32nd Parliament, 1st Session






























The House met at 2:04 p.m.



Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege on behalf of my colleagues, and indeed on behalf of all of the members of the assembly, to record the magnificent victory yesterday of the Pan-Hellenic Socialist Movement under the leadership of Andreas Papandreou.

I do so because I recall the evening at Varsity Stadium when a mass rally was held to welcome Andreas Papandreou, who was in exile, to Canada at the time of the junta in Greece. It is for me a fascinating footnote to the history of Pasok, that during those years when then Professor Andreas Papandreou was at York University the headquarters of the Pasok movement was in Riverdale riding. I had the opportunity to get to know Andreas Papandreou and many of his followers, many of whom returned to Greece with him, many of whom reside in my riding and all of whom throughout Metropolitan Toronto and Ontario and Canada are thrilled by the results of that election.

It was an even more magnificent victory than the victory here on March 19. The mandate was in excess of 45 per cent of the vote, in a country which has long been divided by a multiplicity of parties. It has a long and indeed tragic political history, and I am pleased to say Pasok has an overall majority in the Greek parliament. It is a great day for me; it is a great day for the Greek-speaking people of Canada.

Mr. Smith: Also on a matter of privilege, Mr. Speaker: It is my privilege to tell the House that today, October 19, marks the 100th birthday of Dr. Elizabeth Bagshaw, who is alive and enjoying good health. We do not normally recognize 100th birthdays of citizens, but Dr. Bagshaw, as many members of this House will know, was one of the first women physicians in this country, was a pioneer in the field of medicine and was a pioneer in the field of family planning, where for 35 years she was the director of the family-planning facility in Hamilton. She carried on a very active practice until very late in her life, and I am happy to tell members that, from my chat with her yesterday, she is very sharp indeed and is enjoying excellent health.

Dr. Bagshaw paved the way for many of the progressive changes which have occurred in our society, and a film has been made about her life. She gave up her practice only in 1975, at the age of 95. She is one of the most amazing people ever to practice in the field of medicine.

I know that the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) is one of Dr. Bagshaw's great admirers and is very familiar with the great contribution she has made on behalf of women, as well as on all of society's behalf. So on this extraordinary occasion I am sure members of the House will join me in feeling joy and pleasure that Dr. Elizabeth Bagshaw has reached her 100th birthday and is with us in good health.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the government caucus I join the leader of the official opposition in wishing Elizabeth Bagshaw well on her 100th birthday.

The leader of the official opposition is entirely correct in suggesting that Elizabeth is one of the most remarkable women physicians in Canada, probably in the world. Her leadership role in a number of areas of family medicine has demonstrated for a great many of those who followed her the value of that discipline in medicine. She has provided significant leadership in the area of family planning, as well as in family counselling.

Dr. Bagshaw is an old friend, who has visibly demonstrated the superiority of women in these important roles in our society. I am delighted on behalf of my colleagues in the government caucus to associate ourselves with the remarks of the honourable Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. McClellan: I would simply endorse, on behalf of my caucus, the sentiments expressed by the Leader of the Opposition and the Minister of Education and extend our birthday greetings to Dr. Bagshaw on this most happy occasion.

Mr. Smith: On a separate point of privilege: While making a note that I would never doubt the physical superiority of the Minister of Education in any contest in which she might care to engage, I --


2:10 p.m.


Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, with your indulgence may I make reference to a report in the Globe and Mail on Saturday regarding acid rain and Inco. I would like the record corrected. The Minister of the Environment (Mr. Norton) is quoted as saying I suggested he was hiding a certain report from the United States. In fact, I have suggested no such thing. I suggested he was hiding a report from the people of Ontario. I simply want to make it clear I have never suggested he was withholding any report from the United States. I was simply asking him if he was planning to respond to the American questioning.


Hon. Mr. Gregory: Mr. Speaker, I know the members of the House will want to join me in celebrating this day when they realize that three years ago today was the sweeping victory in Chatham-Kent.


Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, may I ask the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie) if he will consider correcting the record? Last Friday, in response to questions by my colleague the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) concerning the unfortunate strike situation at Irwin Toy, the minister defended his refusal to consider first contract negotiations with the following words, and I quote from Instant Hansard, "Let us understand there have been no accusations or charges made before the labour relations board of any unfair labour practice."

It is my information that is not correct and I would like to have the Minister of Labour consider correcting the record on that issue.


Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I have a point of privilege. On September 11, 1981, the Globe and Mail ran a story describing the contents of a report commissioned for the Ministry of Health (Mr. Timbrell) by Peat Marwick and Partners with respect to long-term policy for the Queen Street Mental Health Centre.

My point of privilege is this: While the report was made available to a reporter from the Globe and Mail, the Minister of Health's office has informed my office they refuse to permit me to have access to a copy of this report. It seems to me if a report is available to the press it should be available to members of this Legislature and to opposition critics.



Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I would like to report to the House that the superintendent of insurance has completed his investigation into charges that some insurance companies in Ontario are arbitrarily surcharging elderly drivers with otherwise good driving records.

Since I first addressed the House on this matter last May 8, the superintendent has received approximately 30 complaints from elderly drivers who said they had been surcharged or even refused insurance because of their age. We investigated complaints which involved only eight of the 200 licensed insurance companies in Ontario -- less than five per cent of the total industry. We also discovered that none of those companies were actually in violation of the Insurance Act.

However, an unfair practice had developed when insurance companies started arbitrarily to switch elderly drivers into the high-risk insurance pool known as the Facility Association. The association was established in 1979 under the Compulsory Automobile Insurance Act to ensure that high-risk drivers could get insurance. All insurance companies are members of the association and all share the liabilities.

However, I see no reason for placing an elderly driver who may have an excellent driving record in this high-risk pool only to face premium increases of up to 100 per cent. There are more than 250,000 elderly drivers in Ontario -- granted only a small portion of the total 5 million drivers registered -- but they do not deserve to be treated in this unfair and arbitrary manner as far as car insurance rates are concerned.

We also discovered that companies were requesting medical certificates from elderly drivers who are otherwise in good health. Both of these practices are unfair and we will not allow them to continue. In response, the superintendent has drafted a set of guidelines which apply to all new and all renewal policies for elderly drivers.

The following unfair practices will now be prohibited by the guidelines:

1. Any refusal by an insurer to renew a policy for an elderly driver solely because of age.

2. Any refusal by an insurer to accept in the normal way a new business application by an elderly driver solely by reason of age.

3. Any imposition by an insurer of a higher premium for elderly drivers solely by reason of age.

4. Any requirements for medical examinations or eye tests solely by reason of age.

5. Any requirement for the completion of a special application form by elderly drivers.

6. Any request for the completion of a medical report on a driver of any age unless such report is required to be returned direct by the driver's medical doctor to the insurer.

7. Any requirement that the applicant or insured pay for the medical report.

8. Any procedure for handling medical reports for drivers of any age that permits the report to be interpreted by persons without direction from a person with medical qualifications.

9. Any procedure where the evaluation of risk based on a declaration made by the applicant or insured of a physical or mental disability is affected by the age of the applicant or insured. This means that any such declaration shall be evaluated on the basis of the disability declared, regardless of age.

I must emphasize again that these guidelines have been formulated as a result of our investigation of a series of isolated complaints against certain insurance companies.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada has been advised of these guidelines and we have been assured of voluntary compliance by the industry. However, we will continue to monitor the situation to make sure the guidelines are being followed. Any insurer found acting contrary to the guidelines will be subject to investigation and action under the Insurance Act.


Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, if I might have a moment, I want to draw to the attention of members of the House a somewhat significant event that took place over this past weekend. According to my calculations, and I think the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid) will recall, on October 17, 1967 a large number of new members were elected to the Legislature, nine of whom are still in attendance. The list includes Pat Reid, Hugh Edighoffer, Jim Breithaupt, Ray Haggerty, Elie Martel, Jack Stokes, Bill Hodgson, Doug Kennedy and myself. I hope I haven't missed anyone -- 14 years.

Mr. Speaker: A vintage year, if I may say so.

Hon. F. S. Miller: But a better one came later.


Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce a bill today entitled An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act. This new bill replaces Bill 52, which was placed before this House for consideration last May. At the appropriate time during the proceedings, I will be moving a motion that Bill 52 be withdrawn.

Bill 52 included an amendment making it an offence to drive while disqualified under any Ontario statute or regulation. It also prohibited passing on the left shoulder of highways or backing up on freeways. It included an amendment to empower the police to escort pedestrians found on controlled-access highways to the nearest intersecting highway where pedestrians are allowed. Those amendments have been incorporated into the new bill which, in addition to a number of housekeeping amendments, contains new provisions involving examination of unsafe vehicles, exemptions covering weight restrictions during the spring months, plus a provision authorizing municipalities to pass bylaws prohibiting the blocking of a signalized intersection.

Under current legislation, only drivers were required to submit vehicles for an examination for unsafe mechanical conditions, obviously an unfair situation if it involved a rented vehicle. The new provision allows police officers the option of requiring the driver or the owner of the vehicle to submit it for an examination. Provisions that dealt with weight restrictions during the spring months have been recast, providing for an increase in the permitted axle load for vehicles transporting live poultry, and exempting waste disposal vehicles being used for or on behalf of a municipality as well as public utility emergency vehicles.

These exemptions will assist the agricultural community to meet its transportation needs and allow municipalities greater flexibility in the disposal of waste while permitting utility vehicles to respond to emergency situations.

2:20 p.m.

Lastly, I should point out that municipalities already have the power to regulate traffic within their jurisdictions; however, the law has not been given a broad enough interpretation to deal with the problem of blocking intersections. The new amendment, therefore, specifically authorizes municipalities to prohibit drivers from entering an intersection on a green light unless they are reasonably sure they can clear it before the light turns red. I trust this amendment will help reduce traffic congestion in Ontario communities, particularly during rush-hour periods.



Mr. Smith: I would like the Treasurer to give his attention to this question, please, Mr. Speaker. Since a major stated objective in the Suncor deal is, and I quote the Premier (Mr. Davis), "to ensure a secure supply of oil for Ontario," can the Treasurer explain how the purchase of shares in Suncor in any way increases the security of the supply of oil for Ontario?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I will redirect that to the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch).

Mr. Smith: May I then ask a supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The Treasurer is a member of a government that is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase a company with the professed aim, among one or two other aims, of ensuring security of supply. If he does not know in what way this deal will ensure security of supply, is he saying he pretends to be in charge of the economic policy of Ontario, to go along with cabinet solidarity and spend $650 million for these shares, but is not prepared to answer to this House as to how the deal accomplishes its stated aims?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Not at all, Mr. Speaker. I would simply suggest to the member he would find it convenient to ask ministers with line responsibilities questions about their ministries day after day. The Premier or myself could be called upon to answer any minister's question. I suspect that in their presence one is much better to ask a line minister questions about his ministry than a policy minister. I simply --

Mr. Peterson: The Treasurer does not agree.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I am not disagreeing at all.

Mr. Smith: The Treasurer is spending the money.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I suppose I should have expected a question with a bit of a twist on a Monday afternoon. We have both been at policy conferences all weekend; I had hundreds of people and the member had 25.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, is the Treasurer aware that almost every investment company in Ontario thinks the Suncor deal was a bad one? Second, can the Treasurer confirm or deny that Moody's had already told him the province was in danger of losing its three-star credit rating before this deal because of the size of the Ontario deficit?

Is it not one of the problems the minister has -- other than his philosophy -- that Ontario's credit rating is in danger of being down-graded because of this purchase and the increased deficit? Is he not concerned that this deal is going to increase the cost of borrowing to the province whether it is Ontario Hydro bonds or money raised by the province itself?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I sense that while the honourable member was up north he must have been on the wrong wire service. Quite frankly, we have been applauded and continue to be applauded for the excellent debt management of this province by comparison with almost all other governments that have any borrowing requirement at all.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Did Moody's tell the minister that or not?

Hon. F. S. Miller: No, they have never told me that. If they told the member that --

Mr. T. P. Reid: Did they tell the minister's officials that?

Hon. F. S. Miller: If they have, I have never heard it. I have only heard that we are doing very well; in fact, we have a triple-A rating, and, as the member knows, we have not had to go into the public market to borrow funds for at least five years. Certainly we never have had to during my term of office, except for treasury bills, which were discontinued in my first year as Treasurer.

Mr. Peterson: Final supplementary, Mr. Speaker: With respect to this purchase will the Treasurer not admit Canadian participation was turned down by several other groups, including the Bronfmans and the Canada Development Corporation? Will he admit that within his purview it does have a very serious and dramatic economic effect? To finance that purchase of $650 million at 17 or 18 per cent will cost in the order of at least $110 or $120 million a year. Even at best, if the minister dividended all the revenue out of that company, in an extraordinarily profitable year like 1980 when it made $300 million Ontario's share would have been $75 million. The point of it all is that there is going to be a net loss to the Treasury on a sustained basis at least in the order of $50 million a year which we will have to finance additionally.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I was looking for some of the quotations from the member's speeches to the policy conference where they were quoting what he was --

Mr. Mancini: Just answer the question. That's all you have to do.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Oh, the member has a great deal of righteousness, doesn't he, when he sits in that seat of his -- a great deal.

Mr. Mancini: You have been sitting there since last Tuesday not doing anything.

Mr. Speaker: Mr. Treasurer, would you just ignore the interjections and address yourself to the question.

Hon. F. S. Miller: The honourable gentleman is keenly aware that an investment is not always measured in either the dividend or even the earnings per share. If that were so, many of the takeovers we have seen in this country would have been done at much lower values. One has to look at the inherent value and replacement value of the capital assets purchased and their potential for growth and earnings. On any basis at all, using those criteria, this is a good investment.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Not among the investment companies.

Mr. Peterson: No investment company would touch it; they were begging for a purchaser and you were the only one dumb enough to do it.


Mr. Smith: I have a question for the Minister of Health. In attempting to understand the minister's policy with regard to user fees, I have read the statements made by him. The minister has stated he would not introduce user fees as a means of affecting the utilization of health services but would consider introducing them simply to raise revenue such as might be needed if the province suffers a revenue loss, even if it is in some other area such as if the feds cut back on funding for universities.

Since the minister is stating plainly he sees user fees simply as a revenue-raising device and not as something that affects the utilization of health care -- and I see he is nodding his head yes -- would he explain why, if Ontario finds itself in need of revenue, he has decided it should be the sick and the elderly, the main users of health care, who shall make up the revenue losses to Ontario rather than the population in general?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, that is not the case at all. If the Leader of the Opposition looks at the legislation passed in the 1960s on which the health care systems in all provinces are based, he will find there is reference to user fees in the four or five principles that underpin medicare. Even in the days when Mr. Pearson, Mr. Trudeau and their respective Ministers of Health and Welfare were establishing the national medicare plan, they envisaged there would be user fees. I cannot remember the exact wording, but one of the principles was that they should not be so great as to deter people.

The Leader of the Opposition is quite right. I do not believe that properly developed and applied user fees deter utilization. I do not believe it has worked anywhere in the world where they have set out to try to deter utilization through a system of deterrent fees. In fact, wherever they have tried it in the world, it has been an abysmal failure.

Even the existing user fees for chronic care, nursing home care and ambulances are a very small part of the almost $16 million a day that is spent on health care, but I believe they do have a place in the system.

2:30 p.m.

Mr. Smith: By way of supplementary, the minister will surely accept that there are only two possible reasons for user fees. One is to try to effect utilization of health care; the other is as a tax -- as a form of getting revenue into the coffers of the province. Surely it can only be one of those two reasons.

If the minister admits it is not going to effect utilization and has chosen to recommend this as a form of revenue raising, as opposed to increasing some other tax in the province, would he please explain why he believes this additional revenue should be drawn from those who use the health-care system? They are by and large, I am sure by his own admission, the sick and the elderly. Why would he draw the revenue from them instead of raising it from all the citizens of Ontario? Will the minister explain why he has chosen that group to bear whatever burden happens to fall on the province?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: First of all, Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is making the assumption that a decision has been made to expand on the existing user fees, and that is not the case.

Second, he is assuming that any additional user fees that might be introduced here or anywhere else in the country would impact in a negative way upon the decisions of individuals to seek whatever form of health care --

Mr. Smith: I did not say that.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: That seems to be implicit in what the member is saying. The experience here and in other provinces --


Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Excuse me, may I just carry on?

I would be glad to send the member a copy of a survey we did of existing user fees in those other provinces -- the study to which, I think, the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) was referring last week. He implied that we had commissioned consultants to look at user fees. I confirmed that this is not true. We had done a telephone survey of the other provincial governments and I can send the member a copy of the results which show what Saskatchewan, British Columbia and so on are doing.

I think the very people the member is speaking of realize the health-care system, as large and expensive as it is, must be paid for. I believe, from my experience with them, the very people of whom he speaks believe it is not wrong for us to pay our way and that in some instances user fees have a place in the system. I believe his party in fact supported user fees for chronic care, at the time the bill came in two or three years ago.

Mr. Conway: If there be honour across the hall, let the minister stand in his place and acknowledge that the report to which he has just made reference spoke to establishing equal treatment. It had nothing to do with endorsing the principle of a special tax on the sick; it had everything to do with equalizing treatment of patients in similar situations in varying parts of the health-care delivery system. He will want to put that on the record rather than leave the despicable impression that some of us endorse what he seems to want to endorse -- a special sick tax on the elderly, and particularly on women of child-bearing age.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: While people on this side of the House try to ensure provision of high-quality services of all types to all people in this province, clearly the member opposite has decided instead to engage in a game of mindless rhetoric. I would remind him of his press release of February 19, 1979, and of comments attributed to him in the Ottawa Citizen earlier that week, which supported the introduction of chronic-care copayment.

Mr. McClellan: By way of supplementary: I am confused by an aside of the minister. Is it not a fact that his strategic research branch has hired consultants to do cost analysis of hospital user fees? Does he not agree that hospital user fees are either deterrent fees or a sick tax? Does he not agree with the Hall commission, that the policy and practice of imposing hospital ward charges is an application of the user-pay concept which is contrary to the principle and spirit of the national health program advocated by the royal commission and legislated into being by the federal Medical Care Act, 1966?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I cannot quote verbatim what was said in the royal commission in 1964, but I do not doubt that commission did not advocate any form of user fee.

I know that in the legislation that was passed, the Medical Care Act and the Health Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act, which together form the underpinning of the medicare system of the country, they did refer to user fees.

As an example for the member's information, when we introduced the chronic care copayment, before we made any announcement at all we checked with the officials of the Department of National Health and Welfare and said we wanted to be sure that, in its opinion, this would not in any way run contrary to the principles of medicare. We were told it would not and we proceeded.

To answer the member's first question: When he asked the question last week, with respect, he rolled in something to do with health service organizations. Quite frankly, the way the member asked the question I found it rather confusing. On going back to the ministry, I immediately had it checked with Dr. LeBlanc, the head of the branch, who confirmed what I suspected, namely, that he has not engaged any consultants to carry out any studies on user fees.

What they had done at my request a number of months ago was to do a phone survey of the various provincial departments of health from coast to coast to find out what they were doing. I would be happy to send the member a copy of the summary of that survey, which would show him what is happening in each of the provinces.

One example I gave him last week was that, on July 1, Saskatchewan introduced user fees or copayment for nursing homes and chronic care which are roughly equivalent to what we introduced about three years ago.

Mr. Smith: Will the minister try to shed light rather than confusion on this issue? Will he admit that he is considering user fees, not to affect the utilization of the health service but simply as a revenue-raising device? Will he admit such a revenue-raising device will raise revenue from the sick and the elderly in a disproportionate way as compared with the general population?

That surely is obvious. If the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) simply feels they are the appropriate persons to make up the need for provincial revenue, will the Minister of Health explain why he thinks those are the appropriate people to make up this provincial need for revenue?

Will he admit that what he seems to be saying is that there is some moral obligation on the user of a service to be somehow or other picked on to make up this revenue shortfall in Ontario? Why is he picking on the elderly and the sick in Ontario to make up for Ontario's needed additional revenue?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: First of all, the Leader of the Opposition very well might want to end a letter to the Minister of National Health and Welfare, the federal Minister of Finance or the Prime Minister, if he is in the country, and ask why they would do that by cutting off funds to the provinces?

No decision has been taken about the introduction of any additional user fees. It is an option we have to keep open. It is not an option that would be designed to deter the sick, the elderly or anybody else from necessary utilization of the system. If he will look at the way we have very carefully planned where these already exist, there are instances where there is a justifiable rationale for applying some modest fees for those who use the system.

This is not to deter. Certainly, as an admittedly minor component in the financing of the system, it contributes a very small percentage of the overall cost of health care. But there is a place for it.

2:40 p.m.


Mr. Speaker: A new question from the member for --

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Scarborough West.

Mr. Speaker: Right; the member for Scarborough West.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: I realize it is unusual to have a leadoff question from the back row, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: You are right. I was looking at the front.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Soon it will be from the front, we hope, and soon it will be the same over there too.

Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Community and Social Services. Last December, his ministry announced a 10-point package of day-care initiatives. These were reannounced as the election came along, as is the custom with Tories, no doubt to show their strong support of day-care services in the province.

Now that 10 months have passed since the announcement, will the ministry reconfirm its commitment to day care? Or will the minister today confirm or deny the following: that no projects on family group care have been selected as yet; that no proposals for informal care pilot projects have been funded yet; that no infant care money has yet been spent; and that no public proposals for public education projects have yet been accepted? And will the minister confirm that not only have they not spent any money on capital and startup costs but also they have not even set up the guidelines for those costs yet?

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, on the last question, the guidelines have been set up and sent out. In answer to the first five questions, we are in the process of accepting proposals in various areas of the province right now.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: A very late development. I know the minister does not like multiple-choice questions, but I have a two-sided supplementary.

Is it not true that of the $850,000 allocated for public education -- and I quote the previous minister's statement: "for things like brochures, local workshops and seminars" -- $750,000 is destined for a television advertising campaign for the Ministry of Community and Social Services on day care, leaving only approximately $20,000 for all of the Toronto region, or about a third of what the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) spent on leaflets and media alone to sell himself in his last campaign?

Although we all welcome the initiatives that were announced to provide spaces for handicapped children across the province, can the minister deny that Metro Toronto, which picked up this idea and provided spaces for 20 handicapped kids in January, has yet to receive one red cent from the minister for that program?

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I do not know anything about a television program that is going to take up the bulk of the funds. The funds will be spent as announced by the previous minister when he committed those amounts of money back in December 1980.

Mr. MacDonald: In which year are they going to spend it?

Hon. Mr. Drea: I am not in the habit of carrying over money from one financial year to the next.

Mr. Nixon: It's illegal, isn't it?

Hon. Mr. Drea: That is right.

With regard to those programs -- the brochures and the proposals that were going to come forward -- we proceeded very carefully with those. We wanted to be absolutely sure that the guidelines, the information and the proposals that were going out would be meaningful to the people who were interested in the provision of these services, and they have gone out.

In regard to the question about the handicapped, I will check into it and give the honourable member a reply.

Ms. Bryden: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: Supplementary; the member for Essex South (Mr. Mancini). The member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden).

Mr. McClellan: You are close.

Mr. Speaker: No. As a matter of fact, he had indicated earlier --

Ms. Bryden: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Regardless of the name, I am pleased to be honoured and recognized.

Since the minister set aside $450,000 as incentives for associations and agencies to provide supervised private home day care for infants, and since I am sure he is aware there are almost no spaces for children under two in existing licensed day-care facilities, can he tell us how many new spaces for infants have been provided as a result of the incentive program he announced last December?

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I will have to get the detailed information on that, and I will forward it to the honourable member.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Surely that is an easy number for the minister to find; the number is zero, and it is quite easy for him to determine that.

In terms of the care the minister is taking in looking at these requests for public education programs, is it not true that from the Toronto area alone, the central district alone, he has already received 60 applications and that he has not funded any of them or given them any notice as to when they are going to get funding?

Hon. Mr. Drea: As I said, a great number of proposals are coming in; most of them are recent proposals. They are all being evaluated, and the ones with the priorities will be funded. It is the same right across the province.

If the member wants to get into a position today of saying he wants universal free day care, the answer is no.


Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, my other question is for the Minister of Health. It regards the present housing crisis in Toronto, affecting especially ex-psychiatric patients but also others, both for long-term and emergency shelter.

As early as June of this year, it was shown that more than 300 spaces had been lost in the Parkdale area in Metropolitan Toronto over the past two years. Is the minister aware that, since September, all the emergency housing facilities in Toronto have been either turning away people or accommodating more people than they are funded for? For instance, Seaton House on October 14 had 25 men sleeping on the floor, and the Toronto Community Hostel on October 15 turned away three single men, five couples, two families and one single woman, in terms of the people who were coming to them that day?

What is the minister going to do immediately to provide emergency housing, and how many spaces will he be providing in the next few weeks?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, in the main I think the question might better be put to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett) or the Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea).

As far as the question of former psychiatric patients is concerned, let us clear the record with regard to the figures the honourable member is throwing out there. We are not talking just about people who have had a psychiatric diagnosis at one time or another; it could be people who have various problems that have led to their need for emergency housing.

As regards those people who are in need of emergency housing who are indeed people with a psychiatric diagnosis and need a form of supervision, we have taken steps.

First, we have established an assessment unit at Queen Street Mental Health Centre to assess those in need.

Second, we are taking steps to make use of a couple of the currently vacant cottages on the site of Whitby Psychiatric Hospital for immediate accommodation.

Third, we are working with the Supportive Housing Coalition, which is developing a proposal for a program that will include housing for, I believe, about 30 people.

Fourth, we will be advertising very soon for proposals for an expansion of our homes for special care program in the Metropolitan Toronto area of 120 more beds. We will be calling for proposals of maximum 30-bed locations.

At this point, quite frankly, it is difficult to get a firm fix on how many people are indeed in this category; that is, people who have had a psychiatric illness and diagnosis who are in need of assistance with housing.

Between the initiatives being undertaken by the housing coalition, which we support, the proposal call that we will issue and the availability immediately of housing on the grounds of Whitby, we believe that we will be able to assist those people.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: It was my understanding that the minister had been taking responsibility for the short-term emergency housing needs at the moment and that there was going to be a combined interministerial task force looking towards the long range.

On Friday, my researcher called Mr. Boddington in the minister's office and was told that contingency funding for emergency winter housing was being considered but it would be provided as the need is proven. If the need has not been proven by the statistics brought to the minister this summer or by the statistics that are available for September in terms of emergency housing problems -- most of those shelter centres, by the way, are saying that they are not --

Mr. Speaker: Does the member for Scarborough West have a question?

Mr. R. F. Johnston: I do, yes.

Mr. Speaker: Please get on with it.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Most of those centres say they are not dealing with psychiatric patients.

2:50 p.m.

If the minister does not think the need has been proven, will he please accept this latest bit of information and statistics being provided today?

Last night around 12:15, acting on a tip, the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) and myself went to the city of Toronto parking garage here in Toronto. We discovered, to our horror and dismay, 22 individuals sleeping in the stairwells in that area. We had been warned about this and had been told it was the case. There were a wide variety of men of many ages.

If this is happening in the one area alone, 22 people sleeping in stairwells, God knows how many others are in other heated areas around Metropolitan Toronto. Will the minister not recognize that we have an emergency crisis right now needing immediate action and not needing to be pushed between one ministry and another?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I do not mean to infer that it is, but if the member went to ask the other ministers who are dealing with the municipalities with respect to all forms of housing, I think he will find they are indeed aware of the problems.

In recent months, the social services committee of the Metropolitan Toronto council and the Metro chairman have been working on this problem and considering what they might do. I know the member knows that Toronto tends to be a place to which people do congregate from around the province, and there is problem there.

What I was trying to outline for the member was what we are doing in the Ministry of Health to assist those individuals who in most cases may have been at one time or another in a psychiatric facility, whether a provincial or a community one, but are in need of some form of supervised housing accommodation.

We are taking the steps I have outlined. I will not presume to answer for the other ministers, but I think the member may want to redirect his question to them for the other aspects of the problem. We are aware, though, that it is more than just the people with whom I am dealing in my ministry.

Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, surely the minister is willing to concede that this problem is being addressed not on an individual ministry basis but through the mechanism of an interministerial committee comprising senior officials of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Community and Social Services; so buck passing in here is not very adequate.

Surely the minister will also concede that the figures he threw out today and given by his parliamentary assistant, the member for Sudbury (Mr. Gordon), in his speech to the Canadian Mental Health Association last Friday -- the 120 new homes for special care beds and the cottages at Whitby -- do not even begin to replace the beds that have been lost over the past two years. They do not begin to replace the --

Mr. Speaker: Does the member for Bellwoods have a question?

Mr. McClellan: What kind of policy is it that discharges psychiatric patients into cottages on the grounds of a psychiatric hospital? Surely the minister concedes that he has not begun to address the problem in a serious way.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: First, Mr. Speaker, the member implies by the way he frames his questions that all the places that have been lost this year in boarding homes that have closed -- either because of the real estate market in the spring when the owners decided, rather than meeting the municipal bylaws, to sell and get out, or for whatever reason -- were occupied by people who at one time or another had had a --

Mr. McClellan: No, I do not.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: In case somebody took that inference from it, let me correct that, because that is not the case.

Second, in dealing with a variety of organizations concerned about mental health issues, the estimates of the numbers actually in need have been all over the map. Nobody really has a good fix on how many people are actually in need.

We have these facilities available on the grounds of Whitby, a couple of cottages wherein we can accommodate about 50 people as an immediate short-term response. For the longer term, we have the proposal being developed by the housing coalition and proposals that will be submitted to us in response to the proposal call that we will publish in the next few weeks. The more we get into it, the longer the assessment unit is at work, the better we will be able to determine how many, perhaps beyond what we are already planning, need assistance for the longer term.

In regard to the question of the interministerial committee, yes, we sat down with the other ministries to ask them to assist us in looking at our problem of how to deal with people discharged from psychiatric facilities, and they were of great assistance to us.

There are, of course, other programs, particularly the domiciliary hospital program of the Ministry of Community and Social Services, through which the municipalities fund the existing emergency shelters, such as Seaton House, and could fund others; the province puts up 80 per cent and the municipality 20 per cent.

I am not trying to suggest for a moment that there is not a problem, because I know there is. But I am saying to the member that in my ministry I am able to deal with the problems of a particular segment of the population through the legislative authority I have. Other aspects of the problem are dealt with in other ministries.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: I would like to know what the theory is behind sending people out to Whitby again. Surely, if we have a program of deinstitutionalization and moving them into the community, what we need to do is to provide support in the community, not to send them back to cottages at Whitby. What is the theory behind sending people from Toronto out to Whitby, if I understand the statement by the minister's assistant on the weekend?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: It is very simple. It is a matter of what is available for immediate use. We have had people beating the bushes for the last month to six weeks to see what buildings are available in Toronto that could accommodate at least as many people. There is nothing available that would meet the municipal bylaws or that would meet reasonable standards. We have these facilities available. They have been maintained, but they have not been used for some time. They are there now, and we can open them fairly quickly.

I thought the member was saying, and I agree, that for some people there is a crisis now, and it is not a matter of waiting six months or whatever until zoning can be approved or a building is renovated. The problem is now for some people, and we are going to deal with that now. Our other proposals, working with the housing coalition in this proposal to which I referred, will deal with the longer term.


Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development. Is the minister, as a northerner and as the minister for resources development, satisfied with the government's policy with regard to forest land management in northern Ontario?

We are falling 100,000 acres behind every year in forest regeneration, huge clear-cuts of up to 50,000 acres are leaving deserts in northern Ontario and are ruining the habitat for fish and wildlife, and the allowable cut will peter out by the year 2000, at the latest, at the rate we are going. What is the ministry doing about forest management?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I thought the honourable member would wait until tomorrow, when the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope) will be in the House, to ask such a question, as the minister is certainly in a better position to respond to it.

Speaking on a personal basis, I have to say that I am concerned about the problems expressed by my colleague. But I am also very confident that the new initiatives introduced by the minister will help to improve the problem. I think that we are certainly making progress in that respect.

Mr. T. P. Reid: I wonder if the minister has been reading the Globe and Mail and Doug Fisher in the Sun, and has listened to what I have had to say. Perhaps he could tell us what these new initiatives are.

Does the minister not see the deserts expanding under his eyes as he flies home every weekend to Sault Ste. Marie? Is he not concerned that there is not going to be enough forest cover, that at present cutting rates he will see, in his lifetime, nothing but a desert in northern Ontario and his kids and their kids will not see a tree growing there if present government policies are followed?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I cannot agree with what my colleague is saying. I certainly share his concerns, but I do not think we are ever going to be in the position he has described. I have read the articles in the Globe and Mail. In fact, I cut them out, reduced them and sent them to several of my constituents.

An hon. member: You recycled them.

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Recycled them; that is right.

Mr. Laughren: They sent them to you.

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: No. It is the other way around, absolutely.

I really feel I should hold that question and ask my colleague the Minister of Natural Resources to respond to it on another occasion.

3 p.m.


Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, may I ask the Deputy Premier, in the absence of the Premier (Mr. Davis), to check and report back to this House the extent to which this government is monitoring and investigating the urgent needs of the Polish people. Will he report on the type of contact that has been set up with the Canadian Polish Congress to see that there is not a proliferation of programs and, more specifically, what type of help and assistance is planned or under way?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I will be very happy to follow up on that.

Mr. Mackenzie: Also, will the Deputy Premier agree that this government has room for serious initiatives in the areas of medical supplies, refugee settlement services and food? In his response, will the Deputy Premier spell out the government's plans in these specific areas as well?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Yes.


Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, a question to the Minister of Agriculture and Food. On September 17, I wrote to the Premier, drawing to his attention the plight of farmers and small businessmen caused by high interest rates and compounded by adverse harvest conditions, lower yields and low prices. To date, the Premier has not responded.

Will the minister tell us what programs this government is planning to assist those farmers in coping with the very serious difficulties they are having at the present time?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, in response to the honourable member's question about a letter he wrote to the Premier on September 17, I do not have that letter. The Premier will respond to him at the appropriate time.

As to the latter part of his question, the member knows full well, as every member of this House knows, that the government of Ontario initiated a $40 payment to the beef farmers who sent beef for slaughter during 1980.

Mr. MacDonald: That's all they got.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: The honourable member over there knows it as well -- the asphalt farmer, not the cement farmer; he is not as secure as cement.

Mr. MacDonald: My credibility isn't as low among them as yours is.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: It hurts them to know the truth. They do not want the truth. They do not really want to help the farmer the way this party does. They know full well that in July of this year we announced a $20 stabilization payment to farmers who produced feeder cattle during 1980. They know full well that we estimate the beef farmer cost is $30 million. They know that the payment for feeder cattle is $10 million. And they know that we gave the sow-weaner producers some $7 million. Part of this was in our budget but, on top of our regular budget, we have $45 million in supplementary estimates to help cover this.

The honourable members know that the government of Canada suggested it would not permit any top loading. We had to go to Ottawa to get that straightened out --

Mr. Kerrio: You have to blame Whelan all the time.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: We have no assurance from the government of Canada that it will not deduct that portion from the payments to the farmers which might come about in another year, but we hope it will come about.

Regarding the high cost of interest, these members have short memories. We had a debate in estimates the other night, and I informed them that a week ago last Friday the federal Minister of Agriculture and I spent the forenoon together in my office on the eleventh floor at 801 Bay Street. He may say differently, but at that time, the federal minister left my staff and me with the impression that he would recommend to his colleagues in the government of Canada that more money should be made available to the Farm Credit Corporation, that more money should be made available to the individuals investing in farm credit and that there would be a tax incentive.

I asked Mr. Whelan when this would be known publicly. He could not give me any assurance. It seems to me I read something in the paper saying that two weeks from tomorrow there might just be a new federal budget. Let us hope the government of Canada sees the problems our farmers are facing. We have recognized them here in Ontario with an extra $45 million, with 60 per cent of our budget going in direct subsidy to the farmers, as most members know.

Mr. Riddell: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Failing a government response to the farm community, my question is, what programs is the minister planning to assist the farmers here in the province? Is he planning programs similar to those instituted in practically every other province to assist their farmers?

Can he explain to the farm community here in Ontario how this government can find millions of dollars to assist the auto industry, to assist the pulp and paper industry, to create a white elephant such as Minaki Lodge, to buy a jet for the Premier to fly around in, to pay for all the ridiculous government advertising we see on television and to put out this kind of trash here telling people how to buy a winter coat, and yet he cannot come up with one red cent to assist the farmers in this period of high interest rates, inflation, low yields --


Mr. Riddell: There are other farmers besides the beef farmers. What programs did he enunciate other than the program for the beef farmers? What is he going to do for the farmers?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, it is easy to see why that party is over there; it is because of the denseness that exists within it.

This honourable member knows full well that we have acted. It is not a matter of promises with our party; we have acted as a party. We have put out $45 million. How about the $25 million we lend annually for tile drainage at eight per cent? How about the $55 million annually in farm tax rebates? I could go on: the third grant for municipal drainage, building construction and what have you. The honourable member knows all this full well.

Mr. MacDonald: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: If the minister knows nothing about the letter to the Premier on September 17, may I ask him a question about something he presumably does know about? Is it accurate that this minister made a survey of the banks to find out what they could do on the high interest rate problem -- the focus of the question that is being put to him -- and the banks told him, as they told Mr. MacEachen in Ottawa, that only one per cent or less of the people are bothered or concerned or facing a problem?

Is that the answer the minister got? If that is the answer he got, why is he sitting on that report? Why did we go through hours of estimates when he did not even tell us he had this information? Will he table that report so that we find out exactly what the banks say, since Eugene Whelan, the minister and everybody else think the banks should bleed a bit to help this situation?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member is as wrong as he usually is. This government has never suggested to the banks that they should be doing something. This government recognizes --

Mr. MacDonald: You're even behind the federal Liberals, and you know how far behind they are.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, I had one member of my staff -- no royal commission, no big report -- speak to the bankers to find out how many farmers out there are having --

Mr. MacDonald: Is the minister going to table the report?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: There is no report. It is a verbal report to me by my own staff.

Mr. MacDonald: Well, a verbal report is not worth the paper it's written on.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: If the member wants, I will table it right now.


Hon. Mr. Henderson: My own staff interviewed the banks, not the individual farmers, to find out the actual problem being faced by the farm people out there.


Hon. Mr. Henderson: I do not mind saying what I told the press, if it will help the honourable member. I told the press that the information the banks supplied us with is that about one per cent of the farmers out there --

Mr. MacDonald: Why didn't you tell us in estimates?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: The member never asked me. He was not interested.

About one per cent of the farmers out there could have real financial problems. That is what I told the press, Mr. Speaker, and there is no report.

3:10 p.m.


Mr. Swart: My question is to the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I assume the minister is aware that the price paid to the farmer for milk will increase by two cents a litre on November 1. I am also sure the minister is aware that in the past two or three increases to farmers, dairies and supermarkets have piggybacked increases of their own that far exceeded what the farmers got. In fact, in the last two increases, the dairies and supermarkets got 8.75 cents while the farmer got only 6.25 cents.

If they follow that pattern this time, it will mean the price of a litre of milk will have increased by more than 30 per cent in less than 15 months. It has now been seven weeks since the announcement of the two-cent increase was made. Can the minister tell this House what the retail price is going to be on November 1 and what steps he has taken to ensure that once again the dairies do not apply their own excessive markup?

Hon. Mr. Walker: I thought the honourable member would be able to tell us the price in Buffalo today or something like that. I do not have the figure with respect to the retail price on November 1.

Mr. Swart: Surely that answer is not good enough. Does the minister not realize that all other provinces, with one or two exceptions, do exercise control over what the dairies charge? The retail price in Quebec is about five cents a litre less than it is here before our new markup takes effect. They have control over it.

Does the minister not realize that competition is fast disappearing? In 12 years, the number of dairy companies in Ontario has dropped from 160 to 35. Most cities have only one dairy and sometimes when there are two, as in the minister's own city of London, they are owned by one company. Silverwood owns both dairies there. Dairy profits are up tremendously. Dominion Dairies' were up 16.5 per cent last year, Becker Milk's were up 74 per cent in the last two years and Silverwood's were up 111 per cent in the last two years.

In view of this situation, will the minister now intervene, tell the dairies the markup on November 1 will be only the two cents to the farmer, do some investigation and permit only a markup that can be totally justified by the dairies and supermarkets at a later date?

Hon. Mr. Walker: I wonder if the honourable member could repeat his question.

Mr. Swart: I would be glad to. I am not usually accused of speaking so quietly that the minister could not hear my question.

I asked the minister whether he realized that all other provinces, with one or two exceptions, have some control over what dairies and supermarkets charge. Does he not realize that competition is fast decreasing in this province when the number of dairies has actually dropped from 160 to 35 in just 12 years? Does he not realize that profits of the dairies have been increasing tremendously? I will not repeat those figures, but in view of that situation, will the minister not intervene and tell the dairies that the markup on November 1 is to be only the two cents to the farmers? Will he do some investigation and permit only a markup by the dairies for their own purposes which can be totally justified?

Hon. Mr. Walker: I know the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson) might want to rise in a supplementary response to the member's general assertions.

I would make a general comment about the profits of the dairies. The member mentioned that Siiverwood's profits have escalated and he mentioned Becker Milk. The money earned there is not on the basis of the dairy product but on the basis of the variety stores they have -- in the case of Silverwood and in the case of Mac's. It might be more useful if the member were to go back and take a look at his figures.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: On a point of personal privilege, Mr. Speaker: I would like to correct the record. The honourable member is misleading the House. Taking the town of Barrie as an example, I have all the records here for 1977 to 1980. In 1977, a three-quart pack of milk in Barrie was $1.62, in 1978 it was $1.73, in 1979 it was $1.72 and in 1980 it was $1.89. In the four years it increased about 20 per cent. The only other comment I feel must be made at this time is that recently the Ontario Milk Marketing Board did a survey of the percentage the farmers received from the quart of milk one purchased.

Mr. Swart: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I am wondering under what parliamentary procedure two ministers are allowed to answer one question when a supplementary is not allowed on the question from the opposition side.

Mr. Speaker: He rose on a point of privilege to correct the record. He stated that clearly.

Mr. Martel: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: If you will check Hansard, you will find that the Minister of Agriculture and Food said he was rising in his place because my colleague was misleading the House. I do not think that is parliamentary and I would ask him to withdraw it.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, I was rising so these members would not misunderstand what had been said. If what is going in the microphone quotes them to say they were misleading the House, I did not want the members on this side to get the wrong interpretation and so I just want to clarify what I believe.

The final part of what I want to say is that farmers in Ontario this year get 64 per cent of any money that one pays for milk as a consumer. There is no other place in the world to reach that point.

Mr. Martel: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I listened carefully to the minister and maybe I missed it, but I do not know where he withdrew his comment that my colleague was misleading the House. Under the standing rules, neither the minister nor anyone else in this Legislature is allowed to stand in his place and accuse another member of deliberately misleading the House. I asked you to ask the minister to withdraw his comments.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: On a point of order, Mr.

Speaker: I would like to correct the record.

Mr. MacDonald: A point of order, Mr. Speaker: My supplementary question which was denied me deals specifically with the point he is dealing with, on which he got up for his so-called clarification.

Mr. Speaker: New question, the member for Kitchener-Wilmot.


Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education. My question deals with the need for a francophone school in the Orleans section of Carleton county. Can the minister explain why this rapidly growing area has recently had four English schools built but not one francophone school, despite the fact two of these English schools have an enrolment capacity at the present time of only 53 per cent, while the two French schools to which these children are now being bused have capacities of 126 per cent and 119 per cent respectively?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, the decision taken to assist in the development of new schools is based upon the recommendation of the school board and the examination of that recommendation by the regional office.

It is my understanding that the request that came through from the Carleton Board of Education specifically placed those schools that have been constructed in order of priority. The priority for this year, I believe, is the francophone school. It was on the advice of that school board, the examination of the demography of the area and the recommendation of the regional office that that funding was provided.

The allegations which the honourable member has made related to the occupancy of two of the schools within that board's jurisdiction are ones I have heard from only one other source and that is from a group of francophone parents who are attempting to pressure the Carleton board into building that school immediately.

I have asked the Carleton board and the regional office for verification of those figures. I do not know that they are correct at this point. Therefore, I think it would be unwise to utilize those figures in any public kind of forum.

3:20 p.m.

Mr. Sweeney: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Madam Minister, it is my understanding that the francophone school has been the number one priority of the Carleton board. It is simply saying that, given the population density in that area of francophone students, it is reasonable that one of those schools should be a francophone school, especially since it is the number one priority of that board.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I reiterate that the allocation of funding for the building of schools is granted on the basis of the recommendation and the prioritizing established by the board within the area. That is not done by the Ministry of Education. It has been on that basis that those schools were built.

Mr. Sweeney: But it is the number one priority.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: This year, not last year.


Mr. Laughren: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Labour. I wonder whether he is aware of a situation that exists near the small community of Chapleau, in which two lumber companies merged. Shortly after they merged, the employees of one of the companies were told they would have jobs as long as there were trees in the bush. I was up in the bush this weekend, Mr. Speaker, and there are many trees there, but out of the 50 to 100 employees, only 12 have jobs left. Those who were transferred to the new company were demoted and paid $1 an hour less. They were given a 30-day eviction notice from their homes.

I am wondering whether the minister is going to allow this kind of practice to occur, particularly in northern Ontario, in a small community and where it involves companies that have no unions to represent the workers.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of the particulars the honourable member is talking about. If he will give me the details, I will be glad to review them and report to the House.

Mr. Laughren: Could I have a final supplementary. Mr. Speaker?

Mr. Speaker: No. The time for oral questions has expired.



Hon. Mr. Snow moved that Bill 52, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act, be withdrawn.

Motion agreed to.



Hon. Mr. Snow moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Welch, first reading of Bill 150, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act.

Motion agreed to.



Mr. Williams, on behalf of Hon. Mr. Ashe, moved second reading of Bill 80, An Act to amend the Retail Sales Tax Act.

Mr. Speaker: Does the member have an opening statement?

Mr. Williams: I have a brief opening statement, Mr. Speaker. This bill contains an amendment to the Retail Sales Tax Act that will implement the proposal by the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) in his budget of May 19, 1981, to exempt kits sold for the conversion of gasoline or diesel-powered vehicles into vehicles powered exclusively by alternative fuels.

As well, Mr. Speaker, we have taken this opportunity to introduce a number of administrative changes to the act, which I think will improve understanding and simplify procedures for the taxpayer. The bill also provides clarification for exemptions dealing with magazines and the construction of real property by a university, school or public hospital, and also for the refund process involved therein. The procedure for filing notices of objection has also been simplified.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Speaker, I want to add a few remarks on Bill 80, An Act to amend the Retail Sales Tax Act, and to say that we on this side in the Liberal Party will be supporting the bill in principle. I want to indicate to the honourable members on the other side that the Liberal Party has consistently advocated an energy policy based on conservation and the development of alternative and renewable energy resources.

We have also recognized the need to cushion individual consumers from the effects of drastic and painful price hikes. Our commitment to conservation and renewable energy has been set out in our comprehensive report on fuel alcohol and energy alternatives for Ontario in 1980, as well as our proposals that Ontario Hydro incorporate the life-line principle to replace the existing declining-block-rate system.

There is one question I want to direct to the parliamentary assistant that relates to the conversion job for a person who wants to convert from gasoline to propane gas, for example. Sometimes the kits may serve a dual purpose. A person may adapt a certain type of kit whereby he can switch from gasoline to propane as the need requires. In some places in Ontario, one may not be able to get propane while gasoline is available.

I notice, and in particular my colleague the member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) has noticed, that the Niagara Regional Police have converted a number of their vehicles to propane gas and they have been very successful in energy conservation. This has been shown particularly by the Niagara police force. I want to commend their steps in moving in that direction.

There are other areas. We looked at natural gas, which can be used in conversions for use in automobiles. It can be used in both instances. By using a switch on a certain type of valve, energy resources can be provided from both containers: the gasoline tank and the tank for the natural gas, which may be pressurized. In this area, does this include the retail sales tax? Does the sales tax not apply?

Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if I am entirely clear as to the honourable member's question. Was the question whether a conversion kit would be exempt as well as the cost of the installation of the components?

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): Is the member for Oriole (Mr. Williams) rising on a point of order? You will have a chance to respond to the speakers after they have all had their opportunities.

Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, it was my intention to do so but it seemed the member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty) was seeking a clarification at this point. I will hold that until later. I will perhaps respond to that in greater detail later.

The Acting Speaker: When you respond to the members speaking on the bill, you can do it all at once.

Mr. Stokes: Mr. Speaker, I just want to say that we will be supporting the bill.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, I understand there are a number of gasoline-powered automobiles that have been converted to use other fuels of the type covered in the section, but that the gasoline capability has been maintained because some of these fuels cannot be readily purchased and put in a car. As long as they can run on a cheaper fuel, the owner has the advantage of it, of course, and will use it. On a trip into an area without these fuels, he maintains the capability of a changeover to gasoline, which seems to be sensible.

I gather the bill will not permit the rebate of the tax if the automobile or the vehicle uses both fuels. I suggest that might really be a detriment to the utilization of the opportunity by people who might want to convert and maintain the gasoline capability as well. It is just one of the things that occurred to me when I read the bill, and perhaps the minister might respond to that point when he speaks.

3:30 p.m.

Mr. Charlton: Mr. Speaker, my comments on this bill will not be too lengthy, but I thought it was appropriate that I make a few comments.

Mr. Nixon: Well, the honourable member's party has already contributed to the debate.

Mr. Charlton: The party may have, but I have not.

I thought at least one of the provisions of this bill was particularly interesting in the context of a debate we had in this Legislature some year and a half ago around the 1980 budget and the changes to the Retail Sales Tax Act that emanated from that budget. These were the provisions that set out an exemption from the Retail Sales Tax Act for vehicles "built for the use of" and not, as set out in this bill, for vehicles "converted to." That whole debate ranged around the question of conservation and the fuel situation in this country.

We took the position when discussing that bill a year and a half ago that the exemption only for vehicles built for the use of natural gas, methanol, etcetera, as opposed to gasoline was a joke; that those vehicles were just not available or at least were not readily or widely available in Ontario.

We argued both in this House and through an exchange of correspondence with the then Minister of Revenue that this provision was a joke, that it just did not enable the people of Ontario to take advantage of the conservation techniques that existed.

We argued that the exemption should include the ability to convert existing vehicles and that the exemption should apply to whatever materials were required to make the conversion in order to be able to conserve fuels.

We were told at the time by the government that our approach was just not appropriate, that it was just too hard to police.

Well, it is very nice to see and very heartening to see that the debate a year and a half ago and the subsequent exchange of correspondence and specific examples with the Minister of Revenue have finally led to some rationality on the other side of the House, to some understanding of the real needs for fuel conservation.

Section 2 of this bill contains exactly the kinds of exemptions we were asking for a year and a half ago, exactly the kinds of exemptions we talked about as being the only conservation-intended exemptions that the people of Ontario could easily take advantage of in any kind of effort to make conservation in their personal transportation a reality.

It has been a long process over the last year and a half. It is nice to be able to come from a position where the government is saying, "You are irresponsible for the things you suggest," to a position where the government has accepted exactly what one suggested in the first place.

It is nice to understand clearly that one can be yelled at and branded and yet, if one continues the argument and provides specific examples to point out the error of their ways, from time to time one can influence the heavy-handed and insensitive thinking of the government of this province.

It is a useful process. It would be much more useful and much more acceptable if we did not have to go through needless delays to achieve these kinds of logical understandings in a tax like the Retail Sales Tax Act.

There are a number of areas where we have suggested changes in this act for exemptions to encourage conservation, safety and a range of other items. I recall that, during the same debate a year and a half ago, when my colleague the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) attempted to get up and discuss an exemption that was not contained in the act, and she was ruled out of order by the Speaker.

But there is a rather significant list of items or areas where exemptions should be extended or at least altered. For example, there is the question of exemptions on children's clothing by size as opposed to age. This creates some really serious problems in the whole exemption process, where one has oversized children who are no longer able to get the exemption and undersized adults who can take advantage of exemptions that were never intended for their benefit.


Mr. Charlton: The member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) just suggested that his wife does that -- through no fault of her own, of course; it just happens because of the size of the clothes she wears. She is not asked to pay the tax or to sign any affidavit as to her age; she simply buys a size that fits her, and she is exempt because of her size. This is certainly ridiculous: in fact, it is reverse discrimination against those of us who belong to the short part of the world.

However, the whole point of this discussion revolves around exemptions and whether the approach this government has taken to exemptions is logical or whether it has just taken the route that it views administratively as the easiest and most expedient. Obviously the latter is true rather than the former. The case in point about children's clothing is an example of that: they took that route because it was the administratively easy route.

The government took the same route in relation to exemptions on energy conservation in private vehicles a year and a half ago. It was easier to administer than allowing exemptions on conversions, because there are all kinds of different ways to convert vehicles, and they just felt it would be a little difficult for them to keep on top of.

I think that speaks to the whole need on the part of the Ministry of Revenue to sit down and think about why we want exemptions in the first place and what the exemptions are intended to do to serve the people of Ontario.

If we are going to have exemptions to serve particular situations, then they have to effectively serve that situation and not the administrative needs of the Ministry of Revenue necessarily. If we have to go into a little more difficult process to provide some exemptions, so be it if this House has decided that the exemption is worth it to serve a particular economic, political and/or social need.

In the case of this exemption over the conversion of motor vehicles, it is basically a political and economic need, but the way we are now dealing with it is the only logical approach as opposed to the approach that was taken a year and a half ago, an approach that provided no reality except for a very small proportion of the population -- half or one per cent -- who could find what the act called for, because they just didn't exist anywhere.

It is a bill that we can support, but I felt it necessary to make that point.

3:40 p.m.

Just as one last illustration of the point we are trying to make in terms of exemptions and how exemptions are approached and handled by the ministry, my colleague the member for Beaches-Woodbine raised the matter related to restraining devices for youngsters in automobiles.

I cannot think of anybody in this House who does not want to see family automobiles equipped with child restraints that are effective and useful in giving children safe travel in the family car. We talked about an exemption for these devices, and yet we see nothing from the government, even though on repeated occasions it has expressed an interest in providing that kind of safety.

In the case of retail sales tax, it is a question of trying to use the exemption process under this tax to really fulfil a purpose when a purpose or need is perceived, as opposed to trying to structure the exemptions to suit the administrative approach of the Ministry of Revenue in making the process easy for that ministry.

Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I have just a brief comment to make as it relates to the bill; it is really a bit of an extension of the question of the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk about the part of the bill that says the vehicle should operate exclusively on an alternative fuel.

This is only coming about because of the difficulty of meeting the increases in oil and those fuels. Very often in our society we do things to combat a certain situation. The government is using good judgement here in deciding that we should encourage those people to use alternative fuels, but the part that says "exclusively" leaves out many of those people in this nation who are entrepreneurs, or innovators, if you will.

There are certain fuels that will not burn exclusively in an engine. Those fuels that require a startup on gasoline or some other fuel in order to use that viable alternative source are brought into question under this bill. The minister, through his assistant, would be well advised to look at that part of the bill. It would certainly encourage those entrepreneurs and innovators to come up with burning alternative fuels if it did not have the exclusive part of the bill so clearly defined in that manner.

Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I want to underline what my colleague the member for Hamilton Mountain said, which is that the sales tax bill should be used for social purposes as well as for revenue purposes. This bill is being used in that way by bringing in a special exemption for conservation and switching to alternative fuels.

With regard to some of the other exemptions he mentioned, I would like to remind the minister that on Thursday the House passed a motion in favour of bringing in legislation requiring child restraints in automobiles to be mandatory. Since that was passed almost unanimously by the House, I hope that we can expect legislation of that sort very soon and that the Minister of Revenue will then consider a sales tax exemption for those devices when they do become mandatory so that the burden on parents will be somewhat lessened.

Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, if I might respond to the specific questions posed by a number of members, it appears the main interest in the bill is its main feature dealing with the tax exemption that will be available for the purchase of these conversion kits to convert vehicles to the use of fuels other than gasoline or diesel fuel.

The members may note that the wording of the amendment provides that "tangible personal property sold as a conversion kit to be used to convert any vehicle powered by a gasoline or diesel engine into a vehicle that meets all of the requirements for exemption under paragraph 14" is of some significance when it refers specifically to paragraph 14. It is paragraph 11b that clearly spells out the conditions under which this new section will come into play.

First and foremost, of course, the vehicle in question must be required to be licensed under the Highway Traffic Act. In coming to the question raised by the member for Erie (Mr. Haggerty) and the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon), the second condition is that the vehicle "be operated exclusively on electricity or on fuel from ethyl alcohol, methyl alcohol, natural gas or manufactured gas" and that the vehicle "not be capable of being operated on gasoline or diesel fuel."

The existing section to which this amendment will relate makes it quite clear. The member for Erie and the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk pointed out in their questioning that they questioned the wisdom of making sure the conversion kit was exclusive in nature and that, in effect, one could only convert one way. That is the intent of the section. There will not be a dual-purpose feature in the kits that would be subject to the exemption that is proposed. In answer to the member for Erie, the exemption is for single-purpose kits only.

I know there have been some recent developments, not only in the past year or the past few months but also in recent weeks, I guess, where some publicity has been given to a new technology that has been developed with a converter unit that will allow virtually any motor vehicle to be converted from one fuel to another by the flick of a switch. This particular amendment does not envisage that type of usage, which is strictly in an experimental stage.

The purpose of the amendment is to encourage people who have vehicles, whether in the industrial sector, the commercial sector or even for personal use, to convert and stay converted to the use of off-oil fuel. To allow it to be interchangeable would in large measure defeat the real purpose of the exercise.

So far, the research and development has indicated that there is much advantage to be gained, not only from reducing the dependence on and use of gas and diesel fuel but also in the way of reducing the operating costs of these vehicles that are converted to the off-oil alternative fuel.

While there is a great distance to go -- and that is conceded -- in developing these technologies nevertheless this government has taken great initiatives in that direction. I think it might be interesting for the members to be aware of some of these developments, which I would like to expand on for a few moments, if I might.

3:50 p.m.

The initiatives that are taken with this legislation really reflect the commitments that were made in the 1980 budget and, in more recent times, in the development of our new five-year program under the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development initiatives. One of the main features of the BILD program that caught the attention, fancy and support of the public at large during the recent election campaign and the period subsequent to it was that which addressed itself to alternative transportation fuels.

I remind members of the House that at that time it was the announced intention of the government to initiate a five-year, 75-million alternative transportation fuel program. This amending legislation is simply one small, integral part of that program, which is being put in place as surely and quickly as possible. The program is investigating opportunities to be made with the use of not only propane but also ethanol, methanol, electricity and hydrogen.

There has been considerable debate in this House on previous occasions with regard to the use of these alternative fuels. The one that is being given immediate attention at this time and has caught the attention of the government and industry at large, of course, is the experimentation with the use of propane fuel. As other speakers mentioned earlier in the debate on the bill, there has been excellent co-operation between the government and the private sector. Through the initiatives of the Ministry of Energy, the Drive Propane program is moving ahead at a considerable pace. I would like to touch on that for a few moments, if I could.

On the basis of the information provided by the energy management unit of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, it is my understanding that there are today about 2,500 licensed vehicles in Ontario that are operated exclusively on propane. It is also estimated that there are 1,000 vehicles, both new and used, that would have obtained the benefit of the sales tax exemption during the period April 1980 to April 1981, amounting to an approximate revenue loss of about $1 million so far. We are not complaining about that, I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, because of the benefits that flow from the other side.

An average of about 1,000 in retail sales tax has been saved on the purchase of vehicles that have been outfitted with or converted to propane. We certainly think this revenue loss is secondary to the main purpose, which is to encourage the public at large to develop wider use and support of propane gas.

Mr. Kerrio: Will the member respond to my question?

Mr. Williams: I will be coming to it shortly.

It is interesting to note -- and I think the impatient member for Niagara Falls (Mr. Kerrio) will also find this of interest -- that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications has optimistically forecast that by 1985 there will be a targeted total of about 40,000 propane-operated vehicles in Ontario.

This forecast is dependent upon the advancement of technology and easy access to distribution outlets. These are the two main features that will bring that forecast to fruition. It is most important that it be understood there is still some advancement to be made in the technology. Of course, a part of the success will be dependent on a distribution system throughout the province.

The Ministry of Energy, as I mentioned a few moments ago, embarked on a very ambitious program. At the present time, there are a number of different companies involved in the Drive Propane demonstration. These are organizations within the private sector, companies in London, Ontario, Hamilton, Scarborough, North Bay, Cambridge and Toronto, of course, and involving large companies, such as Bell Canada, small cab companies and the Ministry of Transportation and Communications itself.

The ministry now has 27 propane-powered vehicles in its fleet around the province. Seven of these are in Thunder Bay, eight in Stratford, five in North Bay and seven in the Toronto area. The vehicles include a mixture of crew carriers, five-man camp pickups, half-ton express pickups, three-quarter and half-ton vans assigned to patrol work, transportation of work and survey crews, as well as a variety of other duties.

Twenty of the vehicles have been on the road since October. These are vehicles that were originally running on gasoline and had anywhere from 20,000 to 40,000 kilometres on the odometer when converted to propane. The remaining seven vehicles were already set up specially for propane when shipped to MTC in January.

While the cost of converting the first 20 vehicles was about $1,500 each, nevertheless the savings in the cost of fuel should pay for the conversion after about 30,000 miles. So the advantages will come back and will far outweigh the initial cost factors. This is what is encouraging companies in the private sector to get involved.

One of the most ambitious companies involved was Work Wear Corporation of Canada. It has vehicles that have been operating for some time now and was perhaps the earliest into the experimentation project. It has been getting increased mileage on its vehicles, from between 135,000 to 150,000 kilometres versus about 90,000 kilometres on gasoline, which is a very significant and marked improvement in the life of the vehicle, and the engines in particular.

At this time, I guess there are more than 200 vehicles in the demonstration program, including the MTC vehicles I have referred to, all of which are providing very useful technology and information that is helping us to further develop our potential and capacity in this field.

4 p.m.

The fact of the matter, however, is that there is hope that in the future we will be able to make a gigantic step forward when we are able to develop commercially the use of hydrogen fuel in transportation. As the members are aware, on Friday last week the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch) rose in the House to table the initial report on hydrogen. That will become one of the most significant studies that has been undertaken and is bringing us to a whole new era in the energy field.

Mr. Kerrio: Electrolysis?

Mr. Williams: That is the technique that will be used, of course, making use of our nuclear power facilities within the province. It has been recognized that one of the main areas of success in that area will be in the use of hydrogen as a transportation fuel. The significance of it is something that one should not overlook when we consider that Ontario uses about one third of the crude oil consumed in the whole of Canada. About one half of that -- that is, a sixth of all the transportation fuel in Canada -- is used in transportation in this province; so it is very important that we move in this direction as quickly as possible.

In the interim period, these other substitute fuels -- propane, which I have been talking about, electricity and the short-term use of ethanol and methanol -- will be fuels that will have a significant success and will permit us to start reducing this heavy reliance on oil, whether it is domestic or imported. That really is what this is all about.

I do not know how many members have had an opportunity to study the synopsis of the hydrogen report that was issued in conjunction with the minister's statement in the House on Friday, but it certainly is most encouraging. It indicates there is a great future for the use of hydrogen in the long term.

There is a five-year, $6.2-million contract out to develop hydrogen storage and fuel systems that will be used to equip two transit buses that are being developed by the ministry in conjunction with the Urban Transportation Development Corporation. That in itself is a most important and significant step that is being taken. It will help to bring about a proven commercial viability for the use of hydrogen in the movement of heavy transportation vehicles.

I have here an update on the initiatives that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications is taking with regard to the outfitting of these two buses. The UTDC will manage the program, as I indicated, with the Toronto Area Transit Operating Authority participating in the development to ensure that the vehicles will meet the needs of the users, which is first and foremost.

As the member for Niagara Falls indicated, the hydrogen will be produced either from natural gas or, more likely, through the electrolysis process, allowing for the fact that we have so much in the way of electrical energy available to us. Indeed, unbeknownst to the members of the opposition, that is one reason the capacity of the Bruce plant was brought to what it is, and its potential will be used for hydrogen generation and to be able to provide fuel to fuel the transportation needs of our province.

In any event, these alternatives are most appealing. Hydrogen can be used to fuel existing internal combustion engines with relatively minor modifications. Yet, it has to be conceded, further technology must still be developed. One of the biggest problems is the storage factor. That is probably what has inhibited a more aggressive use and development of hydrogen as a fuel, particularly in private motor vehicles. There is greater storage capacity available on larger commercial vehicles, and that is why it will probably develop in that field before we find ourselves using it in our own private vehicles. Based on the advances being made and the speed at which we are developing, by the end of the century that could well be the fuel by which the wheels of industry and commerce -- as well as pleasure -- will move in this country.

The exemption is to be for the conversion kits only. It is not extended to repair parts that may become available as the technology is developed. That has not become a factor yet. At this time it appears there is a total package kit available to which these exemptions will apply. The usage is not widespread enough at present to see individual parts being made available across the counter in automobile distribution centres, whether private or whatever. That is something we will have to address as we go along. For the time being, the exemption is limited to the conversion kits, and that will be a one-way conversion. It will not permit the interchangeable usage the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) was inquiring about.

The member for Hamilton Mountain (Mr. Charlton) made reference to an issue that is not really before us this afternoon. However, in view of the fact he found a way to expand upon his support for this bill in talking to the other progressive aspects like the seatbelt legislation, I point out to him that support was given to my colleague's resolution in the House last Thursday with regard to seatbelt restraint systems for younger persons under the age of six.

The question was raised by the member for Hamilton Mountain and, I believe, the member for Beaches-Woodbine (Ms. Bryden) as to whether to provide incentives in that direction -- whether it would not be advisable to provide a sales tax exemption for the purchase of those types of restraint systems. I certainly think it is a matter worthy of further consideration. I will convey the members' thoughts on that matter to the minister. It is a matter that has not escaped our attention, and may well be given favourable consideration in the future. Certainly, it will be taken under advisement. For the purposes of the bill today, however, we will stick to revenue matters as they relate to the encouragement of the public at large to convert to these alternative fuels.

The future is bright in this area. This incentive, not only of not having to pay the road fuel tax on these alternative fuels but of having this sales tax exemption, is a significant incentive to the public at large. The Ministry of Energy has been most encouraged by the public response.

4:10 p.m.

I believe that highlights the purpose and intent of the amending legislation we have before us this afternoon as it relates to that part of the bill. There are other aspects of it which I would like to address at another time, but I believe time will not permit me this afternoon to speak of other features I would like to bring to the attention of the members. At this time I will simply adjourn the debate with regard to this bill.

Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order before we adjourn the debate: The parliamentary assistant specifically said he would answer my question. I waited so he would and I wonder if he intends to.

Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, it was my understanding I had addressed the concerns expressed by the member for Niagara Falls dealing with the exclusivity of using alternative fuels which I think was incorporated in my earlier remarks.

The Acting Speaker: The motion is now before the House that the debate be adjourned.

Mr. Kerrio: He hasn't responded. He didn't answer my question.

The Acting Speaker: The member has interjected and the parliamentary assistant has responded to it. I regret --

Mr. Kerrio: It is not that important. It is important to me but maybe not to those putting the bill.

The Acting Speaker: Is it the pleasure of the House that the motion to adjourn the debate carry?

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


Mr. Jones, on behalf of Hon. F. S. Miller, moved second reading of Bill 71, An Act to amend the Small Business Development Corporations Act, 1979.

Mr. Jones: Mr. Speaker, I have a few brief comments. The amendments proposed in Bill 71 are by and large the results of a review of the small business development corporations that has taken place.

Lessons have been learned from this successful program, which has been in place some two years. The government feels these lessons ought to be addressed by legislation to plug a few holes, to correct certain specific opportunities for abuses that we found could exist. Of course, as we address ourselves to the design and make some changes, the program is in a constant state of flux.

One of the major changes as set out in the budget was the proposal that the equity capital maximum be increased from $5 million to $10 million with respect to public corporations. That was primarily a response to public companies which had argued that the $5 million limit was unrealistic in consideration of the costs associated with management-run companies.

Where we found people were prepared to become involved through this program and take advantage of it to bring to the private sector much-needed risk capital for small businesses, we often found that, when that source was identified, the $5 million limit unfortunately worked to the detriment of the program because there were people prepared to go beyond that amount.

The other types of amendments are outlined in the explanatory notes. I would be happy to hear what my colleagues may have to say and I would be happy to respond to any questions the members might have.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I am happy to address a few remarks to these changes. Since the original inception of this legislation, we have become much older and much wiser about some of the structural problems inherent in it. I refer to a specific case in London, Ontario, involving the so-called Sylvester group that took down a group of people under the aegis of this legislation for close to $10 million. I do not see that this legislation addresses any of those problems very specifically.

This problem has become a great embarrassment to the Ministry of Revenue, to the Ontario Securities Commission and to a variety of people. It is probably inherent sometimes when there is the so-called easy money of a government grant program. It looks on the surface as if it is going to be a gift from heaven. People do not fully understand the ramifications, the costs involved or what their real obligations are.

This gift from the Ontario government of 30 per cent of their investment was used to -- I think the proper word is -- dupe a bunch of investors, about 100 people in London. About $10 million or $3 million of the taxpayers' money was involved in that deal. It does not look as if there is going to be any recovery whatsoever. In fact, they were granted a special exemption on the take-out of their investors' position by District Trust.

What I am saying to the Treasurer sounds confused, I know. I should explain to him some of the details because it brings into issue some of the principles underlying this legislation. I want to take him back to the original debate on this bill. About two years ago, it was a pioneering piece of legislation; nobody knew for sure if it would work or not. We took the view, "Let's give it a try," but we had a number of specific objections. One of the things we thought at that time and pointed out to the Treasurer was that it was undercapitalized. If he was looking for large pools of mobile investment capital -- high-risk capital, venture capital, highvelocity capital or whatever he wants to call it -- then the $5 million was too low. So we recommended a higher amount.

As I understand the thrust, the intention of this legislation was to create pools of capital to search out various high-risk endeavours; to provide financing for ventures that would not be financed through the ordinary devices available. A multiplicity of government programs, as well as institutional programs, are available to finance various kinds of ventures, particularly so-called high-risk, high-technology ventures. That is why it is restricted to processing, manufacturing, tourism and whatever.

What we have discovered with this legislation is that it has become an alternative source of financing. A lot of the ventures that have been built under the Small Business Development Corporation program would probably have been built anyway. The sharpies -- as they always do with a piece of legislation -- get involved and figure how they can work it to their advantage. Of course, that is certainly their prerogative. Under the old Duke of Wellington rules, anyone is entitled to take advantage of any tax legislation to their advantage, and one would expect that.

But we found that probably a number of the purposes of this legislation were not being served. A lot of single-application SBDCs were just used as alternative financing mechanisms for projects that would probably have gone ahead anyway. We did not really see a lot of investments in the so-called high-technology, high-risk things.

I think if we look at the number of programs that have been financed, we will see that our original suspicions were correct and that has not been rectified very much. The great majority of the approved applications were private, not public. The government, at that point, wanted more SBDCs formed to create the high-velocity pools of venture capital. They are trying to rectify that here by moving the capitalization from $5,000 to $10,000. My figures might be a trifle out of date. As I understand it, there were only three public SBDCs registered.

Mr. Jones: There are more than that now.

Mr. Peterson: There may be more than that now. I do not know how many of them have made so-called eligible investments -- that is, money going through the second stage. In the first stage, of course, it goes from the investor to the SBDC and then through to the so-called eligible investment.

4:20 p.m.

The original thought was each SBDC would invest in a number of eligible investments and the so-called insurance principle would apply. They might make one or two bad investments but would presumably make two or three good ones and hope the whole thing would wash out, particularly with the very high contribution from the Ontario taxpayer of 30 per cent at the point at which the eligible investments were made.

At the beginning there were not a lot of public companies formed to do these kinds of investments. One I think was started by Mr. Wayne Beach. As I recall, the name was Aurelian, out of Toronto, and that was to be a public venture capital company. I understand it has closed down and has been deregistered. He could not find enough so-called eligible investments. He is a very responsible lawyer, I believe, who understands the marketplace very well. We had a lot of capital looking for places to go and there were not enough eligible investments into which to put it, in the judgement of these people. Finally, I understand that company was deregistered. In order to protect their own backside, in order to justify their legislation, the government encouraged people to create public companies in order to invest in a number of so-called eligible investments.

That brings us to one James Sylvester, an insurance salesman from London, Ontario, who saw this legislation and said, "My, isn't this a wonderful way to raise money." I am told he was encouraged by ministry officials. People came to visit him and said, "Mr. Sylvester, you are a wonderful fellow. You are the only one using this legislation properly, the way it was intended to be used, creating a large pool of capital to invest in a multiplicity of investments."

His problem was he had all this dough coming in and did not know what to do with it. He searched frantically for a number of investments into which to put his money. At the same time he set up two small business development corporations. He set up another investment corporation that was not really investing in small business development corporations. It was not really a small business development corporation but its prospectus with the Ontario Securities Commission had investors invest in both of his corporations -- the SBDC as well as the nonSBDC -- to raise money and invest in all this variety of investments.

It looked terribly attractive to a number of people. Mr. Sylvester had sold a great deal of insurance to a lot of people in London. He went into London and raised about $10 million -- primarily from doctors but from other professionals too. I understand there were about 73 doctors involved. My figures may be a little bit off. He took them down to a local trust company and persuaded them to sign notes. Very few of these people actually put up cash. Some used borrowed RRSPs, a number of them took cash or borrowed the money -- $100,000, $200,000, $300,000. Some of them put up collateral mortgages on their houses or cottages and some of them just used their signatures. There are not many doctors in this province whose signatures are not worth $100,000 today, given the high cash-flow nature of the business they are in.

They then found he was sitting with about $10 million in these various companies and was frantically looking for eligible investments. He went through a number of them. There was a great opening for Arcson Stove Works in London, projected to employ 100 people at the end of the year. Now, if that company is not closed up, it is functioning with a subsistence staff and not doing anything of any particular merit.

It invested in an insurance brokerage firm. One of the companies bought his own insurance company. Another company bought a travel agency and it made an investment in a company called Fuzz Puppies. Fuzz Puppies are hairy Kleenex box covers that come in a variety of hair colours: chartreuse, fluorescent or white, I am told. They come in two sizes, both regular and boutique, I am told. Someone told me that there was $1,800,000 worth of those things sitting in a warehouse in Atlanta, Georgia, that has never got off the ground.

There were a variety of other investments -- a hotel in Goderich, Ontario, and a number of other things, all of which reveal to me the pressure Mr. Sylvester, the so-called promoter of these public SBDCs, was under to find some place to invest the money. Then he could go back to the investors with their cheques for 30 per cent from the Ontario government and say, "Look, isn't this wonderful? You have given me $100,000 and here I am back to you two months later with a cheque for $30,000. Have you ever seen such a return on your investment?" They would not realize, of course, they still had to pay the full $100,000 back to the various institutions where they borrowed the money.

Some of them paid down their loans; some of them did not. Some of them used it for other kinds of purchases. But it still left the majority of these people with the notes compounding interest at the 20 per cent level, and that is a pretty tough bite for anybody to take on at one time.

In the course of selling this to various people he took them on a junket to Nassau because they were going to be involved in a time-sharing program. He spent $250,000 on a weekend with a number of these various investors in Nassau looking at the time-sharing proposition there and they all thought, "Aren't we proud to be involved with such a progressive entrepreneur?" Someone also told me he was handing back the Ontario government cheques on the plane and saying, "This is what your benevolent government is doing for you."

I am troubled by what happened in London, Ontario, but it is one of the abuses legislation of this type leads to. My friend, the Minister of the Revenue, is very familiar with what I am talking about. He and his officials are terribly embarrassed about it. He has not been at all forthcoming on the information with me when he has been asked for it many times in this House. He knows what I am talking about is absolutely right.

I am not sure any of the amendments in this act are going to assist with this situation. I think the regulatory authorities of this province were very lax in the Sylvester case. They gave their approval -- perhaps not explicit, but implicit -- to these kinds of goings-on. There were no decent financial records. No meetings were being held. Cheques were being kited from various companies to various companies. It took a lot of consultants to come in and try to sort the situation out. Eventually the trust company bailed them out. It bought out the original investors at 35 cents on the dollar. That means each investor took a loss of 65 cents on the dollar ex this 30 per cent rebate from the Ontario government. Some of them applied it to their loans and some did not.

But now I gather the trust company has received a special exemption from the Ministry of Revenue to take over all of these eligible investments of all of these companies, none of which, to the best of my knowledge, is functioning at all -- at least if it is it would be in a very decrepit state. It appears there is very little chance of ever redeeming any real assets out of that great boondoggle. I hope that is not the case. There may be some salvage value on some of these assets, but no one knows that at this point.

This is a terrible tragedy for various individuals. Sometimes people do not bleed for doctors, but there were other people besides doctors who took out notes, who now have second and third mortgages and are in terribly embarrassing positions. They thought they were getting something -- perhaps did not fully understand what they were getting. One of the things a lot of people do not understand about this legislation is that when the SBDC is wound up or changed in status or function the money is repayable out of escrowed money presumably in the SBDC or in the eligible assets. It is really a tax deferral device as opposed to a tax avoidance device.

I gather special provisions were made for these various people. I understand the Ontario government agreed not to take back the $3 million they were legally entitled to. Rather than force the investors to pay them back or force the SBDCs to pay them back, the government, to avoid embarrassment to themselves because of its lax regulatory arm on this matter, decided to exempt them. It is something that has passed without a lot of comment.

4:30 p.m.

One of the things that bothers me is what it has done to a number of people's lives. I know a number of doctors who were obliged to consider bankruptcy, or at least moving out of the jurisdiction. It was a terribly embarrassing thing to a number of people. They wish they had never met Mr. Sylvester.

But we have to make very sure today that there are no other Mr. Sylvesters. I do not suggest for a minute he was involved in any fraud or that he squirreled the money away in a Swiss bank account; that is not the suggestion here. It was strictly a case of a private market response to a so-called gift or freebie from the government -- the perversion and greed that comes therefrom and the concomitant ability of a number of people to take advantage of that, not fully understanding what was involved.

Unless it can be proved to me that this legislation has encouraged some ventures that would not have been financed otherwise I am not sure we do not have to take a very serious look at it in toto and say that perhaps it is not serving the purposes it was created to serve. As I said at the beginning, I think a lot of the things financed under this legislation would have been done anyway. It has yet to be proved to me this legislation has prompted any new ventures. We must make sure we do not get into another Sylvester situation anywhere else in this province, because it could happen.

I would like to see this government make a far tighter set of regulations. I would like to make sure that there are some very tight rules imposed on the reporting aspects of the various eligible investments. I think the Ontario Securities Commission should watch very carefully. I have read the prospectuses. I am not suggesting they were asleep at the switch in the original stage, but certainly down the line it appears that far more could have been done by the Ontario government.

When that cheque for $30,000, signed by the Premier (Mr. Davis) or the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) or whoever signs it, comes back to that person he is clearly under the impression that was the first return on his investment. It is pretty heady stuff when all one does is get cash back. One takes a loan, never puts out any money, lets the interest compound at the bank. Then one gets back a cheque payable to him personally for $30,000, or whatever his share is. One gets the impression money grows on trees, particularly if one is not a sophisticated investor and is not apprised of the fact that the money has to be repaid -- that is until they are actually knocking at the door saying, "We want that money back."

I am very troubled by this situation in London, and I do not think the government has addressed it here. We were certainly expecting reports on this from the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Ashe),who is always hiding behind answers such as "We are going to have an investigation," or "We are looking at it," or "We are trying to work something out," or "We are having meetings; don't foul up the works." It has probably been resolved now as well as it can be resolved. I do not know how many millions of dollars have been lost by both the taxpayers and individual investors, but it appears there is not very much salvage. It is a very sad situation.

When I look at the harm done to individuals and to institutions by this legislation and I try to find the good it has done -- good that would not have been done without the legislation -- I am not sure it has accomplished all that much. The government will have to stand up and prove it to me. As I said before, I think a lot of those things would have been done without the legislation.

Mr. Speaker, I do not have any major objections to some of the technical amendments here. It is not a huge deal in a lot of ways. It is more the philosophy of the whole thing I am concerned about. I am a pragmatic fellow. If it worked, if it created new jobs, if it created a lot of new investment then I would say, "Let's try it, it's worth it." But I have yet to see that, and I have seen so much harm from it, which has been a great black eye to this government, whether they know it or not. I have yet to hear an explanation of this whole thing from the appropriate minister, though I expect to hear one shortly.

Those are just a few remarks, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Wildman: Mr. Speaker, I must admit that I have some of the same reservations about the bill that my colleague the member for London Centre (Mr. Peterson) has, but perhaps for a reason somewhat different from his. I certainly agree that we have serious reasons for reservations about the small business development corporations and how they have operated, because, although they were established supposedly to provide pools of capital for a sector of the economy that is usually starved for venture capital, the small business sector, the way they have operated and the way they were set up has more often meant that they have done more for investors who have large disposable incomes and money to invest for a quick return than they have for the small business sector.

My colleague the member for London Centre used an example of how certain of these investors got involved in a small business development corporation that then did not really help any small businesses particularly, or help to start any small businesses that would not normally have been able to get financing elsewhere, in order for those investors to get a quick 30 per cent return on their investment, an enormous return on investment, from the government. I suppose that if one wanted to be harsh in looking at the individuals of whom he was speaking one could say that, thanks to this legislation, those people who invested unwisely lost only 70 per cent rather than 100 per cent, because they did indeed get an immediate return that is very generous in terms of what it does for the investor. The question is, does it do anything for small business?

One of the problems that small business faces in this province, as we all know, is that banks and other lending institutions or investment houses more often prefer big customers, big clients, to small ones, because the risk involved is usually considered to be less. That was the whole purpose of this legislation in the first place: to try to provide capital for those businesses that have difficulty obtaining capital.

It is really not hard to understand why lending institutions, investment houses and investors generally are unwilling to invest in the small business sector. All one has to do is look at the rate of bankruptcies in the business sector in this province and in the nation and one can see, when he considers that most of those bankruptcies, or a high percentage of them, are in small businesses, that an investor wanting a sure return is not as likely to put up his money for the kind of venture capital that many of these businesses need.

The question is, does promising a 30 per cent return as a way of increasing the pools of capital available really help that sector of the business or does it just give a fast return to the investor? I will not belabour the point that has been made by my colleague from London Centre. I perhaps do not have the same kind of sympathy he has for those investors who were caught in the situation he referred to; as I said, because of this legislation they did not lose as much as unwise investments might normally have meant they would lose. That is of course the purpose of it, I suppose: to make it less risky so that you will have that kind of capital available.

We have no objection in this party to the changes in this legislation, which are largely housekeeping. We have, as I said, some reservations about the legislation and the purpose of the legislation in general, although we supported it when it was first brought into this House in 1979 because of the serious problems that small businesses were facing in raising capital.

4:40 p.m.

We have no objection to the increase in the equity capital from $5 million to $10 million. If this is in any way going to assist the legislation to meet the purpose for which it was intended then we will support it.

In our view what is really needed is an industrial strategy, a business strategy which is aimed at assisting small business and developing small business directly by the government rather than this indirect route of trying to entice investment capital by a large percentage grant of money from the government. We talked about whether incentives work in this province, or in this country: and whether the increase in the tax expenditures that we now have, or direct grants for that matter, will really do what they are intended to do. Frankly, we doubt it.

It seems to us that if the government really wants to provide capital for the small business sector, the government should be prepared to become involved in providing risk capital at rates that are acceptable, and in terms of getting involved in joint ventures, and so on, with the business sector.

We do not like grants. We do not like incentives because, frankly, we do not think they work. For that reason we have reservations, as I said, about this whole approach.

I would like to point out to the parliamentary assistant that we are glad to see that after two years the government is finally responding to the concerns that were raised by my colleague the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren). At the time legislation was first brought in he raised a concern about the possibility of investors being able to piggyback one SBDC into another and in that way get a continual return on their investment.

I note in the Hansard record of May 17, 1979, the member for Nickel Belt raised this concern with the Treasurer, as well as his concern that there were no job projections in the legislation. He raised his concern when he said that if the SBDC puts $100,000 into a business, that business could then take that $100,000 and invest it as a corporation into another SBDC and receive a 30 per cent writedown on its corporation tax in the following year by investing it in another SBDC, and so on.

I note that in this bill before us the government is at last responding to that concern, despite the fact that at the time my colleague raised the question with the Treasurer he tried to argue that section 9(d)(i) in the original legislation precluded this from happening. It appears, at least from this bill, that it has indeed been happening because there is a specific provision in this bill to prevent it. It is unfortunate that the government and the legal beagles that it had working for it at the time did not listen to my colleague and make the necessary change when the legislation was introduced. I suppose it is better late than never.

I note that in the explanatory note for the bill it stated: "At present, a small business is precluded from using the investment funds provided by a small business development corporation for the purpose of relending, investment in land unless necessary for the objects of small business, or reinvestment outside Canada." Then the important point, "The bill proposes that a small business also be precluded from using such investment funds to purchase securities in any other corporation."

It appears the government is finally responding to the concerns raised by the member for Nickel Belt despite the fact the Treasurer was convinced when he introduced the legislation that this was not a problem and that it had already been taken care of.

I suppose it takes a Socialist to understand how the sharpies, as my colleague the member for London Centre refers to them, will take advantage of those poor innocent free enterprisers over on the other side when they get into the position of interfering in the free marketplace.

They are so unused to doing this that they lay themselves open to the "unscrupulous" who might indeed take advantage of the so-called freebies so often given by this government despite the fact they say they believe in the free market and the operation of the market.

Why is it that, when this government does screw up its gumption to get involved and to interfere -- that is the term the government would use -- in the marketplace, it cannot do it directly but must do it through the back door, through incentives and so on, in such a way it leaves itself open to the kinds of things my colleague the member for London Centre was talking about with the investor called Sylvester?

As I said, we have no great objections to the changes in the legislation proposed in Bill 71. They are mostly housekeeping changes. They are a response to the need to expand those eligible for the operation of this bill and also a response to the concerns raised by my colleague when the original legislation was first proposed. For that reason, we will be voting for this legislation.

Mr. Jones: Mr. Speaker, before I answer some of the questions the two speakers asked in their comments, for the benefit of the House, the members might find it interesting to know the background of the eight or so changes that have been embodied in the bill and the reasons in quick capsule why they were brought about.

As I said in my opening comments, these were drawn from the lessons learned in this new program and from the review that took place. It might be of considerable interest to the members to know that from the very start in 1979, when the program came forward and our legislation first created the corporation, there was the recognition we would indeed be dealing with an entrepreneurial instinct, as my friend the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) refers to it.

I suppose we are trying to encourage and draw out pools of capital that might otherwise stay in the old socks and not be available for the small business. That is true; it is a process of prying out that needed capital for small business use.

Both the critic of the Liberal Party and the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) were curious about some of the details of the employment generated by this program. They were looking for some confirmation or reassurance that small business was benefiting in addition to the investors and I could share some specifics I think are important. Just quickly, before I go into that, I thought it might be helpful to remind ourselves of the lessons learned in the program and why some of the programs are taking place.

4:50 p.m.

I did mention at the outset why the $5 million is going up to $10 million. We found there are people out there, especially on the public side of the business sector, who, once they have found one of these socks, are prepared to put up more, but they have been restricted. Given the evidence I am going to share with members in a moment about the benefits that do flow, yes indeed, to small business, I thought they might be interested to know that as we talked to those people they shared with us -- in fact, they urged the government to consider that extra increase. Thus, we have the first recommendation of an increase from $5 million to $10 million on the public side of things.

Mr. Wildman: When they find a sock they want to sock it to us, do they?

Mr. Jones: How does this actually work? I share this with the House, especially with the member for London Centre, who left us with the impression that somehow or other a sharpie, to borrow his term for a moment, wandered out into the street and encouraged a lot of people to get on the bandwagon and come and take advantage of this program.

Well, it is a program to be taken advantage of, for sure. That is the whole purpose of it. That is the philosophy of it, as has been pointed out. However, I think, in reality, the way it takes shape is that an accountant perhaps interfaces with his clients, perhaps meets a group coming forward and making the suggestion after a great deal of considered thought about how they can take advantage of this.

As a matter of fact, the other large body that is causing these funds and investors to be brought together to take advantage of this fund, and then, in turn, for it to flow to the benefit of small business, is the legal profession. I can give one example that jumps to mind. A fellow by the name of Turner -- I think he maybe even had something to do with public life at one time -- not only brought forward several people to join with him in a very successful program under the SBDC, but he carried it a step further to assist the people who were joined in his program so that they could take advantage of tax discounts by using it for retirement and other type benefits.

Certainly the private sector, these pools of money that otherwise might seek a safe ground, has been encouraged to come forward and to make its investments. When I mention the increase from $5 million to $10 million, I am compelled to answer the question of the member for Algoma about the employment opportunities that have been offered.

I could give him quite a litany of those, but I will just share one. It happens to be in the north in Thunder Bay. It involved a hotel complex and some $7 million. I think most of us can visualize very quickly that the hotel industry is a labour-intensive industry with quite a cross-section of employment opportunities. When we look at that kind of dollar investment in just one, then we have some appreciation of how it is being responded to by people with entrepreneurial instincts who might otherwise not be taking advantage of it. That is a large one for a moment.

I think when we talk about the benefits to small businesses and question what they are feeling about it, it is probably best to look up, for example, the newsletter that is put out by the Ontario small business development corporations program. I would refer members to, for example, the August edition where the success of Goman Boat Limited, an Oakville company, is shared with readers. One can see at an instant glance that small businessmen, those who are involved with it, attest to how they would not have had the success they have had, but for this program.

I refer members to an article entitled "'Watch Me Grow' Hits the Market," also in the same magazine. It is a new concept in children's furniture, and it is one where the furniture is used all the way through the crib, the playpen and up into adolescent years; it is modular furniture and it can be adapted. There the small businessmen themselves say very clearly that it would never have survived or even achieved the dimensions it did but for the program we are talking about.

So it is serving large and it is serving small -- the intention, of course, being small. We all know that small business contributes such a large number of employment opportunities when it is at work growing.

I just have to share with the members that one thing we often overlook, when we talk about the new jobs created, is an equally important fact of life of how many we save or preserve. I can share with the members some specifics of how the small business development corporation program has preserved many businesses that otherwise, sadly, would have gone by the wayside and whose opportunities we would have lost but for the infusion of this risk capital.

To touch quickly on explanatory note 2, for example: The limiting of investment in any one small business, we believe, is a wholesome, important change so that we can spread the money and benefits to as many small businesses as possible. In section 4(3) we are limiting investment in a small business to a maximum of 60 per cent. I think we can all agree, given that the major benefactor of this program is the small business community, that we want to ensure that the original small business shareholders will maintain a significant interest in their businesses. The 60 per cent ensures that the small businessperson can continue to have his 40 per cent there for him.

Explanatory note 4, for example, precludes reinvestment by small investments. That was the concern of the member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman), that there might be piggybacking and that the first SBDC might be caused, in turn, to go and destroy that principal and move on to invest in yet another vehicle.

Then in note 5 we talk about new equity investment, again as a protection against abuse. Notification no longer is being required as to the dividend situation, because we feel that is adequately covered by the safeguards in general legislation such as the Business Corporations Act.

Note 7 was to correct an error in the first legislation. We do not want to prohibit or handicap some opportunity where a person may not even know that he is investing in two small businesses.

Note 8, the final one, was to get away again from the possibility for abuses in cases where someone may make a loan to, say, an employee, and cause that person to invest it back in the firm, and then, of course, someone would be taking advantage of or abusing the system.

In capsule, I would simply like to say to the member for London Centre that his concern about it not serving the small business community it was set up to serve is really not well founded. Quite to the contrary, it is doing an excellent job, and I hope he will look up some of the specific cases as put out by the Ministry of Revenue in the Ontario Small Business Development Newsletter, because they are there and they are told by the people who can best tell him, namely, those involved.

5 p.m.

Concerning the Sylvester case, I just share with the House that my understanding of the circumstance of the Sylvester case is certainly not totally as the critic mentioned -- that people were totally in the dark over this program -- but rather there was quite an outline in the prospectus of details of what types of things these people would be investing in. I can tell the House that the Sylvester case, the details of which are best known to the appropriate minister and the member who talked about them, is not an example of the overall good that is being done right now by this program.

As I conclude, I would like to share with the honourable members that there has been some $19 million in grants and tax credits. That is representative of a sum total of 2,381 loans and has resulted in an issued capital to date of some $68.7 million. It has gone diversely into the small business sector, but it is important and the members may like to know that $34.4 million has gone into the manufacturing and processing sector. Tourism received some $13.6 million and R and D was also a recipient of that.

I know the member for Algoma had questions about employment. He might be interested to know that not only has it had a lot of labour-intensive results in small business, but the northern part of the province received $10.3 million and $9 million was received by the eastern part. That speaks very well when you see central Ontario received $11 million and southwestern Ontario $6 million. I think the members should know it is being utilized across the province in the areas where it is most needed.

There are a lot of good news stories, many more than the member for London Centre tended to want to share as he focused his attention on one incident that had some notoriety. Again I would refer the members to the bulletin where some of the stories of considerable success of this program have --

Mr. Peterson: I don't put any stock in your PR, I can tell you that.

Mr. Jones: No, this isn't PR of this government but rather the words of the people who took advantage of the program, who brought it together and had their businesses prosper for their employees and themselves.

I appreciate that the members have pointed out that these amendments are largely housekeeping and improvements to ensure that abuses do not take place where lessons have been learned in the period of the program. I thank the members for their contributions on the bill.

Motion agreed to.

Third reading also agreed to on motion.


Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 79, An Act to amend the Corporations Tax Act.

Hon. Mr. Ashe: When the debate was adjourned last Friday, Mr. Speaker, I indicated I wanted to have the opportunity to review the questions raised during the debate that day to make sure I had covered them all in my summation. I have done that and found that, at least in my view, I adequately covered all the points raised by the members opposite. I think we are ready at this time for the vote on second reading.

Motion agreed to.

Third reading also agreed to on motion.


Resuming the adjourned debate on the motion for second reading of Bill 80, An Act to amend the Retail Sales Tax Act.

Mr. Williams: Mr. Speaker, earlier in the afternoon the debate was adjourned so I could give consideration to further aspects of the bill as related specifically to section 2. I had spoken at some length with regard to the new technology and developments through the initiatives of this government that are taking place with regard to the use of propane, hydrogen, electricity and so forth.

There are a couple of points I want to touch on briefly before concluding. I had emphasized the coming hydrogen generation and its use with regard to movement of land transport, but I neglected to make the observation that this would not be exclusively reserved to the movement of motor vehicles. It would also be used extensively for fuel in moving trains, ships and aircraft.

While the on-board storage systems and the hydrogen engines have yet to be developed satisfactorily, nevertheless there is no question that in time hydrogen will be extensively used in those areas of transport too. Probably the most difficult area will be the development of the storage capacity unit for the smaller private vehicle, but I am sure this will be resolved.

These are simply the highlights I wanted to add to the ones I made earlier. The last point was that electrification also is an important component of the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program and the use of off-oil resources. We will be developing the electrification of the GO Transit and other rail systems within the province to extend that program and bring it to fruition. Those are the additional comments I had to make in moving second reading of Bill 80.

Motion agreed to.

Third reading also agreed to on motion.

The House adjourned at 5:10 p.m.