32nd Parliament, 1st Session


































The House met at 10:02 am.



Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege. One week ago today my leader and I asked several questions of the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) with regard to his lack of involvement in the urea-formaldehyde foam issue and the recent statement that had been made by the federal Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Mr. Ouellet. The minister replied last Friday, as reported at page 1532 of Hansard:

"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."

That was one week ago. I have received the report. The minister should have had it by this time, even if it came by pony express. Will you remind the minister, Mr. Speaker, that he accepted that obligation and that the members of this House expect him to keep it?

Mr. Speaker: I am sure the minister will take note of your inquiry.



Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I want to take the opportunity today to outline for the members of the House the direction that the government is pursuing with respect to rail transportation in this province.

As you are aware, sir, on April 30 of this year I tabled the final report of the Ontario Task Force on Provincial Rail Policy. Chaired by the member for St. David (Mrs. Scrivener), it made close to 180 recommendations relating to all aspects of rail transportation in Ontario. I am pleased to be able to report that a number of them have already been or are in the process of being implemented.

These findings and recommendations, as well as those from the Great Lakes/Seaway Task Force, have allowed the government to chart a new course in transportation matters, a course that recognizes the responsibility of the provincial government to ensure that provincial priorities are adequately addressed.

Because we must be certain that we are getting the maximum benefit out of our entire transportation system, jurisdiction becomes less important than provincial priorities. This will require greater co-ordination and integration between modes and levels of government if we are to serve Ontario's best interests.

The task force members, especially the member for St. David, should be commended for providing us with the basic tools that will permit us to determine how rail transport not only can be improved but also can benefit all Ontario residents in the foreseeable future.

Briefly, the task force foresees that future to include:

-- a stronger, more forceful role for the province;

-- passenger rail service coming back into its own, with a new generation of high-speed trains having priority over freight;

-- new, ultramodern passenger trains in an electrified Windsor-Quebec City corridor;

-- a redesigned transcontinental passenger service with modern equipment and a fresh mandate;

-- a mix of rail passenger services, including transcontinental, intercity, transborder, regional and local, and commuter, as well as specialized luxury and charter services to resort areas in Ontario and Canada;

-- lighter, faster freight trains sharing greatly improved roadbeds;

-- new-generation freight cars designed to service the specific needs of Ontario manufacturers, resource and aggregate producers and the agricultural industry;

-- appropriately located multimodal terminals for both passenger and freight services;

-- potential new commuter rail systems serving cities such as Hamilton, London, Ottawa and Hull, for example; and

-- Ontario and Canada becoming a technology centre for the manufacture of advanced rail concepts, services and equipment.

These recommendations were directed not only to the provincial government but also to the railways, municipalities and federal government for implementation, relating as they do to railway regulations, technology, operating practices, safety, the environment and the general economy. Hence, there must be close co-ordination among those sectors.

Yet, up front is the call for the province to assume a larger and more aggressive role in the planning and development of the rail system in Ontario. To this end, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications recently established a rail office which will be responsible for pursuing this new direction.

Of all the recommendations, approximately one third are currently being implemented, including the development of a master rail plan to systematically determine the level of provincial interest in various passenger and freight rail services and the analysis of area-wide needs prior to any abandonment of branch lines.

Another third are being actively examined for policy development and implementation as quickly as possible, including the retention of abandoned railway property by the province, the development of multimodal terminals, the promotion by government of railway research and development activities as well as a 125-mile-per-hour planning standard for high-speed passenger services.

The remaining recommendations, which are more complex, will require more time and the co-operation of many parties to achieve their implementation. These include direct provincial investment or tax incentives in railway rolling stock, infrastructure or operations, the acquisition of the Toronto-North Bay Canadian National rail line, shared use of track, the possible electrification of the Ontario Northland Railway in whole or in part, and the alteration in responsibilities of the Canadian Transport Commission and the Canada Department of Transport. These will require considerable assessment and discussion among the provincial government, the railways and the federal government.

Over the next few months, we intend to further classify these recommendations into subject categories and to establish assessment and implementation priorities. I will keep the House informed on this work as it progresses towards eventual clear-cut policy options for cabinet consideration. In the meantime, I would like to hear, from the various parties involved, their views and opinions on the many subjects raised by the task force.

Finally, let me add that the Ontario government's commitment to act on rail matters is critically linked to the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program, this government's blueprint for the next decade.


Hon. Mr. Leluk: Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform honourable members of the progress being made by the Ministry of Correctional Services in finding acceptable alternatives to imprisonment for many thousands of offenders.

The success of our community programs has come about because of the willing participation of judges who are prepared to use alternatives to short-term jail sentences and because of the participation of ministry staff, private agencies and volunteers, all of whom are providing us with excellent services.

People who commit violent or other serious crimes should be incarcerated. We have the secure facilities and professional correctional staff necessary to handle these offenders. What is not widely understood by the general public, however, is that serious crimes, such as murder, bodily assault, armed robbery and sexual offences, represent less than six per cent of all crimes in Ontario.

10:10 p.m.

Those people who are convicted and sentenced to less than two years serve their time in an Ontario institution. Many of them are guilty of offences such as theft under $200, liquor offences and vandalism. The average correctional centre inmate is 16 to 24 years old, male, single and has limited education. Less than four per cent have post-secondary education, while 27 per cent did not pass grade nine.

There is disturbing evidence that many of these young people are likely to become habitual offenders. Our statistics show that nearly two thirds of our inmates have had previous contact with corrections. We are seeing too many of the same people time and time again.

The number of offenders who are serving very short sentences, 30 days or less, is staggering. More than half of our inmate population -- in fact, 57 per cent -- are serving these short terms. Because these offenders are with us for so short a time, they are unable to participate in many of our rehabilitative programs.

The Ministry of Correctional Services is not satisfied with this situation and for the past four years has been experimenting with alternatives to minimize the revolving-door pattern experienced by many of our clientele. I want to share the results of these alternative programs with honourable members.

One alternative to a short-term sentence is to place certain minor offenders on probation and require them to work for the community for a set number of hours. Currently, we have 40 agencies throughout Ontario supervising these community service orders. Last year there were 5,000 probationers involved with community service orders. Their 450,000 hours of assigned work represents a value to the community of more than $1.3 million.

Our figures show that 96 per cent of these probationers complete their community service work, that 20 per cent actually do more hours of work than their sentences require because they enjoy the experience and, most significantly, 88 per cent remained crime-free for one year following the completion of their community service order.

Another alternative we have been encouraging is restitution. A probation order that requires restitution by the offender to the victim means the offender faces the consequences of his crime. Currently, more than 4,000 probationers are repaying their victims for losses as a condition of their probation order. Within the last year, this restitution totalled a staggering $3 million. When other victim repayments are included, the amount exceeds $4 million.

Restitution is proving successful in persuading many young offenders to act responsibly by encouraging them to get and hold jobs. Often, this results in the offender becoming a law-abiding citizen.

A third approach is the expansion of community resource centres, which are correctional residences in a community setting managed for us by private agencies. Selected inmates are carefully screened for placement in these homes. Many work during the daytime at regular jobs, and others attend school. The cost to the taxpayer is less than $25 per day per resident, compared with $62.50 per day for an inmate in our institutions.

Last year, the residents in our 47 community residences earned $1.8 million. Out of this amount they paid $520,000 for their room and board and $450,000 to their dependants. Significantly, 80 per cent of these inmates remained crime-free one year after completing their time with us.

A fourth innovation we have been using is employment programs for parolees and probationers. Again working with private agencies and our probation and parole staff, we are teaching these offenders how to find and hold jobs. During the past year, 2,200 offenders received job training and job placement assistance.

Our studies show that only 50 per cent of probationers who are unemployed at the termination of their orders remain crime-free for the next two years, but 70 per cent of those who are employed when they finish their probation term remain crime-free for the next 24 months.

I am proud to state that these are just four exciting examples of programs that symbolize major breakthroughs in reducing recidivism among thousands of offenders. This success has prompted me to escalate our involvement with qualified private agencies so that we can enlarge upon the scope of these and other services as well as pioneer further alternatives in sentencing our inmates, parolees and probationers.

I am pleased to announce that this fiscal year the Ministry of Correctional Services will spend $10 million on 225 community contracts with 130 agencies throughout the province. These contracts are very cost-efficient, which is good news to the taxpayers. They are helping to ease the overcrowding of our jails and detention centres during a period of constraint.

In conclusion, it appears that our programs are encouraging a growing number of young offenders to abandon crime and lead more responsible and law-abiding lives.


Hon. Mr. Sterling: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased today to announce that the government of Ontario has taken an important step towards ensuring greater personal privacy for the information that government collects on individuals.

Members will recall that in December 1980 my predecessor and colleague the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Pope) announced to the Legislature that effective June 30, 1981, government use of social insurance numbers would be restricted to income-related programs and health records.

Originally, the social insurance number was adopted by the federal government for the administration of income-related programs such as the unemployment insurance program and the Canada pension plan.

Over the years, the use of social insurance numbers became more widespread. From a bureaucratic perspective, this was seen as advantageous in increasing the administrative efficiency of programs. During this time, however, there developed a general belief that a potential for infringement of individual privacy existed with the increased use of the social insurance number as a unique personal identifier.

At the federal level, the privacy commissioner responded by recommending that individuals should be allowed to apply for an exemption from having a social insurance number.

It is my pleasure to announce to the House that in Ontario, consistent with this government's previous commitment, guidelines to restrict the use of social insurance numbers are to be included in the Ontario Manual of Administration. The Ontario Manual of Administration is used to set out guidelines relating to the administrative practices of government. These guidelines, I believe, address the concerns that have been expressed surrounding the increased use of the social insurance number within the Ontario government as a unique personal identifier.

Effective June 30, 1981: (1) all government ministries, schedule one agencies and all ad hoc bodies shall restrict the collection of social insurance numbers to income-related files; (2) pending a decision to establish a unique personal identifier for health programs, the social insurance number may be used as an identifier for medical information; and (3) the social insurance number shall not be used as a personal identifier for other records without the consent of the individual.

I believe that these guidelines in restricting the collection of social insurance numbers are a rational solution to a problem where the mutually conflicting demands of citizens -- the demand for privacy and the demand for efficient government -- have been recognized and addressed.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, later this morning I will be reintroducing the Children's Law Reform Amendment Act. As many members will recall, this legislation will carry out a comprehensive consolidation and reform of child custody law and procedures in Ontario.

As Bill 140 in the previous session, this legislation received second reading and was referred to the standing committee on administration of justice. Unfortunately, the standing committee was unable to complete its work before the end of the session. Accordingly, it will be necessary to reintroduce the bill today.

Because most members are familiar with the bill, I will not review the contents of the bill in detail. The primary purposes of the bill are to ensure that the best interests of the child remain the focus of all legal proceedings relating to the custody of the child; to deter child abduction by strengthening the enforcement of Ontario custody orders and by recognizing custody rights arising in other jurisdictions; and to restate the law relating to children's property in modern language.

Except for one major addition, this bill is virtually the same as the bill that was presented for consideration by the standing committee in the last session. The major addition is the provision to implement the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.

This provision will establish Ontario as a world leader in the campaign to stop international child abduction. Indeed, Ontario may well become the first jurisdiction anywhere to implement this landmark convention. I am pleased at this time to pay tribute to my Deputy Attorney General, Dr. H. Allan Leal, who led the Canadian delegation, which played a leading role in the preparation of this convention.

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In brief, the convention creates reciprocal rights and obligations between subscribing jurisdictions for the return of a child who has been wrongfully removed from his home state. Since our courts usually order that a child who has been kidnapped to Ontario shall be returned to the place where he or she habitually resides, the convention will not significantly effect a change in Ontario law. However, the convention will provide major benefits for Ontario residents whose children are kidnapped to a foreign jurisdiction.

Mr. Cassidy: There were times when the Attorney General would not lift a finger against parents -- not a finger.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Do I hear some sort of motor mouth across the aisle, Mr. Speaker?

At present, if a child is abducted from Ontario to a foreign state, the foreign state may allow the kidnapper to apply for a new custody order there without regard to the rights that have been conferred under Ontario law. Under the convention, any state that is a party to the convention will be required to order the return of a child wrongfully removed from Ontario. Therefore, the convention obviously will be of great assistance to Ontario residents in obtaining return of a child who has been abducted.

I was gratified by the support the proposals contained in this bill received on second reading of the previous bill last fall. I look forward to the same support when the bill is again brought forward for second reading.


Mr. Elston: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: We have raised, I think on three different occasions, the matter of the report on the incidents between the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ontario Government Protective Service. I was wondering, since you had undertaken to report to us on your inquiry, if you could advise the House now as to the status of that matter.

Mr. Speaker: As I advised you yesterday when the question was raised, I have not received the report as yet.

Mr. Foulds: On the point of order, Mr. Speaker: Can you assure the House, having raised the matter yourself with an extensive report in this Legislature, that you will report more fully to this Legislature before it adjourns?

Mr. Speaker: I will have to wait for the report. I have already said I will present it as soon as I get it.

Mr. Foulds: Surely, Mr. Speaker, you have the responsibility, having read into the record that extensive report of one side, to hurry up the report that you are now seeking. Surely you have that authority.

Mr. Speaker: It is being done.


Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, I wish to raise a point of privilege on a question that I asked of the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea) on numerous occasions before.

I am sure you will recall that on May 7, as reported on page 436 of Hansard, the minister in reply to a question told this House that the Champlain training school in Alfred was going to be closed at the end of this school season because the facility was no longer required and that the mini-institutions that were going to be built were no longer going to be built for the same reason.

The minister told us, and I quote from Hansard, "Surely the member is not going to stand here and say, 'There has been a deinstitutionalization program concerning young offenders in this province which has been mandated not by this party and not by this ministry, but with the full acceptance of this entire House.'"

Mr. Speaker: Order. That is not a point of privilege.

Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, if I can just elaborate for a moment, I think the minister --

Mr. Speaker: Order. You can raise this during the oral question period.



Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I wish to put a question to the Minister of Agriculture and Food.

Since the interest rates remain at their unrelenting and devastating high level, can the minister announce to the House that he, the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) and his other colleagues are preparing a program that will be announced to the House before the recess begins?

Second, can he explain to the House why his commitment for the establishment of a special financial committee to assist farmers has been unable to attract to its service any banker or farmer and is still operating only with civil servants -- with great respect to the capable civil servants who are involved in it?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, in response to the honourable member, I know that his question came out of a story in the Globe and Mail this morning. I told the Globe reporter that my deputy was attempting to get someone from the farm community to serve. My deputy informed me this morning that Mr. Henry Davis --

Mr. Nixon: Davis? Another one?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Yes. I just asked the Premier if he is any relation, and he is no relation. Mr. Davis has agreed to serve as the farmer. Mr. Davis is a large cattle operator. He has a son carrying on that operation. I believe he will be an excellent choice.

My deputy told me this morning that he had contacted a retired banker who had agreed to serve. Some of the members were out at the Ontario Federation of Agriculture meeting two weeks ago, and they will remember that the president of the OFA agreed to have a name for me within, I believe he said 48 hours. I do not have that name yet; so, before I confirm the banker that my deputy has contacted, I want to make sure there has not been a letter go astray between the federation and myself. By Monday or Tuesday, I will be able to tell members that name as well.

Our Treasurer has given members the assurance that we will be announcing some programs before the House adjourns.

Mr. Nixon: I do not actually recall getting that assurance, but I do recall the Treasurer being quoted as saying that he had about $50 million to play with, a characteristically typical statement from the Treasurer.

Can the minister indicate whether it is his thought that a program will be announced in the near future, it is to be hoped in time to respond to the pressure of the upcoming no-confidence debate on Monday, to meet the needs of the farmers who are still losing their cattle, their pigs and their chattels on their properties as they are forced into foreclosure situations because of the continuing lack of action by the minister?

Does he now believe that there is some responsibility at the provincial level and that it does not all lie at the federal level of government in this country?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: I think the member will agree that the main problem is the hog producers and the beef producers. We know there are some problems as a result of the high interest rates.

The hog producers' problem, as I mentioned in this House, is the position that the federal government has taken regarding what they refer to as top loading from provincial plans. I have pointed out -- and I do not mind telling members -- that the cheques went to print on June 15, Monday of this week, to pay the stabilization money out for the sow-weaner program that we have here in Ontario.

I think I announced to the House that a week ago Wednesday, my staff went with the Ontario hog producers to the federal government and represented to the federal minister, Mr. Whelan, the fact that we believe we have exactly the same sow-weaner program as Quebec. We pointed out that Ontario was being penalized. Mr. Whelan at that time agreed to respond within 48 hours. That 48 hours was up last Friday night, and we believe it is still under active consideration by Mr. Whelan. This means between $7 million and $10 million to the hog farmers of Ontario.

If we get that corrected and get what we believe our farmers are entitled to from the federal government, it will be a great help. I will be responding to other programs respecting beef and what have you. I will not guarantee it for Monday.

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Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I have a question that might go more appropriately to the Treasurer but, since the rules do not permit that, let me put it to the Minister of Agriculture and Food.

The minister did not respond in any substantive way to the two-month-old proposals of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture at the meeting out at the Constellation Hotel, and yet his colleague the Treasurer teased them with the idea that there should be a response shortly and, in a sense, teased them again with this $50 million to $100 million.

How firm is the commitment that we are going to get a specific $50-million to $100-million response to the crisis out on the farm front, instead of talking about the $7 million we have not got from the federal level?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member has been around longer than I have as a member of this House. He knows that more than half of the budget I administer goes in direct help to farmers, or about $115 million of it. He knows full well that when the act was brought into the House to cover any problems of this nature, it was suggested at that time there would not be a figure in the budget but there would be a figure in supplementary estimates. Until I announce further programs, I cannot answer the member's question.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question for the minister with respect to his reply to my leader a few minutes ago -- I mean my House leader.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Your leader? Oh!

Mr. Eaton: Good to have you back, Bob.

Mr. Watson: Now we know what the situation really is.

Hon. Mr. Davis: What does Stuart say about that?

An hon. member: Nixon for leader. Nixon for leader.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Epp: It is nice to see that they just woke up over there, Mr. Speaker. The members opposite just woke up.

I have a supplementary question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. In his reply to the House leader of this party, the minister, indicated his deputy had approached a former banker to act on one of these committees, and he did not know who that person was. I am just wondering whether he is running the ministry or whether his deputy is running the ministry. Does he have any input as to who these people are who are being approached to serve on this committee? By his own words, obviously he does not know.

Can the minister assure this House that he will try to find out what is going on in his ministry and who is being approached on various committees without just rubber-stamping the various appointments?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, it is easy to see the honourable member really does not understand. I asked my deputy to get a farmer who was well known as a farmer to serve on this committee. My deputy reported to me this morning. My deputy also told me this morning he had a banker who had a farm background and who is retired. He got that name at my request. But before we announce it, I am giving the Ontario Federation of Agriculture an opportunity -- they sent me a letter that has gone astray.

My deputy is quite capable and acted on my request.


Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, in the momentary absence of the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson), I want to put a question to the former minister, now the Premier.

Is the Premier aware that his continuing policies on athletic scholarships have resulted, according to this morning's Globe and Mail, in the Ontario universities voting to pull out of all intercollegiate men's national championships?

Is the Premier still of the feeling that athletic scholarships would so degrade the scholastic standards in this province that we cannot put ourselves in a position where we can compete with other provinces and where we will continue to lose a good many of our top athletes and top scholars to other jurisdictions because of this continuing policy.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the momentary absence of the Minister of Education -- in this case Colleges and Universities, in that this does not apply to the elementary or secondary school level -- relates to the situation at Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology. I hope it is coming to some conclusion. I thought I would tell members where she has gone. It is a matter of some importance.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. MacDonald: Ignore the interjections.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I am ignoring the interjections. I am going to let them make them and I will just stand here silently. It eats up the clock. Who am I to argue?

I would say to the leader of the Liberal Party as he has been identified by the member for Waterloo North (Mr. Epp), which was a Freudian slip that probably indicates the three who are actively campaigning and are not here this morning are probably practising for their appearance in Kingston tonight. Obviously, the caucus that remains is supporting the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon). Incidentally, Mr. Speaker, I agree that is totally out of order.

Mr. Speaker: Proceed with the question.

An hon. member: The minister has just arrived.

Hon. Mr. Davis: No, stay there. I have had a point of view on this subject for some considerable time and I really regret the actions of the Ontario universities. I am encouraged as I read the press report that perhaps they are reassessing what I guess is really traditional, perhaps even constitutional in terms of the universities' position.

Having been remotely exposed to some athletic scholarship programs as they exist in other parts of Canada and particularly in the United States, including the University of Michigan, I think it is fair to state that a proper program, properly administered with proper academic qualifications being the criterion, would not be negative in terms of the academic life of our institutions.

I can recall when I arrived on the doorstep of McMaster University as a prospective undergraduate student, my limited athletic talents related to the field of football but they offered me a Syl Apps scholarship. I would have accepted it if I had gone to McMaster. I would not have had any hesitation or reservation. I know the leader of the Liberal Party, for today at least, would have been in support of that since he was probably much older than I and already a student at McMaster, or at least I think he was.

It is important not to fall into the situation that exists at some universities in the United States. In the experience of several major American universities the athletic scholarship program has obviously been abused. I think the press reports, while maybe exaggerated at some institutions, none the less indicate clearly that, at some American universities, students on athletic scholarships did not receive an academic program of validity. Certain practices were developed whereby examinations were perhaps written for them or examination results were not necessarily passed on to the dean's office from the athletic department.

I always regret it when Ontario students go to the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, or others of the northern state universities -- even out to Colorado where we have had a number over the years. Some go on hockey or track and field scholarships and a few go on football scholarships. Even some of the Canadian Football League teams over the years have encouraged good athletes from within their communities to attend American universities on athletic programs. They have come back here to play football in the CFL.

This is an important question and I am glad the leader of the Liberal Party has raised it here this morning. I am encouraged the universities in the province are perhaps looking at it. From the government's standpoint, we have no involvement in it. I am now speaking very personally. I know the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley), a noted academic himself, has very little interest in this subject because his interests have always been confined to telephone calls and the elementary school system.

I personally think the universities of Ontario should reassess their point of view and develop a program that is academically sound, which would encourage athletes in the province to remain here and allow Ontario universities to compete nationally.

Is the member not glad he asked the question? I want a supplementary.

10:40 a.m.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question for the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) before he leaves the House. Does he continue to stand by the claims made in the promotional material delivered to us in January in connection with the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development, and repeated again as recently as April 27 in this House? The minister stated that more than 70 auto parts projects have been undertaken in the last two years in Ontario and more than 4,500 jobs were involved in those new projects. Does he still stand by those figures for job creation?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, Mr. Speaker, we have provided that information in response to a question on the Order Paper. If the member has any information which indicates some of the plans of one or two of those companies have changed, I wish he would let us know. Our information is that the list remains accurate and up to date.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Can the minister explain how it is that when we contacted 11 automobile parts companies, which accounted for more than one third of the new jobs the minister claimed were being created, between 1978 and 1981 those companies had an increase of only 40 new jobs? This was a net addition of only one new job for every 33 new jobs that were being claimed by the minister. If it is universally true that only one job is being created for every 33 claimed by the minister then how can we place any trust in job-creation figures put forward by this government?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, the member is distorting -- and he knows he is distorting -- what we said in those documents. Either he is distorting them or he did not read them very carefully. The member knows we were saying that in that two-year time frame -- I guess it was January 1, 1979, through the following 24 months -- there were 73 major auto plant expansions creating a certain number of jobs. Those were the figures that reflected the jobs created from the plant expansions undertaken or announced in that time frame.

The member is saying that from 1978 to 1981 the number of jobs actually created in that time in those companies was different. I do not know whether his figures are right or wrong; I would not stand up, as he does, and suggest that his figures are wrong. All I am saying is that he is talking about something totally different. He is talking about the number of jobs actually created in place in a different time frame.

We were talking about the numbers of jobs that are going to be created as a result of plant expansions undertaken or announced in a different time frame. So they are two different things: first, a different time frame; and second, a different time frame for the job creation. We did not say anywhere that those jobs were in place today. As is the case with all the employment development fund cases and all the Ontario Development Corporation cases, when investments are made the jobs created are taken over the time it will take that company to make the investment, complete the investment, open the plant and crank up its activities.

The number of plant expansions undertaken or announced in the period of time we were talking about will create, at the very least, the number of jobs stated in the BILD document and stated earlier in the information we put out. The member has no evidence to the contrary at this stage. The period for assessing the number of jobs created by that investment has not nearly expired. The earliest date at which the member could say those jobs were not created, as we and those companies had said they would be, is about three or four years from today, when the member will be back in the second row.

Mr. Kerrio: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Now that the government has seen fit to make investments in the auto industry I wonder if it would not augur well for the people of Canada, and more particularly for Ontario where we have the major part of the auto industry, for the minister to talk to the people in Ottawa and satisfy himself the auto pact is now performing a function in keeping with the new role the government is playing as an investor in the auto industry.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: That is a fair and reasonable question, in contrast.

We have been fairly explicit in saying the auto pact and the subsequent undertakings of the auto pact are no longer playing as effective a role as they must do, given the changing world environment. In the environment of 1981, which is affected by a dozen major changes in the world auto industry, an auto pact entered into in 1965 has to be readjusted. That does not mean it has to be terminated and no one is seriously suggesting that. But in my view, serious adjustments have to be made. In order to accomplish them one of the things we have said should be done at an early stage is to make public the performance figures, the compliance figures of the auto companies under the auto pact, so the public can better assess the performance to date of the auto pact and the companies under it.

The federal government has undertaken efforts to renegotiate portions of the auto pact, but they have not met with receptive ears in Washington. I think that is to be expected at this time. To be fair to the federal government -- which I am not always -- it is a difficult time to be back in Washington. With the number of plant closures and the number of unemployed auto workers in the United States far greater than ours, there is not a receptive audience in Washington at the present time. Serious discussions are under way and I am hopeful that in the long term they will form the framework and lay the groundwork for a serious new look at the auto pact when things improve, perhaps over the next year or so.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister not dealing in phantom jobs in the auto parts industry -- phantom jobs the minister wants to claim for the political purposes of the Conservative Party because that is the priority this government has, rather than the interest of auto workers in Ontario?

Is the minister aware that in those 11 companies we looked at -- since he mentions a different time frame -- there has been a decline of 357 jobs between the beginning of 1979 and today, rather than an increase in employment? If the minister wants to take some specific firms, in specific cases the ministry is claiming that more jobs will be created in companies than even exist there today. He is claiming the creation of 130 jobs at Atlas Hoist in Cornwall, for example, where only 60 workers are employed today, or the creation of 455 jobs at Linamar Machine Limited of Ariss, where there are only 275 workers today. What kind of job creation is it that creates slogans but not real jobs for workers in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I notice the leader of the third party did not indicate in his question -- and he may wish to rise on a point of privilege when I am finished -- that Linamar or Atlas said our information was not accurate. Did the companies say to the member or his researchers that their current investment programs would not create the jobs we said they would?

Mr. Cassidy: They just told us how many jobs were there.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: They just told him how many jobs were there. Did the member ask them how many jobs would be created?

Mr. Cassidy: Yes, we asked them how many jobs were there. We checked and those new jobs the minister promised were not created. It is a phantom promise, that is all.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Now I understand. I am glad I let the member interject. The leader of the third party consciously has not confirmed that he asked them how many jobs would be created as a result of the investment announced or undertaken in the last 24 months.

Mr. Cassidy: Where are they -- one job for every 33 the minister claims?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The leader of the third party knows a little bit about the auto industry, he knows a little bit about business. And he knows very well that in many cases major expansions are being undertaken by those firms as a result of the employment development fund program. He has that information, because I sent it to him. The EDF program was meant to allow firms to undertake major new projects. Those projects do not create a large number of new jobs until two or three years from inception, otherwise they would not be of the nature and size we are looking for. Until the leader of the third party is able to say the information we provided about Atlas and Linamar is something we made up -- that it is fiction -- he has no case.

10:50 a.m.

The leader of the third party is pointing out that these firms have a lot fewer jobs today than they will have. That is precisely why we are helping those firms. He likes to say there are fewer jobs today than there were a year ago, but the whole point of the exercise is that this government, over his objections, has given these firms some assistance to make sure that two and three years from today they will have more jobs than they have today or had a year ago. That is what will happen.

He has presented no evidence whatsoever to indicate what we said is not accurate. In fact, the companies he referred to are undertaking expansion programs. He called them and the companies confirmed that, I am sure.

If the leader of the third party is serious about discussing the realities of these firms and their investments, then instead of going the reverse route and suggesting there is all sorts of unemployment out there, why does he not provide me with the names of three or four or 11 companies to whose figures he objects, and say he believes that our information is not true? Then when he questions our figures, we will be able to have a fully informed dialogue on those 11 companies. He does not want to do that. Of the 73 companies we provided him, he has called 11. They have told him about the current situation. He has not asked them or told this House what they said about the future and he wants to create a bleak scene.

The member does no credit to his party and no credit to this province. In contrast to the bleak scene he presents the facts of the matter are that our programs are working in the automobile and other sectors. With the auto sector in North America struggling, the recovery in Ontario is such that in May this year there were 179,000 more people employed than a year ago. This government has every right, as he can tell from our answer in the question period, to take credit for a fair number of those jobs.

Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether it is a point of order or a correction of the record, but it will take me two seconds --

Mr. Speaker: Clarification.

Mr. Cooke: Yes. On April 27 in this House, in answer to a question I put to the minister, which then led to the question on the Order Paper and today's question, the minister indicated the following: "We have had 73 major new auto plants or expansions in the past 24 months."

The minister is obviously indicating today that he was misleading the House on that day because we are talking now about four years into the future.

Mr. Speaker: New question, Mr. Cassidy.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I am not going to let the member suggest that I misled the House, and I would ask you to ask him to withdraw that.

Mr. Speaker: Mr. Cooke.

Mr. Cooke: Those aren't new jobs.

Hon. Mr. Davis: But the workers sure appreciate it. They came and told me.

Mr. Speaker: Order, Mr. Cooke, would you please withdraw your statement that the minister misled the House?

Mr. Cooke: I did not say that, Mr. Speaker. If you will take a look at Hansard, you will see what I said was that the minister is indicating today that he was misleading the House on April 27. I did not accuse him of it. If he wants to clarify the record today and indicate he was wrong on April 27, that is fine.

Mr. Speaker: Thank you, Mr. Cooke; I will take a look at that.


Mr. Cassidy: I have a question for the Minister of Health, Mr. Speaker. Yesterday the Minister of Health told this House that despite the loss of 4,300 active treatment hospital beds over the course of the last couple of years, there were no problems in the hospital system. Would the minister explain why, if he believes there are no problems, the Toronto Western Hospital is cancelling elective surgery and the same thing is happening at the Humber Memorial Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital, the Greater Niagara General Hospital, and at North York General Hospital?

This is happening because their beds are crowded and they cannot cope with the demands being made on their facilities. Why is it that across the province there are hospitals reporting to us that they are having to book off in terms of receiving ambulances or they are having to close beds over the summer because of shortage of funds? If there are no problems, according to the minister, why is he in such a fog he does not understand what is happening with hospitals across the province?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I do not think I have ever said there are no problems in the system. In a hospital system as large as this with about 90,000 beds of various kinds, with more than 100,000 employees and with about 14,000 to 15,000 practising physicians, there are bound to be some problems.

What I am saying to the member is we have been consciously changing the directions of the health care system in this province in the last number of years, giving greater emphasis to chronic, long-term and home care. The member only has to look at some of the key parts of my budget which show that spending on home care is up 250 per cent in the last five years.

Mr. McClellan: From a base zero.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: No, that is not from a base zero. We have had a home care program since 1964. In the last five years we have been expanding it into chronic care. As a result, a great deal more of our resources is going in that direction and relieving pressure on hospitals.

I have not in any of the time I have been in the ministry suggested there are no problems. Of course there are. A system as large and complex as this is bound to have some problems. What I am saying is they are not insurmountable. They are manageable. The policies we are following will in great measure address some of the pressures on the system.

But I am not about to say to the member, any more than he can say to me, that the system would ever be problem-free and all the pressures would be off. That will never happen.

Mr. Cassidy: Now that the minister has at least acknowledged there are problems in the system, would he be prepared to say what he is going to do and what the government is going to do about the backlog of people trying to get surgery and about the booking off in emergency wards?

Again, if I can cite some specific references, over the course of the summer dozens of hospitals are closing beds when they could be using those beds to clean up the backlog and make sure adequate care is provided.

St. Joseph's Hospital in Toronto is closing 80 beds. St. Michael's Hospital is closing 90 beds. Humber Memorial Hospital is closing 90 beds. The Metropolitan General Hospital in Windsor, which I mentioned on Monday, is closing 36 beds. The Doctors' Hospital in Toronto is closing 30 beds. Why are those hospitals being compelled to close beds because of the minister's policies when it is clear those beds are needed to provide adequate health care and to deal with the backlog and the shortage in the system?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: If the member will take a look at the long-term history of the system he will find that every summer, as long as we have had a hospital system, hospitals have closed a certain number of beds. Essentially it relates to a couple of things.

First, it relates to the availability of staff in the summertime. One has to provide, roughly from June to September, for the bulk of holidays for staff. Also, surgeons, anaesthetists and radiologists who are all key to the surgical procedures which are the member's principal concern in this series of questions, tend to take the bulk of their holidays with their families in that period of time.

Add to that the fact that right now some hospitals are experiencing difficulty in hiring specialty nurses for operating rooms, intensive care and so forth. That is the bulk of the reason behind it. It is not a recent occurrence. It is a long-term thing. That is the way the system has functioned.

In the summertime we also experience great problems with the blood bank. This has unfortunately become a historical pattern. There are a great many surgical procedures that simply cannot go ahead. There are certain procedures that can go ahead in what is called bloodless surgery, but there are certain things one simply cannot do without a backup of blood. That is a problem.

We have discussed before the fact that only four per cent of the population actually donates blood. We are trying to assist the Red Cross in boosting the giving of blood in Ontario. As often as not that will lead to cancellations.

I know it seems to be a sort of catch-all. Whenever anything is not going exactly smoothly, blame it on the ministry, blame it on cutbacks, blame it on anything but what actually is happening.

11 a.m.

In regard to questions on the numbers of beds, yesterday the member and his colleague the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) raised the question -- quite a valid one, I think -- of the discrepancy in some answers. I have checked into that and found the second answer was wrong. The figures are too low. The answers were prepared on two different bases and I will be tabling supplementary information. I will give the bases that will be used in future for all subsequent answers so that we can be totally consistent. Members will be interested to know that, in comparing apples and apples, there was an increase of more than 1,000 chronic beds.

Mr. Ruprecht: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I am glad the Minister of Health indicates he has a problem. There is more than one problem in his ministry, that is for sure.

The leading nutritionist and psychiatrist, Dr. Abram Hoffer, was recently quoted as saying --

Hon. Mr. Davis: You should not talk about problems.

Mr. Ruprecht: At least we are not obstructionists over here. The members opposite are more than obstructionists -- they cover up and stonewall -- every name in the book fits them right on over there.

Mr. Speaker: Would the member continue with his supplementary.

Mr. Ruprecht: I would appreciate, as I ask this question, if there could be some semblance of silence over there.

Dr. Abram Hoffer is a leading nutritionist and a psychiatrist. He was recently quoted as saying that nutritionists being used by the provincial mental hospitals "do not know anything about nutrition."

Mr. Speaker: Order. Mr. Ruprecht, with all respect, that is not a supplementary to the main question.


Mr. Speaker: Order. That was identified quite clearly as a supplementary and I recognized you. Mr. McClellan has a supplementary.

Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, we will come back to the bed numbers in a minute. Let me deal with the history of summer bed closings, if I may. In 1979, according to the Hospital Council of Metropolitan Toronto, there were 1,071 acute care beds closed between June and September, for part of the time or for all of the time. In 1980 there were 936 acute care beds closed during that same four-month period. That is respectively 12 per cent of the total beds in 1979 and nine per cent of the total beds in 1980.

Can the minister tell us how many beds are going to be closed this summer, in June, July, August and September, wholly or for part of that period, and what per cent of the total beds that figure represents? Would he also say what advice he would give to anybody living in Metropolitan Toronto who is unfortunate enough to get sick and require hospitalization in June, July, August or September, when between 10 and 12 per cent of our beds are closed?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I would advise them to see their physician immediately. If it is an urgent or emergency case it will be dealt with immediately. Even at the height of the strike urgent surgery and emergency cases were dealt with quickly, so that is not a problem.

I am not sure we yet have an indication of the numbers in Metro. I would expect it will probably be in the order of the last few summers. I doubt there will be much variation. But allowing for the fact that people do have to have holidays and that, in addition, when it comes to elective surgery, the experience of hospitals is that a great many members of the public, if they have the choice, will put off elective surgery until the fall rather than have it done in the summertime and be laid up in hospital for some time, the operating realities are that all those beds could not be available for the full 12 months.


Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, Dr. Abram Hoffer indicated that the provincial mental hospitals and their nutritionists "do not know anything about nutrition." I think that is very serious.

Is the minister aware that a recent analysis by an American doctor, Gary Gordon, an internationally known nutrition expert, of the diet fed to Henry Kowalski and other patients at Penetanguishene Mental Health Centre shows they are being fed the equivalent of 27.6 teaspoons of sugar daily, and that 12 essential nutrients were found to be below the recommended daily allowance?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I do not know who this physician is. The member says he is an expert; I do not know whether he has appointed himself an expert, or whether he really is considered to be one. I can tell the member that in all of our facilities we follow the Canada Food Guide, and we do use nutritionists in the preparation of our menus.

I do not know the individual. I do not know his connection. I am sure the member does not know him. I suspect if the member were to look at the his own diet, and I am serious, or that of any of us, he is going to find that the normal intake of some things, especially sugar, is quite high.

I was amazed recently when I attended a public health conference where Dr. Walker of the Greater Niagara General Hospital from Niagara Falls was a speaker -- he is well known to the member's friend, the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) -- to find out, for instance, that there are eight teaspoons of sugar in a typical serving of a cola soft drink. I was amazed at that, so I submit to the member that the figures he is quoting may not be inordinate at all, compared to the diet of the average person.

Mr. Ruprecht: I will take very seriously what the minister is saying. If that is the case, then he certainly would not mind checking into it. I would submit that if the minister would be so kind as to supply me with copies of five weeks' worth of diet sheets for all the province's mental hospitals, we can certainly check this out. We will find out the truth of the statements when we receive the diet sheets the minister will be supplying. Could the minister do that for us, please?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I hope the member makes speeches like this in my home town, because they are going to find out just how much of a joke he really is.

I will be glad when the opposition parties are ready to deal with the estimates of my ministry -- I have been ready for a couple of months and have been asking to do it this spring -- to go into the greatest of detail about that with them in the estimates committee. I will have my officials from the psychiatric hospitals branch there, nutritionists from the ministry; whoever they want from the ministry to discuss it with them.

Mr. Ruprecht: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: I find it very disconcerting that these statements are being made on a continual basis, and I would submit that the minister withdraw that on account of --

Mr. Cassidy: If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.


Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question for the Minister of Health.

Despite what he said today, the Minister of Health was not able yesterday to explain a decline of active treatment beds in the magnitude of 4,276 between March 1979 and March 1981, neither was he able to explain the decline in the number of chronic care beds during the same period of 961 beds, despite his promise of some 3,218 chronic care beds for 1980.

May I ask him today whether he can explain why, according to his own nursing home inspection service staff, the number of licensed nursing home beds in Ontario declined from 28,208 in December 1979 to 28,202 in December 1980? Why was there a decline of six nursing home beds during the period when the minister was promising this marvellous expansion in the numbers of such beds?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I have already said I am going to be tabling supplementary information to clarify this. As I understand it, going back to the question the member or his predecessor as critic asked in 1979, he asked about the number-of-beds category, available or planned, and that is where the member is coming up with this 3,000 --

11:10 a.m.

Mr. McClellan: No, that was not part of the question.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Yes, I am sorry. If he looks I think he will find "or planned." I do not have the figures here. I had a quick chance to talk this morning to the staff, who went back late yesterday afternoon and early this morning checking the basis on which the answer to the 1979 Notice Paper question was prepared. They looked at the basis on which the answer to the 1980 or 1981 -- I forget which now -- Order Paper question was prepared, and found that they left out, of the latter of those two, a significant number of beds. They were not prepared on the same basis.

One of the member's questions, as I say, asked not only the number in service but also the number planned. I will be glad to lay all that out for him. In 1980 as well, as he knows, we closed a number of nursing homes. In fact, in one way or another we have been closing about one a month for more than four years. We also announced the approval of a significant number that would have been under construction at the time, some of which will have opened by now, others of which are still under construction, set to open later this year. Even more beds have been approved since. Proposal calls have just been completed in Essex county, and in Went- worth the proposal call finished on May 22.

That is ongoing. I will give the member all the figures -- I have no problem with that. It is an ongoing system, but the number of beds has not gone down overall.

Mr. McClellan: I will await the minister's figures. Let me tell the minister that I know the difference between a bed that is open and a bed that is planned. I can count, too. Related to what the minister was just saying about nursing home beds that are supposed to be open, can the minister explain whatever happened to the 300 nursing home beds for Metropolitan Toronto, which were --

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Yes.

Mr. McClellan: -- let me finish; do not be so precipitous -- which were announced in the Legislature on October 17, 1980? To quote the minister, "These beds should be in use by March of next year." That is March 1981. How many of the 300 beds were actually in use by March 1981? My understanding is two out of the 300. Can the minister tell me what the correct figure is?

Hon. Mr Timbrell: I can give round figures. I will get more exact figures later.

When we advertised for the 300 beds our first priority was to identify nursing homes that could quickly bring on additional beds. We found three homes that could do that: Craiglee Nursing Home in Scarborough, Kennedy Lodge Nursing Home in Scarborough and the name of the third escapes me. All told, they were able to bring beds on stream quickly either because they had space available, as was the case with Kennedy Lodge -- they had overbuilt when they originally built -- or they had already proceeded with an addition on spec, as was the case with Craiglee -- they had already started an addition, which they were going to operate virtually as rest home beds in addition to nursing home beds, so we were able to put them in there quickly. The other home I think -- I cannot recall exactly -- had a small addition or had some space available.

That would come to about 75 or 80 of those 300. The balance of the 300 have been awarded to Etobicoke General Hospital and to Northwestern General Hospital, both of which --

Mr. McClellan: Licensed nursing home beds?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: -- yes -- both of which hospitals are in the process of finalizing plans to build nursing homes on site.

Mr. McClellan: By March 1981?

Hon. Mr Timbrell: That was the goal. The fact is that when we advertised for proposals, if we had had indications that 300 could be added immediately, it would have happened. We added as many as could be added immediately; the balance are under construction.

Mr. McClellan: Keep the promise.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: That is exactly what we are doing.


Mr. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Health. Yesterday an article appeared in the Toronto Star regarding birth defects in the Holland Marsh, based on a preliminary report and feasibility study of the University of Toronto, suggesting there are congenital abnormalities in the people of the Holland Marsh as a result, possibly, of the alleged use of chemicals or other things. What is the ministry doing in regard to protecting the safety of those farmers using pesticides and chemicals in Holland Marsh, and what has he been doing in regard to this with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and Ministry of Environment? Has the minister co-ordinated any plans to protect the people of the marsh?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: By the way, there was no notice of that question at all. Mr. Speaker, going back a couple of years, several local practitioners approached the medical officer of health in Simcoe and, I believe, also in York. Together they came to us seeking assistance to fund some studies, which is what the honourable member is referring to now.

Our staff has been dealing not only with those people at the local level in the health units, but also with officials in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. At this point my understanding is that what we saw referred to yesterday in the press is the second draft of the report, which is not complete. They have gone back for additional information, including my officials, who are getting some additional information from the federal officials on various birth anomalies.

In July, the two medical officers of health will be presenting it to their boards of health and then will make public the final report and recommendations. In the meantime, officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food are aware of this and the question of dealing with the farmers is in their hands. As far as the health aspects are concerned, we should have the final report, I am told, by the end of July.

Mr. G. W. Taylor: Considering that many of the farmers are unable to read English and their languages are various and many, would the minister consider putting these instructions or the recommendations into the various languages so as to benefit those people on the marsh?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I will take that suggestion as notice for my colleague the Minister of Agriculture and Food. It should be followed up there and will be.

Mr. Kerrio: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: In view of the fact that some of the pesticides in question are among 79 pesticides which were fraudulently tested in the Industrial Biotest Laboratories in the USA and the safety of these chemicals is somewhat in question, would the minister add that to the research he might do in regard to the integrity of some of those chemicals we are talking about and the threat they pose if, in fact, they have not been properly tested and are being used?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: This is an aspect, Mr. Speaker, in which no one in my ministry really has any expertise. Depending on the conclusions of the study, it is a matter we would have to perhaps take up with the pesticides advisory committee in the Ministry of the Environment.


Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, on Tuesday, through the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch), I was asked about allegations that children are being placed in jail in Sudbury due to a lack of facilities for hard-to-serve children.

First, children are not being placed in jail, period. Second, with the permission of the courts some children are placed in the observation and detention facility while they await placement. Under the child welfare legislation, children can be placed in this observation and detention home for up to 30 days under the above conditions.

That observation and detention home in Sudbury, make no mistake about it, is a treatment oriented facility. Of the nine staff, four are professional child care workers and the remaining five have social sciences training.

11:20 a.m.

It is extremely significant that the social agency, the children's agency and the community wanted that facility established in Sudbury, not only to serve briefly a child requiring protection whose future was being arranged or worked out, but as a backup facility. If a community placement appeared to be working but the child had some difficulty, that centre could be used on a short-term basis to see whether the child could go back to the community placement once he had returned to normal or if additional children's mental health services were required.

There was a further allegation that there were 44 fewer spaces in Sudbury for hard-to-service children. This is not true. The decline in beds for children has not been in the hard-to-service area. The decline has been in other areas because those beds were drastically underutilized by the placing agencies, particularly because of the availability of more appropriate nonresidential treatment programs.

There are allegations that group homes are closing because of new residential care standards. The ministry has not refused to license -- to put it more positively, the ministry has licensed homes in the Sudbury area. We have not refused to license on the basis of the new standards, which incidentally will not be effective until August 15, 1981.

Perhaps the most serious allegation that was made is that a child has been in jail for a number of weeks. That child is in the observation and detention home. While protecting his privacy, I want to state why he is there. He was in a foster placement. It broke down due to extremely inappropriate and severe acting-out behaviour. In other words, he was placed in the observation and detention home --


Hon. Mr. Drea: He was placed there with the permission of the court until a much more intensive children's mental health treatment program could be arranged and that is now being arranged.

There have been further allegations that children in the Timmins area have been faced with the possibility of jail. The Timmins area does not have a facility such as Sudbury has. It is not for lack of trying by the ministry or the community. Three separate times a facility like that has been rejected by the ratepayers of the area, including one that went to the Ontario Municipal Board. Without jeopardizing certain things that are going on now, the ministry and the community are moving extremely rapidly towards the establishment of that centre.

I think it is a great tribute to my predecessor, now the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Norton), that at the beginning of his administration there was only one observation and detention home in the north, in Sault Ste. Marie; now they are in Sudbury, Kenora, Thunder Bay and North Bay. The day when someone was sent to training school for an assessment for a community placement is all over. That is a great tribute to the many millions of dollars my predecessor put into children's mental health services in northern Ontario.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: To clear up the matter of jails, the initial question was one of detention centres. It was only because there was so much rowdyism on the other side that I was provoked to call it a jail. I would like to clear that up.

On the other hand, it is euphemistic not to call it that, because one has to go through the courts to get somebody placed there and it is a restricted area. I want to ask a question. The allegations were made, not by myself, but by officials of the children's aid society in Sudbury --

Hon. Mr. Norton: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: I think the honourable member owes this House and those of us within this House greater attentiveness to the work that he is attempting to do. If he does not understand the juvenile system and children's programs in this province any better than to assume that because the rights of a child are protected through the courts, that it is thereby --

Ms. Copps: That is not a point of privilege. His privileges have not been abused. He is not even the minister.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: My supplementary refers specifically to the one case, a young boy who has been there for several weeks.

Hon. Mr. Norton: For God's sake, understand what you are talking about.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: I am glad you moved to the Ministry of the Environment.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Mr. Johnston, proceed please.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: The young boy has been there for several weeks because of a lack of appropriate referral, as I understand it.

Hon. Mr. Drea: No.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: He has not been there for several weeks?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: But don't let that bother you.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Will the minister not agree that a more appropriate place for that child would have been the Sudbury Algoma Sanitorium, but the problem is there are long-term waiting lists? They cannot get kids in for three to six months. That would be a far better place for him than this detention centre.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Not necessarily.

Ms. Copps: Are you the minister now?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Drea: I would not agree in totality with the remarks of the member for Scarborough West. With community oriented programs in the juvenile correctional and the juvenile mental health field, I would regard an almost instant move into a long-term facility such as that to be somewhat unusual. I have some difficulty not only because of the law, but I am sure the members of this House do not want to get into an elaborate explanation on this one. I think I will leave it. Particularly because the court was involved, I would not agree that the reason he stayed there so long was because of the lack of an appropriate referral.


Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: I watched intently during question period this morning and I do not know if you are able to control the time the answers took, but if you are not able to do so, I wonder if you would consider using a stop-watch in this House so that the person asking the question would be restricted, as well as the person answering? The answers this morning took 40 minutes out of the hour.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I was going to rise on a point of order. In view of the lengthy answer given by the Minister of Community and Social Services, which was welcome, should three or four minutes not be added to question period, because it could have been made as a ministerial statement?

Mr. Cassidy: And should have.

Mr. Speaker: For the information of all members, the question period did indeed run over substantially, by four minutes.


Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a different point of order, directed mostly to the Minister of Natural Resources. He indicated to me earlier in the House that he would be living up to all the commitments made by his predecessor, and one in particular dealing with camping on crown land by nonresidents, a matter I have been raising for some years. Can the minister indicate if he will be making that statement, which his predecessor promised in March, before the House adjourns?

Mr. Speaker: That is not really a point of order.

Mr. T. P. Reid: He made a commitment to the House.

Mr. Speaker: Nothing was out of order.

Mr. Riddell: Well let him answer it anyway.

Hon. Mr. Pope: I am working on it. I hope, Mr. Speaker, I will be able to accommodate the member. In any event, I will be communicating with him during the recess if I can.

11:30 a.m.


Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, on a point a privilege: On June 12, 1981, the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) told this House with respect to domestic workers that those who either were not living in the place where they worked, or were not eating there, were not being charged up to $50 a week room and board.

The minister should be a little more aware of what has happened since his legislation was enacted. Intercede, which is the coalition to end domestic exploitation, has documented cases of people who have been denied a rebate on their $50 a week room and board assessment, not only people who are not eating there but people who --

Mr. Speaker: Order. With all respect, that is not a point of privilege.



Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the standing committee on administration of justice be authorized to sit on the afternoon and evening of Monday, June 22, 1981, to consider Bill 89, An Act to provide for the Consolidation of Hearings under Certain Acts of the Legislature.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: On May 29, I asked a question of the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Ramsay). It was a question to the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Norton), who was not in the House at that time, regarding the All-Ontario Pitch-In Day. I received a note from the minister on June 5 indicating there was a response, but as yet he has not made it in the House.

Mr. Speaker: I am sure he will take note of that.



Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Wells, first reading of Bill 125, An Act to amend the Children's Law Reform Act, 1977.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Wells moved, seconded by Hon. F. S. Miller, first reading of Bill 126, An Act to amend the Executive Council Act.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, this bill amends the Executive Council Act by making modest changes in the salaries of the first minister, ministers and parliamentary assistants.


Hon. Mr. Wells moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Gregory, first reading of Bill 127, An Act to amend the Legislative Assembly Act.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, this bill is a companion bill to the one I just introduced. It provides for a change in the annual indemnity for members of this assembly. The change is from $24,500 to $30,000 a year. This implements the recommendation of the Commission on Election Contributions and Expenses.

It further provides an increase from $8,000 to $10,000 in the expense allowance for members of this assembly, recognizing that this allowance has not changed for a number of years and recognizing the increased expenses members have in carrying on their duties as members of this assembly.

The bill further provides for changes in the indemnities and allowances for additional responsibilities carried on by different members of the assembly, and it provides for a change in the severance allowance provision from one quarter to one half of the annual salary.


Mr. McClellan: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I understood, but I may be incorrect, that the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) would retable what he purported to be the correct answer to written questions on which some of my oral questions have been based. Does the government House leader not have this material, or did I misunderstand?

Mr. Speaker: My understanding, Mr. McClellan, was that it was not ready yet and that it would be tabled when it was available. I presume -- well, I will not presume anything.

Mr. McClellan: Then let me express the fervent aspiration that it will be available before the end of this session.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Before the orders of the day, Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the answers to questions 88, 97, 114, 115, 128 and 129, and the interim answer to question 113 standing on the Notice Paper.



Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for interim supply, June 1 to October 31, 1981.

Mr. Speaker: Mr. Renwick.


Mr. Renwick: I will pretend I do not know to what I am indebted for that applause, Mr. Speaker.

If I may revert for a moment to last evening, I read into the record of the House a note I had received from the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller). I did not believe it would cause him any concern. He spoke with me afterwards, and I apologized to him at that time.

The reason I read it into the record was that it indicated I was breaking some kind of an agreement between the parties that the interim supply debate would be completed last night. I had no recollection of that agreement being conveyed to me either by the House leader or by the deputy House leader of this caucus. They are scrupulous in letting us know about agreements reached among the House leaders.

I checked with the deputy House leader last evening. He assured me he was not aware of any such agreement. I spoke this morning with the House leader of this caucus, the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel), and he assured me that, while there was a hope and an expectation that it might be completed last night, there was no agreement of any kind.

As I indicated last night, I had wanted to devote a few minutes to a matter of objective concern to me and about which in the long term I expect the Treasurer will have to be concerned. It seemed to me, in the lull that will now follow the settlement of the scale for medical services in the province, that this was an appropriate time to take an objective look over a period of time at exactly what is happening and to urge the Treasurer to become involved in the question of doctors opting out of the system and in the whole question of extra billing. In a very objective sense, I want to speak to that issue.

11:40 a.m.

About two weeks ago the new schedule of fees that resulted from the settlement that was reached was published in the Ontario Gazette. One of the original promises of medicare was to provide a better method by which the value and the price to be paid for medical services would be determined. That fundamental promise of the medicare system has never been directly achieved in this province, or indeed in most other provinces, mainly because of the confusion with respect to the role of government in comparison to the traditional method by which a doctor bills his individual patient.

Everyone must understand -- I think we all understand -- that there is no marketplace for medical services. The customer, or the patient, of the doctor has no control over what the price will be for the service he obtains from the doctor. That system is one that I believe the medical profession wishes to maintain.

One of the things the medicare system did when it was originally set up was to introduce very clearly into the process a government agency, not directly for the purpose of determining the cost of medical services but indirectly through establishing, as a precedent condition of the funding of the medicare schemes by the federal government through the provinces, a condition that it must be administered through a provincial agency, thus directly bringing the provincial agency into the question of the cost of medical services provided by the medical profession.

Because of the immense indirection that was involved in those conditions imposed by the federal government, along with another condition that in substance militated against any extra billing by doctors, it did not exclude extra billing but it put such conditions on its provision that for practical purposes it was not a problem for a considerable period of time.

I want to go back to the time when we introduced the medicare system into this assembly. Those of us who were here at the time recall that this government would have preferred to have a private insurance system. There was a great deal of concern when the federal government required as one of the conditions of its financing of the medicare scheme that it had to be done through a provincial agency because, of course, that provincial agency then was intimately involved in the payment for medical services.

For quite a period of time in the latter part of the 1960s and the early part of the 1970s, it did not pose a problem, because the original medicare bill simply took the schedule of fees then in use by the Ontario Medical Association for the establishment of medical charges. I am not here to argue whether that was high or low at the time, but it was a schedule of fees that was totally acceptable to the doctors because it was the one that had been used.

Let me say in parenthesis that I am not engaged in doctor-bashing any more than I would be engaged in lawyer-bashing, but I am very much interested in making certain that we understand objectively what may happen in this field in the future.

For a considerable period of time after its introduction into Ontario, and indeed well on into the 1970s, there was no serious concern about the question of settlement. Many doctors simply billed the Ontario health insurance plan. Many doctors were delighted not to have the administrative cost of billing, and many doctors were quite happy not to have to collect accounts that were delinquent.

There was a relative period of quiet. The system worked very well, and there was very little indication of opting out by the profession. There was very little question of extra billing. Many doctors preserved the right to bill their patients and have the patients bill the Ontario health insurance plan for payment of their account, but by and large the various ways of dealing with the problem were smothered in a degree of acceptability.

We then had a very serious divergence when the medical profession became immensely concerned about what it considered to be the relative drop in the relationship of its salaries or incomes to incomes in other parts of society.

Last evening, with some difficulty, I tried to place on the record of the House the figures for average incomes of the medical profession from 1962 through to 1978 on a Canada-wide basis, along with the ratio of those doctors' salaries to the average income of all the people who work in the country. That is now on the record..

I deliberately chose all Canada and not Ontario, because I think it is a Canada-wide problem that has to be looked at and addressed.

In the middle of the 1970s, the doctors became more and more discontented with the schedule and the rate of charges that they were permitted. As we know, the Ontario Medical Association proposed a very significant increase in the fees they would be entitled to charge for their services. That did not come about, because in 1975, I guess it was, we had the imposition of wage and price controls, which applied to doctors' incomes as well. We went through a period of time, as long as wage and price controls were in effect, when the concern of the doctors was contained because of those controls.

I do not want anybody to misunderstand me. I have no interest in controls as a method of solving this kind of problem. I am simply illustrating that from 1977 on there was a significant deterioration in the question of the way in which the doctors related through their incomes to the medicare plan.

That crisis has been continuing for a long time. It was exacerbated, because at the same time the federal government changed its method of funding to try to get the provinces to accept more fiscal responsibility with respect to the administration of the funds that were available.

The result of the change in the funding of the medicare program was in a sense to reassert each of the provinces as an independent entity in the medicare system so that in various provinces one immediately began to feel different pressures from the medical profession on the provincial governments and in the field of public opinion to do something about it.

It is interesting that the main pressures, both for opting out and extra billing, came from Alberta and Ontario. The ancient tradition reasserted itself in a much more dramatic way than it did in some of the other provinces that had, by and large, accepted the medicare scheme as part of the tradition in those provinces. Also, because of the relative poverty of a number of provinces, they did not raise the issue in the dramatic way it was raised in Ontario and Alberta.

We have this conjunction of events where the deterioration began in the relationship between the medical profession and the medicare plan. It is because of that crisis and the lull that now exists as a result of the recent settlement that I want to say to the Treasurer, because I am quite satisfied the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) will not address the problem, that in the budget of this province, the financing of the medicare system and the overall delivery of health care are matters that will be of continuing concern to the Treasurer of the province, because they impinge so greatly upon the budget he must introduce every year.

11:50 a.m.

The Treasurer, it seems to me, must assert his authority or at least his prestige in the cabinet to make it understood that, to the extent this problem of opting out and extra billing is allowed to continue as a lever used in the negotiating process between the provincial government and the medical profession in the settlement of the cost of those services, we are putting the whole of the medicare system in jeopardy in the very broadest sense of that term.

We are doing it in a number of ways. Actually, extra billing is a question of utilization fees, and it offends very directly the condition imposed by the federal government, even in its weakened bargaining position at the present time. Every time the government allows the extra billing system to move in as a lever used by the medical profession in the bargaining process or negotiating process, or whatever one wants to call the process by which we arrived at this recent schedule of fees, it is inviting the adoption of a number of possible adverse alternatives in the province.

Let me spell out one of them. There is a provision in the insurance act dealing with health services on which the former Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, the present Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea), had to give his categorical undertaking in this House that that section of the act would not be used to allow private insurers to come in and insure the extra billing.

As soon as one allows the introduction of the private insurer into the system, one is then beginning to defeat the overall purpose of the system, which is to provide equal access for everyone to the available medical skills and services within the province without any distinction in the price charged.

One scenario is that, if the government persists in proceeding in this way, we will find -- though perhaps not openly -- the reintroduction of an insurance factor through the private insurance market which is now precluded.

The other alternative is that, after the present lull to which I referred, a year or two years from now there will be a reassertion of the attack by the medical profession on the method of settling the price for their services through an increase in opting out coupled with an increase in extra billing.

That will so militate against the system that I am saying to the Treasurer that the slack number of dollars, whatever available number of dollars may be allowed to be spent within the medical care system of the province in all of its aspects, will be eaten up in the course of those negotiations.

The result will be that many of the things we all hoped would take place in the health delivery service of this province will never see the light of day.

We will, for example, not see the development of the community clinic system, which is one of the alternative methods for effectively delivering health care services. I am not talking about it in an ideological sense, but it was and is being proven in those isolated places in Ontario where clinics are in place to be an effective alternative method of delivery.

The expansion of that system will not take place if this open gap in the settlement of the cost of medical services is allowed to continue, because over time it will continue to eat up all the dollars that are available for the medicare system.

I have spoken only about the community health clinic as being one alternative method. But there are many other aspects of the health care system of this province that can be improved in a very reasonable way if there are some dollars available.

We have been engaged in questions and answers for a number of days now about the actual hospital system in the province and what is happening to it in the light of what some of us think the final result of these cutbacks has been. We are seeing the effects that those cutbacks have had on the quality of hospital care. If we are going to improve that hospital care, if we are going to provide the kind of assistance that is required in a tight economy, there are going to have to be available dollars.

I say to the minister that the province finally must come to the position where it recognizes that the arrangements between doctors and the government with respect to medical services have to be regularized. We have to understand that there should be a commitment by the government to regularize the price structure of the delivery of medical services. The government must take positive and effective action on the question of opting out and on the question of extra billing.

I am not speaking very objectively, and I am not talking in punishment terms at all. One can put it into a very simple perspective. The fact of the matter is that for decades now the medical profession has been the single highest-paid occupation in the country. The records clearly show it, no matter how one looks at it. We are not talking about penalizing the medical profession relative to other parts of the economy.

I think it is also fair to say that we cannot allow -- if I can use the term very advisedly -- a professional monopolistic system of establishing fees on the basis of the doctor dealing with his patient as if it were an individual marketplace transaction to supplant the overall premise of a medicare system, which got a little lost because of the tensions of the problem, the overall fundamental promise and premise of the medicare system, namely, that we would have a better method for determining in our society the value of medical services.

It is not for me to say what the ratio should be between doctors' services and the average income earned by working people in the country, whether it should be four times, as it is apparently at present according to the information I can gain in talking on an all-Canada basis, or whether it should be, as it was at one time, as high as 6.5 times. Those are matters that do not lend themselves to precise arbitrary mathematical regulation.

But there is a point where society as a whole ultimately will determine to what extent a higher value and the extent of the degree of that differential will be tolerated for one profession in relation to the number of dollars many other people earn. So I am not basing my argument on that. I am simply saying the figures I put on the record last night were, in my view, designed to show that the relative position of doctors has fluctuated over time as various salary and income adjustments were made across the country in the last 10 or 15 years of fairly tight financial restrictions.

In summary, I am asking the Treasurer to take a personal interest in the questions of opting out and extra billing. It is not a matter to be left to the Minister of Health. It is not a matter to be left within a traditional framework. Unless the Treasurer deals with at least that aspect of the health care system in the province, it will bedevil for years to come the budgeting of the health delivery system in the province. We will pay the very heavy price of not having the kinds of flexible improvements in the system that are available, at least in experimental and trial form, in various areas of the province and that have been forecast.

I am saying very bluntly to the Treasurer, I think he has to deal with the opting-out question. I think he has to deal with the extra billing system. I am not suggesting which model he should choose. Perhaps he could choose the Quebec model, which has a very special connection with that province, but he certainly has to choose the present Ontario system.

It is of no use to us, and I think of no use to the people in the province, to say that the level of opting out now either has stabilized at a given percentage in particular branches of the profession or is somewhat lower than it was a short time ago. That is in no way a satisfactory answer to the question. One must always be careful in trying to predict how the future will unfold, but I can tell members now that in a short period of time the pressure will begin again.

12 noon

Why does the government have any role in this question of determining the price of medical services? Is it not a matter between the doctor and his patient? Is it not that the doctors now simply will bill the patient, saddle the patient with paying the extra billing, forwarding the bill to the extent it is reimbursable to the Ontario health insurance plan?

Then what does the patient do about the extra billing charge? He either does not pay the account, and if he does not pay the account then he is not likely to get services from that particular doctor again or, if he does pay the account, at some particular point in time it is an invitation to reduce the overall economic efficiency of the system by allowing doctors to continue to extra bill.

One gets a situation that I consider is sort of contrary to the tradition of this province. I personally do not believe it would be acceptable to start getting the doctors dealing on a cash basis, which is already relatively prevalent in certain specialties in Toronto. I personally do not believe it would be acceptable if one gets the doctors pressuring to allow the use of Chargex or other credit cards for the purpose of paying accounts.

Being a member of a monopolistic profession that sets its own fees, which should be looked at as well at some time, I can say that there are any number of ways in which the medical profession will bring pressure on the system and which, unless we are extremely careful, will destroy the fundamentals of the system.

I do not know what the Treasurer's ultimate position is on the medicare plan. I do know what the traditional government of Ontario position has been. They would rather have had it otherwise than to be required, as a condition of getting federal financing, to have it funded through a provincial agency and to intrude on the so-called free marketplace for medical services.

Personally, I think that across the province the public wish to have the essential ingredients of the medicare plan protected. I am concerned that the Treasurer is not aware and will not give proper attention to the erosive power of the opting-out and extra-billing principles upon the whole of the medicare system. I say to the Treasurer -- I am not asking him to respond at this particular point in time -- I am simply saying to him that the increase in premiums in my riding is about as high as it can go.

I noticed in his budget that he is quite prepared to have some further studies. Perhaps it is true that at least the indirect impact of that premium increase will not be felt by many people in the province because it will be picked up under collective agreements or other arrangements through their employer.

But if the Treasurer allows that corrosive operation to continue or to remain latent in the system, it will be used by the medical profession to lever their return up for medical services. Without a clear-cut set of rules by which this government and the Treasurer as part of that negotiating operation will determine what is a fair and reasonable price for medical services, in the long run he will have set back the overall development of the health care system.

That is the particular area of concern that I wanted to objectively address in interim supply, as cautiously as I could. The Treasurer will notice that I have not used the actual report with respect to the final settlement in Ontario. I am not interested in showing that Ontario doctors are earning more money than their counterparts in other provinces. That is not my point.

My point is that the government of Canada established the conditions -- for better, in my view -- to provide a uniform level of health care delivery services across the country. That does not make me a centralist; it makes me a person who believes as a Canadian that the medicare system has to be protected on a universal basis.

The result of the change in funding by the federal government and the result of the excessive deficit of the federal government has meant the responsibility for the maintenance of the medicare system has devolved back to the provinces. When one devolves that protection back to 10 provinces one runs the risk that any one province can be jockeyed in the game to upset the system and to allow all the things to happen that would be disastrous in my view.

The key to it is for this government to accept and not shy away from its responsibility to deal with opting out and extra billing on a rational, sane but firm, clear and concise basis so that we are not subject to that kind of rocking by the medical profession which will take place in Alberta and Ontario first and then, if it is marginally successful here, will be heard about in the eastern provinces and a little while later there will be an attempt to wean even Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia away from it.

Interestingly enough, the measure and extent of the dangers I project for the system, as I heard over the radio going home last night, is that negotiating on a fragmented system in British Columbia has produced a 40 per cent increase across the board over a two-year period for the medical profession.

The reverberations from that province to this province and to the other provinces will simply steamroller and snowball the principle to the point where this Treasurer will have lost control through his budget over the need to protect the quality and development of the health care system in the province.

Mr. Speaker: Does any other honourable member wish to participate in this debate? Mr. Miller.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the discussion has gone on for approximately five and a half hours. It is ironic that a member of this Legislature who is a student of the House rules and the debates on interim supply, pointed out that if this debate was long I was probably the author of its time because, a year or so ago, early in my career as Treasurer, the Speaker of the day brought me to order for being off the point. I rose to defend the right of the person in, I think, the NDP party to speak in a general way in the interim supply motion --

Mr. Foulds: It is ND Party. The "P" stands for party.

Hon. F. S. Miller: You are right. I am often redundant, repetitive -- whatever else you might want me to be. If so, fine. I never felt I was anxious to have a narrow definition of interim supply. On the other hand, I must admit I hope members taking part will express serious points of concern. In general, most have. A couple got carried away in my opinion.

Let me point out one matter of importance raised by the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson) when he questioned the date of the interim supply and the legality of the special warrant. I think the implication was in his comment last night that we had bridged two fiscal years.

Mr. Peterson: That was the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells).

Hon. F. S. Miller: In any case, they are in the member's comments last night. I am not going to try to get into a fight as to exactly what words were used. I am not necessarily disagreeing with him but I am pointing out the special warrant applied to expenditures starting April 1, 1981.

Second, the authority for the special warrant is in section 4 of the Management Board of Cabinet Act. This permits this approach.

Third, the implication was there had been overspending. There has been no overspending in any ministry's appropriation as far as I know. I have asked my staff to check that and as of this minute there is no need for a retroactive date.

12:10 p.m.

The date was chosen as June 1 at a point when staff, in writing the resolution, were not sure when the interim supply resolution would be on the floor of the House. I expressed the opinion last night that if it is the wish of this House to have the date changed to today's date, that in no way bothers me. I would be quite willing to have it done, because there is no need for any retroactive spending. If that is the wish of the House I will simply introduce an amendment to the resolution before us and include it in that resolution.

Mr. Peterson: Why $4.7 billion?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Because that was the estimated amount of money required until such time as we might get interim supply before the House.

Mr. Peterson: Why did the government not bring in interim supply on April 23?

Hon. F. S. Miller: There have been many points of business before this House that were considered important. I do not structure the House rules or the House order of business. I am simply saying that we had a special warrant in place and we were following it. As the member knows, the estimates were tabled on May 26 with full details, including the special warrant information within them. That was all there. We have spent a fair amount of time debating it. I just want to set that order straight, because the idea that we are operating illegally or improperly is wrong.

I accept the philosophical points of view expressed by four speakers for the New Democratic Party as being their point of view and the very reason for the existence in the House of different parties. When one believes something obviously one should say it. I obviously do not always accept those points of view. I listen with interest; we differ.

I would say to the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) that I have listened as Minister of Health to many arguments on the question of the right of physicians to opt out and the alternatives to fee for service. I know that as Minister of Health I moved in those directions. I hope he realizes that. I was involved at times with the St. Mary's clinic for better or for worse, the Sault St. Marie clinic and a number of health centres around the province. We set up trial facilities out in the riding of the member for Perth (Mr. Edighoffer) at some point, looking at ways and means to improve not only the efficiency in a cost sense but the efficiency in a human sense and in a health sense of the delivery of the gamut of health services.

I do not have a rigid belief that a fee-for-service system is the only mechanism which would deliver service at reasonable cost. But in the presence of a fee-for-service system we have to look at the rights of the doctor and the rights of the patient. Our responsibility in this Legislature is to protect both, not just the one. We have 13,000 physicians and 8.5 million people. If it comes to a question of whose rights weigh most heavily upon us there is no question who is going to win.

This has always been a sobering fact to physicians who get carried away with their rights and forget the rights of the people they are servicing. I think they have to realize that when they threaten to opt out across the province and therefore remove the rights of the citizens, then their rights are in jeopardy too. That is something they have understood of late.

Therefore, we have seen a balance between the opt-in and opt-out become established at a slightly different level than it was a few years ago. I think it was about 90 per cent when I was minister; it is about 83 per cent now, if the statistics are right. The fact remains that all physicians -- like all lawyers, all engineers, all plumbers or all carpenters -- are not worth exactly the same fee per unit of work. I do not know how one gives a physician the right to say, "I am more skilled. I am the best heart surgeon, I am the best internist," or whatever he may be, without also giving him the right to have some access to extra funding.

That has been one of the fundamental reasons why a fee-for-service system with an opt-out privilege was part of the Ontario theme. I simply stress that. It is a balancing of rights. I do not like to be threatened by any group in society who say that their way must prevail. Obviously my colleague the Minister of Health shares those points of view. I think we should be aware, while all other models need to be evaluated, tested and appraised in any way we can, that the majority of the health care services in this province are still given on a fee-for-service basis and that within that the opt-out privilege has remained an important right, protected for the physician and for the patient.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I would move acceptance of my resolution.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. F. S. Miller moved second reading of Bill 70, An Act to authorize the Raising of Money on the Credit of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Mr. Peterson: I know a number of members would like to get this act through. I was going to make a long speech on this matter, but in view of the hour, I think I will probably spare the House and just make a few comments. This is something we have discussed before at great length in this House and something that has concerned me. We have taken the opportunity previously to lay out our concerns for the future because of the borrowing of this government over the past decade.

We are now entitling the minister to borrow up to $1.9 billion, essentially from internally generated pension funds. This government always prides itself on never having to go to the market. The only exception was in 1975 when there was a pre-election budget and it did go to the market. Other than that, with the exception of some Treasury bill offerings in which it was involved very heavily a couple of years ago -- and none at the present time, to the best of my knowledge -- all the funds have been internally generated. In so doing, there is some feeling that it is not really borrowing money. I want to point out that is a great myth, because those are legal financial obligations and they will have to be repaid at some time in the future.

I am going to talk in approximate numbers today. Let us not kid ourselves. Just because that $18 billion or so that has been borrowed over the past decade has been borrowed from internally generated funds does not mean there is not a real legal liability. Let us take, for example, the teachers' superannuation fund. It is generally accepted and common knowledge that the government usually pays below market rates. I have said before that if the government had to pay real market rates rather than getting a discount because they control these funds, it would probably be less promiscuous in spending those moneys.

Today, because it is paying the teachers' superannuation fund less than market rates, that has seriously eroded the integrity of that fund. At the present time there is an unfunded liability, in addition to the $4 or $5 billion owed to that fund from accumulated borrowing, of about $1.4 billion. That is from the latest actuarial analysis. Whether the staff agree with those figures or not, they are at least in that range. It is another obligation the taxpayers will eventually have to come up with.

We are also finding this year that the moneys borrowed by the Ontario government from the Canada pension plan are not covering the accumulated interest from previous borrowing. There is a reason for that. Some $500 million was allocated from Canada pension plan borrowing into Ontario Hydro this year, as it was last year. That is something I have always agreed with. I have no problem with that. I have said those moneys should have been put into assets where the cost of money is calculated, where it is built into the pricing policies of that particular economic unit, the atomic reactor or whatever. I have no problem with that because it creates real wealth in this province.

I do not mind that, but at the same time, we are finding this year that Ontario is borrowing less from the Canada pension plan than it owes them in interest. So already we are into a negative cash flow from that point of view and, as I recall the figures, it stands at about $230 million. That problem is going to compound itself exponentially.

12:20 p.m.

Every year, as we progress, we will owe more interest and be able to borrow less. If we continue these borrowing practices, we will have to look for new sources of revenue. That will necessarily force the Ontario government out into the marketplace to compete with private capital, which is inflationary. One of the major problems in this country over the next 10 to 20 years will be the availability of capital to fund the giant megaprojects in the energy, transportation and various other sectors in order to maintain the standard of living with which we have become comfortable. When we see government competing for that private capital it will be inflationary and put many great strains on the system.

Interestingly enough, my colleague the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) of the New Democratic Party asked a question of the Treasurer a month or so ago. He asked why the Treasurer did not expand the Canada pension plan. The NDP, as the official political wing of the Canadian Labour Congress, has taken that position and we will hear more of that in a while. I am looking forward to the discussion we will have over the next couple of months.

The Treasurer's response to that question was, "It is irresponsible to let governments have access to any more moneys, because they just waste it on deficits." Here he is decrying the fact. When he was refuting the suggestion that we should expand the Canada pension plan, he said he did not want any more money in government's hands because they tend to spend it inefficiently. Yet he has been doing exactly that in his capacity as Treasurer, as has the government since that money was made available in 1966. The Treasurer holds a curious position. As has been said before, he is decrying prostitution while living off the avails thereof. That is exactly the situation he is in.

The Canada pension plan is one of the cheapest pension plans in this country now. They are beginning to find this will catch up to us. Rather than costing about 3.6 per cent of payroll as it does now, it will probably run up into the eight to 10 per cent area. We will have a very serious problem in the next 20 years unless that is rectified.

I am one of those who does not believe we should allow governments to have any more money to treat as promiscuously as they have in the last 10 years. I am one who will argue in the committee on pensions, when it is being discussed, that we should not allow this Treasurer to get his hooks on any more of that money. We already owe the Canada pension plan about $8 billion or $9 billion. It is a very substantial amount of money and as those funds run down, when its disbursements start to exceed the receipts around 1984-85, as we are subjected to calls on that money, as debentures come due, we will have to look for new sources of revenue that are at present not available.

I do not want to go on because it is not the appropriate time. I am going to vote against this bill today as a symbolic gesture. The province and this Treasurer, as well as the Treasurers before him, have been most irresponsible in the treatment of that money over the past decade. There are studies around such as the Economic Council of Canada's studies which say that had that money been spent to develop real wealth in the private marketplace or on hydro plants or even public enterprise -- some wealth-creating device -- we would have had more growth. We would have higher real income and less unemployment. The entire economy of Ontario would be in better shape than it is today. It has happened because they have robbed some of those moneys and generally allocated them to fuel deficits and finance deficits.

They will argue that it has been spent on capital goods. That is a very questionable proposition too. I will argue they have contributed, because of their borrowing habits, to some of the economic problems we have today. I will save the speech because I will probably make it again in the near future. I have talked about these things before. It is my belief that by supporting this bill we will be affording the Treasurer the opportunity to be more irresponsible than he has been in the past. It is putting off further the day when we all have to face up to the realities of what has gone on in the last 10 years.

I have tried to discuss those realities with the Treasurer. Frankly, I am not very satisfied with his answers. I do not think they have any particularly attractive long-range view on how to solve some of these problems. I also will fight very hard so that he is not allowed any more money if the contribution rates for the Canada pension plan and various other pension plans go up. He is not entitled to them. He has not shown very good judgement in using these funds in the past, and I do not think he should have any more in the future. That is why I am going to vote against this bill today, Mr. Speaker. Thank you.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak briefly on the bill. My colleague the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) asked me to make two points. I will make them briefly and succinctly.

It is always a wonder to us that the government borrows from pension plans at such preferred rates of interest -- from the Canada pension plan and the teachers' superannuation fund, for example -- that it is encouraged to borrow, perhaps unnecessarily. That is, if the government pays, as I understand, 12.5 per cent to 13.39 per cent on the CPP borrowings for 1981 and 11.05 per cent on the teachers' superannuation fund borrowings, that encourages the government to borrow. If it had to borrow at the current rate of interest, around 20 per cent or so, I think the government would borrow somewhat less.

We do not have the dogmatic anti-borrowing philosophy of the party to our right, both figuratively and geographically. But we find the imbalance disturbs us, because the low interest that is paid to these pension funds not only does a disservice to the people who will be drawing benefits from those funds but also discourages the government from expanding its tax base. It discourages the government, and this Treasurer in particular, from looking for other sources of revenue for their budgetary needs.

The spokesmen on financial matters for this party have pointed out time and again -- and I suspect will have to do so for as long as this Treasurer is Treasurer and this government is in government -- failure to obtain revenue from the corporate sector and the resource sector. It is quite shameful that with resource revenue values approximately one third those of Saskatchewan, for example, we gain for the public treasury one fifth the value which that province does. That is, in my view, a serious imbalance in the taxation structure of this province.

I would therefore just like to make those two points on this debate and wait for the Treasurer's or other members' comments.

Mr. Speaker: Does any other member wish to participate in this debate?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I accept the comments made. It is interesting that the speaker for the Liberal Party should criticize me for doing exactly what he says I should do, and that is gradually to wean government --

Mr. Nixon: He said the Treasurer should resign.

Hon. F. S. Miller: No. He would have said that, but he did not today. I am simply agreeing that it is wise for government to have a limited access to readily available, almost captive, moneys. It is in the interests of all of us to see that happen. That is one of the reasons I opposed the Canada pension plan doubling, which Madame Bégin suggested at the federal government level.

I also would say, though, that it was always the insinuation that somehow the moneys we owe in this province were not well used. I just have to categorically oppose that. In this province we have run a very efficient provincial government. Compared with other governments in this country we have the second lowest year-over-year increase in spending of all provincial governments.

12:30 p.m.

As pointed out by the operating committee of the Council of Ontario Universities, looking into capital grants, when allowing for capital works we have only had a deficit in two years out of 10. We have not left undone those things which ought to have been done and we have not done those things which ought not to have been done. I would argue we did not waste the money.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for third reading.

Mr. Foulds: On a point of something or other, Mr. Speaker, I might point out the member for London Centre was unable to be here to vote against it as he indicated he would be when he spoke.


Hon. Mr. Bennett moved second reading of Bill 67, An Act to establish the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Mr. Nixon: I wonder if the minister has an opening statement, Mr. Speaker?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I think the opening statement was pretty well covered in the Premier's (Mr. Davis) statement back on May 1 at the time we were introducing the legislation which indicated the amalgamation of the municipal affairs wing of the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs and the Ministry of Housing under the new title of Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

Mr. Nixon: "Hoosing."

Hon. Mr. Bennett: "Hoosing": that is the valley way of calling it a house. I would say the bill is fairly straightforward. It shows the various functions and operations of the ministry and I would appreciate hearing the comments of the members of the second party.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be able to speak on this bill. As we know, the minister has introduced this bill. For some time we have encouraged having housing and municipal affairs integrated into one ministry. With this integration, a number of parts are going to be included in it.

I want to draw to the attention of the members the fact that the Ministry of Housing was created in 1973. At that time the Premier stated that in creating this new ministry the government had placed the highest priority on the need for a comprehensive new approach to housing. It now seems that by integrating housing and municipal affairs there is a little less priority as far as housing is concerned and as far as this government is concerned.

I also must draw to the attention of the House the fact that Municipal Affairs was first established in 1935 and in 1968 Treasury and Economics was created. In 1972, there was a major reorganization of the government of Ontario and the Ministry of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs was established. That was in April, 1972.

This amalgamated Treasury and Economics with Municipal Affairs. So they did away with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs in 1972 as a separate unit and then created the ministry known as TEIGA, which I suppose at that time was created specifically for the then superminister, who is now the super-president of Union Gas of Chatham, Ontario.

Mr. Boudria: A custom-made job.

Mr. Epp: A custom-made job, my colleague says. He is so right.

There was obviously a little dissension among some of the ministers in the government at the time, because all kinds of indications came forth that the superminister was more super than some of the people wanted him to be. As a result, when he left in 1978 that ministry was quickly dismantled before anybody could even say "boo." It was divided up into the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs -- which assumed responsibility for relationships between the provincial government and the federal and municipal governments -- and of course the Ministry of Treasury and Economics.

Now we are seeing a new stage in reorganization. Municipal affairs and housing are coming together, and the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs will be left to deal with Ontario's relations with other provincial governments, as well as with the federal government. It is my feeling this is a better unification.

It is ironic to note that in the statement made to announce this new legislation on May 1, 1981, the Premier stated that the creation of the new ministry of municipal affairs and housing reflects and strengthens our commitment to the municipal level of government. This somewhat questions the statement I quoted earlier with respect to the Ministry of Housing, because if this strengthens municipal government, it obviously weakens housing, and the minister should be concerned about this.

Back on August 21, 1978, when the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) was explaining to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario why the then Ministry of Treasury, Economics and Intergovernmental Affairs had been split, he indicated, and I quote, "There is a sharp team who are tuned in to the problems and realities of government." He went on at some length to describe why municipal and provincial and federal-provincial relationships would best be grouped together under the one ministry umbrella.

In the light of this 1978 statement which insisted this was the most effective way to treat all governments, no one can really blame us for being somewhat surprised that the government is now trying to put everything together under one umbrella.

The minister may want to comment on the fact that his enthusiasm for the Housing portfolio seems to have lessened, as is reflected in the statements he made earlier this year during estimates and during previous estimates of the Housing ministry. I might point out that we are short of housing starts, and hope this minister with the new responsibilities of municipal affairs and housing will not lessen his enthusiasm for housing.

Based on the kind of promises that were made in the Brampton manifesto back in 1977, and in some subsequent statements, we have been led to believe the government would enthusiastically embrace new housing starts for the province. Yet in subsequent years since 1977 there has been a shortfall of thousands of units in Ontario with respect to new housing starts.

12:40 p.m.

For instance, just look at the local rental situation in the province alone, Mr. Speaker. The minister, together with the Premier, has announced on a number of occasions that they were putting $42 million and then a subsequent $21 million into a new rental construction program. Yet to this date, June 19, 1981, about four or five months after the initial announcement was made by the Premier and by the Minister of Housing, to the best of my knowledge there hasn't been one single unit fully approved in Metropolitan Toronto.

The minister shakes his head. He will have an opportunity to indicate if there has been a miracle created in the ministry in the last few days, but until a few days ago there was not one single unit that was completely approved -- with all the bureaucratic red tape out of the way -- for construction in Metropolitan Toronto. I would be glad to be wrong on that, but that is the best of my information. If the minister can show me some documented evidence otherwise, I would be more than happy to withdraw that. That is to the best of my knowledge, but there may have been a change of heart over there.

The minister himself knows how reluctant many of the builders have been to embrace that particular program since it was announced. At one time he said there was $42 million in the program and it was so well embraced by everyone in Metropolitan Toronto and the province that they were announcing another $21 million. Since then he has publicly admitted they have had difficulties and for various reasons builders are now trying to extricate themselves from constructing some of those units.

We know of course that the interest rates, as the minister has indicated, have gone up modestly in many respects. Nevertheless, he knew interest rates were going up in January; he knew they were going up in February; he knew they had gone up last year at the same time, yet he made the announcement without that qualification in the statement. He never said, "If interest rates go up, we are going to have to put more money in." He didn't say, "If interest rates go up, the builders will withdraw from the program. They are only going to be in the program as long as interest rates are at 12 per cent or 13 per cent." He didn't say that as long as he was Minister of Housing he would do what he could to really implement this program.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: That is a great deal more than the member's friend in Ottawa is doing.

Mr. Epp: I am not so sure, because the minister on a number of occasions --

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): Order.

Mr. Epp: Thank you, Mr. Speaker; he was interrupting me. I must apologize for the outburst of the Minister of Housing to the full galleries. This is very disappointing. Of course when one o'clock comes he will be happy to go back to Ottawa and consult with his colleagues in Ottawa.

There will be better opportunity to discuss some of the things in housing and in municipal affairs. I know some of the municipal politicians in the province are a little apprehensive about joining the Ministry of Housing with a ministry of municipal affairs, combining those two various departments into one ministry.

Mr. Philip: He has done nothing in housing and now he will have an opportunity to do nothing in municipal affairs.

Mr. Epp: I would hope that statement will be taken in the right spirit, and I am sure the member for Etobicoke who said that would be only too happy for the minister to prove him wrong, but I think he says that based on some knowledge.

I would like to draw to the attention of the members of the House the fact that municipal politicians across the province were very apprehensive about joining housing and municipal affairs. The government was aware of that apprehension. As a result of that, although they were first going to call it the ministry of housing and municipal affairs, which would be in alphabetical order and so forth, to give greater emphasis to municipal affairs, and to the minister I suppose, they decided to call it the ministry of municipal affairs and housing. That was decided just to give greater emphasis to the municipalities in the province.

All 835 municipalities will be more than happy now to take their problems to the new minister, because there are a number of problems. He knows only too well, as a former politician from the great city of Ottawa, that the municipalities want to have a greater voice in the affairs of the province and in what is going on in their municipalities. They are looking for more autonomy.

One of the ironies of this administration -- and the administration of the last 38 years, I regret to say -- has been that the provincial government is very anxious to give greater autonomy to municipalities, but only when they withdraw the various moneys from the municipalities. It did the same thing in education and in other areas. In other words, the government says, "We are going to give you the money," but then it puts additional restrictions on giving that money and on where that money should go. Then all of a sudden it says, "This is the age of more autonomy for school boards and municipalities"; but it also says, "Okay, we are taking our money away from them."

As a result the government withdrew from the Edmonton commitment, which the then Treasurer of this province made in 1972, I think it was, in Edmonton. They have withdrawn from the 60 per cent commitment to school boards that they made at one time. The provincial portion of the expenses borne by school boards across the province at one time was 60 per cent, or close to it; it is now around 50.6 per cent, or something in there -- 51 per cent. Coming from Peterborough, Mr. Speaker, you may very well know exactly what they get. I know that my own area of Waterloo region gets less than that average.

I reiterate that we will support this bill. We look forward to having the minister vigorously exercise his new responsibilities as minister of municipal affairs and housing. I notice that it was not very long after the bill was introduced -- the same day, I think -- before he had on the speeches he was distributing liberally across this province --

An hon. member: Liberally?

Mr. Epp: Liberally. He was distributing them liberally, and if we had asked for 100,000 copies he would have been happy to give us 100,000 -- in fact, 200,000 copies. They were in black on white paper. I was surprised that he did not have blue lines all the way through. But anyway, he had on there "Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing." And he had "municipal affairs" spelled correctly, so I must commend him on that and wish him well in his new responsibilities. I hope that in some way he is going to be a little more responsive to the needs of the municipalities in this province than he has been to the housing needs in this province.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I find Bill 67 another attempt by this government to solve serious problems by gimmickry or Mickey Mouse changes in administration.

A new ministry of municipal affairs and housing will not provide us with a fairer share of grants to municipalities and regions. Until we get a legislated formula for revenue sharing with the municipalities, they will continue to be at the mercy of the provincial Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller), who always has lots of money for his friends in the corporate sector but very little for the local governments.

This amalgamation will not provide us with one new housing unit; it will not stop cabinet ministers from interfering in the planning process and letting our valuable agricultural land go to developers; it will not stop the rape of our agricultural land for such projects as Canada's Wonderland, to which the Premier (Mr. Davis) gave his blessing when he participated in the official opening last month.

All this bill may do is give the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett) something to do, since he is now the minister of nonhousing. I do not think that under his regime a single unit of public housing has been added to the province's housing stock in the past --

Mr. Philip: In these areas of most need, that's typical.

12:50 p.m.

Ms. Bryden: We do have a growing need for assisted housing, and this was documented in hearings before the standing committee on administration of justice last session. The vacancy rate is increasing. The minister's incentive plans to the private sector have failed to produce new, affordable housing.

The Premier, in his statement announcing the new ministry, reiterated "the government's commitment to the provision and management of socially assisted housing through the Ontario Housing Corporation and through its support for community-based, nonprofit and co-operative housing programs." It seems sheer hypocrisy to reiterate that commitment at this time when the government is, in effect, abolishing the Ministry of Housing.

In describing the changes being effected by the reorganization, the Premier seems to think the new ministry is some sort of flying machine. He says the ministry will take over the community development wing, the community planning wing and the land development wing of the previous Ministry of Housing. Maybe the reason the Ministry of Housing has been so ineffective is that it has been trying to fly on three wings.

The Premier also stated that the creation of the new ministry "reflects and strengthens our commitment to the municipal level of government." Since the days of the Edmonton commitment, the government's refusal to legislate some form of revenue-sharing indicates a commitment to weakening the municipalities. They can never plan ahead, because they have no way of estimating the amount of provincial grants coming to them in the years ahead.

Other provinces share a percentage of their income and corporation taxes, and their retail sales taxes in some cases, with their municipalities on a legislated formula basis. But in Ontario, as I mentioned at the beginning, the municipalities are dependent on the moods of the Treasurer.

The Treasurer's mood seems to be to cut back on the ability of the municipalities to provide essential services to their residents. For example, adequate day care services are a necessity today if we are going to safeguard the wellbeing of the children of working parents. It is also a necessity to give women the choice of working outside the home so that they may have equal opportunity in our society.

The government's failure to provide adequate day care grants indicates its lack of commitment to equality for women. It also indicates its lack of commitment to our municipalities and their ability to meet the needs of their residents.

Another example of the government's failure to be interested in the welfare of the municipalities is the way it has allowed them to be ripped off by delinquent taxpayers for so long because of the difference in the interest rates they could charge to delinquent taxpayers and the actual interest rate in the marketplace.

Just this week the government finally moved to correct this error, but we have had six months to a year of interest rates above the rate set in the previous legislation. It appeared that the government was more interested in protecting the businessmen who are benefiting from this than in protecting the municipalities and their taxpayers. Of course, we all know that as a result of the situation the municipalities had to borrow money because tax payments were delayed. The other taxpayers who were not able to take advantage of this difference in the interest rates are paying for the cost of that borrowing. This is grossly unfair.

I am glad that the government has finally moved on this, but I think it was very insensitive to the demands of the municipalities for legislation in this field for the last six months or so.

Another area where the government has shown lack of commitment to the municipalities and a lack of interest in their problems is the financing of their capital works programs under the present high interest rates. No municipality can afford to sell debentures at this time, because the interest rate would be so high. Therefore, they are having to cut back their capital works programs, which may be very necessary for the future development of their municipality or for maintaining services. For example, the city of Windsor has had to reduce its 1981 program by 40 per cent, Kingston by 26 per cent, Thunder Bay by almost one third and Ottawa by 22 per cent.

A government that is truly committed to preserving the municipal level of government, as the Premier says, is not showing that commitment by permitting this situation to go on. It should provide some form of temporary lending to the municipalities at a reasonable rate of interest until such time as they can again issue long-term debentures.

There are some new clauses in this bill that were not in the previous bills for the two ministries that are being partly melded. I want to deal with one or two them. The first one is section 8(1), which gives the government very tight control over the crown agencies for which the minister is responsible. The whole idea of crown corporations and agencies is to give the agency some freedom in its day-to-day operations in the interests of flexibility and efficiency.

I have always thought that the Legislature should spell out the objectives and the policy to be pursued by a crown agency in reaching these objectives. I also think that crown agencies should be accountable to the Legislature for the implementation of their policies. But I think their day-to-day operations should be decontrolled as long as they conform to the policy guidelines and as long as they maintain open communication with the public and are answerable to the Legislature under periodic reviews.

This bill gives the minister the power to control both policy and detailed operational direction of crown agencies. I would like the minister or his parliamentary assistant, whoever is responding, to spell out exactly what kind of detailed operational direction is contemplated under section 8(1).

I would also like him to give us assurances that any crown agencies for which he is responsible will report to the Legislature on a regular basis. I would like assurances that members of the Legislature will be given an opportunity to question the officials of the crown agency and an opportunity to propose policy directions for those agencies.

Probably the biggest crown agency that will come under this ministry is the Ontario Housing Corporation.

Mr. Speaker: I direct the honourable member's attention to the clock.

Ms. Bryden: I will just finish this paragraph, Mr. Speaker, and I would then like to adjourn the debate.

With regard to the Ontario Housing Corporation, my colleague the member for Etobicoke (Mr. Philip) will be dealing more fully with the relationship of that corporation to the ministry, but I hope that opportunities will be given to the Legislature to discuss the policies of that corporation on a regular basis, perhaps in the same way as the Workmen's Compensation Board is handled in this Legislature.

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

The House adjourned at 1 p.m.