32nd Parliament, 1st Session































The House met at 2:05 p.m.



Mr. Smith: First -- on a point of privilege, I suppose, Mr. Speaker -- I want to rise and say a brief word of tribute to the late R. Alan Hay.

I think members opposite were all very familiar with Mr. Hay, who worked tirelessly for virtually his entire lifetime since the war for the good of the hospital system in Ontario. He has been a very outstanding servant of that system and indirectly, therefore, of the people of Ontario.

I want to say how sorry I am personally -- I knew him personally -- to hear of his sudden death while on a vacation with his wife in Quebec. I was very shocked by the news and simply want to pay tribute to him and to offer our condolences to his family.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, in the absence of the government House leader, I should like on behalf of the government to submit to Mrs. Hay our deepest regret at Alan's very sudden passing.

I have known Alan Hay for more than 30 years, and I can only agree wholeheartedly with the leader of the official opposition that he was indeed a tireless worker on behalf of the hospital system in this province and in this country.

His role in both the Ontario Hospital Association and the Canadian Hospital Association has led both associations to new achievements, which I believe could not have been met without Alan's dedication and commitment to the cause of excellence in hospital care for patients in this province and in this country. We deeply mourn his passing.

Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I want to join with other members of this Legislature in expressing our sympathies to the family. Alan Hay was a man who dedicated his lifetime to putting together one of the world's great hospital systems, which was not without its problems. He was a person frequently before committees here at Queen's Park. He gave to the members some new level of expertise and a slightly different perspective from that provided us by the ministry.

To people like Alan Hay, who devote their lives to making our institutions better places for the people of Ontario, we all owe a great debt of gratitude. We add the voice of the New Democratic Party to those who expressed sympathy this afternoon.



Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct a question to the Treasurer.

In view of the fact that, effective yesterday, the Treasury of Ontario has begun to profit from Premier Lougheed's second oil production cutback, to the tune of $13.4 million annually, is the Treasurer prepared to accept that perhaps that is enough profiteering at the expense of the Ontario taxpayer from a very unfortunate Ottawa-Alberta dispute?

Will the Treasurer agree to forgo any additional ad valorem profits that will accrue to the Treasury from the next cutback anticipated in the fall, should it occur? I ask him the question now, because we will not be here in session when the possible third oil production cutback might occur.

I hope the Treasurer will announce that perhaps he has taken sufficient extra money out of the pockets of Ontario taxpayers, thanks to Premier Lougheed's action, and, if there is another cutback by Premier Lougheed, he will not seek to profiteer further.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the assumption that somehow the dispute is the only cause of an increase in the oil price is an erroneous one. The member knows, as I do, the price of petroleum in Canada is considerably below the world price yet. I thought the Leader of the Opposition at times had suggested a world price was the appropriate one for Canadian oil.

The fact remains that we have had many hours of debate in this Legislature within the last two weeks on this very issue. It was thoroughly discussed. This province, in a world where inflation has become rampant, has decided that the discrete tax such as we used to levy no longer can apply effectively over even a period of one year. Therefore, we have changed our tax system, as have all the provinces but one in this country.

2:10 p.m.

Mr. Smith: Given that the price of gasoline is going up for a number of reasons and that the cutback by Alberta is perhaps one major reason but not the only reason for this, what justification does the Treasurer feel exists, taking into account the hardship that is placed by Ontarians by these increases, for increasing the degree of hardship each time it occurs?

Given that he never anticipated these cutbacks by Premier Lougheed when he prepared his budget, given that these are purely windfall or extra profits for Ontario's Treasury based on Premier Lougheed's action, why cannot the Treasurer at the very least agree that further cutbacks by Premier Lougheed that lead to increases in the oil price will not be profiteered upon by the province of Ontario to the detriment of our own citizens?

Why can he not at least agree to forgo the ad valorem aspects of this on any price increase resulting from a further cutback by Alberta?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Again, the perception the Leader of the Opposition is trying to create is simply that somehow we pocket this money and have a great reserve of cash somewhere. I have been criticized very roundly by him and other members of his party at times for having a deficit. I have to point out that I still have a deficit.

This money will be used for at least two purposes: one, the extra cash will obviously lower borrowing across the province; two, in the absence of a federal assistance program to cushion the cost of home heating oil, which we do not tax, we have circulated roughly $62 million to $66 million this year alone back to people on low incomes to help cushion the shock as they adjust to the prices as they come close to world price.

Mr. Martel: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: When he was in Victoria recently, the Treasurer "reminded his colleagues of Ontario's deep concerns over growing inflation rates in the Canadian economy." Instead of weeping those crocodile tears out there, why is he not at least eliminating the ad valorem in Ontario which continues to contribute to the rate of inflation he is complaining about?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I think the greatest contributor to inflation is excessive government spending and, if any province in Canada has shown by example how to constrain the growth in government costs, Ontario has.

Mr. J. A. Reed: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: How does the Treasurer have the nerve to behave like such a hypocrite? A few years ago, his government was establishing a direct link between economic recession and the increase in petroleum prices. I have some of the quotations right here. A few years ago he was doing that. I think it was four ministers ago that the Minister of Energy froze the price of the inventory of petroleum in this province.

How does the Treasurer have the nerve to come back and bleed the consumers to this extent?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the energy critic for the Liberal Party knows full well that our tax does not apply to the feedstock for industrial use or for home heating. It applies only to those parts of the petroleum consumed on the highways of Ontario.


Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I want to direct a question to the Minister of Housing. The minister will recall that a week or two ago I asked if he would assist, by means of government programs, to bring home ownership within the means of ordinary working Ontarians. At that time, he expressed the view that government funds could not be used to assist home ownership.

However, I notice from the press that the minister is not totally opposed to the use of government funds to assist home ownership provided the recipient of those funds is himself. Under the circumstances, will the minister explain why there is one policy that he suggests for the people of Ontario and a very different policy for himself?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, regarding the issue that the leader of the Liberal party raises today -- and I guess to some degree he thinks he is getting a little shot at the Minister of Housing -- frankly, I made my position very clear on that yesterday. His House leader, sitting beside him, can describe the situation in as complete detail as I can.

I said very clearly that I looked for no compensation from this government or the Treasury of the province in the issue the member is talking about, but I did feel that as an out-of-town member living some 250 miles from this community I was entitled to the same living allowances as those of any other MPP.


Mr. Smith: I am pleased to see there are a few others anxious to get the same thing.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: You're sanctimonious.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Smith: Given the fact that home ownership in Toronto over the last couple of years has probably been the surest and most lucrative way of ensuring a capital gain that anybody has yet come up with, how does the minister have the nerve to make statements in the House, such as "people are going to have to be very realistic about life," "not everyone is going to be able to own a home in our society" and "people are going to have to give up their idea of a dream home"?

How does he have the nerve to stand before the citizens of Ontario and tell them they will have to forget about home ownership and then turn around and try to use government assistance for himself to assist with capital gains?

Some hon. members: Don't answer him.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I am being advised by my colleagues, and maybe I should take their advice, but I only want to offer one comment to the member for Hamilton West in regard to the low tactics he wishes to pull in this House today.

Very clearly, I make no apology to him or any of the other 123 members in this Legislature, nor to the 8.5 million people in this province, that I, through my diligence and hard work, was able to make enough money to buy a home.

I said clearly to the press, radio, TV and to anyone else who wished to listen -- and I hope the honourable member has his ears open -- that I came to Queen's Park to serve the people of Ottawa South. Indeed, I came to Queen's Park and was selected to be a minister of this government. This is where I spend most of my time now.

I have a family. My daughter, my son and my wife are going to live under the conditions and circumstances that I had the opportunity of being brought up under when I was living under the roof of my father. I am not going to downgrade the conditions or standards given to my children.

The honourable member stands in this House, along with others, and talks about family unity, about bringing the family together and keeping it together. He collects his living allowance. Others in his party collect it. I am only saying that, from common sense and a logical position, if it is good for one member from outside the Metropolitan Toronto area -- and that happens to be the area I represent -- then I think I am entitled to that same living allowance. It should have nothing to do with whether I happen to own my home or rent it.

The fact is that I have a double expense living in this community, the same as the members of his party and the same as the members of the third party. This Legislature brought in that act to afford each member some relief against the double cost of living in representing the people of his or her riding in this province.

Mr. Smith: The issue is not whether the Minister of Housing should have funds to assist him with his expenses in representing his constituents here, but whether the money should be used to help him achieve a capital gain.

Hon. Mr. Sterling: That's a lie, that's a lie.

Mr. Lane: How low can you get?

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Breithaupt: That's exactly the point.

Hon. Mr. Ashe: Go and read what was said. See what the issue is. Educate yourself.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Smith: Given that the merits of home ownership which the honourable member's father apparently understood and which he understands are well understood by the average working person out there working hard for a living today in Ontario, and given that today the average person under no circumstances can afford to buy even the average-priced home in the Metropolitan Toronto area and in many other areas of Ontario, how can the minister lecture us about the importance of home ownership to family life and yet deny to the average working person in Ontario the possibility of home ownership by his continued refusal to use government funds to assist people with the acquisition of homes?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: That is nonsense.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Send him home, Mr. Speaker.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Even some of his own colleagues won't listen to him.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

2:20 p.m.


Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Colleges and Universities.

Since the need for university and college programs in northern Ontario is clearly being met not by our own institutions but by the invasion, almost, of American institutions offering master of education and master of business administration programs in Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie, will the minister not acknowledge that there has to be some additional funding and assistance to these universities so they can provide the necessary courses for the residents of northern Ontario?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I am sure the honourable member is aware that there is a very generous northern allowance, which is provided to northern universities in addition to the formula, to ensure they are able to meet the requirements of the north, given the circumstances under which they operate.

I certainly have been strongly supportive of that continuing differential, because I recognize the difficulties which the northern universities have. There are some structural problems, I believe, within the northern universities, which may require some modification to make them more effective and more efficient. I am not sure this alone will retard the invasion, as the honourable member calls it, of American universities into Ontario.

As a matter of fact, it seems to me that even under Bill 4 that university would have qualified, because it is approved by the credentials group within the southern part of the United States in terms of that program. If the universities themselves want to provide that program, I think they are certainly at liberty to do so. Given the stimulation of seeing how rapidly others come in to do it, they may consider that to be the appropriate route.

Mr. Martel: In view of the fact that there are at least three universities now offering MBAs and MEds, does the minister think it is right that academic jobs are being lost at Algoma and that positions remain unfilled at Laurentian while unqualified Americans are coming to teach American courses in the north?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: I am not sure at all that the honourable member is correct that there will be faculty jobs lost as a result of this. It is my understanding that an arrangement has been established between Algoma University College in Sault Ste. Marie, for example, and Nova, to provide through Algoma's own faculty the kind of course Nova offers and a degree that can be given by Algoma on behalf of Nova University.

Whether there is any faculty employment loss, I cannot tell the member at this point, but that is certainly something I shall look into. It seems to me that if the universities the need for this they should have the opportunity to move in that direction themselves without relying on the intrusion of some faculty members from out of the province.

Mr. Martel: Does the minister think it is good enough that students enrolling in these US courses, programs that are being offered in the north, have no assurance that they will have the proper library facilities and space; as in the case of Sudbury, where they are going to Cambrian College rather than the university and where the jobs are not being offered to faculty at Laurentian?

Does the minister not think the quality controls that are necessary for our own universities should be met by those coming from somewhere else?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: I believe the universities that are offering the courses must take that into consideration. But I remind the honourable member that the universities themselves make the decisions about the ways in which they will spend their funds, and they have had a very significant increase in 1981 and 1982 which I believe will help them to solve some of the difficulties they have seen in the past.


Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Provincial Secretary for Social Development in the absence of the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea).

Can the provincial secretary indicate why the government is prepared to allow the well-known Times Change women's employment service to go down the tube for want of funding, in view of the service it is providing to the province through the assistance it gives to women who are seeking employment and who are currently on welfare?

Hon. Mrs. Birch: No, Mr. Speaker, I do not have that information. I will ask the minister when he is here tomorrow to give the honourable member a response.

Mr. Martel: Since at least 40 per cent of the current employee counselling going on out of the 900 cases that are there are on special assistance provided by the province through family benefits and general welfare, could this not be an opportunity for the government to fund that program, because of its success rate in placing people, to ensure that it does not go down the tube and that people -- women in particular -- are not forced to stay on the welfare rolls?

Hon. Mrs. Birch: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, I do not have the information the member is asking for, but I will speak to the minister responsible and find out what the answers are.

Mr. Martel: I have one final supplementary the provincial secretary might ask the minister to respond to when he is in his place.

Since the Ministry of Community and Social Services states categorically it wants to get people re-employed, retrained and so on, and since Times Change had a placement record of about 68 per cent in 1980, by its own analysis -- 68 per cent of whom are on provincial funding -- would it not be an opportunity -- and the provincial secretary might ask the minister, since the ministry has now twice turned down this agency -- to further reduce rather than see the trend go the other way, if this service goes out of existence in the very near future?

Mr. T. P. Reid: I take it there is no answer.


Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Chairman of Management Board in regard to grievance procedures in the Ontario public service.

Is the minister aware of the Crown Employees Grievance Settlement Board's decision in regard to the gentlemen who were involved with the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario, particularly in Ottawa? Is the minister aware in particular of the decision of the Crown Employees Grievance Settlement Board in regard to those two people who were found guilty of uttering? Is the minister satisfied with that particular decision, and does he have any review procedures of the Crown Employees Grievance Settlement Board under way at the moment?

Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I am aware of the matter to which the honourable member refers. It has been the policy of this government, of course, not to interfere with the decisions that are made by one of our boards or commissions. There are occasions on which a ministry will decide to appeal a decision. In this case, I understand the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Walker) chose not to appeal it.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Is the minister aware of the comments of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations before the public accounts committee of June 11, 1981, and his concern expressed at that time that he did not agree with some of these decisions of the grievance settlement board?

Is the minister further aware that an employee of the Ministry of the Attorney General was convicted of an offence and the grievance settlement board subsequently overturned it?

Is the minister aware that the grievance board is saying that it does not agree with judgements made in the legal law courts, and is he not concerned that in some of these instances common sense seems to have flown out of the window in regard to some of the findings of the Crown Employees Grievance Settlement Board?

Hon. Mr. McCague: Concerned or not, I am sure there are occasions when employees are not satisfied with decisions, and I am sure there are occasions when the employer is not satisfied with decisions, but common sense would say that one does not interfere with them any more than one interferes with decisions made by the courts.


Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Housing with reference to the multiple listing service sales in Metropolitan Toronto and the surrounding districts covered by the Toronto Real Estate Board.

Does the minister subscribe to the views stated by the board president, Mrs. Sadie Moranis, in a release accompanying the June MLS figures, that we now have a buyers' market? Does he, therefore, think we have now turned the corner on house prices and affordability in the Metro Toronto area?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, the only thing I can say in reply is that is the personal opinion of the president of the Toronto Real Estate Board. I have not had any discussions either with her or her board in the last month or six weeks. So I would imagine what she is trying to relate it to is her own experience in the marketplace today.

Mr. Philip: In speaking to her own experience then, does the minister not know that the average price of a MLS home, including condominium apartments and town houses, is now more than $100,000? Does he not appreciate that prices went up last month by 7.7 per cent, which is almost as high a percentage increase as in April, and by more than $7,000, which is the highest monthly increase in the first half of this year?

2:30 p.m.

Faced with those figures, will the minister not at long last introduce a speculation tax on those people who would wheel and deal in the housing market in Toronto, the in-and-out artists who are forcing up the prices of housing?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: If I can go back over the last several weeks, during which we have been talking in this House about housing prices in the Metropolitan Toronto area, we have constantly referred to the averaging price. I have said time and again that to try to talk about averaging price really does not have much relationship to the individual home the member or I or someone else might wish to purchase.

If we look at some of the MLS sales reports -- not listings -- some of the very heavy action has been in the units that have been extremely high in sale value. I am talking about over the $150,000 position.

In answer to a question from the member for Parkdale (Mr. Ruprecht), I said if we are looking at the area of speculation -- and I take it that is what the member for Etobicoke is now referring to -- there is the capital gains tax in this country that will catch that speculator if he or she does not remain a resident of that unit for a period of at least half a year plus a day. Otherwise, they are in a speculative position and subject to capital gains tax. I do not intend to suggest to my colleagues in cabinet that we should be looking at a speculation tax.

Frankly, I think we should be a little more considerate of what is going on in the marketplace. There have been some very small individuals who have been buying and selling their homes after they have owned them for a period of years, individuals of average income who have decided to sell their homes because they have a chance to either trade up or go into a wholly different style of living. I do not think we are going to get into the field of speculation tax to be a penalty against those individuals. If it is speculation, then the capital gains should look after it.

Mr. Philip: Perhaps the minister misunderstood my question. I was very specific in talking about sales and not listings.

Dealing with the minister's answer, does the minister not understand that for the first time fewer than half the homes sold on MLS were at $80,000? While he was incorrectly stating a few days ago, and then reiterating the same thing today, that people could obtain homes at a lower price if they simply looked for them, is he aware that in June only 46.4 per cent were under the level of $80,000?

Does he not understand that for people who want to buy a cheap home -- that is, up to $40,000 -- in this city and the surrounding areas, there were only 82 units to choose from in all of this area? What is the minister doing about affordability in housing in the light of those figures, which are sales figures and not just listing figures?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I do not recall having spoken today on the affordability question. The member has raised this particular point. We have reviewed the market situation. I have not looked at the recent MLS listing or sales program the member speaks about. I have done other things with my time today. Frankly, I do not see the situation altering or changing.

If the member wants to take the Toronto Star and read through the individual ads, he will find a number of units. I am not going to debate the number of them, although I can tell him we still have a number of units under the ownership of the Ontario Mortgage Corporation in various areas in the proximity of the Metro area that are still in the reasonable price range for those who wish to buy them.


Ms. Fish: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Transportation and Communications. In the light of the recent announcement that the federal Liberal government will be providing $80 million in support to the province of Quebec for commuter services in Montreal and the recent announcement by Via Rail of the proposal to eliminate some 16 passenger rail lines, many of which are in the greater Toronto area and are currently used as support to commuter rail, and in view of the many varied and oft-repeated commitments of the federal Liberal government over the last decade to provide support for passenger rail and commuter services in Ontario, has the minister had any contact with or information from the federal Minister of Transport to indicate whether the Quebec-dominated federal Liberal government intends to honour any of its many and varied commitments and to provide support to the residents of Ontario for commuter rail service as it has to the residents of Quebec.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Snow: No, Mr. Speaker, I have not had any contact from the federal minister nor from Via Rail with regard to any of these items.

The honourable member refers to an announcement by Via Rail of the discontinuance of 16 lines. I do not believe there has been such an announcement, although there certainly has been speculation in the newspapers of this pending announcement.

Mr. Martel: Benjamin raised it last week in Ottawa.

Hon. Mr. Snow: I happened to be watching the Ottawa question period the other evening when one of the New Democratic Party members from Saskatchewan asked Mr. Pèpin if this rumoured 16-route discontinuance was right. Mr. Pèpin did not deny it was being considered, and he gave a lot of figures as to how much of a deficit the federal government was encountering with Via Rail.

Of those 16 routes, I believe six are in Ontario. Some no doubt will be of key interest to northern Ontario members, because two of those six routes are in the north. Although I have had no announcement on them yet, I know those routes in the north have been of concern to us because of the lack of alternative transportation if that discontinuance does take place, since some of those communities are very difficult to get to in any other way.

With regard to the $80-million subsidy to Quebec, Mr. Pèpin made reference during that same question period, I believe in response to a supplementary by the Honourable Mr. Sinclair Stevens, to the fact that Ottawa had contributed $10 million to GO Transit. It is very interesting that he referred to the Montreal commuter service as GO Transit, and I want to assure all the members that I am not expanding GO Transit into Montreal.

In any case, he referred to the $10 million, which is the only federal contribution to GO Transit to date and which was made some 10 years ago. He suggested that offset an equivalent contribution of $80 million to Quebec, and I guess that --

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Even using MacEachen's and Mr. Trudeau's economics and the way they have wrestled inflation to the ground, I do not believe $10 million of 1972 or 1973 dollars would make up $80 million today.

We have not had any discussions with them regarding these discontinuances. Certainly the Barrie, Stouffville and Havelock services would be missed if they were discontinued. Although I cannot refer to the Havelock service as a commuter service, it certainly will be missed if it is discontinued.

Mr. J. A. Reed: Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary for my constituent the honourable Minister of Transportation and Communications.

Did I hear the minister correctly when he said he had not made contact with Ottawa, that he had not been to Ottawa in connection with the matters the honourable member raised and which she considers to be serious? Would that be a reason she considers Ontario is not getting its full share -- because the minister is not active enough to point out the needs to the federal government?

2:40 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I am glad my member is here today; there have been a number of days he could not have asked a supplementary question. He is with us today and I am very glad my representative is working so hard in representing us from the great riding of Halton-Burlington. I do not know how the honourable member could misunderstand what I said. I have not been contacted by Mr. Jean-Luc Pèpin, the federal Minister of Transport, or by Via Rail with regard to these items. The first I heard --

Mr. Smith: The identical question was asked three days ago.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Would the honourable member just pipe down a little bit? I did not ask him for any --

Mr. Smith: This question was asked three days ago.

Mr. Speaker: Ignore the interjections.

Hon. Mr. Snow: I do not know what the honourable Pooh-Bah from Hamilton is talking about. In any case, I have to say the first I heard of this item was Monday night during televising of the question period. I have not been in touch with Mr. Pèpin since Monday night at 10 o'clock when I first heard about it. As I understand it, it was first raised in the newspapers Tuesday afternoon. I do not know what the unreliable Leader of the Opposition is talking about in the statement he has made.

Over the years I have had many meetings with federal ministers with regard to assistance in funding for Union Station and for GO Transit.


We have had many commitments. It has been in the throne speech and in election announcements. I have many files on this matter, but to this date, other than the $10 million I referred to, I have not seen any confirmation of any consideration at this stage.

During the short-lived term Mr. Donald Mazankowski was federal Minister of Transport, we did have a $30-million commitment to assist with Union Station and the Bathurst corridor. Within two weeks of Mr. Pèpin becoming Minister of Transport, I received a telex saying he was withdrawing Mr. Mazankowski's commitment.

Mr. Martel: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker, if I can get the minister's attention long enough: In view of the fact two of the runs mentioned are from Chapleau to Sudbury -- the Budd car, the fight for which was led last time by my colleague the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren) -- and the run from Capreol to Hornepayne, both being areas where people will not be serviced because in many of those areas there are no roads, is the province prepared to do a lot more to prevent this from occurring in the north than it was on the last trip around?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of the Chapleau to Sudbury case. There is no mention in any information I have about that. The two lines in northern Ontario I have heard about are Capreol to Hornepayne and Winnipeg to Armstrong. There may be this additional one but I do not know.

From the rumours I hear I am not sure there will be an application for discontinuance that will create a CTC hearing. If there is, I assure him my ministry will be there representing the interests of the people of Ontario, as we have done at all other such hearings. On the other hand, one of the stories that has come out of Ottawa is that there will be a cabinet decree that these services will be discontinued and there will not be a CTC hearing. I hope that is not the case.

I do not know what the honourable member is referring to. There have been two discontinuances, I believe, that I have been involved with in northern Ontario. One is in the riding of the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid). We vehemently fought that discontinuance because there was no doubt in our mind that was going to be a real hardship on the people of that part of Ontario because some of those communities had little or no other public access.

We did not strongly fight the discontinuance of the Budd car between Sudbury and Sault Ste. Marie because, truthfully, there was no way I could support the continuance of it. It was the most uneconomical situation that ever existed. It was carrying about 14 passengers a day, I believe, and of those 14 a day, more than 50 per cent were railroad-pass carriers. The bus service can offer a better service, a faster service, between Sudbury and the Sault, and was quite capable of carrying those people. The operating of a diesel bus between Sudbury and the Sault gives at least double the seat-miles per gallon of fuel used by the Budd car, so under no circumstances could I support the continuance of that line.

We will look at each and every application and make our position known after we have fully researched the matter.

Mr. Speaker: Final supplementary, Mr. Taylor.

Mr. J. A. Reed: Point of order.

Mr. Speaker: Order. There was one main question, there was one supplementary from Mr. Reed, Halton-Burlington, there was a supplementary from Mr. Martel, and Mr. Taylor also has a supplementary which I did not recognize.

Mr. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, considering that there are recommendations for the future of rail in the province saying that Barrie and some of the other communities should have a commuter service, and considering that it has been rumoured that Barrie's line will be slashed -- and the minister has had correspondence from me, the mayors of the town of Innisfil and the city of Barrie, and other constituents in the area, asking him to preserve that commuter service between Barrie and Toronto -- will the minister request a hearing before they discontinue those services, rather than having a fiat come from the federal minister?

Hon. Mr. Snow: Certainly, Mr. Speaker, I would make every representation that I can to continue the Barrie service or at least to have a CTC hearing where the information can be put forward. I understand there are some 500 people per day -- that may or may not be correct but that is the information that comes to mind -- who use the Barrie service. That is not necessarily 500 people from Barrie but 500 people from various points along the line who do use that service.

In addition to that, as the member knows, we run a large number of buses per day, GO Transit buses, to serve the Barrie corridor. We are most interested in seeing that corridor preserved and the rail service continue.


Mr. Kerrio: I have a question of the Minister of Culture and Recreation, if he would listen. I would also like the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope) to listen, and maybe the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson) and the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson).

Hon. Mr. Henderson: We always listen to you.

Mr. Speaker: Proceed with your question.

Mr. Kerrio: They will realize in a moment why.

The minister must be aware, or is he aware, of the fact that the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton is going overseas to hire, or has already hired, a new director? The Minister of Natural Resources, who represents that great Niagara Parks Commission -- of which I am very proud, since it is the resting place for all Tories who are out of a job or defeated -- should have pressed to see that one of the graduates from the Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture was given the job, as they are accepted across Canada and in fact all over the world.

I wonder how the minister would respond to that question. Why does the commission have to go that route rather than hire someone who is fully capable and who is trained right at Niagara in the horticulture school?

2:50 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker. I am not sure whether in fact the final decision has been made in the hiring of a successor to that very outstanding director, Dr. Laking of the Royal Botanical Gardens.

I do know that while they were looking for a successor to Dr. Laking I expressed to their board of directors our very deep concern that every effort should be made to hire a well-qualified Canadian for the position and that preference should be given to a Canadian. Over the last few weeks I have been assured every effort has been made and is being made. The board has indicated to me a long list of scientific and horticultural journals in which it advertised the position and apparently no applications were made by people who had the proper qualifications.

I am not sure at this moment whether a final decision has been made. I will be glad to check once again. Certainly the Royal Botanical Gardens board knows full well we have a preference for the employment of a Canadian. It actually delayed the appointment for some months because it wanted to make absolutely sure there was not a Canadian or an immigrant with landed immigrant status who could fill the bill. I will check and see what the latest status of that employment is.

Mr. Speaker: Order. I would ask those members who are carrying on private conversations to do so outside the House and not disturb the question period.

Mr. Kerrio: Is the minister aware of the correspondence from the alumni of the Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture and their concern that the Royal Botanical Gardens did not advertise in Canadian journals and was doing the bulk of its advertising overseas? Included with the alumni's request for consideration of Canadians was a long list of names that showed the expertise of graduates of the School of Horticulture and the willingness of other jurisdictions to hire them. The real argument of the alumni was that the board of the gardens did not advertise in Canadian journals to make the job available to one of the graduates from Niagara.

Hon. Mr. Baetz: We were given a list of the journals that had been used to advertise for this position. I do not have that list at hand but I would like to offer the list of advertisements that were made in Canadian journals. I will be glad to send it to the honourable member opposite; in fact I will be pleased to table the report right here.


Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour concerning the violence on the picket line at the ITT Cannon Electric factory in Whitby. It seems to point out once again, as at Consumers Distributing, that there is a great deal of difficulty with the police officers who are working the picket line itself and the use of strikebreakers.

Is the Ministry of Labour considering some change in legislation -- as was suggested in private members' bills previously and in the province of Quebec -- that would, first, outlaw strikebreakers as a function, and second, move to clarify the role of police officers who are working a picket line?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: If I may reply to the second part of that question first, matters relating to police activities on picket lines should be directed to the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry). Peaceful and informational picketing is legal in this country and if the honourable member sees problems relating to that he should direct those questions to the Attorney General.

With regard to the first part of the question, we have discussed that on many occasions inside and outside this House. This government's view is that if there are professional strikebreakers involved in any activity in this province we are prepared to look at the matter. However, if the member is talking about an employer's efforts, with the use of replacement employees, to keep a business going, so that when it eventually starts up at full pace again it is there and able to survive, while at the same time those who are on strike are using whatever means they can to survive by means of strike pay, part-time work or whatever, no, the government does not see that as an area where it intends to intervene.

Mr. Breaugh: Would the minister not agree, though, that the basic problem that brings about violence on a picket line is the use of strikebreakers? In this case, the strike at the Whitby plant, the allegations are very clear and they appear to be substantiated, because charges were laid that strikebreakers drove their cars through the picket lines at rather high rates of speed. Would the problem not be resolved clearly and neatly in the minister's jurisdiction by simply bringing into this House legislation that would forbid the use of strikebreakers?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I do not intend to get into the position of saying that because charges were laid the accusations are valid or invalid, nor do I think the member intends me to make that judgemental decision. I do not think he intends to, either.

The government's position has been made fairly clear: a strike or a lockout is a matter of a sincerely held difference in belief, each side trying to survive during that belief so that when the strike or lockout is over the business can go on as a viable enterprise.

There are some enterprises where it is possible not to carry on business for a long period of time. We all know of one up in the area of my friend the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel). That is not always the case. The member knows very well that in order to remain viable each party has to make its own effort to carry on during a strike or lockout. The government does not see any need to intervene at this time, nor does it see any validity in the suggestion that it should do so.

Ms. Copps: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: If I understood the minister correctly he said he would be prepared to entertain the possibility of some action with respect to professional strikebreakers. Would the minister be prepared to table in this House his definition of a professional strikebreaker, and would he bring in some legislation to stop professional strikebreaking?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I have said on numerous occasions in the past that I have yet to see any evidence now or during my period in office of professional strikebreakers.

There have been occasions, as the honourable member knows, I am sure, where certain activities have been carried on and criminal charges have been laid for conspiracy to defeat the purposes of the Labour Relations Act. So there is already a tool that can be used where certain events may be taking place to interfere with organization, for example.

But I have no evidence. If the member has evidence of professional, hired strikebreakers, people hired for that purpose on a professional basis, I would like to have it. If that is happening I would like to know about it so the government can consider it.


Mr. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Industry and Tourism. I am given to understand that Volkswagen, after making a detailed analysis, has decided to locate a major parts manufacturing operation in the city of Barrie, where there already is an existing business and a work force capable of carrying out the functions. However, I am also given to understand that the federal Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce has sent officials to Germany to intercede with Volkswagen in order to deny it the opportunity of coming to our community, which is acceptable to Volkswagen here and which provides an economic climate where it can survive.

What has the minister done, or what will he do, to intercede on behalf of the residents of Ontario to make sure the federal minister does not try to locate that plant in the Windsor area rather than the Barrie area, where the decision-makers have decided it should be?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, we have met several times with the officials from Volkswagen and we are convinced that the site preferred by Volkswagen is the Barrie site. It has been up to Barrie, as the member knows. It has inspected certain properties there, and I believe Volkswagen prefers the Barrie location for its new Canadian enterprise, which I think involves about 500 new jobs.

We are concerned at this time, because we understand the federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Commerce is encouraging Volkswagen to look at other locations that Volkswagen itself believes are less economic. This kind of pressure is now bringing the entire investment in Canada into some question by Volkswagen. Volkswagen very much needs an early resolution of this matter, including its request for a duty remission agreement.

3 p.m.

It is our concern that if the federal government does not conclude a deal under the duty remission program with Volkswagen in the next week or two, and if it does not agree to allow it to locate in the location selected by Volkswagen, the entire investment may be lost to Canada and Volkswagen will select the United States -- this after a lot of work between our ministry and Volkswagen and between the federal government and Volkswagen.

To this end I sent a communication to the federal minister a week ago, I believe, urging him to speed up a decision on the duty remission program and to allow Volkswagen to locate in its choice of sites, which, again I repeat, I believe is Barrie and perhaps Cambridge.

Mr. G. W. Taylor: Has the Minister of Industry and Tourism had any reply from that minister regarding his correspondence requesting an early decision on the duty remission?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, I have not. In fact I met with officials of Volkswagen last Tuesday, who came in to see me because they are very anxious about this decision and feel that if a decision is not forthcoming in the next week or so the entire investment will be endangered. I would say to the honourable member that he and any members of the House ought to join us in bringing pressure to bear on our federal counterparts to make a decision on duty remission and allow Volkswagen to make this much-needed investment in Ontario.

Mr. Newman: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I am sure the minister is aware that Volkswagen does have a facility in Sterling, Michigan, which is probably 25 miles away from the city of Windsor, and also that Windsor does have a surplus of very skilled manpower that is now collecting unemployment insurance, with some of them even collecting welfare.

Does the minister not think it would be proper to suggest to a company that it go to an area that has high unemployment and the skills that are necessary, rather than directing it to another area in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I think it is quite appropriate for governments to ask companies that are seeking to invest in this province to look at areas that are badly in need of new investment, and Windsor is one of those areas. The federal government and this government have recognized the need of Windsor for this kind of investment. I know for a fact Volkswagen did that. I know for a fact it very carefully analysed its Windsor opportunities as well as some others.

I think it is quite another matter for governments almost to require firms to make either an uneconomic investment in this province or no investment whatsoever, and one never knows exactly when that point is reached.

Clearly, Volkswagen is most concerned because it is coming into Canada after about a year and a half of study and is coming into what the member well knows to be a very competitive market. The competition is severe. It is very much price sensitive. Volkswagen ultimately must be allowed to make its own decision based upon the economic determinations it has made.

I simply urge -- whether this would militate in favour of Barrie or Cambridge or Windsor or another province -- (a) that Volkswagen be permitted to make an economically viable and sensible decision, and (b) that the federal government reach a decision on the duty remission program before Volkswagen decides, because of time pressures, it has to go to another jurisdiction entirely, and that is very much what is on the table right now.


Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations regarding the censorship board.

The minister last week said he would be abolishing the civil servant members' positions on the board. On closer examination it turns out that Mary Brown and her assistant, who are both civil servants, are not going to have their positions abolished, and that, further, another civil servant who was on the board at the time of the committee hearings regarding The Tin Drum and said nothing critical of the board has been put on contract and his contract is being renewed. The three people being dismissed are, by some bizarre coincidence, the very same three people who were critical of the policies of the board at the time hearings were held here at the Legislature.

Would the minister agree that his whole new policy is largely a camouflage for punishing the three people who had the temerity to speak the truth in front of the legislative committee concerning the actions of the censor board? Will he do, at the very least, what he does with most other people whose jobs are eliminated by so-called changes in government policy, and find other jobs for these people within the civil service rather than simply setting them loose as he is now proposing to do?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I might correct one or two matters. It is my understanding that Mrs. Brown, the chairman, and the vice-chairman of the board are both public servants and do not fall in the category of being civil servants per se.

Secondly, the person who is being continued, although at one time having been a civil servant, is no longer a civil servant, and is on a contract basis.

A third thing I would have to say is that there is no vendetta whatsoever. I have no vendetta interest in my mind. I think it is fair to say --

An hon. member: Retribution.

Mr. Smith: Same difference.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Well, certainly, the one who made the decision was myself, and I did not have any form of vendetta in mind.

The principle that I was trying to set up here was to not have a person sit in this particular job five days a week, seven hours a day, 50-odd weeks a year.

Mr. Smith: Except Mary Brown.

Hon. Mr. Walker: No, because she does not sit on the actual hearings as a regular person, as would a member of the theatres branch.

Ultimately, I want to see a board so large that people can be brought in, be it from Toronto or other parts of Ontario, for a couple of days a month to sit in terms of their function as censors and classifiers. Then at some point in time, after they have had their two days a month, or two days every couple of months, they could return to the community, and reaffirm their community principles and then come back a couple of months later and sit as a board.

There is certainly no relationship at all to an attempt to move anyone out. Indeed, the whole concept is well supported. The honourable member's very newspaper, the Hamilton Spectator, advocated at the time that it is the wrong place for civil servants to actually serve.

Indeed, there were some views expressed by the former member for St. George, who advocated a much broader board, much greater at this stage, as did members of the New Democratic Party at the time.

I think there is general support for a much broader board, and that is what we are trying to achieve.

Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, by way of supplementary: Given that the former Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Drea) had stated at the time that those very members who were there as civil servants did represent a broad cross-section of the community, and given that the minister found it possible to put one civil servant on contract, the one who did not object to the way things were going on, why does he not take steps to correct the obvious impression which any rational person would take, which is that he is punishing the three who spoke out, when Mary Brown and her assistant are still there in their dandy little jobs?

Why does he not at the very least offer these people the right of going on contract? Why does he not at the very least offer them jobs as part-time individuals on the board, as other members of the board will be? Why does he not find other positions for these people in the civil service the way he does for many of his friends whom he has to move from one situation to another?

Why does he not take steps to make sure he deals fairly with these people and not give the impression, which frankly I take from his actions, that he is attempting to muzzle them because they spoke the truth, just as the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson) attempted to do with people in his ministry?

Hon. Mr. Walker: There is not one scintilla of truth in the comments the honourable member is attempting to allege to me. I would have to say these three specific jobs have been declared redundant, and they will fall into the normal terms of those who serve in the Ontario public service and there will be a process -- indeed, I would not be averse to them --

Mr. Smith: Sure there will, and Santa Claus will come down the chimney too.

Hon. Mr. Walker: I think if the member would just hold it a moment and listen to the answer and then offer his comments he will feel much more --

Mr. Smith: I don't believe you.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, if that is the attitude the Leader of the Opposition indignantly wishes to take -- and, in fact, I think he is without any dignity of his own -- and if he chooses to make those kind of comments, I do not really choose to offer comments in return to him.

3:10 p.m.


Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of privilege. I firmly believe it is a legitimate point of privilege. I have always considered it was my privilege to represent the people of Ontario in this Legislature in an attempt to provide good government at the least possible expenditure of public money. I figure my privileges have been abused. If I am to continue this mission as a member of a government which is prepared to sanction the expenditure of public money for members who wish to buy a second home in this city, I am deeply disturbed.

Mr. Speaker: That is not a point of privilege, but thank you.


Mr. Riddell: It will happen over my dead body, I will tell you that. Anybody who thinks he is going to buy a second home at public expense had better think otherwise.

Mr. Di Santo: I am not involved in that argument, although I would plead the case for the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney).



Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, I have a petition for the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow), hoping that he also does me the courtesy of answering my letter. This petition is from residents complaining to the minister, and reads as follows: "We the undersigned are opposed to the new hours and Saturday opening of the driver examination centre at 262 Falstaff Avenue. We hereby request that the hours and days remain as prior to June 1, 1981."


Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day, I have a point of order. This is about the fifth time I have risen to ask the House leader about the questions on the Order Paper, specifically my question about public opinion polis, question 92. He said on repeated occasion he would answer it around the middle of June. That question has been on since May and it makes a complete hypocrisy of all his comments about a freedom of information bill. When am I going to get an answer and when are the other questions going to be answered?

Hon. Mr. Wells: I will be happy to look into that, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I too, as do many other members, have a written question on the Order Paper and it says here an answer will be given approximately by June 15. My question concerns the Solicitor General tabling the total costs of the OPP investigation into the activities of CUPE members and others, namely me, during the recent hospital strike. During the estimates, the minister assured me he would provide those costs. This written question has been on the Order Paper since May 8. The indication has been given clearly that an answer would be provided by June 15. When may we expect an answer?

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, we tabled the interim answer around June 15, when we all believed there was some hope of us adjourning around June 19. That hope vanished a while ago and it now appears the House will be sitting here for a while. Our endeavour is to get all the answers in before the House adjourns.

The answer to the member's question will be ready tomorrow and we will have it to table for him tomorrow. There seems to be some feeling that this House is going to adjourn at any moment for the summer recess. Unless there has been some change of heart on the list of legislation here, that does not seem possible. So we will have the answers ready for the member.



Hon. Mr. Wells moved, seconded by Mr. Norton, resolution 7:

That a select committee on this House be appointed to inquire into and review the recommendations of the report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Pensions in Ontario and make recommendations as appropriate; and that the committee have power to retain such staff as it deems necessary, subject to the budgetary approval of the Board of Internal Economy; and that the committee have the power to send for persons, papers and things and to examine witnesses under oath; and the assembly doth command and compel attendance before the said committee of such persons and the production of such papers and things as the committee may deem necessary for any of its proceedings and deliberations, for which the Honourable the Speaker may issue his warrant; and that the committee be composed of 12 members, to be named on motion before the House adjourns for the summer.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Wells moved, seconded by Mr. Norton, resolution 8:

That a select committee on the Ombudsman be appointed to review and consider from time to time the reports of the Ombudsman as they become available and as the committee deems necessary, pursuant to section 16(1) of the Ombudsman Act, 1975; to formulate from time to time general rules for the guidance of the Ombudsman in the exercise of his functions under the Ombudsman Act; to report thereon to the Legislature and to make such recommendations as the committee deems appropriate.

Further, the committee may, with the agreement of the Legislature, be permitted to sit concurrently with the Legislature from time to time; and that the select committee have authority to sit during recesses and the interval between sessions and have full power to employ such staff as it deems necessary and to hold meetings and hearings in such places as the committee may deem advisable, subject to budget approval from the Board of Internal Economy, and to call for persons, papers and things and to examine witnesses under oath, and the assembly doth command and compel the attendance before the said committee of such persons and the production of such papers and such things as the committee may deem necessary for any of its proceedings and deliberations for which the Honourable the Speaker may issue his warrant; the said select committee to consist of 12 members, to be named on motion before the House adjourns for the summer.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Wells moved, seconded by Mr. Norton, resolution 9:

That a select committee of the Legislature be appointed to continue the inquiry and review of the law affecting the corporations in this province as reported on by the select committee of this House appointed on June 22, 1965, and reappointed on July 8, 1966, on July 23, 1968, on December 17, 1971, on May 25, 1976, and July 12, 1977; and to, in particular, inquire into and review the law relating to the business of insurance companies in the province including, but not restricted to:

(a) the incorporation, licensing, regulation and supervision of insurers as joint stock companies, mutual corporations, fraternal societies, mutual benefit societies, exchanges, syndicates of underwriters and rating bureaus carrying on all classes of insurance business in this province, mergers, amalgamations and reinsurance of liabilities, reporting to shareholders, policyholders and members, their solvency, liquidity and financial requirements, the purposes, scope and functions of their returns, reports, statistical gathering, and the basis for their rates and premiums;

(b) automobile insurance contracts and, in particular, the provision of accident benefits, fire insurance, life insurance, accident and sickness and marine insurance contracts and generally insurance contracts in this province;

(c) the licensing, regulation and supervision of insurance agents, brokers and adjusters; and

(d) the marketing of insurance in this province; and that the select committee have authority to sit during recesses and the interval between sessions and have full power and authority to employ counsel and such other personnel as may be deemed advisable and to hold meetings and hearings in such places as the committee may deem advisable and to call for persons, papers and things and to examine witnesses under oath, and the assembly doth command and compel attendance before the said committee of such persons and the production of such papers and things as the committee may deem necessary for any of its proceedings and deliberations, for which the Honourable the Speaker may issue his warrant; the said select committee to consist of 12 members, to be named on motion before the House adjourns for the summer.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Sweeney: That thing has been going on for 16 years.


Hon. Mr. Wells: I think there is an element of truth in that statement. Then one of the member's colleagues says, "It is going very well."

Mr. Speaker, I would just like to inform the House that I will have motions tomorrow setting up the membership on those committees and also authorizing certain standing committees to sit during the recess.



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

Mr. Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say "aye."

Those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the ayes have it.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Norton moved third reading of Bill 89, An Act to provide for the Consolidation of Hearings under certain Acts of the Legislature.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I would like to make a few comments on third reading of this bill. This party --

Hon. Mr. Norton: We have heard it all before.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, on second reading this party voted, with some reservations, in favour of Bill 89. Since then we have had the opportunity in committee and in this House to move certain amendments and hear certain representations relating to this bill.

We are convinced -- a matter about which we were somewhat unaware at second reading -- that there had been no consultation with many of the parties concerned, such as the Canadian Environmental Law Association, the Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment and other organizations, which are constantly dealing with these matters. They were permitted only token input at the committee rather than a full hearing. All of us know they were very restricted both in time to prepare and in the time for making submissions.

The minister would not accept an amendment from us that there should be directions to the board that its decision must satisfy each of the acts as if they were being dealt with separately. He would not agree to the removal of the Niagara Escarpment Planning and Development Act from the schedule -- a very separate and distinct piece of legislation. He refused to go along with the principle of providing funding for citizens' organizations, and he would not even guarantee through amendments we submitted that there would be public hearings under the Consolidated Hearings Act to the same degree as if separate hearings were to be held.

In view of all these facts, and our inability to make changes that are clearly desirable, we are going to vote against this bill on third reading.

3:20 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I will be very brief, Mr. Speaker. Throughout the debate the honourable member has continued to misunderstand some of the principles that are embodied in the bill, particularly as it applies to the matter of standards under the various acts that have to be met under the consolidated hearings process. It has been explained to him time and time again that the standard of each individual act does apply in this. He is either incapable of believing or refuses to believe that is the case. I suggest he seek some legal advice on the matter and he will probably find we are correct.

With respect to the restriction on the time available for public hearings on this matter, he and his caucus, and certainly the members opposite, have to bear some of the responsibility. I am sure we would have had more time for that procedure had the time during the course of this session of the Legislature been more effectively used by members of the opposition in order to expedite the business of this House.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Kerrio: Can't we speak to the bill?

Mr. Speaker: No.

Mr. Kerrio: Why not?

Mr. Speaker: Because the minister has closed the debate.

Mr. Kerrio: He made some comments that were grossly unfair.

Mr. Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say "aye."

Those opposed will please say "nay."

In my opinion the ayes have it.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Norton moved third reading of Bill 90, An Act to establish the Ontario Waste Management Corporation.

Mr. Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say "aye."

All those opposed will please say "nay." In my opinion the ayes have it.

Motion agreed to.


Hon. Mr. Elgie moved third reading of Bill 95, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 1974.

Mr. Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say "aye."

All those opposed will please say "nay." In my opinion the ayes have it.

Motion agreed to.


Hon Mr. Elgie moved third reading of Bill 129, An Act to amend the Workmen's Compensation Act.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. G. W. Taylor, on behalf of Hon. Mr. McMurtry, moved second reading of Bill 105, An Act to amend the Judicature Act.

Mr. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, this bill has two purposes: one is to add a judge to the Court of Appeal to increase the number of judges to 14, which is primarily done to assist the heavy work load that is primarily now in the Court of Appeal and thus reduce the number of cases that are backlogged; two is to allow future increases in the High Court of Justice in Ontario, generally known as the Supreme Court of Ontario, to allow those appointments to increase the size of that bench by regulation in future rather than bringing to this Legislature a piece of legislation each time a new judge is added to that bench. Both of these will speed up any increase in the size of the benches, allowing the backlogs from the added work load that has been increasing over the years to be reduced and cleared up.

Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, with respect to the two points the parliamentary assistant has made, I agree with the first one in that the addition of a judge to the Court of Appeal is clearly needed because of the work load of that court.

The second point, though -- the removal of the formal approval by this Legislature each time we increase the number of judges in the High Court -- I personally find rather unfortunate.

From the information provided in the compendium to the bill, we note the total number for the High Court, including the Chief Justice and the Associate Chief Justice of that trial division, has increased from 23 members in 1962 to 42 members in 1977. Now we are going to be asked to have this matter dealt with simply by regulation.

Over those years, there have been six other occasions upon which we have increased the court, usually by two, sometimes by three or four members on each occasion. I think it is a good idea, when we are increasing the number of our Supreme Court judges, that this Legislature make that decision openly and by the usual rules of the House, subject to debate.

In the compendium page that appeared, it made this comment: "Permitting the number of judges of the High Court to be fixed by regulation would eliminate the need for frequent legislative amendments."

Seven or eight changes over 20 years is hardly frequent legislative amendments. I think it is wrong that we do this by regulation and I have a feeling the lawyers in the House would probably agree with me. We should have this legislation brought before us for the few moments it takes every few years so that we are clearly in control as a Legislature over the appointment of judges to the High Court.

I do not quarrel with the first point, the addition of the judge to the Court of Appeal and, frankly, I do not in any way quarrel with the addition of other trial judges if the work load is there. Obviously, that is something this Legislature must clearly attend to as part of its obligation. While the salaries of the judges may be paid by our federal Parliament, the provision of judges and all the necessary reporters and attendants in courtrooms and whatever, is part of the administration of justice that is clearly the obligation of the province.

I find the second matter of having these future appointments made by regulation a most unfortunate one. It is an abrogation of the responsibilities of the Legislature and I very much regret that section of the bill is before us in that way.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick), who is unable to be here this afternoon, and myself have both had the opportunity to look at this. He is obviously more familiar with the operation of the court system and the justice system than I am, but he informs me he supports both sections of this bill and I do myself.

It is obvious there is support for the first section. He says the second section makes sense as well. That is a matter of administration that should rest with the government of this province, whatever its stripe may be, to determine. We in this House would perhaps like to have more authority over who those judges should be so that they are not, as so often is the case, political appointments. As to the numbers, my colleague and I both feel it is not unreasonable to have that authority resting with the government. Therefore, we are prepared to support this bill in total.

3:30 p.m.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I had not had the opportunity prior to this afternoon to look at Bill 105 and I just want to take a brief moment to associate myself with the remarks of my colleague the member for Kitchener. I find it yet another indication of a very bad and wrong direction for this assembly to be taking.

In the matter of the appointment of these judges we would be abdicating our responsibility, infrequently as that appears to have been exercised in recent years on the basis of the survey of the member for Kitchener. I think it is an extremely bad idea to allow this to occur now by regulation, allowing just that much more of our traditional responsibilities in this assembly to be vested in the executive branch of government.

I think this bill is at one with Bill 113 which is being debated these days in this chamber, in that we are seeing a significant accretion of authority formerly held by the Legislature in the executive branch of government. I listened intently to the parliamentary secretary and I did not hear what I felt was at all a compelling case for why this should be done by regulation.

I do not know if the member for Kitchener is accurate in saying we have had six legislative actions in the last 20 years. I doubt very much if they were extended debates. I do not know why or how they could be. It seems to me experience would in no way necessitate this change to provide for further appointments by regulation.

As a private member in this assembly I think it is another indication of a wrong step. I have not heard the arguments as to why we should do it, other than it might facilitate someone else's timetable. I think it is a continuing and bad direction for this Legislature to be taking.

Mr. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I have heard the words of the members opposite. To the comments of the member for Welland-Thorold (Mr. Swart) --

Mr. Breaugh: That note you just got is your marching papers, eh, George? They let you stand up once in a while but they don't turn you loose. What are you supposed to say?

Mr. G. W. Taylor: -- I am pleased he put those forward on behalf of the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick), whom I have spoken to and who does accede to these recommendations. I know there are two different philosophies as to whether this should be done by way of regulation or whether it should be done by way of legislation in here.

I might have made one incorrect statement earlier. The Court of Appeal will be going to 16 judges, not 15, There were increases in 1962, 1965, 1967, twice in 1970, twice in 1976, and 1977. We have had regular increases in the numbers; but I remind the members the Attorney General only creates the office, the appointments are made by the federal government.

The Attorney General, being responsible for the administration of justice in Ontario, has to make sure the requirements of that heavy case load can be met quickly -- sometimes more quickly than the buildup of the cases takes place. Although it says "frequent legislative amendments," that is a qualitative one as to the definition of frequent legislative amendments as stated in the compendium the member for Kitchener read from.

I think that, because of the increase in the case load of this court -- indeed, a second bill that will be coming up later on today will try to increase the size of another court so as to possibly decrease the work load in this court -- there are more and more litigious matters coming before the courts and, rather than trying to bring in legislation on our crowded legislative calendar, this is an easy way to relieve those loads.

Members have the very frequent opportunity in the estimates of the Ministry of the Attorney General to discuss the number of judges, their work load, the court cases and calendars. So there is another opportunity to discuss this very same subject as to the work load. Overall, the appointment by way of regulation, the opening up of those positions is a very expeditious way of carrying out that function.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for third reading.

Mr. G. W. Taylor, on behalf of Hon. Mr. McMurtry, moved second reading of Bill 106, an Act to amend the County Courts Act.

Mr. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, this amendment to the County Courts Act is increasing the jurisdiction of the county court. The monetary jurisdiction of the court is being increased to $7,500, and in partnership actions a limit of $50,000 is being placed on the capital of the partnership in that type of action. In actions based on the legacy under a will, a limit of $7,500 is placed on the value of a legacy and a limit of $50,000 is placed on the total value of the estate.

These increases in the monetary jurisdiction of the county court are to take care of increases in inflation, to recognize the economic significance of actions and to allow them to be in a lower court rather than a higher court where sometimes the lawyers, as we know, charge more than the average fees they charge in the lower courts. It will assist many citizens in obtaining legal services at a lower cost, and in a court closer to their jurisdiction and a court that sits more frequently during the year, rather than waiting for the Supreme Court assizes.

Increasing the monetary jurisdiction of the county and district courts will permit more cases to be disposed of by county courts and will allow for faster service of the litigants.

Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, we are certainly in favour of the amendments that have been brought forward to the County Courts Act. It is necessary as an unfortunate result of inflation, I suppose, and other matters to increase these jurisdictions because of the areas that are under litigation within the county court system and because of the value of partnership shares and those of estates. As a result, we have seen the jurisdictions now effectively double since 1970.

This is something that must be done, as the parliamentary assistant has said, not only to have quicker justice but with the hope that we might have some cheaper justice as well, since the county court tariffs for dealing with matters are somewhat less than those for Supreme Court actions.

We are in favour of these amendments, and we will vote for the bill.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I rise to say that once again the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) and I find ourselves in total agreement on this bill, as is proposed before the House. As has been stated, it is really not a change in policy; it is a recognition of the effects of inflation.

3:40 p.m.

When we have a government that is doing so little about resolving inflation, the only alternative is to recognize it in something like this and permit the policy that has been in operation before to continue. We support this bill.

Mr. G. W. Taylor: Mr. Speaker, I think the other members and I have summed up the bill adequately.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for third reading.


Mr. Rotenberg, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Wells, moved second reading of Bill 121, An Act to provide Alternative Methods of Fixing Penalty Charges, Interest Rates and Discount Rates on Payments to Municipalities.

Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Speaker, the proposed legislation offers municipalities and local boards an alternative means of determining interest charges on overdue tax levies and of determining discounts on payments received in advance.

Currently, municipalities may charge up to 1.25 per cent per month, or 15 per cent per annum, on outstanding taxes. The rate is far below the present Bank of Canada rate of 19 per cent plus and even further below current market rates. The wider the gap between the penalty charge and market rates, the more attractive it becomes for a delinquent taxpayer to absorb the 15 per cent penalty and use would-be tax dollars for other obligations.

This matter is of urgent concern to municipalities that must pay high rates for short-term loans to cover temporary revenue shortfalls caused by arrears. As a result, a growing number of municipalities are petitioning this government to bring the penalty rate more in line with prevailing market rates.

The new formula proposed in this bill will bring all penalty charges for municipally related levies under one all-encompassing provision. The formula directly links the maximum rate chargeable to the prime rate of a designated chartered bank plus 1.5 per cent. It will be available to all local government authorities, including school boards, area municipalities and upper tiers, as a method for calculating interest on overdue payment of taxes or debt installments or for setting discounts on advance payments.

The proposed legislation offers an alternative to current fixed-rate legislation. It is consistent in its application to the local government section of Ontario and satisfies the major concerns of local government as expressed to the province.

Mr. Conway: All the phone calls.

Mr. Rotenberg: This bill has been reviewed in detail by a committee of the Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario, which approved the bill in its form and content in all details. I ask for approval of this bill on second reading.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, we intend to support the bill and have been in support of its concept since its introduction on June 17.

I think the interjection from at least one of my colleagues was well-founded in that we have received a number of calls from mayors and reeves. I have not received any personally, since they would know better in my area, but we have received a number indicating they have been informed by ministry officials that the Liberal Party has been holding up this piece of legislation.

Frankly, I do not think it is such a marvellous piece of legislation anyway but, since a number of people do think it is so marvellous, I believe it has been unfair and improper for anyone in the ministry, whether the minister, his assistants or his other employees, to indicate to anyone in the province that members of the Liberal Party or anybody else were holding up the legislation.

Mr. Speaker, you may recall I brought this matter to your attention on a point of order. By the rules of our House, misrepresenting the position of members in public is equivalent to slander. It is a very serious matter indeed and one that undoubtedly infringed on the privileges of the members here. The usual response of you and your colleague Mr. Speaker Turner to points of privilege, that they are not points of privilege, I thought was incorrect at that time.

We are debating this bill, however, and the minister's assistant has indicated that it would be bringing all these charges under one easily understood rule associated with the prime rate; yet in the explanatory notes it indicates the municipalities have a choice of either using the existing legislation or else going with the new procedure based on the prime rate in accordance with this bill.

It is possible I may misunderstand it. I personally do not think it is that important. I suppose there are people who are not paying their taxes because the rate for overdue taxes is somewhat less than the prime rate. It is hard to imagine there are all these close shavers in the business community doing this to the detriment of the municipalities, but we are in the business of passing laws to cover all these ridiculous eventualities and Bill 121 falls in that area.

We have not obstructed the bill in any way. My colleagues are supporting it, some more enthusiastically than I am. I feel that, by leaving all those alternatives there, we are getting something more to confuse both the taxpayers and those people who have the power to extract tax payments. However, I do resent any indication from anybody in the government or anywhere else that members of this House have either been interfering with the passage of the bill or have opposed it, because the contrary is true.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, I rise to say our party is supportive of this legislation as well. I have some reservations about the method by which it is done, and I certainly have some reservations about the length of time it has taken to get this bill before us.

I can recall municipalities for many years asking for this kind of bill, for changes in legislation in regard to the interest they may charge and the discount they may give, although the interest they charge is their main concern because they work to a very large extent on borrowed money.

I can recall their asking for this kind of legislation for many years, and it seems rather strange that it has taken this length of time to bring it before us. They have tried to blame the Liberals for holding it up. Although I suppose they are guilty in this respect on many things, to the best of my knowledge on this one they are not guilty. It is bad taste on the part of the government to endeavour to attribute that to them.

Perhaps when the parliamentary assistant gets up to answer this, he may want to comment on why they have not brought in amendments to these various other acts so we will not have two systems in force. It makes a lot of sense to have 1.5 per cent above the prime rate. It means they are going to be charging about the going rate of interest to any good creditor. I think that is perfectly reasonable.

But the municipalities still may be able to use these other acts. I point out to the parliamentary assistant that if the interest rate goes down substantially -- certainly all of us in this House hope that will be the case; some of us in this corner of the House, if we were the government, would ensure that was the case -- and before too long there may be an interest rate below 15 per cent, then when they have passed that under their other permissive legislation, that 15 per cent could remain even though the interest rate would have gone down to 12 per cent or even to 10 per cent.

For practical purposes, apart from the fact of making it much tidier, I wonder why the parliamentary assistant, or more appropriately the minister, has not brought in legislation to delete those other sections and make this the only section that is used. There is no doubt, although we have very able clerks and treasurers throughout this province, that some of them in the smaller municipalities perhaps will get a bit confused, having two acts to look at and not really knowing which one may apply in this case.

3:50 p.m.

The legislation, I suggest, is reasonable in the sense that they have to take a look at it each year and review it in light of the interest rates, which they do not have to do under the Municipal Act or under the other acts that permit the level of interest to be set.

We support this bill, but we think there are additions that should have been brought in at the same time to make the whole thing a bit simpler and a bit more realistic in the application of interest rates by municipalities.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I want to address Bill 121, An Act to provide Alternative Methods of Fixing Penalty Charges, Interest Rates and Discount Rates on Payments to Municipalities.

My colleague the member for Welland-Thorold will recall the days before regional government in the Niagara Peninsula when many municipalities had what they called a discount rate. If a home owner paid his taxes on January 1, he received a discount rate. But today, to my knowledge, that does not take place in any municipality within the region.

At one time, the municipalities in the area of Fort Erie used to give a discount rate. If a person paid his taxes before January 30, he received about a two per cent discount. They used to get a discount in the county of Welland. It worked very well. I remember one municipality, the municipality of Chippawa, received substantial rebates because the residents paid their taxes in January. One or two industries there used to pay and they received a good break on their taxes.

That used to be an encouragement to municipalities to collect their taxes early. Then we went into regional government. One of the strong reservations I have about this bill is that many of the taxpayers do not get their bills until some time in September; so it is nine months before they know the mill rate that is going to be struck by the region or by a municipality.

At one time there was a rule that the mill rate had to be struck by March 30 or April 15. Every municipality used to meet that deadline. Now, of course, schools cannot come forward with their educational costs, because they do not know the amount of the provincial grant.

I suggest that we may be getting delinquent taxpayers. There are many people with 19.5 per cent interest rates who are finding it difficult to pay not only their taxes but also other personal debts such as buying a home. It seems that everybody wants to jump on the bandwagon instead of showing some courtesy or giving some thought and consideration to the fact that these are difficult times even without another rate increase in the interest rates on municipal taxes for those delinquent taxpayers.

There are some who do take advantage, but there are not many in the system who take advantage because they can work that one or three or two per cent interest for their personal gain. I suggest we should consider that these are normally the persons who do it every year.

There are some bylaws a municipality can use to step on the toes of the ones who want to abuse the system, but I think this is going to cause a great hardship to a number of persons who are finding it difficult, particularly if they are in a depressed area and unemployment is high. It is going to keep those people going to meet their municipal taxes, the way they have been increasing over the years, without jumping on the bandwagon and saying 19.5 per cent this year.

There is no guarantee the interest rate is going to be reduced. We know the interest rates have been manufactured on the American side. Because they are far too high, we should not follow the principle of jumping on the bandwagon and saying our interest rates should be at par with those in the United States. I suggest we do not have to do this. I think we have to have affordable interest rates.

I have some rather strong reservations here. I think the municipality has the right to go ahead and put the property up for sale for tax arrears. I am sure it can get a return on its money that way.

Nineteen and a half per cent has gone beyond all reason as an approach to resolving a problem. An interest rate like that is going to put many property owners in a deplorable state. They will not be able to pay that, and within two or three years they are going to lose their homes this way, as it is with the high interest rates on purchasing a new home. I do not think we have to move with such a drastic step towards 19.5 per cent. If they had wanted to, they could have moved it to 16 per cent from 15 per cent.

As it is now, much of the fault lies with the present tax structure in many municipalities. They do not qualify under the formula to get the grants to municipalities. They do not get the educational grants at the time they are striking their mill rates and sending out their tax bills. Municipalities have to wait nine months to send out the final notice; in some of them now it is not sent out until December. Almost every second month we get a notice from the local tax collector in the area that another instalment is due.

We have lost our ability to look at the concerns of the majority of local taxpayers. If the rate is 1.5 per cent a month, it can be damaging to those persons who have to meet that obligation. At one time the taxpayer did not pay any interest until the final instalment was due December 31. Now they are collecting every month and it is really stretching it.

Perhaps the minister will consider my comments that we do not have to jump on the bandwagon every time the interest rates jump up.

Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Speaker, I will try to respond to some of the points made.

Referring to whatever telephone calls were made, I think the Minister of Housing (Mr. Bennett) answered that the other day when it was brought up in the House.

Right now, there is a difference of at least five or six or seven points between what businesses will pay to their bank and the 15 per cent municipalities can charge for taxes. There is a large gap. Municipalities have been really crying to us to do something because a lot of people were not paying their taxes. They said they were being used as bankers at a much lower rate. It is for the benefit of the municipalities that we are bringing this forward.

In response to the member for Erie, there is really no way a municipality can charge a different rate of interest to different taxpayers based on their record. It has to be the same rate for everyone.

To those who have some reservations about this, this is permissive legislation. We are saying to municipalities: "You are elected governors of your municipality. You can charge whatever rate you wish. You can stay at 15. You can stay below 15." These are simply the maximums the municipalities can charge, and within that range the municipalities have their own discretion. They have local autonomy, and it is up to them to do as they choose. A lot of members have asked for local autonomy for municipalities.

The member for Welland-Thorold raised a valid point: why did we not change all the acts. It is because we would have had to change the Municipal Act, all the regional acts, the County of Oxford Act and certain education acts. It would have meant having a number of bills before the Legislature rather than just one. In the time frame we have this session, with all the time we have taken on certain other bills, there did not seem to be enough time for that.

More important, the municipal affairs section of the ministry is looking at a trend where a particular topic such as discount rates or interest rates should all be in one location rather than scattered throughout many bills. However, there is nothing firm on this yet. I hope over the course of time and a review of all the bills we will be able to have the same topic once instead of in a number of bills.

We will not get down to 15 per cent for quite a period of time. As we consider these bills in a more comprehensive review, we could consider repealing those sections in the other acts. For the present, to fulfil the urgent request of municipalities this seemed the easiest and simplest way to get it done during this session of the Legislature before the summer recess.

4 p.m.

Just one more point: The member for Erie was asking about discounts. Discounts are still permissive to councils. In the light of the present climate, they may not choose to do it; but again that is their choice, it has nothing to do with government legislation.

Having said all that, I do thank the opposition. I understand they have certain reservations, but I thank them for their indicated support of the bill.

Motion agreed to.

Ordered for third reading.


Hon. Miss Stephenson moved second reading of Bill 124, An Act respecting the Leeds and Grenville County Board of Education and Teachers Dispute.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I will very briefly remind the members of the Legislature that the bill was introduced on June 18 at the request of the Education Relations Commission in its role as a responsible group developed to supervise the labour-management relationships and negotiations between teachers and boards.

Since in my almost three years as Minister of Education I have not had the opportunity, thank God, of introducing legislation to end a dispute between teachers and boards of education, I did peruse the debates of the Legislature relating to those unfortunate seven circumstances that arose shortly after Bill 100 was promulgated.

I found, to my interest, that at one point, I think it was in March or April of 1976, in the penultimate piece of legislation that was introduced, the then Minister of Education made a statement that I think characterizes the government's response to initiatives or pressures in the area of teacher-board negotiations that become prolonged disputes, and that is that we would deal with each one on the basis of its own merit, its own characteristics and its own uniqueness.

That is precisely what has happened. No such dispute has been terminated by legislation since 1976. All the disputes have been settled through negotiation, and it is certainly the hope and intent of both the Education Relations Commission and the minister that this one will be settled by negotiation as well before such action has to be taken as proclamation of the bill.

A very important portion of the introduction of this bill was the declaration that it would not be proclaimed until the Education Relations Commission had held what it perceived to be an appropriate examination of the potential jeopardy to the educational program for the young people, and had so notified the Minister of Education by advisement. At that time, and at that time only, would the bill be proclaimed.

It appears again to be a unique situation. It is a unique bill; it is not like another. It does include a method of settlement that has been used at least once before but is somewhat unusual in this kind of bargaining and this kind of settlement.

I hope the honourable members opposite, mindful of their concern for the educational program for the young people involved and mindful of their concern for the future educational stability and security of those young people, will move to support this bill.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, I certainly accept the premise that the situation in Leeds and Grenville is unique -- unique, certainly, since Bill 100 was introduced. It is indeed the first time that we could be faced -- and I use the word "could" -- with the possibility of a breakdown in teacher-board negotiations extending over two school years.

For that reason, we have to take a look at the possibility of unique measures. I accept that. I also accept the premise put forward by the minister that the bill continues to provide the opportunity -- I would have to underline that word -- for the two sides to continue to negotiate during the two summer months of July and August.

I would also go on record once again that my position as education critic for our party and the position of our party is that we do not believe that the strike route or lockout route is the best way for teachers and trustees to resolve their differences. We do not believe that it is in the best interests of children. We do, however, have a piece of legislation in this province that permits it. Whether we like it or not, it is there.

As the minister pointed out, we also have had a period of three years, I believe it is now, where no back-to-work legislation has been introduced into this Legislature.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Four years.

Mr. Sweeney: Four years, the minister reminds me. That would seem to indicate that the government has taken the position that if we have right-to-strike legislation, then we are going to let it go on. We have seen recently just in the past year the very long strike in Bruce county and the longest strike in the history of the province in the city of Sudbury. It would appear that the government had taken a particular stance.

However, with all that out of the way, let me point out that in my judgement this is not a very good bill. It has a number of things in it that concern me greatly. First, I believe the initiation for the bill, as the minister pointed out to us when she introduced it for first reading and as she repeated today, which was a letter to the minister from the Education Relations Commission, is one that should give us cause to be concerned. Bill 100 clearly defines, at least in my judgement, the role of the Education Relations Commission with respect to giving advice to the minister which is -- I am reading section 61(1)(h) -- "to advise the Lieutenant Governor in Council when in the opinion of the commission the continuance of a strike, lockout or closing of a school or schools will place in jeopardy the successful completion of courses of study for students."

My interpretation of that is that when the commission has made a decision that the educational progress of students is in jeopardy, then it is the commission's responsibility to come to the minister through the Lieutenant Governor in Council and say, "We believe jeopardy now exists." The government has the option -- the minister is the spokesman for the government in this case -- to agree with the commission and to take some action or to disagree with the commission and probably not take any action or simply choose to wait a little while longer. All these options are there.

But there is nothing in the legislation -- if it is there, I cannot find it, and I would ask the minister to draw it to my attention if it is -- that provides the commission with the option in the contents of this letter. The letter, which was written on June 11 when the students had been out of school for 25 school days, clearly says that in the judgement of the commission there is no jeopardy. It also goes on to imply, although it does not specifically say it, at the top of page two, that by the end of the school year, which would then mean 36 days that the students would have been out of school, there still would not be jeopardy at that time.

The commission justifies that position by saying, "Students affected by the strike will receive their final marks." It goes on to say, "Universities and community colleges in Ontario will, apparently, accept such students under those conditions." The commission is saying that, despite the fact the students will have been out of school for the equivalent of seven weeks of school, in its judgement there is not jeopardy and by the end of the seven weeks or 36 days there will not be jeopardy.

4:10 p.m.

In a few minutes I want to come back and speak briefly about the concept of jeopardy because I think at this point we have made an absolute farce of it. It has no credibility or meaning any more. Nevertheless, let us stick to the legalities.

The commission says, "While in our opinion there is an absence of compelling evidence that jeopardy exists," which in my judgement is a very unusual statement that there is no jeopardy now and there is not going to be any in roughly two more weeks after this letter was written, "therefore, in light of the above, the commission recommends that you consider the enactment of legislation before the adjournment of the Legislature to terminate the secondary school strike in Leeds and Grenville" -- and this is truly the critical part -- "and that the proclamation of legislation by the Lieutenant Governor in Council be deferred."

First of all, I think the commission is acting improperly in advising the minister to take any legislative action when it clearly says there is no jeopardy. Quite frankly, I happen to disagree with its analysis, but that is not the point I am trying to make at this time. It says there is no jeopardy. The act says that unless there is jeopardy --

Hon. Miss Stephenson: No, it doesn't.

Mr. Sweeney: Let the minister comment on my remarks in a few minutes. My reading of the act is that then it does not have the responsibility to report to the minister. But for it to go one step further and say, "Introduce legislation but we are advising you to have the proclamation of that legislation deferred," is in my mind a serious abuse of this Legislature.

I also suggest it is a serious abuse on the part of the commission. Put in the bluntest possible terms, I do not believe it has any business whatsoever to so advise, at least not in a way that the minister would use its written message as the reason for bringing in this legislation.

I make two points. First, I do not believe we are acting properly under Bill 100 as I understand it -- and that is open to disagreement, of course. Second, I believe the commission is acting improperly with respect to the advice it is giving the minister. In taking that advice in that form, I think the minister is supporting and contributing to an abuse of this Legislature.

The minister knows I do not necessarily agree with the legislation but it is there. If we are going to be consistent with what it says and with what the minister herself just a few minutes ago indicated was her preferred line of action, then surely the proper way is to deal with this as we have done twice before in this Legislature, once with respect to a teacher-school board dispute and once with respect to the Toronto Transit Commission dispute. In the judgement of the government of the day this Legislature was recalled, a bill was introduced and in both cases the bill was passed. That is the proper way to deal with this issue.

After having missed school for 36 days, how can we say there is no jeopardy but we need a bill of this nature at this time because some time in September at the first of the next school year there may be jeopardy? Nobody knows whether or not there is going to be jeopardy. Surely the commission does not say in the letter that there will be jeopardy but that there might be, and, therefore, the minister had better have this handy little tool on hand in case she has to use it.

This is where I have to repeat myself and say I think this is a clear-cut abuse of the Legislature. It is not the way this place is supposed to operate. We are not supposed to hand anybody a little club to hold over people's heads; that is not our job. Quite frankly, I would say to the minister, I don't believe it is her job either.

Coming back to the whole question of jeopardy, the other point I would make is that if there is one time in the entire school year where the least jeopardy could possibly exist, it is at the beginning of the school year. If there have to be strikes in this province and if we are not going to be able to do anything about that in the near future, surely the one possible time it would be best to have them would be at the beginning of the school year.

There is no doubt about it that for many people a strike at any time is an inconvenience. There is no doubt about it that a strike in September will be an inconvenience. But I will say, given my limited experience in the educational field, that the one time when one genuinely could not say that one had jeopardy would be in the month of September because one would have nine months of the year left in order to assist the students to make up for what they missed.

When one looks at a number of the strikes that have gone on in the province, most notably the one we had in Sudbury recently when the students missed the equivalent of 11 weeks of school -- 57 days I think it was -- and there was no possibility under the sun of them catching up with what they missed.

I don't know whether the minister got the letter, as I did, or an equivalent letter, from a couple of the students in Sudbury when there was no attempt made whatsoever to try to help them towards the end of the year. A young man wrote to me and said he had just received his graduation certificate from his school. He said, "Mr. Sweeney, in my judgement, this certificate is not worth the paper it is printed on. It is a farce that I could have missed so much."

This boy was in a semester program and had missed something like about 70 per cent of his semester time in terms of classroom time, but he was given a graduation certificate with no make-up work whatsoever. I do not blame that young man. He is a young man of 17 years of age who said that as far as he was concerned, that graduation certificate was not worth the paper it was printed on, yet we say there was no jeopardy.

The minister will probably remember when we had the Bruce strike in this province and I brought to her attention the number of students who appeared before the school board and said, "We are being used as pawns." Again, it was a 17-year-old boy who made that comment which received a fair bit of publicity across the province. For this and many other reasons, I have to say that in my judgement the whole question of jeopardy in this province has become a farce. It has no meaning any more. Even the students are now beginning to realize that the quality of their education comes second. We say we are genuinely concerned about the quality of their education and what it means when they get an education in this province, but that has become a farce.

I am concerned about a couple of sections of this bill because I don't understand why the minister has put them in. I would appreciate the minister explaining them to me. I would go on record right now as saying that if I cannot get a satisfactory explanation, I have already prepared amendments which will speak to these areas.

The first one is section 3 of the bill which speaks to referring all the matters to a selector. As members probably realize, referring matters in a dispute to a final offer selector is a quite legitimate way of dealing with a dispute. As a matter of fact, members of this party on a number of occasions have said that under certain conditions it is quite a legitimate procedure to use.

4:20 p.m.

I have to question it in this bill for two reasons. First, if we genuinely say we want to give them July and August to work this out themselves, I cannot understand why we do not give them the opportunity to choose whether they want an arbitrator or whether they want a final offer selector. Quite frankly, I think that should be left up to them. Second, I had an opportunity to meet with a number of the teachers from the Leeds area and they pointed out to me -- I have a copy of their statement here -- there are still 26 items in dispute. Then they go on to say that there are several other clauses -- I do not know how many -- that have been tentatively agreed to, but have not yet been finalized or signed for. In addition to the 26 items on which there is no agreement at all, there are quite a number of others on which there has been at least verbal agreement.

I would only make the point -- and I am sure the minister is well aware of it -- that final offer selection works best when there are relatively few items left, maybe three, four or five. It probably will not be effective when there are 26 items left. Once again, I would appreciate the minister speaking to that and indicating why, specifically, she is requiring there be a selector rather than giving them a choice between an arbitrator and a selector.

The second point I would draw to the minister's attention is the requirement that this settlement be for three years. Section 4 of the bill refers to the settlement ending in August 1983. On one side, I can understand that partly. These two parties have now been negotiating since January 1980. That is 18 months. I am quite sure both they and their community have probably had it. There might be a possible defence in saying, "Let that community rest for a while. Let's not throw them right back into that same process again in January 1982." That is what would be required of them if this were a two-year settlement rather than a three-year one. I can understand that.

I would also draw to the minister's attention that no matter how carefully she resolves these things, there is always a sense of bitterness and a sense of having been taken advantage of, particularly if we end up staying with the selector. I am wondering -- as a matter of fact, I feel very strongly about it -- whether it is clearly wise under these circumstances not to give the two sides an opportunity to reopen their negotiations in January 1982. I would suggest to the minister there is a fairly healthy balance on both sides of that equation. I think we have to take a very serious look at that. I am prepared to introduce an amendment, if for no other reason than to get some good discussion on it, because I think that may not be a wise decision.

I indicated just a minute ago the long period of time these negotiations have been going on. The minister was kind enough to provide me with some supplementary material. I notice, as I just mentioned, that negotiations began in January 1980, 18 months ago. The minister is well aware of the fact. We have talked about it in her estimates committees on a number of occasions. I believe that one of the serious faults in Bill 100 is the lack of any enforced time limits.

I can remember very clearly when this bill was introduced in 1974 -- I was not in the House, but I was associated with the school board and, therefore, followed it very closely -- it was the general perception of almost everybody that the various time lines outlined in Bill 100 were reasonable ones. If followed, there should be very few times when negotiations would break down. All the various stages -- the teachers would make their presentation, the board would make its counter-presentation, they would negotiate for a while, bring in a fact-finder and then, if necessary, bring in a mediator or arbitrator -- were very reasonable.

It was certainly assumed that the period from January to August would be sufficient if those time lines were followed. Yet the minister knows that every single time we have had a serious breakdown in this province in negotiations that have ended in a strike we have been talking of negotiation periods that have gone on for 16 months, 18 months and in one case as long as 20 months.

That is a serious problem in this bill, and it is also one of the issues that was brought up in the Matthews commission. Something is going to have to be done to firm up and enforce those time lines. Here we certainly have one more example of the fact that a strike or a lockout becomes almost inevitable. One can literally bank on its happening, when negotiations last that long. The amount of bitterness, frustration and anger that is generated between the two sides leaves little other possibility.

I would be interested in having the minister provide us at some time with statistics on the number of negotiations that have, in fact, gone on for that long a period of time and have been settled without a strike. I am not aware of any. Maybe the minister can indicate some. We have got to deal with that situation.

I would also say that we had hoped that the introduction of a mediator of the quality of Richard Jackson would resolve the problem. He is quite a competent man. But once again we are coming up against an area of the whole legislation which is flawed, namely, this practice of continuing to bring in people on a one-shot basis who have relatively little background with which to truly understand the teachers' position or truly understand the board's position.

I hope that very soon we are going to be able to take up the suggestion made by many, including some members of my party, that we have a semi-permanent panel of mediators or arbitrators, people who have genuinely come to understand the issues, who will be coming back time and time again, as opposed to people who are brought in either from the bench or from the university on these kinds of one-shot deals. I think that is hurting us.

It has become very evident, despite the fact, which I have indicated, that there are 26 items left in dispute, that the single most pressing item is class size. I have a sense, and I got that sense from those with whom I have talked in the Leeds-Grenville area, that if that one could be resolved the others would probably fall into place reasonably quickly. It is for that reason -- and other members of my party have brought this to the minister's attention -- that I was somewhat dismayed that the minister should go on public record and make the statement that it really does not matter whether a good teacher has 15 pupils in her class or 50 pupils in her class, that the significant quality is a good teacher.

The minister will have the opportunity again later today to expand on what she intended by that statement. But surely she appreciates that as the Minister of the Education, as the chief spokesman for the government in educational matters, when she makes a public utterance in that way on a very sensitive issue such as this -- and I appreciate fully that it was in response to a question; as a matter of fact I do not think I have to remind the minister that somebody in this caucus got into trouble answering an education question as well, though that is neither here nor there at this point -- it is foolhardy and inappropriate, in my judgement at least, for the minister to make that kind of response, particularly -- and the minister knows this -- when the court is still out on the whole question of class size in terms of valid, well-researched evidence.

4:30 p.m.

Let me take it one step further. I think the minister knows there is not a single teacher in Ontario who will agree with her that class size does not make a difference. I have never found one. If the minister knows one, please let me know his or her name. I doubt there are many parents or students in the province who will agree with her. Again, I have never met one. Perhaps some day we will prove it. I doubt it, but maybe some day we will.

At this time when it has not been proven, when it is an extremely sensitive issue, when we have the only existing strike in the province turning on that one issue, it was most inappropriate for the minister to have made that comment. I would be pleased to hear her further expansion of what she really said, why she said it and what she meant by saying it.

The other point I would make is that in Leeds-Grenville, as I understand it, they already have one of the highest pupil-teacher ratios in the province. I mention that specifically because the minister knows as well as I do that pupil-teacher ratio does not have a direct bearing on class size, but it certainly has an indirect one.

The point the Leeds people have brought to my attention, and I suspect they have also brought it to the minister's attention, is that for many other school boards that already have a much lower pupil-teacher ratio, class size is not a particular problem. However, when we get into an area like Leeds where the PTR is already high, class size is a very important problem. That is a factor that has to be taken into consideration.

I have tried to indicate I have made no change in my philosophical position as to whether strikes under any circumstances are the best way to go. I have also tried to make it clear that in my judgement this legislation, dealing with this issue, is not a good piece of legislation.

One thing that does concern me -- and I would ask the minister that she do everything in her power to relieve not just my concern, but also the concern of the people in the Leeds-Grenville area -- is a process or procedure whereby there will be a monitoring of the negotiations that go on for the next two months so that there can be no doubt whatsoever as to whether either side is misusing that period of time in which they were genuinely to do what this bill permits them to do, to continue to negotiate. There has to be that.

I would draw to the minister's attention there is a perception right now by one side in this dispute that the other is going to drag its heels and that there will not be genuine negotiation because it is not in their best interest to have genuine negotiation, they would much rather have someone impose it on them. In that way they will not have to face the public unpopularity of the settlement, no matter what it might be.

If the minister is determined to go ahead with this legislation anyway, despite what I and some of my colleagues have said and despite what some of the New Democrats are going to say, at the very least she has a responsibility to assure herself that the negotiations that go on during July and August are genuine and there is a real attempt on both sides to come to an agreement.

Quite frankly, I genuinely hope this legislation is not necessary. I still disagree with the reasons given by the Education Relations Commission. I do not think they are valid. Let me leave it there. I hope the legislation is not necessary and the two sides will settle it on their own. Let us hear what other people have to say.

Mr. Grande: Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to what the Minister of Education said in her opening remarks, and I still do not have a reason to believe this legislation is necessary at this time. I listened intently to what the Liberal education critic said and I still do not understand the position of the Liberal Party on this legislation. The Liberal education critic went on to say how bad this legislation is. He noted he would bring in amendments if the minister is not ready to move on this legislation.

I did not hear whether the Liberal Party is going to be opposing this legislation on second reading. I want to give the Liberal education critic the opportunity to so determine before I proceed with my remarks if that is acceptable to you, Mr. Speaker, and to the education critic.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): No, you have the floor; please carry on.

Mr. Grande: Since you deem that I have the floor, I shall keep the floor. I guess the education critic of the Liberal Party will at a different time find the opportunity to say where they stand.

Mr. Riddell: What difference does it make to you?

Mr. Grande: It certainly does make a difference, all right, it certainly does make a difference.

Mr. Riddell: Express your own views. We will do as we like.

Mr. Grande: Let me put, not my view, but the view of the New Democratic Party on this issue, which is that we are opposed to this destructive legislation before us today. We are opposed to it and we are going to be dividing on second reading and dividing in no uncertain terms. This legislation is destructive legislation to the free collective bargaining of the teachers in this province and it is threatening to every other worker in this province. It appears that the rights of teachers, even though they have had this right since 1974, are now being challenged not only by the Liberal Party of Ontario but by the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.

In essence, there is no need for this legislation. The minister knows there is no need for this legislation. Yet in the dying days of this session of parliament the minister brought in this legislation, if I may say so, on an incorrect and maybe illegal judgement of the Education Relations Committee.

Let me say to the minister she should take this a little more seriously because of the effect this legislation will have across this province in board-teacher negotiations from now on. I would say to the minister that the legislation before us today will guarantee there will be no local settlement; it will guarantee it. Some of the board officials on the negotiating committee were joyous when the minister brought in this legislation.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: No, they were not.

Mr. Grande: I will get to that member in a minute.

They were joyous because in essence what the chairman of the negotiating committee said was: "Finally, we are off the hook. We really do not have to negotiate any further." I have been trying to figure out for the past week since this legislation has been in here, why it is that the Minister of Education is bringing in this bill at this time. Why is it that since 1976 there has been no comparable bill in this Legislature?

As other people have mentioned before -- the minister, the Liberal critic -- Sudbury teachers were out for 56 days, Bruce teachers were out for about 34 or 35 days, Grey teachers about 40 or 42 days, we have the perfect example in Renfrew county where they were out somewhere around 36 or 38 days; and the fact is that the Education Relations Commission found no jeopardy in these cases with the exception of Renfrew county, and I will come to that in a minute as well.

4:40 p.m.

There are no words to describe this legislation other than teacher bashing. It is exactly what this legislation is about. The Minister of Education and the government of the day have decided that now they have their majority powers back they are going to deal with the teachers in this province and deal with them speedily. In effect, that is exactly what is happening here.

The Minister of Education is going to be dealing with teachers in Leeds and Grenville, where there is a very tiny board, but none the less the minister is going to make an example of Leeds and Grenville to say to the other boards where negotiations may be going on in the province at this particular time, or will be going on in the province before the end of the year: "This threat, my friends, is going to be on you if you do not move to negotiate and move fast. Forget about class size, because class size is one of those things that management ought to be deciding upon, not the teachers of this province. The quality of education is something that management ought to be talking about, not the teachers of this province." The minister obviously believes the teachers of this province should have no say in terms of the working conditions and the working environment.

The Liberal critic referred to that Globe and Mail article that I pointed out three weeks ago in estimates, about the comment that the minister made about class size. I will come to that in due course. I just wanted to point out to her that I really would like to find out what the purpose of this legislation is all about and why the government is so intent in misusing the power of majority in this province; which, by the way, it has been misusing for the last two months, ever since this Legislature started sitting.

That hospital bill -- and it is not the time now to talk about it -- is a misuse of power in this province and this legislation that we have before us, Bill 124, is another example of misuse of power in this province.

The government is beginning that old method that it had prior to 1975 where it systematically begins to alienate groups of people in this province. Well, go ahead, do it. That is the plan. By the next time around, whenever the election will be coming, I guess those people will repay the government and repay it handsomely.

Therefore, as I said, this legislation is an abuse of power. It is political expediency at its best. It does not allow the two parties in this dispute to come to a collective agreement. It will impose a third-party position upon the free collective bargaining process and that's why this party is not taking this legislation lightly and that's why this party says at the outset it is opposed in no uncertain terms to this kind of legislation.

Let me go on for a minute as to why the minister brought in this type of legislation, and what the minister said when the legislation was introduced. The minister said in the compendium of background material -- a one-sheet compendium, by the way, but thanks very much for providing further information later on -- the minister said, and I quote, "Because of a strong possibility that the dispute may not end before the commencement of the 1981-82 school year, it is considered that in the public interest a legislated settlement of the dispute is required."

On that particular day the minister tabled in the Legislature the letter of June 11, 1981, from the Education Relations Commission. I understand that the decisions of the Education Relations Commission cannot normally be seen by anyone unless the minister gives permission. That was news to me. I thought that once the commission made decisions they became public information. But that is for another time.

The commission clearly said, "According to the duties and responsibilities of the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act, 1975, under section 61(1)(h), we find no jeopardy in this case." It is clear they found no jeopardy. Since there was no jeopardy, those two parties should be allowed to continue towards a collective agreement. The minister did not allow the two parties to do so. The commission, despite what the minister may be saying, does not have the power to tell us in this Legislature, or to recommend to the minister, that even though no jeopardy is found, this Legislature, or the commission, should be ordering this legislation. It has no power whatsoever.

If the commission would say, "We find jeopardy as of this date," then the minister has the duty and the responsibility to act on that recommendation. The minister may come with legislation or the minister may talk to the two parties and say, "Get back to the bargaining table and bargain hard." However, even though the Education Relations Commission said, "We find no jeopardy in this matter," the minister has decided to bring in legislation.

I contend the Education Relations Commission has no power whatsoever to make any other recommendation in this decision of June 11, 1981. The minister may decide what she wants. The government may decide what it wants. But the fact is that the duty of the Education Relations Commission is to help the two parties in the free collective bargaining process and nothing else.

A second duty is to find out at what particular point for the public good the students are in jeopardy. On the second point the commission found no jeopardy. Therefore, any other recommendations coming from that body are nothing but a misuse of their particular powers. Anyway, they do not have the powers and therefore they cannot misuse them. The decision of the commission we have before us says, "Well, since the Legislature is going to rise pretty soon for the summer, we recommend that a bill be brought in." What business is it of the Education Relations Commission when the Legislature is going to rise? Why should the commission be concerned with the order of business of this Legislature?

Mr. Runciman: They are concerned about the students.

4:50 p.m.

Mr. Grande: That is fine. As I said, it is their duty and responsibility to be concerned with students as we all are in this Legislature, in case the member does not understand that; but the commission's concern with students does not go to the point of ordering the business of this Legislature, it has no business whatever doing that.

The minister, by accepting that recommendation by that commission, in effect has compromised totally the work of the commission. In other words, whenever the commission from now on attempts to help the two parties in a dispute solve their differences or bargain, those two parties in dispute will say, "Thank you very much, but we do not need your help because you, as a commission, are not going to come down with recommendations you have the power to make and announce."

The minister may try to say the commission acted under section 61(1)(a) of the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act, 1975, dealing with the duties and responsibilities of a commission. Let me read section 61(1)(a): "To carry out the duties imposed on it by this act and such other functions as may, in the opinion of the commission, be necessary to carry out the intent and purpose of this act."

Sweeping powers, are they not? We have given the Education Relations Commission sweeping powers. But the commission has never used, as far as I am aware, those wide-open powers under section 61(1)(a). If we take a look at all the other decisions made by the Education Relations Commission that have been made public by the Minister of Education -- only the minister can make them public -- we will find that the commission says: "According to section 61(1)(h) of the act," and nothing else.

In other words, the commission in practice has decided section 61(1)(h) is the relative clause as to its duties and responsibilities and nothing else. What now happens is we get the commission deciding not only that jeopardy is not a cause, a concern or a problem, and the students' courses or year have not been jeopardized, but we find the commission telling the Minister of Education how to behave and telling this Legislature what we should be doing.

It is inconceivable. I do not understand that process. However, I concede one thing to the minister. If she wants to give those powers to the commission she is free to come before this Legislature and change the act. The minister should take a look at the act and I am sure she has.

The Matthews report, the report of the Commission to Review the Collective Negotiation Process Between Teachers and School Boards, has two recommendations that go to the central problem we are discussing and debating here today.

One of the recommendations of the Matthews commission report is number nine on page 37, regarding termination of a strike or lockout. It says, "The commission recommends that Bill 100 be amended to provide that the Education Relations Commission shall advise the Lieutenant Governor in Council when it judges that an unresolvable impasse has been reached and/or the continuance of a strike or lockout will place in jeopardy the successful completion of courses of study by students."

In other words, when the bill is changed, if the minister decides to change Bill 100, not only would they decide a jeopardy but they can only be deciding when an impasse has been reached. But right now it is clear the commission -- because the Matthews commission report recommends a change in the commission's power -- has no power, duty and responsibility to determine and to be deciding when an impasse is reached in negotiations and to make recommendations to the minister.

Let us go to recommendation 10. It says, "The commission recommends that Bill 100 be amended to provide that in the event that a strike or lockout is to be terminated, the Education Relations Commission shall have the power to recommend to the Lieutenant Governor in Council the length of the agreement to be established, as well as the method to be used to settle the dispute; for example, final-offer selection or arbitration or any other procedure."

In other words, the Education Relations Commission in this case is anticipating any changes that the minister may decide to bring in in Bill 100. In other words, it is clear that they do not have the powers, duties and responsibility to do what they did in this decision that they gave the minister on June 11, 1981.

Not only did they say, "We decide when an impasse is reached," but they also said, "This is the method by which the dispute should be resolved" -- clearly, duties the commission does not have at present. Therefore, I would ask the minister, has she, in her department, in the ministry, decided as to the legality of this decision that the commission has made? Has she decided the legality? I hope the minister would have some words to say about that.

On top of it all, we find out that on June 11, the commission gives the minister its decision. On June 12, a day later, the commission writes to the teachers of Leeds and Grenville, and I quote: "The Education Relations Commission met on Thursday concerning the dispute between the Leeds and Grenville Board of Education and its secondary school teachers and will be releasing the following to all media tomorrow:

"On Thursday, the Education Relations Commission reviewed the dispute between Leeds and Grenville Board of Education and its secondary school teachers. The commission is filing with the Minister of Education a report to deal with the dispute. The commission is strongly committed to voluntary dispute resolution rather than imposed solutions."

A day after they made the recommendations to the minister to bring in legislation to impose a particular method of compulsory arbitration as a matter of fact, the commission is strongly committed to voluntary dispute resolution rather than imposed solutions. I continue:

"Moreover, it is clear that the parties directly involved are responsible for the dispute in Leeds and Grenville and that an early resolution of it rests with the parties. Therefore, the commission urges the negotiating committees for both parties to continue to meet in face-to-face sessions and work out their remaining differences.

"If both parties ask for assistance or significantly change their position, mediation services will be provided by the commission." Signed, "G. R. Allan, chief executive officer."

There has to be some kind of a problem of communication here, between the chief executive officer and Mr. Downie of the Education Relations Commission. What is going on? How could they come down on June 11 with the recommendation to the minister to bring in compulsory arbitration and then on June 12 write to one of the parties and say, "We are strongly committed to voluntary resolution rather than an imposed solution"?

5 p.m.

I don't say this lightly, but all this may lead to the fact that this is what the minister wanted. The minister may have wanted to bring in legislation and the minister may have made up her mind to bring in legislation even prior to this decision June 11. Therefore, the commission had to serve the needs of the government of the province and not serve the needs of the two parties that are in dispute.

That is the only way to interpret it. There is no other logical solution or logical explanation when the commission was saying on June 11 "Bring in compulsory arbitration," and then on June 12 the commission is saying to the teachers, and supposedly to the board as well, "Come on, fellows, let's get down to serious collective bargaining." It seems ludicrous to do this.

I just wanted to point out that recommendation 10, which I read, says the Education Relations Commission should have the power to recommend to the Lieutenant Governor in Council the length of the agreement to be established. We find in this bill before us today that is exactly what the Education Relations Commission said without having the power, because they talk about a three-year collective agreement. The commission doesn't have the power to do that, otherwise they spent thousands of dollars for the Matthews commission report for what? Maybe the Matthews commission report was nothing more than just something to defuse an issue which, as far as I am concerned, has never been an issue.

The reason this legislation is in the Legislature today, and the problem the teachers and boards are having in Leeds and Grenville, is the staffing ratios, class size. The Minister of Education well knows that in Issues and Directions, the late Robert Jackson and the royal commission said one of their recommendations was that the teachers of this province should be considering class size at the bargaining table. That recommendation was specifically made to the teachers of the province. He said that was where they have to decide class size or pupil-teacher ratio or whatever else they want to talk about -- at the bargaining table.

The teachers and the Leeds and Grenville board were in the process of attempting just that. The Minister of Education is pulling the rug from under their feet with this legislation.

Hon. Mr. Sterling: Eighteen months, a year and a half; pulling the rug from under their feet?

Mr. Grande: The member for Carleton-Grenville says a year and a half. Does he know that a week and a half ago he was saying to the people and the teachers of Leeds and Grenville that this government has no intention of bringing in legislation?

Hon. Mr. Sterling: Did we say that?

Mr. Grande: Yes, that this government has no intention of bringing in back-to-work legislation.

Hon. Mr. Sterling: Who said that?

Mr. Grande: The honourable member did.

Hon. Mr. Sterling: I did? I'll call your bluff. Show me.

Mr. Grande: I will show the honourable member exactly where he said it.

Mr. Nixon: There is lots of time. We have all night.

Mr. Grande: "Legislation Is a Last Resort" is the heading. "Norm Sterling, MPP for Carleton-Grenville, said a legislated end to the strike is outside the realm of probability." The honourable member is quoted on June 6 by the Kingston Whig-Standard.

Mr. Bradley: And it never lies.

Mr. Martel: Resign. Or at least apologize to my colleague. You called his bluff.

Hon. Mr. Sterling: Those are not my words. He misquoted me.

Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

The Acting Speaker: Carry on, Mr. Grande. You have the floor.

Mr. Grande: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I will do my best.

The member for Carleton-Grenville now has the distinguished position of being privy to cabinet matters. He says to the Whig-Standard that no legislation is even thought about; it is outside the realm of probability. Yet six days from the time the minister made that statement we have a bill in this Legislature dealing with exactly what he said is outside the realm of possibility.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Oh, no. Six days later the letter came from ERC, and six days later came the legislation. You cannot add.

Mr. Grande: When the minister has behind her a member from the area who gets up and asks her to bring in compulsory arbitration and put the teachers back to work, she should not try to tell me that. The minister knows if she leaves the teachers out on strike over the summer the teachers are going to have the upper hand come September. Does the House want a quote from that member as well?

Hon. Mr. Sterling: Go ahead. For the record, you misquoted me the first time.

Mr. Martel: Oh, they misquoted you? I didn't see you rise on a point of privilege or a point of order, or even on a point of difference.

The Acting Speaker: Order. Mr. Grande has the floor; please give him your ear.

Mr. Grande: Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker. I do know I have the floor.


Mr. Grande: Do not worry, I say to the member for Algoma-Manitoulin (Mr. Lane), I have a lot to say.

Mr. Lane: Say it, for heaven's sake.

Mr. Grande: We have attempted to give that member the opportunity to speak on many occasions, Mr. Speaker, and every time he has refused it.

The member for Leeds (Mr. Runciman) said, and this is in the Ottawa Citizen of June 9,1981: "Wells was responding to a request by Leeds MLA Bob Runciman, who said government action is needed to force a settlement by September.

"Runciman said the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation wants to make the strike a precedent to get class size included in teaching contracts and is prepared to pay the teachers $22 a day in strike pay during the summer to keep them out."

If that is all the appreciation that honourable member has for the free collective bargaining process, it is next to nothing. He is saying not to give in to the teachers.

5:10 p.m.

Maybe the honourable member should speak to the minister, and she should inform him that many of the teachers' collective agreements in this province have a clause on class size.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Thirteen of them do.

Mr. Grande: That is fine; 13. But there are contracts in this province of which that item is a part. So that member obviously does not know about the negotiations that have gone on. He obviously does not know that teachers in this province consider working conditions and quality education to be important.

I was going to speak briefly on class size --

Interject ions.

Mr. Grande: Let me say to the former Liberal leader, the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon), that maybe his members learn something when I speak. In the House they asked the same questions that I asked the Minister of Education in estimates three weeks earlier; therefore, they learned something. That is fine.

Mr. T. P. Reid: You're only a year behind on prosthetic devices.

Mr. Grande: That's what we are here for. We are here to learn from one another, are we not?


The Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr. Grande: And I hope the Minister of Education learns something about the free collective bargaining process today.

Mr. Elston: You are the only people who know it all around this place.

Mr. Martel: I am glad you recognize that.

Mr. Grande: We may not know it all, but we --

Mr. Swart: We don't know it all. It's just by comparison that it seems that way.

The Acting Speaker: Please carry on, Mr. Grande. We are dealing with Bill 124. Do not be interrupted by this.

Mr. Grande: Unfortunately, I do not determine whether I am interrupted, Mr. Speaker.

Since 1971, the Leeds and Grenville Board of Education had a letter of understanding with its teachers, a commitment. I want to read it into the record, because I think it is important what that board said to its teachers in 1971:

"The Leeds and Grenville Board of Education accepts in principle that classes in academic and commercial subjects become crowded at 30 students, in technical at 20 students and in occupational at 16 students. The board states its continuing intention to so staff the secondary schools that class size will reflect this principle, in keeping with sound practice in educational administration, and finance and with modern techniques of flexible organization and programming."

In other words, I point out to the member for Leeds that the board made a commitment back in 1971 to bargain over class size. That was back in 1971, even before the commission of inquiry conducted by the late Dr. Jackson. The member was saying that teachers should not be bargaining over class size.

I want to give the members of this Legislature an appreciation of the concern in Leeds and Grenville board, and of the concern of the teachers, for quality education, despite what the Minister of Education says about it's not making any difference whether there are 15 or 50 students in a class.

A study done as of September 30, 1980, reported that 34.8 per cent of the 874 academic and commercial classes were crowded, 46.7 per cent of the 184 technical classes were crowded and 47.8 per cent of the 90 occupational classes were crowded.

Believe it or not, I tell members of the governing party, teachers are concerned about the quality of education and the quality of services they give to their students.

The Minister of Education ought to know that at the last negotiations the board presented a proposal in terms of class size. Does the minister not know that? All right, that is fine. In 1971, there was a letter in principle saying the board accepted the principle that class sizes should be smaller. That is what the board accepted in 1971. That is fine.

I am just pointing out to the minister that since September 1, 1980, 34.8 per cent of the commercial classes were crowded, 46.7 per cent of the technical classes were crowded, and 47.8 per cent of the 90 occupational classes were crowded.

I am saying to her that the teachers of Leeds and Grenville are concerned about the quality of education in that county board. They are saying, "We want to ensure that this crowding of our classrooms is going to diminish over a period of time." That is exactly what they were bargaining for. It is exactly what the bone of contention was all about.

The Minister of Education entered into that dispute in no uncertain terms in her statement that the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley) and I read three weeks ago in the estimates. The minister, in essence, is saying: "It does not make any difference how many kids you have in your classroom, teacher, because you are solely responsible, your qualifications are really important and how good you are is important; therefore, why bother to negotiate class size?"

Why is the minister saying that? The minister is saying that because in Leeds and Grenville, and I guess the members from that area ought to know, the legislative grants to that board are between 68 and 70 per cent. They come from the province because of the low assessment base that Leeds-Grenville has.

The minister, in her astute way, is saying: "The more these teachers decide on some reasonable class size, the more we have to dish out as a government. Since we are committed to underfunding and cutbacks in the educational process, this should not go on; we will not allow it."

Hon. Miss Stephenson: This member, honourable or otherwise, is presuming --

The Acting Speaker: Is this a point of order?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: It is a point of order and a point of personal privilege as well. The simple position he is taking, that he has any idea of what goes on in my mind, is something I find tremendously disturbing. In addition to that, he is presuming to interpret government policy in his own point of view and no one else's, and that is inappropriate.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

5:20 p.m.

Mr. Grande: I have never assumed that I can understand or have knowledge of what is in the minister's mind at anytime. However, I do make a point of fact that education in this province has been underfunded ever since 1974-75. That is not an assumption; it is a point of fact.

From the statistics on the number of legislative grants that go to different boards of education, it is clear that an underfunding process is going on. We have known for the last three years that classes are getting more overcrowded as a result of the cutbacks in education financing and legislative grants that this ministry is providing to the boards.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: We have more teachers and fewer students and classes are becoming overcrowded. How does the member figure that out?

Mr. Grande: What the minister says is not comprehensible. Therefore, I did not comprehend it.

I want to put the problem of Leeds-Grenville in terms of staffing ratios, class size and what the teachers are attempting to do. Clearly, they are attempting to increase and improve the quality of the educational services they give to their students. The Minister of Education, by bringing in compulsory arbitration, is pulling the rug from under their feet. In a sense -- and if the minister does not like it, so be it -- that tells us exactly what the minister thinks in terms of the quality of educational services.

Obviously, the minister does not want quality in educational services in this province. Because of the underfunding of education and because of her actions in Leeds-Grenville, the minister says, in essence, that the quality of educational services at this point in time is not important to the government of Ontario.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Bunk!

Mr. Grande: The minister may say bunk; yet she will have to show proof and not just say bunk. I know for a fact that the quality of educational services is decreasing in this province. Whether they be in Metropolitan Toronto, Leeds-Grenville or any other place, classes are increasing in size. If the minister does not know that, perhaps she should take a look as far back as three years ago when the cutback process was in full swing.

I came across an open letter to the Minister of Education from Mr. McAndless, who is president of the Ontario Public School Men Teachers' Federation. I will not read the whole letter as it is not necessary. It says in part:

"In the Globe and Mail of Saturday, May 30, you were again quoted, Madam Minister, as saying, 'It makes no difference whether there are 50 or 15 students in a classroom so long as the teacher is qualified. There is no evidence that smaller classes can create better education.'

"It is a pity that the Ontario Minister of Education is so unread in the field of educational research as to be totally unaware of the Smith-Glass study on class size. It proves beyond doubt that class size does make a difference in the kind of activities which go on in the classroom. The activities in the classroom are what make up the education of the children and when those activities are improved so is the learning atmosphere.

"The 100,000-plus teachers in this province are completing a very busy year. They are tired and there are signs they have undergone more stress than usual. We do not need the Minister of Education making an inflammatory statement to undermine the profession even more. What we have been waiting for is for the minister to acknowledge the outstanding effort put forth by teachers in providing for the children of Ontario the finest education in the world. I wonder when we might expect a little encouragement.

"Yours sincerely, F. W. D. McAndless, President, OPSMTF."

The minister is making it clear to the teachers in this province that she does not offer encouragement to that profession to improve the quality of education and to give of their expertise day in and day out, not for five or six hours but for many more hours a day.

The minister's latest example of that encouragement is back-to-work legislation that imposes upon those teachers a collective bargaining agreement that will never, in terms of the arbitrator, look at class size as a factor. Arbitrators in the past, as far as I am aware, have always said that is management's right and the arbitrator has no business impinging upon management's rights.

In essence, the government says the quality of the education is not important. It is saying it will continue to underfund education. The minister is saying: "Despite what the late Dr. Jackson said, we do not want you to negotiate class size in collective agreements."

For all these reasons, I am opposed to this legislation. The New Democratic Party is totally opposed to this legislation. I sincerely hope that the Minister of Education will see the disruption this legislation will create, not just for the teachers in Leeds and Grenville and the board of Leeds and Grenville, but for all the teachers in Ontario and that, before we come to second reading, which of course we will oppose and on which we will divide, the minister will pull this destructive legislation and continue with the business of the House.

Mr. Runciman: Mr. Speaker, I want to make a couple of remarks in relation to what has been said here this afternoon.

The member for Oakwood mentioned the quality of education and said we were simply overlooking that. There is another side to that coin which he failed to mention, and that is job security. That is a very important ingredient of this. We cannot downplay the teachers' consideration for the quality of education, but they also have an important concern with job security.

I want to read an excerpt from an editorial in the Brockville Recorder and Times which relates to this:

"The board and teachers have been negotiating for this contract since February of 1980. Why has it taken until recently for the major issue to be publicly identified, and why is it an issue with so many negative connotations for the education system? Is it possible that the local board has been set up?

"Leeds-Grenville is a cheaper place for the Secondary School Teachers' Federation to take a strike than would be a large metropolitan board. Does the teachers' federation takeover team believe that a strike, long-term if necessary, against this board is worth the local anguish in order to write maximum class size into the contract, thereby nailing down another board in their march across the province?

"One of the results of negotiating maximum class size could easily be the hiring of more teachers. In a time of declining secondary school enrolment, is this merely a job security issue disguised in more palatable terminology?"

I also ask that question, as do a good many people in Leeds and Grenville.

5:30 p.m.

One of the members opposite said that because I have a trade union background I am a disgrace to trade unions, but I will be glad to put my record in trade unionism against anybody's on that side.

Mr. Swart: Ask the union people.

Mr. Runciman: I tell the member that there is a great deal more support for this party in trade unions than there is for his party, and it shows in an election. I think those people feel much more comfortable with professional groups like the one we are talking about today.

Mr. Speaker, as the representative for Leeds, I appreciate this opportunity to support the legislation and the recommendations of the Education Relations Commission regarding the secondary school teachers' strike in Leeds-Grenville.

Before setting out my reasons for that support, I want to read into the record again a few important excerpts in that report that are being avoided by members opposite.

The commission, although feeling it inappropriate to declare jeopardy at this time, states: "In this particular case, there are some very important facts which cause us concern. The state of negotiations seems to be deteriorating; the parties are, if not frozen, exceedingly rigid in their positions; and, as noted, there is a real possibility that the dispute will not end in anything approaching a reasonable time. That is, our concern relates to the unique aspect of this particular sanction, viz. the possible continuation of the strike into a new school year after the loss of a considerable number of school days in the current school year and without any indication of a future settlement point."

I have difficulty in comprehending the Liberal critic's point of view on this. He feels personally that jeopardy is there now because the students have missed seven weeks. I share that opinion. Then he goes on to say, if we go into the new school year, there is not jeopardy. To me, if we are taking the tail end of the present school year and going into a new school year, if that does not constitute jeopardy, what does? I just cannot comprehend that reasoning.

Mr. Nixon: Think about it. It makes sense.

Mr. Runciman: It does not make sense to me. It does not make sense to a great many of us.

The ERC recommendations mention the uniqueness of the Leeds-Grenville situation, and I want to emphasize that uniqueness. This is not a school strike like any other strike. Granted, we have the same principals, the school board and teachers, locked in a conflict that is deadly to neither of them. They are not the victims, come what may. The real victims are the students, the young people whom politicians are wont to call our province's greatest resource, our future. If there is a whit of sincerity in such declarations, then there must be sympathy for these students who are about to get a double whammy in a strike -- and this is where it is unique -- extending through two school years unless this House legislates an end to it.

The students have already missed two months of school, and no one really knows what effect that will have on many of them. For many, it can mean an extra year of school. An example of this is Ted Dancy of Athens, who had hoped to pick up credits at summer school this year to qualify for a hockey scholarship at Cornell. Now he will require an extra year of school.

Not only is summer school out this year, but also the students face the real possibility of not going back to school in September. The proposed legislation cannot be seen as discriminatory: it favours neither the teachers nor the hoard. It does, however, represent consideration for the schooling of our young high school students. It is an act of responsibility in a strike that could become an example of irresponsibility if there exists a possibility that it will continue in September and we do not do anything to help ensure that does not happen.

The legislation is unusual as well as fair to both the teachers and the board, in that neither side is being told, "That's it." The legislation is telling them to settle their differences before September. It does not preclude a local settlement. It offers both sides two months, July and August, to come to terms. It also makes it possible for the youngsters to plan their futures based on completing their education on time.

Are there any parents who would favour continuing a strike that could see their own children forced out of school from one term into the next? Ask the parents of this province if they favour this type of legislation, motivated as it is in the best interests of the students and one will get a quick and favourable answer.

Mr. Martel: Do not be so silly. No one likes to strike.

Mr. Runciman: I wonder about that.

A great many of them do not think teachers should be able to close our schools, and the implications of this strike, involving two terms, has brought increasing support for that attitude. Those members should try a survey in their own constituencies and I will wager they will find how much that feeling has become a growing trend.

Mr. Nixon: That is not what you were saying in the election campaign.

Mr. Runciman: We are talking about strikes, and I tried to emphasize something about this situation but obviously did not get through to the other side. Good faith is a critical ingredient in bargaining and there has been no good faith here. We are talking about 18 months of bargaining with 40 issues still outstanding on the table. It cries out for action by this government.

There has been criticism of Bill 124 by the teachers' federation because they feel it will invalidate Bill 100. I do not think that is a fair criticism. In no way will it invalidate Bill 100 -- a bill I would not support personally anyway. I will get that in the record. Bill 100 will still be in place to be used but not abused.

Mr. Nixon: I am sure the majority of your colleagues are all whipped into line.

Ms. Fish: Ark! Ark! Ark!

Mr. Martel: Throw them another fish.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Mr. Runciman: Mr. Speaker, if I can continue, Bill 100 will still be in place to be used but not abused. If, on the other hand, we fail to pass the legislation before us Bill 100 will be abused -- abused in a manner not foreseen by this government or the people opposite who supported it.

Bill 100 was not intended, I am sure, to give licence to teachers and boards of education to abuse tax-supported institutions in the manner that has now become the potential in this strike -- the closing of all high schools in a region for not one but two or more terms.

It is my understanding that when Bill 100 was passed it was with the feeling that reasonable people could settle bargaining differences in a reasonable length of time, with or without a strike. It appears that reason is not prevailing in this case and that Bill 100 must be tempered by government action.

In this strike both sides have been deadlocked for months. How long are the long-suffering taxpayers expected to let the collective bargaining process keep the schools closed? It will be nearly five months come September, if there is no settlement, and almost 20 months since negotiations began. Enough is enough.

The teachers have the right to strike. As much as I may disagree with that right it is the law and I respect the law. But a law must be fair, equal and just. This is a law that makes students less than equals. Indeed, they can be held to ransom in so far as their educational rights are concerned if it were not for the authority of the Education Relations Commission, which also, in my estimation, exists to protect the interests of the students. They are protecting the interests of the students now by making recommendations to the minister. Yet that power of the ERC means nothing if this Legislature does not act as the protector of the rights of our young people.

Bill 124 merits the support of this House.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, this debate certainly takes my mind back to the debate on Bill 100 in 1975. I have a feeling there was a bit more pressure on everybody in the House since the teachers and professional organizations had taken an extremely significant role in the development of the basic principles in that bill.

The aspect that permitted me, as Leader of the Opposition then, to persuade my colleagues to support the bill -- many of them were enthusiastically in support of it -- was that the Education Relations Commission had a clear responsibility under section 60 to recommend the end of a strike when, in its professional judgement, the education prospects and opportunities of the students were in jeopardy. All those grand speeches with hands held on hearts, the type of which we have just heard from the member for Leeds (Mr. Runciman), were given then.

5:40 p.m.

The easiest thing, I suppose, for a politician to say is, "We are thinking of the welfare of the students." I believe that is true. Politics intrude as well, particularly when, in a long strike, the acrimony that grows like a milkweed patch, not only between the teachers and the board but particularly in the community, is extremely unhealthy. That is one of the main reasons we in the Liberal Party have rejected the principle of Bill 100, because we feel it does not serve the community, whether the teachers, the students, the board members, or the taxpayers and citizens.

On no occasion, since Bill 100 has become the statute entitled the School Boards and Teachers Collective Negotiations Act, has the commission recommended to the Lieutenant Governor in Council that the strike should be ended because the students' education was in jeopardy. I see the minister, in her usual aggressive and combative way, immediately start click-clicking and waving at her retinue under the gallery. If there is an occasion when it did, I should simply tell the minister that the executive director of the commission, in answering a question put by my colleague and education critic, the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney), stated specifically that he had not recommended the jeopardy section to the minister or to the Lieutenant Governor in Council, as I think the provision of section 60 reads.

The point is there has never been an action by the government on the basis of a jeopardy recommendation to end a strike. I am particularly bitter about this, having supported the legislation on the basis of section 60 putting a net under the whole structure. So if, in fact, after all the provisions for negotiation and conciliation and diddling around had been completed, if a strike took place, it could not last a significant period of time, because this safety net was there. A recommendation would be given to the government and it might at least have the opportunity to share the responsibility of ending a strike because of a professional, independent recommendation.

This never occurred and in my own constituency we had a lengthy and sickening strike at the elementary level. Certainly the wounds that were caused in the Brant county strike have not by any means been healed over. Even worse than that, there was an extremely lengthy and acrimonious strike in the secondary school board system of Norfolk county, which was longer than this strike and the minister simply sat back and let the community tear itself apart. Sure, I know she used her good offices, she did her best. I am a great admirer of the minister when she is at her best. In this particular bill, I do not believe she is. I think she has been ill-advised. I think she is being unnecessarily stubborn, one of the attributes she exhibits from time to time that I do not always admire.

In this situation, I should say, the Liberal Party official opposition does not believe in strikes in the school system, because of what we consider to be the failure of Bill 100. While perhaps we tend to blame the Education Relations Commission, the blame must lie with the minister and her predecessors. I hesitate to suggest that she and/or her predecessors would sit down with members of the Education Relations Commission and more or less talk about jeopardy, perhaps even the small-p political aspects. What kind of advice do the minister and her, or formerly his, colleagues want from the ERC as a strike goes on and the questions recur repeatedly day after day and the letters come in from the parents? The outraged parents sit in the minister's office and make sense which even the minister must accept.

I suppose I cannot suggest that there are emanations from the minister's office to the Education Relations Commission indicating: "Stick to your guns, boys, we are going to ride this one out. It is in a Liberal riding." The minister is shaking her head, and I accept that. What I am suggesting is unfair and probably does not happen.

Yet we know that people in these positions have the most sensitive antennae out, and they are getting the same readings as the minister does; they talk to somewhat the same people. Whether or not the minister or her predecessor would ever give the commission a clear indication of what they wanted by way of a recommendation -- and I am sure they never would -- it is almost like an editorial writer or reporter for the Sun; he knows what the publisher wants and he writes to accommodate him, even though the directions are not there; he likes his job, he likes to feel that he reflects the attitude of the boss.

For that reason I agree with my colleague, our education critic, who made such an excellent speech in setting out our concerns in this bill: that the whole concept of jeopardy is just a joke. It is a convenient political lever. Rather than to save the students from an extended strike it is to save the minister, as it has saved her predecessors from taking Draconian action, which they do not want to take. They have sloughed off the responsibility and they have not, until now, moved in part to assume it.

We in the Liberal Party do not believe that there should be strikes in the school system. We are supported by many Conservative members, obviously, including the new member for Leeds (Mr. Runciman). I do not recall what the attitude and position of his predecessor was. But for that reason we are supporting the bill, in spite of our deep concerns about some aspects of it.

The government has a new chairman of the Education Relations Commission, and I cannot help but feel that he really does not know what the minister's responsibility is and what the responsibility of the House is. He states in his famous letter of June 11, on page two, "With the impending adjournment of the Legislature this situation places the commission in a serious dilemma."

I think the member for Oakwood (Mr. Grande) has said it very well: it is just none of his business what we are doing here. It is his business to recommend jeopardy if the kids are in jeopardy and if he sincerely believes, with the professional resources he has, that jeopardy exists. For him to worry about the convenience of the Legislature or of the minister is patently ridiculous. One of the things that the minister could have and should have and really must have said to him is that that is ridiculous.

I never knew the minister to give a darn for the convenience of this House before. To give her credit, she spends as much time in here as any of her cabinet colleagues and a good deal more than most. So we certainly do not accuse her of shirking her duties in any respect. We do not agree with her decisions, but she does not shirk them.

She should have told those people to mind their own business and to do their job. If the strike should be brought to an end they should recommend it; and if for some reason that happens on September 5 then it is up to the minister to recommend it to the Premier (Mr. Davis), who would then recall the House if that were decided, and we would deal with it. My colleague has indicated we have done that on numerous occasions in other strike situations, including school strike situations.

But for us to give the minister some kind of mallet, a blunt instrument, as we do in this legislation, that the strike may or may not end, that the Education Relations Commission may or may not ask for proclamation, that the school boards and the teachers know that it is game over anyway, puts us in an invidious position. I believe it downgrades the authority and reputation of the minister in a disastrous way. I say that sincerely. I think the minister is heading for reform institutions, or something like that, because I believe that the decision associated with the information available to the minister is really bad.

There is a way out, and the minister has had it put to her, I know, by others -- certainly by the House leader for the New Democratic Party and by others, including myself: we should just walk away from this bill right now. Leave it there on the Order Paper. It has not been enacted, and if it is necessary in September or August or October or whenever, then we will come back to it and debate it with the circumstances of the time being the circumstances of the debate.

5:50 p.m.

I really believe that is a course of action that would save the powers of Bill 100 -- and I would think the chairman of the commission should be replaced for giving such bad advice -- and would save the minister from any further erosion in the reputation for strong and definite action that is properly hers. She can still take this decision, and I believe she should. She should just say fine, even if we abandon the debate, or perhaps continue it, come to second reading and just let it go at that.

I do want to say something else. I really don't like the idea of the imposition of final-offer selection. I am not at all sure I agree 100 per cent with my colleague who made the argument that it should be left to the people down there, but I will tell the minister that final-offer selection only works when the two sides know they are going to be subjected to it. If we are going to have any kind of useful situation now, it is really too late. I believe when negotiations begin final-offer selection makes sense, but if we are going to have an arbitration, it should be a proper arbitration where somebody examines the issues, takes sides and decides on the arbitration.

I have one other thing to say and I am sure all my colleagues do not agree with me on this. For us to turn to Dr. Jackson's recommendation, when he said that the school boards and the teachers should negotiate the class sizes in all of the county boards across the province, in my view is nonsense. In fact, we have imposed on the negotiations the so-called takeover committee from the teachers' organization. They are in all respects reflecting the view of the central organization.

Quite often the school board will turn over its negotiation to a professional negotiator from the trustees' organization or from the centre. So we get these equal powers moving in on the teachers and displacing them and moving in on the board and displacing it, with the poor director sort of dancing around the outside trying to keep his or her skirts clean amid all of the political issues as they arise, while the minister is sitting back without any opinion at all except to say, "Yes, this is for negotiation because Dr. Jackson said so."

I believe we should decide, as the basis of the quality of education and what we are prepared to pay for, just what those ratios ought to be within certain ranges. I say again, and I doubt all of my colleagues would agree with me, that the minister with her well-known strength and her well-known ability to make up her mind could lead the House, whether or not we would agree with her, in the kind of discussion based on all the background material we could possibly need and say: "This is the basis upon which we are going to pay our grants. If you want a richer situation than that" -- as North York might or Brantford might -- "go ahead and do it, but don't involve us in paying for a quality of education that is beyond that."

My point is this: The negotiations which many people rather naively think are left at the nice little local level with a democratically elected school board dealing with a well motivated group of teachers elected by their colleagues, that is bunkum. The negotiations take place between professionally trained and experienced negotiators and it is world class war, I am telling you -- and the minister knows a lot more about that than I.


Mr. Nixon: It is tougher than Inco because quite often negotiations there are sort of patty-cake negotiations. It is all cut and dried ahead of time because they simply pass the cost on. You don't have strikes at Stelco and these big places any more, or Massey-Ferguson, because you simply give the other side what they want and pass the costs on to the poor farmers. That is another issue. But the school board has to pass the cost on to the taxpayers and the taxpayers may not like it next time around, so the school board digs its heels in and there are these long and protracted negotiations that are divisive, bitter and destructive.

The one problem that can never be solved is class size. Many school board people, and frankly I agree with them in many respects, say, "Listen, this is a management decision." The minister said it is not a management decision, it is for negotiation.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: No, I did not.

Mr. Nixon: All right, but Dr. Jackson told the minister that was so. All right, she has let that happen.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Dr. Jackson said it, but it was not accepted.

Mr. Nixon: If the minister does not believe that, why does she not do something about it with all these people up there ready to bang the desks whatever she says or whatever she does?


Mr. Nixon: All right. I really believe we are going to continue to be plagued by unsolvable situations as long as the minister is not prepared to give some guidance as to what the quality of education, that is class size and cost, is going to he.

The minister should not frown. I am giving her my advice. I am paid for it and I have the right and responsibility to give her that advice. We really believe there should not he teachers' strikes. I have indicated to the minister why our party believes that. We do not like this bill, but in principle it ends the strike and we are going to support it. But we believe the minister's judgement is in error. The minister has had destructive advice from the new chairman of the ERC --

Hon. Miss Stephenson: He is not new.

Mr. Nixon: Is he not? I do not know who he is because I do not know these people anyway.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: He has been there two years.

Mr. Nixon: All right, but I believe his advice is bad and it is going to be destructive of the minister.

We are going to support the bill. My colleague has already indicated that we have some improvements the bill that we will be dealing with in committee.

Mr. Speaker: Mr. Martel?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Give us a windup in four minutes.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I am amazed, I really am. We are opposed to a strike because it is going to jeopardize the education of kids and, in the next breath, the leader says we are going to eliminate one full year, we are going to eliminate grade 13. That really makes sense, does it not? A one-month strike could ruin them and yet you can wipe out a year. That really makes sense. If we take a month out of their education we will ruin them, but we can take out a full year and it does not make a tinker's damn of a difference. There is consistency there.

I must say that the member for Leeds (Mr. Runciman) put his foot in it, because he said the minister was there -- in fact, over the supper hour I will get the Hansard just to quote back to him -- to resolve that strike, that the minister was moving in at this time as someone was needed to resolve that dispute. That is what he was after. That is what he was agitating for.

What I find offensive about what the minister is attempting to do is right in the bill, in the letter that was submitted to her. It says, "Despite the danger, there is an absence of convincing evidence that jeopardy to courses of study exists at this time." There is no jeopardy, that is what the ERC is about. Does the minister understand what that means and what she is doing with this piece of legislation? If there is no jeopardy, we should not even be considering it. It is not the ERC's bloody business to tell this Legislature to advance a bill because we might not be around. I do not mind if I am inconvenienced in September. That is not ERC's business. The ordering of the House is the business of the government, and if we have to come back, that should not worry the ERC one jot and it should not even be in this letter.

What a consideration. There is no jeopardy. But the House might not be sitting so the minister had better get a bill ready in case there might be jeopardy. Some day down the road we will give it royal assent and then we will end the dispute. That is not the way it is supposed to work.

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

The House recessed at 6:01 p.m.