The House met at 10:01 am.
TRIBUTES TO VLADAS SAKALYS
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, we in Ontario and throughout Canada cherish our freedoms and the opportunities they provide for us and our families to grow and to realize our goals and our potentials. That is why we can all feel sympathy and concern for the millions of people behind the Iron Curtain and elsewhere, where freedom of assembly, freedom of opinion, freedom of religion and freedom to dissent are mere illusions which are betrayed in day-to-day oppression and lack of respect for human dignity. That is why we all understand and hold great respect for those noble individuals whose courage, love of freedom and dedication to human rights transcend everything else.
In your gallery today, Mr. Speaker, we are honoured with the presence of such a man. Vladas Sakalys is a symbol of selfless commitment and dedication. Recently escaped from the Soviet Union, Mr. Sakalys is visiting Canada to urge our nation’s strong defence of human rights in countries around the world. He is a reminder of the importance of public pressure to secure and advance international human rights. Mr. Sakalys is also a reminder to all of us of the need for constant vigilance to preserve the freedoms which we in this particular country enjoy and perhaps too often take for granted.
His visit with us seems especially timely as Canadians debate the issue of how best to preserve the rights for which Canada is so well known around the globe. As long as the human rights of individuals are threatened anywhere in the world, as long as the cultural, religious and political freedoms of any human being are constrained, then the freedom of all of us to live in freedom, justice and dignity is jeopardized.
Vladas Sakalys is a man who has placed freedom and human rights above everything else, including his personal safety and that of his family. The Lithuanian community of Ontario is especially proud of his efforts. I know that all of the people of Ontario will join with the members of this Legislature today in extending him a very warm welcome.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased that the Deputy Premier has taken this occasion to introduce Vladas Sakalys who is in your gallery. I had the honour to meet with him yesterday and to be told what it is like to be 38 years old and from the age of 19 onwards to have spent 14 years of one’s life in Soviet prisons and labour colonies for no other reason than the fact that Mr. Sakalys refuses to give up his very justifiable feeling that Lithuania should have the right to determine its own future.
Years ago Lester Pearson was among those who said that the sellout of the Baltic nations to the Soviet Union is probably the worst blot on the history of recent western activity. The little states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania were, as members know, sold out in those days for practical purposes but, in essence, they remain alive in spirit.
Mr. Sakalys told me how he had to escape from the Soviet Union under threat of arrest by crawling through minefields, by swimming across lakes in the far north of Russia and Finland -- lakes near freezing temperature, lakes kilometres wide -- by having to retrace and cover over his tracks in recently ploughed fields and by having to spread material to throw the dogs off the scent. He did this for days and days and eventually escaped from certain rearrest to the West.
When a country like the Soviet Union is willing to go to such lengths to suppress a person like this from simply expressing his view that Lithuania should have a right to self-determination, you realize just how fragile the Soviet Union’s hold on its own people must be and just how important it is for us in the West to recognize the basic rights of human freedom behind the boundaries of the Soviet Union and throughout the world.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to say one sentence if I might, in what will undoubtedly be badly accented Lithuanian, the language of Mr. Sakalys, in honour of his visit to us.
I basically welcomed him and wished him the best of luck in his struggle for human rights and, ultimately, freedom for self-expression in Lithuania.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I want to join in the welcome to Mr. Sakalys, who has come here after great trials and great tribulations, not just because of the personal hardships that he has suffered in the defence of the Lithuanian nation and his efforts to defend human rights in the Soviet Union but also because of what he represents in terms of the small but courageous groups of people in Lithuania and in other parts of the Soviet federation who have been seeking to ensure that the Helsinki accords would, in fact, be a reality and not just a joke.
My colleague from Parkdale (Mr. Dukszta) will welcome Mr. Sakalys in Lithuanian and Polish, but I would like to say to him, and through him to others, that I think our country, Canada, as a signatory to the Helsinki accords has a very important role. We are not seen as an imperialist country; we are not seen as the same kind of adversary to the Soviet Union as the United States has been. We are a northern country like the Soviet Union but we are a country which is committed to freedom and to human rights.
When the Helsinki accords were signed there was an enormous positive feeling both among expatriate groups from the eastern European countries and among the dissident groups in the Soviet Union and the Communist bloc countries themselves, that what was put on paper and agreed to by the Soviet Union would be made a reality and not be just made a travesty as some of the provisions of the Soviet constitution with relation to human rights and personal freedoms have been made.
The access to such simple things as the right to read the Times of London, the Globe and Mail or the Washington Post was put into the Helsinki accords. It has not, however, been made a reality. The Helsinki accords were meant to ensure that people would not be persecuted for such simple things as meeting together and they were meant to ensure that the rule of law would be applied and that people would not be persecuted because of the opinions that they happen to hold.
I praise Mr. Sakalys and many others like him who have been prepared to spend time in prison, who have been prepared to be separated from their families, but who have not been prepared to knuckle under to a totalitarian system which still exists in the Soviet Union and which denies personal and individual freedoms. I wish, on behalf of us here in this country, that Canada could do far more, be far more diligent and far more aware of the need to try to make the implementation of the Basket Three of the Helsinki accords into a reality.
There were many people in the expatriate eastern European communities and in those countries as well as in the Soviet Union who look to Canada for a leadership which unfortunately we don’t give enough of. I welcome Mr. Sakalys and my friend from Parkdale will close.
[Translation from Lithuanian]
Mr. Dukszta: Mr. Speaker, I welcome Mr. Sakalys as a fighter for freedom to Canada to tell us about his experiences, so we can join with him in our common cause. I hope he will soon be reunited with his family.
[Translation from Polish]
I understand he speaks Polish. I come from the same part of the world as he does. He is an undefeated champion for the freedom of Lithuania. I would like to quote from our common poet: “Lithuania, my country, you are like health. Only those who have lost it appreciate what it means.”
I hope that Mr. Sakalys’s efforts are not wasted and that he will see Lithuania free in his lifetime.
[End of translations]
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, responding to a point of privilege which was raised in my absence yesterday by the member for Oshawa, I would like, in order to complete the record, to read a memorandum which was prepared by Mr. Armstrong, the regional manager of ambulance services for central western Ontario and sent on the eighth, the day before the point was raised in the House, to Mr. Ventura, the director of ambulance services. I read as follows:
“My involvement in regard to the recent Halton-Mississauga controversy over the suspension of Mr. Hank Meyer, local union president, was as follows:
“On September 15, 1980, I was informed by Mr. Ventura’s office that certain statements were made on a CKEY radio release on September 14, 1980, that inferred people were dying in Mississauga as a result of lack of ambulances. I was requested to check out the statements and to contact the Halton-Mississauga ambulance service and inquire as to their knowledge of the statement.
“The ambulance service had knowledge of the statement and asked if we knew where they could acquire a copy of the transcript. I advised them to contact a media scan service or CKEY directly.
“On September 16, 1980, I received a copy of a media scan regarding this radio release, which is attached, and arranged to discuss this with the Halton-Mississauga ambulance service that evening. We discussed the release and I informed the management of the service that I would request that an inspector investigate the allegations.
“However, when I requested that an inspector be sent to investigate the allegations and interview Mr. Meyer, I was informed that none were available. As a result, I arranged to meet with Mr. Meyer in the presence of a management representative, Mr. Liersch, as would be common practice in the circumstances.
“The meeting was held at 1600 hours on Thursday, September 18, 1980, and Mr. Meyer requested that a union steward be present. We agreed and the meeting commenced.
“It was explained to Mr. Meyer at the onset of the meeting that this was only a fact finding meeting in regard to the statement he made during his interview with CKEY.
“We, Mr. Liersch and myself, went through the transcript line by line and asked Mr. Meyer if he agreed that this was an accurate account of his statements. He was very evasive and continued to infer that the interview was so long that he wasn’t sure if the statements were in the right context.
“We then asked him if he agreed with the content of the transcript and he stated that he did. I then advised him that the ministry did not have any reports or investigations indicating that there was inadequate ambulance service in Halton-Mississauga as he had stated. Further, we had no reported incidents of anyone dying as a result of slow ambulance response and asked if he could substantiate his statements. He again became very evasive and never did actually answer the question.
“Mr. Meyer then became concerned that he may be in some trouble and asked what possible action may be taken against him. I advised that it could he anything from being sued to nothing, depending on whether he could substantiate his allegations or not. He was also advised that the ambulance service would have to decide for themselves as to what action they may want to take.
“Mr. Meyer then stated that the ministry had refused to supply the union with any reports or information regarding the staffing changes. I informed him that I had spoken to Mrs. Jackie Gardener, the area union representative, and had sent her all the information requested. In fact, I advised Mr. Meyer that similar packages of information were sent to the regional municipalities, district health councils, some local municipal and provincial representatives, as well a anyone else who had requested it.
“We then advised him that nothing further could be done until CKEY was contacted and given an opportunity to comment. At this time Mr. Meyer expressed his concern that he may be used as a scapegoat by CKEY.
“We then adjourned the meeting and Mr. Liersch and I met to discuss what course of action was planned by the service in pursuing this issue. Mr. Liersch advised that they had contacted their legal counsel and were awaiting advice from their lawyer. A few days later Mr. Liersch informed me that Mr. Baldwin, their labour lawyer, was recommending that Mr. Meyer be suspended without pay for some period of time yet to be determined. However, Mr. Baldwin advised them that we wanted to check out a few more things with another law firm in regards to litigation before a final decision was made. The next thing I heard was when I read in the newspaper that Mr. Meyer was suspended.
“In summary, I would point out that I did not in any way recommend, advise or pressure Halton-Mississauga into taking any action with their employee The ambulance service has made this clear to the press and union. I would also point out that the new staffing plan for this service has been in effect for three months now, and the average response time of 7.6 minutes has not been affected. Also, there has not been any recorded incidence of abnormal response to urgent calls or shortages of ambulances.”
I hope that will clear up the point.
Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I rose yesterday to correct the record because the minister, in his response to my question, said, and I will repeat it once again, “The ministry had no part whatsoever in the suspension which was registered against the individual by his employer.” I am afraid, in my view at least, the minister has provided even further documentation that the ministry staff did indeed participate in the investigation and that Mr. Armstrong was indeed present at the initial hearing. To me, that constitutes quite a substantial variation from having no part whatsoever.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, with respect, surely the honourable member would expect that when somebody makes an allegation that people have died for lack of ambulances, somebody from the ministry would attend in the capacity of inspector. I will rely on your fairness and your good judgement -- not that of the member for Oshawa, who lacks both -- to evaluate the situation.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
The member for Oshawa rose yesterday, to use his words, to correct the record on the basis of information provided to him. The honourable minister has done essentially the same thing to indicate what part his ministry and his officials played in it. I don’t think there is any big deal here. There is obviously a difference of opinion as to the degree of involvement on both sides.
I will leave it to the House and whoever hears what participation, if any, there was. I don’t think there is anything that can be resolved in this House. There is obviously a difference of opinion as to the actual wording of the initial statement made by the minister. The record has been corrected in the eyes of the two proponents here, and I don’t see any reason why we should take further time of the House to explore it.
Mr. Speaker: I would like to draw to the attention of honourable members the presence of a very distinguished guest in the Speaker’s gallery in the person of His Excellency Francesco Fulci, who is the ambassador of Italy. He is accompanied by Dr. Alessio Gabotto, who is vice-consul for Italy in Toronto. Would you please welcome them.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, this seemed to be the appropriate time to share with members of the House some initiatives the Ministry of Energy will be taking, and is in the process of taking, as a follow-up of a publication we issued about a year ago. During the course of the next several weeks my colleagues will be expanding on some of the details of this overall program. Needless to say, with a number of engagements which the minister has been invited to in the next little while we wanted to involve the private sector as much as possible. We felt this was the place in which to give some indication of the general parameters so that members of the House would have the opportunity to study the background material and to have some appreciation of the initiatives that are going to be taken.
In summary, we are talking here of a $165- million program related to oil substitution and conservation. It involves some significant advances in solar and alternative transportation fuels, the whole area of conservation initiatives, particularly in government buildings.
It is a far-ranging program from building code improvements in our commercial buildings and industrial buildings to conversion of oil furnaces in government buildings that has its impact on short- and long-term employment opportunities. It is to be seen at this stage as an expansion of the comprehensive program of a year ago complementing, as it does, that program and supplementing the programs at other levels of government, particularly the off-oil program of the government of Canada. More details of that will be forthcoming before too long.
Members of the House will recall last October I had the opportunity to release a policy paper for Ontario, Energy Security for the Eighties. In that document we established certain policy targets and provided an overall energy framework for Ontario in the decade ahead. Since then, as members of the House will know, the government has taken a number of initiatives designed to give substance to that policy.
Today, as I have indicated, I am taking this opportunity to share with the House some of the overall program with respect to a $165-million energy package which is to be seen as our contribution in assisting Canada to achieve crude oil self-sufficiency by 1990. These new energy initiatives will not only contribute to reducing our dependence on oil, but they carry as well economic and industrial benefits in the form of new jobs and export market potential for Ontario technology.
This 10-point program emphasizes energy conservation and oil substitution and includes the following initiatives:
A $75-million five-year program to stimulate the development and marketing of alternative transportation fuels in the province.
A $50-million five-year program to accelerate the development of the solar energy industry across the province.
A $12-million conservation and off-oil conversion program for municipal government buildings, hospitals, schools and other public institutions.
A $3.6-million three-year municipal energy audit program.
A $10.6-million five-year extension of the government building energy conservation program.
A $2.5-million program for converting Ontario government buildings from oil to natural gas or other energy forms.
A $10-million industrial conservation and oil substitution program.
Included as well will be revisions to the Ontario Building Code to incorporate energy conservation standards for commercial and industrial buildings, a statement with respect to an expanded role for the Ontario Energy Corporation and finally, a skills development program for natural gas fitters and installers.
These programs have been designed with two realities in mind. First, Canada’s dependence on foreign oil from unstable world regions must be addressed today. The government of Ontario is prepared to participate actively with other governments and the private sector to help Canada achieve crude oil self-sufficiency by 1990.
The second reality is, although Ontario produces almost no oil we certainly have a role, a responsibility and a vested interest in participating in the solution to our national crude oil problem.
Solar energy affords a good example of the point to be made here. The program will assist the achievement of significant cost performance and reliability improvements in active and passive solar systems through the strengthening of the Canadian solar industry. As members of the House will know, this is largely located in Ontario. It will assist by prebuilding the private and public sector market and encouraging consumer acceptance. It makes good energy sense for Canada, and good economic sense for Ontario.
These programs will help to reduce Canada’s dependency on crude oil. It is my hope, and I am sure it is shared by members of the House, that the proposed federal off-oil program will be designed to both complement and supplement these initiatives.
As I said at the beginning of these remarks, I want to indicate that over the next few weeks it is my intention and that of my colleagues to provide members with further details on the individual components of the program which we have announced today. In that connection, we are providing members of the House with background material which will set out some of the overall goals and the direction of these programs to provide them with an opportunity to study these documents and, with the benefit of subsequent announcements, to have some full appreciation 0f our energy initiatives in this area.
FOOD INDUSTRY PRACTICES
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, later today at the appropriate time I will table the report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Discounting and Allowances in the Food Industry in Ontario.
Under order in council 2537/78, the late Judge James Frederick William Ross was appointed to conduct the inquiry. Judge Ross resigned for health reasons on February 7, 1979. Under order in council 404/79, Judge Wilfred Wesley Leach was appointed to undertake the inquiry.
The report which Judge Leach has submitted contains some 93 conclusions and three recommendations. The government believes that those involved in the food industry in this province should have the opportunity to review this report. Part of Judge Leach’s report deals with matters involving competition which are clearly federal matters. I will, of course, draw these matters to the attention of the federal Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs.
I am sure all of the members of the House appreciate the time and effort expended by those who co-operated with the inquiry in providing Judge Leach with information.
Mr. Speaker, with your consent, I would be happy at this moment -- I know that I don’t have to file the report until after the question period -- to give the two opposition parties one report each, if they would agree to keep it within the House, in case they want to question me.
Mr. Speaker: I don’t suppose there is any objection to that.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, I suggested to the opposition members they should keep this report in the House. The Clerk has informed me that under present procedures I can file the report any time. I have done that and I have released extra reports to the press and the press gallery. I have put other reports in the mail boxes for the honourable members. I just wanted to clear that up.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, later today I will be introducing amendments to the Insurance Act and to the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act.
The major amendment to the Insurance Act increases the minimum for third-party liability coverage under contracts of automobile insurance from $100,000 to $200,000. The amendment to the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act proposes a corresponding increase in the maximum amount payable to accident victims out of the motor vehicle accident claims fund. These two major amendments would come into effect on March 1, 1981.
As of March 1, 1980, Ontario’s Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act made it mandatory for motorists to carry a minimum of $ 100,000 third-party liability in contracts of automobile insurance. However, this limit has been in effect since January 1, 1971, and in the almost four years since that date the costs of replacing loss of income and automobiles, as well as medical expenses and car repairs, have increased dramatically. Constant inflation has pushed up general living expenses by about 30 per cent in that same period.
While an increase from $100,000 to $200,000 doubles the coverage, the increase in premium is only five per cent and will affect only the 19 per cent of motorists who are now insured for the minimum. The other 81 per cent are already insured for $200,000 or more.
The increase in the maximum amount payable by the motor vehicle accident claims fund is necessary based on my ministry’s recent statistics. Within the past year and a half, the current maximum of $100,000 was paid out in a total of nine cases. These facts clearly show the need for a higher maximum amount as some of these claims might conceivably have deserved a higher settlement.
In addition, the superintendent of insurance has recently approved the under insured motorist endorsement, a new automobile insurance coverage that provides even further protection for a small extra premium, which will probably be less than $10.
This endorsement is of particular benefit to motorists with a high third-party liability coverage, and it works this way: If a motorist with a $500,000 liability limit for example, becomes injured in a motor vehicle accident and is awarded a judgement of $400,000, and if the other motorist has a liability limit of only $200,000, then the injured motorist’s insurance company will cover the difference of $200,000.
To other words, if a motorist and his family are injured or killed as a result of a motor vehicle accident, they will be protected to the same extent as the motorist has chosen to protect others by way of the liability limits in his policy. For this reason, we expect this new endorsement to be very well received by the public.
Therefore, these amendments and initiatives reflect the need to keep in step with the increased judgements in automobile accident cases and will improve significantly the protection offered to Ontario motorists.
We also propose to amend the definitions of insurance and life insurance in the Insurance Act to make certain that annuities entered into by insurers are life insurance within the defined meaning of that term.
The purpose is to protect annuities from the claims of an insured’s creditors, particularly when the beneficiary is the spouse, parent, child or grandchild of the insured, in the same manner as the proceeds of life insurance contracts are so protected under the Insurance Act.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, may I rise on a matter of persona’ privilege before oral questions? I notice a newly-printed seating plan has been presented to the members and is sitting on the desks. I gather this was printed on the information that was given to you by the various House leaders or party leaders, and I notice with some interest that there is an empty box with “Carleton” written in it, Mr. Speaker. I would suggest a serious mistake has been made. It seems to me that it is the voters who will decide what colour that box should be and this should be changed.
Mr. Nixon: We want a complete reprint.
Mr. Speaker: I think your point is well taken, but in the interests of economy, when we run out of these we will make sure it is changed.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, just before you conclude, I thought I might offer this advice to the member for London Centre, who drew to your attention the empty blue box saying “Carleton.” Before reprinting the seating plans, I thought you might take our advice and consult with the member for London Centre to see if there would be an empty red box for London Centre.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Energy arising from his statement to the House today. Would the minister be able to clarify something? In the minister’s original statement which he made back in September of last year, apparently he was calling for five per cent of energy for 1995 to be obtained from renewables other than water power. That was his target. Apparently in today’s statement, his target is again five per cent.
Do I take it that fundamentally there has been no change since last September in this regard, and that the programs being announced today are not expected to have any substantially different impact from that which he predicted in September? When he is addressing that, could he address the directly related matter which is that in September he said 35 per cent of Ontario’s energy requirements would be coming from indigenous sources, and now he says it will be 37.5 per cent? Where is the additional 2.5 per cent to be placed in this table? Where is it to come from, according to the new program?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition is quite correct in pointing out the revision of targets with respect to the announcement today as compared to the announcement of a year ago, and does draw particular attention to that area where a year ago Ontario indicated its interest in improving the percentage of total energy which was generated from within the province from 20 per cent to 35 per cent. The revised target is now 37.5 per cent. It is my understanding that would mostly be in the renewable area, such areas as energy from waste and related programs. As far as the contribution from hydraulic is concerned that has not changed from the 2,000 megawatts that was announced in the program of a year ago.
If there is some difficulty in relating the programs in the other renewable areas, particularly with respect to energy from waste, I would be glad to provide the Leader of the Opposition with a more detailed accounting of those calculations.
Mr. S. Smith: I would be very glad to have a more detailed accounting, since it does appear that this entire folderful of new projects will be producing, at best, 2.5 percent. Possibly even that would not be the case, because the sheet handed out today says the target is to produce at least five per cent, which was the previous target as well. There is little or no change, it seems to me, in the last year.
I would ask another question, however. Is the minister able to tell us where this $165 million over the next three to five years is coming from? How much of that is coming from the federal government?
Hon. Mr. Welch: The $165 million I am talking about today comes from Ontario’s consolidated revenue fund. We are hoping that the private sector, because of these initiatives and this leadership, will move immediately to find some matching money. In fact, we assume there will be matching money from the private sector and we are expecting, before too long, some announcements from the government of Canada with respect to the investments they intend to make on behalf of the taxpayers of Canada along these lines. We are not overlooking what municipal governments may do as well.
I know the Leader of the Opposition has asked the question related specifically to the target portion, but I do not think one can relate the adjustments with respect to the energy to he produced from resources indigenous to Ontario to minimize the scope and the importance of the overall program to which I have made reference today.
We are talking about an initial investment at this stage which, if doubled, means 13,000 man-years of work. It means the substitution of millions of gallons of oil to other fuel. I am sure it would not be the intention of the Leader of the Opposition to lose sight of the tremendous impact that this program could well have with respect to the whole area of oil substitution and conservation.
The target itself relates to revisions we have made with respect to what Ontario itself will do with its own resources. We have no natural gas to speak of. The conversion to get off oil and into natural gas is not going to affect those targets, if the member sees what I am getting at.
The point is, we must not lose sight of the broader impact this program can have. If the Leader of the Opposition makes the point that, notwithstanding the merits of other aspects of the program, he would urge us to continue to be even more aggressive in the part of the program that deals with Ontario’s desire to be producing energy from within itself, I would accept that as a challenge but not in the spirit of discrediting the entire program which I have announced today.
Mr. Cassidy: Since the minister talks about the challenge that is involved in getting renewables and other unconventional forms of energy off the ground in Ontario, would he please explain why, despite all the public relations involved here and despite the fact the government is finally beginning to recognize the economic and job-creation impact of alternative forms of energy, there has been no fundamental change at all from the distorted investment priorities of the province as they were enunciated last September?
Specifically, could he explain why it is that the government still intends to put $12.5 billion into nuclear power and some money into hydraulic energy but there is next to no public investment involved in the $14 billion which the government says needs to be spent in the next 14 years in the areas of renewable energy?
Hon. Mr. Welch: I do not think that is quite fair. I would like to provide the leader of the third party with an opportunity to review more carefully the material that has been tabled today. Certainly we are talking about a substantial investment of the money given to us by the people of Ontario, provided through the consolidated revenue fund, to take some further steps in the areas that are mentioned here with respect to both oil substitution and conservation.
When we think of the long-term implications of any of these programs, that is, once we leave the developmental stage in a number of these programs and start to view the potential of the commercial possibility, there will obviously be a significant investment at that time from the private sector.
I would have thought, in the spirit of the concerns that were expressed a year ago, there would be wild desk-thumping today on the part of the members of the third party when we showed we were taking this second very positive step now in leading along the directions we set out here. I feel convinced on this Friday morning, as we approach this holiday weekend, that once the honourable members have gone into this in some more detail they will like to share their endorsement of this program when they come back on Tuesday afternoon.
Mr. S. Smith: The minister will surely forgive us if we save our desk-thumping for some other time. Will the minister make the simple admission that this whole elaborate program of his over the next five years in total will spend one thirty-sixth of the cost of one nuclear plant? Under those circumstances, with this entire regalia of paper and alleged programs and alleged new initiatives, does the minister not recognize that when he is spending one thirty-sixth of the cost of one nuclear plant and spreading it over five years he really is not beginning to deal in a serious way with the opportunities which we have in Ontario to move into renewable energy?
Hon. Mr. Welch: The Minister of Energy has never been one to be overly impressed that in order to be successful, programs have to involve massive expenditures of public money. The Minister of Energy stands in his place today announcing this additional step on the road to self-sufficiency in this country and acknowledging how important it is, in the full confidence that people who really know and understand this area will see the leadership that is being exhibited by this government.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, if I can take the minister up on his own figures, can he explain how we can accept the seriousness of the government with regard to the need for alternative forms of energy, when he intends to spend $31.5 million a year over the next five years in the area of encouragement that he talked about but will still be spending more than $1 billion a year on conventional sources of electricity? What kind of priorities does that represent from the government of Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Welch: There is nothing in what I said today or a year ago or which will be enunciated clearly at the electricity conference next week that would indicate this government has abandoned its conviction with respect to the place that electricity will play in the future of this province. There would be no reason today why I would stand in my place indicating we were going in any way to diminish our commitment to electricity and its availability.
When we talk about substitution, are we not in a wonderful position in Ontario to be able to offer the people of this province a choice that when they get off oil they would have available to them either gas or electricity? I think we are going to be in a wonderful position in this province through the leadership that has been taken over the years to make sure electricity is available.
ASSISTANCE TO PULP AND PAPER INDUSTRY
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, we will offer the people of Ontario a choice, but it will be a little different from the one the Minister of Energy is talking about.
I have a question for the Minister of Industry and Tourism. The minister will recall approving a grant of approximately $21 million to the Ontario Paper Company for a new modernization program, and he is aware one of the things they are doing is a de-inking procedure so they can use waste newsprint. Is the minister aware that it is the company’s intention, or appears to be the company’s intention, to import waste newsprint from the United States of America for the first several years of operation of this program?
Does it strike the minister as reasonable that, with an abundance of garbage in Toronto and Hamilton which we have sent to landfill sites, we should actually be in the business of encouraging the importation of more garbage from the United States to make this plant work?
If the minister is aware of this, what steps did he take, once he knew the grant was being given, to make sore the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Parrott) gets moving and gets Ontario into a situation where we have the waste newsprint ready and in a position to be used by the Ontario Paper Company?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, that would not appear to be sensible, if the facts the Leader of the Opposition is relaying to the House are accurate. I will look into them.
I can tell the member that Ontario Paper and my ministry have disagreed on one or two of their purchases in terms of their obligations to source in Canada with regard to machinery. But that has ultimately been resolved to our satisfaction, more or less. To date, they have met their sourcing requirements in terms of machinery as per the agreement.
I will look into the specific suggestion the Leader of the Opposition makes. I know in that particular part of the world there are all sorts of rumours floating around with regard to what Ontario Paper is doing. I emphasize to date we have found them to be honouring their agreements.
I will look into what the member is saying. If it is true, I would find it unsatisfactory, and we will take some action to correct it.
Mr. S. Smith: Naturally, the minister will look into it. One always wants up-to-date information. But assuming it is a fact that for the first several years the company is intending to import waste paper from Buffalo or someplace near the border, the minister should finally light some kind of fire under the Minister of the Environment to get them to collect waste paper in Hamilton, which is a large metropolitan centre nearby, in St. Catharines, in Toronto -- which is not that far from the plant in Thorold. They should get the waste paper collected on a basis where it has a predictable price, and get it down to Thorold. They should not start further importation of a product which surely we have in abundance.
Will the Minister of Industry and Tourism do something with his fellow minister to get him moving in this area?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I would say to the Leader of the Opposition that all it takes to light a fire under my esteemed colleague is a very reasoned, calm argument, not the sort of careless rhetoric he usually gets from that side of the House.
Mr. Foulds: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: As a last resort, could the minister assure the company of a firm contract by sending them the government speeches and releases put out by the Ministry of Industry and Tourism?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No. I thought we would send them over a compilation of the member’s leader’s assessment of how many people have been laid off in this province, wherein he double counts and triple counts auto workers who are laid of for two weeks at a time. I thought every time he puts out that or there is an open letter addressed to me, sent to the press but never arriving in my office, perhaps from my new critic in the back bench over there, that would be enough to fuel that operation for at least two years.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Minister of Industry and Tourism. I wish the minister would get on with the lob of creating jobs in the province rather than trying to pretend the layoffs are not occurring in this province right now.
My question to the minister relates to the employment development fund. Can the minister tell the House if the grants made to the pulp and paper industry over the last year or so were made on more information than the report of the special task force on Ontario’s pulp and paper industry? Would he tell the House what those studies were, and will he table that information in the House?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, may I say with regard to the gratuitous remark the leader of the New Democratic Party began with, in fairness, whether we are getting on with the job of creating jobs, it is incumbent upon the leader of the third party at least to be fair in terms of letting the world know what the total jobless figure is and what the total layoff figure is.
He knows very well, because he selected the words very carefully on Monday last. Instead of saying the number of people unemployed, or the number of people currently without jobs, he selected the words very carefully, and said the number of people to date who have been put on layoff. That figure is 138,000, or whatever he used. There are no comparable figures for earlier years, because they were not assembled by him or by anyone else. In fact, the member chose to go that route, which ignores how many of those were on layoff for two days, one week, or two weeks; how many of those have found new jobs or have been taken back to their old jobs and it presents, for political purposes, a totally distorted view of the state of the economy.
If the member wants to build his argument, why does he not build it by comparing unemployment last year with unemployment this ear? The unemployment figures are up this year. They are up 0.5 per cent. But, of course, that was not enough for the member. He had to go the devious route of counting double and triple layoffs. That does not do anyone justice. It does no one justice in this province.
Let me simply answer the question the member did ask after the gratuitous comments by saying our paper was drawn on the basis of the Duncan Allan report. The member has a full copy of that.
Mr. Cassidy: If I could respond to the minister’s gratuitous remarks, I would say simply this: Does the minister not recognize, when somebody is laid off, the kind of trauma that creates for that individual, that family and that community?
Mr. Speaker: Order. Both of the members are digging themselves in a little bit deeper at the expense of all other members who have legitimate questions to ask. Does the member have a supplementary?
Mr. Cassidy: Yes, I do, Mr. Speaker. The minister has said that the grants to the industry were based only on the special task force report. Now that the grants have been called into question, and we do not say that grants should not go if they are needed --
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Mr. Cassidy: Oh, that is right. Now that they have been put into question, will the minister provide documentation to this Legislature so we can find out whether government money was spent needlessly as has now been alleged?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I am pleased to hear the member say that he did not say the grants should not be given. All I want to tell him is that my staff is going to have a great Thanksgiving weekend looking up what the member said last year as opposed to what he said a minute ago, because we are going to have a great day on Tuesday here in the Legislature.
Mr. Cassidy: We said if the money were needed, the people of the province should have equity. We never insisted that money should go to corporations that do not need it the way the government seems to be saying right now.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We will come back here on Tuesday and see what it is the member said last week. He did not pay attention to the experience here the other day of the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart).
May I simply state that, notwithstanding the report prepared by two professors who did not take into account extraneous but very important matters, such as exchange rates, to name one -- notwithstanding that report, this government is very comfortable having secured 18,000 jobs in the northern part of this province, together with other places, such as Cornwall and Thorold.
There are two things the member forgets. First, those moneys were paid to secure jobs; they were not cheques handed over to big corporations to take somewhere else. Second, when the member talks about big corporations he very often forgets that what he tends to call big corporations, as though they really did not exist anywhere and there were no real people behind them, are largely corporations owned by employees’ pension funds.
If the member thinks pulp and paper companies are ripping off the public of Ontario, I want him to go and tell the people who have money invested in those companies, through their pension funds, and the people who are investing those pension funds in those companies, that they are ripoff artists. I would bet the member does not have the courage to do that.
Mr. Cassidy: Since the Dryden mill was raised by the Premier (Mr. Davis) in the House earlier this week, is the minister aware that in its 1979 annual report, Great Lakes Paper, which owns the Dryden mill, indicated that it had earmarked funds for a $200-million expansion and modernization of the Dryden facilities, and that was done regardless of whether the public funds were coming in? Since that plant was the one that was perhaps in the greatest difficulty, will the minister come back to the question I am putting, which is this: Will the government justify the grants going to that industry, or is it the government’s position that money should go to corporations whether they need it or not?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: It is not the government’s position that moneys should go to corporations whether they need it or not. It is our long-stated policy, as a result of a careful analysis done by some of the finest civil servants in this government --
Ms. Gigantes: Do you mean the analysis by Duncan Allan?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, I will put Duncan Allan up against the two professors any day of the week. I will put Duncan Allan and the people who sit on this side of the House who analysed that report up against those professors. I will also put them up against any leader of a party who double counts layoff figures any time.
The leader of the third party refers to the fact that Great Lakes had a preliminary allocation for the Dryden mill in 1979. That is simply because, if the leader of the third party will remember, that program was introduced in 1979. All through 1978 and 1979 just about every pulp and paper company went to Dryden and looked at the mill. They were concerned about the cost of taking a 1913 mill and making it world competitive. All of them had been there and all of them had looked at it.
Those companies that had been taken to Dryden as a result of the efforts of this government and thought there was a potential to take advantage of the availability of the program and therefore save a mill that otherwise they would not consider going into -- those that thought there was a possibility and were obviously running their companies properly made some preliminary allocations in the event they could strike a deal that made the mill work.
Ultimately, because of the dedication of people on this side of the House and Duncan Allan and the civil servants involved, a situation developed that made the economies work. Therefore, the money set aside by Great Lakes, being a prudent and careful company, was ultimately expended to save those jobs in Dryden.
If the leader of the third party wants to deal with the Dryden mill, he should be aware that he is dealing with perhaps the best and most classic example of a mill that certainly would have closed without this government’s program. If he is prepared to stand up and say it is his opinion, having thoroughly analysed the facts and figures of the Dryden mill, that without this government’s assistance that mill would have stayed open, then I challenge him to say that all over the north country. We will just see the results of that.
ECONOMIC EQUALITY FOR WOMEN
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question to the Minister of Labour with respect to the need for economic equality for women and the record of the government with relation to its own civil service.
Can the minister explain why it is that under Ontario’s civil service, a woman who is a switchboard operator, who needs four years of secondary school education and a year’s experience as a telephone operator, who requires courtesy, tact, clear enunciation, ability to communicate orally and a good knowledge of the government, can earn a maximum salary of $196.26 a week, but a man who is a parking attendant for the Ontario government, who needs only elementary school completion, a knowledge of location of main government offices and there are no minimum requirements for experience, earns a maximum of $234.80 a week?
Will the minister explain why it is that women who have greater qualifications can earn a maximum salary that is close to $40 a week less than men who work as parking lot attendants? Can the minister explain what that means for economic equality for women in the province of Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, first, I cannot overlook the introductory remarks to which the leader of the third party is prone, that this government’s record with regard to its civil servants should be examined. If one takes the time to examine it and takes a look at it in a nonpartisan way -- and I hope the leader of the third party will seriously do that one day -- he will see this government stands out in Canada as one that has done something with regard to the women crown employees.
We have introduced women crown employees’ affirmative action plans and this year, as the member knows, we are the only government in Canada that has introduced an affirmative action program for women within the government with annual targets subject to annual revisions and with a separate fund allowing women to upgrade and improve themselves to be eligible for higher positions within the government. That is a pretty good record to stand on. Let us not start out with some innocuous comment that there is nothing going on, because there is lots going on and we are the leaders in that area.
In particular, with regard to the question asked of me about employees within the government -- the leader of the third party knows very well, because he is a seasoned parliamentarian -- that the Chairman of Management Board of Cabinet is in charge of civil servants in this province, and the honourable member will have to direct that question to him.
In a general way, the leader of the third party knows very well that there is an evaluation scheme in place in this government and it is subject to annual negotiation or negotiation at the time of collective bargaining and that the status of employees within this province is clearly demarcated within that legislation. If he wants further clarification on it, h e should ask the man who is in charge of it the Chairman of Management Board of Cabinet.
Mr. Cassidy: Since the minister is responsible for the overall concept of affirmative action, if it is ever applied, can he explain how it is, with all of this effective affirmative action he is talking about, 97 per cent of the employees working as switchboard operators are women and, despite the need for greater experience and qualifications, they earn $40 a week less than male parking lot attendants, 100 per cent of whom are men? Why is there that disparity, why is there that ghettoization and when will we have a commitment from this government to bring effective affirmative action for the civil servants of Ontario and in all of the work places of the province?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Let me reiterate very firmly, so the message sinks in, that this government is the only government in Canada that has in place an effective commitment to its crown employees with annual targets subject to revision and with a fund allowing upgrading. The honourable member should not try to downplay the fact that there is something going on in this province that is not going on elsewhere.
Again, I can only say that for the details of salary negotiations with regard to crown employees I will have to refer that question to the Chairman of Management Board of Cabinet (Mr. McCague) and the member can get that answer from him next week.
Mrs. Campbell: Supplementary --
Mr. Speaker: I hope it adds something new, because the last supplementary was identical to the original question and the answers to both were the same. If the member for St. George can introduce something new into it I will recognize her.
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, the minister has been aware of this problem for some time. We are asking the Minister of Labour for his philosophical position on it. Does the minister recall that he directed me to the same other minister on this question and that I sent a copy of that letter to the Minister of Labour in which that minister said, “We are moving to close the gap, but there will always be a gap.” What is his response to that philosophy?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Again, we can get on to the extraneous first. Let there be no doubt about my own personal commitment to improve the position of women in the work place. I do not think anybody has any doubt about that position.
A funny thing happens in life. I know one has dreams and aspirations about being here, but there is a funny thing that happens, and that is that questions related to a minister should be directed to that minister. It is a pretty simple philosophy.
Mrs. Campbell: The minister is in charge of labour.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: When the chairman of management board is in place, members can ask him that question.
Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Speaker, is the minister not aware that the women crown employees office is in his ministry and it is that organization that should be pointing out to the chairman of management board these obvious continuing inequities in this whole area? I gather from the minister’s shaking of the head that he has certainly directed the women crown employees office of his ministry not to take any initiative in this area, an area which is quite open for them to do so.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I know, and the member for Windsor-Sandwich knows, that he would not say to the director of the women crown employees office, Rita Burak, that she is not actively pursuing the interests of women in government employees. She and I are very active. As the member knows, the programs that are in place very clearly enunciate the position of this government and its desire to see improved positions for women in the government.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct my question to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. Recently, the town of Amherstburg has gone before the Ontario Municipal Board with annexation procedures with the township of Anderdon and the township of Malden. The township of Malden on October 2, 1980, passed the following resolution which I would like to put before the minister in question form.
If the Ontario Municipal Board does not rule, or if the board does not have the power to rule, that the people affected in the town of Amherstburg annexation application issue be called to vote in their new municipality, then we request the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, by legislation, to have the November 10, 1980, election in the township of Malden, the township of Anderdon and the town of Amherstburg postponed, and that the election be rescheduled at the pleasure of the ministry upon resolution of the issue.
I hope the minister can comment on the fact that we are going to have approximately 3,500 people in new municipalities after November 10, yet voting in old municipalities before November 10,
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, the answer to the question is that at the present time we have that telegram from Malden but we are not aware of the position of Amherstburg and Anderdon township on the matter of postponing the election. Obviously, the Ontario Municipal Board is going to order an amalgamation. I am not sure that the official order has been made yet, but certainly the board has indicated that it is going to order an amalgamation.
I think the point being made is that it would be better to have the election process and the decision as to who will represent whom all straightened out before the elections. We will have to see how we can do that. I cannot give my friend an answer as to exactly how it will be done right this morning.
Mr. Mancini: Amherstburg, Anderdon and Malden had already agreed to the annexation before the Ontario Municipal Board hearing, and the OMB hearing was more or less to give approval of the matter. If the three municipalities cannot agree among themselves that this matter should be postponed or that the people affected should possibly vote in the new municipality even though they officially may not reside there, would the minister be willing to solve the dispute by legislation, or would the ministry just wish to let the matter lie?
Hon. Mr. Wells: I will give my friend a full report on it on Tuesday. I would not be averse to solving it by legislation if that is the way it can he solved. That will have to be done with the co-operation of this House because, as my friend knows, nomination day is October 20 and that is a week this coming Monday; so it would have to be done within the few clays that the House meets next week.
Ms. Gigantes: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Energy. During the estimates of his ministry in April of this year, I suggested to him that he should investigate the possibility that the government of Ontario should invest in holdings of natural gas in the grounds held by Canadian producers in Alberta. He expressed interest in the idea, and I am wondering if he is willing now to make further comment on it.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I do recall that suggestion, and indeed, in following up, I did have some appreciation of the point being made by the honourable member from the standpoint of security of supply. I am not prepared to report any particular plans with respect to our action on this matter, but I did notice a speculative story that appeared recently in the business section of the Globe and Mail, indicating that this was being given some consideration by the government of Canada. I have been trying to get in touch with the federal minister to find out if there is any substance to that particular story. Perhaps following that conversation we would have more information for the honourable member.
Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. In the Toronto Star’s York-Durham edition earlier this week, specifically on Monday, there was a headline story, “Need Called Urgent for More Pickering Ambulance Service.” As this is an area I am very interested in and concerned with, I wonder whether the minister has had an opportunity to investigate the allegations as to the need for further ambulances, as put forth by Mr. Russ Abram, the director of ambulance services in the area, and what the ministry is prepared to do about it?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, the problem in that area apparently is that about a third of the ambulance calls in the Ajax-Pickering area are for transfers of patients between the Ajax-Pickering Hospital and the medical centre that is across the street. I take it there must be some labs or X-ray facilities, or something in there, that are used on a regular basis. The fact that fully one third of the calls are for that kind of work is cause for concern which led two weeks ago to our ambulance services offering to the Ajax hospital an ambulance vehicle if they would undertake to look after their own routine transfer work. Apparently, we have not heard back from the hospital. If they would do that, and if we could work it on that basis, I think that would achieve a satisfactory solution.
At the present time, the average response time for the ambulance service in that area is a very acceptable 7.6 minutes per call, but in that particular area we do have that specific problem. If the suggestion my staff has made is taken up, I think it will resolve any difficulties.
Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Education. Respecting fully the autonomy of local school boards and keeping in mind the parochial decisions of school boards across the province and more particularly the decision of the York County Board of Education to proclaim winter break for 1981 during the week of March 23 to 27, would the minister in consultation with the Minister of Industry and Tourism use her otherwise highly persuasive methods to have that mid-winter break advanced at least to the beginning of March so that families with young skiers can plan their activities at a time when there may be a greater possibility of snow on the ground and so that the ski operators’ industry in the province may be preserved, conserved and even assisted?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I recognize the concern of the honourable member for the viability of the winter tourism establishments in this province, and I recognize his involvement in that kind of activity.
I am not really sure whether the honourable member is suggesting to me that I should use my persuasive powers on the school boards to change the dates of the winter break or perhaps attempt to establish a direct pipeline with the Superior Being to pray for snow at the most appropriate time whenever the winter break happens to occur.
I do think there should be some co-ordination between what is available in this province in terms of family recreation and the time that is made available for family recreation periods by school boards. I shall be glad to look at it.
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. The minister will recall that during the justice committee estimates last year we had a debate about the overpricing by multinationals to the Canadian consumer. The minister committed himself in that debate a year ago to comparing 25 or 30 basic essential consumer products in the United States with those in Ontario. I quote from Hansard what he said: “We will do it monthly. We will do it alongside the monitoring report we do on food prices in the province of Ontario.”
I ask the minister now why he has not kept that commitment in any respect, especially when inflation has been in two-digit figures for the last three months and when multinationals have such a large part in the pricing in this province.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I have kept the commitment. We have been working on it. If I did not get so many Daffy Duck letters sent out by the honourable member that I have had to look into, that would be available. It will start very shortly.
Mr. Swart: I am beginning to wonder how many he looks into in view of the fact I get practically no replies.
Hon. Mr. Drea: The honourable member is sending letters to everybody but me and then wondering why he does not get a reply from me.
Mr. Swart: May I ask the minister what input he or his government made to the meeting held yesterday in Saskatoon that was called by Mr. Ouellet, the federal Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, to deal with the matter of the weak competition between big businesses which was admitted by Mr. Ouellet? With this government having constitutional control over retail prices, what new measures does the minister intend to institute to give some price protection to the consumer? Is he satisfied with the markups the way they are?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Obviously the honourable member is confused. There is a federal-provincial meeting of consumer ministers now under way in Saskatoon. Unfortunately, neither myself nor the minister in Quebec could attend. I do not know what the minister for Quebec’s reason is, but I could not attend because, up until Monday, my estimates were scheduled for this week; subsequently, there was legislation this week and a rearrangement.
I have people out there, and I will find out when they come back, but to the best of my knowledge the matters that the honourable member is talking about were not on the agenda for this meeting. I will see what the federal minister was proposing to other consumer ministers. Most of it revolved around how to police the Canadian home insulation program. I will look into what the member wants.
Mr. Swart: I will send the news clipping to you.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I do not want anything from the member. I will find out from my people who were there.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Solicitor General, to follow up the question I raised yesterday.
I am sure the minister shares my very deep concern about the gang beating and death of Mr. John Turner in Hamilton a month or so ago. I would like to know if the minister feels comfortable with the report that the murder occurred in full view of bystanders in a public place. There has only been one charge laid against one person and that person has not been found yet.
Subsequent to my question as to why there are not more people charged, I wish to raise the question of security at a public involvement like that. The family itself is asking if the minister would question those people as to why there was not adequate police protection at such a large involvement when this so-called Parkdale gang assaulted and killed this individual.
Mrs. Campbell: Answer my letter too.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, everyone is absolutely appalled by what occurred. In so far as the police investigation is concerned, I would like to assure the honourable member that it is a very intensive and thorough investigation, and we are hopeful that additional charges will be laid.
With respect to whether the people who are responsible for the administration of Hamilton Place should have anticipated a situation that required some greater form of security, that had not been alleged, to my knowledge, although something may have appeared in the local press to that effect. I really do not know that the officials at Hamilton Place should have anticipated the need for additional police presence.
Quite frankly, concerned as I have been with the criminal investigation aspect of it, I have not been aware of any allegation that the officials of Hamilton Place were in any way negligent with respect to what they might have anticipated. But given the honourable member’s question and given the Solicitor General’s overall accountability with respect to public safety generally, I will look into that aspect of the matter and report back to the Legislature.
Mr. Kerrio: It has been brought to my attention that many people in the Hamilton area are quite disturbed about the antics of this so-called Parkdale group. I wonder if the Solicitor General would satisfy himself that there is adequate investigation into that group. During any investigation he might pursue, would he satisfy himself whether the claim of those people who are suggesting there has been tremendous harassment by this group is justified, and consider whether he should go that step further and do a thorough investigation into the whole involvement of that group? I might say this group is of many years’ standing.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: There is no question but that the gang, which is known as the Parkdale gang, certainly involves a lot of very vicious individuals. It is a form of subculture that is dedicated to being very destructive to that community, and nobody underestimates for a moment the danger of their animal-like qualities.
I can say that over the years these people have been about, literally hundreds of charges have been laid and a number of jail terms have been meted out by the courts towards this particular group. Unfortunately, as we all know, they still exist. The police have allocated considerable resources with respect to their activities and will continue to do so.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, since the Solicitor General has extracted most of my press release, perhaps he would go one step further and guarantee us that the Ontario Provincial Police will be intricately involved with the Hamilton area police in making sure that a thorough job is done and that the Parkdale gang will be brought into court to face charges. By this I mean all of the individuals, not just the ringleader.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I am not in a position to outline the details of the investigation for obvious reasons or the number of police personnel who are involved in this very intensive investigation. Again, I can only give the assurance that I am satisfied that adequate police resources are engaged in this very serious matter.
Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, inasmuch as the police knew in advance that this body-building competition or male beauty contest, whatever it was, was taking place at Hamilton Place, they knew in advance that the notorious Parkdale gang of Hamilton would be in attendance, and they knew from previous encounters of the criminal reputation of that gang, could the Solicitor General assure this House that he has satisfied himself with proper answers as to whether the police were present and as obvious as they are at hockey arenas and picket lines? Will he assure us that this gang and gangs like it will be subject to more police surveillance?
Can he further assure us that the investigation into this Turner incident is not being hampered by intimidation of the police by this gang of thugs, as it would appear are the civilian witnesses?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I can certainly give the honourable member assurance that the police are not being intimidated by this gang. I think part of the honourable member’s question was covered by his colleague the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) in relation to what should have been anticipated in advance of this tragedy. I have already given him an undertaking that I will pursue that avenue of investigation and inquiry in view of the questions that have been asked about it.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Is the Solicitor General satisfied, in his own mind, that it was appropriate for the Hamilton-Wentworth regional police to say, as the police have done, that the security at Hamilton Place that evening was sufficient both before and after the fact? Does he not think that the police in Hamilton-Wentworth should reexamine the security at Hamilton Place so that incidents like this cannot take place in the future?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Again, my previous answers would apply equally to the issue that has been raised.
AIR AMBULANCE SERVICE
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. Is the minister aware of the case of Mrs. Herve Plamondon of Mattice, a 70-year-old woman who was transferred from the Hearst Hospital to the Toronto General Hospital? She was going to have a heart pacer implanted. She spent three weeks in the Toronto General Hospital and, when ready to return to her home after recuperation, the air ambulance service refused to transport her. She ended up having to travel for 15 hours sitting up on a train after this serious operation.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I don’t know how serious the operation was, Mr. Speaker. Pacemaker implants can be fairly routine nowadays, as a matter of fact. If the individual in question were still a patient, that is, still in need of attention or supervision, then she would have been transported in the most appropriate form of ambulance.
I should say, as we move towards the expansion of the air ambulance service to include fixed-wing aircraft for the north, one of the things we are looking at, as those planes move back and forth between northern centres and places like Sudbury and Thunder Bay and from time to time to the south, is how we can co-ordinate the movement back to the north of people who come south so that those planes are used to the maximum advantage.
The policy is, if a person is still a patient, still in need of attention or supervision, he or she would be transported by the ambulance service; otherwise, no.
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, is the minister aware that Kapuskasing Mayor Rene Piche, who is a member of the Ministry of Health air ambulance advisory committee, has stated in an interview that the doctor in the hospital should have arranged for the return transfer and fought for it, the air transportation should have been provided and they should have thought about the red tape afterwards? Does the minister agree there is a lot of red tape in his air ambulance system and, if so, is he now prepared to agree with the Northeastern Ontario Hospital Association’s proposal that there be a complete review of his long-transfer service?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, the review of the air ambulance service has been under war since 1979 with the air ambulance committee I appointed, drawn from five northern health councils. When a hospital does arrange an air evacuation, by air ambulance -- and many times it settles things between itself and the branch after the fact -- that paperwork should not and does not stop the actual transfer of the person. It is the doctor who orders a land ambulance or whatever. After the fact, if it was an inappropriate use, then the hospital has to straighten it out with the branch, not by involving the patient.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Attorney General in the absence of the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Wiseman). Is the Attorney General aware of the complaints of both the legal profession and the public concerning the safety hazards and the overcrowding, as well as the inadequacies, of the provincial courthouse building in the city of Windsor? What plan does the minister have to alleviate the problems?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, it has come to my attention that there is some concern, both within the profession and publicly, as the honourable member has stated, as to the adequacy of these facilities. I can’t tell the honourable member at this moment just what the long-term or short-term plan is for improving these facilities, but I will obtain that information for him.
Mr. B. Newman: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Would the minister take under consideration the possible leasing of the vacant building directly across from the provincial courts building, that is, the former Steinberg’s-Miracle Mart Building, as part of an answer to the problem pro tem, a temporary answer to the problem?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, we are certainly not averse to leasing space. We have a fair amount of leased court space about the province now. I will certainly discuss the honourable member’s proposal with the Minister of Government Services.
Mr. Ruston: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In this jam-up in the courts, does the problem have anything to do with some of the remarks made by the senior county court judge -- the provincial court judge, in the last year or two in regard to the delaying of the actions going before the courts? He blamed the lawyers, although they didn’t accept it. Does that have anything to do with the general logjam in the courts?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Does the honourable member mean the role of the lawyers?
Mr. Ruston: The court system.
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I’m quite happy to attempt to address the supplementary. I gather the question is that the honourable member would like to know my views as to why there are problems existing with respect to backlogs in the courts in Windsor or in any other area.
I could take quite a few minutes, if time permitted, to outline the nature of this problem, which is very complex, with many dimensions. I don’t think it’s fair to attribute blame or responsibility in any specific area. Obviously, there are a number of very major components in the administration of justice and the administration of the courts: the role of the defence counsel, the role of crown counsel and the overall supervisory role of the judiciary with respect to the management of the case load once it is in the courts. They all have a very vital role to play.
The administration of justice, it should be pointed out, should never be desired to run with the assembly-line efficiency that might be desirable in private industry. There are many human factors and many justifiable factors that cause court delays.
If the honourable member would like to speak to me, either through question period or privately, about any particular aspect of this very complex issue, I would be happy to do so.
Mr. Speaker: I don’t know whether the legal involvement has that effect in Windsor courts, but it certainly had that effect in question period.
Mr. Cassidy: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Industry and Tourism suggested earlier in question period that I had given inaccurate information with respect to the number of layoffs that have taken place in the first seven months of this year. I would therefore like to put the figures on the record for the sake of accuracy. As recorded by the Canada Employment and Immigration offices, 138,800 layoffs took place in Ontario in the first eight months of this year. Those were voluntary reportings of layoffs of 50 or more, and therefore undercounted layoffs, and if the minister --
Mr. Speaker: Order. There was a difference of opinion in question period. It still remains. You can table any information you want and people can make up their own minds as to what is factual and what is less than factual
Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by more than 500 people, which reads as follows:
“To the ministers and members of the Ontario Legislative Assembly, we, the undersigned, urge the Legislature of this province to take the necessary steps as swiftly as possible to establish a driver control board or a drivers’ appeal board to adjudicate when requested to do so on behalf of drivers who have had licences cancelled or drivers who have been required to turn in valid licences for any reason.
“Citizens whose livelihoods are dependent upon possession of a current and valid AC or other type of drivers’ licence must be provided with some official avenue of appeal when such licences have for any reason been terminated. The citizens of Ontario, no less than the citizens of other Canadian provinces, should be allowed this opportunity.”
If I may add, Mr. Speaker, the petition arose because of the Don Dolinski case, concerning one of my constituents who was a diabetic and who had his licence suspended because of the authoritarian and arbitrary regulations of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
INSURANCE AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Drea moved first reading of Bill 164, An Act to amend the Insurance Act.
Motion agreed to.
MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT CLAIMS AMENDMENT ACT
Hon. Mr. Drea moved first reading of Bill 165, An Act to amend the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Act.
Motion agreed to.
NONRESIDENT AGRICULTURAL LAND INTERESTS RECISTBATION AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. MacDonald moved first reading of Bill 166, An Act to amend the Nonresident Agricultural Land Interests Registration Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, this amending bill covers three points with regard to the bill that was introduced and passed in this Legislature last June.
The first makes it mandatory that there shall be the appointment of a director and inspector for this whole registration process. For some strange reason, it is only permissive in the bill. Second, there is a time limit fixed that the first report of that director shall be by December 31, 1981. Third, in response to the urgent pleas yesterday of the Huron county federation representatives, there shall be a moratorium on sales to nonresidents during that period until there is an opportunity for review.
The board of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture has called for appropriate action, without which it suggests the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson) should resign. I am suggesting that this is the appropriate action he should take.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of supply.
ESTIMATES, OFFICE OF THE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR
On vote 101, Office of the Lieutenant Governor program:
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Chairman I know that this particular estimate always provokes a lengthy debate and discussion. I would like to lead off the estimates of this particular vote by stating once again for the record and on behalf of the government our great appreciation to the former Lieutenant Governor (Mrs. McGibbon), who during her tenure of office demonstrated the real need for the office of the Lieutenant Governor and the way it can be used as a symbol of that very important tradition here in this province.
Over her period in office, I learned not only to respect but to develop a very genuine affection for the Honourable Pauline McGibbon. I think it is fair to state that she brought a new dimension in many respects to that responsibility. There was not just the day-to-day work in terms of signing all the excellent recommendations submitted by the executive council of this government, not just her responsibilities in terms of delivering, year after year, those excellent throne speeches for the members of this Legislature to consider, but also the access she established for the many people and groups across this province, her own interest in visiting so many areas and attending official functions, some of them of a very formal nature and many of an informal nature.
During her tenure in office, there is no question that she made far more people aware of the position of the Lieutenant Governor and its relevance. I would like to express, in a very sincere way, the appreciation of the members of the government for the excellent way in which she discharged her responsibilities as Lieutenant Governor of this province.
I would also like to say something about the new Lieutenant Governor. I knew him prior to his assumption of this onerous responsibility. I must confess my knowledge of and involvement with our new Lieutenant Governor were usually of a non-partisan nature, because I didn’t see him at too many of our partisan functions nor was I at too many of those that he might have attended. He brings to his new responsibilities a real grasp of what this province and what this country are all about. There is no question that he assumed this office at some personal sacrifice in terms of his own traditional way of earning a living.
It is fair to state that he will establish his own style. It will have substance and there is a real commitment to discharge these responsibilities in an appropriate fashion. The Lieutenant Governor had the task of opening the 1980 International Ploughing Match in or near Woodstock not too many days ago. I certainly see one member opposite who was present there, whether he ploughed or not; I was not able to stay and see. I only know that if he did, his furrow would not have been nearly as straight or as well turned -- or whatever the terminology is -- as that of either the Premier or the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson). But I think he would join me in saying how well received the Lieutenant Governor was. Not only did His Honour feel at home, but he demonstrated his interest in and support for that very important segment of our community.
I would like to take this opportunity, because I have not done so here in the House other than when the Honourable John Aird was sworn in, to express our best wishes as a government to him, and to assure him officially and formally, although I have done so informally, of any assistance we might be able to offer to him and to his wife in the performance of their duties.
I cautioned him at the swearing in that we might have some little advice to offer as he prepared the next throne speech for the consideration of members of this House. I feel relatively comfortable that he will, in fact, seek some of that advice and that he will deliver in that great tradition once again a very great throne speech to the members of this Legislature.
Mr. Foulds: When is that?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Whenever the appropriate time is.
I do wish him well, as he now assumes this responsibility, in his tenure in office. I have nothing much to say, Mr. Chairman, with respect to the actual figures in the vote. If there are any questions, I shall endeavour to answer them, although it may be that I would have to rush out for far more detailed observation if the questions become too onerous or too difficult.
But I did want to put on the record those observations about our former Lieutenant Governor and to wish the new Lieutenant Governor well as he has assumed those responsibilities here in this province.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Chairman, I simply want to add a few words to say how well served Ontario was by the Honourable Pauline McGibbon as Lieutenant Governor. The present Lieutenant Governor and I were chatting about it and he and I agreed that it was almost a “no-win” proposition for him in the sense that he has following someone whose conduct in the office was so exemplary it would be almost impossible for anybody to improve on it.
However, I know the present Lieutenant Governor is intending, and has already started, to carry out his duties with a tremendous amount of goodwill, a tremendous amount of good humour, a genuine desire to be of service to Her Majesty and to all of the people of Ontario. I have no doubt that apart from the occasional difficult times he may have -- assuming of course no election intervenes -- in having to give voice to words which he had no hand in writing, he will enjoy his post. I am sure the rest of us will be very grateful for his services.
With regard to my colleague from Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, the Premier I think suggested that the Premier might have ploughed a straighter furrow than the member.
Mr. Foulds: They would be pretty shallow though.
Mr. S. Smith: It is possible, I suppose, but if the Premier ploughs a furrow as directly as he answers a question he wouldn’t win any prizes in that contest.
Actually by the time they go around in circles he might have dug himself into quite a situation.
I simply would add my good wishes to those of the Premier to both the former Lieutenant Governor and the present Lieutenant Governor. We have no comments to make apart from that on the estimates of the Lieutenant Governor.
Mr. Foulds: I almost feel as if I have been through this movie before somehow, because we all some time ago got up and paid tribute to the previous and the current Lieutenant Governors. I am particularly pleased in a personal way to pay tribute to the former Lieutenant Governor.
To be perfectly frank, I have never been a great enthusiast for ritual and tradition, but the former Lieutenant Governor handled her duties in such a way as to make that ritual and tradition, which is necessary in our society, real. She also had a talent for bringing that in a very common way, in the best sense of that word, to the people of this province. I think she did a great deal to enhance the dignity of politics in the best sense of the word politics in the political process. In this day and age when political processes are often under unjust attacks, it was good for the previous number of years to have had a Lieutenant Governor like Pauline McGibbon.
I am reminded in an impish kind of way of the mischievous line in the Beatle song about Her Majesty the Queen and I will leave it at that for those who want to look up that obscure reference.
I think the jury is still out, frankly, on our current Lieutenant Governor. I will wait until the termination of his term of office before we give him the laudatory comments we give to the Honourable Pauline McGibbon because of the dignified and humane way in which she carried out her duties.
Mr. Nixon: I just want to speak briefly about some prejudices I have as to how the government backs up the Lieutenant Governor in his duties. I was very impressed with Lieutenant Governor Aird’s acceptance speech. The thing that stood out in my mind is he said he wanted his office to be marked by a minimum of pomp and a maximum of goodwill, a nice phrase. When he said it I thought of the government instructing that we have a half dozen trumpeters in the outer hall to signal his entrance into the building. I don’t know why brass trumpeters for the Lieutenant Governor bother me.
Actually, I might as well tell you that I am not nuts about the landau, rented from a well-known brewery, that starts not at the Lieutenant Governor’s residence, because of course he doesn’t have an official one, but somewhere down around the Royal York, and comes in triumph up University Avenue. Actually, anyone I speak to about this says, “Oh, I like that idea. I think it is so nice that we really keep up those traditions.” It isn’t a tradition. In my view, it’s baloney.
I am sure anybody listening to my remarks would agree that I am not criticizing the Lieutenant Governor but those people in the administration, probably in the protocol office, who have such atrocious judgement in these matters, because it is not Her Majesty. When Her Majesty comes, I am sure they indicate to us what in the best sense provincials are supposed to do, and we look after her needs. Of course, it is our duty as members of this Legislature not only to offer our respect in every way to the Lieutenant Governor, which we do, but to see that the office is properly respected by our citizens.
I believe there is no complaint as to the reaction of the citizens. The citizens in this province probably even share the enthusiasm expressed on all sides of this House from time to time about the monarchy and its representation here. I am expressing only a personal view. Will you take it easy on the pomp side?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Chairman, being probably a far more modest person than the honourable member who has just spoken, I would make only one or two observations.
I think the tradition here has been with respect, for instance, to the use of the landau, which is really perhaps at this time an energy conservation device, to move the Lieutenant Governor from the Royal York --
Mr. Nixon: There are still horse buns on lower University Avenue.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I won’t say what I was going to say. I would only say to the honourable member that to my knowledge these decisions are very personal ones, made by the Lieutenant Governors themselves. I think you will find, if you were to explore it with former Lieutenant Governors, and not to defend the protocol office, which I think really does a very excellent job in its responsibilities, the honourable member may find that perhaps there was some personal inclination on the part of former Lieutenant Governors to discharge their responsibilities in what they felt was an appropriate fashion.
I think the new Lieutenant Governor in his own wisdom, certainly up to this moment in time, has decided that he will arrive here at Queen’s Park in other than a landau. Mind you, he may change that point of view.
Mr. Nixon: Has he ordered trumpets?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I really can’t comment as specifically on the trumpets as I can on the means of conveyance in getting here, because I do know the new Lieutenant Governor wasn’t anxious to arrive here in a landau on his first appearance. But the honourable member has known former Lieutenant Governors, one in particular much better than I knew him, and perhaps he might check whatever diaries were kept --
Mr. Nixon: He never did get the advice he wanted.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It is funny, I was with him on many occasions, and while on certain issues he never got the advice he wanted, in the view of the honourable member, I always found him in a very personal way to be very supportive, very supportive. In fact, I knew him for nearly as long as the honourable member; but, of course, not nearly as well. However, I listen to the observations of the honourable member, and I assure him that the protocol office or the government really don’t impose these things.
I make a general observation. It can perhaps be argued both ways, but it is symbolic and traditional. I think there are occasions where that symbolism is perhaps enhanced. I don’t know what the decision of the new Lieutenant Governor will be with respect to the attire he may appear in when he arrives in this house. I would only say I know two former Lieutenant Governors who certainly made their own decisions and have had their portraits painted in certain attire, and that was not at the suggestion of the government or protocol office.
I have heard, Mr. Chairman -- and I am sure the new Lieutenant Governor will read -- with great interest the things that have been said as to how much pomp, how much circumstance, how little pomp, how little circumstance might be a part of his discharge of his responsibilities. I have every confidence that he will make the right judgement.
Vote 101 agreed to.
ESTIMATES, OFFICE OF THE PREMIER
On vote 201, Office of the Premier program:
Hon. Mr. Davis: I don’t normally take too much of the members’ time or the time of the House to make initial comments on this particular vote. I might say to the members opposite, I intend, with their acceptance, that my remarks will relate to a combination of the Premier’s office and the cabinet office, in that what I have to say covers responsibilities by and large in both areas.
The reason I want to make some observations is that I appeared in this House on Monday at two o’clock. We have been here four sittings days and also on Wednesday. In the minds of the electorate as an issue that concerns them in a personal way, I don’t say the issue presently being discussed is the average person’s first priority. But there are discussions going on in the House of Commons and in just about every province in Canada. I made an opening statement on Monday, and I must express some modest surprise -- I say this to the member for Lakeshore -- that no observations, no questions and no discussion of this important issue facing Ontarians and Canadians has taken place.
Mr. Lawlor: You should be gratified.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think I can fairly assume by the relative quiet in this House -- not necessarily what one or two members say in terms of radio or television interviews -- that the opposition parties have accepted completely the positions as enunciated by the Premier of this province. I can only assume this because I have had nothing to the contrary. No one has questioned what Ontario has said and done with respect to this constitutional debate.
Mr. Nixon: That is so.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I assume that the member who is concerned about pomp and circumstance joins in support of the Premier of this province in what has been said and what has transpired. I say that, Mr. Chairman, knowing full well, if the Leader of the Opposition and, I think, the leader of the New Democratic Party had had the responsibilities on one or two sensitive issues, they would have made different decisions.
I am going to deal with some of these issues, but I want to put one on the table right at the outset. That is the proposal from the government of Canada that section 133 within the existing constitution would apply to Ontario.
I think it is fair to state -- because the Leader of the Opposition has really, I think, enunciated this, and I think the leader of the New Democratic Party has enunciated it -- that they would have been in support of section 133 having application here in Ontario. I even see a nod of the head as that being the case. Mr. Chairman, I think it is important that I say to the members of this House --
Mr. Nixon: Where is the nodding coming from?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I thought I saw your colleague sort of nod his head. Oh, in other words you would not have it apply?
Mr. S. Smith: You did not see me nod my head.
Hon. Mr. Davis: But you would have it apply?
Mr. S. Smith: I will tell you when it is my turn to speak.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I see. I am glad that you are going to get up and say --
Mr. Nixon: This is just like old times, isn’t it?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say, with respect, certainly this has been your position, and I assume that it still is, and I think it is fair to state, Mr. Chairman --
Mr. Nixon: You are just smarting over the comments made by the editorialists.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, I could have predicted very clearly what the editorialists might have said. I could have written their editorials for them. I might have been perhaps somewhat more gentle in the observations, but our position on this has not changed in the past couple of years, and I was able to predict, I think with some accuracy, what certain editorial writers would write.
But, Mr. Chairman, one of the responsibilities of head of government in this province is to identify those things that are essential and those things that are acceptable. I was pleased -- I can phrase it in no other fashion -- that the government of Canada, in its ultimate judgement, determined that the provisions of section 133 should not be part of the resolution presently being discussed in the House of Commons, and that in fact the views expressed by the Premier of this province as to our own approach to this sensitive issue probably are more realistic, more acceptable and fit in with the Canadian context.
Mr. Lawlor: You want to do indirectly what you are net courageous enough to do directly.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say to the member for Lakeshore, I would be pleased this morning, if he is the spokesman on behalf of his party --
Mr. Lawlor: No, my leader will be here.
Hon. Mr. Davis: -- if he were, in fact, to say, “Yes, the Premier of Ontario should have accepted section 133.” I expect the Leader of the Opposition to say this, because I know this happens to be his point of view.
Mr. Lawlor: You are doing it surreptitiously anyway.
Hon. Mr. Davis: If the member for Lakeshore wants to make that sort of observation, fine. I just really want him to get up and say he would put it in.
I think it is fair to state as well that there are some other matters that have to be discussed here in this House, perhaps some explanation as to why this province did not agree with some of the points of view as expressed by the first ministers of other provinces at that conference.
Some, perhaps, who were not part of the process, did not understand what had transpired leading up to the first ministers’ meeting. There had been a series of meetings ever the summer months where officials from every government in Canada, cabinet ministers from every government, spent hours, days and, literally, weeks in attempting to come up with some reconciliation of those agenda items that were before them.
It is fair to report to the members of this House that in a number of these matters there was consensus, even, in some matters, unanimity with respect to their inclusion in any new constitution, and I guess hindsight is a great thing, you sometimes look back and you begin to question the process of how these things happened.
I listened to the other first ministers in good faith express points of view in a general sense on Monday morning. There was some suggestion, because of the great work that had gone on in the areas of agreement and disagreement, that opening statements, because we had been through this ritual on so many first ministers’ meetings, might be dispensed with and as a result move into the actual discussion or negotiation process. As I have said, you will never get me on the record as opposing meetings of this importance being held in public, but there are certain disadvantages in that you take positions; you take positions because, let’s face it, we are all human and we endeavour to reflect a point of view that we know is being watched and listened to by those who are viewing it in one’s own constituency or in one’s own province. One tends to reiterate these points of view to the point perhaps where one becomes entrenched to the extent that when the negotiation process per se begins it is difficult to vary from the positions one has established because one senses there may be a misunderstanding.
I have always been concerned at first ministers’ meetings, whether they have been on the constitution, economic issues or energy, about the concept of the media. I am not being critical of the media. They have a responsibility, particularly the electronic media. It is very difficult for them when they are on in living colour and nothing is happening on the floor. They have to fill in by speculating, guessing, seeing what the latest backroom comment may be. This too makes it difficult in terms of portraying the reality of what is taking place.
So I am not being critical of the media, but I have been to so many of these meetings and there is always a tendency to sort out winners and losers. Did you get what you wanted? Did you not get what you wanted? Did somebody give something? Did somebody get something?
I think and hope first ministers’ meetings will go on. Perhaps there will be a greater understanding and awareness, certainly from my perspective. I do not go there seeking to be a winner, I do not go there seeking to be a loser. I go there as representing this province to try and find some solutions. I am not being critical of the process. I am just raising the question whether there are better ways in terms of moving the quiet negotiations earlier in a meeting, where certain give and take can take place prior to certain entrenched positions being developed.
I will share something else with members of the House. At this meeting in particular it began to appear as though there were two groups of people there -- the Premiers and the government of Canada. It began to develop that “if you agree with our package” -- and that term was used by some Premiers on more than one occasion -- “if you will buy what is in this package then we are prepared to consider what is in the government of Canada’s package.”
I am not saying that is wrong, except there is a tendency then, while one may or may not agree with what is in the total package per se, one begins to get locked into the support of a position that may not be that vital to one’s own provincial concerns. Again, I am not saying this is wrong. I just say that I sense this has been one of the problems in the past.
I use the field of communications as an example. Here there was “a provincial consensus” as to what might transpire or what would be acceptable in the field of communications. I think it is fair to state that the government of Canada, in its wisdom, was prepared to give something in the field of communications but not as much as the provinces as a group felt was acceptable. In other discussions, it was a position that was not acceptable to one province in particular and perhaps with some support from another.
From the perspective of Ontario’s interests, we could have accepted the federal proposal on communications. I would not presume to speak for other Premiers, but my guess is there were others who could have accepted the more limited proposal put forward by the government of Canada in the field of communications. But there was one province in particular -- and I am not being critical of its point of view, except it does not happen to be mine -- that disagreed in terms of how much federal or how much provincial responsibility there might be.
I was intrigued by the offer of the government of Canada in the field of communications to have Bell Canada become a provincial responsibility. But then the very complicating factor emerges, and members of the house will understand it, it would become a provincial responsibility with residual responsibility in the federal government with respect to long distance or interprovincial responsibilities. Instead of solving a problem, in my view, you might give this responsibility to the provinces but with the overriding responsibility of the government of Canada in some aspects. Then you would have two levels of government making some of those determinations.
We didn’t reject it initially because I hadn’t heard of this proposal before. I wasn’t that excited initially about having the government of Ontario responsible for Bell Canada. I didn’t leap at that offer with great enthusiasm. As it turned out, any decision became irrelevant because the proposal didn’t move ahead.
I think I have to share with members of this House my concern with respect to the provincial consensus -- not that we weren’t part of it. Don’t misunderstand me; we were. I have always endeavoured to draw a distinction about involvement by a provincial jurisdiction in the area of communications, say, our involvement in cable television, our involvement with respect to licensing and many of these things. While I understand the desire of some of the provinces to have a greater involvement, I have always held a point of view that rather than having complete control of broadcasting per se, there still must be in no uncertain terms a responsibility and an opportunity for a national government in terms of national broadcasting, of national networks and what have you.
It is fair to state that this point of view was very strongly held by some provinces, but as a result of the government of Canada saying, “We can only go this far” or “We will only go this far,” that particular consensus achieved by the provinces was not acceptable. I just use that as one example.
I should explain my objections to an issue that has now not emerged in the resolution, but on which a great deal of discussion went on. That was the question of the preamble. I am sure the members opposite, in briefing themselves for this discussion or following the debates at the first ministers’ meeting will recall that there were two or three proposals for a preamble. I am in favour of a preamble to a constitution. I nearly suggested the member for Lakeshore, being the poet he is, might find words that would in a general sense express -- I didn’t say this, I would say to the member for Lakeshore -- what we feel about this country.
It was important to one of our sister provinces in particular -- with some support, incidentally -- that the preamble contain the phrase, “We, the provinces, freely associated.” I am not quoting with total accuracy here, but that was generally the tenor of what one province in particular, with some support from others, wished to see included in the constitution.
I did not intend at the conference, nor do I intend at any point, to relive the history or remind people of just how this country did come into being. It is not a question of free association of all the provinces. If you look at history, if you take out a map, if you look at just what was involved in 1867 when Confederation took place, you will find rather large geographic areas of the great province of Quebec that were not part of Quebec when Confederation took place.
The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, who is a far greater scholar than I, will recall that even if you look at the map of Ontario in 1867 you will find that the geographic area covered was not that of the total province we now enjoy. It was the government of Canada that gave to the province much of the geographic area we presently refer to as the province of Ontario or the province of Quebec.
Mr. Nixon: It was Oliver Mowat who got it in the House of Lords.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That is correct. I think it is also fair to state, and I am not doing anything other than recalling a little bit of history, that some of the western provinces were created. I objected strenuously, particularly in the Saturday morning discussions, to the concept of freely associating, which has a nice ring to it.
Any lawyer -- I look across the House and I only see one at the moment -- I think the member for Lakeshore would understand the law sufficiently to understand that if the principle of freedom of association is contained in the preamble of any national constitution, there is the possibility of interpreting that at some point in history as the possibility of free disassociation -- if that is in fact a proper word. This is what was being urged by one of our sister provinces, with some support, perhaps not totally understanding the subtlety that if that is in there it establishes in constitutional form the right to self-determination.
Members opposite may disagree with me, but Ontario -- and I -- will have no part of a new constitution that has built into its principles the right to self-determination. To me, that has not been what this country has been about, and I don’t think we can afford to have that particular principle built into it in one form or another. If members opposite disagree with that point of view, which we put on the Saturday morning, I can only say that perhaps here is an area of disagreement. I would like to think there was no disagreement on that particular issue.
I make no bones about it, we were supportive of what we thought was another very important position. There were some first ministers at the meeting who really thought it was Ontario’s position and not a proposal from the government of Canada. That related to the concept of economic union. We did support it with greater enthusiasm than probably any other province at that first ministers’ meeting. We did it out of a very fundamental belief, that is, an acceptance of the principle that in a federation such as Canada the principles of a common market must prevail.
I said the other day that we accepted the principle that has been put into the resolution at present before the federal House regarding mobility of labour rights. That was a part of the “economic package.” We support that. I make no bones about it. I said it then, and I say it again here this morning, that the principle must be there that a Canadian has the right to seek employment in any part of this nation.
This doesn’t take away from affirmative actions programs. I made this clear to the Premier of Saskatchewan, and I think he understands this. I don’t think he is opposed to this right of mobility. I really don’t. An affirmative action program, for instance, where you have particular programs for the native population to give them special incentives in a geographic area of the province, but where the restriction also applies to people, say, in southern Saskatchewan -- I have no quarrel with that in principle, none whatsoever. I have no quarrel with affirmative action programs. But I think the principle of the right to mobility of Canadians to seek employment in whatever part of this nation they wish to reside is fundamental.
The government of Canada made a determination, because they sensed there was some opposition to the other principles of goods, services and capital, to leave it out of the resolution now before the House. Ontario was supportive of that principle being included. I hope at some point in time in our future it will be. I am increasingly concerned at the balkanization -- I can’t think of any better word -- that is taking place, and the potential for this expanding, in terms of the Canadian common market community
I know other Premiers say this is “in Ontario’s interest.” I reminded some of the Premiers, both in private and in public, that if we wish to adopt a policy in terms of government procurement, say, in the manufacturing sector, we had a better chance of making that program succeed than almost any other province in Canada. But I think it would be wrong. I am supportive, I confess this, of a policy whereby some priority and some encouragement is given to support for Canadian industry. The Shop Canadian proposal was basically originated by Ontario.
I would be reluctant to see this province get into a situation, which incidentally some members of the population here in this province would accept, whereby we were to say by way of government policy there would be a five, 10 or 15 per cent differential in terms of the procurement policies of government or government agencies. That is happening in some parts of this country. This is why I was very definitely in support of that principle being included.
I think it is fair to state that we had some discussions on the principle of capital, which on the surface I do not think one can argue against. But once again the Premier of Saskatchewan raised a very practical and valid concern. I do not think it was ever the intent of the framers of the proposal and it was certainly not the intent of Ontario to interfere, even though we may disagree with it philosophically, with the ability of a province to establish, say, a provincial automobile insurance scheme. But an interpretation could be placed upon that section that would make that illegal or perhaps unconstitutional.
I think the government of Canada perhaps perceived this in its wisdom because I think it sensed there was opposition to this concept, not in principle, but in terms of how you would make it work. To my way of thinking, obviously, the government of Canada decided not to pursue that in the present package -- I do not like the word “package” -- in the present resolution before the House. I have to say I would hope that some consideration to this approach could be given as we pursue this, as we will, over as many years as there are in front of us.
I understand the reservation, acceptance in principle, that the government of Canada was seeking something whereby it would be more than a principle, where there would, in fact, be some form of enforcement. Enforcement is not the right word perhaps, but some way it seemed it was more than just an expression.
We were coming somewhat closer as to whether that should be a quasi-judicial approach or whether it should be done in conjunction with a political and judicial approach. Once again, because consensus was not being achieved or unanimity on other issues, this was set aside.
I think it is fair to state from Ontario’s point of view again there is no question about patriation. I would remind some people, even the odd editorial writer, that this province and this Premier roughly two years ago were the first ones to call for patriation. I support patriation. I support it with enthusiasm. I think it was close to the conclusion on the last first ministers’ meeting prior to this one. When it was obvious we were not making any progress -- and I am being critical of no one -- I suggested: “Let us patriate. Let us have this much accomplished and then let us move ahead when we have the constitution here and deal with it in the context that perhaps would see some greater progress made.”
With respect to the whole problem of an amending formula, where there has been some concentration of debate, let us be very realistic on this issue. I know the select committee has considered many of these things. In terms of the context of the amending formula, there are probably very few amending formulas that could be devised where the interests of Ontario -- I do not like the word “protected” -- would not be recognized.
We are sitting here with close to one third of the population, so we do not have the vested interest in the terms that some other provinces might have. I sympathize and I understand. We came to a Toronto consensus that was not acceptable to one or two provinces. Ontario was prepared to support what was described at the last meeting as the Vancouver consensus. I am not sure why all of these amending formulas get labelled with names of geographic communities, but that apparently is happening.
Here again I think there was a consensus among the Premiers. But the government of Canada was reluctant to accept the Vancouver consensus because there was not the give and take, in its view, with respect to a number of other issues that had been raised.
Mr. Chairman, I think I have to say very frankly, and I expressed this to my fellow Premiers, that in my view the Vancouver consensus did not represent the best form of amending formula. Do not ask what the best one is, because something that people agree to is perhaps better than no amending formula. But we could not reach an agreement with the government of Canada on the amending formula.
If I recall the discussion that took place, Ontario suggested that we move without an amending formula, that unanimity stay as the principle for a period of time -- I do not recall if I stated a period of time -- and at least have the patriation, some of the rights, some of the things where there was a growing consensus and then let’s deal with the amending formula when it returned here to Canada. I think it is fair to state that this province is still prepared to say, without any doubt, and I hope this is the intent of the government of Canada, that during that period of time there will be opportunities for further discussion on something that might be more universally acceptable in terms of an amending formula.
I was one of those who expressed concern about unilateral activity, unilateral patriation, but at the same time I am not going to be contradicting myself here in this House because of points of view expressed by others. There comes a point in any country’s history where, if you are looking for unanimity to make some progress, with the possibility of that unanimity, as desirable as it would be -- I am one of those who likes unanimity -- you have to make a decision.
One of my fellow first ministers called fur another meeting in January. I would say with respect I could not see anything in what happened two weeks ago that could substantially alter by January so that in fact we could make progress two months from now that we could not have made two weeks ago. I did not reject the idea but I do not know what, in fact, would change if that were to take place.
I think as this discussion goes on, as we see this unfold, there will be some very real differences, from Ontario’s perspective, on those issues that we have raised really since Victoria of 1971. As I have said on a number of occasions in this House, I look back on 1971, quite frankly, with regret, because we came so very close to where in fact we had unanimity at least for that period of time where we were together in Victoria, but in the judgement of the then Premier of Quebec, that unanimous proposal could not he carried forward.
Mr. Nixon: You could have helped them.
Hon. Mr. Davis: With great respect that is totally incorrect. It was his determination. He was urged to move ahead. He was urged by the then Prime Minister and present Prime Minister to move ahead. It was a decision made by that Premier in his judgement in what he felt were the best interests of Quebec. I don’t make determinations --
Mr. Nixon: It was my view of the situation.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I can only say to the honourable member, I was a little closer to it than he was. It is always easier to have a point of view when you are not involved. It is always simpler.
Mr. Nixon: You paid to take me out to Victoria.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I did. Listen, the member enjoyed it; he told me he did.
Mr. Nixon: I thought we could have had an agreement that would have stuck if Ontario had taken a more leading role.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh, come on.
Mr. Nixon: That is my view.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s fine. That is the member’s view but I tell him, it is no other historian’s view. I think scholars who are nearly as eminent as the member will record that.
Mr. Nixon: For the last 10 years you have been writing history.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, I have not, not at all; maybe making it, but not writing it.
Mr. Chairman, I am one of those who hopes that this discussion will continue to be constructive. I do not say the rhetoric hasn’t become fairly strong on the part of some and on some points of view but Ontario presented its point of view. It has been consistent, I think it is fair to state, at all first ministers’ meetings. I understand the politics of saying the Premier of Ontario agrees with the Prime Minister of Canada. I understand the partisan differences that separate us on so many issues. When one looks at some of the changes that have taken place, one might also argue on two or three issues that the Prime Minister of Canada has come to agree with the positions of Ontario.
As I have said on a number of occasions, this is the kind of issue where one must really look at one’s own conscience in terms of making a determination. It is far more comfortable for me politically to be in opposition to a federal Liberal government. Even the Leader of the Opposition in this province found it more comfortable to dissociate himself from the present Prime Minister of Canada in those days when his life was politically more difficult, and then to become more enthusiastic as the polls indicated the present Prime Minister perhaps was not in the same difficulty he was two years ago.
The Leader of the Opposition was trying to be a little facetious yesterday in some interruptions during question period. Certainly there is a perception out there that the national leader of our party and I disagree on some aspects. It is also fair to state that we agree on some aspects of this constitutional debate. But one thing I have never done, even in the days where there were some disagreements, I have never attempted to dissociate myself. I have never said to others in the press gallery or elsewhere -- I won’t quote some of the things I know have been said.
I think people in political life in this country, even in this province, can rise above the purely partisan instincts and take positions they happen to believe in because they happen to believe they are right, if the members opposite wish to have a little fun as to whether I am supporting the Liberal Prime Minister of Canada, that is fine. I can only say to them, I too can have a little fun with the history of the past couple of years in terms of their on and off and on and off relationships and their support, lack of support, enthusiasm, lack of enthusiasm for their own national leader and the Prime Minister of this country. I see the Leader of the Opposition smiling because his conscience has been pricked. He knows what I am saying is factually correct.
One thing I have always been able to say about myself -- and there are sometimes I wouldn’t want to say about myself -- in political terms, I have attempted to feel, because I happen to believe in the process, able to disagree with points of view put forward by a national leader of my party, while at the same time retaining my loyalty in terms of my partisan involvement. I would say this must apply to the Premier of Saskatchewan. I don’t think he has become any less committed to the New Democratic Party of Canada because he doesn’t totally agree with the positions put by his national leader. I think it is fair to state that.
My guess is that a large segment of the New Democratic Party in Quebec is not disloyal to Mr. Broadbent because it happens to disagree with the point of view he has expressed. I shouldn’t even accuse the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy) if he were to rise in his place today and say, “I disagree with Mr. Broadbent. I don’t think there should be any entrenchment of rights. I don’t think this should happen, but when the next federal election is held, if he is still the leader and I am still here, I will still actively support him.” I would be very disappointed in him if he didn’t take that particular position.
I have so many other notes here -- I would say to the gentleman who reminds me of Magna Carta so often and so vigorously that I know the Leader of the Opposition is just waiting to say some of these things he said on a television or radio program yesterday or the day before. I don’t react to that kind of comment. I have been involved in this process too long.
I know what the member is going to say. I can write his script for him. I know exactly what he is going to say, that the province and the Premier of Ontario should have said, “Now, what do you fellows want?” We should have been more conciliatory, should have been more aggressive in terms of the strength of the economy of this province. I know all these things.
I have to say we are dealing with human beings and we are dealing with individuals. They are not your patients. It is very difficult for you to say this, as you did yesterday. At the same time, in your conciliatory fashion, you have stood sip in this House and publicly commented on the attitude of the Premier of Alberta. I have to tell you if you were ever to negotiate with the Premier of Alberta the interests of the people of this province and of Canada would go totally down the tubes after the things you have said. This is also true with respect to the Premier of Newfoundland. So don’t go on television or radio or wherever it was and say: “If I had been there, I would have been a conciliator. I would have been able to say to the Premier of Alberta, after the things I said six months ago, “Now, listen, Mr. Premier of Alberta, what is it you really want? What is it I can do for you? How can I accommodate your interests? How can I, as the Premier of Ontario, solve your problems without medical help? How can I do all of these things so that the Premier’” -- this is the Leader of the Opposition speaking to himself.
Am I not sort of trespassing on some of the script that you have prepared? I know what you are going to say.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say that either you have prepared one or your immediate adviser, smiling under the gallery there, has.
Mr. Nixon: If you want to see smiling sycophants, look under your own gallery.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That is a very unkind phrase to use.
Mr. Nixon: A spokesman for the Tory party is sitting over there.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Here he is, a public servant, over here apologizing for the Liberal Party in polls. At least I think I read something about Mr. Deeks and what he was saying.
The Leader of the Opposition was concerned because I wanted entrenched in the constitution the right of the Toronto Argonauts once every 10 years to participate in the Grey Cup. I have to tell you that in some moments in these discussions a note of levity isn’t at all bad.
Mr. Warner: Once every 25 years.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Is that unfair? It gives Hamilton three years and it gives Ottawa three years.
Mr. Nixon: Is that your prayer breakfast speech?
Hon. Mr. Davis: My prayer breakfast speech? Have you been to them recently?
Mr. Nixon: Yes. It is always the Argos you are talking about.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Just because you happen to be a Tiger Cat fan and your colleague from Ottawa some other sort of fan, I can’t help it. I have had a certain loyalty to that particular organization for some time.
I know the Leader of the Opposition is anxious to say how he would have solved the problems, but I have to go back to what I said at the outset, and the essence is there very simply. One can only presume in terms of the posture taken and the position stated that the opposition parties are in agreement with the points of view that have been expressed.
I rarely do this, and I am not really trying to look at the clock or preclude the Leader of the Opposition, because I understand my estimates are to be on for some five hours and on Friday next he will have a chance to review those things I have said and to rewrite the script so that he won’t say some of the things I had a sense he was going to say. Are you looking at Mr. Deeks there so he can rewrite the script?
Looking back at the discussions on my last estimates, particularly the remarks of the Leader of the Opposition but not so much at those of members of the New Democratic Party, he was very anxious to seize upon that opportunity in a very constructive, humble and sensitive way to deal with some of the broader issues and the capacities of the Premier of this province to react to his responsibilities.
I recall it, and I am not here today in any way to bring into question his leadership capacities because that has not been my approach here in this House. I have a bit of fun because on occasion we have to.
I am going to touch on some of the other issues, not to prejudge some of the things that might be said, but to give a perspective I think is relevant in the context of a discussion of the estimates that I guess now have become opportunities for the Leader of the Opposition to cover matters on a much broader basis, rather than through the individual estimates of the individual ministries.
If I were to go to Brampton, as I intend to at about 1:35 or whenever, the average citizens in my community are interested in Canada and they are interested in this debate, but they are also concerned about some of the day-to-day issues they are experiencing. I listened to some of the observations, read some of the speeches. I have sensed and I understand the role of the opposition. I don’t expect the Leader of the Opposition to be gracious if he gets on today and say, “Mr. Premier, yes, we do agree with you and we think the position you took on the constitution and are taking is right.” I know that would be hard to do, but I have to tell you that politically it never hurts. I have even given credits on my own to opposition people and have never been reluctant to do so. I guess that is my nature as distinct from others.
Mr. Worton: I don’t think interest is high.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say to the distinguished member for Wellington South -- I always say Guelph because that is where he tells me he is from -- interest is high. I hope to be in his community in a few days. I will tell them what a great member they have, except he made a fundamental mistake early in his life, perhaps the only mistake he made.
Mr. G. I. Miller: We’ve got to make the system work, Mr. Premier.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I say to the member for Haldimand-Norfolk I appreciate what he said to me at the opening of Stelco. I appreciate the kind of thoughts he expressed because he is not the kind of man who would say that to me personally and not believe it and express it to his leader. I am sure he is that kind of person. I won’t even quote him. I won’t say what he said to me.
Mr. Bradley: Same old stock speech.
Hon. Mr. Davis: If the member for St. Catharines would just be patient, he will have an opportunity to participate in these estimates.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Chairman, I want to deal with some of the economic issues because they are central and crucial to me. The Leader of the Opposition is getting impatient. I don’t get impatient. I listened to your diatribe last year; I didn’t even interrupt very often. Here I am trying to be instructive, telling you as much as I can in a factual and interpretative sense on constitutional matters. I had really hoped, during the course of these estimates, we could have some meaningful discussion because they are important. I expect I may get it from some quarters. I may be wrong.
Mr. Cassidy: As long as you don’t speak for five hours, we will have a chance.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, seriously, I won’t. As a service to the Leader of the Opposition I may consume the balance of the morning, but I can assure you when we next reach the estimates --
Hon. Mr. Davis: I keep track of time and I finished my discussions on the constitution at exactly 21 minutes to one. That is when I finished. I had two sections to my remarks. The one was important. I was trying to be helpful. I like to think perhaps some people opposite appreciated the observations being made. Perhaps not. I know the Leader of the Opposition is getting a little tired. I had a late night last night too.
Mr. Worton: Merry nights, sorrowful days.
Hon. Mr. Davis: The member from Guelph is speaking from far more personal experience than I am. My nights aren’t always merry. They are busy, but they are not always merry.
I want to deal with some economic matters. Not only are they the issues for the average citizen of this province. I think to a certain extent some members opposite, as they see their responsibilities, have been creating a very negative point of view with respect to the economic vitality and the potential of this province. I understand the role. I understand the Leader of the Opposition loves to wander his way around this province having these meetings which his caucus share. They were overwhelmed with public response in terms of the hundreds of people who joined them at these discussions.
In fact, I am told they had to go out and hire so many other halls it was impossible to meet their budget. I understand that. We do it. That is part of the process and I respect it.
I also want to take issue with some of the things being enunciated. I see this province perhaps a little differently from the Leader of the Opposition. I don’t see this province going downhill. I don’t see the economic growth of the province being minimized. I do not see all the negatives that he sees and enunciates day after day, because what he is really saying, and I tell him this very kindly, is that the individual residents of this province do not have the intestinal fortitude, the creative abilities to deal with the economic challenges that confront them.
Certainly government has a responsibility, certainly government has a need to provide some help, some leadership, but you underestimate the capacity of Ontarians to come to grips with what is a changing economic environment.
We talk about energy, Mr. Chairman, and the Leader of the Opposition tends to neglect the significant impact that energy price increases have had, not only just in this province but right across the western world. Do you know why he does not mention it too often in his deliberations? Because he knows that he is firmly on the record as being in support of moving to world price, he knows that he is vulnerable.
But let’s accept the reality that the increase in energy costs has been one of the reasons we have experienced some economic difficulties in this province. They are not long term. We are in the process of adjusting. Look at the figures. The Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) has said on many occasions, “You can all play with figures; you can always escalate; you can always interpret them to your own advantage, but one figure you cannot escape is that there are more people employed in this province at this moment than there were a year ago.”
I am not going to debate the unemployment figures; I am not going to debate the difficulties in the automotive or manufacturing sector, but I listened, Mr. Chairman, to the Leader of the Opposition saying 90 per cent of this, et cetera. Perhaps the reality of the fact is that Ontario, if you are going to compare it to the other provinces of Canada, is the prime manufacturing sector.
If there is a recession in the automotive industry, it is not going to impact in Prince Edward Island in their figures; since the Bricklin, it is not going to impact in New Brunswick; it is not going to impact in the manufacturing figures in Newfoundland; it is not going to impact in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta or British Columbia. When we have a downturn in the automotive industry, it is going to impact in terms of the statistics here in Ontario; and let’s not fool people, let’s not play with the figures, I would say to the member for St. Catharines, let’s put them on the table, be thorough, objective, be realistic as you used to be when you were a reporter for that great network, whatever it was. Be objective. I plead to you, not to your leader, because you write his material -- no, you don’t, I am only teasing.
But I think it is important for us to understand -- is the member for St. Catharines feeling uncomfortable?
Mr. Bradley: You could use another word instead of “teasing.”
Mr. Worton: Titillating, I guess.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I do not know that I would use that word.
Mr. Bradley: Distorting, maybe.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Come on now, I say to the member for St. Catharines, he takes as much poetic licence as anyone else in this House, he really does. He takes a lot of poetic licence.
Hon. Mr. Davis: If you want me to go through it, I will get out all my notes -- no, I won’t.
Mr. Chairman, I think that when one looks at this whole question of the direction and the role of government, I come back to the question of what is the rule of government, what is the rule of the ministers of the crown?
We introduce certain programs, we have them debated here, and I just want to touch on the leader of the New Democratic Party for a minute because the leader of the Liberal Party is so vulnerable on this issue in northern Ontario that I hope you do not fall into the same trap. Not only does he not want to go back to Sault Ste. Marie, he won’t want to go to Iroquois Falls, Espanola, you name it, after what he has said about the pulp and paper agreement and the disagreement that has emanated because of that.
The leader of the NDP brought in a report here the other day; I had not seen the report. I have not really had a chance to digest it thoroughly yet, but my information is that even the authors of the report have not finalized it, that certainly it has not been accepted by the commission. There is more work to be done, and I would just ask the leader of the New Democratic Party, is that a proper thing to do, to come in here with a document that you really held out to me as being a finalized report, accepted by the commission, supported by the commission as to their assessment of the pulp and paper industry support?
That is not my understanding and if I am wrong -- I do not really want to think ill of you -- I wish you would advise me that I am incorrect in what I have learned about the report since.
I have to tell you that this is one of those areas where government leadership through the incentives we are offering to the pulp and paper industry have provided job security. They have provided hundreds of millions of dollars by way of investment. I travel to many communities in the north --
Mr. Cassidy: If you believe that, then let the facts and figures he put in the Legislature. That is something the Minister of Industry and Tourism was not prepared to do today.
Hon. Mr. Davis: We are prepared to debate the facts and figures, but please let us not debate facts and figures that are not even part of a final report. That is all I am urging.
Mr. Cassidy: The report had been reviewed by people from the industry and by the federal ministry.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I think we should have a discussion on this. I am just giving you some advice. I am not dismissing it.
Mr. Cassidy: You are not going to dismiss your royal commissions either, but you have not got faith in them.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You have tried to create the impression in the House and with the public that this was a report accepted by the commission. Tell me that was not the impression you were trying to create. Are you agreeing with me or not?
Mr. Cassidy: Are you suggesting the commission was wrong to hire these people?
Mr. Chairman, on a point of order, this matter was raised in the Legislature today when the Premier was absent before his estimates began. The point we wanted to make very clearly was that, questions having been raised, we do not think government money should be spent needlessly.
We disagree with the position the Minister of Industry and Tourism seemed prepared to take, which is that moneys should go to corporations whether they need it or not. I suggested that since the government is saying the corporations need it, then let the government table the basis on which it decided that money was needed. Unfortunately, the minister refused to do so. We do not think that is good enough. We think the government has a responsibility to protect the taxpayers when it is handing out $95 million to that industry or $68 million to some other industry or whatever it is it happens to be proposing.
Mr. Chairman: I do not believe that to be a point of order, but the Premier may wish to make a reply.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Chairman, we should not belabour this because I expect the Minister of Industry and Tourism and the leader of the New Democratic Party may come back to this on Tuesday or Thursday.
I am not being critical in that sense of the word, but you asked me a question. You based that question on a phrase that gave me the impression you were saying to the House that here is a report that had been accepted by and was supported by the royal commission.
Mr. Cassidy: Prepared for a royal commission.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am not going to go back to Hansard; I am not going to belabour the point. All I am saying to you is that my understanding is that the report has not been accepted, that it is not completed, that it may or may not reflect something. I cannot make a judgement on this.
Mr. Cassidy: I suspect the government will be pressing for the report never to be made public in an official form.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am just putting the other side of the coin. I will debate this with you anywhere in northern Ontario. I will debate it with the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart). Since he has been a member of the House, I have never seen him as embarrassed as he was the other day. You really cannot go around saying, “We oppose this policy in principle, but if there is money for that plant in my community, we want to have it.” He knows they need it.
Mr. Cassidy: Are you prepared to table the justification for the grants or not? That is the question. Stop ducking the question.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I am delighted to have the debate centre on this. If you are not concerned about job security in the north, if you are not concerned about the development of the economic base of the north, if you are not prepared to accept the fact that government policy has moved the pulp and paper industry ahead, is solving some of the environmental problems, will maintain our competitive position and give job opportunities that you would tend to ignore, then that is fine.
Mr. Cassidy: You’re blushing again.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, I am not; it is high blood pressure. What do you mean by I’m blushing again? I never blush.
Mr. Cassidy: You take the view that whether companies need it or not, money should be granted. That is where your government is wrong.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That is not true. Are you saying that about Chrysler?
Mr. Warner: Table the documents.
Mr. Cassidy: Yes. Table the documents.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Are you saying this about Chrysler?
Mr. Cassidy: You know what we said about Chrysler and your government finally agreed with us. They said that if there weren’t job guarantees, they were not going to do it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You try to play that issue both ways, depending on where you are. You try to play the Chrysler issue both ways. You know it and I know it. I understand the politics. Do you agree with what we did on Chrysler? Can you say that publicly and enthusiastically?
Mr. Cassidy: We urged you to do that and you finally came around.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Do you agree with what we did on Chrysler? I want it in the record.
Mr. Cassidy: As a matter of fact, yes.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Would the Hansard reporter make sure that is not lost. The leader of the New Democratic Party strongly endorses what the government of Ontario did for Chrysler of Canada.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Come on, let’s not have any caveats. The fact is we now have you on the record -- I wish the Minister of Industry and Tourism were here -- as saying the government was right and supportive with respect to its actions at Chrysler Canada.
Mr. Cassidy: Stop putting words in my mouth and come back to the question of whether this government believes companies should get money, whether they need it or not, or whether you are prepared to be publicly accountable.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Chairman, I think any reading of Instant Hansard will show that in fact the leader of the New Democratic Party is now publicly saying yes, he agrees.
Mr. Nixon: This Hansard will be a collector’s item.
Hon. Mr. Davis: It will indeed. Except you won’t read it.
Mr. Nixon: Think of all the poor souls who may.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I may say it is better reading than some I know of.
Mr. Chairman, not dealing with the pulp and paper industry, but the incentives through the EDF, I know it rankles you people opposite because we are having success. I know it rankles when you see jobs being created because then you have nothing to criticize.
Mr. Nixon: That’s not fair.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say to the honourable member, you’re going to be raising Massey-Ferguson, I expect, progressively over the next few days.
Mr. Nixon: What are you going to do about it?
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would like to ask him right now, are you in favour of government support?
Mr. Nixon: In answer to the question, Mr. Chairman, with your permission, I definitely am. I put out a press release and sent a copy to the minister, who doesn’t happen to be here today -- he is too wise to sit here and subject himself to the kind of drivel we have had in the last 20 minutes.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have had a great respect for the honourable member for some years, and I know that on occasion he issues the odd intemperate remark which, over the years, he sometimes regrets.
Mr. Nixon: I have never heard a Premier perform as ineffectually as you have today.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I can become very personal in my observations. I thought the contribution we were making on the constitution was really good stuff.
Mr. Nixon: Very good. That ended 20 minutes ago.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I know, but I have been interrupted by the leader of the New Democratic Party and by you.
Mr. Nixon: It is not all his fault.
Hon. Mr. Davis: No, it isn’t, it is partially yours. Here I am trying to be helpful, trying to be constructive, and you keep interrupting me.
Mr. Cassidy: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman: Twenty-one minutes ago, the Premier said he was going to talk about the economic questions of the province. Up until this time he hasn’t talked about the protection of workers affected by layoffs, he hasn’t talked about the social and economic policies the government intends to propose. He has said there would be no fall election. Mr. Chairman, the Premier --
The Deputy Chairman: That is not a point of order. The Premier can speak on whatever he chooses.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Chairman, with respect, the leader of the New Democratic Party interrupted me when I was explaining what we were doing in the pulp and paper industry. I have 30 other items here, some of which I am coming to, but I also gave my commitment that I would finish by one o’clock and give the members opposite the opportunity when the estimates resume. Please don’t tell me what I have not said. The member opposite could go through 30 items I haven’t covered that I am prepared to cover, but I think it would be selfish on my part to take away time from the Leader of the Opposition or yourself, so please don’t get up and tell me I am not touching on them.
Mr. Chairman, should I start on the next item on my list or not?
The Deputy Chairman: The Chairman would be pleased if you would move that the committee rise and report.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Chairman, I wish all members opposite a very happy Thanksgiving weekend.
Mr. McClellan: We’ve already had our turkey.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I would say to the honourable member, it takes one to know one. I hope you all have a pleasant weekend, enjoy your Ontario-produced turkey and we will see you here Tuesday.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Davis, the committee of supply reported a certain resolution.
The House adjourned at 1 p.m.