31st Parliament, 4th Session

L016 - Tue 8 Apr 1980 / Mar 8 avr 1980

The House resumed at 8 p.m.


Resumption of the adjourned debate on the amendment to the motion for an address in reply to the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, it’s nice to be here again and do the same old act. I forget where I was, but I’m sure it’s going to be just as interesting.

I recall that back in about 1977, I heard a speech by the member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Sargent), in which he stated he was used to speaking before a vast audience. I somewhat liken myself to him, because when he said that he was speaking in front of a half-vast audience. I think that’s apropos of tonight. I’m sorry there are not too many members of the opposition here.

Mr. Haggerty: Watch your language.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: I said half-vast. That’s a word. It means large.

I’m delighted to have the extensive showing I see in the opposition benches. It reminds me of a Thursday night a couple of weeks ago.

I was speaking about Toronto International Airport, the opposition to the addition of a fourth runway there, and the concerns of the people of Mississauga, particularly in Mississauga East, because we’re directly under the south leg of the proposed new runway. There are advocates of a fourth runway, of course, and some of them argue that a strict curfew at the airport would provide an answer to the noise problem, They do not argue, of course, that such a system would impose an economic penalty on those using the airport, because curfews do not provide for the maximum use of airport facilities and, in turn, increase the cost to the customer.

Curfews also affect the flexibility in scheduling and limit the ability of airports to spread their peak hours out. This, in turn, means a higher volume of traffic in a shorter period and may increase the hazards. This, too, is not to mention the inconvenience for the travelling public.

Another suggestion put forward by the supporters of a fourth runway has been to soundproof the homes in highly sensitive noise areas. Residents who already have soundproofing, however, do not speak favourably about this. I am told, for instance, there is a greater perception of noise once one leaves a soundproofed home to go into the garden.

I might also mention that new curfews are not what is needed to resolve present noise problems. Rather, we need a stricter enforcement of existing curfews.

I have spoken many times about the possible, or threatened, expansion of “Mississauga International Airport,” as our beloved mayor likes to refer to it -- and, if she has her way, she will probably have it renamed too.

I would like to mention another one of her favourite subjects, and that is what she chooses to call the Mississauga miracle, which I don’t regard as a miracle at all. I was most pleased that specific reference was made in the speech from the throne to the successful evacuation of Mississauga. That occurred last fall, I think it was about November, following the train derailment.

The success of the evacuation was, indeed, a tribute to the people of Mississauga, the police, the fire department, the civil defence and other public servants of the municipalities and the province. All of Mississauga was pleased to learn that this province will commission the preparation of a consolidated report and critical review of the full details of all that transpired in Mississauga. I’m confident the report will be helpful in any future such incidents, and it will assist other jurisdictions in Ontario, in Canada and throughout the world in their own contingency planning.

It is safe to say that more than 300 agencies, community groups and companies helped too. It would be very risky, of course, to start naming them, because I am bound to miss some, and I think everybody played a part.

April 20 to April 26 is Volunteer Week across the province, and I think Mississauga epitomizes such a week. We were fortunate, of course, when the derailment occurred, that it happened on a weekend, a Saturday night. Had that same incident happened on a weekday, when all the working people were in Toronto, where I am told at least 60 per cent of them work, the situation might have been somewhat different. We were helped a little by extreme luck but, for the most part, by a well-organized community that enabled this to happen so smoothly.

I would like to touch for a moment on the growth in Mississauga. Mississauga is the growth area of the Golden Horseshoe, and industrial development in Mississauga continued to grow in 1979. It was up some $28 million over 1978. It is predicted that it will continue to grow at the same rate and that it will continue to lead Metro Toronto and surrounding regions in attracting new industry this year.

Recent statistics released in Mississauga show that the total value of all building last year increased by $39 million over the $250 million recorded in 1978. Although commercial building was off slightly, down $4 million from the $36 million value in 1978, industrial building was up $28 million to $88 million, and residential construction was up $23 million to $160 million. It is worthwhile noting that a report indicates that 45 per cent of all new industry in the Metro area is located in Mississauga.

While it can be argued that the depressed economy and high interest rates may keep Mississauga from matching the 1979 industrial totals, I am certain the city’s programs to encourage new industry will continue to pay off in 1980. There is a massive $4.2-billion industrial project being planned by Traders Associates Limited on 680 acres of vacant land near highway 10 and highway 401 which will give the city a wide variety of industrial locations. It is expected that the Traders project will employ more than 7,000 people when completed, and will generate about $1 million in annual taxes for Mississauga.

This project is situated in an area of some 12,000 acres, known as the hole in the doughnut, and it is worth noting that the location is near Mississauga’s international airport and the Gateway postal facility which, incidentally, is in Mississauga East.

Mississauga now has its own industrial commissioner, a function that was performed last year by the region of Peel, and the city is sending out letters to all new industries welcoming them to the city and inviting them to discuss any problems with city staff.

The throne speech made specific reference to a program of self-sufficiency in the Ministry of Correctional Services which was very well received in the region of Peel. Residents of Peel were pleased to learn last week that a five-year program to make positive use of inmate labour has been initiated so that correctional institutions can he mere self-sufficient in meeting their own needs. The member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley) made light of this particular project, and said it was something that had been planned or was being done years ago. I think he was probably referring to the days when they had chains and forced People to do these things.

This plan particularly is very successful and has been in the --

Mr. M. N. Davison: You mean six weeks ago.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: Sorry? I’m going to ignore that interjection, because I can’t figure out what he meant.

I think this is an appropriate time to reiterate that the plan calls for a significant cut in the food bill by having inmates grow more of their own requirements. The ministry serves 6.3 million meals a year, which is more than many large hotel chains in Canada.

8:10 p.m.

As much land as possible will be converted so the cultivation of root crops and vegetables can get started. Further, inmate labour will be used to clear and plough the land.

It is the ministry’s hope that in five years the inmates will be farming 2,200 acres and will be totally self-sufficient in the production of essential root crops and vegetables.

The cannery operation at the Burtch Correctional Centre in Brantford will be expanded and surplus production will be sold to institutions operated by other ministries. The ministry has stated that farm implements will be manufactured at a plant established at the Guelph Correctional Centre.

Mr. Germa: What about Burwash?

Hon. Mr. Gregory: Does my friend want to go there? They would welcome him there.

Mr. Germa: They have 2,000 acres there.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: Then we are more than 80 per cent of the way there, aren’t we?

Mr. Makarchuk: Tell us how the government closed Burtch down and now they are opening it up. They are a bunch of wastrels.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: I’m glad to see the member for Brantford (Mr. Makarchuk) here.

I am delighted he came along. I was wondering with whom I was going to have some fun tonight. If he hadn’t been here, I would have had nobody to slam.

Inmates will be put to work in woodcutting projects. Wood not used for fuel will be sold for use in public parks. Industrial programs will be expanded. More inmates will be put into productive work to teach them trade skills and to generate new revenues.

Mr. Hodgson: You should note how many Liberals are listening to your speech. There are only three.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: They probably don’t understand it.

In this way, inmates and not the taxpayers will contribute to offsetting future correctional cost increases. Finally, the ministry will continue to make correctional institutions more energy-efficient.

I think this House owes a tribute to the former Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Drea) and the current minister (Mr. Walker) for bringing these matters to pass.


Hon. Mr. Gregory: Now that some of the opposition members have come down out of their trees again, we will get into something a little closer to their hearts. That is a subject they know nothing about, which doesn’t stop them from speaking about it.

Apart from paying tribute to some of the opposition members with whom I said I had the pleasure of working on the House leaders’ committee, I have also had the good fortune or had fortune to meet with some of them at functions which take place outside of the House. I recall a meeting which all members probably read about. It was on a thing called Proposition 89, on which a group of home owners got together because of the problems they are having with escalating mortgages under the Assisted Home Ownership Program and the very high interest rates now being imposed on them.

There was a large meeting which took place in Mississauga. We had the pleasure -- I guess we could call it that -- of having more influential members of the opposition parties in one riding at the same time than we have ever seen before. I rather suspect they thought there was some political opportunities for them there. I hate to say that, but they did come. They were all there. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) was there; the leader of the third party (Mr. Cassidy) was there; and there was a federal Liberal and a federal New Democrat. My God, they were all there. It was amazing. They were speaking to the group.

Mr. J. Reed: Were you there?

Hon. Mr. Gregory: I was there. It is odd my friend should ask was I there.

Mr. J. Reed: Was the Premier (Mr. Davis) there?

Hon. Mr. Gregory: No. I was there speaking for him. I would like to read to members a letter I got as a result of that meeting. I have heard it has happened often, but this was the first time I actually witnessed the Leader of the Opposition being booed on a stage by a group of people he thought he was trying to help. Where he made his mistake was to come out armed with an election speech, and they weren’t buying it. What they wanted to do was to talk to somebody who would listen to their problems and possibly offer some solutions.

Mr. J. Reed: Did you?

Hon. Mr. Gregory: May I read this to the honourable member? Will he listen? This is a letter signed by Mrs. Joyce M. Yeo from St. Catharines, who was a visitor at this thing. It is addressed to me, just in case the member doubts that.

“First, I would like to say it was a pleasure to meet you at the rally in Mississauga yesterday. I felt you were the only politician there who was not there to argue politics or to campaign.”

Isn’t that delightful? The member thought he would come out and get some votes, but he blew it again. That is what he always does; the honourable member knows it, and that’s why he is smiling.

I have to say I would have expected this from the leader of the third party, but the leader of the third party was very quick to realize, “There are no marks there, baby.” So he came out and started listening to people and talked about ways of helping them; he didn’t come out rattling his sabre. He has rattled it so much but I haven’t heard him draw it yet.

The leader of the third party came out on a responsible basis, and it surprised me; I will say that. He came out in a very responsible fashion with the idea of trying to help the people. That is what I was there for. So much so, that a member of the honourable member’s caucus --


Hon. Mr. Gregory: May I go on? In this letter it says: “I felt that you were there to hear the people. I am extending an invitation to you to attend the first of many rallies to be held in each municipality.” Listen to this.

“It is to be held at the Niagara Falls Public Library, 4848 Victoria Avenue, Niagara Falls, Ontario.”

One of the members of the honourable member’s party is going to be there. As a matter of fact, he came over to me today and said, “Are you going to be there?” I said, “I can’t be there.” He said, “What do you think we should do?” I said, “What you should do is play it smart and not do what your leader did. You should listen to the people, because they want you to hear their problems and come up with solutions, not with election speeches.” I hope he does, because I like the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) very much. He’s a great guy. I would hate to see him get booed as I saw his leader get booed for a very obvious pitfall he walked into. I think that’s unfortunate, but surely a man who is leader of a party would have more sense than that.

Mr. J. Reed: The Premier didn’t even show up.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: The Premier sent me as his emissary as he couldn’t attend himself. I went armed with a letter telling them I would speak for him, and I did. Oddly enough, with me speaking for my leader, they said I was the only member there ready to hear what they had to say.

The leader of the honourable member’s party went, as well as the third party leader. They didn’t like what they said, and these people aren’t exactly Tory supporters. They were from all over Ontario, by the way, and I don’t think they are entirely Tory supporters. What I am saying to the honourable member is maybe he, having perhaps more political experience, should tell his leader.

Mr. Mancini: Why are you so worried about it?

Hon. Mr. Gregory: Worried? I am not worried. I came out a winner in my own riding against the combined leaders. It can come again next week. As a matter of fact, they can come any time they want to. All they do is give me votes. I say to the honourable member, any time his leader wants to come out to Mississauga East I will welcome him with open arms.

I am way off the subject, aren’t I, Mr. Speaker? I apologize for that, sir.

The member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley), who spoke before the member for Hamilton Mountain (Mr. Charlton), got on to a diatribe. I have heard this continuously from that party ever since I have been here; that is, condemning regional government. This a form of government of which the former leader of that party was an advocate. Yet his members continually hammer it. I think it is unfortunate.

One of the reasons the members hammer it is that they haven’t been successful when it has to do with ridings that those members represent. They spend all their time condemning it.

Mr. Ruston: Why didn’t Darcy bring it into Chatham?

Hon. Mr. Gregory: I think I am getting to the member for Essex North (Mr. Ruston); I have never heard him so excited in a long time.

Mr. Hennessy: It’s the first time he’s been awake.

8:20 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: If the member thinks regional government is not working out, I would like to take a minute and tell him how well regional government is working in Peel. It is working well in Peel, so well, I would say it’s second to Metro Toronto, because Metro Toronto is working awfully well, too, despite the newspapers.

In the region of Peel, where the largest community has only 45 per cent of the vote and is outvoted by the other two communities, it is amazing how well they can get along when there is a little bit of cooperation without a determined effort to destroy it, such as I hear coming from that party over there -- a determined effort to destroy regional government, even though they are working well.

Hon. Mr. Pope: They don’t want to hear it.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: They don’t want to hear that because it’s not in their best interest, is it, to hear it is working well? In the region of Peel it is working extremely well, even to the point -- and I read this earlier -- where the city of Mississauga now has its own industrial commissioner. Where do the members opposite think the initiative for that came? It came from the region of Peel.

There is a co-operation in the region of Peel because the people in Mississauga and the people in Brampton and the people in Caledon work to work well together. They work hard at it, and you have to work hard at getting along in polities. The members know that. Even though they can stand up in the region of Peel and give speeches condemning one another on certain things, they are dedicated to one thing, and I think it should be realized in this House: They are dedicated to making regional government in Peel work, and it is working. It is working very well, and it is not the only instance in Ontario.

The opposition members should spend less time condemning it and not knowing where they are going next with it. They don’t know the alternative for it; all they do is condemn it. That seems to be the attitude of that party over there. They don’t have to have any answers.

Mr. J. Reed: Why did you stop putting it in?

Hon. Mr. Gregory: Because they have gone as far as they wanted to go. It is as simple as that. The urban areas are regionalized at the present time; that was what they were aiming at, and it is being done. I can tell the member this, the success in Peel has sold me on the project.

I won’t go on much longer, because I think the members opposite really haven’t got any answers anyway. May I say I was delighted to see the co-operation in my riding when they were visiting there, and I was very proud to welcome the visiting politicians. Some of them didn’t add very much to the situation. Some of them tried to antagonize the situation for political gain, and I think that is unfortunate. But I must commend the leaders of the third party who came and showed some responsibility, and I commend them for that.

1 think it is an unfortunate thing when the opposition party comes into a riding with the sole purpose of disrupting everything. It didn’t matter what the people wanted, that’s what they did. I can tell them this: They can come into Peel region or to Mississauga East as often as they want. I welcome them there, because all they do is lose marks.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I, too, want to enter the throne debate and extend to you my best wishes on a job well done here in running this assembly. At times, as I said before, I think some of us do perhaps step out of line but, through that strong arm of yours, you sure do bring us under control.

I also want to commend you on your extended duties to the members of the Legislature in providing us perhaps with some ample facilities here; I am sure that is based upon your thoughts and views. I believe the Speaker has served the same number of years as I have in this chamber here -- I think it is going on 13 years; we’re of the class of 1967.

I was interested when the previous speaker talked about regional government in the Niagara area. I suppose one way to settle the argument would be to have a referendum in the regional municipality of Niagara. I can assure him that if a vote were taken today regional government would be out.

Mr. Hennessy: Out where?

Mr. Haggerty: Right out in the cold where it should be.

One of the main reasons there is no mention in the throne speech about more revamping of government in Ontario is perhaps that it is becoming rather costly for the taxpayers in the region. It’s nearing a stage where people would sooner turf it out than pay for a duplication of services in the region. I see nothing in here to provide assistance to municipalities which are hard pressed owing to the increase in local government taxation. Nothing whatsoever is mentioned in the throne speech about the Edmonton commitment.

As I look at the promises of this government for the next decade, they are not too promising. I was interested to read an article by Jean Edward Smith, professor of political economy at the University of Toronto. In it he criticized the Tories for lack of ideas.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: The member had to go to Jean Smith, a totally unbiased observer. Does he know Jean Smith? I recommend him.

Mr. Haggerty: The Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) should read this. I will put it on the record to clear the air. He said:

“Accordingly, when Premier, William Davis attempted a year-end review of the decade of the ‘70s -- and offered a glimpse on behalf of his government into the ‘80s, it was scarcely noted in the press.” I suppose the throne speech was accepted in the same way.

“This is unfortunate. For Davis’s 29-page report, The 70’s and the 80’s: From Growth to Maturity, represents the most far-ranging restatement of the views of Ontario’s Progressive leadership in recent memory. It also offers chilling affirmation of what most observers have suspected for several years. Namely, that the Tories have run out of ideas and are coasting on the past achievements.”

Mr. J. Reed: They never had any.

Mr. Haggerty: My colleague is right. If one looks back at the 1970s, there wasn’t too much to he proud of. Mr. Smith continues:

“Instead of dynamic economic and social leadership, the best Davis can offer is the patent smugness of the decades of responsibility -- the fatigued, churlish arrogance of too many years at Queen’s Park which confuses the victories of yesterday with the battles of tomorrow.”

He goes on to talk about the 22 points that George Drew had. I believe there are some 30 points that have been mentioned in the throne speech. He goes on to talk about the educational program; “The record in the field of education is scarcely different. Drew proposed a complete revision of the province’s antiquated educational structure, which up until then favoured the children of the urban well-to-do.

“For the most part, this pledge had been realized. Under Drew, Frost and Robarts -- with, ironically, Davis as Education minister under Roberts -- Ontario built an education system second to none in Canada and second to few in the world. But under Davis’s premiership, Ontario has sunk to eighth place among Canadian provinces in per capita grants to universities ... ” That well sums up the present problem.

Hon. Mr. Pope: Jean Smith is the public; really great!

Mr. Haggerty: The minister talks about somebody in this chamber who is not listening to the public. He doesn’t have to go out and take any private polls to tell him that. The students and the education system speak for themselves.

The article also says about the program; “A brief comparison of Drew’s initiatives and current Tory policy reveals the extent to which the Conservative leadership has stultified. Take the area of unemployment and human resources. Drew recognized the enormous productive capacity of Ontario’s population and the opportunities for expansion which post-war reconstruction provided. He pledged the government to support, ‘by appropriate legislation,’ the efforts of all sectors of the economy ‘to increase employment at good wages.’ By contrast, the present Tory government appears content to allow unemployment to remain in excess of seven per cent of the work force indefinitely.”

I suppose one can look to the former Treasurer of Ontario. Darcy McKeough. In his budget in 1975 or 1977 he indicated that one way to improve the unemployment situation in Ontario was to increase it from three per cent to 5.6 per cent. With the present throne speech we find the government moving in that direction again, to wipe out unemployment in Ontario; we’ll have it at 7.5 per cent or 7.6 per cent and accept it on that basis. That’s what the government’s doing. I don’t have to tell them that; somebody else is. I don’t know what their latest poll tells them in that particular area, but unemployment is a problem in Ontario.

8:30 p.m.

Again quoting Smith; “In the field of labour legislation, Drew turned away from the industrial strife of the Hepburn years and proposed legislation ensuring ‘the fairest and most advanced laws governing labour relations -- recognizing at the outset the right to proper and enforceable ... collective bargaining.’” That’s something that isn’t taking place in Ontario even under the present legislation.

“The resulting Ontario Labour Relations Act was a model for its time, but successive Tory governments have lost the thread, and today Ontario leads all Canadian provinces -- and every state in the US -- in man-days lost through strikes and lockouts. And as seasoned observers of the labour-management field recognize, the vast majority of these stoppages, and certainly the most acrimonious, derive from the inadequacies of the existing legislation pertaining to union security -- inadequacies which the present Conservative government have been unwilling to correct, even at the price of the worst record of work stoppages in North America.” That speaks for itself.

The throne speech does mention something about labour legislation we are going to see some time. It mentions proposed amendments to the Labour Relations Act regarding labour-management relations. I hope this time the government will put forward some amendment to the Labour Relations Act to include all persons employed in Ontario, regardless of which industry or work environment is involved. When one considers that only 30 per cent of the persons who may have grievances in a labour dispute are covered by the Labour Relations Act, it’s time we brought equality into labour legislation. All persons should be entitled to a decision or a grievance for being fired or dismissed for some unjust reason. They ought to have recourse to the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

Another matter is energy conservation programs. I don’t know how often members on the opposition side have suggested to the government different conservation programs which would be helpful to all Ontario residents and perhaps even to the rest of Canada.

I recall that back in 1973, Ontario’s first Minister of Energy, as he was then, Darcy McKeough, was going to co-operate with the federal government. At that time they wanted some guidelines on energy conservation and even an energy conservation policy for all Canada. For some unknown reason, this government has not followed the course that I think the public across Canada wanted to see.

I strongly believe in a federal energy policy that would be able to share all our energy needs here in Ontario without perhaps even exporting much to the United States. I thought then that he would be moving in that direction. Back in 1973, I directed the question to the minister. We didn’t need a poll at that time to read the climate of need for energy conservation. I asked him what direction he was going to give to the automobile industry to start building smaller cars -- to conserve energy -- with smaller engines et cetera. He said “I’ll take that under advisement.”

That was in 1973, and the government sits back and wonders why we have problems in our automobile industry today. The industry wants to receive a grants handout and yet, for some reason, it says, “This is the private sector, the free-enterprise system.” It can’t be the free-enterprise system any more when there is involvement of government funding. That’s where much of the fault lies today. I don’t have to tell members about the situation here in Ontario.

The same situation prevails on the American side. This is from the Buffalo Evening News: “Tight money puts pinch on sales of new autos. Slowdown seen for area industry. Area auto plants curtail production.”

Even the United States is facing difficulties in this area, for the simple reason that people are not buying large cars. They can see the energy crisis we’re heading for. What is hurting the United States is the import of Japanese and other foreign cars, even from Europe.

I directed a question the other day to the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman). I asked whether there was a breach of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade between Canada and other countries as it relates to the automobile industry. The minister couldn’t give me a clear-cut answer. He said he had left it up to the automobile industry to bring that information in to him.

If the government is interested in the automobile industry, it should have that information at its fingertips, whether or not there is a breach of GATT. I believe there is. I think it is indicated in the United States that there is dumping of the smaller vehicles there.

We talk about communications and industry, and there is the matter of the electrification of the GO trains. The previous speaker mentioned how great the area of Mississauga was on regional government and how it was working very well there. I suppose if the government would subsidize by 50 per cent the capital costs of the GO train or the GO buses to other Ontario communities, in addition to the local transportation they do subsidize, then people would say: “This is great. This does relate to regional government. We can cross boundaries in certain areas.”

I suggested there should be a regional government transit system in the Niagara region. I don’t think this business of pooling cars is going to work. The government hasn’t been able to curb the problem on the Queen Elizabeth Way, where almost every car one sees has only one person in it. And yet we’re subsidizing the GO system.

It may work very well in this area. But I suggest there are other areas where the electrification of a railway system on an experimental basis should be tried. They could revamp the old trolley system in the Niagara region that was there some 20 years ago and used to run from Port Colborne to Port Dalhousie. It could move a number of employees working in industry in St. Catharines and Welland back and forth to Port Colborne. It could be of assistance to Niagara College. It could be of great assistance to students at Brock University. I think it has great potential.

If the government wants to commit additional funding to promote a transportation system of this nature, I suggest that it he done in the Niagara region. In fact, they should even move into the Nanticoke area so they wouldn’t have to be spending the millions of dollars they’re talking about for the new Townsend site, moving people between the two steel towns, the one at Nanticoke and the city of Hamilton. That’s probably the area the government should be looking at.

One of the problems we have today relates to the economic state Canada, and even this province, is facing. I refer to the matter of government waste -- government agencies’ funds that are being wasted.

As a member of the select committee on Ontario Hydro affairs, I have observed unnecessary, wasteful expenditures -- the cost of the past overbilling and the present overbilling and foreign exchange losses and the interest charges on the money -- Hydro has to borrow. I suppose it relates to the high inflationary rate that faces Canada and has faced us in the past.

8:40 p.m.

When we talk about surplus buildings -- and I hope, I’m correct in this -- there is a surplus of 4,000 megawatts, which is about the size of the Nanticoke fossil fuel plant. The chairman of Ontario Hydro has indicated that exports reduce the power bills. He says Ontario Hydro earned more than $155 million from power export sales to United States utilities last year. That looks great, but when we’re buying about $400 million worth of coal from the United States and paying the exchange on that, we’re looking at about $60 million in extra costs. If one takes the cost of borrowing on loans in the American market and if one looks at the actual foreign exchange loss for the 12 months ended June 30, 1979, one finds that consumers in Ontario had to pay about an extra $85 million for borrowing on the foreign market.

When one adds up those two and the other things one wonders if we are making a profit on anything that’s being exported to the United States. I don’t think we are. As I look at it, it means about a 15 per cent additional cost on our 1979 hydro bill. I can’t see how the chairman can say that consumers are paying about seven per cent less for electricity than they would be without exports. I suppose there could be arguments both ways on this particular thing, but I still think one of the problems that we have in Canada is borrowing money on the foreign market at highly inflationary rates.

It’s not happening only in Ontario. The provinces of Quebec, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland are going to foreign markets to borrow money to finance some of their programs. I look at this and think it’s time the government took another strong approach to curtail the borrowing of money on the foreign market.

Members are going to ask how this can be done. I have a quote here about Walter Gordon which I thought might be appropriate to read into the record: “Walter Gordon, one of Canada’s outspoken economists and former Minister of Finance, has clearly stated Canada requires new leadership in economic policies for Canada. The rapid rise of such firms since Word War II, which has placed immense power in the hands of a relative few senior financiers and businessmen, could mean that a few hundred individuals will soon become more powerful than many governments.”

I can accept that comment, that this is what is taking place in Ontario, even as it relates to multinational corporations. Sure, it’s great to come into Canada and, with the resources we have, establish a business here and then walk off with huge profits. Some of it is taken off to reinvest in Third World countries. I think Canada is going to have to take a hard line in this matter where capital is leaving Canada.

It can apply to the banks as well. They’re international too. When capital leaves Ontario or Canada, it’s going to have to be treated the same as an export where it can be taxed. A tariff can be applied to it. Under highly inflationary rates, high interest rates, banks are doing very well. If one looks at the Royal Bank of Canada’s net income, one finds it rose from $62 million in 1974 to $136,902,000 in 1978. The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is another bank which has increased its revenue substantially.

I say it’s wrong policy for this money to be leaving Canada. I don’t think it’s fair to Canadians or to consumers in Ontario that the Canadian dollar, or even interest rates, have to be used for speculative purposes. I don’t think we have to follow the United States, that if they increase their interest rates to 20 per cent, the banks in Canada should follow.

Mr. Lawlor: You’re becoming a wild-eyed radical.

Mr. Haggerty: Oh, I am. My Irish dander is up right now; so look out.

I suggest where it is used on a speculative basis, it should be prohibited. As much as we enjoy our neighbour to the south, we appreciate their technology and one can’t survive without the other. The United States is our largest trading partner by some 70 per cent, which is pretty large.

Maybe there should be a common market on this North American side, so we can put up a common front in saying to certain bankers -- the money users, the money-lenders, whatever one wants to call them. I think it is time, when we start putting the Canadian dollar and the Canadian interest on a speculative basis, that there has to be something a bit different.

We can’t have the Ontario Development Corporation, for example, saying it will give interest-free loans to 12.25 per cent, while a poor person who owns a home has to pay 16 per cent -- and it could even go higher than that. Is there any justice in our system?

Suppose we compare industrial sector taxation with the tax principles that apply to the average Canadian family. We pay the highest there is. Industry and business can apply the interest they are paying in capital for the purchase of real estate or buildings against their taxes. They can reduce their income taxes, but a property owner can’t. He is not given a depreciation allowance, and yet almost every business -- including banks -- has a certain tax concession here.

It is time this government took a good close look at it to bring some equity to taxation. It can’t forever hit the working man all the time. Are the grants it gives the automobile industry going to solve theft problem? Then there are the grants it gives to the paper industry, which makes millions of dollars profit a year. One paper firm made $114 million and the other said, “I can’t commit myself, because in the last 10 years it has been roughly $15 million.” Surely, if it can find the money there, it can find it to relieve the present home owners from the high interest rates -- and it won’t cost $15 million. I think either this government or the federal government is going to have to come up with a program.

If this government is going to have to subsidize interest rates, then for Pete’s sake why not peg them at 12 per cent? That’s the same as applies to grants to other industries in Ontario. Without the purchasing power of the home owners and the wage earners who have to pay the cost of all these, where is the industry going to be?

I read an article from the Buffalo Evening News, headed, “Tight Money Puts Pinch on Sales of New Autos.” If one is going to spend it all trying to maintain his home, or hold this high interest rate for at least one or two years, one is not going to have money to be purchasing other goods that are going to keep the manufacturing industry going.

I think the government should be pegging the interest rate. In the first place, I suppose, they should remove it from its relationship to the price of gold, which was pegged until a few years ago. I can see a normal increase in its price, but it doesn’t have to run to $600 or $900 or $800.

Mr. Ashe: You should be in Ottawa.

Mr. Haggerty: No, I shouldn’t be in Ottawa.

Mr. Ashe: Several of your colleagues would be glad to hear from you.

Mr. Haggerty: The honourable member’s party is sending out messages for polls. He has had some of the best poll-taking advice of any member in this chamber. He doesn’t have to go out and spend $500,000 -- blowing the taxpayers’ money. If the government would only listen to members on this side, it would have some of the answers to the problems it is facing over there now. It is that simple.

8:50 p.m.

For example, the Export Development Corporation will offer 14 per cent interest on a $250-million United States offering. That is damned well ridiculous. When I sit back and look at the financial statements available to many of us here -- for example, the financial statements of the banks -- I see there is some $132 billion sitting in Canadian savings. Even with the high interest rate there, one doesn’t see the interest rate or those savings climbing that high. Somebody has to be making a windfall profit. It could be the banks. I don’t think it is the trust companies, because I think the banks are in a better position than the trust companies since they are calling the shots.

I suggest this is an area we should be looking at. I strongly believe we should tap the Canadian money resources that are here. Let’s give the person who is saving, whatever the small savings that may be there, a break in some of these areas by way of tax concessions.

Look at the United States and what they have done. They ensure tax-free income if one purchases government bonds, for example. They are tax-free. To get us over these economic difficulties and perhaps to buy back some of Canada, let’s move in that direction and say, “If you invest in the government of Canada or the government of Ontario, or if you purchase Ontario Hydro bonds, we will give it to you at eight or 10 per cent, which will be tax-free for 10 years.” It would be worthwhile saving money. We wouldn’t have to be going to the foreign market and being held at the mercy of large countries and large banking institutions.

There is a method in Canada to raise money and buy back Canada and put us on an even keel so we don’t have to depend on outsiders on terms of usury. That is what we are being used for. We are being goaded into these high interest rates. It’s the fault of all levels of government, I guess, and I strongly believe we should be looking into this area.

One of the areas is Ontario Hydro. Let’s try it with Ontario Hydro instead of bestowing money. The chairman of Ontario Hydro said in an address to the Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association of Canada, November 6, 1979:

“Energy Futures estimates that Canadian electric utilities will require $110 billion in investment between now and 1990. That’s more than half the total energy investment needed in the country during that period. More than a few economists and financiers have claimed that such a scramble for capital could put a severe strain on world money markets. Some experts question whether traditional sources of funding can meet the demand at all.

“For Canadian utilities whose debt-equity ratios are uncomfortably high” -- note that -- “and whose power rates are comparatively low” -- I can’t quite agree with that, because it has been proven here that Ontario’s rates are not the lowest -- “the simple answer would seem to be raise prices and reduce borrowing.”

I suppose that is one way of getting it, but I suggest the other way of getting it would be to look into that area and give Canadian small investors an opportunity to share in the economic growth in Canada and in Ontario. I suggest this is one area we should be looking at. I am sure if we move in this direction of giving a break to a small person who is saving some money, perhaps be would invest in a program of this nature which would be tax-free for a period of 10 years. Something is needed that will put us back on an even keel so we shouldn’t have to go to the foreign market. I don’t think there is any need for that. I think the money can be raised here in Ontario and throughout Canada.

Surely some of the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust Fund could be put to work for the benefit of all Canadians. I don’t say it has to be done as a giveaway program, but it should be there for the benefit of the majority of Canadians.

I leave those few comments with members. The throne speech debate might be rather dull, but I do support my leader’s proposed amendment: “The assembly, however, regrets that the speech again reflects a lack of government initiative, leadership and policy adequate to the needs and aspirations of the people of Ontario at this time and for the next decade, and specifically condemns the government for failing to present the assembly with programs which will restore economic growth and prosperity after a decade of decline in the 1970s” --


Mr. Haggerty: I don’t know how my friends to the left cannot support this -- “protect the people of Ontario from escalating high interest rates on residential mortgages, small business loans and farmer loans; establish a firm, fair revenue-sharing agreement with municipalities and school boards; reverse the ongoing erosion of Ontario’s health-care system; develop the talents and skills of young people for the opportunities which exist in industry and commerce; protect the environment from dangerous, wasteful and unnecessary pollution, and lessen this province’s dependence on ever more expensive oil by developing alternative energy resources at competitive costs and by introducing comprehensive conservation programs. Therefore, the assembly declares its lack of confidence in the government.”

I hope my friends from the left will support this amendment. I think it is worth while.


Mr. Haggerty: We are going to go to the polls some time. I just wish I knew what the cost is now for the advertising. The only one I haven’t heard so far is the Treasurer’s (Mr. F. S. Miller) little announcement on radio. I have heard it from the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch) from the time I turn on the radio in the morning till the time I shut it down at night-time. The Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) is giving out his free election campaign. We can see it coming. The election is in the wind and the members know it over there. They are doing the advertising on radio now at the expense of the public.

Hon. F. S. Miller: You are worried about the pensions that haven’t yet been earned on your side of the House.

Mr. Haggerty: I am not worried about mine. We can tell the election is coming by all the advertising on the radio.

Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, I am not only proud of being in this party, but especially on this occasion I am really proud to give my contribution to the debate on the throne speech.

I enter this debate with dismay because we are confronted with a situation which is critical. It is a dire situation which reflects the situation the Liberal government faced in 1943 when Harry Nixon and Mitch Hepburn said that in Ontario we had reached a plateau of development that would last for one generation. That is exactly what the Premier of this province (Mr. Davis) said on December 29, 1979, when he produced his document, The Seventies and the Eighties: From Growth to Maturity.

We are confronted with a deep economic crisis in our province. It is a crisis which will last long because the conditions of this province have changed dramatically since 1943 when we had the last Liberal government. Today we are faced with exactly the same situation. We have a party and a government without ideas, without leadership and with an economic situation which is worsening day after day.

9 p.m.

If the Liberal Party thinks we can change this situation with only a motion of no confidence at this point and for crass political purposes, we think that is not the case because the problem is much more complex. We do not think that we will solve the present political situation in Ontario just by replacing the Conservative government with another government which is without ideas, which has contradictory propositions, which has been telling the people of Ontario one thing one day, another thing another day.

All of us in this House remember the positions of the Liberal Party. Its leader, the member for Hamilton West (Mr. S. Smith), was in favour of the excise tax on gasoline on September 29, 1979, when he said that the solution to the energy crisis was to impose an excise tax. Then we had the same leader fighting the last federal election against the 18-cent excise tax imposed by the Conservative government.

We have the leader of the Liberal Party going around Ontario literally cheating the ethnic groups of this province and talking one language to one group and another language to another group. He goes round saying, against the Workmen’s Compensation Board, Ontario, that the WCB discriminates against Italian-Canadians and accusing the WCB because it asks so much time for the members to produce their appeal. Then we have the chairman of the board who says that since January 1, 1977, the leader of the Liberal Party has produced only 11 appeals.

We have to denounce to the people of Ontario the doubletalk of the leader of the Liberal Party. While he is talking to the injured workers, accusing the Workmen’s Compensation Board, what does he say when he meets with the board? I quote from the words of the chairman of the board, and he says: “The leader of the Liberal Party said that the Workmen’s Compensation Board” -- I have to translate -- “has performed excellent and efficient work in assisting the injured workers.” This is the alternative that is proposed to us with the motion of no confidence.

I don’t want to talk about the opportunistic, unprincipled and dishonest stance taken by the leader of the Liberal Party in dealing with the problems of the teachers and the work-to-rule campaign in North York, when the students of North York, the riding I represent, gave excellent proof of responsibility. The leader of the Liberal Party went there attacking the work-to-rule campaign, attacking the right of the teachers to strike.

We all remember when my colleague, the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren), introduced a bill to amend the Workmen’s Compensation Act in 1978. Who spoke against the very minor amendments which introduced some measure that were basically accepted in December 1979 when the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) introduced the amendments? The member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) accused the New Democratic Party of taking sides with the workers against the poor employers. It turned out in December 1979 that despite the increases in pensions and fringe benefits the assessment was not changed at all.

Being a member of a minority group, I would like also to remind the House that last year when we were discussing heritage language -- which we think was an achievement in Ontario -- which gave the minority groups the right to learn the languages of their origin, the then critic of education of the Liberal Party, the member for London North (Mr. Van Horne), cautioned the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) to refrain from spending too much money in that sector.

I think that party has not the right to propose itself as an alternative to government but should be ashamed because it has been working and is working against the interest of a very large constituency in Ontario. That doesn’t prevent us from seriously and honestly discussing the serious problems we have in Ontario.

This province has been developing this economy in the last century because of fortunate conditions. We had all the natural resources available and we also had legislation and a type of tariff barrier which promoted the development of the manufacturing sector in this province. Unfortunately, what happened, mostly because of the provincial Conservative government’s position, is we have been developing a branch-plant economy that now in the 1980s is becoming a very serious burden and will become a very serious headache for the generations to come.

We know that in the last decade Toronto has replaced Montreal as the financial centre of the country but now the centre is shifting towards Alberta and Saskatchewan -- the provinces which now have the resources that are valuable and important for the development of a modern economy.

Ever since I was elected I have been seeing the erosion of the economy of this province, slowly but consistently, in every sector -- especially the manufacturing sector because of the branch-plant economic structure of this province. It is not only in the manufacturing sector but in every economic sector of the province. Tourism has constantly been in a deficit. The forest industry is becoming so critical that the foresters are telling us that 15 or 20 years from now Ontario will be one of the importing provinces.

In agriculture, the farm land is disappearing in Ontario. We know there is farm land which has been disappearing at such a fast rate that there is widespread concern among all the communities in our province. The mining industry, which was once the pride of this province, is now in such a serious crisis that we have communities such as Atikokan where the only two iron mines have been shut down and we have a whole community disappear because people have no other source of income.

For the first time we are facing a crisis in skilled workers, because for decades we have been importing skilled workers from abroad with no contribution at all from the government or industry. For the first time we have industries which are looking for skilled workers, There is no government program, despite the promises, despite the manpower commission set up by the government, because the government hasn’t the guts to ask industry to pay its fair share in order to qualify our manpower for skilled jobs.

9:10 p.m.

The most serious crisis is in the manufacturing sector and, unfortunately, we have a most inept Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman). He doesn’t understand that unless we develop an economic program for the manufacturing sector, an industrial strategy, we are selling out our province. A journalist with some imagination wrote in the Windsor Star on January 25, 1980, that “Grossman is in effect saying, ‘We are beautiful and we are idiots; come and take us.’”


Mr. Speaker: Will the member for Cambridge (Mr. M. Davidson) stop interrupting his colleague.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: What ears!

Mr. M. Davidson: My apologies.

Mr. Di Santo: This journalist says that the Minister of Industry and Tourism makes it clear that we cannot be raped because we are giving it away. He says: “At least we can’t be accused of prostituting ourselves. Prostitutes want money for their favours, but these brochures” -- the Ministry of Industry produced two brochures for the consumption of the Americans -- “makes it clear that Ontario attaches no strings. If you have got money to invest and want to use Ontario workers in government-subsidized things like land, pure water, sewage facilities, energy, highways, railways, airports, then this is a way to make more money.”

This attempt of the minister, reflected in the throne speech, to attract investments from the United States is the most disgraceful mistake that any government can make at this point. There has been ample literature which proves that investment in Canada is destructive for our economy. Professor Prowe of the University of Alberta said that from 1955 to 1976, if we hadn’t had foreign investment, we would have been only six months behind.

One problem we have with our current account deficit is that we are paying very high professional fees, interest and profits to foreign companies. This government is unable to understand these problems and is unable to work out an alternative, the alternative that the New Democratic Party has been proposing.

The problems with our branch-plant economy are well known. We have plants with short production runs to serve the Canadian market which basically serve the purposes of the multinational companies and not the interests of the Canadian market. Because the Canadian market is so large and fragmented it cannot be served by one single industry.

We lack specialization. Despite the fact that the Minister of Industry and Tourism is proclaiming his new policy of world product mandating, we know we are totally at the mercy of the multinational corporations. No one can convince Ford Motor Company today to produce one car in Canada which can be used for export purposes because the decisions are made in Detroit. No one can convince Westinghouse to produce one line which is used for export to the world market, unless that is in the interest of Westinghouse.

We have the much-heralded example of Northern Telecom, one of the leading companies in the communications field. It was producing lines for export when it was in the interest of the company, but two weeks ago the president of Northern Telecom asked the government of Canada for a subsidy because it could not compete any longer. Also, we all know that if Westinghouse manufactures one line in Canada we have to import the other 60 lines it produces abroad.

We have a further problem, which this government doesn’t understand, with the GATT negotiations. Despite the fact that we have the Canadian adviser, Mr. Grey, as a consultant for the Ontario government -- he is London-based, and I think somehow it is difficult to communicate with him -- we are totally unprepared in Ontario to face the outcome of the GATT negotiations.

Eight or nine years from now, 80 per cent of our merchandise will flow freely from Canada to the United States. At that point it will be virtually impossible for the small branch plants of Ontario to compete with the large American plants. At that point it will be much more convenient for the Americans to produce and manufacture in the United States than in Canada, because the market will be wide open, Therefore, I think it’s sheer stupidity to ask for a common market in North America, because what we are is an economic colony.

I don’t want to discuss the serious problems we have in the automobile industry, because that issue has been raised several times. In 1978, the then Treasurer recognized in his budget paper that we need a fair share of the market. We know what a fair share of the market is. We know what the Canadian market is. We know what the Canadian population is. We know what the consumption of cars in Canada is.

Canada is one of the major consuming nations in terms of automobiles. But despite that, and despite the auto pact, we have an increasing deficit, which last year amounted to $3,140,000,000 in total automobile trade figures and $4 billion in parts manufacturing. That means, in effect, that we are not only losing thousands and thousands of jobs, but we are also making our position extremely weak.

In this party we think we need an economic blueprint for the 1980s -- a blueprint that the Conservative government is unable to provide, because it cannot provide the compassionate, energetic and pragmatic leadership that was provided 37 years ago by George Drew, when he introduced his 22 points.

Today we have the document. The Seventies and the Eighties: From Growth to Maturity, a document of failures and one that proves the leadership of this government is becoming so anachronistic that it is destined for failure. What is even worse is the fact that because of its inability to put this province in a position of growth -- and if the forecast of the Conference Board in Canada is true, that in 1980 we will have zero growth in Canada, in Ontario we will have negative growth; if there is zero growth in all Canada, we know the growth will be in the west where the resources are, and we know that in the last two years Ontario was the last province, the 10th province, in terms of growth in the manufacturing sector -- we will be in a situation almost of bankruptcy.

What is even worse is that this government, in order to impose what it calls a policy of restraint, is asking the weakest sector in our society to pay -- the pensioners, the disabled people, the people on general welfare, those who are less able to fight back.

9:20 p.m.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Hogwash.

Mr. Di Santo: I could also make a comment on the policies of the Minister of Education.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: By all means, do.

Mr. M. Davidson: That’s your government policy: hogwash.

Mr. Di Santo: Yes, I will, in fact make a comment. They are bringing the education system in this province to the point that only the wealthy ones can afford to get to university.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: That’s not true.

Mr. Di Santo: That’s true.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: It is not.

Mr. Di Santo: Somebody will denounce that at some point because by increasing tuition fees by 17 per cent the minister is excluding the children of the workers and the children of the people from going to university.

Mr. Ashe: Baloney.

Mr. Di Santo: What’s even worse is she has been unable to develop a program of apprenticeship which will allow the people who come out from the secondary schools to get trained to become skilled workers. That’s why we are importing skilled workers from other countries, because of the minister’s inability and the failure of this government.

Mr. Mancini: That’s an election issue.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: There are 35,000 people in apprenticeships right now.

Mr. Di Santo: I have raised today the case of the people who are on Canada Pension and disability and this government is giving them $236 a month when they are considered unemployed.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: The real problem for those people is inflation, and there isn’t a government in this country that has been fighting inflation more vigorously.

Mr. Di Santo: I’m glad that the Minister of Education interjects in such an unwise way, because if she would go back three or four years she would understand that the government of British Columbia, under Premier Barrett in 1975, on his own --

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Almost bankrupted the province.

Mr. Di Santo: That’s factual. The minister cannot deny the facts. I know that she has strong and wrong convictions but she cannot deny the facts. He removed the ceilings so that when the cost of living goes up and the Canada Pension disabilities are increased, family benefits and Gains also are increased. If the minister can tell me that today a single person can live on $236 a month, I think either there is something in her or she doesn’t understand the situation.

I want to conclude my remarks by saving that the economy is the most serious problem we have. There is a serious problem with this government because it is asking groups in our society to pay that can least afford it. There are promises that this government has not kept but which it keeps raising time and time again, such as in 1977 in the so-called Bramalea charter when it promised to eliminate the education tax from the property taxes for senior citizens; it has increased the tax credit by 2.6 per cent. That speaks to the failure of the policies of that government.

So we will not vote for the motion of no confidence of the Liberals because we do not think that’s the appropriate way to handle the economic crisis that we are faced with, but we will promise that we will keep fighting very hard for the people of Ontario.

Mr. M. Davidson: A point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: First of all I want to thank you for having brought me to order when my colleague was speaking. I congratulate you for that and I apologize to my colleague, but I didn’t realize, sir, that his speaking style was such that it required three open microphones. I was simply talking to my colleague on this side of me, and if you picked that up I am terribly sorry.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: I am delighted to have the opportunity to play a small part and to say a few words in this debate on the reply to the speech from the throne.

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to congratulate you on the excellent quality of your performance in your very arduous role and to congratulate you on the enviable distinction which you bring to that role in terms of both expertise and knowledge. Your role has been eminently fair, and I think members on all sides of the House appreciate the judiciousness with which you function in your chair.

I have the honour to represent a riding which is the fourth largest, in terms of population, in this province, and which represents what I suppose the sociologists would call all strata of economic base. It also is comprised of a very interesting mixture of all of those people who make up our varied and fascinating population within this province. There are many of those who are Anglo-Saxon, who have been in this country for some time. We have a relatively large population of francophones, of members of the Jewish community.

More recently in the past five years we have welcomed to York Mills a very excellent representation of many of the newer arrivals in Canada. All of these citizens have made a strong commitment to this province and to this country, in that almost all of the residents in the riding of York Mills are owners of homes. They feel very strongly about their commitment to this province and this country, and have so signified that commitment by becoming permanent residents in a specific place.

They are knowledgeable and interested people and responsible for the first French-language secondary school within the Metropolitan Toronto area. It is about the commitment of this government in the area of educational services to our French-speaking community that I would like to speak briefly this evening.

I would like to begin with a short historical overview which I think will describe the development of the policies of the government in respect of French-language education. Then I would like to describe a few of the current programs in support of those policies.

I guess the first lesson history teaches us in this province is that our francophone community has very deep roots in Ontario society. When we discuss the rights of the francophones within this society and in this province to educational services in their own language, we are not talking about an issue which is just emerging at this time. Except for a very brief period at the beginning of this century, the French-speaking community in this province has always had access to elementary education in Ontario.

In fact, I am told that the very first school established within Ontario was a French-language school at Fort Frontenac, now Kingston. But until more recently, French-speaking Ontarians did not have a full kindergarten-to-post-secondary educational opportunity within their own language. Before 1968, students entering secondary schools in Ontario had to attend schools where usually the only language of communication permitted was English and where only a few subjects could be taught in the French language. The alternative, of course, was to attend a private school.

9:30 p.m.

In 1968, legislation was introduced which changed this situation dramatically. Through Bill 140 and Bill 141 the use of the French language as a language of instruction, a language of school administration and of general communication with pupils was given legal recognition. In addition, the provision of instruction in the French language was made mandatory when a minimum number of students requested it. Third, French-language advisory committees were formed to advise boards of education regarding all aspects of French-language secondary school programs and services.

Following this landmark legislation French-language secondary schools were established throughout the province. We now have more than 20 schools serving more than 20,000 students in the French language in secondary school programs. Most of these schools were established with a spirit of co-operation but there were some problems experienced in the implementation of the ministry’s policy.

The government therefore set up a commission in 1971 which was chaired by T. H. B. Symons with a mandate to examine the general provisions for French-language education in the province and to submit recommendations for the equitable resolution of problems arising from the implementation of the 1968 legislation.

The Symons commission submitted a number of important recommendations many of which were quickly implemented. The council on French-language schools was created and chaired by a French-language senior official with the status of an assistant deputy minister. The mandate of that council is important, because it was to advise the Minister and the Deputy Minister of Education on all matters related to French-language education at both the elementary and secondary levels. Its first task was to provide guidance to the Ministry of Education in the implementation of the other recommendations of that commission.

The council’s early recommendations were proposals that more French-speaking officials be recruited and that they be seeded within the various departments of the Ministry of Education and within its regional offices in order to provide these offices and the branches with an on-the-spot sensitivity to French-language education.

Shortly thereafter the French-language staff within the Ministry of Education doubled and the percentage of that population is now 17 per cent of the total staff. Thereafter there were further steps taken by the ministry in creating the Languages of Instruction Commission of Ontario, the role of which is well known to the members of this House.

Another significant development occurred, of course, when the chairman of the council on French-language schools became, in fact, an assistant deputy minister and was appointed a full member of the ministry’s management committee, a committee which is composed of the assistant deputy ministers and the deputy minister, which reviews all of the major proposals within the ministry and all initiatives within the ministry. The participation of that French-language assistant deputy minister in those deliberations gives the Franco-Ontarian community very significant representation at the very centre of the decision-making process within the Ministry of Education.

In 1978, the ministry reviewed its regulations governing the operation of both schools and classes. For French-language education the regulations were amended to make it mandatory for teachers in French-language classes to have received their teaching certificates and their teacher training education in the French-language teacher training institutions. Those policies also made it mandatory for school boards to appoint French-language co-ordinators or French-language vice-principals when the French-language enrolment reached a specific minimum level.

Through these recommendations and the policies that have been developed there has been an expansion of French-language education within the schools, but it was not sufficient for approximately 15,000 students within the mixed school situation in the province and that, of course, led to the statement of policy which was delivered October 5 regarding mixed schools.

We are urging, through this policy statement, school boards operating mixed schools to review their current arrangements in very close consultation with their French-language advisory committees and where it is judged to be appropriate, desirable and possible, to establish French-language school entities by appointing French-language principals and staff and grouping its French-speaking students in a homogeneous setting.

As a result of that initiative, I can say that of the 34 mixed schools within the province the most recent information we have would demonstrate that within eight boards decisions have been made not to change the status of their mixed schools for 14 schools. Three boards have made the decision to establish French-language school entities. Ten boards are going to maintain their mixed school program with a greatly improved French-language program. There are three boards with entities already established and which will probably expand their program, and there are three boards with four schools that are still deliberating the activities which they will undertake.

Just a few weeks ago the ministry announced additional funding to facilitate these school reorganizations in order to provide a further French-language educational program. Included in that program is a grant of up to $3,000, payable over three years, to offset the costs associated with the establishment of each new French-language secondary school entity. Additional grants have also been provided through the small secondary school program which will ensure that small French-language secondary schools of the secondary variety are able to operate as viable units in spite of a relatively small size.

In addition to that, mixed language secondary schools will be receiving additional grants as well in order to encourage the expansion of course offerings in the French language within those schools. To further enable school boards to establish new French-language secondary school entities, capital funds will be made available to undertake such alterations as are necessary for the board to properly implement the program.

It is obvious that policy statements may not ensure that francophones will be provided with a quality of educational opportunity within their own language. The government’s initiatives in the general area, which for the purpose of these programs is extensive, will be of value within French-language education. But there are programs which we are carrying out in support of that French-language education which are not generally well known.

One of the major obstacles to overcome, if we are going to provide French-speaking students with quality educational programs, is the difficulty in ensuring the adequate delivery of appropriate learning materials in the French language. To illustrate the severity of the shortage, in 1971 Circular 14, which contains the list of the authorized textbooks for use in secondary schools, contained 2,500 English-language titles and only 100 French-language textbooks.

Given that the French-language schools must cover the same range of course offerings, it is easy to imagine that this could have a crippling effect on the quality of education. French-speaking teachers teaching in French-language schools to French-speaking students would either have to translate or use materials available only in English.

Because of the limited marketability of French-language materials, the publishers in Canada find it financially very difficult to produce the required materials for programs being offered in French-language schools. The ministry has taken a number of initiatives to alleviate this problem. The Franco-Ontarian resource guide is at the present time being developed, produced by the Ministry of Education in conjunction with the University of Ottawa.

Teachers in French-language schools at all grades will be able to use this publication, not just to help French-speaking students understand their heritage, hut also to help English-speaking children become more familiar with French Canada and with French literature rand heritage.

An annual grant of $500,000 is allocated annually to the Centre franco ontarien des resources pédagogiques in Ottawa. The principal function of the centre is to facilitate the sharing of French-language, noncommercial learning materials, materials which are produced by the various school boards. Last year some 50,000 items were sold at cost recovery to schools across the province and even to some schools outside Ontario.

In addition to that, in 1975 the ministry launched a special project to assist financially publishers and producers of learning materials. One third of the total amount of the approved budget in the learning materials development plan was allocated to the production of learning materials for French-language schools. In the first 19 months of operation of this plan, more than $1 million was spent for the development of French-language learning materials for Franco-Ontarian students in this province. This included a federal participation of almost $400,000.

9:40 p.m.

In 1977, a special fund was created to meet the specific needs of French-language schools. This new fund replaces the French-language component of the learning materials development plan, and in its first thee years of operation $7.5 million has been allocated for the production of some 350 items of educational resource material for Franco-Ontarian students.

In addition to this, efforts have been made by the ministry to improve the quality of French-language education related to the qualifications of teachers and the availability of specialized professional services. There are two French-language teacher education institutions in Ontario, one in Sudbury and one in Ottawa. Once teachers graduate from these institutions they receive from the ministry a teaching certificate valid for French-language schools.

The schools, whether they be French- or English-language institutions, require more than teachers with basic qualifications only if they are to offer their pupils adequate educational opportunities. In this respect, French-language schools have special needs because generally speaking, in this province and elsewhere outside Quebec, there is a shortage of French-language teachers with additional qualifications in specialized areas.

We have taken a number of initiatives to try to alleviate this problem. We are trying to take full advantage of the expertise that is currently available, and the ministry at this time purchases the service of French-language experts in various fields from school boards employing such experts and lends these experts free of charge to other boards in need of the services. The seconded specialists are grouped in three regional teams, each headed by a co-ordinator, and there are 42 educators involved in this program this year. The ministry has allocated $1.9 million this year to that program to provide the support services required for French-language education.

We have also established a bursary program to assist teachers in French-language schools to upgrade or update their qualifications through winter evening courses, Additional allocations are given to teachers who have to travel some distance to attend these courses. Last year, 1,000 such bursaries were granted, for a total of $225,000.

Since the need to work and learn in the French-language context is experienced not just by students but also by teachers in their professional development, the ministry has made arrangements to create a French-language professional development centre at Laurentian University, where a number of French-language courses are offered each summer. If a school board wishes to send one of its French-language teachers on a full-time study leave, it can apply to the ministry for a special $20,000 grant towards the salary of the substitute teacher. The annual budget for this program is $300,000.

The ministry has just concluded an agreement with the government of France whereby 20 French-language teachers of this province will be given an opportunity, at very little cost to them, to attend a four-week summer course at the Université de Tours.

In addition to that, the ministry has established a special fund to help school boards and teacher associations in the organization of professional development activities for teachers, and the budget for that this year is $300,000.

French-language schools have a rather special role to play in this province. They are looked upon by the French-speaking community as one of the principal bulwarks against assimilation, and they function in many areas of the province without the support of a French-language socio-cultural environment. To complicate this even further, there isn’t any doubt about the fact that it costs more to provide minority-language education because of such factors as more limited enrolment and the higher costs of learning materials which must be provided.

To ensure that school boards rare able to meet those extra costs associated with the provision of French-language education, the ministry has provided additional financial aid to school boards across the province. The boards receive an additional $150 per elementary school pupil, $45 per grade nine and 10 pupil, and $50 per grade 11, 12 and 13 pupil. These funds must be used for the improvement of French-language services and procedures, and they have been established to ensure that this is effectively carried out. The budget for this program last year was $17 million.

In addition to elementary and secondary education, a good deal of activity has taken place within the post-secondary field as well. Educational services to francophones have been extended in the last decade at the post-secondary level and this is increasing on a regular basis. The expansion of French-language services in the universities is reflected in the bilingualism grants allocated to the institutions.

Following a 1976 study by the Council for Franco-Ontarian Education and the Ontario Council on University Affairs -- which calculated the actual costs of bilingualism -- the grant for bilingualism was increased by $1 million in 1978-79 and a further half million dollars in 1979-80, over and above the normal operating grant increase. In 1979-80 the bilingualism grant was $6.25 million and in 1980 $6.7 million.

In addition to the bilingualism grant which supports incremental operating costs, the ministry administers a program of grants for the development of new French courses. These grants are awarded on the recommendation of the Council for Franco-Ontarian Education and they are aimed at defraying the costs of development and startup of new courses. In 1979-80, the grant under this program was $263,500. Some of the projects recently funded include the inter-university group of Franco-Ontarian studies, the science and engineering courses at the University of Ottawa, the translation of medical textbooks at the University of Ottawa, the translation program at Glendon College, social work courses at Laurentian University and a commerce program at the College de Hearst.

The decision by my colleague, the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), to extend the right to trials in French in this province made the need for lawyers trained in the French language more urgent and the faculty of law at the University of Ottawa agreed in 1977-78 to begin offering, in addition to their civil law program, compulsory courses of the common law in French.

The Ministry of Colleges and Universities supported the university with increasingly large grants in 1977-78 and 1978-79, and in 1979-80 a grant of $160,000 has been made. Initiatives have also been taken in the health sciences by the government. It has been decided to provide, in 1980-81, a special grant of $100,000 to support new courses and other projects in the health sciences area at both Laurentian University and the University of Ottawa. The grants will be announced in the very near future.

There are fellowships for studying in French available to French-language students within this province. The federal program of second-language fellowship in Ontario is administered at the Fellowship for Studying in French and gives $1,000 or $2,000 to students for Franco-Ontarians and others to take programs in the French language.

There are initiatives which have also been taken within the community college system in support of French-language education. The policy for teaching in the French language in the community colleges was approved by my predecessor, now Minister of the Environment (Mr. Parrott), in 1976. The policy provides programs and/or courses in the French language in the community colleges which serve French-speaking communities. It also ensures a sharing of learning resources materials among the colleges in order to maximize their use and to minimize their costs.

The implementation of the policy was initiated through an intensive and ongoing program of professional development for francophone personnel and the implementation of a mechanism for equitable funding of the incremental costs incurred by six colleges offering and planning to offer courses and programs in the French language. Those colleges were Algonquin, Cambrian, the Cornwall campus of St. Lawrence, Canadore, Northern and Niagara.

Five colleges constitute a smaller group: Georgian, Sault Campus at Elliot Lake, Confederation, St. Clair and Mohawk plan to meet the needs of Franco-Ontarian adults and eventually those of post-secondary students. This year there is a budget of $140,000 allocated for this purpose.

In 1972-73, 31 programs were offered to 693 French-speaking students at the community colleges of this province at a cost of $790,000. In 1980, for a total of $4 million, these funds are to be expended in maintaining 2,133 students in 87 programs taught entirely within the French language or in the bilingual mode, and in specific adult education projects employing 500 French-speaking personnel at the community colleges of this province.

9:50 p.m.

At the present time we have under intensive study the possibility of offering manpower, apprenticeship and trade programs in the French language. Human resources will, in fact, be required to develop, to translate, to implement industrial training courses for motor vehicle mechanics, tool and die makers, and the entire range of skilled tradesmen required in the work force.

The ministry identifies and monitors and audits all funds allocated for French-language services in the community college system. The colleges are currently meeting the challenge of the 1980s for their Franco-Ontarian constituents I believe in a competent, efficient and very cost-effective manner.

There are so many activities related to French-language education in Ontario that I find myself obliged to give only a partial list of those activities; but I do know that in spite of what one reads very frequently, particularly in the Quebec press, and what one hears very frequently, particularly from members of the third party, the government of this province continues its priority efforts to improve French-language services, and it indicates through the amount of activity which is carried out and the commitment to that activity, the extent of its support, which is vigorous, towards the French-speaking community within Ontario.

I am aware that those across the floor believe there is less than total commitment to that program. It is unfortunate that they are entirely and unequivocally wrong in that assessment. We continue to provide further support for French-language education and shall continue to do so to the best of our ability. We shall do so with the best, I believe, of good small-c conservative principles, and that means we will do it as efficiently, as economically and as rapidly as we possibly can. We shall, as we have always done in the past, involve the French-language community in the discussion of the programs that are to be developed and provided.

There is no province in this country more committed to the support of French-language education for its minority group within its province. We do not believe one has to pass legislation in order to ensure that that program will be delivered; it is much more rational to develop the program to provide the services to the people than it is to pass legislation that cannot be met.

The record of this government is excellent in support of French-language education. It continues to be so and it will be in the future. We shall be very much concerned in order that we will provide the best possible French-language educational opportunities for Franco-Ontarian students in Ontario. We hope, as well, to be able to encourage our anglophone students to participate equally vigorously in the French-language instruction that is available to them. It seems to me that the future of this country depends upon our capability to understand and be sensitive to one another We cannot afford in Canada to do any less.

Mr. Eakins: Mr. Speaker, it’s a pleasure to rise to speak briefly in this debate. As the representative for the great counties of Victoria-Haliburton, I feel very honoured to represent the counties that have sent to Queen’s Park some very excellent leaders who have certainly left their imprint on this province.

I heartily agree with my leader that the future of Ontario is indeed up for review. Traditional advantages have been weakened, old development attitudes are no longer applicable and the international economic situation has changed drastically. Ontario’s progress can no longer be taken for granted,

Ontario has been described as the troubled giant of the Canadian economy. Long the dynamic industrial and financial heart of the country, recent reports now show the province is uncertain and faltering. This is the disturbing view of the Ontario economy recently made public by the Department of Regional Economic Expansion.

I want to touch on a number of areas which cause me concern, some provincially and some affecting parts of the riding I represent.

The Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) was here earlier and I want to touch on the needs of the county of Haliburton. This afternoon I spoke on the need for Department of Regional Economic Expansion funding for this county.

We listen in the Legislature to members speaking on behalf of areas of the province which are in need of assistance because of unemployment. One problem for the county of Haliburton is that it is considered to be neither in northern Ontario for provincial funding, such as the $10 licence plates, nor in eastern Ontario as far as DREE is concerned.

The county of Haliburton needs assistance for the creation of employment. It is very difficult to qualify for DREE funding when one of the major requirements is a percentage of unemployment. It has been difficult to have industry locate there because of the lack of provincial and federal incentives.

I feel we cannot, as the Treasurer has done, compare Haliburton with Muskoka, Victoria and Peterborough counties. Haliburton is in a class of its own because of its particular position. It has perhaps the largest number of senior citizens and the second lowest wage rate in the province. The county of Haliburton is going to be requesting a meeting with the minister and I hope that, with provincial support, we can change the qualifications for DREE funding so that Haliburton can participate.

I want to touch on several items. One is Wintario funding, for which the minister this afternoon announced the noncapital support program. I believe on Thursday he is going to discuss the capital support program.

I hear criticism both in my own party and by members in other parties in regard to Wintario funding, but I pay tribute to the Ministry of Culture and Recreation for what it has meant to the small communities of this province.

A number of these could not afford a focal point, a community centre, were it not for the assistance of Wintario. In any changes the minister plans to make I hope he will keep in mind to make a community centre available.

Through its assistance to the counties of Victoria and Haliburton it has given a new life to small communities which otherwise would have had to go to a large centre for recreational activities or even for a community focal point. This has been of great assistance to them, and I thank the Wintario project and the ministry for the program to date.

I hope this program will not be changed so drastically that it will eliminate many of the smaller communities.

The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea) is here, and I want to touch on one item that interests him. I discussed it in the House a week ago. I have been concerned about a contract soon to be awarded by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario -- which comes under his ministry -- for a system of computerized cash registers. This was reported in the editorial section of a Toronto newspaper a few weeks ago.

The contract will be worth between $10 million and $20 million to one of eight firms which have submitted tenders. One of those firms is a small Canadian business which apparently is offering the right price, advanced technology and an attractive product. Yet, it may not be the successful bidder for the very reason that it is a small business.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Come on, the honourable member knows better than that.

Mr. Eakins: That’s true.

Hon. Mr. Drea: After what I have done for them?

Mr. Eakins: I’m talking about the remarks of the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman). The LCBO might award the contract to a larger, more established firm because it is easier and less risky to deal with a sure thing.

10 p.m.

The LCBO is an agency of the provincial government. If such government bodies are not going to do business with the smaller enterprises, then how can we expect the private sector to extend a similar preference towards small companies?

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Grossman said that?

Mr. Eakins: No, I’m saying it. We discussed this in a question to Mr. Grossman and he said we would not know until May 1 who the successful bidder would be. But one of the problems is to make sure that Canadian small business is going to have that opportunity to compete and to be awarded a contract.

Hon. Mr. Drea: I think you’ve been very badly misled, or I don’t understand the context. They’re in a very enviable position.

Mr. Eakins: I’m glad to hear that. I just want to make sure they are in an enviable position.

The Ministry of Industry and Tourism should not have to be a watchdog, as it has been, to ensure that the small businessman is getting his fair share of government contracting and subcontracting.

Hon. Mr. Drea: That is factually incorrect. I took the lead in it.

Mr. Eakins: The Minister of Industry and Tourism, if the member will check Hansard, said he took the lead in it.

Hon. Mr. Drea: No, I took the lead in it.

Mr. Eakins: I’m pleased to hear that.

A legislative commitment would guarantee this. That is why I introduced, in October 1977, an act respecting small business in Ontario. That is why I intend to reintroduce it in this session of the Legislature. When the act was debated in 1977 it was accepted in principle by all parties of the Legislature, but the present Minister of Industry and Tourism has refused to bring it to committee.

Section 3 of my act would have ensured that where a small business is offering the same bid as that offered in all other valid tenders, the bid of the small company would be accepted. In other words, the LCBO example is exactly the kind of situation that my small business act was intended to address. The concluding statement of the editorial, I believe, summed it up perfectly -- that industrial strategies don’t come about by accident.

Also, I want to turn to the tourism sector and address some remarks to that. I wonder whether Ontario will be left behind in the 1980s in its tourism sector. We all know we have had a great deficit over the years in the tourism sector. Ontario’s share has been something like $600 million. The national deficit is $1.7 billion. So it is of great concern, and I feel that it should be giving a higher profile and greater priority to this industry.

With research indicating that Ontarians have been spending an increasing amount of their disposable income on tourism-related activities, there is every indication that our tourist trade could be one of the most promising industries in this decade. If, on the other hand, Ontario does not capitalize on this increased tourism spending, our provincial travel account will see far greater losses in revenue than ever before as Ontarians take their dollars elsewhere. They will do that if other destinations prove more attractive.

My concern is that our tourism sector may not have been upgrading or maintaining its facilities enough to give us the competitive edge needed to attract our share of the tourist trade. Five years ago, 26 cents out of every dollar loaned by the Ontario Development Corporation went to tourism. This figure has experienced a steady deterioration over the last five years. The annual report of ODC for 1978-79 has just been released and has indicated to us that now less than six per cent -- I believe it’s 5.9 per cent -- of every dollar loaned by the province goes to tourism.

On April 9, 1979, I pointed this out to the Minister of Industry and Tourism, who felt at the time that his ministry was paying a great deal more attention to the tourist sector than many other industries; yet the most recent ODC report shows that the dollar amounts being loaned to the tourist sector relative to other sectors is less than one- quarter of the share it received only five years ago.

In the report of the Liberal task force on tourism, we warned the minister that the small tourist operator had neither the time nor the expertise to deal with the provincial development corporations.

The attitude towards the ODC has become one of frustration, due to the paperwork necessary to present a case for financial assistance. The tourist operator in northern Ontario has only a few short weeks before and after his regular season for any capital structure improvements. The delays he might have to put up with from NODC could set his plans back for many months.

As one representative put it to our task force in one of our meetings there, “We are not lawyers, we are not accountants; we are tourist operators.” It is my suspicion that many tourist operators have given up trying to deal with the ODC.

By the ministry’s own submission, it has realized the sharp decline in the borrowing activity of this sector, and now maybe the minister will admit the fact there is a problem here. Until he starts to appreciate the make-up of our provincial tourist sector and starts to deal with the sector in a more effective way, our facilities will continue to erode.

Whether Ontario will keep the benefits of increased tourism expenditures in the 1980s or be the loser in the travel trade will depend largely upon the maintenance and improvement of our tourism sector facilities. I only hope we are not left at the starting gate.

Last evening I met with a group of campground operators from district six, surrounding the area which I represent, and they are very concerned with some of the liaison through the provincial ministry. Members will recall that in May of last year the minister announced he was turning over the licensing of campgrounds to municipalities. I suppose this is under the thought of improving municipal autonomy, but it has left the campground operators in the hands of some 700 or 800 municipalities in Ontario which are unaware of what to charge or how to assess the campgrounds.

I think it has been rather unfair that the ministry has brought this about without carrying through with the liaison on their behalf. I know the campground people have written to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) and I believe the minister’s reply is that he will be making a decision within the next month, but no decision will be made without input from the campground people.

I hope there will be some legislation which will be supportive of them, because at the present time they are a pretty divided group, having been dropped from licensing by the Ministry of Industry and Tourism. They play an important part in the economy of this province, and I hope they will be given every opportunity to put forth their case with the minister.

There is another area which the member for Wellington-Dufferin-Peel (Mr. J. Johnson), is very interested in, and I would like to support him in the promotion of farm vacations here in Ontario. Ontario is perhaps one of the smaller vacation areas for farm vacations in Canada. While they are booming in Quebec and the Maritimes and western Canada, we have not really given a great deal of thought to this. I feel it is a great opportunity for our farms, our agriculture people, to make available their facilities to people wishing to become involved in vacations. It is a great opportunity and I am sorry the Ministry of Industry and Tourism is not as interested in the farm vacation program as are other provinces.

I am pleased there is going to be some improvement in the tourist information centres. This has been a great need for a long time. The facilities we have had have not been encouraging to people who visit our country. There should be an all-inclusive information centre where people not only get information but can also exchange money and get all types of assistance and information.

Also in connection with that, we need to upgrade the rest areas along many of our highways which I think are a disgrace.

Mr. Haggerty: Particularly in the Niagara Peninsula.

Mr. Eakins: That’s right, in the Niagara Peninsula there is a tremendous need for upgrading and I just hope they realize that and do something about it very soon.

10:10 p.m.

I would like to mention that when the Treasurer brings in his budget I hope he will give consideration to the 10 per cent tax on meals. I feel it is wrong to charge 10 per cent for what they call luxury meals in Ontario. One can buy a fur coat for one’s wife and the tax is only seven per cent, but on meals in Ontario over $6 it is 10 per cent. I feel, and I am sure our party feels, the tax on meals should be no higher than it is on any other commodity. I also feel the exemption should be raised to $7.

Another program which I think deserves a lot of support and also deserves to be given a much higher profile is the “We Treat You Royally” program. It is an excellent program. However, wearing a button with the words “We Treat You Royally” doesn’t mean that we treat you royally. I go into hotels in Toronto and see people wearing the “We Treat You Royally” button to help the pro- gram, but they never smile, they never speak to anyone and they do anything but treat people royally. This is one area which I think started off well, but the training program itself has to be upgraded.

The minister could start right at Queen’s Park and not go out to the people working in the hospitality industry and say, “You treat people royally.” It is something which is not going to happen this year or next year; it is something which is going to be ongoing. It is an excellent program that has been started, but we have to give it more profile and more priority.

I shall also be looking forward to the minister’s announcement in regard to what is going to happen to Minaki Lodge. I believe at the end of March he was to reach some decision and that he is working on it at the present time. I don’t know whether it is going to be a prison farm, as suggested by the member for Simcoe Centre (Mr. G. Taylor), or a gambling casino, as suggested by the member for Fort William (Mr. Hennessy). Whatever it is, it is costing the taxpayers of Ontario $1,000 a day. I think the minister should certainly come up with some decision very shortly.

I would also like to suggest to the Minister of Industry and Tourism that I feel it is time Ontario Place operated in the black. At the present time, I believe we are still subsidizing Ontario Place by approximately $1 million, or perhaps a little less now. With the number of people attending and the very reasonable rates charged for some of the excellent entertainment, certainly some accommodation could be made to increase the fee at particular hours if necessary, but I think it is time that Ontario Place operated without a subsidy.

Our party also strongly supports a convention centre for Metropolitan Toronto. At last count, there were some 77 international conventions which could not come to the Metropolitan area because it does not have a convention centre to accommodate them. While many people feel that perhaps a convention centre serves only Metropolitan Toronto, this is not true. I feel it can be a great force for tourism right across the province, for this can be the focal point for people. With tourism information centres in the convention centre, the rest of the province can benefit greatly. First of all, we have to get the people here and a convention centre is the proper approach. I hope some decision will be made at all levels of government to bring this about.

In order to help the tourism industry in this province, I feel a realignment of ministries would be in order to focus upon the tourist industry, our second industry in the province. Recently, British Columbia developed a ministry for tourism only. All too often the Ministry of Tourism in Ontario is hidden under the shadow of the Ministry of Industry.

We are, I believe, the only province in Canada where tourism is second to another industry. In every other province it is first. In the days and months ahead, I hope that Ontario will see a very progressive tourism industry and that we will soon be operating in the black instead of in the neighbourhood of a $600-million deficit.

In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would like to express my appreciation to you for the excellent job you are doing as the Speaker of this House. I would like to say I appreciate personally the excellent liaison you have created with the people who visit Queen’s Park. I know all members of the House feel this way, and they have all appreciated your hospitality and the liaison you have been able to bring about. I appreciate it personally, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, following the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson), I feel like saying, “M. le Président”; I am very pleased that French-language services are being so well filled in this province.

It is especially pleasant for me to be able to speak this evening, because it is approximately the first anniversary of my election, although I was not inducted into the House until April 12. I follow a great member, Stephen Lewis, my predecessor, who spoke in many throne speech debates. It’s my pleasure to try to follow in his footsteps, although I realize there will be a great amount of room on either side as I step.

I would also like to join the last speaker in what I understand is the traditional recognition of the role of the Speaker. In all honesty, I am pleased to be able to do so. I didn’t know I would be able to get the privilege of complimenting you publicly for the things you have done in terms of making my life easier as a new member. I did not have to be shown the washroom, but a number of other things you did were very helpful, sir.

I would also like to say you have made your imprint on this House and on the way the Legislature operates, both in your openness to all staff and all members and in your openness to the public at large. As a result. these buildings are very much a welcome place where all Ontarians can feel at home.

I don’t know if this is procedurally correct, but I would also like to send my compliments down to the table to thank them for their efficiency and the dignity with which they have treated my faux pas as I have sent them down. I have been reminded that I am supposed to add Scarborough West behind my name, because there is another member in the House with a similar name, although he has no “t” in it. I have been advised as to the appropriate ways to submit resolutions, which I did again today to mark my anniversary in the House. I appreciate the work they have done as well as the number of resources they have in the chambers downstairs and the advice they give privately as well.

I find it strange to be speaking in the debate on the speech from the throne, because it seems to me they are all very vague; they all lack direction. But this particular one, it seems to me, must have been written by a very large committee indeed. I think it worked on the principle, “If you can qualify any statement, please do so.” They must have had a very large thesaurus of vagaries and a means of diluting, with any adjective one could find, any direction that might come out of a statement. I find it very hard to get to the meat of anything in this speech from the throne.

If one were looking at it in terms of the time we are spending in the House, one would have to say that it is a very innocuous mixture indeed of Pablum and platitudes, and we spend an inordinate amount of time and debate on it. I find it frustrating that we are not getting down more to the practical business of the House. But that is perhaps my own impetuous youth speaking.

I would hope that I would see in a speech from the throne some vision -- somewhat blurred, somewhat vague, as one would expect visions to be, but at least showing some sort of direction. I must say that is especially the case at the beginning of a decade. I must say I find the speech from the throne very disappointing in that fashion, but I find it impossible to attack bombastically. I find it hard to yell and scream about it because there is so little substance to it; it is so much a wet bag and very hard to deal with.

10:20 p.m.

That is why I find the position of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) on the no-confidence motion just so much preposterous posturing, because I feel he has decided that he can hold the same position maybe for another four, five or six weeks and therefore be able to run through a campaign. But as the member for Downsview (Mr. Di Santo) says, if it went any longer than that I am afraid he would be reversing himself again and would have to fight the election on totally different grounds.

I guess one of my greatest disappointments with the speech as a whole is that it doesn’t reflect what I am getting back from my constituents in my latest riding report in terms of their concerns. I asked them to name the two largest issues in this province, and I received back the following kinds of priorities: unemployment, the high cost of food, high energy costs and concern about the supply of energy, and mortgage and interest rates. Those are the major ones that seem to be repeated over and over.

If one goes through this speech from the throne and tries to find any hope that these things will be resolved, one finds slim pickings indeed, and I find that quite disappointing.

In my riding there are a great number of people who are suffering very directly from the unemployment problem. In the last year we have had the notice from the multinational Inco Limited that they are moving out their ESB battery plant and men with 25 years of seniority are being put on the streets. Pilkington Glass Limited, another British major multinational, has closed up half of its shop and some 400 people are without jobs there. There is no sign in the speech that there is going to be any action from the government to stop multinationals, to put teeth into actually trying to convince them not to treat us just like poor second cousins or third cousins but to try to preserve jobs.

There has been no sign in this House in question period from the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) that he was even willing to meet with the Pilkington workers and talk about it. As a result I have people in my riding who are most sadly out of work and with very few prospects for jobs, many of them being unskilled and many of them not being likely to find other work, being in their mid-50s to late 50s.

Many of the people who have been responding to my questionnaire have been calling for better use of our natural resources, saying we should be producing more of our own goods from our natural resources, something we in this party have been calling for for a number of years. Yet there is no indication that we will be doing that either.

Another very large concern is this whole business of labour and the way there seems to be a double standard. We treat the multinationals with kid gloves and give them guaranteed free loans but won’t protect workers. This double standard concerns me about the whole area of labour relations, from the first-contract problems that have been experienced around this province, where there is no indication that there is going to be direct action to overcome them, to the lack of will on the part of the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) and the Minister of Education to enforce Bill 70 in the schools in terms of the maintenance workers and the asbestos problem.

I was in a blistering rage the other night in trying to pose a question to the Minister of Labour and I am afraid I was ineffective because of that. A red rage is not the most effective way to try to conduct parliamentary business, and for that I apologize to the House; it would have been better if it had been a cool white temper, I think at that time.

For four months that ministry knew somebody had died from an asbestos-related lung ailment and had taken no action to go out and investigate the needs of the workers in that work place. That same minister knew the union had been fighting to try to get a health and safety committee established in that area two months after the compensation claim had been accepted by his ministry, and yet he was not willing to take any action.

I was in a rage about that. I feel there is a lack of seriousness on the part of this government in terms of the rights and the safety of workers in this province, and that is deplorable.

Nowhere do I see in the speech from the throne any idea that the major inequity of the property tax burden is going to be lifted, that there are any real solutions in sight; no mention that education costs are unnaturally placed on the home owner; no idea that the elderly are going to be protected from this extra burden; no idea of just how an equitable assessment is actually going to be brought about and why social services should be lumped on so heavily under property tax. I think that’s one of the areas where leadership is lacking and where the people of Ontario are looking for leadership.

The question of affordable housing is very important to people in my riding -- a riding which has had a lot of affordable housing in the past but no longer does. I commend the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett) for stepping back from Seaton, which was a terribly planned concept, but I deplore the fact that there is a total lack of imagination as to what to do in Metro about housing.

In the northeastern portions of Scarborough there is a huge tract of government-owned land which could readily be used for public housing. In the Downsview airport lands there is a huge tract that could be used for affordable housing. There is no suggestion in this speech that there is going to be any priority given by this government to find that kind of housing.

That kind of housing, given the energy costs that are going to drive people back in to Metropolitan Toronto from places like Oshawa and farther east, could be linked to the TTC very efficiently and effectively. It should be something which will be included, hopefully, in the budget.

OHC tenants have recently gone through the fear and the spectre that public housing will be taken away from them. I was concerned about the kind of language that was used by some groups in the city to try to sponsor that fear, but I understand the root of it. Although I am pleased with the announcement of the Minister of Housing about their rent-geared-to-income -- that assistance will now be provided and municipalities are not going to have to pay that seven per cent -- I do have to wonder what deal is behind that. What bargaining is the Minister of Housing undertaking there?

In my riding I have a group of women whom I am very proud to have worked with -- family benefits recipients who have gone back to school, and who have tried to upgrade themselves and come back into social service work to help the people of this province and do so better than a lot of social workers who came from middle-class backgrounds like my own might be able to do.

They have been there and they have experienced what it is like to have to live on family benefits assistance in this province.

Hon. Mr. Norton: What are you saying about social workers?

Mr. R. F. Johnston: It’s nice that the Minister of Community and Social Services now decides to heckle at this point. I think it’s only appropriate that he should do so.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Do what?

Mr. R. J. Johnston: To heckle, sir.

I would like to suggest at this point, because the heckling interrupted my fine flow, that this is an appropriate time to ask for the adjournment.

On motion by Mr. R. F. Johnston, the debate was adjourned.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Downsview (Mr. Di Santo), under standing order 28, has stated that he is dissatisfied with an answer to a question posed to the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton). I will listen to the member for up to five minutes.


Mr. Di Santo: Thank you Mr. Speaker. I wrote to the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton) on March 3. Today I asked a question related to the fact that whenever a Canada disability pension recipient has an increase in his pension because of the cost of living he automatically loses the same amount of money in terms of family benefits and Gains.

I think this is a despicable situation. I invited the minister to review this situation, because we all know that despite his latest increases announced last week this situation doesn’t change for people who are either unemployable or disabled; and I never did understand that distinction.

We all know that today it is impossible for a person to live on $230 a month when that person is unable to work because of a physical disability. We also know that for six years the provincial government has been trying to make a new agreement with the federal government. That agreement has not been reached. The only people who are paying are the people who are on family benefits or on Gains in the province. The number of those -- according to the figures of the ministry -- is 12,255. I don’t see any initiative by this government to remedy that situation because we know that the poverty line, as established by Statistics Canada, is $4,800 for a single person. I’d like the minister to explain to us how a person can live on $238 a month.

[10:30 p.m.]

I received many letters, and I want to read one into the record because it’s very indicative and responds to the callousness and the lack of sensitivity of this government.

“Dear Mr. Di Santo:

“In the past month, February, I received an additional amount of $26 to my Canada Pension Plan, but in the second week I noticed that it had been subtracted from my family benefits payment.

“Mr. Di Santo, those of us who are unable to work and depend on those monthly payments find it hard to understand why this type of action was taken. How can the government, both federal and provincial, honestly believe that they are doing me and my family good by adding in one and subtracting from another?

“Those of us who are under family benefits are not lazy, for it is for health reasons that we find ourselves where we are. The raise of $26 on our Canada Pension Plan is not a remedy to the high cost of living when it is being deducted elsewhere.

“If the federal and provincial governments truly want to help, an increase in either both or one benefit should be granted and my particular matter be rectified. With the taxes, gas, water and electricity going up, it is very hard to live on the payment that my family receives. If one bill is paid, the other is not.

“I have written to Mr. William Davis on a number of occasions, but he neither answered my letter nor has tried to help. Could it be that he is unaware that people are living at a much lower standard than he is?”

This is the problem. We have a government that doesn’t want to take into consideration a situation which is extremely serious. In fact, the minister in bureaucratic language answered my letter by saying the province is unable to be flexible in this matter due to the federal government requirements contained in the Canadian Assistance Plan, whereby family benefits allowance must be reduced in accordance with an increase in available income.

Then the government, as we read in the Toronto Star last week, was able to give $3 million to sell new cars, while a mother waters down the formula for her baby. The headline in the Star is very indicative, and I think the minister should consider it. “Cheating the needy is an invitation to disaster.” That’s what he is doing, because these people are so scared that they send anonymous letters because they fear the ministry can deduct completely family benefits or Gains. The minister is doing a disservice to our society.

Mr. Speaker: The member’s time has expired. The Minister of Community and Social Services.

Mr. Grande: Come clean.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I intend to come clean, entirely clean.

With respect to what I thought this afternoon was the essence of the member’s question, I stand by that aspect of my response this evening in terms of the explanation of the technicalities of why it was necessary for my ministry to make adjustments in situations where there are increases at times in the Canada Pension Plan that do not coincide with our provincial increases. As I understood the member’s question this afternoon, it was specifically directed towards that.

However, I do wish to respond a little further to the member’s statements this evening, particularly in so far as he raised the issue of the question of poverty in this province and certain other issues with respect to initiative. I would point out to the member that he speaks of something of which I know. He may feel that because of certain constituents he represents or a certain background he brings to bear in this Legislature, as each of us do, he has a unique perspective on that situation. I suggest to the honourable member that if that is his perspective, he is somewhat misled.

If, in fact, he is addressing himself to the specific issue of why, when the Canada Pension Plan was increased, the provincial one is not -- and this is my understanding of his question this afternoon -- this evening his question went beyond that. It is a different question from the one I dealt with this afternoon.

If, in fact, he admits now -- and he is nodding his head -- that his question is related to the specific question of why, when the Canada Pension Plan is increased automatically, the disability pension provincially is not increased. Is that the question?

Mr. McClellan: You use it as a subsidy.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Is that the question?

Mr. McClellan: You are using it as a subsidy.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I am simply coming to the conclusion that I don’t know what the question is, because of a variety of voices that are emanating from the benches opposite. The honourable member initially nodded his head indicating that was the issue. Now I ask him to shake his head if he means that is not what the issue was.

If that’s the issue, I would respond as I did this afternoon. As the member knows, and as I explained this afternoon, the question was simply: When the Canada Pension Plan increases, why doesn’t the disability pension provincially increase? I explained that to the honourable member this afternoon as clearly as I can. I can’t understand why he fails to understand it.

There is a ceiling which is established with the concurrence of the federal government in terms of the total income of certain individuals who are in receipt of family benefits, which includes disability pensions. If the income from one source or another increases, the ceiling will not increase, especially if it’s from a federal source. The federal government demands that of us as a provincial government.

As a result, when federal pensions increase to those persons who are already in receipt of provincial benefits, the provincial benefits must be adjusted so their total income does not exceed the agreed upon amount. It’s as simple as that.

Mr. Di Santo: It’s deplorable.

Hon. Mr. Norton: The member may say it’s deplorable.

Mr. Speaker: The minister’s time has expired.

The House adjourned at 10:38 p.m.