31st Parliament, 4th Session

L049 - Thu 15 May 1980 / Jeu 15 mai 1980

The House met at 2:04 p.m.



Mr. Speaker: I would like the indulgence of the House to read an order in council which reads as follows:

“Upon the recommendation of the Honourable the Premier and president of the council, the committee of council advise that pursuant to the provisions of the Election Finances Reform Act, 1975, Arthur Allison Wishart, QC, Toronto, be reappointed chairman of the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses for a period of two years, effective May 8, 1980, to May 7, 1982.

“The committee further advise that Ronald E. Sobier, QC, Don Mills, be reappointed to the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses, on the recommendation of the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, for a period of five years, effective May 8, 1980, to May 7, 1985.

“The committee further advise that H. Donald Guthrie, QC, Toronto, be appointed to the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses, on the recommendation of the leader of the Ontario Progressive Party, for a period of five years, effective from May 8, 1980, to May 7, 1985.

“The committee further advise that Waldemar Zimmerman, Hamilton, be appointed to the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses, on the recommendation of the leader of the Liberal Party in Ontario, for a period of five years, effective from May 8, 1980, to May 7, 1985.

“The committee further advise that Barbara Sullivan, Toronto, be reappointed to the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses, on the recommendation of the leader of the Liberal Party in Ontario, for a period of five years, effective from May 8, 1980, to May 7, 1985.

“The committee further advise that Bernard Eastman, Toronto, and William F. Scandlan, Hamilton, be reappointed to the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses, on the recommendation of the leader of the New Democratic Party for Ontario, for a period of five years, effective from May 8, 1980, to May 7, 1985.”

It is certified by the deputy clerk of the executive council and we are tabling that now as an order in council.



Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, today I will be introducing to the House for first reading a bill that amends the Municipal Elections Act, 1977. Since the experience with the new legislation during the last municipal elections, we have been reviewing the procedures and have been fortunate to have the continued assistance of the municipal associations.

The clerk’s committee of the Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario prepared a report recommending a variety of procedural amendments. The report was endorsed by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and the Municipal Liaison Committee. The committee’s work has been most useful in the preparation of the amendments to be presented today.

I know this bill is of particular interest to many, and I would like to highlight some of the proposals. One of the principal features of the bill is to improve the procedures for nominating candidates and for revising the preliminary list of electors. The effect of these proposals is to shorten the nomination period and move the revision period up two days. It was suggested to us that the present week-long nomination period was not utilized by candidates and was administratively awkward for election staff. We are proposing to reduce it to four days immediately preceding nomination day.

At the same time, it is proposed to move the revision period to start before nominations so people will have an opportunity to examine the preliminary list for the purpose of nominations. By closing the revision two days earlier, election staff will have additional working days to conduct revision hearings and prepare the final list of electors for the mandatory advance polls the next week.

We are proposing in this bill several other useful amendments that also relate to the nomination process. One will make it easier for candidates to file their nomination papers and their oath of entitlement by permitting them to use agents. This amendment is in keeping with other entitlements to use agents, and would also accommodate candidates who might otherwise be inconvenienced by the reduced nomination period. The legislation has also been clarified by providing that certified nomination papers are to be open for public inspection.

More related to the actual process of electing candidates is an amendment designed to ensure that all offices will be filled. The act now provides that supplementary nominations can be received if no candidates have filed on nomination day to try to avoid new elections on the heel of the regular elections. With the same intent we are now proposing that if no nominations for an office are received during the regular or supplementary nomination periods, a resulting vacancy may be filled through appointment by the new council if there is a quorum of the council. This is in keeping with the right of councils to fill other kinds of vacancies by either election or appointment.

2:10 p.m.

Of particular interest may be an amendment that provides that if a candidate for the office of head of council dies before the close of polling, the election will be void and a new election will have to be conducted. The exception would be that if a candidate died at some point during the nomination period before the end of nomination day, the office would be opened for supplementary nominations instead of requiring the new election. It is hoped this amendment would ensure the electorate would not, by accident of fate, be denied a meaningful choice.

I indicated in my recent statement regarding Metropolitan Toronto that we would be requiring that ballots must indicate that election to certain offices of the council of a lower-tier municipality carries with it also automatic election to the upper-tier council, where such is the case. This bill provides that this amendment shall apply to Metropolitan Toronto, the regions, the district of Muskoka and the county of Oxford.

The bill also contains an amendment that provides an alternative method of sending notices to electors informing them where to vote. At present, municipalities with more than 5,000 electors are required to send such a notice to each elector in the municipality. The amendment would permit the council of a municipality by bylaw to send one notice bearing the names of all the electors to each single address.

Finally, among the remaining technical amendments in the bill are several recurring minor amendments to standardize the procedures for recording various certificates and declarations that are taken or presented at the polling place. In particular, the procedure whereby election staff receive a certificate to entitle them to vote at the poll where they are working has been simplified and brought more into line with the other types of certificates.

I would like to express appreciation to the clerks’ committee for its report on the Municipal Elections Act and for its assistance throughout our deliberations, which culminated in the amendments now being presented to the Legislature today. I am confident the bill reflects our joint aim to further clarify and refine the important municipal election process.


Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a matter of privilege arising out of an article in the Toronto Daily Star today with the headline, “Children’s Aid in Budget Crunch,” under the byline of one John Spears. In the article there were a number of specific gross errors.

For example, there is a statement that the Metro Toronto Children’s Aid Society’s budget is $14 million, while in fact their budget is more than double that. In fact, the request this year is for almost $31 million.

It goes on to suggest that the expenditure of the government on children’s services in this province which is approved by the members of this House is roughly $100 million. I suggest the figure is so rough that it is $370 million -- almost $371 million.

The article also says $30 million is transferred to children’s aid societies. That is also a rough figure. In fact the transfers to the children’s aid societies -- our portion of the societies’ budgets, not taking into consideration the 20 per cent from the municipalities -- this year is in excess of $110 million.

I don’t know how these kinds of gross errors can be communicated to the public, but I suggest it is offence to the privileges of the members of this House who participate in budget approvals that this kind of nonsense is passed on to the public as fact. I would like to have that noted in the record.


Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, my privileges as a member of this Legislature and as a citizen have been grossly offended, and not for the first time. I am in receipt of a letter from one William N. Kelly, who apparently is --

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Or for the last.

Mr. MacDonald: Apparently he was driven out of Ireland by the famine and has recently arrived here and he has some association with a charitable organization that goes under the name of the PC (Ontario) Fund. Clearly, it is in dire need of some assistance.

I am rather puzzled as to what its associations are with the government. The letter starts out by quoting from the budget of the provincial Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller), “There will be no tax increases in Ontario this year.” It goes on, presumably arguing that since I was not dunned by the government, I should make a contribution to this charitable organization.

Apparently it has some association with the Premier -- and I am sorry he is not here -- because it says: “The PC party must be ready to swing into full momentum at a moment’s notice. With this in mind, Premier Davis has asked me to ensure that the party’s finances are in order and that we are ready to run a winning campaign.”

I don’t know who this joker Kelly is, and I don’t know anything about this organization, but I think that innocent citizens like myself should be protected from dunning by this phoney charitable organization.

Mr. S. Smith: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: Is it that unreasonable, I ask the member for York South, that since that organization already had his vote, it should now want his dollar?

Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, on the same point of privilege, as my colleague said, the member for York South could respond that he already gave at the office.

However, there is something more fearsome about that letter. I think it is in the nature of intimidation. The PC party is reminding the NDP that if it does not have the NDP’s support there will be an election in Ontario. I do not think the NDP deserves to be intimidated that way.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, in rising to thank the member for York South for his annual support to the great party of this province, with which he is not completely familiar, and listening to the member for wherever echoing his comments, I want to say to the member for York South, he should feel --

Mr. MacDonald: Is the Premier out of breath?

Mr. Martel: Did he run to get here?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am out of breath. I heard the members opposite as I came down the Don Valley Parkway. I ran the rest of the way.

Mr. Kerrio: The Premier is not ready for an election.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, somebody just gave me a quarter. When I read what the Leader of the Opposition said yesterday in Port Credit, I am ready for an election. The Liberals in that audience were so insulted they will never vote for that party again. I should tell the members opposite that.

Mr. Speaker: I think the point of privilege had something to do with the letter.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I wanted to thank as well -- because all parties work in strange and wonderful ways -- another Donald Macdonald for a letter I received for contributions to the Smith leadership heritage, whatever it is, fund. The only problem is, they did not send a self-addressed envelope, or the party did not know where to return the money. As a result, the moneys have never been sent.

Mr. S. Smith: If the Premier gave to Trudeau, why should he not give to me?

Hon. Mr. Davis: However, Mr. Speaker, I do recognize the important point of personal privilege the member for York South has made. We appreciate his contribution. We will use it wisely, intelligently, maybe even to defeat him in his riding, whenever that eventually takes place.

Mr. S. Smith: The Premier actually ran and got out of breath just to tell that joke.

Hon. Mr. Davis: The person who got the letter asking for that contribution did, in fact, think it was a joke.

2:20 p.m.



Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question of the Premier regarding a speech he made to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce in which he may have recommended wage and price controls or he may have only hinted at them or he may be in favour of them. In any event, may I ask the Premier why he said most Canadians have come to expect their incomes will always rise by at least as much as the rise in the consumer price index and he believes there is a wage-price spiral in effect?

Could I ask him how he could say that when the average wage increases of Canadians have fallen behind the rate of inflation for the past two years? Is the Premier not aware of the fact that Canadian workers are falling behind the rate of inflation? If he wants to talk about the causes of inflation, why is he blaming them? Why doesn’t he mention and recognize the fact, or did he not know, that the workers of this country have not had wage increases that kept up with inflation for the last two years?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I read the very carefully considered comments by the member for Hamilton West to the remarks I made, I guess, Tuesday noon, which clearly indicated he hadn’t read the speech, which is not unique or unusual, nor did it surprise me.

I would answer the question very simply by asking him to read page 16. This is in answer to his preamble to the question in which he indicated he was unsure whether I did or did not support wage and price controls. If he will read it -- it’s very simple so even he can understand it -- it says “price and income restraint.” The word “control” isn’t mentioned; wages were not singled out. It was an attempt on my part to raise my concerns about inflation, which I repeated today in a speech I made to the Urban Development Institute that the member will have an opportunity to read.

It’s quite obvious, with his opposition to what we are trying to do for senior citizens with our tax credit and the callous disregard the Liberal Party has for our senior citizens, that he is not interested in inflation. We are, and we will continue to talk about it. He may not like it, he may not agree with it, but I have this concern about inflation and I will continue to express it publicly.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: Since, in addition to a paragraph stating there have to be new norms of reasonable and responsible social behaviour, there is no recognition at all that wages have already fallen behind the rate of inflation for the last two years, does the Premier not understand that very fact? Why is it there are suggestions about how workers ought to restrain their demands for wages and not a word in the entire speech about how prices can be dealt with, not a word about the behaviour of oil companies or banks and certainly not a word about prices within the control of the Premier, such as the price of electricity from Ontario Hydro, which increased 16.4 per cent this year?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am enjoying this discussion; the Leader of the Opposition is once again demonstrating his total lack of understanding about Ontario Hydro. If he wants to argue that we should have a general tax levy to subsidize the cost of electricity, why doesn’t he say so? I say to him not to come into this House and say this government is responsible for electrical rates. The Liberal Party should have some awareness. Even the Socialists understand how Ontario Hydro functions. Let him not try to draw that red herring into this kind of debate.

I would say to the Leader of the Opposition he should read my speech very carefully. We recognize the concern about prices. We talk about the credibility of large public and private institutions in this whole question of inflation. We talk about the disadvantaged. We talk about the poor. We talk about the middle class. He may not see all of those things but let him read it very carefully. If he is not worried about inflation, so be it; I am, and I will continue to be.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I have read the Premier’s speech very carefully. I have never heard him urge a frank and public discussion on something he disagreed with. I think he should know he is giving people the impression he is in favour of returning to wage and price controls in this country.

I wonder if the Premier really believes that wage costs are a major factor in inflation. If so, how can he square that with the document The Profit Centre, put out by his Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman), in which the minister makes a pitch to attract more foreign investment here in Toronto because wages in Ontario are more competitive than in other industrialized countries? In fact, he says that in 1978 our average hourly pay in industry was 37 cents an hour less than the United States average.

How can the Premier on the one hand blame Ontario workers as a major component in the inflationary spiral and on the other hand make a pitch to foreign investors to come here and put their money in Ontario because wage costs are so low?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I do believe the honourable member when he says he has read the speech. If he finds some place in the speech where I say wages are too high or workers in this province are getting wages in excess of competing jurisdictions, let him show it to me because I didn’t say it.

Mr. Laughren: It is a clear message.

Hon. Mr. Davis: It is not.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary: Since I have read the speech very carefully, Mr. Speaker, and since the paragraph in question is lifted entirely, word for word, from a speech the Premier made to the Rotary Club on March 7, and since after the paragraph that says there is a wage-price spiral it says, “Yet most Canadians have come to expect their incomes will always rise by at least as much as the rise in the consumer price index” -- that is what the Premier said; he clearly implied that was a real cause of inflation -- why does the Premier not publicly recognize that --

Hon. Mr. Pope: It’s a misrepresentation by the reader.

Mr. S. Smith: Have I suddenly roused the cage over here? What is the trouble? Have I rattled the bars? Mr. Speaker, I seem to have aroused the herd over there.

Mr. Speaker, I would say nowhere in this speech is there a statement recognizing that working Canadians have been taking less by way of wage increases than inflation and that Canadians are not keeping up with inflation. When the Premier of Ontario gives the implication that he doesn’t even realize his citizens are failing to keep pace with inflation and continues to blame them for causing inflation, does the Premier not agree that he is asking for labour unrest and for difficulty in this province when what he should be doing is commending the citizens for putting up with the difficulties they are facing day by day?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to see the member for Hamilton West taking an interest in the workers. That has never been really too prevalent here in the past.

I can’t account for how the Leader of the Opposition wishes to interpret what I may say in a speech. If he wants to read into it what he wants to for his political purposes, that is entirely up to him. I know what the speech says. I know what I mean and I state it very simply even if the member doesn’t understand the relationship between prices and wages. Nothing in this speech says the Ontario workers have been getting too much, nothing in this speech says we have not done relatively well in respect to other jurisdictions.

If the Leader of the Opposition is not concerned about an 18 per cent figure in the United States and nine per cent here, and with what is happening to the American economy, what may happen to our dollar, what may happen when interest rates come down related to the level of inflation here, then I have to tell him I was right when I answered his first question: The Liberal Party is callous when it comes to dealing with inflation. It has no interest, it has no concern.

Mr. Martel: Is the Premier prepared to look at some of the factors that lead to inflation, such as the imports we have from countries where the rates of wages are much higher, and deal with those types of problems, rather than give a semblance in his speech, which I too have read, that leaves the impression it is the working class of this society that is causing the high rate of inflation?

Hon. Mr. Davis: With great respect, the member has not, then, read the speech. If he would look at the speech, it also refers to interest rate policy. There is no question. The members opposite can’t have it both ways. They can’t say there isn’t a problem with inflation when the speech makes it very clear that if something isn’t done about inflation, governments do have to intervene. I am not talking about controls, but if they don’t think an interest rate subsidy to the farm community is a form of government intervention related to inflation, then they are kidding themselves. This is what I am saying to the people of this province.

I wish the Leader of the Opposition would try to understand it. I repeat once again, if they are not concerned about inflation, fine, I understand that; I sympathize because it is not the only significant issue they wish to ignore. If the member wants to read something into my speech that is not there, all I can say is I feel sorry for him.

2:30 p.m.


Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Colleges and Universities. The minister said on Tuesday -- I will read what the minister said at page 1823 of Hansard: He has suggested there are thousands of graduates of the college system and the university system looking for employment. “That is not true.” Then she went on to say: “There are not thousands of graduates of those institutions looking for employment.”

Is the minister not aware of the fact that in the figures of unemployment for the month of April 1980 in Ontario, there are 9,000 with some post-secondary education, 7,000 graduates with a certificate or diploma at the community college level and approximately 1,000 with a university degree; that means 8,000 graduates. There are thousands of young people with degrees, diplomas and certificates who are unemployed in the province; how come she did not know about it?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition was trying to leave an impression, it seemed to me, and I can only do what he has been doing with other people’s remarks; that is, interpret the intent of his remarks.

The number of young people who have achieved post-secondary education and who are employed is very significantly higher than the employment rate for those who have not achieved that purpose. For the past 18 months I have been trying to disabuse the general public of the perception that post-secondary education is of little value in terms of the life career choices and the activities and employment of young people.

Post-secondary education is a very valuable tool for young people, a very important activity in terms of the progress of our society, and I would not like our young people to believe that there is no value in achieving or attempting to achieve a post-secondary degree.

If the Leader of the Opposition wants me to apologize for saying there are not thousands, then I will apologize at this point, but the number is significantly lower than the Leader of the Opposition was trying to leave the impression it was.

Mr. S. Smith: I thank the minister for the apology. What I do not understand is the preamble to the apology. Since no one was ever suggesting that post-secondary education is without value, how could it be that the minister did not know that there were about 8,000 graduates of our post-secondary institutions without work in Ontario, and a further 9,000 people who have had some post-secondary education without work in Ontario? How can the minister do her job without knowing that?

What kind of government is it when the Premier (Mr. Davis) does not know that wages have fallen behind inflation and when the Minister of Colleges and Universities does not know that there are thousands of graduates of her institutions without work today in the province?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Sometimes I worry about the Leader of the Opposition, because there are times when I wonder whether the deck he is playing with is full.

However, I have to inform him that at this point I have not seen the documentation of unemployment detail for the period of time to which he is referring. There are times when I do get behind with the scope of all the reading in which I should be involved, but I can honestly tell the Leader of the Opposition that I believe firmly in the capacity of our post-secondary institutions to help our young people to become useful, employed citizens within this province.

I am aware that frequently there is a lag of one to four or five months between graduation from institutions, the acquisition of a diploma and the full employment of a young person, and I believe those lags must be taken into account, but I shall explore the statistics that the Leader of the Opposition was delighted in putting before this House and find out the details for this House.

Mr. Cooke: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: There are some courses and some degrees, as well as certificates and diplomas at the college level, that are producing students who are not needed in the work force, and these are courses where the education is directly related to the work market. Then there are other areas where the Council of Ontario Universities and other groups indicate to us there is going to be a dramatic shortage, as well as in the skilled tradesmen area. I would ask the minister, is it not about time the educational system in this province was more closely linked with the economic needs and the so-called economic strategy this government should be developing, so that we have an overall philosophy and direction in our educational system?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the community colleges of this province do relate directly to the industrial and business needs of the area they are designed to serve. That is an ongoing and integral function of the colleges of applied arts and technology. The philosophy of tying societal needs rather closely to the function of the community college was one of the basic principles in the establishment of those institutions.

The universities of this province, however, have always had the kind of autonomy that permits them to function in terms of their examination of the requirements of society, not only for today, but for many years in the future. It is my belief that most of those institutions are pursuing that degree of social responsibility.

I should hate to see in this province a totally directed form of post-secondary education in which most young persons were not given the opportunity to make appropriate choices for their selection of careers, their own talents, their own capabilities and their personal interests. I would hope we would be able to supply them with adequate labour market information -- I am not saying precise information, because I am not sure that can ever happen -- which would give them some indication of the employment possibilities of the courses they choose.

There are many young people who do not go to university to develop some job-related capacity. They go there to expand their intellectual horizons, and I think we are all the better for that.

Mr. Roy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: How can the Minister of Colleges and Universities be so smug about her educational policy and make the statement that she did on Tuesday? How can she justify 8,000 young people out of work on the one hand when, on the other hand, there are in Ottawa 800 job openings in high technology areas?

I ask her to look at the statement, for instance, of the president of Algonquin College in Ottawa who said provincial funding for the type of opening required in Ottawa is not adequate. When the minister is talking about a full deck or about people not having a full deck, maybe she should look around her, because the jokers in the deck are on that side.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I do not ever have to look behind me; all I have to do is look across the House.

The member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) should be aware the Community Industrial Training Council in Ottawa has been very actively pursuing the high technology needs in that area. It has established a research program to ensure the needs and the resources will be defined appropriately. The Ministry of Colleges and Universities is funding that research program for the CITC to identify the needs and resources, and we are now having discussions with Algonquin College in terms of providing the appropriate number of places to meet whatever is defined as the necessary program for the high technology industry in Ottawa.

2:40 p.m.


Mr. Martel: I have a question for the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development. Can the minister indicate why last week the Premier (Mr. Davis), in his response to a question involving the 500,000 tons of unsold iron ore pellets belonging to Inco, said they were not saleable because the particular type of ore is not marketable? Officials of Inco tell me the only place this particular pellet is not suitable is in the cold-rolled steel for cars, but it is suitable for all other purposes, including stainless steel -- because part of the mix of that iron ore is nickel. Why are we hiding behind this façade, when this is one of the most saleable iron ore pellets in the province?

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Mr. Speaker, I would be glad to extend a detailed reply to the honourable member. I have two pages of notes here that I have just been given. I will be happy to send them to him.

Mr. Martel: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since the Premier promised a reply last week, which we’re still waiting for at this time, will the minister now confirm that 45 per cent of the feed used by Dofasco, Algoma and Stelco is imported from the United States and is on long-term contacts by those firms to mining developments in the United States? Given the millions of dollars this government very generously poured into Nanticoke on behalf of Stelco, does the minister not think it is time he started to use that as a bit of a clout to force companies to buy their feed here, rather than having a company such as Inco dump 500,000 tons of a nonrenewable resource on a slag heap every year?

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Mr. Speaker, I agree with the honourable member that everything should be done to encourage development here. I will be pleased to include that in the reply.

Mr. Germa: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary question: Since it has been estimated that during the 1980s each of the steel companies will require an extra five million tons of iron ore, has the minister ever asked himself where this iron ore will be coming from? When is the minister going to put into place an industrial strategy that will guarantee the source of supply will be Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Mr. Speaker, that also will be considered.


Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Deputy Premier regarding the uranium miners.

Is the Deputy Premier aware that the existing legislation between the federal authorities and the Saskatchewan government, with respect to the health and safety of miners out there, is not working? Is the Deputy Premier further aware that under that existing agreement, the federal authorities retain the right to do the prosecution?

Is he further aware that it took over a year for the federal authorities to determine there was not enough information about the first fatality for them to lay charges? Is Ontario prepared to allow the authority for the prosecution to remain with the federal authorities, rather than with the province, so that we can prosecute expeditiously, so as not to tie up the union, the company, and the Ontario government in a year’s hassle, only to find out we haven’t enough information with which to proceed?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, that was a four-part question. My response to the first three parts is no. Those particular matters have not been drawn to my attention recently.

In so far as the fourth part of the question is concerned, with respect to what our attitude would be concerning an attempt to expedite the laying of charges and the following up of prosecutions, I will have to get more information with respect to that jurisdictional matter. I will be very happy to do that after consultation with the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) and/or the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry).

Mr. Martel: In view of the fact that federal authorities maintain the refusal to work in unsafe conditions is similar in the Canada Labour Code to what it is in Bill 70, and the federal code reads that a worker cannot refuse to do work in an unsafe work place that has existed for some time because, and I am quoting the document now, “if the condition has been known for some time and has not changed it would not be considered imminently dangerous,” could the Deputy Premier ask the Minister of Labour whether he agrees with the assertion that the right to refuse is the same under the two laws? Since I’m sure he does not, is he now willing to make public the position of this government with respect to the deplorable piece of federal legislation that is coming forth, we think in the next couple of weeks?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I will be very pleased to draw the honourable member’s concerns to the attention of my colleague the Minister of Labour, from whom he can expect to have a response before too long.

Mr. Martel: Since the regulations under the federal scheme do not allow the workers to tour with the inspectors in uranium mines as they are allowed to in all other mines, should we not be taking a tough stance that says Ontario is not prepared to go along with that? Should we not say that unless the workers are given the right to inspect along with the mining inspectors, Ontario will not support the federal order in council that is coming down?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I will include that question in my conversation with the Minister of Labour.


Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Energy. If I may beg the indulgence of the Premier, I am going to read this question. He does not seem to like my reading questions.

Ontario Hydro has submitted a proposal to the minister for rate increases of 9.4 per cent in its 1981 bulk power costs. The bulk power rates resulting from this proposal are also to apply to rural retail customers. Since the Premier stated on April 10 that he wanted proposals from Ontario Hydro designed to reduce the differential between rates paid by rural and urban residents, will the minister assure us that those proposed revised rates will be part of the terms of reference to be reviewed by the Ontario Energy Board at the public hearings this summer so that the rural rate differential, which now is some 29 per cent higher, will be eliminated by January 1, 1981?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member will appreciate that we have a two-part approach here. The Minister of Energy has referred the proposal of Ontario Hydro to the Ontario Energy Board for its review. I do not have it here, but the member should obtain a copy of the statement of the Premier in which he directed the Ministry of Energy and Ontario Hydro to address the question of the differential, which is a separate matter. There would be nothing to preclude us, once we have some advice as a result of that study and those observations on that basis, to apply that to whatever may be the final rate and the final differential once the Ontario Energy Board has determined that.

Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Speaker, the Ontario Energy Board went through something like a three-year study to review the price structure of Ontario Hydro rates and came in last December with a report that produced nothing of a reformed nature and nothing that would satisfy the public demand for some substantial change in that rate structure. I would like to ask the minister, what is the use of referring this question back to an ineffective board? Why does the government not take this matter in hand?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, with the greatest respect, I do not know if that is supplementary to the question that was posed to me by the member. The matter that has been referred to the Ontario Energy Board is the proposal for the rate increases. We now have the report to which the honourable member makes reference and are analysing it to see what our response ultimately will be when I have the advice of Hydro.

Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, the Premier said he was instructing the minister to find ways to get rid of the differential between rural and urban hydro rates. Of what conceivable value was that statement, other than possible political value, when Hydro turns around now and proposes new rates which increase both the rural and the urban rates equally, leaving the differential precisely where it was before? If he made a statement, why does the minister not take it seriously?

2:50 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, any statement made by the Premier is quite creditable.

The honourable member knows very well that it is one thing to be examining the present proposal with respect to rates, and another matter to impose on whatever that decision may be the commitment of the government to reduce the differential. They are two separate matters.


Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, my question is of the Minister of Housing. It is with regard to the brutal attack on Mr. Amir Din, a Canadian of East Indian origin in Etobicoke. Will the minister indicate what specific security measures he intends to recommend for that particular building, a matter raised with him by the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) during the past several years?

Will the minister table in this House detailed information on the security systems employed in the various Ontario Housing Corporation developments in Metropolitan Toronto and on their ability to deal with random, vicious, racial assault?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, my ministry and the Ontario Housing Corporation obviously are concerned with the action that took place at one of our high-rise buildings on Monday evening last.

The particular building where the act took place is one that has been without some security for a period of time. About two and a half years ago, as a result of a review of the situation along with our security forces, Community Guardian Company Limited, it was determined that there would not appear to be the necessity of retaining any full-time security operations at this particular building.

To put it into its proper perspective, the Ontario Housing Corporation spent $4,143,000 for security services in the current year in the Metropolitan Toronto housing portfolio. For the balance of the province, which actually consists of only three other communities in which we have a security force -- Ottawa, Sudbury and Hamilton -- we spent a total of $231,000 for the three of them.

We realize some of the problems we have had here, and through Community Guardian Company Limited which I think is a very well-trained group, we have tried to respond to the problems, whatever origin they happen to be, at the Ontario Housing Corporation’s portfolio throughout this part of the province.

I also want to emphasize that the Ontario Housing Corporation is a full-paying taxpayer in this community, paying some $21 million in real estate property taxes. We expect and receive the consideration and the support of the municipal police force. With their support and that of Community Guardian Company Limited, we think we have been able to control the vandalism and the other problems that we have within OHC.

In my discussions with the Attorney General (Mr. McMurty), and in some other questions regarding the incident of Monday night, we agreed that we would look at the security services in this building once again and see whether there is a reason for more security. I want to emphasize that, if there is a reason, we will start reintroducing selective security services in all buildings. I also want to emphasize that the cost has to be taken into some consideration.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: I was hoping the minister would understand that there is a very important preventive role for OHC to be playing. What role does the minister see for the community relations worker in OHC developments in defusing racial tensions and in promoting a support of community environment? Does he agree that their numbers should be increased, not decreased; that special training in the inter-racial community development techniques should be provided them; and that they should be given responsibility, with specific guidelines, for interaction with community police officers and building security staff? Will he continue to see them as subordinate to project managers and not as the vital cog in the whole security system, as they should be?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Very clearly, the community workers employed by the Ontario Housing Corporation are not there just to deal with the racial problems, of which undoubtedly there are some. They are there to deal with the problems of OHC in a very general way, whether they happen to be the problems of an individual who does not have enough income, who has some marital problems, and so on. They do not selectively treat just one problem; they deal with the whole scope of problems that the Ontario Housing Corporation has the responsibility of trying to look after.

Community Guardian Company Limited, which is retained to provide security guard service and works singularly for the OHC, has more than 100 officers. We do not consider them as policemen or guards; we consider them, to some degree, as community workers. They try to resolve problems without going to the police with them. I say very clearly in this House, that particular guard service has been received with open arms and is respected by the vast majority of the tenants of OHC throughout the Metropolitan Toronto area.

We have continued to increase our efforts with the guardian service. They have had discussions with OHC. I have had the opportunity of meeting with them and reviewing some of the problems they have to contend with. We have tried to reallocate the services of the community workers over the past number of years to work more specifically in the areas where we do see problems in greater volume than in the past.

Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, I do not understand why the minister tries to minimize the problem, which is becoming explosive. Does he realize there are very serious problems because the projects are so huge that in many cases they do require security? Does he realize that some of the buildings and projects that he gives out for management to private companies are deprived of security services in order to maximize the profits of the company in many instances? Does he not realize it is time the ministry intervened, because we will be faced with very serious problems otherwise?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, in no way, shape or form do I wish to imply to this House that OHC is trying to minimize the problems. We realize what the problems are within the portfolio that we have the responsibility of managing in this community and throughout Ontario. That is making it very clear.

When we spend taxpayers’ dollars -- $4,143,000 in the current year -- and put community work service in place in this portfolio in the Toronto area, I think it speaks extremely well of the fact that government recognizes there are some social tensions in those public housing developments.

I will not apologize to this House. I realize some of the developments are huge. It is easy to sit back 20 years later and criticize our predecessors for having developed those particular units. When I was sitting on Ottawa city council and in various other places, I listened to the fact that OHC was not producing enough units. They tried to respond to the needs at that time. With hindsight, it might have been better to have scattered units, which we are attempting to do now through the nonprofit housing corporations by taking only a portion of the units for public housing.

We are not minimizing it. We are going to look at the security services. But I want this House to keep very clearly in mind that there is a limitation on the number of dollars this government should be committed to in putting guard services to work.


Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. The minister refused to designate the town of Trenton as a disaster area. Now in his letter of May 12 to the member for Quinte (Mr. O’Neil), he states that Ontario Development Corporation is going to supply loans at six per cent interest to businessmen to restore their businesses to the pre-flooding state. Is the minister prepared to make a decision with regard to the town of Essex and its $5-million explosion of February and allow businessmen to rebuild their businesses back to the pre-explosion state, after using their own insurance, and help from there on?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I have answered this question several times. My colleague the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman), under whose jurisdiction the ODC comes, is looking after this particular matter in so far as ODC is going to talk to the people down there.

Talks are still going on and we want to see if there is some way we can help those businessmen. The ODC ruled that the kind of loans that would have been available perhaps were not the right vehicle. But talks are still going on and there may be some way that help can be provided.

3 p.m.

Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I realize the Minister of Industry and Tourism is involved in this, but the letter of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs on May 12 states in the last paragraph that loans will be available at six per cent interest. Can he not force the Minister of Industry and Tourism to give us a decision so we can avoid the long delay in getting these businesses back in operation?

Hon. Mr. Wells: The answer on the provision of six per cent loans down there was no; they decided that was not the vehicle that would be available there. That was available in the Port Hope and surrounding areas because the disaster in that area and in those counties was a natural disaster, a flood. The disaster in the Essex area was caused by negligence on the part of a person, and presumably much more insurance is involved. We do not see the two situations as exactly the same, and therefore different criteria have to be applied.


Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Transportation and Communications, who has just come in. It concerns Bell Canada’s application for increases of 23 to 25 per cent.

I would like to ask the minister whether he is monitoring the public meetings and securing access to all the letters of objection being sent to Bell so he will know fully the public view. More especially, has he obtained witnesses and professionals to assess the Bell application and to appear at the hearings of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission so as to fully protect the Ontario public from being wrung dry by Bell?

Now that the minister has had three months to do an in-depth examination, can he tell this House what increase in rates, if any, he thinks Bell should be allowed?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I can say yes to the first two or three questions. I can say no to the last question. I am not in position, and I don’t intend to be, to tell the CRTC what increase Bell should be allowed.

Mr. Swart: Does the minister not think he has some responsibility to investigate the amount of increase and to fight for a lower increase? Is he not aware that the telephone rates in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, where the systems are publicly owned, are 25 per cent lower than those in Ontario for communities of comparable size? Does he not think it is time that his Conservative government did the same thing here as the Tories did in Manitoba 70 years ago, and bring the telephone system under provincial ownership so we can put a halt to these continuous and unreasonable rate hikes?

Hon. Mr. Snow: I realize the honourable member may have to make the headlines again tomorrow. I would suggest, though, he is liable to give himself a heart attack because of the enthusiasm with which he asked that question.

No, I have no intention of considering the nationalization of Bell Canada.


Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Housing. Can the minister indicate to this House how the tenders are going to be let for the housing in the Townsend town site and who will be building the houses? Also, in conjunction with the costs of holding these houses, who will be responsible for the interest rates?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, we have already indicated, through the press, the availability of more than 300 lots in the first phase of the Townsend development. Fourteen lots have been taken up at this point, and 152 are under consideration at the moment.

In addition, there is a proposal being put forward to erect 20 model homes on the Townsend site. They will be developed by the private sector and not by the government. In the development of these model homes, financing will be done through the Ontario Land Corporation, but the commitment and discharge of mortgage will be entirely the responsibility of the private sector. We hope the units will be in place within the next several months so that they will have a possibility of capturing some of the market that will be available to us by the end of this year.

Mr. G. I. Miller: In regard to the study made on marketing in the area, will that be made public and available to this House?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I believe that question was asked of me last week by the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon). He asked whether the study we have been doing, the research reports and the economic factors would be made available to this House. I said very clearly that we considered ourselves in the same position as the private market. It was a report which assisted us in the development, expansion and sale of our units, and we did not believe it was a public document.

Mr. Makarchuk: Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that at Townsend the minister has an opportunity for once in Ontario to put housing on the market at a price the consumer can afford, why does he not do it?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, the member is very vocal about the situation. As we have said -- and I trust he has read some of the press remarks in the past -- we have put limitations on the resale factors. The member can sit and shake his head; he just wants to watch it doesn’t roll off. We said very clearly that we would put the units on the market, that they would be in various phases and that they would try to be applicable to the various parts of the market. Obviously, we do not need all units in one price range.

We have indicated to the developers that will be participating in the Townsend project that we will have units in the price range of $40,000, that there will be some in the price range of $48,000 and that there will be others of a higher market value that will be located there for people who wish to buy a home of a greater value.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, does the minister not think that the public has a right to the information he has gathered through that survey when the public is paying for that information, and that through his stubbornness he is denying the public the right to that information?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, it is an interesting challenge to be the Minister of Housing and go before an estimates committee to be told he should operate the Ontario Land Corporation as a private developer. No advantage is given to us. We meet the competition. We go into the marketplace and we sink or fall with the market.

Today we are trying to make the Ontario Land Corporation a responsible agency in this government and to this province in developing the new community of Townsend. We do market surveys and studies to indicate clearly what is the potential for the type of unit in that community in relation to Stelco and others that will have some employment opportunities in the community we are trying to serve. We do that on the same basis as Cadillac Fairview or anybody else who goes out and does a market survey. It is to give us some indication of where we are going in the field of selling homes. That information is what guides us against our competition, whatever that competition might be.

To put that report out into public circulation is like saying to the others, “We will do all the surveys for you so you can become our main target for the marketing of your product, Mr. Private Enterprise, whoever you might be.” That report was done for OLC. It is to guide the direction and development of Townsend, which I trust the local members are concerned about being successful. What I hope this report will enable us to do is to be very successful in that community.


Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Energy. Now that the predictable and the predicted has happened and Ontario Hydro is going to be paying between US $40 and US $41 per pound for uranium delivered by Denison Mines in 1980, while the international spot market price now is US $32 per pound, will the minister refer the Ontario Hydro uranium contracts to the public accounts committee for review and recommendation?

Hon. Mr. Welch: No, Mr. Speaker, I see no need to do that at this time.

Ms. Gigantes: Is the minister not concerned that by 1994 Ontario Hydro will be receiving 50 per cent too much uranium under these contracts for Ontario Hydro purposes and that the entry of Saskatchewan and Australian uranium, which costs about US $10 a pound to produce, will make the Ontario Hydro contracts an even worse deal for Ontario Hydro ratepayers?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Without taking up all the time of the House, Mr. Holt of Ontario Hydro during the estimates of the Ministry of Energy went into this matter in some considerable detail, I thought, to the satisfaction of the members of the committee. However, this is the type of question the honourable member might want to put on the Order Paper, or to give me some specific questions to which she wants some answers in order that we might get the accurate information from Hydro. But I do remind the House that during the course of the consideration of my estimates this matter was discussed, I felt, in some detail.

3:10 p.m.


Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Colleges and Universities. Has the minister taken cognizance of a report by the Council of Ontario Universities, the very special report from its committee on French studies? What is she going to do about one of the recommendations, which is that there be increased pressure for provincial funding of French-language courses and programs, including the ones for persons whose first language is not French? The great concern of the committee is that the demand for French studies is far exceeding the capacity of the universities to give it and that they need very special funding.

What is she going to do about the comment of recent date by the rector of the University of Ottawa that the funds received from the province are not adequate for that university to carry on its bilingual vocation?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I had a conversation very recently with the rector, at which time he expressed the need for additional funding for expansion of the programs which he has in place at present. There will be some expansion, I understand, this year. There was further expansion which he is desirous of completing in the future, and obviously we will be discussing this with him. The position that he has taken has been presented to the Ontario Council on University Affairs for their advice related to funding mechanisms.

Mr. Roy: The minister dealt only with the latter part of the question as I understand her answer. Has she taken cognizance of this special committee report of the Council of Ontario Universities, and are steps being taken to satisfy the monetary requirements of the universities that are experiencing greatly increased demands for French studies? For instance, in discussions, Dean Soberman of Queen’s University in Kingston states that they are not able to meet the demands. One of the reasons for this report is to ask the ministry and the government for additional funding. Is the minister going to respond to that?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: The policy in the past, as recommended initially by COU and supported by OCUA, was the direction of additional funding in support of French-language programs at two universities in the province. We have persisted in doing that at the request of and the recommendation of OCUA.

Until there are further recommendations from OCUA about diversification of French-language funding -- and I should include in that as well the funding for Glendon College at York University -- until OCUA has had an opportunity to analyse carefully the report which COU has made about this matter and has given me its advice, I cannot make any public response.


Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question for the Minister of Colleges and Universities. Has the minister read her report, Is the Die Cast? Is she aware of the statistics that indicate only two in 10 persons from low socio-economic groups ever enrol in university, that six in 10 individuals from the highest socio-economic group attend universities, and that 74 per cent of Toronto young people obtain post-secondary education whereas only 53 per cent of those from small towns attend university? Those are statistics from her own report.

Now that these statistics back up what we in the New Democratic Party have been saying for years, when can we expect a strategy to be announced by this government to increase accessibility to individuals from all socio-economic backgrounds?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, we have already begun the activity of attempting to make students, at much earlier ages, aware of the existence of assistance programs to provide them with some help in achieving post-secondary education.

We are also launching a stratification study which will be province-wide rather than simply in one or two areas of the province.

We hope to have further information, as a result of the Anisef studies and others which will examine the many factors involved in the decision-making process young people are engaged in when they decide whether they will proceed to post-secondary education. I am aware that the number of factors is multiple, and we would like to be able to clearly define those that seem to have the most significance in that decision-making process. We are about to do that.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, given the results of the Anisef study and, on top of that, the results of studies at Carleton, McMaster and Western, is the minister prepared, on behalf of the government, to admit that there are social segments of our population who do not have the same opportunity to get a post-secondary education as other segments?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure that I would be prepared to admit they do not have equal opportunity. The fact that they do not take advantage of opportunity, I will admit. I would like to know why that happens, and I believe Paul Anisef and others have defined at least certain of the reasons that play a part in that.

That is the information we need to develop before we can anticipate any broader participation in post-secondary education. But we do know that at present we are serving a significantly larger number of those from what could be called the lower socio-economic strata than has been served in recent history in this province or in other provinces in Canada.

Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that in the Is the Die Cast? study there was a survey started in 1973 when the students were in grade 12 which followed them through their continuing education and subsequent employment? That study showed that women university graduates earn 20 per cent less than men do and that women high school graduates earn 30 per cent less than men. What will the minister do to ensure that my private member’s bill on equal pay for work of equal value is passed into legislation to end this blatant discrimination in pay on the basis of sex?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, there has been a great deal of activity in the area of equal pay for equal work. A piece of legislation has been in existence in this province for at least the past 20 years. I am convinced that the activities going on in the area of equal opportunity, affirmative action and other strategies will achieve many of the purposes for which the honourable member has some concern and for which I have concern as well.


Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Solicitor General. In view of the previous questions in this House and recognizing that this minister does understand that racial attacks are a blight on the entire community, and to enable him to explain to the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett), who sees the cost only in dollars and cents, would the minister be prepared to increase the funding to municipalities so they might engage in the policing that the Minister of Housing feels should be their obligation?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The Minister of Housing certainly does not require me to respond on his behalf, Mr. Speaker, but in fairness I think he was clearly indicating the fact that the Ontario Housing Corporation already involves itself in considerable expense with respect to matters relating to security. His response indicated to me that the Ministry of Housing gives the matter of security in relation to its buildings a very high priority.

Further, I think the Minister of Housing made it very clear that he is very much aware of racial tensions within the housing units. I have discussed this matter with the Minister of Housing, and there is no question that he shares all of our concerns. We are all very troubled by the reports of the savage attack that apparently took place at the beginning of the week.

3:20 p.m.

The member for St. George knows that police costs are quite high in this province. I think all municipalities, as well as the provincial government, give the police budgets high priority in their communities, and I know the member for St. George appreciates that.

It is my view that police forces throughout the province are sensitive to this problem and do give a very high priority in relation to any allegations of assault that have the possibility of a racial motivation in particular, quite apart from the concern about assaults generally.

I am not in a position to give an undertaking that I am going to be able to fund municipal police forces for any specific crime deterrence, but I think the member appreciates how seriously I take this matter and I understand her concern.


Mr. Speaker: Under standing order 28, the member for Essex North (Mr. Ruston) has expressed his dissatisfaction with the answer to a question directed to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) concerning assistance for businessmen in the town of Essex. This matter will be debated at 10:30 this evening.



Mr. Gaunt from the standing committee on social development reported the following resolution:

That supply in the following amounts to defray the expenses of the Ministry of Education be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1981:

Ministry administration program, $33,880,000; education program, $2,262,023,000; services to education program, $111,375,000.


Mr. Breaugh from the standing procedural affairs committee presented the following report and moved its adoption:

Your committee has considered the terms of reference given it by order of the House on June 28, 1977. This order limits the committee to reviewing only those agencies for which annual reports are tabled in the House. It is the committee’s view that this is an artificial and needlessly restrictive limitation.

Therefore, in order to perform more effectively its task of reviewing agencies for possible overlapping and redundancy, the committee recommends that:

The committee’s order of reference of June 28, 1977, be amended by striking out the words “particular boards, agencies and commissions, for which annual reports have been tabled in the House and referred to it, and the committee may review the operation of these bodies as it selects,” and substituting therefor the following words: “all boards, agencies and commissions to which the Lieutenant Governor in Council makes some or all of the appointments and all corporations in which the crown in right of Ontario is a majority shareholder. Such reviews shall be made.”

Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, this report clarifies a situation that has existed since the beginning of the committee. We feel it has the consent of all parties in the committee, and it is my understanding that it has been agreed to by the House leaders for all parties.

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



Hon. Mr. Wells moved that when the House adjourns on Friday, May 16, it stand adjourned until 2 o’clock, Tuesday, May 20.

Motion agreed to.



Hon. Mr. Wells moved first reading of Bill 71, An Act to amend the Municipal Elections Act.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Cunningham moved first reading of Bill 72, An Act respecting the Sale of Dangerous Plants in Ontario.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day I wish to table the answers to questions 139, 149, 150 and 153 standing on the Notice Paper and the response to a petition presented to the Legislature, sessional paper 85. (See appendix, page 1923.)




Mr. Watson moved resolution 15:

That in the opinion of this House, the government of Ontario consider that where a person represents himself to be an agrologist or practises or offers advice in the field of agrology, as defined in the Ontario Professional Agrologists Act, 1960, for a fee or compensation of any kind that such person may not represent himself as an agrologist or practise or offer advice in the field of agrology unless such person is a member in good standing of the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists as constituted and governed under the Ontario Professional Agrologists Act, 1960.

Mr. Watson: Mr. Speaker, in putting forward this resolution, I have both a public and personal concern regarding its implications. I feel that in the interests of the public or the consumers of any service or advice rendered by anyone who represents himself as a professional in agriculture that person should be a professional. My personal concern is that I am a professional agrologist, a member of the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists. As a member of that profession, I am interested in ensuring that high professional standards will continue to be maintained and that the credibility of those in professional agriculture, which has been built up over the years, will not be punished or discredited by any impostors.

In order to set the stage for this debate, I would like to review some of the events of history which have led up to the present status of the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists. An organization now known as the Agricultural Institute of Canada had its beginnings in 1919 at the alumni reunion of a few graduates of one of Canada’s agricultural colleges, Macdonald College in McGill University.

These young men were concerned that without an association through which they could speak authoritatively for Canada’s professional agriculturalists they would fail to make a maximum contribution to agriculture and that their profession would not receive the recognition it deserved. An organizing convention was held in Ottawa in June 1920, at which 120 delegates were present from across Canada. They chose for their association the name of the Canadian Society of Technical Agriculturalists, which was used until the present name of the Agricultural Institute of Canada was adopted in 1945.

From the beginning, the association was a national body with individual members who were all university graduates engaged in various forms of agricultural research, teaching, extension and administration, as well as practical farming and other professional pursuits related to agriculture.

3:30 p.m.

The CSTA was legally incorporated under the Companies Act in 1928. During the lean years of the 1930s, the philosophy of the association of necessity underwent basic change. Professional agriculturalists needed a more decentralized and stronger organization. They wanted an act in each province which would confer upon them, the professional agriculturalists, the power to establish administrative standards for these who practised the profession and to discipline those who contravened such authority.

It is interesting to note the word “profession” was originally reserved to describe only divinity, law and medicine. These are still referred to as learned professions. These three professions played a basic role in higher learning at the earliest universities when they were founded to prepare students to practise in these areas.

As the natural and social sciences evolved through the gradual addition of other courses, it became possible to distinguish a number of other learned occupational groups that possessed essentially the same characteristics as the three original professions. Consequently, many other groups now are legitimately placed in the professional category, such as engineers, pharmacists, veterinarians, accountants, physicians and agrologists, which are a few examples.

The term “agrologist” is of Canadian origin. It was coined in Saskatchewan in 1946, the year that the Agrologists Act was passed in that province. La Corporation des Agronomes du Quebec had used the term “agronomes” to designate professional agriculturalists when their act was passed in 1942. Apparently it did not have quite the same meaning in English, and the term “agrologist” was coined.

Agrologist is formed from two Greek words, “agros” meaning land or farming, and “logist” meaning scientist. The profession of agrology embraces those who are qualified to practise the science and art of agriculture, to advise, teach, conduct scientific experimentation and to serve the agricultural industry in a specific or general professional capacity.

In general, professions have their authorities sanctioned by an act. This takes place when the state or province in which a group of professionals live and work persuades the government to legally grant certain powers and privileges to the professional group. Involved, of course, are such things as who may or may not practise and this, in turn, results in the establishment of well-defined educational qualifications, examination procedures, annual fee structures and the handling of suspension or expulsion of members. In return, the profession commits itself to conduct its affairs in the public interest.

I mentioned earlier that the Agricultural Institute of Canada as a national organization had no power to gain professional status. In Ontario, in the late 1950s, members of the Agricultural Institute of Canada living in Ontario approached the government of Ontario and, as a result, An Act to incorporate the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists received royal assent on April 12, 1960.

I think it is a special interest that the bill went forward at that time as Bill Pr10, a private bill, and it was moved by none other than the member for Elgin (Mr. McNeil). It is also interesting to note that one of the delegates to the government requesting this bill was the present member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan).

It is very interesting to note that the original bill, Pr10, as introduced back in 1960, had 15 sections. After being discussed by the committee on private bills, the bill ended up with 14 sections. The only substantial change was the omission of section 13 from the original bill as proposed. For the record, I would like to quote that section:

“13(1) Every member of the institute has the right to use the designation ‘registered professional agrologist’ and may use the title RPAg indicating that he is a registered Professional Agrologist.

“(2) Any person in Ontario who, not being a registered member of the institute, takes or uses the designation ‘registered Professional Agrologist’ or the initials RPAg, or any name, title or description implying or which may lead to the belief that he is a registered member of the institute, is guilty of an offence and on summary conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $50 for each offence.

“(3) All fines recovered under subsection 2 shall be paid over forthwith by the convicting magistrates to the institute.”

The resolution I have placed before the Legislature this afternoon is not any different from the original contents of subsection 13(2) as it was put forward back in 1960. It was undoubtedly debated at that point as we are debating it here today, and no doubt it will be debated within the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists in the future.

In 1960, one of the reasons there were no mandatory provisions in this act, versus what we might term voluntary provisions, was that there was no Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists, but simply Agricultural Institute of Canada members who happened to live in Ontario. I can appreciate, as I am sure other members can, the reluctance of legislators at that time to give authority to an organization that did not exist.

One of the reasons I am introducing this resolution at this time is that I very much believe that in the 20 years which have gone by, the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists has established its credibility as a professional organization and therefore has earned, by its performance, the right to be the spokesman for the profession of agrology.

The Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists has established itself with high ethical standards, and many of its policy statements have been widely quoted by all parties in this Legislature as sound and reasoned assessments of situations which were worthy of consideration. The dynamic leadership provided by the presidents and executive of the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists over the past 20 years has seen the organization grow to more than 1,250 members, who are dedicated to the high standards of the profession of agrology.

I further want to point out that this organization has grown and, because it has established itself as a recognized profession in the province, now is worthy of some protection for its members. The present legislation does not do this. It is entirely possible for an impostor to represent himself as an agrologist. There is no legal way in which such an impostor can be prohibited from operating as a professional in this province. I believe this situation is a disservice to the public and to the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists.

I am not bringing forward this resolution at the present time to point the finger at any one person or any one organization. Those of us in government are often accused of reacting, rather than acting, in situations. I believe the government should consider changing this legislation. In doing so, they would be acting to protect the public, rather than waiting for a situation or a scandal to arise in rural Ontario to which the government would have to react.

I worded the resolution in such a way to attempt to cover those in the profession of agrology who are actually in the business of charging for their services. In the agricultural industry we have many agrologists who perform their professional activities on a daily basis as employees of a government or other agency. The public does have a degree of protection in these cases, because the organization to which those professionals belong does have some responsibility for its employees and for their actions.

However, it would be a very sad situation for an individual to make what the public perceives to be a professional judgement, which might later turn out to be very wrong, where there are no professional standards behind that person. I am not suggesting professionals never make mistakes. However, I do believe when one is a member of any profession the code of ethics governing that profession are such that mistakes are much less likely to occur than if the situation is allowed to go on where there are no professional standards or code of ethics involved.

Another reason it is time to look at this situation is that agriculture, like many other things, is becoming more and more complex and more scientific. In the field of chemicals alone, I believe it is in the public interest to have individuals who are making recommendations for the use of chemicals to have a professional standard.

There is no doubt that all the chemical companies employ staff members with educational requirements well beyond the basic standards for entrance to the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists. The same is true for many other agricultural industries and government organizations. It is my considered opinion that such groups would welcome a tightening of standards in order to ensure that their products or services are not dispensed to the public, whether they be basic farmers or related agricultural industries, by someone who is not qualified to provide the service he claims to be expert in.

3:40 p.m.

Some argue that there are those who are not eligible to be members of the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists who have the general knowledge and experience that would make them as well qualified in certain areas as some who are qualified for membership in the institute. This is an ongoing argument with all professions. It is certainly one that cannot be ignored in a profession that deals with such wide-ranging subjects as there are in the field of agriculture. But I do not feel such arguments should unbalance or prevail over those that support the professional standards set by any professional groups.

I hope the members of this Legislature will enter into the debate concerning the merits and disadvantages of this resolution. Proposals of a similar nature have been discussed within the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists and have generally met with favour, but opinion has not been entirely conclusive within that group.

I am putting forward this resolution as an individual member of the Legislature rather than at the request of the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists. As a member of the Legislature, I view this slightly differently from the way I did when I was practising the profession of agrology. I now feel I have more cause to protect the public -- to ensure that anyone who has any relation to the agricultural industry or need of the services of a professional in agriculture has some assurance that there are standards behind the advice they are paying for.

I am sincere in my belief that the institute over the past 20 years has matured to the stage where it could well accept the responsibilities that the end result of such a resolution could achieve if it were put into some type of amendment to the act.

I sincerely seek the opinions of the members of this Legislature, and I am sure the opinions expressed will be very useful to those involved in the profession of agrology.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: There are four minutes remaining in the member’s time. Dees he wish to reserve the four minutes?

Mr. Watson: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have an opportunity to participate in the debate on this resolution. I too speak from both a personal concern and a public concern. I am a graduate of the Ontario Agricultural College with a degree. I am also a former member of the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists, but I am afraid I let my membership lapse owing to the fact that I was moving around quite a bit in my earlier days. I went out to Saskatchewan and worked with the agricultural department out there for a period of time. I went back to the farm and when I was farming I found I did not have time to get out to the meetings and therefore I was not paying as much attention to that organization as I should have.

I can understand the intent of the member in introducing this bill, but it does have some far-reaching implications which do bother me almost to the point where I am not sure I can render support to the bill as it is written.

If the member had deleted that part which reads “or practise or offer advice in the field of agrology,” I think I could support it. I think that to be able to put the letters RPAg behind one’s name one must be a member in good standing of the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists. In order to be a member one has to have a degree from the Ontario Agricultural College or an equivalent institution, or be allowed to be a member provided one meets the requirements as specified by the council of the institute.

I think that is all laid out in the original act, which was passed in 1960. That act to incorporate the institute I believe was passed at the request of certain professional agrologists. I believe part of their reason was that in the postwar years, jobs held in the agricultural industry by degree graduates of OAC or other institutions were not considered very prestigious. For more recognition of the professional services rendered by these people, I believe some of the degree graduates submitted a petition to the government asking that this group of people be incorporated under the name Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists.

Special legislation was passed for the purpose of establishing the institute and carrying out the object of the institute, and of the government, in discipline of its members. The act defined agrology, it spelled out the membership qualifications, but it said nothing about the practice of agrology. The member has indicated that this might have been included in section 13 which was deleted when the bill went through committee back in 1960.

As I indicated, I agree with the first part of the resolution. The second part of the resolution would prevent persons who had acquired a high degree of expertise, through training and experience, from giving advice in the field of agrology for compensation, unless that person was a graduate of the OAC or some other equivalent institution, with a degree in agriculture, or satisfied the council of the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists that he possessed qualifications equivalent to those of an OAC degree graduate.

As an aside, I believe the original act should be amended, because the University of Toronto no longer grants the BSA degree; and I do not know of any amendments that have come in, but the OAC now is part of the University of Guelph. The section of the act which reads “if he holds a degree in agriculture from the OAC granted by the University of Toronto” now is redundant, and perhaps some of us will see fit to introduce a bill making that amendment.

However, getting back to the principle of the resolution, people like the member for Middlesex (Mr. Eaton), the member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. J. Reed), and the member for Huron-Bruce (Mr. Gaunt) could not offer advice in matters pertaining to agrology for a fee or compensation of any kind. They are diploma graduates, and I too am a diploma graduate. I graduated in 1952 from the OAC before I went on to take a degree. I received an excellent training in agrology at the OAC, taking the two-year course. It was training that well qualified a young person to go back and do a good job of farming or to get into agribusiness and to offer advice, but this resolution would prevent that person from giving that kind of advice if that person were going to charge a fee.

If the member for Middlesex decided to give up politics, go home, set up a consulting business, hang out his shingle, soliciting business from farmers by way of providing information and what have you, he would be prevented from doing that if this resolution passed.

Take the former Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food, Ev Biggs. Ev is a graduate from OAC. He does have a degree. I am not too sure that he is a member of the institute of agrologists -- he may well be -- but he did set up a consulting firm, and I am sure he is advising farmers. I knew he was hired by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to conduct a study on farm-related trucking. If Mr. Biggs was not a member of the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists, he could not have taken on this work and he could not be advising farmers.

Gordon Hill, former president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, with the vast experience this man has had in agriculture, would not be permitted to offer advice for a fee to the farmers who solicited such advice, as Gordon does not hold a degree in agriculture and therefore cannot be considered to be an agrologist. I admit I do not think Gordon Hill should be allowed to use the initials RPAg behind his name, but I would hate to think he would be prevented from giving advice to other farmers even though he charged some kind of a fee or compensation.

3:50 p.m.

Having given these examples, I am not blind to the fact that undesirable practices are occurring. We have spoken to the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists regarding this private member’s resolution. They inform us that they are aware of instances where individuals are offering advice in the area of agrology to both consumers and producers for a fee but do not have the technical training to offer such advice. Some people have been masquerading as being technically qualified to give advice in the area of agrology but do not have the credentials to offer such advice. If it were this practice that this resolution was designed to curtail, then on that basis it would seem worthy of support.

However, as previously indicated, there are some problems this resolution might create. Agrology is a wide-ranging field covering everything from soil surveying to hydrology. Agrology embraces many disciplines. For example, many geographers are qualified to give advice in certain areas of agrology, but this resolution would prevent them from giving advice for a fee unless they were members of the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists.

There are surveyors, agricultural land mapping companies, hydrologists and many other professionals practising in some area of agrology. What about a farmer giving advice to another farmer for some type of compensation? And I use Gordon Hill as an example. What about the salesmen for feed companies who are giving advice to farmers? Members may say they are not receiving compensation, but I say they are receiving compensation indirectly for giving advice to farmers. If they were not members of the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists, they would be prevented from doing so. How would this resolution affect these instances?

It should be pointed out that the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists has not taken an official stand on this resolution. They have not analysed all the implications of it. The institute met yesterday and decided to refer the matter to their professional standards committee. This committee was established to look into all matters of professional standards for agrologists and probably will be reporting this fall.

While this resolution seems quite justified in its intent to prevent some undesirable practices that are occurring, there are some implications in it which I believe should be given further consideration. I don’t think I am going to support this until some of these implications are ironed out by the institute itself.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this debate and immediately I want to express the respect and the warmth that I have for the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists and its members.

I feel part of that warmth, I suppose, because of the stand they have taken on the preservation of the prime agricultural land, a view similar to mine. I think it is fair to say that no group, apart from the farm organizations themselves, has done more for agriculture in this province than this institute.

As a result of my warmth and respect for that group, I consulted rather extensively with knowledgeable groups, including the institute itself, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and other professionals. After all that discussion I find myself in considerable sympathy with the reasons for this resolution but, like the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell), I am going to find some difficulty in supporting it, because it does not provide a reasonable solution to the problems with which it attempts to deal. Most of all, it is not primarily an agricultural issue; it is a professional discipline issue, although it has a real bearing on agriculture.

The intent of it is to prevent unqualified persons from giving agricultural advice or service. There have been, I understand, a couple of incidents recently where this has taken place to the disadvantage of some farmers. I guess there was some salesman who sold some soil conditioner and had RPAg behind his name which gave him a status which apparently he did not have. That can be dealt with in another manner.

It may give some protection in that regard, but there are other injustices it will create which I suggest will be worse than the limited cure it will provide. The member for Huron-Middlesex has given a fairly accurate interpretation of the resolution. I had intended to do that, but I think that is unnecessary at this time.

The first point I want to make is that the term “agrologist” is almost impossible to define. It is not in itself a discipline. Rather, agrologist is sort of an umbrella term for a great many disciplines -- in geography, in biology, in plant ecology, in livestock, in veterinary practice and in land management and so forth. It is not really a discipline in itself. The interpretation, in the resolution and in the existing act, and probably correctly so, provides that even a farmer who has not gone to college and has no degree can be a professional agrologist. That is as it should be. I have no objection to that, believe me. Many of those farmers know much more about it than perhaps people who have gone to university. I know that from the farm community where I live.

It could mean, in effect, that one farmer could not even give advice to another without taking out membership in the institute. Without becoming a professional agrologist or at least having those letters behind his name, he could not give advice in the planting of crops. It is simply wrong to say no one should offer advice on agriculture unless he has RPAg behind his name.

The other side of the coin is that a professional agronomist could still give advice in a field in which he had no competence because, as stated, a professional agronomist does not involve any distinct discipline. We could have a professional agrologist who had a degree in biology giving advice on land management or plant ecology. That would be possible. He probably would be disciplined by the institute.

That brings me to the next part of what I want to say. In all other professions, discipline and protection to the public are provided in two ways. First, in the profession, apart from the profession, although obviously associated with it, is a licensing commission. Then there are the separate associations, such as the Ontario Medical Association or the Ontario Dental Association. One does not have to belong to the association to practise, but he does have to have a licence from the licensing group. Those licensing commissions generally have somebody on them from the public, perhaps two or three people from the public side. There is public input, and rightly so. That is not what is proposed in this resolution.

The other type of discipline and accountability to the public occurs where there are professions, of which there are at least four -- the architects, the lawyers, the accountants and the engineers -- where membership is compulsory in the association. In all cases, they have to have their discipline sections approved by the province. All of it must be approved by the province. This does not provide that either.

4 p.m.

There is no provision in this resolution to fit that group into either category. In fact, it is impossible, without dramatic changes, to fit it into either category. Nor can it fit into the recommendations of the report of the Professional Organizations Committee which has just come out. I am sure the members have seen it this month.

It talks about groups like this. It talks about groups it was authorized to investigate and bring recommendations on, and it goes on to deal, as it was directed to do, with other professions. It says there should be a general omnibus certification statute, to be called the Professional Designations Act.

This act would have a great many provisions. It would provide for the administration of a registration scheme by a registrar located in an appropriate ministry of the government; provide for the minimum criteria of which the occupational group must satisfy the registrar; be in a capacity to prescribe and enforce and maintain qualification requirements, a code of ethics, a complaints procedure and a disciplinary mechanism; and provide for a right of appeal for any aggrieved party to the divisional court in respect of a decision by the registrar to register or refuse to register or deregister any professional designation.

There is nothing in this resolution relative to all those things. The member may say they can be included. But the bare bones we have before us do not provide for anything of that nature. It gives absolute authority to the institute. There is no group I would trust more, but I do not trust any group. There has to be some public accountability in this, and the resolution simply does not provide that.

There is another danger in the resolution. At least one of the agrologists I spoke to said, “I’m afraid that can be interpreted as just a membership recruitment device.” If all these umbrella groups have to belong to charge fees, it could be interpreted -- they do not want it that way -- as a membership recruitment device.

If this were a resolution that no one could use the designation of professional agrologist -- as the member for Huron-Middlesex stated -- without being a member of the institute, I could support it. It would make sense. But it goes much further than that, and it does not even state that.

As has already been mentioned, the institute itself is not supporting the resolution. It is not opposing it either. It was neutral on it, as late as yesterday, as has already been pointed out.

Mr. Acting Speaker: The honourable member’s time has expired.

Mr. Swart: I suggest, with due respect, that the resolution has not been properly thought out. We need to have a disciplines board. We need to prohibit the use of the term “professional agronomist” without being a member. We should wait before we do anything until we get the report from the institute.

Mr. Eaton: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to have a chance to make a few comments on this resolution put forward by my colleague. I believe he has put it forward with the best of intent, to try to control a situation that we sometimes see happening in rural Ontario, where a fly-by-nighter will come along and hold himself out as something he is not.

I was interested in the comment of my colleague from Huron-Middlesex that some of us would not be able to be members of the association under the terms of the resolution, and at the same time would not be able to carry on a practice where we charged a fee for our services in the field of agriculture.

Some of us who were two-year graduates when the act came in could have joined at that time. I was at the agricultural institute in London, and one of the members there was instrumental in working on this. At that time I could have joined.

I was a couple of years out of school then, with not too much experience. Now, at this point, I probably could not become a member, even with my two-year graduation. I have also gone on and taken some master’s degree courses in specific fields in agriculture I was interested in. Yet, with all that experience, I have not got the four-year degree they refer to in the act. It is questionable whether one would be able to become a member of the organization or not. But that is not what concerns me.

As we look at the description of what is meant by agrology in the act, we see that it means “the science or art of agriculture.” There are many people out there who are outstanding in the science or art of agriculture who do not have the qualifications to become a member of the institute. I emphasize “to become a member of the institute.” The interpretation goes on to say, “including scientific experiments and research,” but then it refers to an agrologist as meaning “a person who teaches, demonstrates or performs any work or service in agrology.” Once again, we refer back to agrology, and it is the whole field of agriculture.

Let’s look at the field of teaching and demonstrating in agriculture. We have many people who come as practising farmers to our agricultural colleges. They are paid a fee to teach, to give some of their practical knowledge and information. I suppose, under the act, if the resolution were brought in the way it says, those persons would be excluded from being able to teach, because it specifically refers to teaching or demonstrating, and yet they could have much more experience than some people who have that four-year degree who are members of the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists. They would not meet the qualifications that are laid out in the act, and yet their experience far exceeds that of some people who are members.

Let’s look at very simple things in practising the art of agriculture. Consider someone who selects cattle, saying: “They are the best ones for the herd. We think they are the right type” and so on. That person is practising an art, because it is an art to be able to select by eye some of the best-quality cattle. I suppose if a judge went to an agricultural fair and were paid a fee for doing that, he would not be able to practise that if he were not a professional agrologist. I am sure I am carrying it beyond what is intended by the resolution of the member, but that is the way the act could be interpreted as it is laid out at the present time.

I think we can go even beyond that. If we look at people who give advice on farm buildings, the ventilation of farm buildings and many other things like that, those people would not qualify to become members of the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists although they are practising and giving advice in what is the field of agrology.

Then let’s look at the other side of it, at some of those people who are members of the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists and what they could do under the terms of this act. We have many members of the profession right now who are journalists, for instance, who probably have not practised agriculture in any way since they graduated from the agricultural college, except to write about it, to interpret things that are going on in the agricultural industry. They could suddenly hang out their shingles as professional agrologists, which would mean they could make it look as though they had really good qualifications. They could hang out their shingles and become advisers in livestock breeding, plant breeding -- I could go on and on with the things they could be qualified in.

The act would have to be interpreted far differently from what is in here in allowing people to become members of the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists, because it could eliminate some people who have a broad, vast experience in the practice of the art or science of agriculture, yet there could be people who have their degrees but have no experience in that art or science.

4:10 p.m.

I am afraid I have to say I am opposed to the resolution put forward by my colleague. I do not like to oppose it, because I know the intent of it, and the intent is right. I have a lot of respect for the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists. I have attended many of their meetings and came very close to joining at one time when I had that opportunity. But for some reason I decided not to, and now I guess, I could not.

This needs a much keener look to bring in qualifications in the field of professionals in agriculture who are offering their services for sale. I do believe that we have to have standards. We have to try to have qualifications. We have to make it so we do not get fly-by-nighters who go around the country and try to hold themselves out as being able to do something they are not equipped to do in any way because of experience, education or anything else. They could get some people into a great deal of difficulty because of the advice they pass out.

I would like to see us continue to work at this, to try to bring some standards to certain parts of the profession of agriculture. At the same time, I am sorry I cannot support the resolution put forward by my colleague.

Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and take part in this private members’ hour.

Like the member for Huron-Middlesex, I am a past member of the agrologists’ group. I have a different reason for having dropped out: their fees finally got a little too rich for me. I think it started out at about $25 a year and when it reached $70 -- I am sure it must be much higher than that today -- I decided that it was a little rich. However, I have no quarrels with their aims or objectives. I recognize the great contribution the agrologists have made to the province.

I wish to congratulate the member for Chatham-Kent (Mr. Watson) for going over the history of this, and he did it very well. He mentioned that I was in the delegation that went to Premier Frost. I could not give an exact date, but I would think it was about 1956 or 1957. I went along with Dr. Ken Pretty and Mr. Jack Huxley. I was the person selected to represent the farmers in this case. The big argument at the time was the matter of weeding out impostors and fly-by-nighters. On that subject I would say there is no legislation in the world that will weed out dishonest people; they will always find a way around it.

The big argument that was used was that farming was not seen as a very attractive profession in the mid-1950s. In the search for students to attend such colleges as the Ontario Agricultural College or Macdonald College in Quebec, the profession was not seen as a very prestigious job. This was because one could not put PEng behind one’s name for professional engineers, or P-whatever behind one’s name. In that respect, our graduates felt somewhat downgraded.

Perhaps some of the older members here may have outgrown the day when the agricultural college graduates were known as graduates of the cow college. That is pretty much in the past today, because people do respect agriculturalists for their importance in feeding the world.

Just remembering that visit to the Premier’s office with the Minister of Agriculture at the time, the Hon. William Goodfellow, I had a very interesting discussion with Premier Frost. He did all the talking and raised all the points that were raised today. If he went to his cottage, he could not fix the septic tank or sewer, because he would have to call in a professional man to do that. Or, if he dug his garden, he could not plant the seeds, because he would have to call in a professional man. He used some rather far-out examples.

We left feeling that this bill would never see the light of day. But, rather interestingly, he rose from his great desk and put his arm around my shoulder in a very fatherly fashion and made me feel very honoured indeed to have the arm of the Premier of Ontario around my shoulder. But when he took his arm off my shoulder, I was out in the hall. All the time he was talking very kindly to me, I was not aware of the fact that we were gradually moving out to the hall. He closed the door and that was the end of it.

To be a little more serious and to follow up the points that have been mentioned, I would agree with half of this resolution; that is, that people cannot operate as agrologists who are not agrologists, but I would not stop other people from giving advice.

To look back to Darwin, who discovered the theory of evolution and was one of the greatest scientists of the world, I doubt if he was a member of a professional organization, and he could not have published Origin of Species and gone on world tours lecturing and getting fees for it.

Mendel, a Belgian monk who discovered the principles of heredity, could not have lectured or got fees -- perhaps, being a monk, he would not have charged any fees -- he could not have raised any money to further his work because of the fact that he was not a professional.

I believe it was Dr. Wier who taught us genetics from a textbook, and he told us this textbook was written by two brothers, neither of whom had received any professional training. Simply because of their interest in heredity and genetics, they had written a textbook that a PhD was using to teach us.

I can think of a lady out in the state of Washington whose husband managed an orchard there. This orchard had a rather poor record of producing crops, which she determined was due to lack of pollination. She got some textbooks and went to work on the subject and developed a whole system of providing pollen to fruit trees when it is not naturally present. Today she gathers this pollen and sells it across North America, and it is recommended by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food as a desirable practice, yet this lady could not have done that were she subject to these laws.

To bring my remarks to a close, there is no way one can solve all the problems of charlatans and fly-by-night people, if I can use that term, from invading any industry. The buyer still has to somewhat beware on his own account and look into the background. Certainly there is no lack of facilities whereby farmers or anyone else can inquire as to whether these products or services are recognized as being adequate for the job they are supposed to cover.

4:20 p.m.

I support the idea that people who use the term “agrologist” should be agrologists, but when we look at the wording in the third line in the resolution which says, “where a person represents himself to be an agrologist,” I could agree up to that point. Then it says, “or practices or offers advice in the field of agrology as defined in the Ontario Professional Agrologists Act.” To me, that would mean any person acting in this field could not do it for a fee or a compensation. I doubt if the member who put forward this resolution intended this. I would hope in his response he might say this was an oversight in the drafting. Perhaps in some future time he could bring back a resolution that would more adequately meet the needs.

Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, it is with some trepidation I enter into this field. I guess all the members who have spoken prior to my rising have some connection with the farm community and some good knowledge of the farm community. None the less undaunted, I shall do my best in the next few minutes.

I approach this resolution obviously a little differently to the member who has brought it forward. He is attempting to express a concern from a rural community. With his background, he speaks with great knowledge of farm situations and rural problems. I would like to look at this from the view of people who offer services in our society, what kind of credentials those people have, what kind of licensing procedure is involved and the whole question of self-regulation.

We have lawyers in Ontario who go through a certain school of study, and there are certain requirements they must meet before they are allowed to practise law in the province. That is one step. The second step is the self-regulation aspect, which has always been protected in this province. They are not directly beholden to the Legislature. They have a very indirect relationship to this Legislature, unlike some other professions. In the case of lawyers, architects, professional engineers and chartered accountants, they are self-regulated.

I always have a problem with that, quite frankly. While it may not be the case that self-interest only is met, there is at least the appearance. In other words, I am sure the public is not totally comforted when it is reported in the news media that a lawyer who has done something of which we do not approve will be judged by his peers. Fellow lawyers will decide whether to set a penalty, remove his licence or whatever. The same is true for the most part with doctors as well. They go to the College of Physicians and Surgeons. The government itself has been a little uneasy about this and has set up a special committee to deal with it.

When I look at the resolution, it sounds to me as though we have a parallel situation. If I am wrong, I would appreciate the member for Chatham-Kent letting me know. It seems to me we have a parallel situation; that is, the professional agrologist will be in a self-regulating field. If someone is not happy with the way in which the service is being delivered or the way in which the agrologist is functioning or if the agrologist gives out advice that proves not to be very worth while, what happens? There does not seem to be any mechanism involved for a disciplinary procedure or for any penalties. I may be mistaken, as I said, but it seems to me there is no connection with a licensing procedure or a disciplinary procedure. They are at least at arm’s length, if not more. That is why I am very uneasy about the resolution.

I am also concerned about putting in the phrase “or offers advice in the field of agrology.” I know the member has qualified it by saying, “as defined in the Ontario Professional Agrologists Act.” But it seems to me that when you put that in it may automatically mean every person who is actively farming can give advice and, by so doing, becomes the equivalent of the agrologist. When I read it, that is what it says to me. I do not have a farm, but I know lots of people who do. I assume under this definition they then are able to give advice as agrologists. They may not be qualified to do that, but I think that is what the resolution allows.

With respect, I think the member has provided too wide a definition. It is not tight enough. It has to be more specific. It is my own personal opinion, but I have reservations. First, there does not appear to be a licensing procedure. Second, there does not appear to be any direct voice over the provision of service; in other words, the self-regulation aspect. Third, the definition seems to be too wide and encompassing.

With a certain amount of reluctance, I find I cannot support this resolution. But I like to be a reasonable person --

Mr. Conway: There is a first time for everything.

Mr. Warner: Did I wake the member for Renfrew North up again? I am sorry.

Mr. Conway: I will phone the member’s television program and really give him trouble.

Mr. Warner: I would love to have the member on the TV program. I am sure there must be a couple of people out there who would understand him.

Mr. Speaker, I will listen very closely to the member’s response to the three particular items I have raised. I am willing to change my mind if he can present reasonable arguments to those three items. But, until I have heard those arguments, I must inform the member that I cannot support his resolution.

Mr. McNeil: Mr. Speaker, it is perhaps quite timely that we should be considering the matter of tightening up the process of accreditation for the profession of agrology.

Within the memory of many of us, farming was as much an art as a science. I suppose in many senses it remains as much a question of experience, trial and error, and even the farmer’s own instincts, as anything else. No one is closer to the rhythms of the seasons and the cycle of nature than the farmer. The very survival of society itself depends on his ability to make the earth productive.

The agricultural representatives in this province have a long history of providing first-class services to our farmers. They have long been the farmers’ best friends in terms of translating the research done in Ontario’s own agricultural research stations. Also, the federal government experimental farms have provided a lot of improved ways and means of growing our food. Of course, we have in this part of the world the added challenge of hard winters, in much of the province at least, although my area in Elgin is blessed with a more temperate climate.

4:30 p.m.

Today the farmer has to be much more of an expert in interpreting and applying the extremely sophisticated techniques being developed in the labs and experimental farms. The agricultural representatives of this province do a commendable job of helping people keep abreast and keep improving the productivity of our farms. This is an important challenge.

When we hear about the high percentage of the world’s population that goes to bed hungry every night, we realize the great need there is for doing all we can in Ontario to maintain our status as a net exporter of food. People in the agriculture business generally welcome innovations that will assist them to raise yields and maintain the productivity of their land.

I honestly do not know what percentage of our farmers actually call on the services of consultants above and beyond the agricultural representative. I know a lot of farmers try very hard to keep abreast by reading the farm publications. Most of these publications are excellent, not the least of which is the publication of the Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists. I am sure that when the farmer needs some highly expert specialized input with respect to any of the multitude of factors that he has to keep on top of, the services of a highly qualified, reliable agrologist are most welcome. I am sure anything we do in this government to help the farmer feel that he is getting the best would be a responsible measure for us to take.

The profession of agrology is mainly concerned with primary sciences, conducting research, advising farmers, formulating public policy and teaching at the post-secondary level. Agrologists are one of the most influential groups in today’s agricultural industry, reaching thousands of farmers across Canada, providing expert advice on fertilizers, seeds, cultivating practices, farm machinery, farm finance and, one would hope, any other problem that arises in the farming industry.

Of the many varied occupations of agrologists, the majority are employees of government, educational institutions and big business. The agrologist closest to the farmer is the agricultural representative from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. These agrologists, because of the nature of their employment, have access to the newest techniques and developments in the many fields of agrology.

The concern is primarily with the remaining few agrologists who are self-employed in farm consulting. These independent agrologists do not have the easy access to new developments in the agricultural industry. The incentive by these independent agrologists to maintain an up-to-date level of excellence is not present.

As a result of the strong influence agrologists have in the rural farming community, it is essential that agrologists maintain a high degree of professionalism. This entails the acquiring of fundamental knowledge, usually through a recognized university, the successful completion of a training or internship, and finally, the acceptance of a code of ethics of responsible conduct. In these essentials the profession of agrology is no different from other recognized professional bodies.

Diversification reaches an extreme in the profession of agrology. For this reason a standard of competence must be maintained to protect the farmers of this province. Today we talk about a total agricultural and food system extending well beyond the productive phase. This opens a new area of opportunity and responsibility for agrologists. Ecological aspects and renewable-resource-based industries are two interest areas which represent an opportunity for greater variety of specialties related to the broadened concept of agriculture.

Mr. Watson: Mr. Speaker, I wish to thank all those who took part in the debate this afternoon. I very much appreciate the points that have been raised.

I can appreciate the concern of several honourable members who mentioned the wording of the resolution and how it bothered them. I want to assure them that it bothered me too, because I realize that it is such a broad field. I could have and had thought of bringing in the simple fact of saying, as was suggested by some of the honourable members, that if it were simply the use of the letters behind your name, we would have no problems with that. What I am concerned about is somebody out there who does not call himself a professional agrologist but hires himself out to a group and says, “I am a professional agriculturalist.” He uses a little different term. He sets himself off with some kind of a professional standard; he twists it a little bit and says: “I’m not an agrologist. No, no, I’m not that. I’m a professional agriculturalist.”

We have groups today that are hiring professional agriculturalists. They should look into the background of these people; I realize that. But we have municipalities which are hiring consultants for Ontario Milk Marketing Board hearings, for annexation hearings, for all these kinds of things. We have special interest groups which are hiring professional people for environmental hearings.

I was interested in the remarks of the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart), who referred to the report on professions. Quite frankly, it was that report, when it came, that finally convinced me that there is no harm in having this put on the table to be discussed. I feel that agriculture has just as much importance as a profession as any of the others. And I have doubts about some of those other professions and the powers of self-discipline they have.

The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) talked about groups that have self-disciplining power. The Ontario Institute of Professional Agrologists would like to discipline some of its members or somebody who gets off track, but it has no real authority to do it because, if it disciplines them, so what? This is one of the problems.

Where we draw that line has been a debate, is a debate today, and is going to be a continuing debate.

It was suggested by the member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan) that perhaps the drafting of the resolution was not quite right. I want to assure him of what the intent was, and perhaps I have to agree with him that maybe the resolution is not drawn to convey the intent that I wanted.

I want to prevent people out there from representing themselves as professional agriculturalists who make out that they have these standards. I do not want to prevent farmer-to-farmer advice; and for those who are not used to farmers, I don’t think any farmer charges for his advice anyway.

But as that situation was brought up, I have no objection to a person who represents himself as a member of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and says, “I am a farmer, I am a member of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, and these are my qualifications for giving that advice.” That’s fine. They can charge for that if they want to. But they should not try to say, “I am a member of the professional group that represents agriculture in this province” and charge for it. It’s a misrepresentation; it’s the impostors that are possible there.

This resolution has another tie-in. The other thing that has an implication for this was Bill 4, having to do with the granting of degrees.

I appreciate the comments that have been offered. I am not insulted by those who do not agree with everything in the resolution. The comments will be useful. I thank everybody for their participation this afternoon.


Mr. Conway moved resolution 16:

That in the opinion of this House the government should introduce the necessary amendments to the Election Finances Reform Act, 1975, to impose a limit on the total expenditure of each registered political party in each electoral district during a campaign.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I find it a pleasure to participate, for the first time, in private members’ hour. I look forward to a good debate, widespread opinion, and, like my friend from Chatham-Kent (Mr. Watson), I will look forward to, not only the supporting but also the dissenting opinion, in the very unlikely event the latter should obtain.

I am delighted to see my friend from Wellington-Dufferin-Peel (Mr. J. Johnson) here, since I can well recall his private member’s ballot item in this connection. I do believe it was the first private member’s item that became part of a government amendment.

4:40 p.m.

The ballot item, which I shall read, is, “That in the opinion of this House the government should introduce the necessary amendments to the Election Finances Reform Act, 1975, to impose a limit on the total expenditure of each registered political party in each electoral district during a campaign.”

By that, I intend simply that we establish in our act the principle that, at least at the local constituency level, there be an absolute ceiling on all campaign expenditures in the name of a registered party. By my resolution I intend further that it be comprehensive, that we include all expenditures in the interest of a given party in that electoral district for that particular campaign.

Our act, unlike the federal act, talks about and allows not only a registered political party but also a candidate and a constituency association to spend moneys in a given campaign period. The intent of my resolution, to be very clear about it, is simply to put a cap on all expenditures in a given electoral district during a campaign.

I know the sweet reason of that will recommend itself to each and every member in this chamber. I can see the swelling tide of enthusiasm and joyful support everywhere, from Oriole in North York, to Simcoe Centre, and elsewhere.

Mr. Samis: The enthusiasm of the cabinet, too.

Mr. Conway: The enthusiasm of the cabinet, I am sure, is there as well.

As one of the members from Renfrew county, I have a particular interest in the issue of electoral reform. Our past, and not so past, politics and elections have been characterized by what my grandfather, among others, would describe as a vigorous, colourful and sometimes spirited quality. I must say that the initiatives undertaken some five years ago in this particular act were a very right and proper course of action. I think the government wisely undertook to move, in the 20th century, with this sort of reform.

I want to talk briefly about the third report of the Ontario Commission on the Legislature, tabled in this House in September 1974, which dealt exclusively with the matter of electoral reform in this particular jurisdiction. I would like as well to indicate that this particular resolution speaks to a position taken, in my absence I might add, by my caucus colleagues when the matter was being discussed some five and a half years ago. I would have supported that position, had I been here then when the matter was being discussed.

I might also add that the very distinguished former leader of this party, the long-time member for Grey South, Mr. Farquhar Oliver, who was a member of the Camp commission, dissented to the third report in the following words: “I am in full agreement with the recommendations of this report, with the qualification that there should have been a recommendation for ceilings on party and constituency expenditure in an election campaign. This would, in my judgement, have added materially to the full effect of our proposal.” I think Mr. Oliver was very correct in that point of view.

I want to go through this report quickly, since it provided much of the basis, though not all, for the act which followed.

In this particular report the commissioners cite, on page three, as part of their mandate, a letter from the then, and now, Premier (Mr. Davis), who wrote to them in December 1972, setting out the task of this commission, in the following paragraph: “To the greatest extent possible, I would want to maintain a political system in which the various parties can function and campaign for public support freely and openly, and in an atmosphere above and beyond public doubt, suspicion and cynicism.”

Eloquently put. I could not agree more wholeheartedly with the member for Brampton, the Premier, in that particular statement. But I do wonder, as I look from my vantage point as a citizen and as a participant in at least two provincial election campaigns, about what we are doing by allowing the uncontrolled expenditures at the local level, where it is most obvious, but also to some degree at the provincial and national levels -- the provincial level for our purposes.

I want to make it clear that my resolution does not intend to deal with controls at the provincial level, although I might have easily included it, since I believe it is as appropriate there as it is at the local level.

To speak to the Premier’s concern about cynicism, I do believe there is cynicism in much of the public when they see great gobs of money, some of which is being subsidized by the public treasury, thrown about with reckless abandon in some, although not all, cases. In an effort to deal with the injunction of the Premier to the commission of some eight years ago, we would do well to move in the direction my resolution intends.

I was interested in the logic that the Camp commission, in its majority form at least, used to deal with why it did not find it useful to deal with Mr. Oliver’s objection and to establish a ceiling. In their third report, pages 18 and 22 deal with the cost of election campaigns. On page 20, they properly concern themselves about the problem -- then and now -- of expenditures increasing in the efforts of electing individuals and government, whether here or elsewhere. On the question of limiting, they say on page 20:

“A common answer to the question is that limitations could be set so as to equalize the contest between the parties, so that the party with the most money does not command the most time and space in the media. While it might be sportsmanlike to handicap the parties in order to make them equal in strength and resources in an election campaign, it could only be done by a system of arbitrary and artificially applied subsidies for lesser parties on the one hand and/or extreme restrictions upon the major parties on the other, with the result that the contest would not necessarily be more democratic but less so.”

They go on, in much of their report, to talk about what they see as the almost impossible administrative burden that would devolve on the regulators’ shoulders in trying to effect the sort of ceiling I personally and very strongly believe in. It is very interesting in this connection, that on page 40 they did talk about a funding formula for candidates’ expenses. I will not bore the members with the details, but I was quite interested that in their recommendation they did suggest in a minor way a certain incentive. Let me just read; they proposed that “the following calculations be made: that a candidate who receives a minimum of 15 per cent of the popular vote be reimbursed by the lesser of the audited difference between the contributions he receives and his expenses as disclosed by his return, or $7,500, with the qualification that any candidate who spends more than the total of 80 cents for each of the first 20,000 electors in his constituency, and 25 cents for each of the remaining electors, shall have his subsidy reduced by $1 for each $2 by which he exceeds such total.”

There was an effort in their report to deal with the problem of subsidizing unlimited expenditures at the local level. I noticed, as I know all members did, in the Election Finances Reform Act, 1975, section 45, that qualification was not attempted in that particular section of that particular act, I think regrettably so.

I want to deal more directly with the four limiting factors which the Camp commission in its majority form saw as the most meaningful ones in controlling the common concern all members have about campaign expenditures.

On page 42, the commission dealt with the following: “It is evident that the parties will be effectively limited by certain governing factors: in that the overall period of election campaigns will have been reduced from not less than 37 days, as in the present act, to 30 days; in that we have proposed that the time period during which political advertising is allowed be reduced” -- and that ceilings be established there -- “in that we have also proposed a formula for the partial public funding of candidates’ campaign expenditures which provides an incentive to candidates to keep their budgets within certain limits; and, additionally, in that we have proposed rather stringent limitations upon the size of allowable political contributions which, we suggest, will also tend to keep campaign budgets within sensible bounds.”

4:50 p.m.

I suggest to my honourable colleagues in this chamber that each and every one of those four limiting factors has had no bearing of a significant kind upon the limitations which the commissioners themselves and, I think, all members of this House and all candidates for public office in this province would like to see in place. I think that is very important.

They state on page 43: “There are great difficulties with the enforcement of ceilings on expenditures.” They see these great difficulties. I want to deal briefly with those great difficulties, if I can, because that brings me to the federal experience of the last two campaigns, May 1979 and February 1980.

We do have a knowledge, as I am sure all members are aware, that the federal act in this area does incorporate the principle that there will be ceilings at the local and national levels. I was speaking with some of the federal officials in connection with this particular resolution of mine to ask whether they had found these very great difficulties which were so generally, so often and so widely complained of by the commissioners here in Ontario. They said, “Not at all.” They have some very interesting data now.

Mr. Rotenberg: Maybe not in Renfrew.

Mr. Conway: If the member for Wilson Heights will only restrain himself, I shall try to educate him in the ways of the federal experience. For his edification, if for no one else’s, I want him to know something.

A review of the May 1979 federal election campaign experience has been undertaken and completed by the federal election office. It offers the following guidelines: 97 of 282 MPs elected in that campaign spent more than 90 per cent of their allowable limit; 90 elected MPs to that Parliament spent between 80 and 90 per cent of their limit; and 95 elected MPs spent less than 80 per cent of their limit.

So 65 per cent of the members of the Parliament elected in May 1979 spent less than 90 per cent of their allowable limit. Moreover, the federal people tell me they have done a survey of the chief financial officers involved in that campaign, and they now know that a clear majority of those chief financial officers surveyed after the May 1979 federal election campaign -- and I want my friend from Wilson Heights to know -- did not complain that the federal limit at the local level was unduly restrictive. There seems to be widespread agreement that the limits are restrictive but not unduly so.

It is interesting to note that the federal legislation gives a national ceiling as well, which in the May 1979 campaign gave all major parties -- the Tories, the Liberals and the New Democrats -- a ceiling of $4.45 million. The Tories spent $3.85 million, the Liberals spent $3.9 million and the New Democrats spent $2.19 million. It is clear they were very easily able to come within those particular guidelines.

I think that federal experience is extremely important when we look at our own experience in this connection. I do not want my friends from Oriole (Mr. Williams), Algoma-Manitoulin (Mr. Lane), Armourdale (Mr. McCaffrey) and elsewhere to feel that this is anything but a private member’s point of view. It is not something motivated in this case by a partisan desire. There will surely be an assessment of the data that might encourage some of the suspicious members opposite to think it is to the contrary, but I can assure them it is not so.

Mr. McCaffrey: No incumbent would be suspicious.

Mr. Conway: The point about incumbency is important. If we are interested in cleaning up the system, I do not think there is any reason why we should not accept the principle that is incorporated in this particular act. They do grant control at a certain level at the constituency by capping the media advertising.

We are not quibbling about the principle. We are just talking about extending it, which I believe should be done because, first and foremost, it does set a set of circumstances that are fair and equitable to all concerned so that anyone who is getting involved will know that he or she can expect to spend, and to have spent by his or her competitors, a certain amount at the local level and no more.

I believe those limits should be negotiated and established in the interest of fairness, taking into account, as the federal people do, the regional disparities between the Northwest Territories and Wilson Heights. Obviously, those kinds of inputs have to be taken into consideration. But the principle of capping expenditures at the local level must surely be understood in the good old liberal sense of equalizing the treatment of those democratic partners setting out in the very important electoral process.

I find it absolutely incredible that my good and continuing friend, the former candidate for Carleton East, Darwin Kealey, another Ottawa Valley Irishman, could have spent -- was allowed to spend, not only by this Legislature, but also by his own constituency association -- the utterly unbelievable, positively obscene sum of $60,846. It is unbelievable that he could have spent such. I will not bore the honourable members about the records of the Attorney General, save to say that in 1975 he spent an amount which was almost as much, and the figures are there.

My good friend from Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. B. Newman), who has a capacity for understanding these things far better than I, pointed out to me who the big spenders were in the 1977 Ontario election. Stabile in Downsview spent -- and my friend from Downsview (Mr. Di Santo) must surely want to participate and tell us how this one candidate could have spent the again impossible amount of $62,467, or $10.15 for every losing vote he obtained.

I guess I have to accept that there might be a partisan quality in this, but who are the big spenders, according to my friend from Windsor-Walkerville? They are: Stabile, Jones, Grossman, Walker, Shore, Scrivener, Bennett, Wells, Carter, Snow, McCaffrey, Ross, Cameron and my friend O’Neil from Quinte -- I don’t want to excuse him; I told him, privately at least, that I think the expenditure in his case of some $43,000 to maintain himself in Quinte was probably not an efficient allocation of resources.

The big hitters, the top 10 on this hit parade, I am afraid are all over there. If the Premier tells the chamber of commerce that the time has come for us all to pull our belts tight, to exercise restraint, surely all of us in this chamber -- you, Mr. Speaker, are to be congratulated, because your record is second only to our friend the Deputy Speaker (Mr. Edighoffer), in spending and in efficiency of money spent for votes won. You are a fine and upstanding leader, together with our friend from Perth, in how we might more effectively incorporate electoral reform.

I know I have very little time left, and I just want to recommend to every member the efficacy, in the small-l liberal sense, of this continuing reform, a principle which I suggest to my friends opposite has already been agreed to in so far as we have capped the media expenditures at the local level. The time has surely come, as the federal experience of two elections has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt, when we can, should and must move, almost immediately in my view, to cap those expenditures at the constituency level.

I thank you. If I have any time left, I might like a rejoinder to such comments as may be offered by honourable members.

Mr. Speaker: I’m sorry; you don’t have any time left. You timed it perfectly.

Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, in the course of doing a little work on this resolution, I got from the library a publication called A Comparative Survey of Election Finance Legislation, 1978, which is essentially a catalogue of every jurisdiction in North America which has attempted to put together some kind of legislation in this regard. The member for Renfrew South has just put the truth to the quotation from Will Rogers which appears in the front of this book. The quotation is, “Politics has got so expensive that it takes lots of money to even get beat with.” I think that litany of big spenders puts the truth to that particular quote.

5 p.m.

I think there is a general recognition, for whatever reason it seems to focus here, that there is a need to put into law, regulations about election expenditures. I think it comes from one central theme: the rather abhorrent theory that came about in this country -- in this continent, actually -- that we should not allow to continue the practice of being able to buy one’s way into public office. The theory held that the only effective technique that could be put together was some electoral reform which controlled the expenditures during election periods.

In another life, I functioned as a campaign manager in federal elections in Oshawa. We have not a bad candidate there by the name of Ed Broadbent who seems to do reasonably well. We seem to have mastered that. We have gone through two federal elections with that piece of legislation. In addition, we have gone through two provincial elections with the province’s version of it.

I think it reasonable to say that in comparing the two acts, for most of us who are not accountants or lawyers or people who regularly deal with that kind of regulation, there are a number of headaches. There are a number of requirements put in place by both acts which cause ordinary people in the course of participating in the election processes some problems. But I do not think they are insurmountable.

I think that aspect of it -- the paperwork which must be done, the accounting, the keeping of bills, whether something can be moved from one account to another -- all of that serves the fundamental purpose of this kind of legislation.

But it does strike me, in comparing the two acts, that Ontario, in putting through its legislation, missed the boat on a rather major point. That is the one that is the subject of this resolution. It is essentially proposing, if I may oversimplify somewhat, a cap on expenditures. I would regret if that cap on expenditures attempted in any way to decide what could be done in each riding. That would be a rather impossible task for us to attempt.

But I am in complete agreement with the notion that there ought to he a cap on the kind of expenditures that are allowed. The purpose of that exercise is essentially to curb any kind of gross expenditures, any attempt that goes back to the original principle of seeing that you can’t buy public office. That cap serves that purpose; it cuts it off there.

In looking over the reports upon which our legislation is based, the matter was considered in this province. It was felt reasonable to say at that time that there were other techniques on advertising periods and on the amounts that could be spent for that. In other words, they went into detail on one aspect of it and felt that was the way they should go. I am not sure that solves the problem.

I would support this resolution on the basis that an original principle, which is shared by similar types of legislation across North America, is one which is missing from our legislation. It ought to be put into it.

There is a commission that looks at the workings of our legislation. It has made some recommendations to the government. We have not seen a major reform of that piece of legislation even though we have been through two elections now and we have some practical experience on whether it does or doesn’t work.

I would suggest that the arguments for and against this one are interesting ones to listen to. Essentially, Ontario opted for not putting a cap on overall expenditures, feeling it had dealt with the matter in other ways. I am a proponent of this resolution before us this afternoon, essentially because of the capping of expenditures. However, I think it is reasonable to say if someone sets out to break the law -- to defy the legislation, in other words -- I doubt that anyone could write a law that could prevent that from occurring.

But the provision of a cap would make it clear so that I would think all honourable members would be prepared to abide by that. What is more important, the citizenry at large would see that as being a fair and reasonable way to proceed and would abide by it. I think all of us are in agreement with the simple principle that good legislation is that which does not require a lot of enforcement. It is legislation the population at large sees as being a reasonable way to proceed and accepts without a great deal of supervision.

This report, comparing this kind of legislation from across North America, goes through all of the details, all of the basic principles, all of the enforcement techniques that are used, all of the reporting techniques that are there.

On this matter of putting a cap on it, though, perhaps I might quote some basic principles from the report of the select committee on election expenses. In support of the notion that there ought to be a cap on expenditures, it points out that a candidate who would spend beyond the legal limits and wishes to avoid the penalty would have to, first of all, deceive his auditor; secondly, deceive his official agent; thirdly, deceive the electorate in his riding; and, fourthly, deceive his opponents in the electoral district, their auditors and agents. I think that puts it as succinctly as it can be. If someone wanted to, it could happen.

But, as a normal course of business, members of this House, who have been elected as candidates, would accept the premises of a cap; that people who work in campaigns would see the amount as being reasonable; that there were lots of options to choose whether they would do a lot of heavy advertising, or whether they would do a great deal of printing of material, or distribution, or mail-outs, or whatever way they decided to wage the campaign -- the options are there to choose.

The member for Renfrew South, in running through what has transpired in this province over the last two elections, has pointed out that one cannot buy a seat in this House. One can spend a lot of money uselessly -- which is perhaps not a supportable notion in any event -- but it is difficult to convince the electorate in a substantive way just through spending money.

One of the things that brought this home to me was a discussion of the matter of expenditures and the Election Expenses Act with members of the US Congress. They pointed out that the milieu in many of their congressional elections is so different from ours that there is very little opportunity to do the kind of campaigning that members of this House are familiar with; in many of their elections they are forced into heavy advertising and heavy expenditures of funds, particularly television advertising.

In part, our own legislation in Ontario covers that aspect of it, but it does not speak to the kind of situation where, for example, one member of the Congress I spoke to told me that 10 years ago his total election expenditures were about $15,000 and that in his last election he had gone to some $275,000 for the same congressional seat. That kind of thing could happen here. The legislation in place in Ontario is imperfect because it did not accept one of the major principles that has been accepted in other jurisdictions.

I support the resolution before the House. I would suggest to the members that it is in such motherhood language it would be difficult not to support it. It addresses itself to a principle in extremely broad and general terms. I believe it to be worthy of the consideration of this House that this resolution now be sent perhaps to the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses for more careful study and understanding of what we mean by “a cap” and to put it on the record for their considerations at some future time.

I do not support the notion that the election expenses commission or this Legislature should attempt to devise a formula. Frankly, one of the things I find wrong with the federal cap is that there is a formula at work. I am not sure that is the perfect system. I would be supportive of the notion that there should be a general limit on total expenditures, and that the purpose of that limit would be to prevent any kind of grossness that might evolve. There should be considerable leeway in how that cap is put on.

If the intent is clear and the principle is important enough, the members of this House should support this resolution and we should now begin in Ontario to continue that review and to make some changes in that legislation.

Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the debate this afternoon for two reasons. First, I was most anxious to be present in the House to listen to the quiet-spoken but most eloquent orator, my friend from Renfrew North, who is the sponsor of this resolution this afternoon.

5:10 p.m.

The second reason I was interested in participating goes back some further period of time. I must say I have always had a personal interest in the matter of controlling election expenses because of my experience at the municipal level when myself and my colleague across the way from Yorkview (Mr. Young) were members of what is now the city of North York council.

We always found that following municipal elections there was inevitably someone who felt he had been prejudiced in the election process because the matter of how much money was donated and how many people worked for a particular candidate worked against him. It usually was a person who had not been successful in an election who would tend to make some innuendo or suggestion that somehow he was disadvantaged because his successful opponent had outspent and outmanoeuvred him in an unfavourable way.

The longer I spent on the council, the more this became an issue after each and every election. In fact, it became so much so that in the last two terms I had the opportunity to serve as an elected member in North York resolutions were introduced by the council that would require members to file a list of donations that were made as well as a list of expenditures that were experienced by an elected member once he was successfully elected to the council.

Quite frankly, I did not feel that type of resolution was necessary for myself to take the initiative to impose that type of self-restraint, because I always made a point of setting a certain level beyond which I would not accept donations from any one source. I felt that to do otherwise would leave one in an uncomfortable position if during the term of council it was found that that supporter or group of supporters came before the council when we were dealing with some business on which we had to make a decision.

Of course, one would in any event declare a conflict of interest, but it would be better to prevent the situation from arising by limiting the extent of financial donations at the outset. So I did without hesitation support those types of resolutions and motions that were put before council. I think I can say without fear of contradiction that I perhaps filed the most complete expenditure and revenue accounts after the municipal elections of any member on our council at that time.

In fact, in thinking back, I recall that an occasion arose where my list was used by some citizen or individual to throw up to me the fact that I had received a $100 donation from one particular individual, which I didn’t hesitate to acknowledge was the case. The very fact that the individual who had made that donation belonged to a profession that we were on broad terms dealing with as a group of businessmen within the community seemed to imply that, by discussing the possibility of limiting proposals for a particular municipal project to all of the people within that profession who had their businesses within the city, I was somehow displaying a conflict of interest. They pointed back to the fact that there happened to be one member in that profession which I was supporting at large as resident professions within the municipality and that, therefore, a conflict of interest was created.

I have always been very sensitive to this situation and, as I have indicated, I have always imposed my own self-discipline in this area. When I first ran for the provincial Legislature, I was delighted that the act the member is asking to be reformed, the Election Finances Reform Act, had already been put in place at the time, because I had no quarrel with the purpose and intent of that legislation. I was delighted to live by those guidelines, because they are ones I’ve lived with all through my political life.

It is apparent that this resolution is not in any way critical of the existing system or the legislation, because I think we all agree in this House that that legislation is well conceived. In fact, in a very practical way, it has imposed certain restraints to ensure to the public at large that there is a broadly based source of financial support that comes to all members. At no time can any member or group of members be accused of having had their election bought for them, so to speak, from any one or handful of sources, so as to create in the minds of the public, and rightfully so, a conflict of interest should there be dealings with that group, directly or indirectly, during the individual’s term of office.

I have never quarrelled with that concept. Indeed, it is an appropriate type of restraint that the donations should be spread, and one should not be able to go to one or two sources for a limitless source of financial support.

What I have difficulty with in looking at this resolution is this: While the Election Finances Reform Act does remove the cloud of suspicion about which I have been speaking, at the same time it allows the latitude that must surely be permitted to exist and continue if we are to have a strong form of democratic government. Surely any individual seeking elected office must have the right to gather about him as much support as he or she can possibly garner, without any type of impediment or legal restriction in the form of legislation.

It seems to me, therefore, that this idea of limiting the amount of financial support that can be given to any one candidate does offend the very fundamental principles of the democratic process.

The fact that one candidate may be more popular than a candidate for another party, and thereby receives a greater amount of financial contributions, should not be used as a basis for trying to impose restrictions on that popular candidate.

The fact of the matter is that many people want to participate in the election process, and they do so by giving voluntarily of their time, by going out and knocking on doors, by answering telephones, by stuffing envelopes with election material, by putting up signs, or whatever.

If we are going to impose on the right of individuals to show their form of support in the way of financial contributions because they may not have the time available to do any of those other volunteer things, then surely the next step is that we are going to be limited as to the number of signs that we are going to be able to put up. Perhaps it will be taken to the excess of limiting the number of workers we are allowed to have out in the field working for us during an election period. How far do we carry this type of limitation?

What I have illustrated simply points out the illogical approach that is being taken in this resolution and the consequences which, if carried to their ultimate conclusion, offend the democratic electoral process. On that basis, therefore, I feel obliged to be opposed to this resolution before the House.

5:20 p.m.

Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in this debate. If one thing has been made clear over the many weeks that we have discussed private members’ resolutions, it is that the Ontario Liberal Party has always used this time as exactly that -- a private members’ hour to discuss private members’ resolutions.

In that respect, therefore, I have no hesitation in rising and saying that I oppose the resolution that has been introduced by my very good and long-time friend, the member for Renfrew North. I do so after serious consideration of the consequences of such a new law as far as election expenditure goes.

It has been pointed out eloquently by the member for Renfrew North who the big spenders are. It has been pointed out eloquently that the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario is in a league by itself. Its candidates are certainly the big spenders in Ontario politics.

If that is the type of image the Progressive Conservative Party wants, an affluent party, one where money means nothing and having all they want, that is their business. The voters will see it as such, and they may pay for it at the polls.

We in the Liberal Party -- and the documents show this -- have probably been very frugal with our money. The electorate also knows that. However, when we look at the overall issue of money expended, first of all, the money has to come from somewhere. The money must be raised by individual canvassing. We have already placed restrictions on corporate donations. We have already placed restrictions on individual donations, where an individual can only give $500.

If I have the political support in my own riding where I can find 500 people to give me $100 each for my political campaign, why should I be restricted in spending that money when the other two political parties have the same opportunity to obtain money.

Let’s turn it around the other way. Let’s say, for example that I was able to raise tons of money the election before, and since then something has happened and the voters would like a change.

Mr. Nixon: That will never happen.

Mr. Mancini: I’m sure that will never happen. When that happens, I have the money available. We are then restricting the new candidates from making themselves known.

Let’s not forget all the advantages of an incumbent. We have constituency offices. We send out two mailings a year. We have two staff people. We can travel around our ridings constantly. We are always in the public domain. That is a tremendous advantage over the other two political parties who wish to challenge us in future elections.

If we are going to restrict them so they cannot print 20,000 pamphlets and maybe have to go with 10,000, or they cannot have 6,000 lawn signs and maybe have to go with 3,000, that’s not democracy.

If the candidate can raise the money from the general population of the riding, he should be allowed to spend it. If we want to say that the $500 limit is too much, let’s limit the $500 to $100, and thereby make the campaign donations come from a greater number of people. That is more equitable, that is fairer, that is more democratic.

We are underestimating the intelligence of the voter. If anyone thinks the voter is going to vote for a particular candidate because he or she happens to spend more money than the other candidates, I find that unbelievable.

In my own experience, in the election in 1977, I was outspent by the Progressive Conservative candidate by more than $12,000. Yet the people of Essex South saw fit not to send that person but to send me here. That tells me something. That tells me that money is not going to buy votes.

I do not think the average man or woman on the street feels his or her vote can be bought by some ad or pamphlet or by receiving three instead of one. I do not believe that. The facts are here before us. These facts are made known to us by the results of the last election.

It was mentioned that a certain Mr. Stabile had run against the very good member for Downsview (Mr. Di Santo). It was mentioned that this Mr. Stabile had spent some $60,000. Mr. Stabile is not here in the Legislature. He could have spent $200,000 and he probably still would not have been here. If the present member for Downsview is in the position now of raising $40,000, or more or less, that is because he is the popular candidate of that particular area. Why do we want to restrict people’s involvement in any way?

All of us get up and say: “We have to get more people involved in politics. We have to show them we are not cynical. We have to make sure they feel a part of the electoral process.” Donating money legitimately in a political campaign to the candidate of one’s choice is just that kind of involvement.

I was listening to a news broadcast not too long ago where it was mentioned that a certain congressional candidate in the state of New York, a self-made millionaire, had decided he wanted to be a Congressman. That gentleman spent $1 million of his own money to be defeated. The people of Ontario cannot be bought. I refuse to believe that. I refuse to believe that because certain members have spent certain amounts of money and are here they would not be here if they had spent substantially less.

Especially on a riding-by-riding level, the electorate watches the political incumbent and watches the political candidates. That is why in excess of 70 per cent of people go out to vote. They vote for a reason. That reason is not that one candidate has spent more money than the other.

If we were to impose this law and if we were to impose these restrictions in my own particular riding, the geography of it is such I would have to set up four campaign offices. I would have to do certain things the member for Simcoe Centre (Mr. G. Taylor) does not have to do. I would have to do certain things the member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Rotenberg) does not have to do. Why should I be restricted along the lines of the member for Wilson Heights? That is not fair.

In closing, I would like to say if we want to put more restrictions on campaign financing and if we want to be doubly sure no one is being sent to the Legislature because he has to spend more money than others, then let us restrict where candidates can get the money from. If $500 per individual donation is too much, let us restrict that. If the corporate side of the donation is too much, let us restrict that. But if an individual candidate has the popularity and confidence of the people in being able to raise certain amounts of money legally and ethically, then we have no reason whatsoever in stopping that particular candidate spending that money that has been given to him in the democratic process.

5:30 p.m.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, we know the Election Finances Reform Act came to this province in 1975 only after a long history of scandals in which this Tory government was found to be awarding contracts and granting favours to persons and corporations that made large political contributions. Many of the donations were hidden, but enough leaked out to demonstrate that the practice was widespread.

In addition, public opinion was focusing on the unequal expenditures by candidates from different parties and arguing that this posed a threat to democracy. As election costs rose, the problem of an equal voice for contenders in elections became more acute.

The Melchers Distilleries case and the Fidinam case were two instances where the connection between political contributions and the granting of favours came out into the open. In 1966, the member for the then riding of Woodbine, who happens to be my husband, exposed the Melchers case. In that case it appeared that the obtaining of listings from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario depended on political contributions.

The government’s response to that particular exposure was to set up a committee on election financing in 1967. But two elections came and went before any legislative action was taken in this field. It was not until 1975 that we got the Election Finances Reform Act.

This legislation was modelled on the recommendations of the Camp commission, which reported in 1974 on election financing. They stated that their objective was “to remove from the political process the presence of big money from large and powerful interests.” Unfortunately, we have not completely succeeded in doing that.

The Camp commission noted there were two routes to controlling election expenses. First, one could control the size of contributions so that governments would not be in the pockets of those able to make large contributions. Second, one could control the expenditures by each candidate and party to put the parties on a more equal basis.

Unfortunately, the Camp commission concluded the second route was too difficult to enforce. One of the difficulties, as the honourable member across the floor mentioned, was that many supporters contribute both goods and services and it is not easy to put a price on these in assessing the cost of a campaign.

The commission did feel that media expenditures were easy to monitor. It, therefore, recommended that a limit be placed on media expenditures but not on the others. It thought that controlling contributions would solve the problem of excessive and unequal spending on elections. However, we have found this has not been the case. In fact, there have continued to be great disparities between the candidates and the parties on what they spend on their campaigns.

The totals for the 1977 election show a staggering inequity among the contenders. At the party level, the Progressive Conservatives spent $2.3 million, the Liberals $429,000 and the NDP $319,000. These did not include the expenditures of the individual candidates. There were similar disparities in the ridings. There were 14 members who spent more than $40,000, and all but one of them were Conservatives. Leading the pack was the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), who spent $73,689. The Premier (Mr. Davis) was not far behind at $47,383. The Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Walker) spent $59,289. And the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett) spent $59,624. We must remember that, with the income tax rebate available at the provincial level, the taxpayers are footing a great part of these excessive bills.

The Camp commission’s recommendation did half the job, and this resolution suggests that we should do the other half; that is why I am supporting it. The federal government has controlled total expenditures, not just media expenditures, and we have had two elections to test how it is working. I believe it has worked quite well and put a clamp on excessive spending -- although not a tight enough clamp, in my opinion. I think the Camp commission was misguided when it thought that election expenditures could be controlled through controlling contributions.

The Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses came across several cases where the contribution limits were exceeded by candidates. In some cases it was an oversight, and the commission simply asked for a refund of the amount. But in at least two cases the election expenses commission discovered that candidates had found loopholes in the contribution law which enabled them to greatly exceed the limit for contributions and, therefore, for expenditures.

The committee reported these violations to the Attorney General, as it was required to do under the legislation, and recommended prosecution. However, the Attorney General refused to prosecute on the ground that the commission should do so. The commission does not think it has the power to do so under the act; so the contribution limits are still open to very serious abuse, and the government has taken no action either to clarify the legislation or close the loopholes. In fact, no prosecution has ever been instituted under the act.

This is another reason why I am supporting this resolution. The 1975 legislation has never been amended in any respect, despite the emergence of a number of very serious problems of interpretation and the identification of some loopholes which could completely negate the act.

The Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses has drafted a number of amendments in the past five years. It has circulated them to all members of the Legislature. It has urged that they be enacted. The commission has even drafted a bill incorporating them and attached marginal notes explaining them.

Members of the NDP have questioned the government on when it will bring in these badly needed amendments which have the unanimous support of the commission. So far we have received no commitment from the government for legislative action.

If we don’t want to fight the next election under a badly flawed act, which is really a paper tiger, we must consider amendments this session, and this resolution could form the basis for one amendment. It would also open up the act and give us an opportunity to propose additional amendments, or for the government to bring in additional amendments. One of those must be a limitation on total expenditures.

If the government members fail to support this resolution, or block it, they are in effect condoning the old, corrupt system of excessive and unequal expenditures by the parties and the candidates. They will be going back to a system in which large and powerful interests play an undue role and democracy is negated.

Mr. Speaker: The honourable member’s time has expired.

Ms. Bryden: I would simply plead with the members opposite to support a very worthwhile reform.

Mr. G. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, as I rise to speak in this debate I must compliment the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) on his selection of a topic. It is a topic which has been discussed, I am sure, many times in academic circles and has had many studies and reports done on it in this jurisdiction and many others. It is a very good topic both from a practical and a theoretical aspect, a topic one can get his teeth into and argue on both sides with great delight.

It also has that ring to it. We have seen jurisdictions that have put in place some type of legislation that he speaks about. There are now sufficient studies provided by the advertising media, academic circles, political circles, legislatures and jurisdictions, parliamentary and otherwise. They have studied it so that we probably do have a wealth of information now on this topic.

When I was asked to speak on this resolution, the computer printout on the number of articles, books, periodicals on the subject was quite lengthy. I would use up my entire 10 minutes if I were just to read the topics on this subject ranging over all the jurisdictions of the United States and the world.

However, having said that about the limitations, I would say that possibly the member’s resolution is ahead of its time.

In addition, we have come to the point with our existing legislation -- with a cap, as it is called, on our spending limits -- particularly on those limits that we feel, and most studies feel, are the ones that are a determining factor. I refer to commercial advertising in a political campaign. Money spent on advertising is the factor that is going to make the difference between winning and not winning.

The member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini), with whom I agree, says we cannot buy the voters of this province. I believe that. Both here and in other jurisdictions the amount of money spent is not a great determining factor of whether one is successful in an election.

When there are two brand new candidates spending about an equal amount, usually one is successful and one is not successful. Some of the studies show that where an incumbent has been around for some time, his spending should and indeed does decrease. One study showed an incumbent who had been in the U.S. Congress for some 20 years had expenditures totalling $20, his filing fee and his stamps to send that filing fee to the Election Expenses Commission. So one cannot determine the amount of success by the amount of money put into a campaign.

There are many features of a campaign that we must look at in which there are variances in the jurisdictions. The member for Essex South said, why should he spend as much as somebody else, or not as much, if he can collect and spend that money. The federal act has taken that somewhat into consideration but not totally.

In my riding there are 14 newspapers, three radio stations and one TV station. I might not use their services in a campaign, but if I were to do that it would cost some considerable sum to lay heavily on television, as we know. It costs a little more on radio sometimes than on the printed media, because there are different and variable rates.

Given the variances in the different ridings -- an urban riding is different from a suburban riding, a rural riding or a mixed riding -- the amounts of money spent are variable. There is a great deal of variation in what one member has to do to put forward his campaign material as compared with another one. In some, maybe lawn signs will do the trick. In some of the urban ridings, no matter what type of media you place your campaign information in, you have no success guaranteed because the editorials or the reporters or the major disseminators of news material outweigh anything you might buy commercially. So even there it might be outspent.

When I have heard the comments about federal election campaign expenses being of some success, some might say of two elections both have been wrong in some point; so one might say all that money was ill-spent in those two elections.

Just look at what some of these regions have brought about when they have gone into them. The commission controls some of our expenses. Some say one can not go into an election campaign now without the use of a good auditor, a good lawyer and a professional group of people saying, “This is how the campaign is going.” This is becoming prevalent in the United States. They have become most reluctant to carry on their campaigns without the services of very high-priced, highly talented and knowledgeable individuals just to confine themselves within their present election laws.

There are also many grey areas that are producing litigation. We have some now in this country as a result of the federal election. I remind members of the Crombie campaign where somebody spent money, not as part of the campaign, though it is now being decided whether that should be within his campaign expenses. This is becoming a very litigious area in the United States. Political action committees are spending enormous sums of money. The Federal Communications Commission in the United States and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission are getting into what does constitute election expenses.

We are now clouding and shrouding the election campaign with a myriad of commissions, boards, overseers, auditors and otherwise trying to keep track of every expenditure we might make, with the candidate being nervous and his chief financial officer and other people in the campaign being exceedingly nervous as to whether they have totally come within the confines of the Election Finances Reform Act. If they transgress that, what is the final outcome? In some situations, there could be a new election, disqualification, embarrassment or otherwise. These litigation problems are increasing as a result of the present legislation.

Let us look at some of the other features. When they talk about a cap being on, I should remind the members, if they have not gone out recently and inquired about some of the prices, expenditures on campaign expenses in the congressional elections in the United States increased by 44 to 100 per cent in a two-year period. If some think the present expenditure limits in the province are too high, with inflation as it is coming around in election campaigns, they will surely be there and putting that cap on in the present situation. I think the average cost of a lawn sign today is somewhere around $1, including the stake and the paper cost. I don’t know what it would cost if one included the man-hours to hammer them in and pack them up to the different places. We do have some limits in there at present.

If we put these limits on, what type of control are we going to get? Are we going to improve the campaign? Are we going to improve the quality of the candidate? Are we going to improve the quality of information disseminated or the amount given? What are we going to improve if we did put these limits on? I am not sure we would improve the candidate or any of those other things with any degree of quality or increase. It would probably be the same, except the economy would be without that extra money that would flow through as a result of the particular campaign.

There are also problems as a result of where the campaign funds come from. I am not so sure the members opposite have characterized where the funds of the Progressive Conservative Party come from. I would submit they come from all areas, from small donations and large donations and from people interested in putting forward the policies of the province that this Progressive Conservative Party has put forward.

I wish the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald) would spend his money wisely and send some to William Kelly so that he can continue this honest and good government he is getting on this particular side of the House. In a most partisan way I would say, if anything, I have been pleased that this government and these candidates on this side of the Legislature spend the money. If they get the better government and the good government they can get, I would not put any limit whatsoever on the spending of the members of this side. If one could say it, I would put limits on opposition members for the amount of money they could spend. But that is said in jest.

One can say that to spend does not ensure one’s election. One can divide the number of votes and say a candidate lost and it cost him $1 or 90 cents a vote, or he won. What’s the difference? I would definitely not restrict it. If one can collect, it is a measure of a man’s ability to put forward his program and his platform. Thus, to put any kind of limitation on spending is not what I would support.

5:50 p.m.


Mr. Speaker: Mr. Watson has moved resolution 15.

Those in favour will please say “aye.”

Those opposed will please say “nay.”

In my opinion the nays have it.

Resolution negatived.

6 p.m.


The House divided on Mr. Conway’s motion of resolution 16, which was agreed to on the following vote:


Bounsall, Breaugh, Breithaupt, Bryden, Charlton, Conway, Cooke, Cunningham, Davidson, M., Davison, M. N., Di Santo, Dukszta, Edighoffer, Gaunt, Germa, Gigantes, Haggerty, Hall, Kerrio, Lane, Lawlor.

MacDonald, Makarchuk, McCaffrey, McGuigan, McKessock, Miller, G. I., Newman, B., Nixon, O’Neil, Peterson, Philip, Reed, J., Reid, T. P., Riddell, Roy, Ruston, Samis, Stong, Swart, Sweeney, Warner, Worton, Young, Ziemba.


Ashe, Belanger, Bennett, Brunelle, Cureatz, Eaton, Epp, Gregory, Hennessy, Hodgson, Johnson, J., Kennedy, Kerr, MacBeth, Mancini, McCague, McNeil.

Newman, W., Norton, Parrott, Ramsay, Rotenberg, Rowe, Taylor, J. A., Taylor, G., Turner, Villeneuve, Walker, Watson, Wells, Williams.

Ayes 45; nays 31.

Resolution concurred in.

Mr. Speaker: The Minister of Correctional Services has what he considers to be a point of privilege.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege about some remarks I believe were made by the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) which would suggest that perhaps I was one of the high rollers when it came to certain spending limits in the 1977 Ontario election.

I would like to say the member for Beaches-Woodbine drew her comments from a reasonably good source, the third annual report of the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses. However, just to make the record correct the commission ultimately acknowledge that their Chinese figures were somewhat in error when it came to the riding of London South and my own name. I was identified as having spent something in the range of $59,289, which certainly was not an amount that was spent. It was somewhat lower than that.

The commission ultimately acknowledged the error of its ways and published a newspaper advertisement which would indicate the spending was something in excess of $40,000. It was certainly not the $59,000 the member opposite suggested. I would have thought the member better informed than to have even suggested I would have spent that much.

Mr. Speaker: The government House leader wants to give the order of business for next week, but I would inform the House the member for Essex North (Mr. Ruston) has withdrawn his dissatisfaction with the answer to a question asked of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells).


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would like to outline the business of the House for the rest of this week and next week.

Tonight we will deal with the budget debate. Tomorrow morning we will also deal with the budget debate.

On Monday, May 19, it being a national holiday, Victoria Day, the House will not be meeting.

On Tuesday, May 20, in the afternoon and evening we will deal with legislation, in the following order: Bills 52, 53, 54, 61 and 47.

On Wednesday, May 21, the justice, general government and resources development committees may meet in the morning.

On Thursday, May 22, in the afternoon, private members’ public business will be dealt with, ballot items 15 and 16, followed in the evening by budget debate.

On Friday, May 23, the House in committee of supply will consider the estimates of the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs.

The House recessed at 6:03 p.m.