31st Parliament, 4th Session

L096 - Thu 23 Oct 1980 / Jeu 23 oct 1980

The House met at 2:04 p.m.



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

Mr. Speaker: John B. Aird, the Lieutenant Governor, transmits supplementary estimates of certain additional sums required for the services of the province for the year ending March 31, 1981, and recommends them to the Legislative Assembly, Toronto, October 23, 1980.


Mr. Swart: I rise on a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker. I believe my privileges, and the privileges of the other members of this House, have been violated by the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett) in two respects.

On Monday, I asked the Minister of Housing if he had received, or had before him, an official plan amendment from the township of Euphrasia to permit a 300-acre commercial-residential development on the natural protection area of the Niagara Escarpment in the Beaver Valley area. The Minister of Housing replied, and I quote from Hansard: “I will answer the question in a very positive way. To the best of my knowledge it has not appeared on my desk at this point. Until it does and I know the background of it, I have no intention of offering any further answer to the question.”

I have proof here that he had received the amendment more than two months previously, knew about it and had it before him at the time he gave that answer. I will read to you extracts from a letter addressed to Mr. Robert Leverty, RR 2, Markdale, dated September 3, 1980, and signed by the minister. It is as follows:

“Dear Mr. Leverty:

“Re: Amendment No. 33 to the Beaver Valley official plan, Epping Commons development:

“Thank you for your letter of August 26, 1980, on the above. As you know, I have recently received this amendment.”

The letter is signed by the minister. Several similar letters were received by others who asked for referral.

I quote, too, from Mr. Claude Bennett’s letter dated August 20, sent to Mrs. R. Howser of the law firm of Goodman and Goodman, lawyers for the developers: “My decision on this appeal is without prejudice to consideration of the official plan amendment affecting these lands now before me.” That is the minister’s letter, although it was signed by the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Wiseman).

The second part of this privilege issue is the minister’s further reply of Tuesday, October 21, to the second part of my question on Monday. I asked if the minister would turn down the amendment if the appellants withdrew their request that it be referred to the OMB. His reply was, and I quote, “I shall review the case and report to the House.” On Tuesday he said, and again I quote from Hansard, “This morning I signed the letter of referral to the OMB for their deliberation.”

On Monday the minister knew nothing of the issue but on Tuesday morning he signed the referral before giving his promised review to this House. I submit, Mr. Speaker, the minister has displayed contempt for this House and thus violated our privileges for a Cantrakon-type developer who has close ties with his party. I send you, Mr. Speaker, a copy of the two letters and ask you to consider them with Hansard to see if our privileges have been breached.

Mr. Speaker: The usual procedure on a matter of this kind is for any honourable member to wait until the minister is in the House so that he can respond to him. The minister is not here. I will go over what the honourable member has said while awaiting some kind of response, if that should be forthcoming from the minister in question.


Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I would like to announce that the government has approved a significant enrichment to the staff of the Ontario Human Rights Commission. As a result of this approval, the commission’s budget has been increased by approximately 18 per cent. As members know, the commission has experienced a major growth in the number and complexity of cases over the last several years. Although improvements in case processing have been implemented, additional resources are required to ensure that all complaints and investigations are promptly resolved.

The commission has been authorized to recruit 10 additional professional staff, nine of whom will be assigned immediately to field work. The additional position will be filed by a full-time solicitor, who will work closely with the entire field staff to facilitate conciliation and mediation efforts. Five of the added complement will be assigned to the race relations division, for assignments to specific sectors of the community. In addition, appropriate support staff, five in number, will be assigned to service the needs of the added professional staff.

2:10 p.m.

Perhaps I should add that these additional resources are independent from any resources that may be required as a result of the changes to the Ontario Human Rights Code that I will be proposing within the next few weeks. I believe that with this improved capability the commission will be better able to fulfil its important mandate.

Mr. Nixon: On a point of order, would the minister not feel it is his duty to make that announcement in the House first rather than have us get those details and even more by watching the chairman of the commission being interviewed on television last night?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: That is not a point of order.

Mr. Nixon: Sure it is. It is the minister’s duty to report to this House. I would sooner listen to Miss Clittenden than him but he is the minister and she is not.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: But I’m a doctor; does that not give me any standing?

Mr. Speaker, I am always interested in the comments the member has. I will give them the consideration they deserve, which probably means I will review the matter. But there is no suggestion that I am trying to breach the privileges of this House because he knows and I know the great respect I have for this Legislature.


Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, two weeks ago my colleague the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) delivered a statement to the House reviewing the overall position of the provincial economy. This afternoon I would like to provide the members with more specific details about Ontario’s industrial performance and discuss the future outlook for our manufacturing and resource sectors.

All North American jurisdictions -- and particularly major, established manufacturing centres -- are undergoing difficult structural adjustments for which there are no simple solutions or quick fixes.

Mr. Speaker: Point of privilege?

Mr. Cassidy: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, is it appropriate for the minister to make his contribution to the debate on the full employment bill of the New Democratic Party in statements rather than during the private members’ hour? Why should that minister have that privilege when the rest of us will be debating our full employment bill, which deals with the failure of the government to create full employment, in an hour’s time?

Mr. Speaker: It is the prerogative of any minister of the crown, under our standing orders, to make a ministerial statement; that is exactly what he is doing.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The leader of the NDP will be disappointed to hear there is good reason to be encouraged when we compare Ontario’s performance with that of the other North American industrial jurisdictions. As the Treasurer indicated to the House, overall employment in Ontario is still growing, and indeed growing at a strong pace when we compare our province with similar economies on this continent.

The most recent figures show that 76,000 more people are working in Ontario today than were working one year ago. This compares with the decline in total employment of 297,000 people in the United States, year over year.

Ontario’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for September stood at 6.7 per cent. In Michigan, the unemployment rate was 12.7 per cent; in Ohio, 9.1 per cent; in New York state, 7.1 per cent; in Pennsylvania, 7.7 per cent, and in Illinois, 8.8 per cent.

Mr. Bolan: What is it in Windsor?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Lower than it is in Detroit.

When we look at manufacturing investment in Ontario, the most critical economic indicator in terms of our future employment needs, we have good reason to be optimistic. As the Treasurer indicated to the House, manufacturing investment in this province is forecast to increase by 44 per cent this year. While plant closures understandably attract much public attention, few people are aware of the many plant openings and expansions which are taking place throughout this province.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.

Mr. Speaker: There is nothing out of order.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.

Mr. Speaker: There is really nothing --

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order. My point of order is that a ministerial statement is designed to inform the House of matters of policy with respect to the government and not to engage in debate in this assembly on matters before the House for debate today. A ministerial statement under any definition of the rules is not a wide open opportunity for ministers of the crown to engage in debate disguised as statements of policy by the government. I ask you to so rule.

Mr. Speaker: Until at least I have had an opportunity to hear what the minister has to say, I will not be in a position to judge whether or not he has a right to say it.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: That seems reasonable. Mr. Speaker, I want to assure you this statement is meant to inform the House and that is what is hurting over there.

Those major capital projects are good indications of our strength and of the confidence the private sector has in our economic future. In real terms between January 1, 1979, and August 31, 1980, a total of 307 new manufacturing projects involving investments in excess of $500,000 were announced by enterprises operating in Ontario. These projects will result in total new investments of more than $7.4 billion. They will create 24,947 direct new and permanent manufacturing jobs in the province, not to mention the many thousands of other jobs that will be stabilized because plants are being modernized and capacity increased, and the additional thousands of spinoff jobs that will be created in the construction service and other related sectors. Of these 307 major new investment projects that include both construction of new facilities and reinvestment in existing operations, 142 involving a total investment of $3.8 billion were announced in the 1979 calendar year. A further 165 involving a total investment of $3.6 billion have already been announced between January 1 and August 31, 1980, indicating that this activity is not only keeping pace but is actually gaining momentum this year.

I might add that the private sector decisions to undertake these massive investment projects in Ontario have been made at a time of both pronounced recession in the United States, with its related market problems, and high interest rates in Canada. This represents a clear indication and firm market proof of the confidence and faith that private industry has in our economic future.

Let me turn now to a review of some of Ontario’s key industrial sectors, beginning with the automotive industry. It has been a difficult time for the automotive industry and, more particularly, for those who depend on that sector for their livelihood. But there is good cause to believe the worst is past. There are good, clear signs of solid recovery.

Layoffs and job losses for the North American motor vehicle manufacturers in both the United States and Canada reached their peak in mid-August of this year. Since that time a total of 2,764 workers on indefinite layoff in Ontario have been recalled by the automobile manufacturers and 1,608 workers on temporary layoffs have returned to their jobs. An additional 4,800 workers have been recalled by independent parts manufacturers. Indications are that this is just the first step in an overall strengthening of the industry.

Since the beginning of 1979, over 70 auto parts projects involving new plant construction or expansion of existing facilities have been announced or implemented by the Ontario independent auto parts industry. When these projects are completed, over $230 million will have been invested on new buildings and equipment and more than 3,900 new jobs will have been created.

Three of the major auto manufacturers have also announced substantial investment intentions. General Motors will be investing $2.25 billion in Canada by 1982, and Ford and Chrysler will invest a total of $1.6 billion by 1983. General Motors’ projects include an expanded Windsor plant for front-wheel-drive transmissions, a new small V-6 engine in the St. Catharines plant and conversion of the Oshawa B assembly plant for production of the new J car.

Ford is now completing construction of its new Windsor engine plant and casting plant. During January 1981, Ford will convert the St. Thomas assembly plant to production of the new Escort and Lynx models. Chrysler will be undertaking a major expansion of its Pillette Road truck plant to produce the new mini-van. A stretched version of the K car will also be introduced in 1983 or 1984.

2:20 p.m.

In addition, we anticipate construction on the $20 million Chrysler automotive research and development facility to commence no later than 1982. As the honourable members are aware, the province of Ontario obtained that research and development centre and agreed to pay half the cost, provided we gain ownership of the facility if the company fails to survive. Chrysler’s R and D facility will be used by the company to undertake R and D in aluminum and plastics applications for lightweight, fuel-efficient automobiles.

These major investments will result in significant numbers of new jobs and in replacements for jobs lost as a result of other plant closures. For example, 2,000 workers will be hired at the new Ford engine plant between now and April 1, 1981. General Motors will be hiring at least another 2,000 people to work in its Windsor transmission plant. We believe this increase in employment will continue with the introduction of the more energy-efficient North American sub-compact cars.

Our automotive sector has gone through a difficult time. On the assembly side, our layoffs have been much less severe than in the United States. In mid-August, 110,000 or 24 per cent of the US assembly workers were on temporary or indefinite layoff. In Canada, on the other hand, 7,000 or 13 per cent of our assembly workers were on temporary or indefinite layoff. Since that time, there has been a major improvement in both Canada and the US.

The longer-term strength of our automotive sector depends largely upon the Canadian-owned parts industry, which is expanding as a result of exchange rates, duty remission schemes, aggressive export programs, increased research and development and the transition to auto parts made of raw material abundant in Ontario. Further, our auto parts technical centre at the Ontario Research Foundation will offer added R and D strength to the industry.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.

Some hon. members: Order.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Order. Will the honourable member please take his seat.

Mr. Renwick: On a point of order --

Mr. Speaker: Would he please take his seat. I want to remind the member of something, but I prefer that he be sitting. I want to remind the member that he cannot get up on an alleged point of order or point of privilege simply for purposes of interrupting another member who legitimately has the floor.

Mr. Warner: The minister is abusing the rules of this House.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Scarborough Ellesmere simply does not know the rules. I would like to remind honourable members that the standing order under which the minister has the floor is for purposes of making a ministerial statement. Statements may be made by ministers relating to government policy, ministry action and other similar matters which the House should be performing. He is not only stating policy, but he is reporting what he considers to be important facts to the House.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, to the point of order: Mr. Speaker possibly is not aware that my friend’s estimates have been on for the past two weeks, and if he had wanted to give that information he could have given it in the committee, which concluded the discussions on his estimates yesterday and in which my colleague could not drag answers out of him pertaining to this material. It is an abuse of the House.

Mr. Speaker: Order. The minister is taking advantage of this opportunity to inform the House, and it is my responsibility to see that he gets that opportunity. Would he please continue.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Good news hurts over there, doesn’t it, men?

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order --

Mr. Speaker: I have already ruled. If the honourable member wants to challenge my ruling, he can go ahead. We won’t debate it, but he can challenge it if he wishes. Will the honourable member please take his seat.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, since you chose to give me a little lecture, may I draw your attention --

Mr. Speaker: No, you can’t. Will the honourable member please take his seat. Will the Minister of Industry and Tourism please continue.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. We firmly believe that the automotive sector, both assembly and parts, will emerge from the downturn stronger than ever before.

There are similar indications of strength in other key industrial sectors. Our aerospace industry, for example, currently employs about 18,000 people in this province. We project that by 1985 this level will increase by 40 per cent to a total of 26,000 jobs.

The growth in this sector has been steady and spectacular. Since 1976, McDonnell Douglas has increased its employment levels in Ontario from 1,500 to more than 5,000. De Havilland has made a similar increase and expects to be employing 7,000 people by 1983, in addition to the 1,000 new jobs which will be created now we have succeeded in ensuring that the Dash-8 assembly operation remains in Ontario.

Investment plans announced by other aerospace firms will further contribute to increased levels of employment in the industry. Fleet Industries -- the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) will be interested in this -- will create 400 new jobs at its plant in Fort Erie. TFI will create 110 new jobs in Mississauga. A major expansion project at Litton Systems will create 600 new jobs at the company’s operations in Rexdale. Wardair will create 400 new jobs in Malton.

Canada’s aerospace industry is the fifth largest in the world. Forty-two per cent of the industry’s operations are located in Ontario and 80 per cent of our production is sold into export markets. The industry is involved in continuing expansion and development, creating the kinds of high technology, internationally competitive job opportunities we need in this province.

An area of even stronger growth in Ontario is the electronics industry and, in particular, the critical microelectronics sector.

The Canadian-owned companies that comprise the Canadian Advanced Technology Association had average growth rates in the range of 50 to 75 per cent in 1979. Membership in the association has already expanded to 82 companies, an increase of 60 per cent over the 1979 membership of 51.

Mr. Sargent: Point of order.

Mr. Speaker: What is your point of order?

Mr. Sargent: Can you tell me if you are going to set a time limit on this?

Mr. Speaker: Yes.

Mr. Sargent: Is he going to go all day? What is the time limit? He has got half an hour yet to go.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: There is enough good news to take the rest of the afternoon, but I have tried to compress it into about 20 minutes.

Mr. Speaker: The standing order clearly says that on Thursday, when private members’ business is being discussed, the time for ministerial statements will be restricted to one half hour, except by unanimous consent of the House, and when we arrive at that time --

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I know the members opposite wouldn’t consent to good news.

The achievements of companies such as Northern Telecom with 33,000 employees worldwide, Gandalf Data Limited with 650, and Mitel Corporation with 1,700 employees in Canada, the U.S., Europe and Asia, are well known. We estimate the total private sector investment in the electronics industry in 1979 and 1980 will exceed $45 million, creating more than 1,400 new jobs.

Those firms operating in the Ottawa-Carleton region expect to increase employment from the current level of 15,000 to over 100,000 by the end of this decade. A study recently completed by my ministry’s Ottawa office indicates major increases in skilled manpower opportunities within the next five years. These increases range from 150 per cent to 340 per cent over current levels in various job categories.

Turning to other sectors, our steel industry continues to be among the most efficient in the world, providing a key and fundamental advantage for much of our overall manufacturing capability. The list of major investment projects announced by firms in this sector will exceed $1.5 billion.

Stelco has announced a new $365 million expansion program, and $500 million in new expansion projects have been announced by Dofasco. Algoma Steel plans to invest $450 million in two major capital projects, Atlas Steel will be investing $100 million at its plant in Welland and Lasco will be investing $90 million in Whitby. These investments will create a total of 1,875 direct, new and permanent jobs in addition to the hundreds of additional jobs that will result from the strengthening of our ability to compete in steel-related products.

In the expanding chemical sector, 13 projects involving new investment of more than $650 million have been announced in 1980 alone. These projects will result in 390 new jobs.

2:30 p.m.

Much as it hurts over there, the pattern is clear. The $7.4 billion of new manufacturing investment announced between January 1, 1979, and August 31, 1980, reflects healthy long-term growth in virtually every sector of our economy.

That healthy long-term growth is reflected in virtually every area of Ontario as well. More than $1.7 billion in investment projects will be undertaken in northern Ontario, creating 1,875 new jobs. More than $244 million of the investment will take place in eastern Ontario, creating more than 3,750 new jobs. In the western Ontario region, investment projects totalling in excess of $1.9 billion have been announced. These projects will create more than 5,830 new jobs. In the central west region, manufacturing investment projects will total more than $2 billion, creating more than 6,080 new jobs. In the central east region, more than $1.4 billion of new investment will take place, creating 7,400 new jobs.

I think it is encouraging to note that more than half of the announced investment programs will be undertaken by Canadian-owned firms. The investment intentions of firms throughout this province are much more than an indication of current economic activity in Ontario. They show the clear commitment of the private sector to construct, modernize and expand manufacturing operations in our province, providing us with the assurance that we will continue to remain competitive through the 1980s and beyond. They represent, I suggest, an unmistakable vote of confidence in Ontario and its economy by private firms in virtually every industrial sector.

They indicate as well the success of the two-pronged approach our government has taken: promoting the expansion of Canadian-owned firms and research development, and aggressively attracting the type of foreign investment we need to ensure employment growth and technology transfer. I should remind the House that this analysis today is one that reflects only major capital investment projects and does not include the very substantial number of smaller, but just as important, expansions being undertaken by smaller manufacturing enterprises in Ontario.

We are not immune to the recessionary pressures that have so afflicted the United States, and we face an even more urgent need to continue to modernize and expand our manufacturing capacity. But the evidence, in the form of the facts and figures I have provided today, indicates we are doing that successfully.

Over the next few weeks, I plan to outline a number of additional new initiatives that I hope the members will support. These initiatives will, we believe, improve our long-term prospects in manufacturing through the development of more Canadian-owned high technology enterprises, expanded research and development and increased efforts in export markets by our major manufacturers.

There is no question that Ontario is continuing to expand its manufacturing base and continuing to realize capital investment growth in this vital sector. The reasons for this are clear. We are fortunate in this province to have secure, reasonably priced energy supplies, a productive and committed labour force, a rich and abundant natural resource base and stable, sensible provincial government policies.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order and I would ask you to refer to standing order 26(c) which requires that, “After any policy statement the minister shall table a compendium of background information.” Since the minister and the Speaker both apparently agree that was a statement of policy, I would ask that you require the minister to table such information. Further, I wonder if you could also give us a ruling as to whether or not you think it’s right that the Minister of Industry and Tourism should be stealing this turf from under the feet of the Treasurer? I ask for your comment, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Why does it hurt so much?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Laughren: Would the Speaker make a ruling as to whether or not it is appropriate in this chamber to have the Minister of Industry and Tourism stealing from right under the Treasurer’s feet turf that belongs to him?

Mr. Speaker: I really do not think the Treasurer needs the help of the member for Nickel Belt to protect what he thinks is his domain.

Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw to your attention a matter I believe is a point of privilege, and I would like you to look at it.

We just finished the Ministry of Industry and Tourism estimates yesterday in the resources development committee. I prepared an opening statement which outlined alternatives to the present government policy, which took about an hour and a half in committee. I spent many hours preparing that particular opening statement.

While the government may not agree with such statements, it is accepted practice in this House and in committees that the minister respond. Instead he took the time of the Legislature today in statements to respond to my opening statement on matters we raised in committee. I think it is an abuse of the House and typical arrogance from that minister.

Mr. Speaker: When the honourable member is recognized in the committee, he does what he has to do within the confines of the rules of committee. How the minister chooses to respond, either in committee or in the House, is the prerogative of the minister.



Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Revenue will be aware that 40 seniors at St Anne’s Tower for Senior Citizens in Toronto have sent in forms for the so-called new tax grants even though they were not eligible, and have received cheques from the government. Since a representative of his ministry has already been there asking for the money back, would the minister tell the House whether it is his intention to go after these senior citizens, many of whom are at the bottom of the income scale, in order to get this money back? If he does intend to do that, would he tell us what tactics he intends to use if the seniors refuse to give the money back?

Hon. Mr. Maeck: Mr. Speaker, I am aware of the situation the Leader of the Opposition has spoken about. A ministry representative did go to this particular place, not to collect money but to advise the administrator that these people were not eligible for the property tax grants. Assistance was asked of the administrator, in addition to advising the residents, to put up a sign on the bulletin board advising them they were not eligible under the legislation.

There are some 40 senior citizens who did receive cheques. We have examined those applications. Some of them were not properly filled out. I think about five of them were a mistake of the ministry staff.

Obviously, it is against the legislation for me to permit payment of these property tax grants to these people.

I have no intention of sending ministry officials around and strong-arming senior citizens to collect the money back. However, under proper circumstances, they will be receiving a letter from me as minister indicating that they are not eligible for the grant and that we would ask them to return it. We do not have replies at the moment. If they refuse, of course, if they have already spent the money, then we would try to arrange for them to pay it off at a very nominal amount they could afford to pay.

Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, does the minister see a certain poetic justice here? Given that his program was originally designed --


Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I do not see why you care to listen to the people who have --

Mr. Breithaupt: The anti-poetry member for Timiskaming (Mr. Havrot).

Mr. S. Smith: I can assure the member for Timiskaming that none of the recipients was in the groups he dislikes so much, which take in rather a large number of people, I suspect. He should not be too worried about this.

2:40 p.m.

I would ask the minister, given the fact that his ill-conceived program was designed --


Mr. Speaker: I can hear the honourable member.

Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, since you are the only one interested in hearing the question, I will direct it to you.

Since the minister’s ill-conceived program was designed to cheat the people at the very bottom of the income scale, including those at St. Anne’s, and since there is a certain poetic justice in the fact that those people got their money anyhow despite the efforts of this ministry, why does the minister not accept in the first place that this money belongs in the hands of those elderly citizens in St. Anne’s Tower and leave the money there and not harass these people by asking for the money back?

Furthermore, why doesn’t he take the additional step, instead of sending more cheques to millionaires in Ontario as he is doing at present, to send money to the other senior citizens at the very bottom of the income scale whom he has cheated out of the money that is rightfully theirs?

Hon. Mr. Maeck: Mr. Speaker, no one in this province has been cheated out of any money and I resent that statement. We have no intention of harassing any senior citizens. I have enough confidence in the senior citizens of this province that if they realized they had received money they should not have received they would return it. It will not require harassment on the part of this government and it will not happen.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Did the Minister of Revenue not see the halfhearted way in which the Premier (Mr. Davis) applauded his statement a minute ago, and do he and the government not realize that between now and the election the government is going to change its policy and it is going to adopt the policy that no senior citizen in Ontario should get less in property tax credits than he or she got a year ago? Given that that is going to take place between now and the election, why does the minister continue to harass senior citizens? Why not change the policy now?

Hon. Mr. Maeck: Mr. Speaker, I have said in the House on previous occasions that there are some people who will receive less this year than they did last year; 95,000 as a matter of fact. The policy of the government has been to tie this program to property taxes. The institutions we are speaking of today do not pay property taxes, it does not reflect in the rent these people are asked to pay and, therefore, they are not eligible for the program. If the government at a later date, after re-examination, decides to include these people, that’s fine. At the moment, this is the government’s position.

Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary: Is the minister aware that since his representative was at St. Anne’s Tower telling them that they did not deserve the money and they were not supposed to have it when, in fact, they are the poorest people in Toronto, many of these senior citizens are quite worried now? A number of them had a sleepless night wondering what is going to happen to them because they spent the money.

That may not mean much, but these are law-abiding citizens, they know they need the money, they know the money is rightfully theirs rather than belonging to the millionaires the minister is sending it to, but they do not want to break the law.

Why does the minister not agree that he will not try to collect that money back and just be very clear about it? It was his mistake anyway; they believed his advertising.

Mr. Speaker: Just before the Minister of Revenue replies, I think in terms of what went on during ministerial statements, when everybody on this side of the House insisted that his colleague be heard, now when we are in question period, why don’t you extend the same courtesy to people who are asking questions on this side of the House?

Hon. Mr. Maeck: Mr. Speaker, I must obey the legislation of the province. At the moment, that legislation says these people are not entitled to property tax grants.

If I were not to make an attempt to collect, I would be subject to criticism by the provincial auditor and indeed by the public accounts committee. The law exists in the province at the moment whereby these people are not eligible.

I have indicated that I am not going to harass these people, but if I do not collect, it would be unfair to those other ones in the same category whose applications were refused. It would not be fair to extend it to 40 people and not to everyone. It has to be one way or the other; either no one is eligible or everyone is.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, why does the Minister of Revenue not do that which we suggested to him when this bill was being debated last spring, namely, raise the level of Gains benefits so those most in need will receive the assistance?

Hon. Mr. Maeck: Mr. Speaker, we did raise the level of Gains benefits by $10 per month at the time this program was instituted. In addition to that, the federal government increased the guaranteed income supplement by $35 per month, so there is an additional $540 per year now going to the senior citizens who are eligible, over and above what they got last year and during the time when the Ontario tax credit program was in place.

Mr. Speaker: A new question, the Leader of the Opposition.


Mr. Speaker: If your leader wants to share the time for a question with back-benchers, he will say so.

Mr. Mancini: Why do you always come down on back-benchers?

Mr. Roy: Why do you always pick on the little guys?

Mr. Breithaupt: Always the little guys.

Mrs. Campbell: You want to do all the talking.


Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, the Premier will recall that when he addressed the Legislature and a number of assembled farmers from the rural community on April 10, 1980, he said he was asking the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch) to obtain from Ontario Hydro special electricity rate proposals to reduce the differential between urban and rural hydro rates. He said, and I quote, “It is my expectation that those proposals will be available this fall so that revised proposed rates can be introduced by Ontario Hydro as quickly as possible.”

Given that a statement from Ontario Hydro yesterday said rural rates were going to be increased more than the urban rates were going to be increased, and that far from lowering the differential, the differential is going to continue to make our rural rates by far the highest west of New Brunswick and roughly twice the rural rate in our neighbouring province, can the Premier explain what happened on the way to the implementation of this statement which he made so cavalierly to the assembled farmers at the time? Why are things moving in the opposite direction?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I did not get the last part of the question.

I have to say, I do not know the Leader of the Opposition’s definition of cavalier. He would know that far better than I. I recall very vividly the statement I made.

Mr. S. Smith: I know most things better than the Premier.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Pardon? I did not quite get that.

Mr. S. Smith: Certainly --

Hon. Mr. Davis: No, I think I did hear it, that the Leader of the Opposition knows most things better than I do. I know that humility has always been one of his long suits. His modesty really overwhelms the people of this province. I must confess I have certainly never tried to compete with him in an intellectual sense because he would never understand it.

Mr. S. Smith: If the Premier would like to engage in a --

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, does the Leader of the Opposition have any other pleasant remarks before I start trying to answer the question?

Mr. S. Smith: We are listening.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I recall very clearly the very simple statement I made. I don’t recall whether there was a large number of farmers here or not; certainly there were some.

Mr. Breaugh: You had to take your shoes off to count them.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I have to tell the honourable members, we have a lot of farmers over here.

Mr. Riddell: Where are they?

Hon. Mr. Davis: There are not many over there.

Mr. Speaker: I do not think there is any argument as to how many farmers were here, there or any place else. As I recall, the question dealt with hydro rates.

2:50 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, you are quite right. But I recall something in the preface to the question from the Leader of the Opposition referring to a large number of farmers. Did you not hear him say that?

Mr. Speaker: I heard the body of the question which dealt with hydro rates.

Hon. Mr. Davis: There are a large number of farmers over here as well.

Mr. Speaker: I would like the Premier to talk about the subject matter of the question.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I will be delighted to talk about the subject matter of the question. My recollection of the statement was that it was really very simple. I announced to the House that I was asking the Minister of Energy to obtain for the government a report as to how we might effectively reduce the differential between the rural and urban rates. I asked for it for this fall. I understand that report will be available this fall. I still stand by the commitment I made in the statement, on behalf of the government, asking the Minister of Energy to obtain this report to develop an approach whereby we could reduce the differential.

If the Leader of the Opposition is referring to the story in the Globe and Mail this morning -- and I am only going by recollection -- the bulk rate is up 9.3 per cent, the industrial rate is up 9.6 and the rural rate is up approximately 9.8 or 9.9. If the Leader of the Opposition were to consult with his experts on the Hydro affairs committee he would find that the 9.3 per cent, which is the increase in the bulk rate to the municipalities, may in some municipalities reflect itself in something over 9.3 per cent; that has been the traditional pattern. If he does his calculations correctly, I think he will find the differential that exists will not be altered by the Hydro announcement of yesterday.

I have not seen the report, but I know -- I am just trying to help the members -- I know there are some complexities in introducing this policy. If the Leader of the Opposition would check carefully, he would find there are now some municipal rates that are above some of the rural rates. There are these differentials because of the municipal utilities existing in this province that have complicated the options that would be available in terms of policy consideration.

I know the Leader of the Opposition would not pursue this tactic at all, but we have had discussions and will be having further discussions with the Ontario Municipal Electric Association. OMEA is opposed to this policy. I am sure some of the members opposite have been contacted and have had that point of view expressed to them. I am sure the member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. J. Reed) has had the representation made to him. I would assume so, as he is the energy critic for the Liberal Party. Perhaps the member for Lincoln (Mr. Hall) and one or two others also have had that representation. They are expressing the concern that this goes to the basic policy of Hydro, under the legislation, of “power at cost.” We have to have further consultations with OMEA after the report comes in.

To sum up, the report will be in this fall in spite of OMEA’s reservations -- I think that is a fair word to use. In spite of the complexity of whatever policy emerges, the commitment is still there. We are going to have a policy to reduce the differential between the urban and the rural rates for electrical supply here in Ontario.

Mr. S. Smith: Since the people in the rural areas are aware that actions speak a lot louder than promises, will the Premier try to explain to this House why it is that, having declared a policy of reducing the gap between rural and urban hydro rates in this province, Hydro has gone ahead with a new rate system which increases that gap in direct contravention of the desires of the government of the day?

Why was it that the Premier did not see to it that this fall’s increase was done on a different basis to actually lessen that gap so our rural customers would not continue to have to pay such unfairly high rates? Why did he not have enough clout with Hydro to keep the promise he made to the people instead of simply reiterating his promise while the matter gets worse year by year?

Hon. Mr. Davis: That is a pretty weak supplementary. I have already explained it, but I will go through it again.

Mr. S. Smith: The Premier got the headlines he wanted when he made the statement.

Hon. Mr. Davis: And doesn’t that upset the Leader of the Opposition.

The promises this government makes, it keeps. I do not go around this province making irresponsible statements.

Mr. Martel: What about two trees for one?

Hon. Mr. Davis: What is more, two trees for one will soon be three trees for one. I will tell the Leader of the Opposition something else; I do not go around the province making promises of a different nature in every part of the province I visit. I do not do that sort of thing. Now, can I get back to the question?


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am trying not to be interrupted by the members opposite.

Mr. Speaker: Perhaps if you spoke to me -- I can hear you quite clearly.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, can I speak to you as a reasonable man? I thought I explained it very carefully in the answer to the first question. I will explain it again.

In April, on whatever date, I asked the Minister of Energy to get a report from Ontario Hydro as to what policy might be developed to reduce the differential. The statement made it quite clear that we expected the report this fall. Fall started on whatever date in September. My understanding of the calendar is that we are still in the fall; is that a correct assumption? I am not offending anybody, am I? I assure the members of the House that we will have that report.

I think the statement went on to say we would then implement the policy as soon as possible to reduce the rate differential. I point out again, this is the time of the year when Ontario Hydro has to notify its customers of the proposed rates. If the Leader of the Opposition looks at it carefully and checks with his own experts in the field, he may find that at 9.3 per cent, which is the increase in the bulk or wholesale rate to the utilities, when that is translated to take into account their own municipal costs, the differential that now exists will not be exacerbated by the announcement of Ontario Hydro today. That is the wholesale price. The price increase announced for the rural power is the retail rate.

Mr. S. Smith: The retail rate is 11.2 per cent.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I know the Leader of the Opposition has trouble comparing apples and oranges. One is the retail rate; one is the wholesale rate.

Mr. S. Smith: It is 11.2 per cent.

Hon. Mr. Davis: The other point I want to make abundantly clear -- do not be so impatient -- is that the commitment stands. We will be reducing the differential of rates between the urban and rural customers here in Ontario. It is not easy, it will be complicated and I will be delighted to share some of the opposition to it with some of the people across the House, because there will be opposition to it. The Leader of the Opposition will still be across the House when that happens.

Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, can I raise a point of order? You know the great respect I have for the chair. Under the standing orders, it is stated, “In a debate the member shall be called to order by the Speaker if he persists in needless repetition.” That is exactly what we have had. I say to you, Mr. Speaker, he should be brought to order.

Mr. Speaker: If you check Hansard, I think a lot of the content in the supplementary was an integral part of the original question.

Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary: Can the Premier assure those rural customers who are served by the private utility companies, such as Great Lakes Power in the Algoma district, that whatever policy is established by the government to lower the differential between the rural and urban rates will also affect those private utilities whose rates are somehow related to those of Ontario Hydro?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Our jurisdiction does not extend to that. I am quite prepared to ask the Minister of Energy to have a look at it, but my recollection is that our jurisdiction does not extend to the private power utilities, of which there are two or three left in the province.

Mr. J. Reed: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I would like to ask the Premier whether this report, when it comes down this fall, will recommend the means by which the reduction will be accomplished, understanding that the Power Corporation Act does not provide for any government imposition or for any social consideration by Hydro.

3 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am really delighted to have such a reasonable question. I wish the member would consult with his leader; that is one of the problems.

Of course we know what is in the act. That is why we have had discussions with the Ontario Municipal Electric Association people. I am surprised they have not consulted with the member. They know this is a problem; so I am delighted to answer the question of the honourable member. Yes, I know the problems that are there. I can also tell him the report we get will recommend those ways in which we might solve those problems. Otherwise, why have a report?

Mr. MacDonald: The Premier will agree that it is an obligation of Hydro to live within the framework of policy statements laid down by this government. Will he explain why, when the Minister of Energy said last October that in the next 15 years we would have 2,000 megawatts of hydraulic power developed in this province and 1,000 megawatts of new power from Onakawana, seven months later Hydro brought out its expansion program and totally ignored the government’s policy?

Will the Premier also explain now, if he has indicated that differential is going to be reduced, why it is not an obligation of Hydro to live with the spirit of the new policy while the substance of it is being evolved?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, with great respect, I do not think the first part of the supplementary is a supplementary to the main question.

Mr. MacDonald: It is showing they are ignoring your policy statements.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am saying very respectfully, I think it is a totally separate issue, but I am delighted.

Mr. MacDonald: They are ignoring your policy statements. That is the point I am raising.

Hon. Mr. Davis: No, no. I would say to the member for York South, he asked me specifically about the expansion plans of Ontario Hydro and why Onakawana was not included in certain hydraulic sites, which has nothing to do with the first question. However, I will attempt to answer it anyway.

As I recall the policy, it covered a 15- year period -- is that right?

Mr. MacDonald: That is right.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I think it is fair to state that one cannot say that within that 15-year period context Ontario Hydro will not be doing some of the things suggested in the statement that was made.

Dealing with the second part of the question, which in fairness was a supplementary to the main question, I would say to the member for York South exactly what I said to the Leader of the Opposition through the Speaker and more latterly to the Speaker because the Leader of the Opposition didn’t want to listen to me. Very simply, any member in the House, particularly the member for York South, should know the complexity of this matter. He can visualize some of the alternatives which in themselves are going to be difficult in terms of policy. Ontario Hydro has to announce its rates. They also know that is a matter of government policy; they understand and expect it. They know we are going to be committed to a reduction in the rate differential.

The report will be here. I will be delighted to have the comments from the member for York South when he reads the alternatives that may be in the report as to how we can achieve this objective because, more than likely, it cannot be done within the present framework of the act, and it will require certain other policy considerations.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I do not intend to have my position distorted as it was by the Premier. I drew to his attention that, seven months after they had announced their policy that by 1995 we would have 2,000 megawatts of new hydraulic power and 1,000 megawatts of Onakawana power, Hydro defiantly ignored that policy statement.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, we have not reached 1985, and I can only say to the honourable member that he might ask the Minister of Energy. I cannot comment on some of the hydraulic aspects.

Mr. MacDonald: I can, because I know.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I have to tell the member that very recently I have had discussions with respect to Onakawana --

Mr. MacDonald: Sure. But seven months after your policy statement they had ignored it.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Don’t get so excited. I am just saying to the member, I have some specific knowledge of the one, Onakawana, and I am telling him, Onakawana is not turned off.

Mr. MacDonald: I agree.

Hon. Mr. Davis: All right; so don’t get so exercised. Control your blood pressure.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I would like to inject a note of calm into this debate after what has been coming from the other parties.

I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Northern Affairs about some unusual policy statements he has been making in the press in Kenora. Will the minister clarify his statement to the press yesterday that northern Ontario has an obligation to store nuclear waste? Was he enunciating his policy or the policy of the Ontario government? Would the minister like to backtrack now, or later?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, I happen to have a copy of the article here, and the honourable member should have been so kind as to read the second paragraph of that story, which reads, “If the province is committed to nuclear power, then it has to look after the waste and store it somewhere in the province.” That is what I said. We in northern Ontario have no greater obligation to look after nuclear waste than any other part of this province has. That is very simple.

Mr. Cassidy: Since the article went on to say, “Because northwestern Ontario imports electricity 24 hours a day from southern Ontario” -- a statement that is factually incorrect -- “it has an obligation to store some of the waste,” will the minister now answer my initial question: Is this his policy or is it government policy that the waste should go into northwestern Ontario?

Why is he suggesting that so much waste should go to northwestern Ontario when 99 per cent of the power is generated in the south and presumably, therefore, at least 99 per cent of the waste should be in southern Ontario according to his particular principle? Has the minister not made himself aware of the fact that the cabinet would be considering the future directions of research because of the criticism that the select committee has directed, from all three parties, at the work of the researchers, who have not even begun to prove that the stuff can be buried in the north or anywhere else?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Again, the honourable member fails to read the article where I said I would leave it up to the experts to find the best possible location.


Hon. Mr. Bernier: Certainly; it is all there. What the members interpret is up to them, but I want to make it categorically clear, abundantly clear, that northern Ontario does not have any greater obligation to look after nuclear waste than any other part of this province has. That is very clear. It is there in the article. Read what is in it.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Do I take it from the minister’s response that he is categorically denying that he said northwestern Ontario should accept nuclear waste?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes. I did not say that northwestern Ontario is obligated to look after nuclear waste. It is clear as a bell. The second paragraph of the article states that. Read the article.

Mr. Foulds: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Can the minister then explain the second half of the sentence, which my colleague pointed out to him, “Because northwestern Ontario imports electricity 24 hours a day from southern Ontario it has an obligation to store some of the waste”? How does he account for that statement?

Does he not think as the Minister of Northern Affairs it would be more in his line of duty to persuade Ontario Hydro to proceed with the completion of the hydro plants at Thunder Bay and Atikokan so that northwestern Ontario was self-sufficient in energy and not need to rely on the wavering tie lines between Manitoba and northwestern Ontario on the one hand, and the weak tie line between the huge, overpowered eastern grid and the underpowered western grid?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: The honourable member is fully aware of the fact that we in northern Ontario are dependent on nuclear power that is generated in southern Ontario.


Hon. Mr. Bernier: We are, and he knows we are. We are importing electrical power into northern Ontario on a regular basis; so our obligation to look after nuclear waste is not any greater or any less than that of any other part of this province.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question for the Minister of Industry and Tourism about lost jobs in the food industry. I would have liked to have had a bag of products to show the minister, but I cannot at this time.

Can the minister explain why the brand names of independent Canadian processors of canned whole tomatoes -- brand names such as Cherry Valley, Connelly, Innes, Terio, Utopia, Hillside and others -- have disappeared from the shelves of Toronto supermarket chains while 40 per cent of the Canadian market for canned whole tomatoes is met by imports, with a loss of sales to Canadians of $16 million and the loss of more than 600 jobs in Ontario?

3:10 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, before I give an answer to that question, we have a special guest in the gallery today. I wonder if the House would join me in welcoming Dr. Jose Andres de Oteyxa, Minister of Patrimony, Natural Resources and Industrial Development for Mexico. Mr. de Oteyxa is here to study our electrical and nuclear energy capacity in this province.

With regard to the question asked by the leader of the third party, I would have to refer that to my colleague the Minister of Agriculture and Food.

Mr. Speaker: Does the Minister of Agriculture and Food have the answer to that question? It has been referred to him by his colleague the Minister of Industry and Tourism.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, I was speaking to my colleague about another problem. Will he repeat the question, and I will be very glad to answer.

Mr. Cassidy: Yes, I will repeat it. I would say to the minister that I notice the Conservative government wants to disband Petro-Canada. I want to say to my friend from Mexico that the Mexican government, in having a state-owned oil industry, has been much more perceptive than the government of Canada or the Conservative Party.

Can the Minister of Agriculture and Food explain why it is that the products of the independent Canadian processors of whole tomatoes -- such brand names as Cherry Valley, Connally, Utopia and Hillside -- have disappeared from the shelves of Toronto supermarkets when 40 per cent of the market in Canada for whole canned tomatoes is met by imports, with a loss of millions of dollars of production and more than 600 jobs?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: This goes back to our embargoes on imports. It goes back to the fact that the government of Canada, up until May 18 last year, ignored the legislation. On February 1 of this year, the government of Canada doubled that embargo. We have companies now in Ontario that have made representations to this government, and we have granted money through our incentive fund for the factories to can and come out with these tomatoes. That happened earlier this year. The Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) could give us the exact date, no doubt, but in May or June we granted certain moneys to canning plants. We are now working towards the goal of self-support.

Mr. Cassidy: Since 28 of the 51 canneries that were canning tomatoes in this province 15 years ago have shut down, can the minister explain what good it is to have a little bit of money going into a few canneries now if the remaining independent canneries cannot get their products on to the shelves of supermarkets, therefore cannot sell them and therefore cannot create jobs for Canadians?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: I have responded to the honourable member. Our import laws and the cheap labour across the border made it possible for the other countries to ship their canned tomatoes here cheaper than our farmers could produce them. They come in from across the border cheaper. As I say, on February 1 of this year the government --

Mr. Bradley: Were they shipped in cheaper?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes, they were shipped in cheaper than our farmers could produce them.

Mr. Mancini: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the Minister of Agriculture and Food aware that in the Essex county area there are many tomato farmers who could more than meet their quotas they have with the canneries, that there are many farmers who are waiting for quotas and that there are many farmers who could expand the acreage they have planted but they cannot do this because they do not have a market to send the raw products to? Why do the Minister of Agriculture and Food and the Minister of Industry and Tourism not help encourage more manufacturing of that product right in Essex county where there are people willing to supply it?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: If the honourable member studied his own riding, I am sure he would find that the grant to which I make reference went to the industry right in his riding at the little town of Raven.

Mr. Cooke: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I would like to ask the minister why it is that between 1971 and 1979 tomato production only went up eight per cent in this province whereas imports went up 79 per cent. Do the minister and his government not recognize that this involves literally hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars of imports into this province when we should be aiming at import replacement?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: I have been answering that all the time. The protection for the people of Ontario has not been there in the import laws. The embargo was doubled last February 1, and that has helped to correct the situation, but it goes back to the fact that there is not sufficient protection in the import laws for the farm people.


Mr. Sargent: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. We are talking about the recovery of $305 million, the shortfall this year for energy, the reason for Hydro to increase the rates. I am more convinced than ever that, regardless of what the Premier does or says, Hydro will go its own way. We do not have much faith in his statement that he is going to keep the promise he made this spring to the farmers. In fact, six months ago, he said 770,000 real farmers would get a reduction. But now he is raising the rates --

Mr. Speaker: Put the question.

Mr. Sargent: I am setting up the question.

This government has repeatedly defeated my lifeline bill. I am asking about the recovery of the $305 million. We have had a report today from Canberra, Australia, that Denison Mines is buying a 50 per cent equity in uranium properties down there with $339 million the Premier advanced the company for 40 years at no interest rate.

Mr. Speaker: What’s the question?

Mr. Sargent: How in the hell can he take our money and buy properties down there when he is raising the rates to the consumers here in Ontario? How can he do that?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I tried to follow very carefully both the setting up of the question and ultimately the question. I will try to answer both the setup and the question.

My understanding of the question is that it was about rates. If the honourable member were to check very carefully, I think he would find the rates that have been announced by Hydro -- I do not know they are that recent, as a matter of fact -- those rates have been approved by the Ontario Energy Board, the distinguished group of people who reflect on and establish the rates that Ontario Hydro is charging.

Mr. MacDonald: It’s only a recommendation.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Hydro very rarely goes over their recommendations. Have they in this instance?

Mr. Speaker: Just ignore the interjection, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Okay, Mr. Speaker. I would say to the honourable member with the greatest of respect that there is this problem of the differential. We are committed to the reduction of the differential; it will happen.

I would ask the honourable member to look at, say, an average rate increase. I am not defending Ontario Hydro or the Ontario Energy Board. However, what the reliability of nuclear power means in terms of cost to the consumers of this province is, in my view, increasingly emerging as a very positive economic factor.

I suggest that the member take an average of the price increases for the rates this year, compare it with those of most other utilities in North America, both private and public, and he will find that the rate increases are very competitive. In fact, my guess would be that probably Hydro’s average will be one of the lowest on the continent.

Mr. Sargent: The Premier has failed to answer my question. The fact is, he is going to increase the rates to the small home owners, people on fixed incomes, the poor, by about $60 a year because he cannot recover $305 million here. If he can lend money to Denison on a 40-year contract with no interest, why can he not protect the home owners of this province and the real people first?

3:20 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I think we have done very well in terms of protecting not only the home owners but also the rural community. I think we have done very well in terms of people on fixed incomes.

I would just point out that the rate increase, unlike those of most utilities, as I read the figures, will be less than the probable rate of inflation. The member will not find many utilities that have managed to do that in the past three or four years.

I say to the member that, in terms of Hydro’s responsibilities, we think it is running an efficient operation by any measure. I do not say it represents perfection. I do not say that Ontario Hydro does not make a mistake. But if anyone who has served on the select committee can honestly and objectively tell me that Ontario Hydro does not run as good a store as any other utility in North America, I would love to have him come forward and tell me who they are and where they do it.

Mr. Nixon: That was not what he was talking about.

Hon. Mr. Davis: He was talking about the rates generally; he was talking about home owners. I said we would reduce the differential. Let us not play games. We said we would reduce the differential in rate. That is what we said we would do.

Mr. S. Smith: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: It seems to me the Premier just said a little earlier that the rate increase in Ontario was less than in comparable jurisdictions. I remind him that in Manitoba the rates have been frozen at the 1979 level and there will he no increase whatever until 1984.


Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. Is the minister aware of the difficulties created by the projected current operating deficit of $700,000 of McKellar General Hospital in Thunder Bay, which is causing enormous pressure on staff, administration and especially patients in the hospital?

In particular, is he aware that all 296 beds in the hospital are filled each night, usually by 3 p.m.; that there is enormous pressure on the emergency and intensive care units; that many inpatients have to spend two to three nights in emergency; that three acute cases, such as heart attacks and automobile accidents, usually spend the night on stretchers instead of in beds; that as a minimum at least 70 patients a month spend overnight on stretchers; and that many patients have two- or three-night stays on stretchers?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I would remind the member that 50 chronic care beds have been approved for Thunder Bay and are in the process of being added -- 25 for a psychogeriatric unit at Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital and 25 as a chronic care unit at McKellar General Hospital.

Secondly, I would point out to him that in a great many of these cases where there is an ongoing pattern of utilization of emergency that indicates a problem of people being detained, it seems to me that can be accommodated in the discharge and admission planning of the hospital so that should be kept to a minimum.

Thirdly, I would say to him that we have been in discussions with the McKellar General Hospital to look at their budget submission, which includes increases in staff for administration and housekeeping. In those areas of the hospital budget where increases in patient activity have necessitated unavoidable increases, we will be making allowances in their budget. We should be giving them an answer in the next week or two.

Mr. Foulds: Does the minister not admit that, welcome though the 50 additional chronic beds are, the need is for approximately 150 chronic care and nursing beds? Does he not admit that an increase in chronic beds does nothing to relieve the pressure that is on the hospital now, especially as it is the trauma centre for Thunder Bay and therefore receives most of the car accidents and traumas? Will he not also admit that, whatever the cause and whatever the reason, the funding needs to be found to supply the hospital beds for that hospital right now while the patients need them?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I would point out to the member that if he would compare that city and its population to a city of the same population in southern Ontario, that city has 15 per cent more beds than it would have in southern Ontario, but we do make an additional allowance in our allocations for northern Ontario.

Secondly, I do not accept the member’s theory that these chronic beds will not relieve pressures on the hospital. Otherwise, why add them? Yes, they have the CAT scanner there; yes, they have the neurosurgical team there. Therefore, they receive head injuries, whether from car accidents, industrial accidents or whatever.

Mr. McClellan: We heard the same thing in June 1979. The minister has done nothing in a year and a half.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Why is the member for Bellwoods yapping so much? He does not want to listen to any of the facts; he never wants to listen to the facts. He never wants to listen to anybody but himself. He probably puts an echo in his office so he can listen to himself again.

Mr. McClellan: You should resign. You are inept.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The chronic beds that have been added, along with the 100 nursing home beds that have been added to Thunder Bay and have been operational for a little over a year and a half now, are designed to effect a proper balance in the beds available.

Mr. Conway: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: On a similar note, in a different hospital, I am wondering if the Minister of Health --

Mr. Speaker: Order. We were dealing specifically with McKellar General Hospital in Thunder Bay.


Mr. G. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, a question of the Premier: As a member of the select committee of this Legislature on constitutional reform, I have seen recently that the federal government has instituted closure. I understand that is the term used. Could the Premier comment on that?

Getting back to the problem regarding the discussion of our report as submitted, will we be given adequate time in this House to discuss that report, as has not been done at the federal level?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member has raised two questions. I gave a commitment to the House, in response to observations made by the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) if memory serves me correctly, that I hoped we would spend sufficient time here in this House discussing the report from the committee.

With respect to the first question, I am not nearly as familiar with the rules of the House of Commons as I am with the rules, and on occasion their breach, here in this particular Legislature.


Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, do you know what the problem is? The members opposite think they have the right to tell all the gloomy stories and make all the criticisms. When we try to tell the public what is really going on, they get upset. I have never quite understood that.

I heard of this last evening and read the decision in the press this morning. Those of us who are fairly close to the process understand that this motion is to send the resolution to committee where there will be opportunities for a much more prolonged and definitive debate.

At the same time, the public perception of this issue is also important. I say that very objectively, without in any way diminishing my support for the resolution. Because the resolution can stand on its merits, I think an effort should be made to see that there is sufficient opportunity, in terms of the public understanding, for the debate on the referral of the resolution itself. It may be too late -- as I say, I am not sufficiently familiar with the process -- but it could be debated tomorrow. Maybe it is being debated tomorrow and on Monday, up until the time of the budget.

I would suggest that on this issue there is merit in not creating the impression with the people of this country that there is any attempt by Parliament to limit the discussion.

That is a point of view I have expressed, without cabinet meetings or anything else.

I am just concerned about the perception.

3:30 p.m.

In answer to the honourable member, I would hope the government of Canada might reassess and see if it could provide, up until the budget perhaps, a further period for discussion of this important issue. It is not just what the internal function of Parliament is, it is the perception that people have outside. On this issue, I think it would be helpful if there were a further period of time for this debate, and that is a personal point of view.

Mr. Roy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Just in the interest of correcting any confusion with the public out there, does the Premier disagree with the statement made on Metro Morning today by his Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells), who said basically exactly the opposite, that the motion for closure in the federal House in all the circumstances was perfectly justified?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, if the honourable member wants to play games that is all right. I just talked to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and I know the points of view he expressed in the context of the way the question was asked. I have been asked a similar question by the distinguished member for Simcoe Centre (Mr. C. Taylor) and I am expressing a point of view which is not at all inconsistent with what the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs said, that in fact there is opportunity when the resolution goes before committee. Perhaps the public is not aware of just how detailed that discussion can be, but then I assume the honourable member also agrees with me that on this issue, and this is where I think it is important --


Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, don’t point fingers at Tom --

Mr. S. Smith: He said the opposite.

Hon. Mr. Davis: He did not say the opposite, and if the honourable member is saying the opposite, then let him say so. Is he saying the opposite? What is his point of view?

Mr. S. Smith: I heard him this morning.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I have just explained my position. I have made it very clear and I will enunciate it. I assume, as we have had unanimity on all these issues, that the Leader of the Opposition will join in in these observations.

Mr. S. Smith: I will join Mr. Wells.

Hon. Mr. Davis: All right then, the Leader of the Opposition says --

Mr. S. Smith: Whatever he said this morning, I heard him. I will join Mr. Wells.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Oh no. The Leader of the Opposition will never join Mr. Wells. He does not have the care, the same talents, the same abilities, the same sensitivity and he doesn’t have his humility or modesty, that is why he will never make it.


Mr. Gaunt: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. Why did the ministry not establish a pollution priority list for the pulp and paper mills under the employment development fund so that the grants under that program could be targeted to clean up the worst polluters?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: We had, as you know, Mr. Speaker, a small discussion on this the other day. That list, and I repeat now, was not a priority list per se. We were able to accede to all the requests that we received from the pulp and paper industry and to give them the assistance they thought was required to do the job of cleaning up the pollution from those plants.

But that was only part of the program. That is where I think the member’s list concept perhaps might need some clarification. We do not need someone on a list. If there is a pollution problem, we can address it not just through the program that was devised by the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) but indeed by the control orders. To think of that in isolation does not take the total perspective that we have towards pollution from the pulp and paper industry.

Mr. Gaunt: Supplementary: Since the employment development fund was sold as a modernization and environmental cleanup program -- two aspects to it -- is it possible for a pulp and paper company to receive a grant under the program without regard to the need of that company’s mill to install pollution control equipment?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: No, it is not. They must do that, but the point that I repeat again is that all of the companies that wished to come under that program were indeed accepted. They did have to make the commitment to do the pollution cleanup that was required on each individual situation. In addition to that, we have control orders on other companies that chose not to come under that particular program of the Treasury.

Mr. Gaunt: Supplementary: Would it be fair to ask the minister what mills got what amounts for what problem?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: I think I made it clear the other day that we will tell the members the amounts for the companies but not for the specific mills.

Mr. Gaunt: Will the minister tell us what companies got what amounts?

Hon. Mr. Parrott: If the member wishes the list we will be more than happy to give it to him so he can see for himself. The list itself is there. I have no hesitation in having him see the list, provided he fully understands the comments I made previously.

Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired.


Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, I have a point of privilege. Today we had 45 minutes of the question period for the two leaders of the opposition with only one other question on this side and one question on that side. The same thing happened on Tuesday.

I understand we are in a pre-election time and the leaders need a high profile, but there are other members who may have important questions as well. I would like to ask whether we should dispense with coming here during question period or, three or four months down the road, we should be assigned time to ask our questions.

I am fifteenth on the list in my caucus. My question may be important for my constituents but at this speed I may have to ask my question in April. I would like the Speaker’s direction.

Mr. Conway: In speaking to that point of privilege, I want to associate myself entirely with my good friend from Downsview because, as you know, Mr. Speaker, I try in my own way to abide by the rules of this House. I was at the top of our list to ask a question today and I was disadvantaged. I do not believe, sir, that it was anything other than the calculated abuse of this question period by the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) who came in here to give us a curious hybrid of political expectoration and by-election bilge in the interest of his candidate in Carleton. About that, and for that, I remain very unhappy.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Speaking to the point, I do not want there to be any misunderstanding. I did not hear all of the minister’s statement, but I understand it was an excellent statement. I think the member for Renfrew North is being very unfair. I keep an eye on the clock. The clock did not start to run for the question period until the minister was finished.

I want to associate myself with the two members opposite who spoke. If they would speak to their two leaders to limit their questions in the question period, certainly the question period would --

Mr. Martel: Before the Premier leaves, if the Speaker would be prepared to look at some of the garbage that we get for answers, which run for seven and eight minutes to answer a simple question, we could get some questions asked by the back benchers.

Mr. Speaker: The standing orders in this assembly are not the property of the Speaker or any presiding officer. They are the property of all members of this assembly. If the members want me to be more specific in the way in which I allocate the one hour that is allotted for questions and answers I would be happy to abide by them. We do have a procedural affairs committee, and if the members are not satisfied with the rules, just say so and we can refer it to the committee.

Mr. Conway: I am dissatisfied.

Mr. Speaker: I know the member is dissatisfied. I am dissatisfied. They are the members’ rules and not mine.

3:40 p.m.

Mr. Conway: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker, I feel obligated to say this. I greatly respect what you have just told us. I simply say that if we are going to be here on Tuesdays and Thursdays to hear one half an hour of ministerial statements, as is often the practice, that is fine with me. I understand that. I just do not want to see various and sundry people from the Treasury bench hightail it to the door at 10 after three feeling they have discharged their hour-long obligation. In that respect I do not agree with them.

Mr. Speaker: All members, including cabinet ministers, are answerable to their constituents for the way in which they spend their time.



Mr. Hodgson, on behalf of Mr. Cureatz from the standing committee on general government, presented the following report and moved its adoption:

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

Bill Pr21, An Act respecting the City of London;

Bill Pr36, An Act respecting the Town of Midland;

Bill Pr38, An Act respecting the Borough of Etobicoke.

The committee begs to report the following bill without amendment:

Bill Pr39, An Act respecting the City of Ottawa.

Report adopted.


Mr. Villeneuve from the standing estimates committee reported the following resolutions:

That supply in the following amounts and to defray the expenses of the Ministry of Industry and Tourism be granted Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1981:

Ministry administration program, $4,505,000; policy and priorities program, $2,229,000; industry development program, $22,908,000; tourism development program, $20,298,000; Ontario Place corporation program, $2,000; industrial incentives and development program, $23,948,000.

That supply in the following amounts and to defray the expenses of the Ministry of Industry and Tourism be granted Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1981:

Ontario Place corporation program, $1,026,000.



Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the supplementary estimates of the Ministry of Natural Resources tabled today be referred to the standing committee on resources development for consideration within the 23 hours allotted for the main estimates.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Wells moved that time for the consideration of the estimates of the Ministry of Housing be reduced to five hours and time for consideration of the estimates of the Ministry of Labour be reduced to 15 hours.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the answer to question 256 and interim answers to 283, 284, 299, 300 and 306 standing on the Notice Paper. (See appendix, page 3682.)


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the response to a petition presented to the House, sessional paper 221. (See appendix, page 3683.)




Mr. Lupusella moved second reading of Bill 155, An Act respecting Full Employment in the Ontario Economy.

Mr. Lupusella: Mr. Speaker, before debating my bill, I would like to show some sense of frustration in regard to the time which has been taken by the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) to give us a lecture about the economic situation in Ontario. In my opinion, he stated that his government actually is not at present committed to creating full employment in Ontario but it has the long-range goal to achieve such a situation. He took 25 minutes of the question period to give us something that was not appropriate on the floor of this Legislature.

At any rate, I take great pleasure in debating the first of three bills which the New Democratic Party is putting forward to guarantee the economic rights of the people of Ontario.

In these times of economic uncertainty, it is essential that the government of this province bring in legislation that will extend and protect the economic rights of the people of Ontario. Our economic rights are being eroded and taken away. As Ontario loses economic opportunities, the present government either stands idly by or engages in stopgap measures. It has been more effective in protecting investments and profits than it has been in protecting jobs. The workers of Ontario need to know that the government is doing everything within its power to ensure them security in their jobs and to ensure jobs for their children.

The principal goal of this bill is to make the government commit itself to pursue aggressively the goal of full employment. This government may say that full employment has been its goal, but its actions speak otherwise. With more than 300,000 people unemployed, we cannot go on blaming the federal government. We can no longer wait for the American recession to bottom out. We can no longer wait for some new developments in the energy field to solve our problems. Ontario workers deserve more. They deserve action by their provincial government to ensure that they have the right to have a job.

At our convention in Guelph in June, the New Democratic Party adopted a comprehensive industrial study which would revive and revitalize our manufacturing sector. The NDP strategy contained concrete plans which would put us on the road to full employment. By adopting our strategy, we would be giving the workers of Ontario new hope. We would be letting the young people of the province know that the government was doing everything within its power to create employment opportunities.

The present government does not have an employment strategy. It has been ad hoc in its approach. It has pandered to the multinationals in the belief that if things go well for the multinationals things will go well for Ontario. The 46,000 workers laid off this year are testimony to the failure of that policy. This bill requires the governmert to bring forward its analysis of the barriers to full employment, to provide specific plans to overcome these barriers and make it possible for every person willing and able to work to get a job. The government will be judged on its effectiveness in providing employment opportunities.

The bill specifically addresses problems of disadvantaged groups and requires the government to detail its plans to deal with their special problems. Thousands of Ontarians through no fault of their own have greater difficulty getting work than others. I refer specifically to women in job ghettos, to workers who do not speak English, to the handicapped and to workers who live in disadvantaged regions where there is high unemployment. Now is the time for the government to deal with their problems.

The bill also directs the government to look specifically at the layoff problem. Next week my colleague from Cambridge (Mr. M. Davidson) will be bringing forth a bill to protect jobs. This job protection act says that part of full employment is not only the creation of new jobs, but the protection of existing jobs. Many of those unemployed in Ontario today are unemployed because they have lost their jobs. Of the 91,000 unemployed people in Metropolitan Toronto last May, 46,000 were unemployed because they lost their jobs.

3:50 p.m.

That record cries out for a government that deals head on with the problem of foreign ownership and will do something to try to turn around our branch plant economy. There is no future in being a warehouse operation. We must protect existing jobs and plan to create new ones.

It is surprising that the Minister of Industry and Tourism, who was so concerned to deliver his opening statement today in question period, is not here now when we are dealing with this bill. It is of great importance to the workers of this province and particularly to those who are now unemployed. I notice the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) also is not here to follow our concerns. For shame.

My bill also asks the government to be coordinated in its use of the public sector. Through Ontario’s crown corporations, we have the opportunity to create an employment strategy. We will need the crown corporations in the resource sector and in key manufacturing sectors if we intend to achieve full employment. The Conservative government treats crown corporations as a means of picking up the slack for the private sector. This bill will give Parliament an opportunity to direct the government to use crown corporations as part of a dynamic employment strategy.

Without passing laws or ever seeking the support of the Legislature, Ontario has allowed our resources to fall under foreign control. We have allowed outsiders to own our manufacturing sector and we have under-taxed many of the resources, thereby allowing unnecessarily high profits to be taken out of Ontario. The result of these policies has been a lack of both secondary manufacturing and a lack of opportunities in Ontario.

These things have all occurred without the consent of the Legislature. But they have occurred as a result of the government’s policy. This bill would force the government to come forward with its plans and bring them before the Legislature and let us see its exact intentions in terms of providing jobs.

I am talking now about the structures we would use to force the government towards a real commitment to full-employment policies and the means by which we would judge the government’s efforts. The bill is not designed to create a new bureaucracy or more work for parliamentarians; far from it. The goal is to create employment in Ontario and force the present government to admit that it has done too little to achieve full employment and get the Legislature moving on its job of ensuring the economic wellbeing of the people of Ontario.

To illustrate the need for this bill, I can turn to the Massey-Ferguson plant in my riding. Canada has more than 100,000 people employed in agriculture. Farmers spent over $1 billion on manufactured products in 1979. But under this government, Ontario workers in the agricultural machinery sector have their jobs at risk.

In a planned economy with the commitment to full employment, there would be secure jobs in producing farm machinery. Workers would be spared the anguish that Massey workers have gone through in the last few months. Full employment will not be a result of the Conservative and Liberal governments rescuing multinationals after the Argus Corporation is finished with them. It will be the result of sound economic planning based on the potential of the Canadian market.

I have spoken of Massey-Ferguson because it is in my riding. I could have spoken also of the food processing industry. Where are the 500 food processing plants that closed during the last 10 years? Where is the farm land that this government has allowed to be paved over? How will the people of Ontario have a future in which they are able to feed themselves if Dominion stores carry nine brands of peaches and only one of these brands uses Canadian-grown peaches?

Unemployment is more than a question of economics. It is a question of human dignity. People in Ontario work because they have to, in order to pay their bills and have the things they want. Employment involves doing something that is recognized as worthwhile in society. Employment involves making contributions to your community and to your family. We must commit ourselves to using every possible means to achieve full employment in Ontario.

Unemployment is not caused, as much as this government would like people to believe it is, by people who are idle and people who do not want to work. The Provincial Secretary for Justice (Mr. Walker) suggests most people who aren’t working don’t want to work. Unemployment is caused by lack of opportunity. Surely the example of nearly 20,000 people chasing 2,000 jobs in Windsor is a clear indication that the people of Ontario would like to work.

Most of those who are unemployed in Ontario today are people who lost their jobs. They are people who were working and wanted to continue to work. Sadly, through circumstances they could not control, their companies handed them layoff notices. Their plants were closed down.

In cases like Windsor and Brantford, they had few other choices. The major employers, the companies to whom they had given their life’s work, were going out of business. Often the jobs they were doing were simply being moved across the border into the United States or moved into some other country. Those people had no more opportunity in Ontario.

Similar things occur in single industry towns throughout the province; Atikokan is but one of them. Ontario steel companies began buying iron ore interests in Michigan and Minnesota. People in Atikokan who had worked for one company for 30 years found they had no jobs and no opportunities. Their homes lost value. Their family lives were destroyed. They wanted to stay in the towns of their birth, where their friends were. This government has almost no plans to help them.

This bill does not advocate another after-the-fact Band-Aid solution. Rather, it goes to the root of the problem by committing the government to full employment.

We do not need more gratuitous speeches about protection of jobs from government ministers each and every time Massey, Ford, Chrysler and Great Lakes Paper come to the public scrutiny. We need long-term policies to ensure full employment. This government is becoming more sophisticated in bailing out multinationals. The public’s money is better spent in building opportunities to free us from dependency on multinationals.

We should plan now for full employment so that we are not in a position of trying to protect the jobs after the owners have mismanaged their investments and say they have no hope unless the public rescues them. Planning in advance could have saved the jobs at Firestone, Prestolite, Houdaille, Essex International and other plants which were closed down in the province this past year.

4 p.m.

The Full Employment Act, 1980, says the government of Ontario must outline where it is going and how it proposes to get there in terms of creating job opportunities in Ontario. We do not think the solutions will be easy. We cannot turn around in one or two years the way the economy has been structured since 1945. We do say, however, that we must start in 1980 if we want to be in a better position by the end of this decade.

In the field of energy, we have learned what has happened -- we haven’t managed our energy resources properly. Surely this need not be repeated on our natural resources of northern Ontario or our manufacturing structure in southern Ontario. We must start managing now. This bill says that with proper policies and leadership Ontario can achieve full employment. We can develop our economy to meet our economic and social needs.

The present government is antidevelopment. It needlessly impedes development by leaving it too much in the hands of the private sector. The Premier (Mr. Davis) and his cabinet believe Ontario’s future is best planned by foreign multinationals. The Conservatives have no plans for development because they have invited others to do their planning. The present round of layoffs, the high level of unemployment and the uncontrolled inflation show that Conservative government has failed in the past and is failing now.

It is time to plan for full employment. New Democrats challenge the government to use every available means to achieve full employment, get our people back to work, develop plans for orderly economic development, build the jobs for the disadvantaged and make our economy our own. It is time to commit Ontario to full employment now and not in 20 years’ time.

The Deputy Speaker: The honourable member has two minutes remaining. Does he wish to reserve that?

Mr. Lupusella: Mr. Speaker, if I may, maybe one of my colleagues can use the two minutes, or I will.

The Deputy Speaker: I am asking you, do you wish to reserve the two minutes?

Mr. Lupusella: I will take it.

Mr. Ashe: No apologies are necessary from this side, Mr. Speaker. We have before us today An Act respecting Full Employment in the Ontario Economy. This particular piece of proposed legislation emphasizes that this province’s principal economic goal should be the creation of employment for every resident of the province willing and able to work.

I would like to point out to the member for Dovercourt, and I hope he’s listening, that it was nearly 40 years ago -- 37 to be exact -- when this party made a commitment to the electorate in Ontario, and I quote, “The Progressive Conservative Party in Ontario undertakes to put into effect a program based upon the conviction that under a strong government the vast resources and producing capacity of this province can ensure employment and good wages for all who will work.” This government has been doing that for 31 years.

Some years later our government backed this principle with a commitment to job creation in Ontario. In short, full employment in Ontario has been our goal for decades. I am glad to see that the members of the third party recognize this fact but, quite respectfully of course, as usual they are a little late.

For many years we have actively supported the objectives of this particular piece of proposed legislation. The importance of job creation as a major economic goal has never been overlooked, but it must be remembered that the creation of employment is only one economic goal among others. Government restraint, fiscal responsibility -- something the members opposite don’t know about -- as well as the maintenance of good investment opportunities in this province are equally important.

High levels of employment in Ontario can be achieved, but there exist differing views on how best to do this. The members opposite would have the province believe that to achieve this end the government should undertake -- and I am again using words out of the bill -- “comprehensive economic plans.” I need not dwell too long on some of the ideological differences between this government and the members of the third party, but the third party’s concept of centralized planning to the last minute detail, relative to our proven concept of rational planning with appropriate action, is certainly one of them.

We have a responsibility to the employed and the unemployed alike. Were we to gauge our entire economic policy only with the goal of higher employment, we would be negligent on a number of other fronts. Economic experience in this country and in many others has shown that too great an increase in the rate of employment could and usually does have serious repercussions on the rate of inflation.

This government remains confident that our efforts to foster the development of new industry, to allow for a fair profit on investment and to encourage the public’s dedication to free enterprise will indeed bring about economic growth and employment in Ontario.

This government’s record on job creation -- a few highlights of which were identified a little earlier in the afternoon session -- is a figure often quoted but obviously too often forgotten by the members opposite. Just once again I think the numbers bear repeating.

In 1978, 129,000 new jobs were created in this province; in 1979, 161,000 new jobs were created in this province, and during the past year more than 70,000 new jobs were created. This last figure matches up against the forecast by one of the more notable economic groups, namely the Conference Board of Canada, which said we would create only 10,000 jobs in this calendar year due to the problems of external economies.

To be sure, the opposition benches have been quiet over the decline in the unemployment rate and this government’s record on job creation. We have not heard a great deal about recently released employment figures, but then again not surprisingly; it is not a picture of gloom and doom, hence the gloom and doomers fail to mention them.

Despite the increasing numbers of employed workers in Ontario, this bill would have the government of Ontario, and again I quote, “use all available means, including public sector funds, to provide employment.” When this government is doing its utmost to control government spending, to keep the cost of government to our taxpayers at a minimum while not sacrificing the level of service, this bill would compel the hiring of individuals at taxpayers’ expense. There would be only two possible results. One, of course, is significant tax dollars diverted from equally important programs; the other is major tax increases.

For purposes of illustration, just as an example, if you take the figure of the unemployed as being something in the area of 250,000 and you assume $10,000 for each job created, you are talking about a further expenditure of some $2.5 billion -- not million. It will result in a need for increased revenue of about $300 for every man, woman and child in this province; $1,200 for a family of four, as an example. Frankly, even for the member opposite who brings forth this proposed legislation, this is idealistic and unacceptable.

Again, this bill calls for the government to establish a target date for the achievement of full employment. At this moment I would like to raise the question, just what is full employment? It is a term that means one thing to a group of politicians and yet another to a group of economists. Full employment is not zero per cent unemployment. For example -- and I have many others but I will not refer to them because of time -- there will always be individuals between jobs.

I am doubtful of the so-called beneficial effects that the setting of such a figure would cause. Certainly the establishment of priorities is within the capacity of any jurisdiction, but to establish acceptable annual levels of unemployment is to suggest that the economy of Ontario operates without interference from outside our borders.

4:10 p.m.

Let us be realistic and recognize the real world, recognize the situation as it is. We do not operate in a vacuum. We operate with the real world around us. The sooner these members start to recognize that, the sooner they will become a little more rational in their points of view.

I am not downgrading the importance of increasing employment in Ontario but simply pointing out that we are dependent on any number of factors, some of which are beyond the reach of this or any government. This government must maintain a high degree of flexibility to adapt policies to changing economic circumstances, changes which can and do occur.

I have pages of examples of government creation of employment opportunities in the last few years but time will not permit me to go through them in detail. This government’s dedication to the employment of our labour force will not be understated.

In the presentation of this bill, no doubt the opposition will charge, in its usual fashion, that we do not care for the welfare of our labour force. The record shows this could not be further from the truth. It is precisely because we, as the government, must recognize the multitude of needs arising in this province that I have raised certain questions regarding this proposed legislation.

If we were to accept this bill as drafted, we would be committing untold millions of dollars to job-creating programs. We would be involved in costly, lengthy and detailed planning of our economic future with little regard for the real world of external changes. We would establish numbers and target dates that would have little effect on the true social wellbeing of this province. As well, and as a personal aside, I think another thing this Legislature needs like a hole in the head is another standing committee.

Professional response to a remarkably similar bill passed by our neighbours to the south indicates that despite all good intentions -- and nothing is belittled in that regard -- government support of full employment would create numerous other problems in the economy and result in a greater expenditure of public funds with perhaps no decline in the rate of unemployment.

A fully responsible government -- and we are -- will do all within its power to stimulate employment and investment in the public sector. A fully responsible government will selectively intervene if and when the need arises. But to suggest that this economy should be planned and directed greatly ignores the economic reality.

The real solution to our unemployment picture is to increase investment in Ontario. This is best accomplished through the comprehensive economic policies this government has been following.

Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be back from Edmonton and to return to the Legislature to take part in some of the debates. One of the things I notice here in this Legislature is that we seem to have more than one point of view, and certainly that is good for the people of Ontario.

I support the bill that has been introduced by the honourable member, Bill 155. The bill is fairly clear and straightforward. It calls for an economic plan to be tabled, and a committee of the Legislature to be established to debate the economic structure of the province, its development and how that development will take place as far as the area of employment is concerned.

This is a philosophical matter. It is not good enough for the government or for any member of the government to rise in the Legislature and tell us how many jobs have been created this year over last year. The simple facts of the matter are that there are in excess of 300,000 unemployed people right here in our province, almost an eight per cent rate. That is an intolerable level of unemployment.

Hon. Mr. Maeck: What are the federal Liberals doing about it?

Mr. Mancini: The Minister of Revenue asked me what the federal government is doing about unemployment. I am a member of the Ontario Legislature; I have been sent here by the people of Essex South to represent their views in this chamber. If I had wanted to speak on federal matters, I would have asked them to send me to the House of Commons.

I want to tell the Minister of Revenue, who sits in the cabinet and helps the cabinet make its economic policies and assists the cabinet in dealing with the crucial issue of unemployment, it is more incumbent on him than on other members of the Legislature, because we do not have the opportunity to sit in cabinet, to say what he is going to do to reduce the unemployment level, instead of trying to do a quick shuffle and blame it on the people in Ottawa.

This government has a budget in excess of $17 billion, a tremendous budget, and what does it do? They do what my good friend the member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Sargent) said today: they lend out money to wealthy corporations like Denison for years and years at an interest-free level. That is what they do with their money, and as soon as we rise in the Legislature to say, “Let’s use some of this money to assist the unemployed, to make jobs for the unemployed,” they scorn our remarks. They should be working on plans to create jobs for the 300,000 unemployed. They should take their responsibility and shoulder it.

In order to get a good grasp of this problem of unemployment, it is not good enough just to view what they do south of the border. It is not good enough just to look and see what plans the governments have or do not have. I believe it is incumbent on us to see how they have dealt with this problem in other parts of the world.

I have looked very closely at the full employment program they have in Sweden. There they have compiled some very interesting and useful programs. The unemployment situation in Sweden runs anywhere from zero to two per cent, depending on when the figures are taken and how they are tabulated and exactly who is doing it. Anyway, they can count on a maximum of two per cent unemployment. This was achieved by government policy. The will of the government was that every person, willing and able, should have employment. We can do the same in Ontario.

It may be impossible for us to make Ontario a photocopy of Sweden. There are many obvious reasons why that cannot be done. But there are many things that can be done. When I was in Alberta this week, the striking difference I noticed between the Alberta government and the Ontario government is that they use their resources in order to expand their economy, in order to create more jobs, in order to start a trust fund for the future. We use our resources to give away to people like Denison and we get nothing back for it. They get the rights and they go away and spend the money on themselves, I take it, or on expanding their corporations, probably in other parts of the world.

4:20 p.m.

The Swedish government has used several policy vehicles to get the unemployment level down to where it is. One of those policy vehicles is the national labour market board and its employment services. Basically what they do is work with the management personnel and they decide how and when people are going to be affected by plant closures or plant shutdowns. Before the closure occurs, the government has a system in place whereby its officials move into the area, not for the sake of getting publicity or having a headline that the government is trying to assist any unemployed person, but it moves into an area for very real reasons. They find out which workers want to relocate and which workers are unable to relocate, and they have planned their employment so they can have an easy transition of workers from one job to another when a particular job is eliminated.

Also, the government allows corporations to put away approximately 15 per cent of their earnings in a fund, and if they do that they do not have to pay income tax on that portion of the money. Then, when the economy is in a downturn, the corporations can use that money to stave off layoffs, to stockpile for other considerations that are necessary to keep the unemployment level at two per cent or less.

One of the most popular programs from the industry standpoint has been Sweden’s stockpiling subsidies. Back in 1975, Sweden adopted temporary subsidies for stockpiling of manufactured goods in order to counteract employment-reducing influences from the world market. During 1975 and the first quarter of 1976 alone, more than 1,000 firms with approximately 250,000 employees applied for stockpiling assistance. The value of the stock reportedly increased during the grant period to more than $1 billion Canadian. The stockpiling grant was terminated in 1977 when Sweden’s normal economic cycle was restored. So we can see here that there is a time when stockpiling can be used for the best interest of the industry.

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

Mr. M. N. Davison: You have become an economic urban cowboy, Reno.

Mr. Mancini: The member said a lot of things like that out west, too, that did not make sense out there either, Mr. Speaker.

The Acting Speaker: You heard me say the honourable member’s time has expired, did you?

Mr. Mancini: Are you kidding?

The Acting Speaker: No. It has.

Mr. Mancini: Are you serious, Mr. Speaker? I am only halfway through my remarks.

The Acting Speaker: How can I help it if you have a 20-minute talk to give in a 10-minute period? Your time has expired.

Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I would like to close by saying the Ontario Liberal Party has put forward some statements, and also some private member’s legislation. That proposal was outlined in a press conference given by my leader on October 3, 1980. I suggest it would make very interesting reading.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I welcome a chance to speak to the New Democratic Party’s private member’s bill for a Full Employment Act for Ontario. I only wish we could have a commitment from this government that the bill will go through all of its three readings and we will start the process of economic planning for full employment in Ontario.

I am disappointed, however, that the first government member to speak on the bill takes exactly the contrary position. He says we cannot afford full employment. He says full employment causes inflation. He is adamantly opposed to planning by the government on behalf of the people of Ontario. I assume he plans his life insurance and, if he was in a small business, he would plan that, or if he was a shareholder of a large business he would expect a large business to plan its activities as well. Why the people on that side of the House do not understand the need for economic planning by government to create full employment, frankly, is beyond me.

Our Full Employment Act is intended to take the responsibility for planning the economy of Ontario out of boardrooms in London, England, Munich, New York or Pittsburgh and put the matter where it belongs, here, where the elected representatives speak for the people of Ontario.

I was disappointed as well when the Minister of Industry and Tourism came in with that self-serving series of statements this afternoon. It seems to me that when investments are made the government tries to take credit for jobs created in this province. It is about time they also took the blame when jobs are disappearing, as they are disappearing right now in Ontario, and made an undertaking to stop the rot and the deindustrialization now taking place.

The automobile investment, which he talked about so favourably, will not even make up for the loss of jobs we have experienced in that sector over the course of the last couple of years. It is about time we had a fair share of investment and jobs in the auto industry for all of North America.

The aim of our bill is simply to set our economy on the road to full employment. It says to the people of this province that a basic right of everyone in Ontario is the opportunity to earn his own way. It says to the 46,000 working people who lost their jobs this year and to those bright, young graduates who are bitterly looking for jobs right now that they have a right to expect better. They have a right to expect the government will do the job of managing our economy and will not leave it up to corporate planners to set out Ontario’s development future. It says excuses are not enough and the waiting has to end.

We New Democrats believe that full employment is not an idle dream or an empty slogan. It is a result of competent management by a government that uses its mandate from the people to promote economic rights and to work with all elements in society to realize common goals. It is not woolly-headed idealism to say that. It is a modest beginning to the kind of economic planning and reporting that has been required of the governments of the United States since the Full Employment Act was passed in 1978. This is an example of the kind of reporting that is done to Congress every year as a consequence of that.

It is the same thing as the commitment of full employment which our government in Canada and governments the world around made after the Second World War, 35 years ago. It is significant when people talk about whether full employment can be achieved that in the Social Democratic country of Austria the unemployment rate today is about 1.4 per cent. In West Germany, where a Social Democratic government has been returned, the unemployment rate is 3.4 per cent. In Sweden, where the policies are those that the Social Democrats put into operation over many years, the unemployment rate is 1.9 per cent. If we had that in Ontario, we could reduce unemployment in this province to 75,000 people from 300,000. We could do that in this province today.

We are accustomed to having our ideas stolen by the old parties, and I know the government has circulated our proposals through the civil service. We are still waiting to see any serious proposals from the government in reply. It is no real surprise to us that they steal our ideas, because they have no ideas of their own. We are also used to the government’s ruining our ideas when it steals them; so there is no surprise, for example, to hear the Minister of Industry and Tourism talk about a plan for health care. But when it came down to the dollars and cents, he was not prepared to put up a nickel to finance it.

New Democrats have produced an economic strategy that will stand the light of day. We have talked in detail about our proposals for building key sectors of the economy, and we will continue to lay those proposals out here in the Legislature and across the province. We are looking for action.

In Scarborough last month I talked about what we could do in the areas of energy conservation and alternative energy. Five thousand jobs could be created for 10 years and we could save $2.5 billion in energy costs for consumers in this province if we had a strategy for full employment.

In Sudbury I talked about what we could do in mining machinery. We could create 2,300 jobs in that area and bring $43 million of new wages to the north in direct and spinoff jobs if we had a policy for full employment in that particular sector.

What we get, however, is a government that consistently underuses its planning resources and the economic expertise at its disposal. This province is littered with opportunities to act, and it is time either the government started to act or else we put a government in its place that is prepared to commit itself to full employment for Ontario.

4:30 p.m.

I expect that government ministers will talk about what they have done with the employment development fund. I would point out to the House that the major part of that fund has gone in grants to the pulp and paper industry. We have no question about modernization being needed. However, when the industry itself and major studies of the industry indicate those government funds could have been paid for by the industry itself, we have to ask why this money is coming from us when it could have been going into reforestation and why the government refuses to table the documents it says justify the giveaways to the pulp and paper industry.

The cabinet refuses to bring its development proposals before us, and its only major initiative has not succeeded in bringing full employment. We are falling so far short it is safe to say there is no policy over there at all.

The Treasurer’s economic statements also make it clear that the government has no economic plans to offer. The Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) says he wants to talk about the good news and maintains that our provincial economy is much healthier than it seems. Healthier when we have 46,000 people on permanent layoffs? Healthier when we have had a decline of 18,000 people in manufacturing over the course of the last year? Healthier when more than 300,000 people are unemployed across the province? How can he say there is more good news than bad? The Treasurer asked the federal government to stimulate the economy and then said they should trim their deficit. The statement said nothing about the Ontario government’s economic plans except that he is looking to the federal government for leadership. Well, aren’t we all? Have we not been waiting for years? Surely there are economic brains in the government that could do better than that. Surely the people of Ontario can expect more.

It is clear to us that we will not get a better economic leadership from the province until we have a government that believes people have a right to a job and a right to expect the government will manage the economy so there is full employment. This Full Employment Act recognizes that right; it says people will have jobs, not because the government will be the employer of last resort, but because the government will make sure in the first place that it has an economic strategy that can and will create jobs.

New Democrats challenge the government to support this bill and to agree that we need to turn our economy around. I welcome the support of my colleague the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini) in saying the Liberal Party will support this bill, but of course we ask, if the Liberals support this bill, why have their federal colleagues in so many decades failed to produce any adequate economic plan for Canada into which the government of Ontario could fit?

If the government is going to oppose this bill, or if the government decides to block this bill, then the Conservative government led by the member for Brampton (Mr. Davis) is admitting failure. What the government is then saying is that unemployment is inevitable. We say unemployment is not inevitable; it can be avoided, it can be eliminated, we can create full employment now.

We say that, with imaginative economic leadership, the people of Ontario can earn their own way. We can plan for the future of the province and we can ensure, as the bill makes clear, that every person who seeks work in the province will have the right to paid adequate work. That is the goal of the New Democrats.

Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to address this House today on a subject of great concern to all members, namely, the economic goals of this government, particularly as they embrace job creation and full employment.

I begin by stating that I find much of what is contained in the bill before us today somewhat redundant. The member for Dovercourt (Mr. Lupusella) and the party he represents appear to be reminding this Legislature of issues to which this House and this government are clearly committed.

We in this government recognize that manpower concerns in Ontario must be given high priority. We recognize that proper manpower development and employment is of the utmost importance in ensuring a healthy and growing economy in this province in the 1980s. This recognition extends beyond a statement of policy but is translated into effective program implementation and evaluation through the various mechanisms available to this government.

The Ontario budget, a document of economic planning and review, is one such mechanism. In the budget one may find clearly stated the economic policies of manpower training, job creation and employment development fund programs designed to utilize Ontario’s vast human resources. Economic development policies for the 1980s as well as economic prospects for the coming year, issues which obviously affect employment levels and manpower activities in this province, are dealt with in depth in the document. Furthermore, a review of current and foreseeable economic trends takes place within the context of the budget discussion of these topics.

As the budget document puts forth Ontario’s economic priorities, the budget debate allows for ongoing evaluation of these government priorities and policies. The debate mechanism makes possible the continual assessment and discussion of the difficulties and problems in Ontario’s economic sphere. Indeed, the debate option provides a forum for the examination, evaluation and a judgement of programs and approaches as they relate to the goal of a healthy economic environment.

Assessment of the appropriateness and effectiveness of economic programs in this province is carried on elsewhere as well. The establishment of the Ontario Manpower Commission last spring was a clear response to the need for effective evaluation of manpower activities. Its main tasks include overseeing all of the manpower activities of the government, measuring their effectiveness in achieving results and deciding what policy and operational changes may be necessary. The mandate of the commission reflects the determination with which this government addresses manpower concerns and issues.

Recent proposals regarding the establishment of a committee of this Legislature to consider and review matters relating to plant closures are a further indication of the commitment of this House to the review and assessment process. Indeed, such a committee would effectively raise and address some of the difficult questions that have been brought to light by recent labour developments. I am confident and encouraged that the activity of such a committee would be productive and useful.

The proposed bill before us today raises the issue of a review process of existing programs and economic trends as they affect Ontario’s manpower resources and economic policies. I hope I have made clear my belief that such a review is possible within the mechanisms and frameworks already in place in this assembly. The very fact that these channels for discussion and evaluation are available to us reflects our commitment to economic development and the achievement of manpower goals. To suggest another review mechanism would appear to me to be both redundant and unnecessary.

The problem of unemployment is one that is facing many of the industrialized nations of the western world. Unemployment in Ontario is still at a level that this government considers unacceptable. In response, we have set up programs to create new jobs and deal with the impact of unemployment on the citizens of this province. I am convinced that a close look at the job creation record of this government would leave little doubt in anyone’s mind regarding constructive efforts to deal with the unemployment problem.

One real solution to the problem of unemployment is to encourage job growth in the vital sectors of Ontario’s economy. To this end, this government has created more than 70,000 new jobs thus far this year alone. Through employment development fund grants totalling $149 million, 30,000 jobs have been protected or newly created. The record of Ontario’s youth employment programs are equally impressive, as figures show that in 1980 more than 75,000 part-time or summer jobs were created to reduce the level of youth unemployment in Ontario.

We are proud of these efforts in the area of job creation, as we are proud of the fact that Ontario is relatively better off in terms of unemployment figures than are competing jurisdictions in the United States. Coupled with this pride, however, is the understanding that a considerable degree of responsibility for dealing with provincial economic issues lies with the federal government. Creating a healthy and growing economic environment in this province is a goal that the Ontario government shares with the Canadian government. We hope Ottawa assumes its leadership role in this area.

4:40 p.m.

To conclude, I would reiterate that the economic health of this province and a satisfactory level of employment are goals that this government works to achieve. To my mind, Ontario’s record with respect to job creation is an excellent one. Furthermore, the government has in place an effective framework through which an evaluation of current trends and programs can take place on a continual basis. Economic planning, taking into account manpower levels and economic problems, is one of the main tasks of this government and one that is addressed comprehensively.

On the basis of these points, I am confident of this government’s commitment to the manpower issues in the context of Ontario’s current economic environment. I sincerely do not believe the bill before us today would assist in dealing any more effectively with Ontario’s economic concerns.

The Acting Speaker: The member for Niagara Falls for up to six minutes.

Mr. Kerrio: Ample time, Mr. Speaker.

The Acting Speaker: You can take less.

Mr. Kerrio: Thank you very much. I rise to support the bill of the member for Dovercourt, and yet it is with a little feeling of sadness. I wonder why, at this time and in this place, with the kind of advanced technology that exists around the world, we have not been able to address ourselves to this most important of all the problems facing us.

It goes without saying that it is very discouraging to hear that government, which is charged with this responsibility, continuously trying to lay the blame at the doorstep of another level of government. I am not the least interested in what is happening on the federal scene. We are here to address ourselves to the ability of this Legislature to add some kind of strength and meaningful input to the creation of jobs.

Normally I do not agree with many of the policies put forward by the Socialists, because many times they live in a dream world. They rattle their sabres.

Mr. Laughren: They are pro-labour policies. That is why you don’t agree. Tell us about the federal Liberals.

Mr. Kerrio: I want to tell the member something about the federal scene that I happen to know. His leader happens to support Mr. Trudeau now. The member’s great Mr. Broadbent, the great Socialist leader -- now there are three in the bed: Mr. Trudeau, Mr. Davis and his Mr. Broadbent.

Mr. Cooke: What does that have to do with full employment?

Mr. Kerrio: Now that we have no difference of opinion on the federal scene, let us get back to the case at hand.

I could draw a bit of a parallel here as it relates to the education system. There were those who were very disappointed that people entering college were very sadly lacking in their ability to express themselves and they should take remedial courses in English. There is no way the government could agree with that, because it would certainly be an admission of failure of the system they created to teach our young people.

Mr. Laughren: It’s your system.

Mr. Kerrio: Those kinds of interjections are great, and I could put up with a reasonable number, but with six minutes and about three minutes of interjections, Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask you if you couldn’t get that clown to keep quiet.

The Acting Speaker: You had about one minute of interjections of your own, as I recall it.

Mr. Kerrio: That’s right, Mr. Speaker. I am prepared to give them equal time, but I do not want them to take right over.

In any event, I compare the performance of this government with that simile I have drawn here about the education system. It is disgraceful that it should exist at this time and yet not be willing to support legislation that would address itself at least to putting this government in the direction of full employment.

There are so many aspects that the government has in its complete control that it is always a disappointment to hear members of the government party -- especially the ministers -- stand in their places and direct criticism towards the federal government as though they are clean and scot-free of the responsibility of doing something meaningful within this province, within their own jurisdiction.

I refer to such things as developing the full hydraulic potential of Ontario. We could put into place some 10,000 to 12,000 megawatts of hydraulic power, something that Quebec has seen fit to do in the James Bay project. Ten or 15 years down the line, they are going to have cheap, clean and very competitive power and we are going to be sitting here with our nuclear plants creating more waste and creating a greater problem than we have ever had before in the history of this province.

The list is long and growing of things that this government could have taken on itself to do together with the private sector -- not to socialize this province of ours but together with the private sector, the thing that made this nation possible -- to have a real commitment to full employment which would augur well for all of the people of Ontario.

The Acting Speaker: The member for Dovercourt for two minutes.

Mr. Lupusella: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. In those two minutes, I would just like to say that by defeating this bill the Conservatives are killing the dream of more than 300,000 people who would like to have jobs now to meet their economic, social and human needs. By killing this bill, the government is withholding economic opportunities for our children and the young people of our province.

I would like to emphasize again the real content of the bill. The bill requires the Treasurer of Ontario to table in the Legislative Assembly an economic report setting out the plan of the government of Ontario for economic development and the achievement of full employment. It is disgraceful to have heard from the member for Sault Ste. Marie (Mr. Ramsay) that economic plans are priorities for this government. The main reason why the government is not willing to establish a committee of the Legislature or to make public its economic plan to this Legislature is that it is afraid of its record and it is vulnerable in its economic issues.

The government does not have any plan because otherwise they would be pleased to hear from the New Democratic Party. It is a goal that can be easily achieved because, through a committee of the Legislature, we can give our economic expertise. I say that to this government, which is bankrupt of ideas and which will be the cause of more unemployment if certain economic measures are not taken into consideration now.

The bill also establishes a standing committee of the Legislative Assembly, to be known as the standing committee on economic development, to evaluate the state of the economy, to monitor the economic development of the province, to assess the progress of the government of Ontario towards achieving full employment and to investigate problems in the economy.

This is the goal of the New Democratic Party. This is what the Progressive Conservative government is rejecting today.

The Acting Speaker: The time for debating this item has now been completed.


Mr. Eaton moved second reading of Bill 159, An Act respecting the Licensing and Inspection of Amusement Rides in Ontario.

Mr. Eaton: Mr. Speaker, I am focusing attention on this particular issue today through this bill because of an accident that occurred in my constituency at Summerfest this past summer in the village of Komoka. The accident was due to some kind of a mechanical failure and, like most accidents, it may have been one that could have been avoided. Fortunately in this case there was no loss of life and, in fact, there was only one minor injury.

4:50 p.m.

There was also an accident at the Canadian National Exhibition, where an attendant was killed when he apparently stepped into the path of one of the rotating cars on a ride. There was also a smashup on the roller coaster there this year, in which some 20 people were shaken up or slightly injured. Once again there was an indication that this might have been due to some human error.

It seems a shame that these accidents have to happen. I cannot imagine anything more tragic and needless than the consequences of an accident that occurs in a situation where a person’s only goal is a few minutes of fun. That is what concerns my constituents. It concerns me too. In fact, I would say that every one of us in this House has an interest in the 100 per cent safe operation of outdoor amusement rides.

There are approximately 40 or 50 companies in Ontario operating outdoor amusement rides. They range from some small, one-ride operators, some who have a few and who set up Ferris wheels and maybe a few rides at shopping centres and small country fairs, to those big operators at events like the CNE or larger fairs like the Western Fair or the Ottawa Winter Fair.

We are pioneers in many areas of occupational health and safety. Our legislation is superior, I guess, to most of the laws in this country for ensuring a safe environment for labouring men and women. But when they seek a few minutes of recreation on a midway ride, we leave their safety to fate. We accept responsibility for safety in many other areas. For example, automobile safety is a provincial government responsibility; so are other things, like the operation of fixed conveyances such as ski tows.

I am sure any member in this House could easily list half a dozen areas where we have made it compulsory for operators to do everything humanly possible to ensure that no citizens of this province will be injured or killed.

Let me describe the current status of inspection and regulation in this province -- and please bear with me, because it is a complex situation. I am not sure I have been able to get the whole picture, but it goes something like this: To the best of my knowledge, Ontario Hydro inspects midway installations all over the province to ensure the electrical systems are in good shape. This is done despite the fact that many operators use diesel generators to produce their own power.

Also, I am informed by some of the operators of the fairs that one might have an inspection in one area on the electrical units by Ontario Hydro but, if they go into another area and Ontario Hydro inspects it, there might be a slightly different application of the rules. Midway operators tell me that a branch of our Ministry of Labour inspects pressure tanks for safety whenever they are used.

Beyond that, we leave it to the municipalities. That may be fine in Toronto or other large municipalities. The rides at the CNE are checked by a team of structural steel experts from the city of Toronto building department. They provide constant supervision all the time the CNE midway is in operation. They check the rides at the time of setup, which is particularly important, and they continue to monitor them throughout the period of the operation. I was informed by the CNE in a meeting yesterday that they are billed $36,000 for that inspection service. The rides are constantly checked for the soundness of the structural elements, and they look at things like hydraulic pumps to make sure the seals are unbroken. Overhead rides, like the CNE’s Alpine Way, are classified in the same category as ski tows. In this province they are checked by the provincial inspectors -- which is kind of ironic. That is Toronto; it is a city with a large staff of building inspectors on the payroll at all times.

A somewhat different safety picture emerges at places like the Western Fair, which takes place every September in London. In that case, the fair itself hires a midway mechanic to do the job of safety inspection, full-time for the duration of the fair.

Then we come to places like our little Summerfest in Komoka. The small municipalities host fairs and carnivals every summer. Who inspects them? The answer to that is anybody’s guess. On a statistical basis, the safety record of amusement rides is excellent. I think these are figures based on the United States experience because, from what I could find, we do not have records on the Canadian situation. Even the insurance companies which insure carnival operators do not classify their midway rides separately and so do not have a record. But everyone hears about the accidents that do occur; they are big news. Surely this government has the responsibility of ensuring that every operator, in even the most remote reaches of this province, makes a complete and total commitment to safety.

From what I have said so far about inspection practices in Ontario, one can see that people in the cities are better served than are people in rural municipalities and small towns. This is because cities have larger staffs of municipal employees and more comprehensive legal requirements.

The policy of this government is to encourage the municipalities to license amusement rides operating in their jurisdiction. The technical standards branch of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations has developed a model bylaw covering this subject. I would like to review the provisions of that model bylaw and, as I do, I would like to ask the honourable members here in this House to think of small towns and rural areas that have fairs and so on operating.

The opening section of the bylaw is basically the descriptions. The second section reads: “No person shall operate or permit to be operated an amusement ride without a licence issued by a licensing authority or bylaw enforcement officer.” Many municipalities do not have those.

Section 3 describes the necessary information for application forms. It includes a provision that the ride has been “maintained, repaired, inspected, tested by persons who are qualified.” The same section would require rides to be operated in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, the Canadian Standards Association Midway Safety Code or any other similar code acceptable to the licensing officer. Section 3 would also require that the rides be assembled and operated by qualified people. It does not, however, help our municipalities by stating expressly what constitutes suitable qualifications.

Liability insurance is a key to this model bylaw. One provision insists that the operator give information about the amount of insurance coverage he carries as well as the policy number, name, insurer and expiry date. I think this is good, if he has any insurance, because the insurance companies are going to put a little pressure on him to make sure things are safe too. However, it is not required unless that municipality has it, and I know many of the small fairs do not even check themselves to see whether they have it, when someone comes in to set up their rides.

Section 5 of the bylaw suggests the requirement that licencees comply with all orders of the bylaw enforcement officer. It also suggests that the municipality demand an undertaking from the licensee which would “save the municipality harmless from any liability resulting from the operation or the cessation of the operation by a bylaw enforcement officer.”

Briefly, in another section, the model bylaw would require licensees to report any change in insurance coverage. It would also require a copy of the CSA Midway Safety Code or an equivalent code to be available and suitable barricades to be placed around the equipment -- the public should not have access to areas around that equipment. It also calls for notification of each application to the traffic and fire departments and Ontario Hydro.

Finally, there is a penalty section for noncompliance.

Basically, it is a good bylaw. I would like to see it in use right across this province from one end to the other. However, many small municipalities are not equipped with the staff to carry out the enforcement of this bylaw. In meetings over the past couple of years, the Municipal Liaison Committee and the municipalities themselves have asked us to use our powers to either carry out province-wide inspections or else require, by legislation, that all carnival ride operators should possess adequate liability insurance. But the insurance itself does not prevent accidents. They also indicate they would appreciate it if the province could carry out metal fatigue tests on rides and associated equipment.

I want to emphasize that I am not accusing this industry of irresponsible behaviour. On the contrary, we have a big province and dozens of carnival operators handling literally millions of riders every year, and their accident record is very low. I had a meeting with that group yesterday and a very good discussion with the operators and people involved with the Canadian National Exhibition, the Western Fair and so on. I think they are taking many responsible steps. But then every operator is not necessarily a member of their association.

Basically, my bill calls for this government to provide for the licensing and inspection of all amusement rides in the province. This should be done in a manner consistent with the enforcement of the highest safety standards. It calls on the minister to nominate a director for the purposes of the general administration of the act, and it calls on the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea) to appoint inspectors to carry out the provisions of the act.

5 p.m.

The act mentions in section 8(2): “The minister may appoint as inspectors under the act persons nominated by the Canadian Outdoor Amusement Association.” I think they know who the qualified and responsible people are.

The Canadian Outdoor Amusement Association, or the COAA, is an industry organization of carnival operators in this country. It has been gradually gearing up to provide that inspection service. Part of the encouragement for this has come from the technical standards division of our Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I do not believe that every midway operator in this province is a member, but that could become a requirement once we had a director in place and made licensing and insurance coverage legal requirements.

In other words, I feel it is not realistic for us to lay the responsibility for midway supervision on municipal governments. I am not proposing that the provincial government hire a whole batch of inspectors; I think that runs against common sense and certainly against the policies of restraining expansion of the public service that we have carried on -- policies I am certainly firmly in favour of.

That, however, does not mean we could not step up our co-operation with the COAA and the amusement ride operators. We could assist that organization probably at little or no expense to the taxpayer until it is fully prepared to undertake province-wide inspection of midway rides. In other words, I believe that with some further help it could become the instrument of self-regulation for that industry with the province merely accepting the job of being a licensing body.

I would like to elaborate on one further point, if I may. Section 10(2) of the bill states, and I quote: “In carrying out his duties under this act, an inspector shall apply the Midway Safety Code (CSA Standard Z267-1971) and such other safety codes as are prescribed by the regulations.”

A 20-person committee has been hard at work under the auspices of the Canadian Standards Association on a comprehensive updating and revision of the Midway Safety Code. At a meeting just last month, they reviewed what they hope will be a final draft, which has been sent out to the members for their approval.

The people on this committee represent every provincial government, the Canadian Outdoor Amusement Association and the operators themselves. I am confident they have done a first-class job again. I understand that at least part of the encouragement for this updated code came from our technical standards people. They have been urging this industry to gear up for self-inspection and self-regulation for quite some time. It is my conviction that we must do more than urge municipalities to consider the option of licensing rides. We should license them ourselves and we should provide whatever help is necessary to the industry association to provide full safety inspection service.

I ask my fellow members to join with me in supporting this legislation and in working together with the industry to bring about a high degree of safety to something that can be a great deal of fun for us in the province.

Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, on Friday, June 14, 1974, the Windsor Daily Star reported: “Ride Safety Measure Proposed.” I had asked the then Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, the Honourable John Clement, to act on the problem of carnival ride safety. Here we are, approximately six and a half years later, still discussing the problem.

It is a pleasure for me to speak in support of this private members’ bill providing licensing and inspecting of amusement rides in Ontario. I think that title should be turned around. It should be inspecting first and then licensing, rather than giving the licence and then deciding to inspect. However, that is a very minor matter.

I just wonder where the government was for the last six years. They have had the Windsor experience; they have had the Bob-Lo experience. Yet they sat on their haunches and refused to act, even though many children and youngsters have been hurt as a result of unsafe amusement rides.

Of course, some municipalities, among them the city of Windsor, have for some time had bylaws that require inspection of rides when they come to town. As a matter of fact, the city of Windsor has been asking the province for legislation covering regular inspection of amusement park rides since 1966. The members opposite have been asleep at the switch for 14 years. We commend the member for Middlesex (Mr. Eaton) for at least knowing that legislation should be forthcoming. He is probably the vehicle being used to introduce the legislation.

I understand the provincial cabinet promised the city of Windsor in 1973 that immediate legislation was forthcoming on safety regulations vis-à-vis the topic under discussion.

Mr. Mancini: Another broken promise.

Mr. B. Newman: That was in 1973. As the member for Essex South said, “Another broken promise.”

When I questioned the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations on this matter some years ago, he said he would look into the matter and report back. Why was there any reason to report back? The legislation was needed then. Maybe it was needed even more then than now except that the rides are more sophisticated today and, as a result, really need the inspection.

Legislation was needed, it was promised, but it is long overdue. The case is still the same today. I hope the one hour we are spending in debating this private member’s bill does lead to some results.

In 1974, I questioned the minister again about safety regulations for amusement rides in connection with an accident on Bob-Lo Island. There was some suggestion at the time that municipalities could provide for carnival ride safety by requiring carnivals to show proof that they are carrying substantial insurance. The insurance does not make the ride safe. It is the inspection that will permit the ride to be used that we are interested in.

Back in the good old days when the rides at amusement parks and carnivals were comparatively simple -- merry-go-rounds and so forth -- there was less reason for anxiety. But nowadays we have the speeding roller coasters, the Corkscrews, the Cobras, the Whips and other more sophisticated, speedy and risky contraptions.

In this connection, I would like to point out that the city of Windsor first instituted the inspection of carnival rides. On the inspections it was found that some of the machine connections were kept together with bent nails and clothes hangers. Imagine bent nails and clothes hangers as safety devices.

I again attempted to bring pressure to bear on the government on this question in the summer of 1976, when I called upon the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations to consider requiring the display of some sort of mechanical fitness or safety certificate on amusement rides in the province. I raised this matter following the year’s second serious accident on Bob-Lo Island. I still maintain that if an inspection is provided the inspection certificate should be right on the window of the cubicle from which they sell tickets to the ride so an individual going on that ride knows once and for all that ride has been inspected and is safe. But if we do have total inspection, then we hope the Ministry of Labour or the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations sees that each and every one of those rides is safe.

At that time, the minister’s response to me was to indicate that he assumed if a ride was inspected and found to be safe there would be some sort of proof given to the owner and operator. But he felt that inspection and certification would not be a provincial initiative. That was in 1978. I cannot understand why today the ministry has suddenly flipped and finds that is really necessary.

5:10 p.m.

The minister also repeated earlier statements that his ministry had prepared a model inspection bylaw and that the province did not have the expertise to train or instruct any inspectors. I can accept that they may not have had the expertise, but they certainly can buy it. There are people in the industry who know whether a ride is safe. The implication was that he was prepared to wash his hands of the whole matter.

Over the years there have been numerous accidents at amusement parks. For example, Bob-Lo had a fatal accident in 1965 when a 17-year-old youth was thrown from a roller coaster ride and died three days later, never regaining consciousness. Several other people were injured in that accident. There have been other accidents involving broken fingers, broken legs, broken pelvises, abdominal injuries, lacerations and head injuries.

I have raised this question of amusement ride safety on numerous occasions on the floor of the Legislature; unfortunately I never got support from the government benches. I am awfully pleased that now, in 1980, they have seen the light and realized that what I spoke to them about seven or eight years ago had to come to pass.

I would like to cite an instance involving two young women injured on a roller coaster. Following my inquiries about the case, the minister wrote me stating that the equipment was found to be in good condition and the injured employees “did not fasten their seatbelts.” However, I was informed at the time of the accident that there were no seat belts, so how could they have fastened them? After the accident the employees worked all night to install seatbelts and to fix everything that was needed.

I had written a letter to the minister asking him to give me a report of their inspection of the ride; it was never forthcoming. What does it take to bring in legislation? How many more back injuries or worse are to occur?

There was another young lady at Bob-Lo who had an accident on one of the rides back in 1976. She was thrown from a car on the roller coaster when her seatbelt opened up. Apparently the car had been going approximately -- from the report -- 50 miles an hour at the time.

The Deputy Speaker: The honourable member’s time has now expired.

Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, rather than go into any more comments concerning the various accidents that have taken place, I would like to mention that the operators of the Bob-Lo amusement park are new operators. As a result, they have changed completely and rides are being inspected.

Mr. M. Davidson: Mr. Speaker, I rise to support the bill put forward by the member for Middlesex. I look upon it as being a companion bill to the piece of legislation I introduced in June of this year, An Act to license and regulate Go-Cart Tracks. I introduced it primarily for the same reasons the member for Middlesex has brought forward this bill.

It is most unfortunate, however, that in both instances it took an accident to bring us to look very seriously at the way entertainment both for children and adults in this province has been monitored and inspected over the years.

The member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. B. Newman) has indicated that he and others in this House have raised this issue over a number of years. I suspect that is true, and I know there have been a considerable number of accidents. Even though the member for Middlesex says it is a low accident rate, I think if he checks the record across the country, he will find there have probably been far more accidents occur through midway operations than we anticipate or consider.

I do not know whether the member for Middlesex saw this on television, but approximately a month ago the program 20-20 did a program relating to problems within carnival operations. This was primarily in the United States, but I am quite sure many of the problems there are applicable to what takes place in Canada and in Ontario. During the course of that program they travelled with an inspector who worked for one of the states that have this type of legislation already in effect. They toured around the country and visited the varied carnivals. The inspector’s role in the program was to try to locate rides that were defective and to show through the television medium the kinds of operations that were being carried out and the kinds of rides people were taking part in.

It was interesting to see that in one carnival there was a giant Ferris wheel. This fellow stood there watching it go around for a few moments and then watched them trying to stop it. He pointed out, “There is something wrong with that Ferris wheel over there.” The TV crew went over and the inspector, who I believe was from the state of Maryland, said, “You have no brakes on this Ferris wheel.” The fellow said, “That is correct.” He said, “Well, how do you stop it?” He said, “I slowly put it into reverse.”

There was an instance at another carnival where they had a ride which I believe was called the Flying Scooter, or something similar, where the cars are on the ends of cables. As the ride turns, the cables swing out and you are eventually taken from a low level up to a higher level. He went around and inspected those cables, and in some cases there were only three or four strands of wire left on certain of the cables holding the scooters in position.

He found cases of rides where there were nails rather than the proper equipment in place, as the member for Windsor-Walkerville pointed out. On some rides where a shim was required he found, rather than a proper shim, they had inserted pieces of cardboard, such as cigarette boxes, to take up the slack or play in certain parts of the machinery. A bill such as this not only should be looked upon as one that should be passed in the Legislature today or, it is to be hoped, this fall, but it also makes one wonder why there has been reluctance on the part of the government to bring in legislation similar to this going back to the time when the member for Windsor-Walkerville raised these very issues.

This may be something new to the member for Middlesex, but it is not new to the government he represents. I am quite sure the member is sincere in wanting to see this kind of legislation put forward. As the member for Middlesex pointed out, the Canadian National Exhibition, being the kind of operation it is, probably has the best inspection system in the province. Even with that, if one goes back to the CNE that just finished, there were two or three accidents this year in which people were injured on midway rides and which were reported in the paper and on the television news. Those accidents indicate that, even with proper inspection -- if it can be called that; I was not aware who did the inspection, but the honourable member tells me it was the city of Toronto -- perhaps the inspectors being used for that are not as highly trained as they should be.

5:20 p.m.

Under the existing legislation there is a place where the municipality is responsible for bylaws or whatever to enforce certain inspections within the midway operations that come to the municipality. But, as the member points out, very few municipalities have implemented that type of bylaw and few could carry out the kind of inspection put forward in this piece of legislation today.

For example, how would a bylaw enforcement officer know what to look for when he went to inspect a midway ride? He would have no idea unless he had been trained. I know of no municipality that would put someone on the payroll simply for that purpose, given that each municipality might get one or two midways going through each year. So I am quite sure they do not carry out the kind of enforcement that takes place.

I am not as sure as is the member of Middlesex that all operators of amusement rides in Ontario are responsible people. I believe in some cases there are irresponsible operators.

Mr. Eaton: The responsible ones are in the majority.

Mr. M. Davidson: The member may be right that they are a majority, but I believe there to be irresponsible operators in this province who will get away with, or attempt to get away with, whatever they can in order to make their own profit from the operation greater. From the moneys they make on these rides, they do not even attempt to put back any part of that profit into maintenance of the machines that operate the rides. I think it is time someone looked at that and determined how, why and what should take place.

I think the member’s bill is a good bill. I have a couple of questions he can answer when he has a few moments. I am not disturbed, but it bothers me that under section 4 he would want the appeal to go to a judge of the county or the district court if a licence is turned down. I wonder why he would not have the appeal go to the Commercial Registration Appeal Tribunal under the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations. That is one area.

Secondly, it is in the bill that the ministry shall appoint inspectors under the act from the Canadian Outdoor Amusement Association. I agree these are the people who probably have the best knowledge as to how a midway ride should operate and where the deficiencies in that ride may be, but I am not at all certain they should be appointed. I think basically they should be hired through the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations and work directly for the ministry. In my view that would give them more authority and would probably make for a better inspection of the operations of the midway ride.

Other than that, having looked at the bill, I find it is basically compatible with the bill I have moved, Bill 95. I think the intent of both bills is to make for a much safer participation in what we call good fun for the people in Ontario, adults and primarily children.

In my own riding this summer, we had a downtown midway on the main street. A young fellow, about five years of age, suffered a severe gash across his head because there was a defect in the ride and the seat he was in tilted. I believe if proper inspection had taken place on that ride, that kind of accident would not have happened and the young boy would not have been injured.

The Deputy Speaker: The honourable member’s time has now expired.

Mr. M. Davidson: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

I congratulate the member for Middlesex for bringing in this legislation. I can assure him I am prepared to support it.

Mr. J. Johnson: Mr. Speaker, I am happy to rise in full support of this bill entitled the Amusement Ride Safety Act, which has been proposed by my colleague the member for Middlesex.

As many honourable members realize, I represent a riding that is unique. It is almost entirely rural, and urban centres are quite modest in size. The largest municipality has fewer than 7,000 population. In Wellington-Dufferin-Peel we have many smaller towns, villages and hamlets. They nearly all have fall fairs and summer carnivals, and what fair or carnival would be complete without a midway and amusement rides? This year alone there were over a dozen fairs in or adjacent to my riding, all with amusement rides, and I am sure they provided pleasant entertainment for many thousands of children from the nearby communities.

But I wonder how many parents realize they are gambling with fate by allowing their children to patronize these rides when they have no assurance that they are completely safe or that they have been inspected and certified safe. Quite frankly, I don’t think you could find qualified inspectors with the expertise to inspect and certify amusement rides in every small community in my riding or in most areas of rural Ontario. The questions then are, who will make the inspections and what qualifications does the inspector require?

I have been a life-long resident of my area, and I have worked with many of the very fine men and women in municipal offices over the years. They do a tremendous job really. I have a great deal of confidence in them, as I do in the men and women I deal with in this government; but in spite of the best intentions, I don’t think it is fair to expect them to be able to do a proper job of inspecting amusement rides. I have to admit I had not given much thought to this area until this bill was brought to my attention by Mr. Eaton.

I would like to correct the member for Windsor-Walkerville. The member mentioned that the member for Middlesex was being used as a vehicle to introduce this bill for the government. I think if members know the member for Middlesex, they will realize he is no vehicle for anyone, and he does his own thing.

I was somewhat surprised to learn that Ontario is almost alone among the provinces of Canada in not having some sort of mandatory provincial licensing and inspection. Alberta is a good example. I understand that from the point of view of the operators themselves, it is regarded as an ideal situation. What they did in Alberta in 1974 was to declare by order in council that an amusement ride is a fixed conveyance under the terms of the Elevators and Fixed Conveyances Act. The same people who inspect elevators and ski lifts also inspect the midway rides. They enforce the Canadian Standards Association’s midway safety code.

I am happy to hear my colleague from Middlesex explain that is not what he has in mind for Ontario. We have done a remarkable job with the concept of industry self-regulation. I think we are a leader among jurisdictions in that way. In one sense I suppose it is kind of tough to imagine the transient carnival operators policing themselves with the same regularity as the insurance industry, for example; but that is probably just a prejudice.

I share my colleague’s confidence in the ability of the Canadian Outdoor Amusement Association. In particular, I feel this way because the organization originally got under way at the urging of this government. I believe it had been the intention of our technical standards branch to help it along until the time came for it to undertake the responsibility of becoming the watchdog for the industry.

At present in Ontario there is much confusion in the area of amusement ride inspection. One of the industry spokesmen has gone so far as to call it a dog’s breakfast. We have every reason to consider the operators’ interests as well as our own. They are good taxpaying citizens. They provide a service that is certainly appreciated. As I have mentioned previously, I know that at many small fairs that take place in my riding each year, the people get a big kick out of the rides.

However, as I mentioned earlier, I certainly would not want to saddle the municipal offices with the job of inspecting them. I am sure this is something the operators could do themselves through the expertise of their own association and in compliance with provincial regulations and laws.

Therefore, I firmly believe legislation is needed to ensure that the people, especially the younger children who frequent these amusement rides, are protected, and that someone has inspected the rides, assumed the responsibility of certifying them safe and has so indicated.

A comparison could be made to elevators. I think the majority of us take the safety of elevators for granted. When we step into an elevator we have complete confidence that the elevator is safe, that someone has inspected it and certified it as so. It should be the same with amusement rides.

5:30 p.m.

We owe it to the children of this province to provide that same degree of safety and to their parents to provide that same degree of security. We can achieve that degree of safety and security through this bill before us today. The bill has three main points: to provide for the licensing and inspection of amusement rides in Ontario, to require that all amusement rides be licensed, and to make it an offence not to have them licensed or to operate them in an unsafe condition.

If the members support this bill, there’s an excellent chance that it will be brought into legislation in this form or in a compatible one that will achieve the principles set out in this bill. I urge all members to support the Amusement Ride Safety Act presented by the member for Middlesex.

Mr. Breithaupt: I am pleased to speak on the second reading of Bill 159. In preparing my remarks, I was interested in an article that appeared in the Washington Post on August 3, 1980, written by Michael Satchel. It developed a number of conclusions with respect to the industry within the United States so far as amusements are concerned. These were the conclusions he reached:

First, considering the millions of rides given each year at about 1,500 parks and carnivals, the industry’s safety record is fairly good, although there is room for improvement.

Second, modern amusement parks and the bigger well-run carnivals appear generally to have better safety records than the older parks and smaller marginally operated carnivals. But this does not mean a smaller travelling show is dangerous -- some have excellent safety records.

Third, no one has an accurate count of the deaths and injuries although it is known that victims are often young. Parks and carnivals downplay accidents and often try to keep details under wraps. Insurance companies and ride manufacturers ordinarily keep safety records secret.

Fourth, the accident-claim statistics from two large insurance companies show there are on average about 10 deaths per year on rides and some 6,000 to 8,000 injuries of various sorts.

Fifth, lives could be saved and accidents prevented with better training of ride operators and with mandatory nationwide safety inspections. Only 16 states currently inspect amusement rides.

Finally, safety could be enhanced if the industry adopted voluntary nationwide standards for ride manufacture, maintenance and operation.

This is an interesting result from the study the Washington Post did. It went on to say that although accidents have occurred when lapbelts failed or door catches broke or operators ran the attractions haphazardly, it’s also clear that some victims at least have contributed to their own deaths by jumping on or off moving rides or committing various other foolish acts.

Virtually all the amusement ride operators insist the biggest single cause of accidents is the patrons themselves, followed by operator error, then equipment malfunction due to poor maintenance or design.

We have heard this afternoon certain comments about accidents that have unfortunately happened. One in his own area led the member for Middlesex to bring in this bill. I suppose that if the figures of 10 deaths and 6,000 to 8,000 injuries per year is appropriate to the United States, then perhaps one tenth of that figure would be expected as the Canadian result.

We have seen a death on occasion, and certainly a number of injuries have resulted from the operation of these various kinds of equipment. I am sure the proportion of responsibility between the individual himself or herself on occasion as well as some operator error or problems in the equipment would be the same in Ontario as the relationship in the United States.

I understand there are some 500 pieces of equipment that fall into this category, that they operate generally over about a three-month time span within the summer months. The Canadian Outdoor Amusement Association has two inspectors and I presume these are the kinds of persons referred to in section 8 of the bill as individuals who are qualified and may be appointed inspectors if that does result.

I am concerned that the present circumstance of inspection and licensing is not adequate. Certainly we are aware that a variety of municipalities give licences to these various carnivals when they come into town, and I am quite convinced, as it would appear the other members who have spoken on this bill are, that the person sent out to inspect these various intricate pieces of machinery will likely have very little knowledge as to what he or she may be looking for.

But I suppose a licence fee is paid and surely, if the inspection is going to result now from some kind of a central organization and review, then that fee should not be paid twice. If these various pieces of equipment are going to be thoroughly inspected, and of course the costs are going to be paid eventually by the public no matter what happens, I think it is appropriate not only that qualified people do the inspecting but also that this past experience of having fees charged and services unevenly performed by the building inspector, someone from the fire department or whoever it might be with all the goodwill in the world, that system is going to have to change.

The Midway Safety Code is mentioned as the relationship in section 10. It was my understanding that a new federal safety code was coming out in this area and that code number, while it might be different, would have to be the most up-to-date code relationship we could have.

As I have said, the municipalities now charge a variety of fees, and I think it is fair to say the inspection provided is uneven at best. If this is to be a new approach in Ontario, then I see no reason why municipalities should be charging any fees if they are not providing the inspection services.

We are adding several inspectors and a director in this area, and these things of course cost money. I would hate to see the funds spent here and find that licence or other fees were being charged for by municipalities if they were not providing any services. We have to use the funds to best advantage, and it may be that a simple operation would be useful, but I do not want to see the kind of duplication that I think has occurred in the past.

As we look in this bill, it is true that we see a number of changes that could occur, and I only regret that this has not been brought in as a piece of government legislation. It is clear from the comments made by my colleague the member for Windsor-Walkerville that his interests and concerns about this whole theme of safety have had a dozen or 14 years in the history of this Legislature.

If the bill proceeds to the committee stage, I hope there will be an opportunity for representatives of the Canadian Outdoor Amusement Association and individuals responsible for licensing and inspection from the municipalities where these larger amusement parks are located, such as the Bob-Lo park and the Canadian National Exhibition, to come before the committee to make sure that what we are doing here is not duplicating resources and fees.

If we are to set up this kind of an organization, small though it may be but expert, then we want to ensure that we are getting the best value for money. I do not know where we are going to get the qualified inspectors but it may be, as this bill proceeds to the committee stage, that the member will have some suggestions for us about that and about what the cost will be.

The charges municipalities make may have to be something in the past if these funds are all going to be used to maintain an expert organization rather than the uneven inspection we have had in the past, and any of these new licensing costs set out in the regulations that can be made if this bill is successful are going to cost somebody some money.

I hope these various details may be considered if the bill goes to the committee stage. I commend the member for bringing this forth as an idea, and it is quite clear that much time has been spent on sorting out a number of the details and definitions. More work will have to be done in some of the particulars I have referred to.

5:40 p.m.

I presume that the member has brought this forward with some comment or attitude from the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I do not know whether the minister is in favour of this bill at this time, but we would be able to find that out at the committee stage. I would hope he would be in favour of it, because a common standard at a fair cost that is not a burden on the operator but is a fair replacement of municipal levies is something that may well be worthwhile. I hope the bill proceeds to committee and that we have the opportunity of looking further into the whole theme.

Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Speaker, I want to commend the member for Middlesex for bringing forward this bill to license and inspect amusement rides in Ontario and to say that in all the nine-plus years that the two of us have been present together in the Legislature I have never known this member to be so reasonable, so rational and so completely correct in everything he has said as he has been with respect to this bill. I totally agree with everything he has said, and I certainly agree with the thrust of the legislation.

The fault that we do not have such provincial legislation lies with the Conservative government, which has consistently refused to provide this kind of legislation to provide for uniform province-wide inspections and inspectors for amusement rides in our province. The member for Middlesex is entirely correct when he says, and the bill requires, that the minister should provide that province-wide inspection and should appoint provincial inspectors.

Part of the fun and the thrill for people partaking of rides in an amusement park should not be wondering if they are going to survive the ride. That is too often the case with the way rides are set up in some of the permanent amusement locations. I do not think people mind being frightened to death by a ride, since that is part of the thrill, but they do not enjoy the prospect of possibly being battered to death because of the unsafe condition of a ride.

Windsor has had a very long history of involvement in urging legislation of this type. For some 12 or 14 years, the city of Windsor has taken the matter very seriously and has provided inspection of all amusement rides that come into the city. There are no permanent amusement parks in the city of Windsor; so each one that sets up for a particular few days in connection with a particular event must be inspected.

Over the years, they have compiled a running list of some of the severe faults they have found which caused them to deny operation of a ride until they were repaired. They have found rides to be at fault, they have found connections not properly made, and they have found equipment to be faulty and held together in a very temporary way with coat hanger wire and so on which, when they found it, would cause any of the members in this House to do exactly what Windsor has done: to be appalled and shut down that operation or not to allow that operation to occur.

Over the years, the city of Windsor has taken the lead in proposing to this government, through any and all ways available, that the type of legislation that the member for Middlesex has brought forward be placed into permanent legislation by the province.

It is very frustrating for the city of Windsor to have capable amusement ride inspectors -- which they have virtually trained themselves, there being no real place where they can go out and find this expertise -- and to find themselves, as a city virtually free of accidents, located just 14 miles from the town of Amherstburg, across from which is the island on which the permanent amusement park of Bob-Lo sits, and to hear, summer after summer, of the accidents that occur in Bob-Lo mainly as a result of unsafe mechanical operation of those rides.

As this occurs each summer, it is very frustrating to think that they have the inspection in Windsor, and they do not have it in Bob-Lo. Yet when you look at the number of hours Bob-Lo runs, and the owners and operators police themselves on Bob-Lo, the people of Bob-Lo are not the worst operators in the world. I am sure they are not the worst operators in Ontario -- but a better job could be done.

If there were government inspectors in the case of a permanent amusement park, those inspections would need to be periodic over the time of the operation of that park -- not just once at the beginning of the season, but at several times throughout the year.

Turning back to Windsor, it has passed resolutions year after year and has sent them around to other municipalities for endorsement. There has been no problem with endorsement from other municipalities for the idea that the inspection be taken over by the provincial government. It has been passed several times now by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, as one of the major resolutions it has brought to the government’s attention. Very recently the matter was a topic of the Municipal Liaison Committee in its discussions with the province and at one point fairly recently they thought they had agreement from the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations that something would be done. But here we are with nothing being done.

I agree with the member for Middlesex that we have a decent model bylaw, but that is not nearly enough. There are certain bylaws which do vary from municipality to municipality. We have a great model bylaw, but few municipalities have adopted it and few municipalities have the inspectors capable of making that inspection. It is all right to have a bylaw that might do the job but, if the municipalities do not pass it or if the municipalities do not provide or purchase that inspection, it is really not worth having. That is really the situation.

We cannot really expect the various townships across Ontario in which an amusement ride will show up for a two- or three-day operation in connection with a fair or some other event to be able to have qualified inspectors who could make the proper kind of inspection. This lack is what resulted in the accidents that have occurred around the province and the feeling on the part of some of the operators that they do not have to be safe in the operation of those amusement rides.

It is way overdue that this government should have brought in this legislation. It should pass this legislation brought in by the member for Middlesex. If not, it should bring in its own legislation.

Ms. Williams: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to rise and support the initiatives being taken by my colleague the member for Middlesex in introducing this legislation for debate before the Legislature this afternoon.

There are only two things over which I take issue with him regarding this legislation. Contrary to his suggestion that it is more relevant to the rural communities of Ontario, I suggest it has equal application to the urbanized, cosmopolitan areas as well.

The second point I take issue with is that the legislation is not 14 years too late, as suggested by the member for Windsor-Walkerville, but 17 years too late in coming. This is an issue I have been concerned with for all of 17 years.

When I first was a member of the council of the then township of North York, we had to grapple with this problem. I think our municipality was the first in Ontario to endeavour to come to grips with this matter by petitioning the government to enact legislation to deal with it on a uniform basis throughout the length and breadth of the province.

Because the government did not see fit to respond to the situation back in 1963-64, the township of North York had to devise its own ways and means of coming to grips with it. We did so by evolving a policy for the safety inspection of mechanical rides operating in the shopping centres throughout what became the borough of North York. It is interesting to note that the set of requirements or criteria that we established as a council are very much mirrored in the various sections of this legislation.

5:50 p.m.

So I am delighted, in the short time available to me, to rise in support of this bill. I would like to speak in greater depth with regard thereto, but I do conclude my remarks by saying I welcome the initiatives taken by the member for Middlesex.

Mr. Eaton: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank all the members who rose in support of this legislation. I believe a good piece of legislation like this, with this kind of support from the speakers, deserves support from all the other members who perhaps were not in the House at the time the debate took place.

I would like to comment on a couple of things brought up by some of the members. The member for Cambridge raised the question of an appeal to a judge. Perhaps his suggestion of an appeal to a tribunal, or whatever, might be quite worthy of being used in the legislation.

He also somewhat questioned the appointment of people from the Canadian Outdoor Amusement Association as inspectors. As was pointed out by the member for Kitchener, there are now two people who are being used. They are very expert in the field. They are being used by the members of the association. Our basic concern is that there are a number of people who are not members of the association who are not getting that inspection.

I think these are qualified people who could be used and are very responsible in the field. They are not individuals who work for any one of the companies or anything else; they are outside of that. So there is room for using people like them who do not have to be government employees. That is basically the idea of self-regulation -- letting the people who are really concerned about it take some interest in it.

In regard to the licence fees and double licensing, I feel the regulation would mean there would just be a licence fee paid and that money could be used for inspection work and so on.

It was pointed out to me by the outdoor amusement association yesterday that in some municipalities a fee as high as $200 is charged for rides they set up and yet they still get no inspection from the municipalities. That is something that would have to be governed by the regulations.

The member for Oriole pointed out that I was more concerned about the situation in small towns. This concern is basically because the large municipalities have been able to afford and apply the inspection, to get some qualified people and to pass the bylaws, whereas in rural municipalities they have not. But the fact there is a difference in my concern for the people in small municipalities does not mean I am more concerned about one than the other. It is just that some have been able to carry it out.

I thank the members for their support and I hope we will have support for the bill in the vote.


The following members having objected by rising, a vote was not taken on Mr. Lupusella’s motion for second reading of Bill 155:

Auld, Ashe, Baetz, Belanger, Bennett, Bernier, Brunelle, Cureatz, Eaton, Henderson, Hodgson, Johnson, J., Kennedy, Lane, Maeck, McCague, McNeil, Newman, W., Norton, Parrott, Ramsay, Rotenberg, Rowe, Scrivener, Sterling, Turner, Villeneuve, Walker, Watson, Wells, Williams -- 31.


Mr. Eaton moved second reading of Bill 159, An Act respecting the Licensing and Inspection of Amusement Rides in Ontario.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for committee of the whole House.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, in indicating to the members of the House the business for next week I would first like to ask the consent of the House to stand down the estimates of the Premier (Mr. Davis) which would normally come on tonight, to be considered tomorrow morning, if that is agreeable. Then we can start the estimates of the Ministry of Northern Affairs in the House tonight. Is that agreeable to the House?

Mr. Speaker: I take it that is not a motion.

Hon. Mr. Wells: No. I would assume agreement is there. We therefore have the estimates of the Ministry of Northern Affairs beginning tonight. Tomorrow morning we will finish the Premier’s estimates.

On Monday, October 27, the estimates of the Ministry of Northern Affairs will be considered in the House.

On Tuesday, October 28, in the afternoon and evening, we will do the following bills in this order: second reading and committee of the whole House on Bill 168 and Bill 169; second reading and committee of the whole House on Bill 139 and Bill 170; committee of the whole House on Bill 172; second reading and committee of the whole House on Bill 164 and Bill 165, followed by second reading and committee of the whole House on Bill 171. Then, if any time remains, we will move to the budget debate.

On Wednesday, October 29, three committees may meet in the morning: general government, resources development and administration of justice.

On Thursday, October 30, in the afternoon, we will take private members’ ballot items 29 and 30, standing in the names of Mr. Haggerty and Mr. M. Davidson. In the evening the House will consider the report of the select committee on constitutional reform.

On Friday, October 31, the House will consider the motion for interim supply, followed by concurrences in the estimates of the Office of the Assembly, the Office of the Provincial Auditor, the Ministry of Culture and Recreation and the Ministry of Correctional Services.

The House recessed at 5:57 p.m.