32nd Parliament, 1st Session
































The House resumed at 2:03 p.m.

Mr. Speaker: The Leader of the Opposition, on a point of privilege.

Mr. Smith: Yes, please, Mr. Speaker; you predicted well.

Hon. Mr. Welch: It's so regular.

Mr. Smith: It has become quite regular, I agree. It is a pity I have to do this so often.


Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, on the matter we dealt with in the House yesterday, concerning the statements made repeatedly and assurances given repeatedly by the Minister of Culture and Recreation (Mr. Baetz), statements which clearly did not stand up to scrutiny once the events described yesterday were examined, I would move, seconded by Mr. T. P. Reid, that the matter of the leaked information regarding Wintario capital grants to certain members of the Legislature stand referred to the standing committee on procedural affairs.

Mr. Speaker: Just a moment; hold it. It is my understanding that for a motion of this type, notice must be given prior to moving it.

Mr. Smith: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: You will recall only a few years ago, when another Speaker was in the chair, that a matter pertaining to the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell), who had at that time been served with certain papers, was before us. The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) rose -- the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) had risen before him, but the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk was given the floor by the member for Riverdale -- he rose and moved a motion that the matter be referred to the procedural affairs committee.

That was on April 6, 1978, and it is in Hansard on page 1239. The Speaker at that time accepted the motion even though other notice had not been given, and the matter was ordered to that committee. I would hope that would serve as a precedent for a matter of this kind, and that we could agree to the motion now. Failing that, Mr. Speaker, I will have to be guided by you, and if I am to give notice for tomorrow's session of the House, then, of course, I will do so, but we did not have notice required on April 6, 1978.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I read with interest your decision, as a result of my request to have this sent to procedural affairs yesterday, because it was at the invitation of the minister I made the suggestion. In fact, I was prepared to move the motion yesterday, but when the minister himself requested that it go to a third party, I thought it would be in the best interest of the House if you yourself sent it there. You have chosen, of course, not to do so.

The matter is up in the air, and where I quibble with your suggestion is that it will not resolve anything. A little debate in here for two and a half hours during the concurrences will not give an opportunity, as the minister himself requested, for witnesses to be called or to get to the bottom of this matter. I hope you will accept the ruling of your predecessor and allow this motion to be put at this time so that we can get on with the business of the House, and resolve the other matter in committee.

As I indicated yesterday, we cannot ask you to determine who is right or wrong, but certainly there has to be a way of getting out of this. It is certainly not the first time we have experienced this difficulty, and it always falls back on the Speaker. I would like to take it out of the your hands, because it is unfair to you.

I would hope you would accept the motion.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, on this particular motion, I think I would have to hold to the position that, as the standing orders provide, this is a substantive motion and it should be moved and seconded, and appear on the Notice Paper, notice having been given in writing as is required by the standing orders.

I wish I had the very words that you used this morning, but I recall that you made a statement on this particular matter. I am wondering if the member has read your statement this morning to the House about this particular matter. I think you indicated what you felt about it. I think this is not a matter for the procedural affairs committee; it is a matter for discussion in the estimates of a minister.

It is perfectly legitimate for this House to take exception to the way a minister carries on his duties, and to register those disagreements in any particular manner possible, but I do not think it is a matter for discussion by the procedural affairs committee. They do not govern the rules by which a minister carries out the functions of his ministry.

I am not arguing on the merits or demerits of how any minister carries out the functions of his ministry. It is perfectly legitimate for members to criticize, and it is legitimate for us to defend. I think that was the gist of what the Speaker was saying to us this morning. I certainly do not feel this motion, at this particular time, can be put; certainly not without notice having been given.

2:10 p.m.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, before we --

Mr. Speaker: Order, please. I think the point has been well made. I have heard representations from all parties. I would like to make a few brief comments, if I may, and I thank the Leader of the Opposition and the member for Sudbury East for drawing this matter to my attention.

With all respect, I would point out to you the precedent you cited was a clear prima facie case of privilege and, therefore, did not require the notice I spoke of earlier. I had found in the case we were discussing yesterday that it was not a prima facie case of privilege or abuse of privilege for any one member or, indeed, all members, but rather was a criticism of a program or how an individual program was being administered.

Mr. Smith: It has to do with the --

Mr. Speaker: Just a minute. Order. I did read a statement this morning and made a decision on this matter and, therefore, I have no alternative but not to accept the motion.

Mr. Smith: By way of understanding what your decision portends, do I understand, Mr. Speaker, that you wish me to give notice of this motion and then I can present it? Will you accept as notice the fact that I tell you now I intend to present the motion and then I can present it tomorrow? Will that be acceptable to you?

Hon. Mr. Wells: We will debate it in private members' hour.

Mr. Smith: Oh, no. The government House leader is now trying to say we will debate this in private members' hour. In fact, the previous Speaker accepted here, not in private members' hour, a motion to send the matter of the member for Huron-Middlesex to the procedural affairs committee.

It is all very well to speak of what is or is not a prima facie case. It is not just the Speaker's opinion of what is a prima facie case that counts, but what the members of this House believe. The Speaker accepted that such a motion could be presented. Precedent is very clear in this regard in 1978, and I now give you notice, Mr. Speaker, that I intend tomorrow to present a seconded motion in writing, just as this one has been, in order to have the matter of the apparent untruths told repeatedly to this House by the Minister of Culture and Recreation investigated by the procedural affairs committee.

Mr. Speaker: As I said earlier, and I would point out to the Leader of the Opposition again, the precedent you cited involved a prima facie case of privilege. This did not.

Mr. Smith: In whose opinion?

Mr. Speaker: In the opinion of the House.


Mr. Speaker: Order. I would suggest to you that notice of motion must be made. The matter quite properly would be debated on a Thursday afternoon.

Mr. Smith: Nonsense. That is absolute nonsense. You are just protecting them again.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, it occurs to me that I heard, although it was not made in a formal statement or speech, some remark that the Leader of the Opposition was not going to take Rod Lewis's opinion of what was a prima facie case of abuse of the privileges of a member. I do not think that is a very fair remark to be made, and I think it should be withdrawn or at least commented upon. The opinion was offered by Mr. Speaker himself. What advice he takes unto himself is his right and I do not think members should be critical of the table staff of this House, who cannot respond in this House.

Mr. Speaker: I thank the minister for drawing that to my attention. I did not hear it, and I would ask, if indeed the remark was made, that it be withdrawn because I think it is completely unfair and unjustified to offer criticisms of those who cannot defend themselves.

Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, if you will check the record I am sure you will find that you said it was a prima facie case in the matter of the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Riddell) and it is not in this case, with the statements of the Minister of Culture and Recreation day after day. You said his was prima facie, this one is not.

I said immediately, "In whose opinion was that one a prima facie case?" You did not answer at that point, and I called out and said, "Well, I am sure it is not your opinion. Why should you take Rod Lewis's opinion as opposed to anybody else's opinion?"

I think that is a reasonable statement. I am not criticizing his opinion. I am asking why you should take his opinion on the matter, which may be very genuine and may even be correct, rather than anybody else's opinion. As far as I am concerned, the Minister of Culture and Recreation's behaviour is a prima facie case as well.


Mr. Speaker: Order. I would suggest to you, with all respect, that I have many sources of advice, as you can see. If indeed you did make that remark I ask you in all good conscience to please withdraw it.

Mr. Smith: Withdraw what?

Mr. Speaker: Your reference to the table. I think it is unfair.

Mr. Smith: I think whatever advice you got on that matter happens to be wrong. I will withdraw any reference to the table; perhaps you got the advice elsewhere.

Mr. Speaker: Order. It is a matter of opinion.


Mr. McClellan: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: You will recall, sir, that yesterday I asked the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) a question with respect to the death of Pat Ellerton at the Queen Street Mental Health Centre. The minister indicated, rather improbably, that he was not familiar with the case but that he would obtain the information. I would like to ask you, sir, whether you have been advised whether the Minister of Health intends to come, whether he intends to make a statement or to answer during oral questions.

Mr. Speaker: No, I have not.



Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, I made a mistake at lunch today. I said that good news never makes the press. Maybe it will not, but at least it brought the attention of my colleagues on this side of the House, and I hope it will bring the attention of all members of the House.

I am pleased to announce and table with the clerk of the House today, a new publication of the Management Board of Cabinet. This publication, A Guide to the Government's Statutory and Regulatory Records Retention Requirements Concerning Organizations and Businesses, will contribute to a reduction of the burden of record-keeping.

This government has a commitment through the regulatory reform program to reduce and simplify the record-keeping requirements imposed by government on the private sector. I believe the amendments and changes we have made will directly contribute to a reduction in record keeping in the private sector which translates into tangible savings and benefits for a substantial number of organizations.

During the past year, ministries have reviewed their statutory and regulatory record-keeping requirements. Their goal has been to modify or eliminate these requirements wherever possible so they are consistent with exemplary management practices. To assist in this review and to ensure that our efforts are responsive to the needs of both the government and the private sector, we have received the full co-operation of organizations including the Canadian Manufacturers' Association, the Financial Executives Institute Canada, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and the Association of Records Managers and Administrators. I wish to thank these organizations, representatives of which are in the gallery today, for their substantial time and effort. They have assisted us because of the beneficial impact these initiatives have for the business practices of their corporate and business community.

Previously, under a number of tax statutes, corporations and businesses were required to write on an annual basis for permission to destroy outdated records. As the members will appreciate, this requirement was a direct operating cost to these approximately 400,000 businesses. Under new directions announced as part of this project, these records may be destroyed after six years unless the company is notified otherwise. We have also been able to provide a single retention requirement where, in the past, various ministries had conflicting requirements that led to confusion or unnecessary burdens for information maintenance.

We will continue with the project, which assures a more efficient and straightforward working relationship among government, the business community and the public. Mr. Speaker, this is the first of its kind in Canada.

2:20 p.m.



Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Energy. I have here a letter signed by Philip Andrewes, parliamentary assistant to the minister --


Mr. Smith: I was as surprised as the members opposite that he could sign his name. I did not think the news would shock them to that extent.


Mr. Smith: I simply say I have a letter from him and they all become joyously into raptures for some reason. Are they so surprised he can write a letter?

Mr. Speaker: Ask the question please.


Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I know you like to control both sides of the House.

Mr. Speaker: Order. The Leader of the Opposition has the floor.

Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have here a letter from Philip Andrewes, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Energy, on the minister's letterhead, in which he says: "While there is much concern for increased acid rain emission, all alternatives must be weighed in what appears to be new policy of dedicated firm sale of electrical power for export."

Would the minister explain to us when this new policy of dedicated firm sale of electrical power for export was adopted? The minister, for instance, in April 1978, said clearly, "Our policy not to build generating capacity solely for export markets has not changed."

Can the minister explain when the policy did change, and is it now in fact the policy of the government to dedicate electrical generating capacity solely for export purposes?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I think there is some misunderstanding by way of interpretation of the letter. It is one thing to talk about the building of generating capacity dedicated for the sole purpose of export and indeed carrying out what has been government policy for some time, looking for opportunities to expand the already announced export policy of the government. I think it is just simply the use of the word "dedicated" perhaps as meaning reliable or uninterruptible.

Mr. Smith: Since I am sure the minister's parliamentary assistant knows the word "firm" and is aware that there is a difference between the word "firm" and the word "dedicated," I would doubt very much that is the explanation.

I would ask particularly from the minister why he said on May 22, 1980: "There is no change in policy. This government is not contemplating the construction of another nuclear generating station exclusively dedicated for export," and yet, a few days ago in San Francisco, this minister also stated, "To stimulate the nuclear industry, there is an idea which the Canadian and American governments should consider and that is the possibility of building nuclear generating plants in Canada to export power to the United States."

Will the minister now admit that in fact the government's policy is shifting in this regard, that the building of the Darlington nuclear station is probably going to be justified only if it becomes, in the minister's mind, a dedicated station for export, and why does the minister not come clean in this regard and tell us exactly what the policy is going to be with regard to the dedication of nuclear stations for the purpose of exporting electricity?

Hon. Mr. Welch: The answer to the first part of that question is no, and the answer to the second part of that question is the policy remains the same at the moment.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, the minister will recall that a year ago his then parliamentary assistant flew a kite saying that we should have plants dedicated for export to the United States. The minister at that time dissociated himself from that statement. Yet, a year later, this past fall, he, too, made a speech in which he was flying kites and at that point congratulated his previous parliamentary assistant for being foresighted in looking down the road and seeing this.

What is the government's position, because the minister has got his present parliamentary assistant confused. He is very confused and I do not blame him. What he says is, "All alternatives must be weighed in what appears to be the new policy of dedicated firm sale." He does not know, it just appears to be that; and he is not distinguishing between new plants or existing plants.

What is the policy, so that his parliamentary assistant will not be confused any longer?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, my parliamentary assistant is not confused at all. In fact, knowing something about the constituency which he represents, a constituency which I had the privilege of representing, the people of that constituency made a wise choice indeed. I want the member to realize that, number one.

Number two, the honourable member will recall, and I am sure his memory is excellent, that all I did following the speech from my former parliamentary assistant was remind members of the House, in response to questions, that that was not yet government policy, and there is no change.

Mr. Wildman: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: Would the Speaker consider asking the Minister of Energy to redirect that previous question from my colleague to the Minister of Revenue for response? That would be interesting.

Mr. Speaker: No. The question has been asked.

Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, since it is perfectly evident the parliamentary assistant believes that a policy of dedicated plants for export is being adopted, and since it is perfectly obvious that the minister himself suggested exactly the same thing in San Francisco on November 30, will the minister at the very least assure us that part of this government policy to export clean electricity to the United States from our nuclear plants will be that whatever electricity is sent down there they have to take the corresponding amount of nuclear waste and dispose of it there, rather than here?

Will he at least guarantee that if we are going to dedicate nuclear plants for power export to the United States, they do not get the power unless they also take the waste?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, if the honour- able member would read the letter he is making reference to, he will not find the degree of definiteness with respect to government policy. Secondly, there is no statement of government policy on that matter now. We have been speculating as to what the possibilities of that may be. In due course, if there is a change in government policy, we would indicate that in the proper forum.

Mr. Kerrio: You know you are sending jobs with it; the jobs go with it.

Mr. Smith: The jobs go and the garbage stays.

Mr. Speaker: Order.


Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Treasurer. The Treasurer may be aware that the Minister of Transportation and Communications (Mr. Snow) said here in the House, and also to the people of Hamilton, that Toronto and Hamilton will get the help they may require for transit problems, provided that when they analyse the problem they accept the intermediate capacity transit system as the solution. But the minister will be aware that the right solution might well be different, as might be shown by independent studies in both cases.

Will the Treasurer undertake to give the same money for what might be the right solution, rather than saying unless we accept what might be the wrong solution, the ICTS, the money will not be available?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, first, I have great confidence in my colleague the Minister of Transportation and Communications to come up with the right decision. If he tells me at that time it is ICTS, I am sure the honourable member will agree it should be. Past that, I do not wish to speculate, because part of the funding might be Board of Industrial Leadership and Development oriented money, and BILD-oriented money was aimed to some degree to supporting the technology of the Urban Transportation Development Corporation.

Mr. Smith: Mr. Speaker, we can well understand that the BILD program, in its desire to create jobs, has determined that it might be a good idea, from their point of view, to support UTDC. Would the minister not agree that it would be folly to spend money if the UTDC answer happens to be the wrong answer to the transit problems of Toronto and Hamilton? Rather than simply give up the possibility of creating any jobs, would it not make more sense to accept the right answers in those cities, and produce other forms of transit vehicles in Ontario, using Ontario workers, and genuinely meet the independently determined need for transit in Toronto and Hamilton?

2:30 p.m.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Again, Mr. Speaker, I would say the history of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications has been to find the best mode for a particular problem. I assume it will continue with that. I do not feel it is out to use the intermediate capacity transit system or any other variation, as a rule, as an automatic answer. Of course, we are anxious to see examples of this type of technology functioning in Ontario. I hope the member will encourage that because people do like to see working models in daily use under the kinds of weather conditions we face and it gives them more credibility while selling that excellent technology abroad.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, if the studies in downtown Toronto or in Hamilton indicate that other technology than ICTS is appropriate for those particular requirements, will the government undertake to finance that technology on the same basis as it is offering to finance projects such as the ICTS?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I try to differentiate in terms of whether it is Board of Industrial Leadership and Development money or general government money. I would argue if it is BILD money we may have a specific reason for seeing high technology or modern technology in place, in addition to the normal funds allocated to a ministry. If it were another solution, it may be possible it would have to be found within the priorities and allocations to the ministry.

Mr. Smith: Mr Speaker, I ask the Treasurer to reflect for a moment on how this sounds to the citizens of Toronto and Hamilton, who I am sure would be quite willing to use the high technology the minister favours if that happened to be the best solution, or even close to the best solution. But in the instance where an independent study indicates that drastically different solutions are required, why will the Treasurer then turn to these people and say, "Tough luck, if high tech is not what you need, you get nothing"?

Does the Treasurer not realize the unfairness in that position? Would he not accept that most people would be happy to have the high tech if it were appropriate, but if inappropriate still need some help from the province and resent the idea they have to accept his newfangled Urban Transportation Development Corporation or get nothing at all?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I do not think the member heard me say that at all. I would think he might point out that across the province we have been well recognized as being very progressive when it comes to mass transit and assistance to mass transit. Certainly, again, in the BILD document, we emphasize electrically powered transit and through the ministry have increased the subsidy on electrically powered transit simply as part of our overall energy replacement policy. That is a very potent way of assisting the decision.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour about occupational health and about the deaths in work places that continue to take place in Ontario. Is the minister aware of the fact that last year the Workmen's Compensation Board recorded 272 deaths of workers in Ontario as a result of industrial accidents or as a result of occupational disease?

With one worker dying for every working day in the province last year, can the minister explain why his own ministry was aware of only 101 deaths on the job or due to occupational disease? How can we expect the Minister of Labour to undertake cures to occupational health problems in the province when he is aware of only two fifths of the deaths that have taken place among workers in the province?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, the member for Sudbury East (Mr. Martel) raised this issue of the statistics yesterday in estimates and we will be responding in detail. But the preliminary information I have is that it is not a matter of anybody overlooking anything, but the kind of information about areas that may not be covered under the Occupational Health and Safety Act but are covered under the Workmen's Compensation Act.

I will have to get the details of that for the member for Sudbury East and this member, if he wishes, when we review the matter in committee. But let us not try to leave any impression that anybody is trying to hide anything. This is public information the member is talking to me about and I am endeavouring to respond to him about. It is not a matter of anybody trying to deceive anybody.

I have to tell the member, whether he believes it or not, through the internal responsibility system that arose out of the Ham report -- and I will pay tribute to the trade union movement, particularly in Elliot Lake, for playing a great role in generating that report -- we are trying through that process, as well as through the role of inspectors, to improve health and safety in this province for workers.

We would all like to live in a world of perfection today. But that is not the way the world goes. I wish there were no car accidents today. I wish every day as a physician that some patients would not die. But we all have to accept that. We all have to do our best and that is what we are endeavouring to do. I believe the statistics we have show, year on year, particularly since the introduction of new measures following the Occupational Health and Safety Act, that there has been some improvement in the construction industry segment. I am told by Mr. Melinyshyn in that sector that there has been a particularly marked improvement.

Last year we were very disturbed about the rate of fatalities in the mining industry. Mr. Burkett, along with representatives of management and labour, carried out an inquiry into that. We are meeting with the people in January to review the results of those studies and responses to them.

There is no lack of interest and no attempt to hide things in statistics. Those are open figures and I am told there are valid explanations for the difference between the two figures. I would be glad to provide those to the member for Sudbury East when we meet in committee.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, in 1978, the minister assured the House that as a result of the incident with the foundry workers in Hamilton, the entire communication system between the board and his ministry would be reviewed to ensure there would be no recurrence of this unacceptable course of events. In April 1980, the minister also told this House there would be no recurrence of the failure of the Workmen's Compensation Board to inform the occupational health branch.

What kind of incompetence is there when now, two years after Bill 70 came into force in Ontario, the occupational health people in the Ministry of Labour could be unaware of 170 deaths occurring last year among workers affected by industrial accidents or industrial disease? What kind of ministry is it that says some workers were not covered under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and therefore their problems are of no interest to the ministry and that is why it ignores them? What the devil is going on in that ministry? When will the minister start to look after the health of all workers in all work places in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I realize there is a great need to be provocative in this House. The honourable member knows full well that in the occupational health and safety legislation of this province we have achieved, with a great degree of co-operation from all parties, something that is exemplary for others. Yesterday, the member for Sudbury East was exhorting me to encourage the federal government to change its legislation to come into line with ours.

That does not mean the world is perfect. I know the member would like it that way, but he had a little problem achieving perfection within his own caucus. Nevertheless, we are going to endeavour to do the best that is humanly possible to achieve health and safety at its maximum in this province, and that is what we are trying to do.

There is no discrepancy. I have told the member there is a difference in the range of matters that are collected by occupational health and safety as opposed to the WCB. The exact details of that are being prepared so they can be given to the member for Sudbury East. There is no attempt to hide anything and he knows that.

Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, in future, will the minister ensure that the statistics regarding occupational health and industrial disease are combined so that we can have a true picture of the state of industrial health, or lack of it, of the workers of the province?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, it is a strange habit to get into. I think one should find out if there is any deficiency in the system now, and my information is that there is not.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, if the minister is so sure Bill 70 and the internal system are working, can he tell me why he is prepared to accept that there were 95,000 orders issued under Bill 70 in the industrial sector and his staff had to repeat those orders in 10 per cent of the cases? Should it not be the ministry's responsibility that once a company has had an opportunity to improve a condition by way of notice, the ministry should not have to go back to give a second notice of the contravention and the order to improve? Should he not be laying a charge against the company if it fails to accept the first notice for improvement?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member will not disagree with me when I say that one always has to look at each situation in its own circumstances. To say that charges should have been laid whenever there was a repeat order is pretty casual. I think one always has to look at all the facts of any situation. It is worth trying.

2:40 p.m.


Mr. Cassidy: I have a question for the Treasurer, in the absence of the Premier (Mr. Davis). Can the Treasurer say what specific measures the government has in mind in order to create jobs in northern Ontario this winter, particularly in view of the large and widespread layoffs and shutdowns that have taken place in the lumber and sawmill industry across northern Ontario over the course of the last few months?

Whether one talks about Alban, White River, Tweed or Atikokan, every community of any major size in northern Ontario now has layoffs in the sawmill industry. When we talked to a number of companies, we found that 21 of 29 sawmills and lumber companies have had to lay off or shut down. Will the minister bring in a winter works program to restore some of those jobs and get those workers back on the job in northern Ontario?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member asked me questions very much like that yesterday in my estimates debate. In fact he placed a series of them, as I recall.

I have expressed the concern we all have about the slump in the lumber side of the forest industry. The paper and pulp side is still reasonably buoyant, as I understand. The great percentage of lumber produced in northern Ontario, particularly at independent mills, goes to the United States. I am sure the member knows that, and he knows the American housing market is in something of a slump. Then, of course, our lumber market is too.

There is no way of basically improving the sale of lumber. It is more related, as the member knows, to interest rates in the United States and Canada than any other single factor. I would suggest to him that while we certainly have sectoral problems, I also pointed out to him yesterday that we had a net increase in the number of people at work in Ontario during the month of November.

Mr. Cassidy: That does not do much good for the people in Chapleau who have been laid off, who have no --

Mr. Speaker: Order. That was the final supplementary. A new question.

Mr. Cassidy: That was only the original of my second question, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: I am sorry. New question.

Mr. Cassidy: No, not a new question. That was the first of the --

Mr. Speaker: Supplementary then.

Mr. Cassidy: First supplementary, Mr. Speaker, to the minister: How does his Pollyannaish approach to what is happening in southern Ontario help workers in Chapleau when they are 120 miles from any other major community where jobs can be found? How does that help workers being laid off in Dubreuilville when they are also a long distance away from any communities where other work can be found? How does it help workers in Hearst where Gosselin, Newaygo, Lévesque Lumber and the Lecours have all had layoffs over the course of the last few months?

In view of the fact that housing starts this year will be at the lowest level for 25 years, will the minister now be prepared to undertake a housing program in southern Ontario, which would get construction workers back to work in southern Ontario and improve the demand for lumber so that sawmill workers can get back to work in the north?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, my colleague the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett) in particular has been assisting the start of rental housing through his program. He would be able to give the honourable member exact statistics.

However, my friend must remember that he was as vocal as anyone when a number of people who were able to buy houses through one of the many provincial-federal programs, which virtually allowed them to have houses with no down payments, got into financial trouble this year. He keeps blaming us for letting people buy houses, and now he is telling me to make it easier for people to buy houses. I think he has to be consistent in that approach. One of the worst things one can do is lever anybody into any long-term payment that his present budget does not permit.

Through the program, we are working on rental housing. It is very discouraging trying to encourage rental housing at the provincial level -- and the member must admit there is a need for it -- while at the same time the federal government removes major tax incentives that assisted investors who created rental housing.

Mr. J. A. Reed: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Surely the Treasurer is aware that in northern Ontario, and more particularly the town of Hearst, the one industry that is still very active and vital in that town is an energy industry. Surely the Treasurer knows the potential for energy investment in northern Ontario is enormous across the whole area. How can he continue to support the purchase of Suncor when the need for investment is so acute right here in Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Ashe: Is this a supplementary?

Hon. F. S. Miller: That is an extrapolation of a supplementary, Mr. Speaker. But surely the honourable member knows that energy industry, which as I recall was the creation of sawdust pellets, depends to a large degree upon waste product from milling wood. That is what it started out to be.

Mr. J. A. Reed: It does not. You had better go there and have a look.

Hon. F. S. Miller: I will be glad to go there. I have been there a number of times to help them open hospitals. I helped through the employment development fund to create that industry.

Mr. Laughren: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: There have been vague hints about the Treasurer undertaking silvicultural operations in northern Ontario. Will he be undertaking such operations to create employment this winter in northern Ontario? Does the minister understand fully how serious a layoff is in these relatively small communities in northern Ontario? It is extremely serious and so far the minister has responded with the back of the hand to those communities. Will he make a commitment here and now to provide funds for silvicultural and other winter works programs in small communities in northern Ontario?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I have not replied with the back of my hand. I do recognize the gravity of the problem. I have in no way tried to minimize the effect, as it always has been, in resource-related industries in the north during the bad down cycles. We have gone through this in this House a number of times.

The honourable member refers to "vague hints." Those would be discussions yesterday in my estimates debate when I went on at length about my dedication to, interest in and support for silvicultural operations, particularly in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest.

Mr. Laughren: What about the boreal forest?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I do not think the boreal forest lends itself as well in winter time to the type of operation I am talking about in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence region. Does the member not agree?

Mr. Foulds: Keep going; you are answering.

Hon. F. S. Miller: The member is interrupting.

I realize the candidate for the leadership, the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) -- is he a leadership candidate? -- does support and does understand very well the forestry industry. I know that because he was my critic, and he has always been a very --

Mr. Stokes: Do what you would have done if you were still the Minister of Natural Resources. You were on the right track then. What happened?

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): The Treasurer has the floor.

Hon. F. S. Miller: As the interjector well knows, I must ignore interjections.

The Acting Speaker: Please answer the question. The Treasurer has the floor.

Hon. F. S. Miller: In any case, I never would say "never." But we have to recognize the federal government has a good deal of primary responsibility and we will be working with it on that.


Mr. Boudria: I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. On Wednesday, we witnessed a sad situation where farmers were forced to block Highway 417 at St. Isidore de Prescott, near Ottawa, to demonstrate the financial crisis that farmers are facing and the government's inaction in this matter. Is the minister aware that of 142 hog producers in my area three years ago, only 25 remain and 20 of these are now producing under contract only? Why does the minister refuse to act on this matter? Does he not realize this inaction is leading to the total disintegration of our agricultural industry?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: The member asks why do I not act. What is he referring to my acting on? The government of Canada had a hog stabilization program to make payments. I expect it will be making payments next year for the six-month period from October 1 to March 31. We paid out on the basis of $53 per sow. I do not see that any question has been asked.

2:50 p.m.

Mr. Riddell: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: The minister is aware of the demonstration that took place in Owen Sound not too long ago. He has now been made aware of the demonstration that took place near Ottawa. I will advise him of a demonstration that is taking place in western Ontario tomorrow morning; we will have more to say about it then. Is the minister not aware that the only thing the farmers of this province have to look forward to next year, according to the latest federal statistics, is a drop in net income of between 20 per cent and 29 per cent, which will follow a drop this year of 29.5 per cent?

Is he waiting until most of our farmers go bankrupt so that he will not have to render any assistance, or is he going to announce a program before the close of this session, in keeping with the promise the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) made to the farmers at the Ontario Federation of Agriculture convention that some kind of announcement would be made regarding interest relief for the farmers? Is he going to help the Treasurer keep that promise by announcing a program to assist our farmers before any more go bankrupt?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member seems to forget. He has a very, very short memory; no wonder he is over there. He forgets the $59 million I have announced in this House in the last two months for beef cattle; he forgets the $7 million we put into hog stabilization; he forgets that I announced in this House a week ago Tuesday a committee to look at the Biggs report. He forgets all of those things. He knows the answers as well as any of us do.

Mr. Boudria: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister not aware, on his first reply to me, that whatever help he is giving now is not sufficient, if we are losing all our farmers and we have only one out of every five of them left? Is he not aware that whatever he is doing is not sufficient? Would he not consider increasing that help to keep the agriculture industry, which is so important to this province?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, I think I am as well aware of the farmers' problems as all of those members over there, the whole works of them. They have not come up with any reasonable solution. They could go to their federal brethren in Ottawa; they could have suggested to them that they come out with a farm credit loan to help the situation.

Again, a week ago Tuesday I announced a committee that is looking at it and is meeting daily this week.


Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask a question of the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Will the minister indicate to the House the terms of reference of the present investigation into the affairs of the township of Shuniah, which was requested by 500 ratepayers, and will he assure the House that the investigation into the matter there will be a thorough one?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Yes, Mr. Speaker, we will very clearly indicate the terms of reference. As you know, I have had correspondence from the petitioners in the township, and I believe that in recent days the reeve has also requested some information on exactly what the petitioners were asking for and making reference to. I believe I sent a copy of my correspondence to the honourable member. If not, it has gone out only in the last day or so, and we will make sure that the member receives a copy of our replies to the petitioners in relation to that township.

Mr. Foulds: Can the minister indicate why at the present time it appears that the investigation will not be completed until March? Will he assure the House that if, and I underline the word "if," any wrongdoing is found to have occurred, his ministry will notify the appropriate legal officials and authorities so that appropriate steps can be taken?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: First of all, Mr. Speaker, in relation to the time period, when we are asked to review a situation, the ministry staff goes immediately to meet with petitioners -- indeed, with members of council -- to try to determine all the facts before it arrives at a decision. In some cases it takes a fair amount of time to bring together those individuals who have a point of view on the subject.

The time frame, I understand, is affected by the effort to meet with those people, and some of them are not available to us at this very moment. The report will come. I say this very clearly to the House: whether it be in this township or any other, and we have had several, we are trying to get it disposed of as quickly as possible. If there happens to be, and underline the word "if," something wrong in relation to a conflict of interest or in some of the other acts relating to a municipality, we will immediately indicate what the legal process will be or whether we will go with a further investigation of the entire subject.

At the same time, if we do not find anything that appears to be illegal in the operation but there still appears to be some difference of opinion, we will try to give advice to the petitioners about what their next course of action might be through a court of law.


Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food which has to do with the Tilbury Farmers' Cooperative. The member for Kent-Elgin (Mr. McGuigan) brought it to the minister's attention in the estimates. Is the minister aware of the severe losses that farmers in the Tilbury area are faced with due to the Tilbury Farmers' Cooperative going into receivership and its handling of the stored grain under the Grain Elevator Storage Act?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, last March a certain important event happened as far as the future of the province is concerned. During that time I met with the directors of the Tilbury Farmers' Co-operative in their office in Tilbury. At that time, the United Co-operatives of Ontario was ready to put up $300,000 as a first mortgage on this company, provided the farmers of the area put up a similar amount. I believe the farmers of the area did have a similar amount. In the same breath, they asked Ontario and the government of Canada to put up $300,000. We answered that if the government of Canada would put up its $300,000, Ontario would look at the possibility of a $300,000, five-year, interest-free loan. So, automatically, the government of Canada did not put up the five-year, $300,000 loan.

At that time I was under the impression that the grain was there. Maybe the honourable member has contrary evidence; I do not. As far as I know the grain was there in storage. If the member does have contrary evidence, we would be glad to hear of it.

Mr. Ruston: The minister is a little off as to some of the equipment. A part of the co-op has been sold. I am asking the minister if he is prepared to take some action to assist farmers who have lost two thirds of their 1980 crop which was in storage. Is the minister going to do something to reinforce the Grain Elevator Storage Act so he will have some authority to go in there and do something, rather than leave it in the courts for five years so that no one will know what he is going to get? The lawyers will probably get most of it.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: I have not been made aware there is a problem. I know the member for Kent-Elgin brought it up during the estimates, but no one has got back to me until now. The member is the first one to do so since the estimates. I have not had any information since the member for Kent-Elgin and I talked about it in estimates, but the information I have been fed is that the grain was in storage and everything was in order, other than the $1.2 million that the co-op was short overall.

Mr. McGuigan: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I would like to tell the minister that I pointed out there are weaknesses in the Grain Elevator Storage Act which led to this. The minister concluded, if I can refer to Hansard: "My staff is listening to your recommendations. They respect them and they will be studied." We are now asking if the minister has studied them. Has he any solution to beef up the grain storage act or the Farm Products Payments Act so this situation is not repeated?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, the member for Kent-Elgin and I had a lengthy debate about this during the estimates. He pointed out areas where he felt there were weaknesses in the Grain Elevator Storage Act. Yet the direct evidence that the honourable member must have that there is a deficiency there and that there is deficiency in the grain that was stored in this elevator has not been brought to my attention. I would be very glad to have any evidence they have. We want to look at it if there is a further problem.

3 p.m.

Let me say to the member for Kent-Elgin that my legal people are looking at the comments he brought out in the estimates. No decisions have been made as yet.

Mr. McGuigan: I have no direct evidence of missing grain, if that is what the minister is trying to imply.


Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, my question is to the Premier. On September 10, the Premier signed an order in council that reappointed nine public members at large to the Niagara Escarpment Commission. He broke the tradition, which was that all appointments are for a two-year period, and appointed four of them for a one-year term.

Because the four people whose appointments are terminated at the end of next August are those who have fought the hardest for a meaningful plan to really preserve the escarpment and oppose its massive development, is the Premier not aware the commission will be considering the report of the hearing officer and making its final recommendations to the government next fall, just after the members' appointments are terminated and they will no longer be there?

Why would he have signed that kind of order in council unless he was deliberately trying to weaken the preservation aspects of the escarpment plan and replace it with a pro-development bias by new Tory appointments?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I must tell the honourable member, in spite of his suggestions, that when the order in council was signed, I could not tell him (a) what they were for, (b) who was in favour or opposed, or (c) who was pro development or not. I don't know them at all. I know some of them; I know the chairman quite well -- a great Ontario citizen, a resident of the great town of Caledon, if memory serves me correctly.

I assure the member that was not the rationale. I have to go back in memory, but I think the rationale was that we are in the process of staggering the terms of the appointees so there is some measure of continuity, which I think is exactly what the member is suggesting we have.

I will review them and assure the member the motivation he is suggesting just does not exist. I don't even know who the four are he is referring to. I don't know them at all.

Mr. Swart: May I inform the Premier that the reason given by the Provincial Secretary for Resources Development (Mr. Ramsay) was that they were going to stagger the terms, and that they now have a sunset provision to remove those who have been there a long time.

If that is the reason, how does the Premier explain that the term of Maryon Brechin, past president of the Consumers' Association of Canada and a member of the Order of Canada, has been terminated when she has had only a one-year term, the shortest term there? She was fighting for preservation. Another was Ray Lowes, secretary of the Bruce Trail Association, a founder of the Federation of Ontario Naturalists. The Premier gave him the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship.

If what the Premier says is correct and he knows nothing about this and there was no political party reason for taking those four people off that commission, will he give a commitment that the terms of these four members will be extended for at least another year so they will have a part in the determination of that plan; or, if replacements are made, that they will be other people who have been suggested by, or are acceptable to, these four on the Coalition on the Niagara Escarpment?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I think it has been clearly demonstrated over a number of years that we have always appointed people to the Niagara Escarpment Commission who reflect the broad public interest. Let the member take a look at the four people he referred to. Who appointed them? The government of the province of Ontario. I think the record of the Niagara Escarpment Commission clearly determines that we --

Mr. Swart: You are changing that now. You are changing that when you get to the crucial part.

Hon. Mr. Davis: With great respect it is not -- I shouldn't say "with great respect" the way he has worded his question. I would suggest to the honourable member that he is totally wrong in his assessment. They have been reappointed. The fact that they are still there is a clear indication.

Mr. McKessock: Final supplementary, Mr. Speaker: When the Premier is choosing these appointments to the Niagara Escarpment Commission would he give more consideration to the people who live in the Niagara Escarpment control area, rather than those outside the area affected? In the past there have been very few, if any, appointed to the commission who live directly within the Niagara Escarpment control area.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I should really tell the two honourable members they should go outside this House and come back with a name upon which they could jointly agree. Because what the member for Grey wants is not what the member for Welland-Thorold wants. What this government does is to get objective, reasonable, intelligent people, and the record of the Niagara Escarpment Commission indicates that very clearly.


Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Agriculture and Food. Is the minister aware of the confusion surrounding the Farm Products Appeal Tribunal decision to grant egg-producing quotas to 42 pullet growers? And specifically, when is that quota to be made available? Can the minister clarify for us exactly what direction has been given to the Egg Producers' Marketing Board? Is the total quota of 105,000 birds to be made available by July 15, or is the quota to be made available only when that reserve has been accumulated?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, I am not sure whether the honourable member is suggesting the tribunal made a wrong decision. Is that his suggestion?

Yes, I am aware of all the decisions. There were two hearings. The first was last February and then the Egg Producers' Marketing Board went back to the tribunal for clarification of the original decision. The clarification came down. I met with the Egg Producers' Marketing Board, which pointed out to my board when it could meet those proposals.

The farm products branch suggested the Egg Producers' Marketing Board should meet this commitment by July 15, 1982. I am sure if the honourable member is fully up to date, he will be aware that last week the Egg Producers' Marketing Board, the pullet producers and the whole group of them were here in Toronto for a meeting. At that meeting it was pointed out that several of the pullet producers did not want to take up that quota at this time. They wanted to defer taking up their portion of the quota until one, two, three, four years hence.

The only thing I can tell the member at this moment is that the Egg Producers' Marketing Board is looking at the proposal that was made at the meeting last week. They are looking at the possibility of trying to extend the term of the period of years to those people who wish the extension, and it is the intention of the board to try to implement the appeal tribunal's decision.

I have quite a lengthy letter on this from the member for Huron-Middlesex (Mr. Ridden) as well. But the Egg Producers' Marketing Board is trying to implement that. It will be meeting with those pullet producers between now and Christmas, and it is going to report back to me on January 7, if that is any help.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is the minister aware that the egg producers are importing many of their pullets from the United States of America, while the pullet producers' barns are going empty? Some of them are going into receivership. What is the minister doing to bring these two sides together so that we can produce pullets here in Ontario and keep that business alive?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, I am aware a few pullets are coming in, but the story presented to me is that the ordinary egg-producing industry is producing less than 70 per cent of the housing in which it is capable of producing. Instead of going out and buying their pullets from someone who has been involved in producing pullets, they now take that empty housing and raise their own pullets. That is what has created the problem.

This has been a problem since 1974. The egg board has problems but believes they are being brought under control.

3:10 p.m.

I do not mind telling members that we are having a problem with the American imports within our broiler industry. Some of those people are bringing their little chicks in from the USA. We believe there should be some method of stopping this. I support that fully, and the broiler-egg producers have organized themselves during the past six or eight months across Canada to try to address that problem.

Mr. Wildman: Final supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Will the minister indicate when the decision of the tribunal last winter to allow a quota for more birds for northern Ontario will be implemented so the producers in the north will be able to produce more eggs and the consumers in the north will not have to depend on eggs imported from southern Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member has got the wrong interpretation of the decision of the tribunal. The decision, as I remember it -- and it has been several months since I have read it -- is that the quota in the north must be made available to the north for a certain number of months, not that there should be a new quota.

I do not have at my fingertips the length of time this quota must be made available to the producers in the north, but I am sure the member does. Then if there is nobody --

Mr. Wildman: When?

Hon. Mr. Henderson: When it is for sale. It does not matter when. If any egg producer wants to sell quota he cannot sell it to a producer in southern Ontario; he has to make it available to the north. But if it is not for sale it is just not for sale.

Mr. Wildman: I'll write to you and explain it.

Hon. Mr. Henderson: Okay.


Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Is he aware that between his Ontario Mortgage Corporation and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation there are roughly 700 to 1,000 vacant apartments in the Oshawa area at a time when we have a zero vacancy rate? Does it not strike him as a little weird that the people of this country and of this province own close to 1,000 empty apartments in our area at a time when we have a zero vacancy rate?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I would say it is unusual. If the member wants to give me the addresses I will look into it. We have had a discussion about certain units we own in Oshawa, or that we became the owner of as a result of the mortgage position we took in certain buildings -- McLaughlin Square One and so on. But to the best of my knowledge we have put back onto the market as rental units those units we had as a result of our mortgage position. They have been back on the market as rental units until the market position changes so we could dispose of them and sell them.

Mr. Breaugh: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I will be happy to take the minister on a tour of apartments he owns in the riding that are vacant. But would he answer a simple question: why is it that taxpayers who paid for these apartment units, most of them now classified as condominiums, cannot rent them, particularly since the units are empty? Why do we have a zero vacancy rate in a community with whole buildings that are empty? Is that not nuts?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: We have units in Oshawa that are quoted as condominiums which are rented and which are owned by the people of this province -- which includes both the member and me. The same member has raised a few questions about them on occasions when we have tried to sell those units. We have given the first right of refusal to the present tenants in a very favourable market position -- indeed, at a very favourable interest rate that is considerably better than market position in this province today.

But if the member knows of some units we have that are not rented I will review the situation very carefully to see why they have not been rented. But there is sometimes a little bit of resentment by others in a condominium building when the units continue to be rented instead of coming under direct ownership by individuals who want to participate in running the condominium organization of that building.

I am surprised it has taken the member this long to bring the situation to my attention, because either he or his riding secretary have brought vividly to my attention all the other problems in his riding. I would be pleased to hear which one he is now referring to.

Mr. Epp: A supplementary question, Mr. Speaker: I wonder whether the minister would take into consideration, when he is doing the review in Oshawa --

[Failure of sound system.]

Mr. Speaker: Speak loudly and I am sure the minister will hear you.

Mr. Epp: In view of the fact the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing is planning to do a survey in Oshawa with respect to the empty apartments, would he also take into consideration reviewing the whole province and reporting to this House within the next few days the number of units that are available? This would be with the intention of reviewing government policy and making those units available.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, I said if the member for Oshawa wished to inform me of the unit he is referring to --

Mr. Epp: You have the civil service. You do it.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: I am referring to the member for Oshawa. He said he would be delighted to supply me with a list. As to the units that are with the Ontario Mortgage Corporation and the Ontario Housing Corporation, to the best of my knowledge where there is not an agreement of sale on them -- I want to emphasize that -- and they come back to us either under repossession or a quick takeover by OMC, we have put them back on the market for rental purposes.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is not any different. It has done exactly the same thing. The most logical thing to do is to rent when there is an asset there and a shortage in the marketplace in a particular community. We put it on a year-to-year basis for the simple reason that if market conditions change we would like to afford the opportunity to someone to purchase that unit.

Mr. Breaugh: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: The minister has made me an offer I cannot resist. If he will put those units in my name, I will rent them and it will not take more than two or three days. I would appreciate the opportunity.

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

Mr. Epp: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: Will you make sure that these microphones are working in future?

Mr. Speaker: Obviously they are having some problem but I could not help noticing that when you got up to ask the question without the aid of the electronic equipment, there was a respectful hush over the whole House.

Mr. Riddell: Mr. Speaker, they can take my mike away from me.

Mr. Speaker: Yes, they can.



Mr. Elston: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. I was advised there would be a statement made in response to some questions I asked of the minister concerning the tow truck matter. I was informed when time ran out yesterday there would be a statement today. Is the minister now in a position to provide us with the material he indicated?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, two or three days ago, the member for Huron-Bruce asked me a question about the newspaper articles that related to tow truck operators. I should begin by saying the tow truck industry is licensed municipally.

Mr. Bradley: Blame the cities.


Hon. Mr. Walker: Is the member suggesting we license them now? Does he wish us to take it away from the cities?

Mr. Speaker: Just answer the question. Never mind the interjections.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Should I answer that question, Mr. Speaker, or the other member's?

In addition to their licensing in this area, some municipalities, including Metropolitan Toronto, have passed bylaws in an attempt to attack the very problem mentioned in the newspaper article. The Metro Licensing Commission has announced a crackdown on tow trucks and the Metropolitan police department is conducting an investigation into allegations of kickbacks to body shops.

3:20 p.m.

Our own ministry investigators have not heard from the police on the subject. However, I am confident the police have been taking into consideration their concerns to the municipal regulatory body. Generally, very few complaints about tow trucks are received at all. Those that do come in to our ministry are related to prices for the tows after the breakdowns in bad weather or in remote areas. We receive virtually no complaints about problems at accident scenes.

Still, accident victims may take a number of steps to avoid problems. These include driving the car to the known body shop if the police say it is safe to do so, being careful what they sign, asking questions about where the car is being towed and, if possible, checking with the insurance company for instructions.

In cases where the consumer pays for the tow, the Business Practices Act provides protection if he or she is given false information or is pressured into turning the car over to an unscrupulous operator. The agreement may be rescinded within six months and the consumer may request the return of any money paid.

Finally, it must be remembered that the police role at the accident site is to ensure the safety of any injured persons and to restore traffic to normal so further accidents are prevented. Safety must take priority over all other considerations at such times.

Mr. Speaker: The time for oral questions has expired.


Mr. T. P. Reid: Point of order, Mr. Speaker: This relates to the matter my leader was attempting to deal with earlier in regard to the Minister of Culture and Recreation (Mr. Baetz) and the fact there seemed to be some dispute over the veracity of his statements.

I would draw your attention to the Thursday, March 30, 1978, Hansard in which the House dealt with a matter regarding a newspaper report in the Globe and Mail. You are nodding as if you have already looked at this.

Mr. Speaker: I have.

Mr. T. P. Reid: If you have, then I respectfully suggest that on that occasion the Speaker accepted my motion without notice being put at that time. It was put to the House at that time and with the concurrence of the House was then sent to the procedural affairs committee. I most respectfully suggest that having that example before you, you should have accepted the motion as put by my leader. I would suggest that be done now.

Mr. Smith: That was not a prima facie case.

Mr. Speaker: With great respect, I gave a decision this morning. As you have suggested, I have read that case and I would submit it is somewhat different.

Mr. T. P. Reid: This is more serious.

Mr. Speaker: It was put to the unanimous consent of the House and the House decided.

Mr. Smith: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. All we were asking of you was that you put my motion to the House. If the House would not accept it, then it will not accept it, but you refused to permit it saying I had to give notice.

Not only was the motion of the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk (Mr. Nixon) accepted without notice -- you claim it was a different kind of prima facie case -- but the member for Rainy River's motion was accepted without notice and it most certainly was not a prima facie case. I do not see why you would not follow the precedent, accept my motion and let the House vote against it if it is the will of the House.

Mr. T. P. Reid: It is a very serious matter.

Mr. Smith: The minister cannot come into this House and mislead us, day after day.

Mr. Speaker: With all respect, I am just trying to describe the different circumstances as I see them.

Mr. Peterson: The circumstances have nothing to do with it.

Mr. Speaker: Just a minute, just cool off.

I gave an opinion this morning. I have no qualms about putting it to the House, if that is your wish. If you are asking unanimous consent of the House in order to put the motion, I ask the House: Do we have that unanimous consent?

Obviously, we do not have unanimous consent.

Mr. Smith: You are going to protect Reuben, eh?

Mr. Speaker: I hope you were not making that remark towards me.

Mr. Smith: No, that was to the Tories.

Mr. Bradley: Why do you not confess, Paul Yakabuski, and save us all a problem.

Mr. Smith: Just to follow on that point of order, to take the example --

Mr. Speaker: The point of order has been disposed of --

Mr. Smith: On another point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: This is related to the matter brought up by my friend, the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway). Yesterday in the House he pointed out that whereas the Minister of Culture and Recreation had stated in this House that he had most certainly not spoken with the member for Renfrew South (Mr. Yakabuski) on the matter of Wintario grants, an article appeared in the riding of the member for Renfrew South stating quite plainly that the announcement was made by that member after consultation with the Minister of Culture and Recreation.

The reporter for certain newspapers in that area says that is what he was told by the member for Renfrew South. Either the member for Renfrew South is telling the truth when he said he spoke to the Minister for Culture and Recreation or he is not. It is one or the other. Either the minister is telling the truth or the member for Renfrew South is telling the truth, but they both cannot be because they are saying opposite things.

If we are to sit here day after day and listen to the Minister of Culture and Recreation tell us one thing, when the exact opposite may well be the truth in the matter, we have to have some recourse. I think the committee on procedural affairs is the only recourse -- the only third party around, so to speak -- we can seek to look at the matter, ask questions and find out who is telling the truth.

Furthermore, the Minister of Culture and Recreation, while responding to my friend from Renfrew, also alleged the member for Quinte (Mr. O'Neil) and myself harassed his staff -- accusing us of harassing. He withdrew "harassing" but not "inveigle." He did not withdraw it from --

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Oh yes he did; come on.

Mr. Smith: He did later on. I apologize for that, but he did not withdraw the accusation that I harassed his staff. That has never been withdrawn. Frankly, I regard the Wintario matter as trivial but the attitude of the minister I regard as very serious. I believe my motion should be voted on, and I believe the members of this House should have some protection even though it is a majority situation.

Mr. Speaker: I would point out to all the honourable members, and the Leader of the Opposition in particular, that the minister did withdraw the remarks he made towards the Leader of the Opposition. That is my information.


Mr. Williams: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: During the question period I have been watching with interest the leader of the third party and his colleague the member for Port Arthur (Mr. Foulds) devouring a bag of peanuts across the way. I would like some clarification as to whether the standing orders of the House permit the consumption of food within the precincts of the House. I would appreciate a clarification. It seems to me their behaviour is somewhat unparliamentary, and I would like some --

Mr. Speaker: Order. There is nothing out of order. There is no point of order.

Mr. G. I. Miller: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: Were those Norfolk peanuts?



Mr. Shymko from the standing committee on social development presented the following report and moved its adoption:

Your committee begs to report the following bill with certain amendments:

Bill Pr35, An Act respecting Victoria University. Your committee begs to report the following bill without amendment:

Bill Pr42, An Act respecting the Theological College of the Canadian Reformed Churches.

Your committee would recommend that the fees less the actual cost of printing be remitted on Bill Pr35, An Act respecting Victoria University.

Mr. Speaker: Order. There is far too much conversation going on.

Mr. Stokes: Well, the mike is not even working.

Mr. Speaker: It is.

Mr. Stokes: You cannot expect us to vote on something we cannot even hear.

Mr. Speaker: With all respect, the mike is on. If people would just keep quiet we could hear.

Report adopted.

3:30 p.m.


Mr. Barlow from the standing committee on general government reported the following resolution:

That supply in the following amounts and to defray the expenses of the Ministry of Treasury and Economics be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1982:

Ministry administration program, $3,036,000; Treasury program, $2,324,000; budget and intergovernmental finance policy program, $3,311,000; economic policy program, $88,773,000; central statistical services program, $971,000; Ontario Economic Council program, $722,000.



Hon. Mr. Wells moved that the standing committee on administration of justice be authorized to sit in the afternoon on Wednesday, December 16, 1981.

Motion agreed to.



Hon. Mr. McMurtry moved, seconded by Hon. Mr. Wells, first reading of Bill 193, An Act to revise the Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders Act.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. McMurtry: Mr. Speaker, for the past several years a uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders Act has been the subject of extensive study and revision by the Uniform Law Conference of Canada. Agreement among provinces was reached and a new uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Maintenance Orders Act was adopted by the conference in 1979. This uniform act deals effectively with the difficulties that have been found to arise under existing legislation. When adopted and enacted in the various provinces, it will provide more effective enforcement of maintenance orders in situations where the parties are resident in different jurisdictions.

The bill introduced here today closely follows the uniform act on which it was modelled. The improvements made by the uniform act are here incorporated into provincial legislation. The proposed act makes clear that the applicable law is the law of the jurisdiction where the order was originally made. It also ensures that claimants' spouses who move out of the original jurisdiction can use the provisional variation procedure in their new home province or state.

In addition, the bill diverges from the uniform act on one point. The uniform act states that an Ontario court may vary a final order made in British Columbia, for example, even if a claimant's spouse still resides in British Columbia. Our bill provides that when a claimant's spouse still resides in the province where the original order was made, the Ontario court may only make a provisional order of variation, which will then have to be confirmed by the original court.

This change is made in response to serious objections by the governments of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, which have refused to adopt the uniform act in their provinces unless the amendment is made.

The approach followed in this bill ensures that as long as the court which first made the orders retains jurisdiction over one of the parties it will continue to have the final power to vary or rescind that order.

The bill is introduced in recognition of the need for more effective enforcement of family law orders. It is also the product of a desire for more uniform legislation across Canada, and a co-operative effort to achieve that goal.


Hon. Mr. Bennett moved, seconded by Hon. Mrs. Birch, first reading of Bill 194, An Act to amend Certain Acts in respect of Planning and Related Matters.

Motion agreed to.

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, this bill is complementary to the proposed new Planning Act and it will make two amendments to the Municipal Act. The first is to delete the sign regulation provisions which are contained in section 40 of the new Planning Act in a slightly altered form. The second is to re-enact in the Municipal Act, in a substantially revised form, sections 46 and 47 of the present Planning Act which deal with various aspects of municipal building bylaws.

The bill will also delete all planning provisions in the various upper-tier acts which are provided for in the new Planning Act. Where the division of responsibilities between the upper and lower tiers differs from that set out in the new act, those provisions which spell out the differences are being retained. The purpose of these amendments is to prevent unnecessary duplication and overlapping between the upper-tier statutes and the new Planning Act.

Mr. Stokes: Mr. Speaker, could the minister elaborate a little more? I understand him to say he was amending two acts with one bill. Could he give us the rationale for that?

Hon. Mr. Bennett: Mr. Speaker, this particular act will proceed forward at the same time as the new Planning Act. The provisions that are being made here are to allow for certain amendments to be made in the general regional municipal bills, whereby any changes in planning have to be entertained as amendments to those bills. What we are trying to achieve through this is the unification of planning procedures so there is not the unnecessary requirement of introducing each time some planning change takes place, let us say in Ottawa-Carleton, that a special bill has to be brought here.

I think the member is aware that every time we get into making certain amendments regarding planning each regional act has to be brought back for specific amendment. What we are trying to achieve here is unification so that, once made, it covers the entire field.


Mr. Epp moved, seconded by Mr. Ruprecht, first reading of Bill 195, An Act respecting Assessment Review Procedures.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Epp: Mr. Speaker, the bill provides for a new assessment appeal procedure whereby appeals on questions of fact from decisions of the assessment review board, formerly the assessment review court, would no longer be heard by county court judges but by an assessment appeal board with expertise in assessment and appraisal matters. Further appeals on questions of fact would be heard by the Ontario Municipal Board, whose decisions would be final. Appeals at any level on questions of law or on mixed questions of fact and law would be heard by the county and district courts and further appeals would be heard by the divisional court.

3:40 p.m.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, before you call the orders of the day, I wonder if I could indicate to the table that we have agreed the time on resolution 46 will be split equally three ways during the debate this afternoon. Perhaps the table could watch the time for us.



Mr. Cassidy moved, seconded by Mr. McClellan, resolution 46 under standing order 63(a):

That this House condemns the government for the decision announced by the Minister of Health to return Ontario to profit-motivated health care and to establish discriminatory hospital services that will threaten the health of the majority of Ontario citizens and, further, that this House condemns the government for fundamentally undermining universal hospital care contrary to principles and agreements outstanding with the federal government and contrary to promises made by the Premier only hours previously that his government would not impose user fees for health services, and for these reasons this House no longer has confidence in the government.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, we have brought this motion of no confidence in the government because of the widespread concern across the province about the recent changes in health care policy that were announced by the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) just a week ago.

As the political party which first began to fight for medicare and for hospital insurance, which introduced it in Saskatchewan, which pioneered public health care insurance on this continent, as the party which has advocated and has seen to the building of a genuinely universal and democratic health care system we are shocked at the way this government is now systematically undermining universal health care here in the province and at the way it is dismantling one of the greatest social programs that has been put in place by any government anywhere.

It is absolutely undeniable that we all have a responsibility to our brothers and sisters when it comes to the matter of health care. No society can callously stand by while its citizens are unable to meet their basic health needs. The cost of that in human terms, the cost of that ultimately in economic terms as well, is too enormous to measure; and that is why there is such tremendous support for medicare in this province and why there has been for such a long time.

Through the 1960s when medicare was coming in, through the 1950s when hospital insurance was coming in, we saw in this province a determined rearguard action by the Conservative government. They did not want to have medicare. Premier Robarts called it a Machiavellian scheme, and he dragged his feet and kept Ontario out of medicare until finally a by-election brought the government to its knees and made it accept the fact that it had to bring it in here.

I suspect the reason for that was, in part, the fact that the federal scheme brought in during the 1960s would have undermined some of the friends of the government in the insurance industry. It seems to me that the benefits of having health care available as a right to everybody are so obvious and self-evident that no government should be in the business of dismantling it.

I remember a couple of years ago when Senator Edward Kennedy in the United States cited a couple of comparable cases of people who had had crippling illnesses. One was in the United States, the other here; both were serious, and both were away from work for a long time. The American citizen was bankrupted by the process; the Canadian was on his way to health without having destroyed his own economic future or that of his family.

We have that essential security in this province now, but it is being taken away thanks to the actions of this government. There is no question that there are forces in our society which now want to return us to the world of private enterprise medicine, forces which see the solution to the economic problems of this country in continuing cutbacks in social services. The forces of neoconservatism are running over this province and running over this country. Members of this government subscribe to that. The Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Walker) and some of his colleagues subscribe to it, and now the Minister of Health has got on board as well.

These are people who would once again distinguish in the services available to people with money as opposed to people who for various reasons do not happen to have the money to pay for private enterprise medicine.

We as a party have fought against any kind of unfair charge being introduced into medicare. Two years ago I and my party went to every corner of the province in order to find out what was happening with the health care system. We came back with a petition signed by 279,000 concerned Ontario citizens, the largest petition in the history of this Legislature, people who said: "Don't take our hospitals away. Don't take our medicare away. Stop the cutbacks and maintain the quality of the system."

That petition had an impact because we had an election coming and a minority government. We managed to stop the government, at least for a while. There were some extra allocations of funds to the hospitals for a while, but now that majority government is in place we see those were crocodile tears the government was shedding. There was no real commitment to maintaining universal hospital and medical care, and now it is back in the business of taking it away.

This government, in fact, has become one of the forces seeking to undermine universal and free medicare in Ontario. We already have the highest premiums for health care in Canada. We already collect a regressive tax in health premiums, one which costs a lot more to the people who work as cleaners in this building, for example, than it costs, in terms of their income, the people who support the Conservative Party and work in large corporations or down on Bay Street. It is about time OHIP premiums were eliminated and replaced with a genuinely progressive tax based on the ability to pay of the people of the province.

The government has stood idly by while doctors have opted out of the system and have been imposing their own version of user fees. We now have a situation where in many communities, such large numbers of specialists are opted out in certain specialties that it is impossible to be guaranteed to get to a specialist, if you want to go, under OHIP.

We have instances again and again where the doctor turns around to the patient and says, "If you want the care you paid for, pay me what I want to charge and then get what you can under medicare." That is taking away from the basic principles of the system. We have fought against opting out, because once again it means a system of health care that treats people with money differently from people who do not have money.

I am afraid that, for all the efforts doctors may make to avoid this influence in their decisions, it is still the case that a private pay patient, or a patient who is paying extra to the opted-out physician, is going to have a better chance of getting a bit more attention, of having the doctor remember his or her case when something new comes up, of being able to get through when they pick up the telephone and try to speak to the doctor about something that is on their mind. That is human nature, but it is permitted in this province because we allow doctors to opt out.

Those opted-out doctors are now applying a form of user fee that is profoundly unjust. It will not do to say that patients can turn to doctors who are not opted out, because some OHIP doctors have closed their lists and other OHIP doctors are not available where people have a need for them. In some communities there are so few specialists participating in OHIP that people have no choice but to go to the specialist who has opted out. What this government should do is move, in advance of the federal government's making it do so, to eliminate double billing, which is now taking place under OHIP, so that every person in this province can have access to medical care without having to pay extra.

Another example of the user fee mentality that has crept into this province already is the way the government introduced chronic care copayments and now charges the elderly $11.77 a day in public facilities. That fee is equal to almost the entire guaranteed income for senior citizens in Ontario. For a single individual it is $4,296 out of a $5,500 guaranteed income; and that is exacted in user fees from those senior citizens, despite whatever obligations they may have in terms of maintaining a home with a spouse or in terms of other obligations they may have had, which they earned a pension to pay for through all the years they contributed productively here in this province. Those user fees destroy the dignity of old people and they should not exist in this province.

3:50 p.m.

Then the province turned around and started to extract special needs payments from the parents of severely retarded children, which no other province in Canada does. The country has basically blackmailed those parents to get them to pay those fees. It is blackmail of people who are vulnerable and who are not willing to make a fuss because they fear that would influence the care their kids get in the chartered facility. That too is shameful.

The point I am making is this litany of user fees goes on and on. It is now at the point where it is striking at the core of the health care system.

Last week this government chose to assess another user fee, one of a different kind. This time the hospitals were the objective. In what appears to be an effort to turn our hospitals into profit centres, or is it shopping centres, the Minister of Health announced a series of changes that will have the ultimate effect of once more creating a class system of medical care. It is not just a matter of raising the price of private and semi-private beds. The hospitals have been given carte blanche to extend the number of semi-private and private beds as well.

There is a contemptuous and callous approach to the provision of health care to the people of this province which is contained in what the minister had to say before the Ontario Hospital Association. The Minister of Health has a responsibility to provide health care as effectively as possible to everyone in the province. The thinking in his speech to the hospital association seems to come from a different world.

He says what we need across the public sector is a larger measure of private sector thinking. He says we have to think about the product. That is what they say at General Motors and J. Walter Thompson. In this case the product, as the minister refers to it, is health care. I do not believe we can put health care on the same basis as selling cars, soap, toothpaste or feminine deodorant. He talked about entrepreneurship in ancillary areas which the hospitals will be encouraged to get into. He talked about a bottom line mentality.

What on earth is happening in the hospitals when the minister takes that approach and tells them they are going to run their hospitals on the same basis as Marks and Spencer, Eaton's or Consumers Distributing? Does the minister mean to imply that hospitals should now become profit-making institutions? That is what he seems to be doing. Does he not understand the basic contradiction between providing services to people regardless of their ability to pay for the service and the principles of profit, of buying cheap and of selling dear?

The Premier (Mr. Davis) was no different. He said, "We will do everything in our power to fight to protect the integrity of our health care system." That sounded good. That was on Monday. Two days later, the Minister of Health was taking that integrity away with a series of announcements. The Premier himself talked about making a business-oriented system of hospital management, whatever that means. Then he said, "For the present, no new user fees." For the present means the Premier could change his mind in January or February and bring them in then since he has a majority government.

No new user fees means no new user fees. I will not use the word I used in the House the other day because I got kicked out for using it, but the only way to describe the Premier's actions a week ago Monday is in an unparliamentary way, because he did not tell the truth. Whether it was deliberate or not, I do not know. I say that to stay within the rules of this House, Mr. Speaker, but I think we can all draw our own conclusions from the fact he must have known what the Minister of Health was going to say two days later.

The Deputy Speaker: Order. The difficulty I have is that you have indicated that a member of this distinguished Legislature was not telling the truth.

Mr. Cassidy: The rules say that one may not accuse a member of uttering a "deliberate falsehood" and I have not accused the Premier this time of doing that. I am staying within the rules. People can draw their own conclusions in terms of the statements made by the Premier which were contradicted two days later by --

The Deputy Speaker: Order. Under 19(d)8, 19(d)9 and 19(d)10 of the standing orders there is an indication one cannot indicate that another member is lying.

Mr. Cassidy: "Deliberate falsehood"; that is a quote from the rules. While you look at that I will continue, Mr. Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker: No. Let us get it straight and decide it while we are here. Section 19(d)9 says, "Imputes false or unavowed motives to another member," and section 19(d)10 says, "Charges another member with uttering a deliberate falsehood." Do we look up in Webster's Dictionary the interpretation of not telling the truth and falsehood? Without doing that, in my estimation they are close to the same. I would ask the leader of the third party to phrase his comments in another way.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I will withdraw the word you have objected to. I think I have made the point. Certainly it beggars belief that the Premier could say one thing on Monday and two days later could be contradicted by his Minister of Health, and that the Premier was not aware in making his statements on Monday that they were wrong and would be contradicted two days later.

The Deputy Speaker: Thank you.

Mr. Cassidy: There is no place in our hospitals for the kind of thinking that is creeping in right now. No one opposes efficiency with scarce public resources. No one opposes the idea that there should be local control and direction or that the administration of the hospitals should be decentralized, but we should not let this government or anyone else presume to establish a system that puts on the kind of incentives the minister or the Premier are now talking about.

One cannot provide health care in the same way one sells groceries, saunas, hot tubs, soap or anything else. That is where the government is so wrong in the announcement it has made.

The new plan will encourage hospitals to close ward beds and replace them with preferred accommodation. That then removes the ceiling on what can be charged for such beds. Those are technically the new user fees, new beds with new fees, which are now being condoned and, in fact, encouraged by the ministry. Hospitals will be able to set the user fees at whatever level the market will bear. That may be a good way to sell bananas or cars, but it has no place in health care.

The minister turns around in his speech and says, "Of course we have a guarantee, a ready supply of standard ward beds." But once again, since people are human and since the profit motive is now being injected, how is that going to be guaranteed? Since people who seek standard ward accommodation cannot get it now if they are looking for elective surgery, sometimes for months on end, how will the government ensure that there will be equitable treatment between people prepared to pay extra for private or semi-private beds and people who can just pay the standard ward rate when it comes to the elective list?

How is the government going to ensure that the standard ward patients do not get put on stretchers when beds are scarce while the patients who pay get into the private or semi-private beds? How will the government ensure that it will not be the administrators guided by the profit motive who make the decisions when it comes down to making a choice between two patients, both of whom have doctors saying there is a medical need for them to have a private room, only one can pay and the other cannot? Those are the dilemmas we face right now because of what the minister and the government are doing to undermine the health care system as it is right now.

We are going to have the hospital administrators encouraged to act like the managers of the Holiday Inn down the road. Higher fee for room with a view -- is that what is going to come? Will one pay extra for filet mignon, and get macaroni, rice, white potatoes, cream sauce and nothing more if one is on the standard ward rates? That is what is going to happen. We can spin speculation out to a ludicrous extent, but that is what the minister is opening the door to.

I want to look at the further implications as well. It is clear that hospitals in Oakville, Mississauga, Etobicoke or North York will find the traffic will bear a lot higher price than hospitals in Chapleau, Cornwall, Sioux Lookout or places like that, areas where there are simply not the incomes to bear heavy user fees or heavy private and semi-private charges. The consequence of that is going to be that those hospitals in wealthy areas will be able to charge more and hence will make greater profits -- let us use the word -- and that is what the minister has told them to do.

If they make those greater profits they are going to turn it around and offer a different standard of care. We are going to get a two-tier system, a two-class system, where the people in Oakville will get better care, because the hospitals can afford to provide better care, than people in other parts of the province. That is happening, thanks to the announcements being made now. I call it two-class health care. Anybody with sense would. That is not what medicare and hospital insurance, what OHIP is all about as far as I am concerned, and as far as this party is concerned as well.

Goodness knows what the federal-provincial implications are. We know the federal Minister of National Health and Welfare has indicated clearly that Ontario is bound not to have more than half of hospital beds in the private or semi-private category. We know what she thinks in terms of the way Ontario has now violated the principle of health care by putting an unlimited fee on those private and semi-private beds.

If we start to lose those federal payments there will be further undermining of the health care system. There will be a dizzy spiral of more and more private money going into a system and the fine quality, this towering achievement of public policy in our province, being destroyed because of the free enterprise ideology of the Premier, the Minister of Health and the rest of the Conservative gang.

4 p.m.

What will be the end result of this process of medicine for sale to the highest bidder? It means the people in Dalhousie ward in my riding will not be able to get what they have been paying for in terms of universal and free medicare. It means the people who live in Chapleau, in the riding of the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren), will not be able to get decent health care. They will be forced to take charity ward treatment the way we used to in this province 30 or 40 years ago. That kind of charity ward treatment is what we thought we were getting away from by bringing in hospital insurance, by bringing in medicare.

We brought those things in almost over the dead body of this government which fought to resist it and now it is fighting to take medicare away. We are going to see a destruction of the fundamental principles of medicare unless this government either turns its decision around and abandons this injection of the free enterprise ethos, or unless we get a new government that is committed to maintaining health care, to maintaining medicare along its originals principles.

This government has failed totally in its sacred trust to look after the health and wellbeing of our people. It does not deserve the confidence of this House or the confidence of the people of Ontario. The Minister of Health should resign so that his place can be taken by someone who has a commitment to save medicare, to advance medicare, to give it and make sure it is available to everybody across the province without regard to their means, rather than having a Minister of Health who seems to be the minister for the destruction of medicare.


The Deputy Speaker: Order, please. I would like to point out to all members that the time equally divided will be approximately 42 minutes each. As we progress into the debate I will indicate a time limit.

Mr. Gordon: Mr. Speaker, the goal of this government, specifically the Health ministry, is to provide Ontario citizens with the optimum quality of health care. That means we must preserve the standards of excellence we have already reached. It also implies more than maintaining the status quo. To stand still today is to fall behind.

The Ontario government, the members opposite, the public and the hospitals, all of us must commit ourselves to ensuring continued progress in the health system. This evolution must reflect the latest and the best advances in medical technology and techniques.

What we have done most recently, through the announcement of the OHA initiatives, is to free greater revenues for use by the hospitals and to signal our approval for hospitals to generate revenues. Both of these policy decisions are directed towards the cause of greater patient care. With that cause ever forward in our minds, I would like to address the motion directly and then give the government's position on the various points.

The first condemnation arises from the belief that the Minister of Health intends to return Ontario to a profit-motivated health system. First of all, no one is returning to such a system. We have never had a system based on profit, as other jurisdictions have developed.

Second, the four major initiatives offered by the minister to the Ontario Hospital Association convention last week were not intended to imply the profit motive. Note that the Minister of Health did not mention the word "profit" once in his OHA speech. The reason he did not is that the entire discussion of maximizing revenues and minimizing expenditures, which the members opposite seem to have misunderstood, was geared to providing the utmost value for the dollar, proposing an improved way of managing resources, a drive for new economic productivity incorporating existing revenues into the hospitals' base funding.

These are phrases from the minister's speech. "Indeed our proposals are aimed at reducing the alarming rise in hospital deficits and we are convinced in the fullness of time that they will provide the environment to help get a crucial margin of growth." On that last point, the emphasis expressed by the minister was very clear. He said, "Hospital net earnings will help ensure that we not only keep up with inflation but continue to achieve real gains in the quality of care."

We in this government have no intention of returning to a profit-motivated system, nor of establishing one for the future.

The no-confidence motion spoke next of our trying to "establish discriminatory hospital services that will threaten the health of the majority of Ontario citizens."

I object to this charge in the strongest possible terms. For the past half century and more, preferred accommodation has been a hospital fact of life. It has served the public well; they seem quite happy with it. The essential point is that standard and preferred accommodation differ in nonmedical areas. All health care is of the same quality. It is the best available.

I would remind this House of what was said in the emergency debate last week. Every hospital bed in Ontario is an insured bed. I would ask the members in the opposition benches, what is discriminatory in hospital services when no patient is ever denied a hospital bed and, more importantly, no one is ever denied preferred accommodation, regardless of his insurance coverage, when it is a medical necessity?

They seem determined to ignore the guarantee which the government wearily continues to make. The reason is simple. The guarantee reduces their arguments to absurdity.

I am glad to see the leader of the third party has returned, since he has not been here for most of this rebuttal.

Quite clearly, we are not implementing measures that will threaten the health of any citizens, nor are we implementing a new system. What we are doing is changing policies regarding the existing system. Naturally, those policies will eventually affect the health field and, we think, in positive ways.

The principles the Ministry of Health espouses for hospitals are those which help any other business to operate successfully. They are to try to improve service, watch costs and make efficient use of personnel. That in no way entails that patient care will suffer. Quite the contrary. Hospitals will have more to offer if operated more efficiently and cost-effectively.

What is threatening the system instead is the growth in the volume of services and the resultant strain on our ability to finance them. These are subjects we have been talking about repeatedly throughout the autumn and early winter.

I know members are familiar with the figures. In five years, health costs in this province have soared upwards by nearly 70 per cent to $5.7 billion this fiscal year. Eight million dollars a day is spent running the hospitals. That is 50 per cent of our total health revenues. Health revenues account for 30 per cent of the total provincial budget. So we are looking at nearly 15 cents of every dollar in provincial revenues being used to keep hospitals operating. The sacred trust we, as the Ontario public, have invested in hospital trustees and administrators in spending even larger sums must be manifested in greater responsibility and accountability by them.

Mr. McClellan: You do not believe a word of this.

The Acting Speaker: Order. The member for Sudbury has the floor. Please give him leave to complete his statement.

Mr. Gordon: Our plan, as the Premier indicated to the Ontario Hospital Association, is to give the hospitals increased financial flexibility through a relaxation of central control. The incentives are designed to expand the revenue sources open to hospitals, in a phrase, to rest the financial fate of hospitals more and more in their own hands. Members know this but seem ever ready to forget.

In addition to growth pressures, however, we face the spectre of reduced transfer payments from the federal government. These reductions could amount, according to Treasury estimates, to as much as $1.8 billion for Ontario alone over the next five years. Given the lion's share which health takes of the provincial pie, the health care system cannot help but be affected by these proposed cuts.

4:10 p.m.

However, returning to the motion before us, I note it also "condemns the government for fundamentally undermining universal hospital care, contrary to principles and agreements outstanding with the federal government." Absolutely not!

The proposed actions of the federal government, per our mutual agreements and principles, are attempting to undermine the health care system as well as the post-secondary education of the province. We are not undermining the system through our agreements with the federal government, nor is there any discrepancy in what the Premier or the Health minister said regarding user fees. For the present, we have rejected user fees as a revenue-producing step. No entrance fee, another name for user fees, will be charged. And no hotel charge on standard meals will be instituted.

The incentive for hospital managers to charge more for semi-private and private rooms is not a user fee, although the honourable members persist doggedly in that contention. One might easily call it, "a surcharge on the rich," although that would be wrong too. This new flexibility will not in any way jeopardize the accessibility of health care --


The Acting Speaker: Order. The honourable members will respect the fact that one man has the floor. The interruptions that are continuing and persisting have been called to order many times. Please give some respect to the speaker.

Mr. Gordon: This new flexibility will not in any way jeopardize accessibility of health care for any person in Ontario needing hospital treatment. I want to stress this, just as the minister has been stressing it these many days.

It appears the honourable members of the loyal opposition have no valid objection, and their condemnations are misplaced and misguided. I submit this government has renewed cause to have less confidence in the capacity of the opposition to function with sagacity and, of course, moderation.

Mr. Breaugh: We just heard one pro speech; we do not want to hear another one.

Mr. Van Horne: Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to join in the debate on this resolution from the leader of the third party and, in spite of the interjection of the member for Oshawa, to speak in support of it. I am gravely concerned about what I perceive to be a very stubborn ministry. It is not showing us any signs of a long-range plan to accommodate the financial demands put on it day to day by our hospitals and, for that matter, by the needs of the people in this province in general terms of demands for a health care system.

I joined others in the emergency debate on December 3. I doubt whether what will be heard in this chamber today will vary much from what was said about two weeks ago. It is worth repeating one or two of the main themes that came out in that debate on December 3.

I believe our New Democrats called this a "bed sale proposal" made by the government. I could not agree more. I would add that this government saying one day, through the Premier, to a group of people responsible for the operation of our hospitals that we should not have to worry about user fees and then having a form of user fee introduced by the minister himself two days later, is a form of bumbling, two-faced duplicity. If that is not duplicity, I do not know what is.

Estimates debates are something which we as members in the opposition hold on to as one avenue for us to query the minister and his senior staff as to why they are putting their dollars in the places that they do, and also give us the opportunity to ask them questions about their policies.

We do not get into that kind of detail, generally speaking, in the House. My understanding of the estimates procedure is that the opposition parties had to struggle to get the number of hours for estimates to the point where they now are, and to get the routine to where it is now, because the members of the opposition felt that they had some part to play in the process.

Aside from giving us the opportunity to ask questions and get some answers, it really does not do a darn thing in so far as changing the direction of government policy or the direction of government dollars is concerned. I would submit that the evidence of the futility of the exercise comes when we look at the announcement this government made two weeks ago about the bed proposition.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: One week ago.

Mr. Van Horne: The minister says it was one week ago. We finished on the day prior, Tuesday, December 1, the estimates of the Ministry of Health, having spent approximately 16 hours in debate.

Then there were questions from me and my colleagues in the Liberal Party, and there certainly were questions from the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) and his colleagues in the New Democratic Party. For us to walk out of those estimates with some kind of assurance that we would not be encountering the prospect of user fees, to find out the next day that in fact we are, I think puts the estimates process in some kind of a shadow.

They really are not very helpful to members on the opposite side. Why does the government not face up to the estimates and use it as an opportunity to level with us about some of their planning?

Interestingly enough, in the course of the estimates the minister did indicate to us that this year the Ministry of Health was working with a new two-phase program, if I can use the minister's words, to try to get a handle on the budget process, and I want to quote from part of that comment he made to us.

As I understand it from his comments, and I am quoting now from Instant Hansard, 'phase one being the budgets for the existing approved operations, and for those the hospitals have to date had approved." He goes on to say, "12.1 per cent increase, which figure by the way, applies to their entire budget." Then he goes on to talk about phase two of this new proposal. "The phase two budget was intended, as was explained to the hospitals, for them to identify where in their operations they were experiencing uncontrollable growth which would necessitate the addition of further staff, or failing staff, the next ... cost, and related to supply costs, where they wanted to start new programs."

The date of this again is December 1, when we hear from the minister that this year they are trying to get a handle on the budget. We have heard time after time from the minister, and from other government members, that the Ministry of Health is the biggest dollar user of all the ministries here in the province.

We know that. A person does not have to be a genius to understand that. We look at the numbers. The biggest numbers are those attached to the Ministry of Health, but I would submit to members that we do not measure the productivity, we do not measure the goodness, we do not measure the bottom-line number, strictly through dollars. I think we have to take a look at a variety of factors.

What are those dollars doing? Are they being used properly? Are the people involved with the using of them getting the service they should? Are the people delivering the service happy? There are a whole series of questions that can be asked. Let us not delude ourselves into thinking that the biggest buck means this ministry is the very best in terms of its bottom line. I would have to submit that the minister would agree to that. Otherwise, he would not have gone along with this two-phase proposal this year to get a handle on it.

Time after time, we on this side of the House have said to the government: "Look, why do you not have a long-range plan? Tell us what your long-range plan is. Help us to understand what your plan is."

4:20 p.m.

A couple of years ago I brought a private member's bill into this House and had it debated. It was blocked. The government would not even vote on it. The purpose of that bill was to try to make the government accountable in the budgeting process and show us some long-range planning in the budgeting process.

I am saying to them now, and I am saying to the minister now, that what we have in this proposal by the government is another form of user fee. It is an attempt to get the budget problems of the ministry in some kind of line; it is an attempt to address a dollar problem they have. But I would have to submit that in doing this they are chipping away at the very foundation on which our health care system in Ontario is based, and that foundation is universal availability to every person here in Ontario.

I submit to the minister that when he brings in a system such as this he is in fact making a two-tier system of health care in our hospitals. In the debate on December 3, I gave some evidence to support my statement. I indicated that researchers in our party had contacted some hospital consultants and that when we asked them how they reacted to this the response came to me and to one of our consultants, in part, that this sort of thing existed 10 years ago.

Let me go back to the Hansard of December 3:

"One of the persons we talked to gave us this example. Ten years ago, the old Mount Sinai Hospital had its tenth floor reserved for private patients. Interns were not allowed on that floor nor were teaching staff. It was run like a hotel. People we talked to this morning pointed out there were other situations in hospitals in other parts of Toronto, let alone other parts of Ontario." Examples given to us were the Wellesley, Women's College and St. Michael's hospitals, to name three others here in Toronto alone.

If that situation existed 10 years ago and we got away from it, I would submit to the minister he is now leading us right back to it. He is leading us right back to where we were 10 or 15 years ago. I cannot understand for the life of me why such a short-range, destructive proposal would be put to us by the Ministry of Health.

I do not want to use all the time of our party, because there are other members who want to speak. But I do have a couple of questions I would like to leave with the minister, and I hope he will attempt to address some of these questions in his comments later on this afternoon.

The members on this side of the House, and I again have to give credit to the member for Bellwoods, have asked on many occasions about problems such as we have had at the Queen Street Mental Health Centre. I realize that is slightly removed from the thrust of this resolution, but I think the intent of members on this side of the House to get the government to do more than plan through polling is a very sincere request from us to the government to go to the people and say, "Tell us, through a public inquiry, what is right and what is wrong with the state of the union, with the state of the ministry."

I would submit to the minister we may well be at the point where we take not just the Queen Street Mental Health Centre, not just the concern of psychiatric hospitals here in Ontario, but the theme of hospitals in Ontario generally and open the whole business up to a public inquiry.

The minister may shake his head and wonder if that would be feasible or reasonable. I have to advise him that in a small survey I did in the hospitals here in Ontario I got about a 70 per cent response from the hospitals, which answered questions about problems they were having with elective surgery and the amount of waiting time required. I gave them an opportunity at the bottom of the questionnaire form to indicate their major concern. The major concern that came back to me time and time again was dollars, planning and budget problems.

It is a universal problem and I have sympathized and empathized with the minister on many occasions, but I will be critical at the same time, because I do not see evidence of a long-range plan that will address itself to meeting the dollar needs of the Ministry of Health. I would have to submit again that the proposal made a week ago to let hospitals charge whatever rates they wish is not going to meet the need.

To encourage them to use their entrepreneurial skills is a laugh. I do not mean that in any way as a demeaning comment about hospital administrators. They have been very skilful in struggling with their problems over the years, but I have to submit that we should not turn them into schemers who will try to make a buck rather than concerning themselves with the system they are operating.

I have a couple of other questions and then I will stop, questions I would like the minister to consider. With respect to his new policy on hospital finance, perhaps the minister would clarify who is accountable for ensuring patient accessibility. In his statement to the Ontario Hospital Association on December 2, the minister stated: "The rates hospitals may charge for private and semi-private accommodation will no longer be strictly controlled. You will be able to set your own prices for preferred accommodation based on local conditions." However, the minister also said hospitals can increase the number of preferred rooms and cut back on ward beds "with the approval of the ministry."

As I understand it, section 29 of the Public Hospitals Act says the minister, subject to cabinet's approval, makes regulations regarding "the classification of patients, and the lengths of stay of and the rates and charges for patients." Who can we hold responsible? Will this new policy, as we fear, reduce the proportion of standard wards to the point where not enough ward space is available and the patients needing so-called elective treatment are put on standby? In other words, who do we blame if the system fails: the minister or the hospitals?

Supplementary to that, the minister specifically told the House that out of a total saving of $20 million related to his proposals for more businesslike management, hospitals can save $10 million by cutting subsidies on cafeteria food. Has the minister not also estimated the added revenue that will come from the conversion of wards to preferred beds and from higher rates, presumably another $10 million?

What assumptions about the number of ward beds to be converted to preferred care and higher rates went into his estimates? Will the minister also tell us how he came up with his estimate of the additional revenue hospitals will raise from the conversion of ward beds and higher rates? Is he prepared to table with us the documentation he has for the numbers he came up with?

In the estimates process, I started by asking the minister, as did my colleague the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) when he spoke in the estimates a year ago, if he could indicate to us that the health care system was really a priority, and I say again not a priority in terms of dollars but in terms of what it has been trying to achieve, how it is trying to get there and in terms of its long-range planning.

I do not see it through actions such as this. I see this as destructive, nonproductive and hurting the people who are least able to pay. It will lead us back again to the two-tier system we had 10 years ago, and that bothers me greatly. I hope the Ministry of Health will reconsider but I doubt it will, because there is a degree of stubbornness built in. No matter what we suggest, the minister will not change. I hope he will listen and I hope he will change.

4:30 p.m.

Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, I want to speak for only five minutes because I would like to leave as much time as possible for our excellent health critic, the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan), to deal with this topic in a more general way.

However, as a member of the board of governors of Etobicoke General Hospital, and as somebody who has been deeply concerned about the health care system in this province and in our community, I would like to tell the House some of the questions and problems I see, because the minister's new policy will affect us in a direct way at our hospital.

The pressure in our hospital is already on ward beds. Many of the private and semi-private beds are currently used for ward patients. For us to convert more ward beds means absolutely nothing in terms of additional revenue because they will still be used as wards and will incur debts. The minister's proposal means absolutely nothing in terms of additional revenue for our hospital.

Etobicoke General Hospital already has a $30 million operating budget and we have had no deficit for the last five years. I feel that can be attributed to a large extent to the extremely efficient management system and staff of our hospital. The minister's recent statement seems to indicate hospitals will have to rely less on public funding and more on semi-private or private user fees. For us, that may well mean that for the first time we will have to move into deficits.

We have done all the business necessary to make our hospital one of the most efficient, if not the most efficient, in the province. Our management has done cost-cutting studies which we have implemented. We have been at the forefront in the use of computer analysis to make our hospital as efficient as possible.

We have an efficient hospital already. There is no more to cut. There are no more efficiencies we can possibly be expected to build into the system. Any attempts our officers have made to try to clarify what the implications are for hospitals have met with dead ends by ministry officials.

When one of our hospital executives asked a ministry official at the Ontario Hospital Association meeting where the minister got his 17 per cent increase for hospitals, he said: "A couple of hospitals got that. Also, what is included are chronic care, nursing homes, the air ambulance and so on." When we look at our hospital, we are talking about an average increase not of 17 per cent but of 12.1 per cent. That is how efficient we have been.

We are going to have serious problems unless the Ministry of Health funds the arbitration awards and picks up the annualization of those recent arbitration awards.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: We have.

Mr. Philip: The minister has not said he will pick it up in the future.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: We announced in July a further $118 million for the hospitals for those awards.

Mr. Philip: Just on what was done; that is just for this year.

The Acting Speaker: It is not a debate. There has been a point of order.

Mr. McClellan: What do you mean it is not a debate?

The Acting Speaker: There is no back and forth dialogue. The member for Etobicoke has the floor.

Mr. Philip: I am trying to point out to the minister that to our hospital the arbitration awards mean not only costs for this year but future costs. The ministry will have to pick that up or we will have very serious financial problems.

While we may not face the immediate threat of cutting back on services the way in which I understand Queensway General Hospital and Humber Memorial Hospital have indicated they may have to, we are still faced with some serious problems as a result of the actions of this government in introducing what amounts to a user fee system on sick people.

Mr. Dean: Mr. Speaker, as a citizen of Ontario and of the great riding of Wentworth, I am justifiably proud of our province's health care system. It is second to none. To listen to the comments made by certain members on the other side of the House makes me disappointed in them. I thought better of them. Not only am I disappointed, I am a little annoyed.

Mr. Laughren: Temper, temper.

Mr. Philip: You have to be awake and standing to be annoyed. You've never been annoyed yet.

Mr. Laughren: Throw him a cookie.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr. Dean: This is controlled annoyance, not temper. The phrase they have been mouthing, profit-motivated health care, annoys me because they know as well as I do the real focus of our health care system is the patient, not profit. It is the patient who motivates all the actions of our health care system.

Everyone in Ontario has the right to have access to our medical system and our health care workers provide them with the finest care available. However, the size of our province with its geographic and human diversity necessitates a variety of approaches to delivering health services. The structure of services in Metro Toronto, for example, is different in many respects from that of other centres in other parts of Ontario.

Mr. Wildman: It is certainly different from Chapleau.

Mr. Dean: It has to be that way. As a result, the nature of our system makes it a costly one. For example, this year we will spend almost $60 million in transfer payments for ambulance and related emergency services alone.

People living in northern Ontario, maybe even in Chapleau, have access to air ambulances based at Timmins, Thunder Bay, Sioux Lookout and Sudbury. I know my colleague from the great riding of Sudbury and his constituents would not accept a health care system that did not supply this type of service to all northern residents. Each of us as a taxpayer recognizes the need for such services and we are willing to pay for them.

However, as consumers of the health care system, we want to get good value for our money. There is nothing wrong with that. We entrust governments with the responsibility of providing such services to us. In return we expect our financial and human resources to be put to their best use. In business it would be called efficiency. I do not know whether we can use that word with the approval of some members opposite or not.

A fine example of this utilization to the best of our ability is the development of our district health council program. Under this regime local people look at the services available to determine if they are being put to good use and make recommendations designed to improve the network of care.

In my riding, which is part of the Hamilton-Wentworth health district, the district health council has come up with an innovative proposal that will go a long way towards improving health services in the eastern end of Hamilton-Wentworth.

I will explain this briefly. This special part of Hamilton-Wentworth has had some shortcomings in terms of its ambulance, nursing home beds, community mental health and other services. While there was the possibility of rebuilding Hamilton General Hospital in this area, the district health council at the minister's request has established a task force to develop alternative proposals for community facilities that could integrate a wide variety of services.

This committee has recommended the establishment of a community health centre that would have emergency and outpatient services which would be extensions of existing programs In addition, the centre would offer public health services; Meals on Wheels service to those who need them and the reverse, wheels to meals, to take people to a central place for this auxiliary meal program; geriatric care; diabetic day care; audiology and speech pathology services. The administration of this centre would be the responsibility of one of the local hospitals. There are no such centres of this type in Canada as yet.

4:40 p.m.

I am confident the minister shares my enthusiasm for the proposal and will give the project his speedy approval. It is this kind of unstinting effort and devotion to new concepts and method that characterizes our health care system when we are trying to provide the best possible care at the most thrifty cost. District health councils do exist to assess and develop programs and services that are geared to the needs of local communities. It is this type of planning and rationalization of services that keeps the system responsive and keeps costs in line.

Earlier this year the minister announced that $15 million would be spent over the next five years to establish regional paranatal programs. This program will be of enormous benefit to Ontario families. Prevention and treatment will not only save lives but will improve the quality of life for families and their children.

Over the last few years our health system has been undergoing a variety of changes in response to the needs of its consumers and, in recognition of the fact that fiscal responsibility makes long-term economic sense, it is a must. Our home care and chronic care programs are perfect examples of deinstitutionalizations that are both beneficial to those people recovering from illnesses and methods to alleviate some of the pressures on our hospitals. Given the choice, would the members not prefer to recuperate from their illnesses at home? Or maybe they do not have any illnesses to recuperate from.

Programs like this illustrate how flexible the ministry is in developing community health services. The resources of the community are there for our benefit. I think they should be developed and used. Not only should existing resources be used but prevention and physical fitness programs should be promoted. People are becoming a lot more conscious of what they are eating and of the need for regular exercise.

What is the cost to the system, and to us as the people who are supporting the system, of the needless abuse of the system by people who smoke or drink excessively, take drugs, or abuse their minds and bodies in other ways? In many instances, it is the individual who determines whether or not the system is abused.

A survey done by Statistics Canada in 1978 indicates that regardless of the income level, Canadians spend a greater proportion of our money, on the average, on smoking, alcoholic beverages, transportation and recreation than we do on medical and health services. What it all boils down to is priorities. What is our overriding motivation? The overriding motivation is to provide the best health care service at the best possible price. How can anybody possibly consider that to be profit-motivated? It is much too simplistic and partial to look at our health care system in this way.

As was mentioned by the previous speaker, our hospitals do already receive the lion's share of our health dollars. They are a visible community symbol of our medical system. There have been marvellous technical advances made to promote health care in the way of computerized axial tomography scanners, nuclear medicine, ultrasound equipment, and so on. These are proof that Ontario is not lagging in providing improved diagnostic services to everyone. New developments come on stream regularly, but while we are taking care of the treatment of patients we cannot afford to ignore the financial structure we have given our hospitals.

When the minister gave his speech to the Ontario Hospital Association he said the structure and the sources of money available to hospitals are going to be improved and changed to give them additional financial flexibility to meet their expenses. The very next day the leader of the third party tabled a no-confidence motion in the House, whining that the new changes are going to be a threat to the health of Ontarians. Some of the members over there see all change as a threat.

We are in a situation where we must look at all aspects of our health care services. In terms of funding, hospitals are the largest component of our health care system. What would those members have us do? Should we just ignore them? Our health system is going to be changing in the next few decades. The changes outlined by the minister are designed to alleviate present funding pressures and to put our hospitals on a more rational financial basis over the long term. The measures do not come into effect until April 1982, giving a few months notice for hospital boards to come up with their own approaches and suggestions.

Public demands for more health care services may be limitless but the public purse is not limitless. As of the end of March 1982, as all members know, our present arrangements with the federal government regarding extended program financing will expire. Ontario may lose a lot of federal dollars. There is no point in waiting around for the outcome and then deciding what we are going to do. The reasonable, rational, responsible thing to do is act now, and we have done that.

I have yet to hear a rational proposal from the members of the third party outlining what its members would do to control health costs. I am forgetting myself. That party is very good at spending money, but not much concerned about raising it. The taxpayer is under a lot of stress. Although the government is not a limitless source of revenue, we have always responded to the legitimate needs of the system. We have increased hospital funding by 17 per cent this year. This is not undermining hospitals. This is not undermining health services. This is recognizing and responding to the health needs of every man, woman and child in Ontario.

Let us see what happens when the new initiatives are started, and let us assess what happens. I would venture to say the results will be more positive than some members seem to think. If they claim to be the champions of our health care system, then why do they not give our hospitals the support and encouragement we give them? There is no validity to the assertion in this resolution that Ontario is being returned to a profit-motivated health care system nor is there any validity to the scare tactic that the health of our citizens is being threatened. As I stated earlier, the truth is quite the reverse.

This government, through the Ministry of Health, continues to support innovative ways of funding and delivering health care to all of us in Ontario so that together we can assure an adequate, universally accessible, top quality health service. All members concerned about maintaining such good health care in our province will oppose this resolution of no confidence.

Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, I am quite surprised the member for Wentworth would stand up and talk about the tremendous job this government has been doing in health care. Even in our own community, with the problems of chronic care beds, the waiting lists, the fact that the government has not made a commitment to purchase sufficient land in the east end area to expand and make a full-fledged hospital -- the hospital issue was one on which that member sought election; he should be fighting in this House not only for an interim facility but for a long-term facility that would be another plan for the future rather than patching up as is the case of this ministry in the past.

Rather than talking about the government's point of view of what the government is doing, I would like to read a few clippings from newspapers over the past year or so which I think illustrate far more acutely than any of us ever could the very desperate situation we are in in health care in this province. The minister probably never spake a truer word than when he said, as quoted in the Globe and Mail on July 31, 1981, "I said to somebody the day I became Minister of Health that I knew from this point forward I would never be right again." Frankly, the mess this ministry is in is proving the minister's own words are correct in that one instance.

I will read from an article in the Toronto Star of October 9, 1981: "The tragedy of Lynda Clarke, a woman unable to get desperately needed psychiatric help until she killed her two young children, could be repeated again, psychiatrists say. Clarke was refused entry at four Ottawa hospitals last year because there was no room, Seven weeks later she killed her children, eight-year-old Kevin and seven-year-old Cathy, as they slept in their beds. Clarke was found not guilty by reason of insanity by the Supreme Court of Ontario last week. She now is receiving treatment.

"Clarke was refused admission into the Ottawa General where she worked because the psychiatric ward's occupancy rate runs at about 120 per cent. The other three hospitals that would not admit Clarke, the Royal Ottawa, Ottawa Civic and Queensway-Carleton, all reported occupancy rates of 90 to 99 per cent. Dr. Gerald Sawer-Foner, chief of psychiatry at the Ottawa General, said the situation is getting worse. 'Certainly it can happen again, because if anything, the situation has become tighter, not better,' he said," and that is October 9, 1981.

4:50 p.m.

"'We face this situation every single day and the truth is most of the time there is not a psychiatric bed in the city.' Dr. Selwyn Smith, chief psychiatrist at the Royal Ottawa Hospital, agreed. 'This could happen again. In general, nothing has changed and the occupancy rate is still far too high.'

"Directors at the other two hospitals agree there is a shortage of active treatment beds. Dr. Sunanda Bijoor tried to get Clarke into the Ottawa General, and said she did everything under the circumstances that she could to help her. Clarke first saw Dr. Bijoor in September 1980 because she was worried about her husband and feared he would hurt the children.

"She saw the Clarkes as part of a marital therapy program, but several weeks later decided Lynda needed a week in a psychiatric ward for assessment. No hospital was willing to admit her. A year later, Lynda called Dr. Bijoor again, about six weeks before the killing, and Dr. Bijoor prescribed anti-psychotic and anti-depressant medication. She tried to arrange another appointment."

Let us take a look at what the Globe and Mail of November 26, 1981, only a few shorts weeks ago, has to say about the situation of ex-psychiatric patients who have been deinstitutionalized. I know the minister has had this problem brought to his attention in this House by members on this side vis-à-vis the situation in Toronto, but believe me, if the minister thinks it is a problem only in Toronto, he is mistaken.

It is a problem that is growing across Ontario and unless he and his ministry decide to develop some mechanism to cope with it, we are going to face a very serious situation in the near future. I think that situation has already materialized in the kinds of horrendous goings-on we have seen very recently.

"A new survey has shown that almost 10 per cent of the beds for discharged mental patients in Toronto have disappeared in the past year and that another 150 are thought to be on the verge of being lost.

"The road back to health has not been made an easy one for these people. They are living in circumstances that would create stresses for healthy people, and their cries for help are barely audible to a government that has carved up responsibility for them among four ministries -- Health, Housing, Labour, and Community and Social Services.

"In fact, the most responsive and concerned comments on the situation have come from a private organization, the Supportive Housing Coalition, which was formed last spring. It has just issued a basic plan to deal with the shortage, poor quality and uneven distribution of the accommodation in Metro, suggestions as to the support and supervision that should supplement the provision of beds, and an outline of how the system should be administered. If the government has an alternative plan we would like to hear it."

That is an editorial in the November 26 issue of the Globe and Mail. The editorial has clearly outlined that the minister, along with three other ministries, has completely abdicated his responsibilities. He has left the initiative to private groups who, in desperation, have come forth with plans to help these deinstitutionalized, ex-psychiatric patients make a better way in the world.

I would like to refer to another instance, which was reported in the Globe and Mail of July 28, 1981. It talks about a young man who was discharged from the Queen Street Mental Health Centre in the spring of 1978, and was sent to a boarding house in the Parkdale area of Toronto, a routine referral. I quote:

"In the next few months, there were four fires at the King Street West house. Caught and convicted of arson, the man was sentenced to 18 months in jail. When he was released before the 18 months were over the hospital referred him to Elizabeth Fortune's boarding house on Beaty Avenue. About two months later, gasoline in hand, he threatened to burn it down. 'I had no idea that he was an arsonist,' Mrs. Fortune said in an interview. She sent him back to the hospital. It was October 1979. Within a day or two, the hospital referred him to another boarding house.

"Carmen Carter, who owns the house at 103 Tyndall Ave., was told nothing about the past arson. Three weeks later, a blackened shell was all that remained of her brand new Volvo automobile. The episode left her bitter and she stopped taking patients from Queen Street. 'I live here and I just do not need the aggravation,' she said in an interview.

"The Ministry of Health, to which the Queen Street officials answer, will not allow officials of either the hospital or the ministry to be interviewed."

I could go on and on. This instance, which I am sure the minister is familiar with, was of a patient who had committed a series of arsons.

The account in the Globe and Mail of July 28 indicates many other times when this same patient was discharged into rooming houses that had no history of his background. And again, more fires were set and there was no follow-up.

Frankly, I think that from the point of view of someone who professes to be the Minister of Health this minister is not only not responding to the health needs of the general population at large but is actually adding to the stresses of an already troubled psychiatric community or ex-psychiatric community, which has to go out and try and make it in the working world.

The minister knows these people are subject to stresses under the best of circumstances, yet he has just put them out on the streets with no alternative but to return to some of the kinds of problems that put them in the psychiatric institution in the first place.

I would like to talk a little about paramedics, another service I am sure the minister holds near and dear to his heart. This subject has been raised in this House many times, and I am sure the minister will try to put upon me the fact that I have a very personal interest in this issue. Yes, I do have a very personal interest.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: So do I.

Ms. Copps: If the minister does have a personal interest I wish he would do something about it, because at the time he is studying it and pilot-projecting it we have been asking, not only in this party but in the community, for paramedic services for many years.

There are people now in the ambulance service who are prepared to administer the kind of responsibilities that are already administered in Seattle, Washington, and if the minister were prepared to act, those paramedics have already been trained in the area.

It has actually been brought to my attention in the last week that his ministry hired an ambulance driver through GO Temp. If he does not consider that a total rejection of his responsibilities as the Minister of Health I do not know what else he can do. The fact is the minister has not acted on an urgent call by all the people in this province to bring in extensive paramedic care.

The member for Wentworth talked about the kinds of things that create health problems and health risks. He talked about smoking and drinking and other things. It is interesting to note in today's Liquor Control Board of Ontario statement, however, that this province makes about four times the revenue of anyone else, including the liquor producers, for every bottle of liquor in this province. The government is certainly prepared to profit from it but at the same time they are not prepared to apply those profits to preventive medicine.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The costs of liquor are many times the profit, and you know it.

Ms. Copps: If the costs of preventive medicine are too high then do not have a member on that side of the House stand up and say the reason we cannot pump money into the health system is that people who smoke and drink bring it upon themselves.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: That's not what he said.

Ms. Copps: I heard him. I wrote down the words he used. He said: "The problems relating to health are attributable to smoking, attributable to drinking, attributable to lifestyle." Presumably, if the minister sees those as the problems he should be looking at the solution, and that is changing the lifestyle.

From my perspective and the perspective of this party, that is called preventive medicine. I do not know what the minister would like to call it. He might want to put another dollar-and-cent sign on it and say it is too expensive. But do not lay the blame back on the population by saying because they smoke and drink the government is going to adopt a user fee philosophy in the hospitals, because that is exactly what they are doing.

In view of the fact the minister went to the Ontario Hospital Association and started talking about cost-cutting measures and business approaches, the next step is clear, and in Hamilton it has already happened: we have hospitals that have been forced to go out into the charity sector to get money for capital costs for capital expenditures.

The member talked about computerized axial tomography scanners. In our community we raised the money for a CAT scanner, and we could not even get a commitment from the ministry as to whether or not it would fund its operation, so do not talk about CAT scanners.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: That was long ago.

Ms. Copps: That was in the last couple of years.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: That was given long ago, so don't distort the truth.

Ms. Copps: I am not distorting the truth. The fact is we were prepared to go out in the community and raise the money for a CAT scanner. The minister would not even fund the operation. So he should not stand up in the House and talk about how this government is bringing in CAT scanners and this government is doing all these tremendous things.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: You don't know what you are talking about.

Ms. Copps: I certainly do know what I am talking about. If the minister is interested in knowing, why does he not call Paul Drage, who is the alderman in Hamilton who is very familiar with the CAT scanner situation, and he will give him the full story on the whole situation regarding CAT scanners and how this government has again abdicated its responsibilities.

5 p.m.

I would like to refer back to the notion of user fees. The minister has certainly been easing our population into the notion of user fees in a very gentle, albeit sneaky, way.

In the last couple of weeks the minister has also stated that he will now give hospitals the responsibility for reordering the number of semi-private and private beds in a hospital. If the hospital is going to reorder the number of private and semi-private beds in such a way that there are no longer ward beds available, whose responsibility will that be? Who will be picking up the tab for so-called elective surgery when people cannot get beds in wards because hospitals, out of financial necessity, are forced to move into private and semi-private accommodation.

The minister is shaking his head. That is a fact.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: That is silly. You don't know what you're talking about so don't be so silly. You are just being plain silly. That's why people turn off you.

Ms. Copps: The minister is the one who is silly. I am sorry, but the minister obviously has not been in a hospital recently. If he thinks the situation in hospitals in this province is silly, then he has not been into the hospitals and seen the kind of pressure on cutbacks and job loads that the staff is suffering. I think they are doing as much as they can under the circumstances but certainly this government has reneged on its commitment to universal accessibility to health care.

If the minister talks about changing the quota of private and semi-private beds and doing away with ward beds in order to have private and semi-private beds that will bring in revenue and he will not restrict the amount of revenue charged in hospitals vis-à-vis private or semi-private beds, whose responsibility is that? If there are not enough ward beds to service the people, who is going to take the rap? Is the minister going to dump it on the hospitals as he has tried to do in the past?

The government is taking the same tack with hospitals as it has with universities over the last few years. It has squeezed them until they are bone dry, it has cut through the flesh and is now hitting bone. Then it turns around and says to the hospitals, "It is your responsibility to set the ratio of ward, private and semi-private beds.

Take a look at the minister's approach to the Toronto East General Hospital situation. That was a single hospital with some administrative problems, but instead of moving in and dealing with that hospital, as he has refused to deal with the Queen Street Mental Health Centre problem that has been brought to his attention in this House on numerous occasions, and it finally took the death of an individual before he promised he would investigate --

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: We started eight months ago.

Ms. Copps: I realize the minister is waiting for Peat Marwick. He has all kinds of studies, I believe, and I think the people on this side of the House would agree, that if the minister wants to study Queen Street, he can study it to death; but if he wants the facts, why does he not read the Globe and Mail editorials, or talk to people who live in the community or to the psychiatric patients who were forced to come down to this House and stay in a tent last spring because the minister would not respond to their demands? I think it is a disgrace for a man who calls himself the Minister of Health to allow those atrocities to go on.

Let us get back to the situation at the Toronto East General. Rather than dealing with an individual situation and an individual problem, the minister thought it incumbent upon himself to move in and develop legislation that would allow the takeover of every hospital in Ontario. Talk about over-reacting. The minister could have introduced individual legislation to deal with the specific problem. Instead of concentrating his efforts on other areas such as Queen Street Mental Health Centre, the Hamilton east end hospital, paramedics and user fees, the minister chose to bring in all-encompassing legislation whereby he would simply take a mandate to step into any hospital in this province.

It is interesting that at the same time as he is developing this mandate for himself, the minister goes to the Ontario Hospital Association and tells them that it is going to be their responsibility to develop budget-cutting procedures that will allow them to survive in the 1980s. It is their responsibility to develop innovative, charitable forays into the community so they can survive.

Frankly, I did not think we would ever see the day when this province would consider that its health care was a charitable cause.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Who said that?

Ms. Copps: I thought health care was supposed to be universally accessible to all people.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Who said that?

Ms. Copps: That is not my term.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: It is your term.

Ms. Copps: That is the term the minister himself insinuated when he said hospitals are going to have to go out into the community and develop other funding sources. I do not know where the minister thinks they are going to go. I know most communities love to contribute charitably. I and my colleagues contribute charitably. We give to the United Way, the Canadian Cancer Society and the Heart Fund.

The moneys these people are going to be able to raise for other foundations are going to be diverted from other charitable institutions. The pot, as the minister knows, can only be spread so thin. For the minister to suggest we should be moving into this kind of user-pay, charitable-status situation for our hospitals is a disgrace.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I didn't say that and you know it.

Ms. Copps: That is the impression that has gone out to the public. If the minister did not say that, I would like him to stand up right now and tell this House that the notion of user fees, in any way, shape or form, is unacceptable to his government; that he will not allow any jockeying of semi-private and private beds in an effort to inflate revenues for hospitals, and that he will move in and start increasing hospital budgets at least to the rate of inflation so they can carry on a level of service we have not seen for many years.

I would like him to tell us that he will move in with a true commitment to health care in this province -- a commitment to helping not only those of us who will go in for short-term stays, not only those of us who may have so-called elective surgery, but also those people who are in the chronic care situation, as was discussed by my colleagues the member for Erie and the member for Niagara Falls.

I would like him to tell us he will move in to clear up the chronic-care-bed problem and to help those unfortunate individuals who have been deinstitutionalized with no other recourse. They have been basically thrown out on the streets with no support systems and no backups. The minister stands in the House and says he is waiting for a study from Peat Marwick.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: What would you do? Act without any plan?

Ms. Copps: If he has been Minister of Health for as long as he has been, and he and his ministry do not have a plan for dealing with the deinstitutionalization, can I ask him why did he go ahead with his deinstitutionalization plan with no follow-up? Is he so shortsighted that he thought he would send them out on the streets and see what happened? That is exactly the situation, as he has stated today. He did not have a plan. It is those poor ex-psychiatric patients who are now paying for it, not only in Toronto but across the province.

If the minister does not have a plan, it is about time he got those people together in his ministry who are being paid to develop future health policies, dropped the Band-Aid approach he has adopted to date for health care, dropped this hammer-heavy approach he used in the Toronto East General Hospital situation, and started responding to some of the true problems raised by the Ottawa Citizen, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and the Hamilton Spectator.

It is not the member for Hamilton Centre who is raising these issues; it is the people of this province who see a health care system that is deteriorating and a minister who admitted today in the House that he has no plan --

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Nobody asked me questions.

Ms. Copps: The minister was asked why he did not do something with these deinstitutionalized patients. I said he was waiting for Peat Marwick and he said, "What would you do? Would you have me proceed without a plan?" In my reading of it, it is the minister admitting he has no plan for deinstitutionalization of patients.

He came in with a tremendous fanfare at the time that he was going to deinstitutionalize. These people were going to be reintegrated into the community --

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: You don't know what you are saying. You keep quoting speeches I never made.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Ms. Copps: The speeches I am quoting are not speeches, as a matter of fact. If the minister had been listening, the only speech of his I quoted from was when he said he knew he would never be right again once he took over the ministry. That is probably the only thing I have quoted from him. It is probably the only thing he has ever got right in terms of his ministry.

I am actually quoting from the fine writers of the Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen and the Toronto Star. If he has questions about their validity and veracity, I would suggest he address a letter to the editor, because the message that is getting out to the people of this province is that not only this ministry but three other ministries specifically involved with the treatment of ex-psychiatric patients do not have a handle on what is happening.

We have a province that is very fearful in terms of the whole opting-out provisions of the Ontario health insurance plan. We have a province that sees the health care system eroding, and we would certainly ask the minister to do something about it. That is why we have to support this motion.

5:10 p.m.

Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, the no-confidence motion that my leader has moved this afternoon has four parts to it. We talk about broken promises; we talk about profit-motivated health care; we talk about discriminatory hospital services, and we talk about breaking federal-provincial agreements. If I have time, I would like to deal, at least quickly, with each of those points.

Let me start with the broken promises. Where is Bramptonocchio, by the way? Where is the Pinocchio of Ontario politics during this debate? Where is the man who said on the Monday, and let me quote the headline from the Toronto Star again, "Davis rules out user fees for hospital beds"? Where is the man who said, "For the present, despite press reports, we have rejected new user fees for hospitals as a revenue-producing step"? The background to that statement was the threat by the Premier's own Minister of Health to impose "modest user fees."

Mr. Bradley: It was all orchestrated.

Mr. McClellan: Of course it was orchestrated. The minister said in his Ottawa Kiwanis speech on September 11, "Beyond controls, we may have to contemplate raising additional funds from within the system itself, including employing modest user charges as already developed in some other provinces."

Then, having set that stage, the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) started running around Ontario saying, "Cutbacks are coming. Cutbacks are coming from Ottawa. We have only three options: we have to raise taxes, we have to cut services, or we have to impose user charges." He made that speech all over the place.

Then the rumour started to come out of the Ministry of Health that they were going to impose user charges of $4 a day in standard wards. Then our hero from Brampton, Bramptonocchio, came to the Ontario Hospital Association convention and said, "Oh no, there will be no user charges."

Of course, we should be grateful because we do not have $4-a-day hospital user charges on our wards. Instead, we have what the minister announced 48 hours later, breaking the Premier's promise not to impose the user charge, which is that the ceiling would be taken off private and semi-private beds, and hospitals would be free to convert ward beds into semi-private and private beds. They were then instructed to solve their operating-deficit problems through the sale of those converted private and semi-private beds.

Just in case we are confused about what a user charge is, let me quote from the Ontario Council of Health's 1979 report on user charges. "The phrase 'user charge' includes such synonyms as deductibles, balanced billing, utilization fees, authorized patient charges, medical-fee extra billing, participation fees, co-insurance charges or deterrent charges." What the Minister of Health was talking about on Wednesday when he made his speech was user fees, and there is no other way to put it. The promise was shredded within 48 hours.

I would say again that one of the most unsettling things that I have seen since I have been elected is that the Premier would say deliberately on a Monday what he knew his Minister of Health was going to repudiate within 48 hours.

The second point is the profit-motivated health care, which the parliamentary assistant was trying to wish away. Well, I am sorry, but the profit-motivated health care is the very guts of the Minister of Health's speech to the Ontario Hospital Association on December 2.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Where do you read "profit"?

Mr. McClellan: I am going to read it right now. The minister said we have to have a bottom line; he said we have to borrow from the private sector. On page four he said: "We are in the business of health. The 'product' we are working to create is the best possible quality of care for the citizens of Ontario." Then he talked about the four elements of his new system.

First, there is the retention of net earnings by hospitals. I must be really unsophisticated. I would have thought that meant profit. Does the retention of net earnings not mean profit? Would the minister not say, as a businessman, the retention of net earnings means profit? Would he not consider talking about new opportunities for maximizing revenues to be somehow talking about a commodity he has to sell -- gross sales? We are talking about the sale of hospital beds to sick people, and we are talking about letting hospitals keep the profit from those sales. That is what the minister said. That is what the concept is all about.

This would put an end to the hospital deficit. If a hospital wants to avoid having an operating deficit, the Minister of Health is saying: "Okay, here is how you do it. You convert ward beds to private and semi-private beds. You set the price according to what the traffic will bear. You sell those beds to sick people and we will let you keep 100 per cent of the revenue or the profit." That is what the new policy is all about. There is no nice way of disguising it. That is simply what the new policy is all about.

In the resolution we talk about "discriminatory hospital services." What we mean is that the Minister of Health is imposing a two-tier class system on our health care system in Ontario. That process is already well under way. I will talk about that, but I want to talk for a second about the effects of the new policy with respect to private and semi-private beds. There are two obvious effects that place patients who are limited to medicare coverage at a competitive disadvantage with patients who have the luxury, the means, the wealth to be able to afford private or semi-private coverage.

Firstly, there is the matter of elective surgery. There is tremendous pressure being placed on our hospitals by this new policy, the pressure of no more deficit. They have to raise the revenue themselves. They have to sell their beds, among other things, to meet their operating deficit. The reality is that when it comes to a choice between a patient who requires elective surgery and can pay private or semi-private, and a patient who requires elective surgery and is covered by medicare and nothing above medicare, there is a competitive disadvantage; there is a pressure on the hospital, a structural pressure on the hospital to choose the wealthy patient over the medicare patient. That is two-class medicine.

The second obvious illustration of the two-tier system that comes to mind immediately is what happens this summer when we go through the regular round of summer bed closures and we have patients in emergency corridors waiting for a hospital bed. The Premier said, "Oh, they will all be chosen on the basis of medical necessity and medical emergency." Does the Premier not think somebody who is waiting in the corridor of an emergency ward for a hospital bed has anything other than an emergency? They all have emergencies; they all have urgent medical necessities. That is why they are waiting in a corridor in the first place.

How will the hospital choose which one to admit first, all things being equal? All things being equal in the case of elective surgery, the pressure is on the hospital to choose the patient who can pay more money. I say that setting up a structure in which hospitals are faced with the dilemma of choosing between richer and poorer patients on the one hand or incurring operating deficits on the other is an obscenity and a fundamental violation of the principles of medicare and of universal access.

5:20 p.m.

Mr. Laughren: I'm surprised the minister didn't have an auction.

Mr. McClellan: And how are they going to set the price for the beds, speaking of auctions? Are they going to charge what the traffic will bear, and base the prices on the going rate in a hotel or motel in the town? I think it is an incredibly dangerous adventure the Minister of Health has launched us on.

When we talk about discriminatory hospital services, as I said a moment ago, we are already well down that road. Extra billing is a form of discrimination. We know from the Wolfson study that extra billing is a regional phenomenon. It affects some communities worse than others; it affects some neighbourhoods worse than others. We know that almost a quarter, 24 per cent, of our specialists in Ontario have opted out of medicare, and many communities have no access to specialist services within the insurance plan. That is a discrimination between those who can pay and those who cannot pay. There is no nice way of putting it: that is two-class medicine.

The Minister of Health allows opted-out doctors to send their charity medicare patients to the hospital, and if they are seen by an opted-out doctor in the hospital the bill can go directly to the Ontario health insurance plan. So what is happening, according to Professor Wolfson, is that opted-out doctors are seeing their wealthy patients in their offices and their charity medicare patients in the hospital clinic. They have the best of both worlds. That is called two-class medicine in Ontario.

They also have the discrimination of cutbacks, the barrier of cutbacks. This is a regional phenomenon. The cutbacks fall unevenly on different communities and on different categories of people. Since March 31, 1979, there has been a net reduction in Ontario of 335 beds. I believe my calculator does not lie. I am using the minister's figures. I added them up twice on my little pocket calculator, and from March 31, 1979, to August 31, 1981, the number of beds has declined from 90,517 to 90,182, for a net loss of 335 beds across the province.

In some communities there has been a serious reduction in the number of active treatment beds in our hospitals. In other communities we have emergency situations with respect to the lack of long-term-care beds, chronic care beds or extended care beds in nursing homes or homes for the aged.

We had a coroner's inquest a few days ago into the death of a Mr. McCaughey at the Beverley private hospital. It is an unpleasant thing to have to say, but it illustrates in the most severe and extreme way what I am talking about when I speak of discriminatory services. It was the luck of the draw that got that poor man into that bad hospital because of the absence of long-term beds in Metropolitan Toronto. It was his bad luck and misfortune, in the absence of a co-ordinated placement service system in Toronto and in the absence of a sufficient number of quality long-term-care beds, to get a placement in the Beverley private hospital.

That was his personal tragedy and also a reflection, in the most extreme way, of the kind of discrimination I am talking about. Other people in his situation, all things being equal, will end up in a first-class facility. That poor man did not have that luck and that poor man is dead.

The minister makes promises about more and more beds, and those promises turn out to be ephemeral. The minister promises he has approved 1,000 nursing home beds. He said last week in the Legislature, "Mr. Speaker, we have added 1,000 nursing home beds to the system." I asked him how many of those 1,000 beds are in place, and, since he knew I knew, he said "223." Then he got mad when I was sarcastic with him.

The minister is the one playing a game; he is the one trying to pretend he has beds that are not there. He tries to take credit for beds he does not have. He makes speeches where he claims he has 6,800 new beds he does not have. He claims he has put 650 new chronic care beds in Metropolitan Toronto, and when we look at that, we find a lot of those beds are simply transfers from one institution to another but the minister claims they are new beds. He closes 100 beds here, reopens them there, and says he has added 100 beds to the system.

The result is that the shortage of beds continues, the discriminations continue, the tragedies continue. I do not have time -- I have less than a minute left -- even to begin to talk about Queen Street Mental Health Centre, the provincial mental health centre for working-class people.

Mr. Gordon: You put your foot so far in your mouth already that you can hardly get it out.

Mr. McClellan: What is your problem? You think things are fine at Queen Street, do you?

Mr. Gordon: You have got a big foot.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr. McClellan: Let me just finish with the comment of the president of the medical staff at Queen Street. He has described that hospital, and I will simply conclude on this note. He says the loss of psychiatrists that that service needs is now approaching the equivalent of one of the geographical service's total psychiatric staffs, in other words, 25 per cent. He says the result of the loss in medical staffing is to turn Queen Street Mental Health Centre into an impotent, typical second-class custodial-care facility, in which treatment of patients will have no meaning at all.

That is not a comment from an opposition politician, that is a comment from the president of the medical staff of a provincial psychiatric hospital in Ontario, dated October 22, 1981. That is second-class care, Mr. Speaker, and that is what this debate is all about, and that is what the record of this Minister of Health is all about.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I believe I have about two minutes. I just want to touch upon one point in this debate, because it does concern me a great deal, not only as the former health critic of the official opposition but also as a member for an eastern Ontario constituency.

One of the observations that has been conveyed to me by a goodly number of the citizenry and health care providers in Renfrew county is that over the past 10 years the public health care system has eliminated many of the economic barriers that were in place, as a result of the marketplace economy that was dictating much of the delivery of health care services in my part of the province prior to 1957, when the hospital insurance program began to take effect, and 1968 with the Medical Amendment Act.

I see it as the greatest achievement of the public presence in this very vital sector that the ghettos of the province and the country have been largely eliminated. These were ghettos where, quite frankly, the local communities were just not able to afford to fund to the same degree as were other parts of the country and the province more blessed by economic circumstance. So a very fractured two-tier system developed. This government and other governments undertook -- for whatever reasons; not all of them positive if some of the literature is to be believed -- to eliminate those uneven standards, to remove the ghettos, to recognize that the marketplace was simply not at all effective, or a profit determinant, in this vital area of our public policy.

When I realize that in 1981 we are returning to a system and to a determinant that was clearly demonstrated 25 years ago as ineffective, if not bankrupt, I am deeply saddened, not only for the province as a whole but in particular for my part of the province where these kinds of major public policies and programs have had a significant beneficial effect, an effect I believe will be seriously eroded by the kind of policy outlined by the government at the recent hospital convention.

5:30 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, I am pleased in the last 18 or 19 minutes that are left of this debate to take part and to respond to some of the points made in the course of the afternoon.

I must first of all thank my colleagues on this side, the member for Sudbury, who is my parliamentary assistant, and the member for Wentworth for their participation. I was pleased that the member for Sudbury chose to deal with the wording of the resolution and to show how shallow it is and how it is in no way, shape or form based on the true facts of the health care system as it has developed, as it is and as it is planned to be in this province.

I was pleased that the member for Wentworth dealt with his particular area, because in his area, as in all areas of the province over recent years, we have seen a number of changes for the good in the delivery of health care. He might have added to the list of things the member for Hamilton Centre apparently was not prepared to acknowledge, such things as the McMaster University Medical Centre, which to this day remains one of the most modern facilities of its kind on the continent.

He did touch on the fact that we have approved the rebuilding of the Hamilton General Hospital. I would have hoped that the member for Hamilton Centre might have given some acknowledgement of the fact that additional chronic beds have in fact been approved and put into place in Hamilton, along with 100 nursing home beds which have recently been approved. She might have talked about the recent changes at St. Joseph's Hospital and the Fontbonne, the opening of which the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie) and the member for Wentworth attended. I assume she was invited but unfortunately could not be there.

I might just take a minute to deal with a couple of the items raised opposite. I was disturbed that the members opposite would not first of all recognize that what the Premier said a week ago Monday was that there would be no new user fees. In fact, the quote that the member for Bellwoods used from the 1979 report of the Ontario Council of Health emphasizes and proves the Premier's point. What I had to say to the hospitals Wednesday, among other things, was quite consistent with and in no way wavering from what my leader, the leader of the government, had said a couple of days before.

I was interested that the member for Etobicoke, who has since left the chamber, really emphasized my point about beds when he pointed out, as a member of the board of the Etobicoke General Hospital, that at this time, that hospital regularly uses beds designated as private or semi-private for people who have standard OHIP coverage. In fact, that was the point I was making in the House last week. I will not get into reciting yet again the parts of the Public Hospitals Act and the Health Insurance Act that create a legal responsibility to ensure that is done, but in fact that is the practice of the hospitals.

I am sure he did not intend to, but the member also makes my point that the hospitals of the province will, I believe, make very slow and very small changes in the numbers of beds designated as semi-private or private. No matter what changes they make, the fact is that admission will always be on medical need, and whichever bed is available -- whatever or however it is labelled -- will be used. If the person in the future, as at present and as in the past, if the person does not have the --

Mr. Philip: Where does it bring extra bucks to the hospital?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Apparently that member is not interested.

If a person does not have third party insurance, he will not be charged. Again I might make the further point that persons admitted to a private room for medical reasons who do not have insurance will not be charged.

Considering the wording of the resolution and the speeches that have been made by members of the third party, I am amazed they did not compare Ontario with Saskatchewan, their Canadian nirvana. In Saskatchewan they have many user fees; in fact they have fees even we do not have. On July 1 of this year, Saskatchewan introduced fees for nursing home and chronic care that roughly equate to the system we have had in Ontario for many years. In Saskatchewan they have a copayment or user fee for their drug plan. We do not have that in Ontario. They do not even have an organized provincial ambulance system. If that is not a user fee through neglect, I do not know what is.

As I look around the chamber, and having heard this talk about cutbacks and the lack of momentum in the system, I might just mention any number of new programs and new facilities that I have been a part of in the last year or 18 months. When I look at the member for Renfrew North, I am reminded of the new facilities in Pembroke, the new nursing home and the home for the aged that has recently been rebuilt. I am reminded of the 60 additional nursing home beds in Arnprior.

When I look around and see my colleague the member for Sudbury East and some of the northern members, I am reminded of the significant changes that have been made this year. The Minister of Northern Affairs (Mr. Bernier) has been involved with the dedication of two helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft for northern Ontario for air ambulance services.

I might mention the approval several weeks ago of the contracts valued at more than $20 million to rebuild the Hotel Dieu Hospital in Kingston.

The member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk reminded me of the rationalization agreement in Brant county that has resulted in the Willett Hospital at Harris in the great riding of Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, which has been given the approval to proceed on some significant capital renovations.

I might mention the new cancer clinic at Sunnybrook Medical Centre that has recently been completed and put into service.

I am sorry the member for Quinte is not here. I might mention several changes in programs at the Belleville General Hospital this year and in recent years: nuclear medicine, expanded ambulatory care, additional chronic beds.

I might refer to the 50 additional chronic care beds that have been approved in Thunder Bay, 25 at McKelIar and 25 psychogeriatric beds at Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital.

If we look down University Avenue we find several new hospitals built in the 1970s and early 1980s, the most recent of which was the opening this year of the Eaton wing of Toronto General Hospital.

I might point out such things as the additional nursing home beds that have opened this year in Timmins, Haileybury, Lindsay, Essex county and Metropolitan Toronto. There are more to come. Beds have been approved for Halton and a number of other areas.

I might mention the new chronic care unit I opened in Penetanguishene in the spring of this year.

Perhaps we should talk about the 77-bed Ottawa regional rehab centre that we opened in the spring of this year. The facilities of the new Ottawa General Hospital, opened in 1980, are on the same site. The Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario opened in the 1970s and the new health sciences complex is due to open in 1982 in the Ottawa area. That is even before I talk about the 200 chronic care beds at the old Ottawa General Hospital which has now been renamed the Elizabeth Bruyere Centre.

5:40 p.m.

I might have talked about the new health unit buildings that opened this year in Stratford -- I mention that so we can have a little balance -- and in Timmins and Cornwall. I might have talked about the 75 new chronic care beds I opened this year at Cambridge. I might have talked about the recently completed renovations at St. Joseph's Hospital in London which, to be fair, the member for London North has acknowledged are good changes, much needed and being well used. I might have talked about the critical care unit at Sudbury Memorial Hospital.

The list goes on and on. There are the McCausland Hospital, which my friend the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) opened last year at Terrace Bay, and the changes that have been made with respect to the north shore hospitals over the last couple of years in regard to laboratory services, radiology, et cetera.

Because time will not permit, I will not go into the whole list but it is extensive. Virtually every one of the items I have mentioned, and it is by no means an all-inclusive list, is from this year alone.

Some hon. members: More, more.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: They want to hear some more. I might talk about the new chronic beds at Almonte General Hospital. I might talk about some of the changes being made with respect to the hospitals in Windsor. The list goes on.

Obviously, anything but cutbacks is the order of the day. My friend the member for Sudbury told us the spending in my ministry has gone up by about 68 per cent since I became minister. By the end of the fiscal year, with the additional money that I told the hospitals was going to be applied to their phase two budgets, the increase from the time I became minister to the end of this fiscal year will exceed 70 per cent. That is in five fiscal years.

I might go further and tell the House the increase in the last fiscal year, with the additional money that is going toward phase two budgets, will exceed 40 per cent in two fiscal years alone for the hospitals in the province. That is not what I call cutbacks; that is not what any sane person could possibly call starving or anything akin to that.

In my time as Minister of Health I have heard only three specific suggestions of cuts in health care and I might take them in order. In 1977, with all due respect to my friend the member for Brant-Oxford-Norfolk, he suggested we should cut our spending on psychotherapy. He may recall that meeting of the standing committee on public accounts in 1977 where it was suggested we were spending too much on psychotherapy. In other words, we were helping people with their mental illnesses too much through the health plan. Obviously, even the Toronto Star, which the member for Ottawa Centre quoted at such liberty and length, shot that idea down.

Then in the spring of 1978 the new leader of the Liberal Party of Ontario suggested the spending of the Ministry of Health was greater than it should be and that my 1978-79 estimates should be cut by $50 million. I have never proposed such cuts. Nobody over here has said the approved budget of the ministry should be cut. It was the Leader of the Opposition who proposed my budget be cut by $50 million.

Then there was the interesting press conference, in 1979 I believe it was, when the leader of the third party said, "If only the minister would force health service organizations on every community in the province, we could cut hospital spending by 40 per cent." He was basing that on the evaluation of the Sault Ste. Marie clinic. My reaction was, did the member really mean we should let 40,000 of the 100,000 people who work in the hospital system go? Of course not; he was saying we could cut 40 per cent, but we should keep all the staff.

To deal briefly with the question of the agreement with the federal government, several members have tried to suggest our agreement with the federal government has somehow been abrogated by the actions taken by me in recent weeks as Minister of Health of this province. In an agreement signed on July 11, 1980, between the Queen in right of Canada and the Queen in right of Ontario, the federal government acknowledged, "except as may be approved from time to time by the Minister of Health of Ontario" --

Mr. Cureatz: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: I just want to point out to the Minister of Health that the Bowmanville Memorial Hospital is still waiting for its funding from his ministry.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I might point out to the member that he has recently had 40 nursing home beds approved for the region of Durham, which of course will serve his constituents very well.

I will not take the time to finish the quotes, but the agreement with the federal government very clearly provides that the Minister of Health of Ontario may do exactly what I indicated last week was the case. When it comes right down to it, the arguments that were made in this chamber really do not carry much weight with the people of Ontario. The test for them is in the use of the system. The people of the province know -- and every poll that has been done in recent years has confirmed this --


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: The people of Ontario know that the medicare system in this province is in fact universal, is in fact accessible and is not a two-class system. We are not now, or at any time in the future, going to go to the kind of system that even today exists in the United States. They know that, if anything, what we have in Ontario, even what we call standard coverage, is in any other country, even in the United States today, above average or luxury coverage.

The security, which I would agree with the member for Ottawa Centre is so important to all of our people, is as great today as it has ever been, and it will be respected and maintained throughout the years to come by the actions of this government.


Mr. Speaker: Order. Is there an agreement to hold the vote before 5:50 p.m.?

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, it was my understanding that I had only so many minutes, as did the other members, and that I had used that. I have a supplementary list of things I might use --

Mr. Speaker: No, I think --

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: I did not even touch on Peterborough and the great things that have been done there.


Mr. Speaker: Just a minute. Order.

Under the standing orders the vote is to be taken at 10 minutes to six. I am asking if there has been an agreement among the parties that the vote will be held before that time?

Mr. Cassidy: Ring the bells for seven minutes.


Mr. Speaker: Not before the vote.


Mr. Speaker: I beg your pardon?

Mr. Martel: There is no agreement.

Mr. Speaker: Then we will wait until 10 minutes to six.

Mr. Cassidy: But the bells have got to ring, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker: I understand that.

Hon. Mr. Timbrell: Mr. Speaker, might I --

Mr. Speaker: No, I think the debate is finished.


Mr. Speaker: I cannot. The standing orders say 10 minutes to six o'clock.

5:55 p.m.

The House divided on Mr. Cassidy's motion of resolution 46, which was negatived on the following vote:


Boudria, Bradley, Breaugh, Bryden, Cassidy, Charlton, Conway, Cooke, Copps, Cunningham, Di Santo, Eakins, Edighoffer, Elston, Epp, Foulds, Grande, Haggerty, Johnston, R. F., Kerrio, Laughren, Lupusella, MacDonald, Mackenzie;

Martel, McClellan, McEwen, McGuigan, McKessock, Miller, G. I., Newman, Nixon, O'Neil, Philip, Reid, T. P., Renwick, Riddell, Ruprecht, Ruston, Samis, Smith, Spensieri, Stokes, Van Horne, Wildman, Worton.


Andrewes, Ashe, Baetz, Barlow, Bennett, Bernier, Birch, Brandt, Cousens, Cureatz, Davis, Dean, Drea, Eaton, Elgie, Eves, Fish, Gillies, Gordon, Gregory, Grossman, Harris, Havrot, Henderson, Hennessy, Hodgson, Johnson, J. M., Kells, Kennedy, Kerr, Kolyn, Lane, Leluk, MacQuarrie, McCaffrey;

McCague, McLean, McMurtry, McNeil, Miller, F. S., Mitchell, Norton, Piché, Pollock, Ramsay, Robinson, Rotenberg, Runciman, Scrivener, Shymko, Snow, Sterling, Stevenson, K. R., Taylor, G. W., Taylor, J. A., Timbrell, Treleaven, Villeneuve, Walker, Watson, Welch, Wells, Williams, Wiseman, Yakabuski.

Ayes 46; nays 65.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, just before you call the recess, it has been agreed that if any recorded votes are required on committee stacked votes or second readings, they will be held at 10:15 p.m. tonight. We will start with the twenty-first order at eight o'clock.

The House recessed at 6:02 p.m.