The House met at 10 a.m.
STATEMENT BY THE MINISTRY
DEATHS AT HOSPITAL FOR SICK CHILDREN
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I wish to table the report of the Hospital for Sick Children Review Committee. In doing so, I would like to make a number of observations on the report and on the quality of care and service provided by the hospital.
All honourable members are aware of the tragic circumstances that led to the police investigation of the unexplained deaths of a number of children in wards 4A and B between July 1980 and March 1981 and the subsequent appointment of this committee. While the committee quite properly reviews and comments on the response of the hospital staff to these deaths and makes a number of critical observations, it of course does not concern itself with those aspects of the case that are the subject of the continuing police investigation.
As I told the House at the time the committee was appointed, the government has two major concerns: the identification and prosecution of anyone criminally responsible for these tragic deaths, and the assurance that the hospital has in place procedures to ensure the safety of all patients committed to its care.
The latter has been the exclusive concern of this committee, and I want to acknowledge the excellence with which they have carried out this assignment. For this reason I know that all members of the House will join me in expressing our appreciation to Mr. Justice Charles Dubin of Toronto, who was the chairman, Miss Joan Gilchrist of Montreal, Dr. Hugh McDonald of Vancouver, and Dr. Henry Nadler of Detroit.
In accordance with the Public Hospitals Act I have provided a copy of the report to the chairman of the board of the Hospital for Sick Children and have asked the hospital board for a detailed response to the 98 recommendations made by the committee. A copy of my letter to Mr. Gordon, the chairman, is appended to this statement for the information of the members.
The committee found that there were major shortcomings in the organization, procedures and reporting relationships involving the board, the administration, the medical and nursing staffs, the support services and the committees, all of which inhibited the systems of safeguards a hospital must have. Some of these are the consequences of the hospital's growth, the faulty communications among the various components and other circumstances that the committee has set out in quite considerable detail. The committee believes they could present a threat to patient care and safety. They cannot be allowed to continue.
I think it would be appropriate now to highlight briefly for the House the conclusion of the committee, particularly three observations that were emphasized to me when I received the report.
First, and I suppose most important, there have not, the committee points out, been any "untoward deaths of any patients with a cardiac ailment" since March 1981, and I think we will all be reassured by the committee's comments on the new procedures instituted by the hospital to monitor patient care in this area.
Second, they note that "the Hospital for Sick Children has earned an international reputation for the quality of the services provided to its patients," and "we are all satisfied that it is still deserving of that reputation and the complete confidence of the public."
It is no exaggeration to acknowledge that this confidence has been shaken by the untoward deaths in wards 4A and B and by the unrelated deaths of Steven Yuz, Rafiki Cruise and Jonathan Murphy, which were subjects of recent coroners' inquests and reviews by this and other committees that raised questions about practices in the hospital.
But Mr. Justice Dubin and his colleagues point out that the recent scrutiny that has faced the staff and administration of the hospital has been, in their words, "unparalleled in any other like institution." As a result, they observe, "Those providing professional services at the hospital have found it difficult to practice their profession under such circumstances and their morale has been strained.
"It is a credit to their professionalism and skill that their work does not appear to have suffered to date even under such stress." But, the committee adds, "Their ability to continue to do so in the future will, we think, depend very much on the degree of support that the hospital receives from the public."
For my part, I want to use this occasion to pledge my full support and that of my ministry to ensuring that the key changes which have been prescribed are carried out immediately. While we have not had an opportunity to assess all the implications of the changes the committee has recommended, it is clear that they will be substantial, affecting as they do the size, role, management, staffing and funding of the hospital.
It is also clear that some of the questions which Mr. Justice Dubin and his colleagues have raised about the Hospital for Sick Children have implications for similar procedures in other hospitals. As a result, I have today written the attached memorandum to all of the hospital board chairmen in the province to ask whether they could benefit by applying any of the recommendations contained in this report to their own institutions.
Finally, it is inherent in a report such as this that shortcomings and mistakes will be emphasized and confidence in the hospital could be jeopardized. Because of this, the committee has been scrupulous in recognizing many of the positive features of this hospital, whose reputation is well known and well deserved. No child in need of its care is ever turned away from the Hospital for Sick Children, nor should it be.
Of the cardiology department, which has been the focus of much of the committee's scrutiny, it notes: "With few exceptions, the patients admitted to the hospital with cardiac ailments have very complex heart malfunctions and are gravely ill. For the most part, they are particularly high-risk patients. Many of them are under one year of age and some are only a few days old, which adds to the risk.
"It was not many years ago," the committee recalls, "that it was felt that little could be done by way of treatment for such patients, but heroic efforts are now being made to save the lives of children who would not have had such an opportunity in the past."
As members will see, a great many interim steps have been taken by the administration and staff to address a number of the problems the committee has identified.
However, it is clear that some very fundamental and decisive steps must now be taken by the board of trustees which has the overriding responsibility for the care and safety of their patients and the obligation to maintain the hospital's worldwide reputation for excellence. I know that the board will share a sense of urgency in this matter and I expect, and I have indicated to them that I expect, a very quick and thorough response from them.
There is no question that the Hospital For Sick Children is one of our most precious, indispensable resources and we are all committed to preserving it.
DEATHS AT HOSPITAL FOR SICK CHILDREN
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Health. I welcome the statement and the report today. We have had a chance to look at it only briefly and we will review it later. It is our fervent hope that this report will go a long way to restoring confidence in that very fine institution and I welcome the minister's remarks in that respect.
But I am sure the minister will agree with me the big, still unanswered question that is keeping that black cloud sitting over the hospital is the fundamental question with respect to those deaths that took place some time ago. Until that question is resolved one way or the other, I suggest that, collectively, we are still going to have a problem building the confidence of people in that institution.
May I ask the minister what the state of the police investigation is with respect to those deaths? Does he have anything to report? Were they in fact murders or untoward deaths, or did they occur in the normal course of events? Could he bring us up to date on his time frame for getting answers to those very serious and fundamental questions?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, might I remind my colleague that he refers to the problem we are all concerned about. I appreciate his concern with regard to restoring confidence in the hospital but would disagree a bit with his suggestion that finding out exactly what were all the circumstances surrounding the criminal investigation in the very tragic deaths is a large black cloud which impedes the restoration of total confidence.
As I tried to do in my statement, I emphasize again the fact that there have been no incidents of untoward deaths in the cardiology ward of that hospital since steps were taken with regard to the incidents discovered in March 1981. In terms of confidence in that particular area, I think any parent with children in wards 4A and 4B can have confidence in the very fact that there have been no untoward deaths in that area since that time.
Second, one who reads the report will see there have been substantially changed procedures since that time. That too should go a long way towards restoring confidence.
Third, Mr. Justice Dubin and his colleagues point out that owing to the dedication and talent of all the persons in the hospital, the hospital remains a place in which we can have confidence, sufficient confidence certainly to have people use that facility and take their children there with ease and comfort. He does point out that if the situation is not corrected, it could deteriorate.
There is no question, as I acknowledged in my statement, that there is serious concern and obviously alarm surrounding the continued lack of certainty regarding what happened and who may have committed any homicides in that tragic period.
As the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Peterson) well knows, all of the circumstances and the carriage of the criminal investigation lie totally under the auspices of my colleague the Attorney General (Mr. McMurtry), who is responsible for that matter. The member would have to seek from him knowledge and information with regard to the status of that investigation.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, it seems that the key recommendation, or analysis, drawn by Mr. Justice Dubin is on page 160 of the report, where he states:
"Although the committee is satisfied that there was no deliberate attempt to withhold information from others, the failure to communicate the nature and extent of the problem to medical committees, administration and the board gives that appearance and discloses a weakness in the procedures in place in the hospital to ensure the quality of patient care and the safety of those patients."
I am sure the minister is well aware, going back to the period when the reviews began in the fall of 1980, that originally the reviews were limited to cardiologists and cardiology nurses only. When they saw problems and subsequently went to the administration, it was not until after the meeting in January 1981 that disclosure was made to the administration that there were problems in wards 4A and 4B.
Upon review of that information, and as a result of an informal meeting, the acting administrator concluded that the matter was in hand and the report of the problem was not carried forward to the board of trustees at that time.
Can the minister give an assurance today in this House that the communication problem that was critically identified by Mr. Justice Dubin has been dealt with in the situation of the Hospital for Sick Children, so that the kind of situation which resulted in the need for this report never occurs again?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, as I think the review committee pointed out, the procedures with regard to reporting of incidents, the flow of information and the use of interdisciplinary talents in reviewing these untoward incidents has been improved substantially. It is substantially better than it was then.
We must also note that the committee remains unsatisfied with regard to the degree of improvement. Therefore, the hospital has been asked by us to respond to the Dubin recommendations with regard to improving those reporting relationships yet again, and bringing them up to standards which would satisfy the Dubin committee and the ministry, as soon as possible.
Mr. McClellan: Mr. Speaker, there are literally dozens of questions one could ask. One has the handicap of having just now received the report and I acknowledge not having had the opportunity to read it.
Does the minister accept the inference of the report that despite the disarray in this hospital, the deaths of Steven Yuz, Rafiki Cruise, Jonathan Murphy and the other even more widely publicized deaths, there is no shred of culpability or negligence anywhere, that all of these problems that have led to the deaths of children are simply matters of extreme administrivia? Is that the beginning and the end of it, that all that is required is a series of administrative changes and then everything will be okay again, or is there some more to come?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: No, Mr. Speaker, a reading of the report will indicate that Mr. Justice Dubin will recommend far more than just administrative changes. There have to be substantial changes in both the configuration and size of some departments and the methods they are using, not just administrative reporting relationships that form only one part, the rather short part, of the problem. There are a wide variety of changes that are required at the hospital, going far beyond administration.
With regard to the other part of the member's question, whether there is culpability, that is not the responsibility of the Minister of Health. The Minister of Health has set in place a process whereby all the procedures in place at the hospital can be very intensively and expertly reviewed. If there are any inferences to be drawn from that careful analysis, those inferences are to be drawn by others who may want to bring whatever action they may think appropriate in view of these procedures.
In view of my responsibility, I can report with some relief on the basis of this report that children and their parents can use that hospital with some degree of comfort, with a great degree of comfort. We know, however, as I said earlier, that if the current circumstances continue, as Mr. Justice Dubin reports, then patient care could be threatened because they will not be able to continue much longer in these circumstances. With these changes, confidence can be maintained in the hospital and, as of today, people can use that hospital with confidence.
Ms. Copps: Bearing in mind the potential threat that the minister has identified, can he tell this House today whether he has a timetable for the implementation of the recommendations of the Dubin report and if those recommendations will be implemented forthwith?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Our requests of the Hospital for Sick Children and our clear expectation is that they be implemented forthwith. The hospital initially has indicated to us that it will be getting back to us quickly, and I have every expectation that there will be immediate implementation.
Mr. Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations. To provide some background, I have a transcript of Arthur Vaile's interview with Bill Player. I will send this over to the minister in case he does not have it. I will send it to him in trust so that he can read it.
May I refer to page 4, where Mr. Player says, in reference to the so-called elusive funds that everybody has been trying to identify over the past three months: "I spoke to the government three days after this transaction closed and spent three hours with the deputy minister and Mr. Murray Thompson. I explained the deal fully to them." I will omit some here, but then he goes on to say, "I offered to give them a zero point increase for one year" -- referring to rents -- "because I had the money on deposit to make the payments, if it would help the government get out of their box."
In Hansard of Tuesday, January 25, the minister said to this House, "None of the parties present at the closing acknowledged having seen this money, and Kilderkin has so far refused to tell the investigators how and by whom it was paid or was to be paid."
Is it the minister's suggestion that Mr. Player is not being forthcoming or is not correct in his statement with respect to earlier conversations he had with the registrar and the deputy minister about the details of this transaction as well as the identity and location of those so-called elusive funds?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: First of all, Mr. Speaker, let me refer to several issues. The first issue that is mentioned in the interview and in the honourable member's question relates to a meeting held with the deputy minister and the registrar -- I cannot recall whether it was November 9 or 10, but it was one of those two days -- and the purported offer to have a zero per cent increase in rent, which I understand, although I have not read the statement that was released by Mr. Player, was not in agreement with that. I am told that the statement he released indicated he would ask for only six per cent. But that is by the by.
The information given to me by the deputy was that as a result of that meeting there was an indication that over the course of three years an increase of something in the neighbourhood of 50 per cent in rents would be required in order to make the expenses compatible with the cash intake. I have no recollection of the deputy reporting to me any offer of any lower rent, but I cannot say that did not happen. Nor can I say that the government, the minister or the minister's office should be -- and indeed, they were not -- in any negotiations with anyone as to what rent increases should be.
I might say in passing that at a subsequent meeting I had on November 12 with some of the principals -- and I have reported this -- it was suggested to me that there might be an undertaking by Kilderkin to keep rent increases to some modest figure, and again I said that was not the problem the government faced.
On November 15, I did indeed receive a letter from Kilderkin indicating that they would not be requesting rent increases during 1983 of more than 13 per cent on average. That is a letter that was there; those are statements made. But in my view -- and I maintain this view and I think the member would agree with me -- it is not my position or the government's position to negotiate with landlords over rent increases.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Does that include new rugs?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Include what?
Mr. Speaker: Never mind the interjections, please.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: I am sorry. I do not know what the member is talking about, but I would be pleased to talk to him about it again.
That is the position I took and that is the position I continue to take. If any individual wishes to apply for an increase in rent over the six per cent guideline, then he has to do so through the rent review process.
As to the other part of the member's question, which relates to the down payment that was purportedly made in the acquisition of these apartment units, I have never said there was not a down payment of a sum of money, and I do not think anybody would challenge that. All I said in my statement last week was that no one has acknowledged having seen the money or seen it change hands.
I am not surprised, and I am sure the member is not either, that there is an amount of money purportedly in an account somewhere offshore. Certainly those have been claims made by many parties over the months in public statements made in the press. I recall Mr. Markle being reported to have said in one press report that he thought it might be in Liechtenstein, so I do not think the issue of the reports of the existence of those funds is the issue at hand. I think that has to be clearly understood.
The issue at hand is not what individuals can do with their own money by way of mortgaging on buildings or premises regardless of what the value may be of the property that has to be disposed of. The issue before the House, before the Morrison inquiry and before the government is the issue of the use of public depositors' funds and the restraints that are placed on the way trust companies manage those funds. The fact that there is a restraint limiting them to 75 per cent of the value of the property is the issue here, not whether there are funds elsewhere.
I think the member understands that. Although Mr. Player's interview, as I saw it last night, is interesting, it really adds nothing to the information I gave in a press release of November 10 and at a press conference on November 16. It still does not alter the problem in relation to the obligations of trust companies as they put out money for mortgages in this province using depositors' funds.
Mr. Peterson: The crux of the minister's argument is that those buildings are only worth $300 million and in mortgaging for $375 million they thereby violated the Loan and Trust Corporations Act. That is his case.
That is something that was going on for at least two years in a variety of smaller transactions right across this province. The minister is aware of that. He is also aware of the point that the bad habits some of those financers acquired and got away with, and which were tacitly approved by the registrar during his inspections, probably gave them the confidence to go ahead and use the same kind of financial transaction for the big deal, the Cadillac Fairview deal.
Would the minister not agree with me that he has some responsibility because of the failure of his regulators to inform those people prior to that? Mr. Markle has said he never had anybody object to the way he kept his books or did his financing prior to that. The minister has some responsibility in this entire matter. I am not carrying any brief for Mr. Player. I have no idea if the money is there or not. All I know is what I saw on television last night, but Mr. Player is now saying this kind of deal has gone on for a long time.
He is saying he has the money on deposit to make up any shortfalls. How does the minister reconcile the two different views, the one he and his investigators are expressing and the view Mr. Player has brought forward at this point?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Let me clarify the honourable member's last statement. As I saw the show and heard the interview last night, I did not hear Mr. Player say there was $111 million, $109 million plus interest, available to meet payments on mortgages. I heard him say he had access to the interest. He also thought the owners of that money might release a portion of it if he had the need for that money for a short period of time, but that was entirely in their hands.
He also acknowledged the money was theirs until the end of the 10-year agreement, at which time he would have had to satisfy them that all the conditions he reported in the interview last night had been met -- all the promises or obligations he had purportedly made to them.
I do not want anybody to think I heard, and I expect the member did not either, that all that money is available to him. I suspect the real message is that if he met the cash shortfall in the cash flow discrepancies that would occur over the years as a result of this purchase, then that money was available to him.
In other words, I would suggest -- and it is pure speculation -- that there may be an understanding that, "If I pay out $100 million over 10 years, you will give me $100 million." I think the member and I understand that kind of thing is a possibility, although the final outcome will await the report of the Morrison inquiry.
I would not want to leave the House or the public with any impression that the ministry in its regulatory role has given any tacit approval to any of the activities of any of the trust companies involved.
Mr. Kerrio: The minister does not believe that statement. That is ridiculous.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: We will be getting information from the internal review going on now of the practices and procedures within the financial institutions division. In addition, information is being gathered both by Touche Ross in its role as a registrar's agent controlling and running the operations at Seaway Trust and Greymac, and by the Morrison inquiry, which is looking into the conduct of business. Surely this information will give us a broad and proper perspective from which to look at these issues.
I honestly believe that is the kind of perspective from which the members want to look at these issues. That is the one I want, and it is not in any sense a coverup, because it is going to be public material.
Mr. Kerrio: It is so. We want a royal commission.
Mr. Speaker: Supplementary. The member for Riverdale.
Mr. Kerrio: Not one head is rolling in this whole deal. Not one person has been fired.
Mr. Speaker: Order. I suggest to the member for Niagara Falls that if he wants to carry on a private conversation or debate, he should do so outside the confines of the House.
Mr. Renwick: Mr. Speaker, I am curious about the meetings to which Mr. Player referred. In the maze of information we have had, Mr. Player has not been particularly related to the trust companies that have been involved in these matters prior to Crown, to Greymac or to Seaway. What were the circumstances under which the meeting took place with the deputy minister and the registrar? Who initiated the meetings? What was the purpose of the meetings? And, by the way, had there been a series of meetings prior to that time involving the registrar of loan and trust corporations with any of the principals in this unfolding drama?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, I cannot say the registrar or his representatives do not meet with the trust companies or their representatives in relation to their role. However, to my knowledge -- and I think I would know the facts in this instance -- there was no meeting by the registrar or any of his representatives with respect to the issues at hand, namely, the transactions and sales that took place on November 5 and November 8.
I believe the meeting with Mr. Player and his counsel -- as I said, I cannot recall whether it was on the afternoon of the 9th or the 10th -- was instigated at the request of the deputy minister. My recollection of that may not be perfect. There may have been an indication from Kilderkin to the ministry office that it wished to come in and "explain the deal." I have to say, quite honestly, that I have never been besieged before by so many people who want me to "understand the deal." I think I do understand it, and I have for some time.
If the member thinks there should not have been a meeting, and I do not take that implication from his question, then I would value his reasons. At that stage the deputy minister and I felt we had an obligation to try to understand the details of the transaction to a greater extent than we did. That was the only purpose of the meeting. There was no other purpose.
Mr. Breithaupt: Mr. Speaker, as the minister proceeds to find these elusive assets in the transactions, is he aware of the comments of Mr. Ronald Carr, a lawyer representing Leonard Rosenberg, as reported in the Globe and Mail this morning? Carr is quoted as saying: "In his (Mr. Rosenberg's) opinion, and he cannot prove it, the Ontario government has provided to the (US) Federal Reserve Board a copy of everything that is going on up here (in Canada)."
Is that quotation accurate? Is the minister involved in that way? Is he planning to work through either the US federal authorities or the courts in Florida to intervene on the question of the ownership of the assets being used in this bank purchase with the presumption that some of those funds may have a flag or obligation on them with respect to any of the three trust companies that the minister has seized?
Hon. Mr. Elgie: Mr. Speaker, with respect to the first part of the question, I do not know personally whether the registrar has been in touch with other regulators. It would not surprise me. Regulators from different provinces and the federal government talk to each other quite frequently. But I do not have any personal knowledge as to whether or not he has had any communication with the American regulators who deal in that area.
Could the member just remind me of the second part of the question?
Mr. Breithaupt: It was whether the minister was working either through the US federal authorities or the courts with respect to the fiduciary or beneficial ownership of the funds which might be involved.
Hon. Mr. Elgie: As I mentioned the other day in response to a question from both opposition parties, the government, through its counsel, is now exploring appropriate options that may be available with respect to funds that were paid out. I have no information to give the House at this time.
Mr. Conway: Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege: It relates to a point I made yesterday, and I will not be lengthy on it. However I was more than a little annoyed to find out this morning that my colleagues and research staff were invited to participate in a lockup arranged by the Minister of Health for the release of the report of the Hospital for Sick Children Review Committee. My research assistants indicated that just before 10 o'clock the lockup concluded so that they could come and try to brief members who had an interest in this issue for question period.
On my way to question period I picked up a copy of the Toronto Star -- this is before 10 o'clock -- to see a big banner headline, "Dubin Report on Sick Kids Urges Sweeping Changes." I do not know what the circumstances of this article are, but it is a very lengthy chapter-and-verse recitation of what this report is all about. There is another prima facie case for the rights and privileges of members of this assembly having been abridged.
I would like the Speaker in relation --
An hon. member: Is the lockup appropriate?
Mr. Conway: I think the lockup is appropriate if somebody intervenes. The government has a right to arrange that kind of a situation. But to meet people who come out of a lockup on their way to question period, and to be at the same time reading a daily newspaper that has all the information contained therein, clearly makes a mockery of the lockup and makes a mockery of the rights and privileges of this assembly.
In view, sir, of what I asked you to investigate yesterday, I would like you to broaden the scope of that to deal with what appears to be item 2 of something I feel quite seriously about, as a private member of this assembly.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, might I assure both you and the honourable member that I am as concerned about that as he is in that we have gone to extraordinary lengths to protect this document for a variety of reasons. Not the least of these is that one never knows when one could arrive here and find, due to the sad passing of someone, that the assembly would not sit. The information is out there which otherwise we may not have presented to the House this morning, or which we may have decided we did not want to proceed with because of advice we might have received from the Attorney General's office. I am thankful that was not the case. However I want to emphasize that contrary to the inference my friend is trying to put out, there is no way in which we were involved in making this information available to anyone under any circumstances.
In point of fact, we went to extraordinary lengths to make sure that this House and those in the lockup were the first to see this document -- save for the Solicitor General, the Attorney General, and the Hospital for Sick Children which received a copy of the document yesterday morning.
I want to assure the House that I, personally, will see to it that a thorough investigation is undertaken to determine just what happened to the information and how it could be that certain people would have this information.
I would also like to indicate something to both my opposition critics. The member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) was particularly concerned that he did not have a copy of the report before 10 o'clock. It was our initial intention to have these documents distributed to both opposition critics at about nine o'clock this morning. Instead, we understand the researchers for both parties called yesterday and asked if they could participate in a lockup, which we immediately agreed to, and that was the procedure followed.
I know members will acknowledge that in many circumstances these reports are simply tabled, with no lockup for either the press or opposition researchers. However, because of the significance of this report we thought it was important that it be available at an earlier time.
DEATHS AT HOSPITAL FOR SICK CHILDREN
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Health concerning the Dubin inquiry report. I know the minister will have noticed that a great number of the recommendations set out at the end of the report call for an increase in staffing both in terms of time and number. In terms of nursing, it calls for a review of the plans to merge certain wards.
The report, on page 183, also contains some rather startling information. Quite contrary to the rhetoric of there being a great deal of fat in our hospital system, the neonatal intensive care unit, for example, was frequently at overcapacity. It was operating at 115 per cent capacity during several months of 1981 and 1982.
The report has tremendous implications for government policy with respect to funding and cutbacks. I would ask the minister whether he is prepared today to make a commitment that the report's funding and staffing recommendations will be implemented? I refer not only to the Hospital for Sick Children but all the other hospitals in the province. As the minister points out in his memorandum to the chairmen of the boards of Ontario public hospitals, they are all going to be affected by this report. Is the government committed to the funding and staffing that will be necessary in order to allow the Dubin report to be implemented, not only at the Hospital for Sick Children but in other hospitals across the province?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, when the member has an opportunity to read the report more carefully he will see that financial and funding concerns are expressed by Mr. Justice Dubin, and properly so. Careful and in-depth reading of the report will indicate that this concern emanates not only out of the amount of money being transferred by the government to the hospitals but also out of the pattern of utilization of those funds within the hospital.
Mr. Justice Dubin points out that the hospital faced unprecedented growth, under its own initiative, from 1974 until the present time, and undertook that growth without ensuring that adequate support systems were equally improved and expanded. It also indicates that other parts of the hospital were not aware of the implications if not the very decision to have extraordinary growth in some areas.
Mr. Justice Dubin reports that growth was undertaken in an attempt by the hospital, to paraphrase for a moment, to be all things to all children. The clear implication is that with the variety of paediatric services now available in other first-class hospitals in Ontario perhaps the hospital needs to assess whether it should be growing so as to do all things for all children, as opposed to specializing in those very difficult and unique areas where it has world-leading expertise.
Mr. Justice Dubin points out that the hospital has chosen to grow to the point at which it is far and away the largest children's hospital of its kind in North America. He questions whether that phenomenal growth and size is appropriate, given current needs.
He also points out that the application of funds received by the ministry and how they should be co-ordinated through the hospital has not been adequately determined by the mechanism of information and decision making within the hospital. How does that impact? Let me make two points.
First, look at the allocation we have made to the Hospital for Sick Children. In 1980-81, it was $63.6 million; in 1981-82, it moved to $72.5 million, and in 1982-83, to $87.5 million. In other words, in two years it moved from $63 million to $87 million, a fairly substantial increase. The adjustment this year was enough to eliminate any deficit the hospital had or had projected.
I should also point out that the Hospital for Sick Children received a $4 million base adjustment in November this year, but of that $4.4 million, $3 million covered programs that had been undertaken by the hospital without the prior approval or knowledge of the ministry. That again confirms what Mr. Justice Dubin says, i.e. that many of the growth pressures in the hospital were a function of the hospital making unilateral decisions to undertake programs without making sure the funding was available or that it was a program needed within the whole complex of hospital services in this area. They also undertook some of those programs without ensuring that they had the backup and support services to support those new programs.
So all in all, while government funding is pointed out as one concern by Mr. Justice Dubin, I think it is fair to say the utilization of funds, the organization of the hospital and the role of the hospital are all major factors that have caused some problems there.
I suggest there has been a very adequate level of funding of $87 million to the hospital for this year. It is not only the number of dollars that are being transferred but the utilization of that fairly substantial number of dollars within the hospital that is important. Indeed, I would read between the lines that if the hospital had been differently organized and had understood its own role better, then the $87 million would have been more than enough money to sustain that operation.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, the report also emphasizes the extent of the communications problem, which is highlighted by the fact that in August 1980 nurses were concerned about the deaths that were taking place on the cardiac ward. There were meetings with cardiologists and so on through September and yet this did not appear to reach the upper levels of the hospital until much later. In fact, charges were not laid, as the minister knows, until the following year.
The communications problem involves parents and the rights of parents as well, and it clearly has implications that go well beyond the Hospital for Sick Children. The question of communications and the review of communications has a direct impact on all the other hospitals.
The letter the minister is sending out on January 28 is, if I may say so, a very laissez-faire kind of letter saying: "We think this report has certain implications. Will you please tell us what kind of review you are undertaking in some way." Can he tell us whether the ministry is considering some more active intervention by means of the development of guidelines, criteria and basic rules for communication not only within the hospital but also between the hospital, patients and parents? And can he tell us whether he is going to be entering into discussions with all the public hospitals in the system in order to ensure that these kinds of problems do not occur in another hospital?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Yes, Mr. Speaker, we will review all of these concerns with the Ontario Hospital Association. If there is a standard set of procedures, even in some narrow areas, that might help the situation, and standardize the procedures in all the hospitals throughout this province in certain of these areas, that will certainly be done by the ministry.
Ms. Copps: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that while the report does a lot to clarify the situation regarding the communications gaps that existed, from the time the problem was identified until the time it came to public light, it does nothing to lift the pall that has been cast over the Hospital for Sick Children as a result of these recent experiences.
Will the minister please take a leadership role in this area and will he announce to this House today a timetable for the implementation of the recommendations of the Dubin report? Parents of children who have been patients or who may in future be patients at the hospital should be sure they will receive treatment in the tone of the new recommendations of the Dubin inquiry. They need more than simply an assurance from the minister that he will table the report with the hospital so they can comment and subsequently carry on with further recommendations.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Mr. Speaker, I share the concern of the member for Hamilton Centre about the reputation of the hospital and maintaining confidence in the hospital. I am also concerned about the fact there are still some outstanding matters surrounding the criminal investigations that must be resolved. But if she maintains we have done nothing to lift the pall, as she said in beginning her question, then I think --
Mr. Breithaupt: No.
Hon. Mr. Grossman: She did. I wrote it down. She said we have done nothing "to lift the pall hanging over the hospital."
I hope she will reconsider those remarks unless she believes that Mr. Justice Dubin and his colleagues, who are very well known and esteemed and have done a lot of work, do not understand or know what they are talking about. In their words, and I quote again: "The Hospital For Sick Children has earned an international reputation for the quality of the services provided its patients, and we are all satisfied" -- these are not my words, but the words of Mr. Justin Dubin and his team of experts -- "we are all satisfied that it is still deserving of that reputation and the complete confidence of the public."
Of course there are concerns that these recommendations be implemented immediately. On that count we have written the hospital and they have the report. They have, to their credit, set up an implementation team to study the report and immediately begin work on implementing those recommendations they can implement immediately.
Since the ministry has only had the report for several days and the hospital has only had it for 24 hours, I can hardly report to the member that recommendation 14, 16, and 91, or whatever they are, can be implemented in 24 hours and the balance within a week or the balance within two weeks. Some of them will be implemented overnight and some will take days, if not months. For example, the unit dose system will obviously take a lot longer than a simple reorganization of the medical advisory committee.
I can hardly give the member a date for each one of the recommendations at this time. The hospital has been informed by us that they must do it forthwith, immediately, and report back to us right away when they are going to implement each and every one of those recommendations. If they have any intention not to implement any of the recommendations they would have to satisfy us that there is good and sufficient reason for not doing so.
The simple answer to the member's question is: immediately.
I just wanted to come back to one point. I urge her to select her words carefully and not to suggest that the "pall" hanging over this hospital has not been removed or alleviated somewhat. The review committee said that the hospital is deserving of its international reputation and is deserving of the complete confidence of the public.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, the minister did not refer in his answers today to the fact that there are two investigations still going on. There is the police investigation -- and we have no idea what stage that is at -- and, as referred to in the conclusions of Mr. Justice Dubin's report, the Atlanta Centre for Disease Control study which is being carried out under the auspices of the Ministry of Health.
What is the status of the Atlanta study? Does the minister plan to make that study public? Second, does the minister not feel there is still room for a public inquiry when there appears to be an element, at the very least, of some kind of culpability here in terms of administrative breakdown?
I agree with the statements made by Mr. Justice Dubin with respect to this hospital's international reputation; we share that view and that concern. Does the minister not think there has to be a broadening of Mr. Justice Dubin's inquiry now? Does he not think it should be turned into a full public inquiry into the deaths that have occurred and who is responsible for what happened in that situation? Or does he not think it should become a public inquiry of some kind to deal with the issues that are raised, not only by the criminal investigation, but by the Atlanta study as well?
Hon. Mr. Grossman: Let me try to deal with each of those. The status of the CDC report is that it is not yet complete.
Second, I can assure the member it will be made public at the appropriate time.
Third, with regard to whether there ought to be or will be a public inquiry, now that we have the Dubin inquiry and after we have the CDC report and after we know the outcome of the police investigation, it would be appropriate then to assess all the information before us and decide whether a public inquiry is still required.
Mr. Rae: Mr. Speaker, I have a new question for the Treasurer.
Yesterday the Minister of Labour (Mr. Ramsay) said he felt despair and sorrow for the fact that there were hundreds and, indeed, thousands of workers in this province who have not been receiving severance pay. Since the Treasurer is the one minister in the government who is in a position to take some initiatives with respect to the creation of jobs and stimulation of the economy, when does he intend to announce some new job initiatives that will provide some hope, not only for the unemployed in the province but also for those like the Minister of Labour who feel despair and sorrow at the situation they are encountering? When does he plan to announce those new job initiatives?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I was waiting for the next word, which never came.
Mr. Rae: We are waiting for you.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Well, it is such a shock these days to be asked a question that I have to get my mental processes functioning again.
Mr. J. A. Reed: That will take some effort.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Yes. Seriously, when all the smoke and fury passes, the issue raised by the leader of the New Democratic Party is the most important issue in Ontario these days, the question of employment and the return of the health of the economy. I have been keenly aware of that. I can assure the leader of the third party, whether or not he accepts my concern for that problem as being real, it is real and deep. We will at times differ upon the way to solve it, but I suggest to him that we have taken actions.
At this time of year, as I am starting to prepare for a budget, I make a point of taking an hour a day to call around and talk to people in various cities of this province to hear how things are. For all the problems we have, I am hearing more and more people saying, "This is the first winter we have seen where the local builders have basements in the ground, because the houses are sold. We now have 15 in the town of so-and-so when last year we did not have one."
The member tends to underestimate the impact of the 16,000 homes that have been sold to first-time home buyers. He also underestimates the present and future impact of not only the Ontario $50-million program but also the federal $200-million program.
I have to go on and say that the return to economic health -- whether the leader of the third party is here or whether I am here -- is not going to be rapid. The only thing I can suggest is that it is more certain as long as we are here.
Mr. Rae: I literally cannot believe the complacency with which the Treasurer views the situation. He must be aware of the figures that are released every month with respect to layoffs, plant closures and downturns in basic industries such as housing. He must be aware of it when he talks to the people around the province.
Why the delay? What is the Treasurer waiting for? What kind of additional evidence does he need to recognize that we are in the middle of an economic crisis and an economic slump? In particular, when is he going to announce the initiatives in housing, public transportation and energy conservation that are going to get the economy moving? Does he not realize that the province itself, in its own spending and investment programs, has a crucial role to play in helping to stimulate and provide jobs?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Rhetoric is not going to resolve the issue. I have said many times --
Mr. Mackenzie: Your inaction won't either.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Just a second. The fact is, there is growing evidence that the economy is improving.
Mr. Mackenzie: Baloney.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Why don't you use your usual language, Bob?
Mr. Mackenzie: Why don't you do something? There are a lot of people in this province suffering, and you're sitting on your back end doing nothing.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Mackenzie: That's exactly what the problem is in Ontario -- and there are thousands more out of work every month.
Mr. Speaker: Order. The member for York South asked the question. The minister will reply to that question.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I suppose if evidence were around, it would not be in the interest of the leader of the third party to see any hope in the future.
Mr. Rae: We have 800,000 new unemployed people --
Hon. F. S. Miller: Is the leader of the third party listening to me?
Mr. McClellan: You are imputing motives, which is contrary to the standing orders.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Can I ask a supplementary?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I am not finished.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I guess they do not want to hear that 23,000 workers were called back by the three auto plants today. They do not want to hear that 1,400 jobs were saved in Brampton by certain measures; even the United Auto Workers said that today. They do not want to hear that recalls are starting and layoffs are stopping. They do not want people to believe it, because that might give them some faith to go out and help the consumer-led recovery we must have.
Mr. T. P. Reid: Mr. Speaker, the Treasurer has been fortunate that his colleague the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie) has done such a dismal job that he has taken the heat off the dismal job the Treasurer is doing.
The Treasurer is aware the Conference Board of Canada and others are predicting that the economy may improve slightly, that inflation may come down but that the unemployment situation is not going to improve in 1983. That is almost everybody's prediction. The conference board and various economists are all saying the same thing. One sees in the Globe and Mail this morning that unemployment in Metro construction is 40 per cent. In northern Ontario, complete towns are shut down.
Mr. Speaker: Question, please.
Mr. T. P. Reid: According to the experts, who are almost unanimous, employment obviously is not going to improve in the next year through the private sector of Ontario. Therefore, it is up to the Treasurer to do something through the government sector. Can he tell us what he has in mind?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Speaker, I keep forgetting that my friend is the Liberal-Labour member for the area. Why do they let him sit over there when he is not a member of their party?
Mr. Eakins: He is one of us.
Mr. T. P. Reid: There is room for all.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I might say that is obvious.
If one takes the current best estimates of the state of unemployment in the province -- or of employment; at times we tend to emphasize the negative far more than the positive -- December was the first month for which I had seen an improvement in the number of employed for quite a few months.
I was quite surprised. I honestly did not expect to see that improvement in the number of people at work. The statistics showed that there were 4,000 more people at work in December than in November. The kinds of feelings I was getting through the media and the daily reports that I receive had prepared me for a drop in employment in that month.
If one also asks what the average employment rate will be in 1983 as compared to 1982, the best wisdom would say, about the same. The question is, what does that mean in terms of people returning to work? Are we going to have no more return to work than are currently there, just touching four million, or are we going to see people called back?
As the leaders of both parties have pointed out from time to time, we have had a very severe drop in employment across the year 1982. If we took the average, starting higher and ending lower, and had a mean level, we are starting this year at the low point. If we were to agree that the average employment rate for 1983 will be the same as it was in 1982 and no better, that will mean quite a few people will be called back to work.
Our best guesstimate right now, which will be confirmed, changed, varied or whatever by the time the budget is out, is that we will see something like 100,000 people return to work and to the employment rolls in Ontario during 1983. That, on average, will give us the figure that looks like last year's. The point I am trying to make is that the way is up.
Mr. Rae: Does the Treasurer not understand or realize that there is a substantial and growing consensus within the business community itself that there has to be a major act of faith, optimism and investment in and through the public sector to help get the economy going?
Does he not see that consensus growing in terms of both federal and provincial policy?
I want to ask the minister a very simple question. It is a basic question I asked him before. When is he going to announce new initiatives that are being asked for by not only people in this party or people in the Liberal Party but also people generally in the community, in the chambers of commerce and in the Canadian Manufacturers' Association? They are looking for major acts of stimulus, major acts of leadership from their governments with respect to the economy. When can we expect to see such initiatives right here in Ontario, the manufacturing heartland of this country?
Hon. F. S. Miller: In 10 minutes or thereabouts, the orders of the day will have me back in my seat discussing supplementary estimates. Those supplementary estimates, whether or not the leader wishes to recognize it -- I do not know whether he was here during them -- deal with the measures Ontario is taking to create jobs and to bridge the gap. We have never tried to pretend that government can do it all.
At the meeting on December 16 of the finance ministers of this country, Mr. Lalonde said he would be preparing, as he is now --
Mr. Rae: What about the Treasurer? I am not asking Marc Lalonde. I am asking the Treasurer.
Mr. Mackenzie: The Treasurer can take action as well. He does not have to wait. He should quit making a joke out of putting people out of work.
Mr. Speaker: Order. Never mind the interjections, please. Does the Treasurer have a very brief answer to the question?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Lalonde and the finance ministers of Canada agreed there would be actions taken in co-ordination, but not necessarily in co-operation, in the sense that they would not necessarily be shared. He said he would hope to call us back early in February to see that list of items. I can tell the honourable member, having spoken to other finance ministers, we still hope to see him do that. I, in turn, am preparing my budget, which is the traditional document to use.
I said early in the game that we were pumping $50 million into Ontario in a three-month period and would be watching the recovery, and that in no way restricted us from taking more action as the three-month period ended.
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Education, who was referred to on Metro Morning the other morning as the czarina of all education.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Oh, come on -- by the member's colleague.
Mr. Bradley: Yes. Right.
Mr. Speaker: Order.
Mr. Bradley: Because I know there is only time for one question, Mr. Speaker, I know you will tolerate a supplementary to my original question.
In answer to a question on January 21 about the problems confronted by boards of education in regard to their short-term investments with trust companies in this province, the Premier (Mr. Davis) said, in reference to the Peel Board of Education, and I quote: "I think my own school board has a $3-million deposit in Greymac. I am a little intrigued that the deposit was made on December 31, 1982, after there had been some rather obvious discussion in the press. Why that particular deposit would have been made I guess is a matter of judgement by the board itself."
In view of the fact that the Peel Board of Education chairman, Bill Kent, has been quoted as saying that the 10-day term deposit was done, in his words, "in a businesslike fashion on the best advice, including the advice of the Ontario government," and in view of the fact that he produced a November 29 circular from the Ontario Ministry of Education -- I will send this over to the minister later on -- listing Greymac Trust, as well as Seaway and Crown, as an improved investment outlet, will the minister not agree with me that the Premier owes Mr. Kent and the Peel Board of Education a public apology?
Will she not agree that she, as a very strong spokesman within that cabinet for education and for the Ministry of Education, has an obligation to implore her fellow cabinet ministers to assist those boards of education that have been caught in this trap because of their faith in this document and in the words of the former Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, the member for London South (Mr. Walker), and their faith in the financial institutions division of the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations?
Does she not think that she has an obligation to those boards of education and that the Premier owes an apology to the Peel Board of Education and in particular to its chairman?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Mr. Speaker, unlike the honourable member, I would never presume to give the Premier that kind of advice, because I do not believe that it is appropriate.
About the middle of November, one of the boards in the central region requested of the central regional office information about investment. Since the Ministry of Education is not involved in that, information was requested, I believe -- I am not sure where it was requested, as a matter of fact -- of the knowledgeable people related to the investment of public funds.
On November 19, the central regional office received a statement listing companies in which there was apparently a certain degree of security or the required degree of security, listing not only those in Ontario but also those outside Ontario, and that was mailed immediately to the boards in the central regions. It arrived, I gather, in Peel and in other areas at or about the end of November.
However, between the time of the arrival of that document and December 31 there was a considerable spate of exploration of matters within all the newspapers easily available to anybody within the central region. I would think anyone concerned with investment might look not just at what had been provided as of November 17 but also at the newspapers, might determine what was going on in the House and might just become knowledgeable about other circumstances that had intervened.
I therefore believe it is within the realm of intellectual possibility that those boards could have made better decisions than perhaps they did, but I will not presume to advise them either.
AMI (CANADA) LTD.
Ms. Copps: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker: The Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman) stated yesterday in the House, in response to a question by the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan), that he did not know where Mr. Livergant or Extendicare plans to commence construction of a new chronic care facility in the next year. He also stated that he did not know whether hospitals were negotiating with AMI (Canada) Ltd.
The reason I bring this matter to your attention, sir, is that in a conversation I had last week with a representative of the institutional planning branch of the Ministry of Health I learned that the ministry is indeed aware that Extendicare is currently negotiating with Queensway General Hospital and that, among others, the proposed hospital for York-Markham is included in discussions with AMI.
This information came directly from a ministry official and seems to contradict the statements made by the minister in the House yesterday.
Mr. Speaker: Thank you very much. I am sure the minister will take note of that.
ORDERS OF THE DAY
House in committee of supply.
SUPPLEMENTARY ESTIMATES, MINISTRY OF TREASURY AND ECONOMICS (CONTINUED)
On vote 904, economic policy branch; item 3, industrial leadership and development fund:
Mr. Chairman: If memory serves me correctly, at the conclusion of the last hour's debate on the supplementary estimates, the member for Nickel Belt (Mr. Laughren) had the floor, but at this time I will entertain any members in rotation.
Mr. Ruston: Mr. Chairman, I have met with different people in our area in industry, construction, etc., and I find that there are some problems in the minister's new employment expansion and development program.
They explained that they had people off work whom they may have laid off six months ago or something and who were still collecting unemployment insurance. They are small companies with only seven, eight or 10 employees. Under the NEED program, they can only hire people who have lost all their unemployment insurance benefits or who are collecting welfare. It is almost impossible, they feel, not to call that person back to work and to have to go and take somebody in else who has lost all his benefits. It is rather difficult for them to operate in that way.
It would appear to some extent that this program is only going to work where one can find new work some place that one does not normally go. They seem to have a problem with that. I do not know the complete answer to it myself if we are only going to help those people who have lost all their benefits.
Perhaps there should have been some system set up whereby anyone who was collecting unemployment insurance would benefit. Yet I can see the Treasurer's point that this would not help the fellow who has lost all his benefits. It would need co-operation between the federal and provincial governments to cover that.
That seems to be one of the problems. I agree with the people I talked to. If one is running a business, and I know the minister has been in business before, it is almost impossible to say: "I have hired these fellows for the past four or five years but I laid them off three or four months ago because there was no work. Now I have some work to do under this program but my own people are not eligible."
Has the minister run across that situation? Does he have any reply on that?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Chairman, I suppose my colleague, like most of us, has not been here for the whole debate. That point was raised by one of his own members. May I correct one thing? NEED, the new employment expansion and development program, is not the program Ontario is involved in. That is a 100 per cent federal program. Just for the record --
Mr. Ruston: There are so many of them it is hard to keep track of them.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I know it is hard. I have trouble myself with the various acronyms.
COED, the Canada-Ontario employment development program, is the federal-provincial co-operative program. There are three. One is entirely federal, one is entirely provincial and one is shared.
We agree with the honourable member completely. We think the preconditions to qualify for the COED program as set by the Canada Department of Employment and Immigration do make for a good deal of difficulty both in the process of calling for tenders, which is virtually excluded, and in the process of calling back trusted and trained employees where one might have had them on layoff.
I hope the member will pass his comments along to whoever he wishes at the federal level. We are continuing to impress upon them that the overall need is to create jobs, and not just to target people specifically who qualify under very narrow qualifications, such as having exhausted their benefits or being on welfare assistance. Obviously those are the people in the greatest need; I cannot disagree with that, and I am sure the member does not.
If a municipality is doing the project, it may easily determine who is on welfare by going to that roll and trying to save the money it is laying out for its share by creating some work that person can do; but in the business sector, union callback rules may preclude that. The tendering system virtually precludes it. We agree with the member, and we continue to make representations to Ottawa to ease that one stumbling block.
Mr. Grande: Mr. Chairman, I hope my contribution to these supplementary estimates will not be long, but in the time available I want to say to the Treasurer that the amounts of money he is putting out in terms of transfer payments for short-term job creation programs is $53.8 million at a time when the evidence from every source available indicates unemployment has reached depression rates.
Whether or not he wants to take the responsibility on behalf of his government and whether or not the federal Liberals want to take the responsibility, that happens as a result of a policy he and the federal government have put in place not in the past year or two but as far back as anybody can remember. Inflation was always the big evil that governments had to fight and, as a result of inflation, unemployment was increased. As my colleague the member for Bellwoods (Mr. McClellan) was saying the other night, it is not something that has come by some magical power. Government makes those decisions and obviously government should be taking responsibility for the result of the decisions.
I want to bring the concerns of the people of the riding of Oakwood to the floor of the Legislature today. The general concern is in terms of unemployment, the bishops' statement and what the bishops' statement has said to both levels of government, and what the blue-chip community is now beginning to say to the government. If there is any signal that both the federal and provincial governments are going to begin to obey and to stimulate the economy, to create jobs in the economy, it is the clear signal that the blue-chip community is saying to them, "Do it." And, by George, they will obey because, in effect, they are their masters.
I would not even be surprised to learn that the federal budget was going to be a stimulative budget -- not too stimulative, but there is going to be some stimulation of the economy. I would not be surprised at all to learn that this government is going to follow that kind of leadership and say, "We are going to do it as well." If the federal government is not going to have a stimulative budget, this government is going to be criticizing it for not having a stimulative budget; and if it is a stimulative budget, this government is going to criticize the federal government for forgetting about the fight against inflation.
One can see what the government is doing. They are playing their wait-and-see game and they call that leadership. That is exactly the problem my leader has been pointing out to them today, and for the past month, as has the labour critic of this party, the member for Hamilton East (Mr. Mackenzie), and others in this party. That is not leadership; that is stagnation. They have stagnated there for a long time; they do not see the real problems of people in the province any longer.
Let me go to the municipality of York --
Mr. Chairman: Will it fall within the supplementary estimates?
Mr. Grande: It certainly will, because I want to talk about the short-term jobs that this government, along with the federal government, was supposedly going to create over this winter to relieve the unemployment situation.
If the transfer payments are not made to the municipality for these kinds of programs -- I am sure that is what the transfer payment is all about; therefore, I want to specifically deal with those transfer payments and what this particular government ought to be doing in terms of the municipalities and specifically the borough of York, which I represent.
The minuscule, fractional, drop-in-the-bucket program the Treasurer is talking about in conjunction or in co-ordination with the federal government is $53 million. Nobody has said that this program is not a good program, that this program should not take place. What they have been saying, if I hear them right, is that these jobs that are being created -- supposedly when they get created, some time in April, May, June -- are not going to do very much in terms of the real needs of people or the real needs of the municipalities in Ontario, in particular Metropolitan Toronto and in particular the borough of York.
The mayor of the borough of York is His Worship Mayor Alan Tonks. Gayle Christie has gone; the Tory has disappeared from the borough of York. The present mayor has said that if one really wants to do something about the unemployed people in Metropolitan Toronto -- and we hear today in the press, as if we did not know before, that we have 40 per cent unemployment in Metropolitan Toronto in the construction industry. I am sure the Treasurer can appreciate that if it is 40 per cent across Metro, it is somewhere around 50, 55 or 60 per cent in the borough of York.
The people I represent in the borough of York are, by and large, people who are involved in the construction industry. They are tradespeople, etc. So the unemployment in the construction industry in the borough of York is way over 40 per cent. Yet that borough, through its representatives in the provincial parliament, through myself, the former member for York South, Donald MacDonald, and the present member for York South (Mr. Rae), has said to this government over many years, ever since I can remember, "Mr. Treasurer, the borough of York has needs that have to be looked after and it is looking to this government for some assistance in meeting those needs."
What are the needs of the borough of York? The mayor says one of the needs is for sewer construction. That should not come as a surprise to the Treasurer. Since 1976 I have written letters about this problem. The short-term jobs this kind of program produces cannot be applied to capital works. In any case, the borough of York will get only $400,000 or $450,000. From the estimates the borough itself has done, the sewer construction that is required is around $50 million in 1978 dollars.
The Treasurer knows about the flooding of basements. Every time there is a rainstorm that is just a little more than average, basements in the borough of York have one foot of water. It is not just the water. The borough of York does not have a separation system. It does not have a storm sewer and a sanitary sewer, it is all one. So what happens when there is a backup? The Treasurer can use his imagination.
Mr. Chairman: While I am using my imagination, I am trying to dovetail your comments to the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development program and social development policies.
Mr. Grande: That is exactly what I am doing, Mr. Chairman. I thought I had made it clear.
Short-term job creation is not going to do anything for the borough of York in terms of looking after that need. It will not help in the construction of those sewers. As I understand it, that money cannot be used for capital construction purposes. The $400,000 the borough of York may be getting somewhere down the road will certainly not go a long way towards the $50 million that is needed for the work required to upgrade its sewer system and bring it up to modern standards.
I am attempting to say to the Treasurer and his government that municipalities have dire needs. If he is really interested in solving the unemployment problem, he should not be putting $400,000 into the borough of York in conjunction with the federal government. As the blue-chip community has said to the federal government, the Treasurer should be putting billions of dollars into that.
If the Treasurer wants to put people in the construction industry to work to solve the needs of the borough of York, he should put people to work in constructing the sewer system.
I am sure the Treasurer remembers that in 1980 I sent him a series of letters, which he diligently passed on to the Ministry of the Environment. The Ministry of the Environment wrote to me saying: "We have this kind of program and this kind of program. However, the borough of York did not take advantage of those two programs because its work is not related to the two programs we have."
Thank you very much, Mr. Treasurer, and thank you very much, Mr. Parrott, the former Minister of the Environment, for all that reassurance and all the help they provided for the people in the riding of Oakwood and the borough of York. The kind of arrogance displayed in terms of taking a look at those problems and putting some money to work to resolve those problems is incredible.
Around that time, 1978-79, I came to speak to the Treasurer with the former member for York South and a delegation from the borough of York. We managed to have a meeting with the member for Durham West (Mr. Ashe), then parliamentary assistant to Treasurer Darcy McKeough. The borough was saying, "If you cannot give us some grants to do this work, at least give us some loans at a reduced rate of interest so we can begin to do the work." That government said, "No, we cannot do that."
Let me bring it to the present time. If the Treasurer is interested in doing anything about putting unemployed people back to work in the borough of York -- there is a need; there are a lot of people, more people than anyone would want to be unemployed at this time in that borough -- if the Treasurer wants to put people to work and create lasting jobs, he should maybe take a look at the Ontario home renewal program whereby people can apply for up to $7,000 or $8,000 in order to bring their homes up to standard.
As of January, in the borough of York, there was not a penny left in that program to March 31. Therefore, if the Treasurer wanted to create some long-lasting jobs in terms of the unemployed people in the construction industry, certainly he could look to putting increased amounts of money into OHRP. That would obviously allow people to make application to the municipality for those kinds of grants and loans and thereby create jobs in the construction industry.
Over the years I have tried to get this government to understand the needs of that borough. As long as I can remember, since I have been in this House, the government has abandoned that borough simply because in every election that takes place, my Tory opponent reminds us, they do not elect a Tory. This is the motivation.
If this is the reason they are abandoning the borough of York in terms of its needs and abandoning the people of the borough of York in terms of their needs, I would not be one bit surprised if a Tory member is never elected. They try, sometimes gallant attempts are made, but they are always in second or third place.
I am not in the habit of asking and pleading, because I do not think I am here to plead for the people of the borough of York. I am here to represent them. I am here to tell the government of the borough's needs and if members of the government do not want to act on these needs and do something about them, then it is upon their heads, it is their responsibility.
I would want at this time to ask the Treasurer to please take a look at the borough of York: look at the needs in terms of the sewer system, in terms of the Ontario home renewal program needs, and look, in conjunction with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, at the revitalization of the Eglinton strip. About 30 to 40 per cent of the small businessmen along Eglinton, which is a major street in Metropolitan Toronto, are closing doors. The turnover is phenomenal.
Again, I do not want to read, chapter and verse, the letters I have sent to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett) or to the Treasurer or to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs (Mr. Wells) or other ministers regarding these problems, but I would ask the Treasurer to look at it and do something about it. The situation is drastic. As I said to the Minister of intergovernmental Affairs once before, the government is going to be responsible for the borough of York putting up its white flag and saying, "Take us over, because we cannot survive the way we are being treated."
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Chairman, my comments will be brief. I assume the member for Oakwood thinks I know little about his riding. I would hope he realizes I went to the school named after his riding.
Mr. Grande: Oakwood Collegiate.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Right. I have lived in his riding.
Mr. Mancini: I thought the Treasurer was from Muskoka.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I happen to be a Toronto native, contrary to what a lot of people around here think. I grew up here for a good many years of my life. I guess 20 of them were spent directly in the area the member talks about. I have no problem understanding the area. I probably do not understand it as well as the member does, because he represents the area, but I certainly understand it.
The insinuation that this is a government which rewards the faithful and hurts the unfaithful in terms of electoral results is one that is used every so often. Yet I guess I have shared many a platform with members of the opposition who were aligning themselves with this government, making it look as if they, for that day at least, really were the government, because something good was happening in their riding. That happens quite often.
I, for one, never try to keep the opposition member seated in the audience. He is elected for better or worse, right or wrong, by the people of that riding and I deal with him as the representative of people in this province who deserve the rights and services of this province whether they are of my party or not.
I have been proud of my government's fairness in that approach. Lots of members may at times allege it is not fair, but I am sure if they compared the track record with some other jurisdictions or even levels of government in this country, they would find that many people wonder why we are so foolish as to treat, even-handedly, ridings that are not held by this government.
I am proud that we have honestly lived up to the responsibility that all people place on the governments they elect, recognizing that once the election is over they represent all people in all parts of the province regardless of their ridings and of the riding of this particular member.
I can only say my colleague has tried to assume that all the things he talked about should be solved by the Board of Industrial Leadership and Development. Most of them, as he knows, lie with other ministry budgets. The question is not are we totally ignoring them but can we give them the priority within the overall spending of that ministry? I can only say that is the kind of thing I am glad to discuss each year at budget time, or if this year requires more "pump priming," to see whether that ministry would be recommending that as one of its priorities.
Lots of parts of this province would have been glad to have combined sewers. It is only in the last 20 years that engineers of this world have not told us we should have one pipe in the ground instead of two. My own little town has that same problem. It greatly adds to all the treatment and collection problems. It was lousy engineering but it was cheap.
In the days when much of it was done, that was the first and most important objective of the community making the decision. To go back in history, I remember the member's riding in the 1930s. It had perhaps one of the toughest sets of economic conditions anywhere in the Toronto area at that time.
Mr. Grande: It is the same today.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I suggest it survived a very tough time because they are very fine people. It is going to survive this and we are going to do our best to help.
Mr. Epp: Mr. Chairman, I have a few questions I want to direct to the Treasurer having to do with transfer payments. As the Treasurer knows, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (Mr. Bennett) earlier this week announced that municipalities would get a 4.3 per cent increase in their payments this year. I am not sure why the Treasurer arrived at that figure. Although he made that announcement, the money obviously came out of the Treasury, for which the Treasurer is responsible.
I might suggest the figure is a little better than he originally indicated he was going to --
Hon. F. S. Miller: With respect, Mr. Chairman, the member is alluding to next year's budget. He is not alluding to this year's budget. That will be under the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing vote and estimate of next year.
Mr. Epp: I know it is this year's budget. It does in a sense fall under this ministry because the money comes out of the Treasury.
Hon. F. S. Miller: This is a BILD item here today; it is not a transfer to municipalities.
Mr. Chairman: Just to set the record straight, we are supposed to be making comments in reference to the BILD fund, and social development policy field, Community and Social Services.
Mr. Epp: Maybe I can ask the Treasurer whether he expects to incorporate the BILD project in some of the transfer payments he is making. I recall when he originally announced BILD, two years ago, immediately prior to the great announcement that came out on February I or 2 when the Premier (Mr. Davis) announced he was going to have an election and we arrived at the realities of March 19, which we have been reminded of so often.
The BILD program, which at that time incorporated a number of other programs which had already been announced, helped to give the public the impression the government was announcing a new program and new funds were going to be put into it. With respect to the BILD program, and the member for Oakwood (Mr. Grande) indicated earlier how it applies to his riding, maybe the Treasurer can indicate the great benefits that will accrue to the riding of Waterloo North, which takes in the city of Waterloo, the township of Woolwich and the township of Wellesley.
I am an opposition member. Since the Treasurer has indicated he tries to be as fair to the opposition as he tries to be to his own members, maybe he can indicate the positive effects that accrue to my riding. Maybe he will want to show how no riding in Ontario benefits more from that program than does the riding of Waterloo North, if he wants to be equal and fair with all ridings.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I could easily do that. I guess the member expects there are none; and of course there are. The transfer payments the member started to refer to when he talked about a four point something per cent change --
Mr. Epp: It is 4.3 per cent.
Hon. F. S. Miller: The truth is they are 9.8 per cent over last year's printed estimates, because the kinds of things we are talking about here in this year's estimates were over and above the printed estimate that was approved. That is why we are back here for supplementaries.
The moneys I flowed into the job creation funds that were allocated in the budget itself and put into the Treasury side of the budget were also over and above last year's printed transfers to municipalities. If one looks carefully at the statement the minister made a week or so ago, he said it was 9.8 per cent more than last year's printed estimate and something like 5.3 per cent or thereabouts -- I cannot remember the second percentage -- more than the actual cash transfers. Then he went on to unconditional grants et al. and defined those.
We flow these kinds of funds, be it to a school board, a university, a municipality -- there are not too many municipal funds here, but there are some -- for specific projects. In this case, the $50 million is almost all related to projects owned by the province, or by organizations almost entirely funded by it, such as universities.
If the member had asked me if anybody in Waterloo got any, I would have to say, "Yes, in Waterloo, the University of Waterloo got $235,000, Wilfrid Laurier University got $54,000" -- this is of the $50-million figure. I cannot be so sure in the Ministry of Health, because the figures are not necessarily all distributed. I am not sure I can find them. I am looking for them. If I go to the Ministry of Colleges and Universities, I find Conestoga College got $338,000 --
Mr. Epp: That is in Kitchener.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I hope the member is not so parochial as to think that some people involved there do not spill over. It is pretty hard to tell when one leaves Kitchener and arrives in Waterloo, is it not?
Mr. Epp: I have no difficulty at all, but just to be fair to the minister, we do have a small Conestoga campus in Waterloo.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Yes. I do not have any idea where the Ministry of Education's high school moneys were spent, but they went to a lot of high schools in the province, including some in the member's area, I suspect. I guess he does not do too well with the Ministry of Correctional Services, because it does not have facilities within his riding. In effect, the $50 million was very widely spread. Of the $20 million, there was a specific allocation to each municipality. I do not have the details of the member's area, but there would have been one.
Mr. Epp: I wish very much we could broaden out this discussion on the transfer payments.
Hon. F. S. Miller: We cannot.
Mr. Epp: I will just have to leave that for another time.
Mr. Mackenzie: Mr. Chairman, I had not originally intended to speak on the Treasurer's estimates, but I will admit to some slight provocation from the Treasurer earlier today. Maybe it is time some people did start speaking frankly in this House to some of the government members. The Treasurer says he does not like my language. If that is the case, I am extremely pleased. Somebody needs to waken up some of those jokers over there, let me tell the minister right off the bat. He is asking us for $70 million, a great deal, in supplementary estimates. As I understand it, that is what the debate is about today.
We are probably dealing in rescuing some of our financial institutions that have got mired in the Tory cesspool in Ontario. When it comes to what we are doing and the kinds of controls we have over financial institutions, we are probably talking about $200 million that will be needed. We have before us 751,000 -- most experts tell us that figure is in excess of 800,000 -- people in Ontario out of work, yet I see an almost joking demeanour from the Treasurer when he tries to answer questions. He may think the questions are small or trite or that we are abusing him a bit on this side of the House, but those people who are out of work think they are being abused, and they really are.
If we had had them to begin with, we probably would not need the kinds of programs the Treasurer is talking about. When we get into just how sick we have let the financial community get and we find that maybe as much as 27 or 28 per cent of the Canadian Commercial Bank is owned by Greymac, Seaway and Crown Trust, I noted with interest that when the heat was on, one of the big establishment types, I think he was chairman of the board, Mr. Eaton, had to resign.
I am reading from the Globe and Mail of Wednesday of this week. I read through it, and the whole story is a little bit sick to begin with. But we get down to one particular paragraph in the story. After they talk about Mr. Eaton having residences in both Edmonton and Santa Barbara, California, they say: "According to a recent preliminary prospectus filed by the bank, he had loans from the bank totalling $1,120,656 on September 30, 1982. The loans were advanced to Mr. Eaton for his personal housing and the purchase of common shares of the bank."
Hon. F. S. Miller: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman --
Mr. Mackenzie: I will tie it directly to his estimates in a minute, Mr. Chairman.
Hon. F. S. Miller: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman: I fail to see how this relates to my $20-million estimate.
Mr. Chairman: I agree.
Mr. Mackenzie: He also cannot see 800,000 people out of work, Mr. Chairman, and I will tell him how it relates in just a minute.
It goes on to say, "The loans bear interest at three per cent a year, and no repayment of principal is required until 1985." I have people out of work who are looking for jobs --
Hon. F. S. Miller: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman: That bank is not even under the jurisdiction of Ontario. That bank does not have its head office in Ontario. That bank is not included in my estimates before us today.
Mr. Chairman: Would the member for Hamilton East get to the point?
Mr. Mackenzie: The Treasurer seems to be very touchy today, Mr. Chairman, and well he should be.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: He is following the rules of the House, which you never do.
Mr. Chairman: Order.
Mr. Mackenzie: I will not respond to the iron lady. I may get into real trouble.
Mr. Chairman: No. Please don't.
Mr. Mackenzie: The people who have come to me have lost their jobs and cannot keep up their mortgage payments or are in desperate financial plight. They must be at the Treasurer's constituency office as well. They did not have anybody to advance them $1.1 million at three per cent that they do not start repaying until 1985. They want jobs, and they want to see what the Treasurer is doing to create jobs.
Oh, you don't like to tie some of the loose ends together, do you?
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Those are not loose ends. They are irrelevant.
Mr. Mackenzie: What do I see in his supplementary estimates of $70 million? How many jobs is it going to produce? Why is he not telling us? The headings are: short-term job creation program, $13.6 million; acquisition --
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order: I do not know where the honourable member has been. I defined the number of jobs at the very beginning.
Mr. Mackenzie: You really are touchy today, aren't you?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I'm keeping you on track.
Mr. Mackenzie: Short-term job creation program, $13.6 million; acquisition-construction of physical assets, $2.6 million; transfer payments, short-term job creation, $53.8 million; total, $70 million.
Does the Treasurer have any idea just exactly what the extent of the unemployment situation is in Ontario? He talks about the turnaround that is there. The figures just a week ago for the last union checkoff -- that is probably a dirty word to the Treasurer -- in the Steelworkers showed fewer than 70,000 people; only a year ago there were about 110,000. That is a lot of small industries, some located across Toronto as well as the big steel mills.
I attended an annual banquet with the carpenters just before Christmas in Hamilton. Out of 816 members in good standing on their rolls, 82 were working. This is the construction field, where he is telling us about all of these holes in the ground in the housing industry.
We are sitting in Ontario -- and the Treasurer knows it should be part of his responsibility -- with better than a $21-billion deficit in manufactured goods; we are sitting with a deficit of $10 billion in this country in payments out of interest, dividends and principal; we are surviving on the export of raw materials and nothing else, and he is talking about $70 million in additional short-term job creation in Ontario.
That is not going to cause a ripple among the 800,000 people out of work. It is a joke. It makes his ministry a joke, and it makes what he is doing a joke. He is sitting on his keister and not doing the kind of things that not only New Democrats are asking for in Ontario, workers are desperately asking for jobs.
The business community as well is now saying he has to start stimulating. What is $70 million in short-term job-creation programs going to do for people? How are they going to put food on the table and pay their mortgages? How are they going to hang on to their car if they have one? How are they going to survive?
The Treasurer has been asked time and again by all parties to outline the positive and massive job-creation projects which are needed. Why do we not have from the Treasurer who is before us the thing that probably would work the fastest, a massive public housing program? I do not want him to tell me about the little Band-Aid steps that he has taken. Let us start 30,000 units; because we could use them, we could use 500 to 1,000 in Hamilton alone. There are more than 1,000 desperate people on a waiting list.
What is the Treasurer doing in terms of import replacement? What is he doing to have industry in this province manufacture -- as we were doing three, four and five years ago -- what we are now importing? He can see that happening in the machine tool industry, the shoe industry; in industry after industry.
What is he doing to try to get us back on track in terms of permanent jobs? What is he doing about the claims from the steel industry -- not New Democrats but the steel industry -- which now is faced with serious problems from imports or the dumping of Brazilian steel? But I guess that is not his responsibility. He is a provincial minister.
What the Treasurer has before us is a joke; the answers he is giving us in face of the most serious unemployment situation this country has seen since the 1930s are jokes. I want to know what he is going to do in a real way. He should be telling us that, instead of standing up when he is challenged and smiling as he passes out all these little bits and pieces and saying how already it looks better in Ontario. It does not look better in Ontario; and the job situation does not look better here.
People in Ontario want to know where the jobs are and what is happening. The Treasurer does not have to go very far to see that the figures are equally bad whether he takes them from his budget or from December to December. We are down a net total of 185,000 jobs. His great Board of Industrial Leadership and Development programs in his last budget produced 33,000 mostly short-term jobs, but we have lost 209,000 since that budget.
We have lost 20,000 in agriculture, 82,000 in primary manufacturing -- and that is where our problem is in Ontario -- 31,000 in construction -- and that is where he tells us it is going great guns -- 11,000 in transportation and some 30,000 in finance. It is a horror story to read about the loss of jobs in Ontario.
The net figure, that really counts, is that the real number of unemployed in this province at the end of last year -- a figure, incidentally, which I have never heard cut down and which most experts now tell me is probably short -- is 751,000; but the Treasurer comes to us with supplementary budgets and all kinds of rah-rah enthusiasm to say we are going to spend $70 million. Even most of that, he points out, is short-term job creation.
Why does the Treasurer not get off his fanny and do something about working people in Ontario? Why does he not give us some positive answers instead of the claptrap he is feeding to this House?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Chairman, I will never try to refute the sincerity of the member; nor will I try to convince him that we are concerned, though we are; or that we are doing quite a bit, though we are. We are concerned with people and this is by no means the limit of what we are doing for people. The honourable member knows that.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Chairman, I would like to make some comments concerning the supplementary estimates for the Ministry of Treasury and Economics. Unfortunately I was not here for the full estimates and was unable to participate in the debate at that time. However there are a couple of matters which are important and need to be put on the record, especially as they affect my constituency.
The Treasurer will recall that in his last budget he expanded his sales tax to many different areas. I know he is getting up on a point of privilege.
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Chairman, I am sure the honourable member has heard me say to a number of previous speakers that this is a supplementary estimate on the BILD money before us and it is not on my general budget.
The Acting Chairman (Mr. Robinson): I would ask the member to contain his remarks to the subject at hand.
Mr. McClellan: In question period he said we could raise these questions in his estimates; now he says we cannot.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Related.
Mr. Mancini: If the czarina will permit: when the Treasurer raises taxes he presumably does so for certain reasons, and one concludes it is for expenditure. So let us get down to the basics and find out where the taxes were raised and just how he is going to spend the money. To me, that makes sense.
Hon. F. S. Miller: It does not.
Mr. Mancini: Sure it does.
Hon. F. S. Miller: On a point of order: This debate is on the spending of this money, period.
The Acting Chairman: I will once again draw the member's attention to the supplementary estimates before us and ask him to confine his remarks to them if he can.
Mr. Mancini: In the Treasurer's last budget, Mr. Chairman, he expanded his sales tax base quite a bit in areas where it really hurts the common person, the ordinary working man and woman. We have received protests from all sectors of society complaining and protesting the fact that the Treasurer thought it was necessary for him to carry --
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Chairman, the member is not abiding by your ruling.
Mr. Mancini: As I was saying, one of the areas in which the Treasurer sought to raise money for his expenditures --
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Chairman, I do not know what authority you have over the comments the member is making but I want him on the point.
The Acting Chairman: I will once again ask for the co-operation of any member participating in the debate as provided by the standing orders to address their comments to the matter before us and not to matters that are ultra vires of the question.
Mr. Mancini: One of the areas where the Treasurer sought to raise taxes, of course, was in the dry cleaning business.
Hon. F. S. Miller: I will not stay in this House if the member continues on that point. I think this member has to abide by the rules as I do.
Mr. McClellan: Let the minister try holding his breath.
Mr. Mancini: Mr. Chairman, did not the previous speaker lay the groundwork for the point he was trying to make involving the Treasurer's spending? Did I not tell the Treasurer I just wanted an opportunity to lay the groundwork and then move quickly into the areas as to how he is spending this money? Is the Treasurer so eager to get to Winnipeg that he does not want to give this member two minutes of his time?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I am not going to Winnipeg.
Mr. Mancini: Oh, I see. So the Treasurer is not for Joe Clark.
The Acting Chairman: Can we have a point of order on this topic if we are not going to have a debate on it?
Mr. McClellan: He isn't even going to support his national leader.
Mr. Mancini: No, he was serious about what he said in the last federal election.
The Acting Chairman: Order. I would ask the member for Essex South, if he is going to build some framework, to do it in the shortest possible terms and address himself to the issue at hand.
Mr. Mancini: It would have been done if I had not been interrupted.
Anyway, the Treasurer expanded his framework to raise money presumably for certain reasons. One of the areas that he did so was in the operation of cleaning businesses. This has drawn many protests. When we see the lengths to which the Treasurer has gone to raise money, and then when we compare it to how he is spending the money, it just does not make sense.
People in Ontario are wondering, and cannot understand -- and I do not blame them -- where all the millions, and now billions, go. He certainly is not helping the unemployed. He certainly is not helping the farmers who are strapped. He certainly is not helping the small businessmen whose businesses are failing. He certainly is not helping the ordinary working man and woman. Who is the Treasurer helping with the huge amounts of money he collects through his taxes?
He tells us now, in these supplementary estimates, that he is going to spend $70 million. Part of it is going to be in the short-term job creation area. That is fine but it is not going to have a lasting effect on Ontario. That is not going to cause growth in our private sector. That is just going to put up a smokescreen to give the illusion the Conservative Party of Ontario is doing something when actually the facts are it is doing absolutely nothing.
For all the philosophical disagreements we had with the Honourable Darcy McKeough, at least he commanded the respect of the House and at least he was able to grasp the economic situation of the province and what was needed. This Treasurer, this government, this Conservative Party, are sadly lacking in that area and we often wonder what Darcy McKeough is thinking about in Chatham. We know he misses Toronto and tries to come back as often as he can.
Mr. Haggerty: He will come back as their new leader.
Mr. Mancini: Other than raising gas prices, that must be his second most pressing thought.
I want to get into the area of exactly what the role of the minister is. He is using this money he raises to spend. Last year, the Treasurer went to Japan --
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Chairman, this has not come under the debate on this estimate yet.
The Acting Chairman: I do not want to be overly strident about it, but it seems to me the member for Essex South is talking in the subject area, if not specifically to the point. I would ask him once again to confine his remarks to the matter of the supplementary estimates specifically before us this morning.
Mr. Di Santo: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order: If we have to speak about concurrence, the member should at least have a chance to make his point about the $70 million. Also we should be given the chance to say whether the $70 million was what was needed for the problems we are faced with, and if the minister used good judgement in asking for only $70 million. The framework should be a little flexible. What can one expect when the Treasurer censures the members who dare to say his judgement was wrong?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Chairman, on that point of order: The member for Downsview comes in from time to time and enters the debate without having listened at all. The other night he did not listen to his colleagues say they were supporting me, so he said they were not supporting me. Today he says I am on concurrences. I am not. I am on supplementary estimates.
Mr. Mancini: Last spring, the Treasurer went to Japan. He presumably undertook this trip to create employment through job investment. He did this to try to entice investment to Ontario for job creation. The Treasurer informed me, after I placed questions on the Order Paper, that he went to Japan in his role as the Treasurer of Ontario. He said the trip had been planned since mid-1979 -- I assumed that because we were in a minority government at the time he was unable to go -- and that he undertook the trip in April 1982 shortly after he introduced his budget. He is probably the only Treasurer in Canada who introduced a budget with whopping tax increases and then left the country.
I want to know from the Treasurer if his trip to Japan was successful and how it relates to any of the moneys he is spending now? If his trip was not successful is that why he needs the $70 million for short-term job creation? Was he unable to bring back any investment from Japan? Was his trip to Japan what some members refer to as a junket?
The final question I would like to put to the Treasurer is why did he usurp the role of the Minister of Industry and Trade (Mr. Walker)? That minister is responsible for these undertakings, yet his role was usurped by the Treasurer. This gives even more importance to the fact that he went to Japan. We have seen no concrete results from his trip. We have not heard about his trip. He will not tell us how much his trip cost nor whom he met there. He will not give us an itinerary of the trip.
I want to know what the Treasurer did there and how it relates to job creation. Does it have anything to do with the $70 million? Did we get any permanent jobs from that trip?
Hon. F. S. Miller: I suppose when it comes to muckraking, the member is amongst the best. He is always pleasant outside the room and always nasty here.
I would simply point out to the honourable member that is not on the estimates today.
Mr. Mancini: I want to let the Treasurer know that I believe I have a job to do here. After I do my job and leave the chamber, if I see the Treasurer, certainly I will shake his hand and give him the time of day in the most pleasant manner possible. But if he thinks because of that, I am going to come into the chamber and forget what my job is he is fooling himself.
The Treasurer is one of the most political ministers in this chamber. I remember what it was like when I was first elected in 1975. I remember what it was like to deal with the Treasurer when he was the Minister of Health. I remember very well what he tried to do to me in my constituency when I brought him problems.
For him to bring up the fact that I am a muckraker is absolutely ridiculous. He was the guy who tried to scuttle me in Essex South with every conceivable backroom move possible and I am surprised he would bring up such a stupid statement here in the House.
Why did the Treasurer go to Japan? Why did he spend the money? Why will he not tell us whom he met?
That is a very ignorant thing to do after his record.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: That does not deserve any response.
Mr. Mancini: We know his record. What I had to go through with that gentleman --
Hon. F. S. Miller: On a point of privilege: The member should shut up and sit down. Anybody who thinks I was political as I closed hospitals in this province is nuts.
Mr. Ruston: Shut up yourself.
The Acting Chairman: Order.
Mr. Mancini: I know what I had to take from you.
Hon. F. S. Miller: The member should shut up.
Mr. Mancini: When it comes to muckraking, the Treasurer is one of the best.
The Acting Chairman: Order.
Mr. Grande: Now they are both quiet.
Mr. Haggerty: I will try to get back on the supplementary estimates of the minister.
Like other members, I am a little concerned about the short-term work projects the Treasurer has come forward with under his supplementary budget.
Mr. Haggerty: If I can get the minister's attention.
I am concerned about the new employment expansion and development program that is a joint effort by the federal and provincial government along with municipalities. Like my colleague the member for St. Catharines (Mr. Bradley), I had a pretty good dialogue at tripartite, trilevel meetings in St. Catharines held with the regional government through the chairman, John Campbell. The member for Brock (Mr. Welch) was usually there along with other provincial members and federal members. We have had quite a bit of dialogue in the past six months.
Our concern is about the unemployment situation in the Niagara region. I think I have mentioned it before in the House. In fact, I was going to direct a supplementary question to the minister today. He is well aware of the housing situation in the region as well as in other areas of Ontario and the shortfall in geared-to-income housing.
Many municipalities have capital works projects on the drawing board which are awaiting approval at the provincial level from different ministries. The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is one of them. I know certain municipalities like the city of Port Colborne are considering geared-to-income housing, for example.
There are projects a year or two down the road. The Ministry of Transportation and Communications is considering further work projects in Erie riding. One is the rebuilding and reconstruction of Highway No. 3. Municipalities are interested in constructing or enlarging their sanitary sewer systems and capital works projects, such as waterworks projects.
Is there any possibility of the minister and his colleagues moving these projects ahead even one year to get them going -- for example, their building addition to the Burlington Skyway? We know that is on the drawing board in the Ministry of Transportation and Communications. In the light of the unemployment crisis facing Ontario is there any way we could expedite approvals on these programs to get them moving now, instead of three or four years down the road? Is there any way of advancing them so they will provide employment until the economy has a chance to turn around in the private sector?
Hon. F. S. Miller: Mr. Chairman, the Burlington Skyway was mentioned. We did some of that in the $171 million in the budget. I think $60 million went to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to speed up projects. I inquired this week about tonnage of steel in the Burlington Skyway, because the steel industry is having difficulties too. There are four variations of construction available on that bridge, but any one of them will use between 18,000 and 25,000 tons of steel, apart from the roughly $40 million total that would be spent building the bridge. On the lines the member just expressed, I asked where there were major projects that could help us create work, not only in the primary contract but in secondary areas such as the production of raw materials.
The Acting Chairman: This completes the debate on the supplementary estimates of Ministry of Treasury and Economics.
On motion by Hon. F. S. Miller, the committee of supply reported a certain resolution.
CONCURRENCE IN SUPPLY, MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
Mr. Bradley: Mr. Chairman, thank you for permitting me this opportunity to participate in the concurrences. One of the values of the concurrences, particularly when they come at this time of the year with the Education estimates having been discussed earlier, is that we have a chance to update ourselves on some of the issues that are confronting education today. Since our estimates, there have been a number of developments that have been initiated by the minister, in some cases in response to the opposition, in other cases in response to organized groups within the province interested in education and, in many cases, initiated by the ministry itself.
Looking at the total educational picture, one of the underlying problems in the field of education -- we all have to share to a certain extent the communications problem -- is the relationship that exists between the government of Ontario and a number of people with a very direct interest in the field of education.
There are many in this province who feel the consultative process is not working as well as it could. I recognize, to be fair to the minister, that different people have different definitions of what consultation is. Some would say consultation is simply reading a brief that someone has submitted; others would say it involves the direct decision-making process at all levels.
This minister has been criticized by members of the teaching profession; and I should note that one of the individuals in the members' gallery this afternoon is Mr. Oleg Bezatozny, who is a former chief negotiator in Lincoln county and a teacher with the Lincoln County Board of Education. He would certainly be among those who are concerned about the consultative process as it relates to the Minister of Education (Miss Stephenson) in this province.
I hope this minister will make a genuine attempt to improve the consultative process in the province. But if she does not stay in the field of education in the rumoured shuffle, if she is moved to another cabinet post where her dynamic qualities will be recognized once again and she will no doubt make her mark on Ontario politics -- I am not suggesting it necessarily is going to be -- I hope her successor will try to encourage a better relationship between those who have admittedly vested interests in certain aspects of education and the ministry itself.
Many of us are particularly interested in one area because the minister was kind enough to make available an opportunity for both the member for Oakwood (Mr. Grande), the New Democratic Party critic, and me to --
Hon. Miss Stephenson: And others.
Mr. Bradley: -- and others who might have been interested to look at the Martin proposal for financing education specific to --
Mr. Boudria: Is that the Martin proposal?
Mr. Bradley: I am not allowed to call it a proposal. That is right; the minister has corrected me. The Martin --
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Model.
Mr. Bradley: "Model," she suggests is the word, which was put forward to the member for Oakwood and me at a meeting. I must say it was a very extensive meeting. We had the opportunity to listen to the presentation, see the visual part of it and respond by asking questions. I was pleased that the minister made this opportunity available to us.
I would not say I agreed with everything that was included in the presentation, but I think it is valuable that we had the opportunity to know what the ministry thinking is in a specific area.
I am quite concerned about the various proposals that have come forward for the sharing of industrial, commercial and, I guess, institutional assessment, if there is such a thing, in this province. The reason is that I think it is an attempt on the part of the government to get its hands into the municipal taxpayers' pockets.
In other words, this government already has many sources of income. I recognize that those revenues are down because of the depressed state of the economy at the present time. Nevertheless one area that has been exclusive to municipalities, certainly as far back as I can ever remember, is that of the property tax. It is a tax that is admittedly regressive but is nevertheless available to those municipalities and to the boards of education.
It seems to me that what the Martin proposal is suggesting -- what is coming through in the proposals that have been made -- is that the province wants to do two things. It wants once again to place ceilings or limitations on what boards of education can spend, or at least to penalize in a certain way those who would spend over suggested ceilings.
It can do that through the proposal that would allot only the residential portion to any board of education that strikes a mill rate above what it is anticipated the needs will be. In other words, if they were to strike a mill rate one, two or three mills above the ceiling, it would be allowed to use only the residential portion of that within the jurisdiction of that board. The industrial, commercial and institutional assessment would be spread across the rest of Ontario.
This is a discouraging factor in those boards that see a need and a desire to spend over and above the ceilings the ministry had suggested. That is one aspect of it.
The second aspect is of particular importance, as I have mentioned. The member for Scarborough-Ellesmere (Mr. Robinson), who is the Acting Speaker here today, being from Scarborough, will be particularly interested in this. It would take money from certain boards of education and spread it to the other boards of education. It really means the province is getting its hands on those municipal taxes, those property taxes, instead of meeting what I feel is its responsibility to provide additional funding to the boards of education in these difficult economic times and at a time when the boards are asked to assume more and more responsibilities.
There is a need for dialogue, and certainly the Association of Large School Boards of Ontario, the Ontario Teachers' Federation and others have expressed an interest in continuing the dialogue. They would like an updated committee to have the opportunity to look at this problem.
They are not saying: "We do not want to discuss it. Forget about it entirely." They want to discuss it. They want to be part of the decision-making process. They want to come forward with a model that is satisfactory to everyone, that meets the idea of providing some equality of education and that at the same time meets the monetary and financial requirements of the boards of education.
We have had opposition expressed in a letter to the minister from four of the five affiliates of OTF and ALSBO. We on this side want to see a committee established of all the interested parties to come up with a model acceptable to all and encompassing the principles of fairness. I hope the minister moves in that direction ultimately.
I also look at the level of funding. Those of us in the opposition have spoken of this for some time. At one time in this province the Ministry of Education provided 60 per cent, on average across Ontario, of the cost of education for the local school boards. This was something that deserved favourable comment. I commend the ministry on this occasion for having reached that level at one time.
If I am going to be fast with compliments for the minister, I will also be quick with criticisms for allowing that to fall to 51 per cent at this time. Since about 1975 it has gone down to approximately 51 per cent. That is not satisfactory to those of us in the opposition. We feel the ministry should assume the cost at 60 per cent. If there were an increased cost to the provincial Treasury, I would be one who would support the minister in her efforts to persuade her colleagues that should be the case.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Even though we can't control the costs?
Mr. Bradley: That is not necessarily the case. I think the minister was referred to as the czarina of all education. I like that terminology used on Metro Morning by my friend.
Mr. Grande: What is that word? What was the reference?
Mr. Bradley: The czarina of all education. I think this was for a couple of reasons, the first being that she does control all education in the province through the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Colleges and Universities; she is not just the minister of one. The second was that she has so much influence over there.
I look at some of the back-benchers. They shake their heads as we in the opposition ask questions about Bill 127. If we read these things in the press, they say that even some of her cabinet colleagues are opposed to Bill 127. Yet the minister is so powerful she is able to beat back even some strong ministers and backbenchers. I heard the member for St. George (Ms. Fish) on the radio the other morning. She was just hoping against hope that there would not be any time left, but Joe Coté told her there was time left; so she had to comment on Bill 127.
After a lot of "ah, uh, ah, uh" -- I do not know how one would put that down in Hansard -- after a lot of hesitation she conceded she would like to see a lot of amendments to that legislation. I suspect that if she were not on the air and one could speak to her privately, she would suggest that Bill 127 should be withdrawn and that the minister should start the consultative process again in relation to the problems she perceives are to be addressed by Bill 127.
I want to get back to the level of funding, because I feel it is essential that the minister, with her great clout in cabinet, ensure boards of education receive a reasonable increase this year. Some would say 15 per cent is reasonable. It would be nice, I suppose, in the field of education. I recognize, in the realities of 1983, that boards of education cannot expect a 15 per cent increase.
There has been legislation passed in this House which limits the amount of money that boards of education will have to devote to the field of compensation of their employees. On that basis, the boards would probably agree that they would not need what they might have anticipated they would need earlier in the year.
However, I have heard many people in education say that the absolute bare minimum increase in transfer payments to the board of education would be 0.8 per cent. I would suggest that they would need more than that, but those who are in education have said that is the bare minimum to carry on the existing programs without having to go back to the municipal taxpayers to derive further funds from the property tax.
I think everyone in the House, regardless of which party or constituency he represents, recognizes that in difficult economic times the property tax is particularly regressive, because it simply does not take into account a person's ability to pay. A person in St. Catharines who is laid off from Hayes-Dana, TRW, General Motors or any other concern in the business or public sector has to pay the same property taxes as a person who might be well employed with a $35,000 or $40,000 yearly salary. It does not take into account that person's ability to pay. That is why we must ensure that the boards of education are not in a position of having to raise their taxes.
I raised another matter with the minister in the House today which potentially could cause those boards to be in very difficult financial straits because they have invested in certain of the trust companies. Partially that was a result of the memorandum sent out under the name of Al Cunningham, the regional superintendent of business and finance, the subject of which was listings of trust companies and loan corporations; but that is just part of it.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Listings only.
Mr. Bradley: One would assume, since she sent that out from her ministry, that those were companies in which one could invest very safely.
We also heard assurances from the Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations (Mr. Elgie) that all was fine. In the standing administration of justice committee, when we tried to reopen the Re-Mor Astra investigation and spread it out so we could look at exactly what was done in the ministry, the previous minister, the member for London South (Mr. Walker), said: "All will be fine. We are taking the necessary steps." Those are hollow words today.
In a way, I feel sorry for the present Minister of Consumer and Commercial Relations, although he has to carry the can; that is what he gets paid for. I feel a little sorry for him because he is not the real villain in this piece. It is really the former minister, the member for London South, who failed to take the necessary steps to ensure that this kind of thing could not happen again.
I do not want to dwell on that, because it concerns more the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial Relations than this ministry. I only want to say that the minister may have to provide some emergency funding to those boards of education, such as the Lincoln county board, which I believe has about $3 million or $3.5 million in Greymac and $500,000 in Seaway, and the Peel Board of Education, which has $3 million in Greymac.
These are people who might ultimately require the bailout from this government because of the negligence on the part of another ministry. I do not want to blame the Minister of Education; I am saying it is on the part of another ministry of this government. But all of them form the government; so she can assume just a little of the responsibility and the problem that the member for London South got them into.
This funding is necessary because they must meet the obligations that are flowing from her ministry. The schools have a more extensive role to play today in education. With so many single-parent families in this province, the schools are increasingly looked to as a place where more than the academic education is provided to students. More guidance is required.
I notice, flowing from the secondary education review project report, the ministry now is calling for guidance at the elementary school level. I remember at the school I attended, Scottlea Senior Elementary School in St. Catharines, we had a guidance person, Mrs. Madeleine Budd, who did an excellent job. She was forced to leave that and go into the classroom and do it only part-time because the funds were not available for guidance in the elementary schools.
This minister has recognized, through her report, that guidance is required in the elementary schools. She has considered it important, and I want to commend her for reiterating the importance of guidance in the elementary schools.
I go to Bill 82 when I talk about funding because I want to implore the minister to ensure that the necessary funding is there. The one thing that strikes fear in the hearts of members of boards of education and, indeed, of many members of the teaching profession at present is the actual implementation of Bill 82, most particularly as it relates to finances.
There are many in this province who contend that the only way adequate funding will be provided for special education in this province is by denying funding in other areas such as regular classroom activities or, as I contend, continuing education. A number of students and teachers have written to me about the fact that the minister has withdrawn her funding in the field of continuing education for noncredit courses at the secondary school level.
A program that operated very successfully under the auspices of the Lincoln County Board of Education, under Don Krikorian at Laura Secord Secondary School, dealt with physical education and recreation for the young people in our area. Either this program will have to be eliminated or heavy charges will have to be placed on those people so that it can continue.
Many teachers and, most particularly, students have written to me and to the member for Lincoln (Mr. Andrewes), and no doubt to the member for Brock (Mr. Welch), about this matter. I hope the minister restores that funding. Many would contend that the funding she has taken from continuing education, she is going to use somewhere else. I know she has denied that in the House, but that is what they are afraid of. They are worried about the financial implications of Bill 82, and the teachers are worried about the implementation and financing.
We all recognize the goals of the bill, and the minister might rightly point out to me and to other members of the House that Bill 82 received heavy support on this side. Indeed, I recall the former member for York Centre, Mr. Alf Stong, who had a very special interest in this, and others on this side --
Mr. Grande: The member will remember that they caved in.
Mr. Bradley: No. We ensured that this bill would pass.
The Acting Speaker (Mr. Robinson): Order.
Mr. Bradley: There were those who wanted to obstruct it and there were those who wanted to ensure that it would pass.
So we recognize the financial realities and implications of this bill.
I know my friend the member for Oakwood will want to join me, when he gets the opportunity to do so, in imploring the minister to provide sufficient funding for Bill 82. I think she has to address that problem. Many are seeing now that the cost of implementation might well be much higher than anticipated if all those people who are seeking the services of special education are to receive them.
I have received calls from people from time to time. Someone the other day referred to a 17-year-old child who had gone to Philadelphia, to one of the American schools, where he could receive some very special services at a very high expense. This person has come back, and the only thing that can be offered at present is something that the parents do not consider to be acceptable for that student; that is, that the student be placed with those who confront the challenge of mental retardation. The parents feel the progress that was made south of the border is so great that it would be desirable to have an opportunity to have a certain kind of school or service available to these children. Many have gone outside of the regular school system because of that. I hope Bill 82 will solve part of that problem.
I have mentioned continuing education, and it is not only on the basis of the Lincoln County Board of Education. I noticed in the newspaper a couple of days ago that the Metropolitan Toronto School Board now is charging a very high rate for some of the courses and thereby --
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Toronto.
Mr. Bradley: Toronto Board of Education --
Mr. Grande: Metropolitan Toronto.
Mr. Bradley: Yes. I thought I was right originally.
The Acting Speaker: Order.
Mr. Bradley: I know that Doug Little had opposed this new charge. What I am saying is that it does two things when the minister removes that kind of funding. First of all, for some people that is their only direct stake in education; so she has taken away a service that was available to them in education. Second, it really means that lower-income people do not have the same advantage as higher-income people to take advantage of the opportunity for continuing education. I hope she will address that.
I am sure that if Bill 127 ever appears in the House again, the member for Oakwood, I and others will have a lot to say about it. We already have. No doubt the minister will recall very vividly in her mind when, on May 28, 1982, I stood in this very place and implored her through a question not to introduce Bill 127. Her response -- later in the day, coincidentally -- was to introduce Bill 127 for its first reading.
We in the opposition have been vociferous in our opposition to Bill 127. The minister knows very well that many of her own members are opposed to the provisions of the bill and that that division goes within. When they are putting out the lawn signs now -- and I know it is a high-powered campaign, which I think is justified, by the Metro parents work group, the teachers' federations and so on --
Hon. Miss Stephenson: Very costly. Where are the funds coming from?
Mr. Bradley: If the minister wants to talk about cost -- and I know you do not want me to, Mr. Speaker -- we need only look at the expenses filed at the end of an election campaign by Progressive Conservative candidates. The minister obviously is elected in York Mills based on her congenial personality and her performance rather than as a result of a lot of spending; but if her expenses are low, her colleagues' are very high, including those of the Minister of Health (Mr. Grossman) and others who raise and spend a lot of funds.
I will not get sidetracked, because I want to be fair to the Speaker, who is a very patient and understanding individual.
I would say there is a great deal of concern within the Progressive Conservative caucus about Bill 127. I would venture to say that if one were to take a secret ballot in that caucus, one would find a large percentage of dissent -- perhaps even a larger percentage than we will see showing up in dissent at the federal Conservative convention -- in regard to Bill 127.
I know the minister is a strong-willed person who could not put the member for High Park- Swansea (Mr. Shymko) in line in terms of this, but she managed to get some of her other colleagues in line. What I want to point out -- and I do not want to dwell too long on these divisions; they always happen -- is that many of her colleagues do feel strongly about it.
The member for St. George verbally expressed her concern on the air. When that kind of concern is expressed among people in the minister's own caucus, surely the proper avenue of action to take, if she is to be conciliatory about this, is to withdraw Bill 127 and start discussions again with all affected parties to see how she can resolve the problems that she perceives exist.
I contend that by and large those problems are exaggerated and could be solved in other ways. I have suggested during that bill -- and I should not get into the debate on that bill, but it does have implications across the province --
Hon. Miss Stephenson: How about industrial, commercial and institutional pooling?
Mr. Bradley: The minister will have her opportunity later on to play it back to me. Anyway, I know the former Minister of Education probably agrees with me; I know he is not going to say he does.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: All the way through the hearings that was his suggestion.
Hon. Mr. Wells: I don't agree with the pooling of industrial assessment? Did you suggest that?
The Acting Speaker: I ask the member for St. Catharines to ignore the interjections and to please continue with his speech on the concurrences.
Mr. Bradley: I will ignore the interjections of the minister, Mr. Speaker.
We feel that the provisions of Bill 127 are just another attack on local autonomy. We feel that the minister has unnecessarily stirred up great opposition from parents' organizations and teachers in Metropolitan Toronto. She has stirred up the pot just when things seemed to be simmering down a bit. She has turned up the heat a notch or two and has incurred the wrath of many in Metropolitan Toronto.
I know we tend to be paranoid from time to time about some of the things the minister does, but there is a good deal of justification. I think that somehow, if this experiment works in Metropolitan Toronto, it will be used in other parts of the province. Let us not forget that people said: "Metropolitan Toronto will have regional government. It will be a metropolitan form of government, and that will do for now." Then the Honourable Darcy McKeough went across the province implementing regional government everywhere except where he lived.
It was said initially that we would not have regional government across the province, but we have it in many places. We think the same thing may happen across the rest of the province if the minister is allowed to move headlong with Bill 127.
We think programs will suffer in the various boards of education in Metropolitan Toronto. My friend the member for Oakwood, who has spent considerable time as a teacher in Metropolitan Toronto, will understand very well the special needs that exist for the various boards of education in Metropolitan Toronto and how these could be adversely affected through the implementation of Bill 127. We will speak to that if Bill 127 ever reappears on the Order Paper, which we hope it will not.
We feel it could force regional negotiations across the province. We have seen amendments put forward. I thought my friend the member for Oakwood put forward a very reasonable amendment on Bill 127 as it relates to the surplus-deficit circumstance. He said: "You have the majority over there. If you are going to make the surpluses and deficits the responsibility of individual boards, if you are going to give the money back from a surplus, give back only the portion that is raised under the auspices of that particular board of education."
I am sure he would prefer it if the government were to take totally different action on the surplus-deficit circumstance, but I thought that was a reasonable amendment, and the minister even accepted it in committee. We applauded her in accepting that. Then we found out, after a few phone calls came in -- whether from the chairman of the Toronto Board of Education or whoever -- that was changed. Her reasonable stance was changed and she once again became rigid on that matter.
We think the minister should allow a larger discretionary levy for the boards of education under the auspices of Metro so that if their trustees, who are duly elected democratically by the people in the area, feel there is a need for more funds to be generated, those funds can be generated through that discretionary levy.
Our advice is to withdraw the bill and start the negotiating and consultative process again. We think the bill is defective for all the reasons I have mentioned, plus an additional one. When one gets into forced, joint negotiations, it is not as desirable as the circumstances that exist when there are free negotiations, when people come together if they wish, because everybody feels it is desirable instead of its being compulsory.
In terms of the secondary education review project, the minister has heard that, in general, those of us in this party at least were somewhat supportive of the final recommendations that came forward. I do not know what the minister's timetable is for implementation, but we were generally supportive.
I suggested at the time that many of the recommendations seemed to have been extracted from the Liberal platform on education from about 1976. The minister's predecessor, the member for Scarborough North (Mr. Wells), stole half of our education platform, and the present minister stole most of the rest of it. That is good; we do not mind that; we do not mind when she accepts our suggestions. I commend her when she does that.
But there are problems with SERP. We always face the situation that the pendulum can go too far the other way. I think the minister is wise enough to ensure that the pendulum does not swing too far the other way, so that we get back to the elitist system of education that many say existed many years ago in education. I think the pendulum has come back, and I commend the minister for that.
Because we are generally supportive does not mean we do not see some problems arising. I have received a number of letters from people in my constituency, teachers and students who have expressed concern, for instance, about family studies not being on the list of required subjects that are to be included in secondary school education according to the SERP report.
For instance, Mrs. Eleanor Redding of Laura Secord Secondary School in St. Catharines has suggested that family studies should be included. I will read her letter to the minister. She says:
"Dear Mr. Bradley:
"I am a grade 13 teacher of Canadian Family in Perspective, year 5 of the present high school program family studies. Alarm and concern are my reactions to the Rose report. My colleagues and senior students view it in the same light.
"Family studies encompasses so many of the aims and objectives for life skills that are not done, or barely touched on, in other courses. Parenting, nutrition, budgeting, home management and child care are the crux of future life for our students. By not mentioning family studies in the new proposals, I see one of two possibilities: that it is being ignored or that a large oversight has occurred.
"I am sure the general public would react to either idea negatively. My own students did their usual end-of-semester course evaluation and then were enlightened as to the omission regarding family studies. This prompted some of them to write letters supporting the continued teaching of family studies. Please find enclosed some of their evaluations.
"I feel that family studies should be included on the compulsory list. It is no longer the old idea of cookin' and sewin'. Life skills are family studies." Here is an interesting comment: "As second best, it should be on the electives list. Art, music and theatre arts are marvellous enrichers to life, but I see family studies as necessary in day-to-day living.
"I hope you will be concerned and investigate this issue."
I also received letters from some of her students who have listed similar concerns.
The implementation of the SERP recommendations does require consultation on the ramifications for each school system, and I hope the minister is talking to the schools, the front- line people, to find out how practical this implementation is.
I have received calls from some teachers who say it is going to be difficult to implement exactly what the minister is saying, but if she consults with them I am sure a lot of these problems can be worked out and a lot of the recommendations can be implemented without too much problem.
I guess I could go on at some length on SERP, but I just ask for that. Second, I ask, as I always do, that we have a select committee on education, but I wish we could have a committee of this Legislature look at problems such as educational finance.
Mr. Grande: We asked for that in 1979 and she refused it.
Mr. Bradley: Yes. It goes back for many years. I think a select committee on education would be excellent, not just to consider the estimates but as something that can -- and I am not suggesting that we go to Australia or investigate --
Hon. Miss Stephenson: No. You are looking for a sinecure like Breithaupt's that goes on for 16 years.
Mr. Bradley: No. I do not want to investigate un-Canadian activities on the Spanish Riviera; I want to look into education in Ontario. There is no need to travel to other jurisdictions to do that, in my view. We are all capable of reading and listening to tapes or viewing a video display; so we do not have to travel anywhere other than Ontario itself to see what people are thinking and to allow them input into the various questions confronting education.
I will have to ask eventually where the minister stands on the role of teachers. Where are we going in education? Are teachers going to continue to be important? One teacher suggested to me that the minister said computers were going to be more important than teachers in a few years.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: That teacher obviously was not listening.
Mr. Bradley: No. I am sure, to be fair to the minister -- and she knows I like to be fair to her all the time -- she did not necessarily say that.
Hon. Miss Stephenson: That is the most hilarious thing you have said.
Mr. Bradley: But in Ottawa she talked about home computers and little need for teachers in the future, apparently.
Speaking of that, the futurist committee is rather interesting. Is Hugh Segal on that? I do not know how he fits into that other than being a Tory and, I guess, a pretty smart guy.
The Acting Speaker: I draw the honourable member's attention to the clock.
Mr. Bradley: I see that, and I will continue my remarks.
On motion by Mr. Bradley, the debate was adjourned.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Hon. Mr. Wells: Mr. Speaker, just before moving adjournment of the House, I should indicate that I think we are working to have this rescheduled. Monday is not a day when it is possible for everyone to be here, so other concurrences will go on on Monday.
The House adjourned at 1 p.m.