31st Parliament, 4th Session

L021 - Tue 15 Apr 1980 / Mar 15 avr 1980

The House met at 2 p.m.



Mr. Speaker: I beg to inform the House that a vacancy has occurred in the membership of the House by reason of the resignation of Sidney B. Handleman, Esquire, as member for Carleton, effective Tuesday, April 15, 1980. A warrant has been issued accordingly.



Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, it is with deep personal regret that I rise to inform the House and the public in the province of the death yesterday, during the afternoon, of a 15-year-old youth from Niagara Falls who was a crown ward placed in our Sprucedale Training School in Simcoe. The youth was found unconscious in his dormitory by a staff member and the staff immediately began applying artificial respiration. The youth was rushed to the Norfolk General Hospital in Simcoe, where shortly afterwards he was pronounced dead.

The local coroner has conducted a post-mortem and I understand in these circumstances an inquest is mandatory, the date being announced by the local coroner. This tragic occurrence is under investigation by both senior officials of my ministry and the Haldimand-Norfolk Regional Police. It is being investigated as an apparent suicide.

The deputy superintendent of the training school informed the parents of the death of their son yesterday afternoon and offered to provide every possible assistance to the family in the time of their grief.

I am sure members of the House share with me in my expression of condolence to the members of the family. I assure the honourable members that I will keep them informed as more information is available from the investigation.


Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, for some time now the Legislature has been debating and raising questions with respect to the disposition of herbicide 2,4,5-T. Throughout the questioning I have endeavoured to ensure that all members of the House were apprised of the advice received by my ministry from the Pesticides Advisory Committee relative to the use of 2,4,5-T.

It has also been my practice to consult the environmental critics of the other two parties in the House with respect to the decision we were contemplating taking with respect to 2,4,5-T. The view often advanced about shared responsibility in minority government has not been particularly strengthened by the responsibility shown by my opposition counterparts.

The critic of the official opposition was informed of our intention to follow the advice of the Pesticides Advisory Committee and spray the 2,4,5-T this year, as in the past, to deal with the difficulties in storage. Given full opportunity to object, he did not.

The third-party critic flatly said no without addressing the issue of storage, an issue which she knows to be of considerable concern for the reasons of safety.

Misinformation, political posturing and politicizing a technical issue do not contribute to shared responsibility or public safety.

Typical of the misinformation which has confused and misled is the invidious comparisons of the 2,4,5-T used in Canada with the highly contaminant Agent Orange used in Vietnam. Further, there is the newspaper story on the Swedish study. We are aware of this ongoing work. The chairman of the Pesticides Advisory Committee is quite familiar with this work on the occupational health aspects of working with herbicides and pesticides. I am advised by Dr. Cooper of the Pesticides Advisory Committee, that the ongoing status of the Swedish work is not relevant to the decision to use the remaining amounts under controlled circumstances.

As another typical example of misleading information, it has been alleged that the use of 2,4,5-T would be confined to northern Ontario. This is not the case. Of the 12 applications for spraying to this date, only one has been from northern Ontario.

The question of absolute public safety has always been our bottom line. The Pesticides Advisory Committee has thoroughly studied the herbicide and has reported to us fully on the safety aspects. No herbicide has been so fully studied. Without these absolute assurances and tight controls imposed, I would not have approved its use.

I have asked the ministry to advise all holders of 2,4,5-T and 2,4,5-TP that they must hold the substance until proper facilities can be established to safely store it, pending the establishment of an appropriate facility for total destruction of the herbicide. The decision to proceed now to storage is based upon my own assessment as minister that the climate of public confidence will be best served through this action.

However, the issue of safe storage must still be addressed and I am hopeful, despite the less than encouraging record to date, that all parties in this House will be constructive in the area of establishing safe storage and destruction facilities for these and other materials, which, as minister, I have been endeavouring to do for a very considerable period of time.

Mr. S. Smith: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, having to do with the notice which was given to you, sir, concerning our intention to ask for an emergency debate on this very matter this afternoon: In view of the minister’s recent enlightenment, there will be no need to proceed with that motion. We will not put it forward.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, in the light of the announcement the minister has just made, we will be withdrawing the resolution which the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) intended to have debated in this House in two weeks’ time, which would have called for a ban on any further spraying of 2,4,5-T across the province.

I do want to say that the advice the minister has received from the Pesticides Advisory Committee leaves doubts in our minds that we won’t have this same situation again because of a body which too often is a captive of the industry rather than serving the needs --

2:10 p.m.

Mr. Speaker: Order. I don’t know what prompted the honourable member to get up other than to say that the bill being proposed by the member for Oshawa would be withdrawn. Any further comment was superfluous and I really don’t think it required a response. It was out of order to begin with.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I won’t be responding in that way, but I did comment about misinformation. The suggestion was made that it is a captive of the industry. Out of 13 people on that board, three are from industry; in all fairness, I think the member should correct the record in that it is not a captive of the industry.


Mr. Speaker: On a point of order.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, the leader of the third party has just indicated that there was a resolution on the order paper to be debated two weeks from now in the name of the member for Oshawa with respect to the contaminated material. The one in the book I have has to do with dental care. Which is it?

Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, to correct the record, here in my hot little hand is the resolution which would have been submitted today had we not been so graciously treated to that retraction.

Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, it is not every day the leader of a party stands up to withdraw something he wishes he had said by now.


Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, this is a matter of personal privilege or whatever way you might wish to describe it. Before I arrived at the House, you announced word of the resignation of the member for Carleton (Mr. Handleman). I would like to inform the House that it was with regret I acquiesced in his wish to resign for matters of health and, one would hope, to pursue another career.

As the member of the Legislature for Carleton, as a parliamentary assistant, and as Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, he has offered this province some of the best years of his life. His dedication, his selflessness and hard work are a tribute to his own view of public service and his sense of responsibility to his province, to his own community and to our party.

We have all been encouraged by his recovery from a very serious illness a few years ago. I am sure all of us in this House are more than pleased that he now is in good health and in good spirits and that he is in a position to pursue less demanding opportunities outside an elected political office.

I am sure all members will join with me in wishing Sid Handleman well, and I would like to take this opportunity to convey our respective good wishes to him in the immediate future.

Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of members of the official opposition, I too want to convey our best personal wishes to Mr. Handleman. He has been a very hard-working member. He was a hard-working minister of the crown during the time he served in that capacity. He is a person who believes strongly in certain principles and, even if we did not always agree with either the principles or the beliefs that stemmed therefrom, we certainly respected his devotion to Ontario and the clarity with which he stuck to the principles he believed in.

We believe he has been a servant of the public in Ontario who is worthy of the thanks of every citizen for his willingness to serve in difficult circumstances and for giving all of himself to the public good as he understood it. We certainly wish him well in whatever new career he undertakes.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I don’t want this to sound like an obituary for Sidney Handleman. I am not sure if he is here. But I expect and wish him many productive years of life ahead, having left this madhouse and gone back to the saner world of Ontario or wherever it is he intends to be.

I don’t think we should say that Sidney Handleman was just a devoted public servant in this province. He also was a contumacious Tory, a man who believed in his principles, a man who was prepared to confront students, tenants and people like that on behalf of his party and in defence of the principles he stood for. I know he was also a man who, from time to time within his own party caucus, was prepared to stand up and fight for things in which he believed.

I would say that even if I didn’t always or even frequently agree with him, either as a colleague from Ottawa or as a member of this Legislature, Ontario’s public life is the poorer for having Sid Handleman leave and having, as the Premier said the other day, the “blands” take over where we had somebody of conviction.

On behalf of our caucus, I wish Sidney Handleman well. He knows we will be doing our best to replace him with a fine New Democrat in the by-election in a few weeks’ time. Wherever he goes in Ontario public life, he will always be welcome when he comes back to visit in this Legislature.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I have a very important statement but, before that, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the mayor of Dunedin, Florida, is with us again this year. He came up for the opening Blue Jay game yesterday, which unfortunately we weren’t able to provide him with, but he is going to stay around and cheer the team anyway. I’m sure we would like to welcome him.



Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce today the renewal of the Ontario Youth Employment Program for 1980. This program is aimed at encouraging Ontario businesses and farms to provide summer job opportunities for young people from 15 to 24 years of age. It has operated successfully for three seasons. In 1980, OYEP, as it is called colloquially, will run from May 5 to October 26, and the amount of the grant is again $1.25 per hour.

I expect the program will create about 50,000 jobs. The province has committed about $30 million to the program. This compares with the 1979 program, where 42,000 jobs were created by employers across this province, with the provincial cost being about $26 million.

Both employers and the province’s youth benefit from this program. The young people gain valuable work experience, skills, contacts and references, which better equip them for full-time participation in the labour force. Employers gain because the cost of summer labour to them is reduced, and the farm and business sectors are better able to recruit youth for future employment.

In 1980, employers may apply for a grant for up to 150 weeks, or 6,000 hours of employment. Ten positions will again be the operative number for regular employers. The minimum requirement to participate in the program is the provision of six weeks of employment, with an average of 25 hours per week for each employee.

To ensure that all farms and small businesses across the province have full and easy access to the program, we are this year placing an initial limit of 50 positions on those employers who operate with franchises and associated companies. Once this number of positions has been filled -- it’s all very carefully co-ordinated -- the employer may be approved for more positions if the funds are available.

We have been pleased and encouraged by the response of the business people and the agricultural community across this province to the Ontario Youth Employment Program over the years it has been operating, and we expect that everyone will continue to benefit from this very worthwhile program.

2:20 p.m.



Mr. S. Smith: I would like to ask a question of the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller), who was kind enough to table the agreement with Ford Motor Company of Canada Limited.

Could the Treasurer explain why his government would have signed an agreement that makes absolutely no mention anywhere of the word “jobs”? There is no mention of new jobs, no mention of additional jobs, no mention of old jobs, no mention of jobs at all. Why would the Treasurer have allowed the government to sign a document with Ford giving up the money of Ontario when there is nothing in the document to guarantee the production of jobs?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, if the honourable member looks at the date of that, he will discover it probably preceded my time as Treasurer. But that is beside the point; I am glad to defend it, because I think it was the right decision.

The fact is that my honourable friend has a great deal yet to learn about the business world just as he has a great deal to learn about the political world. I would like to know if he goes into Windsor these days and tells people we are wrong to have that new engine plant going there. I don’t think he does.

The fact is, at this time unemployment in another industry we talk a lot about, the construction industry, is very low. There are quite a few jobs going on right now in building that plant, and I think those are important. It wasn’t too long ago that all the heat in this House was on that sector.

It is also a fact that we have very cyclical industries. There are certain fundamental problems in the automotive industry, and the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) and I will never try to deny that. The fact remains the current problems are due mostly to the cyclical nature of the business, something that applied to the nickel industry, to the pulp and paper industry and to a number of others which since then, thank goodness, have become healthy again. The automotive industry will become healthy again and when it does we shall have those 2,600 extra jobs that plant will require in full operation.

Nothing in the world can guarantee jobs unless people buy cars. One cannot, therefore, write into a contract a guarantee of sales.

Mr. S. Smith: Since the Treasurer knew full well, I assume, that his predecessor signed a document which said absolutely nothing about any jobs -- new, old or additional -- why would he have told this House on March 29, 1979, that the new plant will represent a net direct addition to total employment in the area of 2,600 jobs? Since he knew there was no such guarantee, why did he suggest that he could be quite certain these would be additional jobs in the area?

Hon. F. S. Miller: First, all of us have agreed that the thing we needed in Canada in the automotive industry was more parts-producing facilities. This is a parts-producing facility and will draw upon a number of other Canadian suppliers which, in turn, will hire labour in that immediate area -- from the metal supply companies right through to the various parts companies. But looking at clause 13 on page five, unless one has a totally automated plant I really don’t understand how the requirement that they produce 1,500,000 engines in the model years 1983 through 1987 can be achieved without people working on the machines.

Mr. Cassidy: Perhaps I could redirect this question to the Premier (Mr. Davis), Mr. Speaker, since, as the Treasurer says, he was not involved in the agreement at the time, and the Premier clearly was.

Can the Premier explain how he could have claimed there would be 2,600 new jobs created in this plant when it turns out the agreement itself calls for the production of only half of the capacity of the plant over the five model years from 1983 to 1987? If the plant can produce 600,000 engines a year, but the company is only obligated to produce 300,000 engines a year over the five years’ operation of the agreement, then surely nothing close to the 2,600 new jobs he claimed were guaranteed were, in fact, guaranteed. How does the Premier justify that?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Very simply, Mr. Speaker. If one reads that particular section of the agreement, if one goes back to the discussion at the time when the automotive industry was somewhat more buoyant than it is at this precise moment, it was predicated on that plant operating at relatively full capacity, which we all trust and hope at some point it will again.

If the honourable member wants to debate the figures as to the number of men that will be required to operate that plant at capacity, fine. Our estimates, which are provided by the company and which I think can be substantiated, are that there would be in the neighbourhood of 2,800 employees in that plant operating at capacity. What the guarantee provides is that, if they don’t reach certain figures -- 1.5 million -- there will be a reduction in our degree of support.

I think it is fair to point out that no one -- not the United Auto Workers; no one -- debated the figures at that time. I don’t think they are debatable at this moment. If that plant operates at full capacity, that number of jobs will be there.

Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary of the Premier: Is the Premier aware that on February 21, 1980, Roy Bennett, president of Ford Motor Company, made the following statement: “Ford still intends to create more than 2,800 jobs in Windsor at new plants and not just absorb workers from existing city operations.”

On October 15, 1979, John Roberts, vice-president, public relations, of Ford of Canada, said: “The company has absolutely no intention of closing any plants in Windsor in the foreseeable future.”

Would the Premier not agree that Ford is reneging on its promise?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think there are two separate issues. The honourable member is pointing out where the head of Ford Canada, as recently as February, made it clear that there would be 2,800 new employees at that particular plant. I assume the member for Windsor-Walkerville has accepted that as being a reasonable figure for the type of facility and the number of engines that would be potentially produced.

I think it is fair to state -- and I am not privy to the internal discussions of Ford Canada -- that up until a few weeks ago, perhaps even a couple of months ago, they were more optimistic about the automotive market than is currently the case.

As the Minister of Industry and Tourism has pointed out, and as the Treasurer has pointed out, and I reiterate, we are all very concerned about the automotive industry. One thing we cannot do is create a market for automobiles. We cannot do that; we do not have that capacity. The reality is that the automotive market at this moment is in some measure of difficulty, but they are two separate issues. I think the member would have to ask Mr. Roberts and Mr. Bennett whether in October, or whenever, they anticipated the downturn of the market.

I can recall reading some of the predictions late last fall, even early this winter, from the automotive companies; they were more optimistic than the ones I think they would be prepared to make at this precise moment. The market is not as buoyant as they had anticipated. This has created a problem.

If the honourable members want to make it a focus of the debate, that we should not have assisted Ford Canada in the development of a $500-million plant with a potential of 2,800 jobs, fine, they should say so. All I can suggest to them is that even at this moment in history in terms of the $28 million we provided, I would make a rough guesstimate, based on our tax on building materials and on the income being generated in terms of the people being employed in the construction of the plant, that the taxpayers have already had returned to them several millions of dollars of the $28 million we advanced.

One can be philosophically opposed to it I understand that. But in terms of the economy of that region, if any Windsor member wants to get up in this House and say “We should not assist the automotive industry. We shouldn’t be concerned about competing for new investment with the United States,” then let him get up and say so. Let him get up arid say he doesn’t want it.

Mr. Cassidy: Perhaps the Premier would take into account that today, at a press conference in half an hour, Ford of Canada intends to announce the closing of the casting plant with the consequential loss of 850 jobs. Surely, if the government at the time had insisted on a guarantee of protection of old jobs in this agreement, we would not have had that announcement being made today. Surely, as well, it undermines --

Mr. Speaker: The question has been asked.

Mr. Cassidy: -- the credibility of the government for the Premier to claim 2,600 or 2,800 new jobs when, in fact, the agreement guarantees only half of that, or only 1,400 new jobs.

Hon. Mr. Davis: The honourable member really has reiterated the same question. I think one has to look at it with some measure of objectivity. That plant has been built. We supported it to the extent of $28 million, and the government of Canada to X million -- I forget the exact figure. I think one has to assume that the commitment in terms of square footage and the dollar cost of the plant was on the basis of utilizing it at capacity.

2:30 p.m.

If the honourable member is suggesting that Ford Canada, with all of its limitations, is building a plant twice in excess of what it believed it would need at the time it made the decision to build it, fine. I just don’t think that was the case.

The agreement is quite clear. The public interest has been protected. I would suggest, with respect, if we had not made that decision, if that plant were now being built in Lima, Ohio, the members opposite would be singing from a totally different hymn book. We wouldn’t even be able to understand the hymn they were singing. They would be critical of us for not having done it. The fact is, we have done that and it is going to be a plus for the members of the UAW and many others.


Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) with respect to the strike in the Sudbury secondary school system. Does the honourable minister agree that this strike, having gone on for approximately 42 school days by now -- perhaps she can correct me on the exact number -- needs to be brought to an end? Will she impose compulsory arbitration there and in any other school strike in Ontario and bring such strikes, which are harmful to the students, to an end?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, we have been in contact with great regularity with the Education Relations Commission, which the honourable member knows has responsibility for monitoring, supervision and assistance in finding solutions in such situations. I am aware that the commission is meeting at the present time and I believe will have a statement to make later this afternoon.

Based on the content of that statement, the recommendation of the minister will be transmitted to cabinet colleagues and whatever action is necessary will be taken. But I would remind the honourable member that in this instance, as in all others, the responsibility for finding a solution belongs to the parties and in this instance there has been a good deal of difficulty in attempting to achieve a settlement.

I am aware that a very special strike committee involving the former leader of the New Democratic Party was dispatched to Sudbury and that, in spite of his best efforts, he could not persuade one party to the bargaining to move to the acceptance of arbitration as a means of solution last Saturday night.

The meeting that is taking place is between the members of that special strike team and the Education Relations Commission, and I anticipate that we shall be hearing what their decision is some time later this afternoon.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of a supplementary question: Does the honourable minister not accept now what the ordinary members of her party understand and what most citizens understand, that while the two sides are arguing and are somewhat intransigent, it is the students who suffer? If secondary students at this time of the year can miss 42 school days, and can miss those days with impunity, then what kind of education system do we have in Ontario? What is being taught up there if they can miss 42 days with impunity? Surely the students should be back in the classroom and the two warring parties should have to deal with a responsible method of compulsory arbitration?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: It is my understanding that all members of this House have felt basically that collective bargaining was a responsible method of resolving difficulties between employers and employees, and when there is an impasse no one is more aware than I of the uncomfortable and unfortunate situation the students face.

As I have said repeatedly, in bargaining in the public sector it is the third party that is in difficulty throughout most of the bargaining, and I would like to find a way to ensure that there is the presence of that third party at the bargaining table throughout the entire process.

I am anticipating that the special review committee will be looking at all aspects of Bill 100 and the mechanisms it controls in terms of regulating collective bargaining between teachers and employers. I am also aware that a large number of parents have concern about those mechanisms that are available at the present time.

I would remind the honourable member that the thing he should be doing is putting pressure upon the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation and upon the board of education in Sudbury and persuading them to find a solution to the problem, because they have to live with one another throughout the term of this contract.

A great many people have been exercising that responsibility, some of them in the member’s party, some of them in other parties, and some of them in no party at all. I think that will have some effect upon those who are at the bargaining table.

Let the honourable member not misunderstand me. No one is more concerned about the educational experience those children are having than the minister is at this point. I can say that some method of making up some of the lost time for those students in Sudbury will be necessary.

Mr. Sweeney: A supplementary question, Mr. Speaker: Is the Minister of Education aware that 3,000 of the secondary school students in that area are on the semester system and that, as of today, they have lost exactly half of their entire program? It is literally impossible, from an educational point of view, to make up the equivalent of half a year.

Following from that, would the honourable minister not agree that the present procedure, whereby she has to wait for someone to tell her that the students’ education is in jeopardy, doesn’t work?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, yes, I am aware; but no, there is nothing in this world that is impossible. I’m sure the honourable member, as a former educator, is aware of the ways in which the educational system can be modified to achieve the necessary quality of education those students deserve and will achieve.

It was because of my concern that there might be problems related to the collective bargaining process between teachers and boards that we set up the special commission to review Bill 100, in order to make recommendations about its improvement.


Mr. Cassidy: I think what it means, Mr. Speaker, is that even when times are tough there is a need to have respect for the principles of free collective bargaining.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller). It arises out of the announcement in the throne speech in Ottawa yesterday with reference to similar proposals that were made by the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett) for a contingency fund to help home owners who, because of the big increase in mortgage rates in the renegotiations currently taking place, are now facing the loss of their homes. The federal government is proposing something comparable to the idea that was floated by the Minister of Housing at the provincial level.

Since this is something we have been pressing the government to look at over the course of the last month or two, is the government prepared to bring in a contingency fund which, in conjunction with the federal government’s, will ensure that home owners do not lose their homes because of the large increase in interest rates they face when renegotiating their mortgages this year?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I’m sure the leader of the New Democratic Party knows that the traditional language of the throne speech was at its best in these announcements; it was relatively vague. It was encouraging to us because we know it can mean considerable aid, but it was also a bit disconcerting because it wasn’t specific enough to make us believe it would be general in application and far-reaching enough to solve many of the problems out there.

2:40 p.m.

I understand my colleague the Minister of Housing has already been in touch with his colleague in Ottawa expressing his pleasure that there is some aid indicated, but also I believe requesting a meeting. I think his suggestion that ministers of housing in the various provinces get together to discuss the matter on a common-front basis is a very valid one. The honourable member may wish to redirect the question to the Minister of Housing to ask more about that.

We have implied all along that Ontario was ready to work with the federal government on these matters. I think we would be pleased to do so once we see some of the detail of their plan. We need to see it.

Mr. Cassidy: A supplementary question: Given the fact that housing starts were down by 26 per cent last year in Hamilton, by 40 per cent and 50 per cent respectively in London and in Oshawa, and by 51 per cent in St. Catharines; given the fact that 30 per cent of the construction workers in the Metropolitan Toronto region are currently out of work, and since the federal throne speech failed to come to grips with the problems that are occurring in the new housing market because of the slump in construction, what proposals can we expect from this government to rescue the housing market, to restore jobs in that sector and to ensure that people on modest incomes continue to have access to a home of their own?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I think the question is now taking the form that really should be properly addressed to the Minister of Housing rather than me.

Mr. Cassidy: I would redirect the question, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, would the Treasurer not agree that time is becoming very much of the essence in this province? So far, his strategy has been one to request meetings; meanwhile, small businessmen, farmers and mortgage holders are experiencing very serious problems day by day. Does he not agree that time is of the essence and that something must be done immediately -- that he must, failing federal action, come forward with a specific fund, a specific program, and get going rather than waiting for three or four months?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, it’s great for the honourable member to talk like that. The fact remains that Ontario, in the personal income tax base alone, as he knows, is at 44 points compared to 100 for the federal -- let’s say, one part for two roughly. We’ve argued that the costs need to be shared in some kind of relationship to our revenue base. If the member’s friends in Ottawa, who have at least four years ahead of them with the majority government, don’t feel any urge to do something quickly, then I am as concerned as he is.

We have been trying to prompt them into doing something. They aren’t even willing to bring in a budget to let us see what they want to do. The member knows it’s very difficult, on my tax base, to take the full brunt of that kind of thing, nor should we. If he was sitting here he would be working the same way I am with the federal government to try to enlist their support.

Mr. Peterson: I would never work the way the Treasurer is doing. It’s ridiculous. No sane man would.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I will tell the honourable member that he would never put in the hours that I do.

Mr. Speaker: Order. The honourable member for Ottawa Centre with a final supplementary.

Mr. Cassidy: Since the Treasurer has said that the question of the slump in the housing market is somehow not his concern as Treasurer, I’ll redirect the question to the Minister of Housing.

Is the government now prepared to submit publicly details of a contingency fund to help home owners hit by rising mortgage rates when they renegotiate? What plans does the government have in order to stimulate a housing market which is severely depressed at a cost both to the workers in the industry and the people who need homes?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I indicated to this House some weeks ago that I had had discussions with Mr. Cosgrove trying to come to grips with the problem both in housing starts and in rental starts. I indicated clearly that we projected that in Ontario there would be a substantial shortfall in most of the urban areas of moderately priced rental accommodations. I was hopeful that yesterday, in the federal speech from the throne, we would have seen some type of indication that they were prepared to undertake this program; we did not.

I immediately sent off a letter to Mr. Cosgrove indicating to him our satisfaction at seeing they at least recognize some difficulties in the general mortgage problems in Ontario and in Canada. I said I trusted I should be hearing from him within the next short period of time to indicate some of the terms of reference they were going to put, together with their program.

Mr. M. N. Davison: What are the plans of the Minister of Housing?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I am trying to answer a question which was asked relating to our relationship with the federal government. I consider the problem to be rather serious. If some other members do not want to listen to the request we are making of the government, fine.

I think in the eyes of the people of Ontario and Canada there has to be a program. I am saying very clearly and very frankly that we have asked Mr. Cosgrove to give the terms of reference to us, provincially.

I might say the ministers representing housing in the other provinces have supported Ontario on the idea of having a general meeting of ministers from across Canada and the federal minister to find out what programs they were speaking of in the federal throne speech yesterday, and to see exactly what they are going to be able to do to relieve some of the problems and pressures upon us. I have not been given those terms of reference at the federal level, and I do not intend to outline a position of how the provincial government will respond at this time.

In the field of trying to develop new housing construction, I have said clearly and frankly that the program in place some time ago, which the former Liberal government let lapse, was one that created a great deal of new housing stock in Ontario and Canada. I hope they will review it and maybe undertake a similar program to put housing and rental accommodation back into the marketplace in the next few years and to satisfy the demands that we have made upon that industry.

Let me caution the House of only one thing; let us not continually try to prime the pump of economics in Ontario and Canada with the housing industry when at the other end we are not sure who is going to buy the units. For too long a period we have been priming the pump in just such a way. At times it means having a surplus of housing units, which creates another problem for governments as well.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Parrott), in light of his announcement today with reference to 2,4,5-T, reversing the position -- which incidentally the Liberals had been prepared to support -- that 2,4,5-T be sprayed across Ontario.


Mr. Cassidy: My question is this: Is the Minister of the Environment aware that early this year the Environmental Protection Agency in the United States decided to seek a complete ban on the spraying or use of 2,4,5-T? Is he also aware that on January 25, 1980, the EPA produced a prehearing brief in connection with that request which stated, “There is no safe level of human exposure to 2,4,5-T, and this substance may pose significant health risks to exposed humans at exceedingly low levels of exposure.”

That quote comes from a comprehensive review of all the impacts of 2,4,5-T, and underlay the decision of the EPA to seek a complete ban on 2,4,5-T. Is the honourable minister aware of that study? When did he become aware of it? How is it that his department, until today under political pressure, continued to insist that 2,4,5-T should be sprayed across the province when the evidence -- and his department should have known about it -- existed for at least two and a half months that there was no way that 2,4,5-T should be sprayed across Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, it is nice to see the leader of the New Democratic Party has made a few changes in his position too. He is now talking about all Ontario as compared to talking about northern Ontario, which was never the case. It just happens to be another fact of life.

The honourable member suggests to us they have this great source of information and knowledge and are technically seeking a ban, not that it has been put into place in the United States at this time. I repeat what I said in my statement. The amount of misinformation centred on this particular issue is astronomical.

Technically, the Pesticides Advisory Committee stands on its position. It is here with me today. The members happen to believe their advice is still correct and they do have the latest information. We made that decision because of the tremendous amount of information that is misunderstood in the minds of the public.

2:50 p.m.

Mr. Cassidy: Since the honourable minister is saying that the Pesticides Advisory Committee had the latest information, we have to assume that over the course of the last two months it knew of the studies the United States Environmental Protection Agency had made; it knew of the findings of the EPA that the dioxin in 2,4,5-T induces a wide range of adverse effects on several animal species and that this occurs at exceedingly low doses, and it knew that the TCDD, or dioxin, has extremely great toxic potency.

Is it correct then that despite all of that evidence the Pesticides Advisory Committee at no point chose to change its advice to the minister? If that is the case, and in the light of the same kind of wrong advice we have had from that same board on the question of matacil and of 2,4-D, is the honourable minister not prepared to review the people who advise him about the use of toxic herbicides and pesticides in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I think there are several comments that should be made in that regard. The technical advice that the member is talking about is based on one paper. With respect, I think any advice that any committee should offer would be on a very broad spectrum of papers, not one.

It is possible to find a paper on almost every substance that will tell of the harmful effects of the use of that particular substance. One can go down a huge list of common, in-use every-day substances that people have said are harmful if used, and yet society continues to do so. Very common, ordinary household products are in that category. So I ask the honourable member not to pick one paper that happens to coincide with his political bias on an issue and use that as the definitive source. It isn’t scientifically sound.

Mr. Cassidy: Is the honourable minister not aware that the EPA, in basing its case for the request for a ban on 2,4,5-T in the US, prepared a brief which was based on as extensive a literature study and as up-to-date a literature survey as has been performed anywhere in the entire world? Can he simply dismiss that with the back of his hand?

Will he tell us, when they learned that the EPA was seeking the ban, did the Pesticides Advisory Committee or his department find out what the EPA was about? Was the EPA contacted? Was that advice assessed? Or did the honourable minister simply blinker himself to what was happening in the US and pretend that he could pour this stuff across the province regardless of the consequences?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I must say, what a sad choice of words, to say “douse” and “pour.” That is technically not correct. The exaggeration there is beyond belief. It so happens that two different scientific bodies have read a group of scientific papers and have come to different conclusions. That is not unusual. It happened yesterday and I can assure members it will happen tomorrow on many subjects. Different people will come to different conclusions reading the same scientific literature.

It so happens in the US today they are using 2,4,5-T on food products. We have not done that in Ontario. The honourable member holds up this great model of protection for the people of the US when they are not doing half the job we have done here in Ontario with the same material.


Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson), which should also be of interest to the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie), in regard to the human rights case concerning Mr. Jerry Snyker of International Falls, Minnesota, who has been teaching for the Fort Frances-Rainy River Board of Education.

The honourable minister is aware of the somewhat catch-22 situation in which a teacher, Canadian born and living in Canada, may very well be put out of a job because of the ruling of the Ontario Human Rights Commission in regard to Mr. Snyker, whose residence is in International Falls, Minnesota.

Is the honourable minister prepared or is she going to take any action in regard to Mr. Snyker’s Ontario teaching certificate, which I understand by the act and regulations is under the control of her ministry and the deputy minister, in regard to renewals, particularly because Mr. Snyker does not live in Canada?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, it has less to do with the fact that he has not lived in Canada than it has to do with the fact that he is not a Canadian citizen. I am aware there was an error committed at one point related to the certification for teaching, which I gather was issued without the full knowledge of the citizenship of that individual. This is a matter I am looking into at the present time.

I think the honourable member should be aware there has been concern expressed about that citizenship requirement by our Ontario Human Rights Commission and by other human rights commissions for teachers, which I would remind the honourable member has been in effect for as long as I have been resident in Ontario and which was perhaps more clearly defined within the last several years when the British-subject portion of that requirement was eliminated. I have had conversations with the human rights commission. I know the members of the commission feel strongly that citizenship relates to nationality and under our code that is prohibited as a basis for discrimination.

It is a very difficult problem for the Fort Frances-Rainy River Board of Education and one I hope we are going to be able to help to resolve, but at this point I can’t say what the course of resolution will be.

Mr. T. P. Reid: A supplementary question: In view of the fact that Mr. Snyker apparently agreed to move to Canada, to Fort Frances, and in view of the fact the regulations indicate that a person should be living in Canada, as I understand it, to receive --


Mr. T. P. Reid: Let me rephrase that: The renewal of certificate is dependent upon the Ministry of Education and the fact that person, as I understand the act, should be living in Canada.

Does the honourable minister not agree there is something wrong with the law somewhere, if a Canadian citizen is going to be disadvantaged, possibly lose his job, while someone resident in another country continues to be employed by a school board in Ontario?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, as I understand it, it has, as I said earlier, less to do with being resident in Canada than it has to do with a Canadian citizenship. The residency in Canada would lead, one would hope, eventually to a Canadian citizenship. I believe that is probably the basis upon which the statement and the concern has been expressed. That individual has for the entire term of his teaching with that school board continued to reside in International Falls. That is a matter of some concern to me and obviously is a matter of some concern to that board as well.

Mr. Sweeney: A supplementary question, Mr. Speaker: Given the current surplus of certified Ontario and Canadian teachers, what is the present practice of the ministry with respect to issuing these temporary teaching certificates called letters of standing in Ontario? What is the honourable minister doing now?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, unless the individual teacher is employed with the board and is in the process of achieving Canadian citizenship, the letters of standing are not issued, but they do have a period of time, a period of grace which has been extended.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Is it 10 years?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: No, no, it is not 10 years. It is, I believe --

Mr. T. P. Reid: He has had 10 years.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: He has had 10 years, that is right. The period of grace was extended upon the advice of the human rights commission approximately 18 months ago to ensure there would be ample time for those teachers with letters of standing who were employed by boards to achieve their Canadian citizenship so their certificates could be issued.

I am not positive about this and I will check, but I believe the period of grace that has been extended to them is until June 1981.


Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Auld). Will he tell the House whether or not the decision of his ministry not to open Mara and Devil’s Glen Provincial Parks over the Victoria Day weekend, for the first time since they were opened, is the kind of decline in service we can expect to see more of as a result of the impact of his government’s constraint program, which incidentally has long been supported by the Liberal Party? What effect does he expect this to have on the provincial park system as a whole?

3 p.m.

Mr. S. Smith: You supported them; we opposed them, didn’t we?

Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I quote the Honourable Allan Grossman some years ago: “The enemy is over here.”

Mr. T. P. Reid: It’s also over there. You are all one. You’ve got a rump group again.

Hon. Mr. Auld: It’s your time.

To answer the honourable member’s question, it is true that park will open a month late this year and it is true this is because the dollars that the ministry has allocated for park operations require it. I don’t think it will have a significant effect on the park system. There are two parks close by: Bass Lake, which has close to 100 campsites and is about five miles away, and McRae Point, which is two miles away and has, I think, 200 sites.

A number of parks are having later openings this year and this is because past experience has indicated their use is minimal until later in the summer season. We did this last year and it did not have significant effect. There were few complaints and I expect the same situation will apply this year.

Mr. Wildman: Will the honourable minister not agree that the impact of limiting the increase in the parks budget to a mere 27 per cent since 1971, while his overall budget increased by some 182 per cent, is forcing park managers either to reduce service levels or to lease provincial parks to the private sector? Does he agree with the feelings expressed to us this morning by his Huronia district staff that, “We in the field are very concerned about the negative implications that privatization may have on parks with respect to revenue, staff and level of service?”

Hon. Mr. Auld: It is fair to say that feeling is expressed by some of our staff in the field. We are doing it cautiously and slowly as an experiment. So far it has been successful as far as our own operating costs are concerned, in service to the public and in helping us to put more of our resources in other fields.

Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question for the Minister of Natural Resources. His ministry is at present privatizing Holiday Beach Provincial Park in my riding. Since that park had an income last year of $61,000, how can the minister feel confident that any private entrepreneur can operate that park with only $61,000 and have enough left for some so-called profit that he expects to have happen?

Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, we are not privatizing the park. We are privatizing the operation of the park. We will know when the tenders are opened -- I believe the end of this week -- whether there is a private operator who believes he can operate according to our standards, meet the requirements set out in the tender and make it pay.


Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw to the attention of the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton) the case of Peggy Ann Walpole. He may be aware of this case. Because of an ailment, she will require a food substitute probably for the rest of her life. It costs about $25 a day. She applied for welfare to assist her with this. She was refused. Because there was no source of funding or any agency to assist her, she had to be readmitted to St. Michael’s Hospital to sustain herself.

Is this government policy and what is the minister going to do about it?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I am not familiar personally with that case. If the honourable member would choose to provide me with the details, I would be glad to look into it. I don’t know, for example, whether the individual in question has appealed to the Social Assistance Review Board or not -- in other words, has exhausted the avenues of appeal that are available to persons who are denied assistance. If he would like to give me a copy of whatever document he has, I will check into it and get back to him.

Mr. Peterson: If I may perhaps redirect it to the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell): Is it his ministry’s policy -- because obviously the other minister isn’t aware of this kind of situation -- not to assist people: Is it policy to admit them to hospitals at several hundred dollars a day rather than assist when they can function on their own in their own homes?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I think we have shown amply in the past where these similar cases have arisen that there are always ways to assist these individuals. I have taken note of the name, and I am sure my colleague will check with his staff, as will I. I have a feeling that this is the name of a person about whom I had a phone call this morning from a private citizen in Metro, and we are already looking into it.


Mr. Samis: A question to the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson), Mr. Speaker, on the impact of Penetanguishene. In view of the fact that the francophone community has decisively rejected both her proposals and since the Simcoe County Board of Education voted unanimously not to implement a split-shift system at the high school in Penetanguishene, could the honourable minister tell the House, what she proposes to do now to resolve the impasse?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: I am sure the honourable member is aware that the Simcoe county board is considering at least one alternative in another action. I expect I shall be hearing from that board within the next few days in order to determine the course of action from here to provide the educational program for the francophone students in Penetanguishene.

Mr. Samis: Can the honourable minister assure the House that if she is to put forth any further proposals she will consult both of the groups affected prior to presenting any such proposal? Could she also explain her remarks in the Globe and Mail, saying that she would ask the Simcoe county board to hire a principal for a new French school as soon as possible?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: That was a request that was made on March 6 of the Simcoe county board, and it was agreed to by those representatives of the board who were present at that time. The decision was not taken at the last meeting of the full board. I have simply suggested that the board should proceed with that action at this point because that will place it in a position to develop the educational program appropriately.


Mr. Bradley: A question for the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Walker), Mr. Speaker: In view of the severe beating that inmates at the L’Orignal Jail gave to two youthful first-time offenders who were jailed -- I think, as part of a provincial judge’s deterrent experiment -- could the minister reveal to the House what kind of investigation was conducted into this incident and what the results of that investigation are?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, there were two investigations: an investigation was done by the Ontario Provincial Police and another was done by the internal inspection branch of the Ministry of Correctional Services.

Charges have been laid. In the case of one gentleman by the name of Harrison, he has laid three charges. The second person, named Laframboise, is awaiting further advice. I believe there is some intention on his part to lay charges although that is by no means certain at the moment.

The matter at the moment would have to be considered still up in the air relative to the investigation. We have not had our final report on the investigation. I think it will finally await the OPP report.

Mr. Bradley: A supplementary question: Has the honourable minister consulted with the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) to make sure that judges are aware of the potential danger that exists when youthful first-time offenders are put in jail -- let’s call it as an experiment -- since it is obvious the correctional services system in Ontario is unable to guarantee the safety of every prisoner within the system?

Hon. Mr. Walker: With something in the range of 69,000 remands in a year, it is not that difficult to assume the odd incident will develop. We are not dealing always with people who are totally co-operative and who are able to cope with their confreres in the society they may find themselves in, which in that case might be jail. We have to accept that from time to time. However, I am sure there is not a judge in Ontario who doesn’t understand the fact that occasionally things may get out of hand in some of the institutions; they have to assume that.

I don’t think we have to consult with the Attorney General to advise him to advise the judges of that. They well know that; if they didn’t know it, they probably read the story about L’Orignal.

3:10 p.m.


Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Parrott). Does the minister’s statement today, reversing his policy on 2,4,5-T spraying in the province, also mean he will stop Ontario Hydro from pursuing its reported plans to sell its stocks of 2,4,5-T to other provinces and countries?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I don’t think we will direct any of those who have the material on what they shall do with it. Of course, they must not use it here without a permit. That has always been the case, and they will not have a permit. Whether they choose to sell it to another province is a matter between them and the other province.

Ms. Bryden: In view of the minister’s statement in the House on April 1 that he felt the Ontario government had a moral obligation to deal with the hazardous substances we own and control and that we should not put these substances into an unsuspecting world, does the minister not think he should use his persuasive powers to get Hydro to cancel its plans for the sale of these stocks to other provinces and countries?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I can’t quite believe I heard the member say other provinces are an unsuspecting world. I would have thought the member would have had a higher regard for other provinces of this country than to use those terms. That surely isn’t an accurate reflection of the member’s appreciation of other provinces.


Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie), whom I see in the back row.

Is the minister aware that, in the modernization facilities, mechanical marvels or robots will be used to a very large degree? As Japan is at present developing a computer-controlled, automated factory that will be operated by 10 employees doing the work previously carried out by 700 people working on individual machines, is the minister developing some type of policy concerning the use of robots in industry?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Actually, Mr. Speaker, I was thinking of putting them in the opposition where they belong.

I had the opportunity when I was recently visiting Windsor and the new General Motors transmission plant to discuss this very matter of the use of robots with representatives of the trade union there as well as with management. The interesting thing I found was that the one robot that is going to go into the new GM transmission plant is a robot that is going to be doing work that really was not considered to be desirable for the other employees. This message was given to me quite loudly and clearly by union representatives.

As to the broader question of the future of technological advance and automation, I am sure the member knows that the history of it to date has been one of producing ancillary employment related to the technology. It is a matter we always have under review and consideration, but I do not know that it is a matter about which one could have an immediate policy.

Mr. B. Newman: Is the minister considering some type of ratio between moneys invested and numbers of employees that would be used in any given industry?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: No, we have not given consideration to that.


Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Housing regarding Mrs. Timmins again. The Sudbury Star of Saturday evening says, “An informer finally told the housing authority about the pension in August 1979.”

Is the minister aware that in our further discussions with Mrs. Timmins she indicated that, upon learning she had to declare the workmen’s compensation pension, she went to the Sudbury Housing Authority and the authority at that time advised her it knew of the pension? Would the minister be prepared to tell us what the real facts are as to when or if she went to declare this in an honest fashion?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I was not present when the situation started to develop around Mrs. Timmins in regard to the declaration of her income as far as a pension from the Workmen’s Compensation Board, Ontario is concerned. The form that is submitted to the Sudbury Housing Authority, or to any housing authority indicates clearly what income is, namely, income from any source, including pension. The declaration was not completely or accurately filled out at the time of Mrs. Timmins’s occupancy of public housing in 1974.

There was a point later on when it came to the knowledge of the Sudbury Housing Authority that Mrs. Timmins was receiving a WCB pension as a result of a back injury she sustained some time prior to that at her previous employment. That information came to the housing authority, I am told, through other sources. They then inquired of the WCB whether there was a monthly cheque going forward to this particular person. It was confirmed, back around August 1979, that the compensation was coming in. Some time after that Mrs. Timmins indicated she was receiving a WCB pension.

Back rent has been calculated on that income of Mrs. Timmins and some adjustments have been made in other rent factors with an indication that there is more than $2,000 owing to the Sudbury Housing Authority, which has asked for payment. I might say that Mrs. Timmins, when it was indicated to her what the outstanding debt happened to be, offered to pay $1,000 in cash and the balance over a period of time.

The housing authority, as is typical of the situation anywhere in Ontario when they find that a tenant has not made a complete declaration of income and there are arrears, tried to find some reasonable solution to the problem. They have submitted to Mrs. Timmins and her representative, whom I believe is a lawyer, an indication of what they think is a reasonable settlement of the back debt.

Mr. Martel: Does the minister really believe that’s an adequate settlement to ask from this woman, who was 72 on Sunday: to cough up $1,000 immediately, to increase her rent by $30 and to ask for an additional $75 a month besides? Is what the Sudbury Star quoted the minister as saying true: “He did not specify what this monthly amount should be, but he said her offer of $10 a month” -- which, was made by the way, by former Speaker Jerome’s office -- “was not reasonable. ‘At 71 years old, he said $10 a month isn’t reasonable.’”? Is it reasonable to ask a woman of that age for that amount? Is it not more acceptable to give her the benefit of the doubt?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I am not starting to indicate what the benefit of the doubt happens to be. I am looking at the settlement in this particular case, in relationship to 100,000 tenants of the Ontario Housing Corporation.

It was Mrs. Timmins herself who offered the $1,000 cash as a settlement of a $2,000-odd bill that was outstanding on rent arrears. Mrs. Timmins through her lawyer, whoever he happened to be, offered $10 a month in settlement. The settlement will be arrived at between Sudbury Housing Authority and its tenant.

I know nothing about the $75 a month of which the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) speaks, but it is my understanding that the position of the Sudbury Housing Authority, as presented to Mrs. Timmins and her lawyer, is that it would accept the $1,000 cash as part settlement and that the balance of the arrears, something in excess of another $1,000, would be paid at the rate of $50 per month in addition to the rent that will be calculated on 25 per cent of rent geared to income.

I have to say very clearly to this House that we have not had any response from either Mrs. Timmins or her lawyer to the Sudbury Housing Authority.

3:20 p.m.


Mr. Speaker: Last Thursday evening, during the course of the emergency debate, while the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Bounsall) had the floor, the member for Chatham-Kent (Mr. Watson) rose in defence of his colleague the member for Durham East (Mr. Cureatz) and took exception by way of a point of order to a statement that had been made by the member for Windsor-Sandwich.

At that time, the member for Perth (Mr. Edighoffer), the Deputy Speaker, was in the chair. As a result of the point of order raised by the member for Chatham-Kent, the member for Perth, who heard the remark, who heard the context in which the remark was made and who heard the tenor of the remark, ruled at that time that the member for Chatham-Kent had neither a point of order nor a point of privilege.

The following morning the member for Durham East got up and said he thought he had a point of privilege as a result of the exchange that I explained earlier. Not being aware of it myself, I said I would investigate the record and report back.

I have had an opportunity to check the record. I have had an opportunity to discuss it with the Deputy Speaker. I have found out that, according to the Legislative Assembly Act, the Deputy Speaker or anybody who assumes the Speaker’s chair has the same authority and the same prerogatives as the Speaker. On the basis of that investigation, I would have to advise both the member for Chatham-Kent and the member for Durham East that the matter was disposed of at that time because the Deputy Speaker was in the chair and ruled on what he heard at that particular time. I have no authority to deal with it.



Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the select committee on Ontario Hydro affairs be authorized to meet at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 17, 1980.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the standing committee on general government of the third session of the 31st Parliament, as constituted on December 20, 1979, to deal with Bill 3, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974, be authorized to meet on Wednesday morning, April 16, 1980, to consider its report on its observations and deliberations respecting the bill, and that Mr. G. Taylor be a member of the committee for this deliberation.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day I wish to table the answers to questions 70, 71, 96 and 107 on the Notice Paper.



Hon. Mr. Henderson moved second reading of Bill 2, An Act to amend the Drainage Act, 1975.

Mr. Speaker: Does the honourable minister have an opening comment?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, I don’t have an opening comment prepared. I think the act and all the sections within it are self-explanatory. It’s a matter of housekeeping within the act, but I would be glad to respond to any questions.

Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, I have a few comments I want to make on the amendments to the Drainage Act. I think we all recognize that this act is the result of a study by the drainage committee which was established back around 1972. The present Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson) chaired that committee, and I know I appeared at the odd meeting when they were discussing with the farmers some of the changes they felt should be made to the Drainage Act.

While there was considerable input from right across the province on this matter, I guess the input was not sufficient, because the minister felt he had to go to Florida to study drainage in “alligator alley,” or in some of the swampland down there. I suppose he thought it had some application to Ontario conditions. If that is the case then it all ended up in quite a good act.

However, nothing is perfect. It was obvious, after five years, that there were some minor defects in the bill; so the minister has endeavoured to correct them with the amendments that are before us. As the minister has indicated, they are housekeeping amendments and certainly worthy of our support. However, the amendments do not address certain problems that were discussed in some detail at the last Ontario Federation of Agriculture convention.

A certain section of the act, more specifically 4(1)(c), is suspected of being misused. This misuse can result in the loss of land and unnecessary assessment and inconvenience to the farmer, and can result in the acquisition of additional land for the purposes of road widening instead of for the original intent, which is drainage.

I notice the minister is wandering over to consult with some of his senior staff. It may well be that this problem will be addressed in further amendments the minister will introduce -- I have received some just now, and I believe I got some amendments yesterday which were left in the House -- maybe I’ve overlooked this, but I don’t think so; I don’t think the amendments have addressed this problem.

If the minister agrees that this section has been misused, then surely he would be prepared to have these sections revised. I know the minister will want to comment on this section and give us the reasons he did not amend it, knowing that it was a resolution.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Would the member just go over the part that he said was misused? I have the section before me. I would like to follow it through.

Mr. Riddell: I am alluding now to section 4(1)(c) of the act Section 4 deals with petition drains.

“A petition for the drainage by means of a drainage works of an area requiring drainage as described in the petition may be filed with the clerk of the local municipality in which the area is situate by, ... where a drainage works is required for a road or part thereof, the engineer or road superintendent appointed under the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act and having jurisdiction over such a road or part...” Then it goes on to another section.

3:30 p.m.

The point I believe the Ontario Federation of Agriculture was trying to bring out -- and I think my colleague the member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan) is going to address this problem as well -- is that some of the councils are using this section of the act to have roads widened, rather than using it for the purpose for which it was intended, that is, drainage. I don’t know that, but it is something he should comment on. If it is being misused, then it would take just a little amendment to change it.

Another problem the amendments do not address pertains to petition drains involving unorganized municipalities. Such drains require the co-operation of all land owners, rather than a majority of effective land owners as in organized municipalities. This can present an impossible barrier to farmers wishing to drain in or through unorganized municipalities.

Once again, if the minister had taken the OFA resolution into consideration, he would have amended the act to provide farmers the opportunity to drain in or through unorganized municipalities in the same way as in organized municipalities. I hope the minister will comment on this as well.

I want to make a brief comment on municipal drains. The present policy of the Drainage Act as it pertains to municipal drains requires private engineering reports to qualify for provincial grants. The fees of engineering consultants in most cases are outrageous and in many cases exceed the amount of eligible grants. In view of this, and considering the contractors’ tenders on municipal drains are much higher than privately negotiated contracts, the minister might consider it advisable to add, where necessary, additional engineers to the agricultural offices in the province to assist land owners in preparing engineering reports on municipal drains, including assessment reports. I believe the Ontario Federation of Agriculture also expressed a request that land owners participating in a municipal drain might negotiate directly with contractors.

Another concern that farmers have expressed to me is the method of assessing the cost of a municipal drain. In some townships -- and I don’t know how general it is -- the land owners on the bottom end of a municipal drain bear the lion’s share of the cost. I fail to understand why a municipal drain at the bottom end is any more beneficial to that land owner than the drain is to the land owner on the top end. Surely the fact that the water is going to find its way to lower land in the absence of a municipal drain is not satisfactory logic to penalize the land owners at the bottom end.

All land owners benefit from municipal drains and should be assessed a more equitable share of the cost. In many cases, it is the land owners at the top end who have requested municipal drains and, because the outlet has to extend across the lower land to a creek or river, the land owner at the bottom end should surely not be expected to pay more than his share of the benefits. I would like the minister to comment on this.

It is a matter that is drawn to my attention time and time again. I can speak from experience on it, although I am not using myself as an example. I happen to be on the bottom end. There was a request made for a municipal drain. It ended up that I paid approximately 50 per cent of the cost of that drain because I happened to be on the bottom end. I appealed it to council. The engineer came back in, did some redrafting and returned with the same result, that I was going to pay the lion’s share of the cost. As a result, I had to put in an open drain, rather than go to a closed drain, because I simply could not afford the cost of a closed drain since I was paying somewhere in the neighbourhood of 50 per cent of the cost. I don’t think it is fair, and I can certainly sympathize with the farmers who are drawing this matter to my attention.

Finally, I want to comment on the minister’s statement in the House during last session and his subsequent statement in the House this session on the necessity to change the allocations system under the tile drainage program. Under the former program, drainage was being maintained or improved on about 200,000 acres every year. About one third of the money comes from provincial loans. Therefore, for 1980-81, he recommended new guidelines for use by municipal councils. These guidelines were as follows: “Initial drainage allocations will be announced following the Treasurer’s budget in the spring. They will be based on the applications received over the previous three years. A municipality may apply for reallocation of funds for tile drainage debentures based on the applications received by the municipality prior to August 31, each year. As in previous years” --

Mr. Eaton: This is not part of the bill.

Mr. Riddell: We’ll listen to what the member has to say later. I get a little sick of some of these interjections. We are talking about drainage, and some of the points I am raising certainly pertain to drainage and the Drainage Act. If the member is not going to bring them up -- and I am sure it has been drawn to his attention -- someone has to. That is the reason I mention it at this time. If the member wants to speak later, I will be glad to listen to him.

“As in previous years, applications are to be based on” --

Mr. Eaton: Tile drainage isn’t in this act.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I’ll bet on that.

Mr. Riddell: What does the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) know about tile drainage?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: More than the member knows about industry.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Mr. Riddell: I see he has had enough; he is now leaving the House.

The guidelines continue: “As in previous years, applications are to be based on not more than 75 per cent of the estimated cost of the project up to a maximum in 1980-81 of $200 per acre tiled. The maximum amount any one farmer may receive in loans in one year is $10,000 and the maximum accumulated loan for a farmer is not to exceed $40,000.”

I will admit that in a subsequent statement made by the minister, he has increased that to $20,000 for an individual farmer and the maximum accumulated loan not to exceed $60,000. I know the minister changed that because of the pressure that was brought to bear upon him by farmers who I am sure talked to him at meetings and wrote letters to him. I certainly raised it in the House through question period. The minister, in his wisdom, saw fit to change it.

These criteria, he said, have been designed to ensure that as many farmers as possible are able to take advantage of the program. Most people familiar with the tile drainage loan program are aware that it has served the needs of Ontario farmers in an efficient manner for many years. It was originally 75 per cent of the gross cost loan and it was available to all farmers. This program has had major significance in the development and efficiency of Ontario agriculture.

The tile drainage loans and the Drainage Act have been better parts of the ministry’s policy here in the Legislature. We have no qualms about the programs he has had in the past and the Drainage Act.

In the past few years this program has degenerated into a hotchpotch of confusion and uncertainty in many municipalities. Some townships are issuing loans on a basis of a percentage of job cost. Others are using a limit breaker. Some are following a first-come, first-serve approach as long as the money lasts. Still other adjoining townships may have funds left unused if there are not many loan applications in any one year.

The proposal to retain the loan ceiling at 75 per cent of cost, with the $200 breaker limit, immediately negates the 75 per cent concept. The cost of installing systematic drainage systems in the 1980s will not be less than $400 per acre in most situations. The placing of a $200 breaker limit will have the immediate effect of (1) the licensed drainage contractor being asked by the farmer to design a system which the contractor knows is not adequate, and (2) the installation of ill-conceived systems which, when eventually brought up to efficient standards, will result in the destruction or abandonment of a major portion of the former work.

While the 75 per cent ceiling on loans is acceptable and has stood the test of time, there should be no limit to what the farmer can invest per acre. It is a ridiculous figure when measured against land values, commodity values, equipment values and the historical cost of drainage vis-à-vis the system at any point in the last 50 years.

The restriction of the loan per farmer, formerly $10,000 and now $20,000 per farmer per year, with an accumulated ceiling of $60,000, is not realistic.

3:40 p.m.

The average drainage job today is close to 100 acres. The average Ontario farm is not flat, and this results in a random system of mains, with laterals being usually straight and evenly spaced. Farmers attempt to grow crops that will be cut off and out of the way when the land is being tiled. Spreading the work over several years makes this impractical, if not impossible. If contractors are forced to install only mains in one year and to return in each of the next three years to complete the work, it will badly disrupt the farmer’s ability to manage crop rotation.

Add to the contractor’s cost the moving on and off the job, with his attendant waste of labour, equipment utilization and transportation and wasted fuel and energy costs, and all of this can only result in higher cost to the farmer. While it may be argued that these expenditure ceilings will make the loan funds available to more farmers, it must also be recognized that one quarter of the Ontario farmers now produce three quarters of our agricultural products; these are not the operations that should be restricted.

Would it not seem reasonable that no ceiling amount be established other than the 75 per cent, considering that one of the policies of the government, as indicated in the throne speech, was to make Ontario more self-sufficient in food production?

While some township councils find themselves with insufficient drain loan funds, others have allocations they are unable to use. This is the result of the fluctuations in demand within a municipality in a given year. It appears to me that if these allocations were open-ended they would put an end to the uncertainty and confusion experienced by township councils and farmers and at the same time put very little, if any, upward pressure on the provincial budget. Certainly it is a much less costly program than those in some other provinces; for example, in Quebec, which pays an outright grant of 50 per cent of the total expenditure.

It has been my opinion that the Ontario drainage legislation, prior to the announcement of the proposed changes, has been a model, one that gets the job done without being a burden to the taxpayers. The proposed changes, however, make the legislation much less effective. Members of both opposition parties have long expressed objections about good farm land disappearing under asphalt and urban development, which to most people is a valid concern.

Our most valuable resource in southern Ontario is agricultural land, and it is for this reason that most of our towns and cities are situated in good agricultural areas. What we sometimes fail to recognize, however, is that thousands of potentially good acres throughout Ontario are waiting for the right farmers to develop them. Drainage is one of the most important tools in this development, recognizing that well-drained farm land in Ontario makes efficient use of tillage and harvesting equipment, conserves fuel and energy by having larger fields, permits the farmer to use more flexible cropping practices and virtually eliminates the need for crop insurance on other than specialized crops.

In conclusion, I simply want to say that no farmer in Ontario should be legislated into the position of being a hilltop farmer.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, the minister has described this bill as a housekeeping bill. As suggested in the explanatory notes -- lengthier than any bill I have seen for quite some time -- it is pretty massive and extensive in its housekeeping, but I still think it is essentially a housekeeping bill.

I know the Ontario Federation of Agriculture has examined the bill with great care. I had a chat with Ron Jones, who is the chairman of their properties committee, which committee did examine the bill. They agree it is a housekeeping bill, they are happy with it, and therefore I have no particular additions to make, since those who are primarily involved with it are essentially content.

However, there is one related matter, and I am not certain whether it can statutorily be fitted into the bill, but I would like to bring it to the minister’s attention. That is, there is a measure of concern out in the farm community with regard to the relationship between engineers and farmers as they are dealing with drainage.

Rightly or wrongly, there are many farmers who feel that the engineers don’t feel they can lower themselves to the point of discussing in detail the problems in relationship to drainage, and therefore the public relations effort associated with the job tends to get fouled up. That is a bit tragic. If we are engaged in what everybody would agree is an extremely important piece of work, that it is adding to the productivity of the land and is the kind of thing that should be done, it is most unfortunate that the effort should be clouded by this kind of relationship between farmers and engineers.

How exactly one can come to grips with that, I don’t pretend to have a definitive answer. There are good engineers and there are bad engineers. There are engineers who are certified, and therefore nobody for one moment would question their professional qualifications, but they may not necessarily be the right people to be engaged in drainage problems.

I have wondered, and I put this to the minister, whether it is possible in some fashion or another, on the basis of experience with engineers, to provide a list -- I hope this doesn’t get him into violations of professional codes or something of that nature -- so farmers or municipalities won’t be dealing with engineers whose past record is that, good professional engineers as they may be, they don’t seem to be able to do the job with the appropriately good public relations necessary.

I understand, for example, that if it has not been discussed with the minister directly -- he was recently appointed to this position and may not have had an opportunity for representations to be made directly to him; maybe they were made to his predecessor -- staff from the Ontario Federation of Agriculture have met with staff from the food land development branch and this problem has been discussed.

I would ask the minister whether this kind of problem can be dealt with so we don’t cloud an otherwise important and essential piece of work in connection with our agricultural and our rural development.

Beyond that, I am not going to take any more time of the House today, because if there is general satisfaction out in the agricultural community with regard to these housekeeping efforts as the Ontario Federation of Agriculture states, I think we in this Legislature can be relatively content that we are giving our support to a bill that is worthy of support.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, might I give a copy of the act to the honourable member? There is a section I would like him to read while the next honourable member is speaking.

Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak about the item that was mentioned by my colleague the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) regarding the belief on the part of quite a number of farmers that the present act is being abused in relation to using the act as a shortcut for road widenings. The minister is aware, as the honourable member mentioned, that the Ontario Federation of Agriculture has put forward a resolution from its convention to the ministry raising this very question.

I had occasion to visit a particular site about two years ago in the township of Romney. There is a very wide deep ditch on the south side of the road which is eroding away the road. Clearly, because of this erosion there is a danger to vehicles that pass. The road superintendent, under the authority of the act, has petitioned that the ditch be moved over on the north side of the road, quite a distance back from the road. The spoil from that would be pulled back to the road and form part of the road bed, thereby effectively moving the road to the north.

When one looks at the particular problem in this case, what they really need to solve this road problem is some spiles on that south side of the road, because it is only a question of time until the road erodes further and further takings will be required. In this particular case the drainage, the natural fall, is to the north. The farmer has tile installed in his fields and he has no drainage problems. None of the other land owners along the route was affected by drainage problems; nor were they requesting drainage problems.

3:50 p.m.

The particular farmer involved, Stanley Balsam by name, a resident of Romney township who has studied this, has appealed to the tribunal. One might say he is a bit of a hardhead. I think he is a hardhead, but he is the kind of hardhead we need to preserve the law and respect of the law that is necessary for the proper carrying on of government. Were it not for people like this gentleman, the laws gradually would fall into disrespect. Recognizing his position, I must commend a man who is willing to stand up against conventional wisdom for freedom and democracy.

It is interesting to note that the reeve of the township commented to the local press as follows: “Romney Township Reeve Harry Robinson told the Tilbury Times the township had originally wanted to install their ditch as part of a road-widening scheme.” The Drainage Act is very fine, and certainly we support it, but I cannot find anything in that act about road widening.

The report continued: “Romney council wanted to obtain the land through the Drainage Act because the Wickwire property, which is affected by the plan, was tied up with estate problems. None of the property could be purchased through normal channels at this time. ‘It was such a minute matter,’ he said, ‘we thought we could speed it up.’”

I’m sure the reeve had a good purpose in mind. I’m not faulting him, but I am faulting the system which apparently over the years has begun to regard this act as an easy way to bring about a road-widening project. I wish to bring that to the minister’s attention. It is supported by the many members of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture. I think there is an omission in this act that has not been dealt with.

The farmer involved, Stanley Balsam, went to the appeals tribunal and was turned down. I would like to read the reasons for turning him down: “The appellant argued that the adjacent owners did not request the drain and that they were prepared to accept the water from the road service. He further argued that if it were necessary to proceed that a subsurface tile would be preferred and would present less of a public hazard. The drainage engineer replied that the drain was required for the security of the road.”

He says it is “required for the security of the road” -- not for drainage -- and a subsurface tile drain would not function properly in the heavy clay soil. It’s hard to tell that to those farmers because they drain their land that way.

The tribunal recognized that the major purpose of the drain was to serve the requirements of the road authority. The most damaging part of it is that throughout the years the tribunal has more or less assumed this was standard practice; they recognize this. As legislators, perhaps we should point out that was not part of the law. I admit that going to other laws to accomplish this is certainly going to prolong the affair. It probably will cost more money as compared to this system. Nevertheless, if we are to have respect for our laws and for our whole system, it seems to me incumbent upon all of us to address these problems when they are brought to our attention.

I am not raising this matter in the spirit of trying to find blame or fault anyone for what has apparently developed as an accepted form of operation. I am not trying to blame the reeve or the council for going this route, because it seems there has been ample precedent for it, and even the tribunal itself appears to accept this.

I just appeal to the minister to take this matter under review and perhaps bring in legislation at some later date to correct what I believe is a misuse of the Drainage Act.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, if I might respond in reverse to the speakers, the member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan) has referred, as the other speakers did, to section 4 of the Drainage Act, which is the petition section. Section 4(1)(c) says: “Where a drainage works is required for a road or part thereof, the engineer or road superintendent appointed under the Public Transportation and Highway Improvement Act and having jurisdiction over such road or part...”

I would respond by saying that section refers only to the drainage that is required. There is nothing in this act in any place that gives the council the authority the member is concerned about. He has suggested that perhaps the councils are using this as a means of widening roads. That is not the intent of the act. I don’t disagree with him that maybe the councils are using it, but I am sure he would agree that the drainage of a road is as important as the road itself. I can’t agree at this moment that there should be a change in that part of the petition procedure.

The member for York -- I always have to look up to see what his riding is.

Mr. MacDonald: York South; the great farming area of York South.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: He should take a look at his name on this list. It says York Sud.

Mr. MacDonald: South.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: No. Mine says “Sud.” What does that mean?

Mr. Swart: You have it in French.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: The member hasn’t read the paper recently. That’s the reason I am having problems in remembering his riding.

The honourable member brought up a very important point, a point the drainage committee took into serious consideration regarding farmer input before the actual report is put into print; that is, the idea of the present act under section 9. I have sent it over to the member and he now understands it. I would agree with him that possibly there are engineers out there who are not carrying out the intent of the act. The intent of the act was that the engineer should meet with the people to see what recommendations there might be before a final report is put to the council.

I think the member would agree that the legislation is there. He has suggested to me that we should make a list of engineers available to municipalities. I believe we are doing that in the case of engineers who have worked under the act and whose work does appear to be satisfactory. I thank the honourable member for that input.

I might go now to the first speaker. I believe he is the member for Huron-Middlesex; not for Middlesex-Huron. I’ll get his riding right.

Mr. Riddell: They are both excellent counties.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: I would have to agree. For once we’re in agreement.

4 p.m.

The member for Huron-Middlesex brought out the petition which was referred to by the member for Kent-Elgin. I believe I have answered that. I believe I have stated my position regarding the abuse -- if we can use that word -- of the act by the local municipal councils. I’m not sure I would call it abuse, but we will leave the record saying we believe they are abusing the act, if that is the way they’re doing it.

The act is meant to make drainage, and not to give them authority to acquire land and to widen roads, if I might answer it in that way.

Next, regarding the unorganized areas, section 122 of the act is pretty broad, and it’s only four lines -- I’m not sure whether the honourable member has read it or not; I will read it so it is on the record.

“The minister in his discretion and from time to time may prescribe the manner in which a drainage works shall be initiated and carried out in territory without municipal organization and the manner in which and the terms and conditions under which grants may be made.”

It’s very short and simple. At the provincial level we pay 80 per cent of the cost of the drains. Since we don’t have taxing authority in those areas there must be a full agreement with the property owners as to where the other 20 per cent comes from. That’s the way drains are taken care of in unorganized territories.

At the moment I am not aware of any way to improve that situation. We believe it’s working quite well. The member may have examples where it is not. We would be happy to be made aware of them and to look into them and try to correct them.

Respecting assessment, the honourable member went to great length in setting out the assessment procedures. I don’t plan to get involved in what to me is the engineer’s responsibility. I believe the act sets out sufficient appeal procedure -- procedures which have worked very well. I get congratulatory letters. For every letter criticizing it, I would say I get 10 approving it. I fully realize what the honourable member has brought out, mainly to the effect that there is disagreement among the farmers as to who should pay what. Some of them at the lower end think they should not pay anything, while those at the upper end think the lower end should pay equal to the upper end. That argument has been around a long while. I believe the courts have handled it well in the past.

The honourable member mentioned the Tile Drainage Act. I refer him to my statement of March 31. I believe it’s quite clear. I would only re-emphasize that some five years ago we lent about $10 million through the Tile Drainage Act. Last year the allocation before the last month of the year was $20 million. We picked up all back loans that the councils were ready to lend on, and another $11 million in the last two weeks of the fiscal year, making a total of approximately $31 million last year.

There will be a new allocation announced when the Treasurer brings down his budget. I believe the councils will be able to administer this new allocation.

I have an amendment to this act, Mr. Speaker, and I would like it to go to the committee of the whole House.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for committee of the whole House.


Hon. Mr. Henderson moved second reading of Bill 26, An Act to amend the Live Stock and Live Stock Products Act.

Mr. Riddell: I was waiting for some opening comments by the minister, Mr. Speaker. I would just say that discussions on an industry program for financial protection have been going on for quite some time. I am sure the livestock industry is most pleased that we now are dealing with a bill that is going to give it some kind of protection.

Assurance that a producer will receive payment for livestock that he has sold, as I indicated, has been an issue of considerable concern to cattle producers in Ontario. Since 1973, I believe six major packing firms have gone into bankruptcy, at least one owing a considerable amount to community auction sales and others owing a considerable amount directly to cattle producers.

I might just go over some of these. In 1973, Colemans, London, went bankrupt with a default of $250,000. In 1975, Essex Packers, Hamilton, went bankrupt with a default of $250,000. In 1977, Better Beef, Toronto, had an original debt of $850,000, although I believe this is being worked off and is supposed to be repaid by 1981. In 1977, Sunnybrook Packers, Toronto, went bankrupt with a default of $180,000. In 1979, Forest Packers, Toronto, owed $192,000. In 1979, Monarch Meat Packers, Toronto, closed with a debt of $92,000. In many cases it has been the livestock producer who has borne the brunt of these bankruptcies.

I believe there are also two country livestock dealers who went into bankruptcy in 1979, one in eastern Ontario and one in western Ontario. The default for each dealer amounted to somewhere in the neighbourhood of $ 100,000.

Is it any wonder that the livestock industry has been waiting for some kind of legislation in which it would be given some protection from people who handle livestock and encounter financial difficulties? The issue is of growing concern to cattlemen, who realize that losses resulting from dealer bankruptcies are borne by the producer, either directly in a major single loss or indirectly through higher commission charges which will inevitably take place. The third possible alternative which could also occur is bankruptcy of the commission firm, or auction sale operator.

A financial protection task force was established by order in council in 1976. I believe it reported in 1977. The board of directors of the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association endorsed in principle the recommendations of the financial protection task force. There are two basic recommendations from the task force which can be applied to the cattle industry. One was prompt payment and the second was the establishment of an insurance fund.

In considering those two recommendations, the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association ranked a requirement for prompt payment as the highest priority, and ranked provision for the establishment of an insurance fund as a second priority as measures which would resolve the concerns, not only of cattle producers, but also of auction sale operators. It did appear to the OCA at the time that the means to the end for a prompt payment requirement was the licensing of livestock dealers. I think this is where the hangup came.

I mentioned the delay in this bill. The minister can’t be blamed totally for this delay as I know there was some problems in getting co-operation from dealers, although I think he got co-operation right from the beginning from community sale operators. I believe he got co-operation from processors and certainly from producers, but the dealers seemed to present somewhat of a problem. I guess it was this matter of licensing of dealers that was responsible for the delay in the introduction of the bill.

4:10 p.m.

The Ontario Cattlemen’s Association recognizes that this kind of measure does represent an intrusion of government into a segment of the business community. I think we all realize there is no freer enterprise in Ontario than cattle producers. They certainly don’t want any more government intervention than is necessary, but I believe some kind of financial protection is necessary.

At a time when less, not more, government involvement seems to be the order of the day, all segments of the industry involved in cattle merchandising -- that is, producers, auction firms and packing-house operators -- agreed in principle to requirements for prompt payment, in the full knowledge that dealer licensing was a prerequisite.

If we go back into history -- and I know, being a former operator of a sales barn -- in many cases the buyers for the processors would buy their livestock, but we wouldn’t get the payment until they came back the next week and purchased their livestock. Really, we were carrying them. It was a pretty good investment as far as the buyers were concerned, but we were always a little shaky as to whether we were going to get that payment.

Auction barns, and the commission firms in the Ontario stockyards in Toronto, are all bonded. There is no question about that, but they can still get into pretty deep trouble if they don’t watch the buying process and occasionally cut off some of the buyers if it appears they are buying a lot of livestock and the firm isn’t too sure of their financial situation.

Legislation requiring the licensing of livestock dealers has been in place in all western provinces for many years, and to the best of my knowledge it did not require a great deal of administration, either in cost or in personnel. The minister, after considerable delay -- and I have indicated the reason for the delay -- has undertaken a legislative amendment to provide a prompt payment provision. We are certainly pleased to see that is part of the bill.

The establishment of an insurance fund under the umbrella program announced by the former Minister of Agriculture and Food was a measure which could have added further payment security for the producers. In my view, the fund concept would only function in a fair and honest fashion, without abuses, after a dealer licensing requirement. Furthermore, getting agreement amongst packers, producers and auction firm operators on the issues of contributions to and eligible participants in the fund were somewhat more difficult than imagined.

All these matters have been taken into consideration, and we now have legislation in front of us which is going to give protection to the producers of livestock and to some of the dealers and others who handle the livestock after it leaves the farm gates. Also incorporated in the legislation is the authority to establish an insurance fund and the licensing of dealers.

I talked to Graham Hedley of the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association when the bill was introduced, and he said he couldn’t see any reason to object to what was in the bill, other than that the bill seemed to make reference to so many different acts that exist at the present time. From his perusal of the bill, he seemed to think it pretty well satisfied the requests that were made by the cattlemen and it still remains to be seen how it will work. If there are changes that need to be made to the legislation to improve the kind of protection livestock producers need, then we can always deal with that at a later time. I simply want to say, after these comments, that we support this legislation.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, we too will support the bill on second reading.

The member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) has detailed the situation which has produced a need for this bill. It doesn’t need to be repeated, because one reading in the record will be as good as two, but obviously there has been a gross deficiency and inadequacy in justice in the normal operation of the so-called free enterprise system.

Every time a bankruptcy was experienced, either at a processor or dealer level, the person who took the rap was the producer who had put all his time, effort and expense into it and was left holding the bag with nothing in it, so to speak, in payment of his efforts.

Down through the years we have had representations from the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association in our caucuses in the opposition parties as, I am sure, has the government side. There is no mystery why it placed high priority on prompt payment. If one could get prompt, spontaneous payment, there would be no problem in getting caught with no payment in the event of a bankruptcy, unless the cheque bounced after one actually had got it.

The government has taken a regrettable, if not unconscionable, length of time to come to grips even with that aspect. As the member for Huron-Middlesex pointed out, other provinces have been licensing for some years. There appears to be no mystery how it might be done in a viable and acceptable fashion.

Having expressed my regrets about belated efforts, however, it is done now and we welcome it. Along with that is the fund which the industry is going to provide to protect those involved, particularly the producers, in the event of bankruptcies. Given the turmoil and uncertainty of the current economic scene, there may be more, rather than fewer, bankruptcies in future. There is need for such a fund. The bill provides for that. Therefore, it is a step in the right direction. As with all bills, we may find there are bugs in this one, or points that can be improved. With the benefit of experience, those can be coped with in the years that lie ahead.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I want to speak briefly about the bill, but naturally I support it enthusiastically.

I am glad the licensing procedure properly has been removed from the regulations and put in the bill. Over the years there have been criticisms directed towards many ministries, and particularly the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, for allowing too many of these things to be left in the regulations. I hope there will be other amendments putting these powers in the bills. This is more directly responsible to this House.

I remember, over many years, the questions and irate exchanges between the Minister of Agriculture and Food of the day, usually William Stewart, and members of the opposition when these companies either were close to bankruptcy or there was word in the wind that some of these payments were not guaranteed. When they would finally go bankrupt, I remember the terrible losses suffered by the farmers.

It is difficult to convey to Mr. Speaker, who is a northerner and more of a fisherman than a farmer, that perhaps those losses are in some quality different from losses suffered in other businesses. All are dramatic, but, from the experience of the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson) and a number of members of this House, the work, commitment and worry that go into raising livestock are perhaps more of a personal commitment than in some other types of business.

With a cow-calf operation, one thinks of the delivery of the calves and seeing they are properly looked after, chasing them around the pasture when they get pink eye, seeing that certain other vital operations are performed on them at the appropriate time and even cleaning out their pens and seeing the proper food is put in. This is not always pleasant but, still, we are always concerned with the quality of the meat that is bought. There are long hours of hard labour which, frankly, most farmers enjoy.

Then comes the great day when the truck comes rumbling into the barn and one has a hard time at many farms getting the animals out of their pens and on to the truck. What a great relief it is when the tailgate is slammed shut and the truck goes out the lane. The farmer thinks, “I’ve really accomplished something.” The thought then of losing the animals after all of the commitment of resources is almost more than a human can bear.

4:20 p.m.

Obviously the loss of funds from any business is similarly a catastrophic thing, but having experienced not the losses but the travail of getting the animals on to the truck and away to market, I have often had many sympathetic pangs when constituents have come to me indicating the substantial losses they have suffered under those circumstances.

We regret that there has been so much delay in the bill, but it is here now, and I think we support it with a good deal of enthusiasm. We hope that it works as well as the indications from the minister are that it will.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, in responding to the honourable members across the way, I would first like a page to take this chart over to the member for York South and put it on his desk so he will have it.

Mr. Speaker: I want the Minister of Agriculture and Food to know that didn’t happen by accident. It was done by design, because we have had a lot of requests for a bilingual seating plan.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: I fully realize that, Mr. Speaker, and I am quite able to read that --

Mr. Nixon: In either language.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes, quite able.

In responding to the three honourable members who have spoken, I think they realize that I do have, I believe, the full support of the Ontario Cattlemen’s Association for this bill. There were some problems that I did encounter, and that is the reason I didn’t bring it forward in the fall session of the House. First, I felt at one stage we should bring it in for cattle only. However, the community sale barns, as was mentioned, did bring to my attention the other sale yards here in Toronto. They said cattle account for about 90 per cent of their business, and they felt that if we were bringing in legislation it should provide complete coverage. I believe this bill does give the necessary coverage that was requested.

I could go over the bankruptcies as the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) has done, but I believe they are on the record sufficiently.

I do have one amendment. I gave copies of that to the opposition yesterday. I would like this bill to go to committee too, Mr. Speaker.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for committee of the whole House.

House in committee of the whole.


Consideration of Bill 15, An Act to amend the Game and Fish Act.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Are there any members wishing to speak to any section?

Mr. Philip: Mr. Chairman, I have a number of amendments which I have circulated to the Clerk, the critics and, of course, the minister. It is my understanding from my consultations with the minister that he and his ministry are in complete agreement and support of each of the amendments I will be moving. I will therefore speak very briefly to each of them.

On section 1:

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Philip moves that paragraph 1(a) of section 1 of this act, as set out in section 1(1) of the bill, be deleted and the following substituted therefor:

“1a. ‘body-gripping trap’ means a trap designed to capture an animal by seizing and holding the animal by any part of its body but does not include a trap designed to capture a mouse or rat.”

Mr. Philip: The reason for this amendment is that there are some traps designed to capture mice and small rodents that are not wood-based, and the words “small rodent” are proposed to be struck out because it is not exactly clear what the word “rodent” means in this particular case.

The words “for which it is set” are also deleted in this amendment, as they could provide a loophole. For example, I could set a trap for a raccoon and accidentally catch the neighbour’s cat, and then argue that my intent was not to catch the neighbour’s cat. That is a brief explanation of the reason for the deletion of one section and the changing and substitution I propose.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Philip moves that paragraph 16(a) of section 1 of the act, as set out in section 1(1) of the bill, be deleted and the following substituted therefor:

“16a. ‘leghold trap’ means a trap designed to capture an animal by seizing and holding the animal by the leg or foot.”

Mr. Philip: The reasons for this are the same as in the last amendment. I think they are self-evident.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Philip moves that section 1(2) of the bill be deleted and the following substituted therefor:

“(2) Paragraph 30 of the said section 1 is repealed and the following substituted therefor:

“30. ‘trap’ means a spring trap, body-gripping trap, leghold trap, gin, dead fall, snare, box or net used to capture an animal, and ‘trapping’ has a corresponding meaning.”

Mr. Philip: The way “trap” is defined in the act at present is considered to be too narrow. A trap is not used to catch only game, but any animal. We have, therefore, broadened the definition. The ministry officials and the minister and I have consulted on this and they are in agreement that this broadening is in the interest of the act.

Mr. Nixon: What is a gin?

Mr. Deputy Chairman: The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) has asked the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) what a gin is.

Mr. Philip: I will ask the minister’s officials to --

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Chairman, I never expected to find the honourable member consulting his advisers on what gin was.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: I don’t think he would need to ask was “gin” was, but “a gin” may be something different.

Hon. Mr. Auld: To answer in nontechnical terms, Mr. Chairman, it is a very old-fashioned trap that is partly leghold and partly body-hold.

Mr. Nixon: I knew that gin was a snare.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Does that satisfactorily answer the honourable member’s question?

Mr. Nixon: It does very well.

Section 1, as amended, agreed to.

On section 2:

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Philip moves that section 2(3), as set out in section 2 of the bill, be deleted and the following substituted therefor:

“(3) Notwithstanding subsection 1, this act applies to domestic animals and to persons referred to in clause (b) of section 1 in respect to the restrictions on the use of body-gripping and leghold traps referred to in section 29(a).”

4:30 p.m.

Mr. Philip: Section 2(1) states that the act doesn’t apply to domestic animals, and this amendment makes the exception for this provision in the bill. Section 2(1)(b) says it doesn’t apply to people in defence of their own property. The intent of this bill and of the amendment is that we want it to apply to people in defence of their own property, with the only exception being farmers who are excluded.

Motion agreed to.

Section 2, as amended, agreed to.

On section 3:

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Philip moves that section 29a(3)(a) of the act, as set out in section 3 of the bill, be deleted and the following substituted therefor:

“To a person who holds a licence to hunt or trap fur-bearing animals.”

Mr. Philip: The problem with the original section is that there is no such thing as a licence to trap, but only a licence to hunt or trap fur-bearing animals. Therefore, we simply are changing this to correspond with the definitions in the original act.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Philip moves that section 29a(4)(a) of the act, as set out in section 3 of the bill, be deleted and the following substituted therefor:

“The minister may, with the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, make an order designating areas or municipalities in Ontario in which the prohibition set out in subsection 2 does not apply.”

Mr. Philip: This makes it a regulation, which means that it would be published in the Ontario Gazette and therefore is given some circulation in that form. The minister asked for this change, and I agreed that such a change made sense.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Philip moves that section 29a of the act, as set out in section 3 of the bill, be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:

“(5) The minister may, with the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, make an order designating any body-gripping trap or leghold trap as a humane trap for the purpose of clause (c) of subsection 3.”

Mr. Philip: The members will recall that there were at least two or three members on the government side of the House who pointed out that there was a national committee with provincial input and consultation that was working very hard at turning out a leghold trap that would be humane, and it was being tested. This simply allows, if such a trap does prove its worth under proper examination, that the minister may designate it as a humane trap.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Mr. Philip moves that section 29a(3)(c) of the act, as set out in section 3 of the bill, be deleted and the following substituted therefor:

“To a person who uses a body-gripping or leghold trap designated by the minister as a humane trap.”

Mr. Philip: This is a complementary amendment too.

Motion agreed to.

Section 3, as amended, agreed to.

On section 4:

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask the minister what his intention is regarding the implementation of the bill as we have now dealt with it. The bill has been extensively amended to bring it into line with what the minister’s advisers would consider to make it a workable bill rather than just the principle that was expounded in the previous debate.

I am very much interested at the extent to which last night’s co-operation has been carried forward into this perfect union of opposition and government in evolving this important piece of legislation but, as a member of a party that has not been deeply involved in this collaboration, I feel that I would like to know what the minister’s intention is. Will the bill, as it has now been extensively amended, go forward to receiving royal assent and proclamation?

Hon. Mr. Auld: I am glad to respond and have an opportunity to say that the government supports the principle of the bill and the substance of the bill as amended. I will be bringing forward other amendments to the Game and Fish Act, some of which are, in effect, complementary to this bill. I had intended to cover the matters covered by the bill brought forward by the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) and which is similar to the bill he introduced two years ago. I have agreed that this bill should have third reading and receive royal assent.

When I introduce my bill I intend to ask the consent of the House that the honourable member’s bill be repealed and the section, as approved today, will appear in my government bill. The honourable member has agreed to this only for the reason that there are matters in the government bill relating to licensing of trappers and so in which relate to this section. It seemed to us that it would be more convenient for those who will be affected by both pieces of legislation that they be in one place. However, I am quite happy with this section as it now stands.

Mr. Nixon: If the minister brings forward his own bill, the wording will be exactly as it is here.

Section 4 agreed to.

Section 5 agreed to.

Bill 15, as amended, reported.


Consideration of Bill 2, An Act to amend the Drainage Act.

Sections 1 to 20, inclusive, agreed to.

On section 21:

Hon. Mr. Henderson: I move that section 21 of the bill be struck and the following substituted therefor:

“Section 77 of the said act is amended by adding thereto the following subsection:

“(3) Where the relocation of a drainage works or part thereof referred to in subsection 2 is to be effected within the lands under the jurisdiction of the road authority the engineer may prepare a written opinion instead of a report.”

This amendment is made at the request of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications. A report, as defined in the act, is required before MTC can relocate a drain from the road on to private land. The new subsection provides that if a drain is relocated entirely within the road’s right of way a written opinion, rather than a report, will suffice.

4:40 p.m.

Mr. Riddell: Having had it further explained by the ministry staff, we certainly lend our support to this amendment. As I understand it, the main purpose of the amendment is to save money, and any recommendation to save money has to receive support from us. We support the amendment.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: I have just received a note from my staff pointing out that there is one line left out. I’ll read the new amendment. “Where the relocation of a drainage works or part thereof referred to in subsection 2 is to be effected within the lands under the jurisdiction of the road authority it shall be sufficient for the engineer to prepare a written opinion instead of a report.”

Just to make the honourable members aware, during my municipal days I ran up against a situation where a drain had been put through. A new highway came through in 1932 and the highway authorities moved that drain one rod without approval. They just moved it. They bought the land and moved the drain over on to land owned by the highways department. We got into the greatest dispute in the courts over that drain. It was no longer the municipal drain. That’s how simple something of this nature is.

Could I have one second to confer with legislative counsel?

Mr. Riddell: Let me get that clear. Is it “it shall be sufficient for the engineer to prepare a written opinion”?

Mr. Deputy Chairman: I picked up the addition as being “it shall be sufficient,” but let’s wait until we get something properly before the chair.

Mr. Riddell: It seems to me he’s changed that again, though.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, the first amendment that I presented is the amendment. It seems that legislative counsel removed these words in the second amendment I presented. The first amendment, the amendment I presented to you, is the amendment.

I will read it again:

“(3) Where the relocation of a drainage works or part thereof referred to in subsection 2 is to be effected within the lands under the jurisdiction of the road authority the engineer may prepare a written opinion instead of a report.” That is the amendment.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: That is the one the chair has before it.

Mr. Warner: Mr. Chairman, am I to understand this is the amendment as it was first put?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: That is the amendment that was presented to the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald).

Mr. Warner: We’ve given the matter some considerable thought. We agree with the amendment and we will support it.

Motion agreed to.

Section 21, as amended, agreed to.

Sections 22 to 30, inclusive, agreed to.

Bill 2, as amended, reported.


Consideration of Bill 26, An Act to amend the Live Stock and Live Stock Products Act

Sections 1 to 4, inclusive, agreed to.

On section 5:

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Hon. Mr. Henderson moves that section 5 of the bill be amended by adding thereto the following subsection:

“(2) The said section 6 is amended by adding thereto the following subsection:

“(3) Any regulations may adopt by reference, in whole or in part, with such changes as the Lieutenant Governor in Council considers necessary, any grade, standard or grade name established under the Canada Agricultural Products Standards Act as amended or re-enacted from time to time, and may require compliance with any such grade, standard or grade name so adopted, including any such changes.”

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, the purpose of this amendment is to permit the Lieutenant Governor in Council to make regulations to adopt by reference, in whole or in part, any changes, if necessary, in a grade, standard or grade name established under the Canada Agricultural Products Standards Act. Similar authority was inserted in the Farm Products Grades and Sales Act in 1972. The reasons for this adoption-by-reference approach are as follows:

It permits the province to adopt a Canada grade without the necessity of redrafting the provisions of the federal regulations to bring the latter in line with drafting standards established for Ontario regulations. This avoids considerable duplication of regulation-making by the province.

It permits changes in federal grades to come into force in Ontario at the same time that such changes come into force federally. The result is that Ontario and federal grades can be in conformity at all times.

It permits the province to consider federal amendments on an individual basis to determine whether they should be adopted in Ontario. This amendment does not make federal grades apply automatically in Ontario. A regulation by the Lieutenant Governor in Council is required before any federal grade takes effect; so that the province has an overall discretion as to what grades should be adapted. It is still open to the province to establish different or additional grades within the province.

The recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in the Dominion Stores case makes it advisable for the province to adopt federal grades, standards and grade names for provincial purposes. So that graders and inspectors will be applying such grades, standards and grade names for both federal and provincial purposes, it is our practice to appoint federal graders under provincial acts for provincial purposes.

That is the only amendment I have to the act, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Riddell: Mr. Chairman, we certainly support the amendment. What it boils down to is that, if there are any changes in federal regulations, they will apply here in Ontario unless Ontario chooses to do something different, as I understand it. As the minister indicated, we don’t necessarily have to adopt the federal regulations. It’s really a matter of convenience. We don’t find any problems here in supporting this amendment.

At some time -- and I don’t know whether this is the appropriate time; so I’m not going to pursue it now -- we’ve got to get into this matter of grades and labelling of products. Consumers are confused; when they go in to buy a product and see a stamp on it, Canada Grade A, B or whatever it may be, they automatically think that because it has that stamp on there it is a product of Ontario or a product of Canada. Somehow we are going to have to change the grading system or the labelling system on the product to let the consumer know that, because it has a Canada Grade A stamp on it, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was a product that was grown in Canada.

4:50 p.m.

Chicken is a good example. A chicken comes over from the United States, is graded here and has a stamp on it, and people will buy the chicken thinking it is a Canadian product or an Ontario product when really it is not. If we are going to have a buy-Ontario, buy-Canadian program, then somehow we have to make it less confusing for the consumers. It is probably something we should be discussing at another time. It is a matter that will likely have to come before the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea), but I simply mention the fact that the consumers are confused with the grades on our products when they go in to buy meat or whatever it may be.

Mr. Warner: Mr. Chairman, this is an extremely important amendment. As the minister well knows, it goes back to the original court case which involved one of the breweries. The decision handed down in that instance resulted in the Supreme Court rejecting the cases that were pending regarding those people who had mixed the beef and the pork in an attempt, I would take it, to fool the public.

It is back into the provincial jurisdiction, and the government here is faced with making some very tough decisions. It seems to me that what the amendment speaks to, and certainly what the explanation that is provided suggests, is that the government has the opportunity and should take it to do something about this. Most of the stores which were listed, if not all of them, were from Ontario -- the offenders, the ones who were being charged. Government has the opportunity to make sure we take some tough action so consumers are protected.

It seems to me that, in addition to amending this bill, there is a responsibility for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations and the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) to act to make sure those people who were trying to hoodwink the public by taking a great opportunity to make some extra profit while the public was left unprotected, are brought to task. We should end up with some very strict regulations. If the ball game has changed and it is going to be up to the provinces now to adopt standards in keeping with the court decision that was handed down, then we are going to have to come up with some very tough standards, and the sooner the better, because in the meantime the consumers are left in the lurch.

I appreciate the comments made by the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) that we like to think there are Canadian standards. Obviously, as one goes from coast to coast, one likes to think Canada Grade A means the same in Halifax as it does in Vancouver. We are moving into an age where that may no longer be possible because of that court decision.

Canada Grade A, or whatever the designation is, may not any longer have the same importance.

I would strongly urge the government to make sure every step is taken to protect the consumers, as well as the producers obviously, and that in very strong terms the Attorney General pick up what was left hanging, what was rejected by the Supreme Court and take every one of those people to court.

There is no way we should be allowing people to hoodwink the public. There is absolutely no way they should be allowed to get away with that. Since the Supreme Court has rejected that suit, then I believe it is properly the responsibility of the Attorney General to pick that up and pursue the matter in the toughest way possible in the courts. Having said that, we will be pleased to support this amendment.

Mr. M. N. Davison: Mr. Chairman, on that same point, I won’t ask the minister to draft and prepare a law that will outlaw corporate greed, because that would require a government of a persuasion more similar to my own.

On the particular issue that was raised during discussion on this amendment, has the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson) had a chance to sit down with his colleagues the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, the Attorney General and whatever other ministers might be appropriate, because it covers such an incredibly broad field as a result of that court decision, to discuss the impact, especially on foodstuffs, although he may have some input into other matters?

If he hasn’t participated in such a meeting, will he give a commitment to the assembly at this time to initiate such a meeting with his colleagues the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations and the Attorney General to discuss that area?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Chairman, in response to the last two speakers, we in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food are proud of the inspectors we have, and I know they are. We want food that is second to none in the world for the citizens of our province,

The minister and I have not had meetings over it. We have talked about it, but our staff have spoken about it and there is organization between the two departments. I believe that is sufficient. If the honourable member feels it is not sufficient, I have no objection to meeting with the minister, but I really believe it is in hand and the fact that we have brought in this amendment to the act shows our staff have worked on it.

While I am on my feet, I want to thank the two opposition parties for their help on these two bills, the first two government bills this session. It is important that we have this legislation for all the people of Ontario, and I want to thank them for their input.

Mr. M. N. Davison: I appreciate the minister’s comments on the issue raised earlier. I do want to agree with the minister that his ministry is chock full of fine people doing a fine job. When he referred to the minister, was he referring to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations or the Attorney General? I really think his ministry should be working with both those ministers in this case.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: When I referred to the minister, I meant debates we have around the cabinet table. Both ministers are on hand for those debates, but our staffs have certainly co-ordinated matters always.

I made it in the plural to cover both parties, just to clarify it. They tell me there are two opposition parties. I was really aware of it but maybe didn’t admit it.

Motion agreed to.

Section 5, as amended, agreed to.

Sections 6 and 7 agreed to.

Bill 26, as amended, reported.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Gregory, the committee of the whole House reported three bills with certain amendments.

5 p.m.


Mr. Ashe, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Welch, moved second reading of Bill 6, An Act to amend the Durham Municipal Hydro-Electric Service Act, 1979.

Mr. Ashe: Briefly, Mr. Speaker, this is strictly a housekeeping amendment. It does not change what has been happening or what is intended to happen in future as it relates to the bus system in the city of Oshawa. It clarifies that the legislation governing the operation of the bus system set up by the city of Oshawa in 1960 still applies, and any reference to the commission refers to the legislation and guidelines contained in that act. In actual fact, nothing has changed. It is putting into effect what has been happening since January 1 in any event.

Mr. J. Reed: Mr. Speaker, my understanding is that this amendment also will clarify the business of the restructured hydro electric commission and simplify it so far as its content and application across the province are concerned. If my understanding is correct, the business of the transportation part is no longer included with the municipal hydro-electric service. Is that correct?

Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I wanted to say a few words on this occasion. There is no major problem with this bill, but there are a couple of points I would like to make.

The bill in essence clarifies what now exists, I take it and there is no inference on the part of the government for any change, alteration in pattern or inclusion of other municipal bus services which might operate in other municipalities covered under that jurisdiction. I take it there is no indication the government intends to set up any kind of intermunicipal bus system other than that now operated by the Toronto Area Transit Operating Authority, TATOA.

I want to point out to the House that there have been a few changes. The bus service in Oshawa has been altered somewhat. There is a proposal to do some rerouting which, strangely enough takes it away from one part of town called Gibbons Street which has a rather high proportion of senior citizens. They are rather dependent on the municipal bus service to provide them with transportation. There is always a rationale for whatever any public utility commission or other agency of government wishes to do about low ridership and the problems with the funding given to it by Ontario to provide transportation services. I want to make the House aware of this, because I think it sometimes does this House well to understand that there are people in Oshawa on a street called Gibbons Street who need a bus service. That bus service has been withdrawn since the original bill was put before the House. I thought it would not hurt the members of this assembly for a change to listen to the problems of those people, to understand that every time we make changes, however small, there are ramifications.

I see by the assistant’s nodding of his head that the other types of bus systems currently operating in the regional municipality of Durham will not be brought under this, and that this is simply a housekeeping amendment to clarify the status of the Oshawa Public Utilities Commission. I want to point out, however, that there are some difficulties with that. There are other difficulties about the competing jurisdictions which provide, to some degree or other, levels of transportation in the region of Durham.

The minister’s assistant is well aware of the issues that have been raised around the extension of GO Transit through the region of Durham, and I am sure the government is mindful in its current study that there may be ramifications on the operation of the Oshawa PUC.

We do support this bill, but I wanted to put those few, small remarks on the record.

Mr. Nixon: I agree the remarks were small, Mr. Speaker. I am sure the honourable member has been concerned that the citizens of Gibbons Street have been expressing dissatisfaction with the representation in Queen’s Park because they have not had buses running up their street. I know it concerns the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh), but I don’t recall him having raised it before. In all these years the residents of Gibbons Street have not had adequate bus service, which is all the more reason why either of the other parties may reasonably expect a change in representation in the city.

This bill is a clear indication of the heavy body of progressive legislation that the government wants to lay before us. As we see from the explanatory note, the act transfers the management of the bus system operated by the Public Utilities Commission of the City of Oshawa to the Oshawa Public Utilities Commission. I know the citizens of the area have been waiting for this legislation for a good long time.

Nobody has been adequately speaking for the elderly residents of Gibbons Street, and I am very glad that the two members from the area have finally got around to doing something for those people who have been so seriously under-represented all this time.

Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, to respond first to the question posed by the member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. J. Reed): In actual fact, there is no change in this legislation relating to the operation of bus systems or policies relating to systems. It just clarifies the fact that there is a slight change of name in the title of the operating authority. There is no doubt there was a shortcoming in the original legislation in that it did not make the cross- reference that the City of Oshawa Act, 1960, still applied in terms of its legislative ability for the commission to operate a bus system within the city of Oshawa. There is no change in that regard whatsoever, and it is not a policy issue.

As far as the member for Oshawa is concerned, as I am sure he is quite well aware when he makes reference to section 11 of the original legislation, that section does talk about the control and management of the bus transportation system -- and only that system -- operated by the PUC of the city of Oshawa. In other words, it refers to the system they operate, which would not preclude or include any other system unless that commission chose to enter in the future -- which they have the right to do -- into a contract to expand the system on a shared basis or whatever. But that would be entirely in the purview of that commission.

As I mentioned before, nothing is changed here whatsoever. Nobody is waiting with bated breath for this legislation, because it does nothing --

Mr. Nixon: My point precisely.

Mr. Ashe: I agree. It does nothing --


Mr. Ashe: The honourable member didn’t let me finish. It does nothing except clarify what already exists and draw a cross-reference to previous legislation. Operationally and jurisdictionally, nothing is different now from what it was on January 1, 1980, when the original legislation came into effect.

As the member for Oshawa knows, I agree that representation in that area may have been a little lax, and hence the bus service not very good, but this piece of legislation does nothing to change the policy of that commission as to whom it will give adequate bus service.

Having followed the issue in the press and in no other way, I understand that particular commission is concerned with its rather large deficit and is, in its wisdom, cutting down on the level of service it is providing to certain routes in the system. If we support at all the concept that this problem should be handled by a local administration on behalf of a local service area, and if he has any differences of opinion with that, he should approach the commission directly. This includes one of his colleagues by the name of Mr. Pilkey, who has the same political leanings as he has.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, I suggest that the clock is very close to six.

The House recessed at 5:11 p.m.