32nd Parliament, 1st Session


The House resumed at 8:01 p.m.

House in committee of supply.


Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, I want to respond to the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid) and the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) in the shortest way possible. Before I do that, I want to put on the record information about the difficulty I had arriving here today. Many people in southern Ontario do not realize the difficulty we northern members have, but --

Mr. Stokes: Were you suffering from a fog again?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, I was. I was really fogged in this morning. In fact, my wife and I woke about 5:30 a.m., and if you see a five o'clock shadow on my face that is the reason.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Five a.m.?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, 5 a.m. I landed here about an hour ago, after driving to Dryden, which is a good hour and a half drive -- this morning it was a little longer than that, I might add, because of the fog -- to sit in the Dryden airport with about 35 other people and have the Nordair plane come down. You could hear it coming down, you could hear it coming through the fog; then you could hear the motors rev up and take off in the distance and you knew very well that plane was not going to land and you would have to go to Thunder Bay or to Winnipeg.

So, resourceful as I am, I immediately called our very efficient Northern Affairs officer, Brian England, and I said to him, "You have a busy day." He said, "Yes, I do, sir. Where are we going this morning?" I said, "We are off to Winnipeg." He said, "I did not really expect to be in Winnipeg this morning, but that is fine and dandy." So we drove to Winnipeg and we discussed --

Mr. Nixon: Did you vote?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: No. I checked on the election though, and I will give you a little report on that.

I did do some business with the Ministry of Northern Affairs officer from Dryden. I got to Kenora. We had phoned in advance to say I would be coming and I am pleased to report I met with the fishermen from the Lake of the Woods to discuss a very important issue called quotas on the Lake of the Woods with which the member for Rainy River is very familiar. After a good 45-minute meeting with that group, the assistant deputy minister, Mr. Charlton, drove me into Winnipeg where I caught the Nordair flight out of Winnipeg and arrived here about 6:30 this evening.

During the two and a half hours we were driving to Winnipeg we discussed a number of very important issues. So, all in all, it took me about 13 hours from the time I left home till the time I got to Toronto and took my place here in the Legislature.

Mr. T. P. Reid: You should have left on Sunday.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, I could have come down on Sunday night, I suppose.

Mr. Stokes: That is what I would do.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I beg your pardon. You came down Sunday?

Mr. T. P. Reid: If we had to go to Winnipeg, the government would not pay for our tickets.

The Deputy Chairman: We should proceed with the estimates, Mr. Minister. I am really intrigued by your day. It was better than mine.

Mr. Martel: He does not appreciate it. Nobody in Toronto appreciates the difficulties.

Mr. T. P. Reid: You just get in your car and come on down here.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: That is right. Until you do --

The Deputy Chairman: Never mind that now. The minister --

Hon. Mr. Bernier: We northerners do this on a regular basis. I go home every weekend and sometimes I do not have any difficulty. But in many instances I find myself driving to Thunder Bay or Winnipeg to --

Mr. Nixon: Just think if you were still running that hardware store in Hudson, earning a nice living.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Sometimes I wish I still was.

Mr. Martel: Not very often though.

Mr. Piché: Mr. Chairman, the ministry should take its own responsibility. Three years ago there was an aircraft that was available and you would have been here --

The Deputy Chairman: Order. That is a terrible interjection. Starting right now, Mr. Minister, you are making your reply and we are glad you are here.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I do not want to reply to interjections, but I appreciate the support of the member for Cochrane North. My real purpose in putting this on the record was to get the support of the northern members for that new jet.

Mr. Martel: It depends who is going to use it. Is that for all members in the north to go with you?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I think there will be occasions when I will look forward to having the members join me.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Like when Drapeau has his baby.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I want to respond to a couple of questions that were asked. One asked by the member for Rainy River was in connection with the information services and the strategic planning secretariat and, of course, the comments with regard to the Royal Commission on the Northern Environment. To answer those, perhaps not in the correct order they were asked but at least to give the information to the members, I would like to inform the members the information services branch is the arm of this ministry which has primary responsibility for providing an effective public information program for the ministry.

It has four basic functions: to provide expert advice to the minister and the executive committee on communication strategy alternatives to best meet the needs of the ministry's audiences; to provide a central resource for Northern Affairs offices in the north; to assist in obtaining information from federal and provincial agencies, to provide ministry-wide library research, graphic and cartographic services as well as inter-office communication services; to provide regular public relations functions including preparation of speeches, news releases, responses to written and telephone inquiries from the general public, organizing ministry participation shows, exhibits and other public functions, advertising pamphlets, ministry newspaper and film production.

Our program is carried out in English, French and in the native language where required. We have public relations officers in Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay and Kenora and they co-operate with the information branch in the Toronto regional office. The public relations officers are budgeted under the northern community services and development program and report to the community relations branches at Sault Ste. Marie and Kenora under vote 704, item 1.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Before the minister goes on, how many people are involved in that, both in the head office and in the three offices? Does any of that money under information services relate to the actual cost of advertising -- your pamphlets, your radio spots, all your blurbs in the papers and trade magazines and so on?

The Deputy Chairman: Before the minister responds to that -- I want him to respond but once he has made the response we will try to start going through the votes, then possibly some of these questions could --

Mr. Martel: Don't worry about it.

The Deputy Chairman: You do not want to worry about it. To some extent we should have a few words but --

Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Chairman, we decided we would take, say, vote 701 and discuss anything under that vote, which is what we are on, and then we would move to votes 702, 703 and then 704.

The Deputy Chairman: That is a fact, but we are not on any part of 701 yet. I came in late. What are you on, vote 701, item 1?

Mr. T. P. Reid: Just vote 701.

8:10 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, it has been the custom in the examination of my ministry's estimates to be very broad and use the paint brush approach; we are not specific.

The Deputy Chairman: In that case I defer to the member for Rainy River, with pleasure, on this important question.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In response to the member's question we have 11 staff members in the information branch, and the figure you are voting on tonight includes all the costs of information services in the northern part of this province, all the items to which you refer. So it is a whole package.

Mr. T. P. Reid: I wonder if --

The Deputy Chairman: It will make things go far better for me if I understand how we are proceeding. We will take vote 701 and items 1,2 and 3 all at once, then, by the sounds of it.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Right.

The Deputy Chairman: Fine. Thank you.

On vote 701, ministry administration program:

Mr. T. P. Reid: Does vote item 3 have anything to do with Ontario North Now? Do you have any money in your budget for that or does that come out of somebody else's budget?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes, it does, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Could you tell me how much of the $596,000 relates to Ontario North Now?

And while I am on my feet, I unfortunately had some people talking to me about Quetico Park when the minister was replying to my opening remarks. Did he respond to me about hiring people, students particularly, from northern Ontario?

Mr. Martel: All from northern Ontario.

Mr. T. P. Reid: All? Did you say that? Before you get up, if you did maybe you could just take 30 seconds to repeat it, because the instant Hansard is not out yet.

Second, as the minister knows, I probably have the most talented, creative people in northwestern Ontario in my riding -- partly because, of course, they vote for me. But they do have some ideas about things Ontario North Now should be doing or some projects that are not as sophisticated as the moose and deer antlers we have already heard about. How do we get input into what should or should not be done in Ontario North Now? To whom do these people respond or write if they have any suggestions for something creative that would assist in promoting northern Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, in answer to the first question, about $40,000 out of vote 701 went into Ontario North Now, and the balance is in other areas of promotion work, salaries and so on.

Yes, I did answer the question about the hiring practices of Ontario Place. I think it stemmed from a motion passed by the Fort Frances council, which caused a number of inquiries from a number of municipalities across northern Ontario. I indicated -- and I will be as short as I can -- that we have been in touch with the Ontario Place people who have now undertaken full operational responsibility for Ontario North Now up to the point of the displays in the pavilion. It will be a responsibility of the Association of District Municipalities and the Ministry of Northern Affairs to make sure the northern Ontario flavour, which you all want projected, will be in place.

As a ministry, we will be working very closely with Ontario Place, and we have indicated to them we will assist them with travel costs in going to the two northern universities to hire hosts and hostesses next year for Ontario North Now and Ontario Place. You have to realize the hosts and hostesses at Ontario Place rotate regularly, so although we would like to have only northern Ontario hosts and hostesses at the pavilion I am afraid this will not be possible. But we will have a good representation from northern Ontario.

As I pointed out, this year two northern affairs officers and the information branch from the ministry were there on a regular basis so the major questions were answered. I think we can lay those concerns to rest.

The member also asked how we get input into Ontario North Now. Until now we have been working through the Association of District Municipalities because we wanted the municipalities involved. It is their pavilion, it is selling their communities and they will be there. As you know, they have the opportunity to use the Ontarium pavilion -- that is the larger pavilion -- to display and promote their particular community. That will still be there, and we will encourage that.

In the coming year one of our very strong emphases will be on assisting in a very professional way those municipalities that want to come down. The smaller municipalities do not have the expertise the Sudburys do. The Sudburys put on a terrific display at Ontario North Now. It was well done because they have the resources. The smaller municipalities, like the Manitouwadges and the Geraldtons, do not. This year we will have funds to assist them to sell their communities and make them more saleable.

The input for Ontario North Now should be through the information director of our branch. Sheila Willis is the director of that branch. Anyone who is interested in some input may direct the inquiry either to myself or to her. We will make sure it is followed up on.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Chairman, I want to discuss under head office a couple of things that will occur. I recently talked to the mayor of a municipality, Valley East, which we discussed last Friday. I want to know if this is factual. My friend the mayor tells me the minister was not responsible for the funding that has been promised to Valley East, and that he had to bypass the minister because he was too intransigent and go directly to the Premier (Mr. Davis), where he laid all the cards on the table.

I thought I would ask the minister if he could confirm this little tale being spread around that the minister is not interested in northeastern Ontario. That was an example of it, the minister had to be bypassed in order to get funding.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: To answer that question quickly, the mayor from that community had some political aspirations which did not reach a certain conclusion or finality -- acceptance might be the proper word.

Mr. Stokes: Is the minister saying he did not get the Tory nomination?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, I understand he did not. I do not know if anybody else on the outside had anything to do with it or not, but he did not. I say as strongly as I can, I never had any discussions with the Premier, and the Premier did not have any discussions or communique, to my knowledge -- the deputy is here; he had nothing from the Premier's office, I had nothing from the Premier's office. I can assure you categorically that decision goes along with the one third-one third assistance to the Valley East industrial park which was made within the staff of the Ministry of Northern Affairs.

Mr. Martel: I appreciate that. I wanted to put that on the record. The minister and I have discussed this on a number of occasions. The minister is right. The young fellow had a few aspirations and he did not want to take into consideration the fact we had been exchanging correspondence for, I guess, four or five years in total on that project. But he was the one ordained to get it from the ministry, and the local member had no input, just himself. Let me forget about the tiger for a moment. I want to deal with a couple of other things.

I do not know how much input the minister has with respect to his colleague, the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman). Like the rest of the members in northwestern Ontario we too have problems with respect to lumber companies. I have one in the small town of Alban, which the minister visited. It will close its doors totally in December and I have written the minister's colleague about it.

Rogerson Lumber is the sole employer in the municipality of Alban. It has 10 million board feet -- about seven million cut now and the rest in the woods which will be out shortly. I suspect the number of people who will be affected will range between 150 and well over 200. I am not sure how one provides working capital to assist these people who are in dire straits because of high interest rates and with a decrease in construction. I am sure the minister has the same problem in the part of the world he is from. If they cannot sell that lumber they need working capital to carry it. If we see an industry close in a small community -- it provides all of the work in Alban, and certainly draws a large work force from Noelville.

8:20 p.m.

I am not sure how much influence one has, or how far the government can go in assisting, but this is a municipality where 150 people will be on unemployment insurance come Christmas. That bothers me because I was involved -- I think Mr. Herridge was then the deputy minister in the previous ministry when Rogerson finally built its plant in Alban.

It used to operate out of Port Loring, and we had discussions then because they kept postponing the day on which they were going to start their operation in Alban. They kept wanting to truck down to Port Loring, drawing on their wood reserves in the Alban area, and in and around Killarney. They were drawing on their wood reserves there but not doing any of the processing, although they held the rights.

I think Mr. Herridge had something to do -- at my request, through the minister -- with making sure if they wanted that licence they would have to complete the obligation they made at the time. Be that as it may it is very difficult to watch an operation shut down, which will virtually see every employee without a job. I do not know how far one can go.

The minister has never had the power I tried to give him when I moved amendments on this bill -- that was a lot of planning power and some power to undertake things. If the minister will recall, for the better part of a year, I pushed this government over the closure of National Steel in my home town. That operation is for sale, for scrap. I have been to the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope) already and if that closes and is sold for scrap, that ore body will never be mined out. The capacity is only 600,000 or 700,000 tons per year.

I have asked your colleague to see if the government could not lean on Dofasco or Algoma or Stelco. We have been very generous to some of those companies over the years -- given the type of infrastructure the government has put in at Nanticoke -- and to me there has to be a quid pro quo in this ball game. I think they owe it to us.

I talked to Inco to see if they would buy it, because they have some difficulty rolling their iron properly for automobiles and so on. I suggested they might combine the two because this was a very profitable operation. Two years prior to its closing they made $6 million on just 600,000 tons of production. That is $10 a ton, or better. It is very profitable.

The Deputy Chairman: Not wanting to continue --

Mr. Martel: I am right on planning.

The Deputy Chairman: You are on 702, not 701. We have to be careful we do not become too broad. You have a good point, and you are on it; would you just finish so the minister can make a note and respond to it when we get to 702?

Mr. Martel: I would urge the ministry not to allow that place to go for sale as scrap. You are now buying Suncor: you might for $3 million or $4 million buy a mine.

It would be devastating, because we know no mining company now goes in unless there is going to be production of something like three million tons a year. Certainly there is no capacity for that amount of tonnage out of that mine or it would be mined out in four or five years. If that operation comes down and is only partially mined out there will be an ore body to which we will never go back and finish extracting. To the north and to Ontario it would be devastating to see that occur.

I have approached Inco, I have talked to others and it seems to me there is an onus on the government to say to Algoma -- they were going to buy it about five or six years ago because of the life expectancy of Wawa.

Mr. Stokes: Algoma has options on everything in the north. That is not to say they were going to buy it.

Mr. Martel: No, they were actually negotiating to buy it at one time.

Mr. Stokes: I have at least four of them in my riding.

Mr. Martel: But on this one the plant is already there. There has to be $50 million or $60 million worth of investment. If it is torn down that ore body will never be exploited to finality. Someone could pick that up dirt cheap. Inco suggested $1 million each or $1.5 million each with Dofasco. They buy together in other areas. In the United States they have bought heavily jointly.

Mr. Stokes: Tilden Mines in the USA.

Mr. Martel: There is Tilden Lake. There are a number of them. But if they let that happen, it is a black mark because we will never go back and finish mining it out. I do not know what the minister can do with respect to this but it is certainly the type of economic planning we suggested for him when we brought this ministry into reality. I would hope the minister has some response on both these issues.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, perhaps I may respond to the honourable member's concern. I know he has been concerned constantly in this Legislature for the past dozen or so years about economic development in northern Ontario. In some instances I share his point of view -- to obtain more attention and more economic development with regard to our resources.

I regret hearing from the member about Rogerson Lumber Company. In discussing it with my deputy he tells me there is not a wood allocation problem, they have sufficient resources; but it is the market at this time, particularly in the United States.

The member tells me a number of people will be on unemployment insurance within a month or so. I have the same situation in my home town of Hudson. McKenzie Forest Products Inc. has laid off a portion of one shift and there are very strong rumours they will shut down in a month for two or three months. That is not definite. They too are suffering from the high interest rates, not only in this country but in the United States, as they curtail housing starts.

I do not know what we as a ministry can do to correct that. We will work very closely with them and if there is something we can help with we certainly will. But I have to share the member's concern. I know how he feels as a member who is very sensitive to the grass-roots people. I live with those people. They knock on my door every weekend saying: "What can you do?" I do not have an answer to those very serious problems.

I have excellent co-operation from the Ministry of Industry and Tourism and the Honourable Larry Grossman. In many instances when applications from those firms are submitted through the Northern Ontario Development Corporation, I will get a call or they will write me and say: "You know northern Ontario better than anybody else; will you support or" --

Mr. Stokes: They do not listen to you though.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Oh yes, in many instances they do. On one of them I have to admit they did not and I am prepared to go back on that one and we will talk about that again.

But I do go to the minister and explain it from our point of view. In some instances he understands.

Mr. Martel: Have you got a spare $2 million to lend us?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: This is a different situation.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Only if it is an oil company in Alberta.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: It is just a general statement. But getting back to the iron ore situation, I share the member's concern and his frustrations. I learned today as I left my riding that Griffith Mine Pickands Mather and Company in the Ear Falls area is going to shut down for a month because of the lack of markets. This will throw something like 400 or 500 people out of work at the worst time of the year.

Mr. Stokes: Tory times are hard times.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, I would not say that. I think we have had 42 years of excellent administration and good times in Ontario. I am sure we will have another 42 years. I am very confident about that.

But I know how the member feels about Capreol and National Steel. We have discussed this on a couple of occasions. I think his suggestion that I take some responsibility and talk to National Steel is a good one. I just discussed it with my deputy and we are prepared to sit down with National Steel and find out if there is some way we can initiate discussions with other companies. I do not know if it will be futile or not, but --

8:30 p.m.

Mr. Martel: Algoma is the key one.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: -- if there's some hope there, then I think we, as the ministry for northern Ontario and as Ministry of Northern Affairs, have that responsibility. I am prepared to accept that responsibility and I undertake to do it.

Mr. Stokes: I want to get on to this vote, rather than vote 702 or 703. Under the ministry administration program in the briefing book at page 16 you say your goals are "to achieve effective advocacy, on behalf of the people of the north, with all ministries, agencies and boards to ensure that northern needs and conditions are fully taken into account when government decisions are made."

This is the third time since these estimates started I have asked the minister this question specifically and I do not know whether he gets sidetracked or whether he is evading the question. It deals specifically with your responsibility and your stated goal "to achieve effective advocacy on behalf of the people of the north, with all ministries, agencies, boards" -- and royal commissions, I hope.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: You added that.

Mr. Stokes: One would hope, you know, that you cover the waterfront now -- the Royal Commission on the Northern Environment, for example. I know a little secret meeting was held down here, and I don't know whether you reached some conclusion as to what direction that was going to take. If you didn't I think you are abdicating your responsibility. You say you want to act as the advocate and the co-ordinator when government decisions are made. Decisions are being made with regard to forest management agreements, with regard to strategic land use planning, with regard to the West Patricia land use plan, with regard to access roads, with regard to the northern Ontario rural development agreement. All these are very important decisions affecting the livelihood of communities right throughout northern Ontario.

The aims and objectives of the royal commission included such items as how best to use the resources we have; the northern economy and its expansion within limits; development philosophies; what allowances for the future; forestry, a major industry and concern; mining, wealth and disturbance; tourism, available wilderness experience. These are all things it addressed itself to three years ago, yet the world is passing that royal commission by.

I think, for example, of the decision on building these railway cars -- apparently that work is going to go to Kingston rather than to the Hawker Siddeley Can-Car plant in Thunder Bay. Where was the royal commission when decisions like that were being made? Where was the Minister of Northern Affairs when such decisions were made? Where was the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Northern Affairs when such decisions were made?

I heard him getting up on a supplementary to a question put to the minister by my colleague the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds). I took it from the question posed by the minister's parliamentary assistant, the member for Fort William (Mr. Hennessy), that he was almost as irate as any other member in northern Ontario because that decision was taken without regard for what I thought was a pretty iron-clad commitment made by the Premier (Mr. Davis) prior to March 19.

What kind of input is the minister making in connection with his stated aims and goals, and what he clearly admitted is his responsibility with regard to his goal of "acting as an advocate and a co-ordinator with all ministries, agencies and boards to ensure that northern needs and conditions are fully taken into account when government decisions are made"?

Those are wonderful words. I would have liked to have used them myself, but unless they are translated into action they have no meaning.

If the minister stands up and says, "I tried to get the Royal Commission on the Northern Environment involved in all of these things that you enumerated," or "I tried to persuade my cabinet colleagues that they should live up to a commitment that was made with regard to the Hawker Siddeley plant in Thunder Bay," I will accept that.

But if he says anything else, I will begin to wonder whether he is really sincere in his stated goal of acting as an advocate and co-ordinator, one who brings things together and makes things happen in northern Ontario.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, may I answer the member for Lake Nipigon? I appreciate his concern for northern Ontario and his desire to co-ordinate and pull together in a positive direction.

I think there is a little misunderstanding with respect to the Royal Commission on the Northern Environment; its terms of reference were made out when the royal commission was established, and they are clear and concise, albeit I think they may be too broad.

We have discussed this on a number of occasions, and I have said publicly that I think the terms of reference of that royal commission are so broad that it is difficult for them to get their arms around it. The previous commissioner, Chief Justice Patrick Hartt, found this out in the short time that he was here. In his public discussions, he found he just could not put his arms around the terms of reference.

I made some considerable efforts at that time to have the terms of reference altered, changed and narrowed so they would have a sharper focus, as I thought northerners would have wanted. It was felt that the terms of reference were laid out and they had been accepted at that time and should be carried on. With a northerner in charge who is very knowledgeable about and very familiar with the problems of northern Ontario, and very sensitive to the time factor that would be required, it is hoped these can be answered. I understand he is moving in that direction.

I say very sincerely that if we as a government moved in now, or if I acted on the suggestion of the member for Lake Nipigon and tried to influence the royal commissioner or the royal commission to say or do or go in certain directions, the members across northern Ontario would be on my back tomorrow morning for political interference. There is no question and no doubt in my mind that they and the media would be saying: "You established a royal commission with certain terms of reference, and then you come along after two or three years and try to change the direction or alter it or to put words in the commissioner's mouth. You cannot do that." It is a quasi-judicial body. We cannot interfere with it. We set it up --

Mr. Stokes: How long are you going to let it go on? It is four years and $6.5 million later.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: On that point, I am going to defend the royal commission, because the member and I know how much time it takes to deal with our native people. He and I look at time differently, but for the native people six months or a year is not the end of the world; they like to take time. It takes time for them to get organized, to get the feel of it.

8:40 p.m.

I share the frustration of the royal commissioner, because I know what he is going through in trying to get these people involved. In listening to some of the remarks he has made publicly and hearing what I hear as I travel around northern Ontario, I believe he has the confidence of the native people; there is no question he has their confidence far more than the previous commissioner did.


Hon. Mr. Bernier: Well, I would not want to say that.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Hansard will show --

Hon. Mr. Bernier: He has the ear of the native people. After all, they make up the majority of the people living north of the fiftieth parallel. If he were slipshod, if he just charged over and made certain recommendations without their input, I think it would be meaningless.

I am not putting words in the royal commissioner's mouth, but I can tell honourable members that I share his frustration. And I am as concerned about the expenditures as the members on the other side of the House. I see those dollars piling up and --

Mr. T. P. Reid: You could build yourself another Minaki Lodge. You would have two white elephants.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I suppose I could build Minaki II.

I share the members' concern. These public discussions are healthy and I really encourage them because I think that, as members from northern Ontario, the members opposite are as entitled as I am to speak out and to say something.

The royal commissioner may hear of our frustrations as local members through the media and through the public discussions we are having. I hope he will. And I am hearing it from my constituents; I really am. They are asking, "Why is it taking this amount of time and money?" I am sure the royal commissioner will respond.

Mr. Stokes: By the time he gets around to reporting, all these decisions will have been taken on Detour Lake and on the forest management agreements.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Let me just comment briefly on Detour Lake. I know there is going to be some comment on the exemption we provided the Detour Lake project under the Environmental Assessment Act. But I say to honourable members that there are provisions in the act for the Lieutenant Governor in Council to give exemptions for certain projects under your wisdom and guidance. We used that particular section in this instance, because we want the jobs.

The member for Sudbury East was concerned about the jobs with respect to the resource industry and Rogerson Lumber and at Capreol with National Steel. Here we have an opportunity to get Detour Lake going and to get it going immediately with something like 1,000 jobs.

Mr. Stokes: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman, and it is legitimate.

Mr. T. P. Reid: That is for the chair to decide.

The Deputy Chairman: I will decide, and you have the floor on a point of order.

Mr. Stokes: I will let you reserve judgement.

I have a statement here from the commissioner that says: "Everything is going fine; just give us time. This is what we are doing." Among the things he enumerates is, "We are just about to release our study on whether or not Detour Lake should proceed and how it should proceed." The minister is about 50 or 93 miles ahead of him. The minister has already decided that he is going to go ahead with the development, and the royal commissioner has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to tell the minister whether he should proceed with it.

It is not accurate for the minister to stand up and say, "The royal commission is doing fine, thank you." I do not know how many tens of thousands of dollars he spent making a report, doing an analysis of the social and economic impact of the development of Detour Lake. The minister boasts about having it ready in the next week, and yet he has already gone ahead with the program.

Now, is that a point of order?

The Deputy Chairman: That is a point of order.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, if I may explain: The royal commissioner can say anything he wishes; he has that authority.


The Deputy Chairman: Order.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: He has a constituency to respond to and to speak on behalf of. It may well be that he will condemn the government. But I also have to tell the honourable member that although a royal commission does make recommendations it is still up to the government of this province to accept or reject those recommendations.

Mr. Martel: And if he says you should shut it down tomorrow, what are you going to do?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: We would not accept that recommendation.

Mr. Martel: Well, why have the royal commission?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: If the honourable member were in my place, he would not do that either.

Mr. Stokes: It is a waste of time and money, and the minister knows it.

The Deputy Chairman: Order. The minister has the floor.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, the member for Lake Nipigon mentioned the coordinating responsibilities, the northern Ontario rural development agreement, access roads and the forestry agreements.

The vice-chairman for the northern Ontario rural development agreement is my assistant deputy minister from Sault Ste. Marie, Herb Aiken; he is directly involved. In fact, I had the privilege and honour of signing that agreement on behalf of Ontario, with dozens of federal politicians -- as the member will well recall, he saw their pictures in the various papers.

Mr. Stokes: That's the one the minister wanted to sign in Timiskaming and he had to go to Ottawa.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I wanted to sign it in Thunder Bay. The Minister of State (Mines) was in Thunder Bay on the Sunday, but she didn't have the half hour to spend with me. Right in the middle of the election campaign, I had to spend two days going to Ottawa and getting everybody together to get it signed. I was that anxious to get it signed.

Mr. Wildman: She was on her way to Halifax.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I would have gone to Halifax. I would have gone to Timbuctoo to get it signed.

Mr. Martel: No, she went to Halifax; her luggage went to Sudbury.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes. That is what it was. Anyway, we did get it signed, it is in place and this ministry is directly involved.

The access roads program is under the northern Ontario resources transportation committee, and we are directly involved because we fund it through our ministry. We meet once a month to look at the access road program; the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope) is on that committee, as is the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Ramsay). They are on that particular committee that looks at access roads, and they are directly involved.

The Department of Regional Economic Expansion program is flowed through to the Ministry of Northern Affairs. We are directly involved in those things, and we are co-ordinating on a very real and positive basis. We are there all the time.

Mr. Stokes: Like Can-Car in Thunder Bay.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I will talk about that. I will talk about the Can-Car decision. I am pleased the member brought it up. When the government made the decision to give Hawker Siddeley the contract for the Toronto subway cars, the streetcars, I believe that contract was something like five per cent more than Bombardier in Quebec. I do not recall anybody marching in Thunder Bay and saying the government did the right thing. Somebody said: "It is too little, too late. It won't last. It was a nothing kind of a thing."

We thought it was a major step, because my parliamentary assistant lived on my doorstep and pounded on the Premier's door in the hope of getting that contract for Fort William and the people in his particular riding. He was successful, and it was very difficult for the government when we do not have a preference buying policy vis-à-vis another province. We are very sensitive about that, because we have such a large industrial capacity in this province.

The bathtubs that are manufactured in this province are sold in Newfoundland and every other province in this country. The cars we manufacture here are sold in every province in this country. I have a similar problem when Manitoba contractors who have a much lower rate are bidding on Ontario jobs. Not a month goes by that I do not get a delegation at my door in my northern affairs office, complaining of unfair competition. In the interests of Canada, we cannot isolate ourselves; we cannot say we will deal totally with Ontario manufacturers and companies in making purchases for our own people.

There are instances and there are occasions, but if the differences are extreme --

Mr. Stokes: Tell the Premier not to make promises and raise false hopes.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I do not know the actual figures, but in this particular case I understand the proposals were some distance apart, and it was not possible for the government to take that major step to go into the Hawker Siddeley plant. Nevertheless, I think the idea was that those cars -- and there are not that many -- would be manufactured at Kingston, using the expertise of the proponent that had bid on the particular job.

It is not an easy decision, but in the interests of Canada, in the interests of a national country, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, I admire the Premier's stand.

Mr. Stokes: It may have been a wise economic decision, but it was a stupid and misleading promise.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I understand. I am as selfish as the member is. Let us be honest; as a northern member, I would have liked it to have gone to Fort William, I really would, because I live up there and I know what the effects of that contract would have been had they been manufactured in Fort William, but we have to accept the realities of life.

Mr. Martel: Help keep the promise that was promised to the north.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I never heard the Premier make a promise like that, but I have to admire the Premier. He is very sincere and positive that we are Canada and we must serve all of Canada. We cannot put barriers on our borders, we really cannot.

I think I have answered most of the questions, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Stokes: You didn't answer what it is your parliamentary assistant is doing.

The Deputy Chairman: The minister still has the floor. Are you finished?

8:50 p.m.

Mr. Stokes: What does your parliamentary assistant do?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: My parliamentary assistant, like his predecessor, is very active in the operations of the Ministry of Northern Affairs, and I might say he is of extreme help and benefit to me.

The member for Algoma-Manitoulin (Mr. Lane) is very knowledgeable about northern affairs. I am pleased he is with us tonight, because he is interested in the estimates of this ministry. His input to that part of northern Ontario on a daily basis was very beneficial. I was in touch with him, as I am with my present parliamentary assistant, on a daily basis as to what is happening in the northwest and right across the north.

He is sensitive, as the former member was. It is those eyes and ears of northern Ontario that are beneficial, not only to me but also to my deputy minister and all my staff. He has been working on my behalf in northern Ontario.

The Deputy Chairman: We were dealing with items that pertain to vote 701.

Mr. Wildman: Mr. Chairman, I suppose that last response is as specific as we can expect from a minister of the crown in this province when asked a specific question about what he does. I still do not know what the member for Fort William does except that he keeps in touch with the minister.

I have some questions with regard to the comments made by the minister about the Royal Commission on the Northern Environment and the role it should play in relation to his ministry, the Ministry of Natural Resources and other ministries of the government, and the concerns he has expressed and shared with us with in regard to the length of time and the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of some of the things the commission has been doing.

Does the minister think it would be useful for the commission, the people of the province and the assembly if we were to arrange for the royal commissioner to appear before some body here, whether it be a committee of the Legislature or whatever, to give us a progress report where he could lay out before members of the assembly in a public way what he feels has been his success and perhaps what difficulties he has faced?

If there should be some change in the terms of reference, as the minister proposed, there is the question whether Mr. Fahlgren should be given the opportunity to appear before the members of the Legislature and make some recommendations on that matter.

Before I ask some further questions with regard to the co-ordinating role of the ministry, I wish to hear the minister's response to that, and specifically whether Mr. Fahlgren himself has talked to the Minister of the Environment (Mr. Norton) or the Minister of Northern Affairs with regard to any proposal for a narrowing of the terms of reference of his commission.

I will be interested to hear whether the minister thinks it would be useful for the commissioner to appear before the Legislature.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, I do not think it is right and proper for me as a minister of the crown to call a royal commissioner and make that kind of suggestion, although it may be a good one. I am sure the royal commissioner will be reading the reports of the consideration of the estimates of this ministry, including the member's comments.

If he thinks in his wisdom it would be a good idea and if somebody would co-ordinate the northern members in a group, he might wish to explain to the northern members where he is at, where he is going and what time frame he sees himself working in to get the maximum input and complete his work under the terms of reference now given to him.

I hope he will give that some consideration, but I do not think it is right and proper that I, as a member of the executive council of Ontario, should call him and say, "You do this," or, "You do that."

Mr. Wildman: I was not proposing that, Mr. Chairman. I was asking for the minister's comments on the proposal that Mr. Fahlgren be invited. He could refuse if he wished or if it were inconvenient. I was not suggesting that the Minister of Northern Affairs should direct him to come and talk to people, but that he be invited and arrangements made, if that would be useful. Specifically, in the knowledge of this minister, has the royal commissioner proposed a narrowing of the terms of reference?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, one point we should not lose sight of is the fact that Mr. Fahlgren has yet to report.

Mr. T. P. Reid: No. We have not lost sight of it. That is the whole point.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: He has not reported. The Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson) has said on a number of occasions, "You can't be condemned for something you haven't said." It may be that the northern members would like to speak to him prior to it. That would have to be his decision. I hope he reads the reports of the consideration of these estimates and this discussion to get some feel from both sides of the House as to where he is going.

Mr. Stokes: That is an interesting comment, that a person cannot be condemned simply because he has never done anything.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: The member has taken me out of context, Mr. Chairman. He has not reported. He has not made a recommendation. He has not put anything down in the form of a report to members of the Legislature. He has not done that yet.

The member is frustrated. The word I am getting from the native people is that they are relating to him. They see him as their contact. They see him as one removed from the bureaucratic system of government. They are relating to him.

I have to go back to the time factor and the time problem with which the member for Lake Nipigon is very familiar. We may be frustrated. Our only frustration has to do with the amount of money being spent and the time frame and the lack of a report. That is our only problem.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Chairman, I did not intend to talk about this, because I think it is a waste of time. But is the minister aware of an article that appeared in the Globe and Mail, entitled "Northland Probe Crawls Along Wasting Millions, Ex-Staffer Says"? I do not want to read it all into the record. I also had the opportunity to hear Mr. Fahlgren twice in the last month. He has not said anything. Let us be serious. Some of the Indian bands have said publicly they are not happy with him.

For it to be raised in this manner in this House by members is indicative of the fact that there are a lot of people upset, frustrated and wondering what is being done with their money. Regardless, the basis of this place is that people lean on us; so we are leaning on the minister in turn. If the minister has not seen this, I will send a copy over; I have a couple of extras.

The point remains that he has spent $6.3 million or $6.4 million, and we still have not heard anything from him. In this article, Mildred Barrett, the ex-staffer, says: "The commission has yet to make a recommendation to the Minister of the Environment, the government department it is responsible to, nor has it published any of its contracted studies in the past four years or carried out any research into acid rain, nuclear waste disposal, air pollution, water pollution or hydro dam development. I feel very, very sad indeed about what has happened,' Mrs. Barrett said. 'The commission was probably the greatest opportunity the people of northern Ontario had to have an input into what is going to happen to the place they live in. It has not happened. The reason is plain fear of face-to-face contact with ordinary citizens and contempt for the practical common sense of ordinary people.'"

Apparently, this woman was fired. I do not know anything about her. Obviously, there are problems with the internal operation of that commission. There are problems with the external operation. Mr. Fahlgren has spoken at two gatherings I have been at in my riding in the last month. He is travelling with a retinue of five people, which even the minister does not do. Even the minister, when he has to go to Winnipeg, does not travel with five people at the expense of the public purse.

I reiterate what I said the other day, that when the standing committee on public accounts looked at the Hartt commission and other royal commissions, we recommended most strongly that time limits should be put on these matters and that the government should say to whoever the royal commissioner happens to be that he has to report within a certain time or he has to give us good and substantial and public reasons why he does not. I think we are wasting time on this, and I suggest we get on to other matters.

9 p.m.

Mr. Stokes: Mr. Chairman, let me quote something that was done by way of an interview, just to call into question the minister's grandiose statements about there being no question that the royal commissioner is really behind the Indians 100 per cent and the Indians are behind him 100 per cent. This is from CBQ, a CBC affiliate, on October 21, 1981, not quite a month ago:

"The grand chief of the Treaty 9 organization, Wally McKay, has strongly denied claims that Indian people aren't ready for public discussions with non-native business leaders over the future development of northern Ontario. The head of the Royal Commission on the Northern Environment, Ed Fahlgren, says he cancelled meetings between the two culture groups because the natives weren't ready for them. But, as Rosalee Woloski reports, there may have been other reasons.

"Rosalee Woloski speaking: 'Chief McKay says he doesn't know what's going on within the Royal Commission on the Northern Environment, but he says it's becoming painfully obvious that Commissioner Fahlgren doesn't really understand the Indian people. Chief McKay says the 20,000 Indians within Treaty 9 were ready five years ago for public discussions when they first called for the commission. Although he doesn't understand why the commissioner cancelled the highly successful community meetings, he says it wasn't because of the Indians. He says it may have been because some people within the commission were worried about what would happen at the second meeting.'

"Wally McKay speaking: 'The meeting in Pickle Lake was scheduled specifically for a prime purpose, and that is to begin the process whereby the two groups of people begin to know each other, to understand where they come from, the issues that they have in mind and specifically to begin discussion on the terms of reference for a public participation process within the Royal Commission on the Northern Environment. I certainly wasn't going to be part of a group where the terms of reference were already pre-decided and it was a matter of -- that I would have been used in the manner of that I had no input into it.'

"Rosalee Woloski speaking: 'Chief McKay says he's planning to meet with the commissioner some time this week to discuss his statements about the Indian people and to see if the community meetings can be resumed. If not, then Chief McKay is going to go ahead and set up his own meetings with non-native leaders.'"

Ed Fahlgren aborted those community meetings after they were set up in Sioux Lookout with native and non-native people and after they had the terms of reference and were scheduled for their second meeting to set down their own terms of reference for community participation and to broaden the membership, after the native and non-native people had had an opportunity to get a sense of where they were going in this process that had been undertaken by some well-meaning people within the commission.

He did not cancel them because the native people wanted to cancel. They were anxious to go ahead with the meetings. The proof of it is right here in this interview. I do not know where the minister is getting his information, but the native people are just as disconcerted and confused about the whole process as I am. That is why I am raising it at this time.

If the minister disagrees with me, that is fine; that is his business. All I am saying is that there is not a day goes by that I do not get something. I have a whole file on it. I am not going to bore the House and the committee with it. I am telling the minister that thing is floundering. It is going nowhere; it has lost its sense of direction. I do not know whether the present commissioner can get it back on the rails or not.

But because the minister has set this up, he has raised the hopes and the aspirations of an awful lot of people, native and non-native in northern Ontario. We have spent in excess of $6 million and I think somebody has to do something to get it back on the rails again.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, I am not going to comment on the press reports the honourable member has referred to. They may be factual, I am not sure. As I have watched this debate roll out over the last two or three months it is interesting that it happened after one or two people were let go from the commission. I think he will accept that. All the furore started when a couple of people were let go by the royal commission. The member knows who they are and I know who they are. It seems to me there is something going on in the background by those people who were let go.

In all honesty, the jury is out on the royal commission. Until he reports, until we get our teeth into something, I think it is maybe a little premature to condemn.

Mr. Stokes: This was before that.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Like they said, he has not done anything yet and we have to get our teeth into something. Until he reports and until he answers -- as the member for Algoma suggests, he should meet with northern members and explain -- then I think we really have to rest our case and wait until we hear from him.

Mr. Martel: I find that hard to accept. I was in far northern Ontario as far back as January. The complaints were coming then about Mr. Fahlgren. I was told by one member he spent two thirds of his time in an airplane, somewhere between Toronto, Timmins and the far north. There was tremendous bitterness and there is bitterness from some of the people who have quit or were let go.

According to the information I have, there has been very little done with respect to research on acid rain; very little to do with nuclear waste disposal, which the minister supports. His government is not prepared to allow drilling in southern Ontario by the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and he supports that. But it is okay to drill in the north, where there are no studies going on, with regard to the effects of air and water pollution due to industrial development.

At the same time there is very little being done, I am told, with strategic land use plans to tie in with the Ministry of Natural Resources. At the same time there is expansion going on in the forestry industry, mining and gas pipelines. This has been going on too long without our knowing anything positive.

I remember the whole fight that started this issue. That goes back how many years ago? It was when Stephen Lewis was raising that issue about the English-Wabigoon river system. I guess that is really where it all germinated. That goes back a long time. Then Chief Justice Hart was appointed and he did a major analysis. But from that time until now there has been nothing; the silence is deafening.

The native community is not nearly as receptive to Mr. Fahlgren, as the minister would have us believe. I guess they are holding their breath. hopeful that somebody will say something soon. But as my colleague points out, Detour Lake is proceeding. He is going to report on it. That is something like the cart being before the horse is it not? They are proceeding there and he is going to report and recommend on it.

Mr. Stokes: It does not matter what he says.

Mr. Martel: It is a fait accompli. The thing is a waste of time and money now, that portion of whatever report he is going to bring in.

I wonder how many more things will have gone by the board before he deigns to put in a report so we can look at it. I heard the former member for Cochrane South, Mr. Ferrier, the other night on CBC and he was not very happy about it. In fact he was quite critical. The minister knows my friend Ferrier is not one who has gone around, over the years he has known him, casting aspersions willy-nilly. One thing Bill was always careful about was what he said. He was very temperate in the way he said things. That was in his tone the other night but there was a note of almost frustration at the lack of progress.

9:10 p.m.

Mr. Minister, you can pretend it is not happening, but it is. The Globe and Mail story recently, on November 9, said, "$34 million Sought by Indians of Northwestern Ontario for Pollution and Flooding."

If we wait for Fahlgren's report it might be 10 more years before we get around to it. Maybe it is a stall tactic on his part. As long as one does not report one does not have to spend money. One does not have to do anything. But surely, three years?

I remember being at a party one night with Chief Justice Hart within the last year and a half. He was certainly somewhat dismayed at the length of time. He was not happy and I had an interesting discussion with him because he had seen firsthand the effects on native people of what we have done to them in the English-Wabigoon river system.

It gets depressing because it has been so long. Some of us were in on those debates when the former leader of this party documented the problem carefully. I remember the standing joke when the ministry was going to help and they put a couple of refrigerators in on one of the --

Hon. Mr. Bernier: That sure backfired on him.

Mr. Martel: Yes, I know. He put a couple of refrigerators in on one of the reserves. Whoop-de-doo.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: He is still embarrassed about that.

Mr. Martel: He might have been embarrassed about that -- he was supposed to be embarrassed. He was supposed to be embarrassed by a little scenario I think the minister established when he went into Minaki Lodge and someone on his behalf had it all orchestrated. But here we are in 1981 and Minaki is still a white elephant. The minister has spent $18 or $20 million on it. They are all down his neck.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: A point of order, Mr. Chairman: I just want to make it perfectly clear and I want the record to show that neither I nor nobody in my political party had anything to do with the Minaki fiasco as it relates to the Stephen Lewis visit.

He is going across this province making great speeches and saying Leo would not allow him to see Minaki Lodge. I will defy any member of this Legislature to go to Minaki Lodge -- today, tomorrow, five years from now -- and ask the people of Minaki Lodge if Leo Bernier was involved.

They will tell you categorically, "No." They did not want us; they did it on their own. They felt very strongly about it and it was the first time Stephen Lewis ever came across the feelings of northern Ontario. That was the turning point in that election campaign. He has never looked the other way since because he knew he was wrong, he knew he did not have the feel of northern Ontario. He knew he was wrong on Minaki Lodge and that was the downfall of Stephen Lewis.

Mr. Piché: If I were to go to Minaki, I would have stopped him too for the comments he was making. He did not know what he was talking about.

Mr. Martel: Yes, the ministry made the great promise over Minaki Lodge -- it was not Stephen Lewis. They were going to have a resort in there that was going to be the envy of Canada.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: It still is.

Mr. Martel: It still is? When is it going to get functional?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: In 1982.

Mr. Martel: In 1982. Thank God they did not hold their breath waiting.

Mr. Stokes: Come on, you have to hedge your bet on that.

Mr. Martel: Thank God none of them held their breath waiting for the promise because that was 1977. This is 1981. There has been another election since and in that four years what did the minister do? Did he make a kitchen? Did he at least get some utensils in it so they might cook something?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: My friend from Cochrane North --

Mr. Martel: Oh, the minister's friend from Cochrane North (Mr. Piché). I have listened to him for some time, even before he came to this Legislature, when he was pounding the government because they would not do anything with respect to transportation. We saw a railroad close today costing 25 jobs in my home town as a result of the federal government's policy. There was nary a whimper for those people who live on the Canadian National Railroad line who do not have road access and no longer have a train. Nary a whisper from over there. I wish my friend would have gotten up and said something about transportation for those people as well. But there was none.

To go back to Mr. Stephen Lewis and 1975 and 1976 and the plight of the native people and what you were going to do for them, the whole thing was a sop -- put off, postponed, delayed. How long, oh God, how long are they going to have to wait for something? Mr. Minister, if Mr. Fahlgren comes in with a report tomorrow, you will then have to study it. There might be a cabinet committee. Do you remember the cabinet committee on resources that Mr. Frank Miller was going to chair --

Mr. Wildman: On mining towns.

Mr. Martel: -- on mining towns. They never had a meeting. Do you remember during the layoffs at Falconbridge and Inco that was the great committee Mr. Miller was going to chair? There was nary a recommendation. The only thing we got was a promise by the Premier that what we needed was a rapid transit system to take workers from Sudbury to Elliot Lake on a daily basis. What did we get? The minister said to me last Friday, "We have studied it and it was not economic." In fact, they went over it with a jet. It went swoosh. That was the study.

The amount of study that went into that was nil. I talked to the people who had been promised this. I talked to people from the region not six months ago as to what was happening with respect to that because they made a presentation to the Minister of Transportation and Communications. It was not even in there.

There was no discussion. You washed it out. It was a sop. It was to tell the people from Sudbury there was some hope. The only hope is that 5,000 people left the Sudbury basin. That was your solution. There was nothing. Now we are treating the native people in the same way and probably even worse because this has been going on since 1974-75 when Mr. Lewis started raising the matter.

We do not have the report yet. Then it will be sent to another makeshift cabinet committee which will meet some time next year to study the report. When it studies the report, it will hive it off to certain ministries. Those ministries will have to develop some co-ordinating papers. They will bring it back to this august body of cabinet ministers who are going to make a decision. It is like the project that has gone ahead at Detour Lake --

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Are you against it?

Mr. Martel: No, not in the least.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: That's what I like to hear.

Mr. Martel: But if that is what the rest of the report is like, why continue? I encourage my colleague to get up with all the material he has on this, because things are almost in a state of -- what does one call it when there is no motion?

Mr. Stokes: Suspended animation.

Mr. Martel: Suspended animation. That is really what is going on there -- nothing. Those people who have worked within the native communities are not really happy. I would hope the minister would say he is not happy, damn it, that he wants to do something for the native community because he has many native people in his riding. I am sure he would like to get on with trying to do something to improve their lot in life.

At the rate of speed with which we are waiting for that report, Mr. Minister, you will not be around here long enough to implement anything that might be recommended by the time you get that report and finish your analysis. Why do you not get up and say: "He is too slow. He has cut off communications with the various communities. He has cancelled meetings and we do not like it."

Send him the message through this Legislature that you are not happy with what he is doing. It is time he got off his can and did something except, as the member for Rainy River says, going around with a retinue of five people. Somebody else told me he spends two thirds of his time in a plane. Send him the message you want to get him busy doing the job he was given to do some three years ago.

9:20 p.m.

Mr. Chairman: While we are in the spirit of this discussion I would just like some guidance on votes. Are we just having a freewheeling discussion from 701 to 705?

Mr. Stokes: We are dealing with the administration, vote 701.

Mr. Chairman: All right.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: If I may respond to the honourable member for Sudbury East, I do not know anything more that I could add with regard to the Royal Commission on the Northern Environment without repeating myself. I share in some way his frustration and concern, and I am pleased he has put it on the record.

I want to respond to a couple of points, particularly one that relates to the Via Rail cutback. I believe the member made a comment that we sat on our keisters or did not get off our butts -- something along those lines. That is not correct, because if anyone has given me support -- indeed, all the strength he can muster -- in fighting the federal government in these cutbacks it has been my colleague the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow).

We have communicated with the federal minister; in fact, it was on a cabinet direction that the Minister of Transportation and Communications went to see Mr. Jean-Luc Pepin the day after he made that great pronouncement. Do you know the reception he got? "Do not waste my time. What I have said is cast in stone, and there will be no changes on the commuter routes in southern Ontario or the run across northern Ontario. Do not waste my time and I will not waste yours."

He proceeded to discuss it further, because we are interested in that northeastern Ontario corridor as it relates to the Ontario Northland Railway. We hope some day Via will take it over as part of the overall passenger transportation cycle and program they have in place. I have some concerns they might --

Mr. Martel: No. Never do that.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: As a taxpayer in this province you might save a considerable amount of money, but --

Mr. Martel: No. Not the way they operate it.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: That is the concern I am getting to. There would have to be certain guarantees before we would agree to any takeover by their rules and regulations.

Mr. Stokes: Via Rail: they downgrade the service, drive everybody away and then complain to the federal government that people are not patronizing it.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: That is a concern I have. But under their national policy, of course, they will take it over, and it is their goal eventually to take over all the long-distance rail passenger service in this province.

Mr. Martel: Get serious.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Long-distance hauls. Yes.

Mr. Martel: Don't let those beggars touch anything.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: That is one of the things I want to tell you. The reception he got was not very positive. And if there is any blame to lay as it relates to northern Ontario -- and you are as concerned as I am about northern Ontario --

Mr. Martel: Wall-to-wall Liberals.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Wall-to-wall Liberals. We have heard it all before. I am sure the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid) will agree with us that we should have heard more from the federal MPs across northern Ontario. It was a quiet, mealy-mouthed little press release, not too big, objecting to Jean-Luc Pepin's cutback. It was not loud enough to stir the waters in Ottawa; it was just to let the people back home know they said something.

Mr. Stokes: I did not see that.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I saw a little bit. Two or three members said something, and I was concerned, really.


Hon. Mr. Bernier: I am sure that if they had formed a northern Ontario bloc -- and there are 15 federal MPs in Ottawa from northern Ontario -- they could have stopped it.

Mr. T. P. Reid: They are like Tory backbenchers; they all keep their mouths shut because they want to get into the cabinet.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: There it is: you have heard it. Enough said. I will not take the time of the House any further.

But this government cannot be that bad in the Sudbury basin. We have done great things and have given great support to that community. We have responded to 2001, we have responded to --

Mr. Martel: I have got to speak on that.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Okay. I wish you would.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Don't be provocative.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I know you will not be.

But on that $10 million provincial building, the people of Sudbury responded. If I am correct the member for Sudbury (Mr. Gordon) is sitting over here now; he sits on this side of the House.

Mr. Martel: And he negotiated with this side of the House to run for them.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: He sits in that seat over there. He is a very good member, a very effective member; we are pleased to have him here. So while you stand in your place and say how terrible things are in the Sudbury basin I have to remind you as sincerely as I can the people of Sudbury recognize what this government is doing for Sudbury and northern Ontario by sending very able fellows to this side of the House. The Jim Gordons are the kind of people we welcome here.

Mr. Martel: Watch your back.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, I am not concerned about that. I am pleased and proud to have him on our team. We have some new members, the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Piché) -- and I can go down the list -- the members for Parry Sound (Mr. Eves) and for Nipissing (Mr. Harris). The strength of these back-benchers in the Tory ranks today has never been greater. I have been here for 16 years and I have never known the strength we have on the back benches. They came on March 19.

Mr. Chairman: Before the member for Sudbury gets wound up here, are we finished --

Mr. Martel: I want to comment on rail transit, if I might finish that little discussion. If you had really been sincere, you might have tried at least to take out a court injunction. You might have tried something to provide service to that -- what is it? -- 1,000 miles across there, much of it without road.

I know the federal Liberals did not say a word. In Sudbury, Doug Frith agreed. He said we should not even have a hearing. Do you know why they said we should not have a hearing? It was because they had one three years ago and the Canadian Transport Commission ruled they had to provide service to those isolated communities. Where were you? Why did you not pick up on that? You and the Minister of Transport --

Mr. T. P. Reid: They made a deal with them, too.

Mr. Martel: To say nothing --

Hon. Mr. Bernier: You heard my remarks in Fort Frances. I condemned them on their Via Rail policy. I said it publicly.

Mr. Martel: Maybe you should have said it in the courts -- at least tried the route of an injunction. You could have showed a little concern, a little clout. There was nothing except Mr. Snow went down to Ottawa cap in hand and Mr. Pepin in his usual manner dismissed him in a cavalier way and that was the end of the war. But many of those residents along that line -- I do not know how many miles; I guess it is 814 or something like that -- from Capreol to Winnipeg do not have any way out except by rail.

If you have never lived in an isolated community, and I have, and you rely on a train every second day, one hopes that, if one is going to get sick, it is on a day there is a train so one can get out. There is one's reliance for food via that route and so on. There was nary a whimper. There was a little trip to Ottawa and you collapsed.

Saskatchewan at least tried to take out an injunction and the native people up in the Gaspé I guess continue to put sand on the track to stop the trains. What did we do? We whimpered, rolled over and played dead.

Let me tell you about the member for Sudbury (Mr. Gordon) -- no, I will not. The last time I heard him negotiating, he was negotiating with the Liberals to run for them and that was about seven days before nomination day. He declared publicly he was not running and then the regional chairman was silly enough to go to Ottawa on the last day they were selling memberships to the Progressive Conservative Party for the nominating convention.

The member for Sudbury, at 4:55 in the afternoon, went down and bought himself $1,200 worth of memberships after telling his council and declaring publicly he was not going to run. The silly regional chairman believed him and went off to Ottawa. By the time he came back there were not enough memberships left for him to buy. He could not buy anybody to get him into the convention. Jimmy had them all.

9:30 p.m.

Mr. Chairman: This is a great story and I would love to hear more of it, but --

Mr. Martel: I only say this, Mr. Chairman, because the minister provoked me. He talked about what they have done for Sudbury. The provincial building, while a nice edifice, doesn't create work. Five thousand people have left the Sudbury Basin since the layoffs at Inco. Tell me what you have done to overcome that? A science centre is a nice thing to have, but it does not create jobs for our young people. They have to continue to leave the Sudbury Basin. That is something none of the Tories from northern Ontario have really argued, publicly at least.

We do not need more in resource extraction, we need manufacturing. I am hopeful that, after the purchase of Suncor, next week it will be Pinco, the people's international nickel company, you might buy out. Then we will have some jobs. That is the problem of the north. Some of you do not want to admit it yet, but look at the decline and the ages, and you will see the young people are leaving. You can get up and use bombast all you want but in the final analysis even your four kids have had to leave the north because they could not find jobs. That's the tragedy of the north. That's why we tried to give you some planning in economic terms five or six years ago when this ministry was created.

You can try all the nonsense you want -- a provincial building and a science centre -- but our kids still have to leave the north, and that is the cold hard reality. You can give me all the other gobbledegook you want, it does not change anything and that is what bothers me. My kids should have a choice of whether they want to remain in the north, whether they want to go west or south. Unless they want to work in the mines or the pulp and paper industry or unless they are in some profession, there is very little.

I watch jurisdictions like Japan that don't have any resources and they lead the world. We have all the resources in northern Ontario and we cannot keep any there, even to refine, let alone manufacture. I can remember when I was still in school we had 95 per cent of the world's nickel, and we traded it away for nothing. We got a Falconbridge that has yet to refine a pound of nickel in Canada. It refines it all in Norway. The tragedy for the north, when you get rid of all the nonsense, is that there is no place for our kids and there is no manufacturing. Until that comes, there will continue to be an exodus of young people whom we have educated at high cost to find meaningful work.

Your government, as in the Fahlgren report that is now four years in the making, has done very little to change this. All the Tories can get up, pound their desks and say, "Yes, we have great representation," but it is not changing a damn thing and that is the tragedy of northern Ontario. It is a fabulously wealthy place that gets very little in return for the resources extracted -- very little in jobs, very little in tax and none of the amenities of southern Ontario. You can argue until hell freezes over and you know you are wrong.

Mr. Chairman: I see the minister will not be responding to this vote any further. The member for Rainy River.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Chairman, we have heard the comments of the member who just spoke, and I mentioned something similar in my remarks. We keep playing around on the margin with these things, but we do not really deal with anything of substance. Just before we move on to vote 702, I wonder if I could go back to analysis and planning. The minister indicated he would provide me with a list of things that group was analysing and planning.

Last Friday, I drew the chairman's attention to all the studies and reports we have in northern Ontario. When I moved on to analysis and planning, the minister got up and said, "You are asking for more reports after saying we already have too many." What I am asking for is some results from all of these studies and projects, whether it be from a royal commission or those of the Ministry of Natural Resources or the land-use studies or the studies on game and fish, or those on the lack of timber resources, or the lack of sawlogs in northern Ontario, and so on.

What we really want to know is what are they going to do about them. What is there in the analysis and planning stage about which we can say to the people who live in northern Ontario, "There is some light at the end of the tunnel, and the government in its wisdom, finally -- after this ministry has been in operation for five years -- now has some kind of reasonable blueprint to operate by," instead of the fact that we still depend on the mines to be found. We know there is no more wood to be had. Our whole economic development policy in northern Ontario now seems to be tied to the mining sector. There is nothing else.

Mr. Stokes: We are closing down the mines and mining the forests.

Mr. T. P. Reid: That is right. There is nothing left. Those are short-term operations, because we are not refining and milling anything in northern Ontario.

What is the analysis and planning branch actually doing? Where is some kind of blueprint? Where are some guidelines for places like the next Atikokans, the next Manitouwadges, the next Stelco, the next Griffith Mine at Ear Falls? What is going to happen to these communities? What can they expect in the way of assistance, rather than going through this ad hockery business as we have done for years?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, to respond to the honourable member's inquiry, what he is asking for is described in the estimates book. This activity covers two branches. The financial and program planning branch has one director, a manager, a program planner, one --

Mr. Stokes: We know that. What are they doing?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I will get to that.

Mr. Stokes: That is not in the books.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I will get to that point. I want to put down who is involved, because I know the members will ask me how many people are involved.

The financial and program planning branch has one manager of financial services, four secretarial people, seven program and financial analysts, an adviser, and one financial officer. The policy planning branch has one director, one secretary and five policy advisers. The two branches have been recast as of September 1 into a new mould, the strategic planning secretariat and the financial administrative services branch, but the number of people has not changed.

What do they do in the field of planning analysis? They identify and quantify the needs of northern Ontario for the next 10 years with respect to sewer and water projects. As the honourable member is very much aware, we top off the assistance given by other ministries, namely, the Ministry of the Environment, with regard to sewer and water projects. We have to have some long-range information and priorities established with regard to the infrastructure requirements of our northern Ontario communities. There is a very intense review going on, and it is being updated on a regular basis.

They evaluate the opportunity for new activities; medicinal herbs is one. The waterfront development program for many northern Ontario municipalities is something going on at the present time. They explore the potential for expanded economic activities. There are papers on fur processing and import substitution, to which the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) is constantly referring, and on the development of industrial minerals, in which we are actively involved now.

They are developing a program to stimulate local entrepreneurship with the Ministry of Industry and Tourism. There are plans to stimulate the search for alternative energy by initiating programs with the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Natural Resources on solar heat, wood gasification and low-head turbines. Is Sultan in the riding of Algoma?

Mr. Stokes: It is in Nickel Belt.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: That project is one we initiated with Ontario Hydro; it recently came on stream.

9:40 p.m.

Mr. Stokes: It is not working. I just asked the member for Nickel Belt before I came in here how it was going. He says it is not working.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: We are going through a break-in period. It is a new project. It has not been tried before at that size. There are certain problems with it, I have to admit that. I understand that once the break-in period is over, it will be providing the required electrical power for that little community that normally was generated by diesel units. Those are the kind of things we are doing, very real things.

There is the greenhouse at Raymore, using heat from the TransCanada PipeLines compressor; and we are looking at other establishments right across Ontario. I understand there are something like 14 or 15 that are using that excess heat. We are playing a leading role in the evaluation of studies by other ministries in developing Ministry of Northern Affairs studies. As an example, we are involved in working with Northern Ontario Tourist Outfitters Association in a very broad study looking at the access road program with which the member for Rainy River is very familiar.

They brief the minister and the deputy before cabinet committees and other meetings we have. They monitor and analyse proposed legislation and programs initiated by other ministries for their impact on northern Ontario. A very detailed analysis is done. It takes time and effort to make sure the proposals coming from other ministries are compatible with our thinking as it relates to the needs and requirements of northern Ontario.

They liaise with cabinet committees on the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development and with the Department of Regional Economic Expansion; evaluate proposals by others and prepare proposals for the Ministry of Northern Affairs; represent the ministry in budget allocation processes at cabinet committees; co-ordinate with other ministries and finalize programs and projects to be included in the budget, and we are always working on next year's budget; prepare scenarios for budgets in the years to come; evaluate the effectiveness of programs and projects supported by the Ministry of Northern Affairs and prepare management by results reports for Management Board; co-ordinate the selection and prioritization of the Ministry of Northern Affairs funded programs and projects with other ministries and agencies.

In other words, as members are all aware, we top up and assist other ministries in specific programs we think should be done in northern Ontario, and we have to monitor and make sure those programs and those projects are completed to meet our demands.

Joint programs and resource access roads are good examples in support of forestry and mining, which are partly funded by the Ministry of Northern Affairs through northern Ontario resources transportation. We also deal with financial control of budgetary and other administrative expenditures; requisition of cheques for grant payments; processing of journal entries from other agencies; continuous updating of computerized records for expenditures and expenditure forecasts for the current year; administration of tenants' records and other staff; and negotiation and administration of lease and purchase documents. So it is a very broad responsibility.

Mr. Mancini: I want to hear more about the greenhouse.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: The honourable member can laugh if he wants, but I recall that last year during my estimates I delivered two cases of beautiful tomatoes that came from that greenhouse.

Mr. Mancini: But how many pounds per plant did you get? What was the cost per pound per plant? Do you have a marketing board to market the product, and where is the market?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I don't have those figures. It is a pilot project. The range is very broad and all-encompassing.

Mr. T. P. Reid: One further comment on this vote, Mr. Chairman, in regard to the information services branch: There is a comment in the briefing book about how they are going to do great things in attracting doctors and dentists to northern Ontario.

There has been a series of projects or meetings arranged by our old friend, Dr. Copeman, dearly beloved of everybody in northern Ontario, who believes that northern Ontario is just slightly north of Bloor Street. Can the minister give us a little more detail? He might tell us what has happened there, whether we found a doctor for Ignace, which is dear to the minister's heart since he used to represent the area. What has happened in that regard?

Perhaps the minister might indicate to us whether any thought is being given by his ministry, or by the Ministry of Health or the Ministry of Education or in combination, to setting up at Lakehead University or Laurentian, preferably Lakehead, some kind of professional school to deal with the lack of medical personnel, dental personnel and nurses and so on, in northern Ontario? Has any thought been given to setting up some kind of school in the north to attract people there who will be educated in the north and, it is to be hoped, will stay in the north afterwards?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: It would appear the honourable member recognized the efforts of the information branch with respect to the attraction of doctors and dentists in northern Ontario. It is something we started two or three years ago.

I suggest that he contact the people or the municipal representatives from his riding who were at that meeting; I believe the reeve, Joan Barnes, was there. They were really excited about the success of this year's exercise.

As the member knows, we funded those municipalities on a dollar per mile basis to encourage them to come down. They came and operated out of Toronto and visited about five or six medical and dental schools.

Mr. T. P. Reid: How many doctors and dentists?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I do not know what the results were. But if the member was not invited to the exercise down here at the Sheraton Centre --

Mr. T. P. Reid: I wasn't.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I am sorry he was not. I thought all the northern members were invited.

Mr. Stokes: Yes. I was. There's a doctor and dentist in my home town now looking over the situation.

Mr. T. P. Reid: I wasn't invited.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: But if he was not invited, I will see that he is invited next year to see all the communities. We had something like 30 communities there. It was an exciting afternoon. I spent an hour or two there myself with Dr. Copeman and many of my own northern affairs staff.

All the communities were set up. The doctors and dentists were invited to come and to share with them their desire for more information. It was really something to behold. Many of the communities were well prepared. I have to admit that some, the smaller ones, did not have the expertise to put up the displays like the ones North Bay or Sudbury had, and I think they felt overwhelmed. For instance, Gogama and Chapleau felt overwhelmed by Sudbury's display.

It is interesting to note that the group from Sudbury brought a very charming, good-looking girl with them as part of their information and working group. Of course, she was very aggressive and met the doctors and dentists as they came through the door and said, "You want to go to Sudbury, don't you?" That was the first contact they made and before they had a chance to look at any other community, they were escorted to that community's show.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Shocking.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: It was well done and they were aggressive and moved around with enthusiasm. The communities were very proud to participate. I think this is going to be an ongoing thing. As Dr. Copeman pointed out to me, his requirement right at this time would be about 50 doctors in northern Ontario. He says, "If I could recruit one a week for the next year, I would have my problems resolved in northern Ontario."

Mr. Stokes: By that time, 50 will have left.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Fifty will have left; right. I have said to the communities as loudly as I could, "Get them up to your community, get them to buy a skidoo and a fishing pole and get them out to see what the quality of life is all about in northern Ontario." I bet they will stay. Once they have bought a summer cottage and a home, their roots are there and well locked in.

I can say that particular program was one of the success stories. Again, it is one of the programs whereby we get the co-operation and support of another line ministry. But we had to take the initiative. We took the initiative and said, "Look, this is the way to do it." There were some sceptics at the start, I admit. But I think it has proven itself, and we will continue it as long as we can get that kind of response from the municipalities and from the medical profession.

No, we have not looked at the idea of a major centre at Laurentian or Lakehead University for the encouragement of medical people for northern Ontario. I do not know what real purpose we would achieve, because they are down here and will not go up there. To get them up there is the big problem.

9:50 p.m.

Mr. Stokes: It is the law of supply and demand. We have lawyers coming out of our ears in the north now simply because the place is flooded down here. If we have too many doctors chasing too few patients, they will go up there.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Flooded down here? Let's hope --

Mr. Stokes: That is what the member for Rainy River was trying to tell you.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: In addition to our recruitment program, of course, the honourable members are very much aware of the bursary program we have and the incentive programs that we have.

Mr. Stokes: They always tell us that there is no shortage, that there is just a maldistribution.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I have never thought about the idea, but it may be worth considering.

Mr. Wildman: I want to follow up on a number of things that the minister has raised regarding his role as a co-ordinator. I have a couple of brief comments with regard to the northern Ontario rural development agreement and northern Ontario resources transportation.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Are we on that item yet?

Mr. Wildman: No. If you want to go on with this, go ahead.

Mr. Chairman: Sorry; I thought we were still on vote 701.

Vote 701 agreed to.

On vote 702, northern economic development program; item 1, program administration:

Mr. Chairman: Steaming right along.

Mr. T. P. Reid: I will not be too long, Mr. Chairman. I am concerned about resources development and industry development. Reading the notes in the estimates book is very interesting but if you talk to people in northern Ontario I do not think they would really believe or agree that what is suggested is being done is, in fact, being done.

The goal of this vote is to stimulate economic development and diversification throughout northern Ontario. I would like to hear some specifics of what the ministry has done to diversify the economy of northern Ontario. As I said earlier, we are still playing the same old game of developing our resources only to the primary stage and we are obviously finding, as in most things, that this is not providing enough employment for people.

We are also talking about grants to northern municipalities for such projects as industrial development studies, servicing of industrial parks, tourism facilities and infrastructure. I hope the minister has finally seen the light and is doing something about a disgraceful situation. The first entrance to northern Ontario for most of the car traffic is at Fort Frances, and they are doing something there, but I want to make a special pitch in this case in regard to the water problems that the town of Fort Frances is having.

This is where it seems to me this whole ministry breaks down. The ministry is not looking at the totality of a situation. The minister has indicated to me in private conversation, and I gather by letter and in other conversations with town officials, that his ministry cannot help with the funding for the water system in Fort Frances until 1983 or 1984. There is a report that indicates the water system probably will not last that long.

To add to the confusion and the problems, the town of Fort Frances is trying on its own, as best as it can, to develop an industrial park. But it has been told by the Ministry of the Environment that it will not get any approvals until the water system is fixed in the town itself.

We are in a catch-22 situation where the town does not have the money, particularly at this time, to go ahead with improving the water system, and the other ministry is telling them that they cannot go ahead with the industrial park until the water system is fixed.

The minister cum Santa Claus, who has this big bag full of money that he just loves to dispense, is telling us that we will not get any funding until it is going to be too late. If something is not done to the system before 1983 or 1984, it is perhaps going to lead to serious difficulties in the town itself. If it is left any longer, it is liable to cost two or three times the amount of money to deal with it in 1983 or 1984.

I asked the minister if he could not reach into that bag of his and come up with some money to speed this project up so that not only will the town system be repaired and improved but also the industrial park, which would help to diversify the economic base of Fort Frances, a one-industry town, would be helped by improving the water system overall.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: If I may respond to the honourable member, Mr. Chairman, I have a lengthy list of projects related to transportation development and resource development. I do not know whether you want me to put it on the record; I would be glad to, if I could first deal with the question about Fort Frances.

The honourable member is correct in pointing out our interest and concern about tourism development in Fort Frances and in the northwest in general, because Fort Frances is a major entry point for Canada and for northern Ontario. It seemed obvious to us that the development of a major tourist information centre in downtown Fort Frances, at the entry of Fort Frances, to make it attractive and a lasting experience, was something that needed some priority.

We gave it that priority in our ministry and we are co-operating closely with the Ministry of Industry and Tourism and the Ministry of Government Services in developing what will be a first-class information centre right in downtown Fort Frances. It may have some nonacceptance by certain people because of certain facilities being removed.

Mr. T. P. Reid: They're destroying the entertainment.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Destroying the entertainment for the cultural centre?

Mr. T. P. Reid: The Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) will never return.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: The cultural centre for certain people?

I share the honourable member's concern about the requirements for an updated, improved water system, a treatment plant and a standpipe for Fort Frances. We have had some ongoing discussions with the mayor and the council, as he well knows, about the possibility of their contributing a certain portion to get the project started in 1982. We are seriously looking at some financial assistance in 1983, and I informed them of that.

They have a certain amount of boring capacity. They have a reserve, I understand. With all due respect, one sometimes has to look at one's priorities. They have a beautiful town hall there. It is second to none in northwestern Ontario.

Mr. T. P. Reid: That was built five years ago or longer.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: The requirements for an improved sewer system and the pressure problems have been there for a long time. The overpass, which the member is familiar with, and the improvements to their streets are things about which one says to oneself, "If the requirements for sewer, water and a standpipe were so real, why did they not come on stream two or three years ago?" They make decisions. They are politicians like we are. They do not get many votes for pipes they put in the ground. That does not get one many good editorials.

Mr. T. P. Reid: They did not know how bad it was until recently.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I understand that. I have to say in all honesty, they brought me a sample of some of the water that was taken from a certain part of the system, and it is something that needs immediate attention; there is no question about it. We are working with them on this problem. Of course, they have to give it a management by results rating under their system, and we move in afterwards.

I am confident, after our latest discussions with the mayor and his council, that we can resolve it and get something started in 1982. I hope we can, because we are serious in looking after the needs of that community. I guess the town of Schreiber edged Fort Frances out by a nose in getting the last few dollars we had available. I am sure the member would not disagree with that.

Mr. Stokes: It has been well spent. They just tore up all my lawn.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: The funds are being spent in northern Ontario, and we will take the member's request under serious consideration. The list is rather long. Does the member want me to put it on the record?

Mr. T. P. Reid: No. Send me a copy.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Okay. We will send you a copy. It deals with the transportation development projects we have in northern Ontario and a long list of the northern economic resource development projects we have under way in this last year. It is very extensive. It is three pages.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Send me a copy.

Mr. Stokes: Mr. Chairman, I want to follow up on what the member for Rainy River has said with regard to the goals outlined in vote 702. Everybody can subscribe to the notion that it is the responsibility of the northern economic development program "to assist in the achievement of economic stability, growth and diversity in the north." Economic stability, market forces, market conditions, high interest rates and all of that have had a very profound effect on all of North America and, in fact, all of the western world.

10 p.m.

I am interested in finding out what the author of this document meant when he said "diversity." I know all about adversity, but I do not know about anything this minister has done in an attempt to get diversity with regard to the north. As my colleague the member for Sudbury East said in an earlier vote, our most precious resource is also coming down here along with our mineral and forestry wealth.

Until we get this kind of diversity that is spoken of in this briefing book, we are really not going to attack the real problem facing people in the north, who have to come down here for post-secondary education. That is the last we see of them.

I did not know that the minister's three children had already flown the coop. We had four, two boys and two girls, and they are all long gone; one of them is out in Mississauga, the other one is in her fourth year at Western, there is one out in Saskatchewan and another one is out in Calgary. That is the way it is with most families in the north. So until we get this kind of diversification the minister is speaking of in this vote, that trend will not be reversed or altered.

Something that concerns me in this vote is transportation development. When Pepin in Ottawa made his announcement that he was going to do away with 20 per cent of all of the lines that are the responsibility of Via Rail, there were areas in northern Ontario that were profoundly and adversely affected by this decision.

The member for Cochrane North (Mr. Piché) -- well, he is not here now; but I know the minister made several trips around the north, in the communities that were going to be much more adversely affected than those I heard the Minister of Transportation and Communications talking about here the other day, about the Peterborough-Havelock run.

No one likes to see something that has been traditional, something that has been relied on over the years, terminate and go down the drain. The cancellation of the Supercontinental from Capreol through to Winnipeg will have a very profound and traumatic effect on communities that rely on that type of service exclusively, not only for getting in and out of those communities but also for services, whether they be normal or emergency services.

There are no road systems, and I wrote a letter to Jean-Luc Pepin, with a copy to his colleague Mr. de Bané, the minister responsible for the Department of Regional and Economic Expansion. I sent copies of it to the minister, to the minister's colleagues the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Ramsay), the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman), the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow), and the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope).

The only response I got from that was at least three months ago, and it was from an executive assistant or someone in Pepin's office saying that this would be brought to the attention of the minister and in due course I would receive a response.

In conversation with somebody in northern Ontario today -- I do not know how accurate this is, and I hope that Art and Dennis will get the papers going there and get some information from underneath the gallery. In my letter to Pepin I said: "You have a responsibility to those people in the north to put something back in return because you are taking away the only service they have. It is not as though they had airstrips, it is not as though they had a highway or a turkey trail. They do not have any of those things."

Mr. Mancini: What are you doing up there, Leo?

Mr. Stokes: My idea was that if the minister built a parallel road from Nakina through Kimberly-Clark limits over into Abitibi limits, the north end of Abitibi limits, Domtar limits, Great Lakes Forest Products limits, it would span that area from Nakina right over to Savant Lake where people could hook up with the Marchington Lake Road and go over into Sioux Lookout and down into Dryden or Winnipeg or Kenora, or wherever they wanted to go. If they wanted to come the other way, they would get down into Nakina, Longlac and Geraldton and down onto Highway 11 or Highway 17.

Need I remind the minister that the way in which the Trans-Canada Highway was built many years ago was really an undertaking of the federal government to give all the nine provinces at that time some assistance. It resulted in the Trans-Canada Highway, both 11 and 17.

I thought it was a very reasonable proposition that I say to Pepin, "All right. As the Minister of Transport, you have taken that away from those people; now put something back." The reason for trying to involve this government is because it has got a pretty healthy chunk of money in its budget for road maintenance, road construction and upgrading and standardizing those areas that, for whatever reason, have been neglected for many years.

Mr. McLean: You have never had it so good in the north, Jack.

Mr. Stokes: Just come on up.

Under the Department of Regional Economic Expansion Ontario subagreements the ministry also has money it has allocated to Kimberly-Clark and a variety of other players in the forest industry. The ministry is spending that money now, and we have roads running north and south in all of the limits, but nothing connecting, something that actually serves people for a change.

My idea was to serve the needs of these people who have had this service taken away from them and serve the needs of industry as well as opening up a lot of new options for tourism with another circle route in that area of the province. It is inaccessible now even by rail, as a result of them cutting off those services, except for maybe a couple of days a week or something like that, with a rail diesel car.

I am told that Great Lakes Forest Products finds that an interesting proposition which would open up the two westerly communities of Allan Water Bridge and Collins, and you could continue it right over to Armstrong and then through, assisting Mud River, Ferland and Odin.

10:10 p.m.

We are spending the money anyway. If you took a satellite photo of all those access roads we are building to provide greater forest access, if you took a picture of all those clearings, everything is running parallel north and south. None of them, with the exception of Armstrong, is being served as a result of all this taxpayers' money we are spending. If you co-ordinated the efforts of your ministry, which is now responsible for setting the priorities for roadbuilding in northern Ontario, with those four or five prime licenceholders in that area, I am sure you could come up with a plan to build a road that would open up whole new vistas for the tourist industry. You would be serving the needs of the people who have been left stranded as a result of the indifference of the federal government.

I am told there is a fellow by the name of Bill Parks in your ministry right now, who is talking to Great Lakes about the possibility of looking into some Department of Regional Economic Expansion funding for the communities of Allan Water and Collins. They did not talk about the other communities. We could serve the needs of the people while serving the needs of the major players in the forest industry and opening up whole new opportunities for tourism in that part of the province. What do you think of it?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: In response to the first part of the member's inquiry concerning diversification of industries throughout northern Ontario, I would like to put on the record a sampling of some of the projects and programs we have under way just to give you an idea of what we are doing and trying to do. An example is the development of the Manitou road corridor. That is the corridor between Dryden and Fort Frances where we are looking at a major corridor development rather than development of a helter-skelter, honkytonk, gasoline alley kind of thing along that road.

We have the assistance of the Amethyst country group in promoting Amethyst. We funded a new brochure for that group and brought them together as an organization. Until about a year ago they were all competing and would not talk to one another. We have brought them together along with a promotion package we think will help them.

Mr. Stokes: The Amethyst thing won't work until you've got access into the mines.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: We are working on that too. We are going to assist the Purple Gems mine. We have already.

The development of the industrial mall at Atikokan by the Ministry of Northern Affairs is to help diversify the economic base of Atikokan. The servicing of the industrial land at Atikokan is a further step in trying to diversify the economic base. The funding of the economic development committee over a three-year period was designed to assist in diversifying their economic base.

We have provided assistance to the Manitoulin economic development association in the Algoma area. I am sure the member for Algoma is well aware of what they are trying to do on Manitoulin Island. Basically the northern rural development subsidiary agreement is designed to assist the entrepreneur in rural northern Ontario. The five major communities are excluded. In other words, if you are from Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins or North Bay you are excluded from that agreement. But if you are an entrepreneur in the rural area and have an idea or a program with which you would like some assistance, then NORDA is the place to go for that.

We gave $600,000 to the Sudbury 2001 conference over a three-year period, $300,000 in the first year, then $200,000, then $100,000, to assist them in trying to find ways to diversify their economic base in the great city of Sudbury. Studies were prepared for production and marketing of medicinal herbs in northern Ontario. There are studies and programs with regard to wild rice in co-operation with Lakehead University, where we are funding a $100,000 study on wild rice in northwestern Ontario.

Mr. Stokes: You're spending all your money on consultants.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: No not really. The other ones are the Raymore greenhouse operation, which is trying to diversify the base in that area, and the Kayahna energy source which is trying to assist those people in finding a new source of energy in the Big Trout Lake area. Our research study at the Lakehead University with regard to wood waste is a very attractive and accepted study going on now, on how to use the 25 to 50 per cent of the wood waste that is left on the forest floor after the forest industry goes through. We also assisted in the manufacture of a new humane trap.

Mr. Stokes: That's all been done over in the Hearst area. Why are you duplicating it?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, it has not been done.

That is a different thing altogether. They are using the wood waste for the development of pellets.

Mr. Stokes: They are doing both -- pellets and gasification.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Not gasification as yet. But Lakehead University is not only looking at the utilization of wood waste but designing harvesting equipment to harvest that waste and how to use that waste in home heating. It is a very exciting. There is a broad range of programs we have in trying to diversify the economic base of northern Ontario. There is much more we will do, and more we are engaged in.

The member's idea of a connecting road is somewhat intriguing. There is no question; it is. We have talked about it on a number of occasions. I have even seen some lines on a map, if memory serves me correctly, showing where this area could be connected across the northern part of the Canadian National Railway and possibly going into Hornepayne and connecting with that road.

There is pressure to move along and connect Red Lake to the Manitoba border, much further north than what the member is referring to, but it is the same idea -- having another access road across northwestern Ontario.

Mr. Stokes: It sure beats that road that goes away up around Round Lake. That really goes nowhere.

Mr. Piché: I was just going to say that's a road to nowhere.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: But that is one our native people are becoming more active in.

Mr. Stokes: You know what Round Lake told you: "Keep it away from here." They don't want the all-weather road.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: But now they want it changed. This year they are calling for proposals for that winter road to be developed on land in the hope they will have an all-weather road sometime. They say: "Why waste the money in putting that road on Round Lake. Put it on land. It is safer, and we will have it for a longer period of time each year." This year, we are calling for proposals not only for a winter road from Windigo to Round Lake, but the proposal will ask that the road be built on land as much as possible instead of water. The interest is there.

On that point, the experiment at the northern part of Windigo Lake with regard to the fishery program had a very successful year. We put in $100,000 to $200,000 to extend the road to that facility which the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation from Manitoba developed in cooperation with the business initiative and the business people of the Round Lake area. It stands as an example of what can be done outside of the band council. It was done by the entrepreneurs of Round Lake and the very aggressive fishermen there. I diverted for a minute to point that out.

I would be interested and I may even ask my northern Ontario resources transportation committee to have a look at that suggestion. The member is quite right in saying we are looking at ways of providing access to Allan Water and Collins, the two we are looking at now. It will be south of Armstrong. We are looking at the connection of bush roads that will come up there. We have had some correspondence from one or two people in the Allan Water area. I met the people in charge of the operation. Is it Hector King, in Armstrong?

Mr. Stokes: Yes, he's in Armstrong, but you've had correspondence through me from the Bellmores and the Andersons, and you're getting some from the Patience Brothers in Collins.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: That is right. Yes. I would be glad to have our committee look at that possibility of connecting those roads. The roads we are building under the forestry agreement with the department of regional economic expansion are to open up those overmature stands. Up to this time the paper companies have been a little reluctant to get into it because of the high cost. We have to get into those overmature stands, get them cut, and get new plantations in place. Not only will this allow them to do that, it will help us in the reforestation and regeneration programs in those areas.

10:20 p.m.

Mr. Stokes: But they don't serve the people.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Chairman, it is interesting the minister -- unless I missed it, which I do not think I did -- left out what I consider to be one of the areas that has the greatest potential in both northeastern and northwestern Ontario, and that is in agriculture. Presumably, we have to look to this ministry for direction in the development of this industry as well.

The way we are gobbling up the farmland down here in southern Ontario, it is going to make it even more important for a larger economic base in northern Ontario. I wonder what input your ministry has in this regard. What programs or direction are you providing, and what under this vote, in terms of funds, are you putting into the agricultural community of northern Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, this year, in this vote, we will ask the Minister of Agriculture and Food to administer $600,000 on our behalf. It will be to encourage agricultural development, enhance the farming business and to assist in the primary production of food in northern Ontario.

Out of that will be $150,000 for tile drainage loans in the unorganized territories of northern Ontario and for medicinal herbs in the New Liskeard area. We are working very closely with the New Liskeard College of Agricultural Technology to study and determine the feasibility of the production of medicinal herbs in northern Ontario.

As you know, we have a study going on now which will hopefully be completed this year that relates to the ways and means of substituting imported fresh vegetables into northern Ontario. In other words, there are many areas in northern Ontario, as we well know, that can support and produce much of our fresh vegetables. This committee is made up of a very broad group of people, not only within ministries, but outside the government, to look at ways and means, and to advise the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of Northern Affairs as to how this can be accomplished.

We are assisting with the Timiskaming pasture project, and I might say that was a very interesting project for the New Liskeard College of Agricultural Technology. They are using specific areas within a pasture and providing a different level of fertilizer to the grass and to the feed, thereby maintaining cattle in those areas and monitoring their increased weight and productivity. It is very interesting.

I think that is about it for agriculture. I had the figures for a lot of grants that were given.

Mr. T. P. Reid: I come back to my earlier criticism. While we have all sat here going over these estimates, it just keeps coming back to me how diverse everything is, and how there are layers upon layers of ministries. Money is being taken from one department, and put into another ministry, where you are giving direction, and they are giving direction, and where money is coming from here, and money is coming from there. Nobody really understands what the hell is going on.

I just wonder how much of all this is paper shuffling back and forth, and groups of civil servants from various ministries meeting back and forth to discuss these major affairs that are going on. It really boggles the mind.

If the minister goes through his own briefing book, it talks about money from the Board of industrial Leadership and Development, from the Department of Regional Economic Expansion, from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and from the Ministry of Industry and Tourism. It is just shifting it back and forth.

I use the analogy which my friend the member for Lake Nipigon did not entirely agree with. I think if he looks at the description on pages 31 to 35 of the minister's briefing book, it really is the old shell game. Where is the money? Under what shell is the money? Who does it come from? Under what shell is the program and who really is responsible?

I will not say it like my friend the member for Grey-Bruce (Mr. Sargent), because I do not think there is anything crooked about it, but it is like a magician; it is all done with mirrors and lights. What do we see as a result? How many jobs are being created?

Let me ask the minister a question. Among all these intelligent and experienced people -- nobody has more experience than Andy Morpurgo, and we will not get into that -- as competent and great as they be, is there anybody who is keeping track of the number of jobs actually created by all this?

How are we measuring? If the minister were in the standing committee on public accounts, I would say: "All right, where are the instruments of measurement? How are you monitoring all these programs if you or anybody else knows what the devil they are all about? Where is the proof of the pudding? Give us some statistics that say: 'We have created X jobs,' or, 'This has led to X jobs. This has led to stability, diversification, a broader base in the agricultural community, and spinoffs of industry,' that you had something to do with."

To hear the minister in his estimates and in his public pronouncements, on a lot of the things he talks about -- Detour Lake, for example -- one would think the Ministry of Northern Affairs had put the gold there in the first place, that they had planned the great glacier some billions of years ago and it was now just coming to fruition because it was all part of this grand scheme of northern development. I do not believe it, and I do not think anybody else does.

In the closing moments, I ask how he is monitoring all these programs. What systems are in place to tell him, with all this money we are spending -- and I know I am in that box of saying, "Are you doing anything? But give me more money for my riding and the next riding and whatever" -- how we know we are really accomplishing anything with this money? How do we know we have our priorities right? How do we know we can do what we all are concerned about so that the minister's children, the children of the member for Lake Nipigon, my brother's children, my children can --

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Stay in northern Ontario.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Some of my children are still there. We won't go into that. Strike that. How do we know what we are accomplishing? I leave that with the minister.

Another question is the study on wild rice.

Mr. Robinson: Sounds more like wild oats.

Mr. T. P. Reid: If everybody had sown as I did, we would not have this agricultural problem.

The minister talked about wild rice, about a $100,000 study under Peter Lee, I believe it is, at Lakehead University. Let me ask one question about that. Is the government going to extend the ban on wild rice licences to the white community after 1983? Are they going to do that?

What else has he done in line with the commitment he made to the Indian people following the Hartt commission, whose only real recommendation, after spending $3.5 million, was a moratorium on wild rice? What has he done other than fund the study? What has he done in terms of the marketing, which is most important to the Indian people? What has he done to ensure that they have been given the resources and made accountable for them to develop wild rice so there is at least one industry that can be indigenous to them and that they claim is indigenous to them?

What ever happened to the tripartite working group, which was working on, among other things, wild rice, lands and resources, services to status Indians, hunting and fishing -- all these great things? Like the Royal Commission on the Northern Environment, they were supposed to report in 1979 in terms of the statement the Premier (Mr. Davis) made in May 1978, and we have not had a report or anything from them on wild rice or any other matter since then. What is the government going to do about the wild rice situation?

Mr. Stokes: Very complex.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: It will take me about five or 10 minutes to respond on this point, Mr. Chairman, but it is 10:30 p.m.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Bernier, the committee of supply reported a certain resolution.

The House adjourned at 10:31 p.m.