The House met at 10:04 a.m.
Mr. Speaker: Statements by the ministry.
Mr. S. Smith: What ministry? Only a third of the cabinet is here.
Mr. S. Smith: Are any of the ministers expected later, Mr. Speaker, may I ask? One third of the ministers of the crown are here at the moment. Will the House leader tell us who is coming?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Don’t you like us?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I am advised that the Premier (Mr. Davis), the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Brunelle), the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton), the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Parrott), the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell), the Minister of Energy (Mr. Auld) and the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Auld) will not be here today. All other members of the cabinet are expected.
Mr. Kerrio: Is Joe Clark in town today?
Mr. S. Smith: I will ask a question of the Minister of Industry and Tourism. Can the minister tell us, in view of the fact that the Premier is still making jaunts to the United States begging for more foreign capital for more branch plants here in Ontario -- exactly what we don’t need --
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Get that recorded.
Mr. Swart: What a conversion I What do your Windsor members think of that?
Mr. Martel: You have left me speechless.
Mr. S. Smith: -- what he has done with regard to a very large and significant pool of Canadian equity capital, namely, that in the hands of Brascan? Has the minister spoken at all to the people at Brascan, who now seem intent on using this very large pool of potential risk capital to buy out the F. W. Woolworth Company in the United States? Has the minister even spoken with Brascan to try to persuade them to use their capital here to create jobs in Canada and in Ontario, instead of going on bended knee to the United States and Japan to hope they will give us some money from foreign offshore interests to build more branch plants in Ontario? What has he said to Brascan?
Mr. Turner: Sit down and start over again.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: When it first became apparent that Brascan would have a fair amount of cash at hand as a result of their sale of Brazilian Light and Traction, we did contact Brascan and urged them to consider Canadian and specifically Ontario investments as they were considering the next steps in their corporate strategy.
They indicated at that time that they were considering very many Ontario opportunities. In the event that our assistance was required, we indicated it was available and they indicated they were absolutely determined to look at Canadian opportunities. We did act, and I might say we did that some two or three months ago, immediately upon the $200 million or $300 million coming out of Brazil.
Mr. MacDonald: And you see how well they responded.
Ms. Gigantes: Did they ask your advice?
Mr. S. Smith: I am pleased that the minister was speaking with Brascan when he realized the fund of capital was there. But given the fact that Brascan now seems interested in using these hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire an American outfit, has the minister been back in touch with Brascan to remind them of the first conversation and to find out why it is they seem unable to find good investment opportunities in this province, which has been under this government’s direction for the last 36 years? Why can they not findd opportunities here in Canada? Why do they have to be seeking the F. W. Woolworth Company in the United States?
Mr. Breithaupt: It’s the province of opportunity, you know.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I might say I’m not prepared to answer for the corporate decisions of Brascan. I think it was clearly our obligation as a province to make the call we made to make sure they were aware of all the opportunities. In fact, with their corporate abilities and connections throughout Canada, I’m sure they would be well aware of many of them. We can invite them and we can encourage them, stopping short of perhaps legislating them into having to do that, which I haven’t heard the Leader of the Opposition advocate yet, but he probably will in a couple of weeks.
Mr. S. Smith: I didn’t say that.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: In any case, we have had that first discussion. We’ve been in touch with them a couple of times since then. I don’t know what else the Leader of the Opposition would like us to do. If there’s something specific he would like us to do, then that’s fine. I’m not prepared to apologize for the corporate decisions Brascan makes, which are related to a whole host of things, of which he’s well aware.
Mr. Martel: He left it to the next guy.
Mr. Laughren: Supplementary: Has the minister made any representation to the federal government concerning the rash of mergers and takeovers which has a danger of restricting competition? In view of the federal Liberal Party’s endorsement of the Bryce commission reports on corporate concentration in this country, in which they said there was no problem and, as a matter of fact, they would encourage more of it -- that was the Liberal position -- has the minister made any representations to the federal government that there should be a restriction on these kinds of takeovers that create not a single job in all of Canada, let alone Ontario, and has he given consideration to suggesting to them that there be a takeover tax to discourage this kind of thing?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The answer is no to the last part of the question.
Mr. Mackenzie: In other words, you don’t intend to do a darned thing.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The response to the earlier part of the question is that what we’ve been seeking from the federal government is a more rational response to the whole question of mergers than we’ve seen previously. For a long period of time, as the Leader of the Opposition well knows, there has appeared to be no real policy on mergers. Most of them were able to carry on as they wished. With the recent spate of mergers and attempted acquisitions, Mr. Allmand indicated they were suddenly going to come down with both feet on mergers, which is something I suspect the Leader of the Opposition might be more comfortable with. At least be raised the spectre, to be more accurate, of coming down harder on mergers.
I think our policy has been a more practical one. It has been to indicate that the world isn’t built into neat little categories which say all mergers are good or all are bad. Rather, we are seeking a more realistic assessment, to be made pursuant to perhaps some new federal legislation -- I don’t know -- which would give us the opportunity as a province, for example, to meet with firms that occasionally consider closure or layoffs or rationalization, and have the merger as an opportunity open to them I to save some employment or expand their opportunities.
On the other hand, there are situations in which mergers don’t create jobs and in fact operate against our best interests. We think the manoeuvrability ought to be there to move in in those circumstances.
Mr. di Santo: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since most of the minister’s colleagues seem to laugh at the idea that Brascan is investing $200 million to $300 million in the United States, and since the minister said he is ready to assist the company, is he really saying he is ready to give Bras can a grant in order to invest the money in Canada in the same way he did with Ford?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No. There’s been no discussion on that whatsoever.
Ms. Gigantes: By the time you get to it, there’ll be one company left.
Mr. Martel: It will be called Grossman’s.
Mr. S. Smith: I wanted to ask a question of the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Parrott) who came in after question period last day and who is not here today. But I’ll ask the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs whether he’s had any representations from the city of Toronto or from the board of health of that city regarding the way in which the Ministry of the Environment seems to wish to deal with information given to the public. Has he received any kind of representation concerning the ministry’s statement?
I will read the first paragraph of an article in yesterday’s Globe and Mail: “Residents with property containing lead levels higher than that recommended by the Ontario government have not been told about it because it would only upset them, an Ontario Environment ministry official said yesterday.”
What is the minister’s opinion of this way of dealing between levels of government and dealing with the residents of Toronto?
Hon. Mr. Wells: To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Speaker, I have not had any representations made to me. There could be some letters in the mail that I haven’t seen. I would not agree with that kind of stance. I believe the public should be told if there are any levels that are detrimental to it and that we should practice an open information policy as much as possible. I think the member should really ask my colleague, the Minister of the Environment, the full details about that statement.
The member has asked whether any representations about it have been made to me. To the best of my knowledge, none has.
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Would the minister speak with his colleague, the Minister of the Environment, when he is here on some occasion, and explain that opinion he has just given to this House? Also, would he ask the minister to report to this House as to who is going to pay for the cleanup of those yards? Is it once again going to be the public of Ontario through the lottery fund that has to pay for that cleanup? Or will we finally come to the situation the minister has been promising, namely, to make it very clear that the yards are to be cleaned up and the polluter will pay for the cleanup?
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, my colleague will read that question and will respond. I’m sure he has the matter in hand. I’m sure the Leader of the Opposition, from long experience, knows it is probably not a good idea to take all one’s facts strictly from a newspaper story where some ministry official may have one sentence taken out of context. The Ministry of the Environment, I’m sure, has the whole situation completely under control and will handle it well.
The minister had to be away today for some urgent problems of another nature because we had arranged some meetings with the Provincial-Municipal Committee to discuss some of his concerns. He wasn’t able to be here today but he is busy on provincial business, as are all the ministers who are not here.
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question of the Minister of Labour. In view of the fact that General Motors is advertising for 350 skilled workers in Britain for its transmission plant in Windsor, can the Minister of Labour say how many of the 500 skilled workers that Ford will be requiring for its engine plant in Windsor will be found in Canada? What action will the government take in order to ensure that any of those workers found in Canada aren’t found at the expense of smaller companies?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, as I’m sure the member appreciates, the speech from the throne indicated that in the future the Premier (Mr. Davis) will be asking the Minister of Labour to assume some guiding and coordinating role with regard to manpower activities within the province. To date, we are at present in the process of gathering the information we feel the Premier should require in order to make that decision and in order to designate the terms of reference more completely.
I am, therefore, not cognizant of the details of the question the member has put to me, but I do know he put the question to another member of cabinet yesterday. I want to assure the member I share his concerns that skilled tradesmen should be trained in this country for the skills that are required. Whether or not there are some short-term and immediate needs that have to be filled from outside the country is a matter to which I have not had any access so far.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Will the minister, with his new responsibilities, bring the House into his confidence and let us know just who were the 30 companies that have used the selective placement services to advertise in foreign countries for skilled workers in Ontario over the past year? Will he table which companies, how many jobs and what skills are being looked for abroad? Will he say what the government is doing in terms of upgrading qualified or nearly qualified workers in this province so that those immediate needs can be met and not just the needs for skilled workers five or 10 years down the line?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: When I have that information in my possession, and exactly when that will be in terms of when the Premier decides to designate it as my role, I will be pleased to discuss that matter with the member and with the House. At the moment, I do not have that information. If the member would like me to find out which particular ministry is involved in those present activities that he has referred to, if they are going on, I’ll be pleased to do so.
Mr. Gaunt: Supplementary: When I raised this matter a number of months ago in so far as Hydro’s importing of English skilled workers to work at Douglas Point was concerned, I was told by the then Minister of Education (Mr. Wells) that he and some of his federal colleagues were meeting to try to resolve this matter. What has happened since that time?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I’m always interested in discussing what might be available to me, in terms of knowledge of the activities that are going on and have gone on, when they have become my responsibility. Until that time, I would suggest the member ask the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) about the details.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker: I’d like to ask the minister if he’s aware that yesterday the Minister of Education said One of the main problems was that there weren’t enough young people who wanted to go into apprenticeship. Yet, according to her ministry official, Al Dumouchelle, in Windsor, this morning, there are more applicants to get into apprenticeship programs in Windsor than there are positions.
Mr. McClellan: What do you know, she was wrong again.
Mr. Cooke: Secondly, is the minister aware that in the General Motors transmission plant in Windsor they have at present only 20 people in apprenticeship programs? None of the Big Three is represented on the task force recently set up in Windsor to try to overcome the problems of skilled trades, and yet, again --
Mr. Speaker: Was there a question there?
Mr. Cooke: Yes, there are a couple of questions.
Mr. Speaker: Would you please put them?
Mr. Cooke: I would like the minister to respond to the very real concern of the members of our party that his government and the federal government gave Ford Motor $68 million and there will be a need for 500 skilled tradesmen, yet the present needs can’t even be met. How are we going to get all the jobs for our $68 million?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: The indication in the speech from the throne that the Minister of Labour in future will be asked to have some role in guiding and co-ordinating the manpower activities of the government, more than gives a firm commitment of our role and underlines our concern about the question of skilled manpower in this province.
Mr. McClellan: Yes, get it away from Stephenson.
Mr. Cooke: Concern is not enough; we want answers.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I appreciate that your own member has trouble getting his question across. I seem to be having trouble getting the answer across.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: The response to the question the member has put will have to come at this time from one of the other ministers.
Mrs. Campbell: Which one would you suggest?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: In particular, I would transfer the question, if it’s your wish, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Education.
Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister not concerned about the adverse effect on the small manufacturer and on small industry that the new developments in the Windsor area will have? Their skilled employees are going to be stolen away. Would the minister not consider contacting a lot of these industries and finding out if they could take on additional help -- I would assume assisted by the government -- so that at least by the time the new Ford plant is opened we would have additional numbers of skilled tradesmen?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Clearly I have the same concerns the member has, and clearly, when the Minister of Education was in Windsor recently to open the employer-sponsored training program there, she demonstrated the same concern.
Mr. Cooke: The Big Three aren’t even involved in it.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I would again ask the member to put his question to the minister who has been involved with that project.
Mr. McClellan: She’s incompetent in everything.
Mr. Warner: She’s advertising in England.
Mr. Cassidy: Can the minister assure the House that within a month he will take over the duties of minister of manpower and make that a reality, or is this just another Conservative promise that will not be met by any effective action out in the province?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, once again I would ask if you would consider allowing the involved minister to respond to the question. I might just say that I think the member for Ottawa Centre should know that the ad hoc advisory committee, with representatives from all segments of society -- management, labour and education -- shares a concern with me that there is no serious commitment -- there is a serious commitment to manpower and I have a commitment to it.
Mrs. Campbell: A Freudian slip.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: He shouldn’t play that sort of game.
Mr. Mackenzie: You haven’t answered the question yet.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, since the Minister of Labour has continually referred to a redirect to the Minister of Education, may I ask her a supplementary?
Mr. Speaker: Yes.
Mr. Sweeney: Thank you. What specific programs are now in place in the Windsor area, particularly at St. Clair Community College -- and in other places in the province where it’s appropriate -- which would prepare people for specific job openings the minister now knows are going to occur in a year or two years?
Mr. di Santo: Don’t lie now.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, under the direction of the employer-sponsored training program in Windsor, there has been developed a community industrial training committee with representatives from labour, from management, from the educational institutions, from the boards of education and from representatives of the general population in Windsor.
An hon. member: But none of the big auto companies.
Mr. Warner: The government should advertise for cabinet ministers. Put an ad in an English paper.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: The community college in Windsor has been working diligently -- in fact on shifts -- in order to accommodate the requirement for educational training programs in areas related specifically to the machine tool industry.
In addition to that, just about four weeks ago we inaugurated a new program of employer-sponsored training in the Windsor area which will, within the next 12- to 18-month period, involve 2,000 individuals in training programs specifically related to the increased requirements of the automobile industry in the Windsor area.
These trainees have already begun and they have begun in the smaller plants in Windsor because we feel very strongly that these small plants in that area should not be jeopardized by increased demand for skilled workers at the Ford plant when the Ford plant opens.
We are moving in this direction in several other communities as well and I believe by September there will be 17 communities in which employer-sponsored training programs will be in active progress by the fall of this year.
Mr. Swart: You are doing tomorrow what you should have done years ago.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: In addition to that we are attempting to upgrade with some speed the program of apprenticeship in a number of areas specifically related to skilled trades in terms of requirements, computerizing the recording program, shortening the length of time necessary, hopefully, and co-ordinating that more effectively with the secondary school system and with the college school system.
Mr. Foulds: That’s why the numbers are plummeting.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: This too is an initiative that is being carried on vigorously right at this time.
Mr. Cassidy: We have heard the words too many times before.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: We are working with the task force committee established now under the authorization of the Minister of Labour to define those areas in which we have acute and specific needs, in order that we can begin to move as accurately in those areas as well.
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, a point of order: In this last exchange of questions, I believe on three occasions the Minister of Labour suggested the question be redirected. Could you advise the House as to the procedure expected in this matter? When redirection is suggested by one minister, is the minister to whom that redirection is suggested expected to answer, or is the person asking the question expected to direct it by himself or herself to the other minister, or shall the direction come from the chair? It would appear there is some uncertainty as to just who should answer and on whose suggestion.
Mr. Speaker: There is no uncertainty in the mind of the person who occupies this chair. It is up to the questioner to direct the question to the minister who the questioner thinks is appropriate. As long as it is within the purview of the minister in question, he or she can answer in any way he or she chooses. I see no reason why anybody shouldn’t redirect the question, but it is not up to the chair to do it; it is up to the questioner.
Mr. Cooke: Regarding the various questions I asked, the Minister of Labour could not answer them and tried to redirect them. I tried to get the attention of the chair to redirect them. I wonder if the Minister of Education would attempt to answer, since the information she gave yesterday to our party leader was completely and totally inaccurate.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: The honourable member for Windsor has just said that the information I gave yesterday was entirely inaccurate. I would like to know what it is he is talking about.
Mr. Speaker: Order, order.
Mr. Cooke: She said there were no interested young people and that is clearly inaccurate.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, speaking to the original point of order, if I might: You have indicated it is up to the member to redirect the question. You do realize, I am sure, that requires standing on one’s feet again, getting the recognition of the chair in a supplementary and asking for redirection. Given the very reasonable but strict limitations put on the number of supplementaries, you recognize the difficulty this imposes.
I hope you’ll take that into consideration in deciding how we should deal with these redirect problems. When one minister suggests redirection to another, perhaps it might not be out of line to consider that the other minister might complete the answer given by the first minister rather than demanding another supplementary from each person. The member for Huron-Bruce, for instance, had a clear situation which should have been redirected but had no opportunity to do so, sir.
Mr. Speaker: I disagree completely with the Leader of the Opposition. When the member for Huron-Bruce got up he specifically asked a supplementary of the Minister of Labour. He had every opportunity to redirect, as was the case with the member for Kitchener-Wilmot. It was a very legitimate request and I acceded to it for the very reasons suggested by the Minister of Labour. I see no problem whatsoever.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I think I have a point of privilege in that yesterday the Minister of Education in this Legislature made the following statement:
However, Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the honourable member opposite that while the places for training are there, it is not the position of this government that we would go out and coerce people into the training program.”
Yet this morning when I asked a question of the minister and reminded her that yesterday she said there were not enough young people to go into these programs in the Windsor area, she said she had not said that yesterday. Mr. Speaker, it is about time we got straight answers from this Minister of Education.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I do not think my answer could have been straighter yesterday. It is the informed opinion of many people who have examined the problems that we have with skill training in the province of Ontario that recruitment to skill training has been impeded by a lack of enthusiasm on the part of our young people.
An hon. member: That’s just your opinion.
Mr. Mackenzie: You don’t know what you are talking about.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I am sorry, I am not reporting my opinion. I am reporting the opinion of knowledgeable individuals who have examined this problem over a period of time from many areas, including the teaching professions, those who employ such skilled workers and some representatives of trade unions, all of whom confirm that it has been difficult to recruit young people into the skilled trades as well. Those who attended the Skills for Jobs conference last June would, I think, have supported that statement without any question at all.
Mr. Warner: It would be nice to get some straight answers from you here.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: There has been a decrease in the total number of places in apprenticeships over the last decade, for reasons which have to do with changes in the industrial program within the province of Ontario, but there have also been places which have been unfilled because recruitment has been difficult. I did not specify the Windsor area at all, and I had no intention of doing so.
Mr. Cooke: This minister is a total disgrace.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Therefore, I believe that I did not in any way mislead the honourable member opposite.
Mr. Martel: You are a disaster waiting for a place to happen.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: The member just doesn’t like facts.
FUNDING OF HOMES FOR HANDICAPPED
Mr. Cassidy: I have a question for the Provincial Secretary for Social Development arising out of the catch-22 situation facing Participation House in Ottawa, a residence for handicapped adults, which is part of the program that was agreed to by the government back in 1972, but which is now blocked from getting capital funding from Wintario and Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation because the ministry or the government will not make a commitment to provide ongoing funding after 1980-81.
Will the minister make that commitment now, so that Ottawa can have this residence for handicapped adults, which is so badly needed and which is comparable to the ones now funded by the government in Markham, Hamilton and Brantford?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, through you to the honourable member, I have no knowledge of the problems of that particular Participation House. It has not been brought to my attention. I will look into it and study the details and I will respond later.
Mr. Cassidy: I’m surprised at the minister’s response, in view of her responsibility for the Ontario Advisory Council on the Physically Handicapped. Can the minister say how this particular project is to get under way if they’re being told they can’t get capital funding until they have a commitment for operational funds, and they are being told that they can’t get operational funds until they are built. How does this project get out of that catch-22 kind of situation? Does what the government is saying really mean that because it will guarantee funding only on a year-to-year basis it has effectively said it will veto any future such residences for handicapped adults in the province?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, I have indicated I’m very interested and I will look into the situation and find out what the problems are. We on this side of the House are just as interested in providing accommodation and support services for handicapped people as the members on that side. They have no monopoly on caring for people who are handicapped.
Mr. Martel: Why don’t you have the answer to something once in a while?
Mr. Speaker: The minister says she has not sufficient knowledge to answer. She will take the question as notice and report back at a later date.
LIQUOR, WINE PRICES
Mr. Breithaupt: A question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations: Is the minister familiar with this five-year-old report of the Ontario Wine Advisory Committee, whose chairman was Mr. A. Gordon Cardy and one of whose members was the Honourable John Robarts? If so, and in view of the widespread and growing support for the revision of imported wine prices, would the minister advise what consideration he has given in particular to the proposal to set up a sliding-scale markup on imported table wines?
Hon. Mr. Drea: I’m vaguely familiar with that report. Markups, whether they are sliding scales that are 123 per cent or other markups, are not my responsibility.
Mr. Breithaupt: Supplementary: &fore the estimates of the ministry come before the justice committee, and since the Liquor Control Board of Ontario is a responsibility of the minister, would the minister have officials of the board attempt to bring the statistics in the report up to date so that the House and the public would know what the current figures are and so that we could then discuss the matter during the estimates?
Hon. Mr. Drea: I would be delighted, Mr. Speaker, but I draw to the attention of the honourable member that yesterday, for quite a period of time, the public accounts committee dealt with all of this. We can give him statistics -- I can give him a statistic right now; Canadian whisky prices, even with the increases, are far less in terms of disposable income than they ever were. We can give him that. But we went through all of this yesterday.
The markup, which is really what I think he is looking at, or a sliding scale, which would be a new, more flexible form of markup, is really a policy matter that is outside the scope of the board and of the minister. What is within the scope of the board and my scope as the minister responsible here -- but primarily the board -- is that the wholesale price, or the price delivered to the board, whether it’s a foreign or domestic product, is an accurate price.
As the honourable member knows, we have no control over foreign prices. We do have control over domestic prices. The domestic whisky and spirit industry, the Ontario wine industry and the Ontario beer industry all have to seek approval through the board for production or pass-through cost increases. But that is the limit of what the board does with prices other than to combine the wholesale price and to add on the markup.
Mr. Breithaupt: Now that the matter is clearly on the record of the House as to the Treasurer’s responsibility, could I redirect to the Treasurer the question with respect to considerations that the Treasury is making with respect to the suggestions in the report?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I have read the report, Mr. Speaker, and I am surprised that the House has suddenly discovered that the Treasurer sets the markup. It is not something new. It has been going on for years. I am glad to read the headline in the Globe today that recognizes the responsibility rests here. It is one I do not shirk. The only thing I can point out, as we have said a number of times, is that it is cheaper to buy liquor in Ontario than anywhere else in Canada.
Mr. Martel: Did the Treasurer cut up his jacket and make a tie with it?
Mr. Germa: He murdered the bagpipes.
Mr. Warner: I’ll bet it glows in the dark.
Hon. Mr. Welch: You should see his socks.
Mr. Speaker: Just ignore the interjections.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I want the members to know that the constituent from Muskoka who made me this asked me to be sure I wore it.
Mr. Warner: He is now without his bagpipes.
Mr. Makarchuk: That is loyalty above and beyond the call of duty; no question about it.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: How many of the member for Sudbury East’s constituents have made him a tie?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Certainly in the prebudget process I read that report and gave it consideration.
There is a common misconception about normal commercial practices in the business world when people look at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario. When the price of Volkswagens goes up at cost, the price goes up at retail by the same percentage. Retailers traditionally have had markups which they apply to their costs. The idea that we should not do that because it is liquor seems to me to be rather foolish. It is a fundamental fact of normal commercial practice.
The suggestions made are interesting. They are certainly worth consideration. But they also have to be tied into the current General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade negotiations, which are fairly involved in this kind of thing. Any one move by the province right now, I believe, could leave us in a poor position in some of the agreements going on with GATT. That is why I chose for this year not to make any basic change in structure without saying it would not be something we should consider.
Mr. Makarchuk: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In view of the fact that the Ontario wine growers claim their percentage contribution to the operating costs versus their total sales in the liquor licensing operation is greater than that paid by the importers of wine, is the minister planning to change or adjust some of the prices to make the contribution to the operating costs of the board more equitable?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I read a very interesting speech given by the president of the board in, I believe, Barrie, where he set out the hidden costs of handling, and they were quite interesting. I think the sum and substance of that speech was we netted out in about the same position with the markups Ontario had on Ontario wine and the markups we had on the foreign wines, when one took into account all the other true costs of handling that were involved. We did change the markups on Ontario wines, as the members know, in the budget by two ways; we brought some down and brought some up to an equal, uniform rate.
Mr. Makarchuk: That was to discourage the consumption of fortified wines by certain elite citizens.
Hon. F. S. Miller: No. Really, I think it was to recognize that the “pop” wines, the seven per cent wines, have become very popular. They are filling a very real demand in society and the 70 per cent rate that used to apply to them should be equalized with whatever rate we choose to select for other Ontario wines. We also had another phenomenon to take into account and that was the growth of company stores, in which the LCBO has not participated and the government now does.
Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary; the honourable the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. S. Smith: Just very briefly, since the Treasurer indicates the sliding markup scale is somehow totally out of keeping with his experience of Volkswagen and normal commercial practice --
Hon. F. S. Miller: I didn’t say that; that is not what I said.
Mr. S. Smith: Well, since the Treasurer has very plainly indicated he believes a straight markup is normal commercial practice and he is surprised --
Hon. F. S. Miller: You don’t know anything about commercial practice.
Mr. S. Smith: The record will show, Mr. Speaker, that the Treasurer has just said normal commercial practice is to mark up Volkswagens by the same amount retail as they are marked up wholesale. This kind of markup is a normal commercial practice. Is the Treasurer suggesting a sliding markup is somehow an abnormal practice? Is he suggesting Mr. A. Gordon Cardy, Mr. John Robarts and Mr. Dean Muncaster, the head of Canadian Tire, didn’t understand normal commercial practice when they made this report in the first place?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the member from the Kitchener area has a much better grasp of fundamentals than his leader. He at least understood my response. I shall let it rest; the member can go back and read it and I hope somebody will interpret it for him.
PROVINCIAL SCHOOLS DISPUTE
Mr. Bounsall: A question of the Chairman of the Management Board of Cabinet, Mr. Speaker: Would the minister now involve himself directly and immediately in speaking to the Provincial Schools Authority, the management bargaining agent with the provincial school teachers, to ensure the final salary offer of a pitiful 2.6 per cent increase is increased -- an offer which comes along with restrictive staffing cutback problems as training schools are closed, an offer which was rejected by 87 per cent of the teachers in that bargaining unit? Will the minister become involved in an attempt to avoid the strike situation which will arise early next week in our Correctional Services training school centres and our schools for the deaf, blind and retarded across this province?
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I will take that question as notice and answer the member on Monday.
Mr. Bounsall: In taking that under notice would the minister point out to the Provincial Schools Authority the arbitration award of 6.5 per cent to Liquor Control Board of Ontario employees, which was made known only yesterday, so they will know by how much, therefore, their offer is patently ridiculous?
Hon. Mr. McCague: I am sure they are well aware of that offer.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education. In view of the discussion this morning in this Legislature over the real concern for job opportunities and job training, and in view of the fact that I have had many calls from student councils and students going to schools under the Haldimand Board of Education expressing the concern that they would like to get back to school because they know they need their education, can the minister indicate to me what rights the students have?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure that I can define specific rights on behalf of students in the face of an altercation between a school board and the teachers employed by that board. However, I am aware that if the required number of educational or instructional hours has been completed by the students in certain subjects, they may be able to gain credit for that subject on that basis during the school year and may not have that portion of their educational program in jeopardy.
It is my understanding that that board has made some tentative recruiting feelers in various areas in order to try to ensure that those students who are in grade 13 will not face severe jeopardy in terms of their education. I can tell the honourable member that the Education Relations Commission is monitoring the situation very closely and that the chairman has been requested by me to let me know immediately he believes the educational program of the children is in jeopardy so that we may attempt to find some other solution.
At this point in time, it is my understanding as well that the mediator who stands ready to serve both the board and the teachers in that situation has not had his services requested up to this point. I would urge the trustees and the teachers, in the interests of the students’ educational program, to make use of the mediator’s services as rapidly as possible to try to develop an agreement.
Mr. C. I. Miller: Supplementary: Can these students receive diplomas or certificates indicating where they now stand so that they may apply for positions which are or may be available at plants such as the new Stelco complex in Nanticoke?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: As I said, if they have completed the required number of instructional hours with reasonable, average marks at this time in this school year, I am sure that some letter could be granted by the school board to inform prospective employers of that; but they certainly could not, I think in most instances, be granted their secondary school graduation diplomas or their honours graduation diplomas because of the fact that the entire instructional year has not as yet been completed.
Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary: Given that the practice in the past has been to wait six or eight weeks before these things are settled; given that we have waited until the mediators have been called in; given that a report to her ministry last September clearly showed this procedure had resulted in grade 13 students being negatively affected by it, how can we continue to go on with this procedure? When are we going to move in more quickly and say that the first and foremost concern is the good of the students?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Because of my concern about the future and the jeopardy in which students have been placed in certain situations, as this House knows I have asked for a complete review of Bill 100 and the procedures thereunder. It is absolutely essential, I believe, that we, at this time, examine the effects of the procedures established under Bill 100 in order to ensure we are moving in the right direction in the resolution of problems.
The amount of time that has been lost by those students in Haldimand has, in actual fact, been not as great as it appears, taking into consideration the long Easter weekend, the school break period and some other things. I have specifically asked I the Education Relations Commission, whose responsibility it is under the act, to inform me about the degree of jeopardy they believe those students are under. I am very much concerned about this, because I don’t want any one of those students to be even slightly damaged by whatever happens in the Haldimand area at this time.
Mr. Sweeney: They went too long in the past.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: At this point, there is no fixed time established in terms of jeopardy for the educational program, and I would not anticipate that the Education Relations Commission would consider there was any fixed time. They have to monitor the situation on its own merits and make that information available to us.
GAINS PAYMENTS ERRORS
Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Revenue. I wonder if the minister can comment on a statement made by one of his staff people that there are many instances of senior citizens being asked to repay huge sums of money paid out by accident under the Gains program as a result of poor co-ordination between provincial and federal authorities. Can the minister inform the House, or table with the House, how many people have received Gains payments to which they are not entitled, how much the ministry is attempting to collect that has been paid out accidentally, and what is the average amount that he is attempting to collect from each of these people who have been overpaid?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: Mr. Speaker, that particular question and most of the details for which the member is asking were on the Order Paper not very long ago. I believe it was answered.
However, those are the types of figures that I wouldn’t have with me. Certainly I will get them for the member.
Mr. Philip: I wonder, then, if the minister can answer this question: Why has there not been a system developed by his ministry to automatically inform recipients in advance when they should apply for federal benefits and when they will no longer be entitled to full Gains payments? I wonder if he would look specifically into the case of a Mrs. Alice das Dores Silva, who has allowed me to use her name, whom the ministry neglected to inform of her ineligibility for full payment of Gains upon receipt of the old age pension and supplement, and who is now being asked to repay $5,266.36 which this ministry has paid out by accident?
Mrs. Campbell: “We care.”
Hon. Mr. Maeck: If the member would send me the information regarding that particular case I would be happy to look into it. But I must remind the member that the Gains program is one that is actually tied on to the guaranteed income supplement, as I am sure he is aware. It is administered by the federal government, rather than our ministry, to the greatest extent, because it is tied in to the income tax system, which again is administered by the federal government.
We have been very lenient in the past and will continue to be so in cases of actual hardship where people are asked to pay money back. If I can have a look at that particular case, the woman in question may be one who would I qualify.
VIOLENCE IN SCHOOLS
Mr. Bradley: My question is for the Minister of Education. In view of continuing media reports of violence, vandalism and certain criminal activities taking place within the confines of some secondary school buildings in Ontario would the minister indicate to the House what action her ministry is taking to assist teachers and administrators to alleviate this problem?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, there are two problems inherent in this. First is the problem of what could be construed as violent action between teachers and students, which comes under the full responsibility of the principal of that school. The disciplinary action to be taken is the decision of the principal of that institution.
The problem of intruders into the school building is one that was of sufficient concern that a special committee was established, made up of representatives of school principals, secondary school teachers, boards of trustees and Ministry of Education representatives. That report has been submitted to my office. I gather it was submitted just before I returned from China. It is on my desk now and I am hoping I am going to have a chance to complete reading it this week in order that we may act on some of the recommendations contained therein.
Mr. Bradley: Supplementary: Mr. Speaker:
Would the minister indicate whether she feels -- with a preliminary look at the report, or any information she has at the present time -- she would be initiating any legislation within the Legislature to deal specifically with that problem as it relates to the Petty Trespass Act and the Education Act and how they might be strengthened to keep intruders out?
Secondly, would the minister indicate whether she feels boards of education and the ministry are giving sufficient backing to secondary school principals and vice-principals to deal with disciplinary problems that originate within the school itself?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: In answer to the first question, that’s a very real possibility. As to the second question, I’m not sure I can answer that right at the moment.
ENERGY MANAGEMENT PROGRAM
Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Industry and Tourism. In the light of the discontinuation of the work within his ministry in the area of energy conservation and renewable energy, can the minister tell this House if he considers the Ministry of Energy’s $5.6 million in provincial support for the development of renewable energy and conservation to be a sufficient level of support for the development and marketing of this very promising technology?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I answered a comprehensive series of questions on this very topic last week from the member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. J. Reed). We undertook the energy conservation program -- which is what it was -- for industry several years through the energy buses. The energy buses are continuing to service our industrial clientele. Apart from that we had some thee consultants working on energy --
Ms. Gigantes: I didn’t ask you what they were doing.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: If the member had studied the program, she would know that what she is talking about in terms of the Ministry of Energy’s program really does not relate to the work that was being carried on in our ministry by the consultants.
As a result of our consultants’ work -- as I indicated the other day -- further work is being undertaken by the Ontario Research Foundation funded by our ministry to continue the energy program, as it relates to industry, to replace the work that was done earlier.
Ms. Gigantes: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Will the minister tell us, when Ontario Hydro is going to be permitted to borrow close to $2 billion on the international money market this year for its nuclear program, whether he doesn’t feel the government should be devoting more than a total of $9.7 million, through the Ministry of Energy, for the encouragement of industry associated with energy conservation and alternative energy supply technologies?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I might say we are quite satisfied with the level of support we are giving industry --
Mr. Warner: You’re always satisfied with mediocrity.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- in terms of energy conservation. We think the programs are excellent ones. They apparently are very well received by industry. Industry is not indicating the level of support from this government for their energy programs is falling short.
RYERSON POLYTECHNICAL INSTITUTE
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Education. In view of the fact our young people are showing remarkable enthusiasm for polytechnical education, and since Ryerson’s enrolment is on the increase -- reversing the trend in other institutions -- would the minister advise this House in precise terms what steps she is taking to ensure that Ryerson continues and has an enriched program to meet the needs of our young people?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I would remind the member that Ryerson is not the only post-secondary institution enjoying an increase in enrolment.
Mrs. Campbell: I didn’t say it was.
Mr. Warner: Answer the question.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: The community colleges are also moving in that direction as well and there are certain universities within the province of Ontario in which the enrolment is increasing in addition. About five weeks ago I met with the president and representatives of the board of Ryerson, who had come to discuss the funding of Ryerson specifically.
We reviewed the funding mechanism which had been established in the past as a result of agreement with the Ryerson board in 1974 that the basic income unit level for Ryerson would be at a specific amount of 1.3. It was suggested to me that the situation had changed and that Ryerson deserved examination in terms of an enriched funding formula for BIUs. I requested of the board and the president that they develop their proposal and submit it to the Ontario Council on University Affairs, which is the procedure which is followed by all universities, and by Ryerson and the Ontario College of Art.
That meeting was either held yesterday or it’s to be held next Thursday, one or the other. The proposal will be made by Mr. Pitman to OCUA at that time and then the recommendation will come to me from OCUA. We shall examine the recommendation of OCUA with real sympathy, because Ryerson does have a unique role in this province, there is no doubt about that.
Mrs. Campbell: A supplementary: Does the minister not realize that referring the matter to OCUA -- and I’m perfectly aware of the procedures -- is not going to resolve the problem when Ryerson, for example, is faced with the same formula as those with decreasing enrolments and suffers thereby? The formula is at stake for Ryerson, on the slip-year financing as well as the rest of the formula, and she cannot go on waiting for OCUA to take from one university or college to give to Ryerson.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I would remind the member that Ryerson agreed to the formula which was established at that time --
Mrs. Campbell: Yes, they did. Their Tory appointees did.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: -- and they have now decided that there have been changes which require a modification of the formula. OCUA is a committee which is made up of extremely knowledgeable people who are not tardy in making their recommendations to the minister, I can assure the member of that. It has been requested of them that they do so as expeditiously as possible and I’m sure that that will happen. The meeting will occur on April 27.
Mr. Warner: The minister should get a job selling baloney.
Mr. Cooke: A supplementary: I would like to ask the minister if she really realizes how desperate the position of Ryerson is at this point when, for example, the faculty-student ratio at that institution has increased consistently over the last number of years to 16.1 to one, whereas most polytechnics, like the ones in Britain, are at eight to one? And in referring this matter to OCUA, would the minister not agree that since she has not accepted the recommendations on funding from OCUA, and her predecessor has not, what credibility does referring this matter have, because even if OCUA agrees with Ryerson’s position she will reject the recommendations anyway?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: That, of course, is entirely erroneous, because the formulae which have been developed for funding of universities have been accepted by my predecessors and I have no reason to suspect that I would do anything differently at the present time.
I believe it is important that OCUA, which has responsibility for making recommendations about Ryerson as well as about universities, has an opportunity to look at the proposals made by Ryerson. I have not seen the proposals made by Ryerson because they were not developed. I asked for the proposals to be developed so that we could examine them, and when they are presented to OCUA I’m sure that I will see a copy as well, and I shall examine them in that light too.
I would remind the member opposite that the faculty-student ratio is not the only factor which is important in the effectiveness and in the efficiency of any educational institution. There are space requirements at Ryerson --
Mr. Cooke: You just don’t understand and you never will.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: -- about which we have made specific recommendations recently, which the Ryerson board is looking at and which they’re going to come back and talk to us about.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: She’s way ahead of you fellows.
Mr. Cassidy: You make Margaret Thatcher look like a bleeding heart.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I feel sorry for you, Michael.
BUILDING MATERIAL PRICES
Mr. Swart: I have a new question, Mr. Speaker, for the Minister of Housing. Is the Minister of Housing concerned about the tremendous escalation in the price of materials in the construction industry? In particular, does he know the price of the type of copper tubing which is standard in house construction, type M half-inch, has gone up 38 per cent in the last six months --
An hon. member: Have you seen the price of copper lately?
Mr. Swart: -- and that although it is made in Canada from Canadian copper, the price of that tubing is set at the United States dollar level plus the import duty?
In view of the fact that housing starts are down by a third in this province this year, would the minister tell the House what steps he has taken, with the federal government or through his own government, to endeavour to stop this continuing escalation in the price of construction materials?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I have the belief that the Ministry of Housing was not trying to establish or certify prices relating to the cost of materials going into the development of the housing industry.
Mr. Havrot: How can you regulate the price of copper pipe like that?
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Obviously, the manufacturers of this province -- indeed, of this country -- are producing materials for the construction industry, regardless of whether it’s copper tubing or whether it happens to be one of the very important products of house construction, which is wood. Both of them have escalated rather substantially over the last period of time.
Mr. Swart: What have you done? That’s the question.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: I’m not here to defend the lumber industry or any of the others, but I think if we go back a few years we’ll see that the lumber industry --
Mr. Cassidy: Longer.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: The member should listen for a minute, because it will be information for him. The fact is that back a few years ago the lumber industry was suffering a downtrend --
Mr. Warner: He didn’t ask about lumber.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: -- and was priced lower than it cost to produce 1,000 board feet of lumber. Today, it is at a market position which returns a profit for those industries to continue to function in various parts of Ontario. I do not, in any way, shape or form, attribute the cost of building materials to the downtrend we have in the construction industry at this time in Ontario.
Mr. Warner: Unanswered.
Hon. Mr. Welch moved that Bill Pr3, An Act respecting Young People’s Theatre, and Bill Pr4, An Act respecting the Financing of the Huronia District Hospital, be withdrawn from the standing general government committee and be referred to the administration of justice committee.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILL
ELECTION AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Leluk moved first reading of Bill 65, An Act to amend the Election Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Leluk: Mr. Speaker, section 1 of the bill, the re-enacted section 35 of the act, enlarges the grounds upon which a person is entitled to appoint a voting proxy. Section 2, the re-enacted section 134, extends the offence for improper voting by proxy to include the inducement or soliciting of proxies and the appointment of proxies for reward or remuneration.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of supply.
ESTIMATES, MINISTRY OF GOVERNMENT SERVICES (CONTINUED)
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order: I had asked the minister for some information with respect to the fair wage and salary scales of maintenance staff in the permanent civil service. I wonder if we could be provided with that before we get to the vote. I asked for it about three days ago.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, I believe I will have the information for the member in a moment.
On vote 502, provision of accommodation program:
Hon. Mr. Henderson: There are three or four items I would like to bring to the attention of members as a result of earlier questions.
The member for Windsor-Walkerville earlier in the estimates requested information on -- I thought he referred to the county jail.
Mr. B. Newman: The old county courthouse and the county jail.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: That’s what I wanted to clear up. I have here a map of that property; the honourable member will recognize the county administrative building, the jail and the registry office as being shown on this map.
The other day I understood him to say “jail”; I was a little hesitant in answering because I didn’t think the jail was part of it. Neither the jail nor the registry office is part of it; it is the county administrative building. I just want to clarify that so that there is no misunderstanding. It is the portion outlined in red, as the honourable member well understands.
The honourable member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon), on Monday of this week in my estimates, brought to my attention a letter addressed, “Dear Member of the Ontario Legislative Assembly.” This letter was sent by Greenwin, and the honourable member asked for my assurance that this group was not going to construct a building on government land at the corner of Bay and Wellesley, as indicated in the letter.
I would like to advise that I have had my staff investigate this matter, and the site on which Greenwin intends to construct this 19-storey high-rise residential building is 62 Wellesley Street, which was the War Amps building, located just to the rear of the Sunoco building. This land is privately owned and is on the opposite side of the street from the government’s land.
We have been unable to determine when this building will be constructed, because the Greenwin company is doing a market research study on the viability of proceeding with this building. One way of completing this study was to determine the interest that the members of the Legislative Assembly might have in such a complex because of the nearness of the site to the Queen’s Park area.
I trust this will alleviate any concerns the honourable member may have relative to the possibility of this ministry dealing directly.
The member also was interested to know that it wasn’t the East of Bay site; it is on the opposite side of the street.
I was asked questions last night, and this is my statement in reply to the question re the Italian Canadian Benevolent Corporation by the members for Oakwood (Mr. Grande) and Dovercourt (Mr. Lupusella).
On March 15, 1977, this ministry was advised that Management Board had approved the purchase of the former girls’ training centre at 3044 Dufferin Street on the corner of Lawrence Avenue for use as a culture centre basically for the Italian community, to be administered by the Italian Canadian Benevolent Corporation. This was on the understanding that the site would be leased to the Italian Canadian Benevolent Corporation until such time as the association had sufficient funds to repurchase it from the government.
A lease was arranged with all the responsibility for maintenance, upkeep and taxes being assumed by the Italian Canadian Benevolent Corporation. This arrangement carried on until Government Services was advised on November 28, 1978, that the cabinet had directed that the property be sold to the Italian Canadian Benevolent Corporation for the acquisition cost of $2,607,125. An order in council approving this sale was completed on April 11, 1979, and the transfer of the deed is in its final stages. The sale to the Italian Canadian Benevolent Corporation was without restrictions.
I’m open for questions on that.
Mr. Lupusella: Mr. Chairman, I am in some ways surprised about the conditions of such a lease of the land for a certain period of time to the Italian Canadian Benevolent Corporation. What strikes me is that there are no conditions on the transaction. The principle which should be considered in such a transaction is that this land is going to be used for the Italian community to expand a project which will incorporate different principles from which the Italian community can benefit.
I do not want to advance a particular hypothesis about the future because nobody knows what can happen to the corporation. But, as I stated before, it strikes me that this government has got into this particular agreement without any restrictions. In other words, the option is open to the corporation after a certain period of time -- I don’t know how long because I don’t have the information in front of me -- to repay this amount of money to the government.
Because of my concern about the expansion of the Italian Canadian Benevolent Corporation through future projects which might take place on that site on which the government entered into this agreement with the Italian Canadian Benevolent Corporation, I guess that this government has the right to put certain restrictions in order that the land won’t be resold to private individuals or to private companies in the event that something goes wrong within the corporation. I think that common sense dictates that the government should follow this particular route.
In view of this particular concern, I’m not sure if it is appropriate at this point in time to request all the information available about this particular transaction. The conditions, as the minister has stated, are without restrictions. I guess that the government has a duty to put certain restrictions on public funds which are given, in principle, to good community projects like the one which has been developed by the Italian Canadian Benevolent Corporation but I don’t want to express my pessimism about the particular issue. We never know the future of the corporations. We never know the future of a particular community project.
In view of this particular vote I am requesting your indulgence, Mr. Chairman, that as soon as we have this statistical data, if it is permissible, I would like to rediscuss this transaction. In other words, when the minister makes available the details of the transaction and other material in relation to this agreement which took place some time ago between this government and the Italian Canadian Benevolent Corporation, I would like to have an opportunity, Mr. Chairman, to discuss this further.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, I informed the honourable member last night that I would try to bring him the information. I know he requested documentation. Now the honourable member knows --
Mr. Grande: You said you were going to Xerox them and bring them here today.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: They were just not available this morning. As you know, we left here at six o’clock last night and I was back here at 10 this morning.
Let me go back over a little bit of it, Mr. Chairman. Back in March 1977 the government of Ontario, through my ministry, purchased this property. I believe it was on March 17, 1977. A few weeks earlier the Ministry of Community and Social Services became aware that a developer had an option to buy this property from the sisters. The developer had all the approvals to go ahead and develop this property, as I remember. Maybe the honourable member knows about that. I can get that document.
Mr. Lupusella: I don’t That’s why I’m requesting the information.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: All right. The developer had all the approvals to go ahead with it, but, situated immediately behind this property was a home for the aged. That is where the Ministry of Community and Social Services became concerned. I am sure the honourable member knows the site. I haven’t been there; I am being honest with you. The member recognizes what I say about the senior citizens’ home, does he?
Mr. Lupusella: Yes.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes, so that part we understand. The Ministry of Community and Social Services became concerned and felt something should be done to keep this major development from moving ahead and the Italian Canadian Benevolent Corporation wanted to acquire it for community uses. With this in mind, cabinet instructed the Ministry of Government Services to get an appraisal of this property, which it did. It was appraised at $2,675,125. That was purchased by the government.
Mr. McClellan: From whom?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: George Heenan, the developer. Maybe some of the members know him. The name doesn’t ring a bell with me. Anyway, there are 6.42 acres. The property was appraised and a price agreed on between the developer and the government, as part of the package.
We purchased it on the assumption, and on agreement with the benevolent corporation, that they take over the property immediately on the day of purchase. They took it over; we had nothing more to do with it; they pay the taxes; they pay the upkeep; they do any renovation -- everything. We just purchased it ns a holding company, you might say, and paid for it out of provincial dollars. When they got to the point where they were ready to purchase it back -- because they did have 10 years to do what they have now done; under that lease-purchase arrangement they had up to 10 years.
The suggestion that the honourable member is putting forth now would have had to have been in that lease-purchase two years ago. We don’t have the option now of putting in your proposal. These terms were set out two years ago.
Mr. McClellan: There is nothing to prevent them from selling to a third party?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: No, I don’t believe there is. Not that I am aware of, anyway, and the present minister doesn’t have authority to put that in.
Mr. Lupusella: But it can happen.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I wouldn’t disagree with you. There is no --
Mr. Lupusella: That’s why I’m particularly concerned.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Well, as I say, these terms were set out in the agreement signed March 17, 1977.
Mr. McClellan: The Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) is shaking his head. I wonder if he is shaking it in disbelief at the terms of the contract or whether he has a different understanding of the terms of the contract? I would be interested in knowing.
Mr. Chairman: Order. I think anyone can shake his head, if he wishes. The honourable minister?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I was just reading about the Russian-Canadian hockey game.
Mr. Lupusella: If I may, Mr. Chairman,
I would like to conclude my remarks by making the main point that I think the doubts I had are shared by the minister as well. This piece of land can be resold to other people or private companies and that is why I have a particular concern about the whole issue.
I guess the intention of the government was to acquire or to buy this piece of land for the development of community projects from which the Italian community was going to benefit. I think that this government was completely wrong to leave this particular option. Not to put restrictions on this particular transaction, I think, was totally wrong.
Again, I am urging the minister, through you, Mr. Chairman, to table all the information available in relation to the acquisition of this land -- any terms of reference in relation to the transaction which took place in 1977 between this government and the Italian Canadian Benevolent Corporation.
Now, I am not sure myself if there are remedies that can be applied in order to put on restrictions -- which I feel quite strongly about -- in order to remove this open option whereby the corporation might resell this piece of land acquired by this government because it was concerned about community projects in relation to the Italian community. Again, I am not sure if there are remedies which can be applied to prevent such a particular event from taking place. In the meantime, I am really urging the minister to table all the information available to his ministry about this affair. Also, Mr. Chairman, as soon as this material becomes available, I urge you to give us approval to go back to this vote, if we are going to vote today.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, as you know, when we reach one o’clock today we will only have 20 or 25 minutes left in my estimates. If there are specific questions I will do my best to answer them today in order to help the honourable members, but time will certainly run short Monday. We won’t get that much time to debate them. I am ready to answer any question you might have.
Mr. Lupusella: Mr. Chairman, I would like to conclude my remarks.
Mr. Chairman: I must remind the member too of standing order 48(b). The chairman has the responsibility to make certain all members can share in the allotted time. One more.
Mr. Lupusella: I am going to conclude my remarks, in view of the fact the estimates might terminate on Monday. I do not know how many hours are left. The minister has to take into great consideration and investigate any alternative option in order that we can put a restriction on this transaction and prohibit the reselling of this particular land to private companies or to private individuals. I am urging the minister, in cooperation with the Attorney General, Solicitor General or other branches of his ministry, to make sure this particular clause is going to be implemented. I hope the minister will take my suggestion into consideration and will table the information in this House.
Mr. Chairman: Any comment, Mr. Minister?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, I am talking to my staff here. I am sure I signed the deed; this deal is closing Monday. The sale is that far along the way.
Mr. McClellan: Give us the documents we are asking for.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: We will have them Monday.
Mr. McClellan: You cannot get them today?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: No, we cannot get them today. We do not have available today the appropriate staff who have those documents.
Mr. Warner: Why do we not adjourn the estimates?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I mentioned to you that on April 11 an order in council went through. I will do my best to have them here for the estimates on Monday. I refer you back to the fact this sale was not arranged at this moment but was arranged in March 1977. Then, an option to lease was an option to the corporation to buy. These are not terms that were set out now; these terms were set out some two years ago. As the present minister, I do not feel like breaking the terms of that lease. I like to think I am a man of honour.
Mr. Lupusella: You are dealing with public money, $2.6 million.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, an agreement was made two years ago. The present minister is not in a position to remove certain clauses.
Mr. Chairman: The member for Victoria-Haliburton. The member for Oakwood will be next.
Mr. Grande: Mr. Chairman, I have a point of order.
Mr. Chairman: What is your point of order?
Mr. Grande: Mr. Chairman: At one time I was standing on my feet and you had gone as far as to mention my name. I would hope, Mr. Chairman, you would allow me two questions and no more.
Mr. Chairman: If the honourable member is not aware, I would like to inform him it is my duty to make certain every member who wishes to ask questions has the opportunity to ask questions. However, I have to do it on a rotation basis.
Mr. Grande: That is quite correct.
Mr. Chairman: I now recognize the member for Victoria-Haliburton.
Mr. Eakins: Mr. Minister, yesterday afternoon the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton) announced the closing of the Kawartha Lakes School in Lindsay. During this announcement he did say he has made every attempt to try and find an occupant for that building. I believe they had contacted the federal government through your ministry, and no one could find a proper use at this time for the particular building.
Is the minister aware of the need for additional court facilities in the town of Lindsay, county of Victoria? In fact, the conditions there are dreadful. Are you aware of whether your ministry had looked into the feasibility of using the Kawartha Lakes School for such a purpose? If not, will you look into the feasibility of converting this school to additional court facilities for the county?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, in responding to the honourable member, I was here when the announcement was made yesterday, but as you know, I was preparing myself a little bit for the estimates. When the Minister of Community and Social Services responded to a question, I believe he set out some inquiries that were made by his ministry respecting this piece of property.
Until yesterday my staff were not aware of this announcement, so they would not have been involved. But let me repeat for the honourable member what I stated earlier in my estimates: When property of this nature is referred to my ministry as surplus property of the ministry concerned, my ministry circulates this to all government ministries and agencies to see if there is any requirement for it.
Following this, if there is no requirement, it is then circulated to the local governing body to see if they have any requirement for it. Following that, if there is no interest -- and I would expect that would be the stage at which the local people would make their suggestions that this would make an excellent park or what have you -- then it is put up for either public auction or public tender.
I believe the minister yesterday -- I am speaking from hearsay -- did give some special mention to the one in Lindsay.
Mr. Eakins: The reason I asked the question is that the minister indicated he had already contacted both federal and provincial governments and that there was no indication of need. I am wondering if this ministry is aware of the great need for additional court space in the county of Victoria?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Additional court space?
Mr. Eakins: Additional court facilities.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: We’re aware of it, but the Attorney General is the one who sets priorities. Until his ministry gives us the priority, we don’t have the opportunity to go ahead. It is an overall package. But it will be kept in mind.
Mr. Eakins: The minister will look into the feasibility of it?
Mr. Henderson: Yes.
Mr. Grande: Mr. Chairman, before I begin, let me apologize to you for what I did earlier.
I just have a few very simple questions. One is about this particular transaction which took place back in 1977. Did one transaction and only one transaction occur with this group? Have any other transactions of this nature occurred with other groups in other communities in Metropolitan Toronto or in Ontario? Has the Ministry of Government Services set as policy that it will do this whenever a particular benevolent corporation or a community group -- a corporation on behalf of that community -- comes to the minister and says, “We do not have enough funds to buy this property for the community. Would you buy it and then we would agree to buy it back from you.” Is that what the government policy is?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: To answer the member’s question, firstly, I am not at this moment aware of any similar circumstances to those of this particular property. This was a unique situation.
A major developer -- and I don’t know who the developer is -- on six and a half acres of land adjacent to the home for the aged had all the approvals, I am told. I don’t have this documented, either; I was told this, I remember. He had all the approvals to proceed. Here we were up against a deadline. The benevolent corporation wanted to acquire the land. As I understood -- and I told you earlier I have no guarantee it’s going to be for a community project -- and cabinet understood, they wanted it for a community project. But let me restate I have no guarantee here, and I’m not sure there is one anywhere that it will go for a community project.
It was a time of emergency, and the government of Ontario purchased it to assist the benevolent corporation on a temporary basis. No others come to my mind at this moment.
Mr. Grande: In that particular case, since this is one particular transaction that occurred between the government and a benevolent corporation of one community, is the minister right now saying that if a situation occurs with perhaps the same conditions -- that the piece of land is close to an old age home -- the minister is going to be ready to assist that community to buy that piece of land?
I would like to find out whether this is one favour that was done at that particular time, or is it something he intends to carry on with? Second, it’s very important -- and I would like to impress upon the minister the seriousness of this matter; he knows as well as anybody else that in the last week at least one of the directors of that particular company was before the courts, I think it was for bribery. I don’t know. Those are allegations. Obviously, the individual will go before the courts and he will be able to either extricate himself or not.
However, the situation is serious. What the member for Dovercourt was talking about is very important -- that that particular piece of land remain in the hands of that community. You might or might not know that community has paid for that piece of land through gifts the community has made, through the different telethons run on a yearly basis. And the government should be protecting that piece of land for community use.
I think you have to make that commitment before that transaction or that changeover on Monday, or that particular benevolent corporation buys back the land from you. You have to give an assurance to the Italian community that that piece of land remains for community purposes and community uses. I want to stress that it is a serious matter, and the minister should begin to address it before Monday in a serious way.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I’m not aware of any officers of this corporation being charged in the courts. I don’t know anything about it. This particular agreement was brought about by the cabinet. Staff do not have any blanket authority. In other words, if there’s a future occasion, as the member suggested, similar to this one it would come to the attention of cabinet as a body. Staff wouldn’t have the authority to go out and buy it, but the government might grant them that authority. They look at each case on an individual basis.
Again, I say to the member, the minister doesn’t have the right to write anything special into this deed at this time. The terms of this particular sale were set out in a purchase option, which was a 10-year option, some two years ago. The minister doesn’t have the authority to enter into it and make it into a public property, as suggested by the honourable member.
Mr. Ruston: Mr. Chairman, can the minister tell me how much property is being leased by the ministry at the Travelers Tower? I think it was mentioned in the leadoff vote by the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon). Can the minister tell me how many square feet his ministry is leasing in the Travelers Tower on University Avenue? If I recall correctly, the rate was $7.50 per foot.
Are we going under the general vote here, Mr. Chairman? Are we doing vote 502 en masse? I guess we’ll have to --
Mr. Chairman: With the time remaining, I think, we’ll have to.
Mr. Ruston: Yes, because there are four more votes.
I was wondering, too, can the minister tell me the overall amount of property he has that is vacant in the Metropolitan Toronto area? Does he have that figure available?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, it would take quite a lot of research to get the details the member might want.
Mr. Ruston: I believe the minister has available each year the figures as to the percentage of vacant property.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I have two reports here. One is for Metropolitan Toronto and one is for outside Metro. I presume the member is referring to Metro; is that right?
Mr. Ruston: Yes.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The figures I’m going to give him are for vacant space as a percentage of our total inventory in Metro. For instance, the figure for disposal, subletting or demolition is 37,615 square feet. This represents 0.67 per cent of the total leased property in Metro. This has dropped. A month ago it was 0.69 per cent; so it has come back to 0.67 in the month. The dollar value of vacant space for the month is $5,664.
For space allocated but not occupied, it is just a small figure, 5,680 feet, or 0.10 per cent. A month ago that was 0.14 per cent; so it’s down also. The dollar value of unoccupied space for the month is $2,985.
For space available for allocation, the figure is 24,290 square feet, or 0.43 per cent. The previous month it was 0.23 per cent. The dollar value is $13,230.
The space reserved and awaiting finalization of clients’ requirements is 67,750 square feet; as applied to the total inventory, that is 1.21 per cent. The previous month it was 1.45 per cent. The dollar value is $47,177.
As for the overall totals -- and he would have to look at them in the four brackets as I’ve given them to him -- the overall total space that is vacant as of this moment is 135,335 square feet. As a percentage of the total inventory in Metro, that is 2.41 per cent; a month ago it was 2.51 per cent. The total dollar value is $69,056.
I believe that is the information that the member requested.
Mr. Ruston: I have a question with regard to the property on University Avenue, just below the new Ontario Hydro building. I think at one time the Ministry of Correctional Services used it. You said the other day the Ministry of Labour or someone was moving into it. Are they moving into the total building? Is it going to be used more or less completely? Are they going to fill it?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Is the honourable member referring to the Hydro building?
Mr. Ruston: No, no, the Ontario building.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: At the corner of Dundas and University. The Ministry of Culture and Recreation is putting its welcoming group into that building.
Mr. Ruston: What about the Travelers Tower? What percentage of that building are we leasing now? Do you have that information available?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: We’ll have that here in a moment. I don’t have the total amount for you, but we’ll get that, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Was the member for Yorkview (Mr. Young) trying to get the Chairman’s eye. My list here has the member for Yorkview next, that was all. The member for Dovercourt.
Mr. Lupusella: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like to go back to the same item I raised previously. I am seeking your advice about whether it is appropriate at this point in time to put a motion before this committee. I would like to read it for the sake of the record, and then maybe you will analyse as to whether or not the motion is appropriate.
I move this committee report to the House on Monday next that the committee recommend to the government that the following course of action be initiated: that before the sale of the land at the corner of Lawrence Avenue and Dufferin Street, Toronto, Ontario, to the Italian Canadian Benevolent Corporation is completed, a restriction be placed in the terms of agreement that the land cannot be resold to a private corporation or individual.
Again, I would like to re-emphasize my disappointment to the minister that because the terms of the agreement between the government and the Italian Canadian Benevolent Corporation are going to be completed on Monday next the minister was not able to provide and make available to the members of this Legislature all the material about this particular concern. Again, I would like to emphasize I completely disagree and reprimand the minister for not tabling all the information available, in view of the fact that on Monday such an agreement is going to take place between the government and the Italian Canadian Benevolent Corporation and we won’t be able to take any action to improve the terms of that agreement. I am really, really disappointed.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, in response to the honourable member, it puts the minister in a difficult position and it puts the House in a difficult position. I will attempt to get an opinion from the Attorney General.
Mr. Lupusella: It will be too late. On Monday, you are going to sign the agreement. Why don’t you postpone that agreement?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I will attempt to get an opinion from the Attorney General to bring to the House on Monday afternoon. I will hold up the signing of the deed until that time. Mind you, only until that time; Monday is supposed to be the closing date. We will be in here at three or 3:30 p.m. I’m going to ask the Attorney General to come in with a legal opinion I can present to you on Monday afternoon.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: May I just speak to the committee for a moment? I’m not sure whether the motion the member for Dovercourt has put forward is or is not in order, but I will take it under advisement and rule on it. If it is in order, we can have a vote on it a little later on, if that’s in order with the minister. I have an idea the motion is not in order.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Is my proposal not satisfactory to the honourable member? I have agreed that the sale will be held up until I report to the House on Monday afternoon.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: You want this motion delayed. Is that it?
Hon Mr. Henderson: I felt I was answering him without having to put it to a vote.
I thought I was abiding by the motion. Am I not?
Mr. Young: Could I interject here? I think the purpose of the honourable member is achieved by the word of the minister which has been given here. I think the word of the minister is as good as gold. We are willing to stand by that.
He is going to bring back a report. The agreement or finalization of this sale is not going to be made until the minister reports to the House. I would hope at that time something can be done to safeguard this matter.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I felt my statement would clarify the request of the motion. That was the reason for my statement.
Mr. B. Newman: We have a motion before the House. I would suggest that the member withdraw the motion and reintroduce it on Monday, if he wishes.
Mr. Lupusella: On the minister’s premise, I think it is appropriate for me to withdraw the motion, but again I would urge the minister to do everything possible to postpone such agreement until all legal advice is gathered in order that such clause is put in this agreement.
The minister and this government have a duty to protect public money. You are dealing with around $3 million which you are spending from the public purse. This government has a duty to put a restriction on the agreement in order that the money be utilized for community purposes and to prevent the corporation from reselling the property to private companies or individuals.
I hope the minister will do everything possible to make sure that such a clause will be implemented.
Mr. Warner: On a point of order, a motion has been placed. It is possible to have it withdrawn, provided there is unanimous consent. Before we enter that procedure, I wish to understand quite clearly that the minister intends to report to the House on Monday next during statements with an opinion so that the information is then given prior to our resumption of these estimates in the afternoon of Monday. Is that correct?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The member has added one suggestion. I agreed I would go to the Attorney General and ask him or his staff to search the records to see if we have the right to impose on the deed of sale of the property that certain restrictions be put on the property. I agreed I would bring his opinion back to my estimates on Monday afternoon.
You have put one little extra point in there that the information be supplied during statements. I have to depend on the Attorney General’s staff. I am in a bind to give you the undertaking that it will be here at the time for statements. I will do my best, but I can’t ensure that. I have to ask another department.
You have my assurance this minister will come back with a statement from the Attorney General. There is just the one bind there. You are putting another hour or two on something that could be vital. Is that part important to you? If I have it, I will be glad to give it to you at the time for statements.
Mr. di Santo: I appreciate the position taken by the minister. I want to make quite clear that on this side we are happy with the sale of that piece of land to a non-profit organization.
What we as members of this Legislature are concerned with is that if the transaction goes through, the government makes sure that if, for some unforeseen reason the corporation cannot keep that centre, perhaps because of financial problems, or there is a bankruptcy and it becomes necessary to resell that land, that it not be sold to private individuals or companies but to a non-profit organization. Or, alternatively, the province puts a clause in the transaction that in such a case it will take back the land in order to give it to organizations or use it for public interest, and not for private interests. Because, I can foresee that if a private corporation or developer gets hold of that land, there would be beautiful highrise apartments built because the bylaw has been changed recently, as the minister knows.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, I will request the Attorney General to look at Hansard and to get answers for you, good or bad, one way or the other.
Mr. Lupusella: They must be good.
Mr. Young: I’m sure we thank the minister for his assurance here today. I think this is a very important matter for him, for the government and for the Legislature and I’m glad that he’s taking the attitude he is because that’s a very healthy point of view. I hope he comes back with the answers that we’re looking for.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: I gather that the committee has agreed this motion be withdrawn and that the minister will have something further to say to this matter on Monday.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, before the members ask further questions, I have a reply to the member for Essex North about 400 University Avenue.
The Attorney General has 3,090 square feet. The rent for that particular -- does the member want all the details?
Mr. Ruston: Yes, if you could read them to me.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I’ll read this. The Attorney General has 3,090 square feet. The rent for this is $25,986.96. That works out to $8.41 per square foot. Again, the Attorney General has 1,350 square feet, the rental for which is $8,680.56. The rate for that parcel works out to $6.43 per square foot.
The Labour ministry has 191,975 square feet. Rental is $1,457,431.20, for a rental rate of $7.59 per square foot.
The Ministry of Culture and Recreation has one parcel, 30,000 square feet; rental, $244,500. I should have read out the dates that these leases run out, too, but I can go back and give them to you. This one runs out in 1981. The rental for it is $8.15 per square foot. Culture and Recreation again, 1,500 square feet; $154,500. This contract runs out in 1983 and the price of it is $10.30 per square foot. Total space rented in the building, 241,415 square feet; the annual rental, $1,891,998. The average rental is $7.87 per square foot. It’s a pretty high building.
Mr. Young: There are a couple of questions I want to ask, the first one on behalf of the member for Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes) who is tied up in the Hydro committee. She asked me to ask the minister about the Ottawa courthouse, and this is listed here in the report under major capital projects approved for design. It is sort of a long way off yet, but the member for Carleton East is very anxious that she have further information as to just what hopes there are in respect to this courthouse, which is so desperately needed in that particular city. Perhaps the minister can give the answer to that and then I can go on to a further question.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, I really thought it would have been the leader of the NDP who would ask about this. It is actually in his riding where we are looking at the possibility of a courthouse.
Mr. Warner: We are all concerned about it.
Mr. Young: The young lady is better looking, you see, so I listen to her.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I really didn’t think that you would recognize that.
Mr. Warner: You don’t know him well enough.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I know him pretty well. Mr. Chairman, in response to the honourable member, I am sure that all members of the House are aware through the Ottawa papers that I visited the chairman of the National Capital Commission in Ottawa late in 1978 and proposed a site for a courthouse, which is the old Normal School site. The reason for approaching the federal government first is that it has some property to the north of our property. Ours is a triangle piece of property. We would like to trade part of the triangle and square it up to approximately four acres for a courthouse.
Mr. Warner: It will take longer than 10 years.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: It’s interesting that you should say that. I believe the date was December 16, but don’t pin me down. It was in that week anyhow, in 1978, that I presented that proposal. About the end of February, Mr. Eric Dowd, the well-known reporter, phoned me at home -- it was a Friday evening -- and told me about a story in an Ottawa paper that I was being offered the Daley building, which many of you people would know. The Daley building is just east of the Chateau Laurier hotel, and I was asked if I would look into the possibility of the Daley building supplying the necessary courtroom space.
I had staff look into this possibility and when I got the full report from the staff, they pointed out several deficiencies and recommended that the Daley building would not be acceptable. You know for the courtroom atmosphere we have to have double ceiling heights and restrictions put on that particular site by the city of Ottawa and by the National Capital Commission. That letter came at the end of February. About a month ago -- I could get the actual date -- on a Sunday afternoon, I went to Ottawa to convince myself one way or another. I visited the Daley building. I again visited the courthouse in Ottawa. I visited the courtrooms. I visited the total facility. I spent Sunday afternoon there and Monday morning, and when I came back I wrote and rejected the Daley building and told them my original proposal was still my choice.
Mr. McClellan: You still have to square the triangle, do you?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Well, a Tory government can do a lot of things.
Mr. Young: I am sure the member for Carleton East will read Hansard with a great deal of interest, if not with a great deal of satisfaction, at this moment. However, there’s hope.
Mr. Chairman, a few years ago, we heard a great deal about decentralization of departments throughout the province; we were going to sort of put a little bomb under Toronto and blow the departments out in all directions. That has happened, to some extent at least. In the latest ministry annual report I read this on page 19: “Major planning was initiated for office buildings to accommodate the Ministry of Health in Kingston and the Ministry of Revenue in Oshawa.” But in looking over this report to which I have just referred, Design and Construction Program 1979-80, I don’t see any indication of that kind of planning going on; it may be there, or it may be beyond the stage where it would appear in this document. Perhaps the minister can bring us up to date as to what is happening in this process of decentralization.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Was it Kingston the member was especially interested in? I was trying to dig out my documents, and I missed part of his request. Was he asking about the overall decentralization or about Kingston?
Mr. Young: Perhaps the minister could deal specifically with the two examples I used and then tell us more about what is going on in the whole field.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Which two?
Mr. Young: The Ministry of Health to Kingston and the Ministry of Revenue to Oshawa.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The relocation of the head office of the Ministry of Revenue, announced last April, is progressing satisfactorily. A 1.7-acre site in downtown Oshawa has been purchased, and the development of the design and the detailed plant requirements and definition established have been completed.
This building is in our lease-purchase program. The location of this building is the west portion of the block bounded by King Street, Simcoe Street South, Athol Street West and Centre Street South. We expect there will be 1,700 people there. The estimated construction cost of this building is $22.5 million.
The project for the Ministry of Health will be located on a three-acre site in downtown Kingston which has been purchased for $765,000. It is located at the junction of Wellington Street and Place d’Arme, three blocks north of Princess Street. The Ministry of Health is currently finalizing its requirements and when these are received design work will proceed.
Mr. Young: So you have the land in Kingston?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes.
Mr. Young: And some hope of further progress in Oshawa?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: We have to get the final figure; are we putting 1,000 there, 1,200, 800? The original idea was that there would be about 900. Until we get the final figure from the Ministry of Health, we can’t tell our architects and engineers to design such a building.
Mr. Young: Mr. Chairman, does the minister want to elaborate on the whole philosophy of decentralization, or is that something he doesn’t want to bother with at the present time? I don’t think we need to spend too much time on it; we have these two illustrations of what is happening.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: As the member knows, it’s the government’s hope to decentralize. These are the only two major proposals with which my ministry has been involved. On other aspects I would be talking in the dark about things in which I do not think you are really interested at this time. If there are specifics, yes, we will answer them; but I think it is just a waste of time for me to start wandering all over.
Mr. Young: That is the answer I wanted. No progress has been made except in these two particular instances.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Wait a minute, Mr. Chairman, there have been lesser amounts.
Mr. Young: But when the time comes for the move the minister knows about it.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes.
Mr. Ruston: Point of order, Mr. Chairman: I think we have about an hour and a half left. I wonder if we could wind up vote 502 and go on to one of the other votes today?
Vote 502 agreed to.
On vote 503, upkeep of accommodation program; item 1, program administration:
Mr. McClellan: I had an issue I wanted to raise with the minister under this vote. I have raised it with the Ministry of Government Services every year since I was elected in 1975, and I usually raise it as well with the Ministry of Labour because a lot of my constituents are directly affected. The issue, of course, is the government’s policy and practice of contracting out the cleaning services for the office buildings, particularly here at Queen’s Park.
Just to refresh the minister’s memory, these contracts used to be let out for tender without any fair-wage provisions, so that the contracts were awarded at the minimum wage level and that is what the contractors would offer as wages. In 1975 it happened a group of cleaners at one of these companies obtained union certification and managed to bargain their wages up above the minimum wage. When the contract came up for renewal, the company lost the contract to somebody who was prepared to pay the minimum wage. Subsequent to that, and under a lot of pressure both from within the House and outside in the communities, the government instituted a fair-wage provision for its tendering practices. I asked at the beginning of these estimates if the minister would be so kind as to give me the current fair-wage schedule, which he did and I have it before me.
I want to point something out to the minister. The fair-wage rate, for light-duty cleaners in particular in Metropolitan Toronto, is only 30 cents above the minimum wage, $3.30 an hour. The heavy-duty cleaner fair wage for Metropolitan Toronto is $4.05 an hour. Firstly, I do not know how anybody can categorize $3.30 as a fair wage in Metropolitan Toronto. It is not a fair wage, it is an unfair wage.
I make the point that when we look at the wage scale paid to cleaning staff who are civil servants, a light-duty cleaner receives for normal duties $4.56 a hour, $1.26 an hour more than your so-called fair-wage scale. A heavy-duty cleaner receives $5.32 an hour, whereas your so-called fair-wage scale is set at the rate of $4.05 per hour; again there is over a dollar an hour difference.
That suggests to me a very clear rationale for the government’s practice of contracting out cleaning services here at the office buildings where we work, and where the majority of the ministry officials and civil servants work in Toronto. The rationale is to cut the wages of the cleaners; it is as simple as that.
I happen to represent a constituency in west Toronto where a great many people, mostly new Canadians, work in the cleaning industry. I am saying again, but I think for the first time since you assumed the Ministry of Government Services portfolio, that I find this practice intolerable. I regard it as exploitative. I regard it as an exploitation of people whom you and I, and your ministry officials and my staff, all of the people who work for the government of Ontario, depend on to provide the cleanliness of the work space in which we do our business. I think we can do a little better than what you are offering.
As a matter of policy, I would prefer if the government would bring essential cleaning staff on to full civil service status. I think ultimately that is the only fair way to deal with it. I don’t expect the government to change its practice of contracting out, although I think it is a very regrettable thing that you do contract out essential cleaning services. These are jobs that have to be done every single day of the week. There is no reason why they shouldn’t be done by people who have the full protection of civil service status so they can get decent pay and decent working conditions for the very essential work they do.
If you are not prepared to do that, surely at the very least you have the decency to establish a fair-wage scale which bears some relation to the wage rates that are paid to civil service cleaning staff and maintenance staff. How can you possibly justify such incredible differentials, differentials of up to 25 per cent in their wages? That is a ripoff, that’s exploitation; there is no other way to describe it.
I want to ask the minister what kind of fair employment practice provisions are put into the tenders on these contracts? I suspect very little in the way of reference to fair employment practices goes into the contract tenders, and very little in the way of mini mum-benefit provisions goes into your contracts by way of condition of award.
We go through this exercise year after year, and the discrepancies continue between your so-called fair-wage scale and the civil service salaries that are paid to cleaners on staff. I would like to know when you intend to get around to ending this kind of discrimination, this kind of exploitation of essential personnel here in our own buildings. I invite the minister to respond to this.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The minister brings out several points in his remarks. I said the minister instead of the member.
Mr. Young: The future minister.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Firstly, I am sure the member is aware that the Civil Service Commission sets the wages of all government staff. The fair wage is set by the Ministry of Labour, my staff are not involved in that.
I can’t give the member all the answers he would like because I don’t have access to that information. They do have a process they go through, they have a factor that they work from. They average up wages of different branches of industry, local government and what have you to come up with a rate. That information should come from the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie).
Mr. McClellan: Can I just respond to that? That’s precisely the problem, the cleaning industry is a minimum-wage industry. The cleaning industry operates on the basis of a pool of new Canadian workers who are relatively unskilled and who don’t have many other job opportunities. The going rate of pay in the cleaning industry is the minimum wage.
The only exceptions to the prevailing wage pattern in the cleaning industry are within the public sector, at the municipal, provincial or federal levels, where there is the protection of collective bargaining at all three levels.
If the minister tells me that he is going to set a fair-wage scale on the basis of prevailing patterns in the industry -- no thank you; no thank you very much; keep it. The minister is just talking about the minimum wage or slightly more than the minimum wage.
I get exercised about this because there are literally thousands of constituents in my riding -- and in the riding of my colleague the member for Dovercourt (Mr. Lupusella) and in the riding of my colleague the member for Oakwood (Mr. Grande) -- who are working in the cleaning industry and who are trying to support their families and raise their children on these totally inadequate salaries. Many of them are living below the poverty line.
I’m asking the Minister of Government Services to try and understand that; try to understand that we’re doing real harm to people with unfair fair-wage scales. We’re really hurting people. To make it worse, we’re hurting people who look after our offices. Our offices are being cleaned on the basis of exploitation, our very offices here at Queen’s Park. Surely that ought to be unacceptable to any government?
I ask the Minister of Government Services to talk to his colleague, the Minister of Labour. I make this appeal every year to this ministry, and to the Minister of Labour whose regressive policies you are implementing.
Don’t tell me this wage scale is based on anything other than an exploitative pattern of remuneration, because it isn’t. The minister must base his fair-wage scale on the prevailing pattern of wage settlements within the public sector in the maintenance field. That’s the only way he can develop a fair-wage scale that’s fair.
I’m asking him to look at this seriously, to speak to his colleague the Minister of Labour and tell him that he personally doesn’t think it’s fair that the people who are cleaning the offices of our public officials and civil servants should be paid such lousy wages.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, the Minister of Labour, as the member suggests, does set the fair-wage scale. Regarding my suggestion that the different brackets were taken into consideration, I was speaking to the minimum wage, all these are taken into consideration.
I personally was not involved in the debates that led to setting the fair-wage scale. I was not involved.
Mr. McClellan: You are now.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: My former statement took into account the minimum wage. I was speaking to both, and maybe I didn’t clarify it. I was not involved in the debates that led up to the fair-wage scale. I would suggest that the member bring this to the attention of the Minister of Labour during his estimates.
Mr. McClellan: Oh I fully intend to; but I’m asking you, Mr. Minister, to look at this matter seriously. I think there’s a real injustice here, in these very buildings.
Does the minister think $3.30 is a fair wage for cleaning these offices? Does he think that $4.05 an hour is a fair wage in Metropolitan Toronto for a heavy-duty cleaner? Does he really think that himself, personally, as Lorne Henderson? Does he think that’s a fair wage?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, it’s not up to the Minister of Government Services to decide. That is the responsibility of the Minister of Labour.
Mr. Warner: Get rid of the odious contracting out. You can do that.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I will let him respond to those questions.
Mr. McClellan: That’s the response I’ve had every year since 1975; it’s always the same response and it’s as unacceptable from this minister as it was from all his predecessors. He is involved in a practice of exploiting cleaning staff.
If I were you I would want to sit down with the Minister of Labour so that we could, together, develop a wage scale that was really fair. That is to say a fair-wage scale that could provide to the people who are providing essential cleaning services a salary on which they can live and support their families.
I don’t think that’s unreasonable; but the minister, as all of his predecessors, like Pontius Pilate has washed his hands of the matter and said: “It’s somebody else’s responsibility.” Everybody in the government takes the same attitude so that it’s nobody’s responsibility. I guess it’s just a kind of cosmic force that descends on people that results in them getting exploitative wages.
I’ll pursue it with the Minister of Labour and I’ll be back to pursue it again next year, whether you’re here or some other minister is here.
Mr. Hodgson: You won’t be here.
Mr. McClellan: I’ll be here, don’t you worry about that.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I want to say to the member he did not pursue it last year with this ministry.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are we through with vote 503? The member for Windsor-Walkerville.
Mr. B. Newman: I wanted to ask one simple question of the minister and that is concerning the provision for parking for the handicapped at all government-operated buildings. Are you designating locations as close as possible to the entrance to the buildings for the handicapped, Mr. Minister?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I’m sure the member knows this government is doing everything possible to assist the handicapped. We are assisting in the parking wherever possible. If the member has specific areas in mind I will attempt to answer him, but our overall policy is to try and assist the handicapped in parking in a place suitable to them..
Mr. B. Newman: May I suggest, then, that in the Windsor facility with which I’m familiar, the area right next to the entrance to the building, just off the parking lot, be specifically designated for handicapped only. At least let’s show our concern visibly, even if the spot may not be used to the full. The handicapped coming in, or being brought in by someone else should know, there is a location at which they may park the vehicle and not have to manipulate any long distance when they’re visiting any one of the province of Ontario offices. I’m not referring to banks now.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Not referring to what?
Mr. B. Newman: To a banking facility, you operate certain banking facilities.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, the member’s recommendation will be brought to the attention of the people who are managing our buildings in the Windsor area. If something of this nature can be worked out we will certainly do our best.
Mr. B. Newman: It’s easy to work out, Mr. Minister. All you have to do is tell them:
“Look, there are going to be one or two locations, even if they aren’t used to the full and are vacant at times.” There is no need for me to explain anything, Mr. Minister. You know the difficulty they have and I know you’re concerned, as is everyone else in the House, but let’s visibly show our concern.
Vote 503 agreed to.
On vote 504, supply and services program; item 1, program administration:
Mr. Ruston: Mr. Chairman, this vote has about 16 individual items in it; but in supply and services do you have any policy with regard to buying Canadian? Is there any policy as to considering whether a product is manufactured in Canada or by a Canadian company? Do you have any criteria as far as the amount of difference you might pay if it is manufactured outside of Canada, or if it’s manufactured in Canada or Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes, we do have a differential. Let’s say the tender price of the item is $100 -- if we have it in small figures it’s easier to explain -- if it is made in Ontario with some foreign content, let’s say it was Dick Ruston’s company -- has he got many companies?
Mr. Ruston: Afraid not.
Mr. B. Newman: There are a lot of Rustons who are well-to-do, but not this one.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Not this one, eh? He’s a politician. However, the Ruston company puts in a tender from the Windsor area and its tender is $100. We get another tender from a company outside of Canada. We add 10 per cent to the Canadian content. We will raise your price 10 per cent on the Canadian content.
Only half of your price of $100 might be Canadian content. If $50 of it was Canadian content, we would add 10 per cent to that. That would bring your tender up to $105. If it was 100 per cent Canadian content we would add 10 per cent to that, which would bring it then to $110. The differential for Canadian content is 10 per cent. Have I explained it fully enough, or would you like a further explanation?
Mr. Ruston: I was looking at the supply and administration branch under the special products section with regard to a tender by Purolator Courier Limited. I have the figures here on the tender of Purolator Courier of October 26, 1977, for $329,382, but I have information -- and I’m sure you have the letter too -- from Swift Sure Courier Service Limited, a Canadian Courier. They are questioning, of course, whether it’s an American company. I would like to know what the difference was in the tender on that type of an operation as well. Would it be possible to obtain that information?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I’m not sure I got the question. I was preparing myself for the next question and I missed something. Name the company again.
Mr. Ruston: Purolator Courier, on October 26, 1977, had a tender, which apparently was accepted, for $329,382. I was wondering if you could tell me the amount of the tenders of some of the other companies at that same time?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: We will get that for you Monday. Do you want the other companies that tendered on that?
Mr. Ruston: It was tender number 3111.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Okay. We will have that at the opening of estimates on Monday.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Chairman, I have a question on a matter of protocol. I find it interesting that in looking through Hansard the last time anything concerning the flying of flags was dealt with was by John Robarts on May 4, 1965. There may have been more recent statements of policy on that since then, but I could not find any. At that time, Mr. Robarts said the Canadian flag would take precedence over the Ontario flag, at least in flying on parliament buildings and government buildings.
There was an emotional incident that took place at Humber College in my riding a couple of weeks ago when the president of the college received a new Ontario flag and took down the Canadian flag to fly the Ontario flag. Some of the professors started using words like “separatism” and a number of other hostile adjectives against the government for this action. They became quite angry. I understand the next day the Ontario flag was quickly removed and the Canadian flag once more flies high over Humber College.
It does bring out an interesting point. Flags are a symbol and symbols are important to people, particularly at this time when we are concerned about Confederation. I wonder if the ministry has a policy with regard to government buildings. Does the Canadian flag take precedence, and in a case such as happened at Humber College where there is only one flagpole, can you assure us the Canadian flag will fly rather than the Ontario flag?
I have supplied the minister with notice of my question and I am sure he has an answer.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I am trying to think. On the right of the honourable member for Yorkview (Mr. Young) is the flag of Canada. The provincial flag flies in front of this building. We have it right up there. That is our position. We fly both flags on all provincial buildings. The flag of Canada on the right takes precedence; on the left of it is the flag of Ontario.
My response to the question of the community colleges, is that we know they are funded by the province and what-have-you, but they are really not provincial buildings. Let me restate the position. All provincial buildings under my jurisdiction fly two flags, the flag of Canada and the flag of Ontario. If one is going to be flown, they will both be flown; but the flag of Canada takes precedence on the right.
Let me go one step further -- and I thank the honourable member for sending me advance notice of this question -- recently the Ministry of Education sent two flags to all the colleges and universities through my protocol service. They sent a flag of Canada and a flag of Ontario. I am certainly concerned that the flag of Canada would be replaced by the flag of Ontario. I am as interested in one Canada as anybody. The flag of Canada is still our main flag.
The honourable member read from something written in 1965. If memory serves me correctly, on February 2, 1967, we may have attended a flag-raising ceremony for the flag of Ontario out in front of this building -- is that date correct?
Mr. Young: Some time or other.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: We didn’t have a flag of Ontario in 1965. I am trying to think back some 10 or 12 years. I think it was February 2, 1967, we officially dedicated the flag of Ontario.
Mr. Young: We nearly froze.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: We nearly froze; that’s right, you were there.
Mr. Philip: The position was fairly clearly stated by John Robarts. Perhaps I should have sent this to the minister along with the press clipping. He said: “So far as this government is concerned, the national flag takes the position of precedence when flown over other flags. The policy of government is to continue to fly such flags, including the Canadian flag, over provincial buildings as the occasion requires and custom and usage may determine.”
Somewhere in this he mentions a provincial flag. It is the only position I could find concerning the precedence of the national flag over the provincial or other flags. I wonder if the minister would simply communicate with his colleague, the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson), since he is the minister responsible for protocol, and suggest to that minister that on college buildings where there is only one flagpole, the Canadian flag be flown until such time as perhaps two flagpoles may be put up. I would be perfectly happy to see both flags flying, I just resent the idea of the Canadian flag being taken down and the Ontario flag being put up. Would he speak to the Ministry of Education about that?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I’ll be very happy to bring this to the attention of the minister. In fact I will send her a personal letter. I’ll enclose a copy of this press clipping you have given us and I’ll enclose a copy of the Hansard. But again, I look to my colleague across the way. Did we have something like the flag of St. George previous to 1967 that was an unofficial flag we looked at? There’s something runs around in my mind.
Mr. Young: There were a lot of flags looked at at that time, but I’ve forgotten --
Hon. Mr. Henderson: There was no flag, but did we not use that saying -- that slogan? Mr. Philip: If I may, Mr. Chairman, it’s the last point I’ll make on this. I have found the section where the Honourable John Robarts, noting there was a provincial flag, said, “On the grounds in front of the Parliament Buildings a second flagpole will be erected; the Canadian flag will fly from a pole on the right and the provincial flag will be flown from a pole on the left” I assume that was the provincial flag-raising ceremony that both the minister and the member for Yorkview were referring to.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Chairman, I wanted to go back to an issue my colleague, the member for Essex North, raised about tendering. He asked which of the several tenders one is going to accept -- a tender by a company that is American or one Canadian. The city of Windsor council is confronted with that. It was nice to hear the minister say that if there were a 10 per cent differential and the content were 100 per cent American, you would have a 10 per cent differential in the price. In other words, if a Canadian-content item is within a 10 per cent range -- it could be 10 per cent more expensive than the American -- you would give preferential treatment to the Canadian.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes. That’s policy of the government; we do that.
Mr. B. Newman: This sets a guideline for municipalities now, Mr. Minister. They would know the province uses this type of policy and they themselves could follow it. In a border town like ours, Americans may tender a little more for items we are going to purchase than in other municipalities. But you’ve set the guideline and I’ll inform council there is a provincial guideline now and they could follow just what you’re doing. Thank you.
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Chairman, my question is a followup on the Canadian content questions that have been asked, but I think this comes under legislative services in this vote. It relates to the program which was put into effect a couple of years ago to allow members to have two reproductions of art work as part of the furnishings for their offices. I think this was a very fine program, so that members’ offices had something more than electoral maps and certificates of theft election in them. But the design of the program bothered me. We were supplied with a book called Fine Art Reproductions, published by the New York Graphics Society, from which to order the reproductions for our offices. This book contained about 400 old and modern masters but it contained only one Canadian painting.
We had a select committee on economic and cultural nationalism which reported in 1975 that it was necessary to have a Canadian bias in our cultural support. I’ll just quote you one phrase from their report: “Canadian culture is at a severe disadvantage because of the enormous promotional resources deployed behind marketing and disseminating foreign cultural products.”
The report went on to say: “It is not a question of nationalism versus internationalism, but very much more a question of being selective among possibilities.” I protested the fact we were offered a catalogue with only one Canadian painting. Subsequently, the ministry did supply us with a selection of Canadian reproductions and I was able to choose two very good Canadian reproductions for my office, one by David Jean, who is a well-known Canadian artist who happens to live in my riding, and one by Mr. Carlos Marchiori, who did a painting of what’s known as the Flatiron Building in Toronto, a very outstanding landmark.
I would like to ask the minister: If this program is continuing, can he not make it a program which has a bias in favour of Canadian reproductions so we can assist Canadian artists in the way the report of the select committee suggested and make sure government money is spent on supporting Canadian art?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, in response to the honourable member, there are no books of this nature made in Canada. The one you saw was the one Canadian product and it is the available book. There are no books in Canada. My staff have approached the artists, and have requested they do just what you are requesting of me, but as of this moment, they have not come up with a book. Your proposal is well taken but the artists haven’t responded to our request. I would only further add the honourable member had a better opportunity than me. Nobody gave me an opportunity to choose my art. The honourable member is very lucky.
Ms. Bryden: Subsequently, when I asked for Canadian reproductions, I was provided with a portfolio of about 40 reproductions that were available for sale through various agencies. I think that could be made available instead of a hook. I think the reason there’s no book is the market is a lot smaller in this country, but we can make Canadian reproductions available to the members.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, our own staff may have put that together for the honourable member, but there’s no commercially available book. We would like it as much as the member would.
Mr. Ruston: Mr. Chairman, I wonder if the minister could tell me how many civil servants are furnished with credit cards for gasoline purposes? He may recall an article in the Toronto Star of August 13, 1978. According to this article, there were 10,000 and the cost of gasoline was $28 million in 1977. Can the minister tell us if it can all be verified as being used for business purposes only. What is your policy on that?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, to answer for all government would be very difficult for me. To answer for our department, all drivers driving government vehicles have credit cards. I don’t know whether that is enough of an answer, but it is an off-the-cuff answer that all drivers driving government-owned cars have credit cards.
Mr. Ruston: Would the credit cards not be issued through your ministry for all ministries?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes, they are issued through our ministry but the allocation is made up by the other ministries. For instance, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications or the Ministry of Education sends us a list of the people who are to get them. We don’t decide that.
Mr. Ruston: Does the minister have the total number of credit cards issued?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: We will get that for you by Monday. We don’t have it here.
Mr. Ruston: This article concerns me a little bit because we are handling a great deal of money. I realize that if a person is driving a government car -- and naturally that’s the easiest way to handle it -- and that car is used for purposes other than government business, which happens in some cases, there is a charge back to the individual who is using it. But if the minister can get me that information, I would appreciate it.
The other thing, Mr. Chairman, if I might just say a word about Mr. Laws, who is ill, is that on a number of occasions I have talked to him and asked him for assistance. I want to say that I do appreciate the amount of work he has done in the government service. I do hope he has a speedy recovery from his illness and we are very concerned about him at this time.
Mr. Philip: Mr. Chairman, I have a couple of questions on a matter that is, I suppose, of immediate importance to all of us in the Legislature -- at least to those who drive and park in the members’ parking lot. I cannot find a breakdown of how much is spent on supervision of the parking lot. I am talking about the commissionaires and so forth. I will ask a series of questions and then perhaps the minister can just answer them all together.
I understand that a number of commissionaires have, in some way, been punished by their supervisors by being docked hours, or that kind of penalty, for “not performing their duties” or for not being at a specific place at a specific time. I am wondering if there is some kind of management problem among the commissionaires? Can the minister give us a breakdown of how much is spent on supervision, that is, in management or quasi-management types of posts with regard to the supervisors, as compared to salaries paid to the commissionaires themselves? Exactly what are the responsibilities of the people who supervise the commissionaires? What is the ratio of management to employees in this case? Can you answer some of those questions?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Laws, who was just referred to by the member for Essex North, is the supervisor over this building. To the best of my knowledge, the case of one employee who was disciplined reached the attention of the minister. The minister supported the decision of the supervisor in that. There were reasons and I supported the supervisor fully in the action he took. Beyond that, if there was some other local incident, we don’t have it here in our records.
Mr. Philip: I am not taking a position on one side or the other. I just had the feeling there was some kind of conflict between one or more of the employees and the supervisor. I wonder, perhaps, if the minister can simply write me a note on it; or find the answers and we can discuss it informally.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: That’s one that will go to the minister, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Philip: I appreciate that. Thank you.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Henderson, the committee of supply reported certain resolutions.
The House adjourned at 1 p.m.