32nd Parliament, 1st Session






The House resumed at 8 p.m.


Hon. Mr. Ashe moved second reading of Bill 73, An Act to amend the Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax Act.

Hon. Mr. Ashe: Briefly, Mr. Speaker, this bill to amend the Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax Act will implement the proposals in the Treasurer's budget of May 19, 1981, by which the tax on diesel fuel for motor vehicles will be established as a percentage of the retail price. The tax rate established is 27 per cent.

The retail price to which the tax rate is to be applied will be established from periodic samples of retail prices taken by the staff of my ministry and adjusted quarterly, beginning July 1, 1981. The bill provides for an increase in tax from 5.9 cents per litre to seven cents per litre until such time as the new procedure is implemented.

The tax applicable to diesel fuel used to propel railway equipment on rails will remain at 2.2 cents per litre. However, once a taxable price has been prescribed for diesel fuel for motor vehicles, railway fuel will be taxed at 8.37 per cent of the taxable price of that fuel. This is a rate equivalent to 31 per cent of the amount of tax per litre applicable to diesel fuel for motor vehicles.

In addition, I have included an administrative amendment making it an offence for a registrant under the Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax Act to supply fuel exempt from tax to a person who is not a registrant if that fuel is delivered to a tank wagon of the nonregistrant or is delivered to the storage tank of a nonregistrant who is acquiring the fuel for resale.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, in his leadoff speech I thought the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Ashe) perhaps was going to rescind the bill and bring it back as a normal tax structure, but apparently that is not the case.

I want to put forward the official opposition's views on the second reading of Bill 73, An Act to amend the Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax Act. And our party's views are of a similar nature to our position on Bill 72, An Act to amend the Gasoline Tax Act, 1973. We condemn the Tory government for its introduction of the ad valorem tax policy, or added value on taxation of goods.

The bill implements the proposal in the Treasurer's budget that a tax on diesel fuel for motor vehicles and railway equipment be established as a percentage of the retail prices of those products as determined by the Minister of Revenue. After periodic sampling of retail prices paid by consumers, the bill makes provision for the minister to alter the price on which the tax is based so that the increases in retail prices can be reflected by a corresponding change in what is payable.

No federal, provincial or municipal government should be granted unlimited taxation authority as this proposed amendment bill suggests. We in the Liberal Party strongly object to such broad taxing powers and to the lack of accountability to the Legislature on tax policy that permits the government access to sources of revenue without justifying its need.

In fact, the recent tax increases in the Treasurer's 1981-82 budget -- the income tax increase of four percentage points, the tobacco tax increase, the gasoline and fuel tax increases and the return of the seven per cent sales tax on household goods and appliances, building materials and vehicles -- can be hailed as the Tories' new promise: the rape of the taxpayers.

The expected revenue alone from tax increases in amendments to the Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax Act was in excess of $20 million in additional revenue. But by moving from the present tax method of so much per litre, a fixed amount of three to five or six cents or whatever it is, to the ad valorem tax structure, it is estimated that the last federal government tax increase on gasoline and other motor fuels would generate $40 million to $50 million more than the Treasurer anticipated with his $20-million increase. It is also estimated that the petroleum fuel tax will generate a total of well over $900 million.

The ad valorem tax policy, in particular as it relates to the price of oil increasing considerably year by year, will provide this government with an enormous amount of wealth.

We question the veracity of this government's tax policy. The official opposition has taken a strong stand in opposing the ad valorem tax. We have endeavoured to bring to the attention of the minister responsible for government policy and other Tory members, as well as the public, the Tory promises made before the March 19 provincial election.

I remind members that the Tory government did not mention tax increases during or before the campaign. We on this side have taken the liberty to place on the record during these debates the Tory commitment to the public on matters pertaining to tax increases and an energy policy for Ontario.

Let us remember what the Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch) said, of all places, at the Canada Energy Conference in Banff, Alberta, on November 15, 1979. I quote from page six of his speech: "I should like to think, in the context of assuring an adequate oil supply, that the industry views itself as implicitly holding in trust the revenues it receives from the consumers. And I would like to think that the pricing of oil and natural gas will not be used simply as a disguised taxation vehicle, a means of cascading additional dollars into the coffers of the government."

I ask the members of the government party, is the introduction of the ad valorem tax by the Treasurer not a means of cascading additional revenue dollars? Is it not reasonable to expect that our objective of attaining self-sufficiency in oil as soon as possible will be converted "into a mechanism for simply expanding the cash flow of the government"?

I suggest to government members, particularly the Minister of Revenue, that this is the intent of the ad valorem tax. The proposed tax increases under the ad valorem principle of taxation are to all intents and purposes a devious ploy by this government to generate large increases in revenues without having to justify tax increases before this Legislature. They are definitely windfall profits, something this government had a strong commitment on, saying it would not permit any government to reap high profits at the expense of the consumers.

The Tory governments turnaround is scandalous and a discredit to consumers. The government has shown little respect for the consumers. All it is interested in is the almighty buck. Greed is its concern in taking this approach to the ad valorem tax, which only adds fuel to an already high rate of inflation. It pushes up inflation, causing further hardship on lower-income families and is a serious concern to middle-income families,

As I mentioned in the debate on the Gasoline Tax Amendment Act, the Conservative theme of "preserve and conserve" in pooling automobiles is another area in which the government has wasted millions of dollars in advertising. The government should look at what it is trying to tell the people about preserving and conserving. This government has very little interest in preserving these particular resources, gasoline and fuel.

All the minister has to do is look at my particular area, the town of Fort Erie, which currently is used as a dumping ground for surplus gasoline and diesel fuel from this area. If the minister is not aware of it, we have a large number of vehicles -- about 90,000 more vehicles per month -- coming over and purchasing surplus gasoline and diesel fuels. We have trucks coming over here and reaping the benefits of this giveaway resource.

When the government talks about preserving and conserving by pooling automobiles to reduce the amounts of gasoline used in the province, it is damned well ridiculous, because the government has no intention of doing it.

I suggest that this is a scheme by this government, along with the federal government, to maintain their source of revenues. Those fellows over there would sell us out any time. This is an area where they would do it.

Mr. Piché: You are talking against my friend.

Mr. Haggerty: Oh, well, he is the only friend the member has. Do not lose him.

Mr. Speaker, in view of the interest shown by the back-benchers --

The Deputy Speaker: Who are not in their seats, I might add.

Mr. Haggerty: -- I would suggest that they look at the regulation of the trucking industry in Canada and Ontario, particularly the reciprocal agreements made by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications with our neighbours to the south. Through this deregulation, the trucks are coming over here with almost empty tanks, as are the aircraft, and are taking advantage of the Canadian and Ontario consumers. We are subsidizing them.

I suggest they should have some further inquiry into that situation, because it is a ripoff of the Ontario consumer when this takes place. They are taking millions of gallons of petroleum fuels out of Ontario and Canada at the consumers' expense. I feel that is an unfair business practice.

Mr. Gordon: It's an example we get from the federal people.

Mr. Haggerty: They have not set this. Those fellows are in bed with them.

Mr. Ruston: The Premier (Mr. Davis) has been in bed with Prime Minister Trudeau for a year. I don't know how they have kept together for so long.

Mr. Haggerty: Definitely the government is in bed with the federal fellows on this particular matter. I think I should read some of this, Mr. Speaker. I do not like to quote this again, but I think it is worthwhile to remind the new members of what their leader has said in the past.

This article is from the Globe and Mail, a good, respectable paper. It is dated December 18, 1979. It seems to have been a good year, since the opposition members have been quoting from the years 1979 and 1980. The headline on this article reads, "Premier's Pledge to Support Clark at Odds with His Recent Statements."

The article states that on October 17 the Premier said a large increase in excise tax "would be a wilful attack on the individual consumers and general economy of Ontario, and would not serve to advance energy self-sufficiency."

On November 12, he said: "An excise tax increase now would not complement a rational fight against Canadian inflation -- it would make matters worse."

I am telling the honourable gentlemen that this ad valorem tax is a matter of concern to all of us. It is adding to the high inflationary rate that exists in Ontario now. If one looks at the United States, one sees that their taxes are coming down, while ours are going up. I will hate to see the September report on the consumer index and inflationary viewpoints because, with the taxes the government is increasing in four different areas, inflation is going to skyrocket; instead of 12 per cent, it probably will be about 15 per cent, an increase of three percentage points.

It is rather interesting that on the same day, November 12, the Premier said: "There is no honest consensus that oil price increases by themselves will lead effectively to reduced consumption. The only thing we do know is that a massive increase in the price of oil can stall economic activity and slash employment growth." He added: "Clearly, further substantial price increases would constitute not a cost we must assume to be secure but a tremendous tax increase that would only benefit the governments of Canada and Alberta and, to a lesser extent, that of Saskatchewan."

I suggest that this government, which was very critical of the proposed 18 per cent tax put forward by the Conservative government -- that is, the Joe Clark government -- has done a complete turnaround and is pre-empting what may be in the federal government's proposed new budget some time in the fall.

On December 11, budget night, this is what the Premier had to say: "The energy policy contained in the budget, for rapidly raising the price of oil in 1980 and beyond, will take more out of the hands of the consumers and place it primarily in the hands of other governments. This will extract a toll of higher inflation and fewer new jobs."

The article goes on to say that the Premier summed up the budget -- he was talking about the Clark government's budget -- by saying: "What in fact appears to be happening is that billions of dollars will be taxed from people across Canada and transferred to the Treasury of the federal government and the governments of the producing provinces."

That is not quite so, because this ad valorem tax gives the government a sufficient amount of revenue. That is questionable. The Premier also said: "These massive new revenues are not being adequately returned to the consumer and to the economy."

The Treasurer had to get into the picture. The article says: "Ontario Treasurer Frank Miller has also condemned the federal government's policies. In a statement to the Legislature on December 13, Mr. Miller agreed with the desire to reduce the federal deficit but disagreed with the means. Here are excerpts from that statement:

"Many of the proposals of the federal government will not help our economic performance -- and not advance the capacity of our economy to grow. The excise tax increase of 18 cents to the gallon. . .is going to mean an additional $2.5 billion annually in tax revenues. Ontarians will bear the brunt of these increases."

The increase that the present Minister of Revenue has proposed and the ad valorem tax as related to the fuel tax and the gasoline tax will bring in, over three to four years, a couple of billion dollars. With the increases in the price of crude oil and the federal government's tax on it, the government is going to be rolling in dough. I can see that.

The Treasurer went on to say: "That translates into roughly $575 for every Ontario household. In 1983, we'll be paying $6.2 billion more for current volumes of oil and natural gas ... It's not until 1981 that the energy tax credit for low-income earners takes effect." I suppose that is what he brought forward just recently.

The report sums up by saying: "There is often a gaping contrast between what William Davis says and what he does. After the dissolution of Parliament, the Ontario Premier said he was a Tory through and through and that Canadians should re-elect the Conservatives under Prime Minister Joe Clark." Well, he certainly helped him get re-elected. He turfed him right out.

I suggest there are areas we should be looking at. I talked about the regulation of the trucking industry in the United States and the impact it has here by their coming in and reaping some of the rewards of cheap fuel here in Ontario.

It is interesting to note that if one is driving a truck in the United States, as one enters one state from another one has to pay a fuel tax there just as on mileage; one does not get it for nothing. But here we do not do that. They may pick up a tankful of gas some place along the Queen Elizabeth Way or any place at the border towns, they pay the tax on the one or two miles to get to the American border and they are off scot-free. There are no taxes whatsoever generated by this. It is another concession given to them.

I suggest that in bringing forth a bill like this, it is just ridiculous that we in Ontario should be handed an increase in taxation of this nature as it relates to the cost of petroleum fuels. I suggest that it is an unfair practice, and I hope the minister will take a look at this particular area. I understand, from the information I have, that this is the way it is with the trucking industry.

I bring that to the minister's attention. A couple of weeks ago I was over at the State University of New York in Buffalo. After leaving the Peace Bridge, I had to pay my toll to go there. I was one of the members in here who were very critical of the Robarts government because they had tolls on the Garden City Skyway at St. Catharines and the Burlington Bay Skyway. They were the only places in the province that had tolls. They call Highway 401 a superhighway, and yet from Windsor to Montreal there were no tolls on it whatsoever.

The point I want to make to the Minister of Revenue is that perhaps we should be looking at this area as it is in the United States. As I left the bridge and got on their superhighways over there, I had to pay a toll to travel on that road. In other words, if I were going to use that road, I should pay for it. I had to pay twice, once going and once returning.

8:20 p.m.

Perhaps it is a fair way to look at a form of taxation. Over there they do not have to raise their gasoline tax or petroleum fuel tax. In fact, they have lowered it considerably because of the surplus of gasoline.

Over there they do not come back and hit the taxpayers with tax increases year after year, because they finance their road program in a different manner; they do it by debentures. The trucking industry coming in now is perhaps using more and more of the road and paying little in the moving of goods, because the trailer tax is very small, if it is anything. It is all put on the tractor trailer.

I suggest the industry is reaping some benefit from this. Maybe that is the area we should be looking at in Ontario. Maybe we should be looking at having a study of the particular area of those persons who use the major superhighways in Ontario.

The pooling program and the advertising it is costing us here is not working. It is borne by the cost to the persons who are paying or using fuel in Ontario. If one travels the Queen Elizabeth Way as often as I do, one finds there is still only one person in a car. We are not getting four or five persons to a car.

If we want to make car pooling work successfully, maybe there should be a toll at every access to the Queen Elizabeth Way from the Niagara Peninsula right on through, or in the case of Highway 401. If one is travelling with four persons in the car, one will pay nothing.

I tell the members there are enough of those persons who want to travel one to a car that one cannot even make use of the Queen Elizabeth Way any more. One is hung up for about an hour every morning. It is not dependable. If one has to depend upon a time to be here, one's timing is out almost all the time.

Another area to look at is the policy change in the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in its recent document relating to transportation in Ontario. I feel persons paying fuel tax to use the roads in Ontario will be subsidizing other transportation schemes in the province. It is something new that Ontario now is getting into the area of marine transportation with the giving of subsidies. That subsidy has to come from somebody, and again it is the taxpayers.

This is an area that is strictly a federal program. This is another area where, through the generosity of the ad valorem tax, this government is just giving them a little more money to spend in some other area. When we get into that area, it means eventually we are going to go deeper and deeper into huge deficits here to supplement the marine industry in Ontario.

I suggest it is a federal matter. We are going to get into something like harbour facilities and the deepening of waterways. I am afraid this is going to be another area this government is going to get into in the same way it did with the GO Transit system when it had to move numbers of people.

It is a good program, but it is the responsibility of the federal Department of Transport to move people in relation to railways, not Ontario's. This is another area where we are caught by heavy subsidization. I suggest there are areas we should be looking at. When I think that jumping on the bandwagon for metric conversion brought in additional funding revenues for Ontario --

Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, is this really in order?

Mr. Haggerty: Definitely it is in order when they are raising tax money.

Mr. Wildman: Are you talking about metric conversion?

Mr. Haggerty: Metric conversion; that is right. They jumped on that bandwagon and received additional revenue. The member should look at that. He might learn something.

Mr. Wildman: It is an important issue, but I wonder how it relates to the bill.

Mr. Haggerty: They are generating additional revenue through that. I suggest to the minister these are areas he should be looking at. I am a little concerned about the areas the Ministry of Transportation and Communications is broadening its programs into in Ontario that are going to --

Mr. Wildman: It's an empire.

Mr. Haggerty: That is right. It is going to cost the persons driving the automobiles; they will bear the full brunt of venturing into this area of additional marine transportation. I suggest there are areas we should look at closely. Perhaps a committee of the Legislature should take a look at it and see what it can come up with.

We on this side have been expressing our views on the ad valorem tax, and we are opposed to it. It is not a fair method of raising taxation without the government being accountable to the people. Based on that, we will oppose the bill.

Mr. Samis: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on behalf of our party and in opposition to the bill. I will not repeat any of the lengthy quotations from statements the Premier made during the campaign and his actions since March 19. My fundamental opposition to this bill is that I regard it not as a motor vehicle tax but as a consumer tax.

I think it is fair to say that the carriers of goods and services in this province will pass the tax on to the customer, and that means the consumer. In effect, we have yet another consumer tax hitting the average taxpayer of this province.

Since March 19, a tremendous amount of criticism has been generated about the budget in general and politicians in this entire institution. I happened to come across an interesting article in Saturday Night magazine. It is written by a lecturer on tax policy, which puts a further perspective on the general level of cynicism about politicians and this budget in particular. I think it relates to how the average person in this province is developing an increasing feeling that he is getting shafted left and right, municipally, federally and provincially.

I quote from Ross Brook's article. He says: "In 1978, there were 2,316 individuals in this country who had assessed incomes of more than $50,000 but paid no tax, and 96 of these had incomes exceeding $200,000." Imagine that: 96 people making more than $200,000 and they paid no income tax.

"In 1979, more than $30 billion in revenues was lost in the government through tax loopholes. In that same year, all the major banks paid taxes at a lower effective rate than the one the government charged their lowest-paid tellers. In 1979. the feds lost $6 billion in corporate taxes through loopholes -- more than they received from corporations.

"Because of tax loopholes, corporations in recent decades have been carrying a smaller and smaller percentage of the overall tax burden. When all taxes are considered, an astounding fact emerges: Low-income Canadians pay a larger percentage of their income in taxes than high-income taxpayers. This is not only the opposite of the intention of everyone who has tried to make a policy in this field, but the opposite of what most Canadians believe is the case."

Then he goes on to give some examples of tax rates. "For example, in 1979, Cadillac Fairview, six per cent; Stelco, seven per cent; Union Gas, six per cent; Toronto-Dominion Bank, 18 per cent; Power Corporation, 11 per cent."

When the average person realizes the rich are not paying their fair share of the taxes and he looks at a budget like this and sees Ontario health insurance plan premiums are going up, gas is going up, diesel fuel is going up, income tax is going up, alcohol is going up, tobacco is going up -- plus the reprehensible ad valorem principle -- no wonder he feels he is getting shafted. No wonder he feels cynical about politicians in general and this budget in particular.

Politicians and certain people in the business community love to lecture the taxpayers of this province about inflation and tell them they have to lower their expectations; to pull in the old belt and expect to pay higher costs for a variety of things. The strange thing is, frequently the people who are getting shafted and hit by this budget and by these types of taxes are the ones who get blamed for causing inflation.

If we look at the various increases, the constituent parts of inflation today, what parts are really caused by the average person?

Higher gas costs? Of course not, because the labour content is so minimal we know that the corporations and the government are the two main sources of inflation there.

Higher oil costs? It is the same thing: the oil producers and the government are getting the lion's share of the revenue there.

8:30 p.m.

Higher hydro costs? Again, it is the producer and distributor who are getting the higher profits there.

Higher money costs? We all know how the banks are ripping off people left and right with mortgages at 18 and 19 per cent.

One of the members in this House was telling us that he is paying off loans right now for his companies at 23 per cent. The Mafia did not even charge that five or 10 years ago --

Mr. J. A. Reed: How do you know?

Mr. Samis: I saw the Godfather three times.

Now our great, respectable banks are ripping off people; the banks are charging 23 per cent. Food costs are going up drastically and the cycle keeps going on and on. Yet we have the gall to tell them: "Lower your expectations. Do not expect too much. Do not ask for too much and just grin and bear and take it."

What makes it even worse is to have a budget like this and another tax like this, which just reinforce the whole inflationary cycle and add to the inequities of the whole tax system in this province.

This side offered alternative sources of revenue, if the minister were not to increase this tax. My friend and colleague the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) outlined seven or eight areas to which we could have resorted so we would not have to increase this particular tax.

We could have increased the corporation tax by one per cent, which would have brought us $82 million more. But no, the government would not touch that.

We could have introduced an excess profits tax on the banks which are making huge profits and ripping us off. But no, the government would not touch that.

We could have introduced succession duties for the top three per cent of estates, which could have given us an extra $50 million. But no, they would not touch that.

We could have ended some of the exemptions and write-offs on machinery and equipment, which would have brought us $340 million. But no, they would not touch that.

Mr. J. A. Reed: Stealing from the dead.

Mr. Samis: Those are all living taxes there.

We could have taxed the untaxed portion of capital gains in this province, which could have brought us upward of $315 million. But no, they would not touch that.

The Deputy Speaker: Mr. Samis, you are making your way to the bill, I am sure.

Mr. Samis: That is right, Mr. Speaker -- all the way. I am just building up to a climax.

Another one is that instead of this tax we could have taxed resource industries at a higher rate, similar to that of Saskatchewan, which would have brought in $450 million. But no, they would not touch that.

They could have introduced the land speculation tax instead of this tax. But no, they would not touch that.

Instead of those seven alternatives, they have introduced things like the gasoline tax and the motor vehicle fuel tax. They rejected all the alternatives presented by this party and instead they resorted to policies that are iniquitous, regressive, unfair and cynical.

Just as this party is opposed to the Ontario health insurance plan premium increase and the gasoline tax, we will oppose the income tax and every other major tax in this budget that we regard as unfair and regressive. We will oppose this tax this evening.

The Deputy Speaker: Thank you, Mr. Samis. Mr. Reed.

Mr. Samis: The representative of the dead.

Mr. Wildman: The voice of the dead.

Mr. J. A. Reed: It is interesting to hear my enemies on my left talking about wanting a return to stealing from the dead and forcing farm families to sell their farms to face succession duties. I have had some cases in my own area where I live where that happened, where families who had been on their farms for generations were forced to sell to pay succession duties. That was a criminal act that fortunately has been repealed. However, that is not appropriate to the bill, and I want to get on with the bill right away.

Mr. Speaker, you know that my party opposed the Gasoline Tax Amendment Act and, in the same manner and for exactly the same reasons, we are opposing this Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax Amendment Act.

I said at the outset of my speech on the Gasoline Tax Amendment Act that I spoke more in sadness than anything else, because in the five and a half years that I have had the privilege of serving in this Legislature, I have never seen such an act of hypocrisy by any party, I have never seen such an act of utter hypocrisy by the government or such utter double dealing. It is a flip-flop of the first water.

I do have the quotations that were made by the ministers of the day and the Premier. Here is one of them -- where are we now -- the members have heard them all before. The Premier, speaking to the Ontario Progressive Conservative Campus Association, said: "I believe that if we were to have a massive move to world price, the kind of harm that would do to our economy would not only ensure that we followed the Americans down the road to recession, but that we did considerably worse."

Hon. Mr. Ashe: That is true. Valid then and valid now.

Mr. J. A. Reed: Here is another one. This is by the former Minister of Natural Resources, Mr. Auld, on November 16, 1978: "Ontario has long recognized the direct relationship between price increases unrelated to the cost of production and these economic consequences."

One can go on and on through this litany of stances taken over the period of five years opposing increases in prices initially and now, with a sort of a quiet hiatus over a 12-month period, introducing an ad valorem tax.

In 1976, recognizing that prices of petroleum would increase and were bound to, my party advocated a staged equalized increase in the price of petroleum towards world price. Not to world price, I remind the honourable minister, but towards world price. We know now if that had been implemented in 1976 --

Mr. Nixon: All our troubles would be over.

Hon. Mr. Ashe: Would have been paying more for five years.

Mr. J. A. Reed: -- it would have triggered the implementation of an alternative fuel system in Ontario. It would have triggered the kind of conservation we rush now in a panic to address. In the last 18 months the price of gasoline has risen 60 cents a gallon. It has come very close to doubling and we now put a 20 per cent ad valorem tax on top of that.

It is interesting to note that with diesel fuel we do not put on a 20 per cent increase; we put on a 27 per cent increase. It is particularly interesting when the government does this great song and dance about the benefits of conservation. Diesel fuel combusts in an engine at about 50 per cent greater efficiency than gasoline. Surely most of my friends on the opposite side of the House would understand that.

The power delivered to the drive train on a litre of gasoline is approximately 20 per cent. The power delivered on a litre of diesel fuel is approximately 35 per cent. In other words, from a conservation point of view it is far more efficient to use diesel fuel. Yet the government chooses to penalize diesel fuel -- not even with a 20 per cent ad valorem tax but with a 27 per cent ad valorem tax.

The government is not interested in conservation. It is interested only in keeping power and lining its own pockets. If it were interested in true conservation, it would have implemented staged increases back in 1976. The price would never have reached the price we are facing today because conservation, efficiency of utilization, would have been implemented long ago. Now we are playing this rearguard action.

What makes it worse is that the government does not even pretend to designate one nickel of that money for the alternative energy age that has to come to Ontario within the next 20 years.

The government knows it has to come. It is not prepared to commit a nickel but it will use it. It will ride the back of the average citizen who has to drive to work every day in order to fill its coffers and help to alleviate its gross misspending of the last five years.

I find the hypocrisy, the flip-flop the government has gone through, totally regrettable. It makes me very reassured to be in opposition.

8:40 p.m.

I know the members opposite must feel very uncomfortable tonight being on the government side, having gone through the nonsense of a Minister of Energy who, in response to the kind of program we presented in 1976, put a 90-day freeze on the price of petroleum. What kind of hypocrisy has led to this kind of ad valorem taxing tonight?

The Tories do not care. They do not care about conservation. They do not care about the future of this province. As I said before, they care about staying in power; they care about glossing over the mismanagement of funds. That is all they care about.

This party is committed to exposing that over the next four years until the next election. We cannot tolerate this kind of thing. We will continue to oppose and to expose.

Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, we in this party are obviously as opposed to this tax as we were to the gasoline ad valorem tax for the reasons that have been mentioned by my colleagues and for the reasons given during the debate on the gasoline tax.

This is a dastardly attempt at a money grab by a government that is in trouble with its fiscal policies because it has been unwilling to tax those in the economy who can most afford to pay and, as a result, it has to dig into the pockets of the ordinary workers and the ordinary people of this province, who have to pay for their gasoline and fuel, those who commute, as we were saying on the other bill, and those who pay for goods that are transported in this province.

The thing that is most unfortunate about this piece of legislation, as it was with the previous bill we discussed, is the fact that this government has made it unclear to all in this province and in this country what its position is specifically on energy pricing.

In the past, whatever our disagreements with it have been, this government has said it is opposed to increases in energy pricing unless those increases are related to the cost of production or to making it possible for this country to become energy self-sufficient or, if it is in the case of taxation per se, unless those revenues would be distributed among the various provinces across the country to distribute the revenue from energy prices. That has been the policy of this government in the past; at least that is what we have been led to understand by various Ministers of Energy, by Treasurers and by the Premier himself.

Now we find, as we did with the other tax, this government apparently is abandoning that position and is saying to the public, to the federal government and to the government of Alberta that in its opinion it is no longer opposed to increases in taxation on energy to assist in fighting a deficit. It is now taking the position that each government in the country, including Ontario's, should get as much as it can, in whatever way it can, and as often as it can, from the ordinary consumers of Ontario.

We understand, as the ministers on the front benches have said in the past, that increases in energy prices would mean loss of jobs in this province. They said that when they were talking about federal increases, and the same goes for provincial increases. A tax is a tax. An increase in the cost of energy affects business and the economy in this province in the same way. It does not matter whether it is a federal tax or a provincial tax.

If an increase of 18 cents a gallon, as was proposed by the federal Conservative government, would mean a loss of 20,000 jobs in this province, as a minister of the crown said in this House, if that was the case a couple of years ago, why is it suddenly acceptable to have an increase in taxation at the provincial level? If an attempt by the federal government to cut its deficit by increasing its revenue through taxes on energy was unacceptable to this government two years ago, why is it now acceptable for this very same government to attempt to attack its deficit through increases on energy pricing and through taxation on the retail cost of energy?

This government was given the opportunity, through a protracted and serious debate on the gasoline tax bill, to defend its position and to explain -- if there is any explanation -- the reasons for the significant change, the turnabout, from its previous position. Not one member on the government bench, the Treasury bench or the back bench got up and defended it. The only member, the sole member, who spoke was that errand boy for the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller), the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Ashe). Basically, he said nothing except that the policy --

Hon. Mr. Ashe: You gave me only eight minutes to say it.

Mr. Wildman: He says he took eight minutes to say nothing. Wonderful.

I really do not understand why this government would introduce such a measure and then not have the gumption to defend that measure. Not one member on the Treasury bench --

Mr. Samis: Not even René.

Mr. Wildman: René is not on the Treasury bench as yet. He may be in the future.

Mr. Piché: I never thought somebody from northern Ontario would talk about a guy like me. I just can't believe it. How can you talk about me when I am from northern Ontario? You are from northern Ontario and we are supposed to work together. I will not stand for that.

Mr. Wildman: I want to make it clear that I have the greatest respect for the political prowess of the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Piché). I understand fully his concern about transportation costs in northern Ontario. His long record as the president of the --

Mr. Piché: The Northeastern Ontario Municipalities Association action group. Miss, have you got that on the record?

Mr. Wildman: Right, the Northeastern Ontario Municipalities Association action group, a group with which he made his reputation as a "critic" -- and I underline the word critic -- of the transportation policy of this government. That member got up and talked about the excessive -- I think he would agree --

Mr. Piché: Miss, take that off the record. That is wrong.

Mr. Wildman: I think the member would admit that he talked about excessive costs of transportation of goods in northern Ontario. I think he talked about deregulation of the trucking industry at times.

Mr. Speaker, I ask you, how can anyone who is in favour of deregulation support this kind of bill? How can anyone who wants to deregulate the trucking industry support increases in taxation on fuel? That is a terrible contradiction. I do not understand the member for Cochrane North. I think he really has the best interests of his constituents at heart; he just does not understand how to serve those interests. The problem is that he is caught in a bind. He has been given the job of deputy whip, I believe, for the government party.

Mr. Piché: No, government whip.

Mr. Wildman: Government whip. He does not get a limousine like the Minister without Portfolio (Mr. Gregory) though.

Mr. Breaugh: Wait a minute, let us clarify this. Is he whip, deputy whip, or what?

Mr. Piché: Government whip. That is my job.

Mr. Wildman: Whatever. At any rate, he is in a job that involves ensuring that the government members are in the House in order to vote for the Treasury bills.

Mr. Piché: And I am having a hard time.

8:50 p.m.

Mr. Wildman: And he is having a hard time. I can understand that. That puts the member for Cochrane North in a very difficult position. Here he is a man who has established a reputation, some integrity really, in his concern for the cost of transportation for the north, and who has indicated to the government he wants significant changes in transportation for the north in order to lower the cost of goods.

Surveys of prices by the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations show that in northern Ontario on average they have higher prices than in southern Ontario. This member has in the past led a group of municipalities to try to persuade the Conservative Party to change its policy, to lower prices of goods, to lower transportation costs, and then he is given the terrible position of having to persuade his colleagues to come into this House and vote for a bill which will increase the price of goods in northern Ontario. How does that member justify this approach at all? He sits there smiling. I am glad he can smile because he has no answer; he does not know what to say.

On this side of the House our position is clear. We do not accept an approach of added value taxation which basically means that the government is depending on inflation, on increases in fuel taxes, on increases by the producing companies. on increases by the producing provinces, and on taxation increases at the federal level in order to increase its revenue. We do not support that.

We invite the member for Cochrane North, the member for Sudbury (Mr. Gordon), and the other northern members who are concerned about their constituents and concerned about the cost of goods in northern Ontario to stand up for their constituents, to say, "This is unacceptable," and to express to the Minister of Revenue that this is not acceptable. It is not fair to the people of the north. He should advise his colleague the Treasurer that this policy will hurt the economy of the north and to stand with us and oppose this odious legislation. I ask the member for Cochrane North to get up and say he cannot accept this for his constituents.

Mr. Charlton: Mr. Speaker, I will be very brief. My colleagues have adequately covered most of the --


Mr. Charlton: Keep up the applause; you encourage me.

My colleagues have covered most of what has to be said on this bill but there are a couple of points I want to add. One is a point that got touched on but never clearly defined in the gas tax debate, and it is also a point that relates directly to this bill. I want to make the point tonight and make it as clearly as I can in terms of the kinds of things that have been said.

We just heard my colleague the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) talking about the effect on the economy in the north. It is easy to understand why northern members would emphasize the effects on the economy in the north because the north represents the exaggeration, the extreme in terms of the economic effect this kind of taxation will have. There is no question this ad valorem tax on fuel for the transportation industry will have an effect on the entire economy.

There has been a debate going on in Canada and in Ontario about inflation and about how one beats it. There has been a debate about whether interest rates are inflationary or whether they fight inflation. I have never been sure, but I think this government as opposed to the federal government has at least in its rhetoric, although it has never done anything specifically to deal adequately with the interest rate situation, taken the position that high interest rates are not an aid to the inflation problem, but a cause of it. This government in its rhetoric has spoken out against high interest rates and the problems they cause.

In the view of this party and in the view of a number of the major economists on this somewhat tattered globe we live on, interest rates are the major cause of inflation. They are the major cause of inflation simply because they are the one sector of inflation that affects everything. Bar nothing, interest rates affect everything. We have a government here which has chosen to do nothing substantive about interest rates.

In addition to that, there is one sector that ranks second to interest rates in terms of its effect on inflation. That sector is the energy sector, which is the only other sector in our economy to affect everything. It affects home heating costs, it affects the cost of personal transportation, as we discussed in the gas tax debate, it affects the cost of transportation of all the goods and services we have in this country -- not only those goods and services created here, but imported goods and services.

It also affects the cost of transportation of all our raw materials, and the extraction of all our raw materials, and it affects the cost of production of everything we manufacture in this country, whether it be food products, industrial products or consumer manufactured products. So the energy sector is the second most crucial area in terms of its effect on inflation in our entire economy.

And what have we seen in this budget? We have seen not only a package of tax increases that exclusively affect consumers and taxpayers, as opposed to the corporate and resource sectors in this country, but we have seen tax increases that affect the most crucial sectors of our economy in terms of our ability to deal with inflation and the inflationary spiral we all suffer from, including the Premier (Mr. Davis), the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller), the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Ashe), and all the ministers across the way.

We see major tax increases in the sectors that most dramatically affect our ability to deal with inflation in Ontario in the energy sector. This tax, the motor vehicle fuel tax, although it has not received the same emphasis in the debate here in the Legislature in terms of filibuster and numbers of speakers, will probably in the long run have a far more critical effect on the economy of Ontario than all the dollars and cents that will come out of the ad valorem gasoline tax.

Mr. Wildman: They do not care.

Mr. Charlton: That is a good comment, Mr. Speaker. It would seem the government across the way just does not care.

A year and a half ago, and it has been said a number of times in this House, this government spoke out with some pretty substantial eloquence when the federal government started to meddle in the energy sector in a way that would be regressive in terms of the Canadian economy, regressive in terms of the Ontario economy, regressive in terms of a recession, regressive in terms of the consumer's ability to keep up, regressive in terms of the kinds of jobs that will be lost as a result.

9 p.m.

Now we see this government proceeding in exactly the directions which it criticized the federal government for attempting, and with no commitment to anything other than additional dollars to deal with its deficit. They have no energy plans, no plan to deal with inflation, no commitment to deal with things like interest rates -- the number one problem. At the same time, they slap additional inflationary pressures on the energy sector, the second most critical sector that confronts us.

Without going on at great length, this bill stabs at the very heart of all of the rhetoric that has come from this government over the past five years. It is a bill that deals a blow to everything we thought we had accomplished in the minority situation in terms of some compromise approach. It will likely have a greater negative impact on the economy of Ontario over the course of the next five years than any other single measure this government could have dreamed up. This is simply because it crosses all barriers, affects all sectors and puts pressure on the inflationary spiral right across the whole range of our economy -- all the areas where we are trying to regain impetus.

For those reasons, this caucus will oppose this bill as we did with the gas tax bill. We will do so with every measure this government brings forward that goes against the very things it has talked about over the past five years in terms of fighting inflation and dealing with the real problems of economic recovery.

Hon. Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, I would like to respond briefly to a few of the points made by the honourable members opposite. I appreciate the brevity with which the points were brought forth in opposition to Bill 73.

There were several points made by a couple of speakers who alleged lack of accountability to the Legislature. I feel I should put on the record -- because I did not have the opportunity on the previous bill relating to gasoline tax -- that this really is not so.

I appreciate that ad valorem means exactly that -- each time a price goes up, we get a little more. But that does not lead to the conclusion that the Legislature will never see this bill again. It could very well be, for example --

Mr. Charlton: Yes, we will see it again when you put it up another percentage.

Hon. Mr. Ashe: That is right. That is exactly the point. I am glad to see at least some members opposite appreciate that.

Mr. Samis: That's the word all right -- appreciate.

Hon. Mr. Ashe: If we ever contemplate a change in the rate of taxation, it will be the responsibility of the government to bring the bill back to the Legislature and go through the process we have been going through relative to Bill 72 and Bill 73. It cannot be done without the scrutiny of this body.

The member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty) made quite a point about border trade. I find some of that argument inconsistent. We have been hearing that argument from time to time, but on other nights members have been making the point that one of the things that price will do is damp consumption. If you have a higher price that is closer to our American neighbours then there will be less border traffic.

I suggest that once that happened we would be hearing from the same member opposite because he will be getting complaints from his local service stations, restaurants and corner variety stores that their volume of business has declined considerably because they are not getting the traffic from the United States. I hope that is kept in mind if and when that happens.

There are two issues involved in border trade. One is the problem of identifying why people are coming across. Some of them, I think people would agree, are bona fide tourists who come in and spend money in this province. We have some who come across just to fill their gas tanks.

In this particular bill, the greatest comparison is in the trucking industry and there is no doubt, as the honourable member I am sure has seen with his own eyes, let alone in talking to some of the people he represents, that truckers are coming across from the United States, filling up and going back.

If these are nonregistered truckers, in other words, not registered with the Ministry of Revenue on a mileage basis, they are giving us on average $150 of taxes when they fill the average tractor trailer tank full of gas. Even if they cross right back and use up the roads in United States, the Treasury of this province and indirectly the taxpayers, are the benefactors.

It is hard to know in total numbers how we relate to nonregistered revenues versus registered truckers in terms of revenue, but we do have one statistic that may be meaningful -- the estimated gain in tax on nonregistering; that is, truckers who are not registered with the ministry and in effect pay on the basis of mileage used in the province. The gain in tax on nonregistrants over registrants is estimated to be about $10 million a year. This is on L permit holders only, which is a category licensed by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

I suggest that we are by far a net gainer in revenues that truckers put into this province versus revenues that are lost because of pay-back out. The average user is not subsidizing the trucking industry in any way at all.

There were regular references made tonight on Bill 73, as there were on the previous bill, about the change in stance supposedly of this government vis-à-vis our position in late 1979 in response to a proposal for an immediate -- I think this is the key word -- immediate 18 cent increase in the excise tax proposed by the federal government of the day, trying to say that what we are doing now is exactly the same.

If people really think about that argument they probably would not make it, because over a period of time everybody acknowledged that the cost of motor vehicle fuels was going to increase.

There was some difference of opinion as to what levels. There was talk that it should go to world levels. Some thought it should approach world levels over a period of time. There is a big difference between having immediate large increases, which was our concern about the economy of this province, versus relatively small increases over a period of time which, in total, over even a significant number of years, would not equal the 18 cents that was talked about in that excise tax imposition.

That 18 cents was not even recognizing the normal flow through of so many dollars per barrel that was also to be in the price structure in the near term.

9:10 p.m.

One last point was made by the member for Erie vis-à-vis toll roads. This is a different approach. I would suggest one of the advantages we have in Ontario is no longer having toll roads. In my view, and I would suggest in the view of this government, it would be a backward step to return to that form of revenue raising.

It disrupts the highway system. It is inconvenient and unattractive to both resident and nonresident people. We have felt it is more just, less costly to administer and better for the highway user, to incorporate the revenues needed into a price one pays right at the pump along with the price of the commodity itself.

Reference was made to the fact this is a consumer tax. I cannot disagree with that, but is not all taxation in one form or another a consumer tax? As a matter of fact --

Mr. Charlton: It is funny though. Just two minutes ago you were talking about all the money the truckers contributed. Now let's talk reality.

Hon. Mr. Ashe: Just ending off, I think I have touched on most of the points that have been made. Reference was made to interest rates and that, next to energy, was the most important -- it is probably a misuse of the word -- contributor to inflation in this province and in fact the world.

I cannot disagree greatly with that, but one has to recognize this government like any government needs a flow of revenue that has some relationship to the demands for expenditures on a government. When we get a source of revenue that is relatively constant, which even has some indication of a decline and yet the services the government is being asked to supply, even relating to transportation, are on the rise, we obviously have to change our approach to our revenue raising capacities -- hence, the ad valorem tax.

I think it is reasonable, rational and justifiable. I am not bragging in saying this, but we are far from being the Canadian leader in going to this form of revenue generation.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Ashe, the debate was adjourned.


Hon. Mr. Ashe moved second reading of Bill 78, An Act to amend the Ontario Pensioners Property Tax Assistance Act, 1980.

Hon. Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, this bill implements proposals contained in the 1981 budget as well as other amendments which are necessary to maintain consistency between the grant programs for senior citizens and the Ontario tax credits program for other taxpayers.

As announced in the budget, this bill will make the surviving spouse if aged 65 or older, rather than the estate of the deceased spouse, eligible to receive property tax grants. The surviving spouse will qualify for grants based on a full year's occupancy cost.

The bill will also make a person who lives in a housing unit that is exempt from property tax ineligible to apply for a property tax grant for his or her home. This amendment is similar to one being made to the property tax credit under the Income Tax Act and extends a principle that is already in both acts.

This bill will enable two persons aged 65 or older who married during the year to make separate applications for property tax grants for occupancy costs that each incurred prior to the marriage. Provisions in this bill clarify which payments a person is eligible to receive if he or she dies or ceases to reside in Ontario during the year.

Three payments are made each year under the Ontario tax grant program. The first payment is the interim payment of the property tax grant; the second, the payment of the sales tax grant; and the third, the final payment of the property tax grant. The entitlement will depend on the status of the person when the cheque for the interim property tax grant or for the sales tax grant is issued or when the application for the final property tax grant is received by the Ministry of Revenue.

The objection procedures of the act are being amended to enable a person to file a notice of objection where a person has been asked to repay a grant to which he or she was not entitled. If a senior citizen is requested to repay a grant, the senior citizen must be informed of this decision and be advised of his or her right to appeal that decision. The amendments in this bill are designed to treat senior citizens more fairly and to improve the administration of the Ontario tax grant program.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on behalf of the official opposition concerning the proposed amendments in the Act to amend the Ontario Pensioners Property Tax Assistance Act, 1980, with some reservations related to the continued inequity that exists in regard to the province's new senior citizens' tax grants, introduced in the 1980 session provincial budget, replacing the property tax, sales tax and pensioner tax credits. Such credits were previously claimed through federal income tax returns. The simple reason for the change in the program was that the province was heading into an election and the Conservative government felt it was not receiving recognition for its programs. So with the new Legislature last year, the Conservative government began sending out cheques directly to eligible seniors, a sales tax grant of $50 and a property tax grant of up to $500, on a twice yearly basis.

I suppose if one looks at the advertising that took place in promoting such a program last year, the government spent about $1 million. Of course, it was done at the time when the Conservative government was anticipating a provincial election. It could have been in June, it could have been in September, and of course, we got one at Christmas time and one following that in the New Year just before the election writ. The government pretty well covered itself by having the advertising and the cheques delivered to the pensioners. It was almost like a bribe to say, "Do not forget us on election day."

The official opposition put forward its position in 1980, that the grant system bears no relationship at all to personal income level. In fact, it results in a dramatic shift of money available for seniors to those at the highest end of the income scale. So dramatic is the shift that some of the neediest pensioners actually receive less under the new grant system than they did under the old tax credit system.

We can just look at the continued policy of this government in its announcement of home heating assistance. The government has announced a $125 million temporary home heating assistance program designed to help an estimated $1.4 million senior citizens and low income families pay their higher heating bills over the next three years. It is estimated that in 1984 the average home owner will have to pay an extra $440 a year for oil or about $205 for natural gas. The program will apply to all senior citizens in the province and to families earning less than $6,000 in taxable income.

The Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) said the program is intended to cushion the shock, not absorb it on a long-term basis. Opposition spokesmen said it does not go far enough for low income families, some of whom would qualify for no more than $10 in assistance in the first year. The Toronto Star had an interesting editorial on this particular government policy on June 25. It says: "Scant aid for heating costs: For those under 65, the money will be available as a tax credit where the breadwinner's taxable income is under $6,000. Where an individual's income is so low that he or she pays no tax, the money will be paid next spring in the form of a tax refund." They have to wait almost a year before they get some assistance in this particular area.

It goes on to say: "The second thing wrong with the program is that Miller proposes to pay outright grants to all over-65s regardless of their incomes. While this is in line with current provincial practice -- the elderly also get grants instead of tax credits for property and sales tax -- that practice is wasteful, should not have been inaugurated and should not be perpetuated."

9:20 p.m.

We on this side do agree with providing additional assistance to pensioners. The new Ontario Pensioners Property Tax Assistance Act eliminated the pensioners' tax credit of $110. Also, under the old system tax credits were reduced by two per cent of the taxable income to ensure the greatest benefit went to those pensioners in greatest need. Under this present scheme, it does not do that, it works in reverse. This is no longer the case under the new grant system. The more property tax or rent paid, the greater the tax grant received up to a maximum of $500 regardless of income level.

The oil assistance scheme helps to defray the increased home heating costs but well-to-do pensioners could take off for the warmer climate in Florida, as they usually do, and say, "That $60 is going to provide me with one more month's rent. I can stay down there another month." That is what the government is proposing and this is the way it is working with the pensioners' assistance scheme.

The provisions of this bill tighten up the eligibility requirements of the property tax grant. It requires partial payment of any grant received by a pensioner who dies during the year. It also tightens up the definition of a housing unit to specifically exclude any premises which are exempt from the payment of taxes levied under the Provincial Land Tax Act, the Local Roads Boards Act or taxes for municipal or school purposes levied on real property. This results from the mismanagement of the program that first year, in which many pensioners and senior citizen residents who did not pay property taxes applied for and received the property grant. The government is still trying to get the money back.

We on this side tried to amend the previous act with a clause that would have ensured any pensioner would not receive any less under the new grant system than he or she did under the old tax credit system. Since we have asked numerous questions on this throughout the year, I would view support of this bill as inconsistent with our position on this new tax grant.

I know of some cases where persons resident in nursing homes are receiving property tax assistance. In fact, it can be up to $500. It is costly for many of those persons who are paying to stay in a private institution. I find too there are in some cases persons in homes for the aged or in a government institution who are paying part of the cost of their maintenance in these homes. I do not think they become eligible for such a grant under this. I would ask the minister to consider refunding a portion of this tax to those persons who are paying partial support for their maintenance in a government institution, home for the aged or whatever. This is an area in which I have encountered some problems and I am sure other members have. We should be looking at this.

There was nothing wrong with the original program the government had in which all persons received some assistance, whether they were in homes for the aged or public institutions funded by the government. If that money had gone to that residence for those persons, surely it could assist them in the cost of maintaining a proper environment for many of the elderly citizens. They could have used it because there is dire need for additional support for these institutions.

I refer the minister to the problem of funding additional resident care in the Niagara region. There is a backlog. More persons are trying to be accepted into homes for the aged. If there was sufficient funding by the province they could be building additional facilities there to relieve the backlog of persons wanting to find resident care in these homes.

The official opposition has always supported government measures for reducing the municipal tax burden on senior citizens and those persons on fixed incomes, and we still pursue the need to remove any inequity in the present property tax assistance program. In the 1977 election the government did bring forward changes to enrich the property tax credit from the basic credit of $290 to $510. All parties supported the measures providing financial assistance to reduce the constant increase in the municipal tax burden that had shifted on to senior citizens, lower income individuals and families.

We support the bill in principle, but I have raised some particular areas of concern to us here: that perhaps there is funding under the present scheme which should not be going to those persons who are not in great need of it, that some of it should be passed on to those in greater need. We support the bill in principle.

Mr. Charlton: Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak on Bill 78, and I have to say that we in this caucus cannot even find it in our hearts to support this bill in principle.

We have no serious objection to the basic housekeeping sections of the bill, the sections that deal with senior citizens who are deceased during the course of a tax year. However, we find, as we did last year, the basic approach of this government to senior citizens and tax credits, or tax grants or whatever we want to call them in Ontario, objectionable.

The minister was not the Minister of Revenue last year, but he was here in the House, and he will recall the concerns that were raised last April when the new seniors' tax grants, both the sales tax grants and the property tax grants, were introduced in the budget of 1980. He will recall some very serious criticism that came from the official opposition and from this party, and he will probably also recall a number of changes that were agreed to by the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) as a result of some serious concerns that were raised by my colleague from Downsview (Mr. Di Santo). However, the changes which were made in that bill last year did not deal with all the concerns we had.

I want to refer the minister to the basic argument which the Treasurer used last year, and which the minister will probably use with us tonight, about these new seniors' property tax grants. The arguments were that this is a property tax grant, and it should not go to anyone who does not pay property taxes. Unfortunately, as we attempted to point out last year and as I will point out again tonight, in their hypocritical rush to establish this new grant and at the same time cut off a substantial number of senior citizens in this province from any of the dollars in assistance they had received in the past, the Treasurer last year and the Treasurer again this year and the Minister of Revenue last year and the Minister of Revenue again this year, judging from the comments he made moments ago, are failing to admit to the people of Ontario and to the bulk of the seniors in Ontario who still receive some kind of grant that it was not exclusively a property tax grant for seniors which they eliminated in the creation of this new grant.

Since the Treasurer and the Minister of Revenue of this province have suggested to members on this side on numerous occasions in the past that we cannot compare apples with oranges, I would like to suggest to the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Ashe) that the same is now true -- and was true last spring -- of this new seniors' property tax grant.

9:30 p.m.

The minister cannot stand up in this House and tell us that this is a property tax grant and nobody who does not pay property taxes should receive it when that is not what he is eliminating and replacing. This government replaced the Ontario property tax credit, the Ontario sales tax credit and the Ontario senior citizens' tax credit with this new program. Let us take a look at what that means. The property tax credit under the old system was surely a property tax credit and nothing else. Perhaps it was inappropriately designated and perhaps some people who did not even pay property taxes collected that grant. There may have been some loopholes in that legislation. If the government had brought those loopholes to our attention, we may have been prepared to sit down and talk reasonably about those changes.

However, this government also replaced something in this province that was called, and was intended to be, a credit for senior citizens, period. It eliminated that credit altogether. This government has not in any way reflected the elimination of that seniors' tax credit in the new seniors' tax grant system in Ontario. Not only has the government corrected the purity of the property tax credit program -- as it tries to claim -- but it has eliminated a program that existed just a year ago, a program intended to benefit senior citizens regardless of whether they paid property taxes, sales taxes or anything else. It eliminated a program intended to assist senior citizens as a result of their record of taxation over their lifetime and as a result of their being senior citizens, living on reduced incomes as compared to their working years.

We have to oppose this bill because in its redefinition of housing units it further restricts the payment of tax assistance to senior citizens in Ontario. It further restricts the ability of senior citizens in Ontario to cope with inflation and rising costs. What is worse, what is most objectionable about this bill and the bill we passed last year in the budget, is that the senior citizens who are affected by these new changes -- in the same way as the senior citizens were affected last year in the first group that was excluded from the new grant -- are those at the bottom of the income scale, those who live in subsidized housing.

You know as well as I do, Mr. Speaker, that those who live in subsidized housing -- whether it is government operated or privately operated by a charity somewhere in this province or by some organization that receives a tax exemption from the municipality in which it operates -- are no different from the people we spoke about here in the House last year. They are people at the very bottom of the income scale, people who are living on guaranteed income supplements from the federal government and the province. There are those people who can least afford to lose a single nickel, let alone the potential for several hundred dollars under the changes in this act. We cannot accept the loss to these people this year any more than we could the losses and the reductions in grants that were caused for some people in last year's bill.

The minister made some comments just this afternoon about the good position the senior citizens of Ontario are in. We urge the minister and the Treasurer and the Premier to reconsider the position they took last year and have taken this year. We urge them to think seriously about getting rid of the inconvenience they put many senior citizens through over the course of the last year. We ask that they get rid of the restrictions they put on many senior citizens, the reductions in grants they have given to many and the elimination of grants they have given to many more.

We urge that they seriously and honestly deal with what they were trying to avoid last year when they created this new senior citizens' grant structure. We ask that they deal with the question of getting on with the job in an honest and fair way related to the economic changes since 1974. We urge them to make some fair and equitable changes to the Ontario tax credit program right across the board for all the people in the province who have been hit by inflation, whose tax credits have been reduced or disappeared.

We ask the government to stop avoiding the reality of having to face revisions in that tax credit program for all the people in the province who are deserving of assistance in that program. We ask the government to get on with that job and to stop tinkering around with the lives of senior citizens in their efforts to make it look like they are making things better for seniors while ignoring those seniors they have eliminated from the program and ignoring all the rest of the people in Ontario who are in as serious need of financial assistance as seniors -- our disabled, our mentally retarded, our people who have been out of work and unable to provide themselves with the kinds of substantial incomes they may have earned in the past.

For all those reasons, we find ourselves in the position of not being able to support this piece of legislation. I again strongly urge the government to reconsider its position and get on with the job of dealing fairly with tax credits and tax reform in Ontario.

Ms. Bryden: It seems rather ironic, Mr. Speaker, that during Senior Citizens' Week we find no crumbs in this bill for the seniors who really need help. Last year, the new pensioners' tax grant came in and it was some improvement for seniors. But now inflation is already eroding that benefit and there is no provision in this bill for indexing the pensioners' tax grant to make up at least for the tax increases which are coming across from the municipalities of this province. It has been estimated they may be as much as 10 per cent. The seniors who got a benefit last year through this act will be 10 per cent worse off this coming year.

I think in Senior Citizens' Week it would have been nice to have had an amendment brought in to index that grant, to show the government is really concerned about providing tax relief for seniors and helping them to stay in their own homes, and that it really does recognize it is a lot cheaper to help seniors stay in their own homes than to take away their means to pay the taxes and have them end up in institutions.

9:40 p.m.

I think seniors are entitled to live their final years in dignity and in a way to which they have been accustomed. This bill tightens up a few parts of the previous act. It certainly needed tightening up in that it was one of the worst designed pieces of legislation that ever came into this province.

An hon. member: The first buyer's home grants were just as bad.

Ms. Bryden: Yes, my colleague mentioned the homebuyers grants, which was also a very ill-designed policy of handing out money with few controls and administrative costs that snowballed because the scheme was so poorly thought out.

Last year we were told the administration of this program cost about $3 million. This year it will probably be up to $4 million. That is twice what the previous tax credit scheme cost. That extra $2 million could have been used for many seniors who are not getting anything under this new grant system.

As my colleague mentioned, a considerable number of seniors in this province got money under the tax credit system that this pensioner's grant system replaced and they are not getting anything or getting considerably less under this new scheme. The minister will say, "We changed the principle. It is now strictly a property tax relief measure. It is not a measure of assistance for seniors generally."

But I do not think the government should take income away from people who are in their senior years, income they had been counting on, that they had been given because they were seniors and because it was recognized that over the years they had made a great contribution to this country and had not been able to save any great amount of money. Many of those people have unfortunately ended up in institutions, charitable homes, homes for the aged, nursing homes and so on.

They naturally cannot afford to pay all the costs of those again because they had no opportunity to save, to buy insurance and to build up incomes. But that they should be denied the benefits they were getting from this government under the tax credit system seems discriminatory. Those people had been counting on those payments. They see their neighbours getting more than they got before. They also see the very well off getting up to $550 under the new scheme and yet they ended up with $50.

I think that is the greatest indictment of this program -- that it was not designed to deliver money to those who really needed it. It could have been designed that way.

The old property tax credit system was eroded by inflation. Certainly for those who are still under it, it is much less a benefit than it was when it was brought in. That is the fault of the government, which has not kept it up to date with inflation. It is saving money by keeping that property tax credit at its present level with a fixed base.

The property tax credit system could have been revamped so that the money flowed to the pensioners when they got their tax bills, but it still could have been based on an accounting at income tax time so those who did not need it would in effect pay it back.

The government refused to look at that sort of sensible program which would see that its dollars went where they were most needed because it did not want to give tax relief to the pensioners. It wanted to give relief to the Conservative Party which was in desperate trouble over its policies for senior citizens.

It had been promising them tax relief ever since 1977 and nothing happened until late in 1980 when there was an election looming. It chose the most costly and inefficient method of giving that tax relief. The kind of loophole that should be closed in this bill is the loophole which allows the money to be sent to those who do not need it and which does not give adequate money to those who do.

The other change we would like to see in this bill is to put in a provision that no one who received money under the previous property tax credit scheme should receive less under this new legislation than they would have got under the old scheme. It is a sort of grandfather clause. It would not necessarily apply to people coming under the scheme now but it would certainly ensure that no one who was getting credits under the old scheme would have less.

I think that is the least this government can do in justice to those people who have contributed to our society over the years and who have suddenly discovered they are not very valuable because they have been unfortunate enough to have to spend their time in institutions. I hope the minister will reconsider and bring in an amendment to change that section of the bill.

I find the clause defining the excluded group to be very general. It does not even seem to say if a private institution pays property taxes there will be any credit for the residents of that private institution or nursing home. I understood this was supposed to be property tax relief and I am sure the people who pay part of the fees in those institutions are paying for property taxes.

That part of the definition should be clarified as to whether there is any relief under this bill for people in institutions who pay some property taxes and where the residents also pay part of the cost.

It is very disappointing that we do not find anything for pensioners in this year's legislation. All they are going to find is their taxes have gone up in many areas. They are going to be paying part of that $600 million that all of us are paying.

Mr. Grande: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a few comments on this bill. The fact is the Minister of Revenue sees fit, once the government makes a mistake, to try to retrieve some of the money. I do not know how much money has gone out that the minister is going to try to retrieve. There is an old saying that those who cause the problem should be responsible for that problem. They are the ones who made the mistake. The minister should accept the fact he made the mistake and then write that off. That is the first point I want to make.

Second, I want to pick up where the member for Beaches-Woodbine left off in terms of finding out how hard the Minister of Revenue questioned the Treasurer prior to the budget being brought down. Did he say, "We did give $500 to the senior citizens last year. The reason for that in last year's budget was to make sure that for a good number of those senior citizens --

9:50 p.m.

The minister is listening somewhere else, and I would appreciate his attention. However, whether the minister listens or not, I guess does not make that much difference --

Hon. Mr. Ashe: I am listening. I don't have to look you in the eye to be listening.

Mr. Grande: No, no, it is all right.

The fact is that in last year's budget the reason for the introduction of the $500 senior citizen's grant was first, to create a visibility for the province of Ontario. The minister or the Treasurer thought the senior citizens did not know where the property tax credits were coming from and felt as a province, as a government, they were not getting the credit where the credit was due.

The government said, "For a good number of those senior citizens that represents almost the total property taxes they will pay." That may be fair enough. I have not looked into the statistics. However, I have had quite a number of senior citizens come to my riding office complaining they are getting much less as a result of the $500 than if they were doing it under the old system. That was last year.

Across the province property taxes have increased between 10 per cent and 15 per cent. Will not the senior citizens, with that $500 they received last year and the $500 supposedly they will receive this year, be losing more than they did last year as a result? In other words, since the government has never enriched the property tax credit for a good number of years, are they going to fall into the same problem by not enriching this $500 grant to reflect the property tax increases in each of the municipalities across Ontario? If the government has no plans to do that, pretty soon a large number of senior citizens are going to be receiving less money through the $500 grant than they would under the old Ontario property tax credit.

Therefore, maybe the minister can provide an explanation as to why there have been no increases for senior citizens to reflect the property tax increase. The government saw that the senior citizens could not afford to pay their property taxes. What increase is there for the senior citizens since that $500 is going to be between 10 per cent and 15 per cent less this year than it was last year?

Hon. Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, I'll try to be brief, but there are a couple of points I should touch upon -- particularly in the way of clarification. There seem to be one or two points of misunderstanding that came out of the comments that were made tonight.

Working backwards, the last speaker made reference to the fact that whoever made the mistake in terms of grants should pay for that mistake. Basically, we concur with that. The first mistake was made by those who signed an application form for which they were not qualified. I am not suggesting it is anything beyond a mistake that caused that to happen. People who were ineligible did apply. They made the first mistake. True, there were other mistakes following that, which I do not deny, but I think they are pretty well all cleared up now.

Ms. Bryden talked about Senior Citizens' Week and the fact that there is no indexing in property tax increases. Again, that is true. The plan's maximum has not been changed in any way, but there are two ways groups of people can qualify. A relatively small number of seniors who get married this year can now get more under the amendment by being able to claim tax before marriage from both partners; previously, there was one $500 maximum.

I appreciate this does not touch a great number of people, but it does a few. More important, I think, is we know from experience that with the maximum of $500 not everybody qualified for $500. I recall it was the property taxes, or 20 per cent of the rent payments, up to $500. There was still room for many to absorb rent increases and/or tax increases and be able to get more of a grant -- again still up to the $500 limit.

In clarification, the housing unit definition is basically changed very little from before. It is more a clarification than a narrowing to any great degree. It was felt there was some confusion before, and we were trying to clarify it as much as possible.

Of course, beyond that there is no doubt if somebody in a private institution is paying the full cost of care with no government subsidies, and if that institution pays property taxes, those people would be eligible for a property tax grant. Again, I appreciate not great numbers of people fall into that category; I acknowledge that, but they would not be excluded.

Last but not least -- and it has been touched upon by many -- this is a property tax grant. It was designed to do that, and I think it has been doing it very successfully. It was a change from the seniors' tax grant and the credit plan through the income tax system; and with the elimination of the seniors' tax credit some got less, there is no doubt about that.

The government recognized that loss with changes in other programs. For example, the $50 sales tax credit grant was higher than people got before, generally speaking. The Gains increase, the passthrough of $10, again completely offset the $110 credit. And of course, last but not least, we did give a complete flow through of the federal supplement of $35 a month. So again, seniors did get it, albeit from a different program.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Ashe, the debate was adjourned.


Hon. Mr. Ashe moved second reading of Bill 77, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act.

Mr. Nixon: Are we going to do this again? Has the minister got anything to say about the bill? No? He has nothing to say. Our critic would like to say something.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I thought perhaps the revenue minister would have something to say on this bill. In speaking to Bill 77 I suppose I can say only one thing: that we in the official opposition are opposed to such measures. I can outline some of the reasons for it.

As I look at the record of the Tory government over the last 10 or 11 years, I find that in 1970-71 the personal income tax generated some $992 million and in 1981-82 the budget presented by the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) just recently will generate $4,380 billion. This is about a 342 per cent increase in an 11-year period, and that averages, if my figures are correct, about 31 per cent a year. If we look at that area we wonder why on earth the government is bringing forward an amendment to the Income Tax Act -- increasing it from 44 per cent to 48 per cent.

I ponder this; I am concerned about it. I think about some things said by the government over the last number of years in relation to opting out of taxsharing.

10 p.m.

This is by the former Treasurer of Ontario, John White. It is what he had to say concerning the meeting of the ministers of finance in Ottawa on May 8, 1973. Quoting from page 13, he said:

"The new inflation indexing proposal dramatically magnifies these losses by reducing the revenue growth capacity of personal income tax, upon which the provinces rely heavily to finance essential public services and to maintain the progressivity of the their total tax systems.

"The federal indexing proposal would escalate exemptions and widen the taxable income brackets each year by the previous year's rate of price inflation. Since Ontario and eight other provinces utilize the basic structure of the federal income tax, indexing would automatically apply to their provincial income tax. As a result, the growth of Ontario's personal income tax would fall dramatically -- from an average of 19 per cent to perhaps 14 per cent per year. Assuming a four per cent inflation rate, the initial effect of the federal indexing scheme would be to reduce Ontario's revenue growth from the personal income tax by $80 million in 1974 ... By 1977, Ontario's income tax revenues would be decreased by some $500 million."

That is sheer nonsense because that has never happened. If one looks over the record of the additional revenues generated by Ontario in the budget reports year after year, it shows the government, through a high inflation rate and increased personal income of wage earners in the province, had generated millions of dollars of additional revenue for the province without any tax increase.

He goes on to say federal-provincial fiscal arrangements provide that the provinces will be ensured an income tax yield equal to the yield of the income tax system as of December 31, 1971. He further indicates the federal Minister of Finance has reaffirmed the compensation for provincial losses from tax reform, from May 8, 1972, budget changes and from the exemption increases in 1973, adding, "Although there is no clear commitment to also cover indexing, the Ontario government expects a commitment today that the federal revenue guarantee will compensate for the large revenue losses to the provinces from indexing."

The Premier was reported in the Toronto Star of June 18, 1980, as being very critical of Ottawa's new tax proposal: "Ottawa's Tax Plan 'Devious, Unfair,' Davis Tells Group." I suppose that word has come up quite often in the debates here in the last two or three weeks in relation to tax increases. It says, "Ontario Premier William Davis has lashed out at Ottawa's proposal to abolish the indexing of the income tax to inflation as a 'devious' tax increase. Davis, in an address to a conference on the future of manufacturing in Ontario, noted that eliminating indexation would raise about $1.4 billion for the federal government and a sorely needed $250 million for Ontario.

"'Nevertheless, I must say that abolishing the index of the personal income tax, a reform which has largely protected the wage earner from automatic and yet unfair tax increases, would be quite unacceptable.'" He goes on to say that that fuels inflation. "Davis said eliminating it 'would only fuel the menace of inflation and further damage essential trust in government.'" The Star goes on to say, "Inflation, which ran at nearly nine per cent last year, pushes taxpayers into higher tax rate brackets, increasing the government's tax take."

That is the point I thought I would bring to the attention of the Minister of Revenue. The government has lost nothing in its revenues over the years. It is outlined in the budget report that year after year this government, through increases in wages and income, has generated a substantial amount of income tax for the Minister of Revenue and the Treasurer of Ontario.

One would have to question the principle behind the government's thought in increasing income tax to 48 per cent. There is no mention in the Tory promise that there would be any tax increase of four per cent, particularly as it relates to the Income Tax Act. When I look at the areas of inequity within the Ontario taxation system, I see the increase under the Gasoline Tax Act and the Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax Act. The Retail Sales Tax Act will still apply to a number of goods in Ontario and actually there is no need for the increase in the income tax. If one looks at the expenditures over the years by this government, I feel the government is perhaps at fault because it shows the mismanagement of this government in this area.

They have actually spent beyond their means in a number of areas that one could get into. If I look into the 1981 budget report, particularly as it relates to the industrial area of taxation in Ontario and the concessions given to the corporations over the years, I often think about the grants that were given to the forest industries in Ontario, particularly to the paper industries. Huge grants were given to them, both by the provincial government and by the federal government.

There are indications that huge profits will be made this year in that industry. The government did not move to take another look and say there were huge profits made in the corporate sector and they should be picking up a share of the tax increases in Ontario. I find this is not so.

I think about the grants that were given to the forestry and paper industries to assist them in renovating and purchasing new equipment to modernize their plants. I wonder what happened to the depreciation allowance. I thought this was a fair way to give some assistance and tax relief to the industries. This depreciation allowance on the wear and tear of equipment would be money set aside under good management to provide revenue to purchase new equipment, to modernize their plants and to bring them up to date. Apparently the depreciation allowance has gone to the corporation and to the shareholders. All of a sudden they are coming back to the government and saying, "We need some help to modernize our plant."

I do not think this is a fair way to go about taxing the individuals in Ontario. The government has hit them harder this time around than at any other time. I suppose it will be three or four years before they go to the polls again and they think people will forget it. I do not think they will. When I think of the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett) sitting over there giving $42 million in assistance to the developers of this province, a grant of $4,500 for each unit constructed --

Hon. Mr. Bennett: You have not been listening very well.

Mr. Haggerty: I have been listening, but let's take a look at that. One of the hardest things for the individual person in Ontario is the high interest rates. If the minister wanted to be serious about creating jobs in Ontario --

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Talk to your friends in Ottawa. They control the interest rates.

Mr. Haggerty: I have listened to the Minister of Housing for a number of days. He should just sit and he might learn something.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I am sitting back listening; just don't confuse the issue.

Mr. Haggerty: All right. He should have taken that $42 million and subsidized those persons who bought homes and are paying renewed mortgages.

10:10 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Talk to the member for Parkdale (Mr. Ruprecht). You and your leader --

Mr. Haggerty: Oh, yes. That would be too easy a way to give the average wage earner a break. The government would not do that; it wants to sock it to him, go to his pocketbook.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Your federal friends are the ones who are doing it, not us.

Mr. Haggerty: There was one lesson to be learned at the time of the American Revolution back in the 1700s --


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Haggerty: One of the things that was said to the government of England at that time by members of Parliament was, "If you keep your hands out of the pockets of the American people they will go along with us and live under our rules." But the government of that time said, "No. Tax them and tax them and tax them again." So I suggest to this government there may come a time we will have to look back to the year 1837. This is the same kind of government as the Tories of that time, hitting the average wage earner in Ontario on taxation. It is taking him to the --

An hon. member: To the cleaners.

Mr. Haggerty: -- to the cleaners, as my friend says. I suggest this is the wrong approach to take.

The four per cent increase in personal income tax is going to add to the inflationary cost in Ontario, and I use the United States as an example again. In United States policies there have been no new tax increases; in fact, the new administration says, "Reduce the taxes." But over there the inflationary rate has come down and the costs of goods are not as high there as they are here. I grant we have two things in parity with the United States, that is, wage parity in the automobile industry and parity in the interest rates, but that does not have to be so. In this particular area the government is at fault, because of the blooming years it has gone to the United States market to borrow money to finance heavy expenditures within Ontario Hydro.

It is odd that this year the government has said, "We are going to go to the Canada pensions to help finance some of those schemes for Ontario Hydro." I suppose if the government had not milked the Canada pension plan, the wage earner again, it would have been further and further into debt. It has not added much back into the Canada pension plan or any other provincial pension scheme.

In fact, this is another area where the government is talking about attaining additional revenues to go for a provincial pension plan. I hope the government does not move in this area, because I feel the taxpayer, the wage earner, will be taken on that one too. Of course, when the government moves into that area it is for only one reason, and that is to bail out the government on its heavy expenditure and heavy debt. Ontario Hydro has put Ontario into considerable debt and, of course, it is backed by the ministry here.

I suggest that borrowing money offshore, as this government has permitted different government agencies such as Ontario Hydro to do -- in fact, even the government of Ontario and all the provinces throughout Canada, every time they want to get into a provincial scheme to improve on their natural resources, to improve on productivity, they have gone to the American market to get the money. This is what is killing us here, and it is one of the reasons the government has to increase the personal income tax, to cover this great loss.

There are areas of revenue here that would perhaps be of some assistance to the government. I think particularly of the savings that are in the present bank accounts across Ontario and Canada -- I think they run somewhere around $60 billion. This is an area I thought this government would be looking at. Here we have a provincial bank in Ontario that sits by and does nothing. We have to look to other banks to provide us with some funding. We have the Ontario Development Corporation and different development agencies that are funding in this particular area. The government should be putting the provincial bank to work for the people of Ontario. I suggest that is one area we should be looking at. I have often heard my friend the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) get into this particular area and say, "Put it to work for the benefit of the people of Ontario. Let them be in competition with the Bank of Canada, the Toronto-Dominion Bank, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, all of them.'


Mr. Haggerty: I understand there is an agreement between the House leaders that we should adjourn at 10:15 p.m.

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


Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 73, An Act to amend the Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax Act.

Hon. Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, I think I covered most of the issues and points that were made in the debate in my previous remarks. With those remarks and covering the points the various members brought forward, I hope I have satisfied most of the concerns and that we will have full support for this particular piece of legislation.

10:45 p.m.

The House divided on Hon. Mr. Ashe's motion for second reading of Bill 73, which was agreed to on the following vote:


Andrewes, Ashe, Baetz, Barlow, Bennett, Bernier, Brandt, Cousens, Davis, Dean, Drea, Eaton, Elgie, Eves, Fish, Gillies, Gordon, Gregory, Grossman, Harris, Henderson, Hennessy, Hodgson, Johnson, J. M., Jones, Kerr, Kolyn, Lane, Leluk, MacQuarrie, McCaffrey, McCague, McLean, McMurtry, McNeil, Mitchell;

Norton, Piché, Pollock, Ramsay, Robinson, Rotenberg, Runciman, Scrivener, Sheppard, Snow, Stephenson, B. M., Sterling, Stevenson, K. R., Taylor, G. W., Taylor, J. A., Timbrell, Treleaven, Villeneuve, Walker, Watson, Welch, Wells, Williams, Wiseman, Yakabuski.


Breaugh, Bryden, Cassidy, Charlton, Conway, Cooke, Copps, Cunningham, Di Santo, Eakins, Edighoffer, Epp, Grande, Haggerty, Johnston, R. F., MacDonald, Mackenzie, Mancini, McClellan, McGuigan, McKessock, Miller, G. I., Newman, Nixon, Peterson, Philip, Renwick, Riddell, Ruston, Samis, Sargent, Stokes, Swart, Van Horne, Wildman, Worton, Wrye.

Ayes 61; nays 37.

Ordered for third reading.


Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 78, An Act to amend the Ontario Pensioners Property Tax Assistance Act, 1980.

Hon. Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, in closing this debate, I would hope that the honourable members would support the amendment to the Ontario Pensioners Property Tax Assistance Act.

10:50 p.m.

The House divided on Hon. Mr. Ashe's motion, which was agreed to on the following vote:


Andrewes, Ashe, Baetz, Barlow, Bennett, Bernier, Brandt, Conway, Copps, Cousens, Cunningham, Davis, Dean, Drea, Eakins, Eaton, Edighoffer, Elgie, Epp, Eves, Fish, Gillies, Gordon, Gregory, Grossman, Haggerty, Harris, Henderson, Hennessy, Hodgson, Johnson, J. M., Jones, Kerr, Kolyn, Lane, Leluk;

MacQuarrie, Mancini, McCaffrey, McCague, McGuigan, McKessock, McLean, McMurtry, McNeil, Miller, G. I., Mitchell, Newman, Nixon, Norton, Peterson, Piché, Pollock, Pope, Ramsay, Riddell, Robinson, Rotenberg, Runciman, Ruston, Sargent, Scrivener, Sheppard, Snow, Stephenson, B. M., Sterling, Stevenson, K. R.;

Taylor, G. W., Taylor, J. A., Timbrell, Treleaven, Van Horne, Villeneuve, Walker, Watson, Welch, Wells, Williams, Wiseman, Worton, Wrye, Yakabuski.


Breaugh, Bryden, Cassidy, Charlton, Cooke, Di Santo, Grande. Johnston, R. F., Laughren, MacDonald, Mackenzie, Martel, McClellan, Philip, Renwick, Samis, Stokes, Swart. Wildman.

Ayes 82; nays 19.

Ordered for third reading.

The House adjourned at 10:56 p.m.