The House met at 10 a.m.
METRO LAND SALES
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, my first question is to the Minister of Transportation and Communications.
Mr. Sweeney: Put on your crash helmet.
Mrs. Campbell: Is the minister aware of the implications of Metro’s policy to dispose at market value land which has been declared surplus? Is he aware that this policy will result in the loss to the city of Toronto of some 14 parks and over a dozen parking lots which now serve local business areas all across the city?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I am sorry, I think I missed a word or two of the honourable member’s question. I am really not aware of Metro’s plans for the disposal of land. I do not believe there has been any consultation or any involvement with my office. I am not sure whether or not there has been with the ministry. I am not sure just which land she is referring to.
Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary: The lands are those basically right across Bloor Street. Is the minister not aware that his ministry is aiding and abetting this policy in that he asked Metro in a letter to the Metro chairman to reimburse the province “for the full market value in the percentage at which the province had originally participated in the purchase”? Is he not aware that by making this request the minister is lending his support to the Metro Toronto policy, which will wipe out many city parkettes and car- parks?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I am certainly aware of that policy. It is the policy of the ministry and a very fair one. It is applied in all circumstances where land has been bought by municipalities and the purchase subsidized by my ministry. If land over and above that needed for a project is purchased for some reason and then disposed of, we would share in the disposal proceeds on the same percentage basis on which we contributed in the first place. That is our policy.
Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary: Does the minister believe that it is an appropriate policy that one level of government should make money out of another level of government, when the same taxpayers are involved?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I think it is only fair that the two or three levels, whichever it may be, of government that participated in the project should share equally in the proceeds if there are surplus lands to be disposed of. In many cases for transportation projects, it may be necessary to buy out a total property. Then after the project is completed if there are surplus lands, these are sold off and both levels of government share appropriately in the sale price, whether it is at a loss or a profit. That is our general policy.
With respect to the particular lands that the honourable member is referring to along the Bloor-Danforth subway, I don’t recall any specific correspondence with Chairman Godfrey on those lands. There may have been general correspondence on other lands that Metro was planning to dispose of. The only knowledge I have of the lands the member is speaking of is the article I read in the press in the last few days.
Mr. McClellan: Supplementary: Since many of the parking facilities along the Bloor-Danforth route -- the lands we are talking about that are used for parking facilities -- are absolutely crucial to the survival of small business in the area, leaving aside the obvious value of the parkettes to the residential communities adjacent north and south, may I ask the minister to sit down and meet with city officials to review the implications of the ministry’s current policy with a view to changing it?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I am always available to meet with officials. The member mentions city officials. I believe in this case it is a Metro situation. It would be appropriate for me to meet with Metro officials and perhaps with city officials as well.
Mr. McClellan: The city officials would tell you what the problems are.
Mrs. Campbell: Yes.
Hon. Mr. Snow: If the member would give me a moment please, I said I would be quite happy to meet with Metro officials. If they wished to bring city officials along with them to discuss the particular problem, I would be quite willing to meet with them jointly.
Mr. McClellan: You have more faith in Metro than I do.
TRUCK DRIVING LICENCE
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, my second question is to the Minister of Transportation and Communications. On May 8, in response to a question of my leader, in addressing himself to the problems relating to diabetics the minister made the statement that the classification had been changed but that those holding licences prior to the change would be grandfathered. Has he made any investigation at all to see whether this is being done?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I haven’t investigated it. I know it was done at the time of the 12-month transitional period. When the classified driver’s licence system came into force, in the case of those drivers who held a position as truck or bus drivers prior to that period -- I believe the member is referring specifically to diabetics in this particular case, which is right in the legislation that was passed by this House --
Hon. Mr. Davis: With Liberal support.
Hon. Mr. Snow: -- who had a controlled diabetic condition prior to the implementation of the legislation who made application to upgrade their licence from a normal chauffeur’s licence, for instance, to a class A or B or C licence, this would be done as part of the transitional process.
I believe what the member is getting at is if a person was a truck driver prior to that period of time and now is diagnosed as a new diabetic, then that provision does not apply.
Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary: Would the minister investigate the case of Norman Makela who lost his truck driving licence? He had been driving a truck with Imperial Oil for nearly 30 years and has had several safety awards for truck driving. Now he is forced to attend George Brown College to take a retraining course because he has not been permitted to renew his licence by reason of being diabetic. The diabetic condition prevailed during the 30 years he has been driving.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I will certainly investigate that particular case. There’s something that just doesn’t jibe in the information the honourable member has recited. If that particular man had been driving for 30 years and had had the diabetic condition during those 30 years, he should have been issued a class A licence in 1976.
I get situations -- not this one which I don’t believe I’ve heard of -- brought to my attention where drivers have heart attacks or other health problems that cause their licences to be downgraded or in some cases removed totally. That is the purpose of the program and the purpose of the legislation. But I’ll certainly look into that particular case.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Supplementary: What is the record on people with heart problems? Do they have a bad performance record that warrants this strong legislation being implemented? I’ve had many cases where they have been denied licences because of heart conditions, yet they’ve been driving for many years. I wonder what the record is on their performance.
Hon. Mr. Snow: I don’t know if I can recite to the honourable member any particular record. We do know that a certain number of accidents, whether it be automobile or otherwise, are caused by people who have heart seizures while at the wheel of a car or a truck or whatever. I would doubt if any member of this House would suggest that a driver who has a record of a heart condition or is considered by the medical experts to be a possible candidate for a recurrence of a serious heart attack should be driving a large transport on the highway or driving a bus full of passengers or school children. I just don’t think it is reasonable.
I have all the sympathy in the world for the people who suffer with that particular situation. But I know, to become personal, if I were in that situation of having a heart condition, which I don’t have that I know of, I wouldn’t want to be taking other people’s lives in my hands by driving them in my car.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The member for Ottawa Centre with his first question.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, since Ontario women earn on average 53 per cent of what men earn, I have a question for the Premier. It rises out of the historic decision by the Legislature last night to adopt a bill by the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Bounsall) which provides for equal pay for work of equal value. Would the Premier give his assurance that when this bill has been reported back by the general government committee that the bill be called for third reading in the Legislature
Hon. Mr. Davis: I certainly could remark that a lot of bills have gone to standing committee where members opposite have altered those bills very substantially so I don’t know how I could give any such assurance.
Mr. J. Reed: While the Premier is at it he should bring back the Small Business Act
Hon. Mr. Davis: The bill is going to standing committee and will be reported back. To speculate at this moment as to just what form it will take, if and when it is reported back, and what might happen to it then I think would be presumptuous on my part.
Mr. Swart: Why doesn’t the Premier be honest and just say “no”?
Hon. Mr. Davis: So, Mr. Speaker, I can’t give the leader of the New Democratic Party that assurance, partially because of the experience I’ve had in this House that I’m never sure just what form a bill will take when it is reported back.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: A supplementary; the member for Wentworth North.
Mr. Cunningham: I would like to ask the Premier, in view of the large number of bills that have come before the Legislature during the course of private members’ hour, very high quality bills presented by members of all parties, is it the Premier’s intention to make private members’ hour more relevant?
Hon. Mr. Davis: The member, perhaps, has not been here as long as some of his colleagues --
Mr. Haggerty: The Premier has been here too long.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- a number of whom are missing this morning.
Mr. Bounsall: Look to your right
Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t want to point out that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) and many of the heavies on the front row of the Liberal benches are probably out campaigning for Progressive Conservative candidates today. I just want to make that observation.
Mr. Martel: Yes, Joe needs some help.
An hon. member: You haven’t answered the question.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh, come on. Listen, your leader doesn’t want Pierre to win.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Cunningham: Answer the question.
Mr. Eakins: Tell us the history of the private member’s bill.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Going back a number of years, the history of the private member’s bill is very clear. The opportunities for introduction and debate in private members’ bills compared to four or five years ago is extremely significant. There aren’t many Legislatures in this country where there is an opportunity, as is available here, in terms of debate and discussion of private members’ bills.
Mr. J. Reed: How many has the Premier’s government blocked?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Let the opposition look at their federal friends in Ottawa. Not only don’t they permit it, they have never passed a private member’s bill with the exception of one, which, I think, had something to do with the beaver, if memory serves me correctly.
Mr. J. Reed: Are you going to bring back the Small Businesses Act?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say to the member that I really think this House has an opportunity. I think there is a great opportunity for debates of relevant issues. I for one don’t participate in them as a matter of policy, but I read them very carefully and I am always very interested in what the private members discuss during the private members’ debates on Thursdays of each week.
Mr. Haggerty: It’s called B and B: block and bury.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Martel: The government has turned it into a farce.
Hon. Mr. Welch: How many vetoes have saved you from having to take a stand? Just ask that question of yourself.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We have had people in your caucus say to us, “Please veto the bill.”
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, order.
Mrs. Campbell: Produce the evidence.
Mr. Martell: Is that what you did to Mr. Taylor yesterday?
Hon. Mr. Welch: It was a private member’s matter.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. A supplementary from the member for Windsor-Sandwich.
Mr. Bounsall: Returning to the Premier’s reply to the first question asked, since the principle of this bill will not be changed by committee, and a very simple statement is all that is required to implement the principles of this bill, can the Premier indicate whether he truly believes in the principle of this bill? Would he give us a straight answer that the government will not block this bill when reported out from committee, because it cannot and will not ever be substantially changed by committee consideration? Is not the real reason for unwillingness of the government to proceed on this bill the interference of the rights of businessmen, including the right to pay employees less money, usually women, for work of equal value?
Hon. Mr. Davis: In spite of the fact the honourable member is really repeating many of the points he made yesterday in his contribution, my answer is still the same. I can’t prejudge what the committee is going to do.
There is in a standing committee a certain bill which these members have been delaying for months. The tenants of this province are still waiting for finality of that bill. They may do the same thing on this one.
Mr. Cassidy: Does the Premier endorse the principle of equal pay for work of equal value in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have always endorsed the principle of equality in this province. This government is striving to have equality in all areas and we have done very well, far better than any jurisdiction I know.
Mrs. Campbell: Will the Premier of this province give to this Legislature the assurance that this bill will be ordered to committee and not just scrapped as the others have been?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I really thought the acting leader of the Liberal Party would be better informed.
Mrs. Campbell: I thought so too. I would love to be better informed on this subject.
Hon. Mr. Davis: My understanding is this House ordered it to standing committee yesterday. If her colleagues have a different impression or different information they might let me know. My information is that what the member for St. George has asked has in fact already happened. That was some hours ago. I know it takes a little while to be updated, but that is the impression I am under as to what happened yesterday.
I might also say to the member for St. George, we would like her co-operation on Bill 163 too on behalf of the tenants and others in the province so we can get this bill through.
Mr. Cassidy: A question for the Premier: In view of the fact the cost of living rose by 9.8 per cent last month and that this was the highest rate of increase in the cost of living since November 1975; and since it is clear wage increases were not responsible, what does the government intend to do to protect consumers against the rising increases in the cost of living?
Hon. Mr. Davis: This government, unlike some, is concerned and has been concerned about inflation, whether it reflects itself in the cost of living or in any other fashion. We have, through our own policies, made a very sincere effort to deal with the whole question of inflation.
I listened to the member’s financial critic and I listened to the proposals being presented by his party, and I can only say to the leader of the New Democrats, if he is concerned about this month’s increase in the cost of living, he should calculate what his party would do to the people of this province. It is horrendous. It would be terrible and his people should understand that.
Mr. Martel: Joe Who has the biggest bite. Remember Joe Who’s cut?
Hon. Mr. Davis: You would tax everybody more dough.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Since corporate profits went up by 58 per cent in the first quarter of this year on an increase of sales of only 18 per :cent, is the government prepared to bring in a prices review commission that will roll back unjustified price increases in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the member for Halton-Burlington is giving the Liberal government of Canada total credit for the increase in corporate profits. I’d have to question that, but I won’t this morning.
What was the question? Do we intend to roll back prices? I know the New Democratic leader loves to indulge in rhetoric, he loves to indulge in those things that are not practical and he loves to put up phoney issues. The fact of the matter is that he knows we do not have the constitutional power to roll back prices. I ask him very simply what is he going to do about rolling back the prices of imported foods? He knows and I know it can’t be done. It’s time he levelled with the people of this province and understood that these are the realities. He should be fair enough to present them that way to the public.
Mr. Warner: A corporate apology.
Mr. Swart: By way of supplementary, I would like to ask the Premier if he does not realize that Ontario does have constitutional power over retail prices. Many retail articles are produced in this province and he does have some control over them. Is he not aware that one of the five reasons given for the surge in profits and the increase in prices is that suppliers have been able to charge higher prices because the dollar drop has cut import competition? Does he not realize that this means that a good part of the increase in profits is at the expense of the Canadian consumers because Canadian manufacturers here are arbitrarily raising Canadian prices to the United States level?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Would the honourable member place the question?
Mr. Swart: It has nothing to do with government expenditures, even this government’s excessive expenditures. If these are true, if these are facts -- and they are --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Swart: -- will he take at least some ad hoc measures to control some of the excessive prices to consumers in this province?
Hon. Mr. Davis: With great respect to the honourable member, I know what constitutional rights we have and what we don’t have. I also know that it is impossible for a single jurisdiction in this country to deal with the very complex issue of pricing as it relates to imported foods. The member knows that and I know that.
Mr. Swart: You haven’t done a single thing.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It’s time he levelled with the people when he is explaining it to them.
Mr. Laughren: Supplementary: In view of the fact that the last two years workers’ real incomes have declined by about three per cent, is it the Premier’s policy and the policy of his government that workers should continue to subsidize corporate profits?
Hon. Mr. Davis: It has never been the policy that the workers or anyone else in this province subsidize profits or anything else. I would only say to the financial critic, as I listen to him, and as I analyse carefully what he is proposing for his party, if he’s concerned about cost of living or the negative impacts on our economy, let him analyse what he is suggesting. If he is honest about it, he would acknowledge that what he is suggesting would mean more taxes for everybody, a less competitive position, lower productivity and lower growth. In fact, the economy of this province would be a shambles if we were to adopt the political philosophy of that party.
Mr. Wildman: You’re whistling in the wind.
Mr. Mancini: I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food, if the Premier will allow me to place it.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The member for Essex South has the floor.
Mr. Mancini: Thank you. Mr. Speaker. I’d like to ask the Minister of Agriculture and Food, since it’s been almost four years since I first brought to his attention the plight of the Ontario greenhouse industry, especially in the Leamington area; since his government and his ministry have not lifted one finger to assist that industry; and since a report which has been prepared for his ministry says that the industry might come to a collapse in four years, what does the minister propose to do to assist that industry now?
Hon. W. Newman: Mr. Speaker, it’s quite obvious that the member for Essex South has a very short memory. He sat in on our estimates last night.
Hon. Mr. Snow: He has a very short body too.
Hon. W. Newman: Does he remember who stepped in when we had the storm damage a year ago? We stepped in. Where was the government in Ottawa? We stepped in to help the greenhouse growers who were hurt very seriously.
The member says we do nothing for them. We are doing research all the time on heat conservation in the greenhouse industry. The minister took the sales tax off the heat blankets to save energy. We are now doing enough work so that we feel we can save 40 to 50 per cent of the cost of heating greenhouses.
The member should do a little reading. I will send him some research material. He should keep in touch with his riding and he would find out what we are doing.
Mr. Mancini: A supplementary: That was a good show by the minister but it did nothing to assist the industry.
An hon. member: It is not a show. It’s fact.
Mr. Mancini: That’s a good policy to have: when in doubt, shout.
In view of the fact the storm damage assistance to the greenhouse growers had nothing to do with the energy problem, in view of the fact the so-called heat research is not taking place in the Leamington area where the government could use the expertise of the farmers in this type of research, and in view of the fact that --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Will the member place his supplementary?
Mr. Mancini: -- the solar blanket cost almost as much as does the existing greenhouse structure, how can the Minister of Agriculture and Food say he has helped the greenhouse industry when he knows darn well the heating costs have gone from $9,000 in 1973 to $30,000 in 1977?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Hon. W. Newman: You know it’s very --
Mr. Eakins: Watch your blood pressure, Bill.
Hon. W. Newman: Oh I know. I have problems with it at times and it’s going to get worse if he keeps up this sort of nonsense.
We are doing a lot of work with solar heat. I would invite the member to go and have a look at what we are doing in research in this province. I invited the whole committee that is sitting on my estimates to do that, and he was sitting there when I invited them.
At Vineland we have just finished building new greenhouses. This is one of the best research stations in the world -- renowned worldwide -- dealing with the greenhouse industry. The member also forgets we ran a Foodland Ontario promotional program and the greenhouse cucumber sales are up 16.2 per cent this year. We have the co-operation of the growers and he doesn’t like it because we are getting along very well with them, working with them, helping them to promote their products and move them.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, this is a very important matter and I rise on a point of personal privilege. The minister has stated --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: What is the member’s point of privilege?
Mr. Mancini: The minister has said he is getting along with the growers and that I don’t like it. If he is getting along with the growers, that’s fine and I am glad to hear it. I want the record --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, order. That’s not a point of privilege, that’s a point of view.
Mr. Mancini: I have a further supplementary, Mr. Speaker. It’s a very important matter, that is affecting 225 --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mrs. Campbell: They don’t want to hear it.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Mancini: They are not interested at all.
Mr. Martel: To the Premier: In November 1977 the government established a cabinet committee to look into the economic future of mining communities to consider short-term and long-term measures which might be adopted by the province. Because the Treasurer last week indicated that the committee reported to the policy field and to the cabinet on its meetings, can the Premier indicate to the House what short-term and what long-term policies have been developed to assist mining municipalities that are in trouble because of decisions by the corporate sector?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think that is a very legitimate question. I only say it is a very legitimate question because there are some that aren’t always as relevant as the one just asked. I think the Treasurer has made it quite clear, through his budget, through the stability of the mining tax, which I think is important, that we are embarking upon a policy that will encourage the mining industry generally to further investment and to expand operations within this jurisdiction. That has to be, in essence, one of the fundamental policies I think relevant for the mining communities.
I think it is also fair to state that the government is considering other possible ways we can assist, but fundamentally, in terms of the mining communities, there has to be an economically encouraging climate for investment and for expansion. I understand that party disagrees with us in terms of how that should be done. That is fair. What they would do, of course, would be to discourage further investment. I understand that. What we are doing is trying to encourage further investment because that, in essence, is how we keep the mining communities healthy.
Mr. Martel: Supplementary: Having had 18 months to develop some policy, and in view of what the Premier just said, there has to be some economic incentive, can he tell me how the government is going to assist the municipality of Capreol when a mining company that made $6.5 million last year has shut its doors? What short-term policy has the government developed in the last 18 months to offset that crisis in that community?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think it is obvious that there is no solution for each individual community. I can say with respect to Capreol that this government made a very genuine effort to help resolve that problem.
Mr. Laughren: Nonsense.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I was there. Some members may think it is inadequate, that is fine, but in terms of the attempt made by the Minister of Labour and other ministries of this government to resolve the situation in Capreol, the member who asked the question, if he were fair, which he is on occasion, would acknowledge the effort that was made to keep that mine operating.
This government cannot, in terms of the market place, keep a mine in operation that is not at this moment economically viable. I don’t expect that he would think we could. In terms of the alternatives, we won’t have an alternative for each individual situation, but we are looking at ways in which we can assist Capreol because we are anxious to see that that community survives.
Mr. Martel: Final supplementary: Can the Premier tell me when he is going to be prepared to introduce into the Legislature some indication of what the short-term policies are going to be -- not dealing ad hoc with one community, because that is isolated -- and the long-term policies which will help those mining municipalities to avoid what has happened in Capreol recently, what happened in Sudbury last year, what happened in Falconbridge also last year, and what is happening, I understand, in Atikokan?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think the honourable member himself understands the situation in Sudbury better than many others, and I think he knows that in terms of efforts of this government we made a great deal of effort in an attempt to have that particular matter resolved.
Mr. Swart: That wasn’t the question.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I can’t think of any -- well, it was the question.
Mr. Swart: No, it wasn’t the question.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh, don’t interrupt. Don’t interrupt. You are very vocal this morning. You are very vocal every morning.
We did make that effort. As I said, the obvious long-term solution is to have an economic climate that encourages the mining industry to expand its operations, and we are committed to that. Those people opposite aren’t. They would nationalize the resource industry. Do they think that is going to solve the problem? They will drive development out of this province so rapidly they won’t know what happened; that is what would happen to it.
MEMBERSHIP OF POLICE COMMISSIONS
Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Attorney General: There are many police commissions in the province of Ontario lacking a quorum, or at least lacking the three required members and in some places five. In our own area we have some commissions that are supposed to have three members but only have two; since they must have a judge on them -- there was a resolution only recently in this House suggesting this -- is the minister intending to bring in legislation with regard to police commissions so that they can have other than judges on them?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Yes, Mr. Speaker, we are intending to introduce legislation to remove the mandatory requirement that a county court judge or a judge sit on the commission, although we still intend to support the principle of judges serving in this capacity.
WILD RICE HARVESTING
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Premier: Considering the serious questions raised in the northwest over the $182,000 in development loans and the 28 wild rice harvesting licences, covering more than 2,000 lakes and waterways, awarded by this government to one Mr. Benjamin Ratuski, would the Premier be willing to table the guidelines for the operations of Tory patronage in the north and throughout the province?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, in that no such guidelines exist it is impossible for me to table any such documents.
Mr. Wildman: What measures is the Premier willing to take to ensure that all those concerned will realize that there is, and appears to be, no favouritism involved in the awarding of wild rice harvesting licences in the northwest?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I would be delighted to discuss this with the minister. We will have a detailed, voluminous answer that probably will not take too long on Thursday.
GUELPH CORRECTIONAL CENTRE
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Correctional Services relating to the incident at Guelph recently.
Would the minister comment upon reports that two or three weeks before the escape at Guelph there was an increase in the number of fights breaking out between inmates, resulting in the isolation cells being filled to capacity; that there was an increase in the number of inmates requiring confinement to the hospital and, therefore, all the beds were filled; and that a week prior to the riot, twice the normal number of inmates attended an AA meeting which was a legitimate meeting but it was rather suspicious that so many would attend at that particular time?
Taking all these things into consideration, would the minister not agree that if these facts were true it would be sufficient to make the authorities suspicious that there was an impending escape or other incident planned?
Hon. Mr. Walker: The staff of the Guelph institution did not anticipate there would be a breakout The breakout was thought to be a spontaneous event that occurred during the period of the disturbance and the disturbance itself arose out of extremely minor events that took place earlier during the day, so far as our investigation at this moment can ascertain.
Mr. Bradley: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister aware of a report that an important door was left either unlocked or open, enabling the inmates to take control of three corridors of cells and, therefore, control of certain of the hoses which were then able to keep the minister’s officials at bay? Taking all these things into consideration -- these continuing reports, about which, no doubt, the minister has heard, either through the media or through other sources -- is he planning to give a further report to the House in the form of a statement or an answer to questions on the incident at Guelph, to clear up some of these doubts that have arisen in the minds of citizens of this province?
Hon. Mr. Walker: I did not know there were any doubts in the minds of the citizens of the province relative to any unanswered questions. I thought in fact, Mr. Speaker, that all the questions had been answered with respect to the incident. If the honourable member chooses to put forward some more points, we will attempt to respond to them.
I would say that the individual dormitory areas where the disturbances occurred, four in total, were secured within moments after the incidents broke out. To my knowledge the access to the water hoses in each area permitted the place to be completely dampened down; they did not have to go from one area to another with hoses.
Mr. Lupusella: My question is related to the use of electronic surveillance in the work place. In view of the fact that two appeals to the human rights commission have failed to rid Ontario work places of cameras and other spying devices and considering that the minister agrees with the NDP position that workers should be protected from oppressive electronic surveillance, will the minister introduce legislation to ban electronic surveillance from the work place in order that workers may be free to work without electronic scrutiny and will be treated like human beings with dignity?
Surely in 1979 in Ontario --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Will the honourable member ask his question?
Mr. Lupusella: -- this is a basic right which can be supported by all members of the Legislature.
Mr. Havrot: You are making a speech.
Mr. Laughren: Tell us you’re concerned.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: It’s nice to see the member for Nickel Belt here on a Friday. Members will recall the views I expressed on the question of electronic surveillance before. As the member for Dovercourt well knows, the particular incident that we discussed on a previous occasion had to do with surveillance in a situation in Toronto. The whole question of surveillance is now before an arbitrator. I have to tell the member in all honesty that it wouldn’t be appropriate to review it in any great detail prior to the arbitration report.
However, I would like to tell him as well that we are preparing a position paper on the matter. It is not a matter that doesn’t continue to concern me.
Mr. Laughren: We knew it would concern you.
Mr. McClellan: By way of supplementary, Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that my colleague from Dovercourt will be introducing a private member’s bill, which will be debated on June 7, with respect to banning electronic surveillance in the work place except under very restricted circumstances, will the minister, firstly, table in the House before that debate takes place all the information he has with respect to the installation of electronic surveillance devices in work places throughout the province, the numbers and what purposes they are put to?
Secondly, can the minister assure us that we will have the opportunity for a free, unfettered and unblocked vote on this most important bill when it is debated on June 7, in view of the enormous concern within many of our communities with respect to electronic surveillance devices?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I would anticipate that the information the member has requested will be appended to the position paper when it is released. As to the stand of this government with regard to the private member’s bill, I expect that each caucus will review the bill and take the position which its caucus decides is appropriate.
Mr. Laughren: Like yesterday?
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations has an answer to a question previously asked.
GAS COMPANY BILLINGS
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, yesterday the member for Hamilton Centre (Mr. M. N. Davison) raised questions about the five per cent penalty imposed for late payments by natural gas companies across the province.
These charges are dealt with by the Ontario Energy Board through the Ontario Energy Board Act. This act allows gas companies to charge a flat five per cent late charge on all accounts. The five per cent is not compounded but is assessed only on the specific amount that is late. It is not assessed on the total amount of the next bill. If the next bill is late, the five per cent will be assessed on the amount of the gas billed in that month, not on the total bill, including the previous bill and late charge.
There is a 10-day grace period before the penalty is levied. It would never amount to the 60 per cent alleged by the honourable member as the companies simply do not allow a customer to go a year without paying his bill. The gas would be cut off.
The Minister of Energy made a statement to the Legislature on November 21, 1978, entitled Public Utility Credit, Collection and Cutoff Practice. This statement was prepared after extensive studies by industry and government. The minister recommended that the grace period be extended to 16 days. All companies are now studying the matter.
The energy board used to permit a late penalty of 10 per cent on monthly customers and no charge on equalized-billing customers. However, as many equalized-billing customers were late, the penalty was reduced to five per cent and was applicable to all customers.
Mr. Peterson: A smaller ripoff.
Hon. Mr. Drea: When the companies appear before the energy board requesting a rate increase, billing practices are among the factors considered. The Public Utilities Act, administered by the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs, allows other utilities to require a deposit from customers prior to the start of service.
Mr. M. N. Davison: First of all, in regard to the interest rate that a five per cent penalty represents, whether it’s compounded or not, would the minister not agree that five times 12 equals 60? Secondly, would he not agree that any penalty or any interest rate, when there’s a favourable credit balance in the account, is a consumer ripoff? Will he not do something to protect the gas consumers of Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, as usual, the honourable member is totally confused. The five per cent, no matter how long it goes, is not compounded --
Mr. M. N. Davison: Five per cent on one month is 60 per cent a year.
Hon. Mr. Drea: The member should just sit down and calm down and keep his head straight.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I know it’s Friday, but he should keep himself calmed down.
Mr. McClellan: You keep yourself calmed down. You’re becoming hysterical.
Hon. Mr. Drea: On the equalized billing, these factors were taken into account -- not by this minister, not by any legislation we have -- these questions were raised before the Ontario Energy Board. The energy board comes within the sphere of the Ministry of Energy. In order to end the debate with the member for Hamilton Centre, I see no reason for my ministry to intervene on this matter, now or in the future before that board.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Just let the consumers be ripped off.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I do not consider it to be a ripoff.
One of the things the honourable member has to learn is that the rest of the public is not going to subsidize anyone if he or she doesn’t pay bills on time. That’s a pretty fundamental business practice.
ALLEN CASE REPORT
Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Attorney General. Could the Attorney General report to this House on comments attributed to him in the local media subsequent to the acquittal of Gordon Allen at his murder trial that he intends to conduct an investigation into the investigative tactics used by the police in preparing the crown’s case in that trial?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I don’t think I said I was going to conduct an investigation. As the member knows, we’re not an investigative ministry. I did say I had requested a full report from the Metropolitan Toronto Police Department and from the crown attorney’s office in relation to this matter. I expect the report to be forthcoming very shortly.
Mr. Warner: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is it the Attorney General’s position that evidence collected illegally should not be admissible in the courts in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I don’t know whether this has anything to do with the Allen case. I don’t think there was any suggestion of evidence collected illegally. There was some suggestion or concern expressed about the manner in which a particular interrogation was carried on. As I’ve already said, I’m waiting for a report in that regard.
Mr. Stong: Arising out of the last answer: The concern obviously surrounded the use of a phoney affidavit in the acquisition of evidence and the later presenting of that evidence in court. That is what concerned us. Would the Attorney General direct himself in that respect in reporting to the House?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: A major part of the report I’m awaiting deals with that particular matter.
CHOICE OF PHYSICIAN
Mr. Swart: A question of the Minister of Labour: Will the minister recall that during the Workmen’s Compensation Board’s estimates on March 29 of this year, my colleague, the member for Bellwoods, strongly condemned section 21(1) of the Workmen’s Compensation Board Act? The minister will know that section said an employer may require an employee to visit a doctor of the employer’s choice or risk losing compensation.
Does the minister know that Mr. W. R. Kerr, of the Workmen’s Compensation Board, replied to him, “That section has been inoperative since the day it was put in the act in 1915”?
Will the minister now note carefully the contents of a letter dated April 17, 1979, from Hayes-Dana Limited, in Thorold, to Mr. Ross Secord, of 33 McColl Drive in Welland? I quote from that letter --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Would the honourable member place the question?
Mr. Swart: Yes, I will put the question. This is a very important part of the question.
“You are to report to the office of Dr. McCullough on Wednesday, April 25, 1979 at 3:15 p.m. Be further advised that failure to keep this appointment will be a violation of section 21(1) of the Workmen’s Compensation Act which reads:
“‘An employee who claims compensation or to whom compensation is payable under this Part shall, if so required by his employer, submit himself for examination by a legally qualified medical practitioner provided and paid for by the employer.’”
Would the minister now agree that, in fact, section 21 is being used by employers to threaten employees to go to a doctor who well could be pro-company? And, doesn’t he now agree that this section --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. Order. Put the question.
Mr. Swart: -- ought now to be rescinded and will he bring in such an amendment?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I would appreciate if the member would give me a copy of the letter. I’ll take the question as notice and respond next week.
Mr. Swart: A supplementary: May I ask him also to note well that the letter also states: “Your employment at Hayes-Dana will be subject to the results of this independent medical. Failure to keep this appointment could result in dismissal from your employment at Hayes-Dana.”
Does the minister agree with that kind of oppression? I’d like to have his comments on it and will he also amend the Workmen’s Compensation Board Act and the Labour Relations Act so that any employee --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. I think the member --
Mr. Swart: I’m asking, Mr. Speaker --
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The question was taken as notice. The honourable member may add a very brief question so that he can ask for further information, but this is not the time to make a speech.
Mr. Swart: The question I want to ask is, will he amend the Labour Relations Act or the Workmen’s Compensation Board Act so that where the Workmen’s Compensation Board is involved the employee may only be required to see the doctors of his choice or the doctor where he is directed by the Workmen’s Compensation Board?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I’ll take that as notice and report.
Mr. McClellan: I hope the minister will find out whether I was misled by his officials or not.
NUCLEAR PLANT SAFETY
Mr. B. Newman: I have a question of the Minister of Labour. Recently, the minister announced evacuation planning concerning nuclear plants in the province of Ontario. As there is a nuclear plant within 30 miles of the city of Windsor in the state of Michigan, would the minister consider contacting the operators of that plant, Detroit Edison Company, and also discuss with the local officials possible evacuation plans for the Windsor area in case of some type of mishap in Michigan?
Mr. Warner: Bette wants to close Windsor anyway.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, the issue of contingency planning, as the member knows, was discussed in some detail in committee and here, and the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Parrott) indicated that there would be an international committee requested to review off-shore problems and I expect to be part of those discussions. I will certainly keep the point of view the member has mentioned in mind when I go to the meetings.
Mr. Cooke: A supplementary: Would the minister agree that the potential dangers to cities that are on the boundary between the United States and Canada are much greater? He can’t use the same excuse he’s used for lack of planning with the nuclear reactors here in Ontario because the one being built in Michigan is not a Candu reactor. We’re dealing with one of their reactors.
It’s of great concern to the people of Windsor that there has been no evacuation planning and no contingency plan in case there is an accident. Leadership is required on the part of the government to make sure that a plan is developed.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I appreciate the concerns the citizens must have about off-shore nuclear plants and, certainly, that is one of the issues that has been raised as a result of the Three Mile Island event. I can assure the member that I share the concern he has expressed and that will be a part of the --
Mr. McClellan: The minister should have a violin.
Mr. Laughren: There’s that concern again.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Listen, Floyd; settle down young man. It will soon be after the 22nd and you can relax.
Mr. Laughren: The minister’s concern is overflowing.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I’ll take that point of view as well to the committee meeting.
Mr. McClellan: The minister is going to die of concern.
Mr. Bounsall: Supplementary: Is the minister not very concerned about the situation of this nuclear plant with its problems of design and the evacuation systems that may need to be set up because of the length of time that it takes to get cross-boundary agreements on anything of this sort? Is the minister not concerned about the length of time it is going to take? And will he move with some urgency in this matter to see that the proper safety devices, if possible, can be built into that plant and the citizens of Windsor protected?
Mr. McClellan: The minister is going to die of concern.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We are concerned about the member for Windsor-Sandwich.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Like the other members of this House, I have been reading the papers and I have been interested in the moves that have been taking place south of the border with regard to nuclear plants. I would expect the member would acknowledge there is a concern being demonstrated south of the border with regard to that matter.
Mr. Laughren: There is that concern again.
Mr. McClellan: I’m going to send the minister a thesaurus.
Mr. Sweeney: I have a question to the minister responsible for the social development policy field or to the Premier, whoever chooses to pick it up. Can the minister advise this House whether or not cabinet has made a decision with respect to the Child Welfare Act, particularly on the section dealing with adult adoptees?
Mr. J. Reed: Neither one of them knows the answer.
Mrs. Campbell: Don’t look so stunned.
Hon. Mrs. Birch: I am just following you. I would like to say to the honourable member that it is under consideration.
Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary: Can the minister identify for the House the criteria that are going to be considered in making that decision?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: We are consulting with the minister on all of the legislation that relates to the new act which will, we hope, be proclaimed on June 1.
Mr. Sweeney: Given the fact that the bill including that section, was passed by this House in third reading, does the government have any intention at all of removing that section from the bill?
Hon. Mrs. Birch: As far as I know, there is no intention to remove any section of the bill.
Mr. Wildman: I have a question of the Minister of Northern Affairs. In view of the request made by the Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitters Association that the government should fund a study of the economic effects of acid precipitation on northern lakes on the tourist industry, what response is the government prepared to make to that request? Is it willing to fund a study this summer to try to assess the effect on jobs in the tourist industry?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The honourable member is very much aware that we in the Ministry of Northern Affairs have been very closely associated with the tourist industry in northern Ontario, having funded a number of studies related to the economic future of that industry in that part of Ontario. I have not been made aware of any such request to take a look into that particular study.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: The oral question period has expired.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Vote Tory on Tuesday.
Mr. McClellan: Not a chance.
Mr. Martel: Are you begging now?
Mr. Sweeney: Is that a paid political announcement?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Your leader is voting Tory.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
EMPLOYMENT STANDARD AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Lupusella moved first reading of Bill 98, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Lupusella: The principle of this bill clearly spells out that electronic surveillance can only be used if the employer can prove it is necessary for the protection and safety of the workers. At present there are no restrictions on the use of electronic surveillance in the workplace. All appeals to the Ontario Human Rights Commission have failed to rid Ontario workplaces of cameras and other spying devices.
Employers use electronic surveillance devices for two reasons. The first is to prevent theft; however, they do not need to prove that theft has ever occurred or is I likely to occur, or that electronic surveillance is the best or the only means to control theft. Just because an employer is afraid that theft might occur is no reason he should be able to spy on his employees and show no respect for their dignity and privacy.
The second possible justification for electronic surveillance is that it increases the productivity of the workers.
An hon. member: Is this an explanation or a speech?
Mr. Gregory: Point of order, Mr. Speaker. The honourable member seems to be debating the bill. Isn’t he supposed to be just introducing it and discussing the principle?
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, on the point of order: You will recall yesterday that when the Attorney General introduced a bill, the Speaker allowed him to make a statement after both bills were introduced. I remind the honourable member of that.
Mr. McClellan: One rule for the government and one rule for everybody else.
Mr. Breithaupt: On the point of order, Mr. Speaker: I think there has been some acceptance in the House that an introductory statement is made briefly and that usually it follows the form of the notes inside the page of the bill. If those notes are extensive and have to be dealt with then there is some merit in a somewhat developed statement; but I do agree this seems to be rather a lengthy comment on this one point.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: I appreciate the comments made by the honourable members. I’m quite sure it’s been the custom of the House that basically the purpose for the time allotted after the introduction of the bill is strictly for an explanation of the bill. I’m sure the honourable member for Dovercourt will stick to that.
Mr. Lupusella: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I got your message and I’m satisfied. In view of the concerns raised by the honourable member for Mississauga East, I conclude my brief remarks by stating that if the bill passes, working people, particularly immigrants and the low paid workers, will have won a significant victory.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. I’m afraid the honourable member is out of order saying “if the bill passes.” Would the honourable member please take his seat. I feel that remark really is not appropriate at this time, on the introduction of the bill. The honourable member has introduced it and we will see when it is discussed whether that will come into effect.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ON NOTICE PAPER
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day, I wish to table the answer to question 15 and the interim answer to question 173 standing on the Order Paper.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
ESTIMATES, MINISTRY OF NORTHERN AFFAIRS (CONTINUED)
On vote 701, ministry administration program; item 1, main office:
Mr. Wildman: I wonder if the minister could give some clarification with regard to the comments I raised in the leadoff I made last Monday on the comments made by a Mr. Jackman of his ministry with regard to the directory. I know it’s a small matter. It is an expenditure of only $18,000, but I wonder if the minister could clarify as to whether or not this was indeed a trial balloon sent up by the ministry to get comments from various people and ask for clarifications and criticisms, or if indeed it was a final edition for that year. It was just full of errors, and when those errors were drawn to the attention of the ministry they backed up and said it was just a draft. If it was indeed just a draft, why on earth was it done in such an elaborate fashion and why didn’t the ministry just send out questionnaires to various municipalities and bands and organizations in unorganized areas to get the information?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Many of the clerks and many of the people in northern Ontario were looking to us to pull together a very comprehensive survey or a comprehensive list of all the communities and what they could offer and what was there. It involved the whole aspect of identifying all those areas in northern Ontario. While there were some minor mistakes, I thought the editorial in the Sault Star was a little overdone.
There were some mistakes. To err is human, let’s be honest. I can tell you I didn’t lose any sleep over the errors that were in that report. They can be corrected very quickly and they will be in the next printing of that very comprehensive bit of information.
Mr. Wildman: In relation to that, it would have been far better if the director of information services for the ministry had said what the minister has just said, admitted the mistake and said that they would improve on it next time. In relation to the overall co-ordination function of his ministry and in relation to the main office, I also would like to know if the minister could indicate if in the operation of flood relief in the northeast, which I raised last Monday, Mr. Herb Aiken, the assistant deputy, is going to play an active role; and if he is what that role will be in co-ordinating the assessment of damages and the distribution of government funds? Is this what the ministry sees as its role in such emergencies -- and I am not being critical particularly -- namely, coming in later, after the immediate emergency is over, to try to deal with the cleanup and the rehabilitation in a somewhat similar way to what happened in Cobalt? Is that the situation?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, Mr. Chairman. This matter was dealt with extensively during the last couple of weeks. Just as late as this morning we had a very broad meeting with the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells), along with senior staff from five or six ministries, including Bruce Lonsdale who was there from Field. As the hon. member knows, the communities have banded together and have engaged his services in trying to co-ordinate the municipal response to that very disastrous problem that occurred in that particular area. The Assistant Deputy Minister, Northeastern Ontario, Herb Aiken, has been designated by cabinet as the co-ordinator to come in, as you correctly say, after the fact, and to be the main contact for that group in that particular area and to co-ordinate all the various activities and the assistance that we will be giving to that particular area from the provincial point of view.
Mr. Wildman: Can the minister indicate when the government anticipates a decision on White River? Will that be at the next cabinet meeting next week?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes.
Mr. Wildman: Okay, then that’s fine. I will just leave that. I just have one other question in regard to your co-ordination and liaison with other ministries.
The minister disagreed with me when I raised this briefly on a previous occasion, but there is some evidence that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications has been very unhappy with the continued existence of the very few statute labour boards in the unorganized areas of the north and has been actively encouraging those boards to convert to local roads boards. For one thing, the funding formula is particularly different between the two, and in some ways it is advantageous in terms of global funding for a board to be a local roads board rather than a statute labour board. However, of course, the statute labour board can contract out the work rather than having MTC carry it out, and in some ways they can save money that way.
Recently it came to my attention that MTC is proposing a meeting with the various local statute labour boards that are left to try and talk about the whole issue. I think they appear at least to be trying to discourage them from continued existence and to encourage them to convert to local roads boards. Is this the minister’s understanding? If it is, what input has this ministry had with MTC about this? Have you tried to poll the views of the chairpersons of the various statute labour boards to find out their views on this matter?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: This is an area in which we would not really get involved. I think it is fair to say the Ministry of Transportation and Communications is very pleased with the operation of the local roads board. They are funded, as the honourable member correctly pointed out, on a two-for-one basis; however, the actual expenditures are done through the ministry itself. In other words, the $1 raised by the local roads board is sent to MTC and they do the actual work.
I think there is some benefit to that in that MTC does have the equipment. Under the Statute Labour Act, of course, the statute labour board can engage their own contractors and do their own work, but they only get funded on a one-for-one basis.
I would have to agree that if there is a movement to go to local roads boards, and I am not sure if there is, that is the route to go. I know in my own home town of Hudson it took us some time to convince the local people there were some real advantages in going to the local roads board. I think the assistance given in administration alone was very beneficial. Quite frankly, there is a duplication, there is no question about it, with a local roads board and a statute labour board actually doing the same thing. I don’t think it is necessary to have two acts to look after roads in unorganized areas. I think they are just trying to streamline their operation and I would agree with it.
Mr. Wildman: Just in brief response to that, I don’t have any great disagreement with what the minister has said; however there are some members of statute labour boards who feel they can get some of their work done, grading and so on, at substantially less cost by contracting out to local contractors than it might cost them if they were having MTC do the work, because of greater overhead costs for MTC and so on.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I might elaborate a little further on the statute labour board. I think if you look at the act itself and go back into history, you will see that in many unorganized areas of northern Ontario much of the work was contributed over the years. In other words, you actually went out and did your statute labour on the road and that was a credit to your property. This is not possible under a local roads board. It is on an assessment basis, not on the work performed. I think really the statute labour board has outlived its day and the route to go, and a more modem approach, would be to the local roads board.
Mr. Wildman: Thank you; I have a further item in relation to the question I raised with the Premier (Mr. Davis) today. I would like to give the minister the opportunity to respond specifically to the relationship between his ministry and the Northern Ontario Development Corporation in northern Ontario, and to the Agricultural Rehabilitation and Development Administration. I think it is only fair the minister have the opportunity to clarify that situation, and I would like to give him that opportunity to do so if he wishes to take it.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, I do not know what there is to clarify. I understand that as I was walking out of the House the honourable member did stand up and ask a question, leaving an inference that it was political patronage between myself and Mr. Ratuski in Kenora. I think that is about the lowest, cheapest political attack I have ever heard in this House.
It would have to come from a member of the socialist party, because if anybody knows the Ratuski family, Mr. Ratuski’s father was the former mayor of Kenora and a very strong Liberal for many years. In fact, talk about political affiliations, the present Ben Ratuski was the campaign manager for the former Liberal candidate back in 1961. The family is recognized for that.
The integrity of that family has been called into jeopardy and I just cannot stand here as a member of the Legislature and accept that. It is cheap and it is wrong. I think if the honourable member knew the family and knew the situation in the Kenora area he would appreciate what this family has done for the development of a wild rice industry in that area, the hundreds and hundreds of native people that his father and he himself employ in the industry.
In fact, it was done on the initiative of this man who has lived in the area all his life and has raised several children who are actively involved in the resource extraction business. He was in commercial fishing for several years. In fact, it was the Fresh Water Fish Marketing Corporation, when it was established, that put him right out of business. A lifetime of work had gone into that. He followed in his father’s footsteps in moving into the wild rice business and it was through his initiative, his free enterprise spirit that encouraged him to move along and develop a product that is second to none on the North American continent as it relates to wild rice.
He has developed, with ingenuity, imagination and initiative, the only processing plant in the province of Ontario right at Keewatin, using a very simple gravity feed system on the shores of the Winnipeg River. Any assistance he did receive through ODC was certainly through the regular channels and was available to anybody who would want to apply.
I think the former Treasurer made it very clear in that article that there was no special attention given to his request because of his friendship with many members of this Legislature, not only on this side of the House but on that side of the House too. To leave an inference that there was political patronage, I just cannot accept it, I will not accept it, it is totally wrong and I think the comment should be refracted.
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Chairman, I did invite the minister to make a response and he has indicated that he considers my inference cheap. I would like to point out that I was not intending to criticize any particular individual, but to ask a question in relationship to a number of development loans that have been extended and the relationship of this ministry towards them.
Since the minister has referred to the article I will refer to it myself. It is an article from Harrowsmith magazine. I guess the author of the article phoned the ministry and asked for names of commercial sources of wild rice in Ontario and from a secretary received this response: “ ‘I can give you the name of the company that sells it,’ she told the caller. ‘Shoal Lake Wild Rice Limited in Keewatin. They have two offices.’ She furnished the telephone number for each office and then was asked if there were any other companies selling wild rice. ‘I don’t know if anybody else sells it. This man just happens to be a friend of Mr. Bernier’s.’”
I am not particularly concerned about what she said. What I am concerned about is the fact, as raised by this article, that the Manomin co-op was not mentioned. I am wondering why it wasn’t, and for that matter why that co-op has not received the assistance of the Ontario Food Council or the interest- free loans that might be available from the Ontario Development Corporation. Perhaps if that kind of assistance had been given that operation would be more viable and would be able to compete more effectively.
If the minister considers my inference cheap, I merely refer him to the comments made by a member of his ministry in response to a question about information on the availability of commercial wild rice. I am not criticizing any individual outside of the government, but I think the whole question, as I said in my leadoff, is the need to ensure that there’s not any appearance of favouritism.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: To respond briefly, I appreciate the honourable member’s remarks. I realize he is getting his information from a magazine article and it may raise these questions in his mind. As a ministry we have no involvement in NODC applications. We are not a line ministry, such as the Ministry of Natural Resources, which would be dealing with the allocation of a timber limit in response to an application from a sawmill operation through the Northern Ontario Development Corporation. We don’t have that kind of connection as a co-ordinating ministry, having funds for development with regard to municipal infrastructure and setting priorities for northern road development. Our relationship is not the same as that of other ministries. We don’t have that kind of connection in NODC.
In connection with the wild rice company I know of no other producer -- I hope the honourable member is listening?
Mr. Wildman: I am.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I don’t know of any other producer who had rice available at that time; just the Shoal Lake Wild Rice Company. I understand that Manomin some time ago did send their rice to Minnesota for processing. It is down in the United States. Here we have one operation in Keewatin. In fact it is my understanding there was such a small crop last year he is actually buying American rice to look after his customers in the United States.
My secretary was quite right in saying there is no other company in Ontario selling wild rice. If anyone would call, I would hope that she would respond in the same manner, saying that Mr. Ratuski is a friend of mine. I do not deny the fact. He is a personal friend of mine and I am proud of it. I want to repeat that there is no connection between NODC and the Ministry of Northern Affairs.
Mr. Laughren: I want to talk about a few different matters that appropriately come under the head office vote because they reflect policies of the Ministry of Northern Affairs.
We in this party have been concerned about the role of the Ministry of Northern Affairs from the day the government rejected the amendment put forward by my colleague the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) because it indicated it did not appear to be very serious about really effecting change in northern Ontario. While they talked about the Ministry of Northern Affairs being a coordinating ministry, it really was nothing but a ribbon-cutting ministry for the minister to trip across northern Ontario -- what was the expression? -- “like a wounded moose in a snowstorm.” That’s the role that the minister has tended to play.
The reason I say that, and I am rather harsh on the minister, is because despite the number of very specific problems to which he should have addressed himself in the years that we have had a Ministry of Northern Affairs, nothing has really happened.
This morning I wrote a letter to the Premier (Mr. Davis). I am sending a copy to the Minister of Northern Affairs and also to the Minister of Health and the Minister of the Environment, about their failure as a group of ministries to do anything about the problem of drinking water in the community of Gogama. It is unbelievable the way they have passed the problem from one to the other. It is a classic case of a co-ordinating ministry just mucking things up and throwing red tape into the machine.
It’s serious. I’ve asked the Premier not to put me back to one of the ministers because there appears to be no solution there. I’m very critical of the various ministries, because we’re not dealing with a simple problem of catering to my whims as the member for Nickel Belt, we’re talking about a community of 500 or 600 or 700 people, and considerably more than that in the summertime, a community which has extremely high levels of nitrates in the water table.
The minister knows about it. As a matter of fact on March 2 of this year I met with officials of the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Northern Affairs in Timmins to talk about the problem. I’ve mentioned it to the Minister of Northern Affairs. It always seems to be a case of tomorrow. They say: “When we get the unorganized communities legislation in, then maybe we can do something about it.” Yet on Monday of this week the minister stood up and said he didn’t know if this legislation would be going through this session. So it’s put off again. If it’s put off until the fall, there's nothing can be done in terms of a water supply system in northern Ontario in the wintertime, so it will at least be put off for another year while the nitrate levels spread in that community.
I’m using Gogama as the example for a couple of reasons. There are other communities too, in Nickel Belt, and I’m sure elsewhere in northern Ontario where the water supply problem is serious. I could use Sultan as an example, where there are very high levels of nitrates. The minister knows they are dangerous to infants, and potentially dangerous to pregnant women.
It’s not as though there is no solution. In Gogama there is a communal water supply system that services the Ministry of Natural Resources’ people and the OPP detachment there. It would be expensive to extend it but it can be extended. There’s been study after study done in the last six or seven years, and no concrete action is taken. It’s always tomorrow, it’s always there’ll be something around the corner with which to deal with the problem.
The typical financing arrangements are not sufficient. I think the minister would agree to that. The one-to-one formula that applies to Gogama wouldn’t work. As a matter of fact, I don’t think two to one would work either, because of the cost of establishing a communal water supply system. Special consideration has to be given to communities where health is a problem. Where at least a potential health hazard exists you’ve got to throw out those criteria.
I know the minister is worried about setting a precedent, but when we’re talking about the health of people you can’t use precedent as a reason for failing to take any action. I really do urge the minister to seriously think about it and not to use the arguments we don’t have the legislation in place or we’re going to have to wait yet again. That’s not a defensible position, given the length of time it’s been a problem and the number of ministers who have been involved.
So help me, if I were to bring in all the files I have on the Gogama problems, I would need all the pages that are here assembled. What a fine group of pages we’ve had this time! I am somewhat prejudiced about the quality of pages this time. Nevertheless, it’s been a fine group. It would take all the pages to carry in all the files I have on Gogama. I didn’t do that; but the minister understands it, he and his ministry really lack a lot of credibility in our eyes because of the failure to resolve that particular problem.
The other thing, leading on from that, is the whole question of the development of northern Ontario. I hope the Treasurer would at some time, not because I said it but because it represents the policy of his party, take a look at the comments I made in the budget response on mining machinery and what I see as at least a partial solution to the problems of the development of northern Ontario.
In this province in 1978 we imported 91 per cent of our mining machinery. Back less than 10 years ago it was down around 60 per cent. The imports are meeting an increasing proportion of the domestic demand for machinery. We’re one of the world leaders in resources but we’re importing 91 per cent of our needs for mining machinery. The private sector simply hasn’t done it.
I was taken to task somewhat by the Globe and Mail for my fixation on crown corporations. But I want to tell you that in every single case where I mentioned a crown corporation it was because the private sector had failed to meet the need. It was not because of any particular passion of mine. Take a look at mining machinery, if you will. If the private sector won’t do it, then I would suggest to you that we have to do it. It’s nuts for us to be importing 91 per cent of our mining machinery into this jurisdiction, it’s absolutely nuts. I’m not just talking about mining machinery to meet the needs of the nickel mines, but there are gold mines, copper mines, the oil exploration development out in western Canada, and, the coal fields. They need all sorts of mining machinery.
The Ministry of Industry and Tourism runs around saying we’ve got to stimulate exports and that’s the solution to our balance of payments, the growth of jobs and so forth. Surely the first step is to develop industries to meet the needs of our domestic industries like mining. Surely we should first develop a mining machinery complex to meet our own needs, then develop the economies of scale and the expertise, the research and development to export them to world markets. There’s an enormous potential here. By our figures, in Ontario alone there are at least 12,000 jobs at stake. That’s what that 91 per cent of imports represents. It represents 12,000 jobs. If it requires joint ventures with the private sector, fine. The important thing is to produce our machinery here.
We can argue if you like about who should do it, but I don’t think you’d disagree we should be producing it here. If the private sector hasn’t got it, then let's move in and do it. Let’s talk to them about it.
We talked to Inco when they appeared before the select committee on layoffs and they indicated there didn’t seem to be any suppliers here. When we pursued it further, we found out there were interlocking directorships between Inco and mining machinery suppliers in the United States. When you’ve got interlocking directorships it’s a very comfortable and nice way to buy your mining machinery. There is nothing illegal about it, but it’s one reason we never developed a mining machinery complex in the province of Ontario. We are the leader in this country, we are the leader as a province, in the proportion of manufacturing and real wealth that is created in Canada, and yet we stand idly by while we import 91 per cent of our mining machinery. That is a sad comment on the policy of this government.
The Ministry of Northern Affairs should be playing a very active role in this. I can imagine what a mining machinery complex would do for the Sudbury basin. It wouldn’t have to be there, but it would be an ideal location. We’ve got the best laboratory in the world in the mines of Sudbury. We’ve got a university where the research and development work can be done, and we’ve got a willing and eager work force in Sudbury as well. The steel industry is at the Sault. There is a potential for a deep water port in the area, and yet nothing seems to happen. We just let things drift and import an increasing proportion of our mining machinery.
The minister gets up or the various ministers get up and talk about stimulating the small business community. The Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) brought in a bill which we debated and passed last night on small business development corporations. We give a 30 per cent write-off to people who invest in a small business development corporation which will then put equity into small businesses. That’s fine, we supported the bill; but the minister surely knows the biggest boost he could give a place like Sudbury, its small business community, would be to establish a major complex to turn out mining machinery there. Nothing would stimulate the small business community as much as a major operation such as mining machinery. If you really want to stimulate the small business community, that’s what you have to do, not just give them tax incentives and write-offs and so forth. They’ll take them, obviously, they’d be crazy not to; but that’s not the long-run answer to developing an industrial complex anywhere in the province of Ontario.
When the minister responds when I sit down in a couple of minutes, I hope he will talk about developing a mining machinery complex in the Sudbury basin. I can’t think of anything that would give a greater boost to northern Ontario than to do that.
This minister has an obligation to talk about the development of the north. The former Treasurer, Darcy McKeough, said there would be no secondary manufacturing in northern Ontario for 20 years. He said 20 years, and this minister isn’t doing anything to indicate he has views different from that. If he does, I’d like to know what they are.
He can get up and talk about incentives in the mining industry in order to create a climate for investment. That’s what the Premier (Mr. Davis) did this morning. What a joke. There have been incentives given to the mining industry for 75 years, and not just from this government; yet what have they done for you? What have they done for us in northern Ontario? Where is the mining machinery complex? Where is Falconbridge’s refinery? For 45 years they have been in Sudbury and still they have no refinery. They do the dirty and the dangerous work in Sudbury and the clean work in Norway. We have had enough of that. They lay off people as they see fit and they export capital to the other worlds, the third world and the United States, as they see fit, with not even a whimper from the Minister of Northern Affairs.
The Premier beats his chest and says, “We put a lot of effort into saving Capreol and saving Sudbury.” I am sorry to say it but we measure this government by its actions, not by words. That is how we feel about it. We have had it up to here with all the promises of what is going to be done for northern Ontario and seeing nothing come to fruition. That is wrong. People’s expectations are raised and then let down. We are very critical in that sense.
I have only talked about mining machinery, but there are other areas, if there was more time, we could talk about as well. I really wish this minister would go to the Treasurer and to the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) and say, “Look, guys, you have $200 million in the Employment Development Fund; instead of spreading it all over Ontario in tourism, in manufacturing, in resources and in agriculture, take that $200 million and put it into a sector and do something meaningful with it.” I can’t think of a better sector than mining machinery. Take that $200 million and start to build a mining machinery complex in the Sudbury basin. That is what should be done with that $200 million. At the end of a year that $200 million is going to be spread all over Ontario and there will not be a single sector improved because it will be spread too thin.
If my suggestion is taken up we would address the problem of one sector and rebuild one sector at a time, maybe even two. With $200 million something can be done. But, with a grant of half a million here, half a million there, spread all over Ontario, in the end no difference will be seen. We will still be importing 91 per cent of our mining machinery. There should really be a serious look taken at that.
The other area I want to talk briefly about is the obligation of this ministry to look after communities that are abandoned. The minister knows the town of Chapleau, he’s been there; within the last six months or a year he’s been to Chapleau, I believe. I just came back from there last weekend. I spent almost the whole weekend up there in Chapleau.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I am in the area on a pretty regular basis.
Mr. Laughren: Who?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Me.
Mr. Laughren: Are you? Yes. I won’t ask the minister to table a record of his visits to Chapleau in the last 10 years.
There are a couple of rivers running through the middle of the town of Chapleau. On one side of the river there is a sawmill. The town boundaries extend for part of that area. It is called “The Planer,” because that is where the planing mills are. A lot of that portion known as The Planer is not within the boundaries of the town of Chapleau. So guess what? They are in real trouble. They have inadequate subdivision of property. They have inadequate drinking water, sewage disposal facilities, and the roads are unbelievable. I almost lost my car in a pothole over there.
Mr. Havrot: Too bad you didn’t get lost.
Mr. Laughren: If I had had a small car I don’t think I would have emerged from the bottom of the pothole. It is really serious. The place is abandoned. The town won’t extend its boundaries to take it in. I am angry with the town too. I am very angry with the town of Chapleau for the way the people in The Planer have been treated. I am not proud of that and they know that. As a matter of fact there is going to be a meeting in a week or two to look at one specific problem, but it is only one specific problem involving a trailer park. Those people have been abandoned.
The property isn’t properly subdivided by the lumber companies, or whoever owns the land; some of it is owned by the lumber company, some of it is privately owned. It is a real planning mess. And everybody allowed it to happen. There have to be 1,000 people there now. People come in, they live there, they work in the sawmills, they move on; they have no sense of fixing up their houses. It would not be a good investment because who knows when they will be kicked out of there. A bunch of people is just getting eviction notices now from the trailer park. Why should they fix the place up? They have no real authority to be there, no statutory right to be there. That is wrong. It is one thing for the town to say, “Look, we have our own problems in this community.” They have got a problem financing the existing boundary. But, no ministry of government, despite all the letters, will move in there and say, “This has gone far enough.” The problem is only going to get worse, it cannot get better. So there is a choice. Either sit back and twiddle your thumbs and watch it get worse or move in aggressively and do something about it.
Why doesn’t the minister do something about it? I know it’s complex and it involves different ministries. It involves the Ministry of Housing and it involves the health unit from the Sudbury area. It involves the municipality, it involves the Ministry of Natural Resources and it involves all sorts of people. What you would have to do, almost, is to send somebody in there with authority, as a lead for the various ministries to say: “We’re going to work this out for heaven sakes.” It’s going to cost us some money but if we leave it it’s going to cost more. The problem is much worse now than it was 10 years ago. In 10 years from now it will be worse still. I really urge the minister to move in there and do something about that problem.
The people in that community are almost solidly Franco-Ontarians. They are almost solidly French-speaking people. Chapleau is basically -- I want to be careful -- basically an anglo town in the way in which it is run; main street, council so forth. I really think the people on that side need improved services in their language. They should have French television beamed in there. I know that’s federal jurisdiction; I’ve done the correspondence on that end. You’d never guess who the former federal member was for the town of Chapleau. He was Ralph Stewart. I can’t tell you which party he was with because I don’t think anybody knows. That was the former member. He promised French television for the people in Chapleau.
He kept promising it, but nothing ever happened. Even though that’s a federal jurisdiction, the minister should come in and state in no uncertain terms to the CRTC in Ottawa that this should be a priority, that those people should have French television. I’d say the majority of them don’t speak English. A lot of them have come from Quebec and have settled in that community. They are good, hard-working people in the sawmills and in the bush. For them to be just abandoned, which is the word that keeps coming back to me, for them to be abandoned by everyone is not fair.
That is simply not the way we want northern Ontario to be developed. I don’t know if when the minister was there they took him on a tour of The Planer or not. I suspect they didn’t, but I could be wrong. It is not something they would set up as a tour. Tour guides would not take you on a trip of The Planer area. They are good people, they pay their taxes and they send their kids to the school there; yet they’re not getting a fair return for their presence in that community. They contribute a lot to it and they are getting very little in return.
It’s partly a responsibility which the town hasn’t met, but also the provincial government has a responsibility to oversee something like that. If a large number of people are being neglected, the government has an obligation to move in and do something about it. I know it’s not easy, I wouldn’t pretend otherwise. I haven’t stood up here and said there are simple solutions to it, but the government has really got to get somebody in there, pull all the people together and get on with solving the problem.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, if I could go back to the earlier comments of the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman). I wanted to just put on the record for his information, and maybe for those who will be reading these comments in Hansard, that the author of that particular article in Harrowsmith magazine was a Cathy Avery. She was a former employee of Treaty No. 3 in the Kenora area. I put that in as a matter of interest. Also, I have just been reminded by a member of my staff that the Manomin plant, to which the member made reference did receive a very substantial federal grant -- there was some thought that might be in the neighbourhood of about $900,000 -- to develop a wild rice business in that part of northwestern Ontario, which has never materialized. I think those are areas of interest that should be put on the record.
In connection with the member for Nickel Belt’s comments. I share equally his concerns about Gogama. I appreciate your views; having been there on a number of occasions I know very well to what you refer. Where one area of the community is serviced with water the other area across the tracks is not. The health problem involved with regard to their water supply is a very serious one. Members will recall that the old Treasury department, TEIGA as we used to refer to it, did try to bring forward a piece of legislation known as Bill 102 that would have organized them in a very formal way, which was not acceptable to the people living in those unorganized areas and it was rejected.
We have spent some considerable time going back over that route and not wanting to fall into the same problems that TEIGA did or doing the same things that they did. We wanted to get an input from the unorganized areas to respond to their type of structure, I suppose one might say, and we think we have that in the Local Services Boards Act which will be introduced very very shortly. If the members will make way for me, I would be glad to get the legislation through this session if at all possible, if time will permit. I would be pleased to, really.
Mr. Laughren: Why not bring it in now?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I think I will be bringing it in June 7 for introduction.
Mr. Laughren: Are you saying you have to wait for that?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, it goes to the final stages of preparation now with the legal people.
Mr. Laughren: No, I mean for that water supply. Do you have to wait for that?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, I want to address that problem. One of our problems is to be able to deal with an organized group in those unorganized areas. I can say to the honourable member, and I say it loudly and as clearly as I can, that Gogama has to be a priority with us because there is a health problem, and if there are other unorganized areas that are in that similar category where their water supply is being affected, then I think it’s incumbent upon this ministry to pull out all stops once we get things in place, and I intend to do that.
Mr. Laughren: I will hold you to that.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, I do. I say that very sincerely, because when we are dealing with people I feel very upset that we have to wait this period of time to get this legislation but there is no other way of doing it. I think I wrote the honourable member just recently and indicated that to him. I know my colleague, the Minister of the Environment, is very concerned, as is the Minister of Natural Resources, because we have a problem here that because --
Mr. Laughren: The Minister of Health is not very happy with you. You know that, don’t you? He was very critical about Gogama.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- of internal problems and our legal problems we can’t move as effectively and quickly as we would like. I just want to say that we look at Gogama as a priority and we will look at it as quickly as we can and as quickly as we can put something into place. I want to make that commitment to the people in Gogama.
In connection with industrial diversification for northern Ontario, I am a little surprised at the short memory of the honourable member for Nickel Belt, because I can recall just a few months back -- I guess it is less than a year ago -- when all the members sitting on that side of the House were at a very important gathering in Sudbury --
Mr. Laughren: Talk about mining machinery.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- wait a minute -- the 2001 Conference established locally, local initiatives, local enthusiasm, support from the member’s party, support from the labour unions, support from the community and the private sector, just a tremendous step forward for that particular community, funded very handsomely by my ministry to the tune of $600,000, where they would look at themselves. Not only did we fund that study to that extent but we also have the regional municipality of Sudbury import substitution study, to develop a secondary manufacturing production and marketing strategy with the objective of --
Mr. Laughren: You have done enough studies, Leo.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- making and marketing locally items that are presently imported into the northeastern Ontario region, thereby increasing local employment opportunities given to the local people, and what better way to approach that problem than to let the local people become involved?
Mr. Laughren: What a copout.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: It is not a copout. It’s a sincerity on this part of the government. We are not going in there with a heavy hand. We have to have them with us. We have given them the resources to look at themselves, to look at what they can do to improve the economic well-being of that particular area. So when you see the financial assistance to the Sudbury 2001 committee, the import substitution study, and let me read into the record a number of other areas that we are working with --
Mr. Martel: Other studies?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, they are not studies at all; just listen. In Atikokan, the economic development project we are doing there, the lead ministry concept, and I would ask the member to go to Atikokan and see what we are doing there. There’s an attitude in Atikokan today that doesn’t exist anywhere else in northern Ontario; a community that knows that its main employer is --
Mr. Laughren: Is winding down.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, is winding down. They know that; they have known it for 30 years. We are in there working side by side with them, and it is a treat. They are very complimentary of what this government is doing in Atikokan. That is the kind of approach that we are doing there.
In Geraldton, industrial land servicing.
Hornepayne: The member for Algoma knows what we are doing in that community. A $12 million town hall concept -- a joint provincial, private and federal government program; something that will make Horne-payne a real model in northern Ontario. I think the member for Algoma will agree with me. He was there at the sod turning ceremony, a very enlightening experience. The private sector, the public sector and the whole community are pulling together to develop a major civic centre that will be the model we may use in other communities in northern Ontario. We are looking at it very carefully to make sure that it does meet the needs of that part of northern Ontario and satisfies the unique needs of places like Hornepayne.
Mr. Laughren: Will it create jobs?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: It will, yes. The CNR -- turn around and ask the member for Algoma what it will do for Hornepayne. It is just fantastic, really it is.
Kirkland Lake: The industrial land servicing at Kirkland Lake; an industrial development review for Kirkland Lake.
North Bay: Let’s talk about what we are doing in North Bay. We signed a $10 million Ontario DREE agreement that will see the development of a major industrial park at North Bay. I regret the member for Nipissing (Mr. Bolan) is not with us today. As the honourable members will recall -- I just want to make a note of it on the record -- the former Treasurer and I had been dealing with the federal government and the city of North Bay with regard to an Ontario DREE agreement in the amount of about $14 million.
The present -- is the Solicitor General or Attorney General that comes from North Bay? -- Jean-Jacques Blais, a very senior man in the federal cabinet; at any rate, I felt with him being there that we could get a total package for North Bay, a $14 million package. It would have taken in the industrial park area, the development of the Marshall Avenue overpass, something that is really needed in North Bay. I must say the industrial development commissioner in North Bay has done one fantastic job in attracting small industry to his community. That has encouraged both levels of government to move in with this development.
But what happened? The federal government came back here and said: “Look, we are ready to go for a $10 million package, not a $14 million package. Somewhere down the road we will talk about the other $4 million. We would like to get on with just the development of the industrial park, so we are prepared to sign a $10 million package.”
We looked at it very carefully and the big talk of cutbacks came to the fore. There was some concern that we might even lose the $10 million package. I recall very vividly going to North Bay and meeting with the chamber of commerce and being literally roasted for my stand in wanting the whole loaf. They said, “Look, don’t take the whole loaf; for God’s sake take half the loaf. Let’s get on with it.” So we did -- we went with the $10 million package.
I went up to North Bay a couple of weeks ago. Believe it or not I got roasted again, because now they want us to go back and get the other $4 million. I said, “If you had left us alone in the first place we would have had the whole package.”
We have that kind of initiative and drive, and we are moving ahead. I just wanted to point that out to you and put it on the record, because the member for Nipissing was one who said, “Let’s go for the $10 million package.” Today he is being criticized in his own home town for going for that small package when they could have gone for the whole works. Being a northerner, I guess, it is my attitude when you see that kind of possibility ahead we should go for the whole works, because God knows we need it.
Sault Ste. Marie: an industrial opportunities study, and an expansion of the present industrial park. You will recall that is where we had the by-election not too long ago, and there was some criticism I think levelled at us about lack of industrial land.
Mr. Laughren: But did you see the figures on the number of jobs related to the steel industry up there?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: But look what is happening in Sault Ste. Marie. Go to the industrial park and see what is happening to the funds that we are putting into Sault Ste. Marie, the new companies that are going in.
Mr. Wildman: A lot less secondary industry related to the steel industry than there is in Hamilton.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I was taken on a tour and I was most impressed with the small factories being developed in the industrial park.
Mr. Laughren: When are we going to go on a northern tour?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: We will talk about that too.
Mr. Laughren: Tell us about mining machinery and about Sudbury.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I mentioned Sudbury.
In Timmins, of course, the small business management study is going on there about the industrial land servicing in the tritown area. We have established the development commission on Manitoulin Island. This was all designed to attract secondary industry into northern Ontario, so to say we are not thinking or moving in that direction is not totally correct.
Further, in our discussions with the federal government on the Department of Regional Economic Expansion agreements we have the responsibility for northern Ontario, to make sure any DREE agreements clearly spell out any purchases or any consultation or any needs connected with that agreement are Canadian first. That is clearly spelled out in the agreement, just to make sure. The Ministry of Northern Affairs has insisted on that. As we sign more Ontario DREE agreements, we hope there is going to be that incentive to attract industry into northern Ontario.
Chapleau is an area, of course, that has always been very close to us here in the Ministry of Northern Affairs, obviously because the former deputy was very familiar with it and it was first and foremost in many of our discussions. We are very familiar with the problems of Chapleau. As the honourable member has correctly pointed out, there is no easy solution. There are differences of opinion in that community and within the present council related to the sawmill area.
Mr. Laughren: You are not doing anything about it.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I have had discussions with the mayor -- a very good mayor, I might say. He has some political aspirations that may give the member for Nickel Belt some concern. He has done great things for his community.
Mr. Laughren: One centre.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The recreational centre is the most beautiful in northeastern Ontario. There is the new town hall concept; and three major complexes have opened in one year.
Mr. Laughren: You will not talk about the Planer. You are embarrassed about it. You are as guilty as they are.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I am not ashamed of it. We will resolve that problem. But let’s look at the nice things happening in Chapleau.
Mr. Laughren: We are talking about a problem area and you won’t do anything about it.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: We are doing things there. The combination home they have there, the senior citizens units where they have extended care and residential care, is a model in northern Ontario. I tip my hat to the people in Chapleau for what they have done. I just have a great belief in those people, who have that kind of imagination. That kind of initiative will solve that problem.
Mr. Laughren: You are not going to do anything.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Let me finish. If we can help them, we will be there to help them in any way possible because there are going to be requirements for some resources. Let’s be honest.
Mr. Laughren: There is going to be. They are not even in the town.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I know. Even when they move into that particular area, the annexation -- if that is what one wants to call it -- will have problems associated with it. I do not have to tell you and I do not have to belabour the problems.
Mr. Laughren: I want to know what you are going to do and you are not telling me.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The initiative has to come from the local community.
Mr. Laughren: Outside the community?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: It has to come from the local community to take them in.
Mr. Laughren: And if they don’t want to annex it?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: They have to make application to the Ontario Municipal Board, as you well know. There is a certain route they have to go through.
Mr. Laughren: And if they don’t do that?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: They have to. I cannot force a big hand on them and tell them to do it. We can hold certain carrots out; there will be certain assistance granted them. There will be a certain infrastructure required. We are prepared to look at that.
Mr. Laughren: Only if they join the town. Is that right?
Mr. Chairman: Order. Perhaps the honourable minister would address his remarks to the chair.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The mayor is very much aware of our desire to see that area tidied up. I can tell the honourable member that when they move we will be there to assist them in every possible way.
Television in northern Ontario is an area of very serious concern to us in the Ministry of Northern Affairs. In fact, in this past throne speech there was a reference to our responsibility for improving television services in northern Ontario. We are awaiting the decision of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission as it relates to the hearings they had in Thunder Bay. In fact, we had been promised it would be down by December 31 of last year; then it was January 31; and now the candidates tell me it is going to be this week. It will likely be next week now, because of that great event occurring on May 22.
Mr. Laughren: Ed Broadbent day.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I can assure the member, as I have assured many members in northern Ontario, that when that decision does come down we will be there, first and foremost, to make sure that the carrier, whoever he is, is assisted to a point, I suppose one might say in getting all of the jobs and in providing that type of recreation that many of us in southern Ontario just take for granted.
I might say to the honourable member that there are certain things occurring in northern Ontario with regard to television that are very encouraging. In Dryden just last week one of the local cable operators used his ingenuity to purchase one of those “dishes” and aimed it at the satellite. One Sunday afternoon he turned it on and was receiving TV signals from Atlanta, Georgia. Absolutely beautiful!
Mr. Wildman: Was it legal?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, it is not. I understand. It is something that is not totally acceptable to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. Nevertheless, the people in the Dryden area are elated with the quality of cable television they are getting from Atlanta, Georgia. I am told that there are eight or nine channels they can also pull in. That may be an answer for places like Chapleau.
Mr. Wildman: The feds are doing that in Saskatchewan, but they don’t do it in Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: There are a couple of areas in northern Ontario where they will be doing something to bring television off the satellite. We are as anxious as the member is to get on with improving television services in northern Ontario.
Mr. Laughren: I raised three issues with the minister. One was the problem of the water supply in Gogama. The second was the question of developing a mining machinery complex in the Sudbury area to replace the 91 per cent of imports that meet our domestic demands. The third was the problem of The Planer area in Chapleau. On all three questions, the minister has said that we are not going to change the fact that we are doing nothing about it.
He said he has to wait for the legislation for the Gogama situation. He totally ignored the question of the mining machinery complex for the Sudbury basin and didn’t even comment on it, which indicates to me that either he doesn’t understand or doesn’t have the courage to take on the Treasurer and the Minister of Industry and Tourism in using the Employment Development Fund for that purpose. On The Planer area, he said blatantly that those people can do it on their own. Unless the town brings in The Planer area he is not going to do anything about it. That is a dismal response to very serious problems.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: It is totally wrong that the member should take that attitude. On this side of the House we put our money where our mouth is.
Mr. Laughren: What about those three issues?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: We’ve looked at them. You’ve pointed them out to us. Read the record and you will see what we’re doing. You're part of the 2001 Conference.
Mr. Laughren: I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about the mining machinery.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I know, but wait a minute; the initiative should come from there. We’ll give them the resources. On this side of the House we’re not going to force people to do things. We encourage them and assist them. The initiative must come from that section.
Mr. Laughren: Put on a clown suit and come to the north.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: We will be doing things. There is more advancement in this field than there has ever been before.
Mr. Chairman: The member for Essex North.
Mr. Wildman: He’s got “north” in his name.
Mr. Ruston: That’s right. The word “north” is in my riding, so I should have a right to ask some questions about the north.
Last Friday on the way home I was listening to CBC radio. The speaker was an expert on nuclear waste. One of the questions raised was the problem of mining tailings at Elliot Lake. It was a phone-in program and on the line was an engineer or physicist with Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. If I remember correctly, I got the impression that he said they have never really addressed themselves completely to cleaning up the tailings from the Elliot Lake area.
In what way are you getting involved in this to protect the people of that area by seeing that this is taken care of? The Atomic Energy Control Board is the control agency and if it is not taking an active interest in this don’t you think you should get involved in the matter in some way?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, that area is being addressed. There is considerable concern in the provincial Ministry of the Environment. But, as the member correctly points out, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited has the overall responsibility as it relates to uranium. They have been doing some very extensive studies in the Elliot Lake area to lower the radiation count in the residential areas. I understand -- I’m not totally sure on this -- they’ve designed a type of basement where the air moves underneath the basement and the air flow there reduces the radiation count.
They are actively involved in holding public hearings and doing some very extensive studies. I believe they will be moving ahead with regard to the required residential developments that are needed in the Elliot Lake area.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Chairman, I listen to the minister talk about all the wonderful things we’re doing for northern Ontario, and I’m amazed. I am absolutely amazed. If he’s the new guru of grunts, we don’t need it.
According to the minister there are no problems. The minister talks in such grandiose terms of what’s going on. Apparently, he doesn’t see the northern Ontario I do -- I get down to the ground; maybe he flies too high. Maybe he should get down to the ground.
The minister talked about studies this morning and what he was doing here, there and everywhere -- everything’s rosy -- and he honoured the problems raised by my colleague. I’m going to talk about Capreol, and I’m going to talk about Sudbury, and I’m going to talk about Falconbridge. And in each instance the minister will back off.
When the bill creating this ministry was first introduced I moved a number of amendments. One in particular was to establish a fund so that when communities faced problems as a result of mining companies deciding to get up and leave, we would have an alternative. The government voted it down; the Liberals voted against it.
We’ve got a municipality called Capreol. The minister knows Capreol -- my home town. A mining company has been there for 20 years; it only made $6.5 million last year. They’re leaving, for two years. They’re getting up and they’re walking out. But, two years from now they’re going to say, “Yoo-hoo, we’re back. Put in some more additions to the schools. Put in another subdivision in the town. Create some more problems. We’ve got a 15-year life expectancy. You, the people of Capreol, pay the shot.
“When the going is good, we, the mining company from the United States, we reap the benefits. If it gets tough a little bit, we pack up our bongo balls and go home; and we say to the residents of the town of Capreol, ‘You pick up the tab’.”
The same thing happened with respect to Mother Inco two years ago because we have no policy that regulates production, that says they can’t stockpile for 13 months and then just decimate the community. Inco has reduced its work force from 19,000 to 11,000 in seven years. And they produce more today than they did seven years ago.
What have we got for policy? What’s emanating from this ministry? Is the minister saying he will no longer tolerate massive stockpiling and then see tremendous chaos in an area? No way.
It’s interesting. Read the article written by Val Ross for Canadian Business, May 1979; she indicates the arrogance -- in fact, it’s titled, The Arrogance of Inco.
Who protects the Sudbury basin? Who protects the municipality of Capreol and the taxpayers? The Premier established a committee. For two weeks I’ve been trying to get from the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) and the Premier what short-term and long-term policy your government has because that was the purpose of that committee -- of which you should have been chairman as you have that responsibility. But they made the Treasurer the chairman. In fact, the other day when I asked him the question he didn’t even know who the new chairman was. He assumed it was the new Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Auld).
I want to tell you that you didn’t meet and you didn’t do a damn thing with respect to policies. You didn’t develop one. That’s why the Premier fudges it and that’s why the Treasurer fudges it because you’ve got no policy. You can talk about 2001. I was at that great meeting.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Supporting it.
Mr. Martel: Yes, supporting it and hoping, like all northerners, that some day we’d have some courage to do something.
Do you think the $600,000 you gave for seed money will ever resolve the problems of a layoff like that at Inco? There were 2,400 in the mine alone and Falconbridge had 750. Take into consideration what that does in the other industries. There is a layoff of 5,000 people. You tell me that 2001 is going to be able to overcome that type of problem? That’s wishful thinking with $600,000 in seed money to get started.
Let’s get realistic. You helped to launch that. They will have some successes hopefully, but with the type of massive layoffs that occur when a whole industry shuts down or lays off or wipes out a community, they haven’t got the fiscal capability to overcome that problem. You and I know it. Why don’t you admit it?
My colleague the member for Nickel Belt said, “Let’s talk about the development of a mining equipment capacity because we import 91 per cent.” We have a trade deficit of $1.61 billion annually in mining equipment in this country. Outside of Jarvis Clark who is a pretty initiatory sort of guy, we do virtually little in terms of heavy equipment in Canada. If the government wanted to get serious, there was a select committee chaired by the former Speaker the member for Northumberland (Mr. Rowe), who sits behind you and is in his seat at the present time. In 1974 that select committee said: “Mining equipment is such a natural for Canada that if the private sector doesn’t want to do it, government should become involved.”
Let me tell you why. We import more mining equipment than any other country in the world and yet we are the third largest producer of mineral wealth in the world. We import more than anyone else. We have an economy large enough internally to develop that sector. We could also have incentives for mining companies in Canada which bought from this company, hopefully private, but encouraged and pushed and what not by government to get it going. We could give them a tax incentive to buy Canadian equipment. We could do a number of things. We have the base and we have the resources, but we don’t have the will.
When my colleague tries to raise it with you, you start to read a litany of towns and municipalities where you have put in industrial sites. That’s great. We have three industrial sites in Sudbury, but the type of economy we have in Sudbury isn't the same as in North Bay. You can’t put small plants like that there because they can’t compete. What you’ve got to do is get a type of sector that in monetary terms can compete with what the other companies are paying, and where would that be but in mining.
I also remind you we have a university that’s now moved to a four-year course in mining. We have a community college that has mining courses. When my colleague tries to talk to you about it, you talk about everything else in the world but that.
The minister talks about Chapleau. Great. He talks about what he did in North Bay, and that’s good, but he can’t get serious about this. His only response is, “We put $600,000 into 2001,” but he doesn’t want to deal with the problem. Don’t tell me about studies. The chamber of commerce wrote a report, and what was one of the things it was advocating? The developing of mining equipment.
Then there was a second select committee, I remind the minister, just last year. The select committee on Inco -- and there were nine Tories on that committee -- recommended the production of mining equipment. What have we done? What have we even done to try to look at it? We have had two select committee reports. The Premier established a committee 18 months ago to look into the long-term solutions, and he stands there this morning and says, “We have to make the climate economically good so the mining companies will proceed.”
I don’t want the mining companies to just rip it out faster, to take more out. I want something developed for northern Ontario that goes beyond extraction. Will Tories ever learn that? It isn’t merely extraction we want so we can send it to Clydach to be refined, so we can send it to Huntington, so we can send it to Norway to be refined and processed into some finished commodity. We want to do it ourselves. We want jobs for our young people, we want a tax return, we want jobs for women in northern Ontario.
Will this government ever understand it? It isn’t just an economic climate for more mining. That’s nuts. How many more times do they have to be told? We have heard the same answer for the 12 years that I’ve been here.
We have heard about planning. On northeastern Ontario alone how many studies have been done? Since 1958, I think there have been 12. They are coming out our ears. I think it is because you are defeated on it. The former Treasurer, in the last provincial election, said, “We won’t have secondary industry in northeastern Ontario for 20 more years.” That’s what McKeough said.
My colleague tries to get serious and talk about one of the areas we could excel in. We have the universities and we have the technical skills and we have the people and we have the resources; what we need is a government that says, “Wait a minute, we are going to start to pull it together, not as a crown corporation; we are going to start to pull the people in, we are going to start to try to talk industry into developing it.”
Lord knows, since before the turn of the century in Sudbury we have had the opportunity if someone was going to go in and develop it on their own. They haven’t. What do we do then? Just throw our hands up in the air and say, “Too bad”? We can have a trade deficit, we can import our equipment, we can do a whole series of things, and nothing changes in northern Ontario.
I wish we wouldn’t paint it in such rosy terms. I wish we could get serious. I wish we could find out why there is a declining population in northern Ontario. We know why -- there are no jobs. The mining companies are not exploring.
I remember the minister when he was Minister of Natural Resources saying the reason there is no exploration is because they are afraid of the socialists, they are afraid of what Barrett is doing and what Blakeney is doing in Saskatchewan. Let me tell the minister how much exploration is going on in Saskatchewan this year: $80 million; $45 million by the private sector, $35 million by the government.
In Ontario last year it was $28 million. The Tories can use all the red herrings they want, but isn’t it strange that there is $80 million? What they are trying to do is develop, not only the resource sector with regulations on production and with some crown companies; they are moving. What are we doing for northern Ontario? That’s the first thing I want to deal with very briefly.
Secondly, I want to deal with something the minister should be doing. He and I have discussed it. I’m getting increasingly frustrated with his colleague, the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett), who in fact continues to allow further development in unorganized community after unorganized community. Again, there is no policy of what we do with unorganized communities and we continue to allow them to develop. There’s something nuts about that because for every one of those we allow to continue to develop, we have the problems my colleague representing Chapleau spoke about this morning.
Just outside the boundaries of an established community, an unorganized community is developed. You and I know, because we’ve talked about it, that to provide services for those unorganized communities for which a bill is going to be brought in, is going to cost us in the long run, an arm and a leg. We have no policy. I have been pushing your friend, the Minister of Housing, for some time.
It’s interesting that in Sudbury the Minister of Housing a couple of years ago took a fellow in an unorganized community to court. They were successful in the prosecution against the fellow, because he built without permission. He built knowing he couldn’t. My colleague, who is a lawyer, is going to appreciate this. The man was convicted, he was fined and he went back and sold the house to the next comer.
By the way, Hydro would not allow power to be connected to that house, so the fellow who had six children was forced to sell the house to try and recoup his money because he wasn’t going to get power. Housing said, “No, you’re not getting power,” and they instructed Hydro not to connect it. Well, my friend sold the house. I learned three weeks ago the Ontario Minister of Housing had recanted and said Hydro could go in and hook up power for the new fellow.
Tell me, how am I supposed to support the concept of preventing this sprawl when that occurs? I don’t know in law what that means, but the ministry itself took someone to court, obtained a conviction, a fine, and then the next fellow is allowed to buy the house. He then is allowed to get power from Hydro.
Mr. Wildman: The fine is a building permit.
Mr. Martel: I want to tell the minister I’ve been trying, as my colleague knows, for not months but years, to get some type of plan so we do not allow people to go and simply buy land somewhere. First thing you know, four or five houses spring up. Talk about costs -- when those four or five houses spring up, we have to send in a school bus, we have to look after the roads and the minister knows the local roads board tax is minuscule. Who is picking up the costs?
It doesn’t do anyone any good, but as long as land is allowed to be sold, people are going to demand the right to build in all kinds of areas. The cost, as the minister knows, is astronomical. We’re trying to undo what was done in the regional municipality of Sudbury. If one looks at Broder, an area I represented when I first came in and which I still represent, across the street from the city of Sudbury, the cost to put in services for those 4,000 people is going to be horrendous.
I would hope we have learned our lesson and that we will prevent this. Your ministry must take the lead because I’m sorry but Mr. Bennett doesn’t know what he is doing in this field. He simply doesn’t know what he is doing and you must take the lead as a northerner, one who understands the problems of the unorganized communities, one who talked about them in Chapleau and in Gogama, and who has them in his own riding.
We’ve got to get serious about that problem. Otherwise we are always going to be moving in to pick up the tab, which is a lot more costly when it is not planned than is the case if it is planned. We have to have a plan, Mr. Minister. I have been saying that for years around here and you haven’t moved on that either. I guess that is what frustrates me when you get up to speak in glowing terms. When you introduced the bill creating your ministry, I said there were two basic problems: one was secondary industry and the whole economic sector. Our party moved that more funds could be made available to do things when something went belly up. We don’t even have policy when it doesn’t go belly up.
In the case of Capreol, when the American parent company decides that they need to cut and the American government intervenes and says, “We will pay you to mine out another mine,” Capreol gets shut down. It isn’t improving the economic situation at all. It is buoyant for National Steel Corporation, which happens to be managed by Hanna Mining Company. Between the two of them, I think they turn out something like 35 million tons a year.
The economic sector was one problem and the second was the unorganized communities. You talk as if everything is glowing and yet we have not resolved the problems of the mining corporations and we are not even doing the exploration that’s necessary, nor do we have the manufacturing or the resources to develop the manufacturing. In fact, we have tax laws that hinder the proper development of the north -- I’m talking about the write-offs of the off-shore developments against the Ontario tax.
We haven’t even started to deal with the problem of the unorganized communities. I remember Bill 102. I remember when it went down the drain. I am delighted the minister is talking about local boards now. When his bill was moved and I moved amendments, one of them called for community councils which would have exactly the authority that’s going to come in under this bill. The one I proposed was simply to have one group responsible for the funding that would go into the area so you would be able to pass money on through.
Thank God you have moved in that direction. It has taken two more years, but it’s a move, but we haven’t started to resolve the problem because we are not getting into the overall planning. We can start to put on Band-Aids and try to help those who are already there that are unorganized but we are not even starting to deal with allowing the continuation of this to occur.
I tell the minister that in the Sudbury district last year, there were 100 applications to the Ministry of Housing, through the Ministry of Natural Resources, for people to winterize their cottages or to build beyond the boundaries of the organized municipalities. What does that tell us? They are still trying to get out to where it is unorganized. So we haven’t dealt with that problem seriously.
We haven’t really started to get serious about the economic problems confronting northern Ontario because we are not doing the exploration. We certainly have not moved in any way to assist the orderly development of the manufacturing sector. We can help with DREE to some extent. We can get agreements to locate industrial sites -- we have three industrial sites in Sudbury and they have services -- but we have never tackled freight rates. The Economic Council of Canada says this is the most serious deterrent to the development of manufacturing in northern Ontario. This is the highest freight rate rate zone in Canada. We haven’t got serious about that.
I always am amazed at northerners. In the federal House out of our 14 members, 11 of them are on the government side. I have yet to hear one make a speech on reducing freight rates in northern Ontario, yet the Economic Council of Canada says the single largest deterrent to economic development is freight rates. It always amazes me.
You have to start to tie all that together, Mr. Minister. When we moved the amendments to the bill creating your ministry, you will recall that we moved in total six amendments. Three dealt with unorganized communities and three dealt with the economic sector. I had hoped that this ministry would get that sort of mandate to really move in to help the co-ordinated development of northern Ontario. We might piecemeal it a little bit, but you haven’t got the mandate and unfortunately the line ministries really don’t get serious about it.
The Minister of Housing hasn’t got a clue of what is going on in the unorganized communities in northern Ontario. It is evident from the letters I write to him that there is just nothing there. As for the manufacturing sector, McKeough summed it all up a couple of years ago when he said it isn’t going to occur. I would like to know what you intend to do in those areas. Let’s not get off on a tangent; let’s deal with both of those.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: If I could deal with the last item first, I was just a little confused when the honourable member talked about doing something about freight rates. I couldn’t help but recall the efforts of my colleague, the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow), trying to deregulate the trucking industry. The trucking industry was something that we supported wholeheartedly. We wanted it, and we assisted him in tackling that problem. But who opposed it?
Mr. Wildman: We told him we’d agree to taking out the North Bay restriction but he wouldn’t bring it back in.
Mr. Martel: Right in your own caucus you couldn’t get solidarity.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Those gentlemen right there who today are trying to chastise us. I find it very humorous really. It’s that old thing about trying to suck and whistle at the same time. You can’t have it both ways. Join us in some of our efforts we are making for northern Ontario. It wasn’t a big step, I will admit that, but at least it was a step in the right direction, where we could improve and get more competition in the trucking business for northern Ontario that would hopefully lower freight rates.
Mr. Wildman: That bill really dealt with southern Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I agree with the honourable member when he says freight rates are the key to development of northern Ontario. My God, just look at what would have happened out in western Canada, if it hadn’t been for the Crow’s Nest Pass agreement and all the benefits that that has brought western Canada over the years. They won’t change that formula -- there is no question about that -- because of all the political ramifications that would occur. That is what developed western Canada. It is that same attitude that must be used with regard to freight rates if we are going to do something for northern Ontario. I have said this many times, and I will keep on saying it because I firmly believe that to be the case.
The honourable member knows -- and I think the Premier made it very clear today -- with regard to secondary manufacturing in northern Ontario, the investment climate has to be right. This government is moving in that direction to make sure that the investment climate is improved so that we do get the private sector involved. Along with that, he talked about the $200 million in economic development funds and DREE. In fact, it has been the initiative and the aggressiveness of the present Treasurer and this Ministry of Northern Affairs that have now achieved about $240 million worth of Ontario DREE agreements in the last year, the highest in history, solely for northern Ontario.
Sure, there are problems in the Sudbury area, and I just want to make it clear that your group does not have a corner on the concerns for people in the Sudbury area. You don’t have a corner on that. We are as concerned as you are about those people who are laid off and those people who are on strike. This party is very concerned and we have shown that.
We have shown our concern about Capreol. The member went down with my colleague, the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie), to deal with that particular problem.
He knows how difficult it is, without getting in with the big stick and doing it ourselves, which this party philosophically will not do. You may want to go that route; that is your decision. But it is not our political philosophy to use that heavy-handed attitude. We believe the route of encouragement is to improve the investment climate and get the private sector involved.
That is the strength of this country. That is where jobs are going to be created in the long term, and not by putting the burden on the taxpayer you keep referring to. You keep referring to the burden on the taxpayer, but I will tell you that if you go your route you will ruin the economy not only in this province, which is the key province in Canada, but of Canada as a whole.
Mr. Wildman: Saskatchewan has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: You saw what happened in BC, you saw what happened in Manitoba, you saw what happened in Britain and you saw what happened in Australia. Even Sweden is turning around. So the honourable member just cannot sell that here, as much as he tries. I have heard that philosophy for 12 years, he is quite right, that gloom and doom.
I must say, when I first came here -- I was elected in a by-election in 1966 -- my wife used to come down with me all the time and sit in the Legislature. I spent hours in here and I used to listen to the other side, particularly the honourable member’s party. I used to stay down here for two or three weeks at a time because I used to have to go back and forth by train. I used to go home to our room at the hotel and I would say to my wife; “Marj, my God, things are really bad in northern Ontario.”
Mr. Havrot: Especially in Sudbury.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: “I have only been gone three or four weeks and they are just collapsing. Everything is terrible up there.” But when I went back to northern Ontario the quality of life was there. The people were content that things were being done. Sure, we are going to do more. As a northerner I will never be satisfied, I admit that. But the attitudes being expressed here and what is happening out there are entirely different. I assure you they are entirely different. They are opposite in some cases.
Mr. McClellan: Everything is fine in Sudbury, is it?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The honourable member expresses a concern, and I am equally concerned about keeping young people in northern Ontario. Four of my children have left northwestern Ontario.
Mr. Martel: Why?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Because they wanted to go out to western Canada.
Mr. Martel: Because there are no jobs.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: They had jobs.
Mr. Martel: There are no jobs.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I am concerned as the honourable member. We are moving in that direction. What I spelled out in answer to the member for Nickel Belt, is a clear indication that we in the Ministry of Northern Affairs are embarking and have already embarked on an answer to the local responses. I think that is very important; not to use the heavy hand of government and the big resources we have down here, but to get the local people involved and to improve the climate to give them the resources to do it themselves. That is the route we are going to go and keep on going.
With regard to the honourable member’s comments on housing and planning, sure, there has to be a certain amount of planning. I agree with that and that is moving in. There are planning boards being established all across northern Ontario. I am not a great advocator of a lot of government regulations and controls. Northerners do not want that. The quality of life that northerners want, they do not want levels and levels of bureaucracy. They do not want that. That was clearly spelled out to us when we took the Local Services Boards Act across northern Ontario. They want as little government regulation and control as possible. They want to be free to live that lifestyle that they have there.
We will come to grips with these problems. They are there and we recognize them. I think that is the main thing, as long as we recognize them and move in that particular direction. So while the honourable member can cry of great things that are not being done, on the other side of the ledger I think he fails to see the other things that are being done in a very aggressive way, in a very responsive way, in step with the local people -- that is important -- in co-operation with them. We have seen this in many communities.
They used to say that Geraldton -- the typical example -- was going to be a ghost town. Go to Geraldton today and see that community. That community has actually grown. In fact, the infrastructure in that community today is finer than it has ever been in its history. The mayor up there is elated with what has happened in his particular community, a community that was once dependent on the non-renewable resources in that particular area. The economy has shifted, it has changed. Geraldton is there and there will always be a Geraldton. There will always be an Atikokan. I do not have those fears. Sure, there have to be some adjustments and some adjustments in attitudes. This is being done, as we are seeing in Atikokan today.
Pickle Lake is another example of what can be done and what is being done. While there are concerns, there are concerns on our side too. The honourable member may think he has the answers to all those problems; I confess I do not. I say that as sincerely as I can: I do not have the answers to all those problems. But I can tell the honourable member, by God, we are working on them.
Mr. Martel: The minister may say he is working on them. How many of his children have left northern Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Four.
Mr. Martel: Why?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: They married.
Mr. Martel: Why do they have to leave northern Ontario? Why is it that if one goes around Toronto one can find more young people from northern Ontario? Because the jobs aren’t there, apart from extracting.
There is the Robert report from Laurentian University which indicates that anybody who gets beyond grade 12 will not go into mining. Those people are here; the minister knows it and the member for Timiskaming certainly knows it. They are here because there are no jobs in northern Ontario.
Mr. Havrot: They want to come down here.
Mr. Martel: Which of my colleagues who spoke today has said, “use a heavy hand”? We have asked the minister to talk to us about mining equipment, and I said he would ignore it. He ignored it when my colleague raised the issue; he ignored it when I raised it. I remind him that there were two select committees, one chaired by the former Speaker, and the other chaired by the former Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Both committees recommended the production of mining equipment.
I tried briefly to explain why that would be viable in northern Ontario. The private sector has not, in all of its years, decided to produce mining equipment in Canada. The minister totally ignored it.
Mr. Havrot: They’re building a plant in Kirkland Lake.
Mr. Martel: I hope so.
Mr. Havrot: They already have a mining equipment manufacturing plant.
Mr. Martel: They are producing scoop trams, are they? They are producing all the drills, all of which are imported into Canada? There’s a trade deficit of $1.6 billion annually --
Mr. Havrot: Never mind statistics.
Mr. Martel: And you tell me. “Never mind statistics.” That’s the type of mentality we have to deal with from that side of the House. If there is a place we could move in -- and I said it didn’t have to be government; I said if government could take the lead, bring people together, put up some of the cash -- to try to get it established. We’ve got the resources; we’ve got the university, the community colleges; we’ve got the testing beds right there in all of the mines. We’ve certainly got a large enough economy internally, let alone what we could do in terms of export. And the two of us who have raised the question can’t get a response.
Mr. Havrot: Why don’t you get some of your socialist friends to finance and build a plant?
Mr. Martel: Why don’t you go outside and grunt?
Mr. Havrot: Oh, dry up yourself. You’re a groaner yourself. You’re a “poor-mouther,” that’s all you are. You’ve destroyed the north with your “poor-mouthing.”
Mr. Martel: Jibber-jabbering like a chimpanzee over there. If you want to get in on the debate, get in. If you don’t want to get in, if you just want to be the continuous “guru of grunt,” that’s fine. If that’s your maiden speech --
Mr. Wildman: You’re a great one to talk, Havrot, about what you say in the north.
Mr. Havrot: Who closed up the mine in my area? Three hundred and fifty jobs lost. Don’t hand me that stuff.
Mr. Martel: The member for Timiskaming should read what the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) said about that. I watched your television ads last time, brother. “We closed up Matachewan.”
Mr. Deputy Chairman: A little order, please.
Mr. Martel: I’m not sure, Mr. Chairman, which one of us has the floor; me or the member for Timiskaming.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: The member for Sudbury East has the floor. Will the other members of this House please refrain from interrupting the member for Sudbury East.
Mr. Martel: To get back to it, will the minister tell me what’s wrong with a proposal to produce mining equipment? The private sector hasn’t got involved; yet we import and we import and we import. Why don’t we get serious about it? Two select committees looked at it; two select committees recommended it. They weren’t loaded with New Democrats. I remind members that on one there were seven Conservatives and only two New Democrats; on the other one there were nine Conservatives. If the minister’s colleagues who had looked at the issue didn’t think it would wash, would they have put it in a report?
The government has never got serious about it. He stands there with platitudes and says “the heavy hand.” That’s a lot of nonsense. The minister said they won three seats back because northerners like it. It was because the Liberals didn’t run anybody. They didn’t run anybody in Timiskaming, and they didn’t run anybody in Cochrane South, for God’s sake.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I didn’t mention that. The member mentioned that.
Mr. Martel: There was that old fellow that the Liberals imported into Timiskaming.
Mr. Wildman: A 75-year-old man into Havrot country.
Mr. Martel: -- two weeks before the election. And you still only won by 600 votes.
Mr. Havrot: That’s all right. We’ll win it by 6,000 next time.
Mr. Deputy Chairman: Could we turn to vote 701, item 1, main office?
Mr. Martel: The minister talks about heavy- handedness and the quality of life. Tell me why if the quality of life is so good -- and it is, in many ways -- do our young people have to leave? Answer that -- and don’t tell me it’s because they want to. It’s because they have to, if they’re going to get meaningful employment. The minister knows it and I know it. He has never resolved the problem, and he’s had how many studies? The final one came out in response to --
Mr. Martel: Not my friends. The chamber of commerce aren’t my friends. Remember their report called A Profile in Failure?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: The same group which wanted the 2001 funding?
Mr. Martel: No. They wrote the report. I didn’t write that report, Mr. Minister. They wrote a document in response to the government’s study on northeastern Ontario and they entitled it A Profile in Failure.
Mr. Worton: Elie, the chamber loves you too.
Mr. Martel: You want to believe it. Let me come back to that --
Hon. Mr. Bernier: It’s all oriented to Sudbury.
Mr. Martel: That was not true. No, it’s not.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: It is. John Rhodes took them to task. I was there.
Mr. Martel: We’re taking everybody to task, except the minister won’t respond to areas where in fact he knows the weaknesses are. He can stand there and dispute that his children left because they wanted to go to Alberta. I suspect, like most of the young people from northern Ontario, unless they want to go into mining, there are very few jobs if they’re not in the professions.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: What about the pulp and paper industry?
Mr. Martel: That’s extractive. What about manufacturing, that they might want to go into? Where would they get into manufacturing in northern Ontario? There’s some, extremely limited. That’s what we want to talk about. That’s why I linked it to trucking -- which reminds me, before I forget, Oliver Korpela from Chapleau, the minister’s friend, he put in that article the minister referred to. The New Democrats, with a few misguided Liberals, he said, didn’t want to allow the bill to come in.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Because he knows he doesn’t have support.
Mr. Martel: There were two bills last year on transportation. I’m responding directly to the minister, Mr. Chairman. The first one died after second reading. The minister himself did not want to deregulate. My colleague, our critic, sat on more than one platform with the Liberal critic and the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) on this very topic. The minister wasn’t in favour of deregulation. He’s even now only moved to limited deregulation.
The Tories can go across northern Ontario and play that game. The first bill got first reading. On May 2, the minister withdrew that bill and introduced Bill 78. There was only one thing we said, that section dealing with the North Bay restriction -- the rest was okay -- we differed on that. That was the only part. Do you know where the real problem was? Internally, over there.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: No.
Mr. Martel: Oh yes, it was. Internally, there was a dispute between Mr. McKeough and the Minister of Transportation and Communications. The minister can shake his head all he wants. He never even brought the bill back for second reading.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Were you on that select committee?
Mr. Martel: No, but they opposed the deregulation --
Mr. Wildman: That’s right.
Mr. Martel: -- and the minister’s Tory colleagues signed the bill. It was a unanimously endorsed report.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Why are you against deregulation?
Mr. Martel: I’m not here to answer why I’m against deregulation. You are the ones who said I was trying to have it both ways.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: Tell us why? You know why and I know why.
Mr. Martel: Don’t throw a red herring in. The minister is the guy who said we were the ones who prevented dear old Jimmy from getting his way. That’s a lot of nonsense and the minister knows it and I know it.
Hon. Mr. Bernier: You know why you are against it.
Mr. Martel: Our friends in the union?
Hon. Mr. Bernier: I didn’t say it. You know exactly why.
Mr. Martel: I can’t believe it. I think the head of the Teamsters -- what’s his name, the senator? He’s a Liberal. The senator from BC, who’s head of the truckers; Lawson is his name, I think.
Mr. Worton: I don’t know many senators.
Mr. Martel: You’re lucky. So don’t blame the deregulation on us. We understand what the problems are in northern Ontario. Nowhere in the resource sector are we talking about a little bit of a heavy stick. I would I’d use a heavy stick in the mining sector. I wouldn’t allow them to overproduce and then lay off, because we know who picks up the tab -- the government. When Inco lay off 2,400 men the workers suffer, the communities suffer and the government of Ontario and the government of Canada pick up the tab. The mining companies don’t pay. When they lay off 250 men in Capreol the guys who have to leave will lose $10,000 on their homes. There are 140 homeowners.
This government will eventually, I suspect, either through the region or something, have to assist that municipality which provided those services which the municipality is now unable to pay for because of the loss of revenue. Who picks up the tab? Don’t tell me about the heavy stick. In the final analysis, who picks it up? Is it the mining companies or is it the people of Canada, the people of Ontario and the people of Sudbury?
We allow it to happen over and over. The pattern is there. As a northerner, you know it and I know it. What’s even worse, in the case of National Steel Car Corporation Limited, they want to come back in two years from now. What’s vicious about Inco is they produce in excess -- read the articles, know what’s going on -- 13 months in advance, and then they put the community through the wringer. They really put it through it. That’s why you had to move in with 2001 funding. Again, I ask you, who is picking up the tab? Who will? Will it be Inco?
You can tell me I’m heavy-handed but I know who picks it up every time.
Mr. Havrot: You’re not heavy-handed, you’re heavy-tongued.
Mr. Wildman: Inco’s heavy-handed.
Mr. Martel: My colleague puts his finger right on it. The company is heavy-handed. They’re much tougher than you are, and they know it.
Talk to your colleagues in the cabinet about Inco and its conduct. They too shake their heads about some of the things that company does. Not very often do you say to them: “We’ve had enough. We’ve had enough of your nonsense. You will act like a good corporate citizen.” That’s not the way you fellows talk. You don’t even say that to them, do you? You let them overproduce. They’ve done it every time there are going to be negotiations. They’ve had a stockpile. They’ve had huge inventories. I want to tell you, don’t come to me and tell me that it’s our fault on deregulation, and that youngsters are leaving because they want to go somewhere else. You and I know every youngster who could get a decent job in northern Ontario would go back. He’d go back to the north. I suspect you know it from talking to, as I have, hundreds of youngsters. They would go back north if the opportunities were there.
I’ve heard it said over and over again. Given an opportunity to go back those people in Toronto who are from northern Ontario would head back north immediately. That’s what we’re asking you to grapple with. Don’t come giving us red herrings about heavy-handedness. Tell me what you want to do. Let’s look to the areas where we can develop so those people can go back home.
Mr. Havrot: You’d make a great babysitter, Elie; you tell good bedtime stories.
Mr. Martel: Why don’t you go home?
Mr. Havrot: I will go home.
Mr. Wildman: Do you have a home?
On motion by Hon. Mr. Bernier, the committee of supply reported progress.
Mr. Deputy Speaker: I beg to inform the House that in the name of Her Majesty the Queen, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor has been pleased to assent to certain bills in her chambers.
Clerk of the House: The following are the titles of the bills to which Her Honour has assented:
Bill 22, An Act to amend the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations Act.
Bill 31, An Act to amend the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System Act.
Bill 47, An Act to repeal the Succession Duty Act.
Bill 48, An Act to repeal the Gift Tax Act, 1972.
Bill 49, An Act respecting Small Business Development Corporations.
Bill 50, An Act to authorize the Raising of Money on the Credit of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
Bill 51, An Act to amend the Financial Administration Act.
Bill 54, An Act to amend the Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax Act.
Bill 57, An Act to amend the Land Transfer Tax Act, 1974.
Bill 58, An Act to amend the Retail Sales Tax Act.
Bill 59, An Act to amend the Corporations Tax Act, 1972.
Bill 72, An Act to amend the Theatres Act.
Bill 73, An Act to amend the Prearranged Funeral Services Act.
Bill Pr4, An Act respecting the Financing of the Huronia District Hospital.
Bill Pr6, An Act respecting the Village of Cookstown.
The House adjourned at 1 p.m.