The House resumed at 8:03 p.m.
ENERGY POLICY PAPERS (CONCLUDED)
Resumption of consideration of sessional paper 181, Oil Pricing and Security: A Policy Framework for Canada, and sessional paper 182, Energy Security for the Eighties: A Policy for Ontario.
Mr. Speaker: Resuming the recessed debate is the member for Kent-Elgin.
Mr. McGuigan: Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for this opportunity to take part in this very important debate on energy matters.
The Premier (Mr. Davis), in his opening remarks earlier today, quite properly pointed out we are really talking about Confederation as much as we are talking about energy. I would like to address some remarks to those points.
First, I want to point out, on behalf of the agricultural industry -- and my riding of Kent-Elgin is predominantly agricultural -- and small towns that depend upon the agricultural industry, that primary producers use only about three per cent of the energy used by this nation in primary production. That three per cent represents something in the area of 12 to 15 per cent of their production costs, and it is very, very important to them.
I want to point out that we pride ourselves in North America as being great, efficient producers of food. We’re inclined to look upon the rest of the world as somewhat inferior to us.
Mr. Haggerty: We produce more protein in all of Ontario.
Mr. McGuigan: One third of the acres in Kent-Elgin are devoted to corn. On an input-output basis you get about three units of energy for one put in. That’s the most efficient crop we grow.
When you go down to many of the lesser efficient crops, you get into negative ratios. We’re efficient in the respect that we use a small part of our population to grow our food. In Canada, I think the accepted figure today has slipped from five per cent down to about four per cent. Certainly as our farms become larger and more mechanized, I can see that going to three per cent and even two per cent in not too many years.
In terms of efficiency of manpower, North America and Ontario are the leaders in the world, not leaders in efficient use of energy. The Chinese peasants, usually women and not men, who spend life bent over in astute labour of planting rice and then later in harvesting it, return about 50 units for every unit they put in. It gives you some cause for concern when you hear the government over there rather easily acquiescing to higher energy prices.
I want to point out that it’s not just a matter of passing through the direct energy costs of higher price per gallon for fuel. It’s a matter also of passing through the higher costs of machinery, which of course require fuel for manufacturing; the higher cost of fertilizer, pesticides, twine, plastic, packaging materials, and transportation. In fact, the list is rather long, so the consequences of these higher energy prices can only result in higher food costs.
You might even wish to say on some flight of fancy, and perhaps it’s not so fanciful, that we’re not on a gold or paper standard, today we’re really on an oil standard. So fuel price increases mean, absolutely, increased food prices. Of course, labour, quite understandably and quite naturally, asks for higher wages to counteract those food costs. Again, we go into that spiral that takes us inevitably along the road of inflation with all the social ills that that has.
We just feel that the government is not doing what they should for Ontario. If you doubt my figures about the efficiency of our system, just consider that the most efficient engines like tractors or diesels, only turn out about 25 per cent of the power and the fuel in the form of work. The tractor itself, pulling a tillage implement across the field, uses 50 per cent of its energy just to transport the tractor. So you come down to only a 12.5 per cent efficiency level on the use of fuel.
Just with that background, I’d like to pass to some of the matters of Confederation, and I’ve mentioned this once in a previous speech. I’d like to point out that we haven’t done so badly by western Canada as a lot of westerners would lead us to believe. In the agricultural field, we’ve had more co-operation in its maintenance in Canada than perhaps any other field of endeavour.
It goes back to the building of the railroads. In the building of the CPR railroad, which was completed in 1885, the Canadian government guaranteed three quarters of the bonds that built that railroad which made the movement of western grain possible. Then, in 1922, the Canadian government picked up the pieces from three ailing railroads -- I see the Speaker is interested in railroads -- and amalgamated those into the Canadian National Railways.
In the early days of the CPR, when the government gave the right of way to the railway, in return for that and other tracts of land the CPR guaranteed it would transport grain ever after at the Crow’s Nest rates, which I think were set in 1895 if my memory serves me right. They have persisted since that day. At the present moment, Canadians are subsidizing the western producer at about 45 cents a bushel for every bushel of grain that is moved on Canadian railways. I would point out too that since 1945, since the beginning of the wheat board, the western producer has been shielded from American production.
It has not been the same case in Ontario, where corn and soybeans come freely across those lakes at very cheap transportation. In fact, they come at prices even cheaper than those of the Chicago Board of Trade. Grain out of Maumee, Ohio is at a lower price than in Chicago. The small amount of duty we have enjoyed on corn coming from the United States has been largely offset by cheap water transportation from the United States.
In the very short time that I have to finish, I would mention there have been many other pieces of legislation -- the advance payments for grain, the marketing system for western wheat -- that have treated those producers as best they could be treated under the circumstances.
My point is Ontario and Quebec producers have made very little protest over the years, although of course they have complained at times. They have accepted these economic intrusions on the production of food in Ontario and Quebec because it meant holding this great country together. I would suggest that we feel the west could perhaps return some of the same courtesy and some of the same consideration in their pricing of energy.
If I had more time I would speak on the greenhouse industry and the problems that higher fuel costs bring to that industry, but time is running out. I just want to suggest to the government that farmers and consumers in Ontario, Quebec and eastern Canada have gone a long way towards supporting and subsidizing western agriculture. They have gone a long way towards keeping Canada together. They are willing to continue going a long way towards keeping Canada together. We just hope this government has that same commitment and the same desire to see the wealth and resources of Canada shared properly among its many citizens.
Ms. Gigantes: I will begin my participation in this debate by taking the opportunity it provides to pay tribute to the party whose government I oppose, because I feel tribute to that party, that old, well-known institution, is due. I am an inveterate believer in democracy and I have always had to accept that the Conservative Party in Ontario has succeeded in representing the people of Ontario, either in the majority or, more recently, in the minority.
As I prepared my thoughts for this debate on Ontario’s energy policy, my mind was cast back to the days when I earned my bread and butter as the researcher for the CBC radio local public affairs in Ottawa in 1970 and 1971. Working for CBC local public affairs was good training for this kind of job. Like this one, it was one which could use as much energy as you could put into it, allowed for an expression of concern for public affairs and was both frustrating and thrilling because you could never count on employment for longer than a few weeks.
But I was lucky in my job. When I told my producer in February 1971 that I was really anxious to attend the Conservative leadership convention in Toronto, that it would help me understand the nature of Ontario politics and be better at my job as researcher, he listened to me. He not only listened, he agreed with me, and he did his job and mine the day I missed our program.
I came down to Maple Leaf Gardens without a press badge and watched the government as old as I was choose its new leader. It was an enormously important thing to do, as it turned out.
We had a local favourite, those of us from the Ottawa Valley, a fine, strange man named Bert Lawrence. I had met Bert Lawrence in my job and I had a very high respect for him. I did not know Darcy McKeough or Allan Lawrence or Robert Welch or William Davis. It was a real discovery to go to a policy workshop and to the convention floor and listen to the debate and get to know the kinds of Conservative Party people from all over Ontario who came to support their favourite candidates.
My favourite candidate, Bert Lawrence, was doomed. Because I have always had a high respect for intelligence I thought in 1971 I would have supported Darcy McKeough if I had been an Ontario Conservative. I developed a quick dislike for Allan Lawrence and his supporters and a deep affection for the supporters of William Davis and Robert Welch. Welch was doomed too, at least as far as the leadership race went. But my democratic faith was reaffirmed by the fact that the quality of support those two men had at the leadership convention was tested for over eight years and is still confirmed.
To me, the naming of Bob Welch to the role of Minister of Energy is a sign that an honourable institution, the Conservative Party of Ontario, has finally recognized that the ordinary people of Ontario have wanted an energy policy for the last five years. They’ve talked to each other at the Kinsmen’s Club; they’ve talked about it in the bus station coffee bars; they’ve offered a drink to the new family in the neighbourhood and ended up talking about Ontario energy policy for five years now.
I’ve only held my current job for a few days over four years, a job Bert Lawrence used to have, but I know the Conservative Party has not been in touch with the ordinary people of Ontario on the topic of energy for at least that long. Now that honourable institution, the Conservative Party, is finally getting the message. For four years it hasn’t heard the message from eastern Ontario.
Claude Bennett is still looking after developers, Sid Handleman has paid too high a personal price for the fleeting power he was grudgingly given, and the Conservative Party still has not learned that Osie Villeneuve and Albert Belanger are too shy to be aggressive about the things they know from the people they’ve represented so long.
Mr. T. P. Reid: What kind of malarkey is this?
Mr. J. Reed: Character assassination.
Ms. Gigantes: I know I don’t need to remind Mr. Speaker of such things, of all people. But I feel very deeply --
Mr. T. P. Reid: I’d like to tell you what her colleagues say about her.
Ms. Gigantes: -- that the Conservative Party of Ontario, in control of our governments for lo these 36 years, is both honourable and much too slow to understand. Still I’ll give it credit, that old, slow-moving institution, for having decided this year to appoint Robert Welch to be Minister of Energy. If there’s anyone left in a position of influence in the Ontario Conservative Party --
Mr. T. P. Reid: He’s been everything else.
Ms. Gigantes: -- who will pull the old fat out of the fire, Robert Welch is the person. And I say good luck to him.
He’ll need good luck, because Darcy McKeough, in his brash, insensitive way, tried. He cut back Ontario Hydro borrowings in 1976; he lectured us about the shortage of capital availability because of Ontario Hydro borrowings in 1977. He gave up trying to be Ontario Conservative leader in 1978, shortly after the majority of elected representatives in Ontario let him know he had the wrong view on an issue he had never had to think about, the price of health care.
Darcy will return because he is intelligent and he’s now the head of Union Gas, and his views and his powerful intelligence will once again become critical in Ontario.
Mr. Conway: Have you ever met a payroll?
Ms. Gigantes: If I was still a person who earned my bread and butter in the media, I’d be sitting on his doorstep bargaining for an interview.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Did you say parking?
Ms. Gigantes: I’ll stop speculating on the future, forget my reflections on the past, pay tribute to Darcy McKeough’s intelligence and the sensitivity of the Minister of Energy and proceed to the reality of the present, because I doubt the ability of the party now in government in Ontario to come to grips with the present quickly enough to meet the present needs of the ordinary people of Ontario.
The ordinary people of Ontario, just like all people who have the luxury and freedom to express their real needs, are very conservative people. I’m one of those conservative people, which is why I’m a socialist.
Mr. T. P. Reid: You are finished.
Ms. Gigantes: I’m such a small “c” conservative that the institution called --
Mr. T. P. Reid: When you get that hard up, you’re really good.
Ms. Gigantes: -- the Conservative Party is totally unacceptable to me. I’m a conservative in a hurry, and the institution called the Conservative Party is much too slow to be supportable.
Mr. J. Reed: That is very plausible.
Ms. Gigantes: Energy is a prime example. The Conservative Party in Ontario positively loathes the idea that we could collect taxes and put those taxes into conservation. Isn’t that funny? In fact, if you suggested such a course of action, the Tories would call you a radical socialist.
Mr. T. P. Reid: That’s redundant.
Ms. Gigantes: In Ontario, the Conservative Party is philosophically detached from its base of popular support. Its 36-year-old government even co-operates with the pulp and paper companies, the mining companies and the nuclear companies in propaganda that tries to persuade us that the things we value in life depend on our willingness to accept the possibility of widespread public poison.
I put it to you this is not a conservative position. This is not what you or I or millions of very conservative people in this province would want as an expression of our conservative nature.
Mr. T. P. Reid: It’s a good thing that nobody is taking this stuff seriously.
Ms. Gigantes: But that’s what we’ve been offered from this so-called Conservative government. The extreme example, of course, is the efforts of the federal Liberal and provincial Conservative Parties to convince the people of Sudbury that now that Inco has taken the high grade ore in Sudbury and wants to improve its profit margin in Indonesia, the people of the Sudbury area should be glad if Atomic Energy Canada Limited decides that empty mine shafts might be a good place to insert high-level radioactive waste into Ontario soil.
That may seem an extreme example but, unfortunately, it is a true example of how far this so-called Conservative government has strayed from its conservative roots.
What is it to be a real conservative in Ontario today? What is it to try to represent the feelings of a large, well-educated, free people who place a high value on conservative goals? In Ontario, we wouldn’t say life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; but we would say food, housing, health, education, a decent prospect for our children, heat, light, provide the energy that will fuel our homes, and give us employment. These are very elementary, very conservative needs, and this government is not answering them.
Take residential heating oil as an example. At last count, 1.9 million families in Ontario depend on supplies of heating oil for warm houses. That is a very basic need. Some of those 1.9 million families might be able to switch to natural gas for home heating if heating oil supplies run low. Others would not. The Ontario government, obviously, has a prime and unavoidable responsibility to inform these families in as much detail as possible whether heating oil supplies will be adequate and how best to provide heat in their area of the province.
So far, the government has refused to acknowledge this very basic responsibility. The Minister of Energy puts his hands to his heart and tells us as far as he knows there will be enough home heating oil to meet demands this winter. His generalized reassurance is based on the monthly survey of refinery production and forecast demand which the National Energy Board collates for Canadian governments. The figures in that survey are produced on a month-to-month basis by the largest oil companies and refiners. The NEB will not permit the public release of the figures, and the Ontario government does not carry out a survey on our behalf.
The upshot is neither the Ontario public nor Ontario oil distribution firms have access to analyses and forecasts which would help us make our own assessment of whether heating oil supplies are likely to be adequate or what alternative heating arrangements to prepare on a regional basis.
The fact the Ontario government has refused to acknowledge this responsibility is one difficulty we’re supposed to quietly accept. We’re also, apparently, supposed to accept the reason for that refusal. That brings us to the heart of the matter.
The immediate excuse, of course, is the National Energy Board will refuse to release the survey to the Ontario government if the figures in the survey are released to the Ontario public and Ontario distributors. The NEB has a bargain with the major oil companies and refiners and the NEB is going to honour that bargain; and that is that as far as the Ontario government is concerned. It is too bad for Ontarians who have a right to the information.
It’s quite an attitude, isn’t it? About the only thing one can say for it is it’s consistent with the Ontario Conservative government attitude that permeates every part of current energy policy in this province; to wit, the basic decisions about the types of energy available, supplies of energy available and the prices of those energy supplies should be left in the caring hands of the large corporations which already control the energy market.
I will cite just two recent examples of how carefully the government continues to defend this attitude. The parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Energy, speaking on September 22 to the St. Lawrence Valley conference council workshop on home conservation, gave forth with the following pearls of wisdom: “In essence, I would say that our role as a government is to share information creating a positive environment, provide leadership and share risk. We do not believe government should be trying to manage or centrally direct individual decision-making about energy, because this will only discourage the private sector and limit the range and nature of solutions which are actually implemented. What the marketplace does best is invent and breed new ideas, proliferate new designs, mass produce new products, anticipate and create consumer demand. These functions are the antithesis of centralized planning and government direction.”
The Minister of Energy himself, addressing the International Gyro District 3 luncheon on September 22 underlined the same kind of position. I quote:
“It’s interesting to note that just the other day, to a Toronto audience the federal Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources talked about the possible need for legislation to force people to conserve energy. That notion to me would suggest a normative planning process, massive intervention and intrusion by government into the decision-making process and the establishment of arbitrary goals. That kind of value system as a way of life, rather than as a necessary response to a very short-term energy crisis, doesn’t have very much appeal to me. It’s the kind of interference with individual decision-making which goes against the style and precepts of the government of Ontario. Very clearly, we would prefer to work at the other end of the spectrum where the individual has freedom to determine the kind of choices which he or she thinks are in their best interest and where the market system prevails.”
It’s interesting to note in both these philosophical excursions that the chief representatives of Conservative energy policy are still trying to pretend decisions made by the private energy decision-makers are being made in a competitive market, The minister does not claim outright that the energy market is competitive, but he attempts to imply that idea by such phrases as “where the market system prevails.”
In both statements, we see again that old Conservative attempt to suggest individual liberties can only be ensured by lackadaisical government. Surely, it would be cold comfort to run out of heating oil in January and be consoled with the thought that at least the private sector was not discouraged by massive government intervention and intrusion into the so-called decision-making process. It’s hard to believe that even the members of the Conservative government can take this kind of nonsense seriously any more, but that’s the kind of attitude that lies behind all of this government’s rhetoric on energy policy. It’s an attitude that would cripple the energy future of this province.
A reading of the minister’s latest rhetoric, Energy Security for the Eighties: A Policy for Ontario, shows just how paltry is the policy that can be built on this indefensible attitude. It is a document that hints at much government action, promises little government action and leaves the reader with the awful feeling that the energy scene in Ontario could be a total shambles for at least the next 15 years.
Leaving price aside for the moment, what does it have to say about the supplies of oil and gas for Ontario? Well, there should be a national plan and that plan should commit the oil producing provinces to: “permit the required level of industrial development activity within their borders to achieve oil self-sufficiency.” Probably seven more Syncrude-type projects would do the trick, it suggests; maybe six, if Canada had a decent conservation program. Part of the financing for this undertaking would come from new exports of natural gas.
On the subject of natural gas supplies, the document proposes that we should only permit new export deals to the United States if Canadian future needs are “assured.”
These two policy thrusts on oil and gas supplies are, by themselves, sufficient to make the ordinary reader feel dismay. Since when did we have proof that Syncrude-type projects are a secure source of oil? Not yet, for sure. Since when did a Canadian province make a commitment to develop one natural resource, oil in this case, when it would prefer for its own provincial purposes to develop a different natural resource, coal in this case. Since when did exports of any energy resource help assure energy supplies to Ontario or any other part of the country?
To the ordinary residents of Ontario it probably seems reasonable that the federal government can’t be expected to force Alberta to develop oil sands, though the non-intrusive Conservative government of Ontario seems to expect just that. But the ordinary residents of this province will find it quite unreasonable if the Ontario government doesn’t put enough pressure on the feds to prevent the export of natural gas at this point in our history.
Isn’t there something dreadfully, drearily familiar about all this discussion about calling on the federal government to call on Alberta to call on the oil companies to help us through the Ontario oil crisis? Even to the patriotic residents of this province, the current Ontario government cry for Canada to pull together so that Ontario can have an energy policy begins to sound like the drunk who says he will get sober if only someone will stand him the drinks to help him over the withdrawal period.
There is something quintessentially backwards about the attitude of the Ontario Conservative government on the question of energy. It is no accident this backwards approach produces a document called Energy Security for the Eighties: A Policy for Ontario, which is 17 pages long and which does not refer to a policy for Ontario until page 10; a document that insists on discussing our energy needs in terms of primary energy requirements; a document that identifies the source for $12.5 billion for energy investment as indirect taxation without legislation on our electricity bills, and then suggests that an additional $16 billion investment will have to come from somewhere else, unspecified.
The Minister of Energy seemed disappointed when the intrepid members of the legislative press gallery were not overly enthusiastic at the official unveiling of Energy Security for the Eighties. It is my belief even the ballet reviewer for the Globe and Mail would have questioned the claim that it represents an energy policy for Ontario.
Rather than attempt to say any more about what is wrong with this document, I will outline how I think a Conservative government worthy of the name would draw up an energy policy worthy of Ontario.
Mr. Conway: Give her your pulpit, Bob.
Ms. Gigantes: First it would identify our needs for energy. Then it would identify how to stimulate the Ontario energy market so that those needs could be met.
If we start with the business of identifying needs, what do we need energy for in this province? Very simple, very conservative needs: for heat, for light, for driving motors.
Mr. Conway: Brilliance, my dear.
Ms. Gigantes: We do not need primary energy. We do not need BTUs. We do not need barrels per day. We don’t need megawatts and we don’t need trillions of cubic feet. We need heat, light and motor drive.
Mr. Roy: Even you understand that.
Ms. Gigantes: If we suppose that we depend on oil for much of our heat and motor drive, and oil is hard to get and very expensive, how do we approach the problem as good conservatives? Obviously, the first step is to ensure that we use oil as little as we have to, which means we use it as efficiently as we can. In addition, we undertake to improve the efficiency of the way we use other energy sources, so that the money we save on efficient use of those sources can help us pay for expensive oil.
This additional policy would become even more reasonable if the other sources of energy were becoming increasingly expensive and difficult to obtain.
To sum up, the primary goal would be easy to identify in clear simple language: it would be to improve the efficiency with which we use current sources of energy to meet our energy needs; a concise, conservative goal which will reward us financially and philosophically, and in terms of our economy’s ability to sustain employment.
Obviously, efficiency in meeting our energy needs can only take us so far. Then we’ll run up against the old constraints of expensive and limited sources of energy all over again.
So we must identify yet another primary energy goal. We must decide that we will be not only efficient, we will also be enterprising. We will not only use the traditional sources of energy to the limit of economic and energy efficiency, we will also develop new sources of energy which will do the job of meeting our energy needs.
We will do it for ourselves so the research and development opportunities will be here in Ontario for Ontario scientists, Ontario designers, Ontario engineers, Ontario factory workers, Ontario developers and Ontario construction workers. They will pay their taxes in Ontario and spend their salaries in Ontario. Very enterprising and very conservative.
Why do we sit here tonight still debating what we should do about meeting our energy needs in Ontario? Why did Darcy McKeough invent a Ministry of Energy in this province? Why did he have to leave our Conservative government to retire to Union Gas?
Darcy is a blueblood. Darcy has never had to understand why medicare can mean the difference between life and financial bankruptcy, but Darcy understands a lot about the psychology of the people of this province.
We value our traditions, our way of life, and we are inspired by efficiency and enterprise. We have more energy and more imagination than this Conservative government credits us. We want a conservative energy policy worthy of our province.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I am pleased to enter the debate and simply discuss the question of the energy and oil pricing from the economic and fiscal point of view. Perhaps not a point that some of the other speakers have so far dwelled upon to the degree I would like to.
I should emphasize, to begin with, the importance of the economic and fiscal problems facing our nation and, of course, the impact that petroleum price increases has on these problems.
The impacts will be felt by us both in the short and the long run. In the short term, of course, there is the immediate impact on economic growth, on job creation and on inflation.
The work our staff has done in the Ontario government has shown us that every time the price of oil goes up a dollar a barrel with natural gas indexed, we have as much as a four-tenths of a per cent increase in the cost of living. We have a drop in the growth rate as much as two-tenths of a per cent; and as many as 5,000 jobs lost in the province.
Mr. McClellan: Prove it. I think you’re just reading the Minister of Industry and Tourism’s (Mr. Grossman) speech.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Now, petroleum price increases are being urged upon us at this moment by some other people solely to meet world prices. They will result, in my opinion, in the massive flow of revenues out of the consuming provinces into the hands of the oil and gas producers --
Mr. T. P. Reid: Where are those other people?
Hon. F. S. Miller: -- the federal government and the producing provinces.
For Ontario alone, every time that the price goes up a dollar, roughly $300 million flows out of the province. As I have said many times, that has the same effect as roughly increasing the sales tax one per cent; that also takes about $300 million. I think very few of us would like to see the sales tax raised by eight, nine, 10 or 11 per cent in the province. That kind of change or that kind of impact is quickly understood by the consumers in the province.
At world prices, the revenue flows to the producing provinces would create huge economic and fiscal distortions. The numbers actually become mind-boggling. The Alberta Heritage Fund alone, for example, could be up to $25 billion by 1983. Despite the dramatic economic implications we are not now faced with the single increase of $1 that had been agreed upon, but possibly many times that in the next few years. Our position in Ontario has been expressed, therefore, as a problem in economic stabilization.
We felt huge petroleum price increases once before, in 1974 and 1975, and then we had serious, if you want to call it “stagflationary,” consequences.
Mr. Nixon: I haven’t heard that word in about eight years.
Hon. F. S. Miller: It’s a good word. It derives from deer hunting.
Mr. Nixon: I think Nixon used to use that.
Hon. F. S. Miller: That Nixon.
Mr. Nixon: The other Nixon.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Somebody had to coin the word.
Moreover, we regard the responsibility of the federal government as one in which the long-term fiscal and economic balance and stability of Confederation must take precedence over the views of a national energy policy simply founded upon massive price increases.
Any change in the price of energy is particularly hard on Ontario. It has been said by a number of speakers today that we have the highest energy consumption, but that doesn’t indicate excessive waste on the part of our citizens, rather it’s a result of the structure of our industry. It happens we have a lot of industry that uses a lot of energy, obviously.
Mr. J. Reed: Countries in Europe use half as much.
Ms. Gigantes: It’s sad.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Listen carefully, listen carefully. There are some things we can’t change, like our climate and our geography.
Conservation, as other speakers have said, is an absolute necessity for Ontario but it can’t be achieved or enforced simply by an enormous and rapid jump in energy prices. In fact, there are signs that the economy has made some adjustments to energy pricing already. The rate at which the gross national product has been going up has actually exceeded the rate of growth of energy in the last while, so we are using energy more efficiently. Contrary to comments made by at least the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith), the idea that consumption drops in some direct relationship to price so far has been disproved rather than proved.
In fact, I would say that at Ontario’s relatively high saving rates, there are many things Ontario citizens will do without before they do without their automobile and a warm home. We have a savings rate, I think, of somewhere around 11 per cent today. The so-called “elasticity of demand” in fact hasn’t been shown to be a factor. I have to say that back a few years ago I was one of those who firmly believed it would be. I remember when John White brought in the seven per cent tax on fuel oil. I thought that would be great in the pre-OPEC days because I was convinced it would save a dwindling resource.
Ms. Gigantes: That’s not from electricity.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Well, we were spending about 22 cents a gallon then, I think, for oil.
Mr. Nixon: You haven’t improved any since then, either.
Ms. Gigantes: Ask Ontario Hydro if it’s working.
Mr. Nixon: Bring back John White.
Mr. Conway: Great prophet that he was.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Nevertheless, the impact of energy pricing and revenue-sharing systems on the economy really is most definitely in the direction of recession and inflation rather than expansion and a moderation in price increases.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Are you sending a copy of this to Joe Clark?
Hon. F. S. Miller: The impact concerns me greatly. I have told him directly and I have argued publicly. I argued right in the heart of Alberta very recently that no energy price policy will succeed in Canada if it’s imposed at the expense of the economy and the stability of this country. The position paper that was issued back a month or so ago, in August, entitled Oil Pricing and Security: A Policy Framework for Canada, was advanced as a policy to promote stability in a period of change. It is not a partisan view; it is a proposal for maintaining the very fabric of our country, in Confederation, and improving it at a time when we believe that fabric is really threatened.
The arguments of the oil and gas-producing provinces for a greater degree of control over resource revenues are understandable, and I do respect them; but I insist that there is an economic and fiscal obligation that goes with membership in Confederation, and that obligation requires every member to contribute according to its ability.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Careful.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Ontario’s position, therefore, has been one of providing the best analytical evidence we can for an approach that puts the country and its security first in our priorities.
The method of changing energy prices affects all Canadians, and it may determine whether we have a unified country to enjoy.
Most of us think the real impact, or the trouble we are facing these days, is caused by one simple problem, the so-called planned recession in the United States. Most of us think that once we are through that recession, the sailing will be easy again, and the economy will rebound. But I think if you take that argument for granted, you may have miscalculated.
Mr. J. Reed: That’s the truth.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I think there are four powerful recessionary forces currently moving in on the economy. In the United States there are three: they are the so-called planned recession, the unexpected recessionary influence of increases in OPEC prices, and of course the fact that lately they have had to use higher interest rates to solve some of their international currency problems.
Canada has, I believe, four problems to resolve. First, the federal government has a fiscal restraint program on.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Joe Clark, Bill Davis, Peter Lougheed.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Secondly, the federal government has proposed, or is about to propose we read in the papers anyway, increases in energy prices. We have seen the dramatic increase in interest rates introduced by the Bank of Canada in the last week. We also are affected by the depressing effects of the US recession.
Mr. Nixon: Time; time out.
Hon. F. S. Miller: My time is almost up.
Mr. J. Reed: Two minutes.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I am going to wind it up by saying this.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Wind up what? You haven’t even got the ball yet.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Oh, yes, I have. We have three of those factors affecting Canada that are very difficult to either do without, or to eliminate. We do believe restraint is necessary in government to control inflation. We do have to face the US recession, but we don’t have to face the concurrent change in oil prices which will add to the otherwise depressing effects of the first three.
So Ontario, in its arguments, has stressed that not only do we need to have a better system of redistributing the oil wealth, but also to have the control over an indigenous resource and the price of it, that can be slowed down, delayed or put off until the other three factors are not affecting our economy.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I am quite concerned about the debate, particularly since the lack of interest and attention this afternoon indicates that very few members of the House really believe that the matter under discussion is as important and significant as the major speakers have indicated.
Now that we are down to sort of the third string, made up of the member for Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes), the Treasurer and myself, I can understand why the House is not crowded. But I can tell you when the Premier (Mr. Davis), the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) and the leader of the third party, the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy), were establishing party positions and so on, it is surely an occasion in this chamber when every seat should have been full and for once we would have had an occasion here where we were debating an issue of substance and importance.
Mr. Nixon: Now that it has petered out a bit, I can understand it, but I want to express to you, Mr. Speaker -- over the barracking from my very far left, from the voice that was raised exuberantly from the Winter Palace over the weekend -- my concern that this House is not as interested in this primary issue as really we ought to be.
One of the things that concerned me most recently and brought the importance of the issue home to me was when I realized that the Prime Minister of Canada was cancelling all of his appointments -- he was not going home to lunch with Maureen -- he was flying especially to Montreal because the Premier of Alberta was coming back from the United States -- whatever he was doing down there -- and was changing planes in Montreal on his way back to Edmonton. So Mr. Clark goes down to Montreal on the off chance that there might be a few moments when Premier Lougheed could discuss the important matter of oil pricing with him.
They secluded themselves in one of those private rooms they have in the --
Mr. T. P. Reid: CP Hotels.
Mr. Nixon: Here was the Premier of Alberta, with his burnous flapping in the breeze, saying that it was a complete waste of time and they were not approaching any meeting of minds. He steps on his government jet, or whatever it is, and zooms off into the western sunset; and the Prime Minister of Canada comes out still shaking saying that he felt it wasn’t that bad at all, that they had reviewed the issues and he felt there was a larger area of understanding.
Really, if that’s what we have to depend on to protect the consumers of Ontario, and really, the cohesion of our nation, I fear that all is lost. I really felt for the first moment, the first time, a deep pang of concern that the affairs of the nation were not in strong and capable hands.
Honestly, when the Premier makes his repeated statements, before any television camera with a light on or any tape recorder that has the button pushed, about how anxious he is to keep the price of energy low for this province and how his political opponents all want the price higher, I am really concerned. That an issue such as this, of great concern now and of expanding and continuing concern for the future, would be treated this way really appals me.
I was at the energy conference in Ottawa in 1974 when the Premier of this province -- the same one we have now, my God -- indicated clearly that he had no objection to an increase in the price of oil at that time. I suppose that’s consistent with his view now that there can be no further increases.
I think probably we ought to make it clear that while even the Treasurer said at one time he felt high oil prices would be the only lever to reduce the increased rate of consumption, that while some people still feel that way, there isn’t a member of this House who’s not in favour of the lowest possible energy prices we can possibly negotiate, connive, or get from Alberta or any other supplier. I don’t believe there’s any doubt about that.
But the Premier said it very clearly. He said he can express our concern. The Leader of the Opposition, in one of his finest speeches, expressed the concern of a large segment of the people of Ontario. The leader of the NDP did the same. We are at one with this but Ontario can’t really do much about it unless we have some way to influence the opinion of the Prime Minister of Canada and the Premier of Alberta. Much as I would like to be able to do that I have a feeling I cannot. But the Premier of Ontario surely can. He was instrumental and has, in his own shy way, often taken the credit for the election of the Prime Minister of Canada.
I have a feeling that perhaps the Premier of Alberta -- ever since Bill Davis tried to buy his way into the Syncrude poker game with a $100 million chip that hardly got him past the anteroom -- tends to consider the main Conservative spokesman in this province as someone less than important enough to consider. I may be wrong in that, but there has been more than one indication that that’s so.
I’ll tell you, if the Premier of Alberta is also dismissing the Prime Minister of Canada, as he certainly did on television just a week ago, then really all of the power seems now to have moved completely to the west. There are delegates here to our Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meeting who would say, “Hear, hear, that’s so. The sooner you birds realize that and accept it the happier you will be.”
Of course we do not realize it and we do not accept it. One of the statements in the Minister of Energy’s statement, Energy Security for the Eighties, deals with the self-sufficiency of Ontario. This is a phrase, frankly, that appals me. My leader has referred to his feelings about it as well.
Why the devil should Ontario have to be self-sufficient? After all, we’re a part of a great nation in which we have pride. We are not saying to the government of Canada that they have to expropriate the constitutional powers of the government of Alberta. The government of Canada has all of the fiscal powers to equalize this in a fair and just way over the next 25 or 50 years, or maybe even longer.
But if that fund out west is going to continue to grow, the time will come when the government of Alberta is going to see that it has to be invested for development outside of Alberta and for the good of Canada as a whole. If they don’t do that, I suppose it will go further and further until some national action will be taken to redress these inequalities.
It is a little late for us now to decide that natural resources should not lie in the control of the provinces. There was a time when it might well have been done, not exactly with the enthusiastic support of Alberta, but with a program for a national energy policy which could have been realistic, significant and effective.
I have read the statements made by the Premier of Ontario at those early energy conferences. In my former capacity as leader of the party I sat in the peanut gallery in Ottawa and listened to him and his colleagues, the other premiers, and the then Prime Minister express their views. In those days, OPEC was just beginning to move and shake. Certainly, the first tremors were extremely strong and frightening; since then it has become worse.
In those days, the Prime Minister of Canada believed that our constitution was immutable. I believe he was right -- there wasn’t anything that could be done about it.
In my view, we had an energy policy which was going to equalize the cost, but, in fact, it left the control of this important energy resource largely with the province of Alberta and two other provinces with significant petroleum energy resources. There might have been a time then when the government of Canada, realizing the almost worldwide energy emergency was not going to be over in a few months, might have used the undoubted powers in the constitution, as they did when they took over control of Ontario’s uranium for another but somewhat similar reason. They might very well have established an energy policy which would not have robbed Alberta, but which would have had nothing to do with the self-sufficiency of Ontario. It would have had everything to do with the self-sufficiency of Canada.
I regret deeply that the government of the day, in 1974, did not do that. They were not urged to do so by the principal spokesman for the province of Ontario. I suppose, looking back to my own thoughts at the time when I was using my paltry, ineffectual influence on my kissing cousins in Ottawa to do something along those lines, I wasn’t able to persuade them to take any steps either.
Well, it’s too late for that sort of thing now. When we look at the energy resources of the nation, we see that not only does Alberta have the oil -- and I wish they had a lot more -- but they also have fabulous coal resources. When you look at the resource maps and see what is there, Canada -- Alberta -- has fabulous coal resources which eventually will, of course, be used. They are making most of their electricity, I believe, from these coal resources now, putting the electrical generators almost on the coal seam. What could be more effective and more efficient?
As you move across the country, Mr. Speaker, you realize that almost all of the provinces do have really important world-class resources: natural gas, uranium newly discovered in the west, and our own development of atomic energy. We can debate a lot about that in the future. What we have accomplished here, is probably the best in the world. Maybe that’s not good enough, but it is the best and soon to be the biggest in the world.
The hydro development at Baie James is a fabulous world-class resource. Once again, it has been a bit of a political issue over the last decade and, I believe, is soon to be an issue again. But that falling water is turning the wheels and developing electrical energy in such fantastic quantities that most of it will have to be exported. There is Newfoundland, with Churchill Falls, and even the coal developments in the Maritimes as well as certain other facilities, if you want to talk about potatoes at four cents a pound.
I see the minister is talking about a great alcohol alternative here. Usually, he’s talking in terms of the Niagara Peninsula in that connection. Using certain agricultural materials for fuels in the future, there’s no doubt we’re going to be able to do that.
Prince Edward Island is going to turn out to have perhaps more resources than we ever imagined. I find it somewhat appalling that while we are concerned with the cost of our electrical energy here, in the Maritimes the costs are far higher. I believe a real energy policy would mean that for the citizens of Canada, whether they live in Alberta or right in the shadow of the Pickering reactor, as my good friend, the smiling parliamentary assistant in the back row, is always telling us is his case, the costs should be relatively the same, plus the costs of transportation.
As far as oil is concerned, the government of Canada under the leadership of Pierre Trudeau was able to achieve that at some considerable cost and fiscal dislocation. I feel the very use of the term “self-sufficiency” in an energy policy for Ontario is an appalling approach for a leading province in a confederation we hope has viability and growing strength.
Unlike many of the speakers from the Conservative Party, I do not have the definitive answer to the problem of energy pricing. I’ve read extensively on this and I wish I could have come to some clear-cut conclusions. I have come to the conclusion that compared with most of the people in the world we are extremely fortunate indeed.
I just went down to fill up my car with gas because I’m going to drive back to the farm tonight and it cost me $22 for 86 litres. I’m not very good at the metric system, but I was a bit appalled at that. Yet I was interested to read that even that price is an extremely low one compared with most other jurisdictions -- all of them in Europe. And it’s even lower than what they pay in the United States and elsewhere. I don’t want this to be misconstrued; I wish it were lower. But I do not think at the present time the cost is so frighteningly dislocating that we should be about to embark on some panic solutions.
The provision of heat is obviously necessary. The minister has been trying to persuade us over the last couple of days that he has looked after that and that he is personally responsible for any shortage of oil or any other energy anywhere in the province.
Mr. T. P. Reid: He’s wearing a heavy sweater.
Mr. Nixon: I feel much easier now that he has accepted that responsibility. But the time will come, either this February or next February, when we are going to have those problems unless the platform and the plan that is established in the broad terms of the blue policy statement is entered into with much more verve, energy and aggressiveness than has been the case so far.
I happen to be a great fan of the present Minister of Energy. I know what his great strengths are. Frankly, I have seen him in an aggressive mood, and we may even find that in the Legislature in the next couple of weeks. That’s quite possible. But I somehow feel that his political stance over the years has not been marked by an aggressive approach to policies. In this instance, the blue book is simply going to be insufficient. I haven’t been quite as dismayed at its provisions as some other speakers have. I believe it has the component of what eventually we must do.
I was going to say something about some alternatives that have been put forward in reports given to the select committee on Hydro affairs. There’s no doubt in my mind that while we have every reason to be proud of the provision of electrical energy through our Candu reactor, the planning of the government -- and the government must essentially be responsible -- has still been catastrophically bad and expensive.
With 4,000 megawatts in surplus, with two and a half Niagaras established, bought and paid for with money borrowed in New York and we’re paying interest on it at 10 to 10.5 per cent, that plant is essentially sitting there idle. The planning has been disastrously bad. It’s true we’ve got lots of electricity, and the million-dollar Ontario Hydro advertising program is trying to make that look like a great advantage.
I’ve heard the Premier himself attempting to make it look like good planning, instead of the disastrous bad planning it is. But I do believe that we have to make a much stronger commitment to renewable resource than is included in the blue book.
I happen to agree with the chairman of the select committee, the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald), who spoke so well this afternoon. I believe the rate of growth of electrical requirements is going to be considerably lower. With a good and aggressive policy this could, and should, free up some capital for a much more positive and aggressive approach to the provision of renewable energy resources than has been envisaged here.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I’m anxious to take part in this discussion tonight on a number of relatively isolated points that have come up, some of them during the course of this debate, some of them during other announcements or statements by the government. If by any chance anyone in the assembly can discern any thread through what I have to say that would pull it all together, I’d be the first who would be pleased to know about it.
I wanted to touch upon two or three items that are of very real concern to me.
First of all, as I read the Premier’s statement which came out in the summer, then the statement made by the Minister of Energy, and then read press reports, because I no longer get the actual statements made by the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller), I found that what they were talking about was disguised as a question related to energy and the problems external to the province of Ontario. They were really talking in fundamental terms about the economy of the province, and their very real concerns that the luck which they’ve had over the years to have a stable economy in Ontario, with job opportunities for everyone in the province, was about to disappear, unless they could find some enemy beyond the borders whom they could blame for the default in the planning of the government.
I’m saying to the Minister of Energy, when I get his attention, that he could, perhaps, just listen for a moment or two about this matter.
My first point is that he’s really talking about the economy. He’s really talking about Ontario, but you talk very much about what’s happening out there; about the imperatives of the external world being forced upon the government of Ontario, and making it squirm because it doesn’t have many counters in the game.
I want to say that regardless of the ways in which this problem can be looked at, it seems to me that what we’re centrally talking about is investment choices. Those choices are very difficult because now we’re going to talk about new possibilities of investment. They’re no longer old, tried and true investments which we can make. We have to make some very difficult choices about those investments. If those investments turn out to be gigantic and massive in dollars, then we’re really talking about giving up, because of the demands of those investments, opportunities to make other choices, not only for ourselves but also for people to come after us.
I want to suggest to the minister that one of the things he’d better do in the quiet of his own office or the quiet of his own home or with those of his advisers who are capable of taking a detached, laid-back view of the problem is to dissociate himself from the statements made in the National Energy Board report of 1978 and repeated as part of the mythology of what we are now talking about. That’s this vexed question of this elusive goal that has been established for 1995. That is, that somehow or other we’re all right till 1995 and that in the interval of time we must have continued development of the recovery plants for the tar sands. We must have the development of synthetic fuel plants. We must increase the productivity of current supply sources and we must continue our efforts at more efficient energy use and conservation.
The problem with the massive nature of the dollars required for those investments, if we pursue this will-o’-the-wisp of energy self-sufficiency by 1995, is that it will condition all of our solutions. It will condition and limit in an inflexible way the choices which are available to us in this province.
We happen in Canada and in Ontario to have some time, not to pursue energy self-sufficiency, but to recognize the fact -- and this is my particular assessment of it -- that the curves of discovery of crude oil and the curves of discovery of the production of crude oil on this continent have, in fact, peaked and that we’ve only got a measurable period of time, even with the most expensive technology and the most skilled people involved in it, to put our affairs in order.
If we impose upon our economy the massive capital investments, whether from the government of Canada, the government of Ontario or from the pockets of the people to pay for those massive energy recovery projects at the frontier or in synthetic fuels of one kind or another, then in Ontario we are going to use substantially all of the capital which we in a very real way could devote to the productivity of energy that we have in the province. What really impinges on us, at least from the way I see it, is that we’re not just talking about the productivity of labour any more or the productivity of capital. We’re talking about the productivity of energy, which has not been up until now a significant factor in our capacity to maintain the kind of secondary industry that we have in the province.
I think that’s very real for us. We have to understand that historically Ontario was able to develop that manufacturing capacity and a significant part of the manufacturing capacity right across the country is located in the province of Ontario, because we had energy at cost. We had Ontario Hydro and we had, as seen on the monument of Sir Adam Beck down the road there, the motto of “Energy at cost.”
We have a very real obligation in Ontario to make certain that the selections we make of the decisions we’re going to push within our own capacity, regardless of the external pressures for the moment on us, are going to determine in a large way the extent and degree to which the economic statement made by the Premier, the economic statement made by the Treasurer and the economic statement in a strange way made by the Minister of Energy can provide for the capacity of Ontario to produce goods and to have jobs. That’s where the focus is now going to be.
The question is whether or not this government, having had the good fortune -- and I don’t take it away; their policies have been in line with that -- to create jobs adequate for the society at least to the point where it was tolerable, although not exactly perfect, is now going to be in a position where in the future the job-creating capacity of this economy for which they’re responsible is going to meet the expectations which the society requires. I am going to give you gratuitously my two selections, as a physicist and as a chemist, what you should do.
I think the two mandates you should give Ontario Hydro, regardless of everything else private industry may contribute to the efficiency of energy in the province or the productivity of energy, as we prefer to speak of it, is to mandate Ontario Hydro to find some method of storing electricity.
I don’t think, as a person having a rudimentary knowledge of thermodynamics, that it should be beyond the wit of Ontario Hydro, if mandated to do it, to find some method of storing electricity. If we could do that, we could solve many of the problems which are involved in our need to use oil for the purpose of providing motive power in the province and providing heat in our homes. That is one possibility. I will give you the other gratuitously.
The other mandate Ontario Hydro should have, out of the vast range that are possible, is this questions of solar collection. In some way, for domestic purposes as distinct from the running of the industrial machinery of this society, it should be able to solve this vexed question of home heating by the use of very expensive inputs of crude oil and natural gas. I don’t care whether you pick those up or not.
I want to jump now to the next thing -- this question of price, the game that is being played and the counters that are in the game. I think the government has to stop talking about a pegged price; it has to stop talking about market price and international prices; it has to stop talking about the Chicago price. Even though it is difficult for the government and impossible for my friends on the right, it has to recognize that what it is saying is that the price in Canada must be a managed price.
The government can get lots of help from the multinationals because they manage prices all of the time, but I want it to know that what we are talking about is a Canadian price managed by the decision of governments in co-operation, if necessary, and if not by co-operation then I don’t know how else it will come about. But it is a managed price.
Let me make a second point about the price. I don’t know the counters at the bargaining table, because it is all played in a way that I don’t quite understand. But it is obvious the government of Alberta is locked into some kind of Canadian price so long as the federal government has the power to prevent the export of crude oil or natural gas. So it is a powerful counter in the hands of the federal government to be able to say “you can’t export.”
I think one of the bargainers that will come onto the table will be the demand by Alberta, if it is going to give up anything in terms of revenue, to export natural gas. I think this government is going to have to have a position at the bargaining table on that possibility.
Mr. Cassidy: And not the present position either.
Mr. Renwick: I think it should not go unmarked that President Carter is coming here this November. Last February he went to Mexico and the problem there was the import into the United States of natural gas. I would like to ask the government to make certain, in this day of consultation between the federal and provincial governments, to find out what is on the bargaining table and to have input into any discussions which take place in Ottawa with the President of the United States about the United States wanting to have some handle into the Canadian sources of oil and natural gas. I don’t really believe that reliance on the constitution is going to work.
I recognize, as the Premier emphasized this afternoon the constitutional backup remarks which are there which were re-emphasized by the Treasurer when he spoke to the Canadian Bar Association at the end of August this year, that certainly the federal government, without any increase in its jurisdiction, has powerful constitutional powers with respect to some of the problems that are there. But it’s a reality of the Canadian federal system that the financial arrangements and adjustments over time have been by negotiation and settlement and not by the terms of the constitution.
It would be a real disservice if this country got to the point where these kinds of questions were asked of the Supreme Court of Canada and the Supreme Court of Canada gave a decision. Because I think there would be very real difficulty in getting obedience to the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada on certain questions. One of those questions is about the fiscal and financial arrangements between the provinces and with the federal government. Those are negotiations.
From the day of the Confederation and the appendix to the British North America Act, the financial relationship between the central government and the provinces were matters of negotiation. Those are going to have to be negotiated and I don’t blame the Premier for putting his case or the Premier of Alberta for putting his case and I don’t really blame the Prime Minister of Canada for laying back at the present time until he gets some assessment about what he is going to do about the two bully boys in the ring. Because that’s what it’s about; they’re fighting and they are fighting for important issues and they are both grown up and they are both tough.
If you are the Prime Minister and you have to work it out for the benefit of the whole of Canada, then you have a problem on your hands. But I think with good faith that that kind of negotiation can be made.
But, Mr. Speaker, I don’t want this government to lock us into commitments for massive dollar investments. Let me put the Petrocan case in a somewhat different way. It is quite nonsensical to think for one moment that if the moneys to finance the frontier explorations for crude oil or for the extraction by expensive methods from the tar sands or for the development of synthetic fuels, are going to come from the public treasuries of Canada, either by way of tax concessions or double depreciation allowances or whatever techniques are used, so that it’s public moneys which are invested for those purposes and any additional moneys come from the pockets of the people of Canada and mainly from the people of the province of Ontario, then the only people who should benefit from that investment are the people who put up the money and that’s the people of Canada and the people of this province as part of the people of Canada.
That’s the reason we have to have Petrocan. If one thinks that the major oil companies with their investment in Syncrude are going to be allowed to put up not their dollars any longer, but dollars of the people who have bought their products, dollars coming out of the public treasuries of the provinces and the federal government and then, when they have produced the product, walk away with the profits, then I think the government is not living in this age. They have simply got to make certain that Petrocan is available as a continuing vehicle.
Mr. Speaker, I don’t want to go on any longer. I could speak about a number of items over a lengthy period of time about these matters, but I want to finish perhaps on this note.
I don’t understand what the Premier said today about Tokyo. I don’t know what the commitment of the Prime Minister of Canada was at Tokyo. I know something of the imperatives that forced the commitments, but the Premier today indicated the only thing to which he, as Premier, was committed by the Prime Minister of Canada was with respect to the reduction of our demand over time.
It has been interpreted very clearly that the policy of the government of Canada is to move rapidly -- whatever rapidly may mean -- to world price for Canadian oil in Canada. I want to know whether it’s the interpretation of this ministry that is now the position and the debate is foreclosed and the positions taken by the province of Ontario are after the fact and trying to recover a position which is already lost, or whether this is a real debate which is going on and there’s some very real opportunity for the kind of intervention by the federal government to protect the national interest this government has called upon the federal government to make.
Mr. Speaker, those were disparate remarks and they don’t have any real connection, but they are three or four of the points which in the short time available were ones I wanted to make. I particularly want an answer on two or three of those points: One, the managed price; two, what was the commitment at Tokyo as understood by this government; and thirdly, what is going to be the position of this government so far as defining the solutions by producing a will-o’-the-wisp of this self sufficiency by 1995?
That self sufficiency is almost like the Minister of Energy, that having lost his virginity at one point in time he now wants to recover it at some point in the future and he never will. He never will have that self sufficiency. All he will do is doom us to providing public money to private corporations to develop the natural resources which belong to the people, so when the time comes, they can cream the profits off. He can’t commit the people of Ontario for generations to that kind of choice.
Mr. Blundy: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to say a few words in this very important debate on energy this evening. I am afraid the Premier of the province and the government of our province have not really been standing up to the government of Canada to the extent the people of Ontario would like to see him do.
There is no place in Canada, perhaps with the exception of Alberta, where the pricing of oil and the availability of oil is as important as it is to the Sarnia-Lambton area.
The massive petrochemical and oil plants in the Sarnia-Lambton area use the oil to an extent not found in any other part of Canada, so the pricing of oil and the availability of oil is of paramount importance to us.
When we talk about the government of Alberta demanding this and wanting world prices and so forth for their oil, I would like to remind you, Mr. Speaker, that back in 1946 and 1947, and after Leduc was discovered, and then later on, in 1952 when Redwater Field was discovered, Interprovincial Pipe Line brought the oil down as far as Superior, Wisconsin. The oil companies in our area had great tankers that went to Superior and brought the oil to Sarnia for processing in their plants.
I would like to remind you further, Mr. Speaker, at that time we were paying to Alberta producers $3.20 a barrel, when at that same time we were able to buy offshore oils for $2.30 a barrel, but we in Ontario and we in the petrochemical industry in Sarnia-Lambton felt it our duty as Canadians to use the new-found riches of the west, when we could have bought it for less money offshore.
We in Canada produce about 70 per cent of our oil, and we are able to withstand the ravages of oil pricings a great deal better than many other countries in the world. I believe we must increase our price to a certain extent. We must be able to get to the federal treasury the amounts of money it will have to have to subsidize offshore oil in the Maritime provinces and Quebec. We have to concede that point. But I want to remind you that going wholesale to world prices is going to have a drastic effect on the economy of Canada and of Ontario. The petrochemical industry is a major exporter to the United States and other world markets. Not only are gas, diesel fuel and high-test fuel for airplanes manufactured from oil, but also rubber, plastics, nylon, synthetics, paint, insulation, et cetera.
With this in mind, and that vast exporting strength of the petrochemical industry, I would like to suggest the possibility of a two-tier price for oil: one price for those who consume, who burn up oil; and a second price for those who manufacture the many, many materials from the raw material of oil.
The people in the petrochemical industry will tell you that $1 worth of crude oil, for example, can be made into $200 worth of nylon. This is providing a great deal of work for Canadians and providing a great deal of export. How much better this is than to have to import these things into our country. This is similar with plastics, with paints, with insulation. There is all kinds of money brought into Canada by these products, and many, many thousands of jobs. We can help to reduce the flow of money out of Canada. We can effect a flow of money into Canada by encouraging the processing of oil into export materials.
Last Thursday morning the Premier was in Sarnia to open the new Shell-Chem plant adjacent to the Shell refinery. This was a great occasion for the area because this is another major chemical plant which will be producing chemicals that will be used in everything from ink to medicine. The Premier was very complimentary of the accomplishment of Shell-Chem in Sarnia-Lambton, but he made no remark on the pricing of oil in Canada.
Oil prices in Canada, in my opinion, must be kept below the Chicago price, which is currently just over $20 a barrel. World prices are over $25 a barrel at this time. Our Canadian price is currently $13.75 per barrel. If the federal government takes up the scale, even to the Chicago price, think of what a drastic impact that is going to have on the Ontario economy and the Canadian economy.
I don’t understand why the government of Ontario is being so placid in this situation. I would think they would be fighting much more strongly against the government of Canada in their avowed desire to go to world prices.
I want to emphasize that we don’t know how drastic the increases in oil prices will be in Canada. But members can be sure that in the petrochemical industry it’s going to be a whole new ball game, one in which we may not be able to produce for export to the extent that we are now doing.
So after having put forth these few comments I would like to urge the government and the Premier to take a much stronger position on this matter of oil pricing and energy conservation with the government of Canada. It is very important to us, and I think the people of Ontario are expecting more from the government of Ontario in this matter.
Mr. Charlton: Mr. Speaker, I’d like to take the very few moments left to us to try to tie some of what’s been said to us together. It’s all been very interesting, but for me and for us in this party some of it is very frightening and disquieting.
One of the things that has become very obvious to me is that a lot of this debate, although it’s very interesting, is extremely naive. One of the international realities in the world today -- and this is more true in the energy field than in any other field probably -- is that by far the major decisions in energy around the world are political. They don’t relate to any marketplace, either theoretical or real. They are political decisions. In the case of oil this is 100 per cent true. All the decisions that influence oil pricing, oil availability and so on, are political.
Continually throughout this debate, both from the party on my right and from the government party -- probably the government being the more important since they’re making the decisions of this province and also negotiating for this province with the federal government and other provinces -- we hear references from the Treasurer and the Minister of Energy to the marketplace finding Canada’s energy level. We are continually hearing references to -- and I’ll quote from the Minister of Energy’s document, Energy Security for the Eighties: A Policy for Ontario:
“Canada’s crude oil supply is now primarily the responsibility of the privately-owned petroleum industry. That responsibility should continue to rest largely with the private sector.”
This is based on the government’s assumption, first, that private industry does things better; and, second, that free enterprise still exists in the energy sector and that there is a marketplace, there is competition. We all know that in reality that’s not true. There is no marketplace. There is no competition.
In oil all of the decisions are political. Yet we’re trying to opt out of what is a political game in this world today. The federal government is selling off all the advantageous portions of Petro-Canada, the portions which can finance the critical portions of Petro-Canada which are the high risk and high cost exploration and development portions. So we’re here today talking about a very crucial stage in the development of energy policy in this country from an entirely naive premise that the private sector should still be the major involvement in our national energy policy direction.
We are in a situation, not only in the oil sector, but also in all of the other energy sectors, where politics is the major influence. None of the other sectors yet has quite reached the level of 100 per cent that oil has reached; nonetheless, the major influence in all of those sectors is political -- not marketplace and not competition.
We have a government here in Ontario; we’ve a federal government. We’ve governments in Alberta and most of the other provinces which time after time refuse to directly involve themselves in the energy field -- “directly” as in operating the energy field in the best interests of the Canadian people.
Time and time again they refuse direct involvement, yet when we look through the Energy minister’s document on energy security we find, time after time, the indirect involvement.
Instead of confronting the energy problem head on and dealing with the consequences where they occur in the energy field, we take the other route. We leave the private sector to run the energy field and we get involved in all of the programs that compensate for the problems that result. So we have a situation where in the Energy minister’s statement, “A coherent policy of assistance to the key Canadian industries, both to adapt to the oil cost increases as well as to take advantage of the new energy-related opportunities.”
Then there is a statement about an effective anti-inflation policy being essential in all of this. We don’t have an effective anti-inflation policy anywhere in this country -- not in this province and certainly not federally, either. We have not been effective in any way, shape or form in dealing with inflation; no measures to cushion the impact on low-income groups, particularly those who have no alternative to home-heating oil.
Instead of dealing directly with the problems of oil, the governments in this country take the approach of dealing with the consequence, which is the effect on the people of this country. But we end up paying anyway, in giveaways to the companies as incentives, both in taxes, write-offs, grants and so on; and doing and paying for their exploration for them, but we also have to get involved in dealing with the effect their pricing policies have on the people of our province, and of our country.
We say on the one hand, that as a government we believe in the private sector and the fact that the private sector can do it better, and then turn around and say on the other hand, “We don’t want to involve ourselves in the energy field because of that, but we will do all of these other things to compensate for the problems created by our lack of involvement.”
We are in a situation in energy which is critical, The Treasurer in his statement tonight, said that in the whole energy situation, the country and its security must come first. Yet we are relying almost totally in our approach to energy policy, both for Ontario and as a nation, on private-sector corporations.
I don’t think there is anybody on the government benches who wouldn’t agree, though, that if the governments in Canada had not involved themselves in oil prices, for example, to some degree -- in other words, a government intrusion into the private sector, into the marketplace -- the Canadian oil prices, if the oil companies had their totally free way to do so, would already be world oil prices.
We are saying on the one hand we don’t want government intervention; we will let the private sector do it. But on the other hand, we have had continuous policies of government intervention all along.
The problem is we’ve never had direct involvement to the full benefit of the Canadian people. We continue with the kinds of policies in this country that we’ve pursued both federally and provincially, policies which ignore the public sector’s ability to deal directly with energy and have a positive impact for the people of Ontario and the people of Canada through extensive research and development, through an Ontario energy corporation, through companies like Petro-Canada and all kinds of new areas we have to get directly involved in.
This government is sitting there saying, “We’re going to spend $12.5 billion over the next period on nuclear power development, which we are already committed to, and we’re going to see that $16 billion of work is done in the alternative energy sector but we’re going to leave that to the private corporation,” which, up until now, have totally failed to provide any initiative in those areas.
In fact, we’ve watched those very corporations on which this government is going to rely to do that research and development, gobble up hundreds upon hundreds of small independent initiatives in the research area -- Canadian and American and others -- gobbled up by oil companies, gobbled up by auto companies. Yet, our reliance for the development of alternatives is going to be left with them. We’re going to provide some incentives, presumably, from the public purse again.
It’s not good enough and it won’t work and it’s totally naive, in a sector which has become 100 per cent political already in some areas and in others is rapidly becoming so in terms of its political nature and the nature of the decisions made in those energy areas.
We have to get involved as a country and as a province or we’re going to be left behind by the rest of the world in terms of our energy decisions and our ability to deal with energy problems.
I think I’ll leave it with that, Mr. Speaker. It’s a situation that is critical and we’re not even going to be in the game because we’re headed in a direction that totally ignores the realities of energy in the world today.
Mr. Conway: I appreciate the opportunity this evening to participate briefly in a debate which I feel is as important as my colleague from Brant-Oxford-Norfolk indicated in his remarks earlier this evening.
When it was released some weeks ago, I read the Premier’s document entitled, Oil Pricing and Security: A Policy Framework for Canada, with a great deal of interest. For a Premier of Ontario it is, in my view, an important and in many ways a controversial new departure.
The document, the blue book, is a careful, calculated and essentially political document with respect to the very controversial and troublesome matter we are speaking of here this evening. I laughed when I heard the Premier earlier this afternoon dissociate himself from anything but the highest plane of non-partisan deliberation.
What he speaks of here and what he addresses our attention to is essentially, in my view at least, a new federalism. His concept for a national energy and employment adjustment fund in essential terms is something I can support. The kinds of concerns he identifies with the allocation of petrodollars with respect to producing provinces and the difficulties in which the consuming provinces find themselves are, as far as I can determine, as he describes them.
He has a statement to which I haven’t heard any participants in the debate so far address their attention. In all of the 20-odd pages of this document in so far as the constitutional aspect is concerned I found no more interesting and, perhaps, no more startling a statement than the question which opens the third full paragraph on page 17. I want to quote that particular sentence.
“Were Canada a unitary state, the energy crisis to Canadians would be much less of a crisis.”
That’s a remarkable question to be put by a Premier of Ontario. I really wonder what the intention was there. I suspect our friend in Alberta would look upon that and, indeed, Mr. Peckford in Newfoundland and a lot of others would look at that particular question and wonder as to why it was included at all.
The basic and bottom line of this particular document, as I understand it, is a call for federal leadership in this critical matter. Let me quote again from page 10, if I might. The Premier states: “Leadership by the federal government will be absolutely essential if these funds are to be mobilized effectively.”
Again, on page 18, he directs our attention to not only the absolute importance of federal leadership but also how some of the methods and how some of the leadership might be gained. I quote from page 18:
“In the first instance, the federal government should pursue such an arrangement by negotiation among Canadians. However, it should be well understood by the federal government that it is charged with the responsibility. It has the legitimate constitutional authority to avert an intolerable economic and social danger. If necessary, the federal government must use its influence and constitutional authority to direct oil and natural gas revenue flows in accordance with agreed national objectives.”
A clear plank in the Davis thesis is this call for federal leadership.
I want to associate myself entirely with remarks put by my colleagues and my associates in the New Democratic Party when we look at the federal leadership which is being exerted in Ottawa under the new administration. As a Canadian, I am alarmed at Joe Clark’s view of federalism, his idea of leadership. He has given away more in the past three or four months. This very week he proceeds in the face of all knowledgeable comment, to dismantle our national oil company. It is the Joe Clark federalism as it has been outlined in the past few months that this Premier, the one half of the Stroud alliance, offers as kind of leadership that we are led to, that we are called upon to seek for an answer to these troublesome matters.
I certainly hope the new federal administration is able to change its ways in this connection because, on the basis of early performance, I hold little or no hope for any leadership in that connection.
But to be more parochial, what can we say of leadership in Ontario? That leads me to the Welch document. I was perhaps fortunate among members of the assembly to have been in attendance at the Minister of Energy’s press conference some days ago. I agree with my colleague from Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) that the honourable member for Brock, the revolving door of that Treasury bench, has had a considerable influence in the public policy of his time in this assembly. But I never felt quite as sympathetic to him as I did on that morning because he had been dispatched by the powers that be, surely Malcolm Rowan and the other minions who devised this particular document, to go forward and to defend the most transparent pettifoggery that I have ever witnessed. The process, as has been pointed out by others here, read clearly that there was nothing of substance in this particular document.
The Premier ends his particular contribution by pointing out on page four of the last appendix that the business sector is expected to play a catalytic role.
If you read the Welch document, the business sector is expected to play the only role because there is not one shred of specific provincial government commitment in this document. I think the new Minister of Energy, notwithstanding all his experience and the considerable nerve that brought him forward to the press conference to announce this grandiose nothing, should be ashamed. I hope tonight he might flesh it out. He might, in the words of his federal leader, give some specificity to the totality of this government’s commitment. I ask him and I ask any reasonable person to indicate what there is in this document by way of specific documentation.
They talk of tax credits for transit riders, and we shall look next spring, if not earlier, for those commitments. We in rural eastern Ontario without any public transit of any account shall look very carefully for the specifics of his offering. I certainly want to tell him that he will have to improve upon the nothing that is the central thesis of the government’s commitment in so far as his document is concerned.
I want to wind down these few remarks by drawing his attention to a document which I have read and enjoyed considerably, Mr. Arthur Porter’s A Race Against Time. I’m wondering whether or not the minister has had the opportunity to consider some of the options and some of the alternatives spoken of by that honourable gentleman. In particular -- and speaking now as a parochial eastern Ontario member -- I am wondering whether or not the Minister of Energy and his colleagues have had the opportunity to assess whether or not there is viability in the 1,500-megawatt potential identified by Mr. Porter in the energy forest concept for eastern Ontario.
I think it is incumbent upon the Minister of Energy in this kind of documentation to flesh out these kinds of alternatives. I am particularly attracted to that option for my part of rural eastern Ontario. If there is 1,500 megawatts to be derived from the energy forest concept, I want to know exactly what this government and this minister are going to do about it.
Finally, I want to ask as well whether the honourable minister has had any opportunity to reflect upon a recommendation which I think is extremely important, a recommendation which I support entirely and one which is offered by Mr. Porter on page 181 of his A Race Against Time.
He writes: “The internationally recognized research capability of AECL could be of substantial assistance in the development of renewable energy technologies. It is our belief that significant benefits would accrue to the people of Canada and Ontario if the nuclear research laboratories of AECL were converted to a national energy laboratory.”
Has the minister and has that cabinet entertained that kind of recommendation, which I think, is one of relevance, one of vitality, and one of possibility? Could he now or at an early opportunity respond to those kinds of specifics, those kinds of meaningful alternatives that were so tragically and so noticeably lacking in the Welch document of a few days ago?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I’m very grateful, as I’m sure many members of the House are, to the three House leaders for arranging very early in this renewed session an opportunity for a fairly full and complete discussion on this whole important question of energy revolving, as this discussion does, around the two policy papers frequently referred to during the course of the day -- the Premier’s paper of August, Oil Pricing and Security: A Policy Framework for Canada, and the second paper released on October 1, Energy Security for the Eighties: A Policy for Ontario.
The member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. J. Reed) and I are to wind up today and I want, in fairness, to provide him with ample time for that purpose. In doing so, I will have very quickly to make some references, and perhaps we’ll have an opportunity to do some of these things in more detail at some other time.
Certainly, on the question just raised by the member for Renfrew North dealing with this whole matter of federalism, it is not a surprise to me that he might not recognize the new approach to federalism at present being exercised and demonstrated by the new administration in Ottawa; because the previous administration and those before it had so eroded the true concept of federalism that there is little wonder he can recognize the fresh breeze blowing through Ottawa in the consultative process about which Mr. Clark, and all his candidates, talked prior to the May 22 consultation with the people. There is a fair degree of consultation.
Indeed, whether or not the member for Renfrew North recognizes it, he has put his finger on one of the strengths of the present administration: They are spending a great deal of time in consulting with the provinces --
Mr. Conway: Joe Clark is going to make Mackenzie Bowell look like Napoleon.
Hon. Mr. Welch: -- indeed, I think this is part of the whole federal approach about which many of us find a great deal of strength and encouragement, whatever might be the outcome.
Mr. Conway: Guts, Bob, lack of guts.
Hon. Mr. Welch: There have been some very interesting contributions to this discussion during the course of the day. I hadn’t intended, because of time limitation, but I want to zero in on what seems to be the very legitimate concern of a number of members of this House with respect to some of the particulars in the second paper. I wanted to concentrate on two areas -- particularly renewable energy and conservation -- and take as read, perhaps, the position of the government as it relates to this whole matter of oil pricing and security.
However, to provide me with some opportunity simply to summarize what has already been spoken to in regard to this subject --
Mr. J. Reed: Take five minutes of my time.
Hon. Mr. Welch: -- I would like to comment on some remarks made by the member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan) and the member for Sarnia (Mr. Blundy) since they ring now in my mind as far as tonight is concerned.
I cannot understand how any member of this House can still stand up and say, as the member for Kent-Elgin said, the government has to stop acquiescing to increased energy costs; and the member for Sarnia can urge the Premier and the government to take a stronger stand on oil pricing. Where have they been for the last several months? Why aren’t they reading the papers with respect to the whole issue? What did the Premier say again this afternoon?
Mr. Roy: He said it, but don’t believe it.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Perhaps I could simply sum up this question of pricing once again, for the benefit of these two members. The position of the government of Ontario was made public once again prior to the meeting of the Premiers in August.
First, as far as immediate pricing policy was concerned, take a look at page four of the first document referred to in the 18th order on the Order Paper:
“Ontario recognizes external pressures for crude oil price increases. Moreover, Ontario is determined to play an active, positive role in national energy policy, nevertheless bearing in mind Canada’s continuing capacity to choose its own policy, the present dangers already before our economy and the impact of pricing increases under present pricing arrangements.”
I would draw this to the attention of the two members to whom I have already made reference, and the entire membership of the House: Ontario is opposed to any immediate price increase beyond the current January 1980 agreement which calls for a dollar-per-barrel increase. How much more clear, how much more definite, how much more positive can a statement be?
Secondly, as part of that summary, the Premier’s policy statement enunciated several times that if Canadian oil prices are allowed to rise substantially at any time, there has to be a basic change in revenue flows and energy and economic policies to achieve national oil self-sufficiency, avert an unnecessary recession, avert undue hardship on the consumer and enhance industrial adjustment.
I think that is pretty clear, fairly positive, fairly obvious with respect to our stand. In this connection, in case there is any misunderstanding, I repeat what the Premier said today on this subject. No member of the government of this province has entertained or has supported or has advocated a $5 increase in the price of crude oil. The position of the government of Ontario is as summarized on page four of the August document.
While there have been some very interesting, helpful, constructive and objective contributions to this discussion, I share with my colleague, the member for Brent-Oxford-Norfolk, the fact that perhaps more members might have found this of some interest. One can’t really comment as to what other priorities obtain, but members of course have other commitments.
There have been some very interesting observations on the question of efficiency and enterprise and that very interesting concept of the productivity of energy. I could go on to make reference to a number of the contributions which have been made in this discussion. But I would like in some way simply to say to the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk that I certainly accept his concerns with respect to the use of that term “Ontario self-sufficiency.” It’s obviously not what was intended. Ontario is very much a part of the country, and it was my feeling, in using that particular approach and in responding to that particular concern, that this would be Ontario’s contribution to the overall Canadian move to self-sufficiency.
There are those who are talking in terms that perhaps the better expression would be self-reliance. I am not going to get involved in the vocabulary, particularly with my friend from Brant-Oxford-Norfolk because he was far better in English than I.
Mr. Roy: There’s no problem.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I think that perhaps the point is made that whatever we do in moving from reducing our reliance to the tune of 80 per cent and bringing that back to 65 is helping the country itself in a very important area.
Time is fleeting. I think we should really talk about the second paper, the paper that the member for Renfrew North was referring to as he was holding up and shaking before the House the first paper. Because the colour of the first book is much lighter than the blue of the second book, I wouldn’t know that he would recognize exactly which paper he was holding up at the time. Indeed, I wonder if he has read either paper.
He was in the audience and he was very kind. I do appreciate his concerns with respect to that, but he would be the first, in fairness, as a graduate of Queen’s where I think that tolerance is almost prescribed as part of the curriculum, to recognize that what was presented at that time was a policy statement. It was a framework. It was clearly understood that there would be further details with respect to it.
Mr. Roy: A PR exercise.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Surely we should be proud to think that we are associated with this in this House, together with those who see some need to establish some goals and some ideals and to put before the people some objectives in a very important field, and then, quite rightly, to respond to questions such as those raised by the member for Renfrew North and with vigour by other members of the House including the member for Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes) and the member for Ottawa West (Mr. Cassidy), as to what are some of the details, how are we going to reach these goals and how are we going to accomplish this program.
I think that’s reasonable and having raised that, let me share with members why I feel that these goals, particularly in the renewable energy field, are attainable and how we can together --
Ms. Gigantes: The suspense is killing us.
Hon. Mr. Welch: -- through some innovative ways have an arrangement both with respect to government involvement and the private sector.
One important matter, which obviously then has to be clarified in this discussion in the light of some of the comments which have been made during the course of this very interesting day, is the question of our target for renewable energy, the target of five per cent of our total energy supply picture by 1995. It’s an ambitious goal, and I’m very proud to have announced something with that type of goal which will require the investment of some $16 billion over the next 15 years. Some have suggested this is not a realistic target.
Mr. Cassidy: We have suggested you are not carrying your load.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I point out I haven’t heard too many say that. Indeed, one of the interesting things about this discussion -- and I have paid very close attention; I have been here all day -- is the fact there’s very little disagreement with the objectives set out in the policy paper.
Ms. Gigantes: It’s too low.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Let me tell the honourable member she knows it’s not too low. She knows it’s not too low.
Ms. Gigantes: Too low, forget it.
Mr. Cassidy: Where were you four years ago?
Hon. Mr. Welch: We took two per cent in the year 2000 and brought it back to 1995, and increased it to five per cent which was very ambitious.
Mr. Cassidy: It took years of insisting before you increased it.
Hon. Mr. Welch: We are optimistic. I don’t apologize for my optimism. I don’t apologize for my confidence in the private sector of this country. I am delighted to have this responsibility at this time in the history of Ontario and Canada.
An hon. member: A time for the Lord’s Prayer.
Hon. Mr. Welch: There have been those who have suggested this is not a realistic target on the grounds that the government has not promised to put up all of this investment in energy out of taxpayers’ dollars.
For one thing, Mr. Speaker, may I say as I rush to provide some time for the member for Halton-Burlington to enter this debate the one thing I don’t feel I have to apologize at all for being less prudent with the use of taxpayers’ dollars than the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald) might like me to be. It has always been this government’s approach to show great respect for taxpayers’ dollars and the ways in which they are spent. Obviously, there are those who would just simply like to commit them without any particular concern.
Secondly, and I have to say this somewhat surprises me, I think it’s most ironic that some of those same critics opposite who have been urging us for some time to rely on the wholesale use of renewable energy are now the same individuals who are saying private industry won’t invest in renewable energy projects.
Their reason, of course, is they don’t expect renewable energy to pay for itself. Quite frankly, Mr. Speaker, they can’t have this both ways.
Either renewable energy is an attractive option or it isn’t. If it’s attractive, then there’s no reason why private industry, which has always shown great initiative in this province, wouldn’t latch on to it as a good thing when they see it.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Welch: As for the government, our position, as I outlined in the paper Energy Security for the Eighties, is renewable energy, and recoverable energy can and must play major roles in helping to meet Ontario’s growing energy needs by 1995 and beyond. The question of how we propose to meet that share is also fully outlined in that report which has been endorsed as government policy. I leave that for you to go over once again.
First of all, hydraulic energy, water power as most of us know it, would be developed in northern Ontario to provide an additional 2,000 megawatts of electricity by 1995 with an investment by Ontario Hydro of some $1.7 billion over the next 15 years.
Solar installations on both residential and commercial properties will account for between $5 billion and $10 billion in investment. There is today in this province quite a sizeable solar industry. Seven of the 10 solar industries in Canada --
Mr. Speaker: Order. Would the minister consider harnessing some of the wind energy? We could use it in the north.
Hon. Mr. Welch: You are referring to the atmosphere, Mr. Speaker, and harnessing it. Mr. Speaker, you and I have already discussed that matter. On another occasion I would be very happy to take that up with you.
There is today in this province quite a sizeable solar industry. Seven of the 10 solar industries in Canada which are receiving federal government assistance are located in this province, but we all must realize that solar components are still a bit pricey. Some people have suggested the government has not allotted enough effort or funding to solar energy.
I would point out to those people that to achieve a 1.8 per cent target for solar energy in meeting our energy needs by 1955 would require the equivalent of solar heating installations to supply a substantial amount of the space heating for 500,000 homes. At the same time, it would have to provide half the domestic hot water for 1.5 million homes in this province over those years compared to just a handful of installations today. As we rush through these energy from waste projects --
Mr. Cassidy: Another palm-off case by the Minister of Energy. Your predecessor got the same lines from the officials.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I can talk with some experience on this because of the involvement of the provincial government and the municipal governments and private industry now in a three-way funding arrangement -- even in the Niagara area with Ontario Paper and General Motors, to mention only one part of the province -- substantial investments. The Ontario Energy Corporation is involved in a minor way with 80 per cent of the money insofar as our project in the Bruce Peninsula is concerned, using waste heat from the Bruce nuclear power complex.
I could go on and talk about biomass and give all sorts of illustrations involving substantial public investment in so far as this industry is concerned. One that the member for Renfrew North was anxious that I comment on -- so anxious that he couldn’t wait for me to finish because he has left --
Mr. Roy: He is right there. He is still listening to you.
Hon. Mr. Welch: He is there? We have the forest industry renewable energy program and there is a fairly significant investment there.
If time permitted, in addition to going on with some particulars, to add flesh to the framework to which reference was made, we could talk about conservation and all that we plan to do with respect to zero crude oil growth. I would simply once again direct the attention of the members of the House to pages 15, 16 and 17 of the September paper, which are fairly specific with respect to a number of very practical steps that would be taken in this whole field of conservation.
Ms. Gigantes: Things you could do; things that might happen.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I agree with what some of the members of this House have said, that in order to accomplish it we have to create the right attitude, we have to create that type of optimism, that type of enthusiasm, with respect to these projects, to get the type of public support we need. We must get some recognition of the seriousness of the situation, and share the information that is necessary for people to establish that credibility that will have to support some of the positive programs in the area of conservation, on which many of us have already spent a great deal of time analysing and evaluating.
I do apologize to the member for Halton-Burlington for a bit of intrusion on his time. Certainly there is a great deal more that should be said, particularly in view of the Speaker’s interest in this whole question of energy from wind. I know he would even want to see the rules of the House amended in some way to allow me to spend a bit of time on that, but I will do that with him privately at some time.
I do conclude, as I started, by thanking the House leaders for making it possible for us to have this discussion. I regret that we can’t get more of this on the record as part of this debate; but perhaps this has been the proper way for the Minister of Energy, at this time, in assuming his responsibilities, to hear what other members of the House really feel on this very important matter of public policy.
Mr. J. Reed: Mr. Speaker, I facetiously offered the minister five minutes of my time. I didn’t know he would take it seriously.
However, I first of all have to welcome the minister officially to his portfolio. He is the fifth minister in three short years to grace the Energy chair since I have become critic. So I say welcome, and I appreciate the amount of energy he put into that speech. It is a good sign, it is a positive sign, and we look forward to more.
Isn’t it a little ironic that this next Sunday represents the 100th anniversary of the invention of the electric light bulb?
Many words have been spoken today about Petrocan and the value it is to the Canadian energy scene, and I won’t dwell on that. I am relegated to a series of one-liners.
We have already agreed that the term “federal self-sufficiency” should really describe the kind of direction we have to go in Ontario. Ontario then, we agree, has to make its contribution to the Canadian energy scene -- to Canadian energy self-sufficiency. The member for York South very eloquently talked about the incredible misdirection of energy investment in this province -- the 4,000 megawatts of excess power where an extra million dollars is now being spent to tell us all how lucky we are.
That brings me to the first of two messages I will try to put to the government tonight. I do it in the spirit of co-operation and with deep concern and seriousness. They are what I would like to refer to as the two great energy illusions that persist in Ontario.
The first concerns the electric power potential that exists in this province. We are overbuilt; we are grossly overbuilt. We are overinvested and we have miscalculated. I think we have to recognize that fact and deal with it as it is. It’s a very dangerous perpetuation of an illusion if we try to convince ourselves that $4 billion of excess capital investment in electric power is somehow going to save us from impending oil scarcity which may come on the scene. It’s a false illusion; it’s a dangerous illusion.
Anybody who stops for one minute to think of the technology involved in transferring petroleum utilization for instance -- liquid fuel utilization if you like -- into electric power utilization will appreciate that difficulty. Some transfers can happen. Electric power is indispensable for some jobs and others it does very well. Some it does less well and some can be interchanged.
But I put it to the Minister of Energy and I put it to the people of Ontario that we’re living in a never-never land if we think that 4,000 megawatts of surplus electricity, which is costing each and every one of us about $50 a year in carrying charges, is going to somehow save us from a political upheaval in Saudi Arabia or the effects of new changes in policy by the ayatollah. It simply won’t. I think we should face that.
Our energy crisis in Ontario is not going to come from the wall plug. We know that; let’s accept it. It’s going to come in the heating oil tanks and it’s going to come at the gas pumps. Let’s understand that there’s a difference in energy. It’s not all the same and you can’t lump it all in together. In spite of the fact you can interchange some of it, you can’t easily interchange all of it. So let’s accept it and go from here in the positive direction we have to head in right now.
I’m very concerned when the government talks about its entry into new areas. I’m very concerned about the government’s attention to the existing energy resources it has here in the province now.
Yes, Hydro made an announcement 14 months ago which the Minister of Energy reannounced in his self-sufficiency paper about 17 new hydraulic sites with 2,085 megawatts of peaking power and such an investment. I ask the minister to go back into his office tonight or tomorrow and find out what’s happening to the existing small hydraulic resources that were in place this spring and are now no longer. I ask him what the province is doing about the existing sites that are in Ontario -- the ones that either should be refurbished or operated.
He talks a great deal in that paper of his about the private sector -- about the involvement of the private sector. Let me tell the minister that so far the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Natural Resources have not even been able to get together long enough to sort out the private sector’s interest in small hydraulic power. How does he think he’s going to handle the $16 billion or whatever great figure he’s given to us?
Let’s start with number one and go from there.
The other illusion that the Premier creates when he talks about his oil prices is that the oil supply will not diminish. That’s the illusion he creates when he fights the oil prices. He has said in as many words that he does not want the increase in oil price to signal conservation in this province. That’s fine, I can accept that. I can accept that price increases are a very rough kind of justice, and that they are only partially effective when it comes to effecting a kind of conservation because the people who can afford it the least end up doing without, the people who can easily afford it end up going on the same, the people who have bargaining contracts can bargain it into new union contracts, and the manufacturer who is using it, can pass the price on to the consumer in the end.
But the illusion is created when the Premier stands up and talks about oil prices and his concern, and does nothing on the other side -- the side of supply or to supply some alternative -- the illusion that the oil will continue to flow. You know and I know as does everybody who looks at the graphs, and Ontario’s energy reports’ own figures show, that the domestic supply is declining at an accelerating rate at the present time, and the demand growth is going on. There is nothing in between to take up the slack.
Let’s face that reality, and let’s share it with the people of Ontario. Let’s not be afraid to do that, for heaven’s sake.
The Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) talked about marshalling resources, the need to marshal resources, and in that I couldn’t agree more. That leads me to five minutes of something I would like to take half an hour to talk about. That is that Ontario, a year ago, did a study on a liquid fuel alternative for this province. It suggested that the liquid fuel alternative, which in this case was fuel-alcohol, was unfeasible. I’ve got the thing here, I’m not going to quote from it, but it starts off, “In recognition of the presently unfavourable economics of production” -- and so on.
It is interesting that coincidental with the study that was done, a federal study, a copy of which I have here, says, “The central conclusion of this report is that liquid fuel markets offer the opportunity for major new Canadian renewable resource development.”
I want to say something about the $5 billion we ship out of this province in terms of energy imports into this province, and the contribution that a fuel alternative in Ontario could make to our economy. The Minister of Industry and Tourism talked about marshalling resources. Five billion dollars worth of money turning over in here represents about 150,000 jobs.
The feed stock sources for such an industry represent the worst environmental problems we have at the present time -- the urban garbage; the problem with reforesting and managing our forests properly because of the slash that’s left in the bush that has to be burned off before we can properly plant the trees -- the feed stock alternative.
The other great feed stock that has been ignored up to this time, and we fly over 2,000 miles of it to drill for gas at Ellesmere Island, is peat, which we haven’t even thought about intelligently yet in this province. Yet with all of these things, and with all of the contradictions, the government has chosen to accept the provincial study as being the be-all and end-all and to deny Ontario the potential for one of the greatest new industries it could possibly bring here. Every dollar turned over in such an industry or an industry like it, is a dollar that is new to this province, because it is a dollar that is now leaving the province and would be a dollar that stays in.
All I would say, and I plead with the minister tonight, is that conditions have changed over the last year. Many of the reasons that were given in that methanol study, done for your ministry, have now altered. If we take a time line in terms of the establishment and maturity of such an industry, we have to understand that by that time we may have an entirely different set of economic circumstances.
It may very well be that an alternative fuel for the province of Ontario may be even more feasible than it is this year. I’m not saying we have all the answers, but I am suggesting to the minister that he go back and open that book again and open this federal book again and maybe give me a phone call and I’ll help him and we’ll get on the ball and get something done here.
It’s happening everywhere else in the world, incidentally. Even New York City began to use a 10 per cent mixture of methyl alcohol in its gasoline on October 11. Fifteen states in the United States have been doing it for some time. Brazil has been doing it for years and is upgrading it. Scandinavia has already made an agreement with the Volvo Motor Company that it will be marketing alcohol-fuel engines by 1982. France and Germany are upgrading their fuel alcohol component. Ontario, which lacks those traditional petroleum resources, does have this great potential to make a contribution to Canadian self-sufficiency that is unique and that can be shared with every province in Canada.
The Arabs were right three years ago in saying that petroleum is too precious a resource to be simply combusted. It’s too valuable to our petrochemical industry to be simply combusted. Let’s find the other way and share it as Canadians.
Mr. Speaker: As the agreed time allocation for sessional papers 181 and 182 has expired, these items are discharged from the Order Paper.
According to standing order 28, the member for Ottawa East has given notice that he’s dissatisfied with an answer. He will have up to five minutes to explain why.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I will get right into the subject, having only five minutes. I want to say to the minister -- and I’m pleased to see her predecessor as Minister of Education (Mr. Wells) here this evening -- I’m not sure she realizes the importance of an autonomous, homogeneous French-language high school for students in the Penetang area and in other areas of the province where there are such pressures towards assimilation. Penetang is a small town in a much larger anglophone area.
I’m not sure the minister realizes that the school for the francophone minority is the whole focus today of the survival of their language and their culture. Having said that, I’m sort of convinced the minister does not realize that, having accepted the reversal of policy she did in her statement of October 5.
I want to say to the minister that it’s obvious there has been a reversal of policy on the part of the minister. Previous Ministers of Education, when the pressure had come on and when the need had been seen to provide French-language secondary education, proceeded by insisting on it. We started with Sturgeon Falls, if members recall the election of 1971. We had Sturgeon Falls, we had Cornwall, we had Essex and now we have Penetang. In these three previous situations, a decision was made at that time on the part of the government to give the best possible French-language education, which was for francophones to have their own schools. Unfortunately, that has changed.
What is sad about it is that it has changed not only for Penetanguishene, but the minister’s statement talked about the 35 other schools and the 10,000 students in the other schools. That policy is now one of the so-called mixed schools. French-language education will be supplied for what is called by the minister the French-language school entities.
I want to say that is not satisfactory. It is incumbent upon the minister to give an explanation as to why there has been a change of policy. It is incumbent upon the minister to give some explanation as to why she is accepting a policy which does not work and which officials in her ministry have recognized is a system whereby French-speaking people are assimilated in these schools.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Which officials?
Mr. Roy: Just read your own report. Ask your predecessor. He will tell you.
The part that is sad about it is that not only has it not worked in the past, it will not work in the future -- and the present schools will not accept it. The evidence of this is that French-language CBC has had a survey over the last few days which was put on the air this evening. They communicated with the directors of 34 of the schools, in other words 34 schools over and above Penetanguishene. In all of these they said the solution as proposed by the minister was not acceptable; the solution to their problem was their school. That is the response on the part of the directors of 34 of those schools. Check with CBC. The minister is usually behind; just listen, just take notes.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Oh, come on.
Mr. Roy: Secondly, they communicated with the French-language advisory committees -- with the principals of those schools if you want the right word for it, the principals of the schools. They communicated with the French-language advisory committees, and of all the committees in the province pertaining to these 35 schools, only two said they would apply for funds to satisfy what the minister calls French-language school entities.
It has not worked in the past, it’s not acceptable to the schools now, and the minister has evidence. The minister, in her own way, whether it was deliberate or otherwise, the fact is when she gave examples that have worked in Hamilton for instance, this was denied by the school in Hamilton.
I want to say this, Mr. Speaker; we talk about leadership and the parties being for or against national unity. I want to bring to your attention that Rene Levesque and the boys in Quebec have a reputation of being tough on the English minority in the province. I want to tell you that just recently the province of Quebec, in the area of Campbell’s Bay in western Quebec, approved a school for 250 English students at a cost of $2.2 million. English-speaking students at Campbell’s Bay in western Quebec will have their own homogeneous school; yet that is fewer students than are presently in Penetanguishene, and that is by a government which professes to have the interests of the minority at heart.
Mr. Speaker: The honourable member’s time has expired.
Mr. Roy: I think the minister’s new policy is dictated by Clair Hoy where he said, “French schools? Enough is enough.” I’m sad to hear that. I’m sad to see the minister take that policy.
Ms. Speaker: The Minister of Education for up to five minutes.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the member for Ottawa East is, of course, as he frequently is, entirely wrong. There has been no change or reversal of policy. The policy which was established in 1968 to ensure the provision of French-language instruction throughout the school system for the francophone students of Ontario has been supported, and is being further enhanced by the statement and the activities which the Ministry of Education is undertaking related to primarily the 26 mixed schools in areas where there is no freedom of choice of the individual to attend a totally francophone school.
The report which he suggests was written by a member of the staff of the Ministry of Education, of course is that, I think, which was written by Stacey Churchill, a member of the staff of OISE, in which he examined the problem of assimilation. We are extremely sensitive to the concerns of the francophone community, to the problems which they perceive in the area of assimilation. In the light of the twin problems of declining enrolment and very real constraints upon our capability, it was decided that the thing we could do best in support of the slowing of assimilation of francophones in the province of Ontario was to ensure that they had an entirely French-language program throughout the length of their school system.
Mrs. Campbell: Why would they want to slow it down?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: In 1968, there were 90,000 students in French-language elementary schools in the province of Ontario. Declining enrolment over the decade has reduced that total number to approximately 70,000 last year. But there were, in 1968, only 3,000 students receiving secondary education entirely in French, and they were entirely in private schools. Within that decade there have been established in this province 25 entirely francophone schools; not all of them in new buildings, but in those 25 schools are being educated 20,000 francophone students.
Mr. Roy: Great.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: There are, however, 10,000 students remaining within the mixed-school system. What we are proposing to do is to remove those students, if they wish to be removed, from that mixed system to a homogeneous French-language school entity.
Mr. Roy: The principals said it won’t work.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: A school does not necessarily mean a building or a separate building. A school means, primarily, the provision of a program. That is the thrust which we are attempting to pursue within the Ministry of Education.
I think it is an important thrust because the aspirations of the francophone community very definitely are the maintenance and support of their language and culture. I have been informed by educators that the most important component of that is the provision of French-language educational program. That is precisely what we’re attempting to provide for these 10,000 francophone students.
I’m perfectly aware that Rene Levesque, in his usual distorting fashion, and particularly some of the newspapers of Montreal, refuse to understand that Ontario has made a strong commitment to the provision of French-language educational programs for the francophone students in this province. They refuse to look at the record which this province has demonstrated over the last 10 years. They refuse ever to pay any attention to the fact that we have provided schools for almost 30,000 children in the secondary school system and that the 10,000 who are not achieving the full French-language program will now have the opportunity to do so.
I don’t know where the CBC got all of its information, but I am aware that the deputy minister met with directors of education and with principals in northern Ontario, where most of those schools happen to be situated, just on Friday of last week. He was received with a great deal of enthusiasm because indeed --
Ms. Gigantes: Give them a secret ballot on it.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: -- those people were in support of the idea of improving the French-language program for francophone students. It is quite possible that within the next two or three years as a result of the very dramatic declining enrolment within the secondary school system there will be secondary school buildings vacant and available to move francophone students to entirely from potentially -- potentially, I say, because it may happen that they will contact in the school entities which we’re talking about --
Ms. Gigantes: Sort of a leftover school system.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: -- from time to time some anglophone students and hear some English, and to remove them from that into their own buildings. It is really very difficult at this point to justify the expenditure of hard-earned taxpayers’ money --
Mr. Roy: There’s your priority.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: -- to build buildings where indeed within two or three years there will be ample buildings available as a result of the decrease in numbers of students who will be using secondary school buildings.
Ms. Gigantes: That hasn’t worked at the Carleton Board of Education.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: We’re working diligently in the direction of improving the educational program for the students and we intend to keep on doing that.
Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, I would have thought that the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) would have regarded this situation, this problem, important enough to answer himself. I am not on a personal witch-hunt, I want to assure this House, nor is there a vendetta against Mr. Thomas Wardle, Junior. I personally do not believe in kicking a man when he’s down.
My concern, however, transcends the individuality of this case. The other day I asked about the deterrent aspect of a particular court procedure at hand. I asked about the satisfaction of the public’s right to know. I asked about the preservation of the integrity of the judicial system. It is trite to say that in protecting our system of justice not only must justice be done, but justice must be seen to be done. In other words, in every case there must be an appearance that justice was done. I mean justice independent of any preferential treatment.
For most of the public the only contact with the administration of justice is what is reported by the various media covering court cases. What kind of a blight, then, is there on the judicial system when it is made to appear to one of our local newspapers, “that there is one law for the rich and another for the poor”; or to put it in another way, one form of justice for those with connections, another for those without pull?
That observation is not unwarranted in this particular case, for when we study the short transcript of the evidence adduced at the trial we find that three times in the four-page transcript the judge asked for assistance in ascertaining all of the facts. Mr. Wardle pleaded guilty to the charge of common assault. The crown attorney read in the facts and they consisted of one Constable Marvin Maxmenko, a security officer at the Royal York Hotel, who was on routine patrol and saw Mr. Wardle in the washroom of the hotel and questioned him with regard to the proper use of the washroom facilities after producing his badge to the accused.
Those facts were read in and accepted by the defence counsel. Subsequent to the defence counsel making certain representations the court asked for the first time, “What was behind the whole business? Why couldn’t Mr. Wardle use the washroom?”
The defence responded that those were the only facts they were admitting. The court again asked what was behind all this. It seems like such an innocuous thing for a man to use the washroom. Why wouldn’t he be queried?
The defence counsel again said the only charge before the court was common assault. The crown attorney interjected, saying, “The only charge before the court is common assault and I am here to prosecute that charge. I have read in the facts pertaining to that charge and I can’t do anything else but tell the court that. He was questioned as to the proper use of the washroom facilities and that is all I intend to read into the record.”
For a third time the court said, “I think the obvious question is what caused all this to happen.” Again, the crown attorney answered, “Your honour is an experienced trial judge and your honour can read between the lines a lot of the time. I can tell the court that I am only reading in those facts pertaining to this charge.”
Mr. Speaker, in sheer frustration the judge remarked, “I must say that were it any other person before me for this offence with those facts, the one question I would want to ask is obvious. I am not going to insist that it be answered. I am not going to ask that anything more be told. You accept that reading between the lines. I think that a conditional discharge would be more proper.”
Because he couldn’t get the answers to his question, the judge was left no alternative. Because of that, I believe this matter does not deserve being referred to a judicial council for review; rather, in my opinion, it is incumbent upon the Attorney General of this province to answer to this House, to the citizens of Ontario and to all interested in the preservation of the judicial system the following questions:
Did the Canadian Pacific constable submit a report of his investigations to the Metropolitan Toronto police? What actions did the Metropolitan Toronto police take upon that report? Why was it left to the CP constable to lay a private complaint? What assurance can the minister give us that in this particular circumstance Mr. Wardle did not receive preferential treatment by virtue of his position in society?
Mr. Speaker: Since there is no response to the honourable member’s dissatisfaction, this House stands adjourned until two o’clock Thursday afternoon.
The House adjourned at 10:50 p.m.