32nd Parliament, 1st Session






















The House met at 10 a.m.



Mr. Speaker: Before we commence with routine proceedings I ask all members of the Legislature to join me in welcoming and recognizing in the Speaker's gallery the honourable Clement T. Maynard, Minister of Labour and Home Affairs, Nassau, Bahamas, and president of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association.



Mr. Sweeney: I guess this is a sign of things to come, Mr. Speaker. The pickings are really slim.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: I don't think you can say that.

Mr. Sweeney: I wasn't talking about individuals. May I direct a question to the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Ashe)? The car tax rebate program instituted by his colleague the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) will reduce provincial revenue by something in the neighbourhood of about $3.5 million. Is the minister aware that on that basis at least nine automobile dealers in Ontario are now importing 1981 cars from Quebec in order to fill up their inventory so they can take advantage of his rebate program?

Our consultation with two auto transport companies indicates they are very busy transporting 1981 model cars from Quebec dealers to Ontario dealers in order to take advantage of that program.

Hon. Mr. Ashe: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I have been made aware of that issue, and frankly I think it is a very positive thing. As the member will recall, a very short time ago the honourable leader of the Opposition (Mr. Smith) was rather critical of this program. He said it did not create one new job and it really was not doing anything for the automobile industry per se. This indicates to me, and to all honourable members who think it through at all, that the program is exceedingly successful.

The inventory of cars in Ontario, though it is very substantial, is not enough to meet the demand of this excellent program. We are helping to reduce the inventory and backlog of 1981 automobiles even in adjoining jurisdictions. This in turn will mean additional production capabilities for 1982 automobiles, which in turn will generate new jobs and keep jobs in the automobile industry in this province.

My colleagues and I are very pleased with the extraordinary success of this program. If it means bringing in cars from other jurisdictions within this great country, that is fine.

Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I appreciate that the Treasurer and the Minister of Revenue in Quebec are having problems with their deficit, but surely it is not the responsibility of the Ontario taxpayer to subsidize the financial difficulties of a sister province through an expenditure of something in the neighbourhood of $3.5 million.

Does the minister not realize that if an Ontario car buyer goes into one of those showrooms he can get a 1981 car at a reduced price instead of buying a 1982 car as he would otherwise have done -- if not this month, then next month? Does the minister not realize we are not helping production at all in the Ontario auto plants and more and more auto workers are going to be laid off because of this silly program and the way he runs it? Does he not realize the inventory problem must not have been anywhere near as serious as he thought, if our car dealers have to bring cars in from Quebec at our expense?

Hon. Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, it is too bad some of the members opposite do not understand the economic system and the retailing system as it works with commodities such as automobiles. What we are talking about is a great number of cars. Most of the automobile production in this country is in Ontario. Whether the automobiles being retailed end up in Manitoba, Quebec, Alberta or New Brunswick does not matter.

If we can retail them here through our dealers, we are keeping our dealers in business. We are not only reducing their inventory, which was the prime thing we were after -- no doubt about that at all -- but if we can move cars through, it will help maintain their jobs, keep them in business and still get closer to the point where 1982 production can come off the assembly lines of production plants in Ontario and spread across Canada.

Mr. MacDonald: From the ministries, for example the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, we have been constantly told it is not the job of the provincial Treasury to sort of prime the pump and assist farmers. They say it is a job of the federal government because if they do it they get into conflicting and overlapping policies. How does the minister reconcile that now when he is using the provincial Treasury to assist sister provinces and bragging about it being a good program? Why does the government not do the same thing for Ontario farmers, who are in a desperate position?

Hon. Mr. Ashe: Mr. Speaker, that question should probably be directed to the Minister of Agriculture and Food, but I do not see any conflict at all. We are talking about two distinct sectors of the economy. There is no doubt at all -- I think even the member would agree -- the bulk of the automobile industry and the supporting auto parts industry in Canada is principally domiciled in Ontario.

I think the member would also agree that although the agricultural community in Ontario is very significant, one cannot say it is necessarily a substantial part of what goes on in all of Canada. It is very important but not relative to the amount of the automobile business in this province. If we can move the backlog of cars in Canada, principally in Ontario first, we can get production going again on the 1982 cars and get them into the dealerships ahead of when they would have been produced without our program.

Mr. O'Neil: Mr. Speaker, I wonder if I might then ask the minister why he does not put on some type of controls so that the 1981 cars left in Ontario have to be sold before any of these cars are imported from other provinces. I wonder if I could have the minister's comments on that.

Also, I wonder if the minister could tell the House this morning on what information the Treasurer and the minister base this rebate on taxes. In other words, how many 1981 cars were there left in the province to be sold by dealers?

Hon. Mr. Ashe: As I recall, there were estimated to be something in the order of 47,000 -- I think that was the number of cars -- and it was felt the program would be considered more than successful if 25,000 of those cars were moved. On the basis of the reports we are hearing, it will be much more successful than that.

About those places where cars are being brought in, that is happening because obviously there are no cars in that area. I think it is safe to say, if there is a Ford dealer in Toronto who does not have cars to merchandise, he is going to check around with the Ford dealers in the greater Metropolitan area before he is going to think of anywhere else. That is just common sense, in my view. I realize common sense sometimes is rather difficult to comprehend but it seems pretty academic to me. I see no conflict at all in moving the cars. Common sense says the cars in Ontario are going to be moved first.

Mr. McKessock: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker, how can the minister say agriculture is not important compared with the automobile industry?

Mr. Speaker: Order, order. That is not really a point of privilege.

10:10 a.m.

Hon. Mr. Ashe: That's not what I said.

Mr. Ruston: It's a good point, though.

Mr. Speaker: All right, let us hear it.

Mr. McKessock: My point of privilege is that when one out of four work in agriculture or agriculture-related industries in Canada it is unfair or it is against the privileges --

Mr. Speaker: Order. That is not a point of privilege.


Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Industry and Tourism. The minister will be well aware from his own government sources that there have been 24,000 layoffs in this province up to August 31. He will also be aware, from sources which have not been published but which I am sure he has, that there have been at least 10,000 layoffs since September 1. And just to put it in context, that total equals approximately half the population of my entire riding.

What policy response will the minister put forward specifically to reduce this trend, since the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development obviously has no effect on this situation?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, those figures, which anyone setting up a national interest rate policy could have predicted, are not going to be turned around by any government in a situation in which people cannot afford to buy the goods our workers are making. Let us be clear about it: Nothing a provincial government can do is going to make people suddenly decide they can afford refrigerators, stoves or new cars; nothing is going to turn that around if ordinary citizens simply cannot afford to finance the purchase of these goods.

The federal Liberal government is quoted today as saying it has decided to fight inflation on the backs of blue-collar workers and now white-collar workers in this province. They have decided they are going to fight inflation and fight interest rates by moving this country into a temporary recession.

That is easy for them to say. But looking at the nature of this country there are much-needed resource developments coming on stream out west that we support and that we have indicated we are willing to pay the price for. So there is going to be economic activity out west. There are offshore developments in Atlantic Canada that are very good for this country, so there is not going to be a recession there.

The only way the federal government can slow down the economy and lower inflation and interest rates is on the backs of those people who work in manufacturing industries in central Canada. It has also been quite clear that by central Canada they mean "let us slow it down in Ontario."

I would like to hear anyone propose a series of budget measures worse than last Thursday's budget measures --

Mr. Kerrio: Miller agrees with it.

Mr. O'Neil: Bring in a mini-budget.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: -- in order not only to create that but to compound our problems. I find it frankly outrageous that the federal government takes millions, billions, out of this province and does not put it back to help the laid-off workers, to help the people who are most affected by their own recessionary policies. Then they say, "We will just stand back. We as a federal government will not participate in your BILD initiatives. We will not help out cities such as Brantford" as we have asked.

They just stand back, take their hands off and say, "We are just going to allow all those layoffs to occur in Ontario, because we have to fight inflation." That is a bankrupt national economic policy. And let us make no mistake about it: As long as the federal government decides to fight inflation by putting recession into Ontario there are going to be more and more layoffs.

No province has situated itself better to fight back against that sort of thing than this province. Without any aid from the federal government the BILD program, which needs some private-sector investment to join with, will carry on and will do a lot more for economic recovery in this province than anything purporting to be a national industrial strategy will do.

One of the problems we are going to have -- and let us be clear about it -- is that the BILD initiatives very much require private sector responses. The federal budget once again included measures that will make it more difficult for the private sector to respond and to reinvest in the Ontario economy, at a point when, if it were not for some of those budget policies of Mr. MacEachen, the private sector would reinvest in the Ontario economy. Now they made it more difficult to do that. I cannot see in good conscience how anyone sitting in the Liberal Party anywhere in Canada can complain about economic policies as they affect Ontario.

Mr. Sweeney: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I would suggest that non-answer should be included in the statement time for the minister. Surely he is aware of the fact, when he talks about money going out of Ontario, that $650 million is going out of Ontario through decisions made by his government. The minister will also be aware of the fact that, in terms of taking money out of Ontario taxpayers' pockets, his ad valorem tax is going to take more money out of the taxpayers pockets' than anything the federal government is going to do.

Mr. Speaker: Question.

Mr. Sweeney: In view of this vaunted BILD program that was advertised in this morning's Globe and Mail as $145 million to unnamed projects, we would like to know where it is going. It said, "Permanent remedial measures are needed because Ontario believes skill training programs in industry should be maintained during periods of business slowdown." That is what the BILD promise said in terms of times of business slowdown. Let there be no doubt we do have a time of business slowdown.

How does the minister explain provincial transfers for apprenticeship and manpower training in the 1981-82 budget show absolutely no increase in this year's spending? In particular, what specific steps will he take for retraining and relocating thousands of workers now laid off? The BILD program does not answer that. The paper we had yesterday does not answer that. Never mind the federal government -- what is the minister going to do?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member's performance this morning is going to make sure the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps) enters the race today, I do not doubt.

The member referred to the ad valorem tax and to Suncor. He may notice the Ontario ad valorem tax is somewhat different from the other energy taxes that have been put on the consumers of this province.

Mr. Sweeney: It still takes money out of people's pockets.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, but it takes money out of the Ontario taxpayers' pockets and keeps it in the Ontario economy. The taxes put on by the national government, the federal Liberal government, take money from Ontario consumers and they get lost in the corridors of power in Ottawa. They do not get back down here to the unemployed workers or to people who are suffering from high energy costs. They leave us.


Mr. Speaker: Order. The minister is responding to a question from the member for Kitchener-Wilmot (Mr. Sweeney). The other members will have an opportunity to ask questions. Would the minister proceed?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The incredible thing is the Liberal party has four candidates and they are all running third. That is the incredible thing.

We have to remember that, where there is a layoff, the Ministry of Labour has a team put together that goes in and meets with the unions, the workers, and the businesses involved and ascertains where a retraining program would be appropriate. Those retraining programs are undertaken. Does the member want to ask my colleague the details of those programs? He really should. It may take the rest of the question period for the minister to give all the details of all the programs in place, but they are in place. If we look at the community college system, there is more retraining going on in the community college system of this province than anywhere in North America. There is no question about that.

Mr. Kerrio: You are in the importing business.

10:20 a.m.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The other thing one ought to recall is that a great number of the workers who have been laid off understand perfectly, and obviously they understand better than does the member who has just interjected, that when interest rates finally go down, if the national government will let them go down, and when the recession in the United States goes away and there is a better period in the United States, then those workers will go back to very well-paying, secure jobs.


Hon. Mr. Grossman: I do not want the members opposite to learn anything; they should be careful.

To give a good example, in the Massey-Ferguson situation, as the member's colleague knows very well, 75 per cent of the combines produced in the plant in Brantford are sold in the United States. Is it the member's belief we should now take all those workers and say to them, "There is not ever going to be an economic recovery in the United States"? Should we say to them, "Leave your jobs; leave all your positions and your ranking in terms of pension funds and seniority in the union and in Massey- Ferguson, and let us retrain you for another job"?

Many of those workers have some belief in that company. Many of them want the opportunity to go back to that company and are still hopeful, as we are, that the American situation will improve sufficiently that a lot of those workers will go back. Let us not pretend that all of the layoffs that have occurred are permanent layoffs. Let us not pretend that all those jobs are lost. Experience indicates that most of those people will be recalled if the recession is as short-lived as we hope it will be.

I have made it quite clear the national budget has made certain the recession will go on longer than necessary. But I do not think anyone should throw in the towel and say those temporary layoffs are going to turn into permanent layoffs and that those people should be retrained rather than stay in place in great communities such as Brantford and Chatham, ready to go back to work when the recession fades. Give them a chance, I say to the member.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, you will have noted that we have had a slashing attack on the federal budget today, compared with the pussy-cat criticism that came from the Treasurer yesterday.

Mr. Speaker: Do you have a supplementary?

Mr. MacDonald: Yes. This morning, that authoritative journal, the Sun, reports: "Permanent layoffs of Ontario workers increased by a whopping 20 per cent last month -- and Industry Minister Larry Grossman says it will get worse." Yesterday we had the Treasurer boasting about what the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development has achieved. Surely it is obvious to everyone, including the minister, that even with BILD we have this whopping increase the minister is drawing attention to.

Is it not time the minister quit blaming Ottawa and came up with an economic stimulation program here that will stop this whopping increase? Why does he not stop passing the buck to Ottawa all the time?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I do not know the way the NDP caucus works but when we speak about the budget we speak with one voice.

Mr. MacDonald: Read Hugh Winsor this morning.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The Treasurer has his responsibilities. I have mine. This government's budget response is developed as one unit, with all the ministries working together. What the member opposite is seeing is the government response -- not mine, not the Treasurer's, but the government's response.

One can look at the national employment and unemployment figures and see that in spite of our largest industrial sector, the automotive sector, being in difficult times -- not because of anything that happened in Ontario but because of worldwide conditions -- we are still well below the national average in unemployment. In spite of that there are about 120,000 new jobs in Ontario this year which were not in place last year. Also in spite of that, there are 56,000 more manufacturing jobs in Ontario this year than there were created in all of the United States last year.

The members opposite will be delighted to hear that all of those things are not due to government initiatives, but they will not be delighted to hear that some of them are due to government initiatives. The reason this province will continue to be well below the national average in unemployment, the reason it will continue to outperform the economy generally in the rest of Canada, and the reason we will continue to outperform New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and all our industrial competitors, is because, in spite of the fact the federal government has chosen to fight inflation by putting recession in our province, this government will not lie down quietly and let that happen.

We will have stimulation programs. We will have 2,000 workers working at the Toronto Convention Centre sometime next year, who otherwise would be on unemployment. We will have people building radial roads in this province, who otherwise would be on unemployment if it were not for the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program. We will have people building three or four high technology research and development centres in all parts of this province, next year and the year after, who otherwise would be unemployed if it were not for the initiatives of this government. We would have thousands of people who would not be retrained if it were not for those initiatives. We would not have people building the new King Mountain development up in Sault Ste. Marie if it were not for the BILD initiatives. We would not have people putting in the Collingwood infrastructure and servicing to build those new tourist facilities in Collingwood. And I want to say --

Mr. Ruston: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I must advise that you are not enforcing the rules you are supposed to as arbitrator of the question period. The length of time on that question is completely out of order.

Mr. Speaker: Order. The question was asked by the member for York South whether it was not time the province developed an industrial strategy separate from the federal government. The minister has chosen to respond at great length in detail. However, while I have the opportunity, I would point out to all the honourable members that approximately half the question period has been spent on two questions.

Mr. MacDonald: On the same point of order, Mr. Speaker: I am glad to have the Liberals join the ranks on this issue, but I respectfully suggest to you, if it is legitimate to give answers as long as that, it is going to be legitimate to ask questions longer than the rather brief one I asked and got this outpouring in answer to.

Mr. Ruprecht: Final supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The minister should answer this House as to why he has taken on the portfolio of Minister of Industry and Tourism, when he can stand up here and tell us there is nothing the provincial government can do about jobs and about industrial strategy. That is what he has indicated, and we on this side are pretty upset at some of the people over there who have taken on portfolios and have turned out to have pip-squeak minds, and to be unable to perform as they should.

Mr. Speaker: Supplementary.

Mr. Ruprecht: We are asking on this side that the minister state clearly and fully what his policy will be that will direct itself at the question of creating jobs in this province. The minister has not answered that specific question, and that is why we are upset on this side. He has done absolutely nothing by his own admission. That is why we think he ought to quit.


Hon. Mr. Grossman: I think that is probably the finest question we have heard this session. The honourable member must have just come into the House. I completed my answer, and the Speaker cautioned me about giving too many details of our economic development program, and taking too much of question period in outlining all the initiatives we were taking to fight unemployment in this province. The criticism was not that we did not have enough. The criticism I have just finished taking from the former leader of the NDP and from the esteemed and respected Speaker of this House was that I was giving too many details about too many initiatives.

I have another two pages here of initiatives. If the member really wants the answers he should get permission of the House to extend question period. I think I could keep him here until noon, telling him about the economic development strategy. By the way, if he wants jobs --

Mr. Ruprecht: Jobs are what we need.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: If the member wants jobs --

Mr. Speaker: Order. New question, the member for York South.

10:30 a.m.


Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. A couple of weeks ago, the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson) convened a meeting made up of representatives of the Norfolk co-operative, the critics from the two opposition parties and people from various ministries to discuss a question which he has presumably ignored for the last six weeks, namely, the threat of a corporate takeover of the Norfolk co-operative.

We were told by one of the officials of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, namely the director of the credit unions and co-operatives services branch, Mr. Best, that within one week the minister could come up with an amendment which would make it impossible for an outsider to take over that co-operative against the wishes of the board of directors of the co-operative. The week has passed twice over. Are we going to get that amendment to stop this kind of threat to the co-operative movement?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Yes.

Mr. MacDonald: A supplementary question, Mr. Speaker: I appreciate we are going to get it, but may I draw the minister's attention to the fact that the vice-president of that co-operative wrote to the minister on September 30 to ask for an interview. They have never yet got it. It is only because of the instigation flowing from the Minister of Agriculture and Food that he called the meeting. Can we expect it before Christmas so this threat will be stopped before it is realized?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Yes.

Mr. Kerrio: A supplementary question, Mr. Speaker: When?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, soon.

Mr. Foulds: A supplementary question, Mr. Speaker: Can the minister be more definitive and give us an exact date?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, no.

Mr. MacDonald: I thought I gave him fair leeway when I asked if he would do it before Christmas, Mr. Speaker, but even that was more than he could handle.


Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour. In Bill C-12 the federal government is now bringing down amendments to the bankruptcy legislation, something that will cope so that workers on the occasion of a bankruptcy will be protected for their wages, for their severance pay and their fringe benefits. Since this is going to take some time to be implemented, the federal government has established a wage protection fund for a three-year period.

While they are building up the resources to do this, they are going to take contributions out of their consolidated revenue to meet the needs of the workers, but they put a cap on it of $1,000. My question of the minister is this: Is Ontario willing to move in with supplementary legislation, amendments to the Employment Standards Act, which will supplement that grossly inadequate $I,000 assurance to workers who are losing wages, severance pay and fringe benefits? If this is going to represent too heavy a drain on his consolidated revenue, will he set up a temporary wage protection fund to finance that here in Ontario by a minimum levy on all employers?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, we have reviewed on many occasions the issue of insolvencies as well as bankruptcies. I welcome the Landry report and I have written to the federal Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, Mr. Ouellet. If the member will permit, I would like to read the substance of those remarks.

"Dear Mr. Ouellet: I received a copy of the Landry report on the problem of wage protection in bankruptcy and insolvency and have reviewed it with interest. I fully support your announced intention to proceed immediately to enact amendments to Bill C-12 as an interim solution. As the report states, the federal government should assume the lead role in setting up a new wage protection system for Canada in view of its clear responsibility in matters of bankruptcy and insolvency. For our part, we would be pleased to enter into immediate discussions to ensure that the interests of Ontario workers are adequately addressed."

We are prepared to proceed with those discussions at any time.

Mr. MacDonald: The minister has not answered my question other than with a great generality. The federal government is moving on an interim program for the next three years while it gets a long-term program established. Is the minister willing to come in with an interim program at the provincial level and thus do something about the disgraceful offer of $1,000 maximum to cover wages, severance pay and fringe benefits in the event of a worker being unsecured in the current bankruptcy situation and therefore being left high and dry? Will he bring in a supplementary program of some kind?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: With the greatest respect to the member, I am sure his great knowledge of the political process cannot help but lead him to the conclusion, as it does with everybody else, that the jurisdiction with regard to bankruptcies and insolvencies rests with the federal government. He can say all he wants, but the courts have made that very clear. We are prepared to co-operate in whatever reasonable way presents itself in the forthcoming discussions. I have already agreed to do that.

Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, is the government prepared to set up a fund from which workers who got caught in a bind, the kind of bind the minister just described, could be paid? Then the government could recover from the estate of the bankruptcy later. The workers could get what they need right now and use the fund, and the government could recover the moneys at a later date.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether the member has had the opportunity to glance at the Landry report, but those are the very issues that are addressed there. The jurisdictional problems are pointed out, and it very clearly spells out the need for the federal government to take the lead and for provinces to co-operate. Certainly we are prepared to take part in those discussions, but if he reads the report he will understand the jurisdictional problems.

Mr. MacDonald: With respect, there is a bit of doubletalk in the minister's reply. He has resorted to the old argument that the responsibility for protection of anybody in bankruptcy is a federal responsibility. So he is willing to talk and co-operate; is he willing to do anything to supplement what is in prospect, namely, a grossly inadequate $1,000 compensation to a worker who is left high and dry in the wake of a bankruptcy? Is he willing to do anything at the provincial level other than talk?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I do not propose to match what the honourable member is doing; that is, talking. He is talking about an issue that he clearly knows is within federal jurisdiction, bankruptcies and insolvencies.


Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Minister of Colleges and Universities. I am sure the minister will remember her comment in introducing her ministry's estimates last month, that, "Ontario's funding restraints on post-secondary education until now have been absorbed without serious damage to objectives." She will now be aware of the comments made yesterday by the outgoing chairman of the Ontario Council on University Affairs, Dr. William Winegard. He said some universities in this province could be bankrupt and in receivership within two years.

Will the minister be kind enough to explain, given that this crisis of underfunding has led universities to the brink of bankruptcy, how she concludes that there has been no "serious damage to objectives"?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, I have a little difficulty with the honourable member's logic, but that is not unusual, because his logic is somewhat circuitous. None the less, I believe the objectives that have been established by OCUA for university education in this province have not been seriously damaged. We most certainly have not impinged upon the direct management of the institutions.

The universities have a very clear option: they may approach the public generally for support. That has not been vigorously pursued in this province or in this country. The private sector in the United States, made up primarily of individuals, donated more than $4 billion to universities in that country last year. Unfortunately, Canadians are much more parsimonious in their giving. I believe it is the responsibility of every graduate of every university in this country to provide some additional support beyond that which is ordinarily expected of the taxpayer.

10:40 a.m.

There is some danger in certain institutions, and if those institutions do not modify their current practices, they are in danger perhaps of running into real financial difficulty within the next two or three years. Dr. Winegard has said that. That outcome really depends upon the capacity of that administration to modify its own internal structure to meet the requirements.

Mr. Wrye: It is just amazing that the minister apparently now is concluding that the way to solve the crisis is to privatize the funding of public institutions.

I am going to send the minister a copy of a list of the effects of underfunding prepared for me just last week by the University of Windsor, an institution that used up the last of its reserves just this year. The minister will note that the university lists an astounding total of 75 effects on teaching supplies and equipment, support staff, the library, the physical plant, teaching personnel and a whole series of miscellaneous examples.

How much additional proof does the minister need of the funding crisis at the University of Windsor and at every other university in Ontario before she and this government will finally take some action to save the province's university system?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: The province's university system does not need to be saved. It is safe now. What the honourable member is asking for is additional support. He must realize that those autonomous institutions set their own priorities. The University of Windsor very recently opened a very beautiful new building, and that priority was established by the administration of that university. There are other things the university could have done with the money that was available to it.

I object to the deliberate and intentional distortion of my remarks by the honourable member. I did not suggest the reprivatizing of the universities --

Mr. Cooke: Yes, you did.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: The member cannot hear either, obviously.

Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: What I was suggesting was that each one of us who has had the privilege of a university education has an additional obligation as a Canadian to provide our own private donations, aside from tax funds. We do it badly. We do it very badly. I suggest that those on the opposite side are just as bad as any other Canadians, as are some of my colleagues.

I hope that at some point in the not too distant future those of us who have real concern, because we graduated from universities, will recognize that we have personal responsibility and begin to really do something about it.

Mr. Cooke: Don't be silly.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: I am not being silly. The member is being silly.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, I want to raise a question on the university that may be the first one to go under as a result of the minister's underfunding; that is, Trent University in Peterborough.

Is the minister aware of the Hansen report on Trent University, which in response to its $1.5-million deficit is suggesting that it will be taken into receivership if the measures recommended in the Hansen report are not taken? These measures could ruin the essential distinction of that institution in this province. Does she endorse the recommendations of the Hansen report, and is Trent going to be the first victim of her underfunding in this province?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Is the honourable member a graduate of Trent?

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Yes.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: How much does he donate to Trent every year as an alumnus?

Mr. Cooke: Don't be so silly. That's not the answer to underfunding.

Mr. MacDonald: Back to the nineteenth century -- private funding of universities.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Trent is the one university in this province that is really beginning to undertake a critical examination of its role within the university system to ensure not only its viability but also the quality of the contribution it makes. As a result of that commitment and that modification of structure, organization and purpose last year, it has been granted additional funding, called a reorganization grant, on the recommendation of the Ontario Council on University Affairs. Trent is moving solidly in that direction --

Mr. R. F. Johnston: That will destroy the whole system.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: It will not destroy that university. It will demonstrate the real value of that university in the system within Ontario.


Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour. The minister will recall that we have raised a number of times a concern about the low level of wages paid to handicapped workers in this province's sheltered workshops -- wages that average, according to the most recent study done for the ministry, 55 cents an hour.

Is the minister aware that ARC Industries in Brantford is contracting out handicapped employees in its sheltered workshops to private employers and receiving the minimum wage for this work, while it is not paying its employees the minimum wage but 50 cents an hour and pocketing the difference, if I can put it that way? Is that legal under an exemption from section 24 of the Employment Standards Act? And will the minister investigate it?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I have no information available at the moment to respond to that question. I will be pleased to take it as notice and respond.

Mr. McClellan: Does the minister recall the report I referred to, entitled Wage Permits for Handicapped Employees, prepared for the ministry by Abt Associates of Canada in December 1980? Does he recall the section on page 30 that states, "The most significant feature of the current situation in sheltered workshops is that only one third of the rehabilitation workshops in Ontario have wage permits"? The report goes onto say that they may be operating in violation of the law.

What action has the minister taken to deal with this situation?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Although I recall page 31 well, I cannot recall page 30 too well; so I will take the question as notice, and I will respond to the member.

Mr. McClellan: Well, that's very funny. But is the minister --

Hon. Mr. Elgie: It is not funny.

Mr. Speaker: Order. The minister did say he would take the question as notice and respond later.

Mr. McClellan: May I have another supplementary?

Mr. Speaker: No. That was the final supplementary.


Mr. McKessock: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. I have been contacted by several of my rural municipalities, which are already in a depressed state facing winter. They are asking me if any winter works projects are going to be put forward by the Ontario government this winter and whether there are any in place right now or if any are contemplated to alleviate the disastrous unemployment situation this winter.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, the ministry always has under consideration possible programs that could be offered to the municipalities and regions of the province. I am not in a position to indicate any of them today or to say whether we will come forward with them. Discussions take place between my ministry people and the Treasury to try to contemplate what the long-range situation could very well be.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I want to make it clear that while it is extremely simple to get up and ask about winter works programs, these programs generally call upon a municipality to contribute to the cost of the program. At this time, most municipalities clearly indicate that they do not want to get into that situation. We are still reviewing it to see what we might be able to do, but I am not in a position to make a statement, nor do I expect to make a statement in the relatively near future.

Mr. McKessock: Since it is snowing in my area this morning and with winter very close, I wonder what the minister means when he says he is not contemplating it in the near future. Are we going to have an announcement before Christmas.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: In the fullness of time, if we are bringing a program forward, we will announce it.


Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I want to ask a question of the Solicitor General with regard to the fire and explosion at the Cargill grain elevator in Thunder Bay last May. Now that he and his officials have had time to study the fire marshal's report of that explosion and fire, can he explain why there are no recommendations --


Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for Port Arthur has the floor. Will the member proceed?

10:50 a.m.

Mr. Foulds: Can the Solicitor General explain why there are no recommendations in that fire marshal's report as it pertains to the fire that had been in bin 328 for at least a year and two months before the explosion? Why is there no description of the company ceasing to work on that fire in the bin some two weeks before the explosion, presumably for financial reasons? Why is there no recommendation with regard to the pouring of carbon tetrachloride into the bin approximately one hour before the explosion?

Why is there no comment or explanation about the fact that the fire was not reported to the fire department when it was noticed by the workers at 11 o'clock in the evening and was not reported to the fire department until approximately 5:30 the next morning, which was a full hour after the first explosion took place?

Why were there no recommendations on those parts of the report or pieces of evidence?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, I do not recall the details of that fire marshal's report, but I certainly will discuss with the fire marshal the concerns that have been raised by the honourable member and report back to him and our colleagues in the Legislature.

Mr. Foulds: While the Solicitor General is communicating with the fire marshal, can he also indicate to us how thorough an investigation and interviewing process took place between the fire marshal's officials and the men who were on duty, not merely those on the shift between midnight and 8 a.m., when the explosion actually occurred, but also those on the afternoon shift between 4 p.m. and midnight who first noticed the fire, and what investigations took place with regard to the union leadership there as well?

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: I will certainly make those concerns part of my inquiry of the fire marshal.


Mr. McGuigan: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. According to a news report this morning, the Premier of the great province of Saskatchewan is having some second thoughts about women's rights and aboriginal rights. Will the Premier, with the help of his good friends in the third party, appeal to the Premier of that province and try to move him along to join those two items in the accord in which the Premier has played such a prominent part so that the debate will be ended and we will get our constitution and charter of rights as they should be, with protection to those two groups?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, perhaps the honourable member did not hear what I said yesterday. My information, which is probably now an hour and a half old, is that there is some indication that the Premier of Saskatchewan will accept the equality section as it applies to women's rights. He is as anxious as I am to have the aboriginal rights contained in the proposed charter. I understand there are still one or two Premiers who have reservations with respect to the aboriginal rights, but I think we are getting very close with respect to equality rights as they relate to women.

Mr. McKessock: Mr. Speaker, why did the Premier not try to get property rights included in the charter?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I have to tell the honourable member we worked very hard to get everything included in the charter. Perhaps he was not here when I explained what happened and what the process was and that this province accepted the principle and intent of the former resolution. We would have continued to support that but I felt, along with others, that some consensus should be achieved. We achieved that consensus, and in that consensus some things were included and some were not.

We have not altered our point of view, but the accord is there. It was a very historic occasion. It has been agreed to. My only hope is that it will now move through the House of Commons with great rapidity so the debate can come to a conclusion.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, I rise really on a point of order rather than to ask a supplementary question. I wish to correct the observation of the honourable member who originally asked the question. Saskatchewan has always been in favour of aboriginal rights inclusion. They have now indicated that if the charter is being opened, they are willing to support both, as the Premier just said. But they have always been in favour of aboriginal rights being in the charter.

Hon. Mr. Davis: On the point of order, Mr. Speaker: I never said Saskatchewan was not in favour of aboriginal rights --

Mr. MacDonald: No. The member did.

Hon. Mr. Davis: -- but I have to point out that

Saskatchewan has been reluctant to accept the equality provisions as they relate to women.

Mr. MacDonald: If we are going to get --

Mr. Speaker: Order. We are not going to have a debate.

The member for Hamilton Centre.

Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, can I ask the first minister --

Mr. Swart: We haven't had a supplementary.

Mr. McClellan: We haven't had any.

Mr. Speaker: I realize that, but I recognized the member for York South and he said he had a point of order. With all respect, this is the final supplementary.

Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker: Can I ask the first minister why he allowed equality of the sexes to become a point of negotiation?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, with great respect, it was not a point of negotiation.


Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health in regard to the high cost of hospital care in the province.

A Scarborough woman was hospitalized this summer for nine days at Scarborough General Hospital and, because part of her cost was picked up through a group plan, she received a receipt and learned that the hospital had billed the Ontario health insurance plan for 18 days in that hospital. The hospital, when contacted, admitted it was an error.

How much money is being wasted in this province at the moment through improper billing or through error? What are the auditing practices of OHIP at the moment? And what is the sampling, for instance, in terms of discovering the number of errors and the extra cost to the people of Ontario, which in this case would have been double the cost if this mistake had gone through?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, there has been another error somewhere, because the hospitals do not bill the Ontario health insurance plan on a per diem basis for patient utilization of in-patient facilities. I do not know what slip she got, but I can tell the member that the plan does not work that way. Every hospital in this province is given a global budget.

After the fact, we do frequently refer to per diem costs, but per diem costs are based on an evaluation after the close of the fiscal year and are what they actually spent divided by the number of patient days. That tells us how much per day it would have cost if we were billing in that fashion.

For instance, when my wife was discharged last week from Women's College Hospital, one of the things they gave me was a slip of paper saying, "If we were billing you or the health plan on a per diem basis, the cost would have been $1,050," or something like that.

But that is not the way the system is operated. Scarborough General Hospital or any other hospital does not send us a statement saying: "Richard Johnston has been here for six days. Please reimburse us for whatever amount." That is not the way the system works.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: If I could send over the form that was sent to the individual under the group plan, the minister will note that it does state the government allowance for the cost is X dollars, in this case $2,934 instead of the $1,467 it would have been for nine days.

Is it not true that the ministry does a one per cent sampling of the bills that are picked up through OHIP, both for hospitals and for doctors in terms of fees for service?

Is there some reason why we do not move towards the Quebec approach to automatic receipting of individuals so they know the cost of their stay or their visit to a doctor rather than having it go through as it does?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: We have encouraged the hospitals to provide discharged patients on a voluntary basis with a notice similar to the one I just referred to, which I was given last week when my wife was discharged from the hospital, so people will be aware of the cost of hospital services.

By the way, I point out that OHIP is the part of the Ministry of Health that looks after physician services and what we call the COCO group, the chiropodists, optometrists, chiropractors and osteopaths. OHIP does not deal with the hospital budgets; they are dealt with by another part of the ministry, the institutional services division.

I think the woman must have been in a semi-private or private room, because what we have here is not a bill to the Ontario health insurance plan but a statement relating to semi-private or private accommodation. The auditing the member refers to should be done by Great West Life, which is the company being billed for this.

11 a.m.


Mr. Ruprecht: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. Why is the minister doing nothing about the ex-psychiatric patient housing crisis, which is worsening? The problem was reported three years ago; so the situation is not a new one.

Why is the minister making barely token efforts to solve this housing crisis when he knows full well the ex-psychiatric patients in Toronto are living in appalling, deplorable conditions? He also knows he is to blame, because when he started his program of deinstitutionalization he failed to establish a system to integrate these people into the community.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I doubt that anything I might say would convince the honourable member. I have sent him all kinds of information about what is being done in the short term and in the longer term.

I did not start deinstitutionalization. It is something that has been going on for the better part of 20 years. I would argue with my friend that, in the last five years in particular, more has been done with respect to the establishment of community mental health programs, outpatient programs and the enrichment of community psychiatric facilities than in any comparable period.

Regarding the current situation, the member knows that in the spring of 1981 the problem was particularly exacerbated by the real estate market. A number of boarding home facilities were sold, causing a shortage of housing. I think we have moved quickly and appropriately to meet the short-term requirements and to take steps towards the longer-term requirements so that people who are in need of more supervised surroundings than most will be looked after.

Surely the member is not trying to suggest that every discharged patient will be housed. What we are trying to do, by way of the establishment of the assessment unit at Queen Street Mental Health Centre and working with various community groups, is to ensure that those who are in need of a more supervised form of housing will have their needs met.


Mr. Kerrio: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: Last week, in the absence of the Minister of Industry and Tourism , I directed a question to the Deputy Premier (Mr. Welch) relating to my concerns about whether there would be some renegotiation of the auto pact, which would have quite an influence on jobs in Ontario. If the minister is going to answer on a subsequent date, that will be fine; if not, he may want me to direct that question to the Order Paper. I will take his advice.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I will give an answer to that question some time next week.



Hon. Mr. Bennett moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Gregory, that Bill 146, An Act respecting certain International Bridges, be discharged and removed from the Order Paper.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, can the minister explain why he wants this bill discharged? It appears there are going to be a number of government bills that are not enacted before the adjournment.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I understand that, by agreement of the municipal affairs critics, we are going to replace it with another bill this morning.

Motion agreed to.



Hon. Mr. Bennett moved, seconded by Mr. Gregory, first reading of Bill 171, An Act respecting certain International Bridges.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, the bill I am introducing today will replace Bill 146, An Act respecting certain International Bridges.

The original bill applied to both the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission and the Blue Water Bridge Authority for the year 1982 and subsequent years. The new bill will apply to the Blue Water Bridge Authority for the year 1981 and subsequent years, and there will be no change for the Niagara Falls Bridge Commission.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the answers to questions 185, 188 and 244 and the interim answers to questions 223 to 236 standing on the Notice Paper.


House in committee of supply.


On vote 702, northern economic development program:

Mr. Chairman: We are continuing along in committee of supply on the estimates of the Ministry of Northern Affairs. The chair needs his memory refreshed as to where we were. The member for Algoma (Mr. Wildman) indicated he was up, but I forget.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Chairman, as usual, I can help you. I can provide more help than you are capable of accepting.

As I recall, at the end of last Monday evening, I had asked the minister a couple of questions. One was with regard to the activities of his ministry in terms of what I conceive to have some of the greatest potential for development in northern Ontario, the agricultural farming community.

Second, I asked the minister if he would care to discuss wild rice and what assistance he has provided, what he intends to do, and whether he is of the opinion that the five-year moratorium put into place in 1978 should be extended.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, I have responses to a number of questions asked last Monday as we came to the conclusion of that period of debate.

One of the questions the member for Rainy River asked was, "How many doctors and dentists attended the medical recruiting week?" I am pleased to report that 632 doctors and dentists were interviewed during that one week by the 30 representatives of municipalities from northern Ontario. That is a significant number.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Including Ignace?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes. Another question was, "Have we found a doctor for Ignace?" In my discussion with Dr. Copeman, I learned that they have not found one as yet, but they are still actively pursuing that possibility with a number of the 632 people. He is hopeful that they will have somebody to go to Ignace.

The member also asked about the economic development activities of the ministry and how we kept tab, if we did, on the number of job opportunities that would flow from the financial resources we have and where we put them in northern Ontario. The member is aware that under the management by results criterion laid down by the Management Board of Cabinet that requirement is there, although I have to admit we do not get into a detailed numbers game.

As an example, when we have $50 million or $60 million in a road construction program, while we do know there is a common formula for the number of jobs created in that construction period it is difficult to be exact. In our sewer and water projects, for which there are transfers to municipalities, it is also difficult to put down actual numbers.

11:10 a.m.

Last year, we funded something like seven subsidiary agreements with the Department of Regional Economic Expansion in northern Ontario. The newest one of these is the northern rural development subsidiary agreement for $18.5 million.

Some groups in northern Ontario have approached me within the last year, emphasizing as strongly as they could that the efforts of the ministry to date have been too much oriented to economic development; in other words, that our thrust has been for the support of those programs and projects that would create jobs in northern Ontario, with a lack of interest by our ministry in the social field.

They are coming to us and saying very loudly and clearly that there are some very special and unique problems in the social field in northern Ontario that should be topped up, or sweetened up, I suppose I might say, in addition to what other ministries are doing.

As an example, the problems of the Kenora Children's Aid Society are very special and unique. The society is coming to us and saying it is caught within a formula for all of northern Ontario, while that society in Kenora covers such a vast area that it has very special problems relating to transportation costs and the number of native children who come into its care. It feels it should be specially assisted. We have not gone that route; our emphasis has been in the economic development field.

How do you relate the significance of the number of jobs that would come from the Detour Lake road construction program? There is no question the number is significant, and those jobs are in place this year, this winter, when they are really needed. From that, we will see the development of the mine itself, and we will have anywhere from 500 to 700 job opportunities established.

I might say that my deputy minister, Mr. Herridge, is not with us this morning because he is in Kapuskasing with the Sherritt Gordon Mines people, along with the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) and the member for Cochrane North (Mr. Piché), to visit the phosphate site and to have some in-depth personal examination of the possibility of that particular facility coming on stream some time in the future. There was a high-level meeting in Kapuskasing this morning. I felt strongly that, in the interests of northeastern Ontario, he should be there.

On that point, I am pleased to have with me my assistant deputy minister, Mr. Bill Charlton, from Kenora. I believe this is Mr. Charlton's first opportunity to sit on the floor of the Legislature. We welcome him as a gentleman who is very knowledgeable about all the problems of northern Ontario.

Mr. Stokes: You should consider him to fill that very important post that is soon to become vacant.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I will make sure Hansard picks that up.

Mr. T. P. Reid: He would not tear himself away from Minaki Lodge.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: He can't say a word. He loves that project so much. I know he wants to speak. Will I ask him?

Mr. Chairman, the member for Rainy River brought up a point with respect to the tripartite working group and the extension of the moratorium on wild rice. I am sure the member is aware that on June 26 the Minister of Natural Resources (Mr. Pope) did write to Robin Greene, the chief of Grand Council Treaty 3, declining to consider the request for an extension to the moratorium, since the commitment still has about two years to run. I have to share that sentiment at this point.

The member also asked what assistance we are giving to the Indian people. It is fair to say on this point that we are waiting for them to come forward. There is a commitment to assist in this field, but I have to agree with the Minister of Natural Resources that it should not be extended indefinitely; I think five years is really sufficient time to --

Mr. T. P. Reid: But you know the harvest has been pretty poor in two of these three years. That doesn't give it a fair try.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I know, but the harvest really has nothing to do with the plan or the strategy that they would put in place for their own benefit. To turn it around, should one have to stop the world while one studies and plans to get something in place? They would be the losers, because 90 per cent of the people involved in wild rice harvesting today are our native people, and if we keep stopping it and pushing it backwards it is never going to get off the ground. We are going to lose our competitive position if we let the Manitobas and the Minnesotas get ahead of us.

I think we have been more than reasonable, and I hope they become more aggressive. I have to say that some outside the band councils want to get on with the job of getting specific licences for themselves on specific lakes. In fact, the last time I was in Thunder Bay, where I meet a number of constituents from northwestern Ontario, one individual came from Armstrong.

The gentleman from Armstrong was most anxious to get a licence on a specific lake. He felt strongly that if he were given a licence on that lake, which is not licensed now, he could control the water levels, with some co-operation from the Ministry of Natural Resources, and have a viable operation in that area. The fellow is a native person. I do not think we should stop these kind of entrepreneurs while we study forever. I share the position of the Ministry of Natural Resources in that area.

I also want to point out to the honourable member, as he pointed out in his comments, that we are involved in some research at Lakehead University with the Ministry of Northern Affairs. We have Peter Lee, who in my opinion is a real expert in northern Ontario wild rice. He trained and studied under a professor at the University of Manitoba, and he has a life-long ambition of becoming the expert. I believe he has succeeded in doing that, with the co-operation of Lakehead University. He made submissions to us that attracted our attention and, as the member knows, we have given him a contract of up to five years for $100,000.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Has he reported anything yet?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, he has not reported anything as yet. But we look forward to the results of his study.

Mr. Stokes: Will you lend the same degree of confidence to the study they did on forestry?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: At Lakehead University? It would be individuals who would be involved in that study, not the university.

Mr. Stokes: Very selective.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: A very selective group, yes.

The member for Lake Nipigon raised a question about the Sultan mini-hydel project, which had been under construction for some considerable time. I believe it is in the riding of Nickel Belt. In response to that inquiry, I wish to point out that the mini-hydel operation is in service at present. It went into service on November 10, and it is now supplying hydroelectric power to that community.

The system has run very smoothly since its startup time and supplies about 100 kilowatts of power to that community. It replaces the diesel units that had been placed there by Ontario Hydro. These units will remain in place to regulate and to provide any backup capacity that may be required.

I think the pilot program to which we have often referred is a success at this time. In fact, I encourage the honourable members from northern Ontario to make a point of going and seeing that facility. It is a neat, compact little operation, one that uses a very low head of water and has a capacity of 150 kilowatts. It serves the community of Sultan, which has a population of 340 and which is about 58 kilometres southeast of Chapleau. I am pleased to report to the House that it is on stream and working exceptionally well.

I hope this will be the start of projects and programs that we can implement in other parts of northern Ontario. We will be monitoring it very closely, with Ontario Hydro and with the Ministry of Energy, to gain as much factual and financial information as we can to encourage those people, of course, to expand into other areas right across northern Ontario.

11:20 a.m.

The member for Lake Nipigon also raised a very interesting proposal, that a road connection between Nakina and Savant Lake should be studied. The very efficient staff of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, who work very closely with us on these policy planning programs, brought some figures to me that I thought might be of interest to the members.

They point out that this road, if constructed, would serve three communities: Ferland, about 27 people; Collins, 105 people; and Allan Water, about 90 people. They estimate that the cost of construction in 1981 dollars -- and this is just a rough estimate of a road to secondary highway standards going across that area -- would be about $76 million, and the annual maintenance cost would be about $680,000.

I just thought I would give the member those figures to mull over. They are substantial. I do not know what the cost benefits would be with regard to tourism, forestry and mining; all that has to be looked into. But, just as a matter of interest, I wanted to assure the member that we did not let this suggestion die on the paper.

I am sure the member for Algoma would be interested in the Missinabi situation?

Mr. Wildman: Yes.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I wish to report to him that there was a meeting on Tuesday, November 18, at which they established a new community structure. They have met with the manager of Renabie Mines. He has agreed to continue to supply chlorine to their water system and to heat the required parts of the system for the winter months.

The action committee has also agreed to move towards the establishment of a local services board. This is most encouraging because, as the member knows, he and we have tried on a number of occasions to bring these people together. Now that we have it in hand, it seems we can move forward. They are most anxious, of course, to look after the individual water requirements of the community. I think they are even looking at the possibility of establishing separate individual wells that will help them.

I think the persistence of the member for Algoma and our own persistence, as well as the co-operation we have received, have been most helpful; but a new group is in charge there, and although there was some nervousness and uncertainty, I guess, about the establishment of an LSB because of regulations and a few other things, I can report that we have it in hand and we are moving ahead with it.

I believe, Mr. Chairman, that pretty well concludes my replies to the members who made remarks on vote 702.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Chairman, the minister did not respond to my comments about agriculture and the potential for expanding the agricultural base in northern Ontario.

While he is thinking of that, I want to make about four points. First, during the election -- and the gentleman involved will know whereof I speak -- I was at a Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association meeting, and certain officials of the Ministry of Northern Affairs were there to speak about Minaki Lodge.

I had intended to speak to the gentleman in question about what I considered his attitude and approach. Although I appreciate his enthusiasm for the project, this official came very close to stepping over the line between being a civil servant who is objective in serving the public interests and beating the drum for the Conservative government and some of its policies.

I hope the gentleman involved will keep that in mind, because I think he strayed just a little too far in that instance. I can say to him that if it happens again with anybody in his ministry, or anybody else, I will publicly point those things out. I might add that this is not just a personal, sensitive opinion of mine. It was shared by other people who mentioned it to me after that meeting.

To go back to wild rice in particular: I find a contradiction, as I usually do, in the minister's remark that we have funded a study at Lakehead University to the tune of $100,000. The members have not seen, and I gather from the minister's remarks he has not seen, any study, interim report or research in that regard.

The minister indicates that this is a five-year study. I understood, and perhaps I am wrong, that the minister had set up this study in response to the requests of the native people of northwestern Ontario for assistance in the wild rice field and that this information was primarily for their benefit in growing, harvesting, genetics and all the rest of it.

He is telling us this morning that he and the Minister of Natural Resources are of the opinion that we should not extend the moratorium -- and the minister throws in the words "in perpetuity," which nobody has suggested -- and yet he has said at the same time that the research, which one hopes will be invaluable if we are spending $100,000 on it, is not going to be available until this moratorium runs out.

In other words, the information that could help develop a viable natural rice industry is not going to be available at the same time the moratorium finishes. We do not know what is going to happen from there.

The minister asked me, and I said sotto voce, because he had his microphone on, "I am in favour of extending the moratorium on rice but I am not prepared to extend it in perpetuity." I think there has to be some commitment and some valid evidence that the Indian people are making use of the resource and developing it. There is an onus on them to get their act together, so to speak, and to show that.

We have had two years of bad harvests out of the three. I do not think that gives a fair picture of what the Indian people are trying to do in regard to wild rice. I suggest the moratorium should be extended, not ad infinitum but for a few more years to give them an opportunity.

The other thing is that there are some questions about whether the assistance has been forthcoming as promised by the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of Northern Affairs. However, I did get some information from the former Provincial Secretary for Resources Development in regard to wild rice and the funds that have been extended.

One of the biggest problems with wild rice appears to be the marketing and distribution system, a problem that is somewhat different from the bad harvests we have had in two out of the three years. That is one of the real problems, and I do not know what assistance has been forthcoming from this ministry or the Ministry of Natural Resources in this regard.

As I recall, in response to my question yesterday, the words of the Minister of Natural Resources were almost exactly, "I have not decided to extend the moratorium, but I also have not decided not to extend it." I got the message from the minister this morning that he and the Minister of Natural Resources have decided they are not going to extend it.

I really think it should be done. Perhaps there are some changes that can be made on both sides, but I think the five-year period, given the harvest and other startup problems, is insufficient time to give the people a chance to develop one of the few industries they can claim for their own, one in which they have some expertise.

11:30 a.m.

I want to go back to what the minister said about the management by results program. He mentioned, in a very loose and vague way, that they are keeping track of how many jobs were created in building the Detour Lake road and how many jobs were involved in some of the sewer and water projects. I do not mean to denigrate those programs, but they were in place and the funds were available, or would have made available, for any of those kinds of developments in the past from the Ministry of Natural Resources or the Ministry of the Environment.

I go back to my old shell game and my point that those things would be done regardless of the involvement of the Ministry of Northern Affairs. If somebody has found a mine and it is economical, if they can make a buck at it, they are going to develop it. In terms of sewer and water systems in most municipalities, and I realize it is an essential building block for industrial development, those programs were in place through the Ministry of the Environment before the Ministry of Northern Affairs was set up.

What I want to know, and what I believe all my colleagues want to know, is this: Under the mandate that the ministry has for diversification of the economy of northern Ontario, what can the minister point at with pride to tell us where he has diversified the economy from the bloody existing and historical impact of keeping us in strict terms of being natural resource extractors in northern Ontario? Where is the diversification of secondary or tertiary manufacturing to give us that diversification, to get us away from that complete reliance on one-industry towns that we have.

It seems to me that one of the best programs I have heard of came from the northwestern chamber, of which we spoke briefly, in which they looked at market substitution for products that are used. Our whole history in this country has been one of resource extraction, starting with the cod in Newfoundland, moving across to forestry and so on. Some parts of the country, notably southern Ontario with its industrial base, are wholly dependent on natural resources, particularly those of northern Ontario.

With that exception, we are still the hewers of wood and drawers of water. The frontier thesis of Canadian economic development history still exists in that the frontier keeps being pushed back but it keeps providing the raw materials to the industrial part of the country. Those people who are on the frontier producing those resources find themselves the creators of most of the wealth of the province, and yet they receive the lowest marginal return in terms of social benefits, health benefits, economic benefits and, one can even say, stable economic conditions.

If this ministry is to have a raison d'être, it cannot be this peripheral attitude that says, "We will do something about the children's aid society over here and we will put a few more bucks in this project," always working on the marginal issues that may or may not have much effect on the totality of the situation.

The minister seems to have avoided dealing with that central problem in his remarks. He is quite proud, and perhaps he well should be, of Detour Lake. He is also quite proud of some of the mill expansions that have been so heavily funded by this government. But I tell him again that his government is putting the cart before the horse; it gives money to pulp and paper companies to expand and modernize, yet the trees they rely on are dwindling so rapidly there is not going to be a resource base there for these new modern mills to find a stick of wood to put through. The logic of all of this really confounds me, it really does.

To go back, tell us please what you are doing in terms of providing diversification of the economy of northwestern Ontario, diversification that will get us away as much as possible -- and I know there are no easy answers. I am not suggesting the government can or should do everything, but the focus of this government's policies does not seem to be on that kind of diversification, that kind of philosophical change of direction that says: "We are not just going to be resource extractors. We are going to provide something more." Under the program of mill modernization, for instance, we are going to lose a great number of jobs. That is inevitable, I suppose, whether the government gives the companies the money or the companies do it themselves. Preferably the companies should do it themselves, because until this year they have done fairly well.

But where is that change in direction and that impetus coming from this ministry to say, "All right, we are going to move in this direction"? Where are the figures from the minister on projects that can be perceived by the people of northern Ontario as changes in the thrust and direction of the government and the ministry? Driving south down the 401 here one sees plant after plant, small ones, employing five or six, 10 or 12 people. I know it's not easy but, my God, what a difference that would make in some of our communities. If we could get a few of those I am sure it would attract others. Can you tell us what you are doing about that? Can you tell us what you are going to do or are doing about agriculture as well?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to listen to the honourable member. I have heard that speech on many occasions. He says I confound him. He just flabbergasts me with some of his comments, about not being able to have it all ways. The honourable member is looking for some economic diversification, some economic activity. We tried to do something at Minaki Lodge. The member for Rainy River has been violently opposed to Minaki Lodge since day one because it is not in the Rainy River riding. He has never seen the significance of the benefit that will flow to his area.

Mr. T. P. Reid: That is not true at all.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: His people are in support of it. Go to Fort Frances and Rainy River and see the tourist operators there. They know the attraction that a major world class facility will have in northwestern Ontario.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Come now.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: It has happened already in his riding, because we are putting in an information centre right at Fort Frances, a direct spinoff --

Mr. T. P. Reid: Because of Minaki Lodge?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Certainly the tourist focus is there, really it is there. It is going to cause a flow. Go to Em Lindmeier at Vermilion Bay and see what he is doing to his camp. He has said to me: "I know Minaki Lodge will bring a clientele to northwestern Ontario that we have never seen before. I want some of the spinoffs, and I am going to get the spinoffs." I believe in Minaki Lodge, as do all the tourist operators in northwestern Ontario. I take exception to your remark about a member of my staff supporting government policy to get along with Minaki Lodge, to get on with the project and to make it something we can and will all be proud of.

I was in this House when Ontario Place was being developed. I sat in my place as a backbencher and I heard the opposition wailing away day in and day out at Stanley Randall, the then Minister of Industry and Tourism, complaining about that big joke on the waterfront. It was a big joke. It was the biggest white elephant ever seen in the Toronto area. I bet today there is not one of you fellows on the other side of the House who does not use your Ontario Place pass. There is not one of you who has not had some visitors coming down from northern Ontario and to whom you recommend going to Ontario Place -- and I know you add Ontario North Now to that.

The point I am trying to make --

Mr. T. P. Reid: Are you going to subsidize Minaki Lodge to the tune of $I.5 million as we do Ontario Place?

11:40 a.m.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Maybe we should. I make no apologies for that. If it is going to help northern Ontario, great. I make no apologies for doing things in northern Ontario. If they can do it down here they can do it up there. When I look around I see what is going on at the St. Lawrence Parks Commission, the St. Clair Parkway Commission, the Niagara Parks Commission, Sainte Marie Among the Hurons.

When we get a chance to do something in northwest Ontario, the member for Rainy River condemns us. It just confounds me.

Mr. T. P. Reid: I am not condemning doing something; I am condemning your priorities. If you spread that $23 million over the tourist industry in northern Ontario, it would benefit everybody.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, we have never had a focus in northwest Ontario for the tourist industry. Sure, go back over history --

Mr. T. P. Reid: What about Fort William? You said that was the focus --

Hon. Mr. Bernier: The member told us Old

Fort William was a joke, it was a waste of money. But 125,000 people a year go through Old Fort William. It is a major attraction. Minaki Lodge will provide 200 jobs on a year-round basis to that area when it is in full operation.

He talks about jobs, about economic activity --

Mr. T. P. Reid: How much of a subsidy per job is that for what is going to be mostly seasonal work? Your priorities are all screwed up.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, we are very positive. The chairman of the Minaki board is enthused -- as well he should be -- because he has the responsibility to make that thing fly and to follow government policy. To say that he is politic, I take exception to that remark.

Mr. T. P. Reid: That is not just my opinion.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I do not know when that meeting took place. I suppose they would like a new election campaign; that is the focus of the problem. Nevertheless, there is a growing feeling for that facility.

Look at the last two articles in the Toronto media, a complete reversal on the attitude here towards Minaki Lodge. It is because they have gone up and seen the potential of that facility. I look at that facility with a great deal of pride. It will provide a stimulus; it will be a catalyst for tourism in northwestern Ontario, something we have never seen before.

There was nothing happening in the Kenora area and the northwest for the last 25 to 30 years. The last thing that happened was the development of the Holiday Inn on the shore of Lake of the Woods, and that had some difficulty getting off the ground, as we well know. That is the last thing we have seen happen.

It is incumbent upon us to --

Mr. T. P. Reid: The only reason you are in it is because you got stuck with it.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I do not deny it.

Mr. T. P. Reid: To save $500,000, you spent $23 million.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I do not deny that. There was a shortage of capital. The capital was not there in the private sector to do it. I am just pleased that events went the way they did. I hope we can do something similar in the Fort Frances area to create some economic activity there.

In getting back to the wild rice study, the member talks about the extension of the moratorium; I think there is a difference of opinion here. I think we can do both things. We can satisfy the requirements of our native people, which are most important and should be first and foremost in our minds as they relate to this resource in northwestern Ontario. They have been involved up to this point and they must continue to be involved; there is no argument about that at all. But I do not think we should stop the world while we do research or set up a strategy or a plan of action.

One of the problems the honourable member made reference to was a fluctuation in the harvest. Certainly some of the research we are subsidizing today at Lakehead University will correct that problem. We hope it will, so that we have a guaranteed continuous supply of that gourmet product that is so popular, not only on the North American continent but now in European countries.

One of the problems has been the fluctuation of the harvest. One year we have a good harvest, the next year we do not. This year has not been all that bad, I have to admit. There is --


Hon. Mr. Bernier: It has gone down $5 or $6 a pound. It is a far cry from the $18 or $19 it was three or four years ago. I am told there is sufficient product now to meet the needs for the next year at that price. A fair amount of product is being processed at this time so there will certainly be no shortages. From what I am told, there will be no increase or acceleration in the price. The research was just started in September. It is not something that has been in place for a long time. We will have an annual report from Peter Lee on the information he has received.

We can move ahead. We can satisfy the requirements of our native people and other people too. I have some sensitivity about looking solely after the requirements of our native people. There are non-natives up there too who are actively involved, who can promote and harvest that product and who can provide some economic activity for northwestern Ontario.

We are looking at a resource the whole spectrum of society can enjoy and be involved in while we separate the native requirements. We can do both in the next two years before the moratorium ends. To extend it would further drag out the situation and not get on with the job.

The member mentioned our involvement in agriculture. When he was out during the previous opportunity we had to debate the estimates, I believe I put on the record our involvement in the agricultural community, but I will repeat it.

In vote 702, we have agricultural development grants of $600,000. These, again, are funds passed over to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food. With these extra funds, we can focus. That is the point the honourable member misses completely when he says these things would have been done anyway.

Coming out of another ministry, such as Natural Resources, I am aware there are other priorities in that ministry so that the north's needs do not really come up to the level of acceptance within the ministry. Consequently, those northern Ontario projects, in many instances, as the member has said many times in this Legislature, get put down at the bottom of the ladder or set aside for another year until more funds become available. That has happened time and time again.

Our responsibility is to work closely with those other ministries. Our field staff see priorities. We have 70 per cent of them in northern Ontario. They sense what is going on. The involvement in land clearing and the land drainage issue in Rainy River was one with which we were directly involved. Agriculture and Food could not get it moving to get it off the ground. I do not think there was the interest or the sincere effort on behalf of northern Ontario to do that, but we got involved and we responded. Now we have a program under the northern Ontario rural development agreement.

Just as an example, last year the amount of money that went into the riding of Rainy River included: education $4,000; fertilizer $43,000; seed assistance $6,800; weed control $1,600; other programs $18,000. A total of $74,923.12 went into the riding of Rainy River from this program. It is there and it is real.

We are there. We are not just sitting on the sidelines waiting for something to happen. We are making things happen, not only with our persuasion, our leaning and our contacts in other ministries, but we are making things happen with the budget we are voting on now. That is important. That is the key to it.

As all members on both sides of the House said when the ministry was formed, we cannot be just a co-ordinating ministry in an advocacy role; we have to have a budget to have some clout. We are using that in the best interests of getting things done in northern Ontario.

Mr. Stokes: I find it strange to hear two Conservatives standing here arguing about the focus, the thrust and all these almost obscene words that have been used by both the minister and the member for Rainy River.

Mr. T. P. Reid: On a point of privilege, Mr. Chairman: I have been called a lot of things but I do take exception to being called a Conservative.

Mr. Stokes: I have been listening to the member for the last 40 minutes and I do not know the point he is trying to make. He talked about this ministry's --

Mr. T. P. Reid: I thought I must have been repeating one of your old speeches.

11:50 a.m.

Mr. Stokes: The member for Rainy River has been saying that for the last 14 years. If he had done his homework and heard what the minister said in his absence with regard to whatever he was doing about the agricultural sector, the minister just repeated himself this morning. It was all said before as a result of something the member said earlier in these very estimates.

We have about an hour and eight minutes in these estimates. I would like to see us have a useful exchange concerning how we are going to spend this $160 million in this fiscal year and what prospects there are for making better use and getting a bigger bang for the dollar we are spending in northern Ontario.

I find it very curious that the minister says, "All these initiatives we are taking in the north are being taken because we can do it better." He said nothing useful or productive has happened in Kenora since they built the Holiday inn on the shores of the Lake of the Woods 10 years ago. Here we are 10 years later and he is saying the future of the whole Kenora area will hinge on Minaki Lodge. The logic of that escapes me. To suggest to the member for Rainy River he is going to get some economic spinoff because the Ministry of Northern Affairs and the Ministry of Industry and Tourism are going to build an information kiosk around Fort Frances is really stretching it a little bit.

If the minister is going to build a series of Minaki Lodges -- I heard one of the minister's colleagues talk about something that was going to happen around Sault Ste. Marie, something that is in the embryo stage -- if the minister thinks the future of northwestern Ontario or all of northern Ontario is going to hinge on something as seasonal and iffy as the tourist industry he is just hiding his head in the sand.

On a per capita basis we have more resources that could be developed on the site for processing than any other place on the face of the earth. I hear the member for Rainy River talking about our providing seed money and giving an impetus to the pulp and paper industry, building roads into Detour Lake. He says, "If there is a buck to be made they will do it with or without you." I happen to subscribe to that philosophy, and I think the government does too. As a matter of fact, they are champions of the free enterprise system. Yet every time they spend any money in this ministry and any other ministry of government for economic development it is just a handout.

In the absence of any initiatives by private enterprise, the only way we will get rid of this complex we have in northern Ontario about being the hewers of wood and the drawers of water is to do it ourselves. The minister subscribes to that even though he chooses to think he does not.

I want the minister to explain the difference, if any, between what I am saying about real and substantial economic development and what he is doing with Minaki Lodge. I have been told that, at the bottom line, the cost will be in excess of $30 million. The government is at best going to --

Mr. G. I. Miller: How many years have they been doing this?

Mr. Stokes: Yes. At best the government can only recover the operating costs from it. They can forget about the $25 million or $30 million they have spent or will spend on the lodge and the access to it. They think they will get about 100 jobs, some of them permanent, some not so permanent. If they took the total investment in Minaki Lodge and put it out at current interest rates they could say to those 100 people, "We have invested that $25 million or $30 million on your behalf with one of the banks, the Province of Ontario Savings Office." They could take the proceeds from it and distribute it to those people whom you are going to give 100 jobs to, and you would still have your capital investment.

I know that is not the way the system works. All I am saying is that in terms of getting the biggest bang for our buck, I do not think Minaki Lodge is the way to go. There is going to be some economic spinoff from it, but if you and the member for Rainy River and I had $30 million to spend and we said, "How are we going to provide the greatest economic impact for any given area in northern Ontario," I am sure we would not have come up with a Minaki Lodge.

You talk about the wild rice. You know what the problem is with regard to wild rice? There would be an economic spinoff that could accrue to our first citizens if we had the co-operation of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the co-operation of Ontario Hydro about the fluctuation of water levels, because that is where it's at with regard to the production of wild rice. You will have a good year, a bumper crop, and the next year, if the water conditions are not ideal, you are not likely to get any.

If we had provided our first citizens with the opportunity for maximum harvesting, and I know some of them object to the mechanical harvesters for traditional reasons, but if we are going to be able to compete with the Ratuskis, and with the people who control the wild rice markets on the North American continent, the two major companies down in Minnesota that hold our people up to ransom --

Hon. Mr. Bernier: They have worked at it.

Mr. Stokes: You are darned right they have. They control the system.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Free entrepreneurs, free enterprisers. It is open. Anybody can get off their butt and do it.

Mr. Stokes: You know what happened a year ago when they had built up huge inventories down in Minnesota, and they were mixing their rice with our premium wild rice, and shooting it out as Canadian rice. It was not Canadian rice at all, and you know it. All I am saying is, if we are going to maximize the economic benefit from the harvesting of wild rice to our first citizens we must provide them with the technical expertise to maintain the harvest, to the greatest extent possible, on a constant basis.

Then we must give them the opportunity to process that rice. I do not know what the prices are on Lake of the Woods and Shoal Lake, but up in Osnaburg a year ago they were getting 45 cents to 50 cents a pound for wild rice -- I was there -- and you know what it costs.

Mr. T. P. Reid: It was selling in other places for $5 or $6 a pound.

Mr. Stokes: If you can get a pound of processed wild rice for $5 or $6 you take it -- it is a bargain.

Mr. T. P. Reid: No, I mean raw, the Indians were getting $5 or $6 a pound.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: At $6 a pound, how many pounds do you want?

Mr. Stokes: Processed rice?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes.

Mr. Stokes: I will take 50 pounds of it.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: You got it.

Mr. Stokes: You know that in most of the outlets down here in Metropolitan Toronto, or anyplace else, if you can get it for $8 or $10 a pound it is considered a reasonable amount to pay. Compare that with what the Indians get for harvesting, the people who do all the work. If you want to play around and talk about wild rice just so you do not have to talk about economic development generally, you go ahead and do it. You know what the problem is with wild rice.

With regard to maximizing the quality and the sustained yield, have your professors at L.akehead University fool around with it, but you know what the problem is. The member for Rainy River knows what the problem is, and so do I. Your good friend Ben Ratuski at Shoal Lake will tell you what the problem is.

12 noon

I want to suggest to the minister if we are really going to get maximum benefit from the dollars that are being spent in this ministry we should be talking to the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association. We should be talking to the Thunder Bay District Municipal League and we should be forming our own regional development councils, something I referred to in my opening remarks.

If we are going to get into the mainstream of things and be anything other than the hewers of wood and the drawers of water, we have to start identifying our strengths in northern Ontario, something we have not done for the last 10 years. We played around with it in a peripheral way with Design for Development and the net effect of the implementation of the Design for Development for northwestern Ontario has been a decrease in the number of jobs.

Any industrial spokesman in northwestern Ontario can tell you that, any municipal spokesman can tell you and any elected representative can tell you that. I know we need roads, I know we need assistance for infrastructure; but if this ministry is going to be the catalyst, it is going to have to be the advocate for an economic development strategy for northern Ontario. It is not going to come from these programs that were designed by the mandarins and the bureaucrats down here. That is why we need this Ministry of Northern Affairs. The minister knows where it's at.

We do not want more of what went on before; we want new initiatives. If this $160 million we are spending now and the minister is asking for and we are going to pass in less than an hour, is going to have the desired economic impact, it is going to be because this ministry puts the thrust the minister so often speaks of, the focus that he so often speaks of, in meaningful economic development based on the resources that we have in such abundance and not just ship them out.

I was reading an article not too long ago about the new initiatives by the Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce at the federal level and the Department of Regional Economic Expansion. They had a full page ad in the Globe and Mail about a week ago indicating everything the federal government is doing to foster economic development.

The vast majority of all of those funds are used for resource extraction. They are used for discovering how to process the coal for gasification out in western Canada. There is such a tremendous market for it out on the Pacific rim -- all the port facilities they are upgrading in Prince Rupert and Vancouver and all of those places are to provide an opportunity for other countries that are starved for resources to get Canadian resources.

We are subsidizing the transportation of all of these unprocessed resources to both coasts so that we can maximize the economic spinoff in places like Japan, Korea, western Europe, and all of those jurisdictions that do not have any resources. If Canada is ever going to come into its own in terms of a real industrial society where we can maximize the benefits of our resources for the people in this province and in this country, it will give us the economic means to help the Third World. I think we should do it for moral reasons, but if they do not want to do it with that motivation in mind we should be doing it for selfish reasons.

In a technological sense, we are so far behind countries in western Europe, Japan, and in many respects the United States, that we are not going to capture markets from them. I do not see that happening. However, there is a tremendous market in the Third World, but the only way they are going to be able to help us is for us to help them in the first instance. Unless we build an industrial base in Canada, in northwestern and northeastern Ontario, and maximize the benefit as a result of the processing of our raw wealth; unless we can keep that here instead of spending $650 million wherever Suncor chooses to operate; unless we put that kind of money towards the development, processing and maximization of economic spinoff in our own jurisdiction, we are not going to be in a position to help those less fortunate to develop their markets for the mutual benefit of everybody.

You can play around with economic development. The member for Rainy River can criticize this minister, and in the terms of which I have just spoken I think those criticisms are legitimate, but I just want to remind him that his own colleagues over in Ottawa are presiding over the demise of Ontario and Canada as a major economic force in the world community.

Both the federal level and the provincial level must realize that if private enterprise does not want to do it, the minister has to get involved, in the same way he found it necessary to get involved with Minaki Lodge and these other things he and his colleagues are talking about. It is not going to happen unless we want it to happen, and it is not going to happen unless we make it happen. I think the ball is in the minister's court.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, if I may, I wish to respond briefly to the honourable member; I know time is running out, but I just want to make a point. The member referred to Minaki Lodge being the sole economic stimulus in the Kenora area. I think he is taking my comments out of context.

Mr. Stokes: You said that was all that had happened in 10 years.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: In the tourist industry nothing major has happened in the Kenora area except for the development of the Holiday Inn. We have had expansions to the present facilities, there have been ongoing improvements to the tourist facilities, but there has never been any major focus.

The member says we should be getting involved; we should be creating an atmosphere of investment and an atmosphere that would attract the private sector or even more government money. We are doing that with Minaki Lodge, and we are being condemned for it. I just do not know where to jump. On the one hand, he says to move in; on the other hand, he says not to move in. It is very confusing.

Mr. T. P. Reid: It's a matter of how you spend the dough.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Okay. We are putting up the capital dollars for Minaki Lodge. We are not going to run Minaki Lodge. We have said that from day one. We do not think government can do it. I am one of those who says, "If you want to do it inefficiently, let government operate it." It is something the private sector should be doing; so we have farmed it out. We have given a 20-year lease to Radisson Hotels from Minneapolis, a well-respected firm. They will operate it as a private operation. It will not be a haven for civil servants or anything like that.

Mr. Stokes: Everybody said Rod Carey was an excellent manager.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: He was?

Mr. T. P. Reid: Where is that court case, incidentally?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I do not know where it stands, quite frankly. But I point to Hecla Island; the member for Lake Nipigon is very familiar with Hecla Island on Lake Winnipeg. It was established by the former NDP government under Ed Schreyer. That was ridiculed by the last administration, but they never sold it. Why? Because it is making money.

Hecla Island is accepted now and is making money. Everybody thinks it is a great thing. You do not hear any more about Hecla Island, this resort the Manitoba government established on Lake Winnipeg. It surprises me the member is not aware of that, but it is there, it is in place and it is providing a stimulus to the tourist industry in that area.

In connection with wild rice, I want to point out again that our research is moving ahead through Peter Lee and Lakehead University. One of the points in the agreement is that, as part of his overall studies, he will provide assistance or advice to anyone who wishes it. So if there are some native groups in the members' areas who wish to contact him, he will provide all the assistance he can.

12:10 p.m.

In regard to the question of processing, I do not have to defend the fabulous accomplishments of the Ratuski family in Kenora. The member can criticize him all he wants. Sure, he is my campaign manager. He is one of the best campaign managers I have ever had. It is his free enterprise spirit. With his bucks -- no government dollars -- he developed a processing plant. Not only has he developed a plant, but also he has developed a product and sold it. He has not only sold it in the United States, but he has been in France and West Germany as well. He has done it on his own, with a free enterprise spirit. It is open to anybody. Anybody in this Legislature could set up a wild rice processing plant and compete with him any time. There are no restrictions; there are no controls.

Mr. Stokes: Including the native people?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Certainly, if they wish.

Mr. Stokes: Be realistic.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: They can. There are no controls, no restrictions, no laws stopping anybody from setting up a processing plant anywhere, side by side, right next to Ratuski. There are no controls. Let them go out and sell the product as he has done. I am proud to defend what he has done for the wild rice industry in northwestern Ontario.

Mr. Stokes: I am saying, give us more of it; give us greater participation by our first citizens.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Let them get involved. The door is wide open. Be our guests. The product is there. We are going to make sure the product is an ongoing one on a nonfluctuating basis so we can guarantee a product. It is there and our research will help make it happen.

We are on the right track, and I would encourage anybody. There is one in Emo, is there not? There is a small plant that wants to get off the ground and they are moving. I am hopeful that funds can be made available for them. There is no question about it because competition is the name of the game. I am not defending the price they pay. When I was in the grocery business in Hudson, we used to buy wild rice. It was a very competitive situation when we were buying it because there were buyers coming from Minneapolis, Minnesota and Winnipeg. Shorty Holden from Lac du Bonnet was a very big operator in our area for years.

The competition is there; there is no question about it. Leo Gaudry from Sioux Narrows used to go around with two- or three-ton trucks. There is competition. We have to encourage and maintain the competition dealing with that resource.

I share the concerns of the member for Lake Nipigon with respect to economic development and some greater involvement. I wish my budget was twice the size it is to create further economic activity. But in the four or five years we have been established, we have provided in excess of $500 million worth of additional funds to northern Ontario through the Ministry of Northern Affairs and our budget.

I think we can all take pride that we have a special budget for northern Ontario, and I can assure the member that when I am around the table with my cabinet colleagues they get a little tired of hearing me beat the table for northern Ontario. I make no apologies for that. I will continue to do that and to press for increased budgets for this ministry as long as I am able to do it.

Mr. Wildman: Mr. Chairman, I want to echo and endorse the views expressed by the member for Lake Nipigon. If there is any major criticism that we in this party have had, as I recall I had as a former critic of this ministry, it is not about the dedication of the ministry to services and expanded government services to the north; it is that basically the whole philosophy or thrust of the ministry, as the minister tends to say, is towards more of the same, a ministry with an emphasis on government services and government involvement in the north but no new thrust towards economic development that is more lasting.

We have the same dependence on resource development, whether it be forestry, mining or tourism, that we have always had. We have had efforts by the ministry to put more money into greater infrastructure development for those industries, but little development with regard to diversifying the economy and bringing about manufacturing.

As far as I can see, the only real effort that has been made by this ministry is in the area of setting up industrial committees or economic development committees by municipalities or groups of municipalities. I know that Dr. Lupton in the northeastern Ontario region has been working with various committees and has been involved with providing money for consultant studies. This is doing a great job for the consultants, as far as I can see; they seem to be able to find more and more consultants to carry out these studies.

What we have really been asking for in these estimates is some kind of indication from the minister as to what these studies have led to. What have we actually come up with? What has happened that we can point to and say that we have a business here or an industry there, based on the resource wealth we have, that is providing jobs or has a potential to provide a certain number of more jobs in small manufacturing and the processing of the resources? As far as we can see, that just has not happened.

I will not repeat all of the comments that were made by the other members who have spoken in this debate. Since we are running out of time, I want to respond quickly to a couple of things that were said by the minister in regard to my riding.

I want to take this opportunity to welcome the minister's comments about Missinabi. As he said, that has been along, ongoing problem and one that has involved a great deal of effort by his staff, by me and people in the community to try to resolve. It is to be hoped that we are on the route to getting somewhere. I welcome the fact that here, in an unorganized community, we are actually going to have at least some assurance of a water supply for the winter.

If the minister does go the route of approving a local services board for that community, I want to find out whether we are actually going to be able to use the pipe that was bought a couple of years ago by the Ministry of Northern Affairs and is still piled up there.

In that regard, and specifically regarding local services boards, I understand the ministry held a seminar for secretary-treasurers of local services boards in Sudbury a week or two ago. At that seminar, the statement apparently was made that private donations in the community towards services provided by local services boards would not be eligible for the matching funding from the ministry. That statement was made by ministry officials.

I certainly did not understand that to be the case when we went through the debate on the local services boards legislation. If it is, I would like to find out what changes are going to be made.

Mr. T. P. Reid: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman: I do not think that comes under this vote at all.

Mr. Wildman: With respect, Mr. Chairman, it relates to what the minister responded to under this vote.

The Deputy Chairman: There has been a tremendous amount of license, I guess, because time is running out. If you can cover it, honourable member --

Mr. Wildman: I just ask that specific question, is that going to be changed? When we do get to the vote, I would also like to know how much money this ministry is actually providing for local services boards.

Specifically under this vote, I want to deal with the question of the minister's responsibilities as chairman of the northern Ontario resources transportation committee, which I believe comes under transportation development and resource development.

Mr. T. P. Reid: We are not on that vote yet.

Mr. Wildman: It's under vote 702.

The Deputy Chairman: We are including the whole within vote 702. Carry on, honourable member.

Mr. Wildman: Stay with us. I understand there were some questions raised by other members in this debate earlier about the resource access roads budget and how they --

The Deputy Chairman: I do not want to be hard on you, but vote 703 is primarily the whole transportation program. Why do we not just --

Mr. Wildman: No, vote 703 refers to northern roads, Mr. Chairman, and northern roads, as I understand it, refer to the work done by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications on the highways in northern Ontario. I would think the NORT committee comes under transportation development for economic development in northern Ontario. Is that not correct?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes. No problem.

Mr. Wildman: There were questions raised earlier about the moneys made available for access to resources and why, when roads are built for access to resources that come close to communities, the ministry is unwilling -- or unable, perhaps, is a better term to use -- to extend them a couple of miles so they can serve people as well as resources.

12:20 p.m.

There was a meeting recently in Oba of representatives of the Ministry of Northern Affairs, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and a number of ministries that are involved in the northern Ontario resources transportation committee. Interestingly enough, they flew a number of people in from Toronto, Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury, I believe, and they came up to Hearst and then drove in to Oba. If they had spent the money it cost to fly them in there they might have been able to fix the road, but that is another matter.

That road serves the Newaygo limits, I believe; if it were extended for another three, four or eight miles, it would serve Oba. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be in prospect, and the government does not seem to be able to do anything about it.

But, interestingly enough, in looking at this problem, I found that on August 26, 1975, the NORT committee approved funds for the road right within Oba, which, as far as I can see, quite honestly does not serve any resource; and that $7,567 was spent for work on three quarters of a mile of road in Oba down to the river. It is beyond me how the NORT committee could fund that kind of expenditure and then refuse to fund an access road into the community. I understand that the reason NORT gave for funding this was to give access to the river, which I suppose is a resource.

I want to know why this ministry cannot look at some developmental policy such that when it is funding resource access roads to make it possible for us to reach resources, whether they are forestry resources or mining resources, and when there are also people and communities in the area who need road access, the ministry would provide an additional expenditure of very little money to enable them to get access also. I want to know specifically in relation to Oba whether the ministry is prepared to repeat what it did in August 1975 and provide some funding through the NORT committee.

In regard to economic development as well, I want to know how much money is being spent this year by this ministry on the water and sewer infrastructure for various communities and how that relates specifically to economic development as opposed to the quite necessary and useful provision of water and sewers simply for the improvement of the lifestyle and the water sources of the communities already in existence.

I want to know what criteria are used, when a community obviously cannot afford to finance the project simply with the funds provided by the Ministry of the Environment, to determine whether additional funds will be provided from this ministry's budget over and above the moneys provided by the Ministry of the Environment.

Specifically, of course, I am interested in what is happening in White River and the application that has been made by that community for assistance from this ministry over and above the federal and provincial funds that would normally come through the Ministry of the Environment. Will the $777,000 necessary to get approval come from this ministry, and when can we expect it to come?

Finally, I wish to know in that regard whether the minister has been able to work out an agreement with Hornepayne on what is happening with the town centre there. At the last meeting we had, the municipality made a proposal for the provision of additional funds that might be coming from the Ministry of Northern Affairs to facilitate the agreement and to ensure there is no deficit to the community. Can those be applied to the water and sewer charges as was proposed? Has that agreement been worked out? I understand there is another meeting proposed for November 27. Will we be able to see that finalized in the near future?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: If I may respond to the member for Algoma, I appreciate his remarks with regard to new initiatives, new programs and new thrusts similar to those the member for Lake Nipigon has advocated.

The thought struck me that, as I move around northern Ontario as a minister of this government, if I were to go around advocating a new economic package, saying we were going to spend X millions of dollars on such and such a project, I know I would be confronted by not only the members sitting opposite but also the municipal leaders. They have told me many times not to come up with any new, fancy, high-gloss programs, packages or thrusts. They say: "We have so many other things we need today. We need to get those things straightened out that we have been pressing for so long." I refer to the sewer and water projects --

Mr. Stokes: Do you mean you've actually got municipal leaders telling you that?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Yes. Oh, yes.

Mr. Stokes: That's not what I hear.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Fort Frances is a good example. Its people say: "Look, our priorities are a standpipe and improvements to our water system. Those are our priorities. Do not muddy the waters with anything else." If I went to Schreiber and took the honourable member's advice on Schreiber, and said, "We are going to do something here for economic activity in Schreiber," the first reaction would be: "We've got no water system. Come on. Don't put the money there. Fix our water system up. That comes first. Then we will attract some industry to our community or we can build from there. But do the basic and essential things."

Mr. Stokes: Nobody has ever criticized you for the infrastructure work you've done.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I know they do not criticize me, but those are the priorities they set. Those were the priorities of the town of Keewatin: "Spend the money you've got, first, in getting us the basic essential services southern Ontario has, and then we will start building up from there." That is what we are doing in a number of areas right across the northern part of this province. I appreciate the support I am getting from the northern members on that thrust.

With respect to Missinabi, I hope we can establish a local services board relatively soon to assist it in its problems, particularly with water. I can assure the honourable member that the pipe we purchased some time ago to assist that community will be there to use, if it so wishes.

If the member for Algoma goes back to Hansard, I am sure he will see we debated the question of bequests and donations to some extent in this House. I think there was a question by the former member for Nipissing, Mr. Bolan --

Mr. Wildman: But how are taxes different from user fees?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: From what?

Mr. Wildman: User fees -- if a group of people get together in a community for fire protection purposes, isn't that a user fee?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: If I recall correctly, the community wanted some control. I guess if everybody paid $25 each -- call it a donation if you want -- that would be a user fee. If one guy gave $100 and another gave $2, I think you would have to call that a donation. The thing is, it has to go through channels. One of the problems we would have would be that it would be difficult to control financially. As an example, look at what happened in Manitouwadge, I believe it was, where there was a big donation from one of the mining companies; a substantial amount of money went in. We would have difficulty finding matching funds for that situation.

We agreed we would stick to fund-raising events or a piggyback on the provincial land tax where we could actually see the community becoming involved in it in the first instance. I have always said that if we could come up with some improvements to the Local Services Boards Act, I would be glad to bring in amendments to it. It has been in effect now for about a year and a half, and it seems to be working. We have about 16 or 20 communities now under the LSB, and something like 21 or 22 on application.

The member requested that I look at the Oba situation. I am prepared to do that.

In regard to his comments with respect to the assistance from the northern Ontario resources transportation committee, I think that was given when NORT was with the Ministry of Natural Resources back in 1975. Certainly I will follow that through to see if there is some way we can come up to their needs, because I understand they are very real.

12:30 p.m.

The member has just sent me a note saying he has to leave because his airplane is leaving for Wawa shortly.

In connection with how we establish priorities for assistance with regard to sewer and water projects, as the members know, we work closely with the Ministry of the Environment. They do a management by results assessment on each community as to its specific needs in relation to health hazards, fire protection and the development that may occur and give it a rating. That rating on their particular formula indicates how they stack up on a priority basis for funding from them, because that is the line ministry.

We stand back and look at the community from another point of view as to what it can carry in addition to the contribution that would come from the Ministry of the Environment or the Ministry of Northern Affairs to make sure the taxes paid by the home owner in Ignace, for example, are comparable to what they pay in Sioux Lookout, Geraldton or Hearst. We think they should be carrying their fair share of the load.

Once we have established that and they have reached the maximum --

Hon. Mr. McCaffrey: Refunds.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: No, no refunds. Once they reach a certain level that has been established as a payment level for home owners, we can adjust our assistance accordingly and we do.

I want to say to the member for Algoma that we are working very closely with Hallmark Hotels and Canadian National with respect to that $12-million town hall centre in Hornepayne. We have had numerous meetings. He has been very helpful in a number of them in trying to work out the differences between the town council and Hallmark Hotels, which is the landlord.

I am told the leases are nearing finalization and it is hoped that they will be signed before the end of the year. This will see a number of the leases completed as they relate to the public facilities. I have just been told that the next meeting is in Sault Ste. Marie on November 27 to discuss, and it is hoped to finalize, the latest proposals as they relate to the leases, et cetera. I am sure the member will be pleased to learn we are moving ahead with that project.

Some members may not be totally familiar with the Hornepayne project. It is really different. It was one of those rare projects where eight or 10 provincial ministries got together with the private sector, CN and the developer, to develop a major town hall centre, the extent of which is surprising when one goes to Hornepayne. I do not know if the member has seen it, but it is massive. It is huge and is a complex we will watch with some interest.

The former Treasurer, Darcy McKeough, was most interested in having a pilot complex in northern Ontario that we could monitor and look at to see if we could duplicate it in some other place in northern Ontario. It is all-encompassing, I must admit. I know it will serve the community, CN, the provincial government and some federal authorities well. It is in place, and I hope we will all go up there to join in the official opening in the not-too-distant future.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Since NORT came up under this vote, Mr. Chairman, I wrote the minister a letter some time ago about the Bending Lake road and whether under NORT the ministry would be maintaining that winter road, which is used by a great number of people, including Ontario Hydro. There are a number of mining companies that will be using it for exploration. There are a number of cottage owners in the area. There is a tourist camp, and Hydro uses that road as well. Has the minister or his ministry decided whether to keep it snowploughed and graded during the winter?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Mr. Chairman, I did have some discussion with the staff on that issue and, if my memory serves me correctly, I believe we did it last year on a one-shot basis. I do not know whether a decision has been reached with regard to this year's snowploughing requirements, but they pointed out to me that next year the contract should be up to that point to assist the local forest industry to harvest some timber resources in that area, then it would be their responsibility. I will look at it to see whether they may need another year of assistance for snowploughing until the forest industries move into that area.

Mr. Stokes: We are finishing at one o'clock. We should cover anything we have not covered and then pass the entire estimate.

I wish to elaborate a little. In all fairness to the minister, he could not have been hearing what I was saying because nobody was being critical of the access the minister is providing for resources. Nobody was critical of infrastructure money dedicated to that use in this set of estimates. He talked about needing a focus. He wants something he can get his teeth into. I will give you a few of those dealing specifically with something near and dear to the heart of the minister, to mine and to the people we represent; that has to do with the maximization of the benefit of commercial fishing.

We are in trouble on Lake Nipigon. As you well know, we have not fully recovered from the lamprey eel situation in the Great Lakes. Design for Development, stages one, two and three of the strategic land-use plan, outlines the potential benefit from further exploitation of our natural resources. On the commercial fishery component on inland lakes, there is the potential to at least double, and in some areas triple, the harvesting of that resource.

We attended a meeting of the Windigo tribal council group in your riding last January. They explained the problems they were having. The Kayahna council group is in the same predicament. I will not go into all the problems they have had -- logistical, administrative and otherwise.

I remind the minister we have initiated this parcel post shipment for groceries into those communities. This will have the effect of reducing the cost per pound for freight going into those communities from 71 cents a pound -- as is the case from Pickle Lake to Kasabonika -- and 34 or 35 cents a pounds from Pickle Lake to some of the other communities, down to 13 or 14 cents a pound.

I was flying around there this summer with some of the air carriers and meeting with the storekeepers and band chiefs and councils. I would like to see the Ministry of Northern Affairs act as a catalyst in negotiations with the councils, the commercial fishermen, storekeepers and small free traders and entrepreneurs and with the air carriers, so that when they take in these shipments of groceries at the parcel post rate the activities of the commercial fishermen are co-ordinated so that those air carriers will get a load back out. With this unplanned, unco-ordinated way of doing things now they take in a load of groceries or supplies and go out empty. All of that costs money. Then they get a call, by telephone or radio, from a group of commercial fishermen saying, "We have 2,000 or 3,000 pounds of pickerel here, and if you don't get them out in 12 hours, they will rot on the dock."

12:40 p.m.

The last time I spoke about the economic benefit accruing to the fishermen as a result of this method of doing business, they were being paid 94 cents a pound for grade A pickerel, delivered to the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation in Winnipeg. Out of that 94 cents a pound, 31 cents was for shipment to a processing plant, or someplace where they could put ice to it, whether it was Pickle Lake or Red Lake.

The native people in the north would be better off if they just forgot about commercial fishing. It would not cost them anything for boats. It would not cost them anything for motors. It would not cost them anything for skidoos. On an economic basis, they would be better off to sit and take welfare. You do not want that to happen, I do not want that to happen, the native people do not want that to happen; but we have a system now where it is actually costing them money to fish.

Do members know what it costs for a pound of pickerel fillet in Thunder Bay, Winnipeg or downtown Toronto? They should go to their neighbourhood fish market, and if they can get pickerel fillets for any less than $4 or $5 a pound take them, because it is a good buy.

These are the kinds of things the ministry could get at in a market survey. If they sit down and talk to all of the players in the scheme, I am sure the ministry and others they talk to have the wit and the wisdom to make sure our first citizens get more than 61 cents a pound for the best quality, and the best species, of fish you have ever eaten.

Another area the ministry can get into is maximizing the economic spinoff as a result of our trappers' activities. In northern Ontario, a trapper goes down to the Bay store and will run up a bill anywhere from $500 to $1,000, a grubstake for the wherewithal to sustain himself when he is out on a trapline anywhere from four to eight weeks. Hudson Bay or the fur trader will carry it.

He comes back in with his load of fur, after whatever time he has been out there, pays the bill for the grubstake advanced to him and buys the wherewithal to keep himself going for another period of time. He may or may not get something close to the value of that fur, in comparison with what he would get if he sent it down to the fur auction in North Bay.

The minister can assist, where necessary. I know he is going to say, "We have taken an initiative. We are trying to see if we cannot improve the economic spinoff." I think he has something going in Sandy Lake. That is fine and dandy. If it is working, great; but I think we have the expertise, marketing and the imagination to make it possible to set up a program where we can maximize the benefit to our first citizens in the harvesting of a resource that is indigenous to that area in much the same way as I suggested a little earlier with regard to commercial fishing.

Another area the minister can get into is identifying and assisting small entrepreneurs up there to get into product substitution. He can go into any store, whether it is a supermarket, a gift shop or any kind of retail outlet, and he can see the number of items on those shelves for sale made out of wood. If he turns them over and looks at them he sees they were made in Hong Kong or Taiwan or the Honduras -- almost any place but Ontario. Even rolling pins, toothpicks, the cores we wrap the paper on -- take a look at them and if the label is not on them, ask somebody who purchased them, or used them, where they were made. Chances are it was not made in Ontario at all.

You cannot go into a retail outlet today and not see something made out of wood: a gift item, a bowl, ladles -- you name it, they are all there. Just take a couple of hours off and go into the stores along Yonge Street, see the number of items that are made out of wood, and just ask yourself why we cannot do it equally well here in Ontario.

Those are the kinds of initiatives this ministry can take. It is not going to cost a lot of money, but the ministry could act as the co-ordinator, the catalyst, the advocate, and it could provide the thrust and focus.

Another area, I think, is the development of indigenous energy resources. We have heard a lot about biomass, about peat, about resources indigenous to this area, that we could use in the oil substitution programs. We have heard it said here for months, particularly during the last month, that our peat resources are a tremendous storehouse of wealth.

We know what is going on with regard to the gasification of biomass to provide yet another oil substitution program. There are so many areas -- and we have already discussed one: a pilot project for the utilization of peat in an area where it is costing Ontario Hydro more than 40 cents a kilowatt hour to generate electric energy by the use of diesel fuel oil. I do not know what is paid down here for it -- four or five cents.

Go up to Armstrong. Talk to the Kayahna people. We have already done that. The ministry has provided an amount of money that was matched from federal funds. I was accused by the honourable member who is sitting to the minister's left of orchestrating something or engineering something or contriving something. Let us hope the money the ministry has dedicated to this purpose gives those people some economic benefit. They wanted to look at wind energy, at unutilized hydraulic energy, at the use of biomass, at the use of peat moss.

You must understand that any place which is not hooked up to the transmission grid of Ontario Hydro is paying the tremendous cost of generating electricity -- something we take for granted down here, something we demand as a right. In those northern communities you pay this cost whether you are running a little furniture shop, as they are attempting to do in Big Trout Lake, or whether you are running a coffee shop where, just to keep something from going rotten, you have to have something as ordinary as a refrigerator.

When you find out what it costs just to generate the power to keep fresh produce for any more than 18 or 24 hours you know how basic it is. I do not have to convince you. All I am saying is that these are the kinds of things the ministry can do for those people north of the fiftieth parallel, and the ministry will be applauded for it.

With regard to commercial fishing, trapping, new product development, the development of indigenous potential energy resources: in that field the ministry is limited only by its imagination. These are only the things that came to my mind in the last 15 to 20 minutes while the minister was talking to the honourable member for Rainy River and the honourable member for Algoma.

We are not criticizing the amount of money that is being spent on infrastructure; we are not criticizing -- at least I am not -- the amount of money the ministry is spending on access, the leg up when it is absolutely essential. I believe in a mixed economy. I do not think government can do everything best, nor do I think free enterprise can do everything best -- nor are they willing to try anything, because the bottom line for a free-enterpriser is "How much money am I going to make?" That is a consideration if you are going to go it on your own.

We know if we are ever going to bring northern Ontario into the economic mainstream it has to be with that mixed approach, and it is something I subscribe to and I applaud.

12:50 p.m.

Since I was being critical before of the way in which money was being spent, and we just used Minaki Lodge as an example, I thought I had a responsibility to tell you what other initiatives we could take that would meaningfully assist those people in the far north who are less fortunate. If you do that, it will be a worthwhile activity by this ministry and it is something that will be applauded by everybody who cares to find out what it is you people are all about.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I will respond briefly to some of the points. I appreciate the members' contributions. It is satisfying to have two critics who are extremely knowledgeable about northern Ontario. I look back to last year when we had the member for North Bay who was my critic. Some of the comments were a little painful. I certainly appreciate your sensitivity and knowledge about the problems, through which we share a lot.

I am familiar with the problems associated with the commercial fishing industry. You are well aware of the assistance we gave the Windego group with the establishment of that plant at Windego Lake. It is going very well, so well that the Pehtabun group met me last week and they are hearing of all the great things that are happening in the Round Lake, Windego area. They want to have a study of their operation to see if they can apply that in the Pehtabun area.

We went one step further and we now have a representative from the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation solely for northwestern Ontario. He has been recently appointed. He will be moving around, working much more closely with the native bands than they have in the past.

We have also assisted in what we hope will some day be a permanent facility at Red Lake. There was some problem in getting some financial resources. We went in with $30,000. I think Natural Resources went in with $30,000 and the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development with $30,000. I hope we will establish a $90,000 plant at Red Lake.

With regard to the problems of parcel post, I have already written the new president of the corporation, Michael Warren. I have asked him to meet with me or if that is not possible --

Mr. Stokes: I did that six months ago, just so he would know what the name of the game was before he took over his responsibilities.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: He only took over on September 1. I know I outlined to him our cost-of-living study that we are doing now in northern Ontario and made him familiar with it. I have not had a response from him as yet, but we have done that and taken that initiative.

As the member knows, with regard to the pricing of commercial fishing, we have the freight equalization program. This year, in this budget, you are approving $40,000 to be added to the $160,000 that MNR has for that equalization program. They were a little strapped for funds so we sweetened the pot by $40,000.

Mr. Stokes: Is that for all species?

Hon. Mr. Bernier: It is for all species. It varies on an escalating basis. The further one is away from the receiving depot the higher it is. The maximum amount of freight equalization they can receive is 30 cents a pound. Sachigo is receiving 30 cents a pound. That is a benefit to them.

As the member correctly pointed out, we have two buyers. We are paying the transportation and expenses of two fur buyers to go to Sandy Lake, I think it is just before Christmas. The trappers were complaining, as the member will recall when he was with me on that trip, they had to send their product out to North Bay. They got 50 per cent back and there was always that delay.

They felt if the buyers came to Sandy Lake, looked at their product, gave them the price and made it clean, neat and fast, I guess in this high interest period it would be beneficial. We have subsidized two of those fur buyers on a trial basis to see if it would work out and be of some benefit to our trappers in that area.

The Ministry of Correctional Services has done a yeoman's job in my opinion in using the local offenders under a community service order at Attawapiskat. I was up there this summer and it was enlightening to see a huge garden being developed in a northern reservation. It is something I have never seen in all the times I have travelled throughout the remote areas of northern Ontario. I saw literally acres and acres of land under cultivation. It was done through the Ministry of Correctional Services using local offenders. They tell me it is very successful.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Give me a couple of minutes.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: Okay, I will wind up right there. But I do want to thank the member for his contribution.

Mr. T. P. Reid: I would just like to ask about three things under vote 703, northern roads. One is a plea that you do something about Highway 621 to Morson, from the main highway up to Lake of the Woods. There is a large tourist area there. That road needs reconstruction and has needed it for some time.

Mr. Stokes: Put Highway 527 down while you are at it.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Also, I presume the rail and ferry services are just a subsidy to that program, but I was told this summer that somebody had taken the Chief Commanda II, which I believe falls under your jurisdiction. They ordered a Northern Ale beer, which is brewed in northern Ontario. They were told they did not stock it on the ship and did not have any. It seems to me that is the kind of thing we should be looking at. We should make sure those products that are produced in the north are at least used on the transportation system of northern Ontario.

The last thing, given the time, that I would like to bring to your attention -- and I have written your deputy minister -- is the requirement for an expansion of the Nestor Falls airport. This was raised at a camp owners' association meeting a couple of weeks ago and there seemed to be some confusion as to exactly what was holding up the process. I understand there is somebody in a cabin at the end of the runway which might affect landing patterns but it seems to have dragged on for some time.

Hon. Mr. Bernier: I think I will just reserve any comment and answer the member's questions in the form of a letter.

The Deputy Chairman: We have to take a few votes.

Votes 702 to 704, inclusive, agreed to.

Supplementary estimates agreed to.

The Deputy Chairman: This completes the estimates of the Ministry of Northern Affairs.

On motion by Hon. Mr. Wells, the committee of supply reported certain resolutions.

The House adjourned at 12:59 p.m.