The House resumed at 8 p.m.
RETAIL SALES TAX AMENDMENT ACT (CONTINUED)
Mr. Speaker: When we rose at six o’clock we were dealing with second reading of Bill 52, An Act to amend the Retail Sales Tax Act. We did not adjourn the debate on that occasion. It is my understanding that there is a different procedure for this evening.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I would like to move the adjournment of that debate. It will continue later on this evening after we consider several other bills.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Wells, the debate was adjourned.
CITY OF TORONTO ACT
Hon. Mr. Wells moved second reading of Bill 45, An Act respecting the City of Toronto.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I suppose on a bill of this gravity we would not normally have an opening comment, but I really think this bill has some particular significance tonight. Therefore, I would like to say a few words about it.
This House spent more than 25 hours last week with more than 80 prepared speeches in passing a resolution aimed in very simple terms at keeping Canada united and building an even better Canada. We sent along to Quebec our message that we did not believe sovereignty-association should be negotiated, that we were not for the status quo and that we believed we could build a better Canada through a number of mechanisms, one of them being a new constitution.
In this House, many people talked about the heritage of Canada, the things that Canada meant to them, and the history of this country. At least some of the speakers mentioned that very often many of the historical events of this country were not being taught in our schools and were not being remembered by people, and that the fact that these events were now being brought to light as we debated the future of our country in these very perilous times was a good thing and that perhaps out of that would come a better appreciation of all our history. Of course, the history of this country is a political one. It is a cultural one. It is a sports one. It is a social one. It covers a whole realm of personalities, places, times, events and things.
One of the things I have been very pleased about in my own borough of Scarborough -- and I know the other members for Scarborough here would share this with me -- is the fact that the school board in Scarborough, besides teaching history in what I think is a very acceptable manner, also has seen fit to name the schools in Scarborough after prominent historical personages. It set only one condition.
Mr. Nixon: Is there a Thomas L. Wells school yet?
Hon. Mr. Wells: No, there is not. The member should wait for my next condition. The only condition they have on picking a name for those schools is that the famous Canadian must be dead.
Mr. T. P. Reid: We can arrange for that.
Hon. Mr. Wells: For that reason, I am pleased my name has not been suggested. I have to offer one caveat to that statement also, because in the borough of Scarborough there is a William G. Davis Junior Public School. The William G. Davis school was named by the board in Pickering, and when that area, the West Rouge area, was annexed to Scarborough, the school became part of the Scarborough public school system.
This is a very important thing the school board has done. One of the schools that has just been opened has been named the Tom Longboat Junior Public School. It remembers someone who was an important sports hero in this country.
I was looking today at a book, Canada’s Sports Heroes, by none other than Douglas Fisher and S. F. Wise, and there was a picture of Tom Longboat on the cover. In an article written about Tom Longboat back in 1958 in Maclean’s magazine, it mentioned that the only remembrance of him was a two-foot wooden marker over an Indian grave near Brantford, Ontario, near the home, I am sure, of my friend the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon). That was the only monument the writer of the article could find to this famous Canadian sports hero.
When one reads the story about this very interesting member of our native peoples, one understands he was in his day the kind of sports hero whom some of us know today in hockey, football and baseball, perhaps an even greater sports hero. He ran his first race in Hamilton, which no one thought he would win. Apparently in those days one could bet on races; that was back in the 1900s. People used to bet on these races and no one expected him to win. He came down in a 35-cent bathing suit and a pair of 75-cent sneakers and he ran in the race and won and set a record.
He then went to the West Toronto YMCA where he belonged. Some of the members of this House, perhaps, have belonged to the West Toronto YMCA as I did for a few years. There they encouraged him, because he was obviously an outstanding runner, to run in the Boston Marathon.
He did go down to the Boston Marathon and there was quite a send-off when he left, because he had won a few races in between and was becoming famous as one of the best runners in Canada. It is recorded here, on April 19, 1907, he went down to Boston. It was a miserable day; it was snowing, there was rain, there was slush and the course they picked was mostly uphill. He ran in that race and finished in two hours, 24 minutes and 24 seconds, a record that stood for four years after that and was broken, as history records, only after the course was made a little easier.
Four days later, Tom Longboat, who now had become a sports sensation in the United States and Canada, came back here to this city. The reason I say he was probably thought of as an even greater sports hero than some today is that he came back and crossed over at Niagara Falls, and a great group went down to meet him. He arrived at Union Station, so this story records, and thousands of people with torches were waiting at the station to lead him from there to what is now the old city hall at the top of Bay Street, where Mayor Coatsworth greeted him and the city heaped its praise upon him. As part of that praise, it was decided they would give him $500, but for some reason, history records that $500 never passed from the city of Toronto to Tom Longboat.
Mr. T. P. Reid: It must have been a Tory administration.
Hon. Mr. Wells: No, it was absolutely not a Tory administration.
Mr. Nixon: You cannot blame Sewell for that.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I was going to say back in those days we wouldn’t blame the mayor of Toronto. I am sure my friend will remember that back in 1906 or 1907 was the beginning of the Tory years in Ontario after the long reign of Oliver Mowat and his few successors. The Tory years were beginning. I certainly have only read about it.
I might draw to my friend’s attention there are many people in the gallery tonight who are very interested. I didn’t mention earlier, Mr. Speaker -- I refrained particularly from mentioning -- that many of these people are from Scarborough and the area where the --
Mr. Ruston: You are not supposed to do that.
Hon. Mr. Wells: No, we are not supposed to do that, but many of them know where Tom Longboat Junior Public School is. So they are here tonight in order to see us conduct our business.
The point is that $500 was pledged by the council in the city of Toronto in those days to Tom Longboat, and for some reason history records it never changed hands. He never received it. Someone has dug this up just recently and found that he was promised $500 and it was not given to him.
The city of Toronto I think is to be commended for discovering this fact. They discovered it at very much the same time as we were opening the Tom Longboat school in Scarborough, which is I think an interesting and happy coincidence. We learned about it. It was found that the city needed some type of legislation, in order to pay that money with interest to the heirs of Tom Longboat, which the present city council of Toronto wishes to do. Normally they would do this by a private bill.
I think because of the generosity of the city, and because it does recognize a very important Canadian sports hero, we are very pleased as a government to bring this in as a government bill. The bill will allow the city of Toronto to make good on that promise that they made. They can now pass on the gift they said they would give to Tom Longboat many years ago to his heirs.
I must confess -- and my friend from Brant-Oxford-Norfolk realizes this -- we are not just sure who all the heirs are. We have named three of them in the bill. I am proposing we go into committee of the whole to amend the bill so that the city council and the city solicitor can settle the matter of who are the rightful heirs to this gift. They have assured me they will do that.
I am very pleased to be able to present this bill. I think it is important that we remember all the heroes of this country, no matter what sphere they may have acted in. I think this is a noble gesture by the city council of Toronto. I am sure the members of this House will be happy to support this bill so that Toronto may carry out its good thoughts.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I am honoured and delighted to support the bill. I have the special honour of being the elected representative of the Six Nations Indian Reservation, which is the most populous one in Canada.
I am also honoured to be an honorary Mohawk. I don’t know whether that gives me any claim to the distribution of this largesse but perhaps a small amendment could be put in the bill that would reinforce that.
Tom Longboat is still very much a hero in the Indian community and throughout all of Canada. Some of his relatives still live on the reserve; some of them live in the city of Brantford, and I know they are following the deliberations of the House tonight with a great deal of interest indeed.
The minister has indicated he is going to offer an amendment to the bill which will leave the distribution of this money to the discretion of the council of the city of Toronto with the advice of their lawyers or whomever else they care to consult. I think that is a very wise approach.
I have seen the wooden marker the minister referred to. It may well be the allocation of this money and perhaps the brief debate here tonight will stimulate the Indian council and perhaps others to have a more suitable recognition on the reserve. There is recognition there already but certainly the marking of the grave would be very appropriate since he is very much a Canadian hero -- a sports hero, but a real hero indeed.
The decision by the city of Toronto is to be commended. I don’t want to sound picky about this, but money invested at seven per cent doubles every decade. I don’t know whether seven per cent would be considered to be out of the way as far as an average amount payable goes. Presuming that the interest is not vested for compounding except once every 10 years, it would seem to me that the original $500 would be worth somewhere in excess of $64,000 now. I am not suggesting for a moment that the calculations by the city of Toronto have been perhaps improper, or let us say inadequate, but it is something for us to consider.
A sum of $10,000 is what one would call an eighth or ninth prize in one of the many lotteries we have. It is not as much money as it might have been considered perhaps a few years ago when you were a conductor on the railway, Mr. Speaker, and I was farming. As I say, I don’t want to sound in any way ungrateful on behalf of my constituents but, frankly, if this interest is compounded somebody needs another course in basic arithmetic.
The Longboat people are members of a well-known family in my area. I don’t believe there is anything pejorative in saying the Indian community is extremely interested in athletics and proficient in them. If you were to visit the main town of Ohsweken -- and you are certainly very welcome to do so, Mr. Speaker, and I would be glad to accompany you at any time -- you would find they have one of the finest hockey arenas in the whole community. The community itself is well provided with all of the amenities of any modem community by way of schools, municipal offices and other services. We are very proud of their accomplishments.
There are many other people from the Indian community who have excelled in many ways, but still no one has seized the imagination of us all more than Tom Longboat. I think he was a man who had a natural gift for athletics, but still had the motivation to put himself forward in competition and contest and to be successful and win.
He was employed by the city of Toronto, I think in the collection and disposal of waste of some sort, garbage, an honourable position indeed. I understand he married and had a family in this community. I believe he moved back to the Six Nations community on retirement and, as I have already indicated, his children still live there.
It is interesting to note that as the member for the area I received a phone call from a person not listed in the bill, Mr. Reginald Longboat, generally known as Connie Longboat, who indicated to me he was a legal son of Mr. Tom Longboat Junior and wanted me to do what I could to see he was recognised in the legislation. The minister has very properly, I think, indicated it is the donor, the city of Toronto, that should have the responsibility of distributing the money. I hope our comments here tonight will be read by some of the officials, or perhaps the solicitor of the city, who will know that Mr. Reginald Longboat should be considered for his fair share in the distribution of the money.
I am very glad indeed to support the government in this special legislation and to congratulate the city of Toronto in finally showing its good faith with one of its former residents and in favour of my constituents.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, I consider it a privilege to enter into -- I was going to say a debate but it obviously isn’t a debate -- the spirit of unanimity that exists in the chamber tonight.
I wish to congratulate several people. One is the city of Toronto for having the foresight to bring forward the suggestion in the first place. Another is the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, who has shown some considerable interest in it and has a very clear and good understanding of the background and history of the situation. The last is the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, who in some of his opening remarks was a touch too modest as to the input he had over quite a number of years as trustee with the Scarborough Board of Education.
One of the very positive policies that the Scarborough board enacted a few years ago, as the minister touched on, was the naming of schools after famous Canadians, including Tom Longboat Junior Public School. There are many others. There are the John McCrae Senior Public School, where I had the privilege of teaching for some time, Pauline Johnson Junior School, which is in the minister’s riding, and quite a number of others. Two that I am particularly proud of are J.S. Woodsworth Senior School, which is in my riding, and Dr. Norman Bethune Collegiate Institute, which I think is in Scarborough North, although I am not positive about that.
What happens is that after the naming of the school there is a conscious effort to research the history of the individual after whom the school is named and to involve the students as they come into that school in learning the history of the school. They learn all about John McCrae or all about J.S. Woodsworth or all about Tom Longboat, to find out what part this person had to play in the development of our very interesting and exciting history. I think it leaves an impression with the students and they carry that with them the rest of their lives. It’s a very good policy, a most positive one, and one I think that many school boards should pursue.
I am going to touch on something else, Mr. Speaker. While we are passing this bill tonight and paying recognition to a very famous Canadian, one who brought pride to our country through his achievement, I think we should mention that too often as Canadians and Ontarians we tend to be overly modest about our achievements and we tend to be very quiet about what we do. We don’t seem to publicize our history or make it exciting and broadcast it as perhaps we should. We have a lot to be proud of in this country, and certainly in Ontario, and we need to say it more often.
We are saying it here tonight. I hope that while it’s a unique occasion, it will not be the last, because I think there are times when this assembly can enter into a very interesting and lively discussion and pay tribute to a Canadian or an Ontarian of whom we are rightly proud. This happens to be one of those occasions.
In conclusion, I welcome the bill. My party is pleased and proud to support it and I commend both the city of Toronto and the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs for bringing it forward.
Mr. G. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I also rise in support of this piece of legislation. I, like the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, am an honorary chief of an Indian band in my particular area. Maybe that’s one reason we don’t have great success around this Legislature. We might have too many chiefs and not enough Indians. I do not know whether I also am entitled to a portion or a pro rata share of the Longboat bequest.
I put this as just a possibility to those heirs: Because the sum is not large and possibly when the municipality tracks down the heirs, the number of heirs who may receive some portion of that $10,000 or whatever the figure might be, will be large, I would suggest to them that sum of money could be used by them for some form of scholarship in recognition of Tom Longboat so that his memory would be preserved much longer, rather than spending those few dollars distributed to them.
I would hope that possibly, if they read this legislative debate, they would see my words in that respect and they would take that upon themselves. That would be far more fitting to the memory of Tom Longboat than what those few dollars might buy at present. I know, Mr. Speaker, as we mentioned last week in the debate on Canadian unity, there are many things that make us swell as Canadians, but nothing more than our endeavours and our athletic achievements when we go about this world and about this nation and about this province. They are recognized far more in our society than any of our other achievements which are no less great. It is those in sports that we seem to take greatest pride in.
I think a worthy memorial to Tom Longboat would be this scholarship in athletics, whatever form it may take. Maybe it should have the condition that it assist our native peoples or someone in the Brantford area to which he was so closely attached. I put that forward as an opportunity for these people to excel in recognition of that great and honoured athlete.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I too rise to support Bill 45, An Act respecting the City of Toronto, and first commend the city of Toronto, the minister and previous speakers for their thoughtfulness in introducing the bill concerning the late Mr. Longboat.
I am probably the only member in this Legislature who has actually had any association, not necessarily with Tom Longboat, but presenting a Tom Longboat award. At one time in my earlier days I happen to have been the chairman for gymnastics in southwestern Ontario and also the national chairman for Canada for approximately five years. It was my pleasant task at that time to go to the Muncey Indian Reservation and to present the Tom Longboat award to the most outstanding Indian athlete of the day and of the year.
I can recall going into the basement room of a school on the reserve that day and seeing all of the happy faces because one of their own had been selected as the most outstanding Indian athlete in all of Canada. It is all right to make a presentation such as this to Mr. Longboat. However, as the previous speaker, the member for Simcoe Centre mentioned, we too frequently forget about our amateur athletes, those who have trained and developed without the dollar bill in front of their eyes. Tom Longboat was one such individual. There are many others in our schools today who are dedicating themselves to excel in athletic endeavours and yet we don’t recognize them to the extent we could.
I know Ontario does have an annual dinner in which the outstanding athletes of the province are recognized. But I think something better than that should be implemented. I would like to endorse the comments of the member for Simcoe Centre. We recognize Ontario scholars for their academic excellence. I think the government should likewise recognize athletes in our school systems for their athletic excellence and academic excellence because I think an individual is a good athlete if he is also a good student. The two go hand in hand generally.
I am pleased to join with the previous speakers in paying tribute to the city of Toronto and to a former outstanding Canadian athlete, Tom Longboat.
Mr. Kennedy: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to comment briefly on this bill and to endorse the comments which have been made in recognizing this outstanding athlete. We in Mississauga feel we have a certain affinity to the Brantford area in that some six or eight years ago the former Toronto Township obtained town status and by an overwhelming vote it was decided to call our town Mississauga. This was subsequently upgraded to city status. The native peoples from the Brantford area came and shared in our celebration. There has been an exchange of visits and a great affinity has developed.
Part of the reason I speak tonight is in respect to this affinity. Certainly, in the past the town of Streetsville, which is now part of Mississauga, had a lacrosse team. We know many residents of that area who participated and exported very fine athletes to Streetsville and to other teams and made the league what it was.
I too would like to commend the city of Toronto and those who brought this forward so that tonight it comes to fruition. When we are in committee, though, I would bring forward a couple of amendments with respect to the name on the bill.
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, it is important that those of us from the city of Toronto might engage briefly in the discussion here. I am very proud the city of Toronto has pressed for this and very proud the government of this province has brought forward this bill.
Although I may be wrong in my history, I think the reason for the nonpayment way back was because Mr. Longboat became an employee of the city. There was a problem at that time, as I understand it, because of that relationship. I am delighted the matter has been sorted out.
I was one of those in discussing the whole question of the unity of this country who raised the issue as to the way in which our history is taught. I said then I felt that one of our real faults was the fact that our history is taught largely as political or constitutional history. We do not pay sufficient tribute to the heroes and the heroines of this country to give the kind of vitality to our history that our little people anyway can understand. Tonight marks a stepping stone in this House in the recognition of a great Canadian.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, in concluding the debate on this bill, I would like to say a few things.
I am afraid my two friends who are honorary chiefs will not be eligible because my research shows me that Tom Longboat was a full-blooded Onondaga, not a Mohawk and not an Ojibway. He was from one of the six tribes that make up the Iroquois confederacy. I guess that leaves the members out in the cold.
I would like to thank all the members who made contributions on this debate. Although this bill, in terms of the moneys spent and the events that can transpire from it, is probably of very small significance compared to many we do in this House, it has highlighted a very important principle of recognizing our past heroes.
I would like to thank my friend the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere for his comments. As I sat there listening to them, I thought for a minute that I was listening to a speech from the Premier (Mr. Davis). I heard him say we have a lot --
Mr. T. P. Reid: That is as low a statement as I have heard in this House.
Hon. Mr. Wells: No. I heard him say we have a lot to be proud of here in Ontario. That is what we say, and what the Premier says every time he gets a chance.
I mentioned in my opening remarks, and my friend from Scarborough-Ellesmere again highlighted it, the naming of schools in Scarborough after famous historic Canadians. I was happy to be on the school board at the very beginning of that process. I’m sure it wouldn’t take any great crystal-ball gazing to know which was the school I was instrumental in getting named when I was on the board.
Mr. Warner: J.S. Woodsworth Senior Public School.
Hon. Mr. Wells: No, it wasn’t the J.S. Woodsworth school. It was the Sir John A. Macdonald Collegiate Institute.
However, I must tell the honourable member I didn’t do it in isolation. I felt it should be the Sir John A. Macdonald Collegiate Institute but, at the same time, we should have a Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute, which we do in Scarborough. Both of them have become very proud, good and historic schools in Scarborough.
I think my friend the member for Windsor-Walkerville also stressed a very important point -- the whole idea of amateur sport, taking part in sports competition for the love of the sport and the fact that one could excel, and not just for monetary gain. Today, monetary gain in athletics is a common thing. I suppose anyone would feel that someone who had the athletic ability and didn’t get the big sums of money most of our professional athletes get would not be taking advantage of all those things that were available to him.
Here we have, I suspect, one of the first people of real principle, Tom Longboat, because I’m sure, although we can’t absolutely prove it, that the fact he never got that $500 was that he didn’t want to interfere with his amateur status. Taking that $500 back in 1907 would have made him not an amateur. That is what he didn’t want and that is what those around him didn’t want. We must pay tribute to him for that.
I am pleased that all members of this House have seen fit to support this bill. If we can move into committee, we can make a few amendments to it and it will then be in an acceptable state.
Motion agreed to.
Ordered for committee of the whole House.
House in committee of the whole.
CITY OF TORONTO ACT
Consideration of Bill 45, An Act respecting the City of Toronto.
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Kennedy moves that the long title of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor: “An Act respecting Tom Longboat and the City of Toronto.”
Mr. Kennedy: As indicated, this merely gives some identification to the bill more precisely than is currently contained in it.
Motion agreed to.
On section 1:
Mr. Chairman: Hon. Mr. Wells moves that section 1 of the bill be struck out and the following substituted therefor:
“1. The corporation of the city of Toronto may make a grant in the amount of $10,000 to Thomas C. Longboat Junior, Phyllis Winnie, Theodore J. Longboat and such other children of Tom Longboat as the council of the corporation may by bylaw designate to be divided as equally as possible among them.”
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Chairman, I brought to the honourable minister’s attention that another man by the name of Longboat has contacted me. Is there any process whereby the minister may undertake to pass that information on? I understand a certain amount of investigation has taken place. Would he like me to do it?
Hon. Mr. Wells: No, I can assure my friend that I have passed that information on to the solicitor for the city of Toronto and they are looking into that. It would have been nice to have been able to add that name to it here but the solicitor was not ready to give me the go-ahead to do that at this point. I think by doing it the way we have done, we leave it open to them. If, in their good judgement, this is a person who should be included they can do it.
Motion agreed to.
Section 1, as amended, agreed to.
Section 2 agreed to.
On section 3:
Mr. Chairman: Mr. Kennedy moves that section 3 be struck out and the following substituted therefor: “The short title of this act is the Tom Longboat Act, 1980.”
Mr. Kennedy: Mr. Chairman, this again further emphasizes and acknowledges a great Canadian.
Motion agreed to.
Section 3, as amended, agreed to.
Bill 45, as amended, reported.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Wells, the committee of the whole House reported one bill with certain amendments.
LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Wells moved second reading of Bill 42, An Act to amend the Legislative Assembly Act.
Mr. Speaker: I am sure the honourable minister has an opening comment.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, this is an amendment to the Legislative Assembly Act. The principle of this bill is to change the remuneration for the members of the Legislature -- in other words, to change the annual indemnity and to change the additional allowance paid to certain other members of the Legislature who have certain responsibilities.
As members are aware, a short while ago this House passed an amendment to the Legislative Assembly Act which came into force on April 1, 1979. That amendment provided: “That the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses should carry out a particular function on behalf of this House every year.”
The function, as spelled out in the Legislative Assembly Act is this: “The commission shall each year review and make such recommendations as it considers proper in respect of the indemnities and allowances of the members of the assembly under this act, and the commission shall report its recommendations to the Speaker and the Speaker shall cause the report to be laid before the assembly if it is in session or, if not, at the next ensuing session.”
This procedure has produced three reports from the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses. The first report, which came in on June 14, 1979, provided for certain adjustments in remuneration. Another report indicated the committee would be looking at this particular matter for this year. Then there is this third report which we now have before us, dated March 26, 1980, which recommends certain changes in remuneration for the members of this House, effective April 1, 1980.
For the benefit of the members of this House and to refresh their memory, the commission on election expenses is chaired by Arthur Wishart, a former Attorney General, who is known to many in this House. It is made up of representatives appointed by the various parties in the province: two from the government party, two from the Liberal Party and two from the New Democratic Party. It also has on it the Clerk of the House, Mr. Roderick Lewis. That is the group of people that through a subcommittee reviewed the remuneration of the members of this House and came forward with its recommendations in this report, which you yourself, Mr. Speaker, tabled in the House as you were instructed.
It provides for a basic increase in the remuneration of the members of this House in the amount of $2,500 for this next fiscal year plus, as I said, certain other changes in additional indemnity for people who hold special functions, such as Speaker, cabinet ministers, parliamentary assistants, whips, House leaders, et cetera.
The bills we have before us today, the Legislative Assembly Act and the Executive Council Act which will follow, follow exactly the recommendations of this commission. In other words, we asked what one might call an impartial body, made up of all political persuasions, to look at the matter of change in remuneration for the members of this House. That body has presented us with a report. The government must bring in legislation, as a government must do, but that legislation has not in any way changed anything that was recommended in the majority report of that commission.
We have before us this bill and the companion bill which will follow. I would recommend their approval to this House.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on this legislation with two paramount feelings: one somewhat of embarrassment and the second of trepidation. The first feeling results from the fact that when anybody stands, particularly in a democratic Legislature, to speak on a bill that will give him an increase in pay it is always somewhat demeaning and somewhat embarrassing to have anything to say about it other than “Ready, aye ready,” or “Agreed” or “I am in favour.”
The trepidation exists from the fact that the press, as is its usual wont in matters of this kind, tomorrow will no doubt pillory us, particularly this particular speaker, for the comments I am about to make, and not suggest but say we are probably, as members of this House, overpaid, underworked and not worth what we are already receiving.
I must say, having said that, that despite the comments of the honourable minister I am very disappointed in the report of the election finances commission. I have been here now for 13 years. I have been told by the leaders of my party, by members opposite, and by almost everybody just to wait and be patient and my reward will come to me. They tell me I will be paid for the hours I put in, for the work I do and for the responsibilities that I carry.
That has not happened. I don’t think it will ever happen. There is something wrong in our democratic society where the press particularly, but also to a large extent the members of the public, feel their democratically elected representatives are earning too much and in fact should be paid, as we heard from Hickling-Johnston Limited a few years ago, less than a truck driver or a second-year law student or a third-year accountancy student.
I realize when I stand here tonight that my remarks will be used against me by members of the Conservative Party, members of the NDP, perhaps even by somebody who will run against me for the nomination for the Liberal-Labour Party, to say nothing of the Liberal Party itself, but I feel after 13 years that I must say something about this issue.
I had lunch with a gentleman who was in private industry just the other day. He asked me how much I made as a member of the Legislature.
Mr. Nixon: A rather uncouth person.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Yes. I said, “Dad...” No, it was not my father. This gentleman said to me, “How much do you make?” I said, “My salary is $22,000 and I have an $8,000 expense account.” The gentleman was horrified. I said, “I realize in this day and age that is not very much.” He made the comment, and this is why I am standing here tonight saying what I am saying, “It’s your own fault because you have not educated people,” which is a function of all members of this assembly as part of our responsibilities, “as to what in fact you do, the hours you put in, the responsibilities you have and the trauma and the sacrifices you and your family have to go through.”
It is with that feeling in mind I speak tonight. I speak not for myself, although I will refer primarily to my own experience in this Legislature, but I also speak for those people who have been elected by their community to come here and represent it and who have suffered not only what all of us suffer as members on occasion -- the lack of privacy, the lack of home life, the hours away from home and family -- but also those people who have come here to make a contribution to the life of the province of Ontario and who have taken a financial, for want of a better word, beating or loss, as a result of being elected.
The Ontario Commission on the Legislature, the Camp commission, in May 1973, following a report of the 1970 New Zealand royal commission on parliamentary salaries and allowances, set out four areas in regard to members. They said, “a. The occupation of a member of parliament should be regarded as virtually full-time and professional in nature.”
Since 1967, I have been a full-time member of parliament. I have had to give up other business interests because, my riding being 1,200 miles away, I was not able to look after those interests on my behalf and continue here as a member. The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs spoke about Tom Longboat being an amateur; I consider myself, and I would hope most members here consider themselves, professional. I think we are professionals. We have standards. We have probably the toughest entrance exams to get into this occupation of anybody in the world.
Section (b) of the report says, “It should be assumed that a member of parliament has no other income.” For the majority of members that has to be true. I know in my case, and for many of my colleagues, there is no time to do anything else. Perhaps a lawyer might be able to practise on occasion; perhaps an auctioneer might squeeze in the odd thing on a weekend.
Mr. Riddell: I had to give that up.
Mr. T. P. Reid: My friend tells me he had to give that up. The point is that not only does the Legislature sit seven, eight, nine, on occasion 10 months a year, but also when we are not here we are in our constituencies or we are serving on select committees or standing committees, so it is a full-time job.
Section (c) says: “It should be accepted that members are married, with family commitments.” Very few are single, although we hear about the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton) and my colleague for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway). My friend the member for Wentworth North (Mr. Cunningham), following my great example and seeing how happy and broke I was, has decided he will take the plunge in a couple of weeks. When it says “it should be accepted that members are married, with family commitments,” this is a matter that probably is not appreciated, certainly by one’s constituents, often by one’s own political organization, that most of us are married, most of us have children, and yet politics is a very onerous job.
Studies here and in the United States have indicated the average member works 50, 60 or, on occasion, 70 hours a week. If one has a northern riding, as the Speaker of this House has, it often comes to even more than that because of the vast travel involved. As you know, Mr. Speaker, my riding is 1,200 miles from Toronto. I have to cover approximately 20,000 miles in total; on a weekend, sometimes driving a good portion of 2,000 or 3,000 miles at a time, and try to be back here on Monday morning.
For those people from Scarborough who are in the gallery still, I would like to relate a little story because it may be a little foreign to their own experience. Two weeks ago, I took Air Canada to Thunder Bay. I transferred from the jet to norOntair airline, which I am happy with, because for seven years I had to drive 220 miles to get to where I lived from there. I flew on norOntair, in a small Twin Otter airplane, and arrived in Fort Frances. An hour and a half later, I got in my car and drove 40 miles to meet some farmers. I drove another 40 miles to meet with some Indian people and some Metis. I drove another 40 miles to be in Rainy River for a Canadian National Railway retirement party.
I left that particular do a little after 10 o’clock in the evening, having left Toronto at 7:40 a.m. on the airplane, and on the way home I saw a number of deer on the road. I slowed down and I was watching a particular deer on the right side. Unfortunately I wasn’t watching the left side and a deer jumped in front of me. I hit it with my car and unfortunately killed it. It did about $2,000 damage to my car. The OPP were very nice, I must say. It is one of the hazards that don’t usually happen in Scarborough.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Did the deer have insurance?
Mr. T. P. Reid: Yes.
Mr. Laughren: The deer blew one point too.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Under section (c), it should be accepted that members are married with family commitments.
That reminds me of a former member here; I shall not name him but he was a friend of mine and I think he made a contribution to the political life of the province while he was here; he was a Metro member. Some organization in his riding had asked him if he could come to a certain event Friday night. He said no; he was sorry but he had other responsibilities and couldn’t be there. His other responsibilities were that Friday nights he set aside for his wife and children and they usually did nothing more glamorous than go out and have a hamburger and go to a movie. This they did on this particular Friday night.
They were in a little shopping plaza and they were just coming out of the movie. He had his wife and two children with him when the constituent came up to him who had asked him to come to the meeting Friday night. He said -- I will change the name -- “Harry, what are you doing here? You said you were busy Friday night.”
That’s a story that sticks in my mind. In fact he was busy; he was taking a night off with his wife and family and it wasn’t recognized or appreciated.
Section (d) under the Ontario commission and the New Zealand royal commission says, “Regard should be had to the sacrifices the member and his wife or husband have to make in respect of their enjoyment of leisure and family life.” I think I have covered that. In my 13 years here, I have been single for 12 years, and perhaps my commitments weren’t the same. But my leisure life and my spare time were none the less constrained because of the responsibilities of my riding and politics.
Because I am trying to do what that gentleman said to me at lunch the other day -- to educate people as to what we do here -- I would like to put on the record what we do here. But I would also like to quote from a book I have been reading recently -- unfortunately it’s an American book but the sentiments are the same in regard to politics. According to former Governor Robert Bradford of Massachusetts, “To survive in the toughest game known to man, a politician needs the hide of a rhinoceros, the memory of an elephant, the energy of a draft horse, the persistence of a beaver, the friendliness of a mongrel pup, the tenaciousness of a bulldog, the health of a sea turtle, the stomach of an ostrich, the heart and courage of a lion, the speed of an antelope, the kindness of a St. Bernard dog, the nervous system of a mountain goat and the humour of a crow.” I am not sure how that gets in there. And, said this gentleman, “All of these things combined are not enough unless, when it comes to a matter of principle, a man also has the ornery stubbornness of an army mule.”
I could add a few descriptive adjectives to that. I have been in my time -- and it has been a very interesting time being a member of parliament -- everything from a marriage counsellor to a credit manager trying to get a company a $20-million loan.
One of the interesting things that I recall in my very early days as a member was that shortly after I was elected -- I was single at the time -- I got a call from somebody I knew well in my riding and he said, “Pat, my wife and I have to come over and see you.” I said, “What’s it about, John?” He said, “Never mind, I’ll tell you when we get there.” Although you have turned very grey since 1967, Mr. Speaker, when you and I came in together, I was just a young pup of 24 then.
Mr. Nixon: Too young.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Yes, too young. These people came in to see me and started telling me their marital problems. It wasn’t the member for Victoria-Haliburton (Mr. Eakins), by the way.
I said, “Look, not only am I just 24, I am not even married. Why would you be telling me these kinds of problems?” They said, “Because you are so young and single, we think you’re pretty smart, so you have to help us.”
One of my NDP friends came up with one even I have not had in 13 years. Somebody phoned him at two o’clock in the morning with a dead dog he wanted to dispose of. I could suggest that perhaps disposing of dead dogs falls into the purview of that party and of its leader upon occasion, but I won’t do it. All I am saying is that the requests we have are many and varied.
One of our jobs is to respond to people and help them believe that the government isn’t that remote and isn’t that isolated, and that they can call their member of the Legislature, and we, representing the government, as on occasion unfortunately we all do whether we like it or not, can help them, whether it falls under our purview or not.
There is that, and while perhaps for some of us that is a minor function, to many people it is a major function. Obviously, our other functions are as legislators and lawmakers. In fact, through our deliberations in the passage of bills here in this House, we give form and direction to what we consider the collective will as to how the community will govern itself and live in relative harmony. That in itself is a full-time and very important job. To my mind, there is perhaps only one other profession, if I may put it that way, that is more important, that is, the ministry, for those who will go up there, although on occasion there are those here who tell us where to go. That is our prime function and a very important function that is not always recognized.
We have some other responsibilities, such as passing bills and the budget, raising money, taxing people and spending that money through the estimates procedure, again a function that I believe is not always well carried out in this Legislature, but one we are responsible for and which we are accountable for every time an election comes up, that could lead me into some irrelevancies about accountability and responsibility in our system of government.
The other function is to be an ombudsman to our constituents. We all represent anywhere from 40,000 to 100,000 people. We are the interface and the ombudsmen for those people who come to us who have not received, or feel they have not received, a fair and judicious hearing or a fair judgement from the civil servants or on occasion cabinet ministers as to their particular problems.
We have many other functions, some of which are educational. We speak, we go here and there, we appear, we have a ritual function of appearing as the person who represents all the people in the community or in the constituency. We have to go to this banquet and that banquet and appear at this convention and that convention. Those ritual things sometimes take an inordinate amount of time. We have to do them, both so people will know they can see us and so they can talk to us. In fact, it shows them the government is palpable and reachable. We combine all of these functions, some of which I have not touched upon. As a housewife would say, we do all these functions and yet we get paid very little for any of them.
One of the things that concerns me is the fact, and I am quite willing to say it, that members of the Legislature are grossly underpaid. I don’t suppose in my time here it will ever change. I say we are grossly underpaid in terms of what others in the private sector are getting, and what those members of the public sector across the way are getting. Of course, for those on the government side, although there are only six, as I understand it, who are not getting extra indemnity, it has to be a burden as well.
I am concerned. I must put it as honestly as I can. I have been here since 1967. I have been through the Camp commission, I have been through Hickling-Johnston and I have now been through the election finances commission. None of those three groups has said that members are underpaid, that they are entitled to more, or that they don’t recommend that we get it. It would be nice if somebody would recognize that we are somewhat underpaid.
It is interesting, and I don’t mean to offend anybody, that some of the people on the election finances commission are making $59,000, have chauffeur-driven cars and yet suggest that the rest of us should realize we are making a sacrifice to be here representing people. Most of us make that sacrifice in terms of time, in terms of the energy we use, in terms of health and a lot of other respects.
I must say what bothers me, Mr. Speaker, as chairman of public accounts, is I have civil servants coming before my committee week after week, and in being chairman of that committee for almost four years I have yet to have a public servant come before my committee -- perhaps the high-priced help under the benches could keep it down because I am getting to them right now.
In that time, I have yet to have a civil servant come before me who has been making less than $5,000 or $10,000 more than I am. I have been concerned about accountability and responsibility in our system of government as one of the hobby horses we all ride on occasion. In our democratic system in our civil service, I see damned little of it. I can tell you, and I would remind you, Mr. Speaker, although you need no reminding with the majority you have, that our accountability and responsibility comes up every three or four years. On occasion it is sometimes even every 18 months, such as the last time.
Mr. Ruston: When the Premier (Mr. Davis) decides to call it.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Yes. I must say it bothers me on occasion that my accountability and my responsibility are there on the line for the community to decide on, when a lot of -- and I don’t say they are necessarily high-priced help because I suppose if you compared them with the private sector, they are not doing all that well -- theirs isn’t.
The federal auditor-general has suggested that senior deputy ministers and senior management in the government be paid equivalent to those in private industry, and I agree with that. I also believe the second half of that equation got lost after the Glassco commission, that they should also be responsible and accountable for the managing job they do, and, if they do not do it, they should be turfed out. I feel, quite frankly, and I know I am digressing a little, that if I were a cabinet minister and I found somebody fouling up and making me look bad, he would not last long. But, in fact, they do.
I suggest, Mr. Speaker, if you look at volume three, Details of Expenditure of the public accounts of Ontario, you will be amazed at the people making over $25,000 listed in this book.
This is from 1977-78, a year out of date. In the Management Board of Cabinet, which is supposed to be overseeing expenditures, approximately 120 people are making over $25,000, and the majority of those over $30,000. They are not in much danger of losing their jobs. They are not doing what we, as members, are supposed to do here. Yet it goes on. I could read out, as well, the figures relating to the Ombudsman’s staff. They are amazing.
Not too long ago, as chairman of public accounts I got a letter from the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller), who is responsible for the tabling of the public accounts in Ontario, saying that we are going to change the system of putting in the people who are making over $25,000 in the Ontario public service because there are too many of them. We are now going to put in only those who are making over $30,000. That is amazing.
I would like to read, if I may, a list of what some civil servants are getting. This is for 1978-79, by the way: chairman, Civil Service Commission, $56,100; executive assistant to the Premier, $52,850; appointments secretary in the Office of the Premier, $26,775; director of communication, Ministry of the Attorney General, $35,075; counsel crown law office, civil, Ministry of the Attorney General, $37,075; director, research and evaluation branch, Ministry of Education, $40,870; chief, health manpower planning, Department of Health, $44,675.
I could go on and on and on. It occurred to me at one point that perhaps I should just take volume three of the public accounts and read all the salaries and the people who are receiving them.
Hansard cannot record this, but if you look at the Ministry of the Solicitor General -- a ministry that, one would gather in this Legislature, does very little, or certainly from which we get little information out -- there is a page and a quarter of salaries over $25,000 in 1978-79.
I suppose it does not make much difference. Those people who run will run. Paying members a reasonable salary, or a salary comparable to what they can get outside, the same quality of people will run. That is the argument presumably for not paying any more.
It is interesting that in my riding the NDP approached a school teacher to run who happens to be a friend of mine. He told me his answer to them was: “You have to be nuts. I make more money as a school teacher. I have July and August off. I know what Pat Reid has to do to earn that kind of money so you are barking up the wrong tree.”
Fortunately, the Conservatives have had the same problem. But what we seem to be about in Ontario, having worked so hard through the Election Finances Act and a few other things, is now to have made the Legislature attractive for only two kinds of people -- the very poor or the very rich. This Conservative Party, built on the middle class, is doing everything it can to discourage people in the middle-class area of the economic spectrum from running.
An article in the Toronto Star of Tuesday, May 13, 1980, by coincidence, has to do with the North York councillors’ raise in pay up to 20 per cent. It says, “If you are a member of the Metro executive you get $39,000 a year, one third of which is tax free.” I have another clipping here that says, “Sewell, Godfrey to Get Same Pay: $54,980.”
If you are a Toronto alderman and a member of the Metro executive committee you will be making $46,000 a year. If you are the fourth alderman on the Toronto executive committee you will be making $40,761 a year. There seems to be something out of whack somewhere.
We had before us somebody from, I believe, the Ministry of Community and Social Services. I believe it was the deputy minister. He was responding to questions and articles that had been in the Globe and Mail. It was about a gentleman whose name I have repeated often enough so that I do not have to do it any more. He held the position of hospital administrator One.
On July 5, 1971, his starting salary was $17,884. Then he started getting something called annual merit. The annual merit, for those who don’t know, is for performing one’s job satisfactorily -- it is not an economic raise. Here there was a revision, annual merit, revision, annual merit, promotion, reclassified position, revision, annual merit, revision, adjustment, revision, annual merit, revision, annual merit, revision. All of this took this gentleman from July 5, 1971, to April 1979, when he quit because he felt that he was not doing anything. When he quit he was earning $45,825.
The election finances commission feels a $2,500 increase is just what the members need. I suppose if one is able to sit back and make those kinds of judgements, one can certainly say that those people, whoever they are, don’t deserve anything else. But it bothers me because of my own experience. I have already related the fact that both opposition parties are having problems finding somebody to run against me. Most of them in my riding are obviously smarter than I am. They wouldn’t do this job for this price.
I can tell the House from my experience as the president of the Ontario Liberal Party that when I approached those people at that time to run as members, the first question they asked was: “How do I look after my family? What does it pay?” When I told them, they said, “I am sorry, I can’t afford it.”
I also have friends in all parties in this Legislature, and colleagues, who are too proud to make the kind of speech I am making, and I am not making it on my own behalf. They have to go out and find other jobs and other means of supporting their wives or husbands and family, because we in Ontario feel we cannot tell the people what we do, what the burdens of the job are, and that the members are making a tremendous sacrifice. If we were getting $60,000 or $70,000, it would still be a tremendous sacrifice for many people here.
It wasn’t that much of a sacrifice for me when I was young and feisty and single, but for many people to come here -- the majority, 99 per cent of them -- it is a sacrifice, and the money alone is not going to make up for that sacrifice.
There are those, perhaps, who will say, “Oh yes, but look at your pensions.” I would invite anybody who feels that way to look at the statistics. I have been here since 1967. There are 124 members in this Legislature, only 20 of whom have been here longer than me. The majority came in 1971 or in 1975. There is a turnover of 30 or 40 per cent every election. The 1977 election was an aberration. If we look at the statistics, whether here or Ottawa or anywhere else, we will find that the average stay is 8.4 to 8.8 years, here or in any other democratically elected Legislature.
Some won’t be here for more than one term. We have colleagues in this party, and every party has them, who have won once and then the voters have decided, in their wisdom, that was enough, whether it was for party or personal reasons or whatever. I have always been amazed, as an aside, at some of the people who have been defeated, but that is neither here nor there. The fact remains that they were defeated after one term of four years or, in some cases, 18 months, and they weren’t here very long and were not eligible for a pension. If they had stayed here as long as I have, or as long as some, it wouldn’t really keep them going.
Mr. Acting Speaker: I wonder if I might just interrupt the member for Rainy River for one moment to draw the attention of the House to the Speaker’s gallery where the Speaker is sitting with the Honourable Dean Brown, Minister of Industrial Affairs for Southern Australia. He is here as a guest of our Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie). I am sure the members will wish to extend their welcome, as well as the welcome of the Speaker to our honoured guest. I hope he is learning a little this evening that may be helpful when he returns to his own legislature.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Perhaps I could prevail upon the honourable minister to invite me to Australia, where I have some good friends, and perhaps I can do something for him. I can’t do much here, I can tell the House.
Mr. Speaker, I have gone on, obviously, too long, but I just want to re-emphasize the fact that many of us have had friends and colleagues who have come to this House prepared to serve the people who have sent them here and to serve their whole province. Some of us have lost those friends and colleagues through elections, through death, through frustration and through disappointment. They have left. Perhaps there are more traumatic and frustrating businesses in the world than politics. I have been involved in a number of them myself. I haven’t found too many that I must say compare with this.
I asked a friend of mine who is sitting there to my left last week why he would stay in this business. He said very simply, and I am sure he was truthful, “It keeps the adrenalin running.” That is probably as good an explanation as any as to why some of us come here and pound our heads, sometimes in futility and sometimes in frustration, though sometimes we break down those walls and have a small victory, such as over the public opinion polls.
When the former leader of the New Democratic Party, for whom I think everyone had a great admiration, respect and affection, retired from this House part-way through his last term he stood in his place, almost being forced to do that by those who knew he was going to quit that afternoon, and said one sentence that summed up for me the essence of that particular individual and I hope for all of us. “Politics,” said Mr. Lewis, “is ennobling.” I hope for some of my friends and colleagues that it doesn’t have to continue to be impoverishing.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, I wish at the outset to commend the member for Rainy River for his remarks. He knows full well, as all of us do, when a member stands here to speak about his pay it can be seen first to be self-serving only and that it can be easily viewed by the media as if the members are being somewhat greedy since, because the members have the ability to set their own wages, they will abuse that privilege. The member for Rainy River certainly showed some courage in putting forward what I think, unless I am totally wrong, is a fairly commonly held view among many of the members, if not the majority of the members of this assembly.
For my part, I am very disappointed with the report that came forward, for a very basic reason. I think that commission was given sufficient information that it knew full well there should be a very sizeable increase in salaries, though sizeable is a relative term, but not necessarily to be gained in one jump. Yet for reasons which I do not understand, the commission failed to put that into words in its report and failed to put a figure to it.
I cannot help but believe they knew that from everything they had been told, and not just from the members of this assembly and not just from the comparative statistics which they collected. There was one member of the commission who dared to set down in figures what she thought was a reasonable sum of money for the members of this assembly to receive, and I applaud her for having done that.
Of course it is awkward for members to stand and talk about their pay. When I first ran in 1975 one of the items that I carried forward is part of the debate was that members of the assembly should have their salaries looked at with an independent view annually, so that we weren’t getting these giant increases every four years. I called for a regular annual review of the salaries and an independent view.
I can’t help but wonder what happened at the commission stage to some of the arguments the member for Rainy River has put forward and which other members put forward. One of the studies compared salaries with those of other professions -- police constable, first-class mechanic, long-haul truck driver and so on.
I think they also realized that there were other expenses involved. I can’t speak for members from outside Metro Toronto, but my riding is in Metro Toronto. My job here is full-time. The 70 hours a week on average that I put in prevents me from having an active role in any repair work around the home, the kinds of general maintenance items that are involved with a home.
Mr. Swart: That might be a blessing in disguise.
Mr. Warner: That may be a blessing in disguise, but none the less it means that we have to contract someone to make the necessary repairs and so on. I recall one report that brought that forward -- that $4,000 to $5,000 a year would be spent on average by members in order to carry out the kinds of maintenance, et cetera, that members would not have the time to take care of.
This is my only source of income. I am quite proud of the position I have. I do try to serve my constituents, both the constituents in my riding and those throughout the province. I take every opportunity to travel with either committees of my caucus or committees of the assembly to various parts of this province, to get a better understanding of places outside of Metro Toronto. When we have bills in the House that deal on a broad scale, I would hope all members of the assembly would have some knowledge of different parts of Ontario.
I know some members have chuckled about my interest in the rural communities of Ontario, but I have some views about rural Ontario, and I have taken the time and trouble to try to understand rural Ontario. Similarly, I have tried to understand the forest regions and the steel-making process and so on. It is a part of our responsibility, as individual members.
The member for Rainy River mentioned that he doesn’t have a family right now. I have two young children and, quite frankly, I do set aside some time each week. Sunday is our day that we spend as a family, but that doesn’t always go uninterrupted. There will be demands put upon me from time to time on a Sunday, and I do my best to comply with that.
I guess what really bothers me is that none of us complains about that. That’s part of our job. We did not have to run for public office. No one forced us to run for office. We decided, for whatever reasons, that we would stand for public office. What bothers me is that having made that decision and having taken our responsibilities seriously, the commission knowing full well what those responsibilities are and how seriously the members attempt to fulfil them, I do not understand why they did not have the courage to say so in terms of our salaries.
They could have done that. I stress they did not have to give us a report that said, “You should get a $10,000 increase this year, or whatever it is.” But they could at least have set out a goal that after two or three years, whatever it is going to be, there is a certain level at which salaries should be, some kind of recognition of the professional attitudes, the sacrifices and the responsibilities the members have.
I stress to you, Mr. Speaker, all of us accept the responsibilities and I think for the most part we enjoy them. I do not begrudge the 2 a.m. phone calls. I do not begrudge it when some person phones me out of desperation because he has been arrested by the police and has no legal representation and wants to know how he can get that. That is my job, and I try to do it the best I can. Every other member in here does the same thing. When a single-parent mother phones, desperate for housing, and she has a couple of children and has been abandoned by the husband and does not know where to turn and has no source of Income, every one of us does the best we can to help her.
The message from many of the members of the assembly -- I would not presume to speak for all back-benchers -- is that when we have an independent commission, as we now have, charged with the responsibility of looking at salaries, it should in clear conscience give us that report.
I understand one of the reasons they did not bring forward that report, or the report they knew should be forwarded, was that they felt it would not be politically acceptable. With respect, the political decision rests here. I would like that commission to make an independent judgement and leave the political decision to the politicians. If we, in our wisdom, decide to accept the report, then we live with the consequences.
If that commission brings in a report that recommends a sizeable increase over a certain period of time and the public does not like it, it is not going to vote against the commission. Those people do not stand for elected office. The public is going to vote against us and that is our responsibility. If my constituents are not sure what I do or how I represent them, that is my fault. I have a responsibility to make sure my constituents understand what I am doing and I respond to their needs as best I can.
In conclusion, we will support the bill. I would hope at some point the commission can address itself to the long-term problem. I do not think they have in this report, and I look forward to a far more positive report in the future.
Mr. McCaffrey: Mr. Speaker, I had not planned to make any comments when I came in but I was impressed with the candour of the member for Rainy River speaking to what is clearly a difficult and sensitive topic for everyone. I want to make what I hope will be a new contribution to the topic.
In this period of extraordinary inflation, I find the topic of job comparison frankly most unsatisfactory. I respect the fact that it is a useful tool to compare various professional group incomes but I find that a difficult task.
On the broader question of remuneration of MPPs specifically and how much of an obstacle it is to get people to serve, I wanted to comment because I think there is a far greater obstacle for people going into public service and that is the obstacle of job security. I am not thinking of those people who might own small businesses, and there are some in this chamber. I am not saying it is easy for them, but it may be easier for someone who owns a small or family business to be able to get another member of the family to look after the affairs of that business while he or she goes into public service.
Rather, I am thinking of a broader group, people who are otherwise employed in the business community. That is one of those catch-all phrases but it will have to do for the moment. Those are the people for whom the question of remuneration doesn’t even come up. They don’t get to that point because for the vast majority of men and women working in Ontario the obstacle is to get a reasonable and fair leave of absence from his or her firm where there would be some reasonable expectation of job security during the short or long term the person is in this chamber. I think that is by far the greatest obstacle in getting people into public service.
I had the opportunity to teach school for a few years after leaving university and was a member of the teachers’ federation. That was in the early 1960s and if my memory serves me well, I believe the federation had guidelines that were very clear. If a member of the federation was elected to whatever level of government, his job would be protected, as I recall, to some extent. I recall there were annual increments available upon returning to the classroom that would reflect the years he or she spent in public service, which would clearly round them out a bit better.
I take my hat off to most unions, which I think have similar provisions for allowing members to get into public service. In that sense, they might even encourage them to do so. I publicly compliment union leadership for taking that step. This leaves us with this large group of people, the so-called business community for whom that is the single biggest obstacle.
Overshadowing by far the question of how much money one makes while in public service is the more burning question of what happens when one either quits or is defeated. I know people who have run in the past and, frankly, whose jobs were on the line and whose employers told them that if they got elected they would be promised nothing in the way of pension protection or any other kind of job security.
The member for Rainy River mentioned that we had some educating to do, educating of the public about some of the day-to-day problems and work loads of members. I agree with that. I do think we have another educational challenge and that is to inform people, particularly the owners and senior and middle management of various firms who often go around mouthing the fact they want to see more people in the business community get into public life. We have all heard it. Yet, damn it, not enough of these people have attempted to remove those very real obstacles to permit their people to do so.
Frankly, I think all of us could do something to educate these people to tell them they can’t have it both ways, that if they want people in public life, they have to make it easier even if it means simply protection of pension guarantees or whatever it is to give people a feeling of job security, a feeling that they had a place to go back to when they quit or left. I think quite honestly that is a much more serious consideration than the matter of annual remuneration at this time and one we would all be well advised to encourage people to think more about.
We are getting to a dangerous point in our society where only a very select group can consider actively running for public office and that group is reduced somewhat when its members get down to the nitty-gritty of determining whether or not they can afford it. Those are private decisions when they do get to that first stage, but for the vast majority of people it is not even a consideration because they know in most instances they would not likely get the kind of reasonable job protection, job guarantee or pension protection from their employer when they left.
I have read examples, and I think everybody must have seen them, of people who ran for the New Democratic Party, the Liberal Party and this Conservative Party who have had their jobs in jeopardy. The biggest risk they faced was election. I think that is something that is deplorable. I don’t think government has a role to play in that. If there is one, it eludes me how a government could legislate a fair mindedness among business leaders.
I go back to the educational responsibility we all have to encourage this. For the next generation, it will be much more important to pave the way and make it easier for regular people who are not independently wealthy and who are not prepared to take these sacrifices in terms of remuneration and job security, but who should get in and make their contribution in this chamber.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I want to support the comments made by some of my colleagues in the House. The member for Rainy River went into great depth and was fully justified in saying the things he said. He said what he had to say and showed a certain amount of courage and a certain amount of guts.
Everyone speaking on this type of legislation feels somewhat apprehensive, which I think is normal. I would have hoped after all this while that somehow we would have found a mechanism whereby we would not be involved in the process of setting remuneration for members, that we could have found the mechanics of a system whereby remuneration would not be something that would be discussed and that we would not be deciding ourselves.
For that reason, I have great admiration for what the member for Rainy River and the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere said and for the contribution just made by my colleague the member for Armourdale. These are all different points of view that clearly point out that there are serious deficiencies. I am afraid these deficiencies will continue unless somebody is prepared to give this matter the importance it deserves. I don’t think we will be able to do it ourselves. It has to be removed somehow from the process that has already been initiated.
I think the member for Rainy River has said this, but it was very unfortunate -- and I say this very sincerely and I don’t want to be overly partisan in saying it -- when the Premier (Mr. Davis) back in 1973-74 decided to make a statement freezing the remuneration of members. What has happened is that it was mostly a freeze put on remuneration that especially affected the members of the opposition, because, as my colleague has pointed out, most of the members of the government party had a place in government or had some other remuneration as a parliamentary assistant or Minister without Portfolio or on various boards and commissions. That left very few members who were not making extra remuneration elsewhere.
During that time, other forums -- and I am talking about the federal government and the National Assembly in Quebec -- have proceeded with their increases to a point where today, unfortunately, the disproportion between those assemblies and the Legislature of Ontario is such that it has no basis, it has no logic, it does not make sense. I do not see why we in Ontario continue to treat this place as though it is a second-class type of government.
In some areas, as my colleague has said, it may even be third rate, because members of municipal governments and councils are now receiving more remuneration. Not only are they in a better position to receive more remuneration, but also they can carry on other occupations at the same time as they serve on municipal council.
I have been around here since 1971 and I am speaking for all members when I say I have great admiration for the sacrifices made by so very many members. As my colleague has said, if something is not done, basically the only people who will be able to serve here are people who are very wealthy or who have some other type of financial security, people who are single or retired, or people who have some other type of occupation that will allow them to serve as members of the Legislature. In other words, they will have to be, basically, on a part-time basis.
Mr. Speaker, I have mentioned that I do not see why the National Assembly in Quebec or the federal government should have television -- you know the quality of electronic recording going on in those places -- and we should not have it here. We had occasion to experience it last week and I think it is well-deserved when I see moneys spent in other areas of government services.
These are all things that have a tendency to degrade, to put this place on a lower level than other assemblies. That is of concern to me.
I have never made any secret in my case that my remuneration is supplemented by a law practice, just as the remuneration of many other members is supplemented by other types of business or profession. Given a choice, I would much prefer to be able to do this job on a full-time basis. I enjoy what I am doing here much more than what goes on in the law practice.
I do not want to degrade the law practice at all, but that is a fact. I wish I could do it, but I cannot, considering that I am the sole breadwinner, married with a family of two children. I had a thriving law practice before getting into this business and, at times, have neglected it for the demands of this job. Back in 1975-76, to all intents and purposes, I practised very little law.
I must be careful of the kibitzing that goes on in this place when I appear or disappear, one of the two. I take a lot of ribbing. Last weekend, one of the Ottawa papers decided to take a full broadside at the fact that Roy was a part-time MLA. I have never hidden that fact. It is fair ball. I am in the public domain, and people can write what they want. My colleagues on all sides can make comments, and that is fine. We are into this business and if we do not like it, we can get out, I suppose.
The fact is that, given this opportunity, I feel it is important that my performance not be judged exclusively, as the article has done, on the number of hours I spend in this place. The reporter said, for instance, that the House sits on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, but mostly I was here on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He did not mention that on Mondays we sit for four hours and on Fridays we sit for three hours. I felt that approach was unfair.
There was no mention, for instance, that I felt I must supplement my income because I am working 70 or 80 hours a week. That is week in and week out, but there was no mention that we are putting in those hours. I think very few of my colleagues are working 40 hours a week in this job.
Mr. Martel: They don’t get me elected to work 40 hours a week.
Mr. Roy: I agree with my colleague. I think those who think they can work on that sort of basis will not get re-elected. In other words, the role of a member of the Legislature is to be available when he is needed.
I should respond to the article to some degree. It made it appear that the worth of a member of the Legislature is based on how many hours he happens to sit in this House. I think that was very unfair and, in my opinion, very biased. If some reporter or some newspaper wants to play up the fact that a member is supplementing his income, I would hope that it would be done in the proper context.
Some of my colleagues do not supplement their income in any way, but many members do. It should be put in that context and not made to appear that because some member does not spend the same amount of hours as somebody else his contribution is not the same and, therefore, he is cheating the taxpayers of the province.
I would also hope, in closing, that in the whole process we are discussing here this evening -- which makes everybody so uncomfortable every time we do it -- somehow we would find a process to get out of this and let somebody else do it. Then we would not be facing a situation where we are sort of blowing our own horn. We keep talking about a conflict of interest. If ever there was a conflict of interest, it is this situation here where we are talking about increases in our own remuneration. I would hope we would find some way of getting out of that process.
Some of my colleagues have mentioned remuneration in other fields. I have a cousin who just graduated from the University of Toronto as a bachelor of commerce. The first job he got was with the Bank of Nova Scotia at a salary of $24,000 a year. It is some indication of how we, as members of the Legislature, are remunerated. We are supposed to be the second most important level of government. We are in the largest and most important province in Canada.
To keep the level of remuneration at this level is not fair to the members. There must be some mechanism whereby the remuneration for members of the Legislature will fit their responsibility and will give this place and the members themselves, in my opinion, the status they deserve.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I rise just to make three points and, perhaps, to concur with what other members have said. I guess this is something of a nonpartisan debate, something like the one we had in this House last week. This is one subject on which we can agree to a greater extent than we normally do in the debates in this House.
The first point I want to make is the very real difficulty there is in setting our own remuneration. As members of this House know, I spent some 21 years on municipal council. If anything, I think it is even more difficult for them to set their remuneration because they do it more in the glare of the public than we do even here. For many years the opposition could always criticize the government if it brought in a bill to raise other remuneration, although that was not usually done to any great extent because the members were the beneficiaries of that themselves.
But I found that in municipal life, and I am sure others in municipal life have found the same thing, particularly a number of years ago, there were great variations in the remuneration that was paid between one council and another, even though the municipalities may have been approximately the same size. It depended on the composition of the councils, the amount of money they needed and their various approaches to it.
I know there are many rural municipalities that didn’t pay any remuneration to the members of council. For numbers of years, that was the practice. Other councils paid fairly substantial remuneration. Sometimes one would get people on council who would take the attitude, “Well, I am going to lose votes if I raise the pay and I want to make the people believe I am doing this as a public service and don’t want any remuneration for it.”
The fact is that for people in public positions such as councils, such as we are here, or at the federal level of government, it is very difficult to assess the matter of remuneration objectively. I concur with my colleague from Scarborough-Ellesmere, and I suppose most of the rest of the House will say, that although the final decision has to be made by a political body such as this, we certainly need the commission, or some independent body removed from it, that can look at the service being given and the responsibility the legislators have, and set an appropriate remuneration. I think that has to be the case.
I think there has to be some equality of remuneration, whether it is between councils or from one Legislature to another, and that the situation does exist where there has to be a commission which does a very thorough examination and makes long-term recommendations for remuneration.
The second point I want to make, or perhaps concur in, is that money perhaps is not a major consideration when people decide whether to run for office. Perhaps it should not be a major consideration when people decide whether to run for this Legislature or municipal council. There are many factors which enter into their decision, but certainly there should be adequate remuneration so people don’t suffer, at least excessively, when they do take public office.
The member for Armourdale (Mr. McCaffrey) mentioned there may not be any way we can resolve this problem of people losing jobs and losing their future. There may well be a legislative way we can resolve that. I presume there are quite a number of people in the same situation as I was when I was elected to this Legislature. The policy of the company where I was employed was that one gets one term of office in this Legislature. If one runs a second time, while one may not get elected, one is no longer an employee of that company.
I had been in this House some 20 months when I ran for re-election. I received a notice as soon as I was officially nominated that my service with the company was terminated. Fortunately, I was re-elected. The company is a good company in most ways, but in that respect it was not. It was not anything special against me, because there had been a Liberal member employed by that company who was elected to the federal Legislature who served one term and he had no job to return to because he ran a second time.
Many people who have a business of their own, particularly if it is a small business, are perhaps in an even worse situation than that, if it is possible to be in a worse situation than that. There cannot be any security for this job, but at least there should be some minimum legislation to provide that people do not suffer excessively because of running for public office.
Having said that, I think it is generally true to say that those people who are able to secure a nomination from their own party and are able to get elected to the Legislature, they have the competence, if they are defeated, to go out and get themselves another job, even if they are getting into their 60s.
The third point I want to make is that we should be sure we do not overpay ourselves. I might even go so far as to say we perhaps should not pay ourselves in line with the responsibilities we have in this Legislature, or for the number of hours we put in. If we are going to do our job, we must continue to have the respect of the people of this province. If they consider that the members of the Legislature receive excessive remuneration, not only do they rather resent it, but also they feel they are out of touch with the realities of most of the other people within their ridings. Therefore, if we are going to err on the amount of remuneration being paid to the members here, I would rather err a bit on the side of underpayment than I would on overpayment. As members serving the public, we not only must be primarily interested in serving our constituents, but also we must have that perceived as our main motive as well.
I support this bill. I must say I feel we are getting just about the amount of remuneration that should be paid to the members of this Legislature.
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, my colleague has provoked me into speaking on the bill. I think there is a different perception among members, depending upon their age, their family responsibilities and whether they have something to go back to if they are defeated or wish to get out in order to preserve their sanity.
For example, I have a federal colleague who was defeated in the last federal election and who to this day is unemployed. It is the same situation provincially.
Mr. Nixon: Like a million Canadians.
Mr. Laughren: Yes, he just joined the other million. I am in the same position myself. There are members from northern Ontario, with whom I have some kind of affinity, who have spent part of their lives in a community getting roots into that community. When they resign or are defeated, the opportunities for employment, regardless of whether or not they win the nomination and got elected here, are very slim in a lot of communities in northern Ontario.
I do not know of anything in Atikokan that could challenge the capacities of the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid). There are a couple of things, but we won’t talk about them tonight. There are situations that are unfair. The member for Armourdale put it very well when he said the private sector often talks about the abuses of the public sector but, at the same time. It is not prepared to ensure that people who do go into the public sector are people whom it would like to see there and who would be willing to take the risks to their career and so forth that are necessary, the private sector has failed in doing that. I am not making a personal plea, but I know if I were to leave this chamber I would have no employment to go back to. I would have to live off my wits, as I do now. I cannot even collect unemployment insurance. The welfare officer is mad at me in Sudbury. I can see where it would be a very difficult time. I think it is time the commission looked at the whole question of politics as a career and what it sees for politicians when their career has ended either voluntarily or involuntarily.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would like to conclude the debate on this particular bill by saying I think it has been a very interesting discussion. Members have put forward their very sincerely felt views in a very forthright way.
I do not view piloting this bill through in the same way as I would a normal piece of government legislation. This bill is being done because of my responsibilities as government House leader on behalf of all the members of the House. I think all of us feel very much in favour of many of the arguments that have been put forward. It is a subject that is very hard to come to any hard and fast numbers on. There are those who feel we are paid too much; there are those who feel we are not paid enough.
The essence of what we have been looking for is to try to find an impartial body to review our salaries each year and then make a report. We can then say that this body has looked at the matter. The question before us is, have we the right body now? We have taken a tripartite commission, which has on it representatives of all the parties, and we have asked it, as an impartial body, to review this matter and bring a report back to us. To our credit, we have taken the report, and we have not adjusted it in one small part. I suppose what we should now do is give back to that commission the Hansard of this debate so they can read what we have said.
Mr. T. P. Reid: They have heard those arguments all before. They did what was politically comfortable.
Hon. Mr. Wells: The point is that they do not have to worry about what is politically comfortable to themselves, because they do not have to get elected to anything. We in this Legislature are the ones who have to get elected and who have to make the political judgement. We judged that it would be better if we had a group like this make its determination, bring in its report, and then we adopted it through a piece of legislation. We felt, I assume in our wisdom, that this would be a better way to do it than trying to decide on our own what we should be paid, which is a process that has not met with particular public appeal over the years.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Tell us what your parliamentary House leader’s assistant gets.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I do not think that is relevant. My friend has quoted the figures of the public servants of this province and what they make. The public servants of this province are a very dedicated group of men and women. I do not think he would feel they should be deprived of legitimate salaries for the positions they hold.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I would just like to get something comparable.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I do not think that is the argument -- trying to get something comparable. I have to live with the fact that I make less money than does my deputy minister --
Mr. T. P. Reid: That is ridiculous.
Hon. Mr. Wells: -- and most of the ministers in this government make less money than do their deputy ministers.
Mr. Martel: Then there is something wrong with the government.
Hon. Mr. Wells: That is the situation we are faced with now.
Mr. T. P. Reid: You haven’t got the guts to do anything about it.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I would also remind my friend that the members of the government who are ministers have to adhere to conflict-of-interest regulations that are the toughest in Canada. They apply not only to ourselves, but also to our spouses; and we cannot go and work like some of the other members of the Legislature.
I do not want to get into an argument with the members of this House about this matter --
Mr. T. P. Reid: That’s what this House is supposed to be about.
Hon. Mr. Wells: -- because I am probably closer in spirit to the kinds of thoughts that have been put forward by the members of this House. I think this is a very honourable profession: to represent one’s fellow citizens in this House. It is a full-time job now, and it should be paid accordingly. We all have to work towards that end to make sure that kind of process occurs in the future and that we work towards those kinds of salaries. But at the minute we have a process to handle the salaries --
Mr. T. P. Reid: We have heard the exact same argument for 13 years.
Mr. Mattel: I wasn’t going to speak, but I have been provoked.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I just want to tell the honourable members something, because even my friend from Sudbury sometimes claims we do not sit enough days around this House. I was just reading a publication which I am sure you are well familiar with, Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Regional Review of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. In that periodical I saw something I hadn’t realized before. In 1979, the Legislature of Ontario met the most number of days of any legislative body in Canada, including the House of Commons. We met for 119 days. The House of Commons met for only 94 days; of course, they had an election. The National Assembly of the province of Quebec met for only 93 days --
An hon. member: What do they get?
Hon. Mr. Wells: What do they get? As I am sure my friend knows, they get an indemnity of $31,236, plus a $7,500 expense allowance; and they met for 93 days.
I might also say, and I think this is something that will have to be looked at as we progress to find the best method for arriving at our remuneration, that there are only four legislative jurisdictions in this country -- Ontario, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island -- which do not have automatically indexed indemnity expense allowance provisions for the members of their Legislature. In other words, the federal House and all other provinces but those four have a procedure that means a bill like this doesn’t come into the House every year, and the remuneration adjustments occur based on an agreed-to formula, linked to average weekly wages, the cost of living and a whole variety of mechanisms. This occurs automatically and a bill never comes to the House.
Probably that is the system we should look at in this province. All parties should look at that at some time in the future, because we seem to be the only major jurisdiction -- I should not say major jurisdiction -- one of the larger legislative bodies that have not arrived at that kind of procedure.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Certainly, Prince Edward Island is a major jurisdiction; it goes without saying.
I do not have any further comments except to say I think the comments that have been made here should be passed on to the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses. I am sure if the members of this House, all of us, feel we should be looking for something different, we will somehow find a way to convey that feeling to some group so we can make changes if necessary. In the interval, I would suggest that we pass this bill.
Motion agreed to.
Ordered for third reading.
EXECUTIVE COUNCIL AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Wells moved second reading of Bill 43, An Act to amend the Executive Council Act.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, once again the minister has provoked me on this particular topic. I can tell him that between myself and the member for Sudbury East, we probably will not pass this bill tonight.
Mr. Martel: I am provoked.
Mr. T. P. Reid: I am concerned about what the minister said, because I believe the minister came in here in either 1961 or 1963.
Hon. Mr. Wells: In 1963.
Mr. T. P. Reid: The minister obviously is a cabinet minister, and the principle of this bill is to increase his salary, amongst others, to $21,000. I intend to ask that this bill go to the committee of the whole House for an amendment that I would like to place at that time. I have considered putting a hoist motion on this bill but, if I might, I will try to amend it in committee.
I probably have spoken too long on the previous bill. I did not know Bill 42 and Bill 43 were coming up tonight, and I was not as prepared with my arguments as I wanted to be. The fact remains that by the terms of Bill 43 cabinet ministers will be receiving $21,000 more than private members of this chamber, including six of the members over there who receive no additional indemnity. Besides the $21,000, they have the perquisites of office, a chauffeur-driven limousine, credit cards, executive assistants.
I say, not at all personally, that the minister carrying these bills tonight has an executive assistant, not just for his ministry, but also to assist him as House leader. That assistant makes more money than do the private members of this Legislature. If there is nothing wrong with that, then there is something wrong with my head. With all due respect to the particular individual who carries that responsibility as the member’s House executive assistant, he does not have to go through an election, he does not have to go through that process, and he has as much security as anybody else here; in fact, probably more.
For 13 years that I know of, the cabinet ministers have done very well, but they have not done that well in relation to civil servants. The minister himself said in reference to the other bill that he has to live with the burden of his deputy minister making more money than himself. I think that is asinine, stupid, ridiculous. How do we put up with it? How does the minister put up with it? How does the Premier have people on his staff, one of whom I believe makes more money than does the Premier? The Premier is underpaid, the cabinet is underpaid and quite frankly, the deputy ministers are underpaid. But if the government were defeated tomorrow, deputy ministers would still be here. They would have all the perquisites and all the fringe benefits.
Mr. Nixon: For a couple of weeks.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Of course, if the government changed, there might be the odd change. But it is absolutely ridiculous. Pensions for cabinet ministers are based not only on their salaries as private members, but also on their cabinet salaries. That is not available to the rest of us as private members; nor is it available to those people who are unfortunate enough to sit on the back benches or to be foot soldiers in the Tory party across the way. They do not have that opportunity either.
I listened to the nice, pablum-like statements the minister just made in regard to Bill 42 about things some time being better. They never will be better for cabinet ministers or private members until we decide to deal with these bills in a realistic way.
I want to leave a couple of minutes for my friend, Mr. Speaker, but I want this bill to go to committee and I intend to move an amendment which would leave the salary of a cabinet minister at $19,656 rather than increase it to $21,000. I am serious and some of my colleagues are serious. Some of your own colleagues, one of whom spoke today, and others on the back benches of the Tory party, are serious. They are upset and they want something done about it. I do not want, and I do not think they want, any more of that “something-will-happen-in-the-future” stuff. We want something done.
On a very personal basis, for myself, I am quite willing that whatever is done be done after the next election. But, for God’s sake, let us make it reasonable, let us make it ennobling, let us make it so that people can see their way to entering public service in Ontario without having to demean themselves, as I feel I and some of my colleagues have done tonight, by standing and saying the things we have and, in the meanness of my own spirit -- which we all have -- having to speak to civil servants every day on an ongoing basis who are making more money than we are and who have less responsibility and less accountability. Put us on some kind of reasonable economic basis so that in some cases we might have at least that kind of basic respect from some of those people because, if nothing else, at least we are earning the same kind of salary.
On motion by Mr. Martel, the debate was adjourned.
Mr. Speaker: Under standing order 28, the member for Essex South has expressed his dissatisfaction with the answer to a question by the Ministry of Industry and Tourism. I will listen to the honourable member for up to five minutes.
AUTO INDUSTRY LAYOFFS
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, today I found myself forced to use standing order 28 to put my case before the Legislature and to try to obtain some more comprehensive information from the Minister of Industry and Tourism concerning something that has occurred in my riding.
Mr. Speaker, you may or may not be aware that through the Employment Development Fund of the Minister of Industry and Tourism he has actually created unemployment in my riding. That is why I rose in the Legislature today and asked the minister to use his influence with Chrysler Corporation, because of the fact he was giving that corporation $10 million to build a research study centre in Windsor, to have it possibly built in the area of Kingsville-Leamington where he and his ministry have caused this unemployment. If that cannot be done, surely he can use his influence and the weight of that $10 million possibly to have a feeder plant built in that particular area.
I want the minister to pay very close attention, because I want to outline to him in chronological order how this has happened and I want him to know that the people of Kingsville are very concerned. He has the weight of government on his side, he has the weight of his ministry and he has the weight of a $17-billion budget and a $200-million Employment Development Fund at his disposal. He has used that weight and authority and has caused the unemployment of nearly 200 people in my riding because of the way he has used his authority.
I place this before him and before the Legislature, not because it is a nice thing to talk about or that the members wish to stay here in this Legislature after 10:30 in the evening, but because 200 lives have been affected; 200 people who supported their families can no longer support their families. Their aspirations have been trampled upon and their futures are in jeopardy.
I want the minister to take some action and some measure. He has the authority and the monetary power to help Freedland Industries Limited, the corporation of which I am talking about in Kingsville, to get back on its feet and to help employ those people he has put out of work through the Employment Development Fund and through his ministry.
I wish to quote this evening from some information I have received from the ministry. It was not given voluntarily; I had to ask for this information. I had to put questions on the Order Paper to get this information. First of all, in the information that has been provided to me by the Minister of Industry and Tourism, we see that Freedland Industries, which has a plant in Kingsville, received a $250,000 loan in 1970. In 1977, however, that loan was forgiven; the ministry says it was forgiven because the company had met all of the requirements it was asked to meet.
However, in 1979 the Minister of Industry and Tourism, through the Employment Development Fund, gave a $170,000 grant to a company in Windsor that was bidding on the only work that Freedland Industries of Kingsville was doing. That company used the $170,000, along with its own money, to upgrade its facilities and was able to go to Lansing, Michigan, to Motor Wheel Corporation, and tell them it now was able to do the work that previously had been done by Freedland Industries.
As early as 1977, a $250,000 loan to the original company, Freedland, was forgiven because it had met its requirements. I ask the minister why the loan would be forgiven in 1977 when this company was meeting all of its requirements and doing the work properly. The minister then turned around in 1979 and gave this other company a grant which helped it take away the only work the company was doing. Surely that is not a way for the Employment Development Fund to be used. That is not a way for the ministry to use its authority, weight and monetary power.
I would like to close by saying that I read in the Globe and Mail some comments that were made by one of the staff officials of the Ministry of Industry and Tourism. When he was questioned by one of the members of the press gallery, David Girvin of the ministry said: “One of the great stories of our time, eh? Things sure must be slow today.” That is no way for anybody to respond after his ministry has been responsible for putting these people out of work.
I am sorry for taking up the time of the House, Mr. Speaker, but this must be put on the record.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member knows, the information always has been made available to him. I do rather take some objection to the suggestion that it was not given voluntarily. I wrote him on March 26, giving him all the information he had requested. Subsequently, he put a question on the Order Paper. I always have presumed that was no indication that the information was not being given voluntarily. We answered it promptly and on time.
The answer was tabled three days after the question was asked in the assembly. At that time, all the information was given to the member, and it has always been available to him upon request.
I must say, as I said earlier today, that I have some hesitancy in getting into all the details of the situation. Any remarks I might make about the company he’s concerned about, Freedland Industries, obviously are going to be adverse to the best interests of the company. In an effort to protect the company as much as possible, this ministry was supportive of the company and gave it, as the member has indicated, more financial support in 1971 -- $250,000. Think of that in 1971 dollars. Then it gave Rustshield Plating Limited $170,000 in 1979. The company did meet all its commitments and, therefore, this ministry met all its commitments and made the loan forgivable a couple of years ago, as has been indicated.
What happened with this company was that it was a single source to a huge American customer. I think it is interesting for the member and the member’s leader to note that Freedland Industries is an American-owned company as well. The American customer was a large company which decided to do what many companies do; that is, to stop single-sourcing, because it’s not always a good policy to single-source.
As a result, they invited other people to bid on the product, which was now going to be double-sourced. Four American firms bid to become the second source, as well as Rustshield in the fine city of Windsor. Rustshield was deemed eligible by the supplier and won over the United States competitors for the second-sourcing business. Freedland was not able to bid to become a second source to its own main sourcing.
Therefore, Rustshield approached the Employment Development Fund to get some assistance to meet this very important contract. They were successful in doing that and the Employment Development Fund supported them.
What happened subsequently was that because General Motors, which was the final recipient of the goods being assembled in the United States, implemented more stringent quality control, the main sourcer, Freedland, lost the business. It is that simple. Freedland was unable to meet the higher, more stringent quality control standards that General Motors was then demanding.
If Freedland were in a position then or now to get a contract from General Motors, and if General Motors was satisfied that Freedland’s quality control and price were sufficient to award them the contract, then Freedland equally would be in a position to approach the Employment Development Fund saying they had a customer for their product who was willing and able to provide the contract. The Employment Development Fund obviously would take an application from Freedland once again as this ministry had through the Ontario Development Corporation in 1971.
With respect, the situation is as clear as that. The company involved, Freedland, did not lose any business whatsoever because of the existence of the Employment Development Fund. They lost the business simply because General Motors, the ultimate customer, found their quality control insufficient. Five companies originally bid as a secondary source. Rustshield won over four American companies. I know the member would support that, because it meant important new employment for the city of Windsor. I repeat most emphatically that in no way did this cause Freedland to lose the business. Freedland’s own activities cost them the business, which they had for some time.
Mr. Mancini: It’s easy to say that now.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I said it then.
Mr. Speaker: The allocated time for this matter has expired.
The House adjourned at 10:41 p.m.