The House resumed at 8 p.m.
House in committee of the whole.
DISCRIMINATORY BUSINESS PRACTICES ACT
Consideration of Bill 112, An Act to prohibit Discrimination in Business Relationships.
Sections 1 to 14, inclusive, agreed to.
On section 15:
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Hon. Mr. McMurtry moves that the bill be amended by adding thereto the following sections:
“15(1) the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations exempting any person or class of persons from any provision of this act;
“(2) a regulation made under subsection 1 shall be tabled in the assembly as soon as practicable after the day in which it comes into force if the assembly is in session, or if not, at the commencement of the next ensuing session.”
Hon. Mr. McMurtry further moves that the remaining sections of the bill be renumbered accordingly.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: This is essentially human rights legislation. It is human rights legislation of a relatively unique kind. We expressed the view when this bill was introduced by the Premier (Mr. Davis) that it was legislation that would be better passed at the federal level. In the absence of federal legislation at least at this point in time, we deemed it advisable to introduce the legislation at the provincial level.
The justice committee spent a very hard-working two weeks poring over the sections of the bill as it represents legislation in a relatively new area. I have to say that in many respects, we are in unchartered waters.
The law officers of the crown have worked on this bill.
Mr. Foulds: Charted it.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Unchartered.
Mr. Deans: Not unchartered, uncharted.
Mrs. Campbell: Uncharted, unmapped.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Unmapped.
Mr. Makarchuk: You may be on the shoals and you don’t know it.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The law officers of the crown and other individuals in the community expressed the concern that by the passage of this legislation, we may unwittingly interfere unfairly with individual rights in business relationships. Whereby the intent of the act is to prohibit unfair discriminatory practices, there is a potential danger, because of these uncharted waters, that we may be interfering unfairly with certain individual rights. So the advice is that we amend the bill by adding section 15 in order that the Lieutenant Governor in Council may provide any appropriate relief in the event that any individual is unfairly dealt with in this legislation.
If this were the case, section 15 as noted also provides that any such regulation passed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council be tabled in the assembly as soon as practicable in order that the members of the Legislature will be satisfied that the intent of this legislation is being carried out. If we were not to pass this amendment, we might very well find ourselves in the unhappy position where legislation which is basically human rights legislation may end up dealing very unfairly with certain citizens in the community, well beyond the intent of the bill. It is the advice of those who have looked at the bill that we should provide this escape clause as it were, in order that we do not arrive at legislation that ends up trampling on individual rights -- the very rights we are seeking to protect.
Mrs. Campbell: This bill was very carefully considered by the justice committee. It certainly was a matter which was taken very seriously. By the very fact of the amendments which are in the bill now, it is testimony to the fact that we worked long and hard to produce a bill which could most adequately express the intent of this House.
It is an awkward piece of legislation. I don’t think anyone would deny that. It comes about because this Legislature has been moved by the absence of adequate legislation at the federal level, to try to do indirectly what we would be prohibited from doing directly. This means we are actually creating a situation which admittedly is an awkward one.
This particular clause, as I recall it, was in the bill as originally brought forward to the committee, although I have not checked. I may be in error and the provision for tabling in the Legislature may not have appeared.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: No, it didn’t.
Mrs. Campbell: But certainly the first part of the amendment was very much a part of the bill as it went through committee.
The committee took the position that if we are dealing with the matter of an act to prohibit discrimination in business relationships it was not appropriate for us to provide for exemptions to that particular area in our human rights code legislation. It is true that one of the problems in this bill -- and let’s face it -- is the fact that we have incorporated in this bill the matter of geographic location, which is not a part of the human rights code and which certainly extends that kind of legislation to a further dimension.
To some extent I can understand what the Attorney General is saying, that there is always the possibility of some person being caught up because of the inclusion of geographic location. The committee laboured long and hard on that particular clause, and I must say there was a great divergence of opinion. Those of us who perhaps felt we would like not to incorporate it nevertheless realized that to delete it was really to destroy the effect of the bill itself. We wrestled with that.
But by its very nature, the fact that this is a bill to prohibit discrimination, it surely doesn’t lie with us in this House to say we admit there may be occasions when somebody can discriminate -- and we’re not talking about primary discrimination; we’re talking about secondary and tertiary discrimination. This is what makes it so difficult to accept the fact that the Attorney General of this province, of all people, would be introducing into this House an amendment which would say, in effect, it’s perfectly all right for you to discriminate.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: That’s nonsense.
Mrs. Campbell: But that is what you’re saying. You’re exempting people --
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: That is absolute nonsense, and you’re playing little games with important legislation.
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Chairman, the Attorney General was not present at our deliberations. We did not at any time play games.
What is the effect of providing for exemption by regulation from the effect of an act to prohibit discrimination in business relationships if it is not that very thing?
With respect, Mr. Chairman, I think it is the Attorney General who is playing games with this legislation.
The fact that the regulation may be tabled in this House does not, as I understand it, permit anything other than a tabling for information. To say, therefore, that we must be satisfied that the exemption to this legislation is satisfactory or just or equitable, or whatever, is simply not the fact. It would be tabled for information as a regulation. Although I suppose, with the new provisions in our rules, it might be referred out to the standing committee dealing with regulations.
I go back to the original principle. If you have an act to prohibit discrimination, it seems to me totally and utterly inappropriate to provide for those who may be exempted from the effects of this bill.
I haven’t found in what the Attorney General has said anything to incline me to support that amendment. Discrimination, secondary or tertiary, is discrimination. To say that somebody shouldn’t be bound by that is beyond my comprehension as a matter of principle.
I would like to know if it has been clarified as to how the Attorney General would feel if we wrote in some group right now into this bill, if we could do that. My understanding was that at the committee we were advised that would be discriminatory. I’d like to know the answer to that from the Attorney General himself. If we could write it in, we ought to have the example now before we pass the legislation to understand who it is we’re trying to protect and who it is we’re trying to exempt. If we don’t have that, then as far as I’m concerned it is against my belief about the public policy of this province and, therefore, I am not prepared to support that amendment.
Mr. Foulds: I have just one comment about the latter part of the minister’s amendment which requires the order in council to be tabled in the Legislature as soon as practicable or, I gather, on the first day of a session or within the first few days of a session, should the regulation be filed with the registrar of regulations while the House is not sitting. That part of the amendment I look upon with some favour.
I find it strange that a similar amendment I proposed to the Crown Timber Act was not accepted by your colleague, the Minister of Natural Resources of the time. I don’t have an immediate wording, but I think the Attorney General at some future time might look at the wording a little more closely so that there would be some more definite time limit indicated rather than the rather vague phrase “as soon as is practicable.” He might also think about the possibility of giving the Legislature through his amendment the authority to amend the regulation, should such a regulation be discriminatory.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Just a point of clarification, as I said before, I think it’s quite clear that the legislation is fairly broad. The member for St. George mentioned the difficult decision that had to be made with respect to geographical location, which I think points out the difficulty that we’re not totally sure what we may be getting into. Our position is simply that if we knew at this point in time the type of transaction that might be caught by this legislation, when it clearly wasn’t the intention of the members of the Legislature to catch it, then we could amend the bill. We admit very clearly that we just don’t know because of the broad terms.
It was thought necessary in order to protect the type of transaction between individuals that is clearly not within the purview of what was intended to be caught. In view of the relatively unique nature of the legislation, we thought it necessary in order to protect the rights of individuals, not to grant an exemption for a discriminatory practice, but simply to relieve against a situation that was clearly not intended to be caught by the legislation to provide some relief and not to provide an exemption. If we knew at this point in time what that might be, then we’d bring a specific amendment to the substantive clause of the bill.
With respect to the issue of the tabling, I would be quite prepared to entertain an amendment to that clause: “A regulation made under subsection 1 shall be tabled in the assembly forthwith,” that is the day on which it comes into force if the assembly is in session.
Mrs. Campbell: For what purpose? For information?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: In order to inform the members of the Legislature as to what problem is developing, rather than go through and provide a formal amendment to the legislation which may or may not be retroactive.
I have difficulty accepting, obviously, the allegation that I am in favour of granting an exemption to anybody --
Mrs. Campbell: Isn’t that what the motion says?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: -- who is clearly engaging in a discriminatory practice who was supposed to be caught by this bill. But obviously, because of the wide implications, because we don’t know, we just want to protect the rights of those who may be unfairly treated by this legislation when it was never the intention of any member of the Legislature to so treat that individual.
We put in the tabling provision in order to inform the House, as soon as we can, what situation may have arisen, so it would not be suggested that anybody has been given an exemption from a discriminatory practice. I don’t know how I can make it any clearer than that.
If it will assist the members opposite, I am quite prepared to substitute the term, “as soon as practicable,” which I can see may cause difficulty, for the word “forthwith.” In order to inform the House, I am quite prepared to do that. If both parties opposite say: “Look, notwithstanding that, we don’t want it,” fine. I am certainly not going to press this to a point where it can be suggested that we are in any way attempting to grant an exemption. We are simply attempting to see that the bill is carried out in a manner all members wish.
Mrs. Campbell: But is that not the wording of your amendment, to grant the exemption?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Not from a discriminatory practice. But again, it is a question of carrying out the spirit and the intent of the act, in a situation where we have so little experience.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, I recognize how difficult it is for a member such as myself, who was not in the committee at the time this particular provision was eliminated from the bill, to stand now and say that it should be reinserted. But that is what I am going to do.
I have listened this evening to the minister speak about it. I have listened to the member for St. George speak about it. I think on balance one has to accept the concern the minister so categorically expressed, that it is not his intention, by way of regulation, to grant an exemption against a discriminatory business practice -- the aim and object of the bill. But there very well may be circumstances where the purpose of the bill, in its technical sense, may be complied with, but that the actual circumstance and factual situation was not one, and should not be one that the bill should encompass.
I have had the opportunity of at least a brief explanation from the minister’s advisers with respect to the desire to reintroduce that particular provision. I am constrained because of the concerns I expressed last June, by correspondence, to a number of people who related to the ambit of the bill, which has led to significant amendment in committee, which I believe meets the major fears and concerns which I had at that time.
But I think the difficulty of the bill, the fundamental difficulty of relating, in one’s mind, all of the circumstances to which the bill could apply, leads me to believe that with the protection of an immediate tabling in the assembly of the regulation, if the House is in session -- if the House is not in session, an immediate tabling at the time of the convening of the assembly would meet our concern -- we would have an opportunity at that time to speak to the matter if it appeared not to be a wise regulation, or if it appeared on a different interpretation to be a regulation that granted an exemption to a discriminatory business practice this House found abhorrent.
I think, in a strange way, while one would like to be rigid and purist about this whole question of regulation, this is one of those occasions when it is wise for this assembly to provide the minister with the kind of flexibility he has requested, on the clear and categorical assurance which the minister has given this House. I am not asking him to repeat it, because he’s given that it is not his intention to use the regulatory power if granted to him in a way that would exempt a discriminatory business practice intended to be encompassed within the ambit of the bill.
Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Chairman, I would rise in support of the amendment, and much of what I am about to say has been covered by the member for Riverdale. I think the point the member for St. George makes is a valid one. She made it in the committee. I think the problem before us -- to put it very bluntly -- is, are there good kinds of discrimination and bad kinds of discrimination? Her point is if there are some discriminations that are acceptable, spell them out in the bill. Otherwise, we shouldn’t allow the freedom to the Attorney General by regulation.
There are some “good discriminations.” They are spelled out in section 2 of the bill. Two kinds of discrimination deliberately exempted from the bill are discrimination with respect to labour practices, and discrimination with respect to geographical location where such fits in with the policy of the government of Canada -- in other words such things as discrimination against South Africa. Those are two kinds of discrimination which are known and are specifically exempted from the bill. But I think where we have difficulty and why I think we should support the amendment -- something else we have not anticipated today in drafting this bill -- may come up in the future.
When the bill was first presented to this House back in the spring there were certain things it could have covered. The member for Riverdale, and I think his colleague from Lakeshore, quite properly pointed those out to the House on second reading. There were things the bill would pick up which should have been exempt. I think they are basically in the primary discrimination section. The bill was changed and amended in committee to cover those known kinds of discrimination which should not be covered in the bill.
Something may come up in the future which, if we knew about it today, yes -- I would say to the member for St. George -- we probably would put in the bill. But we don’t know about it today. Something in the future may come up, and the point I think is very valid -- rather than having to come back to this House and write an amendment to the bill for such a point, the Attorney General is asking the House to give him the power to draft a regulation, proclaim a regulation, and bring it before this House.
Naturally, sitting on this side of this House, I guess I have a little more faith in the Attorney General than possibly some of my colleagues opposite. But when you are dealing with matters of discrimination which are very much in the public mind, very much up front, I think it would be very difficult for any Attorney General or any government or any party to bring forward a regulation which is clearly not within the spirit of this bill. I mean a regulation which is clearly allowing a discrimination which would really fly in the face of public opinion and fly in the face of the spirit of this bill -- far more so than the regulations under -- I think someone mentioned the Timber Act, which really do not stir up public opinion in the same way as discrimination. I think the focus of public opinion, the focus of the press, on this kind of a regulation will be as much control as just the fact that the regulation is brought forward in the House.
So as I said originally, philosophically I share the concern of the member for St. George about playing around with discrimination in any way, because it is such a vital subject and it has to be spelled out so well. In this case, the way the bill is drafted and the way the Attorney General and the member for Riverdale have presented it, I think this amendment is in order. I do not think it is going to be abused and I would hope that the members of the House will support it.
Motion agreed to.
Section 15, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 16 to 18, inclusive, agreed to.
LAND SPECULATION TAX REPEAL ACT
Consideration of Bill 151, An Act to repeal the Land Speculation Tax Act, 1974.
Mr. Haggerty: I want to direct a question to the minister on the points that I raised during second reading on the number of liens that are outstanding.
Mr. Chairman: That would be section 2.
Are there any comments on section 1?
On section 1:
Mr. Makarchuk: I have an amendment to section 1, copies of which have been handed out to the minister as well as to the opposition party.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Makarchuk moves that section 1 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsections:
“(2) Notwithstanding subsection 1, the tax imposed by the statutes repealed by subsection 1 is payable in respect of the disposition of a designated land referred to in Ontario regulation 340/76 and the said regulation is repealed and shall be deemed never to have come into force.
“(3) The minister shall forthwith take steps to collect the amount of tax payable under subsection 2, together with an additional amount constituting interest on the amount of tax payable, calculated at the rate of nine per cent per annum from and inclusive of the 15th day of April, 1976.”
Hon. Mr. Maeck: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, I would ask you to rule on this particular amendment. Section 86 of the standing orders says: “Any bill, resolution, motion or address, the passage of which would impose a tax” -- those are the key words, “impose a tax” -- “or specifically direct the allocation of public funds may not be passed by the House unless recommended by a message from the Lieutenant Governor, and may only be proposed by a minister of the crown.”
My submission to you, sir, is that this amendment does impose a tax and that section 86 of the standing orders clearly says that no one but a minister of the crown may do so. I would ask you to rule on that.
Mr. Makarchuk: Speaking to the point of order, it is ludicrous to suggest that I am imposing a tax. The tax is on the books right now. The bill here is designed to eliminate the tax. There is no way that this amendment is imposing any kind of tax. What the amendment in effect is saying is that a certain tax that is on the books, that was brought in by the government and that states the case and everything else, shall be collected. That’s one point.
The other point is that there is absolutely nothing in this amendment about the allocation of funds because we are not allocating the funds. If the tax is collected, the funds will then go into the consolidated revenue fund and the crown then has the free right to allocate the funds, as is its prerogative to do so. I would suggest therefore that this resolution is perfectly in order.
Mr. Breaugh: In deciding on your ruling in this matter, you should recognize that the amendment proposed by the member for Brantford simply retains a tax already proposed by a minister of the crown. If one looks at the specific wording that has been proposed, we are not indicating in this amendment that we are desirous of an additional allocation of public funds. Nor are we proposing an additional tax. We are simply specifying the motion that a current tax, presently put forward by the crown, be retained. I think the chair, in formulating this ruling, should take record of the fact that we are not proposing any new forms of taxation, nor any new forms of allocation of funds, but simply the retention and the application of a taxation policy already presented by a minister of the crown.
Mr. MacBeth: If I may speak to the point of order it is my understanding that this tax was removed by the crown and the executive council as of October 24. If that is the case, this amendment would, in my opinion, reimpose that tax.
Mr. Makarchuk: I’d like to quote from Erskine May again on this matter. The principle here is that the crown has certain initiatives in terms of finances, in terms of proposing taxes and levying taxes and so on. May says on page 712, “The guiding principle in determining the effects of an amendment upon the financial initiative of the crown” -- the bill is a financial initiative on the part of the crown -- “is that the communication to which the royal demand, the recommendation, is attached must be treated as laying down once and for all, unless withdrawn and replaced, not only the amount of charges, but also its objects, purposes, conditions and qualifications. In relation to the standards thereby fixed, an amendment infringes on the financial initiative of the crown not only if it increases the amount” -- in the case we do not increase any amount -- “but also if it extends the objects and purposes.” There is no extension of any objects or purposes in the tax that was in the original tax bill. This amendment does not extend in any way the objects or purposes of the original tax bill.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: There was no original tax bill.
Mr. Makarchuk: Nor does it relax the conditions and qualifications or in any way change the conditions and qualifications or anything of that nature, as expressed in the communication for which the crown has demanded or recommended a charge. This is referring to the original charge of the bill.
The amendment meets all those qualifications. It does not in any way infringe upon the prerogative of the crown to make money laws, to allocate funds, to levy or change the levy or the size of the taxes or anything of that nature. As you and I know, it arises out of the Ronto incident where it is felt by many people, including the provincial auditor who was asked to check into this matter, the tax is liable and payable.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: That is not what he said.
Mr. Makarchuk: At this stage, I get a little concerned because the public is rather sceptical about how well the government manages its finances, particularly when we read about the Casey incident at Ontario Place which is making the news now and will be in public accounts next --
Mr. Chairman: Would the honourable member return to the point of order?
Mr. Makarchuk: My concern is the tenor or the tone or the public perception of how the government is acting in the public interest. When you have this sort of wasteful spending or improper supervision or financing on the one hand and then on the other hand you have something of this nature, where you have people who are involved, shall we say, in obtaining this exemption, as Mr. McKeough, the last Treasurer, was involved, and Eddie Goodman has been involved.
That raises in people’s mind a great concern. They have to look to somebody to try to protect their interests. The only people in this province who are in the position to protect the interests of the public are the members of this Legislature. If the members of this Legislature cannot ensure that the law is applied equally to all people in all cases, that brings into question the whole focus --
Mr. Chairman: Order. Would the honourable member come back to the point of order?
Mr. Makarchuk: I’ll rest for a while.
Mr. Renwick: I know, as one Latin scholar to another, that you would understand what I hope I’m going to convey to you. The ruling you’re being asked to make is a very important one from the point of view of a precedent in the House. I don’t know of any occasion when such a question has been asked of you and I believe you must rule, and I submit you must rule, that the proposed amendment by my colleague, the member for Brantford, is in order.
The reason I say that is that the minister’s own bill in section 1 specifically states it is only a repeal with respect to certain prospective -- prospective as of October 24 -- events. I would point out to the chairman that in section 1 it states that the land speculation tax and the other amending acts “are repealed in respect of and do not apply to ... any disposition of or with respect to designated land” that occurs on or after October 24, 1978. That repeal does not affect at all the substance of the amendment proposed by my colleague, the member for Brantford.
Indeed, “any disposition of or with respect to designated land that occurred prior to October 24, 1978, and that required the transferor” -- and so on and so forth -- on and after October 24, 1978. That clearly does not apply to the particular transaction or disposition my colleague, the member for Brantford, is speaking about.
Then I point out to you, Mr. Chairman, the fundamental nature of the next words in the bill: “ ... but the statutes hereby repealed continue, subject to section 2” -- which we don’t need to worry about because that’s a question of the lien being discharged -- “to apply in respect of all dispositions of or with respect to designated land other than dispositions described in clause (a) or (b).”
We’re not repealing the Land Transfer Tax Act. What we’re saying is it is repealed with respect to all forward looking -- forward looking from October 24 -- it is not repealed with respect to the disposition which has exercised my colleague, the member for Brantford, for many months now with respect to the Ronto transaction.
This is where, if I could share a Latin phrase with you, my colleague is really just doing this ex abundanti cautela, because he realizes that the minister is likely to overlook his obligation to collect this tax unless this House specifically says in the bill that they’d better bloody well collect it.
I hope I’ve made the point very clear that my colleague is saying, and is asking this House to say -- and I hope and trust we will have the support of our colleagues in the Liberal Party -- “You’ve made a mistake; you refuse to acknowledge your mistake; we want to make certain that not only is this act continued in force with respect to dispositions which should have been taxed before, but we want to point out to you, the minister of the crown responsible for the protection of the Treasury, that you as minister have a responsibility to collect this particular tax because you are wrong and you and your predecessors in office are too stubborn to admit you are wrong.”
Therefore, I say to you, Mr. Chairman, that this amendment proposed by my colleague, the member for Brantford, is completely in order. All it is saying is the acts continue in force with respect to all of the dispositions pre-dating October 24. Of course, they continue in force, and any disposition that comes up, the minister has to be able to tax it. All my colleague is saying is: “I want you to know that you’ve made a mistake. This House thinks you’ve made a mistake. This amendment in substance says, you are to collect that tax and to acknowledge your mistake.” So we don’t have the rationalization and the gross misrationalization which took place with respect to whether or not that tax should have been paid. So I say to you, Mr. Chairman, that never in the time that I’ve been in the House have I seen an amendment so in order. As I said, my colleague quickly put it in ex abundanti cautela.
Mr. M. Davidson: In speaking to the point of order, I might point out that this is not the first time this matter has been raised, either before this Legislature or a committee of this Legislature. The matter raised is one which was discussed quite thoroughly within the public accounts committee. As a member of that committee, I am familiar with the content of the discussions that took place at that time.
Mr. Chairman: Order. Is the honourable member speaking to the content of the amendment or to the point of order?
Mr. M. Davidson: To the point of order, and I’m trying to give you direction, sir. This is not the first time this has been brought before the Legislative Assembly. It did appear in a report that was put before this Legislative Assembly, which came out of the public accounts committee, where this matter had a great deal of discussion.
Mr. Breaugh: That is a precedent for you to take into consideration.
Mr. M. Davidson: I’m suggesting to you that the motion now being placed is a motion that deals exactly with the positions that were taken, both within the public accounts committee and within the report that appeared before this Legislative Assembly. All I am suggesting to you is that the motion is in order because of the precedent set by the discussions that have been held. This is not something new being brought before you.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: Speaking to the point of order again, I would again refer you to section 86. I think it’s very explicit that no one, under the standing orders of this House, has the right to impose a tax except the minister of the crown and the Lieutenant Governor in Council. That’s exactly what this is doing. It was a regulation passed by this government some time ago which said that Ronto did not owe any tax. They don’t owe any and there is none owing.
Mr. Breaugh: But the provincial auditor said so.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: There was an inquiry and that inquiry also substantiated that they owed no tax and the government was quite right in granting the exemption under the regulations. At the present time, Ronto owes no tax.
Mr. Breaugh: Only $493,000 or more. Come now.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: This amendment is saying to the government, “Impose a tax,” that’s what it is saying.
Mr. Breaugh: “Impose your tax,” that is what it is saying.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: As far as I’m concerned, the matter is very simple. It’s in black and white before you in section 86. The member for Riverdale made a great, eloquent speech, but he really never spoke about the section at all.
Mr. M. Davidson: You really use section 86 with any act, don’t you?
Mr. Warner: On the point of order, Mr. Chairman, I understand the quandary that the chair is in. Unfortunately it is not a simple matter. The item which has been raised this evening is contained in a report, in the auditor’s report to the committee. At that stage, the committee agreed to carry that report. It agreed upon that report. The item which is being raised here has already been raised in an earlier session of a committee of this Legislature. At that time, the item was agreed upon by the committee. I would take it then, and from my understanding of the situation, the chair should look at the precedent of the committee of the Legislature not having ruled the item out of order --
Mr. Breaugh: Having accepted it.
Mr. Warner: -- but having accepted that the item is part of a report.
Mr. Breaugh: Exactly. That is a precedent in this House.
Mr. Warner: From where I sit, I understand the quandary the chairman is in is that there is some distinction between committee work and the work of the whole House. I understand there is a difference between what a committee of the Legislature does and what the entire assembly does. Rut I would say the fact that the item had been raised and not ruled out of order in committee sets a precedent that the item should stand to be voted upon in this assembly. That is precisely what my colleague from Brantford is attempting to do.
I appreciate the chairman has a difficult problem but I would think the precedent of an item having been dealt with successfully in a committee says the item should now be placed before the assembly to be voted upon by all the members.
Mr. Breaugh: Exactly. We are trying to support the minister’s position. We are trying to help him out.
Mr. Makarchuk: You guys need the money.
Mr. Charlton: Speaking to the point of order, it would seem to me that the minister in fact just cleared the entire matter up for us. He said, and I think quite clearly, that this amendment deals with an exemption that was done by regulation. This amendment deals, as I see it, quite clearly with a tax that was proposed by the minister and by the government, a tax that was imposed by this Legislature and a tax that was exempted by regulation outside of this Legislature. The amendment deals not with the imposition of a tax, because this House has already imposed that tax, but it deals with chastising the government for the use of a regulation to change a tax that was already imposed by this Legislature.
Mr. Breaugh: We are just trying to help you be consistent, that is all.
Mr. MacBeth: If I may speak once more, the executive council was fully within its rights in passing any regulation it may have passed, whether the opposition likes it or not. At the present time, there is no tax owing in this particular case.
Mr. M. Davidson: According to the executive council.
Mr. Breaugh: The provincial auditor says $493,000.
Mr. MacBeth: If an amendment by the NDP would make a tax owing, then I say that’s imposing a tax and it should be ruled out of order.
Mr. Foulds: I would like to suggest that the argument put forward by the Minister of Revenue does not have a good foundation in reality. The word “tax” used in standing order 86 is the generic word “tax.” In fact, this House already imposed that tax.
Mr. M. Davidson: Which they are now trying to repeal.
Mr. Foulds: I would also point out that what the amendment suggested by my colleague, the member for Brantford, speaks to is prohibiting the government from making regulations that would exempt that tax. I would like to point out that in 1972 this House accepted a private member’s bill that was submitted by myself that was an amendment to the Interpretation Act that would have prevented the government from making regulations having to do with the banning of studded tires in northern Ontario.
No one challenged the right of an opposition member to make such a motion or a bill, in other words, a bill that prohibited the government from implementing certain regulations. No one challenged it at that time. I would cite that as a precedent for you to consider, Mr. Chairman. I am sure there have been other motions and bills made in this House that attempted to limit the government in the imposition and creation of regulations. They may have been unsuccessful because of majority government, but at no time were those motions and those bills challenged as being out of order.
All I am suggesting is that though the minister and the government may find the passage of this amendment by my colleague embarrassing, they cannot find it out of order. They may stand up to defeat it, but they cannot find it out of order because it does not by itself impose a tax contrary to standing order 86. All it does is limit the government’s right to make regulations imposing a tax that this Legislature, as my colleague from Hamilton pointed out --
Ms. Gigantes: Collecting a tax.
Mr. Foulds: -- from collecting a tax the Legislature had already imposed.
Mr. Breaugh: Exactly.
Mr. Foulds: Therefore, I would suggest to you that the motion is in order.
Mr. Makarchuk: Mr. Chairman, in order to help again with the decision, I want to go to another passage in May’s. This is on page 772; the heading is “Application of Rule to Restoration of Charges”: “As stated on page 762, in committee on a bill which repeals or reduces a continuing charge, amendments are allowed which are designated to restore the charge in part or in whole. Though such an amendment authorizes a charge greater than that contained in the original provisions” -- as I read that, if the charge is say $10 and we said it should be $15 it does provide for that -- “of the bill, it does not increase the charge in relation to the true standard of reference which, in this case, is the existing law.”
In the first place, it says amendments are allowed to restore charges. The second point is that the amendments must be within the existing law; and the existing law in this case is the 20 per cent that is payable on the land transaction. There is absolutely no effort on the part of myself and this amendment to change that figure.
The other point that should be considered in this is the fact that the public accounts committee did ask the provincial auditor. If you can’t believe the auditor, who do you believe? Who do you believe in this House?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: I believe the auditor, but I don’t believe your interpretation.
Mr. Makarchuk: We did ask the auditor --
Mr. M. Davidson: Are you going to challenge his credibility?
Mr. Makarchuk: We did ask the auditor to examine this matter in view of the government’s own decisions on the dates when the transaction was made. The auditor did exactly that and he said Ronto development owes the government $493,158; that is the tax payable.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: That is not what he said. I can quote it; that is not what he said.
Mr. Makarchuk: That is not the decision of the public accounts committee; that is not the decision of the member for Brantford, or any other member of this House --
Hon. Mr. Maeck: Or the decision of the provincial auditor.
Mr. Makarchuk: That is the decision of the provincial auditor who went through the books, who investigated the transaction in every way possible, and he came out with this figure. As was pointed out by my colleague from Riverdale you have made a mistake. What we are saying here is that now is the time to correct this mistake. The bill gives us a vehicle to force the government to correct this mistake and that is exactly what we are doing here; you have to collect that tax the same as you have collected it from other people. Therefore you go ahead and collect this tax from Ronto Development Company.
Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Chairman, we in the opposition here do not have a copy of that proposed amendment.
Mr. Makarchuk: You have had it all afternoon.
Mr. Haggerty: Oh, I haven’t seen it.
Ms. Gigantes: Rush him a copy.
Mr. M. Davidson: You guys better get together.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Chairman, perhaps while you are waiting for that I could call your attention to standing order 1(b) which indicates quite clearly that “in all contingencies unprovided for, the question shall be decided by the Speaker, and in making his ruling the Speaker shall base his decision on the usages and precedents of this Legislature and parliamentary tradition, and not simply the standing orders.”
Mr. Chairman: The member for Brantford has placed an amendment; the minister rose on a point of order and asked that I rule on whether or not that motion was in order. All members have participated in that point of order. As the member for Erie wished to discuss section 2, I wonder if the committee would be agreeable if we stood down section 1 and allowed the member for Wilson Heights, if he is here, to continue with the discussion on section 2. I will reflect on the arguments made by the many members before coming down with the ruling.
On section 2:
Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Chairman, I want to get further clarification on this section.
In the original bill the power is vested in the minister that he could exempt certain properties; we find this, as he mentioned, in the Ronto situation where according to the inquiry there was no infraction made upon the act because the minister had the powers to exempt.
My main concern in this particular section is that perhaps there are a number of liens outstanding against the land speculation tax; I would like to have it clarified whether I interpret this right. It says, “ ... absolutely discharged from the special lien then remaining in force unless, prior to the first day of January, 1979, there is registered in the proper land registry office a notice claiming such special lien.”
For example, it has been brought to my attention that a chap had bought some farm land. He had sold it once and his timing wasn’t right the first time. He got trapped into land speculation tax and he paid the tax then. The farm was turned back to him and he just sold it again. I guess on the final closing date of the sale -- and I guess when it may have been registered in the registry office -- he missed it by eight hours.
I don’t know if there is a lien against that property or not on the sale of that property. The question is, if that is the case is he subject to a special tax shield under the Land Speculation Tax Act? In other words, does it apply to him? There may not be a lien against it in the registry office but there was still a large profit made in the land transaction. I was just wondering, he may have a number of liens there; is the minister going to collect that tax or not?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: There will be no tax collected on any registration after October 21 at midnight. If there was a transaction being transacted prior to that but not completed, if they complete it at 12:01 midnight on October 24 they would not be subject to tax.
Mr. Haggerty: Before that it would be subject to the tax?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: That’s right.
Mr. Haggerty: Would the minister have any idea how many liens there are outstanding, or the amount?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: I think I gave the member that information the last time. All the liens are cleared, but there is $1.75 million in taxes to be paid according to normal payment schedules. Those are people who have taxes to pay and they have set up a schedule to pay them. If any of these amounts are not paid we would use the ordinary collection procedures to collect them. But there is $1.75 million outstanding at this time.
Section 2 agreed to.
Section 3 agreed to.
On section 4:
Mr. Kennedy: On section 4, the date of repeal. The act did the job intended. It was never intended as a revenue raiser. It was to curtail speculation and this it did.
However it did have an inhibiting effect on investment. I don’t think there is any question on that. It might bring some delight to the heart of the member for London South (Mr. Walker) because it is a pure sunset law. My only comment on the date is that it’s a year or so late. I wish the government had brought forward such legislation last year, or perhaps even before that, and I venture to say there would be more jobs in Ontario today had it done so.
Mr. Warner: Are you kidding? The money would have been pocketed.
Mr. Kennedy: There would be more money in the Treasury too.
Mr. Warner: Help out the greedy speculators.
Mr. Kennedy: It would be in the Treasury and would have gone out for welfare and other good purposes -- and for meeting payrolls too.
Mr. Warner: Yes, Cadillac-Fairview laughing all the way to the bank. You guys helping them.
Section 4 agreed to.
Section 5 agreed to.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Maeck, the committee of the whole House reported one bill with amendment, and progress on another.
PROVINCIAL OFFENCES ACT
Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved second reading of Bill 74, An Act to establish a Code of Procedure for Provincial Offences.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: It is with a great deal of pleasure that I am introducing for second reading Bill 74, The Provincial Offences Act, 1978, together with an ancillary legislative initiative, Bill 75, The Provincial Courts Amendment Act, 1978. The honourable members will have noted that the Provincial Offences Act has been significantly rewritten and a copy of the bill as rewritten was distributed to members some days ago for their information.
When I introduced this legislation for first reading on April 27 of this year, I indicated my desire to receive the advice and opinions of all interested persons. That desire stemmed from the recognition that we were proposing bold, imaginative measures to fundamentally reroute a system which seriously and urgently needed reform. To facilitate a widespread response, the detailed explanatory booklet which was distributed to the honourable members on first reading was mailed to every lawyer in the province, as well as to judges, justices of the peace, police forces and interested persons, both inside and outside the province. The carefully-considered responses we received more than justified the delay occasioned by this consultative process.
Although it is obvious there is an urgent need to pass this legislation, I am satisfied that the improvements engendered by the comments we received more than compensate for the delay. Indeed, the consultative process is still in progress, based in part upon some last-minute submissions, notably those contained in a brief submitted by the Criminal Lawyers’ Association on October 20. I will be moving a small number of additional amendments when we come to consider individual clauses.
Although the comments we received have led to a large number of amendments to the bill, I am pleased to be reintroducing it with its fundamental premises unchanged. Virtually every response we received applauded both the goals of this legislation and the approach adopted to achieve these goals. Confronted by more than three million provincial offences being brought before the courts in Ontario each year, that goal was and still is the creation of a procedure for the prosecution of these offences which is simple, straightforward and fair.
I am satisfied that Bill 74, when implemented, will substantially increase the average person’s access to justice; will eliminate most of the confusion and delay which frustrates all who participate in the present system; will save millions of taxpayers’ dollars each year; will replace outmoded procedural technicalities with procedures which are as comprehensible as they are logical and just; and will effectively protect the rights of persons brought before the courts.
Mr. Nixon: Millions of dollars? That is pretty convincing.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I am aware there are some persons who question the wisdom of our default conviction procedure, although I can recall receiving only four or five letters expressing that point of view.
Mr. Lawlor: It is the greatest bill since the second coming.
Mr. Nixon: Is this an enactment of the Sanhedrin?
Hon. W. Newman: The third coming.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Because virtual elimination of trials in absentia is a cornerstone of the legislation, let me answer those concerns right now. Before stating my own views, I would like to share with you the comments made by the Criminal Lawyers’ Association on this provision. That association, as the honourable members will know, speaks for more than 400 defence lawyers across the province.
In a brief presented to me on October the 20 the Criminal Lawyers’ Association had this to say:
“While the fact that the offence notice procedure reverses the usual onus of proof, permitting the court to enter a conviction without hearing if the accused fails to notify the court that he wishes to dispute the allegation, we are satisfied that there are sufficient safeguards built into the act to protect the defendant and that the advantages of this procedure outweigh its disadvantages.”
Underlying our proposal for default convictions is the indisputable fact that over 90 per cent of provincial offences brought before the courts are truly minor regulatory infractions and there is simply no analogy between those offences and criminal offences. In my view these minor provincial offences are analogous to civil proceedings in which default judgements are an integral part of the process.
Accordingly, we have proposed that default convictions be available for these minor offences, but not for the more serious provincial offences which will continue to be prosecuted in a manner similar to the less serious criminal offences.
There is one significant difference between the civil default judgements and our default convictions. While civil default judgements can involve tens of thousands of dollars, the penalty and default proceedings under the Provincial Offences Act is limited to the fine specified on the ticket which cannot exceed $300. Any ministry or prosecutor wanting to seek a greater penalty in a particular case will have to commence the proceedings under the more formal procedures of part III of the act which eliminates default convictions.
It is important to note that under the existing procedure, just as in the procedure applicable to minor criminal offences, the court may proceed in the absence of the defendant. It is these in absentia trials, rather than full-scale criminal trials, which have been replaced by our default convictions.
Last year, Mr. Speaker, over 800,000 in absentia hearings were held for provincial offences in Ontario, at great cost to the taxpayer yet with very little, if any, benefit to the defendant.
I will not reiterate at this time the outline found in the explanatory booklet, and in my first reading statement, of the many ways in which this legislation enhances the rights of defendants in real rather than theoretical ways. Let me instead just indicate the major structural amendments to the legislation which in my view further enhance the position of the average person charged with a provincial offence.
The first of these amendments involves changing the structure of appeals to the more serious part III proceedings. The honourable members will recall that in the original draft of Bill 74, all of these appeals were taken to the county court, regardless of whether the trial had been before a provincial judge or a justice of the peace. In the redrafted version, these appeals will continue to be heard by the county court bench if the trial was presided over by a provincial judge, but will be heard by a judge of the provincial court if the trial had been before a justice of the peace.
The honourable members will note that this amendment increases the appellate jurisdiction of the provincial judges which initially was limited to minor offences proceedings commenced under part I.
Mr. Speaker, I am satisfied that the amendment will significantly improve access to the courts by placing an ever-increasing number of appeals before the more accessible provincial court. Defendants will be able to appear in a provincial court by an agent who is not a lawyer, while only lawyers may appear for defendants in a county court.
There will be no difference in the form and nature of the appeal when it is taken before a provincial judge instead before a judge of the county court. Having the provincial judges hear appeals from part III proceedings presided over by a justice of the peace will put all appeals from justices of the peace in front of the provincial judges.
As members know, in deciding to have part I appeals heard by provincial judges, we place a great deal of importance on the superiority function of the provincial judges. Adding part III offences to the provincial judges’ appellate jurisdiction will significantly enhance that supervisory relationship.
A second significant change has been made in the area of costs. The original version of Bill 74 provided that costs could not be awarded to a defendant if the prosecution were conducted by a prosecutor acting on behalf of the crown. That restriction now has been eliminated with the result that costs can be awarded to the defendant in all deserving cases. As with costs awarded against a defendant, these costs are limited to witness fees and expenses reasonably incurred.
We have added to the act the power to impose fees by regulation for filing documents required or permitted to be filed. This change meets in advance a concern expressed recently in my ministry’s estimates by the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Lawlor) in connection with filing fees for appeals.
We have eliminated the crown’s absolute right to proceed with the prosecution in the face of a dismissal of a charge by a justice. Previously, if the dismissal were for non-appearance of the prosecutor, proceedings could be recommenced with the consent of the Attorney General or his agent. That right has now been restricted. Additionally, we have restricted the right of a prosecutor to recommence proceedings after entering a stay. As redrafted, the consent of the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General or the crown attorney will be required for such recommencement.
Having made these structural amendments, together with a larger number of more detailed changes which I have not discussed, I am convinced we have placed before this House a bill which will become a model for other jurisdictions. We have significantly enhanced the practical rights open to a defendant, while at the same time making the entire system more logical and more comprehensible. Once this legislation is in place, an enormous burden will be lifted from the courts and from police officers and Correctional Services facilities. Expensive personnel and facilities will be free to deal with serious offences, thus producing substantial long-term benefits for the entire administration of justice.
In concluding, I want to deal directly with the suggestion that the minor offence procedures established in this act somehow reverse the onus of proof or interfere with the presumption of innocence. Nothing could be further from the truth. While a person who is given an offence notice is required to indicate within 15 days whether or not he or she wishes to exercise his or her right to have a trial, that right is in no way diminished. Indeed, this proposed legislation will make the right to a trial more effective in practice than it is at present.
In this context let me refer to three items. The defendant will be able to attend at the court office any time within 15 days of receiving the offence notice to arrange a court date. Within certain structural limits, the defendant or his agent can arrange a date which is convenient for him. At present, the defendant must accept the date specified on the ticket he is given.
If the defendant wants to plead guilty with an explanation, as countless thousands of defendants do, he will be able to do so at a time convenient to him, often outside regular court hours. At present the defendant may plead guilty only at the time and date specified on the ticket he receives.
Under this legislation, a defendant who feels he is not guilty but does not wish to attend at a trial may submit a written explanation. If this raises a reasonable ground of defence, a trial will be ordered at which time the prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. This procedure is not available under the existing legislation.
There are other ways in which this legislation bolsters the ability of defendants to assert their rights, but the foregoing illustrates my point. This legislation does not reverse any onus of proof nor does it interfere with the presumption of innocence. Instead, it provides effective mechanisms for defendants to assert their procedural and substantive rights. In all cases in which there is a dispute, the defendant is presumed innocent and the onus remains on the crown to prove its case to the exclusion of any reasonable doubt.
Mrs. Campbell: First of all, I want to thank the Attorney General for his very generous attempts to assist me. I have to say attempts, not because of his limitations but because of mine, since I received this material this morning and I have not had the opportunity to digest it. However, I have met with an official from the ministry and I very much appreciate the assistance given to me by that ministry.
I would say that I support the second reading of this bill. I support the bill in principle, although I am aware, as the Attorney General has acknowledged, that there are those who see serious objection to it: First on the basis of what they see as the elimination of the presumption of innocence, which is so very fundamental to our democratic processes and our British system of justice; and there is also the criticism that in effect it affects the right which is enshrined in our system of justice, the right to remain silent.
I suppose there are many things in this bill which are of a mechanical or technical nature which will be discussed at a later stage of the bill. But I do still have to express my concern about the provision in the bill of an explanation by the accused who seeks to plead not guilty and who then proceeds to make an explanation. It is interesting that on this occasion I join with the Attorney General in using the same source material in again quoting from the criminal bar. They too have some very serious concerns about the matter of the written dissent. If I may, I would just like to read something of what they say, because they put it, as usual, succinctly and carefully.
They say: “The average person would suppose that in his written defence he would be entitled to put forward not only his ‘theory of the defence’ but also give the supporting evidence. He would assume that this would be accepted by the justice and that no further submission would be necessary.”
With the greatest respect, I think a great deal turns upon this matter of what the explanation is and what in fact its status is in this new court procedure. As I read the bill, it is --
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Excuse me, from which page are you reading?
Mrs. Campbell: I am reading from page two under the title, The Written Defence; I am sorry, Mr. Speaker. It is at this point that that same criminal bar is asking questions as to the legal status of the written defence.
My problem with it is, of course, this: that it has, as I read this statement, no evidentiary value at all. All it does is raise the possibility that there is a defence to the charge or to the certificate, or to whatever. At that point, the justice of the peace would then presumably call for a hearing. At that point I assume, and this seems to be the position of the ministry, the presiding officer, whoever he or she might be, would then conduct an examination of the crown witnesses, who would be under oath as I understand it, and question them on the basis of the explanation.
I have great difficulty with this procedure. The criminal bar points out that flowing from this statement, which is not a sworn statement, there is under section 86 of the new revised bill, the provision for a penalty if someone knowingly makes a false statement. “Every person who makes an assertion of fact in a statement or entry in a document or form for use under this act, knowing that the assertion is false, is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $1,000.” At a time when we seem to have forgotten almost any element of perjury in our courts, this is a strange provision and it bothers me.
I realize this does not go basically to the principle of the bill, but the Attorney General, in supplying me with all his help --
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: And ammunition.
Mrs. Campbell: And ammunition, yes. Although I think that prior to reading what the criminal bar said I did, as a matter of fact, raise the same concerns in the estimates of the Attorney General.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: That’s right, you did.
Mrs. Campbell: Not so well, but they were expressed. But the Attorney General pointed out his anxiety about this bill and his eagerness to see it move forward apace, and has pointed out that it will not be proclaimed for a year. I understand that on further discussion the part II, parking provisions probably will not be proclaimed for a matter of two years.
I must say, just as an aside on the parking provisions, I would hope that if the municipality decides to incorporate its bylaws, perhaps the minister himself might have some input into those bylaws. There’s one in the city of Toronto that I feel should have been tested long ago, and nobody really wanted to waste the time doing it. That is the provision where there is no posting for parking. One may be guilty if one parks for an unreasonable length of time having regard to the circumstances. I believe that to be inappropriate in any offence of a quasi-criminal nature and I draw it to the attention of the Attorney General.
I mention these particular matters to indicate that while I would like to co-operate with the Attorney General in assuring the passage of this legislation, I truly do have deep enough concerns that I am not in a position where I can say I’m prepared to have this pass through committee of the whole House. I think it should be referred to a standing committee because I honestly believe that there is too much at stake in the provisions of the bill and in the mechanics of it to permit a proper and appropriate discussion through the committee of the whole House type debate.
I would hope there might be an opportunity for us to get on with it before the end of the session. But I really believe that is the most appropriate way in which to deal with it. I raised the matter in the estimates in the hope that I could flesh out some of the things that disturb me and then report to my caucus on the basis of that information. I had to somewhat shorten my discussion of it in the interest of the estimates themselves.
There is no doubt that this particular bill is a step forward. I know the Attorney General was not trying to point it out as a step forward on the basis of anything to do with costs because I don’t think any of us would want to entertain new procedures and new codes simply on that basis. I know he didn’t mean that.
There is no question that in the administration of justice in this province, as it pertains particularly to petty offences under the Highway Traffic Act and municipal bylaws, people have felt their rights were taken away from them. In the provisions of this bill, I think, segregating those offences from the Criminal Code offences is very important. I think too that it is obviously a step forward that people do have the opportunity to put their position.
I agree with the criminal bar and others that it’s going to take a great deal of education of the public if they are to understand the implications and significance of the statement which they may make.
There is another point with reference to the statement that does bother me. Again, in discussion with the ministry officials, it was stated that theoretically I was right. Well, I don’t want to be theoretically right on this point. It would appear that within this bill as reprinted we still have the most unfortunate situation where I assume a crown attorney would be an agent of the Attorney General within the meaning of this particular provision. But there is a possibility that a crown attorney, having read the statement of the accused, could then determine to proceed by a more serious offence route.
This bothers me. I think that election ought to be at some point before the explanation has been put forward. I really do believe that at least for a period of time, notwithstanding the fact that someone has indicated that they do not want a trial, nevertheless until they understand what they’re getting into and what can happen to them with this kind of statement where the presiding officer, in his or her wisdom, decides to hold a hearing or a trial, it does seem to me there ought to be an opportunity accorded to the accused to attend at that point, having all of these matters in mind.
I don’t want to dwell further on these matters at this time. I believe we can go to the root of this situation as we go clause by clause. I don’t think, with the greatest respect, there has been sufficient thought given to the effect of this statement. I am delighted to know there is to be a period of at least one year for training of those who will be administering this legislation.
The minister spoke to Bill 75, obviously, because Bill 75 is the implementation of Bill 74. I have no further comments to make on that, having felt that the substantive portion of my remarks really came within the purview of Bill 74.
Mr. Lawlor: This piece of legislation, Bill 74, has been in the offing for some time. It is designed to be a major restructuring of our courts. It’s at least as important as the united family court concept which is being tried in Hamilton, and it probably has even greater implications for our overall law because it is introducing into a quasi-criminal context certain relatively new ideas, or at least, ideas that have been foreign to British criminal law since back beyond Chaucer.
Certain concepts -- as against European, as against French jurisprudence -- have been predominant and central to our notion of where the onus of proof in this kind of case lies. It lies on the prosecution. It lies on the ones making the basic assertion. As has been mentioned, the contention is -- and I have made the contention in committee -- there is, to a degree -- it may be legitimate; you may be able to find grounds for justification -- and the reason we basically support the legislation lies in those reasons.
Nevertheless, we must, when we pass legislation of this monumental reversal, or watering down at least, know what we’re doing, and be fully cognizant of the consequences of an erosion within what is basically a criminal setup to certain fundamental concepts which are deeply rooted in the law as we know it. There is no question -- I think we should be quite candid about it -- that this is taking place in this particular context.
Why is it taking place? It is taking place because of expediency, because, as the brochure that was distributed by the ministry early this year sets out quite candidly on page two: “The problem is volume. While in one year the Ontario courts receive about 250,000 criminal offences, they are hit with more than 3,500,000 provincial offence charges, some of them serious, some of them not so serious.”
With four million cases coming through those courts per annum now, I think the Attorney General would well agree with me that he wouldn’t have dreamed of introducing legislation of this kind five years ago. The hands would have been lifted to high heaven as being a traducing of the fundamental concepts of which I spoke. Nevertheless, we are in a mess. The acceleration, the accumulation of these charges, brings in an enormous amount of revenue by way of fines and all that sort of thing. That may be partially the motivation behind it.
When I see those four million cases going through -- some of them are multiple charges laid against single accused, but if you rounded it off at about three million and took one police officer as being usually necessary -- although he may attend upon any number of these things -- and let’s say just one witness, then all mature people in Ontario would have been in that court at least once during the course of any calendar year.
Mr. Lupusella: It’s a fund-raising system. That’s what it’s all about.
Mr. Lawlor: It is getting so bad that it may be, before very long, we will spend most of our lives in court -- particularly as one can never find a parking space downtown anymore.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Ride the subway.
Mr. Lawlor: These are the less-glorious fruits of a civilization, that the court structure should become so bloated and distended and out of whack. Anyhow, pragmatism, the need to subserve a basic interest because of the pressure of sheer quantity, is a poor mistress over the realms of the administration of justice. That must be conceded. While we have to recognize what is happening out there in the structure, we can nevertheless spend at least a moment regretting what is passing through at this time.
The Attorney General has urged speed. I don’t think he would take issue if I mentioned that yesterday he sent a letter to myself and I suppose the other critic at least. It was his usual very well-worded and very pleasant letter. If it were Haliowe’en or something, I might have got even a greater kick out of it. In the third paragraph on the front page, there is a sentence: “We will in any event need approximately one year from passage to proclamation because we need to provide justices of the peace, lawyers, court officials and the public with a solid educational program on the effects of these changes.” That is true.
I would suggest to the Attorney General that if he is going to have a year in order to set up the scaffolding, maybe a few hours spent here and in committee outside of this House would be well worth it. I am going to seek this evening to try and make a case as to why that should be and must be so.
While we are as cognizant as he is of his need and his wish to expedite these matters, we nevertheless feel the responsibility of the roles we play in this House and have to give them sufficient cognizance. Sloughing us off with briefs from other organizations, helpful as they may be, does nothing to alleviate the burden that we have in the opposition in order to give the scappling and surveyorship to legislation of this important kind, for which we were elected. If we don’t; if we bow our heads and go along gently like sheep, acceding to the wishes of the government in these regards, then we may as well not be here at all, as I see the situation.
On the first point, the Attorney General has addressed himself to the issue of the onus and the right to remain silent, as he quoted earlier this evening. In his letter he quotes from the Criminal Lawyers’ Association. I haven’t had an opportunity to read their full brief, which again the Attorney General this afternoon supplied to our offices, in a gesture, I suppose of goodwill and in an attempt to head off going to a committee with respect to a thorough surveying. That is very important and it would be very useful I am sure. I have no doubt that most of the more or less rational proposals that have been made have now been embodied in his reformed and more up-to-date legislation.
I find numerous things wrong -- not of a monumental nature. I won’t go to the scaffold over the various changes I think might be in order, or at least moot things that must be discussed among us as to ambiguity, as to inconsistency, as to repetition and as to a number of features in this legislation. The redrafting, it seems to me, has brought in its consequence certain deformations over against what was said previously. That had been thought through and worked out. But I don’t think that is true with respect to the insertions that have been made all along the line and in a multitude of cases in presenting this legislation.
I would weep with flowing towels with the Attorney General in anticipation of not being able to get this legislation through by Christmas. Both he and I bled quite a bit, he more than I, because I went elsewhere to enjoy the winter sunshine in Sweden, while he sat here and got his lumps and deserved it. He was frozen from the crown down.
Mr. Van Horne: He’d never admit it if he did. One gets lumps in funny places.
Mr. Lawlor: He had been through that family law stuff is what I am saying. It was introduced three separate and distinct times over a period of about two and a half years, if I remember. If he had taken my advice when I was chairman of the committee and rammed it through the 15th time it appeared, instead of his being too solicitous over niceties, we would have had it done by Christmas of that year.
His attitude was recalcitrant at that time; and he learned a bitter lesson. He should listen to the old hands around here. He learned a bitter lesson. It went on to the spring and went on into the summer and the Attorney General was still fooling around with it in the fall. It was getting worse and worse. My caucus was becoming more and more entrenched, by the way. They had got up to about their knees in the springtime, but when the fall hit, you could hardly see them --
Mr. Van Horne: You can’t walk through that stuff when it’s soggy.
Mr. Lawlor: -- they were so deeply rooted in the matter. They knew more about the legislation than the Attorney General did. That is something he has to avoid in the future. If that is what he fears in the course of this legislation, let it rest in abeyance; it will not happen.
First of all, the legislation is much too technical. They can almost understand the family law stuff. This is between the minister and me. It is much too technical. And it rejoices us by heart that we have it all to ourselves, so to speak. I mean they can’t even read the bloody bill. That doesn’t do the human race any harm at all, as long as we get the opportunity in inviting those who wish to appear, to give it the kind of honing that it really needs and deserves.
The Criminal Lawyers’ Association says the offence notice procedure reverses the usual onus of proof -- they concede that. But in permitting the court to enter a conviction without a hearing, if the accused fails to notify the court that he wishes to dispute the allegation, the association says it is satisfied that there are sufficient safeguards built into the act to protect the defendant and that the advantages of this procedure outweigh its disadvantages. That may be sufficiently so to permit one’s acceding to the legislation.
But without reading their brief yet, there are numerous other difficulties, some of them most recently created, particularly in that thoroughly revamped area: the whole appeal part of this new legislation given us a few days ago which is just about totally altered.
There is the business of taking the appeal in part I offences from the justice up to the judge of the provincial court without -- I put it to the minister -- giving any further appeal beyond that, and permitting that judge to substitute another conviction over that with which it was originally tried, and it need not be an imputed offence, but a totally different kind of offence -- these kinds of aberrations.
What I am more after is the next level of appeal. It has been made so difficult to get to the Court of Appeal or to a Supreme Court judge. It’s almost impossible. If one reads the section -- I probably will read it into the record, I think it should be there, just to show -- what the minister is seeking to do is exclude these thousands and thousands of appeals from any higher court. He is keeping them down there at the provincial court or within that dimension and with the justices within that court. So be it.
There are faults. I suppose we have to accept it but I’ll mention it: you have some court out in the rural areas of the province; you have a justice of the peace and you have a judge. They are known to talk to one another on occasion. The judge who has lunch every day of his life with the justice of the peace is hearing an appeal the next day from the justice of the peace. Will he feel in his magisterial aloofness and his total sense of judicial neutrality able to rule against his fellow luncher? Wouldn’t that be rather difficult to do?
I don’t say that the appeal process should not be so constituted, but I think the access to a higher court with a greater objectivity might be looked at here and preserved.
Or suppose they don’t like one another. When you reach the judge at that level of court that’s the end of the road in nine cases out of 10 -- no, in 99 out of 100. You can’t get beyond that, even on points of law you can’t get beyond that. You’re just not going to reach a higher level. If they don’t like one another the judge says that the justice of the peace is an idiot, he never should have been here, he’s an irritant under our skins, he couldn’t possibly make a judgement in law that would be worth accepting or confirming. You can see what is going to happen there, Mr. Speaker.
As I say, these are human problems. I don’t want to blow them up into hyperbole. I just mention them in passing.
I think it will be agreed that this is very complex legislation. It takes time to digest it, to work it over, to see what is most important of all for us, the hidden implications and consequences that flow out of the legislation.
Before coming to the breakdown as to how this thing is set up structurally, let me mention that the Attorney General in somewhat flowered, quintillianic prose, seeks time after time to state that basically, this is not criminal law. Provincial legislation in this field is not really of a criminal nature and the basic reason for the new legislation is precisely that. They repeat it over and over again: “Pressures of volume plus the core fact that provincial offences are not criminal in nature have so distorted the adopted criminal procedures that they simply clog the system and delay individual cases without ensuring procedural fairness.”
It’s not unique in statutes any more, but there is a clause written in here called the “purpose clause” of the legislation. Section 2: “The purpose of this act is to replace the summary conviction procedure for the prosecution of criminal offences, including the provisions adopted by reference to the Criminal Code of Canada, with a new procedure that reflects the distinction between provincial offences and criminal offences.” That is new wording. What did it say in the document released to the public?
What it said in the earlier document is probably truer. Instead of saying, as in the last phrase, “that reflects the distinction between provincial offences and criminal offences,” the earlier version said “with a new procedure which reflects the distinction between provincial offences and offences of a more criminal nature.” That’s far closer to the truth of the matter than this attempt to say that there is a radical distinction, that they are of a categorically different order, because they simply are not.
The last sanction under the legislation -- not on part I offences those minor offences under provincial statutes which are so minor apparently that they ought not to invoke imprisonment -- all the rest of this legislation under summonses, under information, under anything that may be considered of a serious import, the final sanction is and has to be, imprisonment. They go to jail. While great efforts are taken to do everything else prior to incarceration, the fact is that incarceration lies at the end of the road. To say that provincial offences are radically distinct from criminal ones simply is not true in that particular context. It’s imprisonment, the punitive aspect, that typifies the criminal offence. That should be well understood and we should cease the pluming and pretending that we’re dealing with a totally different type of animal.
Not only that, but why have we 150 sections, 58 pages? Because a whole code of procedure which involves all the known elements of criminal law are ensconced in there. There is the theory of accomplices; conspiracy is involved in the thing; anyone counselling a provincial offence; the issue of warrants; bail is in there; suspension of licences; then to really give it a civil hue they throw in executions in order to fill out the picture. The Attorney General has every arsenal of weaponry you can possibly imagine, Mr. Speaker.
In that sense, this is more punitive than what exists in the normal criminal law, because the Attorney General has got a wider range of weapons with which to extract the necessary lucre from the accused. But of course he never calls him an accused. He wouldn’t dream of doing that because this isn’t a criminal legislation. He is the defendant; that is the proper term. Never once is that pejorative term used with respect to one who is just about to be locked up or arrested under the arrest procedures of the thing or on the issuance of warrants.
So I find it -- and I want to joke for a minute -- a little ludicrous that the Attorney General postures in this way and bends over backwards. I don’t know who he takes in, maybe -- I won’t say it. But this is the gravamen and support of this legislation.
As I see the legislation there are three, maybe four modes of procedure. There is the certificate of offence concept which is part I, as I mentioned, having to do with minor offences. Let me again pause there. On this one point I would like the Attorney General to listen, if he would. Nowhere does he delineate within the confines of the statute the difference between a minor and major or a more important offence.
I confess I am not quite sure how he would do it. I would be inclined to think through some kind of schedule. I know that the Highway Traffic Act has four or five or six major offences -- I suppose one would call them that -- and 26 minor ones written somewhere within, and that is only one statute. If one took all the Ontario statutes having to do with consumer affairs, environmental matters, the use of firearms in the woods, or something like that, then I think one -- I am not sure of that. In his brochure and nowhere else have we been given any picture of that.
As I read the legislation I see the minister reposing enormous discretion, either in police officers or in these offence officers whom he is going to create, as to how they are going to proceed. Are they going to give a certificate? No imprisonment follows from that; a fine of $300 is the maximum, it could be less. There are four paths taken under that particular area, any one of which can be utilized. That is where the real break in the law is at that particular point, over against the existing law.
As for the rest, it isn’t all that different. The second mode of procedure is by way of summons and I am confused about the summons. Are there two kinds of summonses, one that works in conjunction with the certificate, or are they in the alternative and I believe they are? If it is in the alternative, how does it operate? Is it always a more serious offence? And if it is a more serious offence, how more serious than the next step, namely, the sworn information? Or are they the same thing?
It is true a summons can be issued before and the information can follow after, or I suppose it could go in the opposite direction. But are summonses and informations to be identified in the context of this new legislation? Is there the same range? The minister has in his brochure gone into in only the vaguest conceivable way as to when he thinks either a summons or an information is available and to be used. The police officer is to choose which path to take, because one obliges going to court in any circumstances and the other one doesn’t -- it avoids the whole court apparatus.
In other words what I want is clear and if possible I would like to see what the minister has to say about a clear delineation between the two great categories of offence upon which the whole legislation is founded. He says 90 per cent of the offences are not serious; they shouldn’t obligate anything but a payment of a fine. But for the 10 per cent, I just don’t know which ones he means.
The Attorney General seems to say that higher speed or careless driving, for instance, would be serious. I concede careless driving. But just where else and what else, particularly, does he have in mind?
It’s not fair to put legislation through making these discriminations and reposing these enormous powers in the hands of these officers appointed by the ministries; I suppose largely inspectors from the various ministries now. It’s not fair to repose those powers in either them or the police officer as to the path they would take and the serious consequences that flow out of what it is they intend to do.
That really bothers me, and yet we are dealing in the dark. The minister is asking us to go along gently. Well, a little kicking might not do any harm. And that’s the kind of thing we can discuss far more rationally in committee. I understand if certain matters that are presently before the justice committee could be settled with some degree of alacrity, there would be four or five days before December 11 when this matter would be taken under advisement in the relatively informal atmosphere where we can really come to terms with the various matters. I am asking the minister to accede to that. We have time before Christmas, in my opinion -- God, I don’t want him to quote me -- to mull this over and put our heads together in a way that will bring sense in all aspects of this legislation.
So, the first mode of procedure is by way of a certificate of offence. Within that procedure there are four different steps. A man may plead guilty for designated offences -- and again we haven’t had a clue as to what the designated offences might be. We place our lives, our hands, and our fortunes, I suppose, in the hands of the Attorney General or in the hands of the ministers of the crown administering each of these separate acts as to which ones will be so designated -- I suppose by way of the regulation, which we of course will never see, including the regulations committee. Then there’s pay a set fine out of court and there’s no appearance necessary. Or, you can plead guilty with an oral explanation -- this is a walk-in plea of guilty with an oral explanation. You go and talk to the justice of the peace.
The justices of the peace are going to become enormously important within the criminal court structure. First of all, a substantial number of them will be located in a completely distinct and even physically separate court, which is the next following bill. While they would be under the general surveillance of the judge of the court, I suspect that judge will spend a much greater portion of his time in the provincial criminal courts and not very much in this separate area.
This is not a preserve but a cover for justices of the peace. Their staff will have to be very greatly expanded in this particular regard. You go in and have a talk with them. It reminds you of the North York traffic tribunal, Mr. Speaker. It’s an excellent thing. There’s no harm in it. It’s fine. It’s an off-the-cuff, informal way in which people can explain why their fine should be reduced or even possibly an acquittal entered. Or justice consented upstairs.
The third area is a plea of not guilty and one enters a written explanation. Subsequent to that, a trial can take place without the defendant. Cognizance must be taken of that written explanation. It’s not, strictly speaking, evidence in the court, but the justice hearing the matter would be able to advert to it at least in terms of his question to the witnesses, particularly to the police officer.
It’s a very fair-minded, worthwhile and equitable thing. People who have lots of time to go and make explanations with respect to failure to stop at a stop sign or a speeding offence are being convicted every day now simply because they don’t appear in court. You pay, but there may be all kinds of mitigating circumstances about which you feel a little resentful that you don’t get the opportunity to express your view. Here it is. You can do it, and that’s fine. This section is imaginative largely.
Then finally you can plead not guilty with a full trial on the merits. There are benefits arising out of that. There will be a fixed date. You will practically, I trust -- and I am sure the Attorney General hopes so -- know the hour. You will come at 2:30 and you will have your case tried. Policemen won’t be standing around, money wasted, court officials preparing schedules and judges sitting in their chambers because the list has fallen apart. The thing will at least be beginning to get into some kind of shape. And it is absolutely critical that this should take place.
That whole procedure, if we know precisely what was encompassed within it, I would say is very affirmative. The summons procedure which requires one to attend on the court and the summons in the particular situation must be delivered personally. I just wondered -- and I would like reassurances from the Attorney General, who has no doubt thought about it -- when the fine is set at $300 or less, if the procedures are not initiated through the certificate, would the courts tend perhaps to say, “Well, they mean the fine to be in this instance somewhat greater”? in other words, it’s more than $300.
If the certificate is a $300 business, the other ones are something else. In most of these summary convictions statutes falling under the Summary Convictions Act they go up to $1,000 or $2,000. There is nothing in this legislation that wards against that misinterpretation. The minister may argue that surely they are not so purblind as to construe the legislation that way. I can simply say as a practising lawyer that I wouldn’t put anything past them. Therefore, I mention it to the minister as a possible directive in the future.
The last area has to do with the information and that has been worked over quite a bit with respect to the kind of affidavit that has to be filed. If one citizen lays a charge against another citizen under a provincial statute, then you must proceed by way of the information because that gives the justice of the peace an opportunity to interrogate under oath the complainant in the particular context and to be able to assess the validity of his intended action with respect to laying a charge.
I think the Attorney General will have to agree with me that those charges could be more or less serious. The step of having to be subject to examination kind of cuts across his basic intention with respect to the minor offence concept, but I suppose that can’t be helped. In order to preclude frivolous or malicious or ill-founded cases coming before the court, you have to follow the more rigorous procedure, namely the information.
I am suggesting to the minister that there are numerous ambiguities or contradictions written into his legislation.
Mr. Van Horne: You’re not quite sure about it.
Mr. Lawlor: I think I can talk it out. The first one I wanted to mention has already come up. It is in section 3. I am not going to parse clauses as in committee, but I want to give a general picture that with this recent revamping I think they have set up contradictory portions. I think they had better take it back and take a look at it before finally presenting it.
The second reason I’m trying to present this is to convince the Attorney General to send it out to committee where we can work it over. It’s very difficult, curiously enough, to work legislation over in the atmosphere of the House.
Mr. MacBeth: Work it over?
Mr. Lawlor: You’re not physically close enough to kick them, so to speak, into some kind of activity.
It was a question of the summons being an alternative method and a reference to both sections 23 and 27, which are in different parts entirely of the legislation, touching the summons procedure. They’re in part III. That was the first point. I want a clarification of that and a spelling out of the type of summons involved, because they do mention something under section 13 being prescribed under that particular set of regulations.
Does the minister envisage one type of summons there and a different type under other regulations? The regulations sections here are set up through this -- not as usual, all of it in one place at the end, but located in three different places through this legislation.
When one comes to section 22(2) which has to do with the information -- I don’t think it’s necessarily contradictory to section 23, but where the Attorney General has written in the new clauses on subsection 2 of 22, and 23 is brand new, do they hang together? One of them says: “where a summons or offence notice has been served under part I” -- under the certificate procedure - “no proceeding shall he commenced under subsection 1 in respect of the same offence, that is, an information may not be laid except with the Attorney General’s consent.”
The next section says: “When a police officer believes on reasonable and probable grounds that an offence has been committed by a person whom he finds at or near the place where the offence was committed, he may, before laying an information ... ” I’m saying to the Attorney General he’s just said he can’t lay an information under certain --
Mr. Nixon: Is this the first time you’ve read the bill?
Mr. Lawlor: What’s your problem?
Mr. Nixon: We read the bill. Is this the first time you’ve read it? Why are you going through it section by section?
Mr. Lawlor: You amaze me. This is the first time that you’ve read a bill in an awful long time.
Mr. Nixon: I have read it very carefully and I find your presentation for this --
Mr. Lawlor: I’ve listened to you for years and only in the vaguest possible way do you seem to read bills. In any event --
Ms. Gigantes: That’s so right.
Mr. Makarchuk: Not only has he read it, but he’s written a dissertation on it.
Mr. Nixon: That’s what I am afraid of. The next section, what does it say?
Mr. MacBeth: Now he has lost his place.
Mr. Lawlor: When you come to section 103 --
Mr. Roy: Yes, yes.
Mr. Lawlor: Would you read it?
Mrs. Campbell: Let’s gather together, Pat.
Mr. Lawlor: -- the Attorney General says -- this is on the appeal -- in (b): “ ... the court by order ... may dismiss the appeal where, (i) the court is of the opinion that the appellant, although he was not properly convicted on a count or part of an information, was properly convicted on another count or part of an information.”
I know the Criminal Code has some of these, and the minister has borrowed it from the Criminal Code, but is that just? Hadn’t we better think about that? The minister is going to permit conviction at a higher court with no further appeal on another count on which no evidence has ever been submitted, so far as I can see.
If one takes a look at the next subsection: “ ... notwithstanding that the court is of the opinion that on any ground mentioned in subclause (ii) of clause (a) the appeal might be decided in favour of the appellant, it is of the opinion that no substantial wrong or miscarriage of justice has occurred.”
Mr. Nixon: Are you on section 103?
Mr. Lawlor: You’ve lost me.
Mr. Nixon: No, but are you on section 103?
Mr. Lawlor: I thought you could read.
Mr. Nixon: I think it applies to the matter you’re discussing.
Mr. Lawlor: Do you know what you’re saying there?
Mr. Nixon: Is this the one dealing with mental disorder?
What are you talking about?
Mr. Lawlor: There’s certain kinds of schizophrenia over there.
Mr. Nixon: No, no. It’s not my problem.
Mr. Lawlor: Look at him twirling in the darkness.
Does the Attorney General know what that section says? The reference back is to “the judgement of the trial court should be set aside on the ground of a wrong decision on a question of law.” He says here that where the court agrees that a wrong decision has been made on a question of law and the court affirms that the court below has made a wrong decision, nevertheless, even in the face of that, a conviction may be registered and sustained.
Really, if this is not criminal with a vengeance, with the full plenitude of the criminal law operating in that particular kind of section, I don’t know what is. I think if the minister’s general claim is that this is not any longer meant to have the weight of criminal law, that kind of clause ought not to be in this legislation at all.
There are some smaller things, for instance, in section 51. The minister is quite categorical about saying that an accused may be represented by a counsel or an agent. But if one takes a look at section 51(3), he says the accused may not in certain circumstances.
The Attorney General can’t have it both ways -- one way or the other in the legislation. Under this particular head the minister repeats himself at section 82. Why does he do that?
Mr. Nixon: That’s the section that says if you’re not a lawyer you can’t appear. It bars anybody but lawyers.
Mr. Speaker: I’ll recognize the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk next, if he wishes.
Mr. Nixon: We’re doing committee discussion. I thought we were dealing with the bill in principle, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: We are not doing committee discussion. He’s dealing --
Mr. Nixon: That’s right, but that’s what he’s doing. What’s he talking about?
Mr. Speaker: This isn’t committee. This isn’t committee.
Mr. Nixon: That’s right. Hear, hear.
Mr. Speaker: I’ve listened very, very carefully, whereas I’ve seen very few members of the House who have done that tonight. I think the honourable member is dealing with a principle of the bill and he has a right to express his views on it.
Mr. Nixon: On a point of order. The honourable member is referring specifically to section 51, subsection 3. It says the court may bar any person from appearing as an agent who is not a barrister. I submit to you the honourable member has a clear conflict of interest in that regard.
Mr. Speaker: That’s not a point of order.
Mr. Nixon: I just wanted to bring it to your attention.
Mr. Warner: You should have stayed for dinner.
Mr. Sargent: And further, it’s the same one you made last year.
Mr. Speaker: I hope the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk won’t want me to impose that penalty whenever we’re talking about agriculture.
Mr. Speaker: Come on, you’ve had your fun and I’ve had mine. We’re wasting time. The member for Lakeshore can continue.
Mr. Nixon: Things are worse than I thought. Lawyers are taking over this place and it’s got to be stopped.
Mr. Lawlor: I’m totally regaled by your bucolic sense of humour.
Mrs. Campbell: It’s almost 10:30, Pat.
Mr. Lawlor: We’ll leave him alone.
Mr. Nixon: What the hell are you talking about?
Mr. Martel: He’s just reading the bill into the record.
Mr. Nixon: I feel a lawyer’s speech coming on.
Mr. Roy: Hey Pat, can you go another five minutes.
Mr. Lawlor: I’m working at it.
Mr. Nixon: On a point of order.
Mr. Lawlor: Does Mr. Nixon wish to speak? Sit down.
Mr. Lawlor: As I said earlier this evening, the bringing in of the civil sanction I think is going to have to be looked at too. I would like to know the process by which a civil execution can be transcribed from this kind of court over to the sheriff’s office of whatever county is involved and what flows from that with respect of the seizure of goods. Does the minister really mean to seize goods and sell them by auction or otherwise in order to garner money for the crown?
I was a little surprised the other day in the estimates that the Attorney General’s department had an expenditure of $136 million and it gets in $100 million by way of fines and other levies, so that it’s costs --
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. The honourable member is discussing a section of the bill that does not appear in the printed bill 74 that is available to what you might call ordinary members. Where is this amended bill and how did it get before the House for debate at this time?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: It is not before the House.
Mr. Nixon: Why are we debating it then? Really, the bill I’ve got in my book has nothing to do with what the honourable member is talking about.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Lakeshore may continue on the principle of the bill.
Mr Nixon: If he can at least leave the sections alone, all right. If not sit down.
Mr. Roy: Can you, Pat, for another four minutes?
On motion by Mr. Lawlor the debate was adjourned.
DISCRIMINATORY BUSINESS PRACTICES ACT
Hon. Mr. McMurtry, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Davis, moved third reading of Bill 112, An Act to prohibit Discrimination in Business Relationships.
Mr. Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the ayes have it.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, there was a matter raised earlier in the evening with regards to a ruling on an amendment put forward. Could we have some indication of when to expect a ruling by the Speaker on that amendment?
Mr. Speaker: As soon as the House resolves itself into committee of the whole.
The House adjourned at 10:30 p.m.