31st Parliament, 4th Session

L067 - Thu 5 Jun 1980 / Jeu 5 jun 1980

The House resumed at 8 p.m.


Resuming the debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 75, An Act to amend the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton Act.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. MacBeth): The order of business has been called. The member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Rotenberg), the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells).

Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Speaker, as you will recall, just before six o’clock the minister moved second reading of Bill 75. I would like to speak in support of the various amendments to the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton Act in this bill.

The first section of this bill deals with the makeup of the council for the municipality of Ottawa-Carleton commencing after the election, that is, commencing on December 1. 1980. The bill would add two members to the regional council, one each for the city of Nepean and the township of Gloucester, in order to correct the significant underrepresentation on the regional council. The regional council, as a result, would be composed of equal numbers of members from the city of Ottawa and from the other area municipalities. This adjustment reflects recent population trends.

The proposed amendments also provide for the method of selecting the representatives from Nepean and Gloucester who would sit on regional council in addition to the heads of council. In the case of Nepean, this would be three members elected by general vote to both regional and city councils. In the case of Gloucester, this would be the two members of the Gloucester council with the highest number of votes who wish to serve on regional council. In both cases, the government has accepted the method of representation requested by the councils concerned. The bill, in addition, eliminates the present position of deputy reeve in Gloucester, as it has requested.

The bill also includes a number of amendments affecting regional powers and responsibilities. The first of these would add permissive powers to enable the region to enter into agreements with respect to commercial development over or under regional roads. This is similar to a recent amendment to the Regional Municipality of Waterloo Act and is desired by the region at this time for possible use in connection with the Rideau Centre development.

Further amendments would enable the region to pass bylaws implementing an honour transit fare system. The region has requested legislation on this subject to coincide with the startup of a joint regional and Ministry of Transportation and Communications experimental project in the use of articulated buses. Such an honour fare system is useful where articulated buses are in use by removing the need for additional transit personnel on such vehicles.

Under the proposed transit fare amendment, the region could pass bylaws providing for a higher on-board fare in the case of a person who has boarded a transit vehicle without a pass or without having otherwise paid his fare. Such a person would, if requested for proof of fare by a transit employee, have the choice of paying the on-board higher fare or leaving the vehicle. A provision is also included that would give transit employees the power of removal of such a person if that person refused to pay and refused to leave the vehicle voluntarily.

Another important provision of the bill would add a section to the regional act, enabling the region to undertake responsibilities with respect to a regional convention centre. As requested by the region, the proposed legislation would authorize the region to borrow money for these purposes and to repay such debt from the regional levy. It would also allow the region to operate the facility by itself, with optional provisions for a management board, or to enter into agreement with an area municipality in the region to manage the facilities and/or to finance any operating deficit.

The proposed legislation includes a provision to allow area rating as a means of recovering all or part of any operating deficit. The government is prepared to rely on the judgement of the regional council as to which of the various options that would be permitted by the bill, in regard to operating the convention centre, should be employed.

The bill also contains two provisions of a financial nature. One of these would give the regional council the authority counties now have under section 507(7) of the Municipal Act to apportion regional costs among the area municipalities on an equitable basis other than the weighted equalized assessment. The region has requested this and the government has indicated it is prepared to support legislation for region municipalities if they request it. Of course, if there is a disagreement between the region and the area municipality, the matter may be appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board.

The second financial amendment is also as requested by the region. This amendment would enable regional council to require, in its debenturing bylaws, that any currency premium on debenture issues and foreign currency be paid into a special reserve fund and not be used for other regional purposes before the debt has been repaid in the foreign currency concerned. This power is in the Municipal Act but does not currently apply to the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton.

Certain other amendments in the bill are proposed for other regional acts. These common amendments concern benefits to councillors, road consolidation bylaws and adjustment to the laws regarding the homes for the aged.

Mr. Speaker, I am aware that section 1 of the bill is somewhat controversial and, although there are no proposed amendments before us at the moment, it is my understanding the New Democratic Party possibly will be proposing some amendments to section 1.

Also, as a result of a request from the city of Ottawa with regard, specifically, to section 1 of this bill, it will be my recommendation to the House, after second reading is approved, and I hope second reading will be approved, to refer this bill to the standing committee on general government so that the city of Ottawa can make the representations it has requested.

In the light of the fact that this bill will be going to committee, where I assume and gather there will be a full debate on section 1, I have not gone into the details of the reasoning of the government for proposing section 1 at this time. I will go into that fully in committee and, in the interests of time and boredom, I do not want to be repetitious on that section. However, I will be prepared to answer any question that members would like to ask with regard to section 1 in the House this evening, rather than wait for the committee meeting.

Mr. Speaker, with those remarks I move second reading of Bill 75 and ask for its adoption.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and speak to this bill regarding the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton. As we all know, this was the first region that was established after the metropolitan government was established here in this great city of ours.

8:10 p.m.

We have, particularly in the city of Ottawa and generally in that area, probably the most overgoverned area in Canada. There is the federal bureaucracy which certainly dominates the affairs of the city of Ottawa and the other municipalities in that region. There is the provincial government which has several offices in that municipality and then, of course, there are some very effective municipal governments there. They have had some outstanding leadership over the years. The person who comes to mind immediately is one of the former mayors, Charlotte Whitton, who was known as one of the outspoken advocates of municipal government, and she certainly shared the headlines with the Prime Minister of Canada and the Premiers of this country.

We are going to support this bill and, of course, we are going to support the suggestion of the parliamentary assistant that the bill go to committee, specifically with reference to the city of Ottawa, which is not all too happy with the suggestion that two regional municipalities will gain one vote each.

I regret it is going to be necessary because enough consultation has not been done, in a sense, to find agreement among the various municipalities. However, I realize an agreement cannot always be reached. The most honourable people, the most respected people and the people who want to achieve what they think is right for their municipality may have differences of opinion with respect to this.

After visiting the region a few months ago and speaking to a number of mayors on this particular matter, I noticed that all of them meant very well and wanted to achieve what they thought was best for the region and for their municipality. At that time, the regional council had, by a very close vote, agreed there should be split voting, with a half vote here and a half vote there. I, for one, cannot support a half vote for any municipality by having, for instance, two people who each have a half vote or having one person who has a half vote, and so forth. I find that difficult because of the fact it is now very confusing for the people to try to keep up with the various elective offices.

Federally, constituencies often differ from the provincial representatives. Provincial constituencies overlap federal constituencies. Then there are the local elected representatives, the school board representatives and, in some municipalities, they have elected people to public utilities commissions or hydro commissions. This is very confusing for the public, for those who do not want to follow the affairs of the local municipality, the province or the government every day. To give a half representative to some areas and not to others would complicate the matter even more.

However, this matter will go to committee and we will have an opportunity at that time to hear additional representations. I think that is an excellent idea because it is in a committee where various parties can be represented rather than behind the closed doors of the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs where the goings on can be hidden from the public while the decisions are made. In committee, it is open and every one can have an opportunity to participate.

We note in the proposed legislation that there has been a suggestion that the region is seeking additional powers over the air rights over regional roads. An experience in one of the regions has been cited. Marathon Realty Company Limited has built a structure in Kitchener that goes over Charles Street, which is a regional road. There is a walkway, and I understand they are going to put some stores and SO forth in there. The structure is just being built now and it will be some months before it is completed, but I look forward to seeing that. I think it is something that regional municipalities -- if we are going to have regional municipalities -- should have the right to do, as well as local municipalities.

On the other item, I notice there is equal representation for the city of Ottawa -- in other words Ottawa would have 16 votes and the other regional municipalities would have 16 votes -- and the chairman would have the tiebreaking vote, he would not have the tie-making vote.

In the Palmer report, which came out last year for the regional municipality of Waterloo, one of the proposals made there was that the chairman should have a tie-making vote. In other words, he should have the opportunity to create a tie and therefore the matter under discussion would lose. Otherwise, if the chairman did not have a vote, he or she might oppose a particular measure, but being in the chair he could not have that measure defeated.

That is one thing, I think, that needs a lot more discussion. It is something that could be looked at for the region of Waterloo and certainly for the region of Ottawa-Carleton, which we are discussing here tonight. In no way should a chairman have the vote to make a tie and in addition a vote to break it, as is the custom in some municipalities and some jurisdictions.

We notice in the bill there are opportunities to give benefits to various regional representatives. Specifically it is alluded to that the chairmen of regional municipalities and directly elected councillors do not have the same opportunities to obtain group life, accident benefits, medical benefits and hospital care insurance as do locally elected councillors in municipalities. This has come about because amendments have been made to the Municipal Act but have not been made to the regional acts. They have to be made specifically to the various regional acts.

Since this amendment has already passed with I think the unanimous support of this House, and has been incorporated into some of the regional acts, there is no reason why it should not have the support of this House this evening.

The honour transit fare system being proposed in Ottawa-Carleton is one that has not been tried, I understand, in any jurisdiction -- certainly in Ontario, and maybe not in Canada. It is very intriguing. I are going to be looking very closely at the results they obtain in Ottawa-Carleton, because if this is successful, it is going to mean a decrease in the amount of supervision necessary for people obtaining transfers and for people always to pay their fares. I am very pleased the government has gone along with their proposal and will give permissive legislation to Ottawa-Carleton to have this installed in its legislation.

I think Ottawa-Carleton has done a lot of study on this and deserves a lot of applause for carrying it to the point where the region wants to have permissive legislation. I hope the plan works out very well, because if it does then other municipalities across this province will adopt it. I understand it works fairly well in Europe. I am not sure about other cities in North America that have tried it, but certainly Ottawa-Carleton should be applauded for asking for this legislation. I want to reiterate that I hope it works very favourably.

Those are my comments at this point. I understand we are going to have some amendments later and we will be happy to comment on them at that time.

8:20 p.m.

Mr. Isaacs: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to participate in the debate on this bill that affects what is, after all, one of the most significant regional municipalities in our province -- a region that contains our national capital and concerning which we have a great deal of pride in this party.

I am concerned that in his opening comments the parliamentary assistant did not give us the rationale for the proposal contained in this bill for a change in the membership of the regional council in Ottawa-Carleton. It seems to me it is the business of this House on second reading of a bill to consider the rationale for the introduction of that bill and the thinking of the government that led it to bring in a bill in the form in which it came before us.

We are all aware that there appears to be some need for change and that the regional council in Ottawa-Carleton has asked for change. But the regional council has not asked for the change that is contained in this bill. It is quite normal for the parliamentary assistant to explain to us that the government is acting at the request of a municipality. In this very important matter, he has deviated from what appears to be a principle. I am disappointed that I am unable to respond at the moment to the government’s reasoning because we have not been given the government’s reasoning.

As we are not able to engage in questions and answers during second reading debate, I very much hope the parliamentary assistant will see fit in his windup on second reading to explain to us why the government has done something other than that which was requested. That, however, leads me to the entire problem of structuring of regional councils.

Without any doubt at all, there are a number of problems facing the structures of regional councils right across this province. I believe the government should make it very clear to regional councils, to the lower-tier municipal councils and to the voters of those municipalities the mechanism the government will use for making changes to the regional structure, by adding members or by changing the distribution of votes or by making some other change, possibly even taking away members, if that becomes necessary at some time in the future.

We have before us a bill that is making a change; yet we have a total lack of explanation. It is particularly unfortunate that this is happening after we have just completed what I consider to be a very useful debate on that kind of problem during the estimates for the ministry which the parliamentary assistant is representing here this evening. During that debate we were discussing the problems of regional government structure and the attitude of the government to regional government with the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs.

When we come to deal with legislation in these very important matters, we are debating it essentially with the parliamentary assistant, though also with you, Mr. Speaker, and other members of this House. As I recall, the parliamentary assistant was with us for only a matter of minutes during the municipal affairs portion of the estimates. If the government feels there is a need for a ministry of municipal affairs to deal with legislation of this kind, then I wish government would say so. Then I think it would find some support for that view and we could deal with one person instead of having this split jurisdiction which undoubtedly leads to unnecessary repetition.

We have a bill containing proposals for change that are different from the requested proposals. We have, as I understand it, a commitment from the minister and again this evening from the parliamentary assistant that this will go to committee so that the views of the various councils involved and the views of any citizens who wish to make representations can be heard prior to a final decision being made by this Legislature.

That is a forward-looking step in some ways, but I submit very strongly that the people who are going to come before the committee are going to be at an extreme disadvantage if the enemy is unseen, if the opposition is buried there somewhere in the government and has no idea of the basis for the decisions that government has made and therefore has no idea of a presentation that it should make in order to refute the judgement.

It seems to me that in the Ottawa-Carleton case, where a lot of very intelligent people are involved on the councils of the various municipalities, and particularly of course on the council of the city of Ottawa, it seems to me that those people should know what is going on in the minds of a government that is of a different political persuasion to those people and which is ignoring their advice.

Mr. Sterling: Are you saying the regional councillors aren’t intelligent people? Is that what you are saying?

Mr. Isaacs: Almost all, in fact 99.9 per cent of councillors across this province are intelligent people. But some of the councillors on Ottawa city council are particularly intelligent, and particularly able to understand the concerns of the people of not only the city of Ottawa but also of the entire regional municipality.

I hope very sincerely that some of the members from the other side who represent ridings within the regional municipality will explain to us why they are supporting a bill that is going against the wishes of their regional council. I would be very interested in that discussion.

But I believe the issue is a broader one. The issue is how one makes change in municipal government. We have discussed it on many occasions. It seems to me it does not bode at all well for the future that the government is ignoring the advice that it is getting from the regional council, and yet is not laying on the table the source of the advice that it has for the changes being proposed in this bill.

If the bill were based on a referendum in the regional municipality, I would understand the rationale and may even see some sense in it. But the bill is based on the views of people at present unknown to the members of this House and I assume on the kind of thinking that was expressed just a moment ago by the member for Waterloo North -- that the concept of half votes is a concept that does not sit well with some members of this House.

I want to suggest that the concept of two votes with one councillor has been with us for a long time in county councils across this province. If it is acceptable to have two votes for one person, and if the electorate understands two votes for one person, as I believe it does, then I submit it is very acceptable to share one vote between two people -- and to enable them to cast those half votes either together or separately as they see fit.

But as has been explained, the bill is going to committee and we will have the opportunity to review that section in further detail at that time. I know there are other members from the region who wish to speak on those sections.

I want to address as well some of the other sections of this bill, because I think they are significant. Even more significant I think is the problem that they bring to our attention about the management of regional government, and indeed municipal government as a whole right across this province.

If I might focus on the section that deals with transit fares that enables the regional council to implement an honour fare system, or indeed any other transit fare system that they wish.

It is of a great concern to me that the regional council in Ottawa-Carleton or Hamilton-Wentworth or even in Metropolitan Toronto is unable to set whatever kind of fare system it wants without coming to this Legislature to seek some kind of general approval.

It seems to me that the operation of a transit service is clearly a municipal responsibility. It equally seems to me that the people on the regional or local council have been elected to do the job of running that transit service, setting the routes, setting the schedules, selecting the equipment, negotiating with the drivers and other staff and setting the fares. I find it decidedly unreasonable that Ottawa-Carleton is unable to make a fundamental change to its transit fare system without having to come to this Legislature to seek prior approval.

8:30 p.m.

Of course I welcome the fact that we are granting it that approval. That is a step forward. But if other municipalities across the province want to implement an honour fare system, then we are going to have to amend one by one the regional acts that affect all the other nine regional municipalities, and probably end up with a general amendment to the Municipal Act to enable them to do this kind of thing. It seems to me patently absurd that we deal with municipal government in that overly paternalistic way rather than giving to municipal councils the responsibility to run a transit service any way they wish, accountable to the electorate of that municipality.

In addition, the same comments could apply to section 12 on foreign currency debentures, or to section 18 concerning the regional convention centre. It is absurd that this Legislature has to decide whether the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton, or any other regional municipality, can or cannot build a convention centre. The people on that regional council have been elected by the people of the region to do a job. If those people decide they want a convention centre, then I submit very strongly they are accountable to the voters and the taxpayers of Ottawa-Carleton.

They should be able to get on and do the job without having to come and seek permission from Big Daddy here in Queen’s Park.

Section 5 deals with the matter of construction over or under regional highways, and I understand this is essentially a legal technicality that was probably not foreseen at the time the regional acts were drafted. Nevertheless, the air space over or under a highway is very clearly the responsibility of the people who live within that regional municipality, and it is right and proper that the regional council have jurisdiction over it.

I would go a step further. I would strongly suggest that at some point over the property that every one of us owns, the air space ceases to be the property of the individual land owner and becomes in some way public property. In addition, I would suggest at some point the land below where we stand ceases to be the property of the owner of the surface, as one interprets owner, unless there are mineral rights under that property. Tunnelling for certain purposes should be the responsibility of a level of government. I have no difficulty at all with that concept.

The parliamentary assistant is asking how high or how low. I do not think it is my job to make that decision, but it is the kind of decision our legal and judicial systems, and indeed this Legislature, are making almost on a daily basis. Those are the decisions we are elected to make, and one day that is something we are going to have to address. One day someone is going to raise some kind of awkward problem about who does have responsibility for something that is not a structure, but that is happening over and above property in private hands.

The concept of structures that move over roads or go underneath roads is becoming more and more common, both in terms of transit services and also in the broader context of pedestrian overpasses, pedestrian underpasses and possible even apartment buildings built over highways. It is perfectly appropriate that regional council in Ottawa-Carleton be given that authority, but it is inappropriate that the other regions will have to come to us -- except for Waterloo, which has the authority already -- and ask if they want the authority.

I would strongly suggest that if that is an authority this Legislature is prepared to give, as I believe we should, then it should be a blanket authority for every regional council and every other level of government to have jurisdiction over the air above and land or whatever below the roadways and other properties within the jurisdiction of that level of government, be it regional, county, suburban roads commission or whatever.

Two other sections I want to address myself to are sections 10 and 11 relating to apportionment. That kind of legislation at some point is going to cause further very serious problems within regional government The provisions contained in this bill are provisions permitting regional council to apportion costs other than on the basis of equalized assessment. That is a reasonable approach to the distribution of costs for services that are not available equally to all residents of the region and which do not fall into the general category of social services to be funded on an equal basis by all taxpayers. However, the section in this bill and the sections in the other bills that will ultimately contain or already contain this kind of provision are exactly the kind of legislation that will destroy regional governments if individual members of those councils decide to take advantage of them in the broadest possible sense.

It is the kind of legislation that will enable one municipality to attempt to opt out of paying for things the council or regional councillors from that municipality take exception to. I suggest when it is combined with something like a regional convention centre the stage is already being set for battle. I am not criticizing the government for giving the power in the present instance because in the present instance our property tax and municipal finance system is in such a mess that it is probably better to try to let regional council deal with it on a temporary basis than it is to have the people of various municipalities charged terribly unfairly for certain services and facilities.

In the long term, if we allow the individual components of a region to get into battle over how much of the total regional cost they are going to have to pay, then we are headed for very serious problems. We are headed, in my view, ultimately to the breakup of regional government structures.

I believe it is absolutely essential that the government give high priority to the matter of municipal finance reform and to the problems that at present face property taxpayers with ever-increasing costs and with ever-increasing unfairness. If we continue in the direction in which we are now headed, we are going to have the highest property taxes paid by the people who benefit least from the services provided by regional and local councils. That can be seen already in quite a number of municipalities where section 86 reassessments have been implemented.

The provisions that are here tonight for Ottawa-Carleton are supportable in the very short term, but in the long term they are the wrong direction. They are a direction that is going to cause friction and that is going to cause the Ontario Municipal Board a great deal of heartache, ultimately leading to the Ontario Municipal Board making decisions that intimately affect municipal governments, even though the Ontario Municipal Board is so far from being an elected or representative or sometimes even understandable body that it is inappropriate to hand these kinds of important tax decisions to it.

My colleagues and I will be supporting this bill. We will be looking forward to its going to committee. We will be listening at the committee to the presentations that are being made by various people. I say to the parliamentary assistant, in the absence of the minister, I hope his comments of just a few days ago in this House during the estimates debate about being prepared to permit communication and consultation between the Legislature and municipal government to take place on referral of a bill will be permitted on this bill, even if they deviate very slightly from the pure substance of this bill.

I am aware there are some serious problems facing not only the regional council and the municipal council but also the board of education. There are concerns there they wish to bring to the attention of members of the Legislature. At the present time, members of the Legislature have no formal channel of communication with municipal council.

8:40 p.m.

When this was raised a few days ago we were encouraged by the minister to refer bills to committee in order to be able to discuss these problems. I anticipate that the problems will be raised when this bill gets to committee. I hope the chairman and members of whichever committee it goes to will be prepared to permit that exploration of other issues so the members of the committee can become more fully informed about the problems and viewpoints of the members of Ottawa-Carleton regional council, the problems that school people wish to bring to our attention and the problems that members of the public wish to bring to our attention.

That concludes my remarks on this bill and I look forward very much to the committee stage outside the House.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the bill as my colleague from Waterloo North has stated. The member for Waterloo North, our critic, has mentioned that we are in support of the bill. The parliamentary assistant, who is sitting there smiling, knows his minister said to him that he can bring on this bill with the confidence that he has the support of the official opposition in this House. That’s why he can sit there and smile. This time, I say to the parliamentary assistant, he is on the right side of the issue. It was just on Tuesday of this week that that man was so misguided, but he is coming around. On this bill, he can be assured that he has our support.

I have had some lengthy discussions about this legislation with various people. Mr. Speaker, you know how it is in the back alleys of this place, in the corridors of power and so on, although you know more about those corridors of power than I do. In any event, I have had discussions with various people about this and I am pleased to hear the comments of the member for Wentworth that his party is supporting the bill. I was led to believe by the leader of that party that they were not going to support the provisions of section 1 of the bill, which is the provision that changes the regional representation. I don’t know whether the parliamentary assistant was under that impression as well, or whether some of my --

Ms. Gigantes: We will enlighten the member.

Mr. Roy: The member will enlighten me. I will tell her I have had two discussions --

Mr. Makarchuk: That’s assuming the member for Ottawa East sticks around.

Mr. Roy: I see our colleague from Brantford shows some annoyance. It is understandable that he should be annoyed. I thought it interesting the other day that he showed such annoyance because I want to tell him that probably the major reason the bill did not carry was because his name was on it. The good people of Brantford may have had more success in getting legislation passed if they did not put his name on the bill.

Mr. Makarchuk: Is that how Liberals vote?

Mr. Roy: That is not how Liberals vote. The Liberal Party in Ontario --

Mr. Makarchuk: Come to Brantford. We’ve got the tar pot and the feathers ready.

Mr. Roy: Justice prevailed in this House. All members on all sides showed on that particular evening that they were prepared to put principle ahead of expediency. I thought it was a true exercise in the democratic process.

Mr. Makarchuk: Destruction of jobs. That’s right, unemployment.

Mr. Rotenberg: The member should have listened to the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon). He had the right idea.

Mr. Roy: I am ready to go on any platform in this province and debate with the NDP and say we were supporting the small people of this province. The Campeau Corporation and T. Eaton Realty Company can defend themselves and they don’t need the NDP. They don’t need friends in the NDP. I have no hesitation in saying that, but back to the bill.

Mr. Makarchuk: The small people will he out of work this fall.

Mr. Roy: I had discussions on this legislation. I have had discussion with the leader --

Mr. Makarchuk: The small people will be out of work because of small minds from Ottawa.

Mr. Roy: Small minds, he says. I say again that we put principle in this place ahead of expediency and if that causes frowns and frustration for the NDP, that is too bad because we still believe in principle in this House.

I had a discussion with the leader of the NDP on this bill and he said, “I don’t like the proposition that is put forward in this bill about the changes on regional council, and we will oppose it.” I said to myself that was strange because the member for Carleton East obviously would not be opposing this legislation.

She is the member for Gloucester, and Gloucester, of all municipalities represented on regional council, is the most underrepresented. At present, poor Gloucester has two members for 65,000 population; in other words, it has one member for 32,000 population when the average on regional council now is something like one member for about 13,000 or 14,000 population. So I deduce that if a member is representing an important municipality like Gloucester, she would not be opposing this legislation and, therefore, the leader of the NDP must be a bit misguided. Perhaps he is telling me something that is not so.

I had a further discussion with him Tuesday night, and he said again, “We don’t think we will be supporting this legislation because we don’t like the option that is being proposed by the government.” He asked me which way I was going to go and I said, “We are in support of the proposal as put forward by the government.”

If the member for Brantford wants to know which way to go, look at us in the official opposition. We are not afraid to stand on principle.

It was a pleasant surprise to see that NDP members have come around and that they will take a more positive and constructive approach. Even they are able to do that. They are going to participate in committee. That is the way the process should work, and I applaud that. They have my full support.

The other comment I want to make concerned the cynical suggestion of the member for Wentworth. In his comment about the regional area of Ottawa-Carleton, he suggested there were some municipal councillors who were brighter than others, who had more foresight. I detected that he was suggesting -- and I may have made the wrong deduction, none of us is perfect -- that if one happens to be of that stripe, in other words, of the NDP, and happens to be elected to municipal council, somehow one has more foresight than other members. We don’t even know what their stripe was -- they may have been Liberal or Conservative or otherwise.

I do not think he should make that suggestion. I really think that on municipal councils we find that members, by and large, are making decisions that are in the best interests of the electorate. The fact that one happens to be NDP or Liberal or otherwise is not a badge of intelligence, foresight or judgement.

I hope that was not the impression that was left because I would not want to insult, for instance, the regional chairman who happened to have gone from being a Liberal to a Conservative. I think he is still a Conservative now, although the member for Carleton-Grenville would not be too sure what he was at this time. But in any event, I would not want to throw any insult on any members from the municipality or from the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton.

The fact that one happens to be a member from Ottawa, which I am, the fact that one happens to represent a riding right in the centre of Ottawa --

Mr. Makarchuk: You spend more time here than you do in Ottawa.

Mr. Roy: That’s right, and any time that member wants to compare his majority with mine, he should come forward.

Mr. Makarchuk: What was your majority?

Mr. Roy: He should look it up. I don’t want to brag this evening; I want to be modest.

8:50 p.m.

Mr. Makarchuk: Why don’t you tell us? Put it on the record.

Mr. Speaker: I do not think the member for Brantford really wants to know the answer to that question.

Mr. Roy: No. I would imagine this evening the member for Brantford will want to watch behind him pretty closely after what happened on Tuesday evening. He will want to look at his majority.

Mr. Makarchuk: How does your House leader feel about it?

Mr. Speaker: I will recognize the honourable member for Brantford next if he wants the floor.

Mr. Roy: The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, our House leader, supported the legislation. He supported the member for Brantford, but he never tried to kotow and he never tried to intimidate any member of this caucus. We stood on principle and he understood that. I think that was one of his finest moments with us yet.

Mr. Makarchuk: Are you saying the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk has no principles?

Mr. Roy: We did not try to whip everybody into line. We did not have any members who were afraid to vote and went outside and hid because they did not want to vote on that bill the other evening. The member should talk to some of his colleagues. This is so much fun, Mr. Speaker. Please do not tell him to shut up because I am having such a good time.

Mr. Speaker: Just ignore him and talk to me.

Mr. Roy: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Makarchuk: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: There is nothing out of order except the member for Brantford.

Mr. Makarchuk: He implied that --

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Makarchuk: -- he stood on principle. Therefore, the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk did not.

Mr. Speaker: No. I have listened very carefully to both you and him. You are the only one who is out of order. The member for Ottawa East may continue.

Mr. Roy: I have some understanding of the frustrations of that member, so I am being very magnanimous this evening.

To carry on, I want to say that the fact that one happens to be a member from a particular riding, whether it is Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton or otherwise, should not mean that automatically one becomes a lap-dog, so that every time an area or municipality puts forward a piece of legislation he automatically says, “Yes, sir. We are in favour of it.” There are times when one represents an area involving different municipalities where one says, “We do not think this suggestion is a proper one,” or “We do not think this legislation is good.”

I must say that legislation coming out of the city of Ottawa, generally speaking, is usually forward-looking legislation. Suggestions being made by council, by the legal department and so on are usually very forward-looking legislation. I say respectfully that these people put forward an alternative to the proposal put forward by the government in this bill. The alternative proposal put forward by the city of Ottawa would have broken down the votes to half votes. In other words, the city of Vanier would have had two seats on regional council for one vote.

Mr. Speaker, can you see how that would end up with people with half votes? For instance, we would have had a situation where the city of Vanier would have had two seats for one vote. Rockcliffe would have had one seat but half a vote and Kanata would have had two seats and one vote. Can you imagine what would have happened? We would have a vote that carried four and a half to three and a half. How does one break down half votes? It just does not make sense. Frankly, I do not think we can start operating regional government on the basis of half votes.

The proposal put forward by the government is not perfect. In other words, we have a situation in Ottawa-Carleton at present where there are some 30 seats but there is a disproportion in the distribution of those seats on regional council. For instance, the city of Ottawa has one seat for every 18,000 of population: Nepean has one seat for every 26,000 and Kanata has one seat for every 16,000. Rockcliffe -- and this is where the disproportion comes in -- has one seat for 2,000. Gloucester has two seats for a total population of 65,000. In other words, it has one seat per 32,000 of population. We have to correct that setup. A population increase has been taking place in Nepean, which is a suburb, and also in Gloucester, which is a suburb, but it is not equitable that the populations per vote in municipalities should be so disproportionate. So this is the reason for the proposal.

We are faced with three situations: Do we remain with the status quo? This is clearly unacceptable and we say no. Do we move with the proposal put forward by the city of Ottawa, which would increase the number of seats to 33 and the number of votes to 30.5? I cannot accept that. I cannot understand and I cannot accept a proposal, as put forward, that would be giving people two seats and one vote, or one seat and half a vote on regional council. The purpose of having half votes is to continue to give the city of Ottawa the majority of votes on regional council.

Ms. Gigantes: No, that is not true. That is a very cheap way of putting it.

Mr. Roy: I cannot see my colleague from Carleton East. There she is. She says it is a very cheap way. I say I look forward to finding out the reason for it. I was told the reason was that they wanted to try to continue to keep the city of Ottawa with the majority of votes on regional council.

The alternative is the one put forward by the government, to give an extra seat to Nepean, which is necessary and which everybody agrees to, and an extra seat to Gloucester, which everybody, even the member for Carleton East, apparently agrees to. Of all the proposals, none of which is perfect, this is the proposal we are supporting here. I said to the leader of the NDP, “It seems to us that is the logical and the best proposal put forward.”

We agree with the government’s position that we send this bill to committee and that we give the city --

Ms. Gigantes: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: I thought about it for a few seconds. It seems to me the member for Ottawa East has infringed my privileges as a member of this House. He has suggested, without any evidence at all for the suggestion, that I would not be in favour of increasing the representation accorded to the township of Gloucester on the Ottawa-Carleton regional council. He used a phrase somewhat similar in words to the effect that the member for Carleton East is even now ready to see Gloucester have better representation on Ottawa-Carleton regional government. Unless he can suggest some reason for the allegation that I ever had a different position, I think he should withdraw that remark.

Mr. Speaker: I do not think anybody speaks for the member for Carleton East other than the member for Carleton East. I accept that.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I was just trying to make some logical conclusions. The leader of the NDP came over and said to me, “We are opposing the legislation as proposed by the government.” That is what I was told, so I said to myself, “The member for Carleton East is a member of the NDP,” another logical conclusion, “and therefore” --

Mr. Speaker: If you want to pursue the question, you have no right to presume to speak for the member for Carleton East. You can speak on your own behalf or you can relate what somebody told you about what they were going to do, but you do not presume to speak for the member for Carleton East.

Mr. Roy: I put it clearly on the record that I would not presume to speak for her, Mr. Speaker. I have learnt not to over the years because our views are not often the same on issues.

I can assume and make some logical deductions. If the leader of that party, who I believe is still the leader, says, “We are opposing the bill,” I assume that the member for Carleton East, being a member of that party --

Mr. Speaker: It is probably the royal we.

Mr. Roy: Whatever, Mr. Speaker. One can use the royal or the unroyal. I just made a logical conclusion.

I want to say to my colleague from Carleton --

Ms. Gigantes: Carleton East!

Mr. Roy: The member for Carleton East -- my God, she is sensitive. I will be very careful, Mr. Speaker, to address the chair. I am very cheap, she said. No, I am not. I am trying to address certain facts and certain things that have been said to me.

9 p.m.

Mr. Speaker, things are going to improve around here. We have just had the comedian walk in, the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds). That is going to level the debate in this place now. The member succeeds as a comedian; there is no doubt about it. Not that many people think he is funny.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Port Arthur is not even mentioned in Bill 75.

Mr. Roy: No, he is not, Mr. Speaker. Thank God he is not or I would vote against this legislation.

Given these three options, none of which is perfect, we in this caucus felt that it was important to give the highest priority to giving Gloucester and Nepean extra and adequate representation. That is where this party puts its priority. That is why we are in support of the legislation. We look forward to hearing the views of the other people in Ottawa-Carleton who bring forward their own views before the legislative committee. We keep en open mind on this.

The solution proposed is far from being perfect. There is still a disproportional division of voter representation on regional council. We feel that other corrections are going to have to be made but --

Ms. Gigantes: Are you supporting the bill?

Mr. Roy: Yes, we are supporting the bill. It would not be the first time that we supported legislation that is not perfect. We are dealing with human beings -- none of us is perfect; so we take the best we can get.

I say to my colleague in the NDP, her party keeps supporting the government; are we to assume the government is perfect? I am sure it is not. They are being critical of the government. I am sure they will not say that. For instance, the other day they supported Campeau and Eaton’s. I do not think they are perfect.

We are not supporting the legislation because we think it is perfect. We are supporting it because we think that of all the options proposed the one proposed by the government in this legislation is the most adequate for the time being. But we want to put on record that we trust the government will continue to look at this and present measures which will correct the disproportional representation on regional council.

It is important to put on the record that at the time the proposal was first made the representative of Nepean, Mayor Franklin, the representatives of Gloucester and the representatives of Vanier were in touch with us and said, “We hope you will support this legislation.” We have had some discussions with some of the representatives from Ottawa city council and it was explained to them why we feel at this time that the proposal of the government is the most adequate. But we look forward to the bill going to committee and we look forward to receiving representations and giving the representatives from Ottawa-Carleton an opportunity to make their submissions to committee.

I will not comment on the other parts of the bill; my colleague is the critic. So I look forward to the passage of this legislation and I look forward at the earliest possibility to assuring that the people of Gloucester and Nepean have adequate representation on regional council.

Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to join in this debate this evening and to be able to follow on the remarks of the member for Ottawa East, because there remains so much to be clarified to him.

First, he should know that the member who represents the fair riding of Carleton East is a representative of not only the township of Gloucester but also the township of Rockcliffe and a substantial proportion of the population of the city of Ottawa. If he understood that, I think he might understand that my interest in this bill is more comprehensive than a concern simply with questions that affect the township of Gloucester.

He is quite correct in assuming that it is a move I am pleased about, to see a proposal that the township of Gloucester receive more representation in the Ottawa-Carleton regional government because, as he pointed out quite correctly, the township of Gloucester has been inadequately represented. Under this proposal, we will be moving from two to three members representing Gloucester township on Ottawa-Carleton regional council and Nepean will move from three to four members on the regional council. Everyone was pleased to see that -- not only people who reside in the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton, but all members here who are interested in ensuring that we provide, as best we can, the framework to democratically permit the people of regional municipalities in any part of this province to express themselves through adequate representation in their local governments.

It is unfortunate that even with the current proposal, Gloucester township and Nepean township will continue to remain underrepresented at the Ottawa-Carleton regional council. Even this accommodation to the changing nature of the population in the Ottawa-Carleton region will not fully represent, as the member for Ottawa East indicated, the proportion of population residing within those townships in relation to the total population of the Ottawa-Carleton region. There will remain areas which will be over-represented.

In his account of his discussions with the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy), our party leader, concerning this bill, I think the member for Ottawa East probably did not listen closely enough to what was being said. We are in support of the principle of this bill because we feel this section provides a very important expression as to the representativity of the framework of Ottawa-Carleton regional government.

We are, however, severely concerned about the elements of unrepresentativity which remain and about the increase in the disproportionately small number of votes that the city of Ottawa will have. We are concerned, not as the member for Ottawa East suggested because that constitutes a majority, but because there are thousands of people in the city of Ottawa who do not get adequate representation under this framework. In fact, the degree to which they are underrepresented is increased by the measures laid out in this bill. That is what constitutes the major concern.

When other party representatives have spoken to the question of alternative measures which may be considered as we move to committee and have representation from locally elected representatives, each has dismissed the notion of having fractional votes. At the same time that they accord great attributes to the population of Ottawa-Carleton, and note how progressive, how enlightened, how forward and how courageous has been the population of Ottawa-Carleton, expressed through the behaviour of Ottawa-Carleton regional and local councils they seem to suggest that it is impossible for representatives of Ottawa-Carleton to deal with fractional votes. I think that people in Ottawa-Carleton can understand that half of a vote plus half of a vote makes one vote and that two people, each of whom has half a vote, then come to have one vote together.

9:10 p.m.

I would also further point out, that in the original Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton Act, which was passed in 1968, the representation on the regional council was a very much more complicated form of representation. I will read members one short section so they can see what I have in mind. Under part I, section 4(1) -- I am looking at items g, h, i and j -- this is how the voting went on: “the head of either the council of the township of Fitzroy or the township of Torbolton elected by a majority vote at a joint meeting of such councils.” I am sorry; I should have cited that this would constitute one representative. That representative would be either from Fitzroy or Torbolton, elected by a majority vote at a joint meeting of such councils.

Item h deals with how the representative would be chosen from North Gower and Marlborough, which was also to be at a joint meeting of the councils.

Item i deals with representation from the township of Huntley and the township of March, also with one representative to be chosen at a joint meeting of councils.

Item j covers the framework for representation from the villages of Richmond and Stittsville and the township of Goulburn, which again was going to be one representative elected by a joint meeting of the council.

We worked with that framework for some time in Ottawa-Carleton. There has been reorganization since. Some of the areas within those township boundaries have grown and new townships have been created in legislation before this Legislature. But it was not impossible. There was no impediment to representation or to the working of regional council.

I think, having had that experience, we should have no hesitation in at least considering whether the benefit of that representativity that might be gained by looking at fractional votes on the regional council for smaller townships would be much greater than whatever small difficulty there might be in dealing with 31.5 votes or 18.5 votes in this or that vote.

I do think we have to take very seriously the problem that while this bill seeks to redress the underrepresentation that the thriving townships of Gloucester and Nepean now suffer on regional council, we are on the other hand increasing the underrepresentation of that population which resides within the boundaries of the city of Ottawa.

I think that is the concern my leader addressed when he spoke to the member for Ottawa East. As far as we are concerned, it is a concern that will be met by the government commitment that open hearings will be held in committee, and that there will be representation from local spokesmen who can address this problem directly and propose their own solutions directly to members of the Legislature.

There is one other point I would like to raise in connection with these amendments. I will not address most of the other subjects in detail, but I must express my regret that this government has not given any indication in any substantial way that it will he moving forward in the field of reorganization of the education system in Ottawa-Carleton.

As you will recall, Mr. Speaker, we had an intensive study of Ottawa-Carleton regional government carried out by Dr. Henry Mayo. More than two years ago, in a very fine report which contained an excellent analysis of the problems that exist in the field of educational government in Ottawa-Carleton, he made four major recommendations, each of which, had the government seriously considered it and taken legislative action on the basis of his recommendation, would have led us a long way from the chaos -- I can describe it as nothing else -- that now exists in the Ottawa-Carleton educational field. I speak of the four items that concern reorganization: the Ottawa and Carleton public school boards, the creation of a conseil francophone homogène, the pooling of industrial and commercial property tax for school board purposes, and full funding for the separate school system in the Ottawa-Carleton region.

It is obvious that one cannot move amendments to deal with these subjects, given the nature of the bill before us. It would be out of order. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to express my regret on behalf of the many people who have contacted not only me but also I am sure, each member who is elected to this provincial parliament to represent people in the Ottawa-Carleton area. They have expressed great concern about school accommodation and organization problems, the lack of response to the request for a French-language school board in Ottawa-Carleton and the advance that would have been represented by the proposals for school board funding which were provided by Dr. Mayo.

With those comments, I close my remarks. I look forward very much to the discussion that will occur during committee stage of this bill. I do hope that the member for Ottawa East intends to be here, intends to participate in that discussion and will have an open mind about the alternatives that can be proposed during the course of those discussions for representation on Ottawa-Carleton regional council. We will support the intent of the bill and we hope that those discussions in committee will improve the framework that is being proposed to us today.

Mr. Sterling: Mr. Speaker, as a representative of four municipalities in the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton, I want to throw perhaps a different perspective on this bill, as the areas I represent are outside of the larger urban areas.

The main and key point that has been missed in the debate tonight occurs when we talk about the representation and what this proposal does to remedy some very deep feelings about the workings of the region at this time.

The key to this proposal by the minister is that it creates a feeling of equality between representatives of the city of Ottawa and those outside of the city of Ottawa. It can be argued that in some cases, some of the municipalities are overrepresented. For instance, the township of Rideau has 9,000 people in it and has one representative, and each of the other three rural municipalities that I represent are the same.

However, when it comes to planning, the impact on those particular townships is much greater than it is in the urban areas. This was evident in the past two or three years where lane areas of the townships of West Carleton and Rideau were designated as conservation areas. There were a lot of deep feelings in those communities because the city of Ottawa was telling the people of those rural townships what they could or could not do in their areas.

The other major issue that is reflected in the rural community outside of the planning issue, over which the region has great power, relates to services and the cost of services. There is a feeling in the rural areas that we in the rural townships are being levied too heavily for the amount of services we are receiving from the regional government. When one is out in the country, one’s water is supplied by a well and one takes care of one’s sewage system on one’s own; one pays for one’s own sewage system. One does not have great roads in front of one’s place, one does not have a lot of the amenities in terms of transportation and all the rest of it, one does not have sewers or water. It is hard to argue with those people that they are getting a fair break.

9:20 p.m.

I understand that, for instance, the expenses of the finance department of the region are part of the general levy which all of these townships pay, that a large part of the finance department in the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton spends its time in collecting sewer and water charges that are made around the region. There is some kind of amount that is charged against the rural taxpayer who does not receive any direct benefit, and it is hard for him to see.

We have the two major issues. I think this bill, on balance, does a very creditable job in meeting those two issues. In the past I have had a tough time selling regional government in the rural areas. I know representatives from other rural areas and regions have had a tough time as well. But with the provision of equality between the city of Ottawa and the other municipalities, I think that job will be much less onerous after this bill becomes legislation, if it remains in its present form.

The part of the bill dealing with the fact that the region can turn to an alternative apportionment if it sees something that is inequitable will allow townships to come in and say, “We are not getting service for the dollars that we are paying.” If they could prove their case, then I would hope that the region would act and change the apportionment for that matter.

It may come to pass that the townships may be getting a better deal than they thought they were in terms of money. That is what the city of Ottawa claims. But it will force the issue out into the open so that both sides will have to prove their case. It will be on the table and be left to municipal politicians to say, “We are going to blame the region for all of these costs; we are not getting any services as a result of these costs that are levied on us.”

In terms of the alternative apportionment proposal, it is interesting to note that one of my reeves, Albert Bouwers from the township of Osgoode, was in the forefront of trying to get this permissive legislation brought forward by this government. He sought to ensure that any inequitable settlements can be looked at, delved into and a favourable result occur.

For guys like Albert Bouwers -- actually I have with me tonight a good friend, Richard McDonald, who is deputy mayor in the township of Rideau -- it is pretty hard to look at a place like Carleton Lodge, if members know where Carleton Lodge is --

Mr. Bradley: Who bought dinner, Norm?

Mr. Sterling: Actually we have not gone to dinner yet. Rich will be the next secretary of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. We spent the dinner hour preparing his campaign.

But at any rate, getting back to the bill -- if the members would allow me to stay on it, Mr. Speaker, I will try to -- Carleton Lodge has about 126 residents. When Carleton Lodge was turned over to the region it was debt-free. It was supported by the rural municipalities basically -- I don’t mean rural municipalities; I mean municipalities outside the city of Ottawa. The city of Ottawa was not part of any regional government at that time.

When I look at the total population count and where the residents come from to go into that Carleton Lodge, I see figures like 67 Ottawa residents out of 123 going to Carleton Lodge, with 56 coming from the county. That is pretty hard when a resident of the rural area says, “I can’t get into Carleton Lodge.” I know the figures are such that there are many people from Ottawa coming out and occupying a facility that was paid for by these people. It is difficult to explain to rural people all the advantages they are receiving from regional government.

When the regional forest was first designated in the township of Rideau, where Mr. McDonald is deputy mayor, they designated over 40,000 acres in that township. It was done in a very poor manner by the region. They scared the living daylights out of the residents who owned land in that area who were afraid they would not be able to chop down a tree or they would not be able to do this or that. It was entirely botched.

It is pretty hard to bring any kind of feeling towards the region, or goodwill towards the region, back into perspective when they know that the votes are such that it is 16 to 14 on regional council. I can now stand up to these people and I can say, “The city of Ottawa has 16 votes and the rest of the municipalities also have 16.” There is an equality that is there and I think it is the key to what Mr. Wells has proposed.

Ms. Gigantes: The city of Ottawa has never voted as a bloc.

Mr. Sterling: The member might not think they act as a bloc. There is an informal Club 14 that now exists where the reeves and the councillors of the region find it necessary to meet outside the regional council to find out whether or not they are getting a fair shake. Why is that necessary? It is necessary because they feel they are threatened at the regional council table.

We can talk about the problems in terms of representation or underrepresentation for various areas. It is pretty hard to argue when Rockcliffe has a representative on regional council, but that is a fact. I don’t know how we could get around that unless Rockcliffe is swallowed up into the city of Ottawa or whatever.

If there is partial representation, I think as many problems are created as whatever. The city of Kanata is having a tremendously difficult time right now because it is flexing its muscles, it is growing. It is a community of 16,000 and probably growing faster than any other municipality in the region. There may be another one that is close to it, I am not certain, but in terms of percentage increases it is pretty dramatic. Not only that, it has taken over other areas, there are new areas, and it is trying to build a cohesive city, a cohesive feeling in the city of Kanata.

I think the mayor there does a tremendous job. She has a difficult time covering all the fields. With the bill today that was introduced by the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch) they are going to create a hydro commission. It is going to require more time and effort on the part of the mayor to be involved in that. It is difficult for her to cover all the bases. She wrote, along with many of the other leaders of the municipalities -- in fact, all of the ones that I represent -- and showed she was willing to accept the compromise that has now been reached.

In conclusion, I would like to say that the key to this is the balance that is there. As far as the rural communities are concerned, the key is that opportunity to prove that in fact they are not getting service from the region, or they are not getting their fair shake. If they had that right, they could prove it at the council table, and I am sure that any inequities will be taken care of through this kind of legislation.

9:30 p.m.

Mr. Rotenberg: I would like to deal briefly with some of the points that have been raised by the honourable members. First, I would like to thank all members for their support of the bill on second reading.

Mr. Roy: Dispense.

Mr. Ruston: Dispense.

Mr. Rotenberg: I would very much like to dispense but I was criticized by the member for Wentworth, who is no longer with us, for not outlining fully some of the points.

Mr. Samis: Here he is.

Mr. Bradley: I just heard the door burst open.

Mr. Rotenberg: He is coming back. Very briefly, I thank the member for Waterloo North for his support of the bill. He is quite correct. There is no agreement within the regional council. When we get requests from municipalities, we do try to implement those requests, but in this case it is quite split. The vote on the regional council, I believe, was 14 to 12. Since that time two who had voted with the 14 have changed their minds in writing to us. What the regional council might say now would be very close to a tie vote. We try when we can to implement the wishes of the council when there is, not necessarily unanimity but a reasonable majority. When there is a split vote down the middle, it is much more difficult to do that, and that is why we want to have the bill in committee.

The member for Waterloo North also mentioned the fact that the chairman does not have a tie-making vote rather than a tie-breaking vote. This is deliberate because the chairman is somewhat different from other members of council in that he is appointed by the council and not elected. Therefore, he should not have the same voting power as members of council. If a member of council is sitting in the chair at the time a vote is taken, he has a full vote as a member of council even though he is the acting chairman. But of course he can only vote once and not break a tie if he has already voted. I would like to deal briefly with the remarks of the member for Wentworth with regard to the rationale for section 1. Before I do, he seemed to slip in somewhere, as he normally does, a little bit of criticism. I guess that is his function. He is criticizing us for some lack of communication.

Mr. Samis: He does it very well.

Mr. Rotenberg: He does not do it very well and he does not do it very subtly. I would point out that there is ample and vast communication between the minister and myself and the councillors and councils throughout Ontario. I spend a great deal of my time, as does the minister, in meeting delegations, both formally and informally, from many municipalities to listen to their wishes and to try, as best we can, to assist the municipalities throughout this province.

Getting back to the principle of section 1, the proposal before us is that which was agreed to personally by the executive committee of the regional council which, at that time, included the support of the mayor of Ottawa. She changed her mind, which is the right of any member of council.

Ms. Gigantes: She wanted to send it to the council.

Mr. Rotenberg: I am not criticizing that. Of course the mayor can change her mind. I hope the member for Carleton East would change her mind between now and the time this gets back to the House.

Ms. Gigantes: It wasn’t a change of mind. It was the kind of tactical move we make here to get things to committee.

Mr. Rotenberg: As I said, there was a 14-12 vote on the final vote of council, and we have it in writing from at least two members who have changed their minds since then. Four members were absent. If another vote was taken in regional council we do not know at this time exactly what the vote would be.

More important, there is a rationale for this. There are two basic philosophies which are somewhat conflicting in order to get an adequate and proper representation on regional council One is representation by population, which we all agree with. The other philosophy is that this region, as other regions, is a federation of municipalities. It is incumbent and necessary that each municipality shall have at least one representative on that council. That is a proposition which I agree with. It is comparable to the province of Prince Edward Island which has a minimum of four representatives in the Parliament of Canada. If they had rep by pop, they would maybe be entitled to one and a half, but PEI always has had four and should have four. Every municipality in the Ottawa region should have at least one representative.

When one looks at the numbers, considering that every municipality must have one, there are seven small municipalities which have far less than the average. Those seven municipalities total 72,000 in population and, in fact, have an average of one representative for each 10,000 plus a little bit. The remaining four municipalities have 25 representatives spread over 470,000 people, which is an average of 18,800 per representative in those large municipalities. Ottawa is bang on with that situation.

One of the problems is the fact that Vanier is in a way overrepresented. It has had two representatives. I have not heard a suggestion from anybody in the Ottawa council, the regional council or this Legislature that one representative should be taken away from Vanier. Gloucester and Kanata will have one more seat each, bringing them closer. Under the proposal, Ottawa will have 50 per cent of the representatives while having 56 per cent of the population.

When the region was formed, Ottawa had 53 per cent of the representatives and 66 per cent of the population. In those days they were 13 per cent off rep by pop and nobody complained. Today they are only six per cent off rep by pop and nobody complains. I agree with the member for Ottawa East: there is no perfect answer to any of these things, and maybe some people look at it from certain biases. I will admit frankly that we do not have a perfect solution because there is not one.

When Metropolitan Toronto was formed, the city of Toronto had 57 per cent of the population of the region and only 50 per cent of the vote. The city of Toronto never had more than 50 per cent of the vote, even though it had 57 per cent of the population.

The member for Ottawa East says that Ottawa is now underrepresented. If one takes the total rep by pop, that is true. If one takes the proposition that each municipality must be represented by at least one, then when that part is taken away, they are not underrepresented. When one looks at representation by population, Ottawa is slightly underrepresented, but Gloucester and Nepean, even with the one additional seat each, are more underrepresented than Ottawa is. I have not heard the members for Carleton East or Wentworth, or any other member, suggesting there be an adjustment for Gloucester or Nepean because they are still more underrepresented in rep by pop than Ottawa is.

Gloucester, having one more representative, will have 22,000 people per representative, while Ottawa has only 18,000 per representative. With one more seat Nepean will have 20.5 thousand per representative, while Ottawa has only 18.7 thousand. So, on the number of people per seat in the new situation, both Nepean and Gloucester will have more population per seat than Ottawa will have, which is really not all that bad.

That covers briefly the rationale for section 1. I hope that is sufficient information for the member for Wentworth and anyone else who wants to come and talk to us in committee to understand where the government stands in this situation.

The member for Wentworth brought up a couple of other matters. Very briefly, as far as the honour fare is concerned, he criticizes the fact that municipalities should be able to set their fares. I would point out to him, if he reads the present legislation, Ottawa-Carleton or any other municipality now has the power to set whatever fare it wants. The reason for the legislation is not to allow an honour fare, which can be done at this point. The reason, and the need for legislation, is to allow the municipality of Ottawa-Carleton or the transit commission to be able to enforce the honour fare system. They can remove a person or force him or her to pay a different fare if he or she has not honoured the honour fare system. That is the reason for the legislation.

It is the same with the convention centre. Ottawa-Carleton can now build the convention centre; no problem. The reason for the legislation is that they can set up a board of management if they want to, or they can pass on to one of the area municipalities the management of the new centre for a fee. It is not that they cannot build the new centre; they can. It is to give them the powers they have requested in order to be able to run it properly.

With those few remarks, I would ask this House for a second reading of this bill.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for standing committee on general government.


Mr. Rotenberg, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Wells, moved second reading of Bill 74, An Act to amend the County of Oxford Act, 1974.

Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Speaker, I rise to ask for support of this bill and to discuss very briefly the principle of the bill. I think the most important principle of this bill, the one the county of Oxford is in a hurry for, is section five. We should enact it as soon as we can, so that the downtown revitalization project can go ahead in the town of Tillsonburg.

9:40 p.m.

I would like to provide a brief summary of the various provisions of this bill.

Section 1 is a result of a request from the city of Woodstock, which has received the support of the county council. I would point out in this case, unlike that of Ottawa-Carleton, it is virtually a unanimous request with no controversy. This will provide that the city’s representatives on the county council will be elected both as members of the city and of the county council. This will have the advantage of making clear to the electors of Woodstock that they are electing a mayor, five specific aldermen who will sit on both councils and three aldermen who will sit only on the city council. It will also have the advantage of allowing candidates for the city council to decide in advance whether they wish to run for election on both councils or for city council only.

Section 2 proposes an amendment which was given to all other regions last fall. It gives the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs the same authority to defer application for changes to ward structures for council composition in the area municipality of Oxford, as he has under section 28 of the Municipal Act.

Section 3, as we have discussed, permits the members of county council to participate In the various benefit plans which are available to members of other councils. This bill also removes the requirement for the county council to pass a road consolidation bylaw every five years. The council will now be able to use its own good judgement as to when such consolidations are appropriate.

As I indicated, section 5 is an important section and will expand the legal planning powers of the area municipalities in the county of Oxford. It will also ensure that revitalization programs in both Tillsonburg and Woodstock are not jeopardized. The compendium notes which are received, I believe, by the opposition critics outline the additional powers that are being given to the area municipalities. I will not describe them now unless I am asked for comments on them specifically. The county council has expressed its support for this amendment by passing a resolution at its regular meeting of May 14, 1980.

Section 8 of the bill is similar to the Municipal Act amendment which we passed last fall to make section 455 applicable to the county, in order to permit the council to purchase or rent machinery in the future. It also validates all past purchases and rentals.

These, Mr. Speaker, are the amendments to the County of Oxford Act and I would ask for the support of the House for this bill.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to this bill. I will indicate at the outset that we will be supporting the bill.

The amendments to the act are not major. However, they are important amendments as far as Oxford is concerned. There is no doubt they have had some kind of problem with respect to the number of people running for office in Woodstock, which is eight in addition to the mayor, but there has not been any clear distinction that when people go to the polls and want to vote for county representation they can indicate that on the ballot. So I welcome the amendment the parliamentary assistant has indicated and that we have before us in the bill. I think this is a progressive amendment, one that obviously Woodstock has requested and one that we should obviously attend to.

I am a little puzzled by the kind of planning conflicts they have had in that particular county area. For instance, we notice that in Tillsonburg, where they are having some redevelopment, the council has acted as a committee of adjustment and apparently did not have specific authority for this. I am a little puzzled by the fact that this has been going on for a number of years and that council presumed it had authority after the restructured county government was formed in 1975, yet legislation updating this particular practice has not been brought forward.

I am a little puzzled, also, by the fact that it has not had the authority to require five per cent of land for residential development and redevelopment areas. I thought this was common right across the province and I am puzzled that it obviously did not have that authority and requires it now in this bill.

I have a few questions I would like to ask of the parliamentary assistant and I am wondering whether he is prepared to answer them tonight. I hope he is and that he will show us exactly how this particular form of government in Oxford differs from other regional governments across the province.

I note, for instance, in the compendium that was given to the critics the statement in the second paragraph refers to this structure as a regional government, as a regional system. It says it is considered no longer necessary for regions to be required to consolidate their road bylaws every five years as the regional road systems are now well established. Therefore, it seems to me that refers to Oxford as a regional form of government. That is in the compendium, not in the legislation, but I wonder whether it is some kind of indication that they are thinking of Oxford as a regional government rather than as a restructured county government. I wonder whether the people in Oxford are aware of this.

There may be a good explanation for this. I am sure the parliamentary assistant has it just at his fingertips and will be able to give us the excellent explanation he is accustomed to giving.

Mr. Foulds: Oh, you flatterer.

Mr. Epp: Did members see the quotes I gave that in?

Mr. Bradley: Let Hansard record the quotes.

Mr. Epp: The third question I want to raise is why has there been this long delay in bringing the practice up to date? I hope the parliamentary assistant can address himself to this because I think it is very important. This is a practice, particularly with respect to the committee of adjustment, that has been going on for a number of years. I don’t think the people in Oxford county would appreciate the fact that their council in a sense hasn’t been acting according to law. Whoever drew up the bill and introduced it in the Legislature, although not here now, should have made sure, if they didn’t want the practices continued, it was in legislation that they shouldn’t be continued. If they wanted those practices continued, then the legislation should have addressed itself to that particular point.

Mr. Isaacs: Mr. Speaker, this bill contains a number of interesting and important proposals that affect the so-called restructured county of Oxford. As my colleague from Waterloo North has done, I want to address them one at a time.

I want first to address my remarks to the section that deals with devolution of additional planning powers to the lower-tier municipality, to the local council. As a general principle, that is consistent with what exists at the present time in our two-tier regional municipalities. Nevertheless, that is a principle that is getting many of those regional councils into a great deal of difficulty and causing more and more disputes to be dealt with by the Ontario Municipal Board. It surprises me, and indeed is of some concern to me, that the government is proposing at this time that the possibility for disputes before the Ontario Municipal Board, paid for by municipal councils within the restructured county of Oxford, should be encouraged by this kind of legislation.

I note in passing that it is retroactive to January 1975. Concerns have been expressed in this House previously about retroactive legislation, though I do understand the concern in terms of the revitalization project in Tillsonburg.

Mr. Nixon: They have been using the powers since that time, so we might as well give them to them now.

Mr. Isaacs: I tend to agree in that particular respect with the comments of the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, but I can’t help but wonder, and I know many of the citizens of one of the townships in that restructured county can’t help but wonder, if in the long run this section might not also have something to do with a dispute that is proceeding in the township of Southwest Oxford.

That dispute relates to the location of a county garbage disposal site which is being fought and will continue to be fought very strenuously by the council of the township of Southwest Oxford. Indeed, if there is a connection between this devolution of planning powers and that dispute that is going on at the present time, then the connection is one that in a sense is holding out a carrot to the township council and saying: “Here you are being given these additional planning powers which ensure, for example, that you will have site plan control in that particular area.”

9:50 p.m.

We know from experience that those kinds of carrots, that kind of incentive to the local municipality to involve itself in those kinds of disputes, will in the end be counterproductive because the member for that riding, if he is still Minister of the Environment at the time the Environmental Assessment Board hearings are held, will ensure that his staff is present at the hearings.

He will further ensure, if past practice is followed, that the staff will be giving the appearance of being on the side of the county in support of the application for the landfill site.

I hope very sincerely that the rumours, the suggestions and the innuendoes of people from that area, that this section has something to do with the dispute going on with regard to the proposed Salford landfill site, will be put to rest. But I must say it is very apparent, particularly with regard to the exercise of powers under section 35(a), that there could be a connection to that particular dispute. And, indeed, there may be a connection to other disputes I am not aware of. That illustrates very clearly that when two levels of government are involved in the same issue, the battle that goes on between them is in the long run counter-productive and very costly to the taxpayers.

I want to suggest to the parliamentary assistant that we in this House take a little umbrage if the federal government attempts to step into an area we believe to be provincial jurisdiction. Here in the county of Oxford we are expanding the powers that are the joint responsibility of the two levels of government. But we are maintaining the clout, the ultimate sanction, that the county has over the lower-tier municipality to say to the lower-tier municipality: “We appreciate hearing your views, but the county is going to get its way anyway.”

That kind of split jurisdiction -- with an axe being held by the upper-tier municipality -- is not in the lone run a good way to go if we are to have orderly municipal government in this province. We would prefer at some point in the future right across the province in regions and restructured counties, especially if we hear of any more of the latter, that the jurisdiction of each level of government be made very clear and that these provisions, where there is a split in jurisdiction, be avoided.

Regarding the benefits for municipal councillors which has come up in other sections of other legislation and which is really an extension of the provision that was previously an amendment to certain other acts, we are again expressing our concern about this process. It means this Legislature has to look at the same section in a number of different bills in order to get something done that is very desirable for our municipal councils.

I want to take it one step further because in this case we have had a commitment from the minister that he will look at a section very close to this particular section, relating to retirement benefits for former employees of the municipality, in particular, the provision of retirement benefits by the council for retirees under 65 who have to pay their own OHIP benefits.

I want to suggest to the parliamentary assistant that since there appears to be some support on the government side for the proposal we have put forward to them -- to amend the Municipal Act to allow councils to pay those retirement benefits -- while we were dealing with this act it would have saved a lot of paper and a lot of aggravation later down the line to have put it in here rather than us having to deal with another act to amend the County of Oxford Act later on this year, hopefully, or possibly early next year, to permit the county of Oxford and the lower-tier municipalities to pay retirement benefits, particularly in the form of health insurance benefits, to retirees who need them because they are under the age of 65.

It would have been nice to see it here today and know we were getting started on that long process of having to amend over a dozen municipal bills in order to get one single provision dealt with on a province-wide basis.

I am amazed to see section 2 of this bill presented in the way it is, given a repeated commitment from the minister -- repeated just a few days ago -- that he has absolutely no intention of conducting any more inquiries into the structure, organization or methods of operation of regional councils and, I assume, of restructured county councils.

The provision is almost trivial in terms of its approach to a topic. It could have the potential for some difficulty if there developed at some time a dispute between the county council and the minister. But if we are not going to have any more of these structural inquiries appointed by the minister, I wonder why we have to bother with such a verbose section in order to prevent municipal councils exercising their power to change their structure or number of boards or whatever until such time as the minister has finished a nonexistent inquiry. It is just incredible to me that we have to deal with redundant sections of this kind.

That comment brings me to the first section, which is obviously the key to this entire bill. I am concerned again about the matter of due process. That is something we debated fairly recently in this House.

Mr. Bradley: The Brantford bill.

Mr. Isaacs: That is right, on the Brantford bill.

I have pursued this matter -- the impact of section 1 -- and I am informed that the city of Woodstock could have made this change by proceeding with an application to the Ontario Municipal Board. There would have been a hearing before the board which would have allowed or disallowed the proposal being put before it by the county of Oxford. The government has decided to dispense with an OMB hearing and to give the city of Woodstock government legislation which provides some extra clout to deal with this request.

Further, I want to suggest that there appears in this instance to be a modicum of favouritism addressed to the city of Woodstock. If we look at how these things have been handled in the past, there were a number of instances in the last few years where municipalities have come to us with private bills that were dealt with as was the private bill the other night -- hopefully some of them were passed -- to change their structure, to change the number of wards or to change the method of electing people to various posts.

To back up that contention, I would like to remind the parliamentary assistant that as recently as last session Bill Pr22, moved by his colleague from Simcoe Centre, was a bill which changed the representation on the county council in Simcoe county. A couple of years ago, Bill Pr27, moved by the member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. B. Newman), made some changes regarding representation in the city of Windsor. Those were both private bills. They were brought here by private members and deposited before the private bills committee for consideration through those procedures.

But for reasons I can only speculate about the city of Woodstock gets favoured treatment. Woodstock gets a government bill to make what is essentially a fairly minor change in the method of selecting people to run for county council in the county of Oxford.

Mr. Bradley: Who is the member for Woodstock?

Mr. Isaacs: Woodstock is in Oxford county, so I suspect the comment the member for St. Catharines made was in a somewhat rhetorical sense.

These are the ways the government operates. If one knows the right people, if one does the right thing, one gets a government bill. Otherwise, one has to go through the private bills committee. If, as the member for Ottawa East said earlier, one happens to be someone who, for whatever reason, he decides is not appropriate for his support, then the bill gets defeated and he has to go the long route through the OMB. There would have been other processes, but instead of using those processes we get this government bill to make this very minor change to the way people are selected for county council in the city of Woodstock.

10 p.m.

I really think that is an inappropriate thing. It bodes very badly for the way this government is going to deal with municipal councils in the future. It is of great concern to me that there is this impression -- more than an impression perhaps -- of favouritism being proposed for the city of Woodstock because of certain things relating to the electoral habits of the county of Oxford in provincial elections.

Getting back to the actual proposal contained in the bill and pretending for a moment it was a private bill that had come through that channel, I am prepared to look somewhat favourably at this proposal because it is in a sense a step in the right direction. But I believe it is about time the government said to the larger municipalities across this province: “You shall have a ward system. You can design that ward system yourself. You can set up the boundaries and you can decide on one or two councillors per ward.”

In order to ensure proper representation across the towns and cities of this province, in particular those with a population of over 10,000, I believe very strongly there should be a ward system and that the city of Woodstock and all other cities across the province should be put on notice that at some point in the future they are going to be asked to put a ward system in place. It is only by a ward system one can ensure that every part of the municipality has the opportunity to have its own voice on the city council.

I strongly suggest that it would be inappropriate if we were to elect 125 members of this House from across Ontario at large. It is very clear that certain parts of Ontario would carry undue weight. That is why we attempt to have representation by population. I suggest that on a microscale those same considerations apply in our larger towns and cities, and it is about time they were put into place. It is about time we told municipalities they should have a ward system.

It particularly concerns me that this kind of proposal for change comes from only the elected members of the city council of Woodstock. I am in no way impugning their motives and in no way suggesting they do not represent the people of that municipality. This time I think they do, but I also think it is inappropriate that elected people on a municipal council that does not have a ward system are asked how they want their council restructured and what the future system should be for electing people to that council.

I believe it is inevitable that just as the government across the floor is trying every possible means to retain its position as the government of this province -- and I do not think it is being very successful -- it is also equally certain that members who are elected to a municipal council are going to be at least influenced -- probably less influenced than the government -- by the factors that affect their success in future elections. It is just not appropriate as a general principle for us to say to people who are at present on a municipal council, “How would you like it changed? We will take anything.”

As I indicated, in this particular instance I am convinced the city council is in line with the views of the majority of citizens in the city of Woodstock. So be it; that is fine. It has come out the right way this time. But as a general principle it is not good enough on these kinds of issues to get up and say this is what the council wants because what the council wants may not in every case be what the people of the municipality want. We have to find a better way of doing it. In the long run we have to put them all on notice that there will be a ward system in larger towns and cities across the province.

It concerns me that there is the strong appearance of preference being given to the city of Woodstock in the mechanism by which this bill is before us today. It concerns me that reference has not been made to that before, particularly with the comments of the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) on the last bill about principles that he claims were relevant the other evening. I am glad that not all members of his party agreed with him.

If the members really believe the OMB is the be-all and end-all of citizen participation which, as I indicated, I do not, they should apply this principle here too and allow anybody who wishes to object to this change in the municipal structure of the city of Woodstock to have a fair hearing. That fair hearing, if one believes in the OMB, should be before the OMB. If one does not believe in the OMB, then there should at least be a forum in the form of some committee that is not a committee of city council to deal with it. That could be the private bills committee of this House.

Mr. Nixon: Are there objections to the change in Woodstock’s structure?

Mr. Isaacs: The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk asks if there are objections. I guarantee I could go into Oxford county tonight or into the city of Woodstock tonight and find objections to that section. There are always people who have a different opinion. Those people, when we are dealing with this kind of thing, should be given the opportunity to state their objections.

Mr. Nixon: Let us say relevant and significant objections, not Socialist objections.

Mr. Samis: There are other adjectives that could be used.

Mr. Isaacs: We dealt with the matter of the significance and importance of opinions and everything else on the last bill, and I would hate to bring it up again. But I would strongly suggest that Socialist objections are important, significant and whatever other thing the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk mentioned.

This is not a good way of dealing with it. We have to find a better way. Given that at the present time city council happens to have taken the right course, we will support section 1. But we do strongly believe the government should put them on notice that they will be required to implement a ward system in two or four or six years.

We further suggest it is very inappropriate that the bill has come to us by this route. I hope the parliamentary assistant will respond to my comments about the impact of the planning section of this bill, section 5, on the proposed Salford landfill site. It seems to me there is a very clear impact, particularly with regard to section 35(a).

Mr. Nixon: I always enjoy the contributions made by the member for Wentworth in these matters. While I do not always agree with him, at least I find I can follow them, which is not always the case for me.

I have the honour, as you know, Mr. Speaker, of being the member representing the constituency of Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, in spite of the fact that very few of the members, even my colleagues, can keep that rather complex name straight. The part of Oxford I do represent is an extremely prosperous rural area with a number of very fine communities such as Bright, Plattsvile, Washington, Drumbo, Princeton and points north, west and east of there. It is a beautiful community that used to be represented by Oliver Mowat, among other well-known, political figures in this province.

I simply say that to give me some justification for expressing a view on Bill 74, An Act to amend the County of Oxford Act, 1974. I would begin by saying I do not share the concern expressed by the member for Wentworth in this House about being asked to approve certain changes in the makeup of the representation from the city of Woodstock and that this might be dealt with instead through application to the OMB. I feel, and I believe I am correct in this, that board has no powers it can ever exert that were not given to it by this House. When we choose to assume those powers ourselves, we can do so. In an instance such as this, I do not have the paranoid response the member for Wentworth has expressed that somehow we are circumventing the possibility that he, by beating the bushes in Oxford county, might be able to turn out people who would have some objection to this business.

10:10 p.m.

It seems to me if the local council by its own motion asked the House for this particular remedy, then it is certainly proper, when other amendments are going to be brought before us, that a matter such as this be considered. I am sure it is important to Woodstock and Oxford, but in the general run of things it is not earthshaking in its effect. We hope it will make representation more equitable and the work of the council more effective.

The section I do want to deal with is section 5 which, I believe, is the real meat of the bill because it gives the lower-tier municipalities and the province certain powers and rights which they have not had under the law to undertake the revitalization of certain areas for redevelopment. The area specifically that interests me is the town of Tillsonburg which is one of the lower-tier municipalities and which has been experiencing substantial difficulties over a long period of time in getting development on the road.

One of the reasons for the restructuring of Oxford county was a certain difficulty it had in coordinating its development. It is interesting that the largest shopping centre for Woodstock happens to lie, not in the city of Woodstock, but outside in another municipality which, by coincidence, lies in my constituency. It is interesting, at least for me and you, Mr. Speaker, to note that the largest shopping centre for the city of Brantford does not lie in that city. It lies in the rural area in my constituency.

In restructuring the county of Oxford, following problems in the location of shopping centres, it was thought by having overall regional-type planning, with the county’s responsibility making that of the lower tier subservient, that would once and for all stop this kind of development. But the boundaries of the regional government, or in this case what they choose to call a restructured county, end somewhere.

In spite of the elaborate, expensive and disconcerting development of two regional governments -- one called a restructured county -- when the businessmen of Tillsonburg decided there was going to be some development, or at least developers looked at Tillsonburg and saw that the development should take place there, they did not bother doing it in the town, but they went across not only the municipal boundary but the regional boundary over into my constituency, where they are very welcome, into the township of Norfolk, where they were extremely welcome indeed and well served, and built a very large, modern shopping centre which has now been operational for a few months.

All of the elaborate planning by the government of the day, particularly when Mr. McKeough was responsible for intergovernmental affairs, really went for naught. All of the tomes of legislation and reams of regulation, all of the high-priced staff of planners that have been doing the work locally but being vetted here at Toronto and being subjected to the wisdom of various Treasurers, planners and parliamentary assistants were all just like a puff of smoke in that they were completely useless in containing the development in the urban boundaries that were projected.

I do not object to that. It was to the benefit of my area. It simply indicated, as I have been telling you, Mr. Speaker, for a long time, that government policy on regional government, and to a great extent even in the restructured area of Oxford, has been unduly expensive and, in many respects, ineffectual.

It is a classic case that section 7(2) of this bill says, “Section 5 shall be deemed to have come into force on January 1, 1975.” The reason it has to be that far retroactive is that the municipalities have been using these powers illegally all this time. I would say nobody was too worried about it until, I suppose, the Treasurer, or the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett) more likely, who was trying to find some authority to hand out a wad of money on the recommendation of his colleague who sits beside him to Tillsonburg where, believe me, they need help, found he did not have any powers or rights to do so.

We have this section 5 that gives the lower-tier municipality these special planning powers and also gives the minister with the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council the right to enter into an agreement with a municipality providing for payment to a municipality on such terms and conditions and in such amounts as may be approved -- I say in parenthesis as may be recommended -- by the member for Oxford (Mr. Parrott).

Hon. Mr. Bennett: No, all the others too.

Mr. Nixon: Oh, yes, I am sure. I do not object to this. Every now and then the minister talks to me about these important matters, and I appreciate that very much. I wish the honourable member was able to be with us tonight to take part in this discussion, but I understand he is busy in another place.

Hon. Mr. Gregory: He is downstairs talking to an idiot.

Mr. Speaker: Choose your words very carefully.

Mr. Nixon: What about his words?

Hon. Mr. Gregory: I just said he was talking to an idiot. I didn’t say which idiot.

Mr. Nixon: I certainly do not want to stand in the way of the passage of this section. I know we have a lot of work to do, but I simply wanted to point out that the government over these many years, while using its best efforts to control the planning in the best interest of the citizens, has been abject in the failure of its aims.

While it has had some advantages that the Minister of the Environment has been able to present to us from time to time, the formation of the restructured county has been shown to be ineffectual in giving us the kind of development that was expected and hoped for by many of the local citizens. The best efforts of the government have been ineffectual. This is simply another piece of patchwork, retroactive to 1975, done to try to keep the old ship afloat.

Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Speaker, I am glad the members are supporting the bill. The criticisms have come in various forms and some of them are very interesting. It is always a pleasure to listen to the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk and hear his interpretation of history.

I would point out when we indicate we are giving powers to the area municipalities, we are not giving new powers, but giving back powers they had before 1975, before the restructured county.

Mr. Nixon: You simply forgot to put it in the original bill.

Mr. Rotenberg: When the county of Oxford was restructured -- and, as members know, we have had different forms of restructuring regional government -- it seemed at that time, because of the development problems, it would be an idea to try something a little different and a little new in Oxford county and to try to control development in a better way.

I think it was the member for Waterloo North who asked, “Why did it take until 1980 to find out what someone said may have gone wrong in 1975?” Really this main problem has only came to our attention this year because of the redevelopment in Tillsonburg.

Mr. Bradley: That is fast for the government.

Mr. Rotenberg: It came to our attention, I would say to the member for St. Catharines, because people at the local level, when they have a problem, come and consult with us. People at the local level are quite aware that when they do have a problem they can come and consult with us. This government is quite open to assisting all municipalities when they have problems, whether the problem is of their making or not.

Tillsonburg really started on this project before the restructuring began in 1975 and went along on the assumption it had the powers it had when it started.

Mr. Nixon: They did have them before the government brought in the restructuring bill.

Mr. Rotenberg: That is correct. They had the powers before 1975. When the powers were changed, they just went along on their own, figuring they still had those powers. Frankly, we are recognizing Tillsonburg's problems and are quite willing now to indicate to them we would like this to go forward. Therefore, we are putting it back the way it was.

I don’t think the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, who has been around here a lot longer than I have and will be around here for a lot longer, I am sure, until one of his children is ready to take over the seat, should criticize the government in various areas for looking for and trying new methods. Most of them work out, but once in a while when a new method creates a problem we are here to say it created a problem and to make adjustments to solve the problem.

I don’t think this has been a bad experiment, but because of the fact there are some problems, we are quite willing to correct them to assist the municipality of Tillsonburg and the county of Oxford.

The member for Wentworth has raised a possible problem of a landfill site. I can only say to him this has not been mentioned in anything I have heard in our ministry or from the county of Oxford. The member for Wentworth also talked about the split jurisdiction between the county and the area municipalities. This request for the legislation has come to us jointly from the county and the area municipalities, and everyone at the present time in the county of Oxford is happy with this new legislation. If they are happy with this split jurisdiction, far be it from us to impose something different upon them.

10:20 p.m.

The member also mentioned some other benefits which he thinks may be coming in the future in a general way. Although the minister indicated he would look into this -- and he has, in a sense, to my understanding, said this is something we will do -- if we do it, we are not going to do it only for the county of Oxford. We are going to do it as a general amendment to the Municipal Act for everybody. If that happens, in one way or another it will be adjusted for everyone throughout the province.

The member for Wentworth also says we should impose the ward system without hearing from the people in the various municipalities he talks about at other times. He says we should impose a ward system on all the major cities and towns in the province. We simply are not prepared to impose it in that way, unilaterally, without having some very valid reasons why we should do it.

Last, I really am amused this evening at the way the member for Wentworth is stretching things to criticize us on section 1. It would be interesting once in a while when the government brings forward a good bill if the member for Wentworth would say the government did a good job, then sit down and not have to find a way to criticize because he thinks that is his role. I find this one quite amusing. He says Woodstock should have gone to the Ontario Municipal Board when he didn’t want Brantford to go to the OMB. I agreed with him on that one.

More important, I wish the member for Wentworth would do his homework and check before he makes his criticism. If he did his homework and checked on the legislation, he would find the OMB has no jurisdiction in this case. The OMB has no jurisdiction to change a restructured county act. We are not changing the City of Woodstock Act but the County of Oxford Act. The OMB has no jurisdiction over that. The county of Oxford could not have gone to the OMB to get this done because the OMB could not do it for them.

The same applies when he asked why it is not a private member’s bill. Again, the city of Woodstock cannot bring in a private bill to amend the County of Oxford Act. That is why it is here as general legislation as part of this act and not as a private bill. It would have to be a city of Woodstock bill and a city of Woodstock bill cannot amend the County of Oxford Act. That is why it is in this form.

Even if those technical points were not there, even if they could do it, what really is the difference between a private bill and general legislation? If it is correct, as the member admits it is, he has to stretch a point because he cannot admit that the government did something right. The people of Oxford county and the city of Woodstock know that the government has done something right. That is why there are so many more of us over here than there are over there.

Having said that, I would commend this bill to the House and ask that it be given second reading.

Mr. Epp: With respect, I asked the parliamentary assistant to answer some questions for me, but he has not even referred to them.

Mr. Speaker: He can reply in any way he deems proper.

Mr. Rotenberg: So many things came at me, I thought I answered the questions. If I did not, I will get the answers for him. I apologize if I have not given all the answers this evening.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for third reading.


Mr. Rotenberg, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Wells, moved second reading of Bill 76, An Act to amend the Municipality of Toronto Act.

Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Speaker, this bill has a number of amendments to the Municipality of Toronto Act which I would like to outline very briefly. I would doubt we can complete debate on this bill this evening. I will proceed and then we can continue in the morning.

This bill makes certain amendments, as the minister announced earlier, to increase the representation on the Metropolitan Toronto council by the addition of one representative each for the city of North York and the borough of Scarborough. It does not give exact representation by population, because that is impossible in any regional government, but it comes more closely to representation by population than at present.

Included also are provisions which have been given to other regional municipalities and some that are special to Metropolitan Toronto. Specifically, they are amendments permitting delegation of the authority of Metropolitan council to its executive committee in respect to the sale of surplus properties and for the issuing of debentures to the treasurer and to the chairman of Metropolitan Toronto.

Another amendment broadens the approval powers of the Metropolitan corporation over changes to local roads, and the Metropolitan council may delegate some of this power to its executive committee. I would point out if there is a disagreement between the Metro council and the regional municipalities, this matter could be referred to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Provision is made in the bill to permit the Metropolitan council to provide insurance benefits to members of the Metropolitan council. This is similar to the provision we have just made in the Oxford bill and to that we made in the Municipal Act last fall.

There is a minor amendment similar to that in the Ottawa-Carleton bill respecting homes for the aged that deletes references to redundant sections in the Homes for the Aged and Rest Homes Act. Amongst the other amendments is a proposal to provide Metropolitan Toronto with the power to reclaim, recycle and incinerate its solid wastes and to sell and distribute the resulting materials or energy. Finally, provision is now made to empower the Metropolitan corporation to provide public education programs on emergency first aid and to charge a fee for such service.

That outlines the various provisions in the bill. I would commend it to the House.

Mr. Speaker: If the member for Waterloo North has extensive comments on second reading, I will entertain a motion to adjourn the debate.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I don’t think I can finish in the three or four minutes we have left.

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

The House adjourned at 10:27 p.m.