32nd Parliament, 1st Session

































The House met at 10:02 a.m.



Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, it appears that the members of the ministry are hiding themselves in embarrassment this morning. Did you think that was enough to wake them up, Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Speaker: Proceed with your question.

Mr. Nixon: I see a few of them are coming out of the woodwork now. There we are. That is a little better.


Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Housing about his position with regard to the future development of his favourite community of Townsend. It is located partly in my constituency and partly in the constituency of Haldimand-Norfolk.

How can he justify to the House, particularly with the severe restrictions put on many of his colleagues in the most recent budget, a continuation of a program that is providing a $2-million shopping centre, an artificial lake and a totally serviced town community for only 10 residents? When is he going to see that these scarce funds should be used to develop housing in the communities where it is required, and to assist in servicing the communities in the areas of Haldimand-Norfolk that are already established so they can take any reasonable increase in population that may occur between now and the end of the century?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I do not have with me this morning the names of all the units that are under construction or that are in an optional position with the contracting people -- and I am referring to the contractors in the Haldimand-Norfolk area. I think I did send, in answer to a question on the Notice Paper, a rather detailed explanation of the investments we have at Townsend at this time in relation not only to the roads but to the other infrastructures required to accommodate the further development of Townsend.

Indeed, the Ontario Land Corporation and the Ontario Mortgage Corporation continue, along with the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald) and others, to keep a rather close eye on what is happening in the Townsend community, and the interest that has been displayed by the amount of traffic we have had through the sales office for units that will be available in the Townsend community. I would be delighted to go into it further with the honourable member from that particular area and to elaborate on the question in written detail.

Mr. Nixon: Is the minister aware that, from the information he himself provided the House, there is close to $60 million invested in the community, and that he has already spent more than $250,000 on advertising of the most expensive type -- four-colour advertising and the kind of jingles they used a few weeks ago to sell the so-called "promise"; that kind of advertising?

Is the minister aware that with an investment of more than $60 million and high-intensity advertising for probably a year and a half, he has a grand total of 12 families living in this community with a $2-million shopping centre available for them and the artificial lake and all the rest of it? How can the minister proceed with a policy that is obviously not providing one of the felt needs of the community, when many other communities, including Metropolitan Toronto, have such a scarce supply of affordable housing that they are really crying for it?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Let's go back for a moment and look at the amount of money the honourable member speaks of, the $60 million. He knows very well that the $60 million has more than just a relationship to Townsend. The sewage and water system was brought in to accommodate the industrial development opportunities in that part of Ontario. I am looking at the Stelco operation; I am looking at two or three of the other communities.

Mr. Nixon: That is down on the lakefront.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: If the member would just listen for a moment, part of the problem with Stelco going in there, if I recall correctly, was the supply of water and other facilities. The front money from the provincial government not only was put in to service Townsend, but it obviously was to offer water facilities to communities in that area that had experienced a very bad water quality and did not have the capacity of wells to serve them.

The member knows very well that for a long period there have been communities talking to him and talking to this ministry and others about a better water supply system. The $60 million is an infrastructure cost that will allow for further development of that community for many years to come.

He talks about the lake. It is a planned community. The lake is one of the opportunities for offering some beautification. I was not around here in 1953 when Malvern was purchased. I would dare say if we could go back and look at what was said about Malvern and what was happening in that particular community when the federal and provincial governments invested their money, there likely was a tremendous number of harsh comments about government investment in that particular community.

But not today; today we hear nothing but praise because governments had the foresight to move in and develop a community known as Malvern and because it is returning to this government and the federal government rather interesting dividends, not only on the investment of the land but in the type of community it has been able to develop industrially, commercially and residentially.

I say to the members we have planned this community. We are promoting and advertising this community, and I think both the member from that area and the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) will be delighted with the success we will have in the years to come with Townsend.

Mr. Nixon: The minister is looking back. I wonder whether he would look to the future. Since the government has made a commitment to an additional community sometimes known as Seaton but which has had four or five names -- which is closer to the Metropolitan Toronto area and has the advantage of being advocated by the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Ashe), who is looking after all the cash in the first instance, what are the plans for that community in view of the rather unfortunate and disappointing results of the Townsend experiment, where, as I say, $60 million has been committed in services for 12 families?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Of course it is not for 12 families and the member knows very well it is not for 12 families. That community is going to serve a great deal more --

Mr. Kerrio: How many are there?

Mr. Nixon: You have been trying to sell it for two years.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I said I was prepared to get the exact numbers, because to try to give it on a day-to-day basis without having been briefed on it this morning would be ridiculous and the member knows that very well. He knows very well that in the shopping centre complex in that particular Townsend community will be the regional government headquarters. We were involved in a contractual relationship with that regional government which overall --

10:10 a.m.

Mr. Nixon: That is another thing I should have mentioned; another $4 million down the drain.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Sure, the member should have mentioned it, and if he did not think of it I am glad I brought it to his attention.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I said very clearly and very distinctly in this House back in March 1980 that we were not proceeding any further with Seaton at that time in our economic history; that we were putting Seaton on the back burner and that we would continue to review the situation in conjunction with the regional and local governments for whatever plans and future operations might be available there. But at that point we were not proceeding any further with the Seaton community. That situation has not changed.


Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. I wonder whether he might clarify to the House the news item that appeared a couple of days ago with reference to the possibility that the Premier (Mr. Davis) and the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), of all people, would travel to Westminster to persuade the Conservatives there to accept the constitutional package, if, as and when it is approved by the Supreme Court of Canada and goes through the rest of its passage in the Parliament and Senate of Canada.

Hon. Mr. Wells: As I recall, Mr. Speaker, what has been talked about -- and I do not think any definite plans have been laid -- is that if the Supreme Court of Canada rules in favour of the federal government's right to proceed with the constitutional package, which of course is the position that the province of Ontario and the Attorney General himself argued before the Supreme Court of Canada --

Mr. T. P. Reid: That is what we are worried about.

Hon. Mr. Wells: He was down there to help the lawyers for the federal government. We hope and believe the court will rule that the federal government can proceed. If that then occurs, and if, as we hope, the package passes in the House of Commons and the Senate after the two-day debate that has been agreed upon there, it will then, of course, go to Westminster. We have indicated that if we can be of any assistance at that time by talking to people in Westminster, the Premier, the Attorney General and I will be available. But no definite plans have been laid for that. As my honourable friend knows, I have already been over there once and the Attorney General has been over once talking to some of the people.

Mr. Nixon: The news report did not indicate the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs had been invited by the Premier. Actually, I am very glad to know there is a possibility that he, rather than the Attorney General, may be a party. I consider him to be slightly more diplomatic than the Attorney General and to have probably a slightly better track record in keeping things smooth.

But since the date that was suggested for his trip to London was really within two weeks, is it in the back of the Premier's mind, assuming the Supreme Court reports or gives its judgement within the next few days and passage through both Houses of Parliament is not in any way delayed, that he might join a rather august group over there, along with the Prime Minister and perhaps at least one other Premier, in an effort to persuade the government and the Parliament of the United Kingdom to give the ratification swift passage, and that this august group would then pick up the British North America Act out of the Victoria Tower, put it in their briefcase and bring it back home by July 1?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I would like to make two comments, Mr. Speaker. First, I was interested in the first observation of my friend, because he really was indicating that he accepts as gospel truth everything he reads in the Toronto Sun.

Mr. Nixon: There is not a threat of court action on this one yet.

Hon. Mr. Wells: To the best of my knowledge that is the only place where that report has appeared. Secondly, I can assure the member that, as I said a few minutes ago, if the decision of the Supreme Court is in the affirmative -- that is, in the sense that the federal government and the Parliament of Canada have the right to pass the constitutional package that is now before them -- this government will give every possible assistance that is asked for by the federal government to attempt to get speedy passage of the constitutional resolution by the British House.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour with respect to the outrageous sentence of 45 days handed out in the courts yesterday to Grace Hartman, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, and with respect to the other sentences, including 15 days given to Lucie Nicholson, president of the Ontario division of CUPE.

The Minister of Labour will be aware that, at the instigation of the crown attorney of Ontario, Jean-Claude Parrot, head of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, was sentenced to jail a year or two ago and that Sean O'Flynn, head of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, was also sentenced to jail.

He may also have seen in the newspaper today that Michael Clarke, aged 50, the vice-president of personnel and employee relations of K mart, and two other executives of the company were granted conditional discharges and a year's probation, despite the fact they were found guilty of having worked together to obstruct the organization of a union at K mart. They were not given criminal convictions because, according to the judge, they are long-term, valued employees who have had a succession of promotions within the company and they have fine family backgrounds.

Would the Minister of Labour comment on whether there is one system of justice for management and another system of justice for labour leaders in the province? If there is one system of justice for all, what will the Minister of Labour do to ensure labour leaders can benefit from an equal system of justice like everybody else in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, with the greatest respect, I think the leader of the third party knows quite well that the nature of sentences or decisions handed out by the judiciary is not within the scope of the Ministry of Labour. I would suggest he direct that question to the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) when he is present.

Mr. Cassidy: Is the Minister of Labour, who is responsible for maintaining the climate of labour-management relations in the province, among other things, aware that in the case of Mrs. Hartman and the other representatives of CUPE the sentences were requested by the agent of the government of the province, the crown attorney, who asked for a sentence of 30 to 60 days in the case of Mrs. Hartman?

In the case of Mr. Clarke and his colleagues at K mart, the request for a conditional discharge and for them not to have to spend any time in jail, despite what they had done to obstruct the formation of a union, was put by the agent of the government of Ontario, the crown attorney in Brampton.

Contrary to what the minister says, this is not simply a matter for the courts. This is a matter of high government policy. Does the minister approve the high government policy of asking for jail sentences for labour leaders, while asking that management executives be let off with a slap on the wrist?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: The member for Ottawa Centre knows full well of my personal and vigorous involvement with regard to labour-management aspects of CUPE's illegal strike last winter. He also knows full well those are matters that should be directed to the Attorney General.

Mr. Renwick: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The minister is responsible to this assembly for the administration of the two acts under consideration. Is the minister concerned about the attitude expressed in court by the Attorney General through his agents? Is he concerned about the inequity of the three executives of K mart being not guilty of any offence in the final event and having no criminal records, while Grace Hartman and others are going to have criminal records?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I think the member for Riverdale knows quite well that although the Labour Relations Act comes within my jurisdiction, the K mart matter dealt with a conspiracy to defeat the purpose of the Labour Relations Act, a criminal action and therefore not within my domain. He also knows quite well of the great concerns and active involvement I have with regard to labour relations in this province.

Ms. Copps: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Will the Minister of Labour be advising the Attorney General that he hopes the government will appeal the decision?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, the Attorney General is pretty capable of making those decisions himself and he will review Hansard.

10:20 a.m.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question for the Minister of Health, who has just arrived in the House. Is the minister satisfied with the announcement made by the federal government that it intends to test only 2,000 of the 125,000 houses across Canada which have urea-formaldehyde foam insulation and that it intends to set up information centres in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver? Specifically, does the minister think that is adequate for the people who have UFFI in Ontario? What steps does this government intend to take to discharge its responsibilities under the Public Health Act to protect home owners who happen to have that kind of insulation in their homes in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I do not yet have the full details of what Mr. Ouellet announced. I have asked staff to contact his office this morning -- they are in the process of doing that now -- to get some exact details. Once I know that, I will be in a better position to know whether that will be sufficient.

I believe in the expert report that was done for the federal government, or perhaps arising from that, it was recommended that a survey be done in the country, not of every installation, but of a certain number of homes in order that they could get some idea of the extent of any health hazard. Once they knew that, then they could take action.

Presumably the survey would not need to be of every house because I am told even Ottawa does not have lists of every installation. Once they have done the survey, they could determine further policy from that. I will be in a better position to comment once I have received from my staff the information that they get from Mr. Ouellet's office this morning and I can comment further on it early next week.

Mr. Cassidy: I would like to ask the minister whether he is satisfied with the way the local public health units are administering their obligations under the Public Health Act? Specifically, is he satisfied with the way they are administering the duties that are laid upon them "to determine whether the existing condition of any premises ... are a nuisance or injurious to health"?

In view of that obligation laid on the ministry and the local public health units, what does the minister say to the fact that the public health units in my city of Ottawa, and in Scarborough, London, Kitchener-Waterloo and other places across the province, are not doing the tests and say the tests will not be done in every home where the UFFI may be injurious to health, if the federal government is doing a kind of a Gallup poll by coming up with tests of 2,000 units out of 125,000 that are affected?

Is the minister satisfied with the present situation, with the failure of some public health units to carry out the tests? What steps will this ministry take to ensure that the obligations of the Public Health Act are met, that those people's houses that have been insulated will be tested and will be identified, and that they will be aided in getting compensation so they can get rid of this matter injurious to health?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure whether the compensation part was commented on yesterday or not. Potentially the most important question that the federal government has to answer is what it is going to do about that. Certainly I do not envisage the provincial or municipal governments will be getting into any form of compensation plan with respect to retrofit. If there is going to be a program, in my view that must be the responsibility of the federal government.

As regards the testing, I indicated to the honourable member right from the very beginning, and so indicated to the federal minister, that the municipal health units and provincial ministry do not have the equipment or the personnel necessary to test every household. It is physically impossible with the resources available to test -- the member says 125,000 homes; I do not know where the member gets his number, but it is impossible to test anything like that number of residences.

Mr. Foulds: If the problem is too big you will not cope with it?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: That member's problem is never too big.

The health units have been making use of a variety of resources -- in some cases the federal government's Enersave advisory program or private laboratories; in other cases they have been referring people, giving them names of private concerns that can do the testing for them because they do not have the personnel or equipment. We have a list of some of the more pressing cases that we are asking the Ministry of Labour to assist us with. They have some equipment with which they can help us.

Again I emphasize that there are not enough people or machines to test 125,000 houses in a short period of time.

Mr. Nixon: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I cannot understand why the minister is so tentative and lacking in energy in this continuing issue. Is it true he said in his first answer that he was waiting to find out what is happening in Ottawa to see whether the response is sufficient, based on yesterday's statement? What is the minister going to do if he deems it insufficient?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, as the honourable member will recall, we have been pressing Ottawa to do two things: first, to do a survey; second, to establish a program in Ottawa to assist in those cases -- and it may well turn out to be only one in 1,000, but no one knows at this point -- where some retrofit is required.

I would remind the member again that in the report the experts were not able to say at what specific level it became a health hazard. As they could not say that at a certain level it was not a health hazard, they said it should be banned until such time as more was known about it.

We have been pressing the federal government to cover these two things. If they have covered them, we believe that should address the problem. I will know better later today.

Mr. Swart: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I do not understand how the minister can be so indifferent. Is he not aware of the tremendous concern of the people who have urea- formaldehyde foam in their homes?

This concern was shown in a poem which was read the other night at the Triumph Hotel where 500 people were present. It was written by Mrs. Patricia Clarke and concludes this way:

So I sit and worry and I fume and fuss:

Why won't our politicians do something for us?

Be honest, Mr. Trudeau, if your kids were affected,

You'd surely raise hell with the folks you elected.

And Mr. Bill Davis, despite your big grin,

You'd scowl and complain if your home had it in.

We need action now, not next week or next year.

Our homes should hold laughter, not danger and fear.

I have two letters here that the Ministry of Health sent to the health units. In them the minister did not even recommend they take tests. Even in the one sent out in February he did not recommend they get enough equipment, even though, contrary to what he says, it is available. Mr. Shirtcliffe of the National Research Council confirmed this.

I suggest the minister is negligent in carrying out his obligations under the Public Health Act. Why does he not test these homes and tell the people who are in such dire straits what they should do?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, if the honourable member would speak more slowly sometimes, I could understand what he is talking about.

We are well aware a great many people are concerned; there is no question about that. The question is, what is the most effective way to go about addressing those concerns.

Mr. Cassidy: The minister's answer is, do nothing.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: No, Mr. Speaker, that is not the point. We have kept the health units fully informed. We have tried to keep the public fully informed. We have tried to keep the pressure on the federal government to come up with a program.

I will know better later today, once I know exactly what was said yesterday; we are getting those details from Mr. Ouellet's office. In fact, we may have been successful at this point in getting a program out of them that will be able to address those concerns.


Hon. Mr. Timbrell: There is no question people are concerned; there is no question we are concerned. We are going to ensure that we keep the pressure on the federal government to come up with a program to address those problems.


Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Northern Affairs in regard to TVOntario. Is the minister prepared to live up to his commitment announced on March 10, during the height of the election campaign, to provide low power broadcast signals to underserviced areas in northern Ontario for TVOntario?

10:30 a.m.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Speaker, we have contacted all the unorganized areas that responded to the release made, I think, in the early part of March, whereby we indicated our desire to assist financially, particularly those unorganized areas that would not be serviced by cable systems. The response was very enthusiastic, but following that, of course, the federal government did license Cancom for a four-channel system right across northern Canada.

The program they have come forward with is much better than the one we had proposed. We have had meetings with Cancom, and we have had meetings with the unorganized communities to see what their preference would be. We have funds budgeted for this particular program. Once we get it sorted out with the communities and Cancom, we will be moving ahead with something that will be satisfactory, I am sure, to the unorganized areas.

Mr. T. P. Reid: The minister indicated there had been meetings held with the communities to get their views. I am not aware of any communities that have held these meeting unless they are in the minister's own area, as usual.

I have three points. First, when is the minister going to reply to the communities that have applied for the low power broadcasting service and tell them what is going on? Second, how much is in the minister's budget for this? Third, will the Cancom situation be for other channels or will TVO be one of those channels?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I have responded to the communities. In fact, I just signed letters to some additional communities this morning. They will be notified of our intention to meet with them on an individual basis. The exact amount in the budget I am not sure of. It is a substantial amount, there is no question about that.

In connection with TVO in the Cancom proposal, this was one of the questions we did raise with Cancom because there was a strong desire in the rural areas of northern Ontario to have TVO as part of the package. The Cancom people are very adamant that the four channels they will be providing to the rural areas of Canada will far exceed the TVO single-broadcast system. Those discussions will go on, and we hope we can sort it out very soon.

Mr. Stokes: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I would like to ask the minister whether he will undertake to assist small unorganized communities that do not have a cable operator to get the wherewithal and the ability to receive the Cancom package, notwithstanding the fact they may or may not get TVOntario. Will the minister assist them to get the necessary hardware for the Cancom package in unorganized communities?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, this is part of the original proposal we made in connection with TVO. We would assist them financially to get that hardware and also assist them to get the federal licence they would require for their specific communities.

The proposal that Cancom came forward with is a very attractive one. Not only does it provide four channels for those rural areas, it also provides something like six FM radio stations. For an extra $3,500 they have informed us we could provide an extra channel that the local community could use for its own rebroadcast system. The whole package for the unorganized communities, in a radius of about 10 miles, would cost about $46,000, and we are looking at it very seriously.


Mr. Grande: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Education. In view of the Star article of June 10, in which we learned of the tragic treatment of special education children at D.B. Hood Community School in the borough of York, and in view of the allegations that the school principal and school board officials knew about the situation but took no action to remedy it, would the minister establish at once a commission of inquiry under the Education Act to establish precisely what took place at the school, with a view to making recommendations so that special education children in this province will never be abused in that way again?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, at this point the only report I have seen is that which appeared in the newspaper. We are collecting information at this point. I am sure the matter can be investigated without the establishment of a special commission. We intend to do that investigation, and I am sure the requests that are made by the honourable member will be the result of that investigation.

Mr. Grande: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Since the minister does not believe that a public inquiry is required, does she agree that a protected and secure environment for special education kids is the most important aspect of a special education class? Would she not agree with me that placing special kids in a French immersion class or having special education kids sit in the principal's office and do work the principal gives them every afternoon, forcing the children to flee the lunchroom and eat on the street for fear of being called derogatory names by the other students, flies in the face of the spirit of the special education law of this province and, therefore, an inquiry under the Education Act is called for, not just a simple investigation by her ministry?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: The whole thrust of the integration, where possible, of students who have been considered exceptional into the educational stream for the past decade has been based upon the need to develop a greater degree of tolerance on the part of those who would classify themselves as normal for those who may not be as fully endowed, both physically and mentally, or who have a disability. It is the intent, I believe, of every school board, of teachers, of principals and certainly of the Ministry of Education, to provide the most supportive atmosphere for educational purposes, not just for children with exceptionalities, but for all children. But we do have a special concern for those with exceptionalities, and I do believe it is possible.

Mr. T. P. Reid: What are exceptionalities?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: If the honourable member will read Bill 82, he will notice that the definition of those for whom that bill is designed is that they suffer from exceptionalities.

Mr. T. P. Reid: There is no such word as exceptionality.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: It has been defined in several dictionaries, both European and North American.

The activity we will be pursuing in investigating the allegations that have been made -- and at this point they are allegations -- I think will help to solve the problems, and will also give us information to tell us whether we need to do further investigation or not. I am not sure of that at this point.

Mr. Foulds: Final supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Does the minister not agree that if the spirit of Bill 82 is to be lived up to and if she wants to assure parents, not only of the children at the school my colleague refers to but across this province, that the bill will be adhered to in spirit as well as in letter, it is absolutely essential that the findings of her investigation be made fully and thoroughly public?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: I am not sure that it has a great deal to do with the total implementation of Bill 82, but if it will be of any assistance at all to any school child anywhere in the province, the findings will be made public.


Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour. Is he aware of the strike between the Essex County Separate School Board and its caretakers that is presently under way? Is the minister at all concerned that a letter would be sent to the union informing them that all bargaining is at an end? Would the minister undertake to look into this matter, to ensure that the bargaining is an ongoing process so that a quick settlement may be obtained?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, of course I cannot guarantee the member anything with regard to the achievement of a settlement, but I can tell him that a meeting is tentatively scheduled for June 15.

Mr. Mancini: Is the minister at all concerned by press reports that nonunion personnel have been hired by the board to clean the schools at night and that at a particular Amherstburg school seven nonunion personnel showed up to do about 10 minutes worth of work and these people had baseball bats in the back of their vehicles and also had with them what could be called an attack dog?

Does the minister share my concern that this type of situation could lead to violence? Would he promise to ask the Solicitor General (Mr. McMurtry) to have the Ontario Provincial Police confiscate the baseball bats and the attack dog?

10:40 a.m.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I have no information available to me to substantiate or refute the member's allegations, but I will certainly refer his question to the Attorney General.

Mr. Mancini: I have received a personal letter from the workers involved in this strike. They were on the picket lines when this vehicle approached, they witnessed the baseball bat in the back of the vehicle and the attack dog was taken out of the car. Since this matter has been brought to my attention by personal letter, does the minister now think there is enough credence to this matter for the Solicitor General to have the OPP move quickly to have the baseball bats removed and the attack dog taken away before a violent situation erupts?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I did not say the member might not have confirmation of his allegations. I said I did not and that I would draw the allegation and the whole issue to the attention of the Attorney General.


Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health if I can get his attention. The Ministry of Health has taken the extraordinary step of appointing an investigator into the affairs of McKellar General Hospital in Thunder Bay, presumably because of the labour and financial difficulties of that hospital and the previous reports of the Ontario Hospital Association and the resignation of the executive director and the director of nursing.

Can the minister tell us precisely what authority this investigator has and what his terms of reference are? What assurance can the minister give us that the findings and recommendations of the investigator will be made public so that the people in Thunder Bay who must use McKellar General Hospital can be assured the hospital will be meeting their needs?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, first of all the terminology is not "investigator," it is "inspector." Under the Public Hospitals Act I have the authority to appoint an inspector to go into any hospital for any reason, really. As the member knows, there have been a series of problems at that hospital in the last couple of years which have been drawn regularly to my attention by the local member.

Mr. Foulds: By both local members.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Yes, but particularly by the member for Fort William (Mr. Hennessy), in whose constituency it is located and by local citizens. I have been in Thunder Bay several times in recent months and every time I have been there people from all walks of life have raised questions with me. I suppose they emanate from the continuing attention the press has given to the various problems there. It is my view that to assist the hospital to get its house in order and to satisfy the people of Thunder Bay who regularly rely on McKellar General Hospital for its services, it would be best to appoint an inspector.

Under the terms of the legislation, the inspector really has authority to look into anything. Specifically, we have not yet chosen an individual or a firm. It could be either. When we do he, she or they will have the authority to meet with members of the board collectively and individually, with members of the medical staff and the nursing staff, with all staff for that matter, to assess the administration of the hospital and its care in order to come up with any recommendations appropriate to assist the hospital in the future.

I hope to be able to appoint the individual or the firm in the next week or two at the very most so they can get under way. I indicated to the board I would hope to have a report to it by September.

I can assure the member the report will go to the board, which is a publicly elected group, elected, that is, by the membership of the corporation. Once the board has had a chance to see the report, and we have had a chance to see it and to consider a response, I will be glad to ensure it is made public.

Mr. Foulds: I must say I appreciate the minister's answer. Can he assure us that the report, after it has been properly considered by the board and by the ministry, will not be unduly delayed in being made public? If I may editorialize for a moment, I am sure the minister would agree with me it is a matter of establishing, as soon as possible, confidence in the competence of McKellar General Hospital. It would be a very healthy thing to do that as openly and as quickly as can reasonably be expected.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I would concur with that. Let me say at the outset that I think McKellar is basically a good hospital. I am not for a moment questioning the quality of care or whatever. It has run into some problems. It is not -- I think the member used the word -- extraordinary, or something like that, to appoint an inspector. As a matter of fact, recently I appointed an inspector at the Kingston General Hospital to look at some problems there. Of course, with the Toronto East General Hospital I went further than that and appointed a full inquiry. From time to time it is necessary to assist in straightening out some problems. It is not extraordinary, but it does not happen every day either.

Mr. Foulds: Three out of how many?

Hon Mr. Timbrell: About 235 or 240. But I agree it should not be delayed unduly because, in my view, it is basically a good hospital. The intent of appointing the inspector is to assist the hospital in resolving current difficulties, in order to satisfy the people of Thunder Bay that all is well.


Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, my question is about phoney invoices and useless directories. I would like to ask the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations what he can do to stop the duping of business people by firms sending out invoices that are not really invoices? They do have a disclaimer on them which I suppose makes them somewhat legal, but they do fool a great many people.

Could the minister make regulations that a wording on a diagonal basis be placed across the face of these invoices, as on specimen cheques, that would stop the abuse of this practice? I will send this over to the minister.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Is this the Intra Canada Telecommunications one? There seems to be a surfeit of these floating around, and they are a totally useless thing to participate in. They do contain a disclaimer and, looking at the one the member has sent over here, the Intra Canada Telecommunications one, it has French on it. There is a big battle over whether the English or the French should be first. At least now the Intra Canada Telecommunications ones contain a rather prominently displayed disclaimer. It says: "This is a solicitation for services and not a bill, invoice or statement of account due. You are under no obligation to make any payment on account of this offer, unless you accept this offer."

Of course, it is made to look like a bill, and I appreciate that, but it is phoney from the invoice point of view. It certainly is the kind of thing that none of us is comfortable about. We do not have any law within Ontario that would be contravened by this matter. Consequently, we have no way of attacking it other than to register complaints. We have been registering our complaints with the federal government, particularly with the Post Office and with the Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs.

The Honourable Mr. Ouellet in Ottawa is looking at this matter and attempting to resolve it. They are making use of the Post Office, and they have been shut down for a while for contravening the Post Office Act, so that is one way of attacking it. We have been trying to employ the federal Post Office Act as much as we could to shut this kind of thing off.

10:50 a.m.

On the other hand, if a recipient of these were to look at this -- a secretary in a business corporation, for example; in this case it would be a business, of course, and a corporation is not covered under any of our acts -- we think that he or she should look a little closer at it and conclude that it should not be paid.

There is no question that the disclaimer on it is sufficiently large to make anyone aware of the fact that it is not an invoice. The problem comes when someone is rather sloppy. One might glance at it and send off a cheque -- in this case for $70.20.

The member for Sarnia (Mr. Brandt) brought this matter to my attention yesterday. We have had a number of these in. Frankly, we are very unhappy with the fact that these are continuing. We are arguing with Mr. Ouellet and with the post office department that these things should be shut down.

Mr. Breithaupt: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: What are the prospects for dealing with this matter by suggesting some amendments to the Criminal Code? While I realize that caveat emptor applies to a certain extent here and that one should read these invoices, it seems clear this is really part of a fraudulent venture. Might it be of some use to consider recommending those matters as Criminal Code matters as well as attempting to deal with their dissemination through the Post Office regulations?

Hon. Mr. Walker: I appreciate the member's suggestion. In light of it I will send copies of this to the Attorney General, ask if it is possible that these matters contravene the Criminal Code and, if they do, whether any prosecutions can proceed. On the other hand, some amendment to the Criminal Code may be required in order to allow these to come within the purview of the act.

Mr. Bradley: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations for Ontario prepared to intervene with this company personally or through his department to suggest that his ministry is dissatisfied with this? Even though he may not at present have the legal right to prevent it from happening, would he not feel it would be useful for him or the business practices division of his ministry to approach the principals of this company to let them know that he disapproves of this and wishes it to be discontinued?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, we have been fighting with them for years on just this very thing, and we have been unable to do anything about it. Does the member realize that the act we have protects consumers but does not protect corporations, that it is not meant to do so and is designed in a totally different way? We do not have a law against which this can be applied.

I will say, though, that we have had continuous arguments with the people who operate this company. The member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan) has sent over an invoice that was dated April 7, 1980, I believe. If the member were to compare it with the one I have in my hand, dated April 1981, he would see that there is a difference in the wording. The one dated 1980 was worded in such a way that the French occurred first and the English disclaimer was buried in the centre of the French; and of course it was lost on probably 90 to 95 per cent of the recipients because of the way it was buried and hidden. Truly it was a ruse; truly it bordered on the fraudulent and may indeed have encroached further on it.

So the former minister, my colleague beside me, has made some strong overtures, and at least there has been a change in the disclaimer such that the more recent disclaimer I have in my hand would show anyone that it was not a bill if only he took the time to read it. The problem comes when the secretary receiving the invoice does not read what it says and simply sends on the $78 to pay for this phoney invoice, which of course is what it is. So some progress has been made in wording, but that is all.


Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour. Since the minister has on three occasions cancelled meetings arranged with the International Coalition to End Domestics' Exploitation and the Ottawa-Carleton Immigrant Services Organization, will the minister show that he is not just interested in this group of workers before an election and set a firm date and an early date to discuss with these groups the gross inadequacies of the regulations brought in on January 1, 1981, for domestic workers?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, if the implication there is that I am refusing to meet with Intercede, the member knows full well that is inaccurate and a gross distortion. She knows very well, as Mrs. Gregory, the chairman of Intercede knows, that a subsequent obligation came along that took priority and I simply said I would have to postpone the meetings. I am sorry that it happened on two or three occasions but that is something I have to accept in terms of my priorities. I cannot accept the member's criticism that there are gross inadequacies in the Legislation. I think it is progressive legislation and we are proud of it.

Ms. Bryden: I understand the group was told it could not have a meeting until the session was over and that may be quite some time. They have been trying since January. I would like to point out, as far as the gross inadequacies go, that these regulations govern only time off and do not govern time on, as is done in most legislation. As a result, a domestic could be required to work or be on call for 132 hours a week for a minimum wage of $132, or $1 an hour.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, again let me just reiterate, there is no problem with arrangements on my part to meet with Intercede, but if the member is saying that I do not have scheduling problems during the sitting of the session, I have to tell her, she is wrong and I would be pleased to discuss it with her at any time. With regard to the regulations that were promulgated in January -- and I know the member may not accept this approach -- but this government feels it has an obligation to ensure retention of employment possibilities in society, so we approached the issue of domestic regulations in a different way from average minimum wage concept.

First of all, we felt it was necessary to limit the amount of bookkeeping and record keeping that was necessary for householders because I have to tell the member, a householder can't sit there with a time clock checking who has worked what hours and for what period of time during each day. That is just an impossibility, so there had to be another approach.

Secondly, the issue of the remuneration for domestic services had to be looked at differently. We did not look at the lowest wage that was paid, we looked at what the marketplace was paying on average. Therefore, it was a completely different approach. Finally, again, in an endeavour to try to minimize the bookkeeping efforts and ensure the continuity of employment and the availability of employment for domestics, we felt we should ensure that there was certain time off.

I tell the member quite sincerely there is no problem in domestics finding alternative employment. An investigative reporter who looked into this matter in January -- the member will recall the article well because I know her sincere interest in this problem -- had it confirmed that if hours of work were not satisfactory, it was very easy to find alternative employment.

Ms. Copps: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: If this legislation is so progressive why is it that from the $132 guaranteed a week we deduct $50 for room and board? Why has Ontario not seen fit to follow the progressive legislation established in Quebec which does set a maximum of 55 hours a week worked?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, first of all, if the member is suggesting that there should not be a deduction for room and board, I think that is a pretty unusual concept. The amount is right in line with deductions for room and board in other settings and I would remind her that it does not say --

Mr. Cassidy: Then make the pay comparable to other settings.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I do not care what the member thinks. I am telling her the facts. It does not say it shall be $50, it says up to $50. Let me assure the member that if the room is not being used for the full time, if meals are not being served, then the amount deducted is not $50. I do not happen to agree that Quebec's legislation is more progressive than ours. I think ours, as usual, is progressive and practical.


Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. The government has done a role study of the Queen Street Mental Health Centre and paid in excess of $100,000 to McKinsey and Company in 1978. Why has it contracted yet another role study of Queen Street, this time by Peat Marwick and Partners, for a sum considerably in excess of $100,000? Is the enriching of business consultant firms doing redundant studies in the best interests of the taxpayer?

11 a.m.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: No, Mr. Speaker. In fact the study done three years ago was very helpful at that time. Questions have been raised by a number of people, the member included, about some of the aspects of the organization of Queen Street Mental Health Centre. An example is the open-door policy which is something that member is opposed to. He wants them all locked up and everybody put in chains.

The fact is there are a number of current questions about the organization of Queen Street -- the programming, whether it should continue to be on geographic services and if not how they should be organized. I will be glad to supply the member with the terms of reference of this study. We will get into a number of different areas than the earlier study did. It looked at all of Metro really, and the catchment areas of the then three psychiatric hospitals.

Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the minister has read this document. The role study is concerned to a very great degree with the Queen Street Mental Health Centre's relationship to and service delivery in the community. Despite this focus this study does not specifically plan to meet with any community group. Further, it indicates they intend to rely on the Queen Street Mental Health Centre staff for information about the community and its needs. How can the minister expect anyone of sound mind to take this study seriously, to accept it as a genuine attempt to gather useful information, rather than a thinly-disguised and very costly ploy to justify governmental prejudices and foist them on an unsuspecting community?

The minister should realize communication is necessary between the community and the hospital. Is he willing to look at this study and tell the Queen Street Mental Health Centre to get in with the community groups and discuss the relationship on that basis?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I think we are now talking about two different things, Mr. Speaker. A role study, whether for Queen Street or any other health facility, is a different matter than the question of community relations. I agree there is certainly room for improvement in the relationship of the Queen Street Mental Health Centre to the community around it. There is no question about that. In fact the matter was drawn to my attention by the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan).

A meeting is coming up next week where some of the local community groups want to talk about the open-door policy. Apparently they have not been successful in getting anyone from the branch to attend. I have sent instructions that people are to attend because I agree there is a need for improvement there. Out of that will come a better understanding of what the policies really are, why they exist and what goes on there. Over the years I have repeatedly urged the public to visit the psychiatric facility so they will know what goes on there and there is not this continuing fear of the unknown and total misunderstanding of what psychiatric programs are and what they are intended to do.


Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, on Thursday you told this House that claims made by certain membesr of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union were a pack of lies and that they were done to acquit grudges. I understand those statements were made without getting the other side of the story, without speaking with representatives of OPSEU.

I would ask that you come back to this House with a full report of the situation, taking into account both sides of the story with respect to the Ontario Government Protective Service's problem and the Ontario Provincial Police problem.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, as a member of the assembly I feel my privileges were abused by the association of your office with the report you read into the record yesterday. I have had an opportunity to read the Hansard for yesterday in order that I could fully understand what has been said.

I want to say to you, Mr. Speaker, that I believe my privileges have been abused in two respects. One is by the association of your office with the statement in the first place, but particularly by your association with the unrestrained and unguarded language of that report questioning the veracity of members of your staff in a matter which you, sir, should have known would be a matter of grievance under the agreement covering those workers and, indeed, protecting them.

Mr. Speaker: Thank you very much. For the information of all members, I did not make the statement. I read from a memo I had. I have asked for a full report on this incident, and I will make it available to all the honourable members as soon as I have it available.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: Do you realize that by reading a statement into the record, where there is a grievance, that what these people had said was a pack of lies, you have in effect found them guilty before they have had the grievance procedure proceeded with? What you have done is a grave disservice to those employees, regardless of the facts of the case as they finally come out. I think it raises serious questions as to your impartiality as Speaker of this House.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, if I might speak to this point: I think the essential point that concerns members of the Legislature is that your office be seen to be a fair and even-handed one. In this case, you read into the record a report as if it were gospel when it represented only, if I may say so, one investigation of the problem. You have now assured us you will give members a copy of a full report. I think you have the duty to inform members how you intend to go about accumulating and putting together that report so it is indeed a full and fair report.

Mr. Speaker: For the information of all members, that memo was read into the record as a result of a question that was asked. I had no prior knowledge of it. I have no knowledge of the incident per se. I have asked, as I say, for a full report on the matter.

Before proceeding with the routine proceedings, I wish to draw the honourable members' attention to a group of distinguished visitors in the Speaker's gallery, representing the Canada study tour of the British Atlantic Group of Young Politicians. I ask the House to join with me in welcoming them.



Mr. Pollock: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition from the North Hastings Action Committee. It has 2,958 names on it and it protests the dumping of nuclear contaminated soil in North Hastings. This is a result of a meeting held last night in the North Hastings Senior Elementary School and attended by some 400 people.

They voiced their disapproval of Ontario not doing everything possible to prevent this nuclear-contaminated soil coming into their particular area. They also said the mine was not zoned as a dump and, therefore, it was violating zoning bylaws. I present you, Mr. Speaker, with this petition and ask you to direct it to the Ministry of the Environment.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, before we proceed, is it not normal to read the wording of the petition into the record before it is submitted so that the members know the intention of the petition and who it is addressed to? I certainly sympathize with the honourable member. I am sure he will now agree that we in northern Ontario have reason for concern about the high level of nuclear waste the government intends to clump in our backyard.

11:10 a.m.

Mr. Speaker: That has been the practice, but I do not think there is any requirement. It is at the discretion of the honourable member. He did say the petition was registering disapproval of the decision.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, is it a requirement that it be addressed to the Lieutenant Governor in Council?

Mr. Speaker: That is right. That is normally the preamble which is read out.


Mr. Philip: I will read mine, Mr. Speaker.

This is a petition signed at a meeting by a group of people who had suffered from having urea-formaldehyde foam insulation. There are 253 signatures. It is addressed to the Lieutenant Governor and the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. It states as follows:

"We, the undersigned, express deep concern at the health hazards, economic loss and structural dangers to owners and occupants of homes insulated with urea-formaldehyde foam and humbly pray that you and your honourable House may take immediate steps to:

"1. identify all housing units in Ontario that are insulated with urea-formaldehyde foam;

"2. make periodic tests for urea formaldehyde gas in all such homes, record any health symptoms experienced by occupants exposed to the gas and issue instructions to the victims as to the steps they should take to protect their health and equity in their homes; and

"3. work with the federal government in producing a plan to remove urea-formaldehyde foam insulation from all homes at no cost to the owner."

I table that petition, Mr. Speaker.



Mr. Swart moved, seconded by Ms. Bryden, first reading of Bill 111, An Act to amend the Election Act.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of this bill is to provide that the time references in the act are references to the current time system and that the polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., whether on standard or daylight saving time.

The second part of the bill broadens the use of the proxy vote. After the writs have been issued, any person who is entitled to be on the list of voters and expects to be absent from his polling subdivision during the election period, including the advance polls and polling day, is entitled to a proxy vote.


Mr. Mackenzie moved, seconded by Mr. Charlton, first reading of Bill 112, An Act to amend the Workmen's Compensation Act.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, the purpose of the bill is to protect the employment rights of an employee who is entitled to compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act.

The bill prohibits an employer from terminating the employment of an employee who becomes entitled to compensation under the act for a period of one year following the date on which the employee became entitled to compensation unless the termination is authorized under the terms of a collective agreement or the termination is approved by the Workmen's Compensation Board.

It is designed to stop the insidious practice, which now is going on at an increasing rate, of employees being injured on the job, particularly when they have had only two or three months' employment and, a week after they are injured and home on workmen's compensation, getting a notice from the company that their employment has been terminated.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day, I wish to table the answer to questions 100 and 101 standing on the Notice Paper. [See appendix, page 1558.]



The following bills were given third reading on motion:

Bill 48, An Act respecting Massey-Ferguson Limited;

Bill 76, An Act to amend the Tobacco Tax Act;

Bill 81, An Act to amend the Racetrack Tax Act.


Mr. Williams moved second reading of Bill Pr1, an Act to revive Mildove Mining Company Limited.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Renwick moved second reading of Bill Pr2, An Act respecting the City of Toronto.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Breithaupt moved second reading of Bill Pr3, An Act to revive Sioux Petroleums Limited.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Robinson moved second reading of Bill Pr5, An Act to revive Stacey's Custom Upholstery Limited.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Brandt moved second reading of Bill Pr6, An act respecting the county of Lambton.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Newman moved second reading of Bill Pr7, An Act respecting the City of Windsor.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Newman: Mr. Speaker, I suggest that it be sent to the committee of the whole House.

Ordered for committee of the whole House.


Mr. Nixon, on behalf of Mr. Sweeney, moved second reading of Bill Pr10, An Act to incorporate London Baptist Bible College and London Baptist Seminary.

Motion agreed to.

11:20 a.m.

Clerk of the House: The twentieth order, resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 69, An Act to amend the Ontario Unconditional Grants Act, 1975.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: I wish to ask the government House leader if it would be possible, with the consent of the House, to call Bill Pr2, An Act respecting the City of Toronto, for third reading.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes, Mr. Speaker, that would be agreeable to me. I would be agreeable to doing all the private bills for third reading. I had assumed we would do that, but they were not called or put for third reading. I would be glad to go back over them and do third readings. Let us start with Bill Pr1.


The following bills were given third reading on motion:

Bill Pr1, An Act to revive Mildove Mining Company Limited;

Bill Pr2, An Act respecting the City of Toronto;

Bill Pr3, An Act to revive Sioux Petroleums Limited;

Bill Pr5, An Act to revive Stacey's Custom Upholstery Limited;

Bill Pr6, An Act respecting the County of Lambton;

Bill Pr10, An Act to incorporate London Baptist Bible College and London Baptist Seminary.

Ms. Fish: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I am sorry I was not listening sufficiently carefully to the readings, but did I hear third reading of the fifty-eighth order, Bill Pr7, An Act respecting the City of Windsor?

Mr. Speaker: No. It was referred to the committee of the whole House.

Ms. Fish: Thank you.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I rise with some concern to raise a question of privilege with respect to the report in the Toronto Star today on yesterday's events.

The Toronto Star quotes you, Mr. Speaker. I will read the passage and ask if you can give us some explanation of exactly what this means, because it raises very disturbing implications in terms of the way that the chair is carrying out its obligations.

It quotes you in a couple of comments about the day and says:

"He knew from the standing orders" -- that is you, Mr. Speaker -- "that when he 'named' Smith, which means to throw him out, that it was not debatable and that no vote was needed."

It goes on to say, "'Calling the vote was a deliberate mistake,' he said."

If I can go back to the events of yesterday, Mr. Speaker, after you had named the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Smith) and the Sergeant at Arms was about to escort him from the chamber, the decision to name the Leader of the Opposition was challenged from this side of the House, by the NDP and by the Liberal House leader. At that point you said, "Call in the members", and we then proceeded to prepare for a vote.

It says here that calling the vote -- and I presume there was that action at that time -- was a deliberate mistake. The thing that concerns me in particular is your suggestion that it was a deliberate mistake. In other words, agreeing to call in the members at that time on the challenge to your ruling was something that was deliberately flouting the rules of the Legislature, because it was your opinion that no such vote could be held on the naming of a member.

I am concerned about that because, if you were saying that from time to time, in exercising your duties, you intend to deliberately break the rules of the Legislature, then it puts this chamber in an impossible situation. Not only will we not know what the rules of order are, but also we will not know when you make rulings whether those rulings are in order or whether they are deliberately flouting or breaking the rules of the Legislature. Frankly, we in this party count on you, as Speaker, to uphold the rules of the Legislature, and not to break them.

I would appreciate knowing whether the quotation is accurate. I would also appreciate having some explanation of just what you meant by the quotation and how you intend to apply the rules of the House in the future.

Mr. Speaker: Order. I have not had the opportunity or the benefit of seeing the article. I shall take a look at it and make a report.

The twentieth order has been called.


Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 69, an Act to amend the Ontario Unconditional Grants Act, 1975.

Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, I just want to make a few remarks. I know the member for Windsor-Walkerville (Mr. Newman) rose in his place, as he does each year and will continue to do each year until we in Windsor get some justice from the government on these grants, and he spoke at some length regarding the problems we face in our community.

I want to add my voice to the debate and to make a few points in the hope that the minister and his parliamentary assistant (Mr. Rotenberg), who introduced this legislation last night for second reading, will take note and perhaps make the changes.

Let me start out, since I have some of the materials at hand, with the matter of the police grants. As the members know, the grant for municipalities was increased this year, and is increased by this bill, by some $2 to a total of $12 per capita, under section 2 of the bill. But the grants for regional municipalities are also increased by $2; so the inequity of $5 remains.

I say it is an inequity because, while it has been argued that regional municipalities have special concerns, surely border municipalities have equally special concerns and, in fact, may have greater concerns. I speak not only of the city where I live but also of the area represented by the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) and the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) in our party. That area has the same kinds of concerns, and yet the government goes on and on refusing to recognize the unique nature of those concerns.

I might add that the government has made some claim that in increasing the grants by $2 across the board it has given generous amounts of new money. I say to the government that perhaps it should be talking to the municipalities a little more and finding out what their problems are. The municipality I live in will have police costs this year of well over $12 million, and the paltry sum of $240,000 in additional grants will not go very far.

11:30 a.m.

I ask the government again to look at its truly discriminatory policies, which the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) spoke about at some length last night, and to make changes to bring the grants up to an equal footing so that any number of municipalities in Ontario, such as Windsor and Ottawa, are placed on an equal footing with the regional municipalities.

There is simply no excuse for the disparity in grants to continue. Were the grants brought up to an equal footing of $17 per capita, there would not be a disparity that this year will cost the city of Windsor some $1 million.

I note with interest that the member for Sarnia (Mr. Brandt) is in his seat this morning. I do so because, when it comes to resource equalization, the member for Sarnia will be something of an expert since he has joined the members for this area in their concern over the amount by which we literally have been ripped off by the government over many years.

Now that he is on the government side, I hope we can expect great things and the inequities we have faced for so long will finally change. However, so far the member for Sarnia appears to be more interested in toeing the line than in bringing justice to our community and to his community.

I know the member for Windsor-Walkerville spoke at some length last night. I want to remind the parliamentary assistant that the chronology of these events goes back to the days when he held forth in the council of the city of Toronto. It goes back to October 30, 1973 -- we have been waiting eight years for this promise to be kept -- when we first raised with the then Treasurer, the former member for Chatham-Kent, Mr. McKeough, that we were being shortchanged.

At that time we caught on because London's equalization payments exceeded those of Windsor by some $2 million in spite of the fact that the populations were nearly the same. Somehow they had come up with a calculation that London was a less wealthy city than Windsor.

I suppose for us the watershed came in a letter to the member for Windsor-Walkerville from the former Treasurer on August 8, 1977. I want to read it into the record one more time so that perhaps the government will take a look at the letter and begin to understand we are not asking for something that is not our due.

He said, "It is a well-known fact that the existing system of equalization factors for adjusting assessment leaves something to be desired" -- we all know that -- "and that some changes are under way." He said, "I agree further that there is a particular problem in connection with the city of Windsor."

While there may be a particular problem, some $40 million later we have had no simple justice, we have had no relief and we still stand very short on services.

It is our concern that, should this shortchanging of Windsor continue, some of the labour problems now present in Windsor and some of the problems of continuing delays in capital works will continue. Indeed, the problem, which places our city well behind the national average in such things as park land for its citizens and other amenities, will continue.

The community is already straining the taxpayers to the limit. We are one of the highest-taxed municipalities, and we simply cannot cope with the ridiculous situation where our taxpayers are being shortchanged and are being overtaxed on an average assessment this year to the tune of some $80 per home.

I want to read into the record part of a letter written to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) by Mayor Weeks of Windsor on April 8 of this year as well as some of the response that was sent. The letter reads:

"Dear Tom: May I gratefully acknowledge the special $209,000 loss-of-tax-revenue grant which was received here on April 6. This remittance was especially welcome in view of both the very difficult circumstances we have been experiencing and the concern and uncertainty over this year's resource equalization grants.

"As you know, the city of Windsor has been a major victim of an inequitable REG formula. In fact, there have been some years where we were deprived of any grant at all, although the ad hoc payments in 1979 and 1980 partially alleviated that situation and approached about 50 per cent of the grant level to which we might otherwise have been entitled.

"Now, finally, a more equitable formula has emerged only to find Windsor still on the short end of the stick because of the 1979 market value equalization factor. This has come about as a result of the great expectations for the auto industry, which, as we all know too well, grossly inflated the 1979 Windsor real estate market.

"Instead, as we know only too well, the auto industry is experiencing the worst slump in its history, and by early 1980 real estate prices accurately reflected that decline. In fact, values are even now lower than before the 1979 boom started, as Windsor continues to grapple with economic distress and the highest rate of unemployment in all of Canada.

"All of this could mean another unreasonably low grant for 1981 and again in 1982." Indeed, that is coming to pass; we will get some $4 million instead of the $8.2 million that is rightfully owing to us.

To continue with Mayor Weeks's letter: "Needless to say, this prospect is extremely disturbing, and in view of the circumstances I would hope that your statement that a municipality's equalized assessment for municipal apportionment purposes would not be allowed to increase or decrease by more than five per cent will apply instead, because if the same criterion is followed in limiting the equalization factor this year, we will benefit to the extent of some $8.5 million.

"We would greatly appreciate a meeting to review this matter with you at the earliest opportunity. Other than the economic distress already touched on, which has helped cause substantially increased welfare costs, et cetera, the REG can have considerable bearing on our 1981 tax levy. Windsor taxes, as you know, are among the highest in the province, and will increase this year by a minimum of 10 per cent. That figure could be even higher unless a reasonable decision can be arrived at to protect our taxpayers from further grant losses. Thus, I will look forward to your early response."

Three weeks later the mayor of Windsor received a response. In the response, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs did indicate that the ad hoc grants paid in 1980 would not be reduced, and that as a result we would get some $4 million again this year. Unfortunately, given the fact that he is now the minister in a majority government, the minister found that he would have no time even to entertain a delegation from my community to come down and explain its point of view and its concern.

I find that rather distressing, since Windsor is one of the largest municipalities in all of Ontario. One would have thought the minister could at least have found an hour or two out of his busy schedule to hear the submissions from the city of Windsor. So, unfortunately, as the member for Windsor-Walkerville knows, there will be no annual pilgrimage this year because, had they arrived in Toronto, the pilgrims would have found the minister was too busy to receive them. So it often appears to go with this government.

I say to the parliamentary assistant, the member for Wilson Heights (Mr. Rotenberg), that we for our part would appreciate it if that request were reconsidered and if at least a hearing were given to the city. We hope some assistance will be given to the city of Windsor and to all the other municipalities on the very inequitable matter of the police grants. We hope that over time -- sooner rather than later, because it has been some eight years, we are some $40 million short now and the deficit is growing by several million dollars each year, and as it grows our capital works projects remain uncompleted -- we will finally get some justice in ending the shortchanging on resource equalization grants.

11:40 a.m.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, in rising to speak on this bill I recognize there is nothing more complex than the formula for municipal grants in this province -- or the division of levies between municipalities and either regional government or a county.

I was intrigued by the fact the parliamentary assistant, the member for Wilson Heights, who was in municipal life for many years, read all his opening comments. I would like to think it was not because he did not fully understand all the aspects of this bill, but I will not attribute that to him. With his years in municipal life he probably does understand it fully. If he does, he must realize the damage that is being done to the municipalities and particularly the police forces with the inadequacy of the assistance being given to them.

My colleague the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) pointed out that many of the sections of this bill are really housekeeping. I would commend the parliamentary assistant for having brought in those housekeeping measures. They make the administration easier, bring many aspects of the grant system a bit more up to date and eliminate some of the delays that have been prevalent. But there are two important sections that are so inadequate this party cannot support the bill before us at the present time.

I am very disappointed the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Piché) is not here today because I know a few days ago he had a very real desire to get into the debate on the Gasoline Tax Act but was kept from doing so. He knew it was going to hurt the residents of northern Ontario. Even last evening one could see he was very agitated about this bill and just could not wait to get on his feet to point out its shortcomings.

The two clauses we object to are the most important clauses in the bill. One is the low grants for the police -- they are wholly inadequate. That is the only way one can describe them. They are far below the grants given by almost every other jurisdiction throughout the democratic world for the operation of police forces. The sad part is they have been dropping pretty substantially. I would hope the parliamentary assistant will listen to these figures after he gets some very excellent advice from my colleague the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds).

That same parliamentary assistant was a member of the municipal liaison committee which used to meet with this government. I can recall him taking the government to task for the inadequacy of the grants that are being given to municipalities. He is knowledgeable about municipal affairs from his years on the liaison committee and his statements are on record. He got to be chairman of that committee, I believe.

Mr. Rotenberg: No.

Mr. Swart: No? It is as tough getting to be chairman there as it is getting into the cabinet here, is it not?

However, he was involved in the municipal organization and very strongly put forward the municipal viewpoint that the grants were very inadequate. They have been getting much worse since this gentleman has been in the House. I presume, therefore, that if he really takes a good look at this bill, he will want to take it back and revise those sections so that the municipalities get a fair deal and this party is not forced to vote against the bill when the vote finally comes.

Let me give an example of what has happened in the Niagara region, Mr. Speaker. In 1977, which of course was the previous election year and the year the grants were raised the last time -- obviously just a coincidence, Mr. Speaker; you would recognize that -- the total expenditure on a police force for the Niagara region was about $16 million, of which they received approximately $5,550,000 from the provincial government by way of an unconditional grant. In 1978 their expenditures went up to $17,804,000 and their grants went up by $50,000. In 1979 their expenditures went up to $19 million and the grants went up by another $20,000. In 1980 their expenditures went up to $21,400,000 and their grants went up another $8,000 that year. In 1981 they are going to spend somewhere between $24 million and $26 million, and the grants, because this again was an election year, have this year gone up about $750,000.

This means -- and I am sure this is typical of the municipalities throughout this province -- that while the costs of policing in Niagara have increased by $10 million, from $16 million to $26 million, which is 66 per cent, the assistance provided by this provincial government has gone up $830,000 or 15 per cent. While costs have gone up 66 per cent, grants have gone up 15 per cent.

At the present time in a place like the region of Niagara more than 55 per cent of the total municipal taxes levied by the regional municipality of Niagara have to go to the police forces. I say to the minister that it was inadequate when the parliamentary assistant was in municipal government, but since he has been a member of the Legislature for the party represented by that government, it has become much worse. I guess that has to prove one thing or the other, does it not? Either he was insincere before or he is insincere and has no clout now to get that situation corrected.

Surely if in those days municipalities were shortchanged on provincial grants, it is much worse at the present time. Although that is bad enough, the facts are that municipalities that do not happen to be in regions -- or separated cities and towns -- are getting far less in grants. As the member knows, they only get about 70 per cent as much as the regional municipalities.

Once again, the honourable member knows that the municipal associations have been demanding equality in these grants. He knows that these larger grants, inadequate as they are, were given in the first place to regional municipalities to encourage them to get into policing and also to kind of sweeten the bad image that regional municipalities have across the province. The government has not formed any regional governments for many years. Why does it not now take the very obvious and the very fair step of bringing the grants which those separated towns and cities receive for policing up to at least the same level as the grants that are being paid to the regional municipalities?

I have a resolution here passed by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. The parliamentary assistant remembers that organization, does he not? He was a member and a major spokesman for it. The resolution of the 1978 annual conference reads: "Therefore, be it resolved that the provincial government be petitioned to treat all municipalities alike with regard to financial support of the municipal police."

Does the member no longer agree with that? He agreed with it when he was there. What is his answer to it now? I hope he will speak about that when he gets up to reply to the speakers who have taken part in this debate.

11:50 a.m.

There is another sad thing about this. It is generally the smaller and poorer municipalities, the ones that may have their own small police force or the ones that have contracts with the Ontario Provincial Police, the ones that can least afford it, that are getting the lower grants. As if that is not enough, section 7 of the act provides that under equalization payments the government is going to limit the amount of money the poorer municipalities will get.

The parliamentary assistant knows the present act provides that municipalities get an equalization of up to 60 per cent of the amount of their deficit. That is in section 9 of the act. He also knows that section 9 of the act says the amount of the grants shall be based "in a manner and subject to such limits as maybe prescribed." An average assessment per capita is set throughout the whole province, an average wealth for municipalities. The government says the tax-raising ability of the poorer municipalities should be brought up through these resource equalization grants -- there is no argument about that -- although they should only be brought up to 60 per cent of the deficit.

The harshest and most unfair aspect of this is the fact that the government sets limits. The municipalities may only get up to 25 per cent of the amount of their tax levy, so the poorest municipalities have a set limit. They only get that certain limit and have to raise the rest from the local taxpayers, who are generally the poorer taxpayers because their assessment is low in the municipality.

I know my colleague from northern Ontario will speak on this. The harshest application is in northern Ontario and in the poorer municipalities throughout this province where the assessment per capita is lower.

Do the members know what this limitation, this reduction of the percentage of assistance to municipalities generally, does? It means more must be raised out of the local taxes. We all know the property tax is not based primarily on the ability to pay. Some modifications have been made that have reduced to some extent the regressiveness of the municipal tax, but it is still substantially regressive. In a society on a restraint program, where those with lower incomes are already being hurt the most, we should not add this kind of burden to those low-income earners. This government is to be rightly condemned for that.

This party is going to move an amendment to take out the words "in a manner and subject to such limits as may be prescribed," and all the back-bench members opposite, particularly the ones from the north and the parliamentary assistant, will have an opportunity to determine exactly where they stand on these issues. If the assessment per capita is low and the municipality is entitled to that by any reasonable formula, the government is not going to cut it off at some artificial level. We already know there is going to be an amendment put by the other opposition party to put all municipalities on the same basis.

We are going to vote against this bill on second reading because it increases injustice in our society. After it is passed by the majority on the other side of the House, we will be moving these amendments to try to put a greater degree of fairness into the bill.

Mr. G. W. Taylor: I shall be very brief, Mr. Speaker. I would like to bring to this House, this Legislature, the parliamentary assistant, the ministry and particularly to those people who prepare these formulas, some of the feelings of the communities in my riding of Simcoe Centre, and in particular those of the elected representatives as expressed to the ministry and this Legislature, in regard to the arranged formulas that bring about the unconditional per capita grants.

It will come as no surprise to the members of this Legislature that I will support this legislation when it comes time to vote. Notwithstanding that, I bring to the members the concerns that those elected representatives in my community have.

Yes, we try to put many ingredients into the formulas to arrive at some equitable way of disbursing the funds that are available to the province. But they are not always disbursed in a way that satisfies those receiving them when they compare their communities with others. I recognize it is a most difficult task to put together a formula that arrives at a very equitable distribution.

However, when I look at the community of Barrie and I go down the list -- I am using the 1979 figures for the municipality of Barrie and the unconditional per capita grants for municipalities of over 20,000 population -- I find it is ranked fifty-seventh among the communities in that category. I know the system is supposed to be based on how economically substantial the community is, but we all travel about the province and we all have an understanding of the wealth of the different communities just by looking at them when we pass through. The formula either reinforces that or it does not, according to how one looks at it.

When I look at the different communities that are ranked here -- the cities of Mississauga, Brampton, Markham, Oakville, North York, Toronto, Etobicoke, Newcastle -- I recognize that all those communities have a substantial population to service, but I see they also receive substantial sums of money.

Similarly, when I look at the unconditional grant system I see that Barrie is ranked last -- fifty-seventh -- and Guelph, Waterloo, Burlington, Mississauga, Brampton, Oakville, Pickering, Peterborough, Whitby, Stoney Creek, Ottawa, Kitchener, Etobicoke and Newcastle all receive far in excess of the sums of the municipality of Barrie. Yet if one were to travel through those communities one would see they are far wealthier, they are far more substantial and they have greater tax bases from which to draw funds to support their various programs. Yet the formula is devised to share that wealth, and sometimes it does not work the way it is devised.

I bring that to the attention of the parliamentary assistant and of the minister. They should review these formulas, review in this Legislature the concerns that the people of these communities have brought forth so that there can be some greater form of equity. Although the equalized assessment and the market value assessment try to bring about equity and fairness in the system, sometimes they achieve just the opposite. It is only natural that one community will look with envy at some of the dollars another community has. That we try to remove.

Sometimes I think a straightforward political dealing with some of these would be better than some of the formulas that are devised. One can say at times, "I could do better by arguing straight that we should have more money than some other community." But we have devised a formula and hope it works out. I am not particularly satisfied with the formula, nor are the people who represent the communities of Barrie and some of the others in my riding.

On the other point of per capita grants for regional police forces versus those municipalities whose police forces are not regional police forces, I too confirm the argument of the city of Barrie and other municipalities, which desire the same number of dollars to run their police forces as the regional ones have. We have passed the time when we could argue that these were startup costs and that there were more expenses involved in regard to regional forces.

I bring to the attention of the parliamentary assistant that he should argue more strenuously. We had an extensive debate in this House on the difference between the money supplied to the regional forces and that supplied to nonregional forces, and we had a resolution that those sums should be brought into line.

I put those arguments as briefly as I can to the parliamentary assistant and the people to whom he will be taking that information. I fully recognize that it is a very complicated situation, but even with its complexity it is not without a solution more equitable than that available at present.

12 noon

Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I want to speak briefly on the Ontario Unconditional Grants Amendment Act now before the House. My main concern is the difference in police grants, something that has been mentioned for some time around here and has been brought to the attention of the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) on a number of occasions. All he says with regard to the police grants is that he does not have the money, that the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) allocates the money.

It is very unfair. In the area I come from we have a large number of American visitors coming in by the port of entry at Windsor. It is pretty well the largest port of entry in Canada. We have many different areas where police have responsibilities much greater than those in many other cities and towns. We feel that is very unfair. It should be equalized to whatever the rate should be.

I heard someone say he did not want the region's money decreased, yet he wanted the other one increased. If there is going to be only so much money allocated for this, it should be done on an equal basis. If it is $12 and $17 now, perhaps it should be $15 or $16 for everybody. It should be done equally. If they do not have the money to make it $17 for everyone, then I think it should be equal. It would be fairer. I know some have not mentioned this, but I think it should be equalized. The amount of money should then be spread over all the municipalities' police forces and it should be paid equally whether it is a region or a municipality on its own.

Another matter is the unconditional grant structure for exceptional or extenuating circumstances with regard to the cost to the municipality.

One of my own municipalities is at the mouth of the Thames River. The Thames River water comes up as far as Mitchell and Stratford. We had a bad flood caused by flood waters in the spring. The main reason for this was that the ice could not get away into the lake, and this caused the water to back up.

The township of Tilbury North spent about $69,000 in extra expenditures because of this flood. The officials inform me they are not getting very far with assistance from the province in this matter. In that small municipality it would mean a mill rate increase of 14 mills this year to pick up that extra cost. We feel these things should be covered under all unconditional grants as exceptional expenditures for whatever reason.

I truly believe that if the conservation authorities, which are quite a large operation in Ontario, were carrying out the proper duties as they are supposed to be doing, they would be taking care of that kind of situation. I believe that is one of the areas conservation authorities were to cover when they were formed, but some have become more interested in buying property for parks instead of looking after flood control and conservation.

I think the bill is unfair with regard to police grants, and there has to be more leeway for municipalities that have exceptional expenditures in any particular year.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, first I want to extend a couple of thank-yous to people in the Legislature this morning in spite of the somnolence that seems to have overtaken us after the hyperactivity of yesterday. Things are proceeding apace, and I know the parliamentary assistant is anxious to get this bill completed and disposed of before the House adjourns. We see no real problem with that.

I also wish to thank the parliamentary assistant for turning a blind eye to a certain procedure earlier in the day so that my colleague the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) could speak on the bill. I certainly want to thank the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Wrye), who is now absent, unfortunately, for taking his turn to speak out of rotation so that I could meet some previous commitments and speak on the bill now.

There are a couple of basic points I want to make. First, I believe it is important in general terms that the municipalities be free from the apron-strings of Queen's Park as much as possible. That can only be done in terms of grants and money; that is, they need to have the basic financing to help free them from the servant- master relationship they now experience with Queen's Park.

I therefore oppose the extraordinary discretionary quality the minister has in this bill to determine what the grants should be. I believe the grants should be clearly spelled out in the legislation or, if not, at least in the regulation being presented at the same time as the legislation is brought forward. I think that is extremely important so the municipalities, and we in the Legislature, know precisely what the level will be.

If we are to get away from the idea that the municipalities are receiving handouts from the provincial government, which has been the bane of political life in Ontario for the last 40 years, I believe it is absolutely essential to ensure that they have a foundation of good financing. It is up to this government to come up with a basic municipal foundation plan for funding that is not so discretionary as it is at present, so that municipalities can have that.

It is not up to the Treasurer and the Minister of Revenue, or whoever, to go back, for example, on the Edmonton commitment, which would have been a good commitment and should have been fulfilled. It is because the provincial government found itself in a financial squeeze, as a result of its inability or unwillingness to find other forms of taxation, that the municipalities now are feeling the squeeze. I just wanted to make that general point.

The specific point I wish to speak on this morning has to do with police grants and has to do with my home town, my favourite municipality, the city of Thunder Bay.

As most members will recall, the two former cities of Port Arthur and Fort William were forced into an amalgamation, an amalgamation that perhaps would have been more naturally united if it had not been unduly forced at the time it was. There was just a bit of bad timing.

The then Minister of Municipal Affairs, Darcy McKeough, was not known as the world's greatest diplomat. He may have been a great showman -- in fact, there are even some of us on the opposition side who think he was not only a great showman but also a forceful personality and, from a rank Tory point of view, a pretty good Treasurer in comparison to some of the others we have seen. That is not high praise, but it is praise. Nevertheless, when it came to diplomacy, he was not the world's greatest.

The Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) has a much finer hand for diplomacy than does the honourable, or whatever, Darcy McKeough, the former Treasurer.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The honourable ex-Treasurer.

Mr. Foulds: Honourable ex-Treasurer. Not bad, I will accept that. As a matter of fact, it was getting a little too quiet in here. Let the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett), the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) and the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) have their interjections. They do not get the opportunity very often.

Usually, to be fair, it is the opposition members who interject and cabinet ministers who have to suffer that. Let them have their opportunity to interject. I do not begrudge them that. The parliamentary assistant might, because it means a delay in the processing of his bill. But I do not object.

12:10 p.m.

I want to speak about police grants as they have affected the city of Thunder Bay since its amalgamation, because I think there is no doubt that the city of Thunder Bay has got the shaft, the short end of the stick, has been underfunded in terms of police grants on two counts.

First, there were no startup grants for the new municipality as there were for regional municipalities. When Thunder Bay was amalgamated, it was amalgamated for the very same reasons that many areas in southern Ontario were formed into regional municipalities. I leave aside the argument of whether they were good reasons.

The city of Thunder Bay also undertook many of the responsibilities that were undertaken in southern Ontario by regional governments, particularly policing. The city of Thunder Bay in land terms is a very large municipality. For some 17 years that municipality has been underfunded for police grants -- and I speak only on that subject of police grants, although it has also been underfunded in not getting some accommodation for assuming some of the responsibilities that were seen as responsibilities of regional government.

If I may, because I have had correspondence with goodness knows how many ministers over the last number of years on the subject, I want to refer to two or three of those exchanges.

What happened in the city of Thunder Bay was that a large rural area, that was not either in Port Arthur or Fort William but was in the municipalities of Shuniah and Neebing, was taken in, or annexed if you like, to the city of Thunder Bay. Today they are considered rural wards; they are the wards of McIntyre and Neebing.

The municipality has had much correspondence with the government on the matter, because they are now facing the very real necessity of obtaining a new police headquarters. Of course, there is no funding for that. Not only do they need some more capital expenditure for a new police headquarters, but also they have been underfunded in terms of service. One would think that as a quid pro quo they could get at least one in view of the loss of the other.

I quote from a letter signed by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, dated March 25, 1980, to Mr. Morris, who was the clerk of the municipality of Thunder Bay:

"The initial grant in 1970 and the differential in the per capita unconditional police grant levels since 1972 have been based" -- this talks about the regional grant -- "on the provincial commitment to assist newly formed upper-tier regional forces deemed to be cities under the Police Act to finance very costly transitional situations."

I submit that Thunder Bay itself experienced those very costly transitional situations. I go on to quote:

"That other situations may have been similar in some respects to those faced by the regional forces does not alter the past statutory commitment of the province or the greater scale of the problems faced by the upper-tier regional forces coming into being than those faced even in the amalgamations such as that of Thunder Bay."

Maybe even granting the minister's argument there that the problems were not entirely the same, there is a reasonable argument for additional funding, and implied in the minister's statement is that there are problems faced by amalgamations like the city of Thunder Bay that deserve consideration. What he is arguing is that he cannot do it because of statutory limitations.

As we consider this bill, we have the opportunity to change those statutory obligations of the minister to take into account the special needs of a community such as Thunder Bay. It is not being done. I strongly urge the parliamentary assistant to accept or introduce amendments during the committee stage to remedy that situation.

In 1980, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs said: "I cannot therefore accept Thunder Bay's claim for funds to compensate for past deficiencies in payments made in the police component of the unconditional grant."

That implies there have been past deficiencies. He does not say "alleged past deficiencies" or "claimed past deficiencies." He says "past deficiencies in payments." He admits, as is clear in the case of Windsor, that there have been deficiencies in payments. I wish to goodness at some point -- and now is the opportunity, with this legislation before us -- the government would take action to remedy those past deficiencies.

In support of my argument I go on to quote from the minister's letter. He is passing briefly through the House; so his parliamentary assistant can continue with piloting this bill.

He wrote: "I do not wish to deny that there is evidence that the gap in police costs between regional municipalities maintaining upper-tier forces and other kinds of municipalities has been narrowing recently."

What he is saying is that obviously the lower-tier municipalities, the municipalities my colleagues and the members of the Liberal Party have been arguing about, deserve the same kind of grant as the upper-tier municipalities.

He wrote: "The province is aware of this growing concern among many municipalities and is reviewing the present differential in the police component of the unconditional grant. The necessary province-wide analysis is complex because of problems of cost comparison and will simply not be available in time for any changes in present funding arrangements until at least the end of 1980."

Well, 1980 has come and gone.

He continued: "You may be assured, however, that the needs of the city of Thunder Bay, in comparison to other municipalities, will certainly be taken into consideration in the current review of the police grant." As I understand this legislation, there has been no change in the police grant.

Mr. Rotenberg: Two dollars more.

Mr. Foulds: Two dollars; thanks a lot. What happened? Everybody gets it; so the past imbalance continues. I want to quote from a document that has been submitted to the ministry by the city of Thunder Bay. I think it was originally drawn up by the police commission and the police chief, T. R. Keep.

It is headed "Intensified Policing -- McIntyre and Neebing." It reads: "Prior to 1970, those municipalities were policed by the OPP. When they came into the municipality, that responsibility was undertaken by the city of Thunder Bay. Therefore, the citizens and the municipality of Thunder Bay relieved the province of the cost of that policing.

"The two rural areas of McIntyre and Neebing were policed previously by the Ontario Provincial Police on a demand-call basis without a systematic plan for around-the-clock patrol coverage. Following amalgamation, however, the mode of policing moved from one of policing according to demand (or crisis, if you like) to one of planned and systematic around-the-clock patrol coverage."

In short, the Thunder Bay police department accepted the responsibility of providing a mode of policing previously unknown to the residents of McIntyre and Neebing.

"The ramifications of this particular change ultimately included an increase in overall operating costs." They include a table, which I will refer to in a second.

What happened was that not only did the municipality relieve the province of the cost of policing but it also increased the service to the residents, which is surely one of the objects of the amalgamation and of regional government in the case of southern Ontario. People got increased service. Good for the city of Thunder Bay for providing it. It was safer for the residents of that urban area; even though it is a rural ward they get around-the-clock patrol service instead of on-demand calls.

12:20 p.m.

I will show the members what that meant in concrete terms for policing in Neebing and McIntyre. Before 1970, McIntyre had one man per shift on a demand-call basis, and that could be considered at the very outside as only three men. But the three men were not always in the ward. It was on a demand basis; they were not patrolling regularly.

In Neebing, it was one man per shift, and that equalled anywhere between one and four men, according to the figures I have. But once again there was no systematic patrol coverage, it was on a demand-call basis only.

From 1970, these wards have had a rough systematic around-the-clock coverage. In the McIntyre ward that means one man per shift; two extra men are required to fill in the lost time resulting from sick leave, compensation and vacation periods. This means a total of five men. In Neebing ward, similarly, a total of five men are required. So there has been an increase in the total man-hours required and a need to increase the staff.

I now want to read into the record the difference between the city rate and the regional rate that has been received by the city of Thunder Bay from 1972 to 1979 and to indicate the differential that has accumulated in those years. I do not have the 1980 figures, but I am sure the parliamentary assistant has them at his fingertips.

In 1972, with a population of 106,512, the city rate amounted to $186,400. The city rate was $1.75 at that time, the regional rate was $3.25 and the difference was $159,800. In 1973, when the city rate went up to $3 and the regional rate went up to $5, the difference was $213,100. In 1974, when the city rate was $5 and the regional rate $7, the difference was $215,500. In 1975, when the city rate was $8 and the regional rate was $12, the difference was $429,400. In 1976, the city rate was $8, the regional rate was $12, and the difference was $434,100. In 1977, the city rate was $10, the regional rate was $15, and the difference was $545,800. In 1978, the city rate was $10, the regional rate was $15, and the difference $549,800. In 1979, the city rate was $10, the regional rate was $15 and the difference was $549,800.

The total difference over those years was $3,097,300. To have lost even half of that -- if one wanted to get a figure between the city and regional rates for the municipality of Thunder Bay -- is to have suffered a considerable loss. I believe that this difference can no longer be tolerated; there is no excuse for it. Besides the per capita funding for the operational police grants so that cities like Thunder Bay receive their due, additional capital moneys are owing to the city of Thunder Bay so they can come forward now and build their new police headquarters.

I urge this very strongly on the parliamentary assistant and on my colleague the member for Hamilton Mountain (Mr. Charlton), who I know wishes to speak on this bill. I hope he will be in his place in a few minutes before I sit down so that he can speak on the bill briefly and the parliamentary assistant can complete it -- unless there is another speaker from the Liberal caucus who wishes to speak on the matter at this time -- so that we can proceed in an orderly manner.

I urge the parliamentary assistant not only to treat cities like Thunder Bay fairly in the operational grants that we are discussing today but also to persuade his minister, his patron, his boss, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, that Thunder Bay should get additional provincial moneys to the tune of $2 million to $3 million owing them for the capital expenditure necessary for the new police headquarters.

Where has my colleague disappeared to?

Mr. Grande: I am here.

Mr. Foulds: The member for Oakwood goes next; we do have a speaker. I thank you for your attention, Mr. Speaker, and for the attention of the parliamentary assistant.

Mr. Grande: Mr. Speaker, my comments are going to be very short. However, I want to put on the record yet again what I call the mistreatment, in terms of unconditional grants, of that area of Metropolitan Toronto where the parliamentary assistant happens to reside.

The parliamentary assistant knows full well, since supposedly he pays taxes in the borough of York -- I also pay taxes there -- that borough has the highest property taxes and mill rate in Metro. The Conservative candidate in the recent election campaign started out by saying there was no problem there but ended by saying, "Yes, there is a problem and we are trying to do something about it."

It probably comes as no surprise to the parliamentary assistant that I will be opposing this legislation. I am not going to do what the member for Simcoe Centre (Mr. G. W. Taylor) did. If I understood his remarks correctly, they were aimed at opposing this bill; yet at the very beginning he said he would be supporting it. I have never understood that kind of distorted logic on that side of the House. However, freedom of speech prevails in this Legislature.

The parliamentary assistant, the member for Wilson Heights, obviously represents a different area than the one in which he lives. The borough of York happens to have the highest property tax and mill rate in Metro; he knows that. That municipality happens to be the poorest in Metropolitan Toronto in terms of assessment; he knows that too. It has the lowest family income and the lowest income per capita in Metro; he should know that. The municipality has the highest unemployment problem; he should know that. It also has the highest percentage of senior citizens in Toronto; I hope he knows that.

On many occasions in this Legislature or in committee I have brought forward the needs of the borough to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. I say we must revamp the unconditional grant system for the municipalities that have a low assessment base. As a matter of fact, it has to be scrapped and a new system begun. I say that because we have a system that works now. The parliamentary assistant should know that the educational system works.

12:30 p.m.

We have a grant system in education in this province that begins from an equalized mill rate and gives provincial grants to municipalities according to the needs of those municipalities. It begins from a 60 per cent provincial grant. Over the years, this government has said that the split in education should be 60-40. Municipalities that have a very rich assessment will get 20 per cent in provincial grants, while municipalities that have a low assessment base will get up to 90 or 95 per cent in provincial grants.

If it works for educational purposes, I do not understand why it cannot work for municipal purposes as well. It would be a much fairer system. I think the member for Simcoe Centre was addressing himself to that particular concern.

Whether this bill increased the grant by $2, 50 cents or five cents, the fact remains that the principle is not correct. The amount of money can be increased equally across this province. However, the fact remains that the inequalities that have existed for many years as a result of this system -- and the representatives from Windsor and I, on behalf of the borough of York, have talked about this ad nauseam in this Legislature -- are not addressed through this particular system.

That is why I say to the parliamentary assistant and the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs that a new system has to be devised. We have a new system. We know how the financing of provincial grants to education works. It works well, and there is no reason why it cannot be done for municipal funding as well. I say to the parliamentary assistant, "Take this bill back and bring in a bill that really makes sense in terms of granting the moneys the municipalities across this province require to be able to produce the services the people of Ontario need."

Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, this afternoon I will speak briefly on the bill on the aspect of police grants, which are of great concern to people in my area.

Part of my constituency is in the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton. In that area, we do not happen to have a regional police force. We still have police forces such as the Nepean Police Force, the city of Ottawa Police Force, the city of Vanier Police Force and the city of Gloucester Police Force -- the city of Gloucester being represented in this Legislature by the member for Carleton East (Mr. MacQuarrie). Most other areas in the same regional municipality are represented by members of the government party, with the exception of Ottawa Centre, which is represented by the leader of the New Democratic Party (Mr. Cassidy).

One interesting thing is that the proposed minister of municipal affairs and housing (Mr. Bennett) is also a member from the city of Ottawa. Having himself been a member of the municipal council of Ottawa, he should know there will never be a regional police force in the city of Ottawa or in the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton. The minister should also know that these grants will deprive forever the city of Ottawa and the regional municipality of Ottawa-Carleton of $5 per capita, just as they have in past years. This is obviously a case where the government is still trying to regionalize more areas. The government has tried many times to make the system of regional municipalities more popular than it is now. It is not working. Regional governments are not popular; they never will be.

The attitude of the government is that to make regional government more palatable, incentives should be offered. It tries to buy its way into making more facilities regional rather than municipal. In this case, it offers regional police forces $5 more per capita. That may motivate some municipalities to get regional police forces.

On the other hand, there is what statistics have shown us in the past. The Mayo commission on Ottawa-Carleton regional government, for instance, told us that regional police forces are not necessarily more economical than municipal ones, even with the increased grant. The report brought out the case of Hamilton-Wentworth which had a higher cost of policing per capita than any other city in Ontario. Hamilton-Wentworth is a regional municipality receiving these higher grants.

Needless to say, this attempt by the government to try to regionalize police forces and other things is not working and never will. Some regional municipalities may lend themselves well to having a regional police force. Others, because of their fabric, their geography and so on, may not lend themselves all that well to having a regional police force.

We have another aspect of this amendment to the grants for police which has not been addressed much; that is, those areas which do not have regional government. Those areas that do not have regional municipalities do not want them either; any area that does not have a regional municipality does not particularly want one at this time.

Nevertheless, those areas now are receiving $5 less per capita. They will continue getting $5 less per capita for their police forces and there is nothing they can do about it. Because they do not have a regional municipality, they cannot institute a regional police force. The basic requirement is not there. They still have to pay for their police protection. All they can do is pay for the increased cost and hope that some day this government will become more sensitive to their needs and increase the grants to give them an amount similar to that given regional municipalities.

For instance, Hawkesbury, a town of roughly 10,000 people in my constituency, has its own municipal police force. It is very expensive. If they were afforded this extra $5 per capita it would make an extra $50,000 for the people to institute programs which would be valuable to that city. Conversely, the municipal council, in its wisdom, could lower the rate of taxation to compensate for that difference.

In the rural areas of my constituency and in the area of the township of Cumberland we are protected -- and I use that word very loosely -- by the Ontario Provincial Police. That force is critically deficient in our area. There are not enough police officers to go around.

In 1973 there were 26 officers at the Rockland Ontario Provincial Police detachment and in 1981 there are only 20. Of course, the population in those years has increased by approximately 50 per cent. The number of police officers is decreasing at the same time as the population is increasing.

That does not sound reasonable, especially when one considers the escalating crime rate over the past few years. My own house, for instance, was broken into a few years ago. I was told that on that particular shift there was only one police officer to patrol the township of Cumberland, the township of Clarence and the town of Rockland. That is a very vast area and only one police officer patrols on the graveyard shift.

12:40 p.m.

I am told that at other times of the night there are two police officers and more in the daytime, but nevertheless there is not much one police officer can do on his own. One police officer cannot go in and break up a big fight in a hotel. He cannot go in and investigate a robbery that has occurred, or the break and enter that occurred at my house. While that officer is at my house or anybody else's house investigating that one incident there is not one officer patrolling in the rest of the township of Cumberland, the township of Clarence and the town of Rockland.

Conversely, if there is an accident on the highway, that leaves all the municipalities with no protection for the time it takes that police officer to take care of that particular accident.

If the grants were increased from $12 to $17 it may very well be that the government would come out ahead. In my area, for instance, in the township of Cumberland, and in other areas, that may be the difference in funds required in order to make a municipal police force something viable for the municipality. If a municipality was offered $17 to institute its own municipal police force, there may very well be more motivation than doing it now at $10, and very shortly at $12 per capita. That would free up more Ontario Provincial Police officers who then could be redistributed to other areas where they are in critical need right now.

To sum up, I think the government should consider very seriously making the grants equal in areas where there are no regional municipalities to the areas where there are. Some rural municipalities would then probably avail themselves of their own municipal police forces. The Ontario Provincial Police would be free to do other work, and municipalities that have not chosen to regionalize in past years would not be punished the way that they have been by this government over the last few years.

Having said that, I again would like to impress upon the future Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, who is not in the House at this particular time, but as he is a member from an area that has a regional municipality without a regional police force he surely can understand why this legislation is unfair to those areas. Having been in municipal office for a number of years prior to being in this Legislature, he surely can understand that this is not acceptable and it should be changed to $17 for all municipalities in Ontario that have their own police force, be they regional, municipal, village or whatever.

Mr. Charlton: Mr. Speaker, I will start out by saying that after very careful consideration we have finally come up with a handle for the Deputy Speaker. In future we shall refer to him as "Deputy Little Buddy."

In speaking to this bill dealing with unconditional grants, I will not repeat everything that has been said since there is not very much time left today, but I think the point should be very clear now to the government, to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, to the future minister of municipal affairs and housing, and to the parliamentary assistant who is seeing this bill through the House.

The complaint from this side of the House for quite a number of years now has been about the need for total and complete reform of the grant structure in this province. I think it should be becoming more clear to the government now, in terms of the necessity of grant reform, and clear grant reform in terms of legislated or regulated formulas so that municipalities will be better able to understand their financial position. It should be clearer simply because they are starting to hear complaints from their own benches now. I think this was reflected in the remarks which the member for Simcoe Centre made this morning. Even though government members are not yet prepared to vote against the government on this issue they are now starting to raise the complaints.

It is time the government sat down and took a very serious look at the whole grant structure. It should also be growing clearer to the government and the parliamentary assistants that one of the key areas of current concern is the whole area of police grants.

I understand, although I was not here last evening, that my Liberal colleagues have given notice that they intend to move an amendment. It is an amendment we will support, and I urge government members to support that amendment as well.

I want to run through some of the things that deal with police grants. A number of members have made specific reference to their own municipalities and to the problems they face with respect to police grants. I want to take a few minutes to try to give it a little bit broader perspective on the province as a whole rather than just on specific municipalities.

The differential in police grants started about a decade ago. The problem is the way in which this government has dealt with those police grants, the differential between regional municipalities and nonregional municipalities. Their approach to that differential has caused a widening of the gap between the moneys that nonregional municipalities get over and against those that regional municipalities get.

In 1972, for example, area municipality police forces got a grant of $1.75 per capita and regional police forces got $3.25 per capita, so there was a differential of only $1.50 per capita. We progressed through the years, at least until 1977, up to the point where the differential was $5. I assume from what the parliamentary assistant is saying today the $5 gap will remain.

The gap has widened, and that widened gap does not reflect the changes that have occurred in the cost of providing police services for the municipalities, whether regional or nonregional.

I have some figures here that deal with 11 cities and eight regions in the province. The figures in this document deal with 1977-78, and I had our researchers take a little time to update those figures to 1980. One finds that even though the cities in question here get $5 less per capita than the regions, the costs do not suggest that there is any fairness or equity in that differential.

The per capita costs of providing police service in the city of Brantford in 1980 were almost $66; in Guelph, $57 and change; in London, $50.64; in Nepean, $49; in Ottawa city, $64; in Sarnia, $65; in Sault Ste. Marie, $58; Thunder Bay, that my colleague spoke about, $59; Windsor, $62 -- and we have heard Windsor members repeatedly raising this whole question.

12:50 p.m.

Let us look at some of the regional areas and their costs for providing police service, where they get the extra $5 per capita: Durham region per capita police costs are $52; Hamilton-Wentworth, $62; Niagara region, $57; Peel region, $58; Sudbury region, $52; Waterloo region, $55; York region, $49. So it is very clear that the costs to regional municipalities of providing police service are no greater than the costs to the major cities in this province that are not part of regions.

The province set up the differential originally in order to encourage municipalities to move to regional police forces. It would appear that the incentive it provided has served its usefulness. It is no longer attracting any further movement to regional police forces and it can no longer be justified in terms of that kind of an incentive, simply because the process is about over now and the costs to the municipalities, as is clearly shown, are comparable right across the board.

In wrapping up, I would say it should be very clear to the government now that it is time to make the changes to eliminate the differential in police grants and to get on with the job of total reform of the grant structure in this province. As I suggested earlier, that is becoming very clear when we start hearing members on that side of the House raising the same concerns as we raised repeatedly over the last decade.

Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Speaker, in the few minutes we have until one o'clock, I will try to answer some of the questions raised by the opposition. This matter, I imagine, is going to committee of the whole at the request of the opposition. So we will try and view other matters when it gets to that stage.

This bill, as I said last night, is to implement the 1981 municipal grants as discussed over many meetings with the municipalities and the municipal organizations. These announcements were made to them in January. Despite the fact that some people here may not understand that, they understand it very well. To say they are happy, of course, is wrong. Nobody is happy. Everybody wants more money, but they do understand where they are at. These are the 1981 grants and there is no question that these grants will be reviewed for 1982 over the course of this year in consultation with the municipalities.

Mr. Foulds: That is what the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs said in 1980.

Mr. Rotenberg: Review does not necessarily mean that everything goes up. Of course, I would love to come in here and give not $17, but $25 or $30 per capita to every municipality. I would love to give higher unconditional grants. I would love to give more money to the municipalities. I wish we were in the position of Alberta with its fund. That province can totally subsidize municipalities.

Mr. Foulds: If the government managed our resources properly it could have done that.

Mr. Rotenberg: I did not interrupt the member for Port Arthur. Of course, we would like to do it, but there is not a bottomless pit. I find it very interesting that the members opposite are urging the government to spend more money. Yet for the past three weeks we have been here trying to put through some bills to raise some money in order to spend more money and they opposed them. They cannot have it both ways. If they want to spend more money, they have to raise more money.

We want tax reform and I agree with the last speaker that property tax reform is on its way. This is part of it, as section 86 is part of it. But property tax reform does not necessarily mean that everybody is going to get more money. If there is reform and we equalize the situation, get rid of some the inequities, some are going to get more and some are going to get less. One of the principles of this bill is that people who by reform and more equity should get less, will not get less.

The main problem today in this bill has been the police grant. A lot has been said about it, but I would submit that the differential is still somewhat valid because regional forces have a greater area to service. Rural areas, unlike urban areas, cost more money. Many of the areas of the province which do not have regional police forces get benefit from either free policing by the OPP or get police contracts which are much lower than cost.

If one adds this provincial funding to the cost of police, because that is also provincial funding going to municipal police services, one gets a slightly different point of view. For example, if one looks at Ottawa-Carleton as a region, yes, those municipalities which have their own police forces get $12 per capita under this new bill but many areas get a much higher subsidy because the OPP subsidizes them.

By a funny coincidence -- we worked out the numbers -- the total amount of money going to Ottawa-Carleton specifically for police comes out to $17 per capita for the total Ottawa-Carleton region. If one looks at all of Essex county as an example, including Windsor, those who get $12 and those who get much more, the average going to Essex county is $16 per capita. The member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) spoke last night. If one looks at the rate per capita for all police money going to the region of Algoma, including the cities there, it comes out to $18 per capita. The inequities are not nearly as much as one would think.

But the more important point is that police grants are not just necessarily for police. They are part of the unconditional grant system. To look at equity and fairness, regions versus municipalities, one has to look at the whole unconditional grant system and how these go to the total cost.

Mr. Epp: They are called police grants.

Mr. Rotenberg: They are called police grants, of course they are, but they are not necessarily for police. They are an indication that we do support police, but other funds go for police costs as well.

Mr. Epp: You do not even know what you are talking about.

Mr. Rotenberg: When one looks at all of the costs, all of the unconditional grants -- because this bill is for all unconditional grants; one cannot look at the police part by itself but at all unconditional grants -- the level for funding of the municipalities other than the regions comes out a little higher.

In northern Ontario we have had some complaints, but northern Ontario, in the unconditional grant, is getting some 35 per cent of the cost of the services which unconditional grants go for. In southern Ontario other than regions it is about 20 per cent and the average as a whole is only 18. The regions in total grants get somewhat less than some of the other municipalities do.

Mr. Swart: Do they all agree with you now?

Mr. Rotenberg: Of course they do not; everybody wants more money.

The other thing is there is a suggestion here about simplifying property tax reform, simplifying the bill, making it not so complicated. Some members here might not understand it but all those municipal politicians come to see me and they do come to see the ministry, and I would say to the member for Windsor-Sandwich (Mr. Wrye) we would more than welcome a delegation from Mayor Weeks and the Windsor people. They understand it. They understand what they are getting. They want more but they understand it and it is not that complicated.

If we want to make a very simple system, just put everybody on market value assessment with no factors or anything else and one would hear the screams from one end of the province to the other. It is just impossible with equity to bring in a very simple property tax system because we try to protect those people who are going to have violent shifts. That is the way it should be and I am sure every member of the House would agree that is the way it should be.

A lot of other things have been raised in the House on this bill but a lot of members have taken a lot of time and I would like to have second reading of this bill now. Mr. Speaker, I would ask you to put the bill for second reading. When we get to committee of the whole House I will try to answer the rest of the questions.

The Deputy Speaker: The motion is for second reading of Bill 69.

Those in favour please say "aye."

Those against say "nay."

In my opinion the ayes have it.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for committee of the whole House.

The House adjourned at 12:59 p.m.