32nd Parliament, 2nd Session



























The House met at 2:01 p.m.




Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, I am sure all members of this House this afternoon will want to recognize and support the important constitutional event which took place today in London, England. Queen Elizabeth today gave royal assent to the Canada Act which provides for our new constitution. Henceforth, Canadians will be governed by a made-in-Canada document which they and their leaders have worked so long and so diligently to achieve.

It is significant that this approval today occurred 115 years, to the very month, day and hour, after Queen Victoria gave royal assent to the British North America Act of 1867. I am sure all members will share with me the sense of great honour that we, as members of this Legislature, are a part of such a historic occasion, taken within the framework of our British parliamentary and Commonwealth traditions.

We now look forward to the next formal event in the achievement of this stage of constitutional reform. I am sure we warmly welcome the visit of Her Majesty to Canada from April 15 to April 18. The highlight of this visit will be the proclamation by the Queen of Canada of the Constitution Act on Saturday, April 17, in the Senate chamber in Ottawa.

As part of that occasion and as part of the ceremony surrounding that occasion, the Ontario government is planning an appropriate ceremony here at Queen's Park which will allow members of this House and the public to participate in these celebrations. Detailed information of this ceremony will be available shortly, but for the present I will say that I am sure we all wish to express our very loyal support of this important act by our monarch.

Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, if I may, I wish to take a moment to join with the honourable minister in expressing our great pride in what has transpired today. I am sure our children will look back at the leaders of the day with a great sense of pride in what has gone forward as a result of these difficult and laborious negotiations over the past couple of years.

I think we would be remiss at this point if we did not recognize the contribution of our Premier (Mr. Davis), along with the other Premiers and the Prime Minister, who laboured mightily and arrived at a compromise that, even though not satisfactory in every detail to every person in this country, was the best achievable result in the circumstances and one that will serve our country and our children well over the many years to come.

Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the New Democratic Party, I wish to join the minister and the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson) in expressing our appreciation for this achievement.

I suppose one must reflect a little on how long the process of evolution from colony to nation takes. As the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) has pointed out, it has been 115 years since the British North America Act was first proclaimed and some 50 years since, theoretically, we became an independent nation back in the early 1930s. Now all of those trappings of an earlier colonialism have been dispensed with and we can rejoice at this achievement.

I look forward to whatever commemoration of this event the Premier and his government will be arranging for Queen's Park along with Ottawa and the rest of the nation. I trust it will be done with an appropriate degree of pride and modesty in these tough times.


Mr. Speaker: Before proceeding, I ask the indulgence of the House to recognize the contribution of the pages who have been for us for the past two weeks and who will remain with us for the coming few weeks. I am doing this at this point rather than waiting until their term is over so that everybody perhaps will get to know them better, recognize them, speak to them and make use of their invaluable service.

I will read their names:

Melissa Barton, London Centre; Alonzo Beatty, Chatham-Kent; Fiona Bird, Frontenanc-Addington; Eric Blais, Prescott-Russell; Tassie Cameron, Ottawa East; Denis Croteau, Sudbury East; Anne Donaghy, Scarborough North; Dennis Hannah, Nickel Belt; Catherine Hooper, Mississauga North; Erin Kennedy, York South; Jennifer Klenavic, Carleton East; Paul McClelland, Victoria-Haliburton; Cathy Norris, Lambton; Douglas Pinto, Etobicoke; Stacey Rakestrow, Oshawa; Spencer Snowling, Welland-Thorold; Darryl Stewart, Durham West; Robert Turner, Renfrew North; Michelene Urlocker, St. Catharines; Patrick Westcott, Scarborough-Ellesmere; Lisa Whitehead, Oriole; Stephen York, Beaches-Woodbine.

I ask all honourable members to join with me in welcoming these young people to this chamber.


Mr. Speaker: Now they are all going to have to work twice as hard.



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

I am sure the Premier is aware of the layoffs announced last week; just to refresh his memory, there were 1,750 people laid off at General Motors, 1,150 at Great Lakes Forest Products, 925 at White Farm Equipment, 140 further layoffs at de Havilland, 150 further layoffs at Algoma Steel, 140 layoffs at Umex Mines and 125 layoffs at Armco Canada Ltd.

Can the Premier tell this House what he is planning to do about that?

2:10 p.m.


Hon. Mr. Davis: I should stay away more often.

Mr. T. P. Reid: I'd wait for the answer, myself.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I knew the member for Rainy River (Mr. T. P. Reid) would say that. I had to give him something to applaud. He has not had anything to applaud in the first week of the session; so at least I gave him a chance today. I read all that went on, including his leader's throne speech contribution, and this is the first time he has had a chance to applaud with vigour.

I must say to the Leader of the Opposition that I welcome his question. I know he raised economic issues with the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) and other ministers in the first week of the session, including having an emergency debate.

Relating to the particulars in the question the member raised, if memory serves me correctly four of the firms he referred to were directly or indirectly related to the automotive sector. I think it is fair to state that this government has made abundantly clear to the government of Canada, including at a meeting in which I participated directly with Mr. Lumley and Mr. Gray, its views towards the solution with respect to the auto sector.

It is also fair to state that part of our problem relates to the economic policies or the economic situation in the United States, partly to consumer confidence and partly to the question of interest rates. But in this country it is also related in part to the present federal policy on the importation of vehicles from offshore. I want to make it abundantly clear that I am in no way quarrelling with, being critical of or being negative with respect to the quality of the products from other countries, but on three occasions and at the first ministers' meeting I made a speech in which I conveyed to the two federal ministers that I think this country has to become somewhat firmer in terms of its external relationships.

We have introduced the concept that was initiated by the parts manufacturing sector, supported by the United Automobile Workers and perhaps not to the same extent by the companies themselves, of at least the consideration of a Canadian content rule. In this issue we are discussing more than just the state of the auto sector; we are discussing the question of the lifestyle in this province and this country.

I have had no direct communication with Mr. Lumley since his return from Japan -- I am only going by press reports -- but I sense that he did not have an enthusiastic reception for his ideas or proposals when he was there. I think it is fundamental to the long-term health of the auto sector here that this country take a firmer position with respect to imports from offshore. I know the leader of the Liberal Party probably will disagree with this point of view, but it happens to be mine. It is one that I think is essential.

As to two other firms he referred to, one of them relates to a downturn in the metals industry generally; it is not a question of the economy of this province but a question of market. I think the other one he referred to probably related to the pulp and paper industry, where there has been a downturn even though, when compared to a lot of other jurisdictions, our pulp and paper industry is still relatively healthy and we hope it will stay that way.

The Leader of the Opposition is asking what the government of Ontario can do with respect to the economic conditions. I think it is fair to state that the Treasurer has been giving this a great deal of thought. This past fall he introduced the short-term tax reduction which the Leader of the Opposition did not support but which I think had a positive impact on the 1981 inventory of dealerships. I can assure the Leader of the Opposition that every auto dealer in this province from whom I have heard, and there have been many, was totally in support of that tax holiday, or whatever way he may wish to describe it, even though in his position as financial critic he was less than enthusiastic. That is a charitable way of saying he was opposed to it.

Mr. Peterson: I am happy to have given the Premier an opportunity to make a speech. Let me ask him specifically about the White Farm Equipment situation in which, as he will recall, this government has an investment in terms of a $2-million loan and a further $3-million loan guarantee. He is aware that the layoffs there were not caused by lagging sales or problems in the automotive industry but by a squabble between White and a third party. How can the Premier and his ministers sit here and let those 925 people be laid off because of an internal squabble when the government has such a strong, direct investment?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I did not refer particularly to the White situation. The honourable member is quite correct. That is not related to the auto sector generally. I will be delighted to have that supplementary redirected to the minister. He may have had some more recent communication about that situation than I have had, but I think it is fair to state that at least four of the firms the member mentioned in his initial question did relate to the auto sector.

Mr. Peterson: To correct the record, it was two out of seven.

Hon. Mr. Davis: The steel industry was included.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, as I have just walked in, I wonder if the honourable member will be good enough to repeat his question.

Mr. Peterson: I am asking about the layoffs at White Farm Equipment. As the minister knows, the government has an investment of $2 million by way of a loan and $3 million by way of a loan guarantee. Layoffs of 925 people were announced last week, not because of lagging sales or a depressed market but because of an internal squabble in that company. What is the minister doing about it?

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, basically I can indicate to the Leader of the Opposition that our ministry has been in direct contact almost on a daily basis, if not an hourly basis, with the individuals involved. The telephones have been ringing frequently in Dallas and Nassau, where some of the officials are. For some time we have been attempting to work out some kind of arrangement. I am optimistic that by the end of this week sufficiently adequate language will have been established for an arrangement or an agreement which will allow for the recall of the individuals who unfortunately have been laid off here.

The member is quite right; there appears to be a squabble, and we think it is very unfortunate that these individuals have been caught in between. However, he can rest assured that our ministry is on top of it. People from our ministry have been in communication by telephone and have been meeting in person. Indeed, I may be directly involved with the principals.

Mr. Breaugh: Mr. Speaker, I want to go back to the Premier. Since this is the first time I have heard him say that he agrees at least part of the responsibility in the auto sector is legislative, and given Mr. Lumley's lack of success in Japan, is he now prepared to say that, at least until some content legislation has been established with the Japanese government, we will go for and this government will support a total ban on Japanese imports until there is a resolution of that content requirement?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the member for Oshawa should consider that carefully. I really do not think people in the industry have been calling for that extreme a position. I may be wrong about that, but I do not think the United Automobile Workers, for instance, have suggested an absolute ban. This government has been making an effort in terms of any pressures that can be brought to bear to find a reasonable or satisfactory solution. I do not think I could support an absolute ban. The member is talking about a number of consumers and dealers.

I think there has to be a reasonable solution. As I said, in my view part of that solution in the longer term is the possibility of Canadian content. Quite frankly, pressures have to be brought to bear to see that some assembly or some work is done in this country. To me, that is a potential solution as well.

Mr. Cooke: More branch plants; more branch plant economy.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I say to the honourable member who wants to interject that I understand from discussions of this issue with some knowledgeable people as recently as this morning that, in regard to the company in his own home community of which he is always so critical and which he wanted to be making the front-wheel drive, the larger units of Chrysler happen to be the ones that are selling. In spite of his predictions, that plant is doing relatively well. Does he remember that?

Mr. Kerrio: On a point of personal privilege, Mr. Speaker: I just want to make the Premier aware that there is a Japanese backhoe, a Hitachi, digging in the front yard of Queen's Park. It is about a $200,000 machine. I thought he might look into that to be sure it does not happen again.

Hon. Mr. Davis: That is not our construction.

Mr. Nixon: Mr. Speaker, since the Premier referred the matter of White Farm Equipment to the Minister of Industry and Trade Development (Mr. Walker), I wish to put a supplementary to the minister based on facts of which he is aware, that close to 1,000 people were laid off even though the product manufactured is in demand and there is no surplus product sitting around waiting to be sold.

Since his ministry and the government have a financial involvement in the White situation, does he not think it is his responsibility to call the principals into his office and see that they are not permitted to make pawns of the working people who have just recently been laid off because of some sort of internal debate over third-party financing which really should not affect the ability of those people to maintain their jobs?

2:20 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Walker: Mr. Speaker, the member for Brantford (Mr. Gillies) brought this to our attention last week. We have been continuously and directly involved with the principals on this question since then. We share the member's concerns, and indeed those of the member for Brantford, who raised the same point, that the employees of this company are perhaps being treated as pawns in the process.

There is no doubt that there is a cash squeeze. There is no doubt that the balance sheet looks fine, but the cash problem is true and accurate.

There is a basic demand for guarantees being made by Borg-Warner (Canada) Ltd., which is the company that has provided the financing. So there is an outside external force that is being applied to these people; they did not bring it about themselves. But the problem having been brought to them, they now are in a position where there is a conflagration between the officials.

There is no question that our ministry has been directly involved in talking to the people. There is no doubt that we are going to have this matter brought to a resolution as fast as we possibly can. We do not want to see people put out on the street, nor does the member for Brantford or the honourable member wish to see anyone out on the street as a result of this. To the best of our ability, we will make sure that these people are back to work as quickly as they possibly can.


Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Energy. He will recall that last week I asked the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller) some questions about Suncor. The Treasurer sort of redirected them, but the minister at that time did not feel it was a redirection and did not want to answer the question.

The minister said in debates on the Suncor question last fall in this House, "By any measure, the information available to the Legislature and the public of this province generally on this transaction is considerable." Can he tell this House why no one inside the House, or outside of it for that matter, at least publicly, was aware that there would be a $78-million dividend stripped out of that company the day before the transaction closed?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, to amend the preamble to the question, if I may be permitted, that question was not redirected to me last week, with respect.

Mr. Peterson: He thought it was, but you didn't.

Hon. Mr. Welch: That is a matter of record. The point is that the price that was paid for Suncor took into account the payment of that dividend on the day it was paid.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Why didn't you tell us?

Hon. Mr. Welch: It is as broad as it is long. If it had not been part of the negotiations, the price would have been that much higher.

Mr. Peterson: Why would the minister not have told us that? Did he not think that was material information? Why did he deceive us in that regard?


Mr. Speaker: Order. I am sure the Leader of the Opposition may want to reconsider that remark.

Mr. Peterson: Perhaps that was an unfortunate choice of words, Mr. Speaker, and if they are offensive I will withdraw them.

Mr. Speaker: Thank you.

Mr. Peterson: But the point is that this is material to the entire contract. Why did the minister not tell us this when discussing the value of that contract in the House and in front of our caucus, the New Democratic Party caucus and a variety of other people?

Hon. Mr. Welch: There was full disclosure with respect to all matters in dealing with that transaction. The honourable member knows that. The agreements that were signed have been tabled for some time. I will bet the Leader of the Opposition has not even read that documentation.

Along with the officials, I appeared before both caucuses, where any questions that were raised were answered. I will tell the member right now that this was part of the transaction at the time of the negotiation.

Mr. Cassidy: Mr. Speaker, since at the time the minister's officials appeared before our caucus and the matter was discussed we were unaware that the Ontario government had contemplated going into the acquisition of the Suncor shares in partnership with Hiram Walker, and since Hiram Walker subsequently bought a major stake in an American oil company, Davis Oil, and has taken a loss of more than $250 million because of the miscalculations it made in assessing the oil reserves of that particular company, has the government re-examined the value of what it has taken over in Suncor to see whether there might also need to be a similar writedown in the value of its Suncor assets or whether the changes in the energy futures right now have depreciated the value of that government investment?

Hon. Mr. Welch: Mr. Speaker, we were never considering going into that venture in partnership with Hiram Walker.

Mr. Peterson: The honourable gentleman asked a question I want to pick up on.

The minister is aware that the world oil price is falling almost daily, and it looks as if it is throwing out of whack his calculations upon which a fair return would have been based to justify that purchase and to say it was a good and wise investment at the time.

The minister will recall that the Treasurer said most of the people of Ontario thought the purchase of Suncor was a wise investment, and I assume that is from a financial point of view. Yet at the same time the chairman and president of Noranda, who said several other things about the whole purchase, also said he could not understand why they, the government, purchased Suncor. In addition to that, the former Treasurer, Darcy McKeough, said in an interview last week or so that he thought it was not a particularly good purchase and he would not have purchased it as Treasurer.

How can the minister stand here now, and what new information does he have to bring to this House. to say that was a good investment for the taxpayers of Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Welch: There is no information available to us at the moment, I suggest, other than that we made that acquisition at a good price, and I repeat that. I also want the honourable member to realize the motivation that prompted this government to make the acquisition has not changed.

I assume the member is on the side of the fact that as far as this country is concerned right now, regardless of what may be happening in a temporary way to the world situation, we still import 25 per cent of the crude oil we need into this country, and that is not a very acceptable situation to have ourselves in.

We believe in crude oil self-sufficiency. We made this acquisition at a good price, and it is very important that the members opposite understand that particular matter and perhaps join us in acknowledging the importance of Canada being self-sufficient with respect to oil.

Mr. Peterson: Can the minister tell me how the Suncor purchase will bring one more drop of oil to Ontario?

Mr. Speaker: Order. The previous question was the final supplementary.


Mr. Cassidy: I have a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker. The Minister of Energy, in the House earlier today, denied there had been any plans by the Ontario government to enter into a joint venture for the acquisition of Suncor with Hiram Walker Resources Ltd. The Globe and Mail, on March 2, 1982, reported, "Energy Minister Robert Welch said yesterday that a joint venture with Noranda and Hiram Walker came very close and would have been an ideal situation." Either then or now, he was not telling the truth.

Mr. Speaker: Will you please withdraw that inference? I do not think it is called for, and certainly it is not acceptable.

Mr. Cassidy: The minister was speaking out of both sides of his mouth and contradicting himself.

Mr. Speaker: I am not sure that remark is any better. Surely this is a matter for the minister and the press to clarify.



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

The Premier will be aware that two of our sister provinces have introduced budgets within the last couple of weeks and that both of those provinces, Saskatchewan and Alberta, have brought in plans to protect home owners from high interest rates. Saskatchewan's home protection plan will subsidize some 25,000 home owners against high interest rates, and Alberta has put in $60 million to provide subsidies of up to $520 a month.

Will the Premier indicate whether his government is prepared in the forthcoming budget to introduce some form of protection for home owners against high interest rates, since Ottawa has opted out totally?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member knows full well that I am not in a position to disclose -- and even if I were, I could not disclose -- what might be or might not be in the budget.

I reiterate what I have said in this House on a number of occasions, that this government shares all members' concerns with respect to the problems faced by a number of home owners with respect to mortgage renewal. There is no question about it. We have argued consistently and continue to express the point of view to the government of Canada that it should be dealt with on a national basis.

I cannot comment on what may or may not be in the Treasurer's (Mr. F. S. Miller) budget.

Mr. Martel: We might demonstrate concern to people who are losing their homes while we sit on our hands. At the same time, in the Alberta and Saskatchewan budgets both governments have introduced programs to advance housing starts this coming year. Both of them will contribute to approximately 50 per cent of the construction in those two provinces.

The Housing and Urban Development Association of Canada has indicated to the Treasurer of Ontario that some 22,000 jobs will be lost in the construction industry this year if we do not get a start. The Premier might be interested in knowing that in the furniture industry in such companies as Kroehler, Sklar, Croydon, Goldcrest, Simmons, Knechtel, Hanover Kitchens -- and the list is endless -- there are major layoffs.

Is the Premier prepared to consider in the budget -- and he does not have to tell us what is in it -- the possibility of this government getting involved in some form of program to initiate housing starts (a) to help the housing industry, (b) to help the furniture industry and (c) to help the lumber mills across northern Ontario?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I think housing construction goes beyond just the furniture industry. It includes rugs and the white goods industry. It is one of the major industries in terms of the peripheral effect it has.

Mr. Martel: You are helping to make my point.

Hon. Mr. Davis: I want to be helpful to the member on any occasion I can. I was willing to recommend the member as chairman of the board of Inco. He did not want the job. I have done all I can for him.

Mr. Speaker: Would the Premier address himself to the question, please.

2:30 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes, I shall. I totally agree with the acting leader of that party, or whatever his title is -- the House leader. I know his leader is watching him carefully from the balcony to see how he performs.

The residential construction industry is important. Unlike Saskatchewan, which has introduced a number of interesting programs in the last 10 days for reasons that became obvious yesterday --

Mr. Martel: They did not put anybody in jail.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Really?

Mr. T. P. Reid: It seems to me they put some people back to work who were on strike.

Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjections, please.

Hon. Mr. Davis: Yes, but he is interjecting.

Not too many months ago this government initiated programs that led to the construction of some 15,000 or 16,000 rental units. These also require furniture and they require white goods. I think that is a clear indication of the importance we attach to that industry. If the member is saying this is something that might be considered by the Treasurer, I would be surprised if he were not considering the housing industry. But that is in no way to prejudge that there will be references made in his budget to the housing industry. I cannot tell the member what is going to be in it.

Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, the Treasurer told us two weeks ago he was waiting to see what Ottawa did in terms of federal-provincial fiscal arrangements, and regrettably Ottawa seems to have acted unilaterally in introducing legislation. Will the Premier tell us if this will speed up the introduction of the budget in Ontario? Will we have it within the next couple of weeks to deal with this very serious economic situation?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, the information from Ottawa has now become more definitive. I like the way the member for Rainy River has described it as a unilateral action on the part of the Liberal government of Ottawa. I think the way it was done and in that context was very unfortunate. It is very regrettable that in a federation such as ours a national government would act in this fashion.

I am glad we share that point of view. I know the member will communicate it to a very close relative of his who has some involvement in these decision-making processes in the national capital, along with the brother of another individual who sits on his right -- sometimes three over, sometimes four -- philosophically to his left.

I was reading all about that middle-of-the-road sort of nonsense the member was talking about. I say to him that to the contrary, now that the decision of the government of Canada has been made definitive, the Treasurer will want to assess very carefully what our financial capacity will be.

I know the members are anxious to have the budget and the Treasurer is anxious, but I think it would be more important that it be the right budget, as it has been for year after year after year. I know the member for Rainy River supports that point of view.

Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the Premier if he has any idea how many people in Ontario the- federal program to alleviate the mortgage problem is going to help? Is he aware that in the city of Windsor 0.8 per cent of the people who have had to renew their mortgages with new interest rates since the program came in have qualified for the program. This adds up to a grand total of nine -- three for grants and six for interest deferral.

Is it not about time this government realizes the federal government is not going to take the action and that it has the responsibility itself to bring in a moratorium on foreclosures and an interest rate relief program?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think the honourable member's initial question was whether I endorsed the federal program. If he wants me to reply to that, rather than replying to the speech he made at the end of his question, the answer is simply no, I shall not endorse it.


Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour. The minister will be aware of the horrendous lead poisoning at Wilco Canada Inc. in London. Management there has committed the following violations: blamed personal hygiene as the problem and not inhalation even though there is not proper ventilation; respirators were not provided until the workers became ill; provided inadequate facilities for washing up; provided no lockers or facilities for washing clothes on the job; provided no lead control program or lead assessment program; and posted no results of air sampling.

Also there was no health and safety committee until the illnesses started to occur, and then the company wanted to discuss the possibility of a committee. Is the minister prepared to prosecute in this case?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I am aware of the situation that my colleague has brought to the attention of this House. Quite extensive orders were issued on February 24 of this year, and the inspector asked that those orders be complied with within three months of that date. Because of the seriousness of the situation, there is a meeting going on at the plant between senior officials of the occupational health and safety branch and the officials of the company in question at this very moment. It started at 1:30 this afternoon.

Mr. Martel: Is the minister aware that the company sent registered letters which are a form of intimidation to 16 of the workers affected by lead poisoning? Let me read one paragraph: "If you do not accept this transfer, we have no alternative but to terminate your service with our company. You would not become eligible for workmen's compensation or unemployment insurance benefits." Both of these are direct lies.

After having been instructed by their doctors to stay out of the plant, the workers are still being threatened with dismissal. What is the minister going to do?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, the officials of the occupational health and safety branch who are there today are discussing that very point among many other things. They will be reporting to me later this afternoon or tomorrow morning.

Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, given that the incident which caused the sterility of these workers is an extremely serious matter, and given the fact the minister has said a meeting of people from the occupational health and safety branch is going on at the very moment, will the minister give the House a commitment to table at the first possible opportunity a full report on the incident at Wilco, including the results of today's meeting?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I would like to have the privilege of doing that.

Mr. Martel: Mr. Speaker, although the lead criteria were established in August, these violations have been going on for some time. Why are we going through the charade of yet another meeting? Workers are fined on the spot for not wearing their hats; yet these companies can continue to violate and all we do is to send someone in to look over the situation. The internal responsibility system, which the government takes so much pride in, is not working. When is the minister going to get tough with some of these companies?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I understand the feelings and the concern of the member opposite.

Mr. MacDonald: What are you going to do about it?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I am trying to do something to speed up the process. The company was given three months to comply with the orders. We are not waiting for the three months to end. We are trying to do something now.


Ms. Copps: I have a question for the Minister of Health. The minister is well aware that this government professes a commitment to expanding home care in Ontario. I believe the minister is further aware that the number of home visits by the Victorian Order of Nurses in Toronto alone has increased 42 per cent over the last five years. Why has the ministry cut $1.6 million from VON's break-even budget for 1982? Is the minister aware that VON nurses in Toronto have already been told they may have to start looking for another job by the end of this year?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: We are trying to get VON into a position similar to that of many other home health care providers as to the cost to the ministry, that is, to arrange matters so that there is not an automatic pass-through of an increase in wage and salary costs paid by VON, thus causing an open-ended situation with regard to the ministry's responsibilities. Discussions have been undertaken with VON to try to put it on a sensible and what we consider to be a more rational basis. I believe the member will find upon further research that VON will be satisfied with the arrangement finally worked out with us.

It is our firm desire to continue to expand our home care programs in homemaker services and chronic home care facilities, as well as our acute and active treatment home care facilities, throughout the province. Our dealings with VON are related to our attempt to put these programs on a fiscally manageable and responsible basis that will allow not a contraction but an expansion in that service.

2:40 p.m.

Ms. Copps: Under the old budget of fiscally responsible management, the Toronto VON suffered a $60,000 deficit. This year the projected deficit in Toronto alone is up to $300,000. VON nurses in Toronto have already been told there will be no pay increases this year. There are 32 other branches across Ontario that may be suffering similar circumstances. The minister knows this shortfall could result in the destruction of an already limited home care system of delivery across Ontario. What is the minister going to do about it?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I thought I had indicated a moment ago that we are trying to get out of a situation where VON, which is providing a very important and valuable service to the people of this province, is not in a situation where it is chronically running up deficits year after year and does not know if we are going to be able to cover them, but is put on a businesslike and sensible basis with the ministry.

If the member's position is that we should continue with the current situation, continue to fund deficits and not try to work with VON to put it on a basis on which we can fund it properly in order to allow expansion of the kinds of services it provides and to ensure it is able to continue to attract the quality of people it always has, then the member should say so. In my view, cleaning up the situation, that is, putting it on a fiscally responsible, current basis, where it is not suffering under the present uncertainties the member is referring to, is far and away the preferable way for us to go and will put us in a position where we can continue to implement and increase our budgets and our manpower in the field to provide those services, which is the right way to go.

Mr. McClellan: I am sure the minister is beginning to find out what a shambles the whole network of home care and home support services is and about the ongoing jurisdictional split between his ministry and the Ministry of Community and Social Services. Whatever happened to the promise of a single piece of omnibus legislation to rationalize and put on an orderly funding basis all home care and home support services? That was first promised by his colleague, who is sitting beside the minister, in 1976 or 1977, if I am not mistaken. It has been promised again every year -- 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1981. Why does the minister not promise it again today, maybe with a timetable attached to it?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I want to share one of the concerns my friend the member for Bellwoods expresses that there is some overlap, some duplication in the system. I do not want to deny that. To keep it in perspective, I will say we are relatively fortunate to note that in this province we are not dealing with a large shortfall and with the absence of a lot of these kinds of facilities. What we do have is a lot of agencies, at both the provincial and municipal levels for that matter, that have responded to clear and identifiable needs. It is a much better problem to have, that is, how to sort out the number of services that are provided and available, rather than to be dealing with the unavailability and shortage of facilities.

I think the step taken to appoint Lawrence Crawford to begin to co-ordinate some of the facilities is a very important step. While I do not have an immediate piece of legislation to bring in, my colleague and I, under the auspices of the chairman of our policy field, are working very closely to see what we can do to co-ordinate and rationalize the delivery of these services. A government that dedicates itself to continuing to expand services in the way we have, under the co-ordination and leadership of the Provincial Secretary for Social Development (Mrs. Birch), and finds itself with so many services that there is some uncertainty as to who should go where and who should undertake a given new program has a problem, but it is a problem I would far rather have than the problem every other jurisdiction is facing, which is how to begin to move into this field.


Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Labour. Will the minister give the House some assurance he is prepared to assist such workers as those at Dominion Auto Accessories in Windsor, where the last 49 workers of an original work force of 101 are denied severance pay benefits that in many cases would amount to as much as $4,700 because the sequence and timing of the layoffs mean that 49 rather than 50 workers lose their jobs in the final layoff?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I have asked my staff for a complete investigation of that situation.

Mr. Mackenzie: I wonder if the minister is also aware of the growing number of employers who appear to be taking advantage of the severance pay legislation through staged layoffs of less than 50 employees or through transfers to other operations prior to layoffs so that severance pay is not applicable? Is he prepared to plug the abuses by removing the 50-person requirement for a permanent layoff so all those facing permanent layoffs have the same rights? Why should 49 workers have no rights compared to 50 workers just because one fewer is laid off?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: That matter is under review. I would like to ask the member if he would be good enough to let me know the identity of any companies he feels are bypassing the legislation.

Mr. Mancini: Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to know from the minister if he will review the legislation to tighten up these loose ends to ensure that these managers and the corporations which own these plants do not deliberately try to avoid their responsibilities and the intent of the legislation. Second, in the specific Windsor case, if he finds the employer deliberately tried to avoid the intent of the law, will he ensure these workers are paid the money owed to them?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I think the member's request is a reasonable one. Accordingly, I will certainly look into it.


Mr. Sweeney: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Colleges and Universities. The minister will be aware of the serious problem of youth unemployment in Ontario. I believe the most recent figure was something like 163,000. I am making reference to the most recent Ontario Manpower Commission report, Labour Market Outlook for Ontario, 1981-1986. It says, "The overall supply of university graduates would far exceed the projected requirements. For occupations where colleges are the main source of supply, such as engineering technicians and technologists, the college system will not be producing enough graduates to meet the need." It goes on to say, "The potential supply from the apprenticeship and modular training programs would provide roughly half of the manpower needs for these occupations."

Given that this report, the most recent one from the manpower commission, clearly indicates a serious mismatch between the manpower needs of this province and the manpower supply of this province, with every one of those programs coming under the jurisdiction of this minister, what is she going to do to alleviate that mismatch?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, it is perfectly obvious that the honourable member has not been aware of the recent initiatives that have been taken that have significantly increased the numbers of those involved in apprenticeship programs, as recognized by the latest information which has been developed by the Canada Employment and Immigration Commission and Statistics Canada.

This has significantly increased the number of training programs under employer-sponsored training in a way which the federal government through CEIC is now not only applauding but supporting financially. It has significantly increased in number the young people who are involved in linkage programs in the secondary schools that provide them with a portion of the academic part of their apprenticeship training while still in the secondary school program.

It sounds to me that the honourable member is asking whether I am going to suggest to the students of Ontario that they not become involved in educational programs at our universities. I think that is a very shortsighted view and I am absolutely astonished the member would even so much as allude to the fact that a university education is not likely to be appropriate in these changing times.

There can be no doubt that we have specific needs for specific training in specific areas, but for the next two decades the only constant I can see in our society is going to be change. Those people who are best able to adapt to change, to be flexible enough to deal with change, are people who have had an appropriate educational program. I believe that an arts and science program at a university is a very appropriate university and educational training.

I would hope the honourable member would support that kind of thesis. We are not about to become dictators about who goes where to do what for training and education in this province.

2:50 p.m.

Mr. Sweeney: I would remind the minister that with all of her vaunted new programs this report is dated only four months ago, November, 1981, and is a projection of her colleague's Ontario Manpower Commission for the period 1981 to 1986. I am reasonably sure that her colleague's ministry would be aware of the programs she mentioned and would have taken them into consideration, so that is not a very suitable answer.

May I go on and point out to the minister that one third of the university graduates in Ontario were underemployed on the basis of a previous Ontario Manpower Commission report and that has now increased to 39 per cent underemployed. An earlier report showed 21 per cent were in jobs not related to their training and, by the most recent report, that has increased to 23 per cent.

I would have to ask the minister, again referring to her previous answer, what kind of guidance counselling is going on in the secondary schools and even in the universities and colleges of this province where one quarter of the graduates end up in programs or in jobs that have nothing to do with their training and up to 39 per cent of them are underemployed on the basis of their training.

We have to ask this minister whether or not she and her staff are doing anything about these questions because the reports go on year after year and the same thing comes out.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: There has been a very concerted effort within the Ministry of Education and within the community colleges of this province to ensure that appropriate guidance and counselling are being provided.

We have extended guidance and counselling to grades 7 and 8 across the province within the past year because we recognize that students make their decisions about career choices very much earlier than the teachers who were around when the honourable member was involved in the educational system directly understood that they made their choices. Indeed, as a result of some of his efforts and expressions of concern, we have moved that activity, related to guidance and counselling, very much earlier into the public system.

I would ask the honourable member what his definition of underemployment is. Would he agree with me that perhaps some of the members of this House on the opposite side are overemployed at the present time? Has the Peter principle reached the opposition? One really has to be concerned about this.

I am not convinced that those "experts" who wrote that interesting report, stimulating though it is and motivational though it is in terms of the kinds of examinations which we must take, really understand underemployment and overemployment for university graduates.

Mr. Cooke: Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the minister why, if this government is serious about skills training in this province, it took six months to get the skills training centre open in Windsor after it was ready, built and completed in September. It has now been open for only two weeks.

Has the minister been in contact with General Motors, which just closed its brand new skills training centre in Windsor, which was built because they had to import 95 workers three years ago?

Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, it is my hope that the skills training centre which is currently functioning in Windsor will perhaps replace some of those which were operating in other areas. They cannot in fact provide all of the skills training. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that employers in this province, as well as across the country, recognize their responsibilities for training. The weak link at the present time is within the private sector in terms of providing places for on-the-job training.

Somebody mentioned Ontario Hydro. Obviously they do not know that Ontario Hydro has one of the best training programs provided by a non-institutional or academic institutional arrangement anywhere in Canada, and it is so recognized by all the other provinces in Canada as well.

The member knows why we had some difficulty. It was a conflict that occurred over which, unfortunately, the ministry had no control, but we were able to negotiate a resolution and that institution is now open and functioning.


Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, my question is of the Premier. It was reported at the end of last week that the federal government had reached a substantial settlement with the Islington band at Whitedog and Grassy Narrows with respect --

Mr. Speaker: With all respect, I cannot hear the question and I am not sure whether the Premier can. I would ask the member for Victoria-Haliburton (Mr. Eakins) and the member for Halton-Burlington (Mr. J. A. Reed) to please confer with the minister afterwards. The member for Riverdale has the floor.

Mr. Renwick: My question is of the Premier. It was reported at the end of last week that the federal government had reached a substantial settlement of the claims of the Islington band in the Whitedog and Grassy Narrows area regarding the destruction of the English-Wabigoon river system because of the deposit of mercury by the Reed Paper Co. several years ago.

What is the present position of the negotiations between this province, Great Lakes Forest Products Ltd. and Reed Paper Co., to the extent that they are involved, and the band councils of those two bands to bring to a settlement the obligation of this government and the obligation of Reed now transferred to Great Lakes Forest Products?

Hon. Mr. Davis: I wonder if the House would indulge me. I think the former Provincial Secretary for Resources Development, now Minister of Labour, can probably help with part of the answer. It may be that the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), who is unfortunately incapacitated, might have to help with the balance of the answer.

If he is still incapacitated tomorrow, I will undertake to get some form of answer on the legal aspect for the member, but if the House will agree, I think the Minister of Labour can answer part of the member's question.

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I believe I can answer with a certain amount of enthusiasm.

An hon. member: Enthusiasm?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Enthusiasm on the basis that in the past couple of months there has been considerable progress made in reaching a solution to a problem that has been ongoing for a period of three years. I have not been actively involved in the past month since changing portfolios, but I have kept in touch with my former portfolio and have been led to believe that things have been moving quite satisfactorily. I know they were definitely headed in that direction a month ago.

For example, we managed to get the Whitedog situation, the unrest and doubt as to where the province stood, established to the satisfaction of Great Lakes Forest Products and of Whitedog, which permitted them to get to the bargaining table. This is something that had not happened in the past. I think that was a major breakthrough.

Another major breakthrough was that we were able to work out the difficulties Whitedog was having with Ontario Hydro. Those have been resolved and an agreement may already have been signed in that respect. If not, it will be signed quite shortly. All in all, I think things have been moved off-centre. I know I was very pleased with the progress that was made during the months of January and February.

3 p.m.

Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I have a supplementary question to the Premier, because the minister who is responsible should be reporting to the House, not the former minister. The question does not relate to the legal obligations which may fall to the Attorney General.

My supplementary question is: When is the $15 million going to be paid by Great Lakes Forest Products? That was the minimum amount of money that was to be their obligation. What is the extent and degree of the Ontario government's obligation and when will the settlement be effected?

Hon. Mr. Davis: Mr. Speaker, I think there are actually three questions. With great respect, the honourable member has phrased it in a way that is probably not factually correct. I will get that information. I will not guarantee to have it here on Tuesday, but if not Tuesday, I will have it for the honourable member on Thursday.


Mr. Wrye: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Labour. The minister will certainly agree that the current state of the economy requires a condition of sound labour relations in this province to help protect workers. Therefore, I wonder whether he is aware of a situation that has arisen at Emrick Plastics in Windsor.

A new employer, who purchased the company after it had been in receivership, is apparently flouting the terms of the existing collective agreement with Local 195 of the United Auto Workers union by forcing employees to reapply for the jobs they have been performing. Furthermore, he is only selectively rehiring those employees in utter disregard of and disrespect for their rights under the collective agreement. Is the minister aware of this matter, and what does he intend to do about it?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: Mr. Speaker, I am not aware of the matter but I will be by the time the day is out.

Mr. Wrye: Surely the minister should recognize that the actions of Emrick are a direct result of the lack of teeth contained in section 63 of the Ontario Labour Relations Act. Surely he agrees that what is happening is a rather crude attempt by an employer, who is literally bringing people in off the streets, to break the union and demoralize the rank and file by stripping them of their leadership.

What commitment is the minister prepared to make to the House to introduce tough deterrent penalties upon any employer engaged in such callous disregard of the successor rights provision of the Ontario Labour Relations Act?

Hon. Mr. Ramsay: I will have a completely detailed answer to that for the honourable member tomorrow.


Mr. MacDonald: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister without Portfolio who is presumably in charge of freedom of information.

The minister will be aware that six months before the Williams commission reported, the Premier assured this House that as soon as it reported the government would proceed with a bill. He will also be aware that his predecessor, the member for Cochrane South (Mr. Pope), who was in charge of advancing freedom of information, shared in the press conference announcing the royal commission report and said we would have a bill before Christmas. That was Christmas of 1980. In view of that, the minister on the eve of this session was quoted in the Globe and Mail as saying:

"But if the cabinet asks me which way is easier politically, to go ahead or just drop the bill, I will probably have to answer the easiest thing politically is just to say no to freedom of information and walk away from it. There is no way we can win on this issue. We are going to be in hot water regardless of what we do."

I have two questions of this midwife over here who was going to bring in an abortion or something stillborn.

After seven years of consideration of this issue by the House and after the expenditure of $1.5 million on a royal commission investigation, how can the minister be contemplating for one fleeting moment that he is going to walk away from this? Secondly, if he is in the hot water at the prospect of bringing it in, is he not in hot water because of his absurd recommendation to the cabinet that they should be the final arbiter of any difference of view on whether freedom of information may be made available and therefore in violation of the royal commission and every other advocate of freedom of information legislation?

Hon. Mr. Sterling: Mr. Speaker, as a point of information to the member for York South, I do happen to be the Provincial Secretary for Justice.


Mr. Speaker: Order.

Hon. Mr. Sterling: Mr. Speaker, no doubt this question relating to the freedom of information and the privacy law has been with this government and many other governments around the world for a long time. The British started to consider this question in 1968; in 1972 the Australians did as well, and in 1974 it was the Canadian federal government. I believe it was in 1976 that our government went into this matter.

The member for York South is not correct in saying that our model, in relation to the final appeal process, is unique. If he would study the Danks report from New Zealand, which has been dealing with the issue since the early 1970s, he would see it recommends a similar model for the appeal process.

My intent, as I have outlined in a public statement, is that the principle of ministerial responsibility should be maintained. I believe, and I am recommending to my cabinet colleagues, that the final responsibility as to whether a document should be private or public should rest with the politician and not the judge.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, I wonder whether the minister can tell me what he tells the Honourable Walter Baker, his fellow traveller in the federal riding of Nepean-Carleton, who has complained publicly about the stand of this government with respect to freedom of information.

Can the minister tell this House what he tells his friend when he complains about the minister's indifference? When the federal member asks when, where and how he intends to bring forward the long-promised, much-talked-about and endlessly studied freedom of information bill for Ontario, can he tell us what he tells him?

Hon. Mr. Sterling: Mr. Speaker, I have spoken to the Honourable Walter Baker on this matter on many occasions; in fact, we debated it on the radio. I disagree with him. I stated publicly that I disagree with him.

I hope I will be able to bring this matter to some conclusion in the very near future. It is now being considered by the executive council, and in the not-too-distant future I will be able to proceed with a piece of legislation outlining the access and privacy policies of this government.


Mr. Conway: On a point of privilege, Mr. Speaker: So that my friend the Provincial Secretary for Justice will not be under any false impression, I wish to set the record straight. The federal member, Mr. Walter Baker, said his fellow Tories at Queen's Park were racing full-speed back to the Middle Ages with their stand on freedom of information.


Mr. Boudria: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Community and Social Services on the subject of taxation of day care centres. The minister knows that the Minister of Revenue (Mr. Ashe) has decided to proceed with realty tax assessment of nonprofit day care centres located in public schools, specifically in North York. I am informed that his officials have undertaken a study of this issue. Why is he now just studying this issue when day care centre operators are faced this year with an immediate tax increase and costs of approximately $1,500 per classroom used for this purpose?

Hon. Mr. Drea: Mr. Speaker, I have brought the matter of the use of school space, as well as others, to the attention of my colleague the Minister of Revenue. I am confident the problem will be solved shortly.

3:10 p.m.



Ms. Fish moved, seconded by Mr. Shymko, first reading of Bill Pr13, An Act respecting the City of Toronto.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Cooke moved, seconded by Mr. McClellan, first reading of Bill Pr6, An Act respecting the City of Windsor.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Kolyn moved, seconded by Mr. MacQuarrie, first reading of Bill 33, An Act to amend the Residential Tenancies Act.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Kolyn moved, seconded by Mr. MacQuarrie, first reading of Bill 34, An Act to amend the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Motion agreed to.


Mr. Swart moved, seconded by Mr. Philip, first reading of Bill 35, An Act to amend the Ontario Energy Board Act.

Motion agreed to.

Mr. Swart: Mr. Speaker, the bill adds energy conservation to the matters to be considered by the Ontario Energy Board in setting gas rates. It also clarifies the board's jurisdiction over the hookup charges levied by gas companies and is intended to prevent extra charges because fuel-saving measures or devices are embodied in buildings.


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, before the orders of the day, I wish to table the answers to questions 1 to 7 on the Notice Paper [see Hansard for Friday, April 2, and the interim answer to question 13. See Notice Paper].


House in committee of supply.

Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Chairman, before we go into the order, I thought I might indicate that, with the agreement of the House leaders, we have come to a slightly different order for the estimates to be called today. They are in the same numerical sequence, with a few missing. The Ministry of Government Services, I suggest, could go first, followed by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of the Environment.

Before the House adjourns at six o'clock tonight, we will announce the order for tomorrow.

Mr. Chairman: It is my understanding from the House leader that this is in agreement. With that in mind, we will proceed in that order.


On vote 503, real property program; item 2, real property acquisition:

Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Mr. Chairman, if there are any questions relating to these supplementary estimates, I will be glad to answer them at this time.

Mr. Haggerty: Mr. Chairman, I do not have too much to go on. Perhaps the minister can give us some additional information relating to the $3,837,100 required additional funding to carry out his ministry's program of acquisition of real property. Looking over the past three years, in 1979-80 the actual cost involved was well over $85 million, in 1980-81 it dropped down to $28 million and some, and in 1981-82 it was $20 million. Now the minister is asking for an additional $3.8 million.

The question is, where is this property being purchased? Is it being purchased for the land development bank of the province or is it being bought for some other reason, for some other provincial agency? Can the minister tell us what this is all about? Where and in what community is the land being purchased?

3:20 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Wiseman: In 1974, when it was decided to purchase the land for Ontario Hydro in the parkway belt, the Ministry of Government Services was directed to purchase the land and Ontario Hydro was to pay for all the land we purchased at that time. Subtracted from that would be any lands we needed for other government uses such as highways. The Ministry of the Environment might want to run a line through; there could be things of that sort.

In 1980 it was decided that the payment we owed Hydro to bring us up to August 1979 was in the amount of $58,466,484.13. The additional amount we are asking for in the supplementary estimates shows $8.3 million, but we have built into our estimates enough to cover the balance. The real figure we owe Hydro at this time is $8,375,121.18. This represents all the purchases we made that we are using for other government purposes up to August 31, 1981.

In this figure there were a few transactions that we were not able to complete in 1978, so that makes up part of the almost $8.4 million we are paying this time. I am told there will be a bit more to pay in future, and the honourable member may be interested to know that the amount we are talking about today represents about 85 properties.

Mr. Haggerty: The minister is telling me we are buying it from Ontario Hydro which over the last few years has had difficulties in running its cables and high-tension wires along that corridor. I imagine much of it has to do with the Niagara Escarpment bordering on that area. It seems to me we are talking now about running highways. The minister is not quite sure whether the land is being bought for highways or for park purposes.

What are we actually talking about? Why is there a need for this land? Ontario Hydro bought it and now the ministry is paying it back; is that what the minister is trying to tell us?

Hon. Mr. Wiseman: No. Where the Hydro corridor runs, Hydro paid the whole thing at first. We have looked into the possibility of where we may need some of that land for a road or road widening. Perhaps the Ministry of the Environment needs some land for water and sewers or something of that sort where we will need it in future for government purposes. We are paying for that portion of it. We will not need all that land and some of it will be sold off, as has been done in the past. The portion that Hydro is using for its corridor has been subtracted from this amount. Am I making it clear?

Mr. Haggerty: There were public hearings in the past for the purpose of Hydro obtaining land for a right of way. The question now is, if the government is moving in to take certain lands for its projects, whether for sewers, water lines, parks or highways, should there not be further public hearings to inform the public of the intent of government to move into this particular area? Perhaps the people have not had a proper hearing; the hearings related to Ontario Hydro, but not to any government projects in this particular area. I sense that the minister may get himself involved in something that could be more costly than buying the land without the public being informed.

The minister is saying one thing about the corridor from the Bruce Peninsula to this particular area, the Georgetown-Bradley junction, and Hydro is saying that it is going to be used for hydro only. Now we find there may be a switch and it could be used for a highway, or it could be used for bringing a water line down -- something they talked about years ago -- from Lake Huron to feed the area here.

I suggest to the minister that he seems to be circumventing the real intent by not informing the public of the government's intention. I do not think the government should have it both ways, getting land for a hydro corridor and then going back for other services, without the public being better informed about it.

The minister says he is going to be selling some of this land back. Why would he buy so much and then turn around and sell it back?

Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Any watermains or highways that would go through there would be subject to environmental assessment and all the other programs they would have to go through before they would start. I am sure the honourable member knows that.

In some cases we have bought so much of a person's land that we have land-locked some of it. I know the honourable member who asked the question is a farmer. He knows that if you block his way of getting in to do his work you should really buy that land, because it is not any use to him if he cannot get the machinery on to work it. This is where we have had to buy some, where we have taken so much of the land that it is not a viable operation any more. Maybe we bought it voluntarily; maybe the land compensation people have said, "You have taken so much that you should buy the whole thing."

These are areas where we usually buy the land and perhaps sell that land-locked piece to the farmer next to him to work, these sorts of things. If it is a bit that lies outside the parkway belt, we have sold some of those in the past and we will in the future as people come along.

As for a road or a sewer line going through there at some time, it would be subject to environmental impact studies and the public would be involved in those.

Mr. Philip: Mr. Chairman, I would like to deal with a matter that deeply concerns me. I want to go into it in some detail with the minister and get a detailed response. The matter I would like to deal with involves the construction of physical assets and therefore is included under this vote.

Mr. Chairman: Just keeping the agenda in mind, it does say real property acquisitions. You may continue and we will hear what you have to say. I do want to make sure that we are on the right vote.

Mr. Philip: I can assure you we are on the right vote.

Mr. Chairman: In terms of your comments.

Mr. Philip: You will find what I have to say very interesting.

Mr. Chairman: That is not the point.

Mr. Philip: On October 26, 1981, the Ministry of Government Services called for public tenders on the uninterrupted power conversion system, UPCS, for the Ontario government computer centre. The UPCS is basically a large battery which stores power. It is hooked up to a rectifier, which changes the current from AC to DC, and an inverter to supply power to the computers.

Two companies bid on the contract. One was Datasphere Sales Ltd. --

Mr. Chairman: The minister has a point of order.

3:30 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Mr. Chairman, I have been expecting this question in question period for two or three weeks, ever since the researcher came over and talked to our people. It has really nothing to do with the purchase of land in the Hydro corridor, but I would be glad to answer it tomorrow in question period or at any time the member would like to ask me. I have been expecting it since the House came back into session.

Mr. Philip: Mr. Chairman, with the greatest respect to the minister, and I hope the minister will consider it, question period is not a time during which we can go into something in as much detail as I wish to share with the minister. I would submit, sir, with the greatest of respect, that this deals with the construction of physical assets, that what we are dealing with is a large battery which supplies power to computers in these buildings.

I hope that the minister will permit me to give him some detail on this. This is clearly the forum in which we can cover it, not in question period where we have only one or two minutes to deal with a matter. I think this is something that requires some detail and I would ask the minister to consider allowing me or encouraging me to put on the record some of the information I have. He then would have an opportunity to elaborate at some length, if not today then maybe with a ministerial statement on the subject.

Mr. Chairman: I want to reiterate to the member that I am having some difficulty in formulating his inquiries under supplementary estimates. Keeping all things in mind, the minister has indicated that he is willing to answer. What does the member think about dealing with this when regular estimates come forward?

Mr. Philip: Mr. Chairman, I have a number of other issues I can deal with in the other estimates. I would like to deal with this at this time. It is a matter of great concern to me. A number of jobs have been lost in Canada as a result of the actions of this ministry and there are very irregular procedures in terms of the tender. I would like to deal with this issue at this time because it is a matter of some urgency, and the minister should have an opportunity to reply in detail at this time.

Hon. Mr. Wiseman: I am really willing to answer at any time, but in all fairness, the estimates we are dealing with today concern the parkway belt and not our computer centre battery terminals in the George Drew building. That is all I am saying.

If we are going to open it up to discuss everything in the Ministry of Government Services, that is fine; I have been here a couple of years and I am comfortable with it. But that is getting far off track, and I think we are really talking about the Hydro corridor and the parkway belt. As I said, I have been expecting this question for two or three weeks and I would be glad to answer it in question period or, if the member wants more detail, whenever our estimates come along. But I do not think this is the time to discuss it, right here today, if we are going to keep on track.

Mr. Stokes: I do not know whether what I am going to say will be of any assistance, but if we look at the supplementary estimates that were presented to us by the Chairman of Management Board there is very little detail other than the actual amounts in very general terms for the area of the ministry the supplementary estimates cover. On page 2 of the supplementary estimates dealing with the Ministry of Government Services you will note an amount of $3,837,100 for the acquisition and construction of physical assets.

I listened very carefully, Mr. Chairman, when you asked the minister if he had an opening comment or anything by way of an explanation for the benefit of members as to what specifically this money was required for. He declined to make an opening comment. I submit to you, sir, that anything dealing with the acquisition and construction of physical assets is quite appropriate for comment when a minister of the crown comes before the committee of supply asking for additional sums.

I am sure he must have had some input into the limited amount of information which was given to the House and which includes specific reference to acquisition and construction of physical assets. No reference to the parkway belt was included. When asked if he wanted to be specific and focus on it, the minister declined to do so. However, I think anything that deals broadly with acquisition and construction of physical assets is quite appropriate for comment during these estimates.

Mr. Chairman: Could I ask the member for Etobicoke how much time he will require to deal with the problem he proposes to discuss?

Mr. Philip: I think I can cover it in half an hour, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman: Following the example of the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes). I read under supplementary estimates "real property acquisition." I am sure the member for Riverdale (Mr. Renwick) could tell us what "real property" means from a legal standpoint. However, in your opening statement you indicated something to do with the construction of computers, which I would think would be considered chattels. On the other hand, if the chattel is secured to a particular piece of property and land, it would certainly fall under the category of real property.

I cannot anticipate what the minister will do with this, but he has indicated he would probably not respond to some of your inquiries in the area you want to investigate. However, in an effort to reach a happy medium, I wonder if the member might find a time somewhat shorter than half an hour that would be sufficient to get ourselves out of this predicament.

In view of the comments made by the member for Lake Nipigon and my ruling that property acquisition in the area on which you are focusing may come under real property, although here I am stretching it a bit, you can continue. But keep in mind that the chair will not be looking favourably at so long a time as half an hour.

Mr. Philip: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is a great pleasure to have the experience of the member for Lake Nipigon, who understands parliamentary procedure better than I ever could. I appreciate his counsel as well as your decision.

On October 26, 1981, the Ministry of Government Services called for a public tender on the uninterruptible power conversion system for the Ontario government computer centre -- I mentioned before exactly what that entails -- and two companies bid on the contract. One is Datasphere Sales Ltd., a sales office of the US-based Emerson Electric Co.; the other is Exide Canada Inc. of Mississauga, a subsidiary of Inco, which is a Canadian company.

Back in 1976, Exide and Emerson bid on a similar contract which was awarded to Emerson on the grounds that it had the lowest bid. Exide complained at that time that the Emerson system was dumped on the Canadian market at below normal trading prices. The system had been commissioned and built for the US army and was sold as surplus. Exide fought the issue through the federal anti-dumping tribunal, which was unable to establish dumping because of the nature of the product.

This time the companies were given until November 19, 1981, to submit their bids. Exide asked for an extension because the technical details were written according to the specifications of the Emerson system and they needed additional time to translate the details. This ministry showed its great Canadian patriotism by refusing the request. None the less, they both submitted in time. Exide had the lowest bid, but the Ministry of Government Services awarded the contract to the US company. As of today, Exide has not been officially informed by the Ministry of Government Services that it did not win the contract. Exide was informed in a phone conversation, which was initiated by Don Sly, chief electrical engineer, that he had recommended the other company. In a letter dated February 16, 1982, the Premier (Mr. Davis) informed them they were unsuccessful. The point, however, is that the tender office and MGS did not officially communicate the results of the tender to Exide.

3:40 p.m.

Exide understandably is as angry as I am that it did not win the contract. On January 14 they sent a telex to the Premier with a carbon copy to the member for Mississauga North (Mr. Jones). On January 29, 1982, they sent a telex to George More, office of procurement policy, Ministry of Industry and Trade Development, answering questions he had raised. On February 9, 1982, they sent another telex to the Premier with a carbon copy to the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman), Mr. More, the member for Mississauga North, the member for Mississauga East (Mr. Gregory), the member for Mississauga South (Mr. Kennedy) and the Minister of Labour (Mr. Elgie).

The documents on file at the tender office only record the bid amount submitted by Exide; the Datasphere bid is left blank. At the public opening of tenders on November 19, 1981, only the Exide bid was read out; the Datasphere bid was not. The Ontario Manual of Administration states: "At the opening, only the tender number, bidder's name and address and the amount of the bid -- that is, the total, partial or no bid -- need be announced and recorded."

Mr. Pencak, the assistant deputy minister, explained the situation as follows: "Tendering officers are required only to read the bottom line total. In this case, Datasphere had not added up the three figures and consequently failed to fill in the bottom line. As such, no total was read out at the bid opening."

According to Exide, they were neither contacted nor informed as to what the total Datasphere bid was once MGS had completed the addition. Therefore, they did not know who had the lowest bid. The bids were as follows:

Exide, $263,834; Datasphere, $423,944 -- a difference of $160,110. The bid does not represent the total value of the contract. There are still an additional two units to be purchased at a cost of $160,000 and a preventive maintenance package and spare kit part and so forth. This makes for a total Datasphere contract of more than $600,000.

The rationale for refusing the bid is very interesting, as noted in the briefing notes that were attached to the Premier's letter. Perhaps somebody in his office slipped up and accidentally attached the briefing notes. The reasons outlined were as follows: evidence of poor Exide track record; Inco's attempt to sell Exide; five identified technical shortages; and incompatibility of the existing Emerson system and Exide add-on.

The letter the Premier sent to Exide is dated February 16, 1982, more than a month after the purchase order sent to Datasphere. In a telegram to Mr. More and ITD on January 29, 1982, Exide responded to these reasons, and I would like to summarize the response.

The company had increased its field services so the track record was not an issue or was not relevant to the first point. Inco supplied a letter of comfort agreeing to honour any business commitments that Exide must make. Thus, the second point is completely erroneous and of no consequence.

They supplied a list of computer users to comment on equipment reliability. The list included Statistics Canada, the Toronto-Dominion Bank, IBM, Canadian Pacific and the Alberta government, interestingly enough. It seems to be more interested in buying Canadian than this government is.

Exide contends compatibility of equipment is not a problem. The interesting thing is that when asked for a third-party analysis, that is, outside consulting engineers to assess the situation, this government refused.

It is interesting to note the present state of Exide. It now has 33 people out of 88 on short-term layoffs working three days a week, with the Unemployment Insurance Commission paying two days a week. What we are talking about is not just a loss of a contract to a Canadian company, but also a loss of jobs as a result of this government's action.

If we deal with some of the details of the instructions of tenders, the Ontario Manual of Administration in its policy statement No. 1 states: "Whenever possible product service requirements shall be described in terms of performance, design or generic specifications in order to encourage supplier competition, and general brand names shall not be specified unless accompanied by the words 'or equivalent."

The next sentence is the interesting key point. "However, when special circumstances make performance, design, comparative or generic specifications impractical, a written explanation authorized by a senior official of the ministry shall be attached to the requisition and a copy retained for audit purposes." No letter was sent to Exide until it sent three telegrams and made one phone call to the ministry.

Second, at the bid opening no bid was recorded for Datasphere and, as I have indicated before, subsequent to the bottom line being filled out by the MGS, Exide was not informed.

Third, Exide was not officially informed it had lost the bid. The decision to recommend was made on December 21, 1981. The purchase order was written on January 8, 1982, and only in a response from the Premier on February 16 did the company know for sure what had happened.

Fourth, the background briefing notes of the Premier's letter point out that "MGS officials, after consulting with Mr. Wiseman, had declined to debrief Exide on the reasons behind their preference for foreign equipment." Exide asked for that session, but MGS would not even meet with it to discuss the reasons for refusing the Exide bid, even though it was $160,000 less than that of Datasphere.

Fifth, the reasons for refusing, which were supplied in the briefing notes, I addressed earlier. In fact, the notes point out that the office of procurement policy could not judge the compatibility issue and, furthermore, found the issue of Exide's track record not as clear as MGS suggested. I can read those briefing notes from the Premier into the record if the minister wishes. I would be happy to do so, but I want to get through some of these points first because I am keeping in mind the chairman's admonition about time.

Clearly, looking at the case, it seems to violate the "objective and suitable manner" clause in the competitive purchasing policy. I would remind the minister that if we look at item 2 under his ministry's policy on competitive purchasing, the supply section, it states: "All interested suppliers shall be given fair opportunity to bid on government business and the selection of those suppliers invited to bid shall be conducted in an objective and equitable manner." I suggest to the minister this was not done in this case. His ministry has clearly violated its own guidelines.

3:50 p.m.

Sixth, the briefing notes for the Premier make the remark that Exide, both independently and through Inco, has a history of using the political route to enforce saleability. That is surely relevant to this particular tender, is it not?

The equipment Datasphere will supply will be produced in London, England, and will be shipped to Canada. Datasphere claims its bid will include 50 per cent Canadian content. If we really look at what that means, we are talking about federal and provincial sales taxes, markup from Datasphere, startup and commissioning, warranty and setting up, unloading and setting up, and a three-panel circuit board, which is basically very minor.

The Exide package will include much more Canadian content and, more to the point, it will include Canadian manufacturing content. This is what this ministry has blown. At this time when the government purports to buy Canadian, we have an opportunity not only to save the government money but also to create some manufacturing jobs in this province, yet this government blows money overseas.

The government has a specific policy related to Canadian preference in purchasing, but this ministry chooses to violate that policy. The issue is not so much one of price, but of a general preference. If the government is willing to provide a price preference to support and

encourage Canadian production, surely it should be good enough to do it in reality and not just in its speeches. That clearly has not been done in this case.

I find it very interesting to read the briefing notes into the record for you, Mr. Chairman, because this is the first time you have come across this interesting case. I guess somebody is in trouble for including them with the Premier's letter. I would like to read them into the record for the minister's benefit, although no doubt he has been given a copy by this time. This is exactly what the briefing notes on Exide Canada Inc. say:

"On January 14 Exide Canada Inc., Inco's electronic subsidiary, telexed Messrs. Davis, Jones, Gregory and Kennedy regarding the expected loss of a contract with the Ministry of Government Services to supply a $263,834 uninterruptible power conversion system for Queen's Park computer facilities. The Honourable Mr. Grossman received a similar telex on January 19. Procurement policy began an investigation on January 20 and 21. UPCS equipment is critical to the operations of the Queen's Park computers.

"MGS sought tenders from Exide Canada and Datasphere Sales Ltd., agent for the imported Emerson electronics equipment, in September 1981. On January 7 MGS issued a purchase order to Datasphere Sales Ltd. at $423,944. In choosing the higher-priced imported equipment, MGS cited I gave you those reasons, such as evidence of poor Exide track record, and I have dealt with each of those. It goes on to say, "MGS has purchased Exide equipment in a different configuration from the Downsview computer centre and has satisfactory performance." That is very interesting is it not, Mr. Chairman? Then it deals with the issues.

"MGS has opted on technical grounds to purchase imported equipment at a price premium of $160,000 instead of the Canadian-manufactured product. Exide contends they were not informed of the issuance of a purchase order to Datasphere and loss of this contract will lead to a direct loss of jobs in the Mississauga plant and an indirect loss of jobs due to the implications of Ontario going elsewhere."

One wonders where the Mississauga members are today. One can see the kind of representation they and their constituents get, when their government blows away this many jobs in their own ridings.

Mr. Conway: Let the record show that Mr. Kennedy is here under the gallery.

Mr. Philip: I am sorry, is Mr. Kennedy here? I did not see him. He is over there. He is sitting in the gallery and that is quite often where he is -- well, nevermind.

It goes on: "Procurement policy has been unable to develop a definitive third-party option on the reliability of Exide equipment in the particular use MGS intends." That is interesting. "References cited by MGS regarding Exide's poor track record are not black and white, but some question of confidence remains and MGS officials are adamant that the risks involved in adopting Exide equipment in this particular use are too great." They do not say what they are and they admit they cannot define them, but they are too great according to the Premier. "The MGS officials, after consulting with Mr. Wiseman, have declined to debrief Exide on the reasons behind their preference for foreign equipment."

Here is the Premier; he knows all this; this is all in his briefing notes. He thinks nothing of it. It is fine that his ministry is behaving in this reprehensible, irresponsible manner. He thinks nothing of it and does not do anything about it. He is not even competent to deal with the issue. He happened to let somebody shove his briefing notes into the letter to the other company or otherwise we would not have found out about all this. He is not even capable of the coverup he is inadvertently doing.

"Exide, both independently and through Inco, has a history of using the political route to reinforce their saleability." Then it goes on to its conclusions. "Procurement policy has forced an internal review of this purchase. MGS is adamant that they will not withdraw their contract to Datasphere and decline to meet with Exide to debrief them on the purchase. Exide maintains this loss of contract will be a contributing factor to the layoffs and the attached response from Mr. Grossman and the draft response for the Premier's office are based on accepting MGS's position."

Here we have a situation where this government violates, or apparently violates, its own rules of conduct regarding competitive purchasing. It squanders Ontario jobs and then it goes on television and tells everybody to buy Canadian. When it comes to the crunch, not only do they not buy Canadian but they go and buy from foreigners at a higher cost than it would take to buy from a Canadian company. To make matters worse, it is not just this ministry that knows about it. The Premier knows about it. He has a full briefing on it, as is evident from the briefing notes, and this nonsense still takes place.

To make it even worse, the Conservative member whose riding it is in is briefed on it, or is obviously sent some letters about it, and we see no evidence of his acting on it either. I say to the minister I hope he has some response to this.

Mr. Chairman: Thank you. I know there are no time restraints in regard to supply. I appreciate your consideration in this matter.

Hon. Mr. Wiseman: I see why the honourable member did not ask this in question period. I would like to clear up a few things. There were the two bids as the member mentioned. One of the bidders, Emerson, did not total its bid, but that is not irregular. Some do not. The figures were there.

At the bid openings we usually read out who the bidders are. We reserve the right to make sure all the people bidding have bid fully on everything they have been asked to bid on in the tender. We usually reserve the right for around 30 days or up to 30 days -- sometimes it goes a bit longer and sometimes it is shorter -- to give a decision as to which one we think it should be. In all cases that come across my desk, particularly those where there is a difference in what would appear at first glance as being cheaper, I call the ministry officials in and ask for the reasons. In this particular case I did the same.

4 p.m.

The system we have at the George Drew building is one of the largest computers that is available in Canada. My experts in this field tell me the basic difference between these two systems and the difference between the two companies is that one company -- the one my friend has mentioned, Exide -- has built 60-cycle units but has very little knowledge, I am told, of the 415-cycle unit that is needed to make sure there is no interruption of power at the George Drew building. I hope we never have to use it, but it is there if we do.

He mentioned they had sold one to Alberta. I could be wrong but I believe, and the honourable member can check this out, that is a 60-cycle unit and not a 415-cycle unit.

I also understand that when one takes space into consideration, as we have done with Exide, the battery storage area would have had to have been enlarged because it is a different type of system from the present one and requires more space. In that building -- as anyone who has visited there knows, and I think some of my critics have -- the space is very limited.

Also taken into consideration on this was the fact that we have had good maintenance done by Emerson. I am told Emerson has serviced well what it has sold us. My experts also say Emerson equipment is a much better product technically.

The bottom line on this is that my experts -- and I am no expert in this field -- say the two systems are comparable in price, although the performance and capability of Exide equipment appear to be the outstanding problems. I am sure anyone who knows computers is in agreement that we have to be sure we have that uninterruptible power if and when we need it there. From what they tell me, when one takes all things into consideration, the costs are very similar.

I have run through a lot of notes I had. The member kept saying this government and my ministry were not buying Canadian and were not interested in a procurement policy. I say that we very much are, to put that on the record. The member -- the one from the north with the big smile on his face, the member for Lake Nipigon (Mr. Stokes) -- knows when I spoke on this in the estimates that I was astounded to find that in the mechanical and electrical areas we had difficulty in buying more than 40 or 50 per cent of our mechanical and electrical requirements in Canada. We have been working quite closely with what is now the Ministry of Industry and Trade Development to try to overcome that.

In areas where we see we cannot buy Canadian at present, we encourage people to get into that field. We are working quite closely with the Ministry of Industry and Trade Development on that, as we were with the former ministry. We have asked our architects when they are designing buildings or, when the buildings are being built, to make sure they try where possible to order the Canadian equivalent. Some of our Canadian products perhaps have not been tested as much as some from other countries, but how are they ever going to get a chance if we do not allow them to try them?

We are doing that, and we are hoping, as I know all honourable members are, that perhaps that 45 per cent -- I believe that is the right percentage; I could be corrected -- will be a higher percentage when we are doing our estimates this year. We are doing our bit. We are buying Canadian where we can, but bear in mind we had to think of the service, the uninterrupted power and the fact that this company had done a 415-cycle installation previously. I am told the other one did not have the expertise at this time. I hope I have answered that question satisfactorily.

Mr. Philip: No, the minister has not answered the question. Rather than estimates, or perhaps in addition to estimates, ministry officials may enjoy appearing before the public accounts committee to answer a few more questions.

The competitive purchasing procedure clearly states that when special circumstances make performance, design, comparative or generic specification impractical, a written explanation authorized by a senior official of the ministry shall be attached to the requisition and a copy retained for file for audit purposes. Can the minister tell us whether that was done?

Hon. Mr. Wiseman: I will have to check that. There was one point I missed in my remarks; I would like to check out the statement the member made that I had told my ministry staff not to do the debriefing with Exide. I think I have a pretty good memory, and I really do not recall ever saying that to any of my staff, but I will be glad to check it out. I firmly believe that anyone who is not successful should be informed and I do not know why Exide was not.

I believe the statement also was made that Exide did not know until the Premier's letter in February. I understand that is wrong, that Mr. Sly had told them when they phoned. I believe the date was January 17, or close to that. I did say to our people that was not good enough, that they should have been notified before that time that they were not the successful bidder.

Mr. Philip: Can the minister answer whether at any time he considered having a third, impartial party examine the two bids, knowing full well there was a Canadian company with some expertise in the field, that it had come in considerably lower than the American-owned company and that jobs would be created in Britain rather than in Ontario? Did it not occur to the minister to have a third party evaluate the bids in the light of the buy-Canadian policy and advertising of this government?

Hon. Mr. Wiseman: As I told the honourable member, I did notice that, and at first appearance it would seem that Exide was cheaper until one considered the storage of batteries would have to be changed, the battery system would have to be changed. If memory serves me, when one added that cost to the difference in the bids, what was an apparent saving in going to Exide brought them up to be quite competitive.

When looked at from the standpoint of the experts in Government Services, the one had a good service contract and had worked with a 415-cycle unit before whereas the other, if it had worked with it at all, had done so in only a limited way; they had always been with a 60-cycle unit. I am sure all honourable members know a bit about computers and you cannot have them going down in power or you get into all sorts of trouble; that is very important. And, as I said before, it is one of the largest computer terminals in Canada, if not the largest.

Mr. Philip: That is a nice rationalization but I like to deal in the real world. I wonder whether the minister can supply us with those additional cost figures and let us examine them. Has the minister supplied those costs to the two companies concerned so they can both comment on them?

4:10 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Wiseman: I think we have been very fair. When the honourable member's researcher asked to come over, I had nothing to hide in our ministry. We do everything above board. We gave him two of our chief people to sit down and discuss this with and go over the facts. He has had ample time to go over those.

If this was such an important matter -- as I said, I have been expecting this question in the House since the House started. If the member for Lake Nipigon had not come in and intervened, it probably would have been ruled out of order, because we are talking about parkway belts. We have answered it for him. His people were over and had a look. I do not know what else we can do.

This decision was taken on the advice of the experts and I am sure the honourable member who asked the question is no more of an expert when it comes to computers than I am. We have to rely on our experts. We cannot have all the answers ourselves. I am convinced we did the right thing in this instance.

Mr. Chairman: Is that the minister's final comment?

Hon. Mr. Wiseman: Yes.

Mr. Philip: I would like to make a favourable remark about you, Mr. Chairman, because I am sure you have the intelligence to have ruled in the same way you were assisted in ruling by the arguments from the member for Lake Nipigon. You would have seen the fairness in what we were trying to do.

At the same time, I simply want to ask the question again: Were the additional costs supplied to the two companies? Yes or no?

Mr. Chairman: The minister has no further comment.

Mr. Kennedy: Mr. Chairman, the member for Etobicoke said the Mississauga members showed disinterest in this and did not participate, which is the furthest thing from the truth. It was of considerable concern to the members, because each of the Mississauga members does what he can to look after the people he represents. This includes the industry in the community. It was discussed by the three members from Mississauga with the minister, and it came to the attention of the Premier.

It was a matter of deep concern. We regretted that the award could not be made to Exide. The explanation, as given by the minister, covers the situation as it was, regrettable as it is. The letter from the Premier was the conclusion of a very careful reconsideration. That was taken with the support of the three members for Mississauga. I want to correct the record as it has been inaccurately expressed by the member for Etobicoke.

Hon. Mr. Wiseman: I took it for granted that everyone knew both the member for Mississauga South (Mr. Kennedy) and the member for Mississauga North (Mr. Jones) had talked to me. I would not want to let them think the member for Etobicoke was the only one who asked the question.

Vote 503 agreed to.

Mr. Chairman: This completes consideration of the supplementary estimates of the Ministry of Government Services.

Under the agreement by the House leaders, it is my understanding that the Ministry of Health supplementary estimates are next. The minister is present.


On vote 3202, institutional health services program; item 4, institutional care services:

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Chairman, I have a short statement. The proposal for our supplementary estimates this afternoon is to seek the approval of this House for an additional 588.8 million for our hospital system. This request, together with the $118 million which the House granted in supplementary estimates last December, brings the 1981-82 appropriation of my ministry to more than $2.8 billion for hospital services.

Today's appropriation has helped us meet most of the deficits incurred by the public hospitals of Ontario as well as costs related to the expanded role of Providence Villa in chronic care.

In responding to requests for additional funds, we have developed a very detailed set of criteria to ensure that all hospitals are fairly treated. One of the criteria we look at is the volume of growth in life support system programs. Here I refer to such program as neonatal intensive care and dialysis for cancer treatment. These have needed more funding to prevent them being reduced in scope or volume.

Improving service efficiencies in hospital operations is an ongoing concern in our system. Certain studies were required to look at effective reorganization of hospital departments, sharing of services between hospitals and the like. These studies are included in the criteria guidelines.

The ministry has also considered the growth in the general reutilization of hospital services as justifiable within our criteria. We cite, for example, the rising cost from the greater use of high technology. Specifically, to cite one example, seven new computerized axial tomography scanners have been approved for our hospitals. Five are in Toronto -- at Wellesley, Mount Sinai, Scarborough General, North York and Etobicoke hospitals -- another is at Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa and one is at Kitchener-Waterloo General. When these CAT scanners are in place, it will mean there will be a total of 24 in hospitals throughout Ontario.

When hospitals encounter a decline in revenue from uninsured patients -- those either outside the province or the country or whose treatment is paid by other agencies such as the Workmen's Compensation Board and the Department of Veterans Affairs -- the ministry applies its criteria and makes up those revenue shortfalls as well.

In addition, the ministry has awarded additional funds for unusual salary adjustments, as we always have, and chronic bed conversions. We agreed to the transfer of 224 extended care beds from the Ministry of Community and Social Services to my ministry for use by chronic care patients at Providence Villa in Toronto. The cost of the conversion is included in today's supplementary estimates.

Mr. McClellan: Those are 224 new beds, as the minister's predecessor used to describe them.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I am giving you the facts, as I always do -- just the facts.

Mr. McClellan: I understand. They are new chronic care beds, right?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: We understand perfectly; I am not sure you do.

I expect these additional funds will be sufficient to deal with any serious deficit or other problem faced by the hospitals in the fiscal year that is now ending. I should emphasize to the House that we will, however, continue to respond to problems that emerge as our hospitals complete their year-end reports.

Mr. Conway: Mr. Chairman, in the absence of my colleague the member for Hamilton Centre (Ms. Copps), who was called away to a meeting and was not able to be here, I rise in my place to offer some comments on behalf of the official opposition.

This is my first opportunity to communicate formally with the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick (Mr. Grossman), and I would be remiss if I did not take this first opportunity to congratulate him upon his new ministerial responsibilities. Some time before your arrival here, Mr. Chairman, I had the pleasure of joining with the member in a public forum in this fine city when, as I recall, he was like the rest of us -- merely a private member -- and one of the issues of public interest and concern affected his electoral district and a particular public institution, namely, Doctors' Hospital.

4:20 p.m.

I have always been very impressed by the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick. I have watched with great admiration his upward mobility and the steady, serious determined way in which he has marched in that direction. Like many on this side, we expect to see that upward mobility culminate with the grand prize not too many years hence.

In concluding my best wishes to the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick, I thought at that time that he fought so very valiantly -- against the directive of the member for Muskoka (Mr. F. S. Miller), who was then the Minister of Health -- to countermand the order of the Minister of Health. As has been the case in many other situations and on many other occasions with that particular colleague of his, as I hear privately, the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick won the day.

I thought then, those six years ago, that it would be fitting if he should some day become the Minister of Health. Now that he has, I feel he will want to join in those enthusiastic battles in which he engaged so happily some six years ago.

Hon. Miss Stephenson: This time he is going to close it.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, he isn't.

Mr. Conway: Let the record show that the Minister of Education, as she smilingly leaves her place and the House, said, "This time he is going to close it."

Hon. Mr. Grossman: That was an unidentified member.

Mr. Conway: Let me do the identification. I will leave it to the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick perhaps to speak of that another time.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: You have been doing great so far.

The Deputy Chairman: Speak to the estimates.

Mr. Conway: I don't think, Mr. Chairman, you would want me in any way to slow down the good words and best wishes to your friend the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick as he takes on his important new responsibilities.

In concluding, I want to say that in so far as his new responsibilities are concerned, I have not yet seen any of our high-priced pundits note that, in the great battle I hear raged within the oak-panelled confines of the executive council, the member for Brampton (Mr. Davis) settled that great battle within the economic part of cabinet not in favour of his youthful friend from St. Andrew-St. Patrick but, very interestingly, apparently in favour of the beleaguered Treasurer.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: He solved it in favour of the hospitals and health care.

Mr. Conway: At any rate, I say best wishes and good luck to the minister.

I have a couple of questions relating to the supplementary estimates. They are substantial, although in relative terms, given the $2.8-billion hospital budget, I suppose they are not unheard of in terms of their requests. Will the minister table in this committee at his earliest convenience a line-by-line, or at least detailed breakdown of the appropriation we are now asked to vote for? In other words, can he indicate specifically how and where the $88,772,300 will be spent?

If I heard his initial comments correctly, I presume it will go, as it says, by and large to the public hospital sector. We have something in the neighbourhood of 253 of those institutions. I presume most of that money, with the exception of the chronic care that he mentioned, will find its way to a number of those public hospitals. I am interested to know whether he will share with us the specifics of the appropriation. Which hospitals are getting how much and for which budget year do those moneys apply?

I personally want to see that information at the minister's convenience and I hope within the time allocated to supplementary estimates in this committee of supply.

The other point I want to make is that I listened with interest to the minister when he was reading in very quiet tones. Like the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan), I was having a little bit of difficulty hearing the minister, who I must admit in his early going, as a wise person would be counselled to do, has been mildly diffident. We have not seen that confident chutzpah for which he was so famous in earlier incarnations, although I fully expect that within very short order.

Mr. McClellan: He knows a mine field when he is walking on one.

Mr. Conway: I am sure the member for Bellwoods knows more of that than I, being the current Health critic for the New Democratic Party. I rather agree with him, if I might digress. God, the poor, poor minister. I do not wish him anything but comfort and good will in the job he now has. I would not in any way betray any confidence, because I think that would be improper, but I wish him well. This will prove, perhaps better than any previous assignment, whether he has that first ministerial mettle that undoubtedly many feel he has. It is certainly an interesting ministry into which he has strayed.

In his remarks he talked about well-developed criteria that have been developed by his ministry for dealing with budgetary difficulties at the public hospital level and in particular well-developed criteria to make additional payments to public hospitals that find themselves in difficulty from time to time.

Like the member for Bellwoods, I have been down this path before, and sometimes it has not been a very happy or productive promenade I want to know whether the Minister of Health will table in this committee, at his earliest convenience, chapter and verse of this new list of well-developed criteria. He has a very full looking briefing book over there and I can almost feel that he wants to rip out the pages. He has a whole screed of criteria nicely set out that he would be happy to share with this committee.

Taking the minister up on his statement that there are well-developed criteria for the adjudication of these sometimes endless hospital appeals, will the Minister of Health share with us at his earliest convenience chapter and verse of those well-developed criteria?

Might I be so bold as to ask the new Minister of Health whether he or anybody in his ministry has been so reckless as to share with the boards and/or administrators of the 253 public hospitals in this province the well-developed criteria for these budgetary appeals?

It just so happens that last week in my constituency I had the opportunity of discussing with a variety of hospital officials their current budgetary relationships with the Ministry of Health. I got rather an interesting report.

At the risk of being a bit like the Premier, I will become unbearably parochial and ask him to look specifically at the Pembroke Civic Hospital situation which is of some immediate concern to the local member and that particular board and where, quite frankly, the reaction to the budgetary situation at the current time is not positive. They are projecting cumulative deficits from 1980 to 1982 of something in the neighbourhood of $450,000. I am wondering what kind of help they can expect in addition to the $79,000 that was paid out about eight months ago. Dr. Dyer has kindly undertaken to bring that matter to my attention once the review has been made.

I found it interesting, in dealing with other hospitals in my part of the province, that in some cases there was a rather positive response about the way in which the ministry had performed.

I thought the most interesting thing about what a couple of these not unsatisfied hospital people said was: "We have no idea how these people in Health function. As to what the rules are, we don't have a clue. It seems in this instance we happened to have come out fairly well, but God knows how or why. We are happy with the condition in which we now find ourselves, but if there is a set of rules, criteria that are to be relied on for guidance at our level, at this end of the discussion, we don't know what they are."

4:30 p.m.

Given that intelligence, I was even more interested. As I said earlier, not all of this was unfavourable to the minister -- the ministry I suppose I should say -- although initially I hear they are very well disposed to the new minister. Let us face it, the hospital and health community must realize its importance when two putative Premiers make it their second or last stop along the way. It tells them something about the importance of this department. I want to stress to the honourable minister --

Mr. McClellan: Or it could be a graveyard.

Mr. Conway: I will leave that to the more funereal capacities of the member for Bellwoods.

In respect of the well-developed criteria, can the minister indicate whether (a) those well-developed criteria can be entered as evidence in this committee and (b) those well-developed criteria have ever in a fit of rashness, boldness or indiscretion been communicated to the hospital boards and administrators at the other end of this equation?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Feel free to go ahead.

Mr. McClellan: Do you have a reply?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Of course I do.

Let me begin by thanking my good friend, the deputy leader of the Liberal Party, for his mostly kind remarks. I do appreciate the sentiments he expressed in the opening part of his remarks. May I assure him that notwithstanding how he reads this minister's initial -- I forget the words he used, but he indicated I was not being quite as vituperative and as forceful as I was in previous incarnations. I have always believed one has to adopt a style appropriate to the problems one faces from time to time.

Mr. Conway: Are we to conclude it is just the passing of Bernie Ostry that has made you so -- that may be a low blow.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: As I reflect back --

Mr. Conway: Don't you think, by the way, that Bernie Ostry and Gord Walker will make a good team?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: No more charming than your current leader and your former leader.

The Deputy Chairman: I call upon the honourable minister to respond to the supplementary estimates questions and I ask the member for Renfrew North to cease and desist in interrupting.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: If the chairman will allow me, I should say to my friend that on this side of the House these inner discussions that go on between my colleagues and I within the big oak walls -- or whatever he referred to -- are indeed the way we stay in office. Lest you interpret the activities on this side and try to identify how things have worked out, I can say for myself I was delighted to assume this ministry. I look upon it as a very important responsibility, as I know my friend looks upon it. To pay proper respect to my predecessor in this portfolio, I assume a ministry in what I consider to be fine shape with excellent civil servants and with a fine record in dealing with the problems of the past five years.

The problems of the next five years or so are the problems I am most intensely interested in and we are well poised to address them. Which is a long way of saying, Sean, if you guys get out of hand, I will get nasty too.

Mr. McClellan: We look forward to it. Is that a promise?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, because I know the member will show a lot of good judgement, fairness and openmindedness.

The Deputy Chairman: The minister will respond to the point that was raised.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: With respect to the questions raised by my friend from Renfrew North, yes, information will be available as to the specifics of where the money went. The estimates for this coming year will reflect much of that when they are tabled shortly. As well, all of the hospitals involved know that they have or have not received the money.

It may be helpful to the member to know, by category, where the $86 million was spent on these hospital deficits. In 1980-81, the growth factor in life support programs accounted for $9.1 million; management fees were $1.6 million; the straight picking up of deficits where we thought there were problems in utilization or other problems that were beyond the control of the hospital that contributed to the shortfall of revenue, $5.3; million other miscellaneous ones were $900,000; for a total of $16.9 million.

In 1981-82, the rollover of the life support funding we had given in 1980-81 accounted for $10.2 million. The new life support programs and the growth of those programs amounted to another $15.7 million. The growth of other new programs introduced in the previous year accounted for $20.9 million. Utilization growth and unanticipated declines in revenue accounted for another $16.2 million.

That brought the total for 1981-82 to $63 million which, added to the 1980-81 figure of $16.9, brought us to $79.9 million. The current reviews -- which were the result of the appeal process in which we invited the hospitals to participate if they were unhappy with the breakout given those programs and the funding we provided -- accounted for another $6.7 million being allocated to the various hospitals, making a total of $86.6 million.

As to whatever information may have been related to my colleague about the criteria, I guess I could make two points. First, I believe the criteria were made eminently clear to the Ontario Hospital Association and the various administrators who have been in to see the ministry. Second, while one has to have a set of rules, there will also be -- and in my view of government there always should be -- a factor built in for some flexibility. If you do not exercise that flexibility, you have too stringent a system -- one that results in inequities.

For example, sometimes people say they are not sure what the rules are. Some administrators will say, "I do not think hospital X should have got this when you did not give it to me." They would read that as not knowing what the rules are. However, we listen to special pleas which are made by hospitals from time to time and respond to them. The allegation that we do not know what the rules are is, in my view, an unfair one, but it is one that administrators of hospital boards are allowed to make because we are trying to address different problems in different hospitals.

I should also remind my friend that all of this grew out of a desire by the hospitals to move away from line-by-line budgeting, where we did indeed scrutinize intensely each line of every hospital's operation, to a global system which allowed the hospitals to have more flexibility in their operations. Consequently, some could say we do not know what the rules are, which I said earlier would be unfair. We have let them know that they have more flexibility in our global budgets to do more of the things they think are needed for their own hospitals. I think that is a good thing.

I might deal for a moment with the funding category, since my friends from Bellwoods and Renfrew North both have walked down this road many times before. Maybe I could give them some guideposts which were on the road but which they did not notice the last six or seven times they walked it.

4:40 p.m.

Under management consultant fees --

Mr. Conway: Don't make me go to the files and look up your 1976 speeches.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I have got them all and they are all fine speeches.

Management consultant fees --

Mr. Conway: What you said about Frank Miller -- I would not have imagined in my worst moments --

Hon. Mr. Grossman: You did imagine them and they were your worst moments, because I did not say it.

Let me deal with four of the headings I referred to earlier: management consultant fees, revenue shortfalls, life support systems and unavoidable utilization increases.

As to management consultant fees, the ministry wishes hospitals to have at hand the best management consultants available to continue to run their hospitals in the most efficient manner. Many hospitals decide to go the route of hiring management consultants and we thought where they incurred fees to do so it would be justifiable for the ministry to pick up the cost. That has resulted in many cases of reorganization of departments and rationalization of services with other hospitals.

I have read the column of my friend from Renfrew North in the last little while in which he talks about the situation in Pembroke where there is some talk of rationalizing laundry facilities, if I am not mistaken. That is the sort of thing that may ultimately make sense and save us all some money without affecting health care and bringing up some more money for the good burghers of Pembroke. So I am sure you will understand management consultant fees and the kind of thing consultants can produce.

On revenue shortfall we are talking about the difference between the actual revenue received and the estimated revenue projected that the hospital initially submitted at the start of the year. We try to determine what the net ministry liability for that year will be and what that hospital will have to operate on for that year.

Here is an example of some of the things that happen, particularly in the Ottawa area. Some of those hospitals anticipated revenue coming in from out-of-province patients, but now that Quebec has improved some of its facilities there turned out to be fewer patients coming over to use the hospitals on our side of the border. Thus the revenue projections fell short for some hospitals close to the border areas and that was something the ministry also felt was a revenue shortfall that should be picked up by the ministry.

As to life support systems we are talking here about the advent of new and better technology, which more and more people should have the benefit of -- they should not be restricted by the unavailability of funds. So funding was provided for renal dialysis, oncology, chemotherapy, neonatal intensive care and pacemakers, to name some. All of these are life support systems and those things were funded where hospitals undertook those programs.

Finally, unavoidable utilization increases refers to those cases where hospitals were serving populations with particularly high age factors. For one reason or another there was a utilization increase which was not anticipated by either the hospital or the ministry. That was deemed to be an unanticipated and unavoidable utilization increase and that also was picked up by the ministry.

So those are the general criteria within which we work. Although one always finds some administrators and chairmen of boards and members of the profession who think we should have different criteria and we should have applied them in a different fashion in their own hospitals, I think by and large the hospitals have been well served by this request for and this application of the $86.6 million.

Mr. Conway: We have too much regard for the minister's executive toughness to want to long endure the kind of bafflegab that was centrepiece to that supplementary answer. You are a highly efficient, executive, politicized member and are paired with a new deputy minister whose qualifications might, with all due respect to Mr. Scott, be considered parallel in this antiseptic unpolitical senior Ontario public service of ours -- about which Mr. Segal writes in the learned journals of the land, a subject for another day.

I would say two things in response to that answer. I could take and would want to take a very narrow traditional view of these supplementary estimates. If I wished to play that role, I might ask that the minister submit to this committee a specific breakdown of this appropriation. I very much appreciate what he said about the generic categories of 3.6 per cent here and 12.9 per cent there. That is all very good and helpful. I appreciate that and will look at the answer when it comes out in Hansard and analyse more carefully what it says. But what I want to know about is this 88 and some odd million dollars we are asked to vote on.

The minister has come here, as he should, to make that request of this assembly through this committee of supply. I know generally speaking what he wants. He has listed the categories into which this money will fall, but I want to know who specifically is getting this $88 million.

What you told me about the appeal procedure was really quite incredible. At one point, I thought I heard you say, "And you know if people out there who have made a request to us have no money, they know they are not going to get any."

I do not see some who soldiered and suffered long and hard, such as the member for Mississauga South (Mr. Kennedy) who has left the House for a short time, but some of us here, such as the member for Bellwoods, went through a couple of special references in the social development committee involving this matter. I would not want to take you through that painful path again. One of the great questions on which we spent a lot of time was this whole mechanism for which the ministry has come to the House today to seek $88 million more. I do not find the matter has been any more illuminated today than it was back in 1976 or 1978 or indeed, 1980 when we looked at it.

I hope I am making myself clear when I ask if the minister can tell us who is getting the $88 million. Is the member for Wentworth (Mr. Dean) able to go home tonight and say that a hospital in his riding is going to get some? Is the member for Durham-York (Mr. Stevenson) going to be able to leave this committee knowing that the Uxbridge hospital -- if it exists; I do not know whether it does or not, undoubtedly so -- will get some? Can we share this information with members of this committee, all of whom have come here with great anticipation to know about this $88 million the ministry is going to spread across this important social service network. Who is going to get this money? How are they going to get it? Is there a list available that would tell committee members before they vote on the appropriation where the disbursements are going to go?

I appreciate what the minister has told us about the generic divisions -- so much for this and so much for that -- but what I want to know is who is getting it and why they are getting it. To share a private political enthusiasm, one of the reasons I want to know about who is getting what is so that I can go to Newcastle or I can go to Bowmanville or to Orono and say to the recipients of this largess if they should appear on the list, "Now, the Minister of Health stood in his place in the committee of supply on March 29 and said, 'You have received $64,025 in consideration of your appeal of your 1980-81 budgetary allocation.'

"The minister beat his breast proudly and said, 'This is keeping the promise and undoubtedly you good people will be happy with this and accept it as full settlement." I want to be able to go to the chairman of the board of the Orono district hospital and/or the Woodstock General and say: "Do you agree with the minister? Does this satisfy your request? Do you see this in Brockville General Hospital in or in Kitchener-Waterloo Hospital? Do you see this as a complete and satisfactory adjudication of the budgetary request?"

I cannot and will not take the word of the honourable minister or his many minions who provide the data on which he relies.

4:50 p.m.

it may be that the good people of Brockville and Woodstock and Galt are very happy with the results of the appeal, but I will not be satisfied until I get to Galt, amid the splendour of that town, and ask the members of the board if they accept the minister's adjudication of their budgetary appeal and about the criteria.

I am reminded that the new Minister of Agriculture and Food (Mr. Timbrell) -- no doubt in response to the very stinging criticism offered by no less a personage than the distinguished Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food who not long ago said, "Of course, Ontario has had no agriculture policy since the days of Bill Stewart, you should know that" -- the Minister of Agriculture and Food stood in his place and with a marvellous, multi-page, green-covered document trotted out the new guiding policies. What passes for policy in this day and age is quite astonishing, but he tried; God bless him, he tried.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: It was as good as the Ministry of Industry and Tourism stuff used to be.

Mr. Conway: I must say to the minister that on many occasions he has done much better. It is because of the high standards he set in his earlier departmental roles that I do not want, in weeks to come, to listen to the very tough executive Premier-in-the-making, the member for St. Andrew-St. Patrick, stand in his place and recite the statistical profile that has been generated by the staff and recited by every Minister of Health since my arrival in this place seven years ago. I want to know what those well-developed criteria are.

The minister said -- and the member for Bellwoods heard him say it -- there were well- developed criteria that were the new framework of his operation. Then in his supplementary answer he said, "But of course the keystone of the new criteria is flexibility." Indeed it is, and how many people in the hospital sector in this province, from Windsor to Cornwall, have had the painful lesson of that flexibility? I want to reiterate the message of people who are not unhappy about the adjudication of their budgetary disputes but who, after it is all over, have no more knowledge about these well-developed criteria than when they started weeks or months before.

I think it is important for the Minister of Health to put flesh onto the bare bones of his initial statement, to not leave this committee, anxious as it is, to give speedy passage to this $88 million appropriation. It is incumbent upon him as an honoured parliamentarian to tell us exactly where this $88-million is going to find itself. Which of the 253 public hospitals?

I do not want my friend the member for Algoma-Manitoulin (Mr. Lane) to have to go home before Easter without knowing which of the great health care institutions in his electoral district will be offered this kind of money. I want to know who in the province is going to receive how much in hard dollars. If the minister wishes to categorize it in the overall, fine; that is added information that oppositionists thrive upon.

I do not want to have to leave this place without having from the minister a nice, clear, decisive statement of those well-developed criteria that will hopefully not only match the recent efforts of the former Minister of Health, now in Agriculture and Food, but outdo him as he sometimes and, dare I say, often does in these matters. I would hope that today, or soon, the minister will give me that information, without which I find it difficult to pass a considered opinion about this appropriation which he has come to request.

Mr. Chairman: Mr. Minister, some flesh on the bones?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Difficult, but not impossible.

I will talk about the philosophy behind the proposition the member has put for a second, if he will think about it for a moment. I know his reputation for spending a great deal of time thinking about these matters. Having dealt with him on the Doctors' Hospital issue he referred to, I know he does do that kind of homework from time to time.

On the life support heading, just to take one: There is no hospital in this province that ought to be satisfied with the ministry writing out a list of what we consider to be life support programs. I have in front of me nine examples, six of which I can pronounce. No hospital, patient or legislator in this province should be satisfied with a ministry list of what it considers to be all of the life support programs it is prepared to fund for this current year.

Lord knows, there will be a new life support program developed and we will want to have it implemented in-year. We will protect our right not only to implement that new life support program, but to come here for supplementary estimates and hope this assembly will think that, in the interests of patient care in this province, we ought to get those supplementary estimates. I am sure the honourable member would share this with me.

We would also want to be sure we had some control over the system so that a new procedure which we decided ought to be supported in-year was not suddenly adopted by every hospital up and down University Avenue in Toronto. It just would not make financial sense. We would have to protect our fiscal integrity by making sure there was not a proliferation.

It is the kind of thing we do with the computerized axial tomography scanning situation. We do it through the district health councils to make sure there are sufficient numbers out there and so on. To that extent, there has to be that flexibility in the system. The administrators understand that, respect that and demand that. Far from not accepting it, they demand we have that flexibility.

When the hospitals came to see us on the appeal process under the category of revenue shortfalls, to take another category, they wanted to be able to argue there were revenue shortfalls not included under the two I have outlined here, but were real and unanticipated revenue shortfalls. Perhaps the member would feel more comfortable if I brought him a list of 15, executively drawn and totally specific with a high degree of, to use a favourite word of my friend, specificity involved --

Mr. Conway: Joe Clark belongs to you.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Okay, if Pierre Trudeau belongs to you: we will use that tomorrow in question period.

Mr. Conway: Absolutely; I will take him any day.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: You have him.

Mr. Boudria: We do not want to trade.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Neither do we; not on the last poll.

That specificity which he seeks under revenue shortfalls would be exactly the kind of thing the administrators would complain about when they come to see us. As they would say: "You people in the Ministry of Health cannot possibly anticipate everything that is going to happen in the 250 hospitals in the province. In my hospital, I had a very unusual circumstance."

Dr. Dyer, Mr. Bill Bain and others who are responsible in this area do a magnificent job of applying those general criteria, which must be general, listening to what those administrators say and responding when we ought to respond to things that we cannot and do not have the capability of anticipating. You cannot anticipate them. Even your leader cannot anticipate them. To take the point to a ridiculous extreme, even your former leader could not have anticipated all those things happening in the hospitals.

My friend said he would like to know where all the money went. In the tradition which I believe I have tried to establish in this assembly of making all information in my hands available to my friends across the way, if you will sit, I will now read out 253 hospitals with the percentage increases which account for the $86 million we are talking about today. Are you ready?

Mr. Conway: Sure, go ahead.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I wish you had not said that because I do not want to read 250.

Mr. McClellan: Why don't you table them?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I will be happy to table them if my friend will accept it and pass the estimates before I get enough Xerox copies for all of you. It is available to you. The answer is, you can have it. I will be here for question period and we can discuss these things.

5 p.m.

Mr. Conway: I want to conclude my point on this. I appreciate what you have said about administrators and I have come here to speak on behalf of some of them. I want to put you in the position of a member of this assembly. We are brought here to entertain an $88-million appropriation. When we stand in our places I think we have every right to say, "Mr. Minister, on behalf of the executive council, you have come here to make a proposal to this assembly, one that we are quite prepared to consider." Then when we ask, "Can you to the best of your ability give us a breakdown of specifically where that $88 million goes and who is getting how much for what purposes?" surely that is not an impossible or outrageous request to make in committee of supply.

If a minister of the crown is unwilling or unable to give us that in committee of supply, what in the name of common sense is this whole parliamentary charade about? That is the key point I want to make. When you come to ask for $88 million more, you have to expect us to say, "What for, Mr. Minister? What specifically is that appropriation going to go for?" I think it is incumbent upon you to table how that breaks down if you cannot do it at the point of request. That is, as I understand it, the function of a good working Legislature.

I say again when you make the assertion, when you state the claim that there are well-developed criteria, I want to tell you, from my experience of five years as a member of the health committee, we have been told that many times before. It was never our sense, on the basis of talking with the other side, that a very well-developed set of criteria was ever understood by members of the committee and, just as important, by the hospital community out there.

I listened carefully to what you said. I appreciate your coming here with a statement, but I am not happy about the fact I do not have in front of me a list of those well-developed criteria you advertised. Before I pass these estimates, which I am obviously going to have to do and am quite prepared to do, given the department we are dealing with and the generally stated aims you have, I do not have any more of a breakdown than what we have been told. It really is a castration of the important role this assembly is supposed to play in committee of supply.

Mr. Riddell: He's right on.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: You were not even here for his speech. Whatever he said, he is right on.

I say to my friend I know he served on a couple of parliamentary committees with me in the 1975-77 time frame. I think he would acknowledge that I share with him, to be fair, a great deal of respect for this parliamentary system, the role of the committee system and the role of every member of this assembly. That is why I am saying to the member, notwithstanding the speech he just gave, which would leave the impression I just said no to his request, I said yes to his request. I agree with him, he should have that information, if at all possible, both with regard to the criteria and where the specific money is going.

Lest there be any misunderstanding, the criteria have been no secret. You may think they might be more specific. I cannot go into the argument any more than I have already. All the hospitals knew that. Your perception is they do not understand it well enough or are not sure enough. I must say mine is different, but I hear what the member said and, as always, will consider his comments as we review this process during this year.

I will certainly raise them with the Ontario Hospital Association and see if the OHA shares his view that more specificity is required in laying out the criteria. If it shares that view, we will have another chat about that in this assembly.

Mr. Conway: Remember what you said about Frank's famous regression analysis?

The Deputy Chairman: Let us have some following of order. The minister has the floor and is responding. There are others to participate in this debate.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I might also say to the member for Renfrew North that with regard to the listing of where the moneys are going, because of the particular point in the year when the hospital budgets have not yet been closed off, we will not know for some period of time, at least another two months, until the hospitals themselves know with certainty what their actual 1981-82 deficits are going to be.

They are all projecting now, and there is no question they are doing what ministries have been known to do and what other applicants and supplicants to the government are known to do. They are rather generous in their estimates of what their deficits are likely to be. Each administrator is obviously doing what good administrators do, and that is not understating his estimate of what his deficit is going to be but, if anything, erring on the high side in order to protect himself and his facility. So that you all understand when you hear stories about what the deficits of the hospitals are, the hospitals themselves are still projecting at this point in time and it will be several months until the 1981-82 net figures are in and the deficits are real deficits.

That is part of the reason why, as we come on March 29 for these supplementary estimates, there remains in our figures a little bit of net uncertainty with regard to the final column I have here that says, Projected Remaining Combined Deficits, because in some cases that column will prove to be inaccurate. Had we been going for supplementary estimates two or three months from today, I can say with absolute assurance, giving this House my sincere guarantee, because I do believe in getting information out and making it available and I would rather you have it than not have it, I would rather be in a position to talk about specifics than have an endless dialogue on generalities. I would prefer that you had them, and it is because of that single time frame we are dealing in that you do not have these figures. I am speaking for this administration under this ministry.

You will have these figures the next time we come for supplementary estimates, all the figures with regard to where the money is going, which hospitals are getting it, what their percentage increase is and what their actual deficit is for this year. All these figures will be available to you, provided the time frame makes it possible. The next time around if we are in a time frame where it is impossible to provide the final deficit figures and the final allocation figures, then I will also be open enough with this House to table our best estimates, which will in some cases not be right, of where it is going to end up. I will shortly, as soon as we can prepare this for you, give it to you and table it.

Mr. McClellan: Mr. Chairman, I would also like to start by welcoming the new minister to his new portfolio. I mean that quite sincerely.


Mr. McClellan: He is an old minister, but he is in a new portfolio. There was a sense, I think, in which it was urgently necessary that a new minister be put into that portfolio. I don't think anybody disputes that Dennis Timbrell was a strong and influential Minister of Health in this province, but I don't think anybody disputes either that he was in that portfolio too long. For the last part of his tenure, I don't know what he was doing but he was not addressing himself to some of the really urgent critical problems within the ministry.

Mr. Riddell: That does not augur well for the farmers.

Mr. McClellan: It certainly doesn't. It is true to say that our colleague from St. Andrew-St. Patrick has inherited a real set of serious problems, some of which are at the critical stage. I could quickly go through a catalogue of problems that are on our minds.

Since we are in the middle of the inquest into the third death at Queen Street Mental Health Centre, one is the problem of our mental health care system in Ontario. Our doctors have just completed a series of strikes; our hospitals in many parts of the province remain overcrowded, with people waiting in emergency corridors for active treatment beds; and we are on the verge, if not in the midst, of a crisis of care for elderly people.

Each of those four areas of concern are areas I am afraid your predecessor ignored over the course of the last 18 months or so as the situation in each of those areas became worse and worse. Obviously we cannot deal in depth with each of those problems at supplementary estimates, and we look forward to the full estimates so we can have a full discussion of some of these problems. I want to touch on each of them.

5:10 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I can't wait for the eulogy if that is the welcome.

Mr. McClellan: It is a welcome. I mean that quite sincerely. I was trying to say, if I did not say it clearly, that it was time for a fresh presence in the Ministry of Health. I can see already that the minister is attempting to put out a number of fires, and there are a lot of fires over there. The minister has moved quickly in a couple of areas. It remains to be seen, however, how effective he can be. I suppose that will depend on how well he gets along with the Treasurer (Mr. F. S. Miller).

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I always get along well with the Treasurer.

Mr. McClellan: That is very reassuring.

The minister made reference to a management consultants' report. Let me deal with the mental health concern first of all. Obviously I am not going to talk about provincial psychiatric hospitals per se, but each of the large general hospitals in Ontario has a psychiatric unit. One of our problems in dealing with health issues is that we are always dealing with systems, but when we deal with estimates we deal with a little piece of the whole. We are dealing with hospitals here, but we cannot deal with mental health concerns in isolation from the psychiatric units in general hospitals or in our provincial mental hospitals or the services that are based in the community.

This is a roundabout approach to what I hope will be a short expression of concern about the Peat Marwick report as it relates to the whole system, including our general hospitals. I will take a little trip down memory lane that the member for Renfrew North (Mr. Conway) will probably shudder at. This is the McKinsey report. The minister was spared that agony. It was entitled A Role Study of Lakeshore, Queen Street and Whitby Psychiatric Hospitals.


The Deputy Chairman: Order. The member for Bellwoods has the floor. Would the member please continue and not allow these interruption to stop him from continuing the flow of his presentation.

Mr. McClellan: The McKinsey report starts with a disclaimer about which I simply want to remind the minister. It says: "We have recommended certain actions because we believe that timely decisions are required for the good of psychiatric patients. It was tempting to conclude that the roles of Lakeshore, Queen Street and Whitby should not be finalized until those of other care providers had been thoroughly studied."

Then there is an asterisk to a footnote that says, "An in-depth examination of the psychiatric units of general hospitals was explicitly excluded from the study by the terms of reference." In other words, the McKinsey authors at least acknowledged a defect of their role study in not being able, because of limited terms of reference, to look at the role of the psychiatric units in general hospitals as part of the total picture. They were not able to do that, so they proceeded to do what they were told to do.

That was in 1978 and, contrary to their recommendation, the Ministry of Health, with no rationalization at all other than the desire to save money, closed the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital. We had a series of hearings in the social development committee that went on for a couple of months with over 1,000 pages of transcript, which I do not urge anybody to read as it was so depressing. Hardly a single witness came before that committee in support of the ministry's course of action. I can think of only two. One was a doctor from Ottawa who, it turned out, referred all of his patients to the provincial hospital in Brockville, and the other was an agency which I will not name.

The recommendations of McKinsey were to keep the three hospitals; to redraw the boundaries of each of the provincial psychiatric hospitals in Metropolitan Toronto; and, finally, that each of the hospitals maintain a generalist role. By 1982, we no longer have the Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital and we have a situation at Queen Street Mental Health Centre which is difficult to describe in restrained language.

It is clear the situation at Queen Street has deteriorated to the point where the safety of patients is at risk. I think the proof of that is in the fact that inquests are taking place. I will not prejudge the outcome of the current inquest where the evidence is now emerging. We have the evidence from two inquests already on record.

The problems at Queen Street are directly related to the government's closing Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital in 1979. Instead of increasing the number of beds at Queen Street over a 10-year period as McKinsey had recommended, the number of beds was doubled at Queen Street overnight, which blew the program at Queen Street into a complete shambles. The situation became so unmanageable and the programs deteriorated to such an extent that the medical staff apparently -- this is one of the Peat Marwick findings -- found themselves using drugs for purposes of restraint rather than for treatment. This has led now to the third inquest.

The Peat Marwick study, while delineating a number of important problems, heavily stressed the same defects as the McKinsey report, that it did not focus on the rest of the mental health care system but exclusively on problems within the Queen Street Mental Health Centre; and that it made a whole series of recommendations, some of which make sense and some of which do not. Among the latter particularly are the recommendations that failed to take into account that Queen Street is simply one part of a very complex interrelated network of programs and services for mentally ill people in Metropolitan Toronto.

I do not know if the minister has had the opportunity to review the report of Toronto's medical officer of health on Queen Street and the Peat Marwick report. I intend to bring it to his attention. The medical officer of health deals with precisely the concerns I have been trying to raise here and he does so concisely and I think very persuasively. Let me read his summary comments for the benefit of the minister:

"The Peat Marwick and Partners report is inadequate because it fails to identify the roots of the problem with Queen Street Mental Health Centre. The hospital is one element of a system of mental health care for the city and Metropolitan Toronto. Because the centre bears the weight of stresses or inadequacies elsewhere in the system, the symptoms of failure show up most dramatically here.

5:20 p.m.

"I will summarize briefly what the report failed to consider. First, the major problem at the centre is the enormous burden of admissions -- nearly 4,000 a year. Those who have not worked in the psychiatric field cannot appreciate the effect of this. For example, a reasonable social work caseload is 25 active cases. It would require 80 social workers to service this population even with only a six-month follow-up. It would require 100 psychiatrists to provide one hour per week of psychotherapy.

"Even with these resources, it would be virtually impossible in the turbulent ward atmosphere created by the constant coming and going to create a milieu conducive to recovery. Only the naive and inexperienced can believe that drugs alone are the answer to mental illness."

Let me digress for a second. In 1979, in the social development committee when we were looking at Queen Street, the information we had before us was that the most recent admissions data, which was for 1977-78, was 2,290 patients at Queen Street. Overnight that increased to 3,500 admissions and now it is higher than that. I do not have the exact figure in front of me but, as Dr. Macpherson says, it is close to 4,000 admissions.

This change took place in less than a year and a half. It is no mystery why things are so out of control at the Queen Street Mental Health Centre. It is a direct result of the policy of this government in 1979. The solutions put forward by Peat Marwick to this problem, I have to say, as somebody who knows a little about this area of policy, do not make a lot of sense. To centralize your admission service in a hospital that is already too big and already understaffed, so that you will have 4,000 admissions per year coming into one central emergency department, is a recipe for disaster.

I do not know how Peat Marwick came up with that suggestion. The problem at the Queen Street Mental Health Centre is the problem we predicted in 1979, that you create the mega-institution which is too large to provide therapeutic services. The solutions put forward by Peat Marwick are not going to change that. They are simply going to make the situation worse.

Let me continue to read from Dr. Macpherson's report, some of which I have attempted to deal with. "Why Queen Street is so swamped with admissions," Dr. Macpherson writes. "The closure of the Lakeshore Hospital is only part of the answer. Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital serves a population half as large with one quarter of the admissions. In other words, the probability of psychiatric hospitalization is twice as great in Metropolitan Toronto as it is in the Hamilton-Niagara region. It is evident that the weight of psychiatric hospitalization from the metropolitan area is excessive. The reasons for this should be explored."

Again, I can digress for a moment and speculate, without as much authority as in my previous speculation. I think one of the reasons is clearly the failure of the Ministry of Health to put in place a network of community mental health services and supports. In the absence of those services and supports -- proper aftercare services, proper rehabilitation services, proper outpatient medical services and, in particular, proper housing services with built-in supports -- we have the Parkdale phenomenon with that kind of treadmill of discharges into slums, breakdowns and readmissions. So the Queen Street centre has the highest readmission rate in the entire province.

Let me return again to Dr. Macpherson. "In addition to the excessive inflow, the community resources to deal with patients post-discharge are inadequate. The housing stock for the poor, including former psychiatric patients, is diminishing. Housing policy must be examined to correct this situation. The role of the satellites" -- he is referring to Queen Street Mental Health Centre's very excellent satellite services -- "is underemphasized in the report.

"There is no appreciation of the importance of community integration post-discharge and the fact that mechanisms for this must be locally based. Overall, there is a substantial lack of appreciation of the mental health system or an indication that society plays a role in the pressure for hospitalization of a psychiatric patient and, equally important, a role in rehabilitation. While we" -- I guess it is the department of health -- "reject the report in principle, we are unable to comment on the recommendations for improving internal efficiency. We have chosen to indicate where the specific recommendations are at variance with the philosophy of mental health services that are system- and community-based." Then they go on to make a series of recommendations.

This was all by way of preface, and I would like to raise these recommendations with the minister. I think Dr. Macpherson has put the case more persuasively and eloquently than I would otherwise have been able to do unaided. I want to ask the minister whether he will reconsider the recommendations contained in the Peat Marwick report. That implementation process was initiated by Dennis Timbrell, the present minister's predecessor, in a sense, I think, as a move of desperation.

Will the minister put that report on hold and undertake a proper process of public discussion and public hearings with respect to the problem and the proper direction of mental health care in Metropolitan Toronto and in the rest of this province before he moves to implement a number of recommendations which are guaranteed to make the situation at the Queen Street Mental Health Centre and in the rest of the metropolitan area worse rather than better?

Let me finally read the third recommendation of the department of health: "That the Minister of Health initiate a public inquiry into the system of mental health care in the city of Toronto and the metropolitan area, to include the Clarke Institute and the general hospital psychiatric units as well as the Queen Street Mental Health Centre, with special emphasis on the following issues: developing and instituting a method of reimbursement for general hospital psychiatric units, based on case mix and volume, to reward units treating the major mental illnesses efficiently; secondly, requiring each psychiatric unit in the metropolitan area to accept a primary care catchment area and providing appropriate financial incentives; and, thirdly, transferring control of Queen Street Mental Health Centre to an appropriate community body such as the city of Toronto."

I am not sure I agree with the third recommendation at all. At this stage in the process that would be a burden I think would be imposed unfairly on the city of Toronto or on the board of health or on any other third party. This is not to say that at some point down the road devolution may not be a reasonable proposal.

I would like to ask the minister whether he is prepared at this point to take a second look at his predecessor's decision to implement all the recommendations of the Peat Marwick report. Secondly, will he not agree to institute some kind of process -- and I leave that to his judgement -- of public hearing and discussion, perhaps using the Peat Marwick report as the basis for public discussion before he goes ahead and compounds the damage that was done to the mental health care system in 1979 with the closure of Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital with yet another impulsive and poorly thought out set of recommendations which will not solve the problems of our mental health care system.

5:30 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Stretching the tolerance of the chairman of the committee, I will respond to all those items relating to Queen Street even though none of the funds before us today relates to the Queen Street Mental Health Centre. I notice the member tried to hook it in through the psychiatric facilities in our general hospitals which is the proper subject matter of the supplementary estimates.

Because I want to begin my time in this ministry with some clear understandings about where we are going, I might ask the forbearance of the chairman, who has allowed the member for Bellwoods to carry on for some time about Queen Street. So I am going to respond very briefly.

First, in regard to the opening remarks, contrary to what the member for Bellwoods says, I think my predecessor did an excellent and fine job over the five years he was here. As a member of this cabinet, I would have been most comfortable under his further guidance for another period of time. I thought he was up to date on and aware of the problems and dealing with them in an efficient and very intelligent fashion. I would have been proud to have him continue to serve as Minister of Health, as I am sure the farming community is delighted to have him now serving that important community.

Having said that, I want to say I am proud of any reputation I may have for having a willingness to look at things again, to have an open mind on some issues and to bring -- as I like to think we all do -- my personal approaches to problems. The member for Bellwoods brings his own personal approach and biases, prejudices and intelligence to bear on the problems he has just addressed, and I respect that. I do not happen to agree with a lot of it, but I do respect his views on that subject.

So that he will understand my view on Peat Marwick, I think the view he has given is not an entirely balanced one. To pretend that the Peat Marwick report was one that was developed in the absence of a great deal of psychiatric input from some of the best psychiatrists and people serving the community in Toronto would be to misrepresent very greatly the work that went into the Peat Marwick report. There is a lot of credibility in that report. It was not done in a vacuum, as has been suggested. It was developed together with people who are very close to the psychiatric services offered in general hospitals in this community and who also understood very well the problems that are in place in Queen Street at present.

The member makes some objection to the centralization of the process at Queen Street. I have to ask the member whether he was satisfied with the old way of doing things. He certainly was not. I have sat in this House and listened to his concerns -- shared his concerns on some items -- with regard to Queen Street, and the old way of operating clearly was unsatisfactory.

So what has been done? There has been a new administrator put into place. In addition, there is a new chief of medical staff, whom I know the member will acknowledge to be one of the leaders in this community in the area of mental health. He took that job knowing what this minister and this ministry felt about the Peat Marwick report and having been told by me, through my staff, that we had a great deal of confidence in his judgment but that we did look to Peat Marwick as an important guiding document for implementation by him as he assumed his job.

I have no doubt that as he gets more experience at his job, Dr. Malcolmson may find certain areas where he will want to make some alterations in some of the recommendations. I do not purport to exercise my own judgement as to whether some of those changes might be right or wrong. We hired him because we think he is the right person for the job. I think he, together with Sister Janet, whose responsibilities are to oversee the implementation of the Peat Marwick report, and Mr. O'Keefe, the new administrator, has put us on the right road.

I know these people are all aware of the concerns that have been expressed and that those concerns were stated to those who put the Peat Marwick study together. Those concerns were well known to Mr. O'Keefe, Dr. Malcomson and Sister Janet when they assumed their responsibilities. They are sensitive to all of those things.

I believe that the thrust, the general direction and the goals of the Peat Marwick report are right. So the members will understand where we begin on this task. It would be fair to say that we will be watching that implementation as carefully as we will be watching anything that this ministry does. It remains a major problem, but I am satisfied that we now have the right people in place to do the job. I suspect my friend will acknowledge that the people who have been hired are the right people, that they are good and qualified people.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: It is a structural problem, not a problem of individuals.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: To that interjection I will say those people are eminently qualified to deal with the structural problems. They have read the Peat Marwick report --

Mr. R. F. Johnston: And the others were not? Did the minister think the last director was not?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member disagrees. Empirically, we can look and see that there were an enormous number of problems surrounding the institution over the past several years. The root causes have been analysed over and over. One will always get a variety of opinions as to what the root problems were. Ultimately the buck has to stop somewhere, and that is here. I accept that. In response to the Peat Marwick report, this ministry has put in place a new administrator, a new chief of medical staff and an excellent monitoring committee.

With regard to the suggestion that we appoint a further committee, a further study --

Mr. McClellan: A public discussion.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member for Bellwoods calls it "a public discussion." As a member of this community, let alone as Minister of Health, I think there has been a lot of dialogue and many views have been put forward. At some stage one becomes subject to the accusation, and it is a fair accusation, that all one is doing is talking about the problem and not getting on with the solution.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: The history of the ministry has been to replace administrators right, left and centre. Mike O'Keefe has had four different jobs in the past four years. That's no solution.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member may disagree with the solution. Neither he nor I will be able to judge whether these decisions are right for some period of time. I have made a fundamental decision that more and more discussion instead of getting on with the job is the worst decision of all. I have rejected that alternative. Therefore, we are authorizing Dr. Malcolmson, Mr. O'Keefe and Sister Janet to get on with the implementation of what is considered by us --

Mr. McClellan: What's the rationale for closing Lakeshore?

Mr. R. F. Johnston: The rationale is, "Let's close Lakeshore and see what happens."

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I am not here to deal with history; I am here to deal with the future.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Oh, you are just remaking it.

Mr. Cassidy: You are part of that history.

The Deputy Chairman: The minister is answering the questions. There will be ample opportunity to present further questions. Order, please.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Michael, you are living history. So just wait your turn.

The point I am making is that I am dealing with the future, and I think it is important that we adopt a solution which I hope will prove to be the right decision.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Just one?

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Well, one can't choose two.

Mr. R. F. Johnston: You can take your time and do it right instead of making Lakeshore again, which is what you are doing.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The member for Scarborough West (Mr. R. F. Johnston) will see that when one is in opposition he can choose two or three. When one is in government one can only choose one. I say to my friend, I respect his right to say this is the wrong solution. I think it is the right solution. I think the people are right. I think he would agree that Dr. Malcolmson is an excellent choice to be in charge of the medical side of that institution and --

Mr. R. F. Johnston: Mike O'Keefe was a great head of Whitby and of St. Thomas and of Nipissing.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: You will get your turn. The Deputy Chairman: You will have your opportunity to speak. The minister is still speaking.

5:40 p.m.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Again, we are pressing the patience of this House by discussing the nitty-gritty of the Queen Street Mental Health Centre, which is not the subject matter of this vote.

To respond to my colleague in the spirit in which he has put forward these comments, and so that he and I can understand where we are both coming from on this issue -- he has made it quite clear -- I hope I have taken the opportunity on this vote to make it clear that it is important we get on with this job.

The Peat Marwick report is a good guiding document. Dr. Malcolmson is the right man for the job. He has been mandated, along with Sister Janet and Mr. O'Keefe, to begin implementation. I am also sure that over time they will find certain alterations or amendments or particular ways they want to do things that will prove to be appropriate. Ultimately, only time will tell. But I can sit here with some comfort knowing that some well qualified people are now getting on with the job.

Mr. McClellan: I appreciate at least a clear statement from the minister. Again, I disagree, but we are not going to get into an I disagree, you disagree argument.

Since the subject of this vote properly is the general hospitals, what is the impact of the Peat Marwick recommendations on the rest of the psychiatric care system that is located within our general hospitals in Metropolitan Toronto?

I defy the minister to answer that question, because it has never been analysed. It was not analysed in the course of the Peat Marwick study. When McKinsey did its role study of the three psychiatric units in 1978, it also failed -- it was not a failure of purpose, but a failure of the terms of reference of the McKinsey study -- it also failed to assess its recommendations around future roles in relation to the rest of the system.

Now the minister is talking about a profound change in the role of the Queen Street Mental Health Centre. In the Peat Marwick report, there is no distinction between tertiary care and chronic care. The terms are obviously used interchangeably.

It is clear to me that Queen Street will become, in the words of Peat Marwick, "a dumping ground for the seriously mentally ill of low socioeconomic status." That is the general direction the Queen Street centre has been edging towards for a long period of time.

The Peat Marwick recommendation that gives to the Queen Street centre the responsibility for tertiary care and appears to remove the responsibility for primary and secondary care from the psychiatric units of general hospitals will simply institutionalize that pattern and turn Queen Street into a dumping ground. I don't see how that can be avoided.

Also, it is entirely unclear what the impact will be on the psychiatric units in general hospitals.

Can the minister answer that set of concerns? They are not concerns that I raise in isolation. They are concerns that are being discussed throughout the mental health care community as a result of the obvious inadequacies of the process that led to the Peat Marwick report, a process that was closed, that did not have public hearings and that had no opportunity for the hospitals and other sectors of the mental health community to bring forward their concerns in any kind of a systematic and public forum.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I do not recall the member's first question but I recall my answer to it; it was "no." I hope the member will forgive me for not remembering what he said.

Mr. McClellan: You don't know what the question was, but the answer is no.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: The answer is "no" to the member's first question. I was thinking about the second one. I had better check the answer to make sure that I am right in saying the answer is "no."

With regard to the second question -- that is right, the first question was an allegation that Queen Street is going to become a dumping ground for the lower end of the socioeconomic bracket. That just is not the case. I say that is what a fully integrated system should avoid. It should obviously not be structured to send a certain economic bracket to a particular institution but to send people to the institutions where the kind of psychiatric care they need happens to be available.

Those kinds of things I look to be addressed not only by the ministry, not only by Dr. Heseltine and not only by Dr. Malcolmson but also by the district health council. That is where the integration with the psychiatric units in the public hospitals will occur.

Mr. McClellan: I do not think the minister understands the process of referral. People who are in the category identified in the Peat Marwick report -- the seriously mentally ill of low socioeconomic status -- tend not to get referred at all to private psychiatrists. Second, they tend not to get referred to the psychiatric unit of general hospitals, they get referred to the provincial psychiatric hospitals. That is who is in there.

The principal problem with the Peat Marwick report is that there is a confusion between tertiary care and chronic care and the role for Queen Street. The seriously mentally ill of low socioeconomic status are also chronic care patients, by and large. They are the people who move through the hospital into Parkdale and back again, and back and forth and back and forth.

Peat Marwick identified tertiary care as the principal role for Queen Street. Psychiatric units of general hospitals are not mentioned, as far as I can see in this report or anywhere else within the ministry's grand design of mental health care for Metro Toronto. The seriously mentally ill of low socioeconomic status do not fit into the general psychiatric units of general hospitals at all. They are being increasingly frozen out. That seems to be the implication of the policy. I am not positive that I am accurate in that, but one certainly cannot tell from Peat Marwick because there is no reference at all to the role of the psychiatric units in general hospitals.

One can only guess and speculate, because the study is silent on the relationship between Queen Street and the rest of the system. If I am accurate in my assessment, and it is a speculative assessment, then it means Queen Street will become a dumping ground on an institutionalized permanent basis. That is the principal danger of moving ahead with implementation of Peat Marwick before we have had a chance to assess the role of Queen Street within the total system, including general hospital psychiatric units and the network of services in the community.

Again, if the minister and the government are intransigent on the question, more is the pity. I think we will simply deal with the problems again and again, and we will continue to have the kinds of flareups that have characterized life in that very unhappy facility at Queen Street.

A psychiatric hospital cannot be run, as Dr. Mcpherson says, with that volume of admission and that many seriously disturbed patients. It becomes literally impossible to create a therapeutic milieu, with that level of turmoil and disturbance combined with the kinds of constraints and resources. It is simply impossible; so the place blows up periodically. Periodically it spills over into the community and periodically patients die.

5:50 p.m.

Then we have to have an examination. But not through a public inquiry which might anticipate problems and bring together the best minds of the mental health community to come up with solutions. Instead, we have to deal with the problems, if I may say so, a death at a time through the inquest route. That simply is not good enough and it does not lead to solutions. The inquest into the death of Aldo Alviani surely proved that. Eighteen months later we are back dealing with precisely the same kinds of problems.

I think, and I will say it again for the last time, that we are experiencing a crisis of vision in mental health care in this province. I do not think we have ever come to grips with the impact of drug therapy on the entire mental health care system. It has cleaned out the back wards and dumped people who were chronically mentally ill and living in institutions into our communities. It has affected all the different pieces of the mental health care system.

Nobody has ever sat down, including the Ontario Council of Health, and tried to assess what the full impact of the major reliance on drug therapy has been and will be on the mental health care system for the restructuring of the system. Until that is done, we will continue to argue these kinds of things with a complete degree of futility.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I will try to sum up quickly. I must say I have tried to show some open-mindedness, and I have listened to the comments of my critic, whose motivation I do not doubt and for whose knowledge in the area I have respect. The only thing I want to take strong objection to is the suggestion that this minister or this ministry continues to deal with these things one death at a time.

The member may disagree with the route we have chosen. We have new people in place. They are not just reacting to the inquests; they are certainly listening to their findings and will respond to them, but they have a lot more on their minds than simply reacting to crises. They are in there to develop long-term strategies and policies and to change the whole role of that institution and what it is doing to something that will not be a continual problem, as it has been over the last few years.

To deal with the other general point raised by my colleague, he has excerpted the dumping ground thing out of the Peat Marwick report as though that were what Peat Marwick was suggesting. I know he did not mean to imply that, but I think Hansard would contain the thread that this was what Peat Markwick might have recommended for Queen Street or saw as the future role for Queen Street.

Mr. McClellan: They identified that is a problem, and I am saying the recommendation will worsen the problem.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: A problem: The Peat Marwick report recommended that the role of Queen Street be redefined in relation to its catchment area and as it relates to primary, tertiary and secondary care.

Mr. McClellan: Don't read it out of sequence.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: I must say I want to be careful about the words I select, because I think the member was less careful than he might have been and therefore caused some misunderstanding about what Peat Marwick recommended.

May I also say, with regard to the only part of the member's comments which really related to the vote before us this afternoon, that the result of a careful implementation of Peat Marwick and an assessment of the role of Queen Street and the catchment area will obviously necessarily impact upon the other health care services in the community. The catchment area may be affected in terms of the boundaries of the catchment area and certainly the services provided by other mental health care providers and health care services in the area.

As Peat Marwick point out, those will have to be dealt with, and the implementation committee together with the district health council will be dealing with those problems. I want to make that clear. The implementation committee and the district health council will be dealing with the implications of the changing role of Queen Street Mental Health Centre, and that will have an impact on the psychiatric care being provided in the public hospitals.

Mr. Boudria: Mr. Chairman, I will try to be very brief to conclude before six o'clock. I have just two or three points I would like to raise for the attention of the new Minister of Health.

My constituency and many others in the Ottawa area have grown in the past and people there are increasingly concerned about the availability of services in the French language in the field of health, especially when dealing with children's services. The minister may remember we asked questions of his colleague regarding a children's hospital in eastern Ontario. As the minister may know, it is very difficult to administer health services to children and even more difficult if the children cannot understand the language in which the staff talks to them.

There is also the area of mental health which has similar problems, specifically at the Brockville Psychiatric Hospital. I raised an issue in the House last fall. This was a case at Brockville Psychiatric Hospital of a 77-year-old patient who had no knowledge at all of the English language. He was there as a patient and apparently could not even get any kind of basic services such as a glass of water. That is a very sad case and a sad way in which to treat our elderly people and those who are mentally ill or anyone suffering from any kind of illness for that matter.

I just want to bring those two points to the attention of the minister. I hope he will do the best job possible in his new ministry in the area of health, but more specifically provide those services to the constituency of Prescott-Russell and the other francophone areas of the province.

Hon. Mr. Grossman: Might I say very briefly that I am aware of some shortfalls in that area. My colleague the Minister of Colleges and Universities (Miss Stephenson) and I are currently discussing some things that can be done to train the people with the proper capabilities to help deal with that problem. I want to give the member my personal assurance this is a major priority with this minister and it is a problem that will be solved. We will find a way to close those gaps wherever they exist in terms of the availability of French-language services for people in the health care system, particularly in his area. It will be done.

Mr. Boudria: I have one last point, Mr. Chairman. I was not trying to shed blame especially on the Brockville Psychiatric Hospital. I understand they have had a lot of problems trying to recruit the personnel needed and it is almost impossible because people from French-speaking areas will not move to that location. So I recognize that is a difficulty. I do not place blame on the administration of the hospital; it is a difficult situation and I recognize that.

The Deputy Chairman: I am concerned about the hour. Could the member for Bellwoods give me an idea if he wishes to participate further in this debate, and will it be short?

Mr. McClellan: I have five or six items I want to pursue, so it may be wise to adjourn the debate.

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


Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, before moving the adjournment of the House, I would like to indicate the business for tomorrow as I indicated earlier I would do. We will continue in committee of supply with supplementary estimates and continue with the Health estimates which have not yet been completed, followed by Environment, Community and Social Services, Transportation and Communications, Northern Affairs, Natural Resource and Treasury and Economics. That is for tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow evening.

The House adjourned at 6:01 p.m.