32nd Parliament, 1st Session



























The House met at 2 p.m.



Mr. Smith: With respect, Mr. Speaker, it would appear that a very small minority of the ministry is here. The Premier (Mr. Davis) is not here. There are just seven out of 26 or 27 members of cabinet here.

Mr. Hennessy: That is good counting.

Mr. T. P. Reid: That is not the quality either.

Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, would you kindly inquire to see whether at least half the ministry will be present for question period today? We are only into the first week of the new Parliament, which has just achieved a majority victory. The turnout of cabinet is even lower than the turnout of voters at the polls.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I might say to my friend that there are a number of ministers here concerned with large departments. Perhaps he could use his ingenuity and think of questions to ask some of the ministers who are here.

Mr. Smith: I see the Premier is arriving. I will wait for him to take his seat, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Hennessy: No problem. Start again.

Mr. Smith: I have a feeling that the member for Fort William (Mr. Hennessy) requires attention for a certain ringing in his ears that he has from time to time.

Hon. Mr. Davis: He certainly rang your bell on March 19.

Mr. Smith: He did indeed and I answered but, unfortunately, there was no one there.



Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, since the Premier sets the priorities for his government, I would ask how he is able to justify the fact reported on page seven of chairman Weiler's report on physicians' compensation that from 1975 to 1980 -- and I am quoting now -- Ontario has been dead last of the 10 provinces in its rate of increase in total health expenditures as well as dead last among the 10 provinces in hospital and medical insurance in particular.

Mr. Nixon: That is tenth out of 10.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) will be here very shortly, and I am sure he will be delighted to engage the Leader of the Opposition in more detailed discussion. I think one has to be very careful, in making these determinations or comparisons, of the base which one uses for the establishment of the rate of percentage growth.

I think it is fair to state, when one starts out in a jurisdiction whose services may not be as abundant as they are here and which has a much lower base, that as they expand those services, then of course the percentage increase tends to be higher. When one is starting from a fairly significant base, where there is a variety of services of great quality and excellence in Ontario, then perhaps the percentage rate of increase may not be as high as in those jurisdictions where that is not the case.

Mr. Smith: If the Premier is answering essentially that the percentage may be misleading because Ontario perhaps was starting from a different base, a much higher base, and the actual amount should be considered, will the Premier be good enough to read further on the same page where it points out that per capita expenditures on hospital and medical insurance were only $386 in Ontario in 1979-80 as compared with $408 in Canada as a whole? So not only is the percentage lower, the total amount happens to be lower in Ontario.

Can he explain why he does not give the answer that his officials gave to chairman Weiler? If I might, I will quote just one sentence: "The response of government spokesmen is that the rate of increase had to be lower in terms of health because" -- and this will be familiar to those who followed the recent election -- "the rate of increase in the Ontario gross provincial product from 1975 through 1980 has also consistently lagged well behind the increase in Canada-wide gross national product" -- that sounds familiar -- "as have increases in Ontario's average weekly earnings."

Since the explanation given to Professor Weiler by the Premier's own officials was the very slow growth in Ontario's economy, why did he not give us the same answer here today? Or does it ring certain other bells in his mind from the recent election campaign?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I can recall many bells that were rung during the election campaign. I can refer to 70 on this side of the House that rang very clearly on March 19. Quite obviously, the point the Leader of the Opposition was endeavouring to make did not register across this province with any great clarity or certainly with any great degree of support. If he wants to introduce partisan observations into all of his questions, I can reply in kind.

Mr. Roy: You bought it fair and square.

2:10 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I have to tell those who always lose and are disappointed that they always try to find some excuse other than their own inadequacies. The fact they had no policies, no great leadership and had not really conducted themselves too well as a party and confused the electorate in this province by their flip-flops on very many issues, they will never understand that as being --

Mr. Sargent: Quit patting yourself on the back all the time.

Hon. Mr. Davis: If that party was so great, why did the member for Quinte (Mr. O'Neil) run almost as an independent for weeks? I was down in his riding.

Mr. Speaker: I would ask the Premier to ignore the interjections, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I couldn't even find the word "Liberal" on his stuff.

Mr. O'Neil: Mr. Speaker, on a point of personal privilege: I am always very pleased to have the Premier in my riding, but the people just do not seem to welcome him as they did in years past. I think they realize what kind of a government he is running.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I have to tell the member, I was in riding after riding and the word "Liberal" just never appeared anywhere in the horizon. I saw more of his signs at the meeting I attended. I was over to the great riding of Erie, and the local Liberal candidate there spent his whole election budget at the one meeting I attended to remind people he was running. I was there; I saw it.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, to get back to the question: I did not say that the potential explanation I offered covered all of the multitude of reasons. I am not going to debate with some officials who observed that over the past period of time the growth rate in the gross provincial product has been somewhat less --

Mr. Smith: Dead last.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Just a minute. The member got into this game during the campaign and he knows where he ended up, because that is not the reality and he knows it. There is also the problem that is inherent in any statistical approach to these "per capita expenditures." We have a larger per capita population in this province than others do. If one looks at these comparisons, one will find one can trot them out -- in the educational field -- anywhere one likes. The reality is that in terms of the quality of service, in terms of the variety of medical service that is available in this province, I will stack that up against any other province in Canada. That happens to be a reality.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.

Mr. McClellan: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In view of the documented reduction in per capita contributions to the health care system since the introduction of established program funding and in view of the no-strings-attached settlement announced yesterday, can the Premier assure the members of the Legislature that there will not be a premium increase in the Treasurer's budget which will sock yesterday's increase onto the consumers of health care in this province?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member knows full well that I am in no position to indicate what may or may not be in the Treasurer's budget.

Ms. Copps: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since the government is so quick to act vis-à-vis the Weiler report recommendations on doctors' salaries, is the government prepared to act with the same expediency on the issue of the Workmen's Compensation Board and the Weiler recommendations for disabled workers?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, out of respect for the new member, I will not suggest, with respect, that that is hardly a supplementary and that it does not relate to the main question.

Mr. Laughren: The Speaker will decide that.

Mr. Nixon: The Speaker isn't objecting.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am not raising that. I am not objecting either. Out of respect for the new member I pointed it out. Out of respect for the new member I am not objecting. But I am pointing out that in my humble opinion it probably is not supplementary to the main question.

If the honourable member is asking when the government intends to introduce legislation related to the Weiler report, I think she will find that referred to in the throne speech, and I anticipate legislation this spring.

Mr. Breaugh: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since the Premier so readily accepted this dramatic increase of just under 15 per cent -- between $10,000 and $12,000 per annum -- is that meant to be the government's mark for the industry? Therefore, can the hospital workers who are sitting out there waiting for an arbitration award anticipate that they will be treated in exactly the same manner as the physicians?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, knowing the honourable member's great interest in the objectivity of these proceedings, knowing he would be the first one who would object if the government gave any indication as to what it felt the arbitrator or the arbitration might or might not do, knowing he would be the first one to hit the roof if we ever did that, he will understand if I do not wish to pass any comment when the arbitration is in process.

Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, my second question is for the Minister of Health. According to my reading of the report of the Joint Committee on Physicians' Compensation for Professional Services, it would seem the matter of the percentage of doctors opted out of the Ontario health insurance plan was not part of the negotiation with the doctors; at least there is no reference made to it in the report itself. Can the minister confirm whether the percentage of doctors opting out was part of the negotiation? If not, why not?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, if the honourable member or any honourable member will take the time to read the terms of reference of the joint committee on physicians' compensation, he will see its sole reason for existence is to negotiate increases in the fee schedule, and that is all.

Mr. Smith: The minister himself has frequently said one of the reasons it might be wise to give a sort of catch-up increase to the doctors is the hope it will attract them back into the plan. The minister has said that, and I think he will acknowledge it since it clearly is desirable.

Since the minister himself said a year ago he would like to have the doctors opted back in to about the level of several years ago, when it was acceptable to all sides -- I think those were his words -- can I ask why the minister did not undertake to make that part of the negotiating process? Furthermore, when he is on his feet can he say, now that the doctors have been given more money, what level of opting out will be acceptable to his government and how long it will take before that level is reached?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: First, I do not think I have ever used the term "catch-up." It is used in one or two places in the Weiler report, but I have not used that term. I certainly have acknowledged and expressed the opinion that in my view we could return to what has been the 10-year norm, or close to it, through negotiation rather than confrontation, because I still believe strongly that the kinds of things recommended by some honourable members opposite would lead to a devastating confrontation that could only undermine our health plan.

We have been able to get the opting-out figures down considerably. Last month they fell to about 15.4 or 15.5 per cent; that is a percentage of the doctors billing the plan. The more meaningful figure, and I submit to the Leader of the Opposition the one he should be going by, is the figure that relates to the percentage of claims that are extra-billed. When I say extra-billed, I mean as little as a dollar or two over OHIP, and that is down around seven per cent. I submit it is not the problem the Leader of the Opposition or his federal colleagues make it out to be.

I understood during the campaign the Leader of the Opposition said that if opting out was around 10 or 12 per cent he would be pleased. In fact, it is around seven per cent. I assume he is ecstatic.

Mr. Smith: On a point of privilege: I will discuss it later but, just briefly, the minister knows very well I was referring to the 10 per cent of doctors opting out, and not to claims. He knows very well that is the more meaningful statistic, but I will debate that at another time.

Mr. Martel: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The minister indicated yesterday he did not feel we should prevent opting out. Can the minister tell me what we are supposed to do with individuals who receive bills -- despite the 14 or 15 per cent increase that is coming -- of $1,449.50, of which only $904 is covered; in the case of a second doctor dealing with the same problem, of $405, of which only $281 is covered; and, with the third doctor involved in the same operation, of $186, with only $129 covered: when this gentleman, who is 78 years of age, has to pay some $725? Does the minister not think doctors now have enough that they should not be allowed to do this sort of nonsense?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I think what the member does is exactly what he has apparently done and what he told me yesterday he had done: written to me with the details. I have not received it. I checked, by the way, as soon as I got back to my office yesterday afternoon. We have not received the letter. As soon as we do, we will be in touch with the medical association.

2:20 p.m.

We have found in the past that in those cases where the physicians and the patients have not been able to work it out themselves -- and I have no idea what contact there has been between this patient and the referring physician or the specialist -- that it can be resolved.

I submit to the honourable member again that the kinds of things he is proposing would lead, in Ontario, to what has happened in the one province the New Democrats do govern, namely, Saskatchewan, where they are still short of doctors, thanks to what they did 19 years ago.

Mr. Van Horne: Final supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I want to go back to my leader's question and the answer given by the minister. The minister seems to indicate that the percentage of 15.4 is acceptable. Is that the case? The other percentage of services, which I think he indicated was down to around seven per cent; is that also acceptable? What limit is the minister prepared to accept?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, again I submit that 15.4 or 15.5 -- I am not sure of the percentage point -- is not the relevant figure. There are many doctors in this province who are well known to all members of the House, who have never been opted in to the medicare plan and who have never billed above OHIP. If they do, it is very selective.

It is interesting to watch the Leader of the Opposition. He has tried to be all things to all people and, depending on which one he talks to, the doctors believe he has different positions. He has now decided to join the doctor bashing of the NDP. I want to make that very clear.

The extra billing is around seven per cent. I believe we can get that down even lower, now that we have a settlement for 1981, and we will not have to do it in such a way that will totally disrupt the health plan.


Mr. Martel: I have a question of the Premier, Mr. Speaker. You will recall that some months ago I raised the matter involving Canadian Blower-Canada Pumps Limited and its questionnaire dealing with consumption of alcohol, compensation, women's menstrual cycles, sexual activities and so on.

A recent article in the press stated that Robert Adare, president of Canadian Blower, indicates that his latest questionnaire to the commission has been rejected as unacceptable but that other companies continue to use this type of questionnaire.

Howard Jones of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, when approached, gave the following response: "We have to respond to a situation when it is brought to our attention. If other companies are brought to our attention, we will have to look into these as well."

If Mr. Adare is aware that other companies are using this type of questionnaire, is it not possible for the government of Ontario or the human rights commission to find out who in this province is using this offensive type of questionnaire and to insist that the practice be discontinued immediately?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, my recollection is that the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) made some observations on this. I have not had any communication on the subject, but I will discuss this with the Minister of Labour.

The honourable member says a Mr. Adare knows of other companies that are doing this. Perhaps the human rights commission or the ministry may get in touch with him to find out who these other companies are. Certainly this government does not support the use of such a questionnaire, and the minister made this very clear. I will have another discussion with him.

Mr. Martel: Perhaps the Premier can get it stopped, at least temporarily, until the human rights commission amendments are introduced. Certainly no such provision was in the last bill presented to the Legislature. And can we have assurance that it will become an offence in Ontario to use this type of questionnaire, which is so discriminatory towards women?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I think the Minister of Labour will give that every consideration. He is going to be here a little later on, and I will make a point of raising it with him.


Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, my next question is to the Minister of Natural Resources. Can the minister tell us whether his ministry supports and is committed to the occupational health and safety provisions which guarantee the rights of employees to refuse work in conditions they believe to be dangerous to their health?

Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, the ministry supports the laws of Ontario.

Mr. Martel: I have an internal memo from the executive co-ordinator of the pest control section of the Ministry of Natural Resources concerning this year's pesticide spraying program, which states in part: "In fact, any staff who seriously object to working with pesticides should be transferred to other work programs. The maintenance of management prerogative is not worth the possibility of media reports that we are forcing people to work with poisonous chemicals. In order to avoid the possibility of not having enough willing staff to carry out spray programs, managers may wish to ascertain candidates' attitudes on pesticides during job interviews."

Is it not clear that this is an attempt by the ministry to get around the right to refuse work for prospective new employees who might have some concerns about their health when using such pesticides as 2,4-D?

Hon. Mr. Pope: Not necessarily. I will look at the memo. I assume that the job descriptions of certain employees would relate to those hiring policies.

Mr. Martel: Since when has it become the government's policy to hire on a basis of occupational health attitudes?

Hon. Mr. Pope: I did not say that.


Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, I have a question to the Minister of Agriculture and Food before he gets away on me.


Mr. Riddell: Just further evidence of the government's arrogance and smartness. Their arrogance is going to lead to their political demise in four years' time.

Mr. Speaker: Mr. Riddell, did you have a question?

Mr. Riddell: A question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food, Mr. Speaker: In the light of the minister's statement in the Legislature last Friday, the day after the Liberal call for an emergency debate on high interest rates for farmers and what it is doing to the farming industry, leading the minister to establish a committee on farm financing, can the minister tell us exactly what was accomplished at that meeting yesterday? What contribution did he make at that meeting? What proposals for action came out of the meeting? Was there any agreement for a second meeting? And does the minister plan to take any action to help our farmers survive the effects of spiralling interest rates?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, there appear to be quite a number of answers there.


Hon. Mr. Henderson: Number one, last Friday I announced that I had asked a group of people to sit down together --


Hon. Mr. Henderson: It is quite clear. I can get it out. It is in Hansard. Before I answer that part, Mr. Speaker, I also told the House that I requested the federal Minister of Agriculture to call a meeting of the provincial ministers of agriculture across Canada. I told the members I had an acknowledgement of that request but actually no response at all.

Number two, in response to the member for Huron-Middlesex, that committee met yesterday morning at 10 o'clock.

Mr. Riddell: Good.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: They are knowledgeable people. I went to the meeting along with my parliamentary assistant. We pointed out to the people sitting on that committee all our concerns about the high cost of agricultural production to the farmers of Ontario. We pointed out the decreased price that the farmers were receiving for their hogs and for their beef. We asked the committee to sit down and look at the overall situation.

The chairman of the Ontario Cattlemen's Association is on that committee. The hog producers gave three names; one of their representatives was there, as were the president and the vice-president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, plus members of my staff. When I was at the meeting the government of Canada representative had not turned up yet. Whether he got there or not, I do not know, but that committee met yesterday and I do not have a report from them yet. I hope to get an independent report from them.

2:30 p.m.

Mr. Riddell: While we are talking about this and while these committees are meeting, there are more farmers going bankrupt. Can the farmers of Ontario expect immediate relief, some kind of assistance from this government before any more bankruptcies take place? When is the government going to get serious about implementing programs similar to programs in other provinces so that our farmers can continue to compete against those farmers in other provinces?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: My ministry is very concerned about the statement the honourable member has just made about farm bankruptcies. Will he be kind enough to give me a list of five of those bankruptcies that he knows about? My staff will be glad to look into it and see if there have been any misgivings on behalf of the lenders. Will he give me the list he is talking about?

Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Will the Minister of Agriculture and Food, as a token gesture of action with regard to this great concern of his, raise with his cabinet colleagues whether the unexpended portion of the pre-election allocation for easing this burden on the farm front might not be reinstituted? Admittedly, it is not the whole solution, but it would be some action. Will he consider that?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, my cabinet colleagues are fully aware and are concerned. They are not talking politically; they are looking at the situation.

Mr. Smith: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is it not a fact that, at the meeting referred to by the member for Huron-Middlesex, the minister only walked in and out of that meeting and spent very little time there? Is it not a fact that nothing was accomplished, no report was produced and the group has not even made any decision to meet a second time? Is it not a fact that the entire meeting was useless and a waste of time and it is just like everything else he has been doing in this matter, window dressing without substance?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition is stating something of which I am not aware. Nobody has told me that the meeting was a waste of time. I expect a report. I will be very disappointed if the president of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture does not give us some input. The Leader of the Opposition apparently has a report that I do not have.


Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Premier. This morning's Globe and Mail reported the election of Paul Fromm as the new treasurer of the federal Progressive Conservative Party organization in Metropolitan Toronto. It also reports his belief that a supreme race "is a good idea." It goes on: "Mr. Fromm interprets his election as an unmistakable sign that the organization is finally seeing the light, which is more than he can say for Premier William Davis, the leader of the Ontario Tories."

A direct quote: "I have been very, very unhappy with (him). I don't see him as a Conservative. I think he has brought in some very repressive human rights legislation."

May I ask the Premier whether he is willing to tolerate such neofascist if not fascist ideas within the Conservative Party? If not, is he going to publicly repudiate it or have the man disbarred or ejected from the party organization?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I have not read that article. I do not know the particular individual. I gather from what the member has read to me that the gentleman in question does not totally endorse all the enlightened policies of this government. I gather from what the member said that he is a member of a federal Conservative organization. I do not believe, from what has been read to me, that he is part of the provincial, Metro or province-wide associations.

Mr. MacDonald: If the Premier is now arguing, as he accuses the Liberals of having such separation, that he has no contact or control over the federal wing of his party, will he at least communicate with the federal leader of the party and request that he do with regard to this man what a previous leader of the party did with a racist in Moncton and repudiate him as a candidate or as an official of the party?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I certainly will take a look at this. I assure the honourable member that I do not know who this person is and I have not read that story in the Globe and Mail. I do not know him at all.


Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, a question for the Minister of Colleges and Universities: Is the minister aware of the situation at Algonquin College, where the latest budget proposals being considered by the board of governors tomorrow would eliminate 73 full-time employees, cancel more than a dozen programs now being offered and cut back on plans for new programs, despite the fact that demand for the next education year is at an all-time high of 15,000 to 18,000 students? Is the minister aware of this situation, and what is she going to do about it?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am aware that Algonquin has been facing some internal problems which I believe are en route to being solved at the present time with the taking of office of a new chairman of that board and the examination of their programs -- as has been requested of all colleges, since they are developed to respond to the training requirements for employment opportunities within the province -- to ensure that they are meeting those requirements, rather than continuing to offer courses which perhaps have no employment opportunities at the end for students.

I am aware that most of the colleges have exercised their responsibilities in that area. It is my understanding that the Algonquin board is attempting to make that exercise right now. I anticipate that there will be some reasonable solutions to some of the problems which appear to be present within Algonquin College at this time.

Mr. Wrye: Is the minister aware that one of the cutbacks being proposed is in the health services clinic? It would save $100,000 but reduce the clinic operations to one full-time nurse. Is she aware that the clinic case load last year was more than 31,000 and that almost two dozen severely handicapped students rely on the clinic for their very attendance at Algonquin? Does she consider these cutbacks appropriate, particularly in the International Year of Disabled Persons?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: The decisions about the administration and the distribution of funding within the college itself are the responsibility of the board of governors in the administration of that college. I am sure that board and that administration are looking very carefully at the appropriate places in which to modify their circumstances at this time. I am not aware of any specific reduction in the health services provided to the students. That I will have a look at.

Mr. Roy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I want to ask the minister if she is not concerned at heading a ministry whose policy is so inconsistent that there is a situation in Ottawa-Carleton at present where in the Carleton Board of Education there is construction of new schools at the cost of about $20 million, the Ottawa Board of Education is closing schools and at the same time Algonquin College, needing funds to establish such programs or accelerate programs such as high technology, is having to cut back.

Is the minister's only response that that is an internal problem of Algonquin College? Why does the minister not see the problems existing in Ottawa-Carleton and ensure that her government and her ministry give Algonquin College sufficient funds to meet its vocation in Ottawa-Carleton?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the member obviously is not aware at all of what has been going on in relationships between the Ottawa Board of Education and Algonquin College. There have been negotiations completed related to the development of specific high-technology courses, utilizing facilities that are available within the board of education on a lease basis by Algonquin College.

The member has to be aware, I am sure, that there are further discussions of this sort, because we have encouraged the colleges to look very carefully at the potential use of secondary school institutions that are no longer required by boards of education.

I hope the member will be supportive of some of the solutions that we have suggested in terms of solving the accommodation problems for the Carleton board by persuading some of his friends on the Ottawa board to be a little more open and a little more generous in their attitudes about negotiations for transfers of schools.


Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Provincial Secretary for Justice. I want to ask the minister, now that it has been almost three months since the hospital strike ended, why the Ontario Provincial Police is continuing what it terms itself one of its most massive investigations into the activities surrounding that strike. Why, three months after the strike has reached some form of resolution -- I was going to say a settlement, but it is hardly that -- is the OPP continuing to investigate and to harass those hospital workers? What is the purpose of all that expenditure and all that time by the provincial police?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the Solicitor General (Mr. McMurtry), in whose jurisdiction this falls, would be able to give a more definitive answer at a more appropriate time. However, my suspicion is the investigation is taking longer to complete than expected.

2:40 p.m.

Mr. Breaugh: Since those hospital workers have now got back to work and we are beginning to get some peace in the hospitals again, why does the minister not simply declare an amnesty for those hospital workers and dispense with it? Why is this kind of tactic still necessary today?

Hon. Mr. Walker: I think it is probably appropriate that justice be done and that justice appear to be done.

Ms. Copps: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Does the minister feel justice is justice for one and justice for all, or does he feel that some hospital workers at some institutions should be penalized more severely than other hospital workers at other institutions involved in the same illegal strike?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, that is an impossible question to answer. One would have to look at each individual case on its merits.

Mr. Breaugh: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Could the minister offer some rationale to this House since this is not the first hospital strike we have had in this province this year? In fact, we had two previous hospital strikes by interns and residents. Will the minister explain to the House why in that case the government did not even seek an injunction, let alone conduct this kind of massive police operation?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, in the light of the behaviour displayed by the particular union, by the officials and by the individuals who went out, I think the government had no choice under the circumstances but to pursue it in a way that would be respected by the public.


Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, this is to my friend the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I want to offer him another opportunity of being consistent in his inconsistency in his new role. Will he allow a chap to have a glass of beer at the ball park this spring as one watches the ball games? Why does he not change it as he has changed everything else?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, do I assume the honourable member for London Centre is advocating on behalf of his party that there be beer in the ball park?

Mr. Peterson: Of course I am.

Hon. Mr. Walker: I would like to accept that submission on the part of the Liberal Party, and I will certainly take it under consideration and perhaps at some time it will be answered.

Mr. Peterson: No less an authority than Eber Rice has called for a re-evaluation of these archaic programs, which the minister is now supervising and, given the fact he has demonstrated his capacity to change his mind on almost everything and change government policy in the two weeks he has had the portfolio, why does he not now change on something sensible? Why deny people this spring?


Mr. Stokes: Mr. Speaker, as my first question in this House in five and a half years, I want to ask the Premier how often and how long is it going to be that I should have to confront the Premier with the fact we still have places in Ontario where gasoline is selling for $5 a gallon, where motor oil is selling for $4 a quart, where a loaf of bread is selling for $2.25, where an apple is 50 cents, where a dozen eggs are $3 and where a can of Carnation milk is worth $1.25?

Will the Premier look at two alternatives to the plight facing all those people living in Ontario north of the 50th parallel, principally first citizens, where we have an opportunity if we emulate what the Department of Northern Saskatchewan is doing in subsidizing the cost of perishable goods in that area? Will he took at that program? Will he also look at the program that has been in effect out of Val-d'Or in northern Quebec, where Canada Post is shipping perishable goods to those northern communities, providing the kind of relief that should be provided to my constituents, the constituents in Kenora and the constituents in Cochrane North? When is he going to answer the letter that I sent to him jointly with the Honourable John Munro, dated March 16, to bring some relief to those people who have been neglected for far too long?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, you do not know how refreshing it is to have a very good question -- in fact, a series of questions -- from the former Speaker. I now feel better about the length of some of the answers I gave when he was the Speaker of this assembly. My conscience does not bother me nearly as much. In fact, it does not bother me at all.

I would not quarrel at all with the substance of the question. I know how sincere the honourable member is, related to this particular problem, about which he has communicated to me. I would only say to him that this is an issue being discussed within the Ministry of Northern Affairs. It is a matter that gives us concern too; it is complex without any easy solutions. But I assure the honourable member that the Ministry of Northern Affairs is looking into the questions that he has raised, plus some other that perhaps he will yet raise, not by way of supplementary, I hope, but when we have some further discussion within the ministry.

Mr. Stokes: Will the Premier initiate a meeting with the federal authorities? I realize they have some responsibility in this. Will he discuss the possibility of subsidizing through Canada Post, something that is working very well out of Val-d'Or to bring some relief to people in northern Quebec and the high arctic?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I assure the honourable member that in the ministry's review of this there will be no reluctance to talk to the government of Canada or others who might have some involvement in a solution to this problem.


Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Health. In view of the fact that the Ministry of Health's deinstitutionalization policy means that people are being pushed out of our mental health institutions without being ready for it, in view of the fact that these people are creating such havoc and such pain in many Metro communities to the point where the local people are so angry that they are building a casket for the minister and want to bury his policies and himself, in view of the fact that there is a recidivism rate of 60 per cent -- meaning that 60 per cent of the people are leaving institutions and have to go back again, forcefully -- and in view of the fact that I have a statement here from the deputy commissioner of building and inspections where he says, "From what I can find out, there is no adequate policy, either by the Queen Street Mental Health Centre or by the provincial health department, laying down guidelines on the discharge policies and control of these outpatients," my question is, what will he respond to this charge by the deputy commissioner of building and inspections?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, first of all let me say that the honourable member has not learned a thing over the last few years in all of the discussions he has taken part in with respect to mental health. I take it from everything he said previously that his policy with respect to mental health would be to throw the people in the institutions and throw away the keys, because that, in essence, is what he is proposing.

Mr. Smith: That is not the essence of it.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: That is the essence of what he is proposing.

Mr. Smith: That is not.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The member is quite mistaken when he says that people are being discharged before they are ready. In point of fact, in the mental health system, whether it is the provincial psychiatric hospitals or the psychiatric facilities that exist in 60 community hospitals around the province now, which have been developed over the last 15 years, it is strictly and simply a medical decision.

The honourable member, I suppose, would like to think he could devise a system that would guarantee absolutely that there would never be a mistake; either they would never admit somebody who should not be admitted or they should never discharge somebody who was not exactly ready. In fact, the whole system hinges on physician judgement.

Regarding the question of alternatives, we have in the last two years doubled our spending on community mental health programs, both for purposes of prevention as well as follow-up. We have also, as I mentioned earlier, expanded the network of community psychiatric facilities in community hospitals. They now total about 60.

I submit again, though, that the kinds of smart-aleck remarks made by the honourable member over the last few years in fact do nothing to expand the public's understanding of mental illness. They do nothing to deal with the very real problems that people more and more have to deal with in these times. If anything, they suggest a mental health system that would go back to a century ago when they were all called lunatic asylums.

2:50 p.m.

Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: The minister should understand this, that his remarks in this House in terms of being smart-alecky do nothing at all to solve the problem of his ministry in the communities affected and that these communities cry out for a solution and not for any smart-alecky remarks. My question to him was not a question of being smart-alecky or anything of this kind, and I am asking the minister to withdraw that statement he made. Simply because he is unable to come up with a solution that we feel is adequate does not put him in the position to call an honourable member of this House smart-alecky, and I would request he withdraw that statement.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, if at any point in the public career of the honourable gentleman opposite I had heard one constructive suggestion other than intimating that people should simply be locked away and left there, I would be glad to withdraw that, but I have never heard such suggestion.

Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question. I have a letter here from the medical director at Queen Street. The medical director and the minister have been invited to come to a meeting that the city of Toronto will be holding in terms of discussing the problems that are associated with the discharge policy. In his reply, the medical director says, "To participate in the meeting is really not important."

I am asking whether the minister is prepared either to come himself or to send the medical director to a meeting that is being scheduled by the Metro social services committee on May 14. Will the minister be there himself to discuss these problems that Metropolitan Toronto thinks are important, or will he be sending Mr. Henry Durost, the medical director?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I have not been made aware of the meeting, and I will take that question under advisement. I suppose it depends to an extent on the purpose of the meeting.

I have met on several occasions with Metro Chairman Godfrey and representatives of the social services committee to discuss our mutual interests in doing something positive, unlike the member opposite, about the problems of mental illness, as a result of which, for instance, I agreed to fund through the Ministry of Health a proposal put forward by an organization known as Community Resource Consultants to better link the social service network with the discharge planners and the medical staff at the Queen Street Mental Health Centre.

I will take it under advisement and see what the purpose of the meeting is and whether it is appropriate that we be there.

Mr. Breaugh: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I would like to ask the minister why it is, in all of this discharge planning and all of the wonderful consultation that he has, that after nine years he cannot find a proper placement for Henry Kowalski?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, the advice of the central Ontario advisory review board is that he is in the appropriate placement.

Mr. Di Santo: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister so heartless that he cannot understand the plight of the member for Parkdale (Mr. Ruprecht), who promised during the campaign that if he did not solve the problem of the patients discharged he would resign in two years? Is the minister trying to force him to keep his promise?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding the attractiveness of that statement, I can assure the honourable member opposite, and indeed all members, that I will continue to do everything I can to improve services for the mentally ill and to improve on the network in this province. In fact, I would be so modest as to state that over the last four years we have made significant steps forward in improving the links in the system. So, notwithstanding that offer, which is terribly attractive, I will not yield to temptation but we will continue to do the best job we can in the ministry.


Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Natural Resources. Does the minister agree with the statement by his predecessor that the people in northern Ontario, and in particular the people in northwestern Ontario, do not understand or care what the government does with the land and are not interested in participating in the decisions that the government makes with regard to land use in northern Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, I do not believe that those statements were made by the previous minister. I have checked the full content of his letters and various communications that he had on this subject with a number of different groups and bodies.

I am satisfied that the Ministry of Natural Resources, over the course of the rather lengthy period of time it has been involved in the preparation of strategic land-use plans in northwestern and northeastern Ontario, has made a great deal of effort in terms of communicating with the public and seeking their opinions, not only on the background information papers which were first published, but also on the policy proposals.

I know for a fact that individual members of this assembly were involved in advisory committee hearings with respect to the procedures and the policies to be considered by the Ministry of Natural Resources. I know for a fact that we have extensive mailing lists of people with whom we were in communication.

I know for a fact that there were numerous newspaper articles and advertisements placed in newspapers throughout northern Ontario. I know that there was an emphasis on attempting to communicate with, for instance, municipal organizations, clubs and associated organizations to get across the background information and the proposed policies.

That does not mean to say there cannot be improvements in the public participation of the people of northern Ontario in this planning process. We will continue to look for ways to expand and improve that participation.

We think we are on the right course with the ministry initiating this kind of reaction. We are satisfied with the nature of the feedback and the commitment of the people of northern Ontario. They are letting us know their points of view with respect to both the process and the policies which we are hoping to adopt. We will continue to encourage the support and the suggestions of the people of northern Ontario as to what input they hope to have in this process and what policies they hope to see at the final stage.

There has been good work done by the staff throughout northern Ontario, for which they should be commended. We will continue to work as hard as we can to represent the interests of the people of northern Ontario.

Mr. Foulds: Will the minister then specifically repudiate the statement that Mr. Auld made in one of his letters, "It is our observation that the general public does not appear to be interested in, nor does it appear to be able to appreciate, the broad policy of land-use planning"?

Will the minister take into consideration that without any public hearings there were about 96 submissions to the Strategic Land-Use Plan: Northwestern Ontario -- 15 from environmentalists, 46 from individuals, 17 from government agencies, and 18 from industry? Does that not indicate an interest in land-use planning?

Will he not now make a commitment to have public hearings on the Strategic Land-Use Plan: Northwestern Ontario? What has he got against town hall type of meetings when there were 313 submissions to the Hartt commission, which certainly indicated an interest by the people of the north about how their land was used?

Hon. Mr. Pope: We have never denied that the people of northern Ontario and individuals in northern Ontario are interested in both the procedures and the substance of strategic land-use planning. Mr. Auld's comments were an expression of disappointment in the attendance at certain specific public meetings. We have always encouraged town hall type of meetings to have a discussion on strategic land-use plans for northern Ontario.

We do not believe that the kind of public hearings this member is suggesting we should have would benefit either the communication between the government and the people in the planning process or result in any resolution of difficulties.

3 p.m.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary on that question: Is the minister aware of an organization called Environment North, which called for public hearings and put on their own program because of the refusal of the Ministry of Natural Resources to hold what they considered to be adequate public hearings on the northwestern SLUP?

Is the minister also aware that, in those small communities which did hold such hearings, the district forester in most cases did not attend but, instead, they were very minor functionaries who could not answer any questions on the proposals put forward by the Ministry of Natural Resources?

Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, I am glad to hear that the honourable member has recognized the participation of the employees of the Ministry of Natural Resources in these kinds of town hall discussions.

It is true that employees have tried to attend these meetings to try to gauge public reaction to the strategic land-use plans of the Ministry of Natural Resources. It is their duty to be there to listen to what the people have to say and to communicate it back to the ministry. That is a very important part of planning in this province and one we intend to continue.

Mr. Foulds: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Can the minister explain why the Ministry of Natural Resources officials in Thunder Bay specifically refused to attend and participate in the meeting referred to by the previous questioner for the reason that it was held during an election period and government officials could not be seen to be siding with a political party, while other government civil servants were used by the Conservative government to bolster their position of public meetings during the provincial election campaign?

Hon. Mr. Pope: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member knows that last statement is absolute nonsense. I am glad he has recognized the relationship between his party and some of these groups.


Mr. Sweeney: I have a question to the Minister of Colleges and Universities, Mr. Speaker. Referring to one of the many promises during the recent provincial election that the government would be offering more, not fewer, opportunities to Ontario's young people to get skilled trades and technological training for our economic needs, can the minister indicate to us to what extent she is prepared to allow some of the community colleges in this province to reduce, not to expand or even to maintain, the programs they are offering?

The minister heard reference from the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Wrye) about Algonquin College. In my riding, Conestoga College, for example, is having five programs reduced by the college itself, and the ministry's division of apprenticeship is pulling a program away. How far is the minister prepared to go?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, there is a deliberate policy this year to furnish additional funds to the colleges to provide for additional programs for training in high technology and in apprenticeship and skills training related activities.

The colleges in that area and throughout Ontario have been asked to look very carefully at programs that do not have high employment potential or do not seem to be meeting the employment training needs of the students, with a view to reducing those and replacing them with courses for which there is much greater employment potential. Many of the colleges are doing just that.

If there is an apprenticeship reduction at Conestoga, it must be related to the reduction in the time necessary to achieve apprenticeship, or it must be an apprenticeship that is no longer deemed to be necessary in that area by the professional advisory committee.

Mr. Sweeney: I would ask only that the minister have her own division check that, because the particular program in sheet metal is an employable trade; there are openings for people.

I have a supplementary question. Surely the minister is aware that the colleges are totally dependent upon funds from the government, from her ministry, to operate. They have no other source. At Conestoga, this coming September, they are going to have to freeze enrolment; they cannot take even one more student. Surely that is not the intent of the promise to provide more opportunities. There are going to be no new opportunities in our community. Could the minister check and tell us, if not today at some time in the near future, how many other community colleges across this province are facing the same kind of decimation, because that is what it is?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: There is no decimation in the college system, absolutely none. There has been an increase in enrolment every single year, and there will continue to be an increase in enrolment this year, but this year we are hoping it will have an even greater relevance for employment opportunities, for training that is necessary within Ontario for all of those young people.

Mr. Riddell: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Will the minister see that the money that was returned by the government to the community colleges for training programs is allocated fairly so that the Conestoga College in Clinton will get its fair share?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: I will have to take that as notice, Mr. Speaker, because I really do not understand the content of the question. Is it money returned by the college to the government, or by the government to the college?

The allocation is made to the college based upon its total enrolment, its full-time student activities, and that distribution is made by the administration on the advice of the board of directors of that college. Since there are a number of the honourable member's friends who are members of the board of governors of that college, I think perhaps he might speak to them.

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

On a point of order, Mr. Mancini.


Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, you may recall on Thursday last I rose in my place and tried to direct a question to the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) which had originally been directed to the Premier (Mr. Davis). The Minister of Labour objected to my having redirected the question, saying that it was out of order to do so, whereupon the government House leader quickly arose and gave his opinion that it was out of order.

You promised, sir, to look into this matter, and you stated that you could not recall this practice having been done in this Legislature before. I would like to bring to your attention, after having done some research on this matter, that in Hansard dated April 20, 1979, this matter was brought to the attention of the former Speaker, the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes), by the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt), and the Speaker responded by saying, "It is up to the questioner to direct the question to the minister who the questioner thinks is appropriate."

The then Speaker further stated: "I see no reason why anybody shouldn't redirect the question, but it is not up to the chair to do it; it is up to the questioner."

Further, Mr. Speaker, we all recall on April 18, 1980, as recorded in Hansard, where the Premier objected to a similar procedure, stating, and I quote, "I don't care that much...," but that someone should look into it.

The Speaker replied on April 21, 1980, to the Premier, and I quote: "I would remind all members that we find in our research that, in 1980 alone, 17 questions have been redirected, one of which was redirected back to the original answerer, three of which were redirected by the minister and the rest of which were redirected by the questioner."

The then Speaker further stated: "It seems to me that people should be allowed to do anything to facilitate the business of the House as long as it is not in conflict with an order."

I say to you, Mr. Speaker, that redirecting a question is not in conflict with the standing orders, and I am sure will help facilitate the business of the House.

There was one other objection raised, I believe, by the government House leader when he stated that this is not common procedure in the mother Parliament at Westminster. I only bring to your attention, Mr. Speaker, that we do several things in our question period which are not done in the mother Parliament at Westminster. Surely the government House leader and all members are aware that in Westminster the questions have to be submitted in writing prior to the question period, and we discarded that procedure quite some time ago.

3:10 p.m.

But I do bring to your attention, Mr. Speaker, the procedure that has been used in our House of Commons in Ottawa, and I could quote many instances where questions have been redirected. I could make this information available to you. I do not want to take up the time of the House today, but I wish to have it placed on the record that this procedure is very commonly used in Ottawa. It is one we have used here over the past three years. It is a precedent that I believe has been well established and one that should not be lightly discarded.

Hon. Mr. Wells: On this point of order, Mr. Speaker: I do not dispute the fact that my friend can find precedents for it; that does not make the procedure necessarily correct. I would like to record that the members of the cabinet have always felt that the use of this redirecting procedure my friend is talking about has tended to take away from the regular operation of the question period between members. It is an abuse of the original practice. However, Mr. Speaker, I just want to reiterate that I did say --


Hon. Mr. Wells: We are not in any way trying to be arrogant on this. I think there are a number of things that should be looked at concerning the question period, and I think I made it very clear in some remarks I made in this House on Friday that all I was trying to do at the time when I made my interjection was to suggest that the procedural affairs committee should look at this and other practices under the standing order concerning the question period. That is all, and I think that should be done.

I certainly hope when the procedural affairs committee is constituted that, along with many things they look at, they will look at this particular practice and indeed the whole question period practice.

Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I would like to participate in discussing this point of order. I listened very carefully to the member for Essex South, and I believe he has touched upon a point that is important to members on all sides.

I believe the precedents, the standing orders and the practices of this House are clear; that is, that questions may be redirected on that side by ministers who feel that someone else in the cabinet may have a better answer or a more complete answer. On this side, we would certainly yield to that.

I also believe the practices, the rules and the precedents are equally clear that on this side of the House redirection may occur. That has been the practice in this House.

I will accept what the government House leader says, that there may be a number of things that the House in its review of standing orders or practices may wish to take into consideration. It is my plea from this side, though, that if that is to occur, then it should occur in the manner in which we have established; that is, that these matters are referred to the procedural affairs committee. All members have an opportunity to present their point of view there, a recommendation comes back to this House and then the practice is changed.

I plead with the chair not to begin a process now whereby practices stop and then we review them. But if we are to change the way we carry on our question period here, I believe we have established in the previous five years a mechanism for changing those practices.

It is clear to me that the point raised by the member for Essex South is quite correct. If the government House leader or anyone else wishes to change that practice, the manner in which it should be changed is to send it off to procedural affairs, bring a recommendation back here and let the House vote on that. But until such time as that recommendation is adopted by the House, then I certainly feel that the practices which are clear, where there is precedent, where the standing orders allow them to happen, should remain and should be operative until such time as the House itself decides we ought to change the rules.

Mr. Speaker: As all members know, this point was raised earlier and I have it under consideration. I will answer to the House as quickly as possible.



Hon. Mr. Henderson moved first reading of Bill 18, An Act to amend the Dog Licensing and Livestock and Poultry Protection Amendment Act.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to give farmers in northern Ontario the same opportunities as farmers in southern Ontario when they want to appeal an award under this act.


Hon. Mr. Henderson moved first reading of Bill 19, An Act respecting the Marketing of Sheep and Wool.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, the Ontario Sheep Association has at present the authority to collect licence fees under the Wool Marketing Act, 1974, from the sale of wool to fund the operation of the association. The purpose of this bill is to provide the association with additional authority to collect licence fees from the sale of sheep and lambs.


Hon. Mr. Walker moved first reading of Bill 20, An Act to amend the Personal Property Security Act.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Walker: The purpose of this amendment is to dispel any confusion between the Corporation Securities Registration Act and the Personal Property Security Act by providing that a document will not be declared invalid simply because a registrant fails to register it under the proper act.


Hon. Mr. Walker moved first reading of Bill 21, An Act to amend the Liquor Licence Act.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the amendment is to extend our present power to control liquor in provincial parks, the areas managed by the Niagara Parks Commission, the St. Lawrence Parks Commission and the St. Clair Parkway Commission and conservation authorities. It is our intention to impose short-term bans on liquor in these places, where necessary, to cut down on rowdyism and to encourage family camping.

3:20 p.m.


Hon. Mr. Walker moved first reading of Bill 22, An Act to amend the Racing Commission Act.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this amendment is to remove the present requirement that the chairman of the racing commission be a civil servant. It is in line with government policy generally to limit agency appointments to three-year terms, renewable once.

This amendment will also remove the present discretion to appoint other commission members as civil servants and will clarify the authority of the commission to employ clerks and judges to attend race meetings on behalf of the commission, the race meetings being racing commission meetings.


Mr. Swart moved first reading of Bill 23, An Act to provide for the Fair Pricing of Products and Services sold to Consumers in Ontario.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to require a fair price for every product and service sold to consumers in Ontario. Where a retailer seller charges an unfair price, the bill sets out procedures and remedies for ensuring compliance with the fair pricing requirement. The bill provides for an appeal of fair pricing orders to the Commercial Registration Appeal Tribunal.


Mr. Swart moved first reading of Bill 24, An Act to provide for a Public Advocate in Ontario.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Swart: The purpose of this bill, Mr. Speaker, is to provide for a public advocate in Ontario. The function of the public advocate is to represent the public interest in Ontario at rate hearings before tribunals and commissions.

The public advocate is also provided with the authority to intervene in hearings at which environmental matters are considered where, in the opinion of the public advocate, a broad general interest may be affected as a result of the hearing.

The bill also provides authority for the Lieutenant Governor in Council to fix a levy to be paid by corporations that make application for a rate increase for the purpose of paying the expenses incurred by the public advocate in carrying out his functions and duties.


Mr. Swart moved first reading of Bill 25, An Act to establish the Automobile Insurance Rate Control Board.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, this bill establishes an automobile rate control board that would have the power to approve and fix rates and to conduct public hearings dealing with rate increases.


Mr. Swart moved first reading of Bill 26, An Act to amend the Consumer Protection Act.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to require that every product offered for sale bearing a product code must also be marked with its purchase price. The bill prohibits increases in the purchase price of a product above the price initially marked on it by the retailer. The bill also provides if the price marked on the product differs from the price associated with the product code, the purchase price of the product is the lower of the two prices.



Resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to the motion for an address in reply to the speech of the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor at the opening of the session.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, it is the custom in these responses to the speech from the throne to congratulate the Speaker and to wish him well, and I want to do so today. While I strongly objected to the manner in which the Premier (Mr. Davis) failed to consult with the opposition parties over your appointment, I want to assure you, Mr. Speaker, on a personal basis, that everyone in my party will do his or her best to preserve with you the independence and impartiality of the chair and to respect the high office of Speaker on behalf of this Legislature.

Because we believe the Speaker is the servant of the Legislature and not of any particular party, we will do our utmost to make sure your office is preserved that way. As I say, I feel sure we will have your co-operation in that task.

I want to say you may face a difficult time, Mr. Speaker, coming to this Legislature in your chair for the first time. I think the province faces a difficult time over the course of the next four years for a number of reasons. One of the reasons I want to state that -- and this is a personal thing relating to this Legislature itself -- is that I regret very much the loss to this Legislature and the loss for a temporary period in public life in Ontario of my colleagues who were defeated in this election. I want to name them, in particular, Evelyn Gigantes from Carleton East, Bud Germa from Sudbury, Ed Ziemba from High Park-Swansea, Ted Bounsall from Windsor-Sandwich, Michael Davison from Hamilton Centre, Jan Dukszta from Parkdale, Colin Isaacs from Wentworth, Mac Makarchuk from Brantford, Dave Warner from Scarborough-Ellesmere and Monty Davidson from Cambridge.

I mention them all because these MPPs made a distinctive contribution to the life of this Legislature, to their party and to the province. If one thinks of such issues as energy conservation and the battle Evelyn Gigantes waged for a sensible use of nuclear power and alternatives to nuclear power; if one thinks of the battle that Colin Isaacs waged over the South Cayuga dump and the handling of liquid wastes; if one thinks of Michael Davison's fight over Re-Mor Investment Management Corporation; if one thinks of Magna Carta and beer in the ball park -- oh, that David Warner were with us now for that one -- if one thinks of the fight that Ted Bounsall and our caucus have fought for economic equality for women; if one thinks of the battle against Tory patronage which is going to go on but which Ed Ziemba fought against; if one thinks of the way Bud Germa was the authentic and real voice of working people, of miners, and how he used to confront the government; those men and that woman are going to be very much missed in this Legislature.

I look forward to the day when they or their successors come back to represent those ridings and when we have more New Democrats than we have ever had before in the Ontario Legislature. I will put those 10 against any 10 members of the Progressive Conservative cabinet. I want to say that they left to us a duty that I intend to fulfil and that my caucus intends to fulfil in fighting for the interests of the working people of the ordinary families of Ontario, the people whose interests I fear are going to be systematically overlooked as the government breaks promise after promise over the course of the next three or four years.

3:30 p.m.

An hon. member: They will get trampled on.

Mr. Cassidy: That is right. The Conservatives have their majority; the Conservatives have their mandate. But I want to say to you, Mr. Speaker, that I believe that minority government was good for this province. I believe the mandate the government has now received is going to be harmful to the vast bulk of the population of Ontario. The only people who are going to benefit are going to be the friends who helped to finance the Conservative Party campaign, the people on Bay Street, the people in the insurance industry, the people at Inco and the resource industries, all the other vested interests in the province that stood firmly with the Conservative Party on March 19 and are now expecting their rewards at the expense of the ordinary people of Ontario.

I say to the government that the Conservatives longed for the freedom of having a majority. The challenge is, now they have it, to see whether they know how to use it. I do not believe the Premier, his cabinet or his party know how to use a majority mandate. I think we already have evidence in the throne speech of the government's behaviour in its first month since the March 19 election.

Mr. Swart: Like the Minister of Community and Social Services yesterday.

Mr. Cassidy: Like that minister yesterday. It is like the new Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Walker) on the first day of the Legislature last Thursday, the attitude and behaviour of the government on the Re-Mor affair. It has already begun.

We had the evidence within a few days of the election when the former member for Cochrane North, Mr. Brunelle, who had been a member of the board that had adjudicated the $4.5-million grant to Spruce Falls Power and Paper Company Limited, went off to take a job on the company's payroll as an external relations consultant. The Premier says he sees nothing wrong with that. The Premier does not understand that people in this province believe there should be a distance between government and the private sector. Most people, when they look at that arrangement, no matter how honourable a man Mr. Brunelle may happen to be, cannot help but suspect that kind of deal as a payoff, and they want that kind of behaviour stopped.

The Legislature had not even begun -- we had not even had the speech from the throne -- before we saw that the Premier, in his opinion, considered that your appointment, Mr. Speaker, was a partisan appointment rather than one to be made on a consultative basis.

My friends have mentioned that the blustering, raucous interjection of the new Minister of Community and Social Services showed from the very outset that, instead of being a minister with compassion who will fight on behalf of the disadvantaged groups and individuals of Ontario, he is prepared to take those groups on, on behalf of the vested interests of Ontario. I think it is despicable for the Minister of Community and Social Services to get up in this Legislature in his first act as minister and kick away at a group of French-speaking farmers who have a concern in the riding of Prescott-Russell.

Mr. Riddell: Absolutely. He called them a bunch of French farmers.

Mr. Cassidy: My heart went out to the new member for Prescott-Russell (Mr. Boudria) on his first or second day in the Legislature to be treated to that kind of display from a minister who does not understand where compassion begins, who does not understand where sensitivity begins, who epitomizes the kind of arrogance I am afraid we are going to see all too often from this government now that the majority is back.

The Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett) breaks a promise and sends out questionnaires to developers asking them to provide him with a rationale to get rid of rent review. The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations provides all sorts of excuses why he thinks the promise of the Premier should be done away with when it comes to rent review.

Talking about promises to the Franco-Ontarians, we have a new cabinet which, for the first time in 20 years, does not have a single Franco-Ontarian to represent the 600,000 people of Franco-Ontarian origin in Ontario.

It disturbs me that all of this has taken place in such a short time. It disturbs me because the message is very clear. The United States has had Ronald Reagan and has had Reaganism. It has a government in power that is systematically abandoning all the commitments that country has made to people who are weak, powerless or disadvantaged.

The United Kingdom now has Margaret Thatcher as its prime minister. Under Mrs. Thatcher, the UK has systematically abandoned its commitment to people who are weak, powerless or disadvantaged because it is lining up with the powerful interests in that particular society. Now that we have a majority government, we have Reaganism, Thatcherism, Davisism. Call it what you will, Mr. Speaker, I want you to know that the right wing is triumphant in politics at this time and many people in this province are going to suffer as a consequence.

I remind the government of the words that the Premier gave to his caucus and his cabinet as this session was beginning. He said: "Remember to have a heart. We mustn't be too arrogant. Let's not get back into the way we were before 1975." The fact is that the Conservatives have learned nothing and forgotten nothing since that time.

The day after the election the word was going around among the circles of executive assistants and senior bureaucrats, and within the Conservative Party as well, that happy days are here again. I want to warn the government that its mandate was a mandate of only 25 per cent of the electorate of Ontario, that almost twice as many people who voted for the Conservatives opted not to go out this time. But they are sitting there watching and they are preparing to come out the next time.

I want to remind the government as well that, despite the fact that they have more seats than the two opposition parties combined, their mandate consists of 43 or 44 per cent of those people who happened to go out to vote on election day and no more. They have the seats with which they can command this place and wield their will for four years, but that is only a qualified mandate. If it is treated in any other way, the Conservative Party is going to pay the price in the election of 1985.

I think there is a challenge to the Premier, to the member for Carleton-Grenville (Mr. Sterling) and to all of the members of the governing party to show that this time with a majority it can rise above what it has achieved over the last few years. Can the Premier achieve the qualities of leadership and statesmanship which he failed to show over the last 11 years, or is he just going to spend the next four years breaking all of those promises that he made for March 19? Will he, in fact, disappear and leave his successor to break the promises so that it won't be Bill Davis but somebody else?

Hon. Mr. Walker: The member just can't accept the will of the electorate.

Mr. Cassidy: I have reservations. I have real disquiet over the way the Premier sits there and smiles benignly while he lets the member for Timiskaming (Mr. Havrot), the member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea) or other members take on groups that are weak and powerless and say to them, "You don't belong in Tory Ontario." To the members of that government, Tory Ontario consists of just a few. Its raw, naked power is being misused already, and I fear that is going to continue to be for much too long.

The will of the electorate was to maintain rent review, I say to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, whatever his prejudices may happen to be.

Hon. Mr. Walker: The Premier said it is being maintained.

Mr. Cassidy: I think the Premier should tell the minister to shut up. He should tell the minister it is time he stopped trying to undermine the rent review program, stopped talking about taking away rent review from those tenants who are forced to pay more than $400 a month and stopped trying to take rent review away from his constituents in the London area, as he has suggested already.

Hon. Mr. Walker: He is just ignoring the fact that it is going to stay.

The Deputy Speaker: I would like to call the minister to order, please.

Mr. Cassidy: A lot of the election we had on March 19 was fought on economic issues. One of the reasons for that was the work that we in the New Democratic Party had done in this Legislature over the last three or four years, because we recognized the need and pushed in order to get some action on economic issues from the government and from all parties in Ontario. We happened to write the agenda for this particular election campaign, even if the results were not entirely to our liking.

3:40 p.m.

We need now in 1981 to start to talk about the kind of society we are going to have in this province in the 1980s and into the 1990s. I am fearful about the way we are going to get that dialogue with the present government. There is a cutback mentality which will throttle innovation. Yet I doubt that it is going to even resolve the needs of our society. We need to have new directions in health care; we need to have new directions in social services; we need to have new directions in pensions and in meeting the needs of our aged. We will not achieve those without major innovations. Yet there is a government right now which is bent on stifling every important innovation in government policy that we have seen during the life of minority government.

Take the announcement we had yesterday about the doctors. Doctors will receive an average increase in their salary of about $12,000 per annum, bringing the average net income for the general practitioner to $68,000 and bringing the average specialist in the province to an income after expenses which will approach $100,000 in net pay per year. That is hard work, but it is still a pretty good reward and it is something that would be pretty nice by most people's standards.

Despite a pay award which the Weiler report said will be worth $220 million, the government never lifted its voice to even suggest to the doctors that they consider doing away with the extra billing which is now undermining our medicare system in the province. Despite a pay award which was the biggest in the history of medicare, the government failed to even try to get the doctors to stop extra billing. That is why we have cases like that which was raised by my colleague from Sudbury East in the Legislature today. Mr. Lewis Welch from Sudbury, with an income of $422 a month, a pensioner, is now facing $725 worth of bills in addition to OHIP. What is the government going to do? The Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) gets up in his place and says, "We can resolve most of these questions if you fight hard enough." That is not good enough.

There was a case in Downsview of a woman, also on a small income, who had a $750 bill for surgery. Her surgeon told her that she needed to have more surgery, but then added that he, the surgeon, was not prepared to go forward until this woman of little means had paid the first bill.

We are back to the days of charity medicine. We are back to the days of the kind of medicine that existed in the United Kingdom before the National Health Service, or the kind of medicine that still exists in too many parts of the United States of America. We are back to the situation that prevailed before medicare came into our province and to our country. We New Democrats say that that is not good enough. All of us in this Legislature have an obligation to stand up on behalf of the ordinary people of this province who fought for medicare, who want medicare, who want the security of knowing that never again will their health have to depend on whether or not they have enough dollars in their bank balance to afford to go to the hospital or to afford to pay the doctor. That is the kind of medicare we want to see back in Ontario.

This may not even be a matter of principle. What it may be is simply that this government lacks the guts to take on the doctors because the doctors, all 12,000 of them, are a powerful element in our society and a powerful element influencing the Conservative Party. I want to say it is about time we had a government with guts and with leadership and it is about time this government, using its mandate or using its majority, showed some guts and showed some leadership to get us back to universal medicare.

When the interns went on strike, did we get lectures from ministers of the crown at that time? No, we did not. We got negotiations and, finally, we got a settlement, regardless of the fact that the strike may or may not have been legal. But when the hospital workers went on strike because they had no other recourse, that was another story.

We have doctors getting 14.75 per cent, but for the hospital workers, as far as the government was concerned, that 11 per cent offer from the hospitals was just fine. We have doctors receiving an increase in salary of $12,000 or more, which means that some doctors are going to get as much in a year as an increase as hospital workers earn in a year, taking all of their income into account. Not only that, but what do the hospital workers get? They get work loads increasing; they get tension; they get pressure; they get hospitals undercut by the cutbacks; they get fewer beds; and they get patients who are distraught.

They get situations like the Ottawa Civic Hospital, in my riding, which is now facing a $1-million deficit. They get situations like the Royal Ottawa Hospital, in my riding, where the emergency ward director is threatening to shut down the emergency wards because there are no beds to which to take patients who are psychiatrically ill and need that care if they come in late at night. That is the situation we face in Ottawa Centre and it is duplicated all across the province.

Mr. Speaker, enough is enough. We will say a great deal about the cutbacks in hospitals and about the erosion of health care, but to start with, it is time to ensure that the hospital workers are dealt with generously and not stingily. It is time to restore the morale of the workers in our hospital system, who are so vital to making the health care system work. If this province can afford $220 million in order to put the doctors in clover, then surely we can afford some money in order to deal justly and fairly with the hospital workers.

I say to the government, stop the reprisals that are going on at the hands of the hospital association right now. Rehire the laid-off workers, who in many cases provide leadership for those workers, and ensure that the work places work effectively. Get the morale back in the hospitals. Do away with all of the layoffs and suspensions that have taken place. Let us give the hospital workers the same rights as every other worker in Ontario.

Our province needs leadership and innovation and not a rerun of the battles of the past. That is why I was upset by the comments from the member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea) in this Legislature yesterday. As I read about what is happening with Bobby Sands and read about the tragedy in Northern Ireland a few miles away from Donegal where my ancestors came from, where Catholics and Protestants continue to be pitted against each other, fighting the battles of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries right on into the 21st century, I ask myself: "Is it not possible in this province to get away from those kinds of latent, underlying factors in the politics of Ontario?"

Mr. Speaker, you know that there still are elements of religion in the politics of our province -- WASPs voting Conservative and Catholics voting Liberal or NDP. It has gone on for far too long. The very least we can ask is that it is not exploited by the governing party. That is why I was so bitterly disappointed with the deal that the Premier struck with the Prime Minister of Canada, which leaves Franco-Ontarians out in the cold when it comes to the changes in the constitution now taking place in Canada.

I plead with the Premier, if he is listening to me or if he reads this speech, to listen to the words of the Prime Minister of Canada, to listen to the words of almost every member of the federal Parliament, to listen to what we have been saying in this party consistently over the course of the last several years, to listen to what Progressive Conservative members of the Senate are urging, to listen to what David Crombie has been urging and to listen even, if he would, to what Joe Clark has been urging, and for Ontario to join in with New Brunswick, Manitoba and Quebec, for Ontario to recognize in perpetuity the rights of our Franco-Ontarians by having this province accept section 133 of the British North America Act.

That is something we could do of our own initiative and should do. It is something we could and should do as a means of beginning to exert once again the leadership this province traditionally had in Canada which we have lost so badly over the time that Mr. Davis has been the Premier.

This weekend I talked with a friend out in Vancouver over the phone. He said, "Your Premier is as inconsequential and irrelevant out here as Bill Bennett probably seems to you down in Ontario." That is not the way it used to be. When the constitutional debate is for all practical purposes over, as it is right now, barring some surprises from the Supreme Court I of Canada, it is time to start to heal the wounds. It is time to start to chart the path for our country for the next two decades. I had no sense of that at all in the throne speech that was delivered in this House.

3:50 p.m.

Let me start with our neighbours to the east. I say to the government the results of the Quebec election were decisive, particularly because they showed the Parti Québecois is here to stay as a major force in Quebec politics. It will be here for the indefinite future.

If our two provinces do not have common interests, then no provinces have. Together we have industries threatened by imports and by the tariff cuts now agreed to at the international level. We have industrial capacity which can and should be used for the development of all of our country, including the big megaprojects in the energy field in western Canada, if we can persuade western Canada to put its orders here, rather than shipping them out to other parts of the world.

We have innumerable interests in common and, traditionally, Ontario and Quebec have worked together, but not for the past five years. The reason we have not in the past five years is partly the responsibility of Quebec, but in large measure it is because of the wall, the blue-tasselled, ribboned wall that was put up on the Quebec border by the Progressive Conservative government of this province.

Three years ago I led a delegation of members of the NDP caucus to Quebec City to establish a dialogue which continues to this day. It is not as intense as I would like, but we took that measure because we thought it was important that this Legislature should communicate with our colleagues in Quebec City. We knew then that was not taking place between the cabinet of the government of Ontario and the cabinet of Quebec or between the people in large measure of this province and the people of Quebec. Nothing has changed and nothing has improved in the intervening period.

Je dirais que nous en Ontario avons un intérêt dans le maintien d'un pays. Maintenir un pays, cela veut dire assurer que les Québecois veulent rester au Canada. Je me souviens de la résolution que nous avons adoptée à l'unanimité dans le débat sur la constitution ici une année. Et dans cette résolution nous avons indiqué clairement aux Québecois que nous dans toutes les parties de l'Ontario étions prêts à faire des changements majeurs pour assurer que les Québecois voudraient rester dans notre pays.

Malheureusement, rien ne s'est passé de cette détermination depuis la résolution. On peut même penser que le gouvernement avait oublié entièrement la déclaration qui a été faite à l'unanimité par cette chambre ici une année. Dans la période des dix dernières années, la séparation entre notre province et la province du Québec est devenue de plus en plus grande et les contacts au niveau des cabinets entre l'Ontario et le Québec devienent de moins en moins intense.

Alors c'est le temps de faire un nouveau commencement. C'est le temps pour l'Ontario de déterminer, de déclarer, de démontrer que nous sommes préparés à recommencer le dialogue avec nos amis, nos frères et nos soeurs de la belle province du Québec et c'est le temps pour l'Ontario de démontrer sa détermination en résolvant nos problèmes ici avec les Franco-ontariens de la province de l'Ontario.

Rien ne pourrait symboliser plus clairement notre détermination de commencer avec un nouveau chapitre nos rélations avec le reste du pays, avec la province du Québec, que si nous acceptions nos obligations envers les Franco-ontariens et si nous prenions l'initiative pour l'acceptation à la section 133 où on appuie tous les droits des Franco-ontariens pour avoir leur propre langage garanti dans les corps, garanti de nos status, et garanti ici dans la salle législative de la province.

It is time as well for a new beginning in our relations with other provinces. We need a fresh initiative from Ontario with western Canada, an initiative that will look to our mutual advantages because Ontario and the west have clear and common advantages to gain by working together, but we are not doing it right now.

My colleague the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) keeps reminding me his riding is almost part of western Canada and feels very much with western Canada, but the fact that Ontario has interests in conjunction with western Canada is simply forgotten here at Queen's Park in this province.

The west would like to expand its manufacturing and we have the technology to help it do it. The west does not have the manufacturing base to meet its needs for heavy industrial development in the energy field. We have the capacity that we can put at their service but we need some quid pro quo. Where was the Premier when Allan Blakeney was offering that kind of joint action five years ago? It was an offer that was ignored, I believe, at the expense and to the cost of all of us in this province.

Ontario can make real contributions in terms of our industries, in terms of our technologies, in terms of our universities and in terms of our work force to the development of this country, but that fresh start and those initiatives were simply not mentioned at all. And there is no sign that the government is prepared to do that, if one judges by the throne speech we had a week ago.

That throne speech, I regret to say to the member for Brock (Mr. Welch), was old, it was borrowed and overwhelmingly it was blue. It gave no indication that the Davis government intends to attack the serious economic and social problems that are faced by the working people of Ontario. Instead of providing tough new initiatives to meet the housing crisis, to meet the rental crisis, to deal with the decline of the automobile industry, to deal with problems related to plant shutdowns and layoffs or to set in motion a thorough rethinking of social policies, we get a recycling of the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program, a series of broken promises, and nothing more.

In our party we had great difficulty believing the Premier in the election campaign when he made his pledge to maintain rent controls as long as he is Premier. It has quickly become clear that a promise is not a promise any more if the government gets its majority back, because otherwise the Premier would have firmly squashed the member for London South (Mr. Walker), who started to speculate about ways to weaken and undermine rent review.

If the government selectively eliminates rent review in London, Ottawa and Windsor, that is not keeping the promise. It is not keeping the promise to take it away from apartments that rent for more than $400 a month. It is not keeping the promise to raise the rent ceilings from six per cent to some much higher figure.

I want you to know, Mr. Speaker, that in London today 34 per cent of three-bedroom apartments that are needed by families rent for more than the $400-figure mentioned by the member, the minister who is responsible for rent review. In Ottawa 48 per cent of the apartments rent for more than that figure and in Windsor 60 per cent of the apartments. That is the protection that the member responsible for rent review wants to take away, despite whatever promises were made by the Premier when he was hustling for votes back in February and did not know whether his government would get its majority mandate or not.

Mr. Martel: That would be something new for him.

The Deputy Speaker: I trust the minister is listening.

Mr. Cassidy: It seems that Thatcherism has spread across the Atlantic.

A year ago with a minority government we had a government prepared to make promises with respect to the advancement of women. Then they voted against the New Democratic Party's bill for economic equality for women, and now with respect to women there is not word of promises in the throne speech. The government does not give a damn about half of the population of Ontario. It is time we achieved economic equality for the women in this province. We can and should achieve that economic equality now.

Last year the throne speech at least was prepared to acknowledge that Ontario had a watching brief over the pricing of basic commodities like food. Last year, because of minority government, the government accepted some obligation to protect families and small businesses that were affected by rising interest rates. This year we have a majority government and, lo and behold, interest rates have become a federal problem, and this government is not prepared to do anything to protect the people affected by the sudden escalation once again of interest rates. This year prices are purely a federal problem and this government is not prepared to even monitor what is going on and ensure that the consumers of this province have someone on their side who will fight for their interests when supermarkets, stores, retailers and other big interests start to push prices up.

We have a government that was not prepared to even mention unemployment in the throne speech. There were 300,000 reasons for mentioning unemployment in the throne speech because there are 300,000 people who are unemployed in the province right now. That is too many. Too many of those are young men and women who do not have jobs and do not know where their careers are going to lead because of a lack of opportunities. Because of the failure of economic stewardship under this government there are 300,000 people unemployed and not a single job target in the growth program and not a single job target in the throne speech last week.

4 p.m.

The government did not come up with any targets, any programs, or any ideas when it comes to ensuring the basic right of individuals to have a house of their own. Now, to add insult to injury, there are rumours that when the budget comes down on May 19, two months after the election, OHIP premiums, which have been held since 1978 at the same level, will once again be increased to a level that is even higher than today, and they are already at the highest level of any province of Canada.

I hope the minister will take this message back to the Premier. We will use the rules of this House, we will use every means available to an opposition party to stop the government from trying to raise OHIP premiums the way they are trying to do with their trial balloons right now, because that is an unjust tax. I want an assurance from the government in the throne debate that never again will they try to load that kind of tax increase on to the ordinary citizens of Ontario.

Mr. T. P. Reid: That sounds good now, but it sounded pretty weak before the last election when the NDP leader voted seven times with the government.

Mr. Cassidy: The member for Rainy River voted 10 times with the government. I would point out as well that the northern representation of the Liberal Party has been cut by half. That is how they have been serving the north. The member for Rainy River is very lucky to be back here intact.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Not as long as the NDP leader keeps running the type of candidate he ran.

The Deputy Speaker: Would the Liberal- Labour member for Rainy River please come to order.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I want to talk for a while about what needs to be done for the province, not just in terms of criticizing the government, but also in terms of the kind of priorities we New Democrats want seen to by this Legislature, not just for the coming two months or the coming year, but over the life of the next four years that we, like it or not, are likely to be around before the next election campaign.

We differ fundamentally both from the Conservative government in terms of what we see as being needed for Ontario and also from those imitation Tories who sit to my right in the official opposition. Their only distinction from the government is they wish they were in power rather than being perpetually in opposition.

Ms. Copps: We will be taking the NDP place.

Mr. Cassidy: That is right. The Liberals will be taking our place because that party is never going to form a government in Ontario.

Ms. Copps: All the places.

Mr. Martel: Is that from a one-tripper?

Mr. Cassidy: That is right.

If the Liberal Party had a single new idea we would have heard about it during the election campaign, but not one idea came from them. And over the next four years, I suspect it is going to be the same. All they do is look at the polls and hope that somehow Pierre Trudeau's poor popularity is going to waft them into office. I want them to know it is not going to happen. It did not happen last year or the year before and it is not going to happen in future.

The Deputy Speaker: The member for Ottawa Centre is being awfully provocative.

Mr. Cassidy: Let me start by talking about jobs, Mr. Speaker. Through the campaign the Conservatives kept pushing the BILD program as their response to Ontario's economic needs. With one stroke, with $150 million of provincial funding per year, BILD would make Ontario a world leader in microelectronics. It would electrify municipal transit systems; it would rebuild the food processing sector; it would allow Ontario to explore and develop new mines; it would establish a mining machinery industry; it would revitalize ship-building; it would promote tourism; it would regenerate our forests. I have forgotten what else is on the list. It was a very long one.

Mr. Martel: For $150 million.

Mr. Cassidy: For $150 million.

Mr. Martel: Like the Bramalea charter.

Mr. Cassidy: That is right. Unlike the Bramalea charter, it did not even have a goal or a target when it came to putting down jobs. The fact is that the NDP's initiatives on economic strategy struck some response from the government, but what they came up with was a pale-blue imitation and nothing more; a pale-blue imitation which would not and could not do the job because you cannot do the job with only one per cent of the provincial budget. If you could turn Ontario's economy around by spending one per cent of the provincial budget, then the challenge to the Conservatives is to explain why it is that they did not do that job beginning in 1943 or beginning in 1977, at the time of the last provincial election.

My colleagues are going to talk to the other issues about jobs, but I want to talk about one issue in particular, because of the concern we have about working people and our particular concern at the cavalier way that both the BILD program and the throne speech have dealt with the problems of our number one manufacturing industry in this province, the automobile industry.

Windsor alone has lost 7,000 jobs in this industry in the last five years. If you go to Chatham, if you go to St. Catharines, if you go to Kitchener, if you go to St. Thomas or London, you will find thousands upon thousands of auto workers are forced to go west to find work. Whether put on layoff for months at a time, or laid off permanently, there is a total right now of something more than 20,000 of them out of work. Twenty plants were closed down in Ontario's auto parts sector last year. Last year, our deficit in the auto trade, with the rest of the world, was once again just under $3 billion. And I do not need to tell you, Mr. Speaker, coming as you do from the Oshawa area, what that translates to in terms of lost jobs, not only in Durham East but in every other part of the province.

We are running $2.5 billion short in terms of a fair share of the investment that the parts industry would need if Canada is to keep its place in North American industry. Our share of auto parts imports into the United States has fallen from 80 per cent a few years ago to near 50 per cent now. It is still falling as US manufacturers adjust to a new world climate, move to a world car, and put Canada's concerns on the back burner in their corporate strategy. And that is the nub of it.

The US companies that dominate our industry have put our concerns and our legitimate desires, our legitimate needs on the back burner because the US government and their own profit sheets are more important to them than what is happening to the industry here in Canada.

Yesterday, in this Legislature, the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) dismissed our concerns once again with a Pollyanna approach, which we simply cannot afford any more. The minister dismissed the Ontario Treasury report on the auto industry by calling it a "worst-case" scenario. But it is that kind of misguided optimism which has hurt us so often in the past. As that report indicates, unless this government and the government of Canada act, we could lose permanently a third of the work force in the automobile industry in Ontario by 1985 -- and that industry is the most important manufacturing industry in this province.

If that occurs, we will largely have ourselves to blame, for the state of Canada's auto industry today depends in large measure on the action and the inaction of this government and of the Liberal government in Ottawa. Why do we have no research and development in the industry to speak of? Where have the Liberals been for 30 years? Where have the provincial Conservatives been for 30 years? Why are the automobile companies still not accountable 16 years after the auto pact? The Liberals in Ottawa and the Conservatives at Queen's Park are accountable for that.

Why have we left the parts industry as an orphan, and why are we now paying the price? Liberals in Ottawa and Conservatives at Queen's Park have been responsible for ignoring the industry in the hope that somehow the private sector would pull through. Why is 90 per cent of the production of our parts industry dedicated to medium-sized cars and large cars that will no longer be built in five years' time? That is an achievement of Conservative economic planning in Ontario.

The new Ford Escort and Mercury Lynx, and the sports models that are being constructed at St. Thomas, here in Ontario, are world cars which the Ford Motor Company has put up as a challenge to the Japanese imports. Only four per cent of the value added of those new cars, the technology of the future, is represented by parts which are made here in Canada, mainly here in Ontario. If we have only four per cent of the cars which are being built, being built in St. Thomas, it is clear that there is no way we can achieve a fair share of jobs, a fair share of production, a fair share of employment, a fair share of research and development and innovation in the automobile industry.

4:10 p.m.

If I can be more specific in order to show just how far the problems have come: Forty per cent of the parts production in our automobile industry in Ontario is in the area of engines. We make V-8 engines, we used to make straight six engines down in Windsor and we now have V-6 production in the Ford plant which opened a few weeks ago. But there was no production of diesel engines and no four-cylinder engine production for cars in Ontario.

General Motors anticipates that five years from today something like 80 per cent of the engines used in the motor cars it manufactures in North America will be diesel or four-cylinder engines. If we have not got the productive capacity then we will be shut out of that production completely.

The Treasury report indicated very clearly that by 1985 or beyond, the GM plant in St. Catharines will be the only engine plant operating in this province and that we may have no engine production at all. The challenge to the government, if it is really intent on running the economy rather than leaving it to private corporations, is to move in now and to make sure that we start the kind of production which will ensure that we are not left without jobs in this important sector of the automobile industry four or five years down the line.

The government response has been pitiful. There is not a single mention of the automobile industry in the throne speech. The auto parts technology centre which is promised in the BILD program is going to be located not on the basis of the needs of the industry but on the basis of political public opinion polls, where the government thinks the most votes are. To all Conservative members here, particularly the new ones, who have a touching faith that somehow the Conservatives can do the job, I say if the Progressive Conservative Party of William Davis cannot deal with the automobile industry, how can anybody expect the other economic and employment problems of our province to be dealt with by our government? This failure in the auto industry makes the whole BILD program nothing short of a joke.

I suggest there are answers. There is a program we could put into place right now, but the NDP is the only party which is prepared even to advocate the program let alone put it into action. We have a market for cars in this country which is worth $10 billion a year. Our market is in the same league as that of Great Britain, Italy and France. We are in the big league, and we should behave as though we were.

What we need and cannot get from Liberals or Conservatives is the determination to intervene to ensure that the automobile industry is an instrument of growth, and to put it into balance in terms of our international trade by acting tough, the way the other countries which have a successful automobile industry have already done. It is time to ensure we get a breathing space by seeking and getting temporary controls to restrict imports of cars and parts while we start to turn the industry around. Nothing short of that is going to do the job.

We should be demanding that auto companies adhere to domestic content rules which will stipulate that if they want to sell their cars in Canada, wherever built, they will have to buy in Canada as well. For every Datsun sold here, let Nissan buy $3,000 worth of parts made by Canadian automobile workers and let them start to assemble their cars in Canada, because nothing less will guarantee that we get a fair share of research, of jobs, and a fair share of trade. That should be our ideal and our target.

It has worked in Mexico and in Brazil. It has worked in countries which were prepared to say: "You do not go any further. Our workers should get jobs in line with what we buy in terms of cars in this country." But it is not enough just to make agreements with the auto companies. We have to be prepared to take a hand in the industry the same way that governments have done in almost every major auto-producing country in the world.

I think of Italy, France, West Germany, Japan. The specific area where we need to take action is in the automobile parts industry. I want to make the suggestion I made during the election campaign, because it is time we had government involvement directly in that industry rather than standing aside while tens of thousands of jobs go down the drain.

In the early 1970s, Canada set up Petro-Canada to help us deal with our energy problems. It was the New Democrats who forced that idea on the minority federal government and it is an idea that is proven, it is an idea that is accepted, it is an idea that works.

Petro-Canada has given us a way to deal with the multinationals and it has overwhelming support by the people of Canada. We need a Petro-Canada in the auto industry. We need a crown corporation we in the NDP would call Auto-Canada. We believe Auto-Canada should be created now as a means of giving this province and this country the clout in the auto industry we have never had before.

Auto-Canada should set out to monitor the parts purchases of the auto companies and should help the government negotiate content rules. It should ensure the in-house production of the Big Three does not continue to be biased against Canada. It should help Canadian parts producers research new technology and develop new products. An auto technology centre on its own is not going to do that job. Auto-Canada should be prepared to enter into ventures with existing suppliers and with the major auto companies to invest in parts production here in Ontario.

I suggested in the election campaign the first joint venture Auto-Canada embarks on should be located in Windsor, where we need the jobs, and should be devoted to the small diesel-engine car production which North America will need so much of in the 1980s. I ask myself, how is it General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are planning to buy engines in Mexico, Brazil, Tokyo in Japan, Western Europe? Their diesels will come from everywhere except Canada, despite the fact we have a market for more than a million cars a year.

Chrysler has the production space down at Windsor. Massey-Ferguson has the diesel engine technology. If we marry that with Auto-Canada we can get the jobs going in Windsor and make sure that those parts, those engines are made here by Canadian workers rather than being imported from abroad.

I do not want to be a prophet of doom, but unless this proposal is taken up, the grim prophecies of the Treasury report will come true and we will find there is little or no production of engines left in Ontario by the time of the next election.

That is the auto industry. That is just one industry, and I will not talk about them all, but it illustrates the weakness of this government, because if the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development had begun a decade ago we might be better prepared for the economic crisis of the 1980s.

Now it has begun with a casual and half-hearted approach to economic planning, which is what the Conservatives are offering this Legislature and this province right now. It is too little, too late and is not acceptable. We do not have the time to wait for the results of BILD by 1985 to prove that this, like the Brampton charter, is another Conservative failure.

We need evidence now that, with this majority, the Conservatives are prepared to turn over a fresh leaf, to quite frankly admit mistakes of the past and to come to grips with the economic problems of our industry in a way that will put this province back on its feet.

I happen to have a great deal of faith in Ontario. I think we have the technology and the young men and women who can do the job in terms of working in our industry. We have proved again and again that we can develop products, can sell them around the world and can sell them to ourselves as well, but we are held back right now because of multinational corporations which dominate our manufacturing industry.

We are held back because of irresponsible decisions made in foreign boardrooms. Decisions should be made here in Canada. We are held back because of a government in this province which believes the rights of those foreign corporations should come ahead of the needs of the people of Ontario.

What we need is a government dedicated to ensuring we pay our way, as we can in this province with full employment, that we pay our way in this province, as we can by replacing imports and that we pay our way in this province, as we can by using the resources of the province as an economic base on which to base our industrial strategy for the 1980s and on into the 1990s.

4:20 p.m.

In the past four years, we have seen the government hand out $120 million in giveaways to the pulp and paper companies. These were straight giveaways with no conditions, no terms, no guarantees of jobs. That's the way they have dealt with industry.

We have seen the same government ignore the fact that if you don't preserve the trees, the mills can't go around. The fact is that those mills will be re-equipped to do a job that Ontario will not be able to do if the government doesn't come to grips with the fact that we are no longer regenerating the forests that Ontario needs in order to keep jobs in the forest sector in northern Ontario into the next decade and beyond.

Mr. Martel: Oh for two trees for one!

Mr. Cassidy: By now we need about five trees for one to make up for the forests that have been raped by the Conservatives and by their friends in the pulp and paper industry over the course of the last --

Hon. Mr. Sterling: We are doing it at Edwardsburgh.

Mr. Martel: They wouldn't even vote for the amendment. The Premier promised two trees for one and those birds voted against it.

Mr. Cassidy: He breaks the promises. He is going to break the promise this time as well.

I happen to believe that economic planning and government leadership can lead to a stable economic future for northern Ontario. The giveaways with taxpayers' money to private corporations have got to be replaced and the NDP has put forward a northern development strategy which would do just that, which would diversify the northern economy, would stabilize economic growth and would eliminate social and economic disparities between northern Ontario and southern Ontario.

It is no accident that there are so many forthright spokespeople for northern Ontario sitting on the front benches of the NDP, because the north has been disadvantaged. The northerners have fought back by electing colleagues like Elie Martel, like Jim Foulds, like Floyd Laughren, like Bud Wildman and like Jack Stokes, men who know the problems of northern Ontario and men who will fight, with my colleagues on the NDP caucus, until we achieve equality for northern Ontario. The way we are going to do it is by building on the resources in northern Ontario.

My colleagues are going to speak to some of those issues, but for now I want to say that the time is long past due when we should have a heritage fund in Ontario and we have the means in our mineral industry here in the province.

Let me give some figures to the Minister without Portfolio, who appears to be the sole remaining member of the cabinet in the House right now. I congratulate him on his elevation. I warn him about those hungry eyes in the back row that are concentrated on him right now, because they all want his job.

In 1979, the people of Saskatchewan received $157 million in revenue from mineral production, excluding oil and gas. The mineral production of that province was worth $847 million. In that same year, in this province we had $43 million worth of mining royalties on $2,224,000,000 worth of production. We had 2.5 times the mineral production in this province that they had in Saskatchewan, excluding their oil and gas, and we got a quarter of the revenues because this government is in bed with the mining companies rather than defending the interests of the people of Ontario.

Let me put it another way. In 1979, we got two cents for every dollar of production of our nonrenewable mineral resources in this province and in Saskatchewan, under an NDP government, they got 18 cents on the dollar, a rate of return nine times as great.

Mr. Swart: How do they explain that?

Mr. Cassidy: They can't explain that. It is a sheer, unadulterated giveaway by a government that puts the interests of corporations ahead of the interests of the people of northern Ontario. This government is no more ready to take on the mining corporations than it is ready to take on the automobile manufacturers, or to take on the doctors or any other powerful interest group in our society.

Crown corporations should be established in the resource sector in order to stimulate development and stabilize local economies. If we created the northern Ontario tomorrow fund that we have called for for so many years, the heritage fund the New Democrats have called for for so many years, it would be a means of ensuring that northern development was in the hands of the people of this province rather than leaving northern development in the hands of multinational resource companies that do not give a damn about the future of this province.

There is another aspect to the costs of the economic policy of this government. In this year's election campaign, the government sought votes on the slogan of "Help Keep the Promise." But when it came to the throne speech, it had already forgotten the promise that was made in such unequivocal terms this December by the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie). That promise was to bring in severance pay legislation at the earliest possible time in the next session of the Legislature. That is a promise that we will hold the government to, because the evidence of the shutdowns last year and the evidence we had before the select committee on plant shutdowns is clear and unequivocal. Workers must not be left on their own when they are faced with irresponsible corporations, often multinationals, that are determined to shut down, whatever the human costs.

I read through some of the testimony at the select committee this week. It drove home to me just what workers are up against and just how difficult the problems are for some of them. What would you do, Mr. Speaker, in the case of Celia Riches, who lives a few miles from Dunnville, who worked for 19 years at the Essex International plant there before it shut down? Her husband is on disability pension and, before she was laid off, her take-home pay was $135 a week.

How about Mrs. McMichael, who had been at the Essex International plant for 16 years? When she came before the committee, she said, "After unemployment insurance, it's going to be hard."

How about Gary Weston, who was a machinist with papers, who thought he would get a job easily? About six months after the shutdown occurred, there he was with a mortgage to pay, a baby to support, a wife who was unemployed, no severance pay, no pension benefits. He did not even get a thank-you from the company.

When we went to the company and said, "Why won't you set up a manpower adjustment committee?", they said, "We are sorry, but we are too busy in the United States to come up to Canada to look after the needs of those particular workers."

The pay in this plant was $4.09 an hour. How generous the multinationals are to people here! Yet it was one of the most highly productive in the Essex International chain in all of North America.

The government says, "Why didn't they go on strike for severance pay?" They had to go on strike to get an increase in the wage offers that were running about 20 cents to 30 cents an hour per annum if they had not gone on strike.

The company cut the work force from more than 1,000 to 300 prior to the shutdown. The company had milked the Canadian subsidiary to the tune of a dividend of $15 million that was taken back to the United States in 1978. But they did not have two nickels to rub together to help those workers who were misled about the shutdown and then put out on the street with no guarantee that anything would happen for their future.

The stories were the same with the Bendix plant in Windsor, Armstrong Carpet in Lindsay and the other companies that were called before that particular committee.

The only bottom line for those corporations is profit. The social costs and the human costs of shutdowns are not considered at all. The employees are kept in the dark about what is happening. Even when there is a pension, it is like the $60 a week that many of the people at the Steep Rock Mine in Atikokan got. In return for a lifetime of devoting themselves to that particular company, they are put on the scrap heap with enough money for a couple to buy a decent meal at a posh restaurant frequented by the Conservatives in the vicinity of Queen's Park.

What is occurring in this province is that capital has been given unilateral power to respond to its stockholders and to no other responsibilities, and that is tolerated by this government from the Premier to the Minister of Labour, to every minister in the cabinet. I challenge any one of those new members who are sitting in the back row to say whether they are prepared to vote against the government when the government fails to come up with the one week for every year of service in severance pay, which was the unanimous recommendation of all of the members of the select committee on plant shutdowns when we had minority government before March 19; now we will have to see.

4:30 p.m.

The message of that committee, which even the Conservative members agreed to, was that management has a responsibility to the communities and to the workers from whom they have made their profits. Surely that principle can be respected. If it is going to be respected, then why does the government try to weasel out by taking severance pay out of the throne speech, by leaving the Minister of Labour high and dry, by putting him in a position where he may have no choice but to submit his resignation because his promise will not be honoured when we get to it in the next few weeks?

The omission of severance pay from the throne speech was very disturbing. It shows me that the government is going to do its best to try to evade the promises of the Minister of Labour if it possibly can. If the promise is not evaded, then it is going to be like rent control: you water it down, you put it off, you tear it apart, you do everything possible to make sure that nobody at all will really benefit in the end.

What about the other principles we fought for as well? Severance pay was not the only one; in many respects it was the least of what we were fighting for. Surely it is time that Canada and Ontario adopted the principle, which is now widespread in western Europe, that if a corporation intends to shut down, that corporation should be forced to justify the shutdown and to justify it publicly rather than being allowed to pack its tents and move away.

Surely workers who are affected by the shutdowns should get at least six months' advance notice so that they can plan their lives the same way that the corporation plans its affairs when it plans six months or one year ahead to carry out a shutdown.

Surely it is not an intolerable interference when management has the right, right now, to pull away as it did in the case of Outboard Marine. Management should not have the right to interfere with the livelihood of individuals without advance notice, without justification and without protecting pensions.

We are going to fight for those principles. We think workers have the right to severance pay, to have their jobs justified before they are taken away, and communities have that right as well, and to adequate advance notice.

If they will not agree to that, then what the members of the government are saying is that this is a province where only capital counts and where workers do not count for anything. That is not my Ontario. That is not the Ontario New Democrats stand for. We stand with the rights of the working people in the province. If the government wants just to fight for capital, so be it. We will take them on at the hustings in another four years' time.

In the first three months of this year, the Ministry of Labour says, there were 23 closures in Ontario, with 5,443 workers laid off. That is almost the same rate as last year. Those workers deserve a guarantee that their jobs will be protected by this government, that their employers will be forced to justify shutdowns and that they do have the right to severance pay. It is the least we should give to people who in many cases have devoted 20 years of their lives to one particular employer before a shutdown takes place.

The question of severance pay and shutdowns is only part of the kind of approaches we need to be thinking about when it comes to the future of this province. The challenge for the 1980s now is not just to run our economy. The challenge is to integrate social policy and economic policy as well. That is why we need a tomorrow fund for northern Ontario, together with a development plan for the social as well as the economic development of northern Ontario. It is absolutely essential to start moving forward, and there is one particular area where I am afraid the government is giving a clear indication that it is prepared to live with the past rather than moving forward, and that is in the area of pensions. That is going to be a major issue. The government foresaw that when it appointed the Royal Commission on the Status of Pensions in Ontario. Unfortunately, we have had the most retrograde report that could have been imagined, a report that says quite clearly that only the private sector is capable of meeting the needs.

The private sector has been a dismal failure when it comes to pensions. It has failed to deal with coverage, because half of the workers of this province are not covered by an employer pension plan. It has failed to deal with portability. Portability does not exist for most employees in the province. It has failed to deal with vesting. Vesting is so distant for most people that they may never get it, with current work standards and work practices, and it means that many pensioners who move from job to job will end up with no pension at all at the age of 65.

The private sector has totally failed to deal with the question of indexation to preserve the purchasing power of private pensions. The private sector has failed to deal with the problems that women have because they have been systematically discriminated against by the government in the course of the private pension system.

I was appalled at the choice of timing by the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller), who took the opening day of this Legislature to fling down the gauntlet and say that, despite the failures of the private pension system, that was the only way to go. The Treasurer was saying clearly that the government has already anticipated the report of the select committee on pensions that this Legislature is to set up, and I regret that, because it is a fundamentally reactionary attitude.

I think that to dismiss an expanded Canada pension plan means that we tell most people across the province that in their lifetime they are not going to have the right to a decent pension. We are telling them as well that this government, this province will not use pension funds as a means of administering an economic development plan that will create jobs for the people of Ontario.

The Treasurer seems to view trustee pension funds as a pool of capital that should be available only for the private sector. He should reply in the throne speech debate as to why that capital should not be available for the public sector. We have used it in the past to develop schools, universities, hospitals and educational institutions. We can also use that pool of public capital, if we maintain it, to develop jobs in the public sector. But I am afraid the Treasurer does not see it that way.

The Treasurer seems to view pensions as something over which workers or their representatives should have no control. We reject that view absolutely and entirely.

I am concerned that Ontario may now use its veto over the Canada pension plan to prevent improvements being made to the CPP, not just for people in this province, but also for people everywhere across the country. I want to suggest, even before the select committee is set up, that there are certain changes we can and should make right now to show that this province is prepared to stand up for the rights of ordinary people who have been short-changed by the pension schemes of this province for too long.

We need vesting after five years and we could have that now, in this session of the Legislature, if the government were committed to protecting people and not insurance companies.

The Deputy Speaker: Mr. Cassidy, I am sorry, but while there is a hesitation, may I say I enjoyed your comments on the auto industry very much. I am sure I am out of order, but I might also comment that I am very pleased to see the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Smith) in attendance. I am sure our one sole cabinet minister, the Minister without Portfolio, will take your comments back to the government.

Mr. Cassidy: I hope he will. Thank you for pointing out, Mr. Speaker, that the government is so concerned that in its new arrogance it is only the Minister without Portfolio who is ever told to stay in the House, and the ministers with cabinet responsibility are going to be absent for the next four years. I suspect that is the case.

Mr. McClellan: They will be absent after the next election.

Mr. Cassidy: That is right. The member for Carleton-Grenville (Mr. Sterling) should tell his colleagues that if they want to do something for pensions, they should bring in vesting after five years. He should tell his colleagues that if they want to do something for pensions, they should activate the central pension agency, for which legislation exists. It needs a stroke of the pen, a regulation to be passed and portability through the central pension agency could be a reality for workers in this province today, without waiting for action on the select committee on pensions.

It is about time we had a guarantee for all pension credits so the workers would not be put in the situation of the workers of the Prestolite plant and other places where pension liabilities are being left unfunded. Those steps should be taken before the select committee meets, but I am afraid this government will put the interests of private insurers far ahead of the interests of the ordinary working people of this province, whose only concern is that when they retire they have a decent income, protected against inflation and able to be carried from job to job, and that they be able to look after their own needs without having to depend on relatives or on the government.

In social policy it is more than pensions that are at stake, because it is about time that this Legislature began to give very serious consideration as well to the need for a major and fundamental reform of our social security system.

In a few months, we are going to have the Weiler report on workers' compensation but, if that report leads to legislative tinkering, it is not going to resolve the basic and underlying problems which exist and those problems go far beyond the workmen's compensation system alone. Those problems can only be addressed by moving towards a universal and comprehensive sickness and accident insurance program that will provide compensation for both people who earn and people who do not earn, that will provide compensation irrespective of fault and that will provide compensation irrespective of where the injury or the illness is contracted.

4:40 p.m.

The situation in this province right now is that if a worker goes to work, punches a time clock and a minute later slips on a banana peel and is crippled for life, he will be compensated by the WCB. If that worker is turning the corner to come into the plant to punch the time clock and the same circumstances prevail, he slips on a banana peel and is crippled for life, he will not get a nickel's worth of compensation. That is the law in Ontario right now, and a law that can be that unfair is an unjust law.

My colleagues and I intend to lay out before this Legislature ways in which we in Ontario can move step by step towards a systematic implementation of universal social insurance that will protect people in disability, people in illness and people in adversity in the same way we believe that every worker, every person in the province should be entitled to a decent income at the time they come to retirement.

Surely workers and their families should not be penalized when injuries or illnesses occur. Surely society must begin to accept responsibility for the welfare of people who, because of injury or illness, are not able to sustain themselves. Surely this form of compensation is a basic right that is not a form of social assistance but is an insurance against physical incapacity. Surely the present system of workers' compensation is totally inadequate when it is viewed in this light, and so also is our system of family benefits.

We look to a system that would provide compensation on a universal basis to injured persons both for permanent physical disability and for loss of income with a regular cost-of-living adjustment. We look for a system where financing by the whole community from a levy on employers, on drivers and on general revenues replaces the selective taxation that takes place right now. We look for compensation to be paid to people who are incapacitated by illness. We look for the Workmen's Compensation Act to be repealed and private insurers to be excluded from the field of accident and sickness coverage except where they are providing supplementary coverage.

We look for action to prevent accidents by promoting safer worker environments. We look for a requirement that employers provide adequate employment opportunities for those disabled workers, and that means quotas to make sure that workers can get those jobs.

We look for an emphasis on rehabilitation such as this province has never seen before. It is not good enough to have one hospital in Downsview providing rehabilitation on a hit-and-miss basis. It is not good enough to have workers forced to come down by train from Sudbury, to be separated for weeks or months at a time from their families, to get some form of half-baked rehabilitation when we could be carrying that out in the communities where people work. It is not good enough to say to a worker, "If your arm moves a little bit, then you are capable of working at 10 or 20 per cent of your former capacity."

It is time that rehabilitation was given as much importance as compensation in terms of disability pensions, because a just compensation system must provide for the prevention of accidents, for the maintenance of income and for rehabilitation, and our compensation scheme right now fails on all three counts.

We have a society whose nature is changing. It is time to reform our economy to put it on the track of full employment, because that is the best form of social security for most people. It is time to ensure that economic development is used as a means to pay for needed social programs. It is time as well to use our wealth to protect our citizens in old age with a pension system, and in adversity with a social insurance system.

I am disturbed at the indications from people like the member for London South (Mr. Walker) that far from moving in that direction, far from moving to an integration of our economic system and our social security system, which is what New Democrats believe can be achieved in the 1980s and in the 1990s, the government will march resolutely away from that particular direction.

I read the other day a phrase now being used in Washington, where Mr. Reagan and his assistants and associates are talking about providing assistance only to those who are "truly needy." It appears defence corporations are among the truly needy, because defence contracts are going up in the United States. It appears many companies will be in the ranks of the truly needy because of the increased tax incentives they are going to get but, when it comes to ordinary people who need housing, who need food stamps in the United States, who need assistance with the cost of living, who become disabled, those people are not going to qualify.

That kind of thinking colours this government as well. This government has moved to the right. It has moved to a situation where it says, "Let those who are weak take the hindmost, because this government is going to line up with its friends and with no one else."

[Translation from Italian].

Mr. Speaker, let us take a look at the prices of homes. On the one hand, Conservatives tell us the family should be the nucleus of this province and on the other hand they offer no assistance plan for families at a disadvantage because of the lack of homes and their prices.

In many parts of this province, owning a home has become a luxury rather than a right. This situation is especially tragic within our ethnic groups, which in many cases have to work at minimum pay and where both parents have to work for the upkeep of their families. In many cases they barely survive.

It is time the government intervened rather than advise families to find homes elsewhere. We must act in a concrete way. If the government really cares for our families, let it show it in a concrete way, not in words, which cost nothing.

[End of translation].

This throne speech had brave words about the importance of the family in our society, but those words are empty words when it comes to the matter of housing. Today, the average home in Metro can be afforded only by a family with an income of $44,000 a year. We had the spectacle of the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett) in this Legislature on Thursday saying the price of housing is "not beyond the middle-income earner's opportunity of purchasing." The fact is that, at the average industrial worker's wage of $17,000 a year in Metropolitan Toronto, there is not a single housing unit for a family that could be afforded by a worker at the average industrial wage.

We are demanding a speculation tax as part of a policy to ensure affordable housing. We are going to come back to that again and again because, unless this government is prepared to take immediate action to curb speculation, we are not going to do anything about keeping housing within reach of the ordinary families of Ontario.

Those speculators are using housing for profit and nothing else. The members in the back row may have heard from some of their colleagues who are on the outside. Maybe they are doing it themselves right now. One looks at the Globe and Mail in the morning, one picks up the phone and says: "Joe, I want the house that is on page 37 of the want ads, the one that is third down from the top at $109,000. That is in a good district and it is going to go up. And buy me three condominiums as well."

There was a report in the paper the other day about a Vancouver housing consultant, Richard Ingram, who was buying hundreds of housing units in this province sight unseen as speculative investments on behalf of clients in western Canada. Nu West Development of Calgary is doing the same thing, buying up town houses because it thinks they are going to appreciate in value over the course of the coming months.

Those speculators are investing their money in housing for a very short period. They do not intend to live in the homes. They resell the homes at higher prices, and Ontario families cannot afford this kind of speculative profit which contributes absolutely nothing in terms of shelter to the future of Ontario.

We have west coast money coming into this province. We have foreign money from Hong Kong, West Germany and Europe coming into this province. We have people who were lining up overnight to get an 800- or 900-square-foot bungalow for $59,800 in Mississauga in which one can barely fit a small family. A starter home starts at $60,000 in Metropolitan Toronto these days.

One gets developers telling the purchasers that, if they do not buy now, the price is going to go up by $20,000 between now and the fall. That kind of speculation should not and must not be allowed. But the government does not give a damn when it comes to choosing between its friends in the development industry and the rights of ordinary families who want to be able to get a house of their own at a price they can afford.

4:50 p.m.

We have a minister who believes that the right of investors takes precedence over the rights of Ontario workers to housing. I suggest that we leave the member for Ottawa South (Mr. Bennett) to invest in housing himself. There is no reason he should be in the cabinet of Ontario, because he cannot do the job. His responsibility is to provide housing for the people of the province, not profits for the developers.

The numbers game and the blustering of the Minister of Housing will not change the fact that half the families in Metropolitan Toronto could not afford to buy more than 80 per cent of the houses sold in March 1981. Only 18 per cent of homes sold in March 1981 were sold for less than $50,000. That is the price an average family income of $27,000 can afford.

The minister says those people should avoid downtown areas and look for housing in Scarborough, for example. But if the minister had gone shopping in Scarborough two weeks ago, he would have found that of the units listed, only 109, or 12 per cent, were listed at $50,000 or less.

We know there are no easy solutions for housing. We want some long-term solutions, such as rent review and the construction of co-operative and nonprofit housing. But the government must begin by curbing the speculative spiralling in the price of housing. Nothing else is going to protect those families who, week after week, see a house moving farther out of their reach.

We can end speculation in the housing market. We proved that back in 1974, when the land speculation tax came in. We will have some specific proposals, but if the government has not got a better idea, I suggest that it dust off the Land Speculation Tax Act, 1974 -- not because it gained a lot of revenue for the people of this province, but because it was a clear warning to speculators that we do not want them in Ontario. They can take their hot dollars and go to some other part of the world. We want housing for people and not for profits in Ontario.

There is a clear pattern in terms of the way the government has already begun to govern with its majority right now. We have a government that is prepared to provide $12,000 a year for doctors, but only peanuts for hospital workers, against whom it proceeds in the courts because they went on strike.

The government looks for a way out of its promises to tenants so that it can reward developers. It is prepared to move heaven and earth to put speculative profits in the hands of land owners and developers at the expense of people who want a home of their own. We have a government that leaves control of our most important manufacturing industry in the hands of multinational automobile companies, even though thousands of jobs are threatened or already lost in that industry. It is prepared to hand out millions of dollars in grants and tax concessions to northern resource companies who perpetuate the underdevelopment of northern Ontario, and puts the interest of insurance companies ahead of the needs of ordinary Ontarians who want decent pensions.

The NDP believes that these priorities are fundamentally wrong, and we intend to combat the government at every opportunity. We had an election on March 19. The results, as my friend from Cochrane North (Mr. Piche) is aware, were not exactly what New Democrats had hoped for in terms of the seats that we expected to win. But I want the member and all his colleagues to know that the New Democratic Party has been in this province for 20 years. Our predecessors, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, came into this Legislature in the 1930s.

We are here to stay. I am here to stay as the leader until February and as the member for Ottawa Centre beyond that. We intend to keep the promises that we made in the election campaign, and we will do everything possible to stop the Conservative government from breaking the promises it made in the course of the election campaign leading up to March 19.

We disagree fundamentally with the Conservatives and, starting now, we are going to set out what this province needs in jobs and economic strategy; in housing for people at prices people can afford; in rights for women and economic equality for women, a battle we fought single-handedly in the last Parliament; in rights for farmers, because the farmers now recognize that the NDP policy is the best policy for the farmers of Ontario; in a fair tax system; in resource development; in protecting laid-off workers, in providing for universal health care, the kind of health care people voted for when they voted for OHIP and universal medicare in Ontario; and in pensions and in social services.

There is a job to be done in Ontario. I have outlined my fears in terms of what the government intends to do. We are going to fight the government and its intentions at every opportunity. I want to make explicit our concerns.

Mr. Cassidy moved that the amendment to the motion for an address in reply to the speech from the Throne be amended by adding thereto the following:

"And this House condemns the government:

"For its failure to introduce a housing and land speculation tax and introduce other measures to curb the speculative profiteering and inflow of speculative funds from outside of Ontario which makes it impossible for average Ontario families to own a home of their own;

"For its failure to provide universal access to health care and its absolute refusal to prohibit extra billing by doctors above the OHIP rate;

"For its failure to extend rent review to tenants in buildings built since 1975 and its obvious efforts to weaken or eliminate rent review protection for tenants;

"For its failure to exercise its stewardship over the natural resources of Ontario through a policy of public ownership and development of our resources which would finance a northern Ontario tomorrow fund and ensure the maximum return to the people of Ontario;

"For its failure to provide for a meaningful reform of the pension system that will put needs of Ontario citizens ahead of the profits of the insurance industry;

"For its failure to undertake a comprehensive reform of social security and of workmen's compensation in Ontario that will provide rehabilitation and income protection for every citizen;

"And for all these reasons this House has no confidence in the government."

5 p.m.

Mr. Brandt: It is both a privilege and a pleasure, Mr. Speaker, for me to rise and address this House for the first time. As one of the first members of the government party to reply to the speech from the throne, I am humbled by this awesome responsibility and yet I welcome the opportunity to speak today on the question of Canadian crude oil supply in the petrochemical industry. This crucially important area is all the more important for me as the new member for the riding of Sarnia which, as you know, Mr. Speaker, is the hub of the petrochemical industry in Canada.

Before I commence my remarks on this subject, however, I want to extend my congratulations to you, Mr. Speaker, on your appointment. I wish you well in your new position, and I know I am reflecting the views of my colleagues on both sides of the House when I say I am confident you will fulfil this responsibility with dignity and a sense of fairness.

I also want to take this occasion to offer my good wishes to the former Speaker, the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes), who carried out his responsibilities and his duties in his time as Speaker with impartiality and skill. I know his contribution was greatly appreciated by those on both sides of this chamber.

Sarnia is my home, and I have been proud to serve the citizens of this medium-sized Ontario city as mayor for the past six years and, before that, as an alderman for four years. Now it gives me even greater satisfaction to be able to represent the people of Sarnia in the Ontario Legislature. I look forward eagerly to carrying out my duties in this new role in the years ahead.

As I said, Sarnia is the hub of the Canadian petrochemical industry and as such it is an extremely important industrial centre for Ontario. But Sarnia is more than a city of large and important industries. It is the birthplace of many prominent Canadians, not the least of whom is Ontario's former Lieutenant Governor, Pauline McGibbon.

When I was listening to the Honourable John Black Aird delivering the throne speech in this chamber a week ago I was reminded of his predecessor, who discharged that same duty so ably and so well during her six-year tenure as the Queen's representative in this province. Pauline McGibbon is a remarkable woman, and her exemplary contribution as Ontario's Lieutenant Governor between the years 1974 and 1980 was just one more admirable achievement in a long and dedicated life of service to her community and to her province. Sarnia is proud to be able to claim Pauline McGibbon as a native daughter, and the people of Sarnia will continue to follow her activities and her achievements now and in the future with the same interest and sense of pride as they have shown in the past.

Mr. J. A. Reed: It is the best thing to come from the Conservative Party in years.

Mr. Brandt: I am here now, sir. It is possible that some people in this chamber have never been to Sarnia. Being located at the southwesterly tip of our province, members may not have had occasion to pay us a visit unless they happened to be making a trip across the border to the United States. Unlike the residents of Windsor, a little to the south, we do not enjoy the benefit of through traffic en route to Detroit and back.

Another deterrent to travelling to this far corner of southwestern Ontario has been access. While members in Metro and environs have been used to moving quickly in the Metro and Golden Horseshoe areas by way of Highways 401, 400 and the Queen Elizabeth Way, we in Sarnia have been accessible only by secondary highways and byways until relatively recently. This is why the completion of Highway 402 is so important and so vital to the people and to the industries and the future industrial growth of the city of Sarnia and to Lambton county. This four-lane freeway with full control access will connect Highway 401 south of London to Sarnia and provide a link with the American interstate highway system as well.

Work on completing this major connection has been in progress for some years now, and I have been advised by the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) that the highway will be completed by the fall of 1982. This firm commitment from the minister with respect to a specific completion date will be good news for the constituents of my riding who are eagerly awaiting word on the finalization of this particular project.

Mr. Foulds: Does the member have that in writing?

Mr. Brandt: Yes, it is in writing. The member for Port Arthur will be pleased to hear that and we will invite you there for the opening and the ribbon-cutting.

I would like to turn now to the main subject of my address today, Canadian crude oil supply in the petrochemical industry. One of the main concerns and one of the principal concerns facing Canada and Ontario at this time in their history is the question of our national energy policy and our future, and the resolution of that particular problem between the federal government and the provincial government of Alberta.

While the national debate in recent months has been concentrated almost exclusively on the constitution, the energy question remains a priority item on the national agenda even if it has not yet received the same degree of discussion, action or publicity of late. The energy question is very much a part of the current constitutional debate. Control of natural resources will be an integral part of any new Canadian constitution, and just how this issue will be resolved will have far-reaching repercussions on Canada's future energy and economic security.

Canada's need for crude oil and the supply of that oil is undoubtedly our country's primary energy concern at this time. Right now, at this moment, we are importing 420,000 barrels of crude oil a day at world prices. This represents about 20 per cent of our total crude oil needs in Canada. Twenty per cent may not seem like very much, but when projections indicating our need for imported crude oil some 10 years or so down the road are examined it is a totally different situation.

According to those projections, by the year 1990 the percentage of oil that we will have to import to meet our needs will be more than double present levels. In other words, imports will account for close to 50 per cent of our total supply. Now, this is not news. We have been aware of these disconcerting facts for some time, and it is to the credit of the Davis government, if I may say so, that Ontario has taken steps to reduce this province's dependence on foreign oil from politically unstable regions.

Some 18 months or so ago, our Ministry of Energy formulated a policy setting out the means by which Ontario could attain energy security in the 1980s. That plan challenged Canada to a national goal of crude oil self-sufficiency by 1990. Taking the lead, Ontario also set its own targets in the area of energy conservation and oil substitution.

To refresh your memory, it is our goal to supply more than 37 per cent of our own primary energy needs from Ontario-based sources by 1995. If we achieve this target, it would mean a reduction in Ontario's demand for crude oil by some 23 million barrels. In tangible terms, 23 million barrels is the equivalent to that required annually to heat more than one million homes.

While these goals, on both a national and provincial level, are admirable in theory, the reality of our national energy situation is such that there seems to be little likelihood of their being attained, given the current political climate. There is no doubt that Canada's energy future could be secure. There is no doubt that rather than facing uncertainty, we could be moving ahead to meet the challenges inherent in Canada's energy developments with confidence and with enthusiasm.

Unfortunately, I must say to members of this House that is not the case. Many of the provisions of the federal government's national energy program, combined with the inability of Ottawa and the oil-producing provinces to reach agreement on critical energy issues, have not only significantly slowed industrial activity, but they also threaten the very existence of some of the major projects on which Canada must depend to achieve its national goal of energy self-sufficiency.

Indeed, few aspects of the oil and gas industry are not adversely affected by the national energy program. The reduced incentive to maintain production from existing wells could lead to a faster-than-predicted decline in the production from these sources. Plans for slowing the decline in production for mature fields by enhanced recovery technology have had to be postponed because, frankly, they are no longer economically feasible and, again because of reduced incentives, exploration for new conventional oil in western Canada is expected to decrease appreciably.

In addition, the government of Alberta has announced that it will not grant final approval to new oil sands plants, which are vital to energy self-sufficiency for Canada, until it reaches a comprehensive agreement with Ottawa.

The fact of the matter is this: The reduction in oil demand that can be expected to result from conservation and fuel substitution programs, such as those that are now in place in Ontario as well as those soon to be implemented, would be overshadowed by a far more dramatic decline in domestic production if the present federal policies prevail.

5:10 p.m.

The good work we in Ontario do in this decade to reduce our dependence on crude oil could well be negated if domestic supplies are allowed to decrease because of federal policies. Under the circumstances, it is no wonder an increasingly frustrated oil industry is saying that, far from achieving self-sufficiency by 1990, Canada could find itself relying more heavily on oil imports than ever before.

Instead of importing 20 per cent of our crude, as we are today, by 1990 we could well be importing some 50 per cent of our total supply if -- and this is probably the most frightening aspect of the whole discussion -- oil is available to be purchased from any sources at that particular time.

This daunting prospect and its effect on the Canadian economy would be little short of tragic. Apart from the obvious perils to our national security by such a mounting dependence on imported energy supplies, Canada would have turned its back on an immense and unique opportunity for wealth and job creation.

Also, when Canada buys oil in the world market that could be produced here at home, it increases demand for foreign oil, and this works to keep world prices higher than they might ordinarily be. There is no need to describe the hardship this creates, not only for Canada but also for those poorer nations which, unlike ourselves, have no domestic oil production.

Until now I have spoken generally of the damaging effect the current oil negotiation impasse and national energy program will have on the economy of Canada as a whole. Let me, if I can, spend a few minutes talking specifically about Sarnia and the negative impact being experienced in my city right now.

Currently, Sarnia has some $1.5 billion worth of new energy and petrochemical projects on the drawing boards or in the implementation stages. One firm, Petrosar, as an example, has projects with a dollar value of $500 million in the works at the moment, while Suncor has $200 million in new ventures waiting to go ahead.

These projects are directly related to energy-saving initiatives whereby crude oil is upgraded to a little higher production quality, resulting in less residual or lower value product.

A great many thousands of barrels of crude oil, estimated to be in the range of 30,000 to 40,000 barrels of crude oil per day, will be saved as a direct result of this substantial capital investment.

The energy sector is one of the major means Canada has at its disposal for building a stronger national economy throughout the 1980s. An aggressive program of energy development would not just benefit the energy producing provinces such as Alberta and the oil industry but, as well, there would be positive spinoff benefits to other provinces and to many sectors of our industrial economy.

The positive impact for Ontario alone would be substantial if the federal energy negotiations could be resolved satisfactorily. If the megaprojects in the west which have been delayed by the government of Premier Lougheed of Alberta were given the green light, many billions of dollars in new industrial sales would result, with Ontario being one of the major beneficiaries.

For example, Ontario's steel industry would benefit significantly from new pipeline construction. Shipbuilding, engineering, machinery and plant construction are just some of the other industries that would gain from a farsighted national energy program. Such a program could result in as much as $200 million being spent in this decade on oil and gas development across Canada.

While Ontario has been at the forefront in the fight against allowing the price of Canadian crude oil to reach world levels, it is inevitable that some domestic oil price increases will have to take place. A differential, however, must continue to be maintained to the advantage of our domestic industries in Canada so that Canadian industries can compete effectively in the world market.

The argument that Canadian oil prices should be kept artificially low to reduce the impact on Canadian consumers and industries is difficult to defend in view of the fact we are already paying world prices for approximately 20 per cent of the oil we now import. Unless domestic producers are given the incentive to develop our resources, we will be forced to pay a higher and higher world price for increasing amounts of OPEC oil, while much of our domestic supply lies untapped and undeveloped in the ground.

Given a choice, I believe the people of Ontario and the people of Canada would prefer to spend their hard-earned tax dollars on a Canadian product developed in this country to helping make the OPEC cartel even wealthier than it happens to be at present.

As Ontario is primarily a consumer of oil, it cannot participate directly in the current discussions between Ottawa and the producing provinces. Nevertheless, it is my belief that Ontario has a pivotal role to play in helping to free the present negotiation impasse. Our province's traditional role as the honest broker could be used to good effect in bringing the intransigent parties to a successful resolution of the problem, which has dragged on for an unconscionably long time, in my view.

The Prime Minister has already accepted our Premier's invitation to hold a first ministers' conference on inflation in the near future. Since the price of oil is one of the most pervasive inflationary forces facing us today, this meeting could provide a forum for a responsible debate on energy between Ottawa and all of the provinces.

The tenor of my comments to this point has been somewhat cautionary but, given my constituency, Mr. Speaker, I am sure you can appreciate my perspective and understand the specific nature of my concerns. Living as I do in the heart of Canada's petrochemical industry, it is impossible to downplay the importance of the energy issue. This is not to say, however, that I lack confidence in the economy of Ontario or the economy of Sarnia.

The speech from the throne indicated clearly the great potential for future growth which exists in this province and which can be more fully realized through our economic development strategy under the BILD program. The shift to high-technology development is a decision that I applaud. Without it and advanced research and development, the oil industry certainly could not survive, let alone prosper.

Other sectors of our economy are in the same situation. Our increasingly competitive world demands that we follow the lead of other highly industrialized nations such as Japan, which are depending more and more on advanced technology to operate an economically efficient and productive state. The magnitude of the projects on the drawing boards in Sarnia, about which I spoke earlier, is a very clear indication that our economy is potentially strong and, once the energy question is resolved, we can start to develop some of these projects very quickly.

Sarnia has had a successful past, and our future prospects are bright as well. We are the centre of Canada's petrochemical industry, and we do not intend to relinquish that position. Since Alberta has the crude oil and we in Sarnia are geographically located at the other end of the pipeline, it is not surprising that Alberta's Premier Lougheed would like to develop the petrochemical industry in his province.

But we in Sarnia have a number of advantages that are most important. First, there are a number of very large and powerful industries in place in Sarnia now, and they are committed to that particular region of our province. The second major advantage is geographic location. We happen to be within 500 miles of half of the population of the United States and Canada. Many of the plants that depend on Sarnia as a supply source are located within that 500-mile circle, far removed from the province of Alberta.

Under the circumstances, we are in a very advantageous position to attract reasonable amounts of future growth and development that can come into either of the two provinces with respect to the petrochemical industries.

Future growth in Sarnia will come from the chemical side of our industry rather than the petroleum side. This is because in Ontario at the moment we have more than adequate refinery capacity and existing refineries are not operating at maximum levels. It is most improbable, therefore, that future growth in our area will come from new or expanded refineries.

The rather limited prospect of future growth in the petroleum business, however, should be offset by an optimistic forecast of things to come in chemicals, rubber, fertilizer and related products -- the very products that are now produced in my community.

5:20 p.m.

Let me take a few moments to point out the tremendous number of diverse products that are made in Sarnia using crude oil as a building block and its impact on the balance of the Ontario economy.

Just for example, 100 gallons of crude oil could be made into 46 white shirts, 13 garbage cans, 46 sweaters, 365 items of ladies' lingerie --

Mr. Nixon: What?

Mr. Brandt: Ladies lingerie; 365 items. Can you imagine that?

Mr. Nixon: Well, that is a pretty broad category.

Mr. Brandt: To continue: Two tires, eight tire tubes and 23 pounds of filler, while at the same time producing enough gas to last the average household 30 full days.

Mr. Speaker, if you were to substitute for the 13 garbage cans, you could produce, as an example, 1,155 feet of home water pipe or 8,800 square feet of film sheets. If the market happened to be slow in ladies' lingerie, you could instead produce 910 pounds of nylon pantyhose, or nine 16-inch television cabinets.

By the time the chemical industry and other downstream fabricators have finished with their work, crude oil valued at $29 would be worth $26,000 in finished product form.

Mr. Nixon: That is pantyhose.

Mr. Brandt: Among other things. Let me know your size and I will see if I can get it for you wholesale.

Mr. Foulds: Actually, your numbers would diminish considerably if you use his size or that of the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Piche).

Mr. Brandt: Do you want a pair as well?

The plastics industry is almost entirely dependent on petrochemicals and, from these chemicals, about half of the fibres used, from carpets to coats, are produced. Eighty per cent of our rubber, Aspirin tablets and detergents, half of the world's fertilizer -- with the exception of some that comes from another direction in this House -- all come from base products that are produced in Sarnia.

Perhaps the most aggressive changes of all will occur in the auto industry with the conversion to smaller and lighter cars to reduce fuel consumption. Both plastic and rubber substitutes are being used far more extensively than ever before. With increased world demand for this very wide range of products, the chemical industry looks strong for the future, which has to be good news for Sarnia and, by extension, good news for Ontario as well.

Before concluding my remarks, I want to leave the energy area and talk about the relationship between the Ontario government and our province's municipalities. As a municipal representative for 10 years, I have been a long-time observer of the relations between the two levels of government. I have also been an active participant in the process, and I want to share a few thoughts with you, if I may.

It has been my experience that the Ontario government has been and continues to be the more responsible and the more responsive of the two senior levels of government. A perfect example of the province's constructive and helpful attitude is to be found in its excellent and well-used downtown revitalization program.

Sarnia, I am pleased to say, was the first community in Ontario to take advantage of this Ministry of Housing initiative and, as a result, our downtown core has developed most favourably. Phase two of the redevelopment, involving the joint Eaton Centre and CadillacFairview venture, will begin the second week of May and is eagerly awaited by Sarnia's residents and business community alike.

As in so many other instances, this program was developed by the province after the federal government reneged on an earlier commitment to Ontario's municipalities, and in this case it was the urban renewal program that met its demise back in the late 1960s. With cancellation of this federal program, many Ontario cities were frustrated because they no longer had any hope of reviving their downtown cores.

The province, in characteristic fashion, stepped into this breach, identified the need, and the downtown revitalization program was the result.

I would like to make special note of the contribution of the late John Rhodes, who was the Minister of Housing at the time of the program's inception. His excellent initial work on this valuable program has been carried on by his very able successor, the present Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett).

As mayor, I had opportunities to speak to my counterparts elsewhere in this province, and they all agree that this program is essential if medium-sized cities in Ontario with problems in their downtown centres are to be revitalized. I anticipate that there will be many more requests by Ontario cities for this type of assistance, and I hope the government will continue to make funds available to other centres that qualify for this type of assistance.

During my years in local politics I had the good fortune to serve on the executive board of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. I also served as vice-president of that fine organization, and in that capacity I grew to appreciate the importance of our municipal governments to the effective functioning of our province.

I think we all need to be reminded that our local councils represent a mature, responsible level of government and, although they are defined as "creatures of the province" under the Municipal Act, they are looking for and deserve a co-operative relationship with the province rather than a dependent one, in order that they may carry out their responsibilities more effectively.

In particular, I think we need to look closely at removing some of the impediments to more flexible fiscal arrangements. I am referring to the possibility of block grants and more unconditional grants. In other words, we should be transferring more fiscal and legislative authority to help our municipalities to function optimally.

In conclusion, I would like to counter accusations already surfacing from members opposite that because our government now has a majority in this House we will become, and in fact have already become, an arrogant government.

As a new member, I have no desire to be part of a government that is not sensitive to the needs of the people who elected it. I would be the first to register my dismay if I thought this were the case. I do not happen to believe I am a member of an arrogant government. To the contrary, I believe I am a member of a government that recognizes its responsibilities and, as such, is prepared to take the necessary action to fulfil those responsibilities.

We have been given a clear mandate to act, and I look forward as the representative for Sarnia and as a member of the government party to taking whatever collective action is necessary to keep our great province strong so that we may keep the province of Ontario and the promise of Ontario.

Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Speaker, as I begin my remarks in this throne speech debate, I have to say I listened very intently to the words of the member for Sarnia (Mr. Brandt), who has discussed the subject of petroleum energy very thoroughly as it relates to the petrochemical industry, and I commend his words to the government he represents and to all of us in the House. It is a tragedy that the government he purports to represent does not understand the petrochemical situation as thoroughly or as completely as he does.

The member for Sarnia pointed out some things that we on this side have been trying to bring to the House for the last five years: that petroleum in its highest end-use role is really a petrochemical feedstock, that more net gain and more net wealth can be derived from a barrel of crude oil as a petrochemical feedstock than it can being relegated to simple combustion, that there are other energy forms that can be directed into the process of simple combustion, into the processes of mobility and so on.

We have harped at this province through the years, pointing out the opportunities that are available right here within the borders of Ontario -- to be met with studies, to be met with gratitude for studies we have done on this side but without any concrete action. As a result, we are here today and, I tell the member for Sarnia, virtually no further ahead than we were in 1975, when the reality of our energy future became abundantly clear.

5:30 p.m.

I am sure all the members of this House will remember that in 1976 my party stated the policy publicly about the reality of petroleum prices. We said at that time that prices were going to rise towards world level and that they had to rise towards world level. What we suggested publicly at that time was that the increases in price should be staged over the longest possible period so as not to initiate huge shocks on the economy at any particular time.

Perhaps some of the members here will recall the response of the government. I think it was four or five energy ministers ago -- memory fades when I go back to those years -- I believe it was the member for Don Mills (Mr. Timbrell) who immediately put a freeze on the inventory of petroleum inside the borders of the province. That was the only area where the government did have some control over the price of petroleum. He initiated a freeze on that 60- or 90-day supply or whatever it was.

The government proceeded for four years to rail against the official opposition for advocating a staged increase in the price of petroleum. We were accused of advocating world price. The truth is -- and the government knows it -- we did not advocate world price, but we did advocate that move towards world price. Had that begun in 1976m when this party advocated it, then the realities of petroleum would have come home to Ontario much more quickly, with comprehensive conservation, the search for alternatives and so on. The petrochemical industry today would not feel or have need to feel the vulnerability it does.

This government hid behind the feds for so long and blamed it all on the boys in Ottawa. But we know here we have the ability in this province -- and they recognize it very slowly on that side -- and we really do have the opportunity to become very nearly, if not totally, energy self-sufficient.

The government's response on the energy scene has been to take a portion of what it now calls the BILD program, which was the magical translation of the employment development fund at a lower cost, and attach some of that to the development of new energy sources in Ontario. To this day we have not seen anything concrete. As a matter of fact, I am deeply concerned about the Ministry of Energy and its whole thrust in these next few years. I received some disturbing information just recently that the staff within the ministry was changing at a senior level and at a rate that, in my view, is not conducive to progress and that we are not really going to get anywhere in these new areas.

The government's main answer in the throne speech to the energy situation as Ontario sees it has been, as the Premier (Mr. Davis) put it in a speech to the Association of Municipal Electrical Utilities of Ontario on March 2, the decision of the Ontario government was to press urgently "on the electrical button," in the words of the Premier. And while we continue to pay lip service to all of the alternatives that are available in the province, nothing happens except an acceleration of the expansion of an already overexpanded electric power system.

It would be commendable to do that if we could translate economically all of our energy needs into electric power utilization, which would be a commendable thing. Anyone who stops to think about it for a little while very quickly discovers that electric power does some jobs admirably, other jobs less well, some jobs very poorly and others it cannot do.

Yet the government seems to pay no heed. It takes a political stance on the acceleration of Darlington and tells us all that we are going to move into a magical, all-electric economy. There are not too many words about the cost of moving into it, nor about the reality of moving into it, nor the possibility of ever getting there, but lots of political rhetoric about how secure and wonderful everything is in Ontario.

Let us start with this electric power system and some of its proposed applications. First of all, we have an existing surplus of about 4,000 megawatts -- the new members will get used to that term as the years go on -- which accounts for about 25 per cent of overcapacity. The government proposes to address that surplus by advocating massive transfers into electric power utilization and even by increasing the rate of expansion.

Let us look at what would happen if tomorrow morning we were, magically, able to do some of the good things that electric power can do. Suppose we were to install half a million heat pumps in Ontario, electrify the GO transit system -- something our party endorses -- and also electrify the Windsor-Montreal rail corridor. The resulting increased capacity would amount to half of the current surplus.

Let us also talk about the government and those supportive organizations that are urging people to convert to resistance electric heat. Does the government not realize that Ontario Hydro will require an investment of between $20,000 and $30,000 to support the generation for every new house that is built as an all-electric unit? It seems to me that we could find half a dozen alternative ways to better serve the people of Ontario with much less capital investment than building generating capacity simply to produce resistance heat.

The reason it is so costly is that we do not use those resistors all year round, and so any plants committed to resistance electric heat simply become idle 70 per cent of the time. The true cost of resistance electric heat in the home is not the three cents or 3.3 cents per kilowatt hour. The true cost is somewhere over seven cents per kilowatt hour.

5:40 p.m.

It seems, if one is planning an energy future, some of those things might be considered rather than simply the macro-concept that electric power is going to somehow save us all.

The completion of Darlington is somewhat uncertain at the present time. The Premier announced it during the election campaign; then the chairman of Ontario Hydro reported to the newspapers it was not going to take place. That was on March 27. A little later the chairman of Ontario Hydro said it would take place. That conflict between the government and Ontario Hydro, with the government winning out, brings up another situation that must be addressed at this time. That is the increasing interference by the government in the affairs of Ontario Hydro.

Considering the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch) is here this afternoon listening to this, I would ask him to state at some time whether he and his ministry are now prepared, for the first time, for the government to become accountable to the public for Ontario Hydro. Two major incidents have taken place in the last five months concerning relations between the government and Ontario Hydro that are rather disconcerting, especially in light of the private member's bill that I, as member for Halton-Burlington, brought in regarding Hydro accountability and was accused -- and I have the debates here -- of wanting to get involved in the day-to-day affairs of Ontario Hydro. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, the government has become involved in the day-to-day workings of Ontario Hydro on two major occasions. One was on December 15, 1980. The Minister of Energy wrote to the chairman of Ontario Hydro and told him to stop planning the western corridor system until the government had studied the report of the Royal Commission on Electric Power Planning. I believe that was the substance of the letter.

The government had had the Porter commission report in its hands for a number of months. It is also worth noting the corridors in the western part of Ontario are needed before the corridors in the rest of Ontario. Yet all the environmental assessment work had been done for the eastern lines. The government in its own wisdom chose to order Ontario Hydro to stop working on those western plans even though at that time they were considered to be a year late.

What is it the government fears about those plans for the western corridors? What is it that is so unpalatable to the people of western Ontario that the government does not want to reveal it? Is it that the government is going to need the lines so soon it will exempt those corridors from environmental assessment under the Environmental Assessment Act? I cannot believe it. Is it? Who knows? Who knows why the government directly interfered in the day-to-day workings of Ontario Hydro?

Then it happened again with the Darlington situation. The average growth rate predicted and accepted by Ontario Hydro between now and the next 20 years is 3.1 per cent. The government has accelerated the completion of Darlington, only to have the chairman of Ontario Hydro deny there would be any acceleration of completion and only to have the government come back and say, "Oh, yes, it will be speeded up." Then the chairman of Hydro says, "Oh, yes, it will be speeded up."

How much more interfering are they going to do in the day-to-day workings of Ontario Hydro to suit their political ends? If they are going to interfere in that very notorious way, are they at last going to take responsibility for it? Are they at last going to stand up in the House and become answerable for Ontario Hydro? Is the buck at last going to stop with the office of the Minister of Energy, or are we still going to hide behind the Power Corporation Act and say, "Oh, they are at arm's length and it is all divorced and we operate independently of one another"? I find that very upsetting.

I am also interested in this question of Hydro rates. We are always concerned about the cost of producing electric power from one source or another. The House will remember when the nuclear decision was made by the government that it was promoted as being the cheapest source of electric power and the most secure source that could ever be available to the people of this province. Do members remember that? Do they remember the concern shown by the select committee over the years about the cost of that nuclear power and whether all the costs have been reckoned into the statements that nuclear comes in at so many mills per kilowatt-hour, coal comes in at so many mills, water power comes in at so many mills and so on? We challenged that and we were told in the select committee that those costs were written into the cost of electric power and not to worry. When we were told they were written in, we said, "What about the dismantling of nuclear plants that become obsolete?"

One of the former ministers is in the House. He will remember those things well. What about that dismantling? We were told by Ontario Hydro why those plants would never be dismantled. They would be upgraded as the years went by, but they would never be dismantled. We asked about the storage of nuclear waste. We were told there was a little amount written into the cost of electric power that was to look after the storage of nuclear waste. Now we have a majority government, and who knows whether we will have a reconvening of the select committee? What we see is an application pending for an increase in electric power rates for next year, about a quarter of which is to be committed to the storage of nuclear wastes and to the dismantling of nuclear power plants when they become obsolete 20 or 30 years down the road. Somebody is pulling the wool over somebody's eyes.

One wonders how much nuclear power really costs. If we take a quarter of that increase and realize that only a third of the electric power generated is nuclear and apply that to the nuclear costs, it means we are putting in reserve for use 20 years from now about $3 billion. If we take $56 million a year out of electric power consumers' pockets and invest it, hold it, compound it and do what we do with it, that comes to between $2 billion and $3 billion at the end of that 20 years. So that amount of money has to be added to the cost of producing nuclear power.

I am afraid somewhere down the road the full story has not been told, even though it has been known. Somebody held something back. I say that with the greatest respect. When we have a senior Hydro official who can stand up before the select committee and say, "We will never dismantle the plants," and then two years later have a commitment to an increase in the cost of electric power in order to dismantle the plants, who is kidding whom?

5:50 p.m.

I was reading a study the other day, a position paper -- I think I have got it here -- which probably tends to influence the courses of action that governments take from time to time. It is the position paper discussing an energy future for Ontario of August, 1980. One of the great myths of Ontario is perpetuated in this paper. I really don't blame the people who produced the paper because it is a myth that has been perpetuated by the government and by vested interests for the last decade at least. That is the myth -- and I will use the quotation in the paper -- that the alternate means of generating electric power are not here in Ontario. The sentence says "Most economic hydraulic resources have been developed."

When we start to compare the cost of alternative generation and we don't get the full cost of the other side, when somebody doesn't give us the whole cost of nuclear power, how can we make an intelligent choice? The truth is the fellows opposite haven't been making an intelligent choice. They haven't been making intelligent choices for the last five, six or seven years. They accept this myth and they have accepted some costs that have been handed to them about the cost of producing nuclear power. Now we know that nuclear power is more expensive than anybody ever thought, and what that does is make some of these lines that say many of these resources are uneconomic somehow suddenly economic.

I am deeply concerned. Do those guys know what they are doing? Do they really know? This is one member who has been an outspoken advocate of the further development of the remaining hydraulic resources in Ontario. They represent an amount of potential which is greater than that harnessed at the present time.

We have advocated private enterprise involvement in the development of that potential and we have said that we can develop an amount which is larger than all of the nuclear installations in place at present. It has been a long, frustrating five years to try to persuade the elements of government that they have got to do a little bit of pioneering. I say to the member for Sarnia (Mr. Brandt) once again that if some of these actions were taken to relieve the burden of petroleum consumption, the actions which we have advocated time and time again over these years, the petrochemical industry would be secure in Ontario today.

It is interesting to see that there is a study now under way on the use of peat. Suddenly the government has discovered that peat is a valuable resource. Indeed, this publication on the background by the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs says essentially what our party has been saying to this government for at least three years, that Ontario has the largest inventory of peat in Canada and Canada has one of the largest inventories of peat in all of the world. Yet it has remained until very recently the unrecognized, unaddressed energy resource in this province.

Peat can become the feedstock for either simple combustion or for the production of liquid fuels. Peat has tremendous potential in Ontario. As the Minister of Energy will remember, my party completed a study on an alternative liquid fuel, using as feedstock forest wastes, and gave some peripheral mention of peat at that time. But at least we said to the government and said to the people of Ontario: "Look, this is possible. If it is not economic today, there will be a time in the very near future when it will be economic."

Right now, as of this afternoon, we know that the production of fuel alcohol would compete favourably with gasoline. The government is undertaking a study of peat resources in the province. We should have pilot plants producing today. The technology is already in place. I met a manufacturer two months ago who has a portable methanol plant. He can truck it into the bush and follow the forest industry. He can take it to the peat bogs and manufacture an alternative to the petroleum which is so badly needed by the petrochemical industry in Sarnia.

It is interesting to note that in 1976 the government said it wasn't feasible. In 1978 the government said it wasn't feasible. Through all of those years they have done four studies on this alternative liquid fuel. Are they really serious? Do they really want to go ahead? Do they really want to make Ontario self-sufficient? They will not do it by the simple development of electric power to the exclusion of all else. They have to bring the others on line with equal interest, with equal investment, with equal research that they have done with the nuclear industry.

They cannot expect electric power to run the automobiles -- perhaps some short-run automobiles around the city. We all know that the technology is not there yet to provide a long-term economic storage vehicle for electric power. We will still need liquid fuel alternatives. It doesn't matter if we go into the twenty-second century; we are still going to be needing liquid fuel alternatives.

In the next few years some of the chickens are going to come home to roost. The price of petroleum energy will accelerate at a rate that has made the past look like chicken feed. Part of that responsibility will have to be borne by a provincial government in Ontario which did not recognize or accept the realities five years ago. We may even, as the member for Sarnia has indicated, be faced with the situation of supply at whatever price. We are already a decade behind. We have to move forward.

I can tell members I am convinced that the next election may well be fought right over the gas pumps. It may be fought over allocation. It may be fought over skyrocketing prices. It may be fought over the absence of proper alternatives.

I can only say that my party, and for as long as I have the honour to be energy critic, will be committed to the alternatives, will be committed to the expansion of conservation, will be committed to the elimination of waste and will be committed to an imaginative, resourceful future.

The House recessed at 6 p.m.