31st Parliament, 4th Session

L085 - Thu 9 Oct 1980 / Jeu 9 oct 1980

The House met at 2 p.m.



Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I would like to rise to correct the record. On Tuesday afternoon of this week I raised a number of questions concerning ambulance services. I want to quote part of the response from Hansard. It concerns the question I raised about Mr. Hank Meyer, who was given a suspension by the ambulance operator in Halton-Mississauga. I will quote from Hansard part of what the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) replied. “The ministry had no part whatsoever in the suspension which was registered against that individual by his employer.”

I went to the standing orders which are quite clear as to what language I may use to describe what transpired here. They specifically forbid any allegation of deliberately misleading or of a member’s lying. I recognize that this is not done. I went to the Legislative Assembly Act itself. It does, in part, in section 45 deal with the matter of giving false evidence, but it is not clear as to how that translates to members themselves. I went through Erskine May, where a procedure is outlined which is used in the House at Westminster concerning allegations of this nature, but I am not clear.

That leaves me somewhat at a loss for words, but not at a loss of documentation. I want to table with the Clerk of the House an affidavit which was signed yesterday afternoon here at Queen’s Park by Mr. Meyer, indicating clearly that the member did participate in that meeting. I want to provide you, Mr. Speaker, with a copy of the Instant Hansard as well, further, a letter from his employer indicating very clearly that the ministry in fact did participate in the suspension.

I wanted to rise today to correct the record and to seek your advice and guidance as to how we might further proceed with this matter.

Mr. Speaker: I will take the member’s point under advisement.


Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege. On Monday I asked the Minister of Agriculture and Food a question on nonresident agricultural land ownership. In responding, he indicated that he received a very apologetic letter in the mail from an individual from Huron county. The minister went on to say, “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 that resolution.”

I went back to the office and got the letter that had been written by the sponsor. I also talked to him today. He wanted me to make it very clear in the House that there was no letter of apology sent to the minister. As a matter of fact, part of his letter reads: “Action is needed right now. This explains why our resolution was worded as bluntly as it was. You must take some immediate steps now to curb absentee buyers of our farm land or we must regretfully assume you are not interested in the welfare of our agricultural industry.”

Secondly, the minister definitely did receive the resolution. I think it is incumbent upon the minister to stand in his place and say that he was wrong on both counts.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: I have the letter in front of me, Mr. Speaker. It does not read like that. The letter the member read was handed to me in a meeting this morning.

Mr. Riddell: Oh, come on!

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Ask your president. I do not mind presenting it to you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Huron-Middlesex believed that certain events -- has the minister finished?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: I will be happy to read the letter, Mr. Speaker, if it is your wish.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Read it now.

Mr. Speaker: I do not think the contents of the letter are relevant. It is whether or not the honourable minister received it when he said he did. Of course, we have to assume that what the honourable minister says is the truth. All honourable members are honourable.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: The letter he quoted from was handed to me this morning in a meeting, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Riddell: What is the date on the letter?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: The date is the 22nd.



Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report to the Legislature on activities falling within my jurisdiction as minister responsible for implementation of freedom of information and protection of personal privacy.

Members will recall that the speech from the throne in March indicated the government would move quickly after receipt and study the final report of the Ontario Commission on Freedom of Information and Individual Privacy. After more than three years of study, extensive public hearings across the province, examination of more than 100 briefs and publication of 17 research papers, the commission presented me with its report several weeks ago. I immediately made it public and sent copies to all members.

2:10 p.m.

I am sure all members will join me in congratulating the commission chairman, Dr. D. Carlton Williams, commissioners Dorothy Burgoyne and C. H. Bailey, and the staff and researchers, for the highly competent manner in which they have dealt with a highly complex subject.

The government accepts the basic goals of the commission’s recommendations for freedom of information legislation -- legislation granting a general right of access to government information except for that specifically exempted and including an independent review of government denials of access. We will consider carefully all the recommendations of the commission in drafting those laws. That process is now under way and legislation will be introduced here as soon as possible.

However, some interim measures can be taken without legislation. I announced the first step in this direction a week and a half ago with the decision of the government to make available so-called internal law in designated ministry reading rooms. This policy has already gone into effect. All the reading rooms are now open to the public. This enables the ordinary citizen to find out how and why the government is making decisions that affect him.

The manuals, policy statements, guidelines, directives and interpretation bulletins used by civil servants dealing with public or internal matters must be made available by all government agencies whether specifically requested or not. I intend to table a compendium of background information on this new policy for the benefit of all members.

At the same time I have asked the Management Board of Cabinet to review the commission’s recommendations concerning protection of individual privacy. The board will determine which recommendations about data collection and storage practices of the government can be implemented under existing legislation. The aim is to provide even greater protection of personal information collected by government about an individual. Management Board of Cabinet will also produce an index of all computer and electronic data systems now used by the government to store personal information.

I have already received from Management Board some preliminary reactions to the commission report. They are very encouraging and I fully expect to have further announcements concerning this in the near future. Freedom of information is a matter of attitude just as much as it is a matter of legislation. Legislation will, of course, change the present practice of ad hoc decisions of disclosure of information.

This government is committed to greater openness in its administration and increased access by the citizen. To this end, the Premier (Mr. Davis) last week wrote to all ministers with guidelines for civil servants in communicating with the public. Let me quote briefly from that letter:

“Between now and the time freedom of information legislation is enacted and the administrative apparatus for its operation is in place, there is a great deal we can do to give the policy of open government meaning and consistency. A step that can be taken in this interim period is to encourage open and responsive behaviour among public servants in their daily dealings with the public, particularly including members of the Legislative Assembly and representatives of the news media.”

The guidelines instruct public servants that the basic communications position of the government of Ontario is to be “open” as opposed to “closed” and goes on to lay out a code of expected conduct. I will be tabling that letter and the guidelines in a few minutes.

The government has made a commitment to proceed on the path of openness. Any objective observer knows today that we mean what we say.

I would now like to table the compendium of background information relating to the ministry reading rooms along with the Premier’s letter and guidelines to the public service.


Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, later today I will be tabling the sixth annual report of the Ontario Advisory Council on Senior Citizens. This council works diligently in bringing to government the concerns of senior citizens across the province. Through their visits to communities in Ontario, their newsletter Especially for Seniors, their background position papers and special reports, they promote the achievements and needs of seniors. Their annual report summarizes these very important activities.

Doug Repelje, council chairman, and Allan Upshall, vice-chairman, are in the gallery today and I would like to express my appreciation to them and the members of their council for all their efforts. They have worked enthusiastically and persistently not only in urging the community to assist seniors, but also in promoting and developing opportunities for self-help for the aged themselves.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Today I am tabling the report of the task force on the racial and ethnic implications of police hiring, training, promotion and career development.

Members will recall that this wide-ranging study was announced last November and the police community, sensitive to the issues, encouraged the initiative in this direction. The task force consists of Dr. Reva Gerstein, psychologist, educator and policy adviser, who served as chairman; Norma Bowen, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Guelph, and Chief Gordon Torrance of the Hamilton-Wentworth police force.

I believe the report will make a significant contribution in assisting the police to meet the challenge of an increasingly complex society in the 1980s. The task force makes 26 recommendations, including one which urges that police forces develop positive recruitment programs aimed at reaching qualified individuals from minority groups.

The report also states that as Canada is a multicultural society, a thorough understanding of such a society must become a major objective of the police services and also of all sectors of the community they serve.

Members of the task force remind us that what the community expects from the police should not be regarded as of lesser importance than what the police expects from the community. The report states, and I quote:

“Without this crucial twinning of expectations, the task of policing will be made much more difficult and the possibility of any individual living in a safe society with freedom and dignity would indeed be remote.”

There are a number of pertinent and interesting observations on such subjects as the training and education of police officers, perceptions of minority groups, the role of the Ontario Police Commission and the role of the media.

I would at this time like to express publicly my gratitude to the members of the task force for producing such an important and useful document. I want to assure Dr. Gerstein, Dr. Bowen and Chief Torrance, who are with us today in the gallery, that their recommendations are being given every consideration by the ministry and by the government of Ontario.



Mr. S. Smith: A question, Mr. Speaker, for the Minister of Education: In view of yesterday’s newspaper accounts of serious budget problems in the botany department at the University of Toronto, I wonder if the minister would comment on the following rather shocking situations at that same university. Equipment at the school of dentistry is so outdated that the school’s professional accreditation has been put on probation for three years; $5.7 million in government funds originally promised in 1973 for modernization has still not been forwarded to the school; the material in the library of the school of architecture is so insufficient that students have had to dig into their own pockets to buy new books for the shelves; in 1980-81 the faculty of medicine has less than half the funds indicated to be essential for just maintaining the status quo; some of the essential equipment in the faculty of pharmacy is so old that parts are no longer available for its maintenance in the only school of pharmacy in Ontario. Does the minister have some comment?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am aware of the newspaper article and of the litany that was provided. I think in almost any institution in any jurisdiction anywhere one can find complaints about certain situations, particularly about the degree of modernization of equipment, space and other factors.

We have been having ongoing conversations with the universities of this province. We are very much aware of the concerns they have been expressing. We are also aware that some information that has been less than totally enlightening has been delivered as public information. But I know the universities of this province believe we will be doing our very best to meet their requirements within this province for the education of young people.

2:20 p.m.

Mr. S. Smith: Could the minister explain why, as the largest and most industrialized province, and up until now the most prosperous province in this country, Ontario should he 10th and last in its funding of universities on a per student basis and why the Ontario Council on University Affairs should have to issue a report, as it did in September 1980, pointing out that underfunding has affected the quality of all aspects of the universities’ operations from undergraduate education to research efforts? Why have we fallen to that dismal position in this country?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: I would remind the member that it is the role of OCUA to make such reports to the minister and to government. In the interprovincial comparison of university funding, based upon the eight indicators which it was agreed would be used, Ontario is not 10th and last. In fact, in a number of areas it is in third place, I believe, and it ranges primarily from third to seventh or third to eighth place. That change has not been very dramatic over the past five years; it has retained that place.

The reason for that is the fact that we have institutions in this province which have been established for a number of years. Our capital program and our development of universities is of longer duration than in most other provinces and the requirements are for maintenance of that series of institutions, rather than for the establishment of new institutions, new funding and new programs.

Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: A week or so ago Dr. Ian Macdonald, president of York University, spoke to a student group there and informed them that in the last decade Ontario’s per capita grants to universities had dropped to 10th place, the lowest among the provinces. Is that accurate?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Could I just give the criteria that are used in the comparison? The per capita grant is only one of the indicators used in the comparative study. There is the provincial operating grant for students.

Mr. Roy: You’ve changed the rules.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: No, I have not changed them. I am sorry, these rules were not made by the government of Ontario; they were made by AUCC, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. It was agreed upon about six years ago that all of these indicators would be taken into account. These are the eight indicators that are used: provincial operating grant per student; provincial operating grant per capita; provincial operating grant plus fees per student; provincial operating grant plus fees per capita; total operating income per student; provincial operating grant, including student aid, as a percentage of provincial gross general expenditure; provincial operating grant per $1,000 of provincial personal income, and total university operating expenditures as a percentage of gross provincial domestic product.

In addition to that, there are a number of important factors that are not taken into account. Direct student assistance is not included in total operating income, and Ontario ranks first in this county in direct student assistance. If that were included in the total funding mechanism and in the comparison, Ontario would be third in the ranking across the country.

Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Given that it has now been clearly disclosed for the umpteenth time that the average per student assistance in Ontario -- not the highest or the lowest, but the average -- is $1,000 less than the rest of the country, what makes the minister or her ministry or her government believe the universities of Ontario can offer an appropriate or adequate education compared to the rest of the country on $1,000 less per student operating costs -- not capital, but operating? That is why we have the problem. How are they supposed to do that?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: I thought I had just explained to the members that they are ignoring a very important portion of the support to universities. If that is included, the reduction from the national average is not as great as the member would lead us to believe. There are economies of scale that are reached within Ontario universities because of their size, because of their comprehensiveness and because of the fact that they have been established for a very much longer period of time in many instances than those in other provinces.

Mr. Cooke: The minister can play around with statistics all she wants, Mr. Speaker, but how does she respond to the specific cases at the University of Toronto?

Hon. Mr. Norton: At least she understands; you don’t.

Mr. Cooke: Is that minister worried about the Queen’s University students in his riding? I would be if I were he.


Mr. Cooke: How does the minister respond to the specific example given at the University of Toronto and other examples across this province and at various universities where the buildings are falling apart because they can’t make capital repairs? Their equipment is years and years behind because they don’t have the capital to put new equipment in. How does she respond to the Ontario Council on University Affairs report? That is an independent body; it is not an advocate for the universities; it presents facts to the minister; the report says the system is on the brink, and Dr. Winegard testified to the standing committee on social development in that exact way.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I listen very carefully to the advice of OCUA and attempt to take it into very serious consideration in all decisions that are made related to the funding of the university system.

There are circumstances in a number of institutions which I am sure could be cited and certainly not all of those institutions are within this province. There are ways in which the universities themselves, because they are autonomous institutions, can modify circumstances within their own boundaries. I believe it is their responsibility to do so.

As far as the dental school at the University of Toronto is concerned, we have been having discussions and it is my hope we will be able to find a way to ensure that the quality of that program, which is one of the best in Canada, will be maintained.

The universities are a very important part of this society, an extremely important part. They have never lost their priority as far as this government is concerned, but they have been subjected, just as all other sectors of our society have been subjected, to the constraints that have been imposed by inflation. We all must deal with them, the university sector no less than any other.

Mr. S. Smith: I still don’t understand why Ontario should be under the national average to any extent.


Mr. S. Smith: A question to the Minister of Revenue: I have spoken with senior citizens from all over Ontario, Mr. Speaker, who feel very aggrieved because they are losing money under the new tax grant scheme. I know all members have had these types of calls.

In view of the statement made by the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch) and the presence in the audience today of people who care about senior citizens, can I ask the minister once again, will he consider changing this grant system so that no pensioner would have to receive less under the new system than she or he did under the old tax credit system?

Hon. Mr. Maeck: Mr. Speaker, I said before that most people are not taking into consideration the increase in the guaranteed annual income that has been given to them. Many people who think they are receiving less are getting more than they were before if they take that into consideration. If there is to be a change in policy, it would have to come from the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) rather than the Minister of Revenue. The Leader of the Opposition very well knows that.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, and since the Treasurer and the Premier (Mr. Davis) are out of the chamber at the moment, I am speaking to the minister -- oh, there is the Treasurer. I will allow the Treasurer to take his seat and ask the question while he is moving.


Mr. S. Smith: It is more of a contest when it is a moving target.

This is not the first time the government has been in exactly this situation. Back in 1970 when the property tax credit system was introduced for seniors, originally it excluded seniors living in institutions, but that was then changed. After an uproar, the government changed that by making regulations.

2:30 p.m.

Is the Treasurer aware that under the present act, passed this year, the minister may make regulation 17(h) prescribing classes of persons to be eligible persons who reside in premises that are not a housing unit? In other words he got into the same pickle in 1970. He changed it by moving via regulations then. Why doesn’t he do exactly the same thing now, correct the error, and make sure that no pensioner has to accept less under his system than he would have had to accept under the old system?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, first it is not an error. Let’s start out by being quite clear about that. That was discussed and debated at some length during the bill itself and I believe during even some of the estimates -- the discussions at least.

The decision to pass another $420 a year through to people who are in nursing homes --

Mr. S. Smith: Four hundred and ten dollars.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Four hundred and twenty extra dollars on the comfort allowance were passed through because in July we agreed not to do what we usually do and that is keep the comfort allowance at $61 a month.

Mr. S. Smith: You pocket the federal moneys.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Of course, because in fact those people are heavily subsidized. We are pocketing some of our money and some of their money because that money was aimed at keeping them supported in their home, in the street, or to help towards paying for their accommodation in a home for the aged or nursing home.

Mr. Foulds: Don’t be so cheap.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Would you like to listen to the answer?


Hon. F. S. Miller: The job of government is, of course, to tailor the assistance to people to match their needs. The property tax credit program, which I can tell the member is being very well received around this province, is tailored to help people pay property taxes on their homes and to stay in them or to help them pay rent. We do heavily subsidize people in nursing homes and people in homes for the aged. In fact, we pay something around $20 a day for every person in a nursing home in the province. That is over $600 a month towards their keep and still leaves them $96 a month in cash money to spend upon those things they want.

Mr. S. Smith: How generous.

Hon. F. S. Miller: How generous? Well, let the member talk to the administrators of those homes and they will tell him that is more than most of them can possibly spend. We increased that amount by $420 a year this year for people who are on Gains and, in fact, with the average cheque being $431 for people in their homes, we increased it by almost exactly the same amount of money as we are sending out in the cheques.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker, and back to the Minister of Revenue, if I might, who was the initial respondent. It is to do with further errors and mistakes in the property tax grants.

I received a call this morning from a constituent who had just received a cheque for $4.32 when he should have received a cheque for $432 for his tax rebate. I called the information services of the ministry and was told there was a jumpy computer -- I don’t know if it’s the same computer as the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) had with OSAP -- but a jumpy computer that’s doing this all over the place. I want to know what the minister is going to do to make sure that senior citizens are not left with inappropriate and inadequate amounts.

Hon. Mr. Maeck: Mr. Speaker, we are all familiar with computers, I suppose, and from time to time computers do make mistakes. The cheques that are written on behalf of the Ministry of Revenue are done by the Ministry of Government Services. We don’t do them in our own ministry. Certainly I will look into it and see if that is the fact. If it’s a case where the computer is making a mistake, we are happy to correct the situation.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question for the Minister of Revenue. Given the fact that his ministry is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to tell the seniors how much money they are getting, would he consider and recommend to the cabinet that he cut off those advertisements in the newspapers and on the radio and television --

Mr. Bradley: “Because Ontario cares.”

Mr. Epp: -- “Because Ontario cares” -- and give it to the seniors where it should go rather than to the large advertising agencies across the province?


Mr. Speaker: Do you want a response?

Hon. Mr. Maeck: We are dealing with a brand new program. We are dealing with 820,000 senior citizens, that is how many there are, and I think it is incumbent upon this government and this Legislature to inform those senior citizens of the program that is available to them. I have no intentions of cutting back on the advertising. The program will go as planned and I hope when we are finished that the senior citizens will be well aware of the program.

Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, I cannot avoid thinking that the answer of the Minister of Revenue is very similar to the answer that the Prime Minister gave yesterday about the federal advertising, but my supplementary is to the Treasurer.

If the philosophy of the Treasurer’s tax rebate is, as he said, to help people pay property taxes and to help them keep their houses, does he not think that with his scheme, if that is the purpose of the scheme, he has excluded two groups of citizens who are in the very similar position to senior citizens, namely the injured workers with no other income and recipients of Canada Pension disability? Does he not think it is his duty to include those groups in his scheme?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the program is only aimed at senior citizens at this point. We did listen to criticisms made of it, as the member knows since he made some, and I think he would have to agree that we adopted some positive suggestions and did our best to look after senior citizens. It is very difficult then to expand that to the other groups, because one would have to look at all of the programs for people under 65. I know my colleague the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton) is constantly doing that.

Mr. Mancini: Supplementary to the Minister of Revenue, Mr. Speaker: In view of the fact that my constituency office has received many phone calls over the summer and through this past September, what am I to tell the senior citizens who are losing this money, who will have to deny themselves the few luxuries in life, other than the fact that the government has made political hay at the expense of the elderly poor?

Hon. Mr. Maeck: I think there is one point that is being missed here completely, and that is the fact that if someone pays lower taxes or lower rent he obviously has more money at his disposal after he has paid it than the people who pay higher taxes or higher rents. To me it seems reasonable and fair that those who are paying lower taxes or lower rent would not receive as much money as the ones who are paying more. It may be that there are a few who are going to get a little less money in total --

Mr. Warner: A few. A hundred thousand.

Hon. Mr. Maeck: It is 95,000, as a matter of fact, out of a total of 820,000; not too bad a figure. I must say, Mr. Speaker, that many of those people come from ridings such as yours and mine. I think it is fair to say that those people who are paying lower taxes or lower rent probably have more money at their disposal after the payment of that than the people who pay the higher amounts. I think it is reasonable and fair.

While I am on my feet, dealing with the advertising program, if one were to figure it out, the cost is approximately $600,000, which is 79 cents per senior citizen in Ontario. I can hardly send out a letter for that.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. In view of the strong recommendations of the Hall commission report with regard to extra billing by doctors, and in particular in view of the findings of the Hall commission report that extra billing is inequitable, that it denies medical services to the poor, that it is a tax on the sick and that it will destroy the medicare system as we created it 13 years ago, is the government now prepared to bring in legislation to establish one-price medicare for every resident in Ontario?

2:40 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, there were many recommendations in the Hall commission report. Unlike the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel), I do not just look at one problem. One has to take them in their entirety.

Mr. Swart: Just answer the question.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I say to the member for Welland-Thorold, after his performance the other day he might be wise to be quiet for once in his life. That is one of the greatest statements: “I oppose it in principle, but when it affects me personally, I am prepared to break my principle and accept the money.”

Mr. Speaker, I would suggest, and I say this being as constructive as I can, the Hall commission report is being assessed by the ministry. The Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) himself will be here, if he is not already since I stood in my place. I would suggest it might be an occasion not only to ask that question but to have some discussions on the many recommendations within the report.

If the honourable member is asking me whether we are contemplating immediate legislation related to the subject matter he raised, the answer is we are not. The report itself is being assessed by the other ministers of health across the country, including the federal Minister of National Health and Welfare. My impression is, and I am only going by memory, that all the ministers of health, including the federal minister, have agreed to meet again some time fairly soon to consider further the recommendations in the report. I think I am right in that last observation.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since the Hall commission report endorsed the findings of a study in four counties of Ontario which indicated that a third of the households were having to pay extra bills coming from doctors who charged over the OHIP rate, that extra billing was significantly more likely to affect poor people who were delaying going to the doctor or were not going to the doctor because of the extra billing, and that 60 per cent of the patients who were extra-billed said they were embarrassed to go to the doctor to talk about fees, I would like to ask the Premier if that is acceptable to the government. If it is not acceptable, what is the Premier going to do about it?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think the minister has already made it clear that as a matter of government policy we do not find that practice acceptable. He has been, with some measure of success, developing a process or an understanding in the province under which that would be diminished.

Mr. Conway: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since the Premier has indicated that the government is undertaking an examination of the Hall commission report, can the Premier indicate whether the government of Ontario has had the benefit of seeing, privately at least, the full study commissioned by Mr. Hall and done by Professors Woodward and Stoddart with reference to the impact of opting out as it was looked at in four Ontario counties -- Simcoe, Halton, Waterloo and one other? Has the Premier had the chance to get that material which is so vital in so far as our jurisdiction is concerned? If he has not, can he indicate whether he or the minister will be pressing for its public release in the very near future?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I personally do not have it. Perhaps the minister does. I would say to the honourable member, if he would like to ask the minister that question, I am sure he would be more than prepared to answer it.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, is the Premier aware that same study found that 45 per cent of the people who were extra-billed were charged more than the Ontario Medical Association’s rate, let alone being charged more than what OHIP would pay? Is that acceptable to the government? Does the Premier not accept that doctors are not going to back down voluntarily until there is legislative action by the province to bring back one-price medicare in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I do not have the figures at my fingertips at the moment but my recollection is that the last report we received from the Minister of Health indicated the number of doctors who were opting back into OHIP has increased, or the number who are out has diminished, whichever way you wish to look at it.

Of course I am not a member of the profession but I would be disappointed if members of the profession are charging above the OMA fee schedule. I was not aware of this. I know in the legal profession we never charge over the tariffs or fee schedules we have, do we?

Mr. Breithaupt: While the Premier is discussing with the Minister of Health the release of that one piece of reference material, would he not agree that in order that the recommendations of Mr. Justice Hall can be thoroughly considered, all the reference materials and reports that go to make up that study should become a part of the public information?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Once again the honourable member can correct me if I am wrong, but my recollection is that the Hall commission report is federal. Unlike the Hall-Dennis report, where everything was made public and which was a provincial study totally endorsed by the member for Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk-Oxford and any other part, this is a royal commission report to the government of Canada. I don’t know what their policy is. If their policy is not to be as open as we are in the government of this province, I can’t comment on that.

I know the honourable member has far closer communication with the government of Canada than I have, and if he were to ask the federal minister of health if she were prepared to release those documents that are the appendices to or make up parts of the Hall commission report, she might reply to him with far greater alacrity than she might reply to me. However, I will be delighted to ask Ontario’s Minister of Health if he knows whether the government of Canada in its wisdom, or lack of wisdom, is prepared to release those documents.

Mr. Peterson: Have you taken out a membership in the Liberal Party?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I just have to say to the honourable member, as he is a relative of one of the senior ministers in the great government of Canada, solving all of the economic and energy issues of the day by sitting around doing nothing, he is closer to them than I am.


Mr. Speaker: Order. Order. The response to the out-of-order interjection was just as ridiculous as the interjection itself. A new question.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question for the Minister of Community and Social Services. Since there are now more than 4,000 children on the waiting list for day care in Metropolitan Toronto, and since there are almost no facilities to meet the needs of parents looking for day care for infants in Metro, what action does the government intend to take in response to the very modest request of the metropolitan council for the province to participate in providing 500 more day care spaces in Metro in 1981?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, prior to our receipt of the copy of the metropolitan task force report, I indicated both to the chairman of Metropolitan Toronto and the chairman of the social services committee, Mr. Cressy, that upon receipt of that report I would give it very thorough and careful consideration. I was particularly impressed with the responsible approach they have taken in their request to the province with respect to next year.

I am not in a position at this point to make commitments in terms of the next fiscal year until our own budget planning is completed, but I will certainly be giving serious consideration to their request.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: this morning I met with a Vietnamese woman who has two children for whom she can’t afford day care because her husband’s income is $210 a week and she has an infant for whom she can’t get infant care under any circumstances at all. How can the government say it is helping women to get back to work when this woman can neither get language training nor take a job if she can’t get day care for her children when she needs it right now?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I am sure there are other cases I and you and others in this House could relate to the Legislature in specific instances. There is no way I can assure the honourable member, nor if he were in my position could he assure me, that I can meet everyone’s needs immediately. What we have to do and what we are doing is planning and moving responsibly in the direction of meeting those needs.

2:50 p.m.

I understand this morning that the honourable member was visiting some day care facilities in the city -- or planning to later today, I am not sure which. I saw a copy of his press release.

In addition to the facilities he is visiting, I would suggest he check some of the numerous day care services that are available surrounding some of those centres and inquire of Metropolitan Toronto how many subsidized vacancies there are in some of the centres in the area he will be visiting.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Could the minister respond to a concern which was told to me during my recent trip to Ottawa, that there might have to be an actual reduction in the number of day care places in Ottawa-Carleton unless the same funding arrangements that have been offered to Toronto are offered in the Ottawa area? Could the minister explain whether that is correct and whether it is his intention to offer to the municipality of Ottawa-Carleton the same kinds of funding arrangements that have been offered to the municipality of Toronto, since surely he would agree that Ottawa ought to receive no less consideration than Toronto?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Approximately a week and a half ago I met with the chairman of Ottawa-Carleton and made the commitment and agreed to do precisely that. That has already been done.

Just to show members I don’t always go screaming to the newspapers to get the credit, when we do something very significant like that, I would say the members on this side of the House from Ottawa acted very responsibly and worked with me to work out a solution with the region, which is on the same basis as that in Metropolitan Toronto.

I would also suggest that those members from Ottawa and those municipal representatives from Ottawa take a very serious look at the way in which they are at present funding day care in that community.

Mr. Cassidy: Oh, boy!

Hon. Mr. Norton: You say, “Oh, bull.”

Mr. McClellan: He said, “Oh, boy.” The minister is deaf.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Just consider this. There are waiting lists in Ottawa of needy, low-income families, while that municipality is channelling provincial money into subsidies to very high cost day care to families that can well afford to pay their own way.

The per diem rate in one centre alone in Ottawa is $31 or $32 a day per child, and no one is paying more than a maximum of $17. I think the rates are outrageously high, as Ottawa generally has been in the past. Secondly, I think it is irresponsible for them to be using money that was intended to assist needy families and to put it into a topping-up subsidy to high-income families.

I suggest they could open numerous additional spaces for needy families in Ottawa if they would simply change their policy. I have indicated that to the chairman. I have previously indicated it to members of that council. I suggest to the member it is a purely political decision by the members of that council.

If they really want to help some of the needy families in Ottawa, they know how they can do it.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Would the minister not agree that the funding that was provided in Ottawa-Carleton was a totally inadequate ad hoc response and that his attack on day care services in Ottawa-Carleton is a complete abdication of his responsibility, which should be to ensure that there is adequate day care available, rather than trying to force one day care centre to fight against another one?

Would he not agree that when there are 4,000 people looking for day care services in Toronto and 1,000 on the waiting list in Ottawa, it isn’t just one isolated case of a Vietnamese woman who speaks no English and can’t get language training; there are 5,000 cases of people who need day care who can’t get it? Over the last four years, 100,000 working women have come into the work force and there have been only 5,000 day care places open. How can that be considered to be an adequate response to the need for universally accessible day care in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Norton: At no time have I denied there are needs extant in our community that we must continue to strive to meet. I’ve never denied that. We can quibble over figures. I haven’t seen the list of 4,000 people. I don’t know what duplication there is. There is no point in arguing that. I recognize there is a need there that we do have to strive to meet.

However, what I’m trying to emphasize to the member -- and he might relay this to some of his political colleagues on the Ottawa-Carleton council -- is that there are major things they can do to meet more effectively the needs of the people in that community. For example, if they were to change their policy of subsidizing high-income families at the expense of low-income families, they could meet the needs of far more people.

Second, this year’s allocation to Ottawa-Carleton was not inadequate. The reason we had to provide them with some additional funding was again an administrative problem that they had because they too had opened more spaces, unwittingly perhaps, but nevertheless they had opened more spaces than they had been funded for because they were not sure of what they were doing.

Mr. Speaker: A new question. The member for Waterloo North.


Mr. Speaker: Order. The honourable member who has the floor is entitled to the courtesy that should be extended automatically to all members of the House.


Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Premier. Given that firefighter arbitration awards in Ontario are reaching astronomical heights of 15.4 per cent to 29 per cent for a one-year award, and up to 35 per cent for two-year awards, and given the fact that the city of Waterloo recently sent a letter to the Premier requesting that a royal commission be established to study the system of arbitration awards across the province, will the Premier indicate to this House whether he has accepted that recommendation and, if so, what the terms of the commission will be?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, no, we have not accepted that recommendation. We are concerned, as all members are, with respect to some of these situations. At the same time I am sure the honourable member is not personally prepared to commit himself or his party as being opposed to arbitration as being an equitable way in most situations to resolve outstanding disputes. I think the complexity of this is that if you once decide that arbitration is the most equitable way and it is put into the hands of an arbitrator, you are then faced with the results.

What I was not able to ascertain from the suggestion -- and suggestions have been made by some of the municipalities relating to arbitration awards for firefighters and also for police -- is just what the alternatives are. I would be interested to know what alternative the honourable member might have to suggest that would not in fact infringe upon the bargaining process.

He might suggest there be upper limitations on the arbitration. I guess if one were to say there should be upper limitations, then one would also have to take a position that there would have to be certain minimums as well.

So then one would have, by some statute or some legislation, determination of the parameter within which an arbitrator must work.

I am quite sympathetic to the problem, I would say to the honourable member, and I will be so communicating. But I have to say that at this moment we do not feel a royal commission per se, which I think would indicate there are some awards that municipalities find great difficulty in meeting, would provide better alternatives.

Mr. Epp: A supplementary: Given the fact that the Premier wants my views on arbitration and given the fact that by establishing a royal commission he has an opportunity to obtain those views, I wonder whether he would reconsider his statement and decision not to establish a royal commission?

Second, I wonder if the Premier would indicate to this House what the municipalities should tell their employees, because the morale across this province is dropping where the high arbitration awards are given, because some employees are negotiating at 10 per cent and then are having arbitration awards anywhere from 15 to close to 30 per cent. What would the Premier tell these various municipalities as to how they should deal with the low morale of their employees when these high arbitration awards are being established?

Hon. Mr. Davis: In the municipality that I come from the morale of municipal employees committed to the public service is always very good. I cannot speak for the community which the member used to represent in terms of municipal service and now represents here in the provincial Legislature.

I would also say to the honourable member that I am really very surprised and disappointed in a man of his capacity who says to me that he feels we should have a royal commission before he is prepared to express his personal points of view on how the issue may be resolved. I have never felt he was reluctant to express a point of view at all.

3 p.m.


Mr. Isaacs: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. Given that it is becoming increasingly clear that many of the problems of the Upper Ottawa Street dump are being caused by wastes which did not originate within the Hamilton-Wentworth area but which came from across Ontario and indeed from the United States as well, will the minister agree that it is most unfair to place responsibility for dealing with those problems on the taxpayers of Hamilton-Wentworth? Will the minister admit that the dump on Upper Ottawa Street is a problem of major provincial concern and will he accept responsibility for dealing with the problem instead of leaving it to the regional council?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, two or three points should be made. First, I am sure the member opposite knows as well as I do that for a long time the site has been the property of the city of Hamilton and the regional municipality. The letter that apparently was well received the other night by the regional council suggested that if more studies are required we would share that cost. Indeed, the other day the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) said they would pay for the health study cost.

I think the truth of the matter -- in answering the member’s question -- is we have funded those things that he is asking for in a very direct way -- 50 per cent of the cost of the study to find out what is in there and what is occurring, and then the whole health study. I do not know what more he would expect this government to do than what we have already done.

Mr. Isaacs: A supplementary: Does the minister not realize that the level of expertise that is available regionally simply may not be sufficient to deal with the problems and we may see more money being spent on reports like the Gartner Lee report, which comes out only to be criticized by ministry officials?

Surely the minister has to agree that we need the top-most experts in North America working on that problem and those experts should be commissioned by the ministry, instead of playing around with these games of going through regional council to get reports that are open to question the moment they are published.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: We already suggested in the same letter, of which I’m sure the member has a copy, that we will give the expertise of our ministry to it. It is kind of interesting that if we ask somebody else to do it, then it should be us; but if we do it, then of course we are not competent. The member wants it both ways. I’m sorry, he does not get it both ways.

We are funding 50 per cent. They can use who they want because we do not want any doubt in anyone’s mind but that it is a very open, objective analysis. Now the member is saying it should be another set of experts. We did not choose the experts, nor should we; they did. They are pretty competent people in the member’s region. I am surprised that the member continuously criticizes the people of his own community; that does surprise me. They chose those, and rightly so. If they want to choose another firm, we will fund 50 per cent; not only that, we will give the expertise of our ministry.

Mr. S. Smith: With the expertise of the ministry and 75 cents, they can get a cup of coffee.

Let me ask the minister if he is familiar with the fact that the Gartner Lee report suggests a great many things that have to be done -- certain shafts that have to be sunk, certain tow drains have to be put in, continual monitoring and so on -- which will be very expensive indeed. Is it the province’s view that the region should have to pay for those things, which after all are necessary only because, contrary to his own certificate of approval, the minister let them bring in wastes from all over North America? Should not the province agree to pay for all these measures and monitoring stations, the holes that have to be sunk, the tow drains and so on that the Lee report has recommended?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: The Leader of the Opposition has a very convenient memory. There is no doubt that we have said to the chairman of the region that if more is required to have a full and complete understanding, we would share that with them. I think that is the way it should be. After all, that site is theirs and has been theirs for some time. There is a good deal of responsibility that is fairly and squarely placed and, interestingly enough, the leaders of that community -- the real leaders of that community, I might add -- are more than prepared to accept that.

I think the letter the other night in council was accepted, that they are going to do several things. One thing was that the health of the people would not be in jeopardy and that a survey would be done. Second, any survey of that site would give an unconditional understanding of what was there and how it could be treated. There are no short circuits on this one. We want the fullest and best understanding it is possible to have and we are prepared to pay for that. To put all of the responsibility on the province, when that site was run by the municipality, I think is not an appropriate request.


Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Education. Does the minister feel it is now time to review Bill 100, which was brought in on July 18, 1975, with a view to developing a better process for settling disputes between boards of education and teachers, inasmuch as the OSSTF struck against the Norfolk Board of Education on October 2 after 20 months without a contract? Although a mediator was appointed, I believe in June 1979, at considerable expense to the taxpayers of Ontario, they failed to reach a settlement. I have been told that 50 students out of 3,750 are now receiving education outside the area.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I would have to believe after listening to that question that the honourable member’s information is as deficient as the information apparently provided to the fund-raisers for the Liberal Party. I have in my folder a letter from one Bruce Stewart asking me to contribute to the Ontario Liberal Party coffers in support of their aspirations. I have to say Mr. Stewart’s aspirations are indeed misplaced.

I am sure the member must know that in the spring of 1979 we began an internal review of Bill 100 because we felt it was appropriate after the length of time it had been in existence to do just that and to review its success. Following that internal review, the decision was taken to appoint an external review committee, of which Dr. Matthews, the president of Waterloo University, was the chairman.

That committee held hearings throughout the province, received briefs about Bill 100 and wrote a report which was delivered to me in mid-July of this year. That report has been widely distributed. Its content is entirely on all aspects of Bill 100. The responses to the Matthews report are being collated at this time, and we will be looking very seriously at all of them and at the report when all of those are in, which I anticipate will be by the end of October. Yes, we are looking at Bill 100.

Mr. G. I. Miller: I think we asked for a review back in 1978 when the Haldimand Board of Education had its strike. Does the minister not feel that the students’ rights are being abandoned under the present system, when we have a petition from the parents containing some 2,500 signatures expressing concern that their young boys and girls are not in school and don’t have the right to get an education? Does the minister not feel she should be acting more quickly?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: It is a matter of grave concern to all parents, all students, all school boards and, in fact, everyone in Ontario. I do believe this is something that should be considered very seriously before major or dramatic changes are taken. The recommendations within the Matthews commission report would provide some mechanisms for shortening and condensing the period of negotiations, to try to reduce frustration and therefore produce less in the way of antagonism and hopefully minimize the number of strikes and lockouts.

3:10 p.m.

We do want to hear from all of those who have received the report, and many hundreds of copies have been sent out. As a matter of fact, it was a best seller within the province in the month of July. Those responses are coming in now. We will be looking at everyone’s opinion about it and we will be making recommendations about it. There is no doubt in my mind that the primary concern of everyone related to the school system is the welfare of the students who are involved in the educational program. That is the primary concern of the Ministry of Education, and that will be uppermost in our minds in making any modifications.

Mr. Nixon: Final supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Would the minister not agree that the students, 3,600 of them, who are at present not in school because of this continuing strike, are not well served by the minister’s answer that she is simply waiting for discussion on her circulated report on Bill 100? Why can’t she realize that the strike will be settled perhaps three months from now, but that we really can’t afford to leave the schools closed that long? Why can’t the minister lead the Legislature in taking the proper position to end that strike, so that for the advantage of the teachers and the students we can get the schools open?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: The former leader of the Liberal Party is distorting just slightly what I was attempting to say. We are not awaiting the report or the decisions about Bill 100 to look very carefully and seriously at the matter of the cessation of the educational program within that jurisdiction. The Minister of Education is very much aware that the Education Relations Commission is attempting right now to ensure that there will be mediation in an attempt to solve that strike very rapidly, and I am hopeful that indeed will happen.


Mr. Makarchuk: Mr. Speaker, in view of the fact that the federal government has appointed a fact-finder to examine Massey finances and possible federal government involvement in the rescue operation, is the province considering the appointment of a similar fact-finder to work in conjunction with the one the federal government has appointed, to ensure that Ontario interests are protected and also to ensure that the Ontario government would receive information that could be of value should there be a bail-out process started later on?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: If we thought the fact-finder appointed by the federal government was in any way inadequate, then I would see some point in adding someone to that crew; but I think it is quite an adequate task force they have set up. Second, the federal government to date has shared all information with us and we have shared all the information we have with it. They have assured us that relationship will continue, so I see no reason to duplicate efforts that are going on.

Mr. Makarchuk: Supplementary: What assurance do we have, or what channels of communication does the ministry have, in that case, to ensure that it receives the information very quickly and very accurately as to what exactly is happening in that corporation?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I can tell the honourable member that we have day-to-day communications at the deputy minister’s level. Until last Thursday or Friday we have had daily communications between my deputy and the senior officials of Massey-Ferguson. We have also for some weeks retained a private-sector consultant to advise us on the current financial status of Massey-Ferguson. We have been totally and fully informed and at all times have had the same amount of information the federal government has had.

Mr. Nixon: Supplementary: Does the information that the minister has concerning the current debt status of Massey confirm the fact that important tests of their bank loans are due at the end of October and that if they are not passed, to the satisfaction of the creditors, the company may go into bankruptcy? Will the minister acknowledge that deadline and indicate whether government policy will be announced by that time?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: It is hard to say, because it is up to the creditors to respond to the requests of the federal minister, who requested those creditors to withhold any premature withdrawal of credit until they had had a chance to deal with the situation. Prior to that statement, I would have expected that the creditors would be considering withdrawal by about the end of October. How the creditors will respond to the statements of last week is still very much open to speculation, and I hope, as a result of Mr. Abell’s efforts, that perhaps we will have a better handle on that after he has spoken with some of them, perhaps as early as the end of next week.

Mr. Makarchuk: Supplementary: In view of the fact the minister said his government is fully aware of what is going on at Massey-Ferguson, was the government aware of the fact the stock is going to be turned over from Argus Corporation to the pension fund before it happened?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: We can only be as up to date on the situation as there are decisions made. If the member is asking me did I know, or did Herb Grey --

Mr. Makarchuk: Did the minister read about it in the papers?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I say to the member with all respect, that is similar to asking the employees when they found out the pension fund was going to get that gift, and if they knew that when Conrad Black made that decision.

I can also tell the member that I cannot, nor can he or Herb Gray, read Conrad Black’s mind. I have made it very clear that he failed to communicate information at what I thought was a fair and reasonable point in time. I can also say that as soon as he apparently made that move, which was at 10:30 or 11 o’clock the night before the statement was issued, government officials at both the federal and provincial levels were made aware of the situation immediately upon the decision being taken, but I cannot suggest that we are aware of decisions before they are taken.


Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Solicitor General regarding an incident that occurred in Hamilton which is of great concern to me, and I am sure to him as well. I just want to read from a letter that will explain the question:

“Exactly one month ago my brother, the late Mr. John Vernon Turner, died in Hamilton General Hospital. He was a 22-year-old victim of a gang beating, the beating taking place in the plush lobby of the Hamilton Place auditorium. This gang, the notorious Parkdale gang of Hamilton, is known for its criminal activities. Why haven’t any of these criminals been apprehended yet?” I pose my question just exactly like that, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, there is no question but that killing was certainly one of the most brutal crimes which has occurred, in my memory, and I can assure the member that obviously everyone is very concerned about it.

I met with the police chief of the Hamilton-Wentworth force as recently as yesterday to review the progress they were making in relation to that matter. Very substantial police resources have been allocated for the investigation. As the member knows, one suspect has been identified; there is a warrant out for his arrest, and a search is going on for him in the western part of our nation.

I am assured the investigation is being conducted as thoroughly and in as dedicated a fashion as possible. There is no question but that the law enforcement officers in the Hamilton-Wentworth area are just as outraged by the brutality of that crime as anyone else.



Hon. Mrs. Birch presented the sixth annual report of the Ontario Advisory Council on Senior Citizens.


Mr. Speaker: I would like to inform the House that the Clerk has received from the commissioners of estate bills favourable reports on two private bills.

Clerk of the House: On private Bill Pr21, An Act respecting the City of London, the report reads as follows:

“The undersigned, as commissioners of estate bills as provided by the Legislative Assembly Act, RSO 1970, Chapter 240, having had the above-noted bill referred to us as commissioners, now beg to report thereon.

“We have investigated the desirability of the proposed legislation. We are of the opinion that the provisions of the bill are proper for carrying into effect its purpose and it is reasonable that the said bill should pass into law.

“We enclose a copy of the bill which we have duly signed.”

The report is signed by Mr. Justice Jessup and Madam Justice Wilson.

Mr. Speaker: I hope we can read this in Hansard; we are certainly not getting it here now. Is there anything the console operator can do about that?

Clerk of the House: An identical report has been received with respect to Bill Pr33, signed by the same two commissioners.

3:20 p.m.



Hon. Mr. Wells moved that when the House adjourns tomorrow, Friday, October 10, it stand adjourned until Tuesday next, October 14.

Motion agreed to.



Mr. G. Taylor, on behalf of Mr. G. E. Smith, moved first reading of Bill Pr36, An Act respecting the Town of Midland.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Villeneuve, on behalf of Mr. Williams, moved first reading of Bill Pr55, An Act to revive Gould’s Drug Store Limited.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Isaacs moved first reading of Bill 162, An Act to amend the Ministry of the Environment Act.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Isaacs: The purpose of the bill is to confer responsibility to the Ministry of the Environment to manage all aspects of a situation that has been designated an environmental disaster by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.


Mr. Isaacs moved first reading of Bill 163, An Act to declare the Upper Ottawa Street Landfill Site to be an Environmental Disaster.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Isaacs: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to declare the Upper Ottawa Street landfill site in the city of Hamilton to be an environmental disaster. The bill is complementary to the previous bill.




Mr. Ruston moved resolution 28:

That, in the opinion of this House, the provincial government should make available a basic, free-of-charge dental care plan to all residents of Ontario 65 years of age and over who are in receipt of Gains benefits. Such “basic care” would include preventive services, simple restoration and full or partial dentures.

Mr. Speaker: The honourable member has up to 20 minutes. If he wishes to reserve any time for a wrapup, he may notify the officials at the table.

Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have my resolution before this House today. It was presented and put on the Order Paper early last spring and, when the House adjourned, it now comes to the first week of our sitting.

I suppose there are other things just as important as the resolution here today, owing to economic conditions in the province and so forth, but I believe this resolution is very important too. It is especially important for our senior citizens, especially the senior citizens who are in need of some financial help to look after their basic dental care.

In this resolution, I have proposed that the provincial government should make available a basic, free-of-charge dental care plan to all residents of Ontario 65 years of age and over who are in receipt of benefits under the guaranteed annual income system. Such “basic care” would include preventive services, simple restoration and full or partial dentures.

For many years now, we have been aware of the importance of good dental care for children and young people. Such care is no less important for our older citizens and not merely for cosmetic reasons, although they have a special need to maintain their self-pride and to feel positive about their appearance.

Even more important is the effect of poor teeth or ill-fitting dentures upon their general health. Deteriorating or uncared-for teeth can cause very serious problems for the individual. They can be a source of infection, not to mention pain, and frequently cause digestive difficulties. There is already considerable concern about the need for older people to eat good, nourishing meals, something which many of them do not do either because they simply cannot afford the food they need or because they become careless about cooking for just one or two. Poor or ill-fitting teeth aggravate this situation. Nutrition is a significant enough problem for older people without the added complication of poor dental capabilities.

Obviously, in considering any dental plan for the aged, we need to take into account how many people would be involved. In 1961, Canadians over the age of 65 represented something like 7.7 per cent of the total population. By 1971 this figure had risen to 8.1 per cent. This percentage is expected to reach nine per cent by 1981 and 9.8 per cent by the year 2001.

Ontario’s population is also rapidly aging, of course. By the year 2001, with the postwar baby boom moving up the scale, 13.6 per cent of this province’s total population will be over 65, compared with 8.6 per cent in 1976. The 1978 statistics from the Ministry of Treasury and Economics confirm that our elderly population is growing at a much faster rate than the population at large. In Metro Toronto, for example, 206,000 people, representing one in 10 is now over 65 and one in four is over 50 years of age.

In my discussions on the subject of this resolution which I have brought forward, a consensus has emerged to the effect that a comprehensive, publicly sponsored dental treatment program for all senior citizens would be not only expensive but also unnecessary. However, there is a great deal to be said for a partial reasonable subsidization for those who otherwise might not be able to obtain dental services. Consideration should also be given to subsidization of an annual dental examination, emergency services and periodontal services to encourage preventive dental behaviour, as well as to subsidization of new removable prosthetic appliances and reliners, repairs and adjustments to existing appliances.

3:30 p.m.

I understand that residents of Alberta over the age of 65 are entitled to coverage for dental procedures under that province’s health insurance scheme. Those eligible are entitled to $1,000 in dental services over a two-year period.

The plan covers the cost of one complete set of dentures every five years and the cost of one complete reline every two years, as well as covering the cost of fillings, extractions and X-rays. If the services of a specialist are required, this is covered after the patient has applied to the ministry for approval and has received a letter from the dentist concerned, giving details of the required treatment.

Obviously the details of a scheme such as I have proposed will have to be worked out very carefully, and there will be some instances where such coverage is not applicable. For example, some people continue to be covered by a dental plan from their place of employment after retirement and would not need to be covered by a plan such as I have suggested.

There are other matters in connection with dental care for our older citizens which I would like to have considered by the government. For instance, some means could be found of making dental services available at many of our nursing homes and homes for the aged, bearing in mind the difficulty of transporting senior citizens to the dentists’ office.

Incidentally, at this time I might also add that the Ontario Dental Association has made a study of the question of dental care in conjunction with the Ministry of Community and Social Services, with particular emphasis on the needs of the mentally retarded and the accessibility to dentists’ offices by people using wheelchairs et cetera. This is another area which perhaps should be investigated in the near future.

Above all, I believe we must ensure that every senior citizen who needs dental treatment can obtain it. No one is ever too old for dental treatment and no one should be deprived of this simply because the cost is prohibitive. With all of the other problems and concerns experienced by the elderly, sometimes the effort of doing something about a problem such as dental difficulties is just too much to cope with, especially when transportation and financial considerations form barriers.

A program similar to the one which I propose will be a major step forward in ensuring that Ontario senior citizens can obtain the dental care that is so very important to their general wellbeing, and I most sincerely ask members of all parties to give this resolution their support.

Mr. Speaker, I would like to reserve the rest of my time for the windup.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the resolution presented by the member. I think it is a sensible resolution which should find support among the members of this House, or a number of aspects to it.

I am glad he spoke to some of the particular kinds of services he thought would be covered by this, because I was unsure of the scope of the term “basic services.” The key phrase in the resolution, it seems to me, is that “the provincial government should make available a basic, free-of-charge dental care plan to all residents of Ontario 65 years of age and over who are in receipt of Gains.”

The term “basic care” is put down as preventive services, simple restoration and full or partial dentures, and I was not sure of that, not knowing all the aspects of dentistry, it not being a specialty of my own. I have a very bad record of how I look after my own teeth, which I will confess here at this point, and I am looking at this bill with a little self-interest, presuming it will take at least 20 to 30 years before the government brings it in and by that time I will be covered. That, of course, is the main reason I began working with the elderly when I was 25; I have a very long-range view of things and I look to my own self-preservation.

My only concerns at this point are with the restriction in terms of people in receipt of Gains. I understand that dental costs are expensive and that a large number of people are covered now under private plans in Ontario, but most of those people are people who are relatively new to the work force, and their children, and not senior citizens and retirees. Most of the union bargaining that has gone on over the last number of years has not brought in dental care plans for retirees. This group does have a very special kind of need, and I accept the 65-plus side of this as a starting point.

But I have great concerns because of the low rate of income for so many seniors and specifically for the individual senior in our society today. I would hope, therefore, in the spirit of the resolution, that it might be looked at in terms of providing this free-of-charge care to those on Gains, but also providing it in a slightly more generous fashion to others who are 65 and over who are at the low end of the income scale but may be slightly above Gains. I am thinking specifically of single seniors.

I have been trying to get some data on this. I have been through a number of reports. I have one by the Conference Board in Canada on dental plans, from which I realized there is almost nothing for retirees.

I have something put out by Nutrition Canada, a dental report that has some interesting information I will relay in a minute or two. I have a very comprehensive report about extending Canadian health insurance options for pharmacare and denticare which talks about the expense of trying to bring in that kind of a system across the country. I have also a number of other reports, all of which tend to exclude the elderly, including the major program that was instituted in Saskatchewan on a preventive basis, which it geared primarily to children.

The point made by the member for Essex North, that preventive care does not have a time limit on it, that preventive care is vital at whatever age, is absolutely crucial and must be accepted. It is interesting that, according to the Department of National Health and Welfare, a large percentage of the seniors who go for aid to dentists at the present time go for checkups, go to look into early symptoms of bleeding gums and other kinds of problems that often lead to the need for dentures -- probably the single most expensive part of a senior citizen’s health bill. Therefore, it is very important that the aspect of preventive health care, the checkup side of things, be covered by this resolution. I am very glad that it is.

An interesting statistic from the Department of National Health and Welfare was that 68 per cent of males in Canada and 76 per cent of females in Canada over the age of 60 have at least one full denture, and a very substantial proportion of people have both upper and lower plates -- figures I had not realized were as high as they are. In their graphs, the period when the need for dentures seems to escalate is after the age of 50. There may be some need for a major publicity campaign in terms of dental health care for people who are in their late 50s and 40s, to make sure they are looking after themselves properly so that they will not need dentures at a later time.

The other side of it is that 65 per cent of males over 60 in this country at the moment suffer from gingivitis and chronic periodontitis. These are the two major diseases which, as I understand it, lead to the need for dentures. This is another indication of a very specific kind of health care need in that area.

I was trying to find exactly what is and what is not covered now by the Ontario health insurance plan in terms of dental surgery. Often involved with the fitting of new dentures is the major extraction of a large number of teeth at one time. This is especially the case in older people.

All I have been able to determine at the moment -- and I am not sure if the member for Essex North will be able to confirm this from file work he has done, obviously in more detail -- is that it is still possible for someone to go into a hospital and have teeth extracted and have that covered by OHIP, as long as it is deemed to be medically necessary.

I presume, therefore, we do not need to worry about being very specific about that kind of provision being put into this resolution.

3:40 p.m.

There are a large number of people -- my mother included, who is now over 65 and has just had plates put in -- who have a major heart condition and for whom it is very dangerous to have a major extraction prior to the fitting of dentures when it is done outside of a hospital. It is my understanding that is still covered by OHIP. I hope it still is. If not, I would suggest that an amendment to this resolution would indicate that definitely should be back in OHIP and the hospitals should take that kind of responsibility for elderly people.

This is a very hard resolution to get your teeth into, as some might say. I have waited this long and I could not stop myself. I apologize to the members present.

Mr. G. Taylor: Gum it up.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Thank you; I will think of at last one more and then we will proceed. No more puns?

It seems to me to be hard to fight the logic of this resolution. The member has very specifically tried to steer away from a high-cost program that would be extended to all elderly persons, I presume to try to get some acceptance of the concept and to get some movement on the government side on this.

There are very few of us who would not suggest that this kind of emphasis would be an important step for the government to take at this time. I certainly hope it would not preclude the need for this government to move, as other governments in this country now have, into full dental care for children and to get good dental habits started at an early age. By the time the Speaker and myself are of an age to require this kind of assistance the member is putting forward, which should happen around the same time, I presume --

The Acting Speaker (Mr. MacBeth): Thank you.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: -- we should not need it because we will have taken such good care of our teeth up to that point. So I stand in support of the resolution.

Mr. McCaffrey: Mr. Speaker, I support the resolution. Let me make it clear at the outset that I compliment the member for bringing in this topic.

I find I have a couple of questions that flow from the resolution. I think the previous speaker, the member for Scarborough West, alluded in an effective way to the lack of statistics available. Certainly, that has been my experience in the many hours I have been trying to research this topic. I go way back on this topic -- several hours anyway. But I did have some difficulty in getting any kind of meaningful numbers that would be important for all of us when we proceed further with this important topic.

The proposer of the resolution himself talked about some of the broad statistics regarding the number of seniors in the country and in the province. Clearly, that is an accelerating trend. I am not trying to see the resolution in isolation. It is important today, and I think we need it today, but clearly the need for such a program is going to accelerate as the number of people reaching age 65 accelerates.

At least two areas, if I may touch on them briefly, come to mind. One deals with the cost; I would like to come back to that. On the other, I, for one, would like to hear a response from the profession through the Ontario Dental Association. I am not interested in a general response as to how they perceive such a resolution, or their philosophy towards it. Rather, I would like to hear a specific kind of a response in a working way. Perhaps the ODA, in consultation with people within the government and others -- and I would include seniors’ organizations -- can get some real numbers, not just on costs but on where the serious need is. I suspect there are also some geographical factors that would have to be taken into consideration.

On the cost, one point that was brought home to me earlier today in a conversation with one expert in this area was that the seniors in Ontario have the highest no-visit rate to dentists. This would be a familiar expression to my friend the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Parrott). I would suggest there probably are a number of reasons for that, but one must well be money. It seems to me as a layman that fear of the cost would be one reason why seniors do not attend a professional dentist as often as one might want them to.

In Alberta their experience following 1973 had, for me, an important message with regard to costs. I do not have the exact numbers, but they did introduce their program, as the member for Essex North said, in 1973 and obviously they had forecast what percentage of the over-50 population would take advantage of it and, therefore, what the cost would be in the first year or two.

My recollection, without the specific numbers, though, is pretty clear that after a fairly high first year there was a fairly noticeable dropoff; there was an early stabilization and a 23 per cent and 24 per cent level of those over 65 eligible for the program who actually took advantage of it after a bit of a bump-up the first year. Again, as a layman, it seems to me that is not all that surprising, because those in need of dental care did get it looked after when the program was introduced and, I suspect, then did not have to take recourse to it. I think it worked, and I think the experience in Alberta through 1974-75 at least was that it was not as expensive as even they themselves had forecast.

I want to talk briefly about the cost. I want to make it clear, though, that I am not saying I think this is a great program and give the sometimes knee-jerk reaction that the cost is prohibitive; I doubt that is the case. But I, and I think others here, before we proceed much further on it, would want to take a look at some specific hard numbers in terms of those who would utilize such a program in this province and what the cost might be.

In conclusion, I support the principle. I think it is timely. I hope it does not take as long as my friend the member for Scarborough West indicated. I think it is important now. I would like to move as quickly as possible in this area, emphasizing that I would like to have this government and representatives from the appropriate ministries, in consultation with the profession through the ODA, seniors’ organizations and others, give all of us as legislators some specific proposals on how many would be able to utilize the program and what it might actually cost before such a plan is implemented. I think it is good and I intend to vote for the resolution.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, I rise to support my colleague in his resolution to provide basic -- and I concur with an earlier speaker that it is important we understand the term “basic” -- free-of-charge dental care to Ontario senior citizens who are in receipt of Gains benefits.

I wanted to emphasize that, because I think we should clearly say to the people of Ontario that this is not another universal program that we so often get ourselves trapped into and find out is extremely costly. What we are doing here, or what my colleague is recommending that we do here, is to recognize that there is a segment of the population of Ontario who, through no fault of their own, find themselves in difficulty in providing for themselves a very basic medical need.

I know from time to time people will say that dental care is not essential in the same way that many other medical services are. But those of us who are acquainted with the senior citizens of our province will know that many of them suffer needlessly, and in some cases rather painfully, because they do not have basic medical care available to them.

I was unaware of the statistic that the last speaker mentioned, but it surely does point to the fact that the senior citizens of this province are attending at dentists’ offices much less frequently than other age groups in this province. While he pointed out that there may be other reasons for it, it surely is somewhat conclusive that dollars are a factor.

I also notice my colleague has drawn attention to the fact that this free-of-charge service would also be applied to full or partial dentures. Once again, on first blush, this might appear not to be an absolutely essential service, but I have had the unhappy experience of meeting with a number of senior citizens in my own community who were trying to get by on a diet that would be the equivalent of Pablum, because they did not have proper dentures.

3:50 p.m.

One of the things the social service agencies in several of our large urban centres have drawn to our attention very carefully is the poor nutritional habits of many of our senior citizens. One of the reasons for this is that they do not have sufficient dollars to buy nutritional food. One of the other factors that was drawn to my attention was that a number of them do not have proper teeth and dentures and therefore are not able to eat some of the more nutritious food.

I remember going into a senior citizens’ apartment fairly recently and talking to a couple of my constituents about this very matter. They said: “After a while you can get awfully tired of baby food.” The other thing they pointed out to me -- and it has been a few years since I have had the experience of having to go to the store and buy it -- is that baby food apparently is very expensive.

I want to go on record as supporting my colleague in his endeavour to provide this service to our senior citizens. It is one more example of our recognition of their particular needs. It is one more example of our being able to pinpoint a segment of our population that should have additional help to meet that particular need. I would most certainly encourage all members of the Legislature to support this resolution.

Mr. Breaugh: I want to rise to support this resolution. As you know, Mr. Speaker, in the spring session I put forward a resolution on providing a form of dental care across the board. At that time, I attempted to make the argument -- and the other members seemed to accept the argument, because it was passed without any negative responses being put -- that when we consider matters like dental care, as in the case of this particular resolution, we ought to specify precisely who would receive that kind of a service.

I suggested we ought also to spend some time thinking about who would provide the care, how the program in essence would function and whether it would be a phased-in program. At that time, I went to some length to try to prepare an argument that the nature of the program ought to be preventive rather than curative; that it ought to be modelled on the kind of programs that are run in Saskatchewan and that are now being set up in other institutions; and that the thrust of the program essentially would be preventive in nature. There is a strong economic argument to be made for investing health-care dollars in any program that is preventive in mature. The savings that are generated at the other end of the system are really quite substantial.

This resolution goes at it from the other way around. This is an area in which in broad general terms health care is very poor in this province. There is no question that the whole field of geriatric care and the very specialized kinds of service that the elderly often require in this province -- and I think even most physicians and perhaps even the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) might agree -- is probably the poorest area of care we have.

There may be a number of reasons for that. Geriatric care is still not a broadly based science as yet. There is still a great deal of work to be done, knowledge to be gained and programs to be set up to deal with care of the elderly. Dental care is one specific kind of problem. For many people it depends on where they live, how aware they are of their rights and who is providing the care in the area. In some of our urban centres, there are people in senior citizens’ centres who can take advantage of dental clinics that are offered by a number of people. There are those who can take advantage of services offered by denturists as an example. There are other places in the province where they simply cannot do that because there is no one available or because the local dental health association will not participate in such schemes or for whatever reason, the schemes are not in place. There is quite a substantial difference between areas of the province.

There is a further complication in care of the elderly. Those who are ambulatory, who can get up and get around, who can still drive their own cars or who have access to something like a handy transit system, may well be able to take advantage of something that is put in place in a clinic setting. They have the opportunity to get up and go to a clinic. There are many others who do not have that opportunity.

As some members have pointed out too, dental care per se is something that seems to be almost of secondary interest at present to the Ministry of Health. There is no dental care program of any kind to speak of but there are some provisions for emergency services covered under OHIP. In the broadly-based sense of which most people think, of having to go to the dentist and get care, by and large the rule is that none of that is covered, not even for the elderly.

There are some restrictions on this particular resolution which I am not that happy with, but I would agree to it on the grounds that I think the member is proposing this as a bare minimum form of care that ought to be provided for the elderly. My concern is, quite frankly, that when we use something like the Gains program as the indicator of who does or does not qualify, we immediately accept part and parcel all of the inequities that are inherent in the Gains program.

We may also run into the second problem of who will provide this kind of care, because dentists in this province are very much a free enterprise operation at work out there and are making rather substantial gains in catching up on the medical association as a whole in terms of upping their income. They have made substantial gains in the last few years. Members may run into difficulty in accepting this resolution, unless they have accepted all of the complications the federal government and the provincial government have put on in terms of who is eligible for the program.

The second major problem I think we would run into is who would provide the care. I would think we would want to have agreement from the dental association that they are going to participate. For example, there would be no sense in this province in having this kind of a dental care program for senior citizens if we could not find anybody who would provide the care. That would be a second problem.

In particular, the minister would immediately involve himself in that rather interesting argument between the denturists and the Ministry of Health and the dental association, because he might find in trying to establish a program at the most cost-conscious level that he would want to utilize the services of people like denturists. He might want to utilize the services of people like dental hygienists or dental nurses, and he would immediately stumble into the arguments between the professions about who can and cannot provide dental care. He would also run into some staffing problems, I would anticipate.

The whole field of geriatric care deserves a great deal more attention than this government seems prepared to give it, and particularly dental care per se needs more attention. To be more specific and to get right down to the resolution before us this afternoon, the provision of dental care for senior citizens really needs more attention. I guess the view might be expressed in some quarters -- certainly not in my mind, but by some people -- that dental care is often a cosmetic type of care that is provided to people, but those who have had to do without teeth or go on a soft food diet will be able to give you chapter and verse on how difficult that is. It is no longer as cheap as it once might have been. There are all kinds of problems with nutritional programs that in theory are in place, but in practice are not there; so there are a number of problems.

It is interesting that this stuff always gets down to the kind of things that members get from their constituents. An elderly person nailed me the other evening and gave me a long tirade that the government of Ontario was doing nothing for them. She said there was a Meals on Wheels program in the community, but that is a community-based program and has very little to do with this government, and that it is useless to that person because she does not have the teeth to eat the meals that are provided. Those very basic questions are there.

This resolution deserves the support of all the members who are here this afternoon. It is the kind of thing the government of Ontario can rightfully be strongly criticized for not doing already. It is a form of basic care that is necessary and absolutely essential to our seniors in particular. It is something that is extremely modest in scope if we follow the wording of the resolution that is before us. Quite frankly, I would prefer to see it done in more detail and to see the arguments put at greater length about who provides the care and the specific types of care that are available to people; but I think it is a beginning.

This House in its spring session decided that we should be looking very seriously at a dental care program much the same as we do for other forms of medical care. Again, this afternoon, I would anticipate from the debate I have heard so far that the House is now prepared to say that this resolution will carry. I would hope that the Minister of Health and the government of the day would take that as a clear expression by the members of this Legislature that we deem this to be an important matter which ought to be now dealt with by the government, and I would urge all the members to support the resolution.

4 p.m.

Mr. Jones: There seems to be consensus, and I think we can all agree, that this resolution is a laudable one. I commend the mover of the resolution and I feel comfortable speaking to it, because this government has always had a strong commitment to maintaining and improving the lives of our senior citizens.

The member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) indicated that perhaps this has been a secondary interest in our health-care system. But I would like to remind members that we do have a long record in this province of providing such services as dental coaches in outlying areas of the province. Dental treatment for school children is already provided in many areas.

The member for Armourdale (Mr. McCaffrey) mentioned that seniors have the highest no-visit rate. That is not necessarily so across the whole of our population. In Ontario, surprisingly, we have a very high use of dentists. In fact, I understand 60 per cent of Ontario adults visit the dentist at least every year.

Let us not forget that in our provincial social services many people who receive family benefits, general welfare assistance and persons living in homes for the aged and charitable institutions also receive free dental care. This applies to the elderly as well, if they qualify.

As we approach this subject, let us remember some public health units have dental treatment. I suggest we do have the format for proceeding further, as the resolution asks us to do. As to the concerns about what will be in place and what delivery services will bring this to our seniors, I suggest we already have the basis for much of that.

There was some questioning by the previous speakers about whether the dental profession in the province could deliver this service. There was some anxiety that perhaps the old debate on the role of the denturists and hygienists might destroy the prospects of delivering this program to our seniors. I do not share that anxiety. I think we have the basis in some of these present public health unit systems and our present dentistry.

The member who last spoke has this hangup about free enterprise. He mentioned that the dentistry profession was in that frame of mind, and I am happy to hear they are. I think they will do well and that would but add to the service.

Mr. Kerrio: Get Harry Parrott back on the job.

Mr. Jones: The member for Niagara Falls gets excited every time you say “free enterprise.” I do not know why. He is supposed to be applauding on such occasions.

As far as dental insurance is concerned, 40 per cent of the employees on collective agreements in the province now are covered by dental plans. This is the fastest-growing fringe benefit in the whole of the province and probably in the North American work place. Altogether there are some three million residents in Ontario covered by private dental plans -- in fact, I think it is three million just by private dental plans. So, combining the dental program provided by government and the services that are based on private insurance, millions of Ontarians already have this dental care in the form we are referring to in the bill.

We have touched on the fact that costs are something members of the Legislature must not forget as we make a decision about a resolution such as this. I suggest to the member for Oshawa in his capacity as health critic for his party that no, it is certainly not a secondary interest of the government.

Rather, I think we would all agree, and other speakers seem to have indicated, that you cannot look at a program suggestion such as this and ignore the dollars.

It has to be looked at in the complete context of a ministry, such as the Ministry of Health, as it is doing now, continuing its program of streamlining the costs involved in the delivery of all health services and to ensure, of course, we do not have any reduction in the quality of those services, but continue that streamlining process so that we can have the resources to implement such a program. I have no doubt that in time a program of this sort will be instituted by this government, and I have already indicated I would be in support of that. It seems like a logical progression.

I know in question period today the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) was saying $410 was the recent extra amount of tax grant and the Treasurer was responding with $420; so, after all the disagreement over what these amounts were -- within $10 -- the truth is that we on this side of the House take pride in this government putting more money into the pockets of senior citizens in this province through tax grant programs -- yes, I think it was acknowledged that we were doing that -- and have increased the Gains allowance.

I see this resolution from the member for Essex North -- who is busy talking while I am actually commending him for his resolution -- as a natural, logical progression to be considered; in fact, in terms of what we see for the 1980s as we look at this growing population with the ageing demographics -- and I believe my colleague from Armourdale touched on it -- I think it sorts of makes sense to a layman. I can understand how there would be that early stabilization if perhaps we had a catch-up of prevention or a catch-up of a new kind of care that might be needed, and then I could see that stabilizing on a cost, as I understand was the experience in some of the western provinces, at least two of them where they initiated such a program.

When all is said and done, knowing the record of this government in its social services and its concern and care for its senior citizens, I predict that in the not-too-distant future we will see specific dental programs for seniors in this province. I commend the mover of the resolution for his resolution today, because I can see it playing an important part in the social services programs that we pride ourselves on in this province for our seniors and, of course, commit ourselves to the high degree of ongoing care for them in a province which they have contributed so much to, and it is only natural that we should be looking at a large concern such as this, our continuing concern and, more important, delivery of a service like this as it comes forward in its natural progression.

Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by commending the mover of this resolution, my colleague the member for Essex North, whose concern for both senior citizens and any of those in the province who require health care is well known and has been well known in this Legislature and certainly in his own constituency for a number of years. When the member for Mississauga North (Mr. Jones) speaks of natural progressions, this particular resolution is a natural progression for the member for Essex North in terms of his commitment to benefiting the people of Ontario who require the assistance of government with legislation of this kind.

I think we as legislators recognize there are a number of senior citizens across the province who have forgone the opportunity to take advantage of dental care primarily because of the cost of that dental care. Most of them, who are over the age of 65, are on fixed incomes, the large part of that fixed income likely coming from the federal and provincial governments with certain kinds of assistance available from municipal governments; therefore, they have to budget much more carefully than those who have the ability to raise their income on their own and are not reliant upon some fixed sum or upon legislators to raise it as they see fit.

For this reason, I think we all recognize, and all members of the House who have spoken this afternoon have recognized, that there is a need in this area, and it is a matter now of recognizing it in the form of legislation.

The member for Mississauga North indicated that this would be a natural progression in terms of the policy of the government across the floor. I would not be at all surprised, as my colleague the member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan) said to me before I rose to speak, if in the next budget of the province or in the new speech from the throne next year, should we make it that far, we are very liable to find this particular resolution in the form of proposed legislation. At that time, of course, we on this side will be more than happy to give credit where it is due: to the member for Essex North.

The fact that people who are older do have problems with teeth is well known, and they are perhaps different problems from those of the young. These problems, if not rectified, affect the diet and ultimately the nutrition available to these people and the total health of the individual.

These dental procedures are just as important as other procedures that are paid for at the present time under OHIP. One has to wonder why that has not been covered in the past, particularly for those who are in need, and we are speaking specifically of the senior citizens.

I think this particular resolution is acceptable to all members of the House because it provides basic care. It is not a frill for senior citizens. We are talking about very basic care and it deals with a specific group that requires assistance because they have particular financial needs.

The fact that a person has or has not some form of teeth in his or her mouth, whether they are natural teeth or dentures, is also a matter of pride. I received a letter from one of my constituents, a Mrs. E. Sommerfeld of 26 Jessica Drive, St. Catharines, who indicated that she was not exactly going around smiling because she did not have the dentures she had hoped for. Let me just share with members of the Legislature a very brief letter she wrote to me on this particular subject on May 18, 1980. She was actually writing to me about denturists at that time, but it does relate to this subject because of her age:

“I am 75 years old, have some teeth left but not enough to chew my food properly. I cannot afford the price my dentist charges and I could get the partial plates at half the price from a denturist.”

Then she goes on to ask why they are not allowed to do it. I recognize that is a separate issue, but it really points out the need she faces. She says, “Please let them make me some teeth.” She also ends up with a rather interesting little poem that shows the importance to this 75-year-old individual, not only in terms of nutrition and health but also in terms of pride:

“Teeth is very nice to have

“They fill you with content

“And if you doesn’t know it now

“You will when they have went.”

A rather interesting poem from a 75-year-old lady who wished to share her views on a particular topic with me.

It seems to me that the people of this province, a very wealthy province in terms of the resources we have available to us, the revenues available to government and the business activity that takes place, are prepared to pay for good medical care. We have seen this now with a number of issues that have arisen.

My colleague, the Liberal health critic, the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway), has pointed out that the people across this province are looking for the necessary funding for our public hospitals. Indeed, they recognize that much of that funding, the overwhelming amount of that funding, must come from the provincial government. They recognize also that they will ultimately have to pay. But I contend that the people of this province are prepared to pay for the kind of services they used to be able to get in hospitals and hope to be able to get in the future. I think they are prepared to pay for the kinds of services that would be provided if this resolution were adopted and ultimately showed up as legislation.

Why has this government not proceeded earlier with this kind of legislation, since it is obvious from members of all parties that this has been desirable? The need has been undenied for a number of years, the financial resources have been there, and yet we have not seen an initiative in this particular direction.

Now that we have an increasing number of senior citizens -- and perhaps I would be cynical if I were to suggest also that we have an increasing number of senior citizens in the voting category -- we see a movement towards increased services for this particular segment of the population, and perhaps this is a fact of political life we have to face. Surely, for a number of years, it has been a matter of financial and moral justice as far as we in the opposition are concerned, and as far as some members of the government party are concerned, to provide adequate medical care of all kinds to those people who cannot afford it.

With the advent of private dental plans, as the member for Mississauga North has pointed out, a number of people have been covered. Very few of those people, of course, are in the category of senior citizens and pensioners, and that is why this resolution is so opportune.

We also have the fact that, with the advent of these plans, there seems to have been a corresponding dramatic increase in the fees charged for dental work across the province. That might well be coincidence, but there are many who would contend that those increases in fees are due to the fact that dental plans have been implemented; so those who are covered are in a favourable position, but those who are not fortunate enough to have those dental plans find themselves even more behind the eight-ball.

The senior citizens in this province should not have to come on bended knees or with cap in hand to receive the medical services that are required for their own good health and ultimately for their lives, and I urge all members of this Legislature to assist the member for Essex North to bring this to a reality by voting for this resolution this afternoon and urging upon the government, if we are opposition members, and upon their colleagues, if they are government members, that legislation flow from this very progressive and enlightened resolution.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I rise to very enthusiastically join with my colleague the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley) in supporting what I believe to be the very excellent resolution of our friend the member for Essex North. Unlike some of us, most of us know, I suppose, Mr. Speaker -- and I am sure you know this where others might not -- our colleague from Essex North, as the member for St. Catharines has indicated, has had a long involvement with the health-care business. He was very active in a co-operative insurance program back in Essex county and I, as health critic for the party, pay special attention to his advice on matters of this kind. I certainly want to add my support to what is being suggested here.

We believe there should be -- in fact, its time has long since passed -- a denticare program for Ontario. As has been pointed out in earlier remarks this afternoon, we are falling behind in this area. I was impressed by what Mr. Justice Emmett Hall had to say in his recent report to the federal government concerning the state of our national health Insurance. He pointed out that 15 years after he struck his famous health charter for Canadians, he feels as strongly today about the need for a children’s denticare program, a position which I have certainly long supported.

I believe the member for St. Catharines, with some poetic endeavour, has highlighted this afternoon the case of his constituent who, I think, speaks so eloquently to the very real and serious need that this kind of resolution seeks to redress. I do not want to be repetitive; I simply want to say as another private member in this assembly, as one who has had some involvement over the past number of years in matters of health policy, that I believe very strongly this is the kind of social justice that we in this Legislature have a responsibility to provide. Certainly I believe it is not uncustomarily, from this side of the House, a very liberal thing to do. I applaud my colleague the member for Essex North for bringing it to our attention. I am sure that each and every member of this assembly, at least in his capacity as a private member, will endorse the common sense and the very virtuous aspect of this excellent proposal.

4:20 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker: Are there any other members wishing to participate in the debate? If not, the member for Essex North for up to 12 minutes.

Mr. Ruston: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the support all members participating in the debate have given this resolution. I made notes while each member was speaking. As an aside, I thought maybe it would be good training for me, since we are planning on taking over the government not too long from now. When second reading of a bill or something like this comes in, the cabinet minister generally replies after all members have spoken. I will try in my 12 minutes to run down some of the suggestions and some of the concerns the speakers had.

With regard to the member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston) and his comments, I noticed he was concerned about the resolution being limited to people on Gains. I might say, if I were the Minister of Health for Ontario in a majority government, and in a position where I could make sure I could get it through the Legislature, I would probably expand it to some extent to all those on the supplementary old age pension. On the other hand, in opposition and with a minority government, part of the method of operating is to make some concessions here and there. I am looking for support from all sides of the House, and that is one reason why I limited it to Gains recipients.

Another matter the member for Scarborough West raised was that from the ages of 30 to 45 -- a very important age group -- many people apparently do not have the proper checkups. That will have to be thought over whenever the time comes to have some form of a dental care plan for all those in Ontario who are not now receiving one through their places of employment.

The member for Armourdale (Mr. McCaffrey) was concerned about the cost of this program. I suppose that is rather difficult to assess. I must admit I did not look into it to see what the cost would be. I suppose if there are 700,000 people over the age of 65 in Ontario and about half of them receive the Gains supplement, that is a lot of people.

On the other hand, in Alberta, in the first year this program was put into effect, in 1973, the member says there was a great rush to use it. Then, a year later, the number using the plan fell considerably. I suppose people got what they needed -- dentures and so forth -- and then the need declined.

I am sure the cost is not prohibitive. If it does mean some fund-raising from some form of government taxation, that will have to be taken care of through the Treasury, and I am sure the people of Ontario will accept that responsibility. It is something that is necessary.

The member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney) made a very important remark to the effect that some senior citizens have been eating baby food or Pablum because they did not have the money to buy dentures. I have heard of that and run across it. I have been told of this by dentists and by senior citizens. I am glad the member for Kitchener-Wilmot brought that to our attention. It is something that is of great concern. I also noticed at one of the homes for the aged, where they had brought in a new dietitian, he ordered all kinds of salads but he found out the people could not eat them because many of them did not have the proper dentures. That problem is probably greater than many of us want to admit.

The member for Oshawa (Mr. Breaugh) stated in his remarks that he had brought in a resolution last spring with regard to dental care and that support was obtained from all sides of the House at that time. He was concerned about Gains and whether we were covering enough people. He was also concerned as to whether there would be any restrictions on the amount of service and who would give that service, whether it would be dentists or denturists and whether there should be dental hygienists. I must admit we did not get into that, as we cannot in a general resolution, but with the amount of dentists, dental hygienists and denturists in the province and our ability to train more if necessary, I do not think that should be any problem. I appreciated hearing his strong comments as he urged all members to support the resolution.

The member for Mississauga North (Mr. Jones) remarked on some of the plans that are now available in the province where some treatment for school children is provided. He indicated parts of the province, especially in northern Ontario, where they have the mobile vans available. That is quite true. There are a number of people who are receiving care, and it is available for them, but apparently we have forgotten about the many people who are over the age of 65. I would like to hear comments with regard to them.

I thought the very excellent remarks of the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley) were very well addressed to the core or the basic parts of our resolution. Also, as to his remarks that it is moral justice to provide adequate medical care for the people of our province, how true that is. In my opinion, I think that is a very important right. It should be the right of a resident of Ontario to have that care.

Of course, I always appreciate the remarks of the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway), who has had occasion to come to my area a couple of times as our health critic. He is a young fellow who did not know wheat from grass when he was in Essex county last April 4 when there was a little snow flying around as we were driving down. However, the wheat turned out very well and we got a good price for it. I am quite happy with it.

Having been involved in the medical cooperative, my concern with health care, as one of the previous speakers mentioned, goes back to my home life on the farm. My father’s biggest concern with six children in a single-parent family was for medical care. This goes back a number of years ago, I must admit, but he always wanted to make sure there was money available in an account someplace in case someone got sick so that he could see they were taken care of.

That was the greatest concern for many people. My father would name off some of the people who actually lost their farms or houses because they did not have enough money to get proper medical care. I put medical and dental care together. They should be all one. I guess that is why I still feel very strongly about it. I think it is a basic right that everyone should have good medical and dental care in Ontario. I would certainly urge everyone to support this resolution.

The Deputy Speaker: That completes the debate on ballot item No. 23. It will be dealt with further at 5:50.

4:30 p.m.


Ms. Bryden moved second reading of Bill 91, An Act to establish an Environmental Magna Carta for Ontario.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I would like to reserve five minutes at the end for response to the comments from other members during the course of the debate.

In this year, 1980, I think we face a somewhat similar situation to what occurred away back in 1215. At that time, the people and their leaders felt that the executive authority was not being sufficiently responsive to the wishes of the populace; so they drew up a bill of rights, which they called a Magna Carta, and imposed it on the king.

Today in the environmental field, the citizens feel the same lack of response to their concerns. They see their air, water and soil being polluted and their environment degraded. They see the English-Wabigoon river system contaminated with mercury and no solution in sight. They see the Great Lakes polluted with highly toxic chemicals such as PCBs, Mirex and dioxin. They see fishermen from the St. Clair River lose their livelihoods as a result of Dow Chemical discharges but get only a paltry $250,000 in compensation after a long wait.

They see the growing threat to their ecology from acid rain which results from the emissions of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides by Inco and Hydro plants using coal. They see signs that say, “Don’t eat the fish,” and they see their recreational areas and tourist industry endangered.

For too long the residents of Ontario have been fighting environmental degradation with their hands tied behind their backs. It is time they were armed with rights that will enable them to bring polluters to court regardless of whether they themselves have suffered pecuniary loss or direct damage from the environmental degradation. It is time they were able to require governments to live up to their verbal commitments to protect the environment.

It is time that we set forth in legislation the right of citizens to clean air, pure water and a healthy environment. It is also time to declare that the government has a duty to conserve and maintain our resources for the benefit of present and future generations. That is why I have called my bill an Environmental Magna Carta for Ontario. It establishes for Ontario residents a bill of environmental rights.

This bill has a preamble. Preambles are not common in Ontario laws, but I felt that it was important to state clearly the objectives of this legislation. Let me read the preamble:

“Whereas every person has a right to clean air, pure water and a healthy environment; and whereas it is the duty of the state to ensure that these rights are protected and that the natural, scenic and aesthetic values of the environment are preserved; and whereas there is a public trust to protect the environment and all the living species that inhabit it for the benefit of present and future generations; therefore ... ” be it enacted, as my bill provides.

The objectives expressed in the preamble will be achieved by a variety of means. I would like to run through in a very brief form the specific rights guaranteed by the bill.

1. The right to “standing” before the courts in environmental actions. This permits residents to have access to the courts without first having to prove that they have been personally damaged or injured.

2. The imposition of onus on the defendant, who must prove his activity does not contaminate or degrade the environment.

3. The right to class action. This was promised back in 1976 by the then Minister of the Environment (Mr. Kerr), but the promise has not been kept by any of his successors.

4. The right to freedom of information relating to the quantity, quality or concentration of contaminants causing environmental degradation.

5. The right to 60 days’ notice of proposed control orders, regulations and other environmental instruments, including those setting standards, and the opportunity to request a hearing on such proposals before they become effective.

6. The right to protection from dismissal or discipline for employees who report acts that contaminate or degrade the environment. This is a much-needed clause; I know of at least one person who lost his job because he reported a bad environmental practice to the ministry.

7. Protection from award of court costs against individuals or public interest groups that raise a matter of importance relating to the protection of the environment.

8. Removal of immunity from prosecution now allowed under the Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act to polluters subject to a control order or program approval.

9. Disallowance of the defence to an action that the defendant complied with a standard set or other instrument issued under an environmental act, regardless of whether the standard or order is a good one.

I think it is very important to establish these rights, but I do not argue that this bill is a substitute for good environmental legislation and enforcement by a government committed to preservation of the environment. The legislation is a supplement to government action. It provides an opportunity for citizen action to correct bad environmental situations. It gives citizens an opportunity to seek redress and to bring public nuisances to court. Such actions could serve as a prod to governments to bring in new legislation, to take action to eliminate or prevent the public nuisance and to prevent further degradation of the environment. The two kinds of legislation complement each other.

I recently read an article praising Terry Fox’s contribution to increasing funds for cancer research, and I join in that praise. But the article pointed out that we will not eliminate cancer by clinical research alone; we have to prevent it by eliminating the cancer-causing agents in our environment. We have to change our reliance on toxic chemicals in manufacturing. We have to change our lifestyle, now based on widespread use of hazardous substances. That is where government leadership and action are needed.

4:40 p.m.

This legislation will enable citizens to take steps to protect their environment where governments fail to act. It will also give them a much greater opportunity for input in government decisions. This includes decisions on standards, the terms of control orders and other environmental instruments. When the public is involved in such decisions, there is a spinoff of public understanding, public education and public acceptance of regulations.

But this public involvement will not be very effective if citizens are unable to use these rights because they cannot afford the price of admission. That is why I have included in my bill a requirement for a study by the Environmental Assessment Board of methods for providing some public funding for interveners in environment hearings.

As honourable members know, we are not allowed to call for the expenditure of public funds in a private member’s bill. However, I do strongly believe it is absolutely essential to provide such public funding to ensure that points of view representative of significant bodies of opinion are adequately presented at environmental hearings. The study called for in my bill will consider proposals for raising, allocating and auditing such funds to even up the balance of power. There is a considerable number of examples of public funding for interveners in both Canada and the United States, including the Porter and Hartt commission programs in Ontario. The bill calls for a report and recommendations within one year.

I am hoping that all members in this House will support my bill. I am sure the Liberals will see I have adopted many features of the Ontario Environmental Rights Act introduced by their leader, the member for Hamilton West (Mr. S. Smith), last year. I commend him on his initiative in the field, and I hope he and other Liberal members will support the bill in principle and send it to committee for hearings and possible amendment.

I also hope the Conservatives will abandon their ostrich-like stance of last fall when they blocked a vote on the bill. I hope they will recognize there is wide public demand for this kind of legislation. I have received strong letters of support from the Canadian Environmental Law Association; the Ontario Conservation Council; the Canadian Bar Association; the Federation of Ontario Naturalists; the Consumers’ Association of Canada, Ontario Section; Pollution Probe; the Save the Rouge Valley System Conservation Group; the C. D. Farquharson Community Association of Agincourt; the Ontario Association of Peel People Evaluating Agricultural Land, otherwise known as APPEAL. Many individuals have also indicated support. They and the organizations mentioned embrace well over a million people in Ontario.

I was disappointed that the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Parrott) was one of the 32 Conservatives who blocked a vote last fall on the member for Hamilton West’s bill. I was disappointed the minister did not keep his promise, as reported in the Globe and Mail for December 5, 1979, to unveil a bill in the next speech from the throne which would incorporate some of the points in the member’s bill. The speech from the throne was notably silent on this matter; in fact, it had no proposals for new legislation to supplement the largely unused environmental legislation on our statute books now. If the Conservative members vote for second reading of my bill, they could include it in their package of policy changes achieved before the upcoming election instead of following their usual procedure of making vague election promises on a new issue. The electorate knows from past experience such promises may never be implemented.

I might point out that my bill does not provide for standards-setting by the courts. That was seen by the Toronto Star as a fatal flaw in the Smith bill. The only Conservative speaker in the debate last fall quoted the Star editorial as a reason for opposing the bill. Since I believe the courts’ primary function is to arbitrate disputes and determine facts, I leave standard-setting to the ministry and its agencies, but with full public input, including the use of mechanisms such as the boards of review provided for under the federal Environmental Contaminants Act. In so doing I have removed one reason for Conservative opposition to the bill. I find it hard to see how the government members can refuse to bring our environmental law into the 20th century, especially since we are almost into the 21st century.

Quebec is now ahead of us on “standing” legislation. The federal government already provides for public input on environmental regulations prior to their issue. I draw the members’ attention to the comments of the first federal board of review involved in this exercise. In a July 1980 report on the process they stated, “Any view of the democratic process that is worth supporting must encompass the growing public desire for increased popular participation in government, as well as broad designs for bureaucratic accountability.” That is what my bill is all about.

Mr. Speaker, I urge all members to put Ontario in the vanguard of environmental legislation by voting for the principle of the bill.

Mr. G. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I speak to this particular piece of legislation and comment that the member who introduced it suggested it was very similar to the Leader of the Opposition’s bill of rights, the environmental bill of rights being a Liberal adoption, and now the New Democratic Party member has chosen the words “environmental bill or Magna Carta.” I suspect if we had a fourth party in here it would be the Sermon on the Mount environmental bill, and I suspect they would all receive the same treatment and should expect no different treatment from the government side of the House than previously.

Mr. Lawlor: You are not against the Sermon on the Mount too, are you? We will sprinkle a little Jordan water on you.

Mr. G. Taylor: I suspect if someone tried to part the Red Sea today, there would be an environmental hearing before it would take place. The member for Lakeshore knows all those things about religious matters in the Near East.

Mr. Lawlor: That is what the Egyptians wanted.

Mr. G. Taylor: I look upon the bill as having merit in principle. However, there are many deficiencies within its content and within its process, many deficiencies within the actual detail of the bill, to the point that in some of it it is breaking new ground not only in the environmental area but also in many other areas of our jurisprudence, law and parliamentary procedure. However, that is not one of the main reasons not to proceed with the bill.

The procedures in the bill would create no certainty, no finality, sometimes no standards, because they would be at the whim of each individual jurist listening to the particular case, possible multiplicity of proceedings, definitely duplication and, most assuredly, enormous delays and repetition of the procedure.

Mr. J. Reed: Any would be better than none.

4:50 p.m.

Mr. G. Taylor: Indeed, I am sure the procedure in there would amount to an enormous production of work for the environmental lawyers, if not all lawyers. One of the main features of it is that there is no finality to any particular certificate, instrument or piece of environmental legislation. Not that there should be finality in some situations. One could have a situation where they were back and forth. Even having received an order or a standard, it does not solve the problem or the concern. It could be continually reviewed as each individual desires to review it. So that is one of the features. In law and in parliamentary situations and in the environment or any other situation, one must have a finality to the jurisprudence or to a particular fact situation, which this bill does not allow for.

The public trust situation, in particular, concerns me. As people throughout this world, throughout this jurisdiction, I guess our trust that we should continue on with this land has not been very good in the past and will not be good in the future. But we try to control that the best way we can with the government and whatever rules and laws they can put in. I am sure the following speaker, the member for Durham East (Mr. Cureatz), will emphasize more that situation and the record of this government. The factual record is, bar none, in excess of many jurisdictions, if not all of them, on this particular continent.

The member introducing this bill said Quebec has a better piece of legislation than we have. The legislation may be there, but the facts speak entirely differently. When their sewers run straight through to the water system of this country, and they can put this before us and say their bill is better than our bill, the facts speak differently. We can proudly state the things that have been achieved by the government of Ontario today.

When we look at even more particular parts of the bill -- and I have mentioned those that will be setting legal precedents -- there is the onus section. There they have what is referred to in the common jargon in law as a reverse onus situation, where the defendant has to prove everything, in a situation, contrary to the usual situation where the plaintiff has to prove his case.

Here we are making monumental strides in a piece of legislation where the onus is reversed, usually reserved for the most heinous of crimes in our society today. One could easily say that polluters are today the most heinous people in society, but there are different grades of polluters and different things that pollute. The definition section in there brings in many people who could be polluting. Indeed, one might say that much that we speak about in here would pollute and foul the air. Under the definition section, they might be charged under this particular legislation; but, there again, it is the onus section.

The bill allows for class actions which have been and probably will become law. They have been studied, we have reports on them, they will be coming in tomorrow and will be of particular use in the future. Here again, the class action is getting far ahead of the present legislation. Indeed, in a class action where the class or the person speaking for the class bears no responsibility, the section says not to award costs.

The usual situation in our court procedure at present is that somebody has to bear the cost, be it the successful party or the unsuccessful party. In this situation the person being forced into the legislation, the plaintiff, does not pay the cost, which is the normal situation if he is at fault.

Here again -- not in this situation -- the plaintiff who may proceed each and every day with a particular action will not bear the consequences or any type of responsibility for the action, however frivolous or useless it may be.

The waiting period -- here again there are some waiting periods of notification and request -- is some 60 days. In some situations it is very necessary. In other situations, it is a problem.

When one looks at the definition section to see what the instrument is -- and they refer to a term called instrument -- there are some 50,000 instruments issued daily in the way of septic tanks, in the way of all our environmental procedures. I believe there are some 50,000 of them issued daily, and I will get the figure from my notes somewhere.

It is a considerable number of permits that are issued which could all be stopped by this procedure, by this bill. It would allow for a hearing, probably a prima facie case, probably an appeal situation and then back for a hearing. Indeed, in some situations, one might say the toilets of Ontario could stop flushing with a bill put forth in this particular manner.

Those go to some of the details of the bill. I am sure some people would put forward the position that the bill can be corrected in committee and we can deal with it there. However, why is it always that, when one looks, the opposition particularly are so readily saying, “Let’s get our position forward”? I am speaking possibly in a more partisan manner this time. They want to be in the position to be the saviours in whatever piece of legislation they are putting forward, be it the environment or whatever it is, and as the only possessors of the truth and the only ones who might be concerned.

I say they are not the only ones who are concerned. We have it on this side; we have it from the Minister of the Environment and from other ministers on this side of the House. Indeed, some of the original legislation in this field is taken from this side, and none has ever originated from the opposition benches.

I am proud of our record. Indeed, the minister is trying to improve it, and he will continue to improve it. I see nothing to favour support of this particular bill at this time except its principle.

Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the bill and I wish to compliment the member, especially for recognizing the contribution which was made by my leader, the member for Hamilton West.

The name of the act is rather profound, and one has to pause and reflect on the nature of lawmaking. In our federation of provinces, bound together by a common federal government, institutional arrangements to achieve any public purpose may begin in a variety of ways. These include initiations by an agency or head of staff, as a gleam in someone’s eye -- in this case the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) -- say the authorization of the federal or provincial parliaments in general or specific terms, or assignment by the Prime Minister under emergency powers and directions by the courts.

The bill before us today, if enacted by the Legislature into law, either in its present wording or with amendments, will take the latter course; it will place a great deal of power in the hands of the individual citizen and the courts.

That has not been a traditional road, although it certainly does play a very large part in our democratic principles. Parliaments tend to jealously guard the powers which they hold, just as King John guarded his royal prerogatives until forced by a group of nobles to hand over the power to others who, as history unfolded, formed parliaments or congresses or senates, according to the jurisdiction. We have the question today: Should we hand over certain powers to another body because we, like King John, have failed to guard the public interests, in this case environmental matters?

5 p.m.

The fact remains that parliamentarians, no matter how statesmanlike they appear, are influenced by thoughts of the next election. Quite understandably, politics sometimes win out. I do not want to be overly cynical, because I often marvel at how courageous ministers can be at times. The problem is simply that environmental concerns are very long term, measured not even in decades but in centuries, and the results of ignorance or neglect are in some cases irreversible.

Recent studies referring to the industry I am most familiar with show that eroded soils do not have the needed properties for detoxifying and degrading herbicides and insecticides. As anyone happens to observe in this present year when we have had so much rain, on those eroded hillsides there are bare spots where not a weed or a plant grows. That is really a result of herbicides not being detoxified because the conditions have changed. These properties are tied to organic matter levels, moisture levels and pH levels, and such interconnections are not unusual in nature and are becoming increasingly apparent.

Interconnections hold true for the management of our forests, our fisheries, our water resources and our energy systems, among others. We have too often taken the easy route. It is simply too easy to cut dawn a tree and move to the next one, rather than pausing to plant a replacement.

A case in point is the mercury that was dumped into our rivers by the chemical and paper plants. I will not refer much to that, because the introducer has done so already, but I had occasion during the by-election in Chatham-Kent to run across one of those people who had been a fisherman on Lake St. Clair. When I found him, he was digging a ditch, which is rather a comedown for a fisherman -- to become a ditchdigger. He did not curse the Conservative government; he cursed all politicians, myself included, because he felt politicians had failed him. I do not know how he voted, but he was certainly upset about all politicians.

I am convinced there must have been a scientist or two with the company -- I am speaking about the Dow Chemical Company -- who had misgivings but who knew that the price of speaking out would be his or her job, not only with Dow Chemical but also with any other manufacturing company in Ontario or perhaps even beyond. An environmental Magna Carta would have provided a forum and a remedy for such a person.

Who knows today what evil lurks within not just the chemical industry but almost any industry in Ontario that will perhaps burst upon us when the results are all too evident and it is too late to do anything about it.

The past summer, the select committee on Ontario Hydro affairs, of which I was a member, travelled to various places in Ontario and received testimony and briefs concerning wastes from the front end of the nuclear industry; that is, the wastes from the mines and from the refining processes. In total, the picture is not as bad as anti-nuclear people would have us believe, at least in my judgement, but neither is it as good as the pro-nuclear people would have us believe.

The miracle is that the mine tailings, while they present a danger to inhabitants of this earth for thousands of years, do appear to be manageable. You have to add the caveat that they are manageable if we are willing to accept one death per year for the next 76,000 years. It is easy to discount future deaths but, if we believe in the spirituality of man, all of us must accept a black mark on our consciences, both collectively and individually, for these future deaths.

The miracle is that the mines and mill wastes appear to be manageable. It struck me that it was more luck than good management. It was incredible to believe that no one was concerned until the dawn of the decade. It struck me that there must have been someone within the industry who would have gone to the courts if such a court existed.

If they had, the Serpent River Indian Band, represented by Chief Peter John, a band of some 375 members, of which 175 are living on the reserve, would not now be reduced to living on welfare. Prior to the contamination of the Serpent River by effluent from the mine tailings and from the abandoned Noranda (later CIL) sulphuric acid plant, which closed in 1963 and left behind empty concrete buildings and a stockpile of processing material, the band lived by hunting and fishing. They have initiated studies to show that the material generated was, and is, acid which finds its way into the north channel of Georgian Bay.

The band hired a consultant to recommend alternatives. These results have not been presented, but the preliminary results indicate that the site is beyond reclamation. The band received some reimbursement for the damage, but the sad fact is that before development 90 per cent of the band lived by hunting, fishing and trapping, while now only two members live by this method. Most of them live on welfare.

One would have to really hear the sad and plaintive cry of the chief to really appreciate how badly he felt about that. That is not to say that I or the Indians are against development. They made that very clear. Every member of this House should pass this bill of rights to make sure that such unforgivable atrocities do not occur again. Development can proceed, but only after safety is proved.

I would like to read part of the brief from the Indian band. “We went on record before the board” -- he is speaking about the Environmental Assessment Board -- “in opposing the expansion of the mines until our band had received compensation for past environmental damage to the lands and waters traditionally used by our people in the maintenance of our way of life. The board in its final report stated that it did not have the power to grant the request. Perhaps an indication of where such power lies can be surmised in the board’s report.”

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

Mr. McGuigan: I would like to take a moment to finish up by saying one of the most important aspects of this bill is that of granting funding to those people who are opposed. I submit that it is a very honourable and respected position to oppose, being a member of the opposition. I think that should be recognized in the Legislature and it is recognized in this bill.

Mr. Isaacs: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and participate in this debate on this exceptionally important bill and to ask other members of the House to offer support and to implore that at the very least the government members will refrain from using their power to block this particular bill.

My colleague the member for Beaches-Woodbine has made a great contribution in this House on environmental issues during the period in which she served as environmental critic for the New Democratic Party. This bill is in a sense the culmination of the work she has done and of the very positive contribution she has made. I believe the bill provides a basis for a tremendous amount of committee work, for a study of the problems and for a forum in which the two opposition parties can get together with government members in an attempt to wrestle with the very serious environmental problems that we are facing.

Last December when a similar bill, moved by the Leader of the Opposition, was debated in this House, the member for Armourdale got up and described himself as an environmentalist. I suggest that we are all environmentalists. Indeed, I believe that all citizens of this country, and probably all citizens of the world, are to some extent environmentalists. Undoubtedly, some are more concerned than others, but I am convinced that every citizen would rise up in arms to protect the location of an undesirable environmental use next to his or her home. Certainly, they would protest if they were provided with the information.

This bill deals with that side of our life, our economy, our society. But, in addition, we are all polluters. It is unavoidable, almost through a basic law of physics that deals with entropy, it is almost unavoidable that we are all polluters, that we are all increasing the disorder in our world in the universe.

The concern does not lie with those competing interests, because society and nature are able to come to grips with those. The concern lies in the place where we are making an unnecessary and excessive mess of our environment because of some activity that is going on that could be curbed, restricted or dealt with in a different way. The concern of citizens of this province lies with the performance of the government in protecting their environment for now and for the future.

From comments that the minister has made over the last year and more, I am convinced that his heart is in the right place but, unfortunately, his actions, or at least the actions of this government, do not always match his words. That is where the problem lies. I am convinced, too, that the minister is aware of this and regards it as a problem. And in his attempt to deal with it he focuses on personalities rather than on the issues that are so important.

Last spring, in the estimates debate, I attempted to participate in a debate with the minister and his staff on the very serious problem of liquid industrial waste disposal. I attended the committee on the morning when it was expected that matter would be discussed. Instead of that debate, I sat for the whole morning through a tirade initiated by the minister against the Leader of the Opposition.

Again, this afternoon, when we attempted to raise very important questions about the management of a very serious environmental problem, an environmental disaster located in Hamilton-Wentworth, the minister attempted to turn it around into a battle of personalities and into a matter of the credibility of regional government staff in Hamilton-Wentworth. There is no doubt that those staff are attempting to do their best. I suspect, too, that the Leader of the Opposition, in his own way, is trying to do his best, though there may be questions as to whether his own way is anything like the most effective.

But the real problem, the real difficulty, is that the government in its actions is not addressing the problems that our citizens are facing today. So we have to take a look at other ways of providing recourse for citizens who feel that their environment is being unnecessarily degraded.

I would like to look at some of the arguments that have been made in support of the government’s opposition to this particular bill.

One major item that has been raised repeatedly, particularly by industry, is that a transfer of some of these responsibilities to the courts -- indeed, a giving of the courts powers in this tremendously important area -- is a violation of our democratic system. I want to suggest that nothing could be further from the truth. Judges are not being given legislative powers by a bill of this kind. They are being given exactly the kind of decision-making power that judges are supposed to have. They are being given the power of an ombudsman to weigh the two sides, to weigh the evidence that is presented to them and to come up with an equitable and fair decision.

An alternative approach, which has been suggested in this bill, would be to establish an environmental ombudsman. An environmental ombudsman, to use some of the analogy that has been used previously, is rather like an environmental king. An environmental king would have to have the wisdom of Solomon to deal with some of the problems we are facing and to deal with some of the arguments that are made by the competing sides in these debates.

We cannot have an environmental king with the wisdom of Solomon. I doubt that it is possible to find any such person who would be able to stand up to the kind of stress that would be necessitated by the multitude of environmental problems that our society faces, but we can use the equivalent that exists today. In King Solomon’s time, King Solomon was both king and judge. Today we have separated those functions. We give to our judges and to our judicial system the power to decide what is right and what is wrong according to our laws and according to the evidence that is presented to them. That is where the judicial system fits in to the environmental process.

Government cannot afford to support interveners, so it is often said. Yet we are seeing today in the entire waste disposal area a very strange mix of public and private sectors -- a mix where government is becoming a co-proponent with the private sector on a large number of these waste disposal operations. Not only is the government being a co-proponent, but another arm of government is also being the judge.

While the environmental assessment system as it is being set up under the Environmental Assessment Act may prove to be valuable, it is nevertheless undesirable in the long term that the judicial function be mixed with the proponent function of those who are advocating certain environmentally impacting projects. To give that extra power to the courts to separate it from the government function, to put it into the judicial function and to allow both sides equal access to public funding as they attempt to wrangle with the very difficult questions that are raised by new landfill sites or solidification plants or sewage disposal systems or what have you -- to give equal access for both sides, rather than to allow the government to link itself contractually with one side and to provide no help at all to the other side, is surely desirable and that is contemplated by this act as well.

The CMA brief that was presented to all members of this House at the time of the previous and somewhat similar bill last year dealt with absolute rights --

The Acting Speaker (Mr. MacBeth): The member’s time has expired.

Mr. Isaacs: I would like to sum up one comment. The biggest problem in our dealings with environmental issues is that industry, the biggest polluter, takes a negative attitude. Industry is supported in this negative attitude by the government. What is needed is a positive approach for the citizen who wishes to get involved in environmental issues. This bill provides an environmental Magna Carta for the citizens of Ontario. I urge all members of the House to support it.

5:20 p.m.

Mr. Cureatz: Mr. Speaker, might I say from the outset how pleased I am to participate in this debate this afternoon. As we are all well acquainted, of recent days environment has played an important part in discussions in this Legislature and in various committees. I want to say, however, that I feel this particular proposal is ill-considered. I believe this government has for some time recognized the need to create a climate of confidence within which industry will be encouraged to invest and expand. Stability and certainty in the rules of the game by which industry must play are key components of this environment. Jobs, after all, are also an important objective.

Mr. Haggerty: You sound like Ronald Reagan.

Mr. Cureatz: I already heard the member for Erie. He hasn’t spoken so much since sitting on the select committee on Ontario Hydro affairs. I like to see that he is in attendance.

This proposed legislation would take all certainty out of our existing law and environmental regulations as courts would be able to set or change standards, regardless of existing laws. The bill would empower the courts to set contaminant levels and, in fact, to assume the legislative and regulatory responsibilities traditionally assigned to a government that is directly answerable to this Legislature and responsible to the people of this province. I believe this would produce barriers to the reasonable use of the environment and create a restrictive or even impossible climate for the conduct of normal business. Instead of limiting or reducing business risks, the bill would increase them.

I am certain that the thousands of smaller independent businessmen who contribute so much to the economic prosperity and wellbeing of this province would find it impossible to expand or alter their operations to any significant degree.

I believe the members opposite tend to lose sight of the many accomplishments and initiatives this government has taken to protect the environment of the province. Ontario, this country’s most populous province, despite the opposition’s daily gloom-and-doom predictions, will continue to be the industrial heartland of this great country.

The environment has been steadily improving since the introduction of the Air Pollution Control Act in 1967, pioneer legislation aimed at combating air pollution in our cities and towns. Ontario is winning the battle against pollution. Through planning and improved technology, this government is making it possible for all Ontarians to carry on the essential industrial activities upon which our prosperity is based.

Yet, at the same time, this government has striven to protect the delicate harmonies of nature. To ensure the balanced management of our natural heritage, this government has developed enlightened environmental legislation. Ontario was the first province to recognize the environment as a priority. It established a ministry to protect the environment in 1972. The Ministry of the Environment has three of the most progressive pieces of legislation with which to protect Ontario’s natural beauty: the Environmental Protection Act, the Ontario Water Resources Act and the Environmental Assessment Act.

The record of this government and its involvement in environmental protection are impressive and quite extensive. I would like to highlight just a few of these government achievements. My colleague the Minister of the Environment has introduced legislation with respect to spills of pollutants, including dangerous chemicals and toxic wastes. The transportation of hazardous substances is a necessary part of modern industry. This new legislation imposes clear responsibility for cleanup, provides for more immediate and more effective action in environmental emergencies and provides a better mechanism for recovering costs and damages from responsible parties.

The member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) has always been very emphatic about environmental conditions, observing hour after hour and making comments on the select committee of Ontario Hydro affairs, either here at the Legislature or out on tour, as in the town of Port Hope. He is continually bringing up the problems that he envisions in his own riding of Niagara, and they have been well put by that member. I trust through the kind co-operation of our own government and his friends in Ottawa that solution will be found.

The Honourable John Roberts -- isn’t that the man the member likes?

Mr. Kerrio: It is your friends in Ottawa.

Mr. Cureatz: Ontario’s emissions in sulphur dioxide are down 25 per cent from 1970 levels, despite growth in our population and industry. This government has taken a firm initiative to combat our air pollution. According to a recent United Nations report, Toronto boasts the cleanest environment of any industrialized city in the world.

Mr. Mancini: Did the Minister of the Environment write that speech for you?

Mr. Cureatz: I hear the member for Essex South. I am always amused at that member. When he had a private member’s bill on increasing the drinking age from 19, do members know how hard he lobbied over on this side of the House? He cornered me one day and pleaded his case. I said to him: “It sounds like a very intelligent piece of legislation. You have my support.” Now there he is, hammering away at me from the opposite side. That is the kind of appreciation I get for doing those members a favour.


Mr. Cureatz: He still isn’t quiet. He is still hammering away.

Finally, an area that is often taken for granted by the public is Ontario’s extensive modern waste system.

Mr. Bounsall: You would rather talk about drinking than the environment.

Mr. Cureatz: Listen to the member for -- where is he from, Windsor-Sandwich? He forgets about the pleasant time we had in the city of Oshawa at a wedding that we attended on a jovial occasion. There he is, back again, after trying to suggest devious means for my trying to get funds from a particular organization. There he is. He hasn’t given up yet. He is still there.

More than $5 million has been invested since 1955 to ensure clean water supplies to 98 per cent of Ontario’s urban population or 85 per cent of the total population of this province. There are 429 publicly owned water supplies currently in operation in Ontario, supplying more than two billion Imperial gallons of drinking water per day. Commercial waste systems now serve 94 per cent of Ontario’s urban population or 82 per cent of the total population. There are publicly owned waste water treatment plants currently in operation, and that total continues to grow every year. These are very significant accomplishments, especially if one glances to the east and realizes that one of Canada’s two major cities continues to discharge raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River.

Ontario’s solid performance to date will not lead to complacency. Ontario is continuing to develop technologies, such as our new dioxin-testing laboratory, and new initiatives to maintain our high standards for environmental protection. The framework to take on new industry and enterprise in Ontario, without damage to our precious heritage of fresh water, clean air and abundant forests, has been established. As a result, I believe this proposed bill has serious flaws and I will not be supporting it.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise and speak on ballot item 24 brought in by the member for Beaches-Woodbine. As my colleague has indicated, it is something we can support. I would like to point out that our leader brought in Bill 185, An Act representing Environmental Rights in Ontario, which was debated on December 13, 1979. I think both bills are similar in what they are trying to achieve.

I guess I would like to say first of all that our critic, the member for Huron-Bruce (Mr. Gaunt), who has contributed so much to the environmental issues in Ontario over the past five years that I have been a member of the Legislature, perhaps would have been more fittingly able to speak on this bill today, but it is certainly a pleasure for me to have the opportunity because I really feel deeply that our environment for future generations is very important.

I would like to support what our leader said in the debate of December 13, 1979. He said: “When I speak to my own children about this, I have the feeling there is nothing we do in this Legislature more important in the long run than decisions we take with regard to preservation of the natural environment. That is, after all, a trust and a heritage we are supposed to keep for the future generations, not to exploit it to the point where future generations will be without the benefit we receive from those who have gone before.”

I think that is really what we are trying to achieve by bringing up this bill in the Legislature. That is one reason why I can support it. There were some comments made by the government members. The member who has just spoken, the member for Durham East, indicated that 94 per cent of the people of Ontario do have access to a good water supply. I would like to point out to him that they are at present putting in a new water line in the region of Haldimand-Norfolk. It is going by many doors that could use a good water supply, but the government is not providing even a fitting in that main line to enable taking a line into that last six per cent. They have just as much right to a good water supply as the ones who live in an urban community. So I think there are areas to improve.

5:30 p.m.

The member for Simcoe Centre was proud of the government's record, and I suppose he has some justification for that. But in the last five years, since 1975 when a minority government was elected, perhaps more has been achieved than since the Ministry of the Environment first began. We can take some credit for that.

I could point to two or three incidents when the people rose up. One was really close to my own area, Haldimand-Norfolk. They tried to use a deep well to dispose of industrial waste; the people did not have confidence in the ministry and they were able to block it. Another was the industrial waste lagoon being put in the township of Walpole in the city of Nanticoke. The people again rose up and pointed out to the minister and the people of Ontario that it was not the thing to do, to store their industrial wastes in the lagoons.

We must force industry to recycle their materials, the same as the farmer recycles his waste materials, and use it effectively and efficiently. As long as we go the easy route, that is the direction we are going to take. It is not necessarily the cheapest in the long run. It is cheaper only for a short period of time, as has been exemplified by the Love Canal in Niagara Falls. Our member for Niagara Falls has been a very staunch proponent of the rights of those people and to prevent the effluent going into the Niagara River. He deserves much credit for standing up and making that known.

Also, in the case of the Upper Ottawa Street dump in Hamilton, while it may not be as explosive as it appears, we cannot be too cautious in protecting the future of that municipality. I wish the minister had participated in the debate today to indicate what has been done and to give his views on this bill. I see he has abandoned that.

As far as the bill itself is concerned, it is probably a progressive step. One of our colleagues, I think it was the member for Erie, pointed out it could be a lawyer’s nightmare. That is one thing I would be afraid of. It would be better to spend money on recycling or disposing of industrial waste than to get into legal entanglements with lawyers and spending our money that way.

As for money for people who participate, for citizens who stand up, there were two associations formed in my riding. They spent $35,000 to $40,000 of their own money on one incident and on the other probably $25,000 or $30,000 to fight government, which was supposed to be looking after us. They certainly should be given some assistance in that regard.

If we had a government that could get the confidence of the people and assure them they were moving in the right direction, I believe people would accept that if we could involve them to that degree. Maybe a bill such as the one being presented today could achieve that, and that is the reason I support it.

One final comment: As the member for Haldimand-Norfolk, as long as I am a member of the Legislature, I would like to leave my riding and the province and the country better than I found it.

Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Speaker, I rise to support this environmental Magna Carta proposed by my colleague the member for Beaches-Woodbine. It is far and away the most far-reaching and comprehensive piece of environmental legislation with respect to rights that has ever been introduced into this Legislature and, I suspect, ever introduced into any Legislature in Canada. It certainly goes a lot further than the bill mentioned by the previous speaker which was introduced by the leader of the Liberal Party. Certainly, step by step it is much superior and goes considerably further, particularly in that area of the protection of employees from being terminated from employment because of providing information to the environmental group or to an assessment hearing which would assist in assessing or analysing what has gone on in the past. It is those sorts of clauses that make it a superb bill and I call upon every member of this Legislature with any conscience whatsoever to support it.

In particular, I want to say a few words about liquid industrial waste sites and the appalling record which this ministry has had in selecting them, and in thinking that they might be at all acceptable. They have an appalling record in terms of what they have been accepting or will accept, and an appalling record in terms of dealing with the public on the matter. This, of course, is with specific reference to the Harwich dump site down our way in the far reaches of southwestern Ontario.

This summer I sat through a whole host of Hydro select committee hearings, some of which were concerned with finding a suitable site, and therefore the need for environmental assessment, for the expansion of the Port Hope uranium refinery. In this regard, I find that the proposals we would like to make would be very similar to ones we would propose to this Ministry of the Environment in terms of getting public assistance. I might say they are rather close to those contained in the federal document released in March 1980, entitled Environmental Contaminants: Board of Review, the first board of review that dealt with the disposal of polychlorinated biphenyls, but they make the general point in that report -- and I will simply quote it:

“The board recommends that federal and provincial governments, in co-operation with each other, if they are convinced that this type of incarceration is the procedure of choice today, should find a site which, to satisfy public concern, should preferably be distant from any residential community, and that the education process required to make that siting convincing and acceptable ... ”

This is precisely what has not been done, either in the federal jurisdiction or in anyone’s jurisdiction, with respect to this particular chemical or with respect to any liquid industrial waste dump site anywhere in Ontario. I would suggest to the Ministry of the Environment that they immediately form a committee composed of some government officials, but mainly composed of representatives from every environmentally concerned group in Ontario, to help them select a site in the province for these wastes, for which we must find a site. Anything less than that kind of public-concerned involvement, starting right from square one in the choice of the site, is going to be patently unsuccessful. Otherwise, any search by this government to turn up a site will be unsuccessful.

To get back to the topic of Harwich township: On May 23 a headline story appeared in the Globe and Mail, “Township’s Mistrust is Ministry’s Reward for Years of Poison.” They have been putting liquid industrial wastes in that Harwich dump site; they now want to expand it with an increased plant to do many other things, and they wonder why they are running into problems.

This government has no trust at all from the people of Harwich township in terms of what has gone on in the past. There is good reason for that mistrust. This summer, some of the concerned citizens -- I know several of them -- went down and did some of their own testing and some of their own observations. On that site only three trucks on a given day were logged as coming in and dumping industrial wastes but, in fact, the trucks went in and dumped industrial waste. Only three of them logged in. That is virtually a crime and certainly will never engender trust in anyone living near that Harwich dump site.

5:40 p.m.

There are also other concerns which those people doing the inspections have. One particular firm, Honey-Bee Sanitation, has a cross-border licence and, unless a very close check is being made, they suspect, as I do, that Michigan wastes are being dumped in that Harwich dump site.

When you talk to the farmers, you find they have certainly had green sludge leaking out into the drainage ditches in the vicinity of that dump site and it has killed some of the domestic fowl they raise on their farms. Ducks have been found dead, having been on those wet ditch areas into which that sludge has been pouring.

Let me tell you about the University of Windsor liquid industrial waste that gets put on that site. I understand, from people who observed it this summer, that the people in the trucks bringing that material there are fully dressed in protective uniforms, complete with masks, all the way from Windsor to this dump site. That material is carefully craned off and none of them remove their masks or any of that protective equipment.

That gives me concern, not only about what is going into that dump but also about the movement over the roads of material that is sufficiently dangerous for such precaution to be taken with it.

I might say that the high school students of Harwich township and their parents are certainly finding themselves right at home with their Shakespeare these days and thinking, as they read Macbeth, how up to date Macbeth was in many of its comments. The woodlot across the road could well be Birnam Wood as they read Macbeth and come across lines such as, “Out, out this dark spot,” and, “Not all the perfumes of Arabia can remove the smell incarnate off these hands.”

That is what is happening in the whole area of Harwich township, and it has been going on for the past 11 years. The committee of concerned citizens there, which is called CRAW, Citizens Rebelling Against Waste, has outlined its concerns in no uncertain terms.

This site does not meet with the recommendations set out in the MacLaren report. An interim summary was made about the suitability of the Harwich dump site by MacLaren, related to the ministry’s own criteria for dump sites. What did they find? They found that that dump site, which has been there for 11 years and which the ministry wants to expand, does not meet more than half of the requirements that the ministry actually would require. Yet the ministry wants to expand that and go on.

They say further, why does the government not appear to be listening to what it is being told by this engineering firm, a firm hired with our tax dollars to investigate and make recommendations on this liquid industrial waste problem, and which has found that the site is not suitable? It is a very valid point. Why is this government not listening?

They give a rundown of their points. It is near an urban area; it is a conservation area in the heart of Ontario’s prime agricultural land; it is really a southwestern Ontario Garden of Eden, Mr. Speaker, almost as good as the area from which you come up north in terms of its beauty. We are going to further despoil this with increased dumping of industrial waste in a system which they have not vetted up until now.

Mr. Speaker: I am listening with great, great interest, but the member’s time has expired.

Mr. Bounsall: I thought if I mentioned your riding in northern Ontario, Mr. Speaker, you might give me a couple of extra minutes, but that did not work. So let me conclude by saying that the government must take its own advice in these things, its own engineering surveys which it paid for with our money, and it must fund properly the environmental groups concerned to make the proper assessments.

Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I rise to support this bill, because if there is one thing of high priority to me as an individual, and I am sure to many members of this Legislature, it has to be a concern about our environment.

Some pretty high-profile individuals in all governments across Ontario, Canada, and lately in the United States, have certainly abdicated their responsibility for the protection of our environment. The most recent is one of the people who aspires to the presidency of the United States, Mr. Reagan, who went down to Ohio and said we should burn all that coal with the high sulphur in it and so pollute some of the lakes in Ontario.

Now that the minister is here and he might be listening, if he has seen some of those ads with that beautiful young woman coming sparkling out of a lake, I suggest she is acid clean if she comes out of one of those northern lakes. Our ministry is not protecting our lakes to the degree that it should.

I suggest it is an affront to the people of Ontario to put those ads in the paper, simply because people within the ministry are suggesting they do not have funds to put inspectors in to find dangerous, toxic sites in Ontario. I say it is disgraceful that we could put ads in the paper and tell people from other jurisdictions they should come here because it is clean, and in another paper say we do not have the funds to put inspectors in to find situations that exist in the Upper Ottawa Street dump.

Hon. Mr. Parrott: It happens to be true.

Mr. Kerrio: Now that the minister would like to participate in this debate, he should do it in an orderly fashion and not try to interrupt a member who has a very important message. It was said on a previous occasion during the debate today that we are practising to take over the minister’s job. My fellow legislator put a bill forward for dental care for the aged, and we are going to do our part by sending one of the good dentists back to his old job.

In any event, to get the record very clear, the reason I am supporting this bill, and the reason for this discussion and the argument that the minister and I have had for many years as it relates to my reasons for having such a bill carried today, is that those people on that side, who have said for many years that the polluter will pay, have abdicated that position and now are waffling all over the place. They really have not put anything worthwhile into place, and that is why this member has had to come forth with this bill that is before us.

It speaks of another area that is very bad as it relates to the people who have to protect their environment. That is, across this province, across Canada and in the United States, private citizens have to band together to protect themselves against governments that have failed to do their job. If those people are going to do something in a meaningful way, they should at least have access to the kind of funding that will allow them to be involved in a situation where it is not a David and Goliath confrontation with the government on one side with all the resources at their disposal, and the people who are trying to defend their environment with very limited resources on the other.

This government must take the position and make it very clear that they would at least allow equal representation on behalf of the people of Ontario who now see that the fight is back in their court. That is why many of us on this side might get credit for not being positive or constructive. It is very difficult because in all the years the government has had the opportunity to do something worthwhile, it certainly has failed to do it.

5:50 p.m.

As it relates to my particular --

Mr. Speaker: I would remind the member for Niagara Falls that the sponsor of the bill, the member for Beaches-Woodbine, has reserved three minutes for a windup. I think you’ve had it.

Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the member for putting the bill forward and tell her we are going to support her and we are going to help them put some meaningful legislation on this table one way or another.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I welcome the support of the Liberals very much, and I hope it will spill across the floor of the House and that there will be equal support on the other side of the House.

I am surprised that the Minister of the Environment did not participate in the debate, especially after he had promised last fall to bring in a bill embracing some of the points in the previous bill on this subject But he never specified which points, so we are still in the dark as to which parts of this kind of legislation he does support. We have no assurance that he is bringing in anything on it.

However, if the members opposite and all the members on this side vote for second reading, we will be on the way to some good legislation in this field, which we can amend in committee, if necessary.

The member for Simcoe Centre (Mr. G. Taylor) appeared to be seeking another excuse for blocking this very necessary legislation and keeping Ontario in the dark ages with regard to environmental legislation.

He latched on to the reverse onus provision in the bill and proceeded to confuse reverse onus in criminal matters -- where one is presumed innocent until proven guilty -- with the use of reverse onus in civil matters in special circumstances.

I think reverse onus is justified in civil cases if the lack of it results in failure to achieve justice, as has happened in too many environmental cases. The reason is that the cards are stacked against the appellant because of the potential financial costs and because he is often dealing with a very big company which is the despoiler of the environment.

I think in this case reverse onus is justified in environmental matters because the contamination of the environment affects all dwellers on this planet. The despoiler should have to prove that he is not endangering our Spaceship Earth.

Most of the speeches from the Tory benches were mainly self-congratulatory on Ontario’s largely unused environmental legislation.

Mr. Speaker: I must remind the member that the time for this item has expired.

Ms. Bryden: I just wanted to say that we need to move ahead to new legislation instead of basking in the record of past legislation, much of which has not yet been used.


Mr. Speaker: Mr. Ruston has moved resolution 28.

Resolution concurred in.


The following members having objected by rising, a vote was not taken on Ms. Bryden’s motion for second reading of Bill 91:

Auld, Ashe, Baetz, Belanger, Bernier, Brunelle, Cureatz, Grossman, Henderson, Hodgson, Johnson, J., MacBeth, Maeck, McCaffrey, McCague, McNeil, Newman, W., Norton, Parrott, Pope, Ramsay, Rotenberg, Scrivener, Snow, Taylor, C., Villeneuve, Walker, Watson, Wiseman -- 29.


Hon. Mr. Maeck: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the government House leader (Mr. Wells), and pursuant to standing order 13, I wish to indicate to the members of the House the business for the rest of this week and next week.

Tonight there will be debate on the three Ontario Hydro affairs committee reports as shown on today’s House business paper in this order: (1) the interim report on safety, (2) the final report on safety and (3), if there is time, the interim report on capacity.

Tomorrow we will be doing the Premier’s estimates after the question period.

Monday, October 13, is Thanksgiving, and of course the House will not sit.

On Tuesday afternoon, October 14, we will have third readings of Bill 85, the Registry Amendment Act; the Limited Partnerships Act; Bill 136, the Land Titles Amendment Act; Bill 137, and Bill 138, the Boundaries Act. There will be second reading and committee of the whole House on Bill 59, the Game and Fish Amendment Act, until six o’clock. In the evening we will have the budget debate; I understand the member for Port Arthur has the floor.

On Wednesday, October 15, three committees may meet in the morning; they are resources development, administration of justice and general government.

On Thursday afternoon, October 16, we will have private members’ ballot items 25 and 26 standing in the names of Mr. McCaffrey and Mr. Epp. In the evening we will have the reports from the Ontario Hydro affairs committee on safety, if it has not been completed this evening; then on capacity, if it has not been completed this evening; then on fuel waste, if there is time.

On Friday, October 17, we will continue the Premier’s estimates.

Mr. Cunningham: The sound system seems to be failing, although not failing here at the moment. I did not hear anything with regard to the plan for next week to respond to the problems of jobs, layoffs and the economy. Did I miss that?

Hon. Mr. Maeck: No. The member did not miss that. It is not on the agenda.

Mr Cunningham: Thanks. I just wanted to clarify that.

The House recessed at 5:58 p.m.