The House met at 10 a.m.
STATEMENTS BY THE MINISTRY
FOREST FIRE REPORT
Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I am tabling a report entitled Forest Fire Management Policies and Operations in the Province of Ontario, an overview that was presented to me at the end of November and now is available in sufficient copies for this tabling and distribution to members, the press and others who no doubt will be interested in it.
This report, which makes 55 recommendations on the assignments I gave them last August, was produced by an independent three-man team made up of forest fire experts from outside our province.
The chairman, Mr. Stan Hughes, was head of forest protection for the province of Alberta for 10 years. The other members were Mr. John MacTavish, who was deputy minister of the Nova Scotia Departments of the Environment and Lands and Forests up to 1979, and Mr. Carl Wilson from the United States, a member of the North American fire study group which has consulted with the US Forest Service, the United Nations and several South American and Mediterranean countries.
I asked these three established experts to review my ministry’s forest fire control program, including our efforts during this past summer’s unprecedentedly severe fire season. This report is the result of their study.
The terms of reference for the consultants were (1) to provide a concise assessment of Ontario’s forest fire control policies, strategies and overall operations relating to the 1980 fire season from a North American perspective, and (2) that the assessment should briefly cover the adequacy of the provincial fire organization, planning and preparedness, allocation of resources relative to risk and values, training standards, mobility of resources, multi-fire occurrence strategy, use of aircraft and water bombing.
In other words, I sought this advice on the entire array of how we go about protecting our province from forest fires.
The review team decided to fulfil its task by providing an overview of the forest fire management policies and operations in Ontario and by offering recommendations to assist our ministry in planning for future years. This report is a painstaking and thoughtful look at the way we should deal with forest fires, particularly in those years when an unusual combination of conditions brings about serious drought and multiple fire occurrences such as happened this past spring and summer.
In response to this report and other initiatives already undertaken within the ministry, my ministry is taking action in two major thrusts.
The recommendations and other points raised in the Hughes report are being intensively and urgently reviewed by a committee headed by Mr. Len Sleeman, director of the aviation and fire management branch, to determine short-run steps that can be taken in time for the 1981 forest fire season.
The same recommendations will also be taken into account by a long-range and comprehensive forest fire management improvement project, which begins on January 1, 1981. A project group consisting of three senior ministry staff members, each highly experienced in forest fire management, will develop plans for an improved fire management system for the province to become effective as early as possible. I hope some of these steps will also be in effect during the fire season of 1981.
Those assigned to this important task are Mr. Bob Elliott, currently district manager of the Chapleau district; Mr. Dick Brady, regional fire management officer for northwestern region and Mr. John Walker, district manager, Geraldton district. These men have been relieved of all their current duties and will be based in Sault Ste. Marie for a three-year period to develop and implement an improved comprehensive fire management system.
As an aftermath of this year’s serious fires, other reviews and studies have been carried out within the ministry. One of these deals with the preparedness of the provincial and regional systems for the early summer outbreaks in the northwestern and north central regions. Another is a more specific report -- an internal board of review to examine and recommend upon what we term Kenora fire 23.
These reports will provide additional useful data to both the short-run and long-run projects to enhance and improve our fire management capabilities.
I wrote to the Honourable John Roberts on two occasions this year -- on July 7 and on September 2 -- in his dual role as federal Minister of the Environment and as chairman of the Canadian Council of Resource and Environment Ministers, suggesting a pooling and enhancement of technical resources in the forest firefighting field between the provincial and federal governments. I also recommended increased activity in research and development related especially to detection and suppression efforts.
Mr. Roberts has indicated that he agrees forest fire research and development requirements are national in scope and says he would support discussion of that topic by the council. Most of my colleagues in other provinces have written strongly supporting this initiative.
As I have said in the House and during the recent estimates of my ministry, the efforts made this past summer to deal with forest fires by the members of my staff, the emergency staff hired during the most serious periods, and those from other agencies and ministries who worked with us, are worthy of the highest commendation.
At the same time, our ministry has taken these additional initiatives of reviews by outside experts as well as by ministry staff with the objective of doing everything we can to further enhance our forest fire prevention and suppression activities. Within the limitations of staff and money allocated, we mean to ensure that our entire approach towards protecting lives, property and natural resources from the ravages of forest fires will be as appropriate and of as high quality in the future as planning, expertise, technology and organization can make it.
As an addendum to this statement, Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform you and the members of the House that on Wednesday afternoon of this week my senior staff and I received a brief on this topic from the president and executive of the Ontario Forest Industries Association. It is my understanding that the association -- whose members are, of course, intimately dependent upon the forest resources of this province -- is planning its own public release of the brief later today. I will not reveal any of the details of that brief at this time.
In closing, I would simply comment that the submissions constitute a clear, positive and constructive addition to this important review and, in my ministry, we have already instituted measures aimed at giving effect to the association’s recommendations.
ONTARIO EDUCATIONAL SERVICES CORPORATION
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to announce this morning the establishment of the Ontario Educational Services Corporation. This fulfils the commitment made in the speech from the throne last March.
The new corporation should be seen as an element in the government’s program to stimulate Ontario’s position in international business. Its primary purpose will be to support Ontario’s private sector companies which are conducting business abroad by making available, with government support, the resources of the province’s educational system.
Emerging nations on a wide front are seeking help and assistance with the development of their education systems and training programs. The World Bank alone, for example, is planning to budget $US900 million per year for education and training. It is becoming more and more common that countries in the developing areas of the world want not only equipment, but the training and educational expertise to operate and maintain it. A highway project, a communications system or a petrochemical plant might need operator and maintenance training to support the capital project -- training capability that can be found within Ontario’s educational system.
Educational projects such as new schools and colleges can also be supported by teacher training, curriculum development, space and institutional master planning, and by the provision of experienced Canadian staff at all levels of an institution’s operation. The new corporation will enhance Ontario’s position and indeed Canada’s position in the international marketplace by providing ready access to these resources. There may well be an opportunity also for the corporation to assist overseas countries that are critically short of teachers through the provision of experienced and capable Canadian teachers.
The affairs of the corporation will be guided by a board of directors under the chairmanship of Mr. D. C. McGeachy of London, Ontario, who has had extensive business experience and who has served on the council of regents for the colleges of applied arts and technology for seven years. Other directors will be drawn from education, from government and from people with broad business and international experience. From education there will be Dr. G. A. B. Moore, director of the Office of Educational Practice of the University of Guelph; Mr. K. E. Hunter, president of Conestoga College of Applied Arts and Technology, and Mr. R. G. Dixon of the Ontario Teachers’ Federation.
From government there will be Mr. G. McIntyre, executive director, Treasury division, Ministry of Treasury and Economics; Mr. E. D. Greathed, executive director, Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs; Mr. J. A. Young, president, Ontario International Corporation; Mrs. E. M. McLellan, assistant deputy minister, Ministry of Education, and Mr. T. P. Adams, assistant deputy minister, Ministry of Colleges and Universities. Also on the board will be Mr. D. J. Griffiths, vice-president international, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce; Mrs. J. E. Pigott, chairman of the board of Morrison Lamothe Incorporated; Colonel J. G. R. Morin, director of dependants’ education, Department of National Defence, and a chief executive officer to be selected by the board.
The corporation will operate with a small core staff, engaging others on short-term contracts as work on various projects dictates. Seed money from government will, in the first year, amount to approximately $400,000.
Because the corporation will be conducting its business with the private sector and is to operate on a cost-recovery basis, it has been established as a business under the Business Corporations Act. The corporation expects to reach self-sufficiency in approximately three years. The operation will be reviewed after one year and again after three years to determine whether the sunset clause, which governs its operations, will apply. At that time, a decision about its continuation will be made.
It is our hope and expectation that this new venture will make a worthwhile contribution to Canada’s position abroad.
INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF DISABLED PERSONS
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, as members know, 1981 was declared the International Year of Disabled Persons by the United Nations. The goal of the year is to promote the enjoyment by disabled persons of the same rights and opportunities as are available to other persons in society. We all have an obligation to make the general physical environment, as well as a full range of social, economic and cultural activities, accessible to disabled persons.
We embrace those guiding principles and, to demonstrate our commitment, we are announcing today the allocation of $12 million for the International Year of Disabled Persons. I would like to point out that this $12 million is in addition to the moneys already allocated by ministries for special projects for IYDP and will be used to initiate programs during 1981 identified as a high priority by disabled people in the community. Our plans for 1981 are a continuation of the commitments we have made in the past.
In 1974, we introduced Gains-D, the guaranteed annual income supplement for disabled persons, to put income directly into the hands of disabled persons so that they could make their own choices. Two years later we introduced a program of funding to municipalities, to make it possible for them to provide transportation services for disabled persons. Two years ago, four demonstration projects of housing with support services got under way.
In the days and weeks ahead, my colleagues will be making announcements about the specific programs to be funded by the $12-million allocation. Besides these that will be formally announced, there are many projects already under way which are very meaningful to disabled people; for example, the purchase of a Braille typewriter so that government can respond directly to people without sight, modifying curb access in various municipalities, revisions to an accommodations guide showing wheelchair accessibility in hotels and motels throughout the province, and an employer education program both within and without government. We will also undertake a program of public awareness since we believe that one of the main barriers for disabled people is the attitude of society.
As members know, Bill 82, dealing with special education and now awaiting royal assent, will ensure that every exceptional pupil in the province receives an education suited to his or her needs and abilities. Although most school boards provide some programs, Bill 82 removes the optional status of special education and makes it the definite responsibility of all school boards to provide special education programs for students.
As well, amendments to the Ontario Human Rights Code now before this House prohibit discrimination on the ground of handicap in all areas of the code. But it is only by individual acceptance of the abilities of disabled people that we will truly be a part of their achievement of equality.
What we have, then, are the projects and programs already in place, a wide range of programs, for 1981 to be undertaken within ministry allocations, and the programs that will proceed during IYDP because of the additional funding of $12 million which has been especially designated by this government for the International Year of Disabled Persons.
Along with the amendments to the Human Rights Code and the new provisions for special education for exceptional children, the decade ahead should take us further in our desire to make it possible for disabled persons to be fully integrated into the community life that the rest of us take for granted.
There are many things that will be done during IYPD, but government itself neither should, nor can it, take on all the responsibilities. Municipal governments, churches, fraternal organizations and individuals will, I know, respond enthusiastically in the year ahead to develop initiatives of their own.
I would like to challenge employers, and unions too, to examine their hiring policies. A job is the key to independence for many of the disabled persons here in Ontario. I would like to challenge churches as well. All too often we are willing to take religion to the people. Why do we not make it possible for disabled persons to come to a place of worship?
In 1981, and the decade ahead, this government will continue its commitment to disabled people. At the same time, we hope that all citizens of Ontario will come to better appreciate that the needs of disabled people are the same as those of all of us and we hope it will be recognized that disabled citizens are equally capable of making important contributions to our society.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I had asked the Minister of Health a few weeks ago about the provision of prosthetic and assistive devices for the handicapped. I trust that this pap we have just heard about the International Year of Disabled Persons does not refer to that, and that the minister is going to have a further statement to tell us he is going to provide these devices.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I indicated at that time in answer to the honourable member’s question that it was my intention and hope to make a statement by the end of the year. Today is December 12, and I still have 19 days within which to try to meet that pledge.
MANAGEMENT OF NUCLEAR FUEL WASTE
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I know it has been the intention of all three parties in the House to debate, before the end of this particular session, the select committee’s report on the management of nuclear fuel waste. Since there will not be an opportunity to hold this debate before the end of the current session, I should like to make a few comments on that report.
Members of the select committee will remember that when I appeared before them on March 13 of this year, I welcomed the fact that the committee was looking at waste disposal in some considerable detail and stated that I would look forward to its report and the recommendations therein. May I say at the outset that I have been greatly impressed by the review carried out by the select committee. The committee is to be commended on the thorough and constructive approach it has taken on this very important subject. Since the report was tabled, preliminary discussions have been held with the government of Canada on the recommendations and on the next phases of the program. In addition, discussions have been held on the public review and approval process.
The importance of continuing research into the safe and permanent disposal of nuclear fuel waste cannot be overestimated. It is vital to Ontario’s nuclear program and, as members know, electricity is an integral part of Ontario’s overall energy strategy. Furthermore, it is clear that if electricity is to take a larger share of Ontario’s energy market, nuclear power will be of vital importance.
The Canadian program is an important and respected part of the international research effort in nuclear waste disposal. I have every confidence that the concept currently being researched by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited will be developed over the next number of years into a safe and secure method of waste disposal.
I am aware as well that the select committee members are quite familiar with the background to the program, but a very short review may be desirable for the benefit of other members.
May I review quickly the questions of jurisdiction and responsibility? As members are aware, the federal government has jurisdiction over nuclear matters. It assumed this jurisdiction in 1946 when it passed the Atomic Energy Control Act. In exercising its jurisdiction, the federal government established two agencies, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, which is responsible for research and development, and the Atomic Energy Control Board, which regulates nuclear power. As a result, the federal government has the primary responsibility for and has taken the lead role in the Canadian nuclear fuel waste management program.
The province, in acknowledging federal jurisdiction and the lead federal responsibility for nuclear fuel waste management, also takes quite seriously its own potential responsibilities with respect to Ontario Hydro and the broader interests of the people of Ontario. For this reason, the province is directly involved in the Canadian nuclear fuel waste management program.
The Canada-Ontario agreement on nuclear fuel waste management was announced on June 5, 1978. That agreement outlines a phased program for the development, demonstration and implementation of a safe and permanent method of disposing of nuclear fuel waste in deep, stable, underground rock formations. The agreement confirms the federal government’s prime responsibility for the long-term management of nuclear fuel waste. It requires that there be full consultation between the federal and Ontario governments and their respective agencies and that the prior approval of the government of Ontario be obtained at each step in the program. It ensures that there will be close co-operation and consultation with the affected communities in Ontario during all phases of that program.
At this point, I should mention that, as Ontario Hydro has assured the select committee, the present method of storing spent fuel under water will be secure for several decades, certainly long enough to permit the thorough development and demonstration of an ultimate disposal method.
Having set out this brief background, I would now like to turn to the select committee’s report itself. Let me say, at the outset, subject to some observations which I shall make, I can accept the thrust of the select committee’s recommendations. These recommendations, I might note, relate in many cases to matters which are actively being implemented by the Atomic Energy Control Board, by AECL and by Ontario Hydro or are under consideration within the two governments.
With respect to my few observations, let me turn first to recommendation No. 2 which relates to whether field research efforts should be devoted at this time to an investigation of the so-called soft rocks, such as shale and salt beds. The issue here is a technical one.
The technical judgement of AECL and of such bodies as the Independent Technical Advisory Committee and the federal task force, more commonly known as the Hare committee, is that Canada should concentrate its efforts on hard rock.
Mr. Laughren: That is because it is northern Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Welch: No. I think it is important to emphasize this particular point. The technical judgement, in my understanding, has been reached in the full knowledge that there are major programs already well advanced in other countries in a wide variety of other concepts, including shale and salt, the results of which are readily available to Canada through international exchange of information. The current program is focusing where the best technical advice says it should focus, on hard rock.
Let me turn now to recommendation four, which recommends the establishment of a joint federal-Ontario nuclear fuel waste management agency and to recommendations five and six which build on this recommendation. I agree that the merits of setting up such an agency should be evaluated. I will be giving these ideas serious consideration and will be raising it with the federal government.
Finally, I would like to comment on that part of recommendation 10 which suggests that funding be made available to ensure full public involvement in public hearings. It is my expectation that the responsibility for those public hearings, which will arise during this program, will lie with the government of Canada and that the cost of such hearings will be a federal responsibility. This being so, I will bring this recommendation to the attention of the government of Canada.
We are a federal system. We have jurisdictions and responsibilities.
Mr. S. Smith: That is right. All the prosperity is thanks to the minister’s government and everything is bad thanks to them.
Hon. Mr. Welch: We will have an opportunity later today to discuss those points in detail. I look forward to the exchange. The people of Ontario know the record of this administration and will continue to support it in due time.
We have to remember that this is a comprehensive, long-term program stretching many years into the future. As I noted earlier in my remarks, I think the select committee has approached its work in a thorough and generally constructive fashion and I can accept the tenor of the committee’s report.
For this government’s part, I believe its contribution to the Canadian nuclear fuel waste management program has been both positive and productive. It has resulted in a sound research program. It has ensured that while the federal government and its agencies have the prime responsibility and lead role, there will be close co-operation and consultation between the federal and Ontario governments and their respective agencies. As well, it has ensured a free flow of information to the public and close co-operation and consultation with the communities involved.
NEW COMMITTEE SYSTEM
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I wish to indicate to the House an undertaking that has been agreed to by the House leaders for all parties. It is that there be established an ad hoc committee of House leaders, whips and caucus representatives to consider a plan for implementation of the report from the procedural affairs committee entitled A New Committee System.
This procedure is intended to be similar to that followed in early 1977 when our new standing orders were drafted for submission to the House on a government motion. The ad hoc group hopes to be able to draw on the observations that a delegation of the procedural affairs committee will make after its visit to Westminster in February to examine the new committee system there.
For this reason, the order for consideration of the motion to adopt the report of the procedural affairs committee on a new committee system will be carried forward by motion into the next session.
USE OF AMERICAN DICTIONARIES
Mr. Sweeney: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: On Tuesday, November 18, I asked a question of the Minister of Education with respect to the use of American dictionaries in correspondence courses. At that time, I believe I got a commitment from the minister that she would investigate and report back. I have not yet had that answer, and given this is probably the last day, I wonder if the minister could indicate what her investigations revealed.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the matter was investigated and I determined that at the time the original decision was made, the choice for the ministry was between a Canadian hard-cover dictionary that cost approximately $5 a copy and an American paper-cover dictionary that cost 99 cents a copy. There was really very little choice at that time and, unfortunately, the American dictionary won.
However, on January 1, 1981, the dictionaries supplied through the correspondence branch will be Canadian dictionaries, based upon the shorter Oxford and other established Canadian dictionaries and they will be available to all students through the correspondence courses.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the provincial Treasurer on the matter of high interest rates and their impact on Ontario. Could the Treasurer today provide the answer he did not have yesterday for the Treasury critic? Could he explain why it is that he feels it impossible to find the money, some $100 million, to assist small business and prevent them from becoming bankrupt during this winter of high interest rates and to assist those who hold mortgages to prevent them from the possibility of actually losing their homes during this same period of time?
The Treasurer was able to find $260 million which he is dissipating for the purposes of getting people who are going to buy vans and such to buy them a little earlier. Surely it makes more sense to use the money, would the Treasurer not agree, to assist the people who are caught in this crush of high interest rates? Surely he recognizes that the government of Ontario, with its $17-billion budget, has a responsibility to rescue the small businesses of this province before they go bankrupt?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the problems are not an either/or situation. The $260 million over the two fiscal years, $77 million of which is in this fiscal year and the balance in the next fiscal year, is aimed at stimulating employment -- one of the major problems facing Ontario and Canada, but particularly eastern Canada, right now. If that does not touch many people, I have misread the problems of this economy. Of course, we have to take action to ensure jobs.
Mr. Peterson: You will not even tell us how many jobs you are going to create.
Hon. F. S. Miller: The member likes to think that is a donation or a giving up of revenue by this government. I like to think of it as an investment in opportunity for work. We just estimated today that the federal government itself will earn about $8 million more because of the stimulation of the Ontario economy through those measures. Those measures were aimed at the most pressing problems.
I heard many comments from across the House during the fall session as to what we would do to help workers have jobs. We are taking positive actions with those sales tax cuts. We have proved before that they work.
Mr. Peterson: How many jobs are you going to create? Tell us.
Hon. F. S. Miller: That is a very trite kind of question. I can only tell the member that company after company around this province is hiring people, or not having to lay off because --
Mr. Peterson: Nonsense. You do not even know.
Hon. F. S. Miller: The member wants me to document everything. The fact is unemployment dropped in this province last month, lt dropped ever the month before. It dropped over the year before because of these actions; only two cities in this province had more unemployment in November. Those were London and Windsor. That indicates at least we are tackling one of the major problems in this province, and it is not an either/or situation.
I have suggested and I will be suggesting to the federal minister on Wednesday that this is a national problem. He was asked those questions. At least the press recognizes it is a national question and that the question should be directed to the federal minister. We will be working with 10 other ministers this Wednesday to see whether or not the federal government has room.
I was pleased last night, watching very carefully the responses of Mr. MacEachen to the critic, Mr. Crosbie, on this matter, to see that he had left some room for some action if he saw fit. I hope he is serious in that, and not simply misleading anyone in his response.
Mr. S. Smith: Ontario is in a much more vulnerable position than certain other parts of this nation in terms of the number of jobs that could be lost by the closure of small businesses. We have already reached a record high number of bankruptcies and we lead the country by far in this regard.
Since this government has a responsibility to protect the citizens of this province, and not merely to take credit for what is good and lay blame federally for whatever they do not happen to be pleased about, would the Treasurer admit that the crisis is going to affect Ontario businesses? Would he admit it is his responsibility, therefore, to take at least the $100-million program we proposed and to aid not only farmers, as he has already done, but the small businesses and the home owners of Ontario, irrespective of what other governments happen to be doing or not doing?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, if one goes back to the April budget and looks at the measures taken to help small businesses, they were not all in the form of assistance to pay interest. They were more in the form of reducing taxes paid by small businesses, some of which are not income-related, The capital tax is a good example.
We can go back and look at the number of dollars forgiven by Ontario in that budget where it applied to small business. I think the sum total was around $50 million to $60 million, off the top of my head. That is summing up the effect of the capital gains reductions, the capital tax reductions, plus the credits available to small business where they make capital investments during this year.
Every small incorporated business in this province is entitled to up to $3,000 reduction of corporate tax payable in Ontario because of the actions we took in that budget. That leaves home owners as the major group still to be dealt with.
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, supplementary to the Treasurer, based on the impact of high interest rates on the Ontario economy, as put in the question by the Leader of the Opposition. Has the Treasurer seen the latest forecast by the Conference Board in Canada which indicates that at present, for 1980, seven of our 12 industrial sectors, which account for more than 50 per cent of Ontario’s output, are expected to experience output declines in 1980? Further--and this is really significant in terms of the interest rate question-- is he aware that the unemployment rate will rise from its current third-quarter level of 6.9 per cent to an all-time high of 7.7 per cent by the end of 1981?
Given the fact that the increasing interest rates can only make the matter worse, can the Treasurer tell us this morning what he intends to do, (a) to alleviate the impact of those high interest rates and (b) to stimulate particular sectors of the Ontario economy?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I have been more aware recently, not so much of the conference board’s comments -- although I see them in capsule form -- but of the response of the Economic Council of Canada in dealing with the same problems. It is very interesting to see that the economic council supported Ontario’s official position in commenting upon the negative effects the federal budget has had on these very factors. Having written its report, it had to revise it and simply say that Mr. MacEachen’s actions were going to hurt the industrial sectors of Canada’s economy; they were going to increase inflation; they were going to increase unemployment. And these people over here have the gall to criticize us.
Mr. Peterson: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I have very serious difficulty understanding the logic of the Treasurer in saying, as he does in a response to a question yesterday in Hansard: “I am implying first it is a Canadian problem; it is not an Ontario problem.” Yet with the sales tax matter the Treasurer took unilateral action in the absence of assistance from the federal government. Why can the Treasurer not take the same approach with some interest relief for people renewing mortgages?
As the Treasurer has just admitted, those people have not been assisted. There is going to be a crisis in this province in the next month or two or three. As long as these rates hold up, and they are expected to go even a little higher, why can the Treasurer not bring in a short-term targeted program to assist those people most in need? It will not be terribly expensive but it will meet a very serious crisis in this province now.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Again, Mr. Speaker, I argue with the member that when it is a national problem, and it does affect Ontario and it does affect individuals, we do have a need to work that kind of thing out with the feds. It is great for the member to ask me to take 100 per cent of the load when I only get one third of the revenue.
Mr. Peterson: You did it with the sales tax.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I am not a hypocrite. With my sales tax measures I used Ontario dollars to support Ontario industry and Ontario employees.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Minister of the Environment. I would ask the minister to consider that given there would appear to be, from his answers yesterday, very little difference between the type of hearing he is proposing in the South Cayuga matter and an environmental assessment hearing -- the differences appear not to be major from his answers to the question which was asked yesterday three times -- and given that, from the events which transpired, it is obvious the minister has misread the intensity of feeling of people about this particular issue, will the minister now accept the suggestion which has been made to have a proper environmental assessment hearing under the act but with a strict time limit of less than one year so that the people will feel they have, in fact, had due process?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: No, I will not, Mr. Speaker, in answer to the leader of the Liberal Party’s first question. Yes, I do understand the intensity of the feelings of the people of that community. I also think that the intensity was heightened by less than the best of motives. I will say that only once. We will make every effort to have the people understand the facts as they are. That will happen in the due process we have established for the community.
Mr. S. Smith: Instead of standing in the House and imputing motives to people, and instead of suggesting the people in the area are somehow wrong to expect the same protection under the act that every other community has expected over the years, would the minister do one of two things? Will he either admit he has seriously misread the situation or will he explain to the House clearly what the important differences are between his hearings and the hearings which people would recognize as being their right under the act, so that all of us could understand what these vital differences are that are so important he is willing to persist in this policy? Surely, if the differences are not major, it would make more sense to act under the existing legislation with a time limit than to have an ad hoc hearing.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: This is a prime illustration of the leader of the Liberal Party’s total lack of understanding of the environmental assessment process. In the name of justice, one plainly does not put a time limit on that kind of information process. We are not going to put on a time limit or any limit. Do I have an understanding of this process? What I learned yesterday, particularly in my conversation with the member for Haldimand-Norfolk (Mr. G. I. Miller), is that there is a great need for understanding. I will address that issue today as we sum up in our estimates. There is no doubt about the great need for understanding. It was the hand of understanding that I put forward on Wednesday of this week that I will extend over and over again. There is nothing that demands the attention of our society more than treating our wastes in a safe, environmentally sound and proper way. That is the dedication of myself and this government.
Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since the minister has also extended the hand of understanding to the standing committee on resources development and has suggested the committee take a trip with the minister, which will cost several tens of thousands of dollars, to look at sites in Europe, can the minister explain what relevance that has to the committee’s terms of reference which are to look at the adequacy of the alternative hearings?
Hon. Mr. Davis: It has more relevance than a lot of select committees.
Mr. Cassidy: The Premier is very excited. Can the minister explain what relevance that has to the terms of reference of the committee? Is the minister not trying to distract the committee from looking at the question of whether the hearing process will be adequate to protect the people in South Cayuga and the people of the province?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, what that question does is hit at the very heart of this problem. What the committee must do in its deliberations is not to decide what was wrong with the past, wrong as it is and has been, but what can be done for the future and what is the appropriate way of dealing with that problem. The best illustration of building a new world, of building a new concept in our society for chemicals that must be treated to safeguard our health and safety will be by looking at the best facilities in the world.
As I see it, we will improve where possible and copy where it is impossible to improve. There is no more relevant thing for that committee to do than to make a trip to where we think the facilities are the best. If they have a better suggestion we will adopt it. That puts challenges before this House, before the committee. I am hopeful that as the member starts to understand in its true impact what this committee could do for the future generations of our province, for every man, woman and child, he will see that is the way to go and will be glad to be a part of it.
Mr. Riddell: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister aware that when the NDP referred this matter to the committee and when it drew up the terms of reference, it included a review of the technology? I am wondering how the committee is to review the technology when its members have no idea what we are talking about.
Hon. Mr. Pope: That has never stopped them before.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I am not sure that this will be my last question before Christmas, but I think it would be a great thing if it were this morning. I thought that was a terrific question. I totally agree with the member. We have a spirit of Christmas here already.
Mr. Isaacs: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Forgetting questions from members who cannot read, I would like to return to the original issue of the hearings.
Going over the minister’s original statement of November 25 and everything he has said since that day, it is clear he has not excluded the possibility of a hearing before the Environmental Assessment Board under the Environmental Protection Act. Will the minister consider the possibility of that route and is that, indeed, his final backup position if the pressure is maintained on him?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I am prepared to accept the pressures. I am prepared to make whatever necessary time is required and available to deal with the problem in its entirety. The one thing I am not prepared to do is allow the focus to centre on the ills of yesterday. Should there be any doubt about that? It has been a long and interesting session and that is frequently what has transpired in this Legislature.
Hon. Mr. Farrell: I can understand that, but what is required now is not to focus on the ills of yesterday.
Mr. S. Smith: They are your ills.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: They are society’s ills and the member knows it. The truth of the matter is, if the leader of the Liberal Party would only take the blinders off just for a few minutes, he would quickly realize that they are problems across North America and, thank God, Ontario does not even come close to the problems of other jurisdictions.
Mr. Cassidy: I cannot help thinking, Mr. Speaker, that the Minister of the Environment is part of the legacy of the past, and that is one of the problems we have with this government.
USE OF ASBESTOS IN SCHOOLS
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Education. With respect to her statement yesterday that she is prepared to rely en local school boards for the curbing of the asbestos problems in the schools, does the minister recall the directive that was sent to local directors of education in October, which said specifically that it is essential that all safety precautions be enforced when asbestos work is carried out and which referred specifically to work procedures, protective clothing, protective coverings for walls, the method of disposing of asbestos and the use of warning and danger signs and the final building cleaning procedures?
Given that the Windsor Board of Education has now admitted that it did not follow those recommended procedures and has said that it sees the directives only as guidelines and not as being things it has to follow, will the minister now admit that her reliance on local school boards, like Windsor’s, may be endangering the health and safety of school children and of school board employees in areas where asbestos is present?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, after two and a half years of dealing with the elected representatives in the school boards of this province, I cannot agree with the kind of innuendo the leader of the third party is making. The vast majority of school trustees in this province are extremely responsible human beings. They do not seek that job for personal glory. They seek it because they are interested in children. I do not believe I could ever support the kind of statement the leader of the third party has made.
I believe that in Windsor, that board will be making, if it has not made already, concerted efforts to deal appropriately with the problem of asbestos following the guidelines produced by the Ministry of Education.
Mr. Cassidy: The Windsor Board of Education has admitted it did not respect the guidelines that were laid down by the ministry. The union tells us there is a series of violations; quite specifically almost every one of the directives has been violated. The Ministry of Labour’s occupational health division states that even a very brief exposure to asbestos may cause mesothelioma 30 or 50 years later.
Given those facts and given the danger that school children and school board employees are put into, does this not indicate that the asbestos program should be supervised by the provincial government rather than being delegated to local school boards? Then the minister says, “Well, it is not my responsibility, it is the responsibility of the school boards.”
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I think I said very early that it was a shared responsibility and one I assume because I feel it is important. However, I do hope the leader of the third party is very much aware that he has been living with natural asbestos as a result of the structure of the earth on which he lives for all of his life.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the minister if there is some confusion over this very important matter of asbestos in the schools and how it is affecting the children in the schools, why does she not contact the Windsor Board of Education and get a very clear overview of what it has done or not done and report back to the House? Or, since the House is going to adjourn, the minister could possibly write to the members for the Windsor-Essex county area and inform them of exactly what has or has not been done, and whether she is satisfied with all the precautions, investigations and circumstances that have surrounded this matter and have taken place since she issued this particular order to all the boards.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, approximately three weeks ago I did have an opportunity to discuss this matter with representatives of both boards in Windsor. I was assured the procedures had been followed with some care. I can most certainly double check that report which I received.
Mr. Bounsall: Mr. Speaker, supplementary: Could we have a firm assurance from this minister that she will thoroughly investigate what happened in Windsor -- that they did not follow her guidelines -- and what training they gave to the one employee whom they sent out to do some checking, so that the people of Windsor can be assured that the proper checking will now occur and that the students and the workers are not being exposed to asbestos, particularly in as much as, incredibly, the Windsor Board of Education has now disciplined the employee who did the initial checks for it? They gave the employee virtually no training in testing or in what to look for, and did not provide that employee with the required safety equipment.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, it is the same question. I think I have already answered it.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour about the enforcement of the Human Rights Code for people who are looking for jobs.
Can the minister explain why, despite the provisions of the Human Rights Code, seven of the 10 employment agencies that were contacted a few weeks ago by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association here in Metropolitan Toronto were prepared to discriminate against nonwhites, and only one of the 10 agencies refused to do so? Will the minister tell us what action the government is now prepared to take in order to eliminate that outrageous abuse of civil liberties in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, first of all, I think the member and the House should know that this is a matter that has concerned me and has concerned the Ontario Human Rights Commission for some time.
I think it was three or four years ago that the Canadian Civil Liberties Association first conducted a survey in which it found the kind of information to which the member is referring. The problem then, as is the problem with the most recent information, was that they themselves admit it was obtained by what is called an entrapment technique and is not therefore deemed by them, as well as by us, to be the kind of way one can go about proving this. That has been the problem all along. How do you find accurate ways of auditing the practices of certain employment agencies when the records that are kept are very sparse? There is just not enough there to check and confirm the charges.
We had an independent review carried out last year and about four or five months ago the director of the employment standards branch spoke to the employment agencies association indicating to them that these practices were unacceptable and that we would be proceeding with a method to try to give us the means of countering it. That is what we are now in the midst of doing. It is necessary for us to have information on employment agencies so that we can audit and determine whether or not there have been offences under the Ontario Human Rights Code and more significantly, under the Employment Agencies Act, because that is where the licence is issued and that is where it has to be revoked.
Mr. Cassidy: Could the minister explain why it took five years of complaints and repeated surveys by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association determining that there is a problem of major proportions, that it continues and that there is habitual readiness on the part of employment agencies to screen out nonwhites when they deal with people who are job applicants, and when the problem has been there for so long, why has the ministry come to grips with it only in the last few months?
Why is the minister not prepared to require a monitoring procedure by the Human Rights Code and to amend the Employment Agencies Act in order to ensure that employment agencies have to produce the information on which monitoring can be based?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Let me reiterate that it is easy to say it is going on. I happen to think there is good substantiation of that, but even the Canadian Civil Liberties Association agrees that the method by which it obtained that information is not acceptable for human rights decisions nor for some decisions under the Employment Agencies Act. It is information obtained by entrapment. Let there be no doubt that it is this government’s intention, it is the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s intention and it is my intention as the minister in charge of the Employment Agencies Act to correct that situation.
Mr. Cassidy: Would the minister not agree that if the best technique of determining whether or not employment agencies are prepared to accept discriminatory job listings is in fact to phone them up and to ask them, and if that practice has repeatedly indicated that willingness exists, then should the employment agencies not be told that technique will be used in the future and be warned that that technique will be used?
And should not the human rights commission start a program of going out, rather than waiting for complaints, which by their nature, can never be filed because job applicants never know whether or not employment agencies are actively discriminating? Why can we not tell the employment agencies that we are going to do this and then go ahead and curb this practice now?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I can only reiterate that we told them very clearly that we have reason to believe there are some practices going on that are unacceptable. The member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) should not shake his head, because this is a problem that I am addressing very seriously. The member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren) shakes his head because I understand he has fundamental health problems. That fellow from Bellwoods does not, unless he gets nasty and then he loses control totally. The fellow from Nickel Belt just has a tremor of the head. He says no to everything.
I know that everything is simple and straightforward to the member, but the problem s how to get evidence that one can use in a court or before a board of inquiry. I understand some of that but I do not always accept the suggestions and I suspect the member does not either, because on occasion the member shows some common sense and therefore he could not accept them all of the time. We will have that matter solved, because if those practices are going on we will stop them.
Mr. Stong: Mr. Speaker, on November 3, in the absence of the Solicitor General and Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), I asked a question of the Premier with respect to rape investigations. I asked the Premier to name the hospitals which refused to cooperate with the investigative authorities. I also asked him to instruct his Attorney General to lay charges of obstructing justice against doctors who refused to cooperate with investigating authorities, and to instruct his Attorney General to eliminate the use of lie detectors when investigating the victims of rape.
In answer to my question at that time -- and I read from Hansard, page 3992 -- the Premier said: “If I happen to be talking to either the Solicitor General or the Attorney General in the next day or so before he returns from Victoria or Vancouver, I will get that information for the member. If I am not able to do so, I can assure the member I will get a copy of the question to the minister and he will have a full answer for the member on his return.”
The minister has come and gone, and that question has not been answered. In so far as the Premier has not been able to convince his minister to fulfil his assurance, will the Premier now answer those questions and give those assurances on this last day of the session?
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I did communicate this concern to the ministry. I must confess I do have a problem in that the Attorney General and the Solicitor General are both suffering from the same problem. They have the flu.
The Provincial Secretary for Justice (Mr. Walker) is here and might have some --
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have some material here --
Mr. Speaker: Order. Does the honourable member want an answer?
Mr. Stong: I do.
Mr. Speaker: Do have the courtesy of listening then.
Hon. Mr. Davis: I have certain material here I would like to assess myself, and I will undertake to communicate if the Attorney General is not well by Christmas. I will get some information to the member before December 25. The provincial secretary may want to reply. If he does not, I will get it to the member before Christmas. I think the Attorney General will be well shortly.
Mr. Bounsall: A question of the Minister of Industry and Tourism, Mr. Speaker: Since the new year will start off looking very bleak for Windsor auto workers, with the announcement by Chrysler that following the Christmas break there will be a plant shutdown in the car area for two weeks and in the van plant for one, and with all indications that this is just the tip of the iceberg for North American and Canadian auto production, with the Canadian production being well down this year over last, will the minister now stop telling us that everything is going to be okay for the future and develop specific programs to revitalize Canadian auto production and specific employment and assistance programs for laid-off Chrysler workers in Windsor and all other auto workers in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, the latter part of the question is not my responsibility. I will deal with the former part. The fact is that when one looks at the automotive sector in North America, Ontario still continues to outperform every other jurisdiction with automotive production.
Mr. Laughren: No. You are wrong.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member knows it is true. Just look at the figures. The figures are absolutely true. What are we looking at now? About 9,000 or 8,000 people on layoff in Ontario as opposed to about 180,000 in the United States. In an industry that is about a 1:10 ratio.
Second, I challenge the member to find another jurisdiction or another government that has as many important initiatives in the auto sector as we have going for us. I refer, of course, to the auto parts technical centre; to the very many recommendations we have put forward to the federal government in terms of getting further undertakings, under the auto pact; to our initiative in taking a great number of auto parts people to SITEV in Geneva last year; to the fact that we have attracted SITEV North America, the first one ever, to Toronto next year, to make sure that the major automotive parts manufacturers’ decision makers are here in this municipality, in this province; and to the very many efforts currently under way to bring those people to Ontario to look at places to invest. Windsor is chief among them.
As the member knows, the industrial development commissioner has just returned to this province after a very successful mission overseas to try to attract some -- I hate to say it to the member, but I know he now wants it -- foreign investment in the auto parts sector into his area of the province.
I think too of the extensive promotion campaign we have had to promote the duty remission program all over the world, which is beginning to show some return. There are so many initiatives going on in that particular sector. I simply say to the member that we do have a comprehensive set of initiatives. I would invite him, if he thinks there are any lacking in that sector, to rise and indicate where he thinks they are lacking and we will be pleased to consider them. I suspect he cannot think of an initiative in that sector we have not already adopted.
Mr. Bounsall: Concerning the initiatives asked for and the seriousness of the Chrysler situation, is the minister aware of the feasibility study in progress concerning the sale by Chrysler of its Windsor spring plant to National Auto Radiator? What will the minister do to assist that plant to stay under Chrysler’s jurisdiction, to assist that sale if that is the only way to keep that plant in production and, if that sale has to take place, to ensure that the displaced Chrysler workers will have jobs under the new owners?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I can assure the member that we will use the money we did not spend in an ill-fated attempt to give more money to Chrysler and apply that to whatever constructive proposals can be brought forward, be it the continuation of that plant under Chrysler auspices or under new auspices, to make sure the plant is economically feasible, well-funded and can provide secure employment for all the workers in that area in the future.
Mr. Ruston: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Can the minister tell me when he expects to be going ahead with plans for a research and development centre in the Windsor area that he had made in agreement with Chrysler?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, our agreement with Chrysler requires that we do not put up any money until Chrysler begins to put up some money and then we pay our money dollar for dollar. We are in contact with Chrysler to see that their current intentions are. I am informed their current intentions are to go ahead with that facility some time in the next year and a half. Obviously, pending certain other decisions with regard to restructuring the company, which I do not know to be accurate, but I hear about, that facility could be brought into question.
In any case, if that facility is not built we will not be putting in any money. I should add, in the event the facility is not built that will increase the need for the auto parts technical centre. I would expect some of the money that might otherwise have been applied to the Chrysler facility to be applied to an expanded auto parts technical centre.
SERVICES TO MENTALLY RETARDED
Mr. Blundy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services. In view of the minister’s commitment made in the House on May 20 that 400 mentally retarded residents under the age of 21 in homes for special care and in nursing homes would be assessed and programs would be started, will the minister now tell us how many of these assessments have been made and how many of these residents are now having the benefit of some programming in these homes?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, I am not in a position to give the honourable member a current figure in terms of the specific number of assessments as of today, but I can assure him that the assessments are well under way. There is a series of at least three assessments being done on each individual child involved, and all three phases of those assessments are well under way.
Mr. Blundy: The minister did say that these assessments of their needs would be done by September 30. Therefore, I would like to ask as a supplementary what are the number of children in that group and whether these children at least have had their assessments completed and their programming started?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I think that is a repeat of the first question actually.
Mr. Speaker: Yes. Thank you.
Mr. McClellan: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The minister will recall this was a matter raised at length by myself during the estimates debate. May I ask the minister to communicate with both opposition critics as soon as the assessments have been completed and to provide detailed information on the programs which are going to be made available for each and every one of these children?
Hon. Mr. Norton: Yes, Mr. Speaker. I certainly will communicate to the honourable members at the time of the completion of the assessments. I expect that will be at some time during the recess of the Legislature.
Mr. Isaacs: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of the Environment on the matter of dioxin testing in Lake Ontario fish. Is it true that the minister is withholding the results of the tests until it is decided what the minister is going to say about the health effects? If it is, does the minister not think that the public has a right to know and to consult with experts outside the ministry? Will the minister release the data on dioxin levels in Lake Ontario fish that he has today, and will the minister release future findings from the laboratory as they become available?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I think I know the reason for that question and I understand the question, but I think it was answered in detail the other day. Of course we will release those findings. That was said here. I think you would agree with me that this is a new facility and it is extremely important that we have the tests done well. It would be just as wrong to have a figure put out that was not accurate, and I am sure the member opposite would be just as appalled as I. If, on the basis of two or three samples, we said it was very low and subsequently had to amend it, that would offend the member. If on the other hand, it was too high and we had to amend it when the proper sample was completed, then that would be a bad event. Of course we will release those results when the sample size is sufficient to be accurate.
Secondly, on December 19, as I said the other day, this ministry, along with the federal ministry and other agencies of other provinces, will meet so that we can release not only the figures but also the data relative to the significance of those figures to health. It is important not only to know the figures but also to know the relevance of those figures to human health. That is what will be done following December 19. Those figures will always be released to the public, as all of our water sampling figures have been. There has never been any doubt about that at all.
Mr. Isaacs: I am confused by the minister’s reference to sample size. If he is talking about more than one sample from one fish, then it is certainly relevant to test on the basis of multiple samples from a single fish. But if he is talking about sampling the fish in Lake Ontario, then it is going to be a very long time before the ministry will be able to test a truly representative sample. Indeed, the dioxin may not be distributed uniformly among all fish.
If we already have a test which shows fish from Lake Ontario has, let me say just for example, a level of 20 parts per trillion of dioxin, then does the minister not think the public has the right to know that fish was caught in Lake Ontario? If there is one with 20 parts per trillion, there might be another one with 40 parts per trillion, and it might be the one I am going to have for supper tonight.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I am embarrassed. I do not want that to happen. This is far too close to Christmas for any such nonsense. No, let us be serious about this.
What I was saying, and I hope it makes scientific sense, is that when one has such sophisticated new equipment it is extremely important to be sure that the equipment is working appropriately and very accurately. We have done that with water. I think I have tried to update the House all the way along the piece that, first of all, we were doing it with simulated components, then with actual samples of water and now we are into the fish testing programs. But we want to be sure that our measurement methods are absolutely failsafe, 100 per cent reliable. When we have done that to our satisfaction, regardless of what measurements are there, we will certainly put them out for public consumption. In the meantime, I think I can predict safely that the member can have as many fish as he wants from Lake Ontario. Go ahead.
Mr. Gaunt: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Does the minister intend to get in touch with the occupational health and safety branch of the Ministry of Labour to get its opinion as to the possible health effects of dioxin found in the amounts in which it has been discovered?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, that is the whole point of the December 19 meeting. As I said in my previous answer, I think it is important not only to know the measurements but the significance of those in a health sense. That is what the December 19 meeting is to do.
Mr. Gaunt: Are they going to be there?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: They will be there and the federal government is going to be there. We think it is very important to have that very well co-ordinated and understood. Just the measurement itself would not be of great significance. The effects on human health must also be thoroughly reviewed to make sure we are dealing with the right standards. That will happen on December 19.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of the Environment. Is the minister aware of the statement made last Friday by Mr. Tom Cleary, an officer in the state of New York, regarding dumping of supposedly treated waste into the Niagara River by SCA Chemical Waste Services? The statement was that he will not reopen the hearings just because Mr. Roberts, the federal minister, sent him a telegram or the Ontario minister may have sent a telegram somewhere. He must have information in writing to show cause for the reopening of the hearings and new evidence that has not been put before that hearing board previously. Is the minister aware of that statement and what is he going to do about it?
Hon. Ms. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, we are certainly aware of it and we are very disappointed. I am surprised we have not had a better response. I would have thought, since it was their information that there was TNT supposedly on that site, they would have reopened the hearings. I am very disappointed about that. Of course they should have reopened the hearings. That was said there, and it is a very serious thing.
If there was the best of systems, if TNT was on site and an accident occurred, it would not matter. I think that is obvious. We want those hearings reopened. I do not have the evidence that there is TNT there. That was supplied by other sources. We are saying we want to know whether there was or there was not. It is absolutely imperative that we know.
The member for Brock (Mr. Welch) has been pressing on this point and we have made as much effort as we think is humanly possible. I bet the minister of the federal government cannot say he has been in Albany. I do not know; I am just willing to bet on that. I know I have been there, I have pressed it, and I will continue to press it.
Mr. Kerrio: Will the minister take all the evidence he has and will he insist that the evidence the federal government has is put before the hearing officer before closure, given the willingness of that officer to open the hearings if proper evidence is put before him? Will the minister do everything in his power to convince his people and the federal people to get every bit of evidence they have before Mr. Cleary prior to December 20?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I said that previously. Of course we will. That is what it has all been about.
Mr. Kerrio: You haven’t done it yet.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: We cannot do more. We have telegrammed the commission, we have been there and we are saying we want an answer on whether there is TNT on that site or not, yes or no. Only a hearing or direct evidence would tell us that. They have that evidence, yes or no. I do not have it. I hope that is also obvious. They have that evidence and they must tell us whether they have it or not.
I think the member should also be raising a little more hell with his federal member from that area so that he gets in touch with Mr. Roberts as well. We agree it must be answered.
Mr. Kerrio: I have asked for his resignation too.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Now the member is starting to make sense.
Mr. S. Smith: By way of supplementary, Mr. Speaker, does the minister not feel he is on slightly weak ground in demanding they reopen hearings in the United States into the toxic waste facility on their side of the Great Lakes when the minister will not even hold hearings on a similar facility on our side of the Great Lakes?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, we are having hearings on this side. The truth of the matter is they are more significant hearings than were held on that site there. That happens to be the fact.
It is easy to disguise that a little. Maybe the member would like to be part of those hearings and to put some of the evidence on the record as to where he would locate this facility. He has been very silent on that point.
AID TO PENSIONERS
Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Minister of Revenue. Will the minister confirm that recipients of family benefits who are eligible for seniors’ tax grants will not receive their cheques until some time in January, even though he has assured the House many times that he is endeavouring to mail out all cheques before the end of this year?
Does he think family benefits recipients should be treated as second-class citizens and put at the end of the line?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: Of course I do not think that, Mr. Speaker, but I cannot give the member the guarantee that everyone will get the property tax grant before the end of the year. There are mistakes in some applications, and those things have to be processed. In some cases we are not able to locate the people who have applied. We have tried telephoning; we have written to them; in some cases we are sending people to the door to try to resolve these issues.
I cannot guarantee that everyone will be serviced by the end of the year. There are still 200 to 300 applications a day coming into the ministry -- people who are just now applying. There is no way I can guarantee all of them will be completed by the end of the year.
Ms. Bryden: With regard to the minister’s reply yesterday, when I was not present, to my earlier question about the lack of checks on payments, I would like to ask the minister if he thinks he will avoid the embarrassment of making payments to deceased and ineligible persons if the only check he is making is on a July tape of old age security recipients?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: In my reply yesterday I did not say that was the only check at all. That is the most current file we have -- the one from the old age security, the federal people. We cannot check with a file we do not have. But we are using other means as well.
Mr. Peterson: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Could the minister tell me what response I should give to those people who are phoning me and who have not received their cheques yet? We promised them, on the minister’s advice, they would have them by the end of November, and it is now the middle of December, and it looks as if it will be some time in January before they get their cheques.
How do I respond to those people who say, “My friends received their cheques in September, and I am losing all that interest”?
Hon. Mr. Maeck: Mr. Speaker, I suggest the member get in touch with my ministry and we will resolve the matter. However, his other response should be that there was a mistake in their application, and that is the reason they have not received their cheques. With applications we received in which there was no mistake, the cheques have all gone out. The ones that are being processed now are the ones where there were mistakes.
Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food. It pertains to the import replacement policy the minister has alluded to from time to time.
At this time of year the student councils of the various schools across the province, in order to raise money, sell oranges and grapefruit to those people living in the school area, Ontario has had the largest apple crop in history and we have millions of bushels in storage. Does the minister not think it would be a good idea if he, in a joint effort with the Minister of Education, were to write to the schools, strongly advocating that they raise money by selling Ontario-grown produce, rather than something grown in the United States?
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, I can see the honourable member does not have the Christmas feeling within his question this morning. Let me assure the member that, as Minister of Agriculture and Food, I have spoken to quite a number of the student councils and reminded them they should put their emphasis on an Ontario product. But I also agreed with them that, in view of the Christmas spirit, we can overlook situations like this.
Mr. Riddell: Dealing further with the import replacement policy, is the minister aware that in eastern Ontario they cannot grow a sufficient acreage of soybeans because there are not adequate storage facilities --
Mr. Speaker: That is not a supplementary. You have gone from citrus fruit to apples to soybeans.
Mr. Riddell: It is to do with import replacement. It is all good food. I just want money for storage facilities.
Mr. Speaker: It was not a question so the minister does not need to answer.
FOOD PROCESSING MACHINERY
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Industry and Tourism.
Mr. Wildman: Now there’s a shrimp.
Mr. Speaker: If the honourable member hurries he just might get his question in.
Mr. Laughren: It is quite a burden I have to carry here.
I wonder if the Minister of Industry and Tourism could tell me if he is aware of the dramatic increase in the imports of food processing machinery in the last 10 years? Is he aware it has increased by 368 per cent and that, in some sectors, it has increased four and five times within the food processing machinery sector? Last year we had a deficit of $50 million in Ontario alone. Could the minister tell us what he is doing to reverse these increasing imports, to reduce the deficit and to increase employment in this important sector of the Ontario economy?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: I want to give a short answer Mr. Speaker. We are aware of those statistics and some policies are being worked on in Treasury and my ministry. The bold new initiatives being undertaken by the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development under the chairmanship of the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) will have some announcements that will knock the member right back on his seat come the new year.
Mr. Laughren: Given that answer by the minister, how can he justify his refusal even to answer letters going back to October 23, 1979, June 13, 1980, July 16, 1980, October 23, 1980, from Showkraft Canada which is attempting to put together a trade show for food processing machinery and asked the minister for a simple endorsement, a sign of support for this trade show? Why does the minister not even have the decency to reply to these letters?
How in the world can he stand up and say he is aware of the problems and is really attempting to do something about them? Could the minister explain why he has not bothered to answer these letters and, finally, when is he going to carry out the promises of the member without a food terminal from Timmins to put a food terminal in Timmins?
Mr. Speaker: The time for question period has elapsed. Do you have a response?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, may I state two things categorically? First, if those letters were addressed to me or my ministry they have not gone unanswered. Secondly, in view of the fact question period has expired, may I say the performance this session of the Minister of the Environment in showing leadership in North America has been absolutely outstanding. I hope members will join in applauding that performance.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a point of order. On November 21, 1980, I asked the Premier a question concerning public opinion polls. The Premier indicated -- he never promises -- that he would give me a response to my question in setting a policy in which his government, using taxpayers’ money to take public opinion polls, would make those public opinion polls public and table them in the Legislature.
Mr. Speaker: What is the member’s point of order?
Mr. T. P. Reid: The Premier promised me a response by today, Mr. Speaker, and I have not had it.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I would say to the honourable member that my position is the same. We are still assessing it.
SUPERMARKET PRICING SYSTEMS
Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: Instant Hansard yesterday showed that the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations gave an unqualified commitment that he would today answer my question relative to the errors in computer checkout systems. I would put it on record that not only does he not do anything about consumer prices, he does not even answer the questions any more.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, first of all, the question was so cockeyed that I did not finish reading it until 11:30 last night. I could have given an answer today but I thought the member, for the purposes of his press releases, might like a longer, written explanation on Monday. If the member would get his figures and his facts right in the first place he would get the answers faster.
Mrs. Campbell: Mr. Speaker, during the discussion of the estimates of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations we had a somewhat lengthy debate on the problems of Rembrandt Homes. On that occasion, the minister undertook to report to this House his solutions of those problems within a week or two or, at the latest, before this House rose. We have not had that statement, and those people have been waiting eight years for solutions.
Hon. Mr. Drea: First of all, Mr. Speaker, I was going to do it in my concurrences. I could not do it this morning for the member because she was not here. I have not been at it for eight years.
Mrs. Campbell: I was here.
Hon. Mr. Drea: The member was not here.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry and Tourism is responsible for either the answer or, in this case, the non-answer to the question that has been on the Order Paper for a number of weeks pertaining to the cost of government advertising. He has asked for more time, officially, under the rules, and that time has expired. Why are we not provided with the information before adjournment? Or perhaps it is available today.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, in order to assemble all of that information it would perhaps cost as much as it would cost to save the entire food processing sector in this province. In any case, my staff has been working on it for several weeks. As seen as it is available the member can have it. But it is taking a great deal of time because we do like to provide very complete and accurate answers.
I should also say that in these kinds of circumstances, as situations change, sometimes the advertising budgets are adjusted. Indeed, sometimes they are reduced. That may not be the case this time, but sometimes they are reduced. In any event, in an effort to get the member full, complete and accurate information, we have been working very hard. It is just not ready today. If the House sits past today perhaps it will be ready by the time we do adjourn.
STANDING COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT
Mr. Villeneuve from the standing committee on resources development presented the following resolution:
That supply in the following amount and to defray the expenses of the Ministry of Natural Resources be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1981:
Land management program, $6,422,500.
SELECT COMMITTEE ON ONTARIO HYDRO AFFAIRS
Mr. MacDonald from the select committee on Ontario Hydro affairs presented the final report on mine milling and refining of uranium ore in Ontario and moved its adoption.
Mr. Speaker: Does the honourable member want to adjourn the debate?
Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, may I make just two brief comments and then I will be glad to adjourn the debate?
One, I would like to explain that unfortunately we do not have printed copies of this report. It is now at the printer. As soon as copies are available they will be sent to each of the members, but we wanted to table it before the end of the session.
Second, may I remind the members that this is the third report dealing with the whole issue of safety in the nuclear industry. The first one, which has been submitted and debated in this House, was with regard to the safety of the nuclear generation of electric power. The second one was on waste management which the Minister of Energy spoke to this morning and which, hopefully, other things not intervening, we will have an opportunity to debate next year because we have had the assurance it will carry over until the next session.
This is the third one dealing with the front end of the fuel cycle, namely on mining, milling and refining.
Mr. MacDonald moved the adjournment of the debate.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the standing committee on resources development be authorized to sit today following routine proceedings.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, normally I would have quite a number of other motions but they are not ready yet, so I thought perhaps later in the day we can revert to “Motions.” These are the motions that will allow the committees to sit and state what business they will do and the substitutions and so forth.
Mr. Speaker: Do I take it that, in keeping with the spirit of Christmas, concurrence will be forthcoming? Agreed.
INTRODUCTION OF BILLS
BUSINESS CORPORATIONS ACT
Hon. Mr. Drea moved first reading of Bill 229, An Act to revise the Business Corporations Act.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, this bill is obviously being introduced for first reading. I will say that it does include the so-called Renwick amendment.
You will recall that I informed the house last December that I was making available for comment the proposed revision of that act. The comments were requested by March 14 and the bill was revised to reflect comments received and again made available last July for comment by September 30.
In these public reviews of the proposed bill, comments and submissions were received from individual lawyers, law firms, accountants, businessmen, the corporation legislation committees of the Board of Trade, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, the Certified General Accountants’ Association of Ontario, the Trust Companies Association of Canada and a committee of the commercial consumer and corporate law section of the Ontario branch of the Canadian Bar Association.
This committee, which was appointed in March 1979 to review and comment on the initial staff draft of the proposed legislation, worked with the staff on the preparation of the proposed bill.
There is some resistance to change. This is highlighted in the brief of the Board of Trade which has publicly stated, “Enactment of this proposed bill will result in a tremendous burden to all those companies affected in the transition.” To avoid this, the provision regarding transition has been rewritten.
An overwhelming majority of practitioners favour complete revision of the Business Corporations Act with a view to uniformity with the legislation of Canada and the other provinces.
To assist officials of my ministry in reviewing these comments and in revising the proposed bill, a subcommittee of the committee appointed by the commercial, consumer and corporate law section of the Canadian Bar Association, Ontario branch, was appointed.
These seven lawyers gave unstintingly of their time. Their advice and suggestions based on their knowledge and practical experience in this field has enabled me to introduce this bill knowing that though it may not be endorsed by every lawyer it is endorsed by a representative group of practitioners specializing in company law. I am also confident that it is workable and reflects the latest concepts in corporate law.
We owe these public-spirited lawyers who have volunteered their services and contributed so much to the drafting of the bill our grateful thanks.
Mr. Speaker: Order. This is a general statement. All you are entitled to on the introduction for first reading is to give a brief outline of the principle of the bill. If you can terminate your remarks in a reasonable length of time, I will allow it.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I did it this way, and I beg your indulgence for it --
Mr. Speaker: It is out of order.
Hon. Mr. Drea: -- because of the long duration of this bill going out for comment and other matters under auspices of this Legislature. I wanted to bring the members of the profession, particularly those who have been so helpful, the ones in this House, up to date on the matter. I will conclude.
To the outside lawyers who contributed so much to the drafting of our bill, I extend our grateful thanks. The chairman was Larry D. Hebb and the other members were Professor Frank Iacobucci, dean of law at the University of Toronto; Mr. Jon Levin; Mr. Brian M. Levitt, who was also secretary; Mr. Richard A. Shaw; Mr. Martin R. Wasserman; and Mr. Brian C. Westlake.
Mr. Martel: I want to speak to the matter you raised, Mr. Speaker, because a precedent has now been set that all of us on the introduction of a bill, rather than just giving the explanatory note, can make a statement. I hope that side of the House is prepared to accept that.
Mr. Speaker: That is why I intervened on this occasion. It is an abuse and I do not want it to be taken as a precedent.
HIGHWAY TRAFFIC AMENDMENT ACT
Mr. Cunningham moved first reading of Bill 230, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Cunningham: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to provide for mandatory mechanical fitness inspections for motor vehicles in Ontario. Mindful of your admonition, I have nothing further to add.
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ON NOTICE PAPER
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the answers to questions 398, 42.1, 427 and 432, standing on the Notice Paper. I might inform the honourable members I do have some other answers I will table as they are available before the House prorogues.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
The following bills were given third reading on motion:
Bill 172, An Act to amend the Municipal Affairs Act;
Bill 177, An Act to provide for the Safe Use of X-ray Machines in the Healing Arts;
Bill 188, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act;
Bill 190, An Act respecting Urban Transportation Development Corporation Limited;
Bill 192, An Act to revise the Toronto Hospitals Steam Corporation Act, 1968-69;
Bill 193, An Act to amend the Municipal Act;
Bill 201, An Act to amend the Legislative Assembly Act;
Bill 204, An Act to amend the Executive Council Act;
Bill 205, An Act to amend the Denture Therapists Act, 1974;
Bill 214, An Act to amend the Pension Benefits Act;
Bill 215, An Act to amend the Wine Content Act, 1976;
Bill 216. An Act to amend the Farm Products Payments Act;
Bill 221, An Act to amend the Mining Act.
CITY OF OTTAWA ACT
Mr. Roy moved third reading of Bill Pr18, An Act respecting the City of Ottawa.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I might just say one or two words before the motion is carried because of the tortuous finality achieved by this legislation. My colleagues from Ottawa West (Mr. Baetz) and Ottawa South (Mr. Bennett) will be pleased to hear that by the passage of third reading today the city of Ottawa will be in a position to require one of the major elements of the bill, an energy statement from developers of commercial establishments or of residential buildings of 25 units or more. With the concessions made by the government and the officials of the city of Ottawa, the city of Ottawa is able to achieve this.
I want to pay special respect and underline the effort put in by the city solicitor, Mr. Hambling, who came down here on at least four or five different occasions to achieve a compromise so that the city of Ottawa could have this legislation. I am very proud this has been achieved, in spite of the best efforts of the member for Carleton East (Ms. Gigantes) to undermine the legislation.
Motion agreed to.
THIRD READINGS (CONTINUED)
Bill Pr18, An Act respecting the City of Ottawa;
Bill Pr36, An Act respecting the Town of Midland.
CONCURRENCE IN SUPPLY
MINISTRY OF CULTURE AND RECREATION
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, in the interests of time -- and I understand the minister is not feeling very well -- I will not take very long. I just wonder if the minister could give us some indication of when he expects the revision of the guidelines for capital expenditure under Wintario to be complete? Can he say what effect that will have on some of the ongoing projects that are at different stages, that are looking for further grants from Wintario on the basis not of continuous, but I understand additional work?
These are new projects but they relate to previous projects. There is a situation in my riding where the small municipality of Iron Bridge, with the assistance of this ministry through the Wintario and the Community Recreation Centres Act, built an arena. Those people are now looking to complete a new project to put in artificial ice and a new floor for the arena. It would cost somewhere in the range of $53,000. They are wondering when they can get some idea of when the guidelines will be complete so they will know whether they will qualify.
Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I would hope the minister in making any announcement with regard to the general policy of capital grants would use some discretion in using it. I hope he would bear in mind the recommendation of the procedural affairs committee with regard to the general overall application of those grants.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, now that the matter has been opened, I feel that the minister, who commands one of the largest ministerial advertising budgets in the government, should have provided an accounting of it. Through the Minister of Industry and Tourism, which is responsible for these matters, he should have provided a full accounting of the millions of dollars that must be under the direction of his ministry, if only for the various and sundry lotteries and games he runs in support of our cultural endeavours.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, in response to the first question raised as to the possible timetable for the continuation of the capital grants program, it is my plan to lay the new program before my cabinet colleagues in mid-January. I would hope when I receive concurrence from them we will be able to make the announcement.
Mr. Roy: I have a bet on, Reuben, that you would bring it forward before the next election.
Mr. Nixon: It will be your last chance.
Hon. Mr. Baetz: I hope long before the next election, of course.
I am not able to be very specific at this time as to what the new program will look like. However, I think I can say with some reasonable degree of assurance that many of the features of the new capital program will be quite similar to the present program. The kind of illustration the member gave for continued funding would look to me to be very much the kind of thing we will be able to finance under the new capital program.
In response to the question about advertising, it is true, as has been noted, that the advertising accounts for the lottery programs are very substantial, probably among the highest in the province. But I must stress that this is advertising placed and directed by the Ontario Lottery Corporation. That is a crown corporation and does its own advertising along its own guidelines. If at some time the member wants to have a detailed account as to those figures, I am sure this will be forthcoming.
As far as the criteria and the new methods of administration are concerned, we have taken steps to streamline the program still further. We think that will enable us to make grants very speedily. So I am looking forward to the continuation and to the opening of a new capital program in the new year.
Resolution concurred in.
MINISTRY OF ENERGY
Resolution concurred in.
MINISTRY OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, I do not see the Attorney General. With respect to concurrence for the Ministry of the Attorney General, may I ask a question of the Provincial Secretary for Justice in the Attorney General’s absence?
Last June, the Ministry of the Attorney General delivered to this House the study of mind development groups and cults. A question was asked of the Premier (Mr. Davis) as to what action the government was going to take on this report and, on June 17, the Premier said the report would be assessed by the minister and would then be coming forward to cabinet for whatever recommendations.
I got the clear impression from the Attorney General when I posed the same question to him a few days later that, at some time in this session, we would be advised as to what he or his ministry was planning to do with that report. We have heard nothing. I wonder if the Provincial Secretary for Justice, as a member of cabinet where, according to the Premier, this issue was discussed, might be able to give me some intimation as to what the plans are for it.
Mr. Speaker: Is there any other member who wishes to make any comments?
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that the Attorney General is not here. I understand he is not well and I certainly wish him a speedy recovery. There is a rumour that he is convalescing at the Albany Club but, of course, that is just a rumour.
It is slightly more than a year since we debated in this House and defeated a bill which would have established a procedure for citizens’ complaints against police action. There was a very good, solid reason why that bill was defeated. If you recall, Mr. Speaker, it not only set up numerous roadblocks for citizens who had legitimate complaints, but it ensured that the police would continue to investigate themselves.
However, there has remained on the Order Paper a bill which does set out a procedure which, first, involves the citizens directly and allows them to take their complaints directly to a place other than a police station, and which allows for the independent investigation of such complaints. That bill was put forward by my party and stands in my name on the Order Paper, and it has been there for a year. Of course, the result of the inaction by the government is that, for the citizens of Metropolitan Toronto and other urban centres throughout the province who have complaints against police actions, there is still no complaint procedure.
I think the situation is intolerable. Frankly, I do not understand why the government sits so complacently while we continue to have unfortunate incidents occurring within our city and in other cities as well. I would like to know whether the government intends simply to allow the issue not to be answered and why, when it has been pretty clearly indicated by the House that the government plan was unacceptable, and when there is a very clear alternative sitting on the Order Paper, the government simply cannot adopt that alternative so that the citizens of Metropolitan Toronto can have a citizens’ complaint bureau, which they have long asked for and which numerous government investigations and reports have also said is necessary and important to have in our city?
I am very discouraged by the kind of complacent attitude being shown by the Attorney General. I fully understand and appreciate that the secretariat cannot be held responsible for the actions of the Attorney General. None the less, perhaps he could try to enlighten us as to what the government policy is and whether a proper citizens’ complaint procedure will ever see the light of day.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, may I just briefly join my colleague from Scarborough-Ellesmere in echoing my disappointment about a problem which has been underlined now for at least six or seven years by a number of reports: the Maloney report; the present Ombudsman, Mr. Morand, discussed citizens’ complaints as did the Marin investigation of the RCMP, and so on. It is truly disappointing and I think somewhat shameful of this government to find itself in December 1980 without a bill dealing with this very important problem, at least for the metropolitan area. It is shameful and somewhat reflective of this government which did not want to compromise just a bit. Had they compromised and taken some of the suggestions by the members of the opposition, they would have a bill here today. I repeat, I am deeply disappointed and think it is shameful on the part of the government that they did not see fit to deal with that problem.
I wish you would convey a further matter to the Attorney General, to whom we wish a speedy recovery. I wish you would convey to him as well that we have had a commitment in this House about new legislation dealing with prescription periods in Ontario. This is not even contentious legislation. This is legislation which would receive wholesale and wholehearted approval on the part of all members in this House and all citizens of Ontario. Again, it is deeply disappointing that in December 1980 we do not see legislation to correct the problem of limitation periods. I do not have to remind you that in 1980 it is somewhat ironic that we still have archaic situations in Ontario society whereby there is a limitation period of so long in dealing with doctors, with undertakers, or with government. Hence, the public and the citizens of Ontario find themselves in a situation where this inconsistency still exists.
We have had commitments from the Attorney General. We have had law reform reports on the hooks for many years. It is disappointing that, as we close and we pass these concurrences, we still do not have this legislation. There is no excuse. One cannot say that the opposition has in any way impeded progress. We have not done any of this. One cannot even compare this to the citizens’ complaint legislation that we do not have for Toronto. We are all in favour of it and I cannot see any reason or excuse why we did not see this legislation.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I want to make a few comments on the Hill report on cults, sects and other groups. I am extremely disappointed that here we have had a report tabled in the Legislature. The ministry was supposed to have studied it. The Premier has given us a firm commitment that it would be assessed by the ministry and they would come down with some action.
The whole purpose of the report was to assist the many parents as well as individuals who have been affected by mind development groups throughout the length and breadth of the province. A Norma O’Donnell has been in my office practically daily ever since her daughter had her mind affected by exposure to one or more of the cults common in bigger metropolitan areas.
I would have thought the government, at this time, after having spent half a million dollars, would have some kind of answer for the parents who are seeking assistance for their children, be they young children or older children. They are looking for help and we thought the government would be concerned and try to assist them. I am extremely disappointed that we have spent this money and absolutely nothing has happened as a result of the report. The report is now going to die and the many people who have been adversely affected are going to continue to be punished.
Hon. Mr. Walker: I would just like to comment on the fact that the Attorney General is not here. He has been quite ill since last Friday and it is anticipated the flu he has will cause him to be incarcerated in his own home for probably the next five to 10 days. We do hope he has a speedy recovery, but it is very unfortunate that he is not here at the moment to respond more fully to the questions that have been posed by the honourable members.
The member for Kitchener-Wilmot and the member for Windsor-Walkerville have raised questions relating to cults and mind development organizations. I think it is fair to say that probably no one in this Legislature despises these groups more than those members who have spoken and we on this side as well.
It is a situation that was addressed by Dr. Hill. I believe the recommendation in the report was that no legislation should be contemplated. However, there were a number of very far reaching recommendations and those have been under active study by the Attorney General, and particularly by his ministry, since the report was received.
Please keep in mind that in the interim the Attorney General has been constantly plagued with the question of the constitution. Practically every waking moment he had between the time the report was received and until just a few weeks ago was occupied by constitutional matters and he spent the entire summer in Victoria, Montreal and Winnipeg working on these matters. I think it is fair to say that some matters have tended to go to the back burner while some of the more important concerns have been addressed. While I do not wish to take away from the importance of this particular report, I think it is fair to say his time has been preoccupied by other matters of great significance over the past spring, summer and fall.
The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere and the member for Ottawa East raised questions relating to the police bill. All I can say is that it was those two members and their parties who chose to defeat what was a very good compromise bill. A bill was presented to this House by the Attorney General earlier in the year and that particular bill represented a distillation of feeling and had the support of virtually all the organizations in the city that were involved: the Metropolitan Toronto police commissioners, the Metropolitan Toronto Police Association and the Metropolitan Toronto police chief. Virtually everybody agreed on the way it should go. It was those two members who tried to change that.
Mr. Warner: It was supported by everyone except the citizens.
Hon. Mr. Walker: I think the vast number of citizens supported it. To the extent the members opposed that bill, I suspect the public of this province detected that they are the ones who are not supporting the police while we are the ones who are trying to put forward something that supports the police.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order.
The Deputy Speaker: What is your point of order? What could be out of order?
Mr. Roy: On occasion the chair has made the Attorney General retract comments that somehow implied that by opposing this legislation we are undermining the police. I think there was a retraction involved in some of the comments made by the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere. I want to put it very clearly on the record that any minister, including the Provincial Secretary for Justice, who tries to put on the record that somehow the opposition does not have faith and confidence in the police and is trying to undermine them by opposing this legislation is distorting the facts. I want to make that very clear and if that was the minister’s inference, he should withdraw it.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, on the point of order: As my colleague the member for Ottawa East mentioned on an earlier occasion the Attorney General tried that silly nonsense of suggesting that because the opposition party disagreed with what the government wanted we were not supporting the police. I raised it as a point of order and the Speaker at that time asked the Attorney General to withdraw that allegation. The Attorney General did so. I would ask that on this occasion the Provincial Secretary for Justice also withdraw that silly accusation.
Hon. Mr. Walker: I have never heard sillier nonsense in my life than what is coming from the other side. What I said was the public of this province, in my opinion, has come to the conclusion these are the people -- the Liberals and the NDP -- who are undermining the police.
The Deputy Speaker: I have listened carefully and I am sure all members who have spoken have made their points of view heard.
The resolution for concurrence in supply has already been placed before the House at the beginning of the debate. Is it the pleasure of the House that the resolution be concurred in?
Those in favour will please say “aye.”
Those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion the ayes have it.
Resolution concurred in.
MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, my question to the minister is with reference to the new Highway 8, between Highway 401 and the existing Freeport Bridge in the city of Kitchener. The minister will perhaps recall this project has been ongoing for considerable time. I believe it is called the Highway 8 diversion.
The residents of that area, along that strip of the road, have met with officials of the ministry on a number of occasions, most recently in September 1979. They have indicated their concern, not about the diversion itself but about an access road to that diversion and the amount of noise and other types of pollution that would result if it were placed where ministry engineers want it placed.
They proposed some alternatives to ministry officials but these were rejected. During the winter and summer of 1980 they contacted a number of experts in the environmental field and in the engineering design field. They had planned to come back to the minister and ask for an environmental assessment hearing because their concerns are of an environmental nature. However, recently they discovered quite by accident that on January 23, 1980, an exemption from an environmental assessment hearing was obtained by the ministry from the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Parrott).
These people feel in something of a quandary because they feel they have legitimate reasons to have an environmental hearing. The first two reasons given for the exemption deal with the possibility of resulting delays in construction. The project has been under way for a number of years. It has been one full year since the exemption was requested. I guess the exemption was probably requested before that. There is still nothing happening there.
My point to the minister is that new information has come to light. The residents were not aware the exemption had been requested and obtained. I would ask the minister if he would now ask that this exemption be withdrawn and give those residents the right to have an environmental assessment hearing on their concerns.
I would also ask the minister if he could indicate to the best of his knowledge when this project will now proceed and whether there is sufficient time to hold an assessment hearing. I understand the residents would be quite prepared to have that confined to a short period of time because the factors involved have now been sharply focused and it should not take very long.
Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I am somewhat shocked to hear this from the honourable member, but I will have to look into the situation on that particular job. Like many other jobs that were well along in the planning stages when the Environmental Assessment Act became effective on the ministry, exemptions were obtained for these jobs. This was a high priority job. There has been great pressure from the city of Kitchener and the area municipalities to get the job proceeded with. An exemption was requested and obtained. If the member wants us to go back and start from square one on the project, then we will have to look at a probable delay of at least three years.
Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, may I respond to that?
The Deputy Speaker: No. This is concurrence. We are not in committee.
Mr. Sweeney: We are not asking to review the whole thing.
Resolution concurred in.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I want to make a comment. We were going to let this thing slip through innocuously, but we won’t after listening to the minister’s invective of just a few seconds ago in defending the Attorney General in his blatant and political attempt to try to undermine the opposition in the responsible roles we play in this place and in attempting to say that we, who wanted a bill to protect the citizens and at the same time give some flexibility to the police, by demanding such a bill and by refusing to support the bill brought forward by the Attorney General somehow are showing a lack of confidence or undermining the work of the police. The Attorney General has tried that stunt before, but I am surprised that the provincial secretary would repeat it again, although I have known him in other instances when he was potentially capable of saying such nonsense.
I want to say to the Provincial Secretary for Justice that this is not the role of the opposition. We have as much faith in the police as he has. At the same time, there are three reports on the book existing for seven or eight years saying that there is a problem and that a new mechanism must be found for citizens’ complaints. One of these people is now the Ombudsman of Ontario and one is the former Ombudsman, Mr. Maloney, and a good Tory at that. The minister should be listening to people like that.
To suggest that we in the opposition who are supporting the recommendations in these reports are somehow showing a lack of confidence in and undermining the police is pure rubbish and the provincial secretary should know better. I think the record should be clear on that point.
The Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, it is rather sad that the government, instead of taking the opportunity to bring in a bill which is desperately wanted and needed by the people of Metropolitan Toronto and other urban centres, would choose instead to try to suggest that the opposition parties are against law and order. What patent nonsense!
Hon. Mr. Walker: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I think the member fully knows I did not say the opposition parties were opposed to law and order. They may well be, but I did not say it. I am inclined to think maybe they are, but I did not say it.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, had the member taken the time to read the bill which stands in my name, he would have found there was greater protection for police officers under that bill than under the government bill which was defeated. The government had it in its head that ordinary citizens would be given the power to fire police officers immediately, without recourse. What we said in our bill was that the chief of police was still in charge of the force and, upon the basis of a complaint being substantiated, the chief of police could choose to issue whatever disciplinary measures he chose. The police officer would still have the right of the grievance procedure through his union.
We built in some protection in the case of complaints which could not be substantiated, or in the situation wherein an arbitrary decision under the government’s bill could simply be made by citizens. What we addressed instead was the process under which a citizen could easily and quickly lodge a complaint, have it heard immediately, have it investigated independently and resolved. It would not be the gobbledegook that the government had for a citizen.
I would submit that if any citizen wanted to lodge a complaint under the government bill which was defeated, he should first hire a lawyer so he could work his way through the maze that was set up. It was incredible. There is not a citizen in this city who would go through the hoops that the government had set up. A reasonable person could look at that bill and construe from it that perhaps it was deliberately set up that way so that it would not have any hope of working. My major point, which still remains, is that, regardless of the difference of opinion in this place, we still do not have a procedure.
I would have thought that the government, having had its bill defeated, would have come back with a new proposal or another suggestion. Is the government so lacking in imagination, determination or political will that it cannot come back to the House with another proposal? It is very disturbing to think that the government is so complacent about citizens who have complaints against police action, and that, despite the many years of investigations, reports and submissions, they choose to sit idly by. On this occasion, on this concurrence, part of the blame rests with the Provincial Secretariat for Justice, because I suspect that there is no such secretariat, and that they never meet. We asked earlier for the dates on which the justice policy group met, and who was included. We never got an answer.
Hon. Mr. Walker: The member never asked me that.
Mr. Warner: Let us try it again this morning. How often have you met in the last year? Who attends those meetings?
Hon. Mr. Pope: Once a week.
Mr. Warner: It is a sad commentary, but the Provincial Secretariat for Justice is useless.
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I had no intention of participating in the debate on this concurrence but, frankly, I find the minister’s comments during the previous concurrence an affront. The reason is that I, as a member of this Legislature, have campaigned for a long time in support of the provincial police in northern Ontario. It is through the efforts of people like municipal politicians and members on this side of the House that we have been trying to persuade this government to make a commitment to provide adequate funds to the provincial police so that they can hire the staff they need. They cannot fulfil their responsibilities with the lack of staff they have now. This government has done absolutely nothing about it.
We had the Attorney General, in his guise as the Solicitor General, get up a couple of years ago and say he wanted to hire 100 to 150 constables to bring the OPP up to staff requirements. Then he cannot push it through the Management Board. He gets great headlines about how he wants more money for the police, and then he cannot put his money where his mouth is.
If this government really supports the police, as this provincial secretary would have us believe, it is about time it put its money where its mouth is and hired the number of police officers we need in order to allow policemen in the remote areas of the north and in rural areas of southern Ontario to do the job they want to do. This government has not come up with the money and it is about time it did. Instead, what are they doing? They are regionalizing police operations in northern Ontario so that someone from Kapuskasing or Hornepayne has to go to Hearst to get a policeman late at night if they have a problem. It is going to take at least an hour for a response to that kind of call.
If this government calls that adequate policing and service to the public, I think it is crazy. As far as I am concerned, between Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay on Highway 17, the only police force that gives 24-hour service is the township police department of Michipicoten. Every OPP detachment closes at midnight or 1 o’clock in the morning and there is not any service after that time except Zenith numbers. For that matter, this government does not even give that township police force adequate funds because the small municipalities do not get the same subsidies as regions. They have done nothing about that issue either, so they are underfunded as well.
If this government really does believe in the support of the police, it is about time it put its money where its mouth is and gave us adequate policing in northern Ontario.
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I certainly wish the rest of the members of the opposition would support the police as vehemently as does the member for Algoma. It is just unfortunate that the rest of his colleagues do not agree in the same way. There was a perfectly good bill that was presented before this House and that bill was decimated by those characters. I think I will leave it at that.
A moment ago I said that the citizenry was quite opposed to what was being done here by the two opposition parties. There is not a policeman in this province that I know of who does not believe that the opposition parties, the Liberals and the NDP, pulled the rug out from under them just a few months ago. There is no question but that their name is mud with any policemen in this province.
I would just like to say to the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere, who seemed to have thought he asked me when we met, and did not ask me when we met, but I am glad to tell him now -- he seems to have forgotten that he did not ask the question but having now remembered that he did not ask the question -- that the cabinet committee on justice meets every Thursday morning as a general rule. In fact, in the last three months we met on September 18, 1980, which was a Thursday; we met on September 25, 1980, which was a Thursday; we met on October 2, 1980, October 9, October 16, October 23 and October 30. The member is not taking these dates down, and I refuse to continue on with these until he is prepared to write them down.
Mr. Speaker, allow me to leave it at that point. May I suggest that while we are into this area of discussing police matters, if you might be prepared to call the item standing in the name of the Solicitor General, which is quite a bit further down the way, I would be prepared as a courtesy to the opposition to stay around and answer a question or two about the Solicitor General’s estimates if you call that matter at this point.
The Deputy Speaker: The resolution for concurrence in supply was placed before the House at the beginning of the debate.
Is it the pleasure of the House that the resolution be concurred in?
Those in favour will please say “aye.”
Those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the ayes have it.
Resolution concurred in.
Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the House would agree to revert to presenting reports so we could receive a report.
The Deputy Speaker: Is there unanimous agreement?
STANDING GENERAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE
Mr. Ashe, on behalf of Mr. Cureatz from the standing committee on general government, reported the following resolution:
That supply in the following supplementary amounts be granted Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1981:
Office of the Assembly program, $2,376,700; administration of the Audit Act and statutory audits program, $110,000; Office of the Ombudsman, $83,000.
CONCURRENCE IN SUPPLY
MINISTRY OF THE SOLICITOR GENERAL
Mr. Makarchuk: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a few comments on the concurrence in supply for this ministry, in view of the fact I was dealing with the Solicitor General in the estimates.
The police bill was raised in the estimates. The same day we were raising the matter of citizen involvement, there was an article in the Toronto Star by Marilyn Dunlop outlining how a procedure like that is in effect in Chicago, and it produces results. The opposition parties have advocated a procedure of that nature. When we brought this to the attention of the Solicitor General he adamantly, absolutely and bullheadedly refused to consider the idea that there should be some kind of citizen involvement in the review process.
I think that indicates the stultified nature of the government. It is sitting on what I consider to be a ticking time bomb. There is a lot of resentment; there are a lot of people who feel they have no recourse, that they are powerless, that they are abused by those kind of situations. The minister absolutely refuses to deal with the problem in a way that has been shown and demonstrated to have worked in other jurisdictions.
If such legislation had been in effect in Toronto for the last three or four years, where the citizens had recourse to a citizen review board and felt they would get fair treatment, perhaps we would not have had the Albert Johnson situation developing. The citizens would feel they could deal with those situations in a similar manner.
It was pointed out in that article that when citizens complain they are able to get some recourse. Somebody would move in and try to rectify the problem in a matter of hours, not days or weeks. The matter would not be dragged on through various groups, reports, commissions, et cetera.
Another matter was raised in the Solicitor General’s estimates that I think should come to the members’ attention, considering how much the government supports the police and how much it is fighting crime. The fact is that the motorcycle gangs in this province are taking over. Booking agencies are becoming legitimate, but at the same time are using violence to intimidate people. They pressure the strippers et cetera in the various bars in Ontario to go with these booking agencies that are being operated by motorcycle gangs.
This is a growing problem; it is developing. The Solicitor General is allowing to develop in this province what originally was considered to be a totally illegal group of people. People who had no commercial standing in society now are able to operate in a legal manner. On the one hand the booking agency is legal, it operates. On the other hand it ensures that its clientele is coerced through force to become part and parcel of this operation.
We had evidence produced to us in the estimates of at least three people who were beaten up by the motorcycle gangs, and other people have been threatened. The police have done absolutely nothing. When the performers went to the police to lay complaints, they were scoffed at. Evidence was given where one of the crown attorneys refused to go ahead with the prosecutions on various cases.
Also, in the matter of indecent performances and so on, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario seems to sit back and allow these hotels to continue to operate.
Hon. Mr. Drea: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: The member knows very well when it comes to entertainment that the Criminal Code of Canada provides for this. He should start on me.
Mr. Makarchuk: The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations is sensitive. We are talking to the matter that was raised with the Solicitor General. But there is a very grey area as to what is legal and what is illegal.
The point is, the liquor control board can walk in there quite often and close down a hotel when drinks are served beyond closing time or to minors, but I have yet to see the LCBO do something about some of these institutions that insist the girls carry out what they consider indecent and perhaps illegal performances that go on in the hotels.
Hon. Mr. Drea: Once again, Mr. Speaker, the member knows full well that is under the Criminal Code; it is under the Attorney General; it is under the local crown attorney. By virtue of a court decision made by the Supreme Court of Ontario, the LLBO, not the LCBO -- get that right; the member ought to know after his adventures with them -- the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario has no jurisdiction in entertainment. The obscenity provisions of the Criminal Code of Canada prevail. If the member is so misguided that be thinks the Criminal Code of Canada is administered by the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario, I humbly suggest he do a bit of research.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. MacBeth): Your point has been made.
Mr. Makarchuk: Mr. Speaker, I just want to say they do not hesitate to move into everything else. When service clubs decide to hold a game of chance, they move in there very quickly and find out there is a regulation. When girls are threatened, beaten up and everything else, they cannot seem to find the opportunity, the wherewithal or the backbone to move in there. That is the point.
I agree that it is under the Criminal Code and everything else. Unfortunately, the administration of justice in this province is such that they cannot seem to get a conviction under the Criminal Code. There does not seem to be an opportunity for convictions to be registered and prosecuted to the full meaning of the law.
Hon. Mr. Drea: You give me the backing and I will run it.
Mr. Makarchuk: The other point I want to raise is a fact that was also brought out in the estimates, the understrength of the Ontario Provincial Police, who have lost something like 300 members at a time when crime in Ontario is actually expanding; it is becoming more sophisticated and has large resources to operate with. The OPP does not have the men to deal with the problem. Instead of crime in Ontario going down or at least being controlled at a certain level, it is on the increase.
The matter of the so-called friends of the police was raised. The minister is not a friend of the police. The way he is acting he must be friends with somebody else, not the police. The OPP does not have adequate resources to deal with the crime. If they did, we would not have this problem of gangs becoming legitimate or moving up into legitimate fronts. I suggest to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations that perhaps he should consider licensing those booking agencies. It might be a way to control some of those operations.
I wish to conclude by saying that the Solicitor General in Ontario had better pull up his socks and start looking seriously at the OPP in terms of providing them with the resources they need, because organized crime in Ontario has an ability to move from one city to another city. It moves around; it does not operate within one metropolitan area or one regional area where the police can do something about it. The OPP is the only group of police available in Ontario which should have the resources to be able to follow crime right across the province, not just the efforts made in municipalities or regions or cities where they cannot really control it as they should.
Mr. Warner: Mr. Speaker, on a different topic, there is an item that should be a source of deep embarrassment and shame to this government.
I understand that in November 1976 an Ontario fire code advisory committee was established. It did some very important and useful work, the end of which culminated in a speech given by the member for London South (Mr. Walker). He made a speech in Hamilton, and part of it says he has been instructed to inform the gathering of fire chiefs that the fire code, with the exception of the retrofit, shortly will be law in Ontario.
He made that speech on May 7. In June Bill 141 was introduced. It still remains on the Order Paper and is about to die. What on earth happened? It was obviously a hollow promise. He ended up misleading quite a few fire chiefs who spent a great deal of time and effort and committees that worked very hard to come up with a new fire code.
The elements that had been suggested were published in the Ontario Gazette and went a long way in addressing some of the very serious problems that exist. Everyone was led to believe that this bill, which was introduced in June following the big announcement by the provincial secretary, was going to be debated and passed. Instead, when we rise today the bill will die. All of that work, those four years of effort, we must assume have gone down the drain. For what reason? It is very difficult to understand.
Normally, in these situations it is because pressure has been applied that is commonly known as lobbying, and I would like to know by whom. I wonder if it is HUDAC. They say in their letter of June 4 that they are not terribly pleased with the way in which the fire code is developing in view of the stated policies of the government to reduce its involvement in the affairs of business. I wonder if HUDAC was part of the pressure group.
I would like to know several things. I would like the minister to tell us why the government has broken its promise; secondly, what it intends to do with respect to the fire code, since the bill obviously dies today; and, thirdly, who is pressuring him. Where is the lobbying coming from? Why can the people of Ontario not have a modern, up-to-date fire code that would be of assistance?
Part of the new fire code addresses itself to an interest that I have had for some time. Just the other day I introduced a bill to amend the Nursing Homes Act. That bill, if passed, would direct that sprinkler systems and smoke detectors be installed and that there be training for staff on fire procedures and evacuation procedures. The bill was developed out of the jury’s recommendations from the tragic fire at the Mississauga nursing home.
Quite frankly, the bill I introduced should not be necessary if the new fire code were introduced, because the new fire code, as printed in the Ontario Gazette, contains sections that would address the problems I raised in the bill I introduced the other day. I would withdraw my bill if I knew that a new fire code were going to be introduced that contained those measures. I would be more than pleased to withdraw my bill, because the new Ontario fire code would be more comprehensive. It would mean that the people trained in fire safety would be the ones who would be doing the inspecting, and not the nursing home inspection branch. To me, that is very sensible and reasonable. Instead, four years of work have gone down the drain. The fire chiefs of this province are very unhappy with this government for abandoning a promise that had been given to them and because four years of work apparently have been scuttled.
Mr. Lawlor: Mr. Speaker, I will be very brief. Mr. John Holtby, my friend of some years past, has just reminded me that this may be the last opportunity in which I will be able to speak in this House. I trust not, because it has been at the back of my mind to prepare a major oration for the delectation of everyone present on some subsequent occasion, mostly, of course, on the budget. I can sum up my brief career here by quoting from a recent cartoon in the New Yorker magazine, “I only made one mistake: I did it my way.”
I have a word or two for the Solicitor General. We all know, regretfully, how bitter and partisan issues can be, particularly when elections are in the offing but, artificially to engender and construct some appeal to the police community in a totally invidious fashion, such as the minister is currently doing, does him little credit and, in my opinion, simply will not work. He needs issues.
Is the government so bereft of substance that this is the kind of measure it has to resort to? They have produced a ramshackle and convoluted piece of legislation which confuses even themselves and, working under that smokescreen, they are seeking to bring both opposition parties into disrepute in this particular guise. Nothing anyone will say will prevent them doing it largely because of the dearth or paucity of thought on issues on their side. They have so much to apologize for, in terms of economics and in terms of their tenure in the past few years, that any straw will be grasped at.
I want to raise my voice against that at this stage and say that, in our conversations with senior police officers et cetera, which we have had outside of caucus and as a result of caucus, we seemed to have a very good reception. As a matter of fact, we have found greater areas of concordance between what we proposed, particularly in the relations of the chief of police vis-à-vis the policeman on the beat et cetera, than what his legislation is proposing. One could go into it at length and thrash about. Irrationality in these matters rules the day, and there is little more one can say.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I want to say one word to the acting Solicitor General, the Provincial Secretary for Justice. He has attempted all morning to try to associate the opposition with somehow undermining the police, as my colleague the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Lawlor) said.
Hon. Mr. Walker: I haven’t tried to do that. That was done by you months ago. I just reminded you that you did it to yourselves months ago.
Mr. Roy: Some of the people across the way even had the nerve to applaud that shallow rubbish coming from people who find themselves in deep trouble. It is somewhat ironic they should say the police somehow feel the opposition is not supportive of the role they have to play. I do not think any of us has to apologize for being continually supportive of the police.
If he thinks he can win the campaign by saying that the opposition parties, by playing their role as a true opposition and not rubberstamping the bills put before them, are somehow undermining the police by that approach, that we are not supportive of the police, and that somehow -- and this is the worst statement of all -- the police in this province feel they do not even have the time of day for the opposition, I want the minister to try that sort of that campaign and approach in my riding. Let him come in and try to get that sort of support from the police in my riding.
It is unbecoming in one who is supposed to be the Provincial Secretary for justice to say, when the opposition is doing its job, fulfilling its role and questioning government legislation, that somehow it is undermining the whole administration of justice and does not have the confidence of the police. Ministers of the crown, or, at least provincial secretaries who are involved in the administration of justice, should not stoop to such depths.
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, let me begin by paying tribute to the member for Lakeshore (Mr. Lawlor) and say that I hope this is not his last moment to be speaking before the House. Fortunately, we have had many years of great input, and I am certainly pleased that the honourable member was not nearly as provocative as the member for Brantford (Mr. Makarchuk), who attempted here to incite us all to make comments that we might not want to make. It is difficult and almost impossible to try to be calm and to respond when faced with that kind of provocation.
In any case, let me say, with respect to the police forces of this province that they are second to none; while the member opposite made some invidious comparisons with respect to the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force, I think it is one of the great police forces in this country, indeed, in North America. I would hope the member would not continue on the bent he was attempting to display here earlier.
Organized crime is probably a number one priority with the Attorney General and with the Solicitor General. They have both attempted to provide us with very good police activity in the entire area of organized crime. The Ontario Provincial Police and the police forces of Ontario have an enviable record with respect to this area.
The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) brought up matters relating to the fire code. Yes, I made that speech in Hamilton on May 7, and I said that legislation was soon to be the law of Ontario. A bill was introduced within a month and a half of that speech and would have been dealt with, I am sure, this week. The Solicitor General, when he spoke to his deputy just yesterday, said he wanted to be down here to put forward the fire code. Had he been here this week and had he not been incapacitated with illness, I am sure this week would have seen the dealing of that particular bill.
I can also tell the honourable member that this bill will be the very first one introduced in the new year and if we come back in March --
The Acting Speaker: The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere has a point of order.
Mr. Warner: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: You realize as well as the rest of us that certain ministers of the crown have parliamentary assistants, and it is normal procedure in this chamber, when a minister is absent, that his parliamentary assistant carries forward with the legislation. That means in this case that, had the Solicitor General the desire to bring forward the bill, his parliamentary assistant, the member for Carleton-Grenville (Mr. Sterling), would have done so. The parliamentary assistant was here this week.
The Acting Speaker: That is not a point of order.
On motion by Hon. Mr. Gregory, the House agreed to continue sitting beyond the hour of 1 p.m.
Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, the bill will be introduced as soon as we return in the spring. I am led to believe it will be the first one introduced. I suspect it will be not changed at all from what we see on the Order Paper today. If there are any changes in the interim, I suspect they will be very modest.
I would say, with reference to the parliamentary assistant to the Attorney General, there is no parliamentary assistant to the minister whose estimates and whose concurrence is before the House today. The member is the parliamentary assistant to the Attorney General, and not to the Solicitor General. I do not think the member can properly raise that, and I know the Solicitor General, had he had the opportunity, would have dealt with this matter this week and it would have been resolved to the satisfaction of the chiefs of this province consistent entirely with the speech I made on May 7. Having been made an honorary chief, I think I can speak for them in that way.
The member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) talked about the role being played by the opposition and them doing their job. Yes, everybody here expects the opposition to do the job; no one doubts that at all. But when the opposition goes to the point of confronting legislation that is reasonably decent legislation, legislation that has the agreement of all those individuals -- the Metropolitan Toronto Police, the Metropolitan Toronto police commissioners, the police association, the Metropolitan council -- I think one has to say at that point that what they stooped to was nothing more than decimating the legislation before the House at that time, and I think that is taking opposition far too far.
Resolution concurred in.
MINISTRY OF HEALTH
Mr. Wildman: I have two short questions, Mr. Speaker.
I wonder whether the Minister of Health is aware of a recent story that appeared on the front page of the Sault Ste. Marie Star, which was headlined, “If You Are Sickly, Don’t Live in Dubreuilville.” It went on to say that if you did get sick in Dubreuilville it should be on a Wednesday, because that is the only day there is a doctor present in that community.
The Ministry of Health officials have told Dubreuilville residents the government can help provide financial incentives to an area declared medically underserviced, but the search for a full-time doctor requires citizen participation. That apparently is ignoring the fact that the citizens of the municipality of Dubreuilville have been working very hard to try to attract a doctor to their community. The officials then went on to say the community could still be five years away from having a full-time doctor.
I wonder if that is the position of the ministry and what is being done. There is a physician who has expressed some interest in going to Dubreuilville, according to the municipal officials, and there seems to be some objection by the ministry to that. There may be good reason for that, I do not know, but I would like to know what is going on there.
Also, in relation to the attempts by the residents of Dubreuilville to obtain a dentist, apparently the ministry says the community is of such a size that they can have half a dentist! If this is the case, what is being done to try to co-ordinate the attempts to attract a dentist to that community and to Wawa? What is being done to try to give assistance to the setting up of a dental clinic, which would make it easier to attract a professional to that area? Also, what is being done to try to ensure that, if there is to be a dentist shared with Wawa, that dentist has an understanding and a capability in the French language?
Mr. Makarchuk: Mr. Speaker, I have a brief point and this again arises out of the discussions in the Solicitor General’s estimates regarding the administration of the fire code and so on.
It is evident that there is no proper burn treatment unit available for Toronto. It is a matter of concern right now in view of the fact that the Mississauga incident could have created quite a few burns and, with the complexity of industrial technology and the use of various chemicals et cetera, the danger exists that one could run into some kind of situation where a lot of people would or could be burned. We discover, on examining the available facilities, that in Toronto there is not an adequate burn unit where there are the beds or the equipment to treat these people properly in any one of the hospitals here.
The minister should look at that very carefully and discuss it with the physicians of the various hospitals, because they have also stated that there is this problem and we have no facilities to cope with it. That is a dangerous way to live, if one cannot take care of people who get burned.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, if I may take the questions in reverse order, there does exist in a number of the hospitals in and around Metropolitan Toronto a capacity to deal with burns, particularly at the Hospital for Sick Children.
There has been a proposal on the books for several years to establish a new burn unit at the Wellesley Hospital, which is on our list of projects for discussion of new initiatives in the next couple of years. It is a matter of availability of -- if I remember correctly -- something in the order of $1 million for capital costs and I cannot recall the figure for operating costs, but it is under consideration.
As regards Dubreuilville, the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) and I have corresponded on a number of occasions. To the best of my recollection, Dr. Copeman, who heads our underserviced areas program, does have Dubreuilville on our list. The member says there is a physician who is interested in establishing in Dubreuilville; I would appreciate it if he could get me his name, and I will make sure Dr. Copeman is aware of his name.
Mr. Wildman: I think he is aware of it.
Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Then I know of no reason, if the physician is interested and Dr. Copeman has been made aware of it, why he can’t be brought in. I would still like to have the name, if the member would not mind, so that I can take it up with him.
As regards a dentist, the volume of work for a dentist is quite a different matter from that for a physician, and we have to be looking at sharing a dentist. As the member knows, we would expect the community, perhaps with the assistance of the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier), to look after at least the professional accommodation if not the personal accommodation. The Minister of Northern Affairs has been extremely helpful in a number of communities in the north in assisting in the provision of both professional and personal accommodation. I will take that up with Dr. Copeman as well.
If the member could get me the name of that physician who is interested, I know of no reason, if he is interested, why he could not be brought in under the program.
Resolution concurred in.
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT POLICY
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I had not intended to speak on the concurrences and I do not intend to take more than a few minutes but, in view of the fact the minister did make a statement today with respect to the government’s plans for the International Year of Disabled Persons, I want to make a few comments.
I do not have my file with me, but I think I can remember from the minister’s statement a sentence on the second page -- she can correct me if I am wrong -- which read, “The government plans to continue with its previous commitments during 1981.” The rest of the statement is completely empty of any specifics.
We want to suggest to the provincial secretary that if the government is serious about a meaningful program in recognition of International Year of Disabled Persons, there are a number of very specific things that can and should be done based on previous commitments that this government has made but not honoured. Let me try to be specific.
Part V of the Ontario Building Code should be brought forward to cover residential accommodations. The transportation service for the physically handicapped should be extended beyond the limited hours it is now available so that the physically handicapped can have a public transit service that is available for social, cultural and recreational use, as well as the current limited service, which is available only to and from employment or school or on a very complicated booking system for other kinds of activities.
The government should move forward on the group homes issue, on which I gather the government is moving backwards; certainly there is no progress there. If the government were serious about ending the violation of human rights by virtue of exclusionary building bylaws, it would take action to make sure municipalities are not empowered to violate human rights. I understand there is an appeal from the Ontario Municipal Board before the cabinet now, and it has been sitting on the cabinet’s plate for a long time, with respect to a group home in the borough of Etobicoke. Again, the provincial secretary can correct me if I am wrong. The cabinet has not dealt with that, and I believe the provincial secretary may have something to say in a few days about Metro plans.
If the government is serious in its rhetorical commitment to employment opportunities for the physically handicapped, the government is obliged to do something about sheltered workshops. I do not think the provincial secretary has actually seen the survey of sheltered workshops that was done for the Ministry of Community and Social Services. If the provincial secretary had read it, she would have realized that it was not limited to sheltered workshops for the mentally retarded; it also dealt with sheltered workshops for the physically handicapped. The figures I was quoting, the so-called wages I was pointing out in that study -- wages in the order of 30 cents an hour, on average -- applied not exclusively to the mentally retarded, but also were being paid to physically handicapped people working in sheltered workshops. These so-called wages are a result of the government’s inadequate funding program.
I would suggest, if nothing else, that if the provincial secretary has difficulty finding projects for the $12 million she has announced today, a priority should be to upgrade the salaries of disabled people who are working in sheltered workshops. But, leaving that aside, I understand the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) is engaged in a study of sheltered workshops, because he is on the hook too since he issues exemptions from the minimum wage, and the new Human Rights Code will provide a means of having hearings against these kinds of situations.
If the provincial secretary is serious during the International Year of Disabled Persons, I would suggest the time has come to establish a provincial manpower program that has a specific mandate to create jobs in a serious way for physically handicapped people. I would suggest to her that she look seriously at the British Remploy model, which is a crown corporation engaged in productive and successful manufacturing enterprises that employ thousands and thousands of physically handicapped people in Britain and, miracle of miracles, unlike our sheltered workshops, manages to pay them a decent, adequate living wage.
I think there is a role for public sector involvement not just in terms of preaching, as is the wont of the provincial secretary, but also actually in developing meaningful programs, including crown corporations that can provide employment opportunities. We have successful models in other countries. It is not as though we do not know what to do. it is not as though there is no interest. The Workmen’s Compensation Board seems to be more interested in the Remploy system than either the Minister of Labour or the Provincial Secretary for Social Development.
Finally, we want to deal with the income security needs of handicapped people. The International Year of Disabled Persons is a good opportunity to get serious about universal accident and illness insurance. Unless we move away from our current philosophy that the physically handicapped, unless they are on workmen’s compensation, are consigned to welfare, and move towards a notion of providing income support to the physically handicapped on the social insurance principle, we are never going to be able to help them to get out of the poverty trap.
The combination of employment opportunities and social insurance, I would respectfully submit to the provincial secretary, is urgently required. I realize she cannot implement programs of this magnitude during the course of a 12-month period. But there is a great opportunity for the government to begin the process of seriously studying universal accident and illness insurance to determine what kind of scheme in precise terms would make sense in Ontario; to develop a serious provincial manpower program that will pull together all the existing manpower programs currently spread over three or four ministries, put them into the house of the Minister of Labour and permit that ministry the opportunity to create real employment opportunities in a meaningful and serious way, and to move away from the paternalistic and inadequate past measures that currently consign physically handicapped people, even though they are working 30 or 40 hours a week, to a position of subpoverty.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I want to make a few comments to the Provincial Secretary for Social Development. They refer to a field in which municipalities always say it is not their responsibility. When we talk to the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) and the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton), they insist it is the municipalities’ responsibility.
I am referring to the physical standards for rest homes, boarding homes and lodging homes. My own municipality insists it is the responsibility of the provincial government to set these standards, yet I understand municipalities have the authority to set the standards. It would be better if the standards for the three types of accommodation -- rest homes, boarding homes and lodging homes -- were uniform right across the province, whether they be in the city of Windsor or in some smaller municipality outside any one of our metropolitan areas.
I would suggest to the minister that she should convince the municipalities they have an obligation to see that rest homes, boarding homes and lodging homes meet certain physical standards as well as, in some instances, have a minimum type of program for the inhabitants of these rest homes, boarding homes or lodging homes, depending on the type of facility in which individuals could benefit by some type of program.
The fact is that municipalities have the authority but it is not uniform. I would suggest to the minister that she either contact or, in some fashion, see that the municipalities know that it is their responsibility to provide a certain type of standard, which I would prefer to have set by the provincial authority, by her ministry or the Ministry of Community and Social Services or the Ministry of Health.
I am referring first to physical standards. When one gets calls from constituents and goes into one of these homes and then into a second, there is so much variation in the size of rooms, the type of beds the individuals use and just the general physical accommodations in a building.
There are two things I am suggesting to the minister: First, the physical standards and, second, the programming -- so that the people who have to be in these accommodations are not simply warehoused but can have a program so their days can be just as fruitful to them as our days are to us.
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to reinforce the comments of this morning with regard to the International Year for Disabled Persons.
This government’s interest and participation in the lives of disabled persons does not begin with an international year. Our commitment has taken place over a number of years. We have continued to develop programs that make it possible for the disabled people within Ontario to enjoy, in many instances for the first time, accessibility to transportation, to living accommodation with support service and to many other programs that are very innovative and, certainly, to my knowledge, far ahead of those of many of the other provinces here in Canada.
The honourable member is shaking his head. I have just come back from a federal-provincial meeting of social welfare ministers, who were very pleased to hear what we were doing in this province and who have asked me for all the up-to-date information so that many of them will be able to follow the lead that Ontario has taken in providing many of these services.
Twelve million dollars may not seem like a great deal to have dedicated to programs for this year, but I would like to remind the honourable members that that is in addition to the many millions of dollars we already spend on programs for the disabled in this province. These are going to supply some of the programs that the disabled people themselves have indicated are their priorities; that is what I am really interested in, the priorities of the disabled people themselves. I am sure that, out there today, many of them are very happy to have heard the announcement.
The specifics that the member has asked for will follow in the ensuing months as the ministers responsible for the new programs will make those announcements. I think the member will be very pleased with what he hears.
He also made reference to amendments to the Ontario Building Code. Those are all ready to go. He will be hearing announcements in the very near future. The agreement has been reached, and these building code regulation amendments will go forward.
Mr. McClellan: Someone promised it at the end of November.
Hon. Mrs. Birch: It is going through.
As I say, I think that, although perhaps we have not been able to provide everything for the disabled people in Ontario, we certainly are attempting to make their lives much more meaningful by providing them with opportunities so that they can make a contribution.
The member made some comments about the transportation program, which is held up as an example to every other province across Canada. We have been trying to persuade more municipalities to take advantage of it. The money is there, the incentives are there, but the municipalities have to indicate their interest. We are hoping, although we have some 30 municipalities involved now, that by the end of 1981 many more will become a part of this program.
The member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. B. Newman) mentioned the possibility of the government’s becoming involved in the licensing of lodging, boarding and rest homes. More than a year ago, I sent a letter to every municipality in this province indicating to them their responsibility for carrying out such licensing. It is well within their purview to do so. Many have written back and asked for samples of bylaws they might use. We still feel very strongly that should be done at the local level. We are perhaps going to take a look at some of the standards but, as far as the responsibility for licensing and inspection goes, that is a local responsibility and we would not like to take that over.
Mr. B. Newman: I was essentially interested in standards.
Hon. Mrs. Birch: Perhaps that is something we are having a look at.
As the Provincial Secretary for Social Development, I know we have not been able to do all the things that everyone would like us to do. I can only say, as an individual who has been interested in social welfare programs for many years before becoming a politician, that I am very proud to be a part of this government which really does show that it cares for the citizens who are disadvantaged in this province.
Resolution concurred in.
RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT POLICY
Resolution concurred in.
MINISTRY OF INDUSTRY AND TOURISM
Mr. Laughren: When I tried to raise an issue this morning, the Minister of Industry and Tourism attempted to respond in a very flippant and irrelevant manner to my direct and piercing question which was put to him concerning the food processing machinery industry in Ontario. The minister’s loud words are much louder than the actions he carries through with. He talks about putting on trade shows and about encouraging the various sectors out there but, when somebody approaches him to get assistance in doing it, he does not even give them the decency of a reply. After exactly one year and four letters -- the first letter was on October 23, 1979, and the last one was October 23, 1980 --
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Send them over. I want to see them.
Mr. Laughren: I will send them over if the minister will send them back again. We have not heard the last of this matter.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Or this minister.
Mr. Laughren: We may have heard the last of this minister in his present portfolio. The Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) is not particularly happy with the performance of the Minister of Industry and Tourism, and that means his position is precarious. We all know who really calls the shots in this government. One more wrong move and he will be Minister of Government Services.
I am sorry there is no concurrence in supply for the estimates of the Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Pope). Why is there not a concurrence in supply for the Minister without Portfolio or a food terminal? Surely he spends money. Why is there no concurrence for what he does here? I guess it is a rhetorical question, because he has not done anything. When the minister was elected, he was elected on a promise that there would be a food terminal in Timmins for the people of northeastern Ontario.
Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, we are talking about the concurrence in supply for another ministry.
Mr. Laughren: This has to do with the Minister of Industry and Tourism, who knows full well there should be a food terminal in Timmins to look after the people there.
Mr. Speaker: Order. When the member for Nickel Belt starts talking about food terminals, I think he is becoming a little bit repetitive. It has nothing directly to do with the question before the House.
Mr. Laughren: Really?
Mr. Speaker: Really.
Mr. Laughren: I think the point is made, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker: On many occasions.
Mr. Laughren: I will send the letters across to the Minister of Industry and Tourism. He should feel free to duplicate them as long as he gets them back to me. Our indication is that his ministry simply has not responded to this very reasonable and modest request, and the minister should do it.
A good processing machinery industry would facilitate the operation of a food terminal in northeastern Ontario. I hope the minister without a food terminal will not try to get re-elected yet again on a food terminal. He promised it and he was working for it. Then they called him into the cabinet and he forgot all about it.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, we cannot possibly concur in these estimates as long as the minister is not going to give us the information pertaining to the advertising budget of the various ministries. He must know that up to $20 million is being spent, mostly by himself but also by his colleagues, and used practically for the sole purpose to aggrandize the Progressive Conservative Party. It obviously needs all the help it can get, but even the $20 million from the public purse is not going to save it from extermination.
I for one, cannot concur in these estimates unless that information is forthcoming.
Mr. B. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to be lengthy but I would like to ask the minister if he sets any priorities in his search for industry in the province in those municipalities that have above-normal unemployment indices? The minister knows the municipality to which I am referring. The industrial promotions commissioner and the mayor of the city have been attempting to lure new industry to the community. De Havilland was one; an electric auto manufacturer was another.
Has the minister assisted them in any way in their search? Is he giving priority to the city of Windsor as opposed to some other municipality so that all things being equal -- other than the unemployment index -- Windsor can have a little higher employment index? Our city has from 17,000 to 22,000 unemployed, depending on who you talk to. Regardless of the number, any number above the national average or provincial average is much too high.
I do not intend to comment further. The minister knows all about it and I would appreciate some answers from him.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, unfortunately I am going to have to talk long enough for my assistant to get back with the reply to the four letters the member for Nickel Belt sent over, because he did make such an issue out of it. I will filibuster on many issues, save the food terminal, because that would be out of order.
Mr. McClellan: Is it not your estimates?
Mr. Laughren: It is not out of order. What you are talking about?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: The food terminals are out of order during this discussion.
Mr. Laughren: No, that is in your ministry. They are out of existence.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: They will be in existence when the member is out of existence.
I regret I am unable to get the support of the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk in these concurrences. I would do almost anything I could to get his support for any item I have before the House. Lord knows I would give him the shirt off my back, but I cannot give him what I do not have. To date I have not been able to assemble for him the vast amount of information I know he wants. I had hoped I would be able to by the time we finish this session, because I know he would be obliged to stand in his place and take back a lot of the allegations he has been making. No doubt he would be impressed by the incredible return the government and taxpayers of the province are getting on our advertising dollars. We will have a chance to test that more adequately some time next year.
Mr. Kerrio: It will be tested in the campaign.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: We will run on our record and against the member’s leader.
The member for Windsor-Walkerville as always has raised some very important concerns with regard to his area. He will know we have been working hand-in-hand with the fine industrial development commission in the Windsor-Essex area. I think they are making substantial gains. They have a good reputation in Europe among those very many people who are now looking at opening up auto related industries and plants in Ontario. I am fairly optimistic we are going to see some of those over the next year.
Having SITEV America in Toronto next June will be of tremendous advantage to the people in the Windsor-Essex area, because they will be able to take some of the foreign decision-makers who would never be in Ontario otherwise out to that fine area. They can show them the work force, the various plants that are available and some of the other attributes the area has. The Windsor-Essex industrial development commission has always been very aggressive in doing those kinds of things, and that will also show very well.
The member for Windsor-Walkerville raised the question of the possibility of getting de Havilland into Windsor and, of course, the problem I have is that I get all sorts of advice as to where the Dash-8 project should go. The member for Windsor-Walkerville thinks it should go to Windsor. The member for Downsview, understandably, thinks it should go to Downsview. I want the record to note that some members of the New Democratic Party caucus have applauded.
The leader of the NDP, on the other hand, I say to the member for Windsor-Walkerville, thinks it should go to Windsor. We do have his support, though we do not appear to have the support of the member for Bellwoods or the member for Algoma, and so we have the NDP with two different opinions.
Of course, the good member for Peterborough has made a very fine presentation on behalf of his municipality. I report to the member for Windsor-Walkerville, the member for Downsview, his leader and the member for Peterborough, all of whom have spoken on behalf of different communities, that our role as the provincial government is to put forward Ontario as the place, and it appears we have succeeded in convincing the federal government that de Havilland’s inclination, which is to stay in Ontario, should be followed. Having done that, I say to the member that we have argued that case on the basis of allowing de Havilland to make the proper business decisions and that it should not be diverted by way of a political decision. Having done that, we must now be consistent and say to the federal government, “Allow de Havilland to locate where it makes the best business sense.”
I cannot indicate to the member, because I do not know, where de Havilland will ultimately select to go. I will say that the efforts made by Windsor, Hamilton, London, Peterborough, Downsview, Metro Toronto and the other municipalities have all been first class, and I am fairly satisfied that all of the necessary efforts have been made, all the information is at hand and all those who have had an opportunity to get the Dash-8 project have done a very fine job. All of the municipalities may rest assured, at least in my opinion, that the decision made by de Havilland will be made on the basis 0f full and complete information, and those that do not get it may rest assured that it was not a political decision or a decision made because of a lack of information. Having said that, I cannot give any more guidance as to where it is likely to go.
I would just conclude by saying that the auto industry will continue to be a first priority with us as we work with the federal government and the auto industry to see what we can continue to do, as I indicated during question period this morning, to happily still outperform our neighbours to the south while we try to get through this difficult time.
Resolution concurred in.
Resolution for supplementary supply also concurred in.
MINISTRY OF COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL SERVICES
Mr. Isaacs: Mr. Speaker, I intend to be very brief in my remarks, but this is the festive season and I want to make sure the minister remembers the two situations which have dragged on from well before this House resumed in the fall and which are going on today and look as though they will be going on over the Christmas break. In particular, I refer to the situation at Participation House in Hamilton, where handicapped people have been temporarily evicted from their homes because of a labour dispute that only the minister can have any true understanding of.
The management of Participation House has made it very clear for weeks that it believes it has no more money and that its original offer of eight per cent will have to stand. The staff, quite reasonably, and certainly with my support, is requesting an increase to a decent living wage. The minister indicated in committee he believes there is room for further negotiation. This has been communicated to both sides, and yet nothing has happened. While the minister is at home with his family before the fire over Christmas -- and while I wish him no ill will -- I hope he is thinking of these handicapped people who have been moved out of their homes and cannot enjoy Christmas in Participation House with their friends because of his miserly approach to the funding of those kinds of organizations.
I am particularly concerned that I am receiving reports that the people are not even able to get their stereos, televisions and other things, which are still in Participation House. They have been moved out with whatever they were able to take with them and everything else is still locked up in that place.
It is about time the minister came to grips with the funding of those kinds of organizations and with solving that problem. He is the only person, to this day, who can be seen to be impartial in any sense of the word. He has seen the books of that organization; therefore, he knows whether they can afford to settle.
The other situation is the one concerning the St. Catharines Association for the Mentally Retarded. The spokesperson for that association has clearly taken the position that the wage increase the employees have requested is justified, but they cannot be paid unless the ministry gives the association some assurance that it will increase the association’s budget to allow for the increase. I am sure this minister could do something towards providing that assurance, ending this 17- or 18-week-old dispute and getting that association back in business as well.
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I will not take more than 30 seconds. I wish to ask the minister whether he intends to release his day care policy statement before Christmas, after Christmas, after the Easter break or after the election?
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I have two short questions for the Minister of Bah Humbug. I am a little concerned about the fact that it seems to take an awfully long time for this ministry to be able to deal with the question of funding and budget approval for agencies such as the Children’s Aid Society for Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma District.
I understand that agency is still awaiting approval of its 1980 budget when it is almost spent; it is reaching the end of the year. I understand it took until just recently, with a review, to get their 1979 budget approved. I note they originally asked for $2,281,000. In February, the ministry indicated they could have $2,271,000 for their 1979 budget. For their 1980 budget, they were cut back to $2,150,000 in July. As far as the agency is concerned, it has not been able to cut its projected costs. They are spending what they projected and, because of the ministry’s decision in July, they have automatically been put into a budget deficit position. Therefore, they requested a review of their 1980 budget as they had to do for their 1979 budget, and they have not yet received that review.
I am wondering why that takes so long, and when can we anticipate they will have their 1980 budget reviewed and approved?
The other issue I would like to raise is my serious concern over the fact that the district of Algoma was excluded when the minister made his announcement of a $400,000 fund for the provision of French-language services to children in northeastern Ontario. I do not understand why that should be so when approximately 20 to 25 per cent of our population are francophones and, as the minister knows, we have some communities that are almost wholly French-speaking.
As a result of the questions I have raised with the minister and the communications I have had with ministry officials, I understand they are prepared to communicate by correspondence in the French language with people in Algoma who are francophone, but no funds are provided to enable the ministry itself or agencies that receive funding from the ministry to provide services directly with French-speaking staff.
I also understand, as a result of the questions I raised with the minister and the questions raised by certain agencies such as the CAS, that the ministry is looking at this problem. I wonder when we can expect a decision on that review of how this ministry might be able to work out a shared-cost basis with various agencies that might need professionals who can work in the French language and other ministries who might need that kind of service. Because it is the Christmas season, I hope the minister will be able to give us some indication he is moving quickly to provide the funding necessary for services to be provided in the Algoma district.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I realize it is the Christmas season, as a number of members opposite have reminded me although, I must say, Santa Claus has not yet paid his visit to ComSoc.
Mr. Wildman: That is why I called you the Minister of Bah Humbug.
Hon. Mr. Norton: I did not catch what you said. I missed that. I was going to check Hansard to see what you said and whether I ought to protest.
In response to the concern expressed by the member for Bellwoods, it had been my hope I would be able to present to the House the day care policy in its entirety before we rose today. Unfortunately, out of the necessity to tie some ends together, it has been necessary to delay that announcement until some time next week. I can assure him it is fully my intention to do that as soon as possible. I assure him he will be advised when it will be done and I will provide him with the information that will be released at that point. It will certainly be before Christmas and, I believe, before the end of next week.
The situation raised by the member for Algoma is a complex one with respect to that particular children’s aid society budget. I know he is familiar with the difficult circumstances the society faced last year which delayed presentation of its budget in the first instance. Then a protracted labour dispute complicated its spending patterns and budgetary requirements during that fiscal year. As a consequence of that, he is quite correct in saying it was only fairly recently that its appeal, or the review of its budget from last year, was completed through the review process. It was impossible for us to proceed with the review of its 1980 budgetary requirements, which has also been requested, until the 1979 base was finalized.
I have appointed the review committee for the 1980 review. To the best of my knowledge the date has not yet been set for the hearing but I can assure the member that the ministry and, I am sure, the society are very anxious to get on with that without delay.
With regard to French language services, I want to make it clear that Algoma was in no way excluded in terms of its eligibility for funding under the francophone initiatives. However, the way in which the funding was allotted was dependent upon proposals invited from the various communities and agencies in those communities through northern Ontario. The available funding was allocated on the basis of the evaluation of those proposals and the assessment of the needs in those communities.
There was certainly never any decision that Algoma in some way would be outside an area of eligibility. I am sure the honourable member knows that with our northern regional office located in Sault Ste. Marie, the staff of my ministry in that area is very keenly aware of the specific needs he has identified.
I would also like to emphasize that the provision of services in the French language need not always require specific additional funding. In addition to the specific initiatives, we are also trying to encourage agencies that serve communities in which both French and English are widely spoken to recognize as part of their mandate that they have a responsibility to serve both cultural and linguistic groups in their own languages. It seems to me that it need not necessarily cost more money to hire someone as a child care worker, for example, who has the capacity to speak in both French and English. That is something I think the local agencies have a responsibility to address in their hiring practices.
Mr. McClellan: So do you.
Hon. Mr. Norton: Of course we do. We are doing that as well. The member for Bellwoods should go around and visit some of our area offices and he will find we do have a very significant number of bilingual staff -- in fact, multilingual in some instances. That is part of our ministry’s recently identified or recently announced policy on French-language services. It was clearly stated at the time that in terms of our hiring practices for those communities where there are significant numbers of French-speaking people, we would seek to hire staff who have the capacity to speak in both English and French.
Certainly I would hope the honourable member, in speaking to the agencies in his community, would remind them -- as I will, and I intend to continue to pursue that with the agencies -- that they need not see their responsibility to provide services in French as being discharged only if there is specifically earmarked money for that purpose, although some initiatives will be necessary on an ongoing basis to enrich services to French-speaking Ontarians.
I want to assure the member for Wentworth that I will take his advice to heart. I can assure him the concern he has raised is something that is constantly on my mind these days. I wish I knew of a simple solution. The one he has proposed continues to look difficult from my point of view. However, I am continuing with staff to try to find ways in which we might encourage the parties to both of those disputes to find a way of finding resolutions.
Resolution concurred in.
MINISTRY OF CONSUMER AND COMMERCIAL RELATIONS
Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I was interested in some of the comments put forward by other members concerning the proposed new fire code, and I suppose it will be six months before we have any legislation.
Hon. Mr. Drea: No, no.
Mr. Haggerty: No, it is not in the minister’s area. What I want to direct to the minister is that where the Ontario Building Code relates to smoke detectors --
Mr. Haggerty: We are on the same track now, are we, Frank? Great.
Where the regulations apply to smoke detectors in certain high-rise buildings, would he not make the amendments to the regulations include all residential units, regardless of height and size? There is an exemption, I believe, under the act.
I am thinking in particular of a fire in the city of Port Colborne this past summer. If they had had a smoke detector in that rented property I do not think we would have had the loss of two young children. I suggest the regulations should be changed to apply to the older homes, as mandatory in every residential unit and housing accommodation. I know the minister thinks it is going to cost money, but in the long run it is going to save lives.
The other area I want to discuss with the minister -- I have raised the matter with him on a previous occasion and I know that on December 1 of this year he met with elected representatives of the city of the town of Fort Erie -- concerns the matter of the future of the Fort Erie racetrack. Has the ministry or the cabinet come to any decision as yet on what kind of financial assistance will be provided to the horse-racing industry in Ontario?
Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, on the question of smoke detectors, I am never concerned about the cost. We have gone further than any other jurisdiction in North America on new buildings, because we said, “We do not care what the advice is.” The advice was that we do not need all of them, but I went the whole route, both the halls and the inside. I would be very glad to look at the honourable member’s suggestion, but the problem there is this is coming into the retrofit area, the residences there, et cetera.
It seems to me that 1981 is a good time to study that, because I hope for a retrofit code as well as a rehabilitation or renovation code. There is a difference because with the retrofit one is not doing anything but with the renovation one is. Those two particular areas are under very active review and actually being written at this time.
Certainly with the renovation code, which is being done by ourselves and the Ministry of Housing, the smoke detector issue -- no question about it -- will be addressed. But I really think the key, as the member is suggesting, is in the retrofit area. Again, the Ministry of Housing and ourselves are very actively involved in that. I hope the fire chiefs will get involved in that. I sense a reluctance by them in that area. That concerns me.
Mr. Haggerty: They are involved in it, but they need some teeth in it.
Hon. Mr. Drea: I have had some minor involvement in the evolution of the fire code
-- very minor and on the periphery. Obviously it is the responsibility of the Solicitor General. One of the things that suddenly disappeared from the fire code, and indeed from the statement read by the member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Warner) today, was retrofit, which suddenly was left out. I have some very significant concerns in the retrofit area because more and more it is not the structure of the building or the way it was constructed or the number of exits or all the things we have looked at in both new and old buildings in terms of renovation codes. The very significant thing today is the contents, that is, retrofit.
To a lot of people retrofit involves another fire extinguisher, another smoke detector. Granted they are important, but it is those contents. That is a particular area this ministry and my colleague the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett) will be addressing. I would hope perhaps the fire chiefs have taken retrofit out of the fire code for a technical reason, because it is a difficult thing within the scope of a fire code. But I would certainly hope they would provide us with input because they are inside those buildings seeing what contents did what to whom.
I am sure my colleague has made notes of the member’s comments on the renovation code and particularly on the retrofit code for smoke detectors. I appreciate his concern, but with me it is never the cost.
On the question of racing in Ontario, I was in the town of Fort Erie on December 1 and they issued a very nice little press release about my being there. I met with the elected council, plus the chamber of commerce and the town administrator. Unfortunately I did not meet the mayor, who could not be there because of a death in the family. We went over the matter very folly and frankly. I told them I was reasonably optimistic that I would be back before Christmas and would give them the Christmas present they want.
Mr. Haggerty: Are you coming in a red suit or a blue suit?
Hon. Mr. Drea: That is one member who has never had, does not now have and never will have any Christmas spirit.
The question of Fort Erie is a very significant one to me. I am cautiously or reasonably optimistic that I will be there before Christmas.
I also welcome the member’s support on new incentives and tax rebates in the racing industry, both for harness and thoroughbred racing. In return for doing that, surely I can expect the member to do something where I have run into a total blank wall. I am a nice guy. I am not being vindictive. Certainly, whatever I accomplish for the Fort Erie area, no matter how good the foundation, there has to be an approach to the federal government for offtrack betting. Nice as I am, the present impediment of offtrack betting is immense.
Mr. Kerrio: Fort Erie needs your help.
Hon. Mr. Drea: He does not speak to me any more. I speak to him and he abuses me on TV, but that is life. I am sure the member understands what I am conveying in a very nonpartisan way.
Since the racing question has been brought up, I would like just another brief second. There are two matters that I think are of great significance to the racing industry this year. Unfortunately, in my estimates there was an urgent desire to discuss a movie. No takers? There was an urgent desire to debate a movie day after day. No takers? No guts any more. What happened to principle? Thirteen days before Christmas and principle goes.
I was not able to discuss the racing industry. This year saw the death of Mr. Conn Smythe who made enormous contributions to that industry. As the minister responsible, I would like on the summation of my estimates, which is this concurrence, that his passing be marked. Unfortunately, time does not allow for an adequate description of his contributions, not only to the racing field, but to all of Canada.
Also, this was a very significant year because it was the first Queen’s Plate which has been run in modern times where Mr. E. P. Taylor was no longer on the executive committee of the Ontario jockey Club. The firm foundation for the things I am 99.9 per cent sure I am going to be able to do in Fort Erie and for the other tracks was laid by Mr. Taylor over the years. Mr. Taylor has been very helpful to me as a minister. He has helped me with advice. He has provided me with a tremendous amount of input into the economics and the employment economics of the industry, and I would like to recognize, in this summation of my estimates in regard to racing, the fact that Mr. Taylor has retired from very active participation in the decision-making process.
Resolution concurred in.
MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I have a few short comments. I will not take very long.
On one particular issue in northern Ontario, some comments by ministry officials have raised a great deal of concern among sportsmen. That is the recent announcement, made since the minister’s estimates were completed in committee, that the lottery system for moose licences is going to be extended from the very limited areas where it is now in operation throughout the moose hunting areas of the province, and that this will be done over some period of time, which has been left rather vague.
I wonder if the minister could give some indication of what schedule, if any, there is at this time within the ministry for the implementation of this across the whole area.
For one thing, there have been suggestions that this might take place over a 20-year period. If that is the case what areas are going to be affected, and when? Does the minister have any idea of how this is going to operate?
There is a lottery system for moose licences in one particular area of my riding, south of Hearst and Kapuskasing. The ministry has indicated that in that particular area in the last few years they have had to go that route because of severe pressure on the moose peculation. They have moved to a system in which residents of the province seem to have a better opportunity than they initially did when they first brought in the lottery system, when it appeared that, in a way, nonresidents had an easier chance of obtaining a licence because there were fewer of them applying. That has been changed, and I am glad of that.
I am wondering if that lottery system is going to be spread into Algoma district first, or if it is going towards other parts of Cochrane, or whatever. Will the minister give us some indication of that?
The concerns that have been raised by the sportsmen have some validity in the sense that, although many of them are in favour of conservation and certainly want the moose population to survive and to increase, they are concerned about a lottery system in terms of the working man being able to schedule holidays. They may normally schedule their holidays for the moose season but, if they are on a lottery, they will not know whether they have obtained a licence. They also will not know how this lottery system is going to be operated in conjunction with the new pair licence approach. They will not be able to schedule their holidays with their comrades to ensure that, if the two who wish to hunt together do obtain a licence they will indeed have holidays together. I wonder if there is any way that can be resolved.
I would also like to know if the minister can give us some indication of how long it is going to take his officials to evaluate the effectiveness of the pair licence system which has been instituted this year, to decide whether they want it to continue, or whether they might look at a group licence, as has been suggested by many people, including hunters and anglers.
That is the major issue I wanted to raise. There are a couple of other very small ones.
I wonder if the minister could react to the suggestion made by a candidate for the Conservative nomination in Algoma that the Ministry of Natural Resources should be doing something, either by itself or in conjunction with the Ministry of Northern Affairs, to ensure that the Ministry of Natural Resources road between Mead and Oba is kept open all year so that Oba will have a road access throughout the year, instead of being shut off, except for railroad access for all of the winter. Is that being considered by the ministry?
The last point is a concern that has been raised by some people in Blind River because of rumours they have heard that, as a result of the establishment of Eldorado in Blind River by the federal government, the longstanding plans by the Ministry of Natural Resources for the establishment of a provincial park in the vicinity of Blind River -- when and if they ever resolve the treaty Indian land claim -- have been shelved by the ministry because they do not want to have a provincial park in close proximity to the Eldorado plant. If that is the case, I want to know whether the ministry does have some sincere concerns about the possibilities --
Mr. Van Horne: Wind it up, boy. We want to get home before Christmas.
Mr. Wildman: My friend has never said anything in this House; so he has never prolonged anything.
Does the ministry have some concerns about emissions from that plant, and is that why it is moving away from the plan to establish a park for overnight camping and only have a picnic area for day camping in the Blind River area?
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I want to say one thing before we concur in these estimates, and that is to express my continuing concern about the Nakina fire disaster.
The minister knows it was 16 months ago that seven young people were burned in a situation in which the ministry had responsibility. The matter has been discussed in estimates, but I say to the minister that I was less than satisfied with the responses because the inquest continues, although it has been going for more than a year. The reference to the Supreme Court interrupted it for many months, and the judge in the Supreme Court indicated there were indications of bias which under his direction had been corrected in the inquest. But as far as I know the inquest continues.
I well recall the community was certainly in a shock when it heard the news and was very glad when the Premier (Mr. Davis) made the statement the following day that he would spare no effort to see that the information and responsibility for this matter was examined and made clear. Sixteen months later this has not been done.
It may well be that the standing committee on resources development will find itself seized of the issue again in 1981. My own view is that it could be dealt with more effectively and in a more appropriate way than that. I have already made my suggestion to the House and the minister is aware of it. But I tell the House that the minister cannot help but be under some kind of cloud of responsibility.
We know that the minister has administered the ministry as well as it has been, as far as that goes, and he is highly regarded. But it seems to me that a part of his personal responsibility is to see to it that this matter does not continue in abeyance in a more unreasonable period of time and that we have some thought for bringing out all of the information clearly as to the responsibility in this matter and to do all we can to set the very troubled minds of the parents at rest.
Hon. Mr. Auld: Mr. Speaker, I will try to be brief. Regarding the comments and questions from the member for Algoma, as far as the lottery system for moose licences is concerned, its extension will relate to those areas where the moose population appears to be in trouble. As I am sure the member is aware, we applied it this past year to those areas where the moose population had declined severely, where the hunting pressures were the greatest. That is really the yardstick.
I think it is fair to say that those more remote places will be the ones that will be the last to be affected, if ever, because the pressures are less and the population is doing well. The only thing that might change that is if the number of hunters increases and they start going to the less easily accessible areas then we might have to do something about it until such time as we get the herd on good footing throughout the province.
I am well aware of the concerns of hunters who normally hunt in groups. Part of the joy of hunting is being with one’s friends. We are looking at some change in the present system, but I expect it will be another couple of months until we really have been able to assess the information from the hunt that has just finished. I have indicated that the seasons are going to be less changeable. This year we have announced the 1981 seasons already. Last year we were delayed because of changes in regulations at the end of February or early March which made it very difficult for many people to plan their fall activities.
I think we will be able to operate the lottery earlier because we know when the season is. With the new system, we should have our information on the hunters’ success earlier. I suppose there is a problem in getting it too early because then things may happen to the individual. If the lottery takes place in February, for instance, the individual’s own plans or those of his group might change.
As far as the Progressive Conservative candidate’s comments about the road in Oba are concerned, I would find it hard to disagree with him, particularly since I have not heard them firsthand.
Mr. Wildman: I was not asking you if you disagreed with him. I was asking you if you agreed with him.
Hon. Mr. Auld: I would find it, not quite, but almost as difficult to agree with him until I heard them firsthand.
Regarding Blind River, I am not aware of any concerns that we have for changing our plans for the eventual establishment of a park there. I am sure the federal project will be operated properly and there will be no more danger there than there was in Port Hope. In fact, there will be less effect because a lot has been learned since Eldorado was established in Port Hope. I think our biggest single problem there -- and I have no idea when that will be resolved -- is the question of the discussions with the natives about native planning.
Finally, in response to the comments of the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, all I can say is I am aware of his suggestions about a royal commission. He is aware there are three judicial or quasi-judicial proceedings going on at the moment. The inquest, I understand, should be completed fairly soon. Civil actions are still, as I understand it, in what one might call the waiting stage. None of the actions has yet appeared for trial on the court calendar although I understand one or two of them may be heard in the early spring. That is the information I got from the Ministry of the Attorney General. There are criminal charges, which I gather have been laid and may well be heard.
I do not think the government as a whole would be anxious to have a royal commission or any kind of a public hearing going on when the charges are being dealt with in the courts, where the details, obviously, will be fully brought out. All I can say is, as far as I am concerned I am anxious to see the matter dealt with. I am sure the parents of those who died are equally anxious that there be finality to this tragedy and I certainly will not stand in the way of that happening. In fact, as far as my ministry is concerned, we are doing everything we can to see that things proceed to a conclusion.
Resolution concurred in.
Resolutions for supplementary and additional supplementary supply also concurred in.
OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN
Resolution concurred in.
Resolution for supplementary supply also concurred in.
MINISTRY OF LABOUR
Mr. Mackenzie: We were trying to move it a little too fast, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Kerrio: No, we didn’t, you are a little too slow.
Mr. Mackenzie: I have no intention of taking more than two or three minutes, but I feel there are a couple of things that have to be said in the Ministry of Labour’s estimates and concurrence in those estimates, and that is to at least touch on four or five of the areas I think are of considerable concern in Ontario and, hopefully, ones we are going to deal with when the budget is being prepared for the coming year.
The issue that we dealt with briefly in the plant shutdowns report, which is justification in terms of plant closures where workers are affected and what kind of planning the government should be involved in in terms of seeing to it that it is not the workers in the communities who are paying the highest price, is an area that involves, to a great extent, the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) and his ministry.
The second area I think should be touched on before we finish the concurrence is the women’s issues that are involved, specifically the equal pay for work of equal value issue in Ontario. It is an area where we have been going backwards in spite of all of the good intentions and supposed affirmative action programs and it is an area that I do not think we can continue to either stay equal or move backwards in. It is an area where we have to rectify what is a very basic position.
There are improvements needed in the Employment Standards Act. I do not know how long this government can continue to keep certain groups out of coverage, and I am referring most specifically to domestics. I think that is a major injustice in Ontario and one that there is just no rationalization of or no defence for and it is an area that is going to involve some effort on the part of the Minister of Labour.
In the vacation area, it is not fair for somebody who is not fortunate enough to have a union and spends 20 or 30 or 40 years of faithful service with some plant to see their neighbours who have had the availability of a union or the guts to organize a union where they can negotiate after 10, 15 or 20 years’ service for four, five and six weeks vacation and it is not extended to somebody who does not have the same bargaining power. There are many nations on this earth that take care of additional vacations for those who have given good, loyal and faithful service and I think it is an area that should be in our legislation.
The other area in terms of employment standards is the minimum wage area. I think it is a disgrace that we are tied for last place in Ontario. I do not accept some of the fear tactics that are used in so many areas. We should do a decent job on the minimum wage in this province. It is an area I would hope the Minister of Labour and his ministry are taking a serious look at in the coming year.
The fourth of the handful of points that I think are important to point out is that we have spent a lot of time on this and we saw some fair increase in the budget in terms of health and safety improvements, but we have not yet done an adequate job in terms of the toxic substances and the number we have dealt with. We are still talking about regulations for the first six or seven substances. We should have been dealing with 20 or 30 as a minimum by this stage of the game.
We also have the first signs of some problems with Bill 70 and we had better be aware of it very early. I recognize the minister is looking at a shakedown period and for the joint committees to work. Those joint committees will work if they are working from a position of equality. As I have tried to tell the minister in the estimates, and as there have been questions in this House raising this particular issue, they are not operating from a position of equality, and the compliance factor is becoming an increasing concern to organized labour and to those involved in the health and safety field right across Ontario.
They are finding they cannot reach agreement with the companies even where there is a joint safety and health committee. They decide they have to go to the Ministry of Labour to see that the provisions and the protection in the act are there. The inspectors seem to be holding off or saying, “Hey, call another meeting,” or, “Work it out,” or, “This is why we have set up the committee.” Even though there may be a clear violation, I think there is enough indication we are not getting the ministry enforcing where there are clear-cut cases. That is beginning to be talked about, not just in one or two cases or one or two conferences, but generally throughout the labour movement. I am telling the minister there is an area of concern that is going to be a problem down the road if we do not take a look at it now.
There are two final points I want to make with the minister. One is directly involved with labour and one is probably a little more peripheral. I dealt briefly and privately with the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea) on it just in the last few minutes. I want to deal with another issue that covers the Ministry of Labour but also the Ministry of the Attorney General, namely, the use or misuse of police in labour disputes specifically. I think we have to look at that.
There is an excellent suggestion I might put to the Minister of Labour and he might try passing it on to the Solicitor General or the Attorney General. It might be time that we involved key people, educational people or the leadership of the trade union movement at the Ontario Police College at Alymer and any other training sessions for the provincial, regional or municipal police in Ontario. They could be scheduled to spend a few minutes at the courses in police training to give their side of it, a labour side of a labour dispute or to supply understanding that may not always be there.
I find in my own talks there is a lot of resentment by a number of the police at being asked to participate in rather nasty picket line situations. Conversely, there are a few who are literally bully boys, but not too many. They are not happy with the situation. I think some work could be done in advance to see that in labour disputes we do not get the kind of misuse of the police forces who almost invariably are seen as an adversary by the strikers. In many cases the strikers are fighting for their jobs and their livelihood. That is not healthy for the justice system in Ontario. It is a direct area of concern of the Ministry of Labour to try to do something to diffuse that and to put the police in a position where they are more neutral and not seen as taking sides.
Mr. Rotenberg: Just tell the strikers to obey the law and then we won’t have any problems.
Mr. Mackenzie: Tell the strikers to obey the law. Boy, it shows his perception of workers’ struggles. To leave aside Attila the Hun over there, I say to the minister that this is the kind of back-bencher he is propping up.
The final issue I want to refer to is the question of the increasing number of workers in Ontario who are getting hurt in bankruptcy situations where a firm goes into receivership and where anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars in wages or benefits are lost by the workers. In Ontario, they cannot collect. I recognize it is basically federal jurisdiction, but just about the last claim on the assets of a company going into bankruptcy are workers’ wages. This government’s approach, if we cannot handle it specifically with provincial legislation, has to be really to put pressure on the federal authorities. I am told they are not unsympathetic to making some changes to see that workers’ wages are a first and not a last consideration in a bankruptcy situation.
These are the points. There are probably a number of others I wanted to raise, but I think these are some of the danger signals ahead and some of the areas we have not adequately dealt with yet in terms of labour relations in Ontario. I hope in the concurrence we are now dealing with of the minister’s estimates of this year, these points are flagged and we take a serious look at them when we are preparing the estimates for the coming year.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, since this is the last opportunity afforded us to make a small contribution to the debate on concurrence in supply for the Ministry of Labour I want to speak specifically to the problems within the Workmen’s Compensation Board.
I want to mention some of the deep concerns I have about the process that injured workers have to use to collect some type of monetary payment in lieu of their lack of ability to work because of on-the-job injuries. First, I want to touch on the fact that workers who are injured on the job, having had the injury caused by a third party in the province, are unable to have recourse against the third party. I want to explain a specific situation to the minister. He will understand the matter very thoroughly when I am done.
Let us say a truck driver or a bus driver is involved in an accident in the course of carrying out his responsibilities. By law, the fault may be placed totally on a third party. That particular worker has two options. He can try to obtain benefits from the board and, when doing so, he has to sign a waiver, which means he cannot take action against the third party but must accept payment only from the board. Alternatively, he can choose not to accept payment from the board and take a substantial risk by trying to receive some type of monetary payment from the third party. Basically that means, if a person’s job lasts only six, eight or nine months of the year, he may lose substantial benefits in the unemployment insurance area, he may not be able to be compensated for pain and suffering or he may lose his job altogether.
I want the minister to answer specifically why it is not a matter of course here in Ontario, in circumstances such as this, to allow injured workers to have recourse against the third party and let the courts decide. There is supposed to be no fairer system in our society than the system of justice. So I say let that system decide. Let the courts and the judges decide whether that injured worker deserves payment in lieu of pain and suffering or in lieu of other benefits that may be lost. That has been one of my concerns with the Workmen’s Compensation Board.
Secondly, I want to make a comment or two concerning the Weiler study, which has called for broad and comprehensive changes in the operation of the board. We have had reports similar to the Weiler report in the past, and what has been accomplished by those is a positive headline or two in the local press, saying broad changes are proposed for the Workmen’s Compensation Board and outlining many of the suggestions of Mr. Weller or some other commissioner who may have studied this before. That pacifies injured workers and almost lulls them into a sleep, waiting months on end for a final report given by the minister.
I say to the Minister of Labour I hope this does not happen in this particular case. I hope he has not used the Weiler report to obtain a few headlines in the local media in Toronto and elsewhere. The second study is basically a study of the original Weiler study. It was done so that he can feel absolutely sure Mr. Weiler has recommended the most positive things -- things I assume he believes to be reasonable and affordable. I hope it was not done at this time just so they can lull the injured workers to sleep until after this coming provincial election. I hope the minister is a better man than that and is not taking that tack. In order for the Minister of Labour to show good faith -- Pardon?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I was just talking to the member.
Mr. Mancini: The minister should be listening to me. I am just teasing.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I could have listened to you in estimates if only you had come. We could have talked then in detail.
Mr. Mancini: Yes, I want to talk about them in detail.
Mr. Speaker, I will address my comments to you because I know you are vitally concerned and listen to every word. The Minister of Labour should show good faith and over this coming recess step up review procedures. He should make sure he hears promptly from all the groups he wants to hear from and that a final report is ready when the Legislature is called back this spring. He could propose legislation to implement the things he agrees with and thinks are reasonable and affordable.
If that is not done, we are going to be highly suspicious of the motives behind the report, the fact that it is taking so long, and the need the minister feels to have a study done of the original Weiler study. If the minister really has that much faith in Mr. Weiler and thinks as highly of him as he told the Legislature he does, surely something should be there right now to be put into law to assist injured workers.
Another thing has happened over at the board that has caused me deep concern. I know we have a new chairman of the board. I want to make sure he uses the policy introduced by the government and passed by the Legislature equally and fairly for all injured workers. As much discretion as possible should be removed from senior board officials and they should be made to follow strictly the line of the law.
I want to take this opportunity to add a few words about the vital matters before the plant shutdowns and employee adjustment committee. Unlike the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel), members of the committee were not prepared to compromise with the government. Unlike the member for Sudbury East, we were not prepared to accept severance pay with some type of sunset regulation tacked on to the end of it. We wanted severance pay without sunset legislation, without trying to make some tricky deal with the Minister of Labour.
I am told the member for Sudbury East has tea and crumpets on a regular basis with the Minister of Labour while they banter back and forth as to what the government will allow and how the NDP is going to squirm into such a position they can support it. I want to say that Hansard recording of the proceedings of the plant shutdowns committee will show the members of the Liberal Party on that committee were unwilling to go along with the recommendation of the New Democratic Party member for Sudbury East; we were unwilling to accept severance pay with a sunset regulation tacked on to the end of it. Thank goodness we were, because less than 48 hours later the Minister of Labour acceded to our request and respected the decision made by the select committee on plant shutdowns and employee adjustment. In less than 48 hours we got some positive benefits for laidoff workers.
In order to allow the proceedings to end at a reasonable time today, I would like to finish my comments, but we will be waiting in the spring for the minister’s recommendations on the Weiler report. We will be here and we will not allow him to use Weiler and his report for political purposes; I can guarantee that.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to be back here this afternoon to say a few words to the Minister of Labour and to the minister without food terminal. I want to ask the Minister of Labour whether the inspectors are up there making sure that building is being constructed properly.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: It is.
Mr. Martel: It is? That is fine. I hope the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini) does not leave; I have a few choice things to say to him just to set the record straight, as my friends to the right are wont to do. They want to be on all sides of all issues.
Mr. Roy: What about the government?
Mr. Martel: I will come to them. Just sit quietly.
Mr. Roy: Let’s throw them out this afternoon.
Mr. Martel: We will come to them later on. Let’s deal with you fellows first.
I want to talk about the labour bill that was before us and the position taken by my friends to the right -- to the right of everybody, even to the right of Genghis Khan. If they can get any further right than that, I don’t know how.
Just to put the record straight before the member for Essex South leaves -- I would not want him to leave without hearing these pearls of wisdom. For absolute hogwash, the last five minutes have been totally and completely misleading. What the member for Sudbury East said and has done is to try to find a way, and I think through negotiations he has found a way, to get severance pay as a reality in Ontario whenever we come back some time in March.
Following up on the Premier’s words when he said the pension scheme was just an interim measure, I suggested to him then that as they were looking for an interim measure, one possible way of having severance pay included was as an interim measure similar to pensions. The committee clarified its position in the second report, which it tabled yesterday, that as an interim measure we should have severance pay. I suggested that if the government were prepared to bring back legislation when we return, we would be willing to see the bill enacted as it is, while putting in the severance pay and sunsetting it when the committee reported back to the Legislature and new legislation was introduced.
My friend forgot to tell the house that. I do not think he did it deliberately; he would never do that deliberately. It is just a typical Liberal position.
It reminds me of Bill 70. The members recall Bill 70, do they not? My friends to my right were in favour of having all the workers in Ontario under labour legislation that would provide for health and safety. Then, interestingly enough, there was a by-election in Sault Ste. Marie the day we were holding the vote here and, despite the Liberal literature that said that every worker in the province would be under this bill except agricultural workers, lo and behold, we excluded teachers, hospital workers, policemen -- go on and read the list. My friends to the right in their literature were saying that all workers should come under Bill 70.
Now my friend across the way gets up with his claptrap and very deliberately tries to leave the impression --
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Remember we are on Ministry of Labour concurrences.
Mr. Martel: We are talking about Labour concurrences. I believe there was money in the minister’s estimates to draft the particular piece of legislation that died. I happen to be speaking to that.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I would say you are not.
Mr. Martel: I will address my friend over here first, just so that he does not try to mislead the House, because that is the name of the game. We asked for that as one possibility, but we ultimately saw an agreement reached that severance pay would come back when the Legislature reconvened and would be retroactive. Tell me the difference between that and introducing another piece of legislation and sunsetting the old bill. But, it is nice to have it both ways.
I well recall the discussion of yesterday morning and I am sure the Speaker does too. On Wednesday morning, the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) wanted to redraft the Unemployment Insurance Act to dovetail everything, and he was going to rewrite labour history. Then we saw last night’s performance by the Liberals when they voted down every effort of this party to improve pensions.
Mr. Kerrio: I will vote against you forever.
Mr. Marcel: I am glad to hear that. I hope the member is in the committee when we write the final report because we are going to separate the men from the boys.
Mr. Kerrio: You Socialists have ruined every country you have ever touched.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. MacBeth): A little order, please. Can we get on with concurrence for the Ministry of Labour?
Mr. Martel: I do not want to name countries that are in a state of disarray --
Mr. Kerrio: England and Sweden. I can name them all.
Mr. Martel: There are countries I do not want to name, but I want to tell the member for Niagara Falls that it is a disgrace where his type of government has been in power.
Mr. Kerrio: Right here.
Mr. Martel: The member is right in saying right here. He is talking about Pierre Elliot Trudeau. When I mentioned country, he said, “Right here.” I am glad he agrees that the federal Liberals have slowly decimated this country.
Mr. Martel: Let me talk to the minister. I have five minor issues I want to talk to the minister about.
Mr. Roy: Don’t be too critical because you will be voting with the government this afternoon. You did that last week.
Mr. Martel: You will be critical this afternoon but you voted with them eight times last night.
Mr. Roy: You and I, let us throw them out this afternoon.
The Acting Speaker: May I remind the members that they should address the chair.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, who has the floor?
The Acting Speaker: May we have some order?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Friday’s child is loving and giving.
Mr. Martel: That’s right. It is the first Friday in five years that I have seen the member for Ottawa East here.
Mr. Roy: Let’s throw them out, you and I, this Friday.
Mr. Martel: I guess things were not very lucrative in the courts today because the member for Ottawa East is here.
Mr. Roy: I am here to throw them out.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Given your legal background, you should know.
Mr. Roy: I guess I got carried away.
Mr. Speaker: That is right. You did get carried away. We are talking about concurrence in the estimates of the Ministry of Labour.
Mr. Martel: We are talking about the Ministry of Labour right across the field. I have so far spoken about severance pay and the pensions bill which was introduced as a result, with some prompting from the Minister of Labour, and which my friends to the right were not wont to improve to make it good legislation. They were prepared to accept half a crumb or less.
I want to talk to the minister about a couple of points. My colleague the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) talked about wages and how in the ease of a bankruptcy the workers come last almost. There is an interesting case going on in one, the Ministry of Natural Resources. which gave a contract out to a firm in the Chapleau-Foleyet area to plant trees. One hundred and forty-six students worked for this outfit. The individual who got the contract did not do the work appropriately. The Minister of Natural Resources held the money back. The students who worked for part of the summer are without pay. In fact, I have one who gave up his unemployment insurance and went to work. He was going to use that money to go back to school this fall. The company went bankrupt. The kid gave up his unemployment insurance and he has no money to go back to school this fall. The Minister of Natural Resources gave out the contract.
Mr. Martel: It is just north of Foleyet. I do not know whose riding that is.
Mr. Roy: They were not building a food terminal there?
Mr. Martel: No, they were not building a food terminal. l cannot say that. I heard the Speaker this morning get my colleague to refrain from talking about a nonexistent food terminal. It is just pie in the sky; that is all.
That situation is desperate -- 146 students without the money they tried to earn to go back to school this fall. Surely there has to be some protection for people who do the work. That is their only means of survival. Everybody else gets paid off first while the people who actually do the work, in this case the kids, do not. Some of the kids have not got a cent, some have a little and others have nothing. As I illustrated in the case of the student who went off unemployment to earn money to go back to school, he loses both ways.
Mr. Roy: They are supposed to have a mechanic’s lien.
Mr. Martel: Sure, supposed to, but there is nothing to lien against.
Somehow there has to be some input from this government. Surely, if it is a government agency, some of those students should have been paid from the money that is withheld. If the contractor was not doing the approximate work, then the kids who did the work are entitled to the pay for the work they did. Someone has got to come good. I am not sure that will occur, because as long as I have been here that has been the problem and it has not changed much despite some minor modifications.
The other day in the House I drew this to the minister’s attention. I raised the matter of Elliot Lake with respect to the fact that the federal government is now in the process of revising some of the regulations for uranium mining. While, as I understand it, Ontario is moving towards establishing standards of one milligram per cubic metre for silica dust, the Liberals federally have dropped it totally and are going to come back with two milligrams per cubic metre, which will put them at odds with the province in protecting the workers in the Elliot Lake area, and the federal legislation and the federal regulations supersede the Ontario regulations.
Tests in the last two years in Elliot Lake and the crushing areas have shown that 67 per cent of the samples have exceeded what we thought would be the case. If the federal people are going that route, I tell the minister, if he has had trouble already, he is going to have more. My understanding is that they are doing the same now with the decibel levels. Yes, back on September 10 to be precise, the federal authorities under Labour Canada removed the 90 decibel level for work-exposed areas. I understand Ontario will ultimately move to 85 decibels, hopefully. That was what was recommended in the report by Doctors Pearsall and Alberti and the group that headed it.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Ninety.
Mr. Martel: I think they recommended 85; I think you should read the report.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: No, 90 moving to 85.
Mr. Martel: Is that not what I said? The important thing is that the federal government, through Labour Canada, is moving into another area of conflict.
Mr. Roy: What have we got here, a one-man filibuster?
Mr. Martel: The member is going to have some time later on today. I am not depriving him of it. If he wants to drop his 57 minutes in the Ministry of the Environment concurrence, he can.
Mr. Stong: We already have.
Mr. Roy: I have all the time. If the member wants to sit here until midnight, I will be here. That is no problem.
Mr. Martel: If the federal authorities have dropped the standards for exposure to work levels and the province is moving in the opposite direction, the minister is into an area of conflict that has not been resolved yet, in that they determine whether a prosecution will occur. I said to the minister about a year ago that the day will come when he will have no choice but to say to the federal authorities, “If you are not going to allow us with our inspectors to apply the standards and regulations that are here, then we will get out of the ball game.”
There is no way Ontario can protect the workers in the Elliot Lake area. In fact, my colleague just handed me a note telling me there has been another death in the mines at Elliot Lake. That is six or seven this year. When there is a fatality in which police are involved, how quickly everyone says we have to bring back capital punishment. Yet I think there have been something like 20 miners killed in Ontario and Quebec alone this year, and that does not seem to bother too many people. It bothers me because I know some of those people. The game just goes on.
If an underground miner loses some of his hearing, it impairs him from being able to do his work underground. The tapping necessary to determine where the loose is plays a role in whether he detects if it is faulty. When the federal government is moving out of the field from 90 decibels and we are talking about 85, we are into a trap because we do not know what applies. If the federal authorities determine that 85 decibels do not count and the companies under federal jurisdiction appeal, they will win. So workers will be impaired.
I would like to tell the minister a couple of other things, such as my colleague alluded to, like paying for committees under Bill 70. The large mining companies, such as Inco, have now determined they are not going to pay workers beyond the regular shift time. In other words, if a man stays after the shift for six or seven hours -- and this just happened recently to one of the workers I know in the Sudbury area -- he is supposed to donate that time.
Mr. Haggerty: It’s a waste of time listening to you.
Mr. Martel: I am glad the member for Erie is here. I would not have known.
If they are not going to pay, how in the world can we expect workers to stay for hours and hours to do the type of inspection necessary? I saw a directive sent out by the legal counsel for the Ministry of Labour that says this is the case. Under their interpretation of the bill, there is entitlement to pay. If that does not occur, then we are going to have problems.
Finally, I want to speak briefly about Stobie mine. A new type of blasting is going on at Stobie. I am told Inco is blasting in two directions for the first time. The filler in the centre is what has caused the problems we recently had with the loose falling in the mine in Sudbury. That matter has to be looked into carefully because I am told the stress that is left there now is so great it can only lead to more problems. I am told the blasts are now so big that they are using six-inch blast holes rather than the normal one-inch blast holes. They are stuffing them, and the blast is just tremendous.
What is happening is that the cracks in the ore are much greater than previously. In conjunction with blasting going in two directions, that is creating a serious problem which, as we know, in Stobie has led to loose falling at least on three occasions. For people who do not understand loose, it is material that falls from the roof. In this case, it was eight tons. I don’t know if eight tons falling on someone’s head around here would hurt, but that will certainly kill a worker. We know loose to be the most serious problem in mining. I say to the minister that particular area of Stobie has to be looked into very carefully.
With those few remarks, I will resume my seat.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Simcoe Centre.
Mr. Laughren: We know his views on unions. The member for Simcoe-Mississippi strikes again.
Mr. G. Taylor: There are those in the New Democratic Party who have remembered the earlier label that was applied to me by the then Leader of the New Democratic Party. I am pleased this afternoon to speak in the concurrence in supply debate.
I would like to talk to a few of the items. The present Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) has a particular habit, though I don’t know whether he actually knows it takes place. Since I have the label of sometimes being the Tory in the caucus on the back bench, the Minister of Labour feels that if I accept some of his proposals he must at least be moving in the right direction. However, when I do have my discussions with the Minister of Labour, I must confess to my colleagues in the Legislature that they are primarily concerned with the problems of all the workers.
I guess we get into positions in this Legislature where we view things from different vantage points. I know I probably perceive the members of the New Democratic Party as always viewing things from the organized union perspective, while they have the perception of me as being able only to view things from the side of management, which is not altogether accurate.
I want to say there are some things I hope the Minister of Labour will arrive at, although they are not entirely within his ministry. They include such things as the Attorney General has just put forward in his paper on mechanic’s lien revisions. I hope these mechanic’s lien revisions will address themselves primarily to giving the highest priority to wages of workers and tradespeople. I have not yet had the opportunity to look at that document, but I hope it is in there. If it is not, I hope the Minister of Labour will bring that to the attention of the Attorney General when he brings forward the legislation.
Another thing is the matter of pensions. That has been discussed in the committee on plant shutdowns. That is not this minister’s entire responsibility. I know we are waiting for the Haley commission report to appear. I would hope there would be some package put together in the same way as we have a common package in insurance, for life insurance, for annuities and other things I would hope there would be a common package that one could negotiate on behalf of all workers, be they unionized or non-unionized. Then if one were going to his employer regarding pensions, one could say: “This is what it must be. Could I buy that package or could we contribute to it, you as the employer and I as the employee?” One could then buy the extra pension schemes that one so desired over and above those that are instituted in the federal Canada pension plan, old age security and Gains. There would be some other feature that could be legislated for, rather than trying to put legislation in place to assist those plans that are in place for some but not all employees in this province. I would suggest a better route would be examining the possibility of putting together a plan that would be available to all. Indeed, I would hope the insurance companies and those people dealing in pensions would be in the forefront of putting together this package so that it is not legislated.
Another item, after pensions, is that of severance pay which we have just discussed and which has been put forward as an earlier recommendation and was noted again in the recent interim report of the plant shutdowns committee. I will mention a document I requested that I just received in the mail today. It was written by Robert B. McKersie, and is titled, Plant Closed -- No Jobs. It says, “What to do about the unemployment now being caused by shutdowns. An expert suggests, among other things, that the businessmen should take the initiative in softening the blow, lest they find tough legislation thrust upon them.”
I think that is a very precise and concise description of what takes place and has a possibility of taking place with this particular legislation. I would think the business community would be well advised to take that short pithy statement and look upon it and themselves because there could be pieces of legislation that come out of this that may be more than they want to accept; and may be far more than the community should accept. They should be before our committee when it returns during the January-February break, so they can put their positions, and tell us what they are going to do and what they should be doing. They should start thinking about it instead of thinking about it after the fact. That is my position on severance pay.
The member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) mentioned bankruptcy. I have spoken on more than one occasion with the Minister of Labour on that and I have the same position. When I acted as a lawyer in many of these situations, away down the list behind those professional people looking after themselves within the law now in place, namely, the secured creditors, the mortgagees and those others, the last in the line and probably the ones carrying the greatest burden and who could least afford the loss were the workers. Their wages were not there. That is an obvious suggestion from the member for Hamilton East that the minister should pick up. I know that it is not within our jurisdiction, but is one suggestion we should be putting heavily to those at the federal level.
Let us look at a couple of positive steps. Some of these provisions, such as mechanic’s liens, pension plans, severance pay and bankruptcy situations, are those that are covering up problems that are there. They are a Band-Aid, as has been suggested by some others. It is a makeshift program that tries to correct the problems.
Let us look at some other positive steps that should be taken. The route we should be following is professional training and apprenticeship training. All of those positions should be made more positive -- more positive for industry to take up, more positive for businesses to take up and more positive for universities, colleges and schools to take up. We do have a very versatile working force which is one of our great resources in this community of Ontario. Without it, some of these other programs would not be necessary, and indeed, would be superfluous.
We must have a very positive program going forward first, and I hope the Minister of Labour will, with the other ministries involved, put together some very positive programs. There are many good ones out there that need improving and more emphasis to carry on the good work being done by this minister and other ministers for the workers and people of this province.
Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I wanted to speak to the minister briefly about the whole question of skills training in Ontario because I am very worried that there is a regional component to the lack of skills training. I know of a manufacturer in North Bay who expanded elsewhere because there were no skilled tradespeople available in North Bay. I am worried that there will not be skilled tradespeople available in Timmins when the food terminal eventually opens there.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, on the advice of the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren), I am going to respond to all members except the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel), the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) and the member for Nickel Belt. It that right?
Mr. Laughren: Sure; that’s fine.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Seriously, I realize, as they do and as I know you do, Mr. Speaker, we have discussed these topics at great length publicly in estimates, although some members may not have been there for that special occasion, and before the select committee on plant shutdowns and employee adjustment.
On the issue of justification of plant closures, I think I have made the government’s position very clear. We have serious doubts about the value of it. We have serious doubts about it as a disincentive for business setting up in this community. But we have made it clear all along that we think there is a very important need to look at the very human aspects of plant closure and the hardships that occur from it. We have made it very clear from the beginning that those are the issues we have particular interest in.
I have made my own position very clear on the issue of equal pay for work of equal value. I think the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) is on a funny wicket, because this province has a record with regard to women’s issues that cannot be compared with that of any other province. We are far ahead of all of them in all areas. We have an equal pay act that is effective and working, and we have equal opportunity programs that other provinces are now starting to model theirs after.
Mr. M. N. Davison: If they are such wonderful programs, why is there only one woman at National Steel Car?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Oh, take two Aspirins today. The one the other day did not work.
The federal government also is starting to introduce an affirmative action program based on ours. There are some changes in the regulations being considered by the government. I am not prepared at this time to comment on the state of those considerations, but they relate to the matters raised by the member for Hamilton East.
We have discussed at great length the issue of occupational health and safety and the effectiveness of Bill 70. I happen not to be as pessimistic as some of the members from the third party. I think there is evidence of great co-operation starting to develop. The degree of compliance with regard to health and safety committees now is approximately 95 per cent in all areas. The honourable member knows that. He knows it is a good act.
Mr. Mackenzie: I want to keep it a good act.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Keep quiet for a minute. It gives workers the right to refuse to work and the right to participate in the process; that is starting. At the end of year one, I have to say we have seen a lot of changes take place and we have a lot to be proud of. I will not make any apology for Bill 70 or the way it is going now.
The bankruptcy situation has been discussed by several members. I know the member for Simcoe Centre (Mr. G. Taylor) has indicated on many occasions his concern about the federal bankruptcy laws with regard to unpaid wages. I have told the House on many occasions that I have indicated my own support for improving the position of wages in the bankruptcy legislation.
Mr. M. N. Davison: Would you like to tell us Joe Clark’s position on that?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: The member is a lovely young man. Why does he not go and see his mother? He may need some help.
I was delighted that the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini) had finally come to the realization that there was a Weiler report and that it did contemplate some changes in workmen’s compensation legislation. I think it is kind of anomalous, though, that during all those months when Professor Weiler was reviewing it, his party was one of the groups that were criticizing the way we had proceeded. Members of his party said we were trying to move too quickly and they suggested a royal commission, which would have taken several years. I happen to think we did the right thing in acting quickly and I make no apology for that.
I am not involved in a second study of the Weiler report. I have asked for comments from those who had indicated an interest in the Weiler study. To not do that is to negate the concept of responsible government, and the member knows it. If the member wants to say something fundamental, he should say it on real issues.
On the issue of silica standards, the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) talked to me about that before. I am aware there have been some suggestions of silica standards being considered by the federal government, and we will review their documents. As he knows, the issue of jurisdiction in health and safety in uranium mines seems to be quite clear. We have a pretty good working arrangement at present, but we will continue to try to improve it.
Miners’ deaths in this province have been a particular concern of the ministry. We have appointed a tripartite commission to look into that, including the events at Stobie mines that the member was talking to us about. My own inspectors have reviewed the matter and made certain recommendations. The industrial inquiry into mining deaths has also reviewed that issue. I think we are approaching it from several directions and that we will see a satisfactory resolution of it.
Mr. Martel: You are playing games with us and you know it.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I don’t know that. Instead of playing games, what have we seen in the past year and a half? We have seen them agree to start paying for the inspector service; we have seen them incorporate the act by reference; we have had conversations with them as a result of the committee’s report from Hydro; and they are willing to consider any further references that may be required to make certain that the process is a legal one. I have not seen anything but co-operation. The member may not think everything is perfect, but people are not putting up roadblocks to improving it.
I think that basically summarizes most of the issues that have not been covered in especially great detail in other committees at other times. I thank the members for their comments.
Mr. Speaker: Shall those estimates be concurred in?
Mr. Martel: No, Mr. Speaker, not for a moment.
Mr. Speaker: Order. You can only speak once. That has been the precedent in this House even before you came.
Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, the precedent was all mangled the night before last when people would go out and come back into estimates. This afternoon the minister mangled it.
Mr. Speaker: The resolution for concurrence in supply has already been placed before the House at the beginning of the debate. Is it the pleasure of the House that the resolution be concurred in?
Resolution concurred in.
MINISTRY OF TREASURY AND ECONOMICS
Resolution concurred in.
OFFICE OF THE ASSEMBLY (SUPPLEMENTARY)
Resolution concurred in.
OFFICE OF THE PROVINCIAL AUDITOR
Resolution concurred in.
MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE AND FOOD
Mr. Riddell: I will speak only very briefly, Mr. Speaker. Before you cut me off on my supplementary this afternoon, I was trying to impress upon the minister that funding has to be provided to eastern Ontario fanners who find they cannot grow soybeans because of the lack of handling and storage facilities. I have asked for more detailed information on this. If the minister were to read the last edition of Farm and Country he would find an article where this is outlined.
The Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson) invited the opposition critics to attend the press conference he was having in the last two or three days announcing a conference which his ministry was establishing, to be known as Growing with Agriculture in the 1980s. I failed to comment, as I was asked to do, at the end of that press conference. When I become somewhat annoyed, I think it is always best to give myself a few minutes to see if my annoyance is justified. I did give it a few minutes and, in my opinion, this latest announcement is just another in a series of conferences this ministry has hosted, designed to make the public believe his ministry is actively promoting agriculture in this province.
I know there was a lot of criticism levelled at the minister during the estimates that for some reason or other this government places a very low profile on agriculture. Just as sure as I am standing here, we are going to be having a conference in February for no other reason than to try to improve the minister’s and ministry’s image across Ontario.
The reason I say this government places very little emphasis on agriculture is that the Agriculture and Food budget is only half of one per cent of the total Ontario budget when one discounts the land tax rebates which should not have been collected in the first place, the crop insurance which is repaid by the federal government and the tile drainage loans which are repaid by the farmers, although the interest rate is subsidized.
Mr. W. Newman: What are you repeating the same speech for? You already read it in estimates.
Mr. Riddell: No. I am dealing with this conference and the money being spent on it. It is abundantly clear there is no solid commitment by this government to an expanding agricultural industry in this province.
At last month’s annual convention of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, an agriculture and food strategy for Ontario was recommended to the government. This strategy pointed out the great opportunities presented to Ontario by its agriculture and listed a number of proposals for its development. At a press conference, the minister forecast a doubling of corn production in the next 20 years. This would require the drainage and/or clearing of two million acres of land. Much of this land would be difficult to drain and it could cost $1,000 an acre to clear and/or drain. That acreage would require $2 billion of capital financing and, over a 20-year period with the present file loan formula, the government would have to triple its present $25 million a year ceiling to $75 million a year. That money would require constant increases to match inflation.
Rather than a conference, what we need is more research to cope with the problems created by one-crop farming systems. We need grants and loans to farm groups anxious to operate cold storage plants. We need more processing plants and grain-handling facilities. We need a lifting of the present three-year limit on research projects funded by the government. We need to restore morale and confidence among our agricultural scientists in the future of their work. We need to plan now so our rivers and dams can handle the increased drainage waters. We need planning and legislation to prevent the erosion of land and the silting of our rivers and streams which will be caused by increased cash-cropping on Ontario soils. We need a recognition on the part of the Ontario government of the importance of agriculture in this province and a commitment to food self-sufficiency.
We do not need a series of government-financed conferences just before a provincial election. We need action and commitment from this government in the future of Ontario agriculture. I say to the minister that those are my views on the money he is prepared to spend on a conference in February.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I will be brief. I want to make one last plea to the Minister of Agriculture and Food concerning the Rainy River land clearing and drainage project. I know the minister is going to reply that it is up to the federal government through the Department of Regional Economic Expansion agreement to do something about this matter. We have had this conversation numerous times, but I would submit to the minister that if there are problems with the federal government because funding or the amount of money that was going to go to this program is not available, or whatever, then the provincial government should take the lead in this matter and start a pilot project funded with at least a million dollars or so to start so that we can get on with the job.
It was interesting that the local people, through the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Rainy River branch, came up with this program and did a great deal of work in preparing what I consider an excellent brief on this whole project. The minister and his predecessor have been dragging their feet for three years on this matter, studying it from all possible angles. If there is a problem with the federal government, let us get on with the matter. Let us start something under the initiative of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and let us get that program in place for this coming spring so we can get on with the job of improving the productivity of the farming community in the west cod of the Rainy River district. It is going to be of benefit not only to the people in the area, but to the Ontario economy as well.
I would hope the minister would make a commitment here this afternoon, at Christmastime, that if there is no action from the federal government in the next couple of months, he will go ahead on his own initiative and provide the necessary funds or whatever to get this program going this coming spring of 1981.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, if I might respond to the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid), he is well aware of the commitment I made a few days ago during my estimates. That commitment still stands as I made it then. Prior to that, I had spoken to the member and suggested he should try to encourage the government of Canada to get on with the job, a job they promised us almost a year ago, yet we still do not have the necessary agreement. Respecting a pilot project, he is also aware that we, as a province, already have carried out pilot projects within his riding. The proof is there that the ground will produce with the appropriate drainage and cultivation.
The member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) referred to the soybean crop in eastern Ontario. I am sure he is aware that this is the first year we have actually produced soybeans in such supply that they really needed storage in eastern Ontario. He is aware that we have come out with new varieties that the farmers will be producing next year. There are, at this moment, no plans respecting storage, but I will be speaking to my staff with respect to this and will see what arrangements can be made.
The honourable member referred to a conference we are going to hold on February 4 and 5 of this year in the Skyline Hotel. I am really disappointed in him for thinking that the farmers should not have the right to come out and have input. It is pretty shocking for that member to make that type of a statement that the farmers should not be at a conference. It is really shocking and disappointing because he represents a rural riding.
Mr. Riddell: You don’t know whom you are inviting. It was a thought on the spur of the moment.
Hon. Mr. Henderson: There is no spur of the moment about it. The member can check when the reservations were made. I re-emphasize that I am really disappointed at his not wanting the farmers to have input. It is shocking to say the least. The part that is really shocking is his negative outlook on the future; his attitude towards our farmers is very disappointing. I just cannot believe he believes our farmers are that type of people.
During the past decade, our farmers have almost doubled production within this province and, as I said in my estimates, they will do that again in the very near future. I have confidence in the farmers of this province. I have confidence in the people of this province and believe that we will continue to be the leading province and the leading state in North America.
The Deputy Speaker: Shall this resolution be concurred in?
Those in favour will please say “aye.”
Those opposed will please say “nay.”
In my opinion, the ayes have it.
Resolution concurred in.
Resolution for supplementary supply also concurred in.
MINISTRY OF HOUSING
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, I cannot let my good friend from Ottawa South (Mr. Bennett) get off that easily. I have a very few brief comments to make to the minister.
This morning, in looking over the mail, I saw that something is happening in eastern Ontario to which the minister does not seem to be invited. There are invitations to the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Norton) and the Minister of Government Services (Mr. Wiseman) to attend the official opening of new kitchen facilities at the Rideau regional centre. The member for Ottawa South (Mr. Bennett) is not even invited to that. Since we are embarking on an electoral period, I want to say to my good friend from Ottawa South that there is going to be an official ribbon cutting of an outhouse in my riding. I want to ask the member how many ministers he can bring over for that.
Mr. Ashe: As long as you are underneath it, we will bring the whole government.
Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I understood the particular facility was to accommodate all the friends of the member for Ottawa East. Those are my comments.
Resolution concurred in.
MANAGEMENT BOARD OF CABINET
Resolution concurred in.
MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT (CONCLUDED)
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, I believe we agreed the Liberal speaker will take 10 minutes, then the New Democratic Party speaker will take up to 10 minutes and I will conclude with 10. Was that agreed to by the House? I am more than prepared to stand down.
The Deputy Speaker: I don’t know what the agreement is. I understand it was agreed outside the House, so I will have to ask the House if it is agreeable to that agreement.
Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, it is a real pleasure for me to have this opportunity to stand up today to speak at this particular time in the history of Ontario. I think we are coming to the crossroads in dealing with our liquid industrial waste. We certainly need to get a handle on it. What happened on November 25 was a true indication that this government, which has been around for 37 years, has not taken into consideration the simple principle of the rights of individual citizens.
I would like to bring to the attention of the House that the government made a decision to locate an industrial waste plant on 640 acres in South Cayuga of class one and two agricultural land. As the member for that area, I am certainly concerned. We have had the support of the town of Haldimand, in which the site is located, and of the region of Haldimand-Norfolk and the town of Dunnville. A lot of very interesting things have taken place in the past two weeks as far as that area is concerned.
The Haldimand-Norfolk Organization for a Pure Environment was organized and came to the rescue of the residents there. They have made presentations to this House through myself as a member, and I noticed this morning the minister indicated some concern about my responsibility as the member for Haldimand-Norfolk. I would indicate to the House and to the people of Ontario that I take my responsibilities seriously. I am concerned. We have to stand up for the rights of individuals, and I have tried to do that.
Last week 300 letters were addressed to the Premier (Mr. Davis) and to the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Parrott). I would like to put on record a copy of one letter that gives an indication of the feeling of the citizens in my riding. It is from J. L. Mitchener Public School, PO Box 99, Cayuga, Ontario. It reads:
“Dear Premier Davis:
“Although I am not yet of voting age, I am, nevertheless, deeply concerned that any provincial government in a free democratic country, such as Canada, should arbitrarily suspend citizens’ right to full independent hearings on such an important project as the South Cayuga dump site that is now before the Legislature. I am appalled that our government would blatantly ignore the laws of the Environment Assessment Act, the laws that our government created. This not only affects citizens of South Cayuga, but is a denial of citizens’ rights to everyone in Ontario.”
It is signed Chris Clinton. I am speaking on behalf of the future generation because that is my responsibility and that is my concern. We are not only dealing here with waste that is of real concern, but we are going to locate it in a virgin area of Ontario, between the Grand River and Lake Erie, a distance of three short miles. It is class one and two land.
The government’s own study, the MacLaren report, brought out in 1979, indicated clearly that class one, two, three and four agricultural land should not be used for waste disposal. They pointed out that 17 sites were available in Ontario, which they indicated on maps, but South Cayuga was not mentioned. Just this past summer they approved another study, which cost $425,000, to justify using the site for liquid industrial waste storage. I think this clearly indicates they are using our money to try to utilize this site for waste disposal. They did not come to the region of Haldimand-Norfolk.
I believe at the end of November or beginning of December, after the new council was inaugurated, it passed a resolution asking for an environmental assessment hearing and asking the Premier to rescind the Ministry of the Environment request that the environmental studies not be heard. The town of Dunnville also brought in a resolution supporting the region of Haldimand-Norfolk. All they are asking for is simple justice, that the legislation of Ontario be adhered to, I will ask again today that the minister reconsider his proposal and support the democratic system so that we can have a fair hearing for the future of that part of Ontario.
On Thursday of this week, we had another group come in. They were represented by the mayor of the town of Dunnville and his council. They did have a meeting with the minister in the hallway. I will not say that was the best place to meet, but in order to make a point I think they had to use some method to get the attention of the minister, and I think they were making that point very clearly.
Those people are responsible people and will sit down and be rational if approached the right way. I would offer my support to do that because I think we are making a decision that is going to affect the future generations and that is going to affect that part of Ontario where the Grand River runs into Lake Erie. The fishing industry is dependent on good clean water, and the fishing industry there provides something like 70 per cent of all the freshwater fish in Ontario or 50 per cent of the freshwater fish in Canada. It is an issue we have to be concerned about.
I think agriculture can play a role in the economy of Ontario and Canada since, as our agriculture critic pointed out to the minister today, we are importing $2 billion worth of agricultural products. Half of that can be produced here. We are importing $1.8 billion worth of farm machinery and exporting $800 million, leaving a deficit of $1 billion. Agriculture can play a crucial role; and that particular area of Ontario is class one and two land, the second highest heat area in Canada. We can have access to irrigation.
When the government purchased the land, although a lot of figures have been used, it paid $25,640,524 for it, which works out to about $2,000 an acre. That may well be cheap land as we go down the road into the future. During a conversation I had with our junior farmers only a week ago in Delhi, I learned from one of them who went to Germany on an exchange tour that the only way one gets access to land is through its being handed down from generation to generation. They are paying a price of up to $10,000 an acre. Given the fact we do have a peak in agriculture, I think we have to protect that land, and we can barter, when we have agricultural products to exchange, for energy. I think that is the future not only for the agricultural area, but for industry. That is very important.
We have to make sure that the democratic system is utilized properly. That is all we are asking, that simple first principle. I would hope the minister will see it justified and will try not to put the cart before the horse and will go through the proper procedures.
Mr. Isaacs: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to join in this debate.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Where are your friends?
Mr. Isaacs: I don’t know where they are.
I am pleased to join in this debate on concurrence in supply for the Ministry of the Environment. I was not the environment critic for this party at the time the minister’s estimates were being considered by committee, nor when this debate was started back on June 18, but I have found it a fascinating experience to take over the responsibility for this party.
I want to take just a few moments to comment on some of the things which we have seen happen in the last three or four months. It seems to me that the Minister of the Environment must have received a shot of liquid industrial adrenalin some time back in the summer, because since midsummer or thereabouts he has been moving faster than I have ever seen any minister move -- not always in the right direction, but he has been moving.
Back in the summer, he bypassed yet again what my colleagues in the Liberal Party call the democratic process, except that time it was affecting Inco. Instead of going through the normal hearing process and the normal control order process, he bypassed everything and went straight to a cabinet order to deal with the Inco emissions problem. Maybe at that time we should have seen what was coming; we should have seen the way that haste is overtaking reason and the democratic process, and maybe we should have said, “Come on, we need hearings; we need the full process.” But, of course, we did not because we knew there was a real crisis at that time and we were prepared to allow the minister to deal with his ineptitude in the past by taking crisis decisions and going directly to cabinet.
Since this summer as well, he has moved on the problem of the Keating Channel dredging, although he has not moved as far as we would like. He has moved dramatically on some of the crazy schemes that were before us back in the spring, particularly the proposal for his co-proponentship in liquid industrial waste facilities in Thorold and Harwich. He has also taken actions which have resulted in the abandonment of projects in Ajax and Middleport. Sewer and water projects, as the minister often indicates in his speeches, have also been moving, hindered only by the present abandonment of the funding under the community services contribution program by the federal Liberal party.
It is the minister’s statement of November 25 that is the focus of attention today. It is that statement on which I want to focus for a few moments. There is no doubt in my mind that the minister’s statement of November 25 is his best shot yet at dealing with the problem of industrial waste disposal. The minister has come forward with a proposal for proper facilities on a clean site run by the right people, a crown corporation. We have no quarrel with any of those aspects.
Unfortunately, there are two big flaws in the proposal, as we understand it, that exists today. One is the minister’s interference in the impartial MacLaren study, which has raised in many people’s minds doubts about the validity of that study as a site selection document. The second is his abandonment of and his getting around the total hearing process that has been established by this Legislature and written into the laws of Ontario.
Despite those criticisms, the minister has still been moving since November 25. For example, on November 25 there was no comment about any kind of hearing. Today, we know that there will be some kind of hearing on the South Cayuga proposal. On November 25, South Cayuga was the final selection; it would go there come hell or high water. One of the concerns of the people in that area is that it may be high water that comes and puts an end to the project. Since November 25, perhaps with some nudging from the Premier (Mr. Davis), the minister has agreed that the project will not proceed in that location if the site is found to be unsuitable for a facility such as he is proposing. Since November 25, as well, my colleagues and I in the New Democratic Party have taken the steps necessary to ensure that there will be committee hearings on the South Cayuga proposal.
I want to tell the minister I see one of three possibilities being the major component of that committee’s report. The committee will come forward recommending that there should be a full environmental assessment hearing, or it will come forward suggesting that there should be some kind of modified environmental assessment hearing, or it will come forward saying that the minister has done the right thing.
The minister is well aware I think the last of those three possibilities is the most unlikely. The minister is well aware I believe strongly there should be a full environmental assessment hearing. But I do not think I am so close-minded as to say I am not prepared to use those hearings to hear the minister’s point of view and to give him the time to try to convince my colleagues and me that what he has done is the only way to go.
If, as I suspect, the committee comes forward at the end of March, or whenever this House resumes, with a recommendation that there should be a full environmental assessment hearing, if the Liberal Party supports that, and if perhaps even the Conservative members of the committee support that, as I hope they will when they have heard all the evidence, then this House will have an opportunity to vote on the report. If the vote is positive, I believe the minister will be under an obligation to listen to this House and to the people of Ontario and to provide the environmental assessment hearing that is being asked for. It seems to me that is without a doubt the biggest flaw in the minister’s position on any issue at the present time.
I do not see how an election in Ontario right now will get the people of Ontario and of South Cayuga an environmental assessment hearing. If the people in the Liberal Party want to get that hearing, and if they really believe that the goal of the South Cayuga exercise is to get an environmental assessment hearing, then they will forget about jaunts to Germany, they will forget about spending time on things that when time is less pressing might be important, and they will focus their attention on the need for the environmental assessment hearing. They will come to the committee and learn why that hearing was not held and how it could be held, and they will join with us in the committee to bring forward a recommendation that the Environmental Assessment Board be directed to meet and hear the South Cayuga issue, site selection, technology and everything.
There is no other way to ensure that the people of South Cayuga will get that hearing. There is no way we can guarantee the people of South Cayuga that an election will get them that hearing. In fact, Mr. Speaker, as you know and as I know, an election is likely to do nothing more than give the minister time to get it in before a new government can take over and ensure that the facilities are subjected to the hearing they should have before the site selection is made final. We will not be opposing the minister’s estimates on this item, but we will be coming forward with a recommendation in the spring, which we hope will get the support of all parties in this House, to require an environmental assessment hearing and to guarantee the people of South Cayuga the democratic rights they deserve to have accorded to them.
To sum up, if the minister keeps moving under the charge of liquid industrial adrenalin he seems to be operating on, I predict we will have that hearing scheduled before the end of February.
Mr. Nixon: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: Before the minister completes the debate, I wonder if he would consider the position that he has expressed with reference to this House, when he undertook to have advertised in the Daily Commercial News of November 28, under the heading “South Cayuga Industrial Waste Centre, Owner Ontario Waste Management Corporation,” a project, including a storage building for highly toxic waste and solidification plant, and a bridge to join Highway 56 to the access road of the Grand River, as well as other facilities, when the matter has not really been approved here and his money has not been voted.
Second, could the minister possibly respond to my colleague the member for Essex North (Mr. Ruston) who has asked for information concerning the contract and salary of Dr. Donald Chant in his recent appointment regarding the South Cayuga toxic waste dump? That question was asked on December 1, and the answer was, “It will not be possible to provide a response prior to the end of the session.” Surely that is an indication of a lack of concern for the requirements for information to the Legislature and the taxpayers.
Mr. Gaunt: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I am wondering, when the minister responds, if he could answer my question to which I made reference yesterday.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. MacBeth): That is neither a point of order nor a point of privilege. It is an inquiry of the minister, but this is not the time for an inquiry. I will ask the minister to proceed.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Mr. Speaker, it is very nice to have that kind of support.
We are in the concurrence debate for my estimates, and I want to make one or two points in addition to the ones that seem to fascinate and dominate, as though they were the only things that have happened in our environment. Indeed, there are many great activities of my ministry, and I am going to take half of my time to remind this House that really is what this is all about.
In our estimates time we did not spend any significant amount of time on the role of our laboratory. Here is a facility which is without doubt doing yeoman’s service. Let me give two or three illustrations. In any given year, we take 1.5 million tests of air or water samples. That is a tremendous number. That includes a great range of activities. It ensures that the people of this province have safe drinking water. It ensures that they have pure air. It ensures that if people have private wells they can come to a source to get that kind of certainty that it is safe for them to consume the water. Those 1.5 million tests are a routine activity that goes on almost unnoticed but, without it, this province would be much worse off.
I compare that to the very rich province of Alberta, which is only now thinking about building a facility of a similar type. I think it is a testimony to my predecessors in this government that they saw in the early 1950s and 1960s the great need for that facility and built the best laboratory facility of any place in Canada to deal with the environment. I could go on and on and on. I use that only as an illustration. We have 1,400 monitors for air throughout this province. That is another service that goes on day in and day out very silently, but very effectively.
In the two or three minutes I have on this portion of the estimates, I want to deal with what I think was a crippling blow to that great service. That was the cancellation of the community services contribution program funds. I don’t remember a worse day any government had in its failure to give a commitment to the environment than the day the federal government cancelled that program. It was just unbelievably bad. Let me give a couple of quick illustrations. I had the sad task the other day of rethinking what that would mean for one particular small community in southwestern Ontario. Even though our funds will be increased considerably, it means that community will have a user charge not of $160 a year, as it was with the program, or not even $300, but $700. That is the kind of change it will mean. It means that kind of change to at least 100 communities in this coming year.
I would ask the members opposite, as well as those in my own caucus, to write to their respective federal members and to the minister himself, asking for that program to be reinstated. I had the member for the city of North Bay in the other day. They had put it very squarely. They thought they had a commitment from a federal minister who represents that area. They were sure they had.
Hon. Mr. Pope: Jean-Jacques Blais.
Mr. Kerrio: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: The gentleman sitting next to the minister should not be interjecting when he is not in his seat.
The Acting Speaker: I do not think there is any such rule.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: The staff of the federal minister looked us in the eye and pretended it was not important to the Great Lakes water agreement of this province, not important to the small communities. I have never in my life seen such harsh treatment as the cancellation without notice of the community services contribution program funds.
I tell the member that this province will suffer because of it. Even more important, our image in the international community will suffer because it appears as though our federal government no longer has the commitment to the environment that we in this provincial government have, always had and will have forever.
We want to dwell for a few minutes on liquid waste; of course, we do. But perhaps before we do, we could take a minute to talk about some of the success stories of the last two years. Let me refer the members to the tremendous improvement in the environment relative to the Treasurer’s (Mr. F. S. Miller) pulp and paper grants for the environmental control and modernization of those plants. I would ask the members of the House to go to the town of Dryden where they will see a whole new community. It is the success story of this decade. There is a river now without foam; there is air without particulate matter; the odour is gone. That is the kind of success story we do not hear much about, but such stories are there, are real and are happening day in and day out in this province.
For the last three or four minutes, I should turn to the item of liquid industrial waste. It has dominated this particular session of the Legislature for a variety of reasons. We have seen the things of the past and we have all become concerned. There is no doubt in my mind that the members opposite have a genuine concern, but as I read my mail and I understand the commitment on both sides of the House, I get far more mail, requests and help from this side of the House in doing something positive to solve the problems of liquid industrial waste in this province. It is that simple.
Last night I had what I considered one of the most revealing discussions I have ever had. I thought it was incumbent upon me to go down and see the member for Haldimand-Norfolk (Mr. G. I. Miller) in his office. I would like to have a moment to put this on the record.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: I saw a member who was genuinely concerned -- I do not challenge that -- but I also saw a member who did not really understand the bright and possible future of tomorrow. He is misguided in what he thinks will occur. He wants quiet discussion, and I believe in that. But I think it is now time that it happens. It is not time for the rowdyism of yesterday afternoon.
I was encouraged tremendously by the fact that he would orchestrate such quiet discussion because it was to his people and to the people of Ontario I said I offer the hand of understanding. What we need at this time is understanding, knowledge and then action. I say to you, Mr. Speaker, that we will provide that.
I find it rather interesting when a member, and particularly the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) says to us, “Why have you done this thing in such a political way?” Yet this very morning, when asked where he would put it, he said he would put it in Woodstock. That is kind of an interesting comment which I will remind the Liberal candidates of some time. That is exactly how the leader of the Opposition went about the business of finding where to locate a site. The member will have a little trouble with that in the great county of Oxford. He ought to have a little better understanding of the problem.
In conclusion, I want to say one sentence.
The Acting Speaker: Order, please.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: Not only do we in this government, and myself, offer to the people of this province the hand of understanding --
Mr. S. Smith: With a knife in it.
Hon. Mr. Parrott: -- we will offer to them the hand of co-operation. In this vital area we can build a better tomorrow; we will build a better tomorrow. The environment is our heritage; we will protect it. Nothing short of that would be what this government would have for the great province of Ontario. That is our promise for the future. It is a great, bright tomorrow.
The House divided on the resolution for concurrence in supply for the Ministry of the Environment, which was concurred in on the following vote:
Ashe, Baetz, Belanger, Bennett, Bernier, Birch, Bounsall, Breaugh, Brunelle, Bryden, Cassidy, Charlton, Cureatz, Davis, Davidson, M., Davison, M. N., Di Santo, Drea, Eaton, Elgie.
Germa, Grande, Gregory, Grossman, Havrot, Henderson, Hennessy, Hodgson, Isaacs, Johnson, J., Johnston, R. F., Jones, Kerr, Lane, Laughren, Lawlor, Leluk, Lupusella, MacDonald.
Mackenzie, Maeck, Makarchuk, Martel, McCaffrey, McCague, McClellan, McNeil, Miller, F. S. Mitchell, Newman, W., Norton, Parrott, Philip, Pope, Ramsay, Renwick, Rowe, Scrivener, Smith, G. E.
Snow, Stephenson, Sterling, Swart, Taylor, J. A., Taylor, G., Timbrell, Turner, Villeneuve, Walker, Warner, Watson, Welch, Wells, Wildman, Williams, Wiseman, Yakabuski, Young.
Blundy, Bolan, Bradley, Breithaupt, Campbell, Conway, Cunningham, Eakins, Epp, Gaunt, Haggerty, Hall, Kerrio, Mancini, McEwen, McGuigan, McKessock, Miller, G. I., Newman, B.
Nixon, O’Neil, Peterson, Reed, J., Reid, T. P., Riddell, Roy, Ruston, Sargent, Smith, S., Stong, Sweeney, Van Horne, Worton.
Pair: Edighoffer and MacBeth.
Ayes 78; nays 33.
Hon. F. S. Miller moved first reading of Bill 231, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the Public Service for the fiscal year ending May 31, 1981.
Motion agreed to.
Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I have great confidence in the advice the House leader of the Conservative Party has. However, it seems to me in the past this bill for providing to His Honour the money required for the government is passed after the budget is approved or, in this case, defeated.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I asked that same question earlier when this procedure was suggested. It has been pointed out to me that since we changed the rules, the debate we have had and which we will be concluding in a few minutes is an amendment to the motion that this House approve in general the budgetary policies of the government. It is not the motion we used to have a few years ago, before the new rules, with the House going into committee of ways and means, which meant that the motion had to be passed before this bill could be presented. Once the estimates have all been concurred in and passed by this House, it is perfectly in order to put this bill.
Mr. Nixon: If I may speak again to the point of order, Mr. Speaker, might we have some advice from you? While my memory perhaps is faulty in this connection, I do not recall ever having to pass the supply bill which, of course, is acceded to when the budget is approved. It does not seem reasonable for the House leader to present a supply bill to us in this House and then go on with the debate on the budget, which may or may not be successful.
Mr. Speaker: I am at the pleasure of the House. It was my understanding too that the supply bill would come after the motion for the support of the budget would come along.
Mr. Breithaupt: It has to be approved in general first.
Mr. Speaker: It has received first reading.
Second and third readings also agreed to on motion.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the following standing committees be constituted and authorized to sit during the interval between the fourth and fifth sessions of the 31st Parliament with authority to consider business, as follows:
The standing committee on administration of justice to consider the annual report of the Minister of Housing for the year ending March 31, 1979, and to consider the annual report of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations for the year ending March 31, 1980; and that the committee be authorized to release its reports during the interval by depositing a copy with the Clerk of the assembly; and that, upon commencement of the fifth session of the 31st Parliament, the chairman of the committee shall bring the reports before the House in accordance with the standing orders; and that Bill 140, An Act to amend the Children’s Law Reform Act, 1977, remain committed during the interval and, upon commencement of the fifth session, be deemed to have been introduced and read the first time and deemed to have been read the second time and referred to the standing committee on administration of justice.
The standing committee on resources development to consider the annual report of the Ministry of the Environment for the year ending March 31, 1979, and to consider the annual report of the Minister of Natural Resources for the year ending March 31, 1979, and to consider, as time permits, Bill 127, An Act to revise the Pits and Quarries Control Act, 1971; and that, notwithstanding the prorogation of the House, Bill 127 remain referred to this committee for clause-by-clause examination and, upon commencement of the fifth session of the 31st Parliament, the bill shall be deemed to have been introduced and read the first time, be deemed to have been read a second time and referred to the standing committee on resources development; and that in its consideration of the Environment report the committee be authorized to employ counsel and such staff as it deems necessary and to hold meetings and hearings in such places as the committee may deem advisable, subject to budget approval by the Board of Internal Economy;
The standing committee on social development to consider Bill 209, An Act to revise and extend Protection of Human Rights in Ontario; and that, notwithstanding the prorogation of the House, Bill 209 remain referred to this committee for clause- by-clause examination and, upon commencement of the fifth session of the 31st Parliament, the bill shall be deemed to have been introduced and read for the first time, be deemed to have been read a second time and referred to the standing committee on social development;
The standing committee on public accounts to consider the annual report of the provincial auditor for 1979-80 and the public accounts for 1979-80;
And that these standing committees be authorized to meet during the interval between sessions in accordance with the schedule of meetings agreed to by the three party whips as tabled earlier today; and that on the request of a standing committee the committee, while sitting during the interval, may, if necessary, ask Mr. Speaker through the Office of the Clerk to issue his warrant or warrants for the attendance of a witness or for the production of papers and things deemed necessary by the committee.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that select committees, meeting during the interval between the fourth and fifth sessions of the 31st Parliament, do so in accordance with the schedule of meetings agreed to by the committee chairmen and the three party whips as tabled earlier today.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that, notwithstanding the standing orders of the House, substitutions be permitted on the standing committee on procedural affairs during the interval between the fourth and fifth sessions of the 31st Parliament with notice of substitution to be given to the clerk of the committee by the whip of the party concerned; and that the standing committees authorized to meet during the interval have power to substitute, provided that written notice of substitution is given to the chairman of the committee before or early in the meeting.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that, as previously authorized by the House on June 19, 1980, members of the standing committee on procedural affairs be authorized to travel to the United Kingdom to examine the committee system at Westminster.
Motion agreed to.
SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE OMBUDSMAN
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the select committee on the Ombudsman be authorized to release its report during the interval between the fourth and fifth sessions of the 31st Parliament by depositing a copy with the clerk of the assembly.
Motion agreed to.
SELECT COMMITTEE ON CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the select committee on constitutional reform, as appointed June 3, 1980, continue with its terms of reference, including power of substitution and release of report, as set out in the motion of the House of June 3, 1980.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that, notwithstanding the prorogation of the house, all government orders on the Order Paper for resuming adjourned debates on motions to adopt reports from committees, except for the December 2 report from the select committee on plant shutdowns and employee adjustment, be placed on the Order Paper on the second sessional day of the fifth session of the 31st Parliament.
Motion agreed to.
Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the following substitutions be made on the select committee on company law, Mr. Rollins for Mr. G. Taylor: on the select committee on constitutional reform, Mr. Stong for Mr. Roy, Mr. Epp for Mr. Conway and Mr. Mitchell for Mr. G. Taylor; on the select committee on Ontario Hydro Affairs, Mr. McKessock for Mr. Bradley, Mr. Jones for Mr. Cureatz and Mr. Lupusella for Mr. Mackenzie; on the select committee on plant shutdowns and employee adjustment, Mr. Cooke for Mr. Renwick; on the standing committee on administration of justice, Mr. Kennedy for Mr. G. Taylor, Mr. Mitchell for Mr. McCaffrey, Mr. Rowe for Mr. Williams, Mr. M. N. Davison for Mr. Ziemba, Mr. Flail for Mr. Roy and Mr. Eakins for Mr. Stong; on the standing committee on resources development, Mr. Watson for Mr. Yakabuski. Mr. Young for Mr. Di Santo, Mr. Isaacs for Ms. Gigantes and Ms. Bryden for Mr. Mackenzie; on the standing committee on public accounts, Mr. Cureatz for Mr. MacBeth; on the standing committee on social development, Mr. M, Davidson for Mr. Grande, Mr. Young for Mr. R. F. Johnston, Mr. Warner for Mr. McClellan and Mr. Mackenzie for Mr. Bounsall.
Motion agreed to.
BUDGET DEBATE (CONCLUDED)
Resuming the adjournment debate on the amendment to the motion that this House approve in general the budgetary policy of the government.
Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be able to wish you and members of the house a Merry Christmas, the compliments of the season and a very happy new year. I am not sure where Santa Claus is right now, but I did suggest to Santa that as far as we New Democrats were concerned 81 in ’81 would be an appropriate new year’s present to bring, and I know that Santa will be happy to oblige.
We look forward to the fact that come spring there will be an election in Ontario. We are all going to be on the hustings. That election campaign effectively is going to begin with the turn of the new year. I do want to say to my friend, colleague and neighbour from Ottawa East (Mr. Roy), that seldom have I seen such a sense of relief on the faces of so many Liberals as when the New Democrats decided not to oppose concurrence in supply for the Ministry of the Environment.
Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker --
Mr. Speaker: Order. You don’t have the floor.
Mr. Cassidy: The member for Ottawa East has not been here. Some people observe a meatless Friday. The member for Ottawa East observes a legislativeless Friday because he is up in Ottawa all the time.
Mr. Roy: We’ll throw them out now. Let’s throw them out.
Mr. Cassidy: When he says, “Throw them out,” it is to be noted that usually he himself is out and it is very seldom he is here.
When the Liberal Party is at the number of no-confidence motions that New Democrats have put in the Legislature since 1977, and we are up to 11 right now, compared to only four from the Liberal Party -- then we will start to take their motions seriously. I remember last year at this time it was the Liberal Party that was propping up the government. Do members remember that? We are coming through. The snows are flying. Nobody wants a winter election except the member for Ottawa East. We will have an election in the spring.
It will happen very shortly after this place resumes in the middle of March, if we ever resume in the middle of March. I know that Hugh Segal is busily preparing the press releases and the announcement that the government intends to make, either to be put into the election manifesto which will be read from the Speaker’s chair by the Lieutenant Governor, or released to the press in a grand flurry of activity some time around the end of February. I want the government to know that when the election comes, we in the New Democratic Party, here in this House and across the province, will be ready to take our record and the government’s record as well across the province.
We have been around this place for three and a half years. We have done a great deal to make minority government work, but there is no question that the Legislature is starting to get stale. There is no question that the government’s mandate is running out. There is no question that there is no fresh blood on the back benches of that party to refresh the Conservatives. It is time for the entire Legislature to go back and get a mandate from the people of Ontario. When we do, I am confident that mandate is going to give Ontario more New Democrats in the Legislature than we have ever had in this Legislature before.
Mr. S. Smith: It is a funny way of showing your confidence.
Mr. Cassidy: I told the member for Hamilton West that we might have been prepared to go along with them today, but the fact is that the snow started to fly and it will become deeper and deeper over the course of the next few weeks.
Mr. Wildman: There is more snow from over there than there is from anywhere else.
Mr. Cassidy: That was what they said last year. I am just taking my leaf from the Liberal leader’s book. The people of the province can judge. They can judge the Liberal Party for the way they cozied up to the Conservatives last night on the question of pension benefits. When we said it was time to protect workers and give portable pensions, where were the Liberals? They were in bed with the corporations and with the Progressive Conservatives. On eight amendments, when it was a choice between the workers and the Tories, the Liberal Party chose the Tories. The problems the government is creating for the people of the province continue. It is clear they will not have a new approach to take to the people when we come to the election in the spring.
Today, the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) is still lacklustre when it comes to ensuring that school children and school board workers are protected against asbestos in schools. This week the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) expressed surprise when we pointed out to him that close to 40 per cent of full-time specialists in the medical profession in Ontario have opted out. That is why one cannot get a gynaecologist in Sudbury who is opted in. That is why one can hardly get an anaesthetist in any hospital of the province who is opted in. That is why the problems of medicare continue and that is why it is time we had a government committed to restoring one-price medicare in Ontario. We will never get it from this particular government.
Over the course of this fall, we have repeatedly raised the issue of day care. In Ottawa there are a thousand parents looking for day care for their children. They are on waiting lists and unable to get it. In Metropolitan Toronto there are 4,000 parents looking for day care for their children. As the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) has pointed out, today and recently, there has actually been a decline in the number of subsidized day care places available in Metropolitan Toronto. The same thing is happening across the province,
The $1 million that came forward from the government as a part of the mini-budget is simply a drop in the bucket and is not nearly adequate to meet the needs of tens of thousands of families who are forced to make inadequate provisions for the care of their children, who are compelled to have two incomes and who cannot find decent care for their children because of the lack of commitment from this government over the question of day care.
We have a government that hears no evil and sees no evil until its attention is brought to the problems that exist in the province by New Democrats. My friend the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) has repeatedly come into this Legislature to point out what is happening to food consumers in the province as a result of the treatment they get at the hands of supermarkets. The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea) seems to think his job is the protection of corporations and not the protection of consumers. The Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), whose diplomatic flu has lasted for a week and a half, is still sick from eating crow the other week. He was trying to tell us why this Legislature, as the supreme court of the province, should not have access to documents to find out what happened to the investors who lost their life savings in Re-Mor.
The member for Welland-Thorold has repeatedly asked the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, “Why won’t this government protect the consumer? Why won’t the minister create a food prices review commission that will come to the defence of the consumer? Why does he sit back and insist that the policing be done by New Democrats in the Legislature? Why can’t we count on the government to start doing some protection for consumers in Ontario?”
The Minister of the Environment (Mr. Parrott), the minister for the anti-environment, the minister of dumps, is still in his place in the Legislature. I want to point out to that minister that the problems we have been talking about over the course of the last three or four weeks did not begin just two weeks ago. They began two and a half years or more ago. I went into a dump in Oshawa, which the minister said was under control, and the leachate was there to be seen. Anybody with a truckful of industrial waste could have driven in and dumped it in it.
We brought it to the minister’s attention two years ago; yet at Walker Brothers Quarries near Thorold just a few weeks ago the people from W5 were able to bring in their truck. We told the minister about the barrels of waste that were there, and one-barrel Harry said, “We will take one barrel out and have a look at it, and if that is okay, we are going to say the problem is contained.”
Hon. Mr. Drea: Come June, you are going to be in that dump.
Mr. Cassidy: I think the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations knows a bit more about dumps than I do. All I have to say is that we are going to continue in that committee, when it meets in January, to press until we get an adequate environmental hearing. I think the minister should simply admit now he was wrong to try to avoid the legislation.
I really wonder about those people in the ministry who conceived that campaign last summer, paid for by the taxpayers, along the theme of “preserve it, conserve it.” Would they have been able to look at themselves in the mirror every morning if they had known that within a matter of weeks the Minister of the Environment was going to jettison completely that piece of legislation that was hailed as being the saviour of the environment when the Environmental Assessment Act was brought in in 1975? I do not think so. The government’s treatment of the environment is going to be an issue in the election campaign as well as its lack of respect for local communities and its sloganeering that is not backed by facts. If South Cayuga is not safe, then what area of the province is going to be safe?
Hon. Mr. Parrott: By that time, the member may understand what we are doing.
Mr. Cassidy: The minister keeps on saying I do not understand. I do not understand the minister, but I understand what the legislation says. I don’t understand the minister and how he chickens out from using the law when the law is there to be used.
We have a government that mouths slogans about economic equality for women, but blocked the New Democratic Party’s bill when we brought it in and torpedoed our bill for equal pay for work of equal value when it was brought back to the Legislature. I say shame on them.
Mr. Wildman: They found they are sinking in liquid industrial waste.
The Deputy Speaker: Order.
Mr. Cassidy: We have a government that for two years has said it believes in the principle of severance pay but not in the practice. It was not until we got to the final week of the session that the government finally understood, with their own back-benchers deserting their ship almost every day, that they had to move and they had to make the commitment, not just in principle but also in practice.
That decision by the government was a clear victory for the New Democratic Party and for the working people of this province. The workers understand that if they lose their jobs because of a layoff or shutdown, they should not just be kicked out on the streets with nothing to fall back on. If a worker invests his or her life in a corporation, that worker is due something in return if the company is forced to shut down or decides, because of some absentee owner’s decision, it is going to pull out of the province. That principle should have been accepted a long time ago, and it is time the Minister of Labour accepted that it is not good enough to let those corporations pack up their tents without justifying what they are doing.
I sat in on the plant shutdowns committee on a number of occasions. I heard corporations like Essex International Canada Limited, which is the most sorry, disgraceful excuse for a multinational corporation I have seen around this province for a long time, say they paid only $4.09 an hour. There was no severance pay in the contract and there was no pension provision in the contract. The personnel manager told us he could not agree to a manpower adjustment committee because he was not in Canada often enough to take part in such a committee.
That is the kind of sorry excuse the Minister of Labour was trying to defend in the course of the debate in concurrence of his estimates today. That one company took $21 million out of the province in dividends in the three years before it shut down. But it was not prepared to come up with a few hundred thousand dollars to give some recompense to the workers who were hit by the severance, nor was it prepared to justify it in any way.
We are going to keep fighting that issue because it is important to working people across the province. They want an assurance that their job security is not jettisoned. They want an assurance that there is a government here that will protect workers’ rights and not just protect the rights of corporations. There is a very strong suspicion in the minds of the working people of this province that this government puts far more credence in the rights of corporations than in the rights of workers.
I could say more about the government, but the point I want to make is simply this. Minority government has gone on now for three and a half years. Its time is coming to an end. We have worked in this House to make it work responsibly and sometimes constructively. It has been proved that in certain areas this minority government is not effective. That is why we have to go back to the people and that is why we will be doing so in the near future in the spring. If I look back ever the last two years, the primary issue in the province has been the issue of jobs and job security. On that issue, there has still not been an adequate response from the government. That is going to be the issue when the election comes.
Every economic forecast says that things are going to get worse in the new year for Ontario’s working people, for the citizens of Ontario. We face an all-time high in the level of unemployment, according to the forecast we are getting right now. We face a dismal economic performance, which is the combined result of Tory economic policies here in Ontario and Liberal economic policies in the government of Canada, with a bit of help from John Crosbie and his friends. We face a situation where there has been absolutely no planning for the future of the province coming from the Davis government.
The precarious position we are in has been worsened by the continued flirtation of our central bank and by Liberal and Conservative politicians with the monetary policies that are wreaking such havoc in the United States and in Great Britain.
In Great Britain in 18 months, Mrs. Thatcher’s government has driven unemployment from 1.3 million workers to 2.1 million workers. They are heading for three million next year. Inflation has risen from 10 per cent to 15 per cent. The interest rates are rising almost daily since the Iron Lady came into office. The decline in manufacturing output in the last two years in that country rivals the opening years of the great Depression.
I had a letter today from a friend who was a manufacturer in the Manchester area of Great Britain. It was a very sad letter. They are on short time. They do not know how they can protect the jobs of their workers. The whole area is suffering enormous unemployment. Contracts are drying up. Businesses are being driven to the wall. That is the monetarism which Tories and Liberals alike in Ottawa have endorsed. If this government has not endorsed it, its protests have been -- to put it mildly -- very feeble.
Together the interest rate policies of the Liberals and Conservatives are threatening every home owner, they are threatening every small business person, they are threatening the jobs of hundreds of thousands of workers and they are threatening the prospects for recovery of firms that are on the brink, like Massey-Ferguson and Chrysler Canada. I say it is time we called a halt to slavish following of economic doctrines, whether they come from Chicago, Great Britain, Washington or any where else. It is about time we had a made-in-Canada interest rate policy, about time we had a made-in-Canada economic policy and about time we stopped making the economy of our country, the economy of our province and jobs of our workers captives to economic doctrines that are being imported from other parts of the world.
Time and time again over the last two or three years we have been looking for leadership for the economy of Ontario, and it has not been coming from the government. There have been rare exceptions. I mention the Urban Transit Development Corporation because that crown corporation is in the high technology area, has been doing research and development and now is starting to sell a high-tech product that is on the leading edge of technology in that one area.
We have been saying for a long time there has to be leadership and, where necessary, governments have to be prepared to move in and provide leadership to the economy which the private sector will not provide. I ask myself why it is we are not doing the same kind of thing in the area of mining machinery and the machinery sector in general where we have a $5 billion trade deficit with the rest of the world. Why are we not doing it in the automobile parts industry, which is so important to this province, where we now have a $4 billion trade deficit and no indication that things are going to get better?
The electrical industry and the microelectronics industry are areas of enormous importance to the future economy of the province, but they are areas where we are losing tens of thousands of jobs. They are areas where, like UTDC, we could use some government leadership, but it is not coming from this government and not coming from the government of Canada either. These are just examples of why we need a fresh turn in terms of economic policies from the government.
The fact is that in the four years since the 1977 election nothing has changed. The Conservatives are prepared to offer grants to industry with no conditions attached, They are prepared to wring their hands a bit. They are prepared to exhort industry about what it should be doing about the training of skilled workers. They are prepared to issue fancy brochures to try to attract industry to come in from the rest of the world. That is the sum total of their economic policy.
Ontario simply cannot afford to let key industries that we need to rebuild our economy be killed off by corporate irresponsibility and by monetarist dogmas of high-interest rates, while the government stands and shakes its head. New Democrats say that Ontario has to move forward and change with the 1980s and we have to guarantee security in change for the people of Ontario.
There is an old ideology in this province that says, “The profits create the wealth that drives our economy.” I have heard a fair amount of that from the member for Brock (Mr. Welch) and from his colleagues in the Conservative Party. But the reality of the 1980s is that jobs are the bottom line for healthy economies. That is why New Democrats say it is working people who create the wealth of this province. We have a very straightforward economic strategy. We say very simply that everyone has the right to earn his or her own way in life. We say that economic leadership, with job creation as its main goal, can stop the flood of manufacturing imports that is costing us hundreds of thousands of jobs in this so-called industrial heartland of the nation.
We say that Ontario can throw off its dependence on secondhand technology. We can develop new products for our industries, new processes for our factories and new jobs for our people. Ontario can make the same commitment to progress that other nations, like Japan, West Germany and France, made when they faced the choice of continuing as economic colonies of the United States or building their own future and standing on their own feet.
Like those countries, we can pick the winners and we can throw our support behind them, not reluctantly fiddling with the sacred free market, but aggressively showing the way we want our industry to develop and creating jobs and security in the process. That is the kind of approach we want to see. When we come to the election campaign in a few months, we New Democrats are going to make a commitment to security for workers and for families in Ontario. We know there is a sense of insecurity abroad among working people in this province such as we have not seen for a very long time. It is not an insecurity that is going to be met by the mishmash of answers that the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith) and the Prime Minister of Canada (Mr. Trudeau) are prepared to provide. We know the record of the Conservative government; they are prepared to give big handouts to friends in industry but they are not prepared to sit down and do the detailed planning and provide the leadership the economy of this province needs.
We are looking for security for women in Ontario, and the number one priority there is going to be to bring in legislation for equal pay for work of equal value so that women no longer have to be second- class citizens in the work places of Ontario. We are looking for security for women in Ontario so that they have a chance at jobs as presidents, Premiers and vice-presidents, as directors in marketing, as machinists, in the jobs where there are high wages and high status to be gained, rather than having to work constantly as secretaries, serving persons in shops, waitresses in restaurants and those kinds of thing.
We are looking for security for women through the form of affirmative action programs to ensure they get access to those jobs that will pay well and give them status and responsibility. We are looking for affirmative action programs to ensure that women can train for the skills from which too often they now are excluded. We are looking for affirmative action in a recognition that the number of places in the employer-sponsored training program, which had six women in it last year, should be increased to almost half the number of places available rather than being reduced to only five spaces for women, as it was this year.
We are looking for a commitment to security for women and for families through universal access to day care for the families of this province. That is a commitment we will make when we come to the election. That is what we mean when we talk about security for women. We are looking for security for families in Ontario. We will take that commitment to the people of this province as well.
I mentioned day care. We do not like cutbacks in day care. We think families who need it should have access to day care. We do not think that a spouse should be forced to stay home because of an antiquated government that still thinks women should be barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen and does not understand what has happened in our society.
We think families should have the security of good health, which they no longer are getting from this Conservative government. I mentioned the degree of opting out. Many of us in this house have had the experience of having to deal with opted-out doctors. We need to assure the families of this province that the cutbacks in health care that have continued under the Conservative government will no longer take away from the quality of health care in the province.
We need to assure people that they will be able to have access to a doctor without having to pay a 42 per cent premium, courtesy of the Premier (Mr. Davis) and the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell). We need to ensure that the security of people’s health is protected by means of a program of preventive and community health care such as has never been put forward by the Conservative government in this province.
We want security for consumers in Ontario; and, with interest rates spiralling out of sight, never was there more need than there is right now. I have spoken about the failings of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea). We want consumers to know that when they walk into Loblaws or any store in the province they have a friend at Queen’s Park; that there is a prices review commission prepared to protect consumers, rather than leaving them to the mercy of the marketplace.
We want people who have homes and are facing very substantial increases in their mortgage rates to know that, if their incomes are very modest, they will have protection from the government of this province. We want a fair tax system so that people on modest incomes are not victimized and driven to the wall because of property taxes they can no longer afford.
We want security for the working people of Ontario. We want job security, and we have put our program down on the Legislature; it is a pity the government saw fit to block it. We want adequate notice for workers threatened by layoffs. We want severance pay. We want pension protection, which the Liberal Party yesterday opposed in this Legislature. We want an assurance that corporations thinking of shutting down will be required to justify any shutdowns before they can proceed with them. That is mandatory and it is a means of ensuring security for workers. Of course, that is easy to say but harder to do; however, we will do it when we form a government.
We want a policy of full employment in Ontario to ensure that working people have the security of knowing they will have a job, they will have an income, and they will not have to be a charge on the state because of the unemployment furthered by the policies of this particular government.
There will be a choice in the election. Either we hide from the 1980s: to preserve and conserve the past the way the Conservatives will propose; to stay in the attitudes and the preoccupations of the past; to let Ontario drift and be at the mercy of events and decisions made outside our borders; and to keep on trying to blame someone else the way this government has been trying to do. Or we can get Ontario moving forward again: we can secure the future for ourselves and our children; and we can make a commitment to progress that will put us out front again in technology and in humanity.
We can face the realities of this decade with 20/20 vision or with the hindsight of 37 years. I believe the people of this province have the guts and the hope to face the challenges of the 1980s and to win. The political challenge for us is to do the same. We New Democrats are prepared to go to the people of this province in the spring. We are prepared to take our program to them. We are prepared to offer them a fresh start; we are prepared to offer them security. I believe the people of this province are prepared to respond and bring an end to 37 years of Tory rule.
Mr. S. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I find it odd indeed to be rising to speak right after that rousing address by the leader of the third party in which he roasted, and justifiably so, the government on virtually every aspect of its budgetary policy, when I know full well that, in half an hour or an hour from now, he will rise in his place to vote in favour of that very budgetary policy.
I understand these things, believe me. We have had only four years of this minority government, and the leader of the New Democratic Party does not wish to seem to be premature in bringing it to a close. It is perfectly all right, of course, that the Premier may well decide himself to bring this government to a close. Some of us may find it is only after we are again returned in our constituencies that we come back into this chamber, but I suppose it is okay if the Premier calls the election in the meantime. All the leader of the New Democratic Party is prepared to do is to complain, and rightly so, about the useless nature of the budgetary policy of the government, but he is not prepared to put whatever remains of NDP principles where his speeches are.
Unfortunately, therefore, we will find that the initiative will pass over to the government, and they will be able to go to the people and say they have been able to rule through a full term of minority government and the opposition has not laid a hand on them. Let the people know we have been ready to have an election, if need be, for some time now because we mean what we say.
On rising to speak on the last day of the House just before Christmas, as it gets to the hour and everybody wants to be out of this place, it is a faintly ridiculous position to have to stand and start to say things that are entirely predictable anyway. Nobody expects the Leader of the Opposition to stand and say anything other than what he is about to say, namely, that he disagrees almost totally with the general approach towards budgetary policy of the present government of Ontario and feels, most sincerely, that he and his party could do better. That will come as no surprise to anybody, and it has fallen to my lot to have to stand in this House and make a speech at this time, followed by a vote, when we all know what the result will be.
That is not to say I should necessarily give up this opportunity without at least putting on the record some of the feelings we had when my excellent colleague from London Centre (Mr. Peterson), a man with all the abilities to be a much better Treasurer of this province than the one who currently occupies that area, proposed the motion that was seconded by the former leader of this party, a man without peer in this chamber. It is an excellent motion which I have the pleasure and the honour of reading to this House again, and I shall read it part by part with a view and appropriate commentary on each portion and placing emphasis, of course.
The amendment said the House finds this government’s failure to implement an economic strategy has contributed significantly to the economic decline of Ontario. Let me speak to that portion for a moment.
We are all realistic persons. None of us would be so naive as to believe that the government of Ontario, on its own, could somehow have remedied all the economic calamities and catastrophes that have beset and befallen the people of Ontario, Canada, the United States and indeed the whole world. We are well aware that there is a limit to what a government in a province, even a province as important as Ontario, can accomplish.
But we say things could be better than they are now for our people, and we can prove that. We point out that our country, although enjoying at the moment a surplus in merchandise trade, will suffer from a deficit in international trade in manufactured end products of $18.6 billion. It is hard for me to believe that the manufacturing sector of our economy, which after all, is our main job here in Ontario, needed to fall that badly behind our competitors in other parts of the world. I believe the people of Ontario are every bit as smart as the people of Japan. I believe the educational investment we have made in Ontario is every bit as large as any other people has made on any part of this globe. I believe the people in Ontario could he competitive with any people, anywhere in this world. I agree this is not so in the low-wage type of manufacturing but, particularly in the high- technology areas, why have we, an advanced industrial centre that used to export all kinds of machinery, fallen behind technologically? Why have we not risen to the challenge of the high-technology industries which the rest of the world somehow have been managing to get ahead with?
We have not had an industrial strategy. We have fallen behind and we have failed a generation of young people who are now having to consider where their future lies and who are not able to be used wisely and well in Ontario.
We have fallen to a position I am not happy about. In the late 1970s, we fell to tenth and last in Canada in terms of economic growth and, in 1980, the Conference Board in Canada predicted, and I quote: “Ontario will bear the brunt of the 1980 national slowdown. Real output in the province is forecast to decline by 1.6 per cent this year and to remain below 1979 production levels throughout most of 1981.”
It gives me no joy, even as Leader of the Opposition, to read that forecast. I am not saying it could have been perfect had Liberals been in power. I am not saying one could have done a whole lot to change the entire pace of the Canadian and Ontario economic picture, but I say this sincerely: I believe our young people have been let down by the government over the past six, seven or eight years when there were clear trends showing high technology would be the order of the day by the time we got to the late 1970s.
The Japanese, the Swedes, the Germans and to some extent the Americans moved well ahead while all we did was sit back and let our foreign-controlled manufacturing industries continue as they have been doing. We let many Canadian small- and medium-sized businesses go under for lack of financing availability, and we were confident that somehow, by doing just what we used to do, everything would turn out all right. It has not done so.
We went on in this motion and said the House criticizes the government for a decade of irresponsible spending practices and high levels of public debt. I do not have to tell you about that, Mr. Speaker. That is true. That is absolutely true today as it was when we said it. After former Premier Robarts left, the notion that one piles up a surplus in good times and has deficits in poor times went out the window and we piled up deficit after deficit even in good times.
I realize the government of Canada has done the same thing. Frankly, it is unfortunate it did but, if one looks at the deficit of the government of Canada and subtracts from that the transfer payments made to the provinces, including Ontario, where the spending decisions are local decisions and the federal government supplies the funds, one sees that the deficit spending in Ontario is every bit as bad as that in the federal sphere. I ask the House to consider that.
We also said in the motion that we condemn the government for giving public moneys to companies that have no need of such grants, especially without guarantees of important benefit to Ontario in terms of job or wealth creation. The prime example has to be the tens of millions of dollars given away that could have provided much more stimulus in research and development -- money given away to paper companies which have made hundreds of millions of dollars in the last couple of years in profits and had no need of that money.
Nobody believes those paper companies would have suddenly closed up or failed to build the appropriate new plants unless they had the government contribution. Not a soul would be foolish enough to believe that. If one is going to spend $116 million or whatever one of those companies was spending, surely one is not suddenly going to change just because the government will not kick in its $10 million. If it is worth doing for $106 million, it is worth doing for $116 million. One either does it or one does not, and the important matter for the paper companies, as we well know, has been the lower Canadian dollar which enables us to sell in the United States. They have done very well and have prospered. They had no need of that money. That is one of the great errors this government has made.
In addition to that, the paper companies have not properly looked after the forests, and we actually face an almost unbelievable situation where this province may well run out of marketable timber at the turn of this century, an absolutely inconceivable result but one that stares us in the face as a consequence of government policy.
We went on to say we indict the government for its failure to introduce programs to ameliorate record high levels of unemployment, especially among our young people. Surely I need say no more about that. It is obvious this has been our worst unemployment year, taking the year month after month. We have the worst unemployment since the Depression, particularly among our young people. We went on to say we deplore the fact that in the provision of additional assistance to senior citizens the government has chosen to do so in an inequitable manner, giving less to those must in need.
I think this is the important part. The government lacks the ability and leadership to respond to the challenges facing Ontario. It has failed to provide policies to support research and development activities, to assist and encourage Canadian-owned enterprises, to train our young people to meet the skilled manpower needs of industry, to promote conservation programs and alternative sources of energy.
In the five years I have been associated with politics in Ontario one thing stands out very clearly: The government opposite see crises that occur from time to time and it attempts to respond in some ad hoc manner. The people in the Liberal Party see challenges and hope for the future.
The government sees the energy crisis as a terrible problem. It complains and worries about the price of oil and so on. We see the energy situation as a tremendous challenge and opportunity for Ontario. I see ahead an Ontario in which hundreds of thousands of our people will be working in some of the advanced alternative forms of energy. I see them working in the fuel alcohol industry. I see them employed in ways that would alter our automobiles so they can burn alternative fuel. I see Ontario chemists and scientists developing the most modern equipment in the world that will use energy efficiently, that will conserve energy.
I do not see the energy crisis as a time of gloom for Ontario or a time for a shoot-out with Peter Lougheed, as the present Premier of Ontario seems to see it. I see the energy crisis as a great opportunity for Ontario to create unheard-of possibilities, new technologies and new industries for the young people of Ontario.
Things are bad in the auto industry today. We understand that. But instead of seeing just a crisis in the automobile industry and disaster for Windsor and the people there, I see people who now are available for retraining. Instead of seeing unemployed people who have nothing to do but stay at home feeling more and more depressed with themselves, our people see workers who desperately need retraining, who could be upgraded so that when the automobile industry picks up again they will be ready for the new technologies and the new kind of auto industry that will be facing us in a few years. We see people who should be retrained. All the government sees are people who somehow or other have to be counted as statistics that are somewhat embarrassing to the government. That is the difference in our attitudes.
Interest rates are high. We understand that is because of what has happened in the United States. That is a federal, rather than a provincial, policy and responsibility. We understand that, but we see thousands of small Ontario businesses that are going to go under and add to the already record number of bankruptcies in the province -- people who went into business on their own, facing the challenges, risks and problems of going into business nowadays. They have taken on those risks, and suddenly the interest rates have shot out of all proportion and all predictability.
Why should these people go bankrupt? Why should they be taught that the entrepreneurial spirit in Ontario is simply foolishness and should be forgotten? Why should those people get that kind of negative lesson when, with a decent policy to help them out with the interest rates they are facing, these businesses and others can prosper and we can give the message that Ontario can once more be a good place to do business?
The Treasurer stands up day after day to say he cannot help the small businesses of Ontario with these interest rate problems; only the federal government can do it. He has $260 million in his mini-budget which he is able to fritter away on reducing sales taxes so that people who were going to buy vans anyway can buy them a little bit earlier.
In some ways I think one can argue the government has been responsible for some good things; Ontario, after all, is a pretty good place to live, a place we all love and enjoy, and obviously the government has to take some of the credit for the fact that things have been good in Ontario over the years. But the fact of the matter is that, although we are growing more slowly and have negative growth this year, we are not to the point of being a poverty-stricken province by any means. So I am willing to recognize it is not just black and white.
But, with great sincerity, we see that in the budgetary policy being followed, although it looks good in the sense that there are no tax increases and all that kind of thing -- which, of course, everybody likes to hear -- there is no vision. There is nothing there that will enable us to take advantage of the challenges we face. There is nothing there to retrain our young people; we are going to be short of 35,000 skilled workers by 1985. There is nothing there to show how Ontario will prosper in the future. The ship is adrift. There is no leadership. There is no one at the helm. What we say to you, Mr. Speaker, is that we, with great sincerity, put forward this motion, and the motion finishes, as you know, by saying that this House declares it has no confidence in this government.
I will finish with just one point. A lot of people visit the United States and a lot of them work there, and many of them come back and say Canada is really a great place to live. It is indeed. It is the finest country in the world, and Ontario is indeed a very great province in which to live; no question about that. But one of the reasons it is such a great province is that people can walk safely on the streets of Toronto and of other cities in Ontario, which is something they cannot do in many parts of the United States.
Let us ask ourselves for a moment why that is. A lot of people, including the folks opposite, will say that to be able to walk safely and so on in the streets of Toronto means we must have more police; that the reason we can walk safely in the streets of Toronto is that we have a police force; that we have, somehow or other, law, authority and that sort of thing. There is some truth in that, of course.
The real reason we can walk safely in Ontario and Canada is that we do not have the desperate poverty and the total alienation that occurs when there are pockets of such hopelessness and despair as there are in many American cities. The people here do not have to lose their life savings to get health care. The people here have health insurance. The people here have a decent welfare program which, although it does not pay quite what it should, is still a decent welfare program. That is the reason; make no mistake about it. Those yahoos -- I do not say they are opposite, but they exist in Ontario -- who occasionally say there is too much money going for such social programs and more of it should go for more police and so on, so that we would have safety in the streets, fail to realize that the safety here is based on the traditions of Ontario and the programs of Ontario, which give people a stake in the community.
The most important stake people have ever had in Ontario is home ownership, the ability to own a home and the hope that some day they will own a home. That is what has given the young people, the middle-aged people, all people in Ontario a sense that they have a stake in society. Yet because of the prices, home ownership is becoming a distant dream for most of the people and certainly for the young people in Ontario.
Think of those people who have managed to get into a home, who have managed somehow or other to scrape up from their income -- and sometimes two incomes are necessary to do this -- enough to pay the mortgage payments and who are facing increases in mortgage payments of 45 per cent, 50 per cent, 55 per cent because the mortgage may be going up from 11 to 16 or 17 per cent. Think of what it means to them if they are now going to have to lose the opportunity to own their home.
He is obviously not going to do it today, but I plead with the Treasurer during the next month or two to bring in the program we have proposed to help people having to pay the new mortgage interest rates when they are rolling over old mortgages. I plead with him, do not wait until thousands and tens of thousands of our people are forced to leave their homes. Act now, with a decent program. The government has the money. If it costs $50 million or $100 million, it is much less than the money the government is giving away on the vans and the refrigerators. Do something to help people maintain that stake in our society that is represented by home ownership.
Let me summarize. We will be going to the polls. It is obvious that the New Democratic Party will be supporting the government and so we will not be going now, but it is evident that we will be going to the polls some time this spring. The Premier said four months. The Minister of the Environment said three months. At some point or another, we will be going to the polls. At that time, we in the opposition recognize our responsibility. We will have to portray to the people of Ontario a genuine alternative to the government that exists. We will, of course, have to criticize government policy but we will have to propose alternatives. We shall do so. The people of Ontario will then find that they are faced with a real choice, and for the first time, a choice between only two parties, the government party and the official opposition. We are very glad to be judged by the people of Ontario.
We say simply we have put forward our motion amending this budget motion, this no-confidence motion of ours, with deep sincerity and with the belief that although the Conservative government is not all bad, we believe basically that Ontario could be, should be, deserves to be, and will be a lot better off than it is now.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Brock.
Mr. Peterson: Why do you send a boy to do a man’s job?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, after that last contribution, I would think the member would be pretty quiet. Not one positive statement with respect to alternatives for Ontario came from that speech all the time I sat here and listened to it.
It will come as no surprise to you that I am very pleased to have been asked to wind up this particular debate on behalf of the government and to seek the support of this Legislature for a program of political and economic action which has moved effectively to serve the very broad social, economic and political interests of the people of this province.
There is a great temptation even at this late hour on this snowy December evening in 1980 to dwell in some partisan way on those very serious miscalculations and misjudgements, one could even say misfortunes of our friends opposite.
Was that a siren outside? Here come the guys with the butterfly nets.
As the member for Haldimand-Norfolk (Mr. G. I. Miller) would know -- as we are friends over breakfast -- to do that would be seen by some to be somewhat provocative. I have learned from my leader the Premier (Mr. Davis) that being provocative during the Christmas season is probably not the best approach. I will follow his advice and share these remarks in the true spirit of this particular season.
Perhaps it would be inappropriate for me to be excessively partisan at this time and dwell too much on the mistakes and misfortunes of our friends opposite. I might say to the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson), who surely has learned some courtesy at someone’s knee during his lifetime, that the people of Ontario, at least the people who live within the boundaries of the provincial constituency of Carleton, did have a chance to pass some judgement of their own.
They did not do so through any circuitous motions at committees; they did not do it in the Legislature; they did not do it through the presentation of petitions or the writing of speeches, and they did not do it through hyperbole, which we so often associate with the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. S. Smith), who has now rushed out to the cameras to make sure he catches the six o’clock news.
The people of that constituency did not do it in that way at all. They did it simply and directly through the force of their franchise, the best poll we know in our democracy. On November 20, a substantial percentage of the people of Carleton came forward to give this government and our candidate, the member for Carleton (Mr. Mitchell) and the program we put before this Legislature, a resounding vote of approval.
I want the record to show that my colleague the member for Lincoln (Mr. Hall) was giving me some type of signal. I do not know what that means. Even the member for Lincoln knows that one expects the party in power to lose some strength during a by-election, even to have its overall percentages reduced because of the lack of any serious consequence on the day-to-day operation of government. As the member for Lincoln has studied the figures as the chairman of his caucus, when one looks at the low turnout, this might have been a plausible expectation for this particular constituency. But I remind this House that the result was just the opposite. Bob Mitchell and the Conservative Party won a resounding victory on November 20.
Mr. Riddell: We will let the people know how he won it.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Is the member trying to suggest that the electorate did not know what they were doing when they went to the polls? Is he suggesting that to the people of Carleton? They had the greatest power in their hands, the ballot, and they put it in the box for this side. The members opposite can worry about all the polls they like, but we happen to win the right polls and we know that.
Mr. Riddell: It was the most erroneous and nonfactual information you could put out.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Is the member against the results of democracy? Oh, my word.
Mr. Riddell: I am all for honesty. That is what I am for.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Volume was never a very effective rebuttal.
Mr. Riddell: And I will say honesty is still the best policy, and we will win on that.
Hon. Mr. Davis: That’s what you did down in Essex.
Mr. Riddell: We will win on that. There is still something to be said for honesty.
Hon. Mr. Welch: When the member for Huron-Middlesex hollers, it has to indicate a very weak argument. Argument weak, shout like hell; that is his philosophy.
The results of November 20 spoke eloquently to the opposition, and I would say this to the member.
Mr. Peterson: You wouldn’t know an honest political thought if it came around and bit you on the leg.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I think the comment I heard quite distinctly from the member for London Centre he would want to take back.
Mr. Peterson: You are right. No self-respecting dog would want to bite him for fear of such a disease.
Mr. Speaker: I am sorry. I did not hear that.
Mr. Peterson: I was mumbling so you would not.
Mr. Speaker: I would ask you to withdraw it.
Mr. Peterson: What I did say, to clear the record, is that no self-respecting dog would actually bite him for fear of catching a disease. But I will withdraw both those remarks.
Hon. Mr. Davis: You shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds you.
Hon. Mr. Welch: May I remind the House, in a quiet way, that obviously the results of November 20 spoke eloquently to an opposition, led by the member for Hamilton West, which has been negative and cantankerous, shallow-minded and without fundamental alternatives in almost every major area of public policy. That has to be understood.
During the kind of tough economic times in which this country finds itself, in fact, in which all of North America finds itself, one might well expect that the kind of partisan opportunism exhibited by the opposition might be seductive from time to time. However, the facts speak eloquently in the opposite direction. May I share some comments before the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) leaves?
While this government has been moving consistently to assist high-technology industry in this province, to promote Canadian ownership, to advance sustained employment opportunities for our people, to relieve the tax burden upon the senior citizens of this province, to assist consumers in almost every conceivable fashion, to ensure continuing secure and stable energy supplies and prices, the opposition has offered the kind of negative gloom and doom approach which has commended it to no one, least of all its own supporters, including the member for Lincoln, who must be embarrassed with that attitude over there.
For our good candidate Bob Mitchell to have done as well as he did in the by-election in Ottawa-Carleton indicates not only strong, continued support from those who have traditionally supported this party, and indeed this government, but also significant erosion in the core support of the Liberal Party of this province. That is not due to the great tradition of that party, but to the inept and destructive opposition it has been offering this province on issues on which the people of this province have the right to expect more and better.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, it seems to me that the Premier made a comment once that is worth being repeated. He was referring to the opposition in one of his many speeches. This is my Premier talking about the opposition. He said, “They seem to have lost their capacity to differentiate between a political party and a government, which they have every right to oppose, and a province whose successes and opportunities are critical to the welfare of all our people. They are too much preoccupied with their own narrow partisan interests and, therefore, they deny themselves the opportunity of that broader look throughout the whole province, and that is regrettable for a political party of that particular status.”
Let me give some examples to those who, like the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) are prepared to listen. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, did that group over there rejoice in this Christmas season in the tremendous successes of the Urban Transportation Development Corporation and the development of a massive export job opportunity and high technology for the people of Ontario? Did they rejoice?
Some hon. members: No.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I agree with my colleagues. I find no rejoicing on the record at all. I ask you, Mr. Speaker, did they rejoice in this also joyful season in the decision taken, in Vancouver in one respect and in another fashion in the city of Los Angeles, to endorse the technical superiority of a transit system developed by the people of Ontario, by technicians in this province, by industry in this province, in a fashion that is helpful to public transit deeds worldwide? Did they rejoice?
Some hon. members: No.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I am inclined to agree with them. I fail to see any evidence of that rejoicing.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Now that the member presses the point, did they rejoice or even --
Hon. Mr. Welch: I will be over to the third party in a minute. Just wait a minute. They are next.
Did they rejoice in or even take note of the major investment decisions made by large corporations with respect to the automotive industry in this province with respect to the computer and microelectronic industry, with respect to alternative fuel development in northern Ontario? Did they rejoice for that?
Some hon. members: No.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I am inclined to agree with them once again. That is not their style. You see what happens, Mr. Speaker. Thank goodness you are impartial. Over there they prefer to be merchants of gloom and purveyors of doom. If I were prompted I might even go on to say they are a negative bunch with a negative hunch headed nowhere fast and at great speed; there is no question about that. One has to admit though that their opposition is different from the opposition being offered by our friends in the third party.
However misguided I think that opposition is, however wedded to the ideology and doctrinaire statism of another time it is nevertheless -- and I want this to be on the record quite clearly without interjection -- opposition that is offered in good faith. They are sincere people.
Mr. Martel: God help us. Save it.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I am not going to ask my colleagues if they rejoice in that statement. That might be pushing my luck just a little. But I believe that our friends in the third party are optimistic about the future.
Let me hasten to say before the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald) lights his pipe, the way in which that group would do something about that optimism would make the rest of us a little more pessimistic about the future. But they really are entitled to that view. They are entitled to that misconception about the role of the individual, the role of the state and the role of freedom in a competitive and effective free enterprise economy.
But in their misguided and somewhat old- fashioned ideology they continue to express some confidence in the people of this province. One has to give them marks for that. That, of course, is a confidence that we on this side of the House share most profoundly with them. It is a confidence that assures us that the wrongheadedness of our friends in the third party will never be endorsed by the public in Ontario. The public is too well-informed, too pragmatic and too optimistic about opportunities available to the individual in our society to ever be taken in by that kind of simplistic doggerel.
We on this side have endeavoured to proceed with care and with compassion to address the salient issues and challenges which face all the people of this province.
I cannot help but be quite pleased with the $165 million energy program announced by my ministry and supported by this government. It is obvious in his remarks that the Leader of the Opposition was not even familiar with the details of the program. I hope the energy critic of the official opposition will bring him up to date. It happens to be the kind of program that will provide choices and options for the people of Ontario in the future. It is the kind of program which will reduce our dependency on foreign crude as a nation and contribute significantly to greater independence and self-sufficiency within the context of our provincial and national self interest.
It is a very responsible program. It is one premised upon support for the highest levels of Ontario ingenuity, technology and foresight. It is a program premised upon incentive and opportunity. It is also a program that will serve the long-term energy interests of the people of this province most effectively. If we had a little more time to go into that, the member would understand.
My colleague the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) and member for Muskoka --
Hon. Mr. Davis: Hear, hear.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Thank you, Mr. Premier.
Hon. Mr. Welch: My colleague, the Treasurer and member for Muskoka --
Hon. Mr. Welch: If the opposition notices certain members of the cabinet pounding their desks there is a reason for that. There are certain meetings coming up soon.
The Treasurer put two budgetary proposals before this house this year. Unlike the Leader of the Opposition’s friends, those kissing cousins in Ottawa, he did not raise any taxes. Unlike the Leader of the Opposition’s friends in Ottawa, he did not increase the burden upon consumers and taxpayers in this province. Unlike the Leader of the opposition’s friends in Ottawa, he did not increase the burden upon the small business sector or the farming sector or the corporate and industrial sector. A wise man.
I know what is almost ready to fall from the lips of the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney) who is now speaking: “What did he do, Mr. Speaker?” That is what he was going to ask by way of interjection. Let me anticipate that question and give him an answer: the Treasurer of Ontario did not increase one single tax. He absolutely kept the commitment of this government to put the interests of the average Ontarian first. For our senior citizens, he made good on a commitment.
Mr. Laughren: What about people in Timmins? When are you going to put a food terminal there?
Hon. Mr. Welch: Wait a minute; the member should not get provocative at this late hour. Just think of what we did for the senior citizens.
The Treasurer of Ontario made good on a commitment made during the 1977 election campaign by the party I have the privilege to speak for on this occasion, to reduce the burden of municipal and educational taxes upon the senior citizens of this province. They have paid those taxes all their lives and have now earned the genuine right to have some relief from that burden, and we are proud of that program.
Hon. Mr. Davis: And some of the members opposite take credit for it in their own weekly columns.
Hon. Mr. Welch: There has been some criticism from across the floor and this was to be expected, but --
Mr. Riddell: There is not one of you who has the courage to make that kind of speech outside this House.
Hon. Mr. Davis: Some of us made it in Carleton and look what happened.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Would they deny the senior citizens that program? Did they vote against that program? Across this province today there are senior citizens with a greater measure of independence and financial security, dignity and self-respect in large measure because of the extra care this government, led by the Premier, has taken to serve their interests and advance their cause during difficult, national economic times and we are proud of that program.
My colleague the member for Lambton (Mr. Henderson) would urge me to include in these remarks that the government moved to protect the farmer from excessive interest rates. These are the result of tired monetary policies being pursued by the federal Liberal government that has lost touch with the needs of the average Canadian in matters of economic importance.
This is not pleasant news for our friends in the official opposition to have to face up to; we understand that. But the truth is clear and the substance is known in every home in this country. The federal Liberal government is letting the people of Canada down in this very important matter.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Do you mean that is their excuse for being insensitive to public needs?
Mr. Kerrio: They have a majority.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Despite the partisan divisions that divide this country, divide the politics of this government from the government in Ottawa and divide us across this floor, the government of Premier Bill Davis has stood firm for the kind of constitutional renewal which enshrines the monarchy, protects minority language rights where numbers warrant, protects the rights of Canadians to move from coast to coast and province to province to pursue their own wellbeing, and does so within the context of patriation of our constitution, something which has been called for consistently since the days of Premier John P. Robarts, something which is long overdue for all Canadians.
Mr. Nixon: What about the Queen?
Hon. Mr. Welch: The Queen is in there. It is the enshrining of the monarchy, absolutely. Is the member opposed to that?
Mr. Peterson: I’m very much in favour of the Queen and so is Mr. Roy.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I want the record to show that is the wisest decision both of you have made since you were elected.
We have shown leadership on that issue and on matters economic and fiscal: leadership on matters of industrial development and on matters of agricultural protection for our farming community; leadership in environmental protection and controls without parallel in the free world; leadership in support for social order and the role of the police within the context of a free, democratic and safe society; leadership with respect to important matters of northern development and expansion and in important social areas such as special education, reducing the welfare rolls through increased work incentives, extra assistance for day care and continued first-class funding for the best health care system in the world.
I think there is not a member in the House who would not agree that these have been the hallmarks of the session which now draws quickly to an end. It is that kind of leadership which the people of this province have every right to expect from Bill Davis and the Progressive Conservative government of Ontario.
It is the kind of leadership we all need if Ontario is to seize those opportunities and capitalize upon those circumstances which can promote and deepen the industrial strength and the economic opportunity which benefits every single person in this province in the months and years ahead.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Is the TV interview over now? I thought I would send over a mirror before he went out. The man who pretends to be the great statesman who avoids discussing issues and would rather attack people and their motivation. He never goes anywhere in the province without having some type of smear campaign against either the incumbent or the Conservative candidate. I just cannot understand that approach to politics.
Mr. S. Smith: What are you talking about? Every one of your people -- Larry Grossman, Keith Norton -- has been making a personal attempt to get me.
Hon. Mr. Welch: I have never heard him address issues. He is always attacking people. He is doomed to have the same political fate as John Wintermeyer because of the type of campaign he is going to run.
Mr. S. Smith: I hope you will keep them up.
Hon. Mr. Welch: No. We will discuss the issues in my constituency. I have noticed at least his candidate had the courtesy to leave the dirty work to him.
There are many who have spoken in rather depressing terms about the 1980s. We on this side of the House have no reason to be depressed and every reason to be optimistic and positive. That is why we are here.
Our approach will be to seize on those fundamental areas of economic opportunity which can be strengthened in a way that demonstrates the will of the people of this province to assert their own economic interests and to do so in a fashion that advances the broad economic interests of the whole country. That opportunity is not only ours in this most fortunate province, it is an opportunity which we, as Canadians, enjoy and with the leadership of this government, with the continued support of this Legislature on the budget motion at present before us, the government and the people of Ontario can continue to exert the kind of leadership that will serve the future of this country of ours well indeed.
As is customary in circumstances such as these, notwithstanding that the Leader of the Opposition felt the outcome of this vote was already predetermined, I feel quite satisfied now, having listened to the entire debate. that there is an opportunity for us all to join forces and to have a vote of unanimous support with respect to this particular resolution. I appeal to all members of this House to associate themselves with the budgetary proposals put forward by my colleague the Treasurer, the member for Muskoka, and to dissociate themselves from the negative, self- serving and nonproductive no-confidence motion put forward by the official opposition.
Hon. Mr. Welch: Don’t you think so, Eddie? Today is the day. This is his shining hour to show us the kind of independent spirit he really is. Today is the day. We will even call it Sargent Day in downtown Queen’s Park if he will join with us and confirm our commitment collectively to the future of Ontario and to turn aside those who have put that future in second place. Does be not agree he should support this?
The House divided on Mr. Peterson’s amendment, which was negatived on the following vote:
Blundy, Bolan, Breithaupt, Campbell, Conway, Cunningham, Eakins, Epp, Gaunt, Hall, Kerrio, Mancini, McGuigan, McKessock, Miller, G. I., Newman, B., Nixon, O’Neil, Peterson, Reed, J., Reid, T. P., Biddell, Roy, Ruston, Sargent, Smith, S., Stong, Sweeney, Van Horne, Worton.
Ashe, Auld, Baetz, Belanger, Bennett, Bernier, Birch, Bounsall, Breaugh, Brunelle, Bryden, Cassidy, Charlton, Cureatz, Davis, Davidson, M., Davison, M. N., Di Santo, Drea, Eaton, Elgie.
Germa, Grande, Gregory, Grossman, Havrot, Henderson, Hennessy, Hodgson, Isaacs, Johnson, J., Johnston, R. F., Jones, Kerr, Lane, Laughren, Lawlor, Leluk, Lupusella, MacDonald.
Mackenzie, Maeck, Makarchuk, Martel, McCaffrey, McCague, McClellan, McNeil, Miller, F. S., Mitchell, Newman, W., Norton, Parrott, Philip, Pope, Ramsay, Rowe, Scrivener, Smith.
Snow, Stephenson, Sterling, Swart, Taylor, G., Taylor, J. A., Timbrell, Turner, Villeneuve, Walker, Warner, Watson, Welch, Wells, Wildman, Williams, Wiseman, Yakabuski, Young.
Pair: Edighoffer and MacBeth.
Ayes 30; nays 78.
The House divided on Hon. F. S. Miller’s main motion, which was agreed to on the same vote reversed.
Mr. Speaker: I declare the motion carried. It is resolved that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.
The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario entered the chamber of the Legislative Assembly and took his seat on the throne.
Hon. Mr. Aird: Pray be seated.
Mr. Speaker: May it please Your Honour, the Legislative Assembly of the province has, at its present sitting thereof, passed several bills to which in the name and on behalf of the said Legislative Assembly I respectfully request Your Honour’s assent.
First Clerk Assistant: The following are the titles of the bills to which Your Honour’s assent is prayed:
Bill 82, An Act to amend the Education Act, 1974;
Bill 118, An Act respecting the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario;
Bill 167, An Act to amend the Chiropody Act;
Bill 168, An Act to amend the Juries Act, 1974;
Bill 169, An Act to provide for Liability for Injuries caused by Dogs;
Bill 172, An Act to amend the Municipal Affairs Act;
Bill 177, An Act to provide for the Safe Use of X-ray Machines in the Healing Arts;
Bill 182, An Act to amend the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act;
Bill 185, An Act to amend the Assessment Act;
Bill 187, An Act to amend the Retail Sales Tax Act;
Bill 188, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act;
Bill 190, An Act respecting Urban Transportation Development Corporation Ltd.;
Bill 192, An Act to revise the Toronto Hospitals Steam Corporation Act, 1968-69;
Bill 193, An Act to amend the Municipal Act;
Bill 199, An Act to amend the Ontario Unconditional Grants Act, 1975;
Bill 200, An Act to amend the Regional Municipality of Peel Act, 1973;
Bill 201, An Act to amend the Legislative Assembly Act;
Bill 204, An Act to amend the Executive Council Act;
Bill 205, An Act to amend the Denture Therapists Act, 1974;
Bill 214, An Act to amend the Pension Benefits Act;
Bill 215, An Act to amend the Wine Content Act, 1976;
Bill 216, An Act to amend the Farm Products Payments Act;
Bill 221, An Act to amend the Mining Act;
Bill Pr18, An Act respecting the City of Ottawa;
Bill Pr36, An Act respecting the Town of Midland;
Bill Pr41, An Act respecting the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators in Ontario;
Bill Pr42, An Act respecting the Italian Canadian Benevolent Corporation (Toronto District);
Bill Pr45, An Act respecting the Powers of the Jewish Family and Child Service of Metropolitan Toronto;
Bill Pr46, An Act respecting the Borough of York;
Bill Pr48, An Act to incorporate Redeemer Reformed Christian College;
Bill Pr49, An Act to revive Gradore Mines Limited;
Bill Pr50, An Act respecting the City of Kingston;
Bill Pr51, An Act respecting the Hamilton Club;
Bill Pr53, An Act to revive McColl Farms Limited.
Clerk of the House: In Her Majesty’s name, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor doth assent to these bills.
Mr. Speaker: May it please Your Honour, we, Her Majesty’s most dutiful and faithful subjects of the Legislative Assembly of the province of Ontario in session assembled, approach Your Honour with sentiments of unfeigned devotion and loyalty to Her Majesty’s person and government, and humbly beg to present for Your Honour’s acceptance, a bill entitled an Act granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the Public Service for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1981.
Clerk of the House: The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor doth thank Her Majesty’s dutiful and loyal subjects, accept their benevolence and assent to this bill in Her Majesty’s name.
The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor was pleased to deliver the following gracious speech:
Hon. Mr. Aird: Mr. Speaker and members of the Legislative Assembly: It is a pleasure to address you at the official closing of the fourth session of Ontario’s 31st Parliament and, in so doing, to give due recognition to the work and achievements of the past nine months.
It has been a period in which government activity throughout our nation and, in varying degrees, the daily lives of all Canadians have been centred on problems of constitutional reform. For our part, as a province, we have been able to demonstrate a fair measure of accord on all sides of this House, on the basic convictions and principles underlying the current national debate. These convictions, we venture to suggest, reflect the opinion and sentiment of the vast majority of the people of Ontario. The government of Ontario is dedicated to pursuing all the means possible which it feels will make a positive contribution to a harmonious resolution of the prevailing difficult situation.
Pendant toute cette session, les problèmes de reforme constitutionnelle ont été au centre de l’activité gouvernementale dans tout le pays et, à des degrés divers, de la vie quotidienne de tous les Canadiens.
Dans la province, nous avons montré pour notre part que nous étions en grande partie d’accord, quelle que soit notre place à l’assemblée, sur les convictions et les principes qui sont à la base du débat national actuel. Nous pensons pouvoir affirmer que ces convictions reflètent les opinions et les sentiments de la vaste majorité des résidents de l’Ontario. Le gouvernement de l’Ontario est fermement décidé à continuer d’utiliser tous les moyens qui lui semblent susceptibles de contribuer de façon positive à la solution harmonieuse de la difficile situation actuelle.
This Legislature, in an unprecedented week-long debate on Confederation before the Quebec referendum last May, passed a unanimous resolution on a number of basic principles. These included support of full negotiation of a new constitution, opposition to the negotiation of sovereignty-association, and an appeal to all Quebeckers to join in building a national constitution for Canada.
In subsequent weeks and months, with increasing manifestations of discontent among western Canadians, the scene may have shifted somewhat from Quebec, but in our view, the same principles apply. They remain imperative to building the future of our nation -- a task to which Ontario is fully committed.
The economic difficulties facing our province, among others, are in great measure linked to the larger national issues, in particular as they affect determination about Canada’s energy future. Ontario continues to emphasize the need for economic initiatives that derive from responsible leadership at the national level and which seek to secure the co-operation of all regions of Canada. Much remained lacking in this regard in the recent federal budget.
As a result, Ontario last month introduced its selective tax relief initiatives to give immediate stimulus to the province’s economy, and embarked on a realignment of programs for industrial and economic development over the next five years. These measures support and enhance the provisions of the provincial budget outline, in April, of the current year’s economic and fiscal program in which protection against tax increases was the key factor.
Government assistance to industry has become an increasing necessity as a means of creating new private sector jobs and protecting existing ones in a slow economy. This is one of the objectives of the employment development fund which formed part of the government’s overall economic plan last year. Since then, the fund, which is now giving way to a more dynamic industrial leadership and development initiative, will have generated more than $3.5 billion in private sector investments in Ontario industry, on the basis of some $300 million in direct provincial government aid. A potential 19,000 new jobs will result from these investments.
The employment development fund has been the source of vital assistance, particularly to the pulp and paper industry, providing incentives for investments in mill modernization, pollution abatement and energy conservation and generation. This assistance has helped to assure the long-term security of 20,000 mill working and logging jobs, mainly in northern Ontario.
The most serious industrial situation the province has faced this year has arisen from the crisis in the North American automobile industry, which is having to come to grips with the need to adapt to meet energy efficiency and conservation demands. A key role has fallen to governments on both sides of the border to help turn the industry around and secure its future. Automobile and auto parts manufacturers alike project substantial capital investments in Ontario over the next few years as these major adjustments are made.
At the same time, it is recognized that research and development must play a stronger role than ever in terms of automobile production, as well as for new market opportunities. The Ontario government has ensured that initiatives to assist both segments of the industry have included this factor. In May, the province reached an agreement offering Chrysler Canada Limited a $10 million grant towards a research and development facility in Windsor, and also announced plans for an auto parts technical centre at the Ontario Research Foundation.
Significant employee protection measures have been considered during this session, through a five-point program to deal with employment adjustment problems arising from manufacturing plant closures. These additional provisions, covering such matters as pensions, termination entitlement and fringe benefits, are being thoroughly examined by members of this Legislature, and the process will continue in the coming months.
Taking into account provisions for manpower adjustment committees, and the work of the new select committee on plant shutdowns and employee adjustment, an overall assurance of fair treatment and assistance can be developed for employees who may be faced with this particular hardship.
The Ontario youth employment program, begun in 1977, was continued this year. Through government subsidies of hourly wage rates for employment in businesses and on farms, some 50,000 jobs were created for young people between May and October.
In the spring, the government established a $25 million farm interest assistance program to help the farming industry, which was especially hard pressed during a period of high interest rates, and in the face of a need for short-term working capital to maintain production.
As well, legislation has since been enacted under a new Nonresident Agricultural Land Interests Registration Act, as a means of monitoring agricultural land ownership in Ontario and to help protect this vital industry.
Among the most important plans of action presented during the session is a comprehensive energy program, announced in the House on October 10, which forecasts expenditure needs of $165 million for a number of specific projects over the next 10 years, in the drive to reduce our dependence on crude oil.
In recent years the effects of steeper increases in energy costs have been felt even more in rural areas, where the cost of electric power is shared by fewer people and is, therefore, much higher on average than in urban areas. The government has made a commitment to alleviate the burden on customers who pay excessive rates by establishing a system of direct discounts in the next fiscal year, pending moves by Ontario Hydro to eliminate the undue differential.
It remains a fundamental policy of the government, and one to which it gives particularly high priority in the existing economic climate, to maintain the quality and variety of the many social programs dedicated to the needs of all Ontarians.
Substantial increases in provincial assistance to senior citizens were introduced in the Ontario budget in April. In implementing the higher benefits, a new program was put into effect which removes the delayed payment of the former tax credit system and replaces it with payment of direct grants to offset property taxes and help pensioners cope better with rising costs.
Amendments to the Education Act place a legal responsibility on the publicly supported school system for the education of all Ontario students, thus entrenching in law the duty of school boards to include appropriate special education provisions and services for exceptional children in their programs. The right to operate schools for trainable retarded children has been extended to Roman Catholic separate school boards.
A joint initiative relating to developmental programs for mentally retarded people in nursing homes and homes for special care has been launched by the Ministries of Health, Education and Community and Social Services. The four-year project will use interdisciplinary assessment teams and supporting consultative resources to determine the needs of some 3,000 clients on an individual basis, to be followed up by individual training and treatment plans.
General health expenditures were increased by approximately 12 per cent in this fiscal year. Shorter-term priorities, such as an expansion of services in certain categories of care, have been provided for within a framework of continued careful planning for the long-term health care needs of the population.
The health and safety workers in hazardous occupations and attendant risks to the safety of the public at large have been among the matters of foremost concern to the government throughout the session. A royal commission was appointed in April to examine health and safety matters relating to the use of asbestos in Ontario.
A disturbing increase in the number of accidents and fatalities in the mining industry in the first half of the year led to the establishment of a joint federal-provincial industrial inquiry commission in July. The joint undertaking makes possible the investigation of the entire Ontario mining industry by enabling the inclusion of uranium mines which are within the federal government’s jurisdiction.
In the administration of government, ongoing steps to improve services to the public, such as the customer service and regulatory reform programs are being reinforced by a third initiative of considerable importance. Following a three-year study, the final report of the Commission on Freedom of Information and Individual Privacy was published this fall. An undertaking has since been given to this House for the introduction of legislation in response to the report. A number of complementary, nonlegislative measures are already being implemented and policy guidelines have been issued to civil servants in the spirit of the recommendations.
Major reforms comprising, in effect, a new Human Rights Code for Ontario have been introduced. The revisions are the most extensive since the code, the first in Canada, was enacted 18 years ago. The bill proposes to extend coverage against discrimination to new groups or classes or persons. Protection is also offered against certain types of conduct which were not previously prohibited. Finally, among various administrative revisions proposed, the Human Rights Code would be binding on the crown and would ultimately have primacy over all legislation in Ontario.
Honourable members, the program laid before you at the opening of the session has been put into effect. Your unstinting efforts in dealing with these and other matters that are the responsibility of government speak well of your devotion to Ontario and her people.
In declaring this session prorogued, I wish you all a safe return to your families and friends, and the peace and goodwill of the season.
In our Sovereign’s name, I thank you.
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker and members of the Legislative Assembly, it is the will and pleasure of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor that the Legislative Assembly be prorogued and this Legislative Assembly is accordingly prorogued.
The Honourable the Lieutenant Governor was pleased to retire from the chamber.
The House prorogued at 6:39 p.m.