The House met at 10 a.m.
Mr. Speaker: Tomorrow, November 11, is the 60th anniversary of Armistice Day. May I draw to the attention of members the wide selection of orders, medals and decorations awarded to Canadians for their war efforts in both the First and Second World Wars, which is on display in the main lobby of this building?
Contained in the exhibition is a tribute to the late Major B. Handley Geary VC, Sergeant at Arms of this House from 1947 to 1971. Major Geary’s miniature medals and a water colour rendering of his bravery on Hill 60 on April 20 and 21, 1915, have been lent for the purposes of this display by Mr. and Mrs. David Geary of Niagara-on-the-Lake.
In the two world wars and the Korean action, over 100,000 Canadians gave their lives so that we might enjoy freedom. Tomorrow in communities across Canada a minute of silence will be observed at 11 o’clock. I can think of no place more fitting than this House for the same tribute to be paid to the men and women who sacrificed for us. I ask all honourable members to join with me in one minute of silence at this time.
Mr. Speaker: I am sure all honourable members will wish to join me in welcoming a very distinguished group of visitors to our gallery. I speak of a delegation of parliamentarians from the Cortes of Spain. The delegation is led by His Excellency Antonio Hernandez Gil. They are in Canada as guests of the Speaker of the Senate of Canada and the Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada. I am particularly pleased that they are accompanied today by the Speaker of the Senate of Canada, the Honourable Renaude Lapointe.
In welcoming our distinguished visitors, I would remind honourable members that the Cortes of Spain has just approved a new constitution establishing a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary form of democracy. It is a pleasure to have them here with us.
TORONTO CONSTRUCTION PROJECT
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I think we have set a new record this morning. There are six ministers present out of 26 or 27. Since the Premier (Mr. Davis) is not here and the Deputy Premier (Mr. Welch) is not here and since 20 ministers are missing, I will ask the Chairman of Management Board a question.
Is the Chairman of Management Board familiar with the matter of the East of Bay project in the city of Toronto? Does he know that the city council adopted a report which asked the province to co-operate and participate in a development that would provide many, many construction jobs and provide 660 units of needed housing, including 250 units of non-profit and 160 seniors’ housing? Can he explain why the government has failed to respond to this and why the government seems to be in some disarray about proceeding with this particular project which could be so important to Toronto at this time of high unemployment in the construction industry?
Hon. Mr. McCague: I am somewhat aware of the project, but I am not able to answer the specific point that the Leader of the Opposition has raised. I will address that matter to him in writing.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of a brief supplementary and appreciating that it is not within the usual purview of the minister: when he is formulating the response could he address himself to the question of whether the Ministry of Government Services or the Ministry of Housing will finally, once and for all, speak for the government in this matter and will then deal with the city of Toronto to get the project under way? I am told -- and the minister may correct me on this -- that there is some considerable disagreement within the ministries about who should be in charge of it. Could the minister please have this matter clarified and respond to the city of Toronto and to this House so that a useful and needed project could get under way?
Hon. Mr. McCague: I will discuss that matter with the two ministers mentioned.
Mr. McClellan: By way of supplementary, may I ask the minister if he will share his communication with all members of the House and not simply with the Leader of the Opposition?
Mr. S. Smith: I will gladly send the member a copy.
Mr. McClellan: I’d like to have it from the minister.
Mr. Foulds: Say yes.
SOUTHERN ONTARIO PASSENGER STUDY
Mr. S. Smith: My next question pertains to transportation. In the absence of the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow), in the absence of the policy secretary whose secretariat includes that ministry, and in the absence of the Premier, the Deputy Premier and House leader, I will address the question to the Chairman of Management Board, lucky fellow.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. S. Smith: Would the Chairman of Management Board kindly inquire as to whether the results are now available of the southern Ontario multi-modal passenger study? That is a series of joint provincial studies into all forms of passenger transport which we asked for about a year ago and which we were assured would be ready this past spring? Would he inquire whether that study is now ready? To assist him, I will remind him that reference was made to that particular matter in the MTC News.
The study is allegedly required in order to decide whether or not Pickering is required or whether some expansion of the airport is required. Since this recently has been a matter of some concern to people in various parts of the region around Metro Toronto, could the Chairman of Management Board tell us whether that study has been completed and whether he is prepared to share it with the House?
Hon. Mr. McCague: I don’t know whether that study has been completed or not but I will point out to the minister the fact that the Leader of the Opposition has asked the question.
Mr. Foulds: I would like to ask my first question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations in the absence of the rest of the government.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Who else?
Mr. Foulds: Could the minister tell us why as a matter of policy the cabinet decided, when devising the proposed Residential Tenancies Act that is at present before the House, that tenants would no longer be able to appeal rent increases that were less than six per cent, should those increases be unjust?
Hon. Mr. Drea: I am very glad to say that simply isn’t true. The tenant can appeal any increase even if it’s one tenth of one per cent.
Mr. Dukszta: Surely the minister realizes that the existing legislation determines allowable rent increases based on certain financial maintenance and other criteria surrounding the rental unit. The standing committee, if he remembers, did not recommend that this be changed. Why is the minister now proposing rent review applications brought by tenants be based on different criteria than those brought by landlords?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, 10 or so days ago -- I don’t exactly remember the day -- the member for Parkdale asked me a somewhat similar question. I said I would provide him with the information in a letter. I think he agreed to that. That letter is in transmission to him. It is a very long and involved line-by-line explanation. If the member for Parkdale will bear with me until he gets that, I think it may ease his concerns.
Mr. di Santo: Why don’t you share it with us?
Hon. Mr. Drea: By the same token, the member for Parkdale constantly has been asking me in here why I didn’t follow what the all-party committee recommended.
Mr. Ziemba: That’s his job.
Hon. Mr. Drea: The truth of the matter is that there were 67 recommendations by that committee, and 64 of them were adopted by the government as a matter of policy prior to introduction of the bill. When we return here next Tuesday, 66 of the recommendations will have been adopted. All I am saying is, will the member please wait for the letter? The information is there.
Mr. Dukszta: Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the minister that the question was not what I just asked. He may not remember it. I appreciate that he is going to send me that letter, specifying everything in detail, but that was not the question I asked. I would like him to answer this question -- and I will give him an example of what I mean, that the change has been very prejudicial to the landlords -- to the tenants --
Mr. Breithaupt: Yes, I didn’t think you would be worried about the landlords.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Yes, I kind of thought that
Mr. Dukszta: Section 128(1)(2) refers to “rents being charged by other landlords for similar rental units situate in similar residential complexes within the same geographical vicinity.” Which means they will be allowed to charge an excessive rent only because someone else charges similarly in a different situation. That is what I want the minister to clarify.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, in all honesty, I tried to answer the question. When the member receives the letter, I think it may ease his concerns. But, just to make it technically correct, I will look into it and I will reply to him.
Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I wonder if the minister would advise the House as to what criteria were used in arriving at the figure of $500 as a luxury suite, as it would apply in the city of Toronto?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, that really relates to a question by the member for Kitchener about five days ago, which he asked through the government House leader because I wasn’t here. I undertook to supply information to the honourable member, and it will be tabled on Tuesday.
Mr. Cooke: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In view of the fact that not only are there many students across this province who live in residences on campus, but also those who live in homes owned by universities and rented out to students, why has the minister decided to exclude these residents of Ontario from protections, not only in rent review, but also in landlord-tenant relations?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that has been a long-standing issue before the Legislature, going back to the original introduction of rent review. As the honourable member knows, I made certain remarks before a student audience in London on Wednesday; I am going to take a look at this bill, particularly with regard to students. When we get around to the clause-by-clause, if indeed I am not satisfied, I would certainly welcome the honourable member’s recommendations.
Mr. Cooke: What was the rationale for putting it in in the first place?
Hon. Mr. Drea: I don’t know.
Mr. Warner: What do you mean? It’s your bill.
Hon. Mr. Drea: The honourable member knows as well as I do that this was decided by an all-party committee.
Mr. McClellan: Grossman doesn’t like students.
Mr. Makarchuk: You have created a Frankenstein’s monster.
Hon. Mr. Drea: No, this was decided by an all-party committee.
Mr. Dukszta: It was not decided there. I was at the committee.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, last night I went through the recommendations of that all-party committee --
Mr. Cooke: It’s your bill. You are responsible for the bill.
Hon. Mr. Drea: -- and I know that some of the members opposite wrote a philosophical objection at the end. But, in the meantime, they said, “Let it go through.”
Mr. Cooke: It’s your bill. What is the rationale?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I have told the honourable member that the rationale is precisely the same as it was in the past, but I have some deep and abiding concerns about students. I made certain remarks in London on Wednesday, which I hope the member and his leader paid some attention to. At the time we are doing clause-by-clause, if the honourable member does not think this particular bill meets the very particular and special problems of students, not just those in university dormitories, but also those students who have to live in the community, then I would certainly hope that the honourable member would use his talents and put forward an amendment, because I will accept it.
Mr. Foulds: The minister indicated to me in an answer that a tenant could appeal an increase of one tenth of one per cent. Could he clarify, then, the interpretation of section 123 of the present act which says that a tenant who so desires, can dispute any intended rent increase for his rental unit other than a rent increase that results in a rent not exceeding the maximum approved by the commission for his unit? Could he interpret that phrase?
Hon. Mr. Drea: I said a tenant can appeal any increase, no matter how small, underneath the six per cent. Secondly, the tenant can go into comparative shopping and that will get rid of that --
Mr. Foulds: That is not what I asked. I asked for an interpretation of this.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I am not going to give you an interpretation this morning because it is my understanding that it is there. I will talk to our solicitors and if it is not there and abundantly plain, then we will make it plain. But I am telling you that is the way it is.
Mr. McClellan: You don’t know what it is.
Mr. Warner: Better change the bill. Perhaps the government should withdraw it and start over again.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Do you want the act withdrawn?
Mr. Warner: You don’t seem to know what you want.
LAKEHEAD PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL
Mr. Foulds: I would like to ask the Minister of Health a question. Can the Minister of Health indicate to the House whether or not the recommendations of the Canadian Council on Hospital Accreditation with regard to the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital have been implemented? In particular, has the ministry, to this date, hired the two additional psychiatrists, the additional recreational therapist, the additional nurses, the dentist and the clinical librarian recommended in that report if the level of patient care is not to be critically threatened?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I was very interested in the fact the member raised this question at the social development committee the other day in the estimates of my colleague the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch). Had he checked with me beforehand, I could have told him that every one of the recommendations made by the Canadian Council on Hospital Accreditation is being acted on or has been acted on. We hired a dentist, for instance, about a week ago; I understand he starts later this month.
We have taken action with respect to every one of the recommendations. In fact, when the accreditation report came in, which was of course maintaining the accreditation for one year, we sent staff from the psychiatric hospitals branch to the Lakehead. They not only ensured that action had begun on all those recommendations, but in discussing it with the staff over three days, they came up with some additional ones which they thought would improve things even further.
Mr. Foulds: A supplementary question: Can the minister say categorically whether or not the positions have been filled and the people hired? Not that he is taking action and putting a few ads in the newspapers, but that he is engaging in an aggressive campaign to recruit the necessary people?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: My understanding is that we now have five psychiatrists associated with Lakehead which, when my staff advise me that there are 10 psychiatrists in the province of Saskatchewan, compares rather favourably. And it compares favourably with every other psychiatric hospital.
Mr. Foulds: What is the minister talking about? Why doesn’t he get his facts straight?
Mr. Lewis: What does that mean? What piece of colossal irrelevance is that?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I have three pages of statements that were made by the member at committee on Tuesday. I have the full statements from the inspection report to which the member alludes and I have comments on the action taken. I will be glad to discuss this on Tuesday when my estimates start.
I can say that I am a little concerned. I take a great deal of pride in the people who work for this ministry in the psychiatric hospitals. When the member makes the kind of allegations that he made without checking with us beforehand when we could have told him the action taken on every single one, it serves to discredit all those fine people who are making Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital work. I want to support them as much as possible. When we found out about the accreditation report, which is after all a voluntary effort, we ensured that all our psychiatric hospitals in this province were accredited, which is something I don’t believe most provinces can say. They are all accredited. I wanted to make sure that it was followed up quickly and it was. In fact, we have gone even further.
Mr. Foulds: On a point of privilege: The minister has alleged that I have discredited the people at the present hospital.
Mr. Mancini: It seems like another question to me.
Mr. Foulds: If the minister will check the record and if you will check the record, Mr. Speaker, the record will clearly indicate that I commended the administrator and the present staff. The substance of my remarks related to the foot-dragging by this minister and the cabinet that did not supply the money for the funding and the staffing of the hospital.
Mr. Speaker: That’s not a point of privilege. That’s a difference of opinion.
Mr. Foulds: He made an allegation.
Mr. Speaker: It’s a difference of opinion.
Mr. Lewis: Whatever it is, it’s valid.
Mr. Kerrio: Are you entering another leadership convention?
Mr. Ruston: Where’s your leader today?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, may I take that as a question and point out -- and we can discuss this at estimates -- to the honourable member that there were 11 points in the accreditation report, wherein the accreditation committee commended the administration and the operation of Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital. To my knowledge, the member did not mention any of those at the social development committee meeting.
Mr. Foulds: That is false. That’s a lie. I mentioned three of them.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member will withdraw that.
Mr. Foulds: I will withdraw the “lie” but I don’t withdraw the substance of the remark because I mentioned the first three recommendations. He should read the record.
Some hon. members: Withdraw.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Huron-Middlesex.
Mr. Foulds: I have one supplementary, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: You have had a supplementary.
Mr. Foulds: Will the minister table the accreditation --
Mr. Speaker: You have had a supplementary.
Mr. Foulds: -- reports of the other hospitals under his jurisdiction before his estimates are debated?
Hon Mr. Timbrell: I will take that question as notice.
Mr. Kerrio: Their leader has arrived.
Mr. Riddell: In order to provide Claire Hoy with material to use in his next article in the Sun, distorted as it usually is, I would like to ask the Minister of Agriculture and Food if he can explain to us what his position is regarding the development in this province of residential condominium housing on prime agricultural land, otherwise known as agrominiums?
Hon. W. Newman: This has been under discussion for about two years. I believe originally the council was in favour of it and then it was against it. The people in the area are against it.
An hon. member: The minister was against it and then for it.
Hon. W. Newman: It’s at present before the Ontario Municipal Board. I lost my voice last night.
Mr. Conway: Just don’t lose your job.
An hon. member: You better go out and look for it.
Hon. W. Newman: I was with your agricultural critic last night.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Where was he?
Mr. Nixon: How was his head?
Mr. MacDonald: I was supervising both of them.
Hon. W. Newman: As a matter of fact, he asked me the same question yesterday as we were touring the cattle barns. I would just like to say it’s before the Ontario Municipal Board. All the correspondence from my ministry and all the correspondence from me to the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett) on this agrominium complex has been tabled before the Ontario Municipal Board.
Mr. Riddell: Supplementary: Can the minister explain why he has changed his position on this matter since he wrote back on February 27, 1976, to the developer, “It is my feeling that if I were to support your proposal, I would in effect be supporting a policy that would be in opposition to our present policy of encouraging full-time farmers and their sons to establish and reinforce their family farm units”?
Mr. Kerrio: That never stopped him before.
Mr. Riddell: Why has the minister taken this position when his own staff has written to the Ministry of Housing, stating that the ministry staff is concerned that the proposal is simply a means to obtain approval on good agricultural land, and when it is also being opposed by the local township and the Ontario Federation of Agriculture?
Hon. W. Newman: If the member will recall, most of that correspondence went out some time ago. I have forgotten the date on that letter, but it was probably a year and a half ago, if I remember correctly. There has been a lot of discussion about the agrominium complex and it is before the Ontario Municipal Board.
I believe I did say in one of my letters after discussions with my staff and with the Minister of Housing that this kind of a complex is possible. I said, in effect -- and perhaps the member has seen this particular piece of property, as I have, and other pieces of property in the province -- that the concept has some merit, but I have reservations about it. I think I said that in my letter. I said if there was one, there should only be one. I didn’t say specifically where it should be in the province. If the member knows the particular land in question, they want to build houses on the ridges or the knolls.
Mr. Riddell: That’s West Gwillimbury.
Hon. W. Newman: That’s right. If the member has seen the property, there is some very poor land where they want to build the housing. The rest of the land would be preserved in agriculture forever and a day by agreement and thus it was possible to have a look at the situation. I think the hearing before the Ontario Municipal Board starts next week -- I am not exactly sure, but it starts very shortly.
Mr. MacDonald: A supplementary: I can see the Liberal critic getting on top of this issue five months after I raised it in the agricultural estimates --
Mr. S. Smith: You succeeded in drawing public attention; you made it a big issue.
Mr. MacDonald: May I ask the minister to be specific? Is it not accurate --
Hon. Mr. Walker: The information was sent to him by mail.
Mr. MacDonald: Oh, you now are awake.
Mr. Nixon: Flip-flop.
Mr. MacDonald: Is it not accurate that in the first instance the minister, along with his then Minister of Housing, Mr. Irvine, said he was opposed to this. Then in a second letter he indicated he was willing to support it as an experiment?
Hon. W. Newman: With reservations, I said so.
Mr. MacDonald: Oh, no, there were no reservations in the letter.
Hon. W. Newman: Oh, yes there were. Read my correspondence. Just because you didn’t get to milk your cow last night, don’t take it out on everybody else.
Mr. Conway: Would you please explain that?
Hon. W. Newman: I have made it very clear in my correspondence -- it’s there before the municipal board.
Mr. Swart: I would like to ask the minister, in view of his reservations -- and I rightly understand these are reservations in principle, that he is opposed to this kind of thing -- is he going to make representations to the Ontario Municipal Board in this regard?
Hon. W. Newman: The policy of my ministry is that correspondence that goes to the Ministry of Housing is put before the Ontario Municipal Board; any one of my staff subpoenaed by either side will appear before the Ontario Municipal Board and will give testimony as he sees it. I do not interfere in any way, shape or form, whoever they want to subpoena.
LUNG CANCER CASES
Mr. Mackenzie: I would like to go to the acting House leader of the government party.
Mr. Kerrio: Who is the acting House leader?
Mr. Mackenzie: The member for Scarborough North (Mr. Wells) I believe.
In view of the two specific questions concerning current studies relating to lung cancer, which I asked on Tuesday, and in view of the rather astounding story in this morning’s Globe and Mail concerning lung cancer studies, will the acting government House leader assure this House that his colleague, the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie), will, at the next sitting of the House, make a statement in this House which explains the obvious confusion of the Workmen’s Compensation Board? Will that statement tell the members of this House who is lying when Dr. May says he forwarded studies in June, but Dr. McCracken says he has not received them; and when Dr. May says he is doing no further studies on lung cancer, but Dr. McCracken says that studies are going on?
Finally, will the Minister of Labour say how much longer we are going to continue to allow families and workers to suffer while the confusion exists over the claims for lung cancer and how much longer we are going to have to contend with this top mismanagement at the Workmen’s Compensation Board? Will he table with this House the information that Dr. May forwarded to Dr. McCracken and what studies are or are not currently going on with regard to lung cancer and foundry workers?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I appreciate my friend giving his question and I am sure his dismay is probably with the fact my friend and colleague, the Minister of Labour, is not here today. The Minister of Labour, I am told, is with Dr. May at the University of Western Ontario today and therefore --
Mr. Lewis: I should say. Finding out who is telling whom what.
Hon. Mr. Wells: -- he could not be in the House and I am sure he would apologize for that. But I am sure, having read your question, he will certainly take it into account and I am sure have something to say about it next week.
Mr. Bounsall: Can you telephone him at Western?
Mr. S. Smith: Just so that when the minister is reading the question next week he will have something more to say, can the minister address himself to the question of how it is the Gibson study on this came out in July 1977, at which time Dr. McCracken asked Dr. May to review it, and looking at the world literature, to give an opinion as to whether it is a valid study, and can he find out why it is that even as recently as this morning Dr. McCracken is still of the opinion he has received no such evaluation with no conclusions drawn; that he received absolutely nothing until April 1978?
Mr. Mackenzie: It’s the same question. Where is your originality?
Mr. Foulds: Where is Harold Greer these days? Is he on holiday? Can’t he feed you the questions from Florida?
Mr. S. Smith: Can he determine whether the so-called references and world literature search, which allegedly was done by Dr. Muller, consists of something more than some general remarks about three particular articles?
How is it that we could have Dr. May on the one hand and Dr. McCracken on the other having such opposite views, and Dr. McCracken as recently as this morning absolutely assuring me that he has received no adequate review or conclusion concerning this matter while the families are waiting for this matter to be clarified?
Some hon. members: Same question.
Mr. Bradley: You are getting touchy over there. You’ll be having nine seats in 1979.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I will make sure that the Minister of Labour sees that, Mr. Speaker.
ONTARIO PLACE FRAUD
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, on October 23, 1978, the member for Rainy River asked questions regarding the recovery of funds taken from Ontario Place. Approximately $443,000 has been recovered from Mr. Leonard Casey. This represents more than 83 per cent of the funds involved in the charges against him. My ministry is taking civil action to recover the balance of the funds.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Can the Attorney General indicate when that action might take place, since he was requested to proceed by the board of directors of Ontario Place last May, I believe it was? And is a similar civil action being taken against Mr. Potten, I believe, who also was involved in the fraud?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: To the second part of the question, my answer would be definitely yes.
I cannot advise the member of all the problems related to the civil action, other than that I understand there were some difficulties in relation to commencing the action, but I am told the writ will be issued any day.
Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. In view of the fact that heating appliances -- gas, electric and oil -- are controlled by the Canadian Standards Association; in view of the fact that wood-burning stoves now are becoming very popular in Ontario, both in terms of their manufacture and their installation and use, but it would appear that no one is looking after the standards for their installation -- even professional people are not used for their installation; most people install them themselves -- and in view of the fact that it’s a very desirable form of heating which we would not wish to discourage but that we recognize there are a number of obvious dangers -- for instance I am told that glass screens that are put in front of fireplaces disintegrate at about 550 degrees, and fireplaces can produce temperatures reading 1,500 degrees -- would the minister have his ministry put out a booklet advising people how to use these stoves, or would he also use public service advertising to warn people of some of the dangers in the art and the science of heating their homes with wood?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, technically, I suppose I will take that question as notice, but I think the first thing we will do, through the members -- because I know my friend has a very large constituency -- is acquaint the members with certain of the standards and so on.
I don’t know whether we really want to go into paid advertising. I don’t think the honourable member meant that. In terms of booklets, I am not too sure that’s the most effective way. I think we will start with the members of the House, who can then advise me as to the best way to distribute that very necessary information to the community, and I will go along with that advice.
Mr. McGuigan: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: As one who has been heating his home with wood for a great many years, if the ministry needs any help, I will be glad to offer it.
Mr. Conway: If you need any wood, Frank, give me a call; I’ll sell it to you at a good price.
FIRESTONE TIRE HAZARD
Mr. Swart: I have a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. The minister will now be aware that Firestone has announced a recall of the Firestone 500 steel-belted radial tires. Is he concerned that they originally said they were going to recall one million and now they are estimating 600,000? Is he aware that in the United States they are only recalling those that were made before May 1976, because they claim they changed their production procedures and quality at that time? Has the minister investigated, and if not, would he investigate, whether they changed their procedures in Canada at that time, or whether there were faulty tires produced after that period which should be recalled also?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Since it is not within my jurisdiction, the answers are, in order: no; yes; I’ll get back to you.
Mr. Kerrio: I have a question of the Chairman of Management Board, if the Premier hasn’t arrived.
Are we taking away from the solemn tribute we pay our veterans, those who are with us and those who gave their lives, when we treat Remembrance Day in the fashion we do, when, for purposes unknown to me, we give Monday as a day off in lieu of Remembrance Day?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if you would permit the member to clarify his point?
Mr. Kerrio: Are we taking away from the solemn tribute we pay our veterans and those who gave their lives, if we have Remembrance Day on a day that can be given off in lieu of Remembrance Day? I am totally opposed to any moving of this very solemn day when we pay tribute to those who gave their lives and those who are to be remembered. What are we doing in this country?
Hon. Mr. McCague: I have great difficulty understanding what the member is really trying to say. It is up to every individual to decide in what way he wants to honour those who served us so well in years past. What I think he is talking about is that Remembrance Day falls on a Saturday this year. An agreement exists between employee and employer that if one of the designated holidays happens to fall on a Saturday, they get the following Monday off. I just don’t get the point the member is making.
Mr. Kerrio: The very wording of the answer suggests that the chairman doesn’t know what he is talking about when he suggests a holiday. What I am asking about is, should we not pay tribute and remember our veterans on November 11 at the 11th hour, rather than giving employees of banks and the provincial government Monday off? That’s what I’m asking. Doesn’t he think we should pay tribute on the day, November 11, and not treat it as a holiday?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I still do not understand the member’s question.
Mr. Swart: That’s all right, he doesn’t either.
Hon. Mr. McCague: I’m sorry, I’m not sure who wrote it for him, but I don’t understand it. If Remembrance Day happened to be today, we wouldn’t have been here today. The civil servants wouldn’t have been here today. Certain stores wouldn’t have been open. In my town, the council has suggested that everything be closed from 11 to 12. It’s a local option.
Mr. Kerrio: You’re making it a movable holiday. It’s not paying tribute to those people, that’s what I’m saying. It’s wrong and you know it.
Hon. Mr. McCagne: That’s nonsense.
Mr. MacDonald: A question to the minister: If there is not any regulation in relation to statutory holidays, would he consider a regulation which would come to grips with another problem that arose this year -- namely, that Eaton’s Santa Claus parade, with its very heavy commercial motivation --
Mr. Kerrio: That’s not supplementary. That is the same question.
Mr. MacDonald: -- pre-empted the church parades that are held the Sunday before Remembrance Day and therefore the city denied all the church parades permits in deference to the Santa Claus parade? Can that situation not be dealt with by way of regulation so that it won’t happen again?
Mr. Foulds: That’s the first note of sanity on this question.
Mr. Ashe: By by-law. Local autonomy, remember? Be consistent over there.
Hon. Mr. McCague: I understand the question that the honourable member is asking, but I think if there were going to be any local agreements on that matter it would probably rest with the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. I don’t think it’s something that I could suggest be put into the collective bargaining agreement or into the act.
Mr. MacDonald: I’d like to redirect that to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, if it falls within his jurisdiction.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I’d certainly be happy to look into this, because I think the tone of this whole exchange in this House is regrettable considering we just stood for a minute’s silence in honour of Remembrance Day. My friend from Niagara Falls knows that no one is trying to downgrade the celebration of this very important holiday for the people of Ontario.
The matter he talks about, of course, is completely concerned with union contracts and agreements. He’s suggesting they somehow be upset, but I think it has to be made very clear that we want to celebrate Remembrance Day as it always has been, on November 11. In certain cases holidays are provided. It’s one of the few places the public service of Ontario and the banks do close and contracts do call for other days to be given, usually the Monday following. There’s nothing wrong with that and it doesn’t in any way downgrade the celebration of Remembrance Day.
In answer to the second question I think it needs to be said that I’m sure the T. Eaton Company had criticism about their parade, as I recall, last year, because it was very close to November 11 and they endeavoured this year, as I understand it, to schedule their parade earlier than ever in their history in order not to conflict with Remembrance Day. I’m sure they would regret, just as all of us would, if it did interfere with church parades, which I’m sure it probably did. I attended the service in Scarborough which was on Sunday and most services were held on Sunday.
I’m sure we don’t need regulations in this particular situation. I’m sure the last thing the T. Eaton Company wants to do is to have the Santa Claus parade conflict with the celebration of Remembrance Day. I’d certainly be pleased to discuss it with them and the city to see if something can be done to work out equitable arrangements.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, on a matter of privilege, the remarks made about November 11 were pretty general. I would like once again to draw to the attention of the House that where the government does have absolute and direct control -- and that involves the liquor stores and the beer stores -- November 11 is the due date. They’re closed. It is the equivalent of July 1. We’re not moving the date, and that’s it.
Mr. Kennedy: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker, I want to make it quite clear that Remembrance Day is not being shifted from Saturday. It is being celebrated tomorrow, and services are taking place, by many legions, associations and clubs.
Mr. Speaker: That’s generally understood. That’s not a point of privilege.
Mr. Kennedy: With respect, it was not understood. Remembrance Day services tomorrow are in no way related to Monday being a holiday.
PAYMENTS TO MUNICIPALITIES
Mr. Cooke: A question to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs: Since he’s had his meeting with Mayor Weeks from Windsor -- on Tuesday I believe -- and there have been several meetings over the last number of years on the problems of resource equalization grants, can the minister give any kind of commitment to the people of Windsor and other cities that are suffering from this unequal system that there will be adjustments made when he makes his announcement later on this month concerning grants to municipalities for 1979, or are we going to have to continue to pay a higher rate of property tax in Windsor than we should be paying?
Mr. Bradley: You got $62 million with Ford.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I’d be happy to tell my friend, just as I told the mayor and the people from the school board who were down to see me and the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) and several other people, that we appreciate the problem, we know it --
Mr. Cooke: We don’t want appreciation. We want money.
Hon. Mr. Wells: -- and hopefully, when the announcements are made about next year’s transfer payments to municipalities, there will be something there that will be of greater benefit to all those people who are so affected.
Mr. MacDonald: That will cover York too, eh?
Hon. Mr. Wells: It’s a problem we know is there and we’re working on solutions. Whether they are the solutions or not, members will have to judge when we bring in our transfer payments for next year.
Mr. Bradley: When the minister takes into consideration the allocation that might have been made to those affected municipalities in this year, would he also take into consideration, when he is determining just how much money they might get in terms of compensation, the fact that those municipalities have been adversely affected by the present formula for a number of years?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I think it certainly helps them to make their case in a more forceful way by indicating what they might or might not have had in past years, but it’s awfully difficult to deal retroactively with those problems.
Mr. Swart: Can the minister tell us whether there has been a survey made across the whole province? The minister has identified all the municipalities that have lost money because of the inequality in the assessments. If he develops a policy, will it apply to all these municipalities?
Hon. Mr. Wells: As I said, my friend will have to wait until we make our announcement. We’re looking at the problem generally, not just as it pertains to one or two municipalities. I think it’s quite obvious we must have some statistics and information on where the problem exists. I think it probably is much more prominently known by all people because it was emphasized so many times by my predecessor, the provincial Treasurer and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. He indicated the disparities for certain areas.
Mr. Swart: He only got some, I understand. The survey was done across the whole province.
Mr. B. Newman: Would the minister consider transitional grants to the community as a result of the fact they’ve been adversely affected now since 1975 and have been attempting since that time to have the grant formula adjusted and corrected?
Mr. Bounsall: What do you have against Windsor, Tom?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I’ve got nothing against Windsor. I was always very happy to assist the area -- we were happy to assist them with a new school down there.
An hon. member: And a Ford plant.
Hon. Mr. Wells: And a Ford plant, as my friend reminds me. I suppose the member is aware of the added money that is going to be pumped into the area to help with the servicing of the Ford plant, as well as --
Mr. Cooke: You paid dearly for that too.
Hon. Mr. Wells: -- the contribution that went to the initial initiative to get the plant there.
Mr. Swart: We are still only getting half of what we’re entitled to.
Hon. Mr. Wells: When we announce the grants for next year members will have to then judge whether what we propose -- if we do have a solution -- is adequate or not.
Mr. Ruston: I have a question of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. Has the minister had a request yet from the Ontario Credit Union League Limited or the caisses populaires as to the change in the Municipal Act allowing municipalities to deal with credit unions and caisses populaires?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I have discussed on several occasions with the members of the credit union league, including the president, the matter of allowing municipalities to invest their short-term money with credit unions, as they now have the right to do with banking and trust institutions and other groups.
I think I announced at the PMLC meeting a couple of weeks ago that we were looking favourably upon an amendment to the Municipal Act to allow this to happen. I told the credit union this would likely happen. I would hope when the package of amendments to the Municipal Act comes in in a couple of weeks that will be one of them.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question of the Minister of Northern Affairs, having just come back from the nomination in Sault Ste. Marie. Can the minister tell what specific --
Mr. Breithaupt: Oh, we thought you were howling.
Mr. T. P. Reid: We thought you were in the washroom.
Mr. MacDonald: You fellows aren’t even awake this morning.
Mr. Cassidy: We had a good meeting as well. We had a good meeting and we have an excellent candidate.
I’d like the minister to say what specific plans the government has for developing secondary industry in the Sault Ste. Marie area, particularly in the area of industry which would make products based on steel?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I’m particularly pleased that the member has asked that question because, as he knows, the late member for that particular area was very instrumental in working with my ministry in developing an industrial park in the Sault Ste. Marie area.
Mr. Swart: A park isn’t industry.
Mr. MacDonald: Just a place to go.
Mr. McClellan: Tell us what is going in there.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: In fact, I can advise the leader of the third party that we’re already looking into ways and means by which we can expand that particular industrial park because it’s been very successful in Sault Ste. Marie.
In addition to that, we have assisted the city of Sault Ste. Marie in a major industrial strategy study of that particular area. That is going on at this time. We hope that when that study is complete we will have something in our hands maybe to take that next step, which we hope will be the development of further secondary industry in the Sault Ste. Marie area.
Mr. Swart: A study on vacant land.
Mr. McClellan: We can read the study on the vacant land.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: In view of the fact that it’s now 20 years since the northeastern development survey took place and that there has been a series of plans, programs and surveys for the area over the succeeding period of 20 years, and in view of the length of time that this party has been in power in the province, can the minister explain why there are only 230 jobs in the Sault Ste. Marie area in industries that make products based on that basic resource of steel, whereas in Hamilton there are 20,000 jobs in industries that rely on steel?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: That’s the whole thrust of our effort to broaden that base.
Mr. Makarchuk: To provide more in Hamilton and less in the Sault?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: That’s the reason we’re involved in that study at this point in time because the raw resource is there and the primary manufacturing plant is there. We want to see more secondary manufacturing there and we’re taking that next step.
Mr. Swart: About 10 jobs a year.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I’m confident we will see some results. There’s no question about that in my mind.
Mr. McClellan: That’s 10 jobs a year. Congratulations.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I might say further to this that we’ve moved in with the private sector and with the Ministry of Industry and Tourism to look at what we think will be a major recreational complex in the Sault Ste. Marie area known as King Mountain.
Mr. Foulds: King Mountain?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, King Mountain. That will be developed by the private sector. We’re assisting the private sector in doing feasibility studies.
Mr. MacDonald: Is that the same as the mountain over in Switzerland? You are building artificial mountains all over the north.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Supplementary: The minister mentioned the recreational complex and obviously tourism and recreation is one of the most immediate areas for investment and employment in northern Ontario, but would he not agree with me that his continued policy of allowing non-resident visitors to Ontario to camp and use our recreation facilities of fish and game at no expense, other than the purchase of a fishing or hunting licence, militates against people investing in the tourist and recreation facilities, when people can camp next door to them on crown land and, therefore, not have to use those facilities and pay the price for them?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: As the member knows, this government tried to come to grips with that particular problem four or five years ago. In fact, my specific area and I believe yours, Mr. Speaker, were areas that we designated for special crown land camping control. That was a three-year experiment, and during that time, we did some very extensive surveys with the people who were being forced into those designated areas. The results of those surveys and studies are being done now.
But I have to say to the member with some concern that there wasn’t the support by the locals in that particular area, by our own people in northern Ontario for that continued program. They became very upset in that they had to go to a designated area along with the visitors from parts of the United States and other parts of Canada. Consequently, the pressure came on very strong to remove that particular program. I didn’t sense any support from the local members from northern Ontario for that particular program.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I was the author of that draft. You had my support then and now.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: It’s hanging in limbo. If the member has some suggestions as to how we can come to grips with that problem, I’d like to hear them from him, because it’s a very thorny problem.
Mr. Speaker: One final supplementary.
Mr. Cassidy: I want to focus back on the question about secondary industry, because that’s the key to a viable northern economy. Is the minister aware that if Sault Ste. Marie had the same proportion of steel-related secondary manufacturing as does Hamilton, there would be 7,500 jobs in secondary manufacturing in the steel-related sector up in the Sault? Does the minister not agree that, when only 230 jobs are in steel-related secondary manufacturing, the government has failed completely in any efforts it may have made to get that kind of secondary manufacturing into the north?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, I cannot accept that at all. I am sure, if the honourable member were really honest with himself and if he looked back at the last four or five years --
Mr. Foulds: How many have you subsidized in the last four or five years?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- the results of our efforts would be clear. The results are very positive in the Sault Ste. Marie area. With the completion of the industrial park, as I pointed out to him earlier, there has been a tremendous move and a tremendous success story at Sault Ste. Marie with regard to the development of that industrial park. It is being expanded. We are fully aware of the problems. We know what the problems are. We are working on those particular problems.
Mr. Cassidy: You’ve been aware of them for 35 years.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, and we are having some success, and we will continue to have those successes in the Sault Ste. Marie area and in other parts of northern Ontario too.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. The question is in regard to supermarket loss-leaders, which cause big losses to farmers and eventually to consumers, according to farm leaders. Since the process of cutting prices by offering loss-leaders has reduced the income of several potato growers to the point where some say they are going out of business, would the minister consider bringing in regulations to make this practice illegal?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I am not altogether sure that I have jurisdiction on that. It may very well be, since the end result of what the honourable member wants is more equitable treatment for the producer, that question should be directed at the Minister of Agriculture and Food.
Mr. Mancini: He doesn’t do anything about it.
REXDALE HOME PROJECT
Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: Is the minister aware that the owners of the homes built under Home Ownership Made Easy program in the Finch and Martingrove area are still waiting for officials of the Housing and Urban Development Association of Canada home warranty program to honour their warranty, and the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation has decided not to give final approval to the homes because the quality of the exterior of these homes is such that CMHC cannot give the approval?
Does the minister not feel that consumers who buy homes should not have to wait 18 months to get some kind of satisfaction out of the home warranty program?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Yes, Mr. Speaker, the minister agrees with the last statement. If the member will forward the information to me in the next few minutes I will guarantee him that the matter will be settled forthwith.
Mr. Philip: Thank you. Supplementary: As a result of the continuous stream of complaints about the home warranty program, has the minister done any studies of the length of time that the home warranty officials take to act on a complaint after it has been received by them?
Hon. Mr. Drea: The honourable member was winning on the first question; he should not have asked the second one. Yes, I have. I have done it in my own riding. I find that the service that is offered to people in my own riding who have had cheques handed out to them is very fast and expeditious. They have written thank-you letters. As far as I am concerned, that’s my survey. I always want prompt delivery of service.
Mr. Cooke: What about the rest of the province?
Hon. Mr. Drea: If my friends had members in the rest of Ontario as good as we have here, perhaps the question wouldn’t have been asked.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, a question for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs: In the light of the order of family court Judge Warren Durham that the regional municipality of Niagara pay $5,780 for the tuition of a 13-year-old boy convicted of theft, in order that the child may attend a special school for children with learning problems, is the minister prepared to compensate municipalities which are so affected by those court orders in the light of the fact that it should be the responsibility of the province to provide the vast amount of the funding for children with learning disabilities?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, this question really could be directed to three ministries -- Community and Social Services, Education, and Intergovernmental Affairs -- in so far as there may be some overall municipal involvement. My colleagues in the other ministries are looking into this particular court judgement and this situation. I think the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton) will probably have something to say about this the first of the week.
Mr. Bradley: Has it been determined in consultation with the Attorney General whether or not the particular judge had the authority under the Juvenile Delinquents Act to actually make this court order?
Mr. Lewis: He should have if he doesn’t.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I’m sorry, I can’t say whether it has been looked into. I will be happy to pass that on to the Attorney General and perhaps he can answer it.
Mr. McClellan: May I ask the Minister of Revenue when the government intends to raise the GAINS pension and tax credit as it affects single pensioners above the Statistics Canada poverty line?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: Could I ask the member if he is referring to the $10 and $20 fees?
Mr. McClellan: No, I am talking about the GAINS minimum income level. When are they going to raise it above the poverty line?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: The Minister of Revenue deals only with the senior citizens as far as GAINS are concerned.
Mr. McClellan: That’s what I am talking about. Doesn’t the minister know his own programs?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: Let me tell the member that the senior citizens of the province of Ontario are now receiving more money than they are in any other province, and as far as I am concerned our program is far ahead of any of the others.
Mr. McClellan: That wasn’t the question. When are they going to pay them more than the Statistics Canada poverty level?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: I have many senior citizens in my riding whom I speak to quite regularly and who are quite satisfied with how they are being treated under the GAINS program in this province.
Mr. Lupusella: They are starving. You are completely wrong.
Mr. McClellan: Supplementary: Is the minister saying that he is refusing to raise the GAINS allowance above the Statistics Canada poverty line of $4,800 a year?
Mr. S. Smith: Is it lower than that in Saskatchewan?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: I am simply saying that we will continue to monitor the situation, and when the situation warrants a raise it will be brought in.
Mr. Cooke: It doesn’t warrant one now?
LAKEHEAD PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL
Mr. Foulds: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: The Minister of Health alleged that in my presentation on Tuesday before the social development committee I had not mentioned any of the positive recommendations in favour of the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital and the staff. I would simply like to read from the record:
“First, let me say that I believe that the staff, the administration, professional and nonprofessional and medical staff at the Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital are working manfully against overwhelming odds. The report itself indicates that in its first three recommendations.”
I then go on to read the first three recommendations, which say: “The administrator and the medical directors are commended for the excellent leadership they have shown. The staff of this hospital were notably enthusiastic at all levels and have pursued the accreditation with great vigour and determination in the face of difficult staffing and budgetary problems.”
Mr. Speaker, I was not attempting, as the minister was trying to do, to discredit the hospital staff there. I am trying to discredit this minister for his lack of policy.
Mr. McClellan: And he succeeded.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to the point of privilege.
Mr. Warner: Why don’t you respond by resigning? It may be the best thing you can do.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: You know, this one-track mind that you have that runs through a gutter really is going to lead you to where gutters always end. That is exactly where it is going to lead you, my friend.
Mr. Warner: What, in the cabinet?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: My concern, Mr. Speaker, was the report I had from my staff -- and if that report is wrong I certainly would not want to mislead the member.
Mr. Foulds: You better check it and you had better read your own Hansard.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The report I had from my staff was that there are 11 areas of the operation of that hospital which were commended in the accreditation report, and that they had not, in fact, been mentioned.
Mr. Lewis: Your staff was wrong.
Mr. Foulds: Your staff is as bad as Harry Parrott’s.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I think the fact this particular hospital has enjoyed such an enviable record over the years, the fact it still maintains its accreditation, the fact we have responded to every single one of the recommendations of the accreditation team, and gone even further, speaks for itself.
Mr. Lewis: That may be, but you maligned the member wrongly.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: If the report made to me was in error then I apologize to the member, but that was in fact the report, and I would expect the member, while I am sure he is anxious to get whatever press he can back home, would want to have both sides on the record.
Mr. Warner: Be a little more careful next time.
Mr. Foulds: No, I just want to improve the staffing there.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I would just repeat what I said earlier, Mr. Speaker, if the member had called me beforehand he would have known that every single recommendation has been or is being acted upon.
Mr. Foulds: You have not hired the staff that they recommend.
Mr. Dukszta: On a point of privilege: The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations has stated that he has implemented 64 of 68 recommendations of the legislative committee. I would like to point out, since I was a member of that committee and remember it well, that there have been only 38 recommendations; I am happy to hear that he is implementing 64 of them.
Hon. Ms. Drea: Mr. Speaker, it wasn’t 68 recommendations, it was 67. My legal staff looked at it yesterday and drew me up a score card. Look, it’s Friday, if you want to go fight, the lawyers are over at 555 Yonge Street. Argue about it.
Mr. Dukszta: But I have the report in my hand. It says 68, but it is 38, precisely.
Mr. Warner: The minister can’t even count.
TRIBUTES TO MEMBER FOR SCARBOROUGH WEST
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, although this hasn’t been officially reported to the House as far as I know, a number of members have received notification from the member for Scarborough West that this may well be his last day in the chamber as the member representing that constituency.
Mr. Lewis: Don’t believe what you read.
Mr. S. Smith: If that is the case, then I don’t think this day should pass without some recognition, for the record, of the fact that many of us feel the contribution made by the member for Scarborough West over his years in this assembly has been among the greatest made by any member ever to grace this assembly. In my view, he has conducted himself in his career with a measure of dedication, sincerity, ability and brilliance that has seldom been equalled in the history of this assembly.
I want to record that if this is his last day in the assembly, on behalf of my caucus, on behalf of many who served in this assembly before I arrived here and on behalf of the citizens of Ontario who will benefit from the dedicated work, the outstanding work done by the member for Scarborough West, I want to say thank you and to wish him well as he leaves this assembly.
Mr. Lewis: Mr. Speaker, I have just changed my mind. My very dear friend and colleague, the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) said to me the day before yesterday, “Lewis, your retirement is a study in perpetual motion.” Alas, I fear that is true, and if indeed this is my last day in this House, as I believe it is, I would like to thank immensely, all my colleagues and friends with whom I have shared so many useful and important years in the legislative work in Ontario and say what I have profoundly believed all my adult life, that politics is an ennobling profession, an honourable profession, and an unjustly abused profession.
Those who labour in the vineyards of this chamber, if I am allowed an absurd metaphor as a finale to my presence here, sir, those who labour here do honour to the pursuit of social change. However profound our differences may be on all sides of this House, and God knows they are profound, ultimately, the lives of human beings in the province of Ontario are made better and that is worth spending one’s life pursuing. Thank you all.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I will address my comments to Stephen Lewis since our secret is out and it’s now known there will be some statements later today.
From time to time all of us as politicians feel difficulties when we hear of people in our profession, hopefully in other jurisdictions, whose actions bring our profession into difficulties or shed dishonour on it. At other times there are politicians who ennoble the profession of politics, who add lustre to it, and who make it worthwhile for those of us who continue to practise it. I think we will all agree Stephen Lewis has been one of those people who throughout his career, throughout the 15 years he has been active as a member of this Legislature, in fact throughout the years prior to that when he practised politics, which I believe began somewhere close to the moment of his conception, has added lustre to politics in this province and in this country.
Personally, on behalf of my party, on behalf of all members of the Legislature and the people in the province, I want to say to Stephen Lewis this Legislature and politics in Ontario will not be the same as you leave, but you have made an immeasurable contribution to this House and to this province. Thank you very much.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, this has turned out to be an eventful and unusual Friday. I first want to assure my friend, the member for Scarborough West, that those of my colleagues who are out on the business of the province today are not there because they knew this event was going to happen.
Mr. Lewis: Nor did I.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Of course they would share the words I’m going to say. I guess because of the business my colleagues are on it falls upon me as acting House leader today to say a few words. I feel very fortunate that has happened because I am one of the ones who shared the back row over on that side with the member for Scarborough West, albeit there was a slight dividing line between the two parties.
Mr. Foulds: An immeasurable gulf.
Mr. Kennedy: He was to your left
Hon. Mr. Wells: Of course, that was in the days when we went right around practically to where his present seat is.
Mr. T. P. Reid: The good old days.
Mr. Nixon: Never again.
Mr. Lewis: If you are going to start provoking --
Mr. Cassidy: He is one of the reasons why you’re not over here now.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Actually, my seat back there was separated from Stephen’s by one Alan Eagleson. I’m sure he would agree with me the House has never been the same since Alan Eagleson left.
Mr. MacDonald: That’s a gulf all right.
Mr. Foulds: The speaking has improved.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I also want to tell my friend from Scarborough West -- I don’t think I’ve ever told him this, but it’s a story many of my friends in Scarborough know -- we both ran for the first time in the 1963 election, September 25, when the new ridings were redistributed in Scarborough, and for a long time I played with the idea of running in Scarborough West myself. I had represented part of that area on the school board, and there was Scarborough North and Scarborough West. I finally decided on Scarborough North, but I guess if the coin had flipped the other way he and I would have run against each other. I wouldn’t want to speculate on what the outcome would have been, but one or the other of us wouldn’t be here.
Mr. Lewis: I wouldn’t be here.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Well, no --
Mr. Kerrio: Maybe both of you wouldn’t be here.
Mr. S. Smith: The Liberal would have come through the middle.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I have to say I’m glad the decisions that were made at that time were made. I think the contribution the member for Scarborough West and former leader of the New Democratic Party has made to this Legislature, to his party and to this province is significant. He, of course, has been one of the best orators this House has seen. I would rank him even above the fabled Elmer Sopha whom we all used to hear with great gusto not so many years ago.
The member for Scarborough West, in his very articulate and very forceful oratory, was able to puncture our consciences from time to time and to prod them and to lay before the people of this province many important issues. I think he had an impact on this House and all those who listened to him.
I think the interesting thing is that the issues that really came to the fore, and for which he will really be remembered -- and he may regret my saying this or not want me to say this -- are not going to be the socialist issues. His socialist dogma or attachments may or may not be in certain areas, but it is the social issues, the humanitarian issues, the concern for children who needed help, the workers who needed protection, an environment that he wanted to ensure would be there for all our children and their children.
Those are the kinds of issues for which he will be remembered -- issues all parties share to varying degrees. They are the great social issues, the great humanitarian issues and the ones which he put very eloquently and very forcefully before this Legislature and before this province.
In that area particularly, his voice is going to be missed in this chamber. But we all know we are going to hear it and read it in other places, so he will still be there prodding us and talking to us.
On behalf of the government and all my colleagues, I would like to thank the former leader of the New Democratic Party, the member for the riding of Scarborough West for 15 years, for the contributions he has made.
We all wish him every success in whatever new career he announces next week that he is embarking on.
Mr. Dukszta: I would like to give notice, Mr. Speaker, that I am dissatisfied with the answer the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett) gave yesterday to my recent question.
I would like to debate this whenever the next time is.
Mr. Speaker: I want to remind the honourable member that there are no provisions for giving notice of dissatisfaction of a written inquiry of the ministry.
Let me refer the honourable member --
Mr. Speaker: I am on my feet.
Let me refer the honourable member to page 18 of standing orders, subsection (g), which says in part:
“Mr. Speaker’s rulings relating to oral questions are not debatable or subject to appeal. However, a member who is not satisfied with the response to an oral question ... ” and there are certain things that can be done.
There are no provisions for giving notice of dissatisfaction with a response to a written question or an inquiry of the ministry. All the honourable member can do is ask another question at the first opportunity.
Mr. Dukszta: I wonder if I could ask for --
Mr. Speaker: Are you challenging the ruling?
Mr. Dukszta: No.
Mr. Speaker: It is not debatable.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of supply.
ESTIMATES, MINISTEY OF INTERGOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS (CONTINUED)
On vote 1102B, intergovernmental affairs program:
Mr. Conway: I would like to continue with the series of remarks I began late on Monday evening. I do so with a certain appreciation for the minister’s response at the end of the debate on Monday evening, which indicated that a fairly sharp and somewhat predictable difference of opinion exists between us.
I want to take some time to develop this series of comments. I ask the indulgence on this Friday morning of honourable members who may wish to contribute to this debate, because as it was initiated on Monday evening, particularly by people like my colleague the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) and others who directed the debate towards the constitutional question, I think it is one to which we do appropriately turn our attention. Since we have before us the new Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells), in a sense a new ministry separate from the old TEIGA amalgam, I want as one private member to summarize what I began saying the other day and add to it in some respects.
I want to do something this morning that I didn’t do on Monday evening, that is to reoffer to the member for Scarborough North, who has been assigned very onerous and detailed duties as Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, my personal congratulations and best wishes. There’s just a certain platitudinous quality in that as we politicians from time to time write these congratulatory letters and offer these congratulatory phrases.
In this province in this time, there have been politicians who have been quick to make a name for themselves on the side of easy politics. Very often we have seen in questions of a constitutional kind some extreme positions taken that really disturb all of us. When the Premier (Mr. Davis) appointed the member for Scarborough North to the position that he now holds, he appointed one man from his caucus who perhaps more than any other has demonstrated genuine courage and renewed initiative at times, in places and in ways that I know were extremely difficult. I just want to say that.
I think he is someone whose record will long stand as a Minister of Education who had a broad sense of what this country is all about. I always thought that he and his former colleague from Chatham-Kent (Mr. McKeough) were two Progressive Conservatives who understood the more national dimension of this country. I wish him well in the new duties that he has assumed.
The point at which we left off on Monday night, and the point on which I think the minister and I do have some substantial disagreement, was the point that I was making at that time, that from my point of view the Canada of Confederation, if not dead is certainly dying. If I have to come down on one side of that equation, from my point of view the Canada of the Confederation period, the Canada of that constitutional framework, is dead, and probably has been for some years now in my mind and in my humble opinion.
I do honesty believe, quite apart from the sloganeering of some federal politicians, with whom I am in name at least associated, it is a time for renewal, a time for a new beginning in more ways than I think we are at this point in time perhaps prepared to acknowledge.
There is then an element of pessimism about what I have to say. I must confess, as a 27-year-old member of this Legislature and as a relatively young Canadian who looks hopefully down the road for the next 50 years, if I’m so lucky, that I see some very troubled times ahead for this country and to that degree for this province in the whole area of the constitution and the national jurisdiction. But I am not particularly disturbed by the sense that this fifth constitutional arrangement that we know as Confederation has indeed failed or indeed exhausted its usefulness.
There are many I am sure, apart from this minister, who would disagree with me when I say that, but I draw it to their attention. It’s a very simple and obvious fact that Confederation and the Canada created by it, as I was trying to point out in my own way on Monday evening, is not something in my view that is sacrosanct. I don’t think there are many here who subscribe to that, but I suspect there are many Canadians who do. A great number of people from what I can determine have this peculiar notion that before 1867 there was an abyss, and that almost like genesis, July 1, 1867, created a great, new, prosperous and benevolent political jurisdiction known as Canada and that we were off in a happy progressive march.
Those who know anything about the history of the mid-19th century in this country will know that is simply not the case. I don’t wish to bore people with a pedantic lecture on the history of this country as I see it, but I do want to point out that Confederation was the fifth effort of British North Americans to organize themselves and their political affairs in this part of the world. It was created, I firmly believe, more out of deadlock than any great desire for wedlock.
To the degree it was a response to the serious, almost abject, failure in the pre-1864 period, the so-called union period, I think we can take some degree of solace from our ability then to recognize the reality of the failure as it existed and responding as we did then to create a new order. I think today we can look at our failure in perhaps a more creative sense. It’s that creative aspect I hope we can dwell upon.
From where I stand as an Ontario politician, I am somewhat more concerned about what the failure of this Confederation, as I understand it, means in a particular regional sense for this province. Unlike the previous four constitutional arrangements, Confederation was, from where I see it at least, almost entirely Ontario’s doing. To that degree we have a vested interest perhaps greater than others in this particular arrangement.
I want to make two comments about how I see that arrangement that has governed us for the last 111 years as being a response to two very significant and well-known Upper Canadian initiatives. The first was a positive one. It was that economic imperative that clearly had developed in this part of the world, in this jurisdiction we now know as Ontario, to move westward, to expand, to develop a national economy.
The basis for that was largely going to be the appropriation of those enormous and rich lands west of the lakehead.
We did that, and it’s one of the great and positive achievements for us, at least in this province, in this Confederation process.
But secondly there was a cultural or a socio-political imperative very central to Ontario’s view of Confederation that was, as I see it, very negative. I just remind members, those who may have forgotten the fact, that before Confederation there was something known as the united province of Canada. Ontario and Quebec as we now know them were one, constitutionally at least. What had happened in the 1850s and early 1860s was the growth and development of not only an economic nationalism that led to this desire for westward expansion, but a political nationalism of a sort in this province that was represented by one slogan -- and I think of some very prominent politicians of the day -- the slogan “rep by pop.”
I suggest to those who in this context today are rather alarmed by the separatist language of a neighbouring jurisdiction that “rep by pop” came from this province, and as I see it was a very significant dynamic in the creation of this new Canada that we have experienced in the past 111 years. It was the sovereignty association call of another jurisdiction in another day.
The “rep by pop” slogan spoke to a situation most leading Ontario politicians were beginning to believe was intolerable -- and I use the word “intolerable” knowing it appeared in at least one prominent newspaper hundreds if not thousands of times during the course of that debate. That was the French domination that was crippling this united province. I want to make that point and simply summarize it by saying, as I see the history of my province and my country at that time, we Ontarians were the separatists culturally. We wanted an end to that union, the creation of a new country, or a new constitution at least, that would alleviate the onerous burden of that fourth union constitution.
So in 1867 a new being, the Dominion of Canada, was created, and yet another new beginning was attempted. I want to take the argument a few steps farther in one area; I would point out to the minister where I feel the most interesting, and for those of us in this chamber no doubt the most ironical and fatal, threat to that creation of the mid-1860s originated. The first Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald, was a man who interestingly, was not too closely associated, even within his party, with this whole movement. There were others, principally Alexander Galt, who had a far greater vision of what was being attempted. Macdonald, to his credit perhaps, was brought along rather reluctantly.
He became, as he should have been, the first Prime Minister of Canada and he had in that first generation of government a very strong idea of what he wanted and how he saw the Canada of Confederation’s making. The centrepiece of that was a strong central government in which the provinces would be, hopefully within a short period of time, nothing but municipal corporations, left to deal with lands and forests but really not much more.
In a way I find it a supremely ironic thing that not too far from us, indeed as you come up University Avenue, the one personality you see against the backdrop of Queen’s Park is John Alexander Macdonald. That in a way is the contrast and the contradiction. The fact that we are here today in such resplendent authority -- and I speak particularly of the ministerial bench --
Mr. Nixon: In large numbers.
Mr. Conway: -- is really the kind of contradiction, the kind of failure, I speak of. We have developed a series of provincial jurisdictions, that are supreme in some respects and powerful in almost all, in a way that the fathers never imagined. I suspect they would be frightened at what they’d see today.
To be fair about it, those among us who allege themselves to be Liberals are largely responsible for that. In a sense the national Liberal Party was created out of a series of provincial rights movements that were set up to contradict and to sharply challenge the Macdonald view of Canada. It was successful because of people like Oliver Mowat, and indeed because of people like Watson and Haldane in the judicial committee of the privy council. They undermined, I would suggest, much of the fundamental aspect of the Canada created by the fathers of Confederation.
I won’t belabour the point, but I suggest that anyone interested look at the first premiers’ conference that was ever held in this country. It was in Quebec, in 1887 and it was really a cabal of Liberal provincial rights premiers. They were determined -- with the help of, among others, Watson and Haldane -- to put an end to this very strong centrist government that had lodged itself in Ottawa.
Indeed, out of that kind of constitutional conference came the growth and development of the Compact theory in which this province had a very central role. There are many academic treatises which the deputy minister could recommend to the minister.
One thing I would recommend, and I would just briefly read into the record. It’s not that it wasn’t predicted, but I think one of the most ignored and one of the most important speeches ever given was in the Quebec Confederation debate, on February 28, 1865, by a Lower Canadian politician of some note named Christopher Dunkin. I want to just read what he said. He took a strong objection to what the fathers of Confederation were about in this particular way. I do this with the indulgence of the minister just to embellish my point, because to the greatest extent possible I don’t want it to be misunderstood by him or others.
The central argument Mr. Dunkin made in opposing the Canada that the Confederation people were putting together -- and he’s speaking here about these nascent provincial jurisdictions that were being set up -- was as follows: “The provincial governments will in a quiet way want money and the provincial legislators and people will want it yet more. Grants for roads and bridges, for schools, for charities, for salaries, for contingencies of the legislative body; for all manner of ends they will be wanting money, and where is it to come from?
“The easiest way for it” -- the provincial jurisdiction -- “to get that money will be from the general government. I am not sure either but that most members of the provincial legislatures will like it that way the best” -- and “Hear, hear,” is recorded. “It will not be at all unpopular the getting of money so; quite the contrary. Gentlemen will go to their constituents with an easy conscience, telling them: ‘True, we have not much to do in the provincial legislature and you need not ask fairly closely what else we did. But I tell you what, we got the federal government to increase the subvention to our province by five cents a head, and see what this gives you -- $500 for that road, $1,000 to that charity, so much here and so much there. That we have done, and we have done well.’
“I am afraid,” said Mr. Dunkin in concluding, “in many constituencies the answer would be, ‘Yes, you have done well; go and do it again.’ I am afraid the provincial constituencies, legislatures and executives will all show a most calf-like appetite for the milking of this one most magnificent government cow.”
In a sense, I thought of Christopher Dunkin last week when, on my way to a little holiday, I heard some of this debate in Ottawa as I was at the time in the eastern townships -- in Brome almost. I thought he couldn’t have hit a most prophetic chord 113 or 114 years ago when that was offered.
I will use an example that perhaps betrays certain of my parochial instincts. If the people who put this arrangement together arrived here today and were confronted with the Alberta Heritage saving trust fund they would be absolutely aghast. They would be flattened, they would be floored, they would be left in bubbling frustration that this could happen in the sort of constitutional framework they had established.
That’s basically the point I’m trying to make when I suggest to the minister, perhaps in a more academic than a political sense, that the Canada of Confederation has failed, at least as those people, those principals who put it all together, wanted it to succeed. Enough said of that.
What of the status quo? There are one or two things I feel the need to comment upon in this respect. Again, they’re somewhat negative but they concern me very much. The first I will describe is what I call the failure of our national politics. There’s a lot said -- some of it even from over there at times -- about that “wretched federal government in Ottawa, that Trudeau lot.” People say, “I’ll tell you, if you want to know what’s wrong with the country, that’s it.” I understand that. I understand there’s a certain partisan quality that can justify that.
Mr. Nixon: It’s called a crass partisan quality.
Mr. Conway: We sometimes say over here --
Mr. Nixon: Even if we could get that from the public.
Mr. Kerrio: And a guilt complex.
Mr. Conway: As I look at it from the point of view of someone in 1978, I think those people who strike out at this federal government -- this federal, Trudeau, Liberal administration -- have a right to strike out at it; and indeed to some considerable degree at the Prime Minister, because I think that, at least in this last critical period, he has failed us in a very significant way. The failure is that he has been unable to project to the country an administration that in its political aspect is perceived to be truly national. I can’t stress that enough.
As I travelled, however, through English Canada, and particularly in Ontario, if I understand what people out there are telling me as to why they really do not like what’s going on in Ottawa, and I don’t attribute to it anything but the most sincere motives because I think they are, in a sense, right, but I honestly hear them telling me that their federal government is Quebec-dominated, or so it seems. It’s almost like George Brown 115 years ago crying out against the French domination of national government.
I’m not a federal politician and I’m not in Ottawa, but that’s what English Canadians, rightly or wrongly in this last critical period, as I understand what they’re telling me, are telling me. To some considerable degree this Prime Minister has failed to draw from English Canada leading political personalities who can speak to the reality of their regions and their provinces. It’s not that that’s been done before, because we’ve had federal administrations which have failed us in that respect.
Mr. MacDonald: He’s chased them out of the cabinet.
Mr. Conway: As said by my friend from York South, indeed he has chased some of them, but I look at this government and I tell you I see a pretty mediocre lot from English Canada, by and large, in the sense that there really doesn’t appear to be a Charles Dunning, a Norman Rogers, a James Ilsley, a Layton Ralston, a Tom Crerar. Those kinds of people don’t seem to be there and to that degree this government is, I think, suspect. This Prime Minister will go down with that against him, with a lot to be said for him none the less, but I must say that.
Of the principal federal opposition, I am equally concerned, because they have, as a national Conservative Party, been bedevilled for the past 60 years with trying to act like a national party when in their heart of hearts they, like many of us -- I think in a non-partisan sense of the political platform -- know they have not been so.
If I could do anything today, or certainly if I could have done anything for Mr. Stanfield, it would have been to somehow give him, and almost guarantee him, a minimum of 10 seats in the province of Quebec. What we have developed in this past period of years alarms me tremendously, because it is not in this country’s national interest that we should have an opposition party of such historic roots as the Conservative Party with absolutely a minimal representation from a very significant part of this country.
Mr. Renwick: And the same of the NDP.
Mr. Conway: And the same of the NDP, absolutely.
Mr. Nixon: We won’t grant the NDP very much.
Mr. MacDonald: That is your problem.
Mr. Nixon: We want about six seats in Alberta as an exchange.
Mr. Conway: I must say, Mr. Speaker, I am concerned, I am genuinely alarmed, by what I see to be failures in our national political system, our national party system. It reminds me again, almost of what I remember, or at least of what I was told and what I read as having happened in the union period. We had so-called national parties that were, by and large, just very vast majoritarian parties in one of the two principal jurisdictions. That can lead us in only one direction --
Mr. Nixon: Thank God Billy King stayed out of that government.
Mr. Conway: -- a hopeless deadlock. I just want to make that point, and I want to make it in the context of something I see happening in terms of the national political process, and that’s this new redistribution bill that is going to be the basis of the next federal context. I find it interesting that we are going to have a federal Parliament in which the area west of Kenora -- my figures are not specific, but I think I am generally correct when I say this -- the area west of Kenora is going to have at least as great a number of federal members as has Quebec, or very nearly what Quebec has.
I must tell you, Mr. Chairman, that is a very significant change from what has occurred in the past 100 years. It has been developing, but it has been proceeding apace. That’s important for this reason: Up until even 1972, it was not possible, by and large, to form anything but the shakiest minority government at the national level without some kind of representation from Quebec. But, with what I see developing in this new redistribution bill, I submit that there is the possibility for a clear and almost easy majority government being formed strictly out of English Canada in a way that was never there nor intended to be there many years ago. I am alarmed and concerned by that.
That brings me, briefly, to Bill C-60. As should be obvious, I am not a lawyer. I am not in any way, shape or form, nor do I profess to be, a constitutional expert or near-expert. I defer entirely to my friend from Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, who understands these matters in all their complexity far better than I do.
Mr. Nixon: That’s very wise of you.
Mr. Conway: Except I must simply say that I was tremendously impressed last week when I heard a man for whom I have tremendous respect, in terms of these national constitutional and first minister’s conferences, speak to Bill C-60. I refer to the Premier of New Brunswick. I thought what Mr. Hatfield said about much of what Bill C-60 offers is, from my private point of view, absolutely and totally on the mark.
Things like this House of Federation sound to me like a watertight guarantee to perpetuate the kind of political deadlock that created the impulse for Confederation in the first place. I just hope that those of us who have a vested political interest in Ottawa, or in this place or other provincial capitals, are not lulled by the hope that things like Bill C-60, with this business of Senate reform, are the answers to our real problems. I see the answers to our real problems in a somewhat different light.
I want to conclude my remarks by touching upon the area of greatest concern to me. Again, as an English Canadian -- and I am nothing more than that; I’m not even an English Canadian in the sense that I’m Ottawa Valley Irish.
Mr. MacDonald: They are a breed apart, all right.
Mr. Conway: When it comes to the French-English question, I have a certain pleasant neutrality, because we Irish -- certainly those in the Ottawa Valley -- fought the English and the French with equal ferocity and, I suspect, equal success.
Mr. MacDonald: You even fought yourselves on occasion.
Mr. Conway: And we fought ourselves with an enthusiastic masochism.
Mr. Kerrio: That was just to temper the blade.
Mr. Conway: But, in growing up in the Ottawa Valley, there is a certain sense of the interface of French and English in this country that I hope is obvious.
I want to make my comments of a general kind in this respect. Some English Canadians across the land are most animated and seem to most enjoy their politics these days -- and I have done it -- when they are striking out at that traitorous nest called PQ that has ensconced itself in Quebec City. “How dare they stand before the people of Quebec and the people of Canada, suggesting that this benevolent country of ours should be dismembered?” Some indeed have suggested to me that there is a response to that kind of treason that should be invoked.
English Canadians, some of them, have really become enthused, as they should be, to this heresy -- this treason of a sort -- that is associated with the doctrine of Levesque’s separatism. Much of what English Canadians have said I couldn’t agree with more because this Levesque government, like a lot of governments and a lot of politicians, is deserving of the most serious kind of rebuke.
I find it interesting that they ran and were elected on, as we all know, not a commitment to separatism but rather to a provision of peace, order and good government. They almost make me think of how those wretched socialists got elected in Saskatchewan in 1944. Tommy Douglas didn’t talk, as we might like to think, of all the socialist doctrine -- and I know there are some in York South who know the story far better than I.
Mr. Swart: You don’t know it well if that is what you mean.
Mr. Conway: The record shows they were as interested as Mitch Hepburn and others were in other jurisdictions in talking about government efficiencies and cutting this and that -- really cheap, economical, efficient, honest government.
Mr. Swart: We’re always concerned about government efficiency.
Mr. Conway: The Quebec government got itself elected, this Levesque government -- and I am glad to know the socialists and the separatists are like us Liberals and Tories, human to that degree; but this government in Quebec is playing a game now of the most reprehensible kind with this referendum of theirs. They haven’t got the guts to stand up before the electorate. They haven’t got the intestinal or political fortitude to challenge their jurisdiction with the question. They will do, I expect, what Mackenzie King did in 1942 with his famous referendum. In the words of Frank Scott: “What did yes or no mean in that particular context?” I wait with interest to see what that very clever separatist outfit will come up with by way of language, because I suggest to those who don’t know the history of referenda in this country, look and you shall find some very interesting semantic endeavours.
So when English Canadians strike out at Levesque and his gang they do so in many cases with justified cause, and I hope they will encourage others to join the debate.
But there is one element of this English-Canadian lecture that concerns me greatly, and it is this: I don’t profess to understand French Canada as well as I would like, or indeed as well as others in this chamber might, but my understanding of it and of the French Canadians I have come to know -- separatist, non-separatist, whatever -- is that there is in the heart and mind of most French Canadians a keen appreciation of who they are, where they came from, where they are now, what it is they want to keep and how they want to go about doing that.
There is in French Canada, as I understand it, a sense of collective soul, of purpose, of nationalism, if you wish to call it that. Some of it is a bit enervating, because as the Prime Minister properly points out there is an aspect of nationalism that is potentially destructive and very negative.
But can those of us in English Canada say the same of our own soul? I think we are on very shaky ground there. It might just be the ultimate hypocrisy for those of us who do not have a sense of spirit, of soul, of purpose, or whatever -- collective or individual political self -- to lecture those who do. Whether or not we can accept it is quite another matter. It is this English-Canadian lack of sense and soul that concerns me most fundamentally, because we do have in this country today, I think, a frightening drawing apart of the historic two solitudes.
I well remember being elected here in 1975, and in the space of 12 months going down to Quebec and talking to some of my French-Canadian friends. I remember suddenly being told, in the spring of 1976 I think it was, that there was a crisis, an absolutely gut-wrenching French-Canadian crisis known as the “gens de l'air” matter -- this business of air traffic control in Quebec. In Quebec it was tearing much of the province apart with respect to the rest of the country.
I suspect there are 15 people in English Canada who know or care what the “gens de l’air” business was all about.
Mr. Nixon: They are all pilots of Air Canada.
Mr. Conway: I use that as a very recent example of how we see the world in which we live from the point of view of two very different peoples. That really does concern me very greatly.
In the search for English Canada’s self and soul in the 1960s and 1970s, I suppose we have to look at the symbols we have adopted, or attempted to adopt, to express ourselves both now and in the not-too-distant past.
I must say for those who may not remember it, that there was in our being at the time of Confederation, I think a widely-understood sense of collectivity in English Canada, some of which was shared by our French-Canadian friends. There was a two-point program to it in a sense. We were all part of the great and glorious British Empire, and we did understand, even those of us with Irish affiliation, the goodness and the positive dynamic of that British connection. That was part of our nationalism and our collective soul. It was understood by us all, and indeed by many who looked on from afar. As part of the British bias there was, God bless us all, an anti-Americanism that was at times virulent, at times violent, and at times perhaps questionable.
We were, in the beginning at least of Confederation, as an English-Canadian population very much committed to certain of these spiritual ideals. Can we say the same of us today in this part of the world, in this part of English Canada? I despair somewhat in that connection, because one of the things to which there has been a strong response, one of the symbols that we English Canadians have tried to adopt and appropriate unto ourselves, as we should, has been this pro-British element, this pro-British bias. It was there very much in the beginning. Where is the motto? I am sure somewhere it says, “Faithful and loyal in the beginning, so let us remain.” Loyal and faithful to the British connection, so let us remain. That’s what our motto tells us, that is what it offers to the world in a sense of what we in this province are all about.
Can we say that we are as faithful and as loyal now as we were then to the British connection? I want to say something that is obvious. We can’t.
Mr. Nixon: Don’t ask the Premier (Mr. Davis) that question.
Mr. Conway: God bless them, I know there are members of this cabinet who have a dedication still that is truly heroic and I would not for a moment endeavour to disqualify.
Mr. Nixon: Their greatest moment is when they wrap themselves in the flag.
Mr. Conway: For those of us in this province of Ontario, the search for symbols and the search for soul, has been an interesting one. Just let me offer a few of the ones we’ve tried. Not long ago one of the most prominent journalists and authors in this country gave to us a two-volume expression of The National Dream. In many respects school children of Ontario have been educated to believe that yes, we do have national symbols that speak to our positive being, and that the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, expressing as it does a desire to move ever westward and integrate that vast land into our political system, is a national symbol of great note.
Let me just make two comments about that. It is a strange jurisdiction that has as its national dream a railroad. I don’t know if there are others that do, but there might be some that have. Let me just suggest that that national dream is without a doubt, I suspect, the national dream for many of us in Ontario. I want to suggest to my friends, many of whom have done it far more ably than I, to go to Portage and Main in Winnipeg and tell them of our national dream, because I suspect you will literally be run out of town on a rail, and it won’t be the CP rail. That national dream speaks to the difficulty of our English-Canadian soul. What was considered positive, fundamental and essential in Ontario is considered by our English-Canadian friends in western Canada the ultimate in the negative, exploitive spirit of politics.
I suggest to those who believe that that kind of national dream is the hoped-for soul, that it is going to be at least a difficult row to hoe. At least in western Canada, this national dream proves what some have always suspected, that Confederation really was simply Ontario from sea to shining sea. I’d love to have been there when Peter Lougheed and Bill Davis got together to discuss this kind of question. I suspect the contradiction to which I direct your attention was at least implicit, if not explicit, in some of what was being said.
Mr. Kerrio: True blue.
Mr. Turner: All the way.
Mr. Conway: This leads me to a far more controversial symbol, a far more emotional symbol, a symbol to which English Canadians have long been dedicated -- the monarchy. I approach this with delicacy and with a measure of trepidation.
The monarchy, for many in this province, and for many over there and for many over here, and for many there I suspect, is central to the English-Canadian soul, an expression of our collective selves, of our collective constitutional and spiritual purpose. It may be. I know we have a Premier in this province who is dedicated to the monarchy with all his heart and with all his being, as he should be.
I must say two things. To those involved in this effort to find what we in English Canada are all about, I hope you’re more successful in that venture than appears to be the case today, because for my generation of English Canadians, those under the age of 30, the monarchy is neither here nor there. It might be there in the minds of some, but it certainly does not appear to be.
I have spent some time in the last 10 years in university settings and with young people, despite my octogenarian mentality. For young people in this province, there is no antipathy to the monarchy. All of us respect and honour the Queen as an immensely important, hardworking and great lady; she is that and much more. But there is a sense of irrelevance. When you speak to the fundamental need for a commitment, when you speak of a national spirit within the English-Canadian community, I don’t see in my generation that the monarchy means nearly as much.
When I was in university I had the opportunity to do two fairly extensive research papers, one on the royal tour of 1860 and the other on the royal tour of 1939. In the course of that undertaking I got the feeling there is a waning in other parts of the country with respect to that symbol over and above what had existed beforehand.
Much more important with respect to this symbol is French Canada’s response to it. In this I think French Canada has acted impulsively, emotionally and not always with due reference to the facts as I see them.
As I understand French Canada, academics like Professor Jacques Monet who is a very committed French-Canadian monarchist, or was the last time I checked, are whistling in the dark. I don’t think there is any kind of commitment in French Canada to the monarchy as a unifying theme within this jurisdiction. I want to point that out.
It alarms me that my Queen is not free to move throughout the vast entirety of this country as she once did. We can say yes, she’s free to move into Quebec as she has done recently, but I want to suggest to you that her movements and the royal movements in Quebec post-1964 are a pale reflection of that tour in 1939. I suspect that 1964 was a turning point beyond which it became very difficult for any Canadian monarch, with a British connection at least, to move through the province of Quebec.
That’s the way I see it, and I’m sure there are others who see it very differently. For those of you who see the monarchy as a sense of hope and a sense of soul and spirit for English Canada, I encourage you to make that a unifying theme if you think it is possible and viable. I don’t see it as at all possible from my vantage point, but that is simply the comment of one private citizen.
To that degree, the British connection generally has gone from this country, which has in a sense grown up. It has, in the words of Professor Lower, proceeded in one way from colony to nation.
What of that anti-American spirit that we have, in this province particularly? The United Empire Loyalist movement was nothing if it was not anti-American in the most positive sense of that word, if I can use such a convoluted way of saying it.
We have a new economy. In the words of one academic or publisher, we have the new Romans, who have given us this multinational integration that has drawn Canadians and Americans together, in far more intricacy and in far more close detail and connection than was ever imagined by our forebears, to such a degree that I think there is now a threat to our English-Canadian being and indeed to our French-Canadian being that has never existed before.
I am frightened when I hear about the Buffalo evening news being number one on the hit parade in places like Timmins or Chicoutimi or its equivalent. That’s what is happening: My gosh, in Pembroke you can now sit down and treat yourselves to the vast array of cable television. People by the thousands, I know, glue themselves to finding out what is going on in upper New York state. That is something that has never existed before to the degree it does now and, in a telecommunications sense, it is just about covering this particular country of ours.
That, maybe more than anything else, frightens me about our survival. While it is a threat in English Canada, certainly it is a threat in French Canada that is of a devastating potential.
Mr. Swart: It frightens you more than three quarters of our productive capacity going over to the United States?
Mr. Conway: In a way, it does. The member for Welland-Thorold asks whether what is going on culturally in the communications sector frightens me more than what is going on economically, and without reservation I say yes to that.
Mr. Swart: It is part and parcel.
Mr. Conway: What, then, is there for the development of a commonality in English Canada, quite apart from in French Canada? What are the potentials and unifying themes that will make this part of the country understand itself?
I don’t know. I am simply going to say that, to me at least, there does not appear to be extant in this province, to say nothing of this province and British Columbia, a commitment to some fundamentally positive elements of nationality or whatever.
It may be that in 1978 we must accept an argument put forward by one leading French-Canadian academic in trying to deal with these matters, who said of Confederation that this country, in its being put together in 1867, was not so much an agreement between two peoples who greatly desired to live together, but rather a frank admission of two peoples who simply understood that they could not live apart.
I think of that when my friend from York East, the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie), introduces things like Bill 136, which I hope indicates the reality of that. It may be, as it was and has been for a long time in this part of the world, that while we may not like or understand one another, French and English Canadians simply must understand that, while they may not be overly enthusiastic about it, they cannot live apart.
I want to conclude by saying that, as should be obvious from some of my general remarks, I am somewhat concerned and cynical about the future of the country as I now know it. I don’t see a sense of commitment or a sense of wanting to be more than Americans living north of the 49th parallel, a sense of enjoying a good standard of living, for many of us in this part of the world, a sense of striking out against those who not too far down the St. Lawrence River valley, want to foist upon us something we will not accept. I really do see a lack of consensus from time to time in things like the federal-provincial conferences of which there has been made some note.
There was a very eminent politician of the Confederation period who put it very well when he said in the debates this search for collective soul was going to be a never-ending problem and indeed perhaps an insoluble one. I want to read to you what he said, tongue in cheek, in February 1865, when he somewhat scorned this D’Arcy MacGee nonsense of the new nationality that was somehow going to happen.
He said: “I propose the adoption of the rainbow as our emblem” -- the symbol of this new nationality. “By the endless variety of its tints, the rainbow will give an excellent idea of the diversity of races, religions, sentiments and interests of the different parts of this Canadian Confederation. By its slender and elongated form, the rainbow would afford a perfect representation of the geographical configuration of this Confederation.”
Here is I think the salient part: “By its lack of consistence, an image without substance, the rainbow would aptly represent the solidity of our Confederation -- an emblem we must have, for every great empire has one. Let us adopt the rainbow.”
Mr. Chairman, my concern for Canada is in this day and age not so much that we live and work nationally, in a political and constitutional sense, under a cloud as under a rainbow.
Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Chairman, I agree with those who say that in a fair apportioning of the time, we should conclude by the adjournment hour today our debate on the federal-provincial aspects of intergovernmental affairs so that we leave an adequate time next week to discuss local government and the remainder for the estimates next week. Therefore I am going to resist almost totally an inclination to comment on some of the reflections of the honourable member for Renfrew North on the emergence of Confederation and current problems.
I do however want to join with him in saying to the minister we welcome him to this portfolio and we wish him well. His record, particularly in the Ministry of Education, gave an indication of a sensitivity, an attitude and a balance of views which I think is necessary if Ontario is going to fulfil its role, particularly in the federal-provincial aspects of the thing. I want to deal this morning rather briefly, so that I can leave time for others who wish to participate in this debate, with a number of more specific aspects of the current situation.
Ontario has always played a vitally important role in federal-provincial affairs, particularly in constitutional matters. The reasons for this, I think we are all aware, stem from Ontario’s closer relationship with Quebec, historically and geographically, and therefore Ontario’s tacit role of spokesman for so-called English-speaking Canada, non-Quebec Canada. Whatever Ontario could work out with Quebec, it was thought in the past, if that were acceptable to the federal government or worked out among those three -- the two major provinces and the federal government -- usually other provinces found it acceptable.
Two factors, I think, have significantly altered that historic pattern. The western provinces have come into their own, basically because of a really fantastic resource development. Today Alberta is the richest Canadian province, on any per capita basis. British Columbia quite some years ago moved into the top trio of provinces; and even Saskatchewan, which was almost a classic of the have-not, poorer provinces, is within reaching distance of becoming a have province too.
As a result, there is a greater balance between east and west in Canada, and despite Ontario’s size and wealth there is not the same readiness to tag along with Ontario’s positions. To put it more bluntly, Ontario’s leadership role is more likely to be challenged rather than accepted today; whereas in the past it very often was accepted.
Ontario has been perceived, and in reality has been, the greatest beneficiary of Confederation. The rest of the nation feels that that is the case, and now they are reacting because of their feeling that Ontario has been the greatest beneficiary. Any changes that we are going to move to in the constitution in Canada today are going to reflect something of that new reality, the reality of a better balance between the west and the east, that reality in the Canadian union.
There is a second reason why Ontario’s position is rather seriously affected, at least in the last decade. That is that the federal government has had an extremely inflexible position under Trudeau’s leadership. That has resulted in a growing impasse. Not only has the credibility of that position been undermined by the gradual disappearance of Liberal governments at the provincial level, but all provincial governments, whatever be their partisan identification, have tended to develop a solid united front vis-à-vis the Ottawa stance.
This was underlined in the last two provincial premiers’ conferences chaired by Premier Lougheed and by Premier Blakeney, which presented an almost unanimous set of demands to the federal government. This impasse between the federal government and the provinces has been consolidating over the last seven years since the Victoria conference in 1971, resulting in a drift in federal-provincial relations which has contributed to a very great extent, in my view, to the general malaise that now affects this country both politically and, indeed, economically.
The last time we had such an impasse and a consequent drift in constitutional matters in Canada, back in the 1960s, it was Ontario that played its historic leadership role, gambling on the convening of a Confederation of Tomorrow conference which brought together the provincial premiers and excluded the federal government except as an observer, and by the success of that conference succeeded in getting things going again.
I can’t help but feel that Ontario could have and should have done something more during the last seven years to give voice to the growing unanimity among the provinces. I acknowledge that perhaps I am unfair in that conclusion. Perhaps Trudeau had to be reduced to the category of a lame-duck Prime Minister, bereft of virtually all of his provincial base, facing an imminent federal election with possible defeat, for him to be willing to budge from his inflexible position.
But I would like to believe that, with more vigorous yet tactful initiatives. Ontario could have done something to have broken that impasse before it went on for as long as it did. In his introductory remarks to these estimates, the minister stated that the position which the Premier (Mr. Davis) took on behalf of Ontario at the start of the conference was in its essentials the position that Trudeau moved to on the second day and which ultimately emerged in the final communique of the conference.
The minister concluded that Ontario had done its homework and was in touch with the new realities of the situation. Perhaps so. But could it not have been done earlier? I ask that question, and I am not going to belabour it any further, other than this one observation: I have always felt that it was Ontario’s relatively passive role, its lack of leadership in the conference in Victoria in 1971, which created or set the stage for the constitutional impasse which has gone on for the past seven years. When two or three of the redneck leaders of then provincial governments in western Canada adopted a position of vigorous unsympathetic reaction to the views of Quebec, Ontario could have played a role in halting the polarization.
I was once so unkind as to suggest to the Premier following that conference that John Robarts’ absence was felt more than his presence. That was the problem, because if John Robarts had been there, I’m quite convinced that at some point he would have intervened and in effect said to the Wacky Bennetts and others from western Canada who were taking a rather hostile uncompromising view, “Let’s just halt, just cool it. Let’s take a somewhat more reasonable approach.”
It didn’t happen, with far-reaching consequences which have dominated the past seven years. However, that’s all water over the dam. In this recent conference I would concede that Ontario did play a conciliatory role. It did play a significant part through the Premier’s initial statement of a position which was supported widely enough that the federal government had no alternative but to accept it in its essentials.
All of which brings me to a general comment on the first ministers’ conference that I would like to dwell on for a moment. There was a strange dichotomy in the public perception of the achievements of that conference. The conference developed an almost euphoric atmosphere on the second day, the Tuesday when Trudeau made his offer to open up for negotiation a number of vital issues on which he’d been adamantly inflexible in the years before.
That euphoric atmosphere seemed to dissipate when renewed differences emerged the next day on exactly what was going to be the list of topics on which the focus of attention could be made in the weeks and months immediately ahead. Generally speaking, the media came to the conclusion that this was just another talk session that didn’t result in much of an achievement.
I’m inclined to accept the conclusions of the minister when he said the conference was a success. “It reopened the process of constitutional review,” I’m quoting, “through direct discussion between the federal and provincial governments for the first time in seven years. It clearly established a renewed constitution as a national priority. It agreed upon a mechanism, time table and agenda for the followup.”
In my view, that’s a measure of progress, particularly after the last seven years of drift. I concede it may be nothing more than talk if the action doesn’t follow, but there is some real hope that action is going to follow because arrangements were made for preparatory work and a date was fixed for the next first ministers’ conference at a relatively short period down the road.
Let me now turn to two or three aspects of the items that emerged in the course of the first ministers’ conference. There was a tendency to arrive at an agenda on which there would be a sharp focus, the so-called short listing of topics, which would be considered in the period between now and February. Fortunately, because of the somewhat more flexible approach taken by Trudeau on the second day, it was possible to get within that list some effort to clarify the existing division of legislative powers and consider some readjustment of that division of legislative powers.
I noted with interest that the Premier indicates that he doesn’t think there needs to be a massive change, a very extensive change. Time alone will tell in the negotiating process. But quite rightly, it is observed that this division of legislative powers is at the heart of the whole federal constitution.
Recently, with rather serious and unfavourable consequences, the focus in this whole constitutional debate in Canada has tended to fall on the proposals of the House of Federation by the federal government and the House of the Provinces by the provincial western parties and from our own advisory committee on Confederation.
I want to suggest that that is not the top priority, particularly at this stage in the negotiations. The redistribution of legislative powers and other items -- and perhaps some that each one of us would have liked to have seen on the short list -- are far more important than the rather divisive debate that emerged on whether or not we’re going to have a House of the Provinces or a House of Federation. Once we resolve somewhat more clearly that division of legislative powers, I don’t think there will be such an insistent demand to have some restructuring that is going to give a fuller regional input, though that is enough of a persistent thrust in the dynamic of the Canadian scene today that undoubtedly it’s never going to completely go away.
When we get around, if I may just look down the road a bit, to considering what we’re going to do with our second chamber, I think we should recognize that there are certain features of the second chamber that are really anachronistic and out of step with the times. I was interested in the observations my federal leader made when he was speaking to the Senate committee on this matter. He reminded the Senate committee that the second chamber is really not an effective instrument for regional input, either by the proposals that were made by Ottawa or that have been made by the provinces. Even more important, the second chamber is really out of step with the whole democratic requirements of a modern society.
In his presentation he reminded us that Cartier declared: “The weak point in democratic institutions is the leaving of all power in the hands of the popular element.”
Mr. Conway: Hear, hear.
Mr. MacDonald: You agree?
Mr. Conway: You don’t?
Mr. MacDonald: No. I don’t have that paranoid fear of the popular element that has to be checked by the sober second thoughts of the elite who gather together in the Senate. No, I don’t agree with that.
Mr. Conway: I thought the elite all drove Cadillacs.
Mr. MacDonald: Macdonald said: “The rights of the minority must be protected, and the rich are always fewer in number than the poor.” MacGee stated: “We run the risk of being swallowed up by the spirit of universal democracy that prevails in the United States. The proposed Confederation will enable us to bear up shoulder-to-shoulder to resist the spread of this universal democratic doctrine.” That was the concept back in those days of the purpose of the Senate.
It seems to me if we’re going to move to a second chamber that is going to play some sort of role, it should be much more democratic in its structure and it certainly shouldn’t be just a collection of the elite, either economically or politically. Also, it should more effectively provide an opportunity for regional input. As Ed Broadbent stated, the proposals that have been made up to this point are little short of an abomination.
Mr. Conway: We need another Hazen Argue.
Mr. MacDonald: I shall leave that comment until later.
Mr. Conway: I think Donald C. MacDonald would make an excellent choice.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Mr. MacDonald: I shall leave that comment. As a matter of fact, I’m not going to dwell further on this because I’ve suggested that this isn’t a top priority. I think when we do get around to considering it more fully, we should consider the proposals of Ed Broadbent on behalf of the NDP, that instead of trying to restructure an outmoded second chamber we should abolish it, as everybody seems to agree today in terms of its present position, and add 100 members to the House of Commons 20 from each of the five different regions, who would be chosen proportionate to the popular vote the parties in each of the regions got in the last election. There you would have a real regional input and it would be within the framework of the democratic structure of the House of Commons, rather than the undemocratic structure of the Senate as we have known it.
Let me turn quickly to another topic, namely, the whole question of patriation of the constitution. I don’t know how long we’re going to have to go on wearily in coming to grips with this issue. At least, I think it was encouraging in this conference that all the provinces agreed that the constitution should be patriated, with the exception of Quebec; and Quebec’s disagreement was not in the principle of its patriation, but rather that they wanted to have some decisions on the division of powers before it was done. Therefore, I hope we can proceed and get Rene Levesque and others from Quebec to go along with not only a consensus, but also a near unanimity, when the first ministers meet again.
I recognize that in dealing with patriation you’ve got to come to grips with the even more important matters, namely, what is the appropriate kind of formula for amending the constitution once we have brought it back to Canada and it falls wholly within our power and our jurisdiction. There may have to be variations, but I must say personally -- and I think this is a very widespread belief -- that the formula that was proposed in Victoria, namely, that there should be agreement among the federal government and six provinces involving 80 per cent of the population, is at least a good starting point. I repeat: There may have to be some amendments to that to get as great a consensus as possible, but it’s a good starting point.
Another point is the question of the entrenchment of individual rights in the constitution. I was interested in reading the Hansard report for last Monday night to note the comments of the member for Ottawa East, who was chastising Allan Blakeney for what he thought was a rather strange position of opposing the entrenching of individual rights in the constitution coming from a man of his intelligence and indeed of his socialist persuasions.
I wish the honourable member had been up to date. If he had watched the Watson Report on the evening after the conference, he would have noted that Allan Blakeney cited a shift in his own position on this issue as an example of the kind of achievement that can be made even in an open conference. The questioning by Patrick Watson was: What can you really achieve in an open conference? Haven’t you got to get behind the scenes to do the negotiating? And while Allan Blakeney conceded that as having some validity, he cited this as an example: He had been -- if I may put it in the terms used by the Premier of Ontario -- opposed to entrenching things in the constitution.
Let me quote from the paper that the Premier of Ontario submitted to the conference: “Clearly, two schools of thought have developed with reference to this matter. There are those who argue that a constitutional expression of rights is necessary to ensure that they are not breached by temporary majorities in Parliament or in the provincial Legislatures. Those holding this point of view would leave it to our courts to determine how to apply these rights in particular political, economic and social circumstances.
“On the other hand, there are those who argue that by defining individual rights in the constitution, an unnecessary element of rigidity will be introduced in our public life. Social values and conditions are not static, and many of our rights and freedoms must be adjusted in the light of changed and changing circumstances.”
In other words, he is referring to the kinds of situations in the United States where they sometimes had to have massive new appointments to the Supreme Court to be able to get a court that was in keeping with the times.
That was the kind of worry that Allan Blakeney had. But he pointed out that he was willing to contemplate -- as indeed the New Democratic Party, generally voiced by our federal leader, Ed Broadbent, has not only contemplated but supported -- the enshrining of individual rights in the constitution. He was willing to set aside his reservations if you could add to it -- and I hope, as a layman, I grasped totally and fully what is essentially a legal concept -- a “notwithstanding” clause.
In other words, the individual rights are in the constitution but, notwithstanding that, it doesn’t totally preclude the opportunity of a Legislature or the House of Commons to intervene in some alteration of what may appear to be the rights enshrined in the constitution.
For example, it may well be that a provincial government wants to have some affirmative action program that is going to give a bias in favour of major peoples in terms of employment; that might be in contradiction to equality of opportunity enshrined in the constitution, That “notwithstanding” clause, as I understand it, will make it possible for a Legislature to do that kind of thing and for the courts to acknowledge that they have the right to do that kind of thing and, therefore, not to interpret it strictly and without the full flexibility and breadth of view necessary to encompass it. There are many other examples and I won’t take time to go into them in detail.
But with a “notwithstanding” clause, for example if property rights are the right of an individual enshrined in a constitution, it may mean that a government wouldn’t be able to move to the expropriation of certain property for public purposes. A “notwithstanding” clause would open that possibility. It may mean, for example, that if you have property rights enshrined totally in a constitution without any qualification, a provincial Legislature that brought in family law legislation and laid down certain restrictions or directives with regard to property might be getting into conflict. The “notwithstanding” clause would permit that kind of thing.
In other words, I think it is the kind of compromise that Mr. Blakeney indicated he found tolerable, protecting the rights of the Legislature in the British parliamentary history to have the final say. As one jurist said, it is the right of the Legislature to declare that white is black, and black is white if they want to be foolish enough to do so. That is a rather honoured and an important aspect of our tradition as compared with the Americans. I think a compromise is possible there.
I’ll conclude with this one general observation. Now that the logjam is broken, now that the impasse of the last seven years is over and we are moving into a period of negotiations on a short list of seven topics, I think there is one piece of counsel which is extremely important. I would plead with this government, as I said a little critically earlier, that it has an obligation because of its historic role in federal-provincial relations to take the initiative, to be making proposals.
Nobody, including this government, should take stereotyped, hard, fast, inflexible positions. When you go into the renegotiation of a constitution just as we did in 1863 to 1867 with the attempt to create a new constitution, if you go in with totally inflexible positions you exclude or sharply limit the possibilities of the achievement of negotiations.
I think when one looks back at that period, it is rather remarkable that people of such diversity of views -- indeed of personal animosity -- as John A. Macdonald and George Brown went in and thrashed them through. They had to compromise. They did so because there was a greater good, a greater objective, that each one of them was committed to. I think the greater good and the greater objective that we now face is the necessity, without too much more delay, of restructuring our constitution and therefore a willingness to acknowledge.
I would pick up on one point the honourable member for Renfrew North made. That is if you go back into history it is not impossible to conclude that the whole thrust of Upper Canada in its rep-by-pop was an effort to get its version in that day of sovereignty association.
It differs from today when Rene Levesque wants to take Quebec totally out of the family, so to speak. Yet he would argue that it isn’t totally out of the family. He wants an association. My general plea, in the context of steadfast opposition to any conceding of separation for Quebec, is that on this as on many matters, there may be formulas, there may be solutions, there may be compromises which will make it possible for this family of peoples from sea to sea to restructure the constitution for the next 100 years. But it requires an openness and a willingness to compromise, a willingness to negotiate. I hope now that we have broken the logjam, this government will take as vigorous a lead as is advisable in the months that lie ahead.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Chairman, there are only a few minutes left in the period allotted for the discussion of this area. Therefore, I want to limit my remarks in the time available, and on the understanding that there is no other member of the chamber interested in speaking in the remaining 15 minutes, to a number of what are perhaps miscellaneous points, but points on which I have some significant concern I will leave to another time -- perhaps in the budget debate, perhaps in a debate specifically set aside for a discussion of constitutional matters, or perhaps in a forum that I suggested a week ago yesterday in the estimates of the Ministry of the Attorney General -- some more thoughtful, co-ordinated and basic concerns which I have about the constitution, the process of change and what is taking place.
I do want to make one general statement, and perhaps others may not discern any theme in the remarks which I make about the goal as I see it. I think the goal is very clear. The goal which we all have is to maintain the nation. It is as simple as that. We share in this chamber a common conviction that that nation can be best maintained, in fact can only to be maintained, through a federal system of government.
I was concerned about the remarks made by the member for Renfrew North. He said he had an element of pessimism in his reflections upon the constitution and the history of the constitution as it now stands. I do not particularly share that pessimism, nor do I think I can be categorized as optimistic about what is happening. I am convinced that we must recognize that the original, and I use the term threats, and the original opportunities which motivated the country toward its Confederation many years ago still exist. They do not exist in the dramatic sense of the northern armies of the United States about to achieve an overwhelming victory in civil war in the United States, and the concern in this part of the world being what was going to happen as a result of that victory and that tremendous army immediately to the south. But we all share an apprehension about the pressures of the United States on Canada, and those pressures still exist in immeasurable strength on the country.
I am surprised that in the work-a-day world of these constitutional conferences, and with the constitutional industrialists who have grown up in the country who spend their time discussing the intricacies of the constitution, there is very little being said about the matters raised by the member for Renfrew North with respect to the cultural domination of this country; very little being said about the economic ownership of significant segments of our economy by the United States mainly, and perhaps other countries; very little being said to recognize that that threat exists.
I happen to be somewhat more empathetic to the province of Quebec and to the present government of the province of Quebec than many in this chamber and many in the province of Ontario and elsewhere in Canada. I have that empathy because in a funny sense, the French-Canadian people in their continuing sense of nationalism, if I could use that phrase, are asserting at least in one aspect, the sense of their wanting to remain an independent people in an interdependent world on the North American continent. I want us to be a part of that continuing effort with Quebec to maintain an independent nation on the north half of the North American continent, recognizing, of course, that all independence is qualified by our interdependence throughout the world.
The third element of our Confederation, of course, was that at the time of Confederation the vast uninhabited, unincorporated, unacknowledged territories in the northwest part of the country, and in a funny way today that same problem exists because of the immense wealth that was unforeseen at that time, unknown and unrealized, but which has come forth in the northwestern part of the country, organized as it is in Saskatchewan and Alberta and in Manitoba and in the Territories, but again those are fundamental concerns in the constitution.
Within that framework I think people are talking about a workable constitution. Perhaps on another occasion I will elaborate, at least for my own purposes, at some greater length about the background as I see it of the Confederation, simply because I enjoy responding to the contributions such as those that have been made in that debate and the one that I was privileged to hear this morning from the member for Renfrew North.
On very specific matters, may I ask the minister very clearly that on this whole question of the amending process of the constitution we not lose sight of the need in this province for an amending process with respect to this constitution? I would draw the minister’s attention to the wide ambit of the amending power which we in this assembly have because it’s the first head of section 92 of the British North America Act which permits us to amend this constitution in any respect we wish except for the office of the Lieutenant Governor.
I was astounded -- and I recognize that I have some knowledge of constitutional matters and constitutional law -- that when the question arose about whether or not the premium established by regulation, that is the last increase was established in this assembly, and my colleague from Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) raised the question of the constitutionality of that provision, the Supreme Court in another case had simply ruled quite clearly that without us knowing it the day this assembly passed that act delegating that power to levy the premiums by regulation, we had amended the constitution of the province of Ontario.
There are some very fundamental principles of democracy related to how often this assembly must be called into session, when elections must be held in this country, what is the maximum limit that it can go. I don’t want to emphasize any more but I do want to say that it is essential that this ministry, in its concern about constitutional matters, devise a process by which if we are amending our constitution we are at least aware of the fact that we’re doing it at the time that we’re doing it. There are some fundamental problems in connection with that matter.
I am going to be able to cover only a couple of points in the short time available; there are many others but I hope there will be another occasion. My colleague, the member for York South and myself share this particular responsibility in our caucus of federal-provincial affairs simply because he and I share within the broadly shared goal somewhat different perceptions of these problems.
On the question of the Senate and a replacement body, I think myself that it is a somewhat more urgent matter, and I do believe it would be very important that we recognize there is no way in which a federal system as such can function at the central authority without a second body representing the regional nature of a federal system. I think one of the key factors which has come through in the public reception of the country is now a degree of recognition of the regionalism of the country. Ontario is having difficulty recognizing that it is a region because it has been so favoured in the past that it thought it was the whole of the country and not just a region. But regionalism is very clear in the rest of the country, and I think in Ontario we are beginning to appreciate that we are one region within Canada.
Those regions do not necessarily have the boundaries of the provinces. There are other ways of grouping the country. I’m not talking about boundary changes. I’m simply saying that there must be a second chamber elected, in my judgement, on a basis that will provide a representation of the regional nature of the country. It may very well have the circumscribed inability to introduce money legislation, but at least it would be an elected body with significant segments of its representation reflecting the regionalism of the country in Ottawa, and not a unicameral system of government at that level in the federal system.
I think, therefore, that on balance the House of the Provinces is not adequate, nor is the House of Federation adequate. If I had in a moment to coin a phrase, I would say the House of the Regions. One would have to work out the complement of that House, the representation in that House and the direct election by the people of the country to that body.
May I say just a word about the Supreme Court of Canada which is a matter of concern as well and then, perforce, leave the other matters to another occasion? I happen to think that we are likely going to have to recognize, not necessarily a provincial appointment right to the Supreme Court of Canada for an individual judge, but something somewhere between that and a wide-open devolution of that authority to the judicial council of the kind reflected in the statement made by the Premier last week in Ottawa, that is, that there would be a committee of the 11 Attorneys General who would perform the function of selecting the appointees to the court.
Again, I think as implicit in the history of that court, there has to be a regional recognition on that court and no judicial nominating council should have the right strictly on the basis of merit to annul the regional nature of that court as the final court of appeal.
I don’t think that’s a problem. I’m quite certain whatever the regional areas in the country may be finally seen to be, it would be quite possible to find persons of merit and skill who would be able to sit and occupy the seats in the Supreme Court and bring the kind of attention to the constitutional affairs of the country that is required. We must not underestimate in any way the power of the Supreme Court in a federal system.
It may well be that the very basic philosophy of the most objective members of that court is conditioned a great deal by their fundamental views and attitudes towards the country as such. I think, with great respect, that the present Chief Justice of Canada reflects in his judgements views which he expressed as a professor of constitutional law many years ago. I read with interest and some curiosity the consistency of the views which he has held for many years and which are now reflected as the law of the country. We must get away from the idea that in some way they are engraved on tablets of stone and that all you have to do is find the proper tablet and you can express what the law is on any particular topic.
I want to close by simply referring the minister to the suggestion I made to his colleague, the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), that there must be a forum, other than just an afternoon’s debate, probably by way of committee of this House, that will have the opportunity of meeting in an informal committee setting with those persons who are charged with the responsibility of surveying the constitution, reviewing its implications and to make a forum available for the exchange of views.
We cannot allow this assembly to be excluded from the ongoing process of at least the exchange of views and consultation. We do not ask in any way for an encroachment upon the responsibility of government ultimately to make the decisions about the constitution, but any sanity would indicate that the government is somewhat foolhardy if it does not allow the members of the assembly from all parties, including the back-benchers from its own government party, to have some opportunity and forum within which we can discuss constitutional matters in other than a structural framework such as this debate. This has become a kind of debate in an estimates situation.
I want to close by saying that I congratulate the government on the establishment of the ministry. I congratulate the government on the appointment of the minister. I also congratulate the ministry in having as a deputy a friend of mine of some at least 15 years’ standing. I do so because it seems to me that in a funny way the minister and his deputy are the minister and deputy of a ministry which will survive as a ministry of this government for a very long time.
I think the choices are well made and the establishment of the ministry is well considered, and I look forward to the work which that ministry does in this very important field.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Chairman, I don’t intend to make any lengthy remarks. If I could have just one minute, I would like to conclude the discussion on this particular item by first thanking all those who passed on their kind remarks about my assuming this new portfolio. I accepted this job, and look upon it, with great anticipation and as a very exciting challenge.
I agree with the sentiments expressed in this debate that the real responsibilities, while they may be centred on this ministry for bringing together the viewpoints and concerns and suggestions of the province of Ontario, should represent not only those of the government but also those of all members in this House.
We have begun that process through this debate on this item in these estimates. I think it has been an excellent debate, one of the most interesting that I have sat through in a long time. I think there have been many good contributions made. I congratulate all those members who took part.
I would also like to say that the process that starts November 23, when the ministers of intergovernmental affairs and the Attorneys General sit down to start negotiations on the short list of items that I mentioned in my opening remarks, will be co-ordinated on behalf of the government by the secretariat and the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs, and the Attorney General’s people and others from other ministries will all be working with us to present the Ontario position.
I am impressed by the arguments put forward and the suggestions to have some more informal mechanism where all members of this Legislature can contribute. I am going to work that out and I hope I can suggest a process that we can put into place very shortly so that all the members of this House can be part of the process that goes on in the next two or three very important months.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Wells, the committee of the whole House reported progress.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Wells, the House adjourned at 1:05 p.m.