32nd Parliament, 1st Session





























The House met at 2:01 p.m.



Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege. In our efforts to open the eyes of the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson) to the problems facing farmers with high interest rates and low prices for their products, the minister stood in his place and challenged me to name five farmers who had gone bankrupt, implying that I was misleading the House.

I will give him the names of five farmers, starting with Mr. Lou Popencourt of Lambton county. The significance of this name is that this man comes from Lambton county. There are two other farmers I could name, but I will not, because I think the minister has the responsibility to see what is going on within his own riding.

There is Mr. Keith Small of Huron, the Secords of Dufferin, Mr. Vos of Wellington, Mr. Bill Hepburn of Grey, Mr. Glen Smith of Lynden and Mr. Don Morrison of Lucknow. There is also Mr. Sander Deutsch of Hamilton-Wentworth; he did not go bankrupt but he had to liquidate all his assets. There is Mr. Arnold Anderson of Shelburne, whose farm has been up for sale for six months because he is not able to hold on.

I could go on and on, and I have several letters here I am getting from farmers who wish to remain anonymous. What is the minister going to do about it?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, you will remember I suggested to the honourable member that he send me the names, in a confidential way, of anybody who has had troubles.

I will be very happy to drive my own personal car from Lambton to Toronto if the member will find Mr. Popencourt for me and bring him in here. I will be very honoured, very glad, if he will find Mr. Popencourt in Lambton. I will consider it an honour, and I will be glad to escort him in here. I give the member that challenge.



Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity today to table the Ontario Task Force on Provincial Rail Policy's final report, which was released earlier this week by its chairman, the member for St. David (Mrs. Scrivener), and copies of which were made available to each member via the legislative post office on Tuesday.

The task force, as members will recall, was created last year to examine the existing state of rail transport in Ontario and the potential for rail as a key component of this province's future transportation requirements. The report outlines proposals and makes recommendations in this critical area of public policy, an area that demands both federal and Ontario government participation.

Task force members were careful to take into consideration such concerns as economic factors, the urgency to conserve energy supplies, and the need to maintain and expand the quality of passenger and freight services throughout Ontario.

While I have had only a few days to study and look at this entire report, I am generally familiar with the broad policy areas explored in it, having examined the interim report published last November. I want to add that the province has maintained a continuing involvement in rail activities over many years, both in direct involvement with the railway industry itself through Ontario Northland and as the representative of the Ontario people before the Canadian Transport Commission at rail discontinuance and abandonment hearings.

The task force was created for the purpose of advising this government on how rail can serve this province's best interests in the future. With this in mind, my ministry recently established a rail office to better focus these efforts while providing a mechanism to analyse the task force recommendations and eventually to prepare clear-cut policy options for cabinet consideration.

Senior ministry staff of course have been in close consultation with task force members and will take part in the review of the final report. To this end, I will make an announcement about government direction on rail policy once the report has been thoroughly analysed. Let me also add that the Ontario government's commitment to act on rail matters is critically linked to the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program, this government's basic industrial development blueprint for the next decade.

I am satisfied that the report of the Task Force on Provincial Rail Policy will provide us with the basic tools that will permit us to determine how rail transport can be improved and expanded to meet all current and foreseeable rail needs in Ontario.

Before I close, I want to thank the task force members for the time and effort put into the production of this report. There are four provincial deputy ministers -- Mr. Harold Gilbert of my ministry, Mr. Arthur Herridge of the Ministry of Northern Affairs, Mr. John Thatcher of the Ministry of Government Services and Mr. L. R. "Red" Wilson of the Ministry of Industry and Tourism -- and four members at large: Dr. Allan Blair, Dr. Herbert Smith, Dr. Richard Soberman and Dr. Tuzo Wilson.

I also want to express the appreciation of myself and my colleagues to the chairman of the task force, the member for St. David, and her able assistant, Denis Callan.

Finally, I understand the chairman of the task force will be detailing the report later today during the throne speech debate.


Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, on a number of occasions in the past, I have brought this House up to date on my ministry's efforts to help Indo-Chinese refugees -- the "boat people" -- settle here in Ontario. Today, I want to tell honourable members about our plans for this settlement program in the fiscal year that has just begun.

As members know, the responsibility for the admission and initial settlement services of all immigrants, including refugees, rests with the government of Canada. However, as a complement to federal initiatives, my ministry provides some supplementary services. Needless to say, the ministries of Community and Social Services, Education, Health, Housing and Labour all provide their services, which are open to all residents of Ontario.

2:10 p.m.

The boat people started to arrive in Canada in late 1978. Recognizing that these refugees would have distinctive needs, my ministry set up an Indo-Chinese refugee settlement unit to work with sponsors and voluntary groups across the province and provide some services directly.

Let me emphasize that it was the provincial government's view at that time that essential, short-term services would best be provided by community groups rather than by an expanded provincial bureaucracy. Consequently, we arranged with voluntary agencies to form an active partnership in this resettlement program, and we committed funds to help them get the job done.

I believe that the rich experience of the last two years speaks eloquently to the generosity of the people of Ontario and to the wisdom of the provincial government's policy.

The government of Canada decided to admit 60,000 Indo-Chinese refugees to this country. So far, 24,000 have chosen to settle here in Ontario. It is our experience that roughly one half of all immigrants, including refugees, who are admitted to Canada choose to settle here in Ontario; so we anticipate that a final 7,000 Indo-Chinese refugees will enter Ontario this year.

During the last two fiscal years, my ministry has transferred $1,045,000 to about 70 local agencies and groups on a short-term basis to help with the resettlement of Indo-Chinese refugees. Yet while much of the work has already been done, some still remains. Therefore, I am pleased to announce today that, to help local voluntary agencies provide their outstanding service, my ministry will be transferring $500,000 to them in the fiscal year that has just begun. This allocation will bring our total grants to local groups for Indo-Chinese refugee resettlement to more than $1.5 million since 1979.

In closing, let me, as lead minister responsible for Indo-Chinese refugee resettlement, pay tribute to the outstanding work that has been done in this area by my staff and by all the ministries of the government of Ontario. Above all, let me pay tribute once again to the thousands of individuals and organizations for their caring and commitment in this cause. They have done a magnificent job.

This Indo-Chinese refugee settlement in Ontario and the most recent arrivals will make an important contribution to our multicultural society, and assisting them on their arrival will stand as a credit to the people of this province for generations to come.



Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. As you know, Mr. Speaker, to this point the minister has not given his undertaking to send the Astra Trust/Re-Mor Investment Management Corporation matter back to the standing committee on administration of justice so that committee might continue its work.

Today a publication entitled Bimonthly Reports has come out. I sent the minister a copy a few moments ago. This publication makes very serious allegations about the role of the Ontario Securities Commission in the Astra Trust/Re-Mor matter. Let me read a few sentences. The title reads:

"After approving illegal payments and backing off from a receivership application, the Ontario Securities Commission laid Astra charges in secret. The commission owes an explanation."

It goes on to say that the OSC, Canada's leading business regulator, played a crucial role in the Astra Trust affair and that it has a record of consistent failure. I am quoting: "The OSC failed to lay criminal charges until it was too late, gave authorization for illegal payments, approved holding off a key receivership application, approved or condoned holding off proceeding with Securities Act charges, held off freezing the funds of the key investment company."

In view of these serious allegations, all of which appear to be backed up in this document, and given the fact that there are contradictions between the testimony of some OSC witnesses before the justice committee and what is reported in this document, will the minister not agree the justice committee must forthwith resume its hearings or, failing that, the government must appoint a royal commission to conduct a judicial inquiry into the whole matter of Astra and Re-Mor and related companies, and particularly the handling by all provincial regulators, ministry and the OSC alike, that might have been concerned with it?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the Leader of the Opposition has sent me a copy of a lengthy report. I have not had much of an opportunity to read it in the short time since he provided it to me, but I will say that the matter he has now raised was the subject of the referral made last Monday by the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley). Along with 20 other members, he referred the annual report of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations to the standing committee on justice.

Presumably when that committee is struck -- and it has not yet been struck -- and when the membership is established and the organizational meeting is held, I suspect one of the first things it will consider will be that question. So that matter will come up and, if the matter is raised in the next two weeks, I assume it will be the member's responsibility to raise those very questions before the committee.

There is a bit of difference today which perhaps did not exist at the time when the committee was entertaining discussions on Re-Mor and other matters. Today there are criminal charges that have been laid, and certain civil proceedings are before the courts. Not only do we now have a complete set of criminal charges before the courts -- a good number of individuals are facing very serious criminal charges -- but also we have the civil suits well in progress and it is hoped we will have the test cases coming on before long.

But, given that, there is a bit of a difference from what it was in the days when the committee was considering this matter without benefit of any of the actions having been launched. I assume that the Leader of the Opposition will take the responsibility to proceed with the matter and bring these matters to the attention of the committee at the appropriate time.

With respect to Ontario Securities Commission charges that may exist, the OSC would naturally lay charges just to preserve the limitation period of a year they are obliged to be involved with. That will probably come out in the near future.

Mr. Smith: I will put two parts in a supplementary, with your permission, Mr. Speaker.

First, I want the minister to consider one particular allegation that is in this report. The minister is aware that when C and M Financial Consultants was ordered wound down by the courts in February 1979, Carlo Montemurro was required to supply his personal guarantee that C and M investors would be protected and to pledge his share of the family grocery business for that purpose. The OSC apparently was party to the deal.

Will the minister please explain how it was that, during the time the OSC apparently was dragging its feet on the Re-Mor investigation in the spring of 1980, Mr. Montemurro, it would seem, managed to sell his interest in the family business, and the $1.47 million, representing the bulk of that interest, was then transferred to a Swiss bank account? There is a serious question about the way the OSC has handled this.

As the second part of my admittedly lengthy supplementary, in these exceptional circumstances will the minister recognize that it matters not that there might be some cases before the courts -- those cases were largely there before the justice committee started its work -- and will he not admit it is the action of the regulatory authorities, both within the ministry and the OSC, that must be examined by either the justice committee or by a royal commission? It is not the question of criminalities, fraud or any civil suit, but the action of our own regulators in Ontario that must be examined.

The work of that committee is unfinished. Will the minister accept that the committee will now undertake that work again, and will he co-operate by providing all the documents that are necessary?

Hon. Mr. Walker: First, with respect to the second question, I am not about to tell the committee what it is going to do. The committee has to make that decision itself. The member's party will be duly represented, along with the other two parties in this House. I rather anticipate that at that time they will raise questions that will be answered only by the committee. They are not going to take direction from me. I would not expect it and neither would he expect it.

The other matter the member spoke about was the question that the OSC is apparently part of some deal. Who is saying they are part of any deal? The member says "apparently." He reads some kind of issue sheet that says the OSC is apparently part of some deal. That is not a very strong allegation. It seems to me, if an allegation is to be made, that whoever wrote that article -- and perhaps the member is parroting the writer's comments -- should make the allegations and then we would have something to check on. But I am sorry, it is not enough to say they were apparently part of some deal.

2:20 p.m.

Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the minister's point. I said "apparently" because I did not necessarily want to say that everything stated by this person is correct. But, just to clarify that, he did not say "apparently;" I said "apparently."

Hon. Mr. Walker: Incidentally, who is the person? I think that kind of information should be brought to the attention of the committee; indeed, it should be brought to the attention of the Ontario Securities Commission and our ministry. I will be pleased to receive a little more information about that. If the Leader of the Opposition is parroting some of those comments and adopting them as his own, I will be glad to receive them.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask a supplementary of the minister: In view of the cutoff of the work of the committee on Re-Mor and Astra by the election called by the Premier (Mr. Davis), in view of the majority situation that now exists on that justice committee whereby the only matters that will be discussed and pursued in that committee will be those approved by the Conservative Party and the government, and in view of the cloud that hangs over the government's head on this matter, why will the minister not officially request that committee to pursue all aspects of the Re-Mor and Astra investigation?

Hon. Mr. Walker: First of all, Mr. Speaker, the committee is done with the Re-Mor matter. It concluded that on the Thursday night; so I suspect that is no longer a consideration on the member's part.

Second, the entire Astra and Re-Mor matters are being considered by criminal courts at this very moment. I think that is something the member should take into account. Is he trying to second-guess the courts? Would the member like to have it on his head that he prejudiced the trial by something he did? I do not think he would want to do that, and I do not think the rest of us would either.

Mr. Bradley: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: It is reported in Bimonthly Reports that all traces of the Ontario Securities Commission public file on Astra Trust Company have disappeared from the commission's filing room. Will the minister please inform us how it is that this public file has disappeared?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I think it has been locked in the boardroom of the OSC. I think they found there was not enough space in the room they had; so they moved it into another room. Would the member like the number of the room?


Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I will return to this matter later, but I want to refer my second question, on another matter, to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. This matter has to do with the Ontario fire code.

The minister will be aware that we have had draft proposals for changes in the Ontario fire code for well over two years now, I believe for two and a half years precisely. During that time we have had a number of tragic hotel fires resulting in extensive property damage and, more important, in significant loss of life.

Will the new Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations tell us how much longer we are going to have to wait and how many more fires might occur in that time before we have a legislative proposal before us for a new Ontario fire code, especially since there is no mention of such at all in the throne speech?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I rather resent that the Leader of the Opposition draws any connection between the fire about which there is an inquest going on now and the Ontario fire code. To my knowledge, no one has made any allegations that anything lacking in the present existing code has some connection with that particular fire. I think the Leader of the Opposition would be well disposed not to comment further in that area. It should be left a subject of the inquest.

With respect to the Ontario fire code, it requires certain amendments to the Fire Marshals Act. Those amendments were before this Legislature last fall. They were to be debated in the last week of this Legislature, and in that last week the minister responsible took ill. He was not here and the matter died on the Order Paper. I am told that this matter, under the responsibility of the Solicitor General (Mr. McMurtry), will be brought back in the form of Fire Marshals Act amendments, and these amendments are anticipated in the next few weeks, certainly this spring. With those amendments, a new fire code will be able to be brought in.

I want to say something about the new fire code. That fire code is an extremely extensive revision. The code was first published by this government in 1979, and since that time 300 briefs have been received. The task force, made up of the fire marshal, representing the Solicitor General, and people from the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, has been meeting without end, incessantly, for the last two years, on these questions, attempting to balance off all the interests. We now feel the interests are basically balanced, and we feel the code is in good form to be brought forward. The amendments will be brought forward almost any day now.

Mr. Smith: If I might respond to the comment that the fire code might be unrelated to the recent fires, I should just point out to the honourable minister that the fire chief of North York, Mr. Gibson, in giving a list of recommendations that might have been of importance to the Inn on the Park fire, has said that the enactment of an Ontario fire code has been promised but never passed.

Hon. Mr. Davis: What else did he say?

Mr. Smith: What else did he say, the Premier would like to know? He went through a lot of things here. He says that early detection of the fire did not occur, that early reporting did not occur. The Premier will find in many instances, if he has read further, that the split between the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario as the examining agent --

Hon. Mr. Davis: Did the fire chief not say anything else, that he did not think it would make any difference?

Mr. Smith: He may have, but it is not here.

Mr. Speaker: Does the Leader of the Opposition have a question?

Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, my supplementary actually pertains directly to what the Premier just said. Given that in Hamilton-Wentworth we had about seven deaths in the Wentworth Arms fire, and that Mr. Deans and I at the time raised questions pointing out that it was absurd that there was a split between the liquor board examining those hotels that sell liquor and the fire marshal examining those that do not sell liquor -- I think those were the words of Mr. Deans -- and since this has been raised again in this fire, will the minister tell us whether, finally, all responsibility for fire safety in hotels will be under one minister, namely the Solicitor General, so we will not have liquor board inspectors trying to be fire inspectors at the same time?

Hon. Mr. Walker: I could say that the member's wish has been granted immediately. The fact is that they are now under the Solicitor General, and those people are simply people under the Liquor Licence Act. In fact, those inspectors are the agents of the Solicitor General for the purpose of inspecting the hotels for these particular matters.

I would say, too, with respect to the fire code, it is no easy task to blend together all the acts. As a matter of fact, there are 11 ministries with some 29 acts of this Legislature involved with the fire code, Mr. Speaker, and I know you would appreciate, if the Leader of the Opposition would not, that is a very complex matter and that is exactly what Fire Chief Gibson said in his comments in the newspaper.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I do not think this issue is that complex. Lives have been lost in hotel fires in this province, and we want to know whether the ministry now has undertaken to learn from the lessons of the Inn on the Park fire. Specifically, what instructions are now going out to ensure that staff in hotels across the province are carrying out the drills, are making the arrangements and are prepared in the event of future hotel fires to avoid the mistakes that appear to have taken place at the Inn on the Park?

Hon. Mr. Walker: I am so interested that the leader of the New Democratic Party would choose to presume and prejudge the comments of the inquest. Frankly, we are not so smug that we are going to sit around here and prejudge those; we will await the comments of the inquest. When the inquest makes recommendations, then we will see about adherence to the recommendations it makes. That has been the experience of our government.

Mr. Breaugh: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: It was reported in the Toronto media that some 75 hotels in Metropolitan Toronto are in violation of existing regulations, that the current round of inspections has revealed there are that many violations now in 75 hotels. Will the minister publish the names of those hotels which do not conform with existing fire regulations?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I would like to read the report. In any case, that is a matter that more properly should be asked of the Solicitor General; that particular aspect would be under his responsibility. The Solicitor General will be back after he has fought the battle of Canada on the matter of the constitution. He is now in Ottawa. I am not aware of the story about which the honourable member made reference.

2:30 p.m.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations about the government's future plans for rent review. Are tenants in apartments renting for more than $400 a month to get continued protection under rent review, as the Premier promised during the course of the election campaign, or are they to lose rent review protection on the grounds that they are living in luxury accommodation, as the minister has been indicating since the election?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I think I made a very clear statement on this matter last Thursday. I reiterated that for the benefit of the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations yesterday. The short of it is, rent control is going to continue in this province. There just is no question about that.

Mr. Cassidy: In view of the fact that the minimum accommodation needed by a family with two or three children is a three-bedroom apartment, and since 26 per cent of the three-bedroom apartments in London are costing more than $400 a month, 48 per cent of those in Ottawa cost more than $400 a month and 60 per cent of those in Windsor and Thunder Bay are costing more than $400 a month, what does the minister mean when he says rent control is going to be maintained but then indicates that it is going to be taken away on apartments renting for more than $400?

Hon. Mr. Walker: I did not indicate that it was going to be taken away on apartments costing more than $400. I do not know where the member got that idea.

Mr. Cassidy: On Friday, April 24, the minister is quoted in the Toronto Star as saying, quite directly, "It might be possible to remove controls on luxury apartments that rent for $400 to $500 a month in smaller communities and those that rent in the $600- to $800-a-month range in Metro."

Is the minister saying that the people in my riding who have to pay more than $400 a month to house their families in apartments are living in luxury accommodation and therefore will lose rent control protection, or will he simply guarantee that families will continue to have rent control protection in this province for the future? That is the assurance we are looking for.

Hon. Mr. Walker: That is the assurance I have given. How much more assurance does the member want? The assurance is that there is going to be rent control in this province.

Mr. Ruprecht: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister committed to maintaining a rent control system of six per cent?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I would have to say that is a very difficult question to answer, because I have on record the comments of the Liberal housing critic, made on or about March 16, 1981, in which case he said the Liberals might want to consider an increase in the ceiling on rent increases allowed without a hearing before the Residential Tenancy Commission, according to --


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Do you have a point of privilege, Mr. Epp?

Mr. Epp: Yes, Mr. Speaker. The minister could do a lot of justice to his own credibility and to the members of the Legislature by reading the whole statement rather than taking a part out of context. In keeping with that, he could also read the comments of his own colleague the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie), who spoke at the same meeting and advocated an increase from six per cent.

Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary; Mr. Philip.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I would like to respond to the point of order. I just do not know what the honourable member from Waterloo North is saying. I was not quoting him; I was quoting the housing critic of the Liberal Party. But I have here a copy of what he has said too, come to think of it.

I wonder if it would embarrass you, Mr. Speaker, if I were to read the comments that the honourable member for Waterloo --

Mr. Speaker: It may add some clarification.

Hon. Mr. Walker: I certainly was not talking about him, but I am prepared to read his comments into the record. I was talking about the member for Frontenac-Addington (Mr. McEwen) who, as the housing critic, made those comments.


Mr. Speaker: The minister has the floor.

Hon. Mr. Walker: I am still responding to the original point of privilege.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Only one point of privilege at a time, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Order. The minister has the floor to reply to the point of privilege.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Let me just respond to the first point of privilege that was raised by the member for Waterloo North, and he has asked me to read his comments.

I have an article in front of me from the Globe and Mail of March 13, 1981; that was only a month or so ago, was it not? It says here: "Although the parties agreed on the need for rent control legislation, Liberal spokesman Herb Epp said the ceiling may have to be raised at some point to reflect recent increases in mortgage interest rates. 'There's no way I can make a commitment that it isn't going to change. I don't think anybody in his right mind would say that,' Mr. Epp."


Hon. Mr. Walker: I had not finished speaking before when he interrupted me.

Mr. Speaker: I think you added enough clarification. Is this a new point of privilege? We have heard the point of privilege. We have had a response to it. This is getting into a debate. Mr. Philip has the floor; final supplementary.

Mr. Philip: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Did the minister not indicate to the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations when he met with them yesterday that there would be a review of the position on rent review in the fall after the Ministry of Housing had done its study?

Can the minister explain why he seems so intent on nibbling away at the rent review system, by his trial balloons, in the light of the presentation made by the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations that a landlord in this province can have a tax-free minimum real profit rate of 22.7 per cent on his investment, while at the same time claiming a zero operating profit for rent review processes?

Why is the minister trying to find new ways of allowing landlords to make even more than they are already making, which is clearly quite adequate?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, the whole question seems to revolve around this issue of whether we keep the six per cent, and I relate it to the comments of the Premier that, with an inflation rate of about 13 per cent and with a prime interest rate of about 17 per cent, he found it difficult to be married to the absolute figure of six per cent. That seemed to be somewhat consistent with what many people had been saying, including, as I say, the housing critic and now another member of the Liberal Party, who felt that the six per cent figure would have to be chipped away at. We have to take their words as being something.

Secondly, if I may quote from what the member himself said in the same article in the Toronto Star of March 16, 1981, here is the NDP housing critic, the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip), saying: "'This six per cent ceiling on rent increases may be a little low,' said Philip."

2:40 p.m.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary to the minister. Will the minister not agree that --

Mr. Speaker: Mr. Peterson, please; Mr. Philip has a point of privilege.

Mr. Philip: I trust the minister is only kidding. If he would read further he would see my statement was that I could see no reason why our party would remove the six per cent ceiling in the coming House.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I have to admit I did not read further in the article. I stopped when I got to that; I thought that was the best part.

With all this continued pressure from the Liberal Party and the NDP to chip away at the six per cent figure, I think the Premier was quite in order to make the comment he did. After all, it is just reasonable for those comments to be made, and I think at some point that figure may be looked at.

Mr. Peterson: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The Premier said before the election, and I quote: "We have no intention of altering the existing rent control program,' Davis told reporters here." That is specific; it is definitive.

Will the minister recall that he and I were at an all-candidates meeting during the last campaign and that we were asked a question about rent control? He said to his developer friends, there will be no change in the program. Does he not remember that?

Will he not agree that he and the Premier and the rest of his cronies have given rise to the impression they have been very much less than honest, not only with the voters but also with the people in this House? Will he not agree that he has changed his mind almost beyond definition?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I remember that all-candidates meeting very well; the member for London Centre was there. I was speaking not only to my developer friends and to tenant friends who were in the meeting but also to about two thirds of the meeting that happened to be his developer friends. He seemed to know most of them.

I think he has had a little bit of selective amnesia with respect to the comments I made. I said very clearly at that meeting -- and I am prepared to invite two or three of them to come down and tell the honourable member those very words -- that our Premier has indicated rent control is here to stay. And that is the way it is.


Mr. Cassidy: I have a new question for the Minister of Housing, Mr. Speaker. He stated on Monday that he did not believe the government had any rights to interfere in the rights of the market to flow according to the economy. I want to bring the minister's attention to a case on Endean Avenue, in the east end of Toronto, of a house that sold for $43,000 in November. It has had $35,000 worth of renovations since then and is now on the market for $140,000. If it sells anywhere near that price, the owners will have doubled their money and earned 100 per cent in the course of six months.

Does the minister believe it is equitable to people looking for a house that there should be no interference at all when people are earning 100 per cent on their money in the housing market of Metropolitan Toronto today?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I indicated earlier this week and late last week that I was not without knowledge of the fact that there were some people buying homes, renovating and upgrading them and putting them back on the market at a rather substantial improvement in value. Putting it on the market and selling it are two different things. When the leader of the third party says that it is on the market at $140,000, one is not sure that one will receive $140,000. In frank and honest terms I have said, and I repeat, that the market, in my opinion, and not the interference of government legislation, will find the right value for those units.

Mr. Cassidy: According to the market, though, if the market finds its right level, according to the minister, a house in a working class area that was affordable for a family earning $20,000 in November 1980 is on the market now at a price that can be afforded only by a family earning $60,000 or $70,000 a year. Is this to become a province where only people earning that kind of income can have a home of their own? Or is there not to be policy by this government so that working families earning $20,000 a year can also have a home where they can live?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I also said last week and again this week -- and I will repeat it once again -- that as we watch the market develop and the sales taking place, we find that a number of people who are moving back into the downtown communities and into these areas where there is some refurbishing taking place are individuals who have had their homes in other areas; they have sold once or twice and have had a marked improvement in their wellbeing as far as financing goes and the ability to move into an entirely different market.

I have indicated clearly, as I think the real estate people, the Housing and Urban Development Association of Canada, the Urban Development Institute and others have clearly indicated, that in this province and this particular jurisdiction of Metropolitan Toronto there are homes available for the average income earner.

I want to emphasize once again that we have watched through the various means and media an inflationary effect taking place on downtown property. I have said, and I say clearly again, I do not believe that at the values now being obtained, properties in the downtown core area of Metropolitan Toronto, and indeed in other metropolitan areas across Ontario, are going to be available to the middle income earner unless he is looking at buying his second or third home or he has had a marked improvement in his economics as a result of previous sales.

There are ample units in the outlying areas of the metropolitan areas available to that average income earner. May I emphasize that within the ministry, and we report for the Ontario Mortgage Corporation, we have in our OMC inventory more than 400 units on the market for sale at less than $30,000.

Mr. Ruprecht: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The two opposition parties have quite clearly indicated that a crisis exists in the Metropolitan Toronto area in terms of the housing market here. In view of our idea of a crisis, I ask the minister whether he is looking at any options whatsoever to come to grips with this most serious issue. To repeat myself, in view of the grave crisis existing in the housing market, is the minister thinking of or looking at any option whatsoever to come to grips with this serious matter?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, just to make it very clear and very simple: I do not acknowledge that there is a crisis in the housing market in this community or indeed in Ontario.

Mr. Cassidy: Will the minister explain why, when conditions in the housing market today are identical to the speculative conditions that hit the housing market in 1974, the government was prepared in 1974 to interfere in the housing market, not just with the land speculation tax but also with money for the Ontario Housing Corporation and by activating the Ontario Land Corporation, and is not prepared to interfere now? Is it that the government only comes to the defence of the little guy in the housing market when facing an election rather than just past an election?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: In 1974, we brought into being in this province a land speculation tax to try to curb an inflated situation that had taken place in raw land throughout this Metropolitan Toronto area and, I guess, other parts of the province.

The Ontario Land Corporation has developed some of its holdings, and at the same time over this last five years or thereabouts, through the Ontario housing action program, $106 million has been put into place in infrastructure at the request of local municipalities and regional governments to open up a tremendous amount of raw land that could be serviced rather quickly.

I said in this House last week that there is something better than 70,000 lots or registrations for units that could be put in place tomorrow if the owners wished to do so. They are on land that has been approved by the provincial government and by the regional and local governments, and where the infrastructure of water and sewer is there. We have made sure there is a sufficient amount of serviced land to service all classes at all levels of opportunity in the housing field and the various prices therein.

At the same time, there was a thing brought in by the federal government to try to curb the speculation in housing. It was known as capital gains. If an individual did not reside in a residence for at least 180 days, he then was under the penalty of capital gains on that particular unit which could be classified as a speculative deal.

I think in more ways than one, through the Ontario Land Corporation, the Ontario Mortgage Corporation and so on, and with the assistance of municipalities and developers, we have made an adequate amount of land available for construction in this province. I again emphasize that there is a sufficient amount of serviced land ready and available for all price levels in the housing industry. I do not consider it to be in a crisis.

2:50 p.m.

Mr. Speaker: The Minister of Revenue has the answer to a question previously asked.


Hon. Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, on Monday of this week, the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt) asked me to look into the wording of the letters being mailed to pensioners who had received property tax grants to which they were not entitled. Specifically, he asked whether the wording of these letters was in compliance with section 9 of the act.

I have had this matter reviewed by my legal staff, who advise that section 9 does not apply to the situations cited by the member. Section 9 deals specifically with the refusal to pay a grant on initial application. It is section 14 of the act that governs the recoveries of grants paid in error because of incorrect information supplied by applicants or as a result of an administrative mistake by the ministry.

Briefly, section 14 does not provide any formal notice of objection procedure. However, in practice, the process by which the ministry reviews situations involving possible recovery of grants automatically involves the examination of all relevant facts and any additional information that the recipients wish to provide.

While this is our practice, I agree that people should be made fully aware that we are anxious to explain the ministry's actions, as well as to discuss people's objections. Consequently, we are quite prepared to advise people in future of the opportunity our procedures provide for them to have their objections reviewed fully, as well as to explain clearly the ministry's position.

As in all other situations administered by my ministry, unresolved disputes are always subject to final determination by the courts. However, I am indeed confident that the review procedures that I have just described will continue to work satisfactorily and resolve the great majority of disputes we may encounter, without resorting to court action on either side.

In response to the second part of the member's question, the letters requesting repayment are indeed in compliance with the act. The letters also suggest to pensioners that, if they are unable to repay the grant fully at this time, they can contact the ministry to make alternative repayment arrangements, as I had indicated in answer to a previous question in this House some time last week.

Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, can the minister advise us whether any policy has been decided upon with respect to minimum payments that will be allowed for pensioners who may require a length of time to deal with the resolution of this problem?

Hon. Mr. Ashe: There is no set policy with regard to minimum payments. As I have indicated previously to the House, we are quite prepared to look at each and every situation on its own merits and based on the needs of those particular individuals involved.

Mr. Epp: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: These people received their payments many months in advance, and it was not until after the election that they were asked to return money. Can the minister tell me if there is any coincidence in the fact that the government waited until these people had voted before asking them to return the money?

Hon. Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, that is of course a conclusion arrived at by the honourable member in a way best known to him. Of course that is not the case. This particular program is administered with a post-audit procedure, which involves auditing several hundred thousand applications and recipients, and this does take a considerable amount of time. That post-audit procedure is still in process.


Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, who may have had the opportunity to glance further at the Bimonthly Reports.

The minister is aware that, during the justice committee inquiry dealing with Re-Mor Investment Management Corporation, the Ontario Securities Commission stated it was strongly opposed in February 1979 to the granting of a licence to Re-Mor by the registrar of mortgage brokers. The OSC was already having so many problems with Mr. Carlo Montemurro that it probably could not imagine another licence being granted to him.

Despite this concern, can the minister explain how, when the OSC finally found out about Re-Mor a full year later and failed to obtain a search warrant against the firm, it waited another two months before ordering Re-Mor to cease trading? The minister will be aware that by that time Mr. Montemurro allegedly had siphoned off $275,000 from Re-Mor for his own personal use.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, that is a question I am going to have to ask of the commission. I certainly do not have the answer to that.

Mr. Bradley: Can the minister explain why the OSC laid charges against Astra Trust in secret a year before Re-Mor collapsed? Does the minister know that these charges were kept secret even from the business practices division of his own ministry? And does the minister realize that Re-Mor would have had its licence revoked if this information had been known at the time?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Let me inquire of OSC at the same time, and I will attempt to provide the member with a more definitive answer.

Mr. Nixon: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I wonder if the minister at the same time would have his officials review the testimony taken at the justice committee, particularly that involving the chief investigator for the Ontario Securities Commission when he was describing the same events that were described by the assistant registrar of his ministry. Since the information was so diametrically opposed, will he bring this matter to the attention of his colleague the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry)? Obviously somebody was either seriously misinformed or deliberately misleading the committee.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I will take the proposal that is suggested and, yes, I will have the ministry review the pertinent sections of that rather copious testimony. I know that the ministry has paid some significant attention to each of the items that arose during it, and a number of proposals already have been drafted to ensure that things do not occur again that might be considered untoward in any way.

With respect to the matter relating to the Attorney General, I am sure he is well aware of that at the moment.


Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Community and Social Services. Will the minister confirm or deny the existence of a report by his ministry on the death of Nijah Degg, a report that allegedly calls into question the role of the Children's Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto, as did the judge in this child abuse case recently?

If the report does exist, can the minister explain why it was not presented at the trial, and will the minister table it in the Legislature at the earliest opportunity? Or does he agree with Mr. Heath of his Toronto area office, who thinks release of this report should await an inquest, an inquest that might not come for perhaps another two years or so?

Hon. Mr. Drea: That comment is nonsense, Mr. Speaker. First of all, there is a report. The report was compiled for use by the crown at the inquest. An inquest was ordered prior to the laying of criminal charges in this matter, as I understand it. The inquest was then adjourned until the disposition of criminal charges in the matter. The criminal charges have not been disposed of because, subsequent to conviction and sentence, an appeal has been filed. The inquest will be delayed until the appeal is heard. I understand the appeal will be heard some time within the next 60 or 70 days, far from it being two years.

The report really is for the use of the crown at the time of the inquest. I discussed the matter of the report with the law officers of the crown this morning, and their view was that, until the inquest commences, the report touches on matters that are still sub judice.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Does the minister not see a parallel in terms of delays here with the 26-month delay we had in waiting for Judge Ward Allen's report into the 1976 death of Kim Anne Popen in Sarnia which, as we just heard recently, is not near completion.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Ask them one at a time.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Order. The member for Scarborough West is asking a question.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Does the minister not agree that the problem of child abuse, especially of children under the supposed support and protection of our public agencies, is sufficiently important that no report should be held from this body here at least for any undue time? Will the minister not ask that it be tabled here, or pick out the parts of it that do not affect the particular case but affect instead the role of children's aid societies in general? Will he not also set an early deadline for Judge Allen to complete his report on the Popen death?

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, that is about nine questions; let me try to sort them out.

First, dealing with this report: I want to make it abundantly clear that the descriptions in the press about the contents of this report are the descriptions of the press. It would be extremely difficult and, quite frankly, in my view of no value to this House to take out parts of the report file that have no bearing upon the criminal matters. I do not think those would be of any particular value to the matters that the member has quite rightfully raised.

In terms of delay in this matter, of course, this ministry has no influence on the scheduling of matters before the Court of Appeal, but I have drawn to the attention of the Ministry of the Attorney General that because of the substantial matters raised in the criminal trial, and I do not wish to go into those because they are the matters that are going to be the basis of the appeal, I would like the inquest to start as soon as possible.

In regard to the other matter, I will look into that. I have an entirely different concern. I can understand the honourable member's concern, and I frankly share it, that long after a matter has been disposed of in other forums there appears to be a delay in getting the final view. I will look into that and report back to the member.

But I want to make it very plain that, while I do not like delays, when there is a criminal proceeding or there are criminal charges preventing the commencement of an inquest, I think the delay is justified by the fact that the matter is sub judice before the criminal courts. I must say in this case that I think the criminal courts, in a very complex and a very significant case, did expedite the original criminal matters within the terms of a fair and impartial determination.


Mr. Cunningham: In the absence of the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), I want to direct a question to the Provincial Secretary for Justice. The minister must be aware of the report that the Ontario Provincial Police seized a box of tape recordings made by Carlo Montemurro of his telephone conversations. It is reported that in one particular conversation Montemurro discusses with John Clement why a government investigation into C and M is being pressed. It is reported that in yet another conversation Montemurro tells organized crime figure George Bagnato that Clement has been paid $15,000 and has done nothing.

Will the Attorney General give his assurance that, when the justice committee reconvenes the inquiry into Astra and Re-Mor, these tapes will be made available to the committee?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I will not give the assurance; I will certainly pass on the question to the Attorney General. But the member well knows that there are criminal charges existing now, and it is expected that all matters will be properly dealt with in that forum. So perhaps he can be satisfied in knowing that they are going to dealt with by one of Her Majesty's appropriate judges and that should be sufficient.

Mr. Cunningham: Still on the subject of Re-Mor, it has been reported in the Bimonthly Reports that John Clement's firm moved in court to get Astra to pay its legal fees. It is further reported that the court file regarding this particular matter is missing. As the Attorney General would be aware, such a file would itemize in detail what John Clement did for Astra Trust. Can the Provincial Secretary for Justice give his assurance that everything will be done to locate this particular file?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Yes, if the file is required for a specific purpose. I have to remind the honourable member that he is simply reading excerpts from the document that was sent over earlier by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Smith), that issues document.

If there is a file that is required to be presented somewhere, I can give the member the assurance that the courts of this province will do everything they can to find the file if it happens to be lost in their own system, or the Attorney General will, if he happens to know where it might be located.

For instance, it may well be located in the files the honourable member has locked away for the purposes of the justice committee. If that is the case, I am sure the file will be located and turned over. I do not think the member is making any allegation that someone has done something to a file, is he?


Mr. Samis: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour. Can the minister tell the House what he intends to do to get the two sides in the six-month-old Domtar strike in Cornwall back to the bargaining table, especially to avoid a situation where there was virtually no face-to-face negotiations for a full period of four months?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, with the greatest respect, I do not quite like the phrase "do something to get the parties together."

Mr. Martel: The Premier promised to do something about it during the election.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Hang on, we are not going fishing yet. I may not go if the member keeps at that.

The honourable member well knows that we were very actively involved at the conciliation and mediation stage in that strike. He well knows that a disputes arbitration committee was appointed, made up of Bob Joyce on behalf of management and Terry Meagher on behalf of the Ontario Federation of Labour.

He well knows that I have personally met twice with the parties. He well knows that the mediators and the disputes advisory committee have been in touch with the parties continuously.

He also well knows that an offer was put to the parties and was accepted at the negotiating table. It was rejected by Cornwall but accepted by York East and St. Catharines.

If that is not doing the job, then I tell my friend he has the problem and not me.

Mr. Samis: The minister is not answering the question. The question relates to what he is intending to do since the vote by the workers in Cornwall.

Second, can the minister tell the House whether he is actually satisfied that Domtar is negotiating in good faith, since it has consistently and dogmatically rejected any settlement on the basis of the Abitibi formula, which has been accepted by every other major pulp and paper producer in this province?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I do not think the member really means to ask my opinion as to whether either party is bargaining in good faith. He knows we have the Ontario Labour Relations Board, which can settle those issues very readily if any party feels that is a just accusation. There have been no such charges.

The disputes advisory committee continues to be in touch with the parties and will continue to be in touch with them. If there is any indication that bringing them together will be fruitful, we will be glad to do so.


Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of the Environment. Will the minister insist on the installation of the South Cayuga industrial waste site without a proper hearing, a determination that was made by the former minister? Is the minister going to insist on that particular tack of putting it in without a hearing?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the honourable member understands that what is proposed there is not to proceed without a hearing. I think the question he really means to ask is whether there would be proceedings under the Environmental Assessment Act. I have said, and I repeat, that the decisions taken by my predecessor were decisions I supported at that time as a member of the cabinet. I continue to support them, and they are not on the agenda for reconsideration.

The intention I am quite prepared to state is that of proceeding with the hearings as had been outlined by my predecessor, hearings which, if the member will examine what has been proposed, will guarantee perhaps even fuller opportunity for examination of the safety of the site and the technology than might be possible under the Environmental Assessment Act.

It is true that it does have the effect, for example, of focusing the attention upon a specific site as opposed to looking at all sites in Ontario in one hearing, which I think even the member would understand might well be a futile exercise. The difficult decision that my predecessor made is a decision which, in my opinion, will stand.

3:10 p.m.

The other effect this proceeding will have is that it will presumably not deal with the matter of necessity, because it was my understanding that all parties in the legislative committee, in February of this year, I believe, acknowledged there was a necessity to proceed with a waste treatment facility.

The question of necessity is not at issue. There really is not much point in dealing with the issue of necessity in an environmental assessment hearing. But I can assure the honourable member there will be open sharing of information and consultation with the public. There will be every opportunity for people to be heard as the hearings progress.



Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the membership of the standing committees be as follows:

Administration of justice: Messrs. Andrewes, Bradley, Breithaupt, Elston, Gordon, MacQuarrie, Mitchell, Piche, Renwick, Swart, Treleaven and Williams;

General government: Messrs. Barlow, Brandt, Ms. Bryden, Ms. Copps, Messrs. Eves, Hennessy, Kells, McGuigan, McKessock, Runciman, Sheppard and Wildman;

Resources development: Messrs. Eakins, Eaton, Harris, Havrot, J. M. Johnson, Kerrio, Lane, Laughren, McNeil, Riddell, Stevenson and Stokes;

Social development: Mr. Dean, Ms. Fish, Messrs. Gillies, R. F. Johnston, Jones, Kennedy, Kolyn, McClellan, Ruprecht, Shymko, Sweeney and Van Horne;

Members' services: Messrs. Boudria, Di Santo, Hodgson, Kerr, McLean, O'Neil, Robinson, Rotenberg, Ruston, Samis, G. W. Taylor and Watson;

Procedural affairs: Messrs. Breaugh, Charlton, Edighoffer, Epp, Kerr, Mancini, McLean, Robinson, Rotenberg, G. W. Taylor, Watson and Hodgson;

Public accounts: Messrs. Cousens, Cunningham, Foulds, Peterson, Philip, Pollock, T. P. Reid, Sargent, Mrs. Scrivener, Messrs. J. A. Taylor, Villeneuve and Yakabuski;

Regulations and other statutory instruments: Messrs. Barlow, Brandt, Eves, Grande, Haggerty, Hennessy, Kells, MacDonald, McEwen, G. I. Miller, Runciman and Sheppard.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Wells moved that this House endorse the following schedules for committee meetings during this session:

The standing committee on social development may meet on the afternoons of Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays; the standing committee on resources development may meet on the evenings of Tuesdays and Thursdays; the standing committee on general government may meet on Wednesday afternoons; and the standing committee on administration of justice may meet on Thursday afternoons and Friday mornings.

On Wednesday mornings no more than two of the following committees may meet without leave of the House: general government, resources development and administration of justice. The following committees may meet on Thursday mornings: public accounts, procedural affairs, regulations and other statutory instruments. The following committee may meet on Thursday afternoons: members' services.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I want to raise a matter with the minister because I cannot find -- it escapes me -- where the resources development committee will meet on Wednesdays. Am I missing something? I just cannot see it.

Mr. Speaker: It is in the sixth paragraph, Mr. Martel.

Mr. Martel: Thank you.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Wells moved that Mr. Martel and Mr. Foulds exchange places in the order of precedence for private members' public business.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, may I rise on a question of order?

Mr. Speaker: A point of order?

Mr. Roy: Yes, a point of order. In computing the time for question period, I would like to ask, Mr. Speaker, whether you include in the time the time that is taken up by points of order or points of privilege or whether they are deducted from the question period time. I would like to rely on your comments and not on the comments of the people across the way. I am not sure I can rely on those statements.

Mr. Speaker: The members of the House will be interested in knowing that the rules state quite clearly that points of order or points of privilege are to be included in the time for question period.

Mr. Roy: They are to be included?

Mr. Speaker: Yes.

Mr. Nixon: That is why he raised the point afterwards.

Mr. Speaker: Right.


Mr. Roy: Mr. Speaker, before you call the orders of the day, may I rise again on the point of order I raised with you. I want to apologize to you as I may not have been as clear as I should have been in explaining my concern about what can be included in the question period. My question to you was simply whether points of order and points of privilege were in fact included in the question period.

I think your response was that points of order are included in the question period pursuant to the standing orders. Of course, you are quite right. As I read from the standing orders, section 27(a) states: "The oral question period shall be limited to 60 minutes, including supplementary questions and points of order."

Nowhere in the standing order, though, do I see that points of privilege should be included. I would ask if you could possibly give your ruling. We, on this side, are always prepared to abide by the ruling -- and we are not in any way questioning the wisdom of any such ruling -- but we want some clarification pursuant to the rule. I think it is important that we know exactly what is included in the question period and what should not be. My respectful submission to you, from reading the standing orders, is that points of privilege should not be included but points of order should be if they are raised during the question period.

Mr. Speaker: I shall be pleased to take the member's request into consideration.

Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, speaking to the same point of order, I hope when you are considering this matter you will take into account the precedents established over the course of the last four years.



Mr. T. P. Reid moved first reading of Bill 27, an Act to provide a Referendum Procedure for Ontario.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, this bill provides that the people of Ontario will have an opportunity to express their opinions on various matters, perhaps constitutional matters, through a referendum called either by a private member or on resolution of the House. It also provides that the referendum may be held in a specific region or area of the province rather than across the province as a whole.

This is a promise that I am keeping to my constituents who expressed a concern during the election, and previously, in regard to the possibility of nuclear waste being stored in northwestern Ontario. I understand this is a move supported by the present Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier) on occasion. But, in any case, this referendum bill does provide for the citizens of the province to have a direct say. I hope it will make them feel less apart from the decision-making process in this province.


Mr. Philip moved first reading of Bill 28, An Act to amend the Residential Tenancies Act, 1979.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to amend the exemption provision in part 11, rent review, of the act in order to eliminate the exemption for buildings occupied after January 1, 1976.

I have two other amendments to the same act that I would like to introduce.

3:20 p.m.


Mr. Philip moved first reading of Bill 29, An Act to amend the Residential Tenancies Act.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to require that the appeal commissioners under the Residential Tenancies Act, 1979, consist of an equal number of representatives of landlords and tenants.


Mr. Philip moved first reading of Bill 30, An Act to amend the Residential Tenancies Act.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Philip: This is a very hopeful bill because the purpose of the bill is to provide authority to the Residential Tenancy Commission to order a reduction in the rent charged by a landlord where the landlord's financing costs are reduced as a result of lower interest rates.


Mr. Martel moved first reading of Bill 31, An Act to acquire the Assets of Inco Limited.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, in introducing this bill, I might say I suggested to the member for Sudbury (Mr. Gordon) that he might support me in view of the position he takes when he is in the Sudbury basin. He has declined, however.

The purpose of the bill is to vest the title and the control of the assets, situate in Ontario, of Inco Limited in a crown corporation, the Ontario Nickel Corporation. If compensation cannot be agreed upon, provision is made for arbitration. The objects of the Ontario Nickel Corporation would include the task of operating and maintaining the assets of Inco Limited so as to provide employment and other economic benefits to the province of Ontario. I am really surprised that the member for Sudbury would not support me when he advocates that when he is in Sudbury.



Resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to 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.

Mrs. Scrivener: Mr. Speaker, before commencing my remarks I would like to add my congratulations to the many you are receiving upon your election as Speaker of this Legislature. Yours is certainly a popular appointment and one which I am sure you will fulfil with the warmth, good spirits and fairness which have always been so notable among your personal attributes.

I would like to take this opportunity to compliment the 26 new members who have now taken their place in this provincial parliament. I am sure they will discover, as I have, that the Legislature is a fascinating place, one which provides fulfilment and tremendous satisfaction for its members.

In response to the speech from the throne, I wish today to comment upon the issue of transportation and, more particularly, upon the role I see railway transportation playing in this province. In this connection, I am pleased to note the presence in the west gallery and in the gallery under the Speaker's gallery of a number of people who have a particular interest in rail.

I have noted a member of our provincial task force, Dr. Tuzo Wilson. I have observed that Mr. W. Spooner, a former member of this House and now commissioner of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, as well as two executive members of that commission, Messrs. Brooks and Moore, are both here. I have observed that Mr. H. N. R. Jackman, the chairman of the board of the Algoma Central Railway, is here, as well as Mr. Frank Shute and Mr. Sam Gilmore of Via Rail, Mr. John Thompson of the Toronto Transit Commission, Mr. John McFadgen representing Mr. David Crombie, MP, Mr. Peter Oehm and a number of members of the executive of the Upper Canada Railway Society, Mr. M. Mooney of the Ontario Railway Association, a number of representatives from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and, of course, quite a number of other concerned and interested citizens.

There is a renewed and very strong public awareness concerning all aspects of railway transportation in this province and in this country, both its shortcomings and its potential opportunities and benefits. The derailment of Canadian Pacific Railway train 54 in Mississauga in November, 1979, and the subsequent fire and evacuation brought into sharp focus for the people of this province and throughout the world the potential impact the operation of a rail transportation system can have upon people living along a railway corridor or even some considerable distance from it.

This is especially true in my own riding of St. David which is one of the oldest and most historic ridings in downtown Toronto and one which I have been honoured to represent since 1971. St. David probably has more railway trackage within its boundaries than any other riding in Ontario. In the southerly reaches adjacent to the Keating Channel and the Toronto harbour area is the Canadian National Don sorting yard and the massive track approach to Union Station. In the easterly sector and paralleling the river in the Don Valley are major lines of both Canadian National and Canadian Pacific which carry heavy passenger and freight traffic on northbound routes out of the city.

GO Transit service to Richmond Hill traverses this route and, as most people are aware, the CP main line cuts through the very heart of Metropolitan Toronto and, consequently, through St. David midway in the riding between north Rosedale and Moore Park. Not to be overlooked is the fact that the right of way for the old CN belt line railway follows the north boundary of Mount Pleasant cemetery.

3:30 p.m.

In addition, St. David is bound on its westerly sector by the north-south Yonge subway line and through its centre by the east-west Bloor subway line. For years constituents of St. David have been concerned about the noise and vibration emanating from the heavy freight traffic carried on the CP main line and the attendant safety hazards implicit in its operation.

Over a considerable period of time they have expressed their concerns to railway officials, to the Department of Transport, the Canadian Transport Commission and senior government representatives, including the Minister of Transport and the Mayor of Toronto. Although much effort was expended, it appeared that very little could be accomplished.

However, the Mississauga disaster has changed the climate of public opinion in a dramatic manner. One of the positive things to arise from that event was the formation by some concerned residents of St. David of MTRAC, the Metropolitan Toronto Residents Action Committee. Now allied with residents' groups across Metro, this organization has made excellent presentations concerning the need for safe railway transport of dangerous commodities to the Grange commission and, commencing last week, to the railway transport committee of the Canadian Transport Commission.

MTRAC is spearheaded by dedicated persons like Harold Morrison, Harry Behrend, David Scott, Rose Dyson, Gordon Waldie, Kenneth Ross and Professor Geoffrey Norris. I commend the work of this important group and take pleasure in placing a statement concerning its activities in this official record.

As elected representatives of the people of this province, we as members must do all we can to maintain and enhance the quality of life our citizens enjoy. Their present standard of living must be jealously guarded. At the same time, there are pressing concerns which threaten to drastically change our way of life, especially when it comes to the excellent standard of transportation we have known in Ontario.

World petroleum shortages and rapidly rising energy costs have forced us to look at ways of reducing the amount of petroleum energy we use. One means is through transportation, which is responsible for the consumption of approximately 50 per cent of the total petroleum fuel in the province. In a word, rail is an energy-efficient mode of transport. It is one which we simply have to consider seriously in the context of depleting and ever more expensive oil supplies.

The bill for oil imports for all purposes into Canada in 1980 was nearly $4 billion in badly needed foreign exchange, and this situation is worsening. In addition, competition for government funds has resulted in a gradual decrease in the percentage of public money available for transportation programs.

What does this mean to the government of Ontario? We have to get more out of the total transportation dollars available. We have to reduce our petroleum energy consumption. We have not only to continue but also to find new ways to spend public funds for transportation wisely and effectively. We have to ensure that we are getting the maximum use out of each form of transportation and its existing infrastructure. This means greater co-ordination and integration. Most important, the various modes must complement one another so that the result is the best total transportation system possible.

But, one may ask, isn't it a federal responsibility? The federal government, naturally, has national interests to which it must give first priority. But it is the responsibility of our provincial government to ensure that provincial priorities are being adequately addressed. Regardless of jurisdictional problems, Ontario must be fully involved in the development and implementation of transportation policies which affect any components of the multifaceted transportation system in this province.

It was with these concerns and others in mind that the Premier (Mr. Davis) asked me to chair the Ontario Task Force on Provincial Rail Policy. When he established the task force in January, 1980, the Premier stated as terms of reference, "There is a need to develop a provincial perspective to rail transportation to ensure that the government of Ontario implements in the 1980s a transportation plan which will provide for the needs of the province," and he added that both passenger and freight transport would be reviewed with concerns for commuter rail, intercity rail and improvement of track and equipment.

In the task force, we had the opportunity to look at rail from two unique perspectives. First, we examined the role of rail as it serves the people of Ontario now. This had not been done in modern times. Second, we were commissioned to determine the future of rail in Ontario and how best it can be utilized in the decades ahead. Of course, both perspectives were interrelated. Of the two, there is no question in my mind but that the latter was the more important.

We have had a history in this country since the Second World War of dismantling our railway systems. A great many people have been engaged in the process of so-called rationalization whereby we have seen the rail network disintegrate and passenger and freight service all but disappear in many parts of the province. The result is that we have a railway system which does not serve all parts of Ontario, nor of Canada for that matter. We are left with great gaps in the system.

We, in the task force, were asked to advise the government about the opposite of this dismantling process. We were asked to take a look at the opportunities for the greater use of rail during the next 30 years and beyond. We were to ignore the current trend and see whether there is not a better way to use rail within an energy-efficient, balanced transportation system in Ontario. The question was posed: Can rail once again play a full and dynamic role? The answer to that is a resounding yes.

There is no doubt that rail is important to this province today and has to be buttressed. There was a perception in the minds of a great many people, including some senior railway people, that rail service was in trouble and in need of serious attention. What the government wanted us to do was put aside the pessimism and cynicism of the critics and consider in positive terms how to improve the role that rail can play and how to achieve that role.

I am confident that every member of this House would draw the same conclusion as did members of the task force, after listening to those who came forward and presented their views, that rail has a challenging, promising, dynamic, exciting and prosperous future. I think they would also conclude, as we did, that rail will not only survive, but it must survive for the economic strength of this province and this country.

Despite the deterioration of this system over the years, rail today is a strategically important transportation mode in Ontario. The good news is that with the encouragement and assistance of both the federal and Ontario governments, it will be rejuvenated and become more effective, more diversified, more energy-efficient and, I believe, more economically viable. Rail can once again become a superior transportation resource functioning as a full partner in a balanced transportation system in this province. It will not be easy or inexpensive to accomplish, as our task force report states, but it is essential that we succeed in this important goal.

Our mandate was to examine the potential of rail, both passenger and goods movement, over the next 30 years. This was the time span viewed as necessary to accommodate decisions made today for the implementation and benefit of the people of Ontario in the foreseeable future. The challenge of finding a crystal ball that was not clouded by the rhetoric of those who could only see rail as an anachronistic transportation system was almost more daunting than the actual conduct of our study.

I am not going to suggest that the task force found a crystal ball with an unobstructed view of the future. Of course, we did not. However, we did find many people who have a common sense grasp of what can and should be done to ensure that the options for this country are not precluded or distorted by negative thinking or a pessimistic sense of inevitable decline. We found people who had the conviction to propose that we get on with it, put into place the new technologies available to us and restore rail service to some of the areas where it has been removed. We were impressed by what such people saw as our potential future, and to a considerable degree our report supports their view.

In its final report, the task force calls for decisions, action and investment which will enable rail to help pull this country forward into the next century towards the achievement of our economic, social and cultural potential. We found people, many of them inside the railway industry, with a profound sense of confidence in Canada, in Ontario and in the railway mode. They were excited about what we can do if we can get our act together and put some money where our dreams are.

3:40 p.m.

These people pushed aside the murkiness of the crystal ball and helped provide the insights which shaped our report and our view of what we can accomplish over the next 30 years. But we have to get there from here. Hence our report, which has close to 200 recommendations. It calls for prompt action, dealing first with the pressing problems of today, and then reaching out for the medium and long-term decisions required to put rail to use for us fully once again.

Our report recognizes that, right now, the economic and energy pressures on transportation are so great that changes are essential immediately in terms of how railways move people and goods. First and foremost, we have concluded that while the federal government must continue and expand upon its financial support for railways, there must be a larger and more aggressive provincial involvement in planning and development of the railway system in Ontario.

Few people realize that there are over 10,000 miles of railway in Ontario. Some of these lines are of strong federal interest because they serve countrywide, interprovincial or international needs. Many others cater strictly for regional and local needs within the province. All of the lines have a strong influence on our total transportation system and the economy of Ontario.

The task force came to the early conclusion that it is important to develop a partnership between the province, the federal government and the railways in the provision of railway services in Ontario so that the public can receive maximum benefit from a balanced and totally integrated transportation system.

Transportation planning can no longer take place in isolation, with a blind eye turned towards those forms of transport which fall under some other jurisdiction. Fresh approaches are required by all parties, with consultation and co-operation taking place for the benefit of the public at large. Jurisdiction can no longer be invoked as a barrier to that joint approach.

For its part, the federal government should develop, in consultation with the provinces, a clearly defined national transportation policy which stresses the importance of rail for both passenger and freight transportation. As part of this policy, it will be essential to develop a national rail strategy within which the Department of Transport, the Canadian Transport Commission, the railways and the provinces can work together to achieve maximum system utility and efficiency.

The task force is also recommending that the federal Minister of Transport reclaim or reassert his full responsibility for establishment of broad national rail policy, and that the role of the CTC be limited to advising the minister on the public need only. I informed Mr. Pepin, the federal Minister of Transport, of that fact last Monday.

At the present time, the Canadian Transport Commission has the power to determine the minimum levels and quality of passenger rail service in this country. The cumulative effect of these decisions has resulted in the de facto establishment by the CTC of a significant portion of passenger rail policy, including the minimum levels of funding allocated to these services; yet the CTC bears neither financial nor political accountability for this decision making.

For its part, the province will have to develop a master rail plan, classifying the various rail services in Ontario according to provincial or national interest as the case may be. The development of this master rail plan will require considerable discussion with the municipalities and the users as a means of identifying local and regional needs and priorities.

We foresee the master rail plan being used as a basis for determining the degree of direct or indirect provincial involvement in the provision of various rail services in Ontario, and as a foundation for continuing discussion with the users, the railways and the federal government.

We firmly believe that in this era of rising energy costs, rail is the obvious answer to many transportation problems. Of all our forms of transportation, only rail need not be dependent on petroleum based or liquid fuels, and it is efficient. In fact, rail is the most economical year-round mode for shipping bulk commodities. Unit trains use only one quarter of the fuel required for a similar haul by truck.

To ensure that the full capabilities of rail are realized as an integral part of an effective total transportation system in Ontario, we see the provincial government acting in the following way: (1) to safeguard the public interest by ensuring the continuing availability of vital rail services; (2) as a mediator to facilitate cooperation and co-ordination between rail and the other modes of transport; (3) as a spokesman and intervener on behalf of the users and operators of rail services, and (4) as a catalyst to encourage and help implement new rail services that are in the public interest but cannot be implemented by the private sector alone.

We also think that the province should take a direct interest in local, regional and commuter services within its borders and a strong supporting interest in interprovincial or international services; that the province should help to protect the quality of life by minimizing negative community impact and striving to ensure safe rail operations, and that the province should provide financial assistance for the construction of railway plant or purchasing of equipment where broad provincial public objectives are served by such assistance.

We are in a new era, an era of energy conservation and retrenchment in government spending. Obviously changes in railway direction must be made to match our changing time. The basic railway infrastructure is available, albeit in need of modernization, and it must be utilized to its maximum advantage. For instance, why should the individual railway rights of way, most of which were paid for by public funds, be off limits to other than the owner railway? We believe that the issues of shared track usage and access to the railway infrastructure are of utmost importance, and we are recommending that all railways be permitted the use of another railway company's tracks for a fair fee. Then that shared use will improve the cost of service to the public.

Not only have the major railways held a general monopoly over the use of their individual lines, which should be regarded as a national resource, but they also seem to regard passenger service subsidized by the government as a necessary evil which must not interfere in any substantial way with the profit-making aspects of their operation.

Railways are not a business like any other. Hand in hand with the financial underpinnings that governments have provided in the past has been the understanding that there is a responsibility to provide certain public service obligations. But now it appears that profitability has become paramount to the railways and the federal government and has overshadowed these public service obligations.

The task force has concluded that a primary focus of provincial concern has to be placed upon passenger services. It is this area that has suffered the greatest deterioration and where the greatest potential lies if we are to regain a balance in our transportation system.

Passenger trains must be fast, reliable and comfortable if we are to have a successful passenger service, but these goals are prejudiced by existing freight train operations in Canada. The basic problem is that track subjected to frequent pounding of heavy freight axle loads is soon rendered unsuitable for safe, fast, light, comfortable passenger operations.

Passenger trains running over the same track are not only subject to the shocks and vibrations that the damage and wear by freight produces but also must slow to near-freight speeds to negotiate curves that have been flattened by the slower-moving freight trains. To add insult to injury, passenger trains are often forced to wait until shunting freight trains have cleared the track.

If there is to be a continued resurgence in passenger train service in those areas and corridors where rail can be the most efficient and desirable form of transport, then changes have to be made. Passenger rail must be reliable but, if there is to be any hope for such reliability, then passenger rail must be accorded track priority over the less time-critical freight service.

3:50 p.m.

In the Windsor-Quebec City corridor, where the ridership represents more than half the ridership of the entire Canadian rail system, we see major improvements leading to ultramodern, high-speed rail service. Electrification, rationalization of freight and passenger operations and exclusive or dedicated rail passenger rights of way all have to be given serious consideration.

Upgrading of the existing roadbed, rolling stock and signalling, and elimination or positive protection of all grade crossings are essential.

In the north, we see a redesigned transcontinental service continued as a superior cross-Canada heritage trip. The present transcontinental service attempts to play a dual role, serving both long-distance and local service and as a consequence does neither well. We see a separate local and regional rail service being developed to serve Ontario's northern communities.

GO Transit service has done a remarkable job in serving the needs of the commuting public in the Metropolitan Toronto area. However, these services have been more costly than was necessary because of treatment at the hands of the major railways. As a captive to the individual railway owning the lines on which it operates, GO Transit, and therefore the Ontario government, has contributed considerable profit to the railways. The federal government does not allow Via Rail to be charged in a similar fashion. We are recommending that railway company charges for any government-sponsored commuter services be limited to a level no higher than the railway's cost of providing that service.

In our deliberations, we have made a point of looking ahead to the role that rail can play in our future. Many of our recommendations are made with future requirements in mind and the need to protect our options. As a case in point, we have suggested that some of our larger urban centres, such as Ottawa, Hamilton and London, should be examined to determine their potential to support rail commuter services similar to those provided in Toronto. Since our cities are constantly expanding, with ever-increasing demands being placed upon transportation facilities, we believe that now is the time to protect future commuter corridors and to provide appropriate land use planning.

The task force has endorsed railway electrification for its total transportation advantages as well as for the greater security resulting from both direct and indirect reduction in the use of petroleum as a transportation fuel in Ontario. It is in line with this recommendation that the province, as has already been announced through BILD, is proceeding to the design phase of electrification of the GO Transit Lakeshore corridor from Oakville to Pickering. We also see this initiative leading to a joint study between the provincial and federal governments to examine simultaneous electrification of the Windsor-Quebec City corridor.

In terms of the profit-making freight side of the railway business, the task force has concluded that the benefits of the so-called competition between the two major railways are largely illusory and may not exist in fact. Even while we reject a government takeover or nationalism of all railway rights of way or their amalgamation, we do expect that increased shipper access to the entire railway system through promotion of shared use of track will result in increased intrarailway competition.

At the same time, the task force believes that collusion on rate setting negates the main value in having two separate railways. Therefore, we recommend that the federal government amend appropriate legislation to ensure that the railways become subject to the terms of the Combines Investigation Act.

While there is no doubt that rail is vitally important to the economy of Ontario today, we are firmly convinced that railways and rail-related industries will be even more important in the coming years. However, if we are to build upon the base of our existing high-technology industries and take advantage of the growth potential in the export field, and if we are to see our domestic railways move successfully into the next century with a safer, more productive and more energy-efficient system, there must be a dramatic increase in rail-related research activities.

Canada lags behind most other industrialized countries in its spending on all types of research and development, with spending on rail-related research being at an extremely low level. If our railway technology is to compete in the international marketplace, the level of activity relating to rail research and development must increase significantly and be sustained over the long term.

The task force recommends that there be a strong federal government commitment to support research and development at least in proportion to the research and development share of the economy as a whole. This would mean a level of spending of 1.5 per cent of rail-related gross national product by 1985. Only $174 million, or approximately four tenths of one per cent of transportation-related gross national product, was spent on total transportation research and development in 1977; and only $10.4 million, or six per cent of that total, was spent on railway research and development, a remarkably low level of research expenditure by any yardstick.

These are just some of the highlights of the close to 200 recommendations made by the task force which, when implemented, should lead to the revitalization of rail as a major component of an integrated transportation system in Ontario. I keep stressing this, because it is so important to us.

Before going on to elaborate in greater detail on some of these issues and others addressed in this report, I would like for a moment to talk about what was involved in this undertaking and to acknowledge all those who had some hand in the final outcome.

When we started organizing the task force in late 1979, I knew we had a considerable challenge ahead, but even I underestimated the extent of work required to adequately investigate and report upon the myriad of issues affecting rail transportation in the province, and to do so by the deadline that had been established.

We did not have the luxury of being able to concentrate exclusively on one issue, such as railway safety. We were asked to develop an overall perspective on all aspects of rail transportation in Ontario. Not only were we to look at the railway operations themselves but also we had to consider their impact upon all other forms of transport in an integrated transportation system. The task force held its first meeting on January 23, 1980, and from that date met weekly for almost a year to hear witnesses and presentations, to discuss submissions, working papers and issues and, finally, to make recommendations. It has been hard work but very satisfying work.

There are so many people to thank for the contributions they have made to this task force. There were the many concerned individuals and groups who took the time to phone or write with their views on rail transportation in the province. There were the large number of municipalities who submitted their briefs and proposals on the rail requirements of their citizens and industries. There were the many expert witnesses from the railways, competing transport modes, various levels of government, the academic and research communities and consumer groups who appeared before the task force. There were those within and without government who prepared 30 specialized working papers for consideration by the task force members. There were those dedicated individuals on our task force secretariat and my personal staff who worked long hours arranging meetings and preparing reports and discussion papers for the use of task force members.

Finally, there were the members of the task force themselves, who contributed immeasurably to the strength of our final product as a result of the depth of experience and expertise each of them brought to this study.

There were four deputy ministers: Mr. Harold Gilbert from the Ministry of Transportation and Communication, Mr. Arthur Herridge from the Ministry of Northern Affairs, Mr. John Thatcher from the Ministry of Government Services, and Mr. L. R. "Red" Wilson from the Ministry of Industry and Tourism.

There were also four members at large: Dr. Allan Blair, who was with the Science Council of Canada and is now with the National Energy Board; Dr. Herbert Smith, a private consulting engineer, formerly president of Canadian General Electric and later chairman of de Havilland Aircraft; Dr. Richard Soberman, director of the University of Toronto-York University joint program in transportation; and Dr. J. Tuzo Wilson, director general of the Ontario Science Centre.

4 p.m.

Many of the issues we came to grips with during our deliberations were highly complex, and at the outset we did not always agree about the approaches to be taken. However, through the course of our discussions and many long and hard meetings, I can say we arrived at a consensus on the recommendations in our final report.

In addition to the weekly meetings, the task force members met with state officials in New York, the New England states, Michigan and Ohio, to discuss their involvement in meeting the challenge of state rail transportation priorities. It is a considerable involvement, since most of them have individual state rail programs in addition to those services funded by the federal government.

A trip was also made to Europe by task force representatives to examine the role of several European governments in their rail systems and services.

In May 1980, we sponsored a one-day seminar on rail policy that was attended by representatives of the railways, shippers, competing transportation modes, governments, the academic community, consulting experts and consumer groups. We also made field trips to look at such things as the Bramport freight intermodal terminal and recent residential development along railway lines.

In November 1980, after nine months of meetings and intensive involvement, we released our five-volume interim report. Three volumes of the report contain the 30 background working papers commissioned by the task force. These papers covered all aspects concerning railways in this province from history to energy and technology, from safety to competition, to land-use planning. One of these volumes also included maps of the railway network, passenger service frequency, freight service frequency and maximum allowable operating speeds.

A fourth volume contained a random sampling of public submissions made to the task force. The fifth and main volume was a discussion of the issues the task force had been examining and the problems that had to be resolved. This interim report, entitled A Policy Position, was presented at that time as a guideline for continuing examination and as a primer and backgrounder for those who wanted a better understanding of railway issues affecting the people of Ontario.

The entire five-volume interim report was well received and is now regarded as a valuable resource document. Since its release, we have received requests for copies from as far away as New Zealand, South Africa, England and Mexico.

From October 1980 through to early January 1981, we maintained a rigorous schedule to complete the final report and recommendations, which have just been released. Because of the recent election, it could not be published at an earlier date.

A few moments ago, I highlighted some of the recommendations and directions we feel the province should be taking in rail transportation. In the opinion of the task force, one issue mentioned earlier is fundamental to better, less costly railway service and a more effective railway system. That is the issue of usage of the existing railway infrastructure.

For the most part, the required railway infrastructure is in place in Ontario but, because of proprietary restrictions on each of the lines, this infrastructure is not necessarily used to its greatest advantage. Rail is the only form of transport where the basic travelled right of way is generally for the exclusive use of owner-operators.

We have an intricate network of streets and highways in this province which can be used by any motor vehicle meeting the regulations. Our canals and lake corridors are open to all marine vessels, and our airport facilities are provided for the common use of competing airlines. This common use of infrastructure results in the greatest amount of service at the lowest possible cost and avoids redundancy and overbuilding of the system.

While some have suggested that amalgamation and nationalization of the two major railway companies would be in the public good, the task force has never viewed such a recommendation favourably. Usage of the track is another matter. As we have said in our report, it is not a question of ownership of the lines, but rather a question of who is allowed to use them and under what conditions.

There seems no valid reason why the railway lines cannot remain with an existing ownership and still, through federal regulations, be made available, as is the highway system, to any operator or agency who wants to use them.

A report prepared in 1978 by CP Consulting Services and Canalog Logistics Limited concluded that, while several operating problems are associated with the concept of joint track usage, "none of these problems are considered to be insoluble." We realize that shared track usage would present additional traffic control considerations, but we are also convinced that with a co-operative attitude on the part of the railways and proper forward planning and scheduling any problems would be minimal.

There are numerous opportunities for improved service, reduced costs and minimized land-use impact with the concept of joint or shared use of track. Many Ontario municipalities are served by two or more rail lines reaching into or through the heart of a town or city. With shared use, service could be minimized or eliminated on one or more of the lines, and all the railway companies could serve the municipality's needs through the most strategically located corridor. This would not only reduce the traffic and environmental disruption, but would open up abandoned urban corridors for further development.

In the major intercity corridors, several types of rationalization are possible, once the concept of shared usage has been accepted. In fact, once the concept is accepted, a completely different type of attitude towards joint and co-operative railway planning can take place, with potential cost savings and service improvements for all who are involved.

One form of rationalization is the piling on of all suitable traffic on a selected rail line in a corridor. The resulting increased revenues could then support a much higher level of capital improvement, such as electrification, double-tracking, curve-easing or advanced signalling than the traffic could justify when assigned to two or more separated lines.

For instance, a consequence of this concentration of traffic on one line might be the opportunity to abandon one or more of the other little-used lines or to reduce the required maintenance for savings in operating expenses. Rather than abandoning one line in a corridor for the sake of concentrating traffic on another parallel line, with shared use the potential exists for differentiation of traffic on two or more parallel lines.

I mentioned this earlier, and I will discuss it in greater detail in a few moments. There is a basic conflict between light, rapid passenger trains and slow, heavy freight trains. Shared use provides the opportunity to concentrate passenger service on one line and freight service on a parallel line in a particular corridor, thus avoiding the conflicts created between the two types of services.

Variations in this type of operation are possible. For instance, lighter and faster freight services could be assigned to the passenger line, concentrating the heavier and slower freight on the other. The passenger line, thus relieved of the passage of heavy freight loads, could be maintained at an appropriate level with a much lower maintenance expenditure.

Another possibility in the case of parallel but single tracks of two separate railway companies would be to operate the tracks as a set of one-way pairs and obtain increased capacity without double-tracking either of the lines. A further major benefit is obvious: each railway company would be enabled to take the shortest route from shipper to destination.

There are many opportunities to be explored, with the most appropriate solutions dependent upon the many variables, such as track availability and types of service in the specific corridor. Without agreement on the concept of shared usage, none of these opportunities will be possible.

Southern Ontario is particularly rich in duplicate facilities and consequently in opportunities for specialization and rationalization. As an example, there are no fewer than five through tracks on three route alignments between Toronto and Windsor.

To sum up, the issue of track usage is fundamental to a more efficient deployment of rail services on the existing system. Implementation of shared usage will require federal regulations and a new co-operative attitude on the part of the railway. There is considerable urgency in this matter. If we are to proceed with high-speed passenger service and electrification of some lines in the Windsor-Quebec City corridor, then it is essential that a considerable amount of planning and consolidation be done so that capital expenditures can be made on the most appropriate lines for the maximum benefit to all users.

4:10 p.m.

I would like now to turn for a moment to the major conflict noted earlier which exists between passenger and freight services in this country. This is the issue of the weight of individual freight cars.

Within the task force, we came to the point where we referred to this particular problem by its descriptive title, "lighter is better." From briefs received, and other sources, the task force learned that the railways' preoccupation with the movement of profitable freight has led not only to a lamentable decline in passenger service but also to a toleration of rough track that makes it impossible to offer the public a modern comfortable passenger service at any but the most uncompetitive speed.

Two causes of rough track can be blamed. First, repeated passage of heavy wheel loads and, second, the lack of close attention to track between periodic work by highly mechanized track gangs. Evidently the railways can and do tolerate rail misalignment and surface defects as the price they are prepared to pay for the gains in productivity that high-capacity cars can achieve. And the price is high, since it includes accelerated wear and, despite reduced speed, an accident rate that is excessive by international standards.

There are difficulties enough in Canada in maintaining true running surfaces in spite of frost heave and other forces in the subgrade without the added difficulties provided by the heavy pounding of 100-ton car freight trains.

At present, there appears to be insufficient incentive for the railways to further strengthen their track structure. Rails used on North American main lines are already among the heaviest in the world. Although the supporting structure of ties and rail fastenings may lack the integrity of systems in use overseas, the problem is basically one of loading.

The permitted axle load for freight cars in North America has risen from 22 to 33 tons in relatively few years and now equals that allowed locomotives. By contrast, on other continents, axle loads exceeding 25 tons are rare, except for those isolated lines hauling a single commodity like iron ore which are operated in Australia, Liberia and elsewhere on the American model.

As well, to relieve excessive loading on the inner rail at low freight train speeds, the super-elevation of many curves has had to be flattened.

Some commentators addressing the growing evidence of long-term extra costs associated with running 100-ton cars are advising a return to the earlier 80-ton standard. Others are expecting a technical fix through improved suspension that will moderate the forces exerted on the track by the larger vehicles.

However, I think it is important to appreciate that the safe and comfortable operation of high-speed passenger trains over the same tracks as are used by large numbers of 100-ton capacity cars, the so-called jumbo cars, is severely impeded. Passenger trains running over the same track are not only subject to the shocks and vibration that the damage and wear by freight produces and the resultant passenger discomfort but also must slow to freight speeds to negotiate curves that have been flattened for the slower-moving freight trains.

The task force was especially concerned about the impact of these constraints upon future high-speed passenger developments in the Windsor-Quebec City corridor, the most intensively used corridor in Canada.

Not all weight-related problems stem from jumbo freight cars. Concern was expressed to the task force that the LRC -- light, rapid, comfortable -- trains on order for Via Rail use, may not be permitted to operate at the speeds of which they are mechanically capable; that is, at least at 125 miles per hour. Although the LRC locomotive will have an axle load about three tons lighter than a standard diesel locomotive, those locomotives are not used at speeds exceeding 80 miles per hour in regular service. Also, the LRC's unsprung mass is high relative to high-speed practice overseas, and this characteristic is harsh on track.

What seems to be needed, especially if railways are to be expected to assume a larger and more effective role in Canada's principal passenger corridor, is a change in philosophy regarding weight of equipment. There is convincing evidence all around that lighter is better, and it would appear that, although North American conditions are distinctive, there are signs of a shift in thinking of which the new lightweight AEM-7 electric locomotive for the US northeast corridor may be the forerunner.

As I have said previously, there are many changes and improvements required if we are to encourage large numbers of the travelling public to get the train habit rather than using less energy efficient forms of travel. Passenger train service has to become faster, more convenient and more reliable than it is at the present time.

In the Windsor-Quebec City corridor, faster speeds will be essential if Via Rail is going to attract business people away from the airlines or out of their private cars. In many cases the working person will be able to make effective use of his time on trains to continue reading or writing or discussing issues associated with his business. He can do it in comfortable, spacious surroundings and in a relaxed atmosphere. However, if the journey is too slow and the travel time too long, then this important advantage is dissipated.

Travel time in this corridor can be reduced by attacking the problem on many fronts. First of all, we should have a target for overall passenger train speeds of about 125 miles per hour. Depending on where you are travelling in the corridor today, operating speeds average between 40 and 75 miles per hour. The British have operated some of their services at up to 160 miles per hour, but have indicated to us that the additional costs required to achieve 160, over and above the costs to operate at 125, are not worth the few additional passengers attracted to the faster service. In other words, at speeds over 125 miles per hour the operator starts to experience diminishing returns.

New generation passenger trains will be required to operate in comfort at sustained speeds of 125 miles per hour without inflicting unacceptable damage to the track. We hope the new light rapid comfortable train will be able to fulfil these expectations. But if it cannot, then the federal government and the railway industry should be concentrating on early modification or new designs to meet this challenge.

Early decisions will have to be made to determine whether an existing or new line, or a combination of both, is the most appropriate for high speed service in the corridor. Options such as rationalization of traffic, which I discussed earlier, and new or dedicated rights of way will have to be investigated. Where existing track is to be used, many modifications will be required to remove flattened curves and other physical impediments to high speed.

Even if we have the trains with high speed capacity, we will not be able to achieve these higher speeds without positive separation of road and rail traffic at all crossings on whatever land is chosen for high speed service. With higher speeds and the inherent critical safety factors, we will no longer be able to trust the usual flashing lights and barriers. We will need an accelerated program for grade separation of all heavy traffic crossings in the corridor.

For those lower volume crossings, we will require installation of new assured barrier protection. This latter type of protection may require some considerable research and development, but I am confident that our Canadian engineering and research community will be able to produce a failsafe barrier which will prevent vehicle and public access to the tracks prior to the approach of high speed trains.

These changes will not happen overnight, but we must start the planning now if we are to achieve high speed rail passenger service in Canada's major corridor in the near future. In the shorter term, we must take incremental steps to higher effective speeds and more time-reliable services in this important corridor. In order to remove the problem of interference from slower moving freight, passenger trains need to be given legal track priority where both services are using the same lines. In the USA, Amtrak already has this legal authority.

Not only must we shorten elapsed travel times, but we must make rail travel and access more convenient for the travelling public. Train travel is only part of what should be an integrated transportation system in Ontario. The province needs to take steps to encourage co-ordinated scheduling between and within the bus and rail modes, and to assist municipalities in the establishment of multimodal stations. Such stations would allow direct interconnections between the various forms of travel, including the local transit system, and provide many other services such as rental cars, taxis and restaurants for the traveller.

There is a very successful intermodal station of this nature in the north and the representative is here today.

4:20 p.m.

In northern Ontario, neither local needs nor the needs of the long distance cross-country traveller are being adequately served by the existing transcontinental trains. The heavy train, with its complement of staff and services, which are not needed by the short distance traveller, is too unwieldy and costly an instrument to provide effective cost-efficient local service, even as a byproduct of its transcontinental function. The sheer length of the route through northern Ontario requires that the train must travel through many communities very late at night or early in the morning, times hardly conducive to local access.

As I mentioned earlier, the task force is recommending that the transcontinental service be redesigned as a superior cross-Canada heritage trip and that a local service be developed to serve the needs of the northern communities along the transcontinental corridors.

The expense to the public of the present transcontinental service is substantial. In fact, it accounts for some 65 per cent of all passenger rail costs. Part of these high costs are a result of the number of train sets required to ensure daily service from both directions all year around and over such a long distance. These costs are also aggravated by the twin routes taken.

If the transcontinental is to be preserved for long distance, heritage, tourist and vacation travellers, then the possibility of reduced frequencies could lead to considerable cost savings. Schedules could be set to cater to the peaks in travel demand with only intermittent service provided in the off-peak seasons without destroying the market potential for the transcontinental.

In addition to the transcontinental service, rail has the potential, if properly marketed, to service various tourism and recreation areas within the province. Some of this potential is already being tapped by such services as Algoma Central's Agawa Canyon tour and by our own Ontario Northland's Polar Bear Express. Via Rail also markets weekend packages to Toronto and other locations in its high demand corridors.

We encourage these efforts but there are other markets on rail lines not presently serviced by passenger rail or packaged as tourist destinations. The task force recommends that the province investigate the demands for and feasibility of providing passenger rail service to selected high potential tourist destinations in Ontario. In particular, we suggest that a demonstration service be operated from Toronto to the four seasons Collingwood-Wasaga Beach area.

The province has been promoting and funding recreational development in this area for some time with the result that it is fast becoming a year-round resort area offering a variety of activities catering to many different tastes. The market is there and rail can provide a safer mode of travel in the winter and ease highway congestion to the north in the summer.

As part of our desire to see passenger rail in this province become more convenient and co-ordinated within a total transportation system, we see the need to strengthen and restore our cross-border rail links with our American neighbours to the south. Services used to be there but they have dwindled to the point where Amtrak services, if any, die on their side of the border and Via Rail services have followed a similar fate on the Ontario side.

Until this week, there has been no attempt to interconnect the services or even ensure that the schedules match. Usually, an expensive trans-border taxi ride plus a long wait was necessary if the passenger intended to continue his journey. Now we are seeing the first signs of a change in philosophy concerning USA-Ontario links.

Last Monday, I was privileged to participate in the inaugural ceremonies of the new Via-Amtrak Maple Leaf train service directly connecting Toronto to New York City via Niagara Falls and Buffalo. I am quite certain that without the intervention of the province and other interested members of the public, this service would not have been provided. Now that it is here, Via Rail has demonstrated considerable enthusiasm for the concept. It has done an excellent job of marketing the service and as part of the package has established a circle fare for a Toronto-New York-Montreal-Toronto trip with stops allowed in between for only $13 more than the normal round-trip Toronto-New York fare. This should have considerable appeal to offshore tourists and domestic travellers alike.

With the increases in energy cost and significant improvement in the speed, convenience and reliability of passenger services, I am confident that we are at the beginning of a major resurgence in passenger rail usage in this province and in Canada. Some of these changes will require government funds. However, I am confident that the benefits of reduced petroleum dependency and improved service to the people of this province will more than justify the cost.

On the freight side of the railway business, which accounts for 85 per cent of all rail revenue and nearly all railway profit, the task force has concentrated its recommendations to this government in two major areas. One is a strong thrust to encourage increased use of rail for the movement of goods and commodities as a means of achieving significant energy savings.

In order to foster co-operation between various forms of freight transport and effect a shift to rail for the longer distance trips, the task force has recommended that the province support the increased use of container and piggyback services by: (a) providing loans or tax incentives as an inducement to the early construction of additional modern, intermodal terminals; (b) providing convenient and direct highway access to all intermodal terminals; and (c) negotiating with railway and trucking officials to develop co-operative intermodal services for the mutual benefit of those operators and their customers.

Additional use of rail can also be encouraged by alleviating problems of availability of rail services and shortage of cars experienced by some of the smaller shippers and certain segments of the resource industry.

Not only can the province provide tax incentives, grants or loans for private rail sidings or special purpose rolling stock, but the task force has also recommended that the Ontario government give consideration to the establishment of a provincial freight car pool. These cars could be leased from the government by those industries experiencing intermittent car shortages.

The second thrust is to have the government play a more forceful and significant role in protecting the interests of the shippers in this province. In this area, we are concerned that users of rail services, especially captive shippers, have access to a short, effective rate appeal process. The present procedure is so unwieldy, potentially time-consuming and expensive that only five cases have been decided since the enactment of the National Transportation Act in 1967.

Any shipper who believes that the railways are charging excessive rates is at a strong disadvantage, since the shipper has no way of knowing what it costs the railway to ship his product. Without this knowledge and because of the expense involved, it is not practical for small shippers to appeal any perceived injustice.

The province can play a strong role on behalf of the users of the rail system by monitoring freight rates, identifying cases of rate discrimination and intervening with the railways and others. In this regard, the task force recommends that railway costing information, now available to the Canadian Transport Commission and Transport Canada, be made freely and easily accessible to representatives of the provincial government.

In order to ensure that rail freight rates are established competitively between the major railway companies, we are also recommending that these companies become subject to the Combines Investigation Act; that they no longer be allowed to set joint rates behind closed doors. Many of the railway charges may in fact be set at a fair level now, but there is a strong perception that they are not.

To sum up, while we want to see an expanded use of rail for freight transport because of its inherent energy efficiency, we also want to ensure that the shippers in this province are being treated fairly and are receiving the best service possible.

I would like to discuss a subject which has aroused considerable public interest, and I am, of course, referring to the subject of railway electrification, a subject which the task force was directed to consider because of Ontario's abundant electrical resources.

4:30 p.m.

There has been considerable discussion and much written about railway electrification in Canada for a great many years. The railways have consistently acknowledged that electrification is something that would be nice to have but commercially unattractive. I think that was probably true during the days of cheap coal and more recently, following conversion to diesel locomotives, of cheap oil. Now the rising cost of oil fuel provides the railways with an incentive to conserve and even replace oil as a main source of energy.

Studies done for the task force suggest that electrification of a number of routes in Ontario is now economically viable. The whole matter of electrification could be left to the commercial judgement of the railways except for one factor of vital and increasing importance. That is government's strategic stake in achieving energy self-sufficiency. Railway electrification of the right sort can so transform railway operations and the service offered that traffic can be attracted from less energy efficient modes without the necessity of regulation. In the end, much more oil can be saved by electrification than the mere consumption by the railways themselves.

In addition to this external bonus -- that is, the benefit to the economy at large -- there is also the benefit to society and the environment of faster, cleaner, quieter rail service. Electrification serves the goal of the newer trains, which are lighter and more responsive to traffic control. In certain conditions one electric locomotive can do the work of two diesels with consequent reduction in total train weight, the requirement for energy and the wear on track. In other conditions, for example commuter service, locomotives can be dispensed with entirely for still greater savings in capital and operating costs.

Railways perform many different transportation tasks. The traffic flow on any line is formed of a unique mix of commodities and trip purposes, and some of these mixes gain more from electrification than others. Where speed is valued, electrification thrives. Thus, where rapid economical acceleration of passenger trains from numerous station stops is sought, electrification is the key.

That is not to exclude electrification of heavy freight services. It merely means that the merit of such electrification will need to rest on large volumes of traffic sufficient to ensure a short payback period with oil saving an external bonus. However, for commuter services and for high speed passenger trains, electrification can be the key to new thresholds of performance and new levels of patronage with widespread benefits.

So it is that the government of Ontario has committed itself to electrifying GO Transit's lakeshore corridor and the task force has urged in its report that investigation of simultaneous electrification in the Windsor-Quebec City corridor be pressed forward as soon as possible. This will require identification and sharing of costs and benefits among a number of parties in addition to the railways. With co-operation on all sides I believe we can proceed rapidly with these projects and soon realize the benefits of improved rail service and reduced petroleum dependency.

In my earlier remarks I stressed the need for accelerated rail research and development by the Canadian railways and their suppliers and also for greatly strengthened support by the federal government for rail-specific research covering both the industry and the scientific community. The task force has gone further to urge that the province should make its own very specific contribution towards advancing railway technical and operating practice and increasing its provincial export capability.

The opportunity for this initiative lies in the fact that within the province are several geographic clusters of establishments which could complement one another's technological skills, given the challenge and supplemented by provincial services. These establishments include universities, research establishments, equipment designers and manufacturers and the railway plant itself.

Outside the Toronto area there are at least four such clusters which the task force believes should be encouraged for development as rail centres of excellence, specialized yet complementary. In two of the cases there could be the beneficial transfer of new ideas between the fields of urban rail transit and of railways proper.

In the Kingston area of eastern Ontario, just a fast train ride from either Toronto or Montreal, headquarters of the major railways, are two key establishments. The Canadian Institute of Guided Ground Transportation at Queen's University is Canada's pre-eminent rail-oriented "think tank," which contributed several excellent specialized papers to the task force. Also in the area is the Urban Transportation Development Corporation's transit research test facility which has gained world leadership for Ontario in intermediate capacity transit systems. Plans for expansion there have been announced under the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program. I saw Mr. Kirk Foley, the director, here earlier today.

In southwestern Ontario there is capability in the London-St. Thomas area, where the General Motors diesel plant is located, for new initiatives and accelerated production of locomotives of advanced design and of specialized freight cars.

From Thunder Bay there have already come a variety of passenger cars and transit vehicles, a tribute to Hawker Siddeley's design and production teams. The need for reduction in train weight for minimizing fuel consumption places high value on the lightweight structural techniques developed by this company. The province should help stabilize production levels and ensure an adequate well-trained work force in co-operation with education authorities.

The property, plant and skills of the Ontario Northland Railway, centred in North Bay, make it a prime candidate for the fourth centre of excellence. Unencumbered by continental traffic, the ONR spans a wide range of ground conditions and climate and has cars of varied weights and sizes. It has a tradition of engineering skills and adaptability and could well serve as an operating test bed for a variety of innovations. Among these are intermodal operations, since the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, an agency of the province, operates bus, air and marine services as well as rail. There is no reason for our railways to continue to use technology developed elsewhere when such resource potential is available to us in our own province.

Mr. Speaker, as you know, the Grange commission of inquiry was set up by the federal government to investigate the events surrounding the Mississauga derailment and to make recommendations which will help prevent similar occurrences in the future. Contrary to one radio news report I heard on Tuesday, that was not the sole mission of our task force. As I mentioned earlier, our mandate was to look at all issues affecting rail transportation in this province. Nevertheless, a very real concern was railway safety. While the Grange inquiry was limited to the details of the specific accident, we were not so restricted, and as a result have made broad recommendations about all aspects of railway safety.

We were concerned with the lack of enforcement of existing safety regulations. We were concerned about the transportation of dangerous materials. And we were concerned about the number of all types of railway accidents that occur in Ontario. The safety record of the railways in this country would obviously not be tolerated in the airline industry nor, in fact, would it be tolerated by railways and governments in other offshore industrialized countries of the world. In Canada, indeed in North America, railway accidents seem to be accepted by the railways as an integral part of railway operations.

This is just not good enough. The Canadian Transport Commission has adequate regulatory power to ensure safer railway operations. However, they must play a stronger role in exercising that power. The CTC must take full responsibility for increased inspection and enforcement of their own regulations and no longer rely on self-regulation by the railways.

With respect to dangerous goods, the task force recommends that these commodities be consolidated in special trains which would operate under control orders specifying the routes to be taken and the schedule to be followed at restricted operating speeds. We have also recommended that, wherever possible, these dangerous goods trains be detoured around population centres, and that priority be given to upgrading track and control equipment in the dangerous goods corridors.

4:40 p.m.

Infrastructure improvements, additional control devices such as hot box detectors and a significant increase in CTC inspection and enforcement programs should help to reduce the number of railway derailments and train-to-train collisions. The federal government must sustain its grade separation program with increased funding levels if we are to achieve a similar reduction in grade crossing accidents. There were 257 such accidents in 1979, and that figure is too high.

Spectacular railway accidents, such as occurred in Mississauga, have made planners and the general public highly sensitive to the impact that railways can have upon land uses adjacent to railway corridors. Yet railways are and will continue to be part of our urban environment.

Effective land use planning must take into account all of the elements which might impact upon a community. In the future, railway infrastructure and operations have to be given more serious consideration as an integral part of the process. Undoubtedly, this will require more communication and understanding on the part of the province, the railways and the municipalities.

At the same time, if we are to have any effective control over safety and other environmental impacts that the railways may have upon their neighbours, then the railways must become subject to existing provincial legislation and regulations. The railways fall under the power of the federal government. Therefore, any compliance with provincial regulations we have now is strictly voluntary on their part.

In contrast, trucking companies, which serve many Canadian provinces, have to comply with the regulations of each province through which they pass. Since the rights of Ontario citizens are protected by provincial as well as federal legislation, there is no reason why the railways should be exempt from provincial legislation any more than any other business in Ontario.

I have gone on at some length because I wished to elaborate on many of the views held by the task force for the members of this House. Railways are vitally important to the economy and standard of living in this country and in this province, even more so than they are to our American neighbours to the south. Based on the number of passenger and freight miles of service provided in Canada, we are at least 50 per cent more dependent on rail travel on a per capita basis than is the case in the United States. And of course, our system is in better overall condition.

Our railways are doing a good job, but as the task force has said in its report, there is considerable room for improvement. Implementation of many of the recommendations in the final report will require new thrusts and a cooperative sharing of intellectual, physical and financial resources between governments, railways and users. The principal concern is no longer one of jurisdiction between two governments. It is the challenge of working together with all parties in a co-operative manner to achieve both provincial and federal goals.

The final report of the Ontario Task Force on Provincial Rail Policy indicates bold new directions and looks at the roles which rail can and will play in this province's future. Some of these recommendations will require financial commitments or legislative adjustments. Others will simply require changes in attitude. I believe we are about to experience a resurgence in rail usage in this country. That does not mean we will be restoring rail as it once was. That is a romantic concept and impractical. On the contrary, our efforts must be concentrated forcefully, vigorously upon the system as it will be.

Mr. Speaker, I assure you that rail will emerge as the new transportation mode of the future.

Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, I would like to observe, if I might digress for a moment, that the member for St. David (Mrs. Scrivener) was a relatively quiet member in the last Parliament, and we can only assume from the rather lengthy dissertation presented to us today that she was saving it all up.

I think it is rather prophetic that I, with a name such as Van Horne, which is well known in the rail world, would follow the member for St. David. I can only observe that my ancestor very likely could have laid about 10 miles of track during the time that it took for that dissertation to be made to us. The member for St. David, however, did make a complete and commendable presentation. I would urge her to speak more in this Parliament because, if she did, perhaps the presentations would be a little shorter.

Mr. Speaker, I am going to begin, as is the tradition it seems, by commending and congratulating you, the member for Peterborough, and the member for Durham East (Mr. Cureatz) on your and his appointment to the chair.

I will continue, as some of the other opposition members have done, by being critical of the government for its intolerable attitude towards members of the opposition and, I would submit, to the citizens of Ontario in turn. We have seen this attitude in the last two weeks through actions and statements made mainly by the Premier (Mr. Davis) and members of his cabinet.

Government is, or at least can be, a human process. Each member in this House had to go through a selection process to be nominated and another selection process to be elected. Each of us is now in this House. It is a pyramid process, and we are at the top of a pyramid, 125 of us, attempting to serve and meet the needs of over eight million Ontarians.

All members, at least in theory, are equal in terms of our responsibilities and our privileges in this House. We know, of course, that we are groups by virtue of our party system, and this grouping process sees the largest group as the one that directs the legislative and monetary policies of our province. Herein is the source of the intolerable attitude that bothers me, and that is the treatment of smaller groups, or the opposition parties if you will. That, I submit, is a treatment that we can get along without.

I submit to you that the government is capable of being tolerable, and I call as witness to that statement the rapport and tangible results of the minority governments of 1975 and 1977. They had all members in those two parliaments to try to work things out and, in fact, during those five and a half years of minority government they were able to do so.

Now that we are back to a majority government, that spirit of common goal and working together seems to have disappeared. We have been told more than once by the Premier, the government House leader and a few other members of the cabinet about the reality of March 19. This arrogant reminder is vanity at its worst. Such haughtiness, such priggishness, is reflective of an egotistical contempt for not only opposition members but also the ridings we represent and, more critical, it is a condemnation of the parliamentary system.

I implore the government, I implore the Premier, to raise the level of debate, to raise the level of decency and to get on with the important job of meeting the challenges of the 1980s by working above the level of partisan politics we have seen in the last few weeks.

We are all aware of the specifics or content in the throne speech. I will make comments on the significant ones in a few moments. But I also submit that we are sorely aware of what is not in the throne speech. The forecast for the future of the average Ontarian is a sad one indeed. Our food and housing costs will continue to increase. Our petroleum supply will be unstable but the cost will increase. Our farmers will continue to struggle to survive the high cost of farming and will continue to face the prospect of bankruptcy.

4:50 p.m.

We do not find any solutions to these crises in the throne speech. We do not find any reference either to any definitive action or plan on severance pay or other problems that were the main areas of concern for the select committee on plant shutdowns and employee adjustment. We do not find any reference to the needs and rights of women in the work place or day care improvements.

We find precious little to address itself to meeting the needs of northern Ontario, short of a very brief comment on page eight of the throne speech on seedling cultivation centres in northern Ontario and some discussion with private mining and forestry companies about machinery et cetera. That is pretty short shrift for northern Ontario.

The throne speech in general is a disappointment. It will long be remembered for what it did not say as much as for what it did. Let us look briefly at what it did say.

The government states on page two, "We seek to protect human and democratic rights." If they are serious, I submit that they start right here and now in this House by being a little less arrogant.

The government then makes reference to the constitution and indicates how much in concert it is with the federal government. I cannot help but marvel how easily our Premier and his government get into and then out of bed with the federal government whenever it seems to be convenient.

When we talk about the constitution or the need for a first ministers' conference to attack inflation, we hear glowing words of co-operation. But if we talk about agriculture, the Minister of Agriculture and Food in Ontario, if I can use a poor pun, screams "foul" and blames the federal government for all of Ontario's problems.

I would like to ask -- and I hope the minister takes the time to read these few comments -- how it is that the agriculture ministers in the other nine provinces of Canada seem to get along very well with the federal government but, when it comes to Ontario getting along, it does not seem to work out.

The main specifics in the throne speech are not really new. The Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program, as we are all aware, is really a reshaping of a variety of programs that have been discussed or planned for years. In a sense, what we are getting is a new paint job on an old car.

The office of procurement policy to buy Canadian and to foster Canadian manufacturing -- that is commendable. But do we have to set up another bureaucracy to do what the various ministries in this province should already be doing?

We are going to go back to a greater emphasis on electricity. Surely the people of Ontario must really wonder how serious the government is when it makes statements such as that. The use of electricity has been an off-again, on-again policy in this province for the last two decades.

Let me give one small instance to prove that statement. From the year 1969 to 1975 I served as a commissioner on our public utilities commission in the city of London. When I first sat on the commission there was a great deal of pressure put on us to encourage the use of electricity in terms of house heating. The theme was "all-electric": Get those contractors building those homes with all-electric heat. We did our level best to try to co-operate, fools that we were. We found out when we got rolling that the people who bought these homes could not afford to pay the bills. The program was not thought out very carefully, and so we got off the electricity kick.

We have been off and on again, as I say, for almost two decades here in Ontario. I hope now, when the government is coming back with the emphasis on electricity, that it has thought it out. I can assure the government that we as members of the opposition are going to question and pull apart all the presentations made on this theme as best we can, because it demands a very critical eye.

We also note that the government is going to expand the training in business and industry initiative of the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, and we hear that the government is going to develop a community counselling program to tap the resources of young people and guide them towards worthwhile and productive jobs. What is the government trying to tell us? How long is it going to be before they really call it the way it is? Is this new program another guise for remodelling the antiquated apprenticeship program? Is it really going to be an attempt to dress up the old student guidance information program? What is it going to be? What are they trying to do?

I submit that the government in Ontario has fumbled the ball in terms of the apprenticeship program and in terms of what it has not done in directing young people into proper or adequate careers, and I hope that what we read in the throne speech on this theme is something more than the window dressing we have been given for the last few years by this government.

I am pleased to see the reference made to the biotechnology joint venture with Labatt's, a corporate giant in my community, the home base of Labatt's being London, Ontario, now it has spread right across North America. But Labatt's is a source of pride to all Londoners for the treatment of its employees and for its forward approach to marketing and research. We really do hope that this new venture pays dividends.

It must be noted that Ontario's percentage contribution to this biotechnology effort is 20 per cent, with the remaining 80 per cent being split 30-50 between Labatt's and the Canada Development Corporation. So although Ontario might take a bow in a sense for what it is doing here, I submit that this 20 per cent should be watched carefully and that we should be watching it with a view to what more can Ontario do in the area of research and development, a critical need for us here in this province.

I can only hope that the government's efforts referred to in the throne speech in terms of auto parts technology and microelectronics will be dealt with in perhaps a more expedient way than the approach we have taken to the biotechnology project already mentioned. I hope too that the involvement of this province will be more than a 20 per cent commitment or involvement.

The government also talks with considerable pride of its commitment to public transport, and we just heard a long dissertation on that. I am not going to quarrel with that report; it is a very complete report. Surely, however, the time has come to take the various themes outlined there and to put some direction to them.

There are questions that can be raised, questions that were obvious to all of us as the member for St. David read her speech, questions on the cost of the various recommendations, the time line if those recommendations are to be implemented and the effects those recommendations will have on the various communities along the existing lines and any other new lines.

What about the involvement with the federal government, which is a major theme in that report? I submit that concerns such as these should be addressed by an all-party committee of this House and not simply left to the will of the government.

The throne speech gives lipservice only to the environmental concerns of all of us in this House. We all understand the need for a world-class facility for the treatment and safe disposal of industrial waste. But we also understand the need for locating such a facility in an area that has been carefully and fully selected, one that will not flood periodically.

I implore the government to reconsider the Cayuga site. Why, I ask, should we compromise number one farm land, the best we have, for a facility such as this, one that was not even included in the original list of sites, 16 or 17, presented to the government by the research company that looked into it? One has to be a little sceptical if one is on this side of the House and offer that the possibility for Cayuga being chosen was that it happens to be represented by a member of our party.

5 p.m.

There are other topics in the throne speech that provide very little detail. For example. we can only hope that the terms of reference for the select committee on pensions will be adequate for a full discussion of that very critical theme. We can only hope that the specifics of the newly announced mental health co-ordinator's role will be adequate. We can only hope for the adequacy of the specifics that we will eventually be given on such things as the Workmen's Compensation Board legislation, the Children's Law Reform Act, the career development plan for native people, the response to the Krever commission and other items dealt with in a very limited way in the throne speech.

When I say we can only hope, I must return to my opening comments on government attitude and supplement these comments with a few examples of how my friends opposite work, why they make me sceptical, and why I say these things. Let me use two examples to prove my point, one from the Thirty-First Parliament just past and one from the recent election campaign.

The government's arrogant attitude to the opposition and, therefore, to over half the people in the province who voted Liberal and NDP, or who did not vote at all, I guess should not be a surprise to us. This same arrogance led the government to be less than completely forthright with the citizens of Ontario prior to this last election.

The examples I use to support this very serious and damning allegation are found in an editorial of the Globe and Mail from March 13, 1981, which refers to the Premier selecting only parts of a comment made by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Smith) regarding world oil prices:

"Mr. Davis used only the parts of this statement that appear in italics. The error was pointed out to him, the context was supplied. Again this week Mr. Davis accused the Liberals of supporting world oil prices. The Ontario Liberals have never supported world oil prices. In the five years since the statement above was released, the Liberals have developed their oil policy further. Last Monday, Dr. Smith described some of it."

The editorial concluded: "Misquoting or quoting out of context is hardly an admirable technique in electioneering. At this stage in the campaign it is unacceptable."

Another example of government lack of forthrightness I choose to use is related to a topic in the throne speech which is a repetition of a topic during the thirty-first Parliament. I ask those new members to the House to keep their ears open for this. I refer, of course, to the proposed special bill to provide for review and appeal procedures with respect to investigation of complaints against police in Metro Toronto.

When this topic was addressed in the last Legislature, the opposition parties suggested some amendments. These amendments were not appealing to the government; so they proceeded to attack us by reshaping our arguments. This charade was uncovered and criticized in a June 27, 1980, editorial, in the Globe and Mail again, headed, "The Party With The Halo." That article reads in part:

"'Gentlemen,' said Mr. Davis, 'in our parliamentary system we in government refer to the Liberals and NDP as our opposition. But I submit that in the case of the bill I have just been discussing, the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party of this province were in fact operating not just in opposition to my government but in opposition to the wishes of the vast majority of our citizens who respect our police and the standards of law they represent and maintain in Ontario.'"

This is dishonest and appalling. The Premier of Ontario has characterized the opposition's objection to a lax bill as a crusade against the police. He has by single-minded association painted the Liberal and New Democratic members as people with "no confidence and trust in the police" who hold opinions contrary to those of "the thinking men and women of Ontario."

In short, he has jettisoned all pretence of respect for members of the Legislature with views contrary to his own and chosen instead to misrepresent those views in a shallow and malicious appeal for votes. The sight of the Premier of Ontario stooping to such tactics is nothing short of repugnant.

These two examples of arrogance are not accidental, isolated cases. They are, in my view, part of an ongoing attack on the integrity of opposition members of this House. We saw such evidence again from the Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch) in his stinging attack in the wind-up speech last December. We saw it two days ago in the response of the member for Scarborough Centre and the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea) in his rather haughty reply to my new colleague the member for Prescott-Russell (Mr. Boudria). We saw it in the Premier's reply to the question just the other day on the Nakina fire tragedy.

In regard to that tragedy, I could go on at length about the terrible ways in which the parents of those unfortunate young people who died were treated by ministry officials. The attitude of the government carries over to some of its officials, it would seem. The end result is not just sadness and shock at the deaths but also anger and frustration at the events following this tragedy, events that were orchestrated by ministry officials.

As we proceed with the work of this thirty- second Parliament, I urge the government to listen to the opposition members. We each have a responsibility to speak on behalf of our constituents. I certainly will speak to the needs of the citizens of London North -- all of them. The government must remember it is governing for all of them.

I also urge the government to listen carefully to the critics in the opposition parties. Our parliamentary system with its checks and balances allows and, yes, even demands in-depth debate between cabinet members and members opposite. Critics are often the voice of those citizens who have not been able to be heard through the bureaucracy or by government.

I hope these few words of mine and the words of my colleagues who are responding to the throne speech do not fall on deaf ears. The job can be done without arrogance. I challenge the Premier and the Conservative caucus to get on with the job without resorting to the tactics and attitudes we have seen and deplored in the last few weeks. Ontario deserves better than that.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in the throne speech debate. I want to take the opportunity to wish the new Speaker of the House well in his efforts to keep the Speaker's role as one of serving the Legislative and not being a servant of the party in power. I think the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) played a major and enlightened role in bringing a new dignity and independence to the role of the Speaker of the House.

I want to impose for just a moment and outline a personal beef I have, one that I am sure is held by many members of this House. It is a matter that was not resolved by the previous Speaker. It is one of the things I do not think he really tackled and it was certainly not alluded to in the speech from the throne.

I see the new Speaker has entered the chamber. It may give you a chance or opportunity to put your stamp on this Legislative Assembly, sir.

The question of inequity in terms of the number of members and the amount of time for questions by members other than the leaders in this House is one that has to be dealt with. The amount of time and the number of supplementaries for the leaders takes up far too much time during the question period.

5:10 p.m.

The response of the government ministers and the Premier (Mr. Davis) -- the Premier, I might say, is the worst offender -- compounds the problem and leads to a rather silly waste of time, which I suspect is often deliberate on the part of the government of Ontario. The end result is that there are not too many days when more than two or three members from other parties get a question into the House.

I feel that two questions and two supplementaries, one for each party, are adequate on leaders' questions and that we simply have to get tough with the silliness that comes from the Premier and some of his ministers in response. There should be no more than 20 minutes for leaders' questions in this House, with the remaining 40 minutes as a minimum for the other members of the House, and I ask you, Mr. Speaker, to strike a blow for the vast majority of members in this House.


Mr. Mackenzie: I am hoping that some of the members opposite do come alive. I am just waiting to see if there is any hope for the 22 new back-bench members over there. We have not seen an awful lot from those in the two front rows in the five and a half years I have been here.

To return to the throne speech, while I participate with pleasure and with a real and honest desire to contribute in a positive way -- obviously one that will not be agreed with by some of my other colleagues in other parties -- I am also motivated, I think, by more anger than I have had in some time at the hypocrisy and shallow ineptness of this government and the sheer arrogance it displays for the voters of Ontario by laying out such a big, fat nothing in the throne speech. What we have is nothing but a hideous burp after the millions spent during the election on that insane jingle about helping keep the promise in Ontario.

We have a collection of headings that tackle little, inspire contempt and are as likely to be as nonproductive as the last so-called charter, the Bramalea charter, prior to the 1977 election. Some of those were classics, including the two trees for one, and, boy, we sure got them. You know where we got them too, Mr. Speaker.

As media exploiters and con artists, this government is a master, and all of us have to take some of the blame. Opposition politicians, the voters who normally lean our way and those employed by the various media in Ontario, reporting politically, should be ashamed of ourselves for being taken to the cleaners by this party and this government once again, and that is exactly what happened to us.

A government that has no answers, fears new thinking and suffers from an absolute arrogance that somehow or other tries to equate divine rule with the Progressive Conservative Party is almost beyond belief, and I guess we all deserve a kick in the posterior. I am not sure what we did wrong. We obviously did not shake the voters up enough in Ontario.

I am not sure what some of the others, including the media, did wrong. Maybe they were too worried about the jobs that many of them are trying to get, but they sure as blazes did not zero in on the nothing that we got from this government during the election campaign, other than jingles.

Given the tremendous emotion and public relations campaign of the Conservatives, the stress on keeping the promise in Ontario, the focus on William Davis, his appeals to his family, to small towns, to past standards and glories in Ontario and, given his success in retaining a majority, one could be excused for expecting some real action to protect and expand the referred to values in Ontario.

Indeed, the results should have jolted even the Tories a little, for with all the millions spent, including a rather blatant misuse of government advertising initiatives in Ontario which really cheapened some of the nice sounding homilies that we were getting from the Premier of Ontario -- even with all of this, I noticed the Tories gained less than 100,000 voters in Ontario. The overall drop --

Mr. Brandt: How many did you make?

Mr. Mackenzie: If the member will just wait, he may learn something back there. The overall drop in voting in Ontario was substantial, and that should concern all of us, even a party that wins the election.

What the Tories were able to do very effectively was mobilize their vote in a very calculated way, those with a vested interest in keeping the status quo and protecting the positions of the already privileged people in the province. This government has set the stage in Ontario for a tremendous leap forward in public political cynicism.

Fortunately, this party -- I suppose it is one of the few small things we can take some pride from -- did not lose our votes to others. The Liberals gained even less than the Tories gained, in spite of the perception that maybe this was their chance and they were the possible alternative in Ontario. What we did not do was motivate our people and they stayed home. The ground is fairly clear and tillable for a future election.

I chuckle at my colleagues to the right and I chuckle at the remarks of the Liberal leader, who talked about how it was vital and important that his party not move to the right. My God, he could not move any further; he already has the Tories to the left of him.

We have an unfortunate tilt at this time in Ontario but fortunately, probably for us, we have two parties that effectively occupy the right of the political spectrum. When that pendulum swings, I think that is when we are going to find some changes in this province.

With this sort of development, I would have expected some bold actions on problems that even Conservatives sometimes admit exist. I would have thought and hoped that the Premier would bring us some real initiatives, would labour for substantive reforms and move forward in some of the needed areas that I want to cover in this speech.

I would have hoped he would have come forward with a clear explanation of what his program and what his promises meant. In fact, the government's approach is the opposite, and I suspect we are going to see it over a good chunk of this current Parliament.

The approach is keep quiet, do little, involve yourself as little as possible, and in two or three years down the road, if a couple of issues appear to be surfacing that might bother the voters of the province, see if you can buy them off by some small action. In terms of positive planning and initiatives, it does not exist in this government.

I guess we should not have hoped for any initiatives in this speech from the throne. But instead of initiatives we got a gnat on a mouse's tail, and we do not even have a looking glass to see if it is alive or dead.

Where is the action that is necessary in the much-needed problem of housing? Interest rates are destroying the ability of the majority of our people to obtain adequate affordable housing, and the defence I have heard by the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett) over the last few days is enough to make anyone sick.

Suppose one buys a house today -- if he is lucky enough to find it -- worth $40,000. Let us take a look at two of them and see exactly what is happening to people and a few other examples I want to give from my own area. One should not try to find a $40,000 home, of course, in Toronto -- particularly in Metro Toronto or even in Hamilton. Assume the down payment, over and above the mortgage. If the current three-year interest rate of 17 per cent were assumed, and hopefully it would not be, and if the mortgage term were 25 years, the monthly principal and interest is only $572 and the total cost of the house is only $172,000! Interest cost is at least 4.3 times the original mortgage cost.

One is paying $40,000, I guess, for the materials and the manufactured goods that have to go into that house and the profit of the builder possibly. One is really giving the money lenders of this province $130,000. Certainly they have been given a free reign by the Tory government in Ontario.

If you take a $50,000 mortgage, it gets even worse. With the same assumptions, the monthly principal and interest is $697 -- almost $700 -- and the total cost of the house becomes $209,000.

The cost of these two houses has increased by $64,000 over what it would have been if the mortgage had been negotiated even a year ago at the then prevailing rates. That is some idea of what young couples are letting themselves in for.

5:20 p.m.

The interest rates generally, not just the mortgage rates, in Ontario are nothing short of obscene. The clear difference between this party and the speculative entrepreneurs, both on my right and across the way, is that we feel housing must become a social right in Ontario. It must become a right and a priority in the same manner as health care, and it must be operated with the profit motive removed. Decent wages are a prerequisite, and it is legitimate to recover the actual costs of doing the job, but speculation, unwarranted profits and usurious interest rates must be eliminated.

This is the kind of hard but, I think, necessary leadership decision that has to be taken if we are going to begin the job of income redistribution in Ontario and of providing the essential services that are desperately needed by the people. Housing must not be based on whether one can afford to put a roof over one's head. And this is the kind of decision that will motivate people into taking a look at the unfortunate "I'm all right, Jack" philosophy, which greed has promoted all too freely.

Let me give a couple of minor examples of what is happening. I talked to a couple in Toronto, just two weeks ago, who have built up a reasonable down payment for a house and have been looking for one for some time. They could move to the suburbs, but their jobs are such that they feel they should be in the core area of Toronto. Prices have been going up and they have been kicking themselves for not having moved sooner.

They found a place -- it was not very fancy, but they liked it -- and the price was listed at $99,000. As they had done on a number previous occasions, they put in an offer that was not accepted. They went back a week later to see what had happened and found that the price had risen to $106,000. Two days later, the owners wanted to ask $110,000, but I gather there was a dispute with the real estate agent because of the way the house had been listed, and it was finally sold at $106,000. That is the kind of exploitation that is encouraged by this government.

I talked to a couple of real estate people the day before yesterday. One of them, whose only job at the moment is to act for a small investment group of 12, said the criterion of this group was "to pick up houses with existing mortgages at low rates, to buy almost anything you can at those low rates. We can carry the mortgages through the increased prices we will charge for rent. We expect to double our money in a very short period of time." That is the kind of private enterprise approach we hear from the Minister of Housing and it is a sick one.

These two real estate people did not see this matter in a social way. They were doing pretty well in their mad scramble for listings and their work for the small investment group. But they told me one of the things that was bothering them a bit was their ability to compete as a local 12-member investment group in Toronto because of the money coming in from outside. They said one of the problems is the Vancouver money, except that a lot of the Vancouver money is not Vancouver money. A good chunk of it is Hong Kong money. They also want the low mortgage rates and anything they can get, almost sight unseen, in the core of this city. It is not just here. It is happening in other places in Ontario.

I have had a number of cases in my own riding in recent days that have really disturbed me. I took a look. I quickly pulled out the Ministry of Housing public housing supply sheets for my own city, Hamilton, and noticed that in one month the need for family units -- and it is a desperate need -- had jumped from 612 units on the waiting list to 674. When I checked just a week ago, there were about 310 people on the list waiting for a home visit to find out whether or not they qualified for some assisted housing, let alone the 612 people on the house waiting list. That number had jumped in the month of March alone to 674 families desperately seeking some kind of accommodation -- people who could not afford the more expensive housing. That is the increase in the number of people who are desperate, and it is really beginning to hurt.

Let me put it in terms of an individual example as well. There is the lady who called me from the Albion Road area who has three small boys and a girl in her early teens. She is alone, a single parent. She has an income of $593.58 mother's allowance, $150 of which is the shelter component -- and we sure have to do something about the shelter components of the allowances because they are simply inadequate -- regional rent subsidy of $30, family allowance of $95 and part-time work at $125. Some of the yahoos across the way would probably think that at $843.58 she was not doing too badly. It is not very much money when there are four children and a mother who has been on her own now for two years trying to get by.

She got exasperated when the rent in the unit she was in, which was at $265, was boosted to $290 when she was informed that they were turning it into a condominium operation. She made the mistake, which she admits, of giving her notice. She has had a rough enough time over the last two years, trying to make ends meet and develop a new lifestyle since the family breakup and trying to get by on that kind of income with four children. But then she started to look for housing. She went to the Hamilton housing department but she is not on the list. Also, unfortunately, at one time in the past she had got $300 behind, which has been long since paid up. So she will have a hard time even to get on the list. But if she does get on the list, she has been told that she is at least a year or two down the road.

Her eviction point happens to be today, but she has not been evicted and the notice has not been posted. So she will be there for a while until they get a court order. We have the beginning of ghettoization in some of the housing areas in the city of Hamilton, which disturbs me. What is the lowest rent she has been able to find for a three or four-bedroom unit, with the present shortage of units and the number on the waiting lists in Hamilton? The cheapest rent for an apartment that she would even consider going into was $385, and that was not much of a place because I went down to the apartment building.

That is on an income of $843.58 with every lousy cent that she is entitled to under the kind of legislation we have in this province. With the problems she has, with an order to get out, really as of today, and with no housing available, the lowest rent she can find is $385 a month. What kind of a society and what kind of priorities do we have in Ontario? Incidentally, the hydro would be on top of the $385.

When I was canvassing in the last election, I remember well the gentleman on Cannon Street who hauled me into his house and said, "I want to talk to you." And he said, "I want you to know that I am not supporting nor have I supported your party." I am not sure what he ended up doing. But he said, "One of the things that is bothering me is my own attitude." And I sort of appreciated the way it came out from him.

He said: "Do you know I thought anybody on subsidized housing or assisted housing or any form of welfare was somehow or other ripping off the system, or at least could have done better for himself? I worked hard all of my life and I developed a pension. My total income now is $10,060 for the year, so I guess I am still well off. But two or three years ago I thought I was set for life. I actually retired four years ago and the first year was pretty good and I did a bit of travelling. I have slowed up. I have stopped travelling. I have started listening to my neighbours." He is in an area where there are a lot of people who are really having problems.

5:30 p.m.

He said: "All of a sudden I realized how ill-considered have been some of my remarks and how wrong I have been. With the increased costs of this house -- it is an old house -- the heating costs and other costs going up, with the increased taxes I am seeing, if I try to take a trip, if I try to go back over to where I came from, just outside London, or if I try to go down south, when I see what I am going to have to pay for that trip, my $10,000 a year is not going to cover it. In another year or two with the way it is going, I am going to be one of those poor people. I should not have been raising hell about their use of government assistance. I now know that I too am going to be in trouble in a very short period of time."

I am worried about young couples -- and I am sure all of the members are getting a bit of this, though there are no avalanches yet -- who did take advantage of some of the housing programs and got in over their heads. Usually there were two working then but sometimes now there is a family on the way. Their mortgage is being renewed and the rate is one hell of a lot higher than when they took it out. I have had people coming to me and saying, "I fear I am going to lose this house."

The great dream of home ownership could leave a very sour taste in these young people's mouths because they are going to feel awfully cheated. It is not any lack of hard work or effort on their part; it is the usurious interest rates that we are paying in this province. This government needs a social contract and the people of Ontario need a social contract that says housing is a right and not a luxury. Then it needs an immediate program that organizes the funding and construction of the necessary homes.

I want to stop for a minute. I went down to Housing when I was raising heck over this particular lady in the Albion Road area. I asked them about their plans for more units, and they have none. That is not their role, I was clearly told. And they are right, technically. That is not their role. But there is now all kinds of money available for co-op and nonprofit development.

I went to Victoria Park and saw some of the other people and said, "How many new units are you likely to be bringing on?" One of the groups is planning 60 and is hoping that 15 of them may be assisted units. But, because of the red tape and the problems in getting it started, it just isn't going to happen. Because it means a social commitment on their part, people are not going to get involved in trying to organize that kind of a housing program in any numbers that would mean anything. Private interests are not going to build that kind of low-income housing either. So if the initiative does not come from this government, those people are not going to stand a chance for housing in Ontario. We have a desperate need and the Minister of Housing cannot get away with his act for very much longer.

Profit-taking, as I said earlier, has got to be removed. The tax necessary to fund such a program can be partially met by requiring that a portion of the investment portfolios of some of our financial institutions are used on the basis of the cost of the money only. That is a form of tax. We are going to have to take a look at government involvement in it. I have no doubt about that at all. Unlike most of the other members, I cannot understand the bias against government involvement in something that is a social need.

A percentage of the investment portfolios of some of our major financial operations could be used. If we take a look at the profits of the banks and some of the insurance companies, they are, like the oil companies, almost at all-time highs. Maybe five or 10 per cent of their investment portfolios should be put into housing at a set interest rate that covers nothing but the bare cost of the money, if indeed that.

I think the returns on that, in terms of the uplift it would give the economy in the necessary goods and services for people who were finally able to afford a home, would be tremendous and would far offset any short-term costs that might be involved in a slight lowering of the profits of some of our banks, insurance companies and trust companies or in a slight shortfall if additional revenues of this province had to go into an immediate housing program. I happen to think it is desperately needed now.

I think this change is fundamental. It means that the bland, yet shrill, defence of the private initiative that we see and hear most often, and with the repetition of a ticking clock, from the Minister of Housing must be replaced with an understanding that this province will not accept a defence of private enterprise that says, "The right of continued exploitation of people is the price of defending that private enterprise." That is exactly what this minister and this government are doing -- defending the right to exploit in the name of private and free enterprise in Ontario.

While the incentives for industry continue -- and nowhere in that speech from the throne do I see or hear this government asking for equity -- the incentives for the disadvantaged and the poor are nowhere to be seen in this budget. The poor in this province are getting poorer. The figures show that. We are creating a potential powder keg of social and economic resentment in Ontario as well as moving towards the ghettoization of the poor and the disadvantaged I talked about earlier. Soon some of our cities are going to see some of the tragic sights we have seen in some of the cities of the United States. That bothers me.

I did a lot of my campaigning, since I found it effective, outside food shopping centres. As I stood outside Eastgate Square Shopping Centre in the east end of Hamilton, I got a lot of the people walking in from some of those tragedies that are the Di Cenzo apartments at 40 Grandville Avenue, 50 Violet Drive, 11 Delawana Drive and 11 Grandville Avenue. I talked to the people from those apartments coming to buy things. They talked to me about the problems.

I have a petition in my office right now on one of them -- I think it is 50 Violet -- signed by slightly in excess of 100 people in that building about the increased prices, the lack of any services, their inability, because they are hard-up people and do not have much to begin with, to organize into an effective tenants group, the dirty walls, the no parking, the controlled security system that has not worked for almost a year, the leaking pipes, the fire hoses, the sauna, which is part of the price and has not worked for two years, the nonexistent playroom that is in their contracts, the long waits for repairs, the fire hose that was down on the seventh floor for almost a week, the orders for cleaning up that are almost ignored, the cockroaches and the owner laughing at them, laughing at them when they call listing their complaints.

There is the lack of action on their problems. With the watering down -- and that is really what we have seen of the Residential Tenancies Act -- of the rent control procedures, when their increases do come through they are usually well above the six and eight per cent even now.

There was the quiet rationale of a gentleman, and he was not an old gentleman but probably in his early fifties, who stopped in front of me and said, "I have something on my mind I want to say." If I remember correctly, the special that day was eggs. He said: "They have a special on and it is a good one. It is less than half price and it's a staple. It is a good part of my family's diet in my house now. You know, the store limit is only two per customer. This is my fourth trip to the store. Maybe, Mr. Mackenzie, just as a little white lie is accepted, maybe a little dishonesty can be accepted. These are the things I now have to do to make ends meet. I don't like myself for doing it."

Most of us would not even have considered it, I suppose. If we did not go four times to the same store, we would have looked for other branches of the store. There is a point there. It is the kind of degradation, even in a small way like that, we are putting people through who are trying to make ends meet in this society of ours. When he comes and says -- he obviously recognized me -- "I don't feel very good about myself because this is my fourth trip to take advantage of that special," then it hit me. Boy, we surely have our priorities screwed up somewhere in this province.

5:40 p.m.

There are others. I want to tell about an appeal I went to where I got nowhere. I should not take credit for it. My assistant in my constituency office, who is a damned good one, went to this appeal. But I had gone around to the house, made two trips and had phoned a number of people, trying to do something for a chap, a quadriplegic in his middle twenties, married with one child. He is living on Britannia Avenue in my riding.

His income is now the huge amount of $800 a month and he is therefore ineligible for assistance. As for family benefits, his monthly income exceeds budgetary requirements. Incidentally, $594 a month is what he really would be placed at. We think the older people also are having some real problems, and this is not a knock at them, but that compares with an $877.22-per-month income that a couple on pension now would have. Yet he is allowed an income of $800.

He had listed his expenses. His social worker, before we went in, had looked at the things he was trying to do in a desperate effort, with almost no movement -- he had a very slight movement in his arms and hands -- to get into some commercial drawing. I do not think he is ever going to make it, to be brutally frank. But there was still an attempt, although I sensed it was beginning to evaporate, to make it on his own and keep what he had together. I suspect that will not last long, being brutally frank.

But he needed $1,161.85 a month. His own social worker had worked that out as well. We went over it. It made sense. We went to the appeal. But there is nothing in legislation that allows going beyond the $800 which is the income for that young quadriplegic and his wife and family. Surely to goodness that also says our priorities in this province are out of whack.

Women between 55 and 64 are a group that has always bothered me. In pulling together a bit of information today, my assistant, Dorothy Markeson, said, "I feel bad, but many times after we have gone through the case and the figures with a woman in the 55 to 64-year-old range, I tell them to grow old fast so they are eligible for the higher pension. I usually try to make them laugh when I do." That also says something.

If we take a look at the shelter allowances, single persons are allowed $75 per month for shelter plus, if rent is more than that, an additional $20. Basic family shelter allowance is $130 plus $5 for each additional family member. If rent exceeds the allowance by $30, they get a subsidy of $30. It is impossible to find shelter for $75 per month for a single or $130 per month for a family in the private marketplace, even if the subsidies are added on top of that, and they are not the answers. That is demeaning.

The allowances are inadequate. A single person on welfare, who is eligible for one of the allowances, and a woman in particular in the age range I am talking about, would get $238 a month plus the $20 rent supplement, if eligible. There are a number of them I have dealt with in my constituency. This compares with an old age pensioner once again -- to show the unfairness of certain areas of our population -- who gets a basic pension of $208.20 plus the supplement, which gives him a total of $466.11.

We have people in this province who are really not on disability but unemployable who are trying to live on an income of $208.20 plus $20. I do not know how anybody can sit on that side of the House with that party in power without saying, if they say nothing else, "We have made some mistakes. There are some things wrong and some things we have to correct and correct in one hell of a hurry."

They should say this rather than defending themselves, as they sometimes do, by outlining the things they have done. They have done a few things, but I do not see a heck of a lot of substance in terms of help for those who really need it. They should look at the examples, such as I have outlined in my own riding, and hang their heads in shame because they have already broken a promise. They have broken it by making a commitment to and grovelling before the money lenders and not those who have very little voice to represent them. One cannot refute these kinds of cases, and this government does not seem to give a damn about the increasing hardship of the poor in the province.

These are not my figures, once again, but the poor really are getting poorer. The social services share of the total budget in Ontario has decreased from 63.7 per cent in 1975-76 to 61.4 per cent in 1980-81. Of social assistance beneficiaries, 43.4 per cent are children; yet existing programs provide inadequate income support for the protection and development of children in this province. Since 1975, levels of assistance have fallen drastically behind. We have not even kept up, in regard to these people, with the cost of living.

I do not know whether I can find it or not, but a single mother on family benefits with two children would have been entitled in 1975 in Ontario to an annual income of $4,524, at which time the poverty level was $6,632. So her income was 31.7 per cent below the poverty level in Ontario. Let us take a look at that same woman, a single mother on family benefits with two children, today in 1981. She is entitled to $6,096, with an estimated poverty level last year -- so it is going to be updated over this -- of $11,088. The difference now is 48 per cent, where it was 31 per cent just five years ago. What are we doing to these people? Where is their representative in this particular government in this House?

We have a lot to answer for. Even on a local basis, we are having quite a hassle because of the short-sightedness of a number of the councillors in the city of Hamilton. They decided they were going to cut $117,000 or $118,000 out of the social services budget in the city of Hamilton. The fact that that meant -- and maybe there was even pressure on them; I am cynical enough to think that may have happened -- they would also lose almost $400,000 in provincial subsidies did not carry any weight when we went after them. We were not able to carry a majority, although it was a close vote on council. But we really are cutting back.

The case load has built up in the Hamilton social welfare department to about 140 cases per worker. Social workers will say that the effective range is probably 70 to 90, and the city of Hamilton since 1971 has taken the position that there should be no more than 100 cases per worker. We are now up in the 130 to 140 range.

What do the social workers tell me? What do the people on assistance tell me is happening? All that workers can do with this kind of a case load now is pass and issue the cheques. The one thing that has been cut out totally -- it did not work in a lot of cases but was the one hope, I think, of the program -- is the counselling, the work with people on budgeting and what they can do to get off the kind of assistance they are on. We did not have a high success rate, but such counselling is considered a glamour part of the job now. It is much more important to make sure we maintain enough social workers to issue the welfare cheques. I say that is also a sick ordering of priorities in Ontario, and I blame as much my local council for that.

I am glad to see some fairly prominent people, and I suspect they are not supporters of our party -- one of them I know is very friendly with the party across the way -- condemning this in the strongest possible terms. I am talking about Bishop Bothwell who said that the budget will hurt the poor of the region. His comments are pretty strong. I would hope maybe his comments would get through, not only on what happened in terms of the local council in Hamilton, but also to his friend, the Deputy Premier (Mr. Welch), as to what we are doing to the poor and disadvantaged in our society with the kind of actions we are taking and the kind of cutbacks we are making.

Once again, it is sick. People are beginning to recognize it and we have them saying, "Hey, what has happened? Where are our priorities? Where are those old values that we heard about all through the election from the Premier?" When it comes to the larger and larger number of people who are poorer and poorer, where are the values that take care of these people? Why are we not doing something with them? Eventually, those people are going to realize they are being had. This is part of the buildup I am talking about that is going to see an explosion, maybe not too far down the road, in this country of ours.

This government does understand where the power lies and that is what makes it even worse. The power is with money and those who control the money, and they are the same people who exercise their vote. One does not have to look very far in election returns to see a higher voting percentage in most of the well-off areas in the province. They do it with an understanding of whom they are voting for and what they are protecting.

5:50 p.m.

The poor in this province have not voted in the same percentages as the well-to-do and have had little means of getting by the media. This is the only area -- I sometimes wonder if they are looking for jobs -- where I have criticism of the media. The control that is there, once again by the establishment in this province, orchestrates the defence of free or private enterprise, as they call it in this province. You do not get the story through to the vast majority of people who are not the establishment and to that lesser but large number who are really the disadvantaged and poor in Ontario.

But it is a powder keg that we are sitting on, the growing legion of the underprivileged who are going to soon realize they are being taken. Let me say to this government, if they do not change their priorities quickly they are going to meet a wave of despair, frustration and anger that is going to destroy the smug complacency of Tory Ontario forever. I hope at the same time and in the process that it does not destroy our political system or does not increase beyond the current level, which is much too high, the public cynicism in terms of politicians and their ability to do anything about the problems in any event.

Nowhere does the inability of this government to respond to changing times and changing needs show more than in its response to one of the most important problems that we faced in the last session, and that was the committee that was constituted to deal with the problem of plant closures in our branch plant economy. Where was this issue in the speech from the throne? Where was it?

The Conservatives had no answers and consequently it was just not there. They might have to exert some control over their buddies, which they might not like; so they hide their heads in the sand and hope the problem will go away. That is the kind of leadership we had in this issue in Ontario.

Let us take a look at some of the components of it. Severance pay: Like many others who have mentioned this, I was discouraged and disgusted when I saw no mention of severance pay in the throne speech. It did not really surprise me. I do not like it in myself, but I am growing more cynical day by day. But I saw no mention of it. The Premier's response in the press scrum was certainly one of arrogance: "I did not make any promise."

Let me say I was proud of my leader when he read the actual Hansard comments of the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) the day that we first raised that question in the House. If you read them yourself -- and I recommend this to all of the new Tory back-benchers just so they know exactly what they are dealing with -- read the exact statement that was made in the House by the Minister of Labour. It was, on behalf of this government, a pledge that we would have severance pay, and he spelled out the details in so far as saying it would also be retroactive to January 1.

Now there is no question in my mind that an honourable member and an honourable minister such as the Minister of Labour, were that to be totally negated, such as the Premier seemed to be doing, was going to have to resign. I happen to think he probably, of any of the Tories I know, may have had that much integrity. I do not know what goes on in that caucus, but I do know he was put in an intolerable spot. I also know it was so obvious from the commitment that had been made in this House by the minister that the Premier also could not quite get away with the just blanket arrogance that they came back into this House with. We now are told that maybe we will get some legislation.

I suspect if we do it will be a little bit dishonest. It will probably offer two or three days' pay instead of a week per year of service. I do not know how much that compromises the Minister of Labour, but I hope I am wrong on that. I sincerely hope I am wrong, because the commitment has been made and the committee recommendation -- and it is only one of the minor responses to the problems we have in the province -- was that there should be a week's pay per year of service in the event of plant closure or shutdown.

What did the plant closures committee find in terms of plant shutdowns? There are a number of other things that should have been in the speech from the throne, that should have been dealt with, and were not. I want to bring the members' attention to the interim report which did get support from members in all three parties and was filed and debated in this House.

"Foreign Ownership" is the title. Now, maybe a pledge, an agreement, something passed, something accepted does not mean anything. Quite frankly, I would not be surprised; I am becoming that cynical with this government, but this is what was presented to the House with support of all the parties.

"Foreign ownership: Decisions with respect to shutdowns are made in many cases outside this country; operations rationalized in favour of increased production in the parent company's country to meet the demands of the Canadian market; the parent firm can decide to reduce Canadian manufacturing operations to assembly, distribution, and/or marketing operations and still compete in the Canadian market; some foreign-owned branch plants do not try to complete in export markets, denying themselves access to the large markets that they need to be viable; the possibility that decisions are made in advance to transfer profitable product lines and research and development outside of Canada" -- the case in Peterborough was an example of that; I remind honourable members that when we finally started getting into an export market of some size in terms of the 30-horsepower engines, all of a sudden it was yanked over to the American plant and that was the end of that particular operation -- "thereby reducing the economic viability of the operation in this country."

The foregoing was backed up and could have been stated stronger. Indeed, that would have been done by this party but at that point, with a couple of other concessions, we were trying to get a report out that had some possibility of passing this House.

With the possible exception of the Heintzman plant closure, there was not another submission before us, from management or labour, where the message was not practically the same. Not only do the union and the workers have no say in the decision, but in many cases there was even a startling lack of consultation with the Canadian management. In some cases they were told exactly what to do and when to do it.

I recall the words of Mr. Smith of Bendix, who said that the plant had made a good profit for almost every year it was in operation, although a little bit tighter in the last year; that they had refurbished the entire plant; and that he expected to make even more money in that plant. Then he received a memo from the American parent corporation, saying, "We are going to shut down this plant unless you can justify its staying open." After appointing a new president and refurbishing a profitable plant, they wanted to shut it down.

To give him credit, he was a blunt and honest company spokesmen. He said: "I couldn't justify keeping it open. Yes, we could make a profit, as we had been doing, and probably could make even more money. Yes, we had workers who had worked here for up to almost 40 years. But, knowing the company's projections, figures and production capacity in the American plant, they could make even more money by shutting down this operation."

Such is the economic and national clout that we have in Canada. The Bendix operation and the 500 or 600 workers went, a viable, profitable operation was shut down, and the decision was made outside Canada. At least in that case, as distinct from the Essex Wire situation, they were given the courtesy of two weeks' notice to try to justify keeping the plant open before the parent company closed it, based on the criterion that it should be able to make more money here than the parent company could by using its excess facilities in the United States.

That happened again and again. There was the ridiculous situation in the SKF operation in Scarborough of a huge multinational, whose biggest operations are in France, Sweden and West Germany, telling its West German and Swedish workers that it was going to close the Scarborough plant, months before it talked to anybody in that plant. Even management would not admit that it talked to them before discussing with the workers in Europe the fact that it was going to phase out the profitable lines and close the Scarborough plant.

I think we were remiss in this. I have criticized my trade union colleagues in the International Metal Workers Federation for not getting in touch with us faster. We found out by reviewing SKF's corporate statement, which was sent at our request. We discover that the company had discussed with the unions in Germany and Sweden, in accordance with the legislation in those countries, the fact that it was going to close a Canadian plant and put Canadian employees out of work.

But the Canadian workers did not hear about it nor, as far as we know, did the management or this government. Examples of such treatment are legion. How long are we going to allow that to go in Ontario? Where in this throne speech is there a single reference to that kind of action? It doesn't exist.

Mr. Speaker: Mr. Mackenzie, do you have much more to say?

Mr. Mackenzie: I have more to say, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: I would call your attention to the clock.

The House recessed at 6 p.m.