31st Parliament, 4th Session

L062 - Fri 30 May 1980 / Ven 30 mai 1980

The House met at 10 a.m.



Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a point of privilege with respect to a matter of privilege raised by the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton) in my absence yesterday relating to an article in the Hamilton Spectator of Tuesday, May 27, 1980.

If the minister had taken a moment either to call the Spectator or to call me, he would have realized that what has happened here is that the Spectator took an article which appeared in the final edition the night before and which had been based entirely on my visit to the strikers in the morning before I had spoken with the minister. I then spoke with the Spectator after the minister answered my questions in the House. They then wrote a new lead for the story which indicated plainly that I had accepted the minister’s answers in the House, as indicated in the first four paragraphs where it says:

“The minister told Dr. Smith the Toronto association was able to reach an early settlement by reallocating funds already in its budget and suggested Hamilton do the same. He denied the Toronto group was promised extra funds and added he doesn’t expect a bill from them later, Dr. Smith said last night.” So I accepted the minister’s answer.

However, the article had another paragraph which had been in from the day before, and which was left in, saying I was still expressing doubt as to whether there had been an agreement with Toronto for extra funds. Of course I accepted the minister’s answer. It was simply a journalistic error. As I say, I would have hoped the minister could have checked it out either with the Spectator or myself. I trust in future he might take the occasion to do so.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the honourable Leader of the Opposition for the explanation. Of course I fully accept his explanation. I understand these things do happen.


Mr. S. Smith: This is my morning for privilege, Mr. Speaker. This is a matter of privilege with regard to the statement made in this House by the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea) a few days ago when he stood in the House and asked me to apologize to Mr. Sims, head of the Ontario Board of Censors, with regard to statements I had made some days earlier.

At that time the minister gave a chronology of what actually happened at the censor board, in his understanding, pointing out that on May 16 the board made a decision on The Tin Drum and that the letter from the solicitor came on May 15, by which time the decision had already been made and the letter was not passed on to the remaining members of the board because, allegedly, the head of the board felt it was irrelevant since the decision had already been taken.

I would like to draw the attention of the House to a letter from the solicitor dated May 28, 1980, addressed to the minister in which evidence was given very clearly that the solicitor for the distributor of the film had made it very plain, both to the head of the censor board and to a Mrs. Brown on the censor board, that the so-called English cut was to be permitted. If this letter is accurate, then it would seem to me that the minister will have to clarify the meaning of his previous statement.

The letter goes into some detail to indicate that there had been a telephone conversation between the solicitor and the head of the censor board. I will quote just one paragraph:

“The key issue is whether or not Mr. Sims and Mrs. Brown allowed or encouraged the board to proceed while keeping from them the knowledge of an important concession made by the distributor. The actual date of receipt of the letter upon which your statement is based is secondary to the state of knowledge of the chairman and deputy chairman. My offer was clear and unequivocal on May 14. But for a courtesy extended to Mrs. Brown, the letter would have been in Mr. Sims’s hands on that date. In any event, its contents were read to both Mrs. Brown and Mr. Sims and they were fully aware that it would arrive the next day, which of course it did.”

The matter of privilege is that if this letter is correct it would appear that the minister himself had been misled by the information he was given and has inadvertently, no doubt, misled others who heard him. If the letter is incorrect, then the minister may care to respond. But it would seem to be a very serious allegation in this letter.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, you always get into trouble when you become a mouthpiece for a mouthpiece.

I had hoped that the Leader of the Opposition would not raise this, because I want one thing very clearly understood. At no time in any of this have I attempted to trap the member or anyone else. I have been giving out very accurate information on each occasion.

I am glad the Leader of the Opposition mentioned that the letter was called back as a courtesy to Mrs. Brown. Does he know why it was called back? The reason was that the solicitor had a conversation with her the day before regarding that cut and told her he would not want to be in a position where he had appeared to make an offer that would be rejected by the board; that the verbal offer of a cut should not be conveyed to the board unless she was sure the board would accept it.

The next day when he told her of the letter he was writing, she said, “Then don’t refer to the telephone conversation or I will tell it.” On that basis the letter was recalled. Throughout all of this, the solicitor has been acting as an informal negotiator orally, and on other occasions made very formal presentations in the form of letters. His initial position, orally, was that no cuts could be accepted. On May 13, he wrote this in a letter: “Give me a decision or send me the film.” We told him we were sending him the film. Then he wrote the letter of May 14.

10:10 a.m.

That so-called English version had not been approved by the board or formally offered to the board, because he said, “Don’t do it unless they will accept it.” Therefore, Mrs. Brown was not in a position, nor was Mr. Sims, to communicate to the board until May 15, when that formal letter arrived, the fact that such an offer might be there.

The original thing about the English cut was not really terribly germane anyway, but he would highly recommend it to his client. I want to read just one thing, because I do not want to belabour the point this morning. I have a letter here of May 14. This is from Mr. Aubrey Golden to Mr. Sims:

“Mr. Skewes and I met with the board and made our submissions concerning the release of The Tin Drum in Ontario on May 1.” That was with no cuts. “We have had no response. I am instructed to advise you unless the issues are resolved I am to withdraw the film from your consideration at 12 noon, Wednesday, May 14.” It is signed by Aubrey Golden.

A letter was hand-delivered to him immediately on May 14, 1980; this is to Mr. Golden re The Tin Drum:

“The board met with you and Mr. Skewes on May 1. At that time you indicated the director, Mr. Volker Schloendorff, would not consider any eliminations in the film The Tin Drum. This has been confirmed in subsequent telephone conversations with you as recently as Tuesday, May 13.

“On that basis the board has no alternative but to return the print as you requested.” It is signed by D. L. Sims, director.

In all fairness to the solicitor, I understand his problem. He is negotiating on behalf of his client. He is probably trying to get the best arrangement he can. On or about May 9, if the board was to accept no cuts, the solicitor assured the board that everything possible would be done to give them a great public stance, including getting some notable public figures to speak openly in support of the board.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. It would appear to me there is a possibility that no privilege has been breached. It appears to me somewhat more of an argument. However, because the matter did commence on a previous occasion, I will be glad to have a look at it.


Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I have a message from the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor signed by her own hand.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Pauline M. McGibbon, the Lieutenant Governor, transmits supplementary estimates of certain additional sums required for the services of the province for the year ending March 31, 1981, and recommends them to the Legislative Assembly, Toronto, May 30, 1980.



Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, this is a report concerning Argosy Financial Group of Canada Limited and Argosy Investments Limited.

On Wednesday, March 19, 1980, the Royal Bank of Canada made application in the Supreme Court of Ontario for two orders appointing Laventhol and Horwath Limited as receiver and manager of Argosy Financial Group of Canada Limited and Argosy Investment Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary.

The applications were supported by writs filed by the bank against the two companies following their failure to meet the formal demands for payment of outstanding debts of more than $5 million secured to the bank.

Both Argosy companies had given their consent to the application.

The presiding Supreme Court judge made the requested orders on March 19, 1980, appointing Laventhol and Horwath Limited as interim receiver and manager of Argosy Financial and Argosy Investments. Each order directed the receiver to manage the assets, business and undertaking of the company and to prepare and submit a preliminary report to the court. The report was to note the creditors state the assets and liabilities of the company on an unaudited basis and to make a preliminary recommendation as to the appropriate method of protecting and realizing the assets of both companies.

Also on March 19, 1980, in conjunction with such orders, a temporary cease-trade order was made by the Ontario Securities Commission halting all trading in the securities of Argosy Financial and its affiliated companies. This temporary order was continued on a consent basis by a further commission order on April 15, 1980. In addition, by order of the commission on March 21, 1980, the registration of Argosy Financial was suspended on a temporary basis, with a further order on April 18, 1980, by the commission making the suspension permanent.

Argosy Financial and its three wholly owned subsidiaries had been active in the financial services field since Argosy started business in 1967 as Argosy Finance Company Limited. Its three subsidiaries were Argosy Investments, Institute Investments Inc. and London Loan Limited. Institute Investments Inc. has been placed in receivership by another chartered bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Coopers and Lybrand Limited have been engaged to act as receiver by that bank. London Loan Limited was sold.

Argosy Investments carried on the business of lending money on the security of mortgages of real estate. It provided interim financing by way of second, third and fourth mortgages, as well as bridge financing. It has been estimated that approximately $5 million of such interim mortgage loans are outstanding.

Argosy Investments also placed syndicated mortgages on real estate development properties on behalf of private participants and itself. Approximately $30 million in syndicated loans are outstanding in which outside investors have participated to about $21 million.

Argosy Financial has issued two series of debentures under prospectuses dated April 24, 1978, and October 29, 1978, respectively, for which receipts were issued under the Securities Act, 1978, and its predecessor act.

I am advised the amount currently outstanding under these debentures is approximately $5.2 million.

On April 15, 1980, following a preliminary review of the situation, the Ontario Securities Commission commenced a formal investigation of Argosy’s affairs. The corporate structure of Argosy and its affiliates is complex, and considerable review will be necessary to assess the implications inherent in the appointment of the receiver. As a result, the investigation is still being actively conducted.

A preliminary report was presented to the Supreme Court by the receiver on April 25, 1980. The report indicates the position of Argosy’s investors may be very grave. While every effort will be made to ensure that the financial affairs of Argosy and its affiliates are closely scrutinized in the light of the considerable public investment, it would appear at this time that comment upon the possible outcome of such investigation is inappropriate.

Because of the widespread interest by all parties in the Argosy Financial Group of Canada Limited and the Argosy Investments Limited matter, I will file with the Clerk a copy of the preliminary report to the Supreme Court of Ontario so that those who have a particular interest in that matter may have available the details that have been produced so far.



Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Colleges and Universities inasmuch as I believe it is under her ministry that apprenticeship programs are allegedly co-ordinated.

Is the minister able to explain the situation in which she has continually spoken of the need for more apprenticeship programs, and the need for skilled workers, and has supported importing such skilled workers when we do not have them in Ontario, and yet a number of apprentices, including a few at Johns-Manville Canada Inc., who signed papers very recently and then were laid off the next day when the apprenticeship program was brought to a halt, seem to be unable to carry on with their apprenticeships here in Ontario?

In particular, is she aware of the case of one Kevin Clinch, who has completed 5,000 of the 8,000 hours required in his apprenticeship, signed papers with Johns-Manville a week ago, and then the next day was laid off? He has then asked what he can possibly do, spoken to people in the Ministry of Labour, and has asked how he can make good his apprenticeship, because he has been working for low wages, working his way up towards a journeyman’s status. He was told apparently by someone in the Ministry of Labour -- and this is a direct quote; it is not my language -- “There is bugger all that we can do.” This is an apprentice millwright who was told this when he wished to complete his apprenticeship.

10:20 a.m.

How can it be that we are still importing people and still boasting of how we are improving apprenticeships when somebody who has completed 5,000 out of 8,000 hours finds himself with absolutely no recourse simply because he wishes to continue and finish off his apprenticeship?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I do not know specifically of the case of Mr. Clinch. However, if I could have the details of the individual’s name and his apprenticeship log number, I am sure the counsellors of the industrial training branch would be pleased to help him to try to find an appropriate alternative area for completion of his apprenticeship. That is the reason we have employed approximately 100 more people in the industrial training branch as counsellors this year, in order to provide that kind of information and help to those who are interested in apprenticeship in Ontario.

Mr. S. Smith: I suppose it is always possible that he may have called the wrong person. It is conceivable. But I wonder whether the minister will make a point of looking into the plight of five apprentices who were laid off at Johns-Manville one day after their contract was signed. At least one apprentice, as I say, was given the quotation I am speaking of when he asked and called his apprenticeship supervisor regarding alternative employment.

Surely there must be some provision. Would the minister outline what that provision is for somebody whose apprenticeship is interrupted after completing two thirds of it and who then finds himself, after having spent several years at low pay working his way up on the apprenticeship ladder, with nowhere to turn while people are still being imported to take on the skilled jobs?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: I am sure the honourable member knows that the terms of contract in those areas in which there is a labour union frequently impinge directly upon the continuity of the apprenticeship program. That is one of the problems yet to be solved. The apprenticeship supervisor would report, I believe, the circumstances of these five individuals to the industrial training branch. They will be receiving some assistance, but they must search out appropriate places for them for the continuation of the program in which they are involved.

Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, could the minister inform us of the ratio between the people in the apprenticeship program, the trainees, and the counsellors we have in this province, in view of the facts that in estimates we were discussing the problem of follow-up between the counsellors and the trainees and that the ministry now has added 100 staff? Could she indicate what the ratios were before that 100 staff were added and what they will be after the complete staff is hired, in order to prove to us that there will be adequate follow-up and not the type of ratio of one counsellor to 400 apprentices that we had in the Windsor-Essex area for quite some time?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: I will be glad to get those precise figures for the honourable member and report them.


Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Premier (Mr. Davis) and the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller), perhaps I could address this question to the government House leader. I wonder whether he could take this question and perhaps respond to it. As a response to a question on the Order Paper, the fact was stated that it will cost the government of Ontario $3 million in additional administrative costs for the privilege of being able to send out the property tax credits to pensioners, as opposed to allowing them to receive their tax credit under the present method; that is, at the same time as they get their money from the federal government.

Can the minister explain why the people of Ontario should have to be taxed an additional $3 million just so this government will look good and have the privilege of sending out cheques under their personal signatures, when the very same amount of money could get to the pensioners under the existing method, which would be $3 million cheaper?

Why should it cost us $3 million so the government can improve its public relations?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, this should properly be answered by the Treasurer, and I am sure he will do that in a fuller manner presently.

I should draw to my friend’s attention that the people who will be receiving these cheques are all people who are receiving old age assistance. Many of them do not have to or would not have to complete income tax forms. When this new system is completed, it will simplify matters for senior citizens of this province. It is something many of them have been asking for. It is a local problem. I think we have had the same problem. A lot of elder people have difficulty filling out what is now a very complicated income tax form.

This represents a great step forward, a simplification of the program, and very clearly identifies the fact that this government is helping people pay their property taxes, something a lot of them haven’t realized to the present time.

Mr. S. Smith: There is the answer. We are getting the answer towards the end of that dissertation, namely, that the government wants to get the political credit and it does not think it has been getting it.

Is the minister aware in the four and a half years I have been in office in Hamilton West, I have not had a single person object to me about the fact their tax comes from the federal government in that envelope rather than one with the minister’s signature on it? Is he aware that there is no clamour to have the Treasurer’s signature as opposed to anybody else’s?

At a time when everybody else is being told about restraint, at a time when the government cannot even pay for artificial arms and legs because of the alleged restraint program, how does the minister justify spending $3 million of the taxpayers’ money just so he can sign the cheques and get some political credit for it?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I have had many people come up to me and say, “When are you going to do something about alleviating the property tax burden for us senior citizens?” I explain to them we are doing that through a tax credit system. They just do not realize it and it is a very complicated system. I think it is well worth the value, and it will make things a lot simpler for the senior citizens of this province.

Mr. McKessock: Mr. Speaker, if it is going to simplify it, is it not true what it states in the budget, that senior citizens are going to have to fill out a form and they will have to prove their taxes have been paid before they can receive this additional payment?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I am aware they are going to have to fill out a very simple form which will be mailed to them. I don’t believe they have to show that their taxes have been paid first.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) arising out of the announcement that there will be 5,000 layoffs at Massey-Ferguson in Brantford and in Toronto, and a further 1,000 layoffs for a large part of the summer at White Farm Equipment Limited in Brantford.

Will the minister not agree that one of the reasons why our farm machinery sector is so badly hit here in Ontario is the fact that our trade deficit in farm machinery with the United States has gone up from less than $200 million at the start of the 1970s to more than $1 billion in 1979? How long is this government going to allow Canadian farm machinery workers to be thrown out of work while we have such a desperately bad imbalance in trade to the benefit of another country?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: If we look at the major companies that are in this industry in the province, we will find the four of them are John Deere with 1,050 employees, US- controlled; International Harvester with 2,000 employees, US-controlled; White Farm Equipment with 1,350 employees, Canadian-controlled; and Massey-Ferguson with a total of 5,300 employees, Canadian-controlled. So the Canadian-controlled companies in the industry are controlling many more people in this sector than are the foreign firms.

Therefore, I have some difficulty buying the proposition the member has put to the House this morning that the domination of the industry by other than Canadians is the root source of the problem. In fact, anyone who has studied the problem -- and I am sure the NDP Agriculture critic sitting there this morning will confirm this -- knows the major problem here is markets. There is no question about that. With the economy in its present situation, farm incomes are obviously not what they have been historically. That obviously affects purchase of that sort of equipment.

10:30 a.m.

Mr. Cassidy: Is the minister not aware, if I can take 1978 figures, that in 1978 we in Canada imported $907 million -- almost $1 billion -- worth of tractors into Canada, and we exported not a nickel’s worth of tractors from the farm machinery industry in this country to the rest of the world, basically because we do not produce any tractors in Canada as part of our contribution to the farm machinery sector?

How has this government allowed a situation to exist where under a so-called free trade arrangement there is virtually no production of tractors, the most important implements in the farm machinery industry in Ontario or in Canada? When will we have an industrial strategy that ensures Canadian workers can be producing Canadian tractors for Canadian farmers rather than workers being thrown out of work because of an imbalance in the market?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Quite frankly, the member wants to suggest that if Canadian workers were making tractors, they would not be laid off. I think anyone analysing the current situation will realize that the sales for tractors, like combines and other harvesting equipment, are off. That is a function of market. It is not at all the function of where each particular product is made. In this particular sector, as I pointed out, we have a couple of very strong Canadian companies in the sector.

To say that in 1978 one piece of farm equipment was totally imported rather than made here is a very selective distortion of the situation by the member. Although I did not happen to bring to the House this morning the list of all the equipment made by Massey-Ferguson with their 5,000 employees in Ontario alone, they are obviously doing more than passing hammers and tools between each other; they are making farm equipment.

They have had a rather large level of employment in this country and in this province because that equipment has been selling. Although perhaps in 1978 they did not export any tractors, they are making a great deal of farm machinery. As the member knows, they are the world’s leading supplier of farm machinery and equipment. Those world markets, like the Canadian markets for the equipment they are making, are clearly off. There is no question about that.

It is rather unfair of the member to suggest that the problems with those companies in terms of their international sales fall at the feet of this government. It is unfair and wrong, and I am not going to permit him to suggest that this government is responsible for international sales of farm equipment. It is not.

Mr. Cassidy: Rather than just blaming the market -- we understand the market is down -- will the minister not acknowledge that if we had a share of the tractor industry in Canada, we would be part of a market which in North America is down by 22 per cent, whereas the market for combines is down by almost 50 per cent right now?

Is the minister also not aware of the fact that American tariff restrictions effectively make it far more advantageous for Massey-Ferguson and other companies to produce many farm machinery attachments and parts in the United States rather than in Canada, to the point where Canadians cannot export to the United States duty-free parts for the equipment sent duty-free from Canada into the United States?

Why has Ontario not been fighting to have fair tariff treatment between the two countries so that we do not have a disadvantage in that farm market between Canada and the United States? Why does the minister not have a strategy to develop a farm machinery sector in Canada rather than a strategy that allows it to be run down?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: It is quite inconsistent for the member to say we ought to have a strategy to develop this industry, and yet on the other hand find that this industry has grown up and has thrived for many years right here in this province.

To be fair, the member did not stand up and give this government credit for the successes of Massey-Ferguson when their markets were good and they were having a lot of success. To be equally fair, he should not lay their problems in international sales at the feet of this government.

His comments on tariffs have some relevance. They are traditionally, and must be, a matter for the federal government to deal with. We have passed our comments on to the federal government consistently on this and a whole range of other matters, but the member must acknowledge that this government does not have control over that situation and therefore he cannot attribute any tariff problems to this province.

Having said that, may I remind the member that we have retained in this ministry the services of Canada’s chief negotiator at Geneva in the tariff talks, Rodney Grey. That is quite a major breakthrough for our province. We now have him consulting with us on a half-time basis, and he has given us access to a great deal more information on tariffs, on what actually happens at the table and on the outstanding concerns for Canada on a more regular basis than has ever been available to our province before. We are going to see the results of some of that advice he has been able to give us in the next couple of years.

The member talks about the fact that the market for tractors this year is off by 22 per cent and for combines it is off by 50 per cent. The fact is, he can take any series of years and say, “If only you were making this particular piece of equipment, the market for which is only off 22 per cent rather than the other equipment which is off 50 per cent, you’d be in better shape.” Of course, he is right in saying that.

I know the member will disagree with this, but it is hardly the job of government to go around and try to anticipate which products are going to be selling better in which years. We cannot do that and I suggest if the honourable member were in office, even he could not do that.

I suggest further to the member that the success of Massey-Ferguson over the years speaks for itself. The reason that Massey-Ferguson and others are having problems goes far deeper than the simplistic, surface reasons the member wants to give.

I would like to hear from the leader of the third party what his strategy would have been two years ago to ensure that they were making tractors in 1980, because perhaps he knew that tractor sales would be off only by 22 per cent in 1980. Massey-Ferguson did not have that expertise. We, frankly, did not have that expertise. But perhaps he has, in which case maybe he can tell us now what the sales of tractors will be in 1984? I will pass it on to Massey-Ferguson and perhaps they will go into the business.

Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that the prohibition of the exporting of grain by the United States to Russia, and Canada’s agreement with that prohibition lowered the price of soybeans by a terrific amount, which caused some of this, but at the same time we are still allowing Russian tractors into our country which compete with our machinery business?

Mr. Ashe: Talk to your federal friends.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: That’s the answer. I will pass that advice on to the member’s federal colleagues.

Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, since it was only a matter of a few weeks ago that the federal Minister of Agriculture was on television in Windsor saying that Massey-Ferguson was going to be building an engine plant in the Chrysler engine plant, can the minister advise us as to what effect these layoffs and the condition of the sales of farm equipment are going to have on the possibility of that engine plant being utilized?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Whelan’s information might be different from mine. The matter has been raised in this House before. I can only say that there are a lot of people whom we have been contacting with regard to plans for diesel engines. We have contacted a lot of people with regard to going into the Chrysler engine plant, which they have now acknowledged might be available, but I would not want to give any specifics with regard to any company’s particular plans, including Massey-Ferguson.

Suffice it to say that Massey-Ferguson has talked about diesel plants in Ontario, and I am informed that this particular layoff, if anything, is taken to ensure that the company’s financial position is viably strong enough to permit it to make other and different investments; so it should not affect that decision.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, again respecting the censorship decisions that have been made with respect to The Tin Drum. I want to ask the minister whether he will confirm the chronology of certain events at the Ontario Board of Censors which he did not speak to in his statement on Tuesday of this week.

Specifically, after meeting with the distributor on May 1, the board voted on May 2 that the film could be shown with one cut, and it took a similar vote approximately a week later. But the distributor was never informed of these decisions and, specifically, at the time the board reached its ultimate decision, both the chairman and deputy chairman were aware of the offer from the distributor, by this time a firm offer, to submit the film with the British cut. Is that true or not?

Hon. Mr. Drea: Not true, Mr. Speaker.

10:40 a.m.

Mr. Cassidy: Since the minister now says that he challenges what the solicitor for the distributor is saying in terms of what occurred, would the minister be prepared to have tabled in the Legislature, the minute book or the record book which is kept by each member of the censor board and which might cast some light on the decisions that were made by the censor board early in the month of May, decisions which may have been informal or formal but were not communicated with the distributor at the time?

Will the minister also agree that since the initialling of board decisions does not necessarily mean that members of the board agreed with the majority view, as in the Conservative caucus or somewhere else, would he be prepared to share with the Legislature what the final decision was and what the vote actually was? Will the minister not agree that what was actually happening was that the chairman of the censor board kept on running this question before the censors as many times as possible until he got the decisions he wanted?

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, that is the biggest collection of junk ever heard in here on a Friday. The leader of the New Democratic Party wants this film shown with no cuts. He has said that. He should quit the subterfuge to get around the whole bit.

Mr. Cassidy: I want a classification system so the people of the province can judge for themselves.

Hon. Mr. Drea: I was rudely interrupted. Now the leader of the New Democratic Party has made his little speech, now that he has got his party in trouble, I will begin to explain.

Mr. Ruston: They’re your friends, Frank.

Hon. Mr. Drea: The divorce, I told members yesterday, was imminent.

There is no such thing in a regulatory body as an informal decision. Either there is a decision or there is not. As I outlined to the Leader of the Opposition on Tuesday, there were two formal decisions. There was the original decision, and then there was the decision that was initialled on May 15. If the leader of the third party wants to know what the votes are, I guess he cannot read. I told the press the other day what they were.

Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, just so I am clear on this, I will quote a paragraph from Mr. Golden’s letter. It says: “It is perfectly clear from the foregoing events that both Mr. Sims and Mrs. Brown were aware of a firm and official offer being made by me with full authority to compromise by agreeing to the approval of the English version.” Is the minister saying essentially that this, which was allegedly clear and unequivocal on May 14, by telephone, is a false statement being made by this solicitor? Is that what the minister is saying?

If this statement is a true statement, the minister has not been well informed. If this statement is a false statement, let the minister state clearly in this House that he regards this solicitor as having made a totally false statement in his letter of May 28, 1980. Let’s not have any shilly-shallying. Is it true or false?

Hon. Mr. Drea: For a guy who has been all over the post on this one, the Leader of the Opposition should not start telling me not to shilly-shally.

I thought I went through this during the episode on privilege. That paragraph may be the solicitor’s version, in his own mind, of what happened. I have a conflicting version, based primarily on the fact that the offer was proposed about the one cut but was not to be conveyed to the board unless the board would accept it. That brought about the time delay -- I explained that once -- to the point that the formal, in-writing letter, which has a date of May 15 stamped on it, was entirely redundant to the decision that was made actually on the afternoon of May 14, but not initialled until May 15.

Mr. S. Smith: Does the minister deny the solicitor spoke on the phone with Mr. Sims?

Hon. Mr. Drea: I have said he spoke on the phone. This is the point. And with Mrs. Brown.

Mr. S. Smith: And with Mr. Sims.

Hon. Mr. Drea: With Mr. Sims and with Mrs. Brown. With Mrs. Brown the conversation was, “Don’t tell it to the board.” How many times do I have to say it?

Mr. Cassidy: The minister says there were two formal decisions by the board. Obviously, in view of the number of consultations and so on, there were informal decisions about which he is not prepared to talk, would he not now be prepared to ensure that the censor board considers The Tin Drum on the basis of the offer conveyed verbally to the chairman of the board prior to its last meeting? The offer said specifically, and it was confirmed by letter:

“I am able now to confirm to you that they are prepared to submit a print identical to that to be shown in England for your approval.” Would the minister not allow the matter to be reopened in that way so that this film, which has got almost every award in the film industry, can be shown, and Ontario will no longer be the laughingstock of every other jurisdiction in Canada, the United States and Europe which has permitted the film to be shown?

Hon. Mr. Drea: I suppose the leader of the third party has to deal with the subject as best he can, knowing his prejudices and how far he has got himself out on a limb.

Mr. Roy: The minister should not be nasty to his friends now.

Hon. Mr. Drea: I told the member we are divorced. What more does he want?

Mr. Roy: No, the minister is not divorced.

The leader of the third party has a stand in invitation to cabinet meetings.

Hon. Mr. Drea: I can tell the member the day that occurs he will see one less cabinet minister.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: The whole cabinet will be gone.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Drea: The board made a decision -- no, two decisions. The board reviewed the first decision. They did it on May 15 officially. In between -- if the member could read; I went through Hansard the other day -- I said they had a meeting. After the meeting was over there was not only no consensus but also one member of the board wanted to have the film rescreened to rethink his position. Another one wanted to ponder on it.

I went to great lengths the other day to show the Leader of the Opposition why there were time delays between May 2 and May 14, Mr. Speaker. I do not know how many times the leader of the third party is going to attempt an end run or subterfuge, work under the table or anything else. He should be a man. If he wants the thing shown without cuts, he should stand up on behalf of his party and say so. There are going to be no more reviews, no more decisions.

Mr. Cassidy: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker, I am going to see it on Monday on behalf of members of my caucus. It seems to me we will then be able to comment more authoritatively than other people in Ontario, who have not been allowed to see this contentious film unless they shuffled off to Buffalo or paid $180 to go to Montreal and back.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Is the member going to Buffalo? He can’t see it there. It bombed in Buffalo. It is not there any more.


Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry). I noticed he was here earlier today. Is he expected to be here shortly?

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Is that the member’s question?

Mr. Epp: No, it is not. I was just asking as a matter of procedure. If not, I will defer. I will ask the Provincial Secretary of Justice the question.

One of my constituents went to the small claims court to enter a claim on behalf of a minor -- the technical legal term is to act as a next friend for a minor. This person, a married woman, was told that she was not qualified as a married woman to enter a claim on behalf of a minor.

Could the minister advise us how the clerks of the courts of Ontario are kept informed of the changes in the law? These changes were made in 1975, and yet the court clerks were not aware of them.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding the clerks were made fully aware of all the matters arising out of changes. If that is not the case, it is something that bears looking into. I would ask the matter be reported to the minister.

10:50 a.m.

Mr. Epp: Can the minister assure this House that he, together with the Attorney General, will review all the procedures involved with changes in legislation so the clerks in the various courts in the province will be informed of the changes and people will have some kind of confidence when they go to the courts that they are going to get the right information, rather than get information that is at least five years out of date?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, what the member is saying is quite correct and it is important for us to have this communication. It may be necessary for us to have another public relations campaign in order to achieve that.


Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I ask your indulgence. I had given notice in advance to the Minister of Labour that I would be asking this question because I felt it was so important, but I would like to redirect it to the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development.

Is the minister aware of the May 22 decision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board denying the right to certification of more than 200 employees, mostly women, at the Wellington Mushroom Farm, even though more than 74 per cent had signed union cards? Is the minister aware that the report clearly states the only reason for not allowing certification is the exclusion in the Labour Relations Act of agricultural employees, but that in every other respect these workers are plant workers since they punch time cards and they are working on a production line schedule.

I quote from the decision: “We accept the applicants’ contention that there is no industrial relations basis for denying the respondent employees the right to bargain collectively, nor can we discern any tangible prejudice to the respondent if the employees in the mushroom factory were entitled to the same statutory results as their fellow employees in the soup factory.” The board comments that the argument for changes in the legislation to protect these employees is a very great one.

In view of such an obvious injustice, is the minister prepared to bring in the changes that are necessary in the Labour Relations Act and, further, what can we do to provide the protection these workers clearly wanted?

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of the matter the honourable member raised, and I will bring it to the attention of the Minister of Labour.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, when the provincial secretary draws it to the attention of the Minister of Labour, will he also draw to his attention the fact that as far back as the late 1950s, more than 20 years ago, a select committee of this Legislature, under the chairmanship of the late James Maloney, reviewed the issue of exclusion of so-called horticultural, agricultural workers who are in industrial factory circumstances? They would not remove the exclusion then and 20 years later are still stonewalling the effort. Would he have the minister look at it and move into the real world?

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Yes, Mr. Speaker.


Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development: I want to turn from mushrooms to chickens. It is a question I wanted to ask the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson). Unfortunately, he had to leave, but time is of the essence.

Two years ago, Swift Canadian Company Limited closed its chicken processing plant.

More recently, G. Petruccelli and Son Limited in Hamilton closed its chicken processing plant. At the present time, Canada Packers Inc., J. M. Schneider Inc. and United Co-operatives of Ontario have got the warning sign out that they are going to be closing their chicken processing plants. Other smaller chicken processors are wanting to sell their businesses to the larger ones, but the larger ones are not interested.

Is the minister aware of the dire straits that the chicken processing industry is in, and what steps is he or the Minister of Agriculture and Food going to take to ensure that the chicken industry in Ontario is not going to go the way of the sugar beet industry in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: Mr. Speaker, my colleague the Minister of Agriculture and Food is meeting with the business community in the eastern area of the province this morning, but I will be pleased to bring this to his attention on Monday.

Mr. Riddell: When the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development speaks to the Minister of Agriculture and Food, will he ask him if he has met with the Ontario Chicken Producers’ Marketing Board to ascertain what effect the loss of all these processors will have on the chicken industry, and to ascertain whether the chicken board might take a second look at production quotas and live chicken prices in order to try to retain the chicken industry here in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: That also will be considered.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, while the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development is spending the weekend with his various colleagues to bring them up to date on this, would he also have the minister investigate, along with the federal Liberals, as he attempted to do with the federal Tories, ways to restrict the imports so that a basic security can be established for the chicken industry in this province?

Hon. Mr. Brunelle: That is a very good question, Mr. Speaker. Actually a lot of the responsibility lies in Ottawa on the question of imports.


Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Housing. It regards an answer I have just received to a written question, number 172, asking for information on the number of incidents of violence, vandalism and assault occurring in the developments of Ontario Housing Corporation in Metro in the last 12 months.

I notice the minister’s security systems report that during the period from May 1, 1979, to April 30, 1980, in Metro the various security firms investigated 5,206 acts of vandalism and 525 incidents of assault in OHC properties around Metro. Averaging the incidents of vandalism it works out to approximately one out of six units having some act of vandalism. The 525 incidents of assault seem to me to be quite high, although I have nothing to measure it by. How serious does the minister see this problem and what does he intend to do about it?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, we see it as serious enough to retain security services in the various parts of Metropolitan Toronto. We also see it as serious enough to have a very good working relationship with the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force, which assists us in trying to patrol the sites that are owned or under lease by OHC. We recognize there has been a fairly substantial number of vandalism claims or reported incidents, which they investigate. Not all of them proved to be quite the same as some people had reported, but they are investigated by either our security people or by the Metropolitan Toronto Police force.

Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, is it not a fact that over the last two years the number of security officers in the employ, either contract or otherwise, of OHC has been reduced? Why has this minister constantly refused efforts by OHC tenant groups to have a meeting with him or with his subordinates to discuss the problems of security at places like 75 Tandridge in Rexdale?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Interestingly enough, Mr. Speaker, it was just this week that I met with the group of representative tenants from across all of Ontario, not just the Metropolitan Toronto area, which area seems to think it controls all the policies that are going to affect housing in this great province. We met with them and reviewed issues they thought were of great importance to them as tenants of units that are owned by the people of Ontario under OHC or under lease to the rent subsidy people of Ontario.

I indicated very clearly to this House some weeks ago that this government provides in the Metropolitan Toronto jurisdiction alone, through this ministry, $4.2 million for security fees for patrolling OHC projects. For the rest of Ontario, the figure is something less than $250,000.

We have very clearly and conscientiously looked at the problems that we have here in Metropolitan Toronto and that is why we have provided the $4.2 million in security, why we retain three different security organizations, why we have people on site in some locations and why we have a patrol system that roams throughout the various projects that we happen to own.

Clearly, I think there has been an honest, open expression, with $4.2 million as a clear indication of intent to try to keep the projects as safe for public habitation as possible.

Someone was raising Cain the other day with the ministry and through OHC that they didn’t want security on site. They thought that having security on site to patrol the project was harassment. In my opinion, it is not harassment to try to protect the public and to allow those projects to be safe for those who live in them.

11 p.m.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Would the minister inform me, if he can today, how many of the 525 assaults investigated by the various security forces had a racial component to them? I would like to know whether he plans on changing his approach to security away from an emphasis on the guardians and security forces and onto a greater preventive role for the community relations workers. To that effect, when will he meet with the tenants to discuss this kind of proposal, inasmuch as he has not met with them, as I understand it, for the last couple of years?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I deny the last remark made by the member for Scarborough West. As I said a few moments ago, I met this week with a representative group of tenants from across Ontario. They spoke on behalf of Metro tenants, tenants from the city of Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Hamilton, London and so on. Brantford also was represented in that particular group.

I have no direct knowledge of the assault cases involved, and I do not intend as minister to become deeply engrossed in those cases. That is for the determination of security and police. I do not think there is any credit in talking about the racial and discrimination factors or the percentages that relate to those assault cases.

Mr. Philip: If the minister spent less time kissing mirrors and more time talking to his tenants, he would be better off.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: It is about time the member started doing his job and stopped trying to do mine.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.

Mr. Philip: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: The minister has just said I am not doing my job. It is his ministry not consulting with the tenants and refusing to meet with them over a two-year period that has caused the problem.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: It is all very well to talk about representing tenants, but they exclude me from meetings.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order.


Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Health. Is the minister aware of the details of the strike of the Niagara Regional Health Unit in the Niagara Peninsula? Can he assure the House that the functions that would be carried out by the employees on strike, a certain category of inspectors and so on, are being adequately carried out by supervisors, and public safety is not in danger at the present time?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Speaker, that is the case.

Mr. Bradley: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Would the minister undertake to speak to his colleague the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) to determine whether an intervention or renewed intervention on the part of the Ministry of Labour might be useful in attempting to resolve this strike and get these people back to work so we can be absolutely sure the public safety is guaranteed? There are many concerned, for instance, about inspection of restaurant facilities within the region which used to he carried out by those now on strike.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I will be glad to discuss the matter with my colleague. If anything useful can come of any intervention by Labour staff by way of mediation, it will be done.


Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel), regarding the continued harassment by the minister of Mrs. Timmins, I have a question of the minister.

I understand his ministry was aware that Mrs. Timmins’ lawyer had given her legal advice that she was not obligated to declare her Workmen’s Compensation Board pension benefits as income. My question is, did his staff attempt to verify the information with her lawyer or with any other legal counsel?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, first, may I say there has been no attempt on the part of this ministry or by the housing authority to harass any tenant in the Sudbury area or indeed in this province. Whether it be the Sudbury Housing Authority or any other housing authority, it has been given certain responsibilities to look after the portfolio that rests within its jurisdiction. They are supposed to try to be good managers and look after the tenants in accordance with the legislation drafted in the rules and regulations.

Mrs. Timmins’ case has been around for some period of time, and I am sure the members are all aware of it. I have talked to the member for Sudbury East about this specific case as well. Mrs. Timmins did retain a lawyer, to the best of my understanding, through legal aid, and he did approach the Sudbury Housing Authority for verification of her particular rent program. The workings and business arrangements and so on have been strictly between the authority and her lawyer. I am not aware of all the facts the member might be looking for this morning, as of recent days anyway.

Mr. Warner: Supplementary: I would appreciate it if the minister could verify the information which I asked him about. He has driven the woman out of her home, and we understand that, but why is it that he is so prepared to harass pensioners for a relatively small sum of money, while at the same time his ministry is quite prepared to squander some $230 million in the Pickering area? What kind of priorities do they have over there?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, it is amazing how we can take any issue in this government, or any issue in the budgeting of approximately $11 billion and always relate it to the subject we want to discuss at any given moment rather than trying to look at priorities, period.

First of all, the member says we are driving the lady in question out of her home. What the housing authority has done, very simply and directly, is it has asked people who are residents -- and there are better than 250,000 who are tenants of the people of this province -- to verify their income. We have based housing on a rent-geared-to-income basis. The fact is the Sudbury Housing Authority has asked Mrs. Timmins, as it has asked others who are in arrears of the rent as a result of miscalculations of income and percentage thereof for rent, to pay up the portion in arrears.

The member can say it is very simple to write off Mrs. Timmins’ particular amount, or any other person’s amount, but then what he is saying, clearly and distinctly, is all of those people who have clearly and honestly indicated all of their incomes and paid the rent accordingly to the income they have declared, should not really have been doing it, because if they had been able to just disregard some of their pensions and not paid a percentage of them, there would be no penalty anyway.

In fairness to the vast majority of Ontario Housing Corporation tenants across the province and the numbers we have in rent supplement programs, it is only fair that each person pays his or her way. If there is some degree of arrears as a result of miscalculation I think they should be honoured. That must be done. The member is trying to impress upon the system that there is no real reason for being completely open and sincere about income.

Mr. Roy: Spoken like a real bureaucrat.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: He should know with his past experience.

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order, order. Maybe the minister could contain himself, along with other members.

Mr. B. Newman: Final supplementary: Would the minister entertain a suggestion that periodically he have a flyer sent to OHC tenants notifying them that certain types of income must be reported and have them check on their own so that --

Mr. Wildman: He should table his regulations and the manual.

Mr. B. Newman: That is all right. It may be in the manual, but I am suggesting that he send a flyer to each one of the tenants so they would know what must be reported.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, first, there is an annual review of the incomes the individuals happen to be receiving and the change of incomes that might be noted between one year and the next.

Supplementary to that, if any income is lost during the course of the year, OHC immediately reduces the rent accordingly; if income increases during the year, we waive that until the next year when the new lease or new declaration of income is completed. So there is an advantage, and I think some compassion and understanding, given to those particular cases. The fact is there is an annual review of the incomes of individual tenants across this province.

At the same time, there are community workers with OHC or the local housing authority who are there to advise tenants where there are difficulties or misunderstandings. I understand from the group I met with earlier this week, the Federation of Ontario Tenants’ Association, that there is a very good working relationship between our social workers and the others from the community who work with our tenants, seniors and families. There is a very easily explained form indicating the pensions and incomes that are to be considered for income purposes on a rent calculation. It is very clear, it says “all income.”

11:10 a.m.

We are not trying to draw the difference between incomes that are taxable federally and incomes that are not taxable. We indicate clearly that all income is used for the calculation of rent geared to income. We have tried to make it simple and clear to our tenants. Out of more than 100,000 tenants, the number of cases that we run into difficulties with in the course of a year is a matter of a couple of handfuls.


Mr. J. Reed: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. I would like to ask the minister if he has any plans this year for changes in the ambulance service in the Oakville-Burlington area, and if so, what are those plans specifically?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, as I recall, after the experience with the strike last year and with the budget review that was carried out after that for 1980, it was found that for a couple of periods during the week -- I think they are basically on the weekend -- the ambulance needs in the area could be delivered with fewer personnel. As I recall, the number is four.

I will be glad to get the member particulars as to times and so forth, but essentially it was concluded that the same service could be maintained with fewer personnel at certain times on certain shifts. My recollection is there is a difference of four staff who have been or are to be served with notice of layoff.

Mr. J. Reed: Supplementary: Is the minister aware that the population circumstances between a year ago and now is much different and that in the Burlington area, particularly in north Burlington, there has been a tremendous growth in population? An assessment of ambulance service that might have been valid 12 months ago certainly would have no validity at this time.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: All of that has been taken into account. One of the interesting side effects of the strike was that they found they could provide the service with fewer vehicles and staff.

All of the stations operated by this service in Burlington, Milton, Oakville, Clarkson and Mississauga will continue to be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The day and afternoon shifts from Monday to Friday are totally unchanged. There is a reduction in the night shift in numbers of staff and a reduction from seven vehicles to five. On the afternoon shift on Saturdays and Sundays, there is a reduction from seven vehicles to five.

I will send all this information to the member if he wishes in order to save him taking notes. The day shift on Saturdays and Sundays has been reduced from eight vehicles to seven. There are more details as to the actual movement of the staff, but essentially it is on the basis of being able to continue to maintain response capabilities to the demand based on current load.


Mr. Cooke: I have a question for the Minister of Colleges and Universities. It has now been almost two weeks since Dr. Winegard, the chairman of the ministry’s advisory group, the Ontario Council on University Affairs, was before the social development committee. He stated clearly that her interpretation of the report, System on the Brink, was wrong, her interpretation being that the system was about to be on the brink but was not there yet. He said the university system is in effect over the edge and on the brink and in decline because of underfunding from this government.

Has the minister now met with Dr. Winegard, since she refused to accept what he said in front of the committee and is committed to having a private meeting with him? Has she met with him yet and will she report on that meeting to this Legislature today?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I met with the Ontario Council on University Affairs last Thursday, a week ago yesterday, and clarified with Dr. Winegard precisely what it was he said in my absence from the committee. I was absent because of a special meeting which I had to attend. He did agree that formerly, in conversations with me, he had suggested that his meaning was that if the situation as he saw it persisted for any longer, the system would go into decline. He also agreed that he said at the meeting, at which I was not present, that he believed as of that day the system was in decline at the present time. That was not the interpretation that he had ever given to me previously. That was the first time I had ever heard it and I discussed that with Dr. Winegard and with OCUA last Thursday.

Mr. Cooke: Now that the minister understands the phrase “the system on the brink,” and now that she understands the opposition parties have been correct for a while on this issue, would the minister now indicate to the Legislature what action she and the government intend to take to correct the problem of the university system going down the drain because of her inaction and poor government financing? When are we going to get some action?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, in the first place the university system is not going down the drain. The university system in this province still remains a strong educational force and will continue so. I am sure the honourable members will learn in the fullness of time precisely what the action will be.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: How can the minister give this type of assurance that we are going to learn in the fullness of time what her plans are when in fact even her present plans in terms of spending mean that per capita the spending at Ontario institutions of higher learning, particularly universities, is down near the bottom of the list among the 10 provinces in Canada?

Surely the minister must realize that she is presiding over a system which has attempted to allow a lot of people into the system but which has not been attempting to give equality, at least as measured in terms of dollars per individual in the system. Why should Ontario, which used to be a leader in this country, now be one of the cheapskates in funding the universities compared to our sister provinces?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member never takes into account the generosity of the Ontario Student Assistance Program, which is much greater than it is in any other jurisdiction and provides the universities of this province with a total financial support from provincial levels of approximately $1 billion per year.

The universities of this province are not empty of wisdom and intelligence. They have perceived that, indeed, we all have economic problems and they are in most instances attempting to provide some careful examination of their own expenditure patterns. There are many assets which many of the universities have which they are holding at the present time and which might be considered. There are other methods of attempting to support the universities in a way in which their intellectual advancement can be enhanced.

The Leader of the Opposition seems to say constantly that one can only equate quality with dollars at the universities, and I think he’s wrong.



Mr. Philip from the standing committee on administration of justice presented the following report and moved its adoption:

Your committee begs to report the following bill without amendment:

Bill Pr7, An Act respecting Montreal Trust Company and Montreal Trust Company of Canada.

Your committee begs to report the following bill with certain amendments:

Bill Pr23, An Act to incorporate Knox Presbyterian Church, Ottawa.

Your committee would recommend that the fees, less the actual cost of printing, be remitted on Bill Pr23, An Act to incorporate Knox Presbyterian Church, Ottawa.

Report adopted.

11:20 a.m.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, before the Orders of the Day, I wish to table the answer to question 76 standing on the Notice Paper.


House in committee of supply.


On vote 603, local government affairs program:

Mr. Roy: Mr. Chairman, as you know, I waited patiently last night.

Mr. Ashe: You are not usually here on Fridays.

Mr. Roy: What is that surrogate Minister of Energy saying? Has he permission to say anything or is he on a frolic of his own? Mr. Chairman, your colleagues are uncontrolled. You must do something about them.

I hope the minister’s voice has improved over the night and that he will be in a position to respond, if I can only get his undivided attention. I know he is trying to give some advice, and I hope it is good advice, to his successor as Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson). I am sorry, I didn’t want to insult her.

What I want to say to the minister has to do with election spending at the local level. Last Friday I was very complimentary to the minister in the intergovernmental area in the realm that will be a priority -- constitutional reform. This morning I intend to be extremely critical for something that, in my opinion, makes very little sense.

Some time ago the government of Ontario, by way of the Municipal Act, gave the municipalities the right and authority to pass bylaws to set limits on election spending. I think the minister is familiar with that legislation which is on the books. Some municipalities, including the city of Ottawa, have taken advantage of this legislation to pass bylaws to set limits for election spending. Under the Ottawa bylaw, which was adopted in 1974, election expenses were limited to $2,500 for aldermanic candidates, $10,000 for those running for board of control and $15,000 for mayoralty candidates.

I think you will agree, Mr. Chairman, that it is a good idea to set these limits at the municipal level, the principle being at that level, as at all levels, to try to have some control, to try to make the democratic process work in a way where one is not buying votes, or not trying to buy his way into the confidence of the people. There should be some reasonable limit, and all candidates should work within a range which has been judged to be acceptable by the majority of people or by the citizens of a particular area or jurisdiction.

My colleague from Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) has attempted, by way of private legislation or resolution recently, to set some limit even at the provincial level. We know the people on that side, my dear friends in the Conservative Party, spend money in every election as though there was no tomorrow. In fact, in the last election in 1977 they spent more than twice the combined total of the other two parties. The minister frowns, but I may be low in my estimation.

Hon. Mr. Wells: We don’t come close to the federal Liberal Party.

Mr. Roy: You come close. Even when the Conservatives don’t win elections at the federal level -- something they have not had much success doing in the last 16 years -- they spend a lot of money. They’re even giving competition to the federal Liberals in spending. But to their credit, at the federal level at least, they have set limits on how much can be spent in a riding; they’ve set limits as to how much a party can spend during an election -- something this government is not prepared to do provincially.

But having decided in their wisdom, as is the tradition in this province, to allow municipalities to set limits they don’t give them the power to enforce the limits. So it is a real farce.

Have you ever seen legislation passed which gives a municipality jurisdiction to set certain criteria -- about an election, in this case -- and at the same time gives no power to enforce these limits? In other words, it’s just like enacting the Criminal Code without any penalties. It is like enacting the Highway Traffic Act -- saying you cannot speed and you must wear your safety belts and all these things -- without any penalty. Can you imagine if that would work?

Unfortunately, that is what we are left with at the municipal level. I find it somewhat idiotic -- and I hope the minister has some explanation -- that the minister recently said in a letter to city officials that the government does not intend to change the Municipal Act. Yet there has been a ruling in Ottawa, where we have a flurry of candidates during municipal elections especially for boards of control and for mayoralties. We have a variety of individuals -- some colourful, some wealthy, some not.

Mr. Conway: Claude Bennett spent so much money that the rest of them find it difficult to compete.

Mr. Roy: That’s right. In fact, if I were cynical -- which I’m not, as you know, Mr. Chairman -- I would think one of the reasons they don’t want to change the act is that maybe some of the boys are looking back there.

I was looking at the member for Ottawa South this morning as he answered questions about tenants from those Socialists to my left. I could just see him sitting there saying: “What am I doing here? The mayor’s job in Ottawa looks good compared to this situation.”

Mr. Conway: He’s not running for Premier?

Mr. Roy: Somehow I think the Peter Principle has caught up with him.

I ask the minister what kind of genius exists at this level which would allow municipalities to set limits on expenses during election campaigns and would not give that same jurisdiction power to enforce those limits?

Charges were laid last year, I think, under the Municipal Act, against a number of candidates who failed to report. It was brought before the courts and at that time a provincial judge said municipalities do not have the power to force candidates to declare their campaign spending.

As a result, if the act does not force candidates to declare, how are you to know how much is spent and how are you going to enforce the limits you have passed? For all intents and purposes, the result is that the government tells the municipalities: “Friends, you can pass bylaws to set limits, but that’s it. You can’t enforce them.” I really think it’s ridiculous.

Quoting some of the comments by city solicitor Don Hambling, a man of great experience -- you obviously have personal knowledge of his competence in the area of the Municipal Act and the municipal field: “It leaves us in a very precarious position when it comes to prosecuting people who do not comply with the bylaws. All we’ll be able to do is limit the amount, but we won’t be able to enforce it.”

11:30 am.

I say to the minister, who is a reasonable and sensible fellow, or at least has acquired that reputation, why will he not give the power to municipalities to enforce this limit? As Mr. Hambling said, “The spending limits will be virtually meaningless and the city will have to rely on the good faith of candidates to prevent overspending.” Of course that is going to be the result.

Having decided that municipalities can set limits on campaign spending, why does the government not give them the power to enforce it? Just recently the minister said he does not intend to change the act. Obviously, it is too late now to appeal the judge’s ruling because the time limit has gone by. But is the minister saying the judge’s ruling is wrong? If it is wrong, I would like to know. I would like to see what he is going to do about it. Faced with a ruling which has not been appealed, apparently, it seems to me the city of Ottawa is right. It has no power to enforce it.

I would think a similar experience probably exists in many other cities of Ontario. I do not know if the city of Toronto has set limits on campaign spending, but it would be a good idea for all cities to do so. If the federal government and if the provincial government set limits on campaign spending, which we all think is a good idea, we should encourage our large municipalities to do likewise.

I look forward to an answer from the minister on what I consider to be a very important issue.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Just to show him his Friday morning has been a success in being here with us and putting forward this point, I would like to tell my friend, I do not find myself in disagreement with him. I recall writing that letter. I do not have it in front of me, but perhaps we were talking about some other things too.

Last night we discussed here the business of deductibility for campaign expenses and a few other things connected with financing elections at the local level which we have great difficulty moving into at this particular time. If the member is asking me if we can do something about enforcing section 121 that is there now so that it can be workable, so that the municipalities will have the right to enforce their bylaw to limit expenditures and also to provide for proper and reasonable disclosure, I would say yes to him. I will bring in some amendments to the act very shortly that will do that.

Mr. Roy: I am glad to hear the minister say that this morning. As I say, I rely greatly on people at the city hall in Ottawa who said they had received the letter. Don Hambling is one who does not usually misconstrue the purpose and intent of correspondence. Everybody was under that impression. This appeared quite recently as a matter of fact. On Tuesday or Wednesday of this week they received the letter in which you said you do not intend to change the act. Are you now saying you do intend to change the act and give power to municipalities, such as the city of Ottawa, to force disclosure and enforce that section of the Municipal Act which sets limits? Is there such a possibility? As you know, in November of this year there is a municipal election coming up.

Surely to God we could bring forward this legislation prior to that election, because Mayor Marion Dewar has conceded that there is not enough time. They were thinking if the minister will not amend the legislation maybe he will give them the power by way of private legislation. They felt they could not get that before the November election this year. I must say it is ridiculous, because many of the candidates are running for office and in good faith, are following the limits, whereas some other candidates are just laughing at all this. They went to court -- everybody was smiling, it was a big joke -- the judge threw it out and said, “Well, you know, there is no problem.” So we are facing another election like this.

It will make a farce of the whole process unless we can get legislation or amendments. I cannot see anybody -- I am sure my colleagues in the NDP are not going to -- opposing this legislation. We are not going to oppose it and my colleague, who is the critic, certainly is in favour of this. Surely this legislation should be able to go through the House and municipalities will have the power right across Ontario for the next municipal election this fall. Can the minister give some sort of undertaking to that effect?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Chairman, before the honourable member gets carried away with euphoria, let me tell him why I wrote that letter and why I am prepared to bring in the amendments. But there are certain conditions on those amendments. I wrote that letter because at the time I was convinced I should not bring in any amendments. I felt the legislation would perhaps be amended in this House in a way I am not prepared to see it amended.

I would be prepared to bring in amendments to section 121 that would allow enforcement of it and allow a municipality that decided it wanted to enforce spending limits and disclosure to be able to do so in a legal manner. However, the government is not prepared and I am not prepared to make that mandatory on every municipality. In other words, we are not prepared to make an amendment to the bill saying that every municipality has to impose limits and disclosure. We feel it should be left up to the municipality to decide itself whether it wants to have section 121 --

Mr. Roy: Can you read section 121 as it now stands?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes. Section 121 says, “The council of a municipality may, by bylaw, provide for limitations on election expenditures by, or on behalf of, a candidate and require the disclosure by a candidate of all election contributions to his campaign in excess of $100 in the form of money and goods and services.”

Mr. Roy: But it is not mandatory now?

Hon. Mr. Wells: No, it is not mandatory now. That is very much in keeping with what I have heard here over the last several weeks in the discussion of these estimates. The municipalities decide for themselves if they wish to put this section. That is the one thing I would say.

At this time we are not prepared to move beyond that to some system of tax deductibility for election contributions at the municipal levels, because no system has been worked out yet that we think is equitable. Nor are we prepared to move to a system of public contribution of funds to candidates at the municipal level.

I raise these matters at this time because introducing amendments, as my friend knows, in a House of this nature brings forth amendments of a variety of sorts. If legislation was amended in that manner we would not be able to proceed with it. I am laying all the cards on the table.

Mr. Roy: That is fair. I must say for the record that one of the things I intended to talk about was the fact that I strongly believe in the deductibility of federal and provincial election contributions. I frankly see no reason why we should not have it at the municipal level as well. I put that clearly on the record. I see some difficulty, though, in the enactment of that sort of thing. How does one go about it? I am not an expert in that field, but I think the deduction would probably have to come at the provincial level some place, if we are talking about income tax --

Hon. Mr. Wells: From the province.

Mr. Roy: That is right. It would have to be out of the Treasurer’s money. Part of the salaries of municipal officials now are tax free. I suppose that money comes out of the provincial coffers, and probably the same process would have to work in terms of contributions. So I can see difficulty; I can see what the minister is saying. He is saying that if they bring in that sort of a bill and then opposition members start bringing forward all sorts of amendments -- things they did not intend -- that could be a problem.

11:40 a.m.

But surely a brief discussion with the critics of the parties could overcome this? I for one have no apprehension at all about putting on the record that if we are going to give any meaning to that section 121 we should let the people decide. I see nothing wrong in having it discretionary, that it not be mandatory, that the municipalities “may.” Municipalities may wish not to, because, as you say, that is local autonomy. I believe the local people should decide whether there should be limits, and that’s fine.

Seeing that section 121 is drafted with a discretionary factor, why would not the amendment be drafted the same way? I agree with the minister that if the section is discretionary then the section should go on to say “and then may” by such and such procedure “enforce disclosure and provide for penalties for failure to adhere to the limits that are set in the bylaw.” I think something like that surely should be acceptable, something that we should be able to pass prior to the 1980 municipal elections in November.

My colleagues in both parties are extremely co-operative and surely they can discuss with the minister the question of how to go about setting these deductions for contributions. That is something I believe in.

But surely if we are going to have any meaning to section 121 let’s have it before the next provincial election. We have already had one election where it has become meaningless, so let’s not play this farce again. Let’s get the legislation and let’s proceed with it. I’m sure an agreement can be arrived at and my colleagues will agree. As a member representing the Ottawa area, I for one find nothing more distasteful than having a piece of legislation which becomes farcical. If it becomes farcical it makes all of us look like a bunch of fools.

Are we serious with this legislation or are we just playing games? If we are serious with it then let’s have it drafted. Let’s have penalties and let’s have it workable. I look forward to the minister bringing forward the legislation and receiving the co-operation of all members to see that it is passed before the 1980 November election.

I don’t quite understand the intransigence of the minister and the government in putting their backs up every time these large municipalities want to extend their term of office to three years from two. I really don’t understand what it is about this magical factor of two years. I heard the minister commenting last night that there was an editorial -- was it in the Hamilton Spectator?

Mr. Isaacs: Yes.

Mr. Roy: It stated, “Let it be a two-year term.” We have quite a number of these large municipalities in this province, as you know, Mr. Chairman, from your experience on council. If we are serious about giving them a mandate by which they can set up a program and where they can see it function and their term of office gives them time to have some imprint, to give some impact to their contribution, I really think two years is too short.

I know I’m repeating what many members have said but I want to put it on the record. I really think it is somewhat presumptuous of this government saying to the municipalities, “You should be accountable every two years to the electorate.” I really think the paternalistic attitude of this government towards these large municipalities is very offensive.

We know what it is like, Mr. Chairman. You sat here during the period of 1975 to 1977 when we had an election -- it happened every two years. We have seen what has happened at the federal level with the election of minority governments. The last one lasted nine months. We have seen what happens in the process of an administration when the term is cut off from the normal four years. It really does not give that government and that administration time to put forward a cohesive plan to be effective.

When we are talking about municipalities the size of Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa, Windsor, London, Kitchener, Waterloo, or Thunder Bay -- and I may have missed some of the large municipalities -- they are dealing with budgets involving millions of dollars. We are talking about people who have very strenuous and very important responsibilities. These people are elected and in the first year they are just finding out what is happening and in the second year start getting things under way, and right away they are thinking about re-election.

I think it is paternalistic and presumptuous on the part of this government to tell these officials, “We have a four-year term and we can even extend it to five years if necessary, but you in municipalities have to be re-elected every second year.” It seems to me that is not right in the modern Canada of 1980, where the urban communities have assumed such importance and where people have been attracted to urban communities that keep getting larger and larger. I think it is presumptuous for us to say to them, “You have to be accountable, whereas in our case we will take our time, since we are elected every four years.”

I really wonder why the minister or this government has been so intransigent in that area and why it is they feel that a two-year term is adequate for these large municipalities.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Chairman, I think I responded quite fully to this problem last night. It certainly is not a one-sided matter as my friend would indicate. As I said several times last night, there is no question that the elected people in the large areas of this province are almost unanimously in favour of a three-year term. That is not the case in the small areas of the province. The rural municipalities are split. However, I think it must be noted that the municipal associations, and I am not sure about the others, but the Association of Municipalities of Ontario particularly, and I guess the Municipal Liaison Committee, brought forward resolutions asking for a three-year term.

We all know the reasons why we brought in the two-year term, a uniform two-year term when the large areas had three-year terms before. It was part of a total package when the Municipal Elections Act came in, that would provide for a uniform voting day and a uniform term and make municipal elections as big a thing in the province as provincial and federal elections. It was done to try to get more interest in municipalities, eliminate acclamations as much as possible and encourage people to vote; get larger voter turnouts and so forth.

I think some of those benefits have accrued. Every time we come up to a new election date, as we are doing this year, we have requests for extending the term. All a government can do is assess the pros and cons of the matter and decide what it thinks is the best answer. We did look at the pros and cons. It is quite obvious the elected people themselves, probably by a majority, would like to extend their term. I think it is very unlikely that the people they represent in the cities and towns and villages across this province want a three-year term for their representatives. As I have reviewed the correspondence and the presentations of the various groups that have approached us, basically the people of the province are quite happy with a two-year term for their elected people.

11:50 a.m.

I go through the various newspaper comments on this. The Hamilton Spectator was one. I see the London Free Press says, “No Cause for Tinkering.” The Toronto Star says, “Don’t extend civic terms.” The London Free Press: “Municipal council terms are long enough.” The Sudbury Star: “They keep trying to add an extra year.” The St. Catharines Standard: “And after three years, four and so forth.” And it goes on and on. Most of the editorial comment around the province suggested there was great merit in retaining the two-year term.

We had to make up our mind. That is our decision for this year. As I said last night, unquestionably it will all come up again before municipal election day in 1982, and we will be going through all the arguments again.

Mr. Roy: Listening to the minister, I had to smile; it is typical -- and it has been so obvious since 1975 -- of the way this government operates. It is just as though he had weigh scales and is putting one editorial for and one against, and one for and one against, and somewhere along the way, when he feels that the --

Mr. Haggerty: Have you taken a poll?

Mr. Roy: I was just going to say that. My colleague asks, has the minister taken a poll? He probably has. I would like to know if there has been a poll out there to find out, because that is typical of the way this government functions. They are so cautious, my God, it is unreal.

Mr. Hodgson: That’s why we are over here and you are over there.

Mr. Roy: Yes, and is that why the Tories don’t want to go to the people these days? Is that why they are so cautious?

Is that why they are prepared to go to bed with the people to my left to stay in power? We have principles and we are not prepared to do that sort of thing.

Sometimes when something has merit, when the righteousness of a cause -- and surely the AMO is representative of the people; its members are duly elected. They are not editorial writers; they are people who are elected. They are elected by the local people, and when they say this, surely some credence or weight must be given to what they are saying. But this government has weigh scales there and says: “Look, folks, before we make a decision on this let’s weigh the editorial writers; let’s see how the press is. Let’s see which way the wind blows; let’s have a poll. Let’s see what happens.” On a decision like that, if it has merit, if you think a two-year term is not sufficient for large municipalities to be able to function adequately, you make the decision. That is the kind of leadership that is required. I suppose that is one of the reasons Darcy is no longer around, because that is the way Darcy thought. He was not always right, but Darcy had guts.

Surely, if there is merit, and I cannot see an argument against it, that merit must be considered. But the minister reads me the editorial writers. Sometimes I think some of these people like to have elections because it keeps their people busy and they sell newspapers and so on.

When you talk of what the people of Ontario want, at the municipal level you have to wonder what they want. What is the turnout at municipal elections? Is it 25 per cent, 35 per cent? It is extremely low. The interest at that level is questionable. When the minister says, “That is what the people want” -- and I am not afraid of putting this on the record -- I think people very often do not particularly care. If the thing is properly administered, people usually stay home and do not even bother to go to vote.

Some people only vote when there is an important issue, for example, involving a mayor -- sometimes not even then. We had a mayoral race last time in Toronto, and what was the turnout even for that -- if my colleagues can help me on it -- was it even 40 per cent?

When people are duly elected, as my colleague has said, and are represented at AMO, and they say it is necessary -- and common sense dictates that it is necessary -- you do not say, “I don’t think we have enough editorial writers,” as the minister said, “I don’t think we have enough editorials for it, so we will wait a while longer. Maybe we will have a couple of polls and we will see what happens.” I can’t get over how cynical an approach that is. If you are elected to give leadership and see there is something that needs correction, you go ahead and do it, just as, for instance, on your Election Act which we were talking about this morning. There is merit to that particular issue. Go ahead, bring forward the legislation. Surely some distinction can be made at the municipal level between the needs of large municipalities and the needs of smaller ones that feel a two-year term is fine.

Hon. Mr. Wells: My friend gets things a little mixed up in saying we don’t have the guts over here. It takes more guts to stay with the two-year decision than it does to go with the three.

Mr. Roy: Not according to you. You quote the editorial writers.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I have used the editorial example to show you public opinion around this province as expressed by editorials, whatever that means. They suggest there is a great deal of opinion by people who think the two-year term is fine. As I said last night, I have probably got some of the toughest anti-type letters I have had in a long time on any issue from municipal politicians because I said we are going to stick with the two-year term. It takes absolutely no guts to go for the three-year term. They would all have written nice letters and passed resolutions and said I was a great guy.

Municipal government exists for the people of the municipality concerned. I have that very gut feeling, and this government does, that the people of this province want a two-year term at the municipal level.

Mr. Roy: Have you got a poll?

Hon. Mr. Wells: We don’t have a poll. My friend from Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) said he thought it would be a good idea to put in on the ballot. I say fine. A municipality can put a question on the ballot. I understand the city of London put it on the ballot after it had the three-year term, and most people wanted to go back to the two- year term. Put it on the ballot. Let the people have their say on it. That is fine if a municipality wants to do it. We are not going to have a referendum on it. We just have that gut feeling that the people of this province want their municipalities to stay on a two-year term.

That doesn’t mean the elected people want to be on it, but that the people want it. We exist here to draft legislation on behalf of the people of this province. That is the decision we made. You and I disagree on that decision. If somebody wants to put it on the ballot and come back to us and say the people of the municipality voted in favour of it, I would be very pleased to see that. But I suspect there would not likely be any municipalities that would vote in favour of a three-year term.

Mr. Warner: Mr. Chairman, it is interesting to learn that the government has now moved from legislation by public opinion polls to legislation by editorial comment. I recall and the minister will recall that this government spent $1 million and had a former Premier of this province enter into an exhaustive study of government in Metro Toronto. Mr. Robarts produced a definitive document on electoral reform. That was what the document was all about. He touched on a number of things, such as length of term of office, election expenses, spending limits, special purpose bodies and quite a number of other items which in his wisdom and through his consultation -- it went over a long period of time -- resulted in some useful and worthwhile suggestions to update our municipal electoral system and our municipal form of government

The minister should realize, and I am sure he does, that municipal government functions a little differently today to what it did 20 years ago and has a changed role. I think Mr. Robarts was saying the role has changed and we should change the way in which we allow the municipalities to function, certainly the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto. That is what he was saying. What is the end result for the $1 million spent on the report? Nothing. The government has done absolutely nothing. I think that is a shame. It is more than that. Among other things, it is an insult to a former Premier of this province who turned his very able mind to an important question and came up with basically a very good report.

12 noon

The man must feel he has wasted his time. I am sure he enjoyed the exercise and enjoyed receiving the remuneration and so on, but he must feel that all his work has gone for nothing. He must feel somewhat insulted by this government.

There were some good things in his report, one of which we have been discussing: the three-year term. I think in regard to Metro Toronto -- and I underline to the minister, I am speaking only about Metro Toronto right now -- it borders on irresponsibility to say you cannot allow the three-year term.

You and I both know the magnitude of the work done by the municipal council of Scarborough and the other boroughs in Metro is significantly different today from 20 years ago. The process the aldermen are involved in, particularly the new aldermen, takes a long time to learn. The planning processes involved, partly because of the regulations brought in by your government, take a long period of time.

The aldermen who are actively involved in trying to plan out the growth of their borough will not see most of the work come to fruition within a two-year period of time. They deserve at least three years to see the projects through properly, and that is without arguing the financial aspect. As the minister knows, there are millions of dollars to be saved by having an election every thee years instead of every two years. That’s a fact and the minister is aware of it and yet, for whatever reason, chooses to ignore it.

I want to be quite honest -- I am not sure whether the turnout at municipal elections would increase because we have a three-year term instead of a two-year term. Maybe it would; I hope it would.

The date of the election has something to do with it. I still contend we should be having the election in October instead of November, and that the kinder atmospheric elements would be a greater inducement to people turning out at the polls. Setting that aside, surely it is more reasonable and fairer to the elected people to have a three-year term instead of a two-year term. I submit it is to the benefit of the public as well, because during that thee-year term there certainly is greater opportunity for the public to get to know their politicians at the municipal level, to be actively involved in the municipal issues before council and to develop a greater rapport with that system. Maybe that would help bring more people out to vote. In our area of Scarborough we see about a 30 per cent turnout, I guess that’s fair enough to say, during most elections.

There are other items that have been ignored. I don’t know how the minister can ignore the election expenses aspect: the spending limits and telling the people where all their donations came from. We do that. The people who run for election to the Legislature inform the public where those donations came from. It’s equally important to have that in the municipalities.

Municipalities are directly involved with development and surely we would want the public to be assured that elected people are not in the pockets of the developers. One good way to do that is to have a declaration of your source of funds for the election, where the money came from, and some spending limits as well to make sure that everyone has a fair chance to run, not just the rich.

The mayoralty races in the boroughs in Metro Toronto are extremely expensive propositions, as you know. To become mayor of Toronto you have to appeal to 600,000 people. That’s an enormous task. To run a campaign in a riding of 600,000 will obviously take a lot of money. That’s not too difficult to figure out. That says there should be some rules about election expenses and some limits on spending.

Special purpose bodies was another item Mr. Robarts addressed, attempting to get greater accountability to the elected people in a way that would involve the people of the community. Overall, you know as well as I do that what Mr. Robarts was getting at, the basic line that he was driving at through his report, was an attempt to bring municipal politics closer to the people and find a better way in which the citizens of Metro Toronto can relate to their municipal government. I submit that, on balance, the report was a very good one and he devised some imaginative ways in which that could be accomplished. Unfortunately, this government has chosen to ignore the report and put it on the shelf to collect dust.

I think the government is wrong. I think it’s wrong about the three-year term, I think it’s wrong about not pushing for electoral reform and not bringing in some measures. I have one question for the minister. I would like to know what it will take to get the government to change from its stubborn position of not having a three-year term, to granting the three-year term for Metropolitan Toronto. That is my one question.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I don’t think I can answer that directly, Mr. Chairman. I think in the fullness of time we have to consider all the problems. As I’ve said many times, this matter was considered fully and thoroughly in all its ramifications, be they for the province as a whole or for large municipalities or for Metropolitan Toronto alone. In our wisdom, we had to make the decision. We have the guts to make decisions over here; we make them all the time. Just because they aren’t the decisions that the member wants doesn’t mean it doesn’t take guts to make them and doesn’t mean that they aren’t decisions.

The decision was that we stay with the two-year term. That’s the decision for this coming election. After that, I’m sure the matter will be discussed again and various people will have a chance to put forward their justifications, both pro and con, on the matter and we’ll have to look at it again. It’s one of those ongoing things that is always considered as the next election comes up. I can’t give you any other answer than that.

Mr. Haggerty: I just want to clear the air, as perhaps there was a misunderstanding last night about my interjection to the minister relating to those persons who are elected to Metro council. I think they’re done by local municipalities. They’re elected to that level and then they serve on Metro council. That’s always been a good policy or a good program by this government. I think particularly of the county council days, when you had to be either reeve or deputy reeve to sit on a county council. That was important, because you had the dialogue and the communication between council and county council for the region.

One of the problems in the regional municipality of Niagara is that there is a certain regional councillor who is elected at large in the municipality who does not sit on local council. I seem to sense, from talking to a number of those persons who are elected in this particular area, that they consider themselves as misfits in the administration of both levels of government.

12:10 p.m.

I said the Niagara region is working under that system, but it’s not the best. I think in this area the person who is representing the local municipality on regional council should be a member of council. He is not involved in the local council decisions; he hasn’t the facts before him to represent that municipality, or even to represent the region.

I think some place along the line consideration should be given to this. You should go back to what the former county of Welland and the former county of Lincoln had. They had two representatives from each municipality who also sat on council, and they had complete communication and an understanding of the difficulties in the municipality. I suggest, the way the minister indicated the other night, that you have a two-way street here, and perhaps this is the proper way to go.

The other matter I’m concerned about is the matter of the proposed provincial fire code. There would seem to be some difficulty here as it relates to the municipalities and fire inspection. We got into this the other day. I think one of the members mentioned the matter of aluminum wiring. The government has suggested that there would be a new provincial fire code. It’s been hanging in mid-air for a couple of years now, and there has bean no indication when we can see this.

A proper fire inspection should be done at the municipal level through the fire departments which have qualified fire inspectors to go out and make the inspections of public housing, private housing, if they want to go in and do it, and commercial buildings. I suggest this is the area we should be looking at.

As it is now, the fire chiefs in each municipality are having some difficulties concerning when they can expect the new fire code to come in. I understand it is part of the provincial building code, which is under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea). I think the fire code for the province should be under the direction of the chief fire officer for the province, Mr. Bateman.

I suggest this is an area that should be looked at so that we can have some clear-cut policy in this direction. I think there is more of a need now than ever, as it relates particularly to industrial fires or railroad inspections of certain tank cars that may be carrying toxic chemicals or flammable liquids. I think somewhere along the line you are going to have to have these fellows go in to make the proper inspection. As it is now, it is hanging in mid-air. Who does it? We have conflicting legislation as it relates to hotel inspections, nursing home inspections, you name it. There’s a number of them.

I think it’s time it should come under the Municipal Act. I think there are sections in the act which say the fire chief has the same powers as the fire marshal of the province. I think it is section 19 of the old Fire Act that gives them pretty broad powers. I suggest that is one area the government should be looking at.

The other area of concern to me is where municipalities are purchasing fire equipment, and at the present time fire equipment is rather expensive. I can think of a problem the town of Fort Erie has encountered for over a year now. They purchased a new fire truck at great cost to the town. They purchased the equipment almost a year ago, and today you don’t know whether it’s going to be running or in a garage for repairs. At one time I believe the town couldn’t get the equipment back because they had a mechanic’s lien against it while it was in the repair shop,

It took the council some time to get a lawyer to look into it to find out when the equipment was coming back. Surely there should be something in the act which says that when a municipality is buying expensive equipment of this nature there should be sufficient warranty or a guarantee on the equipment. Often when they buy a commercial vehicle and it is altered to suit the fire chief and the equipment he wants on it, the fabricator may alter the frame to some extent. When there are problems of a breakdown of the equipment, who is responsible for it?

If it takes almost a year in some cases, I suggest maybe we should be looking at legislation that provides the municipalities with some form of action without going to litigation to get the problem settled. I suggest this is an area the government should be looking at. I don’t know whether you can apply it to the Municipal Act. I am sure you can, but I suggest it is a problem and should be looked at by your ministry.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Does the minister have any comments?

Hon. Mr. Wells: No. We will take a look at it.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: The member for Haldimand-Norfolk.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask --

Mr. Grande: Mr. Chairman --

Mr. Deputy Chairman: Excuse me, Mr. Grande, but nobody stood up.

Mr. Grande: I thought the minister was going to answer.

Mr. Deputy Chairman: I asked him and he said no. We will go ahead. We will get to you next.

Mr. G. I. Miller: We have had considerable discussion with the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs over the increased taxation in some areas of the riding of Haldimand-Norfolk, particularly the former township of Walpole where, by applying section 86 of the Assessment Act, taxes have increased as much as 200 per cent. The overall tax increase in the region of Haldimand-Norfolk has been something like 17 per cent this year. The reason for that is the province has put more responsibility and costs back on the municipality. The Long Point conservation area costs have been increased by $85,000. About 40 per cent of the cost of the dam at Caledonia was picked up by the region. These excessive cost factors have created a real problem for the region, which is taking a lot of flak.

Getting back to the city of Nanticoke, it is a special area. For the first time, under regional government, the assessment has been pooled. It was made up of six former municipalities, Port Dover, Woodhouse, Waterford, Townsend, Jarvis and Walpole. I think it deserves some special recognition in 1980 to deal with this overall tax burden.

Again when you compare the agricultural assessment with other municipalities, it does not seem fair that one should be increased considerably over the other. On a $100,000 assessment, the industrial assessment tax in 1979 would have been $1,548; on residential, it would have been $1,053; and on agricultural it would have been $1,639. It is obvious that agriculture is picking up, on a $100,000 assessment, the biggest share. I do not think that is fair.

They are also having financial troubles. I realize this comes under the Ministry of Education but there has been a request from the board of education of the former Norfolk county to review the disparity of the mill rate being applied across that portion of the Norfolk school board area. It is, again, having a lot of effect.

The budget indicated that taxes would not be increasing in 1980 and yet we are getting a tremendous increase in this particular area. It is a unique situation needing special attention, because of the creation of regional government back in 1973. The putting together of the city of Nanticoke in 1980 is the real cause.

Would the minister give special consideration to this problem in this area?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I can give consideration to the problem in so far as I will look at it and try to see exactly what is causing it, but I cannot give any special consideration to the area in terms of money. A lot of areas have experienced problems when section 86 reassessments have been put in. There are winners and losers. For every loser there are some winners in the area. There are programs in the Municipal Act that allow those to be phased in in a particular area. I cannot give any assurances beyond that. The municipality itself perhaps has certain options open to it to assist those people who feel they have been severely hit. Beyond that, we do not have any special grants to offer you at this time.

12:20 p.m.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Has the minister utilized the special funding in any other municipalities in Ontario over the last two or three years in situations such as this?

Hon. Mr. Wells: No, not in this regard. We had special ad hoc grants to municipalities because of their conditions under the resource equalization grant, but we have not made any special grants because of section 86 reassessments.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Has the minister given any special consideration where there have been special hardships such as this? Section 86 was applied only in 1979. Before that time, was any special financial consideration given?

Hon. Mr. Wells: They had the traditional special transitional grants in Haldimand-Norfolk that applied in a lot of the regions after the establishment of regional government. I do not think anything else special has been done in any other area.

Mr. G. I. Miller: That was done when regional government came in, to soften the blow. I am suggesting that the city of Nanticoke is in that very same position in 1980 because of regional government. Would the minister consider giving us special financial consideration to soften the blow in 1980 to give time to adjust and maybe reassess and re-evaluate?

I think it is clear that industry is not paying its fair share because of the process of bringing it in. The government has to take that responsibility because it should have known what effect this would have. If the assessment has not been properly applied, it creates hardship for some people. The government has to take that responsibility.

Hon. Mr. Wells: We are perhaps talking about different things. My understanding is that if a municipality wants section 86 applied, and Nanticoke wanted it --

Mr. G. I. Miller: Yes.

Hon. Mr. Wells: They asked for it. Before they agreed to do it, they saw what the effects would be.

Mr. G. I. Miller: I do not think so.

Hon. Mr. Wells: They were supposed to. I have seen the printout sheets the Ministry of Revenue gives. They should have seen those printout sheets before they then gave their stamp of approval to carry it out. In other words, they should have been able to look at the computer printout sheets and see whose assessments would be affected.

Mr. Epp: After they were raised.

Hon. Mr. Wells: They give them before now. Nanticoke had them before. Then it made the decision to go that route.

Mr. Epp: Not individually.

Hon. Mr. Wells: No, but in groups of homes, or would it be individual properties?

The sheets I saw showed that if there was a section 86 reassessment, then 388 homes, for example, were going to go up by somewhere between zero and $99 and 185 were going to go down by so much, between zero and $99. It is all on a big computer printout. They get that before they decide to have section 86. When they look at that and see what is going to go up and what is going to go down, then they decide whether they will have section 86 applied. They have the decision at that point, as I understand it, to decide whether to go or not.

I am not sure that happened in Nanticoke. I am asking the member if it did. I know it happened in section 86 situations this year. In other words, the computer printouts went to the people who said they were interested in section 86. They saw them and then said, “Okay, we will go ahead and do it.” In other words, they had time to back out at that particular point.

Our position has always been, once they have done that, if they want to shield the effects of it, they can do it under the provisions in the Municipal Act. But there are no special provincial grants available, which I think is what my friend is asking. I’m saying no, at this point there isn’t, and to the best of my knowledge I don’t think we have given any special grants for that problem. I know Hamilton asked for one last year and we said no.

Mr. G. I. Miller: I would like to ask one more question. Did the minister’s people meet with the city of Nanticoke to review their situation? Did they have any recommendations to present to the minister?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I don’t know that we have met specifically on this problem, but I would be happy to have our field services people do that and give me a report on it. As I say, I am happy to do anything in that regard to see what the problem is and why it is there.

I understand part of the problem of increased taxes in that area concerns the region generally; they had a large deficit last year, and that has presented a problem.

Mr. G. I. Miller: I want to thank the minister for making that option available. I was pleased to have the opportunity of bringing the problem to his attention. The Norfolk Board of Education is meeting today with the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) to discuss the disparity in the cost-sharing arrangement under this new system in the board of education for Norfolk county.

Mr. Grande: Mr. Chairman, I want to take only a couple of minutes. I want to go back to the discussion I had with the minister last November. It has to do with the borough of York -- the area I represent -- and the discrepancy that exists between the mill rate in that borough and the overall mill rate in Metropolitan Toronto.

I want to say to the minister, and I will say it in a calm way, that the situation there is critical and the minister should and must begin to address it. After the November encounter I had with the minister, I put a question on the Notice Paper to find out the exact provincial grants that were going to the borough of York. This question on the Notice Paper upset me in some way, because I put the question in early December and I had an interim reply to that question saying that by March 14 I would have the answer.

I waited for a long time and I asked the minister privately on a couple of occasions: “What is happening with that answer? It is not coming.” On April 25, 1980, I did receive a reply, finally, after that long time. What upset me about that was not the fact that this particular government is uncaring about the problems of the borough of York, because we know that and the people of the borough of York know that, but that on March 5, 1980, the mayor of the borough of York had the answer which I did not receive until April 25.

Mr. Chairman, I don’t know if my privileges as a member of this Legislature were done away with or if I have a case with the Speaker’s office in terms of those particular privileges that I have, but it upsets me when people outside of this Legislative Assembly receive the answer to questions I have put on the Notice Paper, about a month and a half prior to my receiving the answer.

12:30 p.m.

I can understand that the minister wanted to check it out with the people in the borough of York; that’s understandable. But to give some of those people the answer that I have not received yet, and have not received for a month and a half, I think somehow shows a lack of understanding of those difficulties in the borough. At the same time it shows an arrogance which this government displays in terms of answering properly questions on the Notice Paper. The reason I put that question on the Notice Paper was that I wanted to find out the facts -- not the facts as I hear them.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Chairman, on a point of privilege: Let me say to the member, that got mixed up in the procedures of how we handle questions on the Notice Paper. Questions are on and then when the House prorogues they drop off and technically, I gather, they then have to be reasked in order to be answered. I apologize if there was a dispute or if there was lateness because of that.

I want to say to the member that there is no arrogance on the part of anyone over here in answering these matters. If any member of this House, whatever side he or she sits on, wants information on tax matters such as that which are of a very parochial nature, he will get his answer much faster if he gives them to me at question period. By handing me a note or writing me a letter, he will have them back within a couple of weeks. Putting them on the Notice Paper I suggest is not the best way to get answers to questions like that. We will handle them very quickly if members just ask us.

Mr. Grande: Mr. Chairman, I appreciate what the minister is saying, that if I have a question I should give him a note and he will get the information for me as fast as possible. However, the fact is that we have the Notice Paper. The fact is that I wanted that information he gave me recorded somewhere, for some purpose or other, so the people would know the kind of information that is provided in that answer.

However, the minister is saying there was a mixup. I understand, and perhaps I am wrong here, that if there is an interim reply to a question on the Notice Paper and the interim reply while the Legislature sits states a date, whether the Legislature sits on that particular date or not, there is a commitment to make the reply at that time.

I am not saying to the minister there was a little bungling there. I can understand that; it occurs. But the fact is that people had that answer on March 5, which I did not have. As a matter of fact, the answer the mayor had in her hands, dated March 5, was a fuller reply than the reply I received on April 25. I want to leave it at that point.

Hon. Mr. Wells: There is nothing unusual about that. The mayor would have a fuller reply.

Mr. Grande: The fact is that the mayor did not have that information prior to me putting the question on the Notice Paper. If the minister wants to provide information to the mayor or controllers of the borough of York, he is welcome to do so. I would urge him to communicate with the people in the borough of York. But when I put a question on the Notice Paper to get information from this government, then I would think it would be common sense that the answer would be coming to me first and then the minister could disseminate it wherever he wants it. If he wanted to get information from the borough of York, fine, he should get the information for him to answer the question.

Anyway, that is not the major reason why I am up. I thought I should note that for the minister just in passing. But I have been getting up in this Legislature, in committees and in here, and talking to the minister and to other people in this government about the problems of the borough of York, and they seem to be turning a deaf ear.

I appreciate the fact, as someone once said, that unless you repeat something 16 times and don’t change any words during the repetition of what you are attempting to put across, in those 16 times it will not be understood, it will not even begin to sink in. If the minister and the government want that kind of repetition in this Legislature, I am prepared to stand up here day after day, or month after month, or year after year, and repeat the same things.

In October, when I was talking about the discrepancy that exists in the mill rate between the borough of York and the Metro average -- and that discrepancy in 1979 was nine mills -- the minister’s reply as reported at page 3895 of Hansard was: “It is in general municipal purposes, the local responsibility of the borough of York, where the problem arises: that is where its mill rate is 52.6 compared with the general average of 40.3 for general municipal purposes. It is that particular area where the real problem occurs, where the balance isn’t maintained.”

In other words, the minister was saying it is not the Metro levy and it is not for school board purposes, because the borough of York does all right there -- at least the mill rate is consistent with the other boroughs. But, because of how the borough is run, the minister was saying, they require more money to run that borough than do the people in North York to run their municipal affairs.

If that is not a slap to those people who are running that municipality, then I don’t know what else it is. But let it be that way, since the minister decided to put it in that fashion. However, what I understand from that municipality is that a person, an employee, a civil servant from the very ministry we are talking about, has been spending quite a bit of time in the borough of York to find out how they can bring down that general municipal purposes mill rate. I guess you know what has happened. They may have worked as hard as they could, but they have been unable to decide on any particular areas where the cutbacks should be effected.

As a matter of fact, I believe -- at least they were telling me -- they started to effect this zero-base budgeting. Nevertheless, for the year 1980, the mill rate in the borough of York is 188.25 mills, and the average in Metro is 177.20; so the difference between the Metro average and the mill rate in York is 11 mills; the minister will recall that I was saying to him last year the difference was nine mills. In essence, what is taking place is that the gap between the Metro average and the borough of York is increasing with each passing year. I was telling the minister last year that one mill raises approximately $300,000 in the borough of York, which means that the people of York have to dish out an extra 600,000.

There is no point in making comparisons between other boroughs. I think the minister has this information dated May 12, 1980, which was provided to me by the people in the borough of York.

The fact remains that if we maintain the status quo in the relationship of this ministry to the borough of York, the financial situation in that borough is going to deteriorate at a faster rate. I would point out to the minister that with nine mills difference between the averages in Metro and the borough of York last year, 11 mills this coming year, and next year, unless he acts and does something about that, it’s probably going to be 13 or 14 mills difference.

12:40 p.m.

In terms of the question the minister answered on the Notice Paper, it appeared to me he was aware of the problems in the borough of York. The mayor and some of the aldermen did come to him and talked to him about those problems, and the first part of that answer says: “The borough of York asked the provincial government for special financial assistance mainly on the grounds that the borough mill rates were higher than those of other municipalities in Metro Toronto.”

In other words, they came to the minister to talk about the same thing I have been talking to him about for the past three or four years. What is their problem? Why do they come to him?

He says: “Many expenditures have been incurred due to major works necessary to remedy deficiencies in the borough’s very old sewage system. Extensive losses in assessment arose due to acquisition of the properties to make way for the Allen Expressway. The closedown of a company located in the borough cost a write-off of a substantial amount of taxes and water and hydro revenues. The decline in population (more than 5,000 between 1975 and 1978)” -- by the way, that is the wrong figure -- “led to the reduction in the per capita and resource equalization grant and, finally, York suffered extensive losses in assessment due to appeals by property owners.”

What the minister neglected to mention and to write in my letter, and which he wrote in his letter to the mayor of York, is that because the government decided not to accept the recommendations of the Robarts commission report, the borough of York finds itself in a nonviable financial situation. The minister admitted that to the mayor when he invited him here. In regard to the commitment the former Treasurer made to the borough of York, I personally am going to hold the minister to that in this Legislature. Sooner or later, he is going to have to come through. If it’s not going to be sooner -- as I told him last year, and I will repeat to him again -- the borough of York is going to put up its white flag. The minister is going to have to take it under trusteeship, because this differential in the mill rate ought not to exist, and the provincial grants do not reflect the problems that exist at this particular time in the borough of York.

The council of the borough of York has been hesitant in the last two to three or four years to come to the minister and put it to him the way I am doing today. Let me tell him they are no longer hesitant. As a council, they are saying: “We have had problems. We are in deep trouble and something has to be done about it.”

I want to point out to the minister also, and I hope that he can appeal or put in a good word -- the minister is not listening; so I guess be won’t be putting in a good word --

Hon. Mr. Wells: Carry on. I am listening.

Mr. Grande: -- a good word to the Minister of Housing. We’ve been trying for a little while now to get the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett) to review the downtown revitalization program that ministry has. One of the criteria of that particular program has to do with a population of 135,000. The borough of York right now happens to have a population of 134,000; so therefore it will not apply. One of the things you should remember is that from 1972 to 1979 the borough of York has lost 14,000 in population.

If the Minister of Housing is not going to move to do something about that and begin to provide some assistance to revitalize the Eglinton corridor, what is going to happen is that in three or four years, as the population of the borough of York decreases -- and it is decreasing -- the minister cannot deny the grant. I want to suggest to this minister and to the Minister of Housing that if we are going to wait three or four more years until our population declines, by that time it might be too late to turn it around, because the small businessmen on Eglinton Avenue are closing their doors and leaving. As small business in the area deteriorates, so do people move out of the area.

That is the position the borough of York finds itself in right now. I certainly hope the minister begins to take seriously the conditions in the borough of York and the concerns of its people and of its elected representatives at the municipal level or at the provincial level.

As I did last year, I want to find out the criteria by which the minister turned over $250,000 to the borough of York in 1980. In effect, if the minister wanted to equalize the mill rate across Metropolitan Toronto, the amount should have been $2.7 million last year and $3.3 million or $3.4 million in 1980. I don’t know how many ways I can say it. The bottom line is that the difficulties in the borough of York are real. The commitment of the Treasurer in 1976 or 1977 was that the boroughs of York and East York should be receiving something extra as a result of the government’s refusal to accept the Robarts commission report. I want to find out how the minister is going to come through with it, and when, because time is critical in York.

Hon. Mr. Wells: We will continue to work with the mayor and council of the borough of York. We know they have certain problems. I think it is worth remembering that we increased provincial assistance to the borough of York this year by about 17.9 per cent, a very healthy increase in assistance.

I don’t dispute the different mill rates that my friend has indicated. There is no question that the local general mill rate is the one where there is the discrepancy. The mill rate has continued to be different from those in the other boroughs, but the overall increase in mill rate in the borough of York this year was about five per cent, which is equal to that of all the other municipalities in Metropolitan Toronto. In other words, nobody is going ahead any faster or going back any quicker. A five per cent increase in mill rate is fairly good compared with increases in other areas of the province. We will continue to work with York to solve its problems.

The member has indicated Roberts suggested one solution. Before Robarts, Goldenberg, and before Goldenberg, Gathercole suggested another solution. It is a solution that would provide a permanent solution to the problem, but it is not one I am sure the member is willing to recommend; that is, that York become part of the city of Toronto. That would solve the tax problem.

12:50 p.m.

Mr. Grande: Mr. Chairman, since obviously the minister wants to engage in debate, I welcome it. I think it is incumbent upon him and this government to act. As I said to the minister before, he has the Goldenberg report. It was a provincial report, and the minister spent the money to effect the report and get recommendations. The Goldenberg report suggested amalgamation, true. The Robarts commission report suggests expansion of boundaries. The minister hasn’t acted on either of them, What’s the matter with him? Can he make a decision, or is he going to leave the borough of York to slowly strangle? That’s what’s happening. What is happening is very clear. It’s rapidly going downhill.

The minister mentioned these reports; why doesn’t he act? Do something; make a decision. Did he act on the Goldenberg report?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes. We didn’t act on York because they asked not to be included and amalgamated, but we took 13 municipalities and we created six.

To solve the financial problems of York, perhaps we should have amalgamated York with Toronto at that time. It would have solved the problems. I have to tell the member, though, that talking with people in York, given the financial problems on the one hand and amalgamation with Toronto on the other, they want to see us work some way out of the financial problems rather than being amalgamated with Toronto, which is exactly what we’re doing.

We’ve spent time in the borough of York, we’ve had our staff up there trying to help them work out problems, trying to get them on zero-base budgeting, and co-operating in numerous ways. We know there are problems there, and we’re trying to get to the bottom of them.

If the member thinks increasing their provincial grants this year by nearly 18 per cent isn’t a help to them, there are lots of areas of this province that would like to have an 18 per cent increase in provincial grants.

Mr. Grande: Mr. Chairman, as I said, the minister is engaging me in debate, and I am willing to be engaged in that debate.

Why is it that he hasn’t acted on the Robarts commission report? Robarts said the problems in the borough of York are financial. I don’t want to see the borough of York amalgamate because, as I said to the minister before, the borough of York has a history that is second to none in Metropolitan Toronto. They have a long-standing history. I do not want to see the borough of York amalgamate.

However, the minister did not accept the Robarts commission report, which indicated that the problems in the borough of York are financial ones. It indicated that the extension of the boundaries would create the tax base that is necessary to run a municipality in a viable way. The minister did not accept that. It is financial, and if the minister does not want to extend the boundaries, then he must do something about that financial situation in the borough of York.

We cannot have the gap in mill rates increasing year after year; it just won’t do.

I think I’ll end it there, Mr. Chairman, and I’ll engage the minister at another time on these concerns. I hope that, between now and the next time, the minister will have done something concrete about that situation.

Hon. Mr. Wells: My only response is that we’re looking for a solution but not one that in any way would be the kind that Robarts had suggested, because we’re not looking to increase the boundaries of the borough of York. I think that option is not available to us, and it is certainly not the policy of this government.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Chairman, the question I would like to ask is in regard to the payments for Great Lakes flood damage. How will that be utilized? Is that for loans at eight per cent with 80 per cent grants for municipalities for flood damage?

Hon. Mr. Wells: The member is not talking about shoreline property assistance, is he? He is talking about the Great Lakes flooding program?

Mr. G. I. Miller: Yes.

Hon. Mr. Wells: The Great Lakes flooding program is a grant to the municipality of 80 per cent of the cost. We have had a few applications. I don’t even know that we’ve done any of those this year. We’ve approved a couple, but they’re very small.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Is the shoreline protection a different program? How much money has been utilized in that one?

Hon. Mr. Wells: The shoreline property assistance program is where we lend money to municipalities, who then lend the money to people who have improved the shoreline because of problems that have been created. It’s a loan.

The amount that has actually been granted is $539,552.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Is that for 1979?

Hon. Mr. Wells: That was the 1979-80 amount. We are estimating a decrease in the amount we’ll need this year.

Mr. G. I. Miller: If I want to arrange a meeting for assistance in this program, can I get some people from the ministry to sit down with Port Dover and the city of Nanticoke to discuss the problem there and see what financing might be made available?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes, absolutely. Our people would be happy to do that.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Could we get a financial breakdown of the disaster relief assistance for the tornado in the Woodstock area last year? Was the money utilized that was intended, matching dollar for dollar, as prescribed in the original agreement? Why was there not second home funding for farm workers in the area, and why were cattle not included for capital assistance? They are both a necessity in any viable farm operation.

My understanding is there was considerable money left over to take care of that.

Hon. Mr. Wells: The anticipated provincial contribution in the Woodstock area for all the areas affected there -- and that was on a 3-1 formula -- is about $3.6 million. According to the figures I have here, about $3.1 million has already been advanced. They are now working on the remainder.

On the matter of why livestock and second residences were not included: The township of Burford, as the member knows, in a resolution endorsed by several municipalities, requested that livestock and second residences be included. That request was rejected on the grounds that we had rejected similar claims in other disaster relief commitments in the province previously.

As we understand it, the Oxford-Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk disaster committee made a decision that those things would not be included previously, and that the losses so incurred were not of such great magnitude as to need to be included and that the individuals concerned could probably bear the responsibility because the cattle, particularly, could be insured. My recollection was that the cattle could be insured; therefore, it was felt that they should not be included under the criteria of the fund.

Also, I understand that the disaster relief fund committee did not include cattle in their definition in the first instance. The whole idea, basically, was to provide money for basic shelter and to get people back on their feet. That was the criterion of the disaster relief fund, and the idea of including such things as cattle just did not seem a logical thing to do.

The Acting Chairman (Mr. MacBeth): It is now one o’clock. Will there be further discussion on this item or shall vote 603 carry?

Mr. Isaacs: No.

Mr. Acting Chairman: No, there will not be further discussion?

Mr. Isaacs: There will be further discussion.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Wells, the committee of supply reported progress.

The House adjourned at 1:02 p.m.