32nd Parliament, 1st Session








































The House met at 10:02 a.m.



Mr. Speaker: I would call the attention of all members to a distinguished visitor sitting in the Speaker's gallery in the person of Mr. Yaakov Suslensky. Mr. Suslensky is among the most prominent Jewish dissidents and human rights activists in the Soviet Union. He is a close friend of, and a former inmate of prisons and labour camps with, the famed Mr. Scharansky.

Mr. Suslensky has spent seven years in Soviet prisons, four of which were spent in the dreadful high-security prison of Vladimir. Mr. Suslensky was a Jewish activist in the Ukraine. He has been recently released and is living in Jerusalem, Israel. He is at present making a speaking tour of North America to promote brotherhood. He is also chairman for Jewish/Ukrainian Relations.

He has recently met with such organizations as the Canadian Jewish Congress and the Ukrainian/Canadian Committee, among other organizations, to promote harmony and tolerance among communities and peoples. I would ask all members to join in recognition of Mr. Suslensky.


Mr. Shymko: I think we are indeed honoured on this special occasion, as our Legislature on many occasions previously has expressed its concerns about the infringements and violations of human rights. I would like to point out that Mr. Yaakov Suslensky symbolizes individuals such as Anatoly Scharansky, individuals who, notwithstanding circumstances quite different from the freedom and democracy we enjoy in Canada, stood for certain principles of inalienable, universal rights. I think under the circumstances of the countries in which they fought for these rights, they are indeed symbols for the rest of humanity.

I would like to point out that on Tuesday of this week, on the occasion of the birthday of Iban Nudel, a special presentation was made to the Honourable Pauline McGibbon from the Toronto Jewish Congress and the Committee for Soviet Jewry, awarding the honour of the Nudel humanitarian award.

Mr. Suslensky was a personal friend of Iban Nudel and the fact he is free today is the result of the intervention of this great lady who has assisted many prisoners of conscience in the Soviet Union. He has also spent four years with Yuri Shukhevych. Many of our members on both sides of this chamber have received a petition to release this man who was arrested at the age of 15 and who has spent the rest of his life until now, at age 46, in prisons and camps. He has been in the Vladimir prison with Yuri Shukhevych and I think can personally tell our members of the tragic circumstances not only of individuals, but of many in the Soviet Union. On behalf of many, I certainly welcome Mr. Yaakov Suslensky.

[Translation from Ukrainian.]

Dear brother Yaakov, we welcome you to Ontario and to Canada, a land of liberty and democracy for many peoples who have escaped tyranny and persecution. All our communities, especially the Jewish and Ukrainian communities who have been victims of holocausts, wish you strength and determination in your great work to make this world more humane and compassionate in our relations with one another.

[End of translation.]

Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, it is a real pleasure to see Mr. Yaakov Suslensky with us and to use the occasion of his visit to remember all those who are still the refuseniks, all those who are still unable to leave the Soviet Union for various trumped-up reasons.

The government of the Soviet Union has been in power now for some 63 or 64 years and, under its system, it still does not believe that system can survive having people express their own opinions or choosing to leave the country to live elsewhere. It is a sign of just how shaky that regime must feel inside itself that, 64 years after a revolution, it still cannot tolerate free speech, free thought and freedom of movement. Instead, it puts people like Yaakov Suslensky in concentration camps. Iban Nudel is in exile at least until spring of next year and who knows what they will trump up then. There is Anatoly Scharansky whom we are still waiting to see get just and fair treatment.

It is a regime which should be brought up in front of the United Nations commission on colonialism as the largest colonial regime still in existence in today's world, a regime we should take every opportunity to indicate our total disagreement with and our deep concern about the way it tramples human rights.

Mr. Suslensky is very welcome here as he observed from the ovation given by all three parties. We can only hope his presence among us foretells the day when people like Anatoly Scharansky and Iban Nudel will also be free to come and go as free people should be able to everywhere.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I wish to join in welcoming Mr. Suslensky to this Legislature and to wish him well in the course of his visit to North America when he will undoubtedly be talking about conditions in the Soviet Union and, in particular, about the efforts of the Jewish minority in the Soviet Union to avoid oppression, discrimination and the taking away of those few human rights that are its under the Soviet constitution, usually honoured in the breach rather than in the observance.

10:10 a.m.

I believe all of us in Canada should recognize just how lucky we are, but also recognize an obligation towards Mr. Suslensky's countrymen when he was in the Soviet Union, in particular with respect to the Helsinki Accords which this country signed a few years ago. Among other things, they provided for the first time some commitments to basic human rights, to the access to information and to the freedom from political trials of people who happen to disagree with the regime, of people who simply wish a measure of political liberty and the freedom to lead their lives in peace and quiet as people can in the western world.

Alas, those Helsinki Accords have been honoured in the breach. Alas, Canada has failed in my opinion to pursue systematically the question of the observance of the Helsinki Accords, not just at the time they were reviewed a few months ago, but year after year and month after month. We have failed to indicate very clearly to the Soviet Union and the other countries of the eastern bloc that we take seriously the obligations that were put in that document and believe they should as well.

Our hearts go out to all those who are still in labour camps, those who are still in prisons and those still subjected to the kind of treatment they are receiving in the Soviet Union. Our hearts go out with the hope that those Jews who wish to leave the Soviet Union to go Israel or other parts of the world will be able to get that permission and be able to leave their country as Mr. Suslensky has been able to do. Our hearts go out with the hope that those many Jews who would like to stay in the Soviet Union, but would like to stay under conditions where they are no longer discriminated against as they have been in the past, would be able to achieve their hopes and their dreams.

I think the situation there is a tragic one. I hope the day will come, as may be beginning in Poland, when the working people of the Soviet Union find ways to reform or perhaps even to reform within their regime in order to achieve the ideals that originally motivated the Russian revolution, but which have been betrayed so tragically in the last 60 years.


Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I would draw to the attention of the House the death of a very distinguished public servant in this province, Mr. Ernest Bradley Griffith, the former general manager of the Toronto Harbour Commission.

I think it is fair to say that in his public service capacity Mr. Griffith was a significant contributor to the vast industrial and commercial growth and development of this province in the post-war years. While his public service was primarily devoted to the port of Toronto, certainly his impact was felt in the industrial and commercial centres across the southern part of this province. Not only many of the things that came with the seaway, but also the quite notable revolution in transportation since that time were accomplished under his administration at the harbour commission.

I am sure the Legislature will join with me in extending our condolences to the family and in marking this recognition of a most distinguished public servant.


Mr. Speaker: I have answers to points of order and points of privilege that were raised earlier.

On Tuesday last Mr. Mancini raised a point of order concerning supplementary questions being directed to another minister. I have had an opportunity to review the comments of the members participating in the discussion on the point of order, and I have also reviewed and weighed very carefully the remarks of my predecessors on this matter.

A minister to whom a question is put is given a wide latitude of discretion. He may answer a question, defer a question for further consideration or take it as noted, or he may decline to answer the question without stating a reason for the refusal. A minister may also refer a question not within his administrative responsibility to another minister.

The chair enjoys discretion in allowing the question and certainly in allowing the supplementary questions. It seems to me that if and when supplementaries are allowed, there should be a follow-up device flowing from the response of a particular minister. They should not be redirected to a different minister. Members who have questions for other ministers should seek to be recognized on a new question. I suggest that otherwise they are merely trying to get questions out of turn.

I ask for the co-operation of all members on this matter to ensure that the question period runs smoothly and with maximum participation from all members.

Yesterday Mr. Roy, on a point of order, asked me to look into the question of whether or not the raising of matters of privilege during the question period should be included in the 60 minutes allowed for that period.

I suggest it is obvious that when the alleged breach of privilege relates to the question just asked, then in accordance with standing order 18 it must be taken up immediately and must consequently be included within the 60 minutes. If the matter refers to something completely unrelated to the current question, such as something said yesterday or something in a newspaper report, it should be taken up either before or after the question period.

Mr. Cassidy: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: With reference to your first ruling, it is not entirely clear to me exactly what you are saying but I believe you are saying that another member, on a supplementary, may not redirect from the minister who originally responded to the first question to a different minister. I would like you to clarify that.

I would also like you to clarify the situation where a minister gets up, passes the buck and says, "I am not responsible" and sits down. We often see that from the ministers. If I understand it correctly, you have not ruled on whether it would then be possible for the member who originally raised the question to redirect it to the minister whom the answering minister seems to say is responsible. Could you respond to those two questions, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Speaker: The point of order which was raised referred only to supplementary questions. When a supplementary is directed to a particular minister to whom the original question was directed, then the supplementary must also be directed to that minister. If you want to ask a question of another minister, it must be a new question.

Mr. Cassidy: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: Are you saying then that it is not possible to redirect or are you saying that it is possible to redirect but only as a consequence of the original question and as a result of the original reply by the minister?

Mr. Speaker: I am saying that members cannot redirect on a supplementary. They may, of course, redirect on an original question.



Mr. Smith: I have a question for the Minister of Industry and Tourism regarding pulp and paper grants. During the campaign, the Financial Post of March 14, 1981, reported that the Ontario government plans to add $20 million more, plus the $10 million from the federal government, to its so-called pulp and paper modernization program.

Could the minister tell this House what documentation convinces him of the need to give an additional $20 million of taxpayers' money to pulp and paper companies, given the prosperity which exists in that sector, the high profitability, and the number of takeover bids that are quite prevalent in that sector? What is the documentation that makes the minister feel that without that $20 million of Ontario money, the companies could not afford to undertake modernization? Could he present the documentation to the House?

10:20 a.m.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The documentation has been presented to this House on several occasions. It certainly has been presented in estimates on several occasions. I believe the member will find that the Duncan Allan report sets out all the needs of the industry and the last $20 million, which he is referring to, is the balance necessary to complete the entire modernization of the pulp and paper industry in this province. He has had the documentation for quite some time.

Mr. Smith: Supplementary: The documentation referred to is basically a 1977 report, and the four years that have passed since that time have turned out to be four of the most profitable years in the history of the pulp and paper industry. Is the minister saying we have to continue giving public money to these companies that can afford to modernize without it?

Is he saying we have to do that because this -- to use his words -- completes the program? In other words, since so many companies have already received public money, it is only fair and reasonable the remainder get their hand into the till as well. Is that what the minister is saying?

How does he justify giving public money to companies that are now the subject of competitive takeover bids because they are so prosperous they are seen as excellent vehicles for investment by people in the market, and by larger companies looking to acquire excellent potential for the future? How does he justify giving public money to those people who do not need it when so many people, hospitals and individuals alike, do not get the money they require?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Had the member read the report that was produced in the latter days of 1978, not 1977, and accepted and reanalysed by this government in 1979, he would have seen the current rather healthy situation in terms of income for the pulp and paper companies was anticipated. If one looks at the history of the industry over the last 50 or 60 years, there have been periods during which there have been very healthy performance and takeover bids. That has not resulted in the necessary modernization process this province needs. In fact, the very healthy situation the pulp and paper industry finds itself in today is one in which the industries may well look to what are called greenfield plants in other jurisdictions.

The Leader of the Opposition must surely be aware of some of this because he has reached certain conclusions which obviously are in concert with those of this government. I might quote the Leader of the Opposition: "With regard to the actual matter of using provincial funds, I want to make it clear that I do not oppose provincial programs to assist the pulp and paper industry. Provided the funds are given under Department of Regional Economic Expansion arrangement, I am not opposed to the actual handing out of money."

Mr. Smith: Read the whole letter, please.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I sure will. "I do believe, however, that it is wrong to set up a provincial fund administered with only the vaguest set of rules and guidelines." That is quite --

Mr. Smith: Everybody read that one, it's old news.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, but the member was not here the day we beat up his Treasury critic. That's old news? Well, I say to the Leader of the Opposition that was his policy one year ago. At exactly the same time, his policy was that he was opposed to the pulp and paper grants. I understand the politics of what he writes to the northern Ontario mayors as opposed to what he says down here. Even he, reading this letter he wrote himself and signed, will understand that he is, in that letter, accepting the premise that the pulp and paper industry needed some provincial assistance to modernize.

If that situation has changed, perhaps he might be kind enough to write the mayors of the northern municipalities and indicate to them that the position he took February 15, 1980, is not the position he takes on May 1, 1981. Those are the facts as they sit. Just so he knows where we stand and have always stood on modernization of the pulp and paper industry in northern Ontario, we believe the money was necessary. We believe the $1.5 billion renovation program, 85 per cent sourced in Canada, simply would not have happened without the aggressive intervention of this government.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, we all know the process of evaluation that occurs within the government on social programs and is used by the government to enforce a systematic series of cutbacks in terms of programs, and cutbacks in terms of needed services in the area of social services of Ontario. Would the minister tell the House what evaluation process has gone forward since those grants have been provided? Has that evaluation not touched on each particular grant? Will the minister now table in this Legislature the evaluation process to show whether or not those grants were justified and how much the people of the province would be earning now if the grants had been accompanied by equity for the people of Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: May I simply say the proof is that there was a substantial renovation of the industry undertaken. Members will recall that when the report came out it was anticipated we would be able to lever about $3 for every $1 the provincial government put up. As a result of further discussions with the industry and changing economic conditions, this government, through tough and difficult negotiating, was able to lever $9 or $10 for every $1 that this government put up. As a result, for about $100 million, with a portion of that being shared by DREE, we end up with a $1.5 billion renovation program, which is far greater than was anticipated originally.

If members want a measure of how the program is proceeding, let me say that originally it looked as if we would get about one third to one half of that kind of modernization for the money we are prepared to put up. In point of fact, we got enormous economic benefits for this province. We got $1.5 billion to date, 85 per cent of which is going to occur in Canada.

That is the report to the taxpayers of this province and I say to the leader of the third party, it would be difficult for him to find very many other government programs which had that kind of return for the taxpayers of this province.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Does the minister recall the meeting that some of the members of the Legislature, the minister included, had with the Ontario pulp and paper industry over at Sutton Place -- a very nice breakfast -- at which I asked the assembled executives of that esteemed organization what they thought of this program. Their response was, "As an industry, we do not agree with those grants and we do not need them."

Is the minister aware of the recent Lakehead University study which says, "Millions wasted in forest industry grants," and in which a pulp and paper executive indicated, and I quote, "that his company did not need a grant but took the money anyway because all the other firms were"? They were going to have that investment anyway. The minister has blown $200 million.

The other thing, by way of supplementary, is that as usual, the minister has got the horse by the wrong end. With his government's forestry policies, there are not going to be any trees to put through those mills in 15 years anyway. That money should have gone into reforestation.

An hon. member: Tell us about the breakfast meeting.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, I will tell you about the breakfast meeting. The industry, at that time, did not give quite the answer I might have thought it ought to have given. It was my misfortune to be sitting with a lot of members of the opposition at the table at that time. What in fact the industry was saying that morning, by my recollection of it -- and I think mine is correct because I was not overjoyed by its kind of response and I did communicate that to the representatives -- was that it was not that the industry did not need it; they said they were opposed to it philosophically, but --

Mr. Sweeney: But they would take it.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Well. They were opposed to it philosophically but felt that kind of money was going to be needed in order to ensure the existence --

Mr. T. P. Reid: They didn't say that at all.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: They certainly did. May I say to the honourable member that he may wish to write the association and ask them to give their version of what they said that morning and then we can discuss it here. That is certainly my recollection. That is clearly what they said.

10:30 a.m.

The honourable member will recall that certain other members of the industry -- the honourable member should just calm down or I will read more of his letters -- he will recall other members of the industry followed that overall presentation, standing up and pointing out how their particular company found it absolutely necessary to have that funding or else their greenfield opportunities and alternatives in other locations would be ones they would have to look at.

I say to the member for Rainy River that the fact of the matter is, if he looks at the situation in Dryden, members from all sides of this House were standing up asking questions and were worried about the future of Dryden. In point of fact there was a mill there that could not be sold. Every purchaser in the world had been in there and, without this government participating, I challenge the member for Rainy River or even his leader, who believes he knows even more about the pulp and paper industry, to say that the mill in Dryden would have been purchased. That just is not the case. I should say one other thing. It is quite one thing --

Mr. T. P. Reid: They bought it because the government agreed to look after the mercury claims.

Mr. Smith: They bought it because the government indemnified them on mercury and the minister knows it.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The Leader of the Opposition, of course, in his interjection is only confirming the fact that the mill could not have been sold, was not marketable, would not have been bought without this government's participation.

Mr. Smith: They didn't need your money.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: A moment ago in the member's interjection he said they bought it only because this government did something. Now he is telling me they did not need it. He can take his choice this morning of what he said a year ago or last month.

May I say to the member for Rainy River, who is legitimately interested in this matter, that the problem the government has is this: It can take the best advice it can obtain -- and I have to say to the members of this House the Duncan Allan task force in my view was the best advice obtainable; I would stack Duncan Allan against the Lakehead University report any day.

We are faced with this choice. As a government, we do not have the luxury that members of the opposition, Lakehead University and others have of perusing a situation and saying, "It is our opinion it would have happened without the money." I will tell the member that as a province we can afford for people who take that view to be right, but we cannot afford for those people to be wrong.

The plain fact of the matter is that if they are wrong, if those people at Lakehead University are wrong -- and that is not beyond the realm of possibility -- then one sees the disappearance of Espanola, of Dryden, of Iroquois Falls. This government feels that over a period of five years, during which this government will spend approximately $100 billion, a $100-million expenditure to ensure catastrophe does not arrive at Iroquois Falls, Kapuskasing and other fine municipalities in the north is a wise expenditure for this government.


Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Colleges and Universities regarding the funding of universities in Ontario. Having had a chance to look at the operating expenditures, the operating grants per capita and per student, is she aware we are now not only the lowest in Canada but we are now among all state and provincial jurisdictions the lowest except for Colorado, Michigan, Pennsylvania and South Dakota? Apart from those four states, Ontario is now funding its university sector at the lowest rate of all jurisdictions, provincial or state, in Canada and the United States of America.

Given that one Brian Segal, whose brother is known to the minister, said on April 13 of this year that the province is "underfunding the system and it is running down," is the minister finally prepared to fight with people like the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman), who wants to give hundreds of millions of dollars to rich corporations, and get some money for the university sector of this province so that it can play its rightful role in our economic development?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to see that the Leader of the Opposition has been doing some reading for a change, but I am not aware of any report based on any valid information that provides that kind of comparison. When certain individuals begin comparisons, they select very carefully some of the matters which they wish to compare and they do not include all of the relevant matters.

There is no way that I am aware of in which one can with validity make accurate comparisons about the level of university funding in the various jurisdictions in Canada. Although we have agreed to eight methods, or eight different criteria, they do not include the investment which Ontario has made in universities in the past and the amount of effort that has been taken in the past to staff those universities, and they certainly do not include the factors of economy of scale which must be a part of this.

I have not seen figures relating this specific set of invidious comparisons to American colleges. However, I would remind the honourable member that the universities are extremely important social institutions in our society and they have been given a level of government support which has been consistent in terms of the gross provincial product for the past five years.

I would also remind members opposite that one cannot maintain valid and productive social institutions which can grow unless a jurisdiction has an economic base from which to derive revenues in order to provide funds to make them grow.

Mr. Smith: By way of supplementary, it sounds as though the minister is saying that Ontario's economy is not growing very well. I did not hear her say that earlier.

Is the minister familiar with the tripartite committee on interprovincial comparisons of university expenditures? This report was contained in the report of the Council of Ontario Universities, which pointed out that Ontario's operating grants increased at a slower rate than in any other province during the period 1974 to 1981 and that in terms of operating grants per university enrolment we were fifth in 1974 and are last in 1980-81.

The gap between Ontario's grants per student and the average for the rest of Canada was $812, which is a pretty staggering difference. As for student expenditures in this province compared to others, even if the minister wants to add in her student aid money, it only brings us to seventh, and I do not think that aid money should be added.

In operating grants per capita we are ninth. In total expenditures by total personal income per province we are tenth. Is it not about time the minister recognized the importance of science, technology, research and the university sector in leading the recovery in our economic performance in this province and started funding them properly?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to hear the Leader of the Opposition's paranoid, schizophrenic approach to all of this matter. As usual, he was distorting my words and my intent, and I understand that. His background is such that this would happen.

There is also a small problem perhaps of a little bit of vested interest since he is interested after next year in going back to the university which employed him in order to maintain a certain level of income.

There are more factors which should be considered in interprovincial comparisons, and those factors are not being considered by the group. The measure of student assistance, I do believe, is an important inclusion which should be considered in these comparisons because it does provide the opportunity for about 30 per cent of our university students to attend the universities. If that is not an important factor in the continuing viability of the universities, I do not know what is.

10:40 a.m.

As I said before, there are other comparisons which should be made, but I do believe the Leader of the Opposition was not listening carefully to His Honour the Lieutenant Governor on opening day because there was no doubt at all that the speech from the throne made a very strong commitment to science, technology and advanced education, and those commitments will be carried out.

Mr. Grande: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The minister says that for the past four years the universities have been well taken care of through provincial funds when in fact they have been starved of provincial funds. Is the minister aware that Atkinson College department for part-time students is going to be cut back by $440,000, which in effect means that 100 courses will be cut there next September? Is this the best educational system in North America that the minister talks about, or is it the worst educational system in North America?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, we have some absolutely first-class universities in this province, including one, at least, that I think is considered generally to be world class. It is the intention of this government to provide whatever assistance it can to enable those universities to maintain that quality and to improve it.

I am aware that certain activities are taking place at Atkinson, York University and at others in which the potential enrolment of students seems to be declining as the interest of students moves in other directions. I am also aware that there are certain structural rigidities in the university organization which prevent some of the universities from making the appropriate shifts which would compensate for some of the activities which must be maintained.

That is a major problem for the universities. I hope our special committee will be looking at those problems during the hearings they will be holding with the universities, based on their first interim report which was issued on February 28 of this year. That committee, which is a tripartite committee, has the specific responsibility to attempt to provide some kinds of answers, guidance and direction which will be helpful in terms of universities and the government for the next decade.


Mr. Cassidy: I have a new question, Mr. Speaker, of the Minister of Colleges and Universities about the role of the community colleges in helping a major new industry which is expanding in Ontario. Would the minister explain why, at a time when film production in Canada has risen from next to nothing to a business worth $175 million in five or six years, with much of the production here in Ontario, we have seen decisions by Conestoga College, as well as by Algonquin College in Ottawa, to eliminate their schools in film production, thereby eliminating a major source of the technicians who are required to make that industry work?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, it is my understanding that there are similar courses in other community colleges in the province which could accommodate for the most part most of the employment potential in that industry. I am aware that the college system is attempting to find ways of directing their educational programs to be of benefit to the largest number of students without unnecessary duplication.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In the first place, does the minister not believe that people outside of Metropolitan Toronto, where the only other course is provided, should have the opportunity to enter industries as important as the film industry? Secondly, is the minister not aware that applications have been running at four to six for every place available at Algonquin College school of film production and that a large number of graduates are getting jobs with that industry, which needs them? Why is the government cutting off its nose to spite its face by depriving a major new industry of the kind of people who are required in order that the industry may prosper in the 1980s?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the government does not make the decisions about the addition or the removal of courses at the community college level. Those decisions are made by the board of governors of that institution, based upon the community colleges' responsibility to the province, to the students and to the entire system. They are attempting to work now in a co-operative way to ensure that there will be courses of the limited employment opportunity type offered in various regions of the province.

They are attempting to ensure that not all of those courses will be concentrated in Metropolitan Toronto, and that is one of the activities for which I applaud the board of governors of the community colleges. They are really attempting to ensure that equal educational opportunity is made as freely available as it is possible to do in a province as diverse as this province.

Mr. Boudria: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I wonder if the minister is aware that the film courses in French at Algonquin College have been eliminated. Would she be kind enough to tell us where in Ontario similar courses are available, to use her words?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I shall take that as notice because I am not aware at this point whether that course has been eliminated. I think there was a projection for elimination, but I shall verify that and report to the House.


Mr. Cassidy: I have a question for the Minister of Labour, Mr. Speaker, respecting equities for the working people of Ontario. Does the minister consider it equitable that doctors should get an increase in their incomes averaging $12,000 a year, with no restrictions on their right to withdraw their services, while at the current time the annual average income for hospital workers is $12,948 and they are under very severe limitations to exercise any of the rights that other workers in the province enjoy?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I am not going to comment on the fairness or appropriateness of the settlement made with the doctors. I think the member himself has indicated approval with the catch-up proportion of that award, nor do I intend to get into any discussion about the economic problems of hospital workers at a point in time where an arbitration commission is deliberating on those very matters.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary: Given that the government was prepared to provide kid-glove treatment for the doctors with respect to their pay increase, giving them catch-up and not even uttering the breath of a whisper of the possibility of a suggestion that the doctors should be required to stop the extra billing of opted-out doctors as a condition of getting that settlement, is the minister prepared to intervene in order to get the Ontario Hospital Association to stop its suspensions and to rehire the workers who have been fired as a consequence of the events of two months ago?

Is the minister prepared to intervene and ensure that efforts are made to restore the morale of hospital workers and give them the same kind of treatment that has been given to the doctors in the province?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, if I may deal with the last part of that question first, I will just reiterate that the issue of the level of income with regard to hospital workers is a matter which is now before a board of arbitration consisting of a representative of labour and of management and an independent chairman. All of the unions involved in hospital bargaining are presenting briefs to that commission, and I do not intend to get involved in any discussion about the appropriateness of income levels because that is a matter that is being resolved by what I think the member will agree is, a fair commission.

With regard to the issue of dismissals and other remedies that hospitals felt necessary in the light of the illegal strike activity, as the member well knows, I appointed a committee of two, including a representative of labour and management, in February to try to help the hospitals and workers who were involved in such reprimands to reach an agreeable accommodation on certain issues and certain matters, and that is taking place now. I intend that it will continue to take place and I think the results are encouraging.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In view of the fact that at least seven out of 10 provinces allow their hospital workers, or most of the hospital workers, to take strike action and in view of what has happened, is the minister or the ministry reviewing the present legislation with a view to changing the law in this regard and allowing them to strike?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, if there is a review of the present legislation taking place, it is not with regard to the matter of whether or not there should be a right to strike. The present law, which says that there is no right to strike, will remain in place.

10:50 a.m.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In view of the impact on labour relations and on the quality of hospital and health care in the province in the coming years as a consequence of the actions by the hospital association and its member hospitals, is the minister prepared to step in personally and to urge the hospitals to revoke the suspensions and to urge the hospitals to undo the firings of workers that have taken place in order to ensure that morale can be restored and we can have decent health conditions in the hospitals of Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I think I have indicated very explicitly that I have intervened through the appointment of a joint management- labour team. They are acting very effectively to help resolve those matters.

Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding the appointment of that committee, is the minister prepared to say that the action that has been taken by several hospital boards on a rather erratic basis is an action which discriminates against some of the hospital workers vis-a-vis the treatment they have received?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I do not think the member is going to get into making accusations of discrimination and I do not intend to get into discussions about whether or not there was. If there are valid accusations of discrimination, the member knows the channels to go through to have them evaluated.

I have to tell the member in all fairness that the matter of employee relations is a matter that relates to the employer and the employee, in this case the hospital and its employees. What I have said and will reiterate very clearly is that we have endeavoured to assist those hospitals and those employees to resolve any matters relating to reprimands or dismissals or whatever, through a joint management-labour committee. I am very pleased with the progress of that committee to date and I will continue to support them.


Ms. Copps: In other words, the minister is not prepared to say that there has been action by some hospital boards and some hospital administrations which has left some employees in a position to have been fired, while other employees who have done the same things have been left in their jobs?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the member may not have had an opportunity to read or understand the grievance arbitration legislation of this province. If she would take a moment to review it, she will find that there is a procedure in this province not only for grievance arbitration, but also for an optional statutory procedure for rapid resolution of grievances. So there is no question but that anybody who feels there has been a grievance to his person with regard to actions taken by the hospital has a remedy, a remedy, I might say, that is in the forefront in North America.

Mr. Speaker: A new question, Mr. McClellan.

Mr. McClellan: I have a new question for the Minister of Labour.

Mr. Van Horne: Excuse me, Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I believe it is our turn for a question.

Mr. Speaker: This is a new question.

Mr. Van Horne: If it is a new question, it should be our turn, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. Ms. Copps asked a new question.

An hon. member: It was a supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: No, it was not a supplementary. It was a new question Ms. Copps asked.

Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, I stated supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: I recognized a new question very clearly, Ms. Copps.

Ms. Copps: No, you did not.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, while we are sorting this out I wonder if, with the consent of the House, we could revert to statements so that the Premier could make a statement.

Agreed to.

Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I just want to make it clear we will be next in the rotation.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Actually, Mr. Speaker, I think it is our turn on this side of the House. Anyway I will not interfere with that determination.

Mr. Smith: Your silent back-benchers do not ask any questions.

Hon. Mr. Davis: The Leader of the Opposition should wish he had such back-benchers. I was going to ask why a couple on his back bench are not on the front bench. I am surprised. I am a little intrigued by that. I have to tell the member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty) that I know he is overwhelmed by the front bench, the middle bench and the back bench. I can understand that.



Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, in the throne speech last week His Honour indicated that this government would be making changes in its organization to reflect changing circumstances. Today I wish to detail one of these changes for the members. Legislation will be introduced very shortly to create a Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

That ministry will consist of the municipal affairs area and the municipal law branch at present in the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs, the community development wing and the Ontario Housing Corporation of the Ministry of Housing, the community planning wing and the land development wing of the Ministry of Housing, the normal central services derived mostly from the Ministry of Housing.

We recognize a close relationship exists between the assessment function within the Ministry of Revenue and many of the financial policy and administration activities of the new ministry. Therefore, the benefit of a closer integration of the grants and apportionment policies of the new ministry with assessment is under review.

The remainder of the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs will continue to be concerned with relations with other provinces, the federal government and with foreign governments, where appropriate, in order to negotiate and administer treaties. The Ministry of Revenue will take over responsibility for the Ontario Mortgage Corporation at present in the Ministry of Housing. These changes will take place as soon as they can reasonably be carried out.

It will be clear to all members of this House that this new organization represents an improvement in our administration. The creation of the new Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing reflects and strengthens our commitment to the municipal level of government.

With the area of rapid urban expansion, huge capital expenditures on municipal infrastructure and increasingly complex tri-level arrangements largely behind us, we believe we can now look forward to a stable period in which effective administration and sound development will be the requirements of the day.


Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, did the honourable member read the latest Conference Board in Canada figures for Ontario which he relied upon? The honourable member should have a look at them. He relied on them for 44 days. They led him up the garden path or down the garden path. They nearly led him into political oblivion.

By putting together at this time under a single minister the important programs of municipal affairs, community planning and community development, we increase our capacity to work with municipalities to achieve our mutual objectives.

I should also stress that the new ministry will continue to be responsible for the government's commitment to the provision and management of socially assisted housing through the Ontario Housing Corporation with its network of 61 local housing authorities and through its support for community-based, nonprofit and cooperative housing programs.

One great advantage of this arrangement is that the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs will now be able to focus its attention on Ontario's relations with other governments, particularly within Canada. It is clear that the scope and intensity of intergovernmental issues on the immediate horizon will make this area a matter of the highest priority for the government.

The distinguished member for Scarborough North (Mr. Wells), a great statesman, elected by a large majority, will continue as --

An hon. member: Are you endorsing him for the leadership?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I would endorse 69 people for the ultimate leadership of our party on this side of the House. That endorsement may take several years to come but, unlike those people who are facing a leadership review in the next few months, that is not contemplated on this side of the House.

Mr. Peterson: The Premier may not think so but everybody else thinks so.


Mr. Speaker: Would the opposition members please give the Premier a chance to make a statement.

Mr. Peterson: How am I doing?


Hon. Mr. Davis: We know what the honourable member's plans are. It is obvious even to us on this side of the House. His father-in-law told me what his plans were. How is the honourable member doing? I don't know. Perhaps the hair should be altered a bit. I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, but I was interrupted.

The member for Scarborough North is also the minister responsible for the province's French-language services. Both the Council on Franco-Ontarian Affairs and the government co-ordinator of French-language services will report to the government through the minister. This appointment will emphasize the government's commitment to making steady progress in providing a full range of services in French to those areas of the province where the numbers warrant.

I was trying to think of a line that would introduce the member for Ottawa South (Mr. Bennett) to the member for Ottawa Centre (Mr. Cassidy) in a way that he could enthusiastically thump his desk. In case he did not know it, I would say to him that the distinguished member for Ottawa South, who in turn won with an overwhelming majority, will be the new Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. I know that members opposite will like that appointment and will receive it with enthusiasm.

11 a.m.

Mr. Smith: The Premier read everything else word for word and overlooked the member for Ottawa South.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I did not at all. I was waiting for the appropriate opportunity. The Leader of the Opposition made a mistake. He tried to overlook him for 44 days, and look what it did to him in that part of the world.


Mr. Speaker: The opposition will let the Premier continue.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I have to tell the leader of the New Democratic Party that if he had a few members like the member for Ottawa South he would not be retiring as leader. He would not be forced to abdicate his throne. We are going to miss him. I say that sincerely, objectively and with some regret.

Mr. T. P. Reid: So the Premier should. He is the best thing that ever happened to him.

Hon. Mr. Davis: There have been two good things happen to us on the other side of the House. I would say to "landslide Reid," the member for Rainy River, if it had not been for his wife, he would not be back here.

Mr. T. P. Reid: I accept that.

Hon. Mr. Davis: That is not an observation from me. That is my wife's assessment. My wife thinks his wife is okay and that that is the only reason he got re-elected. That is a very objective analysis.

Mr. T. P. Reid: I do not recall the Premier's wife voting for me.

Hon. Mr. Davis: My wife would have voted for the member's wife. She would never have voted for him.

Mr. Speaker: Is this part of the Premier's statement?

Hon. Mr. Davis: To get back to the statement, Mr. Speaker, these are important changes which are indicative of my government's determination to adapt to changing circumstances and to meet the challenging needs of the people of this province.

Mr. Smith: It was a Freudian slip that the Premier missed reading the minister's name when he was reading the announcement. That is very interesting.

Mr. Speaker: The appropriate time will be added to the question period. A new question from Mr. McClellan please.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, you are aware that we cannot challenge your decision, but I can assure you in most sincere terms that the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps) was asking a supplementary question to one put by the leader of the NDP, having to do with labour problems in the hospitals. The question was a good one and it was responded to. She clearly said it was supplementary, and you accepted it on that basis.

As we cannot challenge your decision in this, we simply bring to your attention that it is a serious misapprehension and ask for your consideration. It is obviously the turn of the member for London North (Mr. Van Horne).

Mr. Speaker: The members may be interested to know that I have been keeping track of question period, the amount of time each member takes and the amount of total time for each question. I had listed the member for Hamilton Centre, quite clearly, for a new question. She chose to ask the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) a question which had been raised earlier.

Mr. Smith: It was clearly a supplementary.

Mr. Speaker: There is no doubt. Mr. McClellan, please.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please.



Mr. McClellan: I would like to ask the Minister of Labour if he has had the eighth report of the select committee on the Ombudsman brought to his attention by the Workmen's Compensation Board and, in particular, whether he has been briefed by officials of the compensation board with respect to complaint 30 of the Ombudsman's seventh report, referenced on page 50, in which the Ombudsman has ruled to the following effect: "That there is no requirement either in the Workmen's Compensation Act or in the board's policy directives which tie permanent disability awards under section 42 of the act solely to the clinical assessment of the injury."

In other words, the board has the legislative authority now to set awards on the basis of impairment of earning capacities rather than solely on the basis of the so-called "meat chart." Have officials of the compensation board consulted with the minister about this case?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: First, Mr. Speaker, I do not accept the use of the term "meat chart." The member is referring to a clinical disability rating, and I understand what he is talking about, but that was his choice of words, not mine.

Secondly, in the matter he refers to -- it is section 42(1) -- we have had some preliminary discussions about it and some other opinions are being sought. When those opinions are available, I will be pleased to report to the House.

Mr. McClellan: With respect, may I ask the minister if he is aware that there are approximately 100 cases at the Ombudsman's office on which resolution is awaiting a decision with respect to case number 30? Can the minister explain to us why the Workmen's Compensation Board has refused to comply with the recommendation of the Ombudsman, who happens to be one of the most distinguished jurists in this country, despite the fact that it has been supported by the select committee?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I think the answer is fairly simple. The Workmen's Compensation Board clearly has doubt as to whether the Ombudsman's interpretation is an accurate one and is seeking to have that opinion reviewed.


Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Provincial Secretary for Social Development in the absence of the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell). It has to do with a matter pertaining to the health disciplines board and its inability to provide documentation to persons who appear before the board in reference to actions of a medical doctor.

Specifically, when a complaint is made to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and later referred for a review by the health disciplines board, the complainant cannot get hold of the medical doctor's response to the complaint, either to judge its correctness or to prepare his or her response to it.

The question is, will the government bring forward legislation to guarantee a fair hearing by the health disciplines board, with full and open disclosure of the doctor's response to the College of Physicians and Surgeons?

Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, I understand that is being reviewed by the freedom of information review board.

Mr. Ruprecht: Supplementary: I would like to ask a question of the same minister. I have been trying to get information for a long time now on the discharge policies of our mental health system. In fact, I have contacted the director --


Mr. Ruprecht: It is a supplementary.

It took me four days to get through to this person and he tells me he does not want to answer any questions because apparently there has been a staff directive in this hospital from the administrator that no one is to tell anyone on the outside anything that goes on inside this particular hospital.

I am asking the question now of the minister, does she know anything about this staff directive that no one is to speak at that hospital; and, secondly, will she speak to the administrator and provide the information I seek?

Mr. Speaker: That is not a supplementary and I cannot accept it as a new question.


Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Premier.

Can the Premier explain the position taken in the letter reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation from him to his cabinet colleague regarding cuts contemplated for the budget? Can he explain why he is taking that position when in April 1978 the Chairman of Management Board stated: "Prior to the latest move, the government had severely constrained the size of its work force, therefore it was obvious that additional staff reductions would be very difficult to achieve. There is no more slack in the system to cut"?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted the honourable member watches the CBC. I watch it with some interest myself.

Without divulging the contents of the budget, may I explain very briefly the process of government. The ministries make certain representations related to their desired needs as they see them for the next budgetary year. We go through a process, because the requests or expectations traditionally exceed what ultimately happens, because that is part of the responsibility of government. It is not that unique for me to suggest to my cabinet colleagues that there be some targeted objective in terms of total expenditures.

I should point out to the honourable member that I believe he referred to 1978 in the question. It is now 1981.

This government is always reassessing its administrative practices. We have a responsibility to keep our level of expenditure as reasonable as possible. In fact, I would expect that when the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) comes out with his budget some members will be saying, on the one hand, we should be spending more, while some members in some parties will be saying we should spend less. The reality will be that the Treasurer will come up with a budget that is equitable, fair, reasonable, acceptable -- all of those adjectives that I am sure none of the members opposite will use.

11:10 a.m.

Mr. Wildman: Is the Premier not concerned about the leaking of this letter and about who leaked it, when one considers the importance of secrecy traditionally in the preparation of a budget in our system of government?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am always concerned about leaks, although during the campaign my issue was primarily cabbages; but I am concerned about leaks.

Mr. Peterson: You are a real funny guy.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, it is Friday morning. I know, it took the honourable member a while to understand it, it's early. At least I have retained my sense of humour.

I have some advice for the member. If he is really serious about his leadership ambitions he should develop a sense of humour. It might stand him in good stead. I tell him, I am trying to be as helpful as I can to him. Why has he moved so far down the end of the row?

I am always concerned about leaks of government documents. I have noticed that has never been shared by members of your caucus. In fact, to the contrary, one not only enjoys leaks, one sometimes tries to create leaks. I understand that.

I should point out though that while the level of expenditure, of course, is relevant, the traditional part of the Treasurer's budget that is kept confidential until eight of the clock, when he rises here to inform all of us as to his plans, really relates to the revenue side, not necessarily the expenditure side.

On the expenditure side, in fact, we have made public the enlightened policies for the next fiscal year. We have said to the municipalities, well over 10 per cent. We have said to the universities, well over 11 per cent. We have said to the hospitals, well over 11 per cent. We have already indicated our enlightened generosity with respect to many of the major expenditure programs for the next fiscal year.


Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development. Could he answer us directly or, failing that, give us an answer from the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Norton), regarding the ministry's report of the Ridge landfill site?

I might explain that the original application allowed for 8,000 gallons per day, five days a week, making a total of approximately two million gallons. Would the minister explain why a ministry official at the standing resources development committee hearing last January revealed that 3.4 million gallons were deposited in this site from August 1, 1979, to July 31, 1980? in other words, the site accepted 67 per cent more than was allowed.

I would just like to read a short paragraph from the report: "The statements contained in the supporting information are not legally binding on the applicant, and where no environmental problems arise from the deviation from the statement the ministry has no reason to enforce strict adherence with the statements. It should be recognized that the supporting information form is a static document while the operation of a large landfill site is an evolving process, and that as a result the two may not always be in agreement."

Would the minister find out what percentage of overrun is considered acceptable? Is it five per cent, is it 10 per cent, 67 per cent or 100 per cent? If it is in that higher range, would the minister find out why they bother with an application and approval process at all?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I would be pleased to take that up with the Minister of Environment and have an answer for the member at the first of the week.


Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Labour. Can he give the House some clear indication of when we are going to see coke oven emission standards in Ontario -- standards that have been promised, as he knows, all the way back to 1979, and from no less an authority than the Premier of this province?

Can he also tell us if they will be at least as good as those that are in force in the United States?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, there are really three questions there. The response to the first part of it is yes, a coke oven emission standard will be gazetted within the next week or two.

Second, on his comment with regard to duration, I would remind him that the Occupational Health and Safety Act was proclaimed in October 1979.

Mr. McClellan: Do not apologize.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I am not apologizing. One has to learn to understand the difference between facts, the course of events and the realities of life when one has to deal with problems.

Within four months of the proclamation of that act, the steel companies and the unions were brought together to discuss it and briefs were presented by all of those parties. Those briefs were reviewed and we now are proposing a coke oven regulation which will be gazetted within the next week or two.

Mr. Wildman: Can the minister assure us that when the draft is prepared and published it will be the same as, or equal to, the American standards?

Mr. McClellan: Maybe even better.

Mr. Wildman: Or better than the American standards. That is, can he assure us that it will be 0.15 milligrams per cubic metre, rather than 0.2 as has been rumoured?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, the member will not have to sit anxiously in his seat much longer since it will be gazetted either tomorrow or a week tomorrow. So that information will be immediately available to him.


Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Premier. Is the Premier aware of the serious traffic problems and the inconvenience encountered by local residents caused by the substantial increase in American motorists purchasing low-cost gasoline in Fort Erie?

Will the Premier initiate a full public inquiry into the unfair practices of the gasoline industry by the dumping of surplus gasoline at much lower cost at points of entry into Canada by using American currency rates up to 22 per cent on the dollar? The federal government petroleum inquiry called them "restraint practices as a means of reducing competition and enhancing prices, to the detriment of the Canadian consumer."

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I will not comment on the latter part of the question, but I would be interested in having the views of the member for Erie as to whether there should be -- and I think it would have to be in this case -- a federal policy that would restrict American motorists from coming into that community to buy what is obviously cheaper gasoline.

The Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch) has expressed some concern about this issue, but at the same time, we are not in a position to restrict entry or purchase of this product by visitors, because it is a matter of federal jurisdiction.

I sometimes watch both our own channels and on the odd occasion I get stuck on a Buffalo channel and I know something of the controversy. But I think I recall some people from Fort Erie saying that while they do not like the inconvenience they do not object to the business.

Perhaps the member for Erie might communicate to me, not here in the House, whether or not this is an economic plus or minus and how significant a problem it is for his constituents. But I should indicate to him that it really is a matter of federal jurisdiction as to how one would restrict this practice, if it is to be restricted. We do not have any right to say to American visitors, or others, that they cannot cross the Peace Bridge. Once they cross the Peace Bridge, it is pretty hard to say, "You cannot go to a gas station." It does become very awkward.

Mr. Haggerty: In view of the efforts of the Ministry of Energy in advertising to tell drivers to conserve gasoline, why should Americans receive the full benefit of the gasoline surplus? If dealers are able to sell gasoline at much cheaper prices, then why is it not reflected at the pump price to the Ontario consumers, who also should benefit by the surplus gas?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am just asking the honourable member who represents that constituency whether he would communicate to me quietly whether he feels this practice of allowing American visitors to come over -- a lot of them, I am sure -- just to purchase gasoline, should be stopped. I am not sure how it would be done.

Does one ask in a questionnaire at the Peace Bridge: "Are you coming to buy gas, or you coming to travel up into Haliburton or Honey Harbour to spend a weekend? What is your ultimate objective?" I think it is a fairly fundamental question that has to be asked. I would be delighted to have his views if he would like to express them.

Mr. Haggerty: When can we meet?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to meet with the member for Erie on any given day, but I have to have a little notice.

11:20 a.m.


Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. Is the minister aware that the Ontario Press Council recently received a complaint that committee meetings of the Elgin County Council were not open to the public and that almost all of the public business of the county was done in committee? Is the minister aware that the press council decision recommended that legislation should be brought in to make it mandatory that municipal bodies open all meetings, including committee meetings, to the public with the possible exception of meetings dealing with personnel and property negotiations?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I am aware of that case. I am aware of the decision of the press council and that is one of the matters, among many, we are looking at for legislative change. I am sure that the new minister of that ministry will be looking at that.

I want to state very unequivocally that my position has always been, for as long as I can remember in government, that any elected body should carry on practically all of its business in public. I have never been a supporter of any council or school board that carries on its business in private except for matters of personnel, property management and a certain very small selected list which could and should be carried on in private.

Mr. Cassidy: The minister never put it into law.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I can't hear what my friend is saying but I think that if we look around, most of the municipal councils and school boards in this province honour that kind of commitment.

Ms. Bryden: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In view of the fact that we do not yet have a freedom of information act and do not appear to be going to get one for at least a year, would the minister not use his good offices with the cabinet to convince them of his point of view by recommending that we do have mandatory legislation in this field governing municipal bodies of all kinds?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I indicated a few minutes ago that this is one of the areas that, because of the decision and because the matter has been raised, will be looked at along with all the other amendments which are considered each year in the Municipal Act.


Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier with regard to hydro in northern Ontario. Would the Premier recall that until December 7, 1971, the provincial government had a program in regard to rural grant and aid programs for Ontario Hydro to extend hydro in northern Ontario? Because many tourist operators, sawmill operators and small businesses are finding it difficult to pay the capital costs of the extension of Hydro to their places of business, will the Premier consider reinstating this program to provide such capital assistance?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, if the honourable member would like to communicate this both to me and the Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier) -- I assume he is referring to, what? New installations or creation of new tourist or industrial or mining developments?

My recollection is, with respect to some at least, there have been agreements. Perhaps these have been larger developments between Ontario Hydro and say a new mine or something of that nature whereby a portion of the cost for the transmission facility is, in fact, negotiated. There is not perhaps a general policy, as we had with respect to basically rural electrification.

If the honourable member would give me some examples of this need, I would be quite prepared to take them up with the Minister of Energy and the Minister of Northern Affairs.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the Premier's answer and I will provide that list.

One of the things I would ask by supplementary is that the Premier consider going back to either the old program or some kind of subsidy for these capital expenses, but they are primarily small businesses.

Mr. Foulds: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In reviewing this policy, could the Premier also ask Hydro to review its policy with regard to extending electrification to residential premises in northern Ontario where they have to pay exorbitant amounts for an individual in terms of mileage to get the line? For example, there are places within a 20-mile radius of Thunder Bay that are not electrified. The Premier nods agreement.

Mr. Speaker: New question, Mr. Eakins.

Mr. Eakins: Mr. Speaker, my question is --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please, I did make a mistake, Mr. Eakins, That was Mr. Reid's question.

Mr. Sweeney: Are you sure?

Mr. Speaker: Yes, I am. I recognize Mr. Grande.


Mr. Grande: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education and is in regard to the Don Bosco portable high school.

In view of the fact the board of education for the borough of Etobicoke changed its mind and reversed the decision to sell Keiller Mackay High School to the Metropolitan Separate School Board; and in view of the fact that during the election campaign she made a commitment to the Don Bosco students and families that they will have a permanent location, is the minister going to keep that promise, or will this be another example of broken Tory commitments?

Further, how long is the minister going to play around with this issue? It has been going on for three years now.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, of course the promise will be kept. Although the honourable member may have some formal communication from the Etobicoke board of education regarding this matter, I have not as yet received any. I have not received an answer to my letter of March 4, which I anticipate will be forthcoming rapidly with a little urging. Neither have I as yet received an answer from the Metropolitan Separate School Board in response to my letter of that date. I anticipate I will have that as well.

We shall continue to use our good offices to ensure the promise is kept.



Mr. Mackenzie moved first reading of Bill 32, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to establish a standard relating to the installation and operation of electronic surveillance systems in places of employment. The bill permits the installation of these systems only where it is reasonably necessary for the protection of the health or safety of employees. The onus of establishing that the installation and operation of a surveillance system is reasonably necessary for this purpose is placed upon the employer.


Mr. Mackenzie moved first reading of Bill 33, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to require an employer to provide a leave of absence to any employee who has been elected to provincial or municipal office so the employee may be able to carry out the duties of that elected office.


Mr. Mackenzie moved first reading of Bill 34, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to extend the application of part XII, the layoff provisions of the Employment Standards Act, to employees who are employed for a definite term or task, and to persons who are laid off or terminated during or as a result of a strike or lockout at the place of employment.

11:30 a.m.


Mr. Mackenzie moved first reading of Bill 35, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to protect the employment of an employee who attempts to enforce the provisions of this or any other act, or who testifies or otherwise participates in a proceeding or hearing under this or any other act, or before a court of law.


Mr. Mackenzie moved first reading of Bill 36, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to extend the application of the whole act to the crown. Currently parts IX, X, XI and XII of the act applied to the crown.


Mr. Mackenzie moved first reading of Bill 37, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I consider this an important bill, whose purpose is to reduce the standard work week from 48 to 40 hours and to require employers to pay overtime rates for work done in excess of 40 hours per week, rather than 44 hours as is now in force.


Mr. Mackenzie moved first reading of Bill 38, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to ensure that no employee engaged in the preparation or service of food in a tavern, restaurant, hotel, motel or tourist resort can be required as a term or condition of employment to work while nude or partially nude.


Mr. Mackenzie moved first reading of Bill 39, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to extend the time for giving notice where the employment of an employee is about to be terminated. Where 50 or more employees are to be affected by a termination, a notice period of 26 weeks is required. This notice period also applies in cases of extended layoffs.


Mr. Mackenzie moved first reading of Bill 40, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, the proposed new section 29 increases the vacation period to which an employee is entitled under the act. Currently, the act provides for a two week vacation period for each employee and does not vary the amount with employment service. This bill would require two weeks in each year upon the completion of 12 months of employment, three weeks in each year upon the completion of 60 months of employment, and four weeks in each year upon the completion of 120 months of employment.


Mr. Mackenzie moved first reading of Bill 41, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill, and it also is an important one, is to prohibit employers from interfering with the payment of tips and gratuities to waiters and waitresses in the province of Ontario.


Mr. Mackenzie moved first reading of Bill 42, An Act to amend the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, 1972.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to repeal certain provisions of the Crown Employees Collective Bargaining Act, 1972, that restrict the composition of collective agreements negotiated under the act.


Mr. Mackenzie moved first reading of Bill 43, An Act to provide Political Rights for Public Servants.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, the bill is designed to give public servants the same political rights that other citizens enjoy in Ontario. It covers civil servants, crown employees, employees of community colleges and people working for agencies such as Ontario Hydro, the Workmen's Compensation Board and the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, but excludes deputy ministers, offices of similar status in crown agencies and other senior policy-making officials.

11:40 a.m.


Mr. Mackenzie moved first reading of Bill 44, An Act to provide for the Employment of Disabled Persons.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I know this is a controversial bill but it stems from my frustration with efforts to provide employment for the handicapped. The purpose of the bill is to provide employment opportunities for disabled persons. The bill requires that employers hire disabled persons to constitute at least three per cent of the employer's work force. The bill permits the minister to vary this percentage requirement in cases where the minister considers another quota to be more suitable.

In addition, the minister may exempt an employer or class of employers from the operation of the statute. The bill establishes a register of employable disabled persons, to be maintained by the ministry for the purpose of facilitating efforts by employers to meet the quota established under the bill.


Mr. Mackenzie moved first reading of Bill 45, An Act to declare the Application of Certain Parts of the Employment Standards Act, 1974.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to extend the application of parts IV, V, VI, VII and VIII of the Employment Standards Act, 1974, to domestic servants. These parts cover work week, hours, minimum wage, overtime pay, public holidays, vacation with pay and should end the disgraceful situation we have in Ontario where these employees are not covered.


Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if you might take under advisement the possibility of having some arrangement whereby an honourable member who chooses to introduce 20 or 22 separate amendments to one act might very well do so without all the running back and forth and the time consumption. It might even be possible for him, if he decides to introduce them as separate amendments rather than as a number of amendments to one act, as is normally the case, to have an opportunity to describe those so that we might not spend quite so much time in the mechanics of it.

I bring to your attention, sir, that since we now have at least a sort of limit on the debate on the reply to the speech from the throne, and that yesterday one of the Conservative members spoke for an hour and a half and two of the NDP members spoke for well over an hour, the utilization of about 25 minutes for the introduction of this long and important series of bills unnecessarily erodes the time that would otherwise be at our disposal.

Mr. Speaker: I will be pleased to take your point of order under consideration.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, while you are considering that point of order and the ramifications of it, which I think could be quite serious, you might consider whether we would go to the American Congressional Record system of simply filing speeches and not delivering them in the House during the throne speech debate and the budget debate.



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.

Mr. Mitchell: Mr. Speaker, I would like very much, as my first address in the House, to be able to speak extemporaneously, but having noticed that most members seem to have a great pile of notes, I am going to take the opportunity for today's maiden speech to do so.

It is an honour for me to rise in support of the government's proposal for the coming session. The program of legislation announced in the speech from the throne will carry this province forward, will carry us ahead in a period of difficulty and of uncertainty, but in a confident and successful way.

It is with some apprehension that I stand and deliver what has become known as the member's maiden speech in the Legislature. It is with apprehension that I am following in the footsteps of some very esteemed people who have represented the great riding of Carleton over many years. Some names that come to mind are Holly Acres, Erskine Johnston, and of course my predecessor, Sidney Handleman.

First, however, Mr. Speaker, may I join with the many others who have congratulated you on your election to that office. At the same time, may I add my own words of commendation to the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes), who served this House with dignity and fairness while serving as Speaker -- and as well to the member for Perth (Mr. Edighoffer) and to Mr. John MacBeth, who also served in the chair.

I would also like to take this opportunity, as other members have done, to thank the constituents of the riding of Carleton for the confidence they have shown in me, not only in one election but in two elections within a five-month period.

Past members for Carleton have spoken about the rivers, streams, hills and valleys of their constituency. Those rivers, streams, hills and valleys still exist in Carleton, but the Carleton of today not only has the environmental rewards of good planning for all of the citizens of Ottawa-Carleton to enjoy, but it also comprises two active, vibrant cities, two of the newest in Ontario, the cities of Nepean and Kanata.

Furthermore, Carleton is beginning to shed its image of providing bedroom communities for the city of Ottawa and all of the federal civil servants located there, in favour of becoming the microelectronics centre of Ontario, and perhaps of Canada.

Today, because of the confidence of men of vision, Carleton is the home of some of the best known firms in the area of high technology. It is because of this change to the riding that I rise to speak in support of the throne speech, and in particular of the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program. I should perhaps add that those high-tech firms and their commitment to Ontario and Carleton has also been recognized by the government of Ontario and the various development corporations that have assisted these businesses to succeed. Government's role has been most constructive and helpful. For that help, a great deal of credit must go to the member for St. Andrews-St. Patrick (Mr. Grossman).

Much of the microelectronics industry in Ontario is located in Ottawa-Carleton, where 80 companies have a total sales volume of $500 million a year. Many are growing rapidly. In addition, the federal government and universities perform a considerable amount of research work, the Telidon system having been developed by the federal government.

The areas which are currently under development, such as fibre optics and digital transmission, and the practical manifestations of these developments, such as electronic mail, interactive television and electronic funds transfer. will have profound economic, social and cultural impact.

The domestic market for electrical products in Canada is about $9 billion. The export market, served by our domestic manufacturers, is over $1 billion. Northern Telecom has extensive manufacturing in my riding.

In Kanata, Northern has an optical fibre systems plant, a new Ottawa plant opened in 1979 manufacturing printed circuit boards containing thousands of components. More than 250 components are contained in each large-scale integrated circuit, etched on paper-thin chips, one quarter square inch in area. Very large scale integrated circuits containing more than 2,500 components and up to 40,000 are being developed. Computer-based design systems are being used -- COPES to design hardware and ISES to design software.

11:50 a.m.

Mitel Corporation Limited employs 800 and has annual sales estimated at $40 million. Its most important product converts tone inputs from touchtone phones to post signals which can be used by rotary dial telephones at low cost. It makes other telecommunications equipment, including a more efficient telephone switchboard or PBX. It is fully integrated as well and makes electronic chips, which puts it in an advantageous position. Targeted growth is to reach $1 billion in sales by 1990.

Gandalf Data Communications Limited had sales in 1980 of well over $20 million. The company's original product was a modem used for linking remote CRT terminals to a computer. Gandalf has 475 employees.

Norpak Limited, with sales for 1980 at $8 million, produces digital display devices on cathode ray tube terminals to allow data to be shown in pictorial form on video screens. This has many applications, such as monitoring nuclear plants and linking computers to television sets. Norpak, by the way, has the manufacturing rights for the Telidon home terminal which links central computers to home television.

Altogether there are about 80 high technology companies in the Ottawa-Carleton area, employing 15,000 people with annual sales of around $500 million.

Another industry making use of semiconductor chip technology is the photovoltaic or solar cell industry. In Canada, it had sales of about $500,000 in 1979. Most of the companies which distribute the product are located in Ontario and are subsidiaries of foreign corporations. The main market for photovoltaics in this country is the federal government's Department of Supply and Services.

Most microelectronic research and development work is centred around Ottawa. Bell-Northern Research Limited is the largest private research and development facility in Canada. The National Research Council, where early research work was undertaken during the war, is also centred in Ottawa. Carleton University conducts a large amount of microelectronics research, and the Communications Research Centre, a branch of the federal Department of Communications, developed the Telidon system which is able to transmit pictures using digital signals.

The system, which is able to link central computers to television sets, is being tested in the United States, in the Washington area, by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. They are trying this out in 60 selected homes and institutions.

An interesting point is that this Telidon system was chosen over a British and French system because Telidon transmits a much clearer picture, can draw curves, overlay text and colour and produces images faster. The Telidon computer is more advanced, and the system can be inexpensively adapted to changes in technology.

With respect, Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a pitch that the microelectronics centre, which forms the key initiative in our Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program, would most effectively, and should ideally, be located in the Carleton area, where these 80 firms are showing the way in the microelectronics industry.

The main thrust of research and development in the telecommunications field is the replacement of conventional transmission of information by digital transmission for sound and/or picture. In conventional transmission of telephone signals, noise and distortion increase as the signal travels longer distances. By translating the signal into a digital code, transmitting it and then decoding it, the noise and distortion can be eliminated, and several different media can use the common carrier.

Fibre optics research replaces transmission through copper wires for transmission by laser through hair-thin strands of glass fibres. They have been tested for use in interoffice trunk lines in downtown Montreal and for residential phone use in the Yorkville area of Toronto. Development work is under way for their use in security alarm systems, coin telephones, home computer communications, electronic mail, electronic funds transfers and interactive video television.

One pair of these fibres can carry 4,000 telephone conversations, several TV signals or 100 million computer bits of information a second, replacing a three-inch copper cable. Test results show it could be very reliable. Unfortunately, the high cost of the almost pure silicon required remains a bit of a drawback.

The interaction of computers and telecommunications depends to a large extent upon digital transmission. The Telidon system developed by the Department of Communications links digital transmission of television signals to a computer. Through their television sets, viewers have access to a computer for information and can interact with the computer. With Canadians having one of the highest levels of telephone saturation and the highest level of cable television saturation in the world, the capital cost requirements of widespread implementation of this are not as high as one might think.

Interactive television would allow viewers to select goods and shop from home, to work at home and to attend school at home. Mail service could be speeded up by transmitting messages almost instantaneously by electromagnetic waves to the area where the letter is to be sent.

Mr. McClellan: You could give this speech from your home.

Mr. Mitchell: You are right on. The funny thing is there are some jokes in politics but some of the bad ones get elected. Adlai Stevenson once said about his opposition, "If you stop telling lies about us, we won't tell the truth about you."

Here it would be printed according to the signals received and delivered. The physical delivery of the letter would no longer be necessary.

The Globe and Mail has tested the simultaneous printing of the newspaper by satellite transmission and is to begin permanent simultaneous printing of the Globe in Toronto and Calgary some time next year. This would eliminate the need to actually transport the newspapers and greatly reduce the time between the printing of the newspaper and its availability to readers in other parts of the country and the world.

A development which would very significantly affect everyone's life is the introduction of electronic funds transfer. The hardware is already available. Probably the major obstacle to its introduction is lack of consumer acceptance. Using a special plastic card and one's own personalized number, all transactions could be paid for by the instantaneous debiting and crediting of the bank accounts of the buyer and seller. Ultimately, the flow of money in all its forms and directions could be fully automated.

To use computers, software packages or programs must be developed and tested. This is quite labour intensive and requires highly trained employees. Research work is under way at present to build computers which will write programs. This will greatly increase the power and potential of artificial intelligence.

Some experts have explained we are witnessing the growth of a kind of external nervous system with sensors, memory and flows of information and response mechanisms. Unlike other technological advances, today's computer communications devices in tandem with the widespread application of microprocessors do not simply add capital equipment to existing processes, they are profoundly changing the nature of the production process itself.

Some have noted we are moving into a post industrial society. Others have called it an electronic society and the term "global village" was fashionable for a while. Most recently, the extent of the transformation was thought to be reflected in the term "information society." With the blending of communications and computing, there is no longer any definite technical or service distinction between a terminal used for communications and one used as an input and output device for a computer system.

The communications and data processing markets are merging, served by telephone, telegraph, data processing and other companies. In the area of most obvious overlap, communications-based information systems, 15 to 20 per cent growth is likely to occur each year for at least the next decade. The new computer communications applications open a new world of interaction. They offer public access to information and programming of almost unlimited quantity and quality. In addition, a degree of control will shift to the viewing public because access is accompanied by choice.

12 noon

No longer passive receivers of broadcast information or programs, an interactive public will exercise an ongoing selection choice. The implications for conventional commercial networks, prime time television and the world of advertising are enormous. Much of the technological advance revolves around the emergence of the digital mode as the best way of sending all communications -- voice, visual and data -- through the system. It is cheaper, faster and less subject to distortion than analogue.

The movement to electronic switching systems by the telephone companies aids the shift, as such systems are, in fact, durable computers complete with memory and other features. Hardware costs keep dropping. Microprocessors will soon be cheaper, some say, than a tankful of gasoline. Transmission costs are dropping as well. Fibre optics are proven, and field tests are under way. Satellite technology has evolved low power parabolic dish receivers designed to sell for under $200 and some are already being produced in Japan.

The cost of storing and transmitting data is falling dramatically, from one cent per character in 1970 to one hundredth of a cent in 1975. A 10 by 15 centimetre, wafer-thin plastic holofiche can hold more data than the Toronto telephone book.

Manufacturing is increasingly being run by process control computers and production robots. Paper work is giving way to word and data processing. Management is able to access and manipulate increasingly vast amounts of data. Computer facilities will tie together the complex facilities of government and industry.

Telecommunications is beginning to act as a substitute for transportation. Where a video conference is used, instead of transporting two people from, say, Montreal to Toronto, there is an energy saving of 2,300 kilowatts, enough to serve an electrically heated house for a period of several weeks. In fact, many of the problems associated with economic growth can be reduced or removed entirely.

The new information channels which can access the world's data banks, film libraries, computer-assisted educational programs and digitized encyclopedias with built-in film clips, can be made available universally. Making these large quantities of data available to Canadians will radically change the mental resources of our society. Just as the introduction of electricity had a profound impact on mankind, so the introduction of the information communications technology is leading to developments that strain our powers of projection.

A list of the uses of the new technology and the ways in which it will transform our society would reach into almost all aspects of life, almost all industries and professions. The wired city, so long predicted, is arriving. We in Ontario are fortunate indeed to have a government that is determined, within the context of the BILD program, to take maximum advantage of the opportunities it presents. Today's children play with computer toys and teaching aids and pinball machines. For them, the microelectronics era is all they know. Technology offers us all a world of promise and hope.

Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, I too am one of those members who appreciate this opportunity to say a few words in connection with the throne speech, but before so doing, let me congratulate you, sir, as Deputy Speaker, the member for Peterborough (Mr. Turner) and the member for York Centre (Mr. Cousens) for the high honour and the very onerous responsibilities that have been bestowed upon you and them in this Legislature. I know you all exercise your responsibilities with a high degree of independence and impartiality.

I would say that I was a little disappointed, when I called for an emergency debate a week ago on the plight of farmers due to high interest rates, that the Speaker did not see fit to allow that debate to go through. I had to question, somewhat, his independence on this matter, knowing of course that he is also a member of the Conservative Party.

I really think that you have to forget about the fact that you are a member of the Conservative Party when you are serving in that position and allow some of these things that mean so much to the people out in the industries and businesses, such as the farmers, to go forth in this Legislature.

Mr. Speaker, in Canada today, we face three great crises and there is every sign that these crises will persist well into the 1980s. The first crisis is economic. I do not intend to bore you with a long discourse on economics. I simply want to say that the post Second World War boom, which began in the late 1940s, ended in 1973. We are now experiencing a period of economic instability and the general trend is that the western world and Canada are both in for rough times ahead.

The second crisis, linked to some extent to the first, is the continuing unresolved problem of national unity in Canada.

Canadians are a funny bunch. In our isolation from each other, we often resemble ostriches in our fondness for avoiding looking at unpleasantness squarely. If we do not hear of a problem on the National for a couple of weeks, we fondly imagine it to have been resolved and we resolutely refuse to think about it any more. So it is with national unity. Our heads are firmly implanted in the sand once again, or if we do think about national unity, we declare we are fed up and we do not care any more what happens.

I keep wondering what would have happened to us in other periods of trial in our history if we displayed such a low tolerance for discomfort. Can you imagine anyone in Canada in 1941, for example, announcing in a loud voice that he was thoroughly fed up with the Second World War and did not care who won? My point simply is that the national unity crisis, as a fact of Canadian life, will be with us all well into the 1980s whether we get fed up or not.

The third crisis is less obvious than the first two, but it is linked to both. I would describe this as a philosophical, or spiritual, or moral crisis. Mr. Speaker, what I am going to say now is not going to make me the most popular person in this Legislature, particularly from the standpoint of the Conservatives across from me, but if I accomplish nothing more in this political life than to try to bring back some honour and integrity into political life, then I feel that I will have achieved something.

We have come through a campaign, which in the minds of many people, mysteriously returned the Tories to power with a majority for the next four years. As I listened to the promises and half truths that were being told during the campaign, as I observed the questionable performance of some of the candidates, and as I saw honour and integrity being thrown to the wind, I recalled a book I read entitled, The Evolution of Civilizations, written by Carroll Quigley.

Perhaps at this point in our time, Mr. Speaker, this book should be recommended reading for the members of this Legislature as it is clear that every civilization undergoes a process of historical change with politics playing a very major role in that process. We can see that a civilization comes into existence, passes through a long experience and eventually goes out of existence by a slow process which covers decades or even centuries.

12:10 p.m.

As a matter of interest, it is predicted the western civilization of which we are a part will go the way of other civilizations such as the Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations by the year 2500 AD. Imagine that. They are predicting the end of western civilization by the year 2500 AD. I think the House will understand the reason by the time I am finished this little discourse.

The author of the book elaborates on the seven changes through which civilization goes, from a mixture of cultures to a gestation period of relative inactivity, to an expansion period, to a period of conflict, to a universal empire, to a period of decay and finally to a period of invasion. I indicated western civilization will likely end about 2500 AD and that we are now approaching the stage of decay, which is the second to last stage in the evolution.

There are a number of factors involved in the transition but it is obvious that governments play a major role. Nowhere is this more evident than right here in Ontario. I would like to take a few minutes to make the analogy.

We saw a campaign in the 1977 provincial election when the Brampton charter was unfolded, containing many promises. To date, very few of those promises have been kept.

Then we had a by-election in eastern Ontario which really showed politics for what it is in this province. A brochure was distributed by the Tories which contained a gross distortion of the facts. The Conservatives chose to employ scare tactics by distributing such erroneous information when it appeared the riding was going to leave their fold.

We then came through a recent campaign where all the stops were pulled out. In my own riding, for example, the Tories took advantage of an unfortunate situation in my own family life and spread rumours throughout the riding which were outright lies. They tried every trick in the book but, thank God for human judgement, they came far short of accomplishing their goal.

I would not have believed people would stoop so low to accomplish their purpose, but politics, for reasons so obvious in this province, denotes dishonour and disrespect. Is it any wonder fewer and fewer of the voting public in Ontario are going to the polls? Only 54 per cent voted in the last election.

The members may think this a small point but I want to let them know what is going on. I saw one of the Conservative candidates in a riding adjacent to mine use religion to better his cause in politics.

I happen to frequent a large United Church in London and I hesitate to think it was just a coincidence that during the entire campaign the Conservative candidate was walking up and down the aisles of that church as the usher. It may well have been his turn to serve in that capacity, but that became very questionable when he came up to me on two different Sundays and said, "I am rather surprised you are not back in your own riding, attending your own church, trying to get votes."

I simply said to him that happened to be the church I was brought up in and where I was baptized. It was the church I joined. That is why I go back to it, as well as because I have an 80-year-old mother who depends on me to go back and get her out to church. I found it very questionable when he came up and asked why I was not back in my own riding in my own church getting votes. I simply said to him I am not the type of person who is prepared to mix politics and religion.

I am also going to tell you, Mr. Speaker, that the very same person endeavoured to use the Baptist church in order to advance his own campaign and this was well publicized in the London Free Press.

I know of a minister in a neighbouring riding who contacted his counterpart in Ottawa to see if he could dig up some scandal about one of the candidates who was running against him.

I know of a minister who considered his Liberal colleague in an adjacent riding to be his close friend, and although he looked to this member for advice on several occasions before the election, he threw him to the lions after the election writ was issued.

Some of my colleagues tell me I am naive if I believe that friendship is not left at the starting gate when the campaign race begins. But I look at it differently. I look at politicians as setting an example for the people of Ontario.

Do we want an Ontario where people are prepared to stab their own friends in the back in order to make their own personal gains, or do we want an Ontario where people honour and respect friends? If we want the latter, then we as politicians had better start to set an example.

This same minister I have been talking to went into a Liberal riding in eastern Ontario during the campaign and totally fabricated the truth about the contribution that the incumbent member had made to a specific project in that riding.

I saw a Premier (Mr. Davis) who spent millions of taxpayers' dollars in ridings in order to win or retain those ridings in his particular fold. A cartoon in the London Free Press showed the Premier standing in front of a mammoth fan with the dollar bills escaping from his hands and blowing here, there and all over the place.

I call this less than honourable, because the Premier and his colleagues showed very little sensitivity to the needs of the people prior to the election, and all of a sudden they became all heart during the election. Again I say, is it any wonder that only 54 per cent of the voting public is going to the polls?

I could go on and relate the less than honourable performances of the Tory candidates in this last campaign, but there is another important matter that I want to raise, so I will confine my remarks to the very mysterious outcome of the last provincial election in the riding of Middlesex. Surprisingly, the sitting member increased his majority quite substantially, despite the excellent qualifications and characteristics, as recognized by many people in that riding, of the Liberal candidate.

For the first time in years it appeared by all indicators that there would be an upset in the riding. Bob Coulthard, the Liberal candidate, was an outstanding businessman, an excellent family man; an active participant in community life and a much respected director of many farm organizations. Bob would have been a tremendous asset to the political process here in Ontario, and although he ran an excellent campaign he was not able to bring about the upset.

The comment I am still hearing from that riding is that the failure to change the political scene in the riding remains a mystery. It is going to be very interesting to see the amount of money that was spent in that riding. I do know that not all mysteries are solved overnight, but I am sure that as time goes on there will be some light shed on this mystery, other than that which has already been shed.

Is it any wonder that civilizations go through a stage of decay when those people running the affairs of the country fail to practise honour and integrity. The Conservatives in this Legislature have felt for some time that they have the divine right to rule, and now they have won back their majority by one means or another, they have already shown signs of discarding good government and replacing it with arrogance and authoritarianism.

12:20 p.m.

History does indeed repeat itself, and the petals on the trillium are starting to wither. Only by the grace of God and by recognition of the people of Ontario that governments can and do develop dry rot will the decay stage of this part of our civilization be prevented. I have said time and again that the arrogance and authoritarianism of the Conservatives will lead to their political demise, and the sooner this happens the better it will be for the people of Ontario.

I want to turn to that part of the economy to which I alluded in my opening remarks. There is something terribly wrong with the farming industry in Ontario when not only young farmers, but prominent and well established farmers are rapidly losing equity in their business and either have to sell their lands to save what little equity is left or go into bankruptcy. I am referring to hardworking and efficient farmers such as Brian Ireland, Teeswater; Don Morrison, Lucknow; Glen Smith, Lynden; Arnold Anderson, Shelburne; Neil Williams, Winchester; Ron Faulkner, Harriston; Tony Bakker, Elora; Tom Archer, Elmvale; and I named some more yesterday.

I could go on with the names of more farmers who have been forced to sell their businesses or liquidate their assets, or who are rapidly losing equity in their businesses due mainly to high interest rates and low prices for commodities such as beef and pork. Last year, 124 farmers went bankrupt in Ontario. That was a 91 per cent increase over the previous year. For the first three months of this year, farm bankruptcies have increased 77 per cent over the same period last year.

Let me elaborate on the plight of the farmers whom I named in my opening remarks. Brian Ireland owns 250 acres at Teeswater. With an efficient operation in hogs and beef, his farm lost $60,000 last year, and he is at present paying the bank $1,000 a week just in interest charges.

Don Morrison decided to sell his 200-acre farm that has been in his family for five generations. He sold it to a foreign investor, and he intends to rent the farm back from him. Four or five other farmers in the Lucknow area sold their farms to foreign investors as well. Don Morrison paid $30,000 in interest last year, and selling his land and renting it back was the only way he could continue to farm and make a profit.

Glen Smith, a 24-year-old farmer in Lynden, could not sell his farm. His bank beat him to it. One month ago, the bank gave him one day's notice to pay $175,000. When he could not raise the money, the bank sent in trucks, took away his livestock and left him with nothing. The farm was frozen, and he could not even put in a crop.

Arnold Anderson, who is a fourth generation farmer, was forced out of business because of high interest rates and low meat prices. Anderson, a beef and hog farmer, had to sell his stock in order to pay his bills. Three years ago, Anderson had a net worth of $385,000, but after years of low beef prices, and a sharp reduction in pork prices last year combined with rapidly rising interest rates, the net worth of $385,000 dropped, over a period of two or three years, to a deficit of $5,300.

Price Morris, who farms at Frankfurt, is selling most of his cattle because he finds the $24,000 interest on his operating loan of over $100,000 too much to carry, especially since he will need more credit soon to put in his 300-acre corn crop.

Neil Williams, at Winchester, has cut his herd in half, and he is custom feeding on the rest of his 350-acre farm because he just cannot stand over $50,000 in annual interest payments.

Ron Faulkner of Harriston didn't put cattle in at all this year because it is not feasible to feed and finish at 18 per cent interest rates.

Another farmer cutting back on his beef production is Tony Bakker at Elora. His operating loan used to go as high as $400,000 when he finished 800 cattle a year. Now he is down to 150 cattle, a more comfortable loan of $100,000 and he custom feeds 200 other head of cattle.

With beef and hog prices stagnating and even declining, many farmers in this province are in serious trouble. Reports of how poorly the farm economy is performing in the light of high interest rates are mounting.

Eight livestock farmers in the St. Isidore area of Prescott county staved off bankruptcy only by signing long-term integration contracts with feed companies.

Just to diverge for a minute, I heard today there are 2,500 acres of the best land you could possibly get in eastern Ontario, in Osie Villeneuve's riding, which have recently been sold to a foreign investor who has no intention of coming to this country to farm. He did not even see the land he was buying, and that came right from a realtor in the area who had been trying to buy that land for farmers who want to farm there.

This foreign investor paid a ridiculously high price for that land. There wasn't a farmer in that area who could match it.

There are 2,500 acres I just heard about today that have left Ontario and gone into the hands of a foreign investor.

All of this land is now vulnerable. These farmers who are now having to put up 100 acres of land in order to retain the other 100 or 200 are going to find they will never get that land back because that land is going to be sold to the foreign investors who have the money to pay big prices for it.

Banks pulled the plug on six farmers in Peterborough county -- and this is why I was a little surprised when the Speaker would not allow that emergency debate to go through the other week. Six farmers in his own riding have gone bankrupt in relatively recent times. Four farmers in the Lindsay area of Victoria county have gone under. In Dufferin county, the Royal Bank sold the machinery of a hog farmer earlier this month after he ran out of credit and feed. Another pork producer and a beef farmer are sliding out of business and even now may be gone from that area. Twenty-one southwestern Ontario livestock producers -- 16 near Ridgetown and five near Highgate -- have been Bank of Montreal foreclosure victims.

As I indicated previously, bankruptcies reveal only part of the story. Many proud families have simply put their farms up for sale and tearfully left agriculture. There is no question that petering farm enterprises demand fast, solid help. Ontario farmers have been sending out distress calls for some time now but the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson) and the Ontario government do not seem to care that more farmers than ever are going bankrupt.

This is a critical time for farmers and what happens in the economy during the next few months will make or break a fair number of them.

It is simply not good enough to have a Minister of Agriculture and Food in Ontario turn a deaf ear to the distress calls of the farmers and do nothing but blame the federal government for the high interest rates. If this very same minister visited Quebec or the western provinces and told the farmers there the Canadian government created the problems and therefore should correct them, he would be either laughed out of those provinces or he would be chased out at the end of a pitchfork. Other provinces have instituted an extensive and well used set of low-interest programs for their farmers, and the farmers in Ontario should expect nothing less.

12:30 p.m.

The Quebec government's objective, as stated in its 1980-81 budget, is to make Quebec self-sufficient in food. Their agricultural budget is 1.84 per cent of their total budgetary expenditure, compared to 1.2 per cent in Ontario. But we must remember that of that 1.2 per cent in Ontario there are the property tax rebates, which the farmers should not have been charged in the first place, and the crop insurance subsidies, which are paid back by the federal government.

Mr. Nixon: What about the drain money they loan and get back?

Mr. Riddell: That is right. The tile drainage money, too, is loans. The fact of the matter is, when we take those into consideration about half of one per cent of the total provincial budget in Ontario is spent on agriculture. What kind of a commitment is that?

Quebec offers long-term loans of $250,000 with interest rates of 2.5 per cent on the first $15,000 and eight per cent on anything over $15,000. Quebec government expenditures on agriculture amount to 15 per cent of the value of their agriculture production; in Ontario it is only five per cent.

For the first time ever, net farm incomes in Quebec in 1980 exceeded net farm incomes in Ontario. Quebec has an income stabilization plan that covers hogs and beef cattle. British Columbia has an all-inclusive income stabilization plan including hogs and beef. Saskatchewan has a beef income stabilization plan and Alberta has a hog stabilization plan. Truly, a commitment to agriculture in Ontario is sadly lacking and badly needed. Just what has Ontario done to assist its farmers in this time of crippling livestock prices?

I am sure the Minister of Agriculture and Food will stand in his place and say he came to the aid of the farmers last year by offering an interest subsidy program. Twenty-five million dollars was set aside for this program, which expired on December 31, 1980. But listen to this: only 7,000 farmers applied for assistance which amounted to an expenditure of approximately $5 million by the province of Ontario.

Many farmers were eligible for such a piddling little amount that they did not even bother to apply. Some were eligible for only $200. The maximum amount of a loan which was covered under the program was $75,000 per farmer. The limit on the program was $1,600. How far is $1,600 going to go on the amount of interest that farmers have to pay today in Ontario? Three per cent interest subsidy over 12 per cent does not amount to much when one is paying 19 per cent in interest rates. Sixteen hundred dollars is just a drop in the bucket and amounts to nothing more than a token gesture.

Some farmers who needed help the most failed to qualify for rebate because banks refused to give them loans. Some farmers were not aware of the program as it was so poorly advertised. Farmers who own more than 75 per cent of their assets did not even qualify. The Ontario government has to make a far greater commitment to the agricultural industry if indeed Ontario is ever to become again self sufficient in food production.

In the short term, the government must establish an emergency rescue program whereby farmers will be guaranteed refinancing at rates of approximately eight per cent where this would make the farm operation viable. As an interim solution to the present problem of high interest rates, the government must subsidize interest rates for short and intermediate bank loans and loans from farm suppliers for all farmers.

The provincial interest rate assistance program will apply to a maximum of $250,000 in loans for an individual farmer and $500,000 for a partnership. This subsidy can operate on a sliding scale. Farmers with less than 50 per cent equity will receive 100 per cent subsidy and anything over a 50 per cent equity would receive a lesser amount of subsidy on a sliding scale, to a point where farmers with 90 per cent to 100 per cent equity will receive 20 per cent of the interest banks charge over 12 per cent. Between 90 per cent and 50 per cent equities, payment will be based on a sliding scale.

In other words, farmers will be eligible for interest assistance on bank loans over 12 per cent, and this would be restricted to Canadian residents.

There should be a suspension of foreclosures and forced liquidation, and all cases should be referred to an independent review agency before a bank or creditor may exercise his power of sale or foreclosure. The need for long-term financing remains as great as ever. Every year since I have been in this Legislature, I have urged the government to reinstate a long-term financing program similar to the junior farmer establishment loan program which was in effect for a number of years in this province.

The provincial government should also urge the Farm Credit Corporation to provide more funds and review lending criteria. The small business development loans program should be broadened to include unincorporated farmers and the federal government should be urged to make provision whereby interest received from loans to farmers be tax exempt, thereby reducing interest rates on such loans.

These are proposals which the Ontario Federation of Agriculture considered at its last directors' meeting, and they are proposals which we in the Liberal caucus are certainly prepared to adopt.

It is high time this government gave a greater commitment to the agricultural industry in Ontario. It is time this government reorganized its priorities. Oil, automobile manufacturers and farm machinery manufacturers are being provided with special assistance programs, while agriculture is getting less than its share. What is more fundamental to society than the need for food? Yet agriculture is always the last in line for assistance.

If the Minister of Agriculture and Food for Ontario is not prepared to give a greater commitment to the agricultural industry in this province, then I will be joining the farmers of Ontario and the organizations representing the farmers in this province in calling for his resignation. Agriculture is too important an industry in this province to be given so little attention by this government.

Mr. Speaker, I did have some interesting comments, at least I thought they would be interesting, to make on education. Have I got the time?

Mr. Nixon: Sure.

Mr. Riddell: Let me launch into that then.

I referred in my opening remarks to three crises I felt we were facing; one being the economic situation. I made mention of just one sector of that, which is the farming industry, but believe me, there are many small businessmen in trouble too. I then talked about national unity and about the philosophical or spiritual or moral crisis.

One reason we are so ill-equipped emotionally and intellectually to handle the first two crises of the economy and national unity is that we really have no consensus as Canadians about what we want out of life for ourselves, our families, our communities or our country.

From the time of Plato, it has been the task of philosophers to orient society towards the pursuit of the good, of justice and of wisdom. Today in North America, none of these is a primary virtue. If we took a candid look at ourselves in North America, we would see ourselves as a bunch of sheep being manipulated by television into the belief that the good life consists of buying new cars with computer controlled ashtrays or detergents which will win friends and influence people throughout the immediate neighbourhood.

The idea of voluntary service, indeed service itself, seems almost an anachronism practised by a few eccentrics who gamely struggle on with school board duties or running a scout pack or giving blood to the Red Cross. What is missing, and nowhere more than in our educational system, is a strong sense of the way things ought to be.

We have gone so overboard in emphasizing value-free education that we have totally stamped out any notions that some things are simply evil and wrong. We are so bound and determined to explain away human actions as simply the product of a bad social environment that we have abolished free will.

We are never to blame for anything we do. It is all mummy and daddy's fault. But they are not to blame either because it was really grandma and grandpa who, in turn, are not to blame because, et cetera.

12:40 p.m.

Here in Canada we are facing three long-term crises. We think about our children, then we think about the school system and we ask ourselves, "Are we preparing our children for the reality of these crises or are we sending them out into the world of the 1980s unarmed?" Is it fair to have a school system based on a whole set of assumptions which do not reflect the reality of the world?

What are our schools and universities doing today? First, they are catering to the lowest common denominator. Everyone must pass everything, whether he is stupid or bright, lazy or industrious, because it is not nice to fail people. Indeed, it is undemocratic and elitist. The conveyor belt runs unchecked from grade one to the bachelor of arts and all the quality control inspectors are out on lunch breaks.

Of course, since no one is allowed to fail, no one is allowed to succeed either, because that would be competitive and competition is traumatic for young minds. Genuinely bright, talented children are kept down by the system and by peer pressure which, for some reason, recognizes that not all hockey players are created equal, but finds this notion abhorrent in an academic context.

Another feature of education today is everything must be fun, fun, fun. It is time students realized that periodically they simply have to learn things in a way they might find just a teensy bit unpleasant. Life is full of these little disappointments, as they will shortly discover for themselves.

Then there is the myth of the child which runs rampant throughout the school system. Do not for heaven's sake discipline or direct a child in any way which is not fun, fun, fun, because this will stifle the creative genius latent in each of these tiny, perfect beings. Instead, let him do his own thing.

If he prefers Saturday Night Fever to MacBeth, this is not a matter of opinion or taste, this is a creative choice. We must not impose our tired old cultural notions on these fresh young things. After all, who knows best what is good for them? They do, of course. This picture of the school system today is outrageously unfair to a lot --

An hon. member: Did you write this, Jack?

Mr. Riddell: Listen, I have been in the school profession a lot longer than my friend has. I know something about it. I happen to teach school. I happen to be a trustee on the board of education. My friend should not shoot off his mouth in this Legislature and tell me I do not know what I am talking about when I am talking about education.

This picture of the school system today is outrageously unfair to a lot of good schools and good teachers, but I think that in a caricature way I have conveyed the essence of the basic operating principles of modern education. I, for one, think these principles are not only utter claptrap, but also dangerously wrong for the years ahead. There is such a profound gulf between the crises I have described and the educational system as it currently exists that I doubt very much we can survive as a society or a nation if we go on educating people in this fashion.

What is there to do? The name Pictou may not mean much to the members. It is a small town on the northern shore of Nova Scotia facing out towards Prince Edward Island. In 1773 the first shipload of highland Scots -- and I am proud to be a descendant of the good Scottish breed -- landed at Pictou, driven out of their native Scotland by the highland clearances. The new community was a wild and backward place with a high degree of illiteracy.

In 1803 a critical event took place; the arrival of the Reverend Thomas McCulloch from Glasgow. McCulloch was not only a Presbyterian clergyman, he was also a born teacher. He began instructing the young in science and the liberal arts. In 1818 the Pictou Academy was built. Starting in a complete void, McCulloch was able to prepare students of this frontier community for advanced work in the major Scottish universities.

The Pictou Academy went on to produce leaders in church, state, business and universities through the Dominion, men such as Sir William Dawson, who became principal of McGill University.

We have the paradox of one man with very limited resources teaching a group of essentially ignorant Scottish country folk so successfully that a significant number became national leaders, while today, with the billions we pour into education, we cannot produce a crop of students to touch the alumni of the Pictou Academy.

What went wrong? Or, more positively, what did Thomas McCulloch do right? I think the first lesson to be drawn from the Pictou story is quite encouraging. An individual with the right ideas and a strong enough will can make an enormous difference. Teachers and parents should both take heart from this.

Secondly, McCulloch also had a very precise notion of what he was doing. Unlike so many of today's confused educators, he saw education as a matter for the whole human personality; not simply the academic side but also the moral. In 1806, when he opened his first school, he said:

"Our view in establishing this institution is the instruction of youth. We do not merely desire to advance them in learning, we propose that much care be taken in forming their minds by connecting the natural propensities of the heart and instilling into them the principles of virtue, that education may not merely make them great but good men and good members of society. In doing so, we intend to furnish them with the means of an extensive and liberal education and this we hope, in connection with the former, will tend to make them ornaments to human nature and an honour to their country."

We see here a view of human nature which recognizes its weakness but sees its correction. Above all, McCulloch wanted to produce good men and good members of society. But McCulloch could not have succeeded unless the values for which he stood were generally supported by the society in which he lived.

The Presbyterian church had a tradition of scholarship in its clergy and the church reinforced the value of education for all its members. The highland Scots had a thirst and a hunger for education. It was not family or wealth which made the leaders of this society, it was education which led to goodness and wisdom. In its most straightforward form, it meant that people who chose to remain ignorant and uneducated would be tolerated but command no respect whatsoever in the community. In short, this society was a meritocracy in which leadership went to the educated and talented.

The third point of this story is that for an educational system to succeed there has to be a consensus of values among teachers, parents and students. If a teacher asks for higher standards but the parent refuses to support the teacher, who insists that homework take precedence over television or hanging around on street corners, then the teacher will fail.

In today's world, to achieve this consensus there must be a total war waged on the sloppy, sleazy, passive sludge purveyed on North American television and radio. We must learn to demand of our children that they read copiously, write properly, be informed, articulate their ideas clearly, keep fit and treat other people decently. If we think these are goals worth aiming for, then we had better try to attain them ourselves.

In other words, we have to challenge our children. We have to stretch them, make them find the great reserves of intelligence, character and strength which lie within all of us. We have to teach them to strive for excellence in whatever they do. We have to create a society in which talented, intelligent, dedicated people displace rock stars and Farrah Fawcett Majors as our cultural heroes. If we are going to survive in the 1980s, we are going to need leaders with the brains and the character to see us through this troubled decade.

Young people complain today about the lack of jobs, but there is one job going begging and that is the job of a leader. We need people who will take risks, who will be entrepreneurial, who will come up with the economic solutions to get us out of this morass. We need people with the intelligence, the courage, the imagination and the conviction to see us through the great crisis of national unity. We need all sorts of people the school system is not producing. We need people who can speak languages -- French for starters, but also Spanish, Japanese, Chinese and any other tongue which will help us export our products. We claim to be a nation of traders but there is not a business school or university in this country which demands that all of its graduates possess second and third languages.

12:50 p.m.

I do not view the future of this country as hopeless. Our three crises are also great challenges, great adventures for those who are brave enough to try. But if our young people will become the adventurers that Canada needs, we will need a much tougher school system. We need schools which are highly competitive and internationally competitive. We need to recognize and promote gifted children and to demand far more of our children than we do at present. We have to locate all learning, indeed all living, in a moral context and to show people, as Thomas McCulloch did, that they must be good men and women, and give them some guidelines.

Perhaps what a Canadian educational system needs most of all is a sense of the vision of what Canada can become if Canadians were more generous towards one another. How can one live in this vast, magnificent land and not be exalted by the space, the freedom, the potential? Yet all around us is pettiness, bickering and selfishness. There is a sense of helplessness and resignation.

As parents, teachers and students, and as Canadians, we owe it to our forebears, ourselves and our descendants to have a far grander vision of Canada, of the greatness which is there, if only we would work for it with steady hands, cool heads and warm hearts.

Ms. Bryden: In view of the hour, would it be permissible to move adjournment of the debate at this time?

The Deputy Speaker: It being close to one o'clock, I think that would be in order.

On motion by Ms. Bryden, the debate was adjourned.

The House adjourned at 12:52 p.m.