32nd Parliament, 1st Session

























The House met at 10 a.m.



Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, as I indicated yesterday, the Premier (Mr. Davis) plans to make a statement in connection with the events of the last few days, but unfortunately he will not be in the House until about 10:30 a.m. I thought I would indicate that now, in anticipation of that statement. I hope once the Premier does arrive we will have the unanimous consent of the House to revert to statements at that time.


Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to clear the air, perhaps, or clear the fog of misinformation and rumour that has cropped up recently to blur this government's position on the matter of the Via Rail passenger service cuts announced by federal Minister of Transport Jean-Luc Pepin last August.

I would like to review my position and my concerns resulting from Ottawa's decision to discontinue its Via Rail service between Toronto, Peterborough and Havelock. I know that is a line you are greatly concerned about, Mr. Speaker.

From the beginning, and before Mr. Pepin's formal announcement, I attempted to meet with the federal minister in an effort to express our point of view concerning any proposals to reduce rail services. I stated this publicly on July 15. Unfortunately, such a meeting could not be arranged. Even before that, on June 19, when I addressed this House regarding the task force on provincial rail policy, chaired by the member for St. David (Mrs. Scrivener), I clearly outlined the direction this government was pursuing with regard to all rail transport in Ontario. At that time, I endorsed the task force's recommendation that Ontario should have a strong interest in intercity rail passenger services as they relate to not merely the railways themselves but Ontario's economy and the travelling public.

Again on August 6, following my meeting with Mr. Pepin, after he had unilaterally announced that, among other passenger services, the Toronto-Peterborough-Havelock run would end in September 1982, I was told categorically that the federal government was not prepared to offer any capital or operating financial assistance in any future operation of the line by Ontario. Since that time I have heard reports emanating from Ottawa that Mr. Pepin and his people have been reconsidering their initial position -- that some vague form of financial deal would be available should Ontario take over the service to Peterborough and Havelock.

I ask, "What kind of financial deal?" Would it be in the form of capital or operating costs for rolling stock purchases or to offset the certainty of operating deficits? The answer to all of these questions is -- absolutely not. The fact is nothing has changed. Transport Canada just might consider a costing element or a new costing order. Stated simply, that means nothing more than Ontario might -- and I use that word again -- might get a reduced rate on track rental and maintenance should it choose to get into intercity rail passenger service.

Mr. Pepin, for whatever reasons, made the decision to abandon an intercity passenger service between Toronto and Peterborough and Havelock. And he did it, as I said earlier, unilaterally, without any prior consultation with either this province or the affected municipalities. He also did it in the teeth of our declared policy that this province have a voice in any decision affecting its residents and their rail services. He has stuck to his guns despite the fact that we in government, and the people of Ontario most directly concerned, have certainly voiced objections. Our position is clear -- as clear as it was at the outset of this entire matter. Ontario has always had a real interest and concern for intercity rail passenger service and has never supported the Via cuts affecting Peterborough or any other municipality.



Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I will, of course, want to add a few words following the Premier's statement. I trust there will be an opportunity at that time. I shall direct my questions, which happen to be for senior ministers who are apparently unavoidably detained, to the Deputy Premier (Mr. Welch) in their absence.

May I ask the Deputy Premier whether he has given some thought to the matter of a public inquiry concerning the most recent allegation of systematic brutality on the part of a particular squad of the Metropolitan police, a squad known as "the hold-up squad."

His government in the past started the Morand inquiry based on allegations of a much less systematic nature. There were 13 allegations of excessive use of force, including two that involved the so-called claw and so on, whereas in this instance the allegations are far more serious. They are extremely disturbing because they have to do with an entire squad of the Metropolitan Toronto police. So would the Deputy Premier not agree that a public inquiry that has the backing of the entire Criminal Lawyers Association would be the best way to proceed now rather than allowing the internal investigation under way at present to be the only investigation in the matter?

Hon. Mr. Welch: As the honourable Leader of the Opposition will recall, the member for Kitchener (Mr. Breithaupt) raised this matter in the House yesterday. It is my understanding the Solicitor General, as the Leader of the Opposition has also pointed out, is en route and is expected in the House, I think before the end of the question period. He will no doubt want to make some response if the opportunity is available to him at that time.

10:10 a.m.

Mr. Stokes: The House starts at 10 o'clock on Fridays.

Hon. Mr. Welch: I think under the circumstances and in view of the historic significance of the last few days, they might --

Mr. MacDonald: That finished yesterday.

Hon. Mr. Welch: They might be entitled to some post-accord socializing with respect to that. They are en route and are due shortly. I would have to leave that matter for the Solicitor General to comment on.

Mr. Smith: There is no need to take up the time of the House for long since the Deputy Premier is clearly only going to pass the information on, which I appreciate. But will the Deputy Minister consider the comments made today by Mr. Givens who seems to think, to use his word, it would be "unthinkable" to hold a public inquiry? Will the Deputy Premier have some words with his friend, Mr. Givens -- and my friend as well, of course -- and say to Mr. Givens --

Mr. McClellan: You almost forgot.

Mr. Smith: I almost forgot. Why would it be I almost forgot? In psychiatry we explain these lapses of memory as having unconscious meaning, but I will leave it to the member to guess what the meaning is.

Would the Deputy Minister have some words with Mr. Givens? Would he ask the Solicitor General to do so as well? Would they recognize there is nothing at all unthinkable about having a public inquiry? Public inquiries into alleged police brutality have been called on much less evidence than we now have and on the request of far less prestigious groups than the entire Criminal Lawyers Association. Given there is a whole squad involved, will he undertake to have the Solicitor General talk to Mr. Givens and report back to the House why it is so unthinkable to do what I should think is the logical thing, to have a public inquiry?

Hon. Mr. Welch: I feel quite sure the Solicitor General would include that in his response.


Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Deputy Premier to give him a little more exercise in the absence of the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller). Having had an evening to reflect upon the post-closure giveaway hastily contrived by the Treasurer with his rebate on automobiles purchased during the month of November, will the Deputy Premier now agree that rebate cannot possibly have any effect whatever on the manufacturing side of the industry inasmuch as the cars to be sold have already been manufactured?

Even in the unlikely event the advertising for the rebate will draw people in and persuade them to buy 1982 cars which they otherwise would not think of buying, it would impact on less than a quarter of one per cent of the output of the assembly lines in North America and therefore can have no effect at all on those assembly lines.

That rebate is only going to help dealers who are having difficulty financing their inventory at high interest costs, and there are thousands of small businesses having difficulty financing inventory because of high interest rates. So will the Deputy Premier and his government assure us there will be some other kind of measure to help the remaining small businesses in Ontario rather than just continuing this peculiar concentration on the auto dealers as though they were somehow sacrosanct and special?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, it is not likely I can add anything to the exchange in the House yesterday between the Leader of the Opposition and the Treasurer on this subject. However, may I be given the opportunity to identify myself enthusiastically with the Treasurer's initiative in this regard?

I happen to come from an area quite dependent on the automotive industry. I see this as a positive step on the part of the Treasurer directed to and attaching high importance to the automotive industry and, indeed, dealing at the marketplace which is a crucial place in which to show some initiative. I think this is a positive step. No doubt it is being hailed throughout the province as a further indication of the desire of this government to be supportive in this area.

Mr. Smith: By way of supplementary: Understanding fully the reason for the hasty caucus meeting at which this was agreed to as something that will take publicity away from the closure which occurred in this House, would the Deputy Premier --

Hon. Mr. Ashe: Oh baloney.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: You're the president of the generation of sour grapes.

Mr. Smith: That is exactly what it was.

Would the Deputy Premier do us all the favour of not referring to this as something to help the auto industry since it can do absolutely zero to help that industry? The cars were already built and at maximum one quarter of one per cent of the output of assembly lines could conceivably be affected for even one month. Therefore the effect will be zero. Would the Deputy Premier please stop talking about the auto industry and admit the only ones he is helping are certain dealers?

There are many other small businesses in an equally difficult position. Why will he not help them finance their inventory which they are having difficulty with because of present interest rates?

Hon. Mr. Welch: It seems outrageous to suggest that an announcement of this importance was in any way orchestrated in relationship to something that happened a couple of days before. We stand to be accountable for what happened on Tuesday in the interest of thousands of people throughout Ontario. We do not need any diversion with respect to that; it is there for all to read and to assess and I think the member opposite will agree with that.

There are ample opportunities to pursue the matters that were piggybacked on the other issue. We did not feel under those circumstances that innocent people should be held hostage with respect to that matter.

Mr. Smith: Why was it blocked in committee the next day?

Hon. Mr. Welch: It was not blocked. It is my understanding the matter of timetables was referred to the House leaders. Is that not what happened? It was simply referred to the House leaders in order to look over the time --

Mr. Smith: Sure, it was referred to the dead of winter.

Mr. Eakins: You'd make a fine evangelist Bob. I almost believed you.

Mr. Speaker: Order. Will the Deputy Premier just answer the supplementary that was asked and ignore the interjections?

Hon. Mr. Welch: You will understand, Mr. Speaker, that this was included in the question to which I am making my response. I wanted to pay tribute to the member for Sarnia (Mr. Brandt) who I thought was very wise at that morning committee in being the author of the motion that put it that way.

As far as the automotive industry is concerned, it is multifaceted and ultimately what happens in the marketplace has to be very important. The moving of that inventory and all the implications therefrom is absolutely essential and the Leader of the Opposition should understand that. We are very enthusiastic on this side with respect to the Treasurer's announcement of yesterday.

Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, if I remember correctly, when the minister instituted the last rebate program approximately a year ago, one of the arguments we got was that it was a temporary measure. The problems in the auto industry were those that had to be rationalized or corrected. I would ask the minister why we have this ad hockery a second time around?

What has this government done about foreign imports? Has it taken a look at the imbalance in the auto pact in this country and this province? That is what is causing a lot of our problems as well. What has the minister done in a concrete way to take a look at the injuries and illness in the automotive industry in this province rather than coming up with a stopgap measure every year that may be of some help for a very brief period of time?

Hon. Mr. Welch: I am not denying there are other measures and other problems that will have to be addressed and solutions found. In the meantime I am sure the member would not be opposed to this stimulus that is being introduced to the marketplace at this time.

As to the other matters included in the member's supplementary question, in many cases they lie with another jurisdiction as we sort out the arrangements with respect to imports. Under the circumstances we should see in the Treasurer's announcement a very positive initiative to address an immediate situation in the moving of this inventory.

10:20 a.m.

Mr. Kerrio: Final supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I wonder if the minister is aware that on television in recent days American Motors Company in the United States has been advertising substantial rebates somewhere in the neighbourhood of $700 to $1,000? I wonder if his government would have been better advised to consider putting some pressure on many industries so there could be rebates not only on automobiles and trucks but maybe on farm tractors and machinery for small business people? I wonder when he is going to address himself to the problems right across the board so he can help all our people in Ontario to get it moving again.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, as I recall the exchange yesterday in the House the Treasurer was quick to remind the member's leader that there was no sales tax on farm machinery, and --

Mr. Kerrio: I said rebate.

Hon. Mr. Welch: But we are talking about the initiative of yesterday.

Mr. Smith: You can give a rebate, anyway. You can write a cheque, anyway.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Certainly I know of no government regulation that stands in the way of any merchandiser doing whatever he or she thinks necessary to stimulate activity in the marketplace in rebates. In fact, I think many manufacturers are doing that now.


Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. On November 3, in response to my question about the crisis in assisted housing in Toronto, he listed the rental construction loan program starts in Toronto. I quote: "In Toronto we have 929, in Brampton we have 1,853, in Mississauga we have 2,467 units, in North York we have 902 and in Scarborough we have 1,861. Twenty per cent of those units will be made available to the housing authorities at the completion date."

Since I presume the minister was reading from the latest November 2 Ontario Mortgage Corporation printout on that program I presume he knows that 738 of those 929 supposed approvals in Toronto were actually cancelled as long ago as September 8. I would like to know why the minister saw fit to give us inadequate information, if he did not mislead us, as to the lack of action on his part. Was he just trying to disguise the fact that he had done little or nothing to help the 30,000 people who are on the waiting list for housing in Toronto and Metro Toronto today?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: No, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Does the minister then deny that 738 of those 929 units in Toronto have been cancelled? Does the minister not agree that only 660 units are under construction in all of Metro Toronto, so that if you take the assisted housing portion of those, there are only 132 potential new places under construction for assisted housing in Metro Toronto today?

Will the minister not also agree that he said all these construction projects had 150 days after their date of approval, that if construction had not started 150 days after approval they would no longer be valid, and that 47 per cent of those approved in Metro have already passed that deadline? What is he going to do about it?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, what we had said about the deadline was very clearly this: In 150 days the government has the option of cancelling out on the program if the individuals did not move forward. That was put there very obviously so that if somebody hesitated to go on with construction and others wished to supply applications for units the government had the option of picking another developer through the Ontario Mortgage Corporation.

Frankly, most of the cases the member spoke of have come to us and have very clearly indicated that because of the current interest rates there was no economic way they could make their projects fly. Until there is some adjustment in interest rates, regardless of the fact that this government has put up $6,000 of interest-free money, as I explained the other day in the estimates committee, they cannot proceed.

I think it would be rather foolish of the government to try to force the industry to construct units that ultimately are going to wind up in some kind of financial difficulty, if not in bankruptcy. We would like the industry to be active, to provide the 52,500 man-days of opportunity for employment in this province, to provide units for rent supplement purposes in the various communities of Ontario, but I think we are wise to realize that if it cannot fly economically it would be rather foolish for the industry to try to move forward.

At the same time, we have continued to encourage municipal nonprofits, private nonprofits and co-ops to build housing units in the various communities in this province. I said very clearly the other day that I will be tabling in this House a complete breakdown of all the areas where housing development has taken place up until the end of October of the current year not only for Metropolitan Toronto but for all of the province.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I wonder if the minister would use the program in a way similar to that in Townsend? The government has money to buy an oil company, but why can it not assist the housing industry the same way as is being tried in Townsend -- by reducing the interest rate and encouraging the building industry to get off the ground again?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I indicated very clearly the other day -- in response to exactly the same question from the same member back on Tuesday of this week -- that we had tried to stimulate the activity in his riding, in the new community of Townsend, an area that is being developed by public tax --

Mr. Smith: Help in existing cities, not in your stupid --

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Talk about stupid. I guess the member has full qualifications to talk about that in his profession. Very clearly, Mr. Speaker, I have said we offered the stimulus in Townsend until the end of June on a current interest rate --

Mr. Smith: There are 23 families there. Fifty million dollars is a joke.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: You are number one in this province in that category.

Mr. Smith: Fifty million dollars and you have 30 families there and you have to subsidize them to keep them there.

Mr. Speaker: Order. The minister will respond to the question from the member from Haldimand-Norfolk (Mr. G. I. Miller) please.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I very clearly said at the time that we had offered this opportunity to the development industry in Townsend on exactly the same mortgage terms as we are offering in renewals of the Ontario Mortgage Corporation. We were not expanding it to the rest of Ontario, for obvious reasons that the opposition understands, because, number one, we do not have the financial capacity, and number two, if interest rates are to be written down on a general basis, it should be done by the federal government and not by this government.

Mr. Mackenzie: Final supplementary, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing: I am wondering if he really understands the seriousness of the situation we are entering. Within 25 minutes, on Wednesday of this week, in my constituency office, I had two people in: a single parent mother with two children, who has, through our help, now been placed in the Native Women's Centre for one week at $40 a night because she has absolutely no place to go and a total income of $539. None of the housing authorities can help her. Then I dealt with a second woman, who has five children, including twins, and an income of $681 a month, and who has also been absolutely impossible to place, and is living in one room at the Holiday Inn Motel in Stoney Creek. We have been to everybody in the city of Hamilton.

The situation is serious. Asking private developers to put up housing because the minister will make some money available, whatever the interest rates, is not the answer. The minister is going to have to act. Does he realize how serious this is?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Yes, we do, Mr. Speaker, and that is why we are in the Ontario rental construction loan program. We have had some participation in the Hamilton area. But I have to tell the member it has not been as active as we were hoping for, and he knows exactly why. In Hamilton we have had an abundance of units on the market, and one developer after another in that community has gone into receivership trying to develop rental units and ownership units. I have personal knowledge of those developers in his community, coming in and asking the Ontario Mortgage Corporation to try to provide money to them at a more preferential rate to allow them to stay in business.

It is great for the member to get up and hoot and holler, but the fact remains that if industry cannot make a dollar in this business they are not going to be in it. Through the nonprofit and all the other programs, we have tried to encourage the communities to participate with government, federal and provincial. The honourable member's housing authority in that community has tried to serve its community in the best possible way. In this specific case, if he wants to send me the information, I would be glad to have our people review it, and see what the situation happens to be.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, it does not seem appropriate to me as a member of this House that a minister should be able to give us totally inaccurate information, as I have shown. He has not denied it is totally inaccurate information, and has refused to withdraw or correct the records. It is an inappropriate action for the minister.


Mr. Speaker: Order. I do not know whether the allegation is true or not. I cannot judge on the propriety of information.


Mr. Speaker: Order. New question.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, why will the minister not answer the question?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I would be delighted. I do not have the November 2 list in front of me but I am prepared to provide it. And if there are some corrections to be made I will do them.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, that 929 figure is only to be found on that list, as far as I am aware, and that is where it was taken from.

10:30 a.m.


Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour. I apologize for my voice today. I hope the minister will be able to hear me over there.

Figures just released by Statistics Canada show that 124,000 young people in Ontario are unemployed, or 11.3 per cent of the population. Last night the Board of Education for the City of Toronto passed a report saying it would be willing to levy a tax on the industrial and commercial assessment to get seriously involved in apprenticeship programs.

Because of the minister's own failures in that area of equipping young people for the work place in Ontario, is he willing to act to give support to the Toronto board to take that kind of initiative or to bring in programs of his own to put that kind of levy on employers?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, let us understand that the government has not been lax in its efforts to try to address the issue of apprenticeship training. The member knows full well a manpower commission was established and the government is in the process of considering some of its recommendations.

He also knows that through the employer- sponsored training program a number of apprenticeship positions are being obtained. He also knows that through a joint initiative of the federal Minister of Employment and Immigration, Mr. Axworthy, and myself last June, a conference was held with employers indicating our willingness and ability to assist them in whatever way we can to facilitate corporate planning with regard to apprenticeship programs.

The member will also recall, from his reading of the strategy outlined in the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development document, that the government indicated it would be holding meetings with the leading and largest companies in Ontario with regard to the need to improve our industrial training base.

We are in the process of reviewing those meetings and the results of them. The member knows full well that we are, as well, involved in discussions with the federal government arising out of the report Labour Market Development in the 1980s by Mr. David Dodge relating to apprenticeship training. There are a number of initiatives and discussions going on. We are anything but lax because we know it is a problem.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: There is a lot of talk going on, I gather, but very little action. When only 174 of 33,794 nonservice apprenticeship positions are going to women in this province today, he must be seen to be failing. Will the minister act quickly to follow up on recommendation number nine of the Ontario Task Force on Microelectronics brought forward yesterday which says that action must be taken quickly given the long lead-time associated with training and education in this industry? Will he move quickly to bring in some programs which will protect young people moving into the work place?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Let me assure the member that the conclusions reached by that task force were the result of input from my own ministry, from the Ontario Manpower Commission, which led the microelectronics task force to reach those conclusions. It is not news to me that recommendation was going to be in there. It arose from studies we did on behalf of that task force.

What I am telling the member is that there are a variety of discussions and initiatives under way. I know the member wishes they had happened yesterday, and I understand that, because we all have that worry about the fact the industrial training base is not adequate, but we are endeavouring to address those issues. We feel, as we have said many times, they have to be addressed on a national basis, and we are prepared to co-operate in addressing them in those ways.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Specifically, will the minister take action to support and encourage the Board of Education for the City of Toronto in the initiatives it is showing and not just with the talk he is presenting to us today?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: We are always prepared to review initiatives that are proposed by others. I am sure the member will understand I want to take the opportunity to evaluate the recommendation before commenting on it in that way.


Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Solicitor General. Is the minister aware of any special Ontario Provincial Police crackdown on the safety of farm vehicles using the highways in southwestern Ontario? Can the minister tell me why an OPP officer, a corporal, would tell farmers he is going to smarten them up in using vehicles on the highways? He is trying to enforce laws under the Highway Traffic Act that we find are not adaptable to farm vehicles during daylight hours.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether the honourable member passed me this note, which apparently is an extract from an agricultural farm newsletter and which says as follows, and I think perhaps this would place it in the proper context:

"There is currently considerable controversy over the lighting required for farm vehicles. The Ontario Provincial Police apparently feel that wagons should be lighted similar to a truck, with signal and brake lights for both night and day use. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications has never required this extensive and expensive system. The Farm Safety Association of Ontario and several local farm groups are reviewing this matter. I do not expect it will be readily or quickly resolved. In the meantime, please use all care and caution possible and be sure you at least have a slow moving vehicle sign and some sort of lighting at night, both front and rear. We will keep you informed."

I think that is pretty good advice and, if the member passed this over, I am grateful for the information. I do not know what discussion took place, and I do not know what the Ministry of Transportation and Communications might be considering in this respect. Of course, the minister is here, and the member can direct that question to him.

Obviously there is a significant safety issue involved. The farming community apparently wants to address it without legislation, and I will be quite happy to discuss it with the OPP. But I think we all agree that there is an issue here that has to be addressed and that it is just a question of how best to deal with it.

Mr. Ruston: I am glad I supplied the minister with his answer to the question. I thought I would try to be helpful.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I thought I indicated my appreciation.

Mr. Ruston: Yes. I just want to point out to the minister that what concerned me was the OPP corporal's attitude in following vehicles, maybe laying charges in some cases or advising them that he was going to do this. He also told them they would have four points charged against their driver's licence. It so happens that one is not required to hold a driver's licence to drive farm machinery on the highway. Can the minister tell me on what basis the corporal warned them, when the Highway Traffic Act does not cover it?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Obviously if the officer said there were going to be formal charges when there is no legislative basis for such a sanction, for a charge or loss of points, he was clearly wrong.


Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I might take this opportunity to answer a previous question.

Before I entered the Legislature, I understand, the Leader of the Opposition asked a question with respect to certain allegations against the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force, and a similar question was asked yesterday. With your permission, sir, perhaps I might be permitted to respond to that question at this time.

Mr. Speaker: The Solicitor General has the answer to a previously asked question.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have just read the letter from Ron Thomas of the Criminal Lawyers Association of Ontario, asking for a royal commission or judicial inquiry. In the concluding paragraph of his letter, he says: "I urge you to immediately appoint a commissioner under the Public Inquiries Act to thoroughly investigate the allegations, with all the usual powers and safeguards for those involved and with broad enough powers to make recommendations."

Last week, when Bill 68 was being debated in the Legislature, I indicated in response to some discussion of this matter that we did not have any particulars of these allegations as of that time. I do not know whether any additional information has been forthcoming since that time. When I talk about particulars, I am talking about names, dates, places and specifics in relation to the individual allegations.

Quite apart from any other consideration, it would be very premature for me to respond one way or the other to such a request without having that information. But more important is the fact that, first, the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force undertook two weeks ago to conduct a full investigation into these allegations by three senior police officers. Initially, this seemed to receive a favourable response from the group known as CIRPA, the Citizens' Independent Review of Police Activities, although I recognize their enthusiasm for the project dwindled very appreciably in the ensuing days.

10:40 a.m.

But, quite apart from that, we have Bill 68 before the House. I think we require probably about five or 10 more minutes to conclude that debate. Only one more section is to be debated, which is not a major section, in our view; so legislation will be in place.

The point I am making, quite apart from the ongoing police investigation, is that as soon as this legislation is passed, Mr. Linden, the new civilian complaints commissioner, who is at present monitoring the investigation, will have the powers that a royal commissioner would have to conduct an inquiry and call witnesses if he thinks that is appropriate.

All I am suggesting is that the process should be given an opportunity to work. Let us have the results of the investigation from the Metro police; let Mr. Linden review them, and let us give him a chance to determine whether a public hearing is appropriate -- and it may well be.

I appreciate the seriousness of the allegations; I am in no way underestimating the importance of these allegations. On the other hand, I do not want anyone else to underestimate the importance of the powers that Mr. Linden will have once this legislation is passed.

Mr. Smith: I appreciate the Solicitor General's concern in this matter, and I certainly have confidence, as he does, in Mr. Linden.

Will the Solicitor General assure the House that, once the police officers have looked into the matter for, let us say, 30 days, and once Mr. Linden has had a chance to look over the material, if it is Mr. Linden's view that a public inquiry would serve a useful purpose, will the Solicitor General assure us that there will be such a public inquiry, given the fact that the allegations seem much more serious than those that led to the Morand public inquiry, set up by this government, and that an entire squad is being referred to on this occasion rather than just isolated instances here and there on the police force?

Will Mr. Linden be allowed to look at this matter and make a decision in some 30 days? Will his suggestion for a public inquiry be acceptable if he decides it would serve a useful purpose?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: The legislation clearly sets out Mr. Linden's powers, which include the right to hold his own independent investigation quite apart from any police investigation; he does not need my consent to hold an inquiry himself. If Mr. Linden for some reason down the road were to say, "I do not want to hold a public hearing under the legislation; I think we have to appoint a royal commission," I would be surprised. But if he made that recommendation, I would have to take it very seriously. I do not think I can say anything more than that.

Mr. Speaker: The member for Downsview with a new question.

Mr. Di Santo: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a question for --


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, if we can have unanimous consent to revert to statements -- and I understand that my friends are agreeable -- the Premier will now make a statement.

Agreed to.



Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, it is my intention to table a rather historic document in the life of this country. I only have one copy, and I hope somebody will bring me another one. I do not intend to table this one, because it happens to have the signatures of other first ministers. I do not often keep documents or memorabilia, which is probably a mistake on my part, but this is one I intend to keep.

I want to report to the House on the events of the past nearly four days. I must say it is really kind of pleasant to be back here in the peace and tranquillity of this House compared to what has been going on elsewhere. I report to the House with feelings of optimism and confidence and a greater appreciation of what this country is about and what is required to make it work.

I went to Ottawa on Sunday evening and appeared at the conference at 10 o'clock on Monday morning without being totally sure that some measure of compromise or consensus was achievable. It is fair to state that all of us as first ministers were faced with some rather entrenched positions, points of view that were very firmly and, I say with respect, sincerely held, not just by the group of eight as a group, not just by the Prime Minister of this country, the Premier of New Brunswick or the Premier of this province.

These were points of view we had come to believe in and support, some of us over a period of many years and in my case for 10 years, two and a half months, two days and several hours. For some other Premiers, they were points of view that had been developed and determined more recently. As I looked around the table on Monday morning and listened to the preliminary opening statements made to the public of this country, a lot of observers, I think, would have expressed that same reservation.

But then we met as a group. We met for long hours, not always together, not always in the same groups and not always with unanimity. Out of that process we have achieved something that is significant for this country. Subject to the House of Commons and the British Parliament, we have achieved patriation after many years of effort. We have achieved a charter which, even with its limitations, is probably as significant as one will find in any country in the free world. We have agreed on an amending formula that has eluded us for many years as well.

It was done, by and large, in a spirit of genuine compromise. There was not too much rancour or bitterness. There were periods during those four days when the conference was on the verge of breaking down. There were individual situations that only my memoirs -- if I ever write them, which is doubtful -- will explain to the general public. There were personal relationships that were developed during the course of that meeting, and a genuine desire on the part of all first ministers to come to grips finally and reach a measure of consensus that has escaped us for so many years.

10:50 a.m.

I know that some members opposite were concerned when the Premier of this province indicated at the opening meeting that Ontario was prepared to give away what the Toronto Sun described as its "veto." Of course, the Sun did not report what I wanted in exchange for that; and I am not being critical, because I did not say what I wanted in exchange.

I thought it was important that there should be some indication on the part of some first ministers at the conference -- and the Premier of New Brunswick did this as well -- that we were not intransigent, that there were areas of flexibility which would give some motivation to the group of first ministers. It was with this in mind that I indicated to the other first ministers and to the people of this province and of Canada that, from my perspective, an automatic veto for this province was there for negotiation.

What is hard to explain to people across Canada is the sense they have that while we are here with 8.5 million people and that through our representation in the House of Commons, by the sheer weight of numbers, we have a very significant position in this country -- and that position is not going to be altered; it is not going to be diminished -- at the same time some first ministers then understood that in the perception of the people whom they represent, whether they be the 120,000 in Prince Edward Island who came into Confederation on the basis that, while they do not have the numbers, they too were important to the makeup of this nation.

The people in western Canada, I guess, have traditionally felt over the years -- and I do not say that it has always been with justification, but one deals with perceptions as well as with realities -- that perhaps central Canada has had more than its share of economic growth and development, and some of the western Premiers were concerned about their provincial rights and about the fact that they as individual provinces did not have the same rights as pertain here in Ontario. It is difficult to understand this until you sit down and meet and discuss with these individuals.

I think one should understand something else in this process. When the private meeting on Thursday adjourned at 12:20, or whatever the hour, and I went back into the conference centre, one of the first questions I was asked -- and I am not critical of the media; it is their job, and I understand the difficulties -- was: "Did you lose? Did you win?"

Mr. Kerrio: Give it to them.

Hon. Mr. Davis: No, I am not giving it to them at all. I did not enter that conference on the basis of winning or losing. I know that is the attitude some have. I have always approached first ministers' conferences not to win for myself; I am a relatively modest individual, although some will not always agree with that. But my purpose at that meeting was clear, and I said it to the press: There were to be no winners or losers at that conference in terms of the politicians or the positions of their governments. The winner this week has been this nation and the people of this country, and that to me is what this exercise is all about.

During the next few days, few weeks and few months some people in the academic world, some of the social scientists or the political scientists and others, will be able to find theoretical flaws in the compromise we achieved. There is no question they will find some. From my standpoint, there is no question it represented less than perfection. All of us in this House try to achieve perfection; I guess some do and others do not.

I would not be honest if I did not say that if I had been writing it by myself, it would have been somewhat different. I do not quarrel for a moment that there will be those who will say that certain things that were important to them are not there or perhaps are there in a form that they like less than what they had suggested. I do not think there is any question, as it emerged, that it was a consensus, a recognition on the part of all of us that we had to give something, that we had to move one another, and that was accomplished.

I know some of my own very loyal supporters will question my observation, but I want to make it clear and repeat what I said publicly yesterday: While one can disagree with the Prime Minister of this nation on economic issues and many other matters, I have never questioned his sincerity, his motivation or his sense of purpose when it comes to constitutional change. I know he too, if he had been personally writing the document yesterday, would have had a different document. But I think he sensed, as I did, that this country is not the product of any one government, of any one Premier or of any one Prime Minister.

I think it is fair to state that the Prime Minister of this country, in spite of the predictions prior to the conference, showed a degree of flexibility and a recognition that, to have some sense of belonging in this process, he too was prepared to move away from his very strongly held positions.

As I review the past four days, I want to pay tribute -- as will the opposition members, because this is a nonpartisan event -- to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) and the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) of this province, who worked hard not only in the hours they dedicated but also in the way they conciliated, the way they worked with their fellow ministers, in the way they gave direction and took part in the activities in the late hours of the evenings and into a couple of mornings this week and in the way they were able to work with their colleagues from across this country. I think it is appropriate to recognize the contribution of those two ministers of the crown.

I should also acknowledge the work, some for many years, of some public servants of this province -- I do not know whether they are in the gallery today, and I apologize for not having a written statement, but time would not permit -- of Rendall Dick, the former Deputy Attorney General, the former Deputy Treasurer and now the present Deputy Attorney General, who has been involved in this process; the Deputy Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Donald Stevenson, who has a tremendous knowledge and experience in this field; and Allan Leal, Gary Posen, John Cavarzan and Mr. Segal, whose contributions in the past year and a half have assisted in this process. There were many others who made a contribution.

In terms of the substance of the agreement, patriation has been agreed to. We have agreed on an amending formula that, once again, does not represent perfection. It is a compromise, but it is an amending formula that I believe will work if we as Canadians want it to work.

11 a.m.

There are some alterations in the amending formula from what has been historically referred to as the Vancouver formula or the accord formula. The prime area is the deletion of the transfer of fiscal equivalents if a province opts out of a constitutional amendment that derogates from provincial rights. That is a sensitive issue. I was one of those who supported this, and I explained to my fellow Premiers that, while one might isolate certain situations, the reality is that if Ontario has the right to opt out -- which we would have -- and if there were a national program to represent the national will, if Ontario or, as an even better example, Alberta were to opt out and still receive the fiscal equivalents, that would be rewarding provinces that should not have that sort of incentive or encouragement to opt out of a program that the rest of the country felt was in the national interest.

I know this created a concern for the Premier of Quebec. I think one has always looked at it without understanding that if we are to have that type of formula, there is the possibility that provinces that traditionally never would opt out would have that inducement or incentive. I felt very strongly, as did the Prime Minister and some other Premiers of the group of eight, that this was not an appropriate measure to have in an amending formula. We perhaps will hear more of this from the Premier of Quebec, but the Prime Minister also made it abundantly clear that while he could not support that fiscal transfer in terms of an amending formula, no government of this country is going to look at a province that through genuine principle or practical application determined that a national constitutional change would not work.

I think we have had that situation three times in the past many years. and the chances are that there will be very few such situations in the future. The government of this country will treat that particular province with fairness and equity. There is nothing in the formula that precludes the national government from moving in. If the people of Prince Edward Island, for example, cannot join the other nine provinces of this country on a matter of principle, who is going to say to them they are going to be penalized? No one is looking for a penalty. What we are looking for is a formula that does not provide an incentive or encouragement.

There will be some criticism of the principle of opting out. One cannot opt out of the charter itself or out of those matters in the federal jurisdiction. To put it simplistically, and there are variations, it is confined to those constitutional changes that would take away the traditional rights of the provinces. I think it is a workable formula. It may be that my successor 10, 15 or 20 years down the road -- my successor on this side of the House -- and other first ministers will find an even better amending formula or some variation. We are not precluded from that either.

I move to the charter itself. There will be those who will say it has been altered as it exists in the resolution. I do not argue with that. But the reality is, provinces that six days ago were opposed to the principle of a charter being entrenched in our constitution are now saying: "We accept the principle; we are prepared to entrench democratic rights and mobility rights."

We also reached a compromise with respect to the fundamental rights. That was one I hoped would be in the non-notwithstanding approach, along with legal and equality rights. A number of provinces will not take the notwithstanding approach. There were those in the group of eight who, my guess is, will accept fundamental rights as a matter of course. I think the Premier of Alberta expressed it in terms of his own province -- his concern about the entrenchment or not having the right to put in a notwithstanding clause.

I emphasize that right also contains with it the necessity to put in a sunset provision so no Legislature can do it in perpetuity. It automatically comes up every five years so that the conscience of those legislators, at that time, will have to be tested as it relates to the social attitudes in their provinces. I am an optimist and my prediction is it will not be many years before the fundamental rights will be part of the entrenched part of the charter in this country as a matter of course.

The question of equality rights is a sensitive area. It was Premier Hatfield who suggested this after I suggested we would take a look at the accord formula for amendment if the other Premiers would move towards accepting the principle of the charter, so one has the equality rights section and the legal rights section.

I think our Attorney General has expressed, not the reservation about the principle but the concern that perhaps there is some wisdom in refining or taking a look at the legal rights section. No one opposes legal rights at all -- I want to say that for the other Premiers. It is a question of having it in sufficient balance that it is workable.

The members have all had representations. We have had discussions with the police chiefs' associations, not of this province but of Canada. We have had the crown attorneys. There have been the civil libertarians. I think our own Attorney General understands the concern that has been expressed with respect to the provision of legal rights. While I would have preferred to have equality rights and legal rights in there, I think over a period of years we will find that they too will find their way by way of practice into the national charter, if I can phrase it in that fashion.

Ontario introduced the principle of mobility, and that is in the charter. I have expressed my views, sometimes emotionally, on this subject. I happen to believe in it and it is there. One has to be Premier of Newfoundland to understand what the implications of that section are. That province has an unemployment rate well above the national average, and the Premier wants to find employment for the citizens of that province. We have found an accommodation that accepts the principle but understands the diversity of this country.

I express regret this was also an area where the Premier of Quebec said he could not support the agreement. I regret it because I think maybe words could have been found to maintain the principle but recognize some of the concerns of the Premier of that great province. But it is there. That, to me, is fundamental.

We have, as well, the principle of equalization. That is there. That is basic to the functioning of this country. The recognition of regional disparities and the agreement we reached on resources are included in the agreement reached yesterday in the nation's capital.

I would be less than honest if I did not express my concern at the decision of the Premier of Quebec on behalf of his government not to sign that agreement. I think some of the members saw his point of view being expressed. His opposition, his reluctance, his decision not to sign was based on the mobility section and was based on the fiscal equivalency.

I regret it but I said publicly, and I will say it again, I think the Prime Minister and every Premier in this country were dedicated to finding the ways and means to make it abundantly clear there was no attempt to isolate the people of Quebec in this discussion. I sat there, I listened, I know whereof I speak. I only hope at some point we can bring the government of Quebec into this relationship and into this agreement because that is important to the future of this country.

Mr. Stokes: Where does that leave native rights?

11:10 a.m.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I will have the document distributed. The honourable member has, as we all do, a very genuine interest in this subject. I would note that the native people themselves had made representations to the government of Canada and to this government about their concern over the wording that was in the present resolution.

The agreement that has been signed by all first ministers, or one or two acting on behalf of their first ministers, contains a specific section that a constitutional conference will be held, as provided for in the resolution, and include in its agenda the item directly affecting the aboriginal peoples of Canada. The native people will be invited to attend that conference to sort out and find wording -- whatever it is we need to do -- to have that ultimately included within the constitution. That was part of the agreement, as the honourable member will be able to read in clause five.

Mr. Speaker, perhaps I have taken longer than I should have. However, I emphasize that while there will be those who question and have reservations, and while there are some of us who would have liked to have seen more, at the same time what was accomplished in Ottawa yesterday, to me, is significant.

I could sense it as I sat there yesterday afternoon. It was not quite a feeling of relief, but I sat there with first ministers, some of whom were not talking to one another, and we had been debating these things. The rhetoric has been pretty great over the past year. There has been rhetoric with respect to the Prime Minister and the government of Canada -- we all know what has been said. But the heads of governments, regrettably with the exception of the Premier of Quebec, were sort of saying as one: "We have done it; we are going to have patriation; we are going to have a charter; we have agreed on a formula; the constitutional discussion at this phase is over."

We really are saying that at one o'clock yesterday this country, after 114 years, has achieved nationhood.


Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, this is a very happy moment in the Legislature. It is a moment in which I am able to rise to first of all commend the Premier on an excellent summary of the situation that he has just presented to us. More than that, I am able to associate myself wholeheartedly with the accommodation which, as he says, is not perfect but is a decent, honourable and useful compromise.

I believe had I been given the same document to sign I would have signed it -- and just as happily as the Premier has signed it. Therefore I am especially pleased that we can speak on this matter with no sign at all of partisan difference, but rather with the good feeling we have as Canadians, as residents of Ontario and legislators in this Assembly.

When the news came out he was prepared to be conciliatory on the subject of our so-called veto I supported him in this. The Premier may not be aware of that but he should know it.

Hon. Mr. Davis: There were others who did not.

Mr. Smith: There may have been others who did not, but he should know that I supported him, and did so publicly. He should know as well that when the news of the agreement came out I stood to pay tribute to him and his fellow first ministers for having achieved that accord.

I believe we should pay tribute to Premier Peckford, whose solution was eventually chosen. But I think the contribution of our own Premier in being willing to be conciliatory and in being willing to help to negotiate between the various parties was equally important, if not even more important. I am willing to say that and am very happy to say that. There were times I felt that perhaps such conciliation would have been Ontario's role earlier than the eleventh hour, but better late than never. Perhaps the timing turned out to be just right in the long run anyhow. I want to say that very sincerely.

I hope I may take a moment, with the willingness and wholehearted appreciation of other people in the House, to pay tribute also to my national leader, a man for whom this constitutional issue has been a burning personal issue. A good many Canadians might well have wondered why it was something he felt it was necessary to deal with. He has had the courage to stand up to much criticism. He has shown flexibility in the last analysis. He has shown a sense of what Canada is all about. I am very proud to serve in the party of which he is the national leader, and I want publicly to pay tribute to Pierre Elliott Trudeau on this accomplishment.

I suspect the very process of the negotiations

-- which we watched and frankly found incomprehensible most of the time -- and the outcome establish plainly the reality of regionalism in this country. We in Ontario sometimes fail to understand that. We are so closely identified with a central government and with a sense of Canada as a unity that we sometimes forget the importance of regionalism as a potential source of strength in this country. But the regionalism of our nation was recognized by the process of bargaining that went on, and in a sense the very compromise has recognized the regionalism. That is fine. I do not see anything wrong with that. There is no way that a country whose population is stretched so narrowly from one ocean to the other could expect to avoid regionalism as a reality of feeling among Canadians everywhere. I think the compromise recognizes it, and recognizes it in a useful way.

I am not happy that people can opt out of certain provisions, but I agree with the Premier that they have done everything possible to make it difficult to opt out. In the long run, maybe people will not be opted out. I can live with the amending formula. I am happy with most of the compromises that were made, even though, as the Premier says, I would have preferred the original document. But that was not to be.

I am concerned about what is going to happen in Quebec. The people of Quebec are once again going to be the subject of competing arguments. It seems as though they are never to be left alone with these matters. They are going to find people of beliefs, which are sometimes opposite to one another, going before them in one way or another, seeking their views and seeking their allegiance. Whether it will be in the form of some vote or just in a general political sense, I do not know.

But I am disappointed the government of Quebec saw fit to oppose this compromise so vehemently. I would have thought they could live with it, frankly. I would have hoped that Canadians everywhere could realize there is more in it for all of us to be generous with one another than to be especially protective of ourselves. We should have enough confidence in ourselves after these many years to know that Canada can survive and even our various regions can survive, with whatever identity we wish to give them, without the necessity to be anything less than generous to those minorities who live among us. I would have hoped that could have been understood.

My view is that it goes beyond education rights. My personal view -- and I do not wish to raise another issue here today; it is not the time for it -- is that services are just as important as education rights. I still hope the day will come when in our own province something like the bill of the member for Ottawa East (Mr. Roy) or some other guarantee of services will be enshrined in legislation. I really believe that would be good for Canada.

11:20 a.m.

I accept that in the matter of language of education there is apparently a problem in the government of Quebec. The Premier did not mention that when he spoke of the objections. Perhaps he meant to or he mentioned it at other times. But there is, I think, a serious question there. I want to say to my friends in Quebec that they really have nothing to fear from that provision.

Je veux dire à mes amis dans la province de Québec que le Québec ne perdra rien en permettant le choix dans le royaume d'éducation.

Moi-même, j'ai reçu le bénéfice d'une éducation en anglais dans la province de Québec. Le Québec est très généreux envers ses minorités anglophones. Je comprends très bien qu'ils craignent perdre l'identité francophone dans la province si l'on donne trop à la très forte minorité anglophone.

Mais selon toutes les indications au Québec maintenant, les francophones sont en contrôle et ils vont y rester. Les vraies questions dans la province de Québec sont celles de la langue dans la place du travail. La langue de travail doit être le français dans la province de Québec. Et on ne va pas garantir cela en réduisant les droits des anglophones à l'éducation en la langue anglaise.

On peut être généreux envers les minorités sans avoir peur de perdre quelque chose d'important dans le procès qui continue chaque jour à garantir l'atmosphère et l'esprit français dans la province de Québec.

Je veux dire sincèrement que j'espère que la population de la province de Québec va prendre l'attitude qu'on pourra accepter ces droits. C'est naturel, quand on donne un droit à la population, que le gouvernement, soit fédéral soit provincial, va perdre quelque chose, parce que ce sont les individus qui vont obtenir quelque chose. Mais la province de Québec n'a rien à perdre, n'a rien à craindre de ces amendements et de ces droits inscrits dans la charte.

So I believe that much good has been done for our country by the compromise; I believe that our Premier represented us well at the congress; I believe that the country will be stronger as a result. My concerns about Quebec, I am sure, are shared by other members in the House, but we will do our best to persuade our friends in Quebec that they have nothing to lose and nothing to fear from a reasonable amount of generosity, which has always existed in Quebec until very recent years with the anglophone minority. We for our part, I trust, will reciprocate those feelings in Ontario.

Canada is a very great country. It is a great country for all of us in every province, no matter what language we speak, no matter what our ethnic background is. I am happy to see that this week our country has moved towards its coming of age, and I pay tribute to all who have been involved in that process.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, in future years November 5 is going to be an historic date. I envisage the day, perhaps, when school children visit this building and are brought up into the hallway out there and are asked to take a look at the Fathers of Confederation. It is even possible that it will be supplemented with or replaced by the fathers of reconfederation.

I can quite understand the Premier starting for the first time in his life to collect memorabilia and having at the top of that list the original document signed by all of the first ministers yesterday because it is, I repeat, a truly historic achievement.

Occasionally we try to rescue ourselves from the inevitable and perhaps even desirable measure of partisanship that characterizes exchanges, and take the more ecumenical approach of focussing on the great common ground we share. I think this is one of those occasions and I want to join generally with the Leader of the Opposition and the Premier in tribute to what went on.

I confess the news yesterday was perhaps as great a measure of profound relief as I have had on anything for quite some time. I have lived with this constitutional issue, partly because of an interest in it from my days under J. A. Corry at Queen's University decades back but more recently as chairman of the constitution committee in our caucus here and as a member of the constitution committee within the framework of the federal New Democratic Party. Periodically I have had the privilege of discussing with various Ontario government advisers as well as Saskatchewan government advisers what was going to happen to try to get the breakthrough we needed.

There were many times when one came to the conclusion that perhaps the breakthrough was not possible, that there was not that necessary element of statesmanship among our leaders today to make it possible. I have often used the analogy of what went on back in the days of Confederation with people such as Sir John A. Macdonald and George Brown, who hated each other with an intensity I suspect surpasses the intensity of personal antagonism between any leaders in Canada today; yet this nation was born because they were able to set that antagonism aside, set some of their political differences aside and come together to make possible a new nation on the northern half of the North American continent.

There is something I have felt very strongly about and have urged among my colleagues, both here, federally and generally, when I was speaking on this issue. It is that one has to recognize in the process of constitutional reform that one may set forward goals on which one places extremely high priority but one always has to do it in the framework of a certain tentativeness. In the final analysis there have to be tradeoffs. One may not like it, it may be demeaning, but there have to be tradeoffs.

The exciting thing about what happened in Ottawa, in what must have been a blood, sweat and tears process, was that finally the necessary element of statesmanship emerged. That petulant Peckford who was sticking to the mobility issue in terms of labour was willing to modify it. Everybody else in equivalent ways was willing to modify. As our Premier has said, it is not a perfect document, but in a federal state one can never get a perfect document because it is the product of that basic necessary compromise.

Perhaps nothing has concerned me more in this whole process than the fact Ontario was willing to forego its traditional role in federal-provincial relationships until almost the eleventh hour. That traditional role has been one of establishing a working relationship with other provinces. It is not traditional to permit itself to be isolated in the fashion Ontario tragically had become isolated, but to play the mediating role between French Canada and English Canada because of our geographic and historic ties with Quebec.

Without spelling that out, because we are all familiar with it, what has happened in the last decade is that Ontario has moved into a new role in which we had total, uncritical identification with the federal position. Our working relationships with the other provinces virtually disappeared, whereas in years gone by when the Premier of Ontario spoke most people tended to agree and go along with him.

11:30 a.m.

Tragically, in recent years if the Premier of Ontario tended to take a position, the other nine were likely to line up against him. For us who live and work in the province, the longer that went on not only is it tragic for us, it is tragic for this nation. I am convinced the continuing role of Ontario in that historic pattern is there. It emerged in the course of the negotiations.

The Premier well knows that on occasion I presumed to call up some of his advisers on this issue and say, "Why cannot Ontario move in and attempt to bridge the gap that existed there?" I am not going to be critical and second-guess that he did not do it until the eleventh hour, because I recognize that timing is of the essence. But at least Ontario has now moved back into something of that traditional role. On television last night, I saw that rather touching scene where Peter Lougheed turned and said, "Bill, you even helped to persuade me." That was really touching.

However, as my final comments on what has happened here, I want to suggest very strongly to the Premier that he should pursue with vigor the re-establishment of that historic role of Ontario. He should do it in terms of those two areas which, despite all of the euphoria and all of the relief over yesterday's achievement, if I may borrow Joe Clark's phrase, represent "dark shadows."

The one, of course, is the problem of Quebec. The Premier will forgive me if I speak feelingly on Quebec. My great-grandfather carved a farm out of the bush in Quebec south of Montreal. I grew up in Quebec from the age of 10 and most of my family lived in Quebec. I am proud to assert I am a Quebecois. I would like to be considered a Quebecois.

What happened yesterday admittedly takes us out of the pattern of the last year or so when we had, as some people said, as great a threat of separatism from western Canada as we had from Quebec. Perhaps that has been resolved but we are back to square one, the problem of how we establish a working relationship with Quebec. I would like to have believed that if the only two -- and I do not have the details clear in my mind yet exactly what was achieved -- but if the only two reasons for not signing the agreement were the mobility section and the fiscal equivalent signing-out section, I find it a little difficult understanding why, if those were the only two, Premier Levesque could not have signed it on behalf of Quebec.

But we have seen enough in the last year or two. Do not underestimate who is really in touch with Quebec and its people. I, for one, am not going to say that Levesque is not. It may well be he knows what the people of Quebec feel on these issues strongly enough that we have a massive job -- to borrow the phraseology of the referendum era -- of appealing to the hearts and minds of the people of Quebec.

I come back to my essential theme. Ontario has to play a role in that, a greater role it has played in recent years. In order to play an effective role, Ontario has to do something to refurbish and rebuild its credibility. Without pursuing it any more, dare I say section 133 will have to be looked at, or the issues that were raised by the Leader of the Opposition.

The second area of dark shadow -- and I am sorry I am not comforted by the Premier's suggestion that section 5 makes a commitment to a conference to take a look at aboriginal rights. If one reads this morning's paper, there is a sense of burning outrage among native peoples in this country. I can quite understand their burning outrage. After years of struggle and then sort of being kept out of the whole consultative process in constitutional reform, finally they got a revision in the package in the House of Commons that included a protection of aboriginal rights.

The specious illogic of the argument that I saw in one story in the paper this morning was that because there were differences among the native people, and they were not happy with what was there because it was less than perfect and they wanted it to be closer to perfect, the answer was to strike it out of the charter, totally, even though he has given promise of a conference in which he is going to sit down to address it.

I repeat, it is an insult; it is an affront. I can understand the sense of outrage among the people. However, we leave that with the plea that Ontario will pick up on its historic role and pursue it.

I join with others in paying tribute to the Premier in re-establishing that mediating role, in bringing in a measure and a mood for entertaining flexibility.

I pay tribute, because nobody else has particularly mentioned it, to the role of Allan Blakeney, because he has been in a very difficult position in recent months. Western Canada is massively lined up politically these days, and he has to live with his electorate. Everybody knew that Allan Blakeney had to live with it, and yet there were measures of flexibility that he was willing to entertain. Only in the final process was he able to come in and share in that. While it may be deemed a Peckford compromise, I think Allan Blakeney and our Premier played a major role in the initial work that ultimately ended up in the so-called Peckford compromise.

It was a great day yesterday, and as we resume the partisan exchanges in the days to come, I do not think the measure of that achievement will diminish at all.

Mr. Speaker: As everybody has said, it is indeed a great, momentous occasion, and I would like, on a very personal basis, to extend my thanks to all those people right across this country, from coast to coast, who participated in coming to a successful conclusion.


Mr. Speaker: Now, we revert to question period and, according to my arithmetic, there are 25 minutes left. The Clerk tells me it is 24, but we will settle for 25, because I am sure that when the Premier came in we lost at least a minute. I am going to recognize the member for Downsview (Mr. Di Santo), who has been on his feet several times.

Mr. Di Santo: The Minister of Labour is not here; so I will give the floor to my colleague.


Mr. Stokes: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Premier.

Is the Premier aware of the great concern among all the people of northern Ontario about the inability of the Royal Commission on the Northern Environment to come to grips with urgent and pressing problems in northern Ontario? Specifically, is the Premier aware that there has been a firing and some resignations within the commission?

Is the Premier not concerned that we have spent between $5 million and $6 million on this process and yet nothing seems to be coming by way of even an interim recommendation with regard to social and economic issues? They have not been involved in strategic land-use planning or any of the things that have happened of major importance in northwestern Ontario.

Does this concern the Premier, and is he about to do anything to try to get that royal commission back on the rails?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Obviously I have some knowledge, Mr. Speaker, but it is not up to date this week. I give an undertaking to the honourable member that some time next week -- I cannot promise him that it will be Monday or Tuesday -- the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Ramsay) will give him an update and some answer to the question he raised.

It might not satisfy the member in all aspects, but I will ask him to prepare an update as to what is happening and to have it for the member and for the House. I have not talked to him for a few days, and I cannot tell whether it will be in the early part of next week or the latter part of the week.

11:40 a.m.


Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, I will ask the Premier, in the absence of the Attorney General, if he will please explain to this House why up to this date his government has failed to respond to a city of Toronto request to rescind the four Metropolitan Toronto bylaws approved by orders in council and the six orders of the Ontario Municipal Board which permit the extension of the Spadina Expressway south of Eglinton.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I will consult with the Attorney General and get an answer to the honourable member's question. Once again, I will not promise that it will be Monday, but I hope it will be the early part of the week.

Mr. Ruprecht: Since the Premier has indicated many times, and I have a quote here that he said it categorically, that "there will be no extension of the roadway beyond the terminus of the Allen roadway at Eglinton Avenue," will he give us his personal commitment that he will stick by that promise he made on May 19?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, for the sake of the historical record, that promise was made some time in May, June, July, August or whenever of 1971. It is now more than 10 years of age, which makes it almost a convention. I can assure the honourable member that after that length of time I have no intention of changing my mind.

Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Speaker, can the Premier explain to the House why the extension of Highway 400, which is completed from Jane to Eglinton, has not been opened and will not be opened until next year? I assume that meanwhile there will be maintenance expenses and it will not serve the purpose for which the government decided to build the road: to relieve the traffic in that area.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, while I know the Attorney General has left to do some very important work -- I think he has to go out and make a speech in Calgary -- I notice the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow), as is his custom on Friday mornings, is here this morning. No man is more knowledgeable about the great transportation system we have in this province. He has all the up-to-date information, and I am sure he would be willing to share that information with the member for Downsview.

Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, in the matter of the extension of Highway 400, or Black Creek Drive as it known officially now, I am sure the honourable member is well aware that the commitment was made by this government to build Black Creek Drive from Jane Street to St. Clair Avenue. All that work is now either completed or under construction.

I believe two contracts are yet to be completed. One of those contracts is for a grade separation underneath the railway tracks south of Eglinton, which is well under way and nearing completion. The other contract is for work on Weston Road, including the part of Black Creek Drive under the railway tracks.

The portion of road from Jane Street south to Eglinton and some of the work below Eglinton is now completed as far as we are concerned. The ministry has written to Metropolitan Toronto, saying this road is completed and we have turned it over to Metro as it is their road. As I understand it, it has been the decision of Metropolitan Toronto not to open that section of road until the total job is complete.

I agreed with Metro Toronto and with the other elected officials of the borough that we would try not to spread the contracts out over a long period of time so that there would be a minimum amount of time between the completion to Eglinton and completion of the total job. We have condensed those contracts into as short a period as possible and the total job, as it is scheduled now, will be completed by next fall, barring unforeseen circumstances. The concern was that if the job were spread out too long there would be a long period between the time it was open to Eglinton and the time it was open to St. Clair. We have condensed that to one year.

As far as I am concerned, we have met all our commitments, we have done it quickly and scheduled it as closely as we possibly could, and it is now a decision of Metro and the Metro boroughs as to whether they open that road. We have finished it, it is complete and it is ready to open.


Mr. Grande: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Colleges and Universities.

The chairman of the Council of Regents of Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology sent a memorandum, dated June 5, to the chairmen and presidents of the colleges of applied arts and technology.

This memorandum states: "On the basis of the review of college governments conducted by the Council of Regents, the minister has adopted the following points ... "

One of the points the minister has adopted is that the Council of Regents may remove, as well as appoint, governors of colleges of applied arts and technology.

Can the minister give this House the compelling reason why she wants this perfect political, Tory realignment of the decisions made in our colleges?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I ask the member to look at the membership of the Council of Regents from time to time and decide whether it is a perfect political or Tory ploy. The Council of Regents is representative of a wide-ranging group of people with experience within the community college system, and their political allegiance had precious little to do with whether they were ever appointed to that council.

It was on the basis of an examination of the problems of governance within the community college system, carried out at the initiative of the Council of Regents but participated in by the faculties, boards of governors, staff associations and student bodies, that recommendations were made regarding the appointment of individuals to boards of governors of community colleges.

The consensus was that this should be carried out by the Council of Regents, and it seemed that the only questions were about the actual method of selecting names at the local level for submission to the council and the term and number of representatives on each of the boards.

None of this is cast in stone. However, if it is widely recommended, I believe it is an appropriate mechanism to pursue for a period of time that will allow for the appropriate kind of examination of the mechanism.

Mr. Grande: Can the minister then explain why she does not trust the municipal councils across this province to decide who their appointees should be?

Can she also tell us why she does not trust the unions of this province to decide whose voices should be heard on the boards of governors of the colleges?

Finally, why are the students in our colleges totally disenfranchised?

Will the minister tell us about her fears? Is it because she wants to stamp out opinions on the boards that may contradict her regressive and destructive cutback mentality?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I question whether that last bit of rhetorical waste really deserves a response.

Mr. Grande: That is the reason the minister is doing it.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: That is not the reason.

Mr. Speaker: That was an observation. I think the first part was a valid question.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: The member for Oakwood knows perfectly well that is not the reason. I do not know what kind of political grandstanding he is attempting to carry out at this point.

There is ample opportunity for labour unions and any number of groups within a municipality, community or region to strongly suggest names to a board of governors. Those names are then transmitted to the Council of Regents. The source of all the names for those appointments is the local community.

I think we have urged, with a great deal of success, the understanding and sensitivity of the boards of governors of community colleges to the absolute need to have broad representation.

In almost all instances we have had excellent representation from trade union representatives within those communities and those regions. I believe that will continue, not just as it has in the past but also in future under the new method for appointment to the boards of governors.

11:50 a.m.


Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations.

Does the minister recall his predecessor's letters to Shell Canada and Texaco Canada on March 9, 1981, urging them, "in the strongest possible terms, to rescind the one per cent credit card charge," which is contrary to the government's petroleum franchising guidelines and is nothing more than an extra cost to the consumers without the companies being perceived as the villains?

What response did his ministry receive from the companies concerning the letters? Why, one year after it was imposed, does the minister allow this practice to continue when it is contrary to his guidelines and is nothing more than a consumer ripoff?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, I certainly do recall that matter. As recently as Tuesday of this week, I guess it was, I met for a short time with the retail gasoline handlers and talked to them about that very matter. We have had ongoing discussions.

In point of fact, my recollection of the letters that were returned some time in April 1981 from Texaco and Shell is that they were not prepared to capitulate on the point and, basically, challenged us on it. It has been a question of negotiation and discussion. Frankly, the fact of the matter is that we have not got very far on it.

I agree with the sentiments expressed in the letter by the member for Scarborough Centre (Mr. Drea), who was the previous minister in this position. Discussions are ongoing; my parliamentary assistant is meeting again with the association a week from Friday, I believe it is, but in any case within a week or so, and it is my intention to meet with them again within the month.

Mr. Bradley: Is the minister aware that the Ontario Retail Gasoline and Automotive Service Association has received a legal opinion stating that Shell and Texaco have been collecting the one per cent charge illegally? Why does he allow this illegal practice to continue? Why does he not stand up to the major oil companies for the consumers of this province, taking into consideration this legal opinion?

Hon. Mr. Walker: The legal opinion first came to my attention when I met with them the last time, which was a few days ago. I anticipate they will supply me with a copy of that once they have had more opportunity to meet with my parliamentary assistant. I think at that time I will be able to formulate a better opinion.

Mr. Foulds: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I know the cabinet has onerous responsibilities, and I know there has been a historic announcement this morning. Nevertheless, there are only seven cabinet ministers in their seats for private members to ask questions of. I wanted to bring that to the attention of the House.

Mr. Speaker: I thank the honourable member for drawing that matter to our attention.


Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. Is he not concerned that at least eight employees of the Residential Tenancy Commission, including four commissioners -- that is, people who have to act in a quasi-judicial capacity -- are now appearing on behalf of landlords before rent review hearings?

Since the minister refused to implement a conflict-of-interest policy recently when we saw the scandalous occurrence of a former Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations appearing before a quasi-judicial body of his ministry, now that we have examples that are possibly less politically embarrassing to the minister but none the less serious, will he consider moving towards a conflict-of-interest policy for his ministry?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, the matter has greater ramifications than just the Residential Tenancy Commission. It affects whether we bind a person, during his period of occupancy in an office he might be with, so that he will not do something after he leaves the office. To my knowledge, it has not been the nature of any of the governments across Canada to do that.

Indeed, it is fair to say that it has application in many ramifications of government. There are people who leave office as MPPs and who may appear before various bodies; for instance, there are lawyers who appear before the provincial court who actually are MPPs. There are also times when people who are appearing before tribunals and bodies of the government of Ontario, and indeed of other governments in Canada, have recently retired as MPPs.

Similarly, there have been people who have been civil servants in the Ontario service, or perhaps public servants, as these individuals might be, who have taken on responsibilities afterwards that are related. I am thinking of the assessment review area, where people who have been involved in assessment in the ministry may end up in front of the assessment review court.

This is not unusual. It is not uncommon to see it being done by members of the press who might normally be expected, in a media position, to offer a totally unbiased attitude, which is quite natural, and who then go and work for a political party. I think the honourable member's party, I know the Liberal Party and certainly the Conservative Party have had people from the press working for them.

There are some interesting parallels through all this, and that has to be kept in mind and in balance.

Mr. Philip: Those parallels are red herrings. The minister has raised more red herrings than a fisherman.

Does the minister not agree that the position of a cabinet minister or a public employee who is in a quasi-judicial capacity is quite different from that of an MPP or a member of the press? Does the minister not realize that other jurisdictions, such as the Interstate Commerce Commission, have developed conflict-of-interest policies on their people who have acted in quasi-judicial capacities for the very reason that justice not only must be done but also must appear to be done?

What does the minister suggest that I tell my constituents who live at Tandridge and Arcot in Rexdale, in a rental project, who lost a half day's pay when a former employee of the Residential Tenancy Commission was able to obtain a new hearing, rather than a dismissal, on the grounds that his employer, the landlord, had violated the act and had not provided the necessary documentation so that the hearing could take place?

What should I tell them to convince them that this former employee did not have an inside influence on that rent review officer, no matter how just I may happen to know that rent review officer's decisions are?

Hon. Mr. Walker: On the specific hearing, I would have to get more details before I made additional comments. I have not had that one brought to my attention.

I realize that other countries have certain guidelines that flow from it, and perhaps in the United States the Interstate Commerce Commission does have that. But in our particular province it is not the case, and it is really not the case in many other jurisdictions in Canada.

The fact of the matter is that some people at the Residential Tenancy Commission attend on behalf of landlords, but I am also told that some of the people who have retired from the RTC also appear on behalf of tenants. So I suppose there might be landlords who show up and have the same opinion.

The actual fact of the matter is that when they are in our service, we expect them to provide very valuable and unbiased attitudes and unbiased judgement of what is going on. They are providing the justice. They may decide to leave and then go to work for either the tenants or the landlords -- and the case has been with both -- but I do not see that as being a particularly strong and significant concern. As a matter of fact, I am told the cases are somewhat speedier now where some of them are involved, because they are able to crystallize the issues in a much better way.

The officers who are there, the residential tenancy officers who are currently in place, are able to mete out the kind of judgement they should be giving. That is totally unbiased; on neither side are they prepared to take any support. They are simply there reviewing the facts and determining whether the increase should be permitted and, if so, to what extent. They are offering unbiased opinions. I see nothing wrong with that. What the member is doing is castigating those officers who are remaining.

Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, will the minister not consider something along the lines of a two-year cooling-off period so that a person who leaves the Residential Tenancy Commission would have to wait two years before appearing on behalf of any kind of party to a dispute in front of that commission, such as exists in the federal guidelines for cabinet ministers?

12 noon

Does the minister not recognize that the concern is that a person appointed to be a commissioner in this quasi-judicial appointment might well be thought to be feathering his nest for the future by making a lot of decisions in favour of certain very wealthy landlords, in the expectation that he might then receive a lucrative posting with one of those landlords or an associated company?

I am not saying anybody has ever done that. I would not suggest that for a moment. What I am saying is, with a large number of members of the tenancy commission seeming to be moving into the employ of landlords right after they leave the commission, does the minister not recognize that for justice to appear to be being done, no matter how fair these decisions have been in the past -- I am not questioning that -- for appearances' sake it might be wise to have a cooling-off period by saying that when members leave the commission they have to spend a certain amount of time doing something other than being in the employ of a big landlord and appearing in front of that very commission?

Hon. Mr. Walker: It is an interesting suggestion, Mr. Speaker. It certainly is not something that is applied either to ourselves as cabinet ministers or indeed to retiring opposition leaders or retiring members of the Legislature or people who are in the Legislature at the moment. They can appear before various bodies of government. There is no restriction.

I find it interesting that the member would want to insist that these public servants be bound up by some contractual relationship, I presume. One must keep in mind that, once they have left government, there is not very much we can do if they want to do something, unless the member wants it to be a provincial offence to take on a contract to act on behalf of tenants or perhaps to act on behalf of landlords appearing before a commission.

It is certainly not something we are applying to ourselves. Indeed, I am not sure that a two-year cooling-off period would do that much. Presumably, if the position is that lucrative, they might simply wait for another two years and fall into the same category the member is suggesting.


Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Deputy Premier. Now that the minister has a pipeline down to Ottawa, and maybe a listening ear, I wonder whether he and the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman) might bend the ear of those people down there and consider altering the auto pact that continuously goes more and more into deficit?

I think the minister personally would have an interest in that matter as it relates to our area. I know he is going to say it is federal, but I ask him if he will do everything he can to renegotiate the auto pact to get Canadians back to work building automobiles and parts.

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I know the interest of the honourable member, and I appreciate the fact that he would underline my interest as member for Brock with respect to the health and viability of the automotive industry.

Certainly I have heard my colleagues the Minister of Industry and Tourism and the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) discuss this from time to time. It may be more appropriate if I draw the member's specific question to the Minister of Industry and Tourism's attention so that perhaps he could bring the member up to date with respect to any discussions that he, as the minister responsible, has had on this subject.


Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: If the Speaker refers to page six of the Order Paper for today, he will see that the motion I introduced yesterday in the context of a question of privilege has been designated as a private member's motion tabled on November 5, 1981.

I am sure the Speaker will recall rather distinctly -- if he needs to have his mind refreshed, he can look at page 1410-1 of yesterday's Instant Hansard -- that he repeatedly designated this as a substantive motion; because it was a substantive motion, there had to be 24 hours' notice. I accepted his ruling, and I gave the 24 hours' notice. Now apparently it is designated in error as a private member's motion rather than as a substantive motion. Will he see that this error on the part of the table is corrected, please?

Mr. Speaker: I will certainly inquire. I am not sure whether it is an error, but I will find out and I will report back.

Mr. MacDonald: If by any chance it is not an error, may I ask the Speaker why he changed his mind since yesterday and on whose advice he has changed his mind? This is part of the problem that produced my original motion.

Mr. Speaker: As I told the member, I will take a look at it. I see what he is getting at, but I will have to report back to him.

Mr. MacDonald: I hope you will not change your mind, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: I am told it will appear on the Notice Paper every day until it is disposed of -- I had this notation before -- and I suppose that would be at a time arranged by the House leaders of the three parties.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, we are really getting bogged down here.

Mr. Speaker: Yes.

Mr. MacDonald: If it is deemed to be a private member's motion the House leaders do not decide when it is going to come before the House; if it is a substantive motion -- I do not know why I get the Clerk so exercised.

Mr. Speaker: No, he is not.

Mr. MacDonald: If he is not exercised, perhaps he can relax.

Mr. Speaker: I am listening.

Mr. MacDonald: Good.

I draw your attention to the definition of a substantive motion on page 12 of our Standing Orders: "A substantive motion is one that is not incidental to any other business of the House but is a self-contained proposal capable of expressing a decision of the House."

I submit that was my motion -- a substantive motion -- and it should not be put off into the private members' category, which is now going to be relegated to the so-called Thursday basket.

Mr. Speaker: With all respect, as I understand it -- and I refer to this note I had -- a private member's motion is a substantive motion, and it will be debated at a time arranged by the House leaders of the three parties, as I said earlier.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Could I say a word? I am sorry because I was not here and I am just sort of reading through the Votes and Proceedings and the Hansards on this. But it is my understanding of the rules -- and I would be very pleased if you would look at them, sir, and perhaps if the member for York South would also look at them -- that the motions and resolutions made under private members' business are in fact substantive motions. They sometimes deal with resolutions concerning matters in this province or outside this province or sometimes the rules of this House and various things, as my friend knows.

The general procedure in this House for motions such as he has moved is to consider them as private members' motions and consider them under the rules and procedures that pertain to those. I cannot see the argument that this is some kind of special motion which would be dealt with by the House leaders and called at a certain time. It will come up when my friend's turn comes in private members' motions.


Mr. MacDonald: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: This is precisely the point I want to get at. When I introduced the motion yesterday it was described as a substantive motion, and a substantive motion, according to the definition I have just read to you, is one that is going to be presented to the House and disposed of not in the private members' Thursday basket, so- called. If it were a private member's motion in the context of one that is going to be --

I would like to have the House leader's attention so he will understand what I am saying or at least hear what I am saying, whether or not he understands it.

If it was a private member's motion in the context of one that is going to come up on Thursday night it needed no notice.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Yes it did.

Mr. MacDonald: No, it did not need any notice. I can get up and read it or I can put it on the table; it needs no notice. Yesterday it was designated as requiring notice; therefore, it was a substantive motion of a different sort, not one that goes into the private members' Thursday period. I am willing to accept that the House leaders should designate when it will be debated, but I think that under the circumstances it should not be delayed unduly. I contend that it is a serious and important matter, otherwise I would not have moved it.

Mr. Foulds: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: Maybe I could just speak for a moment or two about how I interpreted yesterday's events. If the motion had been ruled a procedural motion it would have been in order and would have to have been dealt with yesterday. But it was deemed not to be a procedural motion; it was designated a substantive motion, and no mention was made yesterday, either by you or by anybody participating in the debate or the exchange of points of order, that it would be a private member's bill. It was designated a substantive motion. It was certainly the clear understanding of the House at the conclusion and the acceptance of my colleague from York South that he was giving notice, he was filing it in writing and it would be debatable within a period of 24 hours.


12:10 p.m.

Mr. Speaker: Order, order.

Hon. Mr. Wells: I wish my friend would tell me where it says that any substantive motion must be debated within 24 hours.

Mr. Foulds: Not within -- after the period of.

Hon. Mr. Wells: You said within.

Mr. Speaker: Order, order. We are getting bogged down, as the member for York South suggested.

If I may put a question to the member for York South, does he feel in some way that his motion has diminished in importance? Is that the real issue?

Mr. MacDonald: If you put the question to me, Mr. Speaker, of course. I do not know where I am on the roll. I may not get on until next year. This is ludicrous. This is a substantive motion that was raised in the context of a question of privilege and it is dealt with forthwith and disposed of by the House. If you want it after 24 hours, okay, after 24 hours. I intend to move that motion on Monday.

If what happened yesterday does not give me the right to do it, then our rules have an unstated blocking of any such motion. Surely you would agree it would be nonsensical to have a blocking of that kind of a motion coming into the House.

Mr. Speaker: Yes, that is quite right. I do not think there is any doubt as to the understanding. With all respect I would suggest to the government House leader that his observations are not correct.

I am further advised that it is a substantive motion and all motions of this kind are presented as private members' motions. This does not mean in any way it has to be, as suggested, allotted to one's particular time, whenever that may be.

I am also further advised that a motion such as a want-of-confidence motion is treated in exactly the same way. I think maybe there is a misunderstanding as to the intent of showing the motion the way it is. There is no misunderstanding on how it is going to be treated. All right?

Hon. Mr. Wells: There is a lot of misunderstanding over there.

Mr. Speaker: Order.


Mr. Rotenberg: Mr. Speaker, I would like to rise on a point of privilege to correct the record. In my presentation yesterday afternoon in a private member's motion I was called to order on two separate occasions by members opposite on matters I stated.

The first was by the member for Bellwoods when he indicated the amount I said was spent on his campaign was not correct. I would like to indicate that the amount I gave at that time was not correct. The figures were given in good faith. However, I would like to explain to the House how I got the incorrect figures. As members know there are two forms: the statement of campaign expenditures by candidate and the statement of campaign expenditures by constituency associations. I now have the photostats from the member for Bellwoods. The number shown for the receipts of expenses for candidates, line two, is $16,343; the amount shown for expenses of constituency associations is $15,418. I said the total of the amount was approximately $32,000.

However, what my research did not turn up -- and because of this my research was in error -- was that of that $15,000 of constituency expenses, $10,000 was transferred into the campaign and therefore counted twice, and $4,000 was given to the New Democratic Party on a provincial basis. So although it shows as an expense, and I counted it, it really was not an expense on behalf of the candidate.

I see that although we may disagree from time to time in this House on philosophy and how we deal with things, I think it is always incumbent upon every member to try to get his facts correct. What I stated yesterday in this case was not correct. I indicated that the member for Bellwoods had spent a certain amount per voter and I compared his figure with mine. The actual amount per voter should have been 78 cents per voter compared to my 59 cents per voter, not the higher amount I stated. I do apologize to the member for Bellwoods, and I hope he will understand that the matter I brought forward was done in good faith and without malice.

Concerning the second matter, I spoke later in my presentation about transfers from the New Democratic Party to riding associations, and the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) rose and said. "The honourable member has it wrong again. There are no transfers from the central office to our riding associations." I have the return of the central New Democratic Party filed for this election and there is a page here, "New Democratic Party of Ontario Transfers to Riding Association Candidates" -- a total of 17 ridings. This is from that; so I believe I was correct when I said there were transfers from the New Democratic Party's central riding associations, and the member for Port Arthur agrees. So I was wrong once and right once.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the member for Bellwoods and the members of our caucus I would like to express our pleasure at the graciousness with which the member for Wilson Heights has dealt with a matter of some technical difficulty and confusion. He is certainly right on the first count, and in the limited way he put the second matter he is also right, although the major part of our central campaign is funded from a levy on the riding associations.

So I think we both understand the transfers. It is a technically difficult matter. We accept most graciously the apology extended by the member, and I am sure my colleagues and I will convey it to the member for Bellwoods. We are very pleased.



Mr. Newman on behalf of Mr. Sweeney moved, seconded by Mr. Wrye, first reading of Bill Pr38, An Act to incorporate Emmanuel Bible College.

Motion agreed to.



Mr. Chairman: Traditionally we have allowed the minister an opening statement. Does the minister have such a statement?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, Mr. Chairman. I have a very detailed report on the Ministry of Northern Affairs, but maybe I could ask the pages to deliver copies of my remarks to my critic in the Liberal Party, the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid), and to the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes). I also have copies of my remarks for the leader of the official opposition (Mr. Smith) and the leader of the third party (Mr. Cassidy).

While the page is delivering copies of my remarks I would like to start my comments on a very pleasant note. I am particularly pleased to introduce and begin debate on the estimates of the Ministry of Northern Affairs on what is a very historic day for Canada.

12:20 p.m.

I want to take the opportunity to compliment and congratulate my own leader, the Premier of this province (Mr. Davis), for the outstanding contribution he made in bringing this day to fruition after some 114 years of effort by numerous other leaders. I think it is fair to say we are all in agreement that this is a historic day after listening to the remarks this morning by the Premier himself, the Leader of the Opposition and the member for York South (Mr. MacDonald) on behalf of the third party.

It is really bringing Canada into its own and making it a nation of its own, so I am particularly pleased this is the day we should begin to debate the estimates of the Ministry of Northern Affairs. I know the member for Lake Nipigon will agree with me when I say in 20, 30 or 50 years from now when the people of northern Ontario pick up the Hansard for today and read the historical comments of our Premier and see them followed by the examination of the Ministry of Northern Affairs, they will recognize we have found our rightful place not only in this province, Mr. Chairman, but in Canada as a whole. So it gives me --

Mr. Stokes: Guy Fawkes Day was yesterday, not today.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, now that copies of my remarks have been distributed to the critics --

Mr. Chairman: Do you have one for the chairman?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I do not, but I could get you a copy.

The Chairman: I would like to follow along and learn a little bit about the northern Ontario region.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, my remarks might seem rather lengthy, but I would point out to the honourable members that this is the First Session of the Thirty-Second Parliament. We have a number of new members in our midst, and we felt in our ministry that it would be an opportune time after some five years in service to the people of northern Ontario to detail the operations of our ministry and explain at great length just what the Ministry of Northern Affairs is all about and what it does in its total concept.

I would point out in all fairness that the critic for the Liberal Party, the member for Rainy River, spoke to me yesterday. He did regret not being able to be with us this morning, but he indicated he would be here Monday when we continue those estimates. I will be speaking until the clock runs out at about one o'clock. If not, I am sure the member for Lake Nipigon will fill in if I run short of words; and I am sure we will hear from the Liberal critic in due course.

Mr. Stokes: I will aid and abet the northern filibuster.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, this is not a northern filibuster. It is putting facts on the record. I think it is very important this information be made available not only to members of this House but to the people of Ontario as well.

Mr. Chairman, the estimates debates are traditionally an opportunity for each ministry to explain its budgetary spending. But Northern Affairs is different from other ministries in that much of what we do does not have a specific dollar cost attached to it.

I am referring to the ministry's advocacy role and its mandate to co-ordinate Ontario government policies and the programs of other ministries in northern Ontario. In a moment I will provide you examples of what I mean by advocacy and co-ordination. First, it might be useful to describe quickly the constituency we serve and the reason it has a separate ministry.

Northern Affairs is a unique ministry in that our mandate applies to a geographic, rather than a sectoral or line responsibility. The north itself is a unique region, comprising many norths in a sense. There is the north that takes in thriving cosmopolitan cities, such as Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins and North Bay. These are communities, the population of any of which is equal to or greater than the entire population of northern Saskatchewan.

There is also the north of our far northern remote villages, like Attawapiskat and Pikangikum where the normal amenities, such as obtaining fresh produce regularly, are a comparatively recent and costly luxury. In between are the Armstrongs, the Atikokans, Kirkland Lakes and the Ear Falls, communities of from 500 to 15,000 residents, typically depending on the north's mineral or forest resources for their economic livelihood. These communities constitute perhaps the largest north of all.

In northern Ontario, just over 800,000 people occupy an area the size of western Europe. Some of those people are as far from Toronto as Toronto is from Memphis, Tennessee, or from Halifax. If northerners sometimes felt they were not being heard in Queen's Park it was probably because that was a long way to shout.

Our advocacy role derives from our unwritten mandate to listen and to bridge that geographic gap. The first step in doing that is to have the bulk of one's staff actually located in the north, as two thirds of my ministry is. This includes two assistant deputy ministers, one each in Sault Ste. Marie and Kenora, and a staff of about 70 in each region.

These people are in touch with the north in a way that is not possible for staff located in Queen's Park. Based on what they are hearing, seeing and reading every day in northern Ontario, the ministry acts in its role as advocate to bring about economic and social development in ways large and small.

Let me give the House a few examples. A couple of years ago, the Canadian National Institute for the Blind was going to cancel the northern route of its eye-testing van because it could no longer support the cost. We persuaded the Ministry of Health of the importance of this service and they agreed to fund its operating deficit. The van has visited the north both years since. This was an opportunity that Health saw, with us, to correct a service gap, and that ministry was easily prevailed upon to help out.

Similarly, the Ministry of Health was co-operative when we discussed a need for Ontario hospital insurance plan coverage for "sitting up" patients who were transferred between hospitals. The regulations have since been changed to allow for this coverage and it has made a difference to those northern Ontario patients who frequently require air ambulance transfers.

In the area of extended television service to the north we have been particularly active with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications in lobbying both the federal government and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. We persuaded the CRTC to hold one of its hearings in Geraldton. That hearing later proved instrumental in the decision to license the Cancom Canadian Satellite Communications Incorporated service package of four stations.

The ministry is frequently represented in interministerial groups as well as cabinet committees. We made a case for northern Via Rail service to the Ontario Task Force on Provincial Rail Policy and we sit on the cabinet committee on native affairs.

Mr. Stokes: A lot of good it did.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: We had to make an effort. I have to agree with the member for Lake Nipigon. I am sure he shares my disappointment that the federal Liberal members across northern Ontario were not more vocal, particularly on the Via Rail issue. I am sure we will hear more about that in future. It will not be long before that service across northern Ontario is cut.

If we cannot persuade another ministry entirely to fund a new or extended program for northern Ontario, we may provide the extra funding required to make it happen. In other cases, we may provide all the funding to enable one of the line ministries to support or develop a northern program.

I am not saying that Northern Affairs is the only ministry concerned with the north, far from it. For example, the Northern Affairs officers were once a branch of the Ministry of Natural Resources and that ministry, as many others, maintains competent, dedicated staff in northern Ontario, doing a first rate job of delivering their programs and many of ours.

But the uniqueness of northern Ontario's economic base, geography and cultural makeup requires a unique ministry. Our advocacy function involves being sensitive and attuned to the north's special economic and social situation. It also demands we have some practical experience and knowledge of the programs delivered by other ministries.

12:30 p.m.

This takes us into the second concept I want to discuss in this introduction of my estimates, and that is the ministry's co-ordinating role.

Getting something done by another ministry in one of the ways I have just described is the simplest form our co-ordinating role might take. At its most complex, it involves us in something like the Hornepayne Town Centre. This beautiful facility, which is really a prototype of the self-contained city of the future, involved three levels of government and two major companies -- Canadian National and Hallmark Hotels -- in its development. Four provincial ministries have co-operated in providing the capital funding and will have facilities in the completed centre.

As the man in the middle on this project, Northern Affairs has had an exciting, sometimes frustrating but always challenging role to play in co-ordinating the participation of the landlords and tenants in the Hornepayne project. The result is a single building containing a hotel, senior citizens apartments, a school, a library, a supermarket, stores, a swimming pool and more. All of this is located on the CN main line, halfway between Montreal and Winnipeg, which used to be referred to as the middle of nowhere.

Mr. Stokes: And now they have no more daily passenger service.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Exactly right. The benefits to the community will come from the additional modern facilities. The centre will provide a focus for the social life of that community. It will provide economic stability for the town's largest employer, the CNR, whose Hornepayne employees now have added inducement for staying in the community, and it will provide a range of amenities previously unavailable to the residents of Hornepayne.

A special type of co-ordinating role the ministry has been called upon to play in the past is in emergency situations, such as we had with the Field flood a few years ago, and the worst forest fire evacuation in northwestern Ontario in 1980. Once the headlines have moved from the front page to the back, then disappeared altogether, we tend to forget these emergencies ever happened, but for the victims of these disasters, and the people whose job it is to co-ordinate their relief --

Mr. Stokes: Like Port Severn?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: We will look after that; that is coming, that is in the works. For the victims of these disasters, and the people whose job it is to co-ordinate their relief, it can be a long time before life truly returns to normal and the work is finally done.

I was in Field just last month to attend a small ceremony where a plaque was mounted at the site of the flood that destroyed more than half the homes in the township of Field. I was able to recall the events of that spring.

Herb Aiken, my assistant deputy minister in Sault Ste. Marie, was appointed the relief co-ordinator shortly after the Premier and I visited the area on May 2, 1979. Mr. Aiken spent 18 hours a day, both during and after the event, helping focus the efforts of the Ministries of Natural Resources, Housing, Intergovernmental Affairs and Government Services on the job at hand, providing for the comfort and eventual relocation and re-establishment of more than 100 residences in Field. This was an example of several ministries pulling together under the co-ordination of a senior Northern Affairs staff member.

Another example was in northwestern Ontario in 1980, where assistant deputy minister Bill Charlton of Kenora, and members of his staff, put in long hours and many miles helping to co-ordinate the evacuation to Winnipeg and other centres in Manitoba of more than 4,000 people fleeing forest fires in the Red Lake area. Later, Bill managed the reimbursement program for those people who incurred expenses as a result of their evacuation. Again, as with the Field flood, there was an extra degree of effort and concern expended by everyone involved from our ministry that made me proud to be a part of such a team.

The Northern Affairs concept of advocacy and co-ordination depends on a commitment to the north. In a moment I will be discussing the ministry's new program structure; made up of activities that we feel address specific northern requirements in a very effective manner. They represent strategies we have developed over four and a half years that are best suited to realizing the goals and the objectives of our mandate, but they depend for their ultimate effectiveness on a desire throughout our ministry to do some good for our fellow northerners. They would not work without that desire.

The Northern Affairs concept also relies strongly on the self-help spirit of our northern communities. In this sense, we are facilitators, helping these communities to attain social and economic development where there is already some commitment on their part. This commitment may take the form of straight shared funding with a municipality, or it may be shown in public subscriptions raised for new facilities.

Where there are local service clubs, the individuals in those organizations can be counted upon to play a strong role in raising money to provide equipment and services, or providing those services themselves. And here, let me say I am not dictating what has to be the case; I am saying what often is the case.

By and large, this sort of initiative is the northern way. It helped to secure medical/dental facilities in 10 communities last year. It was behind the establishment of more than a dozen local services boards since we introduced the legislation in 1979. And it is always a key factor wherever a community wants capital assistance for any type of physical infrastructure.

Many of the examples of community assistance I have provided are drawn from the community development activity of our northern community services and development program. This program is one of four for which the members will be asked to vote funds.

At this time, I would like to draw attention to some changes in the ministry's votes and items. These changes represent a better articulation of the ministry's programs.

On page 14 of the briefing books, members will find the old and new programs compared. For purposes of accountability, this new focus provides the basis for a clearer audit trail, so to speak, and for measuring the effectiveness of activities within the ministry's four main program areas.

Because the ministry plays a co-ordinating role in so many programs delivered by other ministries, we have learned to pay close attention to results management. We have constantly tried to focus our attention on those areas we know to be critical to the north's social and economic wellbeing, now and for the future.

First among these is the area of economic development. For more than 100 years now, the north has been known chiefly for its resource wealth -- and wealth there is in the minerals of the Sudbury basin and the giant forest stands of the northwest. These riches lured the first settlers to the north, and they continue to provide direct employment for more than one in 10 working northerners.

At the moment, there is a temporary softening in the forest industry. The Ontario government recognizes this, and the Ministry of Northern Affairs, with other ministries, is doing something to ensure the forest industry's long-term future.

Last year, with the federal government, Ontario provided $150 million to Ontario pulp and paper companies. These grants are stimulating additional investment by these companies in excess of $1 billion.

Mr. Stokes: But no new jobs.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: But it is guaranteeing them for the future. They will be there; 25 years from now those jobs will still be there.

This is money that is being invested in mill modernization, pollution abatement and energy generation or conservation. It is money that will keep our pulp and paper companies competitive on an international basis while ensuring job stability in that part of the woods products industry.

The Ministry of Northern Affairs supports the forest industry in other ways. Through the transportation development component of our northern economic development programs, we provide funding to support the construction of forest access roads by the Ministry of Natural Resources. These enable small operators to reach large areas of mature timber in northern Ontario.

We provide funding to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources for its work in the development of nurseries and silvicultural camps, as well as forest soil surveys and various applied research projects to improve forest management, and through it, the northern Ontario economy.


Hon. Mr. Bernier: They are not from northern Ontario.

Mr. Chairman: I was just going to say, I wonder if they want to get into this discussion on northern Ontario.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I thought it was a cheering section from northern Ontario, but I would not be so lucky.

Mr. Stokes: They are saying they want action, not words.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Under the forest management subagreement with the Department of Regional Economic Expansion, we will begin construction of a 40-mile extension to the Vermilion River Road in northwestern Ontario.

As some members are aware, last year we completed work on the Manitou Road between Fort Frances and Dryden, an important social and economic link for that region. This year, the Dryden and Sioux Lookout areas are reaping the tourism benefits.

12:40 p.m.

The mining sector is being affected by current low metal prices. In northeastern Ontario, however, we have been involved for several years in what promises to be the largest gold mine ever opened on the North American continent.

I am referring to the Detour Lake Mine under development 90 miles northeast of Cochrane. This past January we announced funding for the first access road into that area. Construction of that road is providing jobs right now.

This mine, when it opens some time in 1983, will guarantee employment in the area for the next 20 years.

Mr. Stokes: What did the Royal Commission on the Northern Environment have to say about that?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I am just waiting for a comment.

Mr. Stokes: Aren't we all.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Preliminary estimates of the ore body suggest that its size is in excess of 27 million metric tons. The joint venture group developing the mine is committed to 1981 expenditures of $21 million for the construction of a permanent camp and for site development. This is in addition to the $10 million spent to date in geological exploration on the property.

A final decision to proceed with the project, involving the investment of $143 million between the present and 1983, has been made by the company as a result of the province's commitment through the Ministry of Northern Affairs to participate in providing road access.

Mr. Stokes: Does it mean a new town?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Not yet; maybe in the future.

An operation of this size will directly employ approximately 500 people with an average wage in 1981 dollars in excess of $20,000, for an annual payroll in excess of $10 million. Its operation will result in a demand for an estimated 686 housing units in the area including Timmins, Iroquois Falls and Smooth Rock Falls. This will result in total housing construction of approximately $22 million. I should add the community of Cochrane to the list of communities that will benefit from the Detour Lake areas.

Funding for the access road into the Detour Lake area will be spread over three years. Northern Affairs will request the allocation of $6.7 million this year in its supplementary estimates for this important project. And it is part of these estimates; our supplementary estimates are a part of the whole package.

In other areas, Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie has announced that it will spend about $1.2 billion over the next five years on various expansions and modernizations of its facilities. About 880 full-time jobs are expected to be created, and an average of 1,000 full-time construction jobs will be created for each of the five construction years. In the longer term, Algoma has estimated that by 1990 new employment may increase by an additional 1,120 jobs, for a total of 2,000 new jobs by the end of the decade.

Mr. Chairman, I give you these facts and figures to show that, despite some of the gloomy forecasts we are hearing, there will be new growth and economic development in northern Ontario for the foreseeable future.

I have not touched what is going on in Dryden, Kenora, Elliot Lake and a few other areas.

Mr. Stokes: While they import their ore from Michigan.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Some of it -- iron ore.

In mineral activities, the Ministry of Northern Affairs works very closely with the Ministry of Natural Resources in various projects under the Ontario Geological Survey. We are especially active in our support for community-based geological and geophysical surveys aimed at encouraging mineral exploration and development.

Members will recall that two years ago we released the results of electromagnetic surveys in the Kirkland Lake area which caused a mini-boom of staking. Last year we repeated the experiment in Atikokan with similar results.

Through this type of project, and with the custom gold-milling facilities being developed by the Ministry of Natural Resources with Board of Industrial Leadership and Development funding this year, the Ontario government is putting together a comprehensive program of second-generation mineral development in northern Ontario.

There are new resources on the horizon in northern Ontario. Just this week I was in Thunder Bay to address participants from around the world attending a peat symposium. I recognize that the member for Lake Nipigon was there, and much longer than I --

Mr. Stokes: I was at every session.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: He may be better informed than I am on this particular subject, I might say.

Mr. Kerrio: They should have had the $650 million to develop it.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: That will come. I might say in all honesty that the member for Rainy River also was there for a short time to show his interest.

On this question of peat, I might say that about a year ago I had an opportunity to visit Ireland along with my assistant deputy minister, Bill Charlton, and I became very much involved and engrossed in the possibility of developing peat resources in northern Ontario. When we came back, we had several meetings with the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Natural Resources to excite them about the possibility of examining resources in the moose pasture of northern Ontario.

I am pleased to report that sometimes those junkets to other parts of Canada or other parts of the world really do pay off, and this one on peat has paid off immensely. I am looking forward to the next decade for greater things to flow from the discovery and examination of this --

Mr. Stokes: So far, it is just words.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, I know. It has to start that way. It is there on the horizon for us to do something with.

Mr. Kerrio: Peat doesn't go bad.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, it doesn't go bad. It has been there for a long time.

We had representatives from Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand and Finland, as well as from Canada and the United States. These were experts in peat extraction and processing whom we were able to bring together in a forum with potential peat developers and users from this country. There are more than 42 billion metric tons of peat in northern Ontario, the energy equivalent to 72 billion barrels of oil. Very startling, Mr. Chairman.

With the uranium in Elliot Lake, oil and gas exploration going on in Hudson Bay, lignite in the James Bay area, biomass and our extensive peat resources, northern Ontario could very well be at the stage where this province's energy future, in part at least, will be enacted in the balance of this century.

An hon. member: You especially have an energetic ministry.

Mr. Chairman: You will notice the comment came from no one who was in his seat.

Mr. Stokes: It was not even spoken.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Another way we support economic development in the north is through industrial development. Last year, Northern Affairs provided funding for industrial parks in Atikokan, North Bay and Sudbury. We have supported community economic development in Manitoulin Island, Blind River, Fort Frances, Kirkland Lake, Nipigon, Wawa and the English-Wabigoon area through stimulation of economic development committees and funding for economic studies of needs and opportunities.

Last week I was in Thunder Bay to meet with a group called Commerce Northwest, an incorporated body of the Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce. With the assistance of Northern Affairs, they have hired a full-time person, Bill Brayshaw, a retired industrialist, to marry opportunities with entrepreneurs and to try to reduce the amount of goods and services being purchased outside the area.

I know the honourable members will want to hear about the good work that has been going on in the community of Minaki. I will pause for comments.

Mr. Kerrio: I didn't think you would put that on the table.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: There!

Mr. Kerrio: That is a disaster area.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: We all want to hear about it.

Mr. Kerrio: It will take 200 years to get your money back, if you are lucky.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: My friend will be the first one there.

Mr. Kerrio: Oh, I might visit.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: He will enjoy it. He will love it.

I want to give the members a report on the significant process being made with regard to Minaki Lodge. They may recall that a year ago the government announced that we had been successful in entering into a management agreement with Radisson Hotels in Minneapolis to operate the completed facility under a standard hotel management agreement. We had hoped to attract a Canadian firm but, unfortunately, this was not realized, even after some extensive examination of studies, I must admit.

Following the agreement with Radisson, we entered into a second agreement with Contract Services Associates, also of Minneapolis and a sister organization of Radisson, to design and oversee the construction of this new facility.

I might say that we did this purposely, because cabinet did direct that we should not move with any expansion or development of Minaki Lodge until we had the management team in place and only then, with their advice, should we move forward, because obviously if the facility were not developed to their liking and approval, it could cause problems down the road. So it was obvious that was the place to go.

I can honestly say that Minaki Lodge is receiving support right across northern Ontario. It is gaining momentum. People are jumping on the bandwagon now, because they see it as a real destination centre, not only for conventions but also for tourists who will be criss-crossing Canada.

I wish to point out that Canadian architects were hired in support of Contract Services Associates, and it was agreed that as many jobs as possible would be created in Ontario and materials, furniture and fixtures would have a made in Canada label if at all possible. Any exemptions from the policy would have to be approved by the Minaki board.

12:50 p.m.

The results of these policies have been very encouraging indeed. There are currently more than 65 construction workers from Thunder Bay, Kenora and Minaki working at the site, and there will be more than 200 jobs created once the hotel is in operation. I might add that Radisson has recently hired Mr. Richard Bonstead of Winnipeg, who is a Canadian, to manage the lodge.

All the major contracts, with the exception of landscaping, have been awarded; and these, I am pleased to report to the House, have gone to northern Ontario firms, with the exception of a small contract for the relocation of staff buildings which was awarded to a Manitoba firm, which I believe is from Steinbach. Many of the subcontractors are from the immediate Kenora and Minaki area.

Minaki Lodge is a joint project of the ministries of Northern Affairs and Industry and Tourism. Capital funding is being provided by the Ministry of Northern Affairs. The responsibility for project management rests with the board of directors of the Minaki companies.

The board is composed of Bill Charlton, the Assistant Deputy Minister of Northern Affairs in Kenora, who is the chairman of the board; John Lashinger of Industry and Tourism, who is the vice-chairman; Tom Girven of Industry and Tourism; Don Cameron of the Kenora office of the Ministry of Northern Affairs; Arn Bronskill of Industry and Tourism; and Fred Boyer of Industry and Tourism, who is the chief executive officer.

I realize there may still be a few sceptics left, but I believe that as progress takes place on this project, which is most important to northwestern Ontario, we are making believers out of more and more people every day. There is no question about it.

I have to say with a bit of pride that the last two articles in the Toronto press were of a more positive nature than they have ever been before. People are beginning to realize that we are developing a real jewel in the north. As far as I am concerned, it will exceed Montebello in Quebec and will even match Jasper Park in Alberta. The location is perfect, too.

I see Minaki complementing the present lodge industry in northwestern Ontario. We will be attracting corporate business, catering to sales meetings and management training sessions. Our market studies have indicated a significant potential in this area.

I understand the Gull Harbour resort in northern Manitoba is now operating in the black under the present government. As the member for Lake Nipigon will know, this was established by the former administration in Manitoba at Gull Harbour on Lake Winnipeg. That particular facility, while it is much smaller than Minaki, is in the black this year and has finally been accepted by the people in that area. I am sure many of these customers will return to the northwest with their families and friends to spend vacations at other resorts in the area.

Mr. Stokes: I am glad to hear you say that government does it better.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Once in a while; not all the time.

Mr. Stokes: So much for free enterprise. We always knew the free enterprise system wasn't working.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: This particular facility will be run by the private sector. I think it is sometimes incumbent upon the government to put up seed money. I look at norOntair operations -- and I will get to that -- and certain other things that can happen in northern Ontario with a little persuasion through some financial support.

Mr. Stokes: You are saying you believe in a mixed economy.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: That is right.

Our present plan calls for opening the 120-room facility during the summer of 1982. The schedule is very tight, however, and any unforeseen delays could force us into postponing the opening day until May 1983. The lodge has been empty since 1975, and we have no desire to delay the opening any longer than is absolutely necessary.

However, and I say this sincerely, I am insisting that the facility be completed in all aspects before we open the doors for business. There are many people who are anxious to visit the lodge as soon as it opens. Many of these people have spent vacations at Minaki in the past and want to return. I assure them they will not be disappointed.

The Minaki board will be reviewing the construction program early in January 1982. A final decision regarding opening dates will be made at that time. In the meantime, Radisson will be opening a sales office in Toronto next week and another office in Winnipeg.

In other economic development projects in the tourist area, we assisted the Ministry of Industry and Tourism with plans to open up a brand-new regional tourist centre in Fort Frances. We also provided funding to the Ministry of Natural Resources for improvements to two of the north's most famous tourist attractions, Kakabeka Falls and Ouimet Canyon.

I am sure the member for Lake Nipigon will appreciate the money we are putting into those particular projects. I do not know if he has been there recently, but I would encourage him to go to Kakabeka Falls and see the work that is being done at Ouimet Canyon. It really is exciting; you can actually walk down the walkways at Kakabeka Falls and be sprayed with all that beautiful fresh water that is going over the falls, get some great pictures and really see the beauty of Kakabeka Falls. It just amazes me that those attractions have been there for so many years and we have not taken advantage of showing them off as much as we could have.

Mr. Stokes: It has been a provincial park for years.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I know. But you have not been able to get down and have a good view of the falls itself and share the excitement of a giant waterfall.

Northern Affairs funding allowed for the improvement of viewing and service area facilities in those two important spots in northwestern Ontario.

Mr. Stokes: All you have to do is improve the road to it.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, we are doing that too to Ouimet Canyon. That will be the next step.

Mr. Chairman, the entrepreneurial spirit in northern Ontario is strong, and it has always been the policy of my ministry and that of this government to encourage that spirit through the type of forgivable performance demand loans that require a commitment on the part of the government and the investor.

Last March, I met with some of our federal friends in Ottawa to sign an $18.5-million northern Ontario rural development agreement that provides for incentive funding for small- scale, worthwhile projects in the areas of agriculture, farming, natural resources, business and industry.

Response has been very high to the NORDA program. Our Sault Ste. Marie office was receiving more than 50 letters a day last month. The federal-provincial management committee is busy now reviewing proposals, and many already have been recommended for funding. Provincial funding for NORDA is provided by the Ministry of Northern Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.

Economic development in northern Ontario relies greatly on the development of efficient transportation systems. We help to provide these through our northern transportation program. This program comprises the activities of northern roads, air services, and the rail and ferry services of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, which reports through this ministry.

The northern roads budget of the ministry takes a large chunk of our projected $156-million budget this year. The harsher weather and the rugged terrain of northern Ontario cause severe wear on our northern roads system. These roads are a vital economic link in an area the size of our north and have considerable significance for our tourist industry as well.

Our objective in the northern roads program is to recondition at least seven per cent of the 10,000-kilometre system annually, construct new links and improve the system's capacity wherever needed by widening, adding passing lanes and constructing municipal bypasses and new roads. Last year, 17 of the contracts awarded for highway construction in northern Ontario used recycled asphalt, worth a saving of $3.4 million.

I should mention too that, while we fund and set priorities for the program, the actual engineering and construction is done by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

This fiscal year, we have seen work begun on the Kenora bypass -- a timely project, as those members who have driven through the area well know -- and we will continue work on the truck climbing passing lanes and paved shoulders that are such a necessary part of northern driving. This will include continued four-laning of Highway 11 south of North Bay.

Mr. Chairman, I see it is just about one o'clock.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Bernier, the committee of the whole House reported progress.

The House adjourned at 1:01 p.m.