32nd Parliament, 1st Session


The House resumed at 8:03 p.m.


Resuming the adjourned debate on the amendment to the amendment to the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I would not in a million years dream of calling a quorum if I were not the first speaker.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens) called for the quorum bells.

8:07 p.m.

Clerk of the House: Mr. Speaker, we have a quorum.

The Acting Speaker: Thank you.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, this whole fiasco is the fault of His Whipship the member for Windsor-Riverside (Mr. Cooke), who distributed to our caucus a list of who our speakers were tonight: so it is his fault, not mine. Perhaps the fact that I distributed a copy of my speech in advance had something to do with it as well; I am not sure.

I am very pleased to take part in this debate on the 1981-82 provincial budget, presented to us by the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) last week. As the former Treasury critic for my party, I have a continuing interest in the fiscal and economic strategies of this government. I might add that I enjoyed that role very much and gave it up with a great deal of reluctance; although I must say the budget response by my colleague the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) was truly excellent and not only carried on the tradition of this party of criticizing the government for its budgetary policies but also laid out some very realistic alternatives on our part.

Mr. Kerrio: Do you want some help from this side now, or do you want us to be quiet?

Mr. Laughren: No, no. I figure that with our numbers here the odds are about even, given the quality of the people on this side. There are exceptions.

I believe the Ontario economy is in trouble. Only a fool would deny that. Come, where are the denials? From what I have seen over the number of years I have been here, there is one thing that characterizes this government and its budgetary policies. It plays a reactive role to economic problems; it seldom, if ever, takes preventive medicine to look after the problems in the economy out there.

I do not see a single clue in this budget that tells me this government has any sense of what is going on in the world around us out there.

8:10 p.m.

Mr. Piché: You have two minutes left.

Mr. Laughren: Pardon? No, I can speak for an unlimited length of time this evening. There are no restrictions on the length of time I intend to speak. If the members from the north across there persist in heckling me, I shall be forced to read into the record all the NDP policies dealing with the problems of northern Ontario.

Hon. Mr. Ashe: That won't take long.

Mr. Laughren: Let me tell my friend something. I wish the member for Sault Ste. Marie (Mr. Ramsay) were here tonight. Does my friend know what came out of Sault Ste. Marie a couple of years ago? It was called Book of Beefs. I think it was from the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce. It was that thick -- my fingers are two inches apart, for the Hansard record -- and it was a litany of the beefs of northern Ontario residents about the policies of this government.

Mr. Lane: The author was Floyd Laughren.

Mr. Laughren: As a matter of fact, if the member thinks I manipulate the chambers of commerce, I think he owes the chambers of commerce of northern Ontario an apology. I suspect they will be the first to demand it of him. The Sudbury Chamber of Commerce had a lot to say about the Tory strategy for northern Ontario. Its publication was called A Profile in Failure. That is how they talk about the Tory strategy for northern Ontario, A Profile in Failure.

Even though this government may think it has the chambers of commerce across northern Ontario in its pocket, it does not. In northern Ontario they regard Tory policies with utter contempt; they have no respect for them. They have seen the government's policies for development in northeastern and northwestern Ontario. There is nothing to resolve the problems up there.

I am the first to admit that this government cannot control all the forces at work out there that have caused the deterioration of the Ontario economy. At the same time, this government has done virtually nothing about the factors over which it has some control. I want to talk about some of those this evening in view of the fact that there is so much time at my disposal.

Over the years, this government has made a number of clearly identifiable mistakes.

Mr. Kerrio: They got elected. That is the biggest mistake.


The Acting Speaker: Order. Mr. Laughren has the floor.

Mr. Laughren: I want the government members to stop heckling the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio). They are heckling the next leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. He has already declared, has he not? Leave him alone and give him a chance.

Mr. Kerrio: I didn't think you knew.

Mr. Laughren: I have my contacts in Niagara Falls.


The Acting Speaker: Order. Mr. Laughren has the floor on the budget debate.

Mr. Laughren: At least the member for Niagara Falls has had the courtesy and integrity to come out publicly and say he thinks he should be the leader instead of the present leader. Other members of his caucus are much more subtle and are pushing from behind the scenes. But not the member for Niagara Falls.

There is nothing underhanded about the member for Niagara Falls. He has stated out there for the world to hear that he wants to be the next leader of the Ontario Liberal Party. He may even get some contributions from this side of the House. We would like very much to see him as the next leader of the Ontario Liberal Party.

There is a person in the public gallery who I think we should recognize has dropped in to listen to the debate: the former mayor of the city of Sudbury, James Gordon. I wonder if we could pound our desks for the former mayor of the city of Sudbury, who dropped in to the gallery this evening to hear this debate.

Mr. Philip: Is he a Liberal or Conservative?

Mr. Laughren: The former mayor of the city of Sudbury is a Conservative at present; can I put it that way, delicately? However, I must say that before this parliament has ended, the Speaker of this chamber is going to have to make a ruling on whether it is within parliamentary etiquette to say one thing in the riding and another thing in Queen's Park. When you have made that ruling, Mr. Speaker, will you let the member for Sudbury (Mr. Gordon) know so he knows how to conduct himself in both places? I did want to make the member for Sudbury feel welcome in the public gallery, Mr. Speaker, and I thank you for allowing me to do that.

Mr. Kerrio: That is called poetic licence.

Mr. Laughren: Poetic licence; that is what it is.

The Acting Speaker: Order, please. On the budget debate.

Mr. Laughren: I hope that the Liberal caucus here tonight --

Mr. Kerrio: I was thinking about those guys over there.

Mr. Laughren: I do not want the honourable member to provoke me tonight, because I have some ammunition that could be used against the Ontario Liberals; so perhaps he had better just be quiet for a while.

Mr. Kerrio: I will wait.

Mr. Laughren: All right. I will not do that.

Mr. Speaker, if I could return to the matter of the budget: There are some very clearly identifiable mistakes that this government has made in recent times. First of all, they have unblushingly encouraged a massive increase in foreign investment in Ontario. That encouragement has left us with a manufacturing base dominated by branch plants that are subject to repatriation, primarily back to the United States, and that is why the government has had to appoint a select committee on plant shutdowns and employee adjustment. Those who cared to attend any of those select committee meetings will know that that is correct.

I welcome to the chamber the former mayor of the city of Sudbury.

Mr. Gordon: It is called the truth squad. I came back just to check up on the honourable member.

Mr. Laughren: The truth squad? The honourable member should have had experience with truth squads.

Mr. Piché: The member for Nickel Belt should look at the majority he got in Sudbury. That shows what the people of Sudbury want.

Mr. Laughren: I want to tell the honourable member something. The people in Sudbury listened to what the member for Sudbury was saying in Sudbury. Four years from now, when they are reminded of what he said in Queen's Park and how he voted in Queen's Park, the majority will vote for the New Democrat, not the Tory candidate.

The Acting Speaker: Order. On the budget debate.

Mr. Gordon: They are going to be looking at the honourable member's record, too.

The Acting Speaker: Mr. Laughren, on the budget.

Mr. Laughren: They have looked at my record for 10 years, and they rewarded me with a nice majority, which I appreciate. Fifty-five per cent is not something one should sneer at.

Mr. Speaker, the first major fault that I tried to bring to your attention was the increase in foreign investment in Ontario, which has led to enormous problems as these branch plants are repatriated to the United States when they feel their economic crunch. They have no loyalty here, no reason to stay here. With decreased trade barriers, there is nothing to keep them here. Slowly but surely, that should be sinking into the members' collective skulls.

The second major fault is in the determination of this government to let the marketplace determine our economic development, and that says a lot about the Conservative Party. That has meant we import an ever-increasing proportion of our manufactured goods and we export ever more resources in raw form to pay for those imported manufactured goods. And it is getting worse.

As the industrial heartland of Canada, we should be ashamed of the $17-billion deficit we now have on manufactured goods in this country. Ontario is the heartland of our country. During 1980, manufacturing jobs in Canada declined by 14.000, and since 1960 the proportion of our work force employed in manufacturing has fallen from 31 per cent to 25 per cent.

Those imports of manufactured goods must be balanced off in one way or another. How has the government chosen to do it? There are two ways. One is the export of raw or semifabricated resources, and the other is bringing in more foreign investment, because the balance of payments must accomplish that.

8:20 p.m.

The third major fault is that in recent times this government made a very serious error in judgement. It was primarily the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) who was guilty of that error in judgement. The minister, along with his other cabinet colleagues, decided to launch a four-pronged program to stimulate the Ontario economy. If one looks at each of those prongs, one can say, "Yes, that is the kind of thing we should be doing." I do not quarrel with that, except there are a couple of things missing.

The first prong I am talking about is export promotion. How can one quarrel with export promotion? Of course we should be promoting exports. The second is assistance to the private sector in the form of employment development fund grants. The third is a rather tepid government procurement program with a 10 per cent bonus allowed for the purchase of Canadian goods. That is simply not adequate.

The fourth prong is the endorsement of the principle of global product mandating. That is a very nice phrase for simply encouraging branch plants in Ontario to specialize in one or two lines and to serve world markets with those lines. It sounds all right, but what it really means is that one line is repatriated back to the United States or elsewhere and we have nothing left at all.

It has been a very serious mistake, because imports are our problem, not exports. If we look at the figures that govern this country, the trade statistics, we will see the real answer is import replacement. We would all like to stimulate exports. We all believe in a government procurement program. We all believe certain sectors must be assisted and encouraged. But in the end our salvation lies in replacing the incredible number of manufactured goods that we import.

We still have no strategy to replace imports in this province or elsewhere in Canada. That is a real tragedy, because the potential for Canadian-owned firms and governments to create new wealth and reduce our reliance on foreign capital is truly enormous if we reduce those imports of manufactured goods.

By reducing our imports by even 50 per cent, we estimate we could save the Ontario economy $12 billion in imports in a year as well as creating almost 200,000 direct jobs and virtually double that number in spinoff jobs. We would have full employment in Ontario if we could replace even half the imports. Also, we could increase provincial tax revenues by $168 million a year and federal tax revenues by $400 million a year.

When I hear the Treasurer talking about the need for new revenues, the need to apply regressive taxes, I often wonder why he does not look at the whole question of import replacement so that we can have full employment in Ontario and increase tax revenues substantially. It would cut down enormously on the amount of money we pay out in social services that now flow from the high unemployment level in the province.

The government program lacks courage. I can remember saying to the Treasurer once that his program lacked courage, and he took great umbrage at the use of the word "courage." He said he had a great deal of courage and was offended by that remark.

The strategy lacks courage. I will tell members why. To stimulate exports is simply -- as my friend the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) would say -- to go with the flow, to lean into a pitch. But to replace imports means challenging the economic system that is out there now. That is why to only stimulate exports is not a courageous act at all -- it lacks any kind of conviction -- but to actually replace imports means challenging the traditional role of the branch plants out there in the province of Ontario. It means establishing whole new industries. My colleague the member for Algoma referred to several of those in his remarks earlier this week.

To this day -- and I am glad the member for Sudbury is here -- this government has never been able to justify the level of imports of mining machinery into this country, not to mention into Ontario. To be number three in the world in the production of minerals, number two in the world as a consumer of mining machinery and number one in the world as an importer of mining machinery is a situation that is not only outrageous but also should never have been allowed to happen in the first place. It happened because this government has always believed that the private sector knew best and that, even though there might be aberrations in the short run, in the long run we would all be better off if we would follow the dictates of the private sector. I hope my friends are learning.

Will someone in the government tell me, given those statistics of one, two, three -- number one in the world as an importer of mining machinery -- how in the world the government justifies that? They left the decision completely up to the private sector, which has let them down. That is why the Minister of Industry and Tourism and the Treasurer are scrambling around out there trying to pull together a resources machinery advisory board. That really is a joke.


Mr. Laughren: I hear the members opposite objecting to my saying that they have relied on the private sector and that they have been had by that reliance. I want some member of that government to stand in his place -- anybody, cabinet minister, back-bencher, it does not matter who -- and tell me how he justifies the fact that we import more than 70 per cent of our mining machinery, while we are number three in the world in the production of minerals and we have huge energy and mineral development projects coming up in the next 10 years.

Will someone in the government tell me how they justify that ever happening in the first place? I will stay here a long time to listen to them. I will applaud them when they end, whenever they give us a logical explanation.

The government makes a mistake when it believes the private sector will not behave irrationally. That is the belief over there. The private sector will not behave irrationally. I happen to believe they will not behave irrationally when they are acting in their own self-interest. But is the self-interest of the branch plants always the same as the best interests of the people of Ontario?

Mr. Nixon: That is the question.

Mr. Laughren: That is the question. Take a look at mining machinery. I could name others, but that is a blatant example. I could give examples of any number of sectors. My colleague the member for Algoma talked about them in his budget response. If this government really believes that the private sector is going to do it, then why has it not done so in the past?

This party has laid before this chamber and the people of Ontario all the alternatives when it comes to stimulating the economy. We have identified the key sectors of machinery, electrical products, electronics, food processing, medical supplies and auto parts as the ones that, one by one, must be aggressively rebuilt. We are proud of our economic strategy. It is courageous and imaginative, and it employs a very realistic mix of private and public initiatives that must be taken.

8:30 p.m.

There is one key sector I wish to address the bulk of my argument to this evening, and that is our mineral sector. I want to spend some time on minerals in Ontario. In my enthusiasm for my new responsibility as critic for natural resources, I want to spend some time on them.

There has been much talk during the last couple of months about the return the people of Saskatchewan receive for their minerals, compared with the return we get here in Ontario. The government argues, of course, that we get an adequate return and that the comparisons with Saskatchewan are unfair. They say that potash is more of a monopoly for the Saskatchewan government and we cannot make those kind of comparisons. We argue that there was a time in Ontario when we had control of virtually the entire western world's supply of nickel. I ask my friends opposite what they did with that control.

Mr. Piché: Look where Ontario stands today. The best place to live today is Canada; the best place to live is Ontario.

Mr. Laughren: Yes, it stands number 10 in Canada.

Mr. Piché: I am comfortable.

Mr. Laughren: It is the best place unless one happens to be one of the 300,000 people unemployed, unless one happens to be a young person in northern Ontario, unless one happens to be a woman in northern Ontario looking for a job. In the very comfortable pew of the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Piché) I am sure there is no better place to live than northern Ontario. It must be nice to be comfortable. He can tell all the people out there who are not so comfortable that he is very comfortable and that they should take solace in his comfort. He can tell them that.

Mr. Piché: I have always lived in Ontario, beautiful northern Ontario.

Mr. Laughren: The member for Cochrane North wants to tell the people of Ontario they have never had it so good and they should stop complaining because he is comfortable. Is that what he is telling me? We are all comfortable?

Mr. Piché: We are all comfortable, yes.

Mr. Laughren: Are the steelworkers in Ontario comfortable? Are the people on family benefits comfortable? Are the unemployed auto workers in Windsor comfortable? Are the women in northern Ontario who cannot get jobs comfortable? Are the young people who leave northern Ontario comfortable?

The member for Cochrane North perhaps should reflect a little on people who are not quite so fortunate and not quite so comfortable as he is. Perhaps he needs to understand that everyone does not have quite his station in life and that those kind of people do need consideration. That is one of the roles of government.

The member started this exchange. Let me tell him something. The government of which he is a member --

Mr. Piché: That is a $500 suit.

Mr. Laughren: Just because I personally pressed this suit carefully does not mean it is expensive. I look after my clothes. I buy very cheap clothes, but I press them daily. Does that satisfy the member? I am very surprised to hear the member for Cochrane North talking like this. Does he really believe all those things he just interjected? I hope those things are on the record.

Mr. Piché: I have already asked for them not to be on the record.

The Acting Speaker: Order. Mr. Laughren has the floor.

Mr. Laughren: I know some newspapers in northern Ontario would like to carry those interjections.

Mr. Wildman: The Northern Times.

Mr. Laughren: That is right. Even the Northern Times might carry those interjections. Anyway, Mr. Speaker, back to the budget.

This government really does not like the comparisons we keep making with Saskatchewan, mainly because the government of Saskatchewan had the courage to intervene in the marketplace and take over a large portion of the potash industry. That makes this government very nervous when they see the return we get from our resources in the private sector and the return the Saskatchewan people get from the resources in the public sector. That is what really bothers the members opposite, is it not?

Mr. Brandt: How about the equalization premiums?

Mr. Laughren: Never mind. I am not talking about oil and gas; I am only talking about minerals. We are talking about returns on the minerals of Saskatchewan versus returns on the minerals in Ontario. It really sticks in the government's craw that, because it is in the public sector, the people get a higher return. Here it is in the private sector and we get a pittance as a return. That really sticks in the government's craw, does it not? Well, it is too bad.

Mr. Piché: What is the alternative? There are Liberals in your audience. They came to listen and they are all leaving now.

Mr. Laughren: I have emptied more impressive halls than this, I want to tell my friend.

The Saskatchewan government approached the minerals sector with five basic considerations, and I wish this government would think about them.

First, the province should obtain at least a minimum return for the exploitation of its resources.

Second, the producer -- the government will like this -- should retain sufficient revenue to cover operating expenses and provide a fair return on capital investment relative to the risks involved. The major portion of the remaining income or surplus should accrue to the owners of the resource, the people of the province.

Third, the tax system should reflect the particular economic characteristics of each mineral industry.

Fourth, the royalty and tax system should be consistent with the province's policy for developing that particular resource. For example, in Ontario we might have one royalty or tax for nickel or uranium versus another one for lignite, one for minerals for export versus another one for domestic use, or one for mature industries versus another one for new industries.

Those are civilized, sensible considerations, and for those members across the way who are steeped in Edmund Burke's conservatism, there is nothing radical about those considerations. It is a civilized approach to how one develops one's resources. Despite a significantly higher return on the resources, the private sector is not so unhappy.

I quote from the Financial Post, second in credibility only to the Northern Times as an observer of financial matters in this country. This is what the Financial Post had to say:

"Saskatchewan has over the past several years established an excellent reputation for fair and honest dealing with the private sector. Not the least compelling factor in attracting capital to the province's resources is the support and involvement of the provincial government in direct control or a stake in the enterprise. At one time there was a considerable degree of concern about this involvement. Now, public sector involvement is a fact of life so long as the rules of the game are clear to all participants and the authorities do not abuse their power to alter those rules. Experience has shown that private enterprise and private investors are more than happy to join forces with the public sector."

Who said that? That was the Financial Post quoting Mr. G. D. Campbell, vice-president of Dominion Securities, not exactly your traditional concept of a radical Socialist.

One can get a higher return from one's resources; it does not drive away the private sector. If one wants to work in joint ventures, if one wants to get the private sector involved, it can be done, but in this province they will not do that.

There was a report a number of years ago called the Wellesley report which said that uranium -- Denison Mines -- should be brought into the public sector by Ontario Hydro.

Mr. Wildman: Eddie Sargent said that today.

Mr. Laughren: The erstwhile Liberal member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Sargent) recommended that today, but the government, because of its ideological straitjacket, simply will not do anything that sensible. They will not do it. I am continually amazed.

Finally, if I can just divert for a moment, I want to say to the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini) that I did not mean to pay tribute only to the member for Niagara Falls as the declared candidate for the Liberal leadership. I meant to make a nod in his direction too. I apologize for that omission.

Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I presume that if and when I do decide to run for the leadership of any particular party, I will probably get a hell of a lot of more votes than he would get if he decides to run for his party.

8:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker: Mr. Laughren, carry on.

Mr. Laughren: The member has cast a very large and dark shadow over my leadership aspirations.

Mr. Speaker, I want to lay before this chamber just a few -- not very many, a few -- comparisons of the return we get from resources, compared with what Saskatchewan gets. I hasten to add that I am only talking about the mineral sector. I am not talking about oil and gas.

Mr. Brandt: Tell us about the manufacturers.

Mr. Laughren: As a matter of fact, on Tuesday we raised in this Legislature a question with the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Ramsay). We asked him, "How long is it going to take before Ontario gets a fair return on their resources?" He was sitting down at the time. He rose and said: "I do not know how long that will take, Mr. Speaker." He sat down again.

That was the answer of the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development, the cabinet minister who is responsible for resource policies in Ontario. I want to say that is some comment on the new minister from Sault Ste. Marie. I do hope that he does his homework in the upcoming months, because he is going to be in deep trouble.

I did promise members some comparisons. Between 1975 and 1980, Saskatchewan generated 64 per cent more revenue in actual dollars -- in the final percentages -- than Ontario. A small province, Saskatchewan generated 64 per cent more revenue in actual dollars than Ontario, on less than 30 per cent of Ontario's production. They generated 60 per cent more revenue on less than 30 per cent of the amount of production.


Mr. Laughren: The members can interject all they like, but I am waiting for their contribution to the budget debate when they respond to these figures.

Mr. Piché: Is that per capita?

Mr. Laughren: No, total dollars.

Mr. Piché: Don't move to Alberta, because it will be worse. Wait.

Mr. Laughren: Do not ask me to justify the figures in Alberta either.

Mr. Speaker, between 1975 and 1980, if Ontario had taxed its minerals at the same rate as Saskatchewan did, we would have received $1.9 billion more in nonfuel mineral revenues and $400 million more in 1980 alone.

Mr. Mancini: And it would have wiped out the deficit.

Mr. Laughren: To zero. In the budget the other night, my colleague --

Mr. Piché: Je ne comprends pas.

The Acting Speaker: Mr. Laughren has the floor.

Mr. Laughren: I was under that mistaken impression too, Mr. Speaker.

The other night when the Treasurer presented his budget -- I am sure my colleague the member for Algoma will correct me if I am wrong -- the Treasurer levied $603 million in increased taxes on the people of Ontario. If he had taxed our minerals at the same rate last year as Saskatchewan did, there would have been $400 million of that right there. That's from one source, and not at a confiscatory rate either; it would have been a very civilized rate of return on our resources.

Mr. J. M. Johnson: What about exploration?

Mr. Laughren: Somebody asked me about exploration figures here. Let me give members the exploration figures. For those of them who think Saskatchewan might be driving away the private sector with its tax rates, let me tell them something. I am glad the honourable member asked.

In 1976, exploration expenditures in Ontario were $27.8 million; they were only $20 million in Saskatchewan. In 1977, they were $27.9 million in Ontario, but $40 million in Saskatchewan. In 1978, they were $18.6 million in Ontario and $70 million in Saskatchewan. In 1979, they were $22.7 million in Ontario and $80 million in Saskatchewan. And in 1980 -- I do not have the figures yet for Ontario -- they were $100 million in Saskatchewan.

So much for the minister's silly arguments that levying a decent tax on the mineral sector will drive away exploration and discourage investment in that sector. It is total nonsense, a totally self-serving argument. If the minister disagrees with me, I would like to have his figures. So much for that competitive environment argument.

Perhaps one final comparison will be appropriate, because I have this funny feeling that the member for Oriole (Mr. Williams) is not quite convinced.

Between 1975 and 1980, $13.9 billion worth of ore was mined in Ontario and $430 million was paid in resource taxes. Remember those figures. In Saskatchewan, $4.1 billion worth of ore resulted in $700 million in resource revenues.

Let me play that back to the members, because I can see some eyes glassing over over there. In those six years, 1975 to 1980, Ontario produced -- I will round off the figures -- $14 billion worth of ore, which provided $400 million worth of revenue, and Saskatchewan produced $4 billion worth of ore, which provided $700 million worth -- not $400 million worth -- of revenue. That should tell the members something is wrong with the way we tax mineral resources in this province.

Let me move away from those invidious comparisons, which the minister does not like. Let us look more specifically at Ontario's management of mineral resources. I am glad that the member for Sudbury (Mr. Gordon) has rejoined us in the chamber this evening.

Mr. Gordon: Floyd, you know I can't tear myself away from you. You're so charming. You exude personality.

Mr. Laughren: It has always been so, has it not?


The Acting Speaker: Order. Mr. Laughren has the floor.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I thought there was a rule in this chamber that one did not heckle members during their maiden speech. Will you tell these people to be quiet?

The Acting Speaker: Carry on.

Mr. Laughren: We have in this province an incredible amount of wealth in our resources, and yet we have never used them as the lever to unlock the development of northern Ontario or to create more new wealth. We have never been able to accomplish that in Ontario.

Over the last few years the amount of ore mined has gone up dramatically and the number of people employed in mining has gone down. That is mechanization. I have no quarrel with the mechanization of the industry. I have always felt that it is better for a scoop tram to dig out the ore than for a miner to dig out the ore. The only question I have is, where is the scoop tram built? Where are all those drills built? They are not built in Ontario, and they are not built elsewhere in Canada either, most of them. There are exceptions, and I can even pay tribute to Jarvis Clark of North Bay, which is increasingly becoming a southern Ontario company, I might add, as it moves its operations to southern Ontario.

When I look at figures showing that more than 70 per cent of our mining machinery is imported, I think, "Well, we have really missed something here." If we used those incredible resources in a backward linkage kind of way, which the economists talk about, to build the machinery to extract the ore, then we would have something. We would be creating new wealth and a diversified economy in the north.

The opportunity in mining jobs and energy-related projects in western Canada in particular in the next 10 years is almost beyond belief. The last figure I saw was something like, in the next 10 years, almost $70 billion worth of machinery and equipment would be required in energy-related projects alone. Guess where that machinery is going to be purchased?

8:50 p.m.

Mr. Williams: What's missing is your acknowledgement of the mineral mining advisory board which is being set up in your own city under the BILD program.

Mr. Laughren: The member is absolutely right. I agree with him entirely. I have not paid tribute to the advisory board, nor do I intend to.

Mr. Piché: What would you do then?

Mr. Laughren: I want to build the mining industry here, that is what I want to do. We have the opportunity. It is a beautiful opportunity to take part in the growth, not just of Ontario but the rest of Canada too. We should be there.

If anyone said it very well, it was the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman). He does not often say things well, but he did in this instance. He was talking about mining machinery and I will quote very briefly. I am sure members will not heckle when I am quoting the lean and hungry minister. Mr. Speaker, have you heard that expression -- that the minister has a lean and hungry look?

"During the mining boom of the 1950s, for example, firms in Canada placed orders for hundreds of millions of dollars worth of mining equipment with companies in Sweden, in Germany, in the USA. Those orders effectively underwrote the research and development work that has made the manufacturing industries internationally dominant. In short, we helped to create the industrial strength within those nations which now rank amongst our major national competitors."

I submit what he is really saying is, "We placed all those orders with our competitors instead of building a mining machinery industry here." Not just in Ontario, to be parochial, but in this country. We did not do it and we are still not doing it. That, as the member for Oriole correctly indicates, is the promise of the resources machinery advisory board.

Mr. Gordon: It has to be done your way, eh Floyd, or no way?

The Deputy Speaker: Moving along, Mr. Laughren. You are being awfully provocative.

Mr. Gordon: How many machines are built in Saskatchewan? I think you lost your quorum, Floyd.

Mr. Laughren: May I respond to the member for Sudbury, Mr. Speaker?

The Deputy Speaker: Yes.

Mr. Laughren: On the contrary, as my friend from Cornwall says --

Mr. Gordon: I know what it is, Floyd. You want a job like the other fellow on the other side. You want to be appointed, don't you? Sure you do.

Mr. Laughren: We have said all along that there should be a mining machinery complex. Is the member for Sudbury disagreeing with that?

Mr. Gordon: No.

Mr. Laughren: Well then, why not stand up and say so? Does he agree there should be a mining machinery industry --

Mr. Gordon: I will never disagree with that.

The point is, if it is not done your way, it is not good enough.

Mr. Laughren: No. What is my way?

The Deputy Speaker: Order, please, Mr. Laughren. Will you please direct your comments to the chair? It would be much appreciated, and it would be incumbent upon me if I remind the other member from Sudbury to please restrain himself and not be so provocative.

Mr. Laughren: Going to the heart of my remarks, I would not want to continue them without a quorum.

Mr. Gordon: Ring the bells, ring the bells. This is too good to miss.

The Deputy Speaker called for the quorum bells.

8:59 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker: A quorum is formed. Mr. Laughren.

Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I would ask a ruling on a question. The members opposite just came in and I wonder, would it be appropriate for me to go back to the beginning?

Mr. Gordon: Go right ahead.

Mr. Laughren: I will go back to the beginning if the former mayor of Sudbury will go back up to the public gallery.

I was talking about the need for a mining machinery industry in Ontario. There seemed to be general agreement on the other side for that case. As a matter of fact, I noticed that as each Conservative member got up to leave, he said, "Damn it, he's right," and then left.

9 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker: Unparliamentary language, Mr. Laughren.

Mr. Laughren: It was on their part. I was just quoting them.

The government has failed in the way I talked about -- namely the backward linkages to mining machinery. The other half of that equation is what the economists call forward linkages, namely the further processing of the mineral resources in this province. They fail to further process the minerals to the ultimate so we can increase wealth, create new jobs and reduce the level of imports of manufactured goods. This government has abdicated its responsibility in that regard as well.

For example, about 90 per cent of the copper mined in Ontario is refined here. That is a pretty impressive statistic. However, only 65 per cent of the nickel, 40 per cent of the zinc and none of our platinum group metals are refined here. We have a disturbingly vague promise from Inco that a precious metals refinery may be built in the Sudbury area in future. Inco has not promised to build a battery plant in Sudbury despite the fact profits earned there allowed them to buy the ESP Battery Corporation in the United States a couple of years ago.

Let us talk for a moment about something that should also bother the members opposite. It is the whole question of section 113 of the Mining Act. Section 113 states that ores mined in Ontario must be refined in Ontario as well. That is an admirable requirement but it is rendered virtually meaningless by the granting of exemptions by the cabinet. I hope the new members of the government caucus will apply pressure to have that changed.

The last time I counted, there were about 22 or 23 exemptions in place. I know the members would not like me to guess so I would just like to list a few of them. These are exemptions that say that contrary to section 113 of the Mining Act, because the cabinet has given in to the request of these companies, they can ship their ores out of the country, out of the province, to be refined elsewhere:

Agnew Lake Mines -- that's a bad example because they have shut down now -- permission to refine in Sweden; Algoma Steel Corporation, permission to refine in an unspecified country; Caland Ore Company Ltd., Atikokan, permission to refine in the United States; Consolidated Canadian Faraday Limited, permission to refine in Italy;

Denison Mines, permission to refine in Japan; Denison Mines, permission to refine in Spain; Denison Mines, permission to refine in Japan; Falconbridge Nickel Mines, permission to refine in Norway; Great Lakes Nickel, Thunder Bay, permission to refine in an unspecified country;

Inco, Sudbury and Shebandowan, permission to refine in an unspecified country; Inco, Sudbury and Shebandowan, permission to refine in the United Kingdom; Inco, Sudbury and Shebandowan, permission to refine in Japan; Inco, Sudbury and Shebandowan, permission to refine in the United Kingdom;

Mattabi Mines, permission to refine in an unspecified country; Rio Algom Mines, Elliot Lake, permission to refine in the United Kingdom; Rio Algom Mines, Elliot Lake, permission to refine in the United States; Rio Algom Mines, Elliot Lake, permission to refine in the United States; Stelco Mining Corporation, permission to refine in an unspecified country: Teck Corporation, permission to refine in Sweden; Texasgulf Canada, permission to refine in an unspecified country.

Those are some of the exemptions to the requirement that these companies refine in Ontario. There are a couple of things that need to be said about that. Probably the most blatant example is the exemption granted to Falconbridge. Falconbridge has been in the Sudbury Basin for almost 50 years. They are part of that huge Superior Oil empire of Houston, Texas, the Howard Teck family interest. For 50 years, they have been shipping their ores to Norway to be refined. Do members know what reason the cabinet gives for granting that exemption? I do not want to keep this reason to myself. This is the reason, "The capacity of existing refining facilities in Canada is inadequate to refine the applicant's nickel-copper matt and the construction of new facilities by the applicant is presently economically unfeasible."

I urge members to look at the word "presently" in, "the construction of new facilities by the applicant is presently economically unfeasible." It has only been "presently economically unfeasible" for 50 years. When does it end? Is there no end to this "presently economically unfeasible" time frame? It seems there is no end.

That exemption is only half of the indignity. Do you know what else they do, Mr. Speaker? You don't. You shake your head more expressively than any other Speaker we have had in that chair.

This is the other half of the indignity. Falconbridge and others are allowed to write off the processing costs in other countries against the profits they pay in Ontario. Not only are they given the exemption and allowed to ship the ores elsewhere to be refined, they can write off the costs of that refining against the taxes they pay here. That is an indignity and it should be an embarrassment to members of the governing party.

It is not as though we were aiding the Third World. If we were allowing the Third World to have refining capacity then to aid the Third World I would probably be the first to applaud. The members heard the list of countries that I read: Sweden, Italy, Japan, Spain, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States. Do members know what the unemployment rate in Ontario is? It is 7.5 per cent. Do they know what it is in the United States? The last figure I have is lower than Ontario. Japan has a 2.2 per cent unemployment rate. In the UK, it is escalating quickly under the Iron Maiden's jurisdiction. In Norway, it is 1.9 per cent and 2.1 per cent in Sweden.


Mr. R. F. Johnston: He heckled from underneath the gallery.


Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, maybe you could pull his whipship in line over there.

The point I am trying to make is that not only is it an indignity to us to allow these exemptions and then permit write-off of the costs of refining elsewhere than in Ontario, they are not even doing it in countries that have high unemployment rates or that are less developed countries.


The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. I would remind the honourable member, whoever it is, to refrain from remarks unless he is sitting in his appointed chair.

Mr. Laughren: We could create a lot of new wealth, new jobs, new revenue sources for the government and they would be much more progressive sources than the ones the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) manages to dredge up with every budget. Rather than being too harsh on the government, we asked them -- I think last year we put it in written form on the Order Paper -- in order to help us in judging more impartially and objectively their mineral taxation policies, if they would give us some information. We said: "We know what the revenues are; that is published. But we do not know the profits of the mining corporations based on their Ontario operations." We asked to be told what the total mining taxes paid to the province were on Ontario operations.

Perhaps just as important, we asked, "What is the estimated revenue loss from the granting of those exemptions?" What revenues do we lose from their writing off those refining costs against the Ontario taxes paid.

9:10 p.m.

We were told we could not have that information. It was a secret. Only the cabinet, I suppose, could know that. How do the people of Ontario judge this? How do we as a responsible opposition -- that is the role we play here -- make any kind of rational, fair judgement on mineral taxation policy when the government will not give us that very basic information? I think it is a fair question.

It is to the benefit of the government to have an opposition that is probing, an opposition that is trying to get at facts. Yet when we try to fulfil that role it makes us feel we are not part of the process. It may be a majority government but an informed opposition is a big help, not only to the people of Ontario but to the government as well. The government does not seem to understand that. I want some member over there to tell me why it is we cannot have information that will allow us to judge the mineral taxation policies of this government. How does the government know it is getting a fair return? It does not even know what the profits of the Ontario-based operations are. Does it know what it is doing?

If a company was based totally in Ontario -- all its operations were here, all its earnings were here, all its expenses were here, all of its employees were here -- and it was a public company, it would have to publish an annual report which showed its net income. By law the Ontario Securities Exchange Commission would ensure that happened, and we would know. But because the big companies have operations around the world we do not know. So in effect the government is favouring the companies with operations that are beyond the borders of Ontario. If they were just situated here we could have most of that information by the very fact they would have to publish an annual report. But the government will not do that.

The government argues that the disclosure of such information would take too long to produce. How in the world does it know it is a good policy if it does not have those answers? Maybe I erred earlier when I said that only the government knows. It says it would take too long to produce the information. Maybe that means it does not know. That is even a greater condemnation of government policies -- if it does not even know on what it is basing its policies.

It is bankrupt of ideas. It sits there in a kind of stupor and says, "We have our majority. Go away and make your noises some place else." If that is the kind of government there will be for the next four years the members opposite are doing it not only at their own peril but at the peril of the people of Ontario.

The government has an obligation to share information with the opposition. It may not like it. It may prefer to sit there in cocoon-like arrogance, but that is not good government. Sooner or later it will catch up with them. I do not know when. I am still waiting, but sooner or later it will catch up with them. It may not be in my time. For those who think the only measurement of government is the number of seats won, I guess they are right.

I see the member for Algoma-Manitoulin (Mr. Lane) nodding his head.

The Deputy Speaker: The member is speaking to the chair.

Mr. Laughren: The member for Algoma-Manitoulin, Mr. Speaker, sat there smugly and smiled just the way he is now when the problems of Elliot Lake miners were brought to the attention of this chamber too. The member looks after them. Yes, we know about the number of deaths in the mining industry due to lung cancer, too. The member indeed looks after his constituents. He said that himself.

Mr. Lane: The lowest death rate in the province at Elliott Lake.

Mr. Laughren: Oh, is it? For lung cancer?

Mr. Lane: From any cause.

Mr. Laughren: From any cause. Oh I see. Perhaps the member for Algoma-Manitoulin can tell this chamber what the per capita rate of deaths due to lung cancer is in Elliot Lake compared with the population at large. Perhaps I will yield the floor to the member. Surely if he cares about his constituents he will tell us.

Mr. Lane: Perhaps you can tell us why your candidate couldn't win Elliott Lake. He lives there.

Mr. Laughren: No, no. Come on. Tell us the numbers. Let the record show the member sat there in stunned stupor. That is exactly the response I was anticipating. There is only one measurement of good government in this member's mind. That is whether he gets more votes, is it not? It really does not matter, does it, about the people who are hurt in the process if he gets a majority? That is what it always comes down to -- the people who vote for him. I hope he is content in his abysmal ignorance of what his responsibilities are, because history is going to judge him as a member, and this government, very harshly.

Mr. Lane: It already has. I have had my majority for 12 years.

The Deputy Speaker: Mr. Lane, would you refrain from being so provocative, and Mr. Laughren, would you speak to the chair?

Mr. Laughren: The member for Algoma-Manitoulin always comes back to the same thing. Because he gets his majority in his riding, it justifies all the neglect of the workers in the uranium mines in Elliot Lake.

Mr. Gillies: You started talking about how many votes you got.

Mr. Laughren: No, I did not.

Mr. Gillies: Yes, you did. Fifty five per cent.

Mr. Laughren: No, no. I have not neglected my constituents the way the member for Algoma-Manitoulin has.

The Deputy Speaker: Continue with the budget speech, Mr. Laughren.

Mr. Laughren: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I wish you could control the government members.

I have talked primarily this evening about our mineral resources and their mismanagement by this government. New Democrats are placing increasing emphasis on the need to create new wealth in order to remain competitive and to redistribute our wealth in a more equitable fashion. A better return on our resources is just one of the many ways in which we would do that.

We know that the private sector is not preoccupied with either a fair return on our resources or with creating a society of equal opportunity. New Democrats are convinced that only through the public ownership of our resources will we be able to build a healthy and diversified economy. Taxing resource corporations at ever higher rates would mean in the end that those resource corporations would extract an ever higher grade of ore and leave the lower grade behind. A public corporation would not be so motivated. That is why in the last provincial convention of the New Democratic Party we passed a very comprehensive policy on resources and, combined with our manufacturing strategy and our commitment to a more equitable tax system, we believe we have the answer to many of Ontario's problems. Some day we are going to convince the electorate of that.

Hon. Mr. Ashe: Don't hold your breath.

Mr. Laughren: If I had been preoccupied with short-term gain and opportunism, I would not be a New Democratic Party member. I could have run for the party on the government side.

Mr. Williams: We would not have you.

Mr. Laughren: That is only part of the problem. Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I could steal a line from the February 3, 1979, issue of Weekend Magazine. I will exercise a few liberties in changing the words. They are talking --


Mr. Laughren: This is a Weekend article on Allan Blakeney in Saskatchewan: "Blakeney's greatest achievement has been to transform the province with the bleakest past into the province with the brightest future." I would like to say that --

9:20 p.m.


Mr. Laughren: No, it was an article. Look it up. It was in the February 3, 1979 issue of Weekend. I have no hesitation at all as I make these few brief comments on the budget in saying that Ontario New Democrats --

Mr. Lane: The member opposite said that was all.

Mr. Laughren: The member should listen to this -- it is the windup. Would he be quiet? I have no hesitation in saying that Ontario New Democrats have the greatest potential to transform the province with a troubled past and a troubled present into the province with the greatest future. I am firmly convinced of that, and one day we will convince the electorate. In the meantime we are here as an obvious and sometimes stark alternative to the smash-and-grab economic and social policies of the two old-line parties.

Mr. McLean: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank you for the opportunity and privilege of adding my comments and support of this government and its budgetary policies.

The Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) on the evening of May 19 outlined many positive steps this government intends to take in the next one and two years. Since the new Thirty-Second Parliament has started, having spent some 15 years as an elected official in municipal life, I have never been so disgusted as when on occasion I see what happens with some of the members in this House.

I think some of the members in this House could take a lesson on what we have in this province from some of the county governments. A $19-billion budget is not to be fooled with. There has been nothing constructive at all in the comments I have heard across this House tonight. There have been figures quoted and there has been talk about mining in the States and what should be done here; but I have not heard anything constructive about what we should be doing.

I am fully aware, as is this government, of the financial hardships the people of Ontario are going through. But the people of Ontario must realize and come to terms with the fact that this provincial Legislature will not spend its way out of the economic problems now being felt in Ontario.

The government of Canada attempted to do this in the 1970s and in the 1960s, and the people of Canada came to expect this type of government reaction to a problem. But this type of temporary relief has finally caught up to the government of Canada, and the people of Canada are now feeling the full force of their economic mismanagement. The budgetary deficit of the federal government stands at over $106 billion in 1980-81. The management in Ottawa needed another $11.6 billion, which was added to that deficit last year.

I believe the only solution to inflation and our current trend in which interest rates move around the 19 per cent level is for the government of Canada to adopt economic management and spending policies similar to those this government has demonstrated over the past five years.

The federal government must curtail its spending. For the last three years, and in particular over the course of the election, the critics of this government have demanded increased expenditures on our health care system and our education system and, yes, increased transfer payments to your local municipalities. If the honourable members opposite will notice, that is exactly where the bulk of the budgetary increases are taking place. We do not intend to allow restraint for ourselves to mean hardship for others.

I realize our health care system is not perfect. It is not unlike any major industry. There will be problems from time to time but I believe we have the best doctors, the most updated equipment and the highest level of services of any health care system in Canada. Health care premiums tend to be the main issue in the minds of most people when discussing Ontario's health care system. I believe health care premiums are not entirely a bad thing and serve a useful purpose other than simply filling the government's coffers.

The people of Ontario in contributing to health care, either directly or through their employers, are reminded that this whole health system is not just another branch of government because our health system revolves around a private relationship between a patient and a health care practitioner or between consumer and retailer.

As a government we try to assist both sides.

But if we absorbed the system on what economics would call the demand side we would simply abolish premiums and use the phrase consolidated revenue fund to help convince people the whole thing was a free ride. If this government absorbed the supply side of the equation, it would turn doctors into civil servants and tell them that Big Brother always knows best.

As it is, we are walking a difficult tightrope and I might add a very expensive one. The bill for health services is estimated for 1981-82 to be over $5.5 billion. I believe those vital health dollars are being raised in a fair and equitable way.

Good health is a community responsibility, one that we can all use and share. By taking a hard look at our own common resources we should be able to balance budgets and our needs. There can be no question about the need to foster a strong economy. If we are to continue to deliver high quality social programs, they cost money and are expensive. We simply cannot afford to think, as many people do, that the money comes from some kind of bottomless well.

This government has an excellent record of delivering good social programs while, at the same time, stimulating economic growth and expansion, creating new jobs and encouraging new industry to locate in Ontario. These are difficult economic times but, with the assistance of the government of Ontario, we will be able to rebound to higher levels of growth. The increase of corporate taxes, which are already at a high level and were increased in the two previous budgets, is not conducive to stimulating the economy.

I fully support the Treasurer's decision not to increase corporate taxes at this time of economic instability in North America. Ontario must, as the Treasurer stated, maintain an attractive investment climate. Ontario must remain competitive in relation to surrounding jurisdictions. For the sixth consecutive year, provincial spending will decline relative to the forecast expansion of our provincial economy. This policy has resulted in a 24 per cent increase in real growth for 1981 and the creation of over 100,000 jobs.

Ontario's future long-term economic development strategy is being co-ordinated and implemented through our Board of Industrial Leadership and Development. This year the government has earmarked $150 million from the central BILD pool of funds which will be spent to put 50 programs into operation.

One segment of Ontario's economy, that of small business, is of particular interest to the constituents of Simcoe East. This government realizes the need for the role of small businesses in our economy and to encourage the foundation and expansion of these enterprises we have introduced a number of tax initiatives. For example, the Treasurer has decreased taxes on income and capital and provided investment tax credits to encourage an increase of internally generated funds.

9:30 p.m.

This government has also announced continued support of the Eastern Ontario Development Corporation program. The government considers the various assistance programs to be sound investments which will ultimately contribute to the sound economic performance of our economy, and stimulate the creation of additional jobs. In the last two years, 140 small business development corporations have been registered in Ontario, and $40 million has been invested in these private companies.

I am pleased to see that this government will be expanding its small business development corporation program to provide increased access to outside risk capital and business expertise. The maximum equity capital will be increased from $5 million to $10 million for the small business development corporations, which are public corporations, and the limit for private investment will remain at $5 million.

The second primary area of concern to the people of Simcoe East is the farming area. The main concern of the farmers in Ontario is the high interest rate on short-term loan capital. I believe this is the end result of the federal government's lack of financial restraint and control over the past five years. This government is concerned about the impact interest rates are having on farms, and we are doing everything possible to assist farmers through these very difficult times.

Ontario's Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson) has initiated a meeting of federal and provincial ministers to pose a comprehensive program that would help farmers cope with high interest rates. The feasibility of a low interest rate loan program and tax shelter benefits for investors is also being investigated. Essentially a federal program, the government of Ontario is working hard to initiate and co-ordinate solutions to ensure our farming sector remains prosperous.

In the previous budget, this government lifted the capital tax and succession duty on farmers.

On May 19, the Treasurer announced a property tax exemption on all farm land and managed forests. This policy ensures the overall tax structure for farmers will encourage more investment, more productivity and the continued use of all of Ontario's valuable farm land.

The combination of the proposed tax changes, coupled with the 10.6 per cent increase in municipal grants for 1980-81, will reduce the overall tax burden borne by our farming community. The exemption will be extended to include farm buildings and managed forests. The tremendous contribution these assets make to our economy is being given recognition.

The farm tax rebate program is being eliminated. Income farmers receive from this program was to be taxed by the federal government starting in 1982. Under the new plan, the farmer whose taxes were assessed at $1,000 would pay $330 for his home, saving a further $320 from the tax rebate program.

Farm residences will now be eligible for a full local property tax assessment which should outline the exact level of service demanded in the municipality. Buffering the effect of the new tax exemptions, municipalities and school boards will be compensated for taxes lost as a result of the new tax exemptions.

Ontario farmers will be given the opportunity to outline their feelings about the new tax plan before it is implemented. Full public discussions will be held with all interested parties on the proposed tax changes.

Tourism has evolved into Ontario's second largest industry, adding more than $6 billion to Ontario's economy. Ontario continues to be Canada's single most popular destination, attracting two-thirds of the visitors from the United States, and well over half of the visitors from overseas. To further promote tourism in Ontario, a $2 million advertising campaign has just been launched, financed by the BILD program. The campaign will focus on the key United States and Canadian markets, a 48-page newspaper supplement filled with maps.

Photographs and illustrations have been sent to more than five million households. The local attractions of each region of the province are highlighted in the supplement which should stimulate tourism, not only in Toronto, Ottawa and traditional strong tourist areas, but also in regions of the province that visitors to Ontario do not usually have the opportunity to visit. In addition, a province-wide rating system of tourist accommodation should be operational by the spring of 1982, which will provide innkeepers with substantial incentives to improve lodging facilities.

Over the years, social and job creation programs have been maintained and enhanced without putting any extra burden on our province's taxpayers, as long as it was possible and practical to reduce the cost of government without sacrificing the quality of social and economic problems. As this government continues to work towards a balanced budget, the people of Ontario realize this trend could not continue indefinitely. Additional revenue was necessary to maintain Ontario's health and educational systems at their present high standards, but the goal of a balanced budget in the near future is vital if we are to preserve the strength and prosperity of our economy and expand our social services.

The people of Ontario support and demand the level of service that the revenue-generating measures in this budget will be providing. The government's careful planning and responsible management of public funds has meant that we were able to inject $260 million in retail tax cuts into the economy last November. This was of great benefit to many sectors of the economy, particularly individuals and small businessmen who were hard hit by recent inflationary pressures.

The BILD program will help this government to achieve its goal of strong, effective economic and social programs in a time when careful budgeting and planning must become a way of life for Canadians. The measures maintained in this program will promote strong, dynamic expansion in many sectors of Ontario's economy. As our economic prosperity increases, so will the government's ability to pay the costs of implementing new job creation programs and enhancing our existing ones without further increasing the cost to individual taxpayers.

To encourage economic growth in previously untapped markets, the government will promote research and development, particularly in the area of high technology. This will open up new markets to Ontario's products and expand our potential in existing ones. The result will be a stronger, more competitive economy with more money available for needed government programs and services.

9:40 p.m.

Other economic initiatives outlined in the BILD program focus on the idea that if our human resources are used to the fullest, then individuals, the economy and society in general will all benefit. To that end, $200 million will be devoted to a series of long-term initiatives that will ensure that workers in Ontario can take full advantage of new opportunities and changing technologies. This in turn will strengthen our economy.

Training programs will be encouraged to fill shortages of skilled workers in key sectors of our economy. Private business and learning institutions will be encouraged to take a more active role in training programs to help those already in the work force who need new training to deal with technological change. The budget for their training in industry and business programs will be increased. This will enable firms to retain employees when their skills are made redundant by technological change. Steps will also be taken to maintain training programs during economic slowdowns.

For older employees, the status of pensions in Ontario is currently being studied in order to protect workers' rights in case of a job changeover.

BILD will also help to secure a promising future for our province's youth as they enter the work force. Young people considering careers in skilled occupations are already able to learn about various options through the vocational interest search programs set up in our secondary schools. To help continue this service, community-based youth counselling centres will be established to help young people looking for a full-time job.

These measures, along with many other job creation plans contained in BILD, are designed to benefit our society as a whole and increase job security. New opportunities for employment and chances to retrain and acquire new skills will mean that more people will be working in Ontario. The new tax revenues that this will generate can be channelled in part into preserving and expanding existing social programs and developing new initiatives to help those needing government support.

New measures have always been planned to help cut down on government spending, minimizing our dependence on oil by encouraging electrical development and alternative fuel. Research is an important priority of the BILD package. This will cut down the cost of crude oil and natural gas to Ontario, which would otherwise amount to $12 billion by 1985. Through this plan, a great drain on the provincial economy will be brought under control. With that economic pressure relieved, some of the financial resources that were committed to paying for crude oil and natural gas can be directed into other areas.

This government is committed to balance economic development and fiscal health. This attitude is essential if we are to continue to have funds available to cover the ever-increasing costs of expensive but vital social programs without putting added pressure on other taxpayers or overextending ourselves as a government. After all, while social services are a vital part of the government's commitment to the wellbeing of Ontario, it would be a great injustice to pay for these services by borrowing on the wealth of future generations in our province. By fulfilling the promise of the BILD program, we can avoid this route. As we generate new sources of revenue, our economy prospers in the years to come and our social services will also flourish.

The challenge presented to the government by the economic constraints and pressures of the day is a formidable one. The challenge lies not only in the proper training and development of our human resources but also in the initiatives required to maintain our harmonious setting for industrial relations, a safe job environment for Ontario's working people, and a high quality level of employment standards.

In responding to these concerns, the government has recognized the dynamic nature of the labour environment and its allocation of resources as focused, programmed initiatives. Although the pace of job creation continues to run ahead of the increases in Ontario's labour force, the government has been actively pursuing various approaches to manpower planning. Manpower development, planning and policy is an area with which the government has vigorously concerned itself.

I might emphasize at this point that a fundamental detail of that picture, which should not be ignored, is that with respect to labour issues the government does not work in isolation. In this vital area the government operates in co-operation with labour and management groups and with the assistance of many widely respected advisers. A spirit of co-operation, and sensitivity to the dynamic quality of our working world are essential ingredients to any approach.

Employee dislocation has been an immediate problem facing Ontario's labour force and the government. The Ministry of Labour is responsible for the organization and activities of interministerial field teams as a major response mechanism to this issue. The teams are equipped to provide career counselling, skills assessment, information on available training programs and related matters. Efforts will be made, with input from the Ministry of Industry and Tourism, to determine economic prospects and longer-term alternative employment opportunities. Representatives from other ministries will make contributions in terms of evaluating the social and financial impact of closures on the affected community.

Progress in the area of manpower development goes hand in hand with the harmonious work place and setting. Industrial stability is a key to economic recovery. The government of Ontario can and does play an essential role in fostering and maintaining an environment of good understanding and accord in the work place. In the search for ways to facilitate more harmonious labour relations, the government has recognized that the dynamic quality of collective bargaining requires at times carefully designed legislative responses. As a result, we have seen considerable progress in correcting some of the more abrasive aspects of labour-management relations.

One of the primary concerns of this government as we begin the Thirty-Second Parliament is the current housing market squeeze. Spiralling prices and low supply can be a problem for all potential buyers, particularly those who hope to purchase their first home in the very near future. The housing industry is, of course, a cyclical industry, moving up and down with the ebb and tide of the national economy. Canada's economy, as we are all aware, is in a period of high interest rates and high inflation, the two major factors that have resulted in our present high cost of housing in Toronto and throughout Ontario.

That is why I will today echo the demand of the Premier (Mr. Davis) that the federal government call a conference of first ministers at the earliest possible date. Only decisive and reasonable action in the area of federal monetary and fiscal policy planning can resolve Ontario's and Canada's present housing crisis.

9:50 p.m.

I am very pleased by the success of the government's Ontario rental construction grant program. In addition, $21 million has been made available to bring the total rental unit starts this year to 15,000. This program should go a long way towards easing the present shortage of rental accommodation, and will generate 52,500 man-hours of employment, directly and indirectly, in construction and related industries.

The second major program introduced by the government to alleviate the housing crisis is the Ontario community housing assistance program. As many as 2,200 geared-to-income housing units will be made available to families, senior citizens, and individuals in private, nonprofit and co-operative developments. More than $3.3 million has been earmarked by this government in the first year of this program.

I was also pleased to hear of the introduction of the new residential electrical services program. The rapidly increasing costs of heating our homes with oil have put a severe financial strain on many Ontario home owners and renters. I fully support this government's initiatives that will encourage the people of Ontario to reduce their dependency on costly imported oil as a means of heating their homes, enable Ontario Hydro and the municipal electrical utilities to carry out home energy audits, and provide home-owner loans for energy conservation. Upgrading of electric wiring and conversion to electric heating will move Ontario one step closer to energy self-sufficiency and reduce one of the major concerns facing home owners today: the continually rising costs of simply maintaining a home and a reasonable standard of living.

Clearly, the ultimate solution to Canada's, and in particular Ontario's, housing crisis is closer co-operation among all three levels of government. The first stage in achieving this goal will be the reorganization and consolidation of the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs with respect to municipal affairs. This reorganization will allow for the overdue introduction of a revised Planning Act.

The decisive solution to our present housing crisis, however, lies in the fiscal policies of the federal government. One province alone cannot hope to improve drastically the present climate facing investors and home builders. More quality housing can be produced at the lowest possible cost by the private sector, but I believe our national government must realize the crisis that Canada's housing industry is now in and take appropriate fiscal measures in a new federal budget focusing on this problem.

Our people possess skills and expertise to match the best the world can offer. In every sector of activity -- in manufacturing, science, social programming, resource development and the arts -- Ontarians have demonstrated their ability to be world leaders. It is a commitment of this government that our people remain world leaders. It is our belief that all Ontarians should have the opportunity to develop to their highest potential.

The success of the program of carefully budgeting new programs around existing funds has proved that a system of humane, just and equitable social and economic programs can be maintained, expanded and improved within the framework of fiscal restraints. The result is a stronger economy and a society in which we can live with a sense of dignity and self-worth and which is always on hand to help those in need.

I call on every member to join me in supporting the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) in the adoption of the 1981 budget.

Mr. McKessock: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to rise and talk a little bit on the budget, until the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson) comes in and then I will say a bit on agriculture.

When I look at the budget the only thing I can think about is the deficit. I have been talking about the deficit of the Ontario budget ever since I came into this House in 1975 and it certainly is not improving any. In fact, 12 years ago the Ontario government was $4 billion in debt; today it is $17 billion. We have gone more than $1 billion deeper in debt every year for the past 12 years.

Hon. Mr. Ashe: That would only take about one year for the feds.

Mr. McKessock: Are you comparing Ontario to the whole of Canada?

Hon. Mr. Ashe: Well, we give them nearly half their money.

Mr. McKessock: No wonder this government has a deficit with that kind of figuring.

When I look at the budget near the back of the book, I see the interest on the deficit is the third largest expenditure in here -- almost $5 million a day in interest. Of course agriculture takes a very small part of it.

Mr. Wildman: He wants to decrease the deficit but increase the spending in agriculture.

Mr. Nixon: You got it.


The Deputy Speaker: Order please. We were getting along so nicely until Mr. Laughren and Mr. Nixon came back in.

Mr. McKessock: I notice there is a contingency fund down at the bottom which takes almost as much as agriculture. I looked up "contingency" in the dictionary and it says, "Happening by chance or unforeseen causes; not logically necessary." It fits into the very same category as agriculture. It also gets about the same amount of dollars; it is a kind of petty cash fund.

It is very strange to see this deficit continue year after year, especially when the Premier (Mr. Davis), in the Brampton charter four years ago, said we would be balancing the budget by 1981 -- that is this year. What happened this year in the budget? The deficit was 25 per cent larger than last year's. So now we stand with the biggest deficit ever at $17 billion, costing us close to $5 million a day in interest.

I agree with the member for Simcoe East (Mr. McLean) that we should take a page out of the county and municipal councils' book when it comes to running a deficit. One never sees a county or a municipality run a deficit. They still know how to balance budgets.

Hon. Mr. Ashe: They are not allowed to run a deficit, that's why.

Mr. McKessock: Since the member suggested that, I hope he will put some input into the government side of the House to see it too balances the budget over the next year or two. In fact, I think the member said he also had a commitment to balance the budget but this commitment keeps moving further away from us every year.

The rise in income tax from 44 per cent to 48 per cent was not really to get more money. We know that with inflation and wages going up all the time the government gets more taxes every year anyway without raising the percentage --

Hon. Mr. Ashe: Ever hear of indexing?

Mr. McKessock: Yes, that is the next point -- the gas tax; that is what the government did there.

Hon. Mr. Ashe: I thought you were talking about income tax.

Mr. McKessock: Yes, the government indexed it. It put the gasoline tax at 20 per cent now instead of a flat fee, so it now is really getting more from the increases in gas than is the Alberta government itself. I guess it was a smart move on the government's part to put it at 20 per cent. Now they don't have to come back to the Legislature any more to get increases in the gas tax; they just automatically come along as the gas price goes up. They now have no more room to criticize the Alberta government for the increases in gas prices.

10 p.m.

The Ontario health insurance plan premiums, the other place where they raised the tax, are very unfair to the small businessman and the farmer who have to pay their own premiums. Sure, the majority of the people get them paid by their business or their company, just as the members in here get them paid, and they do not feel it. The guy it hurts the worst is the guy out there who has to pay it himself, the small businessman; he is going to feel it the worst. It really was not fair to raise it for him, because he was actually paying enough as it was.

When you add the OHIP increase to the income tax increase it gives us about the biggest tax payable in Canada. I believe it was the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) who stated that we were not nearly the highest, but most other provinces do not have premiums; well, Alberta and British Columbia have premiums, but they are about half of Ontario's premiums.

I mention the $1-billion deficit that we did not expect but got again, together with all these increases. A lot of people have told me they would not have minded the increases in the taxes if the government had balanced the budget, but when we get an increase in tax and still a deficit of $1 billion the government really does not seem to be giving the public any encouragement. It is taking their money, but they really do not seem to be getting much for it.

It is really not hard for the government to look good when it spends all its tax revenues and then goes out and borrows another $1 billion and spends that as well. All of us could look pretty good if we spent our wages and then continually borrowed money and spent that as well. But then the individual or the businessman finally has to pay for it; there is a day of reckoning when he has to pay it off. I am sure the government is going to come to this day of reckoning very shortly too, and it will probably be four years from now, if it does not happen before then.

It amazes me how the people in 70 of the ridings across Ontario -- or the shareholders in this company -- could support a company and vote the directors back in when the company continues to lose money.

Something else that always amazes or amuses me in the budgets is when I read some of the opening statements by the Treasurer. He usually says something like, "We are very pleased to inform you we have come in with a budget that is half a million dollars under what we projected we would spend," or, "We saved half a million dollars under what we projected." I believe that is what he said last year.

So he turned to something different this year. This year he said: "This government is committed to ensuring continued economic growth and development for Ontario and to providing quality public services for our citizens. My budget plan for this fiscal year clearly recognizes these fundamental priorities, while taking into account the need for an appropriate level of revenues."

Funny he should talk about an appropriate level of revenues but does not say much about expenditures. Of course, after saying these things he presents a budget that has a 25 per cent greater deficit than last year. That, to me, is a strange way to balance a budget.

Mr. Boudria: No wonder all the Tories went home; they are ashamed.

Mr. Gillies: We are all here.

Mr. Boudria: Proportionately we are four times as numerous as you are.

Mr. Speaker: Allow the member to continue.

Mr. McKessock: I want to mention that a year ago, when I brought my resolution on agriculture and rural hydro rates into the House, the minister made a commitment that day that he would ask Ontario Hydro to move towards bringing rural hydro rates more in line with urban rates. As honourable members know, rural rates are 29 per cent higher than the average urban rate. We did not hear that commitment advanced again in this budget but I certainly hope the Premier is not going back on the commitment he made.

I want to say a little bit about agriculture. I tend to think that if we did not have a federal government, the present minister would not have anything to say at all about agriculture.

Mr. Boudria: Tell us about the Minister of Agriculture and Food.

Mr. McKessock: The Minister of Agriculture and Food is quite a large man in stature but when it comes to talking --

Mr. Piché: That is a racist remark.

Mr. McKessock: He is similar to the guy over at the other end. When it comes to talking for the farmers, there are two things he says: he supports the Ontario farmer and it is the federal government's fault.

Today the minister mentioned that it was unfortunate the federal government was going to deduct the hog stabilization payment from its stabilization plan. He made a big point out of that. The action is understandable; it is doing that with all provincial stabilization plans across the country. The thing is, the federal government is not going to have too much problem with Ontario because it has only a very small plan, the sow plan; that is about all it has.

So really, if the minister wanted to get around the problem that he says he has with the federal government deducting the province's payments from the federal plan, all he has to do is come in with interest rebates. There have never been any deductions from the federal plan on that. They should take a look at the other provinces and what they are doing and do the same for Ontario farmers.

I have a stack of things the other provinces are doing that are far too numerous to mention.

Mr. Boudria: Go ahead, tell us. It's a great speech.

Mr. Gillies: Dispense.

Mr. McKessock: I will just tell you about Quebec's commitment to agriculture. Quebec has an extensive and well used set of programs for loans and grants to agriculture. The main emphasis of these programs is on interest assistance on long-term loans, although some assistance is given on medium-term loans. Production credit is not subsidized, although these and all loans made under the Quebec system of credit for agriculture are guaranteed by the provincial government. So no farmer is going to go bankrupt in Quebec.

We have farmer after farmer going bankrupt in Ontario, not because they are poor farmers but because of the price of beef and hog fodder and especially because of the high interest rates; but in Quebec, the province is guaranteeing these loans for the farmers.

Quebec also has a program that allows the Lieutenant Governor in Council to declare critical periods. This permits temporary loan assistance to be made available under conditions of natural or economic disaster. In addition to these programs, Quebec also offers an intra-subsidy on farm credit corporation loans and makes grants for permanent improvements to farms. All these programs are presented in more detail.

Mr. Wildman: Where?

Mr. McKessock: They are right here if the member wants them, but I am not going into them.

10:10 p.m.

In the beef business, and this is most critical in Ontario today, one can get assistance to build a feedlot in Quebec -- $100 per head for up to 400 head, which means one can get $40,000 in subsidy to build a feedlot. One can get eight per cent money to buy the feeder cattle and then one is guaranteed 90 cents -- or, as the minister told me the other day, 96 cents -- for the finished beef.

Quebec is certainly moving to upgrade agriculture in that province, to make sure it comes out on top and that they don't go back, they go ahead. With what is taking place in Ontario, I am afraid we are going to be losing our agriculture to the other provinces because we are not taking the steps other provinces are to hold agriculture here. What is happening is that a farmer in Ontario goes broke and the production is picked up by the farmers in Quebec or Alberta or some of the other provinces.

The drainage program was talked about earlier. I notice in our budget estimates for this year there is 55 million less towards the drainage program than there was last year. No wonder the member for Wellington-Dufferin-Peel (Mr. J. M. Johnson) brought in a resolution on tile drainage -- 55 million less in this year's budget than last year's. In Quebec, not only is there an eight per cent loan for grants, but they pay 50 per cent of the cost of the tile drainage.

What happened when the minister sent the letter out to the municipalities asking them to consider giving only 50 per cent of the money towards the drainage project instead of 75 per cent? This in fact increases the interest rate to that farmer 60 per cent, because he has to pay 22 per cent on the other 25, and eight per cent on the 50; so if we balance that out it is a 60 per cent increase on the interest rate.


Mr. McKessock: We can't blame that one on the feds.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Mr. McKessock has the floor.

Mr. McKessock: We could take this contingency fund at the end of the budget year and put it in agriculture and double the agricultural budget overnight.


Mr. Speaker: Just carry on with your speech.

Mr. McKessock: To give you another example of how Quebec is boosting agriculture, Mr. Speaker, the government pays a $50 premium at the rate of $10 per year for each ewe lamb with fewer than four teeth, being suitable for breeding.


Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I find this extremely interesting.

Mr. McKessock: If you have ewe lambs with fewer than four teeth, Mr. Speaker, you can get a subsidy of $10 per year, so they are really trying to build up their sheep production as well. Another problem we have been talking about recently is the disappearance of farm land. There was mention made in the House recently about the application in Vaughan township for the use of farm land. The minister today said that land was not suitable for farming; it was rolling and unfit for farming on a large scale. The minister should take a trip to Switzerland and see what kind of land you really can farm. The little knolls you find in the town of Vaughan will certainly not compare with any of the farm land you will find in Switzerland.

When I was looking at a farmer's potato patch in Switzerland, I asked him, "How do you grow potatoes in that steep field?" He said: "It is really quite economical. They grow well. When it comes to harvest time, you pull the plant at the bottom of the field, the rest of the potatoes all roll down the hill and you gather them at the bottom."

So the minister should take a little trip to Switzerland and he would soon find out that the land in the town of Vaughan is quite suitable for farming. Farm land is a gift of nature, and it is being stolen and exploited in Ontario.

I want to mention a wee bit about industry and tourism. I will combine that a bit with disappearing farm land. If we were to stop the use of farm land around Toronto, industry would have to move out to the smaller centres around Ontario.

Mr. Wildman: Bring it up north.

Mr. McKessock: Up north, down east, in the southern parts or wherever. We have lots of land up in our area that is not suitable for farming, but it is quite suitable for putting industry on. It is just deplorable to be using this good farm land around the cities in southern Ontario to build houses and industry when we have other land across Ontario that could do this just as well.

Mr. Wildman: What about retirement income for farmers?

Mr. McKessock: We will get to that.

When it comes to industry, I would hope they would come up with some less complicated plans. When you get through the complication of the plans they have now for helping industry, there is really nothing left.

Here is a nice little booklet, Profit Kit, that is sent out by the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman). To send this to constituents is like sending them tear gas, because they will start to cry when they finish it. They have all these things that the government is doing for them, such as:

"Launching a new program? We'll get you off the ground. Trying to sell government? We'll point you in the right direction. Production problems? We'll help you manufacture higher profits. Need backing on your investment? We'll help you out. Need financial foresight? Our computer will tell you the score. Need to target your goals? Use our counselling services."

An hon. member: Sounds like a fairy tale.

Mr. McKessock: It is a fairy tale.

"Let's build together," and it has a whole bunch of building blocks on it. "Putting new ideas into production? We'll help finance the expertise," and it has a lot of tinker toys on the front of that. "Puzzled by the business problem? We'll help you put the pieces together," and it has a crossword puzzle on that. "Research? We'll pay 90 per cent of your tab in the lab."

They list all those things, but the trouble is, don't try to get them. The government is very good at advertising. The thing the government is best at doing is advertising. I will admit they are really good at it. That is where we can save a lot of that money to put into agriculture. We could triple 10 times over the amount of money going into agriculture if we saved some of that money from advertising. This booklet represents some of that advertising.

When one looks at the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program, what is it? They sold it all across Ontario. Again the advertising was great. They sold it; everybody bought it. But when you ask them what it is, nobody can explain it. Nobody knows. Is there anybody here in the House who can explain the BILD program or tell us what it is?


Mr. McKessock: Just as I thought, nobody can explain it.

10:20 p.m.

Mr. Boudria: It is going to help agriculture by cutting back on tile drainage.

Mr. McKessock: This is what we hear when they talk about the BILD program: new initiatives, research, boost our economy, balance essential development and fiscal health, harmonize settings for industrial relations. Do members know what that is?

Mr. Wrye: Words.

Mr. McKessock: Words; that is all it is, a bunch of words.

If they could come up with a simple program, that is all that is needed. They would not need any advertising; it would advertise itself. The old agricultural rehabilitation and development administration program was great. If one created a job, one got $5,000. Is that not simple? If one created 40 jobs, one would get $200,000, just like that, as a grant. There was nothing to it.

Mr. Boudria: They abolished it because it worked.

Mr. McKessock: That is right. It worked, so it was no good around here. I would like to see them go back to that. If they would turn the BILD program into that kind of setup and say: "Here are the regulations for the BILD program. Create one job and you get $5,000; two jobs, $10,000," it would not be hard to explain and everybody would know where they were.

I asked about the BILD program today. I know of a company that wants to make a $400,000 expansion, which is pretty insignificant, they tell me. If a company is looking for $75 million, such as Massey-Ferguson or Ford, the government would take a look at it. That $75 million we guaranteed to Massey-Ferguson the other day would have saved every farmer and small businessman in Ontario who went bankrupt this last year. Perhaps it has saved one company. Figure it out: it would have saved every farmer and small businessman who went bankrupt.

Mr. Brandt: Did you vote for the Massey-Ferguson bill? You cannot have it both ways.

Mr. McKessock: I would like to have it one way.

I should say a little on culture and recreation since the minister is here.

Mr. Boudria: Tell us about the Wintario minister.

Mr. McKessock: The Wintario minister is in his seat. Actually, we have just finished his estimates so we have gone through quite a bit. The propaganda that went around at election time was interesting. I mentioned this the other day.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Are you still worrying about that? You lost that riding, so forget about it: it is all over.

Mr. McKessock: I am not really worried about it. I was interested in the fact that came out in committee yesterday, that the Liberals got a bigger percentage of the Wintario grants than the other two parties. That was such a reversal of what was said during the election campaign. It was said that if one was not a Progressive Conservative one would not get anything.


Mr. Speaker: Mr. McKessock, just ignore the interjections and carry on. Talk to me if you will.

Mr. McKessock: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am certainly pleased that the statements about Wintario have been changed around since the election anyhow.

Mr. Wildman: If you look closely at the figures, they were there before the election.

Mr. McKessock: I know they were. The reversal that has come since then is surprising.

The member for Simcoe East mentioned launching another $2-million tourist advertising campaign. There they go again with their advertising bit -- $2 million. They are good at it.

Mr. Gillies: How much does tourism bring in?

Mr. McKessock: Well, it is good for my area. I hope they are advertising the great slide ride and the slipper dipper ride up in Collingwood township so everyone will take a ride up there this summer, have a look and try it out. Those ski lifts are still there to be made good use of in the summer as well as in the winter. They have to keep them going all year round to make things work right and to entertain the people in Ontario.

The Niagara Escarpment issue is still with us. I wish the minister in charge of that area were in the House. I hope he is familiarizing himself with the Niagara Escarpment issue. It is definitely something we should get cleared up and out of the road. It has been going on for 10 or 12 years.

At the time it started maybe there was some justification for thinking about having special controls in the Niagara Escarpment area, but since that time the official plans and zoning bylaws in the municipalities and counties have come along so swiftly they now have gone ahead and surpassed the Niagara Escarpment Commission planning. As a result there is no longer a need for the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act and the Niagara Escarpment Commission.

There is another place we can save money: we can save a couple of million dollars by doing away with the Niagara Escarpment Commission and the act.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: I will see you in Owen Sound.

Mr. McKessock: I will be serving him dinner that night. He should not hesitate about what he eats. It will be good food because it will be Grey county beef, spiced with a little horseradish. He will be right in the thick of the Niagara Escarpment. This is what I am talking about. It is beautiful country. We do not need excessive controls; we do not want to be controlled differently from anyone else in Ontario.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: You keep it beautiful.

Mr. McKessock: We will keep it beautiful. We have for hundreds of years. We do not need the other controls on it. Some of the things going on in the Niagara Escarpment are a little ridiculous.

I have a file here from a lady who owns a farm in Kimberley. The Bruce Trail crosses it. It is right on the escarpment edge. She applied for a development permit. She was going to sell half of it to her brother. Her application was turned down. She allows the Bruce Trail walkers to walk across her place. It does not make sense.

She said, "Okay, if you don't want to give me a permit, then the government can buy half of where the trail is and then you will own the right to walk across it." The government is still trying to make up its mind whether to buy it or not. She said, "Well, there is nothing else for me to do but put signs up and keep everybody off it."

It takes them so long to do anything and to get around to wondering what is the best thing to do. I have a letter here from the chairman who says they are going to try to negotiate an easement across it, and if that does not work they will recommend buying it.

One would think they would jump at the chance to buy it. She could sell it to somebody else; she could decide to keep it, put up signs and nobody could walk across it. It would be her property. It would be gone from the Bruce Trail for good. They have the opportunity to buy it, she has agreed to it and they are stalling. The Niagara Escarpment Commission and the act have been a mess from the word go. It is just a buildup of stalls, fumbles, flukes and one big mess.

Mr. Speaker: I would remind the member of the time.

Mr. McKessock: Oh, yes, the time is just about up.

Mr. Speaker: I think it is up.

Mr. McKessock: Okay. I probably have given the government about all they can absorb for one night anyway. I will carry on at some later date.

On motion by Mr. McKessock, the debate was adjourned.

Mr. Speaker: Just before we leave I would like to remind the members that during the supper recess the proceedings of the unveiling of the portrait of the former Speaker, Jack Stokes, were recorded by Hansard. I would like the permission of the House for this to be included as an appendix to Hansard.

Agreed to.

The House adjourned at 10:31 p.m.