32nd Parliament, 1st Session
































The House met at 10 a.m.




Hon. Mr. Snow: Mr. Speaker, in August of this year Transport Canada released its Proposed Domestic Air Carrier Policy paper with the intent of laying out guidelines for scheduled air carriers, guidelines which could seriously impact on the development of the industry over the next five to 10 years. Following the release, Transport Canada Minister Jean-Luc Pepin formally requested a response from this government and other provincial jurisdictions as well as the carriers themselves. Today I would like to take a very few minutes to brief the House on Ontario's position vis-à-vis the federal policy proposals.

To begin with, we find the proposal too restrictive. It does not allow the carriers sufficient flexibility to adjust effectively to changes in market demands or economic conditions. By the same token the Canadian Transport Commission's air transport committee would not be granted enough flexibility in assessing air carrier applications. In short, rather than acting as an intended blueprint for future development of this vital industry, the proposed policy is a statement of the status quo with a few added restrictions.

Ontario recommends a much less restrictive policy. And while we would clearly define the separate and primary functions of national, regional and local carriers, we would not necessarily preclude them from offering other services, as proposed in Transport Canada's policy.

As well, the federal proposal restricts local carriers from using jet equipment. This, in our view, would impede rather than stimulate any development in the air carrier industry. Furthermore Ontario strongly opposes limiting national carriers to the present two and regional carriers to the present four. The policy must reflect and recognize the various economic regions within Canada and each region should be permitted to develop its own regional carrier.

In addition, regional carriers should not be restricted to a maximum of 800 miles, or 1,300 kilometres, for nonstop flights, which is another new restriction proposed by Transport Canada.

Finally, it is obviously a one-sided policy that continues to prohibit charter-only carriers such as Wardair from entering the unit toll market on the one hand, while on the other hand scheduled carriers are permitted to continue their penetration of the charter carriers' market. Surely this is unfair. Air carriers should be allowed to compete equally in the marketplace.

After careful consideration and deliberation, my ministry has prepared a detailed response to the proposal. In this document I am tabling here today are this government's recommended changes to Transport Canada's Proposed Domestic Air Carrier Policy statement. I table with the clerk today copies of that statement.


Mr. Nixon: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I do not want to put you on the spot, sir, when Mr. Speaker himself is not in the chair, but I thought while the Minister of Culture and Recreation (Mr. Baetz) is in the House he might respond to the point of order put forward by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Smith) on Wednesday. It was an objection raised as a point of privilege that the minister had made available to the members of the Progressive Conservative caucus information about grants pertaining to the Wintario funds rather than making it available to all honourable members.

Mr. Speaker indicated it was not his job to direct the minister as to his responsibility, but you will recall, sir, the minister had told the House that no such information was made available. As a matter of fact, his words were, "It is locked up in the computer." There is every indication that answer was less than complete, since it appears that members of the Progressive Conservative caucus were in a position to phone the media in their own and nearby communities to release the information about the grants before it ever came out of the famous computer lockup. There is a further indication this was co-ordinated by at least some members of the Progressive Conservative caucus and its staff as well.

If there is a point of privilege that was not responded to, and I believe there is, it is the variance in the information given to the House by the minister. He said one day the information was not available and was locked up in the computer and the next day it became evident that just the opposite was the case. Perhaps the minister can clarify this matter. Otherwise, Mr. Speaker, I believe it is your responsibility to decide where the truth lies.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Cousens): Would the Minister of Culture and Recreation care to respond to that point of order?

Hon. Mr. Baetz: Mr. Speaker, if you would give me a few minutes I would like to set in context this whole question of how we announced this Wintario grants program. As I mentioned a few days ago in the House, this is the first time we have made an announcement on a batch of projects -- 608 projects to be exact, costing some $40 million. Up until this time, we had been making these project announcements one by one. So when we got to this position of making the announcement public, we had three choices to make.

10:10 a.m.

One was for me to go out to the ridings or to my regional offices and call a press conference, make the announcement and give out the list of the projects in that area and so on. I could do this methodically right across the province, and exclude private members from any such a program.

Another alternative would have been, I guess, to take a leaf out of the federal Liberal Party's book and ask my ministerial colleagues to make the announcement on my behalf in their various areas. That is a procedure followed by the federal Liberals quite frequently, and it is quite appropriate -- nothing unethical about it. It annoys the opposition but it is done. I could have gone to my various ministerial colleagues and asked them to announce these projects on my behalf. It could have been done that way.

The third way, which we followed -- and it was deliberate -- was to extend a courtesy to all members of this House and give them the opportunity to make these announcements. This is exactly the course we followed. I said at the time I would give the members over there the same courtesy as the members over here get. The way to do that was to get the letters of approval into the members' hands early enough so they could tell the projects in their ridings there was good news coming. The members could be the bearers of good news. They could go to the press and say, "Here are good things coming." That was a courtesy I wanted to extend to the members over there and to the members over here. That is exactly what has happened.

It is interesting that I have received a number of communiqués. Here is one from the Liberal Party, from the member for Prescott-Russell (Mr. Boudria), who has done a fine job of announcing in his riding the projects being approved there, and it has gone to the press. It has worked. It was a courtesy extended to all members of the House and the members on the opposite side had their information in time to do exactly that. Instead of sitting and complaining I would have thought they would have thanked us for the courtesy extended, which they did not.

Mr. Nixon: Point of order, Mr. Speaker: The minister has indicated it is government policy to make this whole thing into a pork-barrel -- that is, allow his colleagues to announce it first. Frankly, I for one have no real objection to that. The question is this: Why did he tell us one day it was being kept secret while at the very same time the information was being made available to his colleagues in the Progressive Conservative caucus? That is the only question. I do not care whether he announces it himself or with his buddies. It makes no difference, because I do not believe the taxpayers respond to that kind of crap anyway. I do want to know why his statement to the House was seen, as events became public, to be less than complete, less than correct.

Mr. Cunningham: On a related point of privilege, Mr. Speaker, I would like to inquire why the announcements pertaining to my constituency bear the date of November 30, and were embargoed for our benefit until December 9. Is that the kind of courtesy the minister refers to?

The Acting Speaker: This has been dealt with. The Minister of Community and Social Services (Mr. Drea) has a statement.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, there is a breakdown in the copying machine. I wonder if we could revert later? I am waiting for a copy as a courtesy to the critic. It would be very unfair. I would like him to have it in his hands at the time.

The Acting Speaker: Is it agreed the Minister of Community and Social Services can make his statement after question period?

Mr. Cooke: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: I want to have it made clear that when the minister makes his statement it will not be after question period, because there will be questions on this statement.

The Acting Speaker: As soon as it is ready, we will give the minister the opportunity and add the time to question period.


Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: The Premier (Mr. Davis) is not here yet but I could raise it with some of his colleagues. I distinctly heard the Premier yesterday objecting to the misuse of taxpayers' money with respect to the Metro decision to have an advertising campaign against the decision on the Toronto Islands which will shortly be taken by this House.

I resent the suggestion the taxpayers of this community could have any impact on Metro Chairman Paul Godfrey since he is appointed rather than elected. I would suggest, if the government wants this to have a political impact on Metro Chairman Godfrey, it should make sure Mr. Godfrey is an elected member of the Metro council.



Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Energy. The minister will recall having stated in this House that Suncor sulphur dioxide emissions from the tar sands plant were in compliance with the laws and requirements of Alberta. Is the minister aware that from January 1 to April 30 of this year sulphur dioxide emissions from the Suncor plant exceeded the allowable limit 18 times? What will the Ontario government do to stop these violations now that it has an interest in Suncor?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, I think the short answer is we would expect that company to abide by and respect the laws of that jurisdiction.

Ms. Copps: Suncor is one of the companies cited by the Restrictive Trade Practices Commission for price fixing and has been criticized in the Alberta Legislature for abusing labour legislation on overtime. As a result of safety violations by Suncor a welder died at the tar sands plant and another worker died at a Sarnia refinery. Given all these, how will the government, as a partner in Suncor, improve Suncor's record as a corporate citizen?

Hon. Mr. Welch: I fail to see how that is supplementary to the main question dealing with air pollution. However, I think under the circumstances the answer which I gave to the main question would apply. We would expect the corporate citizen to abide by all the regulations, by not just the letter but the spirit of the law.

Ms. Copps: I am sorry the minister cannot see the connection. Obviously, he does not understand what corporate citizenship should be in this province.

I commend the minister's hope that Suncor will comply with the law and that the Ontario government will have some influence in improving its corporate behaviour. But in light of Mr. Hennigar's speech in Edmonton last week to the Chamber of Commerce that Ontario is merely a silent partner, how can the minister assure this House he will have any real influence on the behaviour of Suncor, a company in which this government holds a 25 per cent interest?

Hon. Mr. Welch: There are two ways to approach it. One, the government of Ontario at no time sought control of the company. The arrangements are just as we have discussed them in this House on several occasions. Two, as part of the preliminary agreement we have made it quite clear we would insist on full compliance with all rules and regulations with respect to the operation as far as this company is concerned.

Ms. Copps: Well then do something. Why don't you do something?

Hon. Mr. Welch: This minister understands what corporate citizenship is all about and we would expect this company to abide by the law in so far as all this is concerned.


Hon. Mr. Welch: No doubt the honourable member will want the delegates at the forthcoming convention to listen to her when she is speaking, in the same way the minister expects some courtesy from the questioner in listening to the answer when he is giving it.

Mr. Cassidy: A supplementary question, Mr. Speaker: What will Ontario do to ensure Suncor acts as a good corporate citizen given the company has made it clear that, in return for our $650 million and the purchase of 25 per cent, Ontario will only be a passive partner?

What kind of clout will the Ministry of Energy, the Ontario Energy Corporation or the government of Ontario have when they do not have control of the company? They cannot direct what Suncor does. The only way they can ensure it acts as a good corporate citizen within the boundaries of this province will be to use Ontario laws against the company where they do not have effective control.

10:20 a.m.

Hon. Mr. Welch: I have no reason to believe this corporate citizen will not abide by the spirit and the letter of the law.


Ms. Copps: I have a question for the Treasurer. We learned last week from the Premier that in determining the purchase price of Suncor we are not talking about paying a premium. I would like to draw the Treasurer's attention to two statements.

The first is on the second page of the McLeod Young Weir letter: "It was in reference to these parameters weighted by an estimate of expected earnings of Suncor and takeover premiums paid."

The second statement was made during our caucus briefing by Mr. Eric Schwitzer, vice- president of McLeod Young Weir, who said, "The block premium over the stock market value was in the order of 15 to 25 per cent."

We have established that a premium was paid for the Suncor shares. Given the fact that Suncor was not traded publicly, that it was dangled before numerous other buyers and there were no takers, would the Treasurer tell us why he did not get a discount on the purchase price instead of having to pay a premium?

Hon. F. S. Miller: The fact that one half of one per cent of the shares of that company are in the hands of people who are trading them would not give a market at any time that indicates real value. I think the member understands that. But even where companies are actively traded the member will find that in the spate of takeovers that have occurred in Canada and the United States in the last two or three years, almost always the price paid for a block of shares is greater than the market value of the shares being traded on the stock exchange.

This is due to a whole bunch of reasons. Very often the purchaser looks at the inherent value of the asset rather than the current earning power. He knows all those variables have to be factored in to any price. And he knows the price paid is not a premium -- I think the word "premium" is easily misused -- in the sense of being over and above what somebody else may be willing to pay on that day if the stock was traded. That is a big "if" when only one half of one percent is out there.

But knowing that, a 51 per cent block would probably go for a different price than a 25 per cent block; a 25 per cent block would go for a different price than a 10 per cent block, whether it was Suncor or Abitibi-Price, which was also just taken over.

Ms. Copps: The minister did not hear the statement from Mr. Schwitzer, the vice-president of the company, who stated very clearly that the block premium over the stock market value was in the order of 15 to 25 per cent. Why would the government pay a premium for something no one else even wanted to buy?

Hon. F. S. Miller: The latter part of that is untrue. It is not a question of other people not wanting to buy. Only time will tell how many do wish to.

Mr. Foulds: Supplementary: We know there was no consideration on the part of the government or the Treasurer to obtain 51 per cent of the assets. However I wonder if the Treasurer can tell us whether in any of the discussions leading up to the decision there was any recommendation either in the McLeod Young Weir report or in any other reports or evaluations by officials inside or outside his ministry -- including Tom Kierans -- that the government should go for 51 per cent? Because in terms of buying a block it might have been a better deal.

Hon. F. S. Miller: It would have meant just the opposite.

Mr. Foulds: I asked the minister if there was any recommendation.

Hon. F. S. Miller: There was no recommendation that I know of. There was discussion about the potential for other purchasers of that block because the real benefits of Canadianization do not flow to the corporation until it is purchased. For that reason we are very anxious to see other purchasers or another purchaser of that block. For that same reason there is some protection built into the deal to allow us to reconsider our position at certain points in the future.

Ms. Copps: Will the minister table in this House the names and the amounts of the offers to purchase from the other alleged interested parties?

Hon. F. S. Miller: No.

Ms. Copps: Why not?

The Acting Speaker: That was the final supplementary.


Mr. Cassidy: I have a new question for the Treasurer, Mr. Speaker. In the speech last week by Governor Bouey of the Bank of Canada and the treasury bill auction this week it was confirmed that the Bank of Canada is maintaining its high interest rate policy. The federal government also shows no indication it is prepared to change that high interest rate policy. In view of these facts, is it not now time for Ontario to follow the lead of Saskatchewan and Manitoba and take direct action to help those hard hit by these policies?

Should the government not move to help home owners who are threatened by foreclosures, to help tenants who are being evicted because of high rent increases due to the mortgage rates, and to help farmers who have gotten to such a point of desperation they are out in the streets in their tractors to protest what is happening to them?

Why is the government continuing to blame the feds? What action are they now prepared to take to protect people against the high interest rates?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, we are continuing to blame the feds, and I will be glad to do that on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday when Mr. MacEachen is here. I will do so because they are wrong, because they are supporting that interest rate, as the member just said, at unduly high levels.

The spread between American rates and Canadian rates on a 90-day basis -- in other words 90 days from now -- is as high as 500 or 600 basis points. This is a five to six per cent spread between Canadian rates and American rates, ours being higher. My staff tell me that one to 1.5 per cent would be a normal spread; the market would accommodate that. It is being kept higher by intervention by the Bank of Canada. Mr. Bouey firmly believes that is the right policy. We believe the right way to help those people the member talks about is really to get the rate down to where the market tells us it should be. In my opinion that would solve many of the problems that government intervention may only mix up.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: Is it not clear to the minister now that just to blame the feds like that and to go and make speeches at the finance ministers' conference will have all the impact the ministers were able to have at the meeting in Halifax a few weeks ago? Is it not clear that what is needed now is for Ontario to take direct action the way Saskatchewan has to the point where the banks themselves start to protest what is being done to them? It is clear they would protest a moratorium like Saskatchewan's in this province. But that would protect home owners from foreclosures in Ontario right now, and it might get the banks to get the federal government to change its high interest rate policy since this government cannot.

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, the fact that the honourable member hates banks and even hates success in the capitalistic system comes through every time he stands up to talk.

Let me look at who really is involved in the lending of mortgage money across this country. The member talks each day as if every dollar laid out on a mortgage, be it for a farm or for a house, comes from a bank. I challenge him to show me that it is more than 15 per cent. Indeed, I suspect that less than half of that is placed on farm mortgages by banks. It is placed on farm mortgages by farmers, by individuals who have had confidence in the farmers to whom they have loaned the money, and it is they whom the member is attacking, not the banks.

Mr. Nixon: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: All the provinces, all the treasurers, are objecting to the federal policy; but other provinces have had their economic house in good enough order so they could go forward with programs, particularly in support of the farm economy with interest rate assistance. How can the Ontario farmers compete in a national and international market when this government insists on and persists in simply blaming another level of government and taking no action at all when other provinces are taking action?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I am not going to reject the suggestions the member has made. The task force, which came in two weeks ago, made a number of suggestions. The Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the treasury and the government in general are looking very hard at and giving a great deal of priority to that problem. I do not want to rule out any direct help. I am seriously looking at it, and I will be with the Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Henderson), because I do accept the fact that the Ontario farmer, and indeed the Canadian farmer, is caught in a position that few if any other categories of small business people are in.

10:30 a.m.

Mr. Cassidy: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: There are two groups in our province right now -- the groups that can afford to lend a mortgage, largely financial institutions such as banks and trust companies, and the people who borrow in order to have homes, who are tenants because they cannot afford to have homes or who are farmers who borrow because they cannot afford to maintain their farms without being able to get mortgages.

Is the minister seriously saying that when it comes down to deciding whose side he is on, he is on the side of banks and financial institutions and all of those elements in society who can afford to lend? When bank profits are up by $700 million, why is the minister not prepared to stand up for a change on behalf of people who are forced to borrow, who are tenants, who are homeowners being foreclosed and who are farmers? Why will Ontario not consider legislation like Saskatchewan's which would give a breathing space for a year while we continue the fight to bring interest rates down in this province and in this country?

Hon. F. S. Miller: I am not sure the honourable member heard what I said. I tried to point out that many individuals, many of whom are retired, have their money tied up in that kind of investment, a good many. I can look at my own family as a good example; I am sure members in the benches opposite can look at their own families.

I would suggest that nearly every time a young farmer buys a farm in Ontario today, the older or retiring farmer takes back a mortgage, buys a house in town, retires and counts on that income to live on. It has happened that way for generations. Does the member want to destroy the confidence of future sales by removing from the vending farmer the confidence that he can count on income security? The answer is yes, he does.

Mr. Cassidy: You are seeking to bankrupt farmers right now.


Mr. Cassidy: I have a new question for the Minister of the Environment. What is happening in Stouffville in the wake of the confirmation by Dr. Cummins of the University of Western Ontario, through the Ames test, that there are carcinogenics and mutagenic substances in the water? This is despite the denials the ministry brought up for so many months and the assertions that the water near the Stouffville dump was safe.

We understand the medical officer of health in the area is going door to door in the community telling people they should use alternative water supplies, and those water supplies will be supplied by the government. Could the minister explain why the only agreement to date in the wake of these Ames tests has been to carry out further tests from January to March while the ground is frozen? Clearly, tests in frozen ground will not be real proof of the degree of risk in the water.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I have been attempting to confirm this morning what the medical officer of health is doing. The first information I had indicated there might be some advice contemplated by him. It was in the headlines in this morning's Toronto Star. I was somewhat mystified by that because, to the best of my knowledge, there is no information available on which the doctor could base such advice. I do not know the man personally, but I assume he is not an individual who cannot stand the pressure of public office and who panics unnecessarily. I understand he is a very responsible individual.

I can relay to the House that recently I had information -- in fact, just within the last minute -- that the medical officer of health is not issuing warnings as is suggested in the Toronto Star headline. The only communication he is contemplating or has carried out is to Mr. Hutchinson, whose well was the subject of the Ames test. He is advising Mr. Hutchinson but not 13 other residents, or whatever this histrionic Toronto Star story appears to say. That is information I just received via a telephone conversation between a member of my staff and others.

I think it is important though, in view of the concern and the seriousness which we attach to the results of that Ames test, to see it in its proper context. It is an isolated test. I do not know whether the member has taken the time or had the opportunity to discuss what the Ames test is with someone who is knowledgeable about that subject, what the significance of an isolated positive result of an Ames test really is. I think that would be worthwhile if he is really interested in pursuing that issue much further.

I would point out that the use of the Ames test as it applies to environmental matters, for example testing water, is really very new. It was devised originally about 10 years ago by Dr. Ames, not expressly for this purpose, but in relation to cancer research and other things of that nature. It has been used for about seven or eight years in industrial applications to test products before they go on the market.

It is only within less than the last couple of years that there have been some sorties into the environmental field. No one can tell what the relationship would be between a positive Ames test and a potential hazard for human health as it applies to the testing of water. No one can tell, in this particular instance, with a positive result, what may have triggered that positive reaction.

I am not trying to minimize the potential significance of this. All I am saying is, let us see it in perspective. It is possible, for example, that one could get a positive result because of some problem with the strain of bacteria used. The test is done on bacteria and it is a very sensitive one. That is one avenue that would have to be explored. It is possible a contaminant in the water is causing it, which is the conclusion that has immediately been drawn in this instance.

It is also important to understand that in this particular application of the test the sample was concentrated a thousandfold. In fact, I am advised that if one were to do a test on any treated municipal water supply in this province, concentrated a thousandfold, one would get a positive result, as was the case here. But that does not necessarily leap to the conclusion that all water supplies in Ontario are carcinogenic. A variety of things have to be explored.

What we have done, in fact, is to agree with the citizens. We sat down with the information the day it came to my attention, a week ago today, and met with the citizens group. They were very concerned and very co-operative with us, and I give them great credit for that. We have subsequently had further meetings with them.

We have worked out a protocol for further testing, using the Ames test on some six wells involving three laboratories cross-checking results, to see whether there is any possibility of confirmation of that single, isolated result. The next step following that would presumably be, if it is a confirmed result, to try to determine what is producing that positive result.

The Acting Speaker: I think the minister has answered the question.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, it is potentially a very serious issue in terms of public concern. I think the leader of the third party was sincere in asking his question and I assume he wanted a sincere and thorough response. But if you wish to cut me off, I will wait for a supplementary.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I think perhaps some of that time could be credited to statements rather than a response to questions.

To return to the original question, why is the ministry insisting on confining the testing on those six wells to the period from January to March when even I, as a nonscientist, am able to understand that the water does not flow as freely during the winter? The chances of anything leaching from the York sanitation dump are a great deal less in winter conditions than in the summer.

What specific long-term measures has the minister got to reassure people in the area they will have the protection they are seeking? What will the government now promise with respect to delaying or cancelling any expansion of the York sanitation dump, since it is clear the people in the area fear it is the cause of the contamination of their water?

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I am not trying to minimize the importance of the results of the Ames test or the potential significance of it, but I think it is important to point out repeatedly that there is not yet any confirmation of contamination of the water supply.

10:40 a.m.

In terms of long-term protection, we will certainly assure the residents that measures are in place to provide for the long-term protection of their water supply. That is an assurance that we have repeatedly given them.

Mr. Cassidy: They do not believe the minister.

Hon. Mr. Norton: That may well be so. There is some scepticism. It is too bad the member did not have an opportunity to attend any of the meetings during our estimates, which unfortunately concluded last night. He might have benefited from some of the discussions I had with his colleagues and members of the official opposition on that very question, the problem of scepticism on the part of some members of the public as it related to very reliable and competent information that government can provide. That is something nobody is going to resolve overnight.

If the member happens to believe there is actually some scientific competence in our laboratory, which is one of the leading ones in North America, then he might assist, as I have urged others to do, by showing a little more confidence himself.

Mr. Kerrio: Mr. Speaker, I thought we had dealt with this particular matter in great depth but it seems that we keep getting more and more evidence that is quite startling.

In regard to Mr. Hutchinson's well that the minister made reference to, there was a very high positive test in that even though members of his ministry said the water in that area is still safe. I would like to bring to the minister's attention something I touched on last night.

Mr. Hutchinson has a daughter who took water from that well and she had a miscarriage. I wonder if the minister will investigate to see if there is evidence the water was one of the major causes.

It seems every day we get more and more information. As recently as today, we are talking about hand-delivered letters from the Ministry of Health. Those few things show the time has come for the ministry to shut down that dump, to stand up in front of the people of Ontario and say he is going to do something positive to prove to them his heart is in the right place; that he is going to encourage the people to come out and share with him the testing and at least say there is evidence enough now to shut down the Stouffville dump.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, the member says there is a lot of information coming forward all the time. I do not know what letters he is referring to. He says there are hand-delivered letters from the Ministry of Health. I know nothing of hand-delivered letters from the Ministry of Health. I would like to know where the member is getting his information, whether it is from the newspaper or from some other source.

As recently as five minutes ago we had telephone contact seeking confirmation of the story in the Toronto Star. We are advised that the medical officer of health was not doing what the Toronto Star said he was doing.

Mr. Hutchinson has received advice from the medical officer of health, there is no question about that, but not some 13 other residents as the Toronto Star has said. The Toronto Star has treated this whole issue irresponsibly from the very beginning.

There is no question about it. We have been in contact with them and they undertook to treat it more responsibly in the future, until the last couple of days when this reporter went off half-cocked again. I cannot control that. Presumably the Toronto Star cannot. I cannot assume responsibility for that sort of thing.

Mr. Breithaupt: Now they are all against you.

Hon. Mr. Norton: No, they are not all against me.

The Acting Speaker: Order. The minister will deal with the question.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I realize there has been some suggestion that Mr. Hutchinson's daughter may have had a miscarriage, or did have a miscarriage, which may have been attributable to the water supply. There is no way I can confirm that or legitimately deny it. I would think it would be very important to explore other questions as well. For example, did the daughter smoke? Did she consume a lot of coffee and so on during that period? What other factors might have contributed to that situation? One cannot singlemindedly cite, without any evidence, any particular cause in a situation like that.

Mr. Kerrio: The evidence is there.

Hon. Mr. Norton: I do not know where one would turn for such evidence. I do not know how one would confirm that.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, let me be specific: Given the crisis of confidence in his ministry's handling of the Stouffville situation, which is not going to go away by making irresponsible attacks on the Toronto Star or any other organ of the news media, will the minister agree to have a further series of tests, the Ames test, on the wells in the area in the summer as well as in winter?

Will he agree to delay any decision with respect to any expansion of the dump in the area until the water conditions can be assessed under summer as well as winter conditions? I suggest that to the minister because if he does not do that he will continue to undermine confidence in his handling of this issue in the Stouffville area.

The Acting Speaker: I ask the minister to deal with the question.

Hon. Mr. Norton: Mr. Speaker, I can assure you the whole matter relating to the question of the expansion of that site will be dealt with, as other things related to this site have been, very responsibly by my ministry. All relevant information will be taken into consideration by the director in arriving at his decision. I cannot tell the member when that decision will be taken, but all relevant available information will be taken into consideration, including the advice or recommendation of the board, which is only one part of that information.

The Acting Speaker: The Minister of Community and Social Services had a statement to make --

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: The minister did not respond to the specific question, as you asked him to, which was whether he would do those tests in the summer as well as the winter.

The Acting Speaker: We have agreed that the Minister of Community and Social Services can make a statement. The question period will be extended by the time required.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, I heard you specifically tell the minister to answer the question before he got up in his place. Surely he should follow what the Speaker says, if he does not have to listen to this side of the House.



Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the indulgence of the House and I apologize for the lateness.

Several allegations about the quality of care for children and adolescents in southwestern Ontario were made in the House on Monday. I cannot allow those unfair and untrue accusations to go unanswered. First, it was alleged that a particular 14-year-old girl had spent "many years of bouncing around from one spot to another." This is not correct. This girl was diagnosed by the neuropsychology department of the Windsor Western Hospital regional children's centre as functioning within the borderline mental retardation range in February 1976. A staff psychologist, Dr. Fellbaum, felt she was suffering from a psychotic disorder and had extremely low verbal skills.

Since that diagnosis, the young girl has been under the constant medical care of a psychologist, Dr. Fellbaum, and a psychiatrist, Dr. James Johnson, medical director of Windsor Western regional children's centre. I can state categorically that she has not been "bouncing around from one spot to another." Between February 1976 and October 10, 1979, she lived at home with her family. On October 10, 1979, she was admitted to the Windsor Western regional children's centre. After four months, her psychotic behaviour was brought under control and she continued her schooling on a full-time basis while remaining a resident at the centre.

By September 1980, her progress under the treatment she had received at the Windsor Western regional children's centre was such that the medical staff and her family agreed to transfer her to Glengarda, which is a residential day school for children who have difficulty in a regular school program. The transfer was carefully planned and involved the young girl going to Glengarda with staff from Windsor Western and she returned each weekend to the regional children's centre. She was able to make a good adjustment and throughout her stay she made some educational and social gains.

Throughout her entire stay at Glengarda, from September 1980 until June 1981 -- Glengarda does not operate in the summer -- she and her family continued to receive professional counselling from the psychologist, Dr. Fellbaum, from Windsor Western while the psychiatrist, Dr. Johnson, monitored her medication. During the summer vacation she stayed at home with her family and during this period from July 6, 1981 to August 28, 1981, she attended a special day camp run by the Windsor Association for the Mentally Retarded.

When she would not continue her schooling at Glengarda this fall, she stayed at home with her family until she was admitted by her parents to St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital. Incidentally, Glengarda kept her place open until November 6, 1981. That is the day she was admitted to St. Thomas. I believe there is nothing in the record of her treatment and placements that even remotely suggests "bouncing around."

10:50 a.m.

The second allegation was that "they -- St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital -- are providing absolutely no treatment for this child." I have learned that upon arrival at the hospital a psychiatrist in the intake unit, Dr. Nolan, assessed the girl's condition and found she had a very marked thought disorder. The psychiatrist added to her medication so that in addition to her normal intake of Stelazine and Artane she was prescribed chlorpromazine.

Additionally, she attends the hospital activity workshop each day Monday to Friday and is reported to be talking fairly rationally, which was not the case when she arrived. All this sounds like, and is, considerably more than baby-sitting, which the honourable member opposite alleged. Furthermore, her mother has informed my staff that tutoring has been arranged for her daughter at St. Thomas after the Christmas break.

Third, it was alleged to my honourable colleague the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell) that his "facilities are being inappropriately used, and children are being improperly placed in his facility." For the record, under the Mental Health Act any schedule one psychiatric hospital must offer psychiatric assessment services for anyone who needs them. In that sense an application for psychiatric assessment at St. Thomas Psychiatric was quite proper and appropriate.

Such an application allows a person to be a patient, yet not technically admitted to a psychiatric hospital for five days. At the end of this time a mandatory conference is required where qualified medical staff decide whether a person should be admitted involuntarily, allowed to remain an inpatient informally, or discharged. The medical staff determined involuntary admission to be unnecessary, and since the young girl's parents had brought all her belongings, including her clothes, skates and swimming suit with her on November 6 when she came for assessment, it seemed unlikely she could be discharged.

I should also add that because of certain of her symptoms the psychiatrist who admitted her has arranged for some very specific neurological and neuropsychological tests to be done at CPRI in London. These examinations will help to determine if she has any organic brain function disorder. I believe this result in itself is quite providential, and I note that such action is neither an inappropriate use of facilities nor an improper placement for children, as was suggested.

It was alleged there were no facilities for young people such as this girl. In the southwest region my ministry funds 225 beds in 11 children's mental health centres, 905 beds in children's group homes and 34 beds in two psychiatric hospitals. While the psychiatric hospital units are ideal for psychotic, hard-to-serve children, the other facilities are able to modify their long-term residential programs to deal with children who have special needs in crisis situations. This can be done by temporarily locking doors, enriching staff-to-patient ratios and utilizing drug therapy as required.

Finally, it was implied that neither Maryvale, a Windsor children's mental health centre, nor CPRI in London would take this girl. The fact is that neither place was called regarding this girl in the past year. I am also able to report today that, at the insistence of my staff in the Windsor area office, a hard-to-serve committee meeting under the jurisdiction of the Windsor children's services committee was held yesterday afternoon. This meeting included all the concerned service providers and the girl's parents, and it was agreed the young girl should remain at St. Thomas until the special neurological tests are done at CPRI. After these are completed this hard-to-serve committee will meet again and review a long-term placement for this girl.

In addition to the matters that were discussed in the House, there was an editorial concerning this girl in the Windsor Star on Wednesday, December 9, which alleges -- indeed, it states categorically, "Yet during the past five years she received no treatment." That is categorically untrue.

Second, there is another allegation in here, and I read directly from it -- I am not using the young woman's name: "She spent five years being shunted from one hospital to another needlessly and ineffectively. If her case had not been revealed, how many more years would have passed before it became known?" Mr. Speaker, I remind you that in my statement she was admitted to the Windsor Western regional children's centre. She was in a program there that utilized a group residence, with her weekend treatment continuing in the centre.

At that point it was decided that she could go home for weekends. The breakdown came because of a number of matters during the time she was at home. The simple fact of the matter is, the treating psychologist was not informed there had been a breakdown at home. Once again, it is categorically untrue that she was shunted from one hospital to another, needlessly and ineffectively.

I also very much begrudge that the newspaper -- which did not even attempt to contact me until 24 hours or more after that editorial was written -- had some snarky remarks in there about my friend the Minister of Health (Mr. Timbrell). The Minister of Health did not pass the buck to me in this case. This case has always been the responsibility of this ministry. I want to go on record complimenting my friend the Minister of Health for the services that have been provided, not only in treatment but in a diagnostic capacity at St. Thomas.

Mr. G. I. Miller: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: The minister indicated that there are only 34 places for disturbed young people in Ontario, yet he has closed places like Sprucedale at Hagersville, while knowing there are not enough facilities in Ontario to care for this type of person.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, in the original statement that I made concerning the closing of White Oaks when it occurs this year, I said replacement beds would be placed so that the children would be treated in centres closer to their home, out of CPRI in London for those from western Ontario, in the Toronto area for those from there and in the Hamilton-Wentworth area. The member who raised the point of privilege knows it full well.



Mr. O'Neil: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Treasurer, and it pertains to the reimposing of the seven per cent retail sales tax on accommodation, furnishings and kitchen equipment for the hospitality industry.

Being that the Treasurer has made a commitment of large sums of provincial funding for the Metro convention centre, the Ottawa convention centre and the Hamilton convention centre, does he not feel the reinstatement of the sales tax on accommodation in Ontario will place us at a competitive disadvantage in attracting the large groups we need to fill these centres?

Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I gave notice of that change November 13, 1980. I did so because it has been our policy wherever possible to advise the hotel and hospitality industry of change far enough in advance to allow that industry to incorporate potential costs into their bids. Therefore, the required time was given.

I am probably as knowledgeable about that particular industry as anyone in this House. I would argue that for many of us, not necessarily the convention trade, but for many of us in the hospitality industry, the reimposition of the tax will not affect our overall business. It is not seven per cent on all items. It is as low as three per cent in modified American plan or American plan resorts; five per cent at the most in American plan and modified American plan resorts.

Therefore, we have to balance the very many programs of assistance to the tourist industry, like those convention centres the member talked about, with my revenue. I would also argue that the 80 to 85 cent Canadian dollar has made a far greater impact upon the competitiveness of Ontario's convention industry than any other single factor, and they use it well. It is only proper that we should collect our fair share of tax from that area as well.

Mr. O'Neil: Given the Treasurer's statement of December 4, 1981, that he intends to initiate a study of the industry's tax structure to determine whether further government assistance would be warranted, why would he not permit the tax exemption to remain in effect until such time as the results of his study are known, since the results of such a study could well indicate a permanent removal of the accommodation tax? To have even initiated this study he must have some fear that there are some problems in the tourist business in this regard.

11 a.m.

Hon. F. S. Miller: No, that was not the purpose of it. I do not think the word study is as appropriate as the word review. Because I had given him a year's notice, my colleague the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Ashe) had prepared to circularize the information on November 27, as I recall. I asked him to hold up the circularization, but I pointed out to the people from the hotel industry who came to see me on November 26 that it was a bit difficult, with one year and two weeks' notice, to have received that request on the day before the circularization was to go out. I admit I got a request for the meeting some two weeks before that, so it was not quite one day beforehand.

For a stable tax environment, we do believe in giving some advance notice and we gave it. The benefit to the industry was real, particularly as it applied to the purchase of capital assets. We hoped the industry would use that time interval to spend money on capital assets without sales tax. Just as I would dearly love to take the sales tax off everything and everybody, the fact remains we have to pay for the running of the province.

The hotel industry made a suggestion that we should tax all prepared food dispensing outlets, including McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken, on every cent of every restaurant dollar, at a rate of four per cent. The hotel association told me that in their opinion four per cent would be more equitable than the present 10 per cent on amounts over $6 and seven per cent on rooms. I asked them if they had the support of the restaurant associations, the fast food producers and the tourist operators and the answer was "No." Not only did they not have the support of those groups, they suspected it was from those groups that they would have their opposition.


Hon. F. S. Miller: We are all for the member for Hamilton Centre. This whole party over here is going to go to the convention and say, "We are for Copps."

We would argue that kind of thing does require discussion. The prebudget period is the time for that discussion and I encourage it.


Mr. Cooke: I have a question for the Minister of Community and Social Services. I appreciate his statement today. I am sure the minister will be aware that not only did the hard-to-place children's services committee meet yesterday as a result of the question that was asked in this House, but there are two other important recommendations the minister did not bother to refer to today. This case has been referred to the interministerial committee on hard-to-place children in Toronto and a task force has been set up to look at a facility that is desperately needed in southwestern Ontario so this type of thing does not happen again.

Is the minister aware that the program in which this child has been placed at St. Thomas is no program because there are no other children at St. Thomas? It is an adult facility and she is the only child, so the program the minister talks about is drug therapy and, in quotes, "baby-sitting," as the staff I talked to has told me.

Would the minister not agree there were severe breakdowns in the so-called system in this case? Over the last five years this child has been in three institutions and approximately five programs and therefore has not been receiving consistent treatment in order to assist the family and the child.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I would remind the member of the statement I made.

Mr. Foulds: Let's start with you.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Let's start at St. Thomas. It may be the administration of an additional drug, I pointed that out, but there is also a work activity program for her.

Mr. Cooke: It's not a total program, so don't be so silly.

The Acting Speaker: Order. The minister did not interrupt you when you were asking your question.

Hon. Mr. Drea: The member said in this House there was no program, that it was baby-sitting and she was in limbo.

Mr. Cooke: That's exactly what it is.

The Acting Speaker: Order. The minister has the floor.

Mr. Cassidy: That's what you said this morning.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Drea: If the member was really interested in this young girl, he should thank them at St. Thomas for what they have done and are doing for her. Second, an allegation was made. I do not know where he gets the number of institutions, but back on December 7 the honourable member said --

Mr. Cooke: Just use your fingers, you silly ass.

The Acting Speaker: Order. I would ask the member for Windsor-Riverside to withdraw that unparliamentary language.

Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, perhaps you could indicate to me what the unparliamentary language is.

The Acting Speaker: Would you please withdraw that language now?

Mr. Cooke: I will withdraw it, but it is not unparliamentary and it is accurate.

The Acting Speaker: There is no need for argument. You have withdrawn it. Thank you.

Hon. Mr. Drea: What did he say, Mr. Speaker?

The Acting Speaker: Carry on with your statement.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, on December 7, page 1515-1 in the Instant Hansard, it says, "When Maryvale was looked at in Windsor, they rejected ... " I have already pointed out there was no contact in the last year with Maryvale.

Mr. Cooke: Talk to Dr. Johnson.

Hon. Mr. Drea: We have talked to Dr. Johnson.

Mr. Cooke: He's the one who told me.

Hon. Mr. Drea: The fact is, she was admitted and stayed for a prolonged treatment period at one regional children's centre. As part of that ongoing program she was put into a group home and brought back for continued treatment every weekend.

The group home was for educational purposes. She was then considered far enough advanced to continue in that home and to go to her own home on the weekend. I pointed out in my statement that the therapist who has been continuously practising in this case was unaware there was a difficulty at home and was very surprised when it was brought to his attention at this late date.

I think I could be a little more candid and blunt about this matter, except that unfortunately the name of this individual was used originally and is now the very basis of a newspaper editorial headline. There may have been breakdowns in communication but, believe me, and I have the whole case here, they were not the fault of the practising psychiatrist or the practising therapist.

Mr. Cooke: Blame the parents.

Hon. Mr. Drea: No, I am not blaming anybody, but the member has blamed professional people for a lot of things. I want to make it clear it was not their fault.

There was one unfortunate incident that did occur. Prior to this matter being raised here there was no contact with the special committee on the hard-to-place. Why there was no contact would be speculation and I do not think speculation would help this matter.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: A supplementary question, Mr. Speaker: I have not seen such subterfuge and bafflegab in a long time. Will the minister tell us what program she is taking at St. Thomas? What is the program?

Hon. Mr. Drea: Have you --

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Wait. I have more for the minister. What is the specific program she is getting? Why did the staff say it was babysitting? Why did the hard-to-place committee not deal with this first? Let him not say he does not know why. Let him find out why. We need to know why. This child was admitted and he is making it sound as if it was the parents who sent her there. She was admitted involuntarily by her doctor --

The Acting Speaker: You are asking a supplementary.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Admit that. The minister lists all his facilities in southwestern Ontario. Is it not the case that there are 1,700 kids on waiting lists?

11:10 a.m.

The Acting Speaker: Is the honourable member asking a supplementary? Has he asked the question?

Mr. R. F. Johnston: That is right. Yes. I am asking whether it is not the case there are 1,700 kids on waiting lists for community health centres in Ontario?

The Acting Speaker: Thank you; you have asked your supplementary. I will call upon the minister to give a response.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: It is so much garbage. I guess it is normal, when somebody is running for leader, to help out a colleague who has been caught with his pants down, but --


Mr. Speaker: Order.

An hon. member: The member for Timiskaming (Mr. Havrot) called him a vulture, which is uncalled for.

An hon. member: It is just not acceptable.

The Acting Speaker: Order. Sit down. I have the floor. Is this a point of order?

Mr. R. F. Johnston: A point of privilege, two points if I might: One is that the member for Scarborough Centre is imputing motives if he says I only get outraged with him when I am running for the leadership. I have been outraged by his treatment of kids in this system before. The second point of privilege is that the member for Timiskaming called me a vulture. I want you to withdraw that, you son of a bitch.


An hon. member: He called somebody a vulture; that is all right.

The Acting Speaker: Order. Order.

An hon. member: Is "vulture" unparliamentary?

The Acting Speaker: Honourable gentlemen of the House --

An hon. member: And ladies, too.

The Acting Speaker: And ladies. We are honourable members. Name-calling such as this can be withdrawn and we can continue to be honourable. So would you withdraw the allegation of that word and I will ask the honourable member here to withdraw the statement he just made. I did not hear it but if an honourable member did make such a statement, he should withdraw it.


An hon. member: It was not an honourable member.

The Acting Speaker: I did not hear the statement, but if a statement has been made by the member for Timiskaming --

Mr. Smith: There is no honourable member from Timiskaming.


The Acting Speaker: If the member for Timiskaming made such a statement, I ask him to withdraw it.

Mr. Havrot: Mr. Speaker, I do not know what statement the honourable member across the House is referring to.

The Acting Speaker: It is attributed to you that you called him a vulture. And then I want to go after him too.

Mr. Havrot: I withdraw the statement, Mr. Speaker. I will tell him --

The Acting Speaker: Thank you. I would look to the member for Scarborough West to withdraw his statement.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: I will withdraw the "son of a bitch."

The Acting Speaker: I call upon the minister to complete his response to the supplementary question.


Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, may I repeat my classic line? I was trying to be kind to the honourable member. I was saying it would be quite normal that someone who was running for leader of a party would try to defend a colleague who has been caught with his pants down. He should not get in too deep. The member for Windsor-Riverside made a number of allegations. He knows they are not correct.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: They are. Everything you have said was --

Hon. Mr. Drea: They are not correct and he knows it.

The Acting Speaker: Order. The minister will respond to the question.

Mr. Foulds: Everything you said substantiates it. Tighten your belt, Frank.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Did I detect another -- I did not hear the first one, but it seems to me that somebody called me something.

In terms of the program at the St. Thomas hospital, she was assessed there. Because of that assessment there are two very specific and very important neurological and neuropsychological tests going to be done at CPRI in January.

Mr. MacDonald: Five years late.

Mr. Eaton: Five years late? Do not forget 1979 in Sick Kids.

Hon. Mr. Drea: My friend says "five years late." She was assessed as late as 1979, not only in Windsor but at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

The drug therapy is to stabilize her. Obviously her behaviour has improved. She is in a work activity program and I have already pointed out a tutor is being retained so that her education can be maintained while she awaits the tests at CPRI.

Ms. Copps: A supplementary question, Mr. Speaker: The minister has stated the supervision for this girl has changed hands five times in the last two years. He has also stated he has only 34 beds in the whole of southwestern Ontario to handle a hard-to-treat young patient. Does he call this quality care?

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I think the member for Hamilton Centre may have misinterpreted something. It is 34 beds in two psychiatric hospitals. It is the professional diagnosis at this time, and was the professional diagnosis at Windsor regional centre, that she did not require that type of secure treatment.

Mr. Cooke: A point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: I believe this to be a legitimate point of privilege. Some very unfortunate accusations are directed towards the parents of this child. The impression --

The Acting Speaker: I consider this not --

Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I ask you to listen to this. The flavour of this statement and what it means to this family is incredibly important. I would ask that you would give me the opportunity to list my --

The Acting Speaker: I do not see this as a question of privilege.

Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, the minister indicated this child was admitted by the parents. The fact is there was a committal --

The Acting Speaker: Order. It is time for a new question.


The Acting Speaker: Gentlemen, I have the floor. The member for Point Arthur.

Mr. Foulds: A point of order, Mr. Speaker: My colleague wishes to place on the record a correction of inappropriate and inaccurate information that the minister has made in his statement. I believe that is an appropriate procedure for my colleague to follow in this House in order to correct the record.

The Acting Speaker: There are other forums in question period for that clarification. You can ask questions. I will call upon --

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker --

The Acting Speaker: Is this a point of order?

Mr. Foulds: This is a point of order.

The Acting Speaker: Is this the same point of order?

Mr. Foulds: This is the same point of order.

The Acting Speaker: I have ruled on it. I am calling for a new question; the honourable member for Huron-Middlesex.

Mr. Foulds: Mr. Speaker, I am challenging your ruling.


The Acting Speaker: The honourable member for Port Arthur should realize that, during question period, the rulings of the chair are in the hands of the chair. I will therefore call upon the member for Huron-Middlesex.

The honourable member for Ottawa Centre.

Mr. Cassidy: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

The Acting Speaker: Is this a point of order or a point of privilege?

Mr. Cassidy: This is a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

The Acting Speaker: Thank you.

Mr. Cassidy: I want to put it forward in a very strong manner. We are talking about a family which has been devastated by mental illness for some 10 years. Surely this House still has enough regard for ordinary people in the province that the simple correction the member for Windsor-Riverside wants to put on the record should be put there now so we do not further abuse that family.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I think perhaps a sentence or two might relieve the honourable members from their concern.

Mr. MacDonald: It's out of order. It's been settled.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Well then, fine; so be it.


The Acting Speaker: The point of order was persisted in. The minister is responding to the concern raised by the member for Ottawa Centre. He is going to make a short statement.

Mr. MacDonald: Two sets of rules; they get the floor when they want it, but we can't.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, there is no question Dr. Johnson signed the documents that admitted the girl to St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital.

Mr. Cooke: Why isn't that in the statement?

Hon. Mr. Drea: Just a moment, please. However, we have been assured that Dr. Johnson consulted with the parents, told them exactly what was going to be there and that the parents physically drove the child with her belongings to St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital. I do not know how the inference would be drawn but there is no intent at any inference that the parents took her to the St. Thomas Hospital without a medical form or admitted her themselves.

11:20 a.m.


Mr. Riddell: I have a question for the Chairman, Management Board of Cabinet. He has some control over the province's purse-strings and is, I know, most interested in the farming industry. I trust the chairman was at the Ontario Federation of Agriculture meeting which was asking for an interest rate subsidy of about $150 million and a six-month moratorium on farm foreclosures. No doubt he heard the Treasurer state that he would bring in some kind of farm assistance before the Legislature ends its session at Christmas, a very firm commitment.

Since he made that announcement, the minister announced a cow-calf stabilization program. I grant him that. I recognize there has been some limited financial assistance to the beef industry, but the beef sector is only one sector of the agricultural industry in this province which is facing very serious problems. Given that the one overriding concern affecting the entire agricultural industry is unbearably high interest rates which have been addressed by other provinces, what is the Treasurer, in the minister's estimation, going to do to fulfil the promise he made to the farmers at the OFA convention?

In other words, what programs will the Treasurer announce before this session ends? Can we expect to hear an announcement on these programs from the Treasurer before the session ends next week? The farmers want to know.


Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, in all seriousness it is an important issue. I will ask the Treasurer what he intends to do and let the member know on Monday.

Mr. Elston: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I would like to address a question to the minister, since he is in charge of approving expenditures of moneys for the programs. I would ask him to advise what programs are now before the committee to assist farmers in relation to these high interest rates.

There was a demonstration at Port Elgin by more than 350 farmers in my riding who are concerned about problems of high interest rates. They are destroying the very basis of their whole industry around that severely stricken centre of agriculture. On top of farm people involved in this demonstration -- a very orderly one at that -- were members of the business community and labour who are also hurting from these high interest rates.

I would ask the minister to advise us what he has in front of him now that is going to assist the people of this province, particularly what he is going to do to make an announcement that would promise plans by the Treasurer in relation to assistance to our farm people?

Hon. Mr. McCague: Mr. Speaker, the honourable member has asked a similar question of the Minister of Agriculture and Food in the past few days --

Mr. Bradley: We did not get an answer.

Hon. Mr. McCague: That minister said there was a committee studying the Biggs report and he expects to hear from them shortly. I, as Chairman of Management Board of Cabinet, do not have a program in front of me from the Minister of Agriculture and Food at this time. The member understands why.


Ms. Bryden: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Labour. Now that the federal government is planning some action to end the exploitation of imported domestic workers under the immigration law, when will the province stop the exploitation of domestic workers under Ontario laws which allow well-heeled employers to pay 50 cents under the regular minimum wage and allow them to require these workers to work or be on call for 132 hours a week?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, first let me categorically deny the province in any way condones any exploitation of domestic workers. The member knows full well it was this minister in 1979 who encouraged the federal government to get on with the business of straightening out the immigration laws with respect to offshore domestics. She knows that.

She also knows this minister had included domestics in the provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code, and she knows this minister introduced regulations last year which extended the protection for domestics under the Employment Standards Act over what was there before.

So I am not sure where the member gets the idea of exploitation. What I see in this area with this government is a matter of leadership, and I am surprised and disappointed she does not agree with that.

Ms. Bryden: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker: I do not see how the minister can consider there is no exploitation when all that is guaranteed under the Employment Standards Act is $3 an hour and 36 hours a week off, which means that for the other 132 hours of the week the workers are on call.

Furthermore, the federal minister is now going to require that imported domestics be given time off to take evening classes so they can upgrade their skills and thus qualify for landed immigrant status and better jobs. Will the minister make provision in his laws so all domestic workers in Ontario will be entitled to additional time off beyond the 36 hours a week, which is their free time? Will they be provided with time to attend evening skill-training classes so they can also upgrade their skills and qualify for better jobs and better pay?

Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, the employment standards officers are able to enforce anything that is included in an employee's contract; I trust the member knows that. So the provisions that have been made through the federal government will be matters of contract that can be enforced. If any other domestic has a contract that has other items that are related to the employment standards branch, they too can be enforced.

The member knows full well the rate of pay for domestics had to take into account a variety of factors. First we have to be concerned that we do not eliminate employment. To achieve that we did not look at any bare minimum wage. We looked at what the market was paying for domestics at that time, and we set a rate --

Mr. Foulds: Ah.

Hon. Mr. Elgie: I know the member opposite does not like the facts, but if he wants to listen and understand the facts I hope he will have some agreement.

The rate was established at a level that was slightly above what the market was paying. We also have to remember that the case of domestics is not like that of employees in other situations whose pay can be deducted from income tax. These are after-tax payments that families are making to hire domestics.

I understand all the concerns all of us have about it, but we have to look at all the elements of employment and so as not to lose it, to pay in this case what the market is willing to pay or a little more, and to remember who is making the payments and where the money is coming from. These are after-tax dollars not subject to deduction from income tax. The government has to look at all those things. I understand the member does not, but we are interested in retaining employment in this province.


Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order: Just before we leave question period, there are a good number of ministers here now, but Friday mornings we always have a little difficulty starting question period because the ministers do not have, I guess, fast enough cars or whatever to get them here on time. Sometimes, although not this morning, points of order have to be raised in order to make things go nicely until these members are in here ready to do their thing. Could you suggest to them that they earn their money and get here on time Fridays?


The Acting Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, on that point of order, it is my recollection that there are usually about three or four in each of the opposition caucuses at the time my friend refers to the members of the cabinet not being here. I think everyone tries to be here right at 10 o'clock. If my friend is as concerned as he would seem to indicate, if he would give to us a list of the ministers he would like questions asked of first, we will --

11:30 p.m.

Mr. Nixon: Cabinet is supposed to be here for questions.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Wells: If everybody in the front row opposite is sitting here at 10 o'clock too --


Hon. Mr. Wells: My friend says, "We will give you all the questions." Does he realize they do give the questions to the ministers in Westminster still? Perhaps --

Mr. Bradley: That's fine, but this is Ontario.

Mr. Cassidy: That's not our tradition.

Mr. Nixon: There was a traffic jam on Highway 10 and the Premier is just getting here now.

Mr. Kerrio: Maybe the Premier would like to speak to this point of order.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, on this point, the members of the procedural affairs committee who are going to Westminster in January might like to look at that procedure, and see if out of it might come something to bring a little more order and decorum to our question period.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order --

The Acting Speaker: Is this on the point of order?

Mr. Cassidy: Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Smith: Those ministers have to answer the questions too.

The Acting Speaker: Order.

Mr. Cassidy: I have spent some time at Westminster, and also some time studying the British system. It is not our system. Under that system the Prime Minister comes up for maybe half an hour's worth of questions every two weeks. If that system was applied in this province, with this government and the way this government avoids giving information to the Legislature and to the province, this system would be used as a means of concealing information from the Legislature, not of providing it.



Mr. Eves from the standing committee on regulations and other statutory instruments reports the following resolution:

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

Ministry administration program, $3,632,400; ministry policy and priorities program, $1,591,000; industry development program, $15,739,000; tourism development program, $14,321,000; Ontario Place Corporation program, $21,000; industrial incentives and development program, $31,447,600; office of procurement policy program, $180,000.


Mr. Harris from the standing committee on resources development reported the following resolution:

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

Ministry administration program, $6,780,600; environmental assessment and planning program, $21,380,500; environmental control program, $217,706,500; waste management program, $7,369,000;

And that supply in the following supplementary amounts and to defray the expenses of the Ministry of the Environment be granted to Her Majesty for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1982:

Ministry administration program, $27,000; environmental assessment and planning program, $1,033,000.



Hon. Mr. Wells moved that notwithstanding any previous order, the House will meet in the Chamber on Wednesday next at 2 p.m. and on Thursday next from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. with routine proceedings at 2 p.m.

Motion agreed to.



Mr. Ruston moved, seconded by Mr. Haggerty, first reading of Bill 196, An Act to amend the Legislative Assembly Act.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Ruston: Mr. Speaker, the bill provides for a deduction of $100 from a member's indemnity for each day of absence from the assembly over 10 days in a session while it is sitting, unless the absence is because of illness, pregnancy, childbirth or official business.

Mr. Philip: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: Would it be possible for the member for Mississauga East (Mr. Gregory) and myself to second that bill?



Mr. Williams moved second reading of Bill Pr35, an Act respecting Victoria University.

Motion agreed to.

Third reading also agreed to on motion.


Mr. Foulds, on behalf of Mr. Kerr, moved second reading of Bill Pr42, An Act respecting the Theological College of the Canadian Reformed Churches.

Motion agreed to.

Third reading also agreed to on motion.

House in committee of supply.


On vote 101, Office of the Lieutenant Governor program:

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Chairman, I have a few brief observations on the traditional passing of the estimates for the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.

I would like to take this opportunity to say on behalf of the government, and I am sure this view is shared by the members opposite, how much we appreciate the dedicated way in which he is pursing the responsibilities of that important office.

From the relationship I have developed with the Lieutenant Governor, I am aware of his great commitment not only to that responsibility but to the symbol that office represents.

11:40 a.m.

The Lieutenant Governor of this province has not been reluctant to travel to all parts of Ontario. He has been available for many activities both here in the buildings and elsewhere. The Lieutenant Governor and his very charming wife are discharging their responsibilities with dignity and enthusiasm, and I would like to take this opportunity to express very briefly my appreciation as the Premier of this province for what he and Mrs. Aird are doing.

Mr. Smith: Mr. Chairman, I second entirely the comments made by the Premier. I believe we are being very well served indeed by the Lieutenant Governor and by Mrs. Aird as well. Even as Leader of the Opposition I find it difficult to oppose the estimates in this instance. In fact, I am totally in favour of them, and I want to assure the populace of Ontario that I felt this way even before the reception given to all members of the House and others by the Lieutenant Governor just the other day.

It is difficult to vote on his estimates right after receiving such warm hospitality, but there is no conflict involved. He is doing his job very well, and he is a very dedicated and sincere person and an excellent representative of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in Ontario. I think all of us can count ourselves lucky we are being so consistently well served by a succession of excellent Lieutenant Governors.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Chairman, I want to say a word as well in support of the Lieutenant Governor's estimates. It is not normal for this party to support every estimate that is brought forward by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, but this is one with which we can all agree. It does not even have some of the contentious features of the votes with respect to the assembly.

I would like to make a couple of specific suggestions, which I know the Lieutenant Governor will take in a positive fashion. First, there may be occasions from time to time when the Lieutenant Governor might travel outside this province to other parts of Canada, to western Canada and also to Quebec, as an emissary not on behalf of the government but on behalf of the people of Ontario.

Second, we are familiar with the work done by the Lieutenant Governor's predecessor and by the work that has been done by people holding vice-regal office elsewhere in Canada in seeking to bring the community together and to reach out to all elements of the Ontario community. I hope very much that the Lieutenant Governor will see it as his mandate on behalf of this Legislature and this province to reach out to young people and poor people as well as to people who are privileged.

He may have done it already. If not, I would like to welcome the Lieutenant Governor to visit Rochester Heights, which is a public housing community in my riding of Ottawa Centre; or have him go to Regent Park or to the Plainer, the community in Chapleau where many sawmill workers live, a community that does not have all the privileges we enjoy in Ottawa and Toronto.

The Lieutenant Governor is the Queen's representative on behalf of all the people in this province, and I hope he considers that mandate very seriously.

Vote 101 agreed to.

Mr. Chairman: This completes the estimates of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.


On vote 201, Office of the Premier program:

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Chairman, I hope the estimates of this office will receive the same enthusiastic endorsement from members opposite. I make that statement in advance of their constructive contributions, and I look forward to the suggestions they may have to make.

At the outset, I would like to say one or two personal words about the staff in the Office of the Premier of Ontario. It is an occasion for me to express to them publicly my appreciation for their very dedicated, very loyal and -- just as important -- very competent assistance, not in terms of my own responsibilities but the responsibilities this office discharges to the general public.

It is always dangerous to single out any particular person on one's staff or with whom one is associated, but I think the members opposite will join with me in expressing a special word of appreciation to my secretary. All of us recognize the importance of our secretaries. They probably run our office for us and indirectly make some of the very important decisions.

Mr. Smith: Don't blame her.

Hon. Mr. Davis: No, I would never blame her. But I would like to single out Miss Anderson not only from the standpoint of the competent way in which she looks after her duties, but also for her loyalty and length of service, not just to the Premier but to the people of Ontario. On July 1 or 2, Miss Anderson had then given 50 years of public service as an employee of the government of Ontario. I think she deserves some genuine recognition. I could be very personal and say she is a very tolerant person.

As many members know, she worked in the Ministry of Education for some years. She served well some very distinguished Ministers of Education. When my predecessor became Premier one thing he did for me, for which I shall always be grateful, was to leave Miss Anderson in the ministry. I did not do that for my successor in the ministry. I persuaded Miss Anderson to move into the Office of the Premier. She really is typical of so many employees of the government of this province, who are sometimes criticized, but none the less many thousands of whom give dedicated service to the people they so properly serve.

I think it is somewhat traditional in the estimates of the Office of the Premier to combine the two estimates, because it is sometimes difficult to single out the responsibilities in the Premier's office or the Cabinet Office. From my standpoint, I would have no objection if the observations or questions from members opposite in some way or other trespass across those sometimes rather flexible lines.

Mr. Cassidy: You tell them what to do anyway, so we agree.

Hon. Mr. Davis: No. I am at the will of cabinet. I do what cabinet says.

Mr. J. A. Reed: Did you do that on Suncor?

Hon. Mr. Davis: No. There was not total consultation in cabinet.

The Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Smith) -- I am not sure why -- apparently inquired through the office of the Minister of Energy (Mr. Welch) how long I might be this morning. Quite honestly, I do not have a prepared opening statement, which is not usually my custom. I assured the Leader of the Opposition that I hope to be relatively brief. He gave me a verbal undertaking that if I took 20 minutes he would be five minutes. I do not really think he will finish in five minutes, but I hope not to trespass too long.

Mr. Riddell: Might we suggest you try a prepared text once in a while.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I say to the member for Huron-Middlesex, in my limited experience in public life I always find those few addresses I make that really flow spontaneously are perhaps better received by the audiences I address than those that are prepared with such great care and such expertise by those who have that responsibility. I know that is not the case in your situation. You love to stick to the prepared text. I can tell here in every question period. None of it is spontaneous. It is always in a moderate and well-modulated voice, never raising the tonsils one level. I know what you are saying.

I would just like to refer to two or three matters, not necessarily to set the tone, because one never knows the tone of these discussions, but to try to look at two or three general issues that I think, as head of government, should be mentioned. I am not going to relive or restate the constitutional discussions that have gone on. The matter has been discussed. I gave a fairly lengthy report to the members of this House after the first ministers' meeting. This is the first occasion I have had to mention this particular matter since the resolution was approved by the House of Commons and by the Senate of our country and is now in the United Kingdom.

11:50 a.m.

While all of us will express some reservations with some aspects of the resolution that was ultimately approved, and while there are, I guess, reservations in terms of just what has been included -- the inclusion of the notwithstanding provision as it relates to some parts of the charter, I am one of those who acknowledges that we might have seen it in a somewhat different form. We are not totally satisfied, yet I think what really emerged was the recognition that it was better to have something less than perfection in this country and have a far greater measure of support for this important step.

I do express my appreciation to the first minister of this country and to the other Premiers. As I said on a previous occasion in this House, I was really not too sure when the first ministers met that we would be able to achieve the measure of compromise that we did. I think improvements have been made beyond the accord by the House of Commons, approved by the Senate. I think the inclusion, obviously, of women's rights and the definition of native rights are areas of improvement.

I must tell members of the House a little personal story. In the intervening period after telling them in Ottawa what I thought would happen on women's rights, I met two of my fellow Premiers, one of them at the Grey Cup game -- members can guess who that particular Premier was -- and another Premier from Atlantic Canada. I am never one of those to say, "I told you so," but it was kind of fun to say to them, "Now you see that what we predicted in Ottawa has, in fact, come to pass."

I think the government of Canada, the House of Commons, recognized the need to show some measure of flexibility. The amending formula has been altered somewhat from what the first ministers agreed to in Ottawa by including in the amending formula provision for fiscal equivalency when those areas in culture and education were to be affected by any possible amendment.

That indicated not only a measure of flexibility but certainly a recognition of one of the basic concerns expressed by the Premier of Quebec.

I said it then and I repeat it in the light of last weekend's events, that as Premier of this province -- I am sure members opposite share this point of view -- we still maintain our concern with respect to the future posture, position and policy of the government of Quebec. I reiterate what I have said two or three times since the conference. The other first ministers made a genuine effort to see that we developed an accord or a constitutional package of reform that would enable the Premier of that great province to join with us.

It is with more than regret, it is with concern, of course, that we see what is happening in Quebec today. I cannot suggest what may happen, what events will move in on us in terms of what that government may do. I must say I cannot really react to or sort of analyse the events of the Parti Quebecois over the weekend. It would appear that delegates to their conference or annual meeting -- whatever way it was described -- took the position as a party that they would go the route of total independence.

From this perspective, I was encouraged that the Minister of Finance or Treasurer of Quebec, who I think tended to support that particular point of view at one stage in his political career, appeared to be urging conference delegates to stay with the concept of sovereignty-association. Certainly, the Premier of the province has maintained that as being his position.

I was asked by the media -- I am always intrigued by these questions -- on the Sunday evening or on the Monday, I guess, "Are you in support of Premier Lévesque's position of sovereignty-association as opposed to independence?" I made it clear, and I have made it clear since, that that really does not solve the problem at all. In my view, there really is not that choice. Obviously, none of us finds independence acceptable, and I cannot accept the fact that some may say sovereignty-association is the lesser of the two evils. I cannot accept that as a concept either. I make that statement very simply and not, certainly, on this occasion intending to be in any way provocative.

I look forward to the finalization of the patriation program. I cannot predict for members of the House -- I have no greater knowledge than anyone else -- when it may finally come to a conclusion, when in fact it will return to this country or when the government of Canada intends to proclaim it.

But I say in a very personal sense that after so many years, so many meetings, so much discussion and a lot of rhetoric, it is an accomplishment of which the people of this country can be proud. It gives us a sense of maturity. It gives us something to build on. The process is not over; it will be ongoing, and, of course, this province will continue to participate in a very constructive and positive fashion.

To deal with one other general issue, I want to reflect on one or two economic issues and the recent federal budget. I am not here to deal in a lot of rhetoric or in any way to provoke the government of Canada or the Minister of Finance, who, I am sure, at this moment feels more than a little besieged.

I am not going to minimize the economic situation in this province from my perspective. I can say to the honourable members that as a government we are very concerned, though primarily in the short term, because we remain quite confident and optimistic about the longer-term economic future of this province. I will not go through the statistical information on the numbers of new jobs and the employment opportunities that have been created. They are there, and I am quite prepared to discuss them. I want to deal with it in a more general fashion.

It is frustrating, I think, for all of us to see what is happening and to understand that in some sectors at least what is happening to the economy of this province and to so many other places is really beyond the control of a provincial jurisdiction. I refer specifically to the automotive industry, which affects many members in this House. Certainly there is an impact in my own constituency with American Motors.

While they have been maintaining a reasonable share of the market, yesterday they moved from a two-shift to a one-shift operation. This does not mean that at some point the American Motors organization, in conjunction with Renault, will not be competitive, that they will not have a valid market share in North America; but in the short run they are being affected just like every other automotive company.

I share with those honourable members who have the automotive industry in their constituencies the very genuine concern we feel. I know there are some who might suggest we could do this, we could do that, there are perhaps some short-term measures we might consider. But it is frustrating that the reality is that so much of the product which is produced in the automotive sector here is sold in the United States.

There is no question that our own market has maintained its level better than that of the United States. In terms of the impact of layoffs on the automotive sector, we in Ontario have not suffered on a percentage basis any more than other places, not only in Canada but in terms of numbers in the United States, where the impact is as great, perhaps even greater, with one or two of the companies.

I think it is fair to state on the basis of my discussions with the industry, my discussions with some members of the union, that they are relatively confident this will turn around some time in 1982. It is hard to predict accurately when this may occur. The demographics are certainly there; the potential demand in the automotive sector is real. One only has to calculate the number of vehicles that have been on the road for a longer period of time than is traditionally the case.

There is no question, either, in the minds of the industry spokesmen, the people with whom I have discussed it, that the most significant negative impact on that industry relates to the question of interest rates. We can discuss it here, I can belabour the government of Canada, and honourable members can join me in belabouring the government of Canada, but it is still the interest rates in the United States that have the significant impact on the automotive sector because so much of our product is exported to that country. This applies to the farm implement industry and many other sectors of the economy, as we have discussed in this House as well.

The thing that concerns me most about the federal budget is that perhaps it was developed before there was a total awareness or appreciation of the difficulties we are experiencing economically in this country. I can understand how these things happen, and I sometimes feel that the federal budget was developed in some degree of isolation in terms of the government of Canada itself.

12 noon

I just give you one example. It is beyond my comprehension how the people in Finance could develop a budget that dealt with the multiple-unit residential buildings -- whether one agrees it is a good program is not the issue -- in a way not specifically referred to in the budget but there is no question the next morning the people understood exactly what was intended and it was evident consultation between Finance and housing, or whoever administers the program in the government of Canada, could not have existed. To put the government of Canada in a position where there actually were holes in the ground, or plans under way and many thousands of units could have been under construction, and to remove that incentive, if that is the way it is described, I think indicated --

Mr. McClellan: How would you describe it?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Sure, you can quarrel with the MURB program. I am not defending it. I am not being critical of it. I am only saying that in terms of employment, in terms of the economics of it, to call it to a halt in the fashion they did just did not make any economic sense to me. It indicated to me there was perhaps a lack of consultation or a lack of understanding. I make this prediction, Mr. Chairman, that the people in housing did not know this was a part of the federal budget; and I think this applies to some other provisions contained in the budget.

I can recall the Prime Minister of this country saying this budget would soak the rich. I guess, politically, that would have a certain measure of appeal. Certainly it would to the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) and one or two others. I can understand that. But then the budget emerged, and after careful analysis, I think it is apparent that it is not a budget that soaks the rich; it is a budget that affects just about everybody. It affects them in a way one should try to understand.

What I was trying to say to the Canada-Israel Chamber of Commerce the other day at lunch is that there is a philosophical side to the budget that gives me great concern. That philosophical side to the budget is, I think, the discouragement of people to provide for their mature period, old age security. I think it was a disincentive for small investors. I think it really does give the offshore people an added advantage over Canadian investment. I think it brings into question the provisions some people make through annuities or insurance policies for their own pension provisions further down the road.

I do not quarrel with tax changes. We have to live with them. When I say I do not quarrel with them, I can understand it if they raise this level of tax or that level of tax, but I do not quite understand the philosophical change in direction being made or proposed without some extensive measure of consultation. If we went back, as some members could, to a fellow by the name of Mr. Benson, when we had the white paper, we had some extensive discussions.

None of that was developed without very real consultation with the people who were to be affected, not just the business community but consumers' groups and others. What I attempted to say on Wednesday this week is that I think this budget needs not only careful analysis but an opportunity for groups and individuals to have some say before the final regulations and laws are drafted.

Mr. McClellan: Would that be a precedent, even applied here?

Hon. Mr. Davis: No. As a matter of fact it would not be a precedent, because they did it with the Benson white paper as well.

Mr. McClellan: No, I meant here, in terms of your budget.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, we have never been significantly philosophical. We have only modestly adjusted taxes in some years. I have this concern, Mr. Chairman. I cannot really think of a time in the economic life of Canada when we did not need this kind of budget. It has created a measure of uncertainty that is, I think, a negative in terms of the investment community. It is questioning the confidence of the business community and others, in terms of dealing with the economic realities of the day.

I am encouraged, and I hope I am not becoming too optimistic, that the observations are really getting through to the Prime Minister; they are getting through to Mr. MacEachen. Perhaps there will be a reassessment of some of the proposals that have been put forward. I think what we need at this moment is a budget that indicates a measure of certainty, a sense of direction, and where there is some encouragement in terms of investment, in terms of savings. While I will never argue against the concept of "plugging loopholes," it sounds very attractive, but when you extend the concept of plugging loopholes into --

Mr. Cassidy: In theory yes, in practice no.

Hon. Mr. Davis: No, I do not quarrel with the concept of plugging a loophole, but I do object strenuously to the concept of developing a budgetary strategy that in fact impacts upon each and every person, and provides a measure of uncertainty, a lack of confidence that this country can ill afford at this present moment.

Mr. Cassidy: Does the Premier agree with cutting the tax rate from 50 per cent to 66 per cent?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Listen, I guess if I had been Minister of Finance, I would not have approached it from that direction. I realize that may sound like heresy to some people. I think they went at it sort of in a backwards direction.

I suggest, without getting into a careful analysis of the budget, which I know members of the standing committee did with the Treasurer of this province, that in general terms, not getting into the specifics item by item in the federal budget, my general reaction is one of disappointment, one of concern and a hope and an expectation that the government of Canada will make some modifications that will resolve some of these problems in the minds of the people of this country. I know the problem that exists, the reluctance to make these changes when one comes forward with a budget.

I pointed out in my telex to the Prime Minister, and I was not being facetious or anything else, that I suggested with respect that probably some ministries and perhaps even the government itself were not totally aware of the impact of some of the changes that were contained in the budget, and that it should not be that difficult to reconsider some of these aspects.

Mr. Chairman, I have gone about eight minutes longer than I had intended. I have other things I would like to say with respect to some of the more general issues, but perhaps it would be appropriate to cease my observations. After other members have had an opportunity, I may come back to some of the things I have a few notes on here and refer to them then.

Mr. Chairman: Previous to the Leader of the Opposition speaking, the Premier suggested the possibility of combining both estimates, vote 201 and that of cabinet, which is vote 301. Is that agreeable to all parties?

Agreed to.

Mr. Smith: Mr. Chairman, I intend to be very brief. This is my last opportunity to respond as the person directly in charge of having to carry the opposition view on the Premier's estimates. I have spent some six years, I guess perhaps five estimates -- I am not sure, I have not looked back -- discussing these matters. Obviously, it is not going to come to me to have the possibility of discussing these estimates from the other side of the House, that being the will of the people of Ontario.

I must confess I have been trying to find a way to sum up, in as brief as possible terms, my deep concern with the priorities which move this Premier, with whom I have no quarrel on a personal basis, but with whom I have a very great quarrel in terms of his political and government priorities. What I intend to do is be extremely brief and read into the record two lists which, from my six years here, typify what I think is the absolutely wrong set of priorities that has come to this government and to this cabinet directed by the present Premier.

The first list I care to read is a list of prosthetic and orthotic devices not covered under the Ontario health insurance plan. I will start in this list with an appliance known as a Symes appliance. It costs $969 and is for those who have lost a foot due to accident or surgery. There is a below-knee appliance for those who have had amputations. There are a number of different kinds, ranging in price from $1,000 to $1,469 depending on type. An above-knee appliance, depending on whether it be plastic or metal or have the possibility of a change of socket without having to change the leg, ranges in cost from $1,625 to $2,075.

12:10 p.m.

There is what is known as a hip-level appliance. Again, depending on the make, it may range from $2,156 to $2,625. There is what is known as a hemipelvectomy appliance for those unfortunate enough to have actually lost half the pelvis. The price range is $2,500 to $2,875. A below-elbow, plastic appliance can be $700 to about $1,000; an above-elbow, plastic appliance about $1,100; a shoulder disarticulation, about $1,875.

There are things known as orthotic devices. They do not replace parts of the body; they prop them up, or splint them, or enable them to function better. I point out such matters as a drop foot splint, $119; full-length leg brace, a paraplegic type, $594; knee cage brace, $450; universal hand splint, $125; plastic wrist and hand splint, $169; cervical brace, $188; spinal brace, $263; custom-made orthopaedic corset, $188, and custom-made abdominal belt, $156.

Many types of orthopaedic footware are required by people so they can carry on their daily functioning. These, too, are not covered, and they range between about $100 and $200, depending on what is required. Some very simple matters, special heel and arch supports, are less than $100.

As for hearing aids, and I speak particularly of hearing aids for young children who are born deaf or close to totally deaf, and who will never learn to speak unless they have very advanced forms of hearing aids provided for them, OHIP will not cover those. They cost between $250 and $300 on average, but in extreme cases can go as high as $1,000.

Canes are fairly inexpensive -- $12 for basic wooden canes; crutches, $18 a pair. They are perhaps minor except for those to whom that is lot of money. Special hands, for those who have lost a hand, metal with rubber fingers, cost $400; and hooks which can be used by people who have lost a hand, range from $100 to $250. There are motorized wheelchairs, which some require because they do not have the strength to move the wheels of their chair, if they are quadriplegic, or close to quadriplegic, or suffer from very severe cerebral palsy.

That list is not covered by OHIP.

The second list, which I would like to read into the record, contains the features of a particular jet plane the Premier has ordered for himself. It specifies: wide-body fuselage; extra width and head room; an interior to meet high standards of comfort and luxury; capable of a maximum cruise speed of over 500 miles per hour; separate climate controls for cabin and flight deck; cabin length, 28 feet, three inches; cabin width (centre line),eight feet, two inches; cabin head room, six feet, one inch; cabin area, 202.5 square feet; cabin volume, 1,150 cubic feet;

Seating for 12 in a spacious cabin, which could seat 27; aircraft wing span, 61 feet, 10 inches; aircraft length, 68 feet, five inches; aircraft height, 20 feet, eight inches; ceiling, maximum certified operating altitude, 41,000 feet; choice of engine, Avco, Lycoming ALF 5021-2 or General Electric CF34-1A; colour scheme, blue and white with seats in subdued brown and plaids, blue broadloom; specially equipped bar; luxurious washroom.

I ask the people of Ontario to consider the two lists. It seems to me that this typifies, more than anything else, the distortion in values of the Premier, his office, his cabinet and this administration.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Chairman, I am afraid my remarks will be more in the traditional pattern. The House leaders, undoubtedly under the direction of the government House leader, some time ago decided they would not have a debate per se on the constitution, but rather it could be handled in the estimates of the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs or the Premier's office.

I was squeezed out on Intergovernmental Affairs. Too many of my colleagues were interested in it and time elapsed. Therefore, I want to seize this opportunity to discuss this matter and I appreciate very much having the privilege of doing it with the Premier himself.

Let me start by saying this: if I were a member of the House of Commons when that resolution was voted on a week ago, I would have voted with the 246 who supported it and not with the 24 who opposed it. That is not to say there are not many features of that resolution with which I am unhappy -- indeed, I am profoundly concerned about some -- but given the immense complexities and the difficulties of reconciling the conflicting approaches and interests of 11 governments, I think it was a triumph to achieve a consensus among 10 of those governments. In my view, it is a consensus that is worthy of support.

We shall now have a patriated constitution. It will be our right and obligation to improve the accord with future amendments in accordance with the amending formula now agreed upon. Indeed, we can now change that amending formula here in Canada if we can secure an agreement on improvements.

We shall have a constitution with a Canadian charter of rights and freedoms, one that, thank God, includes such basic rights as the protection of the rights of women and native people. The New Democratic Party, and the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation before it, literally for the past 50 years, have been fighting for those two objectives: patriation of the constitution and, within that constitution, a charter of rights.

In my view, it would be a breach, not only of the traditions of the party, but would be ignoring the efforts put forward by literally thousands of people down through those years in an attempt to achieve those objectives if one did not at this time support what eventually was decided upon, even though there are deficiencies.

I do not propose to cover it comprehensively. It is a fascinating topic and it is perhaps worthy of comprehensive coverage. There are a number of deficiencies as I see them within the constitution that I would like to touch upon.

I must say at the outset, my most serious reservation is not with the ultimate product, but rather with the process by which it was achieved. We had in this nation, particularly in the last year or so, two confronting groups. On the one hand, there was a federal government supported by two provinces including our own. On the other hand, there were eight provinces, the so-called Gang of Eight.

There appeared to be an almost total unwillingness to compromise. Events ultimately indicated that was not strictly accurate. When the crunch came, in those two or three days leading up to November 5, there was some willingness to compromise. The result was that we got some measure of consensus and the achievement we honoured in this House when the Premier came back and reported on it.

I do not want to fix blame totally, but from my knowledge of what went on in that bizarre night and the afternoon preceding it on November 4 and 5, my understanding is that when you reached the latter part of the afternoon of Wednesday of that week, when everybody was coming to the conclusion there was going to be no success and when they were turning their minds to what they were going to say by way of rationalization, complaint or acceptance of that rather sad result, a message came down from the federal government which had been perhaps as adamant as anybody -- I do not really want to draw comparisons here -- in the whole process.

12:20 p.m.

What came down was a rather startling reversal of positions hitherto held. There had been a firm reluctance on the part of the federal government to entertain the kind of amending formula that had been worked out at Victoria 10 years ago. There had been a very strong reluctance, if not total opposition, on the part of the federal government to the right of a province to opt out of any constitutional amendment. Yet what came down at the eleventh hour, in the final opportunity to achieve some measure of consensus, was a willingness on the part of the federal government to entertain this.

I understand that over the supper hour it began to trickle around to the various components of these provincial groupings. As of about seven o'clock it was decided they would meet at 9:30 p.m. to take a look at it. From this government's point of view and that of a number of other provincial governments across the country, they said, "Perhaps there is a possibility here." They worked on it until the latter part of the evening, near midnight.

However, they were not able to communicate with everybody. I was fascinated to learn from certain quarters that one of the problems involved was that Lougheed goes to bed at 11 o'clock every night come what may, and after he goes to bed his aides never disturb him. Therefore, there was no opportunity to confer with Mr. Lougheed until he awakened in his own good time the next morning.

Mr. T. P. Reid: What time does he get up?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Early. Some of us go to bed late and still get up early.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Right. Some of us don't have $6 million jets either.

Mr. MacDonald: I am willing to catch my breath while this little exchange goes on.

Mr. Chairman: A little levity.

Mr. MacDonald: I do not know whether it was levity, but it was an exchange anyway.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Just a breath of fresh air in an otherwise dull submission of what we've all heard before.

Mr. MacDonald: A dullness that could be outmatched only if the member for Rainy River were on the floor.

Mr. T. P. Reid: No, I don't have your experience at it.

Mr. MacDonald: However, let us not get any lower than we are at this point by pursuing it.

We did achieve a consensus, a consensus that unfortunately sacrificed women's and native rights, something that had been won by the representations of literally hundreds of groups and thousands of people during the hearings of the joint House of Commons and Senate committee last winter.

That was a tragedy redeemed only by what was perhaps one of the most encouraging episodes in Canadian history. When the consensus came out and revealed that these two basic bodies of rights were denied, there arose across this nation such an outcry and such a relentless lobbying and pressuring that, after a week or two, they were able to revise the consensus and reincorporate into the resolution those two bodies of rights that had been lost.

During all the contributions I have made to constitutional debates in this House, reaching back to the 1960s, I have always felt these were occasions on which one should set aside partisan differences. At least they should be muted if not totally forgotten. In my view, in shaping a constitution we are seeking a definition of that common ground upon which all of us agree, irrespective of our party affiliations; in other words, we are establishing the basic rules of the game by which this nation is going to be run. For a moment, I am going to forsake that self-imposed practice of muting partisan differences.

What disappointed me, even angered me, was the willingness of the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition during the crunch in that week before we got the final revision of the constitution to engage in political pointing and gibes, directed particularly at Premier Allan Blakeney in Saskatchewan because he was holding out on enshrining women's rights in the constitution.

He did not do that because he is opposed to women's rights per se. The Premier of Ontario is well aware, because he has been exposed to Premier Blakeney's views, that he feels that decisions with regard to rights can be handled as well in the legislatures as in the courts of the land, if not better, because the courts tend to reflect the views of a generation ago. Therefore, to point fingers at Allan Blakeney for sticking to his guns on that issue, I think, was to inject back into the debate political points that were really quite unworthy of the Premier. They were picked up by the Leader of the Opposition and accepted by the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells).

Hon. Mr. Davis: With great respect, it was your own "leader," in quotes, who provoked the discussion.

Mr. MacDonald: I do not know what the provocation of my own leader has to do with your gibing at the Premier of Saskatchewan.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Well, with great respect, he started it.

Mr. MacDonald: The point I want to make, Mr. Chairman, is that the New Democratic Party as a party does not agree with Allan Blakeney's approach, the New Democratic caucus federally does not agree with his approach and the government of Manitoba, as soon as they got it changed -- and how drastic was that change when they moved from Lyon to Howard Pawley -- did not agree with that kind of approach.

Hon. Mr. Davis: You know where he comes from.

Mr. MacDonald: Where? Your area of the country.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Brampton.

Mr. MacDonald: Of course.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Do you realize there are two Premiers in Canada both from the same place?

Mr. MacDonald: Is that right? Well, at least one of them is a progressive.

Hon. Mr. Davis: That's right; me.

Mr. MacDonald: I do not want to get into too much of a verbal tangle with the Premier, but it does not behoove any party to start throwing stones on this issue. All parties have been living in glass houses, and there have been divisions in all parties on this whole rather painful process of achieving constitutional reform.

For example, I remind the Liberals that when the leader of the Liberal Party joined in this political attack, a year ago when the federal Liberal government brought down its package in October 1980, a package it created and which therefore presumably embodied what it really felt were the top priorities that must be met -- and, indeed, if the provinces had not agreed with it the federal government was going to drive it through unilaterally without achieving a national consensus -- in that package there were no women's rights and no native rights. It is a little idle to get up on a pedestal at this late date and start throwing stones at other people.

I remind the Tories and the Premier that in the final stages of trying to get native rights reintroduced into the package, the provinces that held out at the last moment were, on the one hand, Alberta, and on the other hand, those political soul mates of the members opposite in British Columbia, to whom the Ontario Tories are sending all their organizers from the Big Blue Machine to bolster them so they will not be defeated in the next election when the NDP is returned to power once again -- the Pat Kinsellas of the world.

Hon. Mr. Davis: That's a contradiction. You can't say they're out there so they won't be defeated when the NDP wins. You can't phrase the sentence that way.

Mr. MacDonald: I can't, eh? They are out there for the purpose of achieving that. They will not succeed.

Hon. Mr. Davis: You are an academic; you give lectures. You can't say what you said just 30 seconds ago.

Mr. MacDonald: Once again I think the master of convolution in sentences should get out of that glass house before he starts throwing stones.

Hon. Mr. Davis: It wasn't a convoluted sentence; it was a contradictory one. There is a distinction.

Mr. MacDonald: Is there? At least in a convoluted sentence you can't figure out whether it's contradictory or not.

Let me come back to this. The NDP played a very leading role in shaping this constitution during the joint meetings of the Senate and House of Commons committee, where we finally got native rights and women's rights into the resolution after the Liberals had left them out. The NDP played a key role in the final package when it was tabled in the House because it was the New Democratic Party that led the way for caucuses in saying that if we attempt, in the year 1981, to bring in a new constitution that does not include such things as women's rights and native rights, it would oppose it. That assisted in opening up the whole process of public concern and public involvement that resulted in the change.

12:30 p.m.

Members of the NDP can be relatively satisfied without being vigorously proud, because nobody can be vigorously proud of a process as fortuitous, as haphazard, as irrational as the process by which we finally got to our conclusion, a conclusion that everybody, including the Premier in his introductory remarks, says is far from being a perfect one.

Now having introduced that partisan note, Mr. Chairman, let me hasten to retreat to my relatively nonpartisan approach in dealing with the constitution from this point forward.

There are two or three areas of continuing concern I would like to touch on. The first one is the question of native and aboriginal rights. Quite frankly, in my view perhaps the most shameful aspect of this whole process of constitutional reform has been the manner and the extent to which the federal government, with most provincial governments tending to go along with it, has excluded the leaders of the native peoples from any meaningful participation in the shaping of their future destiny.

It seems to me ironical and underlines the shamefulness of the approach that only in that final meeting, in that consensus that was achieved on November 5, did there come, for the first time, a commitment to the holding of a first ministers' conference within a matter of months, at which there would be presumably an opportunity for the leaders of the native peoples to participate and resolve some of those differences.

The Premier of this province, whose political footwork is normally of a fairly high order, was smart enough to say he was in favour of native rights, while his Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) was having a letter, some two or three months old at least, being revealed that indicated he had some serious reservations with regard to the lack of clarity about those rights. In short, it is all very well for the Premier to paper over the unresolved differences in defining those rights. I just hope there will be some initiative taken by this province, not only on this issue but on others I want to raise, to clarify what those native rights can be, rather then dragging on and procrastinating in the fashion we have done for many years.

Indeed, in the document put out by the Ministry of Intergovernmental Affairs containing articles from selected newspapers, an editorial from the Edmonton Journal was included that, as far as I am concerned, sums it up. I will put it on the record. I quote: "The agreement commits Canada to an early first ministers' meeting that will better identify and define the constitutional rights of the native peoples with an intent to include them in the constitution. Indeed, it would be appropriate if the first amendment to our constitution did exactly that, with more clarity and force than existed in the original version of the charter."

There was really no clarity and no definition of the rights in what is going to be patriated when it comes back from Great Britain. There is that obligation, and I repeat that it is an obligation I hope this government will accept and pursue.

There is a second area I just want to comment on briefly, which was presumably one of the points on which the federal government relented at the eleventh hour, thereby making it possible to achieve the consensus of November 5. That is that if there was an amendment to the constitution, any province could opt out from the implementation of that amendment in its particular jurisdiction. That was something the Prime Minister of the country had resisted because of what he chose to describe as a checker-boarding of the nation. But I think in that inimitable capacity for compromises it may well be that we have achieved a compromise by excluding the right of a province to get any financial benefits if it opts out of a constitutional reform.

We have now made it possible or likely that there will be very little practice of opting out. In other words, the danger the Prime Minister of the country envisaged of a confederation of shopping centres is not likely to take place, nor is the danger of what has been described by others as incremental separatism likely to take place.

Whether or not one could have made it possible for Quebec to view more sympathetically the possibility of coming in on this agreement by the kind of amendment that the New Democratic group made in the House of Commons, namely of a right to opt out on the part of Quebec but not other provinces, I suppose we shall never know. That will have to be flashed through in the months or the years ahead as Quebec considers, perhaps reconsiders, its position.

The main point I want to address for a moment is the overriding power, the right of any province to pass legislation that would override a right that is contained in the national document. That, of course, applies not only to the charter of rights but to some of the basic rights and equality rights. I will be very frank with you, Mr. Chairman: I regret this power. I regretted it so much at the outset that I suspect my position might have been closer to that of my colleague the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) who has spoken to it in the House already.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I came to the conclusion that perhaps it was the inevitable, the inescapable tradeoff in order to achieve a measure of consensus which the Supreme Court ruling indicated must be achieved if we were going to have genuine constitutional change in this country; namely that one had to concede to the provinces that safety valve, and particularly that the concession is maybe not as much of a danger as some of us originally thought.

I was impressed, for example, with the fact that Walter Tarnopolsky, past president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and an international expert on the bill of rights, was quoted as saying, on November 7 in the Globe and Mail, that the compromise clause is "really not such a bad idea and could have a great many advantages."

A little later there is a comment in elaboration, "The expected reluctance of legislatures to pass override clauses means that the courts could still decide important issues of public policy, but parliaments will have an opportunity to redress the situation if they do not agree with the decision and it is in their power to do so."

On that same day in the Globe and Mail, following the announcement of the achievement of consensus, there was a Canadian Press story, a couple of paragraphs of which I would like to put on the record.

"Some civil libertarians say the proposed charter of rights and freedoms in the constitution is weakened, perhaps fatally, by provisions that enable Parliament and the legislatures to exempt laws from it. Others say it will become politically difficult to use the opting-out provisions, and public opinion will give the charter the muscle needed to guarantee rights in Canada and the provinces. 'Our reaction is one of great relief,' said Alan Borovoy of Toronto, legal counsel to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, in an interview yesterday. They did not emasculate the charter.' Mr. Borovoy believes the opting-out provisions may never be used."

A little later in the same story, Gordon Fairweather, chief of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, agrees. He feels the opting-out clauses will become as dead from lack of use as a clause in the British North America Act that enables Ottawa to disallow provincial legislation.

12:40 p.m.

In other words, even though I started out with misgivings, if I discover that the Tarnopolskys, the Borovoys and the Fairweathers of the world, who are as concerned about the championing of civil liberties as anybody in this country, feel that perhaps the danger is not as great as was originally envisaged, then my concerns are muted somewhat.

There is perhaps another aspect of it. The old adage is that eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. One of the problems in modern society, and if members have had any experience or contact with civil liberties associations they will recognize it, is that when there is a crisis, the organization and the interests of the people, even that limited number of people who will become concerned about these matters, is inflamed, is active, but when there is no crisis it tends to die away.

In other words, if we have in a situation the possibility that some jurisdiction in a misguided fashion is going to exercise the overriding clause and deprive people of their rights, we have that challenge to be on the alert, because even if rights are enshrined there is no guarantee that they are going to be protected. The courts may misinterpret and legislatures may circumvent some of those guarantees if they are not challenged in the courts. In short, eternal vigilance is going to be the only sure guarantee for the future protection of rights.

We have in this country today a coalition of forces among the women, among the disabled, among native people whose consciousness on the issue has been heightened. I think they have evoked sympathy among the population at large to a point that if any government were to dare to override in a fashion that is not obviously an acceptable fashion there would be quite an outcry.

I personally, while starting out with misgivings about the overriding clause, have come to a point where I am willing to accept it. I think it is a necessary tradeoff in order to achieve and to establish the principle of federalism in which all the provinces, or at least a great majority of those provinces, are in support of the consensus.

As the Supreme Court said, one province cannot veto, and two are not enough to support, any proposal. They did not quantify what was the appropriate consensus but, certainly, it has to be something along the lines of that which was achieved in order to get the constitutional package, perhaps not always as many as nine, but something approaching that kind of consensus, six, seven, eight or nine.

However, let me turn finally to deal with the real dark shadow that falls over this whole issue, the one that the Premier himself spoke to in fair measure in his introductory remarks. That is the isolation of Quebec.

The public image is that in that so-called night of knives, as Mr. Lévesque has described it, that Wednesday night when there was a frantic effort to achieve something instead of the disaster that was impending, Mr. Lévesque was left out of the picture altogether. Indeed, one of the news stories was that he came down for breakfast the next morning and instead of getting ham and eggs he found himself faced with the constitution.

My information, from the scattered details that have been covered in the Richard Gwyn stories and elsewhere with regard to what happened that night, is that is not quite accurate. As a matter of fact many people, including Mr. Lougheed, did not know what was in the constitutional package until breakfast the next morning.

Since Mr. Lougheed was the man designated to get in touch with that Neanderthal who was about to pass out of the picture in Manitoba and bring him aboard, he did not know anything about it. So Mr. Lévesque was not really isolated, but it is unfortunate that the public image was that in a final effort to achieve a consensus English-speaking Canada chose not to bring Quebec into the picture.

Until I learned, rather belatedly, more of the details of what went on that night, I could not figure out why somebody -- maybe not this Premier because he had not been involved with the gang of eight -- had not called René overnight or before breakfast the next morning and said, "Look, René, I want to let you know we have a package."

He might not have agreed to it. If he is firmly committed to separatism, I suppose he cannot tolerate a renewed federalism -- that would be a real contradiction -- but at least it would not have given him the excuse to say he had been isolated by English-speaking Canada.

The Premier referred to the events of this past weekend. I think it is rather fascinating because if anybody made a problem for himself it was Premier René Lévesque with his inflamed oratory. But so it was ever since the events of November 5 played directly into the hands of the militants in the Parti Québecois who said:

"Finally, we have the evidence. We cannot work with English-speaking Canada. You said it."

So they passed resolutions that cut out association. They passed militant resolutions which, with his degree of moderation, Levesque was not ready to accept and threatened to resign. Now we have had a total reversal, if the newspaper stories of the last few days are correct, and we are going to go back to square one.

However, it does underline this: We have in Quebec circumstances in which the cause is not necessarily lost. The Gallup poll indicates 46 per cent of the people in Quebec feel Lévesque should have entered into the agreement, perhaps with some amendments, but at least he should have sought those amendments and become part of the package so that all 11 governments would be involved.

Forty-six per cent; only 34 per cent of the people in Quebec were in favour of the position he took. Surely that is clear-cut evidence that the battle is not lost and that every conceivable effort should be made, not only within Quebec, but more particularly outside Quebec to correct the image that was left, perhaps inaccurately but it is now part of the reality, that Quebec was isolated that Wednesday night when we finally came out with a constitution. There is need for leadership.

In my final comments I come back to a theme I have been hitting at relentlessly over the last 10 years. Over the last 10 years, this province and this government under the leadership of this Premier has moved away from the traditional role of Ontario in federal-provincial relations.

As we all know, Ontario traditionally was the so-called leader of English-speaking Canada, the so-called arbiter between Quebec and English-speaking Canada, the so-called conciliator when there were serious cleavages and breaches between the federal government and the provinces. This government has moved away from that position.

In this whole constitutional reform process of the last two or three years, as I said earlier on another occasion, this government climbed into bed with the federal Liberals. They not only climbed into bed but they pulled the covers up over their heads. They were not critical of a package that obviously merited improvements and needed to be pursued in terms of improvements.

I want to be totally fair about this. I concede, and I do not think there is any doubt about it, when it got to the crunch on November 4, 5 and 6, the government got back to something of its traditional role of positive action. The government has to pursue that role, not lapse back into the passivity which has increasingly characterized its attitude and approach over the last 10 years.

I recognize in doing that it has to be different from what it was in days gone by. The painful thing, the painful reality, is that in days gone by if Ontario took a position it was usually accepted by western Canada. The painful reality today is that if Ontario takes a position, not only western Canada but fellow Tories in New Brunswick and elsewhere are going to be lining up against you. So there has to be a new kind of sensitivity, in terms of recognizing the mental fix that has been created in the minds of other Canadians, because of the traditional dominance of Ontario in the federal-provincial situation.

However, the reality is this: Ontario is still, almost unbelievably, politically dominant. When you stop to realize that Ontario has as many seats in the House of Commons as the four western provinces put together, or that Ontario has two and a half times as many seats in the House of Commons as the four Atlantic provinces put together, obviously Ontario must and will have an impact.

12:50 p.m.

Despite the fact that the economic growth and thrust in this country has moved out to western Canada, and that our manufacturing economy is languishing and we are having difficulties far greater than we have had at any earlier period in our history, in spite of all that, Ontario is still the industrial base of this nation. Ontario still has from 35 to 40 per cent of the gross national product.

That kind of power, that kind of a base could be used sensitively, profoundly sensitively, leaning over backwards not to arouse once again the kind of attitudes that have been created by Ontario's tendency to a fat cat image. I will borrow the phraseology of the editorials from Alberta to make my point bluntly, the fat cat image of the past.

If Ontario accepts its power and uses it wisely, it has a positive and creative role to play in federal-provincial relations, in terms of the west, and more particularly in reference to Quebec. As I said a moment ago, the battle is not lost in Quebec. I have a profound conviction, as a person who grew up in Quebec, whose family has lived in Quebec since my great-grandfather came out and carved a farm out of the bush south of Montreal, that province will stay part of Canada. We have a role in terms of making certain that happens.

I come back to something that mystifies me. It so totally mystifies me that I sometimes find I have difficulty speaking about it. That is the attitude of this government with regard to the old section 133. The Premier has to face the fact that no other single issue has reduced the credibility of Ontario in the minds of the people of Quebec more than his intransigent position on section 133.

Why I am mystified about it is that he is boasting all the time -- the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry) did it two or three weeks ago -- about the extent to which Ontario is extending these rights and these services in the courts. We know the right to speak the French language exists in this Legislature. When this government is conceding the reality and the substance, why is it so mindlessly stubborn and intransigent about conceding the principle?

If it is a matter of principle, it is unworthy of the government that it should stick to the position it is at. If it is a matter of politics or tactics, then it is unnecessary. If it is a matter of principle, this province and this Premier could have made a contribution far greater in the past, and can in the future, by restoring their credibility, by conceding what the Premier himself says is only a symbol. Is it a political danger? Is it such a paralysing political danger?

Let me just put this on the record. A poll was taken during the election, a Regenstreif poll. The Star survey found a narrow but clear majority of the people in Ontario in favour of guaranteeing language rights in the Canadian constitution for French-speaking Ontarians when they deal with the Ontario provincial government: 52 per cent were in favour, only 39 per cent were opposed.

It is interesting to note that, in the instance of the Conservative Party, only 42 per cent were opposed. In the instance of the Liberal Party, 32 per cent were opposed. In the instance of the New Democratic Party, 27 per cent were opposed. What is the Premier afraid of? If an acknowledgement of this right at a time when he is proudly boasting that he is providing the substance of the services, is going to assist immeasurably in restoring the credibility of Ontario in its relationship with Quebec, what is he afraid of?

I just do not understand it. I repeat, if it is a matter of principle, it is unworthy of the Premier that he should persist in that. Having said that, I am going to leave the matter rest there. I do not think I will ever come back to it again, because it is like beating one's head against a stone wall. It is mindless, his position, mindless.

It is a bit shameful because he has had parties at the federal level, the Liberal Party, his own Conservative Party headed by Joe Clark, the New Democratic Party; they have all said to Ontario, fellow Conservative premiers like Hatfield say: "Look, if I as a province in New Brunswick do it voluntarily, Manitoba had to do it because of a court decision, Quebec had to do it because of a long-standing constitutional obligation. Why does not Ontario, with the largest group of francophones this side of Quebec, do it?"

However, the issue is not important in itself now; the issue is important because it is the one issue that can take a major step forward in re-establishing Ontario's credibility in the minds of the people of Quebec. We have a real role to play there. It requires just a measure of statesmanship. We have a real role to play there in future battles, in the minds and hearts of the people of Quebec. The future of this nation, as we understand it, depends upon winning that battle.

I would like to believe that the Premier, even at this eleventh hour, even after such repeated statements of his opposition on the issue, might be persuaded to see the light.

Mr. Chairman: The member for Niagara Falls has indicated he would like to speak next. We have three minutes left. Would he like to begin his remarks?

Mr. Kerrio: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I was not going to participate until the Premier made the remarks about the auto industry. I thought it was very important that I get my feelings down about that particular matter that is of such importance to the people of Ontario.

I raised the question with the Minister of Industry and Tourism (Mr. Grossman). I want to make it abundantly clear it is a federal matter, so he can just leave that rhetoric aside when he answers my question. I appreciate that. The real question is, how much pressure is he, the top representative from Ontario, putting on the federal government as it relates to that tax which is doing such a disservice to workers in Ontario?

Just to recite a few figures to him, in three out of 16 years the auto pact has had a surplus to Canada of some $450 million -- I am just rounding these off because I do not have the list with me. In the other 13 years, there has been a deficit to Canada of some $13,470 million.

That takes into account everything that happened in the automotive industry: cars, trucks, tires, and particularly parts. The totals, taking one from the other, leave the people of Canada. and more particularly the people in Ontario, with about a $13 billion deficit. This does not take into account the amount of research that goes on, research paid for by the Canadian automotive industry to their American counterparts to do research on our behalf.

I think my question is a very valid one. How much longer should we in Ontario, where it has the most effect on our workers, put up with the inequities of the auto pact? Does the Premier not think, as the leader of this province, he should make that case to the federal people? They have done it in many other jurisdictions.

In fact, as the left-wingers over there will understand very clearly, the Russians bought a Fiat plant for some $800 million which was built in Russia in 1973. In the next two years, they are going to turn out their eight millionth car. That means that total investment will cost about $100 a car to produce a vehicle that is being shipped all over the world and making our auto industry suffer.

I am sure the Premier, coming from Brampton and representing a town that has American Motors Corporation, would like to see a greater and more equitable auto pact to put our people back to work.

Mr. Chairman: Does the member for Niagara Falls wish to continue his remarks?

Mr. Kerrio: Yes, I would.

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


The Deputy Speaker: I beg to inform the House that, in the name of Her Majesty the Queen, the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor has been pleased to assent to certain bills in his chambers.

Clerk of the House: The following are the titles of the bills to which His Honour has assented:

Bill 7, An Act to revise and extend Protection of Human Rights in Ontario;

Bill 104, An Act to amend the Highway Traffic Act;

Bill 107, An Act to amend the Police Act;

Bill 136, An Act to amend the Milk Act;

Bill 162, An Act to amend the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations Act;

Bill 163, An Act to amend the Personal Property Security Act;

Bill 166, An Act to revise the Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax Act;

Bill 171, An Act respecting certain International Bridges;

Bill 176, An Act to amend the Co-operative Corporations Act;

Bill Pr24, An Act respecting the Greater Niagara General Hospital;

Bill Pr26, An Act to revive Waltham Creative Printing Limited;

Bill Pr35, An Act respecting Victoria University;

Bill Pr38, An Act to incorporate Emmanuel Bible College;

Bill Pr41, An Act to revive the Atlas Hotel Company Limited:

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


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, before moving the adjournment of the House, I want to indicate some of the business for next week.

On Monday afternoon and evening, we will be completing the estimates of the Premier and the Cabinet Office. When the estimates are completed, we will then move to Bill 151 for second reading in committee of the whole as required. We will follow that by concurrences on the Order Paper.

We will be doing concurrences on Monday evening, probably late Tuesday afternoon, Tuesday night, Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning.

I will have a further business statement next week indicating when the remaining concurrences and legislation will be called.

I would also like to indicate that on Tuesday afternoon we will call Bill 191 for second reading in committee of the whole as required. That is the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act dealing with the Toronto Islands.

The order in which we will be calling concurrences during the week at the times I just indicated will be as follows: Ministry of Education, Ministry of Colleges and Universities, Provincial Secretariat for Social Development, Ministry of Community and Social Services, Ministry of Culture and Recreation, Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Treasury and Economics, Ministry of Industry and Tourism, Office of the Assembly, Office of the Ombudsman, Office of the Provincial Auditor, Ministry of Government Services, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of the Solicitor General, Ministry of the Attorney General, Provincial Secretariat for Justice, Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations, Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Correctional Services, Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the Provincial Secretariat for Resources Development.

Finally, may I indicate now that we will probably be doing private members' business next Thursday afternoon.

The House adjourned at 1:04 p.m.