clearly in somebody else’s jurisdiction and it is being put upon the members in this House to put an overlay of administrative and bureaucratic problems upon a system that is already existing and under the jurisdiction of the federal government.
One can think up many areas of administrative statutes to overlay the federal government. To think of another one which is very contentious at the federal level, we could have an administrative act for capital punishment, if capital punishment were to be brought back in, and describe in detail how capital punishment should be carried out. There are many other similar situations. if we want to do that, we can bring forth many issues and carry on ad infinitum with legislation to buffer up or put more bureaucratic administrative layers upon our present system.
On this subject I too, like the other members, have been able to do an exceedingly great amount of research to the point of canvassing the major metropolitan hospitals and doctors, individuals who have gone through the system, the Badgley report, the many groups that have been before us as individuals lobbying for their particular position. It is one that is fraught with emotion, one that is fraught with statistics and different positions that have some statistical background, some anecdotal background; but never anything more than it breaks down to one of concept -- are you for abortion or against abortion?
No matter how the members of this House want to put this forward, it boils down to that very basic position that we are asked to decide upon, not the precise little details that this act may give us, but one of are you for or are you against? It is that concept that the public have before them as to what we are going to be asked to decide upon; and when it is that concept, and the concept is one that is in the jurisdiction of the federal government, this House should not be put to that task.
Similarly, as a male, it is not my body, as they say, when it is the female. And yes it is that female; they are the ones that know this. They are the ones that are going to have to bear the burden of the guilt, whatever that might be, as it is stated. So it is the female who is always going through this position, yet the make-up of this House is not, certainly not, that. Not that we can’t have the sympathies, not that we can’t have the emotions that they may go though, and not that we can’t understand them; but it is still, as I have heard it said many times, it is their body, it is their decision.
When we put forward this type of legislation, it is also an attack upon the present system that is there. We are saying that the Ministry of Health, the doctors, the hospitals, are not carrying out the legislation as set down by the federal government and that we are attacking and saying that you are not doing the job you are required to do either by law or by statute or by your ethics of medical practice.
That’s what I get from all the correspondence I have had from the doctors and the hospitals who are performing these things; that they are carrying out, they are doing the items that are called for here; and they think they are doing them both with religious conviction and medical convictions and within the legal confines of the statute within which they work.
All of them note that should this bill go though there will be further complications because of the administrative work load that will be put upon them, and those people who may be in very definite need of the availability of abortion will be denied that abortion by a further delay in the administrative procedure for carrying one out; and the very things that the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney) will be trying to protect those individuals against, the longer terms, will be incorporated into that pregnancy by the delay that is put forward by this bill.
Similarly, it means when you have to explain to an individual the consequences, how are you going to explain those consequences except in very simple terms for some of the people that come before these committees, other than saying in a very brief -- I have views back from people I have queried that one would have to sit there with a psychiatric text, a medical text and many texts, putting forth the very definite emotional and other problems before these individuals before they could make that decision.
I realize that he says in some situations it may be that all the information isn’t there. I have had that in the practice of law in trying to advise individuals just on the law, when we put forth statutes in this Legislature. As a lawyer I don’t understand what some of those statutes mean, and then you try to break them down so that they’re into words that somebody can understand.
To break down all the medical history that may go both for and against the operation that is put forward here, one may not be able to break that down in very simplistic terms, and here we have somebody who is already in a very emotional situation coming before a medical committee, coming before doctors, and wondering what this change is going to do to that particular person. When I hear one member talk about it being conception from the time and that it is removing a life, that is yet to be decided upon by the legal jurisdiction. Until that is decided on, which is not our jurisdiction, then we are following the concepts of the federal government.
In voting on this bill this afternoon I make a plea, because it is not me personally, but there are many people out there who will be affected. We have at our hands an opportunity to press forward and to say to the federal government: “You decide if this legislation should be changed. Don’t put it back on our laps to change it.” It is a very special plea that I put forward in that respect. This can be one of the most emotional arguments put forward today for this type of legislation. It is not without emotion for any speaker in this House to put forth the emotion for that possible newborn child, for that woman in the dilemma, for the hospital workers, for the doctors and for each and every person in that.
I am sure it is not taken lightly. Not one of those participants in that sphere and scenario does not take very seriously and emotionally the decision that they must have to come to to arrive at the decision that they are going to make at any one of those stages.
It is with that that I leave the members of this Legislature that those people presently within that framework are bringing themselves to bear and bringing themselves religiously, ethically and legally to bear on the subject. We should not overburden them further with more administrative details so that they cannot perform the tasks that they are given.
With that I hope that this legislation will not receive the support of this Legislature at this time, albeit one very precise section I think should be there. Maybe we should bring it forth or some other member will bring it forth; that is the conviction that a nurse or a doctor should, because of their convictions, be able to remove themselves from the theatre of operations where this might take place. I think that is a very laudable thing that this member has brought forward, and maybe it should be taken up on that particular issue within the provincial jurisdiction, which is primarily that of the province, of civil rights and workers.
Mr. Gaunt: I will just take a few moments to record my personal views with respect to this very sensitive matter. Before I do that, I would just like to make a brief comment with respect to some of the observations made by my friend from Simcoe Centre, particularly in regard to his thesis that this particular bill is ultra vires. There is a question in my mind that that is a possibility. I am not a lawyer, nor do I profess any expertise in legal matters. But certainly this House would have no authority to rewrite criminal law. If that is the judgement of the legal people in so far as this bill is concerned, then I guess it is ultra vires.
However, I have to bow to those more learned in the law. My colleagues -- at least a number of them -- have indicated that in their view it is not ultra vires because what we are dealing with in this particular act has to do with the administration of the act. As the member knows, the abortion section is a section in the Criminal Code of Canada, but the province has the responsibility and the authority for the administration of that act. That being the case, then I would say to my friend on that basis, as a layman, I would think that this act is indeed within the jurisdiction and competence of this Legislature.
I suppose it only appropriate, as others have done, that I should put my personal views on the record with respect to this matter.
In my view, human life is a very sacred thing, so it follows from that that the taking of a human life in any form is indeed a very serious matter. I have no quarrel with the section of the Criminal Code that says where the life of the mother is endangered this would be grounds for an abortion. I have no quarrel with that at all. I do, however, quarrel with the health reasons section of the Criminal Code, because I think there is some evidence that particular section is being abused. I see this act as an attempt to tighten up the procedures and define in more precise terms what is meant by “health” and what constitutes “health reasons.”
Frankly, I would much prefer to see the federal act define health reasons and set out criteria as to what constitutes health reasons. I think that would solve the problem. In the absence of that I see no other resource, in view of what I consider to be abuses in the system currently, but to support this particular bill.
I should comment with respect to section 1 wherein it says: “No physician, nurse or other person shall be dismissed or disciplined for a refusal to perform or participate in the performance of an operation for an abortion where the reason for the refusal is a bona fide objection on moral or ethical grounds to the performance of the operation.” I would consider that to be a pretty basic human right, and for that reason I would strongly support it. Surely no one in this province should be dismissed because he refuses to participate in an act which he believes to be against his ethical or moral beliefs. So I would certainly strongly support that section of the bill.
I would support the other sections of the bill, particularly section 4, for the reasons I have indicated. In the absence of criteria in the federal Criminal Code dealing with abortion as it relates to health, we have no other option, in my view, but to try to more clearly define what we mean by “health reasons.”
For those reasons, I would lend my support to Bill 139.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Oshawa has about a minute and a half.
Mr. Breaugh: How long, Mr. Speaker?
Mr. Speaker: About a minute and a half.
Mr. Foulds: Point of order, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Nixon: Make it two minutes.
Mr. Speaker: I’m sorry. The honourable member has about five minutes.
Mr. Breaugh: Thank you. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this private member’s bill. It would be a simple matter for me to deal in the emotions and the popular perception of what the bill stands for. I think that unfortunate, but I recognize that to be true. This bill deals with medical procedures in a hospital on a specific issue. I oppose abortion. I oppose it possibly because of my upbringing, mostly because of my moral beliefs, and probably overridingly because of my religious beliefs. I think in no small measure I oppose abortion because I am a man and I will never have to face that unfortunate situation. Given all of those things, I do oppose abortion.
By the same token, I oppose foolish legislation as well. I oppose legislation which does not do anything of a constructive nature or that is not required, and frankly in my view that is precisely what this bill is. It does add to administrative costs in a time when we see people suffering from lack of service because there is no money to pay for the service. That causes me some problems.
There are parts of this bill which are supportable, I think, without question. Certainly the matter of whether someone has the right to refuse on moral and religious grounds to participate in or perform a particular surgical function I think is unquestionable. But we do not need this bill to do that.
Certainly to say that a patient should be well-informed before any surgical procedure occurs is a defensible item as well, but again we don’t need this bill to accomplish that.
The bill purports to do something -- and I don’t question the member’s motives or intentions in this matter -- that I find deceptive.
It purports to do something other than the stated purpose in the bill. The stated purpose is to insert a particular mechanism to cover a particular surgical procedure. Admitted that surgical procedure is a delicate, emotional and probably highly-charged issue, but nonetheless we are asked to look at a procedure here which frankly to me does not make sense.
I note that in the earlier debate today the member for Oriole thought my position ludicrous. That warms my heart. Should that particular member ever think any position I take is sane, I certainly will question my position firmly. And I am pleased to see that the member has as much difficulty in reading as he does in speaking.
I think the bill before us causes us all aggravation because it is not a clear-cut issue which is in the domain of this House. It is an attempt to add to a decision of the federal government on the matter of abortion by adding to that a set of mechanical and sometimes far-reaching implications in terms of administrative procedures.
In my view, if you applied this kind of procedure to any other surgical operation in a hospital, in a clinic or by a doctor, it would be unthinkable. The kind of access to medical records provided for in this bill I find untenable. I cannot find in any other area of medical operations or surgical procedures inside or outside of a hospital that the same access to a person’s medical records are provided.
I started out from this position: that I took the exactly at face value, that it dealt with procedures only and not with the matter of abortion. I found the bill sadly wanting in that regard. Mr. Speaker, I still do.
Mr. MacBeth: Mr. Speaker, there are some good facets to this bill and I must admit there are some that are not so good. I am opposed to abortion as a right, but have no desire to complicate the work of the medical profession.
The point I wish to register is my strong objection in the importance our new rules give to private member bills. This, sir, is a contentious and important matter.
Today we have heard from some eight members who have had an opportunity to express their opinions and place on record their reasons for support or opposition to this bill and their opportunities there have been limited.
In a free vote a concerned public will have to guess at the reasons of the some 117 members who will have had no such opportunity. On many occasions you have expressed the right of every member to be heard in this chamber and on far less important matters than that which we are presently discussing. This is not happening under our present rule for these bills at a time when these bills have assumed an importance which hitherto they did not enjoy.
For that reason it is my personal intent to cast a veto on this bill.
Mr. Sweeney: I was pleased to note that there was one common theme -- at least I sensed there was -- running through all of the statements made by my colleagues in the House, whether they supported the bill or whether they opposed it. That was that no one particularly likes abortion. Therefore I would have to follow that up by sensing they would want to work towards some mechanism, some alternative, to reduce it to the lowest possible number of cases.
That really was the intent of my bill, to take a look at what we are doing in this province and to see whether we can eliminate those abortions which should not be taking place according to the Criminal Code of Canada.
I would be a little bit alarmed by those members who seem to be so moved by some extra administration and by some extra costs, because surely what we are dealing with here is a matter of life or death. We are dealing with the life or death of a human being, and although it might be necessary, as it has been, under some occasions to take a life, surely a little extra administration and a little extra cost is not a reason to oppose taking life.
May I just ask of my colleagues one thing? I did not ask any of them specifically or individually to support this bill; I respect their integrity, I respect their conscience. I would only ask we let the bill go to a vote; if necessary we take it to committee, if it needs to be changed let’s change it.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I have just listened to the gentleman, a member of this House --
Mr. Speaker: There’s nothing out of order.
Mr. Breaugh: Yes, please, I listened to the person who moved the bill state the intention of the bill. I wish to point out to the members of the House the printed purpose of the bill is far different from his stated intention, and I resent that.
FINANCIAL PROTECTION FOR DEPENDANTS
Mr. Speaker: Mr. Hennessy has moved resolution 22.
Resolution concurred in.
HOSPITAL ABORTIONS PROCEDURES ACT
Mr. Speaker: Mr. Sweeney has moved second reading of Bill 139.
Sufficient members having objected by rising, a vote was not taken on Bill 139.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, may I take this opportunity to indicate the order of business for tonight and next week? This evening we will carry on with consideration of Bill 114 in committee; and at the House leaders’ meeting today, it was indicated that perhaps this matter would come to a vote at about 10:15.
On Friday, the House will be in committee of supply for consideration of the estimates of the Ministry of Housing. On Monday, October 30, in the afternoon and evening, the House will be in committee of supply for consideration of the estimates of the Ministry of Housing. On Tuesday of next week we will deal with the interim supply motion, government motion number 18 on the Order Paper; followed by consideration of Bills 136, 151 and 142.
On Wednesday, November 1, the standing administration of justice committee, the standing resources development committee and the standing general government committee will sit in the morning. On Thursday, November 2, in the afternoon, private members’ business: ballot item number 33 standing in the name of the member for Wentworth (Mr. Deans), ballot item number 34 standing in the name of the member for Peterborough (Mr. Turner).
Next Thursday evening we will take into consideration the report of the select committee on Hydro that was tabled this afternoon. On Friday, November 3, the House in committee of supply.
The House recessed at 5:55 p.m.