The House met at 2 p.m.
PUBLIC OPINION POLLS
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege which has, I believe, two facets. The first one relates to events that have taken place recently in the tabling of some 22 public opinion polls with the Clerk of the Legislature. Sir, these polls had been asked for by myself over the last two or three years and by a resolution of the public accounts committee.
The committee had asked for the public opinion polls commissioned by the government in the fiscal year 1978-79. The government did finally table these polls before that resolution could come before the House but, in so doing, tabled two copies of each poll with the Clerk of the House and provided anywhere between 15 and 20 copies of these documents to the press gallery.
My point is that there are 12 members of the public accounts committee, there are 125 members of the assembly; insufficient copies of this information, which has been asked for over a number of years, were made available so that all members, and particularly the members of the public accounts committee, would have sufficient copies.
The second point, sir, in regard to my privileges: You will recall that I raised with you last session the fact that our standing order 26 requires the tabling of a compendium of background information that led to either legislation or a policy statement by the government, and part of the information we never received was some of these polls that members of the government opposite themselves have indicated have been used in arriving at policy statements or budgets or presumably government legislation. You ruled, at that time, sir, that you could not force the government, or you were not about to look into the matter as to what should be tabled and what shouldn’t.
I would ask your consideration of the suggestion that now that we have one year’s polls and they do indicate that some of the statements before the House, the budget and so on, have used these polls as background information, you so use your good offices to ensure that as a routine matter this information be made available to members of the assembly.
Mr. Speaker: I have heard with great interest the alleged point of privilege raised by the member for Rainy River, and since he raised --
Mr. Makarchuk: Point of privilege, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: Does it deal with the same subject?
Mr. Makarchuk: It deals with the same point.
Mr. Speaker, I wish to address myself to the point of privilege that was raised by the member for Rainy River. I too find it objectionable that while certain members of the media were given copies of the polls, other members in other parts of Ontario were not able to obtain copies of the same information. I hope the Premier’s office would recognize from now on that there is more to Ontario than just Toronto.
I also find it objectionable, as a member of the public accounts committee, that members of the committee were not notified that the polls were going to be released and they did not receive copies of the polls. I think this is an insult to the legislative process of this province.
It appears to me that the whole purpose of the Legislature here is to provide a convenient setting to manipulate public opinion and not deal with the legislative problems that relate to the people of this province.
Mr. Speaker: I will take under advisement the points raised by the member for Rainy River and the member for Brantford.
Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I have a message from the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor signed by her own hand.
Mr. Speaker: Pauline M. McGibbon, the Lieutenant Governor, transmits supplementary estimates of certain additional sums required for the services of the province for the year ending March 31, 1980, and recommends them to the Legislative Assembly, Toronto, March 13, 1980.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
PUBLIC OPINION POLLS
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I don’t intend to respond to the point of privilege other than to say, particularly to the member for Brantford, that coming from Brampton I fully appreciate that everything isn’t centred here within the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.
I am informed that three copies were filed with the Clerk. I regret that copies were not available, because it is a fairly difficult task to duplicate that rather large volume. I would assure the members that if other material is tabled and it is wanted in such large numbers, we will make an effort to do so.
I must say I also sense that while members didn’t get it immediately, the volume of reading was such that perhaps they have had a lot of time, and will have a lot of time, to put in on the material. I know that the member for Rainy River in particular spent several evenings doing that instead of other things that he could have been more productively doing, but I understand that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No; and I wasn’t talking to Maureen about it, either.
DEATH OF NORMAN DEPOE
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, on a serious, rather sad note, I would like to take this opportunity to express my personal sadness and that of the people of this province in learning today of the death of one of Canada’s best-known journalists, Norman DePoe.
I guess it’s fair to state that a number of members of this House perhaps didn’t know Mr. DePoe as well as some of us who have been involved for a longer period of time. But for more than two decades -- which is longer than I have been involved, Mr. Speaker -- Mr. DePoe won for himself the respect and admiration of his colleagues and millions of Canadians who, through his reporting and commentary, followed major events both here and abroad.
I think it’s also fair to state that, as a certain Mr. Edward Murrow won a perpetual place in the history of the United States for his pioneer work in the electronic age of political reporting, Norman DePoe carved his place in the history of Canada and in the hearts and minds of his people.
Whether he was covering an election campaign, the freedom march in Washington or the raising of the new Canadian flag on Parliament Hill, Norman DePoe was there and he is engrained in our memories as surely as the events themselves. For his professionalism, dedication and integrity Norman DePoe won the respect and admiration of his colleagues and Canadians from coast to coast.
Today, we have all lost a part of our past, and I take this opportunity to express to his family and his many friends our most heartfelt sympathy.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, it is only through the words of the Premier that I have learned of this very tragic event, and I am quite shocked and deeply saddened.
I know all of us would want to express, as the Premier has done, our gratitude for the fact that Norman DePoe was with us. He was a very colourful Canadian and a person who lent his special presence to the events he was reporting. It seems to me there was a time in Canadian history, in the 1960s and late 1950s, when the events somehow wouldn’t have been the same without Norman DePoe reporting them. There was a special quality added which made us somehow happier to be Canadian and a little more distinctive.
All I can say is that we too would want to extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends, and we are grateful for the fact that such a fine Canadian lived his life in a time contemporary with our own.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I want to join in the expression of condolences to the family and in the tributes which have been given for Norman DePoe. As a young journalist I joined the parliamentary press gallery in 1966 in Ottawa when Norman DePoe was the chief correspondent for the CBC national network. At the time he was a legend in his time known across the country for being the epitome of the hard-bitten journalist -- a person who knew all, a person whose gravelly voice was heard in every home across the country on the 11 o’clock news.
For many of us who were working our way up in journalism, Norman DePoe was an example and a model of somebody who was dedicated to his craft, who was prepared to do a great deal to get a story, and who was dedicated to the principle of freedom of information and to the public’s right to know. I know I’m not alone as a former journalist in looking up to Norman DePoe. Many other people who are active in the press gallery today and who are active in our media across this country today owe a great deal to what they learned from the example of Norman DePoe.
OSHAWA BUS SERVICE
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, in 1979 this House enacted Bill 123 to restructure the municipal hydro-electric services in the regional municipality of Durham. One of the new hydro commissions created by that act was the Oshawa Public Utilities Commission.
Section 11 of that act transferred to this new commission the bus system, which the former public utilities commission had been operating for some years. That bus system was authorized and governed by the City of Oshawa Act, 1960. The purpose of the bill to be introduced later this afternoon is simply to make it clear that the City of Oshawa Act, 1960, will continue to apply to and govern the bus system operated by that new commission.
ONTARIO ENERGY CORPORATION
Hon. Mr. Welch: Earlier this week, the speech from the throne announced the government’s intention to strengthen the Ontario Energy Corporation to permit it to increase its effectiveness in stimulating energy-related business activity in Ontario.
Specifically, the corporation will set up subsidiary corporations to deal with project investments in four areas of activity, namely, conventional energy resources, alternative energy, power sharing and energy transportation.
Today, may I take the opportunity to outline some of the reasons for this particular policy initiative and some of the implications for the corporation itself. May I say at the outset, the government attaches great importance to the work of the Ontario Energy Corporation. I firmly believe it will be a significant factor in helping Ontario achieve the targets set out in the policy paper released last October on Energy Security for the Eighties.
As members will recall, the Ontario Energy Corporation was restructured last summer and given a mandate to become more involved in the commercial development of a wide range of new energy projects without displacing private investment or private initiative. The corporation was allocated sufficient funds to undertake this phase of its development, and private-sector directors were added to its board of directors.
I am pleased to report that since that time the corporation has been evaluating and/or organizing some 30 or more separate projects ranging across the energy industry. It has been doing so in close co-operation with private companies and with the benefit of expert assistance and advice wherever necessary.
The corporation is currently involved in a number of projects that can be segregated into the areas of activity I have just mentioned. These are as follows:
In the whole area of resource development the Ontario Energy Corporation is continuing to participate in the Polar Gas project and is currently negotiating interests in three joint ventures including oil, natural gas, and lignite exploration programs;
In the field of alternative energy the OEC is participating in two projects involving energy from municipal solid waste and in feasibility studies for synthetic liquid fuels, both methanol and ethanol;
In the power-sharing area, which involves waste-heat utilization and industrial electricity production, the OEC is participating in the Bruce and Pickering AgriPark projects and industrial cogeneration opportunities, as well as reviewing small-scale hydro-electric power developments;
Finally, in the transportation sector the corporation is involved in negotiations on a public transit-information system and is developing a proposal for a van-pool operation. As well, the corporation is examining a number of proposals for improved automobile engines.
In total, if all of these projects were to go ahead they could lead to a capital investment by the corporation of some $40 million within the next year. Since the corporation will normally be taking a minority interest in joint ventures with private companies, total potential expenditure involved in these projects would be in the order of up to $200 million.
Because the scope of the corporation’s activities is broadening rapidly and because each sector has its own particular technologies and management characteristics, it is felt desirable to bring similar projects together under a common organizational structure that would separate their management from projects that are vastly dissimilar.
By concentrating the efforts of the corporation into four clearly defined areas so that projects with similar features can be better managed, I believe the Ontario Energy Corporation will be able to develop the high level of managerial understanding and effectiveness necessary for the stimulation of each sector. These subsidiary corporations will be wholly owned by the OEC and will encourage private investment in each sector through joint-venture or other forms of participation.
It is the intention of the government that the OEC as a whole remain a compact organization and that it not have as its primary objective the expansion into direct operations of projects. Rather, it will stimulate the private sector to invest in a variety of energy projects earlier than it might otherwise do.
The government will ensure that the OEC has the resources necessary to achieve its mandate. In this connection I would remind members that the corporation has the authority under its enabling legislation to secure additional financing through a variety of means. For example, the OEC may borrow funds and issue securities through conventional sources, or it may borrow from the Treasurer, as it did in 1978-79 for supplementary financing of its Syncrude investment. As well, individual projects may offer an opportunity for project financing which the corporation could support.
The particular method and level of new financing will, of course, depend on the circumstances at the time the funds are required, but I expect the board of directors will want to explore all possible means available to it.
May I conclude, Mr. Speaker, by saying it is my expectation that the Ontario Energy Corporation will continue to evolve and adapt to the energy needs of Ontario in a way that will best support the energy policy initiatives this government is taking.
My announcement today takes the corporation into the next phase of its development. I have asked the board of directors to develop a comprehensive implementation plan and I would anticipate that over the coming months the board will be announcing the specific actions that it has taken to give effect to this new policy initiative.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, later today I shall be introducing a bill entitled An Act to regulate the Granting of Degrees.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I’m sorry to interrupt the minister but I’m afraid I haven’t received a copy of the statement, and it does sound as though it contains matters of interest.
Mr. Speaker: Perhaps they are being delivered now.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: They are being delivered now.
Mr. Speaker: The minister may continue.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I’m delighted that the Leader of the Opposition is keenly interested in this.
It has been the tradition in Ontario and in most parliamentary systems that a charter to grant degrees could be obtained only from the Legislature. This tradition has served the purpose of ensuring that universities and other degree-granting institutions were constituted in such a fashion as to ensure sound academic and financial governance and to provide legal validation to the degrees awarded by these institutions.
The boundaries of the authority to grant degrees were defined by inclusion of this power in a statutory charter. It has now become apparent that there is no legal authority to exclude other individuals and institutions from granting degrees in Ontario.
It would serve the public interest to limit the operation of universities and degree-granting institutions in Ontario to those that have charters from this Legislature or another provincial legislature, or which have appropriate academic accreditation from another jurisdiction. Prospective students should have the assurance that any degree program offered in Ontario has legal and academic credibility. Employers should be protected from job applicants with questionable credentials. Ontario’s educational reputation in other jurisdictions should also be protected.
This bill would not encroach upon the fundamental freedom of people to operate educational institutions. It would, however, ensure that the Legislature would have to be convinced of the educational soundness of the institution before it could grant degrees.
All 16 provincial degree-granting institutions and their federated or affiliated colleges and degree-granting institutions which have statutory authority in another province to grant degrees would be exempted from the provisions of this act.
As Minister of Education and Minister of Colleges and Universities, I am dedicated to the provision of a full range of educational opportunities and to ensuring they are of the highest standard possible. Through the Education Act and the Private Vocational Schools Act, the Legislature has provided for educational quality in other areas. This bill would give statutory authority to a traditional authority exercised by the Legislature concerning the granting of degrees.
Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, consistent with the announced policy of the provincial government on improving services to the public, I am pleased to report on progress achieved thus far and on some of the significant initiatives now being implemented.
As the members are aware, one of the major thrusts of this initiative is to continue to improve the public’s access to government and its services. These improvements are being made in recognition of the need to satisfy the rights of citizens to be able to reach their members, to receive the benefits of the programs of the provincial government and to have available to them all information related to these programs.
There are three basic ways for a citizen to receive services: through coming personally to a government office; by writing for information or assistance, or finally, by telephone. The customer service program has concentrated first on the telephone, since it is the primary method of communication in Ontario. In fact, more than 100 million telephone calls are transacted between the citizens of this province and their government each year.
Six major initiatives have been developed to make it easier for citizens to find the information and services they require from the government of Ontario. I am pleased to report these initiatives have been undertaken using the existing resources of government without adding any further burden to the present expenditures. This has been accomplished through a reallocation of resources and through changes in methods of providing services in such a way as to free the necessary resources for these projects.
These initiatives are as follows:
1. To bring together in one section of the public telephone directories all government and other public services -- federal, provincial, regional and local.
After April 1980, all directories published in Ontario will have a separate section in blue-coloured paper for public services. The first partial set of listings appeared in the Ottawa directory in January, the next major set will appear in the Bell directory now being delivered to Toronto homes. Others will follow during the coming months.
In time, at the beginning of this section will be an index to major public-sector services. The index will use key words that identify the major services provided by all levels of government and public agencies.
2. To improve the listing of provincial government services in telephone directories. The major thrust of this initiative has been to develop in plain language listings of most frequently used key services of the government. These functional listings are currently being phased in in the new directories.
3. To provide toll-free access to most frequently used provincial services. Each ministry is in the process of providing toll-free access for all citizens throughout the province to its major services -- through local offices where such exist, through regional centres, or directly to Toronto depending upon the structure of the ministry and the demands for its services.
4. To provide a general inquiry service. At the end of each telephone listing of provincial services, in all directories, a general inquiry number will be listed to offer information on services not listed separately. This number will be called Zenith Ontario, or a local equivalent if a long-distance call is not involved. In southern Ontario, the Ministry of Government Services switchboards, backed up by the information access officers of the Ministry of Culture and Recreation, will provide this information service. In northern Ontario, Zenith Ontario will be handled by the 29 Ministry of Northern Affairs offices.
5. To develop a computerized data base to ensure referrals are made to appropriate ministry offices. This data base, designed to assist in responding to Zenith Ontario inquiries, will provide the necessary linkages within the government where the citizen is unable to reach directly the appropriate person who can actually provide the information or assistance the citizen is seeking.
6. To implement customer-service training programs for all civil servants. Improving information about government services and making it easier for the public to contact the government will have accomplished nothing if the staff members are not trained, informed and properly motivated to provide these services. Consequently, this last initiative is one of the most important elements of the whole program.
I am pleased to report that every ministry is participating in these six initiatives and that the major components of them will be implemented by the end of 1980. Obviously, since much of the success of the program depends on appropriate personal attitudes, time will be required to allow these to mature sufficiently and for everyone to become fully familiar with the goals and objectives of the program.
We are confident all members of this House will support these steps and recognize the benefits this program, coupled with other significant developments such as the government’s initiatives in achieving regulatory reform, will bring to this Legislature and to the citizens of Ontario.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I’d like to know whether these statements all were cleared with Martin Goldfarb before they were introduced today?
Mr. Speaker: Order.
DRAINAGE AMENDMENT BILL
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Later today I will be introducing a bill to amend the Drainage Act.
Mr. Speaker: Is there a point of order?
Mr. Cassidy: We have just received our copies, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: The point of order has just been cleared up.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Just in time. I had extra copies here just in case. These are minor amendments designed to reduce municipal costs and to clarify and simplify appeal procedures.
The government has decided to adjust the time for appeal to the Ontario Drainage Tribunal to coincide with decision-making by municipal council. We have also decided to extend the powers and role of the tribunal to ensure easier access. Also, municipalities will be allowed greater flexibility in maintenance and collection procedures.
There are a number of other amendments, Mr. Speaker, which members will find self-explanatory.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, for some time now my ministry has been concerned about the provision of adequate foot-care services for our citizens. The need for more foot-care services has been emphasized, and chiropody services recommended --
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Be careful before you put yours in your mouths -- by the Ontario Council of Health Report on Health Care for the Aged, the Ontario Advisory Council on Senior Citizens and the Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto.
There is a continuing need for these services, particularly among the elderly, the young, the physically handicapped and expectant mothers. As the proportion of senior citizens continues to increase, the need for these services will be greater.
The loss of mobility resulting from painful or damaged feet may precipitate the need for institutional care. Yet we have fewer than 100 podiatrists currently practising in Ontario and they are unable to meet the present need. Our current supply of foot-care providers gives a provider-to-population ratio of one to 98,700. In the United States the ratio is one to 30,000 and in the United Kingdom, one to 20,000.
In developing a policy for improved foot-care services in Ontario, a number of major consideration had to be addressed. The significant difference between chiropody and podiatry is that the latter includes surgical procedures. In Ontario there are considered to be sufficient surgeons, particularly orthopaedic surgeons, to provide surgical management of foot disorders. The policy should ensure equitable distribution of services throughout the province, build in mechanisms to control the growth and cost of these services, and provide opportunities for Ontario residents to enter this field.
To provide support for foot-care services that addresses these concerns, my ministry proposes to introduce a chiropody model of service. The chiropodists will be primarily Ontario-trained and will be employed on salary by hospitals and other health facilities on a community basis -- for example, through attachment to public health units.
This program will be the first of its kind anywhere in Canada. My ministry is proposing that an initial provider-to-population target of one to 30,000 be adopted. At present, no school in Canada provides the required courses. To meet our target, my ministry has begun discussions with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to establish a program for training chiropodists in one of our collections of applied arts and technology -- probably one that already offers other programs in the health sciences. This would allow the students to take advantage of educational resources now in place and to associate with other health-sciences students.
It is this government’s intention to establish a three-year training program, starting in the fall of 1981. We expect the program will provide training for 40 students per year.
We realize the training of chiropodists will take time. More immediate steps are also under consideration. One activity that would have an early impact would be the establishment of training programs in foot-care hygiene for registered nursing assistants and other providers of care to the elderly. Such programs could be mounted both quickly and inexpensively, and this possibility is now being explored by my ministry.
Toronto General Hospital held such a short foot-care training program earlier this year. This type of foot care is designed to maintain the mobility of the elderly, primarily by recognizing problems in need of treatment. Minor tasks that many seniors are unable to do for themselves, such as cutting toenails, are also performed.
Podiatrists currently practising in Ontario, as well as Ontario residents now training in podiatry in the United States who wish to practise here, will be able to practise under OHIP as at present.
We are in the process of developing legislation to accomplish these ends, and I am confident these sections will effectively and efficiently provide for the foot-care needs of our citizens.
PUBLIC OPINION POLLS
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, will the Premier undertake to release any public opinion polls in the possession of his government, paid for out of public funds, for the current 1979-80 fiscal year and the period from 1970 to 1978, and will he make a specific public policy commitment to release any future publicly funded public opinion polls to the Legislature as soon as they are received?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, actually there are two questions on the Order Paper standing in the name of the member for Rainy River. As I read the Order Paper, really one of those questions asked by the Leader of the Opposition is on the Order Paper and, of course, the government will respond to that in the traditional fashion.
Mr. Breithaupt: That’s what we’re afraid of.
Mr. T. P. Reid: It took me three years to get these.
Hon. Mr. Davis: What good are they to you? You could have made them up anyway.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am being interrupted.
Mr. Speaker: Right, you are.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I just want to concentrate on what I am saying.
We will deal with the questions on the Order Paper. I say that quite sincerely to the members opposite. The one question obviously requires a fair amount of work in terms of the volume that may or may not be involved.
With respect to the second question on the Order Paper, we will consider that. Of course that would take a shorter period of time. I would say to the Leader of the Opposition, as it relates to Cabinet Office, for instance, in 1979-80, if that is the year we are talking about, or 1978-79, the year after those that have been released, I am not aware of any polls generally, other than one that I have read about. There have been no Cabinet Office polls during that period of time so that there are none of those to table. We will certainly pursue it just as soon as we can.
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Since I did ask a specific policy question, which was not included on the Order Paper, about whether any polls that would be done in the future out of public funds would be released to the Legislature at the same time the government receives them, I would be grateful if the Premier would address himself to that question, and also if he would undertake to tell us that if there are any ministries that have such publicly funded polls in their possession now, they will be released in accordance with answering the question of my colleague from Rainy River.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I did neglect to answer the second part of the questions of the Leader of the Opposition. I tried to make it clear in my statement when the polls were released that we had been anticipating, really for the past two or three months, the report from the Royal Commission on Freedom of Information and Individual Privacy. I would be surprised if there were not some reference to us in that report that would have some specific recommendations.
I think it is quite clear from the fact we have tabled the polls that are now approximately one year old that our concern is that no one get the perception or intent that there is something in terms of hiding that sort of information.
Mr. Roy: That’s exactly what you’ve been doing.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, with great respect, that is not the intent.
Mr. Roy: You gave them up voluntarily, I suppose.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: As a matter of fact, we did. In fact, not only did we give them up voluntarily, we did it so the member for Rainy River couldn’t raise a fuss here today, and that is really what disturbs him. He was anxious to have a fuss here this afternoon and when he got a letter saying the polls were coming out on Monday, he was so taken back he didn’t have time to call the Clerk to get a copy. He was informed before they were tabled with the Clerk, as I understand it.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I was in Rainy River.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Of course he was in Rainy River. I know the member can fool some of the people.
I think it is a very fair question and one which the government is considering.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Through the Royal Commission on Freedom of Information and Individual Privacy, is the Premier aware that on page 162 of the research publication the comment is made: “Whatever the real motive for their use by government,” i.e., public opinion polls, “the fact they are scientifically based research studies funded by Ontario taxpayers is a compelling reason why they should be made publicly accessible”?
Knowing the Premier’s concern about openness in government, why does he have to wait for the full and final report? Why can’t he say to the people of Ontario: “You paid for them. We are not going to take undue advantage of these publicly funded polls. We will make them available as we get them”?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think if the honourable member will read pages 149 to 152 in that particular report, which is a research document as part of the commission’s deliberations, he will find it does raise some of the questions. I would just urge him to read it. I have told him and the members opposite, and I know he would only read the one selective portion.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I would read it all.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I know. I know what the honourable member read to the House, but he should read the other parts. I am saying there are, I think, some legitimate questions that need to be asked and discussed, but as a matter of policy. I have taken the question from the Leader of the Opposition and I am quite prepared to deal with it, as I say. I had hoped we could deal with it at the same time as the report of the commission itself, where the members of the commission will be assessing some of the questions raised with respect to this issue.
Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact we are talking about half a million dollars’ worth of polls involved, would the Premier, as part of his deliberations in this matter, offer to refund from the Conservative Party the $400 million to $500 million involved?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, in that our party doesn’t have nearly the wealth of the Liberal Party, perhaps as a result of their heritage dinner tonight -- which I know they are attending with enthusiasm to listen to their leader enunciate all of those policies that are so relevant; where he will, in the inimitable words of the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson) say tonight, “Our position is that we are prepared to face an election if it comes, but we are not going to promote it responsibly” --
Mr. Sargent: Is the answer no?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have to note the hypocrisy of that observation -- but that doesn’t answer the question.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am the last one to defend the New Democrats.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Does the Premier have an answer to the question or does he even remember it?
Hon. Mr. Davis: We are not in a financial position to do that.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Premier. In an interview reported in the Globe and Mail on March 11, his Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) stated, and I quote the interview as reported as follows: “Mr. Miller said yesterday that the polls results had influenced him in drawing up his budget,” as had a number of other views of different labour groups and so on. “‘You don’t always follow the polls but at least you know what is saleable and what would be risky to do,’ the Treasurer said.”
How does that statement square with the statement of the Premier’s former House leader in the House on June 11, 1979, when the House leader at that time said there were no government bills or government policy statements that were based, even in part, on any information derived from any public opinion polls paid for by the taxpayers of Ontario, and with his own comments that such polls confer no partisan advantage?
Mr. Riddell: I feel misled.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am being interrupted again. As I recall, the observations made by the members on this side of the House related to the use of polls. I think it was abundantly clear, and I would make it abundantly clear again, that the polls that are used, some of which I have never read, quite frankly -- and there are a number there I think most members would agree don’t have a significant impact in terms of general government policy --
Mr. Foulds: Why did you take polls?
Mr. T. P. Reid: This one certainly doesn’t.
Mr. Speaker: Order, order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You can argue that. I would say, in terms of their use in a partisan sense, it is kind of obvious from the polls that they are not the kind that can be used for a partisan purpose.
Mr. Breithaupt: You’re kidding.
Hon. Mr. Davis: All right. The honourable members over there all send out questionnaires. It is a form of poll; it is done at public expense. They all ask their constituents what they think on various issues; they all do.
There is no question that sometimes ministries, in terms of confirming the reaction of the public to those programs they administer, do question the members of the public in relation to those programs. It is a function of government used by many governments in many parts of this continent and it is one where we think we are endeavouring to respond to some of the feelings of the people we represent.
I was intrigued to read in some of the headlines that government responds to the polls. The first question I would have been asked today if we had taken a totally contrary position to what was being stated in some of those polls is, “Why is government, in fact, ignoring the wishes of the public?” That is the contradiction one faces.
I would also point out that, if one looks at some of the polls and at some of the answers, it is very fair to state that government positions (a) were taken in advance of some of that material and (b) have not always been consistent. I will give one example -- I haven’t even read the poll -- that’s a very personal example. I happened to be there on the occasion that the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations was sworn in. I am prepared to say he hadn’t been at the ministry long enough to look at any poll. Within 15 seconds of having been sworn in, without consulting with his leader or any of his cabinet colleagues, he said, “There will be no more topless waitresses.” That was an instinctive reaction that didn’t relate at all to the polls.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, we must raise the level of this debate.
The question I asked the Premier is a reasonably serious one. I asked him to square two statements, the one made by his House leader at the time who said that these polls were not used in the formation of government policy and the one made by the Treasurer in the Globe and Mail who says, “You don’t always follow the polls but at least you know what is saleable and what would be risky.”
I presume, when he means a tax or something of this kind might be risky, he is not referring to the danger of revolution but rather to the danger of losing votes. He confirms this when he says, “Particularly in a minority government situation, you are limited by what the public believes is in its interests, and you have to tailor your program to match that.” That plainly confers an advantage to the party that knows what the public believes as opposed to those who do not have those polls and have to react instinctively.
The question therefore is, how can the Premier tell this House that no partisan advantage is conferred when his own Treasurer says the opposite, and how can he square his Treasurer’s statement with that of his former House leader?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, if the Leader of the Opposition hasn’t yet understood the difference between a partisan advantage and a government responsibility, I can’t help him. The party opposite is not prepared to take responsibility for what government does; even when we do something collectively in the House and we run into difficulty, its members are the first ones to run and hide and say, “We had nothing to do with it.”
We have a different responsibility. I say to the Leader of the Opposition, I have far less difficulty in reconciling the points of view expressed by two of my colleagues than he will have in reconciling the many points of view of his many colleagues on every single issue in this province, from energy through the whole piece. He will never reconcile them.
Mr. Roy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Regarding the Premier’s comments that these polls were not used for partisan advantage, if that was the case why did he consistently refuse to allow other members of the Legislature to see the results of the polls for a period of approximately three years? Secondly, is this the type of leadership we are going to get in this province, that the Premier would need a poll to tell him that Alberta was taking advantage of Ontario in oil pricing; that he would need a poll to tell him that Ontarians wanted Quebec to stay within Confederation? Does he need a poll to tell him that? Is that the type of leadership he is going to give in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I can only say that this government intends to provide the leadership in this province for many years yet to come, in spite of what the member and his people may suggest. If the member for Ottawa East, who still has that leadership aspiration -- and I guess this is why --
Mr. Roy: No way. We have a good leader now.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh, come on. That’s why the member and his seatmate want an early election.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh, come on. You know when Stuart says it is either up or out, you guys are saying, “Let’s make it out and then we will have a turn.”
Hon. Mr. Davis: In your heart out there, you know it is true.
I don’t need a poll to tell me what my instincts are --
Mr. Roy: Why don’t you have a poll?
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- and what I am saying with respect to sovereignty-association. I don’t need a poll for that, and I never have.
Mr. Speaker: I think we have spent enough time on this one issue.
ASSISTANCE TO AUTO WORKERS
Mr. Cassidy: I have a couple of substantive questions I want to raise with the ministry, and I will start with the Premier.
Since the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Crossman) indicated to the mayors of the automobile towns last month that he didn’t think the crisis in the auto industry warranted provincial action, and since he has been excluded from the action by the federal government, I would like the Premier to answer, first, does he not view with alarm the fact that unemployment in Windsor has now reached 19 per cent because of the crisis in the auto industry -- a level that is higher than in any other city in all of Canada, in particular in view of the fact that more layoffs are on the way and that many of the automobile workers have run out of their UIC benefits and the supplementary benefits?
Will the Premier say to the House what action will the government take to protect the people of Windsor who are affected by the crisis now? Specifically, will the government undertake to participate in a transitional assistance benefits program to cushion the auto workers until the crisis in the automobile industry is resolved?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to deal with --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I can be relatively objective, Mr. Speaker. I guess if one were trying to assess which is more substantive one from the other, then there is no question that in the minds of the members of the public of this province the question from the leader of the New Democratic Party is, without any question, one of the issues we should be discussing.
I was in Windsor myself just a few days ago.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I won’t get carried away, but I will tell the House this: Even if the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson) wants to build statues of Karl Marx in every place in this province, I will oppose it.
Mr. Makarchuk: That’s a Liberal make-work project.
Hon. Mr. Davis: This was the most refreshing part of the member’s news comment: “We are not going to promise to erect statues of Karl Marx.” I am delighted to hear that.
Mr. Speaker, on a matter of personal privilege, and I have to say this, when I look at the member for London Centre I have to have him reassure me it is the same fellow who was here last December.
An hon. member: A stranger in the House.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, if you had to sit here every day and look at him, you would remove your spectacles too.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I have got to tell him that’s not what his wife said.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The appearance of the member for London Centre is not in question. We are dealing with an automobile problem in Windsor.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I was concerned they had brought in a ringer. That is all I was concerned about.
To deal very seriously with the matter raised, I was in Windsor myself and spoke very briefly to two or three people when I was there last Monday evening.
This is a matter of great concern not only to this government but also, I am sure, to the government of Canada. We are faced with, as the member well knows, a slowdown in the automotive industry. It is one where most of us are optimistic that it will be adjusted. I can’t give any guarantees with respect to how soon this will happen.
The Treasurer has some encouraging figures on a short-term basis. For instance, for the month of February, when members opposite were being a little critical in making observations, there was a stimulus provided.
With respect to Windsor there are two situations. One is the slowdown of the automotive industry generally, its readjustment to smaller, lightweight vehicles, and the particular situation of Chrysler Canada.
The Minister of Industry and Tourism and the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) are meeting with our federal government representatives, in the nation’s capital or somewhere, this coming week. I can assure the leader of the New Democratic Party that as these discussions are continued, whatever information we can share with the members of this House and with the public generally we will be prepared to do so. I’m sure it is a very real priority for all of us and one that this government is going to pursue very aggressively.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Given the fact that the provincial government is now discussing the program of assistance for Chrysler Canada, will the Premier assure the House that this program of assistance will specify a guaranteed number of jobs once Chrysler is put back on its feet? Will the government also assure the House that the program of financial assistance will not just be to Chrysler Canada, but that there will also be financial assistance to help workers over the adjustment period, either through financial benefits or else through retraining programs?
Hon. Mr. Davis: One reason the Minister of Labour is joining in those discussions is to bring these particular points of view to the federal officials.
Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary: I’m sure the Premier is aware there are approximately 19,500 unemployed and that the index of unemployment is approximately 16 per cent
Mr. Cassidy: It is 19 per cent. There are 22,000 workers out.
Mr. B. Newman: All right. Let’s say 16 per cent or 19 per cent -- either of the two figures. Both are extremely serious. Would the Premier and the Minister of Industry and Tourism consider the suggestion I made back in 1969 to the Premier, that is, to set up skill-training programs and/or upgrading programs so that those who are now unemployed and may not be re-employed by the Chrysler plant and other plants in Windsor would have a skill that could be marketable in the community to other industries?
Mr. Peterson: He is 10 years ahead of you.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Just answer the question.
Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, as a matter of personal privilege, the member for London Centre is just giving me too many opportunities.
Mr. Speaker: He may be, but I’m not going to.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, as always you are quite right. I would nominate you for Speaker again tomorrow.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, they are interrupting again. I don’t recall that exact suggestion in 1969, but I would be the last one to say the honourable member did not make that suggestion. I think as part of this problem, manpower or refraining programs -- and not just within the Windsor area -- are very valid suggestions. I would say to him that in some areas this is now happening. Whether it is happening to the degree or extent is debatable and something that we can meaningfully discuss, but it is something that is taking place.
I would also say this, to answer the general question about Windsor: When I was there, in spite of the difficulties, I was very encouraged by the very kind words expressed by the mayor of that municipality and others to this government’s decision to make sure the Ford Canada plant is located in that part of Ontario, because it will still be an encouraging and positive force in that area, in terms of employment. This was expressed to me by the people of Windsor. It wasn’t something I suggested to them.
Mr. Cooke: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In the throne speech, it states: “The Ministry of Industry and Tourism will develop approaches to ensure the long-term health of the automobile industry in relation to the Canada-US auto pact, the shift to lighter fuel-efficient vehicles and import competition.”
I would like to ask the Premier what this new strategy is going to be. I’m glad he has finally come around to the point of view that this government needs to take some action. We have been saying that for a couple of years now.
Has the Premier followed up on a report in the Toronto Star of last week which quotes a secret report that was published? That report states: “The vast majority of the new investment money for small fuel-efficient cars has already been allocated.”
The Premier knows as well as I do that we have not got our fair share. What the heck is he going to do for this investment, and what is he willing to do for the 19,000 workers in Windsor who are now unemployed? Skill training is fine, but there are no jobs for those people to go to even if they had the skills.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I reply to the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Cooke) that I am delighted now to have his support, which we didn’t have a couple of years ago.
One of the major investments made by Ford US-Ford Canada was about one quarter of a mile away from where he and I stood on a rather windy late afternoon, and where this government -- and it was the initiative of this government -- is providing half a billion dollars in capital investment for Ford Canada to adjust to lightweight vehicles, which will provide some 2,000 to 3,000 job opportunities in that community, and which the people opposite, to be fair about it, were not enthusiastic about supporting. It is turning out to be one of the best decisions this government has made, and I am delighted they are now in support of it.
Mr. Mancini: Unlike the member for Windsor-Riverside, this party is prepared to have an election to help the people of Windsor.
With your permission, Mr. Speaker, I would like to redirect a supplementary question to the Minister of Industry and Tourism. I would like to ask the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) if over the past few months, as he has told the House, he has had an opportunity to meet with different types of industry in order to encourage them to locate in the Windsor and Essex county area so that this particular part of Ontario will not be so overly dependent for employment on the automobile industry, and so that the future of that particular part of Ontario will not be so severely disrupted if the automobile industry ever has another serious downturn in the future. If the Minister of Industry and Tourism has had these meetings with different industries, could he inform the House of the outcome of these meetings and how he foresees such meetings affecting the city of Windsor and the county of Essex?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We have had several meetings. In talking about investment, we must compliment the efforts made by the city of Windsor and their industrial development commission. One of the most aggressive efforts undertaken to attract investment is the effort made by that particular industrial development commission. They are very good. That is supplementing the efforts we are making and we have some reasonable prospects, particularly emanating out of some of our discussions with major auto parts firms in the United States.
With regard to the degree of success we are having in attracting some of that investment, may I say to the honourable member that one of the problems we face in attracting that sort of investment to shore up the economic welfare of Essex county is the position taken by the Leader of the Opposition, whom I quote. “I do not believe Ontario requires foreign investment. I state that plainly.”
I say to the honourable member, if he wants to worry about the economic welfare of Essex, he had better get the blessing of his leader, who has stated quite clearly that he doesn’t want Essex or Windsor to encourage international investment or multinational investment into those communities. The member’s leader doesn’t want it -- it’s in Hansard -- but we are going to try to get it for those communities anyway. We care. He’s flag-waving. We’ll create jobs.
Mr. Bounsall: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I might say I am rather surprised that the member for Essex South feels that all the people of Windsor need is a few ballots to eat.
May I ask the Premier to ensure that the administrator of provincial welfare in the Ministry of Community and Social Services communicates with the director of welfare in Windsor to the extent that the provincial funds for welfare will not be cut off if a person is registered at Manpower and is seeing a counsellor and, at this period of 20 per cent unemployment, has as many as three or four job interviews? Will that be satisfactory, rather than the present situation where the welfare administrator in Windsor feels they still must have five job interviews a day? This is particularly important inasmuch as the last two months’ increase in unemployment has been in the service industry, notably among restaurant workers.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I must say I’m a little confused. When the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini) asked a question of the Minister of Industry and Tourism, I thought we were on to a new question. I guess this is a supplementary.
I will discuss this with the minister, who is present in the House and who has already heard the question the member has asked.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Health. Is the minister aware that 85 per cent of the anaesthetists in the city of Toronto have opted out of the Ontario Health Insurance Plan and that, at the Mount Sinai Hospital, anaesthetists are giving patients a sheet which says, “There is no obligation for any doctor to accept the OHIP schedule as payment for services rendered or, indeed, to prenotify a patient that he will not accept it”?
Given the fact that this statement by the anaesthetists flagrantly violates the guidelines announced by the minister in this House on March 29 -- the understanding between the Ontario Medical Association and the government -- which said the patient should be informed in advance and should not have to pay extra if not informed in advance, will the minister act now to protect patients in the province by requiring that no anaesthetist can bill over the OHIP rates?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I would have to say that of all the various branches of medicine, the one that has the most difficulty in dealing with the question of prior notification is anaesthesia. There’s no question that, of the complaints we’ve had in the last year, the bulk of those have been about anaesthesia
We’ve been in touch with the hospitals ourselves, and through the Ontario Medical Association and the Ontario Hospital Association, about the question of working between the boards and their medical staffs to ensure notice. In fact, we’ve recently been in touch with them again.
One of the things we are pursuing, to address this particular problem, is to develop and offer an alternative to anaesthetists for compensation to what we have at present, which is a choice between opting in and opting out.
Let me tell the honourable member as well -- and I’m not sure what the percentage would be in Metropolitan Toronto, but unquestionably the percentage of opted-out anaesthetists is high -- that the percentage of opted-out bills by anaesthetists relative to the number of physicians is much lower. In fact, when one looks at the opted-out figures in total there is something like 17.3 per cent of physicians opted out at the present time, but only a little more than eight per cent of all the bills are opted out. That’s actually the operative number I think we should be concentrating on.
Yes, I’m aware of the problem, and we are taking steps to try to alleviate it. That particular one I wasn’t aware of, although I had spoken with the administrator of that hospital several months ago and felt after that they had put in place a means of notifying patients so they were aware of their rights. I’ll follow that up with that particular hospital.
Mr. Cassidy: I could give the Minister of Health a specific example. Is the minister not concerned about Crystal Reilly of Oshawa, who had an operation at Sunnybrook Hospital, here in Metro Toronto, on February 12, 1980? She asked her family doctor in the hospital beforehand if everything would be covered by OHIP and she was assured that everything would be paid by OHIP, but she now faces a bill for $56 from the anaesthetist.
Is he not concerned about that fact? What action will he take in that particular case, or in similar cases, where people who sought to find out that they would be covered by OHIP now are facing extra billing by the anaesthetists? Surely the government should step in to ensure that those people who sought to defend their rights should not be so charged.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I’m glad to have that information. As the member knows, we have endeavoured to direct patients and physicians to make use of the Ontario Medical Association’s hot line and the service they have provided. I’ll be glad to give the member a copy of a recent letter I’ve had from the president of the OMA bringing us up to date on the number of inquiries they’ve had and the progress they’ve made in that regard.
I have to say that, where we’re successful in getting people to go through that service, it seems these problems can be resolved. I will certainly have that particular one locked into, and I’m sure it can be resolved as all the others have been.
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Instead of all this hot-line business, which may or may not work in certain instances, does the minister not recognize -- and I detect some feeling that perhaps he does -- that anaesthesia is in a different circumstance? In point of fact, the anaesthetist is not chosen on a doctor-patient basis in the usual way but is usually assigned on a rotational basis in the hospital. There is very little contact in terms of an ongoing doctor-patient relationship, and in some ways it’s much more analogous to pathology or radiology in many cases.
Isn’t the minister therefore ready to say that the anaesthetists should be paid on a salary basis, as are pathologists or laboratory specialists, or on a totally opted-in basis depending on how people want to go about it, but that continuing this business of letting anaesthetists opt out en masse, or even individually, probably just isn’t going to work and is going to have to be changed?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: There is no doubt in my mind that the anaesthetists, as I indicated a few minutes ago, are in a unique position because of the fact that in many cases, if not most cases, they don’t know -- sometimes even when they go into the hospital -- who is going to be next on the table, so to speak, that they’re going to be serving.
Perhaps the honourable member didn’t hear what I said before, but we have developed and are developing an alternative payment mechanism for anaesthetists which we will be offering to anaesthetic groups and which, basically, would take them completely out of the whole question of opting in or opting out and would, in effect, be a contract for anaesthetic services in hospitals. We believe this will be acceptable to anaesthesia groups in all respects, in terms of professional principles, ethics and income. We have one group in the province now on such a contract.
The members may be familiar with the principle in as much as it’s applied in a number of hospitals for emergency services. I think we have about 12 now where groups of physicians in particular hospitals, such as the Wellesley, Toronto General, Sick Kids’, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Sunnybrook, and so forth, contract with the ministry to provide 24-hour coverage for medical services in emergencies. It’s that kind of a principle we are going to extend to anaesthetists, and am confident it will be well received.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since the minister is effectively acknowledging that there are difficulties with anaesthetists, and since he is saying that a payment mechanism is going to replace the present one in cases where anaesthetists actually agree, will he give an assurance to the House that the effect of this payment mechanism will be to ensure that in every hospital in the province patients will get universal anaesthetist care without having to pay extra?
Will he assure this House, in other words, that in future no patient will have to pay extra in order to have anaesthesia when he goes into a hospital in Ontario for an operation under the Ontario Health Insurance Plan?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: It is certainly our intent and our goal to ensure that every patient will have access to those services at the OHIP rates.
Mr. Cassidy: That’s not universality.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: With respect, I believe it is. We believe that the process I have just outlined is a means whereby we can achieve that without having to use what I think the member variously described in 1979 as Draconian measures. It’s a technique which, I think, will be to everyone’s satisfaction.
PUBLIC OPINION POLLS
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Premier about polls, strangely enough. While the Premier has indicated that there hasn’t been any partisan advantage, I can tell him, from reading the polls on those evenings he thought I should be doing other things, they certainly give the government a certain partisan advantage in covering everything in Ontario, particularly the ones taken by the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs and the research report for the government of Ontario, the Goldfarb one for $60,000 --
Mr. Speaker: You said you had a question?
Mr. T. P. Reid: In the Globe and Mail there was a report that read: “Last fall, Ontario officials warned the Clark entourage that, based on their polls, the federal Conservative government would be playing with fire if it ignored Ontario’s feelings on energy.” Which is in this report, amongst other comments. Can the Premier reassure us again that the information in these polls hasn’t been used for the Conservative Party provincially and certainly for the Conservative Party federally?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I can give the honourable member absolute assurance that in neither case have they been used.
Mr. Laughren: I have a question for the Premier --
Hon. Mr. Davis: There are other ministers here.
Mr. Laughren: I know, but we have tried the others in this case.
Given the government’s statement often that there is going to be more encouragement of the processing of minerals in Ontario, how can the Premier explain the cabinet decision, through an order in council last July, to give Falconbridge Nickel Mines Limited a 10-year exemption on processing its minerals here, given the fact that, if they do export the allowed amount of 100 million pounds per year of nickel copper matte, that will represent 16 per cent of Ontario’s nickel copper matte?
Before the Premier gets all his information from the minister, I would remind him that I did try to get a sensible answer from the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Auld), but that was impossible. I would like the Premier to tell us how he justifies that kind of policy.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I would be quite happy to have that question directed to the Minister of Natural Resources, who is fully knowledgeable and who would reread to the honourable member the letter he has already sent which contains a full explanation of the rationale.
Mr. Laughren: Surely, on a matter of such importance, the Premier should be able to justify a cabinet decision of that significance, given the number of jobs it is costing Ontario.
I would ask the Premier as well, since in the last budget his Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) brought into place regulations that allowed Falconbridge to charge its Norwegian processing costs against its Ontario profits, if the Premier would table in this Legislature the amount of money that writing off those costs against Ontario operations has cost Ontario taxpayers.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Actually we have debated this issue before in the House, and I don’t think we will --
Mr. Martel: Ten years ago.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s right; we have debated it for a number of years and there will be a continuing difference of opinion as to what should be done in the best economic interests of the people that the honourable members represent and the economy of this province.
The answer is very simple: In the judgement of the government we are doing what is best in the interest of the people of that part of the province and the economy generally. The honourable member can disagree with that; I know he thinks we are wrong. We think we are right and we are prepared to discuss it.
The Minister of Natural Resources says he thought he had the honourable member convinced, but he is going to bring the letter tomorrow and he is going to make a full statement to try to explain it to him again.
Mr. Martel: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The order in council granting the exemption reads in part: “Whereas the capacity of existing refining facilities in Canada is inadequate to refine the applicant’s nickel copper matte and the construction of new facilities is presently economically unfeasible...”
Can the Premier tell me when, under the government’s policy, we can expect the creation of a refinery in Sudbury; when it is going to be economically feasible for Falconbridge, which, by the way, is owned by Superior Oil, a small multinational; and when he is going to stop granting this type of exemption, which has been going on since 1969, so that we derive the benefit of those 2,400 jobs in the Sudbury basin?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, that really is part of the answer to the question the honourable member’s colleague asked just a few moments ago. It is an important matter, and I think it would be only wise -- the Minister of Natural Resources is never reluctant to make a statement -- for him to explain it to the members of the House tomorrow morning at approximately 10:05.
LAMBTON TEACHERS’ STRIKE
Mr. Blundy: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Education. In view of the fact that the teachers’ strike in Lambton county is now in its seventh week, and given the fact that the following week is the traditional spring break, will the minister agree to introduce legislation to legislate the teachers back to school in time for March 24 resumption?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I was pleased at noon today, in the company of the member for Sarnia, (Mr. Blundy) and the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson), to meet with a group of representative students from the Lambton area and some representatives of the Citizens’ Action Committee.
I would like first to say I took particular pride in the quality of the students representing the Lambton area student body. They were excellent young people who had prepared a very interesting brief which they are going to present to the external review committee studying Bill 100.
They presented their concerns very clearly, and I explained to them that the Education Relations Commission has, within the past 48 hours, appointed a special strike task force, a mediation group such as was appointed in the Peel elementary teachers’ dispute and which was so successful in that dispute. That group is ready at this point to meet with the teachers and the board in the Lambton area. We should be optimistic that they will find a solution to that problem.
I promised them very sincerely that I would seriously consider the concerns and points of view which they had expressed, their point of view specifically being that they would like to get back to school. I sympathize with them wholeheartedly, and I would have to say when both sides in that dispute are ready to assume the responsibility which is theirs under the act, I believe that dispute could be resolved within 24 hours. It is my aspiration that is precisely what they will do.
Mr. Blundy: In the event that by the end of the spring break the mediation panel or team has not been successful, would the minister consider legislating them back at that time?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: When the fate of the young people of this province is in any kind of situation of insecurity, then one must always consider such possibilities. But it is really the responsibility of those parties to the dispute to find the solution. They have the capability, they have all of the assistance they need from the Education Relations Commission and I think we should be urging them to get on with it.
Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Given the report from the Toronto secondary school teachers’ strike of a couple of years ago which clearly showed that at this point the grades 12 and 13 students were negatively affected by that strike, how much longer can the minister let this one go on?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the honourable member recognizes the fact that the Education Relations Commission is monitoring the situation and will report to me as soon as it feels there is a problem related to the educational program. I expect to receive that report very shortly from the Education Relations Commission.
FRENCH-LANGUAGE SCHOOL IN PENETANGUISHENE
Mr. Samis: I have a new question for the Minister of Education, Mr. Speaker.
Since the minister’s proposal for temporary classrooms was clearly rejected by the francophone parents in Penetanguishene last night, can the minister tell the House what she now intends to do to resolve the long-standing problem? Can she tell us what her position is on the proposed sharing plan adopted by the parents last night as a temporary compromise, and can she tell us what consultations she intends to undertake with the parents as a result of last night’s meeting?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, under the Education Act the responsibility for the provision of educational programs and facilities is, of course, that of the board.
It is my understanding that the French-language advisory committee of the Simcoe county board will be meeting with the board this evening to make a proposal to hear the board’s response to that proposal.
I shall await with interest the response of the board to the proposals which are made and the report of the discussion which takes place.
Mr. Samis: Can the minister tell us if it is still her position that she is opposed to the idea of a distinctive separate French-language secondary school in Penetanguishene as the ultimate solution to the aspirations of the francophone community?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I think the honourable member is misconstruing in some way the proposal, the position and the policy of this government, which since 1969 has been in support of the expansion of French-language secondary school programs.
The very clear direction which was given on October 5 in the expansion of that kind of program has been pursued vigorously by a number of school boards in whose jurisdictions there are mixed-language schools. We have a fairly clear consideration of this matter by those school boards. We have been informed by seven boards that they intend to move to a separate facility for a homogeneous French-language secondary school, and they are providing the proposals which they are developing within that framework. The response generally across the province to that restatement of our policy has been positive, supported widely, and is working very well.
We have proposed in Penetanguishene a facility which will provide the French-language students with a French milieu, which has been their proposal all along. There are a number of schools within this province -- all, I have to say, English-language schools -- functioning in equal circumstances to the proposal which was made for the Penetanguishene addition to St. Joseph’s School. It is an appropriate mechanism for the short term in order to determine in actual fact what the size of the student body will be in that situation.
Mr. Roy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker. May I ask the minister why she would take such a reactionary approach towards the construction of a homogeneous French-language school in Penetanguishene when, at the same time, there seems to be no objection to the construction of an English-speaking school in Rockland for fewer students?
Why would she impose a criterion on Penetanguishene that she would not impose on the Rockland school? Is her policy, which I call reactionary since she has been Minister of Education, based at all on the recent poll taken in early 1979, saying that Ontarians think there is enough done for francophones in this province?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: The Ministry of Education took no polls in 1979 or in the last half of 1978. The Ministry of Education has taken no poll.
Mr. Laughren: You knew about them.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I am sorry, Mr. Speaker; I withdraw that. We were part of a Gallup poll which related to general attitudes regarding education and which was conducted through a number of provinces and in several states. Those are the only polls which the Ministry of Education has been involved in. That was a national poll.
I would have to say to the honourable member I think he is being misled somewhat by a newspaper account. The school in Rockland is being built for approximately 285 students who have been bused for the last several years more than 30 miles in order to achieve an elementary education. These are students from grades one to seven and not secondary school students. They have been bused for a number of years, and the number is obviously significant. The board in that area, along with the English-language advisory committee, agreed that a school was necessary, and that proposal was supported by the Ministry of Education.
The board at Simcoe county agrees some action needs to be taken, but it is not sure of the numbers and feels very strongly that we should ensure there is a provision for the extension of a full secondary school educational program for francophone students. It has asked for our assistance, and we have been trying to provide that assistance.
If that position is reactionary -- well I am very disturbed to feel that would be the kind of response that would be made.
DISTRICT OF PARRY SOUND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. I would like to know whether the minister has received the motion duly passed by the southern part of the Georgian Bay archipelago and by the northern part of the archipelago, asking for permission to amalgamate the two townships into one municipality? If so, what has his response been to that request?
Hon. Mr. Wells: The answer to the question is yes, I have received a motion from the township of Georgian Bay South Archipelago which unanimously asked for amalgamation of the townships and a motion from the township of Georgian Bay North Archipelago, on a majority vote, asking for amalgamation. I received those quite a number of weeks ago.
I have fully studied the matter. I have met with the reeve of the northern township and I have listened to many people who have given me some advice and told me what should be done and so forth. As my friend will recall, we also debated this matter at great length in this House before the turn of the year. I have now decided I am going to sign an order to amalgamate the two townships into one, effective April 1 of this year.
Mr. Epp: In view of the minister’s promise that he intends to amalgamate the two and in view of the fact he’s going to have to fire one of the reeves duly elected by the people of the archipelago, because there are two townships and each of them elected their councils and each has an elected reeve, I would like to ask him how he reconciles the fact these people were elected by the local citizens for a three-year term with the fact he’s going to have to fire one of the reeves? How does he reconcile the fact he is going to have to give them a joint municipality when the people elected two separate municipal councils?
Hon. Mr. Wells: First of all, I would like to remind my friend that this House inserted a clause in its legislation that provided that if a majority of the councils after their official inauguration asked for amalgamation, the minister was given the power to make an order that would provide for that amalgamation.
Mr. Epp: After the first election.
Hon. Mr. Wells: No. With great respect, it didn’t say after the first term or at any time. It said we could make the order after we received motions from each of those councils. We have received duly constituted legal motions from each of the councils asking for this.
No one is going to be fired. The order will make provision for the election by the new council, which will be made up of all the members of the councils of both of the townships. It will provide that they may choose between the two reeves who now hold the position of reeve in the north and south areas. They may choose one of those people to be the reeve and the person not elected as reeve will be come the deputy reeve for the term of office, which goes until the end of November 1982. Those two people will be able to serve in those capacities. While one of them is not going to be able to serve as a full reeve, he will be serving as a deputy reeve of a larger combined township, and all the people elected will have the opportunity to serve the residents of that area in a way that I think the residents wish to be served.
Ms. Bryden: I have a question for the Premier in the absence of the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Parrott).
In view of the fact the speech from the throne announced that all major municipal projects would be brought under the Environmental Assessment Act by regulation very shortly, will the Premier extend the benefits of the throne speech promise to the citizens of Ajax and save them the high cost of continuing a court case on the validity of the present hearings on the proposed industrial waste disposal plant there?
Will he ask the Minister of the Environment to use his clear power under section 35 of the Environmental Assessment Act to order the Ajax hearings to be under the Environmental Assessment Act?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I will be delighted to discuss this with the Minister of the Environment when he is back and communicate to the honourable member.
Ms. Bryden: In view of the fact the court hearings on the validity of the case will take place tomorrow morning, if he wishes to avoid that unnecessary court action which will cost the citizens anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000, it is essential that the order bringing the hearing under the Environmental Assessment Act be made today. There must be some minister who is acting for the Minister of the Environment who could issue that order today, just as he issued an order yesterday declaring it under the Environmental Protection Act. There is a clear choice in the legislation for the Minister of the Environment to choose either the Environmental Protection Act or the Environmental Assessment Act.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I must say to the honourable member I can’t give her that assurance this afternoon.
Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired, but I will hear a supplementary from the member for Huron-Bruce simply because it is being taken as notice; so if you want to put it, it can be answered with the other two.
Mr. Gaunt: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I will make it short.
Does the Premier have any idea when the regulations as set out on page 15 of the throne speech will be coming before the Legislature for perusal?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am not sure really that is a supplementary, but --
Mr. Gaunt: It has to do with --
Hon. Mr. Davis: I know what it has to do with. I just wonder whether it really is a supplementary. I would assure the honourable member that, in the co-operative spirit I feel coming from him, I will do my best to get that information for him.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition addressed to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“We, the undersigned, being of sound mind” --
Mr. Warner: These are my constituents; they must be of sound mind. If they weren’t of sound mind, they wouldn’t vote for me.
“We, the undersigned, being of sound mind and owners of units within the confines of York Condominium Corporation Number 81, situated in the province of Ontario, borough of Scarborough, 2 Glamorgan Avenue, do hereby declare that we are opposed to the implementation of section 56(8) of Bill 103, Condominium Act, 1978, which reads as follows: ‘Each corporation shall pay to the bureau Condominium Ontario an annual fee in the amount prescribed by regulation for each unit comprising the property and shall file such information and material as is prescribed by the regulations.’”
It is signed by 186 petitioners who require action from this government.
ONTARIO HOUSING CORPORATION
Mr. Warner: I have another petition, Mr. Speaker. These people are also of sound mind. This petition is also to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario:
“We, the undersigned, protest any change in OHC policies which would result in higher rents, or people who presently qualify for OHC being forced to move out.”
It is signed by 225 constituents of sound mind.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT
Mr. Villeneuve from the standing committee on resources development presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bills with certain amendments:
Bill 202, An Act respecting Occupiers’ Liability;
Bill 203, An Act to protect against Trespass to Property.
Mr. Speaker: Shall these bills be ordered for third reading?
Ordered for third reading
STANDING COMMITTEE ON GENERAL GOVERNMENT
Mr. McCaffrey from the standing committee on general government presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bill with certain amendments:
Bill 3, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974.
Mr. Speaker: Shall this bill be ordered for third reading?
Ordered for committee of the whole House.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that tomorrow, Friday, March 14, when this House adjourns at 1 p.m., it stand adjourned until March 24, at the regular hour.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
DRAINAGE AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Henderson moved first reading of Bill 2, An Act to amend the Drainage Act, 1975,
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Miss Stephenson moved first reading of Bill 4, An Act to regulate the Granting of Degrees.
Motion agreed to.
MUNICIPALITY OF METROPOLITAN TORONTO AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Wells moved first reading of Bill 5, An Act to amend the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, this bill is similar to Bill 153, which died on the Order Paper at the end of the fall session. It, of course, concerns the Toronto Islands and is exactly the same as the former bill except that several dates in the bill have been changed.
DURHAM MUNICIPAL HYDRO-ELECTRIC SERVICES AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Welch moved first reading of Bill 6, An Act to amend the Durham Municipal Hydro-Electric Services Act, 1979.
Motion agreed to.
WELFARE UNITS REPEAL ACT
Hon. Mr. Norton moved first reading of Bill 7, An Act to repeal the Welfare Units Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, this bill will repeal the Welfare Units Act, first enacted in 1948, which provided for a form of the delivery of welfare assistance. The act now has become redundant since the functions provided for in it have been assumed by municipalities under the General Welfare Assistance Act and the District Welfare Administration Boards Act.
ONTARIO HUMAN RIGHTS CODE AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. B. Newman moved first reading of Bill 8, An Act to amend the Ontario Human Rights Code.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to prevent discrimination on the basis of a physical handicap where that handicap does not reasonably preclude the performance of a particular employment.
“Physical handicap” means a physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement which is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and includes epilepsy, diabetes and any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment or physical reliance on a seeing-eye dog, wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device.
CONSUMER PROTECTION AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. B. Newman moved first reading of Bill 9, An Act to amend the Consumer Protection Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, this bill requires that every product offered for sale by a retailer and marked with the universal product code must also be clearly marked with its individual purchase price.
MORTGAGORS’ RELIEF ACT
Mr. Renwick moved first reading of Bill 10, An Act to provide Temporary Relief to Mortgagors of Residential Property in Ontario.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to extend the validity of any residential mortgage due to expire before March 31, 1981, until that date.
CITIZENS’ COMPLAINTS PROCEDURE ACT
Mr. Warner moved first reading of Bill 11, An Act to provide a Procedure for Reviewing Citizens’ Complaints concerning Police Conduct in the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to provide a procedure for reviewing citizens’ complaints concerning police conduct in the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto. The bill places every police officer under a duty to exercise his authority as a police officer in a manner consistent with the diligent performance of his duties and respectful of the rights, liberties, inherent dignity and reputation of every citizen.
Complaints concerning police conduct are to be dealt with by a registrar of citizens’ complaints and a citizens’ complaints tribunal appointed by the council of the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.
The bill provides for mediation concerning a dispute or for the hearing of a complaint by the citizens’ complaint tribunal. After holding a hearing under the act, the tribunal will report its findings to the police chief, the metropolitan board of commissioners of police and the metropolitan council.
CULT REGULATION ACT
Mr. Sweeney moved first reading of Bill 12, An Act to monitor and regulate the activities of Cults and Mind Development Groups.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, this is substantially the same bill as Bill 191, which was introduced in the last session, and it is being introduced at this point in time.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
THRONE SPEECH DEBATE
Consideration of the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.
Mr. Cureatz moved that a humble address be presented to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor as follows:
To the Honourable P. M. McGibbon, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario:
May it please Your Honour, we, Her Majesty’s most dutiful and loyal subjects, the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario, now assembled, beg leave to thank Your Honour for the gracious speech Your Honour has addressed to us.
Mr. Cureatz: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and a privilege for me to move this speech from the throne marking the opening of the fourth session of Ontario’s 31st Parliament. Might I say it is only fitting as well for me to take this opportunity to express thanks on behalf of the members of this House to you as our Speaker. Your role is of great importance in our proceedings and you carry it with skill and commitment to the democratic spirit behind the rules and orders which govern our debate.
Might I digress for a moment, Mr. Speaker, on a personal note that affects you and me? My wife, Kathy, and I had the lovely opportunity of spending a couple of days in Goderich, in the riding of Huron-Bruce. We spent some time at the Benmiller Inn, a great establishment which I would suggest to you and other members of the House at any time, Mr. Speaker.
For something different one evening, I decided to turn on the television; lo and behold, who was there but you, Mr. Speaker, examining your rock collection. I didn’t realize you had such a large rock collection. It looked very interesting. I thought it was most appropriate for that part of the country, that instead of showing some interest in hockey games, winter Olympics, or even our own illustrious Premier or Minister of Energy, there was the Speaker of the House.
I must say it was an enjoyable program.
Mr. Foulds: His rocks are more interesting than your comments.
Mr. Cureatz: I was going to say at first I thought it was a comparison between your rock collection and your examination between home and coming here and examining the members of the Legislature, but in time I found out it was a comparison and an evaluation of your job. I might add I’m sure many members here would take some interest in that program. It was most fulfilling and gratifying. I might say it actually brought the odd tear to my eye. The camera journeyed with you throughout your riding, and you were solving many problems we all encounter with constituents. I was most impressed.
I might conclude by saying we’re very confident of the continuing well-done job you’ll be doing, notwithstanding that the Leader of the Opposition is trying to promote an election.
The only other problem I have in regard to the program is that if I were living in your riding I must confess I would have to think seriously about voting for you, Mr. Speaker.
I would also like to express a word of gratitude to Her Honour, the Lieutenant Governor. I’m sure I speak for all the members of this House in humbly expressing thanks and appreciation to Her Honour for her service to the citizens of Ontario, in particular, during the past year in which she graciously accepted an extension of her term of office. I just want to add that Her Honour has been present in my riding many times, and, I think we could all say she has added a degree of charm to her job; indeed, we’re very pleased that she has accepted an extension of her term of office.
Let me become a little more specific, Mr. Speaker. I’m very confident you’ll be listening very closely to my remarks and you won’t be thinking about your rock collection.
Perhaps it might be said that the role of Speaker reflects the need for self-control and a sense of responsibility to principles and to other people which are necessary accompaniments to our freedom if we are to use it wisely and preserve it.
Surely no one in this Legislature can disagree that the speech from the throne reflected precisely a balance of freedom and responsibility, for example, in urging Ontarians to adopt greater self-reliance in response to changing energy supply, or in asking this House to consider measures to upgrade the province’s already excellent agricultural productivity.
These measures, and the many others presented in the speech from the throne, reflect essentially the attitude of a government that responds to the people by leading, where necessary, in the never-ending quest to preserve our freedom. It does not pretend that the government can do everything; far from it. I think we all agree on that. We have never tried to lull the people of Ontario into a sense of unreality about their freedoms and responsibilities.
I have great admiration for the leadership of this government in that it offers to help people find a way to work out their own destinies. It does not pretend to know, or to try to dictate, what form the individual destinies of our citizens ought to take. It serves only to remind them that our fates are determined largely by our own efforts and our own work. How fortunate we are in Ontario to be able to see those efforts bear fruit that benefits all of us directly. How fortunate we are to realize that our own efforts can help us achieve greater self-reliance and self-sufficiency.
We are fortunate, too, in being able to foresee the day when our efforts will bring us to the achievement of security of energy supply. This is, of course, the key to our economic and, thus, our political freedom. As we move away from dependence on outside sources of supply, of crude oil in particular, we can anticipate a number of developments in the energy area.
It was my privilege to serve on the select committee of Ontario Hydro affairs when it deliberated the issue of nuclear energy. I am pleased to see that other members who sat on that committee are also in attendance here this afternoon. This province is fortunate to be in the forefront of development of that tremendous power source. We not only have the proven human expertise and the facilities in place to exploit nuclear power, but we also have an abundant supply of the fuel source, uranium. We must never overlook that.
In 1978 alone, the last year for which figures are available, Ontario nuclear plants saved us buying almost nine million metric tonnes of coal from outside the province. That is an annual saving in the order of $400 million. Nuclear energy has great potential to serve us. At present, it provides about 10 per cent of the overall energy used in Ontario. By 1995, the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch) expects that share to double to nearly 20 per cent -- and I know he agrees with me, because he is sitting right here in the House and he acknowledges that.
The Candu nuclear power stations built by Ontario Hydro have already saved more than $1 billion in foreign exchange which we would have spent on oil or other fuels if these stations did not exist. By the year 1990, a mere decade from now, that figure will have grown to $16 billion. That is money saved from the pocketbooks of every man, woman and child in Ontario. For every one of us, of necessity, are consumers of energy for warmth, for transportation, for cooking, washing and for making and delivering goods we manufacture.
Let us export this technology and know-how across the world and show the world how we benefit from it. We have the best and the safest nuclear system in the world, as reflected in the select committee’s report. Our nuclear industry’s safety record is exemplary. In over 60 reactor-years of operation in Ontario, no member of the public has been injured as a result of the operation of nuclear electric plants. This is an enviable record for any industry.
As we move towards the day when we shall be able to depend more heavily on our own sources of energy, I believe we can make some real headway in more efficiently utilizing the energy we consume.
Some experts claim we waste up to 50 per cent of the energy we use. I am not sure if the figure is really that high, but I am glad to see that this government intends to carry on and expand its already massive efforts to wring every bit of power possible out of all the energy we consume.
I am afraid that as a nation we are not doing very well. Canadians remain among the highest users of energy per capita in the world. I imagine part of that consumption can be justified by our climate but, none the less, I am sure there is great potential for saving and greater efficiency.
I cannot emphasize too strongly how important it is for government to encourage energy conservation. We must do this by our own example as well as by carefully designed incentives. Energy conservation is a key aspect of our advance towards greater energy security. The more time and manoeuvring space we can gain by conservation, the more flexibility we will have. It has been shown quite conclusively that substantial energy savings can be brought about by such schemes as turning down thermostats, repairing leaky windows and doors, closing the fireplace damper when not in use and tuning furnaces and automobile engines.
Experience has shown, both in the facilities of this government and in industry and our homes, that simple measures can save hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of energy. We can dramatically improve the efficiency of houses by insulating them better. There are many other examples. We can replace incandescent lighting with fluorescent, where appropriate, in order to obtain the same level of illumination with less electricity.
An industrial example is the development of ceramic heat exchangers to recover heat from high-temperature exhaust gases from the heating of steel billets prior to forging. I am sure the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) would appreciate that, being in the construction industry. This process may cut fuel consumption by as much as 75 per cent, and it is but one of the hundreds of examples of the sort of measures being undertaken throughout our society.
Heat recuperators could cut fuel use by as much as 40 per cent in such processes as heat treating, wire drawing and the manufacturing of cement, glass and pottery.
Tremendous savings in fuel consumption are possible in the transportation sector. We must keep in mind too that requirements for travel may decrease as the new electronic communications technology comes into use. The many devices and techniques of the office of the future will undoubtedly affect energy utilization. Teleconferencing, similar to conference calls with the telephone but using a TV screen as well, may replace a certain amount of travel for meetings and conferences.
Of course, some conservation will be stimulated by rising energy prices. Some will result in better information and a sense of being public-spirited. Information now is being made available on the energy efficiency of various appliances, building materials, vehicles and the like. This effort will help everyone make very wise choices. House buyers have certainly begun to choose in terms of how efficiently homes are being insulated.
I am confident that the government, of which party I am proud to be a member, will help the people of this province in adjusting to the new energy realities that face us today.
Developments in communications and transportation technology have been both rapid and intense. New breakthroughs are being made in urban transportation, in communications by optic fibres and in high-speed rail travel. Much of the success that Ontario has experienced is due in large part to the effective utilization of new technology. The development of the Candu nuclear system is a prime example. We must not remain static and we cannot become complacent.
Mr. Lawlor: Did the honourable member write all those platitudes himself?
Mr. Cureatz: I am so disappointed in the honourable member. The Leader of the Opposition and his colleagues are clamouring for an election. I thought the member and his colleagues finally saw some insight in acknowledging that we don’t want to have an election, but now they are becoming so vicious.
Mr. Foulds: Vicious? You haven’t heard anything yet.
Mr. Cureatz: In addition to that, I went and bought his book. And here he is, sitting across from me. He even signed his book for me. Obviously, there must not be another book in production or else he wouldn’t be treating me that way.
We must not remain static and we cannot become complacent. We must take advantage of these breakthroughs and keep Ontario an attractive place in which to live and do business. Developing and marketing new technology is imperative.
We often take for granted those communications capabilities we have at present. After all, we can pick up a telephone and call practically anywhere in the world. The Toronto area has access to an incredible number of radio and television stations. There are areas in this province where we do not have these advantages and we, as legislators, must endeavour to rectify these problems.
It was with a good deal of interest I listened to the reference in the throne speech to developing satellite communications. The Ontario government’s present involvement in this area should be substantially expanded. There are many communities in northern Ontario which are beyond the range of TV transmitters and cable systems. Some communities are limited to fuzzy and indifferent reception, while others can receive nothing at all. I am sure the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) would agree with that. I know on occasion while visiting northern Ontario, where I have relatives in Wawa -- the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) isn’t here -- I felt TV reception could be increased. I am so pleased the speech from the throne indicated that commitment.
As energy costs rise and pollution becomes more of a factor in today’s world, we see new opportunities in transportation as well, especially in urban transit. The Ontario government has long been committed to developing new ideas through the Urban Transportation Development Corporation. The UTDC has been responsible for improving energy conservation, reducing noise and raising comfort levels in urban transportation design. These are products we will be able to use not only in Canada but also throughout the world.
The UTDC has submitted to the transportation authority in London, England, a proposal for replacement vehicles for the London Underground subway system. This type of active design development and marketing will be a big part of Ontario’s manufacturing sector in the 1980s.
Transportation development in urbanized areas is important, but where this country must improve is in transportation by rail between urbanized areas. To this end, my colleague from Durham West (Mr. Ashe), who, I am confident, is listening in the back lobby, introduced a private member’s resolution urging the electrification of the Windsor-Quebec rail corridor. Unfortunately, it seems we may be a long way from large-scale electrification for a line of that length.
I do find it very encouraging to learn that the Ontario government is participating in a major feasibility study to examine the electrification of the GO train. This type of transportation innovation is viable for continued growth in Ontario. I am so pleased the Minister of Energy and the Premier are here because I know they will be looking forward to the electrification of a possible GO train to places like Oshawa and Bowmanville. That has been increasingly asked for by residents of, I must confess, the riding of Oshawa and my riding of Durham East.
I have had continued correspondence with the Minister of Transportation and Communications. I have just written a letter to the federal minister about the feasibility of cooperating at the provincial and federal levels in the utilization of existing rail lines, if not to a full-scale extension of the GO train service to Oshawa and beyond, then possibly a partial extension, as I believe is already in existence from Toronto to Hamilton. I know we all appreciate the kinds of constraints the provincial government is under at the moment in regard to transportation, but I am concerned that with the increasing price of gasoline we will have to urge residents who commute daily to leave their cars at home.
Unfortunately, I am also a guilty party. Quite often when the House is sitting, I drive. When the House isn’t sitting, I take the train, but with the increasing cost of oil we have to be looking more towards mass commuter service. I think we have a very good commuter service at present in the GO train system. We are always going to be encouraging the government to make strides with its own federal colleagues to implement some kind of program to devise a commuter service from the Oshawa area and beyond.
The establishment of the Ontario task force on provincial rail policy, chaired by my colleague the member for St. David (Mrs. Scrivener), will represent a large step towards finding solutions for energy in transportation problems. I hope so. This committee will examine both passenger and freight transport and will report directly to the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow). This is just another indication of how committed the provincial government is to finding new solutions to changing problems.
One way a government can have a greater impact is by showing leadership and practising what it preaches. The Ontario government’s best example is in economic restraint and good sound money management. But there have been other areas. One of these is a pilot project being run by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications. In an effort to cut down energy consumption and the use of the road system, the ministry has initiated a van-pooling program for its Downsview employees. This is where there are some three to four vans which travel daily from various parts of the province and pick up employees of the ministry. In this way, the employees are not using their own vehicles and we are also reducing the number of vehicles on the road.
Besides the saving in gasoline, other savings are anticipated, such as eliminating 475,000 vehicle-kilometres of travel a year, 17 parking spaces and an average of $600 per year per person in direct out-of-pocket travel expenses. What cannot be measured is the reduction in rush-hour traffic congestion, absenteeism, lateness and company parking spaces.
In these programs, the Ontario government is providing leadership in setting a good example for private industry in the province. If we can show added benefits in money saving for the individual company, the benefits for the province will naturally follow. It makes good sense for the government to encourage such a program as it makes good sense for companies to initiate similar schemes.
The ministry has established an estimate that there are enough potential van commuters in Ontario to keep 1,000 of the mini-buses active. It is felt that for every van, 7.5 cars are left at home. This will have a very real effect on our efforts to meet Ontario’s energy constraints.
Transportation has always played an important role in the development of Ontario. This is a large province, and we have one of the most mobile populations in the world. Because as a province we must import so much of our energy to meet these requirements, we must constantly look for new improvements.
To say that the automobile will always be with us is only to be realistic. Those automobiles may no longer be run on gasoline, but we will have some form of independent transportation. Thus, I was very encouraged to see that this government will seek to ensure the redesign and improvement of the automobile by its manufacturers will receive a high priority. There is no doubt in my mind that if the effort is properly co-ordinated and directed, we will see positive results. Indeed, I believe General Motors in the city of Oshawa and through its Detroit headquarters is at present working on an electric car. I do hope there will be great strides forward on that line.
The 1980s will test the mettle of business, industry and workers in Ontario. Due to the actions taken in the 1970s, economic strategies for this decade, working conditions and opportunities will be improved for all sectors of the economy.
The creation of the Ontario Manpower Commission is an important step in realigning industry needs with the available manpower requirements. By having a body composed of labour, industry and education representatives, important work can be done to evaluate our present programs, measure their effectiveness and determine whatever policy or program changes are necessary.
A number of important areas will be examined by the commission. These include: adult training, career counselling and guidance, mobility, job creation and the collection within the nation of labour market information. Considered efforts from all sources should result in major manpower improvements during the coming decade.
What all of us must remember is that people and skills are not mutually exclusive. Not only do we have an obligation to upgrade our industry by providing skilled labour, we have an obligation to assist the people who are at present working or who are about to enter the work force.
I strongly believe that such initiatives will have a long-term positive impact on Ontario’s economy. I might say, just on the side, that continually from various boards of education, for example, the Durham Board of Education, there is concern that we are lacking in programs with regard to skilled trades. We do hope that the government, industry and labour, through labour unions, will be able to co-ordinate some kind of successful program to initiate skills training in this province so that people from Ontario will be drafted into the labour force on a skilled nature and not on the basis of industry always going to foreign countries and advertising for skilled labour.
Mr. Cureatz: I am so happy that the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) is here to listen to those remarks. She will be getting a letter from the Durham Board of Education in those regards, I am sure, and I am very confident she will be able to find the funding for such programs too.
The 1970s were a decade of change and challenge for women in Ontario, especially for those in the labour force. In January 1969 equal pay legislation for female employees was transferred from the Ontario Human Rights Code to the Employment Standards Act under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Labour. In April 1970 the concept of equal work was extended to cover similar work under the legal definition. As of January 1975 the equal pay section was amended so that all employees would be paid equally for, and I quote, “substantially the same work performed in the same establishment, the performance of which requires substantially the same skills, effort and responsibility, and which is performed under similar working conditions.”
This is excellent legislation for all workers in Ontario since there is no need to prove that a man’s or a woman’s job has to be identical in order for them to be paid equally. Critics of this legislation have said that substantially similar work does not go far enough in solving wage differentials between men and women and I would conditionally agree with this. However, I do not believe that equal value legislation is the answer to this problem but I am confident that continued discussions of all parties on various committees will strive to resolve that difficulty.
Since the mid-1960s the government has been working to find ways to improve conditions for women, both inside and outside the civil service. The women’s bureau, the Ontario Status of Women Council and the women crown employees office have worked long and hard to make all Ontarians aware of the problems facing women and practical ways to solve those problems. They have pointed out to us that elements of discrimination remain within almost all employment sectors. Many employers have initiated their own internal affirmative action programs, as has the government.
To encourage such activity and to work with employers, the Advisory Council on Equal Opportunity for Women was created in 1979 to encourage union-management cooperation on work-related issues affecting women. The situation is not going to change overnight, however. It is not up to this Legislature to legislate attitudes and opinions about female employees; efforts have to be made constantly at all levels in all directions.
Needless to say, continued efforts must also be directed to women themselves so that their incentives and initiatives can be brought to fruition at the individual level. How can one attempt to assess either the positive or negative progress of such far-reaching ideas on the people of Ontario? There are no easy answers and solutions to this problem but the mere fact that people of all ages and backgrounds are talking about women’s issues is, I think, a positive sign that people are indeed aware of the complexity of the problems that face working women today.
During the last week in February, the Minister of Labour announced that 11 new equal pay officers will be added to the field staff of the employment standards branch. This is a tremendous boost in addressing equal pay discrepancies that exist at present. Such rigorous enforcement indicates that strong actions will help women who are either unaware of the legislation or who have been afraid to report pay discrepancies to the ministry. I know that by the end of 1980 the Minister of Labour will be able to report the successful results of the program to this House.
The communications program that accompanies this activity will serve as a reminder to all employers and employees that such discrimination, if found, will be thoroughly investigated and resolved by the employment standards officer. I think this is the type of publicity that will have repercussions in all the employment sectors.
Another example of the government’s action is a program to improve job opportunities within the civil service. This type of implementation gives women a chance to develop further their supervisory and managerial skills. Such skills are invaluable no matter where you work today.
There are plenty of ways by which the wage gap between men and women can be reduced under our present legislation. I have talked to several of my colleagues who sat in on the Bill 3 hearings. They were frustrated about the equal value questions because no one seemed to have any definite ideas on how it would work. Frankly, I think our present legislation can do a lot to solve the inequities in the job market, but I would suggest that we see what can be done first, and in a year or two years’ time all of us should assess the initiatives undertaken by the government. I know that these results will be successful and far-reaching in their effects on working women.
Let me now turn to the question of tourism in Ontario. Like so many other aspects of work and leisure in this province, tourism also came in for its share of attention in the speech from the throne. Population and economic changes will make tourism an increasingly vital and growing worldwide industry.
In 1979 tourism generated $6.6 billion in direct receipts for Ontario, up almost $1 billion from the year before. This means tourism represents about 6.3 per cent of Ontario’s gross provincial product, making it our second biggest industry. Only the automobile industry is more important to Ontario than tourism.
Tourism is also one of the largest employers in Ontario, with some 42,000 firms directly or indirectly providing jobs for the staggering number of 542,000 Ontarians. This means 14.1 per cent of our labour force finds work in tourism on a year-round basis, and it is significant that in the last one and a half to two years the number of jobs provided by tourism has grown by over some 70,000 people.
Here indeed is a vital and growing industry. In fact, tourism is growing so quickly that by the year 2000 it may well be Canada’s leading industry in terms of income generated, employment and export earnings.
The Ministry of Industry and Tourism is making great strides in dealing with the deficit in the tourism balance of payments. In 1978 our deficit was $600 million. The best estimates for 1979 are that we were able to reduce that figure by $120 million to about $480 million.
There are three main reasons for this progress in dealing with the problem of the deficit. The first is that the number of tourists travelling in Ontario is going up. Not only are we seeing a dramatic increase in the number of visitors from overseas, but more Americans and, I might underline, Canadians from other provinces are coming to Ontario as well. Also, the number of Ontarians holidaying in their own province is up too.
Second, tourists in Ontario are spending more money than ever before. Tourism revenue is growing at a much faster rate than the growth in the actual number of tourists visiting Ontario.
The third reason for the improvement in Ontario’s tourism deficit is the decrease in the number of Ontarians holidaying abroad. The numbers of trips Ontarians made to the United States decreased significantly by some seven per cent. Travel to other foreign destinations was down as well.
However, while the future of tourism in Ontario seems to be distinctly rosy, this is not to say that it is not facing certain problems. Let us not forget that Ontario is moving into the major leagues of international tourist competition, so that what might have been good enough in the past may no longer be adequate to attract the top tourist dollars.
Let me give the House an example. Certainly Ontario has no major theme park developments to compete with those springing up all over the United States, parks ranging in size and scale from Crystal Beach and Fantasy Island all the way up to extravaganzas like Disney World.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Like Queen’s Park.
Mr. Cureatz: Yes, and like Queen’s Park, of which you are an honourable member, I might add.
This is a gap in our tourism product that would be only partially filled with the completion of the theme park now being developed north of Toronto near Maple, Ontario.
Too much of Ontario’s tourism product is only seasonal in nature. Everyone knows of tourist operations that are open only during the summer, with hunting and fishing, and others that are ski hills in the winter and nothing else. Tourism is now a year-round industry and our operators must take advantage of this new and growing trend.
The “We treat you royally” program not only made everyone aware of the vital importance of tourism, but also consistently stressed the necessity of treating tourists as guests. Politeness and a smile can make such a difference in satisfying our visitors. All of us have encountered our American neighbours from time to time, either in the city of Toronto or in our own rural communities, quite often when they are lost. I know all members of the Legislature and their families take the initiative by giving assistance to those tourists because we know full well that we appreciate very much those tourist dollars.
The most important challenge facing Ontario’s tourism industry is to upgrade our facility. The tourism redevelopment incentive program is designed to assist operators to renovate old facilities or construct new ones. The program provides $15 million in loan guarantees and $3.5 million in direct funding to help pay for expansion and redevelopment in the tourism sector. The Ontario Development Corporations are also mandated to provide loan guarantees and other assistance to tourist operations.
I know the new program for Ontario’s tourism development in the 1980s mentioned by Her Honour in the throne speech will continue to build on these fine traditions of aid to the tourism sector. I mentioned before that Ontario is now playing in the major leagues of international tourism. Tourism is indeed a worldwide business. This makes marketing especially important here in Canada, the United States and Europe.
I’m quite sure the member for Windsor-Riverside hasn’t had the opportunity of touring out in the region of Durham -- is that where he’s from? Scarborough West -- that’s where the member is from -- and since his by-election he hasn’t been back out to the wonderful region of Durham. That’s the kind of committed tourist the member is for the province of Ontario.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: That’s not true; I have been out three times since. They keep calling me back.
Mr. Cureatz: The fastest-growing segments of our tourism market consist of Ontarians and visitors from overseas. We are our own best customers. Sixty-eight cents out of every tourism dollar is spent by Ontarians. This amount has been growing at a rate of 19 per cent a year since 1972. Logically, then, the speech from the throne was quite correct when it said both domestic marketing and promotion in the European market would be the twin focus in the ministry’s promotional campaigns in the 1980s.
Building on past trends, Ontario will be marketed as a total vacation package. This province has a lot to offer. In every season of the year we can boast of splendid natural beauty, outdoor sports and recreation, fine dining and accommodation, and first-rate Cultural events, all at a reasonable price. I want to underline that, because the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch) isn’t paying attention to these comments about the wonderful attributes of Ontario. If he would stop travelling all over the Caribbean and spend more money here, he would be paying more attention.
Ontario has something for every tourist. It is important for us to take full advantage of it.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Would you repeat that please? Repeat that.
Mr. Cureatz: The minister had better read Hansard. None the less, the heart and soul of our tourism sector is the serene, unspoiled beauty of our own provincial parks. It is all there -- the camping, canoeing, swimming, open fires at night and the wildlife. It’s what most people think of when you mention a vacation in Ontario.
Our provincial parks are one of our greatest tourist resources and we will be taking full advantage of that fact. The Ontario North Now pavilion at Ontario Place is another exciting new initiative that will greatly benefit tourism, especially in northern Ontario.
As a lawyer, I am pleased to see the continued commitment of this government to bring the administration of justice closer to the people. The throne speech refers to the importance of accessibility of the law in legal institutions. The judicial determination of legal rights is not an abstract or academic matter suitable only for a classroom.
The legal matters familiar to most citizens of Ontario are the making of wills or the buying of a house. There are, of course, more complex legal issues involving the criminal aspect or civil litigation in courts. It is absolutely necessary that the people of Ontario have ready access to the courts for efficient and just resolution of disputes. The government is at present conducting a pilot project in Metro Toronto where the small claims courts are replaced with the provincial courts civil division, with the monetary jurisdiction extended to a maximum of $3,000.
We know the existing rules and civil procedure are not well suited to litigation involving small amounts of money. Not only are the existing procedures time-consuming, but the expense involved in suing and getting judgement is often greater than the recovery. Indeed, of anything, I think lawyers have the most problems when telling their clients, if they have a small debt of $500 to $1,000, that it’s not worthwhile to go to court. People feel frustrated. They say: “My goodness, we have lost the money. The man is indeed responsible on this civil matter and we can’t do anything about it.”
On the other side of that coin, of course, and I’m so pleased the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Lawlor) is listening because I know he will appreciate this comment, I think we do have the worry that as the legal process is thrown open we may be infringing on other people’s rights in so far as the supposed defendant in regard to a particular civil action is concerned. But, on the whole, I think we have to make some kind of effort to relieve the burden of procedure in civil matters where small amounts of money are concerned. This is not to say how much small is, but I think $3,000 on this trial program is a good starter.
Mr. Lawlor: Small is beautiful anyway.
Mr. Cureatz: Well, that’s right.
Procedures in the proposed court will be simplified to achieve cost reduction for litigants. The new court will be more accessible to the public and should reduce delays in hearing civil actions. The heavy case load at present carried by the county court will, I hope, be reduced.
I was pleased to note in the throne speech the enlightened attitude of this government towards the victims of crime and certain offenders, particularly young, first-time offenders. The government supports the continued use of community service orders. This is a type of sentence whereby an offender serves his sentence by performing a prescribed number of hours of community service. I might add that in such cases a provision must be made to ensure we avoid the possibility of the offenders taking employment away from law-abiding citizens. I think a happy compromise can be reached there.
It is the hope of the Ministry of Correctional Services to decrease the average daily provincial prison population. Nonviolent petty offenders should not as a rule be sent to prison. Young offenders should accept some responsibility for antisocial behaviour and be held accountable for their actions. They should be required to pay back in some way the community or individual they harmed.
Restitution orders are an appropriate vehicle to allow minor offenders in Ontario to repay fully the victims of their crimes. In view of the high cost of incarceration, significant tax saving is possible if minor offenders are employed under a controlled system of restitution rather than being jailed. These sentencing options available to judges help to re-educate the offender and it is hoped encourage responsible, socially acceptable behaviour.
This government has not overlooked the innocent victims of crime. Too often the victim is the forgotten person, the odd person out in crime situations. It seems society has turned to the interest of the offender at the expense of the victim. At present, this government is involved in a trial project to help innocent victims of crime. Volunteers help to clean up property damage, call up the victim’s friends and relatives, help out with insurance claims and applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board and try to collect restitution money awarded by the court. Initiatives taken by this government have placed this province in the forefront of one of the newest areas of sentencing procedures. There should be justice for the victims of crime no less than just treatment of the offenders.
I am sure the events in Mississauga last fall, particularly the orderly and efficient evacuation, filled us with pride and respect for all those individuals involved.
Mr. M. N. Davison: What did you think of the Attorney General’s role?
Mr. Cureatz: I was more impressed by the member for Simcoe Centre (Mr. G. Taylor) when he asked the Attorney General who was responsible for disasters. I thought that was an appropriate question of the Attorney General.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Yes, but you didn’t answer my question.
Mr. Cureatz: It was not possible then, nor is it now, to say enough about the performance of the police and fire departments, as well as the co-operation of the citizens themselves. In order to be adequately prepared in the event of a future disaster of such a type, the province is conducting a detailed review of the matter so that contingency plans will be in existence should they ever be needed. Ontario will be as well prepared as any province in Canada to handle such a catastrophe.
Past events in Metropolitan Toronto have indicated the potential need for a more satisfactory process for citizens’ complaints concerning police conduct. In response to concern about this matter, the government will reintroduce a bill to improve the processing of complaints by the public against the police. A pilot project will be established in Toronto and a commissioner will be appointed to review the handling of complaints against the police force.
I am sure all the members of this Legislature join the government in expressing support for the police in maintaining public order and in the protection of society. It is trite to say that being a police officer is not an easy job. In an increasingly complex society, impartial enforcement of law and order is of all importance.
I had the opportunity to listen to a speech given by the chief of police of the region of Durham, John Jenkins, at brotherhood community night in which he indicated that although police do have a hard and difficult mandate, he is relying on those residents of the community about whom we hear nothing, the solid citizens who are not complaining about civil rights and the like, who happen to give support quietly and subtly. The chief commented how encouraged he was, continually, by residents coming up and thanking him and the police for the kinds of jobs they perform in our society.
As an indication of this government’s concern that all citizens of Ontario have ready access to the courts, I cite the advances in the provision of French language court services. Now, any person charged in Ontario with an offence under the Criminal Code will be entitled to be tried by a bilingual judge or a bilingual jury, although a change of venue may be necessary. The Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) has recently appointed a co-ordinator of French-language services to oversee the implementation of these provisions.
The statute translation branch of the Ministry is involved in translations of individual Ontario statutes. For example, the Family Law Reform Act, 1978, which I’m sure we’re all familiar with, is now completely translated into French. French-language proceedings are now available in the provincial court, family division, in certain designated areas of the province. The throne speech indicated that French-language court services are still being expanded and that certain small claims courts will be designated for bilingual trials.
In addition to these procedural improvements, it will now be possible for certain counties or districts to grant letters probate without a translation of wills made in the French language. Previously, an English translation was required and problems sometimes arose concerning the correctness of the translation, the intention of the deceased and which version of the will was acceptable.
Indeed, I’m so pleased that we’re making these strides in the Attorney General’s field. I do hope the member for Simcoe Centre is able to alleviate some of the problems he’s encountering with the French school up there. He’s had a lot of concerns, I’m sure, from parents and constituents on both sides of that problem.
I strongly support the measures brought forward in the speech from the throne. This government intends to serve its people well during this year, and I’m sure this year will last out, as it has served them for the entire time it has been in office. It is a government dedicated to the best for Ontario, to dignity, freedom and self-reliance. Indeed, it is the government that will ensure strong leadership.
I thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I’m confident that the member for Oriole will further comment on some aspects of the speech from the throne.
Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, I’m indeed pleased to have the privilege of seconding the motion for endorsing the speech from the throne today, in concert with my colleague the member for Durham East.
I wish at this time to echo the sentiments of my colleague with regard to his complimentary remarks directed toward Her Honour the Lieutenant Governor.
Further, I wish as well to compliment Mr. Speaker and the Deputy Speaker for past efforts in the last session of the House. I think all members of the Legislature have indeed been most impressed by the objective and fair disposition of House business. At most times, I would say, the Speaker has been able to maintain reasonable decorum within these chambers, and that’s not always an easy thing to accomplish. I do compliment Mr. Speaker, and I believe I speak for all the members of the House when I say we look forward this session to working with Mr. Speaker in carrying out the business of the government.
I mean sincerely what I said when I opened by stating I was delighted to have the opportunity to second the speech from the throne. I have never been so enthused before now about a speech from the throne as I am about the one we have before us for consideration and debate in the ensuing few days. I think it is, indeed, one of the most constructive, gung-ho speeches I’ve heard in many years.
My only reservation and concern is whether I will be able to address myself to all of the matters contained within the throne speech by Monday, March 24. I believe that’s the date on which the debate is to wind up and I’m going to be, indeed, hard-pressed to meet that objective but I’ll do my utmost. I think it is attainable if we don’t have too many interruptions from my friends and colleagues on the opposite side of the chamber.
With that introductory comment I’d like to make some general observations with regard to the speech from the throne before I get into some of the specific areas of particular concern and interest to myself as well as, I know, to many of the other members of the Legislature.
Mr. Lawlor: I don’t know how you can contain yourself long enough to get around to it.
Mr. Williams: It is very difficult to contain myself. As the member for Lakeshore can appreciate, when we have so much substance and material to work with, the enthusiasm that emerges is hard to contain. I will try to deal with these matters as calmly and in as orderly a way as possible.
The initial comments I received on leaving the chamber after Her Honour had presented her speech to the Legislature were to the effect that it appeared, again, to set a record for length and set out a very comprehensive government program. There is no question it was a lengthy speech but what I look to, and I think what most of us really have to consider, is the substance and the quality of the speech. It’s without fear of contradiction that I say this has to be one of the most substantive and qualitative speeches ever presented in this chamber. That is why I’m so enthused about rising this afternoon to participate in this discussion and debate.
There is no question that the speech had major ingredients that one cannot really quarrel with, as has been indicated by the leader of the third party. It was a positive speech, one that contained constructive proposals that recognize and are prepared to deal with current problems whether they be economic or social. It was an imaginative speech, there is no question about that, because it spells out very clearly initiatives that this government is prepared to take to reinforce and substantiate the programs that have been in place for some time or that have been newly brought on stream.
We will, through this direction, be reinforcing the existing and proven programs of this government and, of course, it’s quite clear to all members of this House and to the public at large that the speech itself was all-encompassing, covering the broad and diverse social, economic and geographic areas of this vast province.
At the same time, while the speech was both positive and imaginative, it was also realistic. One of the reasons, I guess, that this government has been sustained for such a long time is because the programs it has brought forth during its terms in office have been programs of realistic policies, designed to meet the fiscal limitations that are imposed upon us at all times. It’s very easy for members of the opposition to be critical of the government in not implementing programs quickly enough. Many of the programs that they suggest are really not new ones at all. They are, rather, programs that the government has indicated it will introduce in the full passage of time, based on financial limitations and recognizing that, as the government, it has the responsibility of setting the priorities.
I was delighted that my colleague from Durham East, as a rural member, had highlights in his speech directed to the agricultural initiatives that are going to be taken by our Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson). While I speak as an urban member, I don’t think that in any way disqualifies me from making some comment on the agricultural program, albeit it may be general in nature.
I simply want to reinforce the comments that have been made and highlight the fact that this vast province of ours is among the foremost of agricultural producing provinces in the whole of the country. This is sometimes lost sight of by people who look at Ontario as simply being the industrial base of the country and feel the breadbasket of Canada is the exclusive domain of the western provinces.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Twenty-eight per cent is found in Ontario.
Mr. Williams: I have it on good authority from the Minister of Agriculture and Food that 28 per cent of the national productivity is found in this province. Our forte, of course, is found in our mixed agricultural activities, rather than those limited to the agriculture related to the production of grain.
This is an important consideration, and I think as an urban member I wish to be one of the first to recognize that as goes our agricultural community, so goes our province. It is not necessarily based, and certainly isn’t based solely on the industrial achievements of this province but is largely dependent on the successes in our agricultural community.
I was delighted to see in the speech from the throne the initiatives our minister will be taking, particularly with regard to the establishment of an agricultural energy management resource centre, which is, I think, a very significant move that is going to be taken by that ministry.
We have always assumed that the question of conserving energy and of ensuring the security of supply of energy was largely one that concerned the urban areas and the industrial component of this province. Not so. It equally affects the agricultural and farm community, so it is important that this government lend assistance to establishing a program of energy management in the farm community. I am delighted the minister will be taking this initiative during this coming session and beyond.
I was also delighted to see that in conjunction with that program they will be establishing a research centre for agricultural productivity, which I think is another way and means of saying that we want to encourage further conservation within the agricultural community.
It is a well-known fact that I, and certainly many of the members in the government party, have spoken with pride about the achievements of our farmers in this vast province. There is no question that while we have fewer people in the profession of farming today, we have greater productivity than at any other time in the history of the province. That is a credit to all of the farmers, individually and collectively, throughout this fine province.
I think I can modestly state that this can be, in large measure, attributable to the initiatives that have been taken by this government over the years in providing diverse and necessary programs to give support to the farm community. I believe at this point we have in excess of 90 pieces of legislation that are directed specifically towards ensuring the foundation and strengthening of the agricultural community.
I also was delighted to see that the minister will also be establishing a college of agricultural technology for the francophone farm community in southeast Ontario. I am sure it has not been taken without the great assistance of my colleagues the members for Stormont-Dundas-Glengarry (Mr. Villeneuve) and Prescott and Russell (Mr. Belanger), within whose riding the new facility will be located in the town of Alfred, as I understand it. This will be of great assistance to the farm community in the southeastern sector of the province.
I do lend support on behalf of the urban communities of Ontario to the programs the Minister of Agriculture and Food is carrying out, because we recognize the success of those programs means the continued wellbeing of those of us who live in the urban environment.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: The sentiment of all Canadians.
Mr. Williams: Absolutely. The speech stresses the need for greater productivity in economic activity. There is no question of that. That is the main thrust of the speech. It is important this be one of our major objectives and goals, particularly in light of the fact we recognize and acknowledge within the speech that we are still going through very difficult economic times, and will be into the foreseeable short-term future.
While we are stressing the need for greater productivity in economic activity we must not lose sight of the need to apply the benefits that will flow from these attainable objectives to higher and nobler aspirations, namely, man’s refinement and ultimate worth as epitomized in his pursuit of culture and the arts.
I am delighted to see that the Minister of Culture and Recreation (Mr. Baetz) will be giving new impetus in the form of financial support to those particular pursuits. I am sure it is welcomed by those of us in all sectors and sections of the province.
It is important to know that automation and other new technology are providing to our people greater leisure-time opportunities. To the end of this century, this is going to be one of the major new directions this government must take in developing meaningful and long-term programs with the resource bases that will assist people of all ages and in all areas of the province to participate fully and positively in leisure-time activities. With this in mind, I am sure the minister will be improving the economic stability of the arts, culture and general leisure-time activities as a key ingredient to the continuing high standards of living in this province.
The speech shows a thrust as well in the area of our continued policy of disengagement from the private sector. It has become quite apparent in recent years that the private sector and the public at large have become critical of government for the extent to which it seems to impose itself not only on the business community but on the rights and freedoms of the individual. Sometimes we do appear to be excessive in the extent to which we endeavour to regiment and control individuals and businesses.
As an example, I have only to remind members that in the past session this government took the bold step of moving out of the regulation of the general insurance industry and has allowed that very important segment of our service sector to engage in a self- regulation process. We have the confidence of the industry, and I think the industry itself will regain its own confidence in being able to self-police and regulate itself.
This speech from the throne indicates we are going to pursue this policy of deregulation on a selective basis in attacking the problems associated with the real estate industry and what has been considered overregulation of that particular industry. The main thrust of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations will be to give the real estate industry an opportunity to self-regulate itself, while ensuring there will be continuing government monitoring of its successes in this area as there is in the general insurance industry.
We as a government will quietly and slowly and progressively move back out of the picture to let these industries determine and prove that they can clearly self-regulate themselves without in any way impairing the wellbeing of the public at large that they are responsible for serving.
Another ongoing program of the government that I have to touch on is the work of the agencies review committee. This was touched on in the speech from the throne. It deals with the “sunset” provisions related to the many boards and committees and commissions of a special purpose and nature that operate under the auspices and with the authority of this government. It was determined some time ago and continues to be the belief of this government that there is a need to contain and restrain our activities in this area, and to let it be proved to us that some of these boards and agencies that may have been set up at one point still have a cause or purpose for continuing to exist to serve the government and people of Ontario.
Certainly it was the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Walker) who took the initiative in this field at an earlier point. I am delighted the government has indicated clearly in the speech from the throne that it will continue to monitor this situation. We are looking forward to the report of the committee that will be coming forward, I believe the second report of the committee, to indicate the progress being made in monitoring and reviewing the activities of these various boards and commissions
This is not to mean that this government is committed to total deregulation. If that has in any way been implied or suggested from the comments I have made, then it is surely not the case. I stated carefully that it was selective deregulation we are embarking upon. There are many areas in which this government feels very strongly that we have to retain control by way of very rigid regulation. I can only cite as an example the securities area, where we have a very sophisticated system of controls under the auspices of the Ontario Securities Commission. I don’t see any softening or moderating of our regulating and control of that very important and vital sector of our economy.
In the matter of transportation of goods: as one who had the privilege of serving on the select committee back in 1976-77 when we were investigating the whole industry dealing with transportation of goods, the trucking industry in Ontario, it was found that chaos would result if deregulation were attempted in that particular industry. This is one example where this is an exception to the rule. I think it is imperative that there be a continuing regulation of that industry.
I was also delighted to see that there was reference in the speech from the throne to the new initiatives that will be taken by the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett). Of course I refer to the statement issued in conjunction with the speech from the throne by the Minister of Housing, where it was pointed out that his ministry will be taking initiatives to provide that Ontario municipalities will no longer have to share in the operating losses on some 94,000 Ontario Housing Corporation subsidized rental units. This will mean in very real and fiscal terms that there will be an estimated saving of about $20.5 million annually for more than 300 municipalities in which OHC subsidizes rents.
To my riding and within the Metropolitan Toronto area the very immediate beneficial impact of that policy decision will be that as of April 1, Metropolitan Toronto corporation will have approximately $12 million available that had been part of its cost participation and sharing in the past. Up until now it would be almost $10 million, and I understand that for the year 1981, were the cost sharing to continue, their obligations would be in the area of $12 million, so I am delighted that initiative has been taken by the government. I know it is welcome news for all the municipalities within the Metropolitan Toronto corporation and specifically in my own city of North York.
It was interesting to note in that learned newspaper journal, the one that provides such sage advice on political activities in this community -- I speak of the Toronto Sun -- how they addressed themselves to the speech from the throne. The headline on Wednesday following the speech was, “Ho Hummm. Davis’ Promise for Ontario: More of Same.” I consider that to be indeed a left-handed compliment. It simply points out that the Premier (Mr. Davis) and this government will continue to provide more programs where needed in this province at all levels and in all sectors. It is because of this that the government has been able not only to bring forward initiatives and programs over the years but to have delivered these systems which have enabled us to continue to be the government in power, to represent the people, to provide for their needs and to meet their desires throughout the length and breadth of this province.
Those are some general observations that I have with regard to the speech from the throne and I would now like to get into some of the specifics. I would like to highlight some of the areas that are of particular interest and concern to me.
First, if I might, I would like to turn to the matter of education because it was pointed out in the speech from the throne that the quality of education in this province at the elementary and secondary school levels will continue to prevail, based on the basic, solid core curriculum program that we have in place. But in conjunction with that base program, one of the new initiatives that will be embarked upon this year -- and I say “new” in the sense of actually launching the program because it’s not new in concept -- is the one of responsibility for the provision of special education being given to local school boards.
A few months back when one of the members of the opposition brought forward a bill asking for omnibus introduction of special education programs in the province, it was presented as though they had just invented the wheel, as though this was something that had never been thought of in the past. Indeed, to the contrary; this government has had a blueprint for special education programs on the drawing board for some period of time. It was clearly enunciated and put on record by, I believe, the former Minister of Education that we recognized in the area of education the importance of special education programs. But at the time, as a minister of the crown and the one responsible as well for finding the wherewithal in fiscal terms, he recognized that these programs could not be implemented overnight, as was the proposal of the opposition, and that they had to be implemented on a phased basis and on a priority basis.
The time has arrived and that program will be implemented in the 1980-81 school year. It will be a five-year program that will be phased in on the basis of financial capability, on the basis of need, on the basis of the areas that are most in need of the program. The program is under way and is undoubtedly one we would have liked to have introduced at an earlier time. We now feel we can wait no longer. The program must come forward and the dollars must be set aside for this priority program.
The changing population trends and broadening perspectives on continuing education and skill development will require the attention of the post-secondary institutions. Certainly this government, through its Ministry of Education and Ministry of Colleges and Universities, will be giving the support and direction that the universities and colleges will need to meet these challenges.
It is interesting to note with regard to the colleges that a crown agency is to be established to offer expertise and assistance in the development of educational and training components of private-sector tenders on international projects. It has been a fact of life for some years now that the college system in Ontario has taken individual initiatives through the individual colleges to engage in these types of international programs, and has done so with considerable success.
I believe one of the leaders in this field is the college that is the flagship of the system, Seneca College, which has facilities within my own riding of Oriole. It serves the city of North York well, as well as the region of York. That college has shown leadership in this particular field, and it is with a great deal of satisfaction that I see this government will take initiatives to give further support to those important programs.
Speaking of education in the broadest sense of the word, I wish to turn to two other matters that involve the co-ordinated efforts of two other ministries. One is the Ministry of Labour, which is working with the Ministry of Education to develop and strengthen the apprenticeship program that has been under way in this province for some time. I think the importance of the program was clearly recognized by this government when in 1979 the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) saw fit to establish the Ontario Manpower Commission. That commission has been making great progress in analysing the problems associated with the apprenticeship program.
The commission has clearly identified weaknesses in the program, there is no question about it, and the government will be the first to recognize that the program does have to be improved upon and beefed up. It is through the efforts and guidance of the manpower commission that we will accomplish the objectives and goals to provide a stronger apprenticeship program in this province.
Towards this end, the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) has recently stated that her ministry will be allocating in excess of $5 million to skills training and that her ministry will be adding a staff of at least 100 people to its apprenticeship and manpower training programs. This is an important step and reflects the importance this government gives to a stronger apprenticeship program than we have had in the past.
These funds will be directed towards supporting four initiatives. The communities will be assisted to establish and maintain community industrial training committees. It is expected that the number of committees will thereby increase from 40 to approximately 60. Consultative and support services will be provided to employers. It is in this area that this government has been working diligently not only with industry, but also with the labour unions, in developing a positive attitude in response to strengthening the apprenticeship program.
I think one of the weaknesses that had existed is identified by the fact that in a sampling that had been taken by the Ontario Manpower Commission it was demonstrated from one study that of 68 companies involved in that study with 11,000 skilled workers, amongst those workers there were only 297 apprentices, or a ratio of one apprentice for every 37 journeymen. That’s not an enviable record, and the government recognizes we have to do better in that field.
Perhaps of equal importance, as the study indicated, more than 70 per cent of the journeymen were trained outside of Canada. We have to turn that around, and we are making great strides in doing so. The speech from the throne clearly indicates the initiatives we will be taking in this area.
One of the other areas of concern in general education is most sensitive and yet is one again that requires the priority consideration of our Ministry of Education. It relates to the fact of life that we are at present being confronted with a declining enrolment in the schools. This is a most sensitive issue, and the human equation is foremost in the concerns of the ministry as to how we can resolve these difficulties.
I have to compliment my colleague from the Metro riding of Armourdale (Mr. McCaffrey) who through no small effort on his part has worked closely with the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) and with the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton) to ensure that any school facilities, any of the brick and mortar that will prove to be redundant for direct educational purposes by the various school boards, will not be closed down and mothballed, but rather will be utilized for other services within the community. Again, this is a major thrust that has been announced in the speech from the throne. It’s one I welcome and which I think all the people in North York welcome, as well as the people throughout the province. We are sure that meaningful alternative uses of these facilities will be found that will be to the betterment of the people of the community as a whole.
I would like to turn my direction for a few moments to the area of health, because there is nothing more basic or fundamental to the wellbeing of the people of our province than that we have a healthy community. There is no question but that our ministry maintains one of the finest health programs to be found anywhere in the world. We are the envy of our giant neighbour to the south which has been studying our health-care programs for some period of time. There is every indication that our American friends will embark on a health-care program that is universal in nature and in many respects will mirror the programs that have been in place in this province for some time.
It is understood and recognized that the importance of our health-care program is basic to Ontario. It represents about 28 per cent of the total provincial spending. Of the $4.1 billion spent in the past year, representing approximately $488 for each adult and child in the province, 53 per cent has been directed to hospital services. It is encouraging to see that the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) has realistically responded to the increasing and continuing need for providing adequate hospital facilities throughout our vast province. This is reflected in the announcement he made recently that there will be increased funding for the operating needs of the hospitals in the province of approximately 7.8 per cent above last year’s funding.
My own community of North York will directly benefit from increased operating funds being made available to its three major hospitals. North York Branson Hospital will receive additional operating funds of approximately $2 million; York-Finch General Hospital will also receive additional funding in the order of $1 million, and North York General Hospital will receive approximately $2 million. This is encouraging, in that it recognizes the realities of the higher costs of operating hospitals in this day and age, and it is welcome news to the citizens of North York and beyond.
It is important to note that additional funding is also being made for hospital construction. This is an important consideration. In addition to servicing existing facilities, new facilities must be provided where there is a demonstrated need. Funds provided by the minister to the hospital construction program will be substantially beefed up by the injection of lottery proceeds over the next three years. Hundreds of millions of dollars will become available to give much-needed additional funding for the ongoing hospital expansion program in this province.
Not infrequently, because of pronouncements made or because of statements attributed to the opposition parties, some people are left with the impression that the number of hospital beds in the province is being reduced. The fact of the matter is that it is not a question of reducing the number of hospital beds; it is a matter of reallocation in the use of beds.
For example, in this past year about 450 active-treatment beds have been converted to chronic care. That is in keeping with the thrust of the ministry in recognizing that a greater emphasis must be given to chronic-care and nursing-home facilities to look after those who need not be in active-treatment facilities, where the cost is so much higher and is related more directly to dealing with immediate and emergency types of health needs of people. It has been made clear in the throne speech that in this coming year 600 nursing-home beds will be made available to add to the stock of beds to serve the people in the province.
I would like to turn for a few moments to the matter of industry, technology and research development. During the last year, steps were taken to establish the Employment Development Fund to stimulate, assist and strengthen appropriate industrial growth in this province. I think the establishment of that fund has proved to be an overwhelming success, as reflected in the recent initiatives taken by this government in the funding of some major industrial programs in this province that will ensure the continuing good health of the pulp and paper industry, which is such a vital ingredient to a sound economy in Ontario.
I simply have to refer members to the loans that have been made as recently as the past two weeks to the Ontario Paper Company Limited in Thorold, where a very substantial loan was made so that it could revitalize and improve upon its somewhat worn-out, if I can use that term, facilities. That type of initiative has been complemented as well by the loans that have been made to the pulp and paper industry in the northern cities and towns of our province.
I refer specifically to the incentive loans that were made in the amount of $22.5 million to Abitibi-Price Incorporated in the early part of this year to assist that company in its almost $200-million capital works program. That program will clearly benefit the people of Thunder Bay, Iroquois Falls, Sault Ste. Marie, Smooth Rock Falls and Thorold and can only benefit the economy of the province as a whole.
These are initiatives that have proved the wisdom of this government in establishing some incentives where there is a clear need to assist industry in maintaining and strengthening our resource bases in this province and, at the same time, ensuring employment and expansion of job opportunities in some of the communities where there are one-industry towns and cities.
One of the main thrusts in this area has been in research and development. It has been clearly stated in the speech from the throne that this province must add to the research and development resources that it makes available to industries throughout the width and breadth of the province.
One of the mainstays of the expansion of this program is found in our existing research and development program, which is vested at this time in the Ontario Research Foundation. I don’t think too many people driving past the Sheridan Park research community, in the Oakville area, recognize and appreciate the true import of that particular facility. There we have a $60-million research and development facility, located on some 340 acres of land, involving 14 major corporations which carry on research in conjunction with the focal facility of the Ontario Research Foundation itself.
I think it can be stated clearly, without fear of contradiction, that there is no other research facility on the continent that measures up to or surpasses our own Ontario Research Foundation. Therefore, it is encouraging to see that the government has announced, through the speech from the throne, that further resources, financial and otherwise, will be made available to the foundation to strengthen its role in providing much-needed research and development resources to industry at large, as well as to government at all levels, when the request is made.
There is another area to which I’d like to turn, There are so many, obviously, that I’m not going to have the time to address myself to them all this evening. This other area is one which my colleague touched upon, but it is so fundamentally important that I also feel compelled to address it. It is the matter of energy component and the economy of this province.
I believe it was predictable to the observer that energy and the economy would be a major component of the government program as reflected in the speech from the throne. This is quite clear, because the die was cast last summer and fall with the issue of four major policy papers.
The first, of course, was the policy paper issued by the Premier in August, when he came forward with Oil Pricing and Security: A Policy Framework for Canada. That, I think, set the tone for what was to come, because this document clearly linked the energy needs and programs of this province with the basic economy of the province. It couldn’t be stated any better than in the comment made by the Premier at that time when he stated, in introducing the policy paper, that it’s the duty of this government to represent the province of Ontario to the best of our ability and that it can only be responsibly and successfully undertaken by considering the future of Canada as a whole.
It was the hope of the Premier, and this government, that what we say regarding oil prices and development, energy security and economic and fiscal policy, reflects national circumstances and would be of assistance to all parties in finding co-operative and national solutions to the energy problems. That paper went on to outline the oil pricing policy and programs of this government, as we saw it, from the provincial perspective in the energy-consuming province of Ontario.
That particular policy position was quickly reinforced by the issuance of another important document, namely, Energy Security for the Eighties: A Policy for Ontario, which was issued by our Minister of Energy in September 1979. That document simply went on to reinforce what had been stated by the Premier, that the need to secure energy for this province and the wellbeing of our economy as a whole were totally intertwined and could no longer be segregated and considered in isolation, one from the other.
In November, the importance of this was emphasized when two further position papers were issued, one being the potential impact of oil and natural gas prices on the Canadian economy. This was introduced by the Ministry of Treasury and Economics and was followed by a pricing and crude oil self-sufficiency paper by the Ministry of Energy.
It is quite clear that these four major documents make up one of the major ingredients of the speech from the throne. It is interesting to note that energy is one of the major considerations. No greater amount of the speech was devoted to any topic than to energy. So it is apparent that this has to be the number one priority in working out our economic difficulties in this province and ensuring that we will continue to have a high standard of living and an economy that will ensure the wellbeing of the people of this province.
It is interesting to note that, while security of energy supply is foremost in the minds of this government, we have to bear in mind that while we have to conserve, as has been indicated by my colleague from Durham East (Mr. Cureatz), in addition to conserving we also have to find energy alternatives to the conventional ones with which we have been concerned. As the speech from the throne clearly points out, we must be considering other areas, such as energy from waste, synthetic liquid fuel, cogeneration, upgrading of heavy fuel oil, small hydroelectric developments and the full development of our nuclear power capability as well.
It has been pointed out in the speech that there are areas where we have already taken these directions. For instance, reference is made to the Bruce AgriPark undertaking which has been no small success. In February of this year, the Minister of Energy agreed to finance a feasibility study to examine the possibilities of locating a facility to produce methanol or another form of renewable energy in Edwardsburgh township. I am sure the member for Carleton-Grenvile (Mr. Sterling) has played no small part in helping to develop this type of initiative in that part of the province.
It is interesting to note that, while the government was setting up that type of feasibility study, the minister was also establishing a special task force to study the role of hydrogen in Ontario’s energy future. Considerable interest has been developing in the potential of hydrogen as a fuel, especially in the transportation field, but also in many other applications in Canada and around the world.
The minister has made it quite clear in setting up this special task force study that hydrogen is in our long-term plans for Ontario’s energy future. The strength of that task force can be clearly shown by virtue of the fact that the chairman of that study group will be Dr. Arthur Johnson of York University.
The objectives of the task force will be to examine existing hydrogen energy technology, to review research, development and demonstration requirements and to suggest possible hydrogen development strategies for Ontario.
In making this announcement, the minister did point out that considerable work had been done on hydrogen energy technology. The federal government, through the National Research Council, is supporting research into hydrogen marketing methods and hydrogen production by electrolysis. I would point out that Ontario Hydro was carrying out an assessment of the potential of hydrogen energy as early as 1975. In 1978, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications conducted a study of hydrogen’s potential as a transportation fuel. That study was funded by the Ministry of Energy.
To show how fluent and dynamic the whole area of energy is, while it was felt and concluded that any major government action with regard to development of the use of hydrogen was not warranted at that time, at this time -- in 1979-80 -- there has been a dramatic change in government thinking and attitude based primarily on the uncertainty of supply of conventional fuels. For this reason the ministry has taken this new direction in giving support to developing these new sources of energy.
In setting up this committee, it is interesting to note that Quebec also has established a committee to investigate the impact and use of hydrogen in transportation and industry. That project in our sister province is to study the Quebec market for hydrogen use in all forms. They will be evaluating the technical problems to be solved in the production, storage, liquefaction, transportation and use of liquid hydrogen as we will be doing in this province.
They will be identifying all the human resources with confidence in the treatment of hydrogen-related areas and evaluating the capability of Quebec industries, as Ontario is doing with regard to Ontario industries, to participate in the development and use of the infrastructure and necessary equipment. I think it is encouraging that we are taking these new directions.
While one of the opposition parties has given almost exclusive and sole support, it would seem, to the methanol program or the potential therein, we think, as a government, that we should not be putting all our eggs in one basket, but we should be looking at all the energy alternatives. We believe the sources of fuel of the future are not only methanol but also hydrogen.
Recently, a paper was released by the Leader of the Opposition’s party suggesting that the use of a hydrogen program and its development is too remote to be looked at realistically. In this government we disagree. We think we should be going and looking at the development of the use of hydrogen on almost an emergency basis.
People ask, what is hydrogen? Why hasn’t it been used in the past? We know it is the most powerful fuel known to man. The energy in any fuel is measured by its heat content per given quantity. Let’s compare hydrogen with gasoline. Gasoline contains about 6,000 BTUs per pound, while hydrogen contains 51,000 BTUs. By comparison, therefore, gasoline is a very poor fuel compared with hydrogen.
One of the major benefits of the use of hydrogen as a fuel is that as it burns off it creates nothing more than a residue of water vapour so it is returned cleanly to the ecosystem without in any way impairing our environment. As a nonpolluting fuel, it is one we have to bring on stream at the earliest opportunity, as soon as it can be determined as being financially feasible.
I would point out, with regard to the use of hydrogen, that while it is not an energy source in itself, it is and has to be considered as one of the major energy currencies of the coming decade. It is a source of fuel that is not really new to us. It is being used in other jurisdictions at this time. Its availability for powering cars, trucks, trains and, in fact, for heating homes and for use in industry is without challenge. It is a question of putting the technology to use and refining it in such a way that it can be economically feasible in all of these quarters.
The technology is here. The people with the expertise are here in this province, those who can give the sense of direction and fulfilment to this new energy source that will and can replace the diminishing supplies of conventional fuels, particularly oil.
Hydrogen is being developed as a fuel by West Germany at this time. It is my understanding that in the coming year they will be using hydrogen-powered buses as part of their public transportation mode within the city of Berlin.
There are other countries that are developing programs that will also let the use of hydrogen become part of their economic activity, again particularly in the field of transportation.
The present world production is running at about nine billion cubic feet per year, although most of it at this time is coming from gasification of coal and is being used in various industrial processes.
Hydrogen is a safe fuel and is one which, if handled properly, has great advantages over conventional gasolines. Storage admittedly is a problem, but it is one that can be solved by the use of hydride tanks in which the fuel can be stored. The development of facilities to develop hydrogen fuels, close to our hydroelectric facilities and nuclear plants, can be attained. We have the resources; we have the technology. There are companies in this province that have the expertise in developing the hydrides that are necessary to ensure the essential storage of hydrogen.
Inco is one of the leaders in the field of the storage of hydrogen. We have, right here in the Metropolitan Toronto area, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of electrolysis plants, which are an essential ingredient in the provision of hydrogen. We do need energy and we need electrical energy, I suggest, to ensure that the hydrogen can be manufactured to put it to use in the transportation mode.
These are some of the important new directions we must be moving in to ensure energy security for the people of Ontario.
At the same time, while this government has shown positive initiatives by establishing these feasibility studies and programs for both methanol and hydrogen, we do recognize there are other areas of research that will have to be followed and pursued.
We have wind power and solar energy to consider. Ontario Hydro has been engaged in experimental programs involving cogeneration of electricity. We know the development of additional hydro-electric sites is achievable, although they will not have the magnitude and scope of the facilities we have at Niagara Falls. They will serve on a regional basis and can be developed to complement our existing programs.
I do point out, and I issue this caveat, that while all of these new directions for obtaining and putting alternative sources of energy to use are encouraging, and this government is taking positive directions in this regard, we must continue to rely on our mainstay as far as sources of energy are concerned in this province, namely, those provided by our conventional hydro-electric facilities.
I have had the privilege, as has my colleague from Durham East, in participating in the activities of the select committee on Ontario Hydro affairs and have, in that way, become very much aware of the nuclear program in this province. I have been impressed, and my convictions as to the viability and acceptability of the program have been reinforced in participating in these hearings by the committee.
While I had always felt the nuclear program in this province was one of the best and safest in the world, those convictions have been very much reinforced by hearing the professional evidence that has been introduced to the committee over the past months in the committee’s consideration of the safety of Ontario’s nuclear reactors.
I have been impressed by the quality of the testimony that has been given and by the calibre of the witnesses who have come before the committee. The representatives from Ontario Hydro have been exemplary in their attendances before the committee, leaving no question unanswered, leaving no problem unaddressed in their objective, full and frank presentation of the nuclear program and the nuclear plant facilities that we have in this province. They have laid bare, if you will, Mr. Speaker, the full program and have in no small measure strengthened the confidence of the people of this province in the nuclear program that we have.
To have focused the public attention on the nuclear program in this province has been a very important undertaking of this committee, because there have been cynics and sceptics who have felt the program was one that would imperil the public safety, one that had not been truly tested and researched before being brought on stream in the past two decades.
We are the leaders in the world in the nuclear program, as we will continue to be, and it is in this way that we will in no small measure ensure the security of supply of energy to this province. Without that security of supply, we are going to have our standard of living, the strength of the economy of this province, placed very much in jeopardy.
It may well be important for those who challenge the viability of the system to come forward and be critical of the agencies and the personnel responsible for monitoring the nuclear program. By coming forward, they have done a service to the province and to the people of the province. By having challenged the people responsible for these programs and having challenged the federal authorities in ensuring that they are applying the highest standards in the supervision and operation of the nuclear programs in this province, as well as throughout the rest of the country, I think it has demonstrated we do have a system that is first and foremost in the world.
The unfortunate thing I see taking place in the committee is that when the challenges have been met by the production of full and thorough facts and statistical information, those who seem to want to be more than convinced that the program is safe and are rather in principle opposed to nuclear energy, seem out of frustration to have to turn to innuendo and accusing the officials of being dishonest with the public and suggesting that the agencies, federal and provincial, are misleading the public of Ontario.
Surely that is an extreme measure to take by those who are critical of the system and who I think are themselves being dishonest with the true role and purpose and fulfilment of those roles by these various crown agencies and corporations. I have been impressed, as I think all the members of the committee have been, with the integrity and quality of the people who have testified before our committee. I have said in the public meetings up in northern Ontario, and I will say it here in the House and anywhere else: There is no shred of evidence that can be produced to show that these agencies and the people responsible for their operation have in any way misled the people of this province or have in any way put their integrity behind them to promote the nuclear program.
If they felt there were weaknesses in the program, they were the first to address themselves to the problem and to acknowledge it. I think we must be fortunate to have the strength we do of the people that have made our nuclear program what it is today. In future sessions of this House we will be debating the select committee reports. I will be looking forward to that with a great deal of pleasure because it is an important program of which the public of Ontario must be made fully aware.
There are so many different programs in the speech from the throne I would like to address myself to that I just don’t have the time this evening. That is regrettable, but I have appreciated the opportunity of being able to highlight some of the major features and concerns I have seen in the throne speech. I regret I have not been able to have the opportunity to address the constitutional issues which will be a very important consideration before us and the French-language programs as well as the multicultural programs that are again part of the strength of the programs for the ensuing year and beyond.
It has been a privilege and pleasure to participate in the debate. I would like to conclude by stating that the implementation of this program without doubt will continue to make this province the province of opportunity and the province within which we can all prosper and do well. It is with that positive note I conclude my remarks, Mr. Speaker, and thank you for the opportunity.
On motion by Mr. B. Newman, the debate was adjourned.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that tomorrow the House resolve itself into committee of supply.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that orders 3, 4, 6 and 7 on today’s Order Paper be considered simultaneously, with the question on each order to be put at 10:15 p.m., with any divisions to follow, with a division bell not to exceed 10 minutes.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, pursuant to standing order 13, I would like to indicate to the House the business for the remainder of this week and the week commencing March 24.
Tonight we will deal with the four reports of the procedural affairs committee, as we have just discussed and shown on today’s order of business.
Tomorrow, we will consider government motion 1 on today’s Order Paper standing in the name of the Treasurer re interim supply, followed by supplementary estimates for the Ministry of Government Services, the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs and the Ministry of Northern Affairs.
On Monday, March 24, the address by the official Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) in reply to the speech from the throne will be followed by consideration of supplementary estimates, if time provides.
On Tuesday, March 25, in the afternoon, the leader of the New Democratic Party will reply to the speech from the throne and, if time permits, we will continue with consideration of the speech from the throne and in evening consideration of the speech from the throne.
On Thursday, March 27, in the afternoon, we will consider private members’ public business ballot items 1 and 2; and in the evening the interim supply motion for April 1 to June 30.
On Friday, March 28, we will continue our consideration of the speech from the throne.
The House recessed at 6 p.m.