31st Parliament, 4th Session

L026 - Mon 21 Apr 1980 / Lun 21 avr 1980

The House met at 2 p.m.



Mr. J. A. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of personal privilege to protest a communique issued by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) on Friday. In my view, his accusations against responsible members of this House have dragged him and some members of his caucus and staff to a new and disgraceful depth. I believe that at the very least he should apologize to those members of the standing committee on resources development whom he has slandered and accused of resorting to the grossest abuse of the elementary rules of Parliament.

He suggests he has been responsible and restrained in the matter of the tragic fire in northern Ontario which took the lives of seven young people. In fact, from the very beginning, he and certain members of his caucus and staff have used this tragic event for callous political purposes, and continue to do so by issuing this statement of last Friday. He accuses others while it is he and his who are guilty of opportunism and innuendo, the depth of which this House has happily not experienced for a very long time.

I recognize, Mr. Speaker, the limitations on your power to restrain the Leader of the Opposition and that ultimately it will be the voters who will judge his motives and his morality, but as a member of the resources development committee I deeply resent being accused of connivance and refuse to fall prey to the smear tactics of the leader of the official opposition. I seek your redress.

Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure whether you would like to respond to the member’s point of privilege, because I have my own point of privilege on the same matter.

In the Globe and Mail there is an article in which the member for Prince Edward-Lennox (Mr. J. A. Taylor) and the member for Durham York (Mr. W. Newman) imply that members on this side of the House have been seeking political advantage out of the tragic deaths of people in a fire up north. I find that to be the most despicable slur I have ever heard in my time in this House, and I find this to be the lowest depth to which this House has sunk in the four or five years I have had the experience of being here.

To smear somebody by suggesting that he and his party are trying to make political capital out of a tragic situation in which very serious questions have arisen regarding whether the deaths of those young people should ever have occurred, and having occurred, regarding how those deaths were investigated and dealt with and how the minister conducted himself, is the lowest and most despicable insult and slur I have suffered in this House. I demand that it be withdrawn by the member for Prince Edward-Lennox and by the member for Durham-York.

Mr. Speaker: I am not going to get involved in something that took place elsewhere over which the Speaker has no control, namely, what has gone on and what is continuing in a committee of this House. The point raised by the member for Prince Edward-Lennox in objecting to something that the Leader of the Opposition said and the response here by the Leader of the Opposition highlight the kind of difficulty that members get into when they use excessive language. If language such as that were used in the course of debate, I think it could be taken by the Speaker to be something said that might lead to or cause grave disorder.

For obvious reasons, I am not going to try to mediate the obvious difference of opinion between the member for Prince Edward-Lennox and the Leader of the Opposition. All I can do in my position is to caution all members to be restrained, particularly in such a sensitive area as that giving rise to the exchange, to be very responsible, to be very civil and to treat their colleagues, all honourable members in this House, with civility and decorum. That is about all I can do.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, may I ask for guidance then? When these situations arise in regard to statements such as I read in the Globe and Mail on Saturday, having been in that committee on a number of occasions when the agreement was that we would not discharge the order of that piece of business until after the inquest, and then to see the statements that come forward that it is being muzzled, I would like to know how we handle it.

Mr. Speaker: You will deal with it in committee. If something is referred to in this House that can properly be dealt with by the Speaker and it is requested by the committee through the chairman, we will deal with it at that time. That is all I am going to say on it.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: This has nothing to do with what went on in the committee other than that it is reflected in the statement by the member for Prince Edward-Lennox. We have a rule in this House that prohibits any member from imputing motives. The honourable member has clearly done that in the Speaker’s presence and he should be forced to withdraw.

Mr. Speaker: The same thing could be said to have arisen as a result of statements by the Leader of the Opposition. All I can do is caution members that you are responsible for statements that you make whether they be by use of excessive language or not. I am sure you do not want me to control what members say outside this House.

Mr. Nixon: Except that he said it just a moment ago in here.


Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order which may contain some elements of a point of privilege too. I believe the orders of this House and perhaps the privileges have been breached by the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Brunelle). He has proceeded with the preparation and hearings of a plan for the Niagara Escarpment contrary to the decisions and the orders of this House.

2:10 p.m.

The Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, 1973, section 3 as amended, provides that: “The Provincial Secretary for Resources Development may by order establish or amend the Niagara Escarpment Planning Area and shall in the order direct the commission to prepare a plan for the planning area or any part thereof.”

Subsection 3 of that section provides that any such order must be laid before this assembly as soon as practical but not later than the next ensuing session. Then, and I quote from the act, “... the assembly shall, by resolution, declare the order or amending order approved, revoked or varied.”

On November 18, 1974, the assembly approved, after debate, the order contained in regulation 118-74, which directed that a plan be prepared to cover the designated area of approximately 5,200 square kilometres on the escarpment and adjacent to it. Subsequent to that date, two further minor amendments were approved.

Then on May 19, 1978, the minister released a statement that requested the commission to prepare a plan for a revised area. The requested planning area reduced the planning boundaries by 63 per cent to 1,923 square kilometres. The Niagara Escarpment Commission has now produced a plan for that area and the hearings on that plan commenced about one week ago.

The order with the direction for that plan for the revised area has never been placed before this assembly. The lawful statutory plan is still the one approved by this assembly and there is no statutory authority for the current plan and the hearings that are now taking place.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent by all sides on a hearing that has no meaning. The Niagara Escarpment Commission in its proposed plan for the Niagara Escarpment states that when the plan for the reduced area is finally approved -- the Niagara Escarpment Plan -- Ontario regulation 118-74 shall be amended accordingly. The act clearly provides that this assembly shall determine, not after the fact, but in advance of the plan being prepared, what the boundaries of the plan shall be.

I contend that the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development has breached the privileges of every member and the orders of this House by failing to obtain the approval of this assembly by resolution as required by the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, 1973.

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member knows this is a proposed plan. The hearing that is being conducted now is to receive the input from municipalities, various public groups and individuals. After the hearings are terminated the hearing officers will prepare their report and submit it to the government. Only after we have had those reports will the plan be either amended, accepted or rejected.

With reference to section 3, which the member has quoted, everything that has been done so far has been perfectly in accordance with the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act, 1973.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, on this point of order and to explain further, because there is a little bit of history to this, it is similar to the procedures of the parkway belt. As the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development explained, if we were to go the route the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) is suggesting, it would be a resolution of this House to impose a plan without the hearings being held in terms of the local municipalities and the people affected.

Mr. Swart: No; the planning area, not the plan.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, members opposite voted on the legislation. The hearings are held, the recommended plan comes to the government, then it is debated here in the House. That was the procedure used in the parkway belt, or very close to it.



Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, on April 3 in a statement to the Legislature, I outlined this government’s activities in relation to health and safety arising from the use of asbestos in Ontario, I described the programs now under way in our educational institutions, in the Toronto Transit Commission subway system, in field inspection activities, as well as a variety of assessment and monitoring activities under the overall direction of the interministerial working group composed of representatives from the ministries of Labour, Environment, Consumer and Commercial Relations, Education and Health.

Members will recall that in my statement of April 3 I referred to the fact that I was considering additional steps aimed at ensuring, first, that ample opportunity is afforded for full public input into our assessment of this important matter and, second, that we have the benefit of the best medical, scientific and other expert advice, both from within the government and from the community at large, in arriving at conclusions as to the need for further remedial action.

The government has now reached the conclusion that these aims can best be achieved by means of a broad-based inquiry pursuant to the Public Inquiries Act. I am pleased to announce that a royal commission has been appointed to study the entire matter. The members of the commission will be Dr. Stefan Dupre, Dr. Fraser Mustard, and Dr. Robert Uffin.

The commission’s terms of reference are as follows: (1) to investigate all matters related to health and safety arising from the use of asbestos in Ontario; (2) to identify the relevant data related to asbestosis, mesothelioma and other diseases and health hazards of persons working with or exposed to asbestos in Ontario; (3) to review the present basis for Workmen’s Compensation Board awards as they relate to occupational health matters affecting workers exposed to asbestos, including any special programs dealing with the rehabilitation of such workers; (4) to make such recommendations in relation to (1), (2) and (3) above as are deemed to be appropriate.

Dr. Dupre is a professor of political science at the University of Toronto and former chairman of the department of political economy at the University of Toronto. He was a member of the National Research Council of Canada from 1969-77. He was the full-time chairman of the Ontario Council on University Affairs from 1974-77. His most recent public service assignment was as a member of the Professional Organizations Committee of the Attorney General of Ontario. He brings to this new assignment a wealth of public service experience and dedication.

Dr. Fraser Mustard is the dean of the faculty of health sciences at McMaster University. He had a distinguished career as a scholar, administrator, practitioner and teacher, with special experience and interest in public and occupational health. He was a member of the Ontario Council of Health from 1966-72, chairman of the Health Planning Task Force for the Ministry of Health, 1973-74, and a member of the Ontario Council on University Affairs from 1975 to the present. In addition, he is chairman of my Advisory Council on Occupational Health and Occupational Safety and in that capacity has provided effective and determined leadership over the last two and a half years. Like Dr. Dupre, he is highly qualified to undertake this challenging assignment.

Dr. Robert Uffin is the dean of the faculty of applied sciences at Queen’s University, a professor of engineering and a geophysicist. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a former member of the Science Council of Canada. He is a fellow of the Geological Society of America and before joining the faculty at Queen’s acted as the chief science adviser to the federal government. Dr. Uffin has a long history of dedicated public service and has an enviable reputation in the scientific and engineering communities.

The order in council appointing the commission ensures that it will have full cooperation and assistance from all government ministries, boards, agencies and commissions, as well as the authority to engage counsel, expert technical advisers, investigators and other staff as the commissioners may deem appropriate in order that a complete and comprehensive report may be prepared and submitted to the government.

The commission’s appointment does not mean that our activities will be suspended or otherwise delayed. We shall continue with the school inspection program, with the monitoring of the Toronto Transit Commission subway system, with our inspection program aimed at locating asbestos exposure sites, with our analysis of submissions made concerning the proposed occupational standards for asbestos, and generally with the work of the interministerial task force to which I have referred. Indeed, if further immediate action of a remedial nature appears to be warranted, we will not hesitate to act simply because a commission has been appointed to conduct a thorough study of the entire subject.

I know all members will join with me in expressing gratitude to these three distinguished commissioners for accepting this important public service assignment.

2:20 p.m.


Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, Minaki Lodge was constructed by Canadian National Railways in 1926 as an imposing and historic resort complex built in the same tradition of major Canadian railway hotels such as Banff Springs, Jasper Park and Chateau Lake Louise.

In 1955, Minaki was sold to American interests. It became available for Canadian ownership some 10 years later at a time when many people in this province felt the lodge represented an impressive and valuable asset to Canada if properly restored and developed.

Mr. Eakins: The Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier) might have thought that.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: So did John and Pat Reid.

Mr. Eakins: Read the record.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Do you know what John Reid said this morning? “I am relieved and pleased that the government of Ontario has entered into a far-reaching agreement for Minaki Lodge.”

Term loans from the Northern Ontario Development Corporation enabled a Canadian entrepreneur to purchase the hotel and begin renovations to transform Minaki Lodge from a seasonal-use facility into a year-round resort.

Mr. Martel: Big deal.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: You could have had your caucus meetings there then.

Before renovations could be completed, the owner declared bankruptcy. In 1974 the government of Ontario assumed ownership of the lodge in order to protect $550,000 in NODC loans and to ensure Minaki did not default on a $500,000 mortgage to a US industrialist.


Mr. Speaker: I am sure all northerners would like to hear this.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I knew you would have some sympathy for it, Mr. Speaker, even if the Liberal Party does not.

Hon. Mr. Snow: They don’t have any in that party.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: He didn’t show up today.

To date, some $10 million has been invested in Minaki Lodge. These funds were used to acquire the property, discharge creditors, pay suppliers, operate during the summer of 1974, completely reconstruct and refurbish the main lodge, and mothball, maintain and secure the main lodge. Of that sum, $4.8 million has been invested in capital reconstruction.

By 1978 we were faced with the alternatives of tearing down the lodge and realizing a complete loss on our $10-million investment, or turning that investment into productive use by completing the lodge, while at the same time providing an added stimulus to the already growing tourism market in northwestern Ontario.

In 1978 our government decided to continue with the redevelopment of the lodge to make it a year-round recreational meeting facility and family resort. To do that required both the further investment of funds and the hiring of a first-class private sector operator with a knowledge, appreciation and commitment to the north.

On June 28, 1978, the cabinet directed my ministry and the boards of directors of Minaki Lodge Resort Limited and Minaki Development Company Limited to negotiate a management agreement with a major hotel/resort chain to operate Minaki Lodge for the government upon completion. We were also instructed to undertake a three-year program to complete the design and construction of Minaki Lodge, together with all the required ancillary features, support services and fixtures necessary to bring the lodge to operational status.

On receipt of the cabinet minute, all major Canadian hotel chains were invited to discuss proposals with the Minaki board. Our search for a potential private sector management group was deliberately focused on major Canadian companies. Four Canadian operators expressed positive interest in negotiating a management agreement. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, our discussions with these companies were not successful.


Hon. Mr. Grossman: Pat Reid is going to hate you for saying these things.

In September of last year I invited Mr. Robert A. Rubinoff, formerly executive vice-president of Commonwealth Holiday Inn, to lead a task force whose mandate it was to find a suitable company to manage and operate the hotel. Other members of this task force included Mr. David B. Caswell, president, Sheraton-Caswell Inns and chairman of Minaki Lodge Resort Limited; Mr. Frederick J. Boyer, president and chief executive officer of Minaki Lodge Resort Limited, and Mr. John Maxwell, assistant deputy minister of tourism in my ministry.

During the seven months in which the Rubinoff task force met, 18 international hoteliers were contacted, of which seven were major Canadian-owned-and-operated companies. Proposals from a number of companies were received and considered.

I am pleased to report to the Legislature this afternoon that we have completed negotiations and signed a management agreement with the Radisson Hotels, a major international hotel chain, to operate and manage Minaki Lodge. With the signing of that agreement, operation of the 150-room, world-class Minaki Lodge will commence in the spring of 1982.

The Radisson Hotels operate 23 first-class, deluxe properties with 8,000 guest rooms. Twelve of those properties are located in the north-central United States, of which three are world-class wilderness resorts, including the 170-room Radisson Arrowwood in Alexandria, Minnesota; the 100-room Radisson Inn Grand Portage in Grand Portage, Minnesota, and Minnesuing Acres, a popular corporate meeting facility with accommodation for 100 people in Douglas county, Wisconsin. All these hotels are located within 480 miles of Minaki Lodge.

Radisson’s years of experience in operating these highly successful wilderness resorts were a primary consideration in our choice of this company to operate and manage Minaki Lodge. The Radisson Hotels’ head office is based in Minneapolis/St. Paul, where they have a large marketing staff and five properties operating more than 2,000 rooms.

The company’s concentration in the north- central United States was also a significant factor, as our market studies indicate the US states of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois to be principal target markets for Minaki Lodge. In fact, these were the traditional markets for Minaki during its long and successful period of operation.

The Radisson hotels is a division of Carlson Companies Incorporated, one of America’s largest privately held corporations, with annual sales in excess of $1 billion. In addition to Radisson, Carlson’s travel holdings include PIC Travel, a major incentive travel company, and Trek Travel Service of Toronto, which operates three outlets specializing in incentive travel.

Carlson Companies have also recently acquired First Travel Corporation of Van Nuys, California. Divisions of First Travel Corporation include Firstours, a major tour operator; and the well-known chain of retail travel agencies, Ask Mr. Foster Travel Service, with more than 100 outlets in the United States, as well as a Canadian operation in Toronto. The Radisson Hotels’ connection with First Travel Corporation will ensure that Minaki Lodge has access to a sophisticated and reliable system of reservations operating throughout the United States and Canada.

The Minaki companies have signed a management agreement with the Radisson Hotels whereby Minaki Lodge will pay a corporate fee to Radisson of five per cent of gross operating income annually, or $100,000, whichever is the greater amount. In addition, there is an incentive fee payable to Radisson of 10 per cent of the gross operating profit annually. The percentage fees are standard in the industry, and the minimum fee of $100,000 is lower than standard and the lowest fee submitted by any company during the Rubinoff task force negotiations.

Radisson’s proven and demonstrated expertise in supervisory services and in the preparation of financial projections, marketing programs and operating manuals will be available to the departments of Minaki Lodge by means of a one-time technical assistance fee of $75,000. This fee will be payable to Radisson between the execution of the agreement and the opening date of Minaki Lodge.

The agreement we have signed is for a term of 15 years, and it can be terminated by the government for any reason with 90 days’ notice and the payment of a $100,000 termination fee.

The optimal operating capacity for Minaki calls for a 150-room facility operating during a 140-day season. It is expected that the government will show a positive cash flow of $226,000, after management and incentive fees, in the third year of operations. The new Minaki Lodge will initially operate during a 140-day period from mid-May to mid-September. Radisson intends to extend this season and eventually run a year-round operation, similar to its other northern resorts.

Radisson, through a subsidiary of the Carlson group of companies, will be responsible for providing services such as conceptual planning, architectural design, interior design and construction. Our government has required that, except in very unusual circumstances and where agreed by us, all professional services, equipment, supplies and services will be Canadian, during both construction and operation.

With the completion of the final design, construction to finish Minaki Lodge will begin this year. Marketing efforts will get under way immediately, and the lodge will open its doors to the public in the spring of 1982.

2:30 p.m.

Existing facilities at Minaki include an impressive main lodge, adjoining lounges, dining room, restaurant, shops, ballroom and kitchens as well as the Holst Point fishing lodge in the nearby town of Minaki. Recreational facilities include a golf course, modern indoor swimming pool and sauna, tennis courts, and downhill skiing with snow-making equipment and a chalet.

The lodge is located adjacent to the Winnipeg River system and extends into the south end of Sand Lake which, along with other clear lakes and streams in the area, offers excellent recreational fishing and hunting.

We estimate that an additional investment of $10 million to $12 million will be required to build 150 guest rooms, upgrade indoor and outdoor recreational facilities --

Mr. Eakins: It will take 100 years.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: If members are against it, they can say so. Is the honourable member for Victoria-Haliburton (Mr. Eakins) going to say so after? He does not have to heckle; he just has to say he is opposed to reopening Minaki Lodge.

Mr. Speaker: Order, order.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- and complete interior work required to turn Minaki Lodge into a world-class family resort and business meeting complex, which I am sure the members of the Liberal Party will support when they go to northwestern Ontario.

An investment of this order will not only bring Minaki Lodge to full operational status, but it is estimated that it will also offer additional regional benefits of more than $30 million over 15 years in today’s dollars. This investment will create 50 new direct and 30 new indirect jobs during the course of construction. When operational for a 140-day season, we estimate that more than 150 direct seasonal jobs, as well as numerous indirect spinoff employment opportunities will be created in the region, especially in the town of Minaki.

A final word about Radisson Hotels: Radisson is a highly capable growth company, with demonstrated ability in operating world-class hotels and resorts, particularly northern resorts similar to Minaki. The company has an excellent reputation in the United States, and is highly regarded in northwestern Ontario and Manitoba, both of which will be important markets for the lodge.

The decision to complete the construction and development of Minaki underlines our government’s commitment to northwestern Ontario. The response from that side of the House indicates the commitment from over there. I am confident that under Radisson’s management, Minaki will become once again a successful and profitable operation, a world-class resort of which we can be proud, and a catalyst for the growing tourism industry in the north.

I would like at this time to express my personal appreciation to Bob Rubinoff and David Caswell who are with us today in the Speaker’s gallery. Their efforts and commitment during the past number of months have been instrumental in the successful completion of our negotiations.

I would also like to thank the members of the Minaki board of directors, with special thanks to Fred Boyer, president and chief executive officer of Minaki Lodge Resort Limited, and John Maxwell, my assistant deputy minister of tourism, for the immense contribution they have made in the realization of this undertaking to restore viability and success to Minaki Lodge.


Mr. Speaker: Before we get to oral questions, the Premier (Mr. Davis), rose on a point of order on Friday in my absence, taking exception to the redirection of supplementaries to ministers other than the minister to whom the original question was directed. I would like to draw to the attention of the Premier that I dealt with this specific question on April 20, 1979, as a result of a similar point of order raised by the honourable member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt).

I would remind all members that we find in our research that in 1980 alone, 17 questions have been redirected, one of which was redirected back to the original answerer, three of which were redirected by the minister, and the rest of which were redirected by the questioner.

I take the position as presiding officer that we should not be doing anything that would place an imposition on a member with regard to what he can do in this House. If it is clearly something he does that is in conflict with one of the standing orders, it is the responsibility of the presiding officer to call him to order.

I take the position that the managerial prerogative obtains -- that is, that you have the right to do anything unless you are expressly prohibited from doing so by some kind of contractual agreement. I think it is the responsibility of all presiding officers in this House to facilitate the orderly conduct of business. This means the way in which questions are asked and the way in which answers are given.

I don’t think it is the responsibility of the chair to hamstring the operation of this House. It seems to me that people should be allowed to do anything to facilitate the business of the House as long as it is not in conflict with an order.

In my research I find there is nothing in the procedure that we have accepted, certainly over the past year in this House, that would disallow the redirection. This is at the request of some of the ministers themselves and it seems to be working well, so I see no reason to change it.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am the last one who wants to inhibit any discussion in this House. I am more than prepared to accept your guidance, but I would point out I think there is a modest distinction. The rules are fairly clear, Mr. Speaker, as I read them -- and I am not nearly as familiar with them as you are -- that when a question is asked by a member of the opposition to a minister, the minister has the right, and I think in some cases the obligation, to redirect it because the answer to it probably could be in those cases more appropriately given by same other minister. I think the rules make that quite clear, and I don’t think there has ever been any dispute about it.

What I guess I rose about, Mr. Speaker -- and here is where you will have to exercise your judgement as to whether a question is truly a supplementary --

Mr. Breaugh: That’s the problem, Bill. Put in a grievance.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, I am the last one to do so. I am delighted to answer anything that is asked.

But I do suggest there is a growing tendency for a member to ask an initial question of a minister, then on what may be in his mind a somewhat related subject but which is probably the subject of a separate question, redirect a supplementary to another minister. This adds something of a burden on the Speaker. Perhaps it will be necessary for the Speaker to assess more carefully whether the supplementary is, in fact, a supplementary.

I was just raising the point. As I say, I have no real objection to the process other than I sensed that this was a growing procedure whereby the members opposite, quite frankly, were asking different ministers sometimes unrelated questions as supplementaries. I just draw it to your attention, Mr. Speaker. I think the rules are very clear on the one side of it, but they are not clear on the other. I question whether or not we have to be just a shade more careful in this process.

Mr. Speaker: The Premier raises an entirely different question. It is somewhat related, but if you are talking about the nature of the supplementary, all presiding officers are aware of that and we will be monitoring it.

With regard to the redirection, it is a precedent that was established that seems to be working well. But you do make a good point with regard to the nature and the content 0f the supplementary, and we are very aware of that.



Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) regarding the Sudbury secondary school strike which has apparently reached another impasse.

The minister’s own conscience must surely tell her that after 47 days -- and it will be 50 instructional days this Thursday, many of which are for people on a semester system -- after 47 or 50 instructional days those secondary school students are being deprived of the quality of education they deserve.

I know the rules the minister operates on are the Premier’s (Mr. Davis) rules, they are not hers; she simply has no choice but to work within them. But given that her responsibility as minister is to provide a good education for every child in Ontario and given that she can’t possibly fulfil that responsibility in this instance, does she not believe the only honourable course she can take in the face of being unable to provide the education for these children in Sudbury is to resign her portfolio?

2:40 p.m.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) that the rules that were established were not the Premier’s rules; they were the rules approved by this House and I gather in some instances they were initiated by certain members of this House who are not necessarily on the government side. Those rules are in place at the present time and since this is a jurisdiction which functions under the rules of order and law, I would believe the most appropriate thing to try to do is to follow that rule of order and law.

No one is more acutely aware of the predicament in which the students in Sudbury find themselves at the present time than I am. I am rapidly running short of patience with the parties to this negotiation and I have established a specific date within my mind, beyond which I will brook no continuation of this present impasse. I have not given the parties --

Mr. Nixon: I understand that is June 28.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: No, it is not. I have not given the parties any intimation of that date nor shall I give it to this House, but if there is no action on the part of those responsible for this activity by that time, then obviously action must be taken in another way.

The parties to this negotiation and the parties in any set of negotiations under Bill 100 must be aware that legislation was drafted in the light of a responsible discharge of the obligations imposed by the legislation. It’s perfectly obvious that in some situations that responsibility is not being assumed and that obligation is not being discharged.

I would like the parties in Sudbury to know that it is up to them to find a settlement in short order because there will in fact, inherent in that solution, be the necessity to ensure the students in Sudbury make up the time they have lost this year.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, and she is not going to resign, obviously --

Hon. Miss Stephenson: To the Leader of the Opposition’s final question, no, I will not. Thank you.

Mr. S. Smith: I surmised that. I am disappointed but I did surmise that from her answer.

Mr. Conway: Bismarck in a skirt!

Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, by way of supplementary: Given that the minister is undoubtedly sincere in her rapid loss of patience with the parties concerned, but given that our concern should not be so much for the parties as for the children who are being deprived -- children who, by the end of this week, in the non-semester situation will have lost 27 per cent of their total instructional days and will have only 20 per cent of instructional days remaining so that they will have to do better than twice the rate of learning, and who in the semester situation will have lost by the end of this week 53 per cent of their instructional year -- how can she possibly sit there and tell us that she is still willing to let this continue and that she is still willing to operate under these rules? Why doesn’t she have the courage to do what we suggested and change the rules so the parties to these disputes will have compulsory arbitration of a fair type and the students will not be the ones to suffer as has happened unconscionably in this case?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, for any legislature to operate upon the thesis presented by the Leader of the Opposition would mean that if we don’t like the rules, we change the game overnight in the face of any single circumstance, That is not the way in which a democracy functions. It is perfectly obvious that the Leader of the Opposition has not looked at the number of ways in which it is quite possible to achieve the goal which I mentioned just a few moments ago, which is that indeed the educational program must in fact be concluded successfully and appropriately for all the students within the Sudbury system within this calendar year.

Mr. S. Smith: The minister knows it can’t be done.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Yes, it can be done.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary in three parts. First of all, is the minister aware of a statement by the federation which states the following: “The actions of both the Sudbury trustees and the leader of the Ontario Liberal Party have done more to prolong the Sudbury strike than any other group involved?” Is the Minister of Education aware of that statement which came out today?

Did she get a petition today from some 8,200 people, signed by people in Sudbury, asking that she not get involved? Finally, is she prepared to lengthen the school year until the end of June and include additional hours to make sure the young people get their year, whenever this strike is resolved, without interference from them?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the answer to the first question is that I saw that just a few moments ago. The answer to the second question is that to my knowledge at this point I have not received that letter. The answer to the third question is there are a number of alternatives which I think should be explored to ensure that the quality of education of those children is not reduced as a result of this very prolonged strike.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary question: Since the matter was not raised in the Legislature by any of the representatives from the Sudbury area, would the minister not agree that the statute is flawed if it leaves the responsibility with the Education Relations Commission to decide whether or not the students’ education is in jeopardy when the strike can go on this long without such a recommendation being forthcoming?

It seems to me their judgement is in question and their actions in this connection a fiasco, since there is no doubt the students’ education must be in jeopardy.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member obviously knows, concern about the way in which that piece of legislation has functioned since it was promulgated led to the appointment of the external review committee of Bill 100. That committee at this point in writing its report which I gather will be provided to me by May 1, the date on which it said it would report. The hearings have been anything but secret. They have been open in six areas of the province, available to anyone who wished to present a brief or a position at a hearing.

It would seem to be most appropriate to await that report before taking any precipitate action on the basis of a single instance. This incident does not fill me with any great glee, I must tell you. It is particularly painful in the light of the experience of the young people in Sudbury, 445 of whom from grades 12 and 13 have gone elsewhere to complete their education, and some 90 of whom have finished school completely. They are apparently now employed and are not going to continue their education.

The loss of 535 young people from the educational program in Sudbury is one which I view with great gravity and it is one which, as I have said, we will attempt to resolve fairly and honestly, but particularly on behalf of the young people.

Mr. Nixon: Fairly honestly?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Fairly and honestly, I said.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary question: Has the minister been advised that the Education Relations Commission does not intend to issue a report on jeopardy until the end of this week at the earliest? Does the minister have any information as to when they might be issuing such a report?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I have not been advised that they are going to issue a report on jeopardy at the end of this week. I am advised that I shall be hearing from them within the next 48 hours or so.


Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Parrott). Is the minister aware of the statement made today by the federal Minister of the Environment that, according to his information, Inco Limited could reduce its pollutant emissions by some 50 to 60 per cent without a tremendous cost being involved? I think he estimated the cost at something in the neighbourhood of 20 cents a pound on the selling price of nickel.

If the minister is familiar with those facts, does he agree with the federal Minister of the Environment that Inco is capable from a technical point of view of introducing a 50 to 60 per cent improvement in its emissions rapidly and without a tremendous cost involved, and will the program he says he will be bringing in shortly ask for that degree of improvement at the very minimum?

2:50 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: M. Speaker, as the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) knows, we had a meeting with the Honourable John Roberts this morning. I am familiar with the statement the minister made and I think he would assure the Leader of the Opposition and the other members of the House that he found that meeting a very fruitful meeting, as I did. As far as the details are concerned of what we will be saying relating to a control order or how we will deal with the Inco situation and other emissions of sulphur and nitrous oxide, we will be making that statement some time next week.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: I understand the minister may wish to wait for his statement next week before saying what he is going to do, but could he please respond to the portion of the question which asked whether the facts he has been given by his staff are in accord with the view of the federal Minister of the Environment that Inco is capable of a 50 per cent to 60 per cent reduction in emissions from a technical point of view right now, very rapidly and without an enormous price differential being involved? Is the information from his own staff in accord with that particular view?

When the minister answers that, to save a further supplementary later on, would he also comment on the other statement Mr. Roberts apparently made, which was that the United States regards an Ontario crackdown on Inco, at least to the extent about which we are talking, as a sort of prerequisite before any kind of serious work dealing with the acid rain problem internationally can occur?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: As a matter of fact, with respect to the first part of that question, the officials of Mr. Roberts’ staff and my staff are meeting right at this time to finalize our mutual understanding of the position put forward this morning. We talked about it at some length and the urgency of the situation suggested we should continue those discussions at the level of our officials, and we are doing so, literally right as I answer this question here in the House. We want to be very sure of those statistics and the source, and we will continue to be so.

What was the second part of the question?

Mr. S. Smith: The American demand that Inco cut back.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: We have made two commitments, ones that I think are extremely important. One, as we all know, is that it is an international problem and requires international joint action. Ontario has said and continues to say that we will act in advance of other jurisdictions, but I am equally concerned that someone should say to us, “You must act first before we will do anything.” I think Mr. Roberts knows when he negotiates with his US counterparts that he has a much better climate of support from this government and from this province than he has found in any other jurisdiction on either side of the border.

Mr. Martel: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In view of what the minister said last fall during the debate in the House, when we voted on the report that came in, that Ontario was not going to lead the fight to clean up the emissions, may I ask what has prompted him to change his mind? Is it something Inco advised him about how much it could reduce the emissions? With this new tough stance of his, is the minister going to issue standards that are going to get us down to the 720 tons a day promised in 1970?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I really think the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) is not quite accurate in saying we are not going to lead the attack.

Mr. Martel: You said you were not going to lead.

Hon. Ms. Parrott: No, I do not think that is quite correct. If I recall the committee hearings of last year, the committee sent me a telegram asking me to do so. It arrived at six o’clock in the morning. The trouble with that particular situation was that we had I already done what we were being asked to do. I think it is very clearly on the record at the Kelowna conference in British Columbia that Ontario not only has the most expertise on this particular subject, but is taking the most informed and, I might say, the most aggressive position of any jurisdiction in Canada or the United States.

Mr. Martel: What is the new information you have? Are they getting down to 750 tons a day?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: We will tell you next week.

Mr. Eakins: Mr. Speaker, is it true, as reported by the minister’s executive assistant, that no money has been directly funded to the study of acid rain in Ontario in view of its effect on the great tourism industry of this province?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I think that was referring to a specific period of time. This year it was also reported, and it certainly is true that Ontario is putting a good deal of money -- I cannot recall the exact figure, but I think I am close when I say $5 million -- into our study program. The United States, as part of its very large program, is talking about spending $10 million. A comparable figure is US$10 million versus C$5 million. It seems to me we need not worry about that kind of comparison. Ontario is doing a great deal more than anyone else is.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I would ask the minister if he would respond to the part of the question that be left out. What new information does the minister have available which indicates we are at last going to be able to get the emissions down? Is it based on the technical studies done by Inco itself, or does the minister have some other information which indicates we can, within four months, start to reduce the levels vastly?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I feel I have given a lot of notice that I wish to answer those kinds of legitimate questions when I address the total issue next week in this Legislature. The members will be the first to know.

Mr. S. Smith: I have tried twice now to find out from the minister what his understanding is, based on what he has been told by his officials, of the capacity of Inco to reduce emissions within a reasonable price frame, and whether his understanding is the same as that expressed by the federal minister, namely, 50 to 60 per cent?

I have tried twice and I still do not know what the minister’s understanding is. He says his officials are meeting with the federal officials. Surely this is not the first time that Ontario officials have met with federal officials about Inco. I hope it is not the first time. What is the minister’s present understanding of the ability of Inco to meet such an improvement of 50 to 60 per cent?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) asked me to comment about a statement supposedly made to the media this morning. In our talk with Mr. Roberts this morning, I had some discussion on that particular question. It certainly was not finalized in our minds. A gentleman by the name of Mr. Robinson met with my deputy subsequent to my meeting with Mr. Roberts or our officials meeting on it ourselves. They are dealing with the specifics of that particular question. I think it is unreasonable to ask me to comment on a statement I have not seen. Officials are trying to determine the exact statement that was made and what our response can be to it.

Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, on a point of personal privilege: The House has spent half an hour on two questions. I think that under --

Mr. Speaker: That’s not a point of privilege.

Mr. Di Santo: It is a point of privilege.

Mr. Speaker: It is not a point of privilege.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to the member for Cambridge (Mr. M. Davidson) and to the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie), of the New Democratic Party caucus. It is because of their work on behalf of asbestos-related disease that we have the royal commission the minister announced today.

I have a question for the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) arising out of his announcement today. Given the fact that this royal commission is going to take some time to do its work, will he say what specific steps the government will take in the meantime to change the present basis of awards from the Workmen’s Compensation Board to workers affected by asbestos; to ensure that there is a program to take workers on partial disability away from work places where they may continue to be exposed to asbestos; and to start now with the tracing required to identify all workers in Ontario who have become exposed to asbestos in their work places over the last 40 years?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, first of all, as I think I recall mentioning to the House in the past, a nominal roll of workers from the Johns-Manville Canada Incorporated plant has been prepared. As a matter of fact, it has been with Statistics Canada for something in the neighbourhood of six months awaiting time on the machine to give us the information we wish. I am advised that we will be obtaining that information within the next two months. There is a nominal roll of workers who have been exposed to asbestos in the past, and we are endeavouring to obtain information about it.

3 p.m.

As to the other questions asked, consideration in the broader sense of the Workmen’s Compensation Board and its pension plans is under review at this moment by Professor Paul Weiler as the member knows. Undoubtedly, he may have some input or relationship with the royal commission on the matter of rehabilitation and pensions paid to injured workers. In the meantime, I met with the union from Johns-Manville about two weeks ago to discuss it. I will be having meetings with the compensation board to see if any of the claims made have substance that warrants any action prior to a more detailed consideration that is under way.

Mr. Cassidy: Does the minister not acknowledge that workers have become exposed to asbestos in many plants across the province in addition to Johns-Manville? If it takes asbestos seriously enough to have a royal commission, why will the government not undertake now to start tracing the workers in every plant across the province who have become exposed to asbestos and who may be suffering from mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases but who did not work at Johns-Manville? Why is he waiting for this royal commission? Why will he not treat that matter with a sense of urgency and begin to trace those workers now?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: The suggestion that it is not being treated with a sense of urgency is a little repugnant to me. As a matter of fact, I have already asked the board if they will review their mesotheliomas and other possible broncogenic carcinogens to see if there is anything in the records to indicate some claim of workers that might be reviewed. There is no lack of willingness to pursue this eagerly.

Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that Dr. Selikoff, the man who was in the forefront of unmasking asbestos as a killer, has said there already are studies in which animals contracted a rare form of cancer linked to asbestos after glass fibre had been implanted in their lungs? Would he expand his studies so that glass fibres would not be neglected, and that 20 years down the road we would find that glass fibres are causing the same type of cancer?

Mr. Speaker: That’s not really a supplementary.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, it was over a year ago that I met with Fiberglas Canada Limited and the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers’ International Union to discuss the matter of the possibility of some health hazards from fibreglass. I will tell the member that to date there is no evidence to substantiate that. Unpublished data from a major study going on in the United States still indicates that it is an inconclusive area.

Nevertheless, Fiberglas Canada Limited, in conjunction with the union at its plant, agreed that such a study was indicated. It was started about a year ago this coming July. Dr. David Muir of McMaster University is conducting the study, and there is a task force in which members of the union and the employer are involved.

Mr. Cassidy: Does the minister share my sense of outrage that, at a time when a royal commission on asbestos is being established and when his own branch says that any safe levels of exposure to asbestos are unknown, Dr. W. J. McCracken, the executive director, medical services, of the Workmen’s Compensation Board, should be saying that anyone who says the present two-fibre standard for occupational exposure is too high is guessing at something not based on numbers and that we are going to have to wait 25 years to find out what the effect of the two-fibre limit will be?

Does the minister share my sense of outrage at that statement? Does he really believe we are going to have to wait for 25 years while the bodies pile up? What reprimand has he issued to Dr. McCracken to stop that irresponsible attitude of the compensation board?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: As the member well knows, I have not accepted that as the status quo. In defence of what Dr. McCracken is saying, he is talking purely and simply about the threshold limit value with regard to asbestos. He is correct. No one will know for a long time. Nevertheless, there are other health hazards arising from asbestos exposure, and we have to take those into account. For that reason, a standard with regard to asbestos exposure is currently under review and consideration.

Have I reprimanded him for saying we do not know how long it would take before two fibres per cubic centimetre can produce asbestosis? I do not accept that personally, and I am not allowing my staff to accept that as we pursue a standard for asbestos.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question for the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman), arising out of the review of press releases that skirt around the jobs question with relation to pulp and paper grants. Can the minister confirm that the Globe and Mail’s account about jobs that may be reduced or eliminated in those pulp and paper situations is more accurate than his press releases? Will he table the agreements with the pulp and paper companies so that people in the communities can judge for themselves what level of employment is guaranteed?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, the figures in our press releases have been full and complete figures. They are, generally speaking, not that far off from the figures reported in the Globe and Mail this morning. I think the discrepancy comes into the area in which the method of reaching the ultimate job figures is calculated. In simple terms, we expect to find approximately 50 net fewer jobs in that area of the province in four years than we find today. We expect all but about 50 of them can be achieved through attrition. That is about 50 jobs spread over, I would think, 10 to 12 communities in the northern part of the province.

Unfortunately, the other angle, and the important one on that entire picture, is the case of Dryden. For each and every worker in Dryden, as I know the leader of the third party understands, the choice is not between 1,700 workers today and 1,500 workers five years from today. The choice is between 1,500 workers five years from today or no workers five years from today, and that is always an easy choice to make.

Mr. Cassidy: Could the minister say then, for the communities affected by the 500 jobs -- his figure -- that will be lost due to attrition, what plans the government has to ensure there are other economic opportunities for those communities and for the 500 workers who will not be able to put bread on the table because their jobs will have been eliminated through attrition?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: As we indicated earlier, there are six-month notice clauses required in the event there are more than six jobs being terminated in any instance. That gives the Ministry of Labour and my ministry an opportunity to do two things: (1) to work with the company to see if there are other opportunities in any way related to the company’s activity in which those laid-off workers can be absorbed, and (2) to use that amount of lead time to see if there is anything else that can be done in that community or adjacent communities to find employment for those workers.

It is important to remember that as a result of a $100-million government program, $1.4 billion will be spent in the pulp and paper industry over the next five years. Of that, at least about 85 per cent is going to be spent in Canada. That means about $900 million worth of economic activity is going to be created, most of it in this province, over the next five years.

A good portion of that, in turn, will occur on or near the site of the improved work in northern Ontario. That should create a great number of new opportunities for the workers in those communities who are laid off or for new workers in those areas. I think that is a part of the program that has been vastly understated. There just aren’t many instances where single government programs can stimulate directly about $900 million worth of activity over a four- or five-year period, and all the credit for that must go to this government.

Mr. Peterson: Does it not disturb the minister, Mr. Speaker, that the money for this program is coming out of the Employment Development Fund? Would he consider renaming it the Unemployment Development Fund because of what he is doing?

What proof can the minister bring before this Legislature that investment would not have been done anyway, particularly given the influence and the clout this government has with such things as timber rights and the awarding thereof? How can he possibly say those capital expenditures would not have occurred without that assistance? Is it not time, in view of this unemployment he is creating, in effect, seriously to review this whole program?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: First, Mr. Speaker, one person the member could ask that question to would be the member for Rainy River’s brother, who was in Dryden last week to participate fully in taking credit for the Department of Regional Economic Expansion portion of the contribution to that municipality.

3:10 p.m.

May I also say -- because I do not think it would be helpful for us to continue to debate whether our money is the key catalyst to making that decision occur -- that the northern Ontario mayors collectively support this program intensely. When they complained to the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) that he was not supporting the program, he said, “If they threaten to pack up and leave if they don’t get enough money, I will help them with their suitcases.” That was the response of the leader of the Liberal Party.

Let me read to members of the Liberal Party the response that their leader wrote to the mayors of the north. I will quote directly, because it answers the member’s question; “I recognize the desire of the federal government to put money into projects which will help the pulp and paper industry in northern Ontario. Let me assure you that a government under my direction would be determined to supplement these federal initiatives by an enlightened policy of DREE grants.”

I ask the member, what is “an enlightened policy of DREE grants” if they are not grants? What he means by “enlightened” is that he would give the money out, and not the people on this side of the House.

Let me continue. He would also give them what he called “special-purpose loans, taxation and research incentives, transportation allowances” -- I can’t wait to see how he pays transportation allowances other than by writing them a cheque -- “and the like, so there would be a wide-scale modernization and upgrading of the pulp and paper industry in northern Ontario. In summary, I am totally devoted to the modernization and expansion of the mill at Espanola and the prosperity of the town.”

I say to the member, his leader presumes in this letter, which admittedly he did not write for purposes of this Legislature or for the press gallery here but for the benefit of the mayors in northern Ontario he obviously believes that something called “enlightened DREE grants, transportation allowances and special transportation concessions and grants” are needed to anchor that industry in northern Ontario. He obviously, therefore, does not doubt the need for government participation to ensure that those mills stay operative and the plants stay in the north. So just look over there and ask the question.

Hon. Mr. Davis: No wonder the Leader of the Opposition left early today!

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, having watched another flip-flop being recorded in this House, we in this party believe --

Mr. Speaker: Does the honourable member have a question?

Mr. Cassidy: Yes I do. My supplementary question to the minister is this: Will the minister table the agreement so the public can know just whether any jobs have been guaranteed and what the nature of the company guarantees are? Will the minister undertake that in the future Ontario will take equity in return for taxpayers’ money, particularly when it is going into an industry with profits of the order of hundreds of millions of dollars a year?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, with the exception of that portion of the information which is as confidential as the information filed, for example, by small businesses seeking Ontario Development Corporation assistance, with the exception of that normal commercial business requirement to keep some confidentiality around it, I think we already have tabled the sample agreement used in all Employment Development Fund grants. So the member already has that.


Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Industry and Tourism with respect to his statement about Minaki Lodge today. In view of the fact that all of the commitments in the document he presented today are from the government by way of technical assistance fees, service fees for planning, guarantees, profit incentives. plus termination fees if he decides to terminate, all of the incentives are from him to them, and in view of the fact there was no financial commitment from the Radisson Hotels group, would he not be further ahead to sell Minaki Lodge and be rid of it once and for all?

Hon. M. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, may I say that the situation with Minaki Lodge is that by way of buyers or by way of people to manage the building for us, in simple terms, no firms were willing to purchase the premises from us. It is that simple.

We were then left with exactly the kind of decision we had to make, which was to stop it, pull it down and essentially see $10 million disappear and remove a quite visible symbol of our commitment to --

Mr. Peterson: You are going to see $25 million disappear.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I believe this will go a long way to establishing for Kenora and Rainy River an important focal point for our tourist development as well as guaranteeing to the people of Minaki a secure future after the uncertainty they have faced over the past few years. Does the member agree with that, because I am reading from John Reid’s statement made this afternoon.

Let me finish reading from it:

“Now that we have an arrangement with Radisson Hotels as operators” -- notice in John Reid’s statement how it has become “we” -- “I look forward to discussing in detail with the provincial government areas where the federal government could assist in ensuring this project goes forward as quickly and as expeditiously as possible.”

The member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid) should speak to his brother too. He should see if he will help us move along with federal assistance.

Mr. Makarchuk: Mr. Speaker, will the minister indicate whether the agreement with Radisson also includes the cost of the roads to the lodge and the provision of adequate electrical services to the lodge?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, all of that is being provided in the next few months so the lodge can open in two years’ time.

Mr. Eakins: Mr. Speaker, I agree that, if tourism had the profile and the priority it deserves in Ontario, lodges such as this would be full; but the problem with this government is in the management.

Mr. Speaker: Do you have a question?

Mr. Eakins: Yes. The question is: How does the minister intend to operate Minaki Lodge at a high occupancy rate when his government is already involved in the operation of Ogoki Lodge? This was a $300,000 venture which turned into $1 million and now is operating at only 11 per cent occupancy. How does he explain that?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I know the member for Victoria-Haliburton (Mr. Eakins) believes he can assess the tourist market better than I can, but I suspect he would not pretend to analyse the tourism potential of Minaki Lodge better than does Radisson Hotels. That organization operates three very similar resorts within 480 miles of Minaki Lodge. If he is right in his premise that the government does not know how to operate lodges, then I presume he agrees with the government’s decision to have the private sector operate this lodge for us, particularly by competent, world-renowned leaders in this sector.

I would like to hear a supplementary question put by the Leader of the Opposition perhaps, or by the member for Victoria-Haliburton, which indicates whether they agree that Minaki Lodge should be reopened under this program. That is what I am looking for during this question period. Or perhaps Jim and Harold are outside figuring out how to come out on both sides of this.

Mr. Cassidy: Can the minister explain why Ontario maintains 100 per cent ownership in a lodge that will give a $226,000 return in 1985 on an investment exceeding $20 million, but why Ontario is not prepared to take a nickel’s worth of equity in return for the $140 million it is putting into the pulp and paper industry, which has profits approaching $1 billion a year?

Mr. Speaker: You can ignore the last part of that; it was not supplementary.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I will ignore the last part. I agree with your taste, Mr. Speaker.

May I say that the initial part of the member’s question indicated that Minaki would show a return to the government, in its sixth year of operation, of $200,000. His figures are inaccurate. It is $600,000 in the fifth year of operation of the new, revitalized Minaki Lodge.

So that the third party is under no misapprehension, if we could have sold the hotel rather than retaining some equity in it -- and one day we may have people coming along asking us to sell it to them -- we would have sold it to them.

3:20 p.m


Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie). Has the minister taken the trouble to tabulate the increased number of labour disputes over first agreements in Ontario in 1979 as against 1978? Inasmuch as he has not been willing to look at our first-agreement bill, is he now prepared to bring in other legislative measures to deal with the difficult matter of achieving first agreements in industry in Ontario today?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, the mere fact there are some 3,000 contracts coming open this year means there may well be more problems this year.

As to resolution of the problem of first agreements, I have to tell the honourable member quite openly and quite honestly that I am deeply disturbed about them. He knows that one aspect of it, the issue of union security, is under consideration by this government.

Mr. Mackenzie: The minister did not answer the first part of my question. Has he taken the trouble to tabulate the increase in strikes over first agreements in 1979 as against 1978? And can he give us some time frame for his concern to show some fruition in this house?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I cannot recall if that particular has been tabulated, but I would be pleased to do so and provide the member with that information. As to the time frame I cannot give him any information on that at this time.


Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Maeck) and the Minister of Health (Mr Timbrell), my question will be to the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Wiseman).

I am mindful that it is now three years and some days since the government of Ontario, through the speech from the throne and the Treasurer of the day, offered those of us in eastern Ontario a dynamic new Go-East policy to create jobs and move jobs into eastern Ontario. I would inquire of the Minister of Government Services precisely what is the status and the nature of the Go-East commitment to Kingston vis-à-vis the Ontario Health Insurance Plan move? Second, what is the status and the nature of the present commitment to the 750 jobs for Oshawa, keeping in mind that in last Wednesday’s Kingston Whig-Standard the Minister of Government Services, very much unlike the Minister of Health some months earlier, said: “I don’t know about that number, 900 jobs. I have heard the number, but that is why I always think it is not wise to he very specific,” et cetera?

Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Mr. Speaker, I would like to assure the House that our commitment to moving into Oshawa with the Revenue building is well under way. We hope to go to tenders very soon on that. We are looking into parking for those employees who will be commuting to or working out of that facility.

As far as Kingston is concerned, we are moving court facilities into the first floor and part of the second floor of that facility. We hope it will go out to tender within the next year as well or by the end of this year.

Mr. Conway: Since the Minister of Health indicated in his statement, I believe last July, that the promise was for, and would be lived up to, 900 jobs in the Ministry of Health for the Kingston move, can the Minister of Government Services indicate whether the courthouse move, which has been announced in the relatively recent past, is part of, and should be understood as part of, the 900 jobs that are going to be moved to Kingston?

Will the Minister of Government Services at the earliest possible opportunity take advantage of statements in this House to bring before members an up-to-data statement as to the exact nature of the commitment to Oshawa and Kingston, laying out the timetables, the lease agreements and the manpower situation as it relates to both those moves?

Hon. Mr. Wiseman: It is statements like that the honourable member has just made that puts a bit of doubt in people’s minds as to the validity of these two moves. But they are going right ahead, as I said before. As to the numbers, as far as Kingston is concerned Management Board and cabinet will make that decision. Whether the number is 900 or whatever will be known to everyone in the fullness of time.


Mr. Bounsall: I have a question of the Premier (Mr. Davis), Mr. Speaker. Since the Premier is meeting today after question period with representatives of the francophone community from Penetanguishene with respect to their legitimate desire to obtain a distinct French-language secondary school, will he be assuring them, and can he assure this House, bearing in mind the Simcoe County Board of Education now has turned down virtually every proposal, that cabinet will reach an early decision -- we hope by Wednesday of this week -- to construct that French-language secondary school in Penetanguishene?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, some students and others arrived. I had not been asked to speak with them until they arrived here today, which is not unusual. They have a letter for me that I said I would receive after question period. Certainly I will consider the contents of the letter. But, in that they have not delivered that letter to me yet, I cannot comment until I am in receipt of the letter which they came down to deliver.

Mr. Bounsall: Does the Premier honestly not realize that the delays in finding a solution to the construction of a French-language secondary school in Penetanguishene so that francophones can obtain education in their native tongue are providing a major propaganda point for the separatist cause in Quebec?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I think one can overestimate these problems. Obviously this government would like to see the problem resolved. But it is like so many problems; they require time. They are not always simple. I know they may be in the mind of the honourable member. We are aware of the situation in Penetanguishene. The ministry has been working very hard to help the board and the people there find a solution. That has not been accomplished yet, but we will continue to try.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker. Would the Premier not recognize that, if we are going to have some kind of school facility in place for September 1980, a decision has to be made almost immediately? Is it possible, because of the time restrictions, that his cabinet might make a decision this week?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am not familiar with the details of any time period that might be required. I cannot assure the honourable member there will be any decision. The honourable member knows full well that this is a matter with which the Simcoe county board has been endeavouring to come to grips. If he does not understand that -- and he should, with his limited experience in that field over the years -- I know there are some members on the front bench who are familiar with it. I also know some of his colleagues are familiar with it. There is no total unanimity within his caucus about this particular issue either.


Mr. Bradley: I have a question for the Ministry of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman), Mr. Speaker. Is the minister aware that, after several months and after this matter was raised in the Legislature, there still exists in Ontario a shortage of steel products for the smaller steel fabricating companies in the province at the same time as steel apparently is being stockpiled for export to the United States and other areas? If the minister is aware that this is the case, is he going to take any action to ensure that these smaller businesses have the same opportunity to obtain this steel as those abroad?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, we have been monitoring the situation quite closely, keeping in touch with both the people who demand the steel and the industry itself, and it is our understanding that the situation is under control. We rely upon individual firms that are experiencing problems to let us know. There have not been many, but in each case where they have let us know we have been able to solve their problem. If the honourable member will let us know the specifics of this one, I am sure we will be able to accommodate them.


Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier: Does he remember that three years ago in May he made a commitment in the charter 0f Ontario to reduce the municipal tax burden on senior citizens? In view of the fact that he also set a goal in a letter to the mayor of North York, who had been an unsuccessful candidate for his party, saying that this goal would be achieved over a period of three years using the tax credit mechanism, would the Premier tell the House if he has come anywhere close to that commitment after three years?


3:30 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am getting a lot of supplementaries here, a lot of observations.

That was a great statement. We have made good on 99 per cent of it. Be patient until tomorrow night.

Mr. Di Santo: In view of the fact that from 1975 to 1978 property taxes have increased by 39.3 per cent while the tax credits have increased by 2.6 per cent, can the Premier assure this House that tomorrow night -- and we will be waiting -- that gap will be closed and that senior citizens finally will have their education taxes eliminated? For them, it’s becoming a very serious burden. Even in Peel, in the Premier’s own county, property taxes have been increased by 10.6 per cent this year.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am very aware of the increase in taxes in the great region of Peel. It ceased being a county some years ago, but I know what the honourable member was referring to. I only suggest to him, in that these are matters usually discussed during budget time, that he exercise a certain degree of restraint -- pardon?

Mr. S. Smith: Three years after the problem.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, has the Leader of the Opposition been out to the television cameras? While he was out, his colleague from London Centre (Mr. Peterson) put his leader’s font in his mouth.


Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow). Given the fact that the Conestoga Expressway was built by the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo back in the early 1960s, given the fact that the ministry took it over during 1975, immediately prior to the 1975 election, and given the fact that there is a controversy as to what name should apply to that expressway, I wonder whether the minister would give a commitment to the House and to the people of the Waterloo region that he will support the name of Conestoga Expressway since that is the name that the residents, through their elected representatives, chose for that expressway?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, given all those facts, and not being aware of any controversy, I will certainly give that consideration.


Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, having been ruled out of order on this one, once by yourself and once by the Premier, I hope the third time is lucky and I will get an answer from the Premier this time.

Mr. Speaker: I would just warn you that we are consistent!

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Yes. Given the fact that the members of the French-language advisory committees to boards of education around the province have been waiting for almost two years for the enactment of the promise of the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Maeck) of enumeration for their electors, and given the fact that the ministers of Revenue, Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) and Education (Miss Stephenson) have recently suggested three different alleged solutions to the problem which do not include a comprehensive enumeration, can the Premier indicate whether he committed his government to undertake this enumeration for this fall when he met with Mr. Yalden last week?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I do not know how I would describe my conversation with the commissioner other than to explain to him, which I think he understood, the difficulty of getting the kind of information during the enumeration process. My recollection is that the Ministry of Revenue, on an experimental basis or whatever way one wishes to describe it, did it in the Ottawa area and it did not prove to be particularly successful.

The problem is, during that limited time of enumeration we are talking about, a four- or five-day period, some questions have been raised: Is this the proper route to do it? Is the proper question being asked? I assured the commissioner that the intent was to do it, and we were still sorting the best ways to do it. That is the tenor of what I said to him, which I think he understood and accepted.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Would the Premier confirm for use today that he will be willing to have his minister -- whichever one he has put in charge of this -- to speak with and work with the French-language advisory committees in developing the questions? He may know that they have already passed two unanimous suggestions of ways to go rather than doing it on their own, as was done last time in Ottawa?

Hon. Mr. Davis: We have had those suggestions. It is not so much a question of consultation and getting as much information as we can -- and I think we have most of it -- as finding a reasonable, administratively sound and realistic way of doing it. We are in the process of trying to find that.


Mr. J. Reed: I have a question, Mr. Speaker, of the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Wiseman). Could he tell us what energy criteria are outlined in specifications for new government buildings? Does the ministry consult with the Ministry of Energy? Are there any new sets of criteria which are improvements over the kind of energy efficiency standards that were applied a few years ago?

Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Mr. Speaker, we are very careful to see that an energy component is built into every new building. The architect sets aside a certain part of his fees to see that is adhered to. We have not built a building that I am aware of for some time that has not incorporated that. We do check with the Ministry of Energy as well.

Mr. J. Reed: How are the new standards different?

Hon. Mr. Wiseman: I have some additional information. Perhaps I could send the member a copy of what we ask for in new buildings.


Mr. Germa: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Walker). It relates to his statement on March 25 on self-sufficiency in food supply in the correctional institutions. His goal was to put 2,200 acres of land under cultivation over a period of five years. Is the minister not aware that we had exactly such an institution in Burwash, just south of Sudbury, up until about four or five years ago? Is the minister aware that 1,300 acres of class one farm land are sitting there waiting to be planted? Has he investigated this? Is there any hope of getting Burwash back under production as a result of his new program?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I am certainly well aware of the comments the member makes. That facility is available, and there are very fertile grounds up there for any kind of self-sufficiency program should we become involved in that area. There is no present intention because, as the member well knows, the committee concluded it would be best for that entire facility to be sold to the federal government for some form of long-stay facility. It will keep us going to make full use of the 2,200 acres we already have in other parts of Ontario, including northeastern and northwestern Ontario. But I am well aware of the prospects of that particular site.

Mr. Germa: Also in keeping with the minister’s program is the supply of fuel wood, as a result of activities by the people in the institutions. Is he not aware that there are 36,000 acres of fuel wood ready and available at this moment to supply that part of the program as well? It is not only related to farm production.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Our problem is more what to do with the fuel wood when it is cut.

Mr. Martel: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: The member has about 30 seconds.

Mr. Martel: In view of the fact that he is not utilizing the facilities and in view of the fact that prisoners from the Sudbury area now are incarcerated in Monteith and Thunder Bay, does the minister not think it is time he provided an institution near to where the families are because the very reason he closed it was that southern Ontario people could not get to visit their loved ones?

Hon. Mr. Walker: There is a Sudbury jail which is available for short-stay purposes.


Mr. Swart: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: May I expect a ruling from you on the earlier point of order which I raised? If not, would you refer it to a committee to obtain a ruling?

Mr. Speaker: It is not the responsibility of the chair to interpret legislation. The honourable member obviously has some difficulty accepting the explanation given by the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Brunelle). We have differences of opinion here all of the time. The member has made his point by bringing it to the attention of the honourable minister. I have no authority to sit down and second-guess ministers in the interpretation of any law.

3:40 p.m.



Mr. Lane, on behalf of Mr. Villeneuve from the standing committee on resources development, presented the following report and moved its adoption:

At its meeting of Thursday, April 17, 1980, during consideration of the annual report of the Ministry of Natural Resources for 1979 and the matter of the Nakina fire, your committee agreed as follows:

That this committee (a) engage legal counsel; (b) the committee, through a steering committee advised by counsel, develop a detailed plan of work; (c) defer any further consideration of the matter presently before it until the ruling on the neutrality of the inquest has been handed down and that items (a) and (b) above are accomplished.

Therefore your committee recommends that for the purposes of consideration of the annual report of the Ministry of Natural Resources for 1979 and the matter of the Nakina fire, your committee, in addition to the powers already granted by the House to send for persons., papers and things as provided in section 35 of the Legislative Assembly Act, be authorized to retain the services of legal counsel.

On motion by Mr. Lane, the debate was adjourned.



Hon. Mr. Gregory moved that Bill Pr2, An Act to revive Christian Reform Church of Wallaceburg, stand referred to the standing committee on administration of justice, the Clerk having received a favourable report thereon from the commissioners of estate bills.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Gregory moved that the supplementary estimates of the ministries of Education and Colleges and Universities for the fiscal year 1979-80, now before the committee of supply, be transferred to the standing committee on social development for consideration prior to the commencement of consideration by the committee of the Education estimates for 1980-81; that the time used by the committee for consideration of the supplementary estimates not be considered to be part of the 32 hours allotted, and that notwithstanding any standing order of the House the standing committee on social development and the House may meet concurrently to consider business in the Social Development policy field.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Martel: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: Is it not necessary for us to have a motion to consider the estimates of the Ministry of Community and Social Services here this afternoon while at the same time the estimates in the same policy field are being considered downstairs at the standing committee? I would think there should be a motion to that effect.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: That particular request was the second part of the motion. The member wasn’t listening.

Mr. Speaker: That is right. You were the one who hollered “Dispense.”


Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day I wish to table the answers to questions 20, 38, 42, 46, 103 to 106, and 115, and the interim answer to question 102 standing on the Notice Paper.


House in committee of supply.


On vote 2902, adult services; item 2, income maintenance:

Mr. McClellan: Mr. Chairman, I think at this point it might be helpful if the minister could reply to some of the comments from my leadoff of Friday last. We got into kind of a strange rotation in which the Liberal social services critic made a leadoff address and the minister replied in detail to that. I then made a number of comments with respect to the votes in front of us. We then got into a discussion of welfare in Windsor, which was of particular importance on that day to the members from the Windsor area. I would ask if the minister could now reply to some of the concerns I had raised in my initial comments.

Mr. Chairman: If I recall, at that time I did ask if the minister had any comments and he said he wished to state those comments later. Does the minister wish to proceed at this moment?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Yes, Mr. Chairman. I may have forgotten some of the points the honourable member made in his opening remarks. I was making some notes as he spoke, but I am sure if I should miss any of the points he made --

Mr. McClellan: The main concern was homes for special care.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Yes, and he also, as I recall, raised some questions around the matter of difficult-to-serve children in central Ontario. Perhaps I could address that first. One of the points I recall the member raising related to his concern that the proposal made by the ministry for the central region in March of this year might be merely a matter of tinkering with the structure but not changing in substance the quality of the service to difficult-to-serve children.

I want to assure the member it is our intention to go beyond that. I don’t think I need run through the structure of the four-phase system. I know he is familiar with that and the problems that arose over the last few years in terms of what one might describe as an erosion of the original mandate of the four-phase system -- it failing to hang together the way it was intended to.

He did mention a concern about the matter of the resources available for the -- pardon?

Mr. McClellan: Funding.

Hon. Mr. Norton: All right, funding, if the member wishes -- the way the funding would translate into human resources within the service. I can assure him that since the announcement a number of meetings have taken place with the major Metro agencies and service providers within the central region to discuss the matter of the implementation of the new approach. I would also indicate to him that it has become apparent to us that the plan as originally conceived does require additional funding. We have both identified the need and also are identifying the source of the additional funding.

Originally the figure that was cited was $500,000 -- that was what we were anticipating. We are now projecting that the need in terms of financial resources will be in the vicinity of $1.2 million. The point he has made is well taken and I can assure him that in the process of the implementation of the new plan those resources will be made available.

On the matter of the homes for special care, we are progressing in terms of implementation of the assessments. When the announcement was made publicly -- I am not sure whether by myself or by the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) -- it was indicated that initial priority would be given to the assessment of the children within that system.

3:50 p.m.

We are anticipating almost immediately the final approval of the implementation plan from management board and cabinet. An acting project co-ordinator has been identified and is now involved, and we will be bringing on board shortly a new person to head up that specific initiative. I stand to be corrected, but I think the interviews have taken place and a decision will be made shortly. Providing the person accepts -- and I am not sure whether we have that confirmation yet but I hope we will have -- he or she will be on board as soon as he or she can leave existing commitments.

It is still our projection that we will be able to complete the assessment and the development of individualized plans for children within six months. I think it will be possible for that to be done hand in hand with the implementation as we proceed.

In terms of when the first assessment -- other than medical assessment which, of course, exists and has been made -- will be completed, as soon as we have the final permission we will be ready to proceed, I would hope, within a very short time. I hesitate to put a specific time frame on it, but within a few weeks the assessments should be under way.

Recognizing the numbers involved and the need for some additional staff to carry out those assessments competently -- I am not suggesting that we do not have competent staff at present, but additional demands are being made upon our staff -- it has not been possible to do it literally overnight. I think we are progressing very well with it, and I will keep members advised as to progress.

Mr. McClellan: We are in vote 2902, item 2, then we will proceed to item 4. I will come back to the issue of homes for special care when we reach item 4, since it is related to developmental services.

One issue I would like to pick up on from our discussion on Friday has to do specifically with one aspect of the ministry’s income maintenance program. That is the problem that a number of members on this side of the House have raised repeatedly, and more insistently over the past 12 to 18 months, namely, every time the Canada Pension Plan is increased social assistance recipients are denied the benefit of the increase if they are receiving both the CPP and family benefits.

The reason I want to return to it is I thought we were making some progress at least in understanding the problem. The minister conceded on Friday that there is no bureaucratic, legislative or administrative impediment to integrating the CPP increase, which is automatic because it is indexed, with a general increase in the family benefits rates. The problem is that the government has been unwilling to make the money available to raise social assistance rates when the Canada Pension Plan goes up. That was the minister’s argument on Friday, if I am not mistaken.

The corollary of the minister’s argument that the government does not have the money to put into general increase every time the CPP goes up is that the government is, in effect, subsidizing the Treasury out of the moneys denied CPP recipients who are also on family benefits. It is my understanding there are in the order of 12,000 recipients of CPP disability who are also receiving family benefits. This information was given to us by Mr. Frank Fecteau of the ministry’s communications branch. These figures are, I believe, effective as of December 1979 so that, rounding off, out of 113,000 recipients of family benefits and Gains-D in Ontario, 12,200 are also receiving CPP disability benefits.

Every time there is an increase in the CPP, the province takes the money directly into the provincial Treasury, because it saves the amount of the increase by not passing it through. In effect, the government is achieving a net expenditure saving at the expense of social assistance recipients. I am not sure how much money it saves every time the CPP goes up, but that money goes to the social assistance recipient. If it is an extra $25, as was the most recent CPP increase for an individual, that means the province spends $25 less because the individual’s income stays the same and the government puts the CPP money directly into the provincial Treasury. That is hardly an equitable state of affairs. I don’t see that as a defensible situation in any way, shape or form.

I think there is a moral obligation on the part of the government to end this inequity. Since we are in a period of uncontrolled, rampant inflation and we have seen the purchasing power of the dollar shrinking, despite the series of social assistance rate increases that have taken place over the past couple of years, the best thing to do is also to index the social assistance rate and to integrate the indexing with the regular increases in the CPP.

I would be anxious to have a response from the minister. He cannot have it both ways. Either he is raising money out of the CPP and enriching the provincial coffers out of the pension benefits that citizens are entitled to as a matter of legal right under the insurance program or, on the other hand, he moves to end that inequity by making sure that every time the CPP goes up the social assistance rates are raised by an equal amount. I would be anxious to have a response from the minister on that proposal.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, this is at least the third time we have discussed this in the past week. It is not entirely clear to me what the honourable member is recommending with respect to indexing. If you will bear with me, I will explain the problem I have in understanding what he is advocating.

I have explained previously the concept of the social assistance program, or family benefits, or whatever the person is in receipt of, and the rates that are arrived at in agreement with the federal government as being a guaranteed level -- without talking about whether the levels are adequate or not -- but intended to be a guaranteed level of income support for the individuals who are in receipt of the benefits.

4 p.m.

If, on the one hand, one were to pass through, as you have suggested, the question has to be asked: For whom is it passed through? The implication, I suggest, of saying “pass through” a Canada Pension Plan increase is that it be passed through for those in receipt of it. If that is the case, I suggest it jeopardizes the concept of a guaranteed level of support for the persons on that program in that it would create inequities, for example, between neighbours, one of whom had entitlement under CPP and the other who did not.

Mr. McClellan: I agree with that. I am suggesting you integrate.

Hon. Mr. Norton: When the member says “integrate,” I presume he is suggesting, according to the indexing of CPP, that all provincial income maintenance programs be indexed accordingly to coincide so that the levels go up automatically. Is that correct?

Mr. McClellan: Yes.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I would suggest to him that he think very carefully about the implications of that for the CPP increase for 12,000 persons who are in receipt of provincial benefits. It would result in a comparable percentage increase on provincial benefits alone for 115,000. The implications of that for the provincial Treasury are rather greater than for 12,000 persons.

I think it would be desirable, if it were possible, for us to just try to get our rate reviews to coincide with the timing of CPP increases and that would reduce the confusion. On the other hand, I recognize that my colleague the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) has broader responsibilities in terms of dealing with the finances of this province than the programs of my ministry alone. In a given period of time he may not be able to authorize the magnitude of increase that would be necessitated by that.

As the member knows, it has been the policy of this government and continues to be the policy of this government not to index according to a predetermined formula, but rather to review rates on a regular basis. In fact, this year the increase in our provincial benefits exceeded the rate of increase in CPP. As I understand it, CPP increases were approximately nine per cent, as opposed to a 10 per cent increase in the provincial benefits.

That is not a big point. All I am suggesting is that there may be times when we are able to increase at a greater rate than CPP because of recognized needs, and I would not necessarily want to limit our ability to initiate action on matters if the federal government, being tied to a specific time and a specific formula, were not ready to proceed.

I think, however unfortunate the confusion at the present time, that the best way we can deal with that is to attempt. where increases are coming up, to get them to coincide as closely as possible with CPP increases. Last year that was possible; this year it was not.

Mr. McClellan: I do not want to prolong this; there is obvious intransigence. I do want to point out that you should not try to make the statement that your increases in the social assistance rates are keeping up with the cost of living. It is very nice for you to use the measurement of one year as the basis for your increase, but if you go back to 1977 and compare the loss of purchasing power for a family benefits recipient from 1977 to 1980, I think you will find that the cost of living has gone up something in the order of 25 per cent and that your benefit levels have gone up something in the order of 16 per cent.

I stand to be corrected on that. I don’t make any claims to mathematical genius, but I think those figures are reasonably accurate. If there is a real loss of purchasing power taking place, it is a simple empirical observation to say that your government constraint program is being waged at the expense of people at the bottom end of the economic ladder and that you are unwilling or unable to address it.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I don’t wish to prolong this either. I do want to bring out to the member that I did indicate it was a one-year experience. I think also, in fairness, it depends what one uses as the cutoff point when one is starting to add up percentage increases. One could go back a number of years earlier and demonstrate that the rate of increase in provincial benefits has kept abreast of the increase in the consumer price index.

It depends on which year you happen to choose as the cutoff point. In other words, it has not been consistent on the basis of any predetermined formula, but I think it can be demonstrated over the longer period of time that it has more than kept abreast or approximately kept abreast of the increase in the consumer price index.

When one looks at the rate at which the commitment within the provincial budget is increasing each year, in a time of economic difficulty, in terms of the total commitment to social services in Ontario I don’t think one can substantiate the allegation that restraint is being fought, if you wish, on the backs of the poor. In fact, with respect of the rate of increase in expenditures in the social service sector, whether or not it is true in specific individual eases, certainly in the overall situation it is true there has been a greater rate of increase than probably in any other program in the whole of the government. So the member’s allegation is simply not substantiated.

Mr. Bradley: Mr. Chairman, I have a couple of matters I would like to discuss with the minister quickly under item 2. I realize this gets bounced back and forth between the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) and the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton), but the first is in regard to the provision for drugs for those who do not meet the qualifications of being old age pensioners. I recognize that when the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson) asked the question the other day he was actually asking it of both ministers and asking that one of them answer.

The problem as it exists is that apparently a person who is on a disability allowance -- let’s say a person about the age of 58 or 59 who might have had three or four heart attacks and requires drugs -- must pay for drugs and is unable to do so because the amount of the allowance is not high enough. These people are looking for assistance and would like to be included, as old age pensioners are, for free drugs at that time, recognizing that free drugs really mean that the money is going to come from the taxpayer ultimately. That is one area where I feel there should be some movement, because these people are in pretty dire straits when faced with that situation.

The second item I would mention is that of a haven for battered wives. In my specific constituency you are aware, no doubt, of Women’s Place, which was established a couple of years ago for this very purpose and which has been largely funded through private fund-raising. For instance, the proceeds from the recent testimonial dinner for Laura Sabia went to that particular establishment. They have also held tag days and had other fund-raising services. I would ask if the minister is prepared to get involved in a big way in the funding of this particular service in the years ahead.

I would like answers to those two questions. I had another one but it doesn’t really fit this vote. It was on the vocational rehabilitation services and the family benefit allowance situation where one side doesn’t seem to know what the other side is doing and some people are missing out on money. I will discuss that in another vote, because it involves a younger person.

4:10 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, on the first point the member raises with respect to drug benefits, in addition to the senior citizens of the province who receive free drug benefit coverage for prescribed medication, that same provision applies to anyone who is in receipt of family benefits or general welfare assistance under one of our programs. I assume he is referring to those people who would not qualify for any of our programs.

There is also provision for assisting people who do not qualify for any of our programs. This is basically funded under the general welfare assistance program under special assistance which we fund through municipalities on a cost-shared basis. For a constituent, when the assistance was available, it would bear some relationship to his drug costs and his income. The municipality would have to review the income and the cost they were hearing. There is an avenue of assistance there for those who are not on any other program.

With respect to battered wives, in a number of municipalities across Ontario we fund homes for temporary assistance to battered wives under an arrangement with the municipalities. It’s up to the municipalities to determine if the need exists. Under the hostel program we fund up to a maximum of $16.25 per day at present. Again, I don’t know what assistance has been sought through the municipality by the organization you referred to, but if people are in need they might well approach the municipality which, in turn, would work with our staff to work out some arrangement to assist them, such as a hostel, as we are doing in a number of other communities in Ontario.

Mr. Stong: Mr. Chairman, I would like to address one particular item under adult services, and that is the issue of group homes. I am aware that the concept of group homes is one which has a fair amount of difficulty in being sold in certain communities. I would urge this ministry, and this minister in particular, to take steps to educate the different communities with respect to the value of group homes. I can point to no greater issue to back up this demand and demonstrate the lack of them, than the case of one Desmond Brissett, whose trial was heard in the Newmarket provincial court on January 4, 1980. I would like to refer to some of the evidence from that trial.

Mr. Brissett was a relatively young man, 17 years of age, who originally came from Jamaica. His parents had moved to the Toronto area and his stepfather did not accept him in the house. There was family difficulty. The boy not only had that difficulty with his parents, but he also had severe difficulties in school. All of these matters were known to the authorities.

He became a ward of the children’s aid society in December 1977. He was in the wardship of the children’s aid society for approximately one year. His worker was one Mrs. Doreen Wright, who at the time of the trial in January 1980 had three years’ experience as a social worker with the society. She had a bachelor of social work degree from the University of Toronto. She obtained that in 1956 and essentially had 20 years’ work in the field of social work. She was assigned to the family and worked with that family.

This young man got himself involved in a conflict with the law and ended up in court in July 1979. He was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment and was released some time in September 1979. He went back to his parents’ home and they would not accept him. There was no place for him to go; by this time he was over 16 years of age. The parents asked for help from his probation officer, but there was no financial assistance available from the probation services. He was too old for the children’s aid society and there were no services available to help him there.

In November 1979, he became involved in two housebreakings. The first one involved breaking into a dwelling place and stealing watches. The second happened at the end of November 1979, and it resulted from him having no place to go to seek help. The parents had refused to allow him to remain in the house and he broke into a dwelling house and cooked himself a meal, as a result of which he was apprehended and brought to court in January 1980 and sentenced to further incarceration.

I think it is important to note that at his trial in January 1980, Mrs. Doreen Wright gave evidence on behalf of this accused indicating exactly what he was up against and what the social and family services knew about this boy. They knew what desperate straits he was in and that there was no place for him to go. There were no group homes and no overnight accommodation for him. Had be had a place to go, had his call for help been answered, he would presumably not have broken into that second house to cook himself a meal.

Mrs. Wright, in giving evidence, indicated this boy had been in the care of the children’s aid society under a nonward agreement. He had been in there for about a year. When he was released they were aware of the difficulties he was having in school and with his family, particularly vis-à-vis his stepfather, and they were unable financially to satisfy this boy’s need.

Mrs. Wright attended the family many times. She found the family to be hard working and interested in education, but unable or unwilling to assist this boy. He sought help from the children’s aid society. Again there were such financial restrictions that they were unable to give him help, and also he was past the age of 16 years.

It seems to me, had the ministry been encouraging our local communities to establish halfway homes, group homes, overnight accommodation for emergency situations -- had these concepts been sold -- there would not have been a difficulty such as this boy found himself in. He was unable to find assistance and as a result wound up in the courts again. He cried out for help and help was not available.

It seems to me we must accommodate this type of individual, between 16 years of age and 18 years of age particularly, and those who find themselves in this type of a situation. I have been involved personally with the establishment of group homes in the area of the regional municipality of York and I know how difficult it is to convince the local municipalities and local politicians of the need.

4:20 p.m.

There are all sorts of arguments given for the nonestablishment of group homes, mainly the reduction in value of the homes, the neighbourhood becoming involved with these young people, people being afraid of the influence that may exist, which in all likelihood does not exist because there is a great deal of work done with these people in the home. They are subject to severe rules, rules of guidance and rules within the home.

There ought to be no fear of having these homes established in residential areas that are already built up. It seems to me the ministry has failed in that regard, failed these young people, the Desmond Brissetts who have cried out for help and had no place to go. They wind up breaking into a dwelling, cooking a meal, being apprehended and incarcerated.

I urge upon this ministry in the name of people such as this that it takes it upon itself to go among the communities, particularly those larger urban centres, not only to educate but assist local municipalities and local politicians to establish these group homes, these halfway houses, and overnight accommodation for cases that meet emergencies such as this.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, I share the member’s concern about the difficulty that exists in some communities with regard to the acceptance of group homes, more particularly with respect to group homes for certain individuals. I am not sure that he is aware of what we have been attempting to do over the last six or seven months in cooperation with the Provincial Secretariat for Social Development. The Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch) has on her staff persons who are devoting their time to this problem almost exclusively.

Mr. McClellan: With great success! What have you got?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Well, it has been. We did initially commit ourselves to attempt to persuade municipalities and communities before we took the heavy-handed route, which I must say I find very appealing at times because of the relative simplicity of it, although it is a little less sensitive perhaps to the feelings of these citizens of communities. Even though I may disagree with it, I think we owe it to those people to take that approach first.

I hope the members would recognize it has been successful. Meetings have been held with municipal councillors and with ratepayers’ groups in various municipalities across Ontario and continue to be held. In fact, as recently as this morning, I saw for the first time the communications package, which consists of some written material and also audio-visual material which will be used by the staff of my ministry and the provincial secretary’s staff in their efforts to address that situation across the province.

In addition, as the member said, I ought to be out there persuading. Unfortunately, I think the member realizes that with the demands the House places upon me, especially in a minority government situation -- and the member does his best to try to keep me tied down in the House on a daily basis -- it does limit the amount of time I can spend travelling across the province on issues like this, although I am available and I have met with representatives of a number of communities. I think the results have been reasonably successful, even though when they left the meetings, people didn’t feel they were very successful because I did not give in to their demands.

In one particular case when I met with the leader of a ratepayers’ group that was opposing a group home in their community, though they were very unhappy with me at the time on the stand I had taken, I was pleased to see that a few months later the same individual who had led the opposition went publicly to the press and said he had changed his mind entirely. He said he had now lived in the neighbourhood and there had been no problem after a matter of several months. I think that kind of thing is encouraging.

In some specific cases, we may reach a point where municipalities are intransigent, or the communities are, in which case other action will have to be contemplated. My personal conviction is that it really is a matter of human rights. I don’t think there is any question about it.

It is preferable to have communities responding to the citizens within them sensitively and caringly without having to take a heavy-handed Hitlerian approach that some members opposite might advocate.

Mr. McClellan: You are talking out of both sides of your mouth and you know it.

Hon. Mr. Norton: No. I am taking a reasonable approach, which is something the member opposite may not recognize.

Mr. Stong: I appreciate the generality of the concerns the minister has spoken about, but there are specifics happening in the regional municipality of York, and I ask you to direct your attention specifically to that area.

I might just refer to this transcript, because it is very important. It gives you an idea exactly what is happening up there. Mrs. Doreen Wright, as I indicated before, is a social worker and had worked for the children’s aid society for some three years at that point in January. The crown attorney at that trial of Desmond Brissett got the opportunity to cross-examine Mrs. Wright. I just want you to listen to this series of questions, and her answers. The questions were put to her by the crown attorney, who in utter disbelief threw up his hands at that trial because there was nothing available to help this young man. This young man is only representative of all the young people in that area who find themselves in the same situation. The question by the crown attorney was:

“When he called you, did he tell you he was hungry and didn’t have a place to stay?

“A. Yes.

“Q. And is it your evidence that in our society, through the children’s aid society and through the probation and parole offices, that when a 17-year-old comes and says he doesn’t have a place to stay and he is hungry there is no way to get him one?

“A. That’s right.”

We are talking about the regional municipality of York and a person who is employed by that municipality in a very responsible position.

“Q. Is there any way to get him any money so that he can get his own place to stay and his own food?

“A. I imagine he can apply to the local welfare office.”

That’s pretty important, when a person is starving at night, having been discharged from his own home and has no place to stay; it’s a very comforting thought. You can apply to the welfare office. The local welfare office closes at 4:30 in the afternoon.

She was asked by the crown attorney again:

“Q. Does your office assist him in doing that, and assist him in making a contact and helping him if it is 10 o’clock at night and he needs a place, instead of saying, ‘Well, next Tuesday you can get an appointment?

“A. My help to him was to tell him I would be in touch -- and I was -- with his then parole officer, and it would be my understanding that he would co-ordinate any help that Desmond might need, and so I contacted him in that regard and he told me there was nothing he could do.”

That is a pretty sad indictment of the state of affairs for young people in the regional municipality of York. Rather than give us general answers of the things you would like to do, or objectives that you would like to accomplish, it seems to me you should send more people into the regional municipality of York so we can get help for young people. It is a growing area, it is an area of great demand, and the more we have young Desmond Brissetts having to break into homes and cook meals the more we are going to have problems in that area. It falls squarely within your lap to help these young people. Up till now very little, if anything, has been done and there is nothing on the horizon.

4:30 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I do not mean to put the honourable member down and I am not questioning his sincerity. I think he understands as well as anyone around here that it is not possible for my ministry as an entity to provide all services for all people, at all times, in all circumstances. However, whether it is with respect to the group home issue or the specific case he is bringing to our attention, I would ask what he has done with his own municipality in terms of trying to redress this?

I don’t know enough of the details about this particular young man to know whether what he was in need of was a longer-term setting in a group home or some hostel care, a place where he could go and get some assistance overnight in the circumstances in which he found himself. If it is the latter then, as I described earlier to the honourable members, we do fund hostel care through municipalities and maybe the member ought to go after his municipality to provide that kind of opportunity or support for persons like this young lad.

If he was in need of a treatment setting or a longer-term care setting in a group home and there is a zoning problem, I will assist in addressing that. I think the member, as a citizen of that municipality, has an opportunity to stand up with the clout I am sure he carries with his regional municipality, and go before it and raise this issue. He is a citizen of that community and has a responsibility.

I have a responsibility as well. I am not trying to absolve myself from that, but if the member cares as much as I believe he does, then I am not going to ask how many times he has gone before the regional municipality of York and pressed it to do something about the zoning situation, if that is a problem. I suggest that is a question he ought to ask himself as a prominent citizen of that municipality.

I am sure the weight he would carry in the formulation of opinion in that community would be very substantial, probably much more substantial than mine, because I would perhaps be identified as the heavy-handed government agent coming into the community, whereas he is a citizen of that community. He has a strong body of support there, people whom he could persuade to go with him and carry that through the municipality.

Mr. Williams: And a respected citizen of that community, too.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Yes, I am sure. I am not sure of the child’s age at the time of the various incidents referred to but it is possible for children’s aid societies, maybe not on the spur of the moment -- was the social worker referred to working with the children’s aid society?

Mr. Stong: Yes.

Hon. Mr. Norton: It is possible for children’s aid societies to make provision for caring for and assisting young people past the age of 16 by virtue of care by agreement. I don’t know whether this young man’s circumstances were such that that would have been an appropriate avenue to have explored, but on the basis of the information I have from what the member said, this strikes me as something which ought to have been explored.

Rather than a group home, maybe he was in need of and could have benefited from some type of formal or informal foster arrangement. I don’t know. I can’t second-guess the actions of all the social workers of the province. I hope they would explore all possible avenues before making the pronouncement that nothing was available. Maybe they have, and have run into difficulties.

If the member has further information, I ask that he provide it to me. I understand, in terms of the note which has been handed to me, some of the staff of my ministry has been involved with this young lad -- precisely how I don’t know -- as well as the probation role of the staff of the Ministry of Correctional Services, since I gather he was technically an adult at the time of his last involvement with the courts. If the member knows anything about ongoing circumstances in which we might be of assistance I would be glad to work with my colleague, the Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Walker) and see that the matter is resolved.

Mr. Stong: I am very flattered by the onerous duty the minister places on my shoulders for dealing with the regional municipality and getting these houses established. Would that I controlled the purse-strings and would that they looked to me for financial assistance and would that I could promise it, but I cannot. I might say this particular case has had publicity to demonstrate the lack of assistance in the region. I find that any member who does not control the purse-strings or who does not have an inside track to those purse-strings has no more weight than anyone else who is a local citizen in the area.

I am not trying to seek an answer for this particular case, because the lad is serving time right now, as I understand it. I am saying this lad was in need of immediate assistance, not a long-term program. It was not a long-range situation. Two days after his parents moved from their area and their home and left him on his own, he found himself breaking into a home. It was to that point -- the lack of facilities to help -- that questions were asked. It was to that point the social worker addressed herself in court.

Inasmuch as those facilities are not in existence, perhaps you could assist the local municipalities in terms of providing financial assistance, and assure them that if they accept the idea they are not going to be left holding the purse-strings entirely by themselves. I would like to be able to assure them of that, but it is not within my jurisdiction.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I am a little confused, because I am not sure whether the member is suggesting that maybe I was a little off track when I was responding to him. I thought he was following up on the point made by the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) with respect to zoning difficulties and so on.

Mr. McClellan: I have not even spoken on this.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I am sorry -- whoever it was who raised it.

Mr. Stong: Since he covered zoning, there is no point in reiterating it.

Hon. Mr. Norton: If it is a zoning problem, I would reiterate what I said before.

Mr. Stong: That is not all though.

Hon. Mr. Norton: All right, but funding is not a major problem for the municipalities. In most cases we fund group homes at 100 per cent. In cases of group homes operated by children’s aid societies the municipalities would be responsible for about 20 per cent of the cost. I cannot believe in the regional municipality of York the problem is one of lack of funding. It may be there has been a lack of specific proposals for the operation of group homes, or, if their zoning does not permit them, then that has to be addressed first.

Certainly my ministry would recognize that a growing municipality with young families and many children and teenagers needs some services of that type. Precisely what the requirement is I do not know, but first of all we must address the acceptance of the municipality.

From what I hear, you are a very prominent citizen in that municipality and you carry a lot of weight. I am sure you could do a better job of going after those regional councillors than you would lead me to believe this afternoon. If you are suggesting I move to that municipality and do your job for you --

Mr. Stong: Can I quote you?

Hon. Mr. Norton: As long as you quote the entire remark. I agree I need your help. It is important that you address that issue with the regional municipality. You are a prominent citizen. You are an opinion-maker. You can do something about it. Why do you leave it to me? I will assist you. I will even go with you, if that will be of any help.

With respect to the emergency assistance you mentioned in the case of this young man at the specific time -- I gather it was in the evening -- all I can say is that even if there were group homes there they might not have addressed his needs at that time.

4:40 p.m.

I don’t know what resources were known to the social worker in this case, but you know, I am sure, as a lawyer and as a member of the Legislature particularly, that we all get calls from people who are in distress at 11 o’clock on Friday night when all of the municipal services and so on are closed for the weekend. I am sure you have had those. I certainly have, and you know there are agencies within the community, whether it be the Salvation Army or other agencies like that, or churches to whom you and I can turn in the case of an emergency, to get some assistance for those persons.

A hostel might have met his needs if it had space for him, but if it didn’t have space for him it might have been necessary to turn to the Salvation Army on an emergency basis, until the following Monday when something more permanent could have been done.

I don’t think we can necessarily devise new programs on the basis of that kind of distress. I think those of us who are engaged in working with people who find themselves in need, sometimes urgent need, have to be creative. I think social workers in the province also have to be creative. I know they carry a great burden, but surely within the whole of the regional municipality of York there was some way that young man could have received some assistance overnight without having been left, as you suggest, to go and break into a home to cook himself a meal. I find that stretches my capacity to accept that.

Mr. McClellan: Mr. Chairman, I do want to point out that the entire discussion is out of order.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Very much of this discussion is not on the vote, I suppose, but we have been allowing pretty free-ranging discussion. If you can wind it up --

Mr. Stong: Very briefly, Mr. Chairman.

Again, I know you are not suggesting this social worker didn’t know what she was doing or wasn’t aware of the resources in the community. However, you have mentioned three different resources, the hostel, the group home and church and community resources or foster care. The fact of the matter is that it’s difficult even to establish a hostel in the area. You just have to witness the Yellow Brick House in Newmarket and the hassle it has had over the last year and a half. It’s still not sure it can continue to operate and provide the service for women, battered wives and young children. Its existence is in peril.

The whole idea is asking your ministry and your officials to demonstrate a little leadership in this particular municipality so it would be easier to sell the idea and convince them to change the zoning when it’s needed. If we had a release from you that the ministry backs this type of concept it might make it easier for us in the community who are fighting for these things.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I shall be very brief in replying. I think the ministry has demonstrated leadership, perhaps not of the specific kind the member would like to see, but the last thing we want to do is to usurp his leadership role in the community in which he lives.

I would point out that given the changes in the rules of the House that have occurred in the last little while, if he is suggesting what we ought to do is introduce a bill mandating that residential zoning in the province be such that group homes can be located in any residential community, I would hail that. I would suggest to the member that as a private member he has the right or the opportunity -- or to persuade one of his colleagues, if he wishes -- to introduce that bill. I can’t second it for him but I am sure the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) would, and there is your opportunity. I would even vote for it.

Mr. McClellan: I don’t want to prolong this discussion and I don’t want to make my zoning bylaw speech again either. The minister knows our position. You talk out of both sides of your mouth. The minister says it’s a human rights issue, which it is, and then in the same breath he says, “But we don’t want to resort to your Hitlerian tactics.” You said that a minute ago.

If you define it as a human rights issue then let me suggest to you you’re not serving the purposes of debate by that kind of invective.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I don’t normally use invective.

Mr. McClellan: You are the one who used the expression. I suppose it is inevitable that as we approach the election the level of debate in this House will sink lower and lower until you are firmly entrenched in the gutter. But I would ask you, Mr. Chairman, to try to catch this kind of invective as it is uttered.

The point is that voluntary approach is a complete cop out. If you had defined the zoning bylaw issue with respect to group homes as a human rights issue then the implications are totally clear that you have to remove the discriminatory provisions of the Planning Act which make it possible for municipalities to act in violation of human rights. Until you do that, you’re not going to solve the problem and you are not going to have the possibility of developing an adequate network of group homes.

We have moved resolutions in this assembly to precisely that end. The resolution of the member for Parkdale (Mr. Dukszta) called for that. We will be moving amendments to the Planning Act when the government brings that draft legislation before the House. The Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton) will then have a chance to vote on our amendment. Then we’ll see what his commitment to human rights really is.

Returning now to the item actually before us, which has to do with adult services, I want to ask the minister if he could advise us on what progress is being made in publishing the policy manuals for the General Welfare Assistance Act and the Family Benefits Act. I know it is the minister’s intention to release those two manuals. I am simply asking for a timetable.

The other question I would like to ask is whether the ministry also intends to issue the policy manual for the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Act? Is it the intention of the ministry to release all three manuals or just the two?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Without actually having been asked to, I will retract that reference to “Hitlerian” and substitute “heavy-handed.” I think the member knew the spirit in which it was meant. I did not mean all of the implications that go with the expression “Hitlerian.”

With respect to the manuals, it is very timely that you should raise it. Was there a leak or anything? Actually, it was my intention to release one of them in the House tomorrow as a statement. It will be on the Family Benefits Act manual tomorrow. I am planning to release the General Welfare Act manual within about another month, by June at least.

Mr. McClellan: What about the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Act?

Hon. Mr. Norton: I will release the legal aid one in May. I do not yet have a date for the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Act manual, but I will get back to the member on that.

Mr. McClellan: Just for clarification, you are intending to release the vocational rehabilitation manual?

Hon. Mr. Norton: I will get back to you on that.

Mr. McClellan: You don’t know?

Hon. Mr. Norton: I said I’ll get back to you on that. Just accept what I say.

Mr. McClellan: You should know whether you are going to release it or not. This is the only opportunity I have to deal with this until we get to the estimates in the fall. I will simply call to your attention the report that was done by Larry Fox for the Commission on Freedom of Information and Individual Privacy, a research paper entitled, Freedom of Information in the Administrative Process, which talks about secret law and specifically deals with the policy manual under the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Act.

The recommendation in the research document is quite unequivocal, that the manual ought to be released, just as you are intending to release the other two. In many respects I think there is more of an urgency for you to release the vocational rehabilitation manual. There are more contentious appeals going to the social assistance review board under the Vocational Rehabilitation Services Act than there are under the other two pieces of legislation.

4:50 p.m.

I am using the adjective “contentious” in view of the current brouhaha resulting from the Mekler case. I think it is incumbent on you to release that policy manual as well. I am prepared to wait until the minister mulls this one over. I do not know what he has to think about though, because Larry Fox has outlined the rationale for releasing it with absolute clarity and has refuted any possible arguments that you could raise.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I would point out to the member that I am not trying to be evasive. I cannot report to him on that at the moment in terms of updated status because the matter is out of order. Vocational rehabilitation services is not under any of these votes and I do not happen to have any stall from that branch here.

Mr. McClellan: I notice you took the other member to task for being out of order, but then proceeded to be out of order yourself.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I will take the Chairman to task.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Is there any other member wishing to speak in order on items 2 or 4 under vote 2902? If not, shall items 2 and 4 in vote 2902 carry?

Mr. McClellan: Just item 2. We want to deal with item 4 separately.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: I thought you were already asking questions concerning services for adults. You have more questions on item 4, have you? I am not trying to set you up. We shall vote item 2.

Item 2 agreed to.

On item 4, developmental services for adults:

Mr. McClellan: Mr. Chairman, I do not intend to take more than a few minutes and I do not necessarily want the minister to take an inordinate amount of time to try to reply to my questions here in the House. I do want to tell him there are some things I want to know about homes for special care.

First, I asked a question in the House on March 28 with respect to a request for information on any assessments that had been done of residents in homes for special care prior to the joint announcement on March 3. I have not had an answer to that question. I just want the minister to know I am still waiting for it. It was referenced again on March 28, on page 245 of Hansard.

Second -- and I am glad the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) is present in the chamber, though I do not know if he is paying attention--I do not know how so many people got into homes for special care. I particularly do not understand why there are so many children in homes for special care.

Perhaps the minister could tell me if I am right or wrong on just one point, that the only way for a retarded person to get into a home for special care is on a referral from a provincial institution. Either I am right or wrong on that point. I have been told by officials in the ministry that the only way a retarded person can gain admission to a home for special care is on referral from a provincial institution.

If I am right, then he had better be prepared to explain to me how the population of homes for special care has increased over the past 10 years despite denials from officials in his ministry that anybody was being discharged from a schedule one facility into a home for special care. That is something we are simply going to have to pursue. I think it is probably better to pursue that on the Order Paper, because I am not sure the minister himself knows why there are so many retarded people in homes for special care. It is about time we all found out why this has been happening.

Third, I would like to raise very briefly under this item the question of Brant Sanatorium. I used it by way of illustration. I had an opportunity to visit that facility in February, together with a delegation from the Ontario Association for the Mentally Retarded, and we looked at their program for retarded children.

We met with the new executive director, a very caring, conscientious man who has made an enormous effort to upgrade the program at the Brant Sanatorium. The visible signs of his contribution are throughout the place -- the morale of the staff, the rapport between staff and children and the new facilities that have been put into the Brant Sanatorium over the last 12 to 18 months. He has done a super job.

The devil of it all is that the ministry seems to be doing everything conceivable to hamstring the work of the staff. Brant Sanatorium illustrates the absurdity of the present arrangements for funding services for retarded people in this province.

I would like the minister to listen to this one --

Hon. Mr. Norton: Are you referring to the sanatorium in Brantford?

Mr. McClellan: Yes. Part of the facility is funded as a schedule two facility by the Ministry of Community and Social Services at a reasonably adequate per diem. Part of the facility, under exactly the same roof, is funded as a home for special care at a totally inadequate per diem rate. Part is even funded as a chronic care hospital.

There are retarded youngsters in all three facilities. Only those who are lucky enough, those whom fate has smiled on, who have ended up in the schedule two facility are eligible for an adequate program. The staff is torn trying to provide even minimal service to the children who happen to be residing in the home for special care or the chronic care hospital.

My question to the minister is: When does he intend to provide schedule two funding to the entire institution? How can he possibly tolerate this absurd situation? Surely we can look forward in his 1980 budget to a recognition of the program that has been achieved at Brant Sanatorium and the whole thing will be funded as a schedule two facility, with his ministry assuming the responsibility it should have assumed five years ago.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Technically I suppose the member is out of order, but I do wish to respond briefly, as well as I can, to the questions he has raised. Although there is a joint effort under way between my ministry and the Ministry of Health, at the moment the programs for the homes for special care are still within the Ministry of Health. I am not suggesting that this absolves me from any response.

He raised the question of how children have come into those -- first of all how people generate. It is my understanding that it is true, as he suggests, that previously the way most people went into homes for special care was on referral from a provincial institution. I stand to be corrected if I am wrong, but some of the homes, principally those operated by nursing houses, also have been open to private arrangements by parents placing their children. That is how, as I understand it, some children have come into the system over the last few years -- mainly by way of private arrangement.

We have to find some way to close that off and to make sure that if the children are to be placed anywhere they are placed in the most appropriate developmental setting. My ministry and the Ministry of Health have not been involved in a number of those placements of children that were handled privately by the parents, perhaps through the family doctor making a referral.

On Brant Sanatorium, all I am prepared to say at this time is I have discussed it. The Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) has discussed it with me. We have reached an agreement on the resolution of that situation and will be making an announcement before too long.

5 p.m.

Mr. McClellan: I would like to say I am not satisfied with the response on the admissions business. I am going to pursue that matter.

Hon. Mr. Norton: You are asking me about a program I don’t have responsibility for.

Mr. McClellan: That is precisely the problem. The problem has been the buck-passing between this ministry and the Ministry of Health. I will ask the Minister of Health when we get into his supplementary estimates in a few minutes. I may be wrong, but it has been my information that the homes for special care program is best described as a funding mechanism and that the only way a person is eligible to be funded under the homes for special care program is if there is a referral from a provincial institution.

I will be blunt with you. I am not sure there haven’t been referrals from your schedule one facilities. I am not sure there haven’t been either children or adults who have been entered on to the books of schedule one facilities and then discharged into homes for special care. That is a concern that is being expressed. I am simply saying to you that you are going to have to explain to us how it is that virtually 3,009 retarded people ended up in a situation of utter neglect within the homes for special care. You are accountable for that. You are responsible for the mental retardation program in this province, and it won’t wash to try to continue the buck-passing. We are going to find out where those folk came from with or without your co-operation.

Item 4 agreed to.

Vote 2902 agreed to.

On vote 2903, children’s services program.

Mr. Blundy: I would like to discuss with the minister the strike of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 3009 against the Hamilton and District Association for the Mentally Retarded. In information that has come to me and writeups in the paper and so forth, both the association spokesman --

Hon. Mr. Norton: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman: I would like to point out to the member that developmental services for children is a separate vote and item from the children’s services program outlined in vote 2903. I point out for the information of the chair that it is not in the vote before us today, but is a separate item.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: It is a little difficult for the chair. It may also be a little difficult for the members. We have allowed pretty wide-ranging chat before. If it is a long discussion I am going to suggest you leave it until we get into next year’s estimates.

Mr. Blundy: It is not a lengthy discussion.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: I am going to ask the minister, if it is a short question, to let you put it. If he has a ready answer for it, then all is well.

Mr. Mancini: A very proper decision, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: I am not so sure it is a proper decision.

Mr. Blundy: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As I was saying, I want to ask a question about the strike of CUPE Local 3009 against the Hamilton and District Association for the Mentally Retarded. It is very interesting to note in several writeups what both the association representatives and spokesmen and the union representatives have said.

The association spokesman says: “The organization has been trying to give more pay to the employees, but is restricted by the austerity of the ministry which provides most of the funds.” The union spokesman says largely the same thing, that they are frustrated when they see the province paying other public employees, some belonging to other unions, more money for similar work.

I would like to point out to the minister that a counsellor working for that association gets $9,300. As of April 1, a receptionist in the Ontario civil service, whose training and education would hardly add up to that of a counsellor with the association, gets $9,263. The particular one to whom I am referring has three and a half years experience with this association. That is one item I would like to ask the minister to comment on.

I would also like to ask the minister what his ministry is doing to get this settled to ensure that those people being served by the association in Hamilton and district will indeed have the services to which they are entitled and which they need.

Mr. Mancini: I can see now why he did not want to answer.

Hon. Mr. Norton: It was not a question of not wanting to answer. I was trying to point out that the matters which were under discussion were not before us, as members on the opposite side have pointed out from time to time this afternoon. I will go along with the fiction that they are before us.

The concern the member raises with respect to Hamilton is a matter of broader concern than just that particular community, as I am sure he is aware. I feel very awkward when I am asked to comment upon an ongoing labour dispute. I have to be careful not to prejudice in any way the rights of the parties involved or to inflame a situation where parties have outstanding matters in dispute. If I sound a little circumspect in my response, I hope you will understand my responsibilities with respect to services across this province and my unwillingness to appear to see a very simplistic solution which will involve in some instances taking sides.

I would point out to the member that the matter of disparity between groups of employees across Ontario is obviously a matter of concern for all of us. In reality it is not possible to redress those disparities in one wage negotiation. The issue is what is possible with available resources.

I indicated to the House last week that within my ministry we are taking a very close look at the situation across the whole of Ontario with respect to services, especially those provided through agencies that are funded by us, to try to get the total picture of the situation. I do not believe a response by me or by the government in one particular case is the answer. We have to recognize there is a broader concern that has to be part of any possible solution brought forward. I can only hope that in the meantime the parties involved in labour negotiations or disputes will act with the greatest possible realism in respect of the resources available.

Surely in a time when the economy of the province, of the country and of the western world is performing the way it is, people have to understand that not all inequities can be redressed at one time. There are disparities, but one could also say, and I do not mean this in a pejorative sense, that the person who went to work with various agencies went under circumstances in which there were some disparities at the time. To press for redress and try to close the gap within too short a period of time can really create some very serious disruptions in service.

5:10 p.m.

Mr. Blundy: I really wanted the minister to make some comments on the allegations that the problems are compounded and the actions of the association are restricted by the austerity of the ministry. I think that is the point.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I do not wish to get into details. I did not make allegations about the association, or are you suggesting the association was making allegations about me? I am not sure which way the allegations were being flung. If I understand what the honourable member asked as a question or a statement, the association suggested the problem was that the ministry was not giving it adequate resources. Is that what you are saying?

Mr. Blundy: The austerity of the ministry was responsible for its plight.

Hon. Mr. Norton: It is a question, I suppose, of whether under current circumstances the member opposite feels that an eight per cent increase is austere or that an offer of a 15 per cent wage increase is a sign of austerity. It seems to me, 15 per cent is not bad, given the way settlements are going at this point in this society across Ontario. What has to be taken into consideration is the aspirations of some individuals to catch up more quickly than that. If you think 15 per cent is parsimonious on the part of my ministry, then, boy, I am glad your party is not in control of the economy of this province or we would be in a desperate situation.

By the way, perhaps this is an appropriate time, as I have brought to the member's attention before, to say I wonder whether he has cleared that position with his leader. It was not very long ago that his leader spoke in eastern Ontario, in fact, very close to my riding, in the riding of the member for Frontenac-Addington (Mr. McEwen) at a $100-a-plate fund-raising dinner. The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) suggested that the government ought to slash spending. He may have sensed there were some rednecks in his audience. He suggested the area in which there should be no increase in spending, contrary to what this government is doing --

Mr. Mancini: He meant government waste.

Mr. Chairmen: Order.

Hon. Mr. Norton: -- was social spending until the economy of this province was in much better shape. I suggest you clear what you are advocating here with the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Warner: Mr. Chairman, I have a nonprovocative issue to raise with the minister. I would like to know very simply if the minister received from me last Wednesday a letter regarding the Youth Assisting Youth program and its plight. Why I raise it, as outlined in the letter, is that there is only a matter of a few days left in which to respond. The letter talks about some $14,000, a small amount of money for this government to come up with, to save that program. I believe the minister has had representations from at least two other cabinet ministers, both of whom represent Scarborough ridings, in addition to myself.

I have been associated with that program since its inception more than three years ago. I outlined carefully in the letter how the program helps to keep young people out of the correctional system. The success of that program is astounding. It is difficult to describe the savings in human terms. Because of the program, there are many young people who do not come in touch with the judicial system and, as a result, their lives will be more useful and far more pleasant.

From the cold cash side of it, the money savings are enormous. As the minister knows, every time we have a young person enter the correctional system, we are looking at a cost of around $20,000 a year; to keep three people out of that system for one year equals the total budget of Youth Assisting Youth, which has a success rate of more than 80 per cent with the 80-odd young people with whom they are working. The minister can easily calculate the tremendous savings that program has meant.

They come to him for a mere $14,000. When we contrast that with today’s announcement of the government being willing to plough at least another $10 million into the northern white elephant, then the $14,000 is obviously a mere pittance -- but it means life or death for that program.

I wrote the honourable minister last Tuesday and sent the letter immediately. I was hoping that by today he would have reached a decision that Youth Assisting Youth could expect to find an additional $14,000-plus being sent to the program before the end of the month.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Chairman, as the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) may know, many of the programs serving young people and others across Ontario are substantially supported by the province, but there is also a commitment from the local communities to assist them in maintaining those programs.

It is my understanding that in the past year we have assisted the group Youth Assisting Youth to the extent of $31,000, and that, along with all the other agencies that we are funding, we have committed to them an increase of eight per cent.

I believe the problem is that some of the local commitment to this program has fallen away in terms of local funding assistance, and we have been asked if we could make up the difference. If that were to be the approach that we would take -- and I am not giving a final answer at this point to the honourable member -- it could be an extraordinarily costly proposition. There may be some communities where because of very special circumstances they cannot continue but, generally speaking, if communities relax their commitment to serving young people or needy people in their community and just say, “You pick up the difference,” we simply cannot afford to do that.

I would suggest to the honourable member that another alternative might be that he volunteer to be the chairman of a fund-raising campaign in Scarborough to stimulate that community to maintain its commitment. I thought it was $15,000, but it was a substantial amount of money that the community was contributing which it is not going to. He, as a responsible member in the community, might well chair a fund-raising campaign to make up that difference. I suggest that would be a tremendously responsible thing to do.

As I suggested to one of the other members this afternoon, perhaps those of us in this Legislature too often confine ourselves to the purview of this building, our constituency offices and those more traditional approaches. The honourable member might make an admirable fund-raiser. He might be able to stimulate within his community a commitment that will see this organization continue for many years to come. In the meantime, I will give further consideration to their request. But, if he did that, it might even ensure his re-election.

Mr. Warner: In response to the minister, I will be brief.

I am quite happy to take on the responsibility that he is unwilling to assume, and I would be quite happy to do that as a minister of the crown, thank you.

The minister has a clear responsibility. He may wish to discuss this and enter into some wrangling over dollars with other levels of government; I have no such interest. That program has until the end of the month to be saved. The minister can get involved in all the wrangling he wants to with some other level of government. But I know that if that program goes down the drain because the minister doesn’t respond before the end of the month, then there are a lot of youngsters in Scarborough who will suffer because of it.

5:20 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I didn’t mean to incite the honourable member opposite to such aggression. I haven’t seen such conviction on his part since he was discussing the Magna Carta.

Mr. Warner: Just be unreasonable and you will see my anger every time.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Listen, what the honourable member is talking about, Mr. Chairman, is the community agencies, as I understand it, who are withdrawing their support from a particular agency.

Mr. Warner: That’s not true.

Hon. Mr. Norton: It is my understanding that United Way funding has dropped off for them.

Mr. Warner: There wasn’t any.

Hon. Mr. Norton: That was not my information. I’ll check that, but there has been additional funding from the community that is no longer available. If he is saying that every time that happens -- I could not possibly budget for the commitments of my ministry --

Mr. Warner: There is no point in debating it. All I know is you are ducking your responsibility.

Mr. Chairman: Order.

Hon. Mr. Norton: -- if every time some individuals within the community where these services are required decided that they were not going to maintain their commitment. That’s why I suggested to the honourable member that probably, in the interests of his own community -- not that he go to the local government -- he go after a commitment from that community to sustain this service.

We may have some differences in philosophy with respect to some of these things. I happen to think that a community that is prepared to make a commitment in terms of time, effort and dollars to the people within the community is in fact a healthy community, and that governments should not usurp that role entirely. Maybe you ought to approach it that way and urge your community to demonstrate that it is not losing its health.

Mr. Warner: Go and explain that to the troubled youths who won’t get your help now. Go and explain it to them.

Hon. Mr. Norton: You perhaps ought to be as aggressive as this with your constituents. I haven’t said no. All I’m saying is, don’t you dump all your own failure to address it in your community on my shoulders. You have a responsibility too.

Mr. Warner: I have one last question. Will you give us an answer before April 30? Yes or no.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Of course I will if that’s the deadline. I will give the agency an answer, yes.

Vote 2903 agreed to.

Mr. Chairman: This completes the supplementary estimates for the Ministry of Community and Social Services.


Ou vote 3007, ministry capital support program; item 1, capital support;

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Chairman, I have a very brief opening statement.

Mr. Makarchuk: Listen, you are going to provoke something and you will be here all day. Why don’t you dispense and deal with the vote?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: In that case I’ll be happy to defer.

Mr. Ruston: Go ahead, we’re listening.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: We’re dealing here only with the Wintario program, an additional $15 million which is in the supplementaries not because of poor planning, but is there and has been for the last three fiscal years because, quite frankly, at the beginning of any fiscal year it is exceedingly difficult to know just how many of the hundreds and thousands of projects that are under way will be going forward within the subsequent fiscal year, and how much of the funding will be called for.

Rather than start with an inflated figure in the budget, we proposed in this particular fiscal year of 1979-80 to start with a figure of 548 million. As the projects proceed, and as the funds are being called for, in order not to create undue delay in flowing the funds and creating a great deal of unnecessary inconvenience to the many fine projects that are being financed, we would like to flow these funds as they are required.

Mr. Chairman, this is something we have been requesting for the last three years and I think we have had fine support from across the House. We hope that again this year we could proceed without undue delay.

Mr. Mancini: Mr. Chairman, I would like to get some clarification from the minister reading the documents concerning supplementary estimates. It states this $15 million is for capital construction. I was under the impression that the capital construction grants were frozen and I wonder if the minister could verify that.

Mr. Chairman: I am wondering if these are the leadoff comments. Are there any other leadoff comments from the member for Oakwood (Mr. Grande)?

Mr. Grande: Mr. Chairman, I don’t intend to stay on my feet for a long period of time, given that we have already dealt with the 1980-81 estimates of the Ministry of Culture and Recreation and these are supplementary estimates that deal with 1979-80. What we are doing is, having given the money to the Ministry of Culture and Recreation for 1980- 81, we are going back to 1979-80.

Let me say a few words about the 850 million the minister is asking for. The ministry, back in December 1978, froze the capital grant applications, and there was a tremendous backlog of Wintario capital grants applications.

One of the things that disturbs me is that in the new Places To Grow booklet which deals with the first installment on the capital grants applications, we find that as of April 1, 1979, they still have to look at 1,300 applications. This means that, in essence, the reason the freeze on capital constructions came about was because Wintario was so overwhelmed with applications it was buried under them.

I would like the minister to be clear, and to say that, instead of pretending they were doing some kind of inventory across the province to find out where these cultural amenities were and what types were available.

There is another thing I would like the minister to answer. In the estimates I guess he considered it to be a question I was asking in jest. As a matter of fact, I was dead serious about it and that question is: Why is it that New Democratic Party ridings across this province are not getting the capital grants applications that either the Liberal or Tory ridings are getting?

Mr. Mancini: Because Liberal members fight for their constituents and make personal representations.

Mr. Grande: I see. To answer that honourable member, the political process is therefore obviously at work in terms of who gets capital grants applications.

Let me say to the minister that I want to find out exactly what is happening to those capital applications and if political considerations are part of the criteria of any group getting grants for capital applications. If that happens, then the people of this province who happen to be in areas held by government members have greater chances to get capital grants.

If that is part of the criteria, the minister might as well say so in his capital application guidelines and let the people know that is part of getting a capital grant. If the Liberals pride themselves on injecting themselves into that objective process, let them say so, because the kind of statement made by the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini) certainly does not do him or his party a tremendous amount of good out there.

5:30 p.m.


Mr. Grande: Let me say to the member that I do not consider that I have been on my feet for a long period of time. However, I want firm answers to those questions I have just put to the minister. I wart to find out precisely whether at this time the decks have been cleared of applications or whether you are still clearing Wintario capital applications back to 1978? If you are, to what extent are your commitments?

I suspect we have seen the end of capital grants. I suspect, as I have said many times before, that as soon as there is a provincial election you are going to come through with new guidelines for capital construction, wave carrots around and say, “Look what we are doing for you. We froze it at that particular time and now we are giving them to you once again.”

I want to leave it at that. I will let the Liberal Party deal with that kind of political injection into the objective process of capital construction grants.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Chairman, to answer the first question raised by the member for Essex South, the capital was frozen, as he quite correctly noted, but we have continued to meet commitments made in the past. Partially in respect to the question raised by him and in respect to the question raised by the member for Oakwood, I would like to say that as of March 14, 1980, we had something like $50 million in commitments to projects. We also had $50 million in reserve. In addition to that, in response to the direct question, “Are the decks almost clear?” we have only something like 200 applications to deal with, most of them in the medium-size range.

There is no doubt that because of this freeze we have been able to catch up with what admittedly had become a substantial backlog. I wouldn’t deny that and I wouldn’t apologize for that. I think there were maybe two good reasons why we declared a moratorium, if you want to use that word. One reason was to take a look at our priorities in order to see what needs had been met, what other emerging needs there were and how best to deal with them. The other reason was to catch up with what had become a backlog -- no doubt about it.

We are down to having to deal with about 200 more applications. I can assure members of the House the date of the election is not going to determine when the capital program will reopen.

Mr. Ruston: Ho, ho, ho!

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Nobody believes that? I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Mr. O’Neil: Do you know when the election is going to be called?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: It may coincide, but it is not my intention to proceed in that way.

On this rather interesting table that did appear, to which the member for Oakwood has referred, which breaks down the percentage of Wintario capital grants according to the electoral districts which are in the hands of the Progressive Conservatives, the Liberals and the NDP, I should say I did not instruct the researchers --

Mr. Grande: To make a mistake.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: -- to present this kind of information. For their own reasons, they probably decided it would be interesting to do so. There we have it on page 24. I was surprised, as maybe the member for Oakwood was, that it does look from this as if the Liberals have a somewhat higher proportionate percentage of the grants under Wintario. The Progressive Conservatives are second, and the NDP third.

I do not have the slightest idea in the world why that is so, but I do know it is not because of some kind of political patronage or hanky-panky. As I have promised on previous occasions, I will present the raw data of the researcher to Mr. Grande, and he can perhaps find out why this has happened.

I should remind everyone here that the Wintario program is a responsive thing rather than us taking the initiative. We do not go out to electoral districts or to anybody else and say, “Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a Wintario grant out here.” We wait until the applications are sent in to us. It may well be that the Liberal Party has been more aggressive in this, that its members have been moving along and helping their community groups more than the rest of us. I can certainly assure you that Wintario grants have in no way, shape or form been influenced by the political affiliations of people associated with the project.

I think that answers most of the questions raised by the members of the opposition.

Mr. O’Neil: Mr. Chairman, I have a few questions to address to the minister. You mentioned that there were two reasons you undertook the study. One was concern about what was happening in some of the areas in respect to capital grants, and the other that you wanted to catch up.

I represent a riding which has obtained a lot of Wintario funding, because we do a lot in the way of public relations to let our people know what funds are available, what they are available for and then, once we have got them, to make sure they are advertised.

We have had the odd little problem with the ministry office where some of these announcements were made by the minister, or made by staff, prior to letting the members know. I hope that problem has been corrected so that you do let the members know.

Mr. Ashe: It is nonpolitical.

Mr. O’Neil: You say it is nonpolitical, but sometimes it has been used as a little bit of a political ploy by you people, delivering the cheques and a few other things. I hope the minister will see that is not done in the future.

The minister is asking for additional funds to cover some of these capital approvals. When you have asked around the province for some input as to where these capital funds should go, I would suggest to you, Mr. Minister, that you also need a study within your own ministry to make sure that a backlog does not develop in the future the way it has in the past.

You have some excellent staff who have been overworked for the last two or three years with bundles of applications. There is no way, with the present level of staff that you have, that you can undertake to approve these. When you do announce your new capital setup, it would be very wise to look at the level of staff you have in that particular department and make sure you do not fall into the same trap again.

I was quite upset a couple of weeks ago when we received an announcement from your office stating that the noncapital grant announcement would be made on the Tuesday and on the following Thursday you would be announcing how the capital grants were to be set up. We did not hear a word from you, and when we asked for an explanation you said it was going to be based on that booklet. I do not know what happened with yourself or with your ministry staff, but there must have been some change in a matter of two days so that you did not make these announcements.

We will certainly vote for the additional estimates, but there are a couple of things I would ask you to have a look at. I would also ask you to give us an explanation as to why you did not bring down the capital grants announcement on that Thursday, when you had announced that you would.

5:40 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: First of all, Mr. Chairman, I would like to say I appreciate very much the supportive and congratulatory remarks the member for Quinte (Mr. O’Neil) made about our field staff. I would simply like to say I am similarly impressed with the dedication and the work the staff is carrying out, many of them working long hours, many of them going out of their way to help community groups put their projects together.

In this connection I would also like to say we too have been aware there has been a really onerous burden on the field staff. It is now our plan, in fact, it has already been implemented for the non- capital program and will be carried forward under the capital program as well, to streamline the staff organization somewhat thereby relieving the staff of some of their work and to facilitate and expedite the handling of the projects.

Mr. O’Neil: Mr. Chairman, on a point there, I hope I didn’t leave the impression it was only the field staff which needed assistance, but people in the ministry office here in Toronto have also been really burdened down with a lot of this work. I don’t feel they have sufficient staff in the field and also here to look after those applications.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: That is right, Mr. Chairman. The streamlining will be carried forward both in the field staff and at headquarters. Certainly the ultimate objective is to expedite these projects and move them ahead more quickly.

On the question of why I did not announce the publication of our report, Places to Grow, in the House, the honourable member for Quinte is quite correct in pointing out that at one point I had fully intended to make this announcement and at the same time table the report in the House, but somebody, either in my ministry or the Ministry of Government Services, was very efficient and the report was actually circulated before I had a chance to make the statement in the House. Frankly, I felt since the report had been delivered to all members of the House and to the public, it was redundant to be making a statement in the House on it.

Mr. Grande: You mean you didn’t know it had been released?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: I said there was great efficiency. It was released a little more quickly, by several hours or maybe a day, than I had hoped it would be.

Mr. O’Neil: On a point of clarification, I wonder if I could ask the minister a question. Mr. Minister, on Tuesday, you came out with the noncapital spelled out very carefully including what funds were going to be given and who they were going to be given to. Are you saying this new capital program will be based entirely on what has been said in that book and those are the guidelines right to the point we are going to be taking, or will you be putting out a further announcement within the next month or two to specify, as you did with the noncapital?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Yes. I am sorry I didn’t clarify that but certainly the report on Places to Grow was simply an interim report and was to be a document to form the basis for further discussion and consultation. This, in itself, does not tell us what the new program will be. That is going to come after another short period of discussion and consultation. At that point I will certainly do as I have done with the new noncapital program. We will be announcing it here in the House in full detail.

Mr. O’Neil: Could I ask the minister how soon we might expect to have that because of the many projects being held in limbo across the province? Many groups that would like to apply don’t know when to apply, they don’t know the guidelines. I wonder if you could tell us a little more specifically when that will come down and when these people can expect to apply for funds?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Someone suggested earlier it will come out at the time of the next election, which I can assure you is not the case, or is certainly not the plan, unless by coincidence. Quite seriously, Mr. Chairman, I would expect we will be finalizing our new capital program by the late summer. That is approximate but certainly it is not going to be years and years and ages away.

As I indicated earlier, we have pretty well caught up with our backlog, and the funds from Wintario are continuing to come in. We are as anxious as the other two parties, I am sure, to start our capital program once again.

Vote 3007 agreed to.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: This completes the supplementary estimates of the Ministry of Culture and Recreation.


On vote 3202, institutional health services program; item 4, ambulance services, and item 6, institutional care services.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Has the minister any comment to make? I am not asking for an opening statement; just a comment.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Chairman, I am not sure how far we will get today --

Mr. Conway: I feel a great speech coming on.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: My friend has had that feeling before. It has not always resulted in anything noteworthy.

Mr. Conway: A lengthy speech.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: A lengthy speech? Then I am equally certain I do not know when they are going to reschedule continuation.

Essentially, the supplementary estimates for the ministry, totalling $65.5 million, fall into two areas. The first has to do with ambulance services and provides for the continuation in 1979-80 of what was at the time, and this is not meant to be a pun, the pilot helicopter-ambulance project, which has operated so successfully out of Buttonville for more than two years now and which now is a permanent feature of the system. In fact, one might call it the forerunner of an expanded ambulance system in the province, inasmuch as in the next year a helicopter-ambulance will be added. based in London, to serve southeastern Ontario, and helicopter-ambulances and jet-ambulances will be added in the northeast, in Timmins, and in the northwest, in Thunder Bay for the jet, and in Sioux Lookout for the --

Mr. Nixon: Wasn’t the minister trying to close that down the last time we were talking about it?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Trying to close down what?

Mr. Nixon: The service at Buttonville, which was short of funds.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: No, no. Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to answer the aside from the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) by saying that at no time was any such thing contemplated. In fact, this is a great initiative of the Ontario Ministry of Health which has benefited a great many people, particularly neonatal cases of premature babies rushed from quite an area around Metropolitan Toronto to the Hospital for Sick Children.

The supplementary funding in this area is also to provide funding for increased costs we experienced in the year in air transfers within the province and in out-of-province transfers. It is also to provide for the fact that the revenue on the co-payment side of the ambulance service was lower than anticipated, essentially because there appear to have been more exemptions than were anticipated; for instance, for interinstitutional trips in ambulances. That is an amount that totals $4.1 million.

The biggest portion, $61.4 million, is in the institutional sector. This covers a variety of things. First, it provides for an increase in the per diem for nursing homes greater than we had originally contemplated, at the beginning of the fiscal year, would be required from October 1, if any interim adjustment were to be made. It turned out that, given the unanticipated cost increases in the year, particularly new settlements, we had to make an adjustment for the entire year.

Second, it provides for an increase in the comfort allowance, effective May 1, 1979, from $45 to $51, which had not been budgeted for at the beginning of the fiscal year or earlier than that when the budgets were finalized. It is also to provide for the funding in the 1979-80 fiscal year of a number of new nursing-home beds.

5:50 p.m.

The biggest amount is in the area of the hospitals to cover a variety of needs, including the conversion from acute to chronic status in a number of communities. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe during the year we saw about 350 beds in total converted to cover costs of rationalization in places such as Windsor-Essex, where a great deal of progress was made in the last fiscal year in sorting out and resolving problems of overlap and duplication and filling some gaps in services in that community among the hospitals.

There is also an amount for increased life support systems. This is one area which members opposite who have sat on the social development committee for any length of time know is a difficult one to forecast. Funds went to pacemaker implant programs in some of the hospitals and to some of the chemotherapy programs in some of the hospitals, and to provide for unanticipated increases, particularly in salaries and supplies in that year.

That essentially is what this amount is for. I don’t know whether the members opposite want to call it six o’clock now. In the six or seven minutes remaining I am at their disposal, if they wish.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Is the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) ready to proceed for a few minutes?

Mr. Conway: Speaking to that point, quite frankly, Mr. Chairman, I had not anticipated taking a great deal of time since our own estimates are forthcoming within not too many days. It was my intention to be very brief and perhaps conclude tonight, but if it is not the intention of others, I am quite happy to talk more than less.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Does the minister wish to move that the committee rise and report? I gather that the members of the NDP have a few questions to ask. Am I correct in that, the member for Brantford (Mr. Makarchuk)?

Mr. Conway: I want to make that very clear. I just wanted to answer your point, Mr. Chairman, as to whether or not there was any understanding we would terminate at six. If it is the desire to go beyond, I can certainly and will participate at length on some of the issues before us.

Mr. Makarchuk: Mr. Chairman, the same situation prevails here in that we will probably have more to say than in the time available now, I would suggest that perhaps we do call it six o’clock.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Does the member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) concur?

Mr. Breaugh: Yes, Mr. Chairman.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Timbrell, the committee of supply reported certain resolutions.

The House adjourned at 5:54 p.m.