The House resumed at 8 p.m.
House in committee of the whole.
CHILD WELFARE ACT (CONCLUDED FROM NOVEMBER 4, 1978)
Resumption of the adjourned consideration of Bill 114, An Act to revise the Child Welfare Act.
On section 81:
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I would point out to the committee that we have an amendment to the amendment filed by the member for Bellwoods. I understand the member for Bellwoods wishes to reword his amendment. I will recognize the member for the purpose of placing a new amendment. I would ask the member if he would first withdraw his previous amendment.
Mr. McClellan: Yes, I’ll withdraw the amendment and the subamendment and introduce the new amendment, which represents the sum of the work we did the previous evening.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. McClellan moves that Bill 114 be amended by renumbering sections 1 81 to 97 as sections 82 to 98, and by adding thereto the following section:
“81. (1) In this section the Director means an employee of the ministry appointed by the minister for the purpose of this section.
“(2) An adopted child who is 18 or more years of age and a person who is a parent of an adopted child at the time of the child’s birth where the adoption took place in Ontario, in each instance may apply to a society to be registered in a voluntary disclosure registry that shall be maintained by the Director.
“(3) Every society that receives an application under subsection 2 shall forthwith forward a copy of the application to the Director who shall enter the applicant’s name in the voluntary disclosure registry.
“(4) Notwithstanding the provisions of any other act, no person shall inspect, remove, disclose, transmit or alter, or permit the inspection, removal, disclosure, transmission or alteration, of information maintained in the voluntary disclosure registry established under subsection 2 except with the written permission of the Director.
“(5) The Director shall, upon entering an applicant’s name in the voluntary disclosure registry, examine the registry to determine
“(a) where the applicant is an adopted child if a person who is the child’s parent at the time of the child’s birth is named in the registry; or
“(b) where the applicant is a person who is a parent of an adopted child at the time of the child’s birth that the adopted child is named in the registry.
“(6) Where the Director
“(a) determines that both an adopted child and a person who was the child’s parent at the time of the child’s birth are named in the voluntary disclosure registry;
“(b) obtains from any living person who is the parent of the child after an adoption order with respect to the child was made consent to the disclosure of information pursuant to this section, and
“(c) obtains the confirmation from each of the parties referred to in clause (a) that they agree to the disclosure of information pursuant to this section, the Director shall forthwith forward to the appropriate society the information contained in
“(d) the documents referred to in subsection 1 of section 80, and
“(e) the voluntary disclosure registry with respect to the adopted child or the person who is the child’s parent.
“and the society shall provide the information to the adopted child and the person who is the child’s parent.
“(7) Every society shall provide guidance and counselling to persons who may be registered in the voluntary disclosure registry referred to in subsection 2.”
Mr. Breithaupt: Will there be copies of the amendment available for the members? I think a number would be particularly interested if we did have them.
Mr. McClellan: I have a supply of copies here.
Mr. Nixon: Is this very similar to your previous amendment?
Mr. McClellan: I think it is.
Mr. Blundy: Mr. Chairman, in the debate on Tuesday night I spoke in favour of this amendment in principle, but I had several reservations about the amendment that was before us at that time. What I wanted to do was to make possible disclosure when all avenues of embarrassment or hardship to anybody involved were removed. I spoke then about the fact that the adoptive parents, the parents who have adopted the child, were given no consideration in the previous wording of the motion. That situation is taken care of in subsection 6(b) where it makes specific reference to the parent of the child after an adoption order. I can agree to that clause.
I want to refer to the next subsection, 6(c). Those who were present for the debate the last time we discussed this matter will recall that I made considerable reference to my concern for the natural mother, who may have been a young girl at the time of the birth of the adoptee. Because of her emotional situation and her concern she may have been unwittingly led into putting her name into the voluntary registry, but then lived to regret it perhaps after she had settled down, married and had another family. That concern of mine is being covered sufficiently, I would say, in subsection 6(c).
With those three parties who are very closely concerned with the tonic we are discussing tonight, the adoptee, the birth parent and the adoptive parents having been looked after in this way, all people can be protected, and yet the process will be at least started whereby an adult adoptee will be able under the circumstances laid down in this section of bill to find out what are his background, roots and natural family.
With those few remarks on this particular section of Bill 114, I will vote in favour of it. I fully expect my colleagues will want to express their views as well and they are free to vote in any way they wish on this bill. I will be voting in favour of the amendment.
Mr. McClellan: I would like to speak very briefly with respect to the amendment.
The concerns that have been raised in the debate on the amendment on Tuesday evening are now covered. It is clear that in order for an adoption disclosure provision to pass the Legislature all three members of the so-called adoption triangle need to be included in the decision-making process. That is precisely what this amendment does.
The birth parent and the adult adoptee will voluntarily apply to have their names inscribed on the voluntary disclosure registry. If the director, having searched the record of names which are enrolled on the voluntary disclosure registry, determines there is a match between a birth parent and that birth parent’s own child, now an adult, then the director, before disclosure will take place, must obtain the consent of the adopting parents. Secondly, the director must obtain a confirmation from both the birth parent and the adult adopted child that they consent to have the disclosure proceed.
I believe this is an amendment that simply cannot be opposed. I cannot conceive of rational opposition to this amendment. I mean that quite sincerely. I think the rights of all parties are protected and safeguarded, and we have a system based on mutual consent, freely given in advance, and there is also respect of the rights of the third member of the adoption triangle, the adopting parents. I would hope the ministry would simply accept the amendment.
I am anxious to hear from the minister. The minister has not yet spoken on the issue, and I have spoken at length in this debate and in previous debates, both in the standing committee and in committee of the whole House. I don’t feel any need to go through those arguments again. I would like to hear from the minister, however, with respect to the government’s position on the amendment. I am interested to hear how the government could conceivably be opposed to this amendment.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, in response to the invitation to speak, I will do so. Perhaps I should have spoken a little earlier, but I wanted to listen carefully to the arguments that were being put forward by the honourable members of the House.
I appreciate very much the commitment and the sincerity with which the honourable member for Bellwoods has attempted, through various stages of evolution -- I am not suggesting his evolution, I mean the evolution of the amendment -- to progressively make it more and more reflective of the concerns that have been expressed in the House. I think the debate we had on the previous amendment covered many of the areas of concern. I felt that was one of the better debates we have had on various aspects of this bill from the time we first began in the standing committee.
As we look at the various stages of the evolution of this amendment, it does indicate a couple of things. First of all, it indicates the very real complexity of the issue that we are attempting to address and it also indicates the potential hazards in attempting to revise and adapt an amendment progressively to meet whatever objections may have been registered.
I know the honourable member for Bellwoods felt there could not be any rational objection to this. I assure him I shall attempt to be rational as I outline some of the concerns which remain with respect to this amendment.
Mr. Foulds: You are accepting it?
Hon. Mr. Norton: No, I said I would outline as rationally as I could for the member for Bellwoods some of the concerns which remain.
Mr. Roy: Let us be the judge of your rationality.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I wasn’t making any judgements. I just said I would attempt to be as rational as possible.
Mrs. Campbell: Under the circumstances.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Right. First of all, if one looks at the wording of the amendment as it now stands, the first thing that comes to one’s attention is the distinction that is drawn between the adoptee and the biological parent on the one hand, and the adoptive parent in terms of the nature of the consent.
The adoptive parent, according to my interpretation of the wording now, is not on the same basis as the other parties in terms of providing a voluntary consent in the voluntary registry. Rather, the onus appears to be placed upon the director in subsection 6(b) to obtain the consent from the adoptive parent. This is quite different from the voluntary consent, the voluntary registration, which, as I understand it, is the provision for the other two parties.
Mr. McClellan: Consent is 6(c).
Hon. Mr. Norton: My reading of subsection 6(b) says that where the director determines, first of all that the others have voluntarily registered -- “(b) where the director obtains from any living person who was the parent of the child after the adoption order.” -- it seems to me the onus is on the director to actively obtain the consent of the adoptive parent. I would raise that as one concern.
Regardless of good intentions, I suggest there are circumstances under which that could put considerable pressure upon the adoptive parent to provide consent when they may not have chosen to voluntarily register.
Another area of concern relates to the question of the timing of the obtaining of the registration of consent. My reading of the amendment as it now stands seems to indicate consent could be given or registered at any time from the birth of the child through to any time following the 18th birthday. That causes some concern as well. It seems to me a young mother just having given birth to a child and facing the very difficult decision to place the child for adoption may well be vulnerable to being encouraged to register the consent at that time.
If that should happen, then 18 years later there would presumably be a confirmation; if there was an inquiry there would be an attempt to confirm that. It seems to me that that still leaves open the possibility of an 18- or 20-year period following the birth of the child in which the circumstances could very dramatically change in the life of that young woman. Then she would be faced again with the active approach of a representative of the children’s aid society to seek confirmation of the consent. It would seem to me that the relevant time for which the consent ought to be registered is following the 18th birthday of that child. That way at least there is not that potentially long gap between the giving of the consent and the confirmation, which could be 18 or 20 years later.
I think there are some practical problems with the wording of this amendment as well. I am sure it’s an attempt to try to provide some avenue for disclosure. I suggest that it unwittingly creates two classes of adopted adults. It creates two classes in the sense that if the biological parent of the adopted adult is deceased, then there are no circumstances in this amendment under which they could ever obtain the information. So it is an avenue which is only open to those adopted adults whose biological parent is still living.
Ms. Gigantes: Better no loaf than half, right? Better no loaf than half.
Hon. Mr. Norton: And I am suggesting that unwittingly -- I am sure that was not the intention of the amendment -- it creates two classes of adopted adults.
Ms. Gigantes: Not unwittingly; you have driven us to that.
Mr. McClellan: You won’t permit any alternative then?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Well, I think it’s a very valid argument if you are talking about the --
Mr. Foulds: Have you never heard of regulations? You know you can refine this under regulations.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order.
Hon. Mr. Norton: You can’t refine that.
Mr. Foulds: Certainly you can.
Hon. Mr. Norton: It’s quite explicit in the act that the --
Mr. Foulds: Bring in your own amendment then; you are splitting hairs.
Hon. Mr. Norton: The amendment reads so as to provide that the voluntary registration of consent must take place before any information can be revealed.
Ms. Gigantes: Why don’t you have the honesty to say no?
Hon. Mr. Norton: If the biological parent is deceased, or has given consent earlier and subsequently is deceased and cannot be located so there can be no confirmation, presumably the information could not be released. So it means that those adopted adults whose biological parent is deceased can never have access to the information; but those adopted adults whose biological parent is still alive and --
Mr. Roy: Well, you could easily make a further amendment there.
Hon. Mr. Norton: -- has appropriately registered, then they would have access.
Mr. Foulds: You can bring in your own amendment next week.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I am pointing out that it does create a double standard or at least two classes of adopted adults.
Another practical problem with the amendment is the mandatory requirement for counselling. The problem that I foresee there is that, and I think if you justify in your minds --
Mr. Foulds: Why don’t you just say no because your back bench won’t let you say yes?
Mr. Nixon: Back bench? I thought it was the front bench.
Hon. Mr. Norton: That’s not the reason at all. If you would just listen to the explanation; I don’t know why you should react so hostilely when I comment, I think reasonably, on the amendments.
Mr. Nixon: We are not personally hostile.
Hon. Mr. Norton: You are not personally hostile?
Mr. Nixon: No, no.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Impersonally?
Mr. Roy: We would be hostile to anybody who gives us such gibberish.
Hon. Mr. Norton: We all know of cases where reunions have taken place involving parties who have relocated in other jurisdictions. Certainly we know of some instances where one of the parties is located in California for example, or as far away as Australia; yet my interpretation of this is that somehow it is mandated that the children’s aid society provide counselling to all of those parties, regardless of where they may be resident on the globe.
Ms. Gigantes: My heavens, would you believe this?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Well, you tell me how else that ought to be interpreted.
Ms. Gigantes: Who drove us to this nonsense?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Don’t accuse me of driving you to nonsense. If you admit that it’s nonsense, then for goodness sake don’t support it.
Mr. Foulds: Your argument is nonsense. What you are arguing is that we should chase someone to Tibet for a driving violation in Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Norton: You’re a former teacher; you understand the language better than that. She wasn’t talking about the argument being nonsense; she was talking about the amendment being nonsense.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order. Can I ask the members to my left to please allow the minister to complete his remarks; and can I ask the minister please to ignore the interjections?
Mrs. Campbell: Define your “left” please. We weren’t being discourteous.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I suggest that provision would present some very real difficulties in implementation in any realistic way and in terms of the provision of counselling. Obviously it would require either that the parties come to the society or that the society go to the parties. How that is to be arranged practically under this proposed amendment I don’t know. I could envisage it being a very costly exercise for children’s aid societies, or a very costly exercise for the parties to the disclosure. If it were voluntary that would be their own responsibility, but I don’t understand how that could be practically implemented.
Mr. Lupusella: There’s no way; you’re not convincing us.
Hon. Mr. Norton: One other concern I would have relates to the question of ensuring that registration is voluntary in the case of all parties. Even in transactions that are interspousal transactions or transactions involving spouses together, in our system we frequently require that there be some independent advice which will ensure that the consent that is being given to the transaction by the spouse is voluntary, free and given with full understanding of the implications.
It seems to me there could be much more secure provision to ensure voluntary consent in this amendment -- by way of affidavit perhaps, assuring that it was a voluntary consent that was given, that there was no pressure following some legal counsel and that the consents in all cases were freely given.
Those are a number of concerns. I am sure other members will have further comments to make and I may wish to make further comments later as well.
Mr. Roy: As one who is probably less familiar with it than many of my colleagues who participated in the debate on Bill 114, both at the committee stage and on second reading, I have sat here for two nights listening to the debate on this touchy and emotional problem.
I recall being apprised of the debate that was going in committee by my colleague the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney) and we discussed it at that time. I think it was this summer when we discussed how we could have safeguards to protect people involved in this process. The whole process of adoption is one that must be handled very carefully because it is a process we don’t want in any way to discourage.
As one who sat here and listened to the debate on all sides, I feel this is not something that should be decided along party lines. This is more important than deciding that we should vote one way if we happen to be Liberal, one way if we are NDP and another way if we are Conservative. This is the type of gut issue where people have a certain feeling which is often based on personal experience at various levels in this particular process. This is the type of debate where I feel members can exercise independent judgement on a question as important as this one is.
I’m sure that many of my colleagues across the way, the members of the Conservative Party, feel as we do when they’re looking at this and discussing this. This is not a thing where you get the troops all lined up at the point of a gun --
Mr. Nixon: Particularly the honourable member for Armourdale.
Mr. Roy: -- and say, “This is party line and the government will stand or fall on such an issue.” Surely this is more important than that. We, as elected members, can approach this from an objective point of view and decide according to what we feel. I think we do approach it that way. I know some of my colleagues don’t agree with some of the things I say or I don’t agree with some of the things my colleagues say, but --
Mr. Nixon: We agree with you.
Mr. Roy: Yes, I know. The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk and I, of course, seldom disagree except when we get into the nitty-gritty of who’s more important, the farmers or the lawyers; but then that’s another problem.
Mr. Nixon: There’s no contest here. There are more farmers than lawyers.
Mr. Roy: So, Mr. Chairman, I’ve looked at the issue and I’ve listened carefully now for two evenings to the member for Bellwoods, and I’ve listened to my colleagues on this. The minister is in a better position to confirm this than I, but I clearly get the impression from all members that there is a problem, there is a demand for something that we’re talking about here, that this is not something imaginary. I get the impression there are people who have a certain amount of interest in finding out their roots or finding out their backgrounds.
I listened to the member for Prince Edward-Lennox (Mr. J. A. Taylor) the other evening -- he is a former minister who was involved in that process. He left me, and I think many of my colleagues here, up in the air. He said this is a difficult issue, people have problems about it; and then he sort of backed off and said, “I think we’re better off not to do anything.”
Surely if we do nothing else as elected members of the Legislature we shouldn’t just sit back and say the problem will go away and we don’t do anything about it. Surely there’s something more positive we can do than just sit back and say, “Just leave things alone.”
On that basis I feel there is a need, there is a problem, and we at least should try to give some response. The response I see from the minister, as far as I can understand, is what now exists in the act; that is that the only time there is going to be any disclosure or inspection is through an order of the court or the written direction of a director. There are guidelines as to when the court is going to exercise its discretion or the director is going to exercise his discretion. What are the criteria for the court or the director to exercise discretion on it?
Surely if there is a problem, if there is a need, we can respond to it with something more intelligent and more practical than what at present exists in section 80. On that basis, let’s look at what we can do. I understand there were further amendments presented by the member for Bellwoods. He presented his amendment the other evening and we responded and said, “Here are our concerns.” I look at the full amendments now and I must say, my God, I think we’re protecting every possible --
Mr. Nixon: Do you mean “Mr. Chairman”?
Mr. Roy: What did I call him? “Mr. Speaker,” did I? You’re not offended if I call you “Mr. Speaker”?
Mr. Nixon: You don’t have to call him “God.” I didn’t mean to interrupt you in full flight, because you’re right on.
Mr. Breithaupt: A simple “sir” would have been enough.
Mr. Roy: Try to control that member. I won’t name him for the record, Mr. Chairman; I won’t say he’s from southern Ontario and he represents a rural riding; I won’t say that for the record.
But getting back to this, it seems to me we’ve covered all bases here. Our concern was that if the process is going to work, let’s for God’s sake at least protect the interests of everybody involved. I think we’re doing that and we’re ensuring no one gets hurt in this process.
The government’s position, as I understood the minister when he stood up, is to stay with the status quo and not get involved in this. If there is a problem that’s too bad, we’re just leaving it the way it is.
I really don’t think that is good enough.
The minister has gone on to make certain comments. As one who is not as up to date on the whole issue as many of my colleagues are, even I could see the hollowness of some of his arguments in responding to certain sections of this bill. For instance, he states that there would be pressure, according to subsection 6(h), on the adoptive parents because the director has to turn to the adoptive parents and say, “Are you consenting to this?”
I say very seriously, when we look at this situation surely if you have an adoptee adult who wants to know his sources, his roots, there’s going to be pressure on the adoptive parents anyway. He’s going to be turning to them trying to get some information, and surely that type of pressure will be more significant than the pressure of a director calling up the adoptive parent and saying, “Are you prepared to consent?”
There’s going to be some type of pressure; that’s the way life works; that’s the way human relations exist. I don’t quite understand what the minister is talking about. Surely there’s nothing in this legislation which has any element of coercion in any fashion. I don’t understand the minister’s argument on this.
Then the minister talks about the confirmation required under subsection 6(c). I think that is a good practice. That is one of the reasons I’ve changed my mind on this bill, because even if a young mother, prior to the time that she’s an adult, should have entered voluntarily on the register, the minister is stating the point that it should be confirmed on the register and that should happen after she becomes an adult, that might just be a couple of years later.
Hon. Mr. Norton: No, when the child becomes an adult.
Mr. Roy: Yes, but I think the minister has stated in his comments that he was talking about the mother’s consent, the biological parent’s consent, for instance, should be at a time when he or she is an adult.
Hon. Mr. Norton: When the child is an adult.
Mr. Roy: When the child is an adult. I’m saying to the minister: surely that is ample protection. Circumstances change, as my colleague from Sarnia mentioned the other evening; the situation at the time of birth and what prevails 18 years later may be quite different.
That’s only fair. I thought this was a very good safeguard that my colleague put into the legislation: confirmation of that consent at that time. Surely I would have thought that the minister would have praised such an amendment to the legislation, because if the situation has changed for the biological parent, she can say, “No, I don’t want to gat involved in this process now; my situation is changed.” I would have thought that would be a safeguard the minister would have applauded.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Why not wait until that relevant time then, before the consent would be valid at all? It can’t happen until the child is 18.
Mr. Roy: I don’t understand what the minister is talking about when he talks about relevant time.
Mr. M. Davidson: You guys would wait until everybody passed away.
Mr. Roy: All I’m saying is that I think that is an excellent safeguard, the fact that the director has to go back to these people and confirm the voluntary nature of the consent. The minister repeated the same argument earlier when he talked about voluntary consent in reference to parties -- even in a marriage, for instance acting with a banker -- being told to obtain independent legal advice.
But surely the minister is not talking about that sort of transaction here. What can a lawyer or someone giving independent legal advice tell an individual who has to make such a personal decision? The minister is comparing this to a bank transaction or real estate transaction. That’s not what we’re involved with here. Surely that sort of decision --
Hon. Mr. Norton: It is more important than a real estate transaction.
Mr. Roy: -- is something that is very personal, and if there has been voluntary consent at one time and you go back for confirmation, that is safeguard enough. To suggest that somehow there should be independent advice or legal advice of some kind, I don’t quite understand that.
The minister talks about two classes of adoptees, those whose biological parents are alive and those whose parents have died. Again it’s a simple matter. In subsection 6(c) we could have the confirmation from each of the living parties just like the minister has done in the present (b), where we’re talking about living persons. I was talking to an individual recently who said: “If you require the consent of the adoptive parents what happens if they have died?” I was going to suggest it to the minister, but that’s covered in (b). We’re talking about living persons. We could easily correct it in (c) and say “each of the living parties”; but it’s ridiculous to put “living parties” because if the adoptee died no one would be looking for any information. We’re talking about a technical thing which can easily be cured in the legislation.
I must say that having listened to my colleagues on this, having listened to some who have had personal experiences in this whole process, it seems to me that the whole approach of this amendment is one of caution, of being doubly sure that the consent is there. I just wonder, what is it? I don’t know ii you’re taking a party position on this or not; I would hope not. This is something more important than rallying the troops.
I say to all my colleagues: surely you’re not going to get up, as you do on private members’ bills, and oppose this. The minister hasn’t said one thing in his comments, apart from being critical of certain aspects of this, that says to me we should back off from this. What is the evil he is trying to avoid by opposing this?
I’ve heard comments from the former minister, the member for Prince Edward-Lennox, who said “this is a difficult problem so we’ll leave it the way it is.” Surely that’s not a responsible approach to government. Taking it in this fashion, with all these safeguards, surely my colleagues across the way will exercise some independent judgement in this and decide for themselves, and not look at the minister to see whether he’s waving his finger and deciding whether the troops are to go along or not.
Hon. Mr. Norton: You know I don’t have that kind of power.
Mr. Cooke: He’s doing what he’s told.
Mr. McClellan: Yes, that’s the problem.
Mr. Roy: You don’t have that? I hope not. I hope this is an important enough issue that we make up our own minds. Having discussed it for as long as we have; having discussed it with a variety of people and having looked at the problems which we have had and which we’ve corrected by this amendment, I really can’t see why the minister would oppose it.
Here I thought you were an open-minded, far-looking type of minister. I get the feeling somebody’s got to you and said “Stay away from this, Keith; don’t get involved in this stuff.” Are you afraid --
Hon. Mr. Norton: I don’t know fear.
Mr. Roy: -- that it’s going to cause problems, that people will not adopt because of this legislation? Is that what the problem is?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Do you want an answer?
Mr. Roy: No, I’m just wondering.
Mr. Stong: The man is speaking from the heart.
Mr. McClellan: Adoption professionals don’t think so, do they?
Mr. Roy: I’m asking you a question.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order. Please continue with your remarks.
Mr. Roy: There are some comments coming from across the way which I don’t take all that seriously. I ask the minister really to level with us and tell us --
Hon. Mr. Norton: I have.
Mr. Roy: You have? You haven’t said very much.
Hon. Mr. Norton: You weren’t here the other night.
Mr. Roy: I was here the other night. I listened to you the other night.
Mr. Nixon: He’s always here.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Order. Could I ask the member to please continue with his remarks and to ignore the interjections.
Mr. Nixon: Ignore the interjections.
Mr. Roy: Yes. You don’t want me to speak to him anymore? That’s right. I’m wasting my time. I’ll speak to you. I’ll speak directly to you.
I’ve made my comments. Mr. Chairman, I really can’t see how -- apart from members who have a deep gut feeling that this is something they don’t want to get involved with, but surely the minister has a duty, as the minister responsible for this, to give us something more as to why he would object to this type of amendment. Frankly, I haven’t heard it. I, for one, will vote in favour of the amendment.
Mr. Warner: I’ll be brief. The Minister of Community and Social Services is not very convincing. He isn’t convincing in the remarks which he made earlier this evening and I’m afraid --
Hon. Mr. Norton: I haven’t heard any good response to my concerns.
Mr. Cooke: You have on three or four occasions.
Hon Mr. Norton: Not on those I raised tonight.
Mr. Cooke: You have to convince Margaret.
Mr. M. Davidson: They’re not worth responding to.
Mr. Warner: As was stated by the member for Ottawa East, it seems to me there are few issues which come into this assembly which are issues devoid of partisan political concerns. This happens to be one of them.
I should remind the minister that this is an issue on which my colleague the member for Bellwoods spent a great deal of time. He was aware there was far more progressive legislation in other jurisdictions. He understood that that progressive legislation is what is needed in Ontario, but in a spirit of co-operation he wished to find an amendment to the bill which would satisfy all progressive-thinking people in this assembly. In my view, that is precisely what he has done.
I understand full well there will be members in the assembly who will not agree with the amendment put forward by my colleague. I understand that. I can appreciate that there will be differences of opinion. What I cannot appreciate, Mr. Speaker, is that it would appear the government is simply going to vote as a bloc, not as individuals, on a matter which I do not believe is one of partisan political concern. If that is what is going to happen later this evening, I for one am particularly unhappy about that. I would hope that members of all three parties will be able to stand and vote the way their conscience tells them they should vote.
Perhaps in this instance I will be falsely attributing abilities to the minister, but from my understanding of the minister and what he tries to do, I have thought along the way that he has progressive tendencies --
Mr. McClellan: They are tendencies.
Mr. Warner: Yes, unfortunately. I chose the words very carefully, because we don’t see many results; otherwise I wouldn’t use the word “tendency” but actually would just say he is progressive; but we don’t see many results.
I find it very difficult to believe that the minister himself personally objects to the amendment put forward by my colleague, the member for Bellwoods. I just cannot believe that this minister -- I remember, and you will recall, Mr. Chairman, how on Tuesday evening, at the time my colleague introduced the amendment he had tried to accommodate some of the concerns of members of the Liberal Party. The minister had a very long conversation with the government House leader and it appeared at that time there was an opportunity for some compromise; an opportunity to go ahead with some mildly progressive legislation.
An hon. member: Very mild.
Mr. Warner: Mildly. The minister, I understand, is aware of the legislation which exists in other jurisdictions. He is aware, then, that this legislation does not go that far. It is a small step in the right direction.
Mr. Chairman, surely the minister can first stand up and tell us what he personally believes; and secondly, the government House leader can assure us that each member from the government’s side will be released from the hold normally held over them and be allowed to vote by conscience. I will support this legislation, because it is good legislation and it is needed in Ontario in 1978.
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Chairman, I finally have the opportunity to discuss this matter in the House. I think one of the most important statements made in the debate which took place earlier and that which is taking place now under this amendment, was made by the member for York Centre (Mr. Stong). He said, “All we are trying to do is to give to an adopted adult the opportunity to ask.” That really is all we are doing here in essence.
Mr. Cooke: And barely that.
Mrs. Campbell: It may be that as a result of all this procedure they will get some facts. It seems very strange to me that this minister has taken so many steps to try to protect the child, to give rights to a child in the courts -- and I salute him for that -- and yet would deny to that child any right at all to know something of his or her roots.
I recognize there are those, be they adoptive parents or others, who have concerns; and I understand those concerns. We’ve heard so much about the child who has given birth and is under age. It used to be that when you had an application for crown wardship there was a lawyer who appeared on behalf of that child, in effect, to ensure that everything had been explained to this person. This was the route to go, to crown wardship which eventually in many cases led to adoption. We seem to have forgotten all about that kind of protection, which as far as I know has existed for many years in the courts. If the minister is not going to permit any such procedure to continue, I would be very surprised.
I have had a good deal of respect for this minister, notwithstanding the fact I was sometimes sharp in my criticism. Nevertheless I have acknowledged, and he knows it, that I felt he was moving in an enlightened way. I really don’t understand his position and his talk about technicalities. Of course, he raised a good issue about the case if the natural parent were deceased or if the adoptive parent were deceased. I think that can be easily corrected if one can just get the principle across. I’m sure the author of this particular amendment would be willing once more to go through the mill and try and protect those situations.
One could certainly provide that counselling would be available where such guidance or counselling were requested within the province of Ontario. You know that and I know that; we’re really not talking about that at all.
Mr. McClellan: That is obviously what it means and the minister knows it.
Hon. Mr. Norton: It is not.
Mrs. Campbell: We’re not talking about that at all. We’re talking about a principle.
What bothers me with the minister’s explanation, and I did listen carefully, is the fact he says that under this amendment there would be two types of adopted adults. What do we have today? We have two types of adopted persons: those who are able through the courts to get information and those who can’t. What makes it different? It is just because it was an opposition proposal that makes the difference? Is there something holy about the government providing for that two-class system? I don’t understand it.
The minister is really talking about discrimination -- and I would like him to listen to what I’m saying, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Eaton: It’s your colleague who is interrupting.
Mrs. Campbell: I’m aware of that.
When this minister speaks about discrimination but administers the Family Benefits Act with a regulation that precludes a married spouse as female from being eligible even to apply for disability assistance, I don’t understand how he can talk about discrimination as a bad feature in this amendment. I would like to understand -- and I mean this honestly -- what the principle is that is bothering the minister. We have consent to disclosure by everybody. Why isn’t an adopted adult entitled to ask officially about his or her origin? If they follow all of these procedures I imagine they might even get tired in the process, but at least let them have that avenue to proceed by.
I wish the minister would tell us -- and I would ask him once more -- what principle he is trying to protect, or does he really feel that an adopted child shall never have any right at all to know who he or she is? If that is the government policy and principle, I think it is only appropriate that the minister should enunciate that to the House, because it is highly improper in my view, I suggest to the minister, for him to use little technical points as an excuse for not facing the principle of rights in such a situation as this.
There is nothing further I can say, I’m sure. I don’t think the minister really is listening, but I would like to say I personally am somewhat disappointed that we have such a footling little step forward in this kind of a situation. I’m sorry that this is the best that we can come to, and deeply sorry that we seem to have such unfortunate viewpoints that we can’t even recognize that the one innocent person in the transaction, if you like, in a sense is the child who doesn’t ask to get born. That’s the one who has no rights, really, at all.
Mr. Acting Chairman: The member for Carleton East is next on the list.
Ms. Gigantes: No, I will pass.
Mr. Acting Chairman: Then the member for Lincoln.
Hon. Mr. Welch: A great constituency.
Mr. Conway: He is going to adjourn the debate.
Mr. Hall: It is a pleasure for me to represent Lincoln in the tradition of those who preceded me, short as they were.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Not in tenure but in stature.
Mr. Hall: The Liberal caucus has been free to vote individually on this matter because it is a subject of individual concern. As a parent of both natural and adopted children, I am vitally interested and genuinely sympathetic to those involved. I have talked to several decent, concerned people at great length who have telephoned me. We have had quite an exchange of opinions. While there are organized groups on the one side of this issue, there are no organized groups of adoptive parents.
On the matter of roots, I guess Mr. Haley’s book has heightened interest in the whole subject. I have to confess that as a son of natural parents I don’t know and I’ve never sought information on all my own natural grandparents, so I have to wonder how much of this present concern is of a temporary nature.
I do have several concerns, although they’re not all on a consistent line of thinking. However, in connection with the aspect of raising children, I can visualize a situation where someone less than 18 years old, as a result of disagreement with parents, is in a challenging and argumentative mood and wants to know whether his or her parents will, when he or she reaches 18, agree to sign a registry and consent to sharing information. Obviously a parent who agrees to this is no problem, but when one disagrees I can see a difference, a schism or whatever you wish to call it, that makes the whole problem of child raising more difficult.
I have to wonder about any pregnant mother who considers the alternatives as to whether she should abort or whether she should carry on and give life to a foetus. I think the fear of future disclosure, whether it’s just an opening in the door right now or whether it’s a more obvious disclosure in future, could adversely affect the right to life of that child; and that disturbs me.
I am also disturbed about the question of parents seeking to adopt children. I wonder whether their willingness will be dissipated somewhat by the beginning of an opening of a door towards disclosure. It is a challenge to any parent to adopt a child and face certain additional problems to those natural parents accept, whether willingly or unwillingly. I am very much concerned that disclosure might just tend to tip the scales. I know I’ve been told in recent days there’s no shortage of parents willing to adopt, and indeed, it is the other way around, but the list continues.
The whole concept of taking care of the unwanted child in our society is built on the concept of new parentage and no-disclosure. I’m not at all satisfied that at this stage in society’s attitude we are willing to make such a change.
I’m fortified in this by talking to the director of the children’s aid in the Niagara region. He tells me there are mixed feelings among the professionals as to whether indeed this change is timely. He, himself, has felt we are not yet ready for disclosure. I asked him, when I talked to him, about the positive points in favour of it. I also asked him whether there were large groups of people in trauma because of it and whether this was causing injury to their health. He didn’t feel that way and I have to accept what he tells me. The positive demand for disclosure is more in the nature of understanding, but not in the nature of trauma to the extent the adopted child is in ill health.
So it is a difficult situation. I feel very much attuned to the people involved. My own daughter has known since she was able to understand. We adopted her at five weeks. She has known that she is adopted; she has understood the circumstances. When we adopted we were well informed by the children’s aid society about the background of everyone involved. Maybe I am fortunate. I feel that we are able to share this relationship with our adopted child.
I look to my concerns as to what might go wrong with the whole process of adoption. I am struggling to find sufficient positive points in favour of making a change at this time. In balance, to me they don’t add up. I would have to vote against the amendment even though I feel it is well intentioned.
I feel there is an area here where I would like to reach out and satisfy those who, by reason of their biological parentage and their adopted parentage, are not fulfilled and happy; but I don’t feel the amendment addresses itself sufficiently to all the concerns, given both sides of the matter. For that reason, I can’t support it.
Mr. Stong: I rise to speak in support of the amendment before us tonight. To me, it represents nothing more or nothing less than an opportunity for disclosure, simply an opportunity for disclosure. There is nothing mandatory, nothing compulsory. It is strictly voluntary and it only represents an opportunity for disclosure.
I recognize the fact that my colleagues, the member for Lincoln and the member for Scarborough East (Mrs. Birch), spoke from the heart when they spoke on this issue. I recognize that and I bow to what they have had to say. When this bill was introduced the minister himself spoke about the adoption triangle, and I must say that where the rights and responsibilities and the action flow depends on who we put at the top of that triangle.
I ascribe no motivation to the minister, but not more than two weeks ago the minister introduced a bill in this House that would have protected the rights of the mentally retarded and freed them from any abuse by those charged with the responsibility of looking after them. He spoke about the balance of rights. He spoke about balancing the rights of the mentally retarded against a greater principle, that being making legislation retroactive. I ask him simply: who is less responsible for their conditions, the mentally retarded or the adopted child? Neither is responsible. We can point the finger to neither the mentally retarded nor the adopted child with respect to the position they find themselves in.
I respect fully the rights of the adopting parents. I know the stress they must go through. I know the human element. I know that they are possessive; we all are, I respect that fully. But it seems to me that an adopted child has a right, as my colleague from Ottawa has said.
An adopted child does have a right to go back to determine his roots, his own identity. We all recognize that adopting parents tell their children they are adopted, that they are not “the natural children of our relationship.” We recognize that is done for the mental health of the child who is adopted. My uncle has two adopted children. I know the problem he has.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I have one.
Mr. Stong: Right; and he fights this bill. He does not support the amendment that is offered, and I respect fully what he has to say about this. I understand he wants these children for himself. I understand and I accept that. But the fact of the matter is, when that child finds out he is not the natural child of that relationship, he or she may want to go behind the scenes to find out more about his roots, more about his or her background.
When this bill was introduced I indicated in a very short speech we were balancing two rights: the right to know against the right not to be asked. We were protecting the adoptive parents from the right of some child or some agency or some authority to say: “Would you mind this child asking you for permission to search out his background?” We were saying, “Oh no; you do not have the right to be asked.” All I say is, this amendment simply grants an opportunity for disclosure; nothing more or nothing less.
I recognize that as a male I can never know the feelings of a child being born, being developed, growing within me and giving life. Only a woman can know that. I do not want to say to any person in Ontario that I protect them from the right of being asked whether they are willing to meet their offspring. I don’t want to provide that protection, but I will give them the opportunity to voluntarily refuse to give it.
It seems to me that’s all this bill does. It gives the natural parent the right to refuse not to be disclosed but not the protection of not being asked. I think that’s the significance, and that is why I am prepared to support --
An hon. member: It doesn’t even go that far.
Mr. Stong: It doesn’t even go that far, but I am prepared to support this amendment on the grounds that we are simply saying: “We are creating an opportunity for disclosure; nothing more, nothing less.”
I respect all the real human feelings and I ascribe no motivation to the minister when he balances the rights in terms of the mentally retarded. I say to him, he must also balance the rights in terms of those who are living, who would like to search out their background, would like to know the stock they are from. I think that’s everyone’s right.
We are saying to the natural parents: “You don’t have to agree. You don’t have to be asked. You voluntarily submit your name, that’s all. It’s up to you.” I am saying: “I am not prepared to afford you the protection of not being asked. I am affording you the opportunity to submit your name.” That’s all we are doing and that’s why I support this bill.
The committee divided on Mr. McClellan’s amendment to section 81 of Bill 114, which was approved on the following vote:
Ayes 37; nays 36.
Section 81, as amended, agreed to.
On section 80:
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. McClellan moves that subsection 1 of section 80 of the bill be amended by adding at the beginning thereof, “subject to subsection 6 of section 81.”
Mr. McClellan: I just want to say that the amendment is a companion to the amendment that was previously carried, and to express my appreciation to the majority of the members of the assembly for supporting the amendment.
Section 80, as amended, agreed to.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any further sections of this bill on which members wish to comment?
Sections 82 to 98 inclusive, as renumbered, agreed to.
Bill 114, as amended, reported.
CHILDREN’S RESIDENTIAL SERVICES ACT
Consideration of Bill 118, An Act to revise the Children’s Boarding Homes Act.
Sections 1 to 13, inclusive, agreed to.
On section 14:
Hon. Mr. Norton: We have been through this bill clause by clause. There is one additional amendment which is a companion amendment that is present in each of the other bills and was inadvertently omitted from this. It was by the consent of the opposition critics that the bill was referred back to committee and reopened for an amendment to section 14(2).
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Hon. Mr. Norton moves that section 14 of the bill be amended by renumbering subsections 2 to 4 as 3 to 5, and by adding thereto the following subsection 2: “The remuneration and the expenses of any person appointed under subsection 1 who is not in the employ of the public service of Ontario shall be fixed by the minister and shall be paid out of the moneys appropriated therefore by the Legislature.”
Hon. Mr. Norton: I won’t speak to the amendment at any length. This is an amendment which is present in each of the other bills and has been explained in each case previously, but it is to provide for the remuneration of those persons who from time to time may be called upon in the capacity of consultants to work in conducting operational reviews of agencies across the province. It is simply to make it possible for the ministry to compensate them for their expenses.
Mr. Blundy: In the other bills, a similar clause has been inserted and will permit the payment for a person engaged for a certain particular chore or job, and we have no objection to the amendment that has been proposed by the minister.
Mr. McClellan: We voted against the inclusion of this subsection in all of the other bills and spoke against it at length. I don’t need to do that again. We remain concerned about it and we will watch it closely to see how it works.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: All those in favour of Mr. Norton’s amendment will please say “aye.”
All those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the nays have it.
Motion agreed to.
Section 14, as amended, agreed to.
Sections 15 to 21, inclusive, agreed to.
Bill 118, as amended, reported.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Welch, the committee of the whole House reported two bills with amendments.
CITY OF NEPEAN ACT
Mr. Ashe, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Wells, moved second reading of Bill 172, An Act to erect the Township of Nepean into a City Municipality.
Mr. Conway: What a title that is!
Mr. Acting Speaker: Does the parliamentary assistant have an opening statement?
Mr. Ashe: Just very briefly. This is a very straightforward, very simple piece of legislation to change the status of a municipality. I would hope that members of the Legislature would not try to complicate the legislation with potential amendments that are not relevant.
Also, Mr. Speaker, at the appropriate time I will be proposing an amendment to guarantee the continued representation without change on the Carleton Roman Catholic Separate School Board of the representatives from the new city. It just maintains the status quo until December 1, 1980.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I’m pleased to be able to speak to this bill and to indicate that we on this side of the House agree with the bill in principle. I wonder sometimes what’s happening on the other side of the House with all this piecemeal legislation. Only last spring we were dealing with a number of regional municipality acts, including the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton Act; we were told to fall into line and support that bill and in the near future we would have all-encompassing legislation to deal with this very important municipality, as we would with other parts of the province. We were very hopeful. Of course, we took the government at its word and thought that we would get something quite substantial. Here it is November 16 and we haven’t had anything.
Now since that time last March, or whenever it was, Mr. Speaker, we heard from the government that it wasn’t going to deal with the Ottawa-Carleton act at all. Then only about three or four days later someone got a handle on things, and as a result of that we had some amending legislation creating the municipality of Hazeldean-March. We went along with that. We thought we would give the government a break, and we did; and only a few months after that, Mr. Speaker, we had some legislation amending the legislation that we passed in June.
Mr. Nixon: Ridiculous.
Mr. Epp: Now, only a little later, we have more legislation for the same municipality. I really don’t think that with respect to Ottawa-Carleton they’ve got a good handle on things, Mr. Speaker. I think they have got to do something better than this.
Mr. Handleman: Where? What municipality are you talking about?
Mr. Roy: That’s right; you just don’t know what you’re doing; that is your problem.
Mr. Nixon: We’re going to correct that.
Mr. Epp: You know, it’s like a car running out of gas; you just boomp, boomp, boomp, boomp and it comes to a stop. After 35 years I can’t think of a better thing to happen than to have that government over there come to a complete stop. It’s almost out of gas, and this is a good example of it. It’s like a magician; here we are, here we aren’t. It’s got a little legislation and then -- it’s like a bubble that’s bursting.
Hon. Mr. Welch: This isn’t covered by this bill.
Mr. Epp: Over a year ago it gave out 250 grand. Now, to this government that isn’t very much money. It gave 250 grand to Dr. Mayo and his assistants to do a study and now we are getting all this back in little bits and pieces. I don’t think that’s showing any great respect for Dr. Mayo, who is a very competent person and did a fairly good study of the whole matter.
In addition, as my colleague from Ottawa East indicated it certainly doesn’t respect the people of Ottawa-Carleton very much in coming forward with this haphazard legislation.
Nevertheless, we have this bill before us, Mr. Speaker, and we are going to have to deal with it.
The bill itself deals with changing a municipality from a township to a city. If a particular municipality has about 84,000 people, I think it is probably time that it was recognized as a city.
Mr. Roy: That’s right. We are just going to help it along.
Mr. Epp: There are many municipalities that have 15,000 people or a few more or less that are recognized as cities, so this move is certainly overdue.
The city of Nepean and the people of Nepean obviously endorse this, as a number of the representatives have indicated. The Ottawa-Carleton regional council endorsed this particular bill in principle. As I understand the bill, it won’t have any effect on the grants themselves. The grants will remain in the same proportion for the city as they have been for the area as a township.
The reeve will be called the mayor rather than the reeve and we are going to dispense with a deputy reeve. A little later on this evening, if we get to the point, I hope to introduce an amendment which will concern section 5. I will speak more to it at that time.
As I indicated, we will support it, but with an amendment in mind.
Mr. Swart: We too are going to support this bill in principle, but we intend, as members on both sides of the House know, to make an amendment to this bill.
As has been stated by the member for Durham West, the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, this is a simple bill. I am becoming more and more concerned because the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs doesn’t seem to be in the House when these municipal bills are being dealt with. I thought perhaps it was because the former minister in this portfolio (Mr. McKeough) had so much to do previously. He had Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs, but even though this fall we divided that portfolio into two, we don’t have the minister here.
Mr. Sterling: The former minister was here more than you wanted him here.
Mr. Roy: He’s got a so-called parliamentary assistant.
Mr. Swart: As has been said by the member for Durham West, this is a simple bill. What really bothers me about this bill is that it is just a simple bill.
Mr. Handleman: It is not complicated enough for you.
Mr. Swart: It doesn’t go into the detail the bill should go into with regard to the erecting of the township of Nepean to a city. It is a bill that has been put in at the last minute, sort of as an afterthought. There can’t be much doubt about that, partly because of its simplicity and partly because it doesn’t deal with some of the things that should be dealt with, even in a simple bill like this, to erect it as a city.
Mr. Handleman: According to whom?
Mr. Swart: This is not something that has come on us in the last week or the last month. Nepean asked to be erected to a city, as the member for Carleton well knows as a member from there, back in 1970 and 1971. They pushed for it and it was postponed. The government said, “We had better wait for the Mayo report.”
The Mayo report has been in now for over two years and nothing has been done up to this time. Now suddenly we get a bill to erect this as a city without dealing with all of the other problems that exist with regard to the municipality of Nepean, whether it is a township or whether it is a city. Some of those things could have been dealt with in this bill and are not dealt with here.
Mr. Sterling: That has nothing to do with regional councillors.
Mr. Swart: I am glad to see that my colleague from Waterloo North recognizes now the mistake they made last spring when we had all the --
Mr. Roy: Don’t get provocative now.
Mr. Swart: -- regional governments bills before us and we tried to move amendments to have the regional chairmen elected. After all the protestations previously about this being the way it should be, when we came to move these amendments they weren’t accepted. I suggest to that member and his colleagues they are not going to get the chance. The government will see that they don’t get the chance.
Mr. Cureatz: Try it tonight.
Mr. Handleman: Why don’t you put it in this bill?
Mr. Swart: The government will see that this House doesn’t get the chance for years and years and years to determine whether we are going to elect the regional chairmen. We had a chance to do it and we didn’t do it.
Mr. Roy: You are right on. We are going to amend them as we go.
Mr. Swart: We are not going to miss the chance, just as you people are not going to miss the chance, to make some amendments when this bill comes before us at the committee stage. I just want to say to members across the floor that there probably is the intent to bring in a more comprehensive bill with regard to the changes in the city of Nepean, and also with regard to Ottawa-Carleton, in the next two years, but there is no guarantee that will be the case. However, if that is the case, then the amendments which are going to be moved tonight will not have done any harm. If that’s not the case, then they will do some good.
I mentioned that this bill is extremely deficient in dealing with the problems of Nepean. I am surprised, for instance -- and perhaps there is an explanation for this -- that it doesn’t even contain a clause as to when Nepean will be elevated from a township to a city. There’s no date set in the bill, no date of proclamation, or date of royal assent.
Mr. Ashe: Can’t you read?
Mr. Handleman: It says on the day of royal assent.
Mr. Swart: Of course I can read; that’s exactly why I know it’s on the day of royal assent. That could be any day whenever it happens to get royal assent. There are many municipalities, including the city of Thorold, that would like to have a celebration when they are going to be erected from a township to a city; that’s supposed to be quite an occasion. They won’t even know when to prepare for it if they want to have it on the day that it’s going to be erected to a city.
Mr. Sterling: They wanted it yesterday.
Mr. Swart: They could have had it yesterday except for this government. After all, they had asked for it for the last six or seven years.
Surely, Mr. Speaker, if you are going to erect a township of 80,000 people to a city, many people who live there will think that’s a rather significant event. There should be a date set, whether it’s December 1 or whether it’s January 1. They just might like to have some sort of a celebration in that municipality. I know they would in any municipalities down in the Niagara region, if that was going to take place. Yet this is just at the time it’s proclaimed. Then when it gets royal assent, it’s going to become a city. That could be almost any day of the week. I think that’s doing a disservice to the council and to the people of that municipality. I also know that as of Tuesday -- and I don’t know what the situation is today -- the previous council and those who have been elected since had never even seen the bill.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Oh, come on!
Mr. Roy: He’s right on.
Hon. Mr. Drea: So you and I are friends.
Mr. Swart: I suggest too that that is almost disgraceful and insulting to the council of that municipality that a bill is introduced here and they haven’t even seen it. The bill does not deal with the inadequacy of the representation of Nepean on the Ottawa-Carleton regional council.
Mr. Roy: Don’t take too long. We want to get on.
Mr. Swart: I won’t take too long, I may say to the member for Ottawa East, because there are some of my other colleagues here too who want to get on and have some comments. It doesn’t deal with the representation on the regional council of Ottawa-Carleton. There is no regional council -- and I think that is borne out -- any place in this province where the representation is so disproportionate to the population as it is in Ottawa-Carleton.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I notice the member for Carleton East isn’t here with her remarks.
Mr. Sterling: Where is she?
Mr. Swart: In the information that was sent to us relative to this bill, there was a letter from the chairman of the regional council which recommended that there be additional representation from Nepean and Gloucester and indicated that that was long overdue. We have a bill brought in that doesn’t deal with that. We intend to move an amendment to provide for one more person on the regional council. If the government proceeds with a comprehensive bill, of course that can be changed. It won’t be effective for two years. That should give even that government, although I’m never sure of it, enough time to make the necessary changes before the next election two years away.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Where’s Evelyn Gigantes? She’s the only person involved.
Mr. Swart: This bill doesn’t do anything about the ward system, and we in this party think that when you have a municipality of some 80,000 people there should be a ward system in that municipality if there is going to be any kind of fair representation; and this says nothing about that.
In conclusion on this bill, Mr. Speaker, we are insisting on two things: First that it go to committee, because we are going to propose the amendment; and second, we want a flat commitment from the government that within a year’s time they will be bringing in a comprehensive bill with regard to Nepean and a comprehensive bill with regard to Ottawa-Carleton. That is not an unreasonable request.
We will vote for the bill. We think it should be elevated to a city. We think that all of the other matters that are companion to elevating it to a city should have been included in this bill. It is not good enough to just say, “Well, we can’t do it now.” This could have been worked on last spring; all the factors were there at that time. We could have had it introduced at the start of this session and we could have dealt with the comprehensive bill.
There is no guarantee that we are going to get the comprehensive bill, so we are going to do what we can with this one.
Mr. Handleman: I am almost prepared to defer to the member for Ottawa East, Mr. Speaker, but I really do think I should speak on this bill since the township of Nepean lies entirely within the constituency of Carleton.
I have listened with great interest to the contributions of the members for Waterloo North and Welland-Thorold. They have come up with some statements of opinion, presumably derived in the far reaches of their caucuses somewhere, where somebody says, “We can’t let a bill go through without amendment. We’re in the majority in this House; let’s get some amendments in there.”
Mr. Conway: Nothing like the Handleman-Haydon alliance.
Mr. Handleman: That’s right. The strange part of the bill is that it has been developed in full consultation with the local officials.
Mr. Roy: What about the people?
Mr. Handleman: We hear about the proposed amendments, although the member for Waterloo North didn’t spell his out. Since hearing about the amendments, and being somewhat aghast at their content, I have been in touch with the local officials and I really do hope that somehow, if this bill does not receive final reading tonight, the members opposite may consult with not only the existing councils but the members of the new councils who have some thoughts on this and should be consulted before there are any comprehensive changes.
Mr. Roy: A deal is a deal.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I am leaving it wide open.
Mr. Handleman: The reason this bill is being brought in at this time is simply because the present reeve is standing down at the end of this month; he would like to see, as one of his achievements before leaving office, the status of Nepean being changed to that of a city. It is something that Reeve Haydon has asked for over the years; not urgently, not vehemently, but he has asked for it. It is completely noncontroversial. Nobody opposes it, including the old council --
Mr. Conway: Is he leaving office or changing office?
Mr. Handleman: -- the new council, regional council. None of the neighbouring councils opposes it. For goodness’ sake, why can’t we accommodate the reeve; get this simple act through without amendment, change Nepean to a city?
We are told about dates. There is a very historic date which we might have been able to use. Unfortunately, the Legislature was not in session and if you made it retroactive apparently it would invalidate a number of the acts of a township.
Mr. Swart: There was the session before this one, you know.
Mr. Handleman: This request came up during the summer. We came back, we were quite prepared to bring it in very early, but we weren’t in session on that historic date.
Mr. Swart: What about last spring?
Mr. Handleman: The township of Nepean really does have a history. My concern about the historic values of eastern Ontario and Carleton county is that if we don’t draw attention to them from time to time they tend to get lost. I would like to take the opportunity tonight, not go into too much detail but simply impress on my friends opposite particularly, some of the historic values of Nepean township and why we like to tread a little bit cautiously in having all these comprehensive changes that the member for Welland-Thorold has asked us to make in the Township of Nepean Act.
Mr. Conway: How are things in Carp, Sidney?
Mr. Handleman: We don’t need a lot of changes in Nepean, Mr. Speaker; and we haven’t had that many since 1791, when it was first laid out.
Mr. Warner: Is that when you first ran for office?
Mr. Handleman: At one time the area of the township of Nepean included all of the present city of Ottawa, the former town of Bytown, and a whole number of other places. By proclamation on January 1, 1800 -- that might be a good date, January 1 -- George III said that the county of Carleton “shall consist of the township of Nepean.” Since then we’ve very generously given up a great dial of territory to other people, but we are left with a considerable amount of territory. When 1847 came along and Bytown was then incorporated --
Mr. Warner: Where were you then?
Mr. Conway: Do you remember that?
Mr. Handleman: -- it was still within the township of Nepean. Even in those days the people of Nepean did not want to have any responsibility for Bytown or Ottawa. We said, “Go your own way,” and there was a very friendly parting of the ways.
What I would like to point out is that there is in existence an atlas of the county of Carleton; 1879 is the date of publication. I want to quote what it had to say about Nepean township, because it’s quite complimentary. I must say it was complimentary about many other townships, thereby aiding the sale of the atlas throughout the whole country. This quotation from the atlas is quite literal and quite correct. It’s true today too. This is the quotation: “We see that whatever way we look at Nepean we find it at least approaching what its admirers claim it to be, a model township in the abstract and the model township of a metropolitan county in particular.”
That was in 1879 and I submit, Mr. Speaker, to you and to my colleagues in the Legislature that nothing has really changed. Nepean is still, without a doubt --
Mr. Conway: Is that the same atlas that called Ottawa an enlarged lumber camp?
Mr. Handleman: Even though Nepean is the oldest existing municipality in Ottawa-Carleton it will, in the passage of this bill and on royal assent, be Ontario’s newest city. It will only enjoy that distinction until December 1, unless it doesn’t pass until after that. Because on December 1 another city, which also lies within my constituency -- at least, most of it does; part of it lies within the constituency of my colleague, the member for Carleton-Grenville -- Kanata will become the newest city. We would like to have Nepean enjoy that distinction for a week or 10 days if possible. I would not want to have to explain to the departing reeve why it didn’t achieve that distinction in advance of Kanata.
The pace of change in Ottawa-Carleton has been extremely fast. It’s been remarkable. I entered this Legislature in 1971 as the member for Carleton. At that time I represented the townships of Nepean, Goulbourn, March, Huntley, Torbolton, Fitzroy, North-Gower, Marlborough; the incorporated villages of Richmond-Stittsville; the police villages of Manotick and City View -- eight townships, two incorporated villages, two police villages. When this act passes I’ll represent two cities in this Legislature.
Mr. Conway: Empire builder.
Mr. Handleman: The pace is just a little frightening. For a person who looks on change with :a great deal of suspicion and reluctance and has to be dragged into these kinds of so-called progressive measures, I find that pace just a little bit scary. But with 80,000 people it’s clearly right for Nepean to be granted city status. As one of the members has said, it may in fact be long overdue, but nobody has suffered unduly.
Mr. Warner: Are you kidding? They have had you for a representative. That is unduly suffering.
Mr. McClellan: Cruel and unusual punishment.
Mr. Handleman: As a person from the township, a person who moved there 27 years ago to avoid the urban sprawl of Ottawa and at that time Eastview, where I lived for a few months, I liked the idea of living in the rural part of Ottawa-Carleton. I didn’t want to be called a city member, an urban member. But you can’t deny the fact that Nepean today is an urban community.
Mr. McClellan: You don’t really look like a rural type.
Mr. Handleman: I’ve seen it recover from an annexation in 1949. The population was 3,000. Today it’s 80,000, less than 30 years later. That’s pretty fast growth. Those of you who haven’t visited Nepean should, because you’ll find out that one of the things we’ve done is develop a model community without the planners telling us how to do it. For a long time Nepean was probably the most unplanned community anywhere in this province. We enjoy a very good quality of life. The planners are now starting to mess it up a little bit because they’re telling us where we should build, how we should build and what we should build. But in those years of relatively unplanned growth, we developed a good community.
Mr. Lawlor: That is a weird argument. You are not against planning. It just depends on who does it.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Handleman: What we have -- and for the member for Lakeshore I should explain -- is no town centre, no industrial core, no shopping centres. What we have is a series of small villages, and we enjoy that. We’re connected by what we call our umbilical cords to each other, and those we don’t want to break; the roads connect us, they don’t divide us.
Mr. Conway: You have the Family Brown too, Sid.
Mr. Handleman: The Family Brown is out in Fallowfield and that’s our rural area and we’re very proud of the rural area.
As I say, I would like to just renew one of the very remarkable historic events, because one of my predecessors, one of your predecessors, one of the predecessors of the member for Huron-Bruce (Mr. Gaunt) is involved in this. It followed shortly after the election to the Upper Canada Assembly in 1844 and I would like to read from this atlas; it’s very brief.
It concerns the elections held on November 10, 1844. A man by the name of James Johnston was elected by a very large majority. He was a newspaperman, though originally a blacksmith by trade and a very clever fellow, according to this atlas. Entirely a sell-made man.
Mr. Bounsall: Do you want us to buy an atlas?
Mr. Handleman: At one time he was by far the most popular man in all that section of the Ottawa Valley.
Mr. Warner: I bet he was a Tory.
Mr. Handleman: He couldn’t have been, with this happening to him.
Ms. Gigantes: No, no, he was a CCFer.
Mr. Handleman: But dissipation, to which he had previously been a stranger, followed him into his political life, as it has many of our best and ablest men, and soon wrecked the prosperity which had taken him a lifetime of labour and self-denial to build up. He was a great friend of a Dr. Dunlop, a very widely known man who was then the representative of the assembly for Huron.
During a carouse in the refreshment room of the House, the doctor challenged Johnston to resign his seat, whereupon Mr. Johnston immediately walked into the assembly chamber and, addressing the Speaker, said he wished to resign.
On taking his seat next day, apparently having forgotten that he had done this, or thinking at most that it was but a joke, the Speaker called the attention of the sergeant at arms to the fact that there was a stranger in the House, and Mr. Johnston was left to meditate at leisure upon his injudicious course.
Writs were issued immediately for a by-election and there were three candidates -- Mr. Johnston, Mr. Malloch and a Captain Lyon who lived in Bytown, of all places.
Mr. Conway: And I thought I was pedantic.
Mr. Handleman: But the former was deserted by his friends and only attained a few votes, Captain Lyon, the Liberal, being returned for the unexpired term of the second Parliament.
Obviously, with the present cast, that is not likely to happen again. But if the amendments which the opposition is talking about go forward, it could very well happen.
Ms. Gigantes: Are you threatening us?
Mr. Handleman: No, I’m not threatening you at all; would you like --
Mr. Handleman: I mean really, the possibility of the member for Carleton resigning is taken as being a threat. I understand then how well I’m appreciated on all sides of the House -- really.
Mr. Conway: Am I ever glad we’ve got Frank Drea where you once were.
Mr. Handleman: All we really want to do is keep the bill simple; it is not a complicated bill. I quite agree with the member for Welland-Thorold; there must be -- and there will be, although I can’t commit the government -- a comprehensive Ottawa-Carleton bill to deal with many of the problems. However, those problems would best be dealt with by achieving some consensus locally.
The members opposite might ask their colleague from Carleton East about the future of Rockcliffe. The new reeve obviously would be quite upset if we suggested that the additional vote Nepean is going to get as a result of a proposed amendment came from Rockcliffe. I know the member for Carleton East very --
Ms. Gigantes: That is not true. Have you spoken to her?
Mr. Handleman: I want to point out that the Ottawa-Carleton act specifically designates the number on that council. If the member gives Nepean one by his amendment it’s got to come from somebody. I don’t know who is going to give it up. I know my colleague here has already told me it will be over his dead body; he will not give it up.
Mr. Roy: Oh, he threatened you?
Mr. Swart: We’ll be able to get rid of two -- one is going to resign and the other --
Mr. Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Handleman: Mr. Speaker, I don’t know where that extra seat is going to come from. I certainly feel that Nepean is entitled to an extra seat, but I would say that Gloucester might very well be entitled to one. The new city of Kanata may feel it is entitled to one and a half -- I don’t know how we’re going to achieve that. It would seem to me that in dealing with the question of representation at regional council, the new council, which takes office I believe on December 13, should be consulted; we should get their opinions.
In the session in the spring, I understand, the Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs, well before 1980, will put before us his proposals for reform of regional government in the Ottawa-Carleton area. But until that time all we have asked this Legislature to do is to change the status of Nepean from a township to a city. It’s not all that difficult. It doesn’t require the kind of complicating amendments which are being suggested here. I ask that all members support the bill without amendments.
Mr. Roy: I gladly join the debate on a bill as important as the Nepean bill, creating a city out of the township of Nepean. I’ll congratulate the member for Carleton for going back in history. I think he’s injected a proper flavour into the debate.
There are certain times when we’re used to his sabre-rattling about “if you do this, you’re going to get that.” But apart from that I want to congratulate the member for Carleton for looking into the history of Nepean.
The citizens of Nepean are as enlightened as ever, and they just proved it this Monday. You’ll be pleased to know, Mr. Speaker, they elected a very fine man as the reeve. He’s going to be the mayor of Nepean: Mr. Ben Franklin. I won’t talk about what political stripe he is. I won’t even mention it for the record. I’ll just say he’s a fine man.
Mr. Handleman: Do you talk to him?
Mr. Roy: The member for Carleton knows who that member is. Oh, boy. How many hairs did you lose at that election? It was very close. The member for Carleton knows that.
Apart from that, the deputy reeve, Mr. Al Loney, is a very competent, capable individual. I won’t talk about what political stripe he is. But it gives you an indication of the enlightenment of the citizens of Nepean to have as local representatives people of that calibre.
Of course we’re in favour of the legislation, and we will support the legislation to make Nepean a city. It’s something that’s been asked for. It’s been mentioned in the Mayo report. We think it makes sense and we’ll support it,
My colleague from Waterloo North and my colleague from Welland-Thorold talked about amendments. The two amendments are relatively simple.
Hon. Mr. Drea: What about your magnificent colleague? There is your magnificent colleague.
Mr. Roy: Frank, listen to this. This is good. Mr. Speaker, I want to respond to the Deputy Premier.
Hon. Mr. Drea: The magnificent colleague whose riding is there.
Mr. Roy: For the record, he’s the Deputy Premier, sitting in that chair.
One amendment would give an additional representative on regional government, something that Nepean deserves and has asked for, because they’ve been under-represented. My colleague from Carleton suggested, “Don’t bring it in in this bill; bring it in in the amendment to the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton Act.”
We would do that, but we’ve had so many promises from the parliamentary assistant. All last spring we were talking about making major amendments. We heard from the then Treasurer -- he was talking about the Mayo report and he was going to bring in legislation.
Mr. Warner: Yes. Whatever happened to that?
Mr. Roy: What happened to that? I sympathize with my colleague from Welland-Thorold when he says we didn’t support it. We accepted the word of the parliamentary assistant at that time that we were going to see this legislation. Where is it? I’ll tell you, those days are over. The promises from people on that side cannot be accepted. We take the position that we’re going to amend legislation as it comes along. We can’t accept their promises. We’ve had too many of them.
Mr. Warner: That’s right.
Mr. Roy: Besides, considering what they have done -- the haste with which the Hazeldean-March bill was passed --
Mr. Handleman: You got your name. What are you worried about?
Mr. Roy: What foolishness that was. A few months later they came back with a whole bunch of amendments. I made a good amendment. I wanted to call it Kanata --
Mr. Handleman: They decided that.
Mr. Roy: The enlightened people of that area voted to call it Kanata. Why didn’t you agree with me then?
Mr. Handleman: Don’t you feel better that they did it rather than you? Let them do it. Why do you want to impose your will on everybody?
Mr. Roy: So, Mr. Speaker, we are going to take full advantage. The reeve of Nepean, Andy Haydon himself, says in a letter of October 12 he feels Nepean is being under-represented. We agree with that. The present elected officials, the reeve elect and deputy reeve elect, feel the same way. We think that we, as a responsible opposition, should not miss this opportunity to see that they get proper representation on regional government, and we will support the amendment.
The other amendment we are talking about is the amendment we are going to have whereby those who get majority or the highest number of votes, the councillors or the aldermen as they will be called, who get the highest number of votes, if an individual does not want to serve on regional council he can make that decision, then it goes to the next person who has the highest number of votes. We think that makes sense.
You are pointing to the clock; five minutes; that should be just about enough for me to complete my remarks.
An hon. member: Are you just cooled down?
Mr. Roy: I am just getting wound up. I have to keep wound up to keep the member for Scarborough Centre quiet.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I am worried about the member’s health.
Mr. Roy: Don’t you worry about my health.
Mr. Speaker, we think these are two amendments that should be put into the Nepean city bill. I agree with my colleagues that it would be more logical to amend the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton Act. I agree with that, but they do not want to bring it forward. They do not want to bring on any amendments. They do not have the guts to lead in this province; that is their problem. Why doesn’t the government accept the recommendations of the Mayo report? Why not do something about the lack of balance in the representation on regional council that Mayo talks about? Why doesn’t the government come to grips with the educational problem in the area, something that Mayo also talks about? Basically the government doesn’t have the guts. Well, if the government doesn’t have the guts to bring forward proper amendments, we will do so for it as the legislation comes forward; and that is what we intend to do.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Just cool down; we will get there.
Mr. Roy: I am just trying to keep the minister interested in this. I am just trying to keep him awake.
Mr. Sterling: Where are you going to get the extra member; toss a coin?
Mr. Roy: I will tell the member what is going to happen on this. If we amend this act the government is going to be forced into a situation where it will have to bring forth --
Mr. Swart: Two minutes.
Mr. Roy: The government will be forced to bring amendment to the regional municipality act, to come to grips with it. Do not come along with that bill and say, “Look, if you do this you won’t get your wards.” We agree there should be wards; that is something that should be looked at in Nepean as well. But in the meantime we are going to try to do the best thing we can as the opportunity presents itself. I would like to say to the parliamentary assistant, “Yes, we accept your word; we are waiting for the bill to come forward.” But we can’t do that. The government has made promise after promise which have not been kept.
An hon. member: They can’t keep them.
Mr. Roy: So we say we are going to make the amendments, hopefully they are going to pass, and hopefully they will be accepted in the spirit in which they are made --
Mr. Handleman: Spirit of obstruction.
Mr. Roy: -- and the government will see that it has to bring some order to the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Warner: We are going in rotation this evening.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I think we would be very remiss tonight, Mr. Speaker, were we not to acknowledge the fact that there is a rather magnificent presence here tonight, who is trying to get up, who is never allowed to get up, et cetera, and that is the member for Carleton East; and I think that should be recorded.
Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Speaker, I will be very brief. I am very moved by the attention given to me during this debate in various forms by the member f or Scarborough Centre. As always, I am flattered by his attention. I feel the least I can do is to point out that while I missed the opening remarks of this debate, I was down in the estimates of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications trying to speak to another very important local Ottawa problem, namely the dangerous conditions that exist at the point of entrance of the Queensway into Highway 17 in the east end of Ottawa-Carleton region.
Mr. Bradley: No apologies.
Mr. Conway: You are so ubiquitous.
Ms. Gigantes: I’ll be very brief because I have to and also because there isn’t very much to say. The bill obviously will pass. Nobody would deny to Nepean, the people who represent Nepean and the people who live in Nepean the right to be a city, but it is strange that we have such a bill before us when we should have had overall legislation dealing with the structure of the Ottawa-Carleton region arising from the recommendations of the Mayo report some months ago. Whatever excuses one hears from the government on that score and whatever perverse motives they attribute to my interest in the fate of Rockcliffe must be debated at a later time.
Mr. Roy: Does the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations agree?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Oh, yes.
Mr. Nixon: Just wait until the whip (Mr. Gregory) gets you. Then it will be bye-bye.
Ms. Gigantes: There is going to be a Liberal amendment, apparently, which says that there should be greater regional representation, but if the people chosen in this overall election decide that they don’t want to be regional representatives they have the opt-out option. I find that unacceptable. Either we should have people who are directly elected or else whoever is elected must represent. If we don’t deal with the structure, let’s not touch the structure.
We will put an amendment which would increase the representatives and which, I would like to point out before we go into committee on this bill, would not become operative in any way until December 1980, by which time, I’m sure --
Mr. Handleman: You have confidence.
Ms. Gigantes: -- the government will finally have dealt with the problems and the structures existing in the Ottawa-Carleton region. I am full of faith.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to adjourn the debate at this point.
Hon. Mr. Welch: As a matter of clarification, Mr. Speaker, does the honourable member want to adjourn the debate or has she finished. because we could carry second reading of this bill now?
Mr. Nixon: Are you going to delay further?
Hon. Mr. Drea: They are delaying it. They are blocking it.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Are you not ready to give this bill second reading now?
Mr. Acting Speaker: Do you wish to withdraw that motion?
Ms. Sterling: I would also like to speak on this bill.
On motion by Ms. Gigantes, the debate was adjourned.
Mr. Acting Speaker: Pursuant to standing order 28, I deem a motion to adjourn has been made and I will recognize the honourable member for Carleton East for up to five minutes.
Ms. Gigantes: In the excitement of all the local matters that I’ve been trying to speak to this evening, I seem to have lost my notes.
Mr. Roy: Lost your notes? That’s okay. You can adjourn the debate.
Ms. Gigantes: Here we go. Thank you for your patience, Mr. Speaker. In question period today I asked the Premier (Mr. Davis) whether he was aware of the size of the benefit which has been realized by Mr. Stephen Roman on Mr. Roman’s holdings of Denison Mines Limited shares since that time in February 1978 when the Premier authorized Ontario Hydro’s uranium contract with Denison Mines.
The substantial part of the Premier’s response was as follows: “I don’t know, but it has not been my practice to really invade the private lives of private citizens of this province.”
Mr. McClellan: He’s a one-man corporation.
Mr. Roy: The state has no business in the boardrooms of the nation.
Mr. Stong: Particularly Mr. Roman’s.
Ms. Gigantes: When I pointed out to the Premier that it was possible on the basis of public information to calculate Mr. Roman’s February 1978 to December 1978 receipts on a holding of 1,400,000 shares of Denison stock -- and this public information was available from the Toronto Stock Exchange -- the amount totalling roughly $44,800,000, and when I asked the Premier to consider making a statement to this Legislature so that the public of Ontario could better understand how the public interest has been served by this generous benefit to Mr. Roman, the Premier replied that he would not undertake to prepare such a statement.
Mr. Warner: What a ripoff.
Ms. Gigantes: I was dissatisfied with the answer of the Premier, and I hope that he will reconsider his position.
In January and February of this year the Premier asked the select committee on Ontario Hydro to review the proposed contract for the purchase of uranium by Ontario Hydro from Denison Mines and from Rio Algom Canada Limited. The majority of the select committee was of the opinion that the proposed contracts were not in the public interest. The Premier asked our opinion on the select committee, received our opinion and disregarded our opinion, giving us as rationale the fact that the opposition parties were not of one mind about what the alternative should be, and that Stephen Roman would not sell his uranium to Ontario Hydro if the deal were to be delayed.
The respect on the Premier’s part for Mr. Roman’s impatience was very considerate. One would only hope that the Premier would develop the same level of consideration for the public impatience with government deals of this kind. In February of this year Mr. Roman owned 1,362,000 shares of Denison stock, each worth roughly $50, give or take a few dollars. The size of this holding was such that Peter C. Newman, writing in The Canadian Elite, reported that Mr. Roman earned $1.5 million each time Denison stock rose one point.
Mr. Bradley: He should be able to run a few more campaigns now.
Ms. Gigantes: By June 1978, three months after the Hydro uranium contract was ratified, Denison shares had so inflated in value and promise that the financial press reported the likelihood of a corporate power struggle between Roman Corporation Limited and Dome Mines Limited for control of Denison. To ward off a Dome takeover, Roman Corporation increased its holdings of Denison shares to 1,412,000 shares. This defence was successful and Denison stock continued to rise in value.
But it will be said by critics of my position that Denison carries out other activities than uranium mining, that it also has oil, gas and coal interests out west and in Spain and Greece, and that the inflation of Denison shares reflects the success of these activities. But this would not be true to say. To quote the Financial Times of January 30, 1978: “The company’s coal, oil and gas interests will play a big part in the future of the company. Right now, however, the uranium potential and strong 1977 earnings are causing investors to speculate on short-term appreciation of Denison shares.” If this were true in January 1978 before the Hydro uranium contract, how much more true after, February 1978 with 30 years of uranium contracts sewn up?
A few days ago, trading of Denison shares on the Toronto exchange was halted for two hours before the announcement by Mr. Roman of a proposed four-for-one share split and cash dividend. Shareholders of record on November 24 would receive $5 per share on December 1 and this special dividend would be tax free, because it will be paid out of Denison’s 1971 capital surplus on hand. Collecting the benefits of holding Denison’s share --
Mr. Acting Speaker: The member’s time has expired.
Mr. Laughren: Let her finish her sentence.
Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Speaker, if I can finish my sentence -- collecting the benefits of holding Denison’s shares is nice work if you can get it and it should be public work in Ontario.
Mr. Acting Speaker: I deem the motion to adjourn to have been carried.
The House adjourned at 11:38 p.m.