The House met at 10:03 a.m.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
CORRECTIONAL SERVICES SELF-SUFFICIENCY PROGRAM
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I have a statement to make in respect of self-sufficiency. As members of the Legislature will be aware, this is traditionally the night when our younger constituents don all manner of scary costumes and go trick and treating from door to door. I am pleased to inform the House that Rideau Correctional Centre, which is down at Burritt’s Rapids south of Ottawa, has helped to make this a happy Hallowe’en night for retarded children, crippled children and children with learning disabilities at a number of facilities in eastern Ontario. On Monday a truck from Rideau distributed more than 400 pumpkins to these facilities for use in pie-making and as jack-o’-lanterns. The pumpkins were grown at Rideau as part of the ministry’s self-sufficiency program, with this particular crop having been planted to prepare land for other crop uses next year.
I regret to inform members that plans to donate over 500 of these Hallowe’en pumpkins for sale to raise funds for charities in the London area were scuttled by thieves, by pumpkin stealers, who stole 300 of the larger pumpkins cultivated by the Elgin-Middlesex Detention Centre at London. I will have more to say about this crime in just a moment.
Earlier this year, on March 25 to be exact, I informed the House of the ministry’s intention to undertake a five-year program aimed at making our institutions self-sufficient in as many areas as possible. A major target of the program was the $5-million-a-year food bill of the ministry which I felt could be pared significantly if we could become self-sufficient in the production of essential root crops and vegetables.
During the summer we predicted a saving of $183,000 for the first year. The $183,000 estimate was not quite accurate now that most of the figures are in. I am pleased to announce that we have exceeded our target significantly and have produced a saving of between $25,000 and $500,000 after only seven months. Our goal of food self-sufficiency within the next few years now appears to be attainable.
The 810 tons of potatoes produced by inmate labour at correctional institutions across the province will meet all of our potato needs and still leave us with a surplus of some 20 tons. I may say that one jail alone produced something like 500,000 potatoes. If those 500,000 potatoes were laid out end to end, and we tried this to see, it would stretch in a line from here to the airport and back. So we have now produced a fair number of potatoes.
The surplus potatoes, along with a portion of our production of some 400,000 pounds of feed corn, will be traded to the federal correctional services in exchange for turnips, cabbages and carrots to supplement our own supply of these crops, thereby eliminating the need to purchase any of these vegetables on the open market.
In order to meet other food requirements, we also raised poultry and pigs. Fresh eggs and pork are being served at many institutions at considerably reduced costs due to the production of more than 250,000 eggs and 4,300 pounds of dressed pork since we started earlier this year. Inmates tend the poultry and livestock, as well as planting, cultivating and harvesting the crops.
The success of our efforts to become self-sufficient is due to the commitment of ministry staff who have demonstrated ingenuity in developing innovative ways of reducing food costs. Members will remember that the Chatham and Barrie jails took the inmates smelt fishing. Strawberries were picked by inmates at Perth and Chatham jails and maple syrup was produced by inmates at Camp Hillsdale. Surplus smelt and strawberries were shipped to neighbouring institutions. In some instances, surplus vegetables were shared by other government facilities or nonprofit private agencies. For example, the Whitby jail provided corn to the Whitby Psychiatric Hospital and the Maplehurst Correctional Centre at Milton donated surplus beets, carrots and beans to various nonprofit social agencies.
Up at Owen Sound, the jail shared its overabundance of cucumbers with local hospitals and four nursing homes. In some instances flower beds were converted for use as vegetable gardens, as was the case at Fort Frances jail, where cabbages and lettuce were planted among the flowers. The Chatham jail converted an unused fountain on the front lawn of the jail into the only three-tiered carrot patch in Ontario.
At the outset, I mentioned the theft of 300 large pumpkins in London. These pumpkins were to have been sold by students at Saunders Secondary School, which is in London South, with the proceeds going to various local charities. I understand they did sell 225 of the smaller pumpkins which the thieves seemed to have overlooked. It is my hope that these pumpkin stealers will be captured and, if sent into our care, I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, we have in mind an appropriate job that is in keeping with our self-sufficiency program, perhaps spreading manure to produce increased production.
Our highly successful growing program has been achieved on only 442 acres of land. The size of the gardens has ranged from very small plots within jail walls to large fields on the properties of correctional centres such as Thunder Bay. We plan to double the acreage under cultivation next year and to prepare other land for use in the future, with the expectation that in the fifth year of the program, we will have 2,200 acres under cultivation. During the year we expanded our storage facilities for vegetables and additional space will be constructed during the winter. The savings have already offset the capital costs of some of the equipment utilized in the self-sufficiency program.
I am very pleased with the results of our efforts so far and I would like to take this opportunity to commend the inmates for their work and the staff of the ministry for the energy, commitment and innovation to this program which they have demonstrated.
Mr. Speaker, you may wonder what I am going to do with this pumpkin, and I wondered exactly what I should do with it. I wondered whether I should send it to the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon), who has an orange tie on today; I wondered if I should send it to the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch) with a candle in it; I wondered if I should send it to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea) because when I took the top off there was nothing in it; and I wondered if I should send it to the Premier (Mr. Davis) because it was grown in Brampton at the Ontario Correctional Institute. Finally, I decided the best place to send it is to the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson), from one pumpkin farmer to another pumpkin farmer, because today is his sixtieth birthday.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, if I might respond on this my sixtieth birthday, first, I would have to congratulate the ministry on its production, helping the self-sufficiency of our province. We do not have a hog quota. I am not sure about the egg quota, or whether the minister has sold any on the market, but we are in need of the potatoes in Ontario this year. All in all, this thirty-first day of October is a very happy day for me and I thank the honourable member for it.
Mr. Speaker: It has been suggested by the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) that I would have a tough time getting a compendium out of that statement. The Provincial Secretary for Social Development is next and the Premier is third on my list.
ALBERTA ENERGY POLICY
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, it is nice to have a member of one’s caucus who is not only polite, charming and able, but who is prepared on occasion to allow her leader to make a statement and not have to worry about upsetting anyone in the process. Does the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) understand what I am saying?
Mr. Conway: I would like to hear something about it. I think it is a disgraceful performance on a morning like this, going on about pumpkins. The Premier should be ashamed to have a government carrying on with a pumpkin mentality.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Coming from the honourable member, that is hard to believe.
I would like to comment on the statement by the Premier of Alberta last evening in response to the federal government’s budget and national energy program. My colleague the Minister of Energy was to make a statement on the national energy plan included in the federal budget. I have asked him to make that statement early next week so that I might use the opportunity this morning to offer to the people of Ontario my views on the present situation between Alberta and the government of Canada.
Let me say at the outset that three Canadian governments, the government of Mr. Trudeau elected in 1974, the Clark government elected in 1979 and the present government, have all tried unsuccessfully to reach an agreement with the government of Alberta. It is not a recent phenomenon. In the case of the Clark administration, a Prime Minister from Alberta with a minister of energy from the west, worked long and hard to reach an agreement to no avail. Obviously, we are dealing with some very fundamental issues, issues which were accurately described by Mr. Lougheed as questions of ownership.
It is my view that the nature of last night’s statement by the Premier of Alberta, while restrained and careful in some respects, is nevertheless a matter of deep regret. While no direct threat is posed to security of supply for Ontarians or Canadians, it will add a liability of $1 billion to the oil compensation fund in 1981 and $1.8 billion in 1982, based on present world prices. This will add to the national deficit and the debt load carried by all Canadians.
Quite aside from the present increases already planned for, this new compensation burden for more foreign oil would require an additional increase of $2.70 a barrel by 1982. This would, as a result of the liability created by Mr. Lougheed last evening, increase the cost to the consumers of Canada by an extra four and one half cents to five cents a gallon in 1981 beyond those increases already planned for.
The impact of last night’s statement is economic. It imparts an extra financial burden upon an already tight national economy. This burden is not being imposed on Canadians by any foreign power or by any international collapse but by a Canadian provincial government. This has been done despite one conservative estimate which places Alberta’s cumulative revenue from oil and gas from 1980 to 1990 in the $100-billion range.
It is both sad and of deep concern that one provincial government, presiding over what is the most rapidly expanding economy in the country, should respond to a continued and prolonged disagreement by imposing deep economic penalties on the working men and women, the pensioners, the businessmen and the people of Canada. I note and I respect that Alberta will not allow its actions to pose a threat to security of supply. I am pleased that there are at least some hardships which Canadians are unprepared to impose upon each other in debate over wealth.
My government has been and will continue to be consistent on the basic issues of price, supply and a division of revenues. We opposed Mr. Trudeau’s energy position of 1974-79 when it was premised on moving to world price, using excise taxes unfairly and failing to address issues of security of supply. We have maintained that position consistently to the present. We continue to believe that fair Canadian pricing and a division of revenues that respects both producers’ rights and the national economic interest must be the guiding principles of any ultimate agreement.
On emotional issues of public policy, perceptions are probably as important factors with which we must deal as the reality. Many Albertans would not believe that last night’s statement imposes hardship. Many would believe that they have suffered hardship in previous generations, hardship which must now be readdressed.
Those perceptions, along with countervailing perceptions of inflexibility and unwillingness to share held by others with respect to Alberta, are at the core of our national problem and our challenge. The issue will not be resolved by challenging perceptions of one region with those of another. The issue can be resolved by building a new perception of a fresh start. I will be telexing both the Prime Minister of this country and the Premier of our sister province of Alberta urging that they arrange to begin negotiations anew as soon as possible.
Last night the Premier of Alberta asked whether Canadians would be paying world price if the oil and gas were here in Ontario. Let me say this to him, neither in anger nor in sadness, but in a spirit of frankness and understanding: We have many wonderful resources in this province, both human and natural. Oil and gas in large quantities are not among them. Our wealth, our manufacturing, our industrial heartland is a source of envy and perhaps frustration to some. It is at the core of a feeling of alienation and regionalism for others.
I answer Mr. Lougheed’s question by saying that the record on our sharing of our wealth is clear. Ontario corporate profits, Ontario farmers’ incomes, Ontario wages have all been taxed by the national government and redistributed nationwide to advance development elsewhere to help build schools, roads and hospitals in other provinces. That is as it should be, and that is as it must be. That is what this country is all about. We will stand by that sharing view of Canada because it is the only view that will allow this nation to survive. Ontarians have nothing to be ashamed of, and much to be proud of, in terms of our net contribution to others in this nation. Ontarians have done, and will continue to do, their share. Determining what everyone’s share is must be the key element in the negotiations that should begin, in my view, immediately.
It becomes clear, even after a brief reading of the national energy program, that if the goal of self-sufficiency in crude oil for Canada is to be met by the end of this decade many bridges will have to be built across the chasms of perception which divide the various regions of this nation. It is my concern that unless bridges are built between the government of Canada and the government of Alberta in the days and weeks immediately ahead of us, the very rich energy potential of this country will not be developed for the benefit of all Canadians in a concerted, constructive and mutually supportive way. The national interest would be served at this point by reopening these negotiations as soon as possible.
The government of this province, as we all understand, has neither the authority to set oil prices nor control over oil production. However, the people of Ontario, as Canadians, have every reason to expect that the national interest will govern the ultimate resolution of this matter. They have the right to expect nothing less.
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, the Ontario youth secretariat is sponsoring the second Career Week in the province beginning Monday, November 3. Members will recall the activities that took place in their communities last year which assisted young people in learning about career choices open to them. This year similar programs are being conducted across Canada and in the United States.
Members will have received copies of the youth secretariat’s Career Week kit of informational material. It has been designed to encourage discussion and exchange of information among young people and educators, the business community, service clubs, labour and trade organizations. The kit has been distributed to educational institutions and communities throughout the province.
My parliamentary assistant, the member for Mississauga North (Mr. Jones), and I hope that many of you will be participating in Career Week events in your own constituencies. A wide range of activities, from guest speakers in the classroom to plant tours and career fairs, is taking place this week around Ontario’s theme, “Is a Career a Job?”
The Canada Employment and Immigration Commission and many other groups have worked with the youth secretariat, among them, the Ontario Secondary School Headmasters’ Association, the Ontario Teachers’ Federation and its affiliates, the Ontario School Counsellors’ Association; and the Canadian Armed Forces.
This kind of co-operative effort on behalf of our young people can only be positive and rewarding for all concerned.
NIAGARA ESCARPMENT DEVELOPMENT
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to respond to a question of privilege raised by the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) in the question that was put to me on October 20, relating to amendment number 33 to the Beaver Valley official plan.
At the time, I replied to the member that to the best of my knowledge the amendment had not appeared on my desk and that I was therefore not aware of the background to this amendment and it would hardly be appropriate for me to try to reply to the questions at that time. I then stated I would review the case to bring myself up to date on the matter and report my decision on the findings to this House.
The following day, Tuesday, I met with some of the staff of the planning wing of the Ministry of Housing who were in the final stages of processing this particular amendment as submitted to us. The staff report stated that there were 11 requests -- not three -- for referral of this amendment to the Ontario Municipal Board. On Monday the honourable member stated there were only three such requests.
As these requests all appear to have been made in good faith, I concurred with these requests and duly referred the amendment to the Ontario Municipal Board. On Tuesday afternoon I reported the position I had taken to this Legislature. On Thursday the member raised the point of order in my absence. He went on to state that I knew all about this particular amendment on the preceding Monday and thereby breached House privileges.
I can only state that my ministry receives literally hundreds of official plan amendments from all across the province of Ontario; something in the range of better than 500 per year. It may surprise the member opposite to hear that I do not read these amendments in their entirety at the time they are submitted to me. I do take the opportunity of receiving them, acknowledging them and submitting them to the ministry for referral to various other agencies and ministries in the government of Ontario to get input on the request of the municipality.
Similarly, when they come back to me we then acknowledge, if there are requests for referrals to the OMB, what we are going to do. In this particular case I did acknowledge at the time the amendment was received that 11 requests for referral of that amendment had been submitted to me, as the minister. In reality, they are submitted to the ministry, not to the minister. We acknowledge to people that their request for referral has been received, which I think is what this House would want the minister to do.
I make no apologies to this House. I took the action I thought was necessary. At the time the question was asked I was not personally aware of the amendment being reviewed within my ministry. The following day, as a result of the question, the ministry staff brought me up to date on the fact that it should be referred, and that they were going to report to me that day anyway. The member asked that I reconsider whether the plan should be referred in light of the three requests for referral that could be withdrawn. I gather he felt he could get them to withdraw. There were 11 and they appeared to be reasonable; they appeared to be in the best interest of the planning of Ontario and it was referred.
Mr. Swart: Perhaps, Mr. Speaker, you will permit me to draw another dimension of this question of privilege to your attention? I must accept the minister’s reply -- because I have to -- about not knowing about this although he had sent a letter out, but I must say that, with his light portfolio, if he cannot remember a 300-acre development on the escarpment which is somewhat similar to Cantrakon, perhaps it is time the Premier should think about a new Minister of Housing.
The real issue that I raised -- the second part of the question of privilege which was not replied to -- is this: On Monday of last week my question was about two alternatives -- the minister turning down the application -- and that issue is before the House -- or referring it to the Ontario Municipal Board. He said he didn’t know anything about it and would report on it the next day. But when he reported on it the next day no alternative was before the House because he had already referred it to the Ontario Municipal Board.
There may be many members who would have wanted to discuss these alternatives under the question. I respectfully suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, you should rule that he has violated the privileges of the members of the House in that action.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Perhaps the member should read Hansard. I made it very clear that I would review the case and report to the House. I was not indicating that I was going to take that member’s suggestion in any way, shape or form. I reviewed the case, made the decision and it has gone to the OMB, where we believe the best decision will be made -- and not by the member, because he would have the thing so buggered up we wouldn’t know what was going on.
ALBERTA ENERGY POLICY
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Premier. I welcome the Premier’s statement on the important statement made to the Alberta audience by the Premier of Alberta last night. I share the Premier’s obvious very deep concern and regret concerning that statement.
As my first question to the Premier I would like to ask whether he has yet had a chance to be informed by his staff what the implications would be for Ontario. Apart from the fact there would be an additional amount of money to be paid and a higher price for oil, what would be the implications in terms of employment and the increase in unemployment in Ontario and what would be the implications in particular for the petrochemical industry?
This industry has benefited from the fact there have been relatively higher prices for oil, especially with the Middle East war, and has benefited from the lower Canadian price compared with the price European and other competitors have had to pay. If this statement were to be implemented, as Premier Lougheed has suggested, what would be the implications for our own petrochemical industry, which might lose this very important advantage?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think it is a little early to calculate accurately because of the condition of the oil market. We have based our immediate figures on world price, so the overall impact is around $1 billion for 1981 and $1.8 billion for 1982, if the 15 per cent reduction of supply is Alberta’s target.
A lot will depend on just what prices the government of Canada must pay for spot purchases in the world market, which I am told vary substantially. On many occasions oil can be purchased at less than world price and I guess on the odd occasion above world price. At this moment I am told there is something of a surplus. I think we're looking at the potential of a 15 per cent reduction in terms of domestic supply.
I think the mathematics would be relatively simple. If we took our petrochemical industry, for instance, and if we pro rate that -- which I don’t necessarily think one need do -- it may be that the petrochemical industry will not be affected in any way, but the maximum effect would be 15 per cent, say, of their feedstock. If 15 per cent of their feedstock were increased in terms of price, balanced against the 85 per cent at what is still substantially below the competitive price in the United States, then I think one can say with real assurance that it will not impact in terms of their competitive position.
I think one must also calculate in that 15 per cent as it relates to other users of crude. Then one can fairly easily determine that the economic impact will be greater for some industries than for others.
But our concern is not just over the economic impact where we can give the member a rough idea in total dollars. I can’t give him the figures as they affect individual industries, but the net effect on the national economy is, I think, most unfortunate. It comes at a time when the national economy needs some stimulation, as the Treasurer said yesterday. It does not need this additional burden imposed upon it. But I can assure the Leader of the Opposition, particularly in the petrochemical industry, and I am just doing the mathematics as I am standing here, my guess is it will not have an adverse impact on their competitive position vis-à-vis the United States.
Mr. S. Smith: Given that the Premier is quite correct, negotiations have to go along for the next three months or so, as the Premier of Alberta in a sense signalled to the country yesterday. Would the Premier agree that when the country is facing perhaps a million unemployed and a very important balance of payments problem, to have the country forced to spend about $2 billion a year extra outside the country is really an unacceptable situation and one that cannot be imposed on the national fabric by one provincial leader without a very serious strain of that national fabric?
Would the Premier not agree, after negotiations in good faith take place, ultimately the responsibility will have to rest with the federal government to respond to this challenge and ultimately the ability to set the price will be the responsibility of the federal government?
Hon. Mr. Davis: If the honourable member is asking me to boil down the question of whether the ultimate responsibility in cases of disagreement is on the government of Canada to set the price, that is really the function of the present legislation. It is what Mr. MacEachen said on Tuesday evening, and it is the route the government of Canada must of necessity go.
I have always felt it would be far better if an agreement could be reached, but that is not the only issue. It is not just the issue of setting the price, and here we are getting into interpretations of the law, which I am always reluctant to do. I look at the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt), who is far more knowledgeable than I am. But on the assumption the Petroleum Administration Act is constitutional, then they have this right. That is not at issue.
What is at issue is the right of a province regarding this particular resource -- in that they do own the resource, about which there is no dispute -- whether or not they have the legal right to control the rate of production. And I think a number of people would argue they have the legal right, perhaps not to determine price; that is not really the issue we are faced with. The issue we are faced with, and I am sure the Leader of the Opposition senses this, is the ability of a province to control their rate of production or the rate of flow out of that particular province. That is where this issue now rests.
It would be easy to use a lot of excessive rhetoric on this occasion. It would be easy to join those who would attempt to polarize this issue, but I genuinely believe that in the interests of all of us, the rhetoric should not be subdued to the extent of not stating a point of view; rather, our efforts should be directed towards bringing the two governments to a closer form of understanding and agreement. I cannot assure the members of the House that Alberta does not have the right to reduce the supply or the production. We will not argue for a moment; we have always stated this position, as I say with some regret, if there is a disagreement, the government of Canada in our view has that responsibility and we believe they have that legislative authority. It would be far better if it could be resolved in some other fashion.
Mr. Speaker: A new question.
Mr. S. Smith: I have a supplementary. If the other party does not wish a supplementary, I do, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, the point of confusion is that the second question of the Leader of the Opposition was not supplementary to the first question.
Mr. S. Smith: I understood the Speaker accepted the question as being in order.
As my final supplementary, the announced attempt by the Premier of Alberta to start in three months’ time to control and reduce supply is clearly an attempt on his part to affect price. He is saying to Canada, “You are either going to have to ship $2 billion out of the country or you are going to have to send more money to me in Alberta.”
Given that situation, given negotiations in good faith should continue, as the Premier has telexed or will telex -- and we agree on that -- does the Premier not agree that if still no agreement can be reached, ultimately it will be the responsibility of the federal government to deal with the situation in such a manner that the country will not be forced at the decision of one provincial Premier to send billions of dollars outside at a time of crisis and unemployment?
Hon. Mr. Davis: With great respect, I already answered that. I said that in our view, if there is no agreement, the government of Canada had that responsibility. All I am pointing out to the Leader of the Opposition, and I hope he understands this, is that, while we believe they have the right and the responsibility, that does not in itself solve the problem in terms of security of supply or of the development of some of the other areas of Alberta.
I am concerned because this has a direct impact not just in terms of security, but on the economic situation here in this province. When the tar sands Syncrude plant is committed we are the beneficiaries in terms of many of the materials that are involved in the construction of that particular facility. So I think I answered the honourable member’s supplementary question. I cannot say it any more clearly. Yes. That does not necessarily solve the problem, which is what I am concerned about.
Mr. S. Smith: A question for the Minister of Health, Mr. Speaker: Will the Minister of Health tell the House what his plans are in dealing with the strike which has commenced of residents and interns? Will the minister not admit that no matter how many times this problem has been examined, the answer has always come back that those people are both students and employees, and that they do render an important and necessary service? That being the case, why would the minister not move to give these residents and interns the very same rights other hospital employees have, namely, compulsory binding arbitration, which is all they have asked for these many years?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, it has been our view all along that the best solution would be one that was mutually agreed on by the parties involved, namely, PAIRO -- the Professional Association of Interns and Residents of Ontario -- and the teaching hospitals. To that end we have tried for a number of months to keep the parties talking, most recently on Wednesday and Thursday. Starting Wednesday morning, the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Miss Stephenson) and I, along with staff of the two ministries, convened a series of meetings that in effect lasted until about one or two o’clock this morning, in an attempt to bring the parties to an agreement.
As a result of the first meeting on Monday, an offer was made by the teaching hospitals to the interns and residents to bring in voluntary binding arbitration under the Arbitrations Act, which would last for two years, recognizing that the cumulative 32 per cent increase for 1979 and 1980 was already agreed to by them and by the Ministry of Health and paid, on the condition that before June 30, 1982 -- in other words, six months before this voluntary binding arbitration offer would run out -- a task force appointed by the ministry and representative of the interns and residents, of the teaching community, of the faculties and of the public interest, would examine the issue and try to come up with a mechanism that would be satisfactory to both sides and would be binding on both and final.
I have been assured by the heads of the teaching hospitals that services are being and will be maintained, and at this point we are keeping lines of communication open with both sides and will do everything we can to try to bring them to a mutually satisfactory understanding. I think this is the best way to go about it.
Mr. S. Smith: Will the minister not admit that the offer of so-called voluntary binding arbitration was applicable only to wages and to no other question? Will he not admit, further, that the offer contained a clause which said that was only temporary? Will he not admit, further, that the offer also contained a clause which said the Teplitsky report had to be simply not referred to in any of the negotiations, in terms of what that gentleman had to say with regard to working conditions or hours of work, or things of this kind?
Will he not admit further that there are many other totally unacceptable clauses there, and would the solution not simply be to recognize the reality, which is that it is impossible to separate the fact they are, on the one hand, students and, on the other hand, service providers and necessary service providers at that? Every person in every province of Canada who has looked at that has come to that conclusion and I know this from my personal experience. Why not accept that and say for that portion that has to do with their services as opposed to their studentship they are to have binding arbitration, so that we do not have strikes in essential services?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: First, with the 32 per cent increase having been granted, I do not think this strike is necessary. Second, I believe that all doctors are essential. Third, I believe the offer made to PAIRO covered compensation and benefits. I could be wrong, but my recollection of the meeting we held Wednesday morning was that the representatives of PAIRO indicated they clearly understood that those matters relating to education were not matters on which they wanted to bargain. They are matters which are presently before the clinical education committee of the Ontario Council of Health under the chairmanship of Mr. Martin, the former Deputy Minister of Health and the former chairman of the council.
With respect, I do not think the member is reflecting what is, in fact, their position. I still believe the ultimate best solution is to bring the parties together, and I think we were very close. We will continue to do everything possible to bring them together in a matter of a few days. I should say that the kind of proposition the member proposes is not unlike what some had to say a decade ago about the question of student nurses. When we made the changes in the teaching program for the nurses, the dire predictions about removing them from the wards on a day-to-day basis never came to fruition.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary: Will the minister categorically state it is unacceptable to the Minister of Health of this province to have any move made which would reduce the interns and others in the hospital to the role of students and thus destroy their bargaining position? Will the minister categorically make that statement in order to relieve one of the basic and fundamental fears which has led to this withdrawal of services?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure what is behind the honourable member’s question, but let me say it is, of course, a condition of the licence to practise medicine in Ontario that one takes an internship. It is a condition of the granting of a certificate of a specialty licence by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario that one has a residency in an approved facility.
Mr. Renwick: I don’t need an elementary lecture about the position of a doctor in the province. This is part of the --
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Would the member like to hear the answer?
Mr. Renwick: Not the minister’s answer, but the answer to my question.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: We already knew the member did not want an answer --
Mr. Speaker: Order.
ALBERTA ENERGY POLICY
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, with the subdued rhetoric of the Premier’s statement this morning, it makes it rather difficult to get to the fundamentals of the problem with which the country is faced. I accept the gravity of the position as stated by the Premier in response to Premier Lougheed’s statement last night, but is it not time for the Premier of this province, rather than reiterating the intransigent position which he has taken for so long on this issue, to provide some initiative with respect to what is a problem between Alberta and Ontario -- certainly the major part of the burden will be borne by Ontario -- and take some other imaginative initiative to break out of the cul-de-sac that he is in, and not simply reduce his participation to sending telexes to the Premier of Alberta and the Prime Minister? Is there not another role for the Premier of this province to play at this time?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the member for Riverdale probably did not know he was going to be asking the questions for the New Democratic Party this morning and, as a result, has such a fuzzy question to ask at the outset. With great respect, I say to the member for Riverdale, either he has not been listening and paying any attention or he does not understand the issue.
There is nothing intransigent about the position of this province in terms of energy pricing. Our position has been there, it has been clear, and I think it has been reasonable. If the member disagrees with it, if he thinks we should be moving more rapidly to world price, if he disagrees with some of the positions we have taken, then will he please stand up and say so? He should not say to me, “Is there some new, imaginative approach?”
The member knows as well as I do that the issue is very simple. The issue gets down to the question of pricing and the amount of money the producing provinces are to receive vis-à-vis the companies and the government of Canada. He knows full well, in the context of the constitutional debate -- and if he does not, he should -- that no one has ever disputed ownership in terms of the resource sector. I am not disputing it. Will the member please tell me, in his own creative, imaginative way, where the position of Ontario has in any way inhibited or impeded the agreement being reached between the producing provinces and the government of Canada?
If the member is going to say that, in terms of our view of price, we desire to have a Canadian price, if he is saying the New Democratic Party has had some divine revelation since last evening and now is prepared to support the position of the producing provinces, whereby they want an even greater share of the revenues -- perhaps Mr. Blakeney called him -- then I will be delighted to hear it, because it is not what he has been saying for the past six years.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I always appreciate a lecture from the Premier on Friday morning.
Is the Premier prepared at this point to recognize the fundamental inequity of the price currently fixed by the government of Canada for oil from Alberta when compared with the world price? Leaving aside the budget statement of Mr. MacEachen a couple of nights ago, leaving aside those adjustments, the present price being paid for the conventional oil of Alberta is $16.75 a barrel. The foreign price, as fixed under the Petroleum Administration Act, is $38 per barrel at present.
Does the Premier of this province not recognize that, until he addresses that fundamental inequity and as long as he does not provide a condition precedent to the discussion of that province, he is the fundamental barrier to agreement between the government of Canada and the government of Alberta about this matter?
Hon. Mr. Davis: With great respect to the member for Riverdale, who on most occasions is reasonably logical and intelligent, the only thing I can assume from his question -- and I am sure all of us on this side of the House will be delighted to know this -- is that the new position of the New Democratic Party of Ontario is to move immediately to world price or 85 per cent of world price, which is the position of the producing provinces. That is exactly what he is saying.
If he says my position is different from that, he is quite right. I believe in a graduated approach to 75 per cent of world price. We have always said that. We have accepted the fact that it is going to happen and the fact that it is happening. I have listened to his leader and I have listened to his national leader; you have all been talking about world price. They have never agreed that the producing provinces should have “world price.” If the member is saying that today -- sure, he is on the record of May 1976 -- I say to him, he really did not do his homework to ask that question of me here this morning.
Mr. S. Smith: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The Premier has just said his position has always been to take a graduated approach towards 75 per cent of the world price. Will the Premier direct me to the portion of the document Energy Security for the Eighties: A Policy for Ontario, issued in September 1979, that had that position in it? I am having trouble finding that position.
Hon. Mr. Davis: If the honourable member has not heard me say this before, I will repeat it for him. I will say this has been a point of view. In fact, I have given credit to the Premier of Alberta, who accepted the figure of 75 per cent of world price. I thanked him for it.
I realize our pricing approach is very different from that of the opposition, which one day is world price, the next day it is that Alberta should get nothing, and the next day is world price. One never knows what their position is.
The Leader of the Opposition has been on the record for world price so many times it hurts him, and I know it hurts him. We are going to remind everybody of that.
Mr. S. Smith: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: As I have said repeatedly in this House, and the record will show, back in 1976 we said there had to be a graduated approach, gradually approaching towards -- and “towards” is the important word -- world price as world price moves. That is exactly what the Premier has just said today: a graduated approach to 75 per cent of world price. That is precisely the same proposition we put in 1976. He continues to distort that record, and I think it is about time he told the truth.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Order.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the record will show that when it comes to matters of distortion I am an amateur compared with the Leader of the Opposition.
ACTIVITIES OF RCMP
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the Attorney General from the assembly yesterday I had an opportunity to study at greater length the intervention of the Attorney General before his worship Justice of the Peace Allen yesterday. It resulted in staying the proceedings with respect to the issue of information leading to charges against two Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers. I find the statement, in some of its particulars, incredible.
Will the Attorney General answer a couple of questions? Does he not agree that the so-called inherent contradiction -- what a delightful legal phrase -- about whether crimes can be committed in the national interest does not permit him to use that as an argument for staying proceedings with respect to two citizens who want to issue process against two RCMP officers?
Will the Attorney General tell the assembly whether this is a permanent stay or what his intentions are with respect to this and other matters which may result from the intervention by the RCMP in a criminal way in the activities of citizens of this province?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I think it is important that I take a little care and time in answering this question, because I think the member for Riverdale has a basic misunderstanding as to what has occurred.
I want to make it clear that I appreciate this is a complex matter. For that reason when counsel intervened yesterday I was anxious that counsel have a prepared statement to make which in turn could be distributed. Copies were given to the justice critics in the hope that there would be no misunderstanding as to what has occurred. The 20-page statement containing the submissions of counsel have been made public as well as given to the justice critics.
First of all, it should be made clear to the members of the Legislature that the OPP investigation was carried out under the leadership and direction of a very experienced police officer who went into this matter with extreme thoroughness and care. As the statement pointed out, at all stages of the investigation he received the advice of very senior law officers of the crown. At the conclusion of his investigation, given the evidence that has been made available to date, he came to the conclusion that he did not have reasonable and probable grounds on which to lay a charge.
It was the opinion of an experienced police officer that there were not grounds that would cause an experienced police officer to have the requisite belief to lay an information. As has been pointed out, a private citizen sought to lay an information. It was the opinion of the crown law officers, in which opinion I concurred, on the basis of the investigation to date and on the broader public principles relating to prosecutorial discretion, that any prosecution would be stayed at this point. This is not a permanent stay.
As the statement indicates, one of the important issues in this matter, in my view, was what direction the federal government was giving the RCMP with respect to this issue of inherent contradiction. That issue, which first came to light in 1970, from what we have been able to learn from the federal cabinet, is whether the national security force acting in what they believed to be the national interest in relation to security matters would be invited to break the law. Of course, that is the inherent contradiction: the concept of our national police force, acting in the national interest, breaking the law of the land.
One of the crucial issues directed to the federal Solicitor General when certain information came to light recently was whether the federal government had set a policy or given direction to the RCMP at or about the time this Operation Checkmate was carried on. The response of the federal Solicitor General, quite frankly, was somewhat disappointing inasmuch as he said the very questions I was directing to him had been asked by the McDonald commission and that answers had been given to the McDonald commission but this information would not be made available to me, notwithstanding the fact we made it clear the criminal investigation must take precedence over a royal commission in these circumstances. But, at the same time, the federal Solicitor General stated that all of this information would be available not later than March 31, 1981, in view of an order in council passed by the federal cabinet just a week ago requiring a report by that date. This additional information would then be made available.
We also learned through the newspapers earlier in the week that four additional transcripts of evidence had been just released by the McDonald commission. Obviously, it was information we had sought but had not been made available to us. Of course, these transcripts will be examined with great care.
It is my view, concurring with the view of the senior law officers, that no final decision should be made in this matter until all this information is available. We have been assured by the federal government that it will be made available not later than March 31, 1981. Naturally, we would have preferred it to have been made available some time ago. But in view of that, quite apart from the decision made by experienced police officers not to lay a charge, if a private citizen were to lay a charge then the prosecution would be stayed until this additional information was available. That is relevant to any prosecution.
Mr. Speaker: Order. It took almost seven minutes for that answer. It was far closer to a statement than an answer to a direct question. We will add five minutes to the question period. I would caution members to be much crisper and more precise with both the questions and the answers.
Mr. Renwick: I accept what the Attorney General has said, that this is a temporary stay of proceedings. I want him to say categorically in this assembly that it is a temporary stay of proceedings. Why is it the statement that was made on his behalf in the court before Justice of the Peace Allen yesterday did not so state?
Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I think it is fairly clear. In any event, when we say a temporary stay of proceedings, whether it is a temporary stay or a permanent stay no decision will be made one way or the other until this additional information is made available. I cannot give an undertaking that it is not a permanent stay. All I can give is an undertaking that no decision has been made in that respect and no decision will be made in that respect until this additional information is made available.
Mr. Speaker, I would like to say with the greatest respect to you, sir, that I appreciate the difficulty of long answers, but this matter was the subject of a very carefully written, 20-page submission made to the court yesterday. The question that was raised by the member for Riverdale raised a lot of complex issues, and I do not believe that it could be properly responded to any more briefly.
PNEUMATIC TOOL HAZARDS
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Labour. Is the minister aware of the increasing use of hand-held pneumatic drills, gasoline powered chain-saws and other vibrating tools? Is the minister aware that a study of 500 foundry workers done by Mr. Don Wasserman, director of vibration studies for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in the United States, has found that 20 per cent of the employees using pneumatic impact hammers had symptoms of Raynaud’s disease -- a disease causing periodic spasms of blood vessels in the fingers which cuts off the blood supply to the fingers, which in turn causes them to become white, numb and painful? What action does the minister plan on taking to protect the health and safety of employees using such tools?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, yes, I am aware of the use of certain vibrating instruments in the work place, and I trust the member does not want to comment upon the widespread use of vibrators in society.
The issue of Raynaud’s phenomenon -- as it really is called -- has some implications. There are two categories that fall within that; there is the disease and the syndrome. The syndrome is something that can be acquired, which is what the member is talking about, and the disease has a hereditary element to it; that sometimes causes confusion.
In this province, under the Workmen’s Compensation Act, at this time such claims for a work-related problem are compensable and indeed many hundred claims are accepted on an annual basis.
From the point of view of whether I am aware of the increasing use, yes, of course there is always some increase in the type of machinery used and some vibration quality to it and we continue to monitor it.
Mr. B. Newman: Can the minister explain why, when individuals who suffer from the numbness of the fingers complain to the Workmen’s Compensation Board, they have difficulty in getting their claims accepted?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I am not sure that is so, because there were 209 persons in 1979 whose claims for permanent disability were accepted. This year, to date, there have been 108.
As I said before, I think some of the problem may arise as to whether it is Raynaud’s phenomenon related to work or whether there is a heredofamilial element to it that has been present since birth. That may cause some problems in evaluating it from the point of view of the Workmen’s Compensation Board, but there is no suggestion -- at least that I am aware of -- that the board does not accept it as a legitimate compensable injury.
BANKRUPTCY OF HAULAGE FIRMS
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure whether the Attorney General is in the House, but there was some doubt in my mind as to whether the question was really for him or the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations; so I will try it there.
Is the minister aware of the ongoing saga of Allan Fracassi and Enzo Fracassi in Hamilton, who appear to own and control Enzo Haulage and Excavation Limited, L and N Industrial Haulers and SAF Industrial Haulage of Hamilton, and who are now contracting with a number of firms, including Stelco and Dofasco in Hamilton?
Those haulage companies went into receivership in July of this year owing, among many other bills, better than $26,000 in wages plus benefits to some 30 drivers. These men have not received their money in spite of actions being commenced by the employments standards division.
These same companies now are back in business. They have made some arrangement with the receivers -- we can’t get to the bottom of it -- for their equipment, such as their floats, dumps and welding equipment. They are now undertaking exactly the same work back in the same companies. Will he tell us what we have to offer the drivers in terms of some redress to prevent such a lousy and sleazy operation to continue?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I can probably answer the question as well as my colleague. To get to the bottom of this, I am going to have to go to my federal colleague the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs. It obviously involves bankruptcy, which is in the federal sphere. I will do that for the member forthwith.
However, I would be remiss in my obligations to this House were I not to comment publicly on the fact that Canada needs a new Bankruptcy Act one hell of a lot more than it needs a new Bank Act. This has been brought to the attention of the federal government by virtually every province, not just as governments but also out in the private sector -- companies, employees, particularly the Ministry of Labour, creditors et cetera.
There was an agreement reached among federal and provincial ministers in the fall of last year in St. John’s, Newfoundland, that the new Bankruptcy Act would be brought forward in January 1980. Unfortunately that was prior to the cessation of Parliament because of the election. Incidentally, the Bankruptcy Act revisions are ready to go, because the civil servant who has been drafting them for a number of years was in the room that day and immediately flew back to Ottawa overjoyed.
We are certainly pressing the federal government for a new Bankruptcy Act, because the fundamental truth of the matter is that the present Bankruptcy Act is really no protection to anybody.
In response to the member’s question, I will get the information from the superintendent of bankruptcy in the federal sphere as rapidly as possible. For the information of all members of the House, in addition to getting it to the member for Hamilton East I will table a complete report on the matter.
Mr. Mackenzie: I am pleased that the minister has indicated the inadequacies of the federal legislation. Can I now ask him, in view of the talks that have been going on over the federal Bankruptcy Act, has this province made representation to the federal authorities that guaranteeing workers’ wages will be a priority in cases of bankruptcy? Have we made those specific recommendations? If we have not, is the minister prepared to make such recommendations to the federal authorities in a hurry?
Hon. Mr. Drea: I think the honourable member has to acknowledge that the representation this ministry has made -- indeed, made by every minister from the inception of this ministry -- has been on the conceptual points. I defer to my colleague the Minister of Labour on those specifics which touch upon his ability to enforce this legislation. He has been kind enough to tell me he has made that representation.
At the moment there appears to be a complete hiatus. As I say, the whole thrust financially is the Bank Act. The Bank Act may be important, but I would hope the Bankruptcy Act would get the same type of --
Mr. Speaker: With respect, the honourable minister is becoming repetitious.
Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Treasurer. The media are speculating from his remarks yesterday that there may be a reduction in the provincial sales tax. I suggest this is effectively causing potential purchasers of automobiles and other major consumer products to hesitate or hold off at a time when the automobile industry in particular needs all the encouragement it can get in moving inventory and attracting new orders. Can the Treasurer clarify his position and possibly elaborate on his statement of yesterday?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, obviously I cannot discuss details of a potential budget. I can say this: When questioned by the press yesterday and a month ago in Ottawa, when I made the proposal to Mr. MacEachen that there should be some kind of shared sales tax rebate program, I was asked what kinds of products I would support. The answer was that the only objective was to create employment in this province and therefore any program should be directed at those things made in this province.
While I cannot be bound by this, in that statement I did specifically say cars would not qualify, because 80 per cent of the cars sold in this province are imported from outside of the province, and 80 per cent of the cars made in the province are exported outside of the province. That reasoning still seems valid.
Mr. Peterson: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Why will the Treasurer not stand up now and publicly renounce some of the silly ideas that have been attributed to him and some he has invoked in the past, such as sales tax cuts at Christmas time when they are not necessary and, since we import a high percentage of our manufactured goods, do not stimulate production here?
The point made by the member for Sault Ste. Marie is a good one. Why will the Treasurer not stand up now and get rid of all this speculation about some of the silly ideas he has had and executed in the past, which have not worked in the past and will not work now? Why will he not just say it will not happen, and clear up all this confusion?
Hon. F. S. Miller: The honourable member has every right to say things did not work. But he should ask the people who were affected by the programs of 1975, 1978 and 1979. I would argue that the programs had a very valid economic impact. We have had studies to prove our point, and I hope the member has read them -- independent studies by groups which have the required credibility.
I suggest to the member that the purpose of any program is not necessarily to increase total sales but to bring them into a time frame where they do the most good. When the economy is likely to recover by mid-June or mid-July and yet there is the deep trough we have been in for some time, it is obviously a government’s responsibility to even up the cycle.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Is the minister aware that some citizens who reach the age of 80 are being denied automobile insurance coverage by certain companies in this province, as is a Mr. George Stevens in the city of St. Catharines, who upon reaching the age of 80 was informed that his coverage would not be renewed even though he had been accident-free for some 20 years? He received this notification a very short time before his insurance expired. Is the minister aware that this is happening in the province?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, the insurance companies have been told that practice is to cease. From time to time, an instance shows up and if the member will give me the name of the company, they will be told to cut it out.
Mr. Bradley: Yes, I will be prepared to do that.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I want to make it very plain that this is based upon there being no medical impairment. I presume no medical impairment has been reported by any physician in the matter.
Mr. Bradley: That is correct.
While I appreciate the fact that the minister will act on this particular instance, is he prepared to enact legislation or to bring about a regulation which would require that insurance companies do provide coverage to people if there is no legitimate reason for not providing it? Since we now have compulsory insurance in this province, they can take advantage of the low-risk drivers to compensate for those who might be a high risk for some reason.
Hon. Mr. Drea: First of all, just to reverse that: An 80-year-old, from an actuarial point of view, is not necessarily a high risk. In fact, that is very attractive business; an 80-year-old, because of lifestyle, tends to drive much less and does not drive under hazardous weather conditions and so forth as the member or I might.
Mr. Cunningham: That’s an insult to your caucus.
Hon. Mr. Drea: The member does not like my approach on automobile insurance?
I just want to clarify this for the Legislature. I do not need legislation or regulations in this matter. There are directives and agreements put out by the superintendent of insurance, and they are just as enforceable as legislation. They are out there and they have been accepted. There is to be no discrimination because of age. There is to be no surcharge simply because of reaching the age of 65. There may be some circumstances in individual cases and so forth, but they have to be looked at individually. If the member will give me the particulars of that, I will look into it.
There is a ruling out there that senior citizens are entitled to insurance without surcharge and, let me go further, without a mandatory medical. If one needs a mandatory medical, there are requirements under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications about eye tests. But there is no need for an automatic mandatory medical examination of senior citizens or anybody else in this province, because we have different legislation here compared with that in the United States. The physician must report at any time.
AID TO PENSIONERS
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Revenue. The administration of the seniors’ property tax grant seems to be turning out to be a disaster similar to the ministry’s home buyers’ grant of a few years ago.
Is the minister aware that more than 100,000 seniors, who have not yet received their grants and who have not been able to get through on the phones to find out what is happening, are coming to Queen’s Park in person? All the brochures give the address as Queen’s Park, Toronto, and they are being told they must go up to 77 Bloor Street West, which means another taxi or getting back on to the subway and going to some other place. Can the minister not set up an information centre in the lobby of Queen’s Park here where they could at least obtain blank application forms when they have spoiled them, and perhaps a person who could phone and find out if their applications have been received?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: Mr. Speaker, just this morning I sent over to the members of the third party an ad that will be appearing in the newspapers this weekend. That ad gives the 100,000 figure that the member is quoting; so there is no question I am very much aware of the fact that there are something like 100,000 applications that were incomplete. In other words, some of them were not signed and some of them did not contain the amount of taxes they paid or the amount of rent they paid and so on. So those people have to be contacted by the ministry, mostly by telephone if possible, if not, obviously by mail. We expect to have those processed completely by the end of November, and that should clean up all the backlog we have.
I am aware of the situation. It was drawn to my attention, I think the day before yesterday, that there are some seniors appearing here in the Legislature, at least on the first floor, and making inquiries. They obviously had to go to 77 Bloor Street West to get the attention they were requesting.
I did send over to the third party a copy of the ad that will appear in the newspaper this weekend, in which the address is now given as 77 Bloor Street West. I regret it was not put in all the other ads, rather than the Queen’s Paik address, but I guess all members should have realized by now that this is a brand-new program and some mistakes have been made in the way it has been administered. Under the circumstances, the staff have done exceedingly well in trying to administer such a massive program, and it is a very massive one. Some of the things that are appearing now will be corrected.
At the moment, I am prepared to look at the suggestion about having someone here, but I am given to understand by the people downstairs who meet these people that it is not 100,000 who are coming to the Legislature by any means. It might be eight or 10 a day. If that figure increased, perhaps we would have to look at it again. I do not like to have them appear here in the Legislature, and it really is our fault that we did not give the 77 Bloor Street address before. But we have done it in the advertising that is coming out this weekend.
Ms. Bryden: I cannot understand why there was no working copy provided to pensioners, in case they made a mistake on their form, to enable them to work things out in advance. Could it not be arranged that application forms would be available here at the front desk for those who do come down looking for another application form? Could they not also be made available to members in their constituency offices so they could give seniors another application form if they needed one?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: The only time a second application is sent out is if an affidavit is received that they have not received or have lost the original one. I think that is pretty obvious. We cannot send two or three applications out, or make them available to members or other people, simply because we could end up having two or three applications from the same person. If someone does complain they did not receive an application or if they have made a mistake and require a new one, then we do request an affidavit to that effect.
SOUTH CAYUGA LAND DRAINAGE
Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier. There were 12,000 acres of land bought in 1974 for a city of the future along the valley of the Grand River and the shores of Lake Erie, and this land is class one, two and three agricultural land.
I read a report in the Globe and Mail of October 27, 1980, which said 200 farmers in the South Cayuga area received hand-delivered letters last Friday telling them the government would start studies of water drainage in their fields in about three weeks. Is this to improve drainage for agricultural purposes?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, if the honourable member would tell me where the letters came from, I would be delighted to get the answer for him.
Mr. G. I. Miller: I will try to provide the information for the Premier.
Will the Premier consider using his agricultural code of practice and putting it under the direction of the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson)? At a time when we are importing much of our food products, particularly soybeans and corn, and energy prices are rising and definitely will affect the cost of agricultural produce, will he consider using that ministry --
Mr. Speaker: The Premier took the original question as notice and said that if the member provided him with the necessary information he would attempt to get an answer. A supplementary is something that arises out of the original question.
LIQUID INDUSTRIAL WASTE
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. Has the Premier received a telegram from the mayor of Thorold which reads as follows: “We request immediate 24-hour surveillance of the Walker Brothers landfill site by Ministry of Environment officials other than those stationed in the Niagara area, complete investigation of the site, and that all dangerous or potentially dangerous chemicals be removed as soon as possible.”
Is the Premier aware that the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Parrott) refused round-the-clock surveillance and evaded the question of complete investigation? In view of the track record of Walker Brothers which is now unfolding, will the Premier recommend to the minister that he reconsider and agree to the request of the city of Thorold?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I did receive a telex from the mayor of that great municipality. I will not say what the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) said was the content of that telex. Unfortunately, he was wrong -- abut it was a good idea anyway.
I have replied to the mayor, and I am referring it to the minister. I will be discussing it with him, and that is all I can tell the honourable member at this moment.
Mr. Gaunt: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Health. I have been informed by a supervisor of the Ontario health insurance plan that there is a serious backlog in processing OHIP premium assistance and enrolment applications, some going back as far as August, because of lack of staff, specifically OHIP clerks. Is the minister aware of that and, if so, is he prepared to do something about it?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, if the honourable member would let me know which district office or suboffice is the source of his concern, I would be glad to look into it. Yes, of course we want to keep any clerical backlogs to a minimum.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health regarding the chronic care copayments. Is the minister aware that although he told the House he had very few problems, except for the one I raised and maybe one other, there have been 19 cases that have actually gone all the way to the Social Assistance Review Board this last year, and all of them were turned down because the chairman of the board said there were no means for it not to find against somebody who is over 65?
What is the minister going to do to change this program so it is not unfair to people over 65 years of age, especially since tomorrow the rate is going up to $11.42 a day? Pensioners will have to spend approximately $4,200 a year in chronic care copayments if one of a couple is in an institution.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: First of all, Mr. Speaker, as you know, the copayment, as in the nursing homes for almost the last nine years, relates just to the income of the patient -- and we are talking about pensions. It has no bearing whatsoever on either the income or the assets, however great or small they may be, of the pensioner’s spouse or, for that matter, of the pensioner himself or herself if they have considerable assets outside of their pension income.
Second, I am aware that in a great many cases, the authority we have given under the copayment program to the hospital, which I think is under section seven, to provide additional exemptions for items such as eyeglasses and additional extraordinary expenses, is widely used. We have not changed the copayment for almost two years, except, again as with the nursing homes and the homes for the aged, due to the quarterly changes in the pension.
At the point that the $10 Gains increase was allowed and the $35 increase in the OAS-GIS, we did not eat into it in any way for the copayment. We are keeping it under review, but at this time I would say the plan is working very well.
Mr. R. F. Johnston: There is an essential difference, Mr. Speaker, between nursing homes and chronic care copayments. Would the minister please explain to this House what distinction he would make between a couple who are 64 years of age, earning up to $14,999 a year income for the family, and when one of them goes into an institution they pay no copayment fee at all in that chronic care institution, yet a couple --
Mr. Speaker: What is the question?
Mr. R. F. Johnston: The question is: Would the minister explain this difference and why he is discriminating when a couple of 65 years of age can earn only $8,000 of basic income yet they have to pay $4,000 a year in chronic copayments?
Mr. Speaker: Does the minister have a response to that?
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I think it has been explained repeatedly. We have to look at the income of the individual. If the individual has no income and is under 65, then we look at the income of the family. Recognizing that under the age of 65 a great many benefits don’t yet pertain, such as the property tax rebate, free OHIP and free drugs, we have to look at their income situation.
In 1979, we decided we would have a fairly generous exemption for those under 65 who are not on guaranteed fixed incomes from whatever source of government assistance, including much younger people with children to educate and homes to look after. I think we have gone through this many times before.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Has he finally rejected out of hand the policy statement made by the then Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Grossman) on March 30, 1978, having to do with beer advertising? In that statement the minister said as follows:
“All such advertisements must be directed towards and emphasize the nature and quality of the product being advertised and shall not imply that social acceptance, personal success, business or athletic achievement may result from the use of the product being advertised. The advertisements must not suggest the consumption of alcoholic beverages per se may be a significant factor in the realization of the enjoyment of any activity...” and so it goes.
In other words, the policy rejected lifestyle beer advertising, yet we are up to our necks in it. Would the minister not agree that although those are the best advertisements on the air, far better than the provincial advertisements for everything else, they are still leading to consumption of beer of up to 180 million gallons this year? In fact, older people now identify beer so much as the young person’s drink they are turning to booze in self defence.
Hon. Mr. Drea: No, I reject that out of hand, Mr. Speaker. Also, beer consumption in the province is dropping considerably. It was 133 litres per person two or three years ago. It is now down to 122 litres per person.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ON NOTICE PAPER
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I would like to table the answers to questions 224, 258, 340, 341, 349, 351 and 352 standing on the Notice Paper.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
EXTENSION OF INTERIM SUPPLY
Hon. F. S. Miller moved resolution 19:
That the authority of the Treasurer of Ontario granted on March 27, 1980, to pay the salaries of the civil servants and other necessary payments pending the voting of supply for the period commencing April 1, 1980, be further extended to December 31, 1980, such payments to be charged to the proper appropriation following the voting of supply.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, my colleagues and I have agonised over this and we have decided not to create a division on this matter at this time, even though it is very tempting. But I would like to take this opportunity to address a few remarks to the House.
It is an interesting time in which this supply motion has come about, with the confluence of a number of significant events in this country and in this province. We are also coming up to the estimates for the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) and we will have time to pursue in detail with the Treasurer and his staff in committee, some of the things I want to talk about briefly today.
However, I feel it is incumbent upon me to make a few remarks about some of the exchanges in the last few days between various governments and between various parties here in this House.
It was interesting last night -- sitting in my office as I was, trying to scratch down a few notes about today -- hearing through the box in my office the debate here in the House on the future of our country and the way people felt about it. Through the other ear I was listening to Premier Lougheed’s statement on the radio about the cutback in production of oil in Alberta. When the noises coming in from my ears met in the middle of my head, they left me with a lot of confusion and a lot of sadness. I am one who does not see an easy way out of this situation at the present time. I wish I could propose some magic answers to solve it. It is with a deep sense of regret that I see the thing deteriorating to the extent it has.
It is my judgement that the Premier (Mr. Davis) is obliged to use his good offices in any way he can. It is probably presumptuous of me to try to give him advice because so many of these things of this nature are solved by quiet diplomacy; they are solved between men, taking into account the various personalities. We all have our assessment of the various personalities of the players involved. The personalities are very important in politics and always will be. They are just as important, in many cases, as the issues.
I think the Premier has a major responsibility here. He has always held himself up as the defender of the consumer and low prices in Ontario. It is interesting for me today to hear him say he has already supported moving to 75 per cent of world price on a staged basis, because he may have said it to himself in a closet some morning or to his wife at some time, but that is not the perception in this province or in this country. He has worked very hard to cultivate the impression that he was absolutely against any kind of price increase whatsoever.
It was always my view that the emphasis of the Premier and government on the entire oil pricing negotiations was wrong. It was inevitable that oil prices were going to rise. We always knew that; anyone with any judgement in 1973 knew that. If governments have failed us anywhere, they have failed to recognize those events of October 15, 1973, and what they have done to the entire western economy. We are still slow to adjust and accept those realities.
With great respect, I think the Premier took the precipitate way out. He took the way out that he felt would score him the maximum political marks. I think some of his mistakes are coming home to roost now. Had he stood up in 1973, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978 or 1979, for that matter, and said clearly to the people of this country and province, “It is beyond our control. Prices are going to go up,” the entire argument and attention of this discussion would be focused on only one issue -- the distribution of those revenue moneys.
The Deputy Speaker: Order. I am just reading the motion again. I wonder if the honourable member --
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have read the motion because I am going to come, in a very devious and circuitous way, back to the point of this motion because it bears significantly on the finances of this province and interim supply.
As I know you will recall in your long experience in the chair, we have always accepted interim supply as a chance to have a free-wheeling discussion on the state of the economy and performance of the Treasury in this province. I think honourable members would agree I am entitled to a bit of latitude. The Treasurer is certainly nodding approval; either that or it is Parkinson’s disease. He is smiling anyway.
I just want to say that I think the emphasis of this province was wrong. In 1976, when I was energy critic for this party, we issued a press release stating our views of the oil-pricing situation which, as members know, cyclically runs into highly heated periods and then trails off for a while. In conjunction with my leader, we gave it a great deal of thought. We fought over it, discussed it at great length and my leader and I reached an accommodation.
I can tell the minister, we both believe in it and it stands up to the test of time. We recognize the inevitability of oil prices increasing. What should have been done was the entire attention of this government and the federal government and all other governments should have been on the revenue sharing aspect of that and who gets what.
Had the eastern bloc not been perceived as just being against higher prices, had it accepted that accommodation, then in my judgement there would have been an easier negotiation on the other end of it. In our statement in 1976 we said this: “We recognize the inevitability of higher oil prices. All of the attention should be on the distribution of those moneys. Ontario and the consuming provinces are entitled to a better share.”
It is also my judgement that the federal government does not have the right to balance the budget exclusively through resource revenue. That was the proposal of Mr. Crosbie. That is why Mr. Crosbie was so wrong with his 18-cent excise tax. He was going to use the majority of those moneys just to bring his deficit into line and of course implement a few half-baked and silly schemes such as his mortgage interest deductibility scheme.
Those moneys should be set aside in a special fund, an oil self-sufficiency fund or an energy self-sufficiency fund that goes principally to equalization, compensation for the imported oil and various other projects of which we see a kind of glimmering in the federal budget just released. They should be used for a conservation program, pipeline programs, massive megaprojects in the west for Syncrude, synthetic oil and all sorts of other things, because it is going to take literally billions -- tens of billions, hundreds of billions -- of dollars over the next couple of decades to bring about some degree of oil self-sufficiency.
I personally share that view. As a consumer I have to pay some share, and so do all the consumers in this country, but we have to make sure that money is not squandered, that money is not just going to greedy governments to fuel further the size of their deficits.
That is why I want to say I think the Premier had the wrong emphasis in the 1977 campaign when he came to London Centre. He had a little rally with all the Tory workers in London Centre, all six of them standing there, and the Premier said to them, “You just go out on the streets and tell people that David Peterson wants to put the price of oil up, and that will whip him at the polls.” It is very tough to understand the Premier’s position today in view of the things he has been saying over the past two or three years. The only thing that forces that to pale by comparison is the position of the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick), and God knows what he was talking about. However, we will sort that out at a later time and a later date.
I think the emphasis was wrong, and I think one of the reasons we do not have the national clout we used to have is partly a function of personality, because of the stupidity and selfishness of some of the positions that have been taken in the past. There was a day when this province went to Ottawa and Ottawa shivered, Ottawa listened. There were some fine personal relationships. I remember when Donald Macdonald used to issue a budget and the very day after, or that night, the former Treasurer of Ontario would stand up and say, “Here is my response. Here is what is good about it, here is what is bad about it.” They had a relationship where they could pick up the phone to each other and Ontario had a major impact on federal fiscal policy. That is not the case today and I regret that very much.
Our Treasurer goes to Ottawa, cap in hand, with an aura of gloom about him regarding the state of Ontario today as increasingly a have-not province. There is a lot of malaise in the province about that kind of thing. He comes out with some of the most juvenile, puerile, ridiculous proposals. It is no wonder we are not taken seriously. This government is trying to bridge the gap between two constituencies.
Out of one side of his mouth the Treasurer is saying, “Mr. Speaker, we must stimulate the economy in the short term, so let us have one of those marvellous sales tax cuts for a short period of time.” Out of the other, he is admonishing the federal Minister of Finance for the size of his deficit. It is so patently silly. Anyone who comes to me with that kind of advice, I dismiss out of hand. I do not have time to listen to those kinds of juvenile proposals.
It is interesting that the press is on to the Treasurer of this province. When I referred in the past to the fact that Ontario is becoming increasingly the economic pipsqueak of this country, he thought I was referring to him personally. I am referring to the lost voice in this country and I regret it. I can tell members now it has started to be obvious to a lot of people. I have been saying it for a couple of years. It is in the press every day. Read the headline of an editorial in the Ottawa Citizen on September 23, 1980, “Silly Idea From Frank Miller.” Of course, it is a silly idea.
His proposal with respect to rebates on cars last February was silly. It was silly in 1975 when the government did it in view of an election. In facing a by-election on November 20 this year it will probably do something equally silly on November 13. It is quite clear to me that what governs the fiscal and economic policy of this province is dates of elections and the perception of being in political trouble, as opposed to dealing with the real problem. At the same time, we are squandering millions of dollars on ridiculous things such as the advertising program.
I was just handed a piece of paper from research which says we have now spent about double this year on our advertising budget than we did last year. It is obvious to any of us why that has happened. It is true of the federals too, and I do not approve of that. It is a blatant and superficial and irresponsible squandering of the taxpayers’ money. I feel very strongly about that, and I see instance after instance after instance. The great problem with the government is it cannot admit it is wrong.
Let me go back to this whole land assembly business. There is not a person in this province who does not see that as monumental stupidity. Most people thought it was stupid then; everybody knows it is stupid now. Yet we do not see the capacity in government to stand up and say, “Gee, we made a mistake, we are sorry, let us do something about it.” It is the Minaki situation over and over. We lose $400,000 and then compound the evil by dumping more and more, and the situation now will be $25 million and probably will never pay.
If only we had the integrity in government to stand up and say, “We admit we lost our $400,000. We are sorry, we made a mistake and that is it,” as one would do in business, because people do make stupid decisions in business. But what distinguishes the good businessmen from the bad is their capacity to stand up and say they did make a mistake and they will cut their losses.
There is no one, the Treasurer and myself included, who has not invested in a bad deal. But in a business capacity one can stand up and say one was wrong, cut one’s losses and go on to something else. The government does not do that. The Premier stands up and defends the indefensible. The former Treasurer comes out and tries to defend the indefensible. It is the wrong approach. We go on spending, spending, spending, all at the same time.
All that is in the face of a generally perceived and factually supported decline in the Ontario economy. Our manufacturing base is under very serious threat today. The latest constitutional threat, the cutback in production, the massive amounts -- barring the resolution of this problem -- of money that are going to go to the oil equalization fund are very serious matters for this province, because we did not have the judgement when times were good to make investments in producing wealth.
Our concentration today has to be on the production of wealth and on the production of goods here in this province. If we do not do that, we are just going to postpone solving the problem further. We did not do it in the past because we always said the market would take care of itself or let us opt for some silly short-term stimulus, preferably around election time.
I think the people of this province would accept higher prices, higher taxes even -- although I am not advocating them -- if they felt that money was being husbanded and invested wisely in productive capital. There are a lot of people in this province who are very insecure about their economic futures right now. There is a general feeling of malaise, a general feeling that we are not number one any more, that we have lost our capacity to lead, that things may get worse and they are getting worse. People are having trouble balancing their own personal books and they know there are problems in the province. There is this feeling that there is no clear direction on how to handle that or no clear plan on how to solve that.
I want members to know the Liberal Party has made this a primary emphasis for the last two or three years. We have a number of specific plans we have presented to the people of the province, and we have a number we are prepared to submit in the near future for their consideration. All the while, while all this is happening, we are concerned about the next election. Cheques are going out to all the seniors, granted the thing is completely screwed up in here. Every member’s constituency office is inundated with calls from people who are confused and upset and do not know how to get their money. That is a fact. It has taken 50 to 60 per cent of my constituency office time answering phone calls.
Hon. Mrs. Birch: That is not true.
Mr. Peterson: Well, maybe they do not phone the provincial secretary because they know they will not get any results out of her office. I have no idea. But every other member in this House from whatever party I have talked to is inundated with calls on the whole senior citizen grant area right now. It was scandalous from the beginning. It is wrong now. The government has disenfranchised something like 100,000 people, all for its crass electoral purposes. If they go out and talk to people about the cynicism in government today, I can say they create it.
The Liberal Party of Ontario’s emphasis today is on two things: the creation of wealth in our province and assisting those people most in need. The millionaires, the Tories’ backbenchers, are not the people who need the help today. We want to help the disadvantaged. They are helping the advantaged, we would help the disadvantaged. That is the difference between them and us, and to do it they have created massive new administrative expenditures of $3 million.
The government has created a lot of cynicism and has cut off a lot of poor people who need it more than anybody else. It is a poor program and I am only sorry our friends to my left did not support our motion when we debated this after the budget last spring to make sure that everybody in this province was entitled to no less than he or she received under the old system.
That is a great source of regret to me personally, and I sometimes wonder, when I reflect on this, if we fought hard enough or if we did everything we could do in the circumstances. If I could have thought of any other devices we could have employed to make sure we did not disenfranchise these 100,000 or so people on the bottom end of the economic scale I would have done it, because it makes me very upset and I have a heck of a time explaining that to people who phone me. It is just a bad situation.
In the face of this decline, in the face of this malaise and in the face of this insecurity, I do not see any action from this government. I think the Treasurer is principally responsible, for two reasons: One, I think we have lost our capacity to articulate a national economic point of view, and I think we have lost our clout in Ottawa. That is not completely the Treasurer’s personal fault, although clearly some of it is his fault personally.
I think there is a very mindless arrangement of his job. In my judgement the Treasurer of this province should have responsibility for federal-provincial finances. It is not fair to the Treasurer that he has another minister, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells), to look after that section of his portfolio. We must give the Treasurer and Ministry of Treasury and Economics in this province the responsibility for federal-provincial economic affairs so that he can have some kind of lever, with some kind of clout, some kind of say over those matters.
I hope the Treasurer and his staff -- and the Premier, who will ultimately make the decision -- will look very seriously at the realignment of his job and incorporate into it enough responsibility to give him at least a chance to have a national voice. Whether he knows it or not, and I do not expect him to believe me, there are a number of people on his staff -- and civil servants do talk -- who share my disillusionment with what his ministry is doing today, who see the erosion of power of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs, who see all the powers shifting down the front bench, and who see the people and power shifting down to the end to the Ministry of Industry and Tourism in a systematic dismantling of Treasury.
I do not know if the Treasurer knows this is going on. It is obvious to all of us who are observing what is happening, and because of that, he and the Treasury do not have the confidence of a lot of people in this province today. I would say respectfully he does not have the voice at a national level that he should have, that he deserves to have by being the Treasurer of the most populous and richest province in this country.
I give these words to the Treasurer for his consideration. I know they are not particularly pleasant. I know the Treasurer is a sensitive man and I do not mean to be unkind, but these things have to be said. They are being seen now in the press. No one in politics would like to have the kind of press that the Treasury has had in the last little while, and some of it is reflecting on the Treasurer personally.
I have been, as the Treasurer will recall, quite cognizant of some of these potential trends in the last two or three years. I have articulated them and have always been dismissed. He always said: “Give me my chance. The last budget was not my budget. Let me have my own budget. I will do my own and I will stand by my own figures.” What are his figures? His figures are that his net cash requirements are now up 68 per cent over last year. Retail sales are off, revenue is off fairly dramatically, something like $70 million over forecast.
Even though the minister had a windfall last year and his cash requirements were fairly low he has opted to increase them dramatically and we are back to the billion-dollar level for net cash requirements. It is obvious he has made a political decision that he is prepared to let those run a little higher and that he is going to opt for some kind of stimulus on November 13. He is now saying, “Deficits be damned.”
Let me take the minister back to our discussions at budget time when his real net cash requirement was some $200 million lower than is shown on the piece of paper and his deficit was up 200 or 300 per cent -- I do not recall the exact figure. The minister has preflowed some expenditures from the 1979-80 year to the 1978-79 year.
Compared with last year, the economic performance and the fiscal planning of this province are very substantially out of whack and unless the minister can pull a rabbit out of his hat it is going to be a lot worse than previously anticipated. That is why it is my belief that we will not go into another election after a budget. The minister pulled all the rabbits out of his hat in the last budget. There is nothing left to do. Now it becomes a game of survival. It is a by-election budget and an election budget that he is going to present on November 13 and then we will be into an election next spring. He will hope for the best and desperately hope he does not have to present a budget to this province.
It is going to be a grim one. The taxpayers next year are going to pay for the minister’s view of the economy this year. He has used up all his options, he has used every fiscal trick he can to make himself look better and now it has deteriorated and it is going to continue to deteriorate. The minister is now facing another billion-dollar deficit or more in the next year.
The minister’s commitment to balancing the budget is about as thin as his government’s commitment to anything else. He is in favour of a balanced budget if he feels it suits his purposes politically at a particular time. Mr. McKeough felt restraint was the order of the day in 1977; therefore restraint became the order of the day. That was in the wake of the biggest deficit in the history of this province in 1975. There was a $2 billion deficit, what with the home ownership grants of $100 million, and his cutting sales tax by $400 million.
What have all the sales tax cuts done for us? Add up all the hundreds of millions he spent on sales tax cuts, and I can tell him, with hindsight, they have done nothing. At best, they stimulate a little consumption, depending on which study you read. Probably they only accelerate purchases.
As the member for Sault Ste. Marie (Mr. Ramsay) pointed out today, the minister has screwed up the whole retail business because people are waiting for a potential sales tax cut. He made a legitimate point that the minister should stand up and denounce it now and say, “It is silly, I will not do it, and I am sorry for the dumb things I have done in the past.”
The Treasurer does not understand that sometimes people do take seriously what he says. It worries them and they will make their economic plans dependent on that. Announcing this budget and the potential sales tax cut is just going to cut retail sales for the next two weeks. Anybody would be silly to go out and buy a stereo set, a car or a new suit in the next two weeks. All the minister has done in this case is deferred purchases. Even if he does not announce that sales tax cut, he has just fouled up two weeks of retailing in the prime season. We need to have as much selling right now as we possibly can to make up for a bad year for a lot of retailers.
The minister has not thought it out. I would argue that we should not be spending that money there anyway. We should be spending that money on research and development, we should have procurement policies, we should be spending money on building job-creating, high-technology companies in this province. The minister has a major responsibility and a lot of power if he wants to do that kind of thing. That is what we would do.
Mr. Speaker, I have probably gone on long enough. I did not mean to be harsh with the Treasurer and I know he is aware of what I am talking about, but I am seriously concerned. If I were him, I would only advise that we sit down and have a serious look at the whole situation; what is happening internally, externally and to himself.
He may want to go jogging tomorrow around Muskoka. Sometimes his cleverest ideas come when he is jogging and sometimes some of his stupidest ones, so possibly we can have a good one tomorrow morning and a serious briefing about the role of the Treasurer in this province and the kind of action we can have in the next two or three years to build the productive capacity.
Do not dissipate whatever limited resources we have. Spend them wisely; spend them to build and create wealth in the future; do not just dissipate them over a short-term basis for some ill-gotten electoral gain because the government will not get the electoral gain anyway; people can see through it. When all governments are short of cash, we have to husband it wisely and invest it. Most people do not resent a constructive and intelligent investment -- even though some percentage of them will be wrong -- on behalf of their children; that is a legitimate investment. Silly squandering, silly tax expenditures, silly forgoing of revenue for superficial purposes is not the answer to our economic problems now.
Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, I would like to join in the debate today and perhaps I should start by saying that even though my friend the member for London Centre regrets that we did not join with the Liberal Party on the no-confidence motion he may remember that last year he avoided voting on the budget because he was absent. I should also remind him that on 11 occasions the Liberal Party supported the government. The honourable member was absent on two occasions but on nine occasions voted with the government.
We think at that time, as now, the economic policies of the government were wrong and they are wrong because they have been following a policy of so-called fiscal restraint which is, in effect, a monetary approach to the economy of Ontario which is creating a disaster for this province.
It is not a coincidence that the Treasurer has been forced now to introduce a mini-budget and I think it is proper to ask the Treasurer what the process will be. Will he only release a statement or will there be a full debate on the mini-budget? Will the Treasurer provide the opposition parties with background paper or will he only release a statement in the Legislature?
It is important at this point that we know in advance what the mini-budget will consist of because we really think we are in serious economic trouble in Ontario, not only because of the energy crisis which will be seriously and negatively affecting the economy of this province, but because the trend that started in the early 1970s is now accelerating to the point that the basis of Ontario economy, the manufacturing sector, is seriously threatened.
We have been saying all along the problems we have in Ontario are the problems of the domination of our economy by the multinationals, by the branch plant structure of our economy. I remember, ever since I was elected, how complacent the government was when the economy was booming and the branch plants were opened all over the province, creating jobs that temporarily solved the problem of employment for the government. We tried to raise the issue at that time, but the government never took notice.
We are now faced with the situation where not only the big multinationals, but also small and middle-sized companies are shutting down plant after plant in Ontario. This province is going through a process of deindustrialization that is becoming most serious.
Because of this situation, last year we lost 35,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector. Yesterday we heard the statement of the Treasurer on how many new jobs were created in Ontario last year, but he is unable to justify why jobs are disappearing in the manufacturing sector. He cannot justify it with statistics to the people whose jobs are no longer there and who have personal problems. It is not only a problem of figures. It is not five per cent, seven per cent or eight per cent. We have people who have lost their ability to earn a living for themselves and their families. Those are human and tragic problems, and the government of Ontario is unable to respond to that crisis.
In fact, we have seen the government come in with proposals, some of which are outright silly, such as rebates to car dealers, but also the major programs of this government such as the grants to the pulp and paper companies do not respond to the fundamental needs of Ontario. In fact, the pulp and paper companies have been saying they did not need the grants. Three days ago it was repeated again. We are being faced with the policy of the government which is founded on an ad hoc basis in a crisis situation without having a vision of the problem in its complexity.
Therefore, we are faced with the Ford situation where the government of Ontario entered into a deal with the federal government without having any guarantee of job creation in Ontario. We were forced into the deal with Chrysler because of the crisis that company was having at that time. Now we are faced with the situation at Massey-Ferguson. Apart from these major companies, every day we are faced with plant closures because of the fact that the economy of Ontario is declining in its most crucial sector, the manufacturing sector.
The government does not understand that we have to reverse the trend. We are at the point now where this province cannot live any longer on its natural resources because we know very well that our forest industry is depleting. Despite the commitments and the pledges of this government, we will be shortly faced with a serious crisis in the forest industry. Our minerals are threatened by the competition in the Third World countries. Our nickel is threatened by the competition that, incidentally, the government of Canada helped to finance in other parts of the world.
When we talk of the manufacturing sector in Canada we are basically talking of the manufacturing sector in Ontario, where 67 per cent of the industry is located. Unless we reverse that trend, and unless we are able to create Canadian industries in Ontario, owned by Canadians and which respond to the needs of the Canadians, we will not be able to survive as an industrial nation. I think what the Premier tells this House and the people of Ontario, which is that we should compete with the southern United States because that is where our competition comes from, and that we do not have to look to western Europe or other industrialized nations is absolutely preposterous.
I think that is the most infantile and childish vision of the modern industrial world and the relations among industrial countries. We know very well that if other countries such as Japan or West Germany had taken the same approach after the Second World War they would still be underdeveloped countries. Instead of Japan having its program of economic development geared to a world scale, if it had looked after the immediate market that at that time was competing with Japan, it would now be at the same level as Indonesia or Korea or Taiwan.
What this government lacks is understanding of the reality of the modern industrial world. It lacks the understanding that unless we are able to, first, find out and analyse what the possibilities are for Ontario in terms of industrial growth in the manufacturing sector and, second, what the possibilities are for Ontario to compete on a worldwide scale, then we will always be in a position of dependence on the American market. We will be producing goods that may be competing with the southern states of the United States, but we know very well that apparatus is becoming obsolete and, in the long range, the American manufacturing sector will not be able to compete with the other industrialized nations. The steel industry is a prime example, not to mention the automobile industry.
We have been saying all along that we need an industrial strategy in Canada and Ontario. That is what this government is unable to understand. Unless we decide what to do with our resources and decide how to develop our resources in Canada and in Ontario we will be plagued with the same problems. We are in the situation where a country like Canada, which is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of natural wealth, last year had a $17 billion trade deficit in the manufacturing sector. That trade deficit is unacceptable to any nation which can be defined as an industrialized nation.
I know the Treasurer will say that last year we had 86,000 more people working than the year before, but perhaps he should consider that most of the jobs were created not in the manufacturing sector but in the service sector. Those jobs are healthy jobs when they are backed by a strong manufacturing sector. But in the presence of a manufacturing sector which is in a critical situation, like today in Ontario, those jobs are not healthy jobs because they may disappear very soon. In fact, we know very well that when unemployment increases the first jobs to disappear are the marginal jobs, the jobs in the service sector, which are not essential.
It is for this reason that the New Democratic Party introduced in this House three bills: a bill that calls for job security, a bill that calls for full employment and a bill that calls for equality for women.
It is not only regrettable, it is disgraceful that this government does not want to accept the notion that unless a government at this time is committed to full employment it cannot reach any goal at all in that direction, because jobs are not created by themselves. The myth of the market which creates jobs and solves problems for the government is a myth that is not true today and was never true in the past. It is only in the minds of a few people who seek refuge in the nineteenth century economic doctrines that can have some credibility, but we know it spells disaster for Ontario as it spells disaster for the United Kingdom government of Margaret Thatcher, as it spells disaster for the United States.
The monetarist approach doesn’t work. You don’t need to be an economist; everyone understands you cannot correct the problems of the economy with a monetarist approach. You don’t solve the problems of economic growth just by limiting the money growth. I think it is disgraceful that the Conservative Party and the government dropped our two bills, because it is a need in our society and a widespread feeling that job security is an essential right of the people. If the government is unable to ensure job security then it is a failure of the government. That doesn’t mean the government should not be committed to the principle.
The government refuses to accept that principle and the reason given by the Premier is just preposterous, as I said before, because we don’t compare ourselves with the southern United States. If they want to embrace a policy of low wages then they can look even farther than that. They can look south of the Panama Canal, look to Ecuador, to Peru where they have really low wages, but they also have poverty, underdevelopment, economic depression. They are justifying their failure by comparing Ontario with the southern United States where they have right-to-work legislation but where economic conditions are certainly not a goal for a modern country.
The same applies to the second bill on full employment. It is shameful that in 1980 the Treasurer of the province has been cornered by the circumstances into a position in which he has to introduce a mini-budget because he is faced with a dramatic situation. At the same time he does not want to commit the government to a goal which is important to the 300,000 citizens of Ontario who are now unemployed and for whom there is no possibility of finding employment in the short run.
It is disgraceful that in the last budget the government of Ontario didn’t think it necessary to propose any new program for job creation. In fact, it has been insisting on the disgraceful policy of fiscal restraint that has aggravated the problems of the economy of Ontario. Now, by refusing to accept the principle of our three bills, they are really saying they are giving up on giving directions to the economy of the province.
I want to give notice to the Treasurer and to the government that we will keep insisting, because these problems will be with us. They won’t disappear just by a magic touch of the market in which he believes. The problems of unemployment and job security and the underdevelopment of our economy will be with us. I think the Treasurer would be well advised if, when he presents his budget -- and I hope he will have an answer to my questions -- he presents a document directed towards job creation, because the people of Ontario cannot afford his policies any longer.
Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I suppose it is rather difficult to keep to the resolution we are speaking on today, to see that the money is paid out to all those in the government. It gives an opportunity to speak to the fiscal policies of the Treasurer. I would just make a note or two with regard to the Treasurer’s statement the other day that he is bringing in a mini-budget. Of course, many people have different ideas on what should be done, such as his policy of a few years ago of sales tax exemptions -- and being in the automobile area naturally anything one thinks will help at all is good, I suppose. On the other hand, the real problem is the statement the Treasurer made the other day with regard to some things he is going to have to do.
I have a feeling that in the next two weeks automobile sales are going to go down. I know the Treasurer has been in automobile sales and I had a sales licence for selling used cars myself, very briefly. I feel that has a tendency to make people think maybe the sales tax will be dropped. I know one of my sons bought a car a couple of weeks ago and he asked, “What am I going to do? Shall I buy it now or wait till later in case the Treasurer takes the sales tax off?” I said, “I guess you will have to gamble, but I would think there will be no sales tax going off cars, because it was done on two previous occasions.” I do not think it really served the need it was intended to serve.
One factor, of course, is the massive import of cars the Treasurer mentioned this morning, where 80 per cent of the cars made in Ontario or Canada are exported and we import 80 per cent. The Treasurer will probably remember the question I asked him last spring about a bill that was before the Senate in the United States. I am not sure if that bill was ever passed -- the last I heard it was still in committee in Congress. It was worded so that it would exempt only those cars that gave improved gas mileage from a certain year on. It so happened that very few imported cars would receive that exemption. The majority had already reached that goal, so it would only affect a very few imported cars. It would have helped the major cars that were made in Canada and the United States. That is probably still a possibility.
One thing that concerns me with regard to the automobile industry and gas consumption is being brought to our attention more and more every day, especially after last night’s statement by the Premier of Alberta and the federal government’s recent budget. We all know that gas is going up by something like 30 or 35 cents a gallon yearly for the next three years approximately. It is hard to tell exactly because of the number of different taxes going on. Some of the money, of course, will be going to Alberta for reinvestment in new oil.
What concerns me is the number of cars we have on the highway today, and the gas consumption many of them have. I sometimes think if every car that was on the highway in Ontario was at the consumption rate all 1980 models have, regardless of their size, our gas consumption would be down considerably. We have not decreased gasoline consumption in Ontario really over the last number of years. In fact, I find when I drive to Toronto from my home, as far as the cost of gas for my trip back and forth, it is really not much more than it was four years ago, because the car I am driving now is giving me about six miles to the gallon more than the one I was driving at that time. In effect, if all the cars on the highway were giving us over 20 miles to the gallon we would really be cutting down our consumption, and the 1973 and 1974 models are the key ones.
I think if one looks over the consumption of gasoline in all cars one will find the 1973 models are the worst, because that was the year the environmental regulations were put into effect in the United States, and Canada, of course, accepted it. If the Treasurer could find some way to get those 1973 and 1974 models off the road -- maybe he should buy them; I do not know what he should do with them -- we could get the new models with the low gas consumption on the road. That way he would really be doing something.
It would really do two things: He would be selling more cars and he would be saving fuel by getting rid of those gas guzzlers. There are some gas guzzlers on the road and many of us are aware of them. I think if he looks over all the car models, the 1973 and 1974 cars were about the worst, and maybe he and his staff could find in all the research they have over there a way to get those cars off the road. That would be better than just taking the sales tax off and hoping to sell more cars.
I do not want to take any more time of the House because I know we are dealing strictly with approving money to be spent until December 31 and, of course, we have to do that, but I just thought I would throw that out.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I will be very brief. The comments of the critic of the Liberal Party have been noted. Certainly personalities are as important as policies. I think that is what he started out by saying. I have sensed that the great bulk of his comments were directed in a personal nature, and they usually seem to be.
Mr. Peterson: Christ, I could have been 20 times harder. I was moderate.
Mr. Riddell: The Treasurer is too sensitive.
Hon. F. S. Miller: The member was not listening to all of it. He admitted that was the general direction he was going. I am not particularly sensitive to it. He just happened to choose that route to make as his major attack today.
I quite agree that some of the major Canadian problems, I sense some of the problems between the west and the east right now, are really personality problems.
Mr. Peterson: A tragedy.
Hon. F. S. Miller: They are, and I am very concerned about them. I think solutions that are rational could easily be overlooked because people have dug themselves into positions where their pride or their reputations or whatever it may be are so much at stake, so much on the line, that they cannot find any way out.
Certainly I would always agree that the working relationship between ministers at different levels of government and in different provinces is a very important part of the process of dealing with those other levels of government. I can say safely over the years I have had some very good relationships with my colleagues at the federal level, regardless of party, when we were dealing, usually behind closed doors, in an attempt to solve problems.
For some reason, the chemistry of one or two people works better than the chemistry of another two people. I would have to say that if I were looking back to people I personally got along with, Mr. Chrétien was one of those I would put close to the top of the list. He is the kind of person -- to deal with the kinds of things the member mentioned -- to phone up, discuss one’s problems, have the kinds of understandings that facilitate solutions, recognizing that, of course, because there are different political philosophies in parties at times, one cannot totally agree.
Mr. MacEachen, I think all of us would agree, is a more complex person than many people in politics, a more private person, a very skilful person. That was evidenced this week. He is someone any of us who are politicians -- just like watching a hockey player if one is a hockey player -- will admire. No matter what the content may have been, he used tremendous skill in preparing the scene several weeks and months in advance of the action he took. That in no way makes the actions acceptable or to be rejected necessarily, but certainly he is a very skilful person and one who made so many subtle changes that we are still figuring them out these days following the budget. Mr. Parizeau is quoted in the press as saying that as an economist, he has a sheer delight in reading all the nuances of the budget. As a politician he does not know whether to be happy, sad or shocked. One still respects that.
I firmly support the member’s statement that more is done when people work together than when they fight. The first request I made of Mr. MacEachen was that perhaps all finance ministers of this country, all provincial finance ministers and himself, should do something that I have practised before, and that is to have a day without an agenda, a day when we simply get to know each other in the absence of the television cameras, in the absence of a formal agenda and even in the absence of staff, simply to set the scene for the kind of dialogue the member is talking about.
That was repeated again at the finance ministers’ meeting and was supported by a number of provincial colleagues as a necessary step. There had not been a finance ministers’ meeting for a couple of years. The contact that good relationships feed upon had not been established in that period of time, and in my opinion there was a real need for it. I still think that needs to be done.
Mr. Peterson: There is an element of congeniality and there is an element of respect and toughness.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I am not arguing any of those things. In effect, one has to have occasions where one meets his colleagues in a less structured atmosphere to build a foundation for the rest of it. With the other operating ministries there are usually annual meetings or fairly frequent contacts that build those up. It has not been quite as easy in finance, but I am glad to say Mr. MacEachen says he will be having a meeting of finance ministers early in December and that may be the start of that kind of relationship.
It is my understanding that the member wholeheartedly supports the federal budget. I am not making it as an accusation. I thought his instant reaction was basically one of total support.
Mr. Peterson: Some parts I like, some I don’t like. Have you read it?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Yes, I have read every word of it.
Mr. Peterson: Have you read my reply?
Hon. F. S. Miller: No, I have not read the member’s response.
Mr. Speaker: Surely the minister’s question was purely rhetorical.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I would point out, though, that my major criticism of the budget yesterday is that it was not a national economic document and it did not tackle the problems of the economy. It was an energy document and it fanned the fires of inflation out west rather than helping solve some of the immediate problems.
The honourable member referred to my cash requirements as being up 68 per cent. Percentages are great things to use. No one ever admits they were also 50 per cent of projected figures last year. This year’s cash requirements are still less than last year’s projected cash requirements. Would the member buy that?
Mr. Peterson: Sure.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Okay. To say they are up because I had a very good revenue year is hardly to imply that we on this side of the House have suddenly become profligate and are wasting money. We had more revenue than we expected, we controlled our expenses and so our cash requirements dropped roughly 50 per cent of estimated value. Even those figures were somewhat inflated by the transfer into the previous fiscal year of $217 million of spending for a number of good reasons.
Last year, if one took that $217 million out, we were almost within two per cent of balance, so I find it difficult to say that we have lost our commitment to a balanced budget -- just the opposite.
Mr. Peterson: You don’t have any commitment.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Oh yes, we have. It is great for a member of the Liberal Party, whether it is of Ontario or Canada, to tell me I do not have a commitment to a balanced budget, but if I am sad at any fact it is that the federal government this week had absolutely no room to help anyone in the economy because it does not even understand the words “balanced budget”. That has been their basic problem for the last while. They have had a $14 billion deficit this year, roughly 20 per cent of their spending, and that to me is unbelievably high.
I will now go on briefly to the comments of my colleague, the member for Downsview. He mentioned, first of all, that pulp and paper companies do not need grants. If the assistance was not needed, why was the investment not being made? Why were the steps not being taken to clean up the pollution and modernize the plants? It was an either/or situation.
I have to challenge my colleague to go with me to any of the towns and communities in the north where billions of dollars are being invested this year in modern, clean plants and see if the people in those plants and in those towns do not believe firmly in that program. They do. I have to say, if they did not need the grants then they would have been making the investments in advance.
The honourable members talk about plant closures, but never about plant openings, expansions or productivity increases. I repeated yesterday, at the challenge of the opposition, that we had 85,000 more people at work in spite of our recessionary year this year. That is because the capitalist system is something like Darwin’s theory. There are closures, there are slowdowns in specific plants, but at the same time the survival of the fittest goes on and we see the growth and creation and expansion of the healthy. That is the only way to protect the consumer and employment. The attempt to shore up the rest just does not work.
The honourable member also referred to the ownership of companies by Canadians. I would have to ask him what he means by ownership. Does he mean, for example, purchase of shares? I am being rhetorical again, Mr. Speaker. I hope the honourable member buys shares in Canadian companies -- does he? I cannot, because I am a minister of the crown.
I sincerely hope the honourable member does not mean nationalization of our companies in this country. I am just asking because sometimes his party has been known to subscribe to nationalization of the resource industries rather than talk about Canadian ownership of them, and I just wanted to make sure that when he meant owned by Canadians he meant individual Canadians, not the state.
That was one of the things that worried me because yesterday or the day before, Mr. MacEachen, in his euphemism, was going to Canadianize the oil industry. It really wasn’t Canadianizing the oil industry; it was nationalizing the oil industry. He was using our money from a tax base to purchase for the government of Canada shares in those companies. That is quite different from encouraging the purchase of shares by individuals and investors in the country, the route I, and I am sure my party, firmly believes in.
Mr. Speaker, I hope my resolution will pass.
Resolution concurred in.
CONCURRENCE IN SUPPLY
Resolutions for supply for the following offices were concurred in by the House:
Office of the Assembly;
Office of the Provincial Auditor.
CONCURRENCE IN SUPPLY, MINISTRY OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES
Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, there are a number of matters I would like to raise with the minister. In part I am raising them because they are of interest to me and in part I am acting as the voice for an invisible member of the Legislature at the moment. They fall into several areas, but I wanted to ask a question also out of today’s demonstration of Hallowe’en fare, as to whether or not the pumpkin the minister brought in today was grown in our institutions, or was it just a locally bought prop by his promotional people? I am not clear as to whether or not that was actually London-area grown or whether it was from the area here.
I want to comment on the general move towards self-sufficiency, to say that we in this party laud the efforts to have the correctional services in this province self-sufficient, but it is not a new creation of this minister. One only has to look back to the time when Mr. Apps was the Minister of Correctional Services to see the extensive farming and other kinds of production, involved in our correctional institutions, which subsequently was dispensed with, including 2,000 acres of farm land in the Burwash area.
It is somewhat ironic at this point, when we are moving back to self-sufficiency, we have to do it having lost some of the equipment and a lot of the land that was available to the ministry before as far as self-sufficiency goes. So although we commend the move back to self-sufficiency that was lost prior to this, we do not want to let it go to the minister’s head that it is all his idea and this is something new under the sun.
I wanted to raise with the minister the matter of the promotion of Mr. Stanley Frank Johnson within his ministry. I would like to read into the record at least part of a letter from the member for High Park-Swansea (Mr. Ziemba) dated October 17, about this promotion, because this is a story of a man who has had, in my view, too many connections with violence within the prison system and he seems to have been rewarded for it. I will not read the whole letter. I will read from it. The member for High Park-Swansea questioned the appointment of Mr. Johnson. He referred to the Royal Commission on the Toronto Jail and Custodial Services in which Mr. Johnson is referred to any number of times. There are a number of statements on pages 309 and 318 of volume three of the report raised by Judge Shapiro where Mr. Johnson talked about rehabilitation methods within the Don jail. These were seen to be legitimizing the use of violence in terms of rehabilitating prisoners. Mr. Johnson was also alleged to have been involved and was connected by the judge with some unnecessary force in terms of the Garrett’s Hotel segregation section of the institution. Although Mr. Johnson as a senior officer did not join in with the use of extra force in a number of cases, there was no doubt at all in the mind of the judge that there was a responsibility for the action of those officers under his command who did partake in that violence. That was accepted by the judge in his findings. The allegations about the goon squad at that point also had Mr. Johnson’s name involved with them.
I want to ask the minister if this is an indication of his promotion policy, or if it is a good example to set in promoting a man with this kind of questionable history within his ministry. What kind of a symbol is this for the other aspirants within his ministry to higher office? Are they to think that if they participate in this kind of heavy-handed action within the prison system they are going to be rewarded?
The second question following from that is: When is the minister going to set up a provincial jail council as recommended by Judge Shapiro so that the day-to-day operations of the various correctional institutions around the province can be monitored and an eye kept on violence? It is an area that has not been followed up to this point.
Another matter I want to raise ties in with the idea of self-sufficiency, but it is what I and the member for High Park-Swansea, our critic, consider to be the misuse of the correctional services in terms of competition with industries within this province.
I refer the minister to the previous Minister of Correctional Services (Mr. Drea) who in justice committee estimates indicated that none of the work to make the institutions more productive and more self-sufficient would in any way take away from workers’ jobs in Ontario. I, therefore, ask the minister to comment on what is going on in the Maplehurst Adult Training Centre in Milton where Carlisle Industries, an umbrella company manufacturing such things as mufflers and other automobile parts, has now started to operate two of its subsidiaries within the institution. It is now hiring approximately 28 or 29 prisoners who are paid piecework at one cent a piece, which works out to the basic minimum wage, at a time when our automobile industry in this province is undergoing major problems, which we all accept within this House. We have set up a committee which, I think, reflects the problems we are having in terms of shutdowns in Ontario.
Mr. Pahapill, the manager of the correctional services, when contacted by the member for High Park-Swansea, did not seem to be aware of the commitment by the previous minister in this area in terms of not affecting jobs. He indicated, as well, that he thought because this was a new venture in exporting products to the United States that it would not fall under this criterion the previous minister brought forward. Yet officials of the company indicate that the prison projects are selling in Canada as well as in the United States. Even if they are, my thesis would be that if there is need for growth it should not be giving an unfair advantage to one company to participate in what is a very hard-hitting industry at this point against other Canadian firms in the automobile parts industry. He should not give them an advantage by using cheap labour in our institutions.
I would like very much for the minister to respond to the problem that I see. The minister is giving unfair advantage -- greatest advantage -- greatest single capitalist kind of approach -- in the competitive sphere of private business by allowing this company to come in and use very cheap labour to undermine the possibility of other companies hiring people into the work force at legitimate wages at a time when we have many thousands of people out of work. I want to know whether or not the minister thinks that is the role of his ministry or what guidelines he is going to put down specifically to ensure that sort of thing does not occur.
Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I did not intend to speak on this but we have seven or eight minutes before adjournment. I concur with the minister’s views on providing some self-sufficiency in our institutions in Ontario. I think it is a good idea that has been very successful in the past.
If I recall correctly, in the United States -- particularly in New York state -- they do have such a program there for persons incarcerated in their small prisons. They have some large farms where the prisoners grow food, not only for their own institutions but for the mental hospitals and other state-owned institutions in New York state. I think it is a good program. It is a good form of therapy for persons who may be in the lock-up in Ontario. It gives them something to do.
I remember the day we were discussing the new correctional institutions in the county of Welland. I suggested that instead of building a large complex with a large fence on the outside with about an acre of land for them to exercise on, they should be looking to some type of farm operation that could be supplying the homes for the aged in the region. I thought it was the right track to be on then, but apparently at that time the minister did not see it proper to go in that direction.
I have often thought prisoners might be used in the Niagara Peninsula, where there is a shortage of fruit pickers for the agricultural industry and where we have to go offshore for them. The farming industry in the area will bring in offshore workers from the West Indies to pick fruit there. They can do all the advertising they want in the Niagara Peninsula. It is on almost every radio station that they are looking for tender fruit pickers, but they cannot seem to get anybody there any more to pick fruit.
There are all kinds of summer jobs that would be good territory for our students and perhaps for someone who wants occasional employment. When we look at those persons in the lock-up in that area, maybe they should be put out on these farms to assist the agricultural industry. Perhaps we do not have to go offshore.
The previous member talked about the competition there, but I do not think there is going to be that much competition to be of any concern to the private sector. I think it is a good area for those in the lock-up to find employment. Through rehabilitation they may end up back in the agricultural industry there or they may go somewhere else where there is need for employment of that nature.
I think it is a good program and I commend the minister for moving it in that direction. Although it may be a recycled program, it is a good program for those persons who have been placed in these institutions. It gives them an outlet where they can feel useful to society.
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the members for the contributions they have made. I would be glad to re-read the statement I made this morning for the benefit of the member for High Park-Swansea, who wasn’t here at the beginning.
Some questions were raised by the member for Scarborough West about our pumpkin. I would like to say that was not a store-bought pumpkin; that pumpkin was plucked from the field of the Ontario Correctional Institute on McLaughlin Road in Brampton. Of course, we could not take it from Middlesex because someone else had already taken all the pumpkins.
The interesting thing about Burwash is that correctional centre which housed many people was closed because something like 90 per cent of the inmates were from southern Ontario. With the opening of the centres in southern Ontario, it reconciled the position taken by the ministry at the time that inmates should be housed as close as possible to their home centres. Consequently, with a number of institutions in the southern Ontario area opening, that necessitated the closing of Burwash. I would certainly love to have the farm land available again but that would mean we would have to again populate Burwash and that might present a problem.
Interestingly enough, the member raised some questions about Mr. S. F. Johnson who was involved in the Toronto jail situation in 1974. The report given by the Shapiro commission was not totally condemning of the individual. In fact I think it used such words as: “As for Johnson, I hope this senior officer did not join in the use of extra force. In any case, it was his duty to ensure that unjustifiable force was not used in escorting Watson to segregation. I am not wholly satisfied that he has fully carried out his duty.” That was the kind of wording that was used some six and a half years ago.
In any case, the individual was assessed a penalty of 20 days suspension, which was considered appropriate at the time. That was appealed and ultimately dealt with in due course. After six and a half years, I think we do have to accept the fact we do give second chances within our ministry. Our whole ministry is a second-chance type of ministry. We expect inmates to be given a second chance and we ask employers to employ them after they leave incarceration, after they have paid their penalty. I think the same thing, the same kind of law, the same kind of rule, the same kind of practice we apply to inmates should apply to the staff.
This individual has not been directly involved in inmate care since and even to this day he is involved only in the maintenance and the food operation, dealing with the caterer. It is not as if we condone the behaviour. We feel he paid the penalty that was warranted. In addition to that, it is fair to say there have been no incidents since then which would give us any cause for alarm or concern.
Johnson was not promoted. Actually, it might be considered a lateral arabesque from the area where he was involved in probation and parole over to being in charge of maintenance. I think that has to be kept in mind as well.
With respect to the question of the provincial council, I would say we have the minister’s advisory council for the treatment of the offender, the public inspections panel and the Ombudsman, which ensure precisely the same kind of thing that has given us some concern and was reported on within the report. Just a few days ago we fired an individual for using unnecessary force on an innate. We certainly don’t countenance that. As a result of the Toronto jail inquiry, a whole host of people were dismissed, so members can see we do not countenance improper behaviour.
I will try to wrap this up as quickly as possible so we can meet the time limit, but in relation to the work force, we are quite satisfied we are on the right track, and I appreciate the comments being made by the member for Erie, who supports the farming operation that we have.
Our program of work is such that we have all kinds of work that could conceivably cause a person to be out of a job. For instance, we do our own janitorial work, our own cooking, our own gardening, as was seen today in our report on self-sufficiency, so we can basically say we do an awful lot of work. One of the cases involves Carlisle Industries. In that particular case we treat it as a form of rehabilitation. I am told the kind of job that is being performed does not do away with the job of a UAW type of person. I gather this work was done previously by retarded adults and that moved over when the retarded adults could not provide that productivity. By doing that work, that meant two or three industries were able to continue in the Brampton area, industries that I gather engage people from the general marketplace and provide quite a source of income for a good number of citizens in the general Brampton-Mississauga area.
In any case we treat it as rehabilitation and not depriving a job, where they earn $3 or perhaps $5 an hour. They pay us room and board to stay with us and they send some of the money home for their families to avoid the incidence of welfare in some cases. They themselves pay income tax and unemployment insurance and some of it goes to restitution for victims of crime. In any case, what is left over may provide a fund on their release. We think this is a valuable thing in some circumstances.
I would thank the member for Erie for his comments. I appreciate what he says with respect to the tender fruit industry and how it is so difficult to get workers. We have put out the word that we are ready to work and that seems to have functioned reasonably well. We have picked tomatoes in the Leamington area. We have picked fruit in the Niagara area. We do not force ourselves into a farmer’s yard; we have to be invited in and we are prepared to go in if invited.
Resolution concurred in.
The House adjourned at 1:02 p.m.