The House met at 2:04 p.m.
ALLEGATION BY MEMBER FOR HAMILTON EAST
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, it is with regret that on this first day of the session I must rise on a point of personal privilege.
In today’s edition of the Toronto Star there is an article entitled “Minister of Good Intentions Faces Flak on Layoffs and Rights.” In that article, the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) is quoted as saying about me, “She lied to you.” I have never lied to the members of this House and I ask that member to withdraw that remark and to apologize.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, there were a number of occasions when the answers we got from the minister were not accurate, so I do not see any need to withdraw the remark.
Mr. Speaker: I am sure it is regrettable any time any member of the House accuses another member of telling a falsehood. However, it was something that was said outside the House. The member is responsible for what he says out there and that is something over which we have no control here in the House. If he does not choose to withdraw the remark or apologize for it, there is nothing I can do. It was done outside the House.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
WRIT FOR BY-ELECTION IN CARLETON
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I would just like to inform members that the Lieutenant Governor has just issued a writ --
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- I thought the honourable member might feel it was for all of us, after what his leader has been saying and not saying -- for the great, historic riding of Carleton for November 20.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Wait until we get a little closer. I have been known to --
Mr. Speaker: Does the Premier have a statement to make? I am sure the Premier has withstood provocation before. Does he have a ministerial statement?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I do indeed, Mr. Speaker. Just to add to that statement, to the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy), I might be prepared to make a modest wager, a little closer to the time.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, today -- and I would like to welcome everybody back from what I am sure was a delightful summer recess -- the government of Canada will place before our national Parliament a 20-page resolution to patriate our constitution, provide for an interim amending formula of unanimity, secure basic mobility rights for all Canadians, protect minority-language education rights where numbers warrant, entrench the principle of equalization and provide for the protection and enhancement of human, political and democratic rights for future generations.
The substance of the resolution responds very closely to the specific goals this government set out at the first ministers’ meeting in September on behalf of the citizens of this province, and to the priorities outlined by us throughout the summer and fall -- in fact, historically speaking, for probably from two to 10 years. Two years ago, when this province was the first to call for immediate patriation, it was, in our view, clearly time to make progress in the area of constitutional reform. We believed progress could be made within the context of an entrenched monarchy and the values and beliefs of the people of Ontario.
I think it is fair to state that the Prime Minister and I have differed for over a decade on substantial and far-reaching matters of economic and social policy, even on matters of foreign policy, which is beyond my jurisdiction but where I have never been reluctant to express a point of view, and on matters of energy policy. Quite aside from our various differences on matters of substantial importance to the people of this province, we have differed as a matter of conviction in terms of our respective partisan affiliations, but the substantial challenges this nation must face will not be met if narrow partisanship is to determine where each and every one of us stands on the large and fundamental issues facing us all.
We did express the very strong objection, both at the constitutional conference and again last Wednesday, that the government of Canada was proposing to go too far when it wanted a revised section 133 to the constitution -- which I know the parties opposite would have supported -- which would have imposed de facto institutional bilingualism upon Ontario beyond the areas of minority-language education. I acknowledge this is one area where our point of view and the position we expressed was different from that proposed by the official opposition or the New Democratic Party.
We felt the proposal was not acceptable to those of us on this side of the House. We therefore believe the decision of the government of Canada to move off its plan to revise section 133 and to back away from its plan of imposing institutional bilingualism upon this province to be an important concession and a wise one in the context of sustaining an effective national consensus for constitutional reform and patriation.
We think it equally important that the agreement reached by the Premiers of 10 provinces at a meeting on education rights in Montreal in 1978 find its way into a new constitution through the route of the protection of minority-language education rights where numbers warrant. Our Education Act in this province, as members are fully aware, already guarantees that particular situation. We called for, and therefore support, the government’s decision to protect this right, just as we called for and support its decision to protect what it refers to as mobility rights.
I think it is fair to state -- and I am interrupting the formal text -- that we would have preferred that this be extended to goods and services. For those who suggest there was not some alteration in the federal government’s position, I think it must be brought to people’s attention that in fact they did move away from that, although they felt as keenly about it, I think, as we did.
It should be absolutely clear that no government of this province should have the right to enact legislation making it illegal for Newfoundlanders or any other Canadian to seek employment here, if that is their wish. It is important for the future of this country and for the sense of real nationhood Canadians have every right to possess, for that protection to be in a new constitution.
We called for, and therefore support, the entrenchment of basic political and democratic rights in the constitution. We called for, and support, the entrenchment of human rights and some legal rights. In our view, these do not take away powers from the provinces, nor do they take away the powers of politicians and confer them upon judges, as some have suggested. What they truly do is take away powers from government overall and confer them upon the people in their own defence. In this way, individual citizens may use and protect their rights before the courts in the face of excessive and arbitrary use of power by any politician in any jurisdiction at any time.
It is true that we would have preferred a broader definition of Canada’s common economic market, but we understand the desire of the government of Canada not to offend those provinces that still feel the protection of free movement of goods, services and capital would be too much at this time.
Ontario has always believed that moving now is essential. To do nothing at this point, just to sit back and say, “Let’s have another meeting in January or February,” when quite frankly I think the rhetoric and the positions would not change, would really be to admit a victory for those who say this nation is unworkable and that we cannot find vehicles for change. Controversy must not intimidate us today any more than it intimidated the Fathers of Confederation in 1867.
I am not prepared to admit that we, as Canadians, are incapable of drafting our own constitution, entrenching the monarchy, protecting human rights, protecting minority-language education rights where numbers warrant, enshrining equalization and protecting some very substantial legal rights.
I am not prepared to admit that resource revenues and their disposition should be allowed to hold up progress on the rights of English- and French-speaking Canadians to educate their children. I am not prepared to admit that control over the fisheries should stand in the way of protecting the right of individuals to fair and equal treatment before the law. Mr. Speaker, I speak for the government when I say we have no choice but to support the resolution put forward by the government of Canada for consideration by the House of Commons and the Senate. It respects what Ontario and her people sought from the outset. It also helps us honour our commitment to the people of Quebec made during the referendum.
During the parliamentary debate there must be give and take on all sides; I totally understand that. There are no villains in this undertaking. What Canadians expect is a reasoned debate with give and take on both sides.
When the Premiers meet, if we do, here in Toronto within the next 14 days I will urge a similar conciliatory and reasoned approach. There is every reason to expect that the government of Canada is open to suggestions that are reasonable and fair-minded with respect to any amendments emanating from the Premiers or elsewhere that are presented in good faith. If this province can be helpful in that process, we will be pleased to do so.
We know there are differences in this country. Whatever regional dissatisfactions there are must be worked out. In this province we remain prepared to approach that challenge in an open and fair-minded way. Those regional dissatisfactions must not be allowed, however, to constrain the capacity of our country, its people and its government to move ahead; nor must this constitutional matter continue to occupy too overwhelming a place on the agenda of our national Parliament and federal government.
Economic, fiscal and energy matters are far closer to the day-to-day concerns of millions of Canadians. In these areas, leadership from the government of Canada is vital and must not be diluted by any undue over-concentration on constitutional matters.
We have always believed that we, as a nation, must be able to make progress on more than one front at a time. Constitutional progress must not either be or appear to be at the expense of economic leadership and co-operation. The province we collectively serve deserves no less.
SUDBURY HYDROELECTRIC COMMISSION
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I should like to take this opportunity to inform the members that early in the fall session I will be introducing legislation to establish a new municipal hydroelectric commission for the city of Sudbury.
This bill is a first step towards the total restructuring of the municipal electric commissions in the regional municipality of Sudbury. In taking this interim step, the government is responding to the wishes of the people of Sudbury and to His Worship Mayor Gordon.
As a result of this bill, all of the customers now served by Ontario Hydro within the area known as Broder-Dill or Ward Nine will be supplied by the new Sudbury hydroelectric commission by January 1, 1981. Prior to introducing the bill, it will be reviewed with the local authorities and MPPs and other interested groups.
With respect to the remainder of the Sudbury region, my ministry is reviewing a number of options to deal with the special circumstances of low density and low customer growth in this region, along with the regions of Haldimand-Norfolk and Muskoka. These options will also be discussed with the local representatives at a later date, with the objective of being ready to introduce legislation covering the whole region of Sudbury some time during the coming year.
Mr. Speaker: Before we get to oral questions, I would like to draw the attention of honourable members to the presence in the Speaker’s gallery of two very important and distinguished guests in the persons of Mr. and Mrs. George Mussallem. Mr. Mussallem is the chief government whip for the province of British Columbia.
I had the pleasure of attending a Canadian Parliamentary Association conference a few years ago with him. He represented his jurisdiction very efficiently and capably at that time. I am happy to welcome him here on behalf of all members.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be back. I would like to direct my first question to the Premier. With more than 90 per cent of the layoffs in this country during the last several months occurring right here in Ontario and close to 300,000 Ontarians unemployed, notwithstanding that we may be having a debate on this matter a little later on, can the Premier tell this House precisely what policies his government will be proposing to protect workers, particularly with regard to layoff notification, severance pay, pension portability and the matter of justification of plant closures? What plans will his government be presenting to this House this session?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think there were really one or two questions, and perhaps a preamble that was not totally accurate, but I think it would be better to deal with that if there is, in the Speaker’s wisdom, a debate later on this afternoon.
I think it is fair to state to the House that for the past several weeks the government has been considering, because of its concern with respect to plant layoffs or closings, some of the ideas suggested both from those who made representations to us and ideas emanating, of course, within the government itself. During the course of the discussions this afternoon, it is to be hoped that we will all attempt to put into some perspective the actual extent of the problem, the implications, and take into account that one of the best ways, to quote Mr. Fraser of the United Automobile Workers, to deal with this issue is to create new job opportunities, which I would say to the Leader of the Opposition this government has been doing and will continue to do in spite of some opposition, I might say, from some members opposite.
I think it is fair to state, as it relates to the pulp and paper industry as a very specific example, in spite of the Leader of the Opposition’s objection to the policies of this government -- incidentally, most heads of most northern municipalities have rejected his approach -- that this government has taken significant steps to create job security with that very important segment of the economic life of this province. I won’t go through the litany here this afternoon.
The Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) will be making a statement in the next few days related to a number of matters, some related to plant layoffs but some of those enunciated by the Leader of the Opposition. That will happen within the next few days. I will not give a specific date at this moment, but it will be very shortly.
Mr. S. Smith: Speaking more specifically of the farm implement industry, which has been hit with layoffs and where thousands of jobs are at present the subject of some public discussion, particularly in the Brantford area, would the Premier tell us what policy his government has decided to undertake in an effort to protect the jobs in Brantford in the farm implement business? Could he say what strategy he has recommended to the federal government in this regard?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would be delighted to answer this in general terms but, if the Leader of the Opposition really is anxious to elicit the most up-to-date information, I think that would be an appropriate question to direct to the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman).
Mr. S. Smith: I would ask that my question be redirected, Mr. Speaker.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, we began a study of the machinery and equipment industries about a year and a half ago; at that time, which I might say was before the intense current problems developed, this particular industry was first and foremost among the work we undertook. I now have before me the results of that work, which I have been sharing with my colleagues. The Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) and I have been studying this paper and as recently as a week ago had some representatives of the industry in to talk with us about their varying problems and some solutions we might develop. As we reach some conclusions on that document we will be bringing them forward to the federal government, and to this assembly if some provincial action is deemed appropriate and helpful.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary to the Premier: Is it now the position of the government to repudiate statements made by the Minister of Industry and Tourism earlier in the summer which suggested that any kind of legislation to protect workers affected by layoffs would be a means of driving investment out of the province? Does the Premier now recognize, and will government now accept, that Ontario has an obligation to workers who spend their lives in this province and should not be deterred from legislating because of the kind of spurious arguments the minister put forward?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think one has to look at these things in a somewhat broader perspective. It is a very complex issue, one which the government has been assessing very carefully and quite thoroughly. If the leader of the New Democratic Party does not believe there are some problems inherent in it, I would be surprised. There are some. What the Minister of Industry and Tourism had said is that part of the approach in this province has been, and has to be, to maintain a competitive economic climate.
When it comes to legislation currently on the books, if one looks not at western Europe but at those areas where we are competing for investments, the United States, particularly the northern United States, and other provinces of Canada, I think it is fair to state that our existing legislation is not in any way behind that of competing jurisdictions. I think that is a reasonable statement of fact. It is a question here of approaching this in a balanced and reasonable fashion. When I met with the representatives of the UAW, I expressed personal concern as it related, for instance, to the pensions and pension benefits.
But as we approach this subject, I hope we will debate it here constructively -- not just as a matter of theology or ideology or what have you, but with an attempt to find reasonable solutions -- and there will be an understanding that part of the balance must be that we retain the economic climate in this province that keeps us competitive. As I said to the Leader of the Opposition, and I hoped I really had answered the question, there will be a statement coming from the government within a few days.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a supplementary to the Minister of Industry and Tourism following his comments about the situation in the farm implement industry in Brantford.
Is the minister not aware that, while he is contemplating the document that has just been put at his disposal and may be given to the federal government, there are about 5,000 people on continuing layoff, with no certainty as to when they may return to work? Is he not familiar with the impact this has on these thousands of homes as well as on the community at large, and does he not believe that something more specific than just a consideration of a document is called for at this time?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Of course, the main problem that both White and Massey-Ferguson are having relates immediately to the problem of markets, all brought to bear by interest rates being high earlier this year, at the same time as a drought and the grain embargo were upon us. All three things coming together at the same time put a great number of manufacturers in this particular sector in a very critical position.
What we did was to meet immediately -- and I am talking about last spring -- with the two companies involved to see what could be done in view of that world wide market downturn. It is a very critical one.
The encouraging thing on the White side is that the receiver is in and operating White, and it appears that the creditors have agreed with the receiver that there is a fair opportunity to call back those workers at some time. The decision has not been taken that White is irretrievable and will be shut down. We are fairly optimistic that White will make it and that the company will come out of receivership eventually.
We are working closely with the company, and to date White or its receivers have not indicated to this government or the federal government that financial or any other assistance is required, other than them being in a good competitive position when markets pick up.
On the Massey-Ferguson side, there is no question but that we have been spending a great deal of time, both federally and provincially, with Massey-Ferguson over the last three or four months to find if there is any conceivable way in which that company -- that is, the work force -- can be assured of a future.
I remain optimistic that restructuring of the company under some ownership -- with some government assistance, if necessary -- will occur and that we will see the jobs remain in that community in the longer term. How that occurs is obviously hard to predict at the present time except to say that this government is committed to doing anything that is physically and financially responsible to ensure those jobs in that community. Unquestionably that was made more difficult in terms of immediate resolution by the sudden action of Argus last week, without notice. None the less, we are undeterred in our willingness and desire to do whatever is necessary to create a sound and secure future for the workers in Brantford.
Mr. Peterson: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Could the minister kindly give us his view of Argus’s attempt to absolve itself from responsibility for the Massey-Ferguson situation? Specifically, what are his thoughts on that matter and what is he doing about it?
Has he instructed other ministries -- for example, the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations -- to look into the whole giveaway to the pension fund and whether that is legal under the pension legislation in this province? Has he investigated whether Argus will profit from a tax advantage, from a tax loss, in this situation, leaving the results of that and the expense to be borne by some other group in society?
What are the minister’s views of that situation and what is he doing to investigate it?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: My colleague the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea), through either or both the Pension Commission of Ontario and the Ontario Securities Commission, may choose to find evidence that would warrant some investigation of the activities of Argus.
The ministry’s main and sole responsibility is to make sure that there is an industry in Brantford. What has happened, the activities that Argus has undertaken, what motivated it and the extent to which it profits or otherwise, is properly a concern of perhaps other governments and certainly other ministries.
As Minister of Industry and Tourism, I have one concern, and that is to make sure I do not let my own personal responses and reactions to what Argus did or the government’s general response to that deter us from the main goal in question, which is not to save Argus, the bank or any corporate owners, but simply to do the responsible thing to ensure those jobs in Brantford.
We are not going to be deterred by any irritation -- I was irritated at what happened -- in terms of what we want to accomplish, which is to put together a package that will work for the workers.
LIQUID INDUSTRIAL WASTE
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Minister of the Environment regarding the Upper Ottawa Street dump in Hamilton and dealing specifically with the article that appeared on the front page of the Sunday Star just yesterday. I assume the minister has had a chance to read this inasmuch as it details a former foreman at the Interflow company in Hamilton who admits to having sent drums of cyanide and drums of PCBs to the Upper Ottawa Street dump.
For some years now in the House the minister has continually told us that has not been happening, while I have been saying it has been happening. What is the minister’s response to this particular article?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I do not think the latter part of that is quite correct, Mr. Speaker, but let me respond to what we expect should follow from that particular article.
I have already contacted the chairman of the region; she assures us we will have the full co-operation of the region. I remind the members of the House that, of course, it is the region’s site. I have also contacted the lawyers of my ministry and we will investigate these particular claims, I would think in co-operation with the lawyers from the region and the regional police force. We will conduct a pretty extensive review of that.
If charges are warranted, indeed they will be laid. It is quite possible this might even give us more evidence in the charges that are already before the court. I am not certain of that, of course, because at the moment they are only the statements of one individual, not yet finally reported. Those are the things we have already done in response to that article.
Mr. S. Smith: Since the minister and everyone else in the House will know that these are exactly the kinds of allegations I have been making here for some years, and since the minister has decided instead to stand behind the views of the person who was the regional director at the time, I would like to quote what the regional director said then about Interflow: “They are carrying out a pretty straightforward operation. All of their operations are on the up-and-up as far as I can determine.” That man, for his great perspicacity, has now been put in charge of the entire waste management division of that ministry. How can the minister possibly continue going around the province complaining when local people do not trust his ministry?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: It is rather interesting. Perhaps the Leader of the Opposition will seriously consider coming forward with some of that evidence for which he has been asked repeatedly. He refuses to do so. At least we have one person who has the courage and the ability to come forward with statements that he is prepared to back up. That is more than I can say for the Leader of the Opposition.
Mr. Isaacs: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: How can the minister continue to rely on the region to handle these matters when the minister’s own hydrogeologist is quoted as saying that there are PCBs in the Redhill Creek and when the region’s specialists say there are not? Whom do we believe? What is going on with regional reports that are apparently ignoring the facts that the minister knows about?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I am sorry, but there is again some misunderstanding on that particular situation. As I understand it, and I think I am correct, the ministry has monitored, will monitor and is monitoring the Redhill Creek. We have done that on a very extensive basis. I am led to believe that there are low levels of PCBs in the sediment above and below the site. The member may want to make very clear some time when he is addressing this particular problem that those are above and below the site and in the sediment, not in the water. Those are the pertinent pieces of information. The ministry, as I said, will continue to monitor above and below and around that site.
We asked for and have received co-operation and the assurance of co-operation from the regional chairman to work in concert with our own staff. I think that is the way it should be. They have a great deal of expertise in the region, we have a great deal of expertise in the ministry, and we should combine forces; that is precisely what we are doing.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Halton-Burlington.
Mr. J. Reed: I will defer to my leader.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You don’t do that in the commercials.
Mr. S. Smith: He doesn’t claim to be an engineer, either. There are inspection reports of the Upper Ottawa Street site which presumably will show that the ministry either should have known what was going on, or did know what was going on, or was totally in the dark as to what was going on. Given that those inspection reports exist, given that I have now asked for them on at least a dozen occasions over the last two years and given the alleged freedom of information line of the government, will the minister now make public the site inspection reports on the Upper Ottawa Street dump which I have been requesting for two years and which apparently have been regarded by him as top secret?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Again, the Leader of the Opposition makes a statement that is not correct, but I have come to understand that.
We will make those reports available, as I have said a dozen and one times, at the appropriate time in the courts. They are part of the evidence and they will be made available to them. We have said that a dozen times.
ASSISTANCE TO PULP AND PAPER INDUSTRY
Mr. Speaker: The member for Ottawa Centre.
Mr. Cassidy: That is obviously a sigh of relief from the Liberal Party because we have taken them off the hook.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I can’t hear the question.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, since the Premier mentioned the pulp and paper industry, I have a copy of a major study for the Royal Commission on the Northern Environment which shows that the government gave Employment Development Fund grants to the pulp and paper industry when the industry clearly did not need them.
Can the Premier explain why the government unnecessarily spent $95 million and in the process lost 600 jobs when the industry was quite capable of paying for the modernization itself? It is in the document.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I do not think that is quite an accurate statement of fact. If the member would like to send me the document, I will peruse it; I will be delighted to peruse it. I am also delighted to see that both opposition parties, in their own democratic way, have enthusiastically endorsed the leadership of their two leaders in the usual traditional fashion by applauding on their desks because they did not want to put it to any other kind of test. I was delighted to see that.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Cassidy: Let’s not talk about the schisms within this Conservative Party.
Is the Premier not aware that the task force of the Royal Commission on the Northern Environment is recommending that the pulp and paper companies publicly justify their Employment Development Fund grants, and in the light of the failure of that program to create jobs, will the Premier instruct the Employment Development Fund to table publicly its plans for replacing the 18,000 manufacturing jobs that we have lost in Ontario over the course of the 12 months up until August this year, so that the members of this House can review those plans and so that we can have the assurance that there is not another ripoff of the taxpayers in the way that we spent money unnecessarily in the pulp and paper industry?
Hon. Mr. Davis: If the honourable member wants to travel through northern Ontario and oppose the program of assistance to the pulp and paper industry, then let him be my guest. I just have to tell him that I have also travelled in northern Ontario and it is a program they understand, they support and they appreciate, and they cannot understand why the opposition politicians in Queen’s Park do not understand northern Ontario.
Mr. Welch: Supported by the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart), too.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes, the member for Welland-Thorold; I think I saw a quotation saying just how enlightened a government we were in assisting Ontario Paper Company Limited. I tell you, Mr. Speaker, the response was enthusiastic; he was there when the announcement was made, applauding vigorously. The members opposite come here, have it one way; they go home, they have it another way, and when they are between they have it both ways.
Mr. Cassidy: This task force confirms what New Democrats have said for a long time, which is that the wood supplies in northern Ontario are not only inadequate for additional growth but also are inadequate for the existing size and capacity of the pulp and paper industry. Does the Premier not agree that it would have made more sense to have taken some of that $95 million and put it into an accelerated regeneration and reforestation program to ensure that the economic base in the forests of northern Ontario would be there to create jobs and job security in the future?
Hon. Mr. Davis: As we have said on many occasions in this House, we are doing the latter as well.
BRAMPTON PICKET LINE INCIDENT
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Solicitor General. This morning, four women picketers at the Maple Lodge Farms Limited plant in Brampton were sent to hospital as a result of an incident in which police were also involved. Can the Solicitor General explain the actions of the police in that particular case, and will he undertake to investigate exactly what happened, to see whether there was deliberate provocation to aid the company in its bid for an injunction before the courts tomorrow, an injunction that would effectively make it impossible to have any picketing at the plant at all?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of the incident, but I will look into it and report back to the Legislature.
Mr. Cassidy: Can the minister explain why it was that, according to the police’s own count, at least 20 uniformed officers and somewhere around 10 plainclothes policemen dressed in rough clothing, who had to be asked to identify themselves before they put on their armbands, were required when there was a picket line of only 75 picketers, most of whom were Portuguese women? Given the fact that these workers have been struggling for 21 months to try to get themselves a first contract, would the minister not say that the company was trying to use the police to intimidate these new-Canadian strikers?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I will repeat what I said: I have no knowledge of the matter that has been brought to my attention. I am sure the leader of the New Democratic Party would not ask any senior law officer to make a personal judgement on a matter about which he knows nothing.
I will look into the matter and advise the leader of the New Democratic Party and the members of the Legislature accordingly. If I have any information by tomorrow, I will so advise.
Mr. Speaker: There is no point in pursuing this further. It has been taken as notice and when he comes in with an answer members will have an opportunity for supplementaries.
ONTARIO HIGHWAY TRANSPORT BOARD
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Transportation and Communications relating to the United Parcel Services case. He will recall, I am sure, that an application was made to the Ontario Highway Transport Board on behalf of United Parcel Services. The original decision was thrown out after violations of sections 18(a) and 18(b) of the Highway Transport Board Act and a new hearing was ordered. This ended on April 18, 1980. Can the minister tell us when we can expect a decision on this case?
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I cannot give the honourable member an actual date as to when that decision will come down. I know the hearings were completed some time ago.
It was my understanding that, as part of the second set of hearings, it was agreed upon between the parties on both sides and their legal counsel that the total transcript of the very long hearing which took place previously was to be read and studied by the hearing officers before they made their final decision. It has been a lengthy process for them to go through several thousand pages of transcript. As far as I know, the decision is not too far away, but I do not have an actual date.
Mr. Cunningham: In view of the fact that this case started some three years ago and the second case was concluded some five months ago, how can the minister justify the delay in the light of his directive to the chairman of the board, dated October 12, 1978, “to dispose of this expeditiously and economically”? What does the minister have to say about that?
Hon. Mr. Snow: I do not have any more to say than what I have already said. The case was delayed for a considerable time because of certain actions which were before the court as to whether the case could be reheard by the board. After the case proceeded -- and it was not a short case in itself -- the three members of the board who heard it all had to review, as a body and individually, the transcript of the previous hearings. That has been a lengthy procedure which has been going on during the summer.
Mr. Cunningham: Does the minister know how much all this will cost the Ontario taxpayers?
Hon. Mr. Snow: No, I do not at this moment. It is obvious that any hearing of this type costs the taxpayer money. That is part of the system of the board in hearing applications such as this.
LIQUID INDUSTRIAL WASTE
Mr. Isaacs: Mr. Speaker, I have another question on the Upper Ottawa Street dump for the Minister of the Environment. Is the minister aware that ministry officials have reported PCBs in the water -- not the sludge, but the water -- of the Redhill Creek in the area of the dump? Given that there is increasing evidence that substances like acetone, hexane, xylene, cyanide and other caustics, plus other extremely hazardous substances, may have gone into the Upper Ottawa Street dump, will the minister immediately order a health study of all who live and work in neighbourhoods immediately adjacent to that dump so we can find out for sure whether there are health problems in those areas caused by the dump?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I think that question should be more appropriately addressed to the Minister of Health.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, in response let me say that the medical officer of health of the region of Hamilton-Wentworth has been involved in the review, which has been under way for some time. In particular, he has been involved in a review of the hydrogeological study to which the honourable member made reference earlier in today’s question period and which was carried out on behalf of the region. As well, when the survey was conducted by some of the local citizens, he reviewed that along with the subcommittee of the Academy of Medicine of Hamilton-Wentworth which deals with environmental health.
Based on a review of both studies, his advice to us has been that his professional opinion and the professional opinion of the physicians on the Academy of Medicine subcommittee is to the effect that an epidemiological study is not warranted. Notwithstanding that, recognizing the intense public concern and interest in this matter, I have directed my officials to indicate to the medical officer 0f health, Dr. Cunningham, that we in the ministry are prepared, based on their decision in the health unit, to fund a full-scale epidemiological study.
Mr. Isaacs: Could the minister outline whether he would be prepared to do that if there were medical evidence other than from the medical officer of health? We need that study now, and to wait for a person who has been negative in the past to come around to our way of thinking may just be an undue delay.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Just because he has not agreed with the honourable member in the past does not mean he is wrong. What he has said is that in his professional opinion, and he is after all trained in epidemiology and in public health, and in the opinion of the physicians in the academy whom he consulted, it is not warranted. What I am saying to the honourable member is, notwithstanding that, what I have indicated to him through my officials is that we think we should go the extra mile to be absolutely certain and conduct a full-scale epidemiological study, and we are prepared to fund that.
NONRESIDENT AGRICULTURAL LAND OWNERSHIP
Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Since it has been drawn to the minister’s attention in very strong terms that farmers in Ontario are becoming increasingly concerned about foreign investment in farm land, what measures are he and the Premier now contemplating to restrict this practice?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, in response to the honourable member, I got a very apologetic letter in the mail today from an individual from Huron county. It pointed out that he was the sponsor of this resolution that I am supposed to have had, and again I say I have not received the resolution as yet.
Let me assure you, Mr. Speaker, that this government brought legislation before this House. There was no opposition any place in this House. In fact, it got the full support of this House. That legislation has the same effect as retroactive legislation, and the sponsors of the resolution the honourable member is referring to were not knowledgeable of the act that was approved by all members of this House, or the resolution would not have happened.
Mr. Riddell: The legislation the minister is referring to is the registration bill where all foreign owners will have to disclose the purchases of farm land. Why has that registration bill not been proclaimed, when it was given royal assent in June? In other words, is the minister really serious? Does he not agree that much of our good farm land can fall out of Canadian ownership while he is busy trying to monitor the situation?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: I made it quite clear that it would be a year and a half to two years before we would know what the extent of foreign ownership is in this province. Again I point out to the honourable members of this House that the bill in itself is retroactive legislation. It gives the individuals who now own land and reside outside Canada up to one year to register that. So whether it had been proclaimed June 1 before the legislation was passed or October 1 matters very little.
Mr. Speaker, for your information and for the information of the House, we have plans to proclaim the bill to be effective December 1.
AID TO PENSIONERS
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Revenue. It has now come to light that nursing home residents will get much less in grants under the new senior citizens’ tax grants scheme than they got under the previous tax credit system. Will the Minister of Revenue reconsider his misguided policy, which cuts off all nursing home residents who receive any subsidy, however small, from the seniors’ property tax grant, even though they pay substantial sums out of their own pockets? Will he also bring in an amendment to the legislation to ensure that they are not worse off than they were under the previous tax credit program?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member is not taking into consideration the fact that this was a package program for senior citizens. At the time this program was designed, the fact that there would be a $35 increase from the federal government in the guaranteed income supplement was taken into account. Included in our program was an additional $10 per month increase in the Guaranteed Annual Income System. When you total those two, we are really talking about an increase of $45 a month to those seniors in nursing homes and senior citizens’ homes who are eligible, which comes to something like $540 a year, which is considerably more than they were getting under the Ontario tax credit program.
Ms. Bryden: The Minister of Revenue is hiding behind the federal grant of $35 to justify taking away a benefit that seniors in nursing homes and in old folks’ homes were receiving last year. He is taking away something they had.
Hon. Mr. Maeck: People in senior citizens’ homes and nursing homes do not pay property taxes. The new program is designed to compensate people who pay property taxes or rent. That is the reason we increased the GAINS, to compensate for the pension tax credit. We did take into consideration that there would be an increase in the guaranteed income supplement as well. People in senior citizens’ homes or nursing homes do not pay property tax or rent.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, by way of supplementary: Given that the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton) got into a big argument with the Minister of National Health and Welfare, suggesting that in no way would federal money be calculated in in such a way as to reduce the province’s responsibility to these people, why is the Minister of Revenue now referring to federal money as though it had something to do with this question?
Why does the minister simply not do the right thing -- which would help him politically, as well as any other way -- and, instead of just giving the money to the millionaires who do not need it, say that nobody will get less under the new plan than they would have got under the old plan?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: This whole question arose in debates in the Legislature during the presentation of the legislation. The answers have all been given by the Treasurer.
We do not feel that people in nursing homes or senior citizens’ homes are being penalized in any way, shape or form. They have more money at their disposal now than they had before.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Minister of Education: Why would the minister and her colleague the Minister of Revenue use a different standard for the enumeration of French-speaking citizens in this province than for other citizens by using the method of the business reply card? French-speaking citizens who want to participate in the French-language advisory committees have to send in cards, something other citizens in this province do not have to do to be enumerated.
Secondly, is the minister aware that in many cases the enumerators are not even leaving the cards? If it is her intention to enumerate French-speaking citizens in this province, why does she not do it right? Why does she not do it the way she enumerates everybody else?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the request that was made of the government of Ontario was to provide assistance to the French-language advisory committees in determining the electorate that might be available to elect members to French-language advisory committees, which are committees of a board of school trustees and not, in fact, school trustees.
We examined this carefully, attempted to find a way in which we could accommodate that request as rapidly as possible and developed the method that has been outlined by the member for Ottawa East: each enumerator on arriving at each door would ask whether there were French-speaking residents within that household and, if there were any, would leave a specific card for a response to be sent to the Ministry of Education for distribution to the board.
This is a way of attempting to provide additional information to French-language advisory committee members and to those who might wish to stand for election as French-language advisory committee members. We anticipate it will give us a fairly reasonable degree of assistance to those individuals, outside of total enumeration. It is being done within 39 areas in the province -- all of the areas in which there are French-language advisory committees. Since there are not French-language advisory committees in all areas of the province, it would appear to be less than totally rational to ask the question right across the province.
Mr. Roy: While proceeding to do something and enumerate them, what the minister wants to do is identify them so they can participate in this process which was established by the Legislature of Ontario.
I ask the minister why she does not do it properly. For instance, why would she leave with the enumerators the decision of whether a card should be left? This is a value judgement for enumerators and very often the card is not left. I have evidence that the card is not left by the enumerator.
Second, why would the minister impose a burden on a French-speaking citizen to send in a card rather than ask directly: “Are you French-speaking? Are you in support of the French-language advisory committee?” Why does the minister not just ask the question without leaving the card?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I doubt very much that having to complete a card is an additional burden in the democratic process. However, I would like to ask the honourable member if he does have instances in which the card is not being left when the answer to the question has been there are French-speaking individuals residing in that house. I think my colleague the Minister of Revenue should be aware of this, because I am told and I believe that all enumerators were asked specifically to ask that question at every house at which they knocked.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The minister is aware that she was asked to have two specific questions asked, and they were not asked. Inasmuch as I warned her about what had happened in the Scarborough experience, where they sent something around door-to-door and the returns were very low, can she tell us the state of the returns at this time? In a place like Metropolitan Toronto, where we have a fairly good idea of how many French electors there should be, how many has she actually got back?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I cannot give the member that figure, but I can find out and report to the House.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Industry and Tourism; perhaps we should rename him the Minister of Deindustrialization.
I would like to ask the minister if he is aware that, as of the end of July, the auto pact deficit was $250 million higher than it was at the same time last year? In a speech at the beginning of May, the minister stated that he supports the concept of 100 per cent Canadian value-added, which would eliminate the deficit. What steps has the minister taken between May 1 and now to have that accomplished, or is he all talk and no action?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Of course, Mr. Speaker, until I take leave of my senses and run federally, or until the Conservative government once again returns to office in Ottawa, I will not have --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Just some levity, guys -- just some levity.
We all know that, in terms of the provisions of the auto pact, all we can do is make strong, well-reasoned and well-researched presentations to the federal government. I am encouraged that my friend the Honourable Herb Gray has instituted discussions in Washington. I am not encouraged with the process of those discussions, but since that time we have communicated again with Ottawa and with Washington to let them know our views at every point possible. In terms of the specific things that a provincial government can do to look after that imbalance, what we can do is make sure we continue to get growth in auto parts production. It is interesting to take note that in the midst of the problems the auto industry is now facing, in the midst of all the gloom and doom about the auto industry, and it is going through difficult times, we have had announced or begun, in this year alone, 72 new plants or plant expansions in the auto parts industry in this province, for an investment of $2.3 billion and some 10,000 new jobs. I think that is a very remarkable record and I would challenge the member opposite to compare that to the record of any other jurisdiction during this period of time.
Mr. Cooke: Unfortunately, I do not have the statistics at my fingertips on how many plants have been closed and how many workers have been thrown out of work. The minister gives us the positive statistics, but we know the unemployment rate in the auto industry is 25 per cent.
Since 95 per cent of the auto workers reside and work in this province, and since the president of General Motors stated recently in a Globe and Mail article that he feels his company is doing a lot to meet the terms of the auto pact but that Ford and Chrysler are not doing nearly enough, and since the minister said recently in a speech in Windsor that all of us in Ontario know what his government’s position is on the auto pact, would the minister table with the Legislature a position paper on how he feels the auto pact is functioning and what concrete suggestions he has for the federal government to do to make sure the auto pact does start working in favour of auto workers here in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I must simply say that we do not have any studies, documents or positions on the auto pact in this government which we keep secret. If I tell them to Herb Gray, I say it in this assembly. I have said it in the speeches I have given and it is all out there, open on the record.
Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Has the minister conducted an inventory of the various parts manufactured in the United States that could possibly be manufactured in Canada, and alerted the manufacturers so that they could bid on these, in the hope that possibly those parts, rather than being made either in the United States or offshore, could be manufactured here in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: That work in fact is under way. I must say that to pretend the government will be more successful in getting its hands on that information and delivering it to the private sector than the companies would be if they really got on board that project would be to mislead the House.
Happily, and this is the extent to which my friend quoted GM, and I think with accuracy, GM is really onside in that project. They are really actively displaying, showing and trying to ascertain those parts that can be made in Canada and getting it out to auto parts. I must say quite openly that Ford and Chrysler have not been as aggressive in that area, and we are working with them to get them more onside in that exercise.
NIAGARA REGIONAL HEALTH UNIT LABOUR DISPUTE
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health concerning the Niagara regional health unit. Is the minister satisfied that at the present time the people of the Niagara region are receiving the best possible protection in terms of inspection and other services in the light of the fact they have been without the services of these expert and professional personnel for so many months?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Obviously, Mr. Speaker, the “best possible” would be if the labour dispute could be resolved and everybody got back to work. The services being provided are being closely monitored by the ministry. There is a new medical officer of health in the region as of last Wednesday: Dr. Mills, formerly the MOH in Sudbury. I am advised by my staff, who keep me regularly posted on this, that the supervisory staff have been able to look after the essential things.
As the member knows, we have also consistently indicated that ministry staff would be available on call to come in if they were needed. To date the unit has not found it necessary to call that offer in, as it were. Obviously, the best situation would be to get it resolved. As the honourable member knows, it has been put to a vote -- what is it? -- three times and rejected. The Ministry of Labour mediators are involved in trying to bring the parties together, and I can only hope that will happen soon.
Mr. Bradley: In view of the fact, as the minister has pointed out, they have been close to an agreement on at least a couple of occasions, would he not believe that yet another effort and perhaps a personal effort on the part of the Minister of Labour would bring about the kind of settlement that would be satisfactory to the many workers who are now on strike from the Niagara regional health unit and obviously want to get back to work and that would ensure the public would be adequately protected?
It is difficult to believe the supervisory staff of the health unit could do the same job that the entire inspecting staff has been doing over this past period of time.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I am sorry if I left the impression that the supervisory staff is doing everything that was done before. I did not mean to leave that impression. If that were the case, we could do with a much smaller unit.
I said the advice I have had from my officials, who are monitoring it very closely, is that all of the essential services are being carried out, undoubtedly straining the supervisory staff to their limits.
As regards the earlier part of the honourable member’s supplementary question, I would suggest he refer that matter to my colleague the Minister of Labour when he arrives today or tomorrow,
Mr. Swart: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In view of the condemnation of the health unit board by the former director, the medical officer of health, and his implication that the board had not really dealt properly with the union on these issues, has the minister himself made any direct contact with the board, asking them to take the steps necessary for settlement?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I have had correspondence with both the union and the management over six months now, off and on. Of course, we have been urging both sides to do everything possible to arrive at an early settlement. If there are some problems with the board, then I submit that the power of rectification and the responsibility for it rests at the local level, where the board is appointed. I can be corrected on this, but I believe there are only two members of the board who are appointed by order of the Lieutenant Governor in Council. The rest are all appointed locally.
Mr. Kerrio: A final supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Has the minister made a major change in policy where he no longer has a medical doctor directing the unit down there? Is he now going more or less towards a management type of individual? Has that caused some problem down there?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I do not think that is a supplementary, but we are working and have been working for some time on a complete overhaul of the Public Health Act; it will be the first total revision of it in more than 100 years. I anticipate releasing a white paper on that matter this fall, the idea being to encourage discussion that will lead to introduction of the bill in the spring session and passage at that time.
One of the issues we have not resolved yet, but about which we have been in discussion with the Society of Medical Officers of Health, the Association of Boards of Health, the Ontario Medical Association and the Ontario Public Health Association, is the question of whether in future the medical officer of health should continue to be the chief executive officer of a public health unit. There are arguments pro and con on that, and frankly I have not made up my mind as to what I will tell the staff to put in the white paper.
TVONTARIO MULTICULTURAL PROGRAMS
Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, 1 have a question of the Minister of Culture and Recreation. Does the minister remember his commitment when I asked him a question about TVOntario and multicultural programs? He told the House it was his intent to further the multicultural programs on TVOntario. If he does remember, can he explain how it is that in the new brochure distributed today, a big, glossy and beautiful brochure, there is only one item that talks about multiculturalism?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, in the first instance I should say that TVOntario is of course a crown corporation. It does not take detailed instructions, nor should it, from the Ministry of Culture and Recreation as to what it should or should not be showing.
I can also assure the member for Downsview that it is going to have far more multicultural programs than is indicated in that brochure to which he refers. I can give him more detailed information on this.
I just attended one of TVOntario’s regional meetings last Thursday night in Ottawa, and I can assure the member it is very much aware it has a role to play in the development of multicultural programs, without the minister standing at its shoulder telling it what to show and what not to show. It is very much aware of the need for multicultural programs in the province.
Mr. Di Santo: I would like to ask the minister if at some time he can share with this House and the province the concerns of TVOntario and its awareness of the multicultural problems in this society. Can the minister tell us, if there are multicultural programs being developed, when we will know what the programs are? Can the minister also tell us, since he made a commitment last year in this House that he was going to develop multicultural programs through TVOntario and through grants, how is it in three years he gave only three grants for multicultural purposes and there is only one program this year? If there are more programs, can the minister table the names of programs TVOntario will produce this year?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: As I indicated, much more multicultural content in TVOntario programs is scheduled for this year than would be indicated and illustrated in that brochure the member for Downsview has just referred to us. I will be quite prepared to send him a long and detailed list of what TVOntario is committed to. It is producing programs that forward the concept of multiculturalism in this province.
Mr. Ruston: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: If the Minister of Culture and Recreation is expanding that part of TVOntario, when will TVOntario be made available to another million people who do not have that facility available to them at this time, the people in southwestern Ontario and eastern Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Perhaps the honourable member does not realize that at this time more than 85 per cent of the population of Ontario does receive TVOntario programs. In addition to that, I would like to assure him we are very actively considering the expansion of TVOntario. We are aware that there are some pockets where the TVOntario signal does not now reach the people, but I think I will be able to announce some very happy news for some of the people of Ontario in the very near future.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Health. In view of the fact that not many months ago the Ministry of Health was advertising at considerable public expense Happy Hospital Day, and in recent months the government of Ontario has been enjoining the people of this province to recognize that Life Is Good, Ontario and further advising them to Preserve It and Conserve It, I am most anxious to know what conversations the Minister of Health has had with the executive of the Ontario Hospital Association which in recent days has been complaining openly and bitterly about the chronic underfunding that is afflicting its particular sector?
What is the Minister of Health going to do with those 130 public hospitals which, as of September 24, were complaining about being in a current deficit situation, a collective deficit projected for this year of $61 million, and a deficit which the leadership of the Ontario Hospital Association is saying will have a serious, deleterious effect upon the hospital section?
Mr. Speaker: I will give the minister equal time to respond to what he has heard to this point.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to. Let me say, first of all, that to describe the statements of the leadership of the OHA as bitter is inaccurate, totally inaccurate. It will take me a minute or two to give the background.
At this time last year we were working on the budgets for 1980-81. Using the best possible indicators available at the time of salaries and wages in 1980-81 -- and they account for 75 to 80 per cent of all hospital budgets -- and the best indicators of increases in costs for services and supplies, we announced on January 22, 1980, the budgets for 1980-81 for all the public hospitals. At that time, we asked for the budgets from the hospitals by March 31, 1980. We just received the last of those budgets -- but there may be one or two outstanding -- in September.
I meet on a monthly basis and on an as- necessary basis with the Ontario Hospital Association to discuss current concerns.
Mr. Cassidy: That is totally misleading.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I think I will take my seat and challenge the honourable member to withdraw that aside.
Mr. Cassidy: I would suggest, Mr. Speaker, that it took until September for the hospitals to have their budgets since the hospitals have difficulty putting budgets in because of the financial playing of games that goes on in this government. That’s the problem with this--
Mr. Speaker: Order. I didn’t hear the comment.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, he said it was totally misleading, and I demand an apology. I demand it be withdrawn.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, the minister was certainly misrepresenting things to the House. I withdraw the comment I made.
Mr. Speaker: I have a notion that the minister wasn’t misleading.
Mr. Cassidy: With great difficulty, I withdraw the comment, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions -- and answers -- has expired.
COMMENT BY MEMBER FOR OTTAWA CENTRE
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I have a matter of privilege. I think it’s privilege --
Mr. Speaker: You can give it a try.
Mr. Roy: The leader of the NDP last week made a statement in this building in which he was quoted extensively in the only English paper left in Ottawa, the Ottawa Citizen. At the time he was quoted, and I cite here from the Ottawa Citizen, the member for Ottawa Centre told reporters that since minority government began in 1975 the Liberals have moved 11 no-confidence motions and the NDP only three. “We see no need to make an apology for our record as an opposition party,” he said. I am told, Mr. Speaker, that’s not what the member said.
Mr. Speaker: Are you protecting your own privilege or his?
Mr. Roy: No, no, my privilege and the privilege of my constituents who have been misled.
Mr. Speaker: How?
Mr. Roy: This is a misleading statement.
Mr. Speaker: That’s not a point of privilege. It does not abrogate your privileges as a member of this House.
Mr. Roy: Yes, it does. My constituents think we presented 11 motions. It’s the other way around.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: Would it not be proper for me to be able to complete my answer to the effect that, based on the analyses of budgets carried on from May, when the bulk of them started to arrive, to August, starting in early September our area teams of the ministry started to meet with individual hospitals to identify uncontrollable problems that had developed and to rectify them in their budgets.
Mr. Conway: Pursuant to standing order 33(b), we, the undersigned members of the Legislative Assembly, do hereby petition that the annual report of the Ontario Ministry of Health for 1978-79, tabled on October 16, 1979, be referred to the standing committee on social development in order that an examination of the financing of public hospitals in Ontario might be undertaken immediately.
LIQUID INDUSTRIAL WASTE
Mr. Isaacs: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: Earlier this afternoon, the Minister of the Environment informed the House that PCBs had been found in the sludge of the Redhill Creek but not in the water. An official of his ministry is quoted as saying that PCBs have been found in five samples of the water of Redhill Creek taken by the Ministry of the Environment. I wonder, Mr. Speaker, whether you would ask the Minister of the Environment to gather the correct information and table it so that the record of this House may be corrected.
Mr. Speaker: You will have an opportunity at question period tomorrow to make that request of the minister.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
Mr. Gaunt from the standing committee on social development presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your committee begs to report the following bill with certain amendments:
Bill 82, An Act to amend the Education Act, 1974.
Mr. Speaker: Shall the bill be ordered for third reading?
Ordered for committee of the whole House.
SELECT COMMITTEE ON CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM
Mr. MacBeth from the select committee on constitutional reform presented the following report and moved its adoption:
Your select committee on constitutional reform is at present engaged in completing its deliberations with respect to a report, as required by order of reference dated June 3, 1980, and recommends that the time for such report be extended to Friday, October 17, 1980.
Your select committee further recommends that it be authorized to sit on Wednesday, October 8, and Wednesday, October 1, 1980.
Mr. Speaker: I will hear the member for Humber, but I must remind the honourable member that a routine motion like that is usually best handled by a simple motion by the government House leader. If you are asking for us to approve what is contained in a committee report, the normal procedure is for the chairman to move the adjournment of the debate and for it to be reordered for debate on a later occasion.
You do cause the chair some difficulty. However, I will hear what you have to say, and if we have the unanimous consent of the House to put the adoption of that report at this time, I will do so, but you know that we ran into considerable difficulty on a previous occasion. I just want to admonish the members that you could be establishing a precedent that is not in keeping with our present standing orders.
Mr. MacBeth: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. The last thing I want to do is cause you any embarrassment or cause any precedent to be created here which might cause confusion in the future. I will be happy to abide by your guidance.
All we are asking at this time is for two future dates to sit and to apologize for the fact that we did not complete our deliberations by October 1 as ordered by the House. We have two little matters to look at, namely, language rights and natural resources. We hope to complete those on October 8.
All we are asking for now is an extension of time to file our report for October 17 and to be allowed to sit on October 8 and 15; but if you recommend some better way of handling It, I know the committee will be glad to do so.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I find it quite refreshing that one of the committees would actually meet its deadline even by an interim report asking for further time. Frankly, I, for one, appreciate that, rather than the growing procedure whereby the instructions given by the House to give a report at a certain date seem to be uniformly ignored.
As far as we are concerned, I think, understanding the circumstances, we might very well accept the report and not adjourn the debate, giving the committee additional time to complete its work.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, it is certainly agreeable to us either way. The normal way of handling this would be for myself as government House leader to bring in a motion indicating they wanted to amend their terms so they could have a little longer time and also to sit on those days. However, if it is the wish of the House, rather than prolong the business we could accept this report without precedent and we would achieve the same end.
Mr. Speaker: I hear no objections to that course of action.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the standing committees of the House be reconstituted.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I might just say, Mr. Speaker, before reading this that there are so many changes that I think it is easier and better understood by the House and by all those who read Hansard that rather than bringing in a motion to replace so and so with so and so, it is easier just to reconstitute all the standing committees and read their membership. That is what I am now doing.
General government: Messrs. Ashe, Charlton, Cureatz (chairman), Dukszta, Epp, Hennessy, Hodgson, Laughren, Leluk, Mancini, McEwen, McGuigan, Rotenberg, Samis and G. E. Smith.
Resources development: Messrs. Eaton, J. Johnson, Lane, Lupusella, Makarchuk, McNeil, G. I. Miller, W. Newman, J. Reed, Riddell, Swart, J. A. Taylor, Van Horne, Villeneuve (chairman), Wildman and Yakabuski.
Administration of justice: Mr. Bradley, Mrs. Campbell, Messrs. Cooke, Havrot, Kerr, Makarchuk, McCaffrey, Philip (chairman), Roy, Mrs. Scrivener, Messrs. Sterling, Stong, Swart, C. Taylor, Williams and Young.
Social development: Messrs. Belanger, Blundy, Bounsall, Gaunt (chairman), Grande, Jones, Kennedy, Kerrio, Martel, McClellan, O’Neil, Ramsay, Rowe, Sweeney, Turner and Watson.
Public accounts: Messrs. Germa, Hall, Isaacs, Leluk, MacBeth, Makarchuk, Peterson, Ramsay, T. P. Reid (chairman), Sargent, G. Taylor and Turner.
Regulations and other statutory instruments: Messrs. Cureatz, M. N. Davison, Eakins, MacDonald, McCaffrey, McKessock, Rollins and Williams (chairman).
Members’ services: Ms. Bryden, Mrs. Campbell (chairman), Messrs. Jones, B. Newman, G. E. Smith, Worton, Watson and Young.
Procedural affairs: Messrs. Breaugh (chairman), Charlton, M. Davidson, Mancini, Rotenberg, Rowe, Ruston and Sterling.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the select committees of the House be reconstituted as follows:
Company law: Messrs. Blundy, Breithaupt (chairman), Cunningham, Germa, Hodgson, Laughren, Lawlor, MacBeth, T. P. Reid, Rotenberg, G. E. Smith, G. Taylor, Van Horne and Yakabuski.
Ombudsman: Mrs. Campbell, Messrs. Eakins, Havrot, Isaacs, Lane, Lawlor (chairman), McClellan, G. I. Miller, J. A. Taylor and Villeneuve.
Ontario Hydro affairs: Messrs. Ashe, Belanger, Bounsall, Bradley, Cureatz, Foulds, Haggerty, Hennessy, Kerrio, Leluk, MacDonaid (chairman), Mackenzie, McGuigan and Williams.
Constitutional reform: Mrs. Campbell, Messrs. Conway, Di Santo, H. F. Johnston, Leluk, MacBeth (chairman), McCaffrey, Ramsay, Renwick, Roy, Samis, Sweeney, G. Taylor, J. A. Taylor and Villeneuve.
Motion agreed to.
PRIVATE MEMBERS’ PUBLIC BUSINESS
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that Mr. Kerr be deleted from the order of precedence for private members’ public business and that all members of the Progressive Conservative caucus listed below be advanced by one place in their turn.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the select committee on company law be authorized to travel to Vancouver for the period October 17 to October 22 and that the provisions of section 66 of the Legislative Assembly Act not apply except to cover actual committee expenses.
Motion agreed to.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
BEEF CATTLE MARKETING AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Henderson moved first reading of Bill 152, An Act to amend the Beef Cattle Marketing Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, in order that the honourable members will understand the act: first, it is to change the method of calculating the licence fee to increase it up to two tenths of one per cent; second, it is to provide for a livestock commissioner to issue a list of plans approved for purchase of cattle on a carcass weight basis; third, it is to increase the penalty for contravention of the act or regulation to a maximum of $1,000.
WARBLE FLY CONTROL REPEAL ACT
Hon. Mr. Henderson moved first reading of Bill 153, An Act to repeal the Warble Fly Control Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, for those who do not understand this act, it would appear they have not been infested with warble fly, but the act is just to repeal that act.
EMPLOYMENT STANDARDS AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Van Horne moved first reading of Bill 154, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to amend the Employment Standards Act in order to provide additional protection to employees who are laid off or whose employment is terminated. The bill extends the time period for giving notice to an employee of a layoff or termination of employment. The bill requires an employer to provide assistance to the Minister of Labour, trade unions and employees in any action or program designed to re-establish employees in employment. The bill also requires an employer to pay severance pay to employees whose employment is terminated.
FULL EMPLOYMENT ACT
Mr. Lupusella moved first reading of Bill 155, An Act respecting Full Employment in the Ontario Economy.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Lupusella: Mr. Speaker, the bill requires the Treasurer of Ontario to table in the Legislative Assembly an economic report setting out the plan of the government of Ontario for economic development and the achievement of full employment.
The bill also establishes a standing committee of the Legislative Assembly to be known as the standing committee on economic development, to evaluate the state of the economy, to monitor the economic development of Ontario, to assist the progress of the government of Ontario towards achieving full employment and to investigate problems in the economy.
JOB SECURITY ACT
Mr. M. Davidson moved first reading of Bill 156, An Act respecting the Security of Employment in Ontario.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. M. Davidson: Mr. Speaker, this bill establishes measures designed to protect the security of employment in Ontario. Part I of the bill provides for the establishment of a job protection board. The job protection board is required to study and report upon and make recommendations concerning layoffs and plant closings that are of major significance.
The Minister of Labour is given authority to make orders designed to reduce the impact of layoffs and plant closings on individual employees and communities.
Part II of the bill establishes a community adjustment fund for the purpose of providing assistance to communities that are detrimentally affected by layoffs and plant closings.
Part III of the bill contains amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 1974, and to the Labour Relations Act. These amendments are designed to provide employees with additional rights regarding notice of termination, termination pay, rehiring rights and relocation rights.
Part IV of the bill contains amendments to the Pension Benefits Act. These amendments reduce the vesting period under pension plans to five years and establish a central pension agency to administer the pension credits of employees whose pension plan is terminated or wound up.
WOMEN’S ECONOMIC EQUALITY ACT
Mr. Charlton moved first reading of Bill 157, An Act respecting Economic Equality for Women in Ontario.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Charlton: Mr. Speaker, this bill establishes the equal employment office in the Ministry of Labour and the equal employment tribunal. The bill requires designated employers to report to the equal employment office information relating to rates of pay and the number of male and female employees in occupational categories.
The director of the equal employment office is authorized to order an employer to prepare an affirmative action program. Where an employer disagrees with the director’s order, or where the employer and director cannot agree on an affirmative action program, an application may be made to the tribunal to resolve the dispute.
The bill also contains provisions requiring the government of Ontario to develop a comprehensive skills training and apprenticeship plan designed to increase the number of women in occupational categories in which women are traditionally underrepresented.
The bill declares the right of every person in Ontario to accessible, quality day care service for children for whom the person is responsible.
The bill also contains amendments to the Employment Standards Act, 1974, establishing the principle of equal pay for work of equal value and constituting sexual harassment as an offence under that act.
PLANT CLOSING NOTICE AND DISCLOSURE ACT
Mr. Mackenzie moved first reading of Bill 158, An Act respecting Plant Closures and Disclosure in Ontario.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Mackenzie: The purpose of this bill is to establish procedures for giving notice, including 26 weeks’ notice to the employees of a decision to close a plant. It provides for a public audit board. The bill contains a provision clarifying that the Ontario Development Corporation is authorized to invest in a plant regarding which a notice of plant closing has been issued under the act.
LABOUR RELATIONS AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Mackenzie moved first reading of a bill entitled An Act respecting amendments to the Labour Relations Act.
Mr. Speaker: I can’t understand it. Tell him to reintroduce it tomorrow when I can read it.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
MOTION TO SUSPEND NORMAL BUSINESS
PROTECTING WORKERS FROM LAYOFFS
Mr. Cassidy: Pursuant to section 34 of the standing orders, Mr. Speaker, I want to move that the ordinary business of the House be set aside to discuss a matter of urgent public importance, namely the failure of the ministry to ensure adequate job security for Ontario workers in respect of layoffs and plant closures. This is evidenced by the fact that at least 138,850 people have been laid off so far in 1980. Legislation covering notice, severance pay and pension portability is grossly inadequate to protect the economic rights of workers who have become victims of layoffs and plant closures. I move the motion and I could then speak to it.
Mr. Speaker: The notice of motion was received in time and complies with the standing order. I will listen to the honourable member for up to five minutes as to why he thinks the ordinary business of the House should be set aside.
Mr. Cassidy: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Ten months ago this House held a debate on the layoffs in the auto industry and the crisis in that industry. Since then things have become worse and have spread beyond the automobile industry to other firms and into every corner of the province.
So far, as the resolution says, more than 138,000 workers in the province have been put on layoff since the beginning of this year. That is close to 1,000 every working day, and 4,600 of those layoffs are permanent or indefinite; in other words, the jobs are permanently lost.
The workers in this province are up against a wall and the legislation that is meant to protect them is, quite simply, inadequate. All the workers get right now, when they face a layoff, is the notice they are to lose their jobs. There is no justification, there is no guarantee of a cent in severance pay, they don’t have the protection of their pension rights. We have situations like the workers at the Houdaille plant in Oshawa where, with an average of 29 years of seniority, they were offered one week’s severance pay for every seven years of service.
The workers in that case stood up for their rights when the government would not. They sat out at the plant and finally the company was forced to come to some better terms.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Give the minister a little credit.
Mr. Cassidy: I want to give the workers credit, Mr. Speaker, because it is the workers who had to do it. Too many workers are being left without that protection at all.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Give him a little credit as well.
Mr. Cassidy: I would like to give him credit when the government brings in the necessary legislation and that is what this emergency debate is all about.
When the Premier drove by the Tung-Sol plant in his home riding of Brarnpton, he wouldn’t even wave his hand at the workers there who were left with $800 offered to them in severance pay for up to 11 years of service.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You are getting very petty. The reality is that I didn’t drive by.
Mr. Cassidy: They said you did. The workers in Ontario, as far as we are concerned, should not have to resort to occupation in order to get justice. They should not be left high and dry; there should be legislative protection in Ontario.
There is a critical need for longer notice periods. There is a critical need for legislation that will require corporations to justify layoffs. There is a critical need for a guarantee of severance pay. There is a critical need for vesting improvements and for portability for workers whose pensions are affected by layoffs. Without that change In legislation, confrontation is inevitable.
We think workers need action and solutions from the Ontario Legislature. The outlook now is for no improvement over the coming months. We could be faced with layoffs in the next few weeks that are every bit as severe as the ones we have experienced over the course of the last seven or eight months. That is why we believe this is a matter of urgent public importance for which the ordinary business of the House should be set aside. We think the workers should get protection for job security, protection for their severance pay and protection for their pension, and they need that protection now. That is why we want the debate.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, in the interest of saving time, I will simply say that we certainly believe the way in which Ontario has now become the layoff capital of Canada is certainly not creating any particular joy or pride in the homes of thousands and thousands of Ontarlans and it doesn’t give us any joy or pride either. We would rather be talking frankly about how we can get this economy moving again. We think some of the industrial strategies that have been recommended on this side of the House from time to time would have been helpful, but they have not been adopted. Instead, we find ourselves having at least to bandage the wounds if we can’t cure the disease.
I must say I was surprised and it seems to me absolutely incredible that after an entire summer of these sit-ins and occupations, layoffs by the thousands of persons, the marches and so on, the government could have not have come in here on the first day of this House and presented some legislation along the lines of improving the Employment Standards Act with regard to severance pay, layoff notice and portability of pension, although I will admit that is a slightly more different matter but, none the less, one that should have been addressed by now.
I can’t believe that we have been treated, on a day like this, to a bill to repeal the Warble Fly Control Act, or that the government needs four more days or five more days or whatever more days -- I don’t know how many more -- in order to come in with something as vital and important as protection for the working people.
Without belabouring the matter, I would simply say that we too believe this is a matter of urgent importance. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I would like to start this session on a somewhat friendlier note than the need to be provocative.
I would say that I look forward to the government’s legislation and I hope that it is good enough. If it is not good enough and if it is not within some reasonable hailing distance of what we have suggested should be the case in Ontario, then, although I am not here on the first day to provoke confrontations, I think we should accept the fact that a government that won’t protect its workers should be defeated and a new one should be elected.
It may be that to accomplish that the members of the third party may feel some obligation that a motion be worded in their own language or something. That is fine -- I don’t mind -- but by one means or another I think we should combine, if necessary, to bring down this government if it will not act to protect the interest of the workers. We don’t think an emergency debate is sufficient to force this government to act. We believe the government must know the opposition means business.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I think we would agree there are certain facts on both sides of this issue that should be explored, and they should be explored in a calm and reasonable way.
The problems of unemployment, whether it be regional, temporary, general, or whatever, of a permanent nature or a temporary nature, is a serious matter; we accept that. We also accept, though, that it is something upon which no party in this House has any monopoly. I have a group of colleagues in this cabinet who have probably spent more time thinking and worrying and trying to develop programs in this area than the honourable member has ever even thought about.
No level of unemployment is acceptable to this government, and we have never said that, and no level of layoffs is acceptable.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, the trouble is the members on that side approach everything with tunnel vision. They are looking only at a problem. They forget the fact that we have in this province this year 35,000 more people working than we had at this time last year. The Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) is going to fulfil his pledge of creating 59,000 new lobs. As my colleague the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) just said, in the automobile industry there have been 72 new plants coming on stream, creating about 10,000 new jobs.
What all that means is, while looking at the problems -- and we admit there are problems created by plant closings and there are real serious problems for the people affected -- we are also looking at a total broad picture of not only plant closings and problems created, but total revitalization of the economy of Ontario, something which I think the honourable members forget about, and I think it must be looked at in a total picture. In a mixed economy and a free market society, which we believe in, we can’t totally control all layoffs, and I don’t think there is anyone in this House who wants to, to the extent that they want government control to that degree in this province and in this country. Therefore, all we can do is look for ways that we can minimize the problems, and I suggest to the members that we over here are just as concerned about that as they over there and that as plans unfold they will find that concern coming forward in the reality of action programs.
I don’t want to be provocative in my remarks, and I certainly didn’t mean to be in these few remarks, as I stood up merely to indicate that we certainly have no objection to this matter being aired in a very thoughtful and careful way. We think there are initiatives and discussions that can be helpful. Our friends in the New Democratic Party have suggested that this be a matter of debate today. We certainly wouldn’t object to that procedure being followed.
Mr. Speaker: I have listened very carefully to comments from representatives of all parties. There seems to be general agreement that it is of urgent public importance. It does comply with standing order 34, so the only question before the House is, shall the debate proceed?
Mr. Speaker: I will listen to the member for Ottawa Centre for up to 10 minutes.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, in my riding of Ottawa Centre the Beach foundry has closed down effective October 1, the Ottawa Journal was crucified by large corporate management with the loss of about 350 jobs, and what has happened in Ottawa Centre has been happening in many parts of the province and not just to people who work in the automobile industry.
In Peterborough the other day I met with workers from the Outboard Marine plant, a plant which in 1973 had 2,400 workers. Systematically, the foreign ownership of that corporation has stripped it of activity and stripped it of jobs. They do not make chain saws any more; they do not make snowmobiles any more; they do not export to Latin America any more.
They have had the machine shop taken out; that has gone now. The production of parts has been taken out. Each of those changes has reduced jobs to the point where they now have only 900 workers, of whom about 300 actually work in the plant. That is one example of hundreds across the province where layoffs are taking place, and this province is becoming deindustrialized.
I could mention Canadian General Electric which has also had a systematic stripping of jobs in its cable operations in Peterborough. I could mention Peterborough Lumber, DeLaval, Houdaille, Tung-Sol, Bendix, Arrowhead, Steeprock, Massey, White Motor, Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, Canada Ferro, Gabriel, Sealed Power in Stratford, Vulcan Equipment in Fergus, Crownfab in Oakville, the Essex International plant in Dunnville, which used to have almost 1,000 workers. It had 98 when the final blow came just a few weeks ago. They came back from holiday to be told there were no jobs for them.
This is what is happening across the province and in our opinion it is not good enough for the government to rest all summer and then for the Premier (Mr. Davis) to say we need a balanced approach, for the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) to say as far as he is concerned workers sitting in at plants to get their rights is not the way to go, and for the Minister of Industry and Tourism to spread scare stories across the province in trying to dissuade anybody from wanting to take any action.
As far as New Democrats are concerned, the protection for workers in this province is grossly inadequate. Again and again, I have met workers who have told me about the situation in their plants. Typically, until the plant actually closes, they are assured and reassured and assured again that nothing is going to happen. Management says: “Everything is okay. Of course we are having a study, but don’t worry, fellows, don’t worry, girls, nothing is going to happen.”
Under Ontario law nothing needs to be done by management until they finally decide on a mass layoff. If a mass layoff takes place, the notice is a maximum of four months if 500 workers or more are to lose their jobs, but in most cases it is only eight weeks when 50 to 100 or 200 workers are actually involved. That is far too little time for a community to respond and for the government to respond either to save the company or to find new jobs for the workers who are affected.
I want to suggest and will suggest--over the course of this fall, if we cannot set action today, then what is done in the Common Market countries could surely happen in Ontario as well. It is not good enough for the government to keep maintaining that what happens in Pennsylvania or in New York is the only standard by which we should live. I notice West Germany and France and the other countries of the Common Market have very successful industrial economies. Corporations in those countries manage to live and to work with layoff protection and job security legislation that puts this province to shame.
In Sweden there is a six-month notice period if more than 100 workers are laid off. In West Germany the works council which is elected by workers has to be informed before a proposal to shut a plant down even goes before the works council. In Ontario there is nothing like that at all. In other countries it is accepted now that workers have an investment in a company, the community has an investment in a company that has been in a town for a long time and that investment of the community and the workers should be recognized in, turn by putting responsibilities on to the corporation.
Here there is no sense of corporate responsibility at all unless we can get some changes, and I plead with the government to be prepared to bring legislation in, to acknowledge the investment that workers and the communities have in a company and not just the investment of the shareholders. In other countries the companies are required to open their books in order to show why they are laying off or why they are shutting down. In this province there is no such requirement at all.
At Tung-Sol in the Premier’s riding they told me there had been a feasibility study or an unfeasibility study carried out by the head office in the United States which was the basis on which the shutdown was determined, but neither the workers nor the union nor the community nor the government of Ontario ever had a look at that feasibility study to see whether it was a sensible argument or whether, in fact, it was a crocked-up piece of nonsense designed to protect the head office or designed to prove simply that a slightly greater profit could be earned by putting workers in Canada out of their jobs.
The European Common Market has now directed all member countries to require employers to consult with worker representatives for ways to avoid layoffs. We should do that in this province. The countries of the European Economic Community say companies must supply their workers with all relevant information and should justify dismissals to the government. That should happen here in this province. That is why my colleagues have tabled legislation today to establish a job protection board in Ontario, specifically to protect workers and give us the maximum chance of saving plants that are headed for shutdown. I believe that should be enacted and put into law between now and Christmas.
This summer, the workers at Houdaille and at Tung-Sol moved into the plants to try to get some justice. They won in the short term; they got better severance pay and better pension protection. But the fact is that two thirds of the workers in this province don’t belong to a union. Half of the workers in industry in this province don’t have the protection of a union. They look to government for protection, because if government doesn’t protect them, they have no protection at all.
I have a list here of communities that are affected by the layoffs. Every major community across the province, and most of the small ones as well, has had some form or another of a share in the 138,000 jobs that have been lost because of layoffs over the course of this year.
When workers are laid off, they should have a right to severance pay. That is the law in Mexico, which is a poor country that has taken jobs away from Canada. That is the law in Britain, where they get a week and a half of severance pay for every year of service. In Japan, Italy and Spain, countries with which we compete, workers get between two and three years of severance pay if they are thrown out of their jobs, rather than a handshake and directions to the unemployment insurance office, which is all they get here in Ontario. It is time we made severance pay a right and a reality for the workers in Ontario, the way it is in most other industrialized countries of the world.
Finally, when it comes to pensions, the record in Ontario is no better than anywhere else I have talked about. The fact is that there is no effective pension protection except when a worker is over 45 years of age and has had more than 10 years of service. We think it is time to change that and to change it fast, not to wait for studies and reports and royal commissions and that kind of thing.
Let’s act now while workers are actually being affected. Let’s give some security to workers who feel their jobs are on the line. Let’s start responding to the insecurity so many of our workers feel In Ontario today. Let’s start getting some action from the government, rather than pious sermons from ministers to explain why the government continues to believe that all it can do is to listen to the voice of the Canadian Manufacturers’ Association.
We think the crisis can no longer be ignored. We think measures are needed for job creation and that job creation has got to start now. We are very concerned about the fact that some 18,000 manufacturing jobs have actually disappeared. We have had a decline of 18,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector between August of last year and August of this year. The manufacturing sector is the engine of growth in the province, and that’s going to continue to be the case in the future if we are to have any economic growth or development at all. But those kinds of things won’t happen so long as this Legislature sits idle.
I want to propose that the government today make a commitment to legislate fair severance benefits, to protect the pension rights of workers, to legislate on portability and vesting; that it agree now to legislation to make corporations justify any shutdown before it actually takes place and to make corporations negotiate with the workers or negotiate with the unions in the communities involved around any shutdown to mitigate the effects to the maximum effect possible.
Those are constructive proposals, Mr. Speaker. I am disappointed that the government didn’t have a statement to make today about what it would do to respond to unemployment.
The Deputy Speaker: The honourable member’s time has expired.
Mr. Cassidy: The crisis is not going to go away until we take action through legislation here in this Legislature.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, as has been mentioned earlier, I will have a statement to make on this matter later in the week. In addition, my statement will deal with some other concerns related to job security: labour-market adjustment problems, individual and community problems that are associated with dislocations in the labour market because of plant closures.
Mr. S. Smith: You had all summer, Bob.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I have to tell the member that we do not all play tennis all summer, and I worked very hard and I continue to work very hard because I am concerned about these matters and these issues. They have been important to me as Minister of Labour and they have been the subject of considerable studies done by me in conjunction with the Ministry of Industry and Tourism and with the Treasurer over the summer. My aim is to present to this House and to the public a set of credible, responsible, affordable and comprehensive proposals that address real problems in this province, rather than proposals that frankly are based on transplanted models from other jurisdictions, which I think have dubious application in the North American context.
I looked forward to making that statement, and while I would have preferred to be in a position to do so, and to be involved in this debate after such a statement, I understand the reasons for the debate today and I am delighted to take part in it.
By way of further introduction and without in any way suggesting that there are no real problems to be addressed, I should like to say that it is important that we examine the facts dispassionately. Too often -- and I think we all know this in our hearts -- individual, highly publicized incidents take on a highly symbolic significance which may not accurately reflect the degree of the problem.
In addition, it is all too often the case that certain employers regrettably fail to live up to what society regards as a legitimate moral obligation to their employees. As a result, and I say this having talked to many companies that have lived up to those obligations, they all get a bad name. However, I want to emphasize that I point these factors out simply to try to put the matter in perspective and to try to deal with the matter on the basis of facts rather than emotions.
Having said that and having indicated that I want to refer to some figures, I do not think in all honesty that human problems can or should lie evaluated on the basis of statistical analysis, and I do not think we can look at plant closures as the bottom line on a company’s profit sheet.
The final observation that I would like to make by way of introduction is that it does not serve the purpose of the province for any of us to indulge in exaggerated hyperbole on a matter that is so critical to our image in Canada and abroad. The fact of the matter is that the economy of Ontario has great and enduring strength, both in terms of its human and natural resources, and more particularly in terms of its manufacturing sector.
Having said that, it is apparent that we, like many or most jurisdictions in North America and, indeed, the western world, are going through difficult times. This has happened to us before and will happen again, and it is no time for us to appear to be despondent or depressed about our future, which I believe remains encouraging.
In these times, we must be imaginative in shaping solutions for what I believe are temporary problems, and it is to these solutions that I will refer in my statement later this week.
My colleagues, the Minister of Industry and Tourism and the Treasurer, will deal in detail regarding the economy and job creation activities in Ontario.
I should like to deal briefly with the available record on layoffs and plant closures and to share with members some of the most recent information on that aspect of the matter which goes to the heart of the problem addressed in the motion by the NDP.
Again, I do not give these figures in any way to suggest that I am disparaging the numbers of unemployed, but rather to set it in a proper context. The leader of the third party has talked about 138,850 people being laid off in 1980. Our figures show that there are 19,586 who have been permanently or indefinitely laid off, and thus the balance we are talking about are those who are on temporary layoff or who have worked in plants that have less than 25 employees.
Let me just look at the figures for April 1980, when there were 11,000 temporary layoffs; in May there were 25,000 temporary layoffs; in June there were 10,000 temporary layoffs; and in July there were 23,000 temporary layoffs. We are already starting to see a turnaround in that area.
I would also like to point out that if the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy) would take the time to read the historical data related to job creation and plant closures, he will find that in every community, town, village, county and country there will always be a certain proportion of new jobs created and a certain proportion of jobs lost.
They are virtually equivalent, in all situations, with fluctuations related to the state of the economy. Indeed, this is what our figures from the Ministry of Labour show. It is almost inevitable that in any year there will be at least 45 to 50 complete closures of plants. In 1979-80, this figure has risen to 68.
Incidentally, it is interesting to note that the number of employees who are dislocated as a result of those complete closures remains virtually the same as it has over the past six or seven years. What is interesting, however, is that there has been a great increase in the number of partial closures and it is here that we see the largest number of employee dislocations.
So there are intrinsic factors in the economy which will result in job loss and job creation in any society at any time and any place. Our main thrust has to be in the job creation area and I think it is important that this government, in a very human and sensitive way, deals with the problem of dislocation facing people in job closure situations.
I think it would be appropriate to refer to the programs which are in place already in this province which aim at giving assistance to employees who are suffering hardship as a result of dislocation. In addition to the federal programs, which cover things such as unemployment insurance, mobility grants and training grants, this province has the Employment Standards Act termination provision which, although some members may say is not enough, I have to say has been in the forefront in North America and continues to be in the forefront in North America. I might say that the number of weeks’ notice required in terms of closure in this province are the equivalent of any figures anywhere in North America. I think one has to take those facts into account when one is talking about changing the law.
I would also say that the province participates in manpower adjustment committees. I know many scoff at these, but the facts are there that something in the neighbourhood of 70 per cent of dislocated employees find new employment with the assistance of manpower adjustment committees. So they have a very effective role to play in dislocations and we will continue to be active and participate in them.
Indeed section 40(a) of the Employment Standards Act gives me the power to compel participation in those committees and I have commenced using that power in recent months.
I would also refer to other matters which the leader of the third party has referred to, specifically the mediation efforts which my ministry took part in with regard to the Houdaille, the Beach and the Tung-Sol closures. I think these are the examples where mediation achieved reasonable, credible and logical settlements and I think we can continue to do that sort of thing in the interim while we think and talk about other programs which we deem to be necessary in the case of worker dislocations.
Finally, I may say that I will be reviewing this matter in greater detail later this week and I look forward to further discussion on the matter.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, we have recently completed a 13-city tour of Ontario and I will tell you, it is not a very pleasant situation to be going around a province which is used to being a leader in Canada and finding ourselves in a place which could best be described as layoff land or pogey province. We find Ontario is now responsible for some 90 per cent of the new unemployment.
When I went out to Alberta, where they like to complain about some of the problems we bring up from time to time, I pointed out to them that if we took last year’s level of unemployment and this year’s level of unemployment, just the difference between the two, the new unemployment in Ontario in one year alone is equivalent to the entire work force in Lethbridge, Red Deer and Medicine Hat, the third, fourth and fifth largest cities in Alberta, combined. We could shut those towns down cold, the entire work force, and that is just the newly unemployed during the last year in Ontario alone.
We have a situation where many of the layoffs which are occurring here and the plant shutdowns which are occurring here are dictated by the foreign owners. Let us not mince words about that. There are decisions made in other countries where the workers or the political situation there dictates to the management that they might be wise to bring some of their production home and they feel entirely free to do so, irrespective of whether the plants here are making money or are not.
In other instances, plants have been closed for reasons even more harebrained than that. If we look at the Westinghouse situation, there was a perfectly profitable plant, the switchgear plant in Hamilton. It was closed because an American president who came up here had some notion that you can get away from your union if you break your plant up into a bunch of small ones and go to rural areas where folks may not be too receptive to union ideas. The Labour Relations Board pointed out that is what happened and the Supreme Court said that is what happened, but the Conservative Minister of Industry and Tourism thinks the company had to deal with workers whom, when they tried to defend their own rights, he referred to as semi-Communist.
This is what we have to deal with with a Conservative government. We have working people who have very little protection. We were in Windsor where a number of people came up to us there and said they had hoped, even though they lost their jobs at Chrysler, that maybe General Motors would start to hire. Yet, many of these people, if they were to go to General Motors, they would forfeit all those pensions they have saved up over the years of working at Chrysler because these pensions are not portable.
How about the people who are being laid off from all these small plants with under 25 employees that the minister seems to regard as being of lesser importance? What about those people who don’t have pensions in many instances, or where the pensions are not vested until 10 or 15 years of service, or where pensions are regarded as a way by which the employer can keep hold of the employee, rather than as the right to deferred wages of the employee?
What about those people in cases where one plant shuts down or they are laid off from another or they change jobs for self-improvement and end up after 20 or 30 years of service with no pension at all, while we are all sitting here protected by the pensions which we are voting ourselves from time to time? Tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, yea, even millions of workers in Ontario do not have pension protection in their private situation, in their place of employment. All we have to do is have a portable pension -- it is not that difficult -- and one that is vested immediately, or at least within a few months of a person’s taking up employment. It can be done.
The Minister of Education does not think it can be done, but the teachers under her employ have pretty good pensions.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: I didn’t say it could not be done.
Mr. S. Smith: It can be done for the working people and it can be done for the people who are either in unionized or nonunionized situations. Remember, most people are still not unionized and need the protection which a government can give them.
What about severance pay? Why should they have to sit in and get into battles with dogs and guards and police just to get decent severance pay? That is not right. We should have laws which give proper severance pay to our working people.
Portable pension, severance pay and layoff notice are concerns. Layoff notice, one can argue, is something which in the long run doesn’t do anybody a terrific amount of good, but at least it helps people over that period of time when they are losing their jobs and have to make other plans for their lives. It is absolutely wrong to continue the way we are now with insufficient layoff notice for these people.
What about the branch plants which are moving the machinery out when they close down the plant? Don’t tell me that is not happening because I know for a fact it is. Companies are shipping out machinery on which, I suspect, they have already taken accelerated depreciation at the public expense. I say that for the Treasurer’s benefit in case he is interested in the matter.
What about this idea of justifying the layoff and justifying the plant closure? It is a difficult one; I realize it is not simple. We can have a tribunal of some kind or a board of some kind; others have suggested the Foreign Investment Review Agency should be involved. We have recommended that there has to be justification for plant shutdown. As to the mechanism, we think that is a very good question for a select committee to deal with over the next couple of months -- to listen to other opinions, bring people in from other jurisdictions and find out what the best mechanism is that would work in Ontario. Don’t just tell us, as this government does, that because they are not doing it in Tennessee or North Carolina we can’t do it here in Ontario.
There was a time when Ontario led this country and led this continent in human rights legislation, in workers’ legislation. That time has long gone. Now we have to wait for everybody else to do something before we do anything here.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Where is there better legislation?
Mr. S. Smith: In Europe. Let us lead again. What is wrong with leading North America? Why do we have to wait for somebody else to do it first?
Hon. F. S. Miller: We are leading North America.
Mr. S. Smith: Oh, sure. Tell me another one. The only thing we’re leading in now is layoffs. We’re the leading province in layoffs. We’re 10th and last in economic growth through the end of the 1970s. We’re 10th and last in the funding of our universities.
The fact of the matter is that in a province --
Mr. S. Smith: Time is moving on, and we have only 10 minutes. Mr. Speaker, we all know we’re talking constitution and so on, and we saw how Ontario was taking its own stand, opposed to the other provinces. And it was a correct stand. But a lot of what was happening there, in my view, was a result of the fact that Ontario is perceived as no longer carrying its economic weight in this Confederation. We’re perceived as the sick old man of Canada, in many ways.
You look at the trade statistics in this country and you see --
Hon. Miss Stephenson: First, Ontario is not an old man.
Mr. S. Smith: When I see the minister, maybe we should be described as the sick old lady of Canadian politics. But the fact is that we’re not carrying our own weight.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: That was a sexist remark.
Mr. Van Horne: Would you accept middle aged, Bette?
Mr. Sweeney: You are getting sensitive, Bette.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, if one looks at our trade statistics right now, one will see that this country has a deficit in manufactured-end-product trade of $18 billion. We’re supposedly the manufacturing arm of this country; we’re supposedly the part of this country that manufactures. The only reason this country stays afloat is because Canada is shipping out raw resources to balance the fact that it is importing manufactured goods.
We’re supposedly the manufacturing province, and we are perceived by the rest of this country as wanting to live on the resources of the rest of the country so we can continue to be the worst manufacturers in the world -- the most inefficient, and those with the least strategic sense of direction.
We require in this province a manufacturing strategy. We’re not going to talk about that today, obviously. But we certainly require, because of the failure of our ability to carry our weight, protection for our working people. Although it is all very well for the minister to say he’s working on a statement, this is now October 6. We haven’t been in this House since the end of June. He has a whole ministry full of officials and civil servants. He should have had a statement ready for this House and for the working people of this province today.
The fact is we require this kind of protection for our working people. It is unfortunate we do not have the manufacturing strategy that would get this province moving again. It will take an election to bring that about, I suspect. But in the meantime, surely the very least we can do is have portable pensions, with earlier immediate vesting, decent severance pay, decent layoff notice, and some procedure, decided by a select committee if you like, by which plant shutdowns have to be justified to their communities, the working people, and the people of Ontario at large.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, this province is experiencing something which I don’t think it has ever in its history seen before. We are accustomed here to seeing firms in the private sector that encounter some financial difficulty laying people off. We are not accustomed to seeing firms in the private sector that are making money deciding that a plant should no longer stay in operation.
We’re not accustomed to that, perhaps because we haven’t looked at it as closely as we should have in the past. But there is no question that corporate decisions are being made in boardrooms, most of which are located somewhere in the United States, that will take even more of our plants out of production.
In my area, since January of this year, we have dropped about 3,000 production jobs. It has happened in bits and pieces. It has happened at Chrysler; it has happened a little bit at General Motors; it has happened a lot at plants like Houdaille and at Firestone.
What we’ve seen now is an entire community, like Whitby, having its major employer, Firestone, taken out of operation. This was not because the plant was losing money, and not because it hadn’t spent its time doing research and development to put in new production facilities and to have in place a work force that was both stable and developing expertise in a field that not many people have.
In the Firestone case, what we saw was a federal government decision that for some strange reason Michelin Tires Canada Limited ought to get gobs of federal money. The end result was that we lost 600 jobs in Whitby. We didn’t really see a great deal of action on the part of the provincial government.
I thought it would be interesting in the case of the Firestone closure to bring that before a committee of this House; and the rules now provide that a member can do that, so we did. We asked members of management to attend before the committee to explain their production decision. In a sense it was simply a policy of retrenchment, not that the Whitby plant was losing a great deal of money or that it hadn’t overcome its early production problems, but that the federal intervention to pump money into Michelin caused them to lose their share of a market that was already overburdened. A corporate decision was made, quickly, simply, cleanly to close the Whitby operation.
We also listened to the tragedy of workers who have invested a lifetime in one plant situation and who all of a sudden are told that the plant is no more, and they will close the doors.
I thought it clear, as we went through those hearings, that there were things which this Legislature should do. I put them on paper and I circulated them to other members of that committee because I had watched with some hope when members of other political parties nodded wisely when the workers told the sad tragedy and asked, “What do you do when you are 49 years old and your plant is gone and there is no more hope for you?”
People at that time seemed to express a great deal of sympathy for these workers and they seemed to agree with the idea that there ought to be better notice of a termination; that if you want to have the government agencies in place to recoup in the private sector they need time -- six months or so. I watched them nod their heads wisely about the idea of a portable pension plan. I watched them listen with great sympathy to the idea that the federal government ought to be made well aware that their intervention in that particular case with Michelin put 600 people in Ontario out of a job.
As we looked at how the relationship was established between the Ontario Development Corporation and various government agencies with the private sector, I saw them look at that and say: “Yes, that really ought to be tightened up. It ought to be clear. There ought to be a clearly defined agreement when government funding goes to work.” I watched, as well, discussion of the matter of skilled trades programs being set up and a temporary assistance benefit program going in the area. In other words, we had a number of points upon which it seemed to me there was clear agreement.
There was clear agreement until we put it on paper and stuck it in front of everybody’s nose and said, “How would you like to vote for a committee report which says that this Legislature ought to do these things?” Then I watched with some sadness as both Liberals and Tories spat in the faces of those workers and decided that although sympathy was appropriate, no further action was.
I am pleased to see that there is some turnaround in the position of the Liberal Party. Although it might be a little bit late, I welcome that. I am a little unhappy that it has taken the government of Ontario more than four months to put together its act in this regard and that in fact it still does not have a response to that, but I understand that one will be forthcoming shortly.
It has not been a pleasant summer in the riding of Oshawa. Some of my favourite people, friends, people I have had a long relationship with, worked at that plant called Houdaille Industries of Canada Limited. Most people had never heard of Houdaille, but if you live in Oshawa you know it well. The average seniority of the people who were occupying that plant was 29 years. Must of them had been there before Houdaille. it is almost a classic example of how screwed up government in Canada really is.
This time last year there were more than 100 people working in that bumper facility. They had, in fact, used every tax incentive, every tax write-off, the governments could devise to re-equip the plant. It had some production problems but they were getting them sorted out. There is about $12 million worth of brand new production machinery sitting idle inside that plant. It was taken over by a corporation called KKR, which is located somewhere between New York City and Fort Lauderdale, Florida -- nobody can quite determine exactly where.
On December 14 of last year the Federal Investment Review Agency accepted KKR’s evidence that they were going to continue that plant in operation, that they had new techniques which no one else in North America had and that it was a safe thing for FIRA to approve; they did that on December 14. On December 15, KKR put up its first notice of layoffs. One day after FlRA approved the takeover of that plant they were posting layoff notices. It just followed and snowballed until one day in June, KKR decided that they could no longer run that plant and that they would take advantage of the looseness of the laws of Ontario and shut it down.
As some people have said before me in this debate, when one looks through the labour laws in Ontario and tries to find severance pay, it ain’t there. There is no word of it. It isn’t covered in any of the legislation here. In fact, when a company like KKR decides to close down a plant like Houdaille, employees are on their own. If workers belong to a good strong union they may be able to negotiate themselves some severance pay, but it ain’t necessarily so.
The workers in that plant are a little politically astute and they are a determined group. They decided among themselves that something had to lie done. It was obvious the government of Ontario was not going to do a damn thing on their behalf. In fact, all the way through that dispute there was not a word uttered by the Minister of Labour, not a word.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: No, just actions.
Mr. Breaugh: I could list for him in very short order the actions taken by the minister in regard to the Houdaille workers; not a thing. I am aware that his staff arranged some meetings and I am aware how those meetings came about as well.
That is pretty rough justice, when people are left to their own devices. That is a pretty rotten way to run a government. It is a pretty rotten situation for people to be in.
The decisions that are being made now and the kind of lives that are being destroyed by that kind of a layoff are happening around kitchen tables in Oshawa, Windsor, Brampton and all over this province. It is a national disgrace what is going on in this province. It is a nauseating thought that, with all of its civil servants, this government can’t prepare its response to the obvious needs of those workers in time for the opening of this Legislature.
I guess the upshot of the Houdaille incident is, as the minister said in his remarks, there are some things which will become symbolic. I am sure that as historians write the history of labour in Canada they will look at Houdaille as a landmark. I think the tragedy is rather wrapped up in an unfortunately neat package.
About two weeks ago this same company, which said it couldn’t continue in operation at Houdaille in Oshawa, which maintained throughout the month of August that it could not afford -- get this -- couldn’t afford to give its workers decent severance pay, that it couldn’t afford to accept early pensions for those people, that it in fact had done all it could do for its workers in Oshawa, this same corporation, KKR, came up with $975 million to reinvest in the United States. I think that pretty much puts the lie to any arguments that might have been made at the time that the company didn’t have the financial capability to provide decent severance pay and a decent package for those people who had invested 29 years or more of their life in that one production facility.
I wish that Houdaille were a unique example in Ontario. Unfortunately, it is not. It is being repeated in almost every community as the ripple effect goes through our economy.
Yesterday morning I watched once again a film called Shutdown, labelling and chronicling what happened to the workers at Prestolite in Sarnia. It is a sad film, and the unfortunate thing is that we could make that film about almost any community in this province today. This government has to respond to the needs of these workers.
I understand their reluctance to abandon their corporate friends and do something for the workers for a change, but I put to the minister that this government must respond, that these people have no easy solutions, that they require legislation which will protect them and what that legislation should be is very widely known in all parties now. I await the statements and the legislative changes which the Minister of Labour proposes.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I am glad that we have the opportunity to discuss this matter today, because it is obviously a very important one and one that takes a great deal of cabinet’s time and concern. In fact, we have often said there is no monopoly of concern in either of the parties over there; the concern for workers in Ontario is very much shared by the government of Ontario and by the cabinet.
My colleagues, the Minister of Industry and Tourism, myself, and the Minister of Labour and others in cabinet, have spent a good deal of time and effort during the summer on this problem.
As Treasurer, and particularly as Minister of Economics, I do feel very strongly the responsibility for guiding Ontario’s economic progress. It is progress. I get a little tired of the criticisms from across the floor always saying that because someone else in Canada is getting richer we must be getting poorer.
I look out to the west where, in fact, unemployment isn’t a problem. If anything, overemployment is a problem out west while we invest in our major oil resources. But thank goodness those resources are in this country and thank goodness this province is to share in the development of those resources, because at least the money we are talking about recycling is our own. It is in our country. The chance to have jobs in this country is very real as those projects go forward.
I gave a speech last week -- I hope some of the members had a chance to look at it -- where I said that one of our major opportunities for jobs now, and for an economic security that depends upon energy of reasonable cost but certain availability, is highly dependent upon making sure we resolve some of the federal-provincial arguments about the revenue-sharing that flows from oil resources, because when those are resolved we will see those projects go forward in Alberta.
Look at Stelco at this moment. Stelco could produce more steel, and it is one of the most efficient steel industries in the world, not just in North America. It is invading other markets. It is a tribute to Canadian technology and Canadian investment. The member likes to point out all the bad things in our Canadian economy, but Stelco and Dofasco and Algoma Steel are three of the bright lights in our Canadian economy. I hope you would agree with me.
What happens here, though, is that for two or three or four years they can project that they can make more steel, but they could easily supply the steel for some of those big megaprojects out west like Alsands, like Cold Lake. If those are delayed through the federal-provincial disputes, the chances are all too high we will have unemployment and overdemand in the mid-1980s, forcing importation of steel of all things into Canada to supply those major projects. I would argue all of us in this House have a duty and an obligation to see that we impress upon not only our federal colleagues but upon other provinces that there are some Canadian economic problems that can he resolved if they will settle their disputes.
Sure, we are currently undergoing a recession. We certainly are seeing closures. I am sure my colleague the Minister of Industry and Tourism will deal with some of the figures in a while.
I was down in Washington a week ago tomorrow. The first piece of news I heard on the radio, I am glad to say, was that the recession is over down there. I followed that tip by some confidential reports I got that showed some very real growth. The member is shaking his head to say no. I can tell him that I have seen some very interesting analyses prepared of the United States saying the last couple of months they have had a surprising rebound.
Last month, for example, we had the biggest month surplus in foreign trade for some time, over $1 billion, partly due to our recession, but partly due to the fact that we continue to export. The American economy, I believe, is coming up, not as fast perhaps as I would like, and is still riddled with inflation, but the fact remains it is on the way and that can only signal that the cyclical problems we are facing today are going to be resolved. Therefore, I would say that while we have a few very difficult months ahead of us they are getting better. Why did Mr. Weeks go out in the paper this week in Windsor and say that he was pleased to see new employment coming on stream in that area? Why do we see in the city of Oshawa, I believe it is, that GM has pretty well recalled the workers who were out? I look at the action we have taken in Ontario, and I am proud of it. I look at the pulp and paper program which I believe has protected more jobs in this province than almost any action.
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) is gone, but I get a little befuddled some days by his flip-flop. I go back into the House of last November 30. In question period he said something about the E. B. Eddy Company in Espanola. The Minister of Industry and Tourism said in return: “Maybe the Leader of the Opposition wouldn’t have helped the company. We thought Espanola was good enough to save; he did not. I’m glad the Leader of the Opposition got it on the record that he wouldn’t have helped the company.” The Leader of the Opposition replied: “Absolutely right. Their record doesn’t deserve it, and you know it.”
I read from a letter he addressed to a group of people about that town, and this is February 15: “I should tell you, first of all, that I am totally dedicated to the continuation of the operation of the Eddy plant, and I recognize fully the crucial relationship which that plant has to the town of Espanola.” It is pretty tough to be criticized in this House day after day for doing something, be told it doesn’t work and then hear of letters like that being sent back quietly to people in the country. They took him at face value when he said it in this House, wrote a letter complaining about it and then find he is quietly trying to be on both sides of the issue. I noticed today he had three microphones and he was trying to be in the middle of them. He was on both sides of many issues in the last year. Our colleagues over there have been keeping a track record of it as well, I am quite sure.
We did take some action in this province. We brought in the pulp and paper program and the Employment Development Fund, which has helped a good many industries. We have 30,000-odd more people at work today in spite of the recession. We are dealing with rapidly growing employment rolls as youth comes into the marketplace. My colleague the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) will probably be dealing with that. We brought in the small business development corporations program, which has encouraged some 85 companies to be formed, to provide equity for little businesses in Ontario that are Canadian-owned. The Tourism Redevelopment Incentive Program I believe has created a number of jobs and about $15 million in new investment in the smaller resorts in the province. Job-skill training is being tackled with new enthusiasm.
I gave a number of suggestions to Mr. MacEachen when I was in Ottawa the other day. I suggested there were a lot of ways he could currently be stimulating the economy and jobs by getting certain megaprojects under way, by not increasing taxes in the next budget and by having some kind of short-term stimulus. We suggested when I was there a federal-provincial co-operative approach to sales tax relief such as we had in 1978 for a few months, with the provinces choosing the kinds of products to get that relief, as Quebec and Ontario did.
Mr. Nixon: Do you think he is going to reduce taxes?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I suggested to him that Ontario and the federal government had some responsibility in the short term. I am sorry he has had such a bad job of running his books that his budget deficit is 22 per cent and ours was four, and we could have taken some action and he couldn’t. That is because a Liberal regime has never learned how to balance a budget and never will learn how to balance a budget. They could learn from us if they would pay some attention.
My colleague from Oshawa mentioned Michelin. One thing we have been very careful of in Ontario, and I don’t know whether Michelin is a good or bad example, is not to entice businesses from other provinces in Canada with any kind of grant. If it has happened, it has been without our knowledge. But that was one of the cases where there could have been some argument made. I would have to say that to try to tie federal money to Michelin’s opening and the closure of Firestone may be a bit tenuous because I understand some 10 Firestone plants changed for basic company reasons, not because of federal money reasons.
I would like to end by reading something on severance pay. I would suggest we are looking at that as we are at many items. Mr. Speaker, let me quote a pretty good authority, Mr. Douglas Fraser, who said, “Although severance pay has been an issue in recent plant closings in Ontario, it is no substitute for jobs or correcting the problem,” with which I agree. He said, “It would be difficult to make severance pay a high-priority item in collective bargaining because it would mean taking money from other areas for a situation that might not materialize.”
I agree that creating the jobs is by far the best way to solve the problem. One avenue is to create the atmosphere for investment. In Ontario this year we have agreed that we have the highest year-over-year investment in capital works we have seen for some time. That has been one of the bright lights in the economy this year. It augurs well for the future because where capital investment is being made in new plant, as the cycles turn up we will see the jobs created.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, the Treasurer in his comments about the cyclical nature of our present economic difficulties is giving away his solution to the matter, and that is to sit back with his head under his arm and wait until things correct themselves. I feel the programs put forward by the government have been ineffectual and I want to say something in the time at my disposal about the situation facing the employees in the farm implement industry in Brantford and in Toronto. Certainly the government’s programs have been no help to them as yet.
I did feel the Minister of Industry and Tourism’s answers to the questions earlier today were helpful. He indicated their review shows that White Farm Equipment will survive the present receivership and come back with the same jobs or perhaps more jobs in the area, with some management changes. He sounds, however, less hopeful about the Massey-Ferguson situation and I want to deal with this just briefly.
In Brantford alone, there are 3,500 to 4,000 jobs directly dependent upon Massey’s operation and indirectly at least 7,000 additional jobs. There has been a layoff there of the Massey and White workers. It has gone on for almost two months now and is expected to go on for another month, with no real definite undertaking of a return to work. There is a clear indication that Massey may go into receivership or even bankruptcy if it cannot meet the tests imposed by its creditors on a worldwide basis at the end of this month.
The thing that concerns me as much as anything else about the long-term prospects for Massey is that the farmers, who essentially are the customers for the firm, are losing confidence that the company will be in a position to service the machines that the farmers themselves might even be thinking of buying now. I went to the International Ploughing Match last week and found Massey well represented with a good line of implements and salesmen with initiative and, I thought, lots of pep. But the farmers are looking at it, thinking “Is this company going to be around next year to service the tractors and combines we might buy?”
This crisis of confidence is becoming more and more serious as the ministers delay in taking some sort of a positive position vis-à-vis the financing and the financing package of Massey. I did feel that the Minister of Industry and Tourism, who is not in his place right now, was reasonably positive in his answer this afternoon, more so that his statements would indicate at his press conference last week. As I understood his comments, he felt that in some form Massey would be continuing with the jobs in Brantford. If there is a corporate reorganization and shake-up, that’s fine.
As a matter of fact, I think the company’s basic problem for some years has been the corporate management. Massey has been referred to as the jewel in Canada’s industrial crown for a good long time. The original family firm is well known, but the development of its lines of equipment has been good until recently or at least until the last five years.
I believe it was Argus Corporation’s intrusion into the firm which really got it into trouble in the first instance. E. P. Taylor borrowed money to buy his Massey stock, took over control of Massey, forced it to raise its dividends, which should have gone into development and expansion, so that the dividends went back to Argus to pay the bank loan. In other words, Massey-Ferguson had the pleasure of paying for the takeover from Mr. Taylor through Argus. He is a very effective financier. He is sitting down in Nassau somewhere now, I suppose, just vaguely interested in this, having passed on his responsibility to Conrad Black.
I do not understand the machinations of the gift of Argus’s stock in Massey to the two pension funds, but from my unsophisticated point of view it looks like a very good thing indeed. If I were in government, as I hope to be some time in the near future, I would be very reluctant indeed either to give money or grant any kind of a guarantee to a company which would then simply pass on that profit to a firm like Argus, run by Mr. Conrad Black. I have nothing against him personally. As a matter of fact, I think his book on Duplessis was one of the better ones written but, as a financier, I think some of his statements made over the last six weeks have been outrageous. For him to say, “I don’t care where they get the money; they can get it from the Ayatollah for all I care,” is an indication perhaps of his ability in this connection.
Argus has written down the value of its stock in Massey to zero. As he indicated clearly, and he was quoted in the Brantford press and in Maclean’s magazine, “Argus will lose nothing, and if the government comes in we stand to make a lot of money.” If that wouldn’t scare away any kind of a cabinet minister, like Messrs. Gray and Grossman, I don’t know what would. The fact that they gave their stock away, in my view, would open the way to the government to participate in some effective way. The Minister of Industry and Tourism today is still saying that they are perusing their carefully researched document about the prospects of Massey. Massey, in expanding worldwide, has been borrowing money, wherever it could grab it, by the handful.
The debt it owes in the Argentine is paying interest at a rate of 144 per cent. Its debts in Brazil pay an interest rate of 60 per cent, and inflation is out of sight there. I suppose one has to pay 100 per cent to even stay in the same place. That is the sort of debt that the company on a worldwide basis has saddled itself with. Its short-term debt of just under $1 billion pays an average of 24 per cent.
So we have to be careful if we are going to move into some sort of assistance to Massey-Ferguson that we are not using public funding to pay the costs of that sort of ridiculous mismanagement in the past. Their expansion on a worldwide basis has been a disaster, but it still is a Canadian company which can be saved and which should be saved. There are the jobs in Toronto and Brantford and right across Canada through their dealerships, which are worthy of our concern and our consideration.
Now Argus has withdrawn, but there have been some comments from Black that if there is a refinancing package he would hope that his holding company will involve itself. I would think that morally they should. Mr. Black, according to everything I could read about him, is a proud person, and I would think he would like to recoup this situation and go on to see Massey-Ferguson take its worldwide position that it has enjoyed in the past.
They have had some bad luck, of course. The governments of Canada and the United States entered into a ridiculous embargo so that our farmers could not sell our grain crops to the Soviet Union. We were certainly punishing them for invading Afghanistan by doing this. I thought it was a ridiculous situation, however, to punish them by making our own farmers suffer. It meant the farmers did not have any capital or any cash flow in order to replace their implements, and other farm machinery companies were in the same pinch. The other companies had sufficient depth in financing to survive this.
I suppose I am hopeful, as the Treasurer is, but in this instance in the farm community I may be as knowledgeable as he is. Farm incomes are coming back and I believe the farmers are going to have money to spend on implements in the next year. I hope Massey-Ferguson is going to be there in order to make the implements and to serve this market.
I really felt the management has been atrocious, and I think this is reflected in the attitude of the work force. There have been many indications that the confidence of the work force in the company has been eroded. The president, Mr. Rice, wrote to all the members of the Legislature and Parliament -- I would expect all the members got his letter -- giving us information about his company but he also wrote to his employees asking them to contact the local members particularly, and urge them to take some sort of an active role.
It is interesting to note that quite a number of the employees of Massey-Ferguson who contacted me, said “I do not think they should get a penny.” They said their corporate decisions have been so bad and their day-to-day administration of the manufacturing facilities has been so bad and wasteful, that “as a taxpayer I do not think they should get a dime.”
I called up several of these people in answer to the comments they made -- some of them came to me personally -- and discussed it with them. I indicated, of course, that if that company closes, they would not have a job and we discussed it on that basis. But bad corporate management has led, in many respects, to a bad attitude on the part of the employees.
I think that we, as a Legislature and the Minister of Industry and Tourism particularly, cannot sit back and wait for them to come forward with a package and say: “How does this suit you? If this does not suit you, we will try something else.” I believe the minister -- and he is an able person -- should involve himself, along with Mr. Gray. The two of them are obviously in close consultation in this and seem to be much more agreeable than they were in that Chrysler business. The two of them can really work wonders for this industry.
I know my time is just about up, Mr. Speaker, but I would say this: the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce has loaned them $300 million, and they certainly do not want to see that company fall over in bankruptcy. Conrad Black somehow has written down the value of his stock, so he is not under the same pressure. But I would hope that the refinance package will use the undoubted financial clout of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce that had huge corporate profits in the last little while. They are going to have to extend their loans and make them bigger. I hope Argus involves itself at least to the extent of $100-$150 million.
I hope we can persuade other investors, Canadian investors particularly, to take part, and that it may well be that the federal and provincial governments will be in a position to at least guarantee the financial package up to a level of between $500 million and $600 million. We are told by the experts this is a minimum. I am glad to have had a chance to put these views before you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to join this debate. However, I find it rather incredible that in a province like Ontario, on our first day back, we should have to debate an issue of plant closures, layoffs and unemployment. This province is supposed to be the province of opportunity, the centre of the manufacturing industry in this country, and yet we have an unemployment rate of over 300,000 people, we have plant shutdowns which we read about in the paper every day, and this government refuses to act to protect those workers.
It is amazing that when I read the Metro Toronto social planning council report back in July 1980 it indicated that of the 337,000 people unemployed in Ontario at that time, over half, 167,000 people, were unemployed because they had lost their jobs. That is about 50 per cent and compares with 38 per cent in 1975, 39 per cent in 1976, 45 per cent in 1977, 42 per cent in 1978 and 43 per cent in 1979. It has been getting progressively worse.
No longer can this government blame women and call them secondary wage earners or blame our young people and say there are too many of them coming into the work force. The fact of the matter is that we have high unemployment in this province because we are not creating the jobs and we are losing jobs through unemployment, a poor economy and plant closures, as a result, primarily, I believe, of the foreign control of the industry in this province.
We have people all across this province who have invested their lives and their money, they have bought homes and raised families, and they find one day when they go into work that the headquarters of their company, whether it be in Detroit, Chicago, New York or one of the other financial centres in the United States, has made a decision to close their plant. In many instances these plants that are being closed are profitable plants but the parent corporation has absolutely no regard for the local community or the workers who have invested their lives to make a profit for that company.
Companies do not have to justify in any way, shape or form why they are closing their plants. Since I have been elected, I have seen it happen several limes in Windsor. We had the Chrysler truck plant closed in 1978, a plant that was profitable. When we heard rumours that the plant was going to close there were denials from the company. We raised the matter in the Legislature with the then Minister of Labour, who is now Minister of Education and Minister of Colleges and Universities. She said: “Do not pay any attention to the rumours; they are not true. Chrysler Corporation assures us those jobs are there.” The next thing we knew there was an announcement the plant was closed. There was no statement in this House by the minister trying to justify it with information that the government would look at the books of that company and find out why that plant was closing -- not even an attempt; simply an explanation by the minister that that is part of free enterprise.
We heard the same thing with the Ford casting plant. There were rumours that there was a study being done by the corporation and eventually we would hear what the future of that plant was, but we should not worry because that plant was profitable and most likely the workers would be safe. The minister got up in the House during questions and said, “Yes, a feasibility study is going on but profits are being made at that particular plant and we are not too worried about it.” The next thing we knew there was an announcement, not that the plant was being closed, the new terminology at that plant was that it was going to be mothballed. Again, I think 1,000 workers or more were put out of work at that plant.
The government seems to be satisfied with the present status where they are kept in the dark and they are constantly reacting to crises. They are constantly reacting instead of coming up with positive plans on how to create employment in this province. The Chrysler engine plant is another good example. We have raised these matters in the House before and we will raise them again and again until we get the Minister of Labour, the Premier and the Minister of Industry and Tourism to act.
It was in May 1979, not that long ago, that questions were asked in the Legislature of the Minister of Industry and Tourism and he stated the following: “V-8 engines are used in popular vans” -- popular vans, no one buys them -- “and trucks as well as larger passenger cars. Therefore V-8 engines are believed to have a good future as evidenced by Chrysler’s large investment in the Windsor plant in 1978.” He bought the Chrysler line and he told us about it in the Legislature. He obviously didn’t bother to question it and it wasn’t too long after that the plant was closed and several hundred workers -- 750 to he exact -- were put out of work.
Earlier today, I heard the Minister of Labour say that he thought the opposition parties were exaggerating the situation, and that things aren’t as bad in Ontario as we seem to think they are. I invite the Minister of Labour to come down to my constituency office on a Saturday when I have people come into my office, young people, married men and women who have lost their jobs and are facing the losing of their homes. They come into my office and ask if I can help them get a job. I suggest to the government and to the other members of the Legislature that they consider what that must do to an individual, where he or she is so desperate they feel they should go to a member of the provincial Parliament and ask if there are any strings that can be pulled or if I have any friends who can give them a job, because they are facing disaster.
I think the real tragedy in all of this isn’t the statistics of the deficits, isn’t the statistics on unemployment, obviously, the real tragedy is the families who are affected and the individuals in this province who are affected and what it does to their sense of self-worth and their dignity.
Bendix was another example, the most recent one in Windsor. The workers went to work on a Friday morning, they were called into a meeting at 10:30 a.m. and were told that 500 of them in the office and the plant were losing their jobs, effective immediately, and that the company would have to compensate them for it under the law. That was at 10:30 in the morning when they said, “Go home, your job is finished, have a nice weekend.”
The company went into negotiations with the union and eventually the union did win. After some lengthy bargaining there were some better provisions for those workers, but none the less their jobs were lost and the prospect of future jobs in Windsor, or in anywhere in Ontario but specifically Windsor, not particularly bright. Bendix was profitable, but one wonders whether or not the Bendix closure had something to do with the asbestos problem that company was having and the number of workmen’s compensation cases and the number of investigations that were taking place before the Workmen’s Compensation Board. Bendix didn’t have to justify their closure. They simply closed the doors and 500 families were affected overnight.
There is a problem right now in my home town. I invite anyone to come to Windsor and look at it. I live in a working class area in Windsor and most of my neighbours are auto workers or truck drivers or other people like that. In my block alone there are five homes up for sale and that is a typical situation. We set up the mayor’s unemployment committee in Windsor which did a study that was released this summer. They got a fair amount of publicity in the Globe and Mail and the other Toronto papers, which I was glad to see because it forces the cabinet ministers to read something about what is going on in that end of the province.
That report suggested that in many families, the breadwinner in the family was leaving the family back in Windsor and travelling west to Alberta to look for work then sending home the pay cheque in order to keep the family going. I don’t think that is any way for people to live. We can talk about worker mobility and we can say, “Why doesn’t the whole family move out west?” but then we run into the problem with pensions.
Earlier we heard the Treasurer talk about the new opportunities that are arising in Windsor and we have heard some of the statements our mayor has made. I suggest to the Treasurer, and I guess I would suggest it to our mayor, that it is not quite that easy to go from Chrysler to General Motors when GM has a policy that if you want to get one of the 2,000 jobs available with them you have to show a quit slip from where you were working. I don’t think that is fair. It certainly doesn’t make it very easy for the workers to change from one corporation to another.
There was a rumour at the beginning of the summer that there were a few jobs -- when I say a few, I understand it was something like 50 or 60 jobs -- available at General Motors. It was just a rumour at that time, but 400 people showed up in front of the Manpower office in order to apply for those jobs.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. MacBeth): The honourable member’s time has expired.
Mr. Cooke: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If I could just conclude with one sentence, I would say it is unfortunate that today we are talking about having to talk about worker protection and portable pensions. What we should really be talking about, and what this government has to address, is creating an economy in this province that has jobs and full employment. I think our legislative package addresses that, unlike that of the federal Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce and the provincial Minister of Industry and Tourism.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am privileged to participate, albeit briefly, in this discussion of the current economic condition, which has resulted in a number of layoffs and shutdowns in plants in Ontario.
I could not agree more with the previous speaker that the solutions to the problems facing us today are the solutions that relate specifically to a turnaround in the economy and an improvement in industrial expenditure and investment, and that provide the greatest possible protection for the worker. A growing economy, with new plants, new developmental industry, certainly provides more opportunity for workers, and obviously provides more industrial capability in terms of providing jobs for workers who are currently either under-employed or unemployed.
But one of the most important factors, it seems to me, that relates to either maintaining or improving industrial capacity and capability is the maintenance and development of a more highly skilled work force than we have totally at the present time.
Because of our concern in this area, following the Skills for Jobs conference in 1978, we have begun a number of initiatives that relate specifically to attempting to provide workers in Ontario with greater skills in order that they may meet the requirements of industry, in order that that industry might be productive and in order that that industry will in fact survive the downturns in the economy, as many of our industries are doing.
We have had some considerable success in a number of areas. We have looked very specifically at the number of young people in our province who were seriously considering the possibility of skills training, particularly in industry, and discovered that the number was not particularly great in the past. We established a linkage program which in the first year had 8,600 young people involved in secondary school programs in 50 schools and this year, with 59 school boards and 199 schools, has 25,000 young people participating in linkage programs, two thirds of them in skilled trades specifically related to industry. Almost 18,000 of these young people are in the trades that will be of specific value to maintenance and improvement of our industrial capability in Ontario.
We have been moving as diligently as we can in apprenticeships over the last few years, and numbers of apprenticeships, particularly in industry, have increased dramatically. We have twice as many apprenticeships this year as we had four years ago, and the rapid increase has been in the entire industrial area. There have been modifications of apprenticeships in terms of the ratios required, in terms of the length of time, in terms of the form and structure, and we’re still working on a number of those in order to try to encourage more people who are either underemployed or unemployed to consider seriously active involvement in apprenticeship programs.
In addition to that, employer-sponsored training has been of real benefit, I think, to industry in this province, and certainly will, I think, entice those in the work force who are either unskilled, semi-skilled or only slightly skilled to consider seriously the possibility of improving their skills training.
As a result of 23 letters of intent, we will have, very shortly, 3,450 very highly skilled employees in the metal cutting industry in this province, and that is an encouragement to those who are considering investment in this province in the development of new plants related to metal cutting and machining.
One of the most important activities in which we have been involved is one that has been entirely sponsored by the government of Ontario -- the community industrial training council. We have 52 of these in the province right now in communities scattered from Windsor to Cornwall and from Toronto to Thunder Bay.
They are active committees involving representatives of various sectors within the community: employers, trade unions, educators at the secondary level, at the community college level and at the university level, those with a specific interest in skills training, technical teachers, co-operative education teachers, people who have a very active interest and a capacity to deal with the matter of providing training in order to improve the skills of those who are working within our industries.
Originally, those committees were dedicated to the concept of encouraging adolescents, people in school, to become concerned about skills training as a career choice as a reasonable option for the remainder of their lifetime. Certainly, they were very specifically, originally interested especially in employer-sponsored training programs and the improvement of other forms of training within industry.
However, in the last several months, several of these community industrial training councils have become actively involved in the business of devising, on the basis of local need and local responsibility, and locally available facilities, upgrading skills training programs or retraining programs specifically for laid-off workers.
In both Brantford and Windsor we have examples right now of community industrial training councils who have taken this problem unto themselves with the guidance and assistance of the colleges branch of the Ministry of Colleges and Universities. In Brantford, they have established a program that is functioning right now on behalf of a large number of workers laid off from White, to provide them with skills training of a very significant type which will, in fact, encourage their employment outside of their usual employment area in the industrial field. A proposal in Windsor, which looks most optimistic at this point, involves a number of United Auto Workers laid-off auto workers in terms of really developing some highly skilled journeymen out of a group of people who are only semi-skilled at this time.
There are a number of other communities already involved in this kind of activity as well and with the co-operation of their community colleges, local industries that are functioning and those concerned individuals in the community, they are developing plans and programs that are direct assistance in helping laid-off workers to find an alternative to unemployment, an alternative that provides them not just with occupation but with the prospect of better occupation in the future, an increase in the feeling of self-worth and an increase in the feeling of full participation within society.
I am very proud that we have been able to develop this capacity within several communities in Ontario and we are working diligently at this time to encourage other CITCs to become similarly involved. One of the important functions that relates to my ministry in terms of assistance to laid-off workers has been the career action centres that we have established, primarily in southwestern Ontario fortunately, because it is in those areas that the number of layoffs has been, I think, on the whole highest.
The career action centres, of course, are one-stop centres that provide examination, assessment and counselling with encouragement to return to training programs or assistance in looking at possible employment opportunities for those people who, without any impediment, may walk into that storefront centre which, because it doesn’t look like an educational institution, provides no inhibiting kinds of academic impediments for those who would be concerned about that kind of factor in seeking assistance.
At the present time we have a number of other plans that I am sure will be announced in the not-too-distant future which will demonstrate the complete involvement of those ministries responsible for educational and training activities in the province in providing assistance to the young people and those who are laid off within the province, in order that we may overcome one of the difficulties we have had, and one that has perhaps provided us with less than total resistance to some of the problems of layoff that we have been experiencing in the last several months, which is, an insufficient number of highly skilled individuals or appropriately skilled individuals to meet the requirements of those investors and those industries that would like to expand their capacity within Ontario.
It is, as the Treasurer and others have said, the responsibility of the government to provide a climate in which investment and expansion of industry are encouraged. I am very proud that the government of Ontario has been working on that kind of philosophy, with specific programs in the past several years that do inspire confidence in terms of the future of this province.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I rise to take part in this matter of urgent public importance and to emphasize once again to the members of this Legislature that the situation is extremely grave and extremely serious. It demands more than just promises of a better future, of things to come in the not-too-distant future. There are ways and means of resolving temporarily the problem of the unemployed in many of the municipalities.
I come from a municipality that, as has been mentioned by a previous speaker, has been harder hit than any other municipality in Ontario. Imagine having 17 per cent unemployment in a community. Imagine the social effects of that on children, parents, friends, relatives and neighbours. Imagine finding that no matter where one applies for employment the opportunity of getting employment is very minimal. One can go into every plant one could possibly think of looking for work. In fact, some of the plants already have signs on the building or in the window saying, “No more applicants accepted.” They do not have the jobs.
That is as a result, I would think, partly of a lack of forethought and foresight on the part of the auto manufacturers in sticking to the large-size cars rather than seeing the writing on the wall and manufacturing the smaller cars, the economy, gas-saving type of car as opposed to what is sometimes referred to as the gas guzzler. I am not saying that all cars were of that type.
No city in Ontario has a higher incidence of unemployment than does the city from which I come. Over 22,000 people are at present unemployed or not too long ago were unemployed. Imagine approximately one out of five in a community not having the money with which to buy the bare essentials. One can say they qualify for unemployment insurance. The situation is so serious that there are many who have already run out of their unemployment insurance, while the transitional assistance benefits that were provided in the earlier years have not materialized at present. As a result, these people find themselves in desperate straits. Many have left the province and have gone to the western provinces hoping to seek their fortune or find some type of employment so that they can once again reunite their families in the west and be taxpayers rather than those who depend on the taxes of others to support them.
As a result of this mass unemployment, the social effects are really dreadful. The number of family breakups has risen substantially as has the number of individuals who are coming into constituency offices. They will come in, ask, beg and practically get on their knees asking one as a member to attempt to find them some type of employment. Where are they going to get employment anywhere in the city of Windsor unless they have some super-skill that is in great need?
At the present moment, or in the not-too-distant future, General Motors will be employing 2,000 men, but they expect to receive 20,000 applications for the 2,000 jobs. So one out of 10 people who will file applications stands a chance of getting employment.
Chrysler has now started with its K cars, and we hope in the community that this vehicle catches on, that all the members in the House buy one of these vehicles so at least they will provide a bit of employment to the residents in the city of Windsor as well as in other parts of Ontario that provide certain component parts in the rnanufacture of that vehicle.
The Minister of Education did mention certain types of programs that are being developed by the ministry. The thing that disturbs me is that surely the ministry should have seen the writing on the wall and been prepared several years ago to implement some of the programs. They could have foreseen that technical education was going to be in far greater demand than was academic education and, as a result, one would have thought our technical schools would have had substantially higher increases in enrolment because students would have been guided into that field. That would be the field in which the job opportunities would be the greater.
However, that didn’t take place, and as a result we have a lot of people who have attended our secondary school system, taken academics, and all they have is a greater command of the English language but they do not have a skill that is marketable.
The minister mentioned the skills training programs. That is a forward step except that it is a little late. We should have had those in place several years ago. There are jobs that demand a substantial amount of skill, but there are no longer the skilled craftsmen in a community. No longer can we import individuals, steal these skills from Europe or other parts of the world and have them come into the manufacturing centres. They are not interested at all, and they are not interested essentially because some of the protections we would hope would be built into any scheme are not there at present.
I can recall the Bendix situation in town. It was not too many years ago they closed an old plant. They closed that old plant because of the asbestos problem, even though Bendix may deny that it was the asbestos problem that caused them to close the plant. It was an older plant, and because of that it was not feasible to put in various types of controls that would have prevented the asbestos from being dispersed throughout the plant.
But they also had a brand new plant, for which I understand some government assistance was provided. All of a sudden one Friday morning they decided they were going to close the plant. The general manager called me from South Bend and told me at 10 o’clock in the morning, “We are going to make an official notice that Bendix is going to close up its plant in the Windsor area.” Imagine the shock to an individual who has given 10, 15 or even 20 years of his life in faithful performance of his duties to the company and then, without any advance notice, they close the plant completely. They will probably come back in the Windsor area under a different name, or will have another company set up there and then eventually they will take it over after they change their own corporate name.
One of the problems is the lack of portability of pensions. An individual will work at Ford -- Ford has laid off, it has closed up its foundry -- and he has the opportunity to go to General Motors or to Chrysler, or a Chrysler worker to the other companies, but he cannot carry his pension from one plant to another and so he is tied down to his original employer. That just is not fair. There has to be some scheme devised so that pensions can be portable and can be carried from one industry to the other.
The government says it is complicated. It is not complicated. We do that right now with unemployment insurance. A man can work for one factory and transfer his employment to another employer; he still collects unemployment insurance. If it can be done with unemployment insurance, a scheme can also be set up as far as the portability of pensions is concerned.
Plant closings are a thing of serious concern. We must increase the period of notice a company is required to give the workers before layoffs; we must provide fair levels of severance pay for employees who are laid off; we must make pensions a right and not a privilege, and there are many other musts that we must incorporate into a contract between employees and management.
I could carry on at some length but I think my time has been used up. I would hope that government would act in the situation because it will only get worse. It will not get better unless government becomes a little more responsive to the needs of people.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, the debate we are having here today is really a sad commentary on the actions of both our provincial and federal governments in terms of worker protection and the economy of this province and this country.
I feel the film all members of this caucus saw recently should be must viewing for those Tory and Liberal members who haven’t seen it. That is Shut Down, based on the Prestolite situation in Sarnia. I couldn’t help chuckle a bit as I watched the film -- not at the workers; their frustration and the fear and anxiety showed on long-seniority workers -- but at one of the comments made early in the film.
One of the women workers pointed out that when the new manager had come up from the United States -- it was one of the multinational corporations once again -- he called all the workers together and met with them. His first words were that he had heard rumours of the possibility of shutting down this plant, but said they were not true and he wanted them all to be reassured their security was there -- their future was secured. Less than a year and a half later Prestolite was shut down and once again several hundred long-service workers were out the door and down the drain in terms of the benefits they thought they had, the protection and the wages they were being paid.
All of us in this province know we have had it well, that we do have a rich province, that we have the resources -- natural resources, land, people -- and the expertise. We are probably the best-off nation on the face of the earth. The tragedy, as I see it, is what we have been doing with this province and this country. Essentially what we have been doing is high-grading our resources, not to the benefit of the people but to the benefit of the whole corporate structure. We had better realize it has been done to the benefit of the companies that own the branch plants that we have set up in this country.
We haven’t planned well. We haven’t planned for our future. We haven’t developed security for our workers. We haven’t developed security for the community in terms of the services that may be lost as well when a plant shuts down or moves. But we sure as blazes have provided a good living for those who control the industry and the wealth in this province and this country.
I heard the Treasurer mention steel in glowing words. He is right. It is one of the few industries still controlled by Canadians, and it is efficient. One of the things he didn’t say that he maybe should have said to this House is that one of the things they have done very effectively is guaranteed the local market. They have gone after it. They have worked on it. They have made sure they are supplying it, even at the expense of some additional orders that could have had a little higher return in terms of exports. I don’t know where else we have done that in our country nor in what other industry.
We have serious long-term problems in this province and those serious long-term problems are that we are turning the province into a colonial manufacturing operation, at all too rapid a pace. We are going to become hewers of wood and drawers of water if we don’t sharpen up pretty damned fast.
We don’t have a short-term problem where we can already see a turnaround, as I heard mentioned by both the Treasurer and the Minister of Labour. That comment just makes me sick. We will see occasional turnarounds and they are short-term. But what we are seeing and what we have seen over a period of time is an almost escalating increase in the lack of control and ownership in our own resources and our own industry. We do not have the say. We do not do the decision-making any longer. We cannot decide what profits go out of the province. We cannot decide what companies are going to shut down and why.
The argument of financial viability we used to get -- and I am not sure the minister involved has sharpened up to it even yet -- is not the criterion any longer. There is a long list of companies that were making money, good profitable operations, but the decision made somewhere other than in this country was still that those plants were to be shut down. There was more money to be made by rationalizing the operation, or by setting up a larger run at some newly refurbished plant in some other country, or even by investing the money that went into that particular operation in some Third World country where they could get away with wages that were a heck of a lot less than the contracts they had, not because they were losing money -- the return was still there and healthy -- but because it was in the corporate interest to move that operation. The last concern was the workers involved and their communities, and we had better understand that.
That went on at Columbus McKinnon. I got a kick out of the arguments made to me, at least by the Minister of Labour, that they had gone to St. Catharines, called at the head office of the company and raised hell with them about their move, saying it was corporate irresponsibility. Indeed I saw the Deputy Premier get a headline in the Hamilton Spectator, “Cornpany’s Actions Irresponsible,” but the bottom line was that they would give them hell. The government would not tell them they could not do it, that corporate responsibility said they had an obligation to the 270 workers who went down the tube in that particular operation. That is a company that was making money, where workers had up to 40 years’ seniority.
We have seen it in Westinghouse where we had the ridiculous remarks -- I am not sure if they were calculated or stupid -- of one of our ministers, who said, “We have got an outrageous bunch of semi-Communists.” According to the reporters, we have people in his ministry saying that maybe if we let the public know there are Cornmunists in the union, we can undermine the contract negotiations. I think what is going on is rather sick.
We have had it in Houdaille, and we have had it in Tung-Sol. I got a kick out of the comments of the Minister of Labour when this matter was raised with him and he said, “What are you advocating?” When I said, “Why don’t you do something? The workers have had to take over the plants to get scene justice,” his reaction was, “What are you asking for, Bob? Anarchy?” We are not asking for anarchy. We are asking for some decent legislation that gives some basic protection to workers in situations like Houdaille and Tung-Sol.
Let me tell the Treasurer, if he is concerned about the criticism he is getting and if the Minister of Labour is concerned about the actions of the workers in these two plants, they had better continue being concerned because, if that is the only out, they are going to escalate a heck of a lot more strongly than we have seen to date. I, for one, will say they are right whether it is strictly in line with our laws in this province or not.
We are seeing an increasing trade deficit in the manufacturing sector and it is part of the fact that we no longer own and control our own economy. There are any number of examples but I see the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson) is here so I will give a little one that always titillated me, except that it was sad and sorrowful and I knew some of the people involved in the peninsula who used to supply some of the small canning plants. It is the question of peaches. I use it only as an example of what is happening in this province and this country.
Only 15 to 18 years ago we were canning and supplying 80 per cent of the peaches we ate in this province and this country. I understand we are down to less than 20 per cent now and most of the small plants have closed. A heck of a lot of the farmers of small tender fruit who used to be able to supply these plants have gone out of business. That makes it easier to turn that good land into industrial land. We have an additional balance of payments deficit, because we are now importing 80 per cent of the doggone peaches we eat, when we could produce every one in this province and this country.
We have example after example. They exist in the industrial area. They exist at Essex Wire. I commented recently to the Minister of Labour once again about the Houdaille and Tung-Sol situation: “Why don’t we have some legislation that gives the workers some protection?” Apart from the question as to whether I am asking for anarchy if the union goes this route, he made the comment, “Well, the problem really was that the unions hadn’t negotiated adequate severance or pension benefits.”
Let me ask the members to take a look at some of the plants that are closing down. I remind the minister of the Essex Wire plant and the fight we have had to get four-something an hour in there, with the kind of grants they have had. The government’s priorities there could never win and it cannot throw the responsibility back on the workers that way, in regard to the kind of legislation they would have needed in terms of severance or pension coverage or even adequate notice. That is not a responsibility we can throw back at the union or at the workers.
I know I do not have a lot of additional time. I know there have been good suggestions made in terms of adequate steps to protect workers, and I am talking about severance pay, about the additional notice, about the requirement to justify a closing of a plant, because they do have a corporate responsibility, or at least should have, in this country and in this province.
But probably even more, what we have to come to grips with, and we had better do it pretty darned fast, is the whole question of whether or not we are going to have the say to run our own province, whether or not we are going to have the say as to whether we are going to develop the secondary manufacturing, whether we are going to allow the control to continue to go out of this province and this country, the economic control or the control of our manufacturing industries, and, therefore, take away from us any ability to react and deal with it.
We do have a long-term problem as well as a short-term problem, but we had better come to grips with the ownership and control of our resources in this province, we had better do it fast or we are not going to be able to do any of the things that are necessary to protect the basic investment of workers in the community.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, it is obviously a difficult problem for government when it finds that its major customers for its major industries are having a very difficult time, and that the sales for the industries that form the heartland and the core of our industrial base are suffering badly.
We have been trying over the summer, as I worked with my colleagues, the Treasurer and the Minister of Labour, to find ways in which we can deal with the workers who have been so dramatically and badly affected by these problems, to find ways to solve those problems, while at the same time not destroying the economic opportunities which really this province still has.
In doing so, I do not want to let the remarks of the previous speaker go unchallenged. He may have, and has, drawn whatever inaccurate conclusions he wishes to from the remarks that I made last week, but I say to him quite directly that no one in my ministry made any further remarks such as he has indicated. The member should indicate who in my ministry he alleges said that, or, with respect, he should not make that kind of accusation.
The topic of today’s discussion is how we come to grips with balancing our labour laws and our industrial laws so that we end up with an industrial strategy that works for everyone. There is absolutely no question but that it is not constructive to the discussion or the economic future of this province to have the leader of the third party suggest there are 138,000 people laid off and jobs lost in this province. The figures simply do not support that.
The fact is that the unemployment rate in this province, while it is higher than it was a year ago, is 0.5 percentage points higher than it was a year ago and is substantially less than it is in any industrialized state south of the border. In fact, it is substantially lower in this province than it is even in the sunbelt states which are currently providing most of our intense competition for industrial development at the present time. Any analysis of the American figures will show that we are still doing relatively better than our industrialized neighbours to the south.
At the present time, in the current calendar year, there has been a loss of about one million jobs in manufacturing in the United States. This is not to minimize our problems, but simply to say that the major problem we are facing is a market problem, which those in the host country of many of the multinational corporations are also finding it difficult to cope with. In fact, we are doing relatively better in terms of layoffs and in terms of plant closures than our neighbours to the south. There are many reasons for that, but the fact is that in order to keep our problems and our responses to those problems in some perspective one must look at the key problem here, which remains markets.
It is important when we develop our responses, as we have been trying to do all summer, to avoid the temptation -- and it is a high political temptation -- to try to excerpt certain pieces from the labour laws in other jurisdictions, as the Minister of Labour pointed out earlier.
I would point out to the members of the House that when they talk about the situation in Europe they neglect to mention that in West Germany, to take one example, they have no minimum wage. When we are talking about the entire structure of industry there, the entire industrial strategy and the series of labour laws they have there, we have to do that in the context of the lack of a minimum wage policy and the presence of a large migrant labour force in Europe that is essentially outside the labour laws we perceive here as being so generous.
The leader of the third party has referred to the problem with Mexico’s attracting many of our jobs. One of the reasons Mexico is attracting some industries that formerly came here is that Mexican wages are running at about 75 cents an hour. That is a very important factor because labour, obviously, is an important component of the total cost of putting out goods.
Our problem in this province is to stay where we are currently positioned, which is, as the UAW acknowledged when they were in to see us and which surely the members of this House must acknowledge, that we now have, taken as a whole, the most comprehensive and sensitive set of labour laws in North America and want to maintain our leading position in that area.
Mr. Warner: Baloney! Anti-labour laws.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I invite the members of the third party to challenge that statement. This government has every reason to be proud of the fact that we lead North America in labour legislation. We have been able to do that and, at the same time, keep a very strong manufacturing sector. To have done that and remain in a position where we have more than 50 per cent of Canada’s manufacturing and where our manufacturing sector has experienced relatively fewer layoffs and fewer plant closures than our neighbours to the south with less onerous labour legislation is really a credit to the balance we have created in this province.
I cannot complete my remarks without referring to two situations. The first is the Houdaille situation. No one on this side of the House and no one anywhere can purport to defend the incredibly inept, wrong and unfair activities of Houdaille in that situation. It is that sort of situation which creates a bad name and a bad reputation for our industrial sector and makes it as hard to attract industry to this province as some actions which other people take in the economy that are also detrimental.
The challenge for government is to try to keep the public perception of that and the need to respond to one or two or three or four very irresponsible people in the private sector without creating a situation where, by legislative overreaction to that situation, we scare away jobs for people in the future.
Mr. Cooke: Their response is they don’t have to worry about the law.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The other situation I have to refer to is the Chrysler situation. I think it is interesting to note to my friend who is interjecting from across the way that he and other members of his party were front and centre in advising this government on the terms and conditions we ought to obtain from Chrysler in the event we made a deal with Chrysler.
One of the things which was not heard of, either from the third party or the UAW at that time, was a request, a demand or whatever that in the ongoing situation six months’ notice of layoff ought to be required if there were any further layoffs. No one across the way suggested that severance pay provisions ought to be changed or altered while Chrysler was asking for some assistance.
Why didn’t they? I suggest the reason they did not was that they had a company in front of them which was at a very critical stage, clearly still on the brink of possible bankruptcy. There was some realization among the UAW and the NDP and everyone else that adding that critical factor to the balance might well have been the final straw which broke the camel’s back. The UAW was free to make those recommendations, as were my friends across the House and as was the federal government, but in that very real situation no one was saying we should take this company in critical straits and impose upon it an extraordinary notice-of-layoff period.
Of course, when you are dealing in a vacuum and you don’t have a particular company in front of you that is faced with that particular problem, it is easy to advocate those kinds of situations. When you look at a company that is in difficult financial straits and has to find its way out, frankly it becomes quite a different story. The challenge for government is to develop a fair and equitable response to the general situation, and we recognize it and have been spending a great deal of time in trying to work out a response without going to overkill. One has to make one’s best judgement as to where that balance is struck.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, I think in terms of the plant shutdown and closure situation, we should keep one thing in mind: There are plants that on the books are closing operations, but that last calendar or fiscal year made money in themselves. Of course that is not the full story. Having made money last fiscal year, many firms find themselves with plants in the US and Canada, both of which this year, because the market bas fallen badly, are operating at half capacity or one quarter capacity. I only remind all my members opposite --
Mr. Warner: Here it comes, corporate apologist.
Mr. Mackenzie: We know which one they close.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No. that is not true, I say to the member for Hamilton East.
Mr. Speaker: The minister’s time has expired.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: In concluding, I would only remind my friends opposite that companies which are making changes for economic reasons not invariably, but by and large, make those changes for economic reasons, not nationalistic reasons. I cite the case of Budd Canada Inc. in Kitchener as a perfect example of a company, not typical of multinationals, but a company that rationalized to Canada, not out of Canada. A blanket statement that they always repatriate and go home is totally unfair, and should not be allowed to stand by itself.
Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, it is very obvious that the debate today is only the beginning of what will be a long series of debates which will all deal with labour themes in the l980s. The member for Hamilton East said he doesn’t see any turnaround in sight. I think that could be said by us too.
Headlines such as “Plant Occupiers Get First Food in 36 Hours,” or headlines such as “Mounting Labour Frustration Predicted,” or headlines such as “Stronger Worker Protection Laws Sought” meet us daily. The issue of job security is critical to all of us in Ontario and we can’t handle this in isolation. Job security is Ontario security. The phenomenon of industrial dislocation is with all of us and it is here right now. Industrial dislocation is destroying our security as a province, and very likely as a country, unless we address it seriously.
The unemployed in Windsor affect all of us in Ontario. The unemployed in Oshawa, Brantford or wherever else in this province, affect all of us in Ontario. I don’t think it is good enough for the government House leader, when considering whether we should have this debate or not, to throw out some numbers about however many more thousands might be employed now. It doesn’t make much sense when you can’t take a look at the numbers which aren’t employed right now.
I don’t think it is just enough for the Minister of Labour to say he will bring in some words for us to consider or some thoughts for us to consider in a few days, or the Minister of Education to talk about skills training programs or unemployment opportunity centres, or for the Minister of Industry and Tourism to explain what he didn’t say about the negotiators at Westinghouse Canada Inc.
I say to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the members of this assembly, that we must keep in mind the man or woman who have lost their jobs or who might lose their jobs. When you throw out these flip, short answers, I say, “Tell it to that man, or tell it to that lady who is going to go home and sit down and explain it to the rest of the family that there is no more job.”
We’ve also been accused today -- both parties on this side of the House -- of having a sort of tunnel vision. I reply to that, hogwash. If we do have tunnel vision -- and I don’t believe it -- it is better to have tunnel vision than no vision. That’s what we’re getting from the other side of this House. I would add to that, in response to the comments made by the Minister of Labour that he would have something for us in a few days, that that is not good enough, nor is it soon enough.
At the end of question period today, when private members’ bills were introduced, both parties on this side of the House introduced private members’ bills which indicated a determination from all of us to call the government to action. My party last Friday at a press conference also called not only for additional protection for terminated employees but also for portable pensions, of which my leader spoke earlier this afternoon. In addition, we also called for a select committee to investigate all aspects of plant closure. We believe this action is necessary now.
On the other hand, if we stop for just a moment and consider possibly the reasons for government inaction, perhaps they are reflected in comments like ones that have appeared in a few of the editorial pages of our province’s newspapers. There have been comments such as “over-zealous lawmakers could in fact worsen rather than improve the troubled working environment in Ontario by deterring industrial growth.”
This article talks about legislated severance pay and mandatory pensions, and it goes on to say: “It is in this area where legislation is most sensitive and potentially sell-defeating, since unilateral action by Ontario could place” -- underline “could” -- “this province at a disadvantage in attracting industry” -- in comparison, say, to Alberta or Newfoundland.
I simply don’t buy that argument about what this might do for something that is down the road. If that is the argument the government is putting forward to answer for its inaction today, I would submit that it has forgotten the problem that is here with us today -- that is, the problem of people who have lost, or are going to lose, their jobs. The government must take the initiative and act on this now.
As I said at the outset, this is only the beginning. We are going to hound this government into action. If they won’t act, then we will have to get rid of them.
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I have only a couple of comments, but I did want to say to the various ministers on the other side that we are seeing now in Ontario the chickens finally coming home to roost. This government has gone on for the last 38 years on the assumption that growth would stay there, that we would continue to grow, and that growth would itself camouflage a lot of the problems in the economy of Ontario.
Certainly that is true. Even the ministries of Industry and Tourism and the Treasury admitted in a document about two years ago that the problems in Ontario were not cyclical. They were not cyclical, the way the minister has tried to say this afternoon, but were structural -- there were structural economic problems, and they were serious and something had to be done about it. All the signs were there. When we looked at the balance of payments sector by sector we could see there were problems.
My colleague from Hamilton East pointed out several of them to the Minister of Agriculture and Food this afternoon. We could look at mining machinery, electronics, electrical products, auto parts, food processing. One can go on and on. All the signs were there, and they are still there.
But as long as the government stands back and says, “We do not believe in intervention in the free marketplace,” the government deserves -- the workers don’t deserve it -- to have the labels that are being attached to it now. The government deserves it because it simply has refused to intervene. They were so pigheaded in assuming that growth would always be with us they assumed they would not have to take any action to intervene. That is why we have the problems we have now.
There was a matter of time, because all it took was one jolt to the system and the chickens came back home. In our case, the jolt was oil pricing -- not just us but all over. Immediately that happened, the Ontario economy was in a tailspin along with other economies. We had not built in the protection, had not built the kind of economy to allow us to withstand any kind of jolt to it at all. That is why we have the problems we have now.
My colleague from Hamilton East used the term that they have squandered our resources. There is no better term for it. The government squandered them because it assumed that growth would always be with us and that would look after it. What we and others are saying is that because it has squandered them, it has an obligation to look after its victims -- namely, the workers out there who gave us the amount of wealth we have and now are paying the price for its mismanagement of the economy.
They didn’t make those management decisions in the economy that gave it its foreign domination; they didn’t make any of those decisions. They were not allowed to. Now they are paying the price for somebody else’s stupidity. That is what they are doing. Every government member sits there condemned because he would not intervene. They still won’t intervene despite all the signs that are there. I don’t understand it.
Adam Smith died a long time ago. Along with him went his invisible hand. Yet there sits the government, still assuming that the marketplace will look after the problem -- as though we lived in a world of equals. We don’t live in a world of equals, whether it is countries or people within a country. Those people who are being laid off are not equal to the people who are laying them off -- not in terms of economic power they are not. They are the victims of the government’s system and government members have an obligation to look after them. If they say that will make us not competitive then that is something they are going to have to work out because they built the system that made us that way. They built that system, they condone it and they encouraged it.
Mr. Speaker: The member’s time has expired.
Mr. Laughren: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
What we are dealing with here is a highly ideological issue as to whether or not this government is going to intervene in the private sector with public sector involvement or whether or not it is going to continue to let the private sector tell it what to do.
The House adjourned at 6:03 p.m.